Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm Back! : )

After several crazy weeks of birthday parties, real estate events, a Texas real estate conference, and of course Thanksgiving, I'm reentering the blogger world!

Soon, at least.

Until I fully get my act back together, here are a few pictures to tide you over....


Is it just me, or are all the pictures of this boy taken in his highchair? It's no coincidence: super messy eater + super hungry boy with super big appetite = lots of highchair time

Can you see the moose lying down in the center? This was taken from about halfway down our 1/2-mile long driveway

More snow and birthday pictures and posts to come soon!!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Myth of Overpopulation

We're praying for children. Lots of children. Actually, we would consider ourselves abundantly blessed whether we end our childbearing years with two or twenty, but it is our desire to welcome any children the Lord sends our way.

Some people consider this to be criminally irresponsible at worst, or just plain crazy at best. One of the reasons they give is the supposed problem with overpopulation....

Many thanks to Kim, over at Life in a Shoe, for sharing this video! She - and her ten children - really don't fall for the myth of overpopulation! : )

(Kim, I really didn't steal your post title; I thought it up on my own, and then realized that you'd used the same one. :D)

Another great resource on overpopulation:

Monday, October 25, 2010

"Parent Training"

Child training: very few of the many responsibilities we have as parents are as important as this one. Done correctly, it teaches our children self control and prepares them to responsibly follow God when they move out of our homes to start families of their own. We're all familiar with Proverbs 22:6: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." A few other words come to mind when I think of everything involved in this crucial element of child rearing: consistency, justice, husband-wife teamwork, reproof, the Rod of Correction, parent training.

As I work with Little Tait and Miles constantly throughout the day - "drilling" them, praising good behavior and punishing and correcting bad behavior - I've come to realize that, while I'm training them to act correctly and obediently, I'm also training myself.

To be positively effective, child training must be done self-consciously. But even the parent who gives no thought to child training is, just the same, training her child. She is either teaching him that there are no consequences for his actions, that bad behavior is acceptable, that there is no standard whereby he must live his life; or she is teaching him that actions have consequences, that what he does is important, and that there is a higher standard than his little whims and desires. As Proverbs says, "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame" (Proverbs 29:15).

Child training should be a way of life. Consistency is extremely important, especially for very young children, but oh so hard to achieve! Little Tait (nearly 2) needs to know, at this point in his life, that taking toys from Miles (12 months) always yields bad results. Yes, there will be times when I'm not there to correct him, but I should be consistent enough that he can pretty much count on undesirable consequences. If I stand by and watch him steal Miles' toy without dealing with it, Little Tait learns that it is sometimes okay to take Miles' toy, and once he gets to a certain age, will begin to weigh the chance of bad consequences against the joy of getting what he wants (which is always, of course, exactly what the other child has).

Miles needs to know that every time he gets in the kitchen cupboard that is not his cupboard, there will be consequences. Usually, these "consequences" consist of a slap on the hand and relocation over to his cupboard. Recently, I've let this one slide some, and Miles has been much more interested in the kitchen cupboards with glass jars and plates than in his cupboard with non-breakable baby dishes. Little Tait knows exactly what's going on, and tries to help Miles avoid the bad consequences. As soon as Miles heads for the kitchen cabinets, Little Tait is there, opening the baby cupboard and directing Miles to it.

It's hard for me to repeatedly break away - both mentally and physically - from the dinner I'm stirring on the stove, or the sink I'm scrubbing, or the real estate work I'm doing for Tait, to correct babies throughout the day. But I constantly remind myself that the results of consistency far outweigh the luxury of working on projects uninterrupted! I would much rather disrupt my work periodically for little episodes of child training now and enjoy well-behaved, obedient children later on, than thoughtlessly avoid the trouble of child training now, only to have to deal with wildly out-of-control children down the road. Then, it would be nearly impossible to get the housework done!

I've realized that I have to train myself before I can hope to make real headway with the boys. I have to "train" myself to drop whatever I'm doing to deal with disobedience. I have to "train" myself to make child training a natural way of life. Basically, it boils down to creating for myself good habits of consistency, self discipline, and unending patience.

