Monday, May 21, 2018

Parenting Expertise

Do you know what I have solidly learned about parenting between thousands of hours, 6 almost 7 children and experience?

1.  If you say something you don't want your kids to repeat they will inevitably repeat it.

2.  If you unwrap gum, chocolate, or say a 1/2 lb. bean and cheese burrito from taco bell that you are desperately craving within a mile radius, said children will all of a sudden have the most amazing hearing and understanding.  Laws of nature folks!

Today's Example;  A very sweet man from our church who has done tile work for 50 years volunteered to finish our shower out!  I mentioned in passing on our trip to Santa Cruz last week that if given the chance I would kiss his feet.  Today after the tile work was complete Bode biked right up to him with me standing right there and says, 'My mom wants to kiss your feet.'  #wildandfree  I for one want to bring back the parenting style of children are better seen and not heard. 

P.S. Pics to come of the completed bathroom!

Broken and Contrite

Andy is away this week at the river.  When this happens my room gets taken over by lots of little people, namely, all the boys pile in my bed.  Ridge has had a few days of disobeying consistently and I had decided yesterday was judgement day.  No more!   So at 6:45 at night when he said no and wouldn't budge I had had enough!  I picked him up, we did not pass go and I tucked him into bed.  I told him he could not disobey and then continue just being with everyone.  I told him I loved him and asked if he wanted me to pray with him, he said yes.  We prayed and I asked if he'd like me to stay with him a bit or go out to which he responded, 'go out.'  3:30 AM rolls around we're all fast asleep and I hear Ridge saying, 'mom, mom...'  "What Ridge, do you need to go potty?"  In his sweetest, sleepy voice he answers, 'I wanna say sorry and I'll obey.'  Talk about God moving separate from me.  I didn't have to cajole, coax, plead or beg.  It made me think of this verse.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart. Psalm 51:17

                                   Thankful that God uses me and works separately from me!  

Friday, May 18, 2018

A shift

Something has happened to me.  I'm going to try to summarize, but know it's hard when dealing with words.   The best word would be surrender or 'a giving up.'  I'm not speaking of the giving up you do when life gets tough but instead a giving up of my will.  I think in my 20's if you would have asked the girl/woman that I was certain goals and aspirations I would have thrown around ideals such as degrees, careers, and other me-centric words.  NOT THAT THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH THOSE!   Those are great goals that I love hearing my own children dream about!  But what if my sole purpose in life is to be support staff?  Hmmm.... You see life happens.  For us that has been many children and oh the blessing.  Don't miss this!  God has tended to my heart in a way that I could not have dreamed of thru this humbling journey.  Little ones often mean staying back or missing things that others are capable of doing and there is learning to be done in those moments.  This has shifted my gaze to see not the speaker on the stage, but wonder at the hands of the people who built that platform.  To not fall into a kind of worship at the ones in the limelight, but wonder at who it was who supported/sacrificed to help them achieve the great! 

23 year-old me who didn't have a clue that this was going to be my whole world.

My key verses have become Philippians 2:16-17-As you hold firmly to the Word of Life.  And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.  But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and serving coming from your faith I am glad and rejoice with all of you.

So whether support staff or the front runner let's be poured out and embrace the day whatever that may look like for each of us. 

If you want a great book on surrender 'A Midwife's Story' by Penny Armstrong is terrific!  The Amish are taught not to question or shake their fist at the Heavens for life's misfortunes, but to accept that it is just that, life with all its messes, complications and beauties.

Thursday, May 17, 2018


So we have missed a little life, ok a lot of life.  In the past few years between facebook, twitter, instagram I felt inundated with knowing everything about everyone and just needed to back off.  Bring back the mystery a little.  I didn't feel a need for everyone to know every time I made cinnamon rolls for my family or read a classic so my completely sane response was to disappear.  In that time I have turned my full attention to giving full attention to home, family, community, gardening and God.  It's been life giving and refreshing!  On the flip side I do feel value in sharing stories!  I love hearing people share their stories!! All that to say I feel ready.  At least a little bit to share what's been happening.  Life is beautiful and better shared.  So... we will start with home.  Ah home sweet home... This house and property are a full time job.  I have told friends that when I come inside and just sit I get the feeling that I should be painting, weed whacking, mowing or something.  There's always something and I love it.  I feel meant for it.  Aren't we all as children of a creator?  Making spaces beautiful feels as natural as breathing.  So here are some updates that have occurred around Orchard Slope. 
There are more exciting updates, but I will post those on another day!  This weekend we get pigs and our bathroom remodel will be finished up next week.  Tomorrow I will share what's been happening with our family.  Here's a hook, I'm 37 weeks pregnant with #7!  Woohoo!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Goodbyes

