Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hello!

Hello, Bloggity World!
I have neglected you so...
forgive me?

Perhaps I can pop in here more often.
There is surely plenty to share!

Love,
Me

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Family Camp

Our annual church Family Camp last weekend was the best ever for our family! We finally managed to last for two nights of camping and fun. It was great.

I'm amazed at how much our family is changing as the children get older. It's so much easier now to do things like camping than it has been for us in about ten years! I can see all kinds of new adventures opening up before us.

This year, we opted to let the big boys sleep in their own tent, next to ours, and the girlies were invited to share a tent with a couple of their best friends in the campsite next to ours. That left only Roger, Andrew, Micah and me in the big tent.

It was wonderful! We slept much better. Well... we slept... which was much better!

Roger was also kind enough to agree to keeping our menu super-simple, which allowed me to enjoy camping much more, rather than cooking and doing dishes all weekend. It worked out great!

We also joined forces with another family. My friend, Jeanine, who was in my high school youth group 25 years ago, and her son, Ike, camped near us and we shared food and fellowship. She is the BEST. I have never seen so many hot dogs and marshmallows in one place, outside a grocery store, before! We had a blast sitting by the fire together in the morning as everyone else slept. And SHE built the fires before I got up!

I really did have a wonderful, relaxing weekend.

I should have taken more pictures. I realized when I looked at them that I only really got one picture of Mary, for some reason. And it looks like this:

Which is, in fact, how the icy cold swimming hole made her feel. But it's a terrible picture! So I included these for her benefit:

Another terrible picture, but at least she's smiling, which she did almost the whole weekend! Here, she is chatting with friends while waiting for the evening service to start.

And this one:
Which is of the back of her cute, little head, while listening in the evening service... I guess I owe her a good photo shoot some time soon!


Noah is a master marshmallow roaster. And he usually shares the best ones with me! He's an amazing kid! He was able to enjoy LOTS of freedom at camp to go and hang out with his friends, but he stuck pretty close for the most part, because he's such a great kid!

The swimming proved to be too chilly for my swimming pool lovers. At least they played on the beach and they all gave it a try to some degree.
Micah LOVES playing in the water, but even he didn't get very wet in the river.
He did enjoy his buddy, Nathan, though. The family we camped next to has five adorable children. With us and with Jeanine and Ike, we made quite a conglomeration of little people!
This is NOT a great picture of Jeanine, and I blinded her terribly when I took it with a flash as we were sitting around the campfire in the dark. But I had to capture her snuggling my little one off to sleep as we were singing worship songs around the campfire on Saturday. Too sweet!
Daniel was the only one remotely brave enough to swim in the chilly water. We actually bribed him to swim across the river and jump off this old concrete foundation. I think he really enjoyed it... although he wouldn't have done it without "incentive."
Anna had a great time with her friends!
They made sand sculptures at the beach.
Andrew was born to camp. He LOVES playing outside and being dirty and eating junk food. He also managed to sleep until 10:00 both mornings, laying in a sleeping bag on the concrete pad where we pitched our tent. And he never once mentioned anything about it being uncomfortable. Ah, to be five again!
He also loved the swimming hole, although he shivered the entire time we were there, in spite of it being like 90 degrees outside.
None of this family fun would have been possible without my amazing man. Roger and I have loved camping together since the beginning. We are doing it very differently now than we did when it was just the two of us, but we are finding that we are entering a new phase of our family, in which camping may again become one of our favorite things to do.
I can't wait for next summer!!


..the LORD your God went ahead of you on your journey... to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go. ~Deuteronomy 1:32-33


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

'Tis the Season!

Cat fight? Barbed-wire incident? Over-zealous ex-foliating?

Nope. Just time for some good-ole blackberry picking!
(Yes, Tami, that is MY ARM! It looked fine when I was done picking. The fine scratches don't really show up until the next day... It doesn't hurt, though.)

My berry picking friend and I agreed that long, leather gloves with the finger tips cut out would be a great bit of gear for this job!

It was well worth it, though. I came home with a couple of gallons of gorgeous, juicy berries - easily my best haul of the season to date.

