Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Enjoying the Break

Ahh...it's so nice to be on break! We had a great Christmas and I hope you all did, too!

Hubby was home from work for 5 1/2 days and we loved just having some downtime as a family. We celebrated Christmas with my side of the family Christmas Eve day and again on Christmas morning and had so much fun! (We spent the previous weekend with Hubby's side of the family and had a blast there, too!) After that, though, it was just the five of us. Doing a lot of relaxing, playing with new toys, and enjoying each other.

Well, plus the puking.

Josh and Sarah either caught a little bit of a bug or just ate one too many cookies...either of which are complete possibilities. They just didn't seem quite like themselves for a couple of days. But for the most part, it didn't interfere with any of our celebrating. The only time it was bad was when Josh threw up on the letters to Santa. Of all the places he could have thrown up! I thought Sarah was going to lose it, she was so sad.

In all seriousness, we had a great time celebrating Jesus' birthday and making lots of great family memories...
  • Josh pumping his fists by his side and saying "Yes!" on every present he opened
  • Sarah requesting the "ax" song while singing Christmas carols around our tree on Christmas Eve (what we finally figured out she was wanting was Angels We Have Heard on High...you know Gloria...in "ax"celsis deo.)
  • Megan squealing and waving her arms with excitement at her family
  • Playing lots and lots of Wii and Connect Four
I'm just so grateful for my family! We're taking the rest of this week off of school, and enjoying a little more down time before it's back to business next Monday.

Ugh...that just doesn't sound right!

I guess I'll just focus on being grateful for the down time we do have, for the job that Hubby has, and that we all actually like to be together! Those are all definite bright spots!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to wish you all a very merry Christmas! I hope it is a special day for you to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Merry, merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A New Tradition

We started a new Christmas tradition this year! I don't remember where Hubby got the idea, but he thought it would be fun if each year at Christmas time, we spent a night in sleeping bags around the Christmas tree.

The kids were so excited!

Well, Josh and Sarah were. Megan was too little, so she had to still go to bed in her crib.

We let them stay up a little late to watch a Charlie Brown Christmas movie on TV and then we tucked them all in and shared some of our favorite Christmas memories before heading to bed.

In all truthfulness, the storytelling ended around 9:30 when Josh said, "I'm tired. Can we just go to sleep?"

Too funny.

So we all settled in our sleeping bags for a good night's sleep. On the hard floor. Okay, maybe not the best night's sleep, but a lot of fun.


Any guesses on who was the first one asleep?

I had one squirmy, snuggly, love bug on one side of me and another squirmy, snuggly, love bug on the other side of me. It wasn't me. It wasn't said squirmy, snuggly love bugs Josh or Sarah.

It was hubby.

But we were all soon behind him. And we actually slept fairly well. The kids, in fact, didn't wake up until 8:30!

I'd say it was a success and we'll do it again next year!

What about you? Any fun or different traditions your family has at Christmastime?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A visit with Santa

My kids love our annual outing to see Santa.

Yeah, they get a little nervous about it - especially Sarah, but there's just something magical about sitting on that jolly guy's lap and sharing their desires for new toys.

This year their requests seem to be based on whatever is on a commercial or in a sale flyer. There just hasn't been that one thing they just have to have. I don't have a problem with that, except that I don't really want them having the "gimmies."

You know...I want this, I want that...I want this, I want that...

So before we left to visit Santa I tried to work with them to come up with something that they really wanted, so they didn't just ask Santa for a candy cane because that's what was hanging next to him.

We practiced a ton of times. Sarah wanted a Barbie or a Sleeping Beauty doll, but it had to have a pink comb. Josh still changed his mind every time I asked. He really thought he wanted a Kota My Triceratops, but that's a lot of money for something that says its for ages 3 -5 and he turns six in a couple of months.

So we met Daddy at The Children's Museum for a special midday treat and waited in line to see Santa. When they get up there, Josh looked at Santa and said, "Do you still have Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?"

Santa answered that yes, he did, and that he would need his help if the weather is bad on Christmas Eve. Then Santa went on for awhile about how scientists figured out exactly how long he had to stop at each house (I think he said .42 milliseconds?) and how he would really need Rudolph's help, but that he had some extra help, too, by changing time zones. He kinda lost the kids in the explanation and then when he asked what they wanted for Christmas, all our practicing was forgotten.

Josh said he wanted a "stand up gun", and Sarah thought and thought and finally said she wanted a castle "like that one over there" and pointed across the room.

Kids.

Cute, cute kids.

Hopefully Santa can find them just what they want.

Good luck, dude!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cute Glasses

Since I missed a couple of weeks of blogging, I never got to share a picture of Sarah in her new glasses.

So, without further ado, here she is....

Her world is so much brighter now! We've even had comments from people that she seems more outgoing. Poor little lady just couldn't see!

We love you, "Sis!" You are so stinkin' cute!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The truth behind the quiet home

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. I hope you all did, too!

I have so much to be thankful for - my family, my friends, my health, my home, and my salvation, for starters.

This morning I'm thankful for quiet.

Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely love homeschooling. I love having the first-row seat to see Josh learn and grasp new concepts. I love being there to watch him read something for the first time. I love watching him and Sarah become the best of friends. I could go on and on...

But I also love that we're part of a co-op where every three to four weeks, I get two hours to myself. I don't have to teach. I don't have to do childcare. I get a day off. All three of my kiddos are at co-op, and I'm not.

Sometimes I run a bazillion errands - you know, the kind where you have to run in somewhere for 30 seconds to grab one thing. Yeah, the kind that aren't fun to do with three kids in tow.

Today I opted to return home and have two hours of quiet to do my own stuff. I've downloaded and organized all my pictures from the last 6 months. I've done two loads of laundry. I've updated facebook. I've blogged.

