Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mama Kitty...

Mom found her in a Kroger parking lot when she was a baby kitten. She is now 15 years old!! The kids adore her, and she loves them too ( well, she may not love Jubilee, for good reason:). Sure will miss her when the day comes for her to pass on. Even though I sometimes run low on patience with another creature needing attention, food, water, etc. I can't help but smile at moments like this, where she jumps up on top of two books i was about to read to the kids and lays contentedly purring against my growing belly. Sweet, that's what that is:)
I guess that's all for today. Not much going on here. Another virus running its course through the house, assuming it was picked up while traveling by plane. First Amelia, then Sam and Jubilee. Fever and coughs. We've not managed to get much school in this week, but we did finish reading Stuart Little. The kids loved it, though Amelia immediately drew an alternate ending to " staple to the back of the book", where Stuart does for sure find his bird friend Margalo and they walk home together:) On to Charlotte's Web we go. I sure treasure our time reading together.
All for now,

Monday, January 28, 2013

The ups and downs of domestic life...

It always amazes me how wildly different pieces of the same day can be. I mean there are some days that seem nearly perfect and some that seem mostly terrible, but most are a real mix of wonderful/terrible. Today was no different.
I've been reading another book about Charlotte Mason style homeschooling and loving it, per usual. It really resonates with me and what I hope for our children's education to be. Another topic for another post! Anyway, one idea this author had was to have a "tea time" most afternoons with your kids, a special time where you share thoughts, read books, listen to good music, etc. I loved this idea, and though it sounded a bit lofty I decided to give it a try. So, today I turned on the classical music station around 3pm and Amelia and I made cookies while the other two played. I think Sam was cutting animal pictures out to make a book for Jubilee and Jubilee was eating yogurt. I have to be specific to remind myself how things such as " afternoon tea" can happen! As I was bringing warm cookies and milk to the table, Amelia asked me what I would do when they grew up. I told her I wasn't sure, maybe I would teach English again or help daddy more with his work. She and Sam both assured me that they would always live close and Amelia said she would " go out and find a husband and then bring him back so thy could live with me forever." Hehe Seriously, though, what sweet moments of domestic bliss! Snowy outside, warm and cozy inside, precious thoughts from the littles shared with the background of classical music. I even got a bit teary. Wonderful.
Fast forward to evening. Though we had a nice time walking and playing outside in the snow when Joel got home, I had no plan for dinner and the tea time mess and art that followed was still on the table. Jubilee was tired, hungry, and fussy. So was I. I pulled out some Mac and cheese to make and then heard a dripping sound and figured out it was coming from the dishwasher leaking into the kitchen floor. Joel got down to inspect it right as I started to smell something yummy and was thinking, " what could that be?!" . Unfortunately, as I looked toward the pantry I saw it was a broken jar of curry seasoning that had fallen down and somehow no one had heard. Shattered glass and a large, wet mess lay on the floor. Yay. Of course, through all of this Jubilee just wanted me to hold her and in the process of cleaning up and holding her, I saw her little finger was cut. Oh, you know, on and on it went. Terrible.
Eventually, though, all was calm. Kids were fed and are peacefully sleeping. Joel got off to his outreach event on time. I am laying in bed with my feet up, about to read more of my new book. Because I won't give up on the wonderful just because the terrible is mixed in. Lofty though some ideas may be, I hope never to give up on them ( although I do have to keep even lofty ideas very simple:). After all, I'd take tea time and sweet conversations with my children over a well planned dinner most any day. And one day, oh one day, we'll consistently have both:)
All for now, Jen

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I want to move to Hockley.

At least, that's how I feel each time I pass by the house I grew up in. The land that surrounds it.
The woods where we played, built forts, ran from cows, buried treasures, camped out...
The fields where we rode our bikes to the "white thing", picked buckets of blackberries, hunted for treasures in the dump, rode four wheelers, ran from cows, rode Vanna Valetina- that mean ol horse, saw a hot air balloon land, saw so many beautiful sunsets....
The front yard, where we played with so many stray dogs and cats, climbed the big pecan tree, slid in big mud puddles with dad, preformed fashion shows for mom, jump roped and did gymnastics, played basketball, catch, and "hotbox" between the trees ( is that what it was called?). Where we rode the riding lawn mower, me singing my heart out or giving impassioned speaches, all the while missing rows and rows of grass.  Where I played "Annie" with friends for hours always making someone else be Miss Hanagin, and where we watched the stars, laying on the driveway on our backs. We could see the stars! That's something, you know?
I'm thankful for all of the opportunities our little ones have living where we do. The museums, the parks, the amazing mountains, the four seasons...But I do love the opportunities I had as well, and I want to provide those. Freedom, growing up a bit slower, walking out at night and seeing the stars. These are the reasons that when we drive past my heart shouts, "Live here! Grow a big garden, have a long clothesline, get Amelia a flock of chickens, homeschool out in the country where you can build a tree house and read to them up in a tree, cats and babies round your feet...". Then Joel quietly reminds me of some realities I like to ignore in those moments. The heat, the possible loneliness, the lack of homeless population which is his work, etc.etc. So, we've settled on that if we move back to Texas one day, we'd probably settle in the Austin area, but maybe we could have a weekend house on my great grandparents land in Hockley. That little piece of land that is so much a part of me, and always will be. Stinging nettles, hot summer sun and all. :)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Texas, our Texas...

