Sunday, May 24, 2009

No complaining here

I haven't felt like blogging lately because everything I think of writing is going to come off as complaining and I doubt anyone wants to hear an endless list of complaints.

It doesn't make any sense either because so many wonderful things have been happening lately.

So, there is no real explanation for my foul mood and I know that as soon as I would try to list all of my complaints and excuses they'd seem small and ineffectual.

So instead I'm going to write about all the wonderfully good things that have happened lately and see if writing down this list doesn't inspire my mood to lighten up a little already.

1. The sun is shining, and it didn't shine one day and then dissappear. We haven't even been expiencing measly Northwest featured "sun breaks". The sun is out and kids are wearing shorts. Sunscreen is needed and popcycles are on sale at QFC for $1/bag. Not only is the sun shining but we are heading to the beach today to soak as much vitamin D as we possibly can. UV rays? Shush...

2. My neighbor had a baby girl and I went over there yesterday with some flowers and Emma and Ruby. How do babies look so incredibly tiny? It was fun to hear her birth story because it was very similar to when I had Brayden. She even had the same midwife.

3. Some new neighbors moved in and they are very nice. The mom came over to my house to introduce herself and admitted that she loves to talk to people so much that she's afraid she scares some off. A girl after my own heart. If you don't know me personally just picture someone walking around Costco smiling, hoping that people will start up a conversation with her and if they did it would completely make her day. That's me;)

4. I am so proud of Emma. Last week she graduated from preschool. They used one of her Emmenism quotes for the good bye video. She said of her teacher "Mrs. McCall isn't just my teacher...she's my friend!"

5. I am becoming an expert garage saler. I have in mind all the clothes my kids are going to need for the next year and I've been finding tons of clothes for Ruby and Brayden at $.25 each piece. It's harder finding nice stuff for the older girls, but I'd rather buy Ruby and Brayden garage sale stuff anyway since they are more prone to spills and stains. At the last garage sale yesterday I was sad not to have found a bike for Emma, which was the top thing we were looking for. I said that to the people running the sale and they went and got the perfect size bike out of their garage and sold it for $3.00.

6. Then Emma learned to ride a bike without training wheels yesterday. It was funny because both my husband and I were teaching her. I taught her the basics and the things to keep in mind, like how to break, where to look, etc. Bill taught her how to stand up and go down the big hill and is now going to go make a jump. Yeah, I think I'll be teaching the girls to drive when the time comes;)

6. Did I mention we were heading to the beach??? Gotta go for now.

And hey, I think the counting my blessings deal is working...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

On a roll here

Here's an event. The Skagit County Free day for kids. This brings up something else. A lot of times I find out about free events from radio stations. Some that post community events are,, and

Date and Time: May 30, 2009 10am-6pm
Description: Join us at the Skagit County Free Kids Day! We will have demonstrations in the arena, farm animals, education, activities, entertainment, kid's cooking demonstrations (Haggen Market Street Catering -yum!) and lots more. All kids who attend will receive a free pass to the August Skagit County Fair and a free pass to the Children's Museum of Skagit County. We are providing free admission and parking to the event. We still have a few spots for the Community Stage so if you are interested in performing please contact the Fairgrounds (360-336-9453) for an application!
Cost: FREE!
Location: Skagit County Fairgrounds
For more information:

Free & Cheap Family Fun

I am all about finding stuff for free or cheap. My husband laughs because he sees my ears prick up at key words and phrases like "deal" or "free day". But hey, we have a big family and I like to be able to take them out in public once in awhile without breaking the bank. So, here's a list of stuff we usually do in the summer and I'll add to it as I think of more.

1. The Beach. *Free* This one is obvious, but we seriously spend as much time as possible there. There's a lake near our house with a shallow swim area, toys and sand and with enough sun screen and a picnic lunch we can be there all day.