Wanna know a secret? I say it's quiet, but truthfully, the whole time Christmas music has been blasting through my speakers.

I love it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Because nothing says "Welcome home, Honey!" quite like this...


Lovely, I know. Poor little Megan ralphed all over herself, me, and the kitchen floor seconds before we were expecting hubby home on Friday after work.

Normally when he comes home on Fridays, we all meet him and cheer, "It's the weekend!!!" This Friday, I said, "You get her. I'll get me. Then we'll get the floor."

Yum.

Not really a bright spot, but kinda funny.

At least now, anyways.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Have you missed me?

I've missed you all! Sorry I've been so quiet lately. It's been a crazy couple of weeks around our house. Some good, some not so good, but always something keeping life exciting!

So I'm debating....

Do I catch you all up on the last few weeks, or do I just pick up here and go on? I suppose that's why they say bloggers should keep posts going on a regular basis! Maybe I'll just give a bulleted list of events and then pick up where we are for the next post. Yeah. That sounds good.

Highlights of the past few weeks:
  • Sarah got her glasses and she looks adorable! She is doing great with them and we have had no problem getting her to wear them! Right after she put them on, she looked at me and said, "Mommy, why do your teeth have slobber on them?" Apparently, she had never noticed that mouths are moist! Too funny that when she first gets to see the world well, that's her comment.
  • Megan is doing great, as well. Just as we were thinking we should maybe call the doctor and think about getting a First Steps evaluation, she started sitting up great and bearing weight on her legs. Her little personality is also just shining through. She is a total ham. She grins her gummy grin at us and loves especially to watch us dance.
  • Not much new is going on with Josh, but after bullet points for Sarah and Megan, I feel like I should keep it balanced and fair. Josh is doing great, too. He's doing really well with school and is reading everything he gets his hand on! Hubby and I are getting much more proficient at pig Latin when we're trying to communicate without him knowing what we're talking about! The days of spelling things are long gone.
  • So much has been going on in the world with politics and economics and I feel like I'm learning so much more about it every day. While I could say A LOT about it all, I don't feel like going there on my blog (at least at this point), but will rather just say that God is in control. We need to be praying for our new President, our leaders, and our country as a whole.
  • And I debated whether or not to go here, too, but...remember my post about my sick day? Well, after more than three weeks of recurring health issues, I eventually headed to the doctor and he ordered some blood work. The combination of my random symptoms and the results of my blood work pointed to something quite scary. I don't know that I've ever felt the way I felt after I got those results. A few tears were shed. Okay, a lot of tears were shed. My doctor encouraged me not to panic, though, and ordered a re-test after two weeks. Talk about the longest wait of my life! I've been feeling much better the last couple of weeks and those second round of tests came back much better, too. I'm currently in a four-week wait for another check. Right now, it appears that everything should be okay, praise God! I have done a lot of growing through all of this, though, and have learned not to take anything for granted. Most importantly, I've learned just how important it is to have a strong foundation in Christ so that when (not if!) the storms come, there is strength, peace, and hope.

Okay, since this is a blog about bright spots, I wanted to end with some more happy bullet points! : )

  • My husband is awesome. My mom and dad stopped by our house on their way through town to babysit and we got to have a date night! We may be going on ten years of marriage, but I still have so much fun with this man and enjoy his company very much. I loved having a quiet dinner with him and also enjoyed watching a movie together. (Although, on a side note...when did movies get so stinkin' expensive!?! $19.50 for 2 tickets to a movie!?!? I know, I know....I'm so cheap!) The movie, Fireproof, was so worth it, though, and I'd encourage all married couples to watch it!!
  • We painted our bathroom! I want to have it feel like I'm on vacation, so we painted it a turquoise kind of color like the ocean. I was explaining this to my friends, and they thought I was kidding. I'm so not. I have three kids, people! I could use a little tropical vacation at the end of each day! : ) I'm going for a "classy tropical" look. I don't want it looking all Jimmy Buffetish. I found a little palm tree that I love. And I also found some placemats at Pier 1 that are made out of like a bamboo or something and I'm going to attempt to make window treatments out of them. Wish me luck. I am so not Martha Stewart! I'm still looking for some great photography or art of beach scenes (I'd especially like a sunset). If you have any suggestions on how to help turn my bathroom into a tropical getaway, please post a comment! : )

And that, folks, is a nutshell of my life the past couple of weeks. Thanks for hanging in here and for continuing to check in on me even when I am not good about regular posts! I must say, though, it feels good to be blogging again!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Through the Blurry Eyes of a Child

It's a pretty safe bet that anytime we're in the car going anywhere Sarah will say something along the lines of "Look at the beautiful word (translate: world) God made!"

She just loves the beauty of the trees, sky, even the local Kroger. I'm not kidding. It's just so stinkin' cute.

Well, today we found out that her vision is absolutely terrible. I mean terrible. It's worse than mine (and I am blind as a bat without my contacts or glasses!) I didn't see what the final prescription was, but it was somewhere around -7.00 in each eye! In the words of the doctor, "This is not normal. Nearsightedness normally starts in early elementary kids and progressively worsens." He did assure me, though, that she looks healthy and it appears to just be nearsightedness, and nothing more serious. We have a follow-up appointment scheduled in about two months and then we'll determine whether or not she needs to see a specialist.

Okay, so on to finding the bright spots in all of this....I have two.

First, Sarah reminds me how important it is just to celebrate with our imperfect bodies our perfect Creator God. How amazing is it that despite her apparent inability to see much of anything, she still sees His beauty in this world, and with such ease! I am reminded that we need to continually seek out the bright spots from the blur and mess of the world we see. Truly inspiring.

