Paper trail of love

People still marvel when my husband tells them he’s been married 17 years this month.  To the same woman.  They laugh and figure he must have married when he was about 12.  It’s true.  That’s how young he looks.  No one really questions when I say the same thing.  Perhaps that has a little to do with the half dozen babies I’ve carried and delivered, possibly.  They laugh again when he takes responsibility for those 6 children.  Yes.  “All with the same woman” he answers with a smile.

Deliriously stricken with what we thought love was when we were 15 years old in our junior year of high school, we talked on telephones with cords late into the night and spent our weekends going line dancing with friends.  There were school dances and trips to the mountains for day skiing.  There was girl drama and a hundred other things that felt like the biggest deal ever.  My grandma smiled when I told her we’d stay together after we graduated high school.  Politely not saying what everyone was thinking, “Sure, easy to say, highly unlikely”.

Our choosing two different universities gave way to writing the letters.  Not emails or texts.  No electronic anything.  Bonafide love letters.  Our very own paper trail of love those letters are. The anticipation and patience involved when word from the one your heart longs for is hours away and requires getting through border patrol to put eyes on. Not for the faint of heart.  They sit by my bed in a stack wrapped in a ribbon.  Their very presence dates me.  Ages me.  Puts me in the “pushing 40 years old” crowd.

Months turned into years and our long distance perseverance continued.  We became adept at waiting.  Waiting for the border open.  Waiting for the letter to come through the university post.  Waiting at the dorm phone for a scheduled phone call.  Waiting for direction for post-college plans.  Waiting for summer when we would be home with parents and only 20 minutes drive from each other.  Waiting for an engagement ring.  Which turned into waiting for a wedding.  Which meant more waiting.  Waiting to go to bed together and wake up in the same place.   I won’t ever forget waking up the day after our wedding and holding my ring-clad hand up in disbelief that yes, I was finally paired for life with this one I loved.  It was surreal.

Our paper trail turned into post-its at this point.  Notes written and stuck on the bathroom mirror.  I still have the sticky stack.  Short notes of love that cemented our gratitude that we were done waiting for each other.  We settled into married housing our last year of college and walked graduation together the following year.  Youth pastor and social worker finding our (very young) way.

This morning I wrote a bridal shower gift card to a young thing preparing for her own summer wedding.  I simply said “sending love and blessings your way as you prepare for your marriage (the wedding is the easy part, don’t stress about that!)”.  At barely 21, I certainly thought otherwise!  I was sure the wedding was the hard part.  Our big wedding with two receptions, which I planned without a wedding coordinator while keeping a $5,000 wedding budget, was attended by 428 people.  It felt huge.  Larger than life.  I hadn’t given a great deal of thought about the life that would come after.  Sure we did premarital counseling and personality tests and all.  Good stuff.  But nothing prepares any love struck sweetheart for the reality of marriage.

But love letters wane.  Post it notes get unsticky.  He doesn’t bake caramel brownies from scratch filled with love notes on foil anymore.  She doesn’t spend an hour on hair and makeup every single day.  He doesn’t know how to respond to her insecure 21 year old self.  And she doesn’t know how to cook after all.  Real life happens.  And real life is darn hard sometimes….most of the time.  Wedded bliss becomes a ruse and the sparkly ring gets dirty and scratched up.  So do the wedded ones.  No matter how good in heart or how sweet their intentions.

This is where the fire burns hot and hard choices are made.  This is where listening to the prevailing wisdom of the culture we live in (even church culture) says loudly “Marriage is meant to make you happy – if you aren’t happy, you can walk away!”.   Choosing to keep love in the midst of real, broken life comes hard fought, comes at a price.  Two sweet lovebirds change and grow up.  Inevitably, they don’t grow on the same timeline.  This proves incredibly hard to navigate.

