Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Our Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas! I hope this finds you all having a wonderful and peace-filled holiday! We have had quite a year and can’t wait to spend a few weeks reflecting on it and enjoying all our blessings.

Jack started our year off with a bang by making his grand entrance into the world three and a half weeks early and catching his mommy quite unprepared. I guess I’ve just gotten so used to being late with everything:) He’s such a sweetheart, though, that we just can’t imagined how we ever got by without him.

Brenna is our little princess. I am loving all the hair bows, playing dress up, and baby dolls that go along with having a little girl who is two and a half. She is such a little doll herself, although being a princess does come with a certain amount of attitude. We’re working on that!

Levi turns five this month. One day this fall he reached up in church and put his hand on my shoulder - he’s really turning into quite a little man. He played weeball this year and had such a great time. Actually we all had a great time. It must be the Warnock in us!

We started home(pre)schooling this fall. Lots of field trips like this one to the pumpkin patch. So far we’re having a great time and learning a lot! I can’t tell y’all how much I have loved being at home this year!

Casey is still working hard, but he always makes time to hang out with us and he’s teaching a Sunday School class that he really enjoys. He and the kids especially love wrestling before bedtime!

I hope you’re all enjoying the holidays with your family and counting all your blessings! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Focusing Christmas

The kids and I are having a great time using our Adornaments this Christmas. They were a Christmas gift last year from my Uncle Curtis - and an answer to prayer. We all know how crazy Christmas can get and last year I was desperate for a way to stop all that. I wanted to teach my kids what Christmas (and Easter!) is really about and I had no idea how to do that. But my Father has spent all year answering that prayer and, though I imagine this is a lesson I'll be learning for a long time, this Christmas is already so much more meaningful than last year.
One thing I'm doing with the kids is hanging one adornament each day and reading the story that goes along with it. These are little cardboard "book" ornaments that each tell one of the Names of Christ. The kids love them and I love that we have a time everyday to stop and focus on Christ at Christmas. These are really pretty and come in a boardbook that looks very nice out on a table next to the tree displaying the ornaments to come and storing them neatly(big-time important at my house!) :) And Amazon has a new set for around $10 including shipping. A great deal if you ask me!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

My boy is FIVE!

He's grown so much from just a year ago!

How can he be five already? It's going by to fast:(

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A must read

This article is so disturbing, but such a must read for moms and dads. Thanks to Amy and Holly for pointing it out.
As I was reading it I couldn't help but flash back to movies that Casey and I watched a few years ago (back when I could still reason to myself that they were "just movies"). Many of the horrific "trends" that the author mentions were in movies just a few years ago. It seems pretty obvious to me that life certainly does imitate "art" (though I hate to use that word in relation to the filth that's out there these days) instead of simply reflecting what's already out there as the media claims. Just another reason why children need shelter.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Levi's Legos

My future architect. His main complaint in life is I need more of this shape! How many legos is enough?

Brenna napping...

Coming in from the grocery store yesterday just proved too much for Brenna. I did go down and carry her up to nap on the couch after I took the picture - it was just too cute to resist:)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Really Beautiful Children's Books

Today was library day and, as always, I let the kids pick out a few books a piece in addition to the ones I had on my list for them. And then I saw a few new books that our wonderful Mrs. Moore was putting out. The artwork on the cover was just beautiful. So beautiful in fact that I picked up the whole stack of them:) The Library, The Gardener, The Friend, The Journey...all lovely. I'd never read anything by Sarah Stewart or seen illustration by her husband David Small, but after spending an hour curled up on the couch with my kiddies, I am sold. I loved these books. The stories are so sweet. It was especially wonderful to read them after finding that I couldn't read the book I brought home about Thanksgiving. I was looking for something that told the story of the first Thanksgiving. I assumed I would have to add to the story to tell about God's Provision. I just wanted a nice basic story. But I was in a hurry at the library and didn't look carefully at what I was picking up. This book, called The First Thanksgiving, looked good. Hmm, maybe I do judge a book by its cover. It begins by talking about Plymouth Rock being a "wandering pilgram" and leaving "its home in Africa two hundred million years ago." It goes on to talk about the Englishmen killing and enslaving the Indians, the great European plague, how the Pilgrams called the Indians savages, and on and on. Now I'm not one to sugarcoat history, but for cryin' out loud. So. Anybody have a suggestion for me about a good First Thanksgiving book? This one is going right back to the library.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Amy on the SImple Life

Go here and read this. Amy writes what I would think if I were getting enough sleep to put two thoughts together:)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Chapter 10 No Ordinary Home

Dawn sent us all some coffee to enjoy this morning while we chat about chapter 10. Isn't she the sweetest:)? I really needed some caffeine to get me moving this morning!
Speaking of my adopted big sis Dawn:), she wrote a great summary for us of this chapter. While you're checking that out, check out what she wrote about weight-training. Very motivational (and just what I needed this morning), but then hop on back over here because this chapter is chock-full of stuff to talk about.
First let me tell y'all that last Easter for me was so so similar to the Easter that Carol describes at the beginning of the chapter. We had a new baby and I was just starting to settle in to a new routine. Many family members and church family members were having health problems or one type of crisis or another. It just seemed like no one was in a worship sort of mood. And that went for me too. The night before Easter I was at Walmart (I despise going to walmart the night before anything - although it is a family tradition!) buying Easter clothes because it's always been our tradition to wear new clothes on Easter. But do you think I was enjoying myself? Do you think I was focused on the reason for those new clothes? Celebrating that we are born anew in Him? Not hardly. We made it through the next day - church service, sing all the Easter hymns, hurry home to finish making dessert and rush over to my sil's for dinner and an Easter egg hunt for the kids. When Carol writes "Today was another mad dash to get hats and gloves, diaper bags and Easter baskets. Once there, the music was stirring, the sermon impressive. But my spirit was flat. I feel flat...fat and flat," well that was me! I prayed and prayed over the next few weeks that God would never let me experience another Easter with so little attention to Him, so little praise, so little appreciation. I asked Him to show me how to worship Him and how to teach my children to worship Him. Reading this book has been one of His many answers to that prayer.
An idea that Carol heard from her friend Wendy (so glad that I'm not the only one with brilliant friends who don't mind sharing their great ideas!) was making an Easter tree. When I lived in Germany as a little girl, they had Easter trees - beautiful spring blooming branches tied with intricately painted hallow eggs and little wooden figures of bunnies and birds. Very beautiful, but not exactly what this Easter tree is all about. This Easter tree is a wonderful way to focus on God's covenant with His people throughout the season of Lent. Let me let her explain it.
"She would trace His promise, beginning with creation and ending at the empty tomb. She would trace His faithfulness and His children's unfaithfulness. Each night John and she would teach the children the biblical story, and then they would put an ornament on the tree to represent the story. She would begin the tree on Ash Wednesday and finish it the Monday after Easter."
This idea just really grabbed me. I was so excited when I read it - something we could do! I could just picture all of us gathered around, Casey reading the Biblical account, the kids solemnly taking turns hanging the ornament on the tree...Then I came back to reality and remembered that my kids are little! And we're all lazy! And no one around here ever takes turns! So perhaps my vision needed some tweaking. So I went to the Father and asked Him what to do about Easter (and about Christmas while I was at it:) ) and He's still telling me. If I took anything away from this chapter I hope it's forever chiseled in my brain to go to Him first and not just start making my own plans about how to worship Him or serve Him or even live for Him. So often I assume I know what He wants for me without even asking...
So let's talk some about how we can spend the time leading up to Easter focusing on Him and preparing our hearts for Him. Maybe for some of us, making an Easter tree is going to be a definite possibility - if so, how do you think you'll go about it? Or if not, what other things will you do? What kinds of Easter traditions do you already have that may need to be refocused? And, most importantly, what is our Father leading you to do to worship Him?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Baby Jack

Look at the eyelashes on this kid!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Haircut Day

My friend Debbie and I got haircuts together last night! We donated a long ponytail apiece to Locks for Love. And got a night out with no kids! Aren't we cute?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

For all our Presbyterian friends

The other day in the grocery store a nice older lady stopped Levi to ask about the bat he had painted on his cheek. He told her all about Trunk or Treat at church and had a nice conversation with her while I tried to decide which flavor of yogurt to buy. Then my little missionary-in-the-grocery-store said "ma'am, do you go to church?" She smiled and said yes, she went to First Presbyterian and where did he go to church? "Oh. (looking kind of sad for her) Well, we just go to a regular church."

