Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Tally

What did you find in your washer this evening? Here's what I found:

26 nails

16 acorns

4 rocks

3 toy bullets

2 sticks

1 playmobil sword

and a handful of debris

All because I didn't check one garment's are worse than squirrels!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Our Resident Acrobat

Here's one of Jeff's tricks:

His other new trick is going to the potty!!!! Whooooo hoooo! He's been ready for a while, but his Mama just won't get with the program! So he's been in underwear for a while and today actually stayed dry several times and made it!

Rachel is trying to go as well, though she has some sort of bitterness harbored against the toilet and though she desperately tries to keep from wetting her undies, she also loathes sitting on the little toilet. Well, girl, you can't have it both ways. Sooner or later it's bound to come out- usually on the floor and the couch, at which time she gets excited because she gets to pick a new pair of panties to put on. Hmm...the purple ones with flowers or the green ones with little bumblebees? What a girl!

And to all this, James would say, "Mama is a potty mouth!" (*chuckle*- probably the only time he would be allowed to use that phrase without his tongue meeting up with some hot sauce.

Just so Jonathon and Joseph don't get left out of this post, Jonathon is going to be a overly merciful parent if he doesn't learn some balance. He notifies me every time Joseph is crying and immediately wants to pick him up and "walk him". For some reason Joseph likes it, even though he looks a bit precarious in Jonathon's arms. (Ever seen a 5 year old carry a little baby down the stairs??? Don't watch- it's much easier to let him do it that way!) I'm glad he likes his little brother.

And for random comments:

We're having meatloaf for dinner.

I've washed 3 loads of laundry today, 4 yesterday, 5 the day before that, and I lost count of Tuesday's loads before the day was out! Muddy clothes and "accidents".

Going to a girls' party this evening! I suppose Joseph is going too.

It's really great weather outside today- in the 50's.

I've exercised most days this week and am looking forward to beating my family in "the RACE" though ever since I started working on loosing pounds I have only gained them! Arg! This is not supposed to happen.

Ok gotta go.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Catching up quickly

(More attempts at a family pic.)

Here's the "Cliff's Notes" Version of life here:

-We had the Feast
-Grandmother and Ruth came for a visit
- As a result of their visit we had good times, Brandon and I got a break from laundry duty, we successfully went through all the boy clothes and most of the girl clothes, and Ruth learned how to sled.
-Grandmother did not take part in the sledding, though she did wash the clothes from the event -She also helped Jeff and Rachel work on potty training. Jeff is just about there and Rachel with some focus efforts could be there soon I think.
-I've been catching up on the house
- We have LOTS of laundry these days- spring is the worst for making dirty clothes pile up. Today 3 children changed clothes 3 times and one changed 4 times. Can you say MUD??
- I cleaned up several rooms, organized here and there, and am back to making some real meals
- We celebrated Grandmother's birthday...with our friends, the Reeds. Anybody for fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, fried okra, Breyers ice cream, and chocolate chip cookie cake?
- Joseph is sleeping much better lately, just once up in the night most of the time now.
- I'm getting up in the morning at a normal time again.
- Devotions are back to a generally regular thing. (I always have trouble, always have.)
- Things are looking up.
And here's some favorites:
Favorite scene lately: Little Rachel sitting on the big couch alone playing with the Leap Pad.
Favorite Idea: Winning an "Original Recipe Contest" and going to Provence, France for a week.
Favorite Quote: James on his way into the tub: Hey! The water will clean us and wash our sins away!"
Favorite Person: Brandon, because he gave me two spontaneous shoulder rubs today and gave four children baths this evening.
Favorite Time of Day: 10 am when I'm awake, the children are out playing and I'm not tired yet.
Ok, gotta run. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods....

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Real Life

Hi there...this is just a quick post to say that real life has begun to settle back in and all those blissful moments of wasting time at the computer are coming to a grinding halt. So don't expect great things from me anytime soon... but here's a picture to make up for it.

Evening rough housing with Daddy (I try to stay out of it and often even leave the room.)

And my, oh, my! High speed internet does wonders for uploading pictures. I am VERY happy about this!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

James is still alive...somehow

Just an update to let you know that by some miracle, James still lives. Last week he got bashed in the face with a snow shovel (unfortunately a result of brotherly anger) and ended up with a busted lip and a loose front tooth- which will probably fall out soon. Then, yesterday he ran into the branch of a bush and tried to poke his eyeball out. Fortunately, his eyelid took the hit instead of his eye and now he just has a nasty scratch on his eyelid and some bruising. I must say, if he makes it to adulthood, there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that there is a God and he does protect us! A living testimony!

Lessons from Mother- #3 No Procrastinating- Ever!

I’ve never seen a woman who can work more than my mother. In fact, if she has any fault, it would be that she doesn’t know how to take a break. However, she taught me not to put things off and since I have had more and more children, I’ve realized the value of doing things right away. Sometimes it means hanging up my clothes when I take them off (which I still can’t seem to do) and sometimes it means starting a 2 hour long project when you only have 15 minutes to work with.

It is often said that we don’t know how long we have here on earth and to use what time we have as best we can. I’d like to boil it down to something more simple: As a mother, I don’t know exactly how many more minutes I’m going to have to clean out the diaper bag before a disaster strikes, so I better make the most of it.

Lately, I’ve been working on another part of avoiding procrastination. Work before play. Mother used to tell me that if I was too sick to go to school, I was too sick to play afterwards. This can also apply to motherhood. Since in a lot of ways I am my own boss, it’s easy to decide that I can go play even though there are things around the house that need to be done. Now don’t get me wrong, I could work all day, all week, and all night long and there would still be things that need to get done, but I’m talking about the essentials. This week I’ve been focusing on dishes, laundry, and the living room. That means if I’m going to take a break, I try to make sure that the dishes are washed, the living room is relatively tidy, and the laundry is caught up. In the long run I know that having these things done makes me more relaxed and more prepared for those “surprise” situations that happen every day.

