Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I want to make one for the boys!
I mean, how many junky old entertainment centers can you find just sitting on Craigslist or Freecycle for nearly nothing?! Project of 2010!
HT: The Common Room
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Well other than general wife-ing and mommy-ing, I've been quilting!
Here's the thing: I've always loved fabric and I've owned a sewing machine for going on 5 years and I've done absolutely nothing about with it. But something about having two under two inspired me to start some quilting projects. I think the basic thinking behind this is craziness, or madness, or the idea that I'm already up to my ears in busyness, so adding another hobby can't make that much difference, right?
Anyway, I signed up for a quilting class and in less than two months finished my first quilt. It is rough. There are a lot of bobbles. But I learned so much from making it and my next one (already in progress) is going to be loads better. But I'm not going to point out the flaws because I'm told that's just not done, but here it is all finished and happy.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Originally uploaded by Steve Bremer
So, as it turns out, I really stink at blogging lately. I'm finding short updates on Facebook to be much easier to manage at this point in my life, but I have been remiss in not putting up a post for my birthday boy.
Last month, on the 23rd, Ethan turned the big oh-two. He is my funny, funny guy who repeats everything I say (so be careful with your tongue, Mama!) and loves to be in on whatever his dad is working on. He has learned to sing the Doxology and "Come Thou Fount", and even if some of the words aren't exactly clear it is such a blessing for us to hear those melodies coming out of his heart. (I should say that yesterday we ran to Baja Fresh for a taco dinner and in his excitement Ethan sang the tune of Come Thou Fount, but every single word in the song was substituted with the word "taco".)
My oldest baby is turning into a little boy. It is fun for me to see, and yet I look at his newborn pictures and I wonder how I am going to send him off to college someday without bawling my eyes out!
Happy Birthday, Little Man!! We love you so much and can't wait to see you grow into the man God is shaping you to be.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
I was very nervous about going out there -- huge crowds, a politically charged occasion, and two kiddos to tote around. But, I felt it was important for me to go and represent, and I was excited about doing so in the very place where all these decisions are being made. Corny? Perhaps. But off we went, cheesiness and all.
I have to say that hearing hundreds of thousands of people (maybe a million or more? I'm not sure what the final count was) cheering as we were walking up to the capitol building really gave me chills. I know that sounds corny, but if you have never heard that many people clapping and cheering at one time, let me tell you it is sort of surreal. It sounded like thunder. And this was before we could even see anyone.
But once we got there, it was a lot less intimidating. Everyone around us was so nice. Steve had to stay home because he was sleeping for the night shift, but I was there with a friend. All told, there were two mommies, a teenage boy, a single stroller with a toddler, and my double stroller with Ethan and Matthew. And everyone was so accomodating. Helping me manuever the stroller, making room for us to get through, smiling at the babies. It was just nice...in a loud, shouting, protesting sort of way.
I saw a few people having lively discussions with Obama supporters, but nothing ever got out of hand that I could see. And I loved the creativity some people had with their slogans and signs.
It was a good day, and fun to be a part of something so huge.
Friday, August 7, 2009
The table is actually a kitchen island that does not fit in the kitchen. I like it as an entry table, but I want it to be cuter and less utilitarian looking. I don't want people to be eye-level with my grocery bags when they walk into the house, but yet it is handy to have them here to grab on my way out the door. Any tips on making this cute and functional all at the same time? I think we need more pictures on the wall (the one that is currently residing there is only temporary until we find places to hang all of our pictures) and maybe some small pictures in frames on the table? I got struck with a bit of inspiration when I found this cute runner at Target for $5, but that has been the end of it.
Oh, and while I have you here, this is in our front yard:
What would you do with this area around the tree? I mean, I think we are going to need to pull out all the ground cover, shore up the beams and start from scratch, but what would you put in? I am landscaping dumb, so any details and diagrams would be helpful. It's rather late in the year to start anything now, but I'd like to have a plan of attack for this Spring!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Content warning: this is not for the kiddos! It deals with some pretty heavy issues. Kiddos, please get your parents to watch this first and have them decide if it is appropriate for you.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Kate makes a good point about the role of age in maturity. We should hope that as we grow up we will do a little “growing up”, and usually this is the case. This line of thinking can be taken too far, however, if it becomes a vehicle for excuses and not an explanation for change over time. “Teens will be teens”, for example, isn’t a valid excuse for teenage rebellion and selfishness does not really come from being young – it comes from our sin nature. I knew a lot of people who when they just turned twenty were a lot less selfish than others who were much older.
