Friday, July 31, 2009

Weekend Trip

We leave tomorrow for an overnight trip. We are celebrating our grandma's birthday. It is a milestone. I would say the number but I don't think she wants word to get out :) We are getting together with my husband's family (minus his sister and her kids - well except for the one we have :) All 7 of us are traveling in the minivan. I think the two big boys are going to draw straws to see who is sitting in the way back with the girls. I am exempt because I get car sick :) The plan is to leave first thing in the morning after EG eats. Then the rest of us will get breakfast at McDonald's and eat in the car (ooooo I hate food in the car.)

Our car ride should only take about 2 1/2 hours depending on potty breaks. The plan is to swim all day and have a low country boil. I think that is like fish and shrimp and stuff all in a big pot outside. The kids will have a blast because they just love all of their cousins. My kids are the youngest so that means a house full of older kids to watch over them. The only wild card is EG. She is at such a tough stage. She likes to roll around on the floor and isn't real keen on being held. Then of course there is the nap and nighttime sleep thing. But as I have found out, I can do just about anything for a couple of days. I need to go buy one of those small highchair attach to a big chair kind of things. Of course that was one of the things I got rid of after Boop. (It never was one of my favorite pieces of baby stuff.) But we will need something in two weeks anyway when we travel to my mom's for a long weekend.

Well, I doubt I will post tomorrow or Sunday but hope to have some family pictures on Monday. Have a great weekend everyone . . .

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Tub



One of my favorite pieces of baby equipment has been this little blue tub. Hubby and I were discussing the other night whether or not this is the original tub we used with Nature Girl or not. By the shape it is in it is very possible. Although we have vague memories of having to buy a new one when Boop was born. Regardless, it has been an invaluable pieces of baby stuff. I remember each child getting their first bath in it. For Nature Girl, Little Mama and EG, it was in the kitchen sink. For Boop, it was our bathroom sink. (I guess I was afraid Boop would keep the girls awake if I bathed him in the kitchen sink.) I always got a picture of their first bath in the blue tub. Bath time with babies is so cool.

Up until then it was a "sponge bath" with a baby washcloth on my handy dandy yellow sponge. (Pictured as well.) The big yellow sponge came from one of my SILs. I have never seen one in a store and that is unfortunate because I would buy it for every pregnant woman I know. It has come in soooo handy. It was used for the nightly sponge bath. Then when the little guys moved up to the little blue tub, I would set the big yellow sponge on the counter with the bath towel over it. When the little guys would get out of the tub, I would lay them on it and wrap them up. It was soft and safe.

Now, the little blue tub is on its way out. I have this great desire to give it to someone but honestly it is in horrible shape. I just can't bare to put it out in the garbage. So, for now, it sits in our bedroom. Unused. Just sitting there awaiting its fate. It is the first major piece of baby equipment I will be getting rid of. (There have been other pieces but nothing I have been attached to or has served me so well.) I will be hanging on to the big yellow sponge for a little while longer. I put it on the bathroom floor with a baby towel over it right now. When I get EG out of the tub it is a safe, soft place for me to put her while I wrestle with Boop in the tub. ;)

I am seriously contemplating giving the big yellow sponge to the neighbor I barely know who is pregnant with her first child . . .

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Playpen





Yes, I am a playpen mom! Daddy finally got it out of storage on Monday and I am so happy. This is one of those things that I think falls under the category of parenting philosophies and I am a firm believer of the playpen. I think it provides safety and some downtime for me to get things done without wondering where and what the latest peanut might be getting into. We child proof our house of all the major baby risks but with 7 people living here things get over looked, left behind and not put away. The carpet is not always free of choking hazards and I have already had one major scare.

Like right now, EG is in the playpen as I type. She is right next to me playing with her toys. But I am not having to, every 30 seconds, check to see where she is and what she is getting into. The big kids will sit with her and entertain her sometimes. And I have been known to bring the playpen outside while the big kids play.

I always take her out when she starts to get fussy. I don't want her to think of it as a prison. When she starts to learn obedience, it will be used as a place to go when she doesn't "obey." I am all about parenting in a funnel. The smaller end of the funnel is where we start. Small responsibilities and freedoms. And as my kids obedience grows and they show more responsibility then the freedoms grow. Not let them run wild and then have to restrict them. (At least this is my theory I try to use that I learned about from the "Babywise" book.)

Nature Girl will randomly say "When I am 16 I will get to drive." My response to that is "Driving isn't about age it is about responsibility." It is the WAY larger part of the parenting funnel . . .

