Sunday, October 17, 2010


I am so distracted and stressed! Yikes!

If you've read my previous posts you know that my husband is being transferred within his company and we will be moving in the coming weeks. It's just a stressful time and a time filled with questions and a LOT of waiting.

The cool thing is that I'm not worried. You know that children's Bible song "I've go the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart!"? Have you ever heard the verse "I've got the peace that passes understanding down in my heart!"? It's a cool verse and it is my testimony lately. I do have peace in the midst of uncertainty and stress.

The not-so-cool thing is that I am so unfocused and distracted. I find my mind wandering to the "what-ifs" and find myself trying to plan out the next few months... which is impossible right now. There isn't a plan to be made until we have some questions answered, so thinking through it all over and over is pretty pointless. But it is involuntary for me right now... my mind will wander and then all of a sudden I'll snap back to reality and try to remember what I was doing - ha!

It's hard to explain how I can be distracted and stressed, but not worried. I assure you that it's not my doing, but God's. Even in the midst of my planning and distracted "what-if" thoughts, I know... I KNOW that we are going to be fine. I know that God has a purpose and a plan in all this. He's just choosing not to share it with us yet :-)

We are still sad at the prospect of leaving the people we love, our kids school, our church, my playgroup, and I could go on... it is just sad :( I think that is why I have such a need for a plan. A plan is a lot easier for me to focus on than the goodbyes we will be having to say all too soon. I know that they won't be forever goodbyes, but it will still be difficult for us.

I am confident that we will look back on this time in our lives and remember it as a difficult time, but I am also confident that we will look back on this time and see where God's hand was on us the whole time... directing us and guiding us toward a purpose we cannot see right now.

I have that confidence... but it doesn't take away the fact that this is hard.

So... that's where I am.. honestly :-)

Be blessed!

Friday, September 24, 2010

How Do I Do It?

When I sit down and put pen to paper and list all my responsibilities I can get overwhelmed just trying to remember them all. Aren't most of us that way, though? I guess that's why we don't do it very often! I had a brief thought to try to make a list here, but got overwhelmed just thinking about it!

My life is full and I love it! I have my marriage, 5 kids, church activities, school activities, sports activities, friends, and on and on. People ask me how I do it and I'm never sure how to answer that question, but I give it a shot if they really want to know!

One key thing to realize is that what works for one family doesn't work for every family. I remember looking at women who I thought were amazing and "had it all together" and wanting to be just like them. Over time I realized that "having it all together" is relative and is really an illusion a lot of the time. I also realized that I am not those women! I have to do what works best for me and my family. So, I should get to know them and learn from them and then take that information to heart and apply it in a way that works best for my home. Easier said than done, though!

Managing my home is more challenging during some times of the year than others. But on the average day, here are some things that help me:

--Prayer. It may sound like something people just say, but I mean it. My faith is important to me and carries me through.

--Saying no! If I am asked to do something that doesn't line up with what is best for my family, even if it is a good thing, I have to say no. This gets easier each time I do it.

--Simplify. My two year old does not need a room full of toys and my 7 year old does not need 30 outfits or 7 pairs of shoes (neither do I!). We keep what we need and give the rest to other people. (We love hand-me-downs and get them a lot!) This helps with clean up time and laundry. The less we have the less there is to clean up and wash. Please do not think that my children don't have any toys or clothes. They have plenty and we still have toys that aren't really played with other than to dump them on the floor. That's apparently a two year old thing! But simplifying our home has played a key role in getting on top of managing it.

--Limits. My children are limited to one "sport" per school year. We feel it is important to be at home as a family for supper reasonably often and that is nearly impossible if our children do more extra-curricular activities than this. My 10 year old boy and 7 year old girl will be playing soccer this year, and my 5 year old girl will be taking a ballet class. The 2 year old and 1 year old boys aren't old enough yet! As my children get older I realize this will get harder because of school clubs and other things, but we have set a precedent in our home that our kids understand. They may have to say no to some things. And, really, that's okay.

--Planning. I am a calendar person! When a note comes home from school that a function is coming up, it immediately goes on the calendar. I also keep a master shopping list and if a note comes home asking me to bring an item, it immediately goes on the list. The only problem with this is that I do my shopping once a week, so if it's needed more quickly than that I have to have my husband grab it on his way home from work. That doesn't happen often, though.

--Meal planning. Every Monday evening I sit down and plan all the meals through the next Monday evening so that I can have my shopping list ready to shop on Tuesday morning.

--Flexibility. My husband has a job where he can get called in last minute, so sometimes I have to improvise when it comes to getting everyone where they need to go. It stresses me out! But I have (sort of) learned to be flexible. Most of the time my husband will run the kids to their sports activities as much as possible so I can get supper cooked and the other children bathed.