Katrina's Big Idea

Katrina at Callapidder Days had a great idea and, as usual, I'm quite a bit behind on joining in. The idea is to actually plan what we're going to read this fall so that we can accomplish something. Now that will be a big deal for me:) I'm always reading, but it seems I never get to really process what I've read. I hurry and get it back to the library on time (yeah, sure I do) or I hurry through so I can start something else. But all the great books in the world aren't going to do me any good if I don't remember what they said. So my goals for this fall are to read these books and either write a review for here (if I think y'all might be interested) or at least make some notes for myself). All these before January1st!
1. Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival
My ladies' group at church is going to use this one for our next study. It's supposed to be a twelve week study but we're going to stretch it out over the next year because we only meet once a month. I really (REALLY!) wish we could meet once a week, but that's just not happening right now. I'll definitely be reading ahead though:)
2. Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
I just finished this one (and no it's not cheating to add books I already read if I read them this fall, cut me some slack people!) and it was great. I expected it to reinforce our determination to homeschool, but it was full of insight about how education could be handled for all our nation's children. Really got me motivated to think a little more about what we need to do for all children and not just what I want for my own kids.
3. Teaching the trivium: Christian homeschooling in a classical style
I'm working on this one and it is a BIG book:) I've done a lot of reading on homeschooling and educational theories and all that jazz. After reading The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home shortly after we decided to teach our own kids, we had settled on the Trivium or Classical approach to use as the backbone for our homeschool. I knew I would be pretty eclectic, but I really liked having the Trivium as sort of a guide to go by. Teaching the Trivium is great because it really makes the distinction between teaching something because it will make our kids well-educated and teaching them because it will help them in the Christian walk. A side note - after reading the chapter on languages, I told Casey I really thought I'd like to make Greek the first foreign language we work on (possibly the only depending on how much affinity any of us show for languages). He said "I thought we decided that a long time ago." Apparently he'd decided a long time ago and just hadn't mentioned it!
4. Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends
This book is written by an actual brother and his sisters and I just have to check it out. It is so so so important to me for our kids to be friends. My brother and I were grown before we really became close - we fought like cats and dogs most of the time growing up (although I loved him back then; I just couldn't have admitted it!). I hate to think of all that time we wasted and how close we came to killing each other...
5. Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers,
I actually already read this one, too:) It was quite good. I enjoyed knowing that there are enough people out there who are living out values similar to mine to warrant writing a book about us:) I certainly didn't agree with everything the author had to say (differences over religious ideas come to mind) but I would still really recommend it. It's so great to hear Christians calling other Christians to think through what they believe and then Live.That.Way.
6. How to Be a Budget Fashionista: The Ultimate Guide to Looking Fabulous for Less
Lest y'all think I never read anything fun:) I'm slowly (but surely! but did I mention slowly:() losing weight and I have to start dressing better. I'm sick of jeans and a t-shirt or jeans and a sweater 6 days a week and the same old dresses or skirts on Sunday. really I just can't take it any more!
7. The Fat Flush Plan
Barbara Curtis has had such fabulous success using this that I can't wait to read up on it. I'm not officially dieting just yet, but Jack will be a year old soon and I think by then I may be ready to wean him either entirely (sniff, sniff) or enough so that my dieting won't be an issue.
8. Small Beginnings
Speaking of Barbara, I love her writing style, especially when she writes straight to moms. I think this one will be a big hit with me.
9.Girl Talk Mother-Daughter Conversations on Biblical Womanhood
Brenna is only two, but I figure it can't hurt to go ahead and start thinking about these kinds of conversations. And there are lots of other young women in my life that I'd like to positively influence. I've heard a lot of good buzz about this one - I think I'll enjoy it.

Well, that's it for the fall. I know I'll probably read a lot of other stuff this fall. I usually have a couple of books going at a time. But these are the books I'm committed to really delving into. And making this list has been such a blast (yay nap time!) that I might do it every season:) Thanks, Katrina!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Do you ever just feel ....?

I am not even sure what word to put there. The last two weeks have been (in no particular order) scary and devastating and empty and chaotic and unproductive and busy and stressful and... and nothing even really happened. How is that for twisted? Nothing particularly out of the ordinary has happened at my house and I've been right here, plodding along. But all around me there is stress and heartbreak and just a steady stream of negativity. And I've been very yucky feeling (for lack of any real way to explain it). I love my husband, I love my kids, I love my church, my family, my friends and I love my God. But I feel cold and drained and unattached. Everything on the outside is going so smoothly (well, almost everything) but on the inside I feel like I'm watching someone else's life. Does that make any sense at all? And I know this is just a temporary thing and that I'll get through it, I'm just not sure how I go about getting through it. Anyone out there with a good swift kick in the pants for me? I 'd appreciate it:)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

MOnday check in on Wednesday

It has been a pretty busy week, but I thought I'd post a check-in anyway. Better late than never, right? This last week and a half has been...rough. And of course I know why - I've been busy and let that squeeze out my time with Him. Knowing I need it, knowing I can't do this without His constant help. SO I'm not surprised that it's been hard to give up reading while I eat. I mean this is a lifelong habit, literally, and it's something that part of me does not WANT to give up. I know I need to and I know that the reward will far out-weigh the loss, but part of me is still as stubborn little girl stomping my foot and howling "I DON"T WANT TO!" My Father is teaching me self-control - I just wish I was a faster learner.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Kids are funny:)

Levi is in the kitchen crunching on chips without asking. So I calmly say "Levi what are you doing?"
He says "Oh nothing. Just a little ingestment."
I say "what?"
"Just a little ingestment - I'm trying to test what happens when the food you chew goes down the long pipe into your ingestines. First I have to chew it into tiny pieces. I'm using these chips."
I think he's figured out that I'm a sucker for anything that sounds like he's learning:)

Monday check in

I sit here in awe at the power of my Father. Something that seemed like an impossible goal last week, by His strength, was a breeze. An absolute breeze! I have a real hard time not turning to food for stress relief. An especially big problem was that quiet time when the kids are in bed and Casey's just left for work. Every night as soon as it got quiet, I'd think "now I can grab a book and sit down and eat something!" The bigger the stress or better the book, the longer I'd want to stay at the table reading and eating. And then I'd go to bed. So that ain't healthy. Last Sunday night I really prayed about this and through the whole week I didn't eat after supper even once. I'll admit to being tempted a time or two, but it was amazingly easy to say "I don't eat after supper any more" and walk away. As if...the food didn't have any hold over me any more! Now the day time was still chaotic and I didn't really pay much attention to what I ate then (beyond making sure I wasn't eating between mealtimes). But I couldn't believe how much of a difference praying about this (and the prayers of lots of others, THANK YOU!) made this last week. It's really reaffirmed for me that God does really desire for me to do this, and that He really is willing to actively help me. He isn't just up there handing me assignments and then leaving me to my own devices to accomplish them. And since I know He will help me, I'm feeling brave enough to tackle what I think will be the toughest challenge of this whole thing. This is a behaviour that is absolutley ingrained in me - I've been doing this for as long as I can remember and I'll admit I love it. I don't really even like the idea of giving it up, but I know I need to. And I know I'll need a lot of prayer to be able to! This week, starting now, I'm no longer going to read while I eat. Whoo. I'm going to be real honest here. The idea of eating without reading holds no appeal for me. I can't even imagine just sitting down and eating something without anything else to do. The only time I ever don't read while I eat is when we're all at supper. At breakfast and lunch I usually talk to the kids while they eat and then when they're done, I grab a book and whatever I'm going to eat. SO this is going to be a large shift in how I do things. Please pray for me if you feel led to. I sure would appreciate it!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Works For Me Wednesday - The Classic Edition

The other Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer hosts this great event so go check out all the fabulous ideas. Everyone is re-running their favorite tip today so there should be some oldies-but-goodies! Here's mine!

