Simple Bounty

Finding Beauty, Grace and Sanity in a Busy World

He Gives and he takes away July 1, 2011

Filed under: Family Life,Pregnancy and Childbirth — katieosborne @ 8:33 am
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*This post contains discussion of miscarriage; if this is an issue you are sensitive to, you may not want to read on.*

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Job 1:21

June 29th. Eleven weeks pregnant and bleeding on Jonas’ birthday. The doctor confirms by ultrasound: the baby is gone. This is not new for us – miscarriage number five, in fact. But the shock and the grief don’t seem to change, no matter the number. I really wasn’t expecting this, though it seems I should, and I don’t think it has really sunk in despite the red and the machine showing no heartbeat. Yet this is the reality God has planned for us, by no mistake.

June 30th. Too much bleeding and frequent clots, some the size of my palm. Eventually I am weak and dizzy. We end up back at the clinic by noon where I am dilated so the doctor can try to get the clots and tissue moving out. I pass the baby as he works. He needs to monitor the bleeding for a while, so I lay, knees up, covered with a white sheet in a sterile room. They give me Pitocin and Methergine to encourage my uterus to contract and the bleeding to slow. Time passes and there’s still a lot of blood. I may need a D&C, and I really don’t want that. I squeeze eyes shut. The doctor pushes hard on my stomach and we give it some more time. And I pray repeatedly that the bleeding would slow because I want nothing more right now than to avoid a D&C and go home with my family.  I breathe a jagged breath and exhale, and the sadness swells, but I am okay. I am held. I feel safe, despite the circumstances, even here, staring up at ceiling tiles while resting on a hard table  – and I am surprised by this calm. You see, I am the one who too often chooses fear and distrust, instead of just resting in the One who has never broken a promise.  Now I sigh a thank you for His peace that truly is beyond our understanding. And I am thankful, even today – maybe especially today. Thankful in the midst of grief. I know that even my gratitude is not by my own strength, but a gift from the God who works all things for good. I feel a deep peace in the midst of sorrow. A strange joy even. Joy? It’s inexplicable, but as I lie there, I have a sense of joy as I recognize God’s working in my heart, there in that lonely room. Joy as I think about my two children sitting in the waiting room, and how this cycle of miscarriages could be my only fate were it not for God reaching down and protecting two of my little ones who grew in my womb. And I realize once again how very precious they are.

I am sorrowful over the baby that will not be in my arms come January. If I had my way, none of this would have happened. But I know it isn’t my way, but His, and though I don’t understand, somehow it is the better way. I would never let that baby go. I would hold on with all my strength. But it was not my child to keep, and God’s purposes are greater than my own, and his strength is greater too. And somehow, only by his grace, he has made this okay in my heart, and I can feel free to cry and grieve, free of fear and anger and confusion and guilt and all those things that rob a person. And I give thanks for pure grief. And I give thanks that it is often in the hard things that we feel most alive. That there is something worthwhile at the heart of pain. That we can see God more clearly, even when we can’t see the why. That we can feel His love for us and be reminded of its truth in a way that surpasses our everyday existence. And I give thanks to an answer of ‘yes’ to my prayer. Another hard push on the stomach, one more clot with some tissue, and my body’s work is done and the bleeding can slow.

I don’t know why this happened, and I don’t feel compelled to ask the question. And that is a very good feeling. I look back over my life, and I see God’s hand, and I know I can trust Him. And I tell myself to remember this truth when I’m back in the midst of the everyday where frustration and anxiety are too often my companions. I am still such a child, and despite God’s faithfulness, too often I choose not to rest in that. Too often I try to do it by my own strength. And today is a good reminder to me that God is all-sufficient and I don’t need to struggle, but can relax into his arms that do not fail. Today, by His mercy, I can say despite my circumstances, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

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Our Homeschooling Journey Begins May 25, 2011

Filed under: Education,Family Life — katieosborne @ 10:24 am
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Jonas will be five next month, and we are easing our way into school this year. I’ve started a light and loose schedule this month that we will carry through the summer. This is basically what it looks like:

At breakfast we read a chapter from their Bible. This spring I bought a much needed new children’s Bible called Mighty Acts of God by Starr Meade. I HIGHLY recommend it. It far surpasses any other children’s Bible I’ve seen. (Not that I have seen them all, but this is really good). She makes God’s character and his plan for His people the focus of each story. It is a good book for kids as old as (I would guess) fourth or fifth grade. The language is not too simplistic. There are sophisticated concepts woven in. There are discussion questions at the end of each 3 page chapter. I don’t usually do the discussion questions with my kids, as they are often over their heads at this point. I love that we will be able to use this for many years since there is the opportunity to go much deeper than we currently are.

