Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Not your average birthstone jewelry!

From the top you should know that I'm NOT a jewelry kind of girl.  I've tried, but I just don't remember to put it on....or I don't feel a loss without it... I'm not sure what it is.  I just don't wear much jewelry.  Most days I stick to my engagement, my wedding ring, and {if I can find it} my watch.

layered mother of pearl Product Image
Excellent for the large family :)
We are in the process of adoption from foster care.  It's a long process that takes a lot of work, a lot of time, and a lot of prayer.  As a dear friend says, you can't accidental adopt a child.  To commemorate the completion of our family, I've always wanted a piece of birthstone jewelry.  It seemed to make sense--my husband on one hand, my kiddos on the other!  Today I happened upon this site and I think I'm on my way to ditching the birthstone jewelry!  Here are my top favorites.  You can also buy the pieces a la carte and design your own creation.  How awesome is that?  If I can't make up my mind, I just may have to have a bracelet and a necklace.  Or maybe one piece of jewelry for every year we spend trying to bring home our kiddos!  Just one more small reason why I can't wait for my little people to come home!!
all around my faith Product Image
I think this is my favorite necklace selection.

eternity heart bracelet Product Image
Isn't this a fun bracelet?

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Wurtz Cabin

We spent three days and two nights traveling and playing with new-ish friends of ours from our church to the North Fork of the Flathead River just above Glacier National Park.  Four adults, seven kiddos (ages 8 months to seven years!), and a sum total of 15 hours of driving.  We had a fabulous, fabulous time!  Making friends as an adult with children is HARD, mainly because building good friendships take time, and time is something that we don't have a lot of these days.  But 15 hours in the van with another mama (with quiet, contented children) as well as a few days sharing a cabin and seven meals together can really help a person get to know somebody!  It only took four hours of being in the cabin when both of our husbands declared that this vacation shall be an annual event.  I like it when the men have so much fun that they start planning a repeat before we even leave :)

Looking for a great cabin that sleeps 12?  Check out the Wurtz cabin here!  And don't forget to stop at the Polebridge Mercantile on your way up there!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Slow. Down.

Slow down.  
There is beauty to behold.  
A Savior to worship.  
A baby to hold.  
A husband to kiss.  
A world to explore.
Our time is more important than our money.  Spend it wisely.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

When you are weary

Are you weary?  No, I don't mean tired, I mean weary.  

This afternoon I could feel the weariness in my bones.  After six years of owning a house we never planned to keep, we went to the closing of the sale of the house only to find out that someone in the buyer's camp dropped the ball and the financing may be in jeopardy.  We came home deflated.  Completely.  With yet another thing in our life that has no current resolution, it just seems much

Mountain Man and I were talking about this over lunch today.  When we were in college we both had this image of adult life that seemed rather, shall we say, monotonous.  We get married, go to work, and do life.  But that isn't how life has been for us, and I dare say it isn't how life has been for most people our age in America.  

As the weariness and heaviness set in this afternoon, I started thinking about the almost 10 years (next month!) I've spent with my husband. Every single year together has included a "major life transition."  Every year.  We've moved across the country away from everyone, bought a house, gutted and remodeled the house, started professional careers, and then spent two months preparing for a deployment that never happened.  All in our first 18 months.  We've battled infertility, depression, oppression, and addiction.  We bought a second house.  We got pregnant, moved internationally, had a baby, moved again, had another baby, moved internationally again, and had another baby.  I've stopped working, started working, stopped working to have babies, started working with babies, and stopped working again.  We spent 18 months pursuing an adoption that never happened.  We bought a puppy while having two in diapers.  We started homeschooling.  We are trying to bring home our children from foster care.

It feels much.  And it brings to mind this verse (from my childhood, which was memorized in KJV!):

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."  Galatians 6:9

We generally don't get weary when we do our own thing.  We just get bored.  We get weary in well doing.  Paul could not speak these words of encouragement to the Galatians if he had never been there himself.  Weary.  Tired.  Ready to give up.  But isn't the desire to give up a good indication that we are accomplishing the things that are greater than ourselves?

I want to give up.  I want to stop searching websites and making phone calls and submitting home studies and waiting for the phone call that never comes.  I want to stop making lesson plans and searching for deals on curriculum and reading articles on how to educate my children.  I want to stop living on a budget and paying down debt.  I want to stop having the hard conversations with my husband that keep us up at night.  I want to give up.

