Thursday, May 31, 2012

Country Living...and Life Changes...

All ready to plant some sweet corn in the *big* garden...

Let's play a game. It's called: "Where's Jaxson?" :)

Chris and the other children were at the meat Jaxson and I took a picture together while we waited...

Here they come!

Jaxson, caught in a *hee-yaw* motion...

The boys were chasing each other and wrestling in the field...when I hear: "Ut oh!" Jaxson lost one of his top teeth while they were wrestling. It needed to come out as the grown-up tooth is already coming in...but now it is lost somewhere in the field. We don't *do* the tooth fairy or it wasn't a huge loss...I think it just surprised the boys, all of a sudden, when it wasn't in his mouth anymore!

We worked hard in the evening to plant corn. We're all so thankful for the breeze that was cooling us all down as we planted!

Then, we took the back way home...through the trees that line the road and give it a fun tunnel-like feel!

Now it's time to be gut-wrenching-ly truthful. Are you ready? goes....

A few years ago (4 or 5)...Chris had a vasectomy. We thought this was the best route for us as we seemed very fertile and we were busy with three children 5 and under. We felt our family was the perfect size and hoped God would "see it our way" and considered ourselves wise for making the decision. As the majority of the "world" out there will tell you, "You can't afford too many children now-a-days." "You need to make sure you have time for yourself." "You're too busy...why would you want more children?". We bought into the lies we heard.

I don't know if it is conviction or my motherly desires but oh how my beliefs have changed over the past few years. First, do we trust God with our lives? Has He not always provided for us? The more I realize how sovereign and almighty our God truly is, I realize He is in control of our lives...and it's much better that way. He is great...we are not. He is perfect...we are not. He knows all...we do not. Who better to be in control of our lives? Our decision, I truly believe, was wrong...biblically. Children are such a treasure and every verse in the Bible confirms this. I believe our decision was wise in a *worldly* way but not in a *God-honoring* way...and everything in me desires to change this.

Chris was not on the same thinking-level I was on, though. Often, I tried to convince him otherwise...but to no avail. Unintentionally (and to my shame), I became a nagging wife...pleading for him to reconsider. He told me he would pray about it and think on it. (Waiting was torture...truly)! He came to a decision finally (I have been asking for years...and more fervently the past few months)...

Here is his proposal. He will have the reversal done *but* first, we have to have the money to pay for it. (To get it done in Pittsburgh costs almost $7500). So we'll take some in savings now and then add to it with our next income tax return check (next year). We don't think it is biblical to go into I completely agree with his thoughts on waiting until we have all the money we need.

The next stipulation is that I need to lose weight (I think it would be easier if he asked me to gnaw off my right arm!). He wants me completely healthy...for my sake and any pregnancies along the way (Lord willing). It was terribly hard to hear from him...but it was said in love. Tears streamed down my face as I felt that I would never be able to get the weight off. After talking to my mom and sister (who were both incredibly encouraging and supportive...of the weight loss and future pregnancies) I decided to contact a friend of mine who runs our local YMCA. They have spinning (cycling in place) classes at 6am. This will be a sure way to help me lose the weight. I am an early bird so getting up that early won't be a Chris will still be home with the children so I won't need to find a sitter. I can be home before he leaves for work.

 I am more of the old-fashioned, skirt-wearing, chore-doing kinda gal. The idea of throwing on pants and going to the gym doesn't exactly appeal to me...but I need more exercise and this is *just* what I need. It's not going to be easy...but I am going to work at this! I am starting tomorrow (Friday) morning...bright and early (goodness...I'll have to find my sneakers...I don't even remember the last time I wore those!). I may not be able to walk the rest of the day tomorrow...but I know it will feel great to get exercising more!

So, my plan is that along with smaller portions and smarter food decisions to lose the extra weight. This is real motivation. I long for more hopefully, in a year, I will be smaller, healthier and Chris will have the reversal. I am aware the reversal may still not result in pregnancy...but at least I will know it's God's will and not because of *our* decision.

Lord willing, a year from now, I will be posting that Chris's reversal went well and then...hopefully at some point, announcing another pregnancy. As the weight comes off, I may share updates from time to time...we'll see. My sister is due in January with her wee one and I hope to be thinner in those pictures of holding my new niece or nephew! :)

It's pretty embarrassing...knowing that thousands of people may read this over the next month or so. Yep, I'm over-weight and *not* proud of it. But now I have a plan to get it off...and I am going with it. Prayers and encouragement are *very* much appreciated.

Thanks for taking the time to visit me here...and if you have read this far...I'm grateful.

Here goes!!

Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied,


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Productive Way to Exercise!

Mowing with a reel mower can be quite an exhausting chore (although a great way to get into shape!)...especially when you are mowing our hilly lawn. I mowed some and then Madelyn offered to take a turn. I gratefully accepted (embarrassed how quickly I can get winded) and sat down on the swing in the shade for a few minutes.

Xavier took a turn next...

Jaxson on his "crutch"...

My Ruthers (I have tried to get her weight down...but really, I think she must be half bull-dog/half terrier (although her papers say she is half terrier/half sheltie) she seems to look like a bull-dog in her body but like a terrier in the face!)...