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I Am a Copy Cat

When friends have great ideas, I love to steal them! So, I stole from a friend the idea for Backwards Night. This past weekend was daddy's long weekend to work. So I try, on occasion, to do things a little fun. To make the time pass. So that is where Backwards Night came in to play. I had rented Mulan from Netflix as we usually have movie night on the long weekend. So the twist was to do everything backwards. Way out of character for me! About 5PM I told the kids what we were doing. I told them they were going to brush their teeth first. Then take a shower. Once they were done with all that they could have a cookie. By that time, daddy would be home with pizza and we would have dinner! The very last thing they would do is watch a movie. Majority of them (Boop and Little Mama) thought it was great fun! Nature Girl informed me that she was NOT wearing her pajamas to dinner (not sure whether it was an age thing or just plain attitude :) I explained how I thought the night would be so much more fun if everyone participated. She begrudgingly put on her PJs. Once they were on, she was fine with the whole thing :) I just love stealing ideas from friends. I am waiting for the next great idea . . . :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

For Grandma



video

For you Grandma! It worked yesterday so here is a short video guaranteed to make you giggle. Sorry we won't be there this weekend but we will be there before you know it! Have a great week.

Love,

Nature Girl, Little Mama, Boop and EG



Silent Sunday


Saturday, July 25, 2009

School Days



It is that time of year again. For us anyway. The last couple of weeks I have been thinking about what school will look like for us this up coming year. Perusing catalogues for books and curriculum. We actually have started a little bit already. Another wise friend of mine told me she now does math pretty much all year round. It helps to avoid many tears and much frustration at the beginning of each school year. So, we are doing math and some copywork and some reading just to kind of get in the groove. It will be more structured at the end of August when everyone else starts.
Anyway, I am so excited about the up coming school year. I hope some of my enthusiasm rubs off on the kids!! I have already done both girls' first term checklists (the system we use to make sure everything gets done every day.) In First Grade Little Mama will be learning to read, attempting copywork and narration, listening to poetry by Robert Louis Stephenson, starting An Island Story, Fifty Famous Stories Retold, Parables from Nature, Aesop Fables, Just So Stories and Paddle to the Sea. Along with scripture memorization, Bible Study and French. This term both girls are studying weeds and garden flowers. In Third Grade Nature Girl will be reading, doing copywork, narrating, reading poetry by Christina Rossetti, listening to Pagoo, Child's History of the World, An Island Story, Joan of Arc, Seabird, Robin Hood, Pilgrim's Progress and Parables of Nature. Along with scripture, Bible and French. Our artist and composure for the term are Van Gogh and Berlioz. They will listen to folkmusic and do handicrafts like sewing and cooking. Each girl will work on mapwork and timelines. My goal is to get to the library and the creek on alternating Fridays. We have also incorporated a service project into our school schedule (more on that in another post.) As our habit and manner we are going to concentrate on meal times. Proper eating etiquette, how to set the table etc.

As I type this, it seems awfully daunting. Big plans, big expectations. This year is going to be a little more challenging as well. With Boop wanting to be a part and EG getting more mobile. This is Little Mama's first year of "formal" education. Thankfully Nature Girl can read some of her history and geography herself but honestly, I love reading it with them because I am learning as they are! The reality of it is, I may accomplish 3/4 of everything I set out to do. And I am totally OK with that.

One of my favorite parts of homeschooling is looking for the books I need. Ambleside Online gives me a list of recommended living books so that is helpful. I am addicted to books and this is a great excuse to buy them. Thankfully hubby is OK with my addiction! And understands what is needed to educate our children. (Although I am fairly certain that the cost of books is much less then what we would have to spend all together if the kids went to school.) This year, though, I am having some thoughts about how to teach Biblical History. I read this great article the other day about how we tend to focus on the most common "biblical stories" for our kids. The article stated that the majority of us don't teach our children that the whole bible is a history book. And we do a great disservice to the bible when we refer to biblical events as "stories." They are history and correspond to secular historical events. So, I am on the prowl, on the internet, late at night to find something to fill that void I feel we might have.
I have told hubby I need to take things a little more serious this year. So, we will see what happens. . .

Friday, July 24, 2009

Baby Schedule


EG is changing and growing so fast so I thought I would post about her schedule and eating habits. So, in 3 years I can look back and say remember when the baby blah, blah, blah ;)


7-8 AM Wake up and nurse


8ish Breakfast: banana with avocado mashed, chucks of banana and pieces of toast


8-10 Hang with the kids in the highchair or walker - sometimes in the Bumpo if someone watches her (because she flips out)


10ish Nurse before nap (extra calories, ensure milk production, relaxes her before sleep)


10:30ish Nap (she goes in the pack n play in our room - she is awake but drowsy - sometimes she fusses but not usually in the AM)


11:30-12:30 Wake up from nap


12:00-12:30 Nurse then lunch: a yellow veggie and a fruit - sometimes what I have made - sometimes jarred food


1-3 Hang with big kids - maybe go somewhere but not usually


3ish Nurse then nap (this is the nap where she may cry but never more than 10 or so minutes)


4-5 Wake from nap


5:30ish Nurse then dinner: a green veggie and a fruit with cereal - sometimes homemade, sometimes jar - topped off with a bottle of formula which at this moment is more of a plaything - I have to be patient and sit with her for a little bit so she will finish most of it.


