5/30/09

Never a Dull Moment


My little artist. Spectacular use of colour and design....next time use the paper please. Thankfully I only stock washable markers.


My goons doing what they do best. Being silly.


Aili in her new base ball shirt. She has had 2 real games this season already. I like the flaming base ball logo :)



I still have no idea how Roman broke his helmet falling off his bike but I'm sure glad he had the helmet on. A good reminder that a big wipeout going down a hill is enough to crack a melon....or in this case the helmet protecting that melon. All he had out of it was a headache. I guess we'll be shopping for a new helmet this week. He told me he wants a full face guard too (cuz that would look so cool)...I'm thinking thats not a bad idea for this boy.
Just a glimpse of the many moments that keep life interesting!
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5/29/09

Finding peace

I wanted to update really quick and say that I am feeling a lot more peace about the situation. After talking to the social worker again it actually sounds like a pretty good situation for him, better than a lot of the other things that have been suggested. My heart is slowly catching up to reality. I quickly went and had some pictures of him printed and found a little scrap book album. Last night I put together a little baby book of his two weeks here and his time in the hospital. The theme is what a precious little boy he his and how much he is loved already...even as he moves to a new home. I left lots of empty pages for the next mommy to start filling in (I even bought some extra ones). I think it will be good for him someday to have a record of those early days and to know that he was loved right from the start. I kept it very positive making no reference to foster care, drug addiction etc. I only referred to myself as the one who brought him home from the hospital and his mommy for a short time. I showed him how much the other kids love on him and told him how much I cherished the time he spent with us. Of course I included other things like his id bracelets and NICU cradle card.

I am so not a "scrapbooker" (those woman who can cut on some paper and make it a work of art) but I got across the info that I wanted to and it felt great to do that for him..
well I'd better go get some kids off to school. This little guy was awake most of the night again. Hopefully I will be able to grab a nap at some point. I will miss this guy terribly but I don't think I will miss him from 1am -5am. Gotta run. Thanks for your sweet words of encouragement and prayers...they mean so much.

5/28/09

I hate goodbyes!


I got a phone call from peanut's case worker yesterday. There has been a sudden change in case plan for him. And this new plan doesn't include us anymore. They origionally gave us a 3 month estimate but usually 3 months leads to many more. Not this time. I feel like I've been sucker punched and just got the wind knocked out of me. I feel ridiculous for feeling so sad because I obviously knew this would happen eventually...but eventually you can set aside and try not to think about. I also got my heart into this mess. I thought I would do better this time at not getting attached or not completely falling in love. No such luck. I am such a mess right now. Sleep deprivation is not helping my coping skills right now I'm sure. We've had a lot of typical newborn rough nights lately. He's such a little sweetheart though and such a content little guy. He's changing so quickly as newborns do. He's noticing the world around him now, focusing on me and watching my face as I feed him. I was looking forward to his first smiles...I've only seen his sleeping smiles and they were a heart melting sneak peak. I couldn't help but dreaming about the what ifs and possibilities of the future...I tried not to but its really hard not to picture life with this little boy in our family.


I am so full of questions, self doubt, disappointment and grief right now I don't even know how to function at the moment. I know as the days pass it will get easier. It is just taking time to wrap my mind around it. Again I feel ridiculous for even feeling like that. I should be more professional or something. We will be passing him off early next week. I am really questioning my suitability for this short term placement thing. We are currently short term because our long term plans include leaving the country next winter and working in Mexico at a home for children. I'm questioning everything once again. I don't know what God is doing in my life right now or if I'm totally missing something I am supposed to see. I feel confused.

I got myself into this. I brought home from the hospital and loved on a tiny dependant new baby. He's 18 days old today which doesn't seem like that much time but he is already ingrained into our family. It is already hard to picture us without him. We'll be putting away the cradle and emptying the dresser once again. I hate that part. It will be hard on my kids this time. I think my daughter said it best that we should just get one we can keep someday. I am doubting my purpose in all of this.

My heart is feeling like a big old piece of swiss cheese right now. Little people keep taking big chunks and leaving with them.
Logically it is easier now to let go than it will be in a few months. My house is a mess (we've had a unusually hectic week with lots of coming and going), the laundry is piled high, I am exhausted. Logic would say that this is a good thing, I will have my life back, I will have my full nights of sleep back. Unfortunately my heart isn't listening to the logic I keep trying to tell it.

PLEASE pray with me for this precious little boy. For his future, for his development and health....that above all he would be loved like he deserves to be loved.


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5/26/09

May 26



9 years ago today.


We held you in our arms.
We kissed your little face.
We wondered how we could ever say goodbye.


A short hour later you entered into your eternal home.
Into a life that makes our life look like a mere shadow.
Moving images that ,if traced to their origin, only reveal a larger story.
You are forever a part of that story.
You are held in the arms of the Author.
As am I.
You are home.
I am homesick.

Happy 9th Birthday Samuel
We love you









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5/22/09

Morning already?

Well the new baby is down for a nap and the boys are watching cartoons. That's right I am totally using the tv as a babysitter while I drink coffee and veg. out on the computer. I'll do parental penance later by letting them help me bake cookies....which I should probably be doing now while the baby sleeps. I don't know if I will be able to follow a recipe right now though. I am in one of those sleep deprivation brain fogs. Excuse me if I am totally incoherent. I'm still just getting used to this new hanging out with a baby in the middle of the night routine.

So far little peanut has been a really easy baby. As far as babies go. He is SO precious. So far he eats when he needs to eat and sleeps when he's supposed to sleep (except from 3.30-5 last night ) He's a great independent napper though which is a blessing when I've got 3 other kids and a house to keep. I make sure to get lots of snuggle time in with him too....I would do that all day if I had my way. I'm trying to find a baby sling I can borrow though to make him a little more portable. He's still to tiny to fit into my Ergo carrier.

As far as withdrawal symptoms go they have been really mild and he seems comfortable. The only thing I've noticed is he gets little tremors sometimes and a bit more stiff. I give him meds every 8 hours for that and every 4 hours for thrush. I notice about an hour before he is due for his withdrawal meds he gets a little agitated and more jittery. He's not a big cryer though which is nice. After my super colicky last baby (Silas) its nice to have a little guy who doesn't scream for hours on end. That may come though as he is weaned off the meds in the weeks to come. Keep praying for this little guy. The mother admitted to using both alcohol and other various drugs while pregnant. Poor little guy had a lot going against him before he ever took his first breath.

The kids are loving him. Silas is obsessed with the "baby" regularly announcing "my doey" (I can do it), "my how" (I know how), and "my feed baby" . He goes between wanting to look after the baby (which is scary) to acting like one himself.

