Monday, November 3, 2014


I've been waiting for some cosmic amazing epiphany to spark my writing again.  But, honestly? My life doesn't allow for that kind of clarity these days.  I'm consumed with the duties at hand and add a business to run on top of it and my brain looks a little bit like this:
But you know what?  (and prepare yourselves, this is cheesy...)   kids LIKE scrambled eggs! Or smashed hard boiled. They prefer it!  Much like the epicenter of my thoughts:

How can I be a better mom?
What can I do to show these boys God's love and grace.
What is that he just stuck up his nose? (I digress...)

What I'm getting at is.... I've spent so much time agonizing about whether I'm doing a good enough job. Whether I'M good enough.  Whether the mom next to me is doing it WAY better...
I forget to actually SEE what my boys are seeing and how they are loving life!
When I stopped to look, I realized...  No. Life is not always perfect.  Yes, we have days where my kids watch too much TV.   We have regular battles over what to eat and when it's time to leave.  I do not always have the correct "verbage" to make my emotional, strong-willed boys do what I want without a major reaction.
Guess what?  THEY ARE STILL OK!  No, they are GREAT!  I have GREAT kids!
Because of one simple fact:  The list of positives far exceeds that list of negatives. 

But the point of all this rambling is to brag about one kid in particular today....
My firstborn son, Luke James. 

 (check out the fake smile on this kid! He practiced that in the mirror that morning! In his opinion...he NAILED IT!)

If you know him... you know the personality on this little human is like no other! He greets everyone he meets (and promptly invites them to his next birthday party... even if it's 11 months away.)
He knows everything there is to know about animals. (Thanks 'Wild Kratts'.)
He also knows exactly what he wants at all times.  And he has a hard time accepting things that aren't on his timeline.
He has BIG emotions and an even bigger imagination!
But he has also taught me a million things about being a parent.  Firstborns will do that....
If I have ever second guessed myself about my abilities as a mother, it's usually because of a new challenge with this kid.  If I have ever cried in the car after an embarrassing display of those BIG emotions, it's usually involving this guy.
But there is no other kid on Earth who will DAILY tell me I'm the BEST....and I'm Beautiful....and the BEST cook (Psshh... prove it, picky child!)  
He is HAPPY.   He totally approves of the life he's got!

Case in point: We had our very first parent/teacher conference last week. From the moment I got our appointment card I started sweating this meeting.  Luke had already had some "moments" in the school year adjusting to silly things like "RULES".   But we sit down with his (really great!) teacher and the only thing she says is... He's doing great! He is smart and exceeding all of the standards they expect for Early Kindergarten!  He DOES have a lot to say, some of which can be distracting - which we're working on - but I kind of never want him to lose that! He may get picked on. He may be Senior Class President. Either way, there is no one like him. And I pray that he always knows that's okay! And I will ALWAYS have his back.
We are in new territory with Luke at all times. As he grows, we've never had a kid his age before! We are figuring it out.  Some may think they know how to 'parent' him better. But God in His infinite wisdom (and humor) made RYAN AND I his parents. We must have just what he needs. And if not, we'll do what it takes to make it happen.
And I realized that we are SO lucky to have a kid like him to make sure we are FULLY aware of how he feels about how we're doing!
What a great adventure we're on...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Embracing the stink

It's time.

We recently reached the 6 month mark of moving to our dairy farm in Enumclaw. 6 months since Providence Farms was born.  Half a year of learning what it means to live this life and accept it.
Yes, I think it's time I accepted it.  Not just accept, but be content.  Happy, even!

Not to say I went into this kicking and screaming, but I think the correct term is "culture shock". This lifestyle is SO very different from anything I have known.  I have heard so many times when I tell anyone from my past where I am:  "Wow. Didn't see that one coming!"

Yeah. Me either.