I'm a see you soon person.  I despise the word goodbye and everything involved with it.  I never want to be dramatic and goodbye feels dramatic.  I hate change (as a general rule) and goodbye is loaded with change.  Like I said we had/have very dear friends in Wisconsin, my family is in Illinois, and the rest of the people closest to our hearts are east of there.  This was not a haphazard decision.  It was thought out meticulously.  We definitely knew we needed to go, but that did not make saying goodbye any easier.  As a mom, my heart breaks a little every day for Lily who left behind that kind of friend that you could spend every second with and not get sick of.  She talks about her almost daily and I pray for God to bring someone into each of their lives to meet that need.  Andy had great guy friends that he did hockey, kayaking, trips... with.  I had great Godly women that made my life richer in every way.  The coolest part was that they were mainly couples, when does that happen that you love the wife and the husband?!?!  Did I mention the wonderful 19 year-old girl that lived with us and loves our kids as her own.  Did I mention the best neighbors in the world?  You get the idea,  BLESSED!!!  This is why I say, 'see you soon.'  You can't put value on people and the way they make your days better just by knowing them.  God is good and we needed to come to this camp and be here!  God is faithful, and has placed amazing people in our lives here too.  I can't wait for Heaven where it will be the best and biggest reunion with no end in sight either!  So instead of goodbye we can say, 'see you soon.'

*I seriously went through our photo library to find pictures of everyone we love, and I'm so sorry if you're not pictured.  You know who you are(=

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Ridge's Birth Story

As soon as we made the cross country trip to move out here(I was 7 months pregnant) my energy took a nose dive.  I didn't feel like taking my normal walks and I lost my appetite.  I'm not sure why, but that's what happened.  So when week 38 rolled around I was beyond ready to have the baby in my arms, more than ever before !  Andy had sensed that I would go early so my mom flew out a week early.  There were lots of wildfires in our area which led to camp being done a week early too.  All these were green lights for me to commence natural labor inducers(=  I called my friend here in town and asked her to make me a delicious castor oil smoothie.  I knew that if it wasn't time for baby to come out it wouldn't matter what I did.  So the next morning (Thursday, Aug 14th) I bought some bananas and dark chocolate and headed to her house.  She did the lowest amount of castor oil, raw milk, dark choc, bananas, and instant coffee, delicious(;   We hung out for a little bit then I headed home.  Things 'kicked in' around 11, but with castor oil it's hard to tell what's what...  I laid down with the boys and could just feel contractions rolling in every 10 min or so.  With labor I always doubt it's the real thing.  I'm just waiting for things to completely stall out.  They didn't! Around 3 I took a little hike with River around the property.  By 4 I called the local Dr. and asked if he could check and confirm that this was the real thing.  He let me come in at 4:45 and said it seemed like early labor.  Our hospital ended up being an hour and a half away so I needed to be sure this was the real deal.  I called Andy after and said, 'Let's feed the kids, get things situated and then head up to the hospital.  This was the pic I took right before we left.

We got to the hospital around 8:30 and my labor had intensified over that mountain road.  At that point I was having to breathe through contractions and they were coming every 2-3 minutes.  My midwife took a nap from 10:30-12:30 while we walked the halls, watched the late show with Jimmy Fallon while I bounced on the yoga ball.  Don't get me wrong it was uncomfortable, but still not 'I'm going to die pain.'  She came in at 12:30, broke my water and that's when you envy everyone else in the room.  They're all calm and your just trying to find a position to stay sane in.  At 1:30 ish am I could tell it was time to push.  I knew he was sunny-side up from having back labor.   This adds a bit of trickiness to pushing, but I basically decided he would be born by 2 by shear will if nothing else.  That small window of time is awful and amazing all at the same time.  Nothing like knowing you're about to meet the newest member of your family.  By some miracle he was born right at 2!  I spent Friday to Sunday in the hospital, awesome!  He seems to be calm, but let's you know needs. For some reason I'm co-sleeping which I've never done before, but I think we're going to get tough this weekend and move him to the bassinet, fingers crossed!  Ridge Allen is a sweet addition rounding us out to a family of 7!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My baby boy is 5

Seriously, I feel too fragile for this passing of time! How can it be 2 years since this.  Here we are, River turning 5.  Today he is rafting down the river with his dad and sisters.  Life is good for this guy!  If you want to take a trip down memory lane with me, his birth story is here.
A friend yesterday said, 'he's going to be a heartbreaker.'  I agree, he's adorable, mellow and strong... The perfect storm of manliness(; We prayed for him this morning, that he'll love God, people and nature.  So far, so good.  Happy Birthday Buddy!