Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Winter Magic

It only takes one entire roll of  masking tape to transform a boring living room floor into an expansive network of roads.
{You know that you are viewing authentic pictures from our home when you spy the floral couch in the background.}

We had fun building Lego road signs and buildings. I failed to get a photo of our town at its height of prosperity.

So, this is what we do when there is no snow to go out and romp in and when the mud is dangerously deep and it's been raining cats and dogs for 2 days straight and the sky is gray and the boys are bored and and and....

If you're disappointed to find that this post about winter magic does not include any beautifully sparkling snow, please be comforted in the knowledge that I share the same sentiment.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Winter Saturday Fun

Are you and your kids getting cabin fever?? Here's some pizazz to add to your Saturday morning pancakes. It will take extra time for mom and add unnecessary calories to your kid's meal. You may not want to do this every Saturday, but it will brighten an otherwise dreary day for the kids.

Snowmen Pancakes

Dust with powdered sugar to look like snow. Another option is to use cool whip instead of the 10x sugar. Unfortunately, I didn't have any on hand.

Decorate with whatever candy you have in your pantry. At any point Dad and Mom are free to opt out of the toppings. You know...set a good example for your kids to follow as they get older. :)  A healthier alternative would be to use dried fruit. Again, I didn't have any dried fruit on hand.

Now, continue to load on the calories.

Christopher says that the outstanding taste was worth every last calorie! :)

Happy Snowy Saturday!!!!!!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Favorite Moments in 2012 part II

Neighbor girl sharing her drink with my son through the fence

My sweet Josh boy taking a break from his biking to pick flowers for me

Those shining eyes and that pleased smile makes every moment of mothering worth it!

Sherry caring for a little boy at Kid's Club

Sleeping daughter with two Bibles on her lap

 Three brothers piled together in one bed.

Child swinging high = trust, freedom from fear

 I cherish every moment that I got to spend with these little tots at Kid's Club.

Documenting this kind of love....a mother's love and devotion for a child in need. Carrie is living out one of my dreams.

"Make a Difference Day"
 -one day each year when the community bands together to do volunteer work to  help local people in need. This group of young folks decended upon our neighbor's house scraping paint and painting.  I was blessed as I watched them being a blessing.

Early morning snuggles with my boys

Laughing with Christopher.  Ever since the moment I birthed this 9 lb. 6 oz. hunk of a boy, we've had a special bond. Words are inadequate.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Favorite Moments in 2012 (part I)

Marvelling at the beauty of the setting sun as it dances on the water with my daughter Angeline.

Two of my very most favorite people enjoying a quiet moment together at Lake Erie

Welcoming a new nephew into the world. Witnessing his big sister's first moments with him.

You're loved, Baby Brayden!!!

Trip to New York City with the Youth Group

Walking Brooklyn Bridge with my husband

OK. This one was staged. But I still love it because this lady is a dear friend of mine and this photo represents my heart for urban ministry.

My very adorable, tender-hearted nephew, Ian, kissing his kitten

to be continued....

