Thursday, October 30, 2008

When The Baby Goes Out with the Bathwater

If you've been following my twitter (which, yes, I am still get a lot of eyerolling over twittering. Can he not get that I HAVE NO ADULTS TO TALK TO ALL DAY?! I am secretly glad that Todd has been here for the last week just because I feel like at least I have some back up even if he is just here to work on the basement.)

Ok, that was some major run on sentencing.

So, if you have been following my twitter you know that I have been decluttering. I threw out a stack of note paper that said, "Wise Men Still Seek Him" on the top of it. My 2nd grade sunday school teacher, Bruce Fixen, gave that paper to me when I was in 2nd grade. Yes he did. And I still have it. But now I don't. Aren't you proud of me for recycling it? Or do you want to cut all ties with me because I am such a loser in the first place?

Anyway, I put a large stack of stuff out for lupus the other day. My neighbor had brought some stuff down too, so it was quite a large stack.

My lawnmower was also sitting out.

They took that too.

We didn't want them to.

Actually, that is not quite true. Our lawnmower was inherited from the past owners of our house who had gotten it second hand from someone else. So we have had it for 4 1/2 years and that, I am sure, was only a fraction of its life. I have wanted a new one for 4 1/2 years but it always ends up on the bottom of the "to be purchased" list.

So when we were setting the stuff out for Lupus, Noah said, "you aren't going to move the mower, are you? You secretly want them to take it. Don't you?"

And I laughed and said, "I am not intending for them to take it. But lets just say I wouldn't call and demand it back if they did."

And then we both agreed that they would never take it because it is old, rusty and falling apart.

But they did.

And we are glad.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mary, Did You Know?

Yesterday Deacon and Roman started a new game: Baby Jesus.

Deacon came into the room with his construction eye protection on and a blanket over his head. He was claiming to be Mary, the mother of Jesus. Good thing we are not Catholic, or that might be enough to get kicked out of the church.

Roman was Joseph.

They wanted to wake up a teething Lincoln to be Baby Jesus. They thought he would be perfect for the role.

A screaming, sleep deprived 18 month old didn't seem like perfect Baby Jesus material to me.

So I gave them a doll in a pink dress.

They took turns holding the doll and exclaiming over how cute he/she was.

They needed a manger.

I gave them my precious basket that they are not allowed to play "Baby Moses" with to be the manger.

Suddenly, now that the forbidden basket was the manger, Joseph transformed into Baby Jesus.

Baby Jesus kept forgetting he was human and would frequently meow. In my basket.

They were now short a Joseph, so Deacon moved over to that role and I became Mary.

I convinced Joseph that after giving birth to a 3 year old half cat/half human I was very tired and needed to nap. He was to be in charge of Baby Jesus.

He suggested to Baby Jesus that they go out shopping for a new blanket for the manger.

Baby Jesus didn't want to go shopping so Joseph suggested he just stay home with Mary. (thanks, Joseph!)

Joseph asked Mary what time his volleyball games were that night.

Baby Jesus started climbing on Mary and Joseph came over and laughed and said, "Mary, did you know that your baby Jesus has a sticker on his butt?"

And so the parody was born.
(Incidently, to spice things up today, and since Noah was home, Noah and I were Joseph and Mary, Deacon was Baby Jesus and Roman was Baby Jesus' Kitty Cat. "Jesus" named the cat Roman, clearly named after the Roman soldiers that would one day crucify him. Now that is irony.)

Parody of Mary Did You Know.
(by the way, this is a great song to parody because you can just shorten/lengthen any words as you sing to make them work. It is just the nature of the song.)

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy has a sticker on his butt?
Mary, did you know
That your baby boy doesn't want to go shopping?
Did you know
That your baby boy is going to ruin your manger
This game that they created
Will soon annoy you

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy wants to play computer
Mary, did you know
That your baby boy turned the TV on again
Did you know
That your baby boy just threw a spoon in the toilet
And when you kiss your little baby
You've kissed a creation of God

Oh, Mary, did you know?
The boy will run
The boy will jump
And the boy will do it again
The boy will leap
The boy will dance
Just because he can

Mary, did you know,
That your baby boy dove right down the stairs
Mary, did you know
That your baby boy just landed on his head
Did you know that your baby boy wants a kitty cat
This little boy whose screeching
is your precious son

Mary, Did You Know is one of my favorite Christmas songs.

I think it is a powerful testimony and recap of Jesus' work on earth.

But as a mother now, I think about those things as I rock them, as I play with them. What will they be? What will they do?