We're here! We stepped off the plane into glorious, humid warmth and Amelia declared that she remembered the smell of Texas. It apparently smells like Grandma and grandpa's house...and lizards! The highest compliments in both Sam's and Amelia's opinions:)
Then, Mammy was there at the baggage claim!! It's been way too long since we've seen our mama/mammy- especially being so spoiled getting to live with her for a year and a half! We walked to the car and actually sweated on the walk!! I was elated, Joel was disgusted- haha. Coming from the craaaazy snow we've been getting in SLC, the humid warmth was a delightful change. Mom's house in Austin is so great, of course! She makes every place she lives so creative and special. She also lives across from a farm that has tons of goats that love for the kids to feed them leaves. That delights them to no end!
You know one thing I love about Sam and Amelia that always surprises me? How curious they are about the natural world when we are visiting places. They asked mom all about the birds, plants, trees, etc. on our walk yesterday and were SO excited about the snails and cactuses along the way. I'm not sure why this always takes me by surprise, but I sure do love it.
Today Echo, Tara, Lucy and Robin came and it was SO good to be together and of course to see the cousins play. They made a "rock shop" and sold their collection by the road, decorating it and all. The mamas all made purchases I think, as well as two people who walked by and sweet Rick and Crystal, whose driveway the rocks came from! :)
The flights here were fine. Always "exciting" to fly with a toddler. Sure was glad to have Joel with me to share in the excitement, hehe. Sam even held her for a while, which was nice. Thanks Sammers!
Better go, in the car and don't want to get carsick. Heading towards Grandpa and Grandma's for the week!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Leavin' on a jet plane...

If I can get everything packed and ready to go without this crazy girl destroying everything in my wake, we'll be heading to Texas tomorrow!:) So ready to see our's been way too long! The best thing is that Joel will be with us the whole trip- which almost never happens. So much better when we're together!
The kids are over the moon excited to see everyone- grandparents and cousins
I'm hoping for a little warmth and sunshine, but it's looking pretty rainy:/ Just a few days of sunshine...please!
I guess that's all for now. Lots still to do. Hoping to check in while we are there! Jenny

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Just some things...

These early mornings with Jubilee have their perks. Quiet. Just me and mama kitty in the living room while Jubilee eats her first breakfast of the day (voracious eater, that one!).

This morning I woke up as I heard Joel getting ready ( he has a very early morning job at a methadone clinic) and I just lay there and appreciated from my head to my toes how warm and cozy I was. Then I thought of his patients- from his main job, not the methadone clinic) and imagined them waking up at their camps or in a shelter dreading the cooooold that they would be out in all day. Man, we have so much to be thankful for.

Yesterday in the car Amelia said to me, " Mom, this might be really upsetting to you, but I really want a Barbie mermaid party when I turn six!" Haha, she knows her mama well. If I ever throw a Barbie themed birthday party, well, I don't even know what. From Waldorf dolls and play silks to plastic Barbie dolls and My Little Ponies ( that look like alien ponies now, apparently).....oh how far the mighty ( pious?) fall. Haha

Besides the middle child in me missing feedback and people validating me with "likes", being Facebook free has been so good. I do miss seeing how faraway friends are doing and hearing their stories, etc. but the trade off was too great for me and my family. Maybe one day when I gain more self control, I'll try again. Ahem.

Well, we found out we are having a baby BOY in May and we are all so thrilled! Want to know the name we're thinking of? Ok, I'll tell you:) Oliver. We just love it. Not sure why it would change at this point, but Joel likes to keep his options open:)

Ok folks, the rest of the house is rising so I must go. This week is finally going to be a normal one activity wise...and following weeks of sickness and then Christmas break, we are anxious to get back to ballet, homeschool PE, art class, etc. All for now,

Monday, January 07, 2013

I read a book!

It's been way too long since I last read a book for fun. Months and months:/ So, when I saw that Joel had a new book on the table, I started reading it and finished it the same day ( yesterday)! Jubilee has been waking around 5am for the day-yikes- and so definitely needs a morning nap. So, the kids and I stayed home from church and I read through her nap and then she took an afternoon nap too and I read through that (for the most part), and then once Joel got home in the evening from skiing I finished it up. Fun!
Actually, it wasn't really a "fun" read, it was quite depressing. It was " Junky" by William H Burroughs, his story of addiction to heroin and other drugs. A
well written, somewhat fascinating (but mostly just sad ) account of his life as an addict. Man, addiction runs deep in our family and more than anything the book just made me thankful that drug/alcohol addiction hasn't been a struggle in my own life. I can't even imagine the grip it has on you when I think about the less devistating but hard to break addictions of my own (diet coke, iPhone,etc).
Anyway, my main point was, I read a book and it was great to be reading for pleasure again. Have you read any good ones lately?
Here we are this morning, another early one!

