20 March 2009

Spring It On!

I don’t even want to look to see how long it’s been since I’ve posted on this blog. I know it’s been too long, that’s all. And when it’s been too long, all I know to do is post recent pictures of the kids, hoping that will make anyone who reads this blog happy to see their grandchildren. Plus there’s some catching up on life to do.

Shear Fun
We had been letting the boys grow their hair long this winter. It hadn’t been on purpose; we just didn’t get around to cutting it. But then they began to enjoy the feel of the wind blowing their hair. I even overheard them one day on the swings commenting about how their hair moves when they swing really high, and they liked it. I thought it was cute. I don’t expect boys to think much about their hair.

In between those days when their hair looked hideous and wild, they had a few days when it looked fine. I’m a sucker when it comes to curly hair (I married a curly-head), and I was enjoying the “character” developing in their long locks as well.

But alas, sensibility and spring got the better of us. We decided that the first day of spring would be the cut off date, literally. So last night was the end of winter, and time to shear the long locks, at least the back and around the ears. We’re keeping the tops long for a little while, and calling this our “spring look.” Once the weather gets a lot warmer, we’ll go super short in anticipation of summer, but we get to enjoy the best of both for a little while longer.

Rosalind was enjoying the excitement of haircut season, and wanted to have a turn under the clippers as well. Maybe someday she’ll get a cute haircut that will accentuate her wonderful curls. (I’ll probably have to pay a professional for that.) But for now, I will only trim the bangs when they need it. Even though her hair falls just past her shoulders, when it’s wet and pulled straight, it’s nearly to the middle of her back. (Sigh.) Did I mention that I love curls? I’m even toying with the idea of getting my hair permed—something I haven’t done in years. I have more gray hairs than ever before, and they want to curl naturally anyway, so it might improve my look. At this point, it’s just an idea. I always seem to regret getting perms after I’ve had them, mainly because of the damage it does to perfectly good, healthy hair. I try to avoid being a slave to fashion (unfortunately it probably shows!).

Pet Smart
In other news, our number of mouths to feed has increased by two. Before you fall out of your chair—no, we are not expecting twins (that I know of)! Julien used some of his birthday money to purchase a fish tank and two goldfish, along with accessories. So we have finally entered the world of family pets. (The crowd cheers.)

Julien picked them out and named them. Peppermint is dark orange and white, and Tangerine is—well, citrus-colored. The tank has a filter, although it doesn’t seem to do a bang-up job. It takes less than a week for the water to get murky and gross-looking. We’re still learning the ropes about proper fish care and tank maintenance and ph-balancing and such. The instructions say to change 10-25% of the water weekly, and clean the whole tank once a month, but it seems like it needs it much more frequently. I guess I don’t enjoy looking at cloudy dirty water, especially since the tank graces the side table in our dining room. Looking at gross water can be un-appetizing. So if any readers out there know the deep dark secrets of successful fish-keeping strategy, please share with me your wisdom!

And So On
Finally, just for the sake of equal opportunity camera time, here are some shots of Rosalind enjoying my favorite little blanket from Kenya. It’s a multi-purpose cloth that can be used as a scarf, a skirt, a nursing blanket, or a baby-carrying wrap. I regret not buying a hundred of these when I went to Kenya years ago; I wish I had at least that many.

And, as in life, not everything is exactly equal. I don't have any recent photos of Brendan. But stay tuned. I may post cute baby video clips soon.

11 March 2009

The Other Side of the Wall

Well, we're finally getting over this head cold. Thankfully it was short-lived, and my husband (who is only a few days ahead of me in recovering from it also) has been instrumental in keeping things from coming to a grinding halt. And things have been happening left and right. Today, for instance, I locked myself out of the house. Thankfully we have a friend who is a bus driver at the school where Enoch teaches, and he was able to bring me a key during his mid-morning break. While waiting, I had a nice visit with one of our neighbors who is around 87 years old, and she gave us tea and juice and the use of her potty.

So now it's 11am, and I'm just starting to make my to do list. (Well, as soon as I finish blogging!) Looks like it will be short: laundry, lunch, and dinner, with "pick up kids" in there somewhere, and general "keep it clean" activity. Not very exciting, but I think I've had enough excitement for the day. Maybe we'll take a jaunt to Wal-Mart and make a spare key to keep at the neighbor's house (although I enjoyed the tea and the impromptu visit).

