Tag Archives: children

Go ahead, run with sticks! The things moms sometimes say.

There’s nothing that helps improve my mood better than spending time outside. Most of the time it doesn’t matter what I’m doing.

My best friend shares my love of the mountains, rivers, trees etc. Before kids we’d spend entire days out on our horses in the Idaho mountains often ending up taking a dip in the lake before heading home trying to beat the sun.

These days it’s a bit harder to get out in the great outdoors like that but when she suggested we explore the woods by her house and look for unique sticks to decorate with, I couldn’t resist! Neither one of us even considered the eight kids between us ranging in age from 3 months to 8 years. When mountain raised mom’s raise kiddo’s, you’d better believe they can hike with the best of us right from the womb.

Actually, it’s too often that we allow our circumstances to keep us from doing the things we love especially when those things (like hiking) can be so healthy for the kids as well. Truth be told, many times as mom’s we don’t think, “Hey, they can come too.” Instead we struggle with wanting babysitters or school to whisk them away and grow them up so we can get back to the things we once did. I’ve fallen into that trap, thinking that I have to just wait until my kids are grown.

I’m so glad she suggested the hike. We were on the mountain for a good couple of hours, exploring different tree species, wildflowers and of course running with sticks!

Thanks Deb, for reminding me that I don’t have to wait!  The kids needed it as much as we did.

So, what fun and free things can you do with your kids. Did you enjoy people watching at the mall before having kids? Grab a stroller, or two or three 🙂 and head to the mall.

I guess I realize now, as a “maturing” mom (haha) that loneliness, isolation, the “I can do it myself” mentality STINKS! Get out and do something with other moms. Raid the local Starbucks, visit the library, swing in the rain. The “rules” we make about nap times and overstimulation (I’ve decided) are a bunch of hooey! Though I have to say, I’ve been down those roads before. But, as many of you know, I’ve also been down the Postpartum Depression road TWICE. Much of it may have been avoided had I just gone out and done something rather than sit at home making sure everyone had a perfectly scheduled day.

When Deb and I get together now we bring fruit and cheese sticks, taquito’s or sandwiches and just spend the day. If we run out of diapers, we share. If someone wets their pants we get them something to wear and if socks never come back, life goes on.

Here is a cute recipe my bestfriend sent home with me for my frig. It sums it up perfectly.

Recipe for Preserving Children

  • 1 large grassy field
  • 6 (or more) children in assorted sizes
  • 3 small dogs (give or take)
  • 1 narrow pebbly brook
  • 1 hot sun
  • flowers
  • deep blue sky

Mix the children with the dogs and empty into the field, ,stirring continuously. Sprinkle the field with flowers. Pour the brook gently over the pebbles. Cover all with a deep blue sky and bake in hot sun. When children are well browned, they may be removed. They will be found ready to be put away to cool in the bathtub!

Advertisements

14 Comments

Filed under Random, Reality, Ruse

Blue Eyes Girl

3 Comments

Filed under Thru the Lens

Legend of the Three Trees

Please join me at my new web home JessieGunderson.com and don’t forget to like the Blog Schmog Facebook community HERE.

Some of you were wondering what this mosaic on my kitchen floor is all about.

The Legend of the Three Trees is a folklore story of unknown origin. My favorite picture book version is HERE.

The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale

The story is retold by Angela Elwell Hunt and beautifully illustrated by Tim Jonke. It is a Christmas classic but we keep it out year round.

Below is Thing One’s retelling of the legend un-edited.

A long time ago there was three trees. The first tree wanted to be a treasure chest and hold the greatest treasure. The second tree wanted to be a ship and made for just kings. And the third tree wanted to stay on the top of the hill and point up to God.

Many years had passed by. Then after a few days three woodcutters came and the first woodcutter cut down the first little tree. The second woodcutter cut down the second tree. The thrid woodcutter said, “I will cut down whatever tree I want to. This is the one I’m going to cut.”

