I AM still here….I think

I know, I know…I keep disappearing.  Who knew, things are just plan crazy around here.  My to-do list is longer than any notebook created to house it and my ability to accomplish any noticeable amount of it during what should be the kid’s 2-hour rest/nap time seems to be nonexistent.  We’ll get there though.  Being back into the routine of school is helpful and new systems are being implemented.

So far our set routine for school has been pretty successful.  Well, that is as long as everyone cooperates!  This means Pretty Girl keeps herself occupied with the loads of “school toys only” stuff I have compiled, Littlest Man sleeps through the 2-hour stretch it takes us to get through school, and BroBro is efficient in what school work he is given.  Anybody else see the problem I see?  Yep, that very seldom happens!  (insert a good belly laugh here)  So in all honesty, our school routine sometimes works but it is always a work in progress.

All jokes aside, I think maybe, just maybe our house is just most often a crazy mad house and there are days I wonder what in this world am I doing by attempting to teach and parent at the same time.  It sure doesn’t take me long, however to remember exactly why I am doing it.  Teaching and parenting is hard enough done together but even more difficult done apart.  So craziness it will be and routines we will revise, and new systems we will implement.  The day’s craziness always ends in the beauty of these three precious kids.

Just look at those sweet faces!  Craziness, you ask?  Yes, craziness!

See, thing number 1,907,976 on list, DONE – “publish a blog post” – Ok, it’s just a mamma’s heart and may be a bit boring but it is done…better stuff to come.  🙂

Linking up with “One Beautiful Thing

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Oh, the Tough Life of a 2-year Old!

No I haven’t dropped off the face of the Earth, just buried under it.  July has had me busy with a wonderful garden bounty.  If you look really close you just might see zucchini, cucumbers, and beans coming out of my ears.  Oh, and onions and peppers too.  Sadly the tomato crop has been a bit more reluctant.

But while my hands are still full with canning, cooking, and freezing  I am completely aware that fall is just around the corner.  My mind and to-do lists are loaded with all things school and the sports schedule has been put on the calendar.  This picture was taken today just moments after arriving at BroBro’s soccer practice.  Anybody want to add their own caption?

 

And if you need just a little bit more information…

One Beautiful Thing!  Even with the tears aflowin’!

And for those of you just needing to know..ahem Grandparents…it was only moments later that the tears stopped flowing and the much happier state of being once again took over.   You know this couldn’t last too long!

 

Linking up with One Beautiful Thing

Days Spent with Friends and a Gator

When Daddy went out to let the dog in on Friday night and a heard the sound of a train (when no train should be nearby) then I knew we just might be in for a wild ride.  We only spent 10 minutes in the basement (even though it felt like 50) and barely got any rain but as we all know time means nothing when it comes to the weather.

Our electricity flickered, was on, flickered some more and was out.  When we emerged from the basement, all seemed ok.   Houses around us were dark but with not fallen trees or structure damage the electricity should be up and running again in no time.

A few peeks at Facebook a couple of hours later and I started to think that just maybe I was a little bit wrong.  The straight-line winds that ripped through the area did do damage and ended up leaving an unprecedented number of people without power.  The damage was extensive and repair and cleanup was estimated to take days.

So what do you do when you are one of the ones without power and water and the temperatures reach 100 degrees or more for several days in a row?  You invade the space of those few who do have electricity!

So for the last several days we have spent time with dear friends.  We have talked, laughed, and enjoyed the company of each other.  The kids have played, played and played some more.   They have been in water, colored with chalk, and raced marbles.  On one particular night they pulled out the Gator.  It was so much fun watching them take turns driving, riding, and handing off the walkie talkie.

Thank you Lord for beautiful friends and the extra time you gave us to spend time with them.

Linking up with One Beautiful Thing

The Newest Blueberry Picking Experience

Each year the kids and I go blueberry picking with my dad.  Because we pick on a farm only a couple of miles from the house in which I grew up and because the blueberries are owned by childhood family friends, the trip is always full of memories.

Memories of the past and yes I most definitely will say memories in the making.

Even though this trip has only been taken 4 years, with kids in tow and cell phone service non exsistant in this area, there is always a story to be told.  One time it was the dead car battery.  Another time it was my dad as a no-show (remember kids in tow).  Once there was a flat tire with very few houses in sight and then there was that stop in the middle of the road.  This year there was to be no exception.

