Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Kempe world tour....

Okay, so maybe its just a USA tour but still we have had quite a tour! We started the tour in Memphis Tenn. home of Elvis and the blues! We were both born and raised there, went to the same church, even lived in the same neighborhood and had some of the same childhood friends, but for whatever reason, we never met until he had come home from the army visiting from Louisiana. I grew up saying Id leave Memphis so off I went with my diamond ring and my red head in tow! The Bayou was calling our names :)

We were there for about a year. Beau had made me so mad, cant remember why but im certain it had something to do with the fact that he didnt think our 750sqft apartment was the right place for a mastiff! Well I had gone 3 full days without speaking to him (my current record) and he tried to trip me up. "I hope you like the cold cause we are moving to alaska". Lol still not cracking cause that man is making up lies just to make me speak right? WRONG , so there i was just learning to enjoy alligator and boudin when i found myself dragging my 5yo and 2mo from New Orleans to Alaska and yes it was my bright idea to drive! big mistake

Sure we saw the entire u.s. and then some. We drove all the way up to WA, hopped on a barge with our SUV cause i am way to cute to drive a minivan right? those are for old people! I swear we were on that barge for 2 years, but really i think it was just a week. It stopped everywhere along the coast of alaska and somewhere along the way I fell in love with the islands of Sitka and ketchikan (google em, fabulous tucked away places but good luck getting there lol).

After a days drive through the Yukon, we were there! Anchorage alaska, btw did you know the border doesnt open till 9am. Neither does anything else in Haines alaska, so never ever never get off a barge at 5am. Sure you can see the border guys in their houses right there but you will wait! Its ok though, gave me plenty of time to fig out what the heck that white stuff was on the ground in april???

I learned to love moose, concieved a baby girl, figured out i love to tube down a hill but skiing is not so much my thing. I made some fabulous friends who inspired me to homeschool, began my walk with Christ (i was saved but took me 15yrs to start walking) and survived a 16mo deployment followed by the conception of a post-deployment baby that couldnt wait to get out of AK.......so off we went. I packed up my sakura bloom and my very first didy (yep you got it, carrie taught me to babywear in ak too) and headed straight for Arizona. Made a quick detour in disneyland but that was just my inner princess bustin out :)

Once we settled in arizona I have learned to live life without grass. I now know wind can be hot and that it rains in the dessert. They call it monsoon, it never stops, until one day it does and you never hear from her again , till next year that is :) I finally had that post-deployment baby, lost a baby and had another. I discovered something profound, I LOVE DOGS, big ones! I learned with big dogs and 5 kids you mop daily, and you love it or it will make you miserable. I explored my first caves and saw my first petroglyphs. I became a sunday school teacher and the Lord gave me my very first real church family. We survived our first broken bone and our parker introduced us to the wonderful world or wrestling and orthodontics! I have had an amazing time, but alas, the tour must continue! so Colorado here we come....I seems that God likes us near mountains because we have had them in our backyard the last 2 places and we will be meeting the Rockies soon.

we are gonna check out the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas and we might even drag a couple of old folks along for the ride this summer :) we have tough grandparents, they have been training since Christmas!

In the future we hope to snag a tour in New England. Its the only part of america we havent seen. Maybe we can even swing some time in Europe. Who knows what the future holds but one thing is for sure.....you better watch out, we could be coming to a town near you :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

the blessing of birth

Giving birth has been one of the most exciting , dramatic and fulfulling experiences of my life. Ive been doing it off and on for about eleven years now, lol. Ive worked in labor and delivery, ive stood by a friend as her baby was born , and of course ive done it a few times myself. I have had a perfect birth with an epidural, a birth that literally almost killed me, a fabulous birth with a midwife and one push, a suprise birth that gave me a son instead of the daughter we were expecting and even one med free birth that lasted 2hours from start to finish. They were all so different and yet ended the same , with a happy healthy bundle of joy and a post-birth high. It is such an amazing feeling. You feel as if you life is perfect and just became a little bit more so. Nothing can bring you down! not even that black poop that is soon to follow.

So many women stress over the pain and worry about controlling every aspect, but in the end it happens how it happens. You forget how bad the pain was, believe me, or i never would have done it five times. Im still chasing that after birth glow of like my buddies jenn and chelsea. and still longing for post birth pics that look like fabulous glamourshots like Brittany does! but even if those never happen i feel blessed :) No they havent all gone perfectly, we have even experienced the pain of miscarriage, but i would do it all over again because God has used birth to give us the perfect family he intended for us to have. Sure you can love or hate the pregnancy but isnt the best part those last few weeks when you are waiting...everyday could be the day right! I love it!

