Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Closest Thing My Kids Have to a Pet

Starting around March, this lizard visits our back deck every morning. We see him on the back door, literally, every day. The kids have a ball watching him and aren't nervous about him at all (what with the glass between them and all). Even I like to watch him. This is our third year with a (this? how long do lizards live, anyway?) lizard visitor. This picture is from Spring 2006.

Look how little the kids were! Brenna wasn't even quite two. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised when they yell "our lizard's here!"... As long as they don't invite him in.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Our first day of school will be next Monday! With the heat and daily thunderstorms around here, it just makes sense to do school now and take a little extra time off when the weather is nicer - maybe around Labor Day. I'm so excited, but I have so much to do! I started by buying school supplies because I love school supplies:) And then I got started on some scheduling. Figuring out how to work in storytime at the library for the little kids (and library time for my big boy!) along with other fun stuff like playdates and field trips and going to the park along with reading books and doing lessons at home - oh, and don't forget naps! and making dinner! and my husband! - was challenging. But here it is in all its glory! I'll update in two weeks if I've completely changed everything:)

You can click on the pictures if you're hard of seeing like me, but be warned it's still fuzzy:)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Renewing my mind

After I wrote yesterday about getting things together I did manage to check off the items on my list. But my heart just wasn't in it. I was so looking forward to feeling like I'd accomplished something, but I was so cranky and I think we all know if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

So, after spending today trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to shake myself out of my discouragement, I finally sent the kids out to the pool and sat down at the computer. A self-indulgent waste of time? Well, not this time, anyway.

I looked through all my homemaking files and my favorites list and found one uplifting article after another. After spending a little time drinking from this fountain of material, I feel so energetic, so ready to tackle this mess. Here are a few of my very favorites...

  • Why I Love Homemaking I think there will be a lot of women in Heaven thanking Laine. Her letters are so cheerful and self-effacing and...they're just wonderful.

  • Homemaking: An Art to Be Learned This is a really good article about learning to care for a home. I think it's really written for girls and young women, but the description at the beginning of the workings of an ideal home is lovely.

  • The Wife and Queens Ride By should be required reading for every new bride. Thinking about all the work involved with running a home makes the task seem larger than life, but when I remember the effect that it has on my husband and my kids (and me!) it makes it so much easier.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Amish Country Home by Carl Valente

I may say that I work best under pressure, but I crave the peaceful happiness in this picture. There is too much going on in my little corner of the world. There's good stuff, like planning for school next month, and heavy stuff, like our struggling church, and difficult stuff, like a six year old who thinks he 16 or 60 (the rolling eyes, the know-it-all attitude, the "Listen, mom, it's like this") - oh my word. Sometimes stuff just seems to take over my life.

But my big problem lately, and you'll just have to trust me - it is a big problem, is me. I'm letting everything get to me until I'm not getting to anything. One problem leads to another and while I'm busy thinking about those problems, three more crop up. It's like laundry...first you just skip doing it one day, then you're running late because your kid is out of socks. And when you're late maybe you yell "hurry up" one too many times and maybe your kid has a melt down from the stress. Maybe. And maybe you're so exhausted from the day that when bedtime finally rolls around you veg out in front of soapnet instead of doing the laundry. And, again, this is all purely hypothetical. But my point is, "taking a break" or giving myself some "me time" doesn't really seem to help. The work just waits for me and, since it's bored, it reproduces. And then I'm more discouraged than I was when I started. And I don't intend to live my life discouraged, always wishing for my next time away.
Meredith shared today that she's ready to snap out of it - I think she called it Better Wife Bootcamp:) If anyone has a good reason to take it easy and let some things slide, Meredith surely does! But I'm so glad she wrote this post today.
So I sat down to make a plan of's not a full bootcamp, but hopefully it will be a start.
  • I must have a clean (clean! not just straightened up!) kitchen before I go to bed every night
  • all the laundry gets washed and dried today, folded and put away tomorrow

  • no tv tomorrow - a trip to the library, the swimming pool and helping Mommy should keep everyone busy

  • set my alarm to get up in the morning in time to fix Casey breakfast

Now, to get to work...

Friday, July 18, 2008

I couldn't resist adding one where she's smiling. She had a wonderful time at the BK Lounge with bestest friends Ryan and Riley.

Brenna turned four...

and I forgot to post her picture on the steps. Well, I didn't forget exactly, I just kept thinking I would go back out and try to get a picture of her smiling. I took 12 pictures of her and she was smiling and happy the whole time, but not one of the pictures has a good smile with her face turned to the camera - there was a plane, some neighbors came home, lots of distractions for a very distractable little girl:) She's very like her mommy that way...

I worry a little that she's getting lost in the midst of all these boys. She's so soft-spoken that I don't even always hear her over the firetrucks, tazaran yells, karate chops, and machine gun fire. Hmm, Brenna and I need more tea parties...

My Girl

Saturday, July 12, 2008

How Mommy Gets Some Work Done

Our street is a little too busy for the kids to play by themselves in the yard just yet, but I can see the back deck from the living room, kitchen and my computer so every summer we haul the baby pool up the steps and they spend hours out there (with industrial strength sunscreen, of course). Last summer they wouldn't stay for long because it was soooo hot, but this year has been much nicer so they are really taking advantage. Christian plays sometimes, too, but only when I can go outside. Now if I throw some bubbles in while they play, will it count as a bath?

Monday, July 07, 2008

On Education

I recently ran across this post - John Wesley on Education - on Vodie Baucham's blog. It's worth reading, a good reminder about what we ought to be preparing our children for. If you don't already read Vodie Baucham's blog, I highly recommend it. His sermon, The Centrality of the Home, is one of my favorites.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Time to Update the Old 101 in 1001 List

With only about 6 1/2 months left to finish this (wow! 1001 days seemed like forever when I started) it's looking like a few things may fall off the list. For a control freak/obsessive list maker like myself that would ordinarily be a problem, but I'm feeling strangely okay with it. I'm so glad I made this list though - it's been really great for reminding me about long range goals that I would've forgotten about otherwise.
(the ones in red are done)

Apr 17, 2003 - Jan 13, 2009
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 (ed. Do this after weaning Christian)
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 (I'm still a little upset that I didn't get to do this one - very early labor pains with Christian kept me from traveling)
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 - I'm so glad to have this one done! It's really growing, too!
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

Well, it's pretty clear what areas are easier for me and what's going to take a little more willpower. Somethings may not be as important as I thought. For example, we haven't even looked into scouting yet. But overall, this is a really handy way to make some long range plans - and it's fun to see how much I have gotten done!

Christian at the Ballpark

Christian is 10 months old already. He looks small in this picture but he's actually a pretty decent size (20lbs at the last doctor's visit) - Praise God! After worrying over Jack's growth for so long because of his reflux, it's very reassuring to see Christian getting a little pudgy in some spots:) He's old enough to have acquired his own nicknames now...I occasionally call him Crispy and Casey calls him Triscuit. I'm not sure why we do this to our kids, but since it's a tradition now, I'm not sure we could stop if we wanted to.