Thursday, January 31, 2008

Blogging With a Purpose

Simply Stork
has given me this blogger award, which I greatly appreciate! :-D

I would like to pass this award on to some friendly folks who I enjoy reading daily...they all have blogs that are not just time killers but are packed full of information as well as uplifting tips and trades.

Shelley at The Wood Between the Worlds
...Shelley is so honest. I just love her. She makes me feel normal. There is no fakiness, no ulterior motive. She shares her struggles, her joys, and her convictions. If you need someone to cry with or someone to laugh with, see Shelley.

Jerri at The Dalrymple School Among Thorns...her site brings you through a day in the life of a homeschool family. Heart warming pictures and family activities..I always come away smiling :o)

October at I Was Just Thinking...she is always active for a cause. She tells it to you straight. Need some conviction? Some optimism? Some encouragment to make a difference? Visit Tob!

Ann-Marie at The Left-Handed Rabbit...She takes you around with her, and you learn about things as she learns about things...Her writing is incredibly entertaining, just hilarious. It's a wonderful place to visit.

Suzanne at Live Fully, Laugh Often, Love Always...Suzanne must have the funniest kids on the planet. I wonder where they get it from? Suzanne is one of the wittiest people I've ever met. Need a good laugh and some cheering up? Take a hop, skip, and jump over to her place!

The rules are:
1. Awarded parties must nominate five people who have not received the award.

2. The blogs that receive the award must serve some purpose.

3. In their post about the award they need to link back to the original entry.

Thank you ladies for your wonderful sites and for bloggin with purpose...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Thank God for...the Mormon lady?

Tuesday was quite the adventure for us. I loaded up the four little kiddos and headed out early for an appointment in Springdale. I hate driving the van in gusty weather. I feel like the wind is trying to rip me right off the road. I wanted to get to the appointment in time, but I wasn't willing to drive too fast. And I also had to stop for gas. That would have been quicker, too, but my dear hubby forgot to put the debit card back in my wallet. Oh, well. So we got gas and continued along. Only problem is that I forgot where it was! So I called several friends, then information, and got there 20 minutes late after turning around twice. Ugh. But at least they kept my appt and they were nice about it.

So far so good, right? Of course, any time you come in for new appointments, the first half of the wait is just paperwork time. I have to say, all my kids were really good. Yes, even Trevor, amazingly enough. I think they were in a bit of shock around all of the other misbehaving, loud and crying children.

Appointments went A-okay, but we had to wait afterwards for more paperwork. Ethan started to get stressed from the noise (and one mom in particular who was not being very nice to her toddler...grrr...), so we decided to take a breather and walk out to the van to put our backpacks and stuff away, then we would hop back in for our papers. Okay, so I lift the back hatch, stick ALL of our stuff inside, and shut it. And it locked. It LOCKED. All the doors.

I just stood there for a second, letting that sink in. I'm in another town. I have four kids. My purse is in there, along with my cell phone, money, kids' jackets, snacks, you name it. Think. Think. THINK.

After trying ALL the doors, just to be sure, I walked back in and asked to use the phone. Thank goodness for nice strangers who let you make long-distance phone calls on their business line. My sister? No answer. Figures, she never answers. No offense, Julie. Her hubby? No answer? Okay, just suck it up and call Fred at work. Too bad my folks are still out of town.

Now it's a good thing I have the most wonderfully laid back husband in the world! After the initial "You did WHAT?!", he said he would have to finish up what he was working on (half an hour of work) before he could head home for the spare key, get gas, and drive to Springdale. Okay, that's maybe an hour and a half. But what choice did I have?