Roman is a big sweetheart with him of course and loves to sit and snuggle him. The first thing he said when he saw the new baby was "His head looks like 1000 years old!" Interesting new born observation Roman.

Aili is a little mother of course and can't wait to show him off to everyone she knows.

Speaking of showing him off. I wish I could plaster pictures of this gorgeous raven haired baby all over my blog but I can't. Social services recently sent out a letter to all foster homes warning us about posting pictures on public sites. It makes sense I guess. I would never post their real names anyway but I removed "Kade's" pictures from some old posts too.

He's just a little peanut. Currently 6 lbs at 11 days old. He's got jet black hair and eyes and beautiful tiny features. He's starting to take notice of the world around him when he is awake and alert. He really likes to be held. He calms right away when mama picks him up. I'm trying give him lots of interaction and snuggle time. After spending his first 9 days in the NICU he is probably running a bit of a deficit in that department (the nurses their were great though). I've heard that early on in life proper attachment and nurturing develops and essentially awakens specific parts of the brain. This guys going to need every advantage he can get!

I enjoyed my day (Wed.) hanging out at the NICU with him. It was interesting to see all the little babies in there. So many precious little lives off to a rough start. If I lived closer and had time I think I would see if I could volunteer there.

I had the chance (my surprise) to meet little peanut's biological mom. It was a bit of an awkward shock when she showed up and asked who I was. I was just very nice to her and encouraged her to finish feeding him while I went and talked to the nurse. I told her I was there helping out (since I didn't know what she knew at that point.). I went for lunch and a social worker came and made sure she understood everything that was happening. I went back and visited with her for a while as she spent some time with him. She was actually very sweet with him and brought him a diaper bag full of new little clothes and blankets. She gave them to me to take home with him. She was concerned that he would be warm enough leaving the hospital. It was obvious that, even though she loves him as best she can, she lacks the cognitive capacity to care for another person at this point...especially a fragile little one. I'm really glad I had a chance to meet her and encourage her. It gave me more compassion for her and the obviously hard life she's lived. As a foster parent it is not my job to judge or condemn birth parents....its my job to love and look after their kids when they aren't able to. Its easy to get angry with a person I've never met when I consider the damage done to a precious baby (outraged actually)...but when I saw her my heart broke for her. It is still upsetting to me that someone would do this to a baby but I can see past it. She is a broken hurting person that is unfortunately just part of a cycle that keeps on getting passed to each new generation. The baton was probably passed to her at birth as well. It was great to get off to a good start with her as we will be seeing her at visitations in the future. I'm hoping to make a little scrap book (baby book) for her with his id bracelets, photos and keepsakes. Every baby deserves to have those precious moments recorded.

Well I'd better get back to my boys (all three of them). Little peanut is now sleeping on my chest as I type and Silas is bent on destroying the house.

Thanks for your prayers for us this week. I am feeling better this morning. The last few days I felt a bit under the weather but I seem to have gotten over whatever was trying to get through my immune system. Thankyou for praying.

5/21/09

Happy Birthday to my husband.


Here are some oldy pictures of a birthday he had 3? years ago. That is his twin brother next to him. I'm not exactly sure which is which but I think Nathanael is on the right.



This little boy looks kind of familiar...like another little boy I know.


This is Silas. He is a little clone of his Daddy!

Happy Birthday Honey!
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5/20/09

Bringing home baby

Just wanted to post a quick update. I'm heading to the city this morning to pick up a newborn that needs to be discharged from the hospital. We will be a temporary home for him , probably for the summer. I have never foster parented a newborn before...never mind a drug affected one so this will be a challenging experience I expect. I am a sucker for a teeny tiny baby...but I also know too well how little sleep I will be getting in the next little while. I really like my sleep.
As far as exhaustion level goes at least I am not coming off a tiring pregnancy, recovering from three days of labour, and excessively hormonal. It will be a new experience to have a newborn that did not just recently come out of me. It is also strange to only have a few hours to prepare myself instead of nine months! Please pray for me and our new little baby "R". We will need it in the days to come.
I feel like I might coming down with a cold or something...just that tired icky feeling...which would be rotten timing. Please pray that I would be able to stay healthy while I am waking up to feed a baby every 2 hours and administering meds every 4. Please pray that my own kidlets will adjust easily too (so far they are thrilled) Thankyou!!

5/18/09

SNOW!!!

I just had to write and update after yesterday's post. We had an absolutely gorgeous weekend...it was actually 26 celcius yesterday. Very warm and sunny....it felt like summer. Yesterday we spent the afternoon at Aili's ball game and then went to a local lake (5 minutes away) to have a campfire and take the Hobie Cat ( our little catamaran) out on its first sail of the season. It was wonderfully summerish.

I joked at the end of my last post (about our great weather) that for all I know it could snow tomorrow (without every hearing or looking up a weather forcast...I prefer to be surprised by our ridiculous weather.)

I woke up this morning to snow. Not a lot of it but it is coming down out of a grey cold sky and is being blown around by a nasty cold wind. yuck. yuck again. I think I tempted fate by even suggesting the "s" word yesterday. Oh, the irony. To top in off today is a holiday from school. We are having and inside day today. So far Silas and I baked bread and Aili baked her first solo batch of ginger snap cookies. Chores, baking and a movie or two thrown in should keep us busy indoors. It nice that the big kids are now getting old enough to actually be useful when they are home. Good thing I've got lots of laundry that needs to be folded ;)

5/17/09

Spring Day


Roman spent the day yesterday riding around his home-made bike course. It included a 2x8 board, an old slide and a "jump". If you look closely you can almost see air under the front tire...or is that a rock? He spent hours perfecting his "stunts".
He's a little adrenaline junkie. I was away the other evening and Roman and his Dad watched "Nitro-Circus" together....I was not impressed. This kid doesn't need any encouragement in the stunt department! I have visions of him riding his bike off the roof of our house or some other "seemed like a good idea at the time" stunt. He did have fun perfecting his moves though. He did really well considering he only got his big kid two wheeler bike this spring....we preferred to keep him slowed down by his little training wheel bike last year. He was more than ready for the two wheeler though....I think mom just had to be ready for this (and all the trips to the ER that are inevitably in his bike riding future)


I hauled out the "work bench" for the kids to keep busy with. It's usually locked away in the garage...a suitable place but too unavailable for the kids to actually enjoy. Aili made all sorts of things with her hammer, some scrap wood and a bowl full of nails (that I am hoping will not find their way to my car tires!).


The kids were outside a total of 9 hours yesterday! I LOVE this weather...spring is finally here!....for this weekend anyway. It could snow again next week for all I know. We've had to start watering our yard already since we have not had any measurable rain yet this year. Not looking good for the crops...we really need some rain. Things here are dry dry dry.


