Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Psalms on the 31st

Oh, hey! This here’s called a blog and sometimes it gets updated. Winking smile

So while I’ve yet to get y’all up to speed with the end of May, I’m just checking in to see how your Psalm a day reading is going. Remember that little thing? Yes, well, I’ll admit there have been some days where I didn’t get it read at all or didn’t do it first thing. It’s ok. I read the days I missed and now I’m trying to read it aloud to the kids at breakfast.

I’ve got two things for you today.

One is that I don’t read a Psalm on the 31st day of the month! (I’m a rebel!) Well, the honest answer is that math isn’t my thing. That or I just don’t want to put forth the mental effort. This is what I do. I skip the 31st day of the month but then start again on the first. So on June 1 I’m going to read Psalm 31; on the 2nd- the 32nd Psalm. For me it just keeps it all neat and tidy. You don’t have to do that. I’m just sharing what I do. (If you have missed or fallen behind on the readings you could use this day to catch up. Do so- these Psalms are not long.)

Second is that I was inspired by Psalm 29. I read that on the 29th, of course, which happened to be the first day I officially considered the kids and I on summer break. I was awed by how the very voice of the Lord is mighty, glorious, strong and holy. In a holy and poetic way, David recites some attributes of the Lord almost as if he needed not only to worship but also to be reminded. Then David makes it personal: “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” v. 11

As a Christ-follower- a dwelling of the Holy Spirit- that same power is in me!!

Do you know how much I needed to be reminded of that?!!! I cannot parent, mother, be the person my kids need me to be on my own strength!! It is only from the Lord and in His power.

I prayed this very Psalm over my summer.

I hope you are spending time is the Word this summer even if it isn’t reading through the Psalms. I’d love to hear what you’re reading. Encourage us all.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Flat Ben Goes to Hawaii

Flat Ben

Thanks Rachel, Jerik, Ori and Sandra!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

National History Day

What is two girls, hours of research, two bottles of rubber cement, an new ink cartridge, white paper, colored paper, 2 tri-fold boards, 2 trips to the craft store, 500 words or less not including quotes, 3 Totinos pizzas, 1 Cricut machine, 1 home visit by a teacher, felt, puffy paint, a small mountain of snacks, a very late night, 1 trip to Central College, 1 trip to Des Moines, a missed track meet, and more?

A National History Day Project!!!

If you’ve ever participated in NHD or have had a kid do so, you know what my list means!!! It sort of becomes this all-consuming project that takes over an entire basement and threatens the lives of the two brothers that live there if they dare mess up any one particle. Well, that’s our experience anyway.

Audrey and her friend, Nicole, put together an exhibit board. They did all the research themselves and 99% of the exhibit board themselves. I give Nicole’s mom and I a good 1% since she edited their paper and I pulled the late nights with the girls and did come down and revive them before they fell asleep over their board.

There are a three levels of competition: districts, state and national. The districts were held in Pella at Central College. A bunch of Ballard kids went and out of the 8th grade Audrey and Nicole’s exhibit and Miranda’s documentary made it to the state level. I seriously thought Audrey was joking when she called to tell me the great news! So they re-did their tri-fold (2nd time around is much faster) and took it to Des Moines in the Historical Building. The girls got to see what competition they were up against and though we waited all the way through the awards ceremony, they didn’t win anything. It was a great experience for them!

Their final exhibit.

My Plate Girls

The girls along with Miranda and Mrs. Peterson, their math and NHD teacher.


Maybe they’re doing research for next year already?


Monday, May 21, 2012

It’s Race Time

Has the wait been as long for you as it has for us?

I knew it! You’ve been like us- reading all the forum info on the upcoming races, planning the cooler menu, losing your riding gloves, fine tuning your bike, taking it out for one last practice after school, making breakfast burritos, charging the camera battery…

Well, the wait ended yesterday. The first race for this family was at Brooks, IA.

Ben is now racing with a bigger bike- a 65 (which has to do with the size of the pistons) and so he raced in a different race than last year with his buds. He got a pretty good start off the line and rode smooth and consistent. He only had one fall and finished 4th out of 10.

My pictures of him are all blurry. I’m not sure why except I was managing Luke and Lucy and didn’t take time to fiddle with the settings on the camera. Or we could say Ben was just so fast that no camera or lens could capture him! SmileDSC_0721

We brought Lucy with us. She was all about the dirt and sticks and smelling new things but not so much about the bikes and noise. My mom suggested doggy earplugs. Do they make such a thing? I don’t even want to Google it.DSC_0737DSC_0722

Bill is racing with the same bike but new goggles!! Open-mouthed smile Ok, it’s true about the goggles but those don’t really matter. He is racing in a different class though- the B class- which is a faster class than the C he was racing last year. He also got a good start considering that there were a lot of B riders to get through and finished 14th for Senior B (senior is an age category and B is the skill category).