Also, circumstances impact how we mature. A child constantly indulged by his parents will be a shameful, self-indulgent adult – circumstances matter. This doesn’t necessarily mean that having children early in your twenties will make you less selfish than someone who waits until they are thirty. You can selfishly despise your children for shackling you while you are young; but if that is the case then you are not living by faith and trusting in the promises of God. If you live by faith, God uses the children to sanctify you, which is to say that you will be less selfish because of your children. This doesn’t just apply to having children, though, the principle is universal – taking communion without faith, reading scripture without faith, or disciplining your children without faith will always end poorly.
Dealing with selfishness need not be the only reason to want children when you are young. Our view of the biblical mandate to have children is important and we should shun elevating popular wisdom above scriptural wisdom. It is possible that waiting to have children is more honoring to God than having them immediately. We are not all cut with the same cookie cutter and Godly wisdom must prevail in each situation. When it comes to specifics, what is good for you may not be good for me; but in principle, what is good for you is always good for me, and that means that we should all read the bible and come away with the same high view of children and family and the same low view of worldly wisdom.
Unfortunately there exists an evil kind of individualism in Protestantism (at least in America) that sometimes makes what I have just said taboo among Christians. In some ways childbearing is a very private matter, but it is also a covenant matter. We are members of a community and we are not called to be individuals with a private faith, we are called to be members of a community whose Lord is Christ. I think the issue of childbearing and childrearing needs to be discussed in the church in a way that is deliberately contra mundum. I believe a lot of good would come from it.
Popular psychology usually has enough truth in it to be appealing to Christians, but more often than not it is anti-biblical. We should live in fear of conforming the Bible to our minds and a good first step would be to eschew any conventional wisdom that doesn’t find its support in scripture. Where in scripture are we advised to enjoy the first few years of marriage without children? Where are we told to take time to learn to love our spouses before we bring children into the picture? This advice is peddled by Christian counselors and psychologists, but it is not biblical, and we accept it because it is immensely convenient to our individualism and hedonism. Vacations, together time, and date night do not weigh heavily in scriptural promises of blessing; raising godly children most certainly does (Psalm 127:3-5).
Finally, I will say that there is a real danger of becoming judgmental in this matter. Thankfully, we are not called to divine the reasons why each couple does or does not have children and then issue our judgment on the matter. We have not been deputized as the childbearing police to inquire of each of the childless why they haven’t started pumping out the babies. We should admonish one another to think biblically, however, for the purpose of living rightly before God.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Number 2) I don't like to disclaim my posts, but I will say that none of this is a condemnation of others' choices. I just get to thinking and then I decide I need to publish my thoughts because
Recently, I had the chance to catch up with a good friend over the phone and we talked about a lot of things. Of course, the topic of children came up (as it always does with us girls!) and I mentioned that I wished I had started having children earlier than we did. The discussion meandered from there, but something struck me and I ended up having an involved discussion with my husband about it later that evening. What has been eating at me was the notion that young married couples, or newly married couples need time "just to themselves" before they have children.
Here's the deal: my husband and I didn't start "trying" for children until we'd been married for just over two years. Our reasons back then were mostly financial, but I think for me, the idea of having kids right away did not even enter my mind as a responsible thing to do. And then it took us two years to have our first child. We basically had four years to goof off as a married couple, doing what we wanted, when we wanted. It was a wonderful time for us, but it did leave me with one big problem that has been exasperated in my "childbearing years": selfishness. And aside from physical factors like wishing I had my early twenties self to chase my toddler around, my development of selfish habits and ways of thinking is the biggest factor in wishing we had our children earlier on in our marriage.
Of course having children straight away into marriage is a radical notion that raises a lot of eyebrows, even Christian eyebrows, who also would acknowledge that children are a blessing from the Lord. Why the contradiction? Something my husband pointed out to me is that the main reason God makes husbands and wives into one flesh is to raise Godly offspring.
Thinking on this really got me. If my main purpose in life is to glorify God, and his main purpose for my marriage is to have Godly children for Him, then what was I doing putting this off for my own reasons? Even if those reasons sound totally reasonable and not at all selfish?
So I really wonder why this sentiment of having children soon after being married became regarded as irresponsible or crazy, even by evangelical Christians. Have we bought into the world's way of thinking that we better pack as much fun as we can into our years before kids, because when they show up the fun is over? And if we do think that way, what kind of attitude are we going to show to our children when they are here? Are we going to be looking for "me time" and "date nights" away from our kids because that is what we need just to tolerate them on a daily basis?
