Friday, July 31, 2009

Blog friend extravaganza!

Wahoo--I got to see three blog friends on our recent vacation!
Jamie (far left) and I have been corresponding for a couple years and discovered we have many "small world" connections. I was excited to meet up with her and her two kids, who are very close in age to my own. (Luke is a couple months younger than Nathan, and Aubrey is two weeks older than Natalie!) My sister-in-law, Kendra, joined us for the park outing, which was even more fun because it turns out she and Jamie attend the same church! (Kendra's holding Natalie, and I have my niece Addison--all three baby girls were born in a 4-week block!) Since there were five young kids, it was a little challenging to have conversation =), but it was definitely fun to get together!

I've also been in touch with Tracy for a couple years, and it was fun to finally meet her in person. We had lunch at a local favorite, and the meal was made even sweeter by two fun bonuses: my mother-in-law generously shared a B1G1 meal coupon, and the restaurant was also handing out free gourmet cupcakes that day. Score! It was so great to meet you, Tracy!

This was the third time I got to meet up with Leah. Her house was literally on our route home, so we made a quick stop at her farm. Nathan was thrilled to see a John Deere tractor up close, and he also got to jump on their trampoline. I enjoyed seeing some of Leah's comfy home and just having a chance to chat for a bit. Thanks for hosting us, Leah--it was good to see you again!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Vacation highlights

I'll have more pictures to share later, but here are some photo highlights from our recent trip to be with Eric's family:

Eric and Nathan did a lot of fishing--this 14-inch big mouth bass was their most exciting catch

Nathan enjoyed playing with his cousins Bethany (2) and Brianna (4)

Sisters! Kristin, Kendra and I played triplets for a day.

Bathing beauty--I just love Natalie's swimsuit, and that little smile!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Random freecycling

We just returned from our vacation, and I have several posts brewing when I can find the time!

Meanwhile, I'm offering two random items for free to anyone who may be interested:

*a coupon for Six Flags--free kids' ticket with purchase of general admission ticket. Go to their site to see a list of participating locations.

*I've mentioned the Five Aspects of Woman study before, and while I plan to keep my notebook, I'd be happy to pass along my set of 17 audio lecture CDs. The accompanying workbook materials can be purchased here. (NOW TAKEN)

Please leave me a comment if you're interested--first come, first served.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Odds and ends

*I decided it was Natalie's turn to be featured in my profile pic--isn't she darling?! Thanks for being our photographer, Monica! The previous one with Nathan was taken last July, so it was definitely time for an update.


*Eric and I celebrated 4 years of marriage yesterday by having dinner at OG, complete with real Zuppa Toscana. =)


*After today, I'll be away from the computer for a couple weeks and look forward to catching up with you when I get back. (Laura M., thanks for your comment. I'd be happy to write about my adjustment to two kids after my return! In the meantime, I received some great advice with this post.)

*Happy summer to all!*

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Two steps forward

Last winter I wrote a post about wanting to reduce the amount of trash our family generates. I included a quote from Dr. Matthew Sleeth that says that "the quickest measure of a household's waste is how much trash it makes." Yikes! I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and though I feel like we've taken some steps in the right direction, we still have a long ways to go!



One of the most recent things we've been doing is saving some of our fruit and veggie scraps/peels to give to horses owned by some friends from church. Nathan loves this solution, as do the horses and their owners. Of course, horses can't have all veggie scraps, but so far they've really enjoyed carrot peels, apple cores, celery ends and strawberry tops!


I had planned to participate in our community garden's composting program, but they decided not to start it this year. For now, feeding the horses is a win-win situation!


Our other recent eco-development is purchasing a solar-powered clothes dryer! =)


My sister's post inspired me to make this happen, and I talked to Eric about buying a retractable line like Monica's. Well, my problem-solving husband came up with a cheaper version, using rope, eye hooks, and carabiners! We spent just a couple dollars on this project, and will quickly re-coup the cost via energy savings! I confess I don't use it for all of our laundry--I'm not a fan of "crunchy" towels* or hanging our undergarments in such a visible place (we live on a corner), but as I've said before even little changes can make a big difference!


*I just read a tip in a book that suggested drying towels in the dryer for a few minutes and then hanging them on the line, but I haven't tried it yet. Has anyone else done that, or do you have other suggestions?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Perspective

I've been thinking a lot lately about perspective.

One moment I'm complaining about my hair being frizzy or sticking to the back of my neck; the next moment I see a beautiful woman in our community who recently lost her long locks to chemotherapy.

One minute I'm trudging along in the tasks of my day; the next minute I'm reminded of Rachel, whose days are numbered, but who challenges us to serve with joy.

One moment I'm agonizing over the minor details of potty training; the next moment I'm confronted with truly oppressive problems so many people are facing, like poverty and injustice.

Sometimes I find it really difficult to live in this tension--I've been given so much, and too often I take it for granted. It's so easy for me to get caught up in my own life, and I'm praying that with His help I will be able to live beyond myself. I'm not always sure what that looks like, but I feel compelled to keep trying to figure it out.

With all of these thoughts swirling around in my mind, I flipped through the latest magazine from Compassion, in which there was a link to a cool Nooma video. If you're a Compassion sponsor, check your recent magazine for info on how to watch the video for free. Here's a quote from the production that stood out to me: "It's about never forgetting just what you've been given . . . Your overflow is someone else's necessity. May you find somebody who needs what you have only to discover that they have what you needed all along."