Yay for race day!!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Not Perfect

I often write up little phrases on a board in the house to remind me of something I really need to have sunk deep into my soul. They come either from things I’ve seen or heard or, more than likely, from my time in the Word and God revealing Himself to me throughout the day. I thought I’d share with you.


PP_All You Need_paper_gray-001


How much do we need to remember this?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ballard Marches with the Tulips

Er, something like that.

The 8th and 9th grade bands were able to march in the Thursday afternoon parade during Pella’s Tulip Time. It’s a festival that celebrates Pella’s Dutch heritage. It’s quite the deal.

My mom and Bill’s parents were able to meet the boys and Chiara and I in Pella for the day. While Bill’s parents perused the craft section, Mom and I took the kids to the historic village. There we toured little shops and businesses, an old log cabin, Wyatt Earp’s boyhood home (we also met his great-grandnephew who looks A LOT like him) and so forth.


Then we took a tour of the big windmill. It is quite fascinating that with just two huge millstones (believe me, you do not want those tied around your neck!) how fine of a flour you can get.

Then we walked out to the upper deck. I went all the way to the edge, looked up and took some shots. My mom, being afraid of heights, managed to walk a good bit of the way around the decking with the kids before making her way back. Luke, afraid of some heights, and here because he could see through the decking to below, was almost crawling back. Smile


We munched on pizza for lunch. Why? Because it was hot and muggy out and they had air conditioning and also because it was quiet and a place to sort of re-group before the parade.

Then we found the other grandma and grandpa, who had found us a great place to watch the parade!!


Oh, the parade is chock full of kids. I’m pretty sure there was not one soul in any school in Pella that day because they were either working there or in the parade!

First come the street washers! Whether they actually get every square inch of the street scrubbed is debatable but it all does get wet. At the very end of the washers was one little fella- you could not have staged him more perfectly. He sort of set his pail down, looked at the crowd, and then slowly dragged himself along, maybe giving a wave or two.


With the other clusters of kids, many of the littles were in wagons and the very youngest were nodding off. Finally, do you know how adorable any kid looks in authentic Dutch clothes? Yeah- just like in the pictures!!!

Finally the Ballard band came marching along. Yay!!! Audrey, of course, was on the other side of us. It turns out there was some sort of band competition and Ballard won first place!


After the parade, Audrey met up with us long enough to say hi and get some money. (BTW- starting about 8th grade your kid suddenly needs a lot more money) After she ditched us, Bill’s parents and the kids and I got ice cream at the Smokey Row CafĂ©. It was delish and I would really like to go back. I saw that there is one in Des Moines!! Then we made our way to a park where I proceeded to run the bathroom relay. What’s that you say? Oh, that’s where you take one kid potty a block away, come back and get another kid who suddenly discovers he’s got to go, only to get back and find the last one is really in need of visiting Mr. PJ (that is Porta John). Grandpa took the last leg for me.

We said our good byes, loaded up on cotton candy and bologna on a stick and headed home. We had tried poffertjes earlier in the day that those were good, too. Thanks FB friends for the food info.

I bet there is a lot more to see and do there, however, I decided this wasn’t the year for that. And I bet it is gorgeous when the tulips are blooming. Because of our very warm early, early Spring, they had all bloomed. Sad smile

There is next year though!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Luke’s Kindergarten

This kiddo is finishing up kindergarten. He’s loved almost every minute of it. His class got to sing some songs, recite some poems and share some of their latest projects with us parents at a recent open house.

I think he’s sharing a joke here- one of his favorite things to do.

Luke's Open House 1

This is the game board he made using all found materials. It’s a racetrack. Those black spots are the bridges you get to cross if you land on the orange spots and then roll a two. 

Luke's Open House 2

This is his fish he painted solid orange. I can only assume it’s KTM orange. He gave no explanation.

Luke's Open House 3

Mrs. Campbell has been the right kindergarten teacher for Luke this year. We are really grateful for her.

Luke's Open House 4

Also, the entire kindergarten took a trip to the Des Moines zoo. I didn’t take my camera or even take any pictures with my phone. We had great weather and my group was pretty well behaved.

We did a Mother’s Day paper titled Present and Past together. Here are our answers.