And second, I am so grateful for good medical care. I'm saddened to know that her vision is so poor, especially at such a young age, but I'm so grateful that it's been caught and that we can get her the help she needs.

Along those lines, though, could you just pray for her? Pray for her vision to not get progressively worse. (Our fear is that if it's this bad now, what will it be like as an adult?) Also, pray that there is nothing more serious causing these vision troubles. And can I just be real with you? I'm struggling with what she'll look like. I'm afraid the glasses will be quite thick and she is just such a cutie pie. I know it's silly, but I'm just bein' real...

(While you're praying for Sarah, please lift up a few for Megan, too. We're a little concerned about her development. I'll post more on that later to fill you in, but she just doesn't like to roll, sit up, or bear weight on her legs.)

As a parent, you just want the very best for your kids! Thanks for caring about ours, and for your prayers!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's Happening!

I am totally turning into my mom.

Josh just ran outside to play with his buddies and I yelled to him, "Have fun...and be good!" Do you know how many times I have heard that in my life? : )

Isn't it funny how the little things our parents do slowly turn into the little things we do?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why Are Babies Immune?

It's one of the most contagious things ever. Yet babies don't seem to catch it. At least my baby doesn't.

What am I talking about?

A yawn.

I've noticed on several occasions that if I yawn at Megan, she just looks at me and grins. Not even a slight yawn back.

How can this be?

Is it because babies sleep so much, they just don't have any sleepies left in them? Or is it just my baby and not other ones. I'm going to have to do an experiment and see if I can find a baby who will yawn back.

What about you? Have you ever noticed this, too, or do the babies in your life yawn back at you?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Adoption Changes

Some really great friends of ours have been waiting for almost two years now to adopt their daughter from China. They just got news on Friday that could greatly affect their ability to successfully complete the adoption process.

I don't really understand it all, but there's been some governmental changes on the US side and there's been a change in the form that's required for your background check. They're making everyone switch to the new one, even though Congress stated that anyone already involved in the adoption process should be grandfathered in. The new one costs significantly more and takes up to 6 months to process. Bottom line is this will require more money, a longer wait, and worst case scenario...if our friends' referral comes up before the new paperwork has been processed, they could lose their little girl and would have to start the entire process over (could take 4 YEARS or more!!!)

This is incredibly unfair and breaks my heart to think that beurocracy over paperwork could harm my friends' (and others like them) chance of becoming parents to the beautiful children around the world who need their mommies and daddies.

Here's where you come in. Could you please take just a moment to sign this petition? I guess they're trying to get as many signatures as possible before the 16th of October...

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/adoption-for-all.html

If you want to forward it on to others who support adoption, that'd be great, too. And most importantly, would you please say a prayer for our friends? God IS still in control, and He can and will be there with them through all this.

Thanks so much.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Much Better Day

Whew. I'm feeling much better today. I tell you what - getting the flu is the pits!

We've had a really fun day today and boy was I glad to be back with my family! I missed them so much yesterday and I was only upstairs sick in my bed!

So anyways...our fun day...

First, we toured the new airport with our neighbors. It was really cool because we got to see the behind the scenes stuff, too, like what happens to your bags after you check them. Oddly enough, I think my favorite part was actually the art in the parking garage. There were these giant red floaty things that expanded and collapsed. They're hard to explain and I unfortunately left my camera at home today. I just searched online for a picture of them, but couldn't find one. You'll just have to take my word for it. Pretty cool.

After the airport, we decided to head to the apple orchard. That was our first trip there as a whole family! We had lots of fun picking raspberries, pumpkins, and apples. I think we have enough apples for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a couple of weeks! If you have any great apple recipes and/or storage tips, please send them my way!!!

It was a great day, and can I just say one more time that I'm so happy to not be stuck in bed with the flu!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sick Day

I'm home sick today.

The flu bug totally bit me.

And normally when a stay-at-home-mom gets sick, absolutely nothing changes. She still goes about her day just as normal. Maybe just a little bit slower.

But today, my wonderful husband ran to work early this morning, got his computer and some files, and came back home to work here today so that I could lay in bed all day.

I love him so much. And I'm so incredibly thankful for a job that's flexible! I don't think I've had an actual sick day like today in over six years!

So even though I feel so incredibly yucky today, I still found a bright spot.

Hopefully tomorrow, I'll feel much, much better and there will be many more bright spots to celebrate...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Little Laugh to Lighten the Mood

Let's face it. The mood around the country isn't the greatest. The crashing economy and the stressful election can leave you with a general feeling of what in the world is going on here?

So to lighten the mood a little (I am, after all, writing about bright spots), I wanted to share what just happened around my lunch table.

Our neighbor (Josh's "best bud") is over to play today, and while we were all sitting around the lunch table enjoying our peanut butter and jelly bagels (we got a bunch of free bagels today from a friend...thanks, Carrie!) we were enjoying some fun conversation. First it was what kind of candy they would have if they ate a good lunch. They decided on a tootsie roll. But a few moments later, the conversation headed to five-year-old boy territory.

Toots.

I never even heard "it" or recognized "it" otherwise, but the accusations flew, the laughs abounded, and everybody was soon blaming the cat. Poor thing.

Well, I politely asked that they not talk about toots while we're eating.

So instead, they shifted their conversation back to the previous one, only altering it slightly as to still get away with what they really wanted to talk about.

They made jokes about "toot"sie rolls. They were laughing hysterically. Even baby Megan in her highchair with sweet potatoes and corn oozing out her mouth was laughing. I'm pretty sure she had no idea what they were talking about, but she thought it was fun anyways. : )

You know, the world troubles may abound, but a good-ole "toot" joke can make you remember there's more important things in life.