After that, we do a character study type book. Right now we are doing God’s Wisdom For Little Boys and God’s Wisdom For Little Girls. Each page has a character trait with a little rhyme and a verse from Proverbs. We read one a day from each book. The kids like them. They’re pretty simplistic, but it is a good starting place to discuss issues of character.

Then we do catechism questions. I got off of doing this for quite some time. I don’t know why, as Jonas has always loved answering the questions. I am pleased to see that even little Bridget is picking up on the answers. She knows four of five of them right now.

We pray, then the kids have time to play while I clean up the kitchen and get started on some other tasks.

Weather permitting, we head outside for a few hours. Usually the kids just play in the yard while I tackle the never ending weed problem or read or write on a blanket under the tree. The kids and I have enjoyed a few picnic lunches in the yard in the last couple weeks. What is it about eating outside? It’s lovely. Sometimes we walk to the park, and I would like to start taking regular nature walks at the various parks and nature centers in our area.

At or after lunch we do some read alouds. We read a lot of picture books. Some of the current favorites are Make Way For Ducklings, Blueberries for Sal, Fly High Fly Low, Miss Rumphius, The Little Island,  and Ferdinand. The kids have also been really into the Let’s Read and Find Out Science books. We have a couple from the library, and they are especially fond of A Nest Full Of Eggs. These are really educational and well written. I’ve learned from them too.

We try to incorporate singing our Sunday School hymn of the month into our bedtime routine. We don’t do it every night, but a few times a week. I think it is important for the kids to gain a background in the great hymns of the faith.

A few days a week are themed, and I haven’t been too consistent with getting into a weekly groove with these yet, but I hope to in June.

Monday is Music Monday. This summer I am teaching Jonas about the orchestra with the book The Story of The Orchestra. This book is really geared toward older kids – maybe 2nd to 5th grade, but Jonas is rather precocious, so he is able to understand it and enjoy it. The pages are colorful and full of pictures, diagrams and lots of tidbits of information. It comes with a CD that has musical examples that correspond to various pages. I thought that teaching him about the instruments and how they work together was a good place to start before going on to study specific composers. I have also introduced the kids to Bernstein’s Children’s Classics which contains Peter and the Wolf, The Carnival of the Animals, and The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra. I put this on occasionally while the children are drawing or painting. I find that Jonas really tunes into the music and story while he is working. He’ll ask me questions sometimes, and it surprises me that he is paying that much attention doing two things at once. Another thing that I want to start doing on a regular basis is playing classical music at dinner. Once we start studying specific composers, we can listen to his work during the dinner hour.

Wednesday is (supposed to be) Nature Walk Wednesday. I haven’t made this happen yet. I think it is important to get them out in nature, exploring and observing. I bought a copy of Fun With Nature Take Along Guide. We haven’t started using it yet, so I can’t comment on it, but from what I saw flipping through it, it looks like it will be fun and useful.

And Friday is Fine Art Friday where we learn about a painter or do a picture study of one of his works. We are learning about Norman Rockwell right now. For younger children, I highly recommend books by Mike Venezia. He writes about artists, musicians and other figures in a really interesting and informative way.

I am not doing academics this summer, and I don’t intend to get too heavy into it this school year, though we will start math and reading since he is more than ready. I want the focus to remain on instilling our faith in the kids, character development and developing in them a love for beauty and noble thought, which I think is best done through exposing them to God’s creation, the arts and great literature. With that as the foundation, I believe their love for learning will flourish and we will just ease our way into the more bookish aspects of schooling.