Madelyn and Xavier drying and putting dishes away together (it was X's chore for that day but Madelyn was helping him!)...

The other night, we enjoyed a small picnic with Chris's parents and my dad (my mom was at home resting, as she wasn't feeling well with sinus trouble). We enjoyed a simple meal of hamburgers, hotdogs, homemade mac and cheese and homemade chocolate ice cream!

Ever since going to Ohio and visiting the Warther Museum, Chris has been whittling in his spare time. He's made lots of fun things...wood knives for the boys and below, he is whittling a fork for Madelyn...

Xavier enjoying some homemade chocolate ice cream...

Jaxson *loves* watermelon...

Eloise isn't feeling 100% this week (nor is my sister who is dealing with the discomforts that can often accompany the first trimester of pregnancy) so they didn't come to town this week for a visit.  We may just have to take a trip over to their house, if we can, sometime. It's just terrible to miss seeing the Squeezle!

Tonight we're going to the big garden to plant corn. I got a couple pounds of Bodacious and my mother-in-love got a couple pounds of another kind of corn. Although the weather is just beautiful today...I am battling a bit of a headache (which has been lingering there all day). So, I am looking forward to getting the seeds planted and then heading to bed...soft pillows, snuggled down in quilts (as our room stays nice and chilly in the summer due to a small AC and a ceiling fan)...I can't wait!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied,

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

*Around our Simple Home*

Come for a walk around our little homestead with me!

The best things in life are nearest:  Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you.  Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.  
~Robert Louis Stevenson

"...aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands..." 
~ 1 Thessalonians 4:11

 It's simple, but it's home. We slowly work at fixing it up. There is still *much* we would like to do...but we work as time and money allows. (I want to say that if we end up never doing another thing to this house...we would still be ever-grateful that God has provided us a home and for all the blessings of it...for there are many in this world who have horrible dirt floors or no home at all! Although...I must admit dirt floors such as THESE would be really neat to have!)

 The dormers and top front of the house still need sided (we have the siding to do it...but Chris just needs the time to put it up). The inside of the addition needs finished and, at one point, I would like to turn that front room back into a *real* front porch. Then there is the back porch I have all planned in my mind (oh, it will be beautiful, one day). All these plans are exciting and hopefully able to be done sometime in the future...but until then, we enjoy our little home and make it as sweet, homey and charming as we can.

I planted day-lillies (shared by my mom) along the front of the garage (I really love hardy perennials!). I need to do the other half of the front as well. I look forward to them growing and blooming next year! They should look beautiful!

The walkway (pictured below) welcomes visitors...although it is in (great) need of a good weeding (and maybe adding of some mulch). See how lovely and gigantic my hosta have grown to? At the end of the season I am going to split them up, spread them out and maybe use them in other areas as well. They are one of those fantastic hardy perennials that I so love! ;) It's beautifully imperfect and that's okay with me. Although I love a beautiful setting out-doors, it is not at the tippy-top of my priority list.

 I have grapevine wrapped around my arbor and although you can't see it from the photo...I have clematis starting to climb up it, as well. Last year, Chris (accidentally) weed-eated my clematis I had just starting to climb. This year, we are not hoping for a repeat! ;) I had a part on it die already, unfortunately...I *really* hope it takes off because I think it would look absolutely lovely climbing up and around that arbor (like the one in THIS photo)!

Garden Sanctuary

You who walk,
Maybe with troubled thoughts,
Come, enter here and rest;
And may the sweet serenity of growing things,
And the heavenly,peace
Be mirrored in thy soul. 

-Doxis M. Palmer

The little Red wagon
Sitting by the shed
The red paint 
Chipping and fading away

Hidden in amungst 
The piles
Of leaves
Never used
But left to remember.

The children
Pulling the wagon
Piled with toys and teddy bears
Stopping by the creek to picnic

The gurgling creek 
In tune with the
Children's laughter
The sun peaking through the trees

And next spring
The little red wagon
Left to remember
It's childhood.


I found that poem, above, and thought it sweet! How true it is about the wagons! My children have two of them and oh the use they get out of them! The fun childhood tales those little red wagons could tell!

A look at the back of the house (the addition). The siding at the bottom of the very back gets a mildew type stuff growing on it, because of all the shade, every year. So, each year, the children and I go out and scrub it off. I am hoping there is an *easier* answer to this. We haven't done our annual *siding scrub* yet this year (I look forward to having a back screened in porch there, one day, maybe that will help prevent the green-growth!). Also, the downstairs part of the addition is not finished inside...thus why (if you look closely) you can still see the stickers on the windows when we purchased them!

A busy part of the back yard is pictured below. The wood shed, wood stove and other wood "stuff" are all there; (the Pod People; aka~Compost Bins) are located back there to the right of the shed...but you can't see them from this angle. And of course, there is my oft-used (and currently in-use) clothesline and my raised garden beds, full of green beans, carrots, lettuce, onions and radishes!

