Wednesday, June 30, 2010

setting goals

We had an exhausting day. It started with a trip to REI (somebody who shall remain nameless, was a bit jealous of my fivefingers). Snagged some winter coats (great sale on North Face) and camelback bladders and headed to the zoo after cleaning up the house. We upgraded our memberships to include the ski lift, which sent me literally into out loud public praying. For some this is normal, but for me it is unusually. Definitely takes a special situation. I can do it fine at church or when asked amongst Christian friends but typically i am not that lady praying loudly at the zoo, but there i was babywearing, 5 fingers dangling over Colorado springs, gripping onto a four year old (who i am further scaring) and forcing my 11yo to pray loudly and fervently for the safety of our entire family as im certain both carriages will plummet to our demise within moments. In true Awesome God style, he delivered us to the top of cheyenne mountain and even calmed my spirit so much so that I enjoyed the ride down. I LOVE THAT GUY! ....and that is just how i like to think of him. He is like a husband, a best friend, the best dad ever and he is always there. He is my rock and He deserves my best.

My friend Kacy was sharing her thoughts with me via facebook today and she mentioned how she wants to serve Him in all she does, and the fact that sometime its hard. Sometimes (esp as busy mothers, students, wives etc) we are going through the motions of life. I have confidence that in this mundane motions the Lord is forever giving us the opportunity to glorify him. So thanks to Kacy I am making a list and checking it twice. I want to make sure to bring honor to my God tomorrow no matter what is presented my way and I know I can!

1. The Kids, he gave them to me simultaneously blessing me and allowing me to bring him glory 5 fold. I promise to teach them his ways (train up a child in the way he should go and when he is older he will not depart Proverbs 22:6) I also promise to make more of an attempt at treating them with all the love Christ has shown to me especially working on His fruits of patience, kindness, gentleness , and self control (aka no yelling)

3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than hearing my children walk in the truth ( there it is, my life verse, the reason i homeschool, the reason i raise them in my faith, from his lips to my ears, He has NO GREATER JOY, because of this i believe raising my children according to his word, no matter what else i choose to do, is my number one job for now and this verse makes it clear that he totally appreciates it, again, GOTTA LOVE THIS GUY)

2. 1 thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing. I had an awesome habit of this awhile back but have since been slacking. Too many distractions! but God didnt forget about me while he was distracted with ya know, EVERYTHING! so i have no excuse. I literally mean praying while i sweep and do laundry, praying for my children as i scrub their toilets and make their beds. Praying for my husband as i fix his plate for dinner. Praying that the Lord keeps this on the top of my to do list and always on my heart for I know obeying him and doing the simple task of prayer he has asked maintains our relationship and brings Him glory!

3. We are committed to being debt free and always have that as a top goal. Minus the mortgage of course we are close but there is always temptation. I know this choice pleases Him so I want to continue on this path bringing him glory (so thankful to The Crown Ministry and our awesome teachers Eric and Jenn for getting us there) 1 timothy 6:10 for the love of money is the root of many kinds of evils

4. Titus 2:4-5 encourage young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

I want to focus on the husband part of this verse more lately. supporting him in his life and career (making sure he has clean uniforms and a full belly) giving thanks for Him and trying in general to make His job easier as much as I can, doing this all for God's glory!

besides, our husbands have alot on their hands!!
If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever 1 timothy 5:8

wow, now thats pressure, and it is my goal to help take a little pressure off. Help my man stay healthy, low stress, cooking good food, encouraging physical fitness, helping him find that pair of ever disappearing flip flops etc... truly all these small things can work together to aid my husband to be obedient to our God thus giving him glory

well thats enough of a list for tonight. it feels good to write it all down so I can go back and double check myself. Like my friend Kacy I want so badly to serve my God in all I do. Sometimes it just feels impossible, like i need to be out evangelising and starting churches, feeding the hungry and healing the sick. I would love to be doing all those things, but I do have to get the job done that He has placed before me and I want to do it His way. My prayer tonight is to think about all of these things as I go through my day tomorrow. To keep checking back and reminding myself not to just go through the motions. To do each thing with His love at heart. I wont be perfect, i will falter, but with prayer I will get closer taking it one day, one act of service, one Christ-reflective choice, one moment of prayer, at a time! each day presents a new opportunity given by God and I want to make the most of it!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

i finally did it!! for real

So a few weeks back I wrote my first book review blog about Christopher Mcdougall's Born to Run. Without question, it inspired me! I began telling everyone i knew how awesome running was, how they could do it now matter how old or unfit, they were made to do it!! and one day i was gonna get off the couch and do it too LOL. Of course, i needed the right outfits and could no longer use the good old newbalance tennies anymore. Barefoot ted taught me all about how my body was meant to function and how i had trained my feet into cushioned lazy couches merely fixed to my ankles, so whenever i finally got off the couch, i planned to do it his way. Barefoot! but the reality of running on concrete in this under construction suburban bliss might require a little help. This help comes in the form of Vibram fivefingers. Meant merely to protect the foot allowing for all that natural grace, balance and grip to do its job. So I clicked purchase and waited.....

