Thursday, May 26, 2011

Small things

I just think some things my kids do are adorable.  And I want to write them down so I don't forget them...


-The way Julia says "swimsoop" instead of "swimsuit." 

-Ava toddling around calling her sisters "Lula" and "Lylie."

-The way Ethan can make Ava giggle so hard she can barely breathe.
-The way Kylie and Julia giggle right along with her.

-Kylie's guilty little grin when she's done something she knows she shouldn't have.

- Julia tucking her hair behind her ear so carefully.

-Ethan running around in his first baseball uniform.

-Kylie and Julia cuddling while they sleep.

-Kylie's gasps of joy over flowers.

- Julia's little face looking up at me while she hugs my legs.

-Ava laying her head on my shoulder as I carry her to bed.

-Ethan trying to keep his sisters from hurting themselves.  He's such a protective big brother!

-Kylie diligently rescuing stranded earthworms and carefully re-locating them to new homes.

- Ava's puckered "kissy face" lips.

Little pictures of life floating around in my head.  I hope forever.  =)

Monday, May 23, 2011


Yesterday was a perfectly gorgeous day.  And it was Sunday.  I love Sundays! 
I got up early and made pancakes and eggs for breakfast while listening to my favorite worship music.  No one ever picks all the songs I want to sing for church on a Sunday morning (as if it was their responsibility to keep me happy...)  So I sang along with my favorites before I left.  =) 

Then church, lunch at Subway with Tam and Alan, a short drive to a house for sale in Clarks, and then the all important, two-hour Sunday afternoon nap.
No, I did not really get to sleep for two hours.  Ava fell asleep in the van and wouldn't go back to sleep.  But I put my ear buds in and listened to music so I couldn't hear her playing (in her crib...she was safe and happy!) and slept for a little while at least.
So after supper last night, we had a extra-crabby, exhausted toddler on our hands.  A 15 minute nap is not enough for a 16-month old. 
In an attempt to keep Ava awake (and because I was crabby that I had to do dishes instead of play outside after my nap), we walked to the park.
Ava's favorite thing to do at the park is swing.  I love to swing her because I get to stand back and watch as I push. 

I smile as three little girls, two in frilly Easter dresses and one in her pajamas, fling themselves as high into the air as they can go.  "Look mommy!  My feet are touching the sky!" 
I remember touching the sky with my feet as a little girl, my hair blowing in my face and the wind swishing in my ears.  I remember the feeling of flying and uncontainable joy.

I laugh with my husband of nine years because we used to come to this park and swing just for fun when we were dating.  I've always loved to swing. 
And now I never get the chance because all the swings are taken by our laughing kids. 

The sun is shining, but small drops of rain splatter my face.  And Caleb points out a rainbow.  I switch to pushing from the other side of the swing so I don't have to stop looking.  I feel as if God says, "Isn't it pretty?  I made it because I love you and I know it makes you smile." 
Like He painted that rainbow in the sky just to remind me, an average mom with a crazy life, that the God of the universe loves me extravagantly. 

The rainbow fades and I turn to face the bright sun disappearing behind dark clouds.  They too are beautiful.  Wisps of white floating across dark blue, almost black, foaming towers. 
Maybe it's going to actually start raining...again.

So we grab our kids, their shoes, Ava's ba-ba, Ethan's scooter and race the clouds home.

Some moments I just want to freeze and relive over and over. 

Happy kids playing with their daddy.


Sunshine turning to long shadows.

Rainbows and clouds and raindrops.

Unhurried beauty soaked up by weary, dry souls. 

A glimpse of heaven. 

And I forgot my camera. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cooking Adventures with Melody

Welcome to the first (and possibly only..) episode of Cooking Adventures with Melody!  Today I will be showing you how to make Melody's Made-Up Meatballs.  Start with any normal meatball recipe.  I chose a recipe from my sister-in-law (love you Allie!) that uses six pounds of hamburger.  It makes around 200 small meatballs.  I freeze most of them for quick meals later. 
Here's the recipe:
6 pounds hamburger
3 cups bread crumbs
2/3 cup milk
4 eggs
1/4 cup minced onion
2 Tblspns garlic
1 Tblspns salt
2 Tblspns pepper
I have learned from previous experience that two tablespoons of garlic is WAY too much!  At least if you cheat like me and substitute garlic powder.  Another tip:  Use onion powder too.  It saves all that nasty onion chopping. And it saves your ears from listening to your whining children screech, "EWWW!!!!  Onions!!!"
Today I have slightly over six pounds of hamburger, so I open the fridge door to grab another egg.  That's when I spot the leftover refried beans from supper last night.  ", low-fat protein snuck into food the kids actually like."  Genius!  I dump them in. 
Then I spy the leftover oatmeal from breakfast last week.  My mom always tells me she puts oatmeal in her meatloaf.  Pretty sure she means uncooked oatmeal, but it'll probably turn out about the same...  In goes the oatmeal  - which I realize as I mix it into the hamburger probably has brown sugar in it.  Oh well.  A little brown sugar  never hurt anybody. 
One more trip to the refrigerator, and look!  Mashed potatoes!  But as I open the lid, "Ewww..."  Weird smelling mashed potatoes.  Down the garbage disposal they go.  Maybe next time. 
Next, spend a while mushing all these ingredients together with your bare hands.  They might get cold, but the slimy feeling is kinda fun.  =) 
Then grab your small scooper and start making balls.  This takes a long time when you're making 200 meatballs.  I hope the kids aren't destroying too many things in the backyard... 
Shove a tray in the oven for 30 minutes at 350, and you're done!  My suggestion is to throw the first batch in the crockpot with your favorite sauce and supper's finished.  Ta da! 
Anyone want to come to our house for supper tonight?