Like laughing with those you love.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Love and Marriage

Don't you just love love? I truly think marriage is the greatest.

Not that it's always easy, because there are times when you want to shake your dear love, but having a best friend to share life with is such a blessing. (And a hot hubby like mine is a nice little bonus, too!) : )

Well, on the subject of love, I just wanted to wish my brother and his new bride congratulations. They got married last Saturday. A beautiful couple on a beautiful day. We couldn't be happier for them!!!

Their wedding was so much fun! We loved seeing all our family and dancing all night long! Josh was definitely the king of the dance floor! Too cute. He told me that he might want to marry the other flower girl, Rylee, but that he wasn't sure yet and he still had time. Seriously, where do they get this stuff?


Anyways...Matt and Jessica, we're so excited for you guys! Congratulations!!! We love you!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ahhh...a welcome break

I just love, love, love vacations. I love the time to spend with my husband and kids; I love the break in routine; I love experiencing new things.

We returned late Sunday night from a great week in Florida, and I think it's safe to say that I about feel like a new woman. I did discover that it is totally crazy trying to get a family of five out the door for nine days, and contemplated chucking the whole trip. But boy, am I glad we went. Seriously, about ten minutes after we left at 5:14 a.m. last Saturday I felt the relief of vacation.

I have so much I could share, but today I'll share my top ten list of the best things about our vacation:

10. Seeing Sarah finally "give a tight squeeze" to Mickey Mouse (aka hug him) after numerous failed attempts. She's so brave!
9. Riding Space Mountain with Josh - his first real roller coaster!
8. Playing "sit down" in the ocean with Josh and Sarah - seeing how long we could stay seated in the water without the waves knocking us over.
7. Watching Megan's eyes light up on "It's A Small World"
6. Eating shrimp, shrimp, and more shrimp
5. Getting to read a whole book of my own choosing.
4. Watching the kids and daddy swim at nighttime. (Megan and I wanted to join, but bedtime beckoned for her.)
3. Hanging out with Jason...watching silly movies (you can tell we don't have cable when it's a treat to watch Karate Kid!), chatting about life, and having time to spend with the man I love.
2. Enjoying God's awesome creation...the vast ocean, the variety of plants and sea life, the peace in the breeze, His perfect order when it comes to everything from tides to sea turtles, and the beauty of a rainbow and the promise that it signifies.
1. Relaxing with, playing with, and just plain enjoying my four precious gifts from God - Jason, Josh, Sarah, and Megan.

I hope to get some pics posted at some point, but we are back in the swing of things, so no promises! : )

And I can't post this without giving a big thank you to my parents, who graciously let us stay at their place when we go down there! It's such a blessing! Thank you!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Happy Birthday, Princess Sarah!

We've had a fun week of festivities for our little princess!

It's like there's been a pink explosion around our house - tulle, balloons, signs, a giant castle. It's been fun! She got to have a princess party last Saturday with family and friends. She even dressed up just like Sleeping Beauty. Mommy dressed up like the queen.

Yep, all in the name of being a good sport.

Then on her "real" birthday, we had our neighbors over for dinner and she got to pick the meal. She chose tacos.

Did she eat the tacos? Of course not.

Ah, I love that girl, though.

So incredibly much.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Curing the Skadgers

Okay, so I'd love to post the "after" pictures of our landscaping, but I've been sidetracked.

The germies have invaded our house. The good news is that I believe we're about done with them.

The bright spot in the middle of our war with germs was when Sarah told me that she didn't feel well. (That sounds bad...keep reading...) When I asked her what was wrong, she replied that she had skadgers in her heart.

Excuse me, what?

Yep. She said it again. She had skadgers in her heart. 'Cause every little girl gets skadgers in her heart, right?

How do you treat skadgers? Children's Tylenol? Ice pack? Band aid? Trip to the ER?

Nope. Mommy hugs. They have the amazing power to heal about everything.

Apparently even skadgers.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Goodbye Ugly Bushes



It's been a year since we moved in, oh ugly bushes, but now you are gone.

Our builder chose you, but we never liked you. And tomorrow you will be replaced with nice, pretty bushes that do not grow all over and make our front yard look messy.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Braving the Basement

OK, I can laugh now. But two hours ago? No laughing matter.

I hate spiders. If I see one, I call to my knight in shining armor and he bravely comes to my rescue.

Well when I went in the basement to retrieve the highchair today, no one was here to defend me from the hairy, ugly, scary, evil, why did God have to create these monsters?, creepy spider.

So what did I do? I took my highchair on upstairs and decided to bravely go into battle. I grabbed a shoe and slowly descended into the basement of terror. When I got to the bottom, I had to pause and recite to myself about 50 times, "I can do all things through Christ, I can do all things through Christ, I can do all things through Christ..."

Well, yes...I can. But in a minute. First, I needed more ammunition. A shoe just doesn't put that much space between you and the enemy, you know? I tried, but the thought of him running after me sent shivers down my back.

Round 2. Now I had Raid spray. It said it's for flying insects, but it also mentioned spiders on the back, so I figured it was worth a try. I screamed and sprayed him (you know, 'cause the screaming could just scare him to death) but he ran away, so I kept spraying. Eventually he curled up in a little ball. Ah ha. Got him.

Only a second later, those little legs popped out and off he scurried. I screamed again and sprayed some more. Apparently Raid does not kill man-eating spiders because it happened again and again - I thought I had him, but he tricked me. He was down, but not out.

I totally felt just like Julia Roberts did in Sleeping With the Enemy.

So, attempt number three. A fly swatter. I headed downstairs one last time to defend my honor and save my children from impending doom, and this time I got him.

At least I think so.

