Monday, November 29, 2010

Choosing Life to break the ice before I share with you my biggest struggle.  Um, yeah.  I guess there isn't an easy or clever way to put it.  So.  *Deep Breath*   I need to lose about 100 pounds.  Yeah.  And I'm starting now.  And.... I felt like I outta "go public" about it because I need the accountability and you might just be inspired.  :)

The why?  Because I want to be healthy.  Because it is my responsibility to take care of my body.  Because I love J and want to grow old with him.  Because I want to be there for my boys as they grow into men.  And because I just know that there will be *girl* grandbabies and I want to be around for that.

The plan?  Eat less and exercise more.

The plan for the plan? (you know what I mean right?)  Writing down what I eat, so I can keep track better and walking the dog every morning and supplementing with extra workouts when I can.  And drinking lots of water.

The mantra?  "Choose Life. Choose Life.  Choose Life!"  This is a spiritual journey for me.  I'll share more about that in the future perhaps.  Please pray for me as I take the first steps towards overcoming an attitude of self reliance and self worship.

I hope to blog about my journey every monday as part of Motivation Monday (through Inspired to of my favorite blogs!)  I know that Tree Shadow Farm is a journal of our family adventures, but this is going to be a big part of it for awhile.  Thanks for supporting me!

signing off to go find my pilates video...

More Thanksgiving...

The List continues....

#12... late night movies with J, xmas lights, and warm blankets...

#13...babies and bathtubs

#14....the husband, who is so patient with me when I don't understand or lose my temper....he listens so well....lets me feel things....and loves me all the while... minivans. yeah.  i can't talk about this just yet.  it is so stinkin' amazing.

#16...the drawings of the little boy, his dragons and knights, his love for color, his passion for what he loves....

#17...the boy who sees me basting the turkey and says, "why are you painting the turkey, mama?"

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Our first Thanksgiving hosting the feast! Seems as if everyone had a really great day and it was so, so good to have everyone here at our house.

our thanksgiving tree

I don't know if you can see it very well, but each of those little leaves has something written on it. Something that we are thankful for.
The turkey! I had never made a turkey before! My goodness what a process! But it was fun and it turned out well. (thank you Martha Stewart)

After the feast the family stayed and played with the boys. There was lots of reading, some chess, some artwork, and mostly just lots of talking and being together. Good times.

Winter Walk

While I was bundling up the littlest of the littles.....they were exploring the icy birdbath...

little treehugger

figuring out mittens

all bundled up

milkweed treasure

i could gaze at trees forever

Once we arrived at our destination...the local cafe....the older boys sat at a table by themselves. Hen quickly climbed into Badger's lap which is one of his favorite laps these days. (he has many, many laps to choose from...)

by themselves with cocoa and scones
You'll have to use your imagination about J & I, stealing glances at one another over our lattes. I always forget to take pictures of us....which is strange....because ours is the story afterall. I so love that man. *sigh*

Winter walks with my family are my favorite.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Afternoon Adventure

What do we do while the two older boys are away at Homeschool Co-op?

We play.....

We eat train sandwiches....ham and cheese with mustard...Hen really likes mustard...
We went for a walk, just the three of us, on this cloudy, chilly day....and were delighted to see this fellow up close! He was arguing with a blue jay and I think he won. He settled into the black walnut tree right above us and sat there for quite awhile.

I thought at first that it was an owl. It seemed that way from the back perhaps? I am not sure exactly what he is, but I think he must be a hawk. We consulted the bird book, but couldn't decide. What do you think?
We ended our afternoon by making granola and cleaning up the toy room. It's outta hand. Seriously. We are going to do some purging. There is just no reason for having so much when there are people who need food and shelter. Now, how to get the boys on board with this, I don't know. We've been reading the Heifer International catalog....talking about possibly getting some goats for Christmas. We read about a family that never had eggs before Heifer gave them some chickens. The boys, having birds of their own, could relate. Perhaps we could find someone to give some of our toys too. Anyone have ideas about this, please share!

On a random note....check out this Thanksgiving tree...this is what we are working on making! She has some great autumn craft ideas. Hope to show you pics of our finished tree soon!

Signing off for now....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The List Continued....

Things I'm thankful for....

#5....for the giant Thanksgiving Tree growing on my kitchen wall (pics coming soon!)

#6...for the man's giving heart. He works late and still comes home eager and willing to let everyone climb on him, to read stories, to hold me and let me talk about my day....

#7....for the heat register by the new kitchen sink. it's so cozy on my feet.