The first tree got tooken to a carpenter. The carpenter turned the tree into a manger for animals to eat out of.

The second tree was tooken to a ship yard and no big ships were getting made that day. Instead tiny fishing boats. Every day he brought in loads of dead smelly fish across the lake.

The third tree was confused when she got cut into straight square logs. She stayed there for a very long time. Then she got carried by a man and she felt ugly when they nailed his  hands to her.

The first tree got to be a manger and hold the greatest treasure of all. That was Jesus.

The second tree got to be a sailboat and hold the greatest king of all that was powerful. He got to see Jesus stop the storm when he woke up.

The third tree got to be carried by Jesus and forever remind people of God. That was better than staying on the mountain.

THE END

11 Comments

Filed under Book Blab, Children & Kids at Heart, From the Mouth of Babes

Boy crafted Noah’s Ark with wood, glue and staples.

Here is the Ark Matt helped the boys make for their cousins for Christmas…

Looks like even Pee Wee lent a hand.

Cut, glue, staple, wa-la!

Now all that’s left is a ridgecap and a coat of stain.  Good job boys!

Leave a comment

Filed under Craft/Art Coral

Three of my Favorite Christmas Traditions:

Christmas, ideas, budget savy, creative, crafts, handmade, charity, adopt a family, different kind of tradition

Three of my favorite Christmas Traditions:

I’ve never been accused of being too prissy (unless you count 3rd grade).  Never been one to overdress for the occasion (unless you count Jr. High).  And I’ve definitely not been one to spend exorbitant amounts of money on Christmas for anyone but I’d venture to say I make up for it in creativity.

1. Homemade/Handmade Gifts: 
The boys’ cousins wanted “Noah’s Ark” for Christmas and though I looked I couldn’t find something reasonably priced.  When I mentioned it to my husband he decided that would be the “guy” project for the week.  It took Noah years to build the Ark but it only took three boys and a lot of creativity to build this replica in a day.  I am so proud of their effort.  My boys were excited to create something with their own hands!  Pictures here!

Pee Wee got a crochet humanoid last year that I spent hours on.  An incredibly talented crochet “guru” I found online made a similar doll  (but much better) and I love the blue color.  My mom happened to have just the right shade!   During that creative endeavor the boys had many opportunities to peruse online pictures of amigurumi animals.  Each of them picked out a favorite of which I promptly forgot.  THIS year I overheard them describing to their grandma what they were hoping to get for Christmas.  Each of the older boys outlined the details of an alleged animal Mom was making for them.  OOPS!  So I made the boys crochet creatures.  Thing One requested a Polar Bear.  Pictures here!  A cute little robot for Thing Two, see him here.  If I can crank it out in lightning speed, a frog for the Bubba.

2. The Greatest Weirdest Christmas Ornaments Ever:
My first Christmas with Matt I believe he was a little surprised when I pulled out my box of Christmas ornaments.  Why?  Where most people have an annual ornament exchange with the family, quaint things like a globe with the year or another teddy bear bell I had things like a perfect miniature replica of a container of granola, an Odyssey of the Mind mini trophy, a red pickup truck (for the year I hoped my parents would buy me wheels for Christmas – they did, it was about 2 inches long).  

In my family’s tradition the token ornament had to signify the most significant, strange or memorable event of that year for the person.  We have continued on that tradition by including some of the strangest things you’ll see on a Christmas tree.  See pictures here.  A potty, a circular saw, a nice plump pig, an outhouse, a tooth, motorcycle, a surfing alien; all with equally strange explinations.  But none that are “just because”.

3.  Adopt a Christmas Family:
The most fun by far is our annual game of Ding-dong Ditchem”.  After much prayer and consideration, sometimes accompanied by a little kick in the pants also known as divine intervention, someone identifies a needy family.  On the sly we learn all we can about the needs, wants and desires of that particular family and then our family divide and conquer to get gifts chosen especially with the children in mind.  