 

Let’s Talk about “the rod” scriptures February 28, 2011

Filed under: Christianity,Family Life,Parenting — katieosborne @ 9:08 pm
Tags: ,

My cursor has hesitated over the publish button. My intention here is not to judge other parents’ choices or imply that my way is “the right way,” and I want to be sensitive to my friends who have made parenting decisions that are very different from mine. This topic is important to me. It’s something I spent time researching, thinking about and praying over while Jonas was still in the womb. A recent Bible study lesson on marriage and children in the book of Proverbs got me thinking about it again. Ben and I have a lot of Christian friends who choose to spank their children, and I know that we, by choosing not to spank, are in the minority. I am not out to tell anyone to parent differently. I think the one thing that convinces me to publish is a memory from a few years ago of a friend who, after taking her child to another room to spank him, returned and said, “I wish I didn’t have to spank.” I probably gave a weak smile, but I didn’t speak. I missed the opportunity at that time to open a dialogue about this idea that Christians are commanded by God to spank. So, I am writing this as encouragement for those who find themselves sighing, “I wish I didn’t have to….” You see, you don’t have to. If spanking doesn’t sit well with you, if you are concerned about the dynamic it is creating in your home, if it just doesn’t seem to be working well as a disciplinary tool, please consider my argument…..

This idea that God commands parents to spank their children hinges on four verses in Proverbs. That’s it. Four verses in all of scripture. Here they are:

 

Prov. 13:24 He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

Prov. 22:15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.

Prov. 23:13,14 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. if you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.

Prov. 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

 

At first glance, it seems to make sense that these verses refer to corporal punishment. Many of us have been taught that the rod is a physical instrument used for spanking. Spanking advocates often recommend a wooden spoon or switch of some sort. But is that what this rod truly is? Is that how God’s people would have understood these words at the time of their writing?

The word translated as rod is shebet.

 

Strong’s H7626

1) rod, staff, branch, offshoot, club, sceptre, tribe

a) rod, staff

b) shaft (of spear, dart)

c) club (of shepherd’s implement)

d) truncheon, sceptre (mark of authority)

e) clan, tribe

 

The object can be a large walking stick, like that which Moses carried (and that which was carried by the head of a family), a shepherd’s crook, or a king’s sceptre. In each of these cases, the Shebet is a symbol of authority. In the case of the shepherd, it additionally symbolizes guidance and protection, as the shepherd uses it to ward off predators and guide his sheep so they are not lost. Psalm 23 says “thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” While the word does refer to a physical object, it is most often used figuratively throughout scripture. The Messiah is referred to as the Rod of Jesse. Jesus’ didn’t come to punish us. He didn’t come to strike us down, but to give us life. He extended undeserved grace to us – we who rebel and scorn and spit in his face – yet he did not condemn us, but extended love in gentleness and patience. His life was a ministry of teaching. Additionally, the word Shebet refers many times to God’s authority in a figurative manner, as in “Thy throne, Oh God, is forever and ever. The sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.” (Psalm 45:6), or “If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my rules….then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes.” (Psalm 89:30-32). In both cases, the rod is a picture of God’s authority and might.

Those who argue for a literal interpretation of these Proverbs, don’t truly interpret the verses literally themselves. If they did they’d be advocating hitting their child with a large, thick piece of wood that has the potential to cause a lot of damage. No loving parent would even entertain such a thought. Yet, that is what a literal reading calls for. So, if we’re not willing to employ the action the verses are truly advocating, is it okay to simply fudge the original meaning, change it just enough so it is no longer distasteful to us?

Doesn’t it make much more sense and pose less problems, to take these verses figuratively and view the rod as a symbol, just as it is throughout so much of the Old Testament? When considering this, let’s take into account the fact that the book of Proverbs contains a lot of imagery and poetic language. We don’t have an issue with determining whether we should read Proverbs 30:17 literally: The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures. God does not send birds of prey down to pluck out the eyes of insolent children. The original Hebrew of the four rod verses begs us to take the poetic language of the book into account.

So, what then, is this rod a symbol of? As I said above, it is a sign of authority. God has indeed invested us with authority over our children, and we have the responsibility to exercise that authority by “training them up in the way they should go.” (Proverbs 22:6).

Before moving on, it is essential to define the word discipline. Too often it is used as a synonym for punishment, but punishment is only one of many definitions. Our English word discipline comes from the Latin words discipulus, meaning pupil or disciple and the word discere, meaning to learn. We are to treat our children as disciples.

 

Discipline:

1. Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.

2. Controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training; self-control.

3.

a. Control obtained by enforcing compliance or order.

b. A systematic method to obtain obedience: a military discipline.

c. A state of order based on submission to rules and authority: a teacher who demanded discipline in the classroom.