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Romance of Home

 I fall more deeply in love with my home each passing year.
 I have not always been such a fan of home. Being a person of adventure, living off the adrenaline of dreams and always anticipating whatever it is that is just around the corner, being a social butterfly--- why waste away at home??
Especially as a teen I didn't really like to be at home. It wasn't that I disliked my family or that our home was an unsafe or uncomfortable place for me. No, not at all. The excitement of  meeting new people and going new places and playing a good game of volley ball was just way more appealing.
I carried some of the these sentiments with me into my 20's and subsequently into our marriage and our new home. Oh, I liked cozy evenings at home with my new husband quite a lot. But still, somehow the excitement and enchantment of life lay outside the door of our home. The romance of life was to be found at the concert hall or at the 5 star motel or fine restaurant. The two basic elements of romance included being away from home and spending money.
The issue is NOT that the afore mentioned activities or places are bad things or that they should be avoided at all cost.  I would still recommend any person or couple to indulge in these luxuries as the opportunity affords them.
The big issue was my own personal boredom with anything that seemed ordinary or routine. I was frustrated with this dull, gnawing issue.
Things began to change for me along the way. Slowly. Somehow. I cannot pin point a day, month or year when the change began. It was almost like I woke up one morning and realized that I LOVE being right here more than anywhere else in the world. When the realization of how much had changed inside me concerning my home slowly dawned on me, I felt like dancing a happy jig.
At one point last year I began counting the reasons why I love to be at home. Here are parts of a journal entry that I wrote nearly a year ago:
1. I am most comfortable at home. Comfort is important to me and continues to become increasingly important with each passing birthday.
a. My recliner is comfortable. It knows me. I know it. It knows just how to arrange itself to fit my anatomy with perfection.  I can rest my head comfortably on the headrest with our wondering if I'll get head lice from the person who sat on it before me.
b. Our bed is the most comfortable one I've slept in east of the Mississippi in the last 10 years. No doubt in my mind. I sleep like a baby here at home, especially snuggled down in our new flannel sheets.
c. I love our antique bath tub. It's big. That's why I like it. And it's sturdy. Some of the newer bath tubs that I step into feel like they can barely support my weight. My body alone fills the tub so that there's not much room for any real depth of water. (Honestly, I am not a super sized woman.)  Back to our old tub. It's not a jacuzzi by any stretch of the imagination, but it's perfectly big enough for a nine month pregnant woman to take a nice long bubble bath.
d. There is no one to try to impress in our home and that is very comfortable and the epitome of freedom for me. I have my husband deceived into thinking I'm a goddess of some kind no matter what I am wearing or what I'm doing. My kids are still young enough that I'm pretty awesome in their eyes. (they don't get out that much, all to my benefit) Bring on the ugly fleece jacket and sweatpants.

2. The dirt in my home is our dirt. I'm most comfortable with our own dirt and grime. It's comforting to know that the hair in the drain came from someone I love and not from Mr. John Doe who paid to use this room just several hours previous to my stay. Even the cleanest of motels slightly gross me out.

3. The resources of home are nearly endless.
a. All of my favorite reading materials are at my finger tips. All my old journals and photo albums are easily accessible. Medical records can be pulled up in a moment.
b. Our refrigerator is generally stocked with a good choice of food.
c. The coffee pot is always ready to brew another pot of something tasty. And I like the creamer that I keep on hand better than the half and half that most restaurants serve with their coffee.
d. I am pretty good at making lattes myself.
e. I prefer my own mug and eating utensils over the ones that are offered at most motels or restaurants. A styrofoam cup really doesn't do much for romance.

4. My house is already customized to my personal preferences.
a. Have you ever noticed how music can really break or make the mood? My house. My music. My volume. All to fit my mood.
b. Certain styles are just obnoxious. Case and point being a particular steak house that I visited with my husband once upon a time. He loved the food and raved about it for days afterward. I liked my food too, it really was exceptionally good---but the country and western decor and atmosphere almost choked me. (Please, take no offense if you enjoy western style decor, I just don't find it personally pleasing)

5. Home is where I have invested much of my time, energy and passion in the last 10 years. I've yelled. I've cried. I've prayed. I've sang. I've hosted. I've babysat. I've birthed a baby here. I've worked. I've played. I've loved. I've been loved. I've sat in silence. These walls no longer shake and tremble at my absurdities. I like it here.

Even after counting the joys of home, I still like excitement. I still like to "go away" more than many people. The unknown still beckons me. And thrills me. But my heart has found rest and joy here at home. I have grown in my appreciation for routine. I've found comfort in familiarity.
I feel like I understand, at least in part,  why my 93 year old neighbor lady won't hear of moving into a nursing home or into a different community with her son.  I understand more why my mom always fought hard for evenings at home with the family. I can see why it's like pulling molars for my Grandma to leave her home to go on a 3 hours trip. I'm just 31 years old and the love of home and hearth is growing on me. These ladies all have a much longer history and romance with their own homes than what I have with my own.
If by now I have you convinced that I am a homebody who resists the suggestion of flying to another country for a week or two....I hate to break the news, but you're wrong. I still love to roam and I have a feeling that I'll likely always be a bit foot loose. One perk about being away from home for me is the anticipation of returning to my favorite place, my home.