After a long day running around outside Silas conked out in a hurry. I love sleeping baby pictures....actually I love sleeping babies. So quiet and peaceful. So kissable!

I LOVE SUMMER! SO glad we can be an outside family again!
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5/16/09

A Sense of Wonder

There is a book that I got a few years ago called "Romancing your Child's Heart" by Monte Swan. One of my favorite parenting books that I've read. It talks a lot about the importance of letting kids experience nature, beauty, creativity and other things that give them a sense of wonder and awe of God. Things that connect the characteristics of God with the "made in his image" parts of us. I can't really explain the whole book so you'll just have to read it yourself :) Its really really good.

This little story is one of my all time favorites and its from this book

" The verdant green of a well tended soccer field stretched out before me in the Colorado summer sun. Gazing at he restful scene, I noticed a mud puddle near the side lines. A little boy sat in the middle of it, wiggling his barely visible toes in the chocolate water. Applying some secret logic that only little boys can understand, his shoes and socks lay at the edge of the pool, completely clean and dry, while the rest of his clothes were being soaked as he splashed and laughed his way to paradise.
A knowing smile crept across my face as I watched him. After a while, I realized that a woman was standing beside me, watching the boy too. I assumed she was his mother, but no hint of disapproval or reprimand clouded her face.

I turned and asked, "Who taught you how to romance your son's heart like this?"

She remained quiet for several moments, gazing out of the window. During this time, what I had hoped was a profound question lingered in the air and seemed to wither. But then she responded as if I had asked the most natural question in the world. "Ever since his little brother died from leukemia last year, I see things differently".

Her voice trailed off. A shadow of painful memories crossed her face. "I have learned the difference between things that matter and those that are incidental. He is with me and we love each other - that matters. A little dirt and water don't. He is just a little boy loving Gods creation in a way that makes God smile - in a state of innocent wonder. Who am I to rob them both of this pleasure?"

As she walked away, she implied with a whimsical shrug of her shoulders, "after all you can always wash a pair of jeans".

A temporal perspective would see dirt , germs, and inconvenience. This wise woman's viewpoint tells the larger story - that eternity intersects time when a little boy wonders that his toes can still wiggle even when he can't see his legs. From an eternal perspective , we see a child's fascination, curiosity, amazement, and breathless enchantment at a creation that has God's fingerprints and brush strokes all over it. "

"When children smell, touch, feel, hear, and see nature, it is as if it were creation's first morning. Eternity and the sense of wonder are connected because nature originated in the eternal creative heart of God. .....creation constantly shows us the divine fingerprint. It is written by God, showing us glimpses of the larger Story and eternal mystery. "


I love it! Maybe because without checking myself I would be the mom to scold, huff and whine about the laundry that I would now be doing. ( I'm not advocating children jumping in mud puddles every chance they get...there is a time and a place to step back and enjoy though.) When I first read this book I was sitting in the passenger seat of our truck and we were driving back home from our 6 month stay in Mexico. We were on our way home because our son was ill. We had been told by two specialists (one pediatric oncologist who came to volunteer at the orphanage we were working at... and another oncologist who we happened to run into on our way home and offered a free exam) that our 2 year old son Roman very likely had leukemia and that we should get him home quickly for some biopsies and more testing. That story hit me like a brick. When you face the things that really matter ....suddenly the line between the inconsequential things in life and the things of eternal value becomes very clear.

I know there is probably someone out there reading this already in a snit about me advocating kids doing what ever they want just because they want to. That's not at all what I'm saying. As a mom you know when your kid is doing something to be naughty or defiant...you know when something is not good for them or dangerous...and you know when to step in to put and end to their "fun" when it might hurt them, someone else...or your furniture :) But sometimes we need to ask ourselves as moms.. do I sometimes rob my kids (or even myself) pure innocent pleasure just because it seems inconvenient , too spontaneous, or just plain silly?

I once read that St. Bernard used to cover his eyes when passing by the beauty of the Alps and its lakes. I have read many stories of devout saints who in an attempt to gain favor from God deemed all frivolities and pleasures in life evil or a distraction. Some "devout" people still even dispute over things like dying clothes. Plainness is seen as Godly. God has been viewed by many as a solemn , stern faced kill joy. We have been the recipients of his grace but are now expected to earn it by our own piety, boredom and pitifulness. This is not the God I know. I know the God who created the majestic Alps and designed each wild flower to bloom just for his pleasure.

The God I know creates a sunset just so I can enjoy the beauty of it...just to display the beauty of the One who created it.

He didn't have to make flowers smell, he didn't have to make colour and beauty and music.
He did it to woo us to Himself. He did it out of a purely extravagant love for us.
He did it for the shear pleasure of watching His children enjoy it.
Just as our hearts swell and we grin ear to ear watching our child consume their first birthday cake.

I loved watching as my two year old discovered dandelions for the first time this spring...sheer wonder and intrigue. I love watching as he giggles and runs through the sprinkler...fully clothed....just pure innocent joy. We can learn a thing or two from a two year old I think :) I think we can also learn ,by watching our own kids enjoy life ,a little about how God feels about watching us enjoy it.

"God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also in trees,
and in the flowers and clouds and stars. " Martin Luther

5/14/09

strong vs. safe

I mentioned at the beginning of May that I was thinking a lot about this big responsibility called parenting. There are SO many books, so many theories, so many tidbits of advice out there...even just in blog world. Where would I even start to describe or discuss all the aspects of parenting ...on how to ignore a tantrum, how to keep a easy early bedtime, how to discipline effectively.
Parenting, especially in Christian circles, is like a giant food court of opinions and options - to home school or not to home school, to have 2 kids or 12, to breast feed or bottle feed, sleep training or co-sleeping, feeding on a schedule or feeding on demand, spanking or time outs. I could go on and on giving you my opinions and experiences on all these topics and more but truthfully so many of these things I figure out as I go. I am still learning as my kids grow and their needs change. When it comes right down to it, many of these things don't really matter as much as we think they do at the time. So much of it is personal preference, parenting style , family circumstances, and the personalities of the kids involved. I think the most important thing is to really know your kid and do what gets results for them.

I try to pay more attention to what my kids really need, what they respond best to and how they are actually developing than what other people with a limited perspective might think or suggest (not that suggestions aren't very helpful sometimes...little tips and hints from other moms are very valuable). I do lots of reading to really understand what makes kids tick, what their needs are, and how to keep my sanity in the day to day issues. I find I take tidbits of wisdom from lots of different sources. I tweak parenting "systems" or advice here and there to suit my kids individual needs. That's were creativity come in :)

I've been thinking more this month about who I want my children to grow into. Not a specific talent or job that I want them to have but who I want them to be. What arsenal of character traits are they going to need to go out into the big wide world? What can I be doing now to prepare them to be functional contributing people?....Not simply just educated , pretty and talented (societies standards for greatness).