Little Tait and Miles are by no means perfect, and I'm reminded daily that they are each a work in progress. Each child is born with a sin nature, and it is our job as parents to teach them, through Christ, to fight that sin nature and become more conformed to the image of Christ each day.

A few of our favorite resources on child training:

To Train up a Child, by Michael and Debi Pearl of No Greater Joy Ministries
Unfortunately, we're not able to recommend most of their other materials. However, we do recommend To Train up a Child very highly! It is one of the most practical books on child training we've ever seen. This was one of the books that we studied through together over the phone during our courtship.
Raising Godly Tomatoes (a book and website by L. Elizabeth Krueger)
Although I haven't actually read the book, the information on the website has been extremely helpful and wonderfully practical!
What are some resources that have been helpful for you in the area of child training?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Fallish Sort of Dinner

Fall makes me crave soup. It's just such a warm, comforting, cozy sort of thing to eat when it's cold outside!

Coconut Pumpkin Spice Soup
Fried Snapper Sandwiches with Semi-Homemade Tartar Sauce
Pina Colada Smoothies

The pumpkin soup was a random combination of the following recipes:

Basically, I just made it out of whatever I felt like and whatever I had on hand. : ) And why would I just follow a single recipe, when I can draw my favorite elements from several recipes? ;D

2 small pumpkins, peeled and cubed, simmered in 2 quarts of organic vegetable broth
2 onions sauteed in a few tablespoons of butter
I ran the pumpkins and onions through the food processor briefly to make the soup creamier and smoother
A little maple syrup, grated nutmeg, curry powder, cloves, cayenne pepper, and salt
I added a tiny bit of whole wheat flour to thicken things up a bit, organic coconut milk, and then some organic cream.

The snapper was rolled in beaten eggs, and then a combination of whole wheat flour, paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt. And fried in coconut oil. Yum!

For the tartar sauce, I took our safflower oil mayonnaise, chopped up some organic dill peppers and added some raw honey and salt. It tasted very authentic! I'd really love to start making our own olive oil mayonnaise, but ... I just haven't done it yet.

Tait made the pina colada smoothies out of fresh pineapple, organic coconut milk, maple syrup, and ice. The smoothies definitely detracted from the fallishness of the meal, but they were worth it. : ) Delicious!

I think the meal passed inspection. ; )


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Full-Body Airport Scanners

In November, Tait and I will be flying to Dallas for a few days for a business conference. Tait's parents are keeping the boys while we're gone, to enable me to focus on the conference (and have a little alone time with my hubby!).

I did some research, and it looks like Dallas has those new, invasive, immodest, just plain wrong full-body scanners. (I'm obviously not a fan; can you tell?) Apparently, not every one is selected to be digitally undressed, but ... what if I am?

According to my research, you can opt instead for an old-fashioned pat-down - not my favorite idea, but definitely a better alternative.

What have your experiences been with full-body scanners? Have you found any viable alternatives? Any other advice on how to refuse a full-body scan? Have you had any problems refusing one?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Boy and His Boots

For some reason, he wanted to take his shirt off and put his boots on this afternoon. That boy's got style! He's pretty good at posing for the camera too. : )

Thank you for the awesome bear boots, Grandma Z!

Sorry about the wadded up tissue in the background. We all have colds now. Oops!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Best Price for Coconut Oil

Recently, I read through and joined in on a discussion about healthy oils on Kim Coghlan's blog, Life in a Shoe. Many people buy their coconut oil from Mountain Rose Herbs, where it costs $165 for a 5-gallon bucket of organic, unrefined coconut oil. Shipping up here to Alaska is about $80. That puts the cost right around $50 a gallon.

From what I've heard about coconuts, they're not a high-pesticide crop, so the organic aspect isn't all-important. (I tend to concentrate on buying organically the Dirty Dozen foods and highly genetically modified foods, such as corn and wheat.)

