Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Finds: Delight

Okay, so I know that most of us would say that we are trying to avoid today's delightful finds. I am the first to admit that when etsy sends the e-mails around featuring some of these decadent treats, I cringe slighty at the temptation but can't force myself to turn away.

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to feature some of them here. I have yet to try most of these myself but they certainly are on my wishlist. The best part is the wonderful gift they would make. Mom, I hope you're not reading this because many times I have wanted to surprise you with one of these finds.

So enjoy, drool, give or just look forward to having them show up in your own mailbox (they're for the kids of course!)










Monday, July 26, 2010

Off Roading

Every moment we spend here I am learning to be a bit more flexible.  My instinct only a few months ago would have been not to allow this. I would have winced at the thought of trying to get all of the mud out of their clothes and shuttered at the picture of them walking over my nice clean floors with mud covered feet. I stopped myself this time before allowing my instincts to take over. I let them play, make memories, cover themselves in mud and drink it in. They are boys. They need to get dirty. I need to care a little less about their clothes and let them throw themselves into life.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Finds: The Perfect Mug

A few years ago my husband gave me a wonderful Mother's Day gift--a handmade pottery mug that he picked up while in Annapolis. From that moment on it has been the only mug I have used.

Everyone has their own style. This style ranges from mugs that can hold a supersized McDonald's portion to tiny dainty sipping mugs that hold one shot of espresso.

I fall somewhere in between those two options. I prefer a sturdier handle and wider base because I am a clutz and anything too narrow or dainty is sure to either get broken or tipped over. I also prefer a mug that doesn't hold too much. If it holds too much or if the mug itself is too wide than the coffee cools before the mom in me can actually settle down to steal a few sips.

My perfect mug, the one I've been hand-washing and setting in a spot reserved only for me, held its last cup of coffee last Thursday. My unfortunate clumsiness won the battle and I hit the rim of it on the cabinet and the rest is history.

So this Friday Finds is a search for a new, versatile and perfect mug.










Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer Days

Days filled with....

learning the shorter catechism in the morning to tunes I am making up or recycling (the boys have memorized it extremely well when put to music)

reading Little House on the Prairie to the boys (ashamedly I have never read any of these, we just finished Little House in the Big Woods)

going to the library (we are in the midst of their summer reading program although I have been somewhat disappointed in the rewards offered, it's amazing how quickly I can be disappointed by something that is really a favor for the kids)

cousin time (lots of cousin time this next week as 2 or 3 of them come to stay with us while their parents are touring Scotland)

inflating the kiddie pool, filling the pool, watching kids, dumping the muddy water out of the pool after kids fill it with mud, deflating pool

slip and slide (until the water from the well is drained)

picnic lunches at the park

frantically trying to eat loads of cucumber, beans, cabbage and the first tomatoes of the season

potty training (turning out to be successful on this, my 2nd, attempt)

Town vs. Country

We have this adorable book called Town Mouse, Country Mouse in our Jan Brett collection (I'm sure those of you with any little people in your life have read it 10 times over). There are two different little mice families each longing for a change. So in an effort to taste what they have never experienced they decide to switch places and try out a new way of life, only to find that they really do belong where they came from. The town mice settle back into their hectic, comfortable town pace and the country mice return to their country strolls and quaint home.

Having moved into the country I deeply sympathize with the country mice. I love seeing the stars so brilliantly at night, being surrounded by deep Virginia woods and the blue ridge mountains, deer that run only feet away from me at dawn, blackberry bushes, and so many other things that inspire awe. In fact one of the things that motivates me to go jogging down the extremely steep "hill" in the morning is the breathtaking view that awaits me at the bottom. How could one not rest in deep contentment surrounded by all of this beauty?

Yet, I can't seem to escape our vision. As I was driving into town in the cool twilight of the evening I saw many people out walking through town, returning home or making a quick trek to the local shops or the store to get a few last minute things. I was overcome with the desire to be with the people (which is not natural for an introvert). To be able to have people over so easily and freely. To get to know students more deeply and be an evidence of grace to all around. How can we do that if we are so far away from everyone? How can we truly advance the kingdom and reach out to others if we are tucked away in our little country paradise?

