Monday, September 6, 2021

Greening the Desert

We bought a house! (our first house ever!)

And we live in the desert. So this is the backyard, when we moved in.

Now it has 7 struggling saplings that I planted in the first month when we got the house. After a brutal desert summer (one week solid 115's) and some near deaths, all teh little saplings are...still alive....still alive.

Not grown at all, but alive. 

I've discovered Geoff Lawton's "Permaculture: Greening the Desert" videos about Jordan, and after seeing their before and after shots, I have hope. Jordan also gets annual rainfall between 5 and 10 inches, and looks, well, like my backyard.

Permaculture is full of hope. Of man working within the created order to make the earth better.... where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow....

The wilderness and the desert will rejoice,
And the desert will shout for joy and blossom;
Like the crocus

It will blossom profusely
And rejoice with joy and jubilation.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
The majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They will see the glory of the Lord,
The majesty of our God.

Strengthen the slack hands, and make the tottering knees strong.
Say to those with anxious heart,
“Take courage, fear not.
Behold, your God will come with vengeance;
The retribution of God will come,
But He will save you.”

Then the eyes of those who are blind will be opened,
And the ears of those who are deaf will be unstopped.
Then those who limp will leap like a deer,
And the tongue of those who cannot speak will shout for joy.

For waters will burst forth in the wilderness,
And streams in the desert.
The scorched land will become a pool

And the thirsty ground springs of water;
In the haunt of jackals, its resting place,
Grass becomes reeds and rushes.

A highway will be there, a roadway,
And it will be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean will not travel on it,
But it will be for the one who walks that way,
And fools will not wander on it.

No lion will be there,
Nor will any vicious animal go up on it;
It will not be found there.

But the redeemed will walk there,
10 And the redeemed of the Lord will return
And come to Zion with joyful shouting,
And everlasting joy will be on their heads.
They will obtain gladness and joy,
And sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Monday, August 9, 2021

The moving truck plan

 We rented a moving truck to move Josh's piano from his parents house. With 2 furniture dollies, and josh's dad's help, it was pretty non-eventful.

We rented the moving truck really for its steel ramp.

The kids loved the moving truck.

After we got the piano moved, they held a musical programme, their joy overcoming the 106 degree weather.....sufficiently to even lure their parents out of the air conditioning,  for the performance.

The programme was "Zelda' s theme"  and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing".

Afterwards, Jenny told me when we outgrow our 15 passenger van, we can buy a moving truck, and use ratchet straps to the walls as seatbelts....

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Return of the Sadars....

Yup, we are back.
And this post is already a year old....been sitting in my "to finish" folder....

We got internet again, after a 4.5 year break. 
Not having internet was really good for me, in many ways.
But alas, the blog kinda died. 

But we did not! And hopefully, the blog will live again.
 The best thing about keeping this blog is it made me write down more of the cute stuff they did. And I want to remember that. 

(Also, I cannot figure out what is going on with this font size...)

Isaiah is talking about brothers again. I think he figures Ruhi's out, and the supply lines are up and running again.

He has given me permission to have a few more daughters, after I have enough sons.
"how much is enough brothers?" I asked.
"20" he said.
I tried to break it to him, short of a miracle, that wasn't going to happen. 
But today he started talking about how wonderful it would be if we had 20 more boys, and then 2 more daughters "...and then mom, that would be enough"

Keziah makes up many stories. Her sisters breathlessly report them to me. Three sisters hang on the twists and turns of her plots. She has at least four different stories going. It went to my head like wine at that age, and I only had one twin in my audience. Puzz is queen of her worlds, at this point. 

We have a laptop hooked up to the TV and have been watching military history videos that Isaiah requests. Roman naming traditions were made to confuse the casual historian.Isaiah "no mom, that was decimus junius brutus albinus, not marcus brutus" 

Sarah Grace is a weeping wreck until she finally takes her medicine (today, mommy slipped it in with sugar-spiked juice), at which point, she's singing little songs, referring to herself as "Zelda" in the third person, and basically back to her old self. Pray her throat heals up. There's something about her little sore-throated wailing refusing medicine, going on for an hour, that lowers the collective happiness levels of everyone in the house. A baby in pain, but still with a will of iron. Her will is somewhere on par with Puzz's. That probably puts her at the 98th percentile in the stubborness department.