#8...for friends who love me enough to take time to buy me pink gloves and snowmen socks for my birthday.

#9...for a mother in law who is willing to come help clean my house

#10...for a friend who calls this morning, just as I am wondering how to run the few errands i must get done, and offers to help out with picking up a few needed things.

#11...for the newly covered boxes that hold the hats and mittens. what a blessing to be able to use what you have and make something simple and lovely in it's own way
Bring on the snow!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The List

I keep bumping into ideas about Thankfulness everywhere. Which is a nice thing to bump into. My favorite so far is from this blog, written by a farmer's wife of 6 children. Her writing is amazing. I love her idea of keeping a list of things we are thankful for. And as I started mine, I realized that it gives an interesting perspective into our life here at Tree Shadow Farm. So I'm going to be sharing what's on the list periodically, starting today at the beginning.

What I'm thankful for....

#1....Orange November sunrises peeking through the tall maples as I first awake....

#2....Fluffy black dog whose furry coat is always a welcome touch...

#3....The way the man makes coffee for me every morning.....

#4....Cricket's prayer at the dinner table last night....."Dear Father...please would you somehow make it so we have enough money to by a new van....and I just thank you that you have given us a mama and papa to take care of us. Amen."

I hope you enjoy following along with me on this adventure.

Monday, November 15, 2010


This weekend we celebrated my birthday. :) We had a very nice day at home together, which is my idea of a great time. When J asked me what I wanted for my birthday I said, "I just want you to be in the same room with me all day." And maybe that's strange, but for us, in this season of life that we are in....we find that we have to be purposeful in how we spend our time....and I wanted nothing more than to spend time with my favorite person in a purposeful way. We are together quite often, yes....but mostly just working or parenting or working....or parenting. You get the idea. It was nice to take some time to just be.

We went for a walk together as a family yesterday in the first snow of the year! And this morning we woke up to the most beautiful frost. Here's what I saw when I went out to take care of the hens this morning.
Such beauty all around us....makes it easier to be thankful in everything....

We are having the Thanksgiving Feast at our house this year. I'm looking for some new traditions to start with our family that help to cultivate thankfulness. Do you have any ideas for me? What do you do in your family for Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Toothpick

A few days ago something happened. To my toe. Involving a sharp, sturdy toothpick. Yeah. And while I don't believe in making friends endure frequent stories about mishaps with toes, I wanted to share with you something rather incredible about the story. So here goes.

It all started with a normal afternoon. Lunch was relaxing. Hen was upstairs in his cozy little bed trying to catch a nap. I had just let the boys outside in the side yard (where I can watch their playing through the windows) to catch some sunshine. I was taking some clean laundry upstairs to put it away when Hen started screaming. So I quickened my pace up the steps to see what was wrong. And on my way down the hallway I stepped on it. The toothpick. Not just one toothpick actually, but two tied together with a rubberband to make a cross shape. I live in a house with little boys, so don't be surprised that this creation existed okay?

Now you must understand that although I live in a house with legos and therefore am used to looking out where I step, the baby was screaming! And I admit I wasn't looking where my feet were, I just was looking toward the boy. And I stepped on it. Or perhaps kicked it? I don't know exactly. But it went into the side of my big toe, right through my thick sock. I didn't even feel it at first. That's how deep it was. And the baby was still screaming so of course I went and took care of him first before I looked down to see what happened to my foot.

Then I saw it. The toothpick, sticking out through my wool sock. And I admit I freaked out a bit on the inside. Um, wow. Through my sock. And ouch! It was starting to hurt. And shoot! The baby was still screaming. I decided to hobble over to the bathroom to grab a rag. Then I hobbled over to the phone just in case. The upstairs phone was not working, the battery was too low.

I hobbled down the steps. (Baby still screaming in his bed upstairs) Checked on the boys out the window. (still fine) Grabbed the phone and sat down. Phew. Now what? I didn't know what to do. It seemed too deep to pull out, but I couldn't tell for sure because of the sock. But I couldn't get the sock off because of the toothpick. I tried to pull it a bit, but it hurt and it was definitely in there. It wasn't bleeding at all, which actually freaked me out. I kept thinking that when I pulled it out it was going to gush. I decide to call J at work.

Now, I'm not sure what I was thinking but J works twenty minutes away. And he is awesome, but not the kind of person who is going to talk you through pulling a toothpick out of your foot over the phone. (I should've called Audrey) He heard me say "impaled with a toothpick" and laugh with a nervous, crazy laugh. He said, "I'm coming" and hung up the phone. Shoot! Now what? I tried calling him back, but there was no answer. So now, I either had to wait twenty minutes or find someone else to pull this thing out. I couldn't do it myself. I just couldn't.