I haven't had time to read all the entries today, so I hope this isn't a repeat.I make fajita kits for nights when we're really busy. Frozen peppers and onions in one ziploc bag, frozen (fully cooked, seasoned and sliced) chicken in another bag, tortillas in another bag, and shredded cheese and taco sauce in smaller ziploc bags. Then I put all of that in a BIG bag and stick it in the freezer. I can grab one out, heat everything up and have dinner ready in less than 20 minutes

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Monday - Health goals check in

It's been a few weeks since I checked in and that's because...(big surprise) I fell off the wagon. Being sick and having sick kids and a few other stresses were just perfect excuses to soothe myself with food (and, if you've eaten a bag of pizza rolls and drank a couple of cokes, why bother exercising, right?). But I have renewed my committment and the fight goes on:) I have spent a lot of time praying about this especially over the last few days and it's finally sunk in to me that I'm addicted to eating. Not to food - to eating.
See I was thinking about why I don't drink alcohol. It's not because I think it's a sin - I don't. If Christ drank wine, that's good enough for me. I do believe drunkeness is a sin, but that's a whole other topic. Anyway. The reason I just don't drink is that I have a family history of alcoholism and I've always wanted to avoid even the possibility of being addicted to alcohol. And, by His grace alone, I have. But I seem to have replaced drinking alcohol with eating. When I've had a stressful day, I literally can't wait to sit down and "snack." If I'm out of something I want to eat, I'll make a special trip. That's right, for a coke and chips I will load up three kids and face the grocery store. Now if that's not addiction, I don't know what is!
So once again I'll have to call on my Father. I just. can't. do. this. by. myself. I need the strength to turn away from the temptation. I need the peace only He gives when my day has been long. I need to rest in Him, not at the dinner table.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Next Week's Discussion

We're still talking about No Ordinary Home right here, so feel free to continue commenting. I just wanted to remind everyone to check with Dawn here for the location of next week's discussion on Chapter 5. We're going to talk about the Sabbath and it is an awesome chapter!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

No Ordinary Home discussion

Welcome everybody! It's time to discuss Chapter Four of No Ordinary Home. I hope y'all are enjoying this as much as I am. Thanks, Dawn, for getting us all together - this is great!

The Dailies
I could've written this chapter. Casey and started our home together with vastly - vastly! - different attitudes about housekeeping. He was fanatically neat - I recognized this when we were dating and he paused a movie we were watching to take the popcorn bowl into the kitchen, wash it!, and put it away before finishing the movie - and I was, well, less fanatical. I had no problem vacuuming once a month instead of once a week, for example (this was before we had rugrats, by the way). When Levi came along I was thrown for a total loop - not only was I dealing with some health issues, a brand new baby, a lot of (I hate to admit) anger and guilt about having a c-section, a total reordering of my life plan and a (perceived) big power shift between me and Casey, but now I was supposed to KEEP THE HOUSE CLEAN, TOO!!!
For a long time I thought that having a clean house was surely a sign that I wasn't using my brain - it was a pride thing. Surely I was be scrubbing toilets, right? But when I finally (listened to my Father and) changed my attitude to reflect Colossians 3:23-24 - And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men; knowing that from the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance. For you serve the Lord Christ - I started to see that life is in these details. The toilet has to be cleaned, so clean it well, clean it with style! About that time I was reminded of an illustration that I read in one of Mary Pride's books (I think All The Way Home) about Cinderella. In the old Disney movie, Cinderella is singing and swishing and swabbing the floor with class and beauty. Because she is faithful in her work, she is fit to go before the prince (along the lines of Proverbs 22:29 Do you see a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before unknown men.) Well, my Prince is coming to sweep me away one day, too. How do I want Him to find me? Diligently doing my work with grace and a thankful heart or whining about how hard my lot is and how no one helps me?
But how do we go from knowing so little about running a home to doing it with grace and style and love? I really liked what she said about having a committee. I think we often feel like we need A Titus 2 woman to show us how to do everything, but that doesn't work. We aren't supposed to be carbon copies of one another. And no single older woman is going to know everything we need to know. We have to be *picky* - picking a little from this woman about scheduling, a little from this woman about cleaning, a little from this woman about cooking and a little from this woman about doing it all with joy:)
Carol (the author - I feel like we're friends now so I'm going to call her Carol:) ) left us with some great practical questions to ponder so that we can make some changes in the areas where we see a need.

List the areas of your life that feel disorganized, cluttered, chaotic.
Who can help you organize or learn the tricks of homemaking in those areas?
What areas of your life feel sacred to you?
How can you enhance them? Make them more regular? Share them with others?
What areas of your life feel ordinary, mundane, and definitely not sacred?
I think I'll think and pray about these tonight and share about them tomorrow in the comments. Please, everyone, feel free to make yourselves at home here. Share about your thoughts on the chapter, how you felt as you started making a home, your answers to the above questions-just anything:)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Grocery Shopping - the whole story

Today was Jack's first time sitting in the front of the grocery buggy. Stop yawning - this is a big deal in our family! Brenna was promoted to sitting in the back and helping stack the groceries and Levi, as always, was walking beside me (or running or hopping but at least staying out of the way). Things were going well. Jack loves his grocery seat cover. It kept him occupied the whole time and I only paid $4 for it! Brenna was sitting comfortably on a pack of Kroger brand pullups (which have velcro sides like the expensive ones) and stacking the boxes. I kept having to remind Levi though to watch where he was going. He'd turn around to talk to me and bump into one thing after another. Just as I was saying "Levi, please, for the hundredth time, be careful. If you bump into that tower of cans it will fall," well, what do you think happened? That's right. I ram the buggy right into a big old center aisle display of @L Sprites. Four cases (that's 24 bottles, folks) come crashing to the ground. It was such a cartoons-come-to-life kind of moment. But my precious son was very chivilrous about it. "That's alright, mom, it was just an accident. You can't help you weren't watching where you were going." :( He helped me pick up all the bottles (boy, I hope whoever buys those has a long ride home). He's a good kid.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

My 9-11 Story

The other Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer is encouraging others to share the story of where they were on September 11, 2001. Her's is here. If you'd like to share your's or read others you can leave a link or find a link at the bottom of her post.

I was at work on the morning of September 11, 2001. Almost six months pregnant, I was actually having a pretty good morning (which meant I'd been able to hold down some breakfast). I was at my desk snacking on vanilla wafers and peanut butter, listening to the radio - oh, and working - when my sister-in-law called to tell me a plane a hit the World Trade Center. I pictured a little plane - I thought maybe some little commuter type plane had been flying in the city for some reason and gotten of course. I couldn't understand why my sister-in-law, who was at home watching the news, sounded so upset.
I remember talking casually about it to Casey and with my co-workers. And turning on the radio to see what they were saying. I especially remember not being very upset just yet.
I went into the lobby and turned on the old black and white tv just in time to see the second plane hit. My boss was standing beside me as I sat down hard on the couch. It was suddenly very obvious to me what was going on and my first concern was my brother. He was in the navy then (the Army now) and stationed at Norfolk in Virginia. Just the year before he had been on a ship in the Middle East when the USS Cole was bombed - they had passed through Yemen only days before and after the attack his ship had turned around to go back to Yemen and assist the Cole. Knowing that these planes may well send us to war, knowing that he was just down the coast from where all this was happening and might be called to go there - it just chilled me to the bone.
By then everyone of my co-workers was standing around this tiny black and white screen. We all watched together for a little while before my boss sent me to Walmart to buy a new big screen tv for the lobby. When I got to Walmart, I wasn't the only one buying a tv. It seemed like everyone had to know what was going on. How many of us were glued to our televisions that day and in the days to come? Walmart - that's where I was when I heard about the plane hitting the Pentagon. So many times we walk through the store without noticing the people around us, but that day I was so concious of the other people. There was just a sense of really being one nation that day and in the days that followed.
I cried on the way back to work thinking of the world I was bringing my baby into. I called my husband and my parents. I called friends to make sure they were safe. I prayed. And now, five years later, the world is still spinning and The One on the Throne is still in control. And I am still praying...for the safety of our nation and for the souls of our nation. None of us who lived through that day will ever forget that day. I didn't know anyone who lost their life in New York or Washington or Pennsylvania that day, but it still changed my life. Never again will any of us be able to say "it can't happen here."