Someday maybe I will hear:

Julie, did you know
that your little boy always comforts others
Julie, did you know
that your little boy is a friend to everyone
Did you know
That your little boy spreads joy whereever he goes
This child that you are raising
Will one day raise others

Julie, did you know
That your little boy gives what he can to people
Julie, did you know
That your little boy calms everyone's tempers
Did you know
That your little boy stands up for his brothers
And when you kiss your little boy
You've kissed a child of God

Julie, did you know?
Your boy will watch
Your boy will listen
Your boy will live in Heaven
Your boy will teach
Your boy will learn
The story of the Lamb

Julie, did you know
That your little boy knows who Jesus is
Julie, did you know
That your little boy shares salvation with his friends
Did you know
That your little boy never laughs at others
This little boy you're teaching
Is being used by the great I AM.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Anti-Pet Mom

I just noticed that The new family of 5 just became 6...kind of. Little Christian, their 3rd child was just born a couple of months ago and now they got a darling little dog named Jack!

It almost made me want a dog.

But then I remembered.

I am an Anti-pet Mom.

I don't like the way dogs lick. (remember my orange prison jumpsuit...I would have to wear it constantly if we had a dog).

I don't like the way cats lurk.

I don't like the way hamsters would totally get out of their cage and run all over my house and I would not know if they were dead or alive or crawling over me as I slept.

I don't like the way mice would either be accidentally killed by my children or released by my children.

I don't like the way fish require remaining in the water to live.

I don't like the thought of cleaning up more dog poop, or cat poop, or bird poop, or hamster poop.

I don't like the way that some little varmint chewed through one of the fuel lines on Noah's car. I hope it died of diesel poisoning.

And don't get me started on frogs, snakes, toads, rats, guinea pigs or regular pigs. Or cows.

I don't like animals particularly.

But Jack is really cute.

And I think I may want a dog.

And I would name it Diesel.

Because Noah won't let me name a human child Diesel.

But they do it in Europe.

Someone stop me. Please.

Things I Applaud: Frugality

I have always been tight with my money. Every since I was a little kid. I liked to have a lot of it stored up in the bank. I still do. Noah, on the other hand, likes to spend money. I will say, "if you were not married to me you would still be living in your parent's basement with a lot of expensive toys!" and he counters back, "if we hadn't gotten married you would live in a small apartment with a million bucks in your mattress!"

And those statements, although maybe slightly exaggerated, are in essence the way we work. I buy generic everything, he likes to think that brand name sugar probably tastes better. Thankfully, over the 8 years that we have been married he has at least conceded on most of the grocery items.

Now, I am not a big couponer/deal hunter. I do not have the patience and time and temperment for it. I just have certain policies that I follow, things like I never spend more than $20 on a pair of jeans for myself (I know, to some of you that sounds way excessive, and others of you are looking down your noses at me.)

But I am, as Noah calls me, a poor snob. That means that I am very impressed with people who brag about how little they spent on something and not so impressed with people who brag about how much they spent on something.

Here is my friend Becki at her wedding. Her wedding dress was $7. And that was when her sister Rachel bought it for her wedding. So technically, it was like $3.50.

And she looked beautiful. And she and Matt got married. And the dress was white. What more matters?

Anyway, with the economy the way it is, and people losing jobs etc. I have been thinking a lot more about being content with what I have, being responsible with what I have been given, and being more Heavenly minded about what I spend.

2 weeks ago when I thought Noah might lose his job, I started realizing just how much money we waste, even with my frugal nature. Just how many things I desire that I don't need, just how many people throughout the world have nothing when we have everything.

Now, I am still not ready to give up the dream of having a few acres to let the kids run wild on, or a large room to have guests over in. Nor am I giving up the dream of repadding my kitchen chairs...but it does mean that like Kim , you will still find me digging out the hand-me-down snowpants and being really happy when I get to use my $10 Kohls cash to get new sunglasses, 9 pairs of jockey underwear and a tank top. Go 90% off!

Friday, October 24, 2008

When Home and Work Collide Part 2

As you guys know, I am a nurse in the MICU at hospital around here. I end up relating a lot of my life to nursing. Things like care plans, measuring urine, checking out people's veins, etc are just second nature to me, so it makes sense that I often compare my work at work to my work at home.

For example:

1. Trying to keep people in their beds.

at home of course it is all about keeping the kids in their beds at night. At work it is all about keeping the detoxing alcoholics, the craving nicotine addicts and the "pleasantly confused" elderly patients in their beds. One place it is legal to use restraints. Can you guess where?

