Saturday, November 15, 2014

popping in…

Yes, I know.  It’s been FOREVER.  Lots has happened in the last 6 months.  In the last year!  And there are lots of changes ahead. One of the cool changes this year?  Emily graduated from Washington State University in May!  See?


The biggest change so far?  This:

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(l-r, back:  Tori, Jim, Jennifer, Hailey, Alec, Brent, Carol, Rod, Emily; front:  Ryan, Logan)

On what felt like the wettest June 28 ever, Hailey got married in a beautiful outdoor ceremony not far from here.  Alec, her husband, is an incredible young man, and we’re thrilled to have him as part of the family.    Some more pictures of the day

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The whole extended family:  Alec’s siblings +spouses, his dad, his granddad, and Hailey’s whole family.  What a crew!) 

It was an incredible, amazing day. It POURED…starting right after we decided to go ahead with the outdoor ceremony.  It rained all through the processional.  And the ceremony.  The sun came out when the pastor pronounced them husband and wife and gave Alec permission to kiss his bride.  A bonus?  There was a rainbow at that time.  SO cool—nothing quite like seeing God’s blessing right there. Also, it needs to be said that the day would simply not have come off without the outstanding help of my sister in law Cathy.  She was more than my right hand, and she was indispensable!  It is so cool to see your children take such a big step!  Hailey and Alec live about 5 or 6 miles from us.  Ironically, they live in an apartment right next door to the apartment Jim and I lived in when we were newlyweds. 

There are other big changes afoot in the Kassebaum house.  (No, not a grandbaby!)  We’re taking another journey, embarking on a new adventure.  This one doesn’t involve adoption, though.  Stay tuned for more details! 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

It’s been forever

Yes, I know.  It’s been a long time since anything’s been posted.  And this will be short.  It’s just that this is far too good to pass up. 

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It’s an apt description of what’s going on in the lives of 2 little boys.  God is good.  He is repairing little hearts, slowly but surely.  This gives me hope to be patient while He works.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

so I’m a little slow

Last weekend, Jim and I were talking.  I shared that the messy situation in our world was causing me some stress, and that I was tired—mentally and emotionally tired.  He made an observation I’ve heard many times:  he asked me if I had truly given the issue to God.  He commented that if I had, it wouldn’t be bothering me.  In that moment, I was hit with a revelation…I have NEVER heard a woman make that statement!!

Now, before anyone says “duh!’, let me say that I’ve never had occasion to really ponder it.  I’m not typically a worrier, and I don’t generally get terribly stressed.  The goings-on of life the last 2 months have left me feeling overwhelmed.  Am I worried?  Not really.  Just overwhelmed.  Anyway, in that lightbulb moment, I remembered the words of a hysterically funny teacher on marriage.  Mark Gungor, who wrote a book called Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage and teaches a seminar of the same name, describes this very thing.  We’ve read the book and done the seminar via DVD, and we love it! He talks about the differences between men’s and women’s brains.  It’s worth the time to watch.  (Go do it.  Now.  I’ll wait…)  Note that at the 8:00 minute mark, he describes IN DETAIL the exact male/female brain responses to stress we’re seeing. (It was worth the time, wasn’t it?  I bet you laughed! )

My brain is interconnected.  I can cook dinner, talk on the phone, and monitor the children all at the same time.  Most gals I know are able to do it.  Jim?  Nope.  He’s single-minded.  It’s not a problem…just a difference.  But once in a while, it can cause problems.  I finally found a picture that describes the differences accurately:

womens brain browser tabs

At our house, when one of the girls is on the web, there are multiple tabs open in a single browser.  When Jim uses the web, each site gets its’ own window.  Seriously.  (The little boys have trouble managing multiple tabs too.  I generally open a new window for them.)  Again, not a problem…just a difference.  But knowing the differences in brain make-up, I’m surprised that it took me SO. LONG. to figure out why the statement “If you’ve given it to God, you wouldn’t be thinking about it” has bothered me so much. 

So.  I try to not dump on Jim too much.  He can’t fix the problem (I know that) and he’s simply not wired to sit and listen without wanting/needing to fix.  Rather than having both of us frustrated, I keep much of it to myself.  When I NEED to talk, I ask him if he’s willing to listen.  He always will.  And you know what?  My revelation has enlightened both of us!  He’s MUCH more willing to listen since he knows it’s a processing function, and I much more readily understand that his brain simply isn’t wired to process stress verbally.

Compromise…it’s a good thing. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

of birthdays, the stomach flu, and other ramblings

Yes, we ARE alive.  Truly.  The fall came upon us with a vengeance, and with it came the attempt to juggle more than I’d expected:  homeschooling two 3rd graders, working almost 20 hours/week, daily therapy + weekly speech therapy, ministry commitments at church, and for the first time, sports for the dynamic duo!  In the midst of all of it, something HAD to give, and I figured my family would prefer I maintain my sanity and let the blogging go.

