When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. Isaiah 43:2

Friday, January 30, 2009

Why MOPS Matters to Me

Nice Outfit Kya--she presented herself this way to me as, "ready to go!" Uh...no.

Marker Face

Wyatt's Laundry Disaster of 2009

Wyatt's Laundry Detergent Disaster of 2009

Lately I often ask myself, "What are my children doing now?" They are a CONSTANT source of surprise, worry, laughter, anxiety, joy and exhaustion. From "losing" Wyatt (I couldn't find him in the house or outside the house--finally found him four houses down coloring with the neighbors' chalk in their entry way during 5:00 school pick-up time with lots of traffic whizzing by!) to finding the entire bottle of super concentrated liquid laundry detergent all over the kitchen floor and all the clean folded laundry dumped out on the living room floor~there is never time to be bored or lonely around here. And for the most part, I am really thankful for that now. I say "now" because before I found fellow mommies who were experiencing (enduring) this season of life, I thought I was alone and I worried all the time. I rarely found pure joy in my kids' antics. Now, with fellowship, empathy and advice from fellow moms, I find myself able to laugh and enjoy this crazy season in our lives (most of the time). Like Mother like daughter.

Why the muddiest oiliest puddle?

The following is my "Mom Story" for this month's MOPS newsletter, of which I am the current "Editor."

In the Loop…January Edition p.6


Why MOPS Matters to Me
by Tara Haner

As the mother of three children ages three, one and a half, and two months, I often find myself spinning around the house, putting out one proverbial fire after the other. I like to play a little game with myself when I am preoccupied with the baby and can’t run to see what my other two children are doing. I call it, “What’s that crazy sound I hear?” Sometimes it’s running water, sometimes breaking glass, sometimes a puppy’s sad cry, sometimes ominous silence. And then I try to guess what is happening that would cause aforementioned sound. Kya “washing mommy’s socks in the bathroom sink,” Wyatt knocking over a vase of flowers high atop the kitchen counter, both toddlers piled on top of the poor puppy...you get the picture. And I know I am not alone when I say, silence is the scariest of them all. I sometimes also like to play, “What’s that weird smell?”
Despite these ever so amusing games, I sometimes feel a little sad. I find myself sometimes wishing there were someone there to play these fun games with me!! I love being a stay-at-home mom, but I am also a social being, created by God for interraction~with adults! So, when I found MOPS, and all these fantastic women huddled together in a group, talking about their oh-so-similar-to-mine lives, I was elated. I found that we really need fellow mommies to inspire and comfort us. I found that we can accomplish so much together if we will just relinquish our pride and rely on each other...for friendship, help in times of need, and advice. It is fair to say that some weeks, MOPS keep me from going insane. I pray you find that kind of help and comfort at MOPS and that God gives you the creativity and sense of humor to enjoy this season in life with some fellow mommies. I know I find myself laughing more and more often these days~especially while I play, “What’s that weird smell?” ~TH

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mercury with your soda?

As if we didn't have enough reason to avoid soda, I read this today at: http://nourishedkitchen.com/2009/01/a-little-mercury-with-your-soda/

A new study published in Environmental Health confirms that mercury, a known neurotoxin, contaminates almost half of the high fructose corn syrup currently on the market. Another study published by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy found that almost one-third of popular, processed foods containing HFCS as the first or second ingredient under the nutritional label tested positive for mercury. According to the IATP, those foods testing positive for mercury contamination included Quaker, Hershey’s, Kraft and Smuckers.
This isn’t isolated.
The most disturbing aspect of the story is that several tests were done in 2005 when the contamination was brought to the attention of the
FDA, and the FDA failed to do anything to protect consumers from continued exposure. Yeah, and they try to tell us raw milk is dangerous, but drinking mercury-contaminated sodas is fine?
Mercury is dangerous to human health and it is known neurotoxin. Symptoms of mercury toxicity include loss of feeling, paralysis, loss of vision, congenital malformations and other serious issues. While exposure to large amounts of mercury may even cause death, what is uncertain is what effects minute, long-term exposure - such as that arising from regularly ingesting small quanitites in contaminated sweeteners - might do.
The greatest concern is for children and adolescents who are still developing as they tend to consume more high fructose corn syrup than the average adult - and therefore are at greater risk of ingesting mercury from contaminated sources.
The problem arises during the manufacture of high fructose corn syrup. To extract the corn starch from the corn kernel, manufacturers often use caustic soda produced in chlorine plants. The use of mercury cells in the manufacture of caustic soda contaminates the corn starch, and subsequently the high fructose corn syrup. Incidentally, for this reason you should not use or eat corn starch.
Add this to all the other reasons you should not eat high fructose corn syrup. Is anyone else wondering how the
Corn Refiners Association is going to try to recover from this news? Are we going to see a special new series of sweet surprise commercials outlining how mercury is natural and fine in moderation?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Caden Update

