Friday, May 06, 2016

Moms know stuff. (A gross proof.)

Moms dispense a lot of advice, a lot of the time.

Sometimes it feels like no one listens. That's why we're on repeat all the time.

So there's this corner on our walk home from school. It is home to a street sign post, which it surrounds with little rocks.

I recently told the boys they should not play in the rocks (as they sometimes would, running ahead and waiting for us) as a lot of dogs pee there. Evidence--the rusted bottom of the street sign post.

That was enough for the five year old the day I said it. Grossed him out even thinking about it. Didn't phase the 3 year old, even with my repeated warnings. Until yesterday.

He plunged his hands into the rocks, and brought them out with a horrified look on his face. I am laughing right now as I write this, because moms always laugh when they're right. Well, we're always right, but when the child realizes we're right.

Ok, Moms mess up occasionally, but not often.

Back to the story. He literally froze up, he was so horrified. His hands were clamped over each other, and he didn't want to move or talk; he was seriously grossed out. I got him to show me--he had fresh pee on his hands.


Nasty I tell you.

No, I did not hold hands with him while crossing the street the rest of the way home. I told him to walk right beside me and not touch anything until he got to the bathroom, then to wash his hands very well with soap and water.

Moms know stuff. It pays to listen and heed their advice.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Pinnacles 4.0

I've been wanting to do the High Peaks Trail in the spring since last fall, when I read about how spring is the time to go there and enjoy all the wildflowers. This Saturday's forecast looked perfect, in the low 60s, and Jeremy was able to go with us! We parked on the West side for the first time. Our 9 mile loop was Juniper Canyon Trail to Tunnel Trail to High Peaks Trail to Bench Trail to Old Pinnacles Trail (Jeremy split off  onto North Wilderness trail a little ways in to get an extra 7 miles of running, then he met up with us after the cave) to Balconies Cave to Balconies Trail. 
There are still sections I want to go back and do! Finish Juniper Canyon Trail up to where we made it last time; High Peaks Trail from the Tunnel Trail to where we made it last time; and we have yet to go on the Condor Gulch Trail.

It was neat to drive to the West side, see land we had seen on one trip before (to the central valley), and have a new starting point. This was the ranger station before the parking sections:

Unbeknownst to us, it was free National Park week. We would have saved $15 anyway with Hayley's free pass that all 4th graders got for the year. Parked in overflow parking and got started.

Younger 3 & Dad started off with much vigor; Hays and I were a bit slower getting our hiking legs warmed up!

Tunnel Trail, aptly named.

Blake was going hard up that mountain, and he started to wear out near the top, so he ended back with Hayley & I at some point. He said, "This new Pinnacles is crazy!" with aggressive hand motions, it was hilarious. He had a couple of falls, one uphill, one downhill. Jeremy was a huge help and carried him for awhile! This 9 mile loop took us 6 hours; would have been a good amount longer without Jeremy carrying him here, and then I carried him a little less than a mile when Jeremy went on his run. At 40+ pounds, he provides some good cross training for sure.

A lot of black fuzzy caterpillars out!

These things were neat; shiny and almost plastic looking.

The tops were sooooo soft, but don't let your fingers get poked by the rest of the plant!

No idea; some kind of vine thing.

Attempts at getting a family pic... 

H's masterful photo bomb, haha!

Entering Balconies Cave. Before this entrance, you have to climb over a rubble pile of rocks; both times we've gone here, I've questioned whether we got off trail, but we didn't. That's just how this one rolls.

Balconies Cave is different than Bear Gulch, and Seth was almost in tears afterwards because he was so disappointed that that's all the caving we got to do, and after all that hiking too! I told him next time we'd go to Bear Gulch. BC wasn't all the way open today anyway. 

While I was taking a picture of this corner, Jeremy accused me of being Shimrad, LOL. A character in the 4th book of the Wingfeather Saga, The Warden & the Wolf King.

Overall, a very good trip, and I'm glad Jeremy was able to go with us!

Tips for hiking Pinnacles if you go:
~Take a lot of water, more than you think you'll need if you plan to hike up into the hills. It's hot, dry, dusty. Even on a cool day, it feels a lot warmer than it is. Can't imagine what summer is like!
~Head lamp for the caves.

Friday, April 08, 2016

God is love, yes, but He is also a judge.

The roses looked exceptionally lovely today. All the flowers did, really, but the roses are in their prime right now. Full bodied blooms, many variations of coloring (my particular favorite this morning was an amazing bush full of gorgeous roses that were hues of pinks and oranges together; a picture would do better justice to their splendor).

They stood out this morning because of the overcast sky. The lighting was just so that the colors on the flowers really popped out.

Reminded me of a speaker talking about how salvation is like that. How diamonds are displayed against black, because it makes them look brighter. It's the same with our sin--when we realize how black and dark it is, God's gift to us seems so bright and lovely.