It is a blast when four or five families pool their meager resources to buy something big, fun and completely unexpected for kids who are likely to get only a small toy and a pair of socks for Christmas.  If possible we choose a complete outfit for each child and fill another box with a feast for the Holiday!  Many times we include gift certificates for food and gas as well.  We always include a letter of explination where we share the meaning of Christmas and that Christ is behind our tradition.

This year the resources were quite slim and we feared a gift giving recess but the Lord came through!  One of the family members received a “pay it forward” bonus from work and were challenged to spend it on someone needy.  Someone else went through hand me down clothing that is still in great shape and filled a box with that.  When all else fails we still have plenty of pork to share! 🙂

Nowdays The Drop doesn’t look quite like it used to.  As kids we could drive up in the dark, deliver the bounty and run.  Not so in the post terrorism era.  This year we elected an outside party from our church to call and let them know there was someone who would like to bless them this Christmas.  Yet another person is sent with a pickup load of presents and in this way even the “delivery” person is blessed and able contribute. 🙂  We remain anonimous and God gets the glory!

This post is linked at Extravagant Grace, Bringing Holy Back!  Join the movement.

Bringing Holy Back

5 Comments

Filed under Craft/Art Coral, Faith First

Toddler walking or talking late, walking or talking early, whatever! Smart kids don’t always start first.

Please join me at my new web home JessieGunderson.com and don’t forget to like the Blog Schmog Facebook community HERE.

I’ve got four kids, is it weird that I’m obsessing over when my littlest walks?  She is 15 months and only just started walking.  Yesterday she had an audience and she finally said, “Today’s the day.”  Well not really, talking is another thing she hasn’t been eager to do though she does some sign language.  Ever since she has been toddling around.  I was beginning to wonder what is up with her!

The other day her biggest brother spotted a cute little pair of brown loafers.  Do the “kids” even call them that these days.  Boy, I sound old!  At any rate, cute little brown shoes with a strap across the front and a light pink flower.  He said “Sister needs a pair of shoes Mom.”

To which I answered a bit annoyed, “No she doesn’t, she doesn’t even walk!”

Yesterday when she started walking Thing One said, “Look Mom, now we should buy her those shoes for Christmas!”

It’s funny that I was so worried because come to think of it my kids have all walked at drastically different times.  They all seem fine now.  Unless it worries you that one stands on his hands, another does backflips off the bed and my four year old rides a motorcycle.   Okay maybe the walking thing isn’t the only indication of a successful toddler career.

Will she be denied acceptance into prestigious colleges on her late walking challenge?  On the other hand maybe it is an asset.  I mean Thing Two walked just before his 10 month birthday.  Wow!!!  Except with both walking and talking, he was very awkward!  He did the monster walk for ages and often fell down.  If anyone was going to have long term problems it would be my dare devil second born, who does EVERYTHING early and with great difficulty. 🙂  We couldn’t understand a word he said for a long time but he is the most mechanical of all my kids.

Very smart too, he learns by osmosis.  Did I tell you about his Kindergarten exit exam designed to be taken at the beginning of the year to help the teacher (me in this case) determine what needs he has.  Well, he aced it.  The only thing yet to master?  Skipping.  Last year I didn’t teach him a single thing on purpose, I was focused on surviving PPD and caring for my new infant along with homeschooling my oldest for the first time.  He literally learned to read by soaking it all in while coloring monster trucks all year.  I’m an AWESOME teacher! 😉

The oldest?  Well, he is detail oriented to the max.  A guy after my own heart except when it comes to his closet but that’s another story.  It took him longer to walk as well.  He neither walked nor talked until he figured he had it mastered.  We decided that he “practiced” during his nap and only pulled out the stops when he knew he’d wow the crowd and never before.  The kid seriously “talked” with his mouth closed almost to his second birthday.  When he finally opened his mouth, full sentences came out!  But for my oldest, while he loves to learn the process doesn’t always come as easily as it does for Two.