meanwhile a babywearing friend named Abby turned me on to the reality of my situation. While i COULD hit the ground running, more than likely I would need to ease into this, so i took her suggestion and checked out a "couch to 5k" training program! Whenever those shoes arrived I planned to begin...a nice thought, but much harder to put into action.

well since we are so "new" we don't even have a mailbox yet, we have to drive to the PO to check our mail. Needless to say, it doesn't always get done. I knew they were probably here, but i also knew what that meant, and so i was in no hurry to go, but eventually i went and there they were. The box was smooshed, but i knew what it was. I ran in and tried to hide them. The husband and all the kiddos knew I was becoming a runner upon arrival. Every time i was reminded of my new promise to start exercising, i reminded said family member i was waiting on the shoes. But the shoes were here, and I just wasn't quite ready. Those vicious family members would be more than happy to push me out the door and laugh. I envisioned them loading up the suv and hanging out the window with a video camera laughing all the way down the street. Alas, they stayed hidden in the kitchen for all of five minutes. I hear "whats that package in there?" beau says. In chimes a few little voices "its for me its for me", so the truth had to be told. I showed off my newest most prized possession. I carefully tried them on in front of an audience of inquisitive onlookers. They were strange, I'm not gonna lie. it felt weird on carpet, even weirder on wood. I thought they would feel like socks, but really, it felt like nothin??

but those naysayers weren't gonna break me. I wore my smile assuring them all they were perfect and wonderful just as i had said they would be. Now i just needed an outfit. i figured it would take me weeks to get around to finding an outfit.

not so much...we just so happened to be at target last night and beau suggested we check next door at tjmax for some new duds. I though, sure, they never have teeny sizes, ill be fine, they will have nothing for me. so we went. and there it was, an entire rack full of my size of course. and so i found myself around 2pm with nothing to do , kids watching a movie tired from golf. all was peaceful and no more excuses. i snuck upstairs, got dresses, slipped into the fivefingers, but i just couldn't go it alone. I would need moral support, and not the suv drivin, lol, picture takin type. Someone who believed i could do it, someone who loved me unconditionally, who would encourage me along the way with laughs and giggles and a mutual adoration only a mother understands and so i grabbed my Himmel Mei Tai baby carrier complete with a silk sleeping hood just in case he tuckered out before i did, i tossed my biggest fan on my back and off we went.

according to the "couch to 5k" program, i could start walking for 5 min and only had to run a totally of twenty min. Seems like nothing to most but i haven't ran 1 mile in over 5 years. since i was pregnant with Paxton who is now 6. WOW, i guess between all the diapers, feedings, cooking, cleaning, babywearing, blogging, golfing, moving, and mothering in general, physical fitness just didn't make the cut. Truth be told, I've always been so small that i hardly felt pressure to do so. I could tell you all about the risks of not, all about the benefits. I went to nursing school , i know how to take care of my body.....but that doesn't mean i do it :( but it took a book and the inspiration of the Tarahumera people to get me off the couch. Who knew a tribe of Mexican runners could get a Colorado mom of five off of facebook for a bit!!! but i have to say.....

I DID IT! and it was great! the weirdness of the shoes passed within the first few yards, i was in a groove. More of a jog than a run (pike did protest only at certain speeds). The slight jiggle of a jog sent pike into raving giggles. We waved at new neighbors (no dunny girls today :) construction workers, the milk man. No doubt we were an odd sight, but i have to say, I'm feelin good. I feel just like I've had a nice glass of wine and relaxed for hours, its amazing! I made the full twenty minutes plus a min or two. Just like Christopher said, when you run because you want to, not to win, or lose weight, or because of someone elses goal for you, you can truly love running! For the first time ever, i enjoyed myself on a run. I'm certain pike did too! as for that unruly audience, I arrived home amidst cheers. ........truth be told, i was questioned military style on where exactly had i been, accused of hiding around the corner as my twenty min stop watch ran out.....but in my mind there were cheerleaders and perhaps a small ticker tape parade. Now the only question is, will i be able to wait 24hrs I'm supposed to before i give it another go??

Sunday, June 27, 2010

a perfect present

Wow, its hard to believe that 5 years ago today I was sitting in the delivery room in Anchorage Alaska just given birth to my first and only baby girl. Her birth was perfect, amazing even. We had done it before so this time Beau and I were calm and cool. This was the first time I hadnt broken my water but felt contractions so like first time parents we walked proudly into labor and delivery waay too quickly, 3cm to quick to be exact. We received our walking papers. For those who have done it you can feel my pain. You get there soo excited only to be met with dismay and told to walk around the hospital, its soo embarrassing! but we walked, until i could walk no more. I was huge, 60lbs larger than my average miniature stature prefers. Pregnancy through an Alaska winter+comfort foods with limited activity=one big beautiful belly!! My midwife announced that she would keep me since it was my third baby and should progress faster than before. A couple of hours later I was pushing, and then chaos broke loose. Stop pushing she said, DO NOT! She was not the first person to tell me this, and like the last person, i ignored her. Occipital Transverse, Must Turn Baby Now, Dont Push, Huge Baby....Im hearing it all but it means nothing to me, my body said push and so Piper flew out like super man. Her positioning was odd and medically almost always "requires" a c-section. Her shoulders were vertical and her head was sideways, she weighed 8lbs (although throughout my pregnancy i received ultrasounds alerting us to a low birth weight). This all meant nothing, now that she was here...bruised, jaundiced, with a nose that would point to the left for the next 2 months, my princess was born. She was to be named Penelope, except i chickened out, so Piper is was! and she was perfect! Always the diva she required fancy ice cream asap (thanks to mary L.) and a trip to Red Robin on the way home from the hospital (dad is still trying to live that one down). While i was at the hospital birthing a beauty, my husband was moving us out of the old house and into a 4bdrm right down the street. Piper arrived to her new abode amidst boxes and grandparents assembling furniture.

