This Thanksgiving I have so much to be thankful for.

I made my first turkey!
Of course, I got a lot of grief from my dad because, even though I searched high and low, and even went so far as to stick my hand inside the thing, I couldn’t find the giblets I knew were supposed to be in there. Apparently, I was searching the wrong end, and they got cooked. Ah well, no harm, no foul.

Sometimes, it’s hard to remember exactly how much I have to be thankful for. This harvest has been long. Very very long. Kevin has been working such long hours 6 1/2 days a week. Since August at least. I do not know how military wives, or wives whose husbands travel, do it; it’s exhausting to be on solo kid detail from the moment you get up until they go to bed at night. On top of his physical absence, he’s completely expended by the end of the day, and his mind is racing thinking of all he has yet to do, so he’s not even as emotionally present as he might be. Add to that my grandma’s month long passing and my parents being out of town, and the other emotional stresses in Kevin’s family, and this harvest has been eons long. Very very long.

We’re still not done with harvest, but at least the end is in sight. Yesterday was the first day I have not had to “deal” by myself for the whole day in I don’t even know how long. My parents were here for the entire day. I had no idea how depleted I really was until I had some physical and emotional support for the day.

And on to the point of this post. Spending the entire day with my parents.

My dad and I did not have a good relationship as I was growing up, to put it minimally.

I was raised by failed parents who were trying, the best they knew how, to overcome their upbringing by failed parents. I still am working through, and may always be, trying to triumph over, some of the repercussions of my raising. It interferes with my marriage, my parenting, my friendships, even to a certain extent, my relationship with my God. I walk in more freedom now than ever before, and I am confident I will continue to heal and God will continue to restore.

With our history, it has often been a challenge to get together with my dad. It’s too easy, even though we both don’t mean to, for us to fall into old patterns of interacting and old ways of reacting.

Yesterday though, was a gift from God. An absolute gift. I was able to see, completely, wholeheartedly and without a smidge of reservation, what a changed man my dad really is. I was able to see more than just a glimpse of the man God created him to be. I was able to see true peace, true reconciliation, true harmony.

I’ve always loved and looked up to my dad. I’m beyond thrilled to be able to adore him and admire him the way I’ve always longed of doing.

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Daybook–23 November

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Outside my window… Brrr! No more running down to the mailbox without a coat!

I am thinking…I need to tighten Brielle’s stake. She is so freakin’ independent, and not in a good way.
I am thankful for… oh so many thingsI am wearing… black boots which are horribly scuffed, trouser jeans, and a red and white snowflake sweater I bought in 1999 from Express and still love!

I am remembering…our wedding, coming up on seven years on Sunday

I am going…to buy a new Christmas tree

I am reading…Family Fun magazine; my brain is tired

I am hoping…Harvest is officially over this week! Only one more farm to do…it’s gone on, and on, and on…

On my mind… Is “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) a PROMISE promise? ….
Oh how the responsibility weighs heavy on my heart sometimes, even as I try to go joyfully about my day.

From the learning rooms… people around the world and all we have to be thankful for

Noticing that…God is answering my prayers and helping me walk in freedom and also, we’re almost out of milk again

Pondering these words…Our happiness is greatest when we contribute to the happiness of others. ~Harriet Shepard

From the kitchen… do you think a 15 pound turkey is too much for four adults and three small children? Ummmm…it was my first time buying a turkey.

Around the house… trying to keep on blessing my home and my children without losing my temper

One of my favorite things… making cards

From my picture journal…

My uterus just skipped a beat.
Aviana at a few weeks old
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Just in time for Christmas…toy review

Back in July, a toy website called ebeanstalk contacted me about reviewing a toy for them. It was perfect timing as we have plenty of July and August birthdays to choose from! Ebeanstalk has a group of child experts who select wonderful learning toys, for kids of all ages. They have an easily searchable site making it easy to find something appropriate for your child quickly. From baby toys, toys for 2 year olds, to seven year olds and up, you can find something great for your little one.
I could barely contain my excitement when I found out I’d been chosen to review something from Plan Toys. I’m a big fan of Plan Toys and we already own a few of them. I love wooden toys that encourage the child’s imagination and have multi-uses. One of our libraries has an older version this super cool dollhouse, which the girls just love.We received the Activity Bus which we promptly gave to Brielle for her birthday.
Imagine my surprise when she wasn’t the slightest bit interested in it. I chalked it up to being over excitement and not really able to focus. I’d get it out for her intermittently, and she’d obligingly mess around with it for a couple of minutes, and wander off.
I thought maybe Aviana would enjoy it more then, since she is further along in her mental development and does pretending even more frequently. She didn’t like it either and never played with it.I thought I’d set it aside and bring it out again in a month or so when they needed something new to play with. Nope. Still not interested.Tried again a month or so later. Nope.
I was feeling really perplexed by this time because I wanted to give a nice review to these companies I think so highly about,and at the same time to be honest about our experience. I mean, I think it’s cute.

