Tuesday, July 28, 2009

When Big Brother is down...

That's when it's time to party!

And take every cheap shot that we can.

We love you Isaac. You're such a GREAT big brother to us!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


It's been quite a week for me. I came home from our anniversary weekend away so rested and recharged. I felt ready to tackle a bunch of summer chores, enjoy the beginning of my husband's three weeks off from work and put the finishing touches on my training for the Wharf to Wharf 10K Run (which is today actually). Then Tuesday night I started getting the chills, Wednesday I felt pretty bad. Thursday it just got worse and when I finally acquiesced and took my temperature, it was 103. Since I'm still nursing the baby, I try to avoid any sort of medicine but in this case, I knew I had to do something. I called my OB's office to see what is okay to take while nursing and they said Tylenol. That helped bring the fever down temporarily and when it was down, I felt a bit better. But then the major cold symptoms started and I couldn't breathe through my nose or stop coughing. And the fever, well it's been going since Tuesday night and still hasn't broken (without medicine).

Okay, so this gives you a little picture. Definitely NOT how I thought my week was going to go. As I got closer to the weekend and I wasn't getting better, my hopes of still running today began to fade. I could hardly walk to the bathroom without having a coughing fit, how could I think I could run in my condition? But I went to the doctor anyway on Friday just to make sure there wasn't anything else I could do. I don't have a primary care doctor and we just switched insurances so I just saw the urgent care doctor. She was nice enough. But she literally laughed in my face when I asked if I could still run if I was feeling better come Sunday. I had to ask. I've only been training for this race for months and have run hundreds of miles in the process. I've also wanted to run this particular race since I was in high school and all of the years that we've lived up here so far I've either been pregnant or just had a baby and I couldn't do it. This was the first year it worked out. So, I couldn't just give up without a bit of a fight. Although deep down, I knew I wouldn't make it even if I tried.

So what does all this moping have to do with anything? Well, this last week has gotten me to think about a lot of things. Mostly because I have been sitting around doing nothing and just watching life go by. First of all, I really take my good health for granted. How easily we can get sidelined. And really, my bad case of the flu is nothing compared to people who are REALLY sick. You know, like those people who are battling terminal cancer, injuries from accidents or any life threatening disease. These people are sick all the time and there doesn't seem to be an end. I felt so overwhelmed when I wasn't feeling better after five days. Five days! What's wrong with me? I have the discipline and tenacity to push my body to train for a measly 10K but I don't have the discipline to train my heart to deal with adversity that I don't choose or desire! When pushed even a little in this area, I cave. Where is my tenacity then? Where is my perspective?

Also, nothing is concrete. I plan to do many things but often, other events get in the way and that's okay. I can order my life as best as I please but, I can't change what actually happens. Other thoughts assailed me...Do I think much of the shut-ins, the elderly or the infirm? I am still going crazy that I haven't been outside and it's not been very long at all. What about the people who never go outside for years? Truly, this wasn't a huge trial or anything but rather a time God carved out for me to just think about things a bit and get a perspective adjustment. Unfortunately, I need them often.

My husband is always trying to encourage me to be positive, think the best and to be joyful regardless my circumstances. I usually tend to be much more pessimistic (I would say "realistic" ha ha). This last week I really tried to heed his continual advice to me and remember that these things are small because really, they are. In the grand scheme of things, I'll be moving around just fine in a few days and I can always run another race. Yet I also had to remember that it's all right for me to be disappointed as long as that disappointment is balanced with good perspective. I shed a few tears when the race started this morning. But that was it and then I finished helping the boys get ready for church. I noticed this time that having a different perspective also helped me to be genuinely happy when my running buddy called me to let me know how it all went and what her time was. She had her best time yet of 52 minutes! I was really proud of her and know that if I could've been there, I would've been right on her heels. Maybe next year!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Seven Years

For my husband on our seventh anniversary:

Another year has passed and we are flying faster toward ten years than I ever thought could be possible. Your presence with me has become so regular, so normal, so home that I scarcely can fall asleep without you. You've become to me like a comfortable pair of running shoes (stay with me here)-- sturdy, strong, worn-in, comfortable, used to my ways yet urging me onward. I've really seen this past year how the years that we've put in already have become a firm foundation and that now we're starting to build on that foundation. May God bless us as we build. May we lean upon His strength, learn from His love and may we honor Him in all we do.

I love you.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Chimenia

This lovely little addition to our backyard has quickly become a family favorite. I know it looks a bit strange. I'd never even heard of such a thing before. But truly, after my husband brought it home and we tried it, we were hooked. It's called a Chimenia. Now why a Chimenia? Let me give you a little background on my husband's childhood.

