Author Archives: Renita

The Lord is my Shepherd

We were on our way back to the bedroom for a love and learning session, my son Kyler and I. He knew what was going to happen and desperately quoted these verses all the way there.

“The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He redoreth my soul. He…leads…for His name sake…The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters…”

“Mommy, I said my verses! Now I don’t have to get a banking?”

He knew which buttons to push and which strings to pull. It touched my heart…but no, it doesn’t work that way. My son, you should have remembered your other verse before you opened the gate and let the dog out. The one that goes like this, “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”

When his Granny heard the story, she burst out laughing and exclaimed, “That sounds just like his daddy!”

Kyler in the sunshine

The Pink Rose

Pink Rose

My boyfriend took me out for the afternoon and evening. We basked in each other’s company, knowing in a few days we would have to tell each other good bye for a few months. After touring Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum and the Wax Palace, we strolled through the botanical gardens together. Supper plans remained a secret to me until we pulled in to Ruffinos. Two tall flaming torches framed the entrance and a row of smiling staff welcomed us at the door. “Bushnell, party of two, right this way please.” Our waiter ushered us past an elderly man sitting at a table with a bouquet of pink roses, up a short flight of three steps to another level overlooking the rest of the restaurant. Our waiter flipped the light switch on, revealing crisp layered black and white table cloths with sparkling silver and gleaming china. Then I spotted our table in the back corner. The one with a big bouquet of red roses in the center. We sat down and soon a gentleman came and played the piano. Romantic mood music. The older man we passed earlier came up to the pianist and suggested love songs from his young days. We smiled and graciously listened but were rather absorbed in each other. The chef outdid himself and created a fabulous meal for us, even sending out a few dishes “compliments of the chef”. Jacob whispered something to our waiter and soon the pianist magically disappeared, leaving us the only ones in that level. Jacob stood up and moved the table  away from me, got down on one knee in front of me (is this really happening to me??!), and asked me to marry him. With all my heart this is what I knew I wanted most in all the whole wide world… to spend the rest of my life with this man. Oh yes! I will marry you!!

Dazzling pure joy. Delighted anticipation. True love.

“She said yes!!!” Jacob announced to the rest of the diners as we stood at the top of the stairs. Everyone cheered and the older gentleman plucked a pink rose from his vase and hobbled up to me. “Here, I want you to put this rose into your bouquet. Every week I buy a dozen pink roses for my wife who passed away from cancer a few years ago. Enjoy each other while you have each other.”

I smiled and thanked him as I nestled the pretty pink rose into my red bouquet.

It’s been five years now…

Our home life is indeed a bouquet of roses. Lots of joy-red ones. Sunshiny smiles and tousled hair in the mornings. Hilarious geeky dictator (think huge glasses and little mustache) snowman in the front yard and warm snuggles on the couch. Fragrant roses on valentines day and little yellow rain boots. A handsome little son who wants to be like Daddy and a darling daughter who loves mommy and her fuzzy hearts blanket. A strong godly man who works hard all day and comes inside to kiss his pretty little wife as she serves up supper.

But there’s also the pain-pink ones. Chronic fatigue and back injury. Long evenings at home for mommy and kids while daddy serves on the local ambulance team. Sharp little fingernails and poopy blowouts. Goose eggs and busted lips. Stepping into stinky doggy bombs and a washer drain hose that falls down and empties a full load of water onto the carpeted floor just before we need to leave for the airport.

Thank you, Jesus, for the joy that fills us up and splashes over and thank you for the pain. It drives us to You.


I tuck him into bed and kiss his soft cheek. “Goodnight, my little Kyler man.”
“Goo’night, Mommy. Can you please sing me a song?”
“I would love to! Which one shall I sing?”
“Jesus is born!”
He snuggles down into his pillow with bright expectant eyes. I caress his hair and hold his hand.

Silent night, holy night,
All is calm.
All is bright round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy infant so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Sleep in heavenly peace.

“Thank you for singing me a song, Mommy. I love you! Goodnight…”

And this mama tucked these memories away to cherish forever in her heart.

Rosalyn Anne

May 10, 2013 at 4:17 in the afternoon, we welcomed our darling daughter into the world. That was over 6 months ago. Priorities…and pretty much everything shifted. Our lives have been so blessedly full with an energetic curious two-year-old big brother and an adorable infant sister.  But I really do want to capture these memories to relive them later, so here we are again. Resuming our random posts about this dance called “home life”.

