Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Well, it's been almost 11 months since Benjamin came into this world, and boy - has he changed things! :) In looking back over this last (almost) year, I'm amazed at how much has happened, and where God has brought us. It's also incredible to have a child - it's more than I ever expected, and in a good way! It has challenged my thoughts, my actions, my heart, my spirit, and my body (yeah, tossing a 25+ lb 10.5 month old around, crawling all over the place, being crawled ON... whoa boy!).
This last year has seen so much, so many changes - mostly good, for that matter. Almost a year ago we were able to take Ben on his first road trip (at 3 weeks!) back to Colorado - Ft. Collins, where I was born. At the time, the trip was fantastic - it was GREAT to see all those things that I saw growing up, to visit not only Ft. Collins but all the things on the road between here and there. But as great as it was, I can say - sitting here writing this - that I wish with all my heart to be doing it again. The experience has grown in my heart, and in my mind, far beyond what it was at the time (and it was great then!). We're still (wow...) working on getting photos up online - but those'll be coming soon, so keep an eye on our Flickr account...
We purchased a house, which we are in the process of making a home... (*grin*). Our first order of business - which has taken several months - is to finish the basement. That will be my office, Janene's art studio, and a family space. I'm at the point in the project that while I'm still extremely excited about it I really just want it to be done. Don't get me wrong - it's going to be VERY nice. I've learned a ton of things, and even gotten some new tools out of the deal (YES!).
Janene has quit her job at Children's Hospital to be a full time mom, to do art, to work at the store, and to generally live a good, mom-like life. I've been offered an opportunity with a friend to get back into the web development world, and while it's taking me longer than I expected to get into it, I'm getting there. I do miss working daily on store stuff, terribly - but in time I'll be able to get back to that.
And through all of this is Benjamin. I've watched him grow from an infant to a little boy, and he's not even a year old! He's got 6 teeth (I think!), he's cruising around everywhere he goes, he's started saying mamamama and dadadada and all kinds of other cute but unintelligable things. He eats solid foods - actually, he'll eat pretty much anything, including cords, the cat, or mommy's work stuff. He laughs and giggles, and every single time my heart melts. He LOVES outdoors, and I simply cannot wait until summer hits to do some camping. I want to teach him to sit and enjoy a campfire, to appreciate nature more than he does now. To breath the fresh air and to love the freedom we have.
I've grown, from having Ben around. I see things differently. Things that never used to bother me do; things that I thought I was going to be fine with I'm now not. I'm working a lot of hours - more than I want to admit. And that's really, really tough - when Ben's around, I just want to hold him, to teach him, to laugh and play.
Janene went to her sister's house in Portland this weekend, and she took Ben with her. Every time he's gone away for more than the work day I have a hard time. I want to hear him, to see his smiling face, and to have him grin ear to ear and crawl away as fast as he can when he sees me, knowing I'm comin' for him.
All that, and far more, in only <11 months. Holy cow. What do the next 40 years have in store? All I know is that I look forward to every day, every step forward. I know it's not always going to be peachy - he'll reach a point where the last thing he wants is to have us around. I did. But now I LOVE seeing my parents (which happens ALL the time, so it's good I'm so fond of them ... ). I can only hope that I can be the dad that Ben needs, and that after those trying times, our relationship will blossom again. Until then, he'd better watch out... 'cause here I cooommmmmmeeeeeeeeee.......
Friday, April 11, 2008
I was just working on our site and realized we have over 130 choices of country, primitive, and contemporary style curtains and valances by Victorian Heart! Check it out, we've got stripes, florals, paisleys, plaids, lights and darks, fancy and homespun, dressy and comfy. Here are a few of your choices:
Check them out today at The Weed Patch!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
It has been a while, but I never did officially annouce it. My dream since Benjamin was born was to make my home and family my full time career - well, even before that, it's what I wanted to do. At the end of last month, I was able to leave behind my full-time job in the Human Resources department at Children's Hospital, and devote my time and energy to those things I'm most passionate about, the forefront of which are my family, my home, and our family business - The Weed Patch. I could write books and books about what this experience has been like thus far, but I need not put my entire life in one blog post.
My point in all this was to say that one of the enjoyable parts about working for yourself, is that you often get to choose the time and location of your work hours. We have been spending the week at my mom's house (another Weed Patch owner), in beautiful Union, WA. Many of our nature photos are taken here, right off their deck. We regularly enjoy visits from bald eagles and really big cool looking other birds that I thus far can't identify.
Working in my mom's kitchen is a real treat. It's just so huge and open. The living room, kitchen eating area, and the stove/sink/cooking area is just one big space, about the size of our first apartment. The only sad thing about it is that it's sadly lacking in good cooking implements, like sharp knives and a garlic press that works. My mom has the same measuring cups, measuring spoons, whisks, and mixing bowls that she's had as long as I've been alive, which for me is actually a wonderful thing. They just don't make things like they used to, you know? This stuff of hers has lasted forever, through three of her kids playing with them as their favorite toys, through my sister's two boys, and now our Benjamin. And they just seem to work the best in the kitchen.