2. Keeping track of everyone's bodily functions

at work I have to chart bowel movements, urine outputs, stomach contents etc. Very important information. At home I have to keep track of it too. If Lincoln hasn't pooped yet when we are heading out the door, I need to make sure I have wipes, diapers etc. I could go on...but I won't.

3. Dealing with constant requests

Family members asking for blankets, parking vouchers, cups of ice. Other nurses asking for turns, narcotic wasting and blood product cosigns. At home it is "I need more milk", "where is my blanket", "can we go to a restaurant", "read to me" etc.

4. Never getting a chance to pee

this is why I live in a chronic state of dehydration. And I know it is not healthy. But I don't have time to pee or eat at work, and I don't have time at home either.

5. The end of shift report

This one has been heavy on my heart lately. I feel like Noah and I need to spend more time together as a family- all 5 of us. Doing stuff instead of just handing the kids off to one another. But doesn't it feel like shift work, sometimes? Noah will be home in an evening and he will say, "you want a break from the kids? This would be a good opprotunity to take it!" Which is really nice, and I appreciate it, but sometimes I want to spend time together with him and them. I enjoy them more if I am not the only one chasing them across the park and if there is another adult trying to keep the balloon off the ground in balloon volleyball.

But so often it turns into an end of shift report:

N walks in

J: "Yeah, you are home! Now lets quick eat so I can get to the grocery store by myself. Roman is tired, he needs early bedtime. Lincoln is freshly changed and in his jammies, Deacon and Roman can't watch any tv because I caught them on the computer without permission. Any questions, catch me on my cell. Oh and call me if you need anything at the store."

J walks in with all the groceries:

J: "sorry that took me so long. I know you need to go to broomball. What is going on?"

N: "yeah, I need to leave. They have all been brushed and read to and rocked. The older ones are still awake. I told them I would check on them in a little bit and they can only have their tape flipped one more time. See ya."

I could give a lot more examples, but you know what I mean? (maybe?) It is a report. What needs to be done next. What the plan is. What needs to happen. Obviously we need to trade off sometimes. And I am so thankful to have someone to trade off with, but I wish there were more times of not trading off and of just being home. All 5 of us. Together.

And that is one wish I do not have for me and my patients and coworkers.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Yep, Lincoln likes to climb just as much as his brothers do. He is getting so much older and is leaving behind his baby ways more and more everyday.

Here is part of our basement. That is going to be the laundry room part.

Over here will be the storage area.

And this will be our school room.

Here is Deacon. I need to do a whole post on him sometime. He is my secretary. He answers the phone and takes care of things for me. Like hitting 1 when the automated person on the other end tells him to, even when he doesn't really know what he is agreeing about. But that is ok. It was just a lawn treatment I didn't want.
And I don't have a current picture of Roman. He doesn't seem to like to get his picture taken. But he is keeping himself happy lining his toys up and playing Mommy and Baby.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What Do You Think About This?

I am thinking about getting rid of my highchair. Each of my kids was only in it for a couple months- until I got tired of tripping over it in the kitchen and stuck them in the booster seat.

I am thinking of getting rid of my 0-3 month clothes. I have 3 bins and a bag of "newborn" stuff, clothes, blankets, carriers, diaper bag, cloth diapers. Surely a child could get by on 3 sleepers and a pack of onesies and 2 blankets, don't you think?

I am thinking about getting rid of my bouncy seat. Bouncy seats are great for 1st borns, but not so great for subsequent children. They get warped and they are too close to siblings hands.

I am thinking about getting rid of my maternity clothes. Surely I won't gain as much weight next time and I can get by on my post maternity clothes and maybe like 2 tops, right?

I am thinking about getting rid of all of Noah's toys that he bought in college. Only I think I may be getting rid of a husband if I do that.

I am thinking about getting rid of half my regular clothes. I don't really need them since all I wear is workout pants anyway.

I am thinking about getting rid of 75% of the toys. Deacon certainly doesn't play with them. He just follows me around all day and asks questions.

What else can I purge tonight? Puzzles? Games? Altoid tins? Poems from the 5th grade?

We will see...

Friday, October 17, 2008


I have a lot of people ask me how I manage to find things to blog about on a daily basis. And I say, "look at the stuff I post. Now. It is not always that interesting, is it? But let me tell you, that is only a very small percentage of what I think about."

