Saturday, June 28, 2008

4th Annual Freedom Celebration-Cancelled.

Due to some family stresses, the complete closure of Lake Dr and a lack of response about the Free Sale, we have decided to cancel it for this year. It is just too much for us with our kids to figure out this year. We apologize that this is so last minute. We will be praying about whether or not we should reschedule it for when the road reopens. Let us know if you have any thoughts about it, or if you feel inspired in some way to help with the planning.

Jen, Rich, Amy and all the girls

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


We had such a wonderful weekend in Illinois at the second bi-annual PAPA Festival. The People Against Poverty and Apathy Festival is a convergence of communities and movements coming together to share, dream, and create. It is put on by a network of New Monastic Communities, such as The Simple Way, Koinonia Partners and Camden House. This year the festival was held at Plowcreek Farm in Tiskilwa, Illinois. It is an intentional community, working farm, and Mennonite church.

Here we are just after we arrived trying to figure out where to pitch our tent. The 4 hour ride only took us about 6. Not bad!

They capped off the registration at 1000, I think there were probably about 800 or so people there. You can see all the tents behind me. It was hot during the day, but thankfully it cooled off in the evening.

We ate good! Pizza! and we shared lots of food with our neighbors! We had lots of fun meeting new friends and sharing our food in our chairs in the shade.

This is Andrew, he was hungry, so we made him a couple PB and J's in exchange for some songs! It made lunch taste much better!

He ended up sticking around a while and everyone enjoyed his music. He is from Koinonia Partners in Georgia, as is the guy with the hat on next to him. That's Sanders. The guy sleeping in the chair is Issac Everett. He is a musician too. He played on the stage. I liked his music and now he's my myspace friend! He can be yours too!

When it got too hot to bear after lunch, we all took a walk to the creek. Sanders and Andrew came and Andrew played his guitar as we hiked thru the woods. It was a beautiful moment I will never forget and when we got there the creek was so cold and it felt so good. Daisy and I hiked back before everyone else because I wanted to get to the session on Natural Childbirth and Midwifery. It was a great discussion and I felt blessed to be able to share my birth stories with the women there and to encourage woman that a Vaginal Birth after Cesarean is possible.

There was a huge kids tent and we all took turns volunteering so the kids could hang out there and parents could go to the sessions. The kids had a great time and some of the musicians and people came to entertain them. Shane shared his circus skills. Rosie was so excited ! Long before he was asking for volunteers she was jumping up and down with her hand in the air, yelling, "I want to try!"

So I used the port a potties, but for the more adventurous there's: Composting Toilets, Here's how it works:
Rich tried it out:
We have some friends here in town that are building some composting toilets in thier house. If I didn't have three little kids, I would probably give it a try! Humanure!

The Psalters played a great show. They are always great to see play and we love their music and thier message. It was just awsome to be out under the stars dancing with so many people. I can't beleive the kids slept thru it though, they are loud! If your looking for new music, check out the list of musicians on the PAPA Fest Schedule, there were so many awesome artists. I got 2 CD's, Timbre and Jess Karper, both great!

Daisy had lots of fun crawling in the dirt, but by Saturday evening I couldn't stand the sight of her so I filled up the dish tub and gave her a bath. She loved it. Then I washed Rosie's feet and we all felt better!

Rosie made some friends and they ended up making up some very funny games.

Plow Creek was such a beautiful farm, I hated to leave. I was fantasizing about moving in. I long to live in community with others and farming and rural life seems so romantic. Here are some photos of the farm:
(the people at plow creek opened thier homes to cloth diapering mommas so that they could wash diapers while at the festival.)

But alas, we have been called to the city so we packed up and came home. We are searching for our community here in Grand Rapids. The Jesus for President Tour left PAPA for Grand Rapids too. The first stop on their tour was Mars Hill Bible Church on Monday Evening.

It was a great event and it felt like we had brought a little piece of PAPA Fest home with us. The most amazing thing was that at the event we met a handful of people who share our vision who live right in our neighborhood!