Choosing love in the midst of the mess, in the midst of the growing, in the midst of imperfection and failure….this is how we are forging our way forward. By saying yes to each other.  Yes to love.  Yes to the gut-wrenching conversations.  Yes to humility.  Yes to apologizing and subsequent forgiveness.  Yes to awkward, soul-exposed moments .  Yes to being a witness to the whole of life by someone’s side.  Yes to the covenant promise of marriage.  Not just when it makes sense or comes easy or “feels right”.  Even, especially, when it doesn’t.

17 years and counting.  Thankful every day (even the ones that lay me flat) for my yes all those years ago and every day since.  Perhaps even, the best is yet to come…


An epiphany on food

I am all over the place when it comes to food and menu planning and grocery lists and all that important stuff.  There are eight eating people in this house.  And since we school at home, they eat here.  Nearly all their meals.  Which adds up to a dizzying 21 meals per week in this kitchen of mine and at least two snacks a day too!  If the belly is growling and wanting, it is terribly hard to learn and focus and engage in learning.  But preparing food is only one of a great many hats mamas wear.  This is my recent new insight on the matter, after sitting down and making a list of our favorite 31 meals, thinking we could just rotate through each day of the month.  (insert smirk or giggle here) Yes, I really did think it a good idea.  But I am learning to simplify and more importantly realizing that having 31 meals to choose from is a “first world problem” – meaning, the majority of the world would be grateful simply to have one solid meal a day.  Let alone three.  Let alone a wonderfully organized list of 31 great dinners.  My life needs to work for me and I need time to be spent where it matters most.  Researching the latest food trends and reading food blogs and color coding my dilapidated recipe binder are not how I choose to spend my minutes right now.  Having a vast array of meal choices is in fact not helpful for me at this current life stage.

Enter theme nights.

It all started with Mission Mondays, where we eat a very simple meal of brown rice and lentils and practice gratitude for our bounty and provisions while remembering how most of the world eats, meagerly.  Then came Taco Thursdays and Make your Own Pizza Fridays.  We don’t have it down pat yet.  But the general idea is, each day of the week is narrowed down a bit.  Crock-pot meals on Tuesdays when we have a quick dinnertime turn around.  Soups on Saturdays.  Salad bar or our beloved Garden Hash on Wednesdays when I have time in the late afternoon to chop a bunch of veggies.

This is our general outline:

Mondaylentils and rice
Tuesday – Crock-pot something (like this roast-terrible photo but a delicious meal served over mashed potatoes)
Wednesday – Garden Hash (recipe below)
Thursday – Tacos of any kind – lots of ways to mix it up each week like this insanely delicious pork taco recipe
Friday – Make your Own (pita) Pizza – kids love it and its a wonderfully fun way to end the week
Saturday – Soup or Stew
Sunday – whatever is left or needs eating up (if nothing else, apples and popcorn, I ate that every Sunday night growing up!)

The underlying premise for me behind this simplifying for this season is this truth:

Food is intended to sustain and nourish us so we can get to the all important tasks of living and loving.

It isn’t meant to be a daily showcase of our mad kitchen skills or be catered to one persons picky tendencies.  It doesn’t need to impress my kids or have five different items to serve up every night.  What matters far more is the cultivating of “family” that happens when we gather together to share a meal.

Though summer is quick becoming a memory and it is pouring rain at the moment, I’ll still share what is probably one of our family favorite meals.  It’s my own creation and is ever so flexible and might not be an exact science since we already established my extra time and energy are not spent imitating Ina Garten or Rachel Ray.

Garden Hash (serves 4, we double or triple this):

Saute in a skillet 1 lb ground beef and one onion chopped.  Add a clove or two of crushed garlic. Once the meat is cooked and broken up, add whatever garden bounty you like.  We love a head of kale or rainbow chard chopped up real small, several carrots grated, a zucchini or even a peeled, chopped sweet potato are delicious too. Really, the sky is the limit.  Salt and pepper the hash.  Let the kale or chard wilt, the potatoes simmer till soft, all in the one pot.  Add water if needed for the simmer, but also add the all important ingredient, tamari or soy sauce.  How much?  Well, I’d just say several swigs and then taste after five minutes, if I had to guess, maybe start with 1/4 cup?  We usually eat it in a pile on a plate and its ugly so I don’t have a photo for you.  It can also be served over rice, quinoa, steamed greens or roasted diced potatoes.