I'm too scared to go down and check.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Cute Things Kids Say

OK, I admit. I struggle with recording all the cute things my kids do and say. I have some down in beautiful scrapbooks. But those end when Josh was 2 1/2, Sarah was 9 months, and poor Megan - she wasn't even a twinkle in her daddy's eye.

It's much more likely that I find random pieces of paper with notes on them. They end up in my "to be filed" box - the box I think I'll get to when I have spare time. (What's that?) : )

So I found one of those pieces of paper today while I was organizing and it made me smile. Here is what it said:

"Does this bathroom have a fastpass?"
-Josh, Nov 07 at the end of the day in line for a bathroom at Epcot

"I have an allergy to Sarah's crying. Ah choo."
- Josh, in the car on the way to Grandma and Grandpa Flint's house Christmas 07. (Apparently Sarah wasn't enjoying the trip so much.)

Don't kids just say the silliest things? I love it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Olympic Dreams

Is it not the most motivating thing to watch the Olympics?

Sure, Michael Phelps is way cool and I'm super impressed. But not only him. "Old" people, too! So far I've seen 41 year-old Dara Torres swim like mad and a 33 year-old (slightly scary looking) German lady hold her own against the teeny-bopper gymnasts.

Here's my thought process...

I'm only 31. I could so find something to do and be there in 4 years standing on that podium with a medal around my neck.

The trampoline looked cool. Maybe I could try that. Nah...afraid of heights and they jump way high. Swimming? Who am I kidding. I still like to hold my nose when I jump in. Rhythmic gymnastics has always looked like fun. I haven't seen that yet, though...do they still have that? I have some rhythm, but the gymnastics part could be tough.

Ugh. My hopes are fading.

I think the official Olympic people need to come up with something that doesn't require so much oh, I don't know...athleticism.

At least they're fun to watch!

Go USA!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Kindergarten

Is my baby really old enough to be in Kindergarten??

Here's Josh on his first official day...
And here's his first completed worksheet:

For those of you interested in the details, we're using Sonlight's Core K with 1st grade readers and Language Arts, Horizons K math, A Reason For Handwriting, and I've ordered The World God Made for science.

I still sometimes can't believe I'm actually homeschooling, but I'm so glad God has called me to this! I am so proud of my excellent student and all he has done so far and I love spending the time with him. I just love snuggling on the couch together with a good book and learning about God's world.

I'm still trying to find the right blend between following a schedule and enjoying the flexibility that homeschooling offers, but otherwise it's going so well.

And at the fair last night when he was reading us the signs?

So incredibly rewarding.

I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Goofy Songs About Cereal

Around our house we...well I... like to make up goofy songs about ordinary life experiences. We have a "Good Morning" song, a "We Are Family" song (similar to the real one, but with our own twist), even a "Pink Cup Day" song.

But now it's time again for one of my favorites.

It's baby cereal time.

Do you remember that old song by Olivia Newton John, "Let's Get Physical?" Not exactly the most holy little song, but quite a catchy tune. Well, we sing our baby cereal song to that tune. Our song goes like this..

Cereal
Cereal
Let's have cereal
Yummy, yummy cereal
Yummy in your tummy, tummy
So yummy yum
Yummy in your tummy, tummy

You get the idea.

Or at least you get the idea that I'm a total goofball!

Is anyone with me? Do any of you have silly made up songs, too, or am I the only one? Leave a comment and let me know!

And here's how well her first cereal experience went...

Maybe she didn't like my song???

She's been at it now for a couple of weeks and is getting slightly better. She seems to like the song and doesn't cry when we feed her, but still thrusts her tongue back out at us with the cereal all over it.

Maybe she needs a song about swallowing.

A Visit with Gaga

Hi y'all! Anyone still out there? I know, I know...I've been terrible about blogging lately. My sincere apologies go out to all you amazing fans who have missed me terribly.

All 4 of you. : )

Anyways...life is going well here at our household. We've had a few new milestones reached lately, but I think I'll keep you in suspense and post about those over the next few days.

I'm cruel like that.

I will share that we've had some super fun times the last two days. My mom, affectionately known as Gaga, came down for a visit. And she came bearing gifts. Dinosaur and princess colorform-like-toys for the kids and coupons and People magazines for me. That woman sure knows what we like!

Hubby and I got to go out for a much-needed date night last night (seriously, when did life get so hectic?) while Gaga babysat. Uncle Matt and Aunt Jessica came over, too, and I think were a huge help to mom. Hubby and I enjoyed a nice, quiet dinner out, did a little shopping, and got to see a movie. It was a great evening!

Then today, we ventured to one of the kids' favorite spots - The Children's Museum! It was Megan's first trip there, and she did great! Josh and Sarah were thrilled to be back (we realized it had been over 6 months since we'd been there) and got to do some of our favorite regulars (the dinosaurs, the water table, and the carousel), but also got to see some cool new things like a mummy tour and the Batmobile. Lots of fun!

(This is Josh in front of the Batmobile - you just kinda can't see it.)

Thanks, Gaga, for coming down and hanging out with us. We loved seeing you! And hubby and I definitely appreciated the free babysitting!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Going To Church

Yesterday we went to church.

Yes, we physically went to church. But that's not what I mean. I mean we went to church.

You know, when the worship is awesome and the teaching is awesome and you can just feel God in that place. That's going to church. Amen? Amen.

What makes the difference? I mean, why does it sometimes feel like you've been to church and other times you've just physically been at church? I'm sure the difference has to do with whether or not you've encountered God. But don't you think sometimes you just encounter Him on a deeper level?

For example, one thing that always moves me at church is when I see someone in need up at the alter in prayer and someone else goes up and prays with them. That's just the body of Christ doing what it's called to do - loving each other.

