Taking Life One Step At A Time

Taking Life One Step At  A Time

Saturday, October 30, 2010

100 Things

1. My dream job as a child was to be a wife and mother. I am living the dream.
2. In early spring I will find patches of sunlight and sit in them. Doesn't matter where they are, I just need the sun!
3. I cannot make good sound effects for guns, bombs, cars, airplanes or anything else boys love.
4. I'm always barefoot indoors, but hate to be barefoot outdoors.
5. Cleaning bathtubs is the bane of my existence.
6. I'm a chronic list-maker.
7. My two front teeth on the bottom were knocked out by my sister as she did a kartwheel.
8. I don't have a favorite color, but will claim blue just to give a short answer.
9. My first time using a lawn mower was at age 31.
10. I craved the smell of Comet with one pregnancy.
11. When sledding at night I used to be terrified that wolves would get me.
12. I had "notes" written out for all of our bridesmaids and groomsmen at our wedding rehearsal. Yes, I'm like that.
13. I'm terrified of spiders.
14. I can't listen to classical music unless I can sit and REALLY listen with complete focus.
15. I think leaf rubbings should be a part of every fall season.
16. My parents gave me coffee in my bottle because I didn't like milk. That may explain a lot.
17. My favorite place in the world is a little camp in the Berkshires of Massachusetts.
18. I didn't really learn to ride a bike until I was 10 or 11.
19. I didn't appreciate the simplicity of life with only one or two young children until I had three or four.
20. My braces came off the day AFTER school pictures were taken.
21. I eat whole tomatoes, raw potatoes and love most other veggies.
22. My best friend in the whole world is my husband.
23. I found the love of my life at age 17. I'm sure I'll be freaked out by that when my kids are 17!
24. Clean baby is my favorite smell.
25. I collect china and Kim Anderson figurines.
26. I have a very good memory. Especially about childhood events.
27. As a child I took ice skating, swimming,gymnastics, tennis, violin and piano lessons.
28. All that and I'm still not very athletic.
29. I have no cousins. Although I married into a family with tons of cousins!
30. I always try to have my Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving. And my cards go out the first week of December.
31. I religiously make the bed before getting into it at night.
32. A&E's Pride and Prejudice is my all time favorite movie.
33. I have a very high pain tolerance - unless it involves throat pain.
34. I love to plan and organize events.
35. Japanese food is heavenly - not sushi {yuck!}, but hibachi.
36. Loved the college years.
37. Hated the high school years.
38. Reading silly kids books with my children is a delightful way to pass the time.
39. The Smurfs was my favorite cartoon growing up.
40. The only feet I like are baby feet.
41. I once played a violin solo for thousands of people in a huge arena.
42. I believe that everyone is beautiful and if you look deep enough you'll find beauty even in those you don't like.
43. I hope to teach at least one child how to speak German.
44. We have redneck curtains in our living room.
45. I bake for fun but cook out of necessity.
46. I'm not really a morning or night person. I love sleep!
47. Packages in the mail make the whole day better.
48. My personality is the exact opposite of my husband's.
49. I love hymns.
50. I miss hearing my Nana hum as she cooked.
51. I threw up on my first grade teacher.
52. My first time at Toys R Us and Chuck E Cheese was as an adult.
53. Every year I have standing rib roast and yorkshire pudding on my birthday.
54. I want to learn how to improvise more while playing the violin.
55. I believe that punctuality equals respect.
56. I once dyed my hair orange.
57. I was E.T. for several Halloweens.
58. I love to mud dive but haven't since college.
59. I hope to someday take my family to see the Swiss Alps and Salzburg, Austria.
60. I'm a stubborn mix of Swedish and German.
61. My favorite verses are from Isaiah 43:1-3.
62. Time with my husband is essential! It rejuvenates me.
63. I love to paint my toenails, but never paint my fingernails.
64. I have never pieced my ears or any other part of my body.
65. Soccer is my favorite sport to watch.
66. My hairstyle in 8th grade was hideous. But then, who's wasn't?
67. I have paid to go in a hot air balloon, but have yet to get on the flight.
68. I deliberately work to interest my kids in shows I loved as a child - partly so that I can watch them again.
69. I had 8 Cabbage Patch Kids as a child.
70. I really don't like moving. Although unpacking is fun.
71. I have learned about all things Star Wars since having children.
72. I sent my first "love note" to a boy in first grade. My big sister helped me with the bubble letters.
73. I am amazingly calm when my children are hurt or in danger. But if the milk spills, you'd better watch out!
74. I love Pepsi. Never diet.
75. I'm not artistic. I'm crafty.
76. As a child, the only allergy I tested positive for was sawdust. Ironically, I love the smell and will put up with the sneezing for as long as possible.
77. I feel guilty whenever I pass a child's lemonade stand and don't stop.
78. I started cross stitching baby blankets for my kids. They will now be for my grandchildren.
79. After visiting concentration camps I can no longer read or watch anything about World War II.
80. Sitting in the dark with a lit Christmas tree and gentle music is my favorite part of the Christmas season.
81. Alarm clocks have the ability to stress me out faster than anything else.
82. I often dream of people that God wants me to pray for. If I don't pray for them, I'll dream of them night after night. Sometimes it's people I haven't seen in decades.
83. I've endured inducement, back labor, an epidural, no pain meds, an emergency C-section, a VBAC and a homebirth.
84. I know how to polka.
85. I miss the joy of getting snail mail instead of emails.
86. I have read every Beverly Lewis book.
87. I can't rollerskate. And I'm pretty bad at iceskating too.
88. I can remember childhood friends' phone numbers and birthdates.
89. I have a tendency to break watches. I've given up wearing them.
90. I deeply miss the ocean each summer.
91. My dream vacation is to take my kids to the camp I attended as a child.
92. Tradition is very important to me.
93. The summer before college was a defining time in my life.
94. Hearing about someone's life journey is my favorite moment in making a new friend.
95. Dvorak is my favorite composer.
96. When making a list, I will write things that I've already accomplished simply to cross them off.
97. I have large gaps in my memory for the 9 months of each pregnancy.
98. I prefer silver to gold.
99. Music can absolutely affect my mood.
100. I'm continually thankful that God teaches me through everyday moments.