One year beautiful

It makes me choke just a bit when I answer people’s frequent question, how old is she?  Because I want to say she was just born, fresh and new and perfect but the truth is her birthday was two weeks ago and I can hardly wrap my mind around it.  Wasn’t it just yesterday we were walking in the warm sun with popsicles and flip flops awaiting her soon and imminent arrival, not sure if she was a he or a she…if she would tip the tide to four sons or even it up with three sons and three daughters?  Could I have known it would be the year it was?  That everything would feel hard and that we would never really fall into a groove that felt workable and that we would do so many “great” things that we were plum worn out and worn down?  How a little pink bundle would be this beacon of all that is lovely and wonderful to this tired mama on so many dark nights?

To my Liberty Grace on your first birthday,

Freedom and grace.  Two of the most critical, valued pieces of our faith, our family, our life.  Your name holds such weight for me.  It is a never ending reminder of truth that I need constant reminding of.  One year.  You are walking and waving everywhere.  You have perfected the princess, parade wave and you grin a mile wide for everyone you meet.  I never have the heart to tell them, be they a friend or a waiter at a resaturant, that you do this for everyone.  They think they are exceptionally special based on your warm waves and smile.  You have to be the happiest baby ever.  At least certainly the happiest one I’ve known.  Sometimes I hold your siblings back a bit, telling them it’s too much or give her space.   But the reality, your reality, is you are covered, sewn in from every side, with love.  So much love.  They each adore you in their own sort of way.  You draw something unique, something special out of each one of them.  The softness that I don’t often see in the big boys, a gentleness from Finn that is wildly uncharacteristic.  And a comradery, a sisterhood with the girls, that I know will only grow with age.

It’s been a long year for me.  Your brother Finn has required a sort of mental energy that no other child has.  The way he thinks and experiences life is momentous, fantastic really.  And I’ve no doubt he will change the world, his world, someday.  Another brother started the year with a major physical injury that made the school year extra hard and frustrating.  It took six months before he was fully restored.  It hurt my mama heart more than I can exxpress to not be able to help him, not be able to fix it and make life feel okay for him.  There were so many hard days, not days that I would trade or give up for anything, but hard nonetheless.

And then there was you.

Beaming bright beautiful you.  You have to know there were many nights, I would be awake nursing you that I wept over your precious little face.  Hopelessly in love with your little self.  Over the top thankful that you were there for me to hold.  You gave hope to me time and time again.  You are a simple, in-the-flesh continual gift that I feel like I receive day after day after day.  A gift I don’t take lightly and one I am keenly aware I could have missed had the baby I carried the months prior to your conception been carried to term.  There would not have been you, one of a kind wonderful you.

You can’t possibly imagine how treasured you are little girl.  You just can’t.

All my love,


**a few snapshots of your first year, favorite summer naps in the swing or with big brother, showing goats with sisters, rides in wheelbarrows and horse carts:

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girl cousins 2014

Finding rest in the midst of chaos

I sit across the table from her in the early morning as we drink coffee in the corner of this tiny breakfast spot that is a 45 minute drive for both of us.  It’s the perfect middle meeting place.  She drives south as I’m driving north.  It isn’t anything pretty to look at, this little diner that seems to be full of locals who all know each other and talk farming and friendship and bureaucracy.  But to me, on this rainy Saturday, it is sacred ground.

We’ve somehow managed to carve out time with none of our combined thirteen children and have two full hours of face time.  Not the electronic app type, but the real kind where I can reach across my coffee cup and touch her arm.  There is little time for chit chat or anything light or mindless, not today.  We know our time is short and we both know too there is heartache of many varieties on each side of the table.  There are twenty five years of friendship in between as well.

