Planting Seeds

I have always loved flowers, and I would open a flower shop if it meant I didn’t need to work every holiday.

Today Grace, Ruth, Gabe and I planted some seeds. I prefer perennials because I love to see them grow and multiply each year. They are such a beautiful surprise when the chill of winter wears off and my flowers pop up.

So, today after homeschool – last week woo hoo!! – we trotted around the yard finding sunny spots where Daddy wouldn’t weed-eat them down. (It’s okay Babe, I forgive you for weed-eating my lilies of the valley.) In my head, I envision mounting a blue bird house and placing it in the middle of my Lupine patch. How fun!        …for the cats.

A little sun, soil, water, time and prayer will tell the tale. What was today’s choice seeds? Delphiniums and Lupines. They are similar, but the Lupine you see up top and the Delphiniums are depicted below. Personally, I like to buy the seeds because they are cheaper and we get to watch them grow. Besides, the process adds weight to our science lessons.

Random Thoughts with Leslie

New Phase

I cannot believe how this family has changed. I have a friend who just had a baby, and she made the comment “I know you are way past this stage, but I still think it’s fun to see.” Gosh! Am I? Have I crossed over that line, where I am officially past that baby stage? Seems surreal to think so. But I don’t know, I do still need concealer. And someone told me that you know the baby phase is over when you stop using concealer.

However, my two youngest turned 4 this month!! How did that happen? They are obsessed with princesses, unicorns and fluffy skirts of every kind. They start preschool in the Fall and are such big girls now. Looking back at this last year, when they were three, it has been my favorite so far. All the snuggles, all those moments that I got them to myself before they run off to school and life speeds up to a blur again.

Now that I think about it, life was a complete blur (hello name of my blog!) for so long. Five solid years full of: 3 cross-country moves, pregnancies, 5 babies being born, houses being bought and sold, jobs being changed, endless renovations. It’s really no wonder life didn’t slow down until we landed here and the older kids began school. I have a feeling this slower pace is what allowed me to cherish my time with them more. And in some ways I sense that our previous busy-ness prevented me from cherishing that 3-year old stage with the other kids. Sorry Esther, Gabriel and Micah.

New Schedule

Now, COVID19 has effected its own changes to life. My slower pace is even slower and if I were honest I may be enjoying this a little bit too much. But, I am an unapologetic, introverted homebody. My friends know it. I know it. My husband knows it. When life slammed to a halt 6 weeks ago I may have done a jig in my brain in terms of my own schedule being cleared. Well, I did after 3 weeks of adjusting to zero personal space.

I do miss my friends though. Not one to rely on social media, I miss their faces in real time. It is possible I may be guilty of popping my minivan trunk once a week in random parking lots and partaking in literal tailgate parties with a coffee in my hand. Stop your hateful thoughts. We stay 10 feet apart in open air. It’s a throw back to wagon days. Except we circle the vans instead.

Family Sports

What have we done to occupy ourselves? Taken a lot of walks in the woods. Until I lost half the kids and almost called the police. Apparently they are part homing pigeon. When I finally committed to calling in the authorities I found them pilfering through an intended Easter package on the front porch. Guess my lesson on “How to get home if you are lost in the woods: Landmarks” was better than I thought and they decided to put it into practice instead of waiting on their slower siblings. We haven’t been on a walk in the woods again, but we did get some pigs to occupy our old chicken coop and that has been it’s own sport of sorts.

Pencils

Homeschooling is for rock stars. It never ceases to amaze me how fast I can bring my children to tears over pencils. But really, I don’t want the pointy end waving around my face. I just don’t. And why do we use the wooden ones? Why not mechanical? Sharpening them has become one of those homeschool side hustles I need power tools for.

Small and Large Victories

And Gabe and Micah gave their hearts to the Lord! Esther, Gabriel and Micah were all baptized on Easter morning right here in our creek. So special. Best Easter ever. These days at home have been trying, but this up close and personal approach to life has opened so many doors to amazing conversations and life-changing decisions. Thank you Lord for this moment to refocus as a family.

Continued Changes due to Coronavirus

I cooked a lot before, now even more. It astounds me how much food the kids go through now that they are home all day long. Once or twice a week we support a locally owned business by ordering dinner. But since we are not allowed to go in, they deliver it curbside.

Spending more time together as a family means my community that was once outside these walls, is now entirely within these walls. This has brought us closer as a family physically and relationally, but exposed our weaknesses as well.

Since we do not go to church, we worship here in our living room. This week Gabriel accepted Christ into his heart. Esther and he are to be baptized this coming weekend – Easter weekend – in the creek. Obviously, it won’t be a big hullabaloo like before but I do think the intimacy makes it more special.

In some ways, life reminds me of our intense baby stage when my house was never clean, I rarely had time to work out or put makeup on, I lived in leggings and my mom-bun hair was washed every three or so days. It is was as uncomfortable then as it is now. However, I have become more familiar with each of my children. Strengths. Weaknesses. Preferences. I have also become more familiar with my own.

Part of me mourns the loss of time in the mornings with Grace and Ruth before they leave for school next year. Now I am fully occupied with homeschooling and they play by themselves. But, I am so grateful we are all healthy, home and together.

I really believe we will look back at this time in our lives to see this particular season of loss and disruption as a time when God pruned away our non-essentials and grew our faith, our love and our family. This is a call to fix our focus on things most important. It is a chance to know God as Provider, Prince of Peace, Healer, Comforter, and Friend. To know family as community.

I am choosing to dive in deep to this unprecedented time, when the world seems to have paused for a moment and the rush and race of life has slowed down on the home front. Praying for fresh strength to steward this season with wisdom and grace.

