1. A friend, I cannot say a good friend, because she is more an acquaintance level friend, is having a very hard go of it right now. Or really for the past 3 years, honestly.

I knew a bit, but not the depth of it. Until Saturday.

And she has been very much in my thoughts and prayers since then. Why do we never reach out? Us mothers? Why do we never tell anyone when life gets a bit hard? Or really hard? Or near insufferable? Why do we never take care of ourselves?

2. The boys are playing outside in the rain, footie pajamas + rain boots + sweaters + hats + flashlights. It's adorable. When they come back in it will be all homemade cinnamon rolls and hot black tea (because my children love black tea and hate hot chocolate...because there is something wrong with them).

3. I spent some time this week figuring out the new Facebook. I hated it. I can see why they did it the way they did (although even THAT took an hour) but it wasn't serving my purpose very well.

Anyways, it ended up all for the better because it inspired me to really think about what my purpose on Facebook is...and to then reorganize it to better suit that.

Yesterday I finally implemented those "lists" everyone's been squawking about and yes, I think now I get it. My new plan now that I have my "close friend list" is to really only keep up with that. I decided the perimeters for being a "close friend" were A. that it was a relationship that I wanted to devote real time to fostering, and B. that the persons updates and links were positive to my life, not negative. It was surprising how often the two didn't meet and it took soul searching, and hard, hard deletions.

I tend to be addicted to friendships even when they aren't adding anything positive to my life. Facebook has, if anything, quadrupled the problem as its that much harder to let go. It isn't good for me, though, to have so many draining relationships, and so little time left over to spend on relationships that I wish were stronger.

Using the same "positive only" rule I even pared back my google reader subscriptions to 22! I'm so proud of myself.

Oh the time I'll have....

4. I hinted towards prayers and decisions to be made before. I can go so far as to say that Josh and I are looking for a new church (again, yet again). I cant say yet where we are moving... If you are the praying type keep us in yours. We're sick of being homeless.

5. I'm going to admit that life is just a bit hard right now. I'm a tiny bit down, and finding it difficult to get back up. It's the rain, and a slight cold, a bit of stress about deadlines and to-do lists mixed in, family drama. I'm trying to take care of myself- taking all the right pills, giving myself a little bit of a housework and parenting perfection break. But I'm also going to reach out a bit.

The Table

It's funny how a bout of the flu can freeze time. We've spent the morning cuddling, reading, singing, telling stories, and watching movies- all in our pajamas and with nary a care towards what time or day it is, and very little more towards the basket of towels that need to be folded or the dishes piled 3 feet high in the sink.

Cries of "Help! My poop is water and it's all over my chair!" aside, it has been rather nice.

I wish we could capture this kind of calm without the necessity of a sickness or snow storm. When did I forget the value of a day of rest?

Values. They are slippery beasts. You place them neatly in a row and then realize while you were distracted living they went ahead and re-ordered themselves into a new list. The ones that were meant for the top have slipped far enough down that you can't see them anymore and others that you placed very firmly at the bottom are apparently creeping upwards.

All of this is besides the point however, because what I really wanted to show off was my "new" kitchen table.

I spent a chunk of my labor day weekend painstakingly sanding our kitchen table and chairs down by hand (except the table top which got the electric sander treatment). It was just the kind of work I enjoy best, however, keeping me outdoors with hands busy and a mind free.

As I sanded bars and corners and seats and legs I prayed for the bums that would grace them. Now there is a value that I have placed very high on the list in my mind but tends to drop in the list that I'm living. I firmly believe in the power of prayer, and at least now I know that table is generously soaked in it. These are the things that matter.

The painting process required more concentration, and since it was performed late at night, in our garage, it made me a bit woozy besides. But when Josh had carried it back into the house I went over the entire surface with some wood wax, and another "protective coat" of prayer.

It struck me while I worked how very much of our lives revolve around this tiny room; how many of our conversations are held here. This in a very real way, could be called the center of our family; where at least some combination of us meet 3 or even 4 times every day. It's where we have our meals obviously, but its also where we entertain, where we home school, where we do crafts, its often my "desk" while I blog, or plan meals, or write thank you cards, or letters. It is most often where I read my bible.

I've never refurnished any furniture before, and honestly I'm not sure how long the paint will last. It may chip. I may regret that clean white after the 1,000th spill or 100th time it's been colored on or the 1,000,000th time I've wiped off handprints. But I cant say that I'll regret the time I spent working on it.

I find that I did a lot more then update the look.