Fast forward a few years and that large and in charge baby has grown into a smaller than average, healthy, active, intelligent, big and little sister. She is quiet, still requires more sleep than all of her siblings, low maintenance, and totally pinkalicous (thanks to theresa!). She is beautiful and Im so proud to be her mom. Since birth she has changed immensely. She traded that jaundice for a perma-tan that is uniquely hers (all of her brothers sport the pasty white version) She traded her thick black spikey do for rapunzelike wavy blonde locks accented by a gorgeous smile. Of all the children, she is the most kind, always willing to share and often taken advantage of, forever forgiving. She loves ballet and singing, she loves to swim (she is getting lessons for her birthday) and help mom bake. She hates bugs and pants and never complains about the excema on the bottoms of her poor cracked feet, showing the inner strength of a future mother no doubt! I love her and though I intended her to be our last (it was all about getting that little girl right?) she is certainly special and holds her own. She can wrestle and punch though rarely uses these super powers, preferring to breastfeed and babywear her My Little Ponys and rearrange her littlest petshops. She is ours and we love her!

We celebrated her birth a month or so early as we were moving and wanted to share her special day with friends. Thanks to a cake lesson from Danielle she had the most beautiful cake! and thanks to our awesome photographer we have some great photomemories of her special day. today we celebrate with just our little family, having the typical kempe bday dinner (due to the fact that all bdays in this house are around the holidays) a fried turkey and taters. She helped mom bake her fave strawberry cake with her own special touch, chocolate chips??? and received her first bike without training wheels (5 year olds arent allowed those things in our house lol). Paxton feels threatened as she assures him once the rain stops she will have no problem riding it (took him months). June 27th is a wonderful day, 5 years ago the world received a welcomed blessing :)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

a crisis in conservativeville

For those who dont know, we are conservative. Not allways politically (preferring the independant choice myself) but as far as life in general no label fits us better. We conserve electricity and water (even braving it without a/c as long as we can stand:) we conserve space (we stack kids in beds much like canned goods:) we most definately conserve our dollars but most importantly we fill our life with conservative values that we view as important and pass these on to our children daily. These values have fueled our decision to homeschool, our evening prayers, our tv programming and most recently our style of dress. My beloved princess turns 5 tommorrow and in the last couple of years modesty has become a concern. We have chosen not to allow booty shorts, halter tops, bikinis preferring a more wholesome look for our princess. These have not been easy choices. These days you are hard pressed to find some size 4t underwear that is not bikini cut and bears no provocative phrase upon the rear. While it has been hard to enforce due to lack of options, it has not been hard to instill the quality of modesty upon our daughter. she is 4, she doesnt want to wear a halter top, there are plenty of other appropriately sleeved frilly obnoxious choices out there that wont turn a pedophiles eye. She certainly doesnt feel different or left out and has even proclaimed that Jasmine lacks street cred as a princess because a princess would NEVER show her belly button! Ariel of course gets exception due to the nature of her environment and I reminded Piper that once on land and given the chance to go shopping Ariel chooses something modest :)

This all might sound amusing coming from the most scantily clad seniorita at the prom, but we Must live and learn. I believe we are contractually obligated to do so upon our first childs birth. It is not my wish to lay down rules of a you must "wear this, avoid that" nature, but it is my prayer to lead her with examples, making modest choices myself and providing her with real life beautiful women as role models, women who look great and choose self respect right alongside beauty. This also leads me more towards Barbie movies and a little away from disney princess mania. After my dear friend Vicki once pointed out the amount of cleavage in a Barbie movie is significantly less than that of Princess "insert fav choice here" I have been thus swayed and Barbie emerged as an ironic choice in girl power and modesty in our household. Betcha never saw that one coming :) Besides, i think we all know Pocahontas most definately did not wear a one shoulder midriff bearing top and the women of the middle east dress far less like a genie than Princess Jasmine would have little girls believe.

I have been breastfeeding someone for the better part of the last eleven years. Due to the fact that easy access and modesty do not allways go hand in hand I try my best to take notice of these same roll models myself and adjust wardrobe accordingly lol.

