Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Springtime Miscellany

Spring is getting away from me so fast. We took a few days off last week as a sort of spring break, and it was so nice. So very nice. I could be done with school right about now, and I'm sure the kids would agree. I told them today we've got to make one final push to the finish line because the end is in sight.

It's been so pretty outside. It is almost always pretty around here, and I wonder why I deserve such loveliness! Even on the odd day when it might be a little cold and glum, it just makes for a nice change. Still, I feel that pretty days shouldn't be wasted. Lately I have felt a pull to get out on my beach cruiser, or to steal away to a new hiking spot or strawberry patch. I've tried hard to set up my week so that we can do a little something along those lines soon.

But today was laundry. I had neglected it a little too long, and before the boys had an excuse for going commando-style I figured it was time to tackle that smelly pile. No wait, I mean mountain. I asked everyone to empty out their laundry baskets by the washer, and they thought it was funny that their piles of damp (shall I say steaming?) laundry made a perfectly formed mountain. A literal mountain of work for me. But tonight it is mostly done. And I roasted a chicken with an abundance of vegetables, which left me plenty of leftovers for a night off tomorrow. I'm thinking that tomorrow afternoon should be enjoyed outdoors.

I'm making an attempt to go back a bit since I feel I've missed documenting so much of our springtime so far. I've had a bunch of issues with my camera since mid-March, so I only have a handful of (mostly bad) pictures to pick form. I've had to pull out my manual many times trying to figure out what has gone awry, but I'm hopeful that the issues are being resolved and I'm thankful to have learned a few technical tricks in the process. I am so not technical, so it's always a little miraculous to me that I'd learn anything.

So anyway, here, a little springtime miscellany...



Strawberries

They have been our springtime treat, and I've bought at least half a flat each week. Still haven't picked our own though.



The ladies at the stand are getting to know us. They are so cute; makes me wish I spoke a little Spanish. I love how they wrap our box in newspaper because it makes me think of a bouquet of flowers wrapped the same way.




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Olivia's Birthday

My camera just had to start giving me problems a several days before her birthday, and I struggled all day with dark (almost black) pictures. I was able to salvage just a few...


She wanted strawberries for her birthday, and Michael helped me assemble the cake. It seems to have become a sort of tradition on her b-day that he helps me with her cake.


We had a simple little garden party...


And she wanted the mustaches...



A regular lighter wasn't enough in the breeze, and Jon discovered that neither was a torch...




She has some sweet friends who spent the day with us. The afternoon was spent getting into costume and making a movie... the cutest thing. They included the boys, too, which I thought was really sweet. They played games and finished the evening off in the jacuzzi, then a sleep-over.

Thirteen. I thought entering the teenage years would be a bigger deal to me, but now that it has arrived I think it's going to be pretty fun...

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Boys

They make me want to pull my hair out some days. Well, not quite. Just almost. I find myself laughing when maybe I should be scolding. Or uptight when I should relax and enjoy them for who they are, dirt and bugs and all.

Below, brothers having a conversation on the hammock after they exhausted themselves seeing who could flip the other guy out while staying on...

 


A couple weeks ago I found Jacob with hands full of band aid wrappings, and mumbling, "I'm never going to the grove again in shorts." He's always cut up. And dirty. Even after a shower I am often times scrubbing his face and neck. He tells me, "Mom, it's because I'm a boy. I'm supposed to be like this."

In a way, I kind of agree. 


The boys always have bugs for me. In fact, this one may have come my way courtesy of Jon. I guess it's better than a snake...



Tonight Andrew was drying the dishes with me and proceeded to tell me that he doesn't want to get married when he grows up, and that he really would like to have kids. Ignoring the obvious problem with his wish, I asked him, "Don't you think Dad and I make marriage seem like a good thing to you?"

He answered, "Well, it's all the love stuff," (and he rolled his eyes and stuck out his tongue) "...and kissing someone that's not even in your family," (gag!) "...It's just so gross! I don't even like girls. I can't imagine kissing one!" He made a few more gagging sounds and pretends he has chills running up his spine, and then in the same breath, "Oh look! A moth! I LOVE moths!"

Boy-oh-boy, is his world going to change one day!


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Books

We are always listening to audio books in the car. It's a wonderful way for kids to experience great literature from a young age, and it allows us to use our time well even as we drive. It is purposeful entertainment. Plus, I certainly do not have the time to do all the read-alouds that would be recommended during childhood. Neither could I ever read with the right accents for the given time periods and settings of various books. Audio books are very engaging.