Bye Summer

This weekend marked the end of summer for our family. Last vacation over. Weather noticeably cooler. Preschool (at home) officially begun. Summer decorations boxed away and autumn decorations placed out. Storage containers of long pants and sweaters sitting in the bottom of the boys closet, waiting to be sorted.

We said goodbye/hello in high fashion, though. We spent the morning of Saturday at Greenbluff, picking nectarines and the first of the apples.

Then whiled the afternoon away with a visit from good friends.
(TV- the babysitters secret weapon)

Sunday morning was the usual rhythm of church, lunch, nap/dog park. But after that we went to enjoy the last day of the county fair. The boys seemed to each have a very distict goal for the evening. Zeke- to ride a horse.

Malachi- to touch as many animals as possible. But in particular a llama.

Its bittersweet as always. Fall is my favorite season but summer is oh-so-fun.

(420-442 )

I'm post-vacation exhausted and I have a to-do list 4 miles long. Vacation-worthy laundry piles, trips to the library, the grocery store, and home depot (I need some furniture wax to finish our refinished table). At least half my list is phone calls, emails, and meetings for this event, which I'm planning.

I have another 4 mile list of blog posts rambling around in this head of mine. All unfinished. It's getting so noisy up in that noggin that I'm almost unable to even attempt to finish any one of them though, so I'm going to have to carve time to purge.

Zeke and I start preschool-at-home next week. We're doing a homegrown literature based curriculum two days a week and I'm scrambling today to put the finishing touches on our plans. I had at first thought we'd start with fairy tales but then decided Zeke isn't quiiite there. Maybe this winter? We're beginning with Going on A Bear Hunt, instead. A family favorite. Then transitioning into another bear classic, Blueberries for Sal.

How we will fit two mornings a week at home doing "school" on top of mindful mamas, weekly mobius, homeschool co-op, library story time, and regularly scheduled playdates is beyond me. I'm reassessing and reevaluating how we spend our days. Daily and weekly rhythms are ready for updates now that this is a distinctly baby-free zone and summer is fading fast. I'm afraid that its going to be mindful mamas that's cut, or at least dropped to a very low priority. In many ways we've outgrown the group but I've been going for over 3 years now. I've never been a mom without the mamas and its going to be scary to let go.

On top of that Josh has spent very serious time praying while I was gone and big changes may be coming for our family and the way we practice our faith. It's going to cause ripples in just about every direction if it does.

In two weeks I'll have been counting for a year. I had sort of hoped to reach 565 by the 565th day. That's not going to happen. In the last month especially I have lost the habit of counting. But I'm still chugging along. Re-commiting to joy, to finding the littlest moments of grace.

420. Homemade (and grown) pesto.

421. Driving with the music up way too loud.

422. Books you've read so many times they are like old friends.

423. Riding bicycles.

424. Weeks of work paying off.

425. Ice.

426. The happy stompings of brand new tennis shoes.

427. Homemade pizza.

428. Sunset walks.

429. Water slides.

430. Instant friendships.

431. New family members.

432. Anniversaries.

433. Puppies.

434. The hottest day of the year.

435. Count downs.

436. Little boys with smeared lipstick demanding for a kiss.

437. Sweet tea with some extra "sweet".

438. Long long drives with never a hiccup.

439. Time to think.

440. Wrestling matches.

441. Uncles.

442. The majesty of God's creation. The drive from Spokane to Boise and vice versa is not the prettiest drive ever; I don't even take the prettiest route available. But any views of nature at all bring awe and worship.

Just for fun:

July/August Garden Update

I kind of fell off the gardening update bandwagon and didn't even realize it until I sat down to write a different blog post. Sorry. I'll allow that other to further ferment and do my best to catch you up on what happened in the garden the last two months.

High summer never did arrive...or if it did it was only for two weeks at the very end of August...and the garden certainly felt it. Certain plants just never thrived the way they should have, :(. But all-in-all I am pretty happy with this, my second year gardening. I definitely learned some things to implement next year. We will take the tour round, bed by bed.

Bed 1, which housed my "spring produce" of lettuce, spinach, and peas died out in mid July. They all three produced amazingly well.

8 lettuce heads and 2 spinach heads, re-planted as they are pulled, was the perfect amount for our family. A steady and manageable over-flow. I was particularly pleased with the lettuce, as last year I found it kind of bitter and soft. Thru experimentation I found that a good watering right before harvest made my lettuce crisp and wonderful. Also, I think the cooler weather this spring helped :)

The peas we could have used more of. We harvested a small bowl nearly every morning and yet we could have used more. What can I say? My kids enjoy peas more then anything else out of the garden. Oh, yes, I had mentioned that I planted 30 peas at the beginning of April, and 30 at the end. In all honestly, it seemed like they produced equal amounts and at the same time. In the future I will probably just plant them all at once- at the end. Germination rates were much better with that planting, and it gives me more time to get all the beds in order.