Puzz remains powerful, as the dungeon master of the girl's play stories. There was an altercation about who got to wear the hair-clip with the most pearls this morning, nad I put it into Mariam's hair over Puzz's wails, because Mariam had asked first. 5 minutes later, I walked into the room, and Mariam told me to put it into Puzz's hair. I began by praising Mariam's kindness, but suddenly got suspicious and asked why. "Because Keziah said I could not be in the story until Christmas if I didn't" Mariam said, very matter-of-factly. I lectured Puzz, but I am afraid this thing happens quite a bit recently, where even Jenny will do Puzz's bidding as they earn "10 game points" to where they are allowed to expand their inventory of weapons in "the story" that Keziah dictates. Evidently being a good story-teller has its advantages.

Isaiah actually did his grammar today. Maybe he'll get at education after all. There were his beloved history videos hanging in the balance. He wanted to make salsa, because we had a sesame street book about Elmo making salsa with Rosita's Mexican grandma. We made it, and he insisted I put a jalapeno in it, so I did. Evidently one tiny jalapeno can burn mommy's tongue quite a bit. When I said so, Isaiah asked if if there was actual fire in my mouth when I complained. I don't know if he was being literal or making a point. 

Anastasia continues to be her typical cheerful russian thug baby, but has discovered pretty headbands, nad you know by her little self-conscious expressions when she puts them on that she feels gorgeous. 

That kid is beyond cute. She has this sort of unstoppable cheerful life-force that seems to radiate from her, even as she breaks things and causes injuries. 

Jenny continues to be the moral center of the Sadar Children, although increasingly she has been disciplined as she tries to take the law into her own hands.  

She's a frustrated  little vigilante in a rough town where the delinquent Sheriff evidently is not coming up to snuff. 

Sarah Grace came up to me last night, with a little furrowed brow and indignantly announced "Mom, I wiww have to sleep in a yuchy underwear IF YOU DO NOT DEAL WIV DIS"
Which meant she had pooped in her underwear. But her delivery of the information was so cute, I kept laughing.

The other day, Sarah held Ruhi, smiling at me beatifically for 4 minutes. I was thinking warm thoughts about her nurturing heart, before she put Ruhi down, got off the couch, and announced "Mom, can I have some chocwate? I have been holding Ruhi ALL DAY". 
(I had paid Jenny in chocolate for holding a crying Ruhi while I took a shower post partum a couple months ago, and she had remembered)

She does have an empathetic heart, and was the only Sadar child to weep for Boromir in the family viewing of Fellowship of the RIng. But she bravely sits by Ruhi while I stretch Ruhi's tongue (post-op frenectomy directions). it's kinda awful to watch, and hear Ruhi's gargled screams. Puzz flees the room every time I do it. But Sarah, every time, parks herself right by Ruhi through the whole thing, glares at me and yells "Ruhi doesn't want it! Mommy, Ruhi DOESN'T WANT IT!!!" through the whole process.

In other news, Isaiah saw me looking at a "how to put eyeshadow on hooded eyes" tutorial, and then pointed to the sidebar in youtube, recommending his beloved much-watched Pyrrhic war video. "Mom, click on that one, let's see how Pyrrhus does his hair"....o wait, there's a video about how Ceaser did his hair in the Gallic Wars", pointing to another of his beloved videos showing up in the sidebar. 
I don't know if he was trying to pull one over old mom, or if he was cracking a joke. Either way, it makes me smile every time I think of it.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Old Stories from 2 yrs ago...

Jenny put a toy dragon into the toy microwave of their kitchen set. She reports that microwaved dragon tastes “like chicken.”

The girls were doing one of their favorite play-acting, of stuffing babydolls under their shirts, and coming to be holding imaginary pregnancy test with “LOOK MOM!! TWO LINES!!!”. Keziah said “I HAVE FOUR LINES!! I have TWINS!!!”

(I think the kids have absorbed what they hear in a lot “you've got your hands full!”
As I drifted off the sleep on the couch, I heard Keziah jubilantly announce “My hands are full....OF BABIES!!”

I was surprised to see Jenny and Isaiah play acting together for more than 20 minutes. Usually there is some powerstruggle at som epoint that ends things early. Even more surprisingly, Isaiah seemed to be “contwolling duh stowy” (narrating the story). Jenny came up to me, almost breathless with joy. “Mommy! Isaiah says, in this stowy, I am his OLDER sister!!!” Then she dashed back to play, as Isaiah continued to say what was happening. He is one smart kid.