2. Jetty Island. *Free* This one is donation based, but even putting in $5 (you don't have to donate anything) is a deal for a ferry ride to and from a nice sandy island off of Everett. Bring a picnic and be aware of the ferry times so you're not left stuck on the island overnight. Here's the website with times

3. Jennings Park and Petting Zoo. *Free* Another one where we can definitely spend a few hours. There's playgrounds, a big barn and petting zoo, old historical buildings, a pond where kids can fish (I don't think I would eat any fish from there), a beautiful garden and many paths. Don't forget your camera at home. Click here for directions and more info

Jennings Park

4. VBS. *Free* Pretty much the same as day camp for kids but it's free. And they learn great memory verses. Our favorite is always at Warm Beach Free Methodist Church, because they really go all out for this.

5. Museums. *Free* We haven't taken up on this because my little ones are still too little but most museums have free days every month.

6. State Parks. *Free* Besides visiting the State Park, there's usually lists of tours and workshops available to join. Usually they teach something that has to do with environmental conservation.

7. The Pet Store. *Free* I am sorry, but I am not going to be like my own mother and allow my kids to bring home any animal they would like. One cat is good for us and maybe a dog later and possibly some fish if they ever ask, but if they are interested in rats, mice, Guinea pigs, hamsters or birds they're just going to have to get their fill at the local pet store. They can also see all sorts of lizards, ferrets and snakes. If we read the labels on the cages we can learn about what they eat and what they habitat is like. The owners never mind us coming in to look although I sometimes pick up some cat nip for Rockey.

8. The library. *Free* Okay, this one is obvious, but sometimes forgotten because it's so obvious. Story time doesn't happen in the summer, but they have other workshops. I usually order my books online so they are waiting for me and I can focus on my kids there.

9. Seattle Center. *Free* My kids can play all day in that fountain. We never walk over by the rides and someday I'm sure they'll figure out that they're there, but then it wouldn't be free or cheap. We usually do go in the Center House and buy ice cream and watch the taffy being pulled.

Seattle Center

10. Hiking. *Free* and good activity. My favorite two for kids which are easy and lead to a good place are the Ice Caves up past Granite Falls and Clayton Beach up on Chuckanut Drive. Bring a picnic. If the tide is out Clayton Beach is a great place to swim because of the warm bay water.

We also visited the ice caves for a cheap anniversary date

11. Forts. *Free* I think there are a few forts around Washington but the one we usually visit is Fort Casey. We usually camp there with our church but we also like to go there as a family for a picnic and exploration. The kids love exploring the jail like underground rooms and my husband likes looking at the WWII era guns. I personally like the beach, the lighthouse and the beautiful view.
Fort Casey

12. Festivals. More on this when I can look up dates and websites.
13. Free Kids Movies. More on this later.
Lastly I just asked my two little girls what was their favorite field trip. Emma says hers is the fire station. Just bake those fire fighters some cookies to thank them for the job that they do and they'll gladly take your kids on a tour and let them try on some gear. Ruby says that her favorite place to go is Grandma's house:)

Monday, May 18, 2009


Pondering life and lots of other stuff.

Pondering so many things that it's difficult to sort them out and write about it.

One of the things I've been pondering is this...

The other day I found myself so far off from where I was supposed to be. I was trying to get to my husband's job and was driving down a beautiful highway to get there. This wasn't a main highway, just a two lane road through the country.

Then I came upon what looked like a fatal car crash. Workers and medics had obviously been there for awhile because they had time to set up cones, and an orange sign saying there was an accident ahead. I said a prayer for whoever involved and then turned my car around, not knowing where to go. I called my husband who thought the only way to get around was to go out to the main freeway and around, which would take another hour for sure.

So, I headed out on country roads, without GPS and seriously watching the sun to make sure I was at least continuing to head South.

The sun breaks were coming and going with my mood (I have to add at some point and this is as good as any that I was about to start my period). I was listening to Kari Jobe singing this...

I sing over you My song of peace/Cast all your cares down at My feet/Come
and find your rest in Me

I'll breathe My life inside of you/I'll bear you up on eagle's wings/And
hide you in the shadow of My strength/I'll take you to My quiet waters/I'll
restore your soul/Come rest in Me and be made whole/You're My beloved/You're My Bride/To sing over you is my delight/Come away with me my love

Then I listened to her song "Revelation Song". Here's part of it...