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Works For Me Wednesday

This is a pretty simple idea, but it really works for me when I'm cooking supper. This toy is supposed to hang on the side of the crib, but it never saw much use that way around here because my babies don't spend much time in their crib. It's perfect to hang on the back of a kitchen chair, though. Once they can sit up pretty well, I hang it up and they only get to sit there while I'm cooking - they're close to me, but occupied and out of harm's way.
Now head on over to the other Shannon's and check out all the fabulous ideas!
BTW, that's eczema on his little cheeks and it looks much worse in the picture than in real life, but if anyone has any ideas about how to get rid of it - I'll try anything at this point! It comes and goes, but I have tried cuting everything out of my diet and if it's an allergy I sure can't figure it out. He's still pretty cute though, huh? Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Moms and Dads for Modesty

Everyday Mommy has come up with a brilliant plan for parents to band together in supporting companies that provide modest, but still cute, clothing for little girls. Go here to read her mission statement and add your name to her comments section.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Free Chocolate

Go here and signup (it's fast, I promise) and we'll both get free chocolate! Good free chocolate!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Holy Home

How do we bring the Holy home? That's what andwe asked us as we started our bookclub today. (We're reading No Ordinary Home, btw, if anyone wants to join in.) It's also kind of what they're talking about over at Choosing Home so be sure you check that out this week. It's a topic that's really close to my heart. I want to have a home filled with His presence - I want people to feel Him when they walk in the door and I want to equip us to take Him to the rest of the world. But how does it look? What do we do?
Right from the beginning with Levi we've had daily prayer times. My dad always said our prayers with each of us at night and that's a really special memory of mine so I wanted to be sure and include that in our family. So every evening Casey and I pile all the kids on our bed to talk about the day and say our prayers. We start out teaching them to say "now I lay me" but also pray for people we know or specific situations that have come up in our talk. Levi is starting now to forego the "now I lay me" part and pray in his own voice. He amazed the people at church on back to school prayer night by praying outloud in front of everyone (and cracked everyone up by praying that God would help me make more milk for his little brother!).
We've recently started having a family prayer time in the mornings, too. Our days are so much smoother when we start off that way.
Another thing we do is have scripture all over the house. I'm still working on painting on the walls. I only have one verse painted on so far, the Train Up A Child verse in Levi's room. Complete with a train:) I have framed caligraphy all over the place though with scriptures from the "fruits of the spirit" to "choose you this day". I can't wait to paint even more - I'm especially looking for a good marriage one for our room, if anyone has any suggestions.
We're also both very careful to make sure that the kids see us reading our Bibles and hear us talking about our Bible study (even if it's over their heads). We want them to understand that reading the Word is a daily thing.
I've been thinking a lot lately about celebrating the Sabbath in a new way. We've always gone to church on Sundays and usually spend time either as a family or with our church family then, too. But I think I would like to do something more. So I hope to spend some time looking into that soon. I'm really excited to see what ideas other people are trying, too. You never know where a great idea is going to come form:)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Works for me Wednesday!

I thought I'd jump back on the WFMW bandwagon! I've learned soooo much over at the other Shannon's site - check it out!
So my tip for this week is ...plastic placemats for kids. I'm sure most moms already figured this out, but scrubbing the table after EVERY meal was getting old fast. The placemats are so easy to wipe down or just haul to the sink. And the kids loved picking their own at Walmart. For $1.88 it sure has made mealtimes easier!

Monday, August 21, 2006

1st day of homeschool

This morning was our first "official" day of homeschool. Official to us anyway:) Levi's very excited about being in preK - he wanted to show off his pencil box and school supplies. We also marked his and Brenna's height on the doorframe. Brenna did NOT appreciate that. I don't know what she thought was happening, but she howled! And that's why we have no picture of Brenna.
We have a few other things planned for today - cupcakes for snack time and an after-supper in-our-jammies (the kids! I meant the kids!) ice cream run. But lessons are over for today (the preplanned, sit at the table ones anyway) - we kept that kind of short. And they went really well. Levi's reading is coming along:) Posted by Picasa

Monday - time to check in

I actually didn't weigh myself this morning. As of Friday I hadn't lost any weight, but I can tell a little difference in the way my khakis fit:) I've been sticking with my original goals (except the coconut oil - forgot it at the grocery store!) and I think I'm ready to add in a little more.
1. a walk every day except Sunday - I'm going to try to head out alone right after Casey gets home while it's still pretty cool, but if I have to I can walk around the yard while the kids are playing. Jack loves the walker now that the grass has come in a little:)
2. start pilates again a couple of nights a week. I always sleep so well if I do this workout before bed, and that brings me to...
3. Go to sleep earlier. Ideally, I'd like to be asleep by 11:30. But Jack's going to have to stop waking up at 1 (and 3 and 5 - what's the deal?!?).
So hopefully after a few weeks these will all be second nature. My aunt and uncle are doing a very interesting sounding 3 day on/ 4day off diet that I may look into when I can start "dieting" just to speed this process along. But I'm trying really hard to focus on being healthy and not so much on being thin. Sure is hard though!

Monday, August 14, 2006

On the health front

Well, it's Monday - time to check in. I've lost 2 whole pounds! For a grand total of 7! It was a long stressful week and I won't claim that I met all my goals, but I did manage to handle the stress without binging and without relying on coke to keep me going. That's definitely progress. I'm going to stick with these same goals for one more week and hopefully by next Monday I'll be ready to add a few more.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A Sad Weekend...

We lost my Uncle Jack this weekend. The memorial service today was very moving. Casey gave the eulogy and I don't know if I've ever been prouder of him - he did such a wonderful job of capturing Uncle Jack's personality. We will miss him so much, but can't wait to see him again in Glory.
This has been the first opportunity we've had to talk much about death with Levi and that's been emotional, but so special to me. We talked about Uncle Jack's mansion in Heaven and Levi wanted to know if it would be near ours. I promised him we'd all be in the same neighborhood - it's Heaven, right?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Obedience and Weight Loss

Well, I haven't lost a pound this week. Five pounds all together but none this week. But that's not the real measure of success here. What I'm really concerned with is how I obeyed Him. So on that count how did I do? Well, not well enough. Never well enough. The exercise, the coconut oil and the coke didn't give me too much trouble, but I didn't reach my water goal even once. SO there's still room to improve. But I did learn one very important thing over the past week. Every time I was tempted to ignore what I knew I was supposed to do, the outcome depended entirely on whether or not I prayed. If I wanted a coke and prayed "Lord, I know that for my own well-being You've asked me to set this aside, but it's hard and I need your help" then I could put it down and walk away. If I thought about trying to lose weight as if that was my goal, it was all over but the drinking.:(

Saturday, August 05, 2006

My mom and sister are coming for a visit today!

I'm so grateful for a chance to see them. They live way out in Texas and didn't get to make their usual trip home for the summer, so I've been extra missing them. My sister is about to start her senior year of high school this fall and I was really bummed about not getting to spend anytime with her first. She's been busy (BUSY!) this summer with mission trips and work at church and a few fun trips too, so this is really the first chance she's had to visit, too. So we're squeezing in a long weekend! I wish my dad didn't have to work:( But I'll take what I can get!