While i cant say for sure if ill ever do it again, i can tell you I love giving birth. I love to hear about other women doing the same. Homebirths, hospital births, c-sections, it is all part of the perfect process created by our Lord. and what a awesome gift you get in the end!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

to love or hate...the mop that is

Kinda an odd topic to blog about but not really for some of my babywearing buddies who know me quite well. It was posted once that I might need an intervention and this could be an addiction. That may be true but then again i hate mopping too so im not really sure. I would never really say i love to mop although you can count atleast 4 mops that entered my mop graveyard (a broom closet off the laundry room) last year alone. Ive tried all sorts, microfiber, string, sponge, even the pricey steam one that bit the dust after a year of daily use.

But really, there must be something more too it, right? I do it alot and its not particularly fun, so as i did it again today i thought about why? I dont really do it because I love my tiles or because im trying to make the cover of home and gardens lol. Well I do it because I dont want my family to cohabitate with too many bugs, and I dont want my babies to have black knees. Because I love my kids and want to eliminate a few germs so they wont sick quite so much. Because I want friends to come in and feel welcome and comfortable and not worry that they are gonna get dirty. There are so many reasons but really its all because I love my friends and family and its just one small way I can contribute to their health and happiness. So I guess, I love her but just a bit. but then i suppose this is a bond that all you carpet mamas will never quite understand :)
oh and just in case you were curious, its all about the microfiber baby!!! she is the best, she wins the mvp award for 2007-2010!!! with the shark steamer coming in a trailing far behind second!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

moms best friend :)

I want to share with the online world one of the things i love best about having a baby! Of course there are the little noises, the snuggle time and that cute little nose. Love the baby carriers for sure but i have to admit the diaper changes have me smitten! For years I loathed them, 11 years to be exact. Thats how long ive been changing them, so i consider myself an expert!

One diaper in the trash at a time, bleh. By the time I had my third baby i was done!! absolutely sick of wasting my money on those things, and what the heck was that gel in there anyway. Once i tried to shove a full one into the diaper pail and it exploded!! Piper had rash after rash and I never knew what to do. I took a bold step and googled cloth diaper. Wow I though, ten bucks for one diaper seems harsh when your definition of a diaper is something that ends up in the trash! and then add another ten bucks for a cover. I was shocked but still fed up so i bought one for my nb and one for my toddler. I got them and didnt really know what to do with them, their butts looked big and so after a few days i gave up and tossed em in a box somewhere.

Fast forward 18mos, im pg with my fourth baby and in walks carrie with her baby in a cloth diaper. Hmmmm.... after a thousand questions I was sold. I was committed. and thats the way you have to be. I got some more info and purchased 2 dozen , diaper service quality prefolds, 5 snappis (no more pins ladies, just an elastic band with grips) and 4 bummis covers. He wasnt even born yet and i was smitten! the covers were cute and i felt empowered. I could take care of all my babies needs essentially with breasts and some cloth. After I got started the feeling grew. I was wiping with disposeable wipes and throwing them in the trash and the diaper in the diaper pale (a small trash can with a lid). So a quick call to carrie solved that, I was the proud owner of a cheapie pack of baby washcloths in a ziploc bag with some water and a bit of witch hazel (a trick i learned from aimee to eliminate mildew).

I have since begun to have fun with my diaper stash. It includes all-in-ones aka dad diapers (no cover needed , its just like a regular diaper) pocket diapers (just like an allinone but there is a pad you pull out for easier washing and drying, but requires the additional step of stuffing before wear) and fitteds (needs a cover like a flat dipe but doesnt need a snappi). These all come in fab colors and look great. They are a little easier but they dont buy you the street cred of a flat diaper!! lol

In total i have spent around a hundred bucks for my diaper stash, seems like alot but then i threw away thousands of dollars in diapers on the three kids who wore reg dipes (aka sposies). so i love my cloth diapers, ill never go back! and the best part of all is im using them all over again with Pike!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Birthday girl!

In the interest of not being self centered I have decided to blog about someone other than myself and my family. I chose one of my favorite people in the world because its her special day!!! Ive only known her for a couple of years but I cherish her friendship like its been forever. She has taught me so much so I just had to share with the world how great Andrea is and how much I love her.

Andrea is brave, I know because she joined the Navy! you got it, that sticker on her car is not just for her hubby. Andrea is faithful, though she has ups and downs and things almost never go as planned , she perseveres without compliant. She raises two special boys while supporting her husband's career in the military and as he still serves our country, meaning often she does it alone, again without complaint. Andrea is thankful and praises God no matter what! her favorite saying "Yea God". I have never once heard her attribute anything she has or has done to anyone but Him. Rejoice in all things! Andrea ministers to the homeless and truly cares for the people many of us pass by without notice. She is a servant in the greatest sense of the word!