4. Punishment intended to correct or train.

5. A set of rules or methods, as those regulating the practice of a church or monastic order.

6. A branch of knowledge or teaching.

 

While discipline may include punishment of some sort, punishment is not inherent in the word, and the main focus is really on teaching. And isn’t that what the Bible clearly says is our duty? To teach our little ones? One of the most explicit instructions for parents is found in Deutoronomy 6 (and recorded more than once in almost identical words a few chapters later – must be important):

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise”. (Deut. 6:6,7).

This is what is written in the law about parental responsibility. We are to diligently teach our children God’s Word. If God intended spanking to be an important and beneficial aspect of parenting, would he not have clearly laid that out in the law? Instead, we have this beautiful, rather gentle picture of family life with communication at the center. We are to teach our children how to live godly lives by talking to them. Ever talking. Relationship. It is to be a constant, consistent process. It takes time, constant repetition. They will not mature overnight. Goodness, I look at my own life, and see my constant falling and failing. Me, an adult, who knows clearly what God expects of me and have had years to practice it. And yet I don’t find condemnation from him. It’s always grace. Undeserved grace. If we faithfully teach our children at every given opportunity, if this communication is a river that flows through our days together, they will learn. If we extend grace, instead of condemnation, they will trust and they will thrive.

Let’s look at the rod verses in a little more detail. It’s very difficult to separate ourselves from the cultural attitudes about these verses and to see them fresh. We’ve assumed without much question that we’re talking about spanking here, but, at least for me, when I get to the heart of what each interpretation really says, the oft assumed reading doesn’t make all that much sense unless we are intentionally looking through our punitive lens, the lens most of us were brought up with, the one that says children must be punished and hurt by their parents in order to learn, in order to embrace the LORD – this lens built on tradition and culture. It is something I am still shaking off, something I’m determined to shake off because I believe that the Bible teaches a better way.

Here’s my plain interpretation of each verse from both points of view. I tried hard to be unbiased about how I worded each side.

He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

* The parent who doesn’t spank, hates his children, but if he loves his kids, he will spank them diligently.

* The parent who doesn’t teach his children with authority, hates them, but if he loves his kids, he will teach them diligently.

Which of these makes more logical sense? Which is a greater act of love? Did we learn more about God’s truth from a spanking or from our parents teaching us of him, and modeling the Christian life? I have a couple vivid spanking memories, but I couldn’t for the life of me tell you, in either case, what my offense was. All I remember was the fear and panic. My sensitive little soul was focused on my physical and emotional hurt, not on the sin that the spanking intended to correct. Sure, I learned from spanking. I learned to fake it. I learned to say and do what my parents wanted, so life would be pleasant and I would be praised as a “good girl,” not so I would be pleasing to God.

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.

*Children act foolishly, but spanking them will lead them to maturity.

*Children act foolishly, but teaching them God’s Truth will lead them to maturity.

We are all born with a heart stamped with Adam’s sin. We cannot escape that inheritance. Christian parents will all agree that it is our job to bring our children to an understanding of the nature of their heart and the nature of God’s grace. Will simply spanking a child enlighten his heart? How will spanking drive off foolishness in a real, heart centered way? I know from my personal childhood experience that spanking can lead a child to put on a façade of goodness in order to please and in order to avoid pain. But, in my case, that had absolutely nothing to do with my heart. Spanking, or the threat of it, did not cause me to truly give my heart to God. Again, isn’t it the teaching – the laying out of God’s expectations for us, his great gift to us, our response of heartfelt thanksgiving to him – that will bring the child to repentance and to godly maturity? Romans 2:4 says that it is God’s kindness that leads to repentance. Kindness. Doesn’t that just make sense? So much more sense?

(I’m not suggesting that Christian parents who spank don’t teach their children, as well. I’m merely discussing what the verse itself says, and if we’re going to choose the first interpretation, it clearly states that spanking alone – not spanking and teaching – has the power to drive folly out).

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. if you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.

* Do not withhold spanking from a child; if you hit him with a large, heavy implement, he will not die, if you practice corporal punishment, you will save his soul from hell.

* Do not withhold discipline (teaching, guiding, correcting) from a child; if you parent him with your God given authority, he will not die. If you teach and guide him, you will save his soul from hell.

