Monday, September 28, 2009

Four Dollar Doll House

Is what I paid for this gem of a thrift store find. I've been wanting a doll house to play with forever. I know, I know, I have two little boys and dolls aren't their favorite thing. However, I also have two little boys whom I spend most of my time playing with, and let's face it-- I can get bored! I find myself dragging my kids to the toy section of the thrift store more often than they care to, just to buy something novel to keep me entertained!
And I'm not talking spendy toys... just fifty cents here and a dollar there, for a yo-yo or a board game or a puppet. Mostly little things we can make a theme of. For instance, we've been collecting rubber animals from the thrift store for almost two years, and now we've got an entire collection, from lizards to tigers to raccoons!

Thrift stores are a lot of fun!
So here's to playing make-believe with our new doll house this week. I'm SO excited.

Oh, I mean our manly, rubber-animal house.
(And of course, later on, Darth Vader and Luke had a tea party on the Veranda.)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Inspiration provided

This past week I've taken some real time to think about what's most important to me and my family. For whatever the reason, I was born with an intense need to evaluate and reevaluate myself to the point of exhaustion. "I guess that's just the way God made you," as my 3 year old would say. Yes, I guess so. So, since this is the way God made me, I find that I constantly need to stop and thank Him for providing me with the means to discover for myself what will ultimately make me happy. I can't imagine living in a world where I didn't know God was always there to answer my prayers and guide me in the right direction, and down the right paths.

This past month I really needed some inspiration in my life, down the path of homeschooling, and i received it.
This has probably been the hugest life-changing thing for me, since I was really struggling with feeling burnt out and overwhelmed with it all.
But, It is really all good now. I don't think it will ever be easy, my life as a homeschooling Mom, but I know it is right. And I feel that every family has the right to receive the inspiration they need for their families; to make the best possible decision for their families. All we have to do is ask.

I am so grateful for the inspiration I have received this past month.
The most important thing I want my children to always know, from everything we teach them, is that God is their provider.

He is the one who will provide for them everything they need, just like he has for me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wiggly things

Since Spring arrived 8 months ago, our boys have been outside digging up bugs. At first the excitement was all about lifting up bricks to discover spiders, sow bugs, ear wigs and ants. Odin would let out a big, BUUUUUUU!" And Zadok would run over all wide eyed and ready to pick up anything that wiggled.

(these two top photos were taken by Sarah, our photographer friend)

We made a point to learn all the names for the different bugs and insects we didn't recognize. We checked out books at the library on grasshoppers and worms, ladybugs, and centipedes.....Zadok would say one day, "My, that ant has a large thorax," and I would think, "Yes! and I know what that is, now! I'm a bug mom!"

The latest excitement, however, has been our bug aquarium. It started out with one Praying Mantis, that Zadok and Micah found outside. We've now upgraded to three Praying Mantis's, 10 grasshoppers, and whatever moths we find around the house.

It is the excitement of our day when one of our Praying Mantis's gets hungry and catches a grasshopper. It's wild to see them on the hunt!

Odin now loves to run over to the glass and yell "BUGS!" Zadok loves to sit there and observe. He's always running over to tell me, "A grasshopper is missing a leg, one of the moths is being eaten alive, a mantis just shed his skin, there's a grasshopper eating another dead grasshopper!"
There's always something going on in there to amaze us.

Zadok named our three Praying Mantises,
"Papa Zoinks, Thum Thum, and No Name."

Gotta love that kid for originality.

Grandpa Bill got Zadok and Odin a Praying Mantis finger puppet. They've been reenacting the hunt, with many laughs and giggles....and wiggles.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Pa

My Dad was here from Oahu, for a whole week!
It was a blast!

Dad captivated the kids right away with silly songs, funny toys, puppets, and games. He was like a one-man show, always having a funny trick up his sleeve. We had such a fun week with Grandpa Bill!

Here's a few photos I took:

The Petraglyphs at Pinto.

Come back again Grandpa Bill!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mom, can I hold the baby?