Since my house consists mostly of the male species, this lesson has extended to them. They havent seen many displays of immodesty aside from the few trips to the local pool throughout which the boys were mostly too busy having a blast to notice. To my dismay we have never been to the beach so the occasionally flash across the tv screen has been the extent of their exposure. We have discussed modesty with Parker the oldest and are simply leading by example with the youngers with little need to explain further. Girls cover this part, you cover that one, enough said...that was until see, we have a ginourmous picture window facing the mountains. We love the view and at any given time there is a Kempe kid gazing outward at Pikes Peak, or the horses below or simply counting the homes at the bottom of our hill, so imagine my surprise when my dearest and most vocal child calls the whole family to come see. Nobody runs because he frequently calls us to see the horses, or a new bug that landed on the sill, rarely anything new, but this time we were in for it. He noticed nobody seemed in a rush and so he announced further "There are naked girls riding motorcyles out here! You have got to see this, i have to tell dad.......i hope they dont go away". This announcement got instant results and i could tell from the shrieks that he wasnt lying. In his world, these bikini clad biker chicks were most definately nude! after all "you can see their whole legs". and then some. Parker departed red faced and speechless, Pearce announced that they must be cold, Piper laughed hysterically, and me, I took a picture for the blog :)

Its important for me to note that while I want to encourage modesty throughout my brood, the last thing I want to inspire is judgement. I never want my children to think that because a person doesnt make the same choices we do, that this person is less worthy of Gods love or of our kindness and respect. My first instinct was to scold and make sure to keep my kids away from that particular house and family. But to to quote an awe inspiring ever so popular rubber bracelet i asked myself WWJD. He would not judge, he would not condemn, and he would not teach children to do so either. And do I bit my tongue for a bit. when Paxton asked why they would do that I explained that I really didnt know, that those were swimming outfits just different ones than we wear. Parker is newly friends with their son and there is no doubt that my choice words in this moment may one day be shared with bikini model mom n friends, so i chose wisely. I explained that we have chosen to dress more modestly because we think that is what God would like us to do. These are our convictions and not theirs. Thankfully that was all the explaining required for now. Throughout today pearce has looked for them, concerned that they are cold. He has nicknamed them the "dunny girls" a meaning known only to him (feel free to aid me in translation) and Piper has declared she will never dress like a dunny girl but she and pearce swear they saw them at IHOP lol.

mathew 7:1 judge not, that you be not judged

and one of the most important verses for the frequently moving military family

galations 5:14 you shall love your neighbor as yourself

I took this as a lesson that no amount of sheltering is complete, but also that sheltering is ok. God will present the lessons when he sees fit. Im thankful there were no cat calls and hollering bellowing from my window, and pray that my boys never adopt those degrading practices. I never expected that from our new suburban neighborhood in the hills of colorado springs, but I welcome more surprises, it is no boring life for sure!

1 peter 3:3-4 your beauty should not come from outward adornment such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes, instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is great worth in God's sight

one day I plan to use this verse to explain to piper exactly how she can survive her teen years without a bikini or a halter top and still be looked upon as beautiful in the eyes of man and God, wish me luck :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

diapering on :)

Its no secret I am a huge advocate for cloth diapering. I get questions on it almost dailly. While I believe cloth diapering is best for baby and budgets I rarely share the best benefit with strangers. Its joy!! Yes i know, its hard to believe but diapers can bring joy its true!

When diapering with regular diapers (sposies we call em ) you know exactly what you are going to get each time you reach into the package. After years of diapering my first 3 kiddos i found myself buying different brands each time just to break up the monotony, but with an eclectic cloth diaper stash there is fun to be had with each change :) i might choose a tye dyed prefold ( be careful to make sure and rinse all dye first, church nursery ladies are quite startled by blue/green baby bums) or sometimes I go for a Texas orange fuzzi bun. When Im feeling silly i grab our puppy diaper with floppy ears hangin on the sides or maybe a pastel reversible kiss a luv in a hue to match my mood. Diapers have to be changed, there is no avoiding it, why not make it fun kwim !

Then there are covers, available in even more funness than the diapers. There are even covers that double as pants. These are called woolies or longies and are like a sweater for your legs. Long ago someone figured out if you lightly soak wool in lanolin it becomes practically waterproof allowing for some gorgeous pants/diaper covers that start numerous grocery store conversations and have lead to many cloth diaper converts for me :) A friend of mine (Abby at knitterknots) made our latest and most fabulous pair currentlly awaiting the perfect day out. Like "jeans diapers" they dont require pants, but i find them much more attractive with alot more class lol

Part of the joy is the conversation that inevitably begins when a stranger or mom to be notices your childs big bum. I admit it, a cloth diaper creates a little extra junk in the trunk! but after doing it awhile you find it endearing and with the invention of adjustable waist pants its no prob at all. I love sharing the origin of the bum with other moms who had 60s inspired visions of flat bleached diapers secured with pins. Its exciting to learn how the practice has evolved. The day of pins are long gone ladies!! Recently my 4yo Piper found a safety pin. She informed me that I needed it for Pikes diaper. I tried explaining to her that we dont use those and showing her a snappi, but she insisted that spongebob wore a diaper with pins and so we should use them lol.

These joyful conversations that typically end in laughter and mom to mom bonding, almost allways include the biggest cloth diaper question of all. Whats up with the poop? When a breastfeeding mom asks i love to answer because breastfed poop is nothing. it just dissappears in the wash, doesnt really smell and is no big deal. When a formula feeding mama or worse, a solid food eating baby's mama asks, I employ all avoidance techniques, complimenting shoes, carriers, magic stayput hairbows on bald infants, but alas, i have to answer. Those babies have real poop that requires a real conversation. Plop it in the potty :( there is no other way, unless you want to dunk, which i do not recommend. lol but truly, to plop it in the potty is no big deal and whats left on the dipe dissappears in a hot wash with an extra rinse never to be thought of again. they even have diaper sprayers (think kitchen sink sprayer) that are low cost and attach easily to your tank. Ive never had one, but friends swear by them.