After having it in our home for four months now though, I have to say it’s a fail.

Here are some of the drawbacks. The little people are bendable via pieces of elastic, but they are hard for little ones to manipulate. Even with the small amount of play as they’ve received, their little wooden faces are sort of peeling/splintering. And while Brielle told me the other day that I’d be a better mama if I had purple hair, that apparently doesn’t translate to green and red haired dolls. She doesn’t think much of the cartoonish style of these dolls.

The desks are oddly shaped, and it’s hard for a preschooler to know which end is up. Aviana even asked me, “Am I doing it right?” I’d hate for her to think she’s doing something wrong in her play, when there are so many other times in her young life she’s needing correction. She needs play things that will conform to her, not the other way around. The books are basically decorative with no real purpose. The map got stepped on and got cracked. They somehow managed to pull the side door of the bus all the way off and neither Kevin nor I could get it back on. You’re supposed to be able to store the pieces inside the bus, but that’s clearly kind of hard, when only half of it stays on properly. I can’t say much for its durability.

I tried to get the girls to articulate why they don’t like playing with it. Aviana said it’s just not as fun as her other toys. I think it’s just too closed of an activity; the child is limited to solely playing school.

While I recommend Plan Toys in general, and definitely ebeanstalk for your Christmas shopping, I don’t recommend you buy the Activity Bus.

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About books

April 09

**I like books. I like books about knitting. I like books about sewing. Oddly enough, I am not really a good knitter or sewer. But I have been enjoying reading about it and pretending I might someday be.

My mom asks, “How many knitting books do you own?”
Me, “Uh, like 3 or 4”
Her, “How many knitting projects have you done?”
Me, “Started, or finished?”
Her, “Finished.”
Me, “weeeeellllll, none.”

**I am learning a lot more about the Bible than I knew before. We read The Egermeier’s Bible Story Book which came with our Sonlight kindergarten. I realize that it isn’t the Bible, but it makes some concepts, parts of the stories I had perhaps glossed over, clearer for me than I ever realized they could be. Pretty cool to be learning along with my child!

And even better, Aviana loves this book and asks for the Bible every day.

**I started reading a book with a glorious title: Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl~ it even has shoes on the cover; what’s not to love? Um, the book. IT SUCKS. It’s about a woman who is selfish and generally rude, thinks way too highly of herself, and moves to the wilds of Virginia from New York City. It’s ridiculous. I don’t know who thinks this book is funny or worth finishing, but it certainly isn’t this chick, who never thought she’d be a genuine farm girl. (Well, on my good days. Kind of.)

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Last night I got ambitious and made absolutely delicious twice baked potatoes. They were half white potato and half sweet potato, with just the right proportions of creamy homemade yogurt, butter, and ranch dip topped with sharp cheddar cheese and bacon.

Aviana. Took a couple bites. Aviana. Did not like them. Aviana. Made herself a peanut butter and honey sandwich.

Cadrian devoured them and ate more than I thought he would.

Brielle downed hers as fast as she could so she could get right to the good stuff.

She is licking the beaters from the Fudge Cupcake Murder Fudge Cupcakes. If you like your murder cozy and your cookies delectably delicious, you have got to read these books!

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Daybook–16 November

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Outside my window… chilly, rainy, overcast

I am thinking… gotta make thank you cards…gotta get the laundry put away…gotta get some books mailed out for Paperback Book Swap…gotta get dressed…love my coffee with peppermint mocha creamer…gotta get my camera fixed…gotta get back in the saddle again!My grandma getting sick, dying, then my getting sick right after and now fighting off some more nasties has really thrown me for a loop.

I am thankful for… Not having to eat beans and rice and water three times a day. Like the rest of the world does. My friend’s church is doing a five day “fast”–which means they are eating like the poor half of the world’s population. Isn’t that awesome!I am wearing… white pajama pants and a white long sleeve tee–cool vampy dark purple/grey toe nails.