6-7ish sit in highchair eating Gerber melty things and playing with sippy cup while big people eat dinner.


7-8ish Floor time


8ish bath with big brother


8:30-9 Nurse and bedtime (she is sort of awake when I put her in her crib - I lay her on her side and she just rolls over to her tummy)


Some nights she wakes. I give her 5 minutes to settle back down. She usually does in less than a minute. If not, I go to her and make sure she is OK. I will nurse her if she wants. Doesn't happen very often though.


The daily life of EG at 8 months old. There has to be a pretty good reason to break from our routine . . .

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Computer Problems

Somehow we have picked up a hitchhiker, worm, trojan. I have no idea what they call it, some type of virus. A couple of weeks ago I noticed our brand new computer running a lot slower. Then when we used search engines the first search would connect us to options we were looking for. Subsequent searches would send us to all kind of strange sites. Thankfully nothing objectionable. Lastly, and most offensive, were the ads for objectionable products using words I don't need my 8 and 6 year olds reading. (I assume the later is also a part of our computer problems. If not, I will be lodging my complaint somewhere you can be sure :)

Anyway, hubby took the laptop to a computer friend of his. And our computer was diagnosed with some kind of really embedded "thing." And it is really hard to get rid of. This guy has tried three different fixes and the computer still isn't working right. That means it has to go back tomorrow. Bummer. Two days without a computer. BUT the upside has been I haven't "wasted" a lot of time today. It's not like the house is miraculously clean or anything but I did notice I do spend a lot of unnecessary time on the computer.

If I walk by it, I check my email. I try to get my blog done before just about anything else. If I know I should be doing something else (like folding clothes) I tell myself "After I check Facebook." Then I kind of get sucked in. Sometimes 20 minutes later I am still sitting there. No, it doesn't seem like I have been any more productive today. At least not in a real big way. But I have no doubt that the time I haven't been on the computer I have been doing something a little more beneficial to the family as a whole :)

So, I think I am going to put some restrictions on my computer use. Nothing crazy. I think it is Flylady who suggests like 10 minutes a couple of times a day. If, by the end of the day my blog isn't done I will finish it. Some of the stuff I do is for school, but a lot is purely entertainment just so I don't have to fold the clothes right away. I survived today not being instantly connected to the world. I am sure the world will get along just fine without me checking in 50 million times a day . . .

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Yesterday


First thing in the AM we had EG's follow up appointment with the vascular surgeon. The last time we went we had to wait quite some time. Thankfully this time when we walked in the waiting room wasn't quite so full. When the nurse came out and called EG's name it took me a minute to realize they were calling her. We don't call her by her given name and some times I forget what her full name is. When filling out paperwork I had to ask Nature Girl what EG's middle name was. I just blanked. Anyway, we get back to the examine room and the nurse says something like "I am always amazed by you." When people are complimentary I always feel like such a fake and I never know what to say. I just said with a smile "Don't be." It is painful sometimes to ensure that my kids behave. What I really want to say is "It takes a lot of hard work and tears and time to encourage the kids to behave." Finally, the doctor came in and took like 5 minutes to check her over and say everything was A-OK. (Which I already knew :) Anyway, he also mentioned how well behaved the kids were but he said "At least in here." Like he knew it isn't always like this. Anyway, all that to say is I was really, really proud of how the kids behaved. It is so much to ask of them to sit in a grown up's waiting room for a long period of time and then have to sit in a small examine room just waiting. They just grab a magazine and do their best to entertain themselves. They got a surprise cookie afterwards.

Also, last night we had a change in our nighttime routine! A big deal around here. It used to be the girls would shower in our bath and Boop would take a bath in the guest bath while EG would roll around (or whatever) waiting for her turn. By the time bath/showers were done, teeth brushed and a book read it could be close to 9 o'clock. Way late for an infant to be up. But I just couldn't figure a better way. It takes me up to an hour and a half to get everyone settled in and even then the girls can be up for another 1/2 hour or so doing whatever in their beds. Anyway, after the big kids are in bed I would then bathe EG in her little tub in the kitchen sink and nurse her (best part of the day) and put her in bed. Some nights it could be as late as 9:30. So, now that she is sitting up better I decided she was going to take a bath with Boop. I filled up the tub, put the Bumpo seat in and the rest is history. Granted everyone still wasn't in bed until 9 but EVERYONE was in bed. It gave me just a little bit more down time at the end of the day . . .

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Food, Food, Food

So here you go MB. :) The following is going to be what we might eat on a typical day. As I tell the kids on a very regular basis "This ain't Denny's." They like to tell me what they want for breakfast and lunch. But, it is impossible to please everyone every day and I am not going get into the habit of making three different breakfasts and lunches so that everyone is happy. We do "rotate" meals so that everyone gets their favorite every once and awhile.