So , while i love cloth diapers for the economic and environmental benefits I have to admit its the friendship and fashion statements that keep me going :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

babywearing at the cheyenne mountain zoo!

Well today was an excellent day in Colorado Springs and perfect for our first trip to the zoo. For those who don't know, we are zoo junkies :) we've checked out zoos in memphis, tucson, pheonix, san diego, anchorage ak, and now colorado springs with hopes to scope out many many more when our kempe world tour is over. Needless to say we couldnt wait to add to the list. There was a wrap who had been sitting in the closet for months, untouched, begging to get some lovin and it was the first day of Beau's four day weekend so today was perfect.

We arrived around 2 o'clock. Immediately busted out my brand new didymos eis linen babywrap and wrapped up my 24lb 7mo, who was dead asleep, in a front carry. We realized we had forgotten the stroller (aka diaper bag holder) but oh well, who needs em right :) Parker has taken over as the family photographer and his siblings are a bit jealous so he doesn't always have the most cooperative subjects lol. After snagging an entrance photo we promptly joined the zoo. kinda an odd step to join, seeing as we hadnt ever been there, but when you have a family of 7 our member ship will pay for itself if we go twice this year, so it was a must!

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is different from any other we had visited. as the name suggests, its on a mountain. Not near one, or beside one but built right into the mountainside. This makes for quite a workout, but provides really unique habitats and a ski lift!!! minus the skis of course, but oh how fun. It takes you right to the top and you can work your way down, which we found out after we had climbed the zoo in full lol. Even the alaska zoo wasn't on a mountain, so I was impressed.

The first thing we did was feed giraffes. We have done this a couple of times before, head level, and ground level (so they have to stoop). It never gets old! They are so cute, all 16 of them including two teeny babies!! This was the largest giraffe habitat we had seen and they all seemed to be having fun, very personable, although their tongues were much shorter than the giraffe we met in Memphis :) While I think the ground level is the most fun, this was still amazing esp the babies cuz u know i luv me some babies!

The zookeepers were super nice and totally help make the zoo a fun place. A junior keeper saw my kiddos admiring the sleeping snow leopards and went and got their keeper who was preparing treats. The let us watch them do some training behaviors with a laser pointer and then devour some big bones. The kids loved em and they were gorgeous. Once they got the bones they wouldn't do much, the kids were sad , Piper concluded that those bones must be really really good! and it was on the the naked mole rats....

I found it odd that there was an entire marketing campaign centered around naked mole rats. kinda atypical, but whateva. We had to check them out (so i guess it worked) per the request of a thousand billboards around town. They were super fun and just as cute as they were disgusting haaa. We then wandered over to the little reptile/mouse/skunk building. A keeper hanging out in there asked my kiddos if they would like to help her feed her mice! We were so impressed with all the friendly folks and their willingness to include and educate my kiddos. They each got to choose their favorite fruit from the fridge in the back and bring it out and feed the mouse of their choice, then she let everyone hold Pouffany, a sweet fluffy little black and white mouse whom all the kids now love!

This is about the time that Pike woke up, two hours into the adventure!! I thought he might want to get unwrapped and stretch or something, but no, in true low maintenance Pike style, he snuggled up in his linen didy and enjoyed the rest of the trip (another hour or so) in the comfort of mamas arms :) takin it all in!

Last but not least were the monkeys. They were great, but it was what i found in the monkey house that impressed me most....a babywearing exhibit (they called it backriding) ! Now this is MY kind of zoo! looks like monkeys and mamas have something in common!
Thanks to everyone at the zoo for making it a great trip!
happy fathers day :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Father's day

My hubby is out tonight reconnecting with some long time buddies. I took the opportunity to start thinking about Father's day. Beau always has lots of ideas about what he wants this time of year, add to that just purchasing and fabulizing a brand new home and his list grows lol. Im pretty sure I have decided on his gift, carefully narrowed down from a list that included a grill, a biometric gun safe, new skinny clothes, vibram fivefingers, nfl tix, ufc tix, you get the point. i have alot of choices, all of which would make him a happy man.