First, let’s just catch you up on the littlest lady here… Rosalyn Anne.Rosalyn-lilac

Rosalyn… because both Jacob and I love the name, and Anne… after my dear Grandma Anne Friesen. A beautiful labor and birth. Only two hours and seventeen minutes.

It was such a sweet privilege to introduce Kyler to his new baby sister. He crawled up onto the bed beside me and gently held her for a little bit. Then she looked up at him. Apparently he wasn’t prepared for that because he freaked out, “Scary! She’s looking at me!” 🙂 He got over it pretty quickly, and they’ve been best friends.

Brother sister

Rosalyn has been the perfect picture of health and beauty. She didn’t stay 7 pounds 6 ounces long at all. In fact, she never lost any weight, but just took off charging up the growth charts. For the first few weeks people commented, “Aww, what a tiny baby!” They soon changed to, “Wow! She’s getting big!” and “Just take a look at those thunder thighs!”

Kissable cheeksYes, she’s very very squishable and at 6 months she’s wearing up to 18 month sizes. At 4 months she got her first two teeth, and this last week two more showed up. She learned to sit up by herself at five months… Rosy has graced our lives for half a year already. Dazzling us with her charming smiles and bright-eyed innocence. Everyone loves her. We are blessed.Family Fall 2013






Warning: this post could also be titled “Pregnant Lady Fantasizing About Good Food”

It’s part of becoming our own unique family unit. We form traditions.

One of our earliest rituals we started right after we got married and that’s going to the Bread Basket bakery down the road for a Friday chicken sandwich. Every Friday it’s on their menu… and almost every Friday we’d be there. They grill their chicken outside, rain or shine, and we always looked forward to that delectable homemade sandwich.

After three and a half years, we discovered a new favorite in town. A small organic bistro inside a shop called Under the Sun. How I look forward to Saturday lunch. Jacob usually orders their no bread wrap which consists of a roasted red pepper stuffed with turkey breast and cheese and sprouts and mayo. I order the special of the day, and so far it’s always been different and it’s always been amazing.  I’ve never seen their chef except for a glimpse of a red ponytail. I’m pretty sure there’s a halo hovering over her. I never would have thought to put turkey and apples and cheese into a sandwich melt, or create a bbq chicken quesadilla with a creamy garlic dipping sauce. But so far my favorite is the monte cristo with the raspberry dipping sauce. A lightly eggy bread, kind of like french toast, and between it… my I wish I could remember all that they said was in it, but I think it was canadian bacon and another type of meat. And dip that in a fresh raspberry sauce. When the waitress described it, I wasn’t so sure if I wanted to try it, but so far I’ve never been disappointed with what their chef comes up with, and I’m so glad I went with it. I’ve been fantasizing about that monte cristo ever since.
Lunch at Under the Sun
The side dish I usually order is their wild salmon chowder, which Kyler uses as a dipping sauce for his usual. A quesadilla. And their frappes are amazing. At least the ones we’ve ordered. For Jacob, sugar free coconut frappe. I call it heaven in a cup. Such a smooth and creamy, lightly coffee lightly coconut beverage. No bitterness at all. Either from the coffee or from the stevia sweetener. Cold and refreshing. I kept sipping from Jacob’s cup and then getting the jitters afterward, so now I get the decaf version of the same thing. It’s so nice not to have to share (except with Kyler)! 😀 The food is delicious and the service outstanding and the price is very reasonable.

Not all our traditions are about feeding our faces. We’ve also got a going-to-bed routine that Kyler has down pat. And he won’t let us forget one part of it. Bible story, kiss Mama, horsey ride on Daddy back to bed, climb up onto crib rail and count before jumping in, milk, blanket, prayer, and kiss Daddy. When we read the Bible story, we use that as training time for sitting in church.

Bedtime Bible Story

Our “instrument of mass instruction” is a glue stick. We sit down to read, and Kyler looks around at both of us and says “glue stick?”.  Cracks me up, the little guy. I purposely forget it, just to hear him make sure we have it. If we don’t, he will run and get it for us, and heave a contented sigh when everything is in place, ready to read again. Some day he will realize how not-so-bright his little routine is. 😀

April 1st

Seriously, I’m not the April Foolin’ type, but when I think of a really, really good joke to play on my joke-loving husband on Joke Day… I couldn’t resist. My first ever attempt was a splashing success!Pregnancy April Fool's prank

All I did was browse Pinterest the day before and saw how someone did a positive pregnancy test joke on her husband. I even told Jacob about it, and we laughed together how that would be funny but wouldn’t work for me to play this year, seeing I’m great with child. And then my little brain wheels started spinning… how bout a water breaking joke? Hmm I just might be able to pull it off.