Favorite toy: Luke’s- his race cars; Mine- my teddy bear

Favorite subject in school: Luke’s- PE; Mine- music

Favorite game: Luke’s- his game board he made; Mine- Battleship

He also gave me a marigold for Mother’s Day, which we planted in one of the flower beds. He was so excited and so secretive about it. When he came home from school he said that I couldn’t look in his school bag. Later I asked if his bag shouldn’t be tipped over and he said no, it shouldn’t. Amazingly, the marigold came out just fine. Smile



Friday, May 11, 2012

Lil’ Lucy

I’m nearly 16 weeks old- that means a little over 2 in dog years and can I just say, I don’t know why everyone says the twos are terrible!!

I don’t like to come when I’m called so Mom is back to treats with me. I’ve just found a new love- cheese!

I’ve only nipped Ben’s ear that once and now everyone keeps their heads away from me.

I do love books. For some reason, I just can’t resist the latest. First it was a Little House on the Prairie book, then a Throne of Fire book. Lastly, I’ve had quite a time with the Paleo Diet for Athletes book. I can’t decide if I like it or not.

Believe it or not, but Audrey’s school bag provides the best after school snacks!

Mom tried kale on me, but I concluded that was just for her.

I’ve picked my own spot in the yard for my, ahem, nature’s calling. Unfortunately, they are building next door and it’s really close and it’s a bit scary for me. I mean, can’t a girl get some privacy?!

It’s not only the cousins who like the ice maker! Golly, I can hear that churning from across the house and I just come a runnin’ hoping for an ice cube or two to fall on the floor.

I’m sort of learning how to heel. If that means chasing after butterflies and dandelion puffs on walks, then I’m good to go. If not, well, I said I’m sort of learning.

I might get a ticket one of these days for causing traffic delays. No, I’m serious! Mom and Dad can’t hardly take me out for a walk without at least one person slowing down to see me.

I just saw my vet today. I’m not sure what to think of him since he said I had to be good while he trimmed my nails. He should know, my mom already does that and she lets me chew on a little treat bone or a bully stick. Those are my FAVORITE EVER!! I don’t know what they are made of but I don’t care!

Oh, also the vet said I’m very healthy and I’m not fat at all, even though I’ve doubled my weight since I was last weighed. Yeah, I’m 27 pounds and proud of it!

You know, it’s all muscle. That’s because Mom’s got me on a strict diet and we have to go run this trail which has all sorts of hills. I like it except she won’t let me off the leash so I just barrel down the hills really fast and she has to work on her quick footwork.

One day I heard Mom sort of shriek and then she pulled something off me and took it into a room that I’m not allowed to go into and I heard some water running. Later I saw her texting Aunt Beth to find out how to remove the same thing from Luke. I’m, like, totally fine ‘cause I got some medicine that takes care of those tick things. Does Luke get that same kind of medicine?

Mom, will you please let me back into the bathroom? I have some unfinished business with a roll of toilet paper.

I’ve got a new dig! My old place was getting a little small and I didn’t like it at all to have to go in it. So now I’m outfitted with a bigger place. Aahh! Room to relax!

Sometimes a stream of water comes shooting at me. I have no idea what the heck that’s all about. But if I protest I get it again, so I’m learnin’ just to keep my mouth shut.

I still can’t go downstairs. I just get so excited that I wet myself and APPARENTLY that’s not ok!

I like it when Audrey and her friends are here. They take me on walks to the park and I may or may not have played on the merry-go-round.

I’m almost got to some roasted chicken tonight. OHMYGOODNESS!! That would have been totally awesome!!

I have to chew on something. My big girl teeth are coming in.

My fur is changing from puppy to dog. It’s starting with right down my back. I think it’s going to be gorgeous.

I mean, would you expect anything else from sweet lil’ me?


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I’m Busy, How ‘bout You?

Well, friends, I’ve been a tad bit busy and I know I’m not the only one. It’s spring and that means a whole new flurry of sports, concerts, school projects, field trips, graduations, outdoors activities and more. I was not kidding the other day when I said my Google calendar looks like someone used it as paintball target practice. Every day I get a new paper from school or email about this thing or that. I’ll be honest, there is about one time every day when I feel like collapsing into a pile of tears over the sheer amount of things going on.

There’s  nothing left to cut out. I’ve trimmed the edges pretty close lately.

And then there’s a phone call from a friend needing a listening ear. Or a friend and her whole family are sick with the flu and could I possibly take the girl staying with them to get college questions answered or try to pass a driver’s test. Or a girl has life/boy issues that need talking over. Or a boy needs a snuggle just because.

These stop the to-do list. These are the best energies and affections. If I trim these out, I trim out life.

Right now, by the time my feet hit the floor in the morning, my mind has already been racing through the day’s activities. To be sure, I am one bleary-eyed girl as I find my Bible app or open my Bible to read the Psalm for the day but that’s what I’ve got to do. I am praying (no really, I am) that you are too.