For those of you who have been praying for baby Caden, THANK YOU! There have been miracles at work in our lives too numerous to blog, but suffice it to say, we have seen the hand of God move in our home, and in our baby son. From the gut feeling we had to refuse immunizations just one week prior to his diagnosis (we feel this would have made his little body much less able to fight the RSV and pneumonia) to the full nights of sleep he has gotten since the prayer vigils began, we have continually been amazed. He is not out of the woods yet, but his improvement has been so amazing and fast, especially for his fragile age, that we can only attribute it a power greater than ourselves.

Caden has never stopped nursing well, which is common in infants with RSV, and which would have been nearly impossible in the hospital had we decided to go that route. I have been able to sleep next to Caden in our bed, vigilantly monitoring every breath he takes at night thanks to my sweet husband, who slept in Kya's room. After his breathing treatments and nose suctioning, Caden actually smiles and giggles as though to say, "Hey thanks mom, I can breathe lots better now!" During the day, I have been able to monitor his breathing during naps thanks to the Angel Care monitor loaned to us by dear friend Raquel who lost her sweet Matthew when he was about Caden's age. Thank you dear Raquel for worrying with me and sending out the prayer requests to Yahoo Groups far and wide.

He continues to smile and be alert and energetic (highly unusual in babies with his diagnosis) and other than the first very scary days before the prayer warriors began their fight, he hasn't had difficulty breathing or staying hydrated/nourished! We cannot believe it. If I ever doubted the power of prayer, I don't anymore!!! Thank you from the bottom of this exhausted mommy's heart! Special thanks to those of you who dropped by with gifts, meals and snacks!!! Your giving hearts will be rewarded. XOXOXOXOX

Daily Devotion

Jesus said, "If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving–large or small–it will be used to measure what is given back to you" (Luke 6:38).

Friday, January 23, 2009

Prayers for Caden

Hi all you who are crazy enough to read my ramblings. I have an enormous favor to ask. Our littlest guy, Caden (two months), has pneumonia, and it is RSV pneumonia so there is nothing we can do for him but pray and give him breathing treatments. Many little babies are hospitalized for a very long time with this illness and we are very worried and need your help to pray for God's healing and favor. Please also pray for us to have wisdom about what the best thing is to do for him. I sure appreciate it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


A tribute to my newly pregnant friend Raquel! I am soooo excited for her! She is one of the best moms and friends I know. God has blessed her with great leadership, Godly wisdom and infectious humor! Today is a day to celebrate for a new little spirit in the Steele family!!!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Playin' in the Leaves!

The kids are just so happy to be able to play outside. Pictured are Rory (our neighbor and Kya's dear friend), Kya, Wyatt (getting tackled by everybody!) and "Kelly," the newly named wonderpooch! :)

Summer in January

It was in the 70's here yesterday and the kids used every moment of brilliant sunshine to play and play and play!!! Kya fell asleep at 5:45 PM for the night (well, sort of--she woke up at 10 thinking it was morning! Oops!) We emptied our water heater into the pool since Scott was installing a recirculator (instant hot water at every faucet!!!) and the kids spent the afternoon swimming in their own little hot tub. Our sweet friend Rory joined us from around the corner and his folks, friends Ben and Angie, hung out with us as well (Ben providing much needed assistance reroofing the chicken coop and installing the recirculating pump.) Thanks Ben!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sweet Debbie and Sleeping Caden

Our long time family friend, Debbie, babysat today while Scott roofed the chicken coop and I got some alone time. Caden fell asleep on her shoulder. He's only two months old, but I swear he looks so much older, especially in this pic. His pediatrician says he's in the 100th percentile for height, weight and head circumference!

Friday, January 9, 2009

New Rules for the Heart of the Home

OK, so today was a bit of a disaster--huh, a bit?...no, it was a major catastrophe, in my mind at least. There were at least three times today when I stood shaking as I stared at my whining children/messy house/laundry piles/dirty dish piles/mirror reflecting my unkempt appearance/unedited MOPS newsletter/unfinished sewing projects. Shaking? Yes, well, when you have only God's grace barely keeping you from throwing the nearest object as hard as you can against the wall, the resulting physical response is shaking--at least for me.

