Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer, part deux

Just a quick review:

Summer, part one, was all about this

and this.

We got to hang out with two awesome groups of families
while we cheered them on. Friends new and old. Lucky us!

Now all of that is over, and it's time for part two. Hallelujah!

We live in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, after all.

And don't forget the parks! We are all about parks here, and lots of them feature free entertainment. It is well appreciated. I love how the crowds let the kids dance and play freely.

In the past week we've been treated to the pops orchestra...

a gospel choir...

and an international youth choir.

They came from all over the world. They were fabulous!

Wow, we are so blessed to be surrounded by God's amazing creation, and by music.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Just because

This morning Bethany was checking out my blog, and she saw that my last post (that is, before my necklace, which she totally ignored) was over a week ago.

Bethany: What? You haven't blogged since July 18th?
Me: I guess not.
Bethany: That is just so wrong.

So for you, Bethany, a post. About the waffles you made for breakfast. They really were scrumptious!

I've noticed a lot of people have been too busy living life to blog about it. Ahh, just as it should be. I'm HOPING to do a little catching up soon. But up here on the tundra we have to embrace the warmth while it's here! Blogging can wait.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The sweetest little package...

...arrived in my mailbox a few days ago.

This is the prize I won from the I Heart Faces photo walk contest.

I had the hardest time choosing my gift from The Vintage Pearl. Their designs are beautiful. So I chose the heart to go with I Heart Faces, and I filled it with my family. I bet not too many people put their own name on their necklaces. But it just seemed right to put all of us on there. I love it!

If you like what you see, there is so much more. Just click on the button. You can even get 15% off until Aug. 31 by using the code july15.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Well life on the farm is kinda laid back...

...and by kinda, I mean really hardly at all. It is hard work! I know, because I visited one this week, and I want to give you a peek into what I saw. Well, really WHO I saw.

This post is a continuation of my last post, where I promised that I would introduce you to someone who has gone to great lengths to help her family learn to find pleasure in simple things. A year ago my friend Peggy and her husband packed up their home in our suburb, sold their house and much of what they had, and bought a farm about an hour away.

Not so that they could earn a living selling farm goods, but so that they could live a better balanced life with carefully placed priorities.

There were a number of reasons they sensed that this was best for their family, but the bottom line was that they knew it was what God was calling and equipping them to do.

We have been to visit twice. Once in the late winter, and this week. I think the kids got as excited for our trip down there this week as they get about Christmas! They love spending time with Peggy's kids, and they also adore the animals.

When we visited in the winter, Peggy showed us around, and shared her vision of what would be planted where when spring came.

There would be a vegetable garden,

an herb garden,

a corn field

and a berry patch.

There would be chicken for eggs and chicken for meat. And some other animals who were out to pasture and haven't yet been informed of their purpose. Shhh.

Oh my goodness, the stuff they have had to learn! Did you know there are designer bean plants?

And that they produce designer beans? Whoa!
(Apparently the seed company throws in a few surprises with your order.)

Did you know that if you don't have any more spaces with good soil for planting potatoes in a bed, you can go vertical by filling tires with dirt and growing them there? Me neither.

In her spare time Peggy grinds her own flour for bread, makes soap, cans, and seldom has to go to the grocery store. Think of what her kids are learning as they help her! Oh yeah, did I mention she home schools? She is awesome at it.

Peggy's family hasn't removed all entertainment or modern conveniences from their world. They seek out frequent interaction in church and community activities. They still deal with juggling schedules, and I'm sure Peggy wouldn't tell you that her kids have become magically content. But they are certainly learning the value of hard work, and their expectations of "going someplace fun" everyday have been replaced with chasing kittens and climbing big trees. They love it.

Peggy is the kind of person who makes me feel like no less of a mom for making choices that I make. She knows they have really taken a leap of faith, and she is willing for this experiment to fail. They know they are where God wants them but would never consider their lifestyle superior to mine.

Even so, it makes me wonder, am I willing to do whatever it takes to help my kids grow up without a sense of entitlement that promises to make them discontented?

Thanks so much for opening your home to us, Peggy. The kids were thoroughly entertained with farm work and play. Not that we came to be entertained. Thank you for challenging my commitment to Christ, sometimes through your words, but always through your deeds.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mom, what are we gonna do for fun today?

I'm going to take you someplace special in my next post. I think it might amaze you, if you're anything like me.

Before I can take you there, I need to give a little background. In my last post, I wrote about a cool place we went, and my friend Betty from Paraguay left this comment: "I'm always amazed at how much there is for children to have fun in your country. They are very fortunate."

I e-mailed her back and said, "You are not kidding! It's a real problem!"

It sounded odd to me to be saying that to her. Maybe even a little ungrateful. But this is the point. Our kids are so bombarded with entertainment that their expectations are outrageous, and they have insatiable appetites for more. They could never comprehend just how fortunate they are. Rather than thanking us, relishing the moment and basking in sweet contentment, they are asking what's next.

My kids. And we are parents who saw this coming early on. Who have been within an hour of Orlando numerous times and spent a grand total of one day at a theme park. Who avoided Chuck E. Cheese at all cost until the first birthday invitation came. Who never told our kids you could put coins in those little merry go rounds at WalMart until some other kid came along and let ours in on their ride. Until then they were perfectly happy just to sit on the little animals. We try so hard not to over-entertain. But the cat is out of the bag. And our kids are at risk of losing the opportunity to be content.

Now in fairness, if you know my kids, you would probably tell me I don't have a lot to worry about. They are sweet, and don't claim to be bored all that often. One would like to be on the go and out "doing fun things" more than the other. They don't expect to be taken frequently to expensive places. Honestly, there are more than enough things to do for free. They're truly good kids. But it seems that the more we do, the more they want.

This would be a sad thing for anyone. But as Christian parents, we have learned firsthand that Christ is our treasure, the fulfillment of our deepest longings. Both of us have reached the end of our ropes and found him there. We want our kids to seek him above all else and find him, HIM in all his glory! But oh, he has a lot of immediate, tangible, yet terribly inferior competition.

I want to know, do you battle oversized expectations in your kids? Have you had any success with keeping it simple and helping them to be more easily satisfied? If so, what's your secret?

I have a courageous friend who has taken drastic measures, in part to try to accomplish this very thing. I will introduce you to her soon!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Shiver me timbers!

Some people take their kids to see Santa. We take ours to see Spongebob Squarepants.

This time there was a special reason. The kids had a special reward coming to them, and Bethany chose to walk the Ghostly Gangplank. Have I mentioned she is a brave girl?

Of course Dad was ready to come to her assistance...

...and of course, she didn't need it.

It was a little surreal to see my "baby" up in the rafters...

...but to her it was all fun and games.


Bethany is so much fun to watch.

But we were happy to have her on the ground again.