Thursday, June 24, 2010

june twenty three

Photos by Nate, Dexter, & Haley Ballast (I'll let you figure out who took what).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

if I was going to blog today...

I might talk about the incredible new art exhibit at John Knox.

Or maybe the way dialogue in the blogosphere has kicked my butt this week.

Or how verses 5 and 19 of James 1 are helping me recover from the aforementioned butt-kicking.

Or the new trick I discovered to deal with the major bedtime drama we've been dealing with lately.

Or why I get crazy-passionate about something new every 2 years on the dot.

But just-ripe raspberries and teeming tide pools and long-awaited (partly) sunny skies are way more important today than blogging.

So long...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

not done

"So are you done after this?"

That's a question I started hearing when I was pregnant with Dexter. I'm afraid I probably looked at people who asked me that like they were from Mars because it caught me so off guard every time, but now that I've lived in Mayberry a bit longer I'm starting to get it. (OK, so I live in Normandy Park. Same difference.) People here have 2 kids. Period. That's what you do. I was at a little birthday party with the boys today and everyone. had. two. kids. Everyone.

For the record, I find absolutely nothing wrong with having two kids. There are a lot of good and legitimate reasons why two children might be just the right number for a given family. But as I looked around at the party and realized how crazy I sounded telling the other moms that (shocker!) we might even want another child after we adopt our 3rd, it got me thinking about why exactly we didn't want to stop at two. There are dozens of reasons, but they all center around one main concept: we want to provide our children with the best opportunities in life that we can give them, and having only two children would significantly limit our ability to do that. It might sound backwards, but we actually believe that, for us, fewer children means fewer opportunities.

Don't get me wrong, if we end up having a large family our kids will definitely miss out on some stuff. They might not get to do ballet and soccer and community theater. They might not have their own rooms. They might have to take out loans to pay for college.

But if we only have two kids, how will we provide them with the opportunity to grow up with more than one sibling, more than one different kind of person to help them see the diversity in how people think and behave? How will they learn to cooperate (and scheme and cause mischief) with multiple personality types? How will we teach them to love others, even others who drive you crazy and knock over your block towers? Some of this can happen with just one other sibling... but we dream about our kids playing football or Capture the Flag without even needing to have friends over (though they'd be welcome too!). We dream about our children learning to love people who are not like them, whether they share their genetic material or not. We dream about our children learning about and even visiting parts of the world they wouldn't have known existed except that their brother was born there. We dream about giving our children opportunities in life to taste and see and know the deep love of Jesus, not just through their parents but through their siblings as well.

I know we're naive and idealistic. I know having a large family is hard, especially when the kids are little. But the bottom line is that we believe God has called us to give our children our best, so that they can be their best. We want them to grow and develop into the men (and hopefully women... someday I do want a girl!) that God made them to be. It's going to be hard and it's not going to turn out exactly as we're picturing, but that's OK. We're all in good hands.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

late spring in seattle: a tale of two days

It's 50 degrees, but it's also Memorial Day weekend. With winter jackets and good ol' Pacific Northwest toughness we're off to Vashon Island.

We took the boat. It was freezing and pelting rain on the way over, but we put on our brave faces and made it there safe and soaked.

I made a mess...

But it's OK because we're at the cabin!

The way home was warmer and drier.

Good driving, Daddy.

It's a Tuesday, but it's also the first warm and dry day for weeks. Let's go boys!

We took the ferry and then hit the trail.

Dexter gives the crows a taste of their own medicine.

This is the first picture I've taken where the mountain appears actual-size.

We walked down to the swing...

...and then all the way up to the point.

Nate took some pictures of me and Dex.

Dexter practiced for his senior pictures, only 16 years away.

We left room.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

notes on a garden

Since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. -Romans 1:20

I planted raspberry canes 2 years ago. I have done almost nothing to tend them, apart from weeding them a few times a year. They are taller than me and spreading as far as I'll let them, with big green berries already promising a bumper crop this year.

The last couple of years I've had good results with simple green leaf lettuce. Wanting to spice it up a little this year, I bought seeds for a gourmet lettuce mix. I tilled the soil, planted, watered, and waited. They sprouted and grew and looked delicious, a beautiful variety of leaf shapes and colors... But the lettuce tasted horrible, harsh and bitter and mostly inedible.

About 2 weeks ago I planted 8 rows of corn in a large square patch of the garden. If I stand at the edge of the patch and look down I can't see anything sprouting. It just looks like a square of dirt with a few weeds here and there. But if I squat down and train my eyes slowly around a small section of ground I can see 1/2"-1" spears of bright green seedlings poking out of the soil.

The arugula starts I planted in early April looked beautiful for several weeks, but I never got around to harvesting them much. My other lettuces weren't ready yet, and an all-arugula salad is pretty intense, so I just let them grow. They went to seed this week. Most lettuce varieties will usually produce throughout the spring and into summer, but apparently that's only when they are harvested regularly.

The prune and apple trees have lost their blossoms. If I stand still and focus my eyes on the branches of the prune tree, I can begin to make out tic-tac sized prunes exactly the same color as the tree's leaves. The apple tree, however, is in the barren stage between flowers and fruit: the blooms are gone and there are not yet any visible signs that apples are coming.