But here I am!  Constantly cleaning dirty carpets and kitchen floors. 
Here I am, with enough 'muck boots' to fit a small army! 
Here I am, totally botching my garden just to tear it up and try again next year!
I've learned that "I'll come in for dinner in just five minutes" really means "You better just wait an hour to even start cooking..."  
I've learned that...
--If you so much as sneeze near a hay bale, it's gonna be everywhere. Ev-er-y-where!!
--You better not plan on cleaning up until about 10 minutes before you want it to look clean!
--Laundry will be never ending for the rest of my life.
--Don't let the baby calves cuteness fool you! They are a pain in the butt!
--Cow poo is just a part of life. And it's not poisonous when smeared on your jeans.
--The cows will get out. And you will have to chase them. No, they are not going to run you over.
--Weeds. Spiders. Flies. All should be named on the lease, because they constantly live here.
--Tractors break down at the exact moment you're supposed to leave the house. Scientific fact.

So much to just complain about, right?  All these reasons... and I've been thinking about writing all this down for a while. But I don't want to share it because "Oh, what will so-and-so think when they hear about how 'dirty' I live now?"   (oh, you didn't know about my security issues? you can see the previous post for the backstory there....)   Will  friends or family think less of me because this is our life choice? I find myself justifying and explaining how things look to anyone that comes to visit! 


I'll tell you why.  I was not ready to accept it. I had been told/warned/reminded how life would be - especially in the beginning - when we got here.  And until you are living it, there's really no way to prepare or understand.  And then comes that "culture shock" thing I was talking about... All of those complaints can SO easily overcome you until you decide...make a become content.  It may have taken me a whole half of a year to figure it out, but I am choosing to be happy with this life!

Every single day I get to take my boys outside with endless amounts of room to run and play. To get dirty. To learn how to garden with me. (okay, they mainly use it as the biggest sandbox EVER for their tractors... but I try to grow stuff around them!)

Every single night we can sit on our back porch or at the fire pit and see the most amazing sunsets, with this peace and quietness that you just have to be here to understand.

Every day my husband is present. He's here and I can sneak in a quick "How's your day?" or "I love you" any time I want!  Or even (when we're feeling reeeally ambitious) help him move some cows or feed the calves.

We have every opportunity to be completely self-sufficient! We grow our own food (which also means I can go 'grocery shopping' in an old t-shirt and my hair my backyard! hooray!)

My boys are learning the value of hard work. Something that is totally devalued in today's world!  They will be hard working, respectful young men who appreciate where things come from. I don't know if I could have taught them those things as well anywhere else!

Wait a minute...  I am learning the value of hard work! I don't think I really appreciated what that meant until now.

I am being forced to be good with money! A trait I know Ryan is thrilled about!  Doing all the business accounting for the farm has changed my perspective on so many levels! (I still have a slight shopping problem, but it has definitely gotten better!)

We get to ride around on a quad whenever we feel like it! ...Hello! That's reason enough!

All that said... I have decided it is all worth it! All the complaints are nothing compared to what our family is getting out of this experience.  To say that Ryan and I started this business from the ground up is so satisfying. WE did it. By ourselves.  Nobody can take that away.

I know my husband is so capable of being a great dairyman. There is so much negativity out there towards this profession. From so many that are close to us. So many that told us we shouldn't be doing this.  But my husband knows the industry and I trust him completely.  I trust his faith in the Lord and I know God is guiding our steps through this entire process. I've seen it first hand! There is NO OTHER WAY to explain how all of these doors opened up for us to be here! If anything, he deserves to know that I am behind him 100%.  He deserves to know that I am happy.  That our boys are happy.  And we are exactly where we are supposed to be, no matter what anybody says!

So to all the so-and-so's in my life who are grossed out by a little 'fertilizer' on your loaner boots... Yeah, this California girl probably used to be just like you.  But then God and his crazy sense of humor said "Now, watch this! Let's put HER on the farm.. just for fun!"    And now that I firmly have myself on the ground, I am ready to dig in. To find where my place is in this town. To find camaraderie in women I can confide in.  And to get down to raising an amazing family!