The road that we take to go blueberry picking is quite curvy…ok extremely curvy…more like a roller coaster that they place on the GPS system and call a road but the fastest and easiest route to get to where we are going.  We have never had any definitive experiences with kids getting car sick.  Well, there was that one time we went blueberry picking when Pretty Girl did get a little sick but I was confident that it had more to do with the fact that she was still rear-facing and had been hurriedly shoveled cold yogurt right before heading on the road than it did with her inability to handle the curvy road.  Still, I was a little cautious for her, keeping one eye on the road and one on her as we took each and every turn.  I was ready to stop at the very first sign of Pretty Girl getting sick in the car….and stop we did…3 times in fact….just to get out of the car, walk around a bit, and get some fresh air…and 3 more times for much more messier reasons.  Note to self and any others who may be in need of knowing, when a 2 year old tries to hand off her very favorite, carry-with-her-everywhere stuffed animal to her big brother then be prepared!

On one of these stops I had left my driver’s side door open in a very feeble attempt to quickly get to Pretty Girl and stop what was occurring at that very moment.  Of course with no success, I started the clean up process.  Out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a black object sprinting from behind me, jumping into the drivers’s side door and perching itself on the passenger side.  So just what does a mother do when she is cleaning up a not-so-nice-mess, with 3 kids in the car, on a curvy mountain side, with no cell phone service, and a wild animal in the car?  She screams!  Well, that’s exactly what I did…Actually it was more of a half scream and hold-my-breath, what in this world am I going to do now, deal but scream it still was.

So what was this wild animal you ask?  A dog!  A small, frisky, apparently ready-for-a-ride dog.  What in this world was I going to do with the dog in my car?  I stopped to the clean-up process and moved to the passenger side door.  By the time I did, BroBro had voiced “Boo” and the energetic hitch-hicker was off, out of the car and headed up the long driveway we had apparently pulled into in my feverish attempt to pull off the side of the road. Ok, dog out, back to clean up.

So again, a blueberry trip with a story.  And since I did not have the senses about me at the time to snap a picture of the dog and nobody wants a picture of the mess, then those fun peaceful blueberries are my Most Beautiful Things.  I do love those fresh blueberries….and added to that the memories from the past that they bring back…and the memories that they continue to create.

Linking up with One Beautiful Thing

Beautiful Summer Night

Did I mention that I LOVE photography?  Did I also mention that I know so very little about how to get those amazing pictures?  And did I happen to point out that I WANT to get better.

I am working on it, every chance I get.  So last night when we loaded the kids into the van and crammed in the stroller and bikes for a bike ride  my camera was right by my side.

I will have to say it was quite a sight.  Me, taking numerous test shots in order to get the exposure just right.  Getting a few shots in only to have to change the settings because the sun was setting AND my (not-so-eager-to-slow-down) subjects were quickly moving in and out of wooded areas.  And best of all my obvious lack of skill as I pushed the stroller with one hand and held the camera with the other all while running to keep up with the bikes that were moving much faster than I out in front.  Did you catch the part about having to constantly change my settings?

I am not the best at descriptive writing but I sure hope you can get the picture…professional photographer I am not.

With all of that fooling around this is one of the few shots I actually got

When I finally got tired of chasing the bikes, (reminder, stroller in one hand and camera in the other) I slowed to a walk.  I stopped as I crossed a small bridge and captured this quiet shot.  My only wish is that I could have also captured the beautiful noises that went along with it; the soft trickle of the water, the crickets in the grass, and the faint sounds of birds as they were saying good-night.

And finally, still trailing behind, I captured the picture at the top with the beautiful sunset.  Oh, what a magnificent painter my God is!

Now, since I have no idea how to take a good picture of a sunset this particular part of the evening was no different than the other.  Shot after shot was taken with a change in setting here and a change there.  I am pretty sure that I have no idea which is the best aperture and shutter speed for getting just the right shot, but chances are, somewhere in multitude of shots taken I must be getting close closer.

Thank you Father above for the many beautiful things seen on this beautiful summer night.

Now off to find out how to get the best sunset shot.

