Monthly Archives: April 2012

It’s not just the plants that are growing.

Last month I planted a garden.
And it hasn’t died.
It actually seems to be doing surprisingly well.

We have carrots and peas and beans and spinach.
Tomatoes, radishes, more tomatoes, and even broccoli.
Strawberries and watermelon and we had cantaloupe but I think the rabbits got it.
Oh, and corn…but we bought that by accident.  (Long story.)
(But it ends with: You should always look to see what your children put in the cart.)

Last week I baked bread.  Twice.
And it was whole wheat.
No picture because we devoured it.
But I bought more yeast.

I exercise at least 3 times a week, usually more.
Sometimes it’s just pulling the wagon to the playground.
But if you’ve ever pulled a wagon of two, you’ll know that it’s most certainly exercise!

And we’re considering homeschool for next year.
Our schools here are really great schools,
But I can’t stop thinking about it.
My heart and gut say ‘try it’.
And so we probably will.

I’m not quite certain who I’ve become.
But I really like her.

Spring Hope

The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.
~Bern Williams

Story Buddies

We really love books at our house.
The big kids read alone and aloud.
The little kids ‘read’ out LOUD.

Actually as I type, Lydia is reading “Miss Nelson is Missing” to Alden.
(I could listen to her sweet voice reading forever, I think.)

Typically my girls are story buddies and my boys are story buddies.
But we recently had a chance to invite Cooper, one of Hallmark’s Story Buddies, to our house.

We all absolutely love Cooper.
We’ve been reading with him for a few weeks and the kids all still giggle when he responds.
The only downside is that sometimes Cooper has a hard time understanding Lydia.
Her reading voice is so small that I think he just can’t hear her all the time.
(The packaging does tell you that

Listen to this adorableness.
(Theirs, not mine.)
(And ignore the snapping.)
(And the disinterested toddler.)
(And the less-than-stellar videography.)

And as I was writing this, I discovered that there was a Cooper iPhone app!
We just uploaded it and WOW!
You can have the book read aloud by the pre-recorded voice and Cooper talks back to it
OR you can record your own voice (or maybe even a grand parent’s voice) and have it read the story!

Check it out:

Lydia’s already asked if we could get more books in the series!
Off to Hallmark!

I was once again able to work with Hallmark and they did send Cooper and his first book to our house for us to enjoy and review.  However, the opinions above are 100% mine (well…ours).  We super-duper love him and I know you’ll have fun with the whole line of their Interactive Story Buddies.


I have four children.  Four relatively small children
And for the past few years – especially the last year or so
I haven’t been able to do much more than keep my head above water.
(Sometimes I haven’t even done that well.)

My house is often a disaster.
I forget to do things.
I miss meetings.

When the children are awake and home, my mind is on fast-forward.
Just trying to keep up with who is where and which child is doing what.
One-Two-Three-Four. One-Two-Three-Four. One-Two-Three-Four.
(I constantly count.)

But right this minute – this very minute –
they are all playing happily and quietly together.
(And they have been for a long time.)

I was able to make bread and do the dishes and a load of laundry.
With not even one interruption.
No one cried or complained.
No one needed a diaper or a drink.
No one attached themselves to my leg.

And this isn’t a fluke.
It’s beginning to happen more often.
And while I miss the teeny tiny baby phase,
this new phase is ridiculously freeing.

The impossible is becoming possible.
For me and for them.
And it’s exciting for us all.

A Lincoln Log is plopped down in my lap
And I peer down to find big eyes and wild hair.
Something crashes and someone cries.

We are almost here.
And it’s bittersweet.
But mostly sweet.


Last night I was part of a discussion about how to grow our choir.  Our numbers fluctuate at times, but it seems like lately we’ve settled at the lowest participation rate that we’ve ever seen.  We tossed around a lot of ideas.  Should we change the time on the same night?  Should we meet on a different night?  Should we try weekends?  Would it even matter?

I don’t think that it’s that people don’t want to be there.
I don’t think it’s because people don’t enjoy it.
I don’t think it’s because people don’t care.
I think it’s because people are tired.

