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Monday, September 29, 2014

The Dinner Project

I have a confession.

Our family has disastrous meal habits.

I'm sure it's probably a sin somewhere in the Old Testament.

Dave could very well be disqualified as a pastor.

And things have gotten progressively worse since the baby arrived.

I won't go into detail but let's just say there has been an unGodly amount of Chipotle involved.

And eating of separate non-Chipotle frozen items in the playroom.

It's piece and quiet and burrito bowls for Dave and I.

But it's not good for our family.

We're a culinary tragedy.

My sweet friend Laurie posted a meal plan on Facebook last week and tagged my Baked Ziti Recipe in her rotation.

A Baked Ziti I only make for friends with new babies.

Or when we have company over.

Because my kids look at it like it's laced with formaldehyde.

So I laughed.

And made a promise to myself to set this dinnertime ship straight.

I want my kids to remember meals around our table.

Conversations where we look at each other's faces.

I want them to have memories of favorite foods that are not store-bought, take-out and/or frozen.

My last post was a good reminder that we need to make the most of the afternoons that they are home with us.

This growing up time is short and goes by so very fast.

I want that extra hour.

And although there will be complaining and resistance and hidden vegetables behind the china hutch at first.

I know it will pay off in the end.

I know it's important.

I'm starting simple.

And I'm starting tonight.

Make your own pizzas.

And salad.

I'm having the girls choose a few more new recipes from my Kraft magazines and cookbooks.

I also have a few standard classics that I'm going to force them to eat.

Baked Formaldehyde, for example. 

I'm committed to cooking a FULL meal every weeknight even if no one eats more than one bite.

And everyone needs to try one bite.

And after I see what sticks,

I'm implementing Laurie's rotation.

She has 5 weeks worth of set meals.

I'm thinking we'll probably start with two weeks.

I found this cute Post-It printable made by my friend Mique.

That will go on the fridge.

My kids do better when they know what to expect.

I'm also bringing back dessert as an incentive.

Fun, easy desserts.

And kitchen will be closed after dinner.

I don't want dinnertime to be a fight.

And I don't want brussel sprouts hidden in my walls.

But I don't want there not to be dinnertime.

So I will do my best to find things we all like.

I want this to be fun.

Also, I find that when I confess, others do, too.

Any other dinner slackers out there?

It's safe here.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Galatians 3:28 and the Elephant in the Classroom.

Sometimes on Sunday mornings Dave turns his back to the congregation and faces the stage, mid-sermon.

He preaches to himself.

He even says that.

"I'm preaching to myself here, guys."

And I type with that sentiment.

I'm mostly blogging to myself here.

But I'm only half the equation.

So I realize it kind of falls short.

I guess I just want you to feel like we're in this together.

Because we are.

And anything otherwise would contradict the heart behind my words.

But I think we need a reminder, Christian moms.

Enough is enough with the judgment over schooling choices.

The conversations we have with like-minded friends under the guise of "encouragement" or "fellowship" that quickly turn south.

And we start them knowing they will turn south.

The screen shots and snarky texts we send.

The comments we make under our breath and the thoughts in our heads.

The finger pointing and misguided passion.

The delighting in weaknesses and short-comings to prove our stance is correct.

The public school mom who scoffs at the homeschool family learning in their PJs.

Or having a math lesson at a convenience store.

The homeschool mom who, although she may not say it, carries herself with arrogance and believes in her heart she loves her children more.

The public school mom who ignorantly assumes homeschool moms are overprotective, overwhelmed and raising children ill-equipped for real life.

The homeschool mom who shares news articles about our failing public school system every chance she gets.

Even though she's never stepped foot on a public school campus.

The public school mom who arrogantly comments on posted news articles, proudly proving she's not sending her children off to the wolves.

Even though she doesn't know for sure.

The homeschool mom who judges the public school mom for having her head in the sand and being lazy.

Or even worse?

The implication that she can't possibly love her children if she is willing to expose them to the "evils" of the public school system.

The public school mom jealous of the greater influence a homeschool mom may have on her children.

The homeschool mom jealous of a public school mom's late morning pedicure.

The public school mom who doesn't "like" a picture on Instagram because it has a home education hashtag.

The homeschool mom who doesn't post a comment on a picture on Facebook because it has a public school location geotag.

None of this is good, you guys.

Or healthy.

Or edifying.

Let's stop.

Because here's the deal.

Homeschool mom is doing her best.

She loves her children.

She takes seriously her role as parent.

She messes up.

She is tired and weary and scared.