Breakfast: pancakes (frozen) or cereal or peanut butter toast or yogurt or on special occasions cinnamon rolls or occasionally bagels or English muffins. Always served with a banana, vitamin, OJ or milk.

Lunch: PBJ or leftovers or bean burritos or Ravioli or deli meat sandwich (couple of them like liverwurst) or yogurt or black eyed peas. I always try to serve a veggie and fruit. Milk.

Dinner: This is where things get sticky. I don't like to cook. Daddy does. But, I don't think it is right after he has worked 13 hours to have him come home and make dinner. So, I try on the days he works to make something. It usually isn't very fancy, probably not very tasty and more times than not if I am in the middle of "cooking" dinner daddy will come in and take over. I asked him if he is OK with that and he is. Right now the big joke at the dinner table is that he always has improvements on whatever we are eating. (Both when he cooks and when I cook.) I never noticed it before and Mickey brought it up like the second or third time he ate with us. Now it is a joke. Mic will say something like "So whatup with this one?" OK back to dinner. Here is a list of things we eat on a pretty regular basis: Homemade pizza, meatloaf, pea/chix/cheese/pasta salad, chix tortellini salad (hopefully tonight), baked chix, grilled hamburgers, fresh grouper/red snapper, homemade chix pot pie, enchiladas, spaghetti, lasagna, eggs and bacon, homemade whole wheat pancakes, chicken chili, an occasional roast, oven fried pork chops. We just spent a fist full of money on fresh veggies from a local farm. Breaded okra, butter beans, green beans (oh, and blueberries.)

About once a month I let the kids pick a recipe out of the Paula Dean for Kids cookbook. And they take turns helping me cook. As far as food is concerned, I am all about keeping it simple . . .

Monday, July 20, 2009

Not Feelin' It

I don't know what it is. . . I haven't been feelin' the blogging thing lately. Maybe I need a hiatus. Maybe I need to do some exciting things in my life so I have something to write about. I have a lot of things on my heart to write about but they are so close to the surface that I am afraid to put them in writing at them moment. They need to simmer a little more. :)

I don't have any cute pictures to post and I can't get the video thing to work so all I have left to do is write and it ain't comin'. At least not today. . .

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Today

The big girls are with their cousin.

The little girl is takin' a nap.

Just paid Boop a buck to go to Home Depot with daddy and Mickey.

Ahhhh . . . .

Friday, July 17, 2009

One of The Things We Do

One of the things we do as a family is watching our friend's children for the day. Usually on days when there is a school holiday or planning day. It just kind of happened. Once I became a stay at home mom, friends would just ask. They would always say "Are you sure??" I always said "yes." I would try to make them understand that it really is a benefit for me! Some one new for my kids to ride bikes with, play dolls with, swim with, play games with. And it has always been a mix of boys and girls.

It is always amazing to me, I get more done when I have extra kids here. My kids are entertained for the whole day. Less running in and out, less questions about what we are doing for the day, less questions about "Can we do this?" They just play. All the old games and toys are new when they have some one else to share them with.

It seemed, for awhile, we were always watching some one else child. At one point I thought about a daycare kind of thing. But, even though I like watching other children occasionally, I decided it wasn't something I needed or wanted to do full time. All of the kids we have ever watched have been family friends. So, the kids are always very familiar with our house and with us. That of course makes it easier and so much nicer. They are extensions of our family to begin with.

I don't think I have ever said "no" when someone has asked. The funny thing is in the last year no one has asked. Which honestly is good because I might have said "no." Not because I wouldn't have wanted to but because physically and emotionally I wasn't ready. But because we are in a routine and I am actually getting some sleep at night when a friend asked me this week if I was interested in watching her daughter for the day I emphatically said "YES!"

So, all that to say is we have a house guest today. A girl I have watched since she was 2 1/2. The kids were so excited they were up bright and early and dressed before their friend even got here. I am looking forward to a day of full time entertainment from our guest . . .

Thursday, July 16, 2009

An Experiment

video

This was a test. We don't have a video camera anymore. And I am just learning how to use our camera as a recorder. I have done it about 4 times now but ended up deleting the video because I wasn't sure what I was doing. This is only a 5 second clip because I don't know what makes the camera/video stay on. Of course can't find the camera manual. I will try to look it up on line. If I can figure out how it works, anticipate many more videos.

Enjoy . . .

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Old Me

My sister is in DC this week. So, what does that have to do with the old me you ask?? Well, oddly enough my sister works at the very same U.S. Attorney's Office that I did before having kids. And she is on almost the same career path as I was. I started out as a contract employee and she was just recently hired as a contract employee. (Granted she was a student there first.) After a couple months as a contract employee I was hired on with the government. I was a legal assistant first and then by the time I quit I was a victim/witness coordinator.