The boys had a very 2013-09-28 11.30.31fun soccer season this past fall.  Not on the winningest team, they had fun and improved their skills greatly.  And, they made new friends.  We enjoyed the opportunity to see them involved, even if this season brought 2 of the  foulest soccer weather days we’ve ever encountered in our years as soccer parents.  The things we do for our kids!!

Logan turned 9 in October and is beginning to really blossom.  His math skills are taking off and his reading is coming along nicely.  It will take us much longer for him to be working at ‘grade level’ but what 2013-10-31 18.49.24we know (and have had confirmed by his team at Children’s) is that he is definitely in the right place doing the right things for now.  It is often a challenge to get through the complex learning issues, but we’re doing it.  Each victory is celebrated, that’s for sure!  Progress is slow, often painfully slow, but it is steady.  We are beginning to see cognitive leaps and are excited to see that continue.  As I tell him often, failure is NOT an option!

Ryan turned 9 on Monday.  It’s been a relatively easy go with him.  He’s flying through his schoolwork and knocking them dead on the things he enjoys.  Currently working in a late 4th grade math book, he’s excited to finish it and move to 5th grade math.  I am loving it because it’s honest, old-fashioned math, with an emphasis on mastery and application of computatio2013-12-12 10.28.17n skills rather than the currently vogue focus on deep thinking and self expression.  He gets it and can easily explain the why of it all, which comes from mastering each new lesson.  He frequently floors us with what he gets and what he’s able to apply from his lessons.  No worries here!  He’s still struggling at night and finding the dark to be scary.  Sunday night was the hardest I’ve ever seen with him:  he was sleepwalking in the living room, blanket and stuffed animal in hand, calling out, “Mommy!  Don’t leave me!  Don’t walk away from me!!  Don’t leave me here by myself!”  Heartbreakingly, he was not looking for this mommy.   Healing is slow, but God is faithful.  He will always have those scars, but hopefully someday they won’t haunt him like they do now.  I suspect part of his current struggle is related to some of the stuff going on around him, in the lives of some near and dear to us.  Sadly, we can’t protect him from everything, and this situation has been very trying for everyone.

The big guys are thriving!  It was wonderful to have everyone here for Thanksgiving AND Christmas.  Brent surprised us all by coming home for Thanksgiving with his darling puppy.  We enjoyed a great time around the table with Jim’s brothers, my parents, and a young couple from church daring enough to join 20+ near strangers for a holiday.  Christmas was quiet and low-key and totally enjoyable.  The only thing missing?  Snow!  Smile

So, we’re back at it.  Ryan had his first ever bout of the stoma2013-12-15 14.01.16ch flu last night so we’re playing it low-key today.  I’m trying desperately to catch up on a variety of things—Thursday is my only ‘free’ day all week.  Our new adventure for the winter is basketball.  Ryan and Logan are playing on a parks and rec team and enjoying Jim and Hailey as their coaches!  We also LOVE our gifts this year from my parents:  season tickets to UW Husky Women’s basketball.  Our sweet friend Katie plays on the team.  Logan was hysterical when he got his gift.  The tickets hadn’t come, so it was just a picture and a note.  He looked at it for a long time.  Then, barely able to contain his excitement he said, “Mom!  Look!! Grandma and Grandpa gave me Katie for my birthday!” 

And with that update, I’m headed back to see if I can salvage some school time today.  Tomorrow is speech therapy, our long drive adventure.  Takes a huge bite out of our school day.  And since Thursday’s the day we have to focus on getting things done, I’d better get to it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

feeling burdened

I know it’s been a while since anything has been posted—it’s been busy DSC_0100around here.  We just celebrated our 27th anniversary with a few days on the Oregon coast.  We took a whale watching trip!   The boys have started some new therapy that takes several hours a week.  We started our 4th year of homeschooling in 2013-09-13 10.31.16late August, and they’re working hard at the 3rd grade.  (And, I’m LOVING what I see this year!)   They’re playing soccer this fall for the first time.  I’m keeping busy too:  watching extra kids on Mondays and Wednesdays, teaching preschool on Tuesdays, taking one to speech therapy every Friday, and being wife/mom/homeschool teacher every day.

The burden, though, comes in something Jim and I are doing together, and loving!  We’ve been blessed with the privilege (and the responsibility!) of teaching a parenting series to the young families at church.  Taking what we learned over the years through the amazing pastor who taught us when we were young parents, adding what we’ve learned through our own experience, and making sure that it flows and makes sense has been a challenge.  It’s an incredible privilege to stand in front of these people every Sunday and teach from our hearts.  Both of us, though, have been surprised by the overwhelming burden we feel.  Families are struggling.    The heartache is big.  The needs are plenty.  We have emailed and talked in person and on the phone with hurting people.  Standing before them every Sunday, looking at their faces and knowing a tiny bit about their struggles…oh man.  There aren’t enough hours in a day for me to be in prayer for these precious people!  As we teach, we try to make sure that each session has laughter, hope, and encouragement included with the truth of God’s word.  And yet…my heart breaks for the struggles out there.  Every Sunday I come home ready for a nap because of the emotional workout.   Fortunately, we have also been blessed with a very gracious audience.  They are tenderhearted and gentle with us and with their fellow parents.  They are encouraging and positive.  We are seeing people reach out to others.  We are seeing growth!