Plugged In

My youngest did this today:

Yup. And I saw this as I sat across the room from where he was unlocking the outlet:

Well, not exactly. But close. There were definitely crazy sparks flying in the room!

Sadly, this is the second time I've had a child try to electrocute themselves. My second son placed a penny on the prongs of his plugged-in baby monitor during naptime several years ago and just about set our apartment on fire. A large section of the wall was black. And he later told me about the "blue lights" that scared him (sparks).

So today, I am doubly thankful that God watches my children even when I think I am keeping a close eye on them. They may be in the same room as me, yet I don't always know what those little hands are up to. But God does! I'm so glad that He cares and sees. Because His eyes never grow tired and His care is more than I can fathom.

That's a very reliable and necessary fact for a tired and sometimes unattentive mom.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Crippled by Fear

I have a child who is terrified of spiders. And today, that fear climaxed in his unwillingness to touch a book that had a spider on the cover. It took a half hour of work to get him to finally touch it and put it away, and that half hour was pure torture.

So naturally, I've been reflecting on fear. Someone recently made a comment about a Bible story that really made a profound difference for me.

This person was talking about the story of when Jesus calmed the storm. He had gone in a boat with his disciples and had fallen alseep in the boat despite a loud and turbulent storm. His disciples were terrified for their lives and finally woke Jesus out of desperation. Jesus got up, calmed the wind and the waves and then turned to his disciples and said, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"

Now, typically when people look at this passage, they focus on the display of Jesus' power and come away with the realization that he is Lord of all creation. Rightly so. But there's another thing to notice here.

Why is it that Jesus is able to sleep through a storm that has his disciples paralyzed with fear? Perhaps he was tired. Well, likely he was. He had just been preaching to large crowd for quite some time and was likely exhausted. But even a storm can wake you from a deep sleep.

No, there's a different reason why Jesus slept. He wasn't afraid.

Well, why not? Because Jesus had complete trust in his Father! There was no need for him to fear. He knew that his days were measured out and that no storm or evil intention or angry crowd could cause him harm without his Father's consent. I can't think of a single time in Jesus' life where the Bible says he was afraid. He had no need to be.

Imagine the implications of this! I mean, really, how many times does the Bible say, "So do not fear"!! The fears that I have ultimately come down to a lack of trust in my heavenly Father. Likewise the fears my children have are a lack of trust in God.

So, my challenge today is to teach my son that trusting God encompasses all aspects of life. Even dealing with ugly spiders, or being in the dark or feeling alone. God is with us, he sees us and he's a whole lot bigger than whatever we may fear.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Oh, Be Careful Little Eyes ....

Ya know, you do all you can to protect your children's eyes and keep them innocent. We do our very best to keep our children from seeing images of scantily clad women and men, violence and other scary things. We moniter our kids' use of the internet and the television, we watch what magazines and books enter our home and we do what we can to distract them from seeing less-than-wholesome bilboards and advertisements.

But, there are some things you just can't plan for. Like the boy who decides to show your young daughter his privates. Yeah, thanks for doing that, little boy. My girl has been scarred and will always have that image in her mind.