But when I look at the things that feel wearisome, I realize that these are the very things that God has asked me to do--rescue my children from foster care, school my kiddos, live debt-free, build intimacy with my husband.  So I take a nap, have a glass of lemonade and breathe in the promise--I WILL reap a harvest.  I just can't give up. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

If your baby pool gets stolen

I'm sure it's a common thing to have your baby pool stolen out of your driveway, right?  Well, maybe if you live in downtown Richmond or LA or somewhere like that, but in Montana?!  It was shocking to me, too.  I want to believe that a desperate mother or father with zero dollars to spend at a yard sale took both pools (yes, they stole TWO baby pools).  Probably not. . .

The theft was a catastrophic loss for the kids.  I had to put on my mommy thinking cap last week to combat the 90 degree corn-growing-weather.  Sometimes mothers in our country forget that as long as it is fun, it doesn't need to be perfect--like playing in plastic storage tubs!

Can you hear him say "No thank you!  This is my tub!  Move to yours!"

With only two plastic storage tubs and three children, I needed to get VERY creative with Sweet Girl.  Her baby doll clothes were looking pretty dirty, so I got out my washboard, a dry rack, a small tub for soapy water and a small tub of rinse water.  (As a side question--does anyone ever think to wash baby doll clothes?  It took me three years to notice that they were dirty and another two years to do something about it!  HA!)  She thought it was fantastic!  And, amazingly, the boys didn't spray her with the water hose.  There was peace for almost an entire hour!

Sweet girl had such a fun time that we played this again two days later!

Boredom Busters

My kiddos are close in age--almost six yo, four and a half, and almost three.  They don't yet know the word "bored" (don't ask me how I pulled that one off!) but they sure know how to act that way! When the Boredom Monster comes to stay for a while, I see a definite increase in yelling, fighting over toys, and whining.  I don't like any of those things (does anyone?!?) and  I have found that if I give them some structured activity, they tend to play better by themselves after the activity is over.  So, here are some things we are doing in our house this summer. . .

1)  Chores.  I know, they are young, but they can still help do something.  I recently invested in small watering cans, a new and easy-to-use broom and dust pan set, and a swiffer mop.  Although I'm not thrilled with the results of the swiffer, it is easy for them to use, they feel very responsible, and the floor is cleaner than doing nothing (which is what happens to my floor most of the time!).  They also help clean the bathroom, and they do a pretty decent job when they do it with me.  After spending an hour doing chores with mama, they are usually very excited to be left alone in their toy room!

2)  Stations that they pick.  Because of the work of having many small children, we don't have a lot of playtime one-on-one.  We recently played a little game together that went something like this:  For 15 minutes we did what Silly Boy wanted to do.  For the next 15 minutes we did what Crazy Man wanted to do.  For the next 15 minutes we did what Sweet Girl wanted to do.  No one could complain about the activity their sibling chose or they would lose their time to choose the activity.  Everyone had to participate with each activity.  I couldn't answer the phone during our 45 minutes of playing.  Because I was so focused on them and they each had a time to control the activity for their siblings, everyone left the time very happy!

3)  Stations that I pick.  There are a lot of toys in our house that our kids just don't touch unless I bring it to their attention.  Since we home school, I have a small collection of "educational" toys.  I make stations that could include a book station (with a theme like all Dora books or all Thomas books), puzzles, lacing activities, stamps and paper (or stickers and paper), and play dough.  Every 10 minutes they have to change activities. They have to do all of the activities and they can't switch activities until the timer goes off.  The lack of control over what they play, when they play it, and how long they can play it can certainly cause some tension (such a good teachable moment or three!), but the decrease in control over their play also makes them so thankful for "free" playtime that they handle the free time much better after we do our station time.

There you have it--three strategies this mama uses to keep peace in the home and hair on my head (you pull yours out, too, from time to time, right??)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

First TV, then the newspaper

I know it sounds crazy, but I managed to be on the news on Wednesday and in the newspaper on Saturday!  Completely unplanned, but very fun :)  All of my "fame" is here and gone all at the same time!  If you want to read about handling pests in your garden, take a look here.  My new gardening friend Amy Grisak is a well-published free-lance writer of gardening articles for various magazines like Mother Earth News and Hobby Farms as well as our local newspaper.  Pretty easy way to get into the paper, huh?  She helped me identify the issues with my swiss chard, and then helped again with my beets.  When she heard that I also had potato bugs, she said I inspired her to write an article on pest control in the newspaper.  I should have bought a paper on Saturday. . .