Let me be honest with you: being a stay at home mom gives you ALOT of time to think about a large variety of topics. I am not saying that staying home with 3 active, needy, stubborn preschoolers is boring. Nor am I saying that it is easy. It is neither of those. But I do have a lot of time to think. And a lot of questions to force me to think.

It's like this. When I go to my paid job as a nurse I think the whole shift, but I am thinking about my job, my patients, my nursing knowledge base. You know, important stuff like, "Please blood pressure, come up. I don't want to have to call that crabby resident again. I don't think he knows what he is doing anyway." and, "I have a code brown in here. I need wipes, new linens and 4 extra hands pronto." or "This patient just doesn't look good. Something doesn't feel right. I'd better get the MD, do some heavier analysis and get the family back her." See, it is all "job related".

But when I am at home "job related" thoughts are really of a wide variety. And I have lots of time to think about them while I do laundry, wash dishes, monitor bathtime, play at the park, tie shoes etc. Sometimes I am talking with the kids as I am thinking, sometimes they are just talking amongst themselves.

Just today I had to think about and field all of these questions:

Questions from me to myself.

1. Why when I already cleaned up from lunch is there suddenly mac and cheese all over the floor?

2. Why is there always one child that doesn't want to do what everyone else wants to do?

3. Why are my children having a knock down, drag out fight in the shopping cart? (which I am pretty sure Heather of the EO's children witnessed).

4. Why shouldn't Deacon give away one of his 15 pairs of pajamas?

5. Why won't these people take naps?

6. I wonder if there are any other places in the world left that people could flee to to avoid religious persecution? (like the Pilgrims did)

7. Why do self proclaimed tolerant people refuse to tolerate Christians?

8. Why do Christians refuse to love like Jesus loved?

9. Why is it so hard to actually allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life?

10. Which of my friends should I call to announce my triumphant braiding 2 french braids on my own head accomplishment? (Deacon suggested Teacher Liz. Why? "Because she likes braids, she likes clothes and she likes you".)

Questions from the boys:

1. Why are people killing the Christians in Sudan?

2. How do you know that Christians are dying in Sudan?

3. How do the people who live in the Sahara desert get enough water?

4. Why can't I go to Australia?

5. The people going to the promised land were slaves under Pharaoh, that is kind of what you are talking about the American slaves, right mom?

6. Why are we cutting flowers?

7. Why aren't there so many bees out today?

8. Why can't we have donuts today?

9. Why don't I need 15 pairs of pajamas?

10. Why can't we watch TV in the morning?

11. Why do I have to put pants on over my shorts when we leave the house?

12. Where did the pilgrims eat on the Mayflower?

13. Is this picture supposed to be the flower boat?

And many more...and because of today's questions I continue to have things to think about tomorrow. And I really want to read William Bradford's memoirs...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

When 7th Grade Invades Our Marriage

Fun title, isn't it?

There are definitely pros and cons to knowing your spouse since preschool. One of the pros is you know them REALLY WELL and the surprises are minimal. Also, since Noah and I "liked" each other since jr. high, we don't have all the relationship baggage from other relationships. We only have baggage from our own relationship.

The hard part is when you forget that the other person is a different person then they were in jr. high. The problem can be when you remember something they said in 10th grade and you still think that they hold to that opinion today.

Noah was rather, shall we say, argumentative when he was younger. He always thought he was right and he would die on any hill, whether it be an ant hill or a mountain. He also was rather opinionated. I, of course, thought that he was super cool and I wanted him to like me. I knew he didn't like anything even slightly fashionable. It was a little obvious with his black sweat pants and all. So I was always careful and stayed away from my potentially totally cool side to avoid making him think that I was shallow and not worth being interested in.

But in 7th grade I got this pair of jeans. They were really wide leg jeans, which were in. At least I think they were. It was 2 years after this that green jeans were in vogue. At least they were in my little world. Anyway I got these jeans for $10. And although they were trendy, I thought I would risk the "Noah test". I remember we were standing underneath a tree at church. He said, "new jeans?" I said, "yeah, do you like them?" (why did I ask that??!?!) He said, "they are ok."

So I always thought they were just ok. Later I find out that he actually did really think they looked good (on me). But apparently his 8th grade anti trend wouldn't let him admit it. Or maybe he just didn't really want me to know what he thought.

So we moved on, and I didn't really learn from it. I have never considered myself to have low self confidence, but with this. Yes. Yes, I do. 8 years of marriage later I still frequently need to be reminded that it is POSSIBLE, and is in fact TRUE that he loves me for me, and that one little trendy pair of jeans is not going to change that.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Helpful, Deacon, Very Helpful

My friend was over today. We were talking about the smashing good deals that she used to get at CVS. She mentioned how she was practically kicked out of there. And then said something about frozen pizza. Deacon kept interrupting. Finally he blurts out. "You should really try Wal Mart (what he calls Target). They don't kick people out there and they have diapers AND frozen pizzas!"

