Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Gardens.....

I am a gardener through & through. We live in the suburbs and consequently have a pretty small yard. Most of it has been turned into a garden or flower beds. I love it. It has been a lot of work but what else do I have to do??? Seriously - the kids have really enjoyed the time outside, since we don't live in a place that we can just let the kids run around outside by themselves. We don't have a back yard - only a front & side yard. Jake was laughing tonight that our neighbors probably think we are a little nutty since we have been in the garden all weekend long! And what a perfect weekend it was.....

Here are some pics from the yard this year. I have been collecting these since the first bloom - although I did miss the Peony's & Lupine. I also had more tulips but only took the shot of that particular one because it reminded me of Twilight....(LOL).

As for the garden part...I have planted and planted and planted. For such a small space I really have a variety. Here is my final (and complete) list: tomatoes (many varieties), peppers, peas, lettuce, celery, pole beans, bush beans, corn, radishes, carrots, basil, dill, chives, cilantro, sage, parsley, beets, collard greens, onions, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, sweet potatoes, butternut squash & pumpkins (please God don't let these seeds come up since the kids insisted on planting them even though I didn't want to.....). Wow... That is a heck of a lot of stuff. We also have a row of sunflowers growing along the fence. As you can see by the photos - I don't plant the normal rows in my garden. I kinda use the square foot method - although I don't use the raised beds and all that jazz....I just cram as much into a small space as possible. I planned my garden by drawing a grid (on paper) and then I used sticks and string to make a grid in the garden for my planting purposes. It was SO helpful and I will do it again next year. The neighbors did ask what the heck I was doing the day I did that..... We still have bean & tomato supports to build and I am going to build a trellis for my zucchini out of the branches we trimmed off the lilac tree. I will keep you posted with photos!

Yesterday while I was weeding the garden, Jude came along and he said, "Mommy, I've got an idea - you can take care of the plants and Daddy can take care of the money." Isn't he a funny boy. He came up with that all on his own.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Elise's Birthday...

My little Elise turned 4 last week. How quickly the time has gone by. She is such a sweet little girl. I have said it many times....she walks to the beat of her own drummer. She is a bit of a loner and has an artistic side. She is the girl who when she was only two would get into the sugar container and lick her finger to get some sugar to stick to it. And she is the three year old who asked me to let her get a purple mohawk. She also told me she wanted Daddy to buy a motorcycle. Hmmmm....I think I'm gonna be in trouble. She loves to wear dresses, although she doesn't always match. She doesn't care and really I don't either. A couple of weeks ago this is what she came up with....

Not so bad....until you get the rest of the story.

Those are purple Halloween socks and ruby red glitter shoes.

This year I asked her what kind of birthday party she wanted. She said Hello Kitty. She had Hello Kitty last year too, so I wasn't that surprised. So, I took her to Target to get her party stuff. When we got there she decided (against my pretty much begging for Hello Kitty) she wanted this stuff for her party....

Do you see there is a skull on those plates??? This is what my four year old likes. Did I say I am going to be in trouble? I am.

I made her a wheat free cake. It was dry but she liked it anyways. She did not care. Everyone else got regular cupcakes. I did make homemade butter cream frosting that I thought was super fab - but no one really commented on it.

Elise got lots of great gifts. Nana made her play dough that doesn't have wheat in it since Elise broke out in hives the last time she played with the real stuff. The Looman's got her a doll that I almost bought on two different occassions. Avery wanted it immediately. All the kids were playing with it. The next day Elise had the baby and Avery wanted it so she hit Elise in the mouth with the watering can Elise got from Aunt Heather and gave Elise a fat lip! Nice. My Mom & Dad bought Avery a doll later that day.

Here is the watering can.

Jacob & Avery feeding the baby.

Joshua practicing how to be a good Daddy.

Avery spoiled.

Mom Prom...

May has been a busy month. We have had visitors, parties, traveled, planted, cleaned, danced and just about everything in between. Two weeks ago was Mother's Day and Jude and I attended the annual Mom Prom. It was fun. I have new footage of Jude's mad dance skills. We went with our friends who we just don't see enough (Liz & Daniel). We are going to try to see more of each other but....she is busier than I am! It was a good time but Jude wasn't as interested in dancing this year. Here is a little footage of one of the few times we did dance.... There are 3 videos but they are all short. If you don't know...Jude is the one in the blue.

Here are some still photos....

