Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A little music on the blog

I am always trying to find a way to play music in the house. We haven't unpacked the stereo (another issue- probably a future post). There is too much talk on the Christian radio station for me to turn it on and just let the kids listen. So, my solution- post it here. It runs automatically when the site loads. I can just turn it on and we can enjoy it while we pick up, play, or just hang out. For those of you who don't want to hear our favorites while reading, please scroll down and click the pause button on the player and you can catch up with us tuneless.

Here are a few of the reasons why some of the songs are included. Casting Crowns, I just love them and have for years- let's not talk about the fact I had to miss their concert 4 miles from my house- I am still in recovery. "If We Are the Body" just because I need the reminder. "Gone" by Switchfoot - the kids favorite song - they can't possibly hear it enough. "My Savior, My God" Aaron Shust - the song that walked me through the prayerful time when we decided to move. "The Face of Love" reminds me to see His face in my kids everyday. "East to West" is for when I forget to see it.

Katey just brought me a book of hers and my Bible- why that combination? Sounds like Mom needs to go pay attention to #4. I have spent far too long on the computer this morning! Hope you enjoy the music with us, if not feel free to turn it off when you visit.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sometimes disobedience helps

We again have a van with a dead battery. (Yes, we still need to buy the jumpstart-its expensive and we have been procrastinating). So, today we were running late, Tim is about to head off to work and we haven't jumped my van - which I need today. We QUICKLY loaded up the children and I drove Tim to work in his van. I got back and realized I was locked out of the house. The ongoing saga of the morning. We preach to the children about locking doors. Our house has six exterior doors. Its insane. We can't check them all before we leave to go somewhere, so we tell the children when you are finished outside you close and lock all doors you have used. We have the rule and we try to strictly enforce it. They usually remember, especially if we remind them as we are going in, but not always. As I walked around wiggling door handles this morning I prayed for disobedience. The kids were in their PJs - none of them had shoes and we have to be at the LBL Planetarium at 11:45. Tim is in class until 10:45 and he has visitors on campus today. I'd be lucky to connect with him by noon. If I didn't get in the house we'd be in trouble. I started with the front door-no luck, on to the back deck- climbing over the railing - a pretty sight no doubt to any passersby. Finally my prayers were answered with one of the basement doors. Laurel used it yesterday to run out and collect basketballs before an afternoon rain shower. In her rush to get out of the rain disobedience took hold!!! I pray, study, labor, and sometimes even beg in hopes of instilling immediate and consistent obedience in my children. Today my failures saved me. Maybe we are all imperfect for a reason!

Monday, April 28, 2008

She Pees in the Potty!

It is coming. The light at the end of a 7 1/2 year tunnel. Katey is showing interest in the potty. Many of you may wonder- why all the excitement for this event? Those of you who have had recently or have children in diapers totally relate. For us it began in December of 2000. Since that point we have had at least one kid in diapers. For those who care not about the toileting habits of toddlers, stop reading here. For those who can rejoice in "going potty" and are comfortable with the words associated with this act, read on. On Sunday she was sitting on the potty. She got up to talk to me just outside the bathroom door. Tim and I were involved with something on the computer and I look down in time to see her in the "position". I scream "KATEY" and out comes the poo. Right on the doormat. Almost a milestone! Its my fault for not keeping her on the toilet. We put her on the potty with her "deposit" and then let her flush it. Tonight she did manage to stay on the potty long enough. Three drips in the potty. Mommy and Daddy are happy. It will be a while. Mostly we're just having fun at this point. When it comes it will change my life. I am looking forward to it and so is our budget!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Daddy's in good shape

Kids will say anything. Laurel's teacher at church tonight had to share comments Laurel made to her last week. She said they were talking about losing teeth. She had made a recent trip to the dentist and the kids were comparing their loss of the baby teeth to her dental condition. They were amazed at what they thought was the loss of baby teeth at the "OLD" age of 48. As the discussion carried on about being old Laurel said "My Daddy is about to have his birthday and HE WILL BE 50, but he's still in good shape." Tim was thrilled to hear the news.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Learning to love the chaos