Monday, July 31, 2006

Weight Loss Plans

I can't believe I'm going to post this, but I'm trying to give myself a lot of accountability here - no place to hide is actually what I'm going for. Most of you who know me in "real life" know that I have some weight to lose (thanks for not mentioning it!). And now that Jack is getting a little bigger (sigh), I'm getting in a big fat (yeah, I said it) hurry to get in shape. I don't want to continue down this road of being out of shape and out of breath and too big for the slide on the playground. But more than what I want, God's calling me to get this under control (only by His grace, of course), to be more disciplined across the board. So I'm jumping in.
Here are my goals for this week -
1. No coke - this one should be pretty easy. I actually quit about 2 weeks ago (and had a massive week-long headache!).
2. 8 cups of water a day - I'd like to drink more, but I think I'll work my way up from here.
3. 2 T coconut oil everyday. When I get a second I'll come back and add a link here. Coconut oil is supposed to be very good for supporting the thyroid and since I have thyroid issues, I'm going to try it.
4. Something raw at every meal.
5. 10 min of some kind of exercise every day. I know it's not much, but it's so much more than I'm doing now.
So that's it. Every Monday I'm going to note how I'm doing, so feel free to skip Mondays for those of you who love me for my wit and not my body :)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

No more trips to the Post Office:)

My Works For Me Wednesday entry this week is pretty basic but it is such a big help to me. With three littles and a post office with no parking, I just don't have time to run in there every time I need stamps. And sure I used to buy them in the checkout at the grocery store, but with kids begging for candy and all the half-naked women I'm trying to teach Levi to ignore...well, I'm busy at the checkout. So I get my stamps in the mail. You can order them here. But I have a bright orange envelope that I got from my mailman. I leave a check in it and put it in the mailbox. He takes the check and leaves me stamps:) Nice and simple, just like I like.
Head over to the other Shannon's and read all the great ideas!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

My personality type

You Are An INFJ
The Protector
You live your life with integrity, originality, vision, and creativity.Independent and stubborn, you rarely stray from your vision - no matter what it is.You are an excellent listener, with almost infinite patience.You have complex, deep feelings, and you take great care to express them.
You would make a great photographer, alternative medicine guru, or teacher.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

July 19 WFMW

I love Works for Me Wednesday!

This is something that millions of other people have probably already figured out but ... We had a serious stuffed animal storage issue going on. The kids have lots of beautiful stuffed toys and they love to play with them so getting rid of them wasn't really an option for me. I had to have something high enough that they couldn't pull them down on there own (I let them pick which ones to keep out for the week). And I didn't have a free corner to hang one of those cool nets that they sell for this very purpose - also they didn't really go with the decor (which is a lovely princess theme that you can't see in this picture). So we took three cup hooks and threaded through about 4 yards of leftover tulle from someone's wedding. It looks a little lopsided in the picture, but it's usually quite pretty. Brenna calls them her animal clouds:) Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday

Love, LOVE, LOVE Works for Me Wednesday over at Rocks In My Dryer. Check it out for great tips on everything!

My tip for today is pretty simple. I use an over the door shoe holder to organize the nursery closet. Brenna and Jack share a room so there is a lot of little stuff to keep track of in that room. The pockets are just the right size for diapers and/or pullups - the closet is right next to the changing table so everything is easy to reach. I also keep Brenna's hairbows so I can match them to her outfit when I pull it out of the closet. Ditto for hats, shoes, etc. There's plenty of room for creams and powders, too, and they're up high out of the reach of little girls who love lotion:) It's a lifesaver for me!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

When I am dry You fill my cup

I asked for prayer this morning for my attitude. My pastor's a riot - he wrote "Shannon's 'tude" on the list. I've been so ... fed up lately, feeling criticisized at every turn, angry at everyone. And I certainly realize that some of this is postpartum aftershocks, some of it was me taking my eyes off the Father and focusing too much on the opinions of this world.
Well, God is no slow-poke and He answered my prayer only moments into the service through the music. I'm very close to our music leader but I hadn't talked to her about what's going on (I'd rather whine to y'all where I can delete anyone who calls me on it - haha) so I know it wasn't her planning that I have to thank. I was just singing along to the chorus All In All, encouraging Levi to sing up since he knows the words, when the words washed over me so powerfully that I lost my breath...

You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek
You are my all in all
Seeking You as a precious jewel
Lord to give up, I'd be a fool
You are my all in all
Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is Your name
Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is Your name
Taking my sin, my cross, my shame
Rising again, I bless Your name
You are my all in all
When I fall down, You pick me up
When I am dry, You fill my cup
You are my all in all

My cup has been dry - not only are people sipping out of the top, some of them are gulping actually, but I've been struggling with others who seem determined to drill some holes or make some cracks, too. But my real problem, the one that hinges on me falling short and not other people that I can't control, is that I haven't been seeking Him. I've been looking for approval in all the wrong places and when it wasn't forthcoming (and, boy, was it not forthcoming) I've let it affect me. He is my All in All and He asks me to Trust and Obey (can you guess what the next hymn was?). So I did get a 'tude check at church this morning:) Just what I needed.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday

My works for me post this week is one little tidbit and one BIG DEAL THING THAT I COULDN'T LIVE WITHOUT.
The tidbit is this - I try to keep a vinyl tablecloth in the car for imprompto picnics, to sit on when the ground is wet, etc.
But my huge thing I couldn't live without is my family. There is nothing in this life like having a close and loving family. We pull together, we *know* each other, we take care of one another. And that works for me!
Run by Shannon's place to see the rest of the fabulous ideas.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Two Jacks

I'm only going to leave this up for just a little while, but I wanted to share this picture with y'all of our Uncle Jack holding his namesake. This is one of my very favorite men in the universe - he's just everything I think a man should be. He has this incredible ability to make you feel like the most beautiful, cherished, precious woman in a room. There are so many things about him that I want to pass on to my boys - he's so caring and so protective and such a *man's man* - but never in a condesending or belittling way. He has such a strong wife and daughter and is so proud of both of them. Oh, I have tears in my eyes just trying to type this. I wanted to ask for your prayers because we may lose Uncle Jack soon to cancer. I just can't imagine the hole that would leave in the world. And how I hate the idea that my boys might grow up without listening to him tell a story and that Brenna won't know what it's like to hear him say "hello, darlin'." When we decided to name our first boy after Casey (and his dad and his grandfather), we already knew that we would want to name our next son (if God blessed us with two) after Uncle Jack and my daddy. We want our boys to know these great men and to feel a little of the weight of these great big shoes to fill. And we wanted these great men to know how much we love them. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Advice - the good, the mean and the messed-up

I know a lot of women. Some of them I know in person, some I've only met online, some I've known my whole life, some I haven't. But I know a lot of women and, of those women, there are quite a few that I am exceedingly fond of. Many I would cry over should we be separated. But none of them are me. None of them are my children's mother or my hubby's wife - that's just me. I can hear some of you saying "duh" but bear with me - I think if I type long enough this will make sense (you might want to grab a snack...).
Lately I've been struggling. I don't know if it's hormones or what (although I do seem to go through this about 5-6 months after a baby is born), but it has just seemed like being me is sooo hard. There's the hard working, sleep in the day time, super-busy hubby who needs me to be a good wife. There are the three precious blessings who I would gladly throw down my life for, but who are actually requiring me to throw down MY life - every day. There's the family, the church, the prayers, the questions, the real needs. In light of all this, those women seem to have fallen into two camps. In one camp are the women who are doing what I want to do, being the kinds of wives and mothers I want to be, believing what I believe. Not perfectly, mind you. I'm not putting anyone on a pedestal here - I love these women and don't want to see them break a hip in the fall:) But they're the ones holding out a hand, being transparent, showing me how they do what they do and why. For these women I am eternally (and I mean ETERNALLY) thankful. There are some I won't see face to face this side of Glory, but I do thank God for them. Then there are the other women. I love some of these women. Really love. And I know they love me. But we don't always agree. Which is fine. I'm not one to argue. Even when I think I know better. Even when I *know* I know better. (I'm a big sister, too, Dawn) But, lately I'm getting a lot of those comments. "Are y'all really going to have any more kids?" "Now, those teething tablets you're giving him- are they safe?" "Brenna sure is shy - maybe she'd do better if she got to be around other kids more often." "Levi sure is aggressive...(see last quote)." Jack doesn't look comfortable in that thing (my new mei tai) - take him out so his legs can move around." "He's getting so fussy - don't you have a pacifier with you?" "what do you do when they're all crying at once?" And on and on and on. From friends, from family, from total strangers in the grocery store. From people who would not intentionally hurt my feelings for anything and from people who are so hung up on proving that they're right and I'm wrong that hurting me is not even an issue to consider. It's gotten to the point that one friend suggested I plan some snappy comebacks to fire off when I get one of these comments. That might be fun. But I don't want to be snappy. Well, actually I do. But I don't think my Father wants me to be snappy. I think He wants me to give a gentle answer. And I try to. Did I mention that being me is kind of hard right now? :)
So, here is what I need from all of you gracious women out there who are trying to be Titus 2 women for me and for others. I need your grace - when it's been a long day, I need to know you've been there, I need to know that you think I'm doing okay. I need your wisdom - when you see me doing something that caused you a problem, that might cause me a problem, speak up. Do it nicely please, but do it. I'm a big girl (despite the whining you just sat through) and I don't want to reinvent the wheel. It's just that I don't always (often?) know what I'm doing. And when I ASK for advice, by all means pour it on! I need you excitement and encouragement! If you think I'm trying to do a great thing here - let me know. If you see something I'm doing that is working, please don't think I already know it's working. I may be too close to even see the difference.
There's more to say, but I'm surrounded by hungry little people. And you know, I like being surrounded by hungry little people. So I'm off to save the day!
BTW, my precious children are neither overly shy or overly aggressive - but they do have their moments:)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Great post you must go read