Steve grew up in a family that built fires a lot. His Dad was a woodcutter during his summer breaks from teaching and so they always had firewood around. That wood was enjoyed over many campfires in the summer and warmed their house quite often during the winter. My husband grew up splitting wood. If you asked his Dad how much he'd say, "Not enough. He hardly ever split wood! I did all the work!" If you asked Steve he'd say, "All the time! I used to chop up big rounds!". Ha ha. But anyway, what I'm getting at is that having a fire became something that my husband associated with family, in particular his family, and he loved it. Having his Dad build a fire was comforting to him and as he's acquired his own family, he's wanted to pass that legacy on. His Dad is still out cutting wood, by the way, whenever he can even though he's pushing 70. He really is amazing. But back to the story.

So sadly enough, even though our little farm house was built in the 1930s when most houses had and frequently used their fireplaces, we do not have one and this is something that my husband laments. Even though he's so thankful for our little home, I can't even tell you how many times he's told me how he hopes someday we can have a house with a fireplace. Over time, I tried to come up with a solution to this problem but continued to come up empty-handed. But then recently I started getting this little idea in my head that we could get a firepit and put it in the backyard for a sort of pseudo fireplace, if you will.

I've been doing a bit of work for my mom on the side and so I finally had a little wad of extra cash to call my own that wasn't spoken for by, you know, important things like diapers, food and gas. I started planning that I'd give Steve some of that money to buy a firepit. Before you all start thinking I'm totally selfless and noble, know the truth...I did use the bulk of that check to get my hair cut, but what was left, I gave to him to get a firepit.

So off he and his brother went to the great great land of Home Depot and they came home with this little clay contraption called a Chimenia. We were both a little befuddled with it at first (Steve's brother Dave had convinced him to buy it instead of an actual firepit) but have been so pleased with it. Thanks Dave!

We didn't have any firewood right at first and so Steve and the boys went hunting around campus for some. Lo and behold, a half an hour later, they were dragging back huge branches from the great beyond and had tales of rabbit sightings and branches that looked like bows and arrows. And not only that but our coffers were full of firewood, at least for the night. (We stocked up on a bunch more from his Dad the next day. He also gave Steve his very own ax and saw. So fun!)

That night, we sat, just my hubby and I, around the Chimenia and talked the night away roasting marshmallows and drinking wine. It was glorious. When we came inside, we couldn't believe it was 10 o'clock! There's nothing like it. Since then, we've built a few fires and have had some great talks. I'm telling you, my man can build a fire. And I'm starting to understand now, his love of fires. They're just earthy, comfortable and strong. They really are reminiscent of home.

But the best thing about this Chimenia, is that the smoke goes up out the chimney without blowing all over the people sitting around it. So not only do we get to have a blast around the fire, we don't have to go inside and take a shower. And that my friends is the best part of the whole deal!


This is a big moment in the Dauphin family. I am going to attempt to take a shower with the two older boys playing in the backyard. Of course, it will be short and I can hear them through the window (our room backs up to the yard) and if any of you think I'm negligent, don't worry, there isn't anything that can hurt them out there. I just have memories of the last four years putting children in cribs or pak n plays, showering only during naptime and simply not showering at all on some days (don't worry, not every day). Now, we'll see how it goes...hopefully there won't be any brotherly brawls and I'll get my five minutes in the shower in peace. It's either that, or I'll be running out the door, dripping wet in my towel...hmmm, no, it's worth it. I think we can handle it. We'll see.

I better get off before my time runs out. If I've calculated well, I've got four minutes and forty-five seconds left.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Boys Night Out

For the second summer in a row, Steve has taken the boys camping in the great, wide wilderness of our very own home. Last year, it was the backyard and Isaac was the only one in the family who was old enough to brave the camp out. Here he is setting up the tent with Dad.

This year, Caleb got to join in as well and the party moved to the football field at the school where we live. Not only did the camp out move just a little further away from home but a few friends and cousins came too! What fun!

Only the four oldest boys actually got to camp out overnight but the rest of us showed up to set-up camp, eat hot dogs and generally have fun before heading home to a quiet evening for us moms.

The three dads, Steve, his brother Dave and our neighbor and friend Devin, had a great time fighting off the sprinklers to keep the boys from getting wet as they slept. Luckily the sprinklers first made their appearance around 9 pm (and not in the middle of the night) so that they could be conquered quickly and easily. What warriors they are! The boys slept through the entire episode and only one tent (ours) had any water damage and it was on Steve's side so he was able to just brave it for the night (my husband is a stud).

The funniest part about the sprinklers is that they had already thought about them prior to camping out there. They thought they had gone to a place where there weren't any sprinklers and had even searched around looking for them prior to setting up camp. The sprinklers were apparently so well hidden that they gave the dads quite a surprise later on. But it was all in good fun and the campers made it through the night! Thank you Lord for the summertime.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ryle Section 2

Section 2: Train up your child with all tenderness, affection, and patience.

This section is particularly meaningful to me because I've found that I struggle a lot in this area. When I just had Isaac I used to think that it was easy to be patient (most of the time) but as I've been given more little ones and as they've started to grow a bit, I've realized that patience is really hard to come by sometimes. It's humbling because I feel like the more they grow, the more I need to ask forgiveness for my sins of being short or unkind when I'm frustrated. I've noticed when I am that way, the children turn off so quickly. Not that they don't need correction but it must be done with gentleness every time. So much in this section spoke to my heart and challenged me but I'll just post some highlights. I hope they encourage you. I need to write this stuff on my heart, especially since it comes straight from scripture, and just ask God for His strength to live it out.

