Saturday, July 30, 2005

Hurtful people

Why is it that some people just can't stop themselves from being hurtful? In real life and in this cyber world, we have all come across people who just don't seem happy to respectfully disagree or to let something go. It seems they're constantly on the lookout for any perceived slight or opportunity to attack. I have a person in my real life who has this attitude and Molly has recently been attacked on her blog by someone over what began as ...I can only describe it as a difference of opinion. Have there always been this many rude people running around? I'm just constantly in awe of the things people feel entitled to say.
I think most of you know where we stand on the whole quiverfull thing, but I have never tried o make anyone who disagrees with me feel stupid or vilified about their beliefs. I also would never intentionally look for an offense where none was intended. And I pray I've never done it unintentionally either.
I've heard a lot of comments since we announced that baby #3 is on the way, but it's easy to tell which ones were said in jest and which ones were meant to be a little (or not so little) jab. I've been much less concerned with the jabs this time around, but I recently found out that I've been missing the worst of them. That's right, some people around here have nothing to do but bad-mouth me behind my back for having another child. I mean I know this is a sleepy little town, but my word - get a hobby.
I guess I've always known that following God's will isn't meant to be easy. I just imagined that persecution would be more ... glamorous somehow:) Not this petty little drip, drip, drip of annoying rudeness.
I think a lot of us could use a course in manners - especially the conversational variety. But maybe the main thing is we need to start taking seriously the Golden Rule.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

I've had one of those days...

You know, where you're so busy you don't remember to eat until sudden-onset nausea (or for you non-pregnant readers - just a growling stomach). Actually, my whole week was pretty much like that. So now I'm taking a little break. It's almost time to watch the webcast of my mother's graduation ceremony. She's getting her Master's and I couldn't be more proud of her. She's worked so hard for this and I would just dearly love to be there cheering, but this live webcast is a fabulous substitute. Anyway. In the time before that gets started I thought I'd chill out for awhile (does anyone else still say chill out?) and type for a few minutes. One of my friend's recently encouraged me to make a list of things I get excited about so that I'll have something to refer to when I catch myself with a few minutes to spare and no idea what to do with myself:) So I think this will be as good a time as any.
These are things that make me smile or grin or just things I'm enthusiastic about:)

  1. painted toenails
  2. not having to cook
  3. reading to my kids
  4. sweetened condensed milk - cold
  5. historical fiction
  6. brand new contacts
  7. books about cooking - not just pages of recipes
  8. crab legs with melted butter and lemon
  9. blank paper and a new pen
  10. the MOMYS for sale list
  11. the library
  12. the Dollar Store
  13. febreeze
  14. bubble baths
  15. magazines
  16. talking with my hubby over a bowl of ice cream
  17. catalog
  18. my church
  19. girlfriends (this esp. includes my mom, sister and grandmas)
  20. big shady pecan trees
  21. eating a ripe peach

There it is. 21 things that make me happy:)