So here we are praying and discerning what God has for us next. It is a crazy world we live in.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

FREE Fun event this Thursday night

okt event

This is put on by an organization that I volunteer with. We are working to provide education and create change in urban Grand Rapids around environmental justice issues such as lead, radon, carbon monoxide, and food availability.

This is a FREE event and there will be fun stuff for the kids to do and even FREE food! Check it out! I wish I could go, but I will be at PAPA Fest! We are leaving Thursday morning and we won't be back till Sunday.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Artist Market was fun!

Not profitable really, but fun! There were lots of people hanging out and it was a very fun scene, but nobody seemed to be spending much money. I got to see lots of friends and talk to some new people. It was fun anyway. I will probably do better at the Farmer's Market. I didn't go this Sunday cause we had to go see the Dad's you know, but I am planning on doing it some weekend soon. I am also going to sell some things at Hopscotch Children's store. It's right by our house and they sell locally made things. Cute place! When I get some extra time (funny idea, I know) I am planning on starting and Etsy shop.

Amy and Racheal helped me get set up. Daisy was with me the whole time and was a great sport. She even took a very long nap in her playpen. Rich took the girls to release the tadpoles and to a movie, and came down around 6:30pm to hang out.

Rosie had lots of fun dancing, and man can she move! She is so funny!

Lily spent alm0st the whole time painting at the info booth. She sure loves to create!

The tadpoles went home

The tadpoles outgrew their little container and it was time for them to go back to the pond. Many of them had all four legs now and had emerged from the water onto the floating little log we put in there. It took alot of convincing, Lily wanted to keep them forever and I had to explain to her that they would not be happy with us any longer because I didn't know what to feed them now that they were froglets. Some of them had already died, but Lily didn't know that. I know someday she is going to have to deal with the full circle of life, but for now, I was not ready to go there, and I wanted to get them back to the pond quick. While I was setting up for the Artist Market, Rich took Lily and Rosie to a pond near his work and they let them go. Lily was a very big girl about it, and Rich promised her that they would come back often and see how they are doing. It was a good experience and Lily learned some very important lessons.

We still have two toads and a frog on the back porch, I thought I'd give them each a proper introduction:

Dicky Boy


and Lily's favorite, Prince green Slimy Frog

They eat meal worms and crickets when we get to the pet store. They seem to be doing alright in the aquarium, although I think Prince is a good enough climber to find his way out one of these days. I am trying to prepare Lily for that day and help her to understand that although she loves these pets immensely, they would be much happier living in their own environment.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Avenue for the Arts Market

I have been sewing like crazy this week and I am taking all my stuff to the Avenue for the Arts market on Division Avenue this Saturday from 4-9pm, so if your looking for original hand dyed clothing, reusable market bags, Mei tie baby wraps, flowers, recycled goods and origonal artwork, come check it out!!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

our tadpoles are growing!!

A few days ago, Rosie and I decided the tadpoles needed something more to eat so we picked some grass and put it in with them. They seemed to really like it, as you can see below! There was one piece that seemed like a dandelion stem that they especially liked and all rushed to and latched onto. We also learned from our research that they really like lettuce. You have to boil it for 10 minutes and then drain it and cool it.

You can see how some of them had thier back legs, but alot of them don't. Their heads were still big and round and they didn't look much like frogs. We were very surprised when all of the sudden yesterday morning a few of them had front legs, and their heads had changed shape to look much more frog like. Their eyes are starting to raise and stick up and their mouths are changing from a sucker type mouth to a more frog like mouth. It really seemed to happen overnight. We went online to do some research and discovered that they need to be able get out of the water as soon as this happens, so we put a floating stick in the water and another one that they could climb up on. We watched closely to see what they would do and they immediately got very excited about it. Within a few minutes they figured out how to climb up and were sitting on the top of the floating log. I am very surprised at how little they still are, I thought they would be much bigger by the time they were doing this. They are only about the size of my pinky fingernail. Here are some photos we took tonight:

Rich was cleaning some fish he brought home from fishing tonight and he was able to show Lily what a gill looks like. Lily and I looked at lots of photos on the internet and learned many interesting things about frogs. It's kind of like one big science fair around here and we have a regular frog farm on the back porch. Lily brought home another addition to the family today. At Grammy and Papa's house she caught a green 'slimy' tree frog. In Lily's own words, he has special feet with suckers for climbing just like and octopus and his name is Prince slimy green frog!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Volunteer Photography

Most of you know that I am a professional photographer. I have been photographing weddings, portraits, and some commercial and documentary work for the last 7 years. With the arrival of Daisy however, I have not been very successful at balancing work and my most important job: my family. So I have decided to take some time off from marketing and I have embarked on my most challenging and exciting documentary project yet, my own life! I will continue though to volunteer for Now I lay Me Down To Sleep with a local extension of the organization called the Whispers program. Some of you may not have known about this work that I do, so I thought I would share it with you. We work at Spectrum Health and are on call to photograph for families who loose their sweet babies. I have been doing this for about a year and a half now and when I tell people about the work that I do people usually ask me how I do it. It is hard, and it is very sad, but I feel very privileged to help families remember their babies. I know that it is a very important part of their healing and I feel so honored that they would invite me to photograph such a private moment in their lives.

Please view the Whispers Photography website or the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep website to learn more about the organizations:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Dumpster Diving!

I can't believe what our culture throws away! But I'll take it!

After swimming at the Y last night we needed to stop at Home Depot to get something. Rich thought they were open till 10pm so we went, but when we got there at 9:15pm they were closed. So we decided we'd go shopping in their dumpster! We scored lots of flowers! So then we were inspired to go check all the dumpsters in the area! At Rue 21 we found some really nice t-shirts right on the top, and at office max Rich put Rachael right into the dumpster to grab some stuff.

She came out with some glue sticks, a bag of jolly ranchers and best of all a leather portfolio with a three ring binder and a calculator inside. We gave it to Lily who thought it was Christmas! Lily was very interested in what we were doing and asked about a million questions, she was very upset that we couldn't 'rescue' ALL of the three racks of flowers being thrown away at the Home Depot. The concept of dumpster diving comes naturally to her. She has never understood why people throw things away and it has always upset her when I throw away anything old or broken. I usually have to sneak things right out to the dumpster while she is sleeping. When she was two we used to have to bring every little bit of leftover food, edible or not, in a doggie bag, until Rich finally convinced her one day that it was ok to throw it away because the Rat's at the dump would eat it. From then on when the waitress took her plate she would proclaim loudly, "The rats will eat it right Momma!?" So anyway, she got so into the idea of dumpster diving last night that she decided that that is what she wants to be when she grows up! Lily the Dumpster Diver! Makes a mother proud! As she was going to bed with her new notebook last night she said to me on her way up the stairs, "am't I a lucky girl momma, to get such a nice notebook that someone was throwing away?!"

Tie Dye Party

We spent all weekend tie dying. It was lots of fun and we made lots of cute things for ourselves, to give as gifts and to sell at the Farmers Market and local artist markets. Rich and I spent our anniversary date a few weeks ago garage sailing and thrift store shopping collecting white things to dye and we had a huge pile of stuff for the party. Our friend Shari (check out her blog post about it) is our tie dye guru and helped us pull it off. We usually dye with her in the summer and she makes very nice things! The best part is, she has the whole thing down to a science. Mixing the chemicals and the dyes is so much easier when she's around. My friends Jane, Jenna and Racheal were all there creating too. Here's some pics of some of things we made:

Daisy wore the little blue dress this week and she looked so cute!

These are some cotton gauze that I think make beautiful scarfs. I made one square one for myself to wear tied as a skirt.

The next photo is what the kids were up to while we were busy and they were left to their own devices:

It was quite a sight to see this parade of creatures as it emerged from the back door! The poodle (Lily) and the frog (Rosie) are mine and the bird pushing the stroller is my friend Jane's daughter, Paisley.