"I can do this." So we walked over to Good Will to look around. There just wasn't much else around. At first it was all fine and dandy. The kids walked and looked. Then Trevor got the bright idea to play hide-and-seek in the clothes racks. So out of the clothes we go! We went to the houseware (if you can call it that) and toy section. Oh, my, why do they put toys up on tall shelves? Little boys like to climb. And climb he did. So I sat my toddler on the floor with some toys and we did that for maybe...15 minutes. It just wasn't working out. Oliver wanted down, and there was no way I was putting him down on that nasty floor!! And he needed to nurse somewhere, preferably in a clean area. Thank goodness I breastfeed!! Had to put a plug in here about that! :-)

So we walked back into the blustering wind. Isabelle complained that she was getting blown away. Overall, though, they were being pretty cheerful about our "adventure." Then I spotted a bookstore. Yea! So we ran over there, while I gave instructions not to touch, fight, yell, push, etc. They are usually pretty good in stores, but it had been a loooong morning.

I knew something was up as soon as I walked in. What's CTR? Hmm....ah...there's the Bible. And, yep, there's the book of Mormon. What the...? I was in a Mormon bookstore, people. Hmmm...okay, so look around, but don't let the kids READ anything.

First of all, I got a real kick out of the stuff in there! Oh, yeah, who wants a pin the tie on the missionary game?? For real! SO funny!! And they had newborn onsies that looked like white shirts with ties. Heh heh. Some of the felt board stuff was just weird, though.

Luckily, a lady came and asked if she could help us. I explained that we were just browsing store, waiting for my husband to come with our keys. So she gave the kids a box of toys to play with, started Charlotte's Web for them, and offered us peanut butter sandwiches and juice (which I politely declined...the kids had just had raisins and they wouldn't starve.) She was SO nice. When I asked Trevor to lower his voice, she hurried back again, telling me that she had 6 kids and a little noise never hurt anyone. She said we could stay the whole time, stay warm, and get anything we wanted to eat. Again, let me say that she was SO nice.

Fred got there around 12:30, after searching in nearby stores. His boss let him off early, and he didn't have to take vacation, thank goodness. When we left the store, Trevor said he loved the nice lady. :-) Ahhh...
On the way home, we stopped at McDonald's, because we were getting quite hungry by that time. We get up early and eat breakfast very early in the mornings. If you know me, I almost never eat out. Ick. But you gotta have food, and it was the cheapest thing around (although certainly not the healthiest...again, I say ICK.)

On the drive home I couldn't help thinking about the kind woman who had immediately come to the aid of complete strangers. Not only was she civil to us, she offered us her very own possessions. Not unlike the good Samaritan. If that's not showing God's love... but wait... did she know God's love the way I do?

So, after the kids went to bed Tuesday night, I spent some time looking up Mormonism. (Maybe if all Christians were so kind and non-judgmental, people would go home and look up our faith, too!!) CTR stands for "Choose the Right." So it's like the Mormon version of our “WWJD”.

But is "choose the right" about trying to do good in your own power? Salvation through works? The more I read, the more upset I got. I read, read, read from Mormon sites, reputable Christian sites, and then looked in The Kingdom of the Cults (great book, check it out!). And it just made me so sad for this woman. God is LOVE, grace, mercy. Some "prophet" can't come along and undo all of that! And, let me tell you right now that I don't believe Joseph Smith. The number of people who are led astray... uhhh...makes your stomach sink, doesn't it?

But then I turned to how I act. Would I have been a face for Jesus under those circumstances? Would someone see something in me that made them keep thinking, wondering, hoping...? And maybe that woman is a child of God's. A mixed up child that He will someday bring closer to Him.

Anyway, it was a rough day, but I learned a lot (as always when I'm around the kids!) and had a lot to think about. It went very well, under the circumstances. The weather also plummeted (20s) after we were safely and snugly in our van. God is good.

If you've made it to the end of this post, congratulations!!

"Sorry milk bar closed"

I was nursing the baby before lunch, when Isabelle came over, trying to play with him. The kids have been excited today about Oliver getting his 6th tooth. Well, he was obviously distracted nursing and didn't have much of a desire to play peek-a-boo at that moment. She looked at me and said, "Mommy, can you please just close your boob now?"

Isabelle has also been meeting regularly with a JBU student now, for part of a graduate program thing. The gal played Candy Land with her last week, while asking questions about Isabelle's life, faith, and so forth. When the gal left, Isabelle relayed the questions to me. Then she paused and thought aloud, "I don't have a secret life anymore."