Our banter is quiet and though we find things to laugh about, as we exchange words and share about life, something happens that is always a bit beyond the reach of my understanding.  Somehow, in the sharing, in the hearing, in the remembering together, the burdens that are pressing so heavy on my heart are lifted just a bit.  We don’t answer any big questions or solve any mysteries.  The process reminds me of these words that are life to me these days…

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

These two hours are rest for my soul.  In the midst of the talking, the listening and the tears there is some sort of mysterious exchange.  It feels like she is a stand-in for Jesus.  There isn’t any better way to describe it.  In daring to speak out loud my deep sadness and struggle, and listening to hers….in shouldering it alongside each other in the corner booth, it doesn’t weigh the same.  It is lighter.

At certain times, I think God knows we need a physical person to represent him in our life.  We need someone living, breathing, sitting right there whose own eyes well up when they see us cry.  Someone who holds no judgement over our failure or mistakes.  Someone who doesn’t offer an answer but extends compassion and makes sure we know they aren’t going anywhere.  We can read in a book or on a blog or know God’s word by memory, all sorts of truth.  But there are moments in life when things press in a little (or a lot) too hard and we need a person who looks like Jesus to hold us up, to bear with us under the weight of life, until we can stand again.

Thankful today that we don’t have to walk it alone.  That one way or another, God stands near.  Ever present in our pain.

The older woman

I’m only thirty five.  I feel like I’m still in my twenties though truth be told I love this age and I love this decade of my life more than any of the ones prior.  My twenties were awfully insecure for me.  No doubt I missed out on a good many things just because I was too worried about what someone thought to “just do it” or “just say it”.

These days, increasingly, someone asks a question or seeks advice about something and it catches me off guard.  My first blush response is usually (in my head at least) “I have no idea – I’m not qualified to answer that”.  And then I usually say something (out loud) that hopefully sounds like “I may not be qualified but I’m at least willing to try to help”.

Last year I got off the phone with someone and told my husband in disbelief:

I’m the older woman.  How can that be?!

I’m not sure how it happened, how I got to be thirty five and have six children over a ten year span and be married to the same (amazing) man for almost 15 years.  Well, of course I sort of know how most of that happened.  But the point is I still feel like the young, inexperienced, not-excellent-at-anything mother.  And regardless of anything redeeming I’m able to share with anyone, anywhere – I really need a still-older-than-me woman to beckon me down this path.

Last month I thought to myself “How does any mother make it without a Mrs. Nelson?”.  She’s a teacher at our homeschool co-op.  She had my two older sons in class last year, dealt graciously with the one who can be challenging and has my two middle ones this year.  Last year she spoke just a few kind words about my son that told me she gets it, she gets him and she sees good things in him despite his difficulties.  I can’t explain what that meant to me.  She affirmed who he was; his nature-loving, quiet, bright, book-devouring self.  I remember the tears the day I realized she saw great things when all I could see in that moment was a mess.  She spoke life.  She invited herself over this summer and I could hardly believe she’d want to come spend an afternoon over her break from school on my front porch but she did.  She engaged all of my children that day in the most delightful way.  It was such a gift to me.

When Caleb hurt his hand and had surgery she was quick to offer to come help at the Fair with kids and goats and anything.  It totally blessed me.  She came and she helped in the most practical ways.  She gently, firmly corrected my five year old who grabbed kettle corn out of her bag without asking.  She somehow did that with such grace that I didn’t feel judged for my daughter being a little bit rude, only thankful for the kind correction.  Mrs. Nelson continues to give me little pep talks and words of encouragement along the way and truly, some days, they hold me up in ways nothing else quite could.  And it makes me wonder, over and again, how people survive the arduous, un-glamorous, largely-without-thanks but most incredible privilege of motherhood if they don’t have a few good cheerleaders who are further down the road than they are.

In the same regard, we have Suzanne.  She texts me spur of the moment and says “can I bring you coffee?”.  She has a long lunch some days of the week.  Why anyone would stop by our crazy house on their lunch hour I have no idea.  And we don’t exactly live in the city or on anyone’s way anywhere.  So for someone to pop by with coffee is most unusual.  And most wonderful.  Her stay is always short and she makes sure to “check in” with each of my children.  Her genuine interest in their goings on is totally precious.  She is one of those people you meet and think “too good to be true, too sweet to be real?”.  But she’s the real thing.  She wrote me these words a while back that I come back to over and again (her email is tucked in my ‘special’ folder):

 Full of tender mercy & love, fiercely devoted to your family- that is how I see you.

