Young but Not Young Anymore

You want to have your perspective improved by reading this short post about just the three most recent girls WIC is helping in Uganda. Oh, how I want to go scoop up these mamas and babies. And how it helps me with perspective about where I put my money.

Victor (14 years old) sitting by her babies.

Victor (14 years old) sitting by her babies.

IMPORTANT NOTE: My mom is in the states! She is here for six weeks before returning. Yay! The post above really puts some urgency into the women’s health ministry over there. (Women in Crisis is a separate, but complimentary ministry to the Women’s Health Clinic which my folks will be working on.) Both ministries (WIC and my parents can be supported financially through Next Generation Ministries.

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Cousins = Treasure

In our family, there are lots of spring birthdays. Six. Four in April, Two in May. (Jackson, Melissa, Anna and the new baby will be born in April…. and Felicity and Jordan were born in May) We decided to have a low key special cousin’s spring birthday day together. No present, just play time and kids’ choice of food (hot dogs for lunch, dutch babies for supper).

What we did:
We had lunch together (hot dogs for kids, lunchmeat for parents)
The dads took Jackson and Anna on a “date” to the store to shop for birthday presents… $10 limit.
We ate cupcakes and sang
We watched “Cars” and it was so good we all watched it.
We ate dutch babies (like german pancakes) for dinner and Chicken Javanese (for the adults)

Also, Melissa brought a scoby and a little kombucha and introduced me to kombucha brewing. Melissa’s two weeks from her due date and looking great!

Watching Cars!

Watching Cars!

Reading together

Reading together

Anna is the oldest of the cousins.

Anna is the oldest of the cousins.

Everybody but Jordan!

Everybody but Jordan!

Too bad it's dark.

Too bad it’s dark.

Jordan escapes!

Jordan escapes!

Cupcakes.... last day before gluten free and enjoyed by all.

Cupcakes…. last day before gluten free and enjoyed by all.

Hooray for cousins!  Hooray for birthdays!

Hooray for cousins! Hooray for birthdays!

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Letter for a First Born Daughter from her Dad

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Dear Anna,

You are my oldest daughter. As the oldest, you have many privileges and many responsibilities. I have many expectations and hopes for you. I was the oldest child in my family too and sometimes it was hard to be the oldest. Sometimes my mom and dad expected more from me than from my sister and that didn’t feel fair. I’m sure that sometimes you feel like I am not fair to you because I expect more from you than Maggie. But I want you to know that I am very proud of you. You are a good daughter and I can tell that God made you to be the oldest in our family. You are great at watching out for the younger kids and you are a good helper to mom and me. When you see things that we need and jump up to do them, you are being a servant. Jesus was a servant too. Isn’t it amazing that Jesus is King of everything, but He came as a servant? As oldest children we are leaders in our families, but being a godly leader means being a servant. That might be hard to understand but as you try it, you’ll see that it’s true.

Anna you are smart, and beautiful. Creative and funny. You care about how other people feel and you want to obey God. I love you. I am proud of you. And I am so glad God put you in my family.

Your Papa

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Spring Update

“I was thinking last night, after eating kefir, drinking dandelion tea and talking about gluten free, I think it’s time I get some Birkenstocks and a Volkswagen!”
~Brian

Spring is here with wind and rain and hail and sun and much warmer weather. (50′s and 60′s with a smattering of low 70′s) It’s still frosting many nights, but feels GOOD outside again.

News:

We are going to go on a house-wide gluten free diet. Sigh. Argh! And yeah. Some things will be easy, like…. umm… ok, no meal do I usually eat without gluten being involved. Pray for us? It’s really a big challenge. But we’re hoping it helps both Carolyn and Jordan. And I’m curious how it will affect the rest of the family.

Dirt – decided to purchase some nice garden soil for the raised bed we are hopefully putting together soon. It’s beautiful stuff. Had fun moving dirt/mud in the pouring rain. Really. But it was challenging to not be bogged down in the mud that is our natural soil. It’s standing water and so soft!

Compost – also purchased a big load of compost that we’ll spread here and there.

Mulch – wish I knew a cheap place to get sawdust. Anybody have tips for me? I need sawdust or shavings or wood chips for our blueberries. Think Swanson’s might be who we go with… just $13 per yard, but the delivery fee is $65. :-P

Fence – The fence is going up! And it looks great. Will take pictures and share later. Just a farm fence with galvanized corner posts, but it is going to be so wonderful to have the kids (Jordan and Carolyn!) and dog (Smoke an Razzie!) contained. I know our chickens are going to love free ranging in the pasture too, safe from the doggie.

