Saturday, June 30, 2012

Why I Love The Company of Kids.............

Kids will never notice that they are eating off of bright green plastic plates.  They will happily scarf down leftover muffins, tiny meatballs from the freezer dipped in ketchup, apple slices, homemade yogurt and carrot sticks - not caring that they don't exactly complement each other. 

And, oh, the things that kids talk about when there is just one quiet adult sitting in the corner.  What things you can learn about daddies and mommies - things that you tuck away in the back of your mind to mention later to those same mommies and daddies :)

Kids will eat with such great joy - not worrying about things like calories or what they look like when strawberry sauce mixed with yogurt is dripping down their mouths and onto their clothes.  Toothpicks to pick up meatballs are SO exciting, the most ordinary of things are made extraordinary when dining in the out of doors with children.

And afterwards.......they scatter, running here and there - all messy and filled with food.  They don't notice the weeds and too long grass that meets them along the way.  The broken toys, old tires and empty sandbox are repurposed for pools and tables and dishware.  Fun is found not in the perfection of an object but for the possibility it holds.

Kids will create their fun.  Glitter, cardboard tubes, markers and paper become a weight to lift, a spy scope for a boy eager to spy upon the girls and other beautiful, useful things.  One bottle of glue is shared by all - without intervention from the quiet adult looking on in the background.  Amazing........what happens in the company of kids.............

There is so much to learn - setting up an environment, allowing the possibilities, giving them the space to be who they are.  There are leaders, there are followers, there are the clowns, there are the mothers, there are the storytellers, there is so much in these little bodies and minds.

I love that chubby thighs and polka-dotted spandex seem to be the perfect complement to one the company of kids.  You want to hug and squeeze and love.

And at the end of a long summer morning................there is always the cool, quiet basement.  Although it was only quiet for so long, only still for a moment..........but that is how it the company of kids.

Friday, June 29, 2012

What You have Been Waiting For.............

That's right..........vacation pictures!  You didn't think this was going to be some deeply meaningful post, did you?  We got back last week and, well, it was AWESOME!  Quite a long, long, long car trip  (one that spanned two days), living with 10 in a townhouse, HOT weather, late nights, early mornings and not much napping..............and, seriously, CANNOT wait to do it again!!!  Family is just good.  Matt, Tash and Liv were BEYOND welcoming and accommodating.  My parents........AMAZING, constantly stepping in with the kids - taking them on day long excursions, feeding them, entertaining them, just being with them.  Plus Kansas City had tons of pretty cool stuff to do - Legoland, an aquarium, great public parks, a spray park, dinosaur exhibit, an incredible farm and petting zoo and more.  Without further ado......................the pictures!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Lovin' Had Me a Blast.........

Oh my, I forget..............

I forget how busy summer is.........with it's intense play and intense working hard.  I forget that mornings are begun at 6:30, picking raspberries from the backyard and blueberries from under the netting because an eager young girl with tangles in her hair and jammies on her body deems it necessary.  

I forget how dirty the floors get with the footprints of children and a husband never in shoes.  These same children and husband that work in the gardens hoeing and digging and watering and finding toads.  The footprints make their mark on a once white kitchen floor.  A floor that was once white long before we moved in.

I forget how the laundry is never done because the vegetables and fruit come in.......come in, in a steady stream..........zucchini and blueberries and lettuce and kidney beans and peas.  All are ready to eat but need to be washed and shelled and grated and soaked.  

How glorious it is to see the children grown and love to be where things are grown.  To witness their still sleepy bodies move through the garden gates, eager to pick the day's bounty.  After books and breakfast, Francesca is so eager to get to those ripe, red raspberries.  Fia comes out, half awake, still in her little girl jammies, and asks. "Is daddy out in the garden?",   Yes, I reply and off she goes to pick her own row.  She has claimed for herself the snow peas and each day goes out to see what has come in the night.

I am new to this.  This toiling in the soil, toiling in the sun for things that can be bought with such ease in a grocery store across the street.  I wonder how I got here, how I got to this place of canning peach pie filling, freezing jam, picking blueberries and grocery shopping in my own backyard.  Each time I go out, into the bounty He has provided, I am in awe.  I can't believe what can be done with a seed, some sun, some water and soil.  My faith is renewed with each new blossom, with each seed realized.  I am in awe of His creation.  I am in awe of what He provides.