Clothed in rainbows, of living color/Flashes of lightning, rolls of
thunder/Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power be to You the only wise

Holy, Holy, Holy/Is the Lord God Almighty/Who was, and is, and is to
come/With all creation/I sing Praise to the King of Kings/You are my
everything/And I will adore You

Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder/At the mention of your name/Jesus your
name is power/Breath, and living water/Such a marvelous mystery

With that last song I was pondering and praying and asking God where we fall in that. Then on my detour I came upon a big farm with a sign that that "Laodicea Farms". Laodicea was the church in Revelation which was lukewarm. Here's what the Lord said to the church at Laodicea...

"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of
the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know
your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the
other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you
out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a
thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and
naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become
rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and
salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and
discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him,
and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my
throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has
an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." -Revelation

So now I sit here and ponder, those verses as well as many other things...

On another note, we visited The Outback on Friday with Emma's preschool class. No, not the steakhouse. There is a Christmas Tree/Kangaroo Farm East of Arlington. The kids fed kangaroos, wallaroos, llamas, birds, miniture donkeys, and many other animals. Here is Emma holding a baby wallaroo in a pouch. So cute, agreed?
Also I had to take some shots of this lemur who was just chillin. I thought he was subtly hysterical.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Random Thoughts

Something has been really bothering me for the past couple of weeks and that is the media's attempted crucifixion of Miss California, Carrie Prajean. I sensed a firestorm of disapproval was coming as soon as I woke up to replays of her now infamous answer all over the news. When asked about gay marriage, why was there only one "right" answer? She was honest and true to her convictions. She had the same answer that more than half of our country would give. So, why did the media all of a sudden try to paint her as the wicked witch of California???

Okay, we all know the answer to that, but it was just really irritating me. It irritated me when they tried to say that her own dad was gay and had lived a lie in his marriage. It irritated me when they kept showing photos of her that were no more racy than a Victoria's Secret commercial, which would be shown during American Idol for all the families to see (that's another issue that irritates me but I won't go there right now). And I'm sorry, but we probably all did things in our teenage years that we are not proud of.

Secondly to that issue, why are beauty pageants becoming so political? I saw another question about universal health care that also obviously had only one right answer. Not that I really watch or care about beauty pageants, but I do care about people having the right to freely express their opinion. I also care about young girls being completely ostracized and criminalized for standing up for something.

So, this morning I was happy to see Donald Trump stick up for Carrie. Here's the story:

I did roll my eyes at the Donald and how he talked about the Miss USA pageant like he talks about everything else he owns. That man's ego is rather amazing! I also rolled my eyes when the news anchor covering the story was obviously miffed by how things ended up. HA!

Okay, so this irritation that I've been feeling did get my mind going on what to do about it. One of my thoughts was just simply sharing my thoughts on here. I had some other ideas too, but I think I'll have to mull them over a bit more before going public with them.

One more thing and this isn't political...

This completely brightened my morning. I was in bed, tired and not ready to get up. I heard Brayden stirring in his crib and decided to let him play until I could wake up fully. Then I heard the sound of coffee grinding. A few minutes later, my ten year old, Shariah, brought me up a plate of eggs/meat/cheese scramble and a big cup of coffee with the perfect amount of cream. Then she let me eat and watch the news while she went and got Brayden out of his crib, took him downstairs, changed his poopy diaper and fed him some breakfast. All with a smile on her face. I couldn't be more pleased...and this was 2 days after Mothers Day. I'm one lucky mama.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rainy Weather

It's a rainy day here in Stanwood.

I seem to have these days when I just feel like I'm on the brink of tears and there seriously is no reason whatsoever for me to be feeling this way. Well, I guess I do have reasons for crying, but none are really at the forfront of my mind right now.

At the same time I keep hearing the word "rest". Even this morning, I kept thinking of a ministry I came accross awhile ago called "Sojourn Communities". The name stayed with me and I had been thinking the meaning was to take a journey or something along those lines. For some reason I looked it up this morning and guess what it mean't.... rest. Or to stop and and take a break.

I have to say that sounds nice right now. But how as a busy mom with a busy life and chaos knocking at the door do I get a break and then how even then can I really find rest? After all, I can't exactly take a break from the millions of thoughts swirling in my brain.

I also keep thinking of Psalm 32:7, You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dónde está las enchiladas?