Writing these things down not only helps me sort all these thoughts but it keeps me accountable and forces me out of the lazy auto pilot parenting mode that I find so easy to slip into.

I have to be intentional as a parent. Its easy to think that as long as the kids are fed, dressed, brushing their teeth regularly and getting a decent education we have done our jobs ( these things undeniably take a lot of our energy). What we forget sometimes is that character traits like integrity, compassion, generosity, perseverance, grace, self control, faith, self discipline, responsibility and courage are generally not learned by accident. They are best learned by example but they are are also taught by experiences, discussions, stories and carefully orchestrated hands on opportunities.

It's impossible to have a child to lie for you and then expect them to develop a sense of honesty and integrity.
It's unlikely that if you lack self control in areas of your own life your children will learn it.
If you are harsh and judgmental of people your children will not learn true grace.
It's almost impossible to put your faith on the back burner of your priorities and expect your kids to develop a vibrant, passionate, joyful faith in the God who loves them.
It's easier to protect our kids from consequences of poor choices or irresponsibility than it is to stand back and watch them face it and learn from their mistakes.
It's pretty hard to teach our kids generosity if we don't live in the world with an open heart and open hands ourselves.

One thing I want to intentionally instill in my children is a confidence in and knowledge of their Creator. This isn't something that I can simply do by indoctrination and hanging up lists of rules to follow. After all that isn't how God leads us to Himself is it? Jesus came to take us by the hand and show us the Father. I must do the same.

This is one area that the idea of raising safe kids vs. strong kids comes in. When kids are little our main job is protecting them (physically and from their own stupidity) but as they grow our job leans more to preparing them rather than protecting them.

In preparing them I want to build them into strong Christian kids rather than safe Christian kids. I've come to the conclusion that raising "safe" kids is a spiritual disaster waiting to happen. They will either become afraid of the world to a point that they want nothing to do with anyone outside their comfort zone Christian bubbles or they will be putty in Satan's hands when they face the world for the first time.

Living a life completely committed to Jesus Christ is never a "safe" life...its is an immeasurably joy and peace filled one..but never safe. He offers us a safe haven for a dangerously amazing life to be lived out. I guess that's what I want my home to be - a safe haven where big decisions can be made, risks can be taken and my kids can explore who they are...knowing ultimately they can trust those in charge.

All you have to do is read Hebrew 11:34-40 to realize that God doesn't promise us as believers a carefree "safe" life. All you have to do is look a little closer at our Christian brothers and sisters around the world to see that we are living in a "Christian" Disney land here in North America. Will my kids be strong enough to live outside that land of make believe or will they crumble when they leave the safety of its walls. I think if we give our kids an airbrushed version of faith instead of the raw, passionate, confident variety we set them up for spiritual mediocrity at best and spiritual annihilation at worst....and somewhere in the middle is bound to be a lot of spiritual confusion.

When an army is training for the future they are first allowed to practise in carefully thought out simulated scenarios that reflect the true nature of the dangers that lie ahead. Why would I send my kids out into the world without first having equipped them with what they will need to stand strong in it, without first having let them practice or "cut their teeth" under the careful and vigilant watch of a parent.

So many well meaning Christian parents raise their kids in hermetically sealed Christian environments....kind of like little eco-dome's of religion often infused with a good dose of legalism. As long as they are surrounded by good programs and clubs, good kids, and good Christian calisthenics it is assumed that they will absorb what they will need to know (which may have worked in past generations in a completely different society than we live now). All of these things are fine , good and even very helpful. The catch is its not just what our kids know in their heads ( or has maybe gone in one ear and out the other)...its what they have discovered first hand that will give them a strong faith.

We ,as parents, cannot under estimate our intentional role in leading them into the front lines of culture ourselves, helping them navigate and develop the faculties needed to survive. Not only survive but thrive and make a difference. If we live in fear of every influence and possibility, we are forgetting one major factor in the equation. Its true that the world is full of pitfalls , dangers and horrible influences that our children are vulnerable to , but there is one thing that trumps all those other factors. We serve a mighty powerful God, he had the first word and he will have the last. My kids need to experience that fact for themselves and intimately touch that power.

Making "safety" and comfort our first priority tells our kids that we cannot trust God to do what he says He will. It shows kids that our own limited logic and reasoning is more valuable than keeping our hearts tuned into and trusting the Creator of the Universe. Safe Christianity isn't about Jesus Christ at all ...it is more about a Western middle class teddy bear version of Jesus Christ. We are probably the only Christian's in the world who have the luxury of being lazy, unaware and content with mediocrity. Being refined by fire is something that is still usually optional for us....for my generation anyway (what the next will face is still unknown).

The Almighty God of the Universe has become a Santa Claus figure, Jesus is nice, faith is a hobby, being a Christian is to strive to be a "good person", Christianity is a tidy list of do's and don'ts and we raise kids who are irrelevant, impotent and illequiped to be a light in the world. We are the ones raising the next generation . We are the ones who will be held accountable for that generation and the world that it creates.

I'm not advocating reckless parenting...that would be throwing them to the wolves (the dangers of the world) with out first being prepared and equipped. Teaching opportunities and hands on experiences must be calculated and well thought out by us as parents...knowing what our kid are ready to process at that time.

Teaching our kids faith in a sterilized over protected environment is like teaching our kids to swim on the living room carpet. They can learn the different strokes, the theories and even the chemical make up of water....but they will not learn to swim until we take them by the hand and lead them into the water ourselves. On the other extreme we don't just throw them in the deep end, cross our fingers, take a seat and sip a latte. They must get wet and so must we. We must show them how to swim by doing it ourselves.

Every time God made something He followed with stating that it was good....notice he didn't call anything he made safe. The ocean is magnificent and awe inspiring but we must never underestimate its power. Will my kids be able to ride the waves in exhilaration or will they be the ones to never step off the beach? Will they know how to harness the wind and set sail or will they be tossed around by it. Will they influence the world or will the world influence them? Will they know who to turn to when they face danger? The side effect of raising spiritually strong kids is you usually get safe ones too. They are never more "safe" than in the center of Gods will.

As parents we need to recognise our children's God given abilities as well as acknowledge and take account of their liabilities. We need to give them tools to deal with their inherent shortcomings (tendency to over analyze, excessive fear, hot temper, shyness, stubbornness, bossiness, perfectionism) to turn them into assets or at least have some self control over them.
We need to build discipline around and encourage their natural talents, abilities and personality "bents" to give them a sense of confidence. All this takes effort and goes back to really knowing our kids.

I want to raise strong kids that know first hand just how wonderful, awesome and mighty their God really is. I pray that, armed with that confidence they will be equipped and willing to step out and live an amazing adventure called a life of faith.

