Thursday, May 24, 2012

After the Rain...

It rained and rained today.  All morning and most of the afternoon.  Wet, dreary, windy and stormy.

So as soon as it cleared up, we went outside to enjoy some fresh air. 

I was stunned by the beauty in my own backyard, freshly washed by the rain:

Of course the puddles were amazing as well :)
Jump High!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Great Big Garden

Over the last week or so we've been planting our garden.  We had hoped to start sooner but since we were borrowing a neighbor's tiller, we were on their timeline :)

It seems so big... granted its about a third of the size of our neighbors' but huge compared to the 2 pots of tomato plants we did last year!  I'm am no expert in gardening, far from it in fact, so I don't have high hopes.  I'm trying to at least track what we do and try figure out what doesn't work so we can improve next year.  This will be a learning year for me.

My son and I did start some seeds last month for fun -- a few flowers, peppers, beans and carrots.  The beans and carrots were part of a kids gardening set that was part of my son's Easter present.  He's pretty proud of how tall his four bean plants are!  (the carrots, well we don't talk about them)

Tall bean plants :)

My wonderful husband built a fence and gate for the garden.  It seemed like a lot of work but our neighbors have had lots of trouble with deer and raccoons in their garden in the past so we followed their advice.  Luckily he was able to use posts and wood that was left over from other projects or left behind by previous homeowners to keep costs down.
Fence going up
Garden with finished fence and gate

So far the garden has peas, carrots, onions, beans, squash, cucumber, zucchini, and pumpkin.  I still need to transplant the plants we started early and buy some tomato plants.

It has been fun to have a little helper in the garden.  His favorite job is watering.... and playing in the water!

I'll try to report back on how the garden turns out a few times this summer...  Let the adventure begin.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Adoption Update -- May

Our profile books arrived this week.  They looked great!  We finished the additional letters and the other info sheet that had to be added to the back of the books.  Today, we packaged them back up and sent them to the agency. 

Our social worker also finished our homestudy document.  We got a chance to review it and it is now waiting approval by the agency supervisor.

I was tempted to celebrate our progress with DQ (as we'd done a few times in the past), but that might be a dangerous tradition :)  Maybe when we're officially a "waiting family".

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day at the Farm

Today we took a field trip to a farm with the local Early Childhood group.  Lots of baby animals, sunshine, hay wagon rides, and fun friends.  It was a good day.

All the way home, my little boy told me about all the different animals he saw.  He even told me someday he'd have a rooster that he would teach to say "Who-hoo Crocka Doo" instead because he was a "rooster listener". 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

And the winner is....

Charitty!  She said, "When mom and I bathed the dog in tomato juice after he got sprayed by the skunk! Too funny now, not then."

I'm sending you an email so we can work out the details of getting the book "Mom Connection" by Tracey Bianchi to you.

Thanks everyone who entered.  It was fun to read all the favorite mom moments!

Thanks also to MOPS International who provided the books for the review and giveaway.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Mother's Day Tree

Growing up my Mom got the same present for Mother's Day (almost) every year -- a rose bush.  Part of the way we spent most Mother's Days included shopping for that rose bush. 

Our family doesn't have any set traditions yet, though I haven't ever been disappointed :)  This year my husband started talking about a big yard project for my Mother's Day present -- something about a fountain and a pond to create a peaceful place with flowing water in the yard.  While that sounded lovely and may happen someday, I asked for something simpler with less up-keep.

A willow tree. 

It may sound silly but when we created wish lists during house shopping, mine included a front porch and a willow tree.  Our new home has neither. 

This winter we had a tree fall down in a storm near the pond and two more that were already dead that my husband (and a friend) cut down.  We had a nice open place near the pond for a new tree.  And a willow sounded just right :)

My son was helping me haul water to the tree and he asked why we needed to water it when we don't water all our other trees.  I explained to him how stressful it can be for a tree to be planted in a new place, needing extra water to make sure their roots grow down deep and strong, to help them be ready for stormy weather or long winters.  And then I paused. 