I just have to point you over to Wisdom Has Two Parts. This post just really did it for me today. The steady dripping of "shoulds" and the raised eyebrows (some imagined by me, some not) and the subtle pressure to affirm someone else's mothering by heeding her advice has really been getting to me lately. It helped to read that I'm not the only mommy who doesn't measure up:)

WFMW: Church Bags

In an effort to get our Sundays running a little more smoothly, I've designated a separate bag to take to church. It holds the Bible I take to church (not the same one I use at home so it doesn't have to leave the bag), the usual baby stuff, interesting stuff to keep the kids quiet in an emergency and anything I might need to take with me that Sunday (the recipe someone asked for or an alabaster box - stuff like that). Nothing spectacular. The usefulness of this is that the bag is only for church, has everything we need for church, and is repacked right after church and not touched again until we're on our way back to church. When you go to church three (or more) times a week and need the same things everytime, it is a big help to know that they're all ready to go. I also usually keep the kids' Sunday School offering in this bag (their little church Bibles are in there too)and hand it all out in the parking lot, but Brenna got the cutest little dressy straw pocketbook for her birthday the other day and it is just the right size for her Bible and offering so now her purse stays packed and ready inside my bigger bag until we get there.
It might not be a necessity for everyone, but it sure WORKS FOR ME! Make sure you check out all the other fabulous ideas at the other Shannon's site!

Monday, June 26, 2006

My Girl Turns Two!

I can not believe my baby girl is already two. She's grown up so much in the last few months!

We moved to this house just before Brenna was born, when Levi was just two, and we hope to be here for a good long while. I was so excited to have our own house and think that my kids might be raised in one spot that I couldn't wait to start some traditions. So every year we take a birthday picture on the front steps. I plan on starting a home-from-the-hospital picture on the front steps, too, but so far no luck on that one:( Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Works for me Wednesday

Reading all the entries for Works For Me Wednesday has become my favorite "chore" for the week. I'm learning tons! Thanks so much to the other Shannon!
My idea for this week is pretty simple. We took all the kids' books off the shelf and put them facing forward in bins. The bins sit on top of a low shelf so that they can flip through and pick a book. It's also much easier for little ones to put books back! We eventually want to make rain gutter bookshelves, but for now, this Works For Me!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The pouch

Here's me and Jack in his pouch - he fell asleep right after we took this picture. We love this pouch! But it's about time for something a little more summery - I'm thinking we might try a mei tai next. Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 16, 2006

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Works For Me Wednesday

I just love Wednesday now:) I think this idea of the other Shannon's :) is fabulous! Be sure to check out all the great links over here.

As for my contribution, it's not a big deal thing, but it's something we could NOT live without. DH and I have matching dry erase boards (the kinds with a marker attached!) on the front of our fridge. I use mine to keep a small chart of vitamins & meds for everyone so I can see at a glance who's had what. It also holds my running "needs from town" list. Casey usually uses his to keep track of his detailing business. But the most important use is for writing notes to each other. Sometimes it's "please call so-and-so" and sometimes a little I love you:) But it's the only way I've found that I can consistently remember to do the little things Casey needs me to do. I just literally can not remember anything - must be mommy brain:) - that's not written down!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

A Fabulous New Recipe

I tried this new recipe for Pasta Primavera last night and it is GOOOOOD! I did tweak it a little to make it a little more up our alley. I added two shredded chicken breasts (just roasted them alongside the vegetables and then shredded them up - rotisserie from the grocery store would work too) and left out the cherry tomatoes cause Casey's not so found of them. It was great - even the kids liked it! Some of our eaters are not very adventurous so you can imagine how excited I am to find a meal with lots of veggies, not much fat, protein - lots of good for you stuff - that they will eat! It would be great with whole grain pasta, too. I'm trying that next time:)

BTW, I totally missed Works For Me Wednesday this week. The week just got away from me:) Be back next Wednesday, though. Same bat time, same bat channel!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Is it Wednesday already?

Well, then, I guess it's time for Works For Me Wednesday - the brainchild of the other Shannon.

My tip for this week is a super-easy way to clean my shower and glass door. You must be careful not to slip, but there aren't any toxic fumes:) I grab a magic eraser and some dishwashing liquid and hop in the shower. Soap scum comes off with so little scrubbing that I can just throw the sponge on the floor and use my foot to wipe it clean:) A good thing since my shower is so small there is no way to clean the floor while you're in there and I hate cleaning the shower fully clothed! You get all icky. This way I clean me and the shower at the same time:)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Blissful Quiet

The house is eerily quiet. Levi and Casey have run to town pick up Casey's Rx (for pinkeye, poor baby, on top of the viral infection settled in his throat) and Brenna and Jack are sleeping like little angels:) Goodness, it doesn't take much to make me giddy lately - just a little peace and quiet!
There are approximately nine-five thousand things running through my brain right now. Should I get started on all the food I'm cooking for dinner at church tomorrow (we're dedicating the upstairs of our building which is finally finished and desperately needed! PTL!) or clean the back half of the house or do some more laundry or clean my desk or read a book (and if so which ONE? I have a shelf of 14 waiting to be read!)? Or should I get started on one of the many sewing projects I have stacked up on my sewing table? What about painting the highchair or mirrors or desks I have downstairs waiting on me? Maybe I should really scrub my shower - the door is not supposed to be frosted glass, after all. I have too much to do:)
But, the thing is, although all those things are certainly easier sans children, I can do them all with little ones by my side. It's rare that I have the chance to be alone with my Father so I think I'll get back to all of you later and get out that letter He wrote me.

*when performing spellcheck, it stopped on the word highchair. Replacement option? Hijacker! That's funny to my sleepy mommybrain:)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday (again)

Boy this has been a busy week. Everybody has either had a cold or been fighting one (except Jack! don't tell me breastfeeding's not worth it!). We all feel pretty yucky. So here is my health related tip...

When you feel a cold coming on, right away put a few drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ears (take turns) and let it bubble. When it stops bubbling, drain your ear and do the next one. If you do it a few times a day you can usually stop a cold in its tracks. I don't know why it works, but it does!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday

I haven't had time to read all the entries today, so I hope this isn't a repeat.

I make fajita kits for nights when we're really busy. Frozen peppers and onions in one ziploc bag, frozen (fully cooked, seasoned and sliced) chicken in another bag, tortillas in another bag, and shredded cheese and taco sauce in smaller ziploc bags. Then I put all of that in a BIG bag and stick it in the freezer. I can grab one out, heat everything up and have dinner ready in less than 20 minutes!

