Day 4: 10 Little Penguins

IMG_4206This morning one of my child care kids and I made these gloves together.  10 little penguins!  She loves penguins so I thought it would be the perfect craft for her.

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Day 1: Ice

I am once again doing the December Photo Project.  Here is Day 1!

1-2015-12-01My child care kids have been fascinated by ice lately.  This morning we made this ice wreath we could hang outside.  As the temps rise throughout the day, we can watch it melt.

Here in our corner of Oregon, we get very little snow.  Most winters we hover around the 40’s and 50’s.  This past week we dipped low into the 20’s and puddles from previous rainstorms froze.  Finding ice chunks in our little pond and backyard puddles was a treat and kept the kids entertained.

The winters here differ from the frigid northeast and Midwest winters I experienced as a kid.  Saying good-bye to the lake effect snow and shoveling the driveway nine years ago was not very difficult.  I am not a huge “snow” person.

But I embrace the cool, crisp winter air.  It reminds me of God’s handiwork with the changing of the seasons.  There is beauty in the dark winter mornings and the cold afternoons.  I may not be much of a winter person, but I do appreciate this time of year.

 

December 11: Tree Trimming

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The first picture is trimming the tree in 2006 which was our first Christmas in Oregon…our first Christmas in this house.  Our oldest who is in the picture was fifteen months.  Now trimming the tree in 2014. Still in Oregon.  Still love Oregon.  Same house.  Same living room with more furniture.  Same Christmas lights.  The child in the picture is our youngest who turned five last month.  Where has the time gone?  Is it really our ninth Christmas here?  Blessed beyond belief.

December 3: Rest

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This sweet girl slept in this morning curled up with her white tiger.  After having a cough that lasted for eleven days, the doctor prescribed antibiotics.  Which helped with the cough but left her woozy and sleepy.

I am reminded Christmas is the time of gatherings, parties, events, and special worship services.  Unfortunately it can be the time for coughs, colds, and stomach bugs too.  When we push ourselves too hard our immune systems can become compromised and we are way more susceptible to the yucky stuff.  When we finally have “time to rest” our bodies revert to sickness.

I laugh at myself because I was telling a friend back in September we rarely get sick.  My son did not miss a single day of kindergarten last year.  We had maybe one or two colds.  No one got a stomach bug that passed through the house.  Now even with flu shots, promoting good hand washing, and disinfecting regularly, we have had stuff both in late September and then a few weeks later in mid November.  I think most of us only got milder versions because we do guard our schedules and try not to push ourselves too hard.  I’ve worked hard this year to make our after school afternoons and Saturdays a good mix of downtime and activity.  Yes, it has meant saying “no” to somethings which is not always easy.  I think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

There is never a prime time to be sick.  It always disrupts our schedules.  But it can be a way of telling us to rest and get that extra dose of sleep when we need it.

My Child Care Journey…

DSC09085If there is anything I have learned in life, it is that you should not say, “I will never do that.”  OK maybe if it is something crazy like bungee jumping off a bridge…but don’t put that one past me.  I am the type who might actually do that.

We make our plans, of course.  God often has a better one that leads us through twists and turns, mountain and valleys, and to places we swore we would never go to.  Child care was one of those for me.

I was a child care sub in a public school district in 2002.  It was a second job and “my real job” was youth director at a local church.  Child care was secondary in my life.  So when I lost control of a group of 20 preschoolers, I knew this was job was temporary.  The following year I took a job as an after school care leader in a small Christian school.  This job was a better fit and I worked it for two years.  However, my passions were with the youth in my church and it was always a “second job” to supplement my part time income.

The following year we moved to Indiana and I had a brief stint of working in an actual day care center located in a business park.  I felt claustrophobic in the small classrooms with twenty four year olds.  The playground was a quarter of the size of the school playground where I worked previously.  When I lost control of a group of four year olds, I knew I could go longer work there.

I was a little too preachy about child care after that year, yet I was also confused about my calling.  I took on some traditional values even though I am not your typical stay-at-home mom.  I was never one of these college girls who wanted a “Mrs. Degree” and be a stay at home mom.  I wanted a career of some type and wanted to work outside of the home.  My desires and my values were all conflicted with one another and it is something I struggled with for years.

I stayed home for several years after having children.  I felt like it never came naturally to me, but I found my style eventually.  Two years ago a friend of mine wanted to send her daughter to our little Christian school we send our kids to.  Kindergarten dismissed an hour and a half before the time she finished work.  With no after care program at the time, I offered to watch her daughter until she finished work.  I only did child care about six hours a week, but I learned quickly that 1)  I loved having extra children in the house.  2)  I grew up on a neighborhood where there were always children to play with.  My kids do not.  This would be a way for them to develop friendships.  3)  God does not call everyone to be a  full time stay-at-home mom.  My friend was doing amazing work in God’s kingdom.  God was using me to help her do her work.

So come that spring I had a few families ask if I wanted to watch their kids the following school year.  I knew it was from the Lord.  Last year I had four regular child care kids.  This year I doubled that to eight.