I think he missed the point. I know he missed the point. He is still appalled at her being "kicked" out of a store. And he is sure his solution is best.

My friend was over because I had watched her daughter this morning for a little while. It was such a delight! Girls are so different from boys!

But as I sat there with my 4 1/2 and 3 year old boys, the 2 year old girl and my 16 month old I finally saw a glimpse of a light at the end of the tunnel (yeah, I purposely said "a light" instead of "the light"). They all sat and played duplos for a 1/2 hour with only 2 minor skirmishes. I thought, "this is how people can survive daycare kids. This is how they can have a lot of their own kids! They don't stay babies (ie: lego structure destroyers) forever!"

So this evening I was going to fold laundry, shred documents, clean the kitchen and finish my birth control post (I know it is way past due. But I have like 5 excuses). Oh, yeah, and brown my 6 pounds of hamburger. But having had only a couple of hours of sleep last night I crashed at 7pm. So much for getting anything done.

Ok, that was a boring update. But I did think Deacon's comment was funny. And I need to see those glimpses of light. By the way, if you ever have a problem of any kind, Deacon will have a solution for you. And he will probably offer it unsolicited.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Noah has been co teaching a class on Spiritual Disciplines. One of them is Simplicity. Basically, simplicity is getting rid of the stuff in our lives that distract us from what is really important. It can be different things for different people. For some people it is too much stuff, for others money, for others activities, for others double talk or word games.

We have been talking about and trying to evaluate what are we letting complicate our lives? It is easy, I think, to say "oh, church activities are too much", but I don't think that is really our problem. I think it is obvious from my "to do list" what is complicating our lives:

1. Laundry
2. Clean something, anything!
3. Go through and get rid of stuff

That is pretty much always the start of my list.

So I got to thinking about it. If I am spending so much time "managing" and "organizing" our stuff, maybe we just have too much stuff. I have organized and reorganized, but it seems like if there are too many toys or too many clothes, it doesn't matter how much I cleverly stash things: doing it all over still ends up on my list.

So I ask myself. "Julie, do you just stink at keeping things neat, clean and organized?" And I answer myself, "Yes. Yes you do." But I do know that I AM able to keep the rooms in my house that are naturally less cluttered looking nice. So I am determined to keep at the eliminating junk part of my life so that the first 3 things on my list can instead be something more important or Kingdom Worthy.

What about you? Has anyone out there taken steps toward simplicity? What have you done?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Anyone Want to Drain the Great Lakes?

Like everyone else, we have been inundated with political ads. Usually in the van we listen to the kids CDs. Apparently not all of the time though.

On Friday we were at Noah's parents house and Deacon clearly announced, "Does anyone want to hear what I learned about Al Franken?" I winced. What was he going to say?

He went on to say, "Al Franken wants to drain the lakes and turn them into parking lots. Isn't that ridiculous?" And then he laughed.

Here is the funny thing. That ad is PRO Al Franken. It goes on to say that his opponents claims about him are ridiculous. But now my 4 year old is spreading rumors that he really wants to turn the Great Lakes into parking lots. I don't think that is exactly what the Franken group was going for.

And on the power of observation,

Roman really likes Berenstain Bear books. We have been reading the Messy Room one a lot lately. In the middle of the book there is a picture that he always gets agitated about. I finally figured out that he is wondering why Sister Bear does not have her pink bow in her hair in that picture. I hadn't even noticed that Sister Bear was not wearing her bow.

Roman thinks that the mom was so mad about the room being messy that she took Sister's bow away. I suggested that the artist maybe thought that from that angle you just couldn't see Sister's bow. Then I asked him, "Do you really think that the mom was MAD, or do you think she was just frustrated about always having to do the work?" He said, "I think she was just mad."

After he left I looked through the book. Sure enough, in every other picture where you could see Sister's whole head she had her bow in. It is just so amazing to me that he picked up on that inconsistency.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The One Where Julie Almost Throws the Newlyweds Out of Her House

I stole this title format from the hilarious Joolee , who I think stole it from someone else, who I am sure stole it from Friends.

It seemed perfect for this situation.

Noah was gone this evening, hanging out with his bachelor friends. Well, they are not all bachelors, but they don't all have 3 kids and a lovely, sweet wife at home lamenting their absence like he does. And boy did I miss him tonight!