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Here's my top two enchilada recipes. Top two because the kids love them both.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole #1

2 thawed chicken breasts

1 can of cream of chicken soup

1/2 container of sour cream

can of diced tomatoes with green chilies

tortillas (corn or flour)

1 cup of cheddar cheese

Making it as a casserole always seems easier to me. Preheat oven to 350. Cook and dice chicken breasts. Mix up chicken, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, tomatoes w/green chilies. Spray 9x13 pan and spread a layer of chicken mix, then tortillas, then more chicken mix, then more tortillas. Sprinkle cheese on top. You can add black olives or green onions if you like. Loosely cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 10 minutes.
Top with sour cream, guacamolee, lettuce, etc.

Chicken Enchiladas #2

2 chicken breasts, thawed (you can substitute re fried beans or Zatarain's black beans and rice).

1 green pepper

1 yellow onion


enchilada sauce from the can (that's right, so convenient)

1 cup cheese

black olives

Preheat oven to 350. Saute chicken, pepper and onion. Set aside. (This is where it gets messy, but it's worth it) In a saute pan, heat up enchilada sauce. Cook tortillas, one at a time, until they are nice and soft (flour tortillas hold up a little better). Spray 9x13 pan. Fill tortillas with chicken mixture, sprinkle with cheese and roll up. Do this until you fill the pan. Pour any extra sauce over rolls and sprinkle with remaining cheese and black olives. Cook for 20 minutes covered and 10 minutes uncovered.
Top this one also with sour cream and whatever else you like.
And if my recipes are too easy, this one looks really yummy. bad I am completely out of cumin because the thought makes my taste buds happy.
*Note~I just made #2 and I feel the need to expound on my statement that it gets messy. What I mean by messy is that you'll be giving your kitchen, your floor, your hands and your clothes a good scrubbing afterward. Red enchilada sauce is everywhere in other words!

Training the younger women

Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:4-5

Looking at the verse in Titus, I’m intrigued by the word “train” because it seems at first glance to imply that young women do not know anything in the first place. And still considering myself a young woman (I'll be 30 next year) I think defensively "hey, I know a little something." The NASB uses the word “encourage” which I like much better but then as I thought about it more I realized that training is encouraging. When I think of training my children I think of three parts of it: encouragement, support and correction.


I have learned the power of encouragement first hand. When I was having our fourth baby I needed encouragement. Both my mother and grandmother had suffered from severe anxiety and depression after their fourth child and I felt like a nervous breakdown was imminent. Fear gripped me and although I knew I was going to have this child, I was afraid of what would happen. I won’t go into many more details but I’ll tell they include a time of resenting my other children for being the first three. I needed encouragement. I needed to know that I was capable of doing this and that I could be proactive about my mental health. I needed someone to say “You know what to do, you’re fully capable…now do it!” I did meet with a mentor and she said exactly that. Through encouragement God healed me from the depression before Ruby was born.

Another example has to do with our journey into middle school. Azzie has had such a hard time dealing with teasing, bullying and just plain mean kids. We feel like we’re doing what we can, praying for her and the other kids, keeping lines of communication open, staying on top of things that are going on there, but we’re still filled with fear thinking, “is it enough? Are we too protective?” Then the other day I had a chance meeting with another mom from the school. She has five children and three have survived middle school. She assured me most kids do and also encouraged me that I am doing what’s best by staying on top of everything that’s going on and who Azzie is hanging out with. She was so gracious when she said, “Your kids will make mistakes, but you’ll be there to help them back to what’s right when they do.”

Encouragement comes from someone who has a better perspective from where they are and can be anything from a hopeful word about what my son or daughter will become or someone saying “now do it” or someone smiling and assuring me I will make it through. Encouragement fights against the fear and uncertainty in parenting.


A few years ago I volunteered at an organization called Youth for Christ in Stanwood. They have a Teen Parent’s program and after being there for a few months I started to notice something about what caused the girls to be successful in parenting and in life; those girls had an adequate support system.

The teen mothers who had mothers, grandmothers, church, etc. usually finished high school, thought about going on to college, paid attention to their children and had a higher standard for relationships. The girls who lacked support acted no different than any other teenager. The problem was they were supposed to be acting like parents.