Thing One struggles to do things right and psyches himself out while Thing Two trusts his instinct and isn’t afraid to mess up.  Pee Wee, the youngest has it figured out, “wait for an audience” and Bubba, the youngest boy survives on his innate ability to make people laugh. He is a born story teller.  Hmmm, is that like anyone I know?

7 Comments

Filed under Motherhood Uncensored, Random, Reality, Ruse

My God bag, WIP “ed” short story publishing, and blog tags.

As Henny put it this is a Karen Joy style post.  Not topically but because of the random nature of the stuff flitting through my mind that I’ve been wanting to share with you.

 My God purse:

Saturday I had the opportunity to start the day – well – really bad!  I’ve been without a vehicle for about three weeks now and with winter setting in it is quite cold for the kids to play outside.  Cold, as in negative digits with wind chill factor.  Many days the warm has stayed below 10 degrees F.   Friday night Matt had a small yearly job as a “security guy” (which really amounts to sleeping at the church) for a holiday bazaar in town.  The great part is it brings in a tiny bit of extra money.  Sometimes he spends it on me at the bazaar, this year we needed it.

I may have already mentioned, I am NOT a morning person but Saturday had hope of being THE day for purchasing a new very used car for Matt to commute in so I can have my rig back. It also had hope of being a “girls day” with my mom.  Sooo, I woke up early-ish and hustled the kids out the door.  The Bubba wouldn’t go for the “here kid, have a banana and get in the car routine”  he is much too conditioned.  I had to coax him with peanut butter rice cakes (thank goodness he can eat peanuts) and shuffle him out with it all over his face and hair.  We tease that his love language is food.

Once I finally had everyone in the car I was already late for my 8am arrangement to pick Matt up.

Click…click…click…  The Suburban battery was dead. Someone left a dome light on in sub zero weather.

I’m trying to give you the short version here but I’m terrible at that so bear with me. 🙂

No only would it not start but when I went to pop the hood the latch broke and I couldn’t get the hood undone.  I called Matt in a tiff and he tried to tell me if I would just hit the latch it would open.   Let me tell you, I slammed that thing and cursed and slammed it again.  My husband was on the phone trying to talk me down 🙂  but I was having none of it.  Not to mention my phone battery was dying.  I finally hung up on him because I couldn’t do all of it at once and he wouldn’t stop talking to let me tell him the phone was about to quit.

– Meanwhile Dear husband calls a neighbor kid.

The only other vehicle that runs on the property is my highschool car (a 66 Mustang).  It usually sits parked under a cover (it’s not in great shape) and gets turned on once in a blue moon.  I hopped in it and miraculously it started right up but I just HAD to sit a good two or three minutes and rev the engine.  Boy, I love that sound!  I pulled it over and tried to turn it around to get in position to jump the Burb and I killed it on our “Indiana Jones Ride” driveway.  Rrrrr  I was so angry at that point that I flooded the engine with my impatience trying to start it back up.

I plugged in my phone, called Matt and brewed myself a cup of coffee.  I’d waited, hoping to get foo-foo coffee in town.

The neighbor kid showed up and in no time had me on the road.

——

We go to the church and Bubba had peed his pants.  I yanked him out of the car while Matt grabbed the other kids and we went into the bathroom.  I had no change of clothes so he ran back out of there pantless, shirt on backward (he put it on himself), with peanut butter all over.  Thank goodness he had shoes on!  Matt laughed and took the boys outside so I could “shop” a minute with PeeWee.

In one of the first booths I saw the most adorable purses that some mom’s my age had made.  Now, may I remind you, I’m not a girlie girl.  I don’t usually do shoes or purses or scarves etc.  I like practical, comfortable attire and sometimes big earrings to get my “bling” fix.  But these bags were CUTE!  Plus I’d had a really bad day.  Another thing I don’t usually do is shop to self soothe. 🙂  But these bags were CUTE! 

I picked up the brown one with the big flower made of burlap and admired it, showing it to PeeWee and then spied the tag.  $35  Shoot!  That is really too much during the Christmas season especially and I don’t spend money on me.  So, reluctantly I put it back and perused the other items in the booth.