Garden beds – We’re building one garden bed out of cinder blocks and spreading compost on one other area that has had black plastic over it. I am feeling that early spring hopefulness of a good crop of yummy food all summer!

Blueberries – We have 36 blueberry plants! 32 young ones and 4 woody, overgrown big ones. Well, they were overgrown til I pruned them pretty heavily, but they still have fewer buds than my little ones. I think if we are successful in getting them watered this summer, they will do very well and with one more year’s significant pruning, I think they’ll be lovely!

Chickens – it’s very sad, but just three days before the chicks were due to hatch (yesterday), my broody hen abandoned her clutch of eggs. Boo hoo! They are laying tons of eggs though and we are loving it! They are so colorful and fun.

Cloth diapers – I already wrote a post about the new cloth diapers for Jordan that I hope to arrive in the mail soon.

Neighbors – we have nice neighbors. Not sure why I put this in my list of things to talk about. Most of our neighbors have a lot to talk about the history of where we are living. I confess I am a bit overwhelmed and confused by it all, but it’s neat that there is still family here on the property from when it was homesteaded. The cistern on our property, for example, used to have long ditches running to it and it served multiple families for water.

Speaking of ditches and water, we need some ditches…. because we have water. Have we ever got water!

Flowering trees – can’t wait to plant more! We have one and it is so lovely. Driving around is real pretty right now with buds bursting into tiny green leaves or pink and white flowers.

Tree sale – comes up at the end of this month. Hope we find lots of good trees!

Homeschool – We’ve had a good year with homeschooling. The last two weeks I’ve been pretty derailed by normal for me life stresses. You know, update the budget, transition to gluten free, have Brian gone for three days, get sick, have kids sick, try to keep up with cooking and laundry and nose wiping and boo boo kisses, etc. etc. I’m trying to get in for a pediatric ENT appointment or 3 down in Portland as well as schedule an echocardiogram to check up on Jordan too. Anna has just about accomplished what she needs to for grade 1 in terms of academics and Maggie is well ahead of the game for a first year preschooler. I think we will go ahead and move her up a grade (she was born right on the age cutoff, so could do either) and have her in Kindergarten next year. She is silly and not able to focus at will… but she is very bright, memorizing Anna’s Sparky verses (for first graders) and learning to spell and read.

Preschool and kindergarten – looks like I’ve already covered this a bit! I’m also researching Jordan’s Kindergarten options for next year. I am ever so grateful for any and all resources that are out there to help overwhelmed mommies like me. I would dearly love to be Jordan’s one-on-one and full time teacher, but his needs are big and he’s not an only child…. so pride has to scoot over for help to come in.

Pools – We have one of these that I got on sale last month that we’re putting up in our yard in a couple months! It’s in a box in our garage and I am super excited! What’s the best way to help it warm up?

That’s it for a news flash! Back to figuring out where to get gluten free quick oats cheaply!

Jordan is learning how to hug!

Jordan is learning how to hug!

Super dad!

Super dad!

Down by the creek.  I stayed at the house with Jordan.  I have only been down there once.  Before we moved in.

Down by the creek. I stayed at the house with Jordan. I have only been down there once. Before we moved in.

LOVE seeing all four kids play together!

LOVE seeing all four kids play together!

Carolyn wants to be a Sparky.  (That is Anna's vest with all her awards from this year.  She has memorized lots!)

Carolyn wants to be a Sparky. (That is Anna’s vest with all her awards from this year. She has memorized lots!)

The playroom... where is Jordan!?

The playroom… where is Jordan!?

Jordan asleep in a box.

Jordan asleep in a box.

Adorable!

Adorable!

Before planting the blueberries.

Before planting the blueberries.

Tadpole eggs!

Tadpole eggs!

Doing spelling or typing homework.... looks like spelling.

Doing spelling or typing homework…. looks like spelling.

Sleep.

Sleep.

Papa needed a handicap.

Papa needed a handicap.

Put your back on a blue dot!?

Put your back on a blue dot!?

Twister is extra hard when Carolyn plays!

Twister is extra hard when Carolyn plays!

It's been raining a lot.  Need to remember to figure out how it's coming down to the basement chimney.

It’s been raining a lot. Need to remember to figure out how it’s coming down to the basement chimney.

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Rewards

I was having the girls do a chore today and talking about how if they did it with a good attitude there would be a reward. Anna asked, “What kind of reward papa?” I told her, “You know sweety, the best reward is to get to heaven and hear God say, ‘Well done thou good and faithful servant.’” To which she replied, “Oh, well, on earth my favorite reward is candy!”

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