What Happened Now?

Micah has taken his four year old status seriously and began to be more physical with… well everything. The other day he came down stairs after his nap with a black encrusted nose. I looked at him asking if he’d had a bloody nose. He said yes he “squished” it. I said, “I’m pretty sure you didn’t do that napping. How did it happen?” After much coaxing, he eventually told me he was hanging off the bed – upside down – when he fell on his face into the carpet. Not impressed, I’m sure my eyebrow was raised while I listened to his nap time escapades.

The next night as we were herding them up the stairs for bedtime, Micah zips past us chasing the cat. Next thing I knew he came back crying with an already swollen eye. Man the cat got the better of him! For the second time in as many days I said, “How did that happen?” He proceeded to tell me that the cat escaped his grasp as it made a desperate dive for under the bed.  Confused as to how this related to his black eye, I asked again. Basically it boils down to the fact that the cat fit under the bed but Micah’s face didn’t. He crashed strait into the frame. If he keeps this up he’s going to have to steer clear of all beds since they are apparently hazardous things for little boys.

On another note, Thanksgiving is tomorrow! I for one am very thankful we are all healthy and still in one piece. This year is almost over – it has been difficult in some ways and wonderful in others. Such is life. I wonder, would we appreciate the goodness of life if we never experienced the difficulties that come with it?


Pray for them

Father, “Let your steadfast love come to [Name], O LORD, your salvation according to your promise; then shall [Name] have an answer for him who taunts [him/her], for [he/she] trust[s] in your Word.” In the name of Jesus I pray, amen. –Psalm 119:41-42

Prayers taken from the daily prayer on the BiblicalPrayers mobile app. Download today on the App Store or Google Play store.


Ginger Cookies

  • 3/4 cup lard
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves

Mix shortening, sugar, molasses and eggs until fluffy. Sift together flour, soda, salt and spices. Add to molasses mixture. Form small balls, roll in granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. For gingersnaps bake 10-12 minutes. You can thank Betty Crocker for this one.

Landmarks

Happy Thursday everyone! I love Thursday because it means tomorrow is Friday and my man will be home for two whole days. And, as promised, I have included the recipe for the pasta sauce I told you I would post this week. Seriously, you will want to make it in buckets.

This month has had a few landmarks for our family. Esther went to her first big-girl birthday party when her friend at school turned 5. She felt very special she got to go and not her brothers. It was fun for me too, since I was able to spend some one-on-one time with her and get to know the other parents as well.

Esther and her party games

Also this month, my baby girls turned 18 months. This may be my favorite stage they are in. Grace and Ruth walk everywhere now, are independent enough to do things all by them selves and yet are still so baby-cuddly and eager to please.

HAPPY 18 MONTHS GIRLS

Grace (green) is full of sass. She climbs onto more things than the boys ever did. She samples with gusto anything I am making for dinner and if I can’t find something I’ve a pretty good notion that it’s because she helped me out by throwing it away. She lives for verbal praise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruth (blue) tends to be more cautious and laid back. She loves all things girly and is my little snuggler. If she sees anyone getting a hug, you can bet that Ruth will be racing around the corner to get hers too. Every time I fold laundry Ruth crawls in my lap for a front row viewing. (And yes, she likes robots.)

These girls bring so much joy to our world we could never imagine it without them.


Pray For Them

 John 14:21

Pray that in walking through all events of life, the character of your loved one will be shaped into God’s image.


San Marzano pasta Sauce

As promised, here is the recipe for the amazing pasta sauce. It is so incredibly easy to make and your kids will love it. Mine hate tomatoes with an everlasting fire, but they didn’t even care when they tasted this sauce. Even asked for more. I think the secret here are the San Marzano tomatoes. It’s an Italian tomato and it’s distinct taste makes it more tangy than other tomatoes. I order my cans from Amazon in bulk because it is a staple and it is cheaper this way. Plus, why make a trip when it can come straight to my door?

 

 

All for One, One For All

My kids have been watching the classic Snow White. My four year old, Esther, is very affected by the ugly old woman the beautiful queen turns into. I explain to her that the queen may be beautiful on the outside but because she is mean to others her heart is ugly and I point to the ugly woman.

Last night as I was preparing dinner I heard a ruckus coming from the kids and I went to investigate. Two of them had been playing and decided it would be fun to lock the other out, intentionally excluding him. Typically these three are like the Three Musketeers doing everything together, but lately I have noticed two of them excluding the one simply for the purpose of exclusion. My heart broke watching him pound on the door trying to be a part of the fun. It’s a strange feeling to observe my kids and at the same moment be propelled back in time to relive my own pain of being excluded as a kid. I decided then that I would intentionally do all I could to raise my family up in a home where everyone is loved, accepted and welcome to play. A family that supports and promotes one another.

Where to begin though? It’s a difficult goal to put into action. I went back to the basics. After speaking with them both, I discerned the perpetrator from the follower and called Esther aside asking her to go get me the Snow White movie case.

I told her when we do not let someone play with  us we hurt their feelings because everyone wants to be included. That when she would not let Gabe in, she was being mean and hurtful. I pointed to the queen and explained that Esther is my beautiful little girl, but that true beauty comes from our heart and how well we love others. I asked her what she wanted her heart to look like: Snow White or the ugly old woman? She pointed to Snow White and I told her that she needs to love others and always welcome other kids to play with her. I explained that we are a family and that no matter what happens we love one another, accept each other and play together.

Wounds of exclusion go deep and as a Mom I want to have a vision in mind when I respond to this with intentionality.

Leslie