I have it in me.

Watch out, Enumclaw.

(p.s.  hey, California.... it's called "Ee-num-claw".   Yes, I know you want to say it with a country accent.  The PNW doesn't, but hey, if it makes you feel better, go ahead!)   

Monday, May 28, 2012


 I am insecure.

 I constantly deal with feeling like I am not enough.  I have spent the last few years trying to overcome these insecurities, and I have gotten better, because I have a husband that loves me and supports me and I have two little boys who ask for me when they wake up. I KNOW I am loved for who I am.

But I've spent so long with these blinders on of NOT being good enough.   As a teenager, I was awkward. I mean, taller than all the boys, huge poofy bangs, not athletic, choir nerd (but never got the lead roles), and if you wanted to date one of my gorgeous friends, you sent me a note to pass on. How's that for a recipe for an insecure disaster?     I did have my comfort zones;  I loved my youth group and serving anywhere I could. That was home to me. I know God was holding me through that time, but high school in general was a blur of trying to live up to a standard that I wasn't going to achieve at that time.

Going to my high school reunion this past year brought back all those feelings I had tried to get rid of.  I'm pretty sure I looked like a deer in headlights walking in the door.  I once again felt like I was not cool enough to talk to anyone.  Lame, right?  Sad part is, I probably came across as acting like I didn't want to associate with anyone.  Which is not who I am. It's not who I want to be. 

So, bear with me, but....  I enjoy Pinterest.

I enjoy finding new recipes, and projects and ideas for my kids and my home.  I look at it as a huge organization board for ideas I have in my head.  I spend about 20 minutes a day as I rock Noah to sleep for his nap looking at it.  I repin some stuff and that's that. 

Here's the catch:  I am plagued with feeling like there is NO WAY I am living up to my potential as a mother/wife/friend/WOMAN during those 20 minutes!  
eg: I tried to use a mason jar to make a soap dispenser. It doesn't pump.  I failed.  

Now, if you've been to my house you might see "attempts" at things Pinned. And that's because I really do enjoy doing them... but I struggle with guilt that while I was spending time doing that, I wasn't outside teaching my boys how to spell their names... or get potty trained... or eat vegetables.

Where do these crazy unattainable standards come from??  There has been a lot of blogs and articles I have read lately about being a "super mom" and how it's a myth. Yet, there are always going to be people that do some things better than others. It is how we deal with them, and how much we look to God to know how we are truly seen. Through the only Eyes that really matter.

I am guilty of putting God in a very small, (but super cute and decoupaged) box.  I do not allow Him to show me how He feels about me enough. If I was able to drown out all of the "Super Moms" -- who's kids/house/hair/body/husbands/clothes/spiritual lives were all perfect, with time to post it all on Facebook and Pinterest -- I might be able to hear the Lord telling me that I am perfect in His sight.  That all my insecurities are things I can work on with His guidance.  That time with Him will discern which of those things are even worth worrying about! That His grace is what I need to imitate to my children.
And that is ALL that matters. 

So I may have cleared my head, but I will most likely sit down to rock Noah to sleep tomorrow, turn on my super-handy Pinterest app and make a list in my head of things I want to do.  But I want to accomplish things knowing that who I am is good enough. And accept that there are things I can work on. But I am in no way a failure. And guilt is a choice. 

I will be a better mom and wife and friend if I am able to, above all else, see God's perception of me.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Noah Patrick Mensonides

April 12, 2011
7 pounds, 4 ounces
19 1/4 inches
healthy. beautiful. perfect.

We are so in love with this precious boy. It's amazing how much praying and worrying you can do before your child arrives that they will be healthy and come with all 10 fingers and all 10 toes... then, magically, after one hectic, whirlwind of a day... you have this brand new perfect little life in your arms and everything is right. Like he always belonged there. It's the most peaceful and beautiful feeling.