Then I thought, where have all the hell and damnation speakers gone? You know how back in the day they'd have those tent meetings, etc., exclaiming about hell and such. People repenting and finding their way towards the light.

Now we have shifted towards a general "God is love" message.

I'm talking here on a whole as a nation, not a specific church in mind or anything. The tv preachers are certainly focusing on a prosperity gospel; do they ever mention hell? There is money to be made assuaging people's consciences.

Don't worry about your sin. Try and better yourself and God will bless you! Those false teachers better start worrying about their own sin, for sure, leading so many astray.

We as Christians certainly should not lose our grasp of how we are dead in our trespasses and sins, but thanks be to God, who gives us victory through Jesus Christ our Lord! And how desperately we need our feet washed every. single. day.

Yes, we are washed clean eternally when we accept Jesus' blood as payment for our sins, to appear blameless at the throne that we may enter heaven. Our sin is paid for.

However, Jesus made it clear that we need perpetual cleansing of our feet, as we walk on this earth. We are still in our sinful state, and we still sin. We need to daily commune with Him. Get into the Word and talk with Him, repenting of our sin, and asking for our feet to be washed with His forgiveness.

It has become so clear to me that I must do this first thing in the morning, or else it doesn't get done.

I have had some wonderful times with Him in the evening, for sure, but this year with training for the marathon, I am extra tired in the evenings!

There is such a distinct difference in my day when I do or don't meet with the Lord in the morning. Bet you can guess which is better!

Last year, about mid-January, I started a read through the Bible chronologically plan. Well, I'm still on it. Took me longer than I thought!

Despite not making the 'year' cutoff, the Lord has certainly used passages in my life where I'm at. Just recently, I read a sentence that hit my heart like a ton of bricks. Literally, my heart felt heavy after reading it.

There is another heart issue the Lord has been working on me since I started reading.

I'm not proud of this stuff. I don't know that I would talk about it with anyone other than the Lord; and really, He already knows it all, so I'm not surprising Him.

Sin is very serious to God.

I am so thankful (and amazed!) at how patient the Father is, sanctifying my life to conform to the image of His Son. And the Holy Spirit certainly helps keep me on track. Those nudges! "So, you think you can go through your day without the Lord?"

May our awesome, all-powerful, triune God keep convicting, and may I never grow weary of repenting. He is indeed close to the brokenhearted!

Yesterday I was listening to a message from William "Bill" MacDonald on, and he mentioned how people chose to mock God because they want to live life their way. They have their lusts they want fulfilled.

I don't think it's any different with believers. We sometimes put our wants in front of God, making an idol of self. That tickles my memory to another speaker I was listening to not too long ago; he was saying how back in the day, people had physical idols. In modern times, we have idols of self.

Something I need to work on the same as everyone else! With the Lord's help, of course; He uses my life much more effectively than I ever could.

End with an encouraging note: Lamentations 3:22-23!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Didn't know all of this was waiting to come out!

Yesterday on our afternoon walk to school, the 3 year old turns around and says to me, "If I could run forever, it'd be twenty miles." Then he zoomed off on the stretch of pavement, most likely in a pretend race.

I thought to myself that he might change his mind on that someday, as his father just ran 108, and every kid has a drive to run farther/faster than their dad. Or maybe that was just me. I was 12 by the way, when I could finally outrun my dad. Boom!

They'll be a lot older I bet.

Back to the three year old -- kid's got an active imagination. Truly, all four do at this point, but his is the most vocal. It's at the point where it is very hard for him to shut off the sound part. Example: during Breaking of Bread, a one hour church meeting, I will sometimes give him paper and pen; he scrawls out roads and vehicles, and they vroom, or the pen vrooms... I shush, and other vehicle sounds come out after awhile. He's got a whole story going on in his head.

I don't fault him, he's three; sometimes I do wonder if it was worth it going to meeting in the first place. That is any parent with small children. We do it because we want to worship our great God together with our church family, and break the bread and drink of the cup to remember His laying down His life for ours, and that's how He asked us to practice this rememberance.

But when you are solo parenting with four kids at the meeting, and said three year old needs to go number 2 halfway through (instant judgement call of try and get all four to come with or leave three--I left three, but on this particular occasion I think it was the 7 year old who came to check on us after awhile), then it's really a, 20/20 and maybe we would have headed home after the first meeting kind of day.

Bonus tip--if the day ever comes that the grape juice gets upended on me by my own clutziness (which would most likely be the case) or an external force (wild card 7 and those irresistible half reaches), I've already got my line ready. "Washed in the blood!" Except that I would probably say it quietly, as women are to keep silent during BOB (which, can we get an amen for--God knows his creation!), or not say it at all because it will be a rare Sunday where I actually wore a dress and everything (Sundays stress me out on that front--I've got pretty dress clothes, but nothing ever looks good that morning! Get behind me, Satan!), and I'll turn into a sour grape.