With a little duct tape, and a belt, and a ziploc bag of warm water, and a pin.

All I did was lock myself in the bathroom with my supplies. Turned on the fan and lied about why the door was locked. Taped the bag of water to his belt around my waist. Waddled out to the table and called for supper once I was seated with my pin handy. When his back was turned, getting a drink out of the fridge, I tore several holes in the water bag and squished down on it and gasped. It must have looked real with all that water running down my chair and my legs and me bending over (trying to hide my face).

Poor Jacob handled it so well. He calmly called Mom (my midwife) and told her my water broke and all. It went one step farther than I intended. I was too busy faking to realize that after Jacob hung up with Mom, she called the hospital to arrange a team. I’m not in the safe zone yet, so it really would have been very dangerous if my water had actually broken. I got up and insisted that Jacob take a look and then he heard the plastic rattling down there and realized he had been had. He quickly called Mom to tell her it’s all a joke… and then got me to call her (on speaker phone) and apologize. She thought it was a good joke, but the hospital staff weren’t too impressed. Ooops.

So now we laugh… and thank the Lord that every one is safe and well, and baby girl is still swimming happily and developing properly the way she should.

And I think Jacob is just a bit jealous I got him so good!

Celebrating Seconds

Second birthday… second baby… that’s the kind of seconds we’re talking about this time.

Kyler turned two at the end of an unusual and extra busy week. Then I needed two extra weeks to catch up and return to normal life and find time and inspiration to settle down for another blog post. It’s just not a usual week when your friends’ house they’re renting burns to the ground along with all their earthly possessions. And there’s revival meetings every night. And another friend has her second baby. And you celebrate your son’s second birthday. In a nutshell that’s what has been keeping us busy these last few weeks, along with normal child training, housekeeping, and bread winning.

Give it up for the birthday boy! We started celebrating as soon as he woke up in the morning. He often asks for pancakes for breakfast so I let him help mix up the batter.Kyler making pancakes

His world just got bigger and brighter when I introduced him to the fabulous candy sprinkles! I let him shake them on the pancakes while they cooked and indulged him several times during the day.Sprinkling the pancakesEating candy sprinkles

Kyler dearly loves “birthday candle fi-yah” so we partied all day and poked birthday candles into his breakfast pancakes, into his enchiladas at lunch, and of course his birthday cake in the evening.Breakfast PancakesLunch Birthday Candles

Since Kyler loves blowing out candles I decided to give him a finale birthday bonfire to blow out and bought lots of candles for his cake. He found them and carried them around in his fists and played with them all day like the pushpins and potatoes. I just loved to witness the innocence of a perfectly happy child oblivious to the fact that a birthday is all about me and what I’m going to receive. It makes the gift giving all the more exciting and rewarding. Birthday overload!We went over to Grandpa Bushnells for Kyler’s birthday party. Great Grandpa Lampheres also came to help celebrate. It was a party especially when it came time for the “birthday candle fi-yah”. Candles marched all around a big 2 on top of the cake (actually pumpkin strudel topped with cool whip)… and for extra fun we added a few tricky re-lighting ones and clapped every time he blew them out. Then came the gifts. Absolutely delightful to watch him tear the wrapping off and exclaim over two magnetic train sets, a talking puzzle, and a shiny red trike with a bell. The day came to a sweet end when we tucked Kyler into bed and said, “I love you!” and he replied, “I wub you too!”

He’s growing up, our little boy. We’re still celebrating… small steps like upgrading from Highchair 1.5 to Sitting at the Table 2.0.Kyler at the table

Kyler isn’t the only one we’re celebrating. Baby Girl’s arrival is just around the corner and we (well actually it’s probably all my idea) wanted to capture some of the moments before the second baby. Jacob so kindly arranged with our friend Matt Chupp and his lovely sister Kayla to come over and do a photoshoot for us.Up in the air! Jacob & Kyler Kyler on the swing Big Brother! Daddy and Kyler, hanging out the laundry More little girl clothes Smile! Jacob & Renita Family pose Pregnancy glow