Anyway, when she told me she was going to DC this week it brought back so many great travel memories I had from when I worked there. Honestly it is really the only thing I can say that I actually miss! Training, before the government built the NAC, could be almost anywhere. (The NAC is nicely situated in Colombia, SC.) I was able to go to DC a number of times; Burlington, VT; Chicago; Memphis; Orlando; and Tampa. There are probably a few other places but I can't remember them right now.

My first trip to DC was amazing!! I had never been there before and I had never traveled alone to a big city by myself. I took full advantage of my opportunity. I was able to fly in on a Saturday and spend all day Sunday sight seeing. It was so exciting waking up that morning, getting dressed and walking outside the hotel. I had stayed right on the edge of Georgetown and that was cool. I quickly found out you could take the Metro, the very clean Metro almost anywhere. I immediately went to the National Mall and made a plan. I knew I couldn't see everything so I picked just few places that I absolutely had to visit. The Hope Diamond, the Lincoln Memorial, the White House are just a few of the things I remember seeing. (I went back to DC on a couple of other occasions and was able to see Ford's Theater and a lot of other things that I had missed the first time around.)

I still remember what I wore that first day in DC, what I ate, how I felt just walking out of that hotel and trying to find the Metro stop by myself. Reading the Metro map. And then standing on the mall and looking up and down figuring out which way to go first. It also happened to be the same day of the St. Patrick's Day parade so that made getting around a little problematic and, of course, there were more people around then normal for a Sunday. The thrill of it all still makes me smile.

In Burlington, VT I took a boat ride on Lake Champlain and ate Ben and Jerry's ice cream every night. (My old boss tried to convince me to rent a car and drive to Montreal. Every thing there is in French so I chickened out.) In Chicago I saw a Renoir exhibit. And saw Rent. And went to the Second Act comedy club. And road the "L." And went to the top of the Sears Tower. In Memphis I ate BBQ and listened to live Jazz and Blues on Beal Street. In Orlando we stayed next to Downtown Disney. And in Tampa I got to visit my mom.

I LOVE to travel and look forward to the day when I can take the kids to some of the wonderful places I have been . . .

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Home Redos

For the last couple of years, little by little, we (or should I say daddy) has been updating, redoing rooms in the house. We have been here for over ten years and it is time. I am not a DIYer (Do It Yourself - which I just recently learned). But, daddy is. Which I am really very thankful for majority of the time. I believe we save money and get things done the way we (he) wants them. Flip side of it is, it can take A LONG TIME to get projects done. As of today we (he) have redone almost every room in the house except the kitchen, guest/CoCo/Mickey's room, and our master bath. (Now that I type it all out it seems we still have a ways to go.)

Anyway, we are currently doing the guest bath. Major overhaul. Paint, tile, replacing sink etc. Daddy does all of this on his days off. We are now in week number three I think (maybe finishing up week number two). Regardless, it has been a long time for all six (seven including EG) of us to use one bathroom (our master.) As of yesterday we thought we were close to being done (well at least be able to use the potty). But, daddy had to put the potty on before leaving for work this morning and we (he) ran into a hiccup. So, we have another whole day to be without a second potty. Now this is a problem for one big reason. For a number of hours during the day the master bedroom potty is inaccessible. EG sleeps in our room for naps because the rest of the house is so noisy. So, right before I put her down, every one HAS TO GO to the bathroom. If they don't it is out in the yard. Not a problem for the boys. BUT the girls object. Which I don't blame them. And yesterday it all worked out perfectly. No outside pottying (that I am aware of :)

But, I know how things work. Just cuz yesterday worked doesn't mean today is going to work. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the minute EG goes for a nap Boop will have to use the potty (if you know what I mean.) So I envision our morning looking something like this. "Everyone go potty. EG is taking a nap." Everyone complies. I finally get EG asleep and Boop will say "Mommy I HAVE to go potty." So, the only option I will have is to try to slip him into the bathroom without waking EG. Of course, she didn't sleep last night and might not get a nap this afternoon because of tumbling. She needs this nap.

Whose says life is boring . . .

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sleeping Arrangements

We (meaning me and EG) had one of the worst nights sleep we have had in awhile. I am not complaining but I will say my body has gotten use to sleep. Anyway, it got me thinking as I traveled from one sleeping place to the next - at any given moment no one is really in a bed they are suppose to be sleeping in.

I have always been a big believer in everyone needs to learn at an early age where they sleep and when. Babies weren't suppose to sleep with us. And I have never laid down with a child to get them to sleep (unless we were traveling or they were sick.) Now, we do just about anything to get sleep. With Boop, I slept occasionally in a twin bed with him. With EG, I did it pretty frequently. Especially when she was in that stage of waking up at 5AM and not really going back to sleep unless she was in my bed. I am such a light sleeper that I never ever worried about hurting either of them. Most times I would just lie there thankful they were asleep. :)

On any given night I can be in Boop's room with EG. In the girls' room with all three kids. On the couch or possibly even in my bed. Boop is in the girls' room. When he was sick he was in bed with daddy. Daddy sometimes (very rarely these days) sleeps on the couch but usually in his bed. Mickey is on the couch sometimes but usually in his room. The girls have been consistent in that I don't think in the last 8 months they have slept anywhere but in their beds.