I had explained Mariam was named after Mary, Jesus' mother, in the way her full name would have been pronounced back then. The next day, when Mariam shared some of her icing with Jenny, Jenny said to be “Mommy! Mawiam is the NICEST MAWIAM! Jesus' mother was pwetty nice too. But other than that, Mawiam is the nicest”

Keziah smacked Sarah. “Hey, don't hit her on the belly!”
She defended herself, “But she's not pwegnant!”

A not uncommon occurrence when we are out and about, is strangers coming up to comment on my full hands. I nod agreement, and depending on where on the spectrum between happy amusement to stressed concern their faces show, I sometimes try to discreetly hide my pregnant belly behind the the double stroller with 3 kids hanging out of it and two more jumping around. At this point the kids invariably announce, jubilantly, at the top of their lungs “AND GUESS WHAT? MOM IS PREGUNANT!!”
At that point people usually just laugh.
And then I get a warm glow inside, that we are doing out part as a travelling circus to make the world a more interesting place :)

Whenever I was having a bad day, Jenny would come to cheer me up, with shining eyes, “Mom, if you are having a bad day, jus' wemember YOU ARE PREGNANT!” 

In church thanking VBS prep volunteers “...thanks to all who sacrificed nights and weekends...” Isaiah was distraught, and said to Josh “no, no! You do not sacrifice Knights!”

Isaiah got obsessed by the Roman Army. I was just so relieved he was off his “Mongol Heavy Cavalry” obsession, that I encouraged it by leaving Roman Army themed books around the couch. He carried one very informative but cheaply printed history book around so much that a few pages came out from the staples, which caused great emotional distress. When I fixed this with packing tape, he went over every bit of the book, prying for a weakness and bringing it back as new pages were found wanting. I think now it probably weighs twice as much as it did when it was first printed, the added mass being half a roll of packing tape.

So on the last viewing of Pendragon: Sword of his Father, Isaiah recognized Artos's father was a Roman (Briton) and rooted for the goodguys all the way through the movie. He did not, as in former days, root for the conquering bloodthirsty Hengest, despite his growly voice and awesome axe.
My heart was singing.

Many of Isaiah's Roman Army books are illustrated with photos of re-enactors doing Roman military formations. I didn't realize what impression these photographs were giving him, till one night he asked Josh, “Do the Romans use coins with George Washington's face on them?”
No Isaiah, George Washington was born more than a thousand years after the Roman empire fell”
But now do they use coins with George Washington's face on them?”
The Roman Empire fell more than a thousand years ago”
Are they not still falling?”
At which point, Josh had to break the news to him that the Roman Empire, in fact, no longer existed.
Tears were shed. He asked Daddy if the Roman Empire would ever rise again, with their swords and shields. Josh said it might, but if it did, it would be different, and they would use guns.
At this, Isaiah wept.

Jenny wanted me to tell her if Daddy's character in Knights of the Old Republic destroys the Star Forge at the end of the game. I said I wasn't going to tell her. She got rather upset. I tried another tactic and said “Daddy will not like it if I tell the end, and I promised God I'd obey Daddy, so I can't”
Jenny sensed I was blame-shifting here, and didn't accept this excuse. “But mom, it wiwl be like---A YEAR before I know.” she went on begging. Then she tried a new strategy “Mom, just tell me. I promise I'll forget RIGHT AFTER YOU TELL ME”
Jenny, you don't know if you'll forget it”
I wemember forgetting other things”
How do you remember if you forgot?”
This silenced her a minute. Then she just said “I KNOW I forgot other things”
But you don't know if you'll forget this thing”
Yes I do! I will forget! Just tell me!”
I think I fled into the kitchen and tried to do something else at that point.

Mariam likes making Sarah Grace laugh. Together, they find hilarity in things like a bowl falling off Mariam's head over and over again, or water being splashed into Sarah's face in the bathtub (?!?). Hearing repeated peals of their laughter mixed together is like peaking into the joy of heaven.