well Ive chosen one that will be a blessing to the whole fam, and it all starts here, meet big n nasty (see above right pic). No this is not the latest sandwich at McDs, its a big nasty propane using, peanut oil guzzling, greasy , gross , turkey fryer. He has been a thorn in my side for years. One day, long ago, Beau convinced me that life would only be complete if we had one. We could fry anything and relish in the greasy goodness for years to come. Being of the deep fried southern sort I caved and became a proud adoptive mother to the cauldron of lard you see before you. He has been good to my family, He supplied us and our neighbors in alaska with our very first fried thanksgiving turkey (fried in the snow, by a man in shorts). Big nasty supplied us with endless hotwings through football games, fireworks, and any excuse to have fun with friends. We fried veggies (yes southerners are well adapt at making healthy foods less than so lol) among other things, and even once, unintentionally we fried an entire square yard of grass (apologies to the new inhabitants of our old house). He travelled with us across oceans and to four homes and while his looks have suffered, his integrity remains intact. But alas, his demise is near. He is a fairweather friend of sorts. You see, he attracts bees, can no longer be completely cleaned, is a fire hazard, and has conspired more than once to keep me out of my skinny jeans. Yes i think its time for Big Nasty to go, and as I reward my husband for surviving another year and entering into the exclusive father of five club we will welcome a new member to our family.
It is a beautiful new sleek oil less electric turkey fryer!! The chunks of fried up fat gurgling in peanut oil wont attract bees, the sleek non-stick exterior will make him much easier to clean, and the drip pan and lack of submergence in liquid fat will repell skinny jeans much less. She boasts all the tastiness (aka crispy on the outside, juicy inside) of her fat gurggling predecessor but without the disgust! While many suggest to make new friends but keep the old, in this instance im going against the grain. I have big plans for Beau's latest toy acquisition so lets keep our fingers crossed that she can live up to them. now shhhh dont tell Beau!!!
reviews to come :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I mean, i think im good at it, right?

So today was my first full day back to work. I mean that mom job, ya know , the one i volunteered for, receive no pay for, but love :) It went pretty smoothly. No major mishaps but I did find I miss my routine. A new home, a new state, I wondered if i would be able to jump right in. Technically Beau started work last week but he has been getting off early and coming home for lunch everyday so today was really day one for me. I actually had errands to run which of course included target and starbucks, proof positive that some things never change.

While we didn't have any activities planned things are always busy around our house. The new house has 4 floors and then the backyard. There was something going on, in each area, all day long. In the backyard there was a child stuck up to his ankles in the mud (there is a major construction project going on back there). On floor num 1 there was some sort of lego explosion, floor two resides the wii (always the source of an argument) floor 3 is the tv and where the baby hangs out (both are sources of entertainment) and up top apparently there is a game going on that involves seeing who can unhang clothes the fastest.

Throughout the chaos (it actually isn't chaos but i know it seems that way to everyone else lol) i find myself repeating the same statements over and over and wondering if I am really doing the right thing, saying the right things, helping them to become better humans in general? after all, that is my goal, that is what i assume i am doing. But really, how many times will I remind them to share? How many times will I take away a coveted possession so they will learn to treat it better? My kids can be best friends one minute and mortal enemies the next, as evidenced by my repeated pleas "do not hit your prince charming with the light saber, no he doesn't like it, its not nice" There is also the ever present "why" that follows. I remind each of my precious Ps to stop complaining at least once a day, no doubt they learned this from me however i feel obligated to atleast make an attempt at counterbalance. Sometimes it appears nobody can hear me and so i frequently remind my small folks to put on their listening ears. Every now and then i have my doubts if it is working. I see the moms who let it all slide and occasionally wonder if they have greener grass. I usually find that i don't want to spend enough time around their children to find out lol.

well tonight I took my doubts to the Lord. I wanted to remind myself why those daily lessons are important. How it shapes them into adults in such a good way. Adults that others will enjoy the company of, adults that will worship the Lord , serve His people and make mama proud :) well of course God gave me an answer, simple as pie. Colossians 3:20 reminds children to obey their parents, for this is right. It all starts there. sure some "why mommy"s require more explanation, which often is a good thing and facilitates learning but many don't. and sometimes the ones that do require more explanation will just have to wait till we are out of the grocery store, but a good recitation of Colossians 3:20 will do for now.

When I ask them to stop complaining I can simply go to Phillipians 4:11b I have learned to be content in all circumstances. This includes waiting your turn for the wii and accepting the fact that one will never be allowed to play "whack a mole " with the sprinkler heads! This lesson really increases when Moms lead by example, pressing on for hours with no sleep, surviving on little more than left on the plate chicken nuggets and coffee, all the while showing love and appreciation for those little blessings underfoot (or on your back, or stealing your laptop, even the ones you fish out of the mud).

Hebrews 13:16 for do not forget to do good and SHARE with others, for in such sacrifices God is pleased. So now, when i say "please let your brother play with your littlest petshops" it will be followed with "because that would make God happy". Kids love to make anybody happy. It truly is a part of their nature. Hence the "help" you receive in the kitchen. Its just that as adults we train them out of it, because it was trained out of us. Simply to please God is a good enough reason to do anything and starting tomorrow i plan to reintroduce this concept to my little, and not so little, blessings who love to claim everything "mine".

A couple of years ago I made a point to have my kiddos memorize the fruits of the spirit. I used a song, we talked about them. They all agree those are great rules to live by. that is of course until they are expected to show those fruits to their siblings. Love, Joy, seem to come easy, its Kindness that tends to get hung up. Ephesians 4:32 tells us to show kindness and compassion to others. I ask them daily, are you showing kindness? with mixed responses. This verse reminds me that,yes, I should keep doing this. Kindness is important, in life, in friendship, and certainly to God. So Ill keep it up, trying to show kindness to them, trying to remind them to show it to each others, and setting examples and fostering opportunity as this is an attribute of Christ I definitely want to shine in my children. furthermore I will ignore all children who contend that I am not showing kindness by protecting those oh so tempting sprinkler heads.