The female creature is an unpredictable one.

"Washed in the blood!" is a true story by the way, I didn't come up with that on my own. One of my fav speakers, Peter Brandon, told of how he was at a BOB meeting, and the young usher was so nervous he spilled the grape juice or wine on a man at the end of the row, and that is what the man exclaimed. PB thought it was brilliant, and I do too.

One night in another month, it was time to get ready for bed. The 3 year old had done all that I had asked of him, and he came and asked me what he could do to help me. Treasure moment. My favorable reaction to his wonderful ness led the having-a-hard-time-obeying-older-three to the conclusion that he must be the favorite and that I loved him the most. Jealousy spewed, and it wasn't pretty.

I don't want to see him in make up, so let's not throw him in a pit and sell him off to a traveling salesman just yet.

In his sleep, the five year old reminded me of himself. He just woke up with a half moan/half cry, which is the action call! Grab him and set him in front of the potty, unzip jammies because he's mostly still asleep, and he'll go pee. This happens maybe once a month or every two months. Probably a couple times a month he'll wake up enough to walk himself (sometimes in complete darkness) there and back. If it's more often than that, we don't know because we're asleep. And wow, with writing about two boys, I've covered 1&2.

When you become a parent, you do not realize how much your little person's waste issuance will play a part in your life. And it becomes normal to talk about it. I draw the line on posting pictures of it--don't be that person. No one, not even grandma, wants to see pictures of that. I'm hypothesizing my feelings on the matter of course. I do not speak for all grandmothers, some of whom may have a degree in studying excrement, and admonish you for not posting/sending/texting every new and exciting texture and color that comes along.

"I can see little Billy had his first taste of crayons, look at that rainbow!"

Nor do I speak for all Mothers, as some may feel dragged down by wiping bottoms and cleaning up messes, and do not want it to budge in on their conversation time.

I suspect there are few like that.

Rearing little children is a degree in selflessness, and some of us need a longer study period.

May God help us all.

My five year old has a job that is just for him. He certainly helps out with other chores, but when the kitchen trash can needs a new bag, I call him, and he takes care of it. I could tell he took pride in this responsibility, but I didn't know how much until a few weeks ago.

It was a morning, one of the 7, and I had taken the trash out the night before. Sometimes at night like that I would put a new one in, but sometimes I reach a point of being done working and wait to tackle things again in the morning.

He came out and nestled in on the couch, still waking up. I was going to ask him as I needed to use it, but I thought I'd be nice and let him snuggle there a bit longer. Took me some seconds, and I moved on with making breakfast and lunches for the girls.

Dropped the girls off, went for my run, Jers left for work; pre or post shower, he came up to me in a quiet moment and told me in all seriousness that the next time I needed that job done, I could ask him and he would do it for me.

Blew. Me. Away.

My boys are treasures to me! Proverbs does have much to say on what a wise or foolish son brings to their parents. Trying to encourage good choices among our small, but rapidly growing menfolk. Their skulls are hard. I have told them on more than one occasion to be careful and not throw their heads around my body, because it hurts.

We wrestle sometimes, and they eat it up!

I will miss my five year old when he goes off to school. I did briefly think of waiting till first grade, but I think it will be good for him. Then one more year with my baby, and he will be off as well.

Where did my crying masses of adorability go?

Our parking lot baby is now reading! She is taking after her older sister and makes pretty notes and pictures for people. Today she started with the youngest in her plan to make everyone in the family an Easter card. I thought it was a wonderfully creative card: cut in the shape of a heart, she had drawn herself and younger red on the front. She had a speech bubble that said how there were a lot of Easter eggs, and his said he really liked eggs. On the back she wrote Happy Easter, and also "I love/like you." it seemed as if she had an inner conflict, because the 'i' was inside the 'o', and even as she read it to him she read it both ways.

He seemed to really like it, and walked away with it into the hall.

But then a switch turned inside and he came running back, crumpling it as he ran, and threw it at her, laughing in a horrible tone that made one wonder if he knew how much he was crushing his sister's heart. No wonder her inner conflict!

About to burst into tears, she spoke of some of her pain, how she had just spent a lot of time on that, and he ruined it. Acknowledge the feelings being had in the moment, that is a gift to a child and will help them through these dark times. They need to feel heard and that their feelings matter.

She is our most empathetic child. When Jeremy first came home from his weekend he just wrote about (haven't read it yet, been index typing on a small device--only meant to record the first sentence, but the words started flowing--I've missed writing!), she was the first to probe him if he was hungry and needed a snack. I love her sense of servitude! She is indeed a helper.

When I went to enroll 5er last month, I was asked if she was my kid. I was itching to ask if it was because she brought any wounded or sick (or otherwise needing to go to the office) classmate to the office, as it has not been a rare occasion that she would tell me about.