One of my friends, Becki (the names have not been changed to protect the innocent, because, quite frankly, they are not innocent) wanted to play Settlers this evening. Since I have children I said that I would like to play at my house but that it would just be me because Noah was not going to be home (perfect place for a stike through, but I don't know how!).

Anyway, as it turned out we got a game together. Me and 2 relatively newlywed couples. Me. Non-sappy, hyper-competitive me. Me and two relatively sappy (no offense guys), not so competitive newly-wed couples. I missed Noah.

But it was ok until the end of the second game. They threw the game. Totally threw the game. Both of the other women took turns attempting to get their men to win. And one succeeded. Even though, had the game not been thrown, I would have won. This is where the title comes in. Seriously. I know that all you Non-Sappy, Hyper-competitive people out there get this. I know that you are pounding your keyboards now at the injustice of it all. To the rest of you: throwing the game is really, really bad (especially when you throw it to your "sweetie" and especially when I had already had to state that you can ONLY TRADE THINGS RELATED TO THE GAME AND NOT EXTRA FAVORS INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, BACKRUBS, NOT SLEEPING ON THE COUCH, AND FOOT MASSAGES!).

I attempted to explain later the difference. I will "help" someone take away the largest army or longest road to PROLONG THE GAME so that I can have more time for the ultimate goal: ME WINNING! But blatantly "helping" someone so that they just win. Not cool. Not cool at all.

My blood pressure is slowly coming down. I blame some of it on all the junk I ate after my 5K this morning, but mostly I blame it on the GAME THROWING. I asked Mike if it felt good to win after not really earning it. It apparently didn't really bother him.

I told Matt, Becki, Mike and Jenni that I was going to blog about this. So I have. I really was annoyed about it. I wasn't just kidding. But I will get over it. And I still like all of you. And I will invite you back (0r let you invite yourselves back). Probably. There may have to be a moderator.

And I may bring this obsession with justice, fairness and winning up at my next therapy session. Maybe in time I will work through it and be able to play a game "just for fun"????? Or maybe not.

Friday, October 10, 2008

My Life

Noah has been complaining that I haven't been blogging about the kids enough. Now, don't get me wrong, I like to blog about the kids, but I am so bogged down in it, that I sometimes forget about the funny stuff. Occasionally I will have a day though that I try to look at the day from another person's perspective. And pretty much the whole day becomes hilarious.
Take Roman, for instance. This outfit is of his own choosing. We are trying to encourage wearing clothes coupled with independence, and this is the result. I applaud him, actually. He has no muffin top or plumber butt. Mommy really needs to throw out her jeans.

Here they are. Deacon his wearing his new jacket. He had gone back into the house to get it and came out with Lincoln, who had awakened from his nap. As he came out into the garage, he gave me a look and said. "Make sure you watch Lincoln carefully, Mom, we don't want him to go out into the street." ok, Dekes, no problem.

See that look on Lincoln's face? That is one of his best expressions. It is the way he looks when he is just about to start hyperventilating over a squirrel, a dog or the construction workers next door.

CD cover? Christmas card? Deacon's coat looks especially hip when coupled with his blue boxers that he thinks are really shorts. And the pout? One of Roman's signature looks.

And this guy? This is one of the guys I took up running for. So I could catch him when he gets that look on his face. Catch him and kiss him.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Snoqualmie Falls

Here I am. You know it is me because of my Keen bag and Keen sandals. Oh and the sunglasses, Lincoln broke them today. Nice.

*sigh* So beautiful. So peaceful. So relaxing.
Noah, trying to prove to me that it was safe to lean on the railing. I am still not convinced.
Settler's anyone? Everytime I looked out over all the trees, I thought about building up a Timber empire in Settlers.

I love the water droplets falling there on the left.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tough Day

It has been another tough day. Do you ever feel like you are just being hit from all sides?

Some things that have helped me today...

Philippians 4:5-7 (New International Version)
5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Actually, the "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.", part has been in my mind. I looked it up and was greatly encouraged by the verses before and after.

I was rocking the boys tonight and Deacon was singing along with his CD,

"My God is so Big! So strong and so Mighty, there's nothing my God can not do. The mountains are his, the rivers are his, the stars are his handiwork too. My God is so Big, so Strong and so Mighty there's nothing my God can not do. For you."

And I was singing to Lincoln, "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I am found, was blind but now I see."