As for not being heard. I think all mothers feel this. It is reality. But that doesn't mean give up or purchase an air horn. God says in Proverbs 18:13 He who answers before he listens-that is his folly and his shame. Wowza!! sounds kinda sad, the last thing I want my children to experience is folly and shame, so i intend to press on encouraging "listening ears" and flicking light switches for attention. It is not for waste after all.

It seems there is encouragement to be found in His word for me tonight. Encouragement that those every day exhaustions will bear future fruits. Reminders of what will happen if i were to decide that it wasn't worth it. Ill keep going, keep teaching them and learning with them. It is my prayer that some day they will do the same. They will show kindness, be forgiving, serve others and God. They will be great people some day and Im working hard to help i happen.

Better try and get some sleep, tommorrow is a busy day, mouths to feed, diapers to change, ipods to fix, and hearts to mold :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

comparison shopping

ive been trying my hardest to decide just where exactly in the u.s. i like the best. Beau and I are forever making mental notes. We are currently on the kempe world tour testing out state by state so by the time retirement hits (as little as 9.5yrs give or take a year or two). the plan is to experience as much as possible and settle down in the best place on earth. So far we have labelled alaska as great and a definite option, downside being distance of course but other than that we loved it! Arizona is def a contender although if we settled there we might hit central or northern az. so far colorado is sizing up nicely :)

there is snow in co, which is fabulous and unlike alaska there is none in june. we are also loving the fact that there is no need for three digits on the thermostat. though they are few, southern az does have its downsides and long periods of triple digit heat is one. the other being those infamous trash tornadoes, otherwise known as dirt devils with hitchhikers!

as far as the views go, nothing beats alaska. NOTHING! but we have an amazing view here in co that is definately compareable and surely magnificent. our az view was nothing to sneeze at as well. surprisingly God allways tends to place us at the base of some beautiful mountain scenery. rarely snowcapped, the huachucas are coming in third.

here in colorado most everything is green. we have lucious bluegrass we can barely keep mowed and everywhere you look there are gorgeous trees and landscaping. im am now a proud new mommy to a Greenspire Linden :) while this requires alot of care, it is totally nice to look at! az had some nice brown earth tones going on but not exactly condusive to barefoot running, though i do love a nice cactus :) alaska was just white which is my favorite color so ??

in my opinion it truly is the people who make the place. when i first moved to alaska, coming from the south, i found people a bit harsh. soon i learned to love their independace, pride, and certainly appreciate the laid back attitude. The folks in az resembled southerners a little more showing kindness, smiling, waving etc, forever sporting flip flops in dec and virtually accentless. We have made forever friends in both places and cant wait to find out what colorado folks are truly like. so far so good! but mostly we have met transplants lol

We run a faith based household here in kempeland so of course a church home is important to us. Az and ak both differ vastly from co. In both states there were few choices, one maybe two of each denomination at most. Certainly one is all you need and in both states we found a perfect fit for our family. Here in colorado its a smorghasboard. There are churches on every corner. How can one choose? so far we checked out Pikes Peak christian church. We really liked it and it could be the one for us. Atleast the name suggests it is the perfect place for parker, paxton, piper, pearce and pike to worship! we are going to check out a couple more simply because you must sample everything on the buffett right?

there is allways, of course, the bug factor. alaska has by far fewer bugs than anywhere else. yeah people speak of mosquitos but i dont hang out in the woods so meh. az was home to the worlds largest population of flies. they tend to make themselves unwelcome guests in your home bleh bleh bleh. they hang out with ants too! yuk, im soo not friendly with those. We have a few of each in co but not too many. i can live with one or two if i must :)

it really is a toss up as to where we will end up but it does seem that colorado is a happy medium between the desert and the tundra. the best of both worlds if you will. like alaska there is so much to do. Nature is everywhere and God has made such a wonderful world to enjoy. we are in a big city so plenty of exciting activities here as well. Like our home in az we are within an hour or so of an even bigger city just in case we get bored. its soo exciting to explore a new place, but the best part is , as soon as the excitement wears off it will be time to check out yet another part of this awesome country :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

angel babies

I sit tonight shedding tears as I hold one of the most beautiful blessings ever bestowed. 7 months ago I gave birth to a perfect, precious, healthy baby boy, but sadly that is not always the case. All pregnancies do not end so perfectly and the sadness in that simple statement can be unbearable. Through babywearing I have met so many beautiful mamas and tonight I had the privilege of being let into the story of one beautiful mama's loss of an angelic baby girl at 37wks gestation. Through my babywearing connections I have learned that babyloss (miscarriage, stillbirth, blighted ovum etc) is all to common. Unlike other problems, there is nothing to protest. There is no complaint to file or facebook group to join to stop such a horrible thing. It is simply a sad part of life....yet we never really talk about it. Sure among my birthy friends we discuss it, but out in the real world our lips are sealed. Women rarely mention their loss unless asked by medical professionals. But hearts remain broken nonetheless.