5/13/09

3 missing pictures


apparently the pictures were lost from my last post somewhere between the draft screen and the blog....or maybe its just that my good old dial up internet isn't picking them up. Here they are again if in fact they didn't work last time. We have tried to get highspeed all winter...lots of attempts and too much $ later we are out of viable options and still have horrid dial-up. And to make it worse our dial-up seems to be getting slower and less reliable each month.
We may be able to roast wieners in our back yard but it would be nice to have a little aspect of modern living too!


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5/12/09

Chubby bunny


It was a beautiful day here on Sunday (mothers day). One of our first warm sunny days of the season. I told the kids we could have a wiener roast for supper. We have a fire pit in our back yard so its pretty easy for us to have a camping experience without leaving home. Fortunately I had bought hot dogs the week before and was prepared for our feast. We have now broken our winter long hotdog fast. I am a food snob. Animal fat and questionable other products stuffed in a tube is not a part of our regular diet. I reserve them for "campfire food" in the summer time and even then I am picky about which brand and package I will buy. Bulk wieners are not an option, not only are they gross but I have to know what the ingredients are because of Silas' allergies. I go for the reduced fat, all meat, no filler ones....with whole wheat buns of course. I know its like polishing a terd to thing of making hot dogs healthy but I have to at least try to make them less horrible :) The kids and husband don't know the difference anyway ;)

Whats a wieny roast without marshmallows?
They are definately Silas' favorite part of the meal.

Don't do it Silas!
Silas drop the marshmallow!
No, it doesn't go in your shoe.
...yuck....don't eat it now!

5/11/09

Memories of Mother's day past

Mothers day can be a wonderful day of being spoiled and receiving recognition for being a mom. Mothers day can also be a difficult day for so many people. It can bring both tears of joy and tears of pain.

There are woman who struggle with infertility. Year after year they witness the celebration of motherhood and long to join in. They sit while other woman are asked to stand in church and are honored for being mothers.

There are woman who are indeed mothers...they have experienced creating and carrying life in their wombs but are without a baby in their arms. They will always be a mom, they have a child they carry in their heart, they have a child waiting for them in heaven....but they will not be recognised this day.

There are moms carrying babies nestled snugly under their ribs. Knowing that they will not be able to parent that child in a way they had longed for....for all to soon a goodbye will come.

There are mothers grieving a recent loss of a child.

There are mothers who are learning to live with a too quiet house....where little feet used to run and little mouths used to chatter.


Mothers day is a day of celebration and honor for all that moms do and for the enormous role that they play.

Mothers day yesterday had me remembering past mothers days...where I was ...what was happening....when I experienced first being a mother.

9 years ago , mothers day, I was a mom hurting. I was large and pregnant. I looked like a mother, I felt like a mother ...but I knew I would not have the joy of mothering. Thre process of nurturing life would be cut short.

8 years ago, mothers day, I was a mom waiting. Joyfully and anxiously awaiting the arrival of my daughter a few months later. I was a mother of two but still "not yet a mother".

7 years ago , mothers day, I was a mom oblivious. I did not yet know I once again carried a life. I also didn't know that a couple months later it would too soon be gone.

6 years ago, mothers day, I was a mom expecting, I carried within my womb my second son. I had only 6 weeks left until I would hold him in my arms and kiss his little face.

3 years ago, mothers day, I was a mom hoping. I woke up early sent up a little prayer and took a pregnancy test. I was so excited to be pregnant again that I woke up the other three members of my family and danced around the house with them.

1 day ago, mothers day, I looked at my little blessings and marveled at God's goodness. I pretended not to see as they made little surprises and gifts for me. I watched them contentedly as they roasted hotdogs and marshmallows in our back yard.

I am so fortunate to have been able to conceive them, carry them and hold them in my arms. I feel a little sad that that part of the journey is now over for me. There will be no more babies to conceive and carry....I can still carry these ones in my arms but they are gradually getting to big for even that. I see how fast the time is flying by and want to somehow harness it and live in this time forever. At the same time I cheer them on to each new milestone and discovery. I swell with pride as they grow and learn and make me proud to be their mom.


I wait with hope that one day the Lord will bring other children into my home, that did not come from my womb...but that need arms to hold them.

I see mothers day future where I will wonder where the time went... where the years went, and will be amazed once again at Gods goodness.

5/10/09

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!

To my mom. To my second mom. To the moms with kids all grown up. To the moms with a house full of little ones. To the moms waiting expectantly, and to the moms who have children waiting for them in heaven. HAPPY MOTHERS DAY! Once a mommy always a mommy.

I found this little writing...I didn't write it and I actually found it on another blog so I can take know credit for any wisdom gleaned from it. I loved it so I thought I'd share and dedicate it to my mom today, who is a woman of strength.

A WOMAN OF STRENGTH

" A strong woman works out every day
to keep her body in shape...
But a woman of strength kneels
in prayer to keep her soul in shape.

A strong woman isn't afraid of anything.
But a woman of strength shows
courage in the midst of fear.

A strong woman won't let any one get the best of her.
But a woman of strength gives the best
of herself to everyone.

A strong woman makes mistakes and
avoids the same in the future...
A woman of strength realizes life's mistakes
can also be God's blessings and capitalizes on them.

A strong woman walks sure-footedly
But a woman of strength knows God will
catch her when she falls.

A strong woman wears the look of confidence on her face
But a woman of strength wears grace.

A strong woman has faith that she is strong enough for the journey...
but a woman of strength has faith that it is in the
journey that she will become strong."

-author unknown-


This didn't actually talk specifically about moms but all moms know that we need our strength renewed on a daily basis. :)

For all you Moms of strength out there.....HAVE A BLESSED MOTHERS DAY!!!

5/9/09

Planting time


Gardening is something that has made a come-back in the last couple years. With an emphasis on eating more local, organic and nutritious foods people are bringing back some things that were lost in our convenience based society. It makes even more sense for people to grow some of their own food now with the changing economy in U.S and people having to tighten their belts a little (our belts have always been rather tight here in hickville :) Things that seemed quaint, old fashioned or even substandard are coming back. Line drying clothes is even being encouraged in places that used to ban clothes lines for aesthetic reasons.
The funny thing is, in the rural area where we live we have never really stopped doing these things. Most every house in our "town" ( actually we are technically a Village or a Hamlet or something) has a clothes line in the back yard with clothes waving in the wind. It would be hard to find a yard that didn't have a vegetable garden. People here still "can" tomatoes, pick berries to make jam, and stock pile potatoes in their basements. Growing up we always had a huge garden and spent many of our summer days as kids weeding, picking peas and of course snapping beans and shelling peas. It was just what we did.
My Grandparents always planted enough potatoes to feed an army. If there was ever a famine we would have been well supplied with potatoes! :) It makes sense to keep on with the traditions (although I don't have my heart set on eating slightly squishy potatoes all winter) seeing as it is cheaper, tastier, healthier and more environmentally friendly to grow our vegi's rather than getting all our food from the super market....or in our case the local
Co-op...and by local I mean 1/2 hr drive away. Produce here is expensive!