Jenny has a sort of self imposed compulsion to “do the motions” to her VBS songs. We play the VBS cd nearly every day, and all the little girls copy Jenny to do the motions. However, if I put the VBS CD (or as Mariam calls it, the “BBS CD”) in when she's trying to do something else, she will glare at me, protest “Mom!! Not yet! I want to finish coloring!” but then will inevitably scramble over to the living room to do the motions whilestill protesting. “You can't put the VBS CD when I'm doing something else, then I HAVE to do the motions”---while doing the motions.
Daddy, myself, and even Isaiah have tried to explain to her that she doesn't have to, that she could just listen. But to no avail.
One day I had to get the kids up early and out of the house early for something, and we were running behind schedule, and Jenny was still fast asleep in bed. Tentatively I put in the VBS CD.
I started to make breakfast. I heard a thump, and a drunken-stumble of the half-awake,--when I turned, there was Jenny in a daze, still with bed-head and groggy eyes, faithfully doing the motions to the song, with a grumpy face. At the first break between songs, she reprimanded me for doing this to her. And continued with the motions for the next song...


Leah came over late at night, having to do some grading till the wee hours of the morning. The girls were trying to get her to come in and tell them stories. She was working at the table, when Mariam came out weeping having hurt herself. Leah was halfway to her to comfort her, when mid-sob Mariam said “I huwt myself...Tell us Dumpling and Dumpkin”
no subtlety there :)

jenny's dream 
I was asleep. I woke up. There was a fairy. It was still nighttime. She made a veil that was pink and a sparkly headbandShe made a pink dress for me. Mommy came in. and said “what is happening? Go back to bed” But I said “Mom, there's a fairy that made all these things for me, thank you fairy” and mom said “now go back to bed the fairy is gone”

Isaiah's wadded up icecream cone pieces for Mom and Dad. Saved a piece for Josh no matter what I said.

Isaiah sitting in the back of the car, burst out, “will Jesus ever come back NORMALLY?”
What do you mean Isaiah
(almost crying) “Will he always come back with a sword coming out of his mouth, his eyes like fire, and white hair?!?

Sunday, August 11, 2019

When my kids are driving me crazy...

On the days when I think the kids are “driving me crazy”, I need to stop, and think.

And every time, the root is not the kids. 

Yes, they might push me over on the edge, but why was I sitting by the edge in the first place? Why does 2 tantrums, an emptied bookshelf, permanent marker on the carpet, or a poop explosion, suddenly feel like the last slender thread of my sanity snapping? 

Usually I can find why I was sitting on the edge---I find I'm worrying someone I love will wreck their life, or I'm in the middle of a drawn out text-fight with a sister, or mentally rehearsing bitter litanies of grievances from people I have not forgiven, or brooding over some awful thing that has happened in the world, or stressed out about some financial need, or fearing for a beloved one's marriage, or worrying about a friend or siblings relationship choices----all these things push me to that edge, then one kid-tantrum or mess later, I'm yelling, crying, and melting down.

But its not really the kids, its the turmoil in my own soul. And the answer to every one of those problems is to take it to God, to TRUST His heart, to TRUST His strength. Then I can face the daily stresses of life with small children with joy, with deep reserves instead of inner turmoil. The inner turmoil is what has me living on the edge, running on narrow margins.

My noisy kids are not the problem---the turmoil in my soul is. And when the Holy Spirit comes, and I give Him the burdens of my heart, then suddenly, a mess is just a mess, a diaper explosion is just a needed bath (with bubble soap! And foodcoloring in the water!), a tantrumming kid is just a needed long hug (good for us both), a permanently-markered carpet is just money (God will provide).
Because what I really needed wasn't peace and quiet so I could cope with my inner turmoil without blowing my top.

What I really needed wasn't me-time so I could distract myself with hobbies or reading, and hold in all the pain and fear, and pretend it wasn't there.

What I really need is inner peace.

I need to invite the Holy Spirit into the dark places of fear in my soul, to give him my burden, and then rise up and live. So my kids are really God's scalpel, cutting apart my camouflaging bandages to show me the hidden infection that was there all along, in my heart.

My kids overload my coping mechanisms, so that they fail. With my coping mechanisms broken, I am forced to go to the Healer, to offer to Him the turmoil in my heart, and TRUST....and learn to live.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Old Photodump

I realize I never posted these pictures. Most taken about 6 months ago, when Anastasia was a couple months old.

It was fall/winter (beautiful weather here) and we went to the park.

"Still Life No. 23" by Keziah