One of our products that I love (and kind of makes me laugh) are these measuring spoons by Gooseberry Patch, that are exactly like my mom's that she's been using for a million years. I don't know if they were reproduced for the nostalgic factor, or because companies are figuring out that they made things right the first time. We carry an exact replica of her old tin measuring cup that she always used to measure sugar - still does, actually - but alas we are out of those right now.
Am I the only one in my generation that loves kitchen tools that are older than I am? Maybe its just me. My mom thinks I'm crazy, she doesn't get it. It's just same 'ol same 'ol to her, which I understand, because it IS the same old thing to her. But I just love this stuff. I love that companies are starting to reproduce the old designs. And the new ones are dishwasher and microwave safe, thank goodness.
For instance, check out these great new dishes by Park Designs:
This is their Black Star Dinnerware. These are strong, heavy stoneware pottery pieces, both place settings and serving pieces, featuring a primitive black star on a natural oatmeal colored background - they've got this black mottling that reminds me of od antique enamelware. They're hand-painted, microwave safe, and dishwasher safe. They are just beautiful. When I walked in the day that my folks worked up the display, I was just wowed. Just look at this!
I wish you could see this in person, they are just so pretty. The photos don't do them justice. My mom says I need a bigger house, just for all my dishes. I just can't help myself...
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Anyway, there were a lot of spiders in that old house and we’d wander around that gigantic old farm house gathering up a small fortune...it was a fortune when you are five years old in the seventies, or if you were a grandmother who was born 1898. My family was almost entirely self-sufficient, so money for us kids was only for candy, plastic jewelry and water pistols (…or the college fund, of course.)
I loved water pistols. Today I would really like a small one that fits in a holster on my hips (without leaking and making me look like I should have worn a diaper.) I love to squirt things. It brings me so much satisfaction to squirt my cats when they are naughty…if I can find the silly bottle. That’s why I need the little pistol in a holster…so I can be quick on the draw. PSSSHHHHHHT! Take THAT! It’s a favorite game for me. All my kitties like to go places they are not supposed to go and do things that aren’t fitting for a cat…at least not a proper, well-mannered cat. That’s when I have my fun and someone gets drenched. Hahahaha. And still they do it again and again…over and over…always thinking that I’m not looking. But usually I know what they are doing without looking. I can feel it, like a naughtiness ESP. I just know. It is a psychic gift driven by my intense need to squirt something...and then PSSSSHHHHHHT! HAHA!
I remember one time my cousin, Tara and I prayed and prayed and prayed that my dad would come home from his outing with water pistols for us. That just sounded like the funnest thing there could EVER possibly be to do in the entire universe on a warm day…to squirt each other with water guns. We had an idea. We prayed and prayed and prayed, wandering around the yard barefoot in the cool glistening green grass. The grass in my memory was such a bright green that it was practically glowing and all the grass I’ve seen ever since appears brown in comparison. It was beautiful and sunny that day…the perfect day…green and fresh…and did I mention GREEN?…and we were walking from the shade of one tree arm in arm, to the shade of another tree, praying in earnest for these insignificant water pistols.
Finally we heard my dad’s car coming down the hill a quarter of a mile away and turning onto our road. We ran to meet him and as he sped towards the driveway we chased his car back up the driveway to the house. He never said a word as he got out of the car and we followed him into the house where he pulled out a brown paper bag, and unbelievably he had brought us each a water pistol. Tara’s gun was neon pink and mine was fluorescent nuclear green and shaped like a blimp. A water-loaded neon green blimp. In the years to come I squirted a lot of things and people with that gun…even though half of the water leaked out the bottom before you could squirt anybody with it…and it was no match for the garden hose of course…but it was well loved…and it probably cost under a dollar.
I kept that thing long after it broke. It was in the top drawer of my dresser when I went away to college. My mom unwittingly threw it out, not knowing that I had saved it because it was a symbol to me of something very important…something that I forgot about for a while when I became and adult…when I no longer had these symbols around me to remind me…when life’s worries kept me distracted…when it was MY responsibility to take care of all my needs. When she threw out the pistol it was as if my faith followed behind and it took years for me to find it again.
Recently I remembered that green day on a sunny day when the grass outside was looking spectacularly bright. I felt so silly when I remembered that naive little girl praying so hard to God for something as trivial as a water pistol, but then I remember why Tara and I had done it. It was an experiment. We wanted to see if when we prayed together with all of our might, as hard and as long as we possibly could without giving up or stopping, if our prayers would be answered.
Now, I had asked my father a few times for a water pistol. I asked him for a lot of things…that was nothing new. The answer was almost always "no." We were anti-materialists. The theory was: if you give in to a child or give them "things" that they ask for and do not need without a special occasion to warrant it, then you will spoil them. That was my dad’s way of thinking. Saying, "No." was like saying, "I love you." And I really appreciate him for that. But for some reason on that particular day the answer was, "Yes." It was so unlike my dad to pander to our childish whims, so this was a major reinforcement of our faiths. Today I realize that maybe the reason God answered that silly little prayer was so that on a day like today, and yesterday, and tomorrow I will remember the power of prayer…on a day when my needs are far greater than a water pistol…but yet another day that prayer has provided me with what I have asked for.
By Jennifer Shipley