And if you haven't seen this was in our local news paper! Can you even tell which one is me??? Notice we were doing something different than everyone else! I was trying to teach Jude the YMCA...

Cute Picture Alert....

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Keep your eye on my blog. I am going to post like 3 in a row when I finally sit down to write. I have some good stuff.

I will tell you this little story.

This morning Jude comes in my room and says, "Mommy do you have any pictures of you when you had green hair?"

I did have green hair a long time ago but that is a bit of a story so I won't go into that.

I said, "how do you know about that?"

He said, "you told me a long time ago."

Me: "Oh. Well, I don't have any pictures of it. Once Nana saw it she took me to get it fixed right away. AND we didn't have digital cameras back then, we only had film cameras and we didn't always have film."

Jude: "Wow. Who was president back then?"

He must have thought that was a really long time ago. LOL. And who would think of the president? What does that have to do with green hair??? If you are wondering I think the answer is Jimmy Carter.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Last Tuesday I called my Mom. I call her pretty often. I am usually in my car driving in between appointments. So, she answered the phone. I asked her what she was up to....she replied she was cutting her rose stems. I guess I ignored the comment - I did hear her but it didn't really register. I started rambling about whatever. She interrupted me and said "Do you know what I am talking about?" I said, "No". Well, she repeated herself then thanked me for the roses. Uhhhh...What roses? She sounded confused then she went to recheck the card. Sure enough it said they were from Jake and Delilah. I was thinking, that is so strange....I wondered who would sent flowers to my Mom from me? After a short discussion I decided to call Jake. I asked him if he sent the flowers. He denied it. Then....I knew. He is a bad secret keeper. He sent me flowers too. He didn't tell me he sent his Mom, my Mom and Me flowers for Mother's Day. He didn't tell me about sending them to our Mom's because he knew he couldn't keep it a secret that he was sending them to me too. Later my Mom called him to say Thank You. She started to cry (man I hope she doesn't mind I am telling everyone this...). She never told me why she started to cry but I told Jake it is probably because her son-in-law is more thoughtful than either of her daughters. That was supposed to be a joke but sadly it really isn't. A couple of years ago my sister and I both didn't send my Mom a card on Mother's Day. I didn't think it was a big deal. I had bought her one (wait I think I made her one) - I just hadn't mailed it. I knew I'd be seeing her in the next few weeks so I didn't mail it. Unfortunately, this is how I operate. I have been known to forget birthdays and other occasions. I do have good intentions. I really do. And even when I do remember I forget to call or send a card. Well, at the time I couldn't understand why a card was so important to her. It is just a card, right? WRONG. Have you ever heard of the Love Languages? Well, I haven't read the book but I've heard a little about it and I think there is a Love Language about Gifts or something. I think that is my Mom's. She loves to give gifts. That is how she shows her love. So, when Heather and I didn't send her a card or get her a gift she felt we didn't love her. I'd like to formally apologize to her now. Sorry Mom.

Today Jake taught a lesson to our "teens" at church. It was about Mother's Day. He asked a question: "If you were dying in bed with your Mother by your side what would you want to say to her?" That is a pretty deep question. One girl said she would tell her Mom that she did a good job and that she wasn't to blame for her kids screw ups (I am paraphrasing). It made me really think about some of the horrible stuff I have put my poor Mother through. I am sure there was a time when she thought I would never amount to anything. My teen years...well, I won't even tell you about all that. But now that I am a Mother I think I understand my Mom so much better. She was a good Mom. No...a Great Mom. She always went out of the way to make things special. I remember big Birthday parties - everything from 7th w/ Strawberry Shortcake to my Surprise 16th Party. She almost always made a cake for me. At the time I thought she was "old fashioned" for not buying them from the store. She sewed us clothing, toys & quilts. She cooked homemade meals. Delicious meals - some of which I still can't imitate. We always ate dinner at the kitchen table. Together.

I could go on and on about all the wonderful things my Mom did. And I could spend a fair amount of time telling you the things I think she did wrong. But that wouldn't be very nice. And the truth is I've gotten over those things. Life is to short to blame your parents for everything. So, for Mother's Day this year my sweet Husband sent my Mom Flowers. And I am telling my Mom that I think she did a great job and I know she feels like she made mistakes and probably blames herself for all sorts of unsavory things I did but they are not her fault. And in the end I turned out okay and I hope I can be as good of a Mom as she is!!!