Glory Bee Foods has a 5-gallon container of extra virgin, inorganic coconut oil for $153. If I remember correctly, shipping to Alaska was no more than $40, putting the price per gallon at just $38.50 - a saving of almost $12 per gallon (nearly $60 total!) from the Mountain Rose Herbs price!

I split the 5-gallon container of coconut oil with Tait's mom, and we use it for all cooking and frying in our household (except for rare times when butter is preferred) because it is a healthy oil that keeps its stability under high heats. Olive oil gets used for raw foods like salad dressings and such.

The Weston A Price Foundation, Sally Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions, and Lindsay Edmonds' website Passionate Homemaking are all great resources for healthy oils and healthy eating! They all dispel some of the health food myths and politically correct diet ideas that are so prevalent today!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Coming May, 2011!


We were excited to be able to give Miles such an exciting birthday present this year! On his birthday, October 1, we discovered that we have a new little blessing - a future best friend for Little Tait and Miles - due some time in May!

We are so thankful that the Lord has blessed us again!

I'm feeling well - no nausea this time around, which is a welcome change! (My hopes are high that it might indicate a pink baby. ;D) I'm definitely more tired than usual, and am battling some crankiness (sorry Tait and little guys!), but of course it's all worth it! Comparatively easy pregnancies are definitely something to be thankful for!

Haha, I just realized that just because I'm not sick constantly during pregnancy doesn't mean that my pregnancies are "easy"! Honestly, I'd rather battle severe nausea than premature labor!

Please be praying with us that I'm able to take it easy as much as possible, that we don't have to deal with any bedrest, and that this little one arrives much closer to his or her due date than the boys (who were born at 27 and 35 weeks respectively).

Thank you for your prayers!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Are They Boys or Monkeys?

They spent the afternoon climbing up the back the couch to watch the moths (they're the new fascination around here). The Big One also enjoyed crashing down onto the cushions as soon as the top was reached. But Mommy soon put a stop to that, since it definitely seemed to qualify as Furniture Abuse.

And when that ugly old green couch gets replaced with nice "new" leather Craigslist couches, Furniture Abuse will be a very serious offense around here.

Little Tait modeling his new "Camera Smile"

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Hmmm ... I Knew Things Were too Quiet!

This is a first. (Not that our bathroom doesn't usually look at least a little messy, but that's the first time an entire roll of toilet paper has been unrolled.)

The weird thing is that his big brother helped him with this one. Little Tait knows that unrolling the toilet paper is off limits, and is very obedient, but sometime when his little brother starts on something, the peer pressure is just too hard to resist.

Might there be a little bit of guilt on that face? : )

Friday, October 1, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mr. Miles!

Yes, one year ago today our second little guy was born! I had been on semi-bedrest since 25 weeks, and we were so thankful, by God's grace, to make it to 35!

We went into the hospital on the morning of last October 1st because of some minor spotting. When they got me hooked up to their monitor, they discovered that I was having fairly strong contractions about every 3 minutes, which was a surprise to me, since I don't feel most of my labor contractions.

Yes, I can see you turning green with envy.

But it's really not a good thing for me, since I'm supposed to check myself into OB Triage as soon I start feeling any out-of-the-ordinary contractions. It's kind of hard to know when to go in if I can't feel anything. You see, I tend to have very early babies, and have to have C-sections each time because of the kind of emergency C-section I had with my first. (So much for all of my homebirth water birth aspirations! But God had other plans....) It's all very complicated, and I won't bore you (or gross you out) with all of the details now. : )

Meeting Miles for the first time, while still on the operating table

Miles was born by scheduled C-section (much more laid back than my emergency C-section!) around 5 that evening. He had some trouble keeping his oxygen saturation up, which meant he couldn't nurse, which meant his blood sugar dropped too low ... which meant he was sent to the NICU. After a 3 month NICU stay with our firstborn, who came by surprise at 27 weeks, we really were not looking forward to another NICU stay. We agreed that our goal was to be out in one week at the most.

In the NICU, hooked up to all of the IV's and machines.
Those scalp IV's are no fun!

