The Clothesline

The ClotheslineI stand outside basking in the sunshine while I hang clothes on the line. Get a pin, hang it up, get a pin, hang it up. There’s something so calming about doing the laundry this way.

It’s such a sensory experience. I feel the dampness of the clothes as I pull them from the basket and put them on the line. I smell the fragrance of detergent and fabric softener. I hear cars driving, people walking, and the occasional airplane overhead. I see the many different colors in the clothes we wear daily.

And it’s no different in the taking them down. The dampness is gone – replaced with warm dryness, and sometimes that stiffness that only the sun can give. The smell has shifted to the clean smell of sunshine. We hear the siren of a fire engine; the neighbors’ dogs barking as people walk by. The sun is so warm you can almost taste it – making you long for a very cold glass of water.

As I do this work – the work of hanging up our laundry – the little ones play around me. Throwing sand out of the sandbox, picking leaves and flowers off the plants that have been patiently waiting  for the arrival of spring, inspecting the world in only the way tinies can. Continue reading

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CSA Adventures Returns!

CSA AdventuresSpring is in the air! I don’t know about you, but we have been so much happier being able to spend more time outdoors. The spring sunshine also brings picnic season and fresher food, and our meals have already begun to reflect that shift.

We are joining a local CSA again this year and can hardly wait for it to start. Our CSA Adventures began last fall, with a share at Brightside Farm. I was amazed at the bounty we brought home every week and was inspired to not let anything go to waste. We learned the value of stocking up and using food wisely, and we are so excited to have a full agriculture year with them again this year.

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Returning to Facebook

Returning to FBLent is over. Christ is risen. And yep…I have returned to the vast world of Facebook.

But it won’t be like before.

I learned a lot from my Facebook fast. In fact, it mostly turned into a fast from all social media. I deleted all the apps and things and was left with nothing but books to read during my many hours of nursing a baby to sleep. It was refreshing. Freeing even. As a friend of mine said, I was free from the burden of knowing all the things. Unless you sought me out to send me a text or email, I didn’t know what was happening in your life. I was free from the incessant noise in my life. It was similar to the freedom we felt when we canceled our cable. Once we stopped watching TV, we realized just how noisy it was. Pictures, quotes, status updates, links … I didn’t realize how much noise was there cluttering up my mind.

But there were things I missed. I realized, even though Facebook doesn’t create community – and sometimes even creates a false sense of community – it can be a good tool in helping to foster community, when used appropriately. Continue reading

To Parent Like God

Clock
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what life might look like if I became more intentional about parenting my children the way God parents me.

Last month was long. Our days seemed like they lasted forever. Some are easier than others, but they all feel long. Maybe it’s because we are finally settled back in after a wonderful vacation. Maybe it’s because the time changed and our days are literally longer. Maybe it’s because the baby wakes up at 5:30 or 6 and the toddler doesn’t fall asleep at night until close to 9. For whatever reason, the days are long. And if I am fully honest, I have had my share of parent-fail days this month. I’ve had several that ended with me feeling good about my choices and how we spent the day. But I’ve also had a good many where I end the day feeling like I didn’t make very good parenting choices…and wished that I could just start the clock over that morning and do the day over.

And as I went to sleep at night, mulling over the goods and the bads of those very long days, I couldn’t help but think about how God might react and respond to the challenges I face throughout the day. Continue reading

My New Favorite Lactation Cookie

It’s hard to believe E is already 8 1/2 months old! Time goes by so much faster with the second than it did with the first.

One thing I never struggled with while nursing A was milk supply. I always had plenty, she nursed what seemed like constantly, and she never seemed upset with the flow. I stopped pumping when A was about 4 months old, because she would never drink milk out of a bottle, or a sippy cup, or a straw. We like to say she only wanted it from the tap.

When E was born, I figured I would live the same life…nurse on demand, and only pump if there was an over-supply. but I soon discovered that not only did I not have an over-supply, but E would get angry at the slow flow of milk she would get at the boob. She gladly took a bottle, and there are even times when she prefers it! For whatever reason, I am finding it difficult to pump much milk at all for those occasional times when I want to sneak away. When I know I have to be gone for more than a couple of hours, it takes me multiple pumping sessions just to get enough for one bottle. So lately, with my freezer stash almost gone, I’ve been trying out some milk boosting tricks. More oats, more water, mama milk tea, and, of course, lactation cookies. Because I mean, who doesn’t love a good cookie?

I have a couple of “lactation cookie” recipes that I’ve made time and time again, but last week, I decided I’d try to alter a recipe I knew was good and make it more “lactation friendly.” I was not disappointed…they turned out amazing! The whole batch was gone in about two days. Continue reading

Wishing These Baby Days Away

Baby Days
I told someone just the other day that I was so over being the mama of babies. The sleepless nights, the gymnast nursing sessions, the diapers, the teething, the not being able to communicate with one another using words…just to name a few. Its so hard, this mothering thing.

