Monday, June 30, 2008

Heaven....I'm in Heaven....

Can you hear that old tune? Its running through my head several times a day these days. Summer has finally arrived here in the Northwest, and I like it! I like it A LOT! I had a perfectly dreamy weekend, starting out Friday going on a letterbox hunt with my friend Anna and her kids. So we had 7 kids with us, ages 5 mos to 8 yrs on our little hunt. What's letterboxing you say? Well, its pretty cool. Folks who want to play this game all across the country have hidden these little boxes in various nooks and crannies in the woods and around town, and then posted their hunt and clues on the web, so any seekers, can find the little box. Then you rubber stamp and sign the little guest book they have in there to proclaim that you are now part of the brave hunters who have found that box. We went way too far at first, and one of my big girls got into a patch of nettles (ouch), but we persevered and were victorious in finding the hidden box! It was great fun!

Oh, and let me backtrack! I received my new favorite book from my very favorite author, my hero, my mentor...MaryJanes new Outpost book! Talk about dreamy! Oh my goodness! If you have kids, and/or if you want to be more outdoorsy but don't know where to start, or if you want to start treating yourself better with more fun, adventure and beauty in your life, you must get this book! It is a little slice of heaven itself.

Ok, back to the weekend. The big girls and I went strawberry picking at our local Strawberry farm on Saturday. The girls were dying with heat at 10:30 when it hit a whopping 75 already! LOL. Anyone outside of the northwest knows this is not even close to being hot, but if you were born here, this is pushing the upper limit of the acceptable temperature level of 68-75. I was loving it. We picked 2 flats of berries, and I just savored every moment watching them pick (and eat), the gorgeous sunshine, the smell of the fields. Aaaaaaah....Then, we went over to a gal's house from the Farmgirls group, and she taught us how to make the most yummy jam ever and also how to can it. Canning and jam making is something I've been threatening to do for a few years now, but for some reason have been totally intimidated by it! Seeing someone else do it made it a lot easier. So, I spent most of my Sunday in the kitchen (thank goodness for air was 95 outside!), making strawberry and strawberry-rhubarb jam, a strawberry rhubarb pie, and strawberry sorbet! Yee Haw, I AM a domestic goddess aren't I? Seriously though, I loved being busy in the kitchen really putting that strawberry harvest to work rather than get moldy on the counter like we do most years after we over pick, and then I'm too scared to make jam and can it! I kept thinking of all the women who came before me who just did this as a regular part of life. It was so satisfying to know that I am "putting up" the harvest for the Fall. How good is it going to be on a cold, rainy morning to be using that yummy jam and remember that hot weekend in June when we made it? I love it.

Here are a couple of shots from the photographic debut of big girl #2 (on the blog at least). I am constantly amazed at what these guys come up with on the camera.

How cool is that? She said she wanted the berry to be the center of the flower she had drawn. Cool beans, man. And here's another one by the same big girl 2.

Is that gorgeous or what?

Then check out what big girl 1 made for dinner tonight. One of her chores this year is going to be making dinner once a week, and this is what she chose tonight, from the Spatulatta kids cookbook...

Now that's one hot dog, isn't it? There's a "pig in a blanket" type thing going on in the body part. She had fun making them, and we had fun eating them.

And here's how I am feeling these days...(never mind the wrinkles please)

If you look carefully into my eye, you can see the photographer reflected back at you. Cool, huh?

Monday, June 23, 2008

My Heart Melted When...

....I saw this bowl of strawberries from our very own garden.

...I found this picture on my camera, by the biggest girl. She has an incredibly artistic eye. She likes to take the camera out during her free time, and I'm always amazed at what I find later.

...the girls picked these wildflowers for me.

...I saw this, instead of TV watching, on a summer's afternoon.

...when they all came in, one by one, until we had quite a pile.

The only thing missing, was the photographer herself...

...when I heard the hushed sound of the biggest girl reading to the next biggest girl after I had kissed them goodnight. And it just about burst when I heard the same "next biggest girl" reading to her big sister. If only I could somehow capture moments like that for you all too.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A few days worth of happy things

Well, we're crawling out from under the rock of baby having the stomach flu, AND Dad having something like the stomach flu, but much, much worse! 4 days of "symptoms", horrible abdominal pain, and Dad on the couch or in bed all the time. Poor guy! He's on the mend now, but it did put a damper on our Father's day plans. :( Still, we've had lots of good moments lately too.

Here's how Sunday morning started out...snuggles on the couch with sisters and brother...

I know she doesn't look it, but babygirl is about to throw up in about 2 minutes after this moment. :)

Anyhoo, moving on to other happy moments...

The sun was out and it was warm, so some people used our little water table to cool off...

While that was happening, this was happening...