Yesterday, though, lots of people went up to pray. And lots of other people went up to pray with them and for them. Moved me to tears. I just love it when God moves and when His church does what it is meant to do. I felt Him in that place and in my heart and it was awesome.

Yesterday was just a small glimpse of heaven, and I loved it!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Paying Bills and Loving It

I don't think I've ever been so excited to pay a bill before. I mean, let's face it, paying bills usually is not fun. So why am I excited about paying a bill, you ask?

Because I just paid off THE LAST of hubby's student loans!!!

The great education he received at a not-very-cheap private university is finally paid for IN FULL!!!

The best part of the news, though? We are now DEBT-FREE with the exception of our house!!!!! (And our goal is to try to have that paid off by the time we're 40.)

Sorry I keep shouting at you, but I'm awfully excited!!!

How do we do it? First, we trust God with everything. He is always faithful to provide for all our needs and even some of our wants! All we have is His and we're just called to be good stewards. We love giving and have always been faithful with our tithes and offerings and we believe He has blessed us for that.

Plus, we've been through tight financial times (hubby's unemployment when Josh was a baby) and we understand the value of a dollar.

We plan out how we want to spend every dollar, we don't spend frivolously, and we live below our means so that we can pay down our debt. It's not always easy or fun (although I do admit to an abnormal fondness for my budget), but so worth it! (Dave Ramsey has LOTS of great advice for getting out of debt if you'd like more ideas!)

We can't wait until our debt is gone completely!! Can you imagine the freedom? We'll be able to give however we'd like, afford special extras, pay for college and weddings without nearly as much stress, and maybe even retire early!!!

And the great news is that as of today, we are one step closer! Praise God!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Deodorant


I've looked high and low for years for a clear deodorant that both stays clear AND keeps you from getting all stinky. I've never had any luck.

If it was clear, I felt sticky and self-conscious about getting all smelly. If it kept me smelling good, everyone could see it.

Ugh...the troubles of a woman.

So, girls, my search has ended. Thank you, Secret (my favorite deodorant when you don't have to worry about it being clear), for saving the day!

Their new product, Secret Flawless, does it all. I've tried it a couple times and I am so happy with it. No stinkies. No white marks on your shirt. No feeling self-conscious.

My search is over. I'm a happy camper.

Obviously, it doesn't take much.

It costs a little more than normal deodorant, but is worth it to finally have what I need. Now if I can just find a way to get it free at CVS, then life will be grand.

So this works for me. And it's Wednesday. Thus, Works for Me Wednesday.

Crazy High-Pitched Screaming Fans

I know. I know, okay? I am in my 30's. Well - early 30's actually, but still 30's. That's nowhere close to 16.

But man, did I ever have fun at the American Idol concert last night...and just for a little while, it was like I was 16 again. You know, screaming at crazy high pitches, squealing with excitement, and waving my arms trying to get the guy with the t-shirt blaster to point my way.

I went with my mom, my aunt, and my soon-to-be sister-in-law. None of whom are 16. But boy, we had a blast! The top 10 each gave their own mini concert. They were all great, but when David Cook came out I was so super-duper excited! (Insert crazy 30-something lady screaming and jumping here.)

Hubby gives me a hard time sometimes because I love reality tv shows. American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance are two of my faves. I believe that they happen as they show them to me. That's just the way my happy little mind likes to think of them. He watches them and tells me what probably actually happened and how they tweaked it to make it look a certain way so that people like me will get suckered in.

That's when I tell him, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

Really, how could they mess with reality competition shows like American Idol? I know, I know...they can and probably do. But like I said, I like to think that they don't. I like to think that all my votes for David Cook helped him win. I don't want to be all conspiracy-theory-esque (is that a word?) and think that it was all fixed.

It was super exciting when he won on the show (thanks to my votes!)...then to see him in person?!?! It's so funny because you almost feel like you know them. Not in crazy stalker way, but just in an I've watched him every week for months now and love his music kind of way.

I didn't go so crazy as to wear a shirt with glitter letters that say I heart David Cook, but I did yell for him.

Just a little.

Okay...a lot.

You know, the guy in front of me did leave early. I hope it's not because his ears hurt.

Oh well, I had fun. Whooo hoooo!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Chicago

A whole week has passed since we've been in Chicago. How does that happen, and does time ever slow down?

Anyways...

Last Sunday hubby and I were going to send the kids home with GaGa and PaPa after bocce and head to Chicago. He had a conference there Monday and Tuesday and since work was paying for it, we could have a free little getaway. (With the exception of our activities and my meals, of course...don't want you thinking we're cheating the company!) Well, GaGa got sick, so we didn't think there'd be any traveling for any of us besides hubby.

However, at 11:45 p.m. on Saturday night, we decided we could take all the kids with us! We are crazy, let me tell ya! We knew we weren't really prepared, but we just said it'd be an adventure and we'd make the most of it!

Well, we did just that. We got up Sunday morning and in a whirlwind of activity got all five of us packed and on the road. Now, I am a list maker and a planner, so this was against my nature, but we had so much fun! Sure, there were some crazy, hectic times. But we did a lot of laughing and the kids loved seeing the big city. We don't live in Podunkville, but Chicago is definitely something different for them.

We walked everywhere. A double stroller doesn't make it easy to get around on any sort of public transportation, so we just walked. And walked. And walked some more. Josh was so cute - he'd wave at all the cars as he passed by and was mesmerized by the city. When we weren't walking or doing something fun, he'd sit in the windowsill of the hotel and just watch all the activity below. So cute!

We got to do lots of fun stuff like the Museum of Science and Industry, Navy Pier, and the Lincoln Park zoo. A friend of mine who lives in the Chicago suburbs was even able to meet us at the zoo and we got to spend a very hot but fun day together with our kids.