One might read this blog and think that I am so blessed with children I know nothing about loss. I have been so fortunate to have 5 healthy blessings bounding about daily, but I have tasted loss. I can attest that even a loss amongst many blessings hurts badly. Once you are told that a special God given individual will soon rest in your arms and change your world, it is never something you can easily let go of. As losses go, mine was easy. I lost a child I hadn't planned or expected, and I had a house full of hugs awaiting me when I returned home from the hospital. So many mothers return home empty handed, so many have no small hands to comfort them at home. Many mothers have painstakingly prayed for a child only to have an answered prayer ripped from there arms in times that should have been celebratory. All mothers who have lost a child carry this loss on their hearts forever. Forever they ask silent questions, what would you have looked like, who would you have been, what day would you have been born, and the questions go on and on. Every now and then i think, "we could have six" or "we wouldn't have had pike" I even know what names would have been used.

It has been a long time since our loss, but all to recently the pain of loss has touched many of my friends. I no longer shed tears for my loss. Partly because I feel so blessed and I know the Lord has a mighty plan, but also because those tears have been given to other mothers. I cry for so many of them who long to feel a soft snuggle or the tiny sigh of a newborns breath. I pray that their pain is lessened by the days gone by but their hope and memories remain.

If you have experienced a loss I urge you to share your story. Support another mother through her pain. Let her know it is ok to share her names , her thoughts, her acknowledgement of a birthday, her story. If you have never experienced such sadness you are so blessed. Please, if you are ever so cherished by a mother that she chooses to share her story of loss with you do not sit in silence for fear of not knowing what to say. There is far too much silence in this mother's life and a simple "I care" is all thats required. A child's life is far to precious to go without acknowledgement no matter how short. I rest comfortably knowing my sweet "P" was cherished by the Lord and rests in far sweeter arms than mine, but i will always wonder.....

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, Before you were born I set you apart...Do not be afraid for I am with you.. Declares the Lord ...Jeremiah 1:5,8

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

life as a military wife

many of my military mama buddies and I are asked often "how do you do it". I'm not sure that its a question anyone could answer in full but it is definitely a different lifestyle. As a military wife you sit in the passenger seat aboard the vehicle Uncertainty. At times you are handed certainty but that only means that your husband is gone serving our country. the only certainty is that he will not be at your dinner table. Never do you truly leave the vehicle because you can never be certain of his return :( My husband has served one tour in Iraq for 15months. For those who are non-military (civies we call you lol) this sounds horrible. For our family it is certainly a blessing. We are the lucky ones, who have only been called once while many if not most are serving their second, third, even fourth turns at war. Add to that there are many assignments which are unaccompanied, though not at war, meaning many of these soldiers have served a couple of years in Iraq or Afghanistan and a year in Korea, out of war, but still away from their families. It is not the location of the soldier but the time apart that can devastate the family back home. A year can change alot, kids grow, priorities change, major life choices get made. Military families have adapted and balance these trials, often with difficulty, but no other family does it better :)

Though war and deployment are the main function of military life there are so many unique characteristics that set us apart. The most obvious is that we move... alot. Take all the reasons normal folks move (outgrew the house, house is old and falling apart, got a job promotion etc.) and add to that a move every three years or so regardless. Often we move from state to state or even overseas, but we still have to move in between occasionally because our house is full of asbestos or we have had a baby and need more space. We know all the tricks and employ lots of help but we get the job done, and fast. People wonder why or how we get some much done so quickly but we have to. Remember that vehicle, Uncertainty, he can come anytime. He has more than once presented himself in the form of a move. There is a saying common amongst army wives when asked the typical questions (when is your husband coming home, how long will you be living here, where will you go next). Whatever answer you get will almost allways be followed with "but who knows, its the Army". The hardest lesson I had to learn during our first years was that everything is subject to change. Ive learned to embrace it and rather enjoy it. As a Christian there has been no easier way to know that God is in control than to be told you must sign in to your new duty station in 9 days (not a common occurrence but it has happened). Let go and let God right?

Military wives have an amazing ability to adapt and this extends to the kiddos as well. in my time as an army wife we have endured four major family moves. we have lived in the swamp, the desert, the tundra and now the mountains. Each move has carried with it unique challenges, but never once have the kids expressed anything but excitement. they look forward to new activities, a new home, new friends etc etc. Its all a part of the fun game that has become military life. The best part about it is the strength it has given our family unit. The dependence upon each other and love for companionship within our walls. Home is truly where the heart is.

Of course, that is not to say that we dont need friends. Military friends are some of the best around. There are none more devoted and loyal. None more proud and supportive. Upon initial meeting, it is not unlike a military wife to offer babysitting, a cup of joe, her crib or a meal from her kitchen. Each and every military wife has been through trying times and can almost always express some sort of empathy. Our bonds extend far beyond husbands wearing the same uniform. Much like the tv show, on a military base you find women from all walks of life who cry on each others shoulder, fix each others cars, and care for each others children. I have friends from wealth, poverty, friends who are artists, career women, fitness buffs,spanish teachers, friends who live in makeup and those who havent ever owned any, yet we are all united as military wives. I feel so privileged to be one and even more privileged to have so many. There are just certain things that remind you exactly why we do what we do.

How we survive the moves and deployments, the births without husbands and years playing both parents, i do not know but why we do it is all to clear. To support our soldiers so that they may provide and protect our families and the families of this great nation that pray for their safety and even the ones who could care less. It most definitely has nothing to do with the ever fading military discount :)

I do have to hand it to those military dads. They do all the same things we moms do but probably with fewer pampered chef parties to fill in the gaps.