As I sit here analyzing what drove me to such emotional extremes today, I realized several things. One, motherhood is a vacationless job. Two, when my kitchen is a mess, so is my heart. I can't do anything about the first so I will begin to address the second.

I prepare and clean up three meals and two snacks in the kitchen every day. It is the gateway to the laundry room, where I load and unload at least one pile of laundry a day. It is the current residence of one yet to be potty-trained or named puppy. It is the location of the refrigerator from whence my middle child's beloved milk (soy and "weguwa" ("regular")) comes, thus requiring at least four bottle fill-ups a day independent of aforementioned meals. And it houses my sweet sewing corner, where, when I have a free moment, I enjoy the gentle purr of my Baby Loc traveling over cotton prints of delightful variety. So many forms of nourishment come from the kitchen.

So when the kitchen is overrun, as it has been for the last two full days, with piles and piles of...well, CRAP...I am miserable. Thus, I make some new rules for the kitchen:


1. Do not throw food on the floor (no matter how bad mom's new recipe is.)

2. Always say "please" and "thank you" when requesting or being served.

3. Don't pile things on the island or counters just because mom had cleared them off. Put everything in its proper place.

4. When walking through the kitchen after being in the muddy yard/chicken coop, please remove dirty shoes.

5. Until the puppy is trained, she stays in the laundry room. It is not "sad" or "pathetic," it is sanitary.

6. Pray unceasingly, but particularly before meals. This helps us remember how blessed we are and that it is completely unnecessary to blog for half an hour about how sucky our day was when so many others have it so much worse.

Hmmmmm, perhaps I should have started with #6.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The new Haner wheels

Our "new" Nissan Quest gave a us a great trip up north to visit Scott's sister and her husband. With the two screen DVD player, heated seats, and lots of room to roam, it was heavenly compared to our formerly cramped Volvo quarters. Here's a quick pic I took during our pit stop on the way up. All doors open as the crew exited to stretch and regroup.


...is kind of starting to talk a little. He has always been very expressive, but he is now making actual words which only I, the beloved mommy interpreter, can translate. :) His latest word is, "Waahhhhh!" instead of "Yah!" when he answers a question.
Mommy: "Do you want to go play in the sandbox?"
Wyatt: "Waaahhhh!"
It took me a little while to figure it out until one time Kya and he answered a question simultaneously, Kya saying "Yaaah!" and Wyatt saying "Waaaahh!" I couldn't help but laugh.

So at 21 months, I am finally getting to hear what my son has to say about things. I can't wait to hear some complete sentences. This kid has a lot going on in his head I am sure of it. Perhaps thoughts like, "Why is it that my mom stays in her jammies all day?" or "How am I expected to get a word in edgewise around here?" I am quite sure he is almost ALWAYS thinking, "How can I climb up on that?"
This morning, he was most certainly thinking, "It feels a little like I'm sleeping in a lake." His diaper was so full that the top front came apart spilling the little gel balls all over the place. His "lovey" blankie was also soaked (but still held close to his little chest) and he STILL didn't want me to change his diaper!!
Shortly after awakening (and having his diaper changed with great struggle), he went in search of the puppy, who was holed up in the laundry room. Since Wyatt can't open the door to the laundry room, he took to talking with the puppy under the door. "Puppa!" "Puppa!" Much whining from both puppy and Wyatt ensued. Ignoring both, I continued to make the oh-so- gourmet breakfast I had begun prior to Wyatt's awakening--yogurt and Cheerios (insert tiny trademark symbol here). A few minutes after plunking the meal on the table, I checked on Wyatt, who was still on his tummy head cocked to the side talking with the puppy, this time next to a completely blank fridge. He had shoved every magnet, artwork piece, and photo within his reach under the door for puppy's viewing (or chewing). No one was whining anymore, but many perfectly good magnets are now being partially digested by our puppy.
Ahhhhh, just another calm quiet morning in the Haner house.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Kya and the New Pooch

So I said I would absolutely not get any more small mammals in our house any time soon, but this sweet puppy stole our hearts. Our dear friend Rossie has a border collie that recently birthed a litter of border collie/chihuahua mix puppies (talk about personality issue potential, right?!!!). We really did just go "to look." Yah right. We have yet to name her, though she looks so much like a panda bear that her name will most certainly be some derivative thereof.