I'm becoming quite outnumbered...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and the Bertha

I keep thinking I'm going to sit down and start writing here again.... so much has happened since the last post in January.

But what better event to get back into writing than DOING SOMETHING I SAID I WOULD NEVER EVER DO!

Meet Bertha...
She's a 2010 Chrysler Town & Country Touring minivan. That's the title for "I AM NO LONGER COOL".

Sure we got an amazing deal on it, and my precious XTerra, Kronk, wasn't traded for as cheap as some thought he was.... but I still woke up this morning the owner of a certified Mom-mobile!!

I am fully aware of all the jokes that will commence... but you know what? When my hands are full of infant and toddler boys, and whatever else we leave the house for, and I can click a button and Bertha's doors magically open wide to throw in all my treasures, I will know that I made the "responsible" choice!

I would also like to show off her backside.... I felt like it was a little less "minivan" looking:...maybe I'm just fooling myself.

either way, we are ready to be full on parents! Luke and his brother will have plenty of room, running errands will be easier, (...blah, blah, blah..)

The only other thing getting me through is the fact that this is a TEMPORARY solution until we can afford a gas guzzling SUV that still fits all these BOYS that I'm having, apparently...


Let's see... what else has happened? Oh, that's right! My baby girl grew herself a pee-pee!that's the latest view from the bottom up. Arrow pointing at the "new developments".
So after a whole lot of "Are you kidding me!!?!" and "WHAT are we going to name him!?!?" and Ryan has finally stopped jumping around like a giddy school girl.... I think we have adjusted to the idea of having 2 boys.

It wasn't so much that, as "losing" the baby girl I had named and thought about and pretty much signed up for ballet already! But God had other plans. And I had to realize that he never was a she. He's always been my son. And that's okay! I am so excited to see the friendship that will develop between my boys. And teaching them to be men of God and how to treat a lady!

Only real down side is THIS picture will be forever in my son's baby book as his official "baby shower":
HA!! It'll be good for his ego.


Those were the major milestones in the last few months. Other than a nasty spell of the flu, we've been holding up pretty well!

About 3 more weeks and we will meet this little one (who I THINK just might have an official name now! It's a miraculous act of God that Ryan and I have come to a decision......
unless it changes........) and Bertha will get a little bit fuller.

It's gonna be a good ride....

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

the Grocery Dilemma...

I love my son. I do. He lights my world up.

But I swear...there are times I wish they made baby straight jackets for grocery shopping trips.

I have tried about everything in the book... giving him a snack, bringing a toy from home to play with, singing songs, pretending to "zoom" through the store... it all works great! For about 2 minutes! He wants whatever Mommy is trying to pick up. He refuses to sit in the cart, he insists on standing, jumping, crawling around on it.

So I shop one-handed.

And don't get me started on trying to check out! Ugh! The cashier looks at me like I am running a three ring circus! And I can't count how many times I have had to re-swipe my card, because my little angel has to push all the buttons!

But then, we get in the car... all the groceries are loaded in the back, the boy is strapped into his carseat. (to Mommy's satisfaction as secret replacement of the straight jacket)

And I get this precious face when I get in the car and turn around that says "Yay Mama!"

HOW can you be mad at that!? His little toothy grin makes me melt almost immediately and I forget (almost) about the nonsense that just took place!

As a disclaimer: I realize that I really have nothing to complain about with just ONE little boy to control and understand that I better get a grip before my "helpers" multiply... But hey, this is my blog and I can vent if I want to.

P.S. ....On a lighter note:

That particular shopping trip was a success!! I have found a new love!!

I really and truly do not know how I have gotten this far in my pregnancy without it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Tea Party

this is just to make sure I can post video...

Christmas day, Luke and cousin Korinne had a sweet little tea party with Korinne's new tea set and table. It was the sweetest thing.

....Mostly going to be saved as blackmail for when my boy is 18. :)