You know, sometimes those spur of the moment crazy ideas turn out to be some of the best trips! I'm really glad we all went!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bocce 2008

As I mentioned before, we've had a busy few days. Today I'll fill you in on bocce, and I'll have to catch you up on our Chicago trip later. (There's just not enough time in the day! I figure laundry really should take precedence over blogging!)

The fun started last Saturday with our family's annual 4th (or 12th?) of July bocce tournament. (Of course the party wasn't the same this year because my mom was stuck at our house with the flu. We missed you mom, and are glad you're feeling better now!)


Sarah with her "best buds" aka cousins Lindsay and Allison - she is still bugging me about when we can see them again!

baby Megan taking a break with Sher

We get together and celebrate with the traditional pitch-in and fireworks, but the heart of the gathering is the bocce tournament. We draw numbers to make teams of two and compete in single elimination form. And let me tell you, the competition gets fierce!

My brother, Matt, in victorious celebration

My cousins, Tim and Mark, losing quite graciously (Is that possible in this family?)
Well, my partner, Kay, and I were out the first round. (We lost to the eventual tournament winners, which I think makes our loss sound much better.)



Giving it my all


Hubby made a respectable run, but lost in the semifinals (also to the overall winners).


Competitive bocce takes serious concentration!

My dad and my cousin's boyfriend pulled out the victory in the end. Congrats Dad and Colin! And congrats to the runners-up - my brother, Matt, and my cousin, Kathryn.


Someone (who shall remain nameless) didn't get the real prizes picked up in time, so Dad and Colin will have to receive their custom hats at a later date.


After bocce came the real competition. Junior bocce! All the little ones (and some that aren't so little anymore) get to play their own bocce game. My kids thoroughly enjoyed it!



Go Josh!

I love this tradition that my family has. I forget exactly how long it's been going on, but I think it's been over 25 years! That's amazing! We even have a lovely trophy that the winners can proudly display during their reigning year as bocce champs.



Don't you wish you could have something this classy for your home?

And my favorite picture of the day goes to my cousin, Homie Dave...(yo!)


A fun time was had by all! (Well, except for mom, I guess...)

Lots of catching up to do...

Hi friends!

Did you think I was gone forever?

Nah. We just have been quite busy the last few days with our family's annual 4th of July bocce tournament (this year held on the 12th) and then a family getaway to Chicago. We've had lots of fun and I have so much to share!

Stay tuned...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Zerberts

We've been in the zerbert kind of mood around here lately. I don't know if it's because of summertime and being in swimsuits a lot or what, but if you're caught around here with a belly showing, it's a pretty safe bet you're gonna get a zerbert.

While I was changing Megan today, I couldn't resist her cute baby tummy and I gave her a zerbert. She just loved it! Her giggles attracted her brother and sister and soon everyone was giving her zerberts!


As you can see, she thought it was pretty fun!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tummy Time

Ever since they've begun recommending that babies sleep on their backs at night, they also say that babies are supposed to have tummy time. You know, let them practice lifting their heads and gaining strength and things.

With Josh I had scheduled tummy times and we were diligent about doing them all the time. Sarah, probably not as diligent, but still on a daily basis.

The poor third child.

Megan gets tummy time, sure, but for a minute here or a minute there.

So I sat down today to give the girl some undivided attention and work on tummy time with her. And what does she do?


Yep. She rolls over.

My baby girl rolled over!

I thought maybe it was a fluke, so I set her back on her tummy again.
Roll.
Okay, one more time.
Roll again.

Oh my goodness! I'm so proud her and yet so sad that she's growing up so fast.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Being Equipped

I don't do well without a plan.

I like to-do lists and calendars and budgets and spreadsheets and all those wonderful, wonderful things.

So when July came so incredibly fast, I started to panic. School starts in August and we had so much up in the air for school! I knew we wanted to homeschool, but our co-op had a lot of work yet to do to figure out what Kindergarten would look like and I didn't have my curriculum that I knew I wanted in hand yet. (I'm trying to find the best deal on it that I can!)

Yikes!

Well, my bright spot today is that I feel so peaceful about it all. Our co-op met last night and those plans are coming together well and I have a friend who brought me all the books that I need to do our own school time. I just have to go through them and let her know which ones I want to buy from her.

All the pieces are beginning to fall in place.

Whew.

I don't know why I lose faith sometimes. I just need to remember that when God calls us, He equips us. I'm just grateful to Him today that He is showing me the way and helping these pieces to fall in place.

And you better believe I'll have fun crossing things off my to-do list!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Getting Dressed

Well, my daughter may have inherited my love of Florida, but I know one thing she definitely did not get from me.

You see, I have the I-Could-Wear-My-Jammies-Until-Noon gene. She has the I-Can't-Stand-To-Not-Be-Dressed gene.

This girl gets up in the morning and 2.4 seconds later she's begging for her big girl undies and her "clothes shirt." (You know, as opposed to her "jammie shirt.")

Today was especially torturous for her. We had plans to go to our neighborhood pool again today, so instead of putting clothes on, we put on bathing suits. However, it just wasn't that nice of a morning with clouds all around and not very warm temps. Our friends still came over to play, but we just stayed inside - all of us in our bathing suits.

Well, once Sarah realized the pool just wasn't happening, she asked if she could get dressed. I was fine with that. So she went upstairs and brought down her favorite "dark pink dress" that she told me she found in the closet. I helped her put it on and you could tell right away that she just felt whole.

She spun and twirled. She jumped and ran. She looked really darn cute.

Until I noticed the stain.

"Uh oh," I said. "What happened to your dress?"

"I don't know," she replied, not really caring too much.

"Well, where did you get the dress?"

"From the closet."

"Your closet?" I asked, remembering she can't usually reach the things in her closet.