I don't have all the answers, because I struggle with my own selfishness daily. I just want to read one more blog before getting Ethan his snack. I just want them to nap a little longer so I can finish what I'm doing. And oh, remember when Steve and I were able to just go out on our own and I didn't have to worry about what I would wear that was easy for nursing, or what time to be home because the baby-sitter has a curfew?
The problem is that God sent us these children and they are a joy to him. He delights in them. He uses them to sanctify us women (1 Timothy 2:15 - one of my favorite verses!). And when I put off that sanctification in the beginning of our marriage in order to "have more fun" or "get to know my husband better before the hard work of children comes", I think I really missed something in God's Word along the way. And, of course, I say this now as someone who did have, what I believe to be, a misunderstanding about what my ultimate purpose is in life. I do want to goof off with my husband, I do wish sometimes that it didn't take half an hour to get out the door to do the simplest of errands, but God designed this for me. And it is so amazing that he entrusted these little souls into my care. So why was I putting it off?
I'm not a legalist, I don't think that people should never use birth control to manage the size of their family. I do think it is about intention and what someone's heart is telling them. My favorite non-biblical quote on that issue comes from a Credenda Agenda article that I read a long time ago (which is really fabulous, you should read the whole thing!):
So if a Christian couple have bought all the current propaganda, and they are diligently limiting themselves to 1.2 children, then they are allowing the current false assumptions of the world to dictate to them how the Bible is to be read. But if another couple know that children are a blessing, and they use birth control in order to "space" their seven children, I would be hard pressed to say that this was an example of some kind of compromise. A man can have a high view of apple trees and still not plant them a foot and a half apart in his orchard.
Anyway, all that from one phone call with a friend! Hopefully she doesn't mind being my jumping off point! ;) And it's not all her fault, I've been reading this lately that also got me contemplating about how I'm raising my kids and where I need to grow.
I think the next post will be a photo tour of our new home. Pretty easy and no real thinking or controversy involved, except maybe my husband's exasperation at having to move that big painting again because I just want to see what it looks like on this other wall.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Tomorrow we will be leaving this little house in the country for something a tad larger in the big city. On one hand I will be happy to have more than one bathroom and more than two bedrooms. On the other hand I'm sad to be leaving the home where I had my first babies, sad to be leaving the West Coast after such a short stay, and sad to be leaving our church family. I love Washington, I love driving one way and seeing the Cascades, driving the other way and seeing the Olympics. Hopefully we'll be back here someday.
Also, I'm just so incredulous that when this picture was taken I had no children except the one in my belly and I am leaving here with two boys!!
So, tomorrow we will go pick up my mom at the airport so she can help us on our road trip from one Washington to the other. Who is going to lose their mind first -- me or the toddler?
Thursday, June 4, 2009
I believe my boys deserve, and God commands, that they receive a Christian education. I know that this is possible without home schooling them, or even sending them to a Christian school. However, I'm pretty lazy. I really do not think that I have the energy to "un-teach" the values, behaviors, and morals that are currently taught in government schools. I just don't. Not to mention the fact that they won't be old enough for quite some time to fully report everything they learn in school (including behaviors and words learned at recess). So how can I address lessons they may have learned if I don't know what they are? And, how confusing would it be for my young child to go off to a place that I have sent him to, to learn about many things, and then to come home, only to be told that the things he has learned about who made the world, who is his ultimate authority, etc., are not true? It is confusing for me to try and think of a way to explain to them why I think Christ is the center of our lives, yet I send them to spend the majority of their days at a place where he is at best not mentioned, or at worst ridiculed.
Some might argue that in lower grades, children aren't learning about complex issues that require God to be addressed in school. Kindergartners aren't debating evolution, right? They are learning the basics, and the basics don't involve religion, right? I wholeheartedly disagree! From the very youngest age, Scripture and God and the order of His universe should be the central point of our children's education. Some people think that government schools are neutral on the issue of religion, and therefore our children aren't getting a religious education while they are in them. But if they aren't taught that God is Lord over all things, if they aren't taught that they are His image-bearers, then they are getting a religious education, albeit one that Christian parents don't want them to have.
I myself went to public school and private school. I know the difference having God involved in each and every lesson makes. That isn't to say that every math problem in my Christian school was a word problem including Scripture. But we did pray before each class, and it was understood that the order in the universe represented by the figures in our text book was divine. In science, we studied life and cells and microbiology with the presupposition that the wonder in the creation we saw was from the Maker.