For those who know me, hearing that I’m helping teach for 3+ months is a bit of a surprise.  I’m a huge introvert.  I don’t like speaking in public.  I don’t like putting myself out there.  I don’t like big crowds or nametags or anything else that exposes me.  Heavens…I’ve been known to throw up before I teach at church from the nerves!  I’m a small group gal.  One on one, or groups of 5 or 6?  Not a problem.  More than that and I’m completely out of my element.  Standing in front of 40 or 50 people week after week and exposing my parenting struggles?  Failures?  SO not me.  But this is where God has put us. Where He has equipped us to be at this time.  Where He has asked us to go.  So we go.  And we pray—for the marriages and single parents and families.  Best of all, we have a great time together up in front, teaching.  The experience is fun, and the burdens we feel has drawn us together as we spend time each day praying for these people.

How’s it possible to have a heart that is both heavy and light at the same time?  Well, doing what God has called us to do and seeing (in tiny amounts) the hurts of His people put us here.  For now, we focus on doing what He commanded in 2 Timothy 2:2  “…the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” 

Parents.  Reliable people, qualified to teach others.   They have a tough job.  Helping to bear their burdens is the least we can do.

Friday, August 23, 2013

wheat free update

First, though,  some vacation pics, since I never posted any:2013-07-22 19.09.11    

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Our 20th summer at Blue Lake in eastern Washington.  The boys invited a friend  to come this year.  Dasha’s a delightful young lady and the 3 of them had a marvelous time (in case you couldn’t tell.)

We are still (mostly) wheat free around here.  The benefits are huge, so it’s a permanent thing.  Little things like losing many of Logan’s temper tantrums and big things like clear skin and significant weight gain for Ryan (example:  as of March 1, 2013, he’d been with us 7 1/2 years and had gained 21 pounds.  Between March 1 and July 19—while we were wheat free—he gained just over 4 pounds.  We LOVE that!) have been wonderful! Surprisingly, it’s not as hard as I would have expected.  I’ve found a great all purpose flour substitute and (by accident!) discovered that it generally works as a substitute in my everyday recipes.  Actually, we discovered it when I used my favorite wheat based recipe for pizza crust and grabbed the wrong flour container.  Made it up with wheat free flour and it worked quite nicely.  As a matter of fact, the general consensus that it’s BETTER with the wheat free flour!  Not bad.  Cornbread last night using my regular recipe and wheat free flour was just as delicious, and no one would know it was wheat free.   Just the way we like it to be.  Once in a while we find ourselves in a place where wheat free options aren’t doable, and it’s okay. Ryan’s got a nice little patch on the back of his neck that gets itchy when he gets too much wheat.  Fortunately, it gives plenty of warning, and we’ve not seen him return to the ‘covered with eczema’ state of our wheat eating days. 

I’ve heard from people who’ve tried wheat free for one person and talk about how hard it is.  I can’t imagine doing this for only one person!  It had to be an all or nothing thing around here.  I’m not a short order chef, and I can’t imagine trying to manage meals with and without wheat.  Fortunately, we’re not dealing with a life-or-death situation here, and if we get some wheat it’s not going to make anyone immediately ill.  That certainly makes it easier.  Nevertheless, we all eat wheat free.  In the long run, we’re feeling healthier because of it, so it’s been worth the learning curve.

Now, to tackle the ongoing issue of developmental delays.  And get started with another school year.  Another day…and another post or two. 

Friday, August 16, 2013


My parents will have their 50th anniversary in December.  But because no one wants to have a fun party outdoors in December, we chose to honor them the first Saturday in August.   The weather was perfect (not too hot, not too cool, and no rain!), the location was lovely, the food was delicious, and the turn-out of people who love Mom and Dad was amazing.  

This is just a small portion of the pics from the day.  The family shots were fun…it’s the first time ever all 18 of us have been together in the same place at the same time.  To help identify the grandkids, in the picture of my mom with her granddaughters, from left to right it’s Hailey, Mom, Emily, and Tori.  All the girls are mine.  Smile  In the picture of my dad with his grandsons, from right to left it’s (back row)  Ted (Pam’s older son), Alec (Chris’ older son), Dad, and Brent (my oldest son).  Middle row:  Nick (Pam’s younger son), Logan (my middle son), and Ryan (my youngest son).  Sitting on the grass in front is Sam, Chris’ younger son.