Friday, May 30, 2008

Strawberry chickens

Ian helped me plant some strawberries yesterday in an old barrel pot. Our neighbor gave us some starts from his garden and there was no way I was going to turn him down. Now we'll have raspberries, blueberries, AND strawberries from our backyard this summer. Weeee!

And because my brain refuses to work this week from lack of sleep (I won't point any fingers but it's not Jeremy, Ian, or I that like to get up every couple of hours at night.. ahem) there'll be no witty or intelligent posts from me for you to read through. So I'm posting about chickens so you all don't run off and forget about me and read the really really good stuff that's out there.

Willow--pretty mild and just goes along with the flow. Probably the bottom of the pecking order as far as I can see.

Ginger--she doesn't dominate but can hold her own and refuses to let the other chicks get away with pecking at her or trying to take her food.

Guinevere--small and fiesty. She holds her own really well among the dominant one and picks fights if she can get away with it.

Emmaline---ye olde dominant one. Definitely top of the pecking order and won't hesitate to put the other chicks in their places if she needs to.

While it's nearly impossible to get a decent picture from them now, you can still see how much they've changed. They are doing great and are about a week or two away from moving outside. Of course, that's if we get their coop built that soon. We have a little motivation though.... they uh... stink. Gone are the cute fuzzy little critters where ne'er on odor came from their nether regions. In their place are honest to goodness farm-smellin' chickens. I try to remind them that we are not a farm but between the clucking and the straw that is strewn all over the floor from their dust bathing, I'm not sure it's very convincing.

We're off to the waterfront this afternoon for the beginning of the Rose Festival week. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Post weekend cleanup

We are still recovering from out busy weekend of cleaning out and organizing our garage and basement. This has been a year long process that started with our garage sale last summer and will hopefully end this summer when we have gotten rid of everything we no longer need and organize the stuff we do have. We are close to some semblance of order and it's exciting. (Although I'm beginning to see how this is an ongoing job for the rest of our lives.)

When they dropped the dumpster off last Friday we nearly fainted at the size. We didn't think we could fill it but when we made it available to the rest of my family and added their trash we came pretty close.

We took a break on Sunday to go and see the new Indiana Jones flick. This was exciting because one, it's a new Indiana Jones movie and Jeremy has been waiting all year for it to come out. And two, because it was the first time we've ever left Sawyer! He did great and Jeremy and I were childless for the first time in almost 1-1/2 years! I think that rounds out the total dates we've had in almost 3 1/2 years to....4. It was so exciting!

The boys hung out with my sister's family and like always, had a great time. Nick, my awesome nephew/photographer showed us exactly what they did that day through pictures. Here's one of Sawyer. See?... he looks okay being away from Mom for a little bit... right?

And here's Ian sitting on a tractor with Uncle Mark putting headphones on to buffer the noise. I love what he did with the picture.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Taking a break from all the spring cleaning to share my little mint plant with you. My sister brought over a mint sprig from her garden a couple of weeks ago so I could grow some of my own. It started with one little stalk cut from a bigger plant... it doesn't have to be dug up or have any root on it... just a little stalk with some leaves, just the kind you would buy at the grocery store where the other fresh herbs, like basil, are sold. We placed it in a cup of water for about a week.

And voile! Little roots started growing out of the bottom and sides.

I planted it this morning in a small vase until I can move it to a bigger spot. Easy easy easy! I'm thinking fresh herbal ice teas for this summer....

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thoughts over bread

So glad it's Friday. We have a busy weekend planned and two huge dumpsters in our driveway to prove it.

We're all feeling a little melancholy today. I wasn't sure if it was the weather or the end of a busy week but the day called for some homemade bread. Ian helped me knead the dough and we watched it closely to make sure it was rising properly under the towel. For dinner we had a little salad with deviled eggs and some of the bread... but mostly bread, warm, with lots of butter and honey.

It dawned on me about halfway through kneading why I was feeling off. And then I remembered the news I had read early yesterday morning. I'm so very very sad for their family. What a tragic loss and in such a tragic way.

I didn't realize how much it had shaken me. I think it's partly because I'm a mom and partly because of who's family it is. I have a soft spot in my heart for Steven Curtis Chapman. His music was so present during my late teens and early twenties. I remember living in this house, when it belonged to my sister and her family, sitting in my bedroom listening to his CD over and over again. I really began to shape my beliefs about God and who He was and is to me during this time. It's amazing how a song can take you back to a specific time and make you feel as if you are right there, present for it all again.