When I put the big kids down at night, I try to tell them where I think I will be in the middle of the night in case they need me. "If I am not on the couch, check in my room. If I am not in my room, check in Boop's." At about 3 this morning, I kind of hoped we never had a late night emergency. I don't know if we would know where every one is . . .

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Interesting Question

DISCLAIMER: This post is totally full of my opinions and an exercise in thought.

So my sister and I were talking the other day. The conversation revolved around this topic or question or thought: On earth what benefit is there to believing in God? Wow. The question kind of threw me for a loop. So I started to think. It isn't one of those things that I could just vocalize an answer to especially if I was not able to put any thought to it. Or maybe I could - maybe it is really very simple. I was just making it hard. My first response was if I believe in God and that He sent His Son to die for my transgressions then the answer is Heaven. But that is not a "benefit" on earth per se. So my next answer was hope. I have hope that when this life is done I get to go to Heaven because of Jesus. When I die it isn't the end of life it is really the beginning of something wonderful.

Belief in God and the Savior isn't a guarantee of a perfect life here on earth. It isn't even a guarantee of a happy life. I am not a theologian but I do believe that being a follower of Christ means sacrifice. We as followers are called to be disciples. Look at some of the martyrs and saints from the 1st century. They professed Christ and discipled others unto their death. They sacrificed their very lives to show people that Jesus is the only way. Belief in God and a Savior gives me hope in this world. Hope that no matter what I am going through their is a Heavenly Father that loves me so much He sent His Son so that I, a sinner, may have eternal life.

Please don't misunderstand me. Do I run through life with a permanent grin on my face no matter what my troubles? No. Am I happy, well adjusted and thankful for my Savior every minute of everyday? No. Am I constantly seeking God's will for my life? No. Do I question "Why me?" Yes. Do I theoretically know that God loves me and knows what is best for me? Yes. In my mind I know the answer to the question. The heart of course is another matter entirely ;)

One problem I see is that I can be a consumer of religion, of God. What is in it for me? What benefit is it for me to seek God? But being a follower of Christ isn't set up that way. I should be asking myself every minute of every day, how can I serve others? Jesus was the ultimate servant unto His death. And I am to follow Christ and His ways. I am to be a servant ALWAYS. It isn't about me. EVER. So totally not what is in my heart. But, my heart from the very beginning has been full of sin. If every believer (my self included) was to ALWAYS serve EVERYONE never a selfish motive life would be more fulfilling here on earth (I think.)

People change jobs, houses, spouses, cities, churches, religions, and haircuts. Fix bodies, drive expensive cars, take fancy vacations, get married, exercise all in the pursuit of happiness. If I change my selfish heart to focus on some one other than myself I might be a little happier here on earth (I think). These are my thoughts. As I have had a day or two to ponder the original question. I have hope here on earth of a life ever lasting in Heaven. Works for me . . .

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Day

This is a whiny post. So, you have two choices you can exit out right now or you can continue to read. One of the reasons I started a blog was so that I could vent when I needed to vent. Nobody listens to me anyway so I might as well do it here!! :) So, it all started last night at bath time. We had about 6 butt wipes left in the whole house including my diaper bag. Mickey was more than willing to run to the store for me but I figured we could hold out until morning. I needed to make a Walmart run anyway.

So, EG had a restless nights sleep. She coughed and rolled around all night. Finally at about 4 o'clock I head for the couch. She is so noisy she is keeping me awake. (She never did wake up though.) Finally she wakes up about 7:30AM kind of crying. Not like her at all. As I have mentioned she has had pink eye and is teething but really has not been grumpy. So, I figure something is not right. Something else is wrong. I hate to call the doc. But, it is Friday and it is daddy's weekend to work so I call the doc in an abundance of caution. Of course the doc is all booked up for the day so I have to see the PA. Don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against the PA but for the real little ones I just like to see a doc. So, I get everyone together because our appointment is at 10:30 and I still don't have any butt wipes. We NEED to go to Walmart first.

We get what we need at Walmart and are off to the doc with a few minutes to spare. As we pull into the parking and get out, Little Mama says "There is smoke coming out of the van." Sure enough - smoke! And when I look down there is a greenish fluid running out from underneath. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? I maintain my composure, try to call daddy three times, gather all the kids up and go into the appointment. While waiting to be seen I call my MIL (bless her) and she is going to head our way. In the meantime daddy calls back and he starts to head our way.