"Nope. Yours....on the floor."

Ah hah...it all made sense now. The dirty laundry goes in our closet. It's sorted in piles on the floor. She went and found her favorite dress in the laundry. Ewww...

Then I did something I normally wouldn't do. I let her keep the dress on. If it didn't bother her, it didn't bother me. I figure you're only 2 once.

At least that's how I felt today...maybe tomorrow I'll be back to my normal self.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Changing The World

Okay, so I promised yesterday that I'd write something interesting today.

Man, the pressure!

We did lose a passy around here somewhere. Is that interesting?

Well, lucky for you I decided to check in on some other blogs first. The first one I read just struck me. You'll have to check it out here. I just couldn't move on from there without writing about it.

Let's be honest. There are days when all you do is clean up messes on and around your kids, break up arguments, make silly faces to try to evoke grins, wash umpteen loads of laundry, and read a story for the fifty-seventh time. Oh, and search for lost passies.

Doesn't exactly leave you feeling like you're changing the world.

I was so touched by what I read, though. There really is no greater way to change the world than by investing in the precious little ones God has entrusted to your care.

So today, I'm going to go about my seemingly unimportant tasks, grinning while I do, knowing that I'm changing this world.

Wow. Me - changing the world. For the better.

Whether I ever find that passy or not.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Celebrations

I hope you all enjoyed your 4th of July celebrations! We sure did!

On Friday night we watched "the big fireworks" from afar. We found a spot where we could see them perfectly but that wasn't in the middle of all the crowds. Great for families with little ones - not too noisy and the kids could watch them in their jammies!

Saturday we decided to take a little road trip and we headed to a state park to do some hiking and to see a waterfall. It was flowing very strong because of lots of recent rain. The rushing water just reminded me so much of God - so powerful, yet also quite peaceful. It was good for my soul.

Then, last night we headed to some friends' for a cookout. It was lots of fun - we always enjoy being with good friends! (And good food doesn't hurt, either!)

Sorry for the short post, but man, I'm pooped! Three-day weekends are supposed to be relaxing, but somehow hubby and I are both wishing we could just have another day to catch up!

I'll be back tomorrow with (hopefully!) something interesting to say! : )

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, America!



Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I REALLY love this country.

I'm proud of its Christian heritage and I am so grateful for the men and women who have sacrificed to make this nation free! I don't ever want to take for granted the freedoms and opportunities that we have as Americans!
I am proud to be an American! And I'm proud to celebrate this great holiday!
Happy 4th of July!

My First Blog About CVS

Can you believe it? I've made it a whole week blogging and haven't yet mentioned CVS! Wow!

For those of you who don't know, I absolutely love shopping at CVS and using their Extra Care Bucks (ECB) program. My friend, Sarah, got me started on it this February and just since then I've gotten over $1,500 in free stuff. Shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, diapers, medicine, cleaning supplies, makeup, batteries, razors, and more! You should see my closet! Seriously, who can argue with that!?!

(For anyone who's not familiar with it and would like to know more about how you too can save lots of money by shopping at CVS, check out the CVS 101 post at moneysavingmom. My other key to my success is the discussion forum at slickdeals where you can see what's part of the ECB deals each week and how to match up coupons to score great deals!)

Well, in celebration of the 4th of July, the really nice folks at CVS emailed me a $4 off a $20 purchase coupon, so who could resist?


Here's what I got today...


1 RightGuard deodorant @ 6.99 (used $1 off coupon from newspaper)
2 Lifesaver Gummies @ 2.19/each (On sale B1G1)
2 CVS Pantyliners @ .99/each
2 CVS Tampons @ 1.49/each
1 Cascade @ 3.99
1 CVS Paper towel


-$4 coupon (mentioned above)
-$1 Rightguard coupon from newspaper
- B1G1 Lifesaver coupon from newspaper
-$1 CVS Paper towel coupon I got when I scanned my card today
-4.50 in previous ECBs
-$8.17 on a gift card I got for transferring a prescription


Spent $0, got $9.96 back in ECB to spend next time!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Passing It On (Part 2)

Okay, so in the few moments today that we did something other than play Florida, I discovered something else my kids inherited from me.

Bony bottoms.

Ouch!



Foot rides were a nice idea, but I think I'd rather play more Florida.

Passing It On

You know, it strikes me as odd some of the things your kids get from you. Hair color, eye color, sure. But a love for Florida? Really?

My mom loves Florida. A lot. Actually, a whole, whole lot. I love Florida, too. Seems I got that from her. And now my kids seem to have inherited the I-Love-Florida gene. If there's any Geneticists reading my blog (I know you all tend to flock here!), could you help locate that one?

We've been stuck inside all day today because of the rain. So what do my kids want to do? Play Florida.

Yep.

It's not unusual at all to play Florida around our house. But that's about ALL they've wanted to do today. Visit the beach. Hang out at the pool. Go to Disney World. Check out the manatee park. Eat in Florida. Nap in Florida. Bathe in Florida. Sensing a pattern?

Here's my son swimming in the Florida pool.

And here they are watching the Disney World parade. Pink baby scored a prime spot in her stroller!

I guess everything is more fun when you're in Florida, right? Sounds good to me...let's go!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Big Kids

You know what I love about summer?

Summer just has a way of taking you back to being a kid. Somehow ice cream cones and lightning bugs and sprinklers beckon and it's okay to play again. It helps when there's kids egging you on, of course, but I think there's just something in all of us.

My sweet hubby taking a break from yard work to join in the sprinkler fun.

And convincing the neighbor to do the same.

(He was warned this would make the blog!)


All the kids - big and little

The county fair is in a couple of weeks and I think all the grown ups eating elephant ears will prove my point exactly.

But then again, that's what summer's all about.