Storm Chasers

It rained here the other day.  ALOT.  The tornado sirens here went off twice in two days as the sky turned completely black mid-afternoon.  While Kylie convinced her sisters to cower in basement in fear of the giant tornado swirling toward them that would probably suck them up just like it did Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz", I stood on the front porch unimpressed at the lack of thunder and lightening and pretty much any storminess at all.  Hard rain does not count as a great thunderstorm.
I LOVE to watch thunderstorms.
After Caleb came home and listened to me crab about the lack of cool storms at our house, he made a crazy, spontaneous decision.  We got in the van with our girls (Ethan was with Mimi and Poppy) and drove towards the hail, tornado warnings, high winds, and flooded roads.  Just for fun.  =) 
We saw ditches full of rain water with hail piled in little drifts at the edges.  Waves blew across freshly planted fields turned lakes.  Water roared under bridges usually spanning placid streams.
I wish I could figure out how to upload video from my phone onto this computer.  Then I could show you what it looked like.  I guess you'll have to use your imaginations...
We stopped at Tam and Alan's long enough to let their soaked dog into the garage and learn about the tornado warning in York headed straight toward us.  (By the way, I don't know that there ever were any actual tornadoes.  Just lots of warnings.)
Then we drove home.  On the way we stopped at Oma's (Caleb's grandma's) house.  She lives right across the street from the church where Caleb's grandpa's (Opa's) funeral happened over a year ago.  That day seems to have made a huge impression on my girls - Kylie at least.  She saw the church and said, "Mommy, is that the church where we went to Opa's...what was it?"
"Funeral," I said.
"Yes, Opa's funeral.  That's where I saw Opa in his treasure box."
She thought for a second and then continued, "And when I'm really old like Opa, I'll get to be in my treasure box too."  She smiled and moved on.  She has such a short attention span.  =)
But I was stuck on the treasure box thing.  My sister Becca has a treasure box in her room, full of the best things in the world, Kylie is sure.  When my kids go to my mom and dad's, the first thing they want to do is go to Becca's room to see the things in the treasure box.  What are we going to do without you this summer, Becca?
Who but a child would link the excitement of Becca's treasure box to Opa's body in his own treasure box?  Who would think in those terms? 
An innocent child.  Trusting when she can't see and doesn't understand.  Simply trusting that God who loves her and always takes care of her and is always with her knows what He's doing even in death.  Life is so uncomplicated from Kylie's perspective.  I clutter it up with "Why?"s and "What if?"s and ragings against God for doing things His unfathomable way instead of something I can understand.  And she sees "Jesus loves me, this I know" and rests.  Comfortable with His treasures in all forms.
I make excuses for myself.  "She doesn't understand the finality of death.  The sorrow of living without someone who's shared your life.  The lonliness.  The longing."  And I'm right.  She doesn't.  But Jesus said He treasures faith like a child.  How do we cling to simple trust in the midst of the ache of loss? 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Messy Messy Messy

So I have another confession to make.  (Which I just realized is exactly the way I started my last post.  Be more creative, Melody!)
I am the opposite of a clean freak.
This morning....drum roll... I cleaned our bath tub.
For the first time.
Caleb's 80 year old grandma cleaned it before we moved in - just so you know I'm not a complete pig.  Thanks Oma!  Love you!  =) 
Now we've lived here since the end of February, so what... 2 1/2 months?  And I kept look at my bathtub kinda hoping that Mimi cleaned it the week I was in Bellingham... 
Are you interested in hearing my excuse?
Take a look at my bathtub.
Yes, this is AFTER I cleaned it.  My normal goal when cleaning a bathtub is to make it white and shiny.  Well, as you can see, it's not ever going to be white - or shiny. 
And the spots where the surround stuff is coming off and you can see the brown stuff underneath is not my responsibility to fix.  (The joys of renting!)
So I've been looking at the tub for the last 2 1/2 months thinking, "I should clean that.  But if I do, it won't look any cleaner than it does now, so why should I bother?"
Like I said.  Not a clean freak.