I remember doing lots of spontaneous things with my family growing up. Everything wasn’t always picture perfect at our house, but my mother did try to stay on top of the dishes, laundry, and the orderliness of the main family room. I think it paid off in how we were able to drop what we were doing and “go and do”. Sometimes it was for someone else, sometimes it was just a fun opportunity that came along, but always it was easier to manage if the essentials were covered.

The other place I have noticed that avoiding procrastination helps is in the evenings. If I just take a few minutes and prepare for the next morning, it helps that morning go MUCH better. My brain doesn’t operate in the morning unfortunately, so if I use it in the evening when it does work to plan out what needs to happen the next day, all of us are better off.

So, here’s to not putting off till tomorrow what I can do today!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Lessons from Mother- #2: Bake Cookies

Before I begin this one, I should clarify something about my Mother. She's a wonderful woman! I love her. She cares, is honest, and works hard to make sure her children have every opportunity to follow Jesus. But she is not gushy. Since I have been married, I have heard more sympathy from her during struggles than in all my growing up years and I'm not complaining about anything, just stating it as fact. She doesn't commiserate often and certainly doesn't ever spend time coming up with reasons why it's ok to complain about things. For these things, I love her. Sometimes it's not the easiest thing in the world to hear the truth. Running 4 miles and then being told you need to run another isn't always fun, but it gets me to the finish line faster than if someone told me to take a break because it's hard. (not that I've run 5 consecutive miles anytime in my life) So, there are probably some people out there that if their mother told them what mine tells me it would be very difficult to handle. It's good for me though and so I'll keep her.

Ok, so, "Bake Cookies". This isn't what she says, but it's what I hear. This is the start to the pep talk I get when I am groaning about myself. Sometimes, I get in a rut where I start thinking about all the things that are hard it life, mostly to do with me. For example: during my pregnancy I was groaning about how I have this allergy to formaldehyde that makes my skin break out in little liquid filled bubbles and itch like crazy. If I come in contact with any of the stuff, I have a reaction for about 2 weeks trying to recover from it. In case you don't think this is a big deal, I have discovered through this problem the millions of things that have formaldehyde in them: shampoo (all of it), liquid soap, baby wipes, some lotions and creams, moist towelettes, makeup, some clothes when brand new, and many other things. This allergy has changed my lifestyle in many ways. Anyway, that's an issue. Then there was the blood sugar problem. I got gestational diabetes and rather than deal with insulin, I maintained it with diet- which pretty much involved eating almost NO carbohydrates. For the health conscious out there- I could get away with about 15 grams of carbs at one meal. Look on your cereal box and see how much cereal you can eat for that amount. Not much. So it was pretty much eggs for breakfast, cheese and peanut butter for snacks, meat and cheese rolls with a salad for lunch, and some sort of meat and veggies for dinner. If I ate more carbs I had to walk- which I did, but for the longest time I hated. Then I had kidney stones. Ugh! I won't even revisit that unpleasant subject. (I'm not trying to complain here, but I want to set an accurate background for what I have heard from my Mother) So, I couldn't change the children's diapers without wearing gloves, I couldn't wash the dishes without gloves, if I grabbed the dish rag to wipe the table- I need gloves, I couldn't eat what everyone else eats at the meal, so many times I had to cook TWO things, and after kidney stones, there was the struggle of drinking tons of water. It might be easy for you to see why I could become discouraged at this point.

SO, discouragement day comes. I'm not sure what the breaking straw is- maybe less sleep, or a new skin break out, or maybe it was just the 24th day in a row that I had eggs for breakfast and I would have rather thrown up. Whatever it was, the day came and I found myself calling my mother as I have before to say, "I can't do this! Why is life so hard! I have all these problems! Etc."

Then in her wisdom, she listens and comments and though it usually isn't at the very beginning, she always gets around to the "Bake Cookies" talk. Basically, it's the idea that I am spending too much time thinking about myself and I need to do something for someone else.

That's never the first thing that pops in my mind when I am struggling to survive. "I can barely get up in the morning, so what can I do to bless someone else?" It doesn't really seem to make sense on the surface, and yet it works. Being concerned only with myself only causes me to focus more on me and my problems. Doing something for someone else, like baking cookies for a friend, takes my mind off of me and my problems and focuses my attention elsewhere. As a result the problems go away forever! No, just kidding. But they do tend to fade into the background a little. It also tends to give me a more accurate picture of "my problems". I may have some issues, but there are so many people out there with bigger issues that could use some encouragement, too.

So, my thought is that the quickest way to dig myself out of depression and discouragement is to get up and do something for someone else. Thinking "poor me" only causes me to spiral downward and only makes me think I am less and less capable of anything. But doing something makes me successful in a small way, makes me a blessing to others, and gives me hope that since I conquered one problem I can tackle another. No one ever climbed a mountain by sitting on the ground looking at it and saying, "I don't think I can do that."

Some would say that I don't know about depression because "I've never really had it." I'm not here to argue the point and in someways, I don't really care about the clinical diagnosis and the fact that it's a disease. I have been in a depressed state at times and know that with or without an official name on it, the way out is to choose to do something rather than sit there. It may be harder for the one who has a regular chemical imbalance in someway, but the choices are the same.

Baking cookies happens to be my way of remembering to bless others, though when I get to it, cookies is rarely the actual blessing.

Here's to thinking about someone else besides me! God, help me to do it more often!