Growing a garden takes knowing when the soil is ready, deciding what things you want to plant in that soil, patience as the plants start to grow, perseverance as the weeds start to crowd in, hope that what you planted will eventually bear fruit, and finally the enjoyment of a harvest.
Sounds kind of like growing kids :)



Roman was a wonderful little helper this year....having his help actually made the job a lot quicker. I'm hoping the kids will be old enough to be an asset to the family Garden this year. Gardening holds so many good lessons for them... commitment, hard work, patience and delayed gratification just to name a few. They also learn and appreciate where it is their food comes from. Carrots aren't just something out of a bag...they are something that grow in the dirt from seeds that they planted. Roman had a ton of questions about where seeds come from , how they grow into plants and how they know what plant to grow into.


I realized that I have posted a disproportionate amount about the boys lately. Here is Aili at ball practice. Its a small town team run by a few parents. Its great. She loves it. They have a lot of kids though...I would guess at least 30. Roman insisted that he not play baseball this spring...for some reason he is dead set against it. That's fine with me if Aili has her baseball and Roman has his soccer...that way they aren't in constant competition with each other. After all just eating dinner somehow ends up as a competition between these two.
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5/8/09

I'm feeling so speshle.


I realize this is my second post in one day but I just had to brag a little. The "mothers day tea" at the kids school was lovely. Complete with cheesy songs, poems and talent. We were served coffee and fruit. Silas enjoyed the plate of fruit so much that he shoved more in his mouth than he could effectively process. I was busy visiting and didn't notice that he had overstuffed until it was all being spit out on my plate. I covered it with a napkin and apologised to the people lucky enough to have chosen to sit with us.

Speaking of lucky. I was particularly lucky today. First of all I was gifted with these wonderful items from my children. I love the card from Aili.
"roses are red viltits are blue
shiger is sweet and so are you"
"Have a speshle day."

awww, I feel so speshle.


And a nice mug shot of Roman to hang on the wall. And it will no doubt be hung on my wall...somewhere...Roman will make sure of that.



And to add to the luck I won the most coveted door prize! (It was arranged much more beautifully complete with plastic wrapping and a bow....but we already got into it). One of the Grandmas of a couple of the students often donates her baking for raffles or door prizes. And I won it!! ME the one who never wins anything! I actually snuck out to take Silas to the bathroom when they started to draw names figuring that was more polite than leavng during the singing solos. On my way back to my table someone said "Hey, you won a basket of bunnies" at least that is what I thought I heard. I was a little concerned as I made my way back to the table. Fortunately they were saying buns and not bunnies. yummy. Unfortunately I have to hide them from my allergy baby ...but the rest of us will have no problem eating our basket full of baking. Stop in for coffee and you can have one too :)
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Too cute!


Look at the feet on this kid! Well the camera angle doesn't really help but he does have good sized feet, much bigger than his brothers were at this age. I think Silas will be the "big guy" in the family. He's always been skinny and gangly...even in the chubby baby stage but he is the tallest at this age and his bone structure is broad. He's got shoulders almost as wide as his 5 year old brothers already. And if its like looking at a puppies feet to see how big they will get ...he's going to be huge. At least if he grows into them :) Its that Viking/ Scottish mix in him I think....just 20 years and a big red beard. Makes me laugh. Ever since the last Olympics I joke that he's got Phelps proportions. Tall, short legs, long waist, broad shoulders, huge feet. Maybe I should get him into swimming :)


He just got out of the shower so his eyes are a little red looking. Must have got some soap in them. We are getting cleaned up to go to a "mothers day tea" at Aili and Romans school this afternoon. We are going right in the middle of nap time so I'm hoping my tired 2 year old will not steal the show. He is so much fun lately...just a little clown all the time. We have our "2 year old days" that usually correspond with missed naps or late bedtimes but most of our days together are so enjoyable...in a cleaning pee off the floor kind of way. He's been so extremely affectionate lately...probably because I've left him more than usual in the last few months. He's full of big long hugs, kisses and love at this age. There are some great things about this third year of life. He still adores his mommy for one thing :) Another thing I love is that he is absolutely fascinated and thrilled by everyday things that us big people don't even see any more. Its amazing to see the world through his eyes.


Showing off for the camera.


Stopping his somersaults to itch a little. Spring has made him a little more rashy lately.
Well I'd better go and get ready for the "tea"....wouldn't want to show up at the school in a bathrobe and no make up.
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5/6/09

Shaking in my Armour

After my last couple posts you might think I've got this parenting thing all figured out. Well not today. At least I don't feel that way. I feel discouraged and weak under the responsibilities that face me in life right now. Parenting being just one of those many responsibilities....but the most important of course.

My kids are good right now, no major behavior issues to report. They are generally respectful, obedient and fun to be around....even the two year old. (not that they don't make my ears hurt and my head ache once in a while!) . I am actually thoroughly enjoying each one of them at the moment. So why do I feel so inadequate? Its easy to feel that way when one of them is in a major funk...but I don't know why I feel that way right now. Why do I question myself so much? Is it just the curse of being a mother? Its not that I fear they will turn out to be horrible dysfunctional people ( although, I did have pictures in my mind of visiting juvi hall when Roman was a two year old, but he eventually did outgrow his little anarchist streak).

I think fear is something that the enemy is using right now to paralyze me. I see it for what it is but I still feel its effects. As a parent fear is not productive or healthy...vigilance yes...caution you bet....but fear no. Fear -based parenting causes a lot of problems...especially in our Christian parenting circles. That's not what I want for my family. I want my parenting to be a reflection of the absolute certainty , confidence and victory I have in my Lord....there is no room for fear in that.

As parents we are our kids advocates. I am learning as I go how to do that....usually by necessity. I think some parents go overboard and swing the pendulum too far and misuse the word advocate . Some don't allow their kids to experience consequences of unwise choices or will shield them totally from life and its let downs. I am not that parent. I am not a parent who will ever argue with a teacher gasping "not my child".
But as a mom I know my children best...next to the one who created them of course.
I make it my job to really know them.
I have an active "mothers intuition" that lets me know when something just isn't right.

The trick is to know when to step in to protect them and give them a boost and when to stand back and let them figure it out on their own. Its a delicate balancing act. I think its often best not to jump in to the rescue too soon....as long as there isn't immediate danger of course. Its ok to let a toddler figure out how to get out of a situation he's got himself stuck in...but being ever ready to step in when they are in over their head. That's where our intuition comes in.