The other thing that prompted me to write this post was a posting over at The Common Room. The issue of socialization came up in a post she had linked to (as it always does in home schooling discussions) and there were many amazing comments from home schoolers about the issue. This one truly stood out to me:
"Thus I find myself asking yet again: Does anyone find it a tad disconcerting that we all so willingly and unquestioningly accept the state as the primary agent of socialization for the child? "
My answer to that question is yes! And more than just a tad! The home schooled kids that I know are far from isolationists. In fact, they experience more varied groups of people than I did when I was in school and spent all day in a room of kids from my age group.
Some Christian families I know have put their children in public schools to be "salt and light" or "missionaries" to their classroom. While I respect their choices for their family, I do disagree with this position. In general I feel that missionaries require many months, if not years, of training before going out into the field. In most cases, kindergartners are just beginning to arrive at a saving knowledge of their faith...certainly not equipped to defend their beliefs or explain them in school with an authority figure who is charged with keeping religion out of the classroom. If their teacher tells them something that they believe is untrue, how are children to defend themselves? Who is going to have a bigger impact on the classroom: a child/student who has one small voice among many and no authority, or a teacher with all of the power and authority? I submit that children should not be put in a classroom in order to evangelize until they are at least in their teens, and even then it depends on the child.
I confess that I'm often a bit wistful when friends speak of sending their children off to school some day. I think about what it would be like to have a quiet house for 6 hours per day. And yet, I don't think I can do it, for all the reasons I've listed above. If I found a school that was able to cater to my children's individual learning needs, taught a classical curriculum focused on Christ as the Center of all things, and held high standards of discipline...and I could actually afford it? I'd definitely be sending them off to school. ;)
Monday, June 1, 2009
Kristen of The Borland Bunch!
Congrats, Kristen! Send me an email at airjordi at yahoo dot com with your address and I will send you your Skirty straight away!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Included in my winnings was a Skirty. This thing is ingenious. If I had girls, they would be wearing these cute little shorts under their dresses. As it happens, I have two boys, no dresses, and no need for cute little lacy shorts! So I'm giving this away!
The giveaway is for one Skirty, size small (the website says that is a 4-5). In order to enter, please leave me a comment and tell me about one family tradition you have started since having children. It doesn't have to be big or grandiose, just something you do together as a family.
The contest will end at the end of May, after I get back from an east coast house-hunting trip.
Good luck, and tell your friends!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
And, in a totally different sense of "showing off," here is Matthew sporting his baby acne. I'm hoping it clears up soon, before I break down and get out the Clearasil.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I have two kids, but looking at this picture makes me feel so blessed.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Monday, February 9, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
On one side of the line, everyone tells you how small and cute you look for how far along you are.
On the other side of the line, people look alarmed when you tell them you still have _____ weeks left to go. They look alarmed because they are thinking that you already look like you are going to burst.
This line can be crossed in a matter of days.
I'm a small person, it seems my babies stick straight out, especially towards the end. I wonder some days how I'm going to make it to 40 weeks, or if I will. Only time will tell, but don't worry, Mr. Scared-Looking-Grocery-Store-Cashier, either way I won't be giving birth in aisle seven!
Monday, January 12, 2009
"I do think we need to quit thinking in terms of 'what can I handle' and think instead 'how can I be stretched.' We tend to make decisions in this arena based in fear, not in faith...and then that is no real decision based in the Lord at all."
Originally uploaded by Steve Bremer
It's not the traditional pose, but here I am last week (around 30 weeks along) with my son in his Jolly Roger diaper celebrating our late Christmas.
You see, we were supposed to fly to Kansas City this year to spend Christmas with my grandparents and aunts and uncles, and my parents were flying out there to meet us. Well, as it turned out, Seattle was hit with the most snow it had seen in 10 or 20 years or something crazy like that. And it didn't just snow. It snowed and stayed cold and the snow stuck, and then it snowed more. And then it snowed some more. The poor Seattle airport just couldn't handle it. Our flight was canceled, and there wasn't anything to rebook us on until after the 25th, from Seattle or Portland. So we stayed in the snow.
Christmas was not a total loss, as we were able to use the barely-plowed freeway to travel south and stay with Steve's parents. So we weren't alone and desolate without a tree or anything.