To her credit, she's a smart cookie and told her brothers about it, who in turn told Mom and Dad. And as much as I am upset by this (we'll be talking with the boy's parents), just moments later I was able to marvel over her sweet innocence.

Apparently my sweet daughter has taught herself how to tie laces. We've never worked with her on it, but just from watching her brothers, she has figured it out. One smart cookie! When we found out about this new talent, Josh took her on his lap and hugged her, telling her how beautiful AND smart she is. We joked about needing to lock her up until she's 33 since she's such a sweet, smart, beautiful girl.

And my darling girl turned to her Dad and said, "Well, if you lock me up, you'd better lock up Mom too. Because she's beautiful and knows how to tie too!" Awww, that's sweet!

But, unfortunately, her ability to tie is not the reason we'd like to lock her up. It's so difficult to protect girls in this day and age. I recently read that 40% of girls aged 9-10 years old have tried to lose weight!** 40%!!! I have a 10 year old. And I can't imagine him being concerned about something like weight. And yet, many girls his age are. I find it just incredible that girls are getting the message from adults, TV, ads, magazines, etc. that they must look a certain way and act a certain way to be noticed. Yes, in this culture, I'd love to keep my daughter sheltered. Wouldn't you?

As much as I try though, things will seep through my barriers and my innocent girl will see them. So, my biggest weapon is prayer. Prayer that I can be a vigilant mother and prayer that my children will not be affected by the unwholesome things they do occasionally see or experience. Prayer that the things I am teaching them from God's word will have more of an impact than the things that they encounter when accosted by a friend or a ronchy bilboard. Yup, this should drive me to my knees.

** Taken from Dr. James Dobson's book Bringing Up Girls

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Clock is Ticking

I've been thinking about the statement that I heard most often as we began homeschooling a year ago. "Ali, you are giving up your life!"

Oh how I agreed with that statement. I felt that all my dreams and desires were being cast aside for the greater good. Or at least what I hoped would be the greater good. My dream of sending the kids off to school and then sitting in a sunny spot with a cup of coffee and my Bible in a quiet room was no longer something that would happen. I would never have a wonderfully clean house and time for friends to come over for a visit during the day.

Instead, my priorities and dreams have had to shift. But I don't consider this a bad thing.

Voddie Baucham's book, Family Driven Faith, has this wonderful quote: "Time is precious, and you only get one chance to raise your children. They are only young once, and they are only in your home for a short while. Once they are born the clock starts ticking, and there is nothing you can do to stop it or slow it down. Your only hope is to make the most of the time you have." I have to agree with Voddie. I can already see how quickly my children are growing up and how ridiculously fast the hours, days, months and years rush by.

So, as a parent, what is to be our priority? Here's what the Bible says in Deutoronomy 6:4-9 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

This comes just after the 10 commandments are given. So, we are to be teaching our children about the Lord and how to love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. That sounds like a full time job to me!

Now, I'm not trying to advocate for homeschooling. I think each family has to decide what is best for their children and for their family. However, this should have serious application for our family life in general and our home life specifically. What are you doing to teach these things to your children? Beyond sending them to church or AWANA? Did you know that the majority of kids brought up in the church will leave it by the time they are teens?! That means that the Church itself is not the answer. You, parent, are the one who must teach and train your children!

So, as I consider my life and look at my priorities, I must continually be asking myself if what I am doing lines up with this mandate from Deuteronomy 6. And if it doesn't, perhaps my priorities and dreams are not the best they could be. We'll all have time once our kids leave the nest. Right now, we have a short time to mold and train our children. And so I ask myself, "How can I best do this?" For me, the asnwer comes in homeschooling, family devotions, relinquishing activities that are just schedule fillers, realizing my potential as a mother by teaching my children what is most important. These are all really hard decisions to make. But will they pay off? You betcha! For there is truly no greater privilege than raising children who love the Lord. What changes do you need to make?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Marching in the Infurry

For posterity's sake, I wanted to record my son's favorite song and how he sings it. Normally when we sing this song, he belts it out at the top of his lungs and brings smiles to all around:

The Lord's Army:

I may never march in the infurry
Ride in the calorie
Shoot the atillilly
I may never zoom o the enemy
But I'm in the Lord's army (Yes sir!)

Oh how I love kid speak! I just don't have the heart to correct it. :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Humble Pie

We have a good friend who works at our local Christian radio station. We love to hear her cheerful voice on the radio and always listen in when Ann is speaking.

So today, as we piled in the car and drove from guitar lesson to the grocery store, we turned up the radio and let Ann's voice fill our car.

I was particularly interested in what she was saying. She was relating to listeners a story about how her oldest child had once showed his anger by sitting outside and refusing to come in for dinner or bedtime. Of couse, as we all know, toddlers rarely stay angry for long and are often ruled by their stomachs. So the errant child quickly came in and resolved his differences with mom.