By the grace of God, exactly one week later we took Miles home!

Together with his brother at last! : )

Miles is a very happy baby, and such a joy to be around! His outgoing personality and quirky little smiles are a constant source of entertainment! He's a great sleeper, and has been known to sleep the day away more than once or play happily in his crib for hours after waking from a nap (which Mommy doesn't mind, of course). ;D

Little Tait is just 10 1/2 months older than Miles, and Miles loves playing with his big brother! He's picked up a few of Little Tait's favorite words - "fish" and "uh-oh" - in addition to "Mama" and "Dadda." Every time something falls to the floor, Little Tait utters a concerned "uh-oh," and Miles echoes with an adorable, almost subconscious "uh-oh" of his own.

Little Tait is extremely attentive to Miles, and constantly brings him toys, or makes sure he has food.

"No Little Tait, Miles can't eat almonds because he doesn't have any teeth, but thank you so much for sharing with him!"

Little Tait gets very worried when Miles gets into something he shouldn't and comes running to find me with his signature concerned expression (his lips have this adorable way of forming into a little "O" when something scares, bothers, or excites him), pointing in Miles' direction and yelling "Mom! Mom!" to get my attention. : )

I look forward to watching these little guys grow up together as best friends!

A few highlights from Miles' first year....

Meeting his big brother for the first time, a few minutes after he was born

Meeting Great-Grandma Ruth (my paternal grandmother, who is one of the kindest people I know)

Meeting Great-Grandpa "Pop" (my paternal grandfather)

Meeting Great-Grandpa Ed and Great-Grandma Betty (my maternal grandparents)

Playing with and learning from his big brother

Watching the home construction project from the safety of his playpen

Going hiking near Seward with Mommy and Daddy
(photo by Peter Serven)

In his Auntie Ashley's wedding
(photo by Erin)

Meeting Gramps (Tait's maternal grandfather)

Eating rocks on a rocky Alaskan beach near Kachemak Bay

Buried in the sand on a sandy South Carolina beach while visiting the grandparents

Meeting and playing with the Bradrick boys
(Can you believe they're all four looking at the camera? Well, more or less....
And some of them are even smiling!)

Playing outside with his brother in the driveway

Eating dirt, leaves, sticks, and rocks - obviously a favorite activity of his

A few pictures from his birthday (we'll be celebrating Sunday)...

Finding a banana that his brother dropped under the table and subsequently mutilating and eating every single edible bite (the peel wasn't very yummy, apparently)

Ah yes ... the old game of Put-the-Refrigerator-Magnets-in-the-Ice-Cream-Maker, a favorite of theirs!

S'Miles giving one of his engaging smiles during a lunch of pureed spaghetti

Doing his evil eye "sniffy" face - what a ham!

Happy Birthday S'Miles!!!

A little bit of Zimmerman Family Blog Trivia:
The background for the header of this blog was captured on the way into the hospital in Anchorage early on the morning that Miles was born.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Story of Our 2010 Moose Hunting Season

Dear Moose,

We very much missed the opportunity to meet one of you in person this year. However, now that the season is over, we do look forward to seeing plenty of you out and about, clearly confident that you are safe from the hands of hunters such as ourselves.

Yes, we will watch you from the comfort of our homes as we dine on inferior store-bought beef, mourning our empty pocketbooks and wishing that we had had the privilege of getting up close and personal with you while the season lasted.

A Disappointed Hunter

Our first hunting trip of the season, back in August, up in the Moose Range

This... why this particular hunting trip was unsuccessful.
Just as we spotted a legal bull, the fog rolled in....

More pictures and stories from Moose Hunting 2010 coming!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The New Profile Pic...

...was taken by Philip Leclerc, of Leclerc Brothers Motion Pictures, on a recent expedition to Exit Glacier.

Over the course of the summer, we've had some visits from a few awesome photographers, who captured some really great photos of our little family, a gorgeous wedding, and the beautiful state of Alaska! I'll work on getting some of those epic pictures up soon! : )