Friday, May 30, 2008

things I'm looking forward to... part two

Last night when the kids talked to Joe, he said they'd just had some thunder and lightning.  That will be next on my list.  I LOVE a  good thunder storm!  And it's kind of fun that they occur randomly and then let up and the sun comes out again.  

Before I go any further in my list.. I have to include family.  We're leaving a lot of family and friends here, but we are really looking forward to being near Joe's extended family in Minnesota.  His grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and their kids still live there.  I wish we'd be closer (his dad's side of the family is about an hour away, and his mom's side about three hours or so).  But still, we'll see them much more often than we do now, and they are super sweet people.  Judah is one of four babies born in the last five months on one side of the family.  And there are other cousins that are our other kids' ages.  They had a blast playing together last summer.  We'll also be a little closer to Joe's mom and brother's family in Colorado, and a two-day drive away from my dad and his wife in Florida.  So we'll terribly miss our family and friends here, but we will get to see other family more often, and that's a good thing to look forward to.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

things I'm looking forward to... part one

So I know I was pretty sad in my last post.  But I said there were some things I'm looking forward to about moving also.  I was reminded of one this morning.  We dropped Joe off at the airport last night for his red eye flight to Minnesota.   He'll be there for about two and a half weeks, filling in at the tattoo shop there while one of the other guys is away on vacation.  He's hoping to iron out some details there, and then Judah and I will join him for the end of his trip for some house hunting.  When I got out of the shower this morning, I had a text message from Joe.  He said he had just stopped for breakfast and had wild rice sausage.  That will be the first thing on my list of things I'm looking forward to:  wild rice.  I've never had wild rice sausage, but I bet I'd like it.  Last summer when we were visiting Minnesota, I had wild rice every chance I got.  My favorite was "Wild Chicken Tetrazzini" at a place called Grandma's in Virginia.  I also had wild rice chowder and a wild rice and chicken soup.  Wild rice is a Minnesota thing, and one of the little joys I'm looking forward to.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Ok, here it is.  I had to do it sometime.  Blog about our upcoming move.  I just recently started this blog, so I'm not really letting the cat out of the bag here, announcing a big move to my readers.  If you read this, you probably know me pretty well and know already that there's a big move on our horizon.  But I think I need to do it for me.  

At the end of July, our family of six will be embarking on a new adventure.  Or a past adventure revisited in a new way or something.  Moving to a place very far from here, but where we've lived before.  My husband is very excited about the job opportunity.  And I'm supportive and excited for him.  I know there are new adventures for our family and we have extended family there (sadly a few hours away though)... and we might even be able to buy a house for the first time, which is something I've always hoped to do.  It's a nice place to live.  And I know God will provide a church and friends and it will be a good thing.  But I have to admit, I'm super sad to be moving away from here.  

Our town is not the loveliest of towns.  I'm quite certain it's never topped a list of great places to live.  But the people here are amazing and I'm going to miss them with all of my heart.  We're leaving behind three sisters, three brothers-in-law, eight nieces and a nephew, my mom and her husband, and a whole lot of "family" that we're not technically related to.  

I grew up here and started going to our church about 20 years ago.  The church became family in my teen years when my own family was falling apart.  This family has embraced my husband and our kids, and we've had such special friendships with people here.  The girlfriends that I have here are amazing.  Each one is so precious to me.  Each one, I believe, hand picked by God to create a beautiful bouquet of friendship.  We've laughed together, cried together, worshipped together and prayed together.  We've been roommates on retreats, served in ministry together, and have seen each other through many, many ups and downs.  I've even pulled out their kids' teeth.  We've cooked and cleaned for and with each other, played cards, welcomed new life and grieved losses. Friendship just doesn't get any sweeter.  I'm going to miss them so much.

And the sisters.  Oh my goodness, the sisters (sister-in-law included).  I know that distance can't really separate sisters, but I will so miss the closeness in distance that we have now.  My kids' cousins are their best friends.  I'm so sad that they won't be in each others' face-to-face-on-a-regular-basis lives.  I really haven't let myself think about this very deeply yet.  I'm afraid if I let myself start crying, I might not be able to stop.  When we moved back here 9 years ago, I really thought it was permanent.  We talked about Brooklyn and her cousin Josh going to prom together.  My niece Emily will be getting her drivers license in a couple of years, and probably a boyfriend at some point.  I wanted to be here for things like that.  I love that I can call my sister when one of my kids needs a ride somewhere or to go get coffee or go to a movie.  Or visit my Santa Cruz and Monterey sisters for day trips or meeting them at parks half way between our homes for play days.  (Or have them call when their car breaks down and they need a ride and a place to stay for the night!)  There's no doubt in my mind that we'll still be close, but I'm so sad that I won't be able to see them regularly.