What I've been doing wrong

Amy has written a wonderful post on raising boys that I think every mom of boys should read. I had asked her about things she and her husband do to teach their oldest son (who is newly 8 and adorable) to be chivalrous and responsible and, well, a good man. It was so sweet of her to write something for me! Since I became a mom, I've been looking for moms who were at the same stage of parenting and a little ahead so that I could learn from them - asking questions and observing the *fruit* of what they're doing. The moms around me in the real world are wonderful - many of them are dear friends. But few of them have a vision for their children similar to the one that God has given Casey and I for our family. That is why I feel so blessed to have this blogging community of women who are so open and so willing to share what they're doing that works and what doesn't.
Which brings me to the topic of this post - what we've been doing that ISN'T working. Now don't get me wrong, I think Levi is a fabulous kid:) He's very interested in learning more about his Heavenly Father, he loves to help his earthly dad, he's very sweet and funny and loving. He loves boy stuff like baseball and fishing. Just one of my three favorite kids on the PLANET:) But lately we've been noticing a few things we really don't like and aren't willing to tolerate. Mouthiness, disrespectfulness, selfishness. We've tried some things that are *supposed* to work - being very firm, removing privledges, tomato staking, and yes spanking. We've even, I'm ashamed to say, done some stuff that we know doesn't work and isn't right - yelling and lecturing. Everything had some effect. Some things were much more effectual than others. But the bad behavior still lingers.
*I've got to stop and say one more time that overall, he is a great kid. I think that may even be why this has been bothering me SO much. He's just usually so great to be around that this seemed even worse by comparison to his usual personality.*
But after a lot of prayer and reading Amy's post and a few other things like this great post from Molly, I think I've figured what I'm doing wrong. Or maybe I've just opened my eyes to what God's been showing me. We've spent much to much time trying to correct wrong behavior instead of building the right attitudes in him. He's been watching a few too many movies (we're cautious about what he watches, but even the movies that seem good to me have *bad guys* for him to emulate). And he's been around a few bad influences. DH has been working incredibly long hours (bless his heart!) and I think Levi is missing him. It's been rainy and yucky a lot (when it's not really hot) and we haven't been outside as much. I've been busy with figuring out how to juggle the needs of a preschooler, toddler, newborn, and hubby. And, well, just busy. And I think I especially have been turning a blind eye to the fact that he isn't a baby anymore. How awful to think we haven't been giving him exactly what he needs! And how humbling for someone who gets a little prideful about her mothering sometimes.
So dh and I are developing a new game plan. So far it's going to involve a lot of outside, running around, boy-time. A lot more one on one time with dad. A lot more responsibility. And a lot more praise for all the things he does so well. A lot of all the good stuff. And a mom who's a lot more cautious about what he sees and hears, but a lot less nitpicky about the *boy stuff * like yelling (it has its place) and being bossy (he is the big brother, he just needs to learn the right way to lead). I'm really excited about raising a young man! And so a big THANK YOU to Amy and to Molly and to my Father for helping me out of this funk!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Works for Me Wednesday

The other Shannon has come up with a great idea I'm going to join her in. Make sure to check out all the great links at her site.

Now for my tip...hmm, I know. Any time one of my babies gets diaper rash, I put them in the bath tub with some baking soda in the water and let them soak. Clears it up every time!

Monday, May 01, 2006

This is going to be a very dull post

You've had fair warning:) We've been super busy around here lately and I just haven't had time to think anything interesting. So I should blog about all the stuff we've been doing, right? Only that's not too interesting either. At least not to anyone but me. But since this is my blog I guess I'll blog about it anyway:)
We had elections at church yesterday and I wasn't even nominated for anything. Now I know that they batted my name around (in the past I've been on the board and Sunday School superintendent, etc) but didn't nominate me because I resigned at the end of last year specifically because with small kids I just can't make that kind of commitment. And since that hasn't changed there was no real point in asking me just to have me turn it down. But I miss being *in the know* and helping to make the big decisions. So should I just quit having kids and in a year or two be right back in the thick of things? I think no. Following God's plan for me right now means missing out on some stuff and maybe serving less at church because I'm so busy serving at home. And sometimes when people point that out to me, it hurts my feelings a little bit because, like most humans, I want what I want when I want it. But I just keep reminding myself that there will be plenty of time for all those things I want to do, if that's part of His plan for me, later when motherhood is not quite so demanding.
Also going on lately - some serious homeschool planning. Right now we're working through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. It's going well. I'm trying not to make it a high pressure thing since my main goal for right now is just to instill a love of learning at home. We're also playing with some math stuff and reading these sample pages from A Child's Geography. Which is fabulous by the way. Also, Levi got a new story Bible for Easter with slightly more in depth stories than the usual babyBibles So we're reading several stories out of that every night. That's been really fun. We've really expanded how much we read together as a family.
I got to go to my first LIFT (that's Ladies In Fellowship Together - have you ever heard such a corny name for a women's ministry group? I might have been the one that came up with that. Either way, we need a cooler name) meeting since before Jack was born. It was great. Things didn't go exactly as planned - something that was only suppose to take a few minutes wound up taking more than an hour - but that's all I'm going to say about that. The night was great for me. Fellowship with other women is something that I never imagined myself *needing* but it is so necessary for me. And these women! They're the best!
Well, that's about all the catching up I have time for right now because Levi wants to do some math worksheets (yeah!) and because he says his water is missing. Like it's this big mystery. So it's Inspector Mom off to search the shelves of the refridgerator. Until next time...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Eagle's Nest

I just had to pass along this link. Levi is absolutley fascinated!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Just Like A Real Mom

WeeBall practice started on Tuesday. It was hysterical! An ambulance drives by and the whole team stops to watch:) Levi had a ball (sorry about the goofy pun). I was a little worried that he would be nervous since he didn't know the coach or other kids on the team, but he was fine. My brave little guy:) He's so excited about being on a team and we had the best time watching him. The funniest part for me though came at the end of practice when the sign up sheet was past around for providing snacks. As I picked a day and signed my name I thought "wow, I'm signing up for snacks just like I saw my mom do a million times....just like A REAL MOM!" How long does one have to be a mom before one stops having these little lightbulb "I'm a mom" kind of moments:) Or do they just go on and on as the kids get bigger - "wow, I'm a mom," "wow, I'm the mom of a preschooler," "wow, I'm the mom of a kid who can read" and on and on? Whatever. I'm having a great time!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

my 101 in 1001

I saw this idea over at Preschoolers and Peace and it looked like so much fun! I love lists anyway and I always have an ongoing to do list (aka my Master List). But since this is for a longer period of time (about 2 3/4 years) I can put some longer term goals on there and not feel bad when they're still on the list next summer. I started my list yesterday so my finish date will be Jack's third birthday. It's hard to imagine my tiny baby is ever going to be that big:( It was fun to think ahead about putting Levi in scouts and some feild trips we want to go on. I have about 30 things starred that I want to consentrate on over the next three months or so, some of which are pretty easy like growing out my hair to donate. It's growing while I type! I started to add "have another baby" to the list since I hope to within the time frame, but I thought I'd stick to things I have in my power and leave the miracles up to God. If any of y'all have a list, link to it for me in the comments. I'd love to check it out. And one more thing, I was inspired by many of the lists I read so if you see something that looks familiar...well, that's why:) So, in no particular order, here's the list.