And some funny things that brightened my day,

  • Running around the track and seeing Deacon with his friends, giving him a high five and hearing him (proudly!) tell his friends "That's my mom!"
  • Lincoln pushing his face up to the door to give me a kiss
  • Roman running to me enthusiastically after being apart for 45 minutes
  • Laughing with Noah about our new favorite answer to questions, "Yes. Yes I am" (example, this guy asked me if I was a runner. I had never thought about it like that and so I paused and then said, "Yes. Yes I am". It felt kind of good.)

So what is on the agenda for tonight? And hopefully for a lot of nights?

A lot of prayer. Prayer for our family, prayer for our nation and especially tonight prayer for our hurting friends, Rachel and Paul. "Our God is so big. So strong and so mighty there is nothing our God can not do. For you."

Monday, October 6, 2008


It's contemplative Julie again today.

It has been a tough couple months with lots of anxiety producing situations. You know, little stuff. Stuff like "the power locks on the van broke!", "I have a flat tire!", "Roman is hitting other children!", "people still don't understand Deacon!", "Lincoln has bumps all over his body!", "I am so tired all the time", "should I take a new position at work?", "should we spend the money to finish our basement?", "how can we fit everything we need to do in? what should we let go?", "how can we be healthier?"

And then there are the bigger questions. "What is going to happen with our economy?", "who is going to be elected as President?", "how many justices will they get to appoint in this four year term?", "What effect will the election have on our money, our freedom, our safety?", "Are we doing enough to raise our boys to be Godly men?", "What is going to happen with our jobs?", "What can we do for our friends that are really struggling with health problems and financial problems?"

This is why I am contemplative.

"Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:34)

But sometimes I feel like all of this is today's worries.


You know we want our kids to share. Taking care of one another, loving our neighbor, is important stuff. We try to drive home the importance of sharing with others on a bigger scale then our family. But the lessons begin at home. How do we teach that it is a joy to give, and not something to be resentful of?


So I was thinking about my kids. We encourage them to share with each other, and try to be as fair as possible. But some of their toys are not community toys. Some of their toys were not given to "the boys". Some of them were given to Deacon. Some to Roman. Some to Lincoln. And we encourage them to share those, but we don't force them to share. What do they learn if we force them to share? That sharing feels good?, they learn to be resentful.


Yesterday I was imagining my kids as teenagers, or young adults. Scary thought. I imagined my oldest. He being older then the others has a pretty good job. He probably is more of saver, not a spender. He is living well.

Then there is my 2nd one. He is going to be a little younger, not in the workforce as long. He likes candy. A lot. I can see him spending his money. He probably doesn't have as much both because of his habits and because of his circumstances.

And then there is the baby. He is certainly younger and he is just getting started. It is just the way it is. He hasn't made irresponsible choices, but the career path he has chosen isn't very lucrative and he is struggling to get by with a little.


Let's say that I didn't really have a way to help Roman and Lincoln. I just don't have any extra money laying around. But Deacon does. Deacon is doing well. What is fair? Should I intervene for the sake of my younger boys? Should I tell Deacon that he HAS to give money to his brothers? Is that fair? Then everyone has some.

But how does Deacon feel? Does he feel resentful that he has been bullied into giving up what he has earned without any say? Does he still feel motivated to succeed if he knows mommy is going to step in and take his money away for his brothers? Have I taken away any ability that he has to GIVE joyfully on his own?

And how does Roman feel? Is he glad to get the money? Is it going to help him to spend more wisely? Is it going to motivate him to work harder? Does he feel unuseful and purposeless?

And how does Lincoln feel? Is he motivated to continue to work hard daily? Is he afraid that if he does start earning more and succeeding that mommy will take his money for someone else? is he just glad that he now has some money that he can give away himself? Will he?

Is there a way I could teach my children better? Is there a way to offer incentives for giving to others instead of just doing it myself? Is there a way to make them want to share and to do it joyfully?


As I have done some research about birth control, I have stumbled across some different pastors. And the verse that keeps popping into my mind is 1 Corinthians 1:11-13. It talks about people who follow different leaders. But the one we need to be following is Christ.

It is scary to see people following humans. Humans fail. Humans love power and wealth. Power corrupts, as they say. How do I keep my kids following Christ, instead of politicians, pastors or celebrities? How do I get them to understand that it is Christ, and should be Christians, that really love people and use things. And that it is the way of the world to use people and love things.

My prayer today is that all 5 of us can remember the difference.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

When it was Warm

Surfin' on a piece of plywood

Doesn't this look kind of like a paparazzi shot?