Thus I am renewed again in my spirit and longing to serve. I am finding it hard to be content here. To wait until the timing is just right and it is obvious we are supposed to make the next step. Sometimes things just don't make sense. If I long so much to serve and advance the kingdom why am I being called to wait here a bit longer? I rest in reasons beyond my understanding and pray that soon the path will be illuminated and it will all fit together.

Friday Finds: Traveling in Style

Traveling has been much on my mind lately. I suppose that seems obvious given the latest trip we just made. However, my sister-in-law and her husband have also brought the excitement of travel to the family as they left the country yesterday on their way to Scotland in celebration of 12 years of marriage. My brother-in-law's father immigrated from Scotland so his roots are still very evident there, yet this is their first time there together. My camera is making the long journey with them and how much I long to pack myself up with it and go as their silent photographer (I think that would somewhat put a damper on their romantic getaway though).

So in all of this I am thinking not only of the journey but what you use to pack all the precious things you want to take with you. I have had my share of suitcases in the past and I think suitcases are one of the many things that really were made better in the "old days". What made us change from the hard case that really protected our things to nylon that conforms, stretches and rips only to leave our belongings crushed under the strain?

So here a few finds that I have discovered that not only look extremely classy but will also protect your possessions.

The Train Case





The Case




The Whole Set


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer Rain

Things are slowly returning back to normal here. Our trip home from Florida was marked with several stops. The first one set the tone for the entire trip. On our way out of town, bleary eyed and frustrated in general at having to drag ourselves out of bed so early (we are definitely NOT morning people!), we decided to stop by Wal-mart and get fruit and bagels instead of the grease filled breakfast biscuit that most places offer. After stocking up on our very small feast we loaded back into the van with 13 hours ahead of us. As Ben was buckling in my younger boy my oldest leaned over to adjust a shoe, fell out the van door, onto the pavement with only his head to stop his fall. Ben ran over to see him lying on the wet pavement making small whimpering noises. Other than a rather large bump on his forhead and his complaining of a headache he was fine.

I took on my trying-to-be-calm-but-sort-of-freaked-out motherly stance as I recalled several TV shows where the kid innocently bumps his head only to fall over dead the next day due to unknown internal bleeding. Okay, the odds of that are really slim but why is it that it seemed like such a real possibility at the time? So I was watching for all the signs. He kept saying his head hurt. Then he had to go potty. Then he started throwing up (looking back he was probably just extremely overly exhausted). The after 3 or 4 stops in a 15 minute time frame, my other son has to go potty. On that stop we find out the youngest has blown out a diaper and needs a bath let alone a diaper change. Needless to say that was a VERY long morning. Lunch time brought some relief even if we were only a very small distance from our starting point and after that we made excellent time and finally made it safely home.

Since then I have been catching up, making more and more soap, reading many, many books to the boys and relishing the last few months of summer. It is flying by and I want to savor it while I can.

During the past few days we have had some pretty heavy downpours. The boys finally mustered enough courage to actually run, dance, and play until thunder was heard in the distance. How I love summer rain.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fun in Florida

I am sad again to admit that my Friday Finds this week will have to wait until next week. This past week we journied down to Florida to visit family. Unfortunately our time here doesn't include long strolls on the beach or cool dips in the blue ocean water. We are here in Pensacola, where the beaches have been effected by oil and the chemical they have used to try to disperse it.

So thus far my family has not visited the beach. My sister and her daugher couldn't contain themselves and went anyway. Her daughter brought a friend along who has never seen the beach before so she grabbed her frist glimpses in spite of the oil filled water. They swam for a bit, talked with CNN and brought home some tar balls (little balls of oil that have collected into balls are in the water and on the sand).

We might venture out today and see what it looks like. At this point I have no interest in letting my children get in the water. I am uncertain about what the chemical they have used to treat the oil will do to their systems, now or in the future.

Thankfully we came here for more than just the beaches and have been enjoying our time very much. We were even able to take the boys out to a movie last night (which is an extremely rare treat in our family since it is not an inexpensive endeavor).

I'm off to vacate more, enjoy my family, work on my drawing, read that stack of books I carted with me all the way down here and just be away for a few more days.

Happy 4th of July!