The same is true in my life.  God transplanted me to a new place, with different challenges and opportunities.  He has been pouring waters of blessing on me.  Sometimes, though, I have not used that water to grow deep, strong roots.  I've let the blessings flow past without taking note, without letting them encourage and strengthen me.   I pray that I recognize the waters that God sends to strengthen and renew.  May I not waste opportunities to soak in God's blessing and prepare for what He has in store for me.

May our new willow tree continue to remind me:
of putting down roots in our new community
of our growing family and growing in my role as mother
of God, my gardener, taking care of my needs before I know them, equipping me for His journey

Happy Mother's Day!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: Mom Connection

Image source: Amazon
This post is a first for my little blog -- a book review and a giveaway!  I was given copies of the book Mom Connection: Creating Vibrant Relationships in the Midst of Motherhood by Tracey Bianchi to review and giveaway (see below for more details).  Its the theme book for MOPS this coming year (2012-2013).

Tracey Bianchi successfully gives advice like a friend, honestly sharing what's on her heart, and truly understanding that some days motherhood can be lonely.  She shares great information about life rhythms, relationships, and remembering that the need for connecting with those around you (and the world) doesn't disappear when you become a mom.

I think this book is especially helpful to mom's in a "transition" of any sort -- working to figure out what the rhythm of their "new normal" could look like.  Maybe its a new baby joining the family, maybe all the kids are down to one nap (or less?), another child heading to school, a move, job change, etc.  Or if you're like me -- leaving a full time job to stay home AND moving to a new town where you know only a few people :) 

I appreciated Tracey's honesty about how hard it can be to connect with other moms, especially beyond the "hi, how is it going?" level and the need to be intentional about those connections in order to build  friendships you can rely on.  For me, MOPS was a big help this year when it came to meeting other moms in the community, but I could have been a bit more courageous.  Too often I thought, "Oh they are already busy..." or "I don't know them well enough to ....".  Really I was just nervous.

Each chapter ends with "Five Mom-Tested Tips" to aid in further processing and encouraging you to put into action items from the chapter.   (Of course, they were also great reminders if you happened to have been interrupted 20 times while reading a chapter).   I'm considering reading the book again a bit more slowly, mostly because I didn't give myself enough time to "digest" some of the topics as I had a deadline to get this post finished :)

Giveaway! (Giveaway now closed)
I enjoyed this book and I love that I get to share it with someone!  I have ONE copy of this book to giveaway.  To enter the giveaway, fill out the entry form below.  If for some reason that isn't working, feel free to email me (LifeOnGravellyRoad at hotmail dot com).  The giveaway will end Monday May 14th at 11:59pm.  A winner will be drawn on sometime on Tuesday May 15th and announced on this blog.

(If you see me regularly and like to borrow my copy, please let me know!)

* Disclosure - I was given free books to complete this review.  My opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Dirty Car and Water Fun

One result of living on the gravelly road is that our cars are always dirty.  My car is often a lovely shade of gravelly brown, likely because I just don't bother to stop at the car wash often enough, knowing it will be dirty before I reach home.

Yesterday evening it rained while we were running errands resulting in rain streaks on top of the normal layers of gravel dust.  It was warm today and we were looking for something to do, so we washed my car in the driveway.  Water and buckets.  Rags and towels.  The water hose and a helpful 3 year old.  It was messy, wet fun. 

And no, my car doesn't have a perfect shine or sparkly clean windows.  We had fun.  The car does have less dirt on it.  He was so proud to help.  (I didn't take much for pictures during... just too much water)

Since we were both already wet from our car wash fun, I figured we'd try the sponge-water-bomb-things we made in MOPS a while back.  Basically pieces of sponge and mop yarn held together with a zip tie.  We filled a bucked up with water, soaked them, and played catch.  Effective at getting us both wet, lots of fun, and brought a round of giggles from my son with each throw.  We definitely be using them a lot this summer!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Silly Springy Snakes

This is another fun craft that we found in of the Disney Year Book (2002) of stories I picked up at a garage sale.  I drew the simple snakes on the construction paper  --

Then we painted them.  It was fun using wine corks to paint spots.

After they were dry, I cut them out.  We added tongues and hung them up.

I tried to read a book about snakes to go with the craft, but was told "snake stories are yucky and scary".  Oh well :)
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