And this problem certainly isn’t exclusive to church choirs.
I see it in schools and hospitals and clubs and other organizations.

Our universe is (literally) constantly expanding.  Our world is (figuratively) constantly expanding.
And while our waistlines may literally be expanding, our physical capabilities are not. 

We want to contribute to every thing that is important to us
But we still have to sleep and have some time to recharge.

We are all involved in so many things
(some of them are really, really good things)
that it makes it hard to really be committed to any of them.

Because of our extensive obligations, we have lost the ability to joyfully say yes to things that we really want to do.
Because we find ourselves doing what has to be done, we aren’t allowing ourselves to enjoy what we want to do.
Because we struggle to keep up with everysinglelittlething, we aren’t able to sit and savor the moment.

And I think it’s killing us.
We think we are living, but are we?
Are we really living or are we merely surviving?

I am at a place in my life when I am craving simplicity.
We have cut back on going and doing and focused more on staying and being.
We have been much more purposeful about saying yes and no – to ourselves, to others, to things, to activities.
We have taken a step back to try and figure out not which things are most important,
(because there are so many important opportunities out there, it’s hard to decide which is most important)
but which things deserve our attention most.

We certainly don’t have it all figured out.
We sometimes waste our time and resources on things that we shouldn’t.
We sometimes lose focus on what is really most important.
We often get caught up in this society-of-yes that we live in.

But we are trying.
And I hope you will, too.

DIY Diaper Wreath

Yesterday my mom and I hosted a diaper shower for a dear friend who is expecting her first baby girl.

I knew I wanted to have a wreath on the front door and I thought surely you can make a wreath from diapers.
Last week I posted this picture on Instagram and Greis wanted a how-to!

So to make this, I used one 12″ foam floral wreath, 21 size 2 diapers, 22 rubberbands, two 8″ boas (one pink, one black), and 3 hairbows.  (Although next time I’ll get more boas and less hairbows.)

Because I’d already assembled it when I decided to do a tutorial, I did a few pictures using the handle of a basket instead of the wreath form.

First you’ll open up a diaper and put it on the wreath form just like you would a  baby but without opening up the flaps.

Then put a rubber band around the diaper and pull it down close to the wreath form.
Squeeze the butt of the diaper so that it’s a little compressed.
That’ll make sure you have room for all of the diapers and give the wreath a little dimension.

Once all of the diapers are attached, I used the black boa and weaved it over – under – over the diapers all the way around to cover up half of the rubberbands.  Then I did the opposite with the pink boa.  I tied the loose ends together in the back.

Then I used the remaining rubber band to attach the hairbows.  I wrapped around and tied it in the back and then was able to attach the hairbows to the part in the front.  BUT if I make another one, I’ll probably just get more feather boas and make a bow with them.

This really is easy and it looks adorable!


Linked up to Tip Junkie’s Tip Me Tuesday.

Tip Junkie handmade projects


The wind is strong and almost steady.
The leaves make the most glorious swoosh-swoosh-swoossssshhhhh.
And the same three pipes of the windchime take turns singing.

The clock behind me says tick-ah, tick-ah, tick-ah, tick-ah.
The pendulum on the grandfather clock beside me just barely keeps up.
My eyes and my ears struggle to make them get in sync, but can’t.
And so I move so that I can no longer see the pendulum.
Problem solved!
(Or is it just problem ignored?)
(Is it even really a problem?)

I try to count all the different birds I hear.
Onetwothreefourfive…I easily differentiate.
But there are too many coos to count.

I close my eyes and let my limbs hang heavy.
Dropping my chin and rolling my head round and round gently,
I am acutely aware of the hundreds of muscles in my neck, chest, shoulder, arms.
Bending further, I feel the pull in my lower back.
A deep breath burns in my lungs.

I imagine that each strained muscle is a hurt, a heartache.
I feel the pain of the world on my shoulders.
(How cliché, but true.)
The brokenness of friends weigh heavily on my chest.
My own bitterness radiates down each arm.

Breathe deep.
Deeper still.

Filling every crevice of my torso until I can no longer take in any more.

And with release, relief rushes in.

