Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's ALL about Making it FUN

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I'm sure you've been sitting on the edge of your seat just waiting to see my new "to do" lists haven't you? Here's a little peek at it:




This little to-do list prints off postcard size, four to a page of the same day and I cut it on my paper trimmer after printing. I have one list for every day of the week but Saturday. The way I've set up my lists is that I have certain things I do on certain days. Some things need to be done every day (like laundry, cooking, all the FUN stuff). And just to make it all "cutesy" and appealign to me, I had to put some fun little clip art on it.


Essentially, the mini-lists/postcards are summed-up versions to remind myself each day of the things that I wish/hope/pray to accomplish that day. I have room on each card to add additional things that might apply to that day, space to write in that night's meal plan, and space to put extra things for which area of the house I might be focusing on (our bedroom, the kid's rooms, living room, etc..).



This is a copy of my complete weekly plan:

That is the "sum up" version of the weekly stuff that might go on at our house. Of course, things always come up, plans get interrupted and schedules change. It's just nice to have a plan in place for the best-case scenario. :)



Monday, April 28, 2008

Mildly Distracted...

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I mentioned a few posts back that I had given up lists.

And much to my dismay realized that I SHOULDN'T have given them up.

The lists are back. They've been groomed. Revamped. And they are looking pretty (eye-pleasing can be good to get one motivated!!).

Last night I worked on my list for today and added some things that needed to be done. Added a few more things this morning. And then I got started.

- Laundry (3 loads) - check
- Water plants - check
- Dust...yeah, that'll wait...
- Change Kaleb's sheets - check....which led to reorganizing the boy's bedroom...
- Put the boy's laundry away - check...which led to another give-away pile (yippee!!)
- RSVP for kids nite - check
- Go grocery shopping with 4 whiney kids - CHECK
- Redo my schedule - check
- Clean out big freezer for beef coming - check....which led to reorganizing little freezer....and the fridge....which led to the discovery of some frozen Amish batter and blueberries - had to make sweet bread!!
- make regular bread - in process
- plan meals for month - that would be as soon as I get off the computer....and if I can sneak it in before the kids get up from nap.

There are other things on my list of things "to do" but I keep getting sidetracked. It's a snowball effect of sorts. Did those things need to be done - maybe eventually, but it just seemed natural to do them now. I suppose that the other things will have to wait til tomorrow. :)

I will post my cute new little "to do" lists. At some point. Because I think they are pretty fun!! And maybe they might just help you too, right?

But now, I am just loving the smell of some Lemon Blueberry Amish bread...and trying to behave myself and not eat half the loaf. It wasn't on the list, but I am ever-so-glad I cleaned out that freezer and found it hiding in the back!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Seven Wiser Years Later

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When we first found out we were expecting Laurianna (which now seems like an eternity ago), we had much fun running wildly amuck with a little scanner at the baby store. Picturing every little item in our nursery. Thinking about how fun it would be to use that amazing infant bathtub and how useful that portable infant swing would be. We made sure we had all the necessities for our first (and then any subsequent babies).
We were so sure we knew all that we would need for that little child. We laughed at the ridiculous things that some people might register for. Because seriously. Who in the world really needs this?

Surely a regular monitor would do just fine. Why in the world do we need to see our baby 24-7?
Today, seven wiser years later, the mother of an all-too-ambitious 3-year-old, I can say without a doubt that I WISH we had coughed up $100 to get one of these monitors. Laugh at me if you will. It would have been a mere investment of $15 a year. BUT....

...then we would be able to tell when Zachary has taken down the curtain rods (for the upteenth time), popped the end off the rod and used it to poke his little brother, who helplessly sits like a small caged zoo animal, unable to fend off his zoo-keeper brother.

...then we would see him pulling all of the lining out of the diaper genie.

...then we might know why the blinds seem to be permanently stuck in the closed position.

...then we might catch him climbing on top of his tall dresser to reach the highest heights of the closet shelves.

...then we might get more good laughs in a day just watching the non-stop movement of that boy. And there are days that I just need a good laugh when it comes to him.

But then again, knowing my son, it might just be another something for him to play with, try to take apart, and then we would wonder why we spent the $100 to begin with.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Great Father's Day Idea

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I realize that Father's Day isn't til June, but no sense in waiting to get some ideas! It's a short video clip describing the product, but it looks GREAT!!




Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Muffin Tin Clean-up

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I try to make muffins (or sweet breads) once a week around here, and cleaning up after making muffins can be such a pain in the...well, it can be a pain. The muffin mix drips all over the edges and then bakes itself on ever-so-nicely.
And trying to get the last little bit of yucks out of the bottom of the tin. Sigh.

So, I tried this little tip last week and it worked like a CHARM. I will so be doing this again. And if it worked for me, I might as well share it with you, right? I even took a picture I was so excited!

It's the little things that get to me. :)

1. Before you pour your muffin batter in, loosely lay a piece of tinfoil over the top of the muffin pan. Make a few slits in the tinfoil where the muffin openings are and then fold the tinfoil down into the muffin tin.


2. Spray the top with non-stick spray.

3. Place a muffin liner in each spot.

4. Pour your muffin mix in.

When you are done, your muffins pop right out and all you have to do is take the tinfoil off and rinse the tin. Yeah for no scrubbin'! :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It's a Catch 22

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There are some sickies going around our house again. Headaches. Aches. Pains. Coughs. And everyone wants medicine of some sort. Fortunately (or unfortunately) medicine these days tastes so lovely that my children view it as a treat.

And want it constantly.

Laurianna was the secret receiver of Tylenol most of yesterday since she had the valid reason for needing it: a temperature. While we were sitting at the dinner table last night, Zachary tried to weasel his way into some medicine.


Z: I need some medicine.

Me: No you don't.

Z: I have a cough (insert fake cough).

Me: Well, Tylenol isn't for coughs.

Z: I have a tummy ache.

Me: It isn't for tummy aches either.

Z: Well, what is it for?


And you wonder why we have a padlock on our medicine cabinet. The kids would be eating medicine like Pez.

For some more cute kid conversations, head on over to Mary's at Not Before 7, by clicking on the Tiny Talk button below (LOVE the new button, Mary!)



Sunday, April 20, 2008

Care for a Cup?

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Kaleb isn't one for doing much in our house. He still has yet to talk or really walk. He can walk - he just chooses not too. And yes, I'm aware that he's 17 months old and not doing either. And I'm not worried. He's just content to sit back, watch, and suck up all the attention he can get. Because why would he walk when he has a 7-year-old sister who can pick him up and carry him anywhere. Or a mom who might be willing to do the same. And why would he talk when there is little time to be heard.

Zachary was late on both doing both too - and look where that got me.

I'll just enjoy the relative quiet from him for the time being and be thankful that he's keeping himself content and happy.


That explained though, we were all excited to watch him pretend the other day. He found the girls tea set and when I asked for some tea, he picked up the tea pot, held it up to my cup and made a "pshhhh..." sound to pour the tea. The kids and I just laughed and thought it was so sweet, so he was rather proud of himself and kept pouring and drinking tea for quite some time.


And lately, Zachary has an obsession with my camera (so it is kept high out of reach). He is constantly wanting to take a picture with MY camera.

Not going to happen.

I heard him "clicking" as I was taking pictures of Kaleb, and he had picked up a part of the vaccuum cleaner to take pictures of Kaleb along with me. I'll take that creativity!!



If You Give a Boy a Marker

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If you take a boy to the children's museum where he can paint his face and do art activities to his heart's content, you might regret that vast freedom upon returning home and having a craft time at your own house.

When I asked him "why?" he said he just wanted to make himself look pretty. That involved coloring his nose, trying to put a little "blush" on, putting some "lipstick" on, and for good measure, sticking out his tongue to color that too. YUM! And for the record, I don't put blush and lipstick on my son. Just good ol' chapstick.


At least I had the common sense to invest the extra money in washable markers.

I did forget to hide the dry erase markers well enough, so Zachary's artistic talents took a lovely spin.

On our bedroom wall.

I apparently gasped rather loudly when I first saw just a small scribble near our bathroom. I quickly washed it off without saying anything to Rick until Mr. Clean had managed to help get it off. I didn't notice that Zachary's display had gone around our room until Rick pointed it out.


I swear I need to keep this boy tied to one room. I don't even know WHEN he did this!


Thursday, April 17, 2008

That Thing that Holds Your Pants Up

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Some of my pants are getting a little too loose. Which is a good thing. Something that puts a little smile on my face, especially after 6 pregancies and 4 kiddos later.

It is, however, mildly annoying to have to continually hike your pants up, especially being cautious of those moments when you bend over. I would hate to have any part of my backside greet the eyes of others.

Today, as I stood in my closet, frustrated, trying to figure out what to do to keep those pants in place, it suddenly hit me.

A belt. Duh.

In my defense, when it seems that you've been pregnant or recovering from being pregnant since the year 2000 and your belts haven't seen the light of day since that time, it seems forgivable to forget.

Because up to this point, the pounds of chocolate have helped hold my pants up rather nicely, thank you very much.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Do Not Despise these Small Beginnings...

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Rachel at Home Sanctuary posts a theme verse each month on her blogsite. This month's verse is Zechariah 4:10



When I read this verse, it immediately struck something in my heart. I think in the past that I've been pretty open with my struggles as a mom and today will be no different. Last week really wasn't a fun week for me in our house. It wasn't a week I was necessarily proud of as a mom either. It was more like one of those weeks where I would rather bury it in the back of my mind (and also in the minds of my children).

Rick worked a lot of overtime last week. And by a lot, I mean A LOT. In a matter of not quite 2 weeks he's put in enough overtime to hopefully last a long, long time. The kids missed their Daddy, and I missed their Daddy. It was general crabbiness all around. No excuses. It just wasn't fun for anyone really.

Rachel's verse choice this month just brought it all into perspective for me. "Do not despise these small beginnings..."

Because sometimes I do "despise" the small beginnings running around my house. Please don't misinterpret my meaning. I love my children. Truly I do. But there are times that I feel like I might go off the deep end, and I don't exactly like everything all those small things are doing.

...like when I find a container of shredded cheese strewn all over the kitchen.

...or the curtains have been taken down in the bedrooms again and the rods used to poke a sibling and hurt them.

..or my freshly baked loaves of bread have huge holes in them because a certain someone decided to eat a little from each of the four loaves.

...or someone has hauled off and hit someone else. Or is screaming at me. Or (fill in the blank). All those moments that make you wonder what in the world you are doing wrong as a parent.

And then I just get a little upset. Or a lot upset. And I don't handle things the way I should handle them. And then I deal with the guilt that I didn't do it the way I should have. And I feel like I failed again as a mom. And round and round it goes.

But that verse continues. "For the Lord rejoices to see the work begin." God rejoices in my children and in seeing the work that is beginning and growing in their lives. Those little seeds of things that have been planted in their hearts and are developing.

...like when one of my children sees a sibling upset because they've lost their balloon - and offers theirs in it's place.

...or when I overhear the kids being kind to each other. Or hear them consoling each other when another is hurt or sad.

That encourages me so much (as I sit here crying). My heart for my kids, despite my shortcomings as a parent, is to see them love the Lord with all their hearts and serve Him. Yes, there are going to be bumps in our lives each day. And those "bumps" are opportunities for me to help guide them in their walk. Those bumps are also opportunities for me to grow in my walk with the Lord.

But this verse also applies to me as a mom. I am making small beginnings in many areas of my life as a parent. And as much as I get frustrated with myself, I can KNOW that God rejoices to see the work in my heart begin as I wade through the muck and cling to Him for the help and the rest that I need as a parent.

When I read chapter 4 of Zecariah I also found that the verse: "Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit..." preceeds this verse. And that is so true, isn't it? If I had all the self-control and willpower I could possibly desire, it isn't enough. It isn't IT. It is by His Spirit. And nothing less.


A Different Version

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It's been awhile since I've posted a "Tiny Talk" - not that our kids have been silent, trust me. Just that I have not been writing it down ... or tuning it out. :)

Laurianna and Zachary were together and she was trying to teach him "Eeeny Meeny Miney Mo" the other day, their latest solutions to all the world's problems. She said the ending different than I've heard it and then I heard her say, "That's a different version of it, Zachary."

I was all impressed that she had used the word version - correctly. Not that I don't think she's smart or anything, it just sounded so big coming from her mouth. As I was thinking this all in my head I heard her say, "And I don't even know what version means."

For some other great Tiny Talk, head on over to Mary's at Not Before 7.





Monday, April 14, 2008

Callie Update - 10pm Monday

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Hi all -I talked to Crystal and Kee a bit tonight. The meds arrived this afternoon and Callie has started on them (and now finished). It was a one dose over a set time period and now they are just waiting. The doctors told them to expect her to get a little worse before she gets better, which she has - but they are very confident that she is doing well. She is still breathing on her own. Her breathing has slowed down, but her oxygen saturation levels are good.

Katie, Corbin, and Kimberly were able to visit this afternoon too and see Callie and Kee and Crystal.

Kee and Crystal want you all to know how much they appreciate your prayers for them. They are most anxious to see a smile from Callie. :)

I'll keep you all updated if I hear any more.

Update on Callie (11 am Monday)

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I spoke with Crystal a little this morning. At this point they believe that Callie has infant botulism. They have to wait on lab results, but need to treat it right away. It is very rare - only about 100 cases in the US a year, so the antidote is being flown in from California and they are waiting on that.

Callie has little/no muscle control right now. She has a feeding tube and is able to get breast milk via that, so they are happy about that. She is still very weak, not able to cry well at all - and basically waiting for the treatment. The biggest concern and thing we need to pray for right now is that she does not need a respirator. She is breathing on her own right now which is very good.

Kee and Crystal know that you all are praying for their family and appreciate the prayers and care so much. Continue to pray for God's healing over little Callie - a quick, quick recovery - beyond what the doctors might say or predict.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Pray for Callie

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***Update from Crystal (11pm Sunday night)

Keep Praying....

Callie is in the ICU at our children's hospital. The potential diagnosis at this point is so unbelievable that I'm not even going to type it. They told us to prepare to be at the hospital for several weeks but we're believing a different report. :) We'll hear more test results in the morning so I'll try to update when I can. Pray, friends, pray. My little girl is hurting and it's breaking my heart.

Crystal and Kee are on their way to the Children's Hospital with their little girl Callie right now. They are not sure exactly what is wrong with her, but she hasn't been nursing this weekend, has been lethargic and won't take/drink anything. She has had very little over the last 3 days.

I'll will keep you all posted as I hear/know anything more, but please be praying for all of them.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Has it Been 7 Years Already?

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Seven years ago we officially became parents. All those images that we had seen on the ultrasound machine became true reality when we touched those little toes in person and held that little girl in our arms.

Today that little girl is having a friend sleep over. And wanting to wear makeup to do a fashion show. And is growing up into a very responsible big girl.

Where did all the time go?

Her birthday wishes for this year were to have carrot cake (boy, that was rough on Daddy), a locket and an "American Girl" doll, and ask a friend to sleep over.

She loves the locket (thank you Grandma!)

She loves the Target version of American Girl - (thankfully saving us $80!!)



Loves the new clothes for her doll

(thanks to Oma and Opa and also Allison, her friend)...



Ate every crumb of her carrot cake...



And thoroughly enjoyed having a sleep over.



Friday, April 11, 2008

Coming Soon to a Thrift Store Near You

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You'd think that by my fourth child I would have already caved... but for some reason, I seem to feel that I could make them WORK this time around.

Today, I decided that they would be better off bothering someone else.

I don't care if they are cute. They are annoying and I refuse to subject myself to them anymore. Period. No more pants with so many snaps that don't stay snapped. Or get mis-snapped and then have to be re-snapped. I've had it!



If you would care to mess with them, please check out the thrift store sometime next week.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

You Know It Time for Memory Exercises When...

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You open your fridge and stand there for about two minutes wondering what in the world you were looking for only to remember...

..it was the phone.

See what four kids plus one daddy working lots of overtime can do to a mom?


Breaking Free from the LISTS...

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I have been trying to stop making lists for myself. For every little thing. Every day. Because sadly, I am a girl that loves lists. I love crossing things off my lists. It gives me that glorious sense of accomplishment. It shows that things are obviously getting done.

And (shhhhhh) I've been known to do things that aren't on my list and then add them to the list just so I can cross them off.

But I was getting attached to my lists and thought that I should pull back from them.

And I quit cold turkey.

It hasn't really been good. Because I am not getting anything done that really needs to get done. I think that I've found my best motivation stares at me in black and white. Reminding me of what I am supposed to be doing so that I don't wander off and do something that doesn't need to be done. :)

So, I'm off. To start my list. Because Laurianna's birthday is tomorrow and I have so much to do and without my list I can't think of where to start!!

Dreaded Time of the Year

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It's that time again. The temperature is creeping up little by little. The kids are determined to wear a bathing suit the moment it hits 67 or so (or feel they have the right too). And now I have to resort through all those clothes.

Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

Sorting might not be so bad if I could just keep the kids out of the piles I've already sorted through and magically "know" which ones fit now and which ones will not fit them next fall.

It would be even nicer if they could just appear in the right drawers all folded and lovely.

This and fall are two times of year that I really don't like. More like dread. Sigh.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

How do their minds work?

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The cherry and pear trees are in full blossom here. As we were driving the other day, Laurianna asked me what kind of trees we were passing, so I told her they were pear trees.

L: So, they will grow pears?

Me: Not exactly. They don't grow fruit. Just flowers.

L: Why?

Me: Well...they just don't. (How's that for a cop-out answer?).

Silence for a few moments...

L: Oh! I get it. They are "pair" trees, not "pear" trees, since they grow in pairs! (Which generally you do see them planted in groups, so it sounds good to me!).



Sunday, April 6, 2008

Just Being Random

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Crystal (and Lindsey too) both tagged me recently to list 7 random things about myself. I figured I should tell a little bit about my relationship with Crystal. I could probably base 7 random things just about me and Crystal. I first met her not too long after I had moved here and went out to lunch with her and her hubby (and Rick too). We were learning all about each other and how we grew up, where, etc....you know, the get-to-know-you stuff. We soon discovered that we had both grown up A/G girls (Assemblies of God). Now, unless you've grown up A/G and survived numerous summer camps, Missionettes, and well....I'll just leave it at that. :) That conversation led to colleges...where we went to school (or had wanted to go)....and then who we both happened to know and had in common. And we DID!! And his name was Jeff (insert heavenly angels sound here). And from that moment I believe our very souls meshed and we became bosom friends. Thank you, Jeff. *grins*

Where was I? Oh yeah - random stuff (haven't I done a fair share already?). Onto numbering them though now.

1. I got my license when I was 15 - September 23 to be exact. And I promptly lost my license several months later when I was stopped for speeding. That was the first of many speeding tickets - although the only to lead to such drastic measures.

2. My most embarrassing moment in high school involved my entire junior high/high school classmates, a pair of nylons, a basketball, a fated lay-up, and a poor elastic waistband on sweatpants. Let your imaginations go.

3. In the back of my mind there is an ever small faint desire to still get a little tattoo...someday. I am very glad I never got that one that I wanted on my lower belly/abdomen area. Six pregnancies later that would have truly been a scary sight.

4. I have a very difficult time reading self-help or REAL books. If you give me a fiction book I could probably have it back to you in a few hours. But if it is a book of true substance, my attention span goes out the window and I'm off to something else.

5. Rick and I were only dating for a little over a month when I bought my wedding dress. I didn't tell him until after we were engaged, being the wise woman that I am.

6. I have been a home consultant for five different companies since being married. And I am still active in 3 of them.

7. I was adamantly opposed to homeschooling in high school and college. I even did a speech against it in college for a debate class, depsite the fact that my mom homeschooled my two brothers for several years. And now I homeschool my kids. :)

So, there you have it. Seven random things about me.

Friday, April 4, 2008

This Just Seems Wrong...

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On so many levels this just doesn't seem right. This is actually something that is for sale on the Costco website. It just makes me shake my head and laugh.

Because apparently a washcloth isn't good enough. Or a wet wipe. Or really anything that might be handy. If you've never had a boy, I can vouch for how useful this might be (because being peed on is really no fun - and my friend Heather will let you know that it's NOT wise to change a little boy while your mouth is open.

And somewhere, some parents were probably thrilled to let their baby MODEL this. And here I am passing it along to you all to view. Click here and you'll know I'm not lying. But Costco? Are they needed in bulk?

Hopefully the modeling money was worth it, because I see a large therapy bill for this little boy in the future...




Thursday, April 3, 2008

Too Big too Fast

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There are times that I hear Laurianna talking and it makes me sad in some ways. Her tone of voice. Topic of choice. They just sound too big for her little being. Yes, I know she's almost seven. But does she have to grow up quite so fast?

Today after we finished schoolwork I was working in the kitchen and she was getting ready to go downstairs for quiet time. She was talking to McKenna and said, "Today I don't think I'm going to play. I think I might get a little scrapbooking done."

I almost laughed because it sounded so grown up! I suppose though pretty soon I might be able to let her take over the albums for me though. :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Don't Shoot til You See the Whites of Their Eyes

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A note for the record: My children do not get any part of their personalities from me. At all. They are all mini-Ricks. Not one single ounce can be attributed to me. *grins*

I've been eyeing a lovely little camera lens for awhile now (thanks so much to Lisa at Destination Photography) and finally got around to buying it. Since I've been carried away with Jane Austen lately scrubbing and cleaning my house, I haven't played around with it much yet. Until it was a lovely 80 degrees here today. Kids were outside. I was outside (if only to make sure Zachary didn't climb over the fence). Again.

If you'll allow me, you'll have to suffer through numerous pictures of my beautiful children. So sorry. Such is the loveliness of having a digital camera. But feel relieved. At least I won't post all 80 of them. :)

It started out in all seriousness. Every intent of taking some "serious" photos of the kids. Some nice new pictures for Daddy's desk at work.






And then it turned into FaceFest 2008. And really who can blame them for wanting to have a little fun. And why not take pictures of it all for memory's sake.

And really, there were so many more lovely pictures that I could post of my children (serious and no-so-serious), but you all only have so much time. And patience. :)

 

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