Speaking of excitement, I am EXCITED and downright giddy about the fact that I finally, after these many years, have finished paying off my student loan debt! I wrote the last check yesterday, and was nervous and thrilled at the same time. We are really excited because we finally have a plan, and we are following it, and we are seeing results that are motivating us to keep at it. I'm thinking about writing it all out so someday I can look back and remember all the wonderful things along the way that we've endured. And I'm thrilled at the idea of being completely debt-free some day. Finally, I can begin to dream about plans for the future without the burden of endless debt weighing me down. We have a long ways to go, but the "snowball" is rolling now, and we can't be more excited about it! I hope to post more about this in the future. But in the meantime, check out Dave Ramsey at DaveRamsey.com to find out how we plan to get ourselves out of debt. We're hooked, and I'm claiming this as a domestic victory too!

07 March 2009

Hitting the Wall

I have a friend who runs marathons. The farthest I've ever run was 10 kilometers. But there's a term they use when you've reached what you feel is your limit. It's called "hitting the wall." It's when your body begins to shut down and say, "I'm done. We're there." Of course, usually in a race, hitting the wall comes before you reach the finish line, and the challenge is to push your body beyond it's limits in order to accomplish your goal.

Well, I have reached the wall. My body is deciding to not cooperate with my to do list. The head cold has moved in and taken over. Thank you to those who were praying for me on Thursday. I was able to determine exactly which things would not get done (like folding laundry and baking cookies), and moved them out of sight temporarily in order to focus my efforts on dinner and general clean up. It's another well-known tactic called "fake it 'til you make it." And I enjoyed visiting with friends without feeling too stressed out.

But now the head cold is demanding its day. So I'm calling out sick. Taking the day off. Enoch has a few hours at work today, and I told him I will do my best to be sure there are still four children when he returns this afternoon. And I will do my best to stay awake. Thank goodness for all those extra cookies!

05 March 2009

Another Day, Another Marathon

above: These peanut butter cookies came out beautifully.

I was tempted to post an update yesterday around 10:30 pm, but I was too tired to prolong the day more than necessary. While I didn't get as much stuff baked yesterday as I was hoping, I did get the bread done and I baked one sheet of each type of cookie, just so I could say I did it. So there. I also managed to wipe out the pile of dirty dishes and mixing bowls, so we're starting off today with a clean kitchen.

below: The bread and the chocolate chip cookies only get a passing grade.

Now I have to keep momentum going: The kids have early dismissal from school and I will have a house full of five children aged 7 years to 6 months to help me get the house straightened up, the cookies baked, and homemade pizza made by 5 pm. If you think of me today, pray for me. (I'm outnumbered!) Along with all of our activities, I think I was just tagged as the next one in the family to get the cold that's being passed around as well.

So here I go.

04 March 2009

Baking Marathon

I'll keep this short, as it's already 10:30 in the morning, and I've only just turned the oven on. Today I am having a baking marathon. Enoch wants to bless his beloved students with home-baked goodies on Friday, even though this week has been full of events (snow day on Monday, dentist appointment on Tuesday, parent-teacher conferences on Wednesday, guests for dinner and coffee house on Thursday...) So, today's the day. I thought if I at least post something early, I might be motivated to add photos later with the outcome. Stay tuned!

above: Bread starter sponge (top), peanut butter cookie dough (center), and chocolate chip cookie dough (bottom).

1:30 PM Update: Nothing has actually been baked (yet). But, I've mixed double batches of peanut butter cookies and chocolate chip cookies, made a bread starter sponge, and fed two little ones lunch. I have to pick up the big kiddos from school in 1/2 hour, so I guess the real baking will begin after they get here. I'll be throwing in a couple of potatoes so we'll have something healthy to eat before parent/teacher conferences tonight. I also hope to mix up a couple batches of muffins (pear and/or lemon), even if it's just the dry ingredients so I can bake more tomorrow. Meanwhile, I'm taking the next 15 minutes to fold a little laundry before waking up the little ones.

9:30 PM Update: Boy, did I have some lofty goals today! But alas, my children were in need of much discipline and attention, and since Daddy was working late tonight, it was all me on the battle front. Sometimes I even plan for those rather predictable interruptions, and in fact, the reason I promptly put the cookie dough in storage containers after mixing them up was my foreknowledge of the possibility that they wouldn't get done. I don't know whether I should count that as a victory or a pre-determined defeat. But we did have some tasty baked potatoes for dinner, and we did have two very good parent/teacher conferences, and the kids are all in bed now, and I have a lot of dishes to wash and two loaves of bread to pop in the oven before calling it a day. I guess my idea of a baking marathon and the reality of a baking marathon were not exactly the same. But thank the Lord that tomorrow is a whole new day!