Our little 3 year old, Zadok, has a love for babies.
When our friend Hilary stayed with us for 3 days this Summer, he was constantly ooo-ing and ahhh-ing over her little baby; making sure he had a toy to chew on, making sure he was sitting up comfortably, and saying over and over, "Isn't he a cute baby?". He would also kiss his little cheeks. Same thing happened when we visited his baby cousin Waimea, in Oregon. He was constantly kissing her chubby cheeks, teaching her how to drink out of a sippie, and cuddling her to pieces.
Every time someone brings over a new baby, Zadok looks up at me with his big, brown eyes and says, "Mom? Can I hold the baby?"

Here's some pictures of Zadok and his babies this past year:

And of course, Zadok holding his baby brother Odin when he was a baby!

The other day he asked me, "Mom, can we have one of those babies?" I laughed out loud and replied, "ODIN is still a baby!" He then replies, quite argumentatively back, "No, he's not, he's a giant boy!"

Hmmmmm. We'll have to see about that later.

(Babies from top to bottom:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Candlelight magic

The radiance of candlelight has been enchanting us this past week, as we've made a point to light candles each evening after the sun goes down. There's something special about the soft glow of candlelight, that has added a touch of warmth and magic to our home.

We sit around and tell stories, sing our favorite songs, act out dramas, and even play duck-duck-goose, all in the light of the fire. Our children love it. There is a strong feeling of peace and security glowing from there eyes; We are safe and warm in our little family cave.

When we go camping I can sit there and stare at the fire forever, letting it lull me and drowse me to sleepiness. Fires are captivating.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Big Sister

Today is the birthday of a sister I would have grown up with, had she not died at birth. She would be 32 years old today.
When we were younger my Mom would bake a cake and we would all sing "Happy Birthday" to her. I would always imagine her looking down at us with a huge grin on her face!

I still think about her all the time, especially on her special day. I think about what she would be like, what she would look like, and what her life would be like right now, at 32 years old. I think she would probably laugh a lot, have a big smile, and be one of my best friends.

We don't know why God chose to take this little spirit back to Heaven with him. My mom carried her for 9 months, only to go into labor and deliver her, with no heartbeat. Her little body is buried in a cemetery in California.

Although her spirit resides in Heaven, I feel that she is with us down here a lot. She is part of our family, even if we forget about her. I find strength through her when I'm having a hard time here on Earth, because I know, that she knows, that this is only temporary; that this life is so short, and someday we will all be back there together, as a family, living peacefully with God. Some days I am jelous that she gets to walk so closely with God each day, while we have to wait it out down here.
But most days I am so excited to meet her, to hug her, to find out all about her. She is my sister, and one day when I die, our spirits will meet each other. It will be such a happy moment that I look forward to.

Just wanted to say that I remember you, my sister Caroline.
I bet you are just wonderful.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Go! Jacksons Go!

This past year we got all our bike gear together, helmets and all, for the whole family. It's been a lot of fun riding around town, and about scenic Utah. My favorite family bike ride this year was at Zion's National Park. We put our bikes on the front of the shuttle, rode up to the Lodge, then got our bikes off and cruised all the way back to the visitors center.
It was the most beautiful and surreal experience, looking up at those massive mountains while spinning down the road. I felt like I was floating.

Odin is usually planted on the front of my bike. But every once in a while Micah likes to steal him for a triple-Jackson ride.

DING! DING! Here we come!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lived in

After my boys go to sleep, I walk around the house and tidy up. There's just something great about waking up to a tidy house that makes getting up in the morning, fresh and wonderful!
As I walk around from room to room ,I pick up the pieces from the day--little games we had out playing, shoes thrown into a corner, pasta shells stuck into the carpet. My mind goes back to the little moments we had that day, and makes me smile. (Unless it was a hard, stressful, tantrum-filled day, then I'm flipping channels on the sofa!)

Tonight I found Odin's little shoes in Zadok's shoe closet. It made me laugh because Odin really doesn't have anywhere to put his shoes, so why not put them in Zadok's shoe pile? I can just imagine him walking faithfully to the closet, determined to put them in the right spot.
I found a plate of greasy, leftover quesadilla hiding under an 18 quart container. Zadok had been pretending he was a snail and needed to eat underneath his shell.