So, this picture was taken after the New Year when all the gifts from KC made it up to us. For some reason, every single toy Ethan got from my side of the family (save for some clothing, a truck, and wooden blocks) makes noise. A lot of noise. Now Ethan loves music and pushing buttons and making noise so these toys are perfect for him, but I can't help but wonder if someone in my family is trying to slowly drive me insane from listening to Elmo say, "LET'S JAM!" repeatedly over the course of the day. I won't even talk about the Fridge DJ, because it scares me that I've sort of gotten to like the songs that it plays.
What else has been going on here? Well, I made preserves for the first time ever last week! Satsuma marmalade to be exact. My triumphs are that 1) all the jars sealed like they were supposed to and 2)it actually tastes like marmalade! It doesn't hurt that all the jars look really pretty too. Steve has ordered a batch of strawberry preserves for my next round of canning. Making homemade jam turned out to be super easy and exciting in that I-hope-one-of-these-glass-jars-doesn't-shatter-all-over-my-kitchen sort of way, and the I-hope-that-I-don't-burn-myself-with-this-really-really-really-hot-orange-puree sort of way. Fun!
I still have two months left on the pregnancy front and in some ways that doesn't seem long at all, and in other ways it seems very long indeed. I did manage to sort out Ethan's old newborn stuff and get a stash of newborn diapers ordered, so I feel pretty good about being ready in that sense. Being ready to go through labor again and then have two children under two? The jury is still out on that one. I am quite excited to meet this new little guy though, and looking forward to seeing brothers grow up together. It's strange for me to think that all I know about raising my children I learned from Ethan, and while basic day-to-day baby care will be pretty much the same, I will have to get to know this new little guy from scratch. A totally different person. The mind boggles. :)
Sunday, January 11, 2009
If you enjoy buying or selling children's items from places like Etsy, HyenaCart, thrift stores, flea markets, used book stores, or even visiting the children's section at your local library and haven't heard of the CPSIA, now is the time to read up!
To sum up, in response to last years problem's with lead in toys imported from China, our wonderful Congress sped a bill through the legislative process that has since been signed into law by President Bush. This law mandates that any item made for children under 12 has to be tested and certified to fall within new lead limits. Sounds pretty good, right? We don't want our kids to get lead poisoning, right? Except that the law is retroactive and applies to clothing, books...anything made for kids under 12. Think about what that means when you think about everything your children own and where you bought it from. Used items, new items, handmade items from small businesses run out of someone's home -- all of it has to comply with this law.
I'm not a fear-mongering alarmist, so I do not think the government is going to go around fining and arresting consignment store operators or trying to shut down public libraries (in fact the CPSC has pretty much said they won't), but I do see at least two significant issues here (aside from the increased prices on children's goods that we are going to see as a result of expensive testing):
1) Some small business owners hear the government saying that they aren't going to enforce the law on them, so they won't feel the need to change their business practices based on that assurance. However, some store owners will feel ethically bound to adhere to the law, regardless of the wink wink they are getting about how they don't have to worry about complying because the law is just for the big manufacturers and not for small thrift stores or used book sellers. So someone who feels duty bound to obey the law of the land is going to shut down their business because of their own moral convictions, no matter how much the government assures them they don't have to worry about enforcement. And lets be clear: the CPSC says that they won't actively seek to enforce this law on certain businesses, but they still maintain that those businesses do have to comply, and if they don't and are found out they can still be prosecuted. Which leads to this other problem over here...
2) Maybe the government wants to get a search warrant for someone's house for some unrelated crime, but they can't because they don't have the necessary evidence or probable cause. They find out that someone in that household is making and selling stuff for children on Etsy without proper lead testing or certification. Now they have a legitimate reason to execute a search warrant on someone's home based solely on the fact that they are sewing or whittling children's toys. I'm not a tin-foil hat type of person, but I don't think this is something completely without precedent.
There are many facets of this that I'm glossing over, but it is just a prime example of the way our government operates. We have congressmen and senators passing bills without even reading them and doing some basic critical thinking about how these laws will affect their own constituents. Of course no lawmaker (aside from Ron Paul, God bless him) wants to be seen as the heartless one who voted against stricter lead standards for children's products, because the media would rake them over the coals (or they would have if they had been paying attention to this issue), so instead they have passed a bill that makes absolutely no sense and is impossible to enforce gets signed into law and now something has to be done to fix the situation.
The Deputy Headmistress over at the Common Room has a good sum up of everything here (start at the bottom posts and scroll up to go in chronological order).
If you feel compelled, please write your legislators and tell them what you think.