Chemo is Over!!

My Mimi just had her LAST chemo session!! This is nothing short of a miracle! I'm sure you've all heard of pancreatic cancer and it's prognosis. Which is why I was so upset/ depressed/ shocked when I heard about her diagnosis. But God has been faithful to answer the multitude of prayers that have gone up on her behalf.

The "protocol" for Mimi's situation is a bit different than what we had thought. They will wait for two months to do another CT Scan (on March 17). I suppose they figure that if any cancer is hidden and survived the chemo that it would show up by that time. The next week (March 24) they'll get that report. If there is no cancer, then she will get a CT scan every 4 months for a year and then 6 months the next year and then once a year for a total of 5 years. So keep praying with us that it is in fact all gone. The port will still have to be flushed once a month.

Please pray that Mimi can now regain her strength. She is a very young "old lady" and very fit, enthusiastic, hard-working. They still plan to visit us in Arkansas, probably May 6-21. :-) Woo-hoo.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Where's My Baby??

Follow the mess to find the culprit!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Weeman Urinal for Mr.T!!

Wow! What will they think of next?
I found this on another blog and I'm just thrilled about it. Really!
Trevor has been using a step stool to go potty. That works okay, but it makes him a bit too tall now. And he's 3-years old, and not really a good aim. Add into that that he has a slight case of hypospadias, and there could be trouble. He has to stand slightly sideways. And don't even think of talking to him when he is peeing, or he's likely to turn and spray the whole bathroom!
So you can see why I get excited about these bright ideas. I'll have to discuss this with Fred. Wise purchase or extravagant? You decide. I think it's neat!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Works for Wendy Wednesday-- Word Wall

One of the bloggers that I frequent has Works for Me Wednesday. For the life of me, I can't remember who it is now. So, if it's you, jot me a note and let me know. I appreciate the idea!! And, you know, imitation is the purest form of flattery. :-)

So, today's Works for Wendy is The Word Wall! We used wrapping paper as our "wall." I actually would have used a solid color, so it would be less distracting, but I didn't have any, so my Dayspring crosses had to do. Doesn't hurt to have Bible verses behind Ethan's words!!

Every time we add new words to his weekly spelling, we will add them to our wall. Of course, if we run out of space all we have to do is hang up more wrapping paper! I'm trying to group the words according to kind: pronouns, colors, position words.

This will be "officially" added to our schedule now, in the morning routine. And more on that later, perhaps in the next Works for Wendy Wednesday! :-)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Kindergarten vocabulary

During lunch today Trevor started shamelessly burping away. Ethan looked at him, shocked, and said "Trevor you are burping with no excusement!!"

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The policeman caught me!

Today Ethan was playing with a book that my parents gave him for Christmas. It's all about emergency vehicles, and makes the siren noise when you push a button. Leave it to grandparents to buy even books that make noise!!

So he comes up to me and says that now he is a police officer. I grinned. "Mommy, you run and I'll chase you and get you." So off I ran. He quickly caught me and tackled me down. We've never played "police man" before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Then he took out his little orange notepad and gave me a "ticket." He smiled really big and said, "now we can go to the movies with our tickets, Mommy!!"

Hahahaha!! I just rolled laughing.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Learning styles and structure

Okay, here's the question of the day: How do you structure your "school time" and what is your child's learning style? If you don't have a child, then what is YOUR learning style and structure? I know not all of us homeschool, but all of us DO indeed teach our children, so the question still applies.

For our family, I prefer working on a schedule. That's not to say that I'm usually successful at it, though. I just find that we get more done when we have a general time frame to work by. The kids know what to expect and I don't worry all day about when I'm going to get other necessary things done. Our plan went much better before #4 was born. :-) That's okay... he's certainly worth every interruption!!