Heaven knows as mothers we sure don’t see ourselves in a lovely light every day, most days probably.  I’d been discouraged and sad and unable to see past my failure of the moment when she wrote me that note.  It literally infused hope just when I needed it.  We often need someone else to tell us how they see us because what we see isn’t always an accurate picture.

The most lovely thing is as they cheer me on, I am inspired to do the same with the mama’s who are coming along after me.  It’s beautiful.  I’m fairly sure it’s the way life is supposed to work and part of how we were mysteriously, intricately, lovingly created by a gracious God to abide in community with others.

Why we homeschool

I love reading other people’s post about why they homeschool and I used to struggle to formulate a proper response succinctly when people would ask me why on earth I would choose to keep my kids with me all day, all year.  So this year, really for myself more than anyone, I thought I ought to make myself write out some thoughts on the matter.

There are a lot of reasons why we homeschool now though if I’m honest in the beginning it was more from fear of other options and a dreamy hope that we would whittle away blissful days of learning together.  While we do spend days learning together and it is awesome, bliss isn’t probably the best descriptor.  Chaotic, messy, loud, passionate, frustrating, rewarding and meaningful would better fit the bill.

One of my favorite aspects of home based learning is that learning becomes a lifestyle that we live out together.  We don’t sequester off a ‘school room’ and only do school certain minutes in that certain place.  Though some times and spots (the kitchen bar or table or couch or covered front porch or under a tree on the front lawn)  we do more traditional work, the boundaries of home and school blend into a beautiful mess.  It can be a Saturday morning at 10 and Caleb can find a brilliant green striped caterpillar and we can work on identifying and classifying it together.  It can be Rylee not feeling well and waiting till 4 pm to sit down for her math lesson because she tends to work best later in the day anyway.  It can be a week that several people we know are sick or in need and we spend a Tuesday baking and cooking food together then delivering it to bellies that will be blessed by it.  Life and learning and loving get all wound up in this indescribable way and it is hands down, every day worth the sacrifice and the work.  It’s worth missing out on coffee dates with friends after school-drop-off time and time to pursue hobbies and such.

We are able to adjust for different children’s learning pace and style when they learn in this setting.  This has been a huge blessing as we’ve watched our children grow and develop in their skills and styles.  I am challenged to be a student of my students and to figure out how best to bring them to feast on knowledge, truth and great literature.

Facilitating sibling communication and relationships, sometimes my least favorite job, is also a part of our learning lifestyle.  We get all day to figure out how to work together, how to all pitch in to make this home run smoothly, how to honor mom and how to work hard.  We mess it all up all the time and we learn and we get the chance to give grace every single day.

When we talk about the stars in the sky and read about the founding fathers, I marvel and wonder out loud at how God works and designs and uses the lives of people to make history.  This I love.  I could not imagine not being the one to stand before them impassioned and animated reading the Declaration of Independence and talking about what freedom means and the price so many have paid for us to enjoy it.

We can hunker down and get a school-days worth of work completed in a couple of hours.  Then we can pursue carving, sewing, tree-climbing, adventure-finding and delight in nature before the sun goes down.  We can have friends over or go to classes at co-op or take field trips when we fancy.  Even if its a weekday afternoon or morning.  The freedom and flexibility abound and I love that.

The way ‘school’ soaks into life and the kitchen table gets covered with handwriting practice and maps.

The chance to be the one learning the most about who my kids are, how they can thrive, what they are passionate about and what sorts of choices (and friends) they are making, I am incredibly grateful for this.