Oh & I hope the flowers count since I didn't mail her card.....

I love you Mom. I hope you had a great day!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Some of you are NOT going to like this.

Before reading this VERY controversial post I suggest you read this short article from the Akron Beacon Journal. I read it at 3 A.M. (Read Jake's blog for info on all that....)

I just took the time to re-read the article and I can not believe it. Where do I begin. I am sure Barbara is a kind and sweet woman. It is a great service she has done to help the needy. I am not discounting that... I am appalled at how blatantly judgemental she is. That is not how we are supposed to be as Christians. I know many of you don't see things the way I do when it comes to the system helping people. But here is the thing....this woman began this "Freely, Freely" (the name is based on a Bible verse) and gives things to poor people. But you have to be the working poor or be actively looking for a job. First of all - how does she know if you are looking for a job? She doesn't give assistance to people who are getting cash assistance or food stamps. WHAT!? You can work and get food stamps. So, if you get $100 a month in food stamps you can't get help with furniture or clothing? That doesn't even make sense. And what if you are one of those "working poor" and you don't have money for food but you have cable, cell phones and a dog. Does that make you less of a "freeloader"? This is the problem with being judgemental. You can't really gage a situation accurately. I know she feels she is doing the right thing. And many of you may agree with her at first. I understand there are people who live off the system and who are lazy. Our society has created them. They don't know another way of life. Trust me....they pay a price for it. It is not like these people are out living a life of luxury. They live in horrible neighborhoods and live in fear of most authority figures. They live under an alternative economy - one that you and I do not understand. They sell their food stamps to pay for diapers and their kids birthday parties and then have to go to food pantry's for food. They worry about how they will keep their electricity on but at the same time have NO concept of conserving energy. I am not saying there aren't lazy people in our society. There are many. And I am not saying there aren't people who know how to work the system. I know first hand and have actually learned a thing or two from them. BUT what I am saying is this....Warning some of you aren't going to like it....

As Christians we are to 1. Love Christ and 2. Love each other. Plain and simple. You can't love someone if you are judging them. And more importantly how can we rely on our own meager judgements to be just that....JUST. We can't. There are people out there who will never set foot in a Church or ever know Christ because they know "Christians" are going to judge them. I attended a conference a few weeks ago and one of the speakers said something that may seem a little "cliche" but it really hit home for me. She said that there are many people who will NEVER attend a church (for many reasons) and you (me or you) may be the closest thing to Jesus they will ever see. I think it is so true of my job and my clients. Once I was at a home with a family....the type of family that "Freely, Freely" would NEVER serve. They were needing help with something (I don't even remember what) - regardless- I asked them if they ever attended Church and said maybe they could ask a Church for help. The mother looked at her motley crew of a family and looked back and with a half hearted laugh said, "Do we look like the kind of family that would go to Church?" Doesn't that break your heart? Here's the thing. Jesus Christ died for the prostitute, the beggar, the thief, the abuser, the liar and the user. Just like he died for all of our HORRIBLE sins. Yes the system is messed up. Yes the government has created a mess. But the Christians have sat back and allowed it to happen. If we were doing what we are supposed to do - "This is my commandment, that you love each other and I have loved you. John 15:12" - then we wouldn't be in this mess would we?

Here is another verse...

Deut 15:7–11 7 If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. 8 Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs. 9 Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. 10 Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. 11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.

Maybe you feel like the lady does. Please just take a step back and see how it is being judgemental and how it can be so destructive. Every single family that is labeled as "freeloaders" has a story. A story that would probably break your heart right into pieces. Yes many of these people have made awful choices and many, many mistakes. Your sins, their sins....all the same in the eyes of God.

I've been feeling like this for a long time. If Christians would really get a hold on this love stuff. If we really could love one another (other Christians and non Believers)....well, it would fix the world. I haven't really worked out all the kinks but I do know that, although it is nice and loving, donating stuff: giving people old clothing and toiletries is not really loving them. To love them, you are going to have to get to know them. Really know them. Hear their stories, walk in their neighborhoods, hold their hands.... It doesn't have to be scary. I'd bet there are "needy" people in your neighborhood. You know there is something to that "love your neighbor" stuff.

And please don't give me any of that "I can love someone even if I don't like them" CRAP. I hate that saying. It is impossible.

It is a tall order. But remember, it was NOT my idea. Jesus said and now we have to do it.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009