As far as learning styles, Isabelle is like me. She could read books and do worksheets all day. We are seat-learners, I guess you could say. Ethan, on the other hand, prefers to work with his hands. He needs visual aids, too. The more reinforcement the better, and learning better be fun or he's not going to pay much attention. He's getting better at doing some of the necessary writing, but it's not his favorite by any means. At first I struggled with not having as many papers in hand for him at the end of the day. Silly, I know. We do a lot of science, history, etc orally and use our maps, and so forth. I'm all for handwriting practice, but I'm learning that I don't need a paper for everything he does!

Trevor wants to be loved on all the time. He wants to be in my lap, or touching my hair, or crawling over my back. If he's physically on us, then he's paying attention. At first I thought this drive to be near us must stem from him needed more one-on-one time. Maybe that is the case at times, but it seems like his attention hole is a bottomless pit. It's a black hole. He just wants us ALL the time. If I bend over to get something, you can be sure there is a monkey ready to latch on my back! Sometimes that drives me a little nuts.

I could go on and on about what we do with our day, who likes which subject best, and how we do our experiments... but I will save that for another survey!
Signing off!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Another point of view

Ann-Marie posed the sleep-over question on her blog. Thought I'd mention it in case you are interested in those responses. We all love and cherish our kiddos, and it's neat (to me anyway) to see how other people do things. Gives me something to think about. And a lot of you, and her commenters, have kids older than mine so I can stand on your shoulders for some insights. :-)

Another survey will be posted tomorrow, hopefully. I'm booked every afternoon/ evening until Sunday, so we'll see how much I get done! JB, you may have been right about me getting too busy sometimes! ;-)

Oh, and Oliver cut his fourth tooth today!! The other top one is just under the gums. Poor baby just wants to eat and cuddle... isn't napping like he usually does.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

another Survey!! I was gonna call it Saturday Surveys, but I can't wait 'til then. ;-)

Well, I must say that I'm surprised by both results of my on-page surveys! I am happy about the last post, though. It feels good to know that my own child isn't the only one going through a tumultuous 3-year old transition phase away from naps.

But, back to me. heh heh. I'm surprised that most of you guys think I should go back to red. Do redheads really have more fun? Fred LOVES that color on me. That's the way it was when we met, so I think he has it forever etched in his mind. I guess I like that in a way. I feel like I've grown and changed so much since then, though, and it's hard for me to go back to that look. Jerri pointed out how strange that is. A link between personality and hair color. Hmm... And, of course,she's right. I love honest friends!! So, if any of you have a specific color in mind, please feel free to email it to me. And, Mimi and Papaw, I know you love my natural color ...but I don't even know what that is at this point. ;-) Aren't grandparents great?

I also just assumed that my kids squealing "MOOOMMMMEEEE" was the norm. But I didn't expect so many "Mommas" (Mamas?) out there. I tried to get Trev to switch today (thought it might sound less whiny, like Adelia said), but he would have none of that. Oh, well.

Now, for a cute toddler saying and baby milestone before I get to the survey part! Wen the tornado sirens were going off the other night, Trevor started to get very nervous about those "tomatoes" in the sky outside. That's all he's been talking about for days. "Mommy, it's windy, is there a tomato coming?" I answered, "yep, there's one in your salad." He just looked at me like I was going crazy.

Baby milestone: Oliver got his third tooth yesterday!! But it's NOT on top. It's on the side, like a fang coming in. How weird is that? All of my other kid got their bottom teeth and then progressed normally to the top ones. Oliver is very much his own little person, though. He's such a sweet, happy, easy baby, thank You, Lord!!

And now for the part you've all been waiting for...Ba-Boom...the survey question of the night is:
Do you let your kids spend the night with others? Kids spend the night with you? We don't do it at all. I think my kids stayed one night with my folks when I was in the hospital having my third. Or maybe my Mom stayed here, I can't remember now. I'd just rather keep it simple and say no to everyone, then try to pick and choose and explain. The only time we've ever had kids stay here is when a friend had her third baby. And that was different. Friends in need can always stay.

