Titus 2:11-13

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fun is Good for the Soul

So far, the month of June has brought Travis and me a couple of what I think have been the most fun weekends we've had in a really long time, and I think it's due in part to the fact that we are moving beyond the baby stage of parenthood.

I'm certainly not saying that parenting babies isn't fun.  In fact, saying goodbye to the baby stage has been bittersweet for me.  I will definitely miss all the pleasures of babyhood, and yet, I am excited by the prospect of moving on (presuming that is what God has in store for us...).  I think our recent weekend fun has been a foretaste of what I was sure would come someday--an increased ease in getting out....

Saturday, June 4th, was Travis and my sixth wedding anniversary, and we celebrated it as a family.  After a nice dinner out with the kids that evening, we decided on a whim to visit Bass Pro Shop.  A store recently opened in our area, and since we hadn't all been there yet, we thought it would be fun to walk through it.  We joked that it seemed kind of redneck-ish for an anniversary date (Ha!), but we really enjoyed looking at the fish, the stuffed animals, the camping supplies.  We even tried out the little shooting range/hunting simulation thing.  (Okay, so I don't even know what it was called, but it was fun!  It was actually my first time ever holding a (fake) gun!)

This past weekend brought lots of fun, too, but this time of the kid-free sort.  (Thanks, Mom and Dad Squires!)  Thursday night, Travis and I went out for dinner and a movie and had a wonderful time.  (We saw Water for Elephants--pretty good!)  When we got home at 1:00 a.m. in the middle of a hard rainstorm, we went directly to the backyard to put a tarp over our new and as of yet un-shingled shed.  By the time we were done we were literally dripping with water, but I tell you what... it was fun.  We were together, we were laughing, and it didn't matter that we were wet and cold because we were simply enjoying our friendship.

The next day, Travis and I attended our first homeschooling conference, and I don't think "fun" is a big enough word to describe it.  Tons of useful information, books everywhere we looked... this information-seeking, book-loving couple was on Cloud 9.  I already knew going in that I'll be using Sonlight Curriculum again this year, so that took all the stress out of weeding through vendors and sifting through books.  Instead of looking to buy, I could simply enjoy the browsing!  (Although, I did heftily buy from one vendor.... :-))

Saturday we were without childcare, so Travis and I took turns attending portions of the homeschooling conference.  That afternoon, our family was honored to attend the beautiful wedding of our neighbor followed by a most lovely reception and super fun dance.  We haven't been able to really enjoy a wedding dance since our own, but this one was different... because we have exited the baby stage.  Instead of our children having to be held during the dance, they were right there beside us dancing the night away.  I can't remember the last time we've had so much fun together as a family as we did on that dance floor.

All that being said, I'm feeling a little lighter than I have in several years, and I'm enjoying that.  My responsibilities as a mother, homemaker, and wife have by no means lifted; but the ease of leaving the house--with or without kids--seems to be finally setting in.  I hope that as I find more freedom this summer I can strike a proper balance between work and play; because though there is work that has to be done, a little fun--even if it's just standing out in the pouring rain--is good for the soul!

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Women "Knead" Power Tools, Too!

I have some new power tools, and I can't wait to use them!...

A little over a year and a half ago, I started making my own bread; and after several months, lots of practice, and many failures, I finally started turning out loaves I wasn't embarrassed of.  Going into bread-making, I had no idea how much of an art it really is; but my perseverance eventually began resulting in consistently good bread, and I began feeling like I finally knew what I was doing.  I even got confident enough to try a different recipe and was extremely pleased when I found quick success with it.

But the success was fleeting.  After several good batches of bread with the new recipe, I suddenly began having problems again.  Lots of troubleshooting revealed a couple adjustments I could make to possibly return to better results--and though they did help some, I still wasn't happy with the loaves I was producing.

It was only just a few days ago that I finally realized my 18-month old KitchenAid mixer was the true problem.  It started acting up a couple months ago--dragging at times during both the wheat grinding process and the kneading process--but I didn't know how much this was affecting the quality of my bread until I finally broke down last Thursday and hand-kneaded my dough, producing the best loaves I've made since switching recipes.

This was proof enough to me that my mixer needed to be replaced.  I had in mind to buy another KitchenAid one with a little more wattage, but perfect timing stopped me from making that mistake before it was too late:  I attended a bread-making presentation by Paula's Bread, an authorized Bosch distributor, the next day.

"Kneadless" to say, I was sold on the Bosch Universal Plus Kitchen Machine before the presentation's end, and my awesome husband bought me one later the same day!  (He bought me a L'Equip Nutrimill, too! :-))  I am putting my new power tool to work for the first time today, and I anticipate some great results!

Photo Credit

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Kids Say, vol. 13

Me (after reading a children's poem about Jesus' death and resurrection):  "Where is Jesus now?"

Amariah:  "In heaven!"
Abel:  "In your heart."

Me:  "Yes, Jesus is alive, and the Bible says He is in heaven at the right hand of God the Father!  And, He wants to live in your heart!  So, how does he get inside your heart?"

Abel:  "You have to believe."

Amariah:  "No, you have to open your mouth like this... and hold real still, and then close it when He gets in."

Friday, June 3, 2011

24-Month Stats

Isabel and Elliana had their two-year well child exams this morning. Their stats are below. (Notice that Isabel has finally made it onto the charts with her weight!)

Isabel (24 months)
Weight: 22 lbs (3rd percentile)
Height: 32 in (10th percentile)

Elliana (24 months)
Weight: 24.5 lbs (25th percentile)
Height: 33.5 in (50th percentile)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Double the Pleasure

I think there may be nothing cuter than the way a 24-month old child talks.  Well... maybe there is--the way two 24-month old children talk....

Isabel and Elliana are in the cutest stage of communication right now.  Their speech is still slightly unclear, and many of their sentences consist of about one word; and yet I can understand almost everything they say.  In their innocent and imperfect two-year old way, they ask me questions and tell me stories, they converse with each other and with Abel and Amariah, and they get better at it every day.

That's what panics me a bit.  It's not so much the fact that they are outgrowing their clothes or learning to dress themselves or climbing ladders or keeping up with their big brother and sister that gets me.  No, it's their developing communications that make me confront the fact that my "babies" are becoming "kids," and they'll never be babies again.

I know as well as any other mother that each stage of childhood has joys of its own--and, because of that, I've never had much trouble saying goodbye to babyhood in the past.  I suppose what makes this time a little different is that, as far as we know, this is our final goodbye to babyhood.  As I say farewell with reminiscent eyes, my heart rejoices in the blessing it has been to be able to enjoy each special stage doubly this last time around.

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