Being a mom is a tough job. We are assertive advocates, vigilant protectors, loyal confidants, regular taxi drivers, impeccable maids, gourmet cooks, compassionate nurses, and household CEO's just to name a few.

I suspect I'm not alone in my doubts and fears.

I have a feeling I'm not alone in trying to tame my inner "mama bear " while listening to my child describe being bullied. Why is it that "nice kids" are the ones that are always targeted? The ones that are loyal friends and care about the feelings of others? I guess they just don't know how to make it in the pecking order. I am disappointed and grieved that they experience this but I would be more grieved if my child were the one being cruel. I'm trying to teach assertiveness and sticking up for themselves...that's what my gut has been telling me. So I'm going to follow that intuition and try to give them the strength of character, self esteem and confidence they need to assertively tell the ring leaders to back off. I want my little girl to somehow wear her first "dental appliance" with pride...sigh. While at the same time watching vigilantly for them to be "in over their head"....taking more than their maturity and life skills can handle.

I have a feeling I'm not alone in my worries and "fear" that my child will slip through the cracks in his education. I worry that he will feel "dumb" that he will always struggle to keep up. That is not what I want for my bright, imaginative little boy. I feel guilty like somehow I have failed him. I am embarrassed by the meetings with his teacher, the assessments, the evaluations, and the suggestions of needing extra help. I am afraid of future diagnostic testing....at the same time very eager to get to the bottom of the problems and get something done about them. I have to remind myself that I know my kid, and can be his advocate to get him what he needs. But my heart still aches for him and the uphill challenges that lie ahead.

I am afraid that despite my vigilance and scrutiny my allergy baby will eat something that he shouldn't and have a reaction that I can't control. What if he reacts to something completely unexpected or has a reaction when I'm not around? What if despite carrying an epi-pen it won't be enough to stop him from going into anaphylactic shock and cardiac failure? Its not something I obsess about ...but that possibility is there. Just one more thing to fear.

Will I be enough for them? Will I be able to protect them? Will I know how to teach them?

I guess as a parent the list can go on and on. From the time they are conceived there is always a list... just when they move past one danger zone they are into the next.

I made a conscious effort when I knew each one of them were in existence to turn over those fears and refuse to let them take hold in my heart. If I didn't where would it end?

Fear of miscarriage, fear of birth defects, fear of SIDS, fear of choking, fear of running into traffic, fear of illness, fear of bullying, fear of rebellion, fear of a drivers license, fear of rejection.....the list would go on forever.

I remember the feelings of anxiousness that would creep in throughout my pregnancies or on occasion after they were born. I would consciously need to get on my knees and re- hand it over. I guess that's what I need to do again. I just wasn't prepared for those anxious feelings again...its been so long.

So much for mama warrior....shaking in her armour. Or maybe I forgot to put on my armour today...that happens on occasion too. I think this warrior mama needs to battle on her knees for a while.

5/5/09

I'm a soccer mom!


Roman has been wanting to play soccer for a long time but sometimes in rural areas a league or a team to play with is hard to find. This spring however he will be playing with a group of about 30 kids at a park in the next town. Perfect. Thy have 4 coaches to practice drills with and will break up into groups and play real games. The best part is the registration cost for the whole season is $15 (for twice a week practices until the end of the school year).
I'm finally a soccer mom! Bring on the mini-van, bumperstickers and blowhorn! In honor of my new little soccer player I made a trip to walmart and got him dudded up with shin pads, cleats, soccer socks (that are way too big and go up to his shorts), shiny soccer shorts, a shirt and a ball. Sounds expensive but Walmart is good for outfitting kids for cheap. His shorts only cost $5 and his shin pads were $4.50! He was SO excited that he slept in his soccer outfit (after a family game of soccer that evening.) and wore it to school the next day. Sometimes you just gotta let them revel in their own excitement. Tonight is his first practice!


Silas was not about to be outdone by his big brother. He stripped off his clothes and insisted he needed soccer clothes too. Fortunately I had pulled his summer clothes out of storage already and found a sleeveless shirt and shorts to match his brother. It did the trick. Here he is winding up for a kick. He actually got the purpose of the game and would run his ball up to kick it in the goals and pass to other players.


Roman trying to be gentle with his little brother but at the same time trying not to let him get a goal. Its a tricky balance that he does amazingly well. Did you notice our fancy goal post?


Fortunately with Daddy he can be as rough as he wants to be. Mom was pretty good too. She can hold her own against 3 five year olds (the neighbors joined us).

GO ROMAN!!
Roman quote of the day...totally unrelated to soccer.
"Mom, if you ever see food for sale at an antique store....don't buy it."
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5/4/09

Warrior Mama

revised and renamed version of this mornings post.
.....................................................................................
I have learned so much over the past almost eight years of actual parenting experience and I know I still have a lot to learn. I became a mother 9 years ago but didn't have the joy of doing the grubby work of parenting until our daughter was born. When our daughter was born I was so thrilled and felt so extremely grateful to finally have a child after such a rocky start to parenthood. I thoroughly enjoyed her as a baby and soaked up every minute but I also wasn't prepared for the challenges of caring for a "spirited" baby...around the clock. She was born ready to party and ready to take her place in the world. She still is!



Around her first birthday we lost our second baby to a miscarriage at 10 wks. A couple months later I was pregnant with Roman. Those first years are a whirl wind of pregnancies, nighttime feedings, tears and tantrums (sometimes my own). I was pregnant 4 times in 3 years...including 3 full pregnancies. I loved finally being a parent but also frequently felt overwhelmed with the challenges of two young children less than two years apart in age. I questioned my ability to effectively train up these two independent, strong willed and very quirky kids.





In the early years of parenting I frequently compared my children to other peoples kids, to other peoples standards and expectations of my kids. I read every parenting book I could get my hands on across the spectrum from Amish syle parenting to Dr. Sears. "attachment parenting" I tried so many parenting "technique's" and styles before I really started to get a handle on what worked for me and my kids individual and quirky needs. Somewhere in the middle is where I landed. I'm not about to strip a switch off a tree to "swat" my infant any time they fail a test I set them up to fail...and I'm not about to "free-range" parent my child either letting them decide their own boundaries. Kids need firm boundaries (moral, safety, respect) but inside those boundaries they need a lot of freedom to explore who they are, freedom to ask honest questions, freedom to make mistakes ....and freedom to be wacky kids. Its a balancing act that involves a lot of vigilance and constant adjustments. Raising kids is more like waltz between us and our kids than it is a left right left right march.