She also loves a good deal. She is a bargainer through and through! Prime example--she wheels and deals at lunch and as soon as I pick her up, she's pulling out her prizes of the day. A juice box, some packaged cookies, etc. Apparently sometimes people just give her stuff, but I suppose a good bargainer never reveals her trade secrets.

At home, she'll ask what job she can do to earn a show. I'll say 'x', then she'll try and bargain 'x' for two shows. We do not often give in, but it doesn't stop her from trying! She's the one you'd want to have when you're wounded and you need care and someone to McGyvere you out of a sticky situation. And if you have to die, at least you'll be looking at a pretty face and hearing encouraging words.

The eldest is borrowing my socks with some frequency these days. She always asks, and I always say yes. She is my right hand! A good running buddy, and a good help if she's not tired or hungry, which is the same that can be said for just about anyone in this family.

I appreciate the fact that she completely takes care of her homework, and I don't bother her about it at all--she is responsible. She will often come tell me about what she is working on though, and that right now social studies is so boring. She's a math girl!

Watching her grow up has been a little like watching myself, or how I envisioned myself being. Some differences. Overall, I feel like I understand her, both of us being the oldest girl.

Samsies--she loves when they run the mile at school, and she's one of the fastest. The older grades at the school take turns being lunch helpers, and she has been seriously bummed a couple of times when she had to help serve other grades, while her class was out running the mile or some other running activity.

I teach her class on Weds. nights, and it's been interesting to watch her in a different environment.

For Christmas she made all of us Christmas cards.

She gives great body rubs--I have trained her well! I take turns snuggling with each kid on their bed when we read at night, and she and I trade back/leg/foot rubs when it's her turn, and we both love that! (The younger ones have somewhat started following suit, depending on age.) We were also the two that started watching Fixer Upper together (the first show of season one, on a rare night everyone else had to go to bed before her) (usually all four go down at the same time, they all need a lot of sleep!), but now sometimes the kids and I will snuggle in for a show. I think we have two more episodes left; we don't watch every week, but it's been a good show for us to watch on occasion.

I am glad the four have each other, they're a good group of kids.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

You can't make this stuff up.

I was just sitting on the throne, doing my thing, playing Spider.

In a planned attack, in burst the three musketeers--"You are going" --shouted the 7 year old leader, who carried a handheld device that delivered a monotone voice announcing each letter button as she pressed it-- "P-O-O-P".

 "Poop!" the 5 year old exclaimed, in case I didn't get the clearly spelled out word proceeding.

The three year old had his blanket on as a cape, and was enjoying watching the scene. As the 7 year old continued pushing her four letter sequence over and over, he dropped the cape and started doing a slight fist pump and sway to the rhythm.

Five year old continued, "Poop, you are going poop!", because it's like his favorite topic.

Have to admit, they got a good laugh from me.

I made a critical error--I shut the door. I forgot that attracts them like magnets.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

2/16/16 Picture Time

Kids grow up way too fast. Every once in awhile I like to capture a moment in time. Here is one of those days. I ask them questions to get more candid shots. Questions this time were : "What is your favorite dinner? Dessert? Snack?"

An hour or two later, I had a child come and ask me if I had been taking video during the questions. They were relived when I said no. They did want their answer of "your butt" in response to "What is your favorite snack?" to be documented. Haha. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Pres Day '16

Jeremy laid out all the camping gear from our trip to dry:

We all went to bed way early on Valentine's Day night, everyone was tired from our backpacking trip.  President's Day morning (this year a VIP's B-day! (even more than the presidents)) Jeremy asked if we wanted to go to Santa Cruz. 

By the time we had our late breakfast and got going, the highway to the beach was ridiculous. Gotta leave early if you want to get to the coast on a holiday! Which I think we know by now, but sometimes we're in denial. Like, maybe it'll be ok. Haha. Nope. 

We bailed and went to Vasona Park. Unfortunately neither the train or the carousel was running, and part of one of the playgrounds was closed off for repairs! We had a good walk around, and the kids still got to play on stuff. 

H is catching up to me; she always likes to see where she's at. 

Went and sat by the lake; kids threw some rocks in, and we ate apples.

Shortly after leaving our spot by the lake and returning to the path, I saw a white-haired couple stop their bikes and walk to the side--the man assembled his selfie stick with his smart phone, and took a selfie with his wife, the lake in the background--I thought it was the most adorable thing! As I passed, I almost asked if I could take a picture of them. I thought they were really cute. And, goals! I want to be able to move well when I'm older, and I want to still be enjoying life with this guy:

And Lord willing we'll get to travel around and visit our kids and grandkids. It's weird for me to think of the kids as being off on their own, but someday soon they will be! Gotta enjoy them and teach them well while they are here. I love our blessings very much!