Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ode to Spring

Spring has finally sprung! Hip hip hooray!
The kids can play with bareness of feet
and stay wet outside all day.
I'm so glad that it's no longer cold
And four changes of clothes every day
Makes laundry duty grow old.
So here's to fun and melting of snow,
Popsicles, bubbles, and butterflies.
I'm glad to let winter go!

And happy 2nd Monthaversary

to Joseph!

(hopefully he will grow out of the crosseyed stage)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Good Stuff

I just got home from the Women's Retreat. It seems a little odd to say, "just got home", because I never really went anywhere, but real life begins again now. First I'll say Brandon did an awesome job with the kids. They are happy, the house is clean, and the laundry is washed! So, I can start off the week a bit ahead rather than three days behind. Whooo hoooo for keeping up!

Now, before I get on to anything else, I want to jot down the nuggets I got from the retreat. This will probably be brief, but something is better than nothing. Right?

Nugget #1. The water is in the valley.

Ruth Murray talked about Jesus as our Shepherd and a book by Phillip Keller on the intricacies of the analogy between sheep and us in the 23rd Psalm. When she got to the verse about walking through the valley of the shadow of death, she pointed out that the sheep have to go there because that's where the water is. The stream runs through the valley and the sheep have to have water. I really appreciated the aspect that our thirst can be quenced IN the valley. It's not before the valley in preparation, or after the valley to build us back up, but IN the valley- the water is IN the valley. I come away with a challenge to remember that Jesus can be filling me in the tough times as well as the plesant ones.

Nugget#2. Children absorb the atmosphere in the home.

Elaine Sandford had a workshop on How to Get Ahead and Stay Ahead. It was lots of practical tidbits for everyday living that help us to keep from getting piles, overwhelmed, and generally unorganized. The above comment was one of the first things she said and it was a good reminded. If the house is a mess, the children tend towards chaos. If the house is clean, the children tend to be more calm and peaceful- or I don't have to work at it as hard. A good reminder and incentive for me to maintain order whenever possible.

Nugget #3. One of something is many times not enough, but two of something is almost always too much.

I mentioned this one to Brandon and he said, "Yeah, like spouses." Aha! Ha! Well, that wasn't really what I was thinking of, BUT... it was actually related to Decluttering. Gretchen Post had a workshop on Decluttering and I came away inspired by this phrase in regards to owning things. I also came away with it applied to spiritual matters. I may not be all that my family needs, but two of me, or a "bigger and better" me is not the answer. What they need is more of Jesus and it's what I need too.

Nugget #4. Sometimes 1 of something is too many.

In the same workshop, I was floored by the idea that I really didn't need 1 of something. Coming from a family that has always had at least one of everything, it has never really occured to me that a person would be completely satisfied without "one". I could think of a number of things in the house that this applied to and I am looking forward to getting rid of them. Don Aslett and his book, "Loose 200 pounds This Weekend." were the main inspiration for this workshop.

Nugget #5. I can trust God because He is going before me. -or- He has searched out the place.

Ellie Pass pointed out this one. She talked about how God went before the children of Israel and searched out a place for them. What I came away with was the thought that not only was he leading them one step at a time, but he had been there way before, so in a sense, he was there twice before me- which means he really knows his stuff AND I CAN trust Him!

Nugget #6- Make a list of needs and wants and watch Him provide.

Also from Ellie's testimony. I always latch on to practical ways of making the spiritual application work. I did this. I made a list of things that have been weighing on my mind and then copied out several verses about trusting God on the same page and committed the list to Him to provide for those things. It is a freeing feeling to put it all in His lap. Some of the things were tangible, like a larger vehicle, some not- like make me loose some weight, but regardless of whether I can put my hands on it or not, He can provide for the need and for the wants as well. After all, He says he gives us the desires of our heart, and I think that can include some wants as well. Praise the Lord for practical application!

Nugget #7- Give me an unconquered heart which no tribulation can wear out.

Branda Lackie had this one in her testimony about enduring and having courage in the end times. I sort of applied it to my life right now- what can sometimes seem like a tribulation. If I allow discouragement, dissapointment, or fear, or whatever to get in, then it's like allowing the Devil to raise his flag in my heart and he wins that battle. I have no intention of letting Satan raise his flag in my heart! I am encouraged that I can in some ways ignore the craziness around me and look up at Jesus and focus on Him and look to him for help and He does. Then He wins and gets the glory!

