Thursday, June 14, 2012

Baby Annekje

I shared the first half of baby Annekje's photo shoot last week.  Here is the second half.  We moved into her bedroom so we could, quite literally, show off her crib, and also her outstanding newborn adorableness.  Her brothers and grandma were able to make cameos in a few of the last photos.  Here are my favorites.  See if you can spot the theme of her room!

big brother

The dolly her brother gave her.

big brother

kiss her right here!

big brothers

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Raindrops on Roses

I played Gretl in the Sound of Music when I was in sixth grade.  Today was a rainy day that seemed to mirror my attitude about decisions I have to make in my life lately.  I began to sing in my mind..."Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens" and then a later verse "when the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don't feel so bad..." 

My friend told me that her husband, a musician, was awaiting delivery of a replacement ipod, and I thought how I'd feel if my camera were out of commission and I couldn't take pictures.  Photography is one of my favorite things for certain.  I started to think about how beautiful raindrops on roses really must be, and sought out the wild roses on our street.  On my way, I noticed that a rose bush I had previously thought only had ugly rootstock roses now had lovely little red buds.  I certainly was feeling much better, camera in hand, noticing the light bouncing around inside the drops of water that covered everything.

Do you remember when forwards were a popular email phenomenon?  Now I think the same concept happens on social networks when people share funny or inspiring things.  A forward I was sent in college was all about "natural highs."  It was essentially a list of favorite things.  Together with some friends, I made three posters on the back of an old desk calendar and listed all the favorite things I could think of.  Those posters are now on the wall of my little girls' room, and many of the same things bring me joy.  I hope that list shares with my children a little bit of who I was, and how I'm really not so different.

So today, I'll share some of my favorite things I experienced just throughout the course of this day.

Seeing a gold finch pair flitting around in the garden,
Watching a bluejay land so heavily on a branch that the raindrops on it cause a deluge
Speaking with friends on the phone and going from downtrodden to joyful
Watching milk drip down the side of a baby goat's mouth
Seeing poppies nearly collapse under the weight of the raindrops that cover them
Listening to my girls chatter like characters from an anime show
Watching my son zoom down the road on his bike wearing a jacket with no shirt
Witnessing my father in law milk a goat for the first time
Seeing in her eyes the deep love that Brandon's aunt has for her late husband
Watching Grandpa Chuck plug his ears at the boisterous noise of our family together
Hearing Grandma Vi tell me I'm such a good mother
Reading Beatrix Potter to the little girls

Sharing my favorite things about today.

What were your favorite things about your day?


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I like my rut!

There are those seasons in your life where it feels like you're a broody hen and everyone is doing their darndest to get you off of that nest.  They dunk you in ice water, they lock you out of the coop, they put ice cubes in fake eggs beneath you, but still you return.  You begin to wonder whether you're really supposed to be sitting on that nest.  That's how I feel lately.

There have been major changes in both my church and in the kids' homeschool co-op program that have made it pretty challenging for my family to continue to participate.  I like my rut.  When I find something that's comfortable and really works well for my family, it's hard for me to change.

There's no choice when things are changing around you, and you begin to wonder whether you're really where you're meant to be.  Am I supposed to be at a different church?  Maybe my husband would attend more if we went elsewhere.  Maybe my kids would be more involved in youth group or other extracurricular church activities.  What if the best place to nurture our spiritual growth is a place I'd never even consider going?  Like a mega church?

Are we supposed to move on to a different resource for homeschooling, or is it time to put the older kids in the public schools?  Can I even pull off full time homeschooling?  These are important and hard questions, and I fear I really won't ever know the answer.  The hardest thing about these changes is that I've found a cozy little nest of a place in each of these places: I have dear friends who are like sisters and extra mothers to both me and my children.  The kids don't know any other church or school situation and have grown up alongside the friends they have at these places.  How do you find a new family?

How do you release your kids at one of the most awkward times in their lives into a system they've only known in part?  What is the best way to teach my children about the pressures of the big wide world without leaving them completely vulnerable to them?  How do I give my children the education that I desire for them when there is only one of me, five of them, and at least 4 major course areas that need to be covered?  I realize that homeschooling and public school each have their drawbacks, but which drawbacks do I choose?  Which benefits are the most crucial at this point in their lives?

These are the questions that have been plaguing my mind over the past few months and I can't find the answers.  I've prayed.  I've talked to countless people.  Sometimes I think you don't ever really know what's right, and you just have to choose something.  I don't know if my broody time has passed.  How do you know when it's time to get off the nest?  I certainly can't wait for an egg to explode!

Monday, June 11, 2012

For the love of cuteness

I've been noticing lately the small and caring ways God has fulfilled some of my more frivolous desires.   Babies are an example.  I've had five of them, but do you think I can get enough of them?  Nope, especially not in the spring time, which I guess I'm hardwired to want to help in the general population boom in the cuteness realm.

So this spring, I've been surrounded by babies.  Two friends have had tiny newborn human babies.  We've got two tiny cute baby goat kids on our farm.    We have 7 adorable little chicks being nurtured by their mama.  My little nearly 4 year old Maia, our youngest, still doesn't want to let go of the last bits of her baby-ness and still loves to climb into our bed at night.  And at a game night at my friend's house, I got to coo over this adorable baby kitten.

So even though my baby creating days are over, I'm noticing there are still babies to appreciate and lessen the little pangs of sadness when I hear the sweet cry of someone's newborn baby in the grocery store.  I'm reminded that it is good to purposely look around and notice the tender and abundantly meaningful ways we are cared for.