If we analyze the first interpretation, we’ll see that it just isn’t true, and if it isn’t true, it isn’t biblical. If we are speaking of corporal punishment, this verse tells us that it is our job to spank out child with the rod (walking stick, shepherd’s crook, sceptre), and that if we do this he won’t die. If we are speaking of physical death, this is a lie, because a child certainly can die by being hit with such a tool. Tragically, there have been children who have died from their Christian parents carrying out the advice of “Christian parenting experts” with far less menacing instruments. If we are speaking of spiritual death, please tell me how this practice will rescue him from damnation. What is it about striking a child as payment for his sin that will save him? It’s impossible. It is Christ alone who saves. He paid for that sin; a child cannot atone for it himself through a spanking ritual. If instead we view this verse as an encouragement to parents to do what God commands us in Deuteronomy 6, it works. Faithfully teaching them the ways of the LORD leads them to his saving arms. Is this a rule without exception? No. I know that there are parents who raised their children in a godly home, and yet a child strayed and went to his deathbed without making his parents’ faith his own. But that is the exception to the rule. When we are dealing with Proverbs, I think it is important to take into account that as wisdom literature, this book functions primarily to give us instruction, that if followed should lead to a desired outcome. (My ESV study bible says “The word wisdom (HB. khokmah) can have the nuance of “skill,” particularly the skill of choosing the right course of action for the desired result. In the covenantal framework of Proverbs, it denotes skill in the art of godly living.”) I know many parents who have wayward adult children, but we are only seeing in the moment. We don’t know how God is working in those situations. We don’t see the end. So, while we ultimately don’t know with certainty in each case, we can have faith in this general rule that if we train our children up in the way they should go, when they are old, they will not depart from it. When they are old. It may take lots and lots of time.

The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

*Spanking and correcting will make a child wise, but a child who doesn’t receive these things will bring shame.

*Teaching, guidance and correction will make a child wise, but a child who doesn’t receive these things will bring shame.

A literal reading of this verse poses the same problem as the one above because, though reproof is spoken of in addition to the rod, the instruction to parents is still lacking in completeness. But if we view the rod as discipline – as teaching, training, guiding, discipling – then the pair, the rod and reproof, fit so perfectly together. We teach them what their duty is, and when they fall, we correct them and give them tools to help them do better next time.

 

I believe that The Bible calls parents to raise their children with gentle authority. While one can argue for a literal interpretation of the rod verses, it is an inferior reading that lacks the fullness of what God clearly commanded his people in the Law and seems out of step with other, clearer, verses related to parenting. In an upcoming post, perhaps I’ll discuss some of these other verses.

As I sit here considering what I’ve written, I know how short I fall. I am not a perfect parent, sometimes I’m not even a good parent, but I love my children, and with God’s grace, I will persevere and reach for better things. I’ll continue to shed that pervasive punitive mindset and strive to teach, guide and correct my children with gentle authority and kindness.

We all have choices; this is mine. Ours. I have friends who are wonderful parents who choose to spank. It would be wrong for our home. The main point I want to make here is that spanking is not an issue touched on in The Bible, therefore parents need to discern for themselves what is best for their children and themselves. If they decide that spanking is a worthwhile form of discipline for them, it should be with the understanding that this is a personal choice influenced by culture,  not a command given by God.

 

A Few Thoughts on A child’s acquisition of knowledge January 12, 2011

Filed under: Education,Family Life — katieosborne @ 4:12 pm

This has become quite a meandering little ramble, prompted by a very simple exchange. Forgive me for not being more succinct in my thoughts. This is largely just me, thinking out loud and trying to connect the dots.


When it comes to education, our society places so many unrealistic and trivial expectations on children. Rather than giving them the opportunity and freedom to learn (truly learn) and master skills at their own pace and in their own way, they are most often expected to learn the material at the same rate as their classmates and in the manner established by their teacher, without their individual needs really being taken into account.

(Now, I do understand why this has come to be in classrooms of 20-30, especially considering the fast pace of modern life where merely making it through the day is the goal of many, but all that is really beside the point if one is interested in the education of a child).