It’s different this second time around. I know all these things will end. She will sleep through the night. In her own bed. There will come a day when she is no longer interested in Mama milk. She will get all her teeth, learn to walk, and use the potty. One day, she will not only let Daddy put her to sleep – but she will prefer it that way.

And yet … even though I know these things … it’s really hard for me to not wish her baby days away. I am finding myself wishing she was older…that she could walk, that she could talk, that she would go potty all by herself.

So I’ve been trying to remind myself that she is my last baby. The last one I get to nurse. The last one I will ever rock to sleep. That last one I will get up with in the wee hours of the night to watch practice her new tricks. The last one that will snuggle with me and fit perfectly in the crook of my arm. Continue reading

Giving Up Facebook

Giving Up FacebookA little over two years ago I deactivated Facebook. And then about two weeks later, I reactivated it. I claimed that I reactivated it because of the community – but I think I just wasn’t disciplined enough to let it go. I remember feeling isolated – and I wasn’t sure how to reclaim community outside of Facebook.

Now, here we are, two years later, and I’ve gotten rid of it once again. This time I told myself I was giving it up just for Lent. I have always striven for a Lenten discipline – one that would enrich my life in some way for the long 40 days that is Lent. This year, when I sat back and evaluated all the things that got in the way of me having a more fulfilled life, Facebook was at the top of the list. It was keeping me away from being fully present with my girls, keeping me distracted in my marriage, and keeping me away from two hobbies I most love: reading and writing. Not to mention the fact that Facebook was really giving me a false sense of community. In fact, in a lot of ways it was a little bit like reality TV – a way for me to keep up with everyone else’s drama, and to create my own in the process.

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On Being Home

San Francisco Family
We are just coming off a two-week vacation. A two-week vacation that included celebrating a third birthday, an 8-day trip to San Francisco, celebrating a fifth anniversary, and an extra long weekend at home. Usually family vacations exhaust me. But not this one. It was amazing. It was beautiful. It was a dream.

We did not want to come home.

And yet, as the trip part of our vacation ended, there was a part of each one of us that was ready to be “home.” We were ready to be in our own house, with our own beds, and our own shower (with amazing water pressure). We were ready to see our neighbors, to cook in our fully stocked kitchen, to go to church.

It has always been a dream of mine to live in the Bay area. Since working there for two summers during my college years, I have always dreamed of going back. And as we walked the amazing city of San Francisco, we talked about whether or not we could see ourselves living there one day. And it was amazing … as much as I loved every minute of my time there … I just couldn’t imagine picking up everything we have and making that home.

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On Your Third Birthday

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Dear my precious first born,

We celebrated your THIRD birthday today. I can hardly believe it! Some days it feels like you’ve been with us forever…other days it seems like only yesterday that we were meeting you for the first time.

This has been a big year for you. A big year for us. Continue reading

The Need for Jambalaya

Jambalaya by Mark Brooks
I’ve been thinking about what it might look like to have a little jambalaya in my life. What would happen if I took some shrimp, sausage, chicken, rice and some spices and mixed them all together? I’m being figurative, but think about it … those are things that might not seem like they’d go together well, but in fact, when you use the right recipe, turn into something really awesome.

I long for a community that has that same kind of diversity. The diversity of jambalaya. I’d love to figure out just how to gather a bunch of people that look differently, act differently, live differently, and help them mix into one true community. It has to be possible, but I just can’t seem to find it … anywhere.

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Releasing the Hold Money Has Over Us

Money
What is it about shopping – about spending money – that gives us such instant satisfaction?

We are living an intentional year of spending around here … which means no shopping unless truly necessary – and we have to agree upon what is deemed “necessary.” Our list of purchases for the month includes: groceries (mostly local, but definitely nothing that will sit in our pantry and go un-used), toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, dishwasher detergent, a new sippy cup for the tiniest, and some things for around the house using a Home Depot gift card we got for Christmas.

But lately…these last few days that have left me exhausted and wanting an escape…all I want to do is shop. I’m not even sure what I would shop for, I just have this intense desire to spend a ton of money on myself. Or on the people I live with…it doesn’t necessarily have to be on me.

I can’t figure out where the desire stems from. I don’t need anything. I have everything I could possibly need. We are getting ready to go on a cross-country vacation, and I could be using my time to get activities ready for our flight. But instead, all I want to do is shop.

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A Carousel Life

Carousel
Sometimes I feel just like a gerbil running around and around on his wheel! Or maybe more like a carousel – going around and around and around again. Days are so monotonous … we do the same thing over and over and over again. We may have a slightly different scene, or find ourselves in slightly different circumstances, but all in all, it’s the same grind … day in and day out.
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