That may be dirt on his face

Saturday, October 4, 2008


I have been thinking about an interesting paradox over the last 2 weeks: control. Everyone wants it. We want to be able to control our kids, we want to be able to control the economy, we want to be able to control our own finances, we want to be able to control our own bodies, and we want to be able to control our own families.

But we also want to be able to buck responsibility. We do not want to take responsibility for our kids if they misbehave, and we don't want any part in the blame about the economy our the trouble our own finances are in. If we run into health problems or unexpected healthcare expenses we expect someone else to foot the bills, and we deny it if people in our family are having problems that we don't deem "acceptable."

And we all do it. It is human nature to not want to be wrong, to not want to admit sin, to not want to have to face our own inadequacies or poor decisions. We want someone else to bail us out, to put a bandaid on it. To make everything all right.

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world."

Isn't it interesting to look at these things from a Biblical perspective?

CONTROL: God's wisdom is much greater then ours. "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, the intelligence of the intelligent I will frusterate." He created the world, he set processes in motion and he LOVES the people that make up the world. We don't want to give up control because we think we can do it better. Our decisions, we think, are so much better then our childrens', our government's, our families', our doctor's. And even God's. But we are wrong. They are not better then God's.

RESPONSIBILITY: God's word clearly reminds us that he made us to be responsible beings and he put humans in a role of responsibility on the earth. He insists (1 Timothy 5:8) that we take responsibility for our families. He expects us to take responsibility for ourselves by owning up to our shortcomings and asking forgiveness both from God and from other people. We are responsible for nature and created things and most importantly we are responsible for telling others the way to Heaven.

This brings me to my controversal topic: Birth Control. This issue, like so many others for believers, looks at the balance between control and responsibility.

There are believers whose opinions run all across the board on this topic. Let's look at the opposites, with the knowlege that there is an inbetween.

The CONTROL camp: This is also known to many as the "quiverful" camp. These are the people that believe that all, or nearly all, birth control is unbiblical. They think that married people should have sex and trust God to decide when the babies come and how many of them there should be. They want GOD to control the whole situation and don't want to hinder him in any way. They base their views on all the verses about Children being a blessing (Psalm 127:5), on Onan's sin (Genesis 38:8-10), and on the command to "Be fruitful and multiply," (Genesis 9:7 paraphrase). They believe that God will provide for the family that he gives us (Phillipians 4:19).

The RESPONSIBILITY camp: This is the view that is pretty much what the rest of the Western world thinks. They have a responsibility to manage their families (and some will go on to say that we share a responsibility to control the earth's total population). They have a responsibility to themselves and their spouses not to get too stressed out or too financially strapped (1 Timothy 5:8). They have a responsibilty to their other children that there will be enough time, money and attention for each of them (Ephesians 6:4). They have a responsibility to their relationships that as newly married people they need time to get to know one another without kids.

I have been reading blogs and articles about this stuff and it is starting to bother me. The CONTROL camp seems to forget about the verses about responsibility and the RESPONSIBILITY camp seems to forget about God providing for our needs and about Children being a blessing.

So what conclusions have I come to? More soon!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Lincoln and the Squirrels

We have 2 albino squirrels that live in our yard: Chip and Frosty. All the boys like to watch them and we follow their activities closely. Lincoln, though, is absolutely fanatical about those squirrels. He stands by the window and watches them while he hyperventilates and makes little excited squeaks. It is really funny to watch. He does the same thing with dogs.

Who needs toys when we have squirrels?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What would you do with...

a new room in your house?

We have a partial basement, and if everything goes as planned, we are set to finish the majority of it this fall/winter. Basically, we are turning it into a storage/furnace room, a laundry room and a finished "bedroom". But we won't use it as a bedroom...instead it will be our schoolroom! Yeah!

I have always wanted "The Room". I want it to be large with counters and stools around 2 sides like workbenches. Then I want cupboards all around those two sides above the workbenches. On the opposite corner I want bookshelves, couches and chairs. In the middle I want a large table. The floor will be cleanable. Tile or something. and there will be windows. Our computer will be set up in there and it will be an office/schoolroom/project room/family room. Ideally it would be right off the kitchen. If we had this room I am pretty sure we would spend 80% of our non sleeping time there.

So the room we are finishing is not going to be big enough for all of that, but it will be big enough for a table, cupboards, maybe a comfy chair and some bookshelves.

Here is the question: If you had an "extra" room that you could do with what you wanted, what would you use it for? Would it be a music room? A plant room? A library? Tell me!