One of the best things about Andrea is that she is a loyal and caring friend. She makes meals, calls, teaches your sunday school class if your sick. She babysits, and gives gifts, and walks dogs. Andrea is allways the first to help and loves to do it! She even puts up with me when Im in my own world and dont return calls. She is forgiving! Andrea is a fabulous person and a fabulous friend and tonight when i stip to pray I will thank the Lord for blessing my life with such a special sister in Christ. Happy Birthday Andrea!

and I just cant end this blog without giving her props for doing it all with perfect makeup! She is beautiful inside and out!

Thank Heavens for little girls!

In my life I have recieved many blessings, but there is one blessing so obviously unique and different from the rest. My Dear Daughter Piper. She is learning to hold her own and stand out in a world of boys. She has almost accepted the fact that she cant have a pink princess room , because she shares with a boy. She will probably never accept the fact that it is going to be impossible to date with 2 older brothers and 2 youngers and even if a boy ever made it past them, there is allways dad :)

It thrills me to have someone else in the house comment on one of the boys dirty faces. For years I was the only girl around and now there is someone in the house with longer hair than mine! Someone who appreciates the kitchenaid and can be easily bribed with anything sparkly. Dont get me wrong, she has been affected by our male dominated household. My piper tends to pounce and knock a boy down who is messing with her polly pockets, but in general she is demure. She leaps and does ballet through the house just as I did as a child. Somehow she is a daddy's girl and my bff at the same time. The Lord truly blessed me with her from day one! My first easy birth with the help of my first midwife! she was also the first child i got to babywear! Im so excited everyday to be the mother of one of God's greatest gifts! A little girl!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

thoughts on parenting....

As a parent, lately ive been thinking alot about the way I was raised. What I loved about it, what i hated. What I want to do the same, and different. Though I have long since left my parents home, I like to look at what I have taken with me. My thoughts turn to my father....who wasnt perfect. When I think of my father I remember him taking me fishing and encouraging me to learn golf. I remember playing putt-putt on saturdays and hanging out at the airport. I remember him teaching me to make beef stew even though i could care less to learn (i still make beef stew his way). I remember he was fabulous with the grill and watching americas funniest videos afterwards. I remember him bringing me dolls from all over the world, and taking me to mexico and hawaii often.

What I dont remember is that he wasnt that nice to my mom. That he travelled alot and wasnt home all that much. I dont remember him spending too much time at the office or fighting with family. I know he did those things. People have told me, I remember hearing about them. I guess my point is that, my true memories are the fun times. His love , his gifts, his time. I dont remember his flaws. Not because i chose not to, but because I dont.

and so, with my children I will create memories. Of course i feed them all four food groups as often as possible, and struggle to choose the best curriculum. All those things as parents we feel we are supposed to do in order to be labelled as "good". But in the end my children will be left with the memories and experiences I offer them. They wont recall if i styled their hair every morning and made them brush 3 times a day. They will remember hanging out with me at the park, spending time at church, and prayers over meals. They will never remember if i did my baseboards weekly but they will remember me singing and our trips to the lake. It is an amazing miracle, the mind of a child...what a blessing to an imperfect parent like me :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Big DH

As I begin my journey through the blog world, im noticing a huge problem i am having. When i mention something about my family or any member in particular, i feel like nobody will understand unless I explain this or that etc etc .........and so I have decided to do a quick blurb introducing my family members. They are, after all, the excited multi-faceted characters of my ever growing story. I will begin with the man who started it all, my Dear Husband Beau!

I met Beau at a party when I was 19. I can honestly say, it was not love at first sight. He made fun of my clothes and hair. To this day he makes fun of me when sporting a chin length blonde bob, but he must have liked something right? We were introduced through my friend Tanya who had known him for a few years. She snapped a few photos of us, which i still have! and brought them to nursing school the next day. I jokingly told everyone what guy was my boyfriend. The next weekend I saw him and it definately was love at second sight. At some point that evening I suggested we should get married, move to alaska, and change my name to Courtney Kelly Kempe. I thought that was hilarious! Little did i know in 2 years id be sitting in alaska signing things with that hilarious tongue twister of a name :)

The first year was rough but Beau is tough and so he survived the domestication of Courtney! barely :) Within a few months we were adding to our family, which already including a spirited red headed Parker. Paxton was born and dad training began. And as soon as he learned to change a diaper , Piper was on her way. Then there was Pearce and Pike soon to follow. Super dad was created somewhere in the mix. He can change cloth diapers now with ease, flat ones too! He gives breastfeeding advice, has opinions on birth options, and can do a little bit of hair. He coaches wrestling, teaches sunday school, volunteers in the preschool program at church. He can transform a bumblebee into a car without blinking with a baby on his back and a toddler wrapped around his leg. He is a fabulous father, so much so, that if he did laundry Id call him a mom!