——————

Linking up with Brooke at One Beautiful Thing

Busy Bees

Rest time hit today and I decided to pick up the camera and head outside.  In the herb garden the rosemary has bloomed and there was a great number of bees busily moving from one bloom to another indulging in the sweetness of the plant’s nectar.  It’s not very often that I will hang around a bunch of bees but these guys were so pre-occupied that I knew I could hang without causing too  much distraction.  I watched and photographed them for quite some time.  As I watched I was reminded of all of the pieces in God’s beautiful creation and significance that each plays on the other.  These bees were busy!  They were moving back and forth from bloom to stem back to bloom and onto leaves.  They barely stopped.  They had a job to do and a limited time to do it.  They were following the pattern that God set up for them many many years ago.  No distractions, just the playing out of that which is before them.  It was one beautiful thing to watch.

Sometimes I feel like the bee.  I am always busy buzzing around from one thing to another.  I always feel like I have things to do and am always strapped to get them done in a limited amount of time.  However, unlike the bee I am not just following the pattern of nature.  I am given the choices.

I read an excerpt from a book the other day that pointed out that we, as humans, are the only species that have to ask “what should I eat?”.  While it was food that I was researching at the time, this statement really made me think about us humans and the abundances of choices that are in front of us for everything we do.

For all other animals there are no “choices”.  There is simply the “what is”.  The rabbit does not look at the abundance of my garden vegetables in front of him and contemplate which one he wishes to devour first nor does the blue bird spend a huge amount of time strategizing in which tree he will build his nest.  They just do what God created them to do.

Now think about us.  Just visualize the aisle of a grocery store and the immense number of salad dressings that exist and one can go crazy with the choices that we have to make.  That’s just salad dressing?  As humans, we have to make choices on just about everything.  What will we eat?  When will we eat?  How much will we eat?  How will we spend out money?  How will we earn that money that money that we spend?  What time will we go to bed?  What time will we wake up?  How will we do the laundry?  What detergent will we use when we do it?  What will we wear today?  What will our children wear today?  What book will we pick up?  Will we pick up a book?  How will be spend our time?

Those are just the simple ones.  We are also confronted each and every moment with even greater choices that impact who we are as individuals and who those around us are as individuals.  Wow, choices come with some great responsibility.

I love choices.  I like that I don’t have to follow the mold that is set up by those around me.  I like that I can do what I want to to do, essentially when I want to do it.  But I also want to remember the bees.  The bees do what is natural.  They gather the nectar and pollenate the plants.  They mate and lay eggs.  They even occasionally sting.  Their goal is for survival and work to accomplish that by doing nothing but what God intended for them to do.

Yes, my goal is different. My goal is to live out the glory of God.  But, I am not so sure that all the choices I make and all of the busyness I create for myself exemplifies that true plan.   Maybe, there are days that I need to set back, let nature lead the way and get busy like the bee; forgetting all of the choices that are in front of me and simply let God set the pattern for how things should go.  Beautiful busy bees!

FYI, Now I have an itching for a macro lens.  I have an interest to get even closer to those busy bees.

Linking up with Brooke at One Beautiful Thing

BOYS!

What are little boys made of?

Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails

That’s what little boys are made of !

Boys!  Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.  What a beautiful thing!

I am not exactly sure what God was thinking when he gave me two boys (and just one wild and crazy tag-along-with-the-boys girl).  I mean, did he do it to see how I would handle the completely unknown?  Did he do it to teach me a lesson?  Or  did he do it to just get one of those good belly-rolling laughs.  

Don’t get me wrong, I am not overly girly myself.  I do occasionally get my nails done and I love wearing nice clothes but my makeup box only has a few items in it and I seldom wear perfume.   Growing up, I  played in the creek, made mud dinners, and jumped in cow pies (let me know if you need an explanation on this one).  But I also grew up an only child.

For me there were times of running and playing and wild and crazy fun but then there where times of calm and quiet.  Times when there were no other sounds around except for the sounds that I, myself was making.  Times when I didn’t feel it necessary to jump and romp and stand on my head.  Times when quiet was a refreshing part of the day.

I don’t think boys have those times.  I don’t think they are equipped with the need to sit or lay low.  I don’t think quiet or calm is part of a vocabulary they will ever be able to understand.  They are active and rambunctious.  They like to jump and run around.  They are great balls of energy packaged in ready-to-explode packages.

Yep, I am not sure what God was thinking when he handed over two boys but I am sure that he most likely doesn’t go one day without one of those really good laughs. I don’t know if I will ever completely figure out this boy thing but I sure am trying and while I do that I will continue to savor every wild and crazy moment.  Snips, snails, and puppy dog tails.  Thank you, Lord for your blessings!  I have two beautifully and perfectly made boys!

Linking up with Brooke at One Beautiful Thing

One Beautiful Thing