I found Odin's toothbrush under the kitchen table. (typical)
I found a half-eaten peach next to the couch.
I found Zadok's favorite rubber moth in the pocket of his shorts.
I found a grocery list Zadok wrote for me, scribbled in black ink, with everything I needed from the store, so he says.
I found Odin's favorite Animal book opened up to his favorite picture of a dog. I can hear him yelling excitedly, DOG, all happy and smiles!

Sometimes I get really annoyed at how messy my house gets. I try to be reasonable, but it seems to get the best of me sometimes. But walking around tonight and laughing at all the silly things my kids do, made me think again that my house is lived in...... I have two busy and brilliant children who make my house alive with love.

And I always, always, think of my friend Melissa who lost her baby boy just hours after his birth. I can't read her blog without a tissue in hand, and a prayer to God, thanking him for my children, my family, and strong people like Melissa as examples. The tears are already flowing!
This particular post reminds me to embrace my messy house, and be a better person. Thank you, Melissa.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Powerful New Perspective

I've been struggling with my kitchen chairs lately. I know, a silly thing to struggle with, but nonetheless, I have found myself thinking about them at odd moments, then suddenly feeling irritated. Like when you wake up from a nice sleep and remember something crappy that happened that day. My kitchen chairs are haunting me. But mostly only when I walk into the kitchen.

They are all three different. The black one was from freecycle last year, and we even lugged it down here from Idaho. The metal "church chair", I purchased from Deseret thrift store for $3, and the wooden chair was donated to the yard sale last month. Nobody wanted to buy it because it was broken, kinda dirty, and ready to be dumped. Therefore, it is now in my kitchen.

So, why don't I just go kitchen chair shopping? I could scour the thrift stores for a week, check craigslist, go yard sailing, and probably end up with a nice, matching set for under 50 bucks. But, I won't do it.

I won't do it because every time I think about buying new chairs, I am reminded about my new perspective.

When I traveled to Southeast Asia 9 years ago, I was 21 years old, and ready for adventure. I flew into Bangkok to meet up with some friends. All we had was the backpacks on our backs, our passports, and enough currency to get us food, lodging and buses. We ventured down through Thailand, across the border to Malaysia, then caught a ferry across the ocean to Jakarta, Indonesia. Along the way we sailed out to different surrounding islands, slept in bungalows, swam in beautiful lakes and oceans, tried new, exotic foods, and met other foreigners traveling just like us. It was definitely an adventure, with unforgettable stories, which I have kept safe in my traveling journal to remember forever.
It was just like I wanted!
But what I didn't realize was that this adventure would change me forever, influencing my life for years to come, in ways I never imagined.

Along the way I saw many things I'd never seen; people living and doing things I'd never witnessed before. Cultures that were so different from mine, and almost incomprehensible to me. I remember being constipated for 7 days straight because I couldn't figure out how to use the bathrooms in Malaysia. I still don't think I know how. (A hole in the ground, a bucket of water, and a cup???) I remember seeing entire villages of houses in Indonesia made out of metal and cardboard, with one, big Karaoke machine in the middle. We would always stop and watch all the kids singing karaoke in their underwear and flip flops. They were always laughing hysterically at one another, as they belted out American tunes they didn't understand.
I remember vividly, hearing the loud call of the Muslim prayers, as each man and woman bowed down to the East on Jakarta. I remember feeling exposed and shameful, when someone asked me to please cover my arms, out of respect for their religion. I remember snorkeling in an oceanic coral reef, with sea snakes and puffer fish, and the most beautiful and exotic sea creatures I've ever seen!

But, what changed me most was feeling like I was insignificant beyond measure. It was like I suddenly saw this huge world out there, filled with millions of people, and I felt like nothing. It was a huge blow to my self esteem, to my understanding of who I was and where I fit in, to my understanding of what my purpose was in this world?? I don't know why I felt this way, but I spent quite a few nights alone in my bungalow on Ko Samui island, searching for answers. With laughter all around me from foreigners on holiday, I must have looked like a miserable outcast.