1. Pray about our home school goals*
2. have a homeschool planning time
3. Get rid of unwanted hs materials
4. attend hs convention
5. join hslda
6. teach Levi to read
7. start having a regular school time*
8. have a big “starting homeschool” day this fall

Health & Safety
9. buy and take a quality vitamin everyday*
10. put together an emergency/disaster kit
11. put together a first aid kit*
12. serve a raw vegetable or fruit with every meal*
13. get a fire ladder and have a fire drill
14. do a detox after weaning Jack
15. drink only water for a week and see if I feel better*
16. buy and try stevia instead of sugar
17. take Levi to the dentist*
18. exercise 3x a week*
19. use only nontoxic cleansers in the house
20. Lose 60 lbs ( I can’t believe I wrote down the number!)
21. go to bed and get up earlier*

22. Hold a garage sale*
23. Make a family tree and hang it up in the house
24. Decorate the playroom
25. Decorate Mbed and Bath – make it a retreat
26. Get rid of unwanted toys*
27. Decorate the kids’ rooms
28. Fence in the yard
29. clean out my closet and get rid of all the clothes I don’t wear
30. get a new kitchen table and chairs
31. paint scripture on walls*
32. complete my black and white picture frame of all our family
33. decorate patio *
34. invite people over for supper at least 1x every other month*
35. organize storage room to hold outgrown kids’ clothing
36. learn how to make really good biscuits
37. learn how to make a great 14 layer cake
38. have Christmas presents made or bought and wrapped before Dec 1st
39. learn to cook cabbage the way Casey likes
40. put together a list of a months worth of well-liked meals
41. create and follow a workable cleaning schedule
42. make silhouettes of each of the kids to hang up
43. establish a chore chart for kids and use it*
44. keep meals in the freezer to take to people in need
45. pack an emergency diaper bag for the trunk*
46. read or get rid of all unread books
47. Reorganize all my books
48. make a price book for groceries & household stuff
49. grow an herb garden*
50. try once a month cooking
51. Pay off all debt except house

52. sign Levi up for scouts
53. make Easter more meaningful – establish more traditions
54. take the kids to the zoo in Atlanta
55. take the kids to the aquarium in Atlanta
56. swim w/ kids
57. Start Brenna’s pearl necklace*
58. Take the kids to the beach
59. Verbally praise more than verbally correct*
60. teach kids good manners
61. Have a pajama ice cream run
62. Invite Bet to stay with us over the summer*
63. be at Bethany’s high school graduation
64. plan fun things with nieces and nephews
65. start a playgroup in our neighborhood
66. get a playhouse for Brenna
67. have a traditional picnic with Casey and kids

Church Family
68. Encourage someone at church every week*
69. Weekly praise a child that’s not my own
70. start a church library*
71. go to ladies retreat at least once
72. have a cookie decorating party for the kids at church

73. build a basic wardrobe
74. take better care of my skin
75. get teeth whitened
76. buy and wear really good makeup
77. get a cool shorter hairstyle
78. Take care of my nails*

79. Memorize 3 scriptures per week for a month*
80. Pray faithfully for family, church family and friends
81. Finish reading through the Bible
82. establish a daily Bible and prayer time and keep it consistently*

83. pray with Casey every day*
84. Pray for Casey daily (use POAPW)*
85. plan an overnight getaway for me and Casey

86. be an active prayer partner for a volunteer at the pregnancy center*
87. find a way to volunteer at the pregnancy center
88. make shoeboxes at Christmas for the Christmas Child Project
89. sponsor a child
90. grow my hair to donate to Locks of Love*

91. invite another woman over once every other month
92. get to know some neighbors
93. make a will and have it notorized (or whatever to make it official)
94. get a bigger vehicle
95. finish “baby” quilts for all three kids
96. learn more about the Old testament laws/ traditions
97. write something and submit it to be published
98. Write a letter explaining our “quiverfull” philosophy*
99. write 1 letter a month to friends or family
100. Don’t check email on weekends*
101. Catch up on scrapbooks

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Proverbs 31 Weekly Challenge

I've been following the Proverbs 31 Weekly Challenge for the last few weeks and it is doing me a world of good. Here are the verses I'm memorizing this week.

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!
Matthew 7:11

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship.
Romans 12:1

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Disappearing Comments

Some comments are mysteriously disappearing so, please, let me know if you've commented and it doesn't show up. Thanks, Holly, for pointing this out. Also if anyone has an idea about what might be wrong, I sure would appreciate the input:)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Me Time

I still haven't posted the pictures of the cleaned up areas. Y'all will just have to take my word for it - they got straightened, cleaned, and organized. And messed back up, but let's not get into that. God is certainly making good use of my kids to teach me lots of interesting character traits. And by interesting, I mean painful and totally against my nature. Being paitient, long-suffering, self-sacrificing... Well, let's just say that it's a testament to the life altering power of Christ that I even know what those words mean.
And I've been thinking a lot about the topic of being self-sacrificing. Staying at home with my babies has made it pretty clear that I have to get over myself. It doesn't matter how tired I am, when my baby girl has a nightmare I get up. It doesn't matter how many times Levi tests my paitience, I stay calm (or do my very best). No matter how sore I may be, if my baby needs to eat...well, y'all get the picture. But all I hear, all I read these days is about how I have to put myself first - take care of myself first so that I can take care of others. I always come back to the example of the oxygen mask in an airplane. No matter what your instincts say, you have to put the mask on yourself first so that you don't pass out and can put it on your child, right? So does that translate into real life? Should I always take care of myself first and make sure that all my own needs are met before I meet the needs of my children? I don't think so. At least not if we're defining needs the way our culture does. We have a long list of *needs* these days. My family's needs, both physical and emotional, do come first. Before mine. I hear a lot of women saying "well, I can't take care of my family if I don't take care of myself first." But frankly you can't take care of your family if you don't get up and take care of your family. They need me now - not when I'm done with my book or off the stairmaster (never really a big problem at my house!) or out of the bubble bath. It's not that there is anything wrong with taking care of one's self. In fact I firmly believe a mother should do whatever she can to keep herself in top working condition and that includes a lot of time for prayer, for study, for fellowship, for bubblebaths(yippee!!) and, yes, for exercise. But that has to be worked in without shortchanging our primary responsibilities. And it can be, I think. There's generally a lot of time for me to pray during the day. Motherhood seems to create opportunities - "please God, give me paitience. please, Lord, help me get this potty seat off my child's head. "please don't let that be a bug she just ate. please, let it be naptime!" But those are sort of snack prayers, grabbed on the run. For a meal sized prayer, I have to carve out time. But somehow it doesn't seem right to lock myself in a prayer closet while my children run wild outside. Caring for them has to come first. It's the same for all my other needs. They are important, some even neccessary, but I have to be creative about finding time for them.
All this is not to say I think my children should be under the impression that I revolve around them. I have no problem saying "Mommy is going to Ladies' meeting, you're staying with Daddy." I know it makes me a better mom when I'm supported and encouraged by other women. And I know they'll have a ball with their dad. But it always takes second place to their needs. If my husband or my kids needed me to stay home, the ladies would have to understand (and they do, that's the great thing about girlfriends).
So why is it so hard? Knowing all of this, why do I still pout when I can't do what I want? Why do I still act like such a martyr for doing what is really just basic mommy stuff? Well, if I had to guess, I'd say it's because I am still very, VERY human - full of selfishness and greed. Yuck. But what wonderful little teachers God has sent me! They too pout when they don't get their way. And, hey, at least I don't lie in the floor and kick my feet and scream "Iwantit!It'smine!Idon'twanttoshare!" Well, not since I've seen how silly it looks anyway:) So God's growing me. He has His work cut out for Him though.

Friday, March 31, 2006

The cleanup goes on

I need to get some after pictures up. The toy room is much more organized and the kids are having a much easier time keeping it that way. We still need more (inexpensive) storage though so we're looking into that. But paying bills gets priority so I may be finding ways to make do for a little while longer. What bothers me the most about this room is the blank walls. One wall is largely covered by the computer armoire, but there are two other small walls and one very long wall that sit totally empty. Since the room is completely visable from the living room, I've been hesitant to hang anything, but it's really time. I want something very kid friendly (it is, after all, a playroom) but nice enough for grown ups, too. Any ideas are welcome!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Here are the rest of the pictures.

 Posted by Picasa

Cleaning House

First let me just say that my house is often messy. I make no excuses, that's just life in my house. Since my hubby is a neat-freak extrordinairre, I almost always have it clean by the time he sees it. Yesterday was a sick day though - not just me, but the kids too. And it was raining and yucky. And I feel asleep on the couch without doing my last cleaning push before bed. So when I woke up this morning, naturally I went to the computer instead of jumping right in :> Turns out it was a good thing, though, since I read this from Chief Executive Mom. She has some great tips for Spring Cleaning that I'm going to be applying today. I thought before and after pictures would be a great idea. Very motivating. SO here are my big messy spots - the kid's playroom and my bookshelf (actually those are hubby's guitar magazine across the bottom, but the rest is mine) of stuff. So pray for me as I try to bring in some order!
P.S. My kitchen is also quite a mess, but there are limits to how much I'm willing to share. Posted by Picasa