This is a non-trimmable. (Yes, I will make up words.) You are too busy not to first be watered with the living Word.

Today is the 9th, so if anything, grab your Bible and read Psalm 9.



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Psalm Project

My Bible study group just wrapped up our study of Galatians and Ephesians. We took a good look at the end of Ephesians where Paul exhorts us to put on the armor of God and to stand firm. Now I’m not going to go into the whole armor of God thing except to say that almost all the pieces of armor he lists are of a protective or defensive nature. There is only one that is a true offensive weapon- “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” As always, our leader asks us how we are going to stay in the Word over the summer- another study, personal study, etc.

This was my morning on Tuesday.

  • Wake and jump in the shower
  • Walk out of bedroom dressed but hair and make-up not done
  • Try to wake youngest
  • Greet middle good morning
  • Notice pee all over just yesterday mopped floors
  • Clean pee up
  • Attempt second wake up of youngest
  • Start making breakfast and lunches
  • Finally get youngest up
  • Kiss husband good-bye on his way off to work
  • Wish oldest good luck as she leaves early for marching band practice toting my griddle and other pancake making items to school for a speech
  • Finish lunches
  • Hug middle good-bye as he leaves for school on his bike
  • Find missing shoe for youngest
  • Take dog out so there is no more pee on the floor
  • Take youngest to school
  • Drive by the hardware store hoping its open
  • Go home
  • Heat oven to warm up cinnamon rolls for Bible study
  • Finish hair and make-up
  • Pull cinnamon rolls out of oven and re-plate onto serving platter
  • Head back to hardware store for brown spray paint
  • Find out spray paint on styrofoam will melt the styrofoam
  • Choose regular latex paint
  • Swing by oldest’s school to drop off paint
  • Discover oldest’s speech class outside watching someone give a speech on how to ride a unicycle
  • Pull up anyway
  • Watch oldest turn 14 shades of magenta and hide behind her classmates (which only worsened the situation)
  • Wave hello to some nicer classmates
  • Drive off to Bible study

Bible study started at 9 am.

And here’s what I’ve noticed about summer- there’s even less quiet time. I don’t send my kids to school to get away from them but the fact is when they are there, they are not here thus quiet time is a little easier to come by. But even so, as I admitted today to the women at study, I am my own distraction. I find something to fill my thoughts with even if I never call a friend, turn on the radio, click on the computer or some other thing.

In my running, the more intense I’ve gotten over the last few months, I have noticed it matters what I put in my body for fuel. It also matters when I fuel up. It’s the same with my other training- the kind that “has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 1 Tim. 4:8  It matters what I fill up with.

And today I’m going to challenge you to make it matter when you get you start your fill up. I got this idea from my friend Tori and I think she got it from someone else. Anywho- it’s not my original idea.

Before you scroll through your email, update FB status, text or tweet, listen to the news, or even… READ MY BLOG!… take up the sword. I’d love it if you’d read through the Psalms with me. One a day, that’s it. You can read through it on your Bible app, or pull the red ribbon to right page, it doesn’t really matter to me. I’d just love it if you’d do it.

“But today is the 2nd and I’m already behind and I’ve read your blog before reading my Bible and it’s not the morning and there are 150 Psalms and that will take forever and, and, and…”

Uh, no one is forcing you to read this right now; it will still be here when you are done. I‘d also like to point out I say nothing at all in comparison to the God-breathed.  And it’s only 18 verses if you do it right now. And the point is to challenge ourselves and do it- there is no one right way. And if you get behind, you can catch up- God’s not going to flunk you. And if you don’t think you can catch up, then skip ahead. It won’t take forever. But it means more than forever.

So here’s the deal- read one Psalm a day first thing if you can (though peeing on the floor is not acceptable, so take care of business). Try not to check it off the the list but pray and ask God to reveal Himself to you while you read. I’m trying not to make it complicated. You can journal, you can cross-reference, you can Hebrew word study if you’ve got the time, but that’s not what this time is about unless it really does become something you can spend more time on. ‘K?

So, who’s with me?



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Soccer Start Up

Spring soccer has started up again for Ben. He opted out of baseball this year. The kid likes to move and there is way more of that in soccer than in baseball. At least right now. We’ll see as the years go on.

Here’s a few pics…

Ben Soccer 1Ben Soccer 2

In case you’re wondering about the tape on his ear… well it’s because Lucy thought he was another puppy and took a good nip at him. He’s fine now.

P.S. Does your calendar (I use Google) look like mine? Like someone used it as paintball target practice? Ok, good, it’s not just me.