Friday, January 04, 2013

Today's play...

I know I write a lot about the kids' play, but if you know me, you know it's something I'm passionate about! So, just wanted to record today...a pretty typical day of play.
First, after breakfast Sam said he'd like us to come to his picture " gallery" which would be on the couch. We could buy tickets. I asked where he had heard about galleries and he said on a Sparkle story called "Art Walk". I see inspiration from these stories in their play pretty often and i think it's pretty awesome. So, after Jubilee went down for her nap Amelia and I sat on the couch and Sam showed us his "gallery" which were the pictures he had taken in his new camera. Aside from the fact that it took everything in me not to grab the camera and throw it across the room each time an unfortunate candid shot of me came across the screen, we had a great time. :)
During school we were talking about how different animals blend into their surroundings to hide from predators but how they ,and we, can never hide from God- and never need to. That led to a rousing game of hide and seek- which led to a certain someone being a bad sport, which is something that we are working through.
But the best part of play today was the hours ( four-ish probably) that S and A spent playing together with cars, dinosaurs, dragons, and lizards. Amelia tells everyone that will listen these days that she loves animals with scales and that she watched " How to Train a Dragon and fell in love with it." And she did! She got ten dollars for Christmas and when we went in the toy store she was full of conversation about how hard it would be not to get another Barbie ( " just tell me when you see the Barbie section so I can close my eyes so I don't cry or get really angry" oh my.), but the minute she saw this set of dragons, the Barbie was long forgotten- haha. Anyway, I'm so thankful they are still such playmates and that no matter what phases of toys they each go through ( Barbies, dolls, Legos, etc.) they always find common ground.
Ok, that's all for tonight. Need to go help a baby get to sleep! Jen

Thursday, January 03, 2013

A few randoms...

One thing I want to remember from today is that Jubilee gave good morning hugs for the first time to both Sam and Amelia, just all on her own as they came down the stairs and into the was really the sweetest thing. Especially sweet as she has been going through some beginning stages of toddler antics and attitude, such as hitting herself in the head with my cell phone, crying and getting mad at it and throwing it, then getting it and doing it again and again! Oh Jubilee Rose. So, we really cheer on those sweet and gentle moments!:)
Mmmm, I made this corn/potato chowder today for my lunch that was deeelicious! I think it was spurred on by an energetic boost gained from having a friend from church over that I've been wanting to get to know better- but then I fizzled by dinner time and pizza was ordered! Haha, ah well . Oh, the chowder recipe was "Potato Soup" from Simply in Season, of course. It's practically the only cookbook I use!
Ok, that's it! Joel's showing the kiddos pictures of Africa he took in Ghana and Ethiopia and I don't want to miss it ( we are studying Zebras and other animals found in Africa in school right now:)!
All for now,

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Hello, 2013!

Ahhh, I love new years. Like I love Mondays. So hopeful and full of promise. This year I'm not making any resolutions really, knowing that with pregnancy and then a new babe + a toddler+ homeschooling, it's not really a season of striving for me. If I can end my days knowing that I was mostly a kind and gentle mama and a mostly thoughtful and loving wife that will make me so happy! And really, I'm kind of tired of myself and my own agendas right now anyway.  I can really get in a mode of " I have to be better at this and better at that and blah, blah, blah" and honestly, this year, I hope there to be less of that striving to feel pride in myself, because that does not bring lasting joy. Especially in seasons like this, where it just feels like fail, fail, fail! I feel like God has been saying, "Quiet. Just quiet. Fill up with my love and pour it out on those around you. Just that." 
So, that's where I am at this start of 2013. In that vein, I'm closing down my Facebook account for a while. One day I was telling the kids that watching movies can be a time trap for them like my phone can be a time trap for me, and you can bet they have let me know, "Mom, you are getting trapped again!" when I am glancing frequently at my phone. And they are right! So, hopefully that will help and hopefully it will also mean more writing time here. I really, really love looking back at moments documented here over the years, and I rely on it  to remember phases of our life! So, it's a real desire to be disciplined in writing more often. I know it will be hard. At the end of the day I just want to zone out! But, it's so worth it. So, here we go!
 Love to you guys as you start this year. Who knows if it will hold super hard times or a relatively smooth ride, but no matter what I hope to draw closer to Him. 
All for now, 

Here are the kiddos and some of their best buddies Alidia, Cole, and Aviana. Their mama (my friend Emily) had the cutest New Years Eve party for them. Oh my. What a creative, fun mama. I felt so thankful that night to have a friend who had the creativity and energy to host things like that, AND earlier in the day my friend Stephanie and some of her littles came over for the morning and I felt SO thankful for that refreshing visit as well. Whew. So great to be back with our peeps after having two bouts of sickness back to back. We were going a little coo coo! :)