These are the days...........the days to be remembered.......that old Billy Joel song playing in my head......these days of eating every meal outside, of impromptu pool parties, of catching lightening bugs way past bedtime, of working as a family to bring food in, to harvest together, to grow together, to play hard together.  How I wish this summer would not end...........

I hope I never forget.............

I hope I never forget these summer days..................these summer days of lemonade and never wearing shoes and freedom and seeing neighbors every day and fishing and games of Guess Who and movie nights and not napping.

Will I ever remember to live fully in the moment and not mourn the moment even as it is passing?

I don't know.

Do I want to?

I treasure these summer days..............................

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Home Is.......

Home is the smell of freshly baked bread.

Home is walking out the back door and tasting summer - blackberries, blueberries and red raspberries.

Home is baskets overflowing with books, helium balloons floating in the air and toys spilling out of drawers and closets.

Home is sticky faces, messy hands, tangled hair and feet brown with dirt.

Home is never-ending laundry, a sink always waiting to be filled with dishes and a never clean floor, no matter how many times it has been swept.

Home is pancake breakfasts, snuggling with books and staying in pjs way too long.

Home is going out to the garden for dinner - green beans, lettuce, peas and more.

Home is sinking into your own bed, sinking into the familiar knowing that the end of the day is here.

Home is children running, tripping over each other in their eagerness to play and yell and be silly.

Home is trapping groundhogs, the near misses of a spraying skunk and waiting for bats to make their appearance.

Home is a mom and dad, holding onto to one another amidst the chaos, holding onto to who they are and what they are together.

Home is bleary eyed babies reaching for mama, pounding footsteps coming down the hall, a once small girl getting ready before making her morning appearance.

Home is love.  Home is comfort.  Home is knowing that however far, however long you are gone; when you are ready to come back it will always be there, eagerly awaiting your return.

So happy to be home............

So blessed to have a home..........overflowing with gratitude this gorgeous summer morning.

Praise be to the Father for showing me a fraction of what Home will be like one day.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." Matthew 18:20

God has been working - in us, through us...........He has been working to see His promises fulfilled, His love brought down.  It's not perfect, never are we perfect, only He can be that.  Yet, He has revealed to us a community, a space that is growing, growing to look more like Him.  A space where His plan and ours come together.  A place where families can meet, can share food together.  A place where men lead bunny hunts, kids can dance to scripture, couples can have the freedom and time to invest in each other and their families.  

It's church without a building.  

It's Love exchanged.

It's families built up.

It's believers united in a common purpose.

It's God in the out of doors, it's Christ in community, it's the Holy Spirit moving through moms and dads, kids and babies.

Here are scenes from a Sunday morning at Family Village:

What direction is God pointing you in?  If you want to know more about this crazy, awesome journey God has us on............go here.  Love you all.  

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Picture Perfect Day

The girls dancing together

My blonde bathing beauty

On the path to the farm
The big girls

Sisterly love

 They kept telling me to go away.....they're big kids now ((sigh))

Sierra, working on her story

Sharing secrets.......ah, the world of girls :)

My big beautiful baby boy.......who's constantly reminding me that when he is bigger
he won't be able to cuddle me any longer.

The beautiful and always sunny Miss Schnabel

She gets this look from her dad :)

The man of the farm..........

Never take on a's not pretty.

Just a few of the HUNDREDS of tiny toads, Morgan has a handful

Daddy and daughter
The end of a good day

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Setting the Women's Movement Back a Few Decades.....

My wonderful hubby always sends me to the car appointments in Akron.  The car place has these deep, soft, wonderful couches that you can sink into and read a book.  There is a vending machine with Coke AND Pepsi so that you can actually choose the one you like best (HANDS DOWN it is Coke, people, HANDS DOWN).  It's quiet.  It's air-conditioned.  It's a little slice of heaven.

There is only one downfall................

They ask me all kinds of questions when I take my car there.  It can get confusing.

Joe tries to prep me but, inevitably, they deviate from my script.........EVERY TIME.  It makes me feel like a total moron, not enough of a moron to actually do anything about it since it doesn't happen all that often.  But still.

