Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My Packing List

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So, at first I had a nice little list of stuff to bring. Just for me. Because for once, I am not packing for 6 people going on vacation. A lovely thought. Or so I thought. :)

Today, I got a phone call from someone (don't worry Christin, I'm not talking about you :) who needed things from the infant nursery at church to have things for the babies at retreat. Trouble is, I know they don't have half of that stuff in the infant nursery. But I do. Sure there are probably other mothers who have it, but I think it's easier to bring it myself rather than find the time to call all the other mothers and dump it on them. Is that so bad?

Not really, except now I believe I will be filling up the trunk of my friend's car (since our engine light just went on in our car and needs to be checked out before I drive it a few hours away only to discover I might just get stuck...although, is that so bad?? :) I know that the bulk of the stuff isn't MY stuff, but still...crib sheets, cd players, infant toys, a stroller, there's more, but I can't remember it all...good thing I made a list...somewhere...sigh.

To top it all right now, I am sporting a lovely migraine. They are beginning to rear their ugly heads again. And if you can explain why I don't truly get them when pregnant or nursing I would appreciate it - other than it is a huge blessing from God so that I don't have to take any meds. Of course, I am not pregnant or nursing now - and no longer ever will be (still so strange to think of). It would be nice if I don't get them now though, because 4 kids and a migraine do not go well together. I'm sure you can't imagine why. Because my kids are so quiet and non-active. *grins* Actually today, they have been amazing and Laurianna is now reading to two of the others while Kaleb takes a nap. So they are being quiet. For now. :)

Off to find my list. But I am very excited about this weekend, despite feeling like I am hauling half of my house with me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Zachary speaks...more funnies

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Today I did a big could-have-been disaster thing. I let Zachary take a nap in his underwear. On our bed. Smart, right? I know he has to start at some point, but our bed has had the privilege of having two children throw-up on it already, so what's a little pee (and why they can't do this in their own bed??)...anyway...

After nap today (and I had already checked his pants to see he was dry), he later told us that his underwear had been wet since he peed in them (he's a little overzealous on the underwear-changing thing sometimes).

Secretly I wondered if I had missed something when he got up from nap, but passed it off in my head and thought "It's OK - he slept on Rick's side!! HEE HEE!"

As Zachary is telling Rick that he peed in his underwear he said, "I slept on your side, Daddy!"

That's my boy!

Another one of my favorites from Zachary has to do with our sad spoon - or the spanking spoon. :) The other day when we were shopping we passed a row of wooden spoons rather similar to the object of discipline. Zachary so nicely and LOUDLY pointed out - "Look, Mommy! They have spanking spoons!"

You can read some more kid funnies by clicking on the picture below.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Preparing to retreat

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A few weeks back my husband went on a men's retreat with our church. There are some lovely differences in the men's and women's retreats, however. The guys go camping and have a weekend of "roughing it" - open fires, tents and cold temperatures, and lots of fresh air. The ladies on the other hand go about 2 hours away to a nice, warm hotel where breakfast is served each morning, a nice, hot shower is ready to start your morning, there are comfortable chairs to sit in for the meetings, no campfire smell, and nice cozy beds to sleep on. All the conveniences of home and more (i.e. someone else cooking for us, etc....).

After looking at my week this week I am beginning to realize though WHY the ladies need to be so far away and need such desperately different surroundings.

When Rick went to men's retreat his "packing" consisted of throwing (well, he does fold) clothes into a bag, grabbing the few essentials, making sure he has snacks and food, and leaving. That's it.

My prep for ladies retreat involves so much more. Yes, I have to pack for myself, remember to take every single toiletry that might possibly be needed for the weekend, making sure that I have some nice clothes (that are clean, match, and FIT), and that's just the beginning. I need to:
  • make sure that the 4 little people (and one daddy) have clothes to wear during the time I'm gone
  • have food in the house so that said family doesn't starve while I am gone (and at the rate my children eat, that can be disturbing
  • be sure the house is in some semblance of order so that there is a starting point before it goes downhill....hee hee
  • have meals ready to go for them during the time I'm gone
  • make sure that my hubby knows the "routine" cause our kids are big "routine" kids - hmmm...wonder where they get that from?

By the time I'm ready for retreat, I'm READY for a retreat. :) No kiddos, no pressures, no demands. Just time for me to relax and spend time with other ladies and soak in some time with God. And just relax however I can. So, not that I am saying we deserve it, but I am beginning to understand why the ladies surroundings are so drastically different from the men's.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I need a personal shopper

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A clothing shopper, that is. I managed to escape get out last night to do a little shopping and found a cute skirt (I think!!) and shirt. Today I tried to go again while three of the kids were at co-op and while I was in the store, I realized something. I was shopping in the wrong store. I was by far the youngest person in the store – by a good 20 years. Not a good sign. The music was relaxing, not making me run for cover or worry about permanent ear damage for my youngest. That’s not necessarily a good thing.

While I have been in “maternity land” for the last 6 years, styles have changed. Quite a bit. :) The last dress I bought (other than maternity) was almost 9 years ago. Time for a little change I think. I am not particularly thrilled with the latest fashions though. Either the styles look suspiciously like maternity clothes (haven’t I been trying to get OUT of those?) or the clothing doesn’t cover enough (and I’m not too anxious to show what it doesn’t). I almost went into shock passing a certain lingerie store. Seriously?

I am now under the firm belief that I need help. Serious help from a good friend who can honestly help me out of a wardrobe mess. Get me out of the comfy t-shirts and typical jeans (aka “wash and wear”) clothing and help me find some clothing to squeeze into fit me.

p.s. did I mention that I truly hate to shop? truly. I would really like to find a store that can instantly show me how the item would look on me so that I don’t have to keep going through the dress/undress stages in the dressing room, keep running out for the appropriate size, which inevitably I can’t find on the sales rack anyway…

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nutritious compared to...

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Today the kids were begging for me to bake/make them something. Can't blame them. It's a dreary rainy day and the house was begging for warmth. So, I decided to make some cookies, but discovered that I used most of the sugar last night to make us apple strudel. sigh. So, I scoured the cook book for something without sugar - honey, maybe - to use in the cookies (and yes, in hindsight I could have made cookies with honey, but oh well...

I found a recipe called "Nutritious no-bake cookies". I'm going to write out the recipe here and you let me know how exactly these are nutritious... :)

1 cup nonfat dry milk
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup chopped raisins
1 cup CORN SYRUP???

I started laughing here. Those are some HEALTHY cookies, huh?

The option is given to use 1 cup of honey instead - that might help, huh? The funny thing to me is that graham crackers, processed peanut butter and corn syrup - so really not good for you!! :)

So I revamped it a little bit - used blended oatmeal in place of the graham cracker crumbs and 1/2 the honey and they turned out pretty good. You are supposed roll them into small balls and eat them without baking (obviously) - and as I gave them to the kids, Laurianna looked at them and said, "Um, Mom. These haven't been cooked yet." When I told her they weren't supposed to be, she said, "Well, I really like the ones that are flat - and brown - and warm."

Oh, well. :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Being held

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If you have little ones, especially the ones that are just beginning to pull up to standing, you are probably familiar with the reaching arms that greet you as you walk through their door in the morning. Little arms. Big smile. The beginnings of "Mom" being babbled..."mamamamama" and those arms reaching up to you. As you pick them up, they snuggle into you and you know they are completely happy at that moment. And that feeling in your heart is just amazing. The sweetness of the moment. Being needed. Loved. I can't fully describe how it feels to me holding Kaleb - the little movements of his body. The way he nestles his hands under his body and just relaxes against me (with the occasional little bouncy body to show how happy he is to be with me). :)

Today as I was holding Kaleb and reveling in the "this is our last baby" moment, God just spoke to my heart. He does that a lot with my kids. Just whispers a little something here and there to get me thinking (or laughing), but today it was thinking.

His heart bursts with joy when He comes in and sees me holding up my arms to Him, smiling and wanting to be held. When I just snuggle in to Him and am content just to be held and be with Him. Nothing else matters to Him. There is nothing else pressing that He needs to do or move onto. He wants to just spend that time with me and enjoy the sweetness of that moment.

I love that God shows me little things like this (sometimes it's all that I can handle....too deep thoughts seem to overwhelm me at times and I'm a practical girl). Something so simple, but so easy for me to remember and grab on to each day as I open the door to my kids rooms and start a new day with them.

Always Zachary...the little boy speaks...

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If you've read any of my blogs, you know we have a fascination with the potty, poop, etc... good ol' Zachary. The boy loves the potty. Loves to be a big boy. Will wait to poop until he has a pull-up on at naptime. He'd hold out forever. Perhaps I should just let him wear undies all the time, but that could lead to another federal disaster, so .... maybe not just yet.

Today, after changing his pull-up for the upteenth day in a row we had a little conversation:

Me: "You know, if you went poop in the potty instead of your pull-up, Mommy could do a happy dance for you."

Zachary: "And if I went poop in my underwear, you would do a mad dance."

Ever seen a mad dance? I'm sure there must be one...

To find out what other tiny ones are saying, visit Mary at Not Before 7 for Tiny Talk Tuesday.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Park with Our Girls

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Posing for Mommy

Today I took McKenna and Laurianna to a nearby park for McKenna's 5th birthday pictures (and technically Laurianna's 6th birthday - now 6 1/2 years...). The girls wanted to take pictures at first, but the ducks were much more inviting of course! And then we had to take a walk in the woods...and put our feet in the water...and pick up leaves...and look at the know, be KIDS!! :)

These are a few of the pictures that I took of the girls. McKenna is at the being goofy stage (although I'm not so sure it's a stage...). Laurianna is the queen of posing. Seriously. She has it down to an art. The chin just so, the head tilted, the arms positioned...she loves the camera! She has been begging for weeks to go take pictures with me, so today it was (because 80 degrees in late October was too good to pass up!).

Little Miss Laurianna

A not-quite-too-silly McKenna

A man and his dog...

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This blog is just for you mom. :) Thought you might want to see your husband and what he's been up too... We've kicked him out of the guest room - it's warm enough and we figured it would save you a little money too. Hee hee...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Name Dropping

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My brother has been trying to help out a girl who you may/may not have read about in the news, Katelyn Kampf. Last September she was kidnapped by her parents (she was 19), tackled and tied up because she was pregnant and they wanted her to have an abortion. There is a lot more to this story and if you are interested, you can read about it here. Her parents trial was last week and their resulting sentencing.....counseling. Needless to say, there are a lot of people not too happy about it (her parents are very wealthy and had lots of lawyers....).

Evan traveled with her to NY this week to interview with Good Morning America (the piece should hopefully air this coming week) and he has been fielding calls for her and trying to help her with some things (there is a lot more to the story).

Yesterday he called me and wanted me to guess who had called him. One of his not-most-favorite people, but sort of funny. Al Sharpton. I'm not kidding. Can you imagine answering your phone and finding out it's Al Sharpton on the line? Now he's in the middle of the situation, so I'm sure he's aware it's a possibilty, but still... And to boot, Al Sharpton asked him how he felt about him personally. And Evan told him. Not really his favorite person in the world. Of course, he felt he should give him the benefit of the doubt after talking to BILL O'REILLY.

Today, the phone rings again. Guess who? Jesse Jackson. I'm not making this up. I think I would start laughing. You know that I am personally waiting for the president to call me. I'd settle for a TV3 personality - that's the closest I've ever been to seeing/talking to anyone. I did see George Hirshmann once walking outside the TV3 weatherlab...but I digress..

I think this is rather funny. Of course, I'm not sitting by waiting for MY phone to ring. If anyone famous called me, I'd probably hang up and figure it was a joke. How would you not think that? So, there's the closest I will probably come to fame. Through my brother. But figured I would share it with you. And next week? There's a good possibility that they might be flying out to Chicago to meet a certain lady named Oprah. So. There you have it. My name dropping for the week. Month. Year. Most likely my life.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Boy is 3!

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Today Zachary turned 3. I look at him and can't quite remember him being tiny. Ever. Not that he was petite when he was born, mind you - he was a lovely 8 lbs 9 oz. and 2 weeks early (thank goodness!).

Rick was able to take most of the day off - which was great so that I could finish Zachary's cake for his party. Since Rick had worship team tonight, we picked up my dad for lunch and had his party at noon. So, while Rick was at the children's museum with the kids, I attempted to make Zachary a dump truck cake. Why you ask? Because I am insane. And sometimes don't think about things all the way through. At least I gave up on making my own frosting - :). I finished the cake, decorated, took pictures, and everyone came home. We were in the middle of lunch and I was taking a picture when I realized that there was no memory card in the camera. Fortunately I didn't get all the way through his birthday party before realizing it! :) He loved the cake (of course!). And despite the fact I won't be filling orders for specialty cakes anytime soon, he at least recognized it was a truck!

the Pièce de résistance :)

We couldn't sing to him fast enough!

Notice the cake sort of caved - right when the kids walked in the door from the museum. I could tell a fib and say Zachary grabbed it -which he did LATER, but it was poorly constructed from the get-go. :)

After nap time I took Zachary to the arboretum for some 3-year old pictures. Here are a few of them. Again, thank goodness for digital cameras - I took 93 pictures - and I'm not uploading them all here!

We are so incredibly blessed to have his active little body in our home. Yes, times are crazy, but there would definitely be a void in our house without him.

Awhile back a friend of ours talked to a MOMS group about "theme" verses for our kids. Verses that you feel are for your children specifically, and praying them over your children. I've prayed about each of our kids and the one that sticks with me for Zachary is from Jeremiah 17:8. Today while I was taking pictures with Zachary, he was standing underneath a HUGE tree and he wouldn't look at me - he just kept looking up to the high branches, and kept saying "This tree is SO BIG, Mommy!"

Jeremiah 17:8 "For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit."

That is my hearts prayer for our son. That despite the circumstances in his life, whatever situation he is in the midst of - that he will not be anxious, and instead be trusting and know that God is with him and he would draw his sustenance from the living water. :) I pray his roots will run DEEP in the Lord and he would flourish!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Pillow

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Today, in my never-ending laundry quest, I managed to get Zachary's pillowcase off his pillow to attemp to wash/dry it before his nap time this afternoon (because heaven-forbid all is not as it should be for nap time: 3 puppies, blankie, blanket just so, pillow flipped to the right side...). As I took his pillow out and flipped it over to put it back on the bed, this is what I saw.

Now in light of some of my past posts, what do you think this could be? And how long do you think that it

a) has been since I washed his pillowcase? (Note: there are no stains on the pillowcase at all)

b) took me to throw that pillow out in the nearest trash can?

I don't even really want to know. Really.

Come Again?

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You know how you sometimes say something to someone and while it sounds good in your head, it comes out sounding totally different than how you intended it to sound?

Today we had some friends over to visit and both of their children are several years older than ours, but our kids truly adore them - and they all manage to stay occupied together and have fun. The mom has been calling me to try and get together and we were talking about how her kids have been begging and wanting another sibling - be it boy or girl. She is past the point of wanting another baby (she loves them - just no more!!) - her two are in the 6th and 8th grade, so .... she calls me! As she is telling me about the two kids wanting another sibling she said, "When they say they want another baby, I say 'It's time to call the Erbs and go over there for a visit'. Is it ok with you if we come over to visit whenever they ask us about more kids?" how exactly should I take that? Are my children that much of a birth control for others? *grins* I am laughing right now, because I know her very well and know that how it sounded is not at all how it was meant. :) Right, Shernae?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

32 Things about me

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Here's a little question/answer time one of my friends sent me recently - different questions than the ordinary "hey, a little about me" so I thought I would post it. :)

1. Can you cook? I believe so. My husband has survived (and gained...and lost weight) to this point in our marriage. :) If not, I apologize if I have brought a meal to you and you were forced to eat it...

2. What was your dream growing up? to be a teacher...and work for the FBI...and be a lawyer...but I wimped out on the FBI academy - too much physical work!! ha ha - could also explain my current severe lack of muscle tone in the general abdomen area

3. What talent do you wish you had? I wish I could roll my tongue - and yes, I know it's genetic, but I am still practicing (what if I just never knew I could and didn't practice til now?)- literally in front of the mirror. Laurianna coaches me on it.

4. Favorite place? snuggled in bed on a nice cool night

5. Favorite vegetable? zucchini

6. What was the last book you read? from cover to cover...some novel...Grace in Thine Eyes by Liz Curtis Higgs

7. What zodiac sign are u ? blah, blah, blah

8. Any Tattoos and/or Piercings? ears, twice...tattoos are only in my dreams. i truly think Rick would fall over if I got a tattoo.

9. Worst Habit? picking my nails. I don't bite, just pick, pick, pick...

10. How do we know each other? well, you are visiting my blog, so you tell me...

11. What is your favorite sport? in person - ummmmm...not a super sports fan. more a social person. to sleep to? really any sport will do. :)

12. Negative or Optimistic attitude? generally optimistic, but it can go downhill fast

13. What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me? probably talk your ear off (if we were alone)

14. Worst thing to ever happen to you? embarrassing wise? hmmm...that would be when my sweatpants literally fell down in gym class. in front of everyone. boys and girls. as if life weren't awkward enough.

15. Tell me one weird fact about you. weird - yeah, I'm blanking on this one. anyone? anyone? bueller?

16. Do have any pets? well, if you count my dad's dog, yes. if you don't no.

17. Do u know how to do the macarana? i'd like to pretend I do. but it escapes me at the moment.

18. What time is it where u are now? 10:36pm - past my bedtime, but yet here I am blogging

19. Do you think clowns are cute or scary? cute I suppose in a overly made up kind of way

20. If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be? get that good ol' jelly belly in shape - and again with the exercise....sigh

21. Would you be my crime partner or my conscience? your conscience - unless it was really something sneaky fun - then definitely a partner.

22. What color eyes do you have? brown

23. Ever been arrested? came close, but nope

24. Bottle or Draft? something more in the "umbrella" category please

25. If you won $10,000 dollars today, what would you do with it? put it in our emergency fund so we would be that much closer to building (but I might be convinced to spend a little bit too!)

26. What kind of bubble gum do you prefer to chew? i don't - that way my kids don't ask and then I don't have to worry about where or when I might find gum. My life is exciting enough that I don't need to add that aspect at this point.

27. What 's your favorite bar to hang at? Uh...yeah. I couldn't even begin to tell you where one around us is - never mind I am soooo over that stage of life, thankfully. :)

28. Do you believe in ghosts? the Holy Ghost :)

29. Favorite thing to d o in your spare time? sit peacefully with a cup of coffee and just read, or meander on the internet...hey - look! just like now!!

30. Do you swear a lot? only in my head. Thankfully not out loud (especially in front of my little repeaters).

31. Biggest pet peeve? dumb drivers (I'm just remembering someone today...)

32. In one word, how would you describe yourself? funny-giving (see if you hyphenate it, it's still counting as one word, right?).

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Blender tidbit

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Did you know that if you put 1 1/2 cups of milk and 1/2 cup of orange juice in a blender, turn around for 5 seconds to get some ice and have a toddler in the kitchen that the 2 cups combined total of liquid can go almost as high as your ceiling? The span of spray for the 2 seconds that the blender is on without the lid can cover a good 4-5 foot radius.

I'm sure you can't guess how I found that little tidbit out.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Friday Funny

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Ok. So it really technically is Thursday, but it's 10:07pm - so closer to Friday. Besides, Friday Funny sounds much better than Thursday umm... well, you see the dilemna maybe.

This is life with my son. My 2 year old son. Really, it's life with my kids in general. But this conversation about made me pee my pants...and thank goodness the other one involved thought it was hysterical too (at least I hope he did!!).

I had a meeting at church tonight, so I had to take the kids with me and I picked up the babysitter (someone we fortunately know rather well) on the way to church. Ok. so technically he walked to my house and I drove him there, but I digress...

As he got into the van, all the kids started piping up with their questions and comments to him, but Zachary was closer (and louder, shocking I know) and managed to get this question out to him.

"Do you go pee standing up, or sitting down?"

There you have it. The life questions of a 2 year old. Gotta love it.

Help me - I need advice!

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Ok. This isn't a life threatening, must have advice this second, type of problem - well, the sooner the better! :) But I could still use your help/advice/counsel before I put myself in the looney house trying to figure out how to keep Zachary buckled into his dumb carseat (I said "dumb" - but at least I didn't say "stupid" hee hee). I drove all around town today, blindly believing that I had my children strapped into their seats safely before I discovered on our final leg of the trip that Zachary had unbuckled every single carseat in the van before we left on our "trip". And, I only had to turn around and see his chest strap unbuckled at least 4 times. AHHHHH!

That boy is about ready to drive me crazy. He is obviously still in a 5 point harness (he'll be 3 next week), and although he can't unbuckle the bottom buckle (yet) he can unbuckle the chest strap, which he does at least 100 times in any given trip to turn on the light, turn off the light, reach over to Kaleb, reach for something else, or better yet - UNBUCKLE HIS ENTIRE CARSEAT from the regular carseat. I will interject here that you know I'm a mom because at the moment I am having difficulty thinking of the big person words for things - like seats in a van, etc..). He also has a tendency to race into the van and get himself into lots of other trouble too - i.e. front seat business or unbuckling all the carseats of others.

Frankly, I'm getting rather tired of turning around every 2 seconds to see that he is unbuckled yet again and still trying to focus on driving without wrecking since now it would be even more of a mess. and don't think that the words "duct tape" haven't run through my mind...but that would be too messy and complicated. Sigh.

So, that said. How do you keep a 2 year old IN his carseat, strapped in and everything buckled up - safe and sound? Huh?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Our Chore System (Works for Me Wednesday)

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I took a few pictures today of our chore packs and if you would like more info on the book I based it from, you can click here to visit the family's website. Now, truthfully, I didn't read the book (I sorta skipped around) to get the general idea, because I find it difficult to believe that there is truly over 200 pages worth of information on how to do chores. Eventually, perhaps, but anyway...I digress. :) Incidentally, if you want some great tips from other moms, be sure to check out the "Works for Me Wednesday" section of Rocks in My Dryer's website.

The first day I gave the packs to the girls was so sweet. Their first chore was to practice their verses and pray, so Laurianna immediately sat down and held out her hands to McKenna so that they could pray together. That right there made it all worth it. :)

Each of our kids (except for Kaleb, of course…) has a "chore pack" which is essentially one of those clip on name tags that you get when you go to various conferences. Depending on the age and reading level of the child, I either wrote their chores or used pictures. On the top of each chore is a number - so they know what order to do the chores in. They complete the first chore and then take that card and put it at the back of the pack and move onto the next chore. When they are done, they return the chore pack to me. The packs just clip onto their shirts so that they have them with them as they do their chores.

Laurianna's chores include: getting dressed, making her bed, studying her Bible verses and praying, vacuuming, brushing teeth, cleaning the high chair, and some others, including a "rotating chore" depending on the day of the week (clean out the van, organize the closet, etc... ).

McKenna's chores include many of the same that Laurianna has, some not quite as difficult - just more on her level.

Zachary chores are: getting dressed, eating breakfast, getting dressed, pj's away, p/u toys, make bed, vacuum, hug mommy. He's exempt from the extra chores since I have to help him out quite a bit with some of his chores. The first one (in case you are wondering what that picture is – is to put his underwear ON, so it’s a cute little picture of a pair of briefs..which truly was a picture of girls underwear that I had to edit with a pen and colored pencil. :)

The List is Dwindling

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My "to do" list is happily getting things crossed off it and it feels like a huge weight is being lifted off my shoulders. Funny how we create our own "stress" isn't it? I was able to clean quite a bit more, read another book (Austenland by Shannon Hale - actually very cute and good - if you love Jane Austen type stuff, this is a great book), and even had a chance to scrapbook and meet with a builder about our house plans and the endless possibilities there...

Here are the pages that I finished today. These pictures were taken when we had a Fresh Air girl visit with us - back in July of 2004. I am slowly, but surely finishing off album by album. I am supposed to bring some to our Ladies Retreat this year, so I'd like to "complete" the ones that I haven't quite finished yet. Only a few more layouts to finish this album. Yeah!!

So, today is another day and I suppose I'll have to see what I can do today. The kids are doing great with their chores. I took some pictures today of the "system" and will try to post them soon for you to see.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Fun with Markers

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Apparently we have an epidemic in our house - a chicken pox epidemic, that is. No wait. We have a marker problem. :) Laurianna and McKenna decided that it would be fun to give themselves the chicken pox today during their quiet time. This would be the reason that they are not allowed to have markers when they are alone - out of my sight. Ever. Fortunately they were washable markers, although it took quite a bit of scrubbing and soap to get the marker off. The green didn't come off quite as well, so they will have some odd looking legs for awhile (and no, I don't know why some chicken pox are green).

Being Creative

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What do you get when you mix construction paper, egg cartons, yarn, feathers, and lots of tape (aside from a big mess...)???

You get... A CHICKEN!!! Did you guess right? This is one of Laurianna's latest artistic accomplishments. Thank goodness for all the art supplies at the children's museum. It's bad enough that the feathers come home...I'm not ready to start storing the multitude of art things available. Our membership dollars put to good use!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Day 1 of my "vacation"

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Apparently I'm taking vs. 12 to heart. At least I feel like I am. My "to do" list for the week has now managed to get itself knocked in half and I'm feeling rather giddy with that. Me and my lists. :) I even managed to take the kiddos to Lowe's (heaven for them) to get some fall flowers and a cap for the water so they don't keep turning it on every day when they go out to play!! (although today they did get to go under the sprinkler again - seems strange in October, eh?).

Today's list:

Floors - done
Blinds - done
Ceiling fans - done
Chore charts - done
Laundry - ahhhhh - done!
Lesson plans - (yeah, I know, no school!) DONE!

...and I even read the new Beverly Lewis book tonight. So lovely..... Tomorrow is another day - full of promise and more time. And I am looking forward to it.

On a fun note, the girls and Zachary were THRILLED with their new chore packs. I'll have to post some pictures of them. Laurianna, the ever "by the book" girl, was rather upset that McKenna was trying to do her stuff out of order - or upset when she forgot to "flip" her cards to the back. McKenna was just thrilled to do it - and Zachary wanted to wear the dang thing all day (which he didn't). I'll post a little more on the chores that they are doing (hopefully tomorrow).

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Psalm 90

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This week I'm starting each day with a passage of Scripture that I found in Psalm 90. It's a great reminder to look to God and seek a heart of love and gladness from Him - exactly what I need to start my day. Each verse in this passage mirrors the true desires of my heart. In the times I am feeling my worst and defeated in my endeavors, God can restore me and fill me with His joy. He can turn my efforts to glorify Him!

12 Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.

13 O Lord, come back to us! How long will you delay? Take pity on Your servants!

14 Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.

15 Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good.

16 Let us see Your miracles again; let our children see Your glory at work.

17 And may the Lord our God show us HIS approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!

Friday, October 5, 2007

A Woman on a Mission...

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I'm on vacation...well, not literally. From homeschooling. We've finished 10 weeks without a break. My stress level lately has been a little high. My home is feeling a little cluttered. Crazy. Unclean.

After talking to Rick last night about some of the "stress load", he so rightly pointed out that even regular schools take vacation days, teachers take work days...I'm taking a week off. To reorganize. Reprioritize. And get my house and myself back in shape (well, I know I can't get into shape THAT quickly...wish I could). It's time to define my schedule a little more, set up that chore chart, take time to figure out what is important for me to actually do and maybe rest. Ok. Rest. A little.

So, hopefully this week I'll be able to get a "game plan" in place. And really clean my house. And start feeling a little more rested. It is so much easier for me to rest when things are done. Clean. In place. Scary, but true.

I'll keep you posted. :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say...

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I am being convicted lately on not only what I say to my children but how it is said to them. I mentioned before that I attended a mini-conference last week and before I left to go the girls were asking why I had to go. I told them that they were going to talk about how to be a better mommy and daddy and asked if there was a way that I could be a better mommy to them. Laurianna thought for a minute and her reply was "I wish you wouldn't yell so much."


I'm not even going to try to defend that one. Which is very hard to do. Point is, I do yell in a given day, sometimes more than others. Is this something I want to instill in my children. Not a chance. So why do I do it - and how can I stop?

This morning has been one that I am not overly proud of. Two of our kids are sick and very cranky, I've been trying to help my brother get a resume together before a deadline...add in 4 children that all need attention NOW: diapers changed, tissues, noses blown, are all hungry...add some screaming frustration level was already going up, up, up...

Then my 2 year old dropped a heavy wooden object on my big toe - which is already super sensitive. It was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. Did I count to 10? Laugh? Blow it off? I did exactly what I am trying not to do. Yelled. And loudly. My mouth went into overtime and I just launched into them. After the fact (and now still) I just wanted to cry (and I have). So this afternoon, I’m sitting here trying to sort through my thoughts and figure out what is going on with me. Yes, I’m overwhelmed. I’m tired….I could go on, but it still doesn’t excuse it, change it, or make it right in any sense.

One of the quotes from the conference I attended the other night: "I haven't yelled at my children in over 14 years."

That caught my attention then and is running through my mind now. Part of me is rather cynical at the statement. "Yeah, right! I'll give you a week with my kids and we'll see... the other part of me latched right on to that and promptly bought her book to read it to see what nuggets I could glean from her. I would love to be able to be 10 years down the road and say..."I haven't yelled at my children in 10 years."

Proverbs 15:1 says "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger."

Anger truly is a choice that I have. If the phone were to ring, someone were to come to the door, we were out in public - my reaction would be much different than how it is when I am in the privacy of my own home. Hidden from the eyes (and ears of others) to see how I am. It shows the difference between the inner person and the outward appearance that others see.

Ouch again.

God has been using my children more and more to sift things in my life and in my heart relationship with Him. I'm really rather enthralled by it all. Happy that He is, but nervous at the same time in some ways. So thankful because there are things that most definitely need to be weeded out so that the beautiful can flourish - and right now there are some BIG weeds overtaking and overshadowing the beautiful. But yanking out the weeds is painful. Necessary. But painful. Some of the roots are pretty deep. Somehow this turned into a garden analogy.... :)

So, there is some stuff out for all of you to see. Painful but true. And sharing it is good for me on so many different levels. Because now...I have others that I am accountable to. Who are seeing into the real me...knowing my deep down, dirty stuff. And who will hopefully keep me open, sharing and honest with them. With myself. And most importantly with God.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Tolerance Levels

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A friend of mine and I got to talking awhile back about trading off childcare for each other one night a month so that we could each enjoy a night out with our respective husband and the other mommy would come babysit at our house, put the kids to bed, etc.... Our main concern (we do have a GREAT babysitter) but all of our kids are pretty active, crazy, over-the-top know? We figured it would be great to have another mom who is used to a busy house (so that we don't scare another poor woman into questioning if motherhood is the right path for her...).

So, tonight the swap began. And apparently her children were swapped for someone else's identical-looking, non-active children. Or her tolerance level for activity in children is so low that I am in sooooooo much trouble when she comes to my house (I have a big smile on my face, Leanne!!). My arrival at the house stimulated the most action I would see all evening (aside from the un-named kitten that kept trying to eat my feet later that night). I'm serious. I know that Leanne is having difficulty believing this. She is still most likely in shock from the report.

Dinner - ever so calm and peaceful. I could actually hear myself think (and amazed myself that I actually have thoughts!).

After dinner - we watched a video. The two older boys sat on the couch in pretty much the same position the entire time. I actually was able to sit on the floor and play with the youngest and relax a little (you read that right). Read a book to the baby, played with him, even caught the majority of the video - it had a plot, etc....

After video - time for bed. No arguments. Upstairs. Brushed teeth, bathroom, in bed. Prayed. Lights out. No one out of bed. No one talking. Nada. Zilcho.

So...either her tolerance for activity is really low, her boys are coming down with a severe case of something, I was at the wrong house...or I am sooooooo in trouble with my kids activity levels....*grins*. When can I come over again? Huh???? :) I am thinking that I got the better end on this deal!!

And you googled this because?

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I have a little stat counter on my blogsite that allows me to see where people are visiting from - around the states and around the world. Today I've had visitors from Columbia (South America), Italy, Turkey, the UK and all over the states. I can also see how people got to my site: a google search, etc... If you've read a few of my posts, some of the searches won't suprise you:

- momsense full version
- super why costumes
- what should be my envision for my child in grade 1?
- poop in your diaper
- how do you do quiet time for children?

But my favorite by far - and I'm wondering why in the world someone would google this:

-milk a wooden cow

Well, I guess you would have to google it to find out. Cause I've only ever seen one wooden cow. Might be good to know, huh?
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