I'm praying for his family and especially his teenage son. In the meantime, I'm curling up with my boys tonight and keeping them close, thanking God for every day we have together.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Kids and the chiropractor

Sawyer seemed to be doing well despite his little mishap this past weekend. Just to be safe, I decided to take him to the chiropractor this morning to get him checked out and I'm so glad I did. He said Sawyer was really tweaked out and there was a little swelling at the base of his neck, all of which was probably causing headaches for the little guy. He also said to put some ice on his head because he still had a little bump on his forehead. So we came home and tried to ice it which ended in some really funny photos and two kids laughing at a bag of frozen corn falling to the ground over and over again.

I'm always amazed at Sawyer's behavior after the chiropractor. He's calm and quiet and very subdued. His naps are usually longer and he sleeps better at night.

I first took him to the chiropractor when he was 2 weeks old. He was such a fussy newborn and always seemed so uncomfortable, even when he was sleeping. I took him to a cranial sacral specialist and she was wonderful with him. Most babies heads are squished during delivery and the skull bones are pressed together and usually overlap to compensate for the tight squeeze. This can cause pain and other problems which shows up in really fussy newborns.

This chiropractor told me that in colicky babies, the upper back is usually tweaked (again, probably delivery) and chiropractors have seen great success when they fix the upper back along with the cranial sacral work. It's also tied to the digestion so once they can straighten the spine, the digestion usually starts working properly and the colicky baby is in less pain and becomes much calmer.

I saw firsthand how this cranial sacral chiropractor worked with Sawyer and the impact it had on him. She would gently run her fingers along his spine and he would react suddenly, arching his back off the table when she hit a sore spot. She would slowly rub it out and then adjust him very gently while I held him in my lap. He usually slept for hours after those treatments.

I take both boys in every now and then just for checkups and especially if one of them gets hurt like Sawyer did on Saturday. I fell down the stairs when I was pregnant with Sawyer and shifted things pretty badly. I know how much better I felt after the chiropractor fixed my back so there's no doubt in my mind that the boys need the same care.

(This picture is of Sawyer and our chiropractor, taken back in March).

Chiropractic care for kids

More info

International Chiropractic Pediatriac Association

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Crafting mobiles

Ian and I decided to try our hand at making a mobile. It was a lot of fun and turned out pretty cute. It's just a collection of random things found around the house: buttons, shells, round metal thingys found in the tool box, and some paper clouds we made. We found the idea on this blog. She has so many unique and creative ideas!

We hung it in our family room next to the toy box and a few other favorite things. It's fun to watch it blow in the breeze when the back door is open.

And oh yeah... the chicks say 'hello'.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Beautiful weekend and a little oops

We had really hot weather over the weekend and as much as I was forbidding myself to turn on the air conditioning this month (I's only May), I did it anyway. It's the hot nights that get to me so on she came and we happily snuggled in bed so thankful that we decided to splurge last summer and install central air.

We spent a huge majority of the weekend outside. I don't think you realize how often you stare at the inside of a home until the weather turns nice and you want to rip out the door to get to some fresh air and sun. We went to a nearby park, a beautiful piece of green tucked into a neighborhood. There were some geese for Ian to follow and lots of grass for Sawyer to crawl through.

The little "oops" came earlier in the day when Sawyer fell down some stairs. (Is it me or does that just scream inattentive mom???? Ugh.) He's been so good around them and can crawl up the steps like a champ. It's the going down that he doesn't quite get and instead of trying it backwards, feet first, he insists on sitting on the top ledge with his feet dangling down and then he leeaanns forward as if, I don't know, he's just going to hop down them? It doesn't help that we have hardwood stairs. Luckily, he only (only?) fell down 5 steps and not the 12 that he could have fallen down if he had been on the other landing.

Anyway... a bad bloody nose... a huge egg on his forehead... and a few other facial war wounds but it appears he's going to live to tell the tale. Well, except for the new nickname that's seemed to stick...cough...Scarface...cough.

