Tuesday, July 27, 2010

a new home

we began moving july 15th and have been in the process ever since! good thing we allowed ourselves time; i can't lift much and go at a snail's pace, plus have the regular meal-making and household tasks on my hands. thomas is leaving for feldenkrais studies in san francisco on wednesday, and will be gone for two weeks. we are "settled in" enough now, to be able to welcome a baby, even though my nesting instincts are not satisfied with the cleaning and the boxes... here, some visuals of the first day of our moving. we LOVE being in this house! it is like a palace to us, and such a different feel, having our own place.

moving boxes hastily in the rain!

our new home
lovely light on the far mountain (this is the entrance to the guest apartment)
living room (yep, we got a free couch and free curtains!)
the girls' room! (complete with toddler bed for sparrow from a neighbor)
the view from the office
in the master bedroom

master bedroom/master bath area

Thursday, July 22, 2010

a good heart

yesterday, another hot day. me: grumpy, tired, and tomato staking not going so well. moving slowly to keep up with everything while my little ones move about like lightning bugs. sparrow found a pink rock right outside the door and i heard it drop onto the tile floor a few times. i sternly warned her as many times not to throw rocks in the house. she came into the kitchen a few minutes later and simply THREW it, i don't know what she was thinking, but i suddenly became a shrieking banshee as i screeched, "HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU NOT TO THROW ROCKS IN THE HOUSE!!!" i picked up the rock and threw it out the front door, knowing it was a special rock to her... then she surprised me completely. she hung her head and said to me, "mom, i wish God would give me a good heart." ohhhhh, my sparrow! it pierced me to my own bad heart that she felt her sin thus, and showed such remorse, when i was still in the middle of my own tantrum! i knelt down beside her and hugged her and apologized. then i got to tell her that God IS giving her a good heart, He promised! she invited Jesus into her heart about a year ago (07-08-09) and she is already being so affected by His Spirit. praise God for His continual conviction of my attitude.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

tomato staking, day 3

right. progress! i love that when you make intense changes in your life, you can usually see changes pretty immediately. i have only been tomato staking for three days and i can already see sparrow's attitude toward home getting so much better.

if the first day was easy, yesterday was HARD. i wrote in the family journal, "HOW do people sustain this over a period of time?" it was HOT in the kitchen, i was cooking roast chicken, i felt i could not think or move faster than molasses... it took me about an hour to make a simple salad, i think. the girls were a bit grumpier than the day before. i tried to sit and do a craft with them while i was making dinner, but it took way longer than expected, then dinner was late, and when our neighbor came over to graciously install our internet for free, i forgot to even give him a cup of water! the mood was definitely hectic and not ...happy/serene, which is what we are going for. sorry, monty!

today was much better. i prepared myself for doing things slowly, or not doing "things" at all, if that's what it would take. tentatively, i made an agenda: finish unpacking kitchen. there were 2 or 3 boxes left. and i did get it done! that's about all i got done before lunch, but i still felt productive. sparrow still defaults to a whiny voice, but she doesn't ask to "go somewhere" every 5 minutes now or see her friend danielle. i LOVE that she has a good playmate so close by! but i still need her to be able to enjoy home first and foremost.

as for golden, we had quite a little testing of the will today! she is used to people catering to her as much as they possibly can, and she is a very happy child--as long as she gets what she wants! today she was washing her hands after one of her many, many potty trips (the girls have taken to blowing bubbles into glasses of water with their straws. this tends to make them drink a lot more water than usual. and golden is just potty training, so she needs to have someone go with her every time.) anyways, mommy said, "that's enough water, now come dry your hands." "no. play water!" and that's where it began! i am super thankful for the advice on godly tomatoes, which was going through my head: "outlast, outlast, outlast." i was so pleased that i was able to keep my composure and calm voice, and yet continue to insist that she hear me and do what i say.  i had food in the pressure cooker that i had to run and check on a couple of times, but other than that, i set myself to camp out and win this battle. i wanted her to take my hand and hop off the step stool, being DONE with handwashing, and coming to dry her hands. she stood there resisting me for so long that her hands dried on their own, but i still kept telling her to take my hand, and she wouldn't! she was mad and crying; screaming, actually, and eventually she put out both her arms to be picked up. a few years ago i would have done it, thinking, 'good, she is done hand washing and wants to come to me, that means she surrendered.' but i was able to see today, she was NOT surrendering yet. she was trying to create a situation where SHE was the one in control, deciding to be picked up and getting away with not doing EXACTLY what mommy told her to do, which was take my hand and come down off the stool. about 15 minutes later, she finally did decide to obey, and after helping her get down i did pick her up and had some lovely 1-on1 time with her sitting on the bed and looking at my belly/her future brother/sister. (although she told me it was gonna be a giraffe.) when we came back out to the kitchen, she hugged me, holding on, and she said, "happy now."