Individuals are all unique, with their own set of strengths and weaknesses. It doesn’t make sense to me to force children into a prescribed mold and label him one way or another based on whether or not he conforms to this mold – especially when the typical methods of learning these things are often unbearably dull, unimaginative, and restrictive.

I’ve started thinking on this because of a bit of online messaging between my mother in law and me. She was amazed today when she realized that the colors of the rainbow Jonas (age 4.5) drew at her house the other day were in the correct order.

“How does he know that!?!” she asked, just like that.

Well, he was interested in drawing rainbows this fall, so he learned the order.

My wonderful mother in law was a K4 teacher for many years in the Milwaukee Public Schools. She insists that it is very unusual for a four year old to know this, and that, in fact, she doesn’t remember any of her students knowing it. Her incredulity made me chuckle, though. Why shouldn’t he know it? Why shouldn’t little children know plenty of wonderful and detailed little things about their world?

Now granted, God has blessed Jonas with a sharp mind and a very good memory, and maybe it is unusual, but there is no reason a four year old can’t learn and retain this kind of information. I’m sure she had students over the years who knew this particular tidbit, and it just never came up in class. Kids know all kinds of things that we adults are unaware of.

My point, really, is that kids are capable of far more, intellectually, than adults give them credit for. If a child is nurtured and given the right resources, if he is left to play and be creative and follow his interests, if he’s not made to feel stressed out and over burdened, he can learn just about anything. Unfortunately, not all children are blessed with environments that nurture their minds (and souls), that do what is necessary to kindle their God given curiosity. They may not be offered a lot of opportunity to just learn stuff. To learn in their way, to learn what is interesting to them, to learn for the sake of knowing, to learn in a way that it will be remembered….

Would Jonas be less intelligent if he didn’t know the color order of the rainbow? No, of course not. And yet, that is how we often treat children and their education: like a checklist. And we use that list to compare them to their peers and label them “gifted” or “remedial” or whatever. Education is not a checklist. It’s not merely something you do sitting in a little desk in a school building for seven hours a day. Education is a lifelong undertaking. It isn’t about merely acquiring a set of facts and skills that teachers and school boards and the government see fit for our children to learn so that they can do well on a test and be good little members of society. Education is about marveling in and loving the world that God created; it’s about appreciating beauty and order and truth and a host of other things; it’s about the love of learning; it’s about learning how to think – not what to think.

My desire as a mother is to open up as many avenues of learning as possible for my children. To allow them to explore and wonder and take pleasure in the world around them. To let them go at their own pace and work things out. I think if that is the starting point, then they will find success in their educational endeavors. There are certain things our children need to be taught, no doubt, and some of those things might not be enjoyable for them. I do understand that, but sometimes I feel like our society makes all of education such drudgery, and it doesn’t need to be that way, and it would be much more beneficial to the children if it wasn’t.

And by the way, none of this is said to, in any way, infer that our home life is an example of education at its very best or to belittle my mother in law’s teaching experiences. She is such a blessing to us, and especially to the kids. She is completely in her element with them, and her years of teaching have really given her the skill to listen to and interact with toddlers. The exchange just sparked some thoughts in me. Certainly working in a city school gives her a completely different lens through which she views these things, than my own.

 

A Post For August August 30, 2010

Filed under: Family Life,Food,Sewing and Crafts — katieosborne @ 3:53 pm
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I’ve never been one to mourn the end of summer. I always welcomed the beginning of a new school year and eagerly awaited the feel, smell and activities of autumn, but I have to ask: how is it that this month is already at its end? And the summer nearly too? And how is it I haven’t blogged in about two months?

Seeing a missing month in the archives bothers me, so I am finally forced to post. I don’t know why I haven’t felt like it this summer. I have almost blogged many times. Almost. And, I don’t know, I guess I just don’t exactly have heaps of time, and by the time I sit down in the evening, writing doesn’t sound all that appealing.

So, what have we been up to this summer? Not nearly as much outdoor fun as I had dreamed. We have been terrorized by mosquitoes the last couple months, and only recently have they begun to be tolerable. My garden and flowerbeds are overgrown with weeds and the tomato plants are completely out of control from lack of care. They’re growing like crazy. We’ve been getting daily handfuls of pear tomatoes for the last few weeks, but large tomatoes only here and there thanks to our resident chipmunk who has developed a keen appetite for them. I think for every one we’ve eaten, he’s filled his tiny tummy with five or six. The cucumbers have been abundant, so I’ve been doing a lot of this:

pickles

We’ve already devoured a couple quarts of our pickles and still have seven jars in the fridge. I’m not sure they’ll see winter, though.