Ok, so that's the tip of the iceberg of great parts from the women's retreat. All you ladies should come next year!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Breakfast in the Bathroom

I’ve heard it said: You can do anything if you want to bad enough.

Today I disagree.

I REALLY wanted to eat my breakfast. I would have been happy to eat it with only a couple of interruptions, requests for more cereal, or other needs. That was not to be. For any of you out there who think a breakfast of cereal and milk is easy, I’m decidedly against the belief and despite trying to convince myself that it is, I remain in a state of prejudice against the flaky meal.

You see, Jonathon really wanted cereal this morning and despite my better judgement ( I was going to make eggs and muffins) I said ok. Usually I say ok to this request because A) He can get it all out by himself. B) I’m usually running late for breakfast if he has time to request something and C) I try to tell myself that a quick meal will help the rest of the day go better.

So I said ok. Out came the 10 boxes of cereal- I’m all about variety. Out came the milk. And then an argument began between James and Jonathon over who was going to get out the bowls and set them around the table. I told James he could since he had begun the task and Jonathon had taken care of the cereal and milk and then Jonathon was unhappy. I put Joseph in his bouncy seat, which has an automatic vibrator and music, and thus keeps him quiet for a short while. (It’s no wonder my children feel the need to have noise and motion ever waking moment. I train them into it from birth!) We then commenced breakfast:

Pour 4 bowls of cereal.
Pour 4 bows of milk.
Pour 4 glasses of water.
Notice the husband is sitting at the table with no water and pour the husband a glass of water.
Pour my own bowl of cereal. Exactly ¾ cup of granola and a half a cup of milk because I am trying to eat responsibly and loose some weight.
Notice that the bananas are still sitting in the middle of the table untouched and offer them to everyone.
No one answers with a desire to eat bananas. This is not ok. We must consume them, after all we paid REAL money for these things, they are good for us and I refuse to just have cardboard for breakfast.
Ask each child if they want a banana. I get two takers- Jeff and Rachel and I give myself one because, I never eat enough fruit and so I should.
Jeff and Rachel can’t peel it on their own though, so I start it for them, then Jeff cries that I messed with his.
Rachel peels hers and sets it to the side of her bowl and drinks all the milk out of her Fruity Cheerios and requests more milk.
I pour her some more milk.
I sit down and eat a bite of cereal.
Jonathon needs more cereal. He had Kix and now that he’s eaten that, he wants a bowl of granola.
Pour said bowl of granola.
Sit down to eat another bite of cereal.
Rachel says she has “stinky diaper”.
She is wearing underwear- because the die hard potty training parents just won’t give up.
I take her to the bathroom to sit on the little potty as there is currently nothing in her pants. Perhaps this is a break through.
Two seconds later she declares herself all done.
Well potty training during my breakfast of soggy granola isn’t my idea of a great goal so, “Ok, all done.” Put her clothes back on. Back to the table.
She wants more milk in her Fruity cheerios again. More milk given.
Sit down to eat a bite. One bite eaten.
Rachel says she needs to go potty.
Well it did smell like she was close, so I take her again. On the way by the table I bumped Jeff’s glass and spilled his water all over him and the floor.
Humbly ask husband to please clean it up while I deal with Rachel in the bathroom.
Jeff is sad. He always knocks his water over and this time it dumped without his help and he’s afraid he’s going to get in trouble anyway. Comfort Jeff.
For some reason this time Rachel needs her panties, skirt, socks, and sandals all removed to sit down on the potty chair. She tries to convince me that her bib must come off as well. I draw the line.
She sits, I walk out to take another quick bite of cereal. Husband cleaned up the puddles, but left Jeff in his wet clothes to finish breakfast. Jeff does not like this.
I gulp down my entire banana in 5 seconds.
Rachel comes out with a new pair of “pretty panties” to wear and I indulge her because I am currently sitting in my seat and I don’t want to get up. She put nothing in the toilet.
Put pants on child and send her back to eat her food. She needs more milk. I don’t care, I just give it to her.
Jeff needs more cereal. Done.
Jeff needs to go to the potty.
Take Jeff to the potty. He doesn’t want to wet because his shirt sleeve is wet.
Move the offending shirt sleeve up his arm and command him to pee in the toilet.
Put wet clothes back on boy and return him to table.
(a bit graphic) Jonathon says he thought he had to do a stinky but wanted to wait, so he said he tried to keep it up there, but it wouldn’t stay and just came out on his pants anyway.
Tell Jonathon to go to the bathroom.
Joseph is not happy with the bouncy vibrating chair any longer and is declaring his undesireable situation LOUDLY to the rest of us.
Ask husband to PLEASE take him to bed, and oh, by the way, he has a stinky diaper and the sheet in his cradle needs to be changed because it is wet.
Husband takes the baby up to change diaper and put to bed.
Jonathon goes to the bathroom.
James needs more cereal.
Jonathon hollers that his underwear is in fact, dirty.
Mama hollers at husband to throw down Jezebel- I mean – some clean underwear.
Take clean underwear to Jonathon.
Come back to the table to inhale as much cereal as possible before the next request comes.
Jeff says he’s all done.
Throw away ¼ cup of cereal he did not eat. He gets down.
Jonathon gets finished in the bathroom and goes and plays.
Remove his dish from the table.
Rachel sees that people are done and wants to join. She gets down. I throw her banana with one bite gone and the bowl of Fruity Cheerios- with no milk- in the garbage.
James gets down.
I eat the last of my granola.
Rachel wets on the living room carpet and says “Oh dear.”
I run for the computer because if I don’t write down the insanity, I might just loose my mind!

