Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Summer of Cousinly love

Summer is here.
Swimming, grilling, and family reunions.
Around our area the temps have been in the 90s for awhile. We had a few cooling off days and now the sun is back on full force. In times like these it's nice to have friends with a pool. A couple of Sundays ago, I woke the Mr from his Sunday nap and said get your swim shorts on, we're going! And we had a very enjoyable, laughter-filled afternoon of swimming and Marco Polo.

This past weekend we didn't have a pool, but we had a lot of fun. My niece and nephew, whom we don't get to see often ... I think it may have been 7 years since they were here ... came and stayed with us. We really enjoyed getting to know them again as adults. And my kids loved hanging out with their cousins. We also had a family reunion combined with a 60th Anniversary party for my aunt and uncle. There were so many people there - many I didn't know, even though I recognized their last name.
But first, we started the weekend on Saturday morning with a 5k run/walk with some of my family members. My brothers, sister, in-laws, nieces, and future in-laws, along with my little family, met at a local park for a 'fun run'. Prize money was dangled as an incentive, and my sister-in-law started us off. Now that I am actually training for something - a half-marathon in Sept - I was excited about my run, since I only walked once. At this point, for me, it was a win, even though I came in 5th. The two young guys - my Boy and his cousin - paced each other at 1st and 2nd the entire way. As they got close to the end, my Boy sped up and left the cousin in the dust. There is a streak of competitiveness in all of us. My youngest did not want to get passed by anyone, so she convinced Dad, who was walking with her, to turn around at certain spots so as to keep ahead of the others.

Some of the crew headed on up to the parade that the little town north of us was having; some of us went home and cleaned up. We headed to another aunt and uncle's home for lunch and anniversary celebration. The girls entered their cakes in the annual dessert contest. Even though they didn't win, we still had fun making them, and eating them!
Our party continued on Sunday after church when we headed down to my niece's new home south of us. We definitely saw God's hand on us after we arrived. On the way down the car was shaking a bit, kind of like it was out of alignment. I was driving, and the further I went and if I went faster, the shaking became worse. When we finally pulled off of the freeway, we felt a little wobble in the steering, almost like the tire was going to come off. We made it to the house, and the Mr jacked up the tire and checked it out. We were fortunate to have a spare in the trunk because our tire was no longer able to be used without serious consequences. Good thing I didn't know that as I was driving! The belts in the tire were separating, and it could've blown any time.
 Now it's Tuesday and the cousins have gone. Little K asked when they would come back. She enjoyed having them here; we all did!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Our Rules for Raising Kids

I was at the store the other day and saw something that made me cringe.
A little child was yelling back to his mom, telling her No, he was Not going to do what she had asked him to do.
Now, I know my children are not perfect angels. Believe me, they have plenty of faults, just like we all do. But they were never allowed to tell their parents No - as in directly defying an "order".
Young parents, I get it - you're tired, you don't want to fight that battle again, and so you let them get away with that behavior. But really, if you let them do it now, it's going to get worse. Letting them tell you No now destroys the respect relationship between a parent and a child.
Yes, I think a child needs to respect their parents. How else do they learn about authority? When a police officer pulls them over and asks them to get out of the car, do you think it will go well with them if they tell the police officer No? Or think about their teacher in school. The teacher asks them to read a section, the child says No (either out loud or to himself) and the results might not be so good.
Now I'm not saying a child can never ever say no. Obviously if an adult is asking a child to do something illegal, immoral, or against their beliefs, of course the child should not. I hope you know I'm talking about the basics here. A parent's job is to raise a child, which includes a lot of ordering around - in the nicest sense possible.
And while I'm at it ... also on my Rules of Parenting - please, don't count to 3 to get your child to do something you've told/asked them to do. I read a terrific book back in the day when I was in the middle of diapers and two-year-olds, titled "Don't Make Me Count to 3" by Ginger Hubbard. I think every new parent needs to read it. Or rather, every parent! It's the job of a parent to teach obedience, and respect for authority falls in that area. If you tell your child to do something and they do not do it until you count to three, who is really in charge there? The child. They are controlling the situation by not responding until you've reached three. That's not obedience, that's not respecting you as the authority.
Okay I'm done with my little opinion piece now. Discuss amongst yourselves. I'll be back with more later.

Thanks Coach

My kids often played school with their siblings, friends, and/or cousins when they were younger. I did it when I was a kid too. But I never wanted to be a Teacher. (Yes, there is irony in me homeschooling my children.) As I've gotten older and experienced the world. I've come to appreciate teachers much, much more. I spend maybe an hour or two twice a month teaching kids in Sunday school. I can't imagine doing that day after day during the school year.
I've also had a large number of coaches in my life. 4 years of high school track and then cross country,  4 years of basketball and two more in college, along with the dozens of coaches my kids have gone through .... brings me to really appreciate the patience and knowledge passed on from these coaches to me and to my children.
But this past week I have had a new experience in the teaching realm. I got to coach Long Jump for our track and field group at the church Skills Camp. It was ... wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed the kids, the coaching, the explaining, the competing. Even though we've had some pretty hot temperatures here this week , in the 90s, I still had a great time! 
Watching the kids, ages 6-12, learn the mechanics of long jump (there's so much more to it than run and jump) and then put it all together over the course of five days ... it was thrilling to see them excel. And for the most part all of the kids were excited to be there; they loved jumping, and always asked for more, even when time was up. 
So maybe I won't ever be one of those saints who teach a classful of  students how to read write or do math, but I could get into this coach gig.