The purpose of the program was to match mentor moms with the teenage moms in order to have some of that support the girls were lacking. I watched some of the girls who had not previously had a support system thrive, but noticed that they not only connected with their mentor, they connected with all the mentors and volunteers as well as a church group. It really seemed like the more support, the better.

A way that I’ve sought out support recently has to do with our kids getting older and needing to hear things from someone other than their dad and me. They are after all starting to realize that we don’t know everything. Actually they’re already past that and on to thinking mom and dad know pretty close to nothing.

While I feel like we have a good relationship (Azzie pointed out that she’s the only one she knows who doesn’t completely hate her parents) they’ve heard me say the same things over and over and lately I’ve noticed eye rolling and plenty of “yeah yeahs”. But if someone like a family friend or the “cool” teacher from their discipleship class says the same exact thing, they really take it in.

Most of our friends who have supported us in that way are usually older and have been through what we’re going through. Some on the other hand are only a few years older than our girls and remember better about where they are and what they’re going through.


Correction is a part of training but is definitely connected to the other two aspects. I keep thinking of Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; in other words be humble and lovingly correct after much prayer.

Correction, like the other parts, has to do with having a better perspective of things, knowing which battles are worth fighting, when silence and submission are more effective than words and when someone needs to give even herself a little grace.

I can’t say that I personally love correction, but I appreciate that I have people who are in my life and have my family’s best interest in their heart. I appreciate that there are women who want me to live a more abundant life, free from deception and a false sense of control over what’s around me. False thinking and the actions that follow need correction.

In conclusion, in regards to the verse in Titus, I want to point out that it is talking to older women. I don’t think that means that women have to be older or that there’s a starting age at which you may qualify to be a mentor, but a mentor in some way needs to have “been there” and so that they can come along side a young mother with a sense of understanding and love.


This was such a sweet post from my friend Christabelle that I thought I would share. It really got me thinking and pondering about really resting. I'm so looking out of the sling frantic at times about where I'm going. Read it to see what I'm talking about.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Thoughts on support

I was asked for some thoughts on support as a mother. When I appreciate it and when it is not really help at all. Here's a basic list that I thought up and if anyone reads this and has something to add, I would appreciate that...I'm asking for advice here;)

Times I’ve felt loved, supported and thankful for wise friends:

  • When a friend offered to come do dishes when I had a 3 day old baby. At the time I turned down the offer, but just knowing she was there and cared to come and do housework was such an encouragement.
  • When friends and church people brought meals for us, even if we did eat rotisserie chicken for a week straight.
  • When friends come to visit because they understand the importance of naptime and my need for some visiting.
  • When friends assure me that they too have dishes in their sink and juice stains on their carpets and their own laundry mountains.
  • When someone thinks about what I need as a mom.
  • When friends pray for me.
  • When friends pray for my kids.
  • When friends take my older children for times, developing relationship and reinforcing the biblical values we want them to grow up with.
  • When friends send a card with encouraging words and scriptures.
  • When friends notice that I’m shorthanded and take a child in their own.
  • When older women offer advice on training children and loving husbands.
  • When friends listen first and then offer encouragement.
  • When women tell me I’m not the only one who feels uncertain and sometimes like a failure in this job as a mother.
  • When women share that they’ve “been there” and think about how they would have liked to be supported during such a time and then pass that on.
  • When people show grace to me and my family.

Times when I just feel like saying “no thanks…now go away.”

  • When someone is ready with advice before listening.
  • When someone puts down my husband or my kids.
    When someone lectures me about overpopulation.
  • When someone approaches me with concerns about my child when they are annoyed with them.
  • When someone talks to others about my child when they are annoyed with them.
  • When someone only focuses on what I’m doing wrong with the attitude that they are doing everything right.
  • When someone says when my child needs to be spanked. (I can decide that thank you!)
  • When criticism is the main objective.
  • When my needs as a mother are ignored.
  • When my child’s needs are ignored.
  • When people criticize decisions I have made with my husband (i.e. immunizations, public v. home schooling, what ages we’ll allow certain privileges, dating v. courting, etc.)
  • When friends tell me that “babywise” is the only godly method of parenting.


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