Public school mom is doing her best.

She loves her children.

She takes seriously her role as parent.

She messes up.

She is tired and weary and scared.

We need to trust that we're each doing what's right and best for our family.

We need to love each other.

And support each other.

And not let feelings of inadequacy, insecurity or envy cloud our emotions.

Or worse?

Fracture our friendships. 

Because there is a wedge.

And as the American Christian homeschool movement gains momentum, it's getting worse.

I see it.


In churches.

I see friend circles based on schooling choices.

I even see divide within the homeschool community over curriculum.

I see popular Christian preachers calling for a mass exodus out of the public school system.

I hear it in our tone when we talk about it.

It's getting kind of crazy, you guys.

It makes me sad.

And honestly.

I think Paul would be angry.

He might even swear.

Because it's rubbish.

It's imperative that we abandon the mindset that there is only one way to educate our children.

That homeschooling produces anti-social, uneducated and narrow-minded individuals.

Or that homeschooling is biblically mandated.

And that Satan himself is running the American pubic school system.

And he isn't.

Here's the reality.

The public school system has deep flaws.

It also has great triumphs.

The home education system has deep flaws.

It also has great triumphs.

Through all of it, God is still in control.

And without relinquishing our own control and relying on Him,

we don't stand a chance.

If I, public school mom, want zero judgment.

I need to judge zero myself.

If you, homeschool mom, want me to respect you and your choices.

You need to respect and trust mine.

We all want our kids to be decent humans and know and follow Jesus.

But that happens through prayer.

And study of Scripture.

And implementing the things of God into your family time.

At 10:30 am.

Or 3:30 pm.

Ultimately, it happens through God's sovereign work in our children's hearts.

It's not contingent on any specific learning environment or curriculum.

Likewise, it can't be thwarted by any specific learning environment or curriculum.

Press on in confidence, mamas.

Be praying.

Be learning.

Be loving and unified.

We miss out when we're not.

We're all doing our best.

Be quicker to give each other the benefit of the doubt than to say I told you so.

Public school moms, let's be praying for our friends that homeschool.

For patience and wisdom and endurance.

Homeschool moms, let's be praying for our friends that choose public school.

For encouragement and assurance and that their families would make a difference on campus.

Our children learn the most from watching us.

All day long in a homeschool setting.

Or after they are done with a full day of public school.

Our influence is the same.

And we want them to see Jesus.

So let's be sure we're showing them what He looks like.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Our little girl turned one last week.

She's such a sweet addition to our family.

This past year has changed us.

It's hard to imagine life before her.

She's a petite little thing.

Her hair is growing in a bit and I predict Kayla's curls.

She's scooting around the furniture.

And constantly on the move.

She is quick.

The lure of our cable box has been replaced with the dog crate.

Which is more convenient for my productivity.

She has a mouthful of teeth and says "mama" 237 times each day.

But I don't think she realizes who's she talking about yet.

She only sleeps through the night when someone else puts her down.

So basically I'm trying to get Dave on board with hiring a night nanny.

She is sweet and even tempered.

Unless you take away something she shouldn't have.

Like dog bones.

Or pennies.

Or Spray and Wash.

We celebrated her milestone last weekend.

With pinwheels.

And cotton candy.

And lots of little friends.

And not so little friends.

The weather was beautiful and the party guests spent much of the day in the pool.

Ashlyn and Kayla rigged a inner tube jump that kept everyone very busy.

Nan hired a "lifeguard" that most likely didn't know CPR but he could yell really loud if someone was in trouble.  Which is kind of the same thing?

I made pistachio cupcakes with cream cheese frosting that the birthday girl rejected in disgust.

I think she even kicked it at one point.

My baby hates cake.

We sang to her and she got scared.

So we stopped before she cried.

Daddy barbecued hot dogs and sliders.

While chatting with the non-lifeguard.

Candy-filled pinwheels made perfect and easy favors.

Ashlyn opened up all of Holland's gifts.

While the guest of honor played with a single piece of orange tissue paper for 45 minutes.

You know.

I don't agree with Hillary on much.

But she is absolutely right when she says it takes a village.

A kind, loving village.

Our girl's first year of life has been so greatly supplemented by so many wonderful people.

It's made our year richer.

It makes her life better.

I've seen the impact our village has had on our older two.

And it makes me more confident in parenting.

We are not alone.

And I'm so thankful they've stuck around for our littlest.

Their love and investment makes a difference.

She is blessed because of it.

We are blessed because of it.

Happy first birthday, Holland girl.

We love you so.