Confidence was what I was lacking in the earlier years. I was insecure and somewhat confused about my role and how to raise my kids in a God honoring way. Actually I was too busy with diapers, feedings, potty training and runny noses to give it much thought. I knew enough to do the basics of childcare, I was a good mom with great nurturing instincts but looking back I expected so much of my self and my kids. Discipline, consistency, quality time, fun play times,nutrition and affection were all part of those first years but they didn't always produce picture perfect kids with perfect behavior and I couldn't figure out why.



It was later that I got an epiphany. My kids are human. Humans make mistakes, humans have a sin nature that gets the best of us sometimes, kids are immature, kids are quirky, kids are silly and dorky and unpredictable. God made childhood as a time for them to get the dorkiness out of their systems :) My kids need a Savior just as much as I do.



I've come to the conclusion there is no one size fits all parenting system and no one discipline technique that fits all kids or situations. Parenting requires constant creativity and ingenuity. It requires flexibility, adaptability, consistency, perseverance and most importantly grace. I have become a student of my children learning what makes them tic, what they respond to and what they don't. I know what is important to them, what disappoints them , what they fear, what they hope for. I know them.



In the past Instead of trusting what I knew about my kids I let too many outside voices and judgments confuse me into thinking they should be something they just weren't.

(I couldn't make my extremely extroverted energetic toddler into a wall flower no matter how hard I tried, however I have helped to mold him into a charming, thoughtful ,extroverted ,energetic little boy.)



I just cared too much what other people thought. After all ,kids are an extension of our own image and ego aren't they(sarcasm inserted here)....or at least that's what we make them into sometimes. I now realize that kids are going to embarrass me on occasion. And that's ok because one of these days they will be teenagers and I will have the privilege of embarrassing them right back :)



My kids will say thank you 5000 times at home for random things like wiping their nose or pouring them a drink without ever being prompted but will forget it when it really counts and the world is watching....yikes. I now care more about nurturing a grateful spirit that will express that gratefulness consistently rather than just training a child to say a meaningless word for the sake of impressing a relative with the big gift

(not that I wouldn't prompt gratefulness at that point :) .

I'm just not going to let little bumps in the road like that embarrass me. I know my kids heart and whether they are developing a grateful one or not. I'm far more concerned with how pleased God is with them than anyone else.



This is only really part of my story of parenting. The part where I realize that an external set of standards is far less effective an an internal one. My focus in parenting is to raise them the way God raises us. With love, security, tenderness, joy, grace, boundaries, and natural consequences. Freedom to express ourselves and even bring our concerns and disappointments to Him without fear of being mocked or dismissed.



My favorite parenting book is called "Grace Based Parenting" by Dr. Tim Kimmel. He has other parenting books that I have read as well. His newest books are this one and "Why Christian Kids Rebel". I like "Grace Based Parenting" because its not a "how -to book" or a step by step program on how to raise impressive kids. He talks more about what kids really need from us as parents. Actually the three driving inner needs of every human.



A secure love

A significant Purpose

A strong hope



Without their parents nurturing these things in their lives (and modeling for them the One who can ultimately fill these driving needs) kids will go looking for them elsewhere...and unfortunately the enemy (who wants nothing more than to steal the hearts of my children) has a whole lot of counterfeits that fit into these categories.

Its just one of those books every parent needs to read. Page after page of "aha" moments. Its a very balanced, common sense resource to help us through this maze of parenting. Its worth a read...you have to read it start to finish though to get the whole of what he is saying.



Are my children's live's (and my life as a parent) filled with a sense of wonder, joy, creativity, freedom and tenderness? Or is it filled with guilt, resentfulness, frustration, obligation and irritation? I must admit some days its a mix of both categories...but when looking at the big overall picture I sure hope its the first one. Which one of best represents our relationship to God...or at least should represent it?

I want to woo their little hearts to the Father who loves them best.
Their little hearts are the prize. Their hearts are what I am after.
There is a spiritual battle for the hearts of my kids and the enemy doesn't play by fair rules of warfare.I can't just build up the walls , arm the fort and then sit back assuming he won't find his way in (when your kid lies to you the first time you realize sin is alive and well even behind a locked fortress).

Having an exoskeleton isn't much good if the enemy may already be deeply ingrained in the flesh beneath....what they need is a strong endoskeleton. A strength of faith, character and value structure that comes from deep within.
When dealt a severe blow or break an endoskeleton will heal it self, it will prove painful but not fatal. If all we equip our kids with is an exoskeleton a blow or a crack in the external structure will prove fatal. That I cannot allow.

The competitor for my child's heart plans seductive, deceptive guerrilla attacks to lure them.

This warrior mama has a battle plan though....she plans to out romance the competition. While the competitor attempts to seduce, I will woo. I will romance their little hearts just like God has romanced mine leaving no desire for any thing less...for a counterfeit. I also have plans to go on the offensive deep into enemy territory through prayer. The prayer of one warrior mama is a powerful thing! Don't underestimate it. I should also add that the prayers of warrior Grandma's, Grandpa's, Auntie's and Uncle's...anyone invested in the life of a child who is willing to commit to praying for them..is vital. Don't underestimate your role and your influence even from a distance.

I want to thoroughly enjoy this short season with my children but more than that I want to prepare them for the future and all the things that it will hold. My job as a parent is to eventually parent myself out of a job :) ironic as that sounds.
Now if you'll excuse me I need to go put on my armour, stand and keep watch over these precious little souls entrusted to me.



Outside fun

i
The weather here has been really cool and extremely windy so far this spring. The snow is gone but we are still in that ugly time between the white snow and the green summer. We are living in brown right now. The last precipitation we had was some snow in February and this spring has also been really cool. These two factors have kept things from growing and blooming.
I have some tulips poking up out of the ground now to give me some hope of new life but it will be a while still until they bloom. I can't wait to get out into the dirt and plant my garden. The soil still needs to be worked up and the days and nights are a bit too cold still so I'll wait another week or so.
The boys have been enjoying the great outdoors again now that winter is over. They still go between spring jackets and winter coats...sun hats and winter hats. My entry way is a mess of various seasons of outdoor clothing.
The kids and their friends have been enjoying building a fort and playing at "The tree" not that we have only one in our town but this is a big half dead good climbing tree surrounded by other trees in an empty lot. Perfect setting for all sorts of adventures.
Roman is wearing his helmet because he rode his bike there and forgot to take it off...not for many other reasons children might typically wear helmets while playing.


My boy with the girly hair. He really does need a hair cut....but its so pretty. I think the shaggy look is in right now anyway.


Silas tries so hard to be like his brother!



Roman is a 100% outside boy. I'm so glad he can burn off some energy outside instead of burning holes in my carpet running laps through the house. He's got a huge imagination. Nature is the perfect place for kids to explore and nurture that imagination. Who needs an expensive play structure when you've got a really cool tree?
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