Surviving the Sniffles… and other stories

We’re still trying to shake the cold and cough around here. This last week my days alternated between survive… work hard and get a bunch done and get all tired so that all I can do is… survive again. This verse keeps me going: Strength in Weakness

It has meant extra grace with each other as we cope with our aches and illnesses, extra snuggling time with Kyler on the couch, extra space in the budget for takeout, and extra big piles of dirty laundry and dishes (and tissues!). I believe we are emerging into the light of better health. We really do have so much to be grateful for, though. Others around here have experienced much worse, with several kids being tested for strep throat, school being closed for two days due to sickness, and concerns of rubella or scarlet fever… and several relapses. Yes, we are quite blessed just to have to deal with the common cold for one and a half weeks.

But life goes on and here is what has been happening on the Bushnell home front.

I’m trying to learn to keep my phone (which is the only photography instrument I have right now, besides Jacob’s phone) handy to snap pictures to share on here. I was fully intending to post two recipes complete with illustrated steps this last week, but I was in a terrible hurry to get the food served, that I missed the finale pictures. You know the ones of the finished product that should pull you in and make you want to try this delectable looking dish. Like this Chocolate Cupcake (which I forgot to take step by step pictures of the creation process):

Low Carb Chocolate Cupcake

Oh dear, I guess Recado Chicken and Sour Cream Chocolate Bundt Cake will have to wait. And then one morning we were sitting down to the table with an awesome Low-carb Peach Cobbler with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Topping… and I forgot to take pictures again. Some sweet day when I get my act together, I will post my first recipe on here, complete with before, during and after pictures. In the meantime, I’ll keep cooking good healthy food for my favorite men.
Chocolate and Strawberries for Breakfast

It’s almost to the end of February and spring breakup came a few weeks early this year apparently.  It makes for such nasty mud messes everywhere. And then more snow. We looked out the window Wednesday morning to find a winter wonderland once again.
Winter Wonderland

So I decided to help spring along a little sooner indoors by crossing a few items off my spring cleaning list. Kyler loves to help me too, especially if there’s “spitz”-ing involved. 🙂

Kyler cleaning fan blades

I dearly love to clean and organize …and decorate. Spring DecorSpring is coming!

And lastly, I leave you with a few snapshots of daily family living 🙂

Turkey Cucumber and Laughing Cow Cheese Wraps. A delicious and nutritious lunch! Why yes, I did find the inspiration on Pinterest. 🙂

Turkey Cucumber Cheese Wraps

Kyler often showers in the morning with Daddy and then begs to “sive” when he sees the bottle of shaving cream. A comb makes an excellent toddler shaver.Morning Shave

When he saw the snow outside, Kyler wanted to run out and play with Annie. Barefoot!

Kyler on the porch

Thursday evening we went down for the Taste of Sandpoint event. A bunch of local restaurants set up booths and offer a few samples from their menu. A great way for us to find some new favorites to check out! The way we roll is usually with Jacob carrying Kyler on his shoulders when we’re walking almost anywhere as a family. We do it because that’s what works best for us, and a lot of people send adoring looks and comments our way. A news photographer snapped some photos of him up there and jotted down our information. I don’t know but you might see us in the paper.

Here’s Kyler talking with Grandma Friesen on the phone (using Mama’s cool headset!). He’s blowing her a kiss… aaww! 🙂
Blow a Kiss

Keeping it real… by dumping the canister of Splenda all over the floor.
Splenda Spill

And what do you know, Kyler has actually discovered that toy cars are fun to play with!
Kyler playing with cars

Catch-all Wednesday

You know those baskets or boxes or drawers that collect the batteries from the broken remote, one rubber foot that won’t stay on the crockpot, two pushpins you found behind the couch, a drawstring that got pulled out of your hoodie’s hood, a blade that somehow detached from its pocketknife, and a pile of Canadian shrappers (coins) that your overnight guests left as a “thank you for your hospitality” a year and a half ago… Catch-all collectionCatchall is what I call ’em. They’re small and insignificant on their own but you don’t want to pitch them just yet.

That’s the idea of this post. I have a lot of little tidbits to document, but each one of them is hardly a post in itself. So without further ado, here is our collection.