Somehow I haven’t been able to loose weight.

And just in case you think this is a crazy way to eat breakfast, I’ll point out that noone dumped their cereal out this morning. This is how it is most of the time here. I should have made eggs and muffins. I like them better, I don’t have to do refills, and you can’t make as big of a mess with them.

Hope you have a great Thursday.

OH…and we’re having a snow storm today. In the middle of April. And James is going to the dentist today to have his OTHER front tooth removed- probably. The one that Jonathon smacked with a snow shovel. James is following in Uncle Roy’s footsteps of being toothless for as long as he can.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Fun with Grandmother

Sorry this is belated, but I thought this was a great shot of how much the children enjoyed Grandmother- the one who lives with "The Fishing Grandpa" while she was up here.

The sure did have fun with her, especially during a few games of "Alligator". She created this game one evening while the children were in trouble and had to stay on the couch. It involved something with pillows thrown at her and her trying to "eat" them. Sounds like only a slightly different version of "Diaper Woman" if you ask me. (Diaper Woman is a game she made up when I was little. It involved a cloth diaper on her head and running and screaming by us and I think at least one time we were chased with a broom, but it was fun!)
Which just goes to show, quality time- time invested in interaction with the child is what they remember and cherish most. Grandmother did a great job of quality time while she was with us and the children loved it!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Today's Favorites

Favorite friends: A family in church whose last name rhymes with "Need" who invited us over for the afternoon.

Favorite meal: Blueberry muffins for breakfast that I made the night before- no dishes, no messy clothes, happy children.

Favorite clothes: White Land's End dress shirts for the boys to wear to church, from the grandmother that lives with "The Fishing Grandpa".

Favorite conversation: Talking with a person whose name rhymes with "sellin'" about enjoying my family and my role as a mother.

Favorite Scene: Rachel drinking from the dog bowl.

Favorite activity: Watching a girl whose name rhymes with "stain" boil maple syrup.

Favorite thing I learned today: Details about sheep shearing and cutting their tails off.

Favorite time of the day: 9:30pm- When I pulled in the driveway and knew the children would be in bed soon.

Favorite quote from James: (half asleep) No! I want to stay here and sleep. (he said this in the van and refused to get out. In fact, I almost couldn't drag him out because he was convinced that he was actually in his bed.)

Favorite quote from Rachel: "I'm a kiddo."

Favorite comment from Jeff: (actually it was best when he finally stopped asking for more food some three hours after lunch was completed)

Favorite Snapshot with imaginary camera: Jonathon trying to feed a sheep some hay.

Favorite Hymn at church: Great is thy Faithfulness, for that part, "morning by morning, new mercies I see".

Today was exhausting and wonderful all rolled together. I wouldn't change much except I might not have put James' pjs on so soon and then see him go back outside in the mud and thus have to put different pjs on before he went to bed.

Life is good.