Just a part of the iceberg here, more thoughts are mulling about but for now, I’ll just say that the (official) new school year is upon us and I can’t wait to dive in when the day is here.  But for these last few days of summer, you’ll find me sleeping in, drinking coffee on the front porch at 10 am in my jammies with my kiddos hanging around…




The mother muddle

While it would be wonderful to have each day present itself as a perfect one, that’s just not reality.  No matter who you are or what you do.  Even the best laid plans often fall to ruins at our feet.  More days than I might care to admit, I don’t amaze myself at how nicely everything went and how well I did at my list of tasks.  Instead I see roadblocks and obstacles stacked up one after another and somehow we all still made it through the day

This week it was me, really super sick for the first time since Christmas.  So instead of diving into science and history in the calculated ways I’d planned, I let the kids catch bugs and line my kitchen counter with jars and bags of creatures.  Instead of cleaning my kitchen, I found myself laying on the couch waiting for my ear to explode while the kids watched their little insects, drew pictures of them and talked up a storm about bug life.

Instead of making it to appointments and playdates, the kids helped an extra lot around the house.  They emptied dishwasher loads, cleaned off eggs from the chickens, fed pets, cleaned up more than usual and served their sick mama who had spent the last two weeks caring for sick kids.

While we didn’t get to ‘science projects’ from our book, there are dissected bumble bees all over the counter right now.  There is a friendly caterpillar who’s become my 2 year olds’ best buddy in three days.

With me coaching from the couch how to make the mac and cheese that Kyler was determined to fix, he watched as the boiling water, noodles and cheese sauce made an overflowing, orange mess.   I rallied myself up and  smiled at him as I dumped it out and started another pot for him.  He got it all perfect the second time.  And he received grace and a second chance, which was (and is) precisely what his tender heart needs more times that I give it.

What I could have deemed a disaster but instead labeled a ‘field trip’ to the doctor’s office became an adventure.  The kids all squeezed into the little room and waited with me to have my ears checked for a half an hour.  They donned gloves and pretended to care for sick people.  They found the little doctor light and figured out how to raise and lower the table.  They delighted in every minute and I was too sick to argue.

The thing I’m just beginning to learn and appreciate is that in this ‘muddle-through’ way that we often make it through days raising little kids is that much of it is more beautiful than I realized.  And the plans that fall apart can, if I let them, lead to better things even more lovely than I expected.

Embracing the ways the days begin, unfold and finish is opening a door for me.  One to less disappointment and more joy.  If I could just keep going and walk on through, I’m quite certain we will all be better for it.

Prescription drug conspiracy

I realize conspiracy is a strong word.

But that’s the word I deemed appropriate last month when I filled several prescriptions as I fought a wicked bilateral kidney infection.

I am well aware that money drives the pharmaceutical industry in America and frankly that money drives most things in America.  But when the reality of it was staring me in the face I was mad.  Really, really mad.

My mom had sent me a Consumer Reports article last year about drug costs and the incredible mark ups.  I brushed it off, we hardly ever get prescriptions for anything.  I momentarily thought it unfair for the chronically ill and the aging population in our country and then forgot about it.

Fast forward to December when after an utterly incompetent doctor provided me with such inadequate care that I ended up in the ER in the wee hours of the morning and likely incurred notable damage to my kidneys (and a $2,000 ER bill despite having insurance!).

On the way to fill another round of antibiotics I remembered what I’d heard from my mom and other various places and had it called in to Costco instead.  This was the result:

7 days of generic CIPRO antibiotic from Walgreens $46

7 days of generic CIPRO antibiotic from Costco $6.50

How is that possible?  How could it vary that much? Don’t they care about the old people who need 10 different prescriptions daily to stay alive and live on small, fixed incomes?

Because prescriptions are the prime money maker for Walgreens, Bartells, Rite Aid and the like.  Everything else is fairly superfluous.  Costco has taken heat for their low prices and their unwillingness to stick it to the American drug consumers.  And because when you don’t feel good, going to Costco to get drugs is less appealing than the pharmacy on the corner in your neighborhood.

As if I didn’t love Costco enough already with their giant carts and humongous packs of toilet paper.

I know that there is so much more to this issue but just thought it might be helpful to pass on!