And I’ve been doing some other lacto-fermented goodness with the bounty from our garden and the farmers market:

100_6043

(Salsa and Sauerkraut)

This weekend I did some more of this:

100_6038

I made most of our jam when I picked strawberries in June, but I couldn’t resist buying a big box of deliciously pinkish-red raspberries at the farmers market on Saturday. The result was Triple Berry Jam to add to our pantry stash. I thawed a bag of strawberries I had frozen and added a pint of blueberries from the store.

And all summer I have been doing a whole lot of this:

100_5878  100_6033

This is cinnamon raisin bread from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and our everyday whole wheat bread for toast and sandwiches. I have tried many all whole wheat recipes and this one consistently produces the best loaf. I will have to devote an entire post to bread sometime soon. I don’t know what it is exactly about bread, but I could go on and on.

And lest you think my life is totally consumed with food and its preparation (which sometimes I do feel is nearly the truth), we also did quite a bit of this:

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But unfortunately, I haven’t done any of this since June:

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Though I was able to make myself three tank tops from this tutorial before the neglection (can that be a word?) of my sewing machine began thanks to a too-adventurous little girl whom I can barely take my eyes off:

So, that’s a bit of my summer. Maybe I’ll get around to posting more about my garden at some point. Remember my trepidation in the early spring? I have learned a lot, had some failures, but overall am pleased with my first year at managing a larger garden.

 

Four July 1, 2010

Filed under: Family Life — katieosborne @ 4:13 pm
Tags: ,

Dear Jonas,100_5691

Tuesday was your fourth birthday. Four. I keep saying it to myself, hardly believing it. 

You, Bridget and I went downtown to the gelato shop for a birthday treat in the afternoon. You rode your trike the whole way as I pushed the stroller. You did such a great job listening and crossing the busy streets. When the girl at the store found out it was your birthday, she asked how old you are, and you replied, “three.” I said, “are you sure?” as you concentrated hard on your apricot sorbet (since they didn’t have mango). You nodded, and then slowly remembered that you get to say “four” now.

Last week, we threw a birthday party and invited all your friends. We filled water balloons and also had a scavenger hunt. Mostly, you kids just had a blast running  around the yard. Dad grilled hotdogs and we had chocolate applesauce cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting topped with dinosaurs for desert. You seemed to think the whole event was pretty amazing. On Saturday, we went down to Great Jonas 4th bday4Grandma and  Grandpa Beem’s house for a little party, and you got to swim in their big pool. You loved it.

Currently, you are extremely interested in dinosaurs. This started last summer when Grandma Osborne gave you a book about them. And once the PBS show, Dinosaur Train, started airing in the fall, you were pretty much obsessed. I wouldn’t be surprised if you could name over forty types of dinosaurs. You just soak that information up, and you talk about it non-stop. I love how you’ve invented your own descriptive words, like “curbivore,” (even though you know the word “omnivore),” and you often call “quadrupeds” “four-drupeds.” That makes me smile. You still like Thomas the Tank Engine a lot too, and since Christmas, you’ve been really into Legos. You love to build, and you and Dad play Legos together most every night  before going to bed.

It’s been a challenging year for you. Learning how to be a big brother has not always been easy, and while you love your sister, it was difficult for you to figure out where you fit in the family after her arrival. That caused a lot of big feelings in you that you didn’t know how to deal with. While you have been learning and making strides all year, it has really been in recent weeks that I have observed a marked change in you with regard to Bridget. You just seem so  much more mature and able to handle the frustrations of having a baby sister. I am so proud of you and the patience and kindness you have extended to her. Not only that, but you have been joyfully trying to teach her how to do things and you seem to take real pleasure out of playing silly games with her. I love watching you two play and see the happiness you have in each other. Sometimes when you’re interacting with her, I hear myself in you, good and bad, and it reminds me once again that you are both watching and listening to everything I say and do, and that you are learning 100_5626 how to be, from me.

You are still as particular as ever, and at times, this can cause big frustrations for you. You have been doing a good job of learning how to deal with life when it’s not the way you like it, though there are days when you can fall apart over a hamburger not fitting perfectly in its bun.