We made some jam. I say "we" because it was too much fun for anyone to miss.
(Jeanine ~ my jam recipe is on the back of the fruit pectin box: lots of sugar, crushed fruit, pectin. I do freezer jam, so there is no canning involved. Canning it is easy, though, if you don't have freezer space.)

The kids even enjoyed scraping the seedy pulp out of the food mill and eating it straight. No waste here!

My little jam boys needed a bath afterwards, but it was well worth the clean up to see their happy faces slurping up the healthy goodness!

Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food." ~Genesis 1:29

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tired Family

We are having another great weekend of doing this:
And then we threw in some yard work for good measure this afternoon.


Now we are all feeling like this:
I really want to start blogging more often! Having swim meets six out of the last ten days has really wiped me out. We're headed into a swim team break, though, and this past Friday marked the end of summer swimming for the younger kids, so I'm hopeful that we are about to slow down a bit and find some kind of routine.

I'll let you know how that works out...


May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us-- yes, establish the work of our hands. ~Psalm 90:17


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fabric Give Away!

Free fabric being given away here:
http://ihavetosay.typepad.com/randi/2009/08/from-my-stash-to-yours.html

Enter to win some beautiful designer quilting remnants!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Interview with a Two-year-old

Terrific Twos!

This is such a great age! If you don't want to watch the whole thing, at least skip forward to around 50 seconds when he says "hunkleberries."

video

He keeps us smiling all day long!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Just for fun...

Remember when sleeping on the floor was fun?


I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. ~ Psalm 4:8

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Too Much Cuteness

Seriously, y'all. Sometimes, it's more than I can handle.

Daniel built a fire in the pit the other night, and Anna lighted it, with lots of careful "supervision."


It made Andrew feel like this when it was time to roast marshmallows.

When we ran out of hot dogs, the kids turned to roasting carrots slathered with BBQ sauce. (Which tasted surprisingly good!)

Sometimes, this happens at the end of the day.

Which invariably leads to this.

Unless, of course, this happens.

But the very best ending of all is this one.
Sometimes, there's more cuteness around here than I can even handle.

Thank you, Lord!!

Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. ~Psalm 127:3

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Achy Breaky Heart

This is the kitchen table at the house where we lived in SE Washington. I took this picture so that I could show you how cool this table is. It's a bay window pop-out on the back of the house, right next to the kitchen. Really, it's more of a booth than a table, which was so much fun and such a great space saver. I fed the kiddos here at least twice a day, usually three times, as our entire family could actually fit around this table. The very formal dining room was rarely used.

I really, truly loved this table.

I know that because when I was looking for blog fodder today and I saw this picture, I was overwhelmed with emotion. My very cheerful mood was swept away by a wave of nausea and sadness.

Of course, it's not really the table that makes my heart ache. It's all that it represents: the agonizing death of a dream, the crushing disappointment of unfulfilled hopes, the wasting of such amazing potential.

Yeah, it's all still fresher than I'd like it to be. But, surely, in some way, the Lord is using it all for His glory and ultimately for my good. Even if it feels like my life is so upside down right now.

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose." ~Romans 8:28




Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summer on the S OR Coast

It's been summer here on the Coast for a few days! Yesterday was something crazy like, maybe, 72 degrees, so the kids wanted to get out the hose and play after swimming lessons. Daniel came up with the idea of using a tarp like a Slip n Slide.

As I was holding the sprayer for the sliders, I looked down to see that Micah had decided he wanted to get a drink from the hose. Whew! I'm quite sure there is some theological metaphor in there somewhere. It seemed to make him ridiculously happy, which makes me happy, too.


A good time was had by all!

video video video video video video video video

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pajama Camp

Several years ago, when we lived in Gold Beach (also on the S OR Coast) our small children wanted to go camping. I think I was actually pregnant that first year. Somehow, camping seemed an insurmountable task on so many levels.

I couldn't imagine packing, loading, setting up camp, keeping little ones safe, preparing and serving and eating food, and then cleaning up. Not to mention SLEEPING, which is hard enough to do at home when pregnant and the mother of a tiny person or three.