You might think that a 40-something year old married mother of five wouldn't be afraid of much.
You might think that such a woman who has been to the ER more than once with 4 of those five children, and more times than that with her husband, wouldn't be afraid of much.
Over our 21 years of marriage I've had to face a few of my fears. Deep water, high heights, and high fevers have all served a sort in deepening my prayer life.

One other area of my life that leads me to my knees is traveling without the Mr. Traveling in itself can be stressful. Not the everyday drive around town, or over to the coast travel. Last week I loaded up our four girls and myself and all our camping gear, and the five of us drove 8 hours to a campsite, where we joined my siblings and families for part of the annual family camp. I didn't sleep well the whole week beforehand; crazy dreams and interrupted nights had me wondering what was going on.
But we did it. And we made it. And we had fun!

Wallows Lake campground was beautiful. The girls got to ride the rails - kind of like bicycling on train tracks. I was feeling sick that morning so I didn't go. But that was ok, because the scenery was gorgeous. God's handiwork is amazing.
We played mini golf, and the girls had ice cream cones afterwards. We played games after dinner with the family. We made s'mores and told stories of the past year and the past decades (I learned something about my brother #5 that I had never known, involving a book against a certain teachers head.)
I didn't miss the bustle of the city, and the traffic. As I drove through the little towns of Enterprise and Imbler, I thought I could probably live here.
The drive home didn't seem as long, since I was feeling better, and heading back to my sweetie.
Would I do it again? Probably!



Most of us don't get to pick our family. I'm fortunate that the one I picked to marry into is one that I really really like to hang out with.
For most of our married life, my husband has not seen his two brothers and their families on a regular basis. Unless by regular you mean once a year or less. Because they live out of state, time together is a rare but precious time indeed. As we all age and have kids grow older, and incomes change, our times together have increased. And the fun and memories just keep getting better.

Last year for the first married niece's wedding, all 3 brothers and their entire families were able to be together (although the bride and groom weren't there for long) and talk came around to doing this get-together thing more often.
So this last month we had what was one of hopefully many to come family reunions. We rented a lodge from our church that is located on the Oregon coast. It was supposed to rain all weekend, but we had a glorious sunny Friday evening, all day Saturday, and all Monday to enjoy. Yes, Sunday was rainy, but it worked for us to visit indoor places and just relax and play games inside.
When we were back home I asked my family what was their favorite part of the weekend. After visiting tide pools, the lighthouse, visitor centers, the marine science center, the candy shop, and the beach, each of the kids answered that the evenings when we played games and did the "remember when" talks were their favorite times. They certainly enjoyed everything we did, but they loved the family time most of all.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Love languages

We've been talking with our kids recently about the different ways we each communicate. Interestingly enough the sermon at church recently dovetailed with our conversations. The way each of us gives and receives love is different. Not so different that there isn't overlap, but sometimes different enough to be misunderstood. Gary Chapman wrote a book called The Five Love Languages. Its premise is that there are basically five ways people express love: through gifts; quality time together; physical touch; acts of service; and words of affirmation. So I thought I'd have the kids take a little test to see what their language was at this time. I kind of thought I knew where they would fall on the scale. Boy was I surprised. The ones who are our 'snugglers' - I thought they would score high on touch, but they didn't.  Now granted it could be the test they took, it was pretty basic and kind of leading. But it could also be just where they are right now. All four girls scored high on Gifts; two were also Time, and the other two were Acts of Service.
Well, I got to put into practice some of my "want to do" list.  I've been meaning to practice each of the five languages with each of the kids.
 Last Saturday I got to spend some quality time with Middle Child. Eight hours actually of just her and me, and various strangers who passed by. Miss Middle has been having some pain and we thought we had it taken care of the previous week. Well Saturday morning I found her in pain on the bathroom floor after having thrown up. The pediatrics office didn't open until 9 and I figured they would probably send us to the ER anyways, so I took her in. I was worried it was her appendix. We got admitted, saw a Dr fairly quickly - within half an hour - then had some tests run. Then we sat and waited. The nurses there were great! Especially when Miss M got sick again. They pushed things along for us it seemed. We waited about an hour for the lab results to come back. But we still hadn't had the ultrasound. After about two plus hours, we went for the ultrasound. Then it was back to the waiting area (inside the emergency dept, not the general waiting area). And another hour and half wait. After discussing the results with the Dr, we decided to go with the CT scan. So we waited, and then had the scan. Another hour plus and we got the results from that. Finally the Dr took us aside and discussed the results. It wasn't appendicitis. Thankfully! There was an inflammation, and there will be some follow up visits with our pediatrician and probably a GI doctor.
But eight hours of quality time together, waiting, watching other patients come through, and watching HGTV or the Disney channel .... I think we've made a memory.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Happy anniversary

Some husbands buy jewelry, or flowers, or sweets for their wife on their anniversary. But my husband went even better than that. He bought us 3600 hazelnut trees.

We even got to spend a long weekend together ... hours and hours, planting all those starters in pots.

When we got married we chose Memorial Day weekend for our wedding. One, because it was a long weekend and two ,because we didn't want to wait for Labor Day. So this Memorial Day weekend we traveled to the farm and played in the dirt and water. We laughed with the kids, talked about the future and competed to see who got the most potted. We picnicked out at the farm, enjoying the quiet. peaceful atmosphere. Better than most restaurants.
Being married to a farm boy has its perks. I know I won't starve as long as I like hazelnuts, or anything else we plant.