Some of the things I enjoy most about you right now include the way you make up songs that just go on and on and the way you love to dance with your sister after dinner. I get a kick out of how you speak in similes – on our walk downtown, you said that Bridget was “singing like a cloud.” You also use terminology you’ve learned watching Thomas the Train. My favorite is when you point out a worker at the grocery store who is bringing the carts in. “Look,” you exclaim, “he’s shunting the carts.” I also like how you enjoy helping me bake. You like to dump the ingredients in, and of course swipe as much batter as possible if I’m making cake or cookies. I love the concentration with which you play. You take it quite seriously and you become very involved in what you are doing. And I love how you pray. Sometimes, like last night, you will interrupt your dad as he prays at dinner to add your own. It warms my heart. I love everything that makes you, you. You are so special and unique.

You are an amazing gift from God, and I love you more than you will ever know.

Love,

Your Mama

(who is now most often addressed as Mom)IMG_2951_2

 

To Sweet Bridget, On Her First Birthday May 29, 2010

Filed under: Family Life — katieosborne @ 10:41 pm
Tags: ,

My Dear Bridget,

100_5238On Thursday, you turned one and today we celebrated your birthday with all your grandparents and some of your aunts and uncles. It was a perfectly beautiful, sunny day, and you had so much fun. After hours of family, toys, cake and balloons, you are finally resting peacefully in your bed.  

In many ways, it is hard to believe you have been in our lives for a whole year; in other ways, especially since you’ve been walking for over two months already, it is surprising to me that you are only twelve months old. You are such a light. You have the most cheerful disposition, a sparkle in the eye, a smile on your lips, and a little laugh or a big chortle waiting to burst forth almost always. What joy you have! And what joy you give! You are my sunshine, and that is your song. Ever since you were a tiny babe, we would sing that song to soothe you.

I used to say that you are a determined child – we saw that in you from the time you were a couple months 100_5260old – but now I think relentless might be an even better adjective. You do not give up, that’s for sure! And while your determination is a very wonderful quality that will serve you well in life, right now it is exhausting your mama! Every time I turn around these days you are trying to climb into the kitchen chairs, even when they’re pushed up to the table, and no amount of redirection will distract you from practicing this new skill. You also want to do everything your big brother does, especially coloring and play-doh, and while you are doing pretty well with a marker, paper and a little supervision. the play-doh is impossible as it ends up in your mouth in seconds. Other things that I cannot keep out of your mouth include sand, and Lego heads, helmets and tires.100_5318

You love the outdoors. If it  were up to you, you’d probably spend the whole day in the yard, just playing in the sand box (though you’ve recently started eating sand, yuck!) or walking in the grass, picking up sticks, feeling the dirt in your hands, and splashing in the hose water. You have no fear when it comes to water. Last weekend Daddy got the pool out, and you, Jonas and Daddy spent a hot afternoon playing in the water. You went under twice and it barely phased you. Daddy and I got you a water table for your birthday present, and you and Jonas had lots of fun with it this afternoon. You drenched yourself by trying to drink buckets full of water that rarely made it to your lips.   

You get a huge kick out of your brother, and I love it when you two are silly together. Though sometimes he’s a bit rough, it hardly seems to phase you, and you do your share of tackling him. My hope is that the two of you will grow to be fast friends.

Things I currently love include the sloppy kisses you give. You like to give kisses to dolls and stuffed toys too. You like to dance. Whenever you hear music these days, or even when it is just a toy making music, you do a funny little squatty dance accompanied by a huge grin, and it is so cute.  I love how you love your Daddy. When you hear the back door open at the end of the day, you exclaim “Daddyyyyy!” before even seeing him. You run to the kitchen and greet him with laughter and your beautiful smile. When you are fussy, you like to sit at the picture window with him. You say “see,” as you watch. Your other words right now are ‘mama,’ ‘daddy’, ‘this,’ and ‘tickle, tickle.’

It is such a privilege to be your mama, and I thank God for entrusting you to me and your dad. I was reading a book about Charlotte Mason last week, and she is quoted as saying, “"Truly parents are happy people—to have God’s children lent to them.” That sentiment has stuck with me throughout the week. I am happy and blessed that you are mine for this season.100_5298 100_5309