Notice the dog, noticing what's going on. This is our duck. He's totally obnoxious. He thinks he's quite the ladies man with our flock of 5 hens, and he hits on them relentlessly if you know what I mean. He may have to go. 3 of them aren't laying eggs anymore, they are so stressed out by his constant attempts to pick them up! Remember Pepe Le-Peu the skunk from Bugs Bunny, relentlessly pursuing the poor little kitty/skunk? Well, he's the duck version of him. He's actually giving himself a bath in the dogs bowl. Here he is when he's all finished primping...

"Don't hate me because I'm beautiful." "I make this look gooooood." "Don't hate the play-a, hate the game" I'm sure he's thinking at least one of these thoughts.

Tonight after dinner, it was such a beautiful evening, I took the kids on a walk/bike ride. It was sunny, but I was still wearing a sweater. Hmph. I won't complain though, since the air was just a bit crisp, and the air had that summery, forest smell that we all just love. Here it is from my point of view...

Topped it off with some rock throwing into the creek, one of the boy's favorite things...

Can't complain about the neighborhood either...

So, there you have it. The past few days for us. School's out for one, the other out tomorrow. We found out who our teachers will be next year, and everybody's got who they wanted! yay! We even found out that my friend Anna's girl will be in class with my girl next year! Another yay!

Look out summer, here we come!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hello again

Another week done, many more blessings. The girls have just 3 more days of school, and then its summertime! Though you wouldn't know it by the weather. It hadn't cracked 60 at all in the past couple of weeks, except for a few hours late yesterday afternoon and this afternoon. *sigh* I do remember often feeling rather impatient with the Northwest weather every June, but this is ridiculous! I was going to post a picture of the wool sweater I was wearing for most of the week, but didn't get to it. So you can imagine my favorite hot pink turtleneck cableknit wool sweater being worn around this week, when it should be deeply buried in my closet! I'm not bitter....much.

So anyway, I'm reading another fabulous book, "The Quotidian Mysteries", subtitled Laundry, Liturgy, and Women's Work by Kathleen Norris, an author I've loved for her realistic, thoughtful essays about finding her spiritual path back to the church in her 30's. Quotidian basically means dailiness, ordinary, menial, etc
. This is a wonderful little book, just 108 pages long but full of deep wisdom. I find myself wanting to underline whole sections of the book, and then I realize its really just the whole book I want to remember. She talks about finding God through the rituals of daily, ordinary living, that in fact, He is speaking through these very things, wanting us to find him there. That we all can sometimes battle "acedia", spoken of by monks for centuries, or the feeling of listlessness, despair or simply annoyance and resentment of the daily tasks of life, and yet we can find our greatest peace by simply embracing these moments as a kind of liturgy for our lives. I think so many moms battle this everyday, the feelings of why am I cleaning the house when its only going to get dirty again in 5 minutes, or the resentment at the ever present laundry pile. Anyway, its another book I highly recommend! I got it from my library and its a short book, but I find myself lingering over it, really wanting to soak it in.

Here are some pictures I found on my camera after giving the eldest daughter a turn...another photographer in the making!

Isn't he a handsome fella?

Oh! And the 2nd eldest daughter has lost her first tooth this morning which met with squeals of joy after days and days of asking how much longer til it comes out?

We kicked off the weekend tonight by making homemade pizza and watching "The Water Horse", which was a lot like Free Willy except, you know, it was a loch ness monster instead. Still the kids enjoyed it, and the pizza was yummy. Tomorrow we're going to Fall City Days, a little street fair at the little town down the road from our little town. The girls and I are getting haircuts for our girls day at the beauty salon, and then the biggest has her choir recital tomorrow night. Sunday, Dad's day, we'll have a super good extra yummy breakfast, probably a hike, and then Dad's favorite lasagna for dinner. Mmm, mmm good.

Have a great weekend y'all!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A Photographer is Born

And it isn't me...I decided to give the boy a few minutes with the camera the other day, thinking it would give him some creative time not having to do with a Superman costume, and maybe it would keep him busy on a rainy day for at least a few minutes. Little did I know, he was about to discover a new obsession! Here is some of his best work, so far...

Not bad, eh? He has taken so many, its kinda funny. He's woken up the past few days asking if he can start taking pictures! Today we went on a photographic ABC scavenger hunt, you know A for apple, B for books, C for couch..I'll spare you the all the pictures, but it was really fun, and he was into it!

Still thinking through the implications of the book I told you about, The Irresistible Revolution. Wow. I finished it the other night, and I think it may have changed my life. Seriously. I am seeing what Jesus really said with fresh eyes, and my mind is kind of reeling with the fact that I am going to have to change my mind and behavior in lots of ways. I'm excited to read the author's next book "Jesus for President", to see what he else he's got to say.

I put a couple of new links in my favorite places. Check 'em out.