"Love should be the silver thread that runs through all your conduct. Kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, patience, forbearance, sympathy, a willingness to enter into childish troubles (I struggle with this...I usually just want them to toughen up), a readiness to take part in childish joys-- these are the cords by which a child may be led most easily--these are the clues you must follow if you would find the way to his heart."

"Handle them kindly, and make much of them, and by and by you may guide them with thread; use them roughly and violently, and it will be many a month before you get the mastery of them all."

"Sternness and severity of manner chill them and throw them back. It shuts up their hearts, and you will weary yourself to find the door."

"We must not expect all things at once. We must remember what children are, and teach them as they are able to bear. Their minds are like a lump of metal--not to be forged and made useful at once, but only by a succession of little blows...'Line upon line, and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little,' must be our rule...Truly there is need of patience in training a child, but without it nothing can be done."

"Love is one grand secret of successful training."

Friday, July 3, 2009

Boys and Girls

Nearly overnight I've watched my oldest, Isaac, turn from baby/toddler into little boy. He always says things like, "When I get big I'll get married..." or "When I'm 29 I'll..." which is the age of his Daddy and currently everything associated with getting big will occur when he's 29. There have been so many things going on lately that have pointed out the obvious but where I've really seen it is in how he's relating to other children. Here's an example.

He has a little friend named Perle who lives next door and she is a year older than him. Her elusive older brother comes by to play at times and when he does Isaac stares at him in boyish wonder and delight. Any chance he gets to play with him is simply amazing and he talks about it for hours afterward. But most afternoons, when he's not running errands with his Dad, he's outside playing with Perle. They have the most imaginative play (initiated mostly by Perle) and they've caught numerous frogs, played for hours with cars in the mud and when Lucan, the older brother, shows up, there are some water gun fights. The reason I've gotten a kick out of watching them is that Isaac's budding social skills, or lack thereof, have seriously cracked me up.

I'm telling you, little boys are really just little men. Even Isaac knows this. He told his Daddy this the other night by the way, when Steve was on his way out to a church meeting..."But can't I go too Daddy? I'm a man!". Surely he thinks he is since he can carry a gun now. Nevermind it's a nerf gun. But anyway, back to the story. Nearly every afternoon Isaac stands at the gate and watches for Perle. He doesn't go over to her house, even though I urge him to do so to see if she's home. Nope...he just watches. And then after awhile he starts calling out her name almost in chant..."Perle. Perle." The chant then gets progressively louder. "Perle! Perle!" As if she can hear him from inside. At this point I usually tell him to just go see if she's home. But time slips by and he's still waiting. Some afternoons he doesn't get to play with her because he just can't get the courage up to go and ask if she's around. As much as I want to help him, I've decided to let him figure it out and not do it for him.

Watching him has given me time to ponder. Does this boy/girl dance ever end? I don't think so. I believe it starts now and keeps on going right into matrimony (not necessarily Isaac and Perle...but boys and girls in general). How adorable is it when a man is so awestruck by a woman that all he can do is just wait to get a little glimpse of her. I'm not saying Isaac's in love with Perle, he's too young for that, it's just that he knows she's different from him. He knows she's a girl and it intrigues him even at his little age of nearly four. Any expert who truly believes that boys and girls are conditioned by their parents to be certain ways are just plain crazy. They must not have children of their own because if they did, they'd see the obvious right in front of them. Plain and simple, boys and girls are different and they know it themselves all the way down to their toes. It's just innate.

I seem to recall one instance last autumn where Perle was frolicking around like a princess picking beautiful fall leaves. She bunched them quite nicely and even though they were dead, they shone radiantly orange and yellow. She laid them skillfully on my porch with a sigh and went on her way. Isaac tried to present me with some leaves and I must say, his effort was good but the leaves he found were simply dead. No sprightly beauty. They were deader than a doornail all shriveled and torn. I laughed aloud when he handed them to me and I kissed him hard upon his cheek. But what is he to know? He's a boy. To him they were the most beautiful leaves he'd ever seen. You see my point. Boys and girls are quite different.

Caleb still hasn't reached this point yet where he's starting to notice that boys are different than girls. To him Perle is really "Girl" both the noun and pronoun. He doesn't even have her name right yet. Isaac constantly corrects him like a good, honest, older brother should. Even though it's painful to watch my children figure out the world sometimes amidst the owies and various hurt feelings, the sweetness of watching Isaac learn to relate to others, especially little girls (he doesn't have any sisters) has been totally priceless for me. I'm just glad that they've been in my front yard and that I've been able to eavesdrop a bit. I'm sure later, when Isaac's older, I won't get the chance to do so. And at that age, Mom eavesdropping simply will be horrible. But for now, it's all music to my ears.