Matt found me shortly after and told me he was free to go as soon as his boss cut him a check.  She tracked us down (not hard with four a-tow) and she had the bag I’d been looking at.   She ripped the tag off in front of me and said, “Someone wanted you to have this.  It wasn’t me.  Not that I dont’ want you to have it.  Here you go, Merry Christmas!”

It was just one of those moments when I really felt like the Lord had specifically put me on someone heart simply to bless me with something completely frivolous so He could say “I love you and you are doing a good job.  You are my daughter!”

I am thankful to whoever did this kind act but more than that I felt hugged by the Lord.   When I told one of my Bible study friends she said, “It’s your God bag!”

Even my husband was amazed saying “It’s so you.”

WIP “ed”

For months I’ve been trying to attend a Christian Writers Critique that is held locally.  There are several published authors that attend as well as aspiring authors, retiree’s, mom’s etc.  Once I even hired a babysitter and showed up on the WRONG day!

Finally, yesterday I made it!

On the advice of my husband I took a short story that I’m not really attached to.  He thought it would be a good idea to get a feel for the venue before bearing my soul. 🙂  Especially since the soul purpose of the group is critique.  So I did not take any part of my WIP a contempory, coming of age novel.

I’d written the story as a writing exercise one day when the kids were napping.  I didn’t spend a whole lot of time editing but the idea had been mulling around in my brain for several days so I pretty much purged my brain and left it at that.

The group sits at a round table and each person reads a 5-6min piece that they have brought while the rest of the members edit the page she has handed out. 

When I came to my turn I was a bit nervous, many of the pieces read were breathtaking and my short story was quite different to say the least.  There were mostly older women, one lady my age writing a cowboy type novel based on some family history and a man who is published who brought the most beautiful piece of poetry and always had a lot to say about others work.  Yikes!

I read “Who Did” about Jonah.

There were some excellent suggestions and they pointed out that I’d gone out of order with some of the events but no critical remarks.

After I got done the lady who heads up the group said something to the effect of… “I’m sure you already have some place to pitch this but if you don’t I really think you should consider looking into a house that would be interested in this type of short story.”

WHOA!  She blew me away.  “already have a plan to pitch”

I’d never once considered my short stories anything other than sanity.  A way to put on paper what God is teaching me, almost a journal of sorts.  When I feel it could be a blessing to others I’ll share it with you ladies, but publish!!!

The “cranky” man (that’s what the ladies called him) put a remark on his copy that was returned to me at the end. “Look into a publisher of study material, this would be a good piece for a lesson idea”  He also wrote, “Powerful writing!  Don’t let my scribbles be discouraging.  I liked it.”

WHOA, whoa and triple whoa!

Not only did they have incredibly good suggestions, they LIKED IT!  It also got me thinking outside of my little box into some other things I’ve written.  Previous to this meeting I had been thinking I had to create something entirely new but I’ve got tons of short stories.  Now to find who publishes short stories.   At Karen Joy’s suggestion I’m going to pick up the Christian Writer’s Market Guide 2010 when it comes out.  AND continue praying that God will guide my steps in this possible new adventure.

I feel so encouraged and I can’t wait to go back and take them the “meat”!

Blog Tags:

Can someone please school me on how to use blog tags?  I’ve read a couple tutorials online and I thought I had it down but I’ve noticed that people tend to find my blog by typing in completely random things like…

“all boys same”

“bah humbug”

“why do our eyes dialate when back of neck is squeezed”

Now that I’ve repeated them I’ll probably get more hits on those topics. 🙂 Oh well.

While I’m happy to oblidge I never put any of those terms in the tags on my blog. Some of the words appear in posts but not anything relating.  I’ve had other random searches but I dont’ believe anyone has found my blog for anything they intended.  The food blog was easy.  Food ingredients, allergy lists etc.

Maybe I’m just overthinking it!

Any ideas?

10 Comments

Filed under My WIP, Random, Reality, Ruse