that's what i'm talking about!!!! happy girls obedient to their happy mother. but i will not be so happy tomorrow if i don't go to bed right away. so: more on T.Stking adventures to come!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

tomato staking

quick post, cause i am supposed to be getting home (we don't have internet at our new house yet, so i am down at marlett's trying to get caught up...)

i have decided to bite the bullet and try "intense" tomato staking with my children once again. and this time i hope it lasts for more than a day. the Bible says that your children are actually supposed to be a SOURCE of REST to you. is that ever true with me?? i have been so convicted lately, about my grumpy attitude, and so convicted about sparrow's, and i think this is really the only way to make significant progress in that area.

tomato staking is keeping your child close to you at all times, within eyesight or at least earshot. intense tomato staking is keeping them within four or so feet of you at all times, for the purposes of training, until they can be trusted to move further away. i have tried it before with sparrow, but not with both of them, and was anticipating a LOT more push back from Golden, but she seems to be getting it, and actually not minding that much! i have to say, it is SO hard to implement: if you go to the bathroom, you ALL go into the bathroom. nobody is allowed to "run" and get something from another room. you all go together. and them being with you at all times, of course you have to let them help make dinner and wash dishes. we will see how this goes tomorrow when i am making roast chicken instead of just plain rice...

but for now, i am already super happy with the results. i yelled a lot less, the girls fought a lot less, and sparrow and i had some good, deep conversations. i have been noticing that sparrow's voice is whiny MOST of the time. it frustrates me to no end, and then i snap at her, instead of being the patient and sweet mother i am supposed to be. this way we all learn to enjoy being together and learning and helping. now, Lord, give me strength and courage of will to keep doing this! i really really want to train them right, and if this is what it takes... this means, when she is playing with a friend they STILL have to be by my side, not running off to rooms and getting into mischief...

i highly recommend this method, as read on www.raisinggodlytomatoes.com. an amazing kick in the butt. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

4th of july

oh, my, and it was almost a week ago! i am slow, slower at blogging than i am at walking/ waddling right now... which is really slow. sparrow has been looking forward to the 4th of july for ages. she is always asking me if we can get out our flags. so that week i did get out their little flags from last year and let them play with them.

the graham clan was gathering at grandma mumma's old house, where jonathan and emi are moving, right down the drive from graham central. we were invited to the party, a bbq and fireworks celebration. the girls brought their bathing suits and played in the sprinklers. and it was a HOT day. i had spent all afternoon baking and cooking up goodies. cupcakes with white frosting and strawberries, two loaves of beer bread, two blueberry tarts, whipped cream. yum! omi had made a beautiful cherry pie too! we all brought stuff to grill. nitrite-free hot dogs for me, marinated chicken for thomas! mmmmm, it was such a good potluck. the five cousins were there too, emi and jonathan, mr and mrs graham...

we could see the saddlebrooke fireworks from the mumma house pretty well, but some of us wanted to go down to saddlebrooke and sit directly under the loud, celebratory blasts. i took sparrow with me, and omi, elizabeth, sp. and i had to HUSTLE cause suddenly the fireworks were starting, and we ran around looking for the right vehicle to take, and which keys were to which car.  we did finally make it to fireworks under the stars, and sparrow was a little wary of the blasting noises at first, but learned to revel in it by the end.

when we got back, i overheard golden telling jonathan's parents all about what she saw: "fire-works! orange! green! boom!" she is such a little story teller.

after all that sugar and late night partying, we had screaming meltdowns at home, plus golden had a rash of cactus or thistle prickers from getting into the car somehow... i didn't even brush her teeth! on the one day it was really necessary... but all in all, my favorite holiday of the year turned out fabulously. it is so good to spend it with friends.


our sabbath celebration last night was just a simple ceremony. it's amazing what a tablecloth, a jar with a flower, two candles, and some pretty dresses can do. it has been so hot that i haven't even been able to cook much. the weather is humid; it wants to rain, but rarely does. yesterday the rain lasted 5 minutes and only served to make the earth steamy. no relief from the heat. the moisture in the air renders the swamp cooler ineffective, so all we have in the way of cool in the house is blowing humid air and ceiling fans. i did manage to bake the sabbath bread yesterday, though i opted for basic whole wheat instead of challah. (more multi-purpose, less leftovers...) i also had some leftover coleslaw and we ate our bread with butter, cheese, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and pickles. our "wine" (for the blessing of the wine) was orange juice. but really, just saying the prayers and blessing each other and blessing the Lord for everything on our table, singing the songs, remembering the symbols of creation, redemption, the double portion, etc. makes things so peaceful and beautiful for a little while. i love the change.