Yes, now I am your typical stay-at-home mom.  I hang up my laundry on the clothesline outside.  I do crafts with my kids.  I bake muffins.  I sweep the floor at least four times a day.  I am OK with it.  Because I am supporting some amazing moms out there doing kingdom work.

I don’t think in terms of “real job,” “real career,” etc.  anymore.  And by the way I still do lots of youth ministry…mostly volunteer.

But this is me right now.  I love owning my own business.  I love having a loud chaotic house full of kids.  I love having a baby in the house.  I love watching my three kids love on these babies and toddlers.  So it’s a win win for everyone.

So my friends, never say “never.”  Your “never” might be your next adventure.

First week of summer

First week of Summer 2014 is in the books.  I think it could be called the “Woa–we have all this extra time on our hands, what do we with ourselves?!” week.

ImageWe enjoyed an early Father’s Day dinner at Sonic.  We only go here about once a year (though their milkshake menu tempts me to go more).  There is something fun about eating in the back of the van.  We had just come from Costco hence the giant bottles of detergent.

ImageGot to love the grilled cheese sandwiches.

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And the hot dogs too!

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On Saturday we had a small army of men from our church in our house.  Since we moved into our house I have despised the carpet in the eating area.  It seemed to get more disgusting with time.  The red velvet cake stain would not come out, the cat peed in the corner, the kids tracked mud in this winter–I hate the carpet.  If I were to give any advice to pastor wives out there living in parsonages I would say the following 1) Show love to your Building & Grounds 2)  Advocate for your families’ needs in a kind and gracious way.  Gentle reminders are good, but don’t be pushy.  3)  Be patient.

ImageAnd hooray–hardwood floor.  Someone asked, “Did you cry when they ripped out the carpet?”  I said, “No I cried when we had the carpet.”  The guys did an amazing job and we felt incredibly cared for as friends and a pastor’s family.

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We celebrated the start of summer by going to the drive-in with friends.  I LOVE drive-ins.  I have always had a thing for them.

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The kids love them too!

ImageYesterday we celebrated Father’s Day…

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I have to say that we are loving the down time.  I still cannot gauge if this one needs a nap or not.  I don’t think she can either.  I, myself, don’t take naps anymore except on Sundays…I can’t during the school year as I am working.  I think I took two naps last week mostly because I could.  My rule for when I take a nap–“Don’t wake me up unless–” The kids: “Someone is bleeding.”  The kids have been keeping busy playing baseball in the backyard, picking raspberries, playing Lego Friends and regular legos, coloring, and riding bikes.  We went to the library and the mall last week, but mostly we have enjoyed being home.

 

Garden Update: Failures and Successes Thus Far

Cauliflower = Fail!  I tried to grow it in little containers in the house.  Due to not filling up the containers the whole way with soil, not enough light, or just plain inexperience–they sprouted a little and then died a short fast death.  I am out of cauliflower seeds so no cauliflower for us this season.

Pepper = Second try.  I tried to grow it in little containers and again did not fill it up the whole way.  I don’t think it got enough light.  I thought I would try once more.Image

Corn = Planted on Memorial Day.  We’ve always had success with it except last year when the husband put me in charge of planting it and I completely forgot.

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Beets = Planted on Memorial Day.  I don’t even know if I like beets and not sure who will even eat them if they actually grow. Do you eat them raw? 

Zucchini = Pretty easy to grow and coming in already. I still do have last year’s in my freezer.  Should probably make some muffins or bread sometime soon.

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Snow Peas = Also easy to grow.  You just need a fence for them to wrap around.  Not sure I put the fence in correctly.

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Lettuce = I think it’s sprouted but it good be weeds.  Pulled a pesty blackberry root out of the lettuce patch.

Cucumber = Pretty sure it’s sprouted.  We grew them a couple summers ago and they are fairly easy.  But unfortunately no one was quite as excited about cucumber sandwiches as I was.

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Carrots =  Planted and no sign of them yet.  They are a root and take a bit of a time.  We’ve always successfully grown lots of carrots.

Broccoli = Somehow lots of weeds grew in the broccoli patch at the time of planting.  I don’t know what is broccoli and what is weeds.  I google imaged it and think I figured it out and I hope I am correct.

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Tomatoes = We’ve always purchased tomato plants.  This year I am trying to grow my own.  So far they are coming in fine.  Maybe when they are transferred to the garden, it will be another story.  I am hopeful.

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The husband is also growing herbs and I have no idea which herbs are what.  

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The middle child is growing a sunflower out of a can with a face on it he named “Harry Harry.”  Harry Harry used to have grass growing out of it for a kindergarten project and unfortunately we forgot to water it and Harry Harry lost all his hair.  Now he will have a sunflower growing out of his head instead.  

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The youngest child helped plant a fairy garden which is similar to last year’s–although we won’t forget to water it this time.  

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This beautiful flower was a gift from one of my child care kids.  Her mom took her shopping and asked what kinds of plants I like.  I had to laugh when she said, “Amy likes vegetables.”

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Gardening has been a lot of fun so far this spring.

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