Each breath, a prayer.
Each breath, a petition.
Each breath, a plea.

I call out to you with all of my heart…






Mommy Time Out

I am tired and you are teething.
It is a lethal combination.

“You win!” I exclaim in frustration.
(Well, really no one wins.)

I slip out the back door and walk just far enough that I can barely hear your cries.
Though it is nearly 10, I am still jammied up.
So are you.  And your brother.
No need to get dressed today.
We have no where to go.

The wind blows up the end of my nightgown
And I lie down on the driveway.
The warmth of the sun begins to defrost my demeanor.

I tell myself that I will miss this one day.
And I will, I know.
The naps and the cuddles.
The giggles and sighs.
The top of your head resting on my cheek.
Even the tiny, sticky hands.
And the touching-touching-touching.
(OH! With the touching!!!!)
And, oh yes, even the ear piercing squeals of excitement.
I will miss them all.

But I cannot imagine missing the sound of cries.

Even as I speak it though, I wonder if it is true.
Your cries signify (or at least should signify) that you need me.
I thrive on being needed, being wanted.
And no one is more needed or wanted than Mama.

So I pull myself up from the drive and slip inside the house.
I quietly peek into your brother’s room and find you both engrossed in a toy laptop.
(Why do they make toys that are so looooooud?)

You are fine – save the occasional post-sob sniffle – until you see me.
But when you turn your eyes on me, you let out the smallest whimper.
And turn towards me with arms stretched wide.

With your head on my shoulder,
You sniff rhythmically to hold back the tears.

And as much as I don’t think I’ll miss the cries,
I will most certainly miss this.

A hundred thousand pictures

I have a hundred thousand pictures from the past week or so.
Starting with the egg drop testing and ending with a splash in the pool.
There are so many moments I snapped with my camera but so many more that I captured with my mind.
I want to, I need to write it all down before I forget.
I can already feel the memories barely begin to crackle.
(It’s amazing how quickly that happens.)

Look at how she looks at them, to them.
And how he hangs on.
His enthusiasm and her excitement.
And oh, my heart explodes.

What I would give to live these days over and over!
They have been so, so very wonderful.

But if we stayed in this moment forever,
We’d never know the rest of their stories.
And I know that no matter how great it is right now,
There’s something greater to come.
Just look at them…

Linked up with Heather’s Just Write.


I remember learning about Einstein’s idea that time is relative.  I’d heard all about the theory of relativity in school, but wasn’t until my brother read a book about Einstein that I really learned it.  And even then – and still now, actually – I didn’t really get it.  What it really boils down to (I think) is that the faster you move, the slower time passes.  And, conversely, the slower you move, the faster time passes.  And I am fairly certain that we’re talking milliseconds of a difference, but every parent can tell you that time is more fluid than we’d like to believe.

This spring break has been a perfect example
It’s been a complete whirlwind for us.
Parks.  Picnics.  Pictures.  Playground.  Planting.
Friends.  Family.  Fishing.  Fun.

It’s been really quitesovery wonderful.

Carter got a new bike.  One with a kickstand and a little bell.
And we brought it home and he hopped right on and rode it away.
It wasn’t so long ago that he was wobbling down the driveway.

As I watched him zoom by, time slowed down and he passed me in slow motion.
And I thought “Wow.  He’s a boy.  A big boy.  An all out scratches-on-both-knees-and-sweaty-hair boy.”

It seems like sometimes time rushes by like a swollen river.
Other times it seems to mosey along, a slow and steady little brook.

But then there are moments that feels like time just hiccups.

One minute you are here.
And then hiccup
Everything has changed.

Same ol’, same ol’.
Same ol’, same ol’.
Same ol’, same ol’.
He’s a riding-your-bike-down-the-street big kid.

She can read chapter books.

He uses words that he didn’t know a week ago.

She can run fast enough to keep up with the others.

And sooner than I’d please…
He’s in college.
She’s in high school.
He’s in high school.
She’s in middle school.



In semi-related news, Lydia is now a training-wheel-free bike rider.

(One of my favorite parts is at the very beginning when Carter yells, “I know you can do it!”)