Organizing a Playroom

When we moved into our new home my darling husband was thrilled to see that it had a dining room. A "real" dining room – not just space for a table and chairs off the kitchen (although it has that, too). Unfortunately, we do not have a dining room table or chairs or all that other fancy furniture that looks so nice in a "real" dining room and we probably won’t be spending the big bucks to buy any soon. So I had a whole empty room to find a use for – YIPEE! I thought immediately of making a playroom for my two (soon to be three) little toy junkies. There were just two problems. The first was that the room is attached to our living room, which is where we sit at night and where visitors sit when they come over – very visible. The second problem was that this room was also the only place for my computer and "office" (also known as Home Base). These problems both worked out to be good things. I motivated to keep this room very organized and attractive and I can work in the same room with the kids while they play so with a spin of my chair I can discipline or encourage – or stop everything and play.
I started by dividing the room into stations – just like a preschool. The first station is my desk and bookcase. The book case holds our Levi’s school supplies that he needs permission to get, library books, my file folder of magazine articles that I’ve pulled out for future reference, phonebooks, my "office in a basket" and –most importantly – my homekeeping binder. That’s everything I need to do any deskwork during the day. The station next to it is his little table and chairs. This is where he does what we call schoolwork – coloring, pasting, cutting, putting together puzzles, etc. He’s within arms reach of my chair so I can stop and help (or see if he drops the glue). Under his table is a big piece of clear vinyl to keep the carpet clean.
The next station is his bookcase – turned on it’s side so that the three shelves turn into cubbies. He keeps books in one, puzzles and a tub of little books in another and a stack of shoebox size rubbermaid containers in the last. The containers hold little toys – cars, blocks, and his musical instruments. We pasted pictures on the ends of the boxes so he knows what goes where and can pick up the toys and put them in the right box himself. On top of the bookshelf are Brenna’s big toys so that she can see them and reach them. The only thing I have to get down is the Little Tykes farm – it’s still too heavy. There are also big pillows on the floor nearby – a little reading center. We’re in the planning stages of redoing this section with raingutter bookshelves – I think these will make a big difference since he’ll be able to see the books and put them away.
On the other end of the bookshelf are all the building toys – legos, lincoln logs, etc – in bigger rubbermaid containers. We also have a crate full of dinosaurs here since Levi plays with them with the legos. And the tonka trucks. We keep a large toy box in the playroom, too, that my husband made for Levi. It holds the out of rotation toys – out of site, out of mind. Every few months I rotate toys so that they can play with the ones they haven’t seen in awhile. This is also a good time to give some toys away. I have a theory that too much (of any material thing, anyway) is not good for kids, so I actively try to make sure that they aren’t swamped. But you can’t tell Grandparents thatJ But a little spoiling by Grandma doesn’t hurt.
The last thing in our playroom is a small basket of Brenna’s little toys – rattles, baby blocks, stacking rings – all the things that keep her busy for a few minutes while I’m on the phone.
I’ve had a really great time putting together a play space for us and the kids have a great time playing in it. We’re doing a little along to decorate with framed pictures Levi drew or crafts he made. We’re going to do a chair rail border of old-fashioned alphabet cards that I just found. I can leave the molding and change the border when we have a dining room. The best thing, in my opinion, about the room is that Levi can get to the toys himself and can put them away himself.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Making Your House Feel Like Home