  • I just heard the sound of gurgling water coming from the coat closet and ran to find Kyler dumping half a gallon of water on the shoes in the box.
  • At my last prenatal we tested for Vitamin D count in my blood and it came back really low. So I’m snarfing 10,000 IUs a day along with extra calcium magnesium and trying to soak up the sunshine as much as possible.
  • Kyler found a pile of quarters and dimes and has been everywhere with them in his little fists.
  • Kyler caught the cold and Sunday night we didn’t get much sleep. In an attempt to relieve his earache around 3 in the morning we baked an onion to try to get the juices to put in his ear. Which maybe we were impatient because after half an hour we couldn’t really get much juice so we blended it up and tried to press out some juice with our coffee aeropress. Fail. Ended up popping a garlic gel cap and squirting that in his ear. We were desperate for something that would soothe him, so we camped out in the living room and tried to catch some shut eye while he watched Shaun the Sheep. In the morning he was feverish and Jacob had to work and I had no strength left, so Mom came over to help us out. She helped get the fever down by crushing up pills and mixing the powder in a popsicle so Kyler would swallow it. (We didn’t have the right kids medicine around.) She cooked a lovely pancake breakfast for me, cleaned up the kitchen and did the laundry. Pancake breakfastOh, what a blessing! I can’t sing her praises enough. And Kyler slept in my arms most of the day.Kyler sleeping
  • Next night was way way better. He only woke up once.
  • Now I caught the cold. And it pretty much did me in.
  • It’s uncomfortable to slouch. Baby girl needs her s…p…a…c…e! I believe she’s practicing ballet in there.
  • This morning Kyler was begging for cookies, which I didn’t have on hand. So when we ate lunch at the bakery we got a dozen to take home. I’m trying to eat healthy (so this baby is not quite the whoppin 8 pounder that Kyler was) which means low to no carbs and sugar, but I’m afraid Kyler can’t eat all those cookies by himself. Shhh…don’t tell Mom (she’s also my midwife in case you didn’t know). Oh wait, she’s probably reading this anyway. 😉
  • Whenever we go out to eat and get a fountain drink, Kyler loves to punch in all the options on the cup lids… of everyone at the table.Kyler Punching Lid
  • Our driveway security camera and garage door are broken. The toilet leaks. All of Kyler’s favorite plugs are either lost or chewed up. Jacob’s jawbone headset is missing and my phone dies every so often.
  • Jacob can handle any technical/computer/electronic question you can throw at him. 🙂
  • We clean church on Saturday and Sunday it’s our turn to go to our outreach church in Newport.
  • I cried at the end of the last Chopped (a cooking competition) episode I watched. And this is why: the winner, an outspoken Christian young man, gave the $10,000 prize to the runner up French lady who really wanted to go see her ailing grandma back in France.
  • I love the way Kyler says “Oh!” whenever he gets excited and wants to say something. “Oh! there’s Annie! Oh! Oh! Jacket and Oh! shoes!”
  • Vertical blinds are not kid-friendly.
  • Today completes 29 weeks for me… or rather baby girl. 🙂 I told Jacob this morning, “If she comes one week early, we’ll be holding her in our arms in ten weeks!” I think that way of spinning it made it seem just a little closer…

Pushing My Buttons

First of all, here’s my two favorite men enjoying their morning coffee together.Coffee with Daddy

How could such a sweet, innocent little fella be smart enough to know how to push my buttons already?? He’s still one (closer to two… however, he’s still one) and it’s like he’s got his eye open for anything that gets a rise out of me. Just this morning while Kyler was outside playing with our dog Annie, he grabbed up a handful of snow… and raised it to his face. Now the snow in our backyard is no longer the pristine wonderland stuff anymore. It’s mud-flecked and strewn with a rotten twig and a spruce needle or two. Plus who knows what all else with the dog running over it all the time. In my mind, gross. And I made the mistake of conveying these thoughts to him. Sure enough, a few seconds later Kyler yells, “Mama, Mama, LOOK!” When he’s sure I’m watching him from the kitchen window, he proceeds to deliberately cram his mouth full of dirty icy snow with the hugest grin on his little face and says “Mmm yum yum!” as he smacks down on his cookies and cream. I believe he was rewarded with the desired response. Sigh.

I shouldn’t be surprised, after all he’s just like his father. And Jacob’s mom laughs, “Just you wait, Henry Higgins, just you wait!” as they reminisce about the octopus Jacob dangled in front of her kitchen window, trying to make her freak out about it being a huge spider or the time he told her he had a spider in his ear. NO!! Not spiders. Please don’t tell Kyler I’m dead. scared. of spiders. He’ll figure that one out soon enough!