I have learned that while I would love to have a strict schedule I can't allow myself to attempt it. Today is proof and its only 11:30. I had goals, I had plans, the morning has gone to pot. It started before I left our room this morning. You see ever since the medieval feast Carter has been asking for a sword, helmet, and shield set. We can't find them locally and shipping is ridiculous. This morning he asked again. "Please make me one out of wood" was his plea, followed by detailed instructions on how to do it (in his three year old language). To him it seemed simple. So at 7:30 this morning I was cutting swords and shields out of cardboard (Carter said Matthew had to have a set so that he could "play knights" with him). That done I moved on to breakfast. Everyone seems to be going through a growth spurt. Today's menu: eggs, oatmeal, bananas, and a large bagel-all of it for each child (except Carter of course). Normally any one of the above with the banana would suffice. For some reason everyone was starving. Breakfast took almost an hour as I made more and more for everyone. We dressed, cleaned the oatmeal off Katey, and said goodbye to Daddy. I cleaned up the cardboard mess and hung up the laundry from the dryer. When I returned downstairs to start school I found a plugged toilet. Great! I fixed the toilet, and then had to convince Katey we couldn't play in the garage- she had escaped while I was searching for the plunger. Luckily it is a beautiful day so she could play on the deck while we had school. We finally started school. In the end it went well. We finished with everything except Science a few minutes ago. We even remembered it was Earth Day and read a book we have on the subject! However, had I been trying to follow a schedule I would be tremendously frustrated, behind, and feeling like a failure. For us it has to be general goals for parts of the day. Start school with a Bible verse/study. Finish reading, grammar, handwriting, and math by lunch and everything else before the end of Katey's nap in the afternoon. Get dressed. Keep the house sanitary, tidy if we are lucky. Strive for kindness (the cook was a little grumpy today when Laurel asked for oatmeal and eggs!). Play outside when its pretty, and soak up the best weather of the year- its good for everyone's disposition! I can't tell you to the minute when this will happen. If I try I will fail and be frustrated. So, I will appreciate the accomplishments of my friends who have mastered the fine art of a scheduled day and learn to love my chaos. Right now it is time for lunch, let's hope I have enough food in the house!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Getting over it and getting happy

Okay. So this is my third post. The first two were too depressing and I deleted them. I am in mourning over our old yard. Its an ongoing thing. Tim is also a chronic sufferer. It is possible he will require intervention. Those of you who were with us in Martin know it was great. Several people told us it was like having a private park. We literally lived in our yard. Parties were held there, and the kids spent their entire days outside. It was awesome. As we begin trying to transform the ground around our home in Murray into a yard I see the work that is to be done. Anyway, I deleted all that - and too much more detail because when Tim read it he would be depressed along with the rest of you. We've already spent months pondering our yard. It is time to get happy around here. We have grass and we'll go from there. Its time to focus on getting things done and enjoying what we have. I am going to focus on the fun parts ahead. Picking out plants, moving the playset into the yard so the kids can play on it, and more (the more will be determined when we get the cost estimate from the nursery!). So when I suffer from "yard envy" or nostalgia you all just remind me to get over it and get to work. Tell me to look forward to what can be done. Tell me how blessed I am to have grass after only 7 months.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

4 days and counting

Here is our report: Tuesday 30 minutes total!!, Wednesday and Thursday 2 hrs total. So we are doing pretty well with our restrictions. The kids still look as though they are seriously wounded when I say no, but there is no more crying and whining. The house is a mess, but hopefully tonight after the kids go to bed I can get it cleaned up. Tonight is Tim's class so I can set the goal of having it in order when he gets home. The children are currently building with Legos, playing games, and reading. Its quiet-except for Laurel's "allelujahs" in the background. She has developed the habit of singing while playing. For the last month or so it has been the chorus to "Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God". Its nice to hear her have praise on her lips, but I am ready for a new song. Since Carter just pointed out I am on the computer when he can't be I have to go. Yes, Mom has restrictions, too :)!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Less TV more brains

Okay, so I've been thinking about it for several months. The weather has been bad, I have been tired, the list of excuses goes on and on. However, God wouldn't let up. You know when he is trying to tell you something so badly He is practically shouting? Ever had that feeling? I have for several weeks. I just kept ignoring him. I would mull it over and say "Sorry God, I just don't have it in me." Its how I get through the day. I NEED the break. Heard a sermon that addressed it- filed it in the "maybe this summer" area of my brain, talked it over with Tim- he didn't insist I take action so maybe its not so bad, went to a homeschool conference- UH OH. Every speaker, literally every one convicted me that my children watch too much TV. I want creative kids with active imaginations, not those dulled by the two-dimensional. I gave in and said okay to God. We've fired my electronic babysitter. Okay, so maybe we just cut her hours. My problem now: how else do you manage and get anything done? Creative kids are messy. I've lost productivity and increased the workload. Today is day two. Don't fall out at the tremendous milestone. I am telling you its big for me. Yesterday Tim offered to stop by the store on the way home. "NO!!! Come home and play with these kids!" was my reply. Tim offered to rig something up for me to relieve the temptation. So far we have made it. They are actually more independent today. Yesterday we tallied up 2 hours total of computer and TV in 14 1/2 hours time. It was good for us. Others do less, but for us that is about a 50% reduction. Laurel's was all computer time and no television (for some reason the computer bothers me less- I know better, but that is the truth). The biggest adjustments: No more TV while Mom and Dad get one more hour's sleep -ouch!- and no TV before or after dinner-I now have 5 cooks in the kitchen. They choose TV OR computer before lunch if the school work is done and in the afternoon while Katey finishes her nap (for the sake of noise!). Those times add up to about 2 hours so that is it. It is quieter. I have had to settle more disputes, deal with the whining, but they also woke me up this morning pretending to be a band of pirates donning Dad's handkerchiefs on their heads. Poor Katey was the dog, but she barked on command and was included in the storyline so I'll get over it- she didn't seem to mind. So we'll keep going. I know it will be easier in pretty weather after the yard dries out. I will get used to it and by going public I am accountable. Wish me luck, creativity, and most of all patience!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Getting away with the girls!