We just finished up Heidi, by Johanna Spyri. I would say that this has been one of my favorite children's book since the time my mom first read it to my siblings and I when I was around 6 years old. A few years ago my mom gave us the hardcover copy that she read to us, and I love it's beautiful images and the memories it brings back. It's a little treasure to me. My kids love looking through it now too.

We just started Across Five Aprils, by Irene Hunt. I have never read it before, but the kids are really being drawn in. We should be picking up a little history in the process.

In my spare time, here and there, I am reading Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, by Paul David Tripp. I recommend it. I'm also reading Boys Adrift, by Leonard Sax after a friend mentioned it in conversation. It is a secular book, but valuable if you can ignore the idea that we evolved from monkeys. I read a review by Al Mohler who highly recommended it for parents of boys. (Another good book for parents of boys is Boys Should be Boys, by Meg Meeker. It's common sense backed up by research, and gave me confidence in my own intuition, reminding me that the "norm" for raising boys is not always best.)

Outside of school reading, Olivia is reading Oliver Twist, and Michael is reading The Magician's Nephew and listening to The Fellowship of the Ring.


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School Days

We are still working hard, but we're getting bored with the routine of school days. Springtime is the best because we are wrapping up some of our course work and have more time for field trips and projects. A couple weeks ago I took my kids to visit an adobe, then the unexpected heat of the day took us back home by way of the beach...




Taking turns taking pictures with me... In every picture Olivia tried to take of Michael, he looks like he just can't wait to get on with his exploration.






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Fitness

I believe in the importance of fitness at every age, for so many reasons. But I wish I had more time, energy, and desire. It's not easy to get in the habit of it, or to continue regardless of interruptions from vacations, injuries, illnesses, etc. But I keep trying.

The kids and I are wrapping up a squat and ab challenge this week. We've worked up to 250 squats without breaks, and over 500 abdominal exercises. Accomplishing our goal is a good feeling, and so is the muscle soreness because it tells me I'm getting stronger. 

I've played crab tag with my kids before bed a couple nights this week. It's a great exercise for all the muscles women like to tone, and great fun for the kids. I really want my kids to remember me playing with them, the way I remember my mom zooming down snowy hillsides with me.

We have also started another season of flag football, but I wish that didn't involve as much siting for me! 

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Spring Break

Jon has been doing a lot of traveling recently, so his workload back here is extra heavy. Sometimes wives help their husbands best by informing them they need to take a little time away from work to just be with the family. I love my hard working husband, and I wouldn't trade him for anything, but there's a flip side to always working! Sometimes I have to remind him that-- hello! we need you too! And so we had a fabulous day at the beach with him last week!


My camera, again, was making it impossible to get the right exposure, so I don't have pictures of Jon and the kids out in the waves on surf and boogie boards. I am the odd one out when it comes to owning  a wet suit, so I watched from the warmth of the toasty sand. Later in the afternoon we saw the spray of whales passing by, and out there in the distance among those sprays was a guy on paddle board. I have wanted to try out paddle boarding, but I'm not sure whether I'd be terrified or exhilarated paddling around directly above a group of whales.



We all love going to the beach, but Michael is especially fond of it. This week he has talked about wanting to live on a boat. I don't think he has any thoughts of a wife yet, either. Then again, God may be preparing a girl who would just love to live out on a boat with him. Michael said he would come in to shore just once a week to get supplies.



Jon getting his workout. I did too that day. This particular beach has 131 step up to the small parking area (which makes it a wonderfully quiet beach). I went up those stair 6 time that day, usually carrying bags and beach supplies, and I was thankful for all the squats we had been doing!





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Encouragement



“Every promise of Scripture is a writing of God, which may be pleaded before Him with this reasonable request, 'Do as Thou hast said.' The Heavenly Father will not break His Word to His own child.” 
― Charles H. Spurgeon




I want to be a woman of prayer.  I am a girl of little strength and lacking in much ability, but I have a big God who welcomes my petitions and requests. I am learning to trust His timing.

And I am learning that God does not despise the one who keeps coming to Him with the same requests. He does not mind being pestered; in fact, it pleases Him. And-- get this-- His is glorified in our asking for big things because we understand that He is a powerful God. So I ask, again and again, for big things from my big God.

Salvation. It is nothing but the ultimate miracle. Plead for it on behalf of those you love. Jesus came to SEEK and SAVE the lost.


Happy spring! May it bring new life!


~Katherine






1 comment:

  1. life has been full lately with barely a minute to sit. Amelia wants me to just hold her so we are sitting in 'our' chair and listening to music. i pulled up your blog to read and loved it all. I always love it. We read Across Five Aprils when we were little. My mom read to us so much. Reading memories are some of my favorites.

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