But then Ann began to share about a friend who's son showed some of the same tendencies and decided to nonverbally declare his opinion. I know several of Ann's friends and figured I might know who she was talking about. But even if I didn't, I still was anxious to hear about this stubborn child and to feel a little less lonely in my own struggle with stubborn children.

As Ann told the story, I listened carefully, waiting to have a good chuckle. She described a little boy who was angry with his mom. A little boy who chose to show his anger by ... PEEING on his mother! {Gasp!!!}

Imagine my shock!

It wasn't shock over what you think. Yes, it's horrible that a child would willfully pee on their parent to vent some anger. But my shock was that it was MY child that Ann was referring to!!!

You see, a year or so ago, just after potty training our youngest, he went through a (thankfully) very short phase of peeing on me when he was angry. You could actually see his body tense up as he forced himself to empty his bladder. Yes, you could see it coming, but never be quick enough to escape it. And I was the only lucky beneficiary of said behavior. Yuck.

I had a hearty laugh as I remembered that particular streak of subbornness in my child. And I had a bit of humility forced upon me as well. Here I was, all ready to laugh at someone else's expense, and instead the tables are turned. At least I'm glad people are enjoying the struggles I've gone through in raising this particularly ornery child! Oh my, how he enriches my life!

So thanks Ann, for the reminder of something that I really shouldn't forget (I'll make sure he knows that he deserves every ornery act that his children someday dish out!), and for the laugh from days gone by.

If you make a mom a bookcase ...

If you make a mom a bookcase ...
She'll need to clear a space for it.

And if she needs to clear a space for it ...
She'll realize the carpet looks dingy.

If she realizes the carpet looks dingy ...
She will have to clean the carpet.

And if she's cleaning one carpet ...
She might as well clean them all!

If the carpets are going to get cleaned ...
The walls should be washed.

If the walls are getting washed ...
The dusting should be done.

To accomplish the dusting ...
The clutter must be decluttered.

For the clutter to vanish ...
Mom will need a new bookcase.

Happy fall cleaning week to us! (And thanks, honey, for the bookcase.)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pumpkin Goodness!

It's pumpkin season and I've decided to try cooking and freezing my own pumpkins this year. It adds such richness to any pumpkin recipe to have it fresh instead of using the canned stuff.

To cook a pumpkin:
1. Buy pie or cooking pumpkins. These are generally smaller and can be found at veggie stands and in some grocery stores.
2. Slice the pumpkin in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds.

3. Place the pumpkin halves peel-side up in a baking dish and add about a 1/2 inch of water.
4. Cook the pumpkin in the oven at 450 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour.
5. Once out of the oven, scoop the meat out of the pumpkin and place in a blender or food processor.
6. Blend until smooth.
7. Pumpkin freezes well or can be kept in the fridge for about 5 days. {I had planned to can pumpkin, but read that it's not recommended since pumpkin has a lower acidity level and bacteria can grow even after canning. However, I'm not 100% certain on that, so do your own research!}

I've had several people request the recipe I use for pumpkin cookies, so here it is. This is a recipe from Josh's Grandma and is a favorite amongst all Brumbaugh men!

Pumpkin Cookies:
1C shortening
1C pumpkin
1C sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream these first five ingredients together until smooth.

2C flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix well and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. These should come out soft!

Once the cookies are cooled, make the frosting.
3 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp milk
1/2C brown sugar

Boil these three for two minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Then add 1C powdered sugar.

This should be slightly runny - not like normal frosting. Frost cookies and enjoy!

Of course, no pumpkin blog would be complete without a great pumpkin soup recipe. This soup really gets it's greatness from using fresh pumpkin, so if you have it on hand, I highly recommend it!

Creamy Pumpkin Soup: (Serves 8) prep: 10 min Cook: 20 min.
1 ½ Medium Onion Chopped 3 Cans Chicken Broth
3 Tablespoons Butter 2 ½ Cups Sliced Peeled Potatoes
2 ½ Cups Canned Cooked Pumpkin 2 ½ Cups Milk
¾ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg ¾ Teaspoon Salt
¼ Teaspoon Pepper 1 ½ Cups Sour Cream
2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley 4 Bacon Strips, cooked & crumbled

In a large saucepan, sauté onion in butter until tender.
Add the broth, potatoes and pumpkin; cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat; cool.
Puree half of the mixture at a time in a blender or food processor until smooth; return all to the pan.
Add the milk nutmeg, salt and pepper; heat through.
Meanwhile, combine the sour cream and parsley.
Spoon soup into bowls; top each with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with bacon.

Happy Pumpkin Eating!!!