We get called back to the patient room and when the PA comes it is all of us including hubby and MIL in the room. Woo hoo!! EG and I stay in the room and everyone else leaves to get the car taken care of and to wait in the waiting room. Poor EG has an ear infection but not in the ear I thought - go figure. So, I load the kids up in my MIL's car with no room to spare and leave her to wait for AAA (bless her.) AAA shows about 5 minutes after they said they would and my SIL picks up my MIL to bring her to the house to get her car.

It wasn't even noon yet . . . ugh . . .

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Heidi

I love books. In case you didn't already know that. We just finished reading Heidi on Tuesday night. We have seen the movie about a million times and it is good. All of the kids enjoy it but the book was so much better. I try hard to read books before we see the movies. I think it is important to visualize characters, places, events in your mind's eye. Instead of some director's idea of what something or someone looks like. Haven't you ever gone to a movie after reading a book and thinking "That isn't how I picture him, her or the place?" I know I have.

Anyway, Heidi the book was so much more detailed about the Alm. The book created such word pictures that a movie could never recreate. And the characters were so much deeper. Heidi is very spiritual in the book. And towards the end she learns so much about God's character. It was very inspiring to me! (And hopefully the kids.) And Peter learns a great lesson in the book as well. One that I have already used as a life lesson at home. I am not going into detail because I would encourage everyone to read Heidi if you haven't already.

One of the many things I love about our little homeschool curriculum is it suggests books that I have never read before. Lucky me . . .!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

EG Update

She is sort of sitting. She does well until she gets distracted. Then down she goes. It scared her at first but now she is OK with it.

She is getting her top two teeth. She has a cold. And pink eye. Yet, is still smiling!

She is making progress on the crawling thing. She gets up on all fours and rocks. The she lifts up her legs on her toes. Kind of like a bridge. She is getting a little frustrated though.

She is for the most part sleeping through the night. She wakes up occasionally but doesn't fuss much. While she has been sick I have gone to her a time or two. She doesn't want to eat, just cuddle.

She loves her brother and sisters.

She laughs like her daddy. Her eyes squinch and she has a big grin.

Her favorite shirt of mine is one from VBS last year - Power Lab. It has different shapes and lots of bright colors.

She will be 8 months old next week. I can't believe it . . .

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Boot Camp


My First Offender Weeding the Garden
So, I have decided to start school next week. It will be very relaxed but hopefully productive. There are a couple of reasons for doing this. First, we are way behind which I know I have mentioned before. Second, it is hotter than you know what outside and the kids don't want to go out and play. (Can't say as I blame them. ) So, I figure if we put forth a good schooling effort now, when the weather is beautiful we can take lots of days off to play out side etc. I think it is a good plan!

Anyway, in an effort to get ready for school we are having Boot Camp this week. An idea given to me by my wise friend who in turn got it from another wise friend. Boot Camp in a nutshell is this: you pick one or two things that each child needs to work on and when that child doesn't do those one or two things they pick a card that has a chore on it (preferably something I need done that isn't too pleasant). Some of our chores are: clean inside the car, weed the garden, clean windows, take out recycling, take out composting. We have started with first time obedience. We are back on some kind of routine - limited morning TV, chore charts and math. I figure if we can get first time obedience down then maybe we won't have to do Boot Camp too often. We started yesterday and I thought it went pretty well. I had no offenders which was a little surprising. (Today not so lucky) But, before we did school I took the time to explain the concept and why exactly we were doing it. We also got out the bible and I read to them in Exodus 20 (I think) (10 Commandments) where God actually says if you honor your mother and your father you will have a long life in the land that He has given us. So, yes, they need to honor, obey and respect but it is not just what I say it is what God has commanded. And He has given a blessing with that command. I want them to start to understand that God will be with them everywhere. In places that I will never be. We will see how the rest of the week goes . . .

Monday, July 6, 2009

Change

So many things have changed since having baby number four. I am now going to list them:

I am late every where.
The house is a wreck and dirty - constantly. I don't even try to fake it anymore.
If you visit you will probably see laundry on the living room chair.
The kids' hair doesn't get brushed.
Boop didn't even have shoes when we went to dinner the other night.
I don't shower everyday.
We are behind in school.
I don't return phone calls.
It sometimes takes me a whole day to return an e-mail.
I forget everything - I MEAN EVERYTHING.
My diaper bag sometimes has no diapers or change of clothes or wipes.
My hair is always in a ponytail.
I have absolutely NO patience.
I get upset a whole lot easier and quicker.
I haven't read my bible.
We are not regulars at church.
I haven't volunteered for anything anywhere.
I don't make bread or cookies much.

I guess I could go on and on. This is kind of a confession list. Get it off my chest and maybe pick some things to work on in the near future. I told daddy last night "I can't catch up so I have just given up." He said he has noticed . . .

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July

Thanks to all of you who prayed for Northwood's 4th of July celebration. It is going to happen as planned!! We are excited to be going for the 6th year in a row . . .