The basketball court is pictured below (I have posted about it before...but for any new readers, I will tell about it again)...our neighbors, a loving, kind Christian couple, have grown daughters. When their children were young, they put in this basketball court and a pool for them and other children in the area. They encourage people to use the basketball court whenever they wish. **They also let us use the pool whenever we want during the summer months!** The children enjoy riding their bikes and scooters over there as well as playing ball. It is *such* a blessing and we are thankful for such kind, generous neighbors!

The girls are quite happy...laying eggs daily and enjoying the sun-shiny weather (I must confess as to why there are two wood boards along the bottom of the chicken wire. *My* dog, Ruthie, is such a stinker. When throwing scraps into the chickens, she would nose and work her way to get under the fence to get into those table scraps (like she is starving or something...have you *seen* the photos of my Ruthers? Let's just say she is pleasantly plump!). The wire would then be compromised and the chickens would escape! Chris had to fix the chicken run one-too-many times. He finally decided to keep Ruthers out once and for all!) ...

The raised garden beds are doing well for us! You can see them in all their glory below! Chris's onions are getting tall...

Maybe a person's time would be as well spent raising food as raising money to buy food. 
~Frank A. Clark

Lettuce and green beans can be seen growing here (there are carrots and more lettuce growing here as well...but you can't see them)...

I am penning this (ok...not exactly penning...but you know what I mean) Monday evening. You won't see it until tomorrow morning though. Tonight's plans will be to relax around the fire at Chris's family's pavilion, have supper, and fellowship with family. I am making homemade mac and cheese. It's cooking even as I type. I plan on taking some knitting with me and working on it a bit as I sit. The children will play and get nice and tired out. The evening will finish with baths, maybe some reading, prayer and then snuggled down into bed. :)

I hope your weekend was especially enjoyable as we set aside a day to remember those who have served our country! Thank you for joining me in a bit of a jaunt around my home! :)

Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied,


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Truly Living

"Anyone's life truly lived consists of work, sunshine, exercise, soap, plenty of air, and a happy contented spirit."
 ~ Lillie Langtry 

**Although, I must add that truly living should involve living out the will of God, loving Him, praising Him and serving others for Him!**
~ Katy

Outside, we have enjoyed a lot of sunshine and warmth. The breeze that blows helps keep us cool after working (mowing, gardening, etc.) and playing outside. I enjoy the view from the windows...

In and around the house...

I love to use cast-iron to cook with. We have found a good way to store them by hanging them on our little island in the middle of the kitchen!

Outside, clothes dry quickly in the warm sun and gentle breeze...

Madelyn enjoys reading in the shade of the house. She's reading Moby Dick and really enjoying it!

The boys enjoy playing cars in their "dirt pile", thus dubbed because it really is just a pile of dirt...but for them, it's a place they treasure (and make many fun memories) as they play with cars there. Can you tell how much my boys need a good bathing each summer evening?

Although from a distance, the dirt pile looks like mini-car junk yard, in all actuality they line their cars up and have different houses and buildings they make. Each little car is parked in a certain place for a reason! I absolutely take joy in this and *know* one day, I will miss seeing this dirt pile full of cars.

Lego-playing is enjoyed on the front porch...

This past week, we were able to visit with my sister. Oh yeah...did you happen to see her announcement? Yep...the Squeezle is going to be a *big* sister! Babies, babies everywhere...could this auntie be any happier?? Eloise calls me TeeTee (as close to Katy as it gets!) and now there will be another wee one who will one day call me that too! Yippee! (Chris's brother's wife is *also* there is joy all around us!)

Madelyn with Eloise (who does smile an awful lot...but always seemed to stop when I snapped a photo!)...

Xavier giving Eloise a big smooch!

Drawing and coloring while the Squeezle runs around a bit...

Oh! Now it's Eloise's turn to color! :)

Jaxson was there with us. Apparently, I didn't take a picture of him. I can get too snap-happy when taking photos of El. Oops! So, I just took a moment to take a picture of the little man sitting next to me! Ah, that's better now, isn't it? :)

It's my job, each time Devon and El come to town, to put Eloise to sleep (yes, I am really *that* boring of a person, children just fall asleep when in my company! ;) In all actuality, Eloise isn't all too thrilled about having a I hold and sway with her while singing to her. Thankfully, she doesn't mind my singing-voice (which leaves much to be desired). She starts out crying but eventually, those eyelids of hers get heavy and off to dream-land she goes. Once I am sure she is asleep, Devon helps me get situated in my dad's break room chair (Although Eloise is a wee-thing, my arms and back get tired super sitting back, pillow under my arm/her head and my feet up is nice). She usually sleeps for 45 minutes or so for me and I enjoy snuggling her. :)

 Oh how I look forward to the wee ones that will join our family on both sides this fall/winter. Such a gift they are. I thank the Lord for children and for giving me the treasured gift of raising some up. Oh how I wish our family was bigger....I would love to have more babies...but I am not sure that we will have any more. I trust in the Lord and His will for we'll see. :) For now, I will enjoy and train up the children He has blessed us with and snuggle those precious nieces and nephews of mine!

I need to go...but thank-you for taking the time to stop by here. I hope your weekend is full of love and family ~ making lots of memories! :)

Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied,