Saturday, February 28, 2009

Movin' Grandma

About 10 years ago my mom, stepdad and sister moved to the town where my husband and I live. I think their sole purpose was just to be close to us because we had been talking about starting a family. They had visited us many times and I think liked our small town atmosphere. It is a great place to raise kids. Anyway, a lot has happened since then. I have had four babies (and probably no more), my sister graduated high school and will graduate from college next month and over two years ago my stepfather passed away. A couple of weeks ago my mom went to visit some really good friends of hers from where she used to live. She had a great time and really, really enjoyed being back there with a great church and wonderful network of wonderful friends. So, the subject came up of her moving back there. We prayed about it and kind of set some things in motion. We all wanted to do what was best for her and what God wanted for her. The thought of her leaving her grandkids was the hardest part, no doubt. Well, one of the first things she did was call about a house that is across the street from one of her friends. It had been for sale for quite some time. My mom thought "What the heck. It can't hurt to ask if he is willing to rent it." So she called and the owner called her back. She explained she was interested in renting it and what she could afford and the man said yes! It is a two bedroom/two bath house with a pool all for what she was paying for a townhouse here. One prayer answered! She has to find a job there but she would have had to find a job here. Before the ultimate decision was made we talked about how many times we would visit. Who would go where for the holidays. All of the important stuff. I have no doubt it was one of the hardest decisions my mom had to make. We will miss her, just knowing that she is here, but I know in my heart it is one of the best decisions she has ever made . . .

Friday, February 27, 2009

Time With God

As with so many of my posts, they are inspired by decisions or situations that I am going through. Thoughts swirl around in my head and it is therapeutic for me to put them down on paper (computer.) It is part of my decision making process or to help solidify a decision I have made. Or in some circumstances to maybe see a different point of view. Today's post has to do with one of those tough decision making times. For the last couple of months I have been doing a weekly bible study with a good friend of mine. It serves so many purposes for the two of us. Most importantly I would say would be accountability. Who doesn't need accountability?? I know I do!! A huge purpose for me was to establish some kind of quiet time with the Lord to pray, read my Bible and to meditate on God's word and to learn to listen to what He wants to speak into my life. Admirable goals for any follower of Christ! But, then there is reality. As much as I want to establish some kind of quiet time, the reality of being a homeschooling mother of four young children doesn't lend itself to that. At least not now. I believe God wants us to rise early and meditate before the day gets going. The times that I have been able to do this there have been noticeable results. So, I have spent the last month or so beating myself up because my quiet time to read my Bible has been nonexistent. The last time I read my bible for bible study was in the doctor's office last week with all four kids! Now, I have no doubt in my mind that I am following God's direction for our family. Homeschooling and the number of children we have. So, if we are following God's direction surely He knows what that entails. I am not being lazy. I am not purposely choosing to not read His Word. I know He is a priority in my life but at this stage in my life it just looks different then someone who might have a little more "free time." I have to take my quiet time where I can get it now. In the shower, on the potty, in the middle of the night. I try first thing in the morning to thank God and ask Him for blessings on my husband and children and to fill us with His love. I am blessed by the fact that I homeschool because I get to study God's word along with my children. We are currently reading and "discussing" Proverbs. So, I am in His word daily just not quietly, by myself. I have to be a little more creative in meditating on His word such as my parenting calendar and reading scripture to EG. I have to trust that because I am doing what God wants for my life that He sees and knows. I think He has a little different expectation, right now for me. Now, I am not saying that as an excuse. I need to get organized. At some point, sooner rather than later, it will no longer be an excuse. I am not perfect and I know I fail on many occasions. And someday soon I will have more time and it will be my choice what I do with that time. But right now I am in a season Ecclesiastes 3:1 "To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: . . . " My relationship with God is so much stronger than it was 6 months ago. I am learning to go to Him for everything, to worship and praise Him. I am getting His word through raindrops. The rivers and lakes of His word will be coming soon . . .

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Little Entrepreneurs

My mom is cleaning out her house because on Saturday she is moving back to the Clearwater area (topic for another post.) Anyway, in the process of cleaning out her stuff she came across a bunch and I mean a bunch of old earrings. And by the looks of them they are from the 80s. You know the kind of earrings I am talking about. Huge and in this case gold (not real gold :). I told the girls if I saw the earrings lying around the house out they would go. Really I didn't need anything more to have to clean up and keep up with. So, yesterday they got out the big plastic bag and started pairing them up. Then they started hatching a plan. Oooooh I shudder sometimes when Nature Girl says "I have a plan." :) All over the living room floor there were matched up earrings. (I wish my camera was able to download pictures because it was priceless) Above some of the earrings were post-it notes with prices on them. I hear them talking about selling the earrings and making money to buy American Girl stuff. Well, the next thing I know they have taken the earrings to the end of the driveway (like a lemonade stand they have done in the past) and are "selling" the earrings. It was mid afternoon and we live in a cul-de-sac. I wasn't expecting much foot traffic. Unfortunately in this case I was right. I called hubby just to let him know what his kiddies were up to. He said I should just pay them for the earrings but I thought that kind of defeated the purpose. About 45 minutes later they had to close up shop. It was time for ballet class. They begged me to skip ballet so they could continue to "sell" the earrings. As lucrative as that sounded, I had to pull the plug on their little shop of jewelery. I wouldn't be surprised if they are open for business again today . . . (The picture is from their lemonade stand a couple of years back. Maybe someday I will be able to download pictures again.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

God Answers

I was putting EG down for her little morning cat nap. I am a little weepy this morning because I haven't had a night's sleep in four days. The house is a wreck. Toys everywhere, dinner dishes still in the sink, a lot going on. I had already yelled at the kids and it was only 8:45 AM. My first instinct was to call daddy. "Please come home." But I knew what the answer would be so I resisted the temptation. So, I am putting EG down and every morning I read to her from my "Power of a Praying Parent" calendar. Sometimes it has inspiring ideas, sometimes it has scripture. This morning, with tears in my eyes I said "God, please speak to me. Please help me." And then I read the calendar. This is what He said, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you." Isaiah 43:2. I smiled, I hugged EG, I immediately asked forgiveness from my children. I am going to make it today . . .

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Night Out

Last night I actually got to go out to dinner with my mom and sister - NO KIDS! It was weird leaving the house without someone in a carseat. I always get nervous. My sister thinks I am silly because I say I need a break and then when I get one I miss the kids terribly. I told her it is an unexplained phenomenon. When she is a mom, I am sure she will understand. Anyway, back to the night out with the girls. I only had two hours because I had to be home to feed EG. Plus, two hours was about the limit hubby could take. He only called once. I was proud. OK, now back to dinner. When I left the house Little Mama wanted to know why I wasn't taking the diaper bag. I told her I didn't need it because I wasn't taking any kids. We were going to a restaurant that didn't have kid menus' that could be colored. When I got to the restaurant my mom and sister were already there. So we just sat and chatted about all kinds of things. Weight, exercise, body types, how much we look alike. We talked about college educations and our differing opinions on the necessity of one and who should pay. We talked about Facebook and friends and roommates. Of course we talked about my children and their strengths and weaknesses and their differences from each other. We ordered food and had a wonderful meal. When the server came back to see if we were done with our meals we said we were. I looked at my watch. I still had 20 minutes before I had to leave. I sat in that booth with my mom and sister for those last 20 minutes. I was going to milk it for all it was worth . . .

Monday, February 23, 2009

Power of a Praying Wife

Marriages that are in trouble has been a topic of conversation recently. My marriage is important to me. I believe my marriage is forever, through good and bad and rich and poor and sickness and in health. I think I felt that way when I got married but you really, really don't understand it until you are actually living it. The habits and actions of my spouse that I found soooo enduring when we were dating can sometimes be problematic. I do believe that women think we can change our husbands and that husbands think their wives will never change. When the husbands never change and the wives do, it can create a little tension. We have had our ups and downs and that is to be expected. I have learned a lot about sacrifice and putting someone else first. (I don't always do it but I know that I should :) First and foremost, God must come first in my marriage. I believe marriage is a covenant between me and my husband and God. And in the Bible God does give guidance to both the husband and the wife. One book that I have found to be helpful in maintaining my marriage is The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. My girlfriend and I are reading it and discussing it. The premise of the book in a nutshell is that I should be praying for my husband everyday. Praying about the things that are important to him. Praying about things that I think need to be changed in him. As a wife I really have no control over my husband. I can suggest things to him, nag him but true and lasting change comes from God. As Stormie says "Shut up and pray." And the ironic thing is, it may not be how I want or what I want (and I love irony.) I need to be praying for him to be who God wants him to be not who I want him to be. In my case, I had to rethink a lot of things. The first chapter in the book focuses on the wife. That I need to ask for forgiveness from the sins in my life, to change the way I am to be more like Christ before I can go to God and ask for Him to work in someone else's life. It has been about 2 weeks now since I started the book. On page 31 Stormie says "Ask God to pour out His blessings on him and fill you both with His love." I have been doing that everyday (hubby doesn't know that I am.) The immediate response in both of our lives has been incredible. When I ask God for that everyday it makes me smile. I have been married for almost 12 years now. I know that there are rough days ahead, I know there are great days ahead. But, I also know I am doing what I can to solidify my marriage . . .

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mind Mush

I blog, do crossword puzzles, Sudoku and read classic literature all in an effort to make sure my mind does not go to mush while I am at home with my children for the next 18 plus years. When I am in a social situation I usually joke about the things I do so as not to come off as a dimwitted housewife. I will admit when it comes to current events, the latest movies or songs or scandal, I might be a little out of the loop. A friend told me the other day that Iceland (I think it was) went bankrupt. I laughed to myself because I was pretty sure the next time I went to ballet I wouldn't be discussing the financial happenings of Iceland. Of course, my next reaction was "Geez, I am really out of touch." Something happened yesterday to trigger my immediate reaction to brain mush (this morning, of course, I can't remember what it was) but I had written on a tumbling announcement a whole blog about why there is no way in heck my mind could ever go to mush even if I didn't make the effort to ensure that it won't. Somewhere, somehow I was given the impression that stay-at-home moms needed to defend their intellect. But today I say that is the furthest thing from the truth! I am constantly prioritizing, putting out fires (literally and figuratively), organizing, cleaning, balancing a budget, making financial decisions. I run a mini corporation. And I ain't makin' cars I am raising the future generation. I am constantly researching nutrition, geography, history and a multitude of other subjects that come up throughout the day. I am event planning, goal setting and coordinating. I am a mediator and an attorney. I am a doctor, psychiatrist and auto repair man. Sometimes all in one day. Sometimes all in one hour. Oh, and let's not forget I am my hubby's personal assistant. Occasionally I am a chef, plumber and decorator. The list could go on and on. I have no idea why I would worry about intellect and marketability if and when I was ever called back into work outside of the home. I have just concluded I am one of the most marketable 40 somethings in my little town . . .

Friday, February 20, 2009

I Love My Children This Much

Little Mama has a little separation thing going on. She will not go to any of her classes, ballet or tumbling. Or anywhere else without me. As frustrating as it is to try to figure out what the problem is, it is kind of sweet when she sits on my lap and says "I just want to be with you."

Yesterday, Nature Girl was at home while Little Mama was with grandma for a birthday lunch and shopping spree. Nature Girl was the sweetest, most helpful young girl. She changed a diaper, brought in the garbage cans and every time I asked her for help she said "Yes, mam."

We had a family birthday dinner for Little Mama Wednesday night (her actual birthday.) After dinner she opened the family birthday presents. Every time she opened a gift she would immediately go and hug the person that had given it to her. Boop would then run around the room and hug everyone. I guess he didn't want to be left out.

I heard Little Mama singing Taylor Swift's Romeo and Juliet to EG last night. EG loved it.

We finally finished up reading Brighty. So last night I got out a stack of our free read books and let each of the kids pick what we are going to read next. I then take the three books and we alternate who's book I read first. Because I we read Little Mama's book first last time it was Nature Girl's turn to go first. Boop picked Along Came a Dog. Little Mama picked Heidi and Nature Girl picked Farm Boy. Nature Girl decided it was OK to read Little Mama's book first. So, tonight we start Heidi.

I suppose in reading these little tidbits, they don't mean much. But as I review the week, they are things that have stood out and told the character of my children. And I love my children because of these small, simple acts . . .

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hide and Seek

The other night daddy was working late. The kids had had their bath and we were going to try to read a little bit before bedtime. (We are currently reading Brighty of the Grand Canyon.) Anyway, the deal was if you wanted to listen to the story you had to pick a spot on the couch or on the floor and sit and listen quietly. If not, you had to go to bed. Well, EG got a little fussy so when she gets a little fussy we move our reading party to my big bed. The same rules apply. You find a spot on the bed and lie down and listen quietly. Boop hadn't had a nap that day so odds of him making it through story time were slim to none. (I gave him a least one warning :) Anyway, half way through the chapter he got sent to his room. Of course he was visibly and vocally upset. But, I never heard from him or saw him again while I finished up a couple of chapters. About 20 minutes later we put the book down and I went to tuck Boop into bed. He wasn't there! I looked all around - in his closet, in the bathroom, in the girls room, in the living room, in the school room. Nowhere! I will be honest, I started to panic. All the doors were locked so I didn't really think he had gone outside. I put EG on the couch and had Nature Girl and Little Mama watch over her as I started an in depth search. I called for him and he did not answer. Now, it isn't unusual for him to hide from me before nap and bedtime so I just looked in all of the usual places. I even said if he didn't come out he was going to get a spanking. No Boop. Finally, as my heart was racing, I looked in one last place. In the back corner of the bathroom linen closet. (Although I had glanced in there once already.) There he was sitting up sound asleep with his mouth wide open. It was hilarious. I got the girls to come look at him. I told them not to laugh because I wanted to get his picture but it really was a funny sight and we couldn't help but chuckle. He promptly woke up and smiled. I guess he figured he would play hide and seek. He just forgot to let anyone else know . . .

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Happy 6th Birthday Little Mama

At 7:30 AM 6 years ago today my water broke as I was getting out of bed. Having never had that happen before, it was quite the experience. A little freaky if I do say so myself! I rushed to the bathroom, called the doc, woke my sister, called my mom and off to the hospital we went. I arrived at triage and they checked me in and hooked me up. At about 9 o'clock my mom came to visit. She, my sister and my MIL had Nature Girl duty. Because my labor wouldn't start even though my water broke they decided to induce me and I got an epidural. It was a long day just hanging out at the hospital. My family came in and out and brought Nature Girl up to see me. At about 5 o'clock things started to happen. I sent my mom, sis, MIL and Nature Girl out of the delivery room and started to push. I will never forget that day as long as I live. FSU was playing basketball at home that night (I am pretty sure my midwife had tickets). Anyway, to distract me (and make hubby and the midwife happy) we tried to find the game on TV (all the while I am in labor and starting to push ;). The game wasn't on TV so the next step was to find a radio so we could all listen. About an hour had gone by of me pushing and nothing happening. Things were getting a little frantic. I could hear Nature Girl outside of the L and D room knocking on doors saying "Mommy, are you in there?" All the while I am trying to push Little Mama out and she is not wanting to come out. After about an hour and a half of squatting, hanging on bars, getting on my knees and saying words I should never have uttered, the midwife stepped out. She went to either get a vacuum or call the doc. When she came back in, I pushed a few more times and out came Little Mama. I heard the midwife say "Call the doctor back." I pushed for over two hours. It was well worth all of the drama. My Little Mama is the sweetest, most thoughtful and loving child a mother could ever hope for. She cares so much for other people and is willing to sacrifice her needs to make some one else happy. She is sensitive and kind and she LOVES her family. As I have said before, I believe the reason the delivery was so long was that Little Mama just wanted to be as close to her mama for as long she possibly could. And, really, nothing has changed . . .

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bath Time

In the last 8 years I can probably count on both hands the times that my kids have ever missed a bath. It is just something we do EVERY night no matter what. My kids get very dirty during the day and it always just sounds so good to me to be squeaky clean when they crawl into bed. Nature Girl was about a week old (maybe a little older) when she got her first bath. It was in the blue tub with a yellow sponge thingy on the counter for when she got out. Every kid has been in there in the beginning. Some of the cutest memories of all of the kids is after bath time with them hanging over my shoulder wearing the baby towels with ears. So clean and cute. When Nature Girl was a toddler and daddy was working night shift, she and I would get in the tub. I would light candles, turn out the lights in the bathroom and put on classical music. We would just soak. When Little Mama was old enough we put her in the tub with Nature Girl in one of those tub seats that had suction cups on the bottom. We quickly learned that suction cups don't stick to tub bottoms that are not smooth. In about two seconds the seat tipped over and Little Mama was headed into the water. Thankfully daddy and I were in the bathroom and were able to catch her before she went in!! It was sooooo scary. Needless to say we waited a little longer for them to bathe together. They have been bathing/showering together ever since. Little Mama and I just recently had a chance to bathe together and I washed her hair and put in conditioner. She thought that was cool. Afterwards, I blew her hair dry. She looked just beautiful. Now, Boop bathes in the tub in the kids' bathroom and the girls shower in our bathroom. It is a big deal to be able to go in the garden tub. Every night we hear "Can we go in the big tub?" The answer is usually "no." But occasionally we give in :) EG is still in the little blue tub for now. It is a little more chaotic around bath time now then it used to be when it was just me and Nature Girl but I guess that is to be expected . . .

Monday, February 16, 2009

Meal Planning

In an effort to kind of stream line some chores around the house, hubby and I decided to take a new approach to meal planning. He likes to cook and he likes to eat so I usually leave the decision of what we are going to eat up to him. On his days off he usually cooks because he is a fabulous cook and will make a dinner that is out of the ordinary. (I am very, very thankful for this!!) He and I don't fuss at each other about much but when the question of "What's for dinner?" comes up or "Make out a grocery list" things can get a little touchy. It is always such a chore to figure out dinners and grocery lists. I had come up with the idea of a set menu for two weeks and just keep rotating that. We knew what we would be having to eat every night and the grocery list wouldn't change much. It works for me. I am not a big eater and I hate to cook and I am not a big fan of the grocery store. But hubby didn't really like the idea. He wanted something not so rigid and that had more variety. About a year ago (probably longer than that) a friend of mine told me about a mom who had a menu made up of all the meals they eat. On Sunday hubby could go through it and pick what he wanted for the week. (Kind of like the hospital) Well, that was the solution. Hubby like the idea and was willing to try it out yesterday. So, let me tell you how it worked. I spent about an hour writing out a meal list and then typing it in a chart on the computer. I printed it off. Hubby came in and said "Get me a grocery list." I showed him his meal list and he went back out to the garage to work on his end table. So, about 45 minutes later he comes back in because the girls have to go to choir and says he is going to the grocery store, where is the list. I, politely as I could, told him I didn't have a list because he never filled out the menu for the week. And, again, politely as I could, asked him to fill out the sheet. In a rush he filled out the menu sheet and the grocery list and off he went. So as we were wrapping up the evening last night I checked what was for dinner. It happened to be meatloaf. I check with him to see if he had gotten all the ingredients to make meatloaf (I do make a killer meatloaf ;) So as I was running through the recipe it came to our attention that even though he had checked meatloaf on our meal planner we didn't have everything we needed for the meal (including bakers etc.). So much for our new plan ;) I think it is a good plan. We just need to work out the kinks. I think it will save us time, money and aggravation in the very near future. Tonight we are having leftovers . . .

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Tea Party

Today is Little Mama's 6th birthday party. She wanted a tea party with a few of her friends. I wanted it special but not over the top and I think we found the perfect mix! I bought clay pots and a bunch of stickers and ribbon and paint markers and each of the girls got to decorate a flower pot and put thier name on it. Then daddy bought some potting soil and pansies and the girls got to plant flowers. I thought it was a great gift to send home with the girls. We decorated the dining room table with table clothes and pretty pink plates and pretty polka dotted napkins that Little Mama picked out all on her own. The table had silk flower petals and little candy hearts sprinkled over the top. We filled tea pots with pink lemonade and each girl had a real tea cup. The tea cups were an extra special treat. They were all beautiful cups that came from my mom and a very good friend of ours. It made the tea party perfect. For lunch we had tea sandwiches, fruit kabobs and pretzels. When asked what kind of cake Little Mama wanted, she asked for red velvet. A family favorite! All and all, a good time had by everyone . . .

Friday, February 13, 2009

Many Miracles

As we approach the celebration of the birth of our second born baby it dawned on me that I don't think I ever posted about our infertility "problem" and what miracles all of my children are (besides the obvious of course :) A couple of years after hubby and I were married we decided we should have kids. I will be honest, I wasn't one of those that wanted to get married and have babies right away. So one day we decided it was time to start "trying." After about a year or so of trying and no pregnancy we started to get a little concerned. I couldn't believe there would be a problem. My mom knew a specialist down south so I decided to set up an appointment with him. After meeting with him for about an hour he basically told me that if I wanted to get pregnant we would have to harvest my than 13 year old sister's eggs and fertilize them with hubby's sperm. OK - that thought totally grossed me out. It might be fine for some but it wasn't what we wanted. I was pretty certain if I did that and I got pregnant I would always see my sister and my hubby in my baby. Right or wrong that is how I felt. And to be honest, it wasn't something I wanted to put my sister through. She would have done anything for me! I still remember it was Mother's Day weekend. I was devastated. I cried the entire time and was so sad. As they celebrated Mother's Day at church, I just remember sitting there thinking "There will never be anyone to celebrate me as a mother." I came back home and hubby and I decided we wouldn't do anything extreme to have children. If it was meant to be it would happen. If not, we would buy a boat - ha, ha!!! My midwife put me on some hormones that she thought might help but after a couple of months of those I stopped taking them. Well, during that time our neighbor had put his boat up for sale. Hubby had had his eye on it for quite some time and had always said if the guy was willing to sell it he would buy it. A couple of days before hubby was going to approach our neighbor I peed on a stick and lo and behold I was pregnant. I still remember that day like it was yesterday. I remember what I was wearing, were daddy was when I told him and my immediate need to call the doctor to confirm. I just couldn't believe it!! Since then it has never been a problem. Nature Girl was barely one when we started trying again just because we thought it would take awhile. Little Mama was born nine (ten)months later. Just goes to show that every pregnancy is truly a miracle from God. And by the way, hubby still doesn't have a boat. . .

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I Love Little Mama This Much

The other night we were all snuggled up on the couch watching the basketball game. I missed a possession change and asked hubby what happened. He told me we stole the ball. Little Mama looked at daddy and said "Hey, he isn't suppose to steal. He needs to say he is sorry." We are taking the next few days and celebrating Little Mama. Next week she will be 6!! I am amazed. It seems like yesterday. More about that later . . .

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


This is one of those honesty posts. It is a rant or musing depending on your perspective. I notice these type of posts come after a couple days of horrible sleep. I think I am too tired to be creative and to tired to sugar coat my feelings. ;) A friend and I were talking the other day about kids and nursing and raising families etc. The subject of sacrifice came up. As mothers we sacrifice for our families. And do it willingly (and most of the time graciously). I personally have sacrificed a great career, money, free time and a whole host of other things that were at one time important to me. I have done it willingly and would not change my life right now for anything. I understand that in every important relationship there is sacrifice. But this morning I am wondering how far or how long or what parameters there are for sacrifice. Case in point: this AM the family and I were suppose to meet a friend and her family to go on a nature study. I can't go. I haven't slept in three days, we have ballet, I am having my family to dinner this evening and I haven't showered in two days. My sacrifices are now becoming the sacrifices of my children (although they don't even know we were suppose to go this morning.) Or another example: I haven't spent any quality time with my hubby in three months. Now he is sacrificing. I know a lot of these sacrifices are temporary and I am only questioning them now because I am soooo tired. During the conversation with my friend she brought up the sacrifice of Jesus. Holy cow. Can you say ultimate sacrifice?!? My sacrifices are not even in the same ballpark. So do I continue to sacrifice unconditionally?? I am just musing, ranting. I am not looking for answers because I know there aren't any. As my calendar said for today " . . . casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7. I am casting . . .

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Little Mama Math

One of the beauties of being a homeschooling mom is you really get to understand how your children learn. And how differently they learn. A bonus of knowing each child's learning style is to be able to tailor their schooling accordingly. When Little Mama started kindergarten, I just assumed she knew her alphabet. Nature Girl did. Nature Girl was never really "taught" it she just knew it. So we were able to start reading lessons the summer before kindergarten. When Little Mama and I sat down to start reading lessons it was very frustrating. She didn't know her alphabet. Well, if she didn't know her alphabet I couldn't expect her to know the sounds the letters make. It became a problem. Then we took out the math worksheets and copywork. She had not yet developed her fine motor skills so those two subjects became a problem as well. The curriculum we follow doesn't really press for "formal" schooling until at least the age of six. Now I know why. So, back in August I decided to just read to Little Mama and let her color. Use preschool workbooks, just look at letters and numbers, do puzzles and flashcards. We practised straight lines and circles, coloring within the lines, making cards etc. Things to fine tune her fine motor skills. We took our time, no pressure. Another part of our curriculum is if you do writing etc. always take your time and do your best. It is about quality not quantity. I knew Little Mama was smart. When I would ask Nature Girl school questions, Little Mama would usually be able to answer first. She is sharp. Pays attention (when she wants to.) So, when we started school again in January we started working on "real" math. It was amazing how much she was able to develop her fine motor skill in just a couple of months. She is able to right most of her numbers with hardly any practice at all. And they look great!! She picks up math concepts with just one lesson. It has been amazing! We whip through 6-8 math lessons a week. She knows her alphabet now. We will start reading lessons soon. I wonder what would have happened to her had she been in public school. Would she have been labeled? Would she have been left behind? Would she have become frustrated? Would she have felt stupid? Would she hate school? I am so thankful we will never know . . .

Monday, February 9, 2009

Baby Blowout

Warning: Not for those with sensitive stomachs or are easily grossed out. But chances are if you have had children, you have experienced the baby blowout. One of the things that I seem to forget from child to child is the massive amounts of waste they can produce and usually at the most inopportune times. I think EG is a poop factory. I don't remember the others having quite so much poop. But, like I said, it is one of the things I don't remember. If I thought it wasn't in bad taste (and I was able to download pictures) I would have posted a picture of the latest blow out. Poop everywhere!!!! Of course on one of her newest outfits :) She thinks it is hilarious. She is usually smiling and laughing when I am trying to get the clothes off of her without getting poop in her ears and nose. On at least two occasions I have had to cut the t-shirt off because otherwise the mess would have been unmanageable. If daddy isn't home I usually have to enlist the help of at least one other child. They each have duties that they don't mind doing. Nature Girl might hold an arm. Little Mama will entertain her. And Boop will get new clothes. Once again, it would have been nice to have just one more arm . . .

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Dinner Disaster

OK so that is being a little over dramatic. But I am entitled to have a little creative leeway. Aren't I?? Anyway, last night was our first dinner out. It was more out of necessity than for the pleasure of dining out. Nature Girl had a birthday party from 4:30 - 6:30 on the other side of town. (For a girl she met in preschool and just recently reconnected with at tumbling. NG's idea for a gift was a fish and the girl loved it!) Sorry, I digress. Anyway, given the time of the party and the fact that daddy was working I decided to have daddy meet us at a pizzeria that was in the same strip mall where I had dropped Nature Girl off. My motto "Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst." So I made sure I had everything. Diapers, a bottle, stroller, sling, etc., etc., etc. Of course, EG didn't sleep at all while we were in the car, or at WalMart while we were buying the gift, or during the many trips back and forth, up and down the strip mall while waiting for daddy. Not a good sign. Now I will have a hungry and tired baby while try to eat dinner in a restaurant. My plan was that while we were waiting for dinner I would nurse EG in the car. Well, because we were eating so early I ended up taking EG for another walk hoping she would take a quick nap before we all ate. No luck. The car was parked far away and our pizza was almost to the table so I decided to nurse EG right there. We were tucked away in a corner and the restaurant was deserted. She wanted no part of it. She wouldn't nurse. She wiggled and jiggled and just got more upset. I wiggled and jiggled and just got more upset. So, I shoved a couple of pieces of pizza in my mouth and hoofed it to the car. She was reluctant to nurse there as well but finally gave in. The kids and daddy had finished eating, I was still feeding EG and we still had 1/2 hour before we had to pick up Nature Girl. Daddy took Little Mama and Boop for ice cream and I walked the length of the strip mall for the 6th time to go get them (daddy has his patrol car so couldn't take any kids home). So finally the kids and I were able to pick up Nature Girl. It seemed like a very long 2 hours. Daddy and I made an executive decision. It cost us $40 and a whole lot of hassle just to avoid driving back and forth across town. Lesson learned . . . .

P.S. Nature Girl lost tooth number 6 before the party :)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Baby Book

I consider my blog my very trendy baby book. As with all new moms, the baby book for the first child is complete up through age 5. The second child comes along and you might get the first year. The third child comes you are lucky if you even buy one. I think Boop has one but I am pretty sure there isn't anything in it. So, for subsequent children there isn't even a thought to a baby book. BUT, now I have my blog. Granted it doesn't contain all the nitty gritty like weight, height and first drool. But it contains things that I now consider way more important. What life is like for all of us, with all of us. And a by product of that is going to be doctor appointments, sitting up, rolling over, first tumbling competition, ballet recitals, baseball games, learning to read, family vacations, bad days, good days and lots of relevant pictures. I wish almost 8 years ago there had been such a thing as a blog. I am pretty sure all of our major family events would have been recorded for posterity. My ultimate goal with my blog is to print out every single entry and put it in a notebook. Then when the kids are grown, they can go through the volumes and pick out what they want to copy for themselves or just copy the whole thing. Each child will have their very own family history . . .

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I Love My Children This Much

Nature Girl came to me last night after bedtime with tears in her eyes and a red bump on her head. Apparently she had been practicing her tumbling routine in her bedroom which she has been told not to do. She had done a back bend with only Little Mama as a spotter. She missed her hands and hit the ground with her head. It is so rare that Nature Girl cries. I pulled her into my arms and hugged her. Then very gently said "Now you know why I don't want you tumbling in the house." Gave her another hug and kiss and checked her bump and sent her back to bed.

Little Mama no matter what is going on, no matter what I am doing is always willing to hold my hands in hers and give me all of her attention. And of course tell me a story. I can learn a lot from her.