Friday, July 3, 2009

I Love Boop This Much

Yesterday at tumbling I hear two girls chatting behind me: "See that girl over there in the red leotard? (Pointing to Little Mama)." "And see that girl in the green leotard?" (Pointing to Nature Girl) The other girl answers "Yes." "Their brother is soooo cute!" "He has to be like three or something." For the next minute or so I over heard them talking about Boop and how cute he is. I turned around to see if I recognized them but I didn't.

I am holding EG on the couch. She is grinning at daddy's deer on the wall. Boop says "I killed that deer." I give him a look like "Really?" "Well" he says, "Daddy and I killed it."

Last week at Chick-fil-A there was a fund raiser going on for a local church. You paid a buck, spun the wheel and then won a coupon for a free soda and such. All the kids got a chance. When it came to Boop's turn, he spun the wheel and won shoe laces! He grabbed his laces his eyes glimmered and face beamed. You'd a thought he won a Match Box car. Funny thing is he doesn't even own shoes that need laces. So Mickey laced them in his Lightening McQueen crocs!

Nature Girl had her cold first. Then Boop got it. He says "She gave me her cold. But why does she still have it? I guess she gave me part and she still has part."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Ring

This post is inspired by a friend of mine who posted something similar. It is a story that I had kind of forgot about until I read my friends blog.

My grandmother passed away probably about 15 years ago. She lived up north and I was here in the south. She and I had a wonderful relationship. It wasn't based on things. It was based on love. She had nothing, gave me nothing except time. She told the most awesome stories. She didn't live in the same town but she would come stay with us for months. We would sleep in the same room some times. My mom says she and I were a lot alike. She was a school teach. So am I. She loved books and to read. So do I. I actually have a first edition Black Beauty book that was hers. (My mom gave it to me.) Anyway, when she was dying my mom and I drove up north. It was April and when we got to my grandmother's apartment it was cold and snowing. She passed away just a few hours after my mom and I got there (we drove all night.) My mom's brother and sister were there. My grandmother had always said when she passed away she wanted to be propped in a corner with a flower in her hand and then she expected everybody to have a party. Well, that is what we did. (Well, we didn't prop her in the corner but we all celebrated her life while she was still there.) The hospice lady came finally to check on her and realized she had passed away. She made the phone calls that needed to be made.

As I mentioned, my grandmother didn't have much just her life stories and books. Both of which I treasure even to this day. But when she passed away she had left me a little money - not much. I had big plans for that money. I had just graduated from college a couple months earlier and was working at my first real job. I was a manager in a hotel. Working TONS of hours for very little pay. I was barely able to get by most months. In fact, if it weren't for the fact that I could eat my meals at the hotel, I would have starved to death and I was never home so my electric bill was really low. Anyway, I wanted to do something special with the money my grandmother had given me. Something that I would always remember her by. I decided I wanted to buy a beautiful emerald ring. Well, because of my financial situation at the time, I never bought the ring. Over the course of a couple months, I spent the money on rent and other bills that needed to be paid. Because I am practical I knew that is what I needed to do.

About a year or so later, right before Christmas, I was telling my boyfriend (who is now my hubby) the story of my grandmother and how when she passed away I had wanted to buy an emerald ring with the money she had left me. And I told him how I had to spend the money that was left me on bills. He also worked at the hotel where I worked and understood about not making much money. That Christmas hubby bought me a beautiful emerald ring! (Even to this day hubby buys very thoughtful gifts.) I still have it. I don't wear it as much as I use to. I don't wear any jewelery much these days. But it is safely in my jewelery box. It is a ring that I will keep forever and probably pass on to the child who loves books as much as my grandma did and I do. . .

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Always Saying "No"

I had a totally different post in mind. In fact, I had typed the title and just changed it. I mean just this second. Lately, well honestly not just lately, I say "no" all the time. It is an automatic response. Whatever they are asking the answer is "no." I don't even think. I am pretty sure I don't even listen. "No." I feel guilty about this. And annoyed about this. I hate being that way. "No." It just comes out. "No." I am now going to list every excuse I use for saying "no." It is usually something messy; usually something that needs my attention; usually something that is loud; will in time create some type of problem; something I just don't want to deal with; a good idea but just the wrong time (can't tell you when a good time will be); something inappropriate (as in TV show etc.); time consuming; I just don't feel like it. I am sure there are more but I just can't think of them right now.

One day last week I was feeling especially guilty. I confessed to my very wise friend what I was feeling that day. She gave me some very wise words of advice. First, it is OK to say "no." I am home all day every day with my children. There is just no possible way I can do everything they ask of me. Second, if I say "no" and have taken a minute to rethink my position, if they don't argue about the "no" go ahead and let them know I have reconsidered. But, let them know that the fact that they didn't argue or disagree with my "no" was a big factor in changing my mind. Lastly, take a breath before I answer any request. Try to think things through before I answer. That way my "no" will mean "no." And there might be a few more "yeses."

I am still a work in progress . . . "no". . .