I had planned on doing an August re-planting (for fall harvest) of all three, but alas never got around to it. Dare I admit the weather and limited success of the year has gotten me down? Instead I planted a ground cover and let the bed rest.

Bed 2 housed my green beans. I planted both bush and pole beans, and surprisingly (to me) the bush beans produced a lot better. I planted bush beans last year as well, and after being talked into it by many, many people decided to try pole as well...and I've got to admit that next year I'm going back to bush only :)

early July.

Some of that, I will admit, is just that I hate climbing plants...I can never find a cheap/easy to install/low maintanance/well functioning trellis system. Dangling yarn worked great for the peas...not so well for the beans (which are much heavier plants).

I was doubtful about fitting 9 bush bean plants per square foot (ala square foot gardening method) but I didn't notice the plants suffering any...although finding the beans was a bit of a jungle!

Bed 3 belonged to my corn.

Poor, poor corn. It looks very pretty but I'm not sure it will produce anything. We will see. Either way I think this will end my corn adventures. Its too cheap, too hard to get a harvest, and takes up too much space! I'm going to use this bed for potatoes next year. My current potato bed (as we will later discuss) is too shady.

Bed four is where I kept my tomato and carrots. The bad news is, while the cherry tomatoes are doing wonderfully (not that I've enjoyed many or even really had much of an idea of how many there are- the kids keep eating them!) my full tomato plants only have 1-2 small tomatoes per plant. Grr!! Tomatoes are Josh's fav garden food and after the wild success I had last year, this is really disheartening! I'm blaming the weather. My tomatoes got really really damaged from the cold early on and I dont think they ever recovered.

Next year I'm going to re purpose the green bean trellis into a makeshift hotbed (adding some clear plastic). No cold tomato plants allowed!!

The good news is the carrots did amazing!! All 120 of them ;) We've been picking a few for snack or dinner every few days since mid July and we've really just made a dent. They are good now, but after the first frost of the year they will be even better (if there are any left!)

Bed 5, the last but not least of the raised beds was the squash bed. 2 Zuchinni and 3 Winter Squash varieties. The zuchinni did ok...just ok, and its zuchinni! Like the easiest thing ever to grow!

The winter squash is a pretty utter failure. We have 1 between the 3 plants. Part of the problem was a major bug attack early in the summer...and this is the area where my green beans were kept last year (which where also attacked by bugs!!). Not sure what to do about that. The other part was the cold weather, I suspect. The kept growing huge gorgeous flowers that fell off :(

Oh well. I will try again next year, and probably squish a few more plants in. They are pretty spaced out and I realized that if they get too crowded I could always let the vines grow "out of the box" as it were. I want at least 3 zuchinni I think, and 4 winter squash...maybe 6...

In the fruit bed I had strawberries which produced pounds, and pounds, and pounds of neverending fruit. Honestly I got sick of strawberries and had to start giving them away because the yard smelled of jam from all the rotting berries left on the plant. My children wont even look a strawberry in the face, and its been a month. So yeah, that was successful.

spent strawberries

The raspberries were in their first year so no fruit, but the look like they are doing well. We will see what happens next year. They still seem rather teeny to me.

The potato/onion bed was a last minute addition. And poorly chosen, because it only gets about 5 hours of sun a day. The onion never did survive that hail storm in June, they slowly died after that. The problem is that our roof dumped the hail right onto them :(

The potatoes look like they are doing well, above ground. They sprouted the most lovely little purple flowers. We will see soon how well they did below-ground. Hopefully well, because I want to see some purple pototoes!! Either way Im going to move them into a raised bed next year where the will get more sun.

And I think this previously-known-as-the-potato-and-onion bed will become a flower bed. There are plenty of partial sun flowers I can plant in there and Zeke's flower garden was a complete and total fail. I need to just accept the fact that that particular section of our yard is the "dirt box". I planted squash in it last year...which got trampled by a digging boy. And this year I planted flowers...which got trampled by 2 digging boys. They never stood a chance. If I want a cutting garden, its going to have to be on "my" territory.

As far as my corner herbs go, I hate to admit it but I almost never used them! Oops. I made pesto once with the basil, and salsa with fresh cilantro once, and fish with fresh dill once. I'm just not in the habit of having them I suppose...

They did look really pretty when I let them all flower :)