A final (real) Slim in 6 review

In perusing old posts and comments, I was reminded that I did indeed promise a ‘real’ review of Slim in 6, the spendy infomercial workout program I bought in September.  First let me say that every day I am amused to see that someone finds our blog by searching for these two things:

“I can’t fit my jeans” or “Will my jeans fit after pregnancy?” or “My jeans are too tight” or “Too tight jeans, can’t breathe”


“Slim in 6 review”

I can’t count the times I’ve laughed out loud about the tight jeans comments.  While I have googled many random things I’m pretty sure I’ve never googled about that. 🙂

Anyways, after my oh-so-in-depth review back in October, I vowed to give it a real try and open the package it came in.  And try I did.  The first two weeks I did the DVD maybe 4 days in 7.  The second two weeks maybe 3 days in 7.  By this point you are supposed to be on the much longer, second DVD but I was still figuring out my way through the first one.

And my knees hurt.  There is a lot of squatting and with that for me came a lot of popping.  Not exactly sure what was popping but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t good.   I persevered and it kept happening.  I was as close to flawless in my form as I could get doing all the moves and still there was popping.

I made it to week 6.

I did not blow out a knee.

I did not make it past the first DVD in the series.  I felt grateful to still be alive at the end of the 30 minute DVD every single time.  Gasping at times and laughing often.  My children loved hanging around watching me and giving me ‘encouragement’ every step of the way.

“Mom, you can take it easy, she said so.”

“Mom, why can’t you answer when I’m talking to you.”

“What’s popping mom?”

“Can you feel it?  You should feel it now Mama.”

“I can tell you need a water break.”

“Sit ups! (with glee) My favorite part Mom, these are SO EASY!”

While “slim” is not the word that would best describe be at the end of six weeks, I would honestly say that my body worked better, felt better, moved better having been much more deliberately active.  I rarely sit in my day with the kids.  But I also don’t do much that qualifies as plain old exercise.  And were it not for the knee pain that only ended after I quit doing the DVD’s, this program might be great.

I’ve lost more weight being so sick over the past 3 weeks than I did doing the Slim in 6 workouts.  In fact I had a friend a while back who was always quick to encourage me anytime I got sick…..”At least you’ll lose a couple pounds!”.  I wasn’t sure why this bothered me until one day I realized, she was more concerned about it than I was.

Yes, losing some weight would be good for me.  Yes, I would like to fit my clothes a bit better.  Yes, I’d enjoy a bit more energy to keep up with my brood.


Yes, I love cooking and good food.  I love sitting and reading and homeschooling and organizing and playing and sleeping more than I love working out.  I also love being married to someone who makes me feel beautiful.  I recently told him,

I’ve never been quite this ‘lumpy’ in my life – but never, in the 15 years of knowing you, have I felt this loved and lovely to you – doesn’t that seem strange?”

Maybe strange, maybe just the product of time.

And maybe the old adage “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is actually true.

Either way, I’m really thankful….slim or not.

A sick mama

After 9 days of battling a bladder infection (and finishing a full round of antibiotics!), two nights ago I found myself in unbearable pain, even prescription narcotics weren’t touching it.  So early yesterday morning I called my mom crying and she took me in to the ER.  At 31 years old, there is still something very soothing and wonderful about your mom taking care of you.

Long story short I have a kidney infection.  Truly, I don’t think I’ve ever been so sick in my life.  Maybe mastitis after Caleb’s birth but doubtful?  Definitely this was worse than natural childbirth.  It took three different doses of IV pain meds to get my body to calm down.  Chris graciously took the day off work and cared for the kids and cleaned the house.  My mom got me medicine and brought a few groceries to get us through.  My sister brought dinner and took Audrey for the morning.

I could scarcely get from the bed to the bathroom yesterday.  Hoping for a bit better day today…my kidneys are throbbing in my back still.  So strange, having two daughters with unrelated kidney issues to have yet another kidney ‘thing’ come up.  Back to bed, just wanted to fill you in.

This picture was at the end of the day, the kids are worried, they’ve never seen their mama like this.  So I welcomed them all for a movie before I slept again.