Luckily, there's no real signs of his fight with the stairs, thanks to my absolutely favorite thing in my medicine cabinet... ever: Hyland's bumps and bruises (Arnica). And he seems to be fine emotionally too, because just yesterday I watched him crawl back over to the stairs and dangle his feet off the edge again. Little stinker. He's such a cute little stinker though.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Showcasing talent

My sister Tonia has always loved to read and write. As far back as I can remember she always had her nose in a book and a pen in her hand. Even now her 'books I've read list' grows weekly while I'm usually scrambling to keep up and she can write circles around me which is greatly evident on her own blog.

She was finally able to do something about it a year ago when she finished cowriting a book with her friend Ann. Excitingly, it was picked up by a publisher earlier this year! It's the second volume in this geography series called, A Child's Geography: Explore the Holy Land. It was written as a geography book geared for all kids and it's become highly recommended for homeschool curriculum. It teaches children that God loves our world and all the children in it by exploring the culture and customs from Turkey and Israel to Saudia Arabia and Jordan. There are hands-on ideas like keeping a travel-log and making recipes from each place.

What I love about the book is that it's written as if the child is exploring the land in that moment.

"As we sail over the Mediterranean coast, white sails wave at us from boats bobbing on the brilliant blue water, and numerous productive farming villages quietly dot the coastline. Dropping closer, strange, bizarre shapes rising up out of the landscape catch our eye... stranger than mud houses, stranger than beehive -shaped houses. We've stumbled into the land of the Fairy Chimneys in the Cappadocia region of the Anatolian Plateau."

I'm so proud of her and all the work that was put into this book. The website is here and you can also find it here. The first volume, A Child's Geography: Explore His Earth was written in 2005 by Ann.

The other person I'm proud of is Jeremy. He designed the artwork for the covers! He donated his time and I think they both came out beautifully. They are incredibly colorful and really capture the heart of both books.

It was so fun to receive the books in the mail today and see all the hard work actually in print. Well done all of you!

**Forgot to mention that all the proceeds from the books go to World Vision!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How the chickens are

Time for a chicken update! They are doing really well, getting bigger and looking much more like chickens than the fluff balls they started out as.

We bought a new cage for the chickens since our old rubbermaid container was getting too small. Of course, the boys had to make sure it was suitable for the chicks first.

We decided to keep them in our family room for the next month until they go outside. We like watching them all day long and this way they will continue to get used to us and to being handled.

Here they are up close! From left to right... Willow, Ginger (bending over), Guinevere, and lastly Emmaline on the right.

We've been bringing them outside whenever we are out to let them walk around and peck at anything that moves. They go crazy over ants and eat as many as they can.

Both boys love them. They are incredibly gentle which is obvious by how the chicks always want to be near them. This is the space where they'll be living outside... we'll be clearing it out, building a coop, and adding a garden. Another month and hopefully it'll be done.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hello toddler

It doesn't seem possible, but somehow Sawyer has gone from baby to toddler almost overnight.

His birthday was wonderful and he seemed to enjoy all the attention. And what's not to love about waking up to new toys to play with in the morning?

He didn't hesitate at all digging into his cake. But in typical Sawyer fashion, a short time into it he was done eating and picked up handfuls to toss onto the floor. (Delicious vegan cake and frosting from my favorite vegan cookbook.)

The one-year birthday down... now onto walking!

Monday, May 12, 2008

All about Sawyer

This newborn...

... is 1 today!

A year ago today Sawyer was born. It's so hard to believe. Like Jeremy said last night, it feels like it was just yesterday yet it seems like he's always been here with us.

After Sawyer's birth, my midwife gave me my complete file with a nearly minute-by-minute account of my labor and his birth. We read it last night, remembering all the details. My first labor pains woke me up at 2am, 24 hours before he was born. We spent the day laboring at home, just Jeremy and I, with one of my midwives stopping by every now and then to check fetal heartrate and to see how I was holding up. That evening, we went to the house where Sawyer was going to be born. Our "birthing suite" was a bedroom fitted with a jacuzzi tub and a cozy bed. According to the notes, hard labor began around 8pm and by 10 I was in the tub where I stayed until Sawyer was born. Finally the entry I never thought would come that night:

2:42am- Born. Baby.

I won't lie, my first thought after Sawyer was born wasn't what he looked like or how many fingers or toes he had, it was complete and utter relief that the pain was finally over. Giving birth outside of a hospital means no drugs, not even a Tylenol, so it took my brain a few moments to shift from pain survival to the baby I was holding in my arms. Thankfully it didn't take long before my eyes were glued to him, staring at his beautiful face. He was such a sweet baby.... very content to snuggle with Dad or nurse with me.