I am remembering… how I thought I would get up early and get this post done–still working on it 1/2 an hour later

I am going…chiro, reflexologist, health food store –gotta get my immunity up and running again

I am reading…Lost Mission –It’s a great book, suspenseful–interesting, well written. It keeps my attention, but unfortunately my concentration is broken so often throughout the day I am having trouble getting it finished.
Here is a summary from the publishers:

An idyllic Spanish mission collapses in the eighteenth century atop the supernatural evidence of a shocking crime. Twelve generations later the ground is opened up, the forgotten ruins are disturbed, and rich and poor alike confront the onslaught of resurging hell on earth. Caught up in the catastrophe are…

• A humble shopkeeper compelled to leave her tiny village deep in Mexico to preach in America
• A minister wracked with guilt for loving the wrong woman
• An unimaginably wealthy man, blinded to the consequences of his grand plans
• A devoted father and husband driven to a horrible discovery that changes everything

Will the evil that destroyed the Misión de Santa Dolores rise to overwhelm them? Or will they beat back the terrible desires that led to the mission’s good Franciscan founder’s standing in the midst of flames ignited by his enemies and friends alike more than two centuries ago?

From the high Sierra Madre mountains to the harsh Sonoran desert, from the privileged world of millionaire moguls to the impoverished immigrants who serve them, Athol Dickson once again weaves a gripping story of suspense that spans centuries and cultures to explore the abiding possibility of miracles.

Thank you to Amy at Litfuse for a copy of the book to review

I am hoping… to actually get this post done before I have to leave…I am certainly not going to get the laundry put away like I had hoped. Why can’t children just sit quietly on the couch until I am ready to interact with them? I should have given birth to dollies.

On my mind…all the stuff I need to add to my to-do list so I can stop thinking about it!

From the learning rooms… Thanksgiving–several great books and a DVD from MommyLife’s list

Noticing that… there is really no such thing as “going smoothly”

Pondering these words… Sprinkle the day with humor. Laugh at yourself…Take time to listen, to notice, to smile. ~Mardon Davis

From the kitchen… gotta get the menus done–everything just goes to pot when Mama’s out of commission

Around the house… Getting the carpets cleaned (as soon as I find the newspaper with the coupon and make the appointment)

One of my favorite things…my children. Truly.

From my picture journal… I have been quite remiss in taking pictures over the last several weeks.

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Stay-at-Home Mom Style outfit for the week jeans leggings cheap chic fashion frugal style mom on the go

And then…

I got sick. Very very sick.

Today I left my house for the first time in a week! A week, people! I spent all seven days in a prone position too, except when I was kneeling at the porcelain throne. Not fun.

I’m feeling back to normal–well, my stomach still does hurt a bit, but it’s negliglble compared to how it was.

I spent the first few days doing nothing. Well, I moaned a lot. Then I watched a lot of movies. And TV. I’m totally into V now. We don’t have a laptop, so I couldn’t even be online at all. I was too sick even read! Although, yesterday, I did listen to the entire book of The Silver Chair. That’s 6 hours. SIX!

Today I had all the kids with me. We’ve been farming them out to friends and relations (Godsends, really). I’ve missed them. We had a great day overall. It’s good to be vertical.

I found a couple good sites. I love fonts. I’m proud to say I actually knew the name of the font the credits were in of one of the many movies I watched.

Free Font Fun Want some fun free fonts for your scrapbooking, print or website projects?
Find more than 9000 free fonts to download at – all free!
The other is It’s kinda funny. I don’t know if they are actually petitioning or not, but they say since ’09 was kinda sucky, they want to end 2009 a month early, and start 2010, a new year of hope. People put up all their reasons why they want to get out of this year, from the facetious (my pet rock ran away) to the serious (I didn’t get pregnant this year). I dont’ know that I really want to end the year early, and can’t think of a good reason to.Can you?

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I was trying to tame one of our garage kitties today–after I rescued her from the Jaws of Death (Belle, the giddy yellow Lab, who thinks said kitty is a toy) and she bit me. My finger is so swollen I can hardly type with it.

The next time though, she let me pick her right up and snuggled right into me. I wish I weren’t allergic!