And, if you do let your kids spend the night, at what age did you start? I ask because we're being pressured by a relative to let the kids come stay. I'm dead set against it, and Fred is on-board with me. So it's just not gonna happen. But I'm still curious what the rest of you do!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Mom survey

In addition to the two surveys on my page, I've gotta ask one more question:
First, how old were your kids (bunnies, Ann-Marie? ;-) ) when they stopped taking naps? I know it varies from child to child, even within the same family. I know most of my kids took two naps a day until they were 18-months old. I was lucky.

Trevor stopped taking naps about a month ago. He turned 3 in November. Before we gave up, we went through some struggles trying to get him to lie down and be still. It used to be SO easy. He went right to bed. But that last month he really fought us on it, and then didn't want to wake up, and wouldn't go to bed at night. So, we did a test run. He took no nap. He seemed fine, didn't get overly fussy in the evening and went to bed at 7:30. All was well with the world. I had my evenings back, even though I still terribly miss that 2-hour time after lunch when I could get the tougher subjects done with the bigger kids.

Anyway, lately he's been falling asleep at about 6:30....sitting up or on the floor, wherever. So I'm thinking that maybe he needs his naps back again. We have been outside a lot lately. When the weather is nice we walk, bike ride, you name it. Hmmm...
Just curious what the rest of you do.

Okay, I'm gonna post a resolution like everyone else!

It's that time again, huh? New Year's Resolutions. And, yes, I realize that I'm already procrastinating, given that it's the 5th of January.

This year I have ONE goal. Yes, just one. But it's a biggie.

I want to reclaim my time. I don't want it to disappear. Does it ever seem that you start out the day, with grand plans of all the things you'll accomplish...and then you look at your list at the end of the day and one thing has been crossed off...and it's not even an important thing? That seemed to happen all too often last year. I had too many balls in the air. And too many interruptions.

So...more specifically, I want a working schedule. I want to make sure to do the important things: spend time with and teach my kids, and spend time with my husband, and spend time with my Lord. The important things need to trump the urgent things, like phone calls and errands, etc.

Not everything has to get done. And there are only 24 hours in a day. This is so hard for me. I wrote out all of the things that I need to do in a day, and I really need at least 5 more hours!!! Or I need to be able to run on a lot less sleep.

Ah, but I'm saying "need," right? What really needs to be done? Okay, so then I eliminated and cut down on the amount of time that I really spend doing certain things. I need to do laundry faster in order to have more game-time with family in the evening. You get the idea.

I'm a fairly clean person. The house gets messy, but I really can't stand that. It drives me crazy and I feel like I can't function. I like to wake up to a clean house and I have a VERY hard time concentrating on schoolwork if there are messes all around me. So we will straighten up, then start school. And, since I know that laundry will be done at 2pm, I won't need to worry about it all day. It's time is coming. I can relax and enjoy the moment, the smiles, the kids and their cuteness.

I also want to start spending 15 minutes a day alone with each child doing whatever he/ she wants. Isabelle has already told me that on Monday (when we implement the new plan) she wants to spend her 15 minutes sketching with me. Of course, we do that for art all the time, but she is excited that it will be just me and her. :-) Ethan wants me to play dinosaurs. "And not math dinosaurs," he said. Heh heh. He caught on early that when the sharp tooth ate one of those four long-neck dinosaurs,leaving three left, I was really sneaking in math. Trevor would be content to ride around on my back. That suits me, too. Fun and exercise!

And I want to claim one evening a week for family time. Nothing can interrupt or mess that up. We just get too busy, all going in different directions. We're tied to lots of great organizations/ functions, but then we don't have time to relax and just take walks and go hiking and play games.

Now you can share your resolutions, or give me tips for mine! :-)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

YES, I am still...

Why is it that the holidays can bring out all of the retarded comments? Just so no one else asks, let me just clarify for everyone that I am indeed still breastfeeding my almost-9-month-old. And I love it. And I plan to continue. And you'd better believe there will be a longer post about it soon, but right now I'm just tired. You can blame this little rant on a MIL.