So today Joe prepped me beforehand.  He gave me a coupon (actually he put the coupon in my car a week ago so that I would have it for this appointment) and told me to ask them what the better deal is.  Ok, got it - coupon, what's the better deal.  Then he told me that they were suppose to work on the alignment, do an oil change, look at the camera (at which point I had to stop myself from saying - the camera?  They do that?  I thought it was working fine, I just took some pictures the other day.  Turns out he was talking about the camera that does it's thing when we back up) and the CD player wasn't working.   Ok - alignment, oil change, camera, CD player - got it.

I get there and I am so looking forward to sinking into that couch and working on some stuff for church.  I can almost taste the Coke................

First question:  How many miles are on your car?

Seriously?  That was not part of my script.  I got the first question wrong already.  I tell the lady...

I have no idea.

She said that was ok.  Phew......ok let's get to the stuff I know.

Second question:  What are you having done today?

Alignment, oil change, cd player and camera, I smile proudly.  I start to walk away because I have given her my keys and recited the words I was told.  Not so fast..........

Third question:  What is wrong with the camera?

I have no idea.  My husband just told me there was something wrong with it.

Fourth question:  Does it work at all?

Yes, it does.  I think.  I mean, I never noticed it NOT working.  I am pretty sure that it works sometimes.  My husband just told me to have you check it.

Fifth question:  Does it go black when it's not working?  Or does it not turn on?

I have no idea.  Ummm, my husband handles everything to do with the car.  I think he just wants you to check it because he said there was something wrong with it.  (The lady actually laughs at this point)

Sixth question:  I see here that you haven't had the blah, blah, blah cleaned recently and that often helps with the blah, blah, blah.  Without it being blah, blah. blah then you might have some problems with blah, blah, blah.  Would you like that done today?

Blank stare.  Thinking.........should I call Joe?  Should I say yes?  Should I say no?  I didn't really understand 50% of what she just said.  Blank stare. much would that cost?

Only 109 dollars.

Ummmm, no.  Thinking I can ask Joe about this at home.  No need to further embarrass myself by actually calling my husband in front of this lady that just laughed at me.

At this point there was a lot of shuffling of papers and explaining what was on said papers.  I had to sign some things and there was more talking.  I wanted to tell her that this was all totally unnecessary.  I am more a point and sign person - no explanation necessary.  I assumed that Joe had taken care of everything when he called, I recited my lines and I was ready to get my Coke and get to work.  She obviously was at work and had some work to do, too.  I didn't want to get in the way of that work.  I almost laughed as she was very seriously pointing out all this stuff they were going to do for an inspection, some kind of blah, blah points inspection.  Then more talk of the coupon and what was the deal.  And, finally, done.

I sunk into the couch, got my work done, sipped on a deliciously cold Coke and had a mighty fine time.  I ended up explaining to the lady that that was why I was there - to enjoy myself, in peace and quiet.

She got the idea........that I have no idea.  

For another post on ways to be completely reliant on your here.   Please don't judge.  Once, I sent my husband to the grocery store.........WITH A LIST.  He called me the middle of a grad school class, one time because he wanted to know if the grapes were a good price and the other time because he couldn't find something on the list.  When I got home he told me that I needed to make the list in the order that it is found in the store and that he NEVER, EVER wanted to do that again.  Apparently, it was pretty traumatizing.

We all have our things, people.  Banks, bills and cars are NOT my things.

Cooking and food stuff?  That I can do.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Gang's All Here......

A last day of school, first day of summer celebration at Metzger Park in Louisville. 

The kids had met a friend at the park, an almost five year old boy that began to play with Francesca.  She played police with him, they kept running, hiding and then finding "bad" guys.  It was quite funny to watch.  The others joined in, finding a hide out and then claiming one of the jungle gyms as their ship.  On our way out they kept saying good bye, how they hoped to play again and how much fun they had to this little boy.  Nico said, "I hope I see you again!"

Francesca's last words?

"You hope you see me again!"

I know what she meant to say.................or, at least, I hope what she meant to say.  Her actual statement might come closer to what she actually believes.

Hope the start to your summer was a good one, too!