Cadrian is adorable lately. He’ll shake his head viciously when offered something he doesn’t want.He loves to eat–and also thinks it’s fun to toss food off his chair. He’ll walk/run away giggling and look back at you with a mischievous grin, inviting a chase. He’s almost figured out how to run, but when he does, he usually is like a little ping-pong ball, ricocheting off anything in his path until he completely loses his balance. He’ll “blow” whenever he sees anything resembling a candle–and when he blows, his cheeks puff out, and he lets the air out of the corner of his mouth, Popeye-esque. He’s finally stopped throwing a screaming marathon when I turn him down when he asks to nurse, by signing milk and saying “Nssss.” He still asks fairly frequently, hoping I’ll forget we are only nursing at bedtime and naptimes, but goes about his busy business when denied. Now if I can just figure out how to cut out the nursings at sleeptimes. He’s sleeping through the night, although the change back to standard time really messed us up. When he starts waking in the morning, I escape to the guest room so I can go back to sleep and don’t have to nurse him. That was our last nursing to cut out with the girls, so we are trying to cut it out first. We have about 6 weeks before our cruise when we’ll be gone for 10 days; I’d like to have him weaned by the end of November (I don’t really want to wean, but he can’t come with us…Insert sad face which is also glad to have a vacation with husband here)

Brielle is adorable lately. She is also stubborn and compassionate. She’s often attention seeking and as wild and untamed as she is cuddly snuggly. I’ve been thinking lately, if I just start off the day with a spanking, the very first time she disobeys, we’d be better off and have far more fun together! She’s still so sneaking in how she disobeys though, it’s hard for me to realize it sometimes in the craziness. She doesn’t get all defiant to me, she just kind of… wanders in the general direction of obedience and then… wanders off. She loves to sing and dance. She loves all things Sound of Music, especially So Long Farewell. She likes to play Mama, and has me be the baby. She snuggles me and talks to me in this teeny tiny syrupy voice. She is doing STELLAR at quiet time–and by that I mean, she has made HUGE strides to fulfilling expectation. She stays in her room for about an hour before she starts coming out to find me, and find out if quiet time is over (even though she knows what 3:00 looks like and can see for herself) or to ask me any number of inane questions. She rarely makes a mess in her room of Herculean proportions. This is amazing for her, considering she has not napped regularly for about 18 months and quiet time has been a daily battle with her. She talks non-stop and says everything that comes into her head as she thinks of it. She’s wonderfully exhausting.

Aviana is adorable lately. She is serious and pensive, full of grandiose ideas and plans. She talks constantly, telling you every painstaking detail of her thoughts. She loves to listen to her books on CD and will ask me to extend quiet time so she can listen longer. She is learning so much, and remembers so much. I am seeing a new level of silly now that she is five, an almost annoying kind of silly, that I can’t quite put my finger on. She wants to be able to read right this second and doesn’t want to do the hard work of sounding out the words. She gets over the top frustrated if she doesn’t understand something right away. She is loving and snuggly and loves one on one time. She most of the time tries to be a sweet little helper, and it’s amazing how much she can do.

Kevin is working 7-8:30 or so, and is finally able to combine. This week has been nice weather and he is getting record yields for both corn and soybeans which is incredibly rewarding since this year has also been incredibly frustrating. He essentially has built a new grain drying system from scratch, which is just genius. GENIUS. The long days are hard on me and exhausting for him. It’s hard on the kids too, but at least he sees them for a while in the morning and we take him lunch in the field and can spend a few minutes with him. We are mentoring a pre-marital couple in our first Marriage Mentoring assignment, and after two meetings, I think I can safely say it’s going well. Of course, the day of our first meeting with them, the day my grandma died, we had a huge fight. Ironic.

I am feeling mostly tense. I feel like I’m in charge of a lot, and don’t really feel equipped for it. Memories of Grandma pop up at odd times, like when I’m cleaning the stove, and I start to cry. I feel like I’ve committed to too much by leading our MOMS group, volunteering twice a month in the nursery, doing Marriage Mentoring and then the rest of my life, full of dinners, diapers, and daily decontaminating tidying up, not to mention maintaining friendships, creative pursuits and my debatable sanity. I haven’t downloaded pictures from my cameras for a few weeks, and usually, I dump my cards nearly every day. I can’t even begin think about planning for our vacation and the holidays. I have almost all the Christmas shopping done, but I still have to wrap everything and make some of the food for when we’re gone (my parents are staying here for the duration, but they aren’t used to eating on a schedule) and get our Thanksgiving (in lieu of Christmas) cards finished, picture made, letter written, envelopes addressed and mailed and… not to mention find subs for my church commitments. I sure hope this cruise will be worth it, because right now, it just looks like a lot of work.

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