I decide to call the boys inside because I don't know what else to do. They come in get one look at the toothpick and start asking a million questions. *sigh* I decide to call my neighbor. His business is next door and he's a practical kind of guy. And I taught him voice lessons so we know each other fairly well. His secretary answers the phone. I ask if he's with a client. Yes. I rattle off something about the toothpick and how I just need someone to pull it out. Could he stop by after his client. The secretary freaks out a bit, and then suddenly my neighbor is at the front door.

He walks over to me, sitting with the rag and the phone and the toothpick, on the kitchen floor. The boys all around me. He leans over and says, "What? That thing?" and pulls the toothpick out without warning in one, strong tug. I didn't even have a chance to cringe. It was over. The hole where it had been immediately swelled shut and it only bled a little. The end.

Now here is the crazy part. I was traumatized about the toothpick for more than a day. My foot really hurt every time I took a step. I kept imagining the toothpick stuck through my sock and it freaked me out. I kept talking about it to J. He was patient with me, but eventually said. "Honey, you are really traumatized. How come?" I didn't know the answer to this.

That night we were preparing for Badger's birthday party and I was up rather late. My foot was hurting so much. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself by this point and I decided to pray about my foot. It was something like this..."Father, my foot hurts" * a few sorry, tears falling at this point* "Why do things like this always happen? Why do I have to stay up so late getting ready for this party when my foot hurts?"

He didn't answer at first. He let me go through that night, working on all the preparations, struggling with my emotions and toe. But later the next day I heard Him. He said something like this. "Why did it take you so long to ask me for help dear one? Why did it take you so long to turn to me?" And I realized that during the "incident" I never once prayed. I never asked Him to guide me or heal me. I never asked him for strength to pull the toothpick out. I could have asked Him. He cares about everything that happens to me. (and to you, friend) He wants us to believe Him. Believe that He cares. That He is with us, helping us and guiding us in this life. And yet, I often times am so short sighted that I just hobble along on my own strength. Even when I'm not doing very well. Even when I have a toothpick sticking out through my sock.

It's not that I think God would've miraculously fixed my toe. What would the purpose in that be? But, rather that in moments of my day, I can either choose to acknowledge my dependence on Him as my Father and Lord, or I can choose to struggle through on my own. And one thing I know, that when I choose in the little things (and big things too) to trust, to abide in Him, to acknowledge that I believe He is with me in a real way....then and only then do I have peace that circumstances can not upturn.

I'm working on living this out today as the boys are sick.... and wheezing and asthma is proving to be more than I can bear on my own. So I leave you with my story, as I go to practice relying on Him. Perhaps you can learn through my toothpick you don't have to have your own. :)

Monday, November 8, 2010


Badger is now officially eight years old. Wow! Here is a recent picture of him in his favorite spot, up in one of the apple trees. Greensleeves, his favorite hen, often joins him up there. She sits on his foot and he strokes her neck. It's really so sweet to watch.
We celebrated this weekend with a family party one day and a relaxing day at church and home the next day. We took a long walk as part of the festivities and let Badger be the leader, choosing where we went. I can't believe he's eight.
The cake is a target with arrows. Can you tell? The flavor was Badger's specific request. Yellow cake, with four layers. Chocolate frosting and raspberry filling. It was very good and quite fun to make. (although I admit it would've been even more fun if it was done before 10pm. when am I ever going to learn to get started earlier?)
I wanted to find a picture of the boy when he was much smaller to show you in honor of his birthday. But honestly, I'm feeling all "november-y" lately, which sometimes gets in the way of getting things done. I love November. It always is a time of inwardness for me, which can be a very good thing. So I apologize to you if the blog is updated less frequently. Please be patient with me. :) November-ness never lasts too long.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Peter, Edmund and Aslan

This year our church had it's first Trunk or Treat. It was awesome! The kids all had a great time and it was an awesome time of outreach to our small community. Here is my little crew all ready for the event!~

I whipped up this little pumpkin hat for Hen, and I was so glad he decided to not pull it off! Isn't he just so cute?
I like this picture of Cricket.....such a mature look for him.....
My mom and dad came for a visit on Friday, and my mom helped me sew these felt bags for the boys. I didn't want to buy a "trick or treat" bag for them, so instead we used what we had. The boys helped design them.

Little Owl being Lion-ish.
Aslan is not a tame lion. :)