this is our third week doing a sabbath ceremony. i got the book "celebrating biblical feasts" by martha zimmerman on amazon and was immediately inspired to begin. we have been getting used to just doing the opening ceremony (fri nights) and haven't attempted the closing one yet, but i would like to get that going eventually, too, it is such a special thing to be mindful of the Lord's ordinances and be deliberate about setting that time apart. it is a bit confusing that the Christian tradition has made sunday the "day of rest" because the real sabbath is on the 7th day of the week, making the beginning friday evening. so the "end" of sabbath is technically saturday night. now the question is, should we make sunday the day of church and work at home? (you know, mowing lawn, cleaning, etc. all that stuff you normally do on saturdays...) or should we change our "opening" of sabbath to saturday night, and keep sundays for church and resting? i understand that they made the christian day of celebration on sunday because that's the day Jesus rose from the grave, but... i still wish church was on saturday now. you can't very well take TWO days off!

either way, yesterday was simple and lovely. sparrow even made up a song that went something like this: "sabbath afternoon, sabbath afternoon, we get to eat the bread. the bread is in the oven, the candles are on the table..." i forget. it was sweetness. she is learning the thankfulness song "bless our home" from the book pretty well too, and they enjoy drinking out of the wine glass and washing their hands in the bowl. and i, of course, love getting blessed by my husband. he reads out of prov. 31 and says the sweetest things...

may God's rest go with you today. enjoy your family and the Lord!

a little inspiring dance before the celebration:

ready to eat the bread!

Friday, July 2, 2010

may and june quotes

golden has a huge vocabulary because she can imitate pretty much anything you say to her, even if she doesn't know what it means. here, however, are a few of her funny pronunciations from the month of may/june:

"gar-jeb" (garbage)
"poo taste" (toothpaste)
"holy bear" (polar bear)
"passi-via" (princess olivia)
"sick-a-pup" (sippy cup)
"baby suit!" (bathing suit)
"lady pop-pop" (lolly pop)

sp: "i wanna have a picnic."
me: "we are going to take a nap and then go out later."
sp: i don't wanna go out later."
me: "ok, you may stay home."
sp: no, i wanna go out now! that kind of not later!" -may 9

"it would be fun to have a piece of chocolate as big as God." -may 15

me: "they need to go to bed ASAP."
sp: "can we move to ASAP?" -may 26

sp: "it felt illegal to push that plate on the table."
me: "oh really? what does 'illegal' mean?"
sp: "it means it felt kind of good and kind of bad." -may 26

"do soldiers sing really bad songs like 'you kill people on sundays?'" -may 27

sp: "can we go see castles if we visit Germany?"
me: "yes, but they're very old."
sp: "but is the land around the castles really nice?"
me: "yes, it's very nice."
sp: "but--are there candy flowers?" -may 27

one morning, golden was awake very early in the family bed. sparrow began stirring groggily.
g: "smiling!" (trying to get sparrow to smile)
me: "she's sleeping , golden." (but sparrow had reluctantly opened her eyes.)
g: pushes sparrow's eyelid down with her finger and says, "close da door." -may 29

"i'm gonna make you three tables... the right one is for dinner, and the left one is for breakfast, and the... north one is for lunch!" -june 2

"mommy, are goose bumps when a goose bumps into you?" -sp. june 3

sp: "let's do jokes."
me: "ok. you first."
sp: "um... can i have a chicken cinnamon?" -june 6

"the flies can't hear us, cause their ears are soooooo tiny!" -sp. june 25

"i dreamed that you and omi were eating blue tamale peels!" -sp. june 7

"for sabbath, can we dress up and do an activity scene?" -sp. june 18

"the gum went in the back of my mouth, and the back of my mouth swallowed it!" -june 19

sp: "watermelon, salt, and spices! that's how you make tomato juice."
me: "are there tomatoes in it?"
sp: "NOOOO. you just put watermelon in at the end." -june 22

golden is pretending to discipline her stuffed bunny that looks like it is closing its eyes praying...
sp: "the bunny's praying that it will be good." -june 22

"mom, i wish we lived in san francisco. but i want them (san francisco and tucson) to be mixed, because i want to see danielle AND i wanna go to whole foods all the time." (apparently we went to whole foods all the time in SF and that was one of her favorite parts!) -sp. june 24

sp: "were adam and eve little kids too?"
me: "nope, God made them already grown up."
sp: "...cause there were no bellies in the world?" -june 24

sp: "and the dolly wants to wash his hands."
me: "i thought you said the dolly was a girl."
sp: "it is."
me: but you keep saying 'his.'"
sp: (ponders for a second) "oh. ...i didn't hear myself." -june 29

"i'm tired. good thing it's my bedtime." -sp. june 29