It was pretty obvious from the beginning that he was enamored with Ian. He would watch him intently and once he was old enough to move, he followed him everywhere, and still does. He has the sweetest smile and his big eyes never miss a thing. He loves being held and is content to sit on your hip so he can watch the world from a better viewpoint. He's not walking yet and only just yesterday tried to stand on his own in the middle of the floor. He has brought so much to our family and we are so thankful he's here, he's healthy, and he's happy.

Even though there are plenty of times when Ian and him are fighting over a toy or like a typical younger brother, Sawyer destroys something Ian has built, there are many moments that I catch, just between the two of them, that speaks volumes about how they really feel.

I love that they have each other for life and my prayer is that they will be the best of friends, always taking care of and looking out for one another.

And of course, I couldn't pass up the chance to show his curls. Jeremy says he needs a haircut but can I cut off the curls?

We love your smile, your toes, your two front teeth, and every other square inch of you.

Happy, happy birthday little Sawyer.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Farmer's Market

Our local farmer's market started up this past weekend. Because of the rainy season, only about half the booths are up right now but hopefully as June approaches more and more vendors will be out. We love this particular one because of the live music and all the fresh food.

From the farmer's market: a newly discovered favorite... local garlic and chive goat cheese on crusty bread.

And beautiful flowers for the table in honor of a birthday we have coming up...

...for a little someone turning 1 soon!
(He's chewing on the leftover stone inside a mango... he loves it and it's great for teething too!)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I love being home. We love being home. I spread my errands out during the week to make sure we have time at home just to be there. There's something about the security, the feeling of belonging, that makes me want to be home when I'm away.

I love the rhythm of our days. The slow leisurely breakfasts. The book reading, game playing, and crazy dress-up time that comes with having a couple of hours in the morning to just be. Then lunch and the knowing that my tired baby will soon be fast asleep in bed. I love the afternoon when we read more books or take a walk or discover something new to do while waiting in anticipation for Dad to come home. I love being in the kitchen with Sawyer underfoot emptying my cupboards and keeping himself busy.

It's a good space to me, peaceful. One the boys love as well. They have room to move around, places to sit and read, to think, to draw, and to dream of being someone else. A dinosaur or cowboy is the usual choice for Ian and sometimes it's with his friend, the sheep named Bear... or so he tells me.

We went to the craft store yesterday to gather supplies. I love this idea from The Creative Family ... teaching to sew with burlap and a blunt needle. Ian took right to it. I'm amazed at his ability given time and space to think. His little mind was working over time trying to move his fingers in concentrated motions... grasping the needle and thread, losing the thread, trying to rethread the needle, and then starting over. I loved seeing his expression when he finally succeeded.

Making sure we have time to sit and create is an important part of our daily rhythm. Even though it's something I've thought about for a long time, I'm beginning to see how vital it is for their developing minds and that's all the motivation I need.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sunday cowboy and of course... chickens

What better way to spend a sunny Sunday than as a cowboy. Especially if you're a 3 year old boy with a penchant for red cowboy hats, an Indian beaded belt, and a wooden horse.

Well we had quite the introduction to chicken-keeping this week. We buried Clover in an old checkbook box in our backyard. Ian caught on pretty quickly and has told us all weekend that "Clover died". But he seems to be taking it all in stride.

We bought 3 more baby chicks Friday morning because I was pretty sure Clover wasn't going to make it. We had a little issue with one of those chicks as well but it's all sorted out and now we have our 4 healthy chicks. They are all doing really well and seemed to like it here. In addition to Emmaline, let me introduce to you our newest 3 chicks.

This is Willow. She's a Barred Rock.

This is Guinevere. She's a Golden Sex Link (meaning her gender is linked to the coloring at birth).

And lastly, this is Ginger. She's an Araucana and will lay either blue or green eggs.

Sawyer was a little jealous at first but he seems taken with them now. He lays down on the floor just to watch them when they are out of their brooder.

Ian is super gentle and knows just how to pick them up. He and Emmaline seemed to have really hit it off because she always wants him and he always wants to hold her.

Jeremy with Emmaline

Me with Ginger. I love how her eyes are lined in black, almost like an ancient Egyptian. Hmm..maybe she should be a Cleopatra?