Anyone can have a house (or apartment or hotel room or RV), but it takes a little effort to make a home. So why bother? Well, it’s our job – we’re homemakers after all. And who doesn’t want a home? A soft place to land when the world outside is too hard, a place to invite others and share a part of ourselves, a place to make our family feel warm and loved and cared for. But how do we go about changing our little dwelling into a comforting and welcoming home for our family?
I believe the first step is to ask our family members and ourselves just what says "home" for us. I know for my husband –and probably yours, too – home means smelling a nice hot meal when he comes through the door. Nothing makes him feel more at home than knowing dinner is on the way! So I try to have something that smells inviting on the stove when he comes in even if I haven’t quite got dinner started yet. A "trick" I read in an old home economics textbook is to slice up an onion and start sautéing it on the stove before hubby comes in. It only takes a second and it smells like supper. Chances are you’ll use it when you do cook dinner anywayJ Appetizers from the freezer that you can stick in the oven are also great for making a hungry husband feel welcome.
Since our children are still small and since hubby doesn’t enjoy making lists nearly as much as I do, I sat down in a rare moment of quiet time one day to make my own list of things that make me feel good – words that remind me of the best things in life. If you can get your husband and kids involved, this is a great exercise for everyone. If not, make a list for yourself. Mine looked like this.
10 words and phases that make me feel at home
God’s Word
Pecan trees
Sweet tea
Family and friends
Good food
Screen doors slamming
Fresh-cut flowers
Porch swings
After I made my list and thought about what would be on my husband and children’s lists I had a pretty good idea what I wanted our home to be like. Then I started figuring out ways – inexpensive ways! – to incorporate some of these "homey things" into our home.
One of the first things I did in our first apartment was frame a set of poster’s that I got on sale – they’re Bible verses done in calligraphy – and hang them throughout the house. It was perfect for all our rental homes. Now that we’re in our own home, I plan to paint scripture on the walls.
We can’t always afford fresh flowers every week, although they can be very cheap from the grocery store or, in the spring and summer, from the yard. But many of the pictures hanging in my home are of flowers. I often cut pictures off of calendars or out of magazines to frame. I also press flowers and mount them to hang. These also make great gifts.
One of the first things we planted when we moved in were pecan trees. They’re still pretty small and I know it will take them a long time to grow, but I can wait. My grandmother’s yard is full of great big pecan trees and they just say "home" to me. Next spring I hope to plant some wisteria to climb over something in our side yard. This is another plant that makes me think of home. Many of my family members are surprised that I don’t plan on planting kudzu (an infamous, rapidly spreading ground cover that literally covers anything standing still here in Georgia), but my dear husband had to put his foot down somewhereJ
Our porch swing is actually under our deck – not on our front porch (we don’t have one of those), but it serves the same purpose. It’s a wonderful place to relax with my husband, read a good book while the kids play or sit and chat with friends who stop by. Drinking sweet tea, of course.
My husband worked with my grandfather, a carpenter, one Christmas to make me four beautiful bookcases. They hold our books, of course, but also pictures of family and friends, and baskets filled with cds, memorabilia that will one day get put in a scrapbook, my "office in a basket," and magazines I hope to read. We also decorate with books. I have them in stacks under a too-small lamp to give it a little more stature and a few with beautiful covers stacked on end tables. I’ve even found pictures in yardsale books to tear out and frame. Part of my son’s room is decorated with old-fashioned Curious George pictures.
We haven’t added on a screen door just yet. That’ll come when we finish the downstairs (it’s still under construction). And I have lots more projects in mind. But the most important thing to me about making a house into a home is remembering that it’s a home for my family. It doesn’t matter what others think of it. I want guests always to be comfortable and to enjoy their time at our house because we love to have people over. But in the end guests go to their own homes and our home is just for us again. So even though others might not understand why we have a playroom where the dining room should be or why certain spots sit empty (I always wait for inspiration!), that’s alright with me. As long as we are happy in our home, that’s what counts. So sit down and think about what would make you happy in your home. Encourage your husband and kids to tell you what they’d like. And then use those ideas to make your house into your home.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A few of the comments we've heard since announcing #3

Now keep in mind that this baby will only be our third and that our oldest will be 4 and Brenna will be 20 months already before Little (insert name here) is born, so It's not like I'm popping them out every 10 months here - I'm just not that lucky:) But here are a few of the funny/absurd/cute/borderline offensive things we've heard over the past week...
"how many are y'all going to have anyway?" (as many as God gives us)
"do you two know what's causing this?" (yeah, we know - apparently we're pretty good at it:)
"don't you have your hands full enough as it is?" (yes, but my heart isn't full yet)
"I hope you were expecting this." (I never could've expected to be this blessed)
"Better you than me!" (I think so too!)
"I hope Brenna grows up some before then." (That's likely since she'll be 7 months older, don't you think?)
Fortunately, there have also been a lot of genuine congratulations and a lot of people very excited for us. And for some reason, I'm handling all the above comments much better this time around. Something particularly hurtful was said last time that I'm still struggling to forgive, but I've managed so far (by the grace of God) to keep my eyes on the prize and not worry about the comments from the peanut gallery. That's especially good for me since my mouth tends to kick into gear before my brain sometimes.

Calling All Homemakers

Welcome Home is at it again - this time it's a blogdrive on Homemaking so go here to read all about it. And then get those ideas typed out and sent in. I can hardly wait to read how everyone else handles this part of the job!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Big News at our House

Finally I can make the big announcement - we're expecting a baby in February! We're so thrilled! We waited until everyone was gathered around for Brenna's birthday party to tell our family - we even let the kids make the announcement. They had on matching t-shirts that that said "I'm the BIG brother" and "I'm the BIG sister" - it took my family forever to get it! And with several of them we had to point it out. My dad thought that Brenna's said big because she was the only sister:)
So that explains why I've been mysteriously absent a lot around here - although I'm actually feeling much better than I did with the last two. PTL! Hopefully I'll be back in the swing of things in a week or two.