I flew into Los Angeles sometime in August, after a long, airplane ride home. I was going to stay longer and explore the Northern mountain villages of Thailand, but something told me it was time to get on with life and go back to my own country.
I didn't tell anyone I was flying in, so no one was meeting me in the airport. I got off my plane and sat in the baggage claim area for a while, trying to decide what to do with myself.

Still feeling self conscious and out-of place, It was right then that I had the most powerful awakening.
I looked around and felt the most magical high in the world as I realized that I could do anything I wanted. And furthermore, I could be anyone I wanted, I could believe anything I wanted, I could love anyone I wanted, I could spend my time doing whatever I wanted. This amazing feeling of freedom and clarity came over me. God gave me the will to choose for myself, and it was my personal mission to become the person I wanted to be!

I jumped onto a subway after that, and sat there with the biggest grin on my face ever. I looked around at the folks getting off of work, with their long faces and sad eyes, and wanted with all my heart to tell them what I found out! I was the only white person on the bus, heading into downtown Los Angeles. I normally would have felt awkwardly out of place, yet I felt a deep connection to these strangers, as they are my brothers and sisters.
I wanted to scream at the top of my longs-- "FREEDOM!!!!!!!We have the freedom to find truth, to get educated, to help people, to love people, to have families, to have hobbies and interests, There is so much to see and do! Let's do it!"
But all I could do was sit there and try not to burst into laughter.

I arrived in a little California town called Camarillo after 3 subway switches, and a train ride. I called up a friend and she came and got me from a bus stop, where I had been scribbling down all the things I wanted to accomplish in my life.

Things such as:
Pray and find religious truth.
Find peace in who I am.
Get an education.
Look at people's hearts, not their outward appearances.
Love everyone in the world, despite differences in race, religion, and culture.
Read more, love more, serve more.
Become closer with my family.
Be grateful for all the little things and never take anything for granted.
Never, ever, ever, ever, care too much about material things.
Share what I've got with those around me.
Never get caught up with superficial matters.
Be real. be natural. be myself.
Be open to others' ideas.
And most importantly, remember this perspective and live by it every day of my life.

I know I haven't lived up to everything on my list, because as time goes by I have become numbed by my surroundings. But, I know that this perspective still lives inside me. I know that there are so many great things we can accomplish and be in this world. I know that I have a very important purpose here on Earth, among the many other millions of people that live here. And most of all, I have found happiness.

I also know that there are more important things out there to worry about and do, than the quality of my kitchen chairs.
Maybe my kitchen chairs will always serve to remind me to live by my new perspective.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Flashback Friday-- Wedding kiss

Well, It's my blog and I can be mushy if I want to! I love this man with all my heart. I used to think I only fell in love with his hair, but I still love him with short hair. How about that? Ha ha hee hee ho ho ho.

Kale Chips

One of our favorite treats are Kale chips. Micah discovered this recipe from a friend several years ago and we have been baking up some chips every year from our garden.

Take some kale, and remove the stalk.
Slice the leaves into 1 to 2 inch pieces.
Lay them all out onto a cookie sheet.
Spread a little olive oil on each piece, and lightly salt.
Bake in the oven at 350, for 5 mins on each side, or until light and crispy.
It is really easy to over-burn, so keep a good eye on them.

I didn't imagine that this heavy, thick, Kale, could turn so light, airy and crispy! It's hard to convey in a photo, but take my word for it! These are so good, and good for you! And kids love them! We just had some friends over for dinner and their normally picky-eater kids ate all the kale chips. Woohoo!

If you live within distance, we've got Kale coming out of our ears, so come partake!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Melt My Heart

Last night as we were cuddling to sleep, Zadok says, "I like you Mommy. Heavenly father sure gave me a good mommy."

My heart instantly melted. It made everything else go away, as I just got to lay there and enjoy that moment.

Then he added, "But he sure did give us a crazy little brother."

Ha ha! Yes, he did!

I sure do love my boys-they bring so much happiness to my heart.