Then there were the ramifications for the days following - the days of creeky hips and aching back and misery.

So, we came up with a compromise which has served us well for at least the past six or seven years.

Pajama Camp

Those first tender years, we actually drug the mattress from our bed out into the tent in the back yard for the night, which proved a viable compromise. Now days, we have an air mattress. From one year to the next, we always forget that neither of us sleeps when we spend the night on the air mattress. Perhaps next year we will have the foresight to drag the mattress out there again.

This is our faithful family tent in the park like setting of our back yard.

But, wait! Is that the shadowy figure of a child in the tent?

Yes! Yes it is! A PJ Camp newbie of the highest order.
"Did you say we're going to sleep in here??"

"Yippee!"

Life is good in the family tent.

Everyone plays until it is dark enough to fall asleep. (And until the parents grow hoarse from reminding them to stop giggling.)
In the end, all the children sleep wonderfully and awaken with joy, glad the warm house with the bathrooms is only a few yards away.

Perfect.


Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. ~Psalm 34:8

Monday, July 13, 2009

Please, go read

THIS.

It's exactly what I needed to read today.

Thanks, again, Diane!

From the Pool

For now, this is taking up all our summer time energy:
video

Okay, well, all of MY summer time energy... they never seem to run out!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Rocket Launch

One of the most fun things we received for Christmas this year was a couple of model rocket kits. Noah and Daniel each have one.

I think what made this the perfect time for this wonderful gift was the landscape in SE Washington. Here in SW Oregon, we'd have to make a real effort to find a place to launch rockets where they wouldn't be lost in trees and bushes and behind hills.

Our front yard at Jubilee was a golf driving range and there were essentially no trees in any direction for at least half a mile. It was PERFECT for rocket launches. We enjoyed many!!








The folks at the Ranch were very interested in the rockets, too. Several of the precious folks there came up to the house to get a better view as the boys launched. The students there even wrote an article about it for the school paper. It made Noah feel like a celebrity!

(For what it's worth: I want to start blogging again, but am finding it very challenging. I thought I'd just jump in with some very old news and photos and see where things go from here... I know it's a little strange, but bear with me!)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

We're Heeeeere

It's been a wild couple of weeks full of company and packing and cleaning and moving and unpacking.

It's still very strange to be here, but good to be back in familiar surroundings. The house is going to be great for our family.

And we seriously have LOTS of room for company, so come and visit us soon!

We've already had our first marshmallow roast on the deck and we fed grilled hot dogs to the amazing group of people who helped us unload our moving trucks. I'm really looking forward to having people over often. It is a great house for entertaining.

I can't remember if I blogged it before and I'm too tired to look right now - we've rented and moved into the house where I grew up, lo, those gazillion years ago. This life of ours is never boring!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Muddy-Frogwater Weekend!

Saturday was a wild and fun day! We set out in the morning for the Walla Walla Balloon Stampede. Everyone was excited and looking forward to seeing a sky full of hot air balloons on a gorgeous, sunny Saturday. Sadly, when we arrived at 10:00, we learned that the balloons are launched at 6:30 AM... Ack! There was not a balloon to be seen anywhere.

Plan B was to explore the festival activities at the fairgrounds. This involved watching half an hour of country line dancing and a few minutes of belly dancing, SE Washington style... Hmmm.

After indulging in a tiny bit of "fair food," Roger was inspired!

We piled back into the van and headed south. My clever husband remembered that he had noticed LOTS of frogs when he had traveled to the little town of Milton-Freewater, Oregon, to watch a basketball game. He declared that we were on a Photo-Frog-Scavenger hunt! As it turns out, there are about 40 frogs scattered around town and we set out to find them...

A wonderful time was had by all.

Here is our crew of expert frog-spotters:


Here is a slide show of the 36 frogs we found, along with the adorable spotters.

video

If you're ever in far NE Oregon, I highly recommend a trip to Milton-Freewater. It's a beautiful town full of gorgeous old houses, nice parks, friendly people, and LOTS of frogs!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Zip Line

Yesterday, we had a long-awaited opportunity to ride the zip line here at the Ranch. Daniel wasn't too sure about the whole thing, but in the end, all the kids gave it a go. Considering the climb up the pole and the crazy jump off the platform, I was very proud of all of them!