I don't mean for it to sound like I'm totally against this move.  I'm not.  I was part of the decision making process.  And I decided I want a happy husband.  He deserves to be happy in his work and he's super good at what he does.  He's very talented and creative, and being in a job like he was in was sucking the life (and joy) out of him.  So I'm really excited for him.  And I'm looking forward to other things about the move too.  Maybe I'll make a list and blog about those things another day.  But at the same time, I need to grieve the loss of what we're leaving behind, because I think that's important too.  

I'm confident that we'll be fine when we get there.  I totally trust that God will provide a church family and friends for us.  It won't be the same as what we have here, but it will be good in a new way.  I'm sure it will take some time, but I'm willing to be patient.  And I'm sure our family unit will get even closer in the process.  I read a book once that had a line I'll never forget.  I don't remember the title or the author of the book, but it said, "It's amazing what God can do with a broken heart when given all the pieces."  I'll be leaving here broken, but God will have every piece of my brokenness and He'll turn it into something good.

Friday, May 16, 2008


I just joined Curves.  Last week I put a picture on my flickr site which showed my weakness for ice cream and explained my weight loss plan:  to eat up all the ice cream in the house and then not buy more.  If only it were that simple!  I realize that I gave birth just two and a half months ago, but my baby weight seems to be hanging on longer than usual this time.  Maybe its my age.  But probably not.  When I had Mercy, Brooklyn and Zeke went to school down the street from our house, and I walked them to school and then up the big hill home everyday.  I also did some weight lifting at home.  It wasn't long before I was back to pre-pregnancy weight after I had her, without really trying.  This time, we're homeschooling and having a toddler who needs a nap everyday for a few hours after lunch, I don't always get out and get moving.  I had never before considered joining Curves, but last month, a friend from church who works for Curves came to speak to our MOPS group and she made it sound really fun.  She also gave us each a free trial week to check it out, so I decided to give it a try.  Yesterday I went to meet with the owner and made an appointment for this morning.  It was really fun!  I like that you do each station in 30 second periods and I loved the machines.  The time flew by and the other women there were really nice.  I was a little nervous before I went, but I left wishing they'd be open tomorrow so I could go back right away.  I don't have curves yet.  I'd probably describe my shape as scalloped right now.  Judah is our last baby.  I know I have the rest of my life to get in shape, so I'm not obsessing about it.  But it feels good to exercise, and it's nice to get out of the house first thing in the morning.  I came home refreshed and ready for the day.   We're also looking for a bike trailer so we can get riding again.  Brooklyn and Zeke love riding bikes, and Joe and I do too.  Lately we haven't been able to do much more than riding up and down our street, a few of us at a time, while one parent stays back with the little ones or walks along with a stroller.  But we'll get a trailer or a bike seat for them and we can all go on two wheeled adventures again.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mothers Day

The other day I stumbled upon a blog that I really enjoyed.  I have to admit, I've been disappointed on many a Mothers Day in the past.  Like I expect my family to drop everything and spend the entire day showing me how great I am, showing that they notice all the little things I do for them every day.  I don't expect gifts.  But I have longed for recognition and appreciation.  This year I was feeling different.  I decided to spend the day just enjoying being a mother.  Enjoying all four of the children God has blessed us with, and just being thankful for having been chosen to be their mom.  And when I read the mentioned blog, I realized I was not alone.  And she had some great ideas.   Judah is being dedicated in church this morning, which means we'll be on stage.  Not that anyone will be looking particularly at me (we're one of 11 families with new babies since January at our church, and all are being dedicated today!), or that it would matter if they did.  But since I've been lagging in losing my baby weight more this time than ever and most of my clothes still don't fit very well, I saw it as an opportunity to get something new to wear.  We've been very budget conscious lately, so while at Walmart grocery shopping one day, I headed over to the clothing section and bought myself a new top.  I think it was $12 or something.  So I already started my Mothers Day right.. I can feel pretty-ish for the day, and not feel guilty about breaking the bank.  Then, after reading that other mom's blog, I decided to buy a special dessert when I was out yesterday.  And then I came home and got some chicken out of the freezer.  So instead of expecting a lot of fanfare, I'm just going to relax and enjoy my family.  I'm sure Joe will grill the chicken for us, and I'll bet Brooklyn will be more than happy to scrub some potatoes and throw them in the oven.  She'd probably even be into making a salad.  And if not, it's something I can quickly do and then go back to just relaxing.  And the yummy dark chocolatey cheesecakes will be ready for us when dinner's over.  It is a happy Mothers Day.  