But before all that he was just Beau. He wrestled in high school, was a cheerleader in college and joined the army as a young man. He has braved alaska, and the streets of baghdad. He has walked through the Holy land and held my hand through many labors. He believes in physical fitness and the power of prayer. He is passionate about everything he does. He is a kind, Godly man who protects and leads our family and when I look across the kitchen table I love the man I see.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

searching for Tigers in Tucson

And so it began, another normal day in a house full of Ps. they start waking around 5am every.single.morning without fail. I thought i would get used to it eventually, after all, I am woman! I do not need sleep. It is one of my many super powers. But alas, it is allways hard to get up at 5am. After breakfast and my much needed cup a joe, Beau announces that he wants to go to tucson. This is very typical, but i will introduce my Dear Husband later, lol.

Piper promplty reminds us that its T week and there are most certainly Tigers in Tucson. I assure her that there definately are and we will find them. I toss a couple carriers in the van and so we are off. Oh yeah, i forgot to mention that apparently I wanted a stroller for valentines day and so we tossed our new camo joovy in there too. Well there was a quick detour before we found the tigers. Beau wants a new bedroom suit so here we come Sam Levitz. I can only imagine what the salesman sees as we approach. An obviously army man, who appears to have been issued a stroller with 3 kids piled on, a big kid rolling around him in a figure 8 pattern, and a wife, no wait, a wife with a kid on her back. What a sight to see. He doesnt even hide the fact that he is counting. I cant recall but im almost certain this man stated outloud one of our most frequent comments. Do you know what causes that? Wow there are 5? You must be busy? etc etc but im certain it was not my most favorite comment of all.....What a beautiful family.....ahhhhh.......the best comment a large family every recieves, but for some reason it only comes from those over 65, whats up with that? I suppose its all that wisdom built up over the years that helps someone know that they shouldnt ask a complete stranger "did u mean to have all those kids". And so, the salesman directs us to the bedroom displays and we meander for awhile. the kids are great for awhile, and boredom hits. I admit, it hit me too, so we were outta there!!!!! ..........off to search for tigers

In true Courtney fashion, i never mention we are going to the zoo. after all, if something happens and we cant, i will pretend to search for tigers wherever we end up, but once they are told the zoo, no other destination will do. But we made it there nonetheless. I popped on a carrier I had carefully selected from the stash. For those who arent all that familiar with my babywearing habits ill mention the stash currently consists of 14 carriers. sounds excessive i know, but believe me, it is considered a modest stash in the babywearing community so I feel no shame lol! It is my only hobby :) and so I chose a Girasol Green Tea Mei Tai wrap conversion. It is a wrap just like the ones many of you have seen me sport, but a wonderful woman named Robyn took the wrap and converted it into a Mei Tai. I get the look and softness of a wrap with the ease of a mei tai. It is one of my favorites!!!
well there was only one tiger but he was beautiful, and active and the kids loved him. They loved all the animals and Tucson has a great zoo. It is clean and nice and animals are easily viewed. It is small and perfect for those days when you want something fun but dont intend on an all day adventure! I love it, but my kids werent impressed. They are spoiled. At the memphis zoo we are in with the VIPs, we feed and pet giraffes and rhinos. We have thrown fish to sea lions, loved on elephants, and even gotten up close with a panda, or two! so when my kids go to the zoo, expectations are high!! and so they said, it was ok lol!!! but really it was a great day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

and finally its done.........maybe

After a bit of urging from a few fabulous friends and family members, plus a little encouragement by visiting a few awesome blogs all to frequently, i have taken the leap. I have entered the blogosphere....and the water ain't so bad after all lol. I started thinking about a title, oh sum months ago, which kept me from beginning , as i sat stumped. I wanted something simple like my SIL Kendall's, yet intriguing like my sister in Christ, Kay's. It turned out I couldnt come up with either, yet there I sat, dreaming of blogging at my kitchen table, and so it is :)

Ill start by introducing myself. I live the life of a simple, yet complicated, Godfearing, homeschooling, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, volunteering, babywearing, churchgoing wife and mother to 5 precious blessings. and thats pretty much it! I spend my days centered around the said kitchen table. my children eat there, learn there, and grow up there. My husband leads his family from there and it is where I study and plan our lives. It cost too much, has been beaten badly. It is prayed over twice daily, then subsequently splattered with glitter, stabbed with pens, burned with hot plates and doused with cleaner so we can do it all over again. Over the years her face has changed as her duties increased. She is the Proverbs 31 table :) She began a brand new bistro set seating 3 with an empty chair for guests but she has expanded to accomodate our ever growing family. She currently seats 6 or more not including the indecisive high chair that comes and goes. And so, in an odd sort of way, I love my table, and she loves me and my family and at times I wish I could be more like her.

And there you have it, in a nutshell. This is me, and my table, and this begins our journey through the blog world. Please bear with me as neither me, nor my table are computer savvy, or all that interesting for that matter!