Even little Andrew took a brave turn!


The kids reported that this was the scariest part... jumping off...

After watching for a while, this little character demanded a Swiss Seat of his own.

He wanted to climb "up there."
He didn't actually climb the pole and zip down, but we did clip him onto the line and let him slide back and forth a bit. He declared it "SCARY" and then was devastated when we took him down. Ah, so good to be two.


There was also lots of flower picking while waiting for a turn.

Anna enjoyed the actual daring ride the most, by far. She was crazy brave and zipped several times.

All in all, it was a GREAT time. The kids would have stayed and zipped all day long. Even the reluctant riders wanted to try again after watching for a while.

Noah zipped several times and I finally got a video, in spite of my camera's uncooperative afternoon. So much fun!
video


God's grace in the midst of crazy times. He is so very good!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Starting Over... Again...

There is so much to catch up on. And right now, blogging seems like it should be pretty low on my priority list. But I wanted to be sure to mention that we are moving. Again. Back to the Southern Oregon Coast.

There is so much I could write about this.

We are so very disappointed. And, yet, we can see the tremendous way God has protected us in keeping a place for us back where we came from.

We are fully confident that God will work all things together for our good. Just as He promised.

Currently, I need to keep cramming things into boxes and cleaning and making plans, all the while keeping my precious, very excited, little ones fed and clothed and safe and happy.

Sometimes, I think it's better if I don't write it all down... Yikes!

OH, and just a footnote to The Winter of Crazy Illnesses: Roger developed an ear infection last week and about 18 hours from when it started to hurt, his ear drum ruptured. If you call to offer him sympathy, be sure he's not holding the phone to his deaf ear. =)

There's so much more to tell, but I'm not quite ready. I'll keep you posted.

Blessings,
Brenda, Queen of the Nomads

Friday, March 6, 2009

Video on Demand

So, I realized a couple of days ago that it was my one year Blogiversary! And I wondered what I should do about it...

I finally came up with this idea.

For my one year Blogiversary gift, I would love to receive a comment from YOU! And, as a fun twist, I'm inviting your video requests. Let me know if there is a question you would like me to answer, or a child you would like to see perform... or if you would prefer I link to something more interesting, like Cletus Take the Reel, or the Barbecue Song.

Blogging this past year has really been a fun thing. I hope to become more consistent again, now that the crazy move has been made and Winter is almost over and the kids are not in the hospital and the roof is not leaking and, and, well, you know... Surely, we're in for a quiet spell!

Thank you to all of you who have joined me on my blogging journey. I would love to know how you found my little corner of the web, if you'd like to share!

Blessings!
~Brenda

More Video Fun!

video

Video Fun!

I just discovered that I can make videos with the camera we installed for Skype.

Look out, World!! We're having fun now!

video

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Snow Much Fun!

A few days ago, we had the strangest little snow-squall blow through. The weather changed suddenly from sunny and calm to dark and snowing very hard. The texture of the snow was like clumps of styrofoam. In a matter of just an hour or so, there was a blanket of white covering the grass.

Of course, the kids had to scamper outside to "play" in the little skiff of snow. I assured them it wasn't enough to play in.

Boy, was I wrong!

They quickly discovered that the snow had the best texture for rolling giant snow balls. I think the intention was to make a snow man, but the individual balls got so large and heavy that they couldn't stack them.

It was really fun to see the giant lumps of snow sitting there after all the rest had melted. The snow on the ground was gone in a few hours, but the snow balls lasted for days!

Daniel's good buddy came over to play, too.



Mary rolled a gigantic snow ball that became too heavy for her to push.


Daniel and Co. were very proud of their accomplishments.


Andrew came along to help Anna when hers became too heavy to roll any further.


It was a fabulous last bit of winter.

Now we're enduring spring rain and wind and enjoying the sunny days as they come along. It feels so great to get outside more!