I wish I could see my mom today.  I tried to send her flowers but got the address wrong so they won't get there until tomorrow.  I remember when we were young, my sisters and I would try to sneak out early in the morning on Mothers Day to pick her flowers.  I bet she didn't feel very appreciated in those years (though I know she enjoyed the flowers).  She sacrificed a lot.  As a Navy wife, she had to hold down the fort while our dad was away on his submarine.  And she had to deal with all the moves across country every year or two.  That must have been hard.  I admire so many things about her mothering when we were young.  One of the most memorable things is that each morning, we'd wake up to find all the cereal boxes arranged on the table for us so we could pour our own breakfast into our bowls.  She sat nearby, with her coffee and her Bible.  Spending time with Jesus, and quietly making a statement to us about what was important.  She modeled being a godly wife and mom in her daily living.  

Happy Mothers Day to any mom who might be reading this.  I hope your day is great and that you can spend your day just enjoying being a mom, with all the ups and downs, joys and duties.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Common Grounds

Common Grounds , originally uploaded by jjbzmjfam.

I've been involved in lots of ministries over the years. I've been a youth leader, Sunday School teacher, and nursery worker. I've been in several countries on missions trips and prayed with people at altars. I've made many a meal for families with new babies. I've done dramas, served food at funeral meals, and been in leadership for the marriage ministry. I'm on the steering team for our MOPS group, I've been a speaker at retreats. I was in choir and even had a strange singing role in a Singing Christmas Tree several years ago ("ate so much that I feel like a cow, cow, cow!"). But my favorite ministry I've ever been involved in is working in Common Grounds, the coffee shop at our church. It used to be a shed outside, which I fondly called "the coffee shack". I love coffee and I love people. There's something about putting the two together that I get such joy from. This morning I was in Starbucks and noticed a pamphlet from T-mobile. The cover said "Connect over coffee". And that's what happens when those magic little beans do their thing. There's just comfort in that aroma. At the beginning of the year, our church opened a new coffee shop. No longer are we just a shed outside. We have a full counter with all the tools of the trade, and tables and even a couch for people to sit with their warm goodness in a cup and connect. That's where the name came from. We're all about relationships, and we wanted to create a place where people could connect in a non-threatening way, a place to find what they have in common, to relate in a real, non churchy way. I have the pleasure of working the first Sunday of each month, and on Wednesday nights. I love being there, getting to know people and chatting for a few minutes while they patiently wait for me to finish their drinks. I've learned what a lot of them like and can start their drinks before they even order. I love that. It's like the guy at Baskin Robbins who knows my favorite ice cream flavors. You feel special when someone takes the time to know you, and know what you like. That's how I want to be with people who come to Common Grounds. You really don't have to be preaching a sermon or teaching a class to reach out to someone. Sometimes just serving them a cup of coffee with a smile is exactly what they need.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Two weeks ago our fourth baby was born.  The birth was amazing.  I had him at home in a waterbirth tub.  Both of our boys were born this way.  It's just coincidence that our girls were born in hospitals.  Each birth was special.  Each time a precious life joined our family.  We are truly blessed.  I have to admit though, I'm tired.  We had our first baby just days before I turned 25.  Now she's 10....

...  That was the beginning of a blog entry I started a few weeks ago.  I don't remember now why I never got a chance to finish.  Sadly, there are other things these days that I start and forget to finish.  Like laundry.

I have a friend who had her fifth baby a few months before I had our fourth.  She had always wanted six, but after number five, she kept saying "I'm getting too old for this!".  I thought that was silly.  She's a few years younger than me, and I felt great.  I had another wonderful pregnancy.  I truly love being pregnant, and even enjoy labor and delivery.  It's so amazing and incredible.  But afterwards, I feel it.  Especially this time.  Another amazing birth experience, but the contracting uterus pains afterwards (for several days) were not fun.  And engorgement was not so good either.  It took until just recently for my little guy to have a good latch so that it finally doesn't hurt so much when I feed him.  We decided even before he was born that this was our "fourth and final".  And I'm ok with that.  I love being a mom.  I love that each of our kids has their own personality and gifts.  Brooklyn is our creative one.  Our planner.  You throw out an idea and she'll run with it, planning out every detail.  Zeke is thoughtful and sensitive, and also very athletic.  He loves skateboarding, and I just learned from watching Extreme Makeover Home Edition last week, that he's into le parkour.  There's actually a name for all the crazy jumping, spinning moves he does around the house.  Mercy is a bundle of joy and energy.  And she's at that age where she's always saying something that I should be writing down.  Like the other night when she tried to climb a tree. She didn't get very far, but then she backed away and looked up at it and proclaimed, "MY God made that tree!"  Judah is very sweet and mellow.  He's starting to smile and trying to make sounds and talk to us.  But mostly he still sleeps, and when he's awake, he's very content.

Little Judah is now two months old, and I think I'm getting the hang of this, having four kids.  I'm not always on time anymore, and grocery shopping with all of them is not my favorite, but life is good.  More correctly, God is good.  He's been so sweet to me, answering so many big and simple prayers.   I'm not a great mom.  I forget things and loose my temper and don't always have clean socks for them to wear.  But I love them with all my heart and am trying to savor every moment I have with them.