As I take Boop's toys into his room to help him clean up he looks up at me and says "Oh, thank you mama." Makes me want to do all his chores ;)

EG looks at me as though I am the most wonderful person alive. I wish that lasted forever. . .

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Buying in Bulk

I have invited an out of town friend for dinner for tonight. We have been friends for at least 10 years. We met right after we were both married. We had our first babies within 6 months of each other. We have taken different paths in life but remain close friends. She now lives in another town and will be in our neck of the woods this evening so we are excited to spend time with her. When I extended my offer of dinner, one of her responses was something like "Please don't make extra just for me. I don't eat much." I had to chuckle because just in the last couple of months I have noticed how differently we have to cook and shop. (Well, daddy has to cook and shop ;) We can go through a whole box of spiral pasta now. We used to have some left over for lunch. In fact, almost every meal we (daddy) cooked was left over for lunch the next day. That is happening less and less. It blows my mind. We were talking about the grocery bill the other day (we live on a loose budget) and how much it has grown. Daddy is going to the grocery store twice a week now (have I mentioned what a blessing that is!) and the end total hasn't quite doubled but it has gotten noticeably larger. I know part of it is things just cost more but now we buy toilet paper in bulk and granola bars in bulk and soap in bulk and the list goes on and on. We go through gallons of milk a week. We actually have a membership for Costco and use it. I am in the process of making a grocery list just for Costco so we don't forget to buy stuff when we go. It is kind of scary because are children are still young. I can't even imagine what it is going to be like when we add EG to the mix and Boop becomes a preteen . . .

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sick Babies

I don't think there is anything worse than having a sick child (or sick children as the case maybe). Well, unless you have newborn in the house. We are going on three months of runny noses and a horrible, horrible cough. It started out with Boop and then traveled to Little Mama, me and then Nature Girl. They would have runny noses all day and cough when they exerted themselves. At night it was horrible. They would cough so hard they would almost vomit and it would bring tears to their eyes. They would sleep with water cups so they could drink something every time they coughed. The medicine I gave them didn't help a lick. The doc confirmed it wouldn't stop it and there wasn't anything I could do and it would last awhile and yes, EG could get it. It has been weeks and weeks of sickness. But by the end of last week things started to look up. Boop's nose stopped running by the weekend and he wasn't coughing. Little Mama seemed completely healed and Nature Girl had manageable remnants. (All the while I am praying that EG doesn't get it!!) Well, on Sunday Boop started feeling puny again. By yesterday he was coughing and his nose was running. Nature Girl had an ear ache. I should have taken them all to the doc but I always hesitate. Mostly because there is nothing they can do but also it is also a hassle taking everyone. (Also scared to death what they will pick up while there :) By bedtime last night Boop was wheezing and I was concerned. I woke daddy which I don't ever do unless I am really worried. He came and listened to Boop breathe and thought it was just congestion in his nose but said I should take him in today. So the next dilemma was where do I sleep? Normally I would have slept in the room with him or in the hallway or on the couch. But because EG is still waking up a million times in the night I couldn't be too far away from her. So I ended up on the couch with my bedroom door open. Every time I woke up I would check on both of them. There shouldn't be so much stress and worry in the middle of the night. We made it through and one of the first things to do this morning is call the doc. I am going to have them check everyone. Hopefully to alleviate a trip back and to give me peace of mind . . .

Monday, February 2, 2009

Little Mama's Daddy Date

Yesterday was Little Mama's turn to go with daddy on a lunch date. So she got to ride to church in the truck which is a very big deal in our family. It seems that going places in the Ford F-150 4 x4 is a lot more fun than riding in the van. Go figure. (Actually Daddy's lifted up Toyota 4x4 was one of the reasons why I liked him ;) Anyway, right after church she and daddy went to Steak N Shake. She was so excited all weekend. She kept talking about when they were going and where they were going. I suppose in a way just confirming that it was really going to happen. Out of all the kids, at this stage, she is the one that really enjoys alone time with her parents. She loves the one on one, the attention, not having to compete for time. She wore a pretty dress and a smile! After church she and daddy road off to the restaurant and they even did a little shopping. She got to show daddy all of the wonderful girl baby clothes that we had seen the week before. Daddy said they had a wonderful time and Little Mama was able to have all of his attention for all that she had to share. She even brought a milk shake home for Nature Girl. Little Mama truly is a sweet and thoughtful child . . .

Sunday, February 1, 2009