I just returned from a homeschool conference in St Louis, MO with other homeschool mom friends. Thanks to my Mom and Dad for coming to help Tim manage while I was away. Right away I want to apologize. Many of you will find that as you read this post it will make little or no sense. For those of you who were along on the trip to St Louis - this is my attempt to remember the important, preserve the humor, and laugh one more time- lest we forget as we get back to "life".

Here are a few of the serious tidbits I picked up:
Love your children. Teach them to love God. Follow His leading in your school and in all things. Cherish the years you have them for they pass too quickly. Love to learn, teach them how to do it and love it. Get rid of the two dimensional. Know their learning styles. Parent to the heart, not the behavior, and not to impress those around you. Close the trap door for public school-quitting is not an option. If the kids are crying, cool it. In the beginning and the end everything you need fits on your bed. Love your husband. Support each other. Follow the lead dog-even when they're wrong. Your hobbies have been sucked down a black hole, but its okay. Teach kids to make mental pictures of words and ideas to help in reading. Read, pray, read, and pray some more. Make a schedule. Get regular sleep. Get up earlier. You don't have to scrapbook. Train kids in the jobs you want them to do. Ask them to help find their role in the running of the home. Make beds and dress the children. Run your dishwasher on a schedule. Make your husband listen to the "sensimale" CDs. Cleanliness is a 2, kids are a 12. Kids mirror our attitudes. Love is messy- in many ways. Make sure kids have time to dig in the dirt. Trust your child. Enjoy school and your kids. Focus on character not academics. Don't compare yourself with others. Celebrate accomplishments!

Now for the humor and the memories:
Jeannie (A.J.): Even though you failed us, we love you. Recalculate on, sister!
Deborah: As a praise song: You came on Thursday, Thursday, Thursday. Thankfully you came on Thursday. As a hymn: Oh thou my friend, we are so blessed, grateful and joyful that thou didst bestow on us your presence on the fifth day of the week. (My tribute to DW) If you had come alone what would Pam have done without her little world in the back seat?!?! Thanks for tolerating shopoholics.
Pam: Wait a minute! Yes, it was five stories. Sorry- you can't control those who share your bathroom! Good luck on your life schedule, but I see cinnamon in your future. I promise not to carry the cheesecake next time. Enjoy your pocketbooks! Hope the sheets are lovely!
Tina: Keep it moving ladies, stay focused! Thanks for keeping us on schedule and scouting out the shopping deals. When you're funny, you are truly funny and you don't even need the tank top. Thanks for keeping us laughing. Thanks for the math advice. My kids thought all the manipulatives were games!
Sharon: Are we talking or ------?? It's official-we're family!! Thanks for hauling us all around and getting the tired and grouchy home safe! We all pray that one day Nicole will thank you for all the hours "in the zone" on the front row with your Dr Pepper. I'll share a meal with you anytime and we are all glad you were in the picture!
Alice: I found a cute shirt online-I'll send you a link. May you have no more nocturnal wanderings and may your blanket come up to your chin! Thanks for getting us around when technology failed!

It was a great time my friends, and I know now it was something I really needed. I am so glad God brought us to Murray so that I got to meet all of you!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hike at Hemitite

During March we headed out to LBL for a hike. I have been so busy with the feast preparations I haven't had time to post the pics. It was Tim's Spring Break so he took a day off to join us for a field trip to the lake. We began with a picnic and then took a 2 mile hike around Hemitite Lake. We found the lake higher than expected and were grateful for the help of passers-by to get our kids across on the stepping stones. Tim was worried we'd all go floating away-including me. Laurel found large pieces of hemitite and is pictured here with her "find of the day". The kids were on the lookout for turtles, geese, and beaver activity. Notice the turtle on the log in the photo here. A good time was had by all. Carter tired toward the end, but found new life in his legs when he spotted the van and knew a capri sun drink was within reach.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Medieval Feast

The feast went well. Here we are ready to leave and then later at the feast. The feast photo was taken for us by a friend with 7 (I think) of her 9 kids in tow who still remembered her camera-what a woman! Zori (Katey's babysitter for the evening) was kind enough to take the first photo for us so that Katey wouldn't be totally left out!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

And he says "I am God"

We are attending a Medieval dinner this Saturday night. For the last two weeks I have been putting together proper attire for 5 (Katey is to be home with a babysitter). On Tuesday night I finished the boys' tunics. All week we have been studying about the period. We have learned the various titles for people in the Middle Ages: Lord, Lady, Knight, Peasant, etc. While I have by no means achieved true authenticity in our costumes, I told the children we are probably closest to lords and ladies because of the gold trim I have used. So, when I tried on their costumes Matthew mentioned being a lord. Carter put his costume on and proclaimed "I am God!". That is when I realized that he translated the "lord" term into "Lord"- the word we often use in our home when referring to God. I tried to explain the difference. He didn't seem to want to change his mind. He told me "No, mama I am God and my costume has Jesus sleeves." We are working on it. Hopefully by Saturday he will be convinced. If not I will have some explaining to do for our fellow guests.