--Willingness to change. If my life is a struggle and something we are doing isn't working, my husband and I figure out what can be done to fix it... and we do it. Waking up every day dreading what the day will bring is just not a way we are willing to live on a regular basis, so we do what we can to change it when that happens.

I could probably go on, but there is only one more thing I simply have to mention and most days is what determines what kind of day it will be... and that thing... is ATTITUDE. My attitude is key. For one thing, attitude appears to be contagious. If I have a rotten attitude it doesn't take long before my husband and kids share that attitude. Then the day tends to go downhill from there.

Confession time! Quite honestly, there are several things that trigger a bad attitude in me. Hopefully that's not just me! It is somewhat freeing to know what my triggers are so I can be on guard. My biggest trigger is being late. I can't stand to be late!!! If I think I'm going to be late I'll start yelling at the kids to hurry and getting all huffy and angry. It's not pretty. I'm improving a lot in this area, though! Mostly because I make sure I'm not late, but if something crazy happens and I will be late... well... I'm working on it! Other things that completely ruin my attitude are negative, complaining people and things like flat tires or the internet going out.

I am learning, though. I am learning that it is impossible to be a successful wife, mom, church member, or friend if I have a bad attitude. So, when things start to go downhill like it did today when I was almost late picking my kids up from school because my 2 year old had hidden my keys in his toy box... I take a deep breath, pray, and ask God to help me.

I am thankful for my full life! There is never a dull moment... that's for sure!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Just Stuff..

I was all prepared to write some inspired post on patience or decision making or something "important" like that, but the words just would not come, so... I'm just going to let y'all know what's going on :-)

Life goes on in the midst of decision making and big life changes... my family still needs to eat and school is still in session and laundry still needs to be washed, dried, folded, and put away (laundry is my least favorite chore! - ha!). For several days I avoided everything but the bare minimum of the household chores, but then my husband ran out of clean underwear - ha! So, back to it!

I made a doctor's appointment today cause I've been having some strange symptoms. I couldn't get in for a couple weeks, but I will hopefully get some answers then. It is entirely possible my symptoms are all stress related, though.

My older two kids had their first soccer games. They both lost, but still had fun :) My son's game was really close and the other team scored at the last minute. My daughter's game wasn't even close. They played hard, though, and enjoyed themselves :-) My son is actually a pretty good soccer player. My 5 year old started a ballet class out at MCC and we are in love with her instructor :) I loooove her accent and she is great with the kids. My daughter isn't showing any signs of raw talent, but it's still early... and she's having fun :) Can you tell that fun is our goal with our extra-curricular activities? :-)

My Sunday School class is doing something really exciting! We are starting a downtown Bible Study called City Gate. It will start out being one Saturday night a month and is open to everybody, so if you are interested in more information let me know! The first one is Oct 23rd at 6pm at Union Station in the upstairs meeting room. It will be great! Please come :)

I should go fold some clothes... have a great day!

Friday, September 10, 2010


Well, the saying "you never know what tomorrow holds" is very real in my life right now. We got news that my husband's plant is shutting down permanently. We will be moving soon. He'll be working at a different plant within the same company.

How is it that one moment everything is rolling along just great and then all of a sudden "BAM!" everything changes?

It's not all that surprising I suppose. It's happened to us before... and it will happen to us again. That's just life. That still doesn't make it any less shocking when it happens, though.

This will be a hard and sad time for our family. We have sooo many people that we truly love here. We've invested our lives here. There are so many people we will miss terribly.

That being said, anyone who knows me well, knows that I'm not the negative wallowing type, so.... I'm about to make a list of things that have blessed me during this time of confusion....

---We still have a job! My amazing husband is great at what he does and an asset to the company... what a huge blessing! A move is better than being unsure of whether we'll have a paycheck coming at all anytime soon. There are many people in that boat and I'm thankful we're not in it. I love you sweetie!

---We feel so incredibly LOVED. It's not good that the people we love are sad :( I don't want them to be sad... but they are sad because they love us and don't want to see us go. It just means so much to me that we have been blessed with such amazing friends, church family, and school family here in Meridian. From the moment we started telling people what is happening, we have received an outpouring of love and encouragement. We are blessed.

---Our marriage is strong. My husband really is my best friend. We are there for each other. Yesterday was a roller coaster... one moment I was weak and sad and he held me, the next moment he was sad and I held him... then there were the moments we were both sad and we held each other. I cannot imagine what it would be like to go through a difficult time without him.

---God loves us!! Y'all know I'm very real about things... I'm not going to gloss over the negative in a way that makes it seem the negative isn't there at all. I have questioned why this is happening and I have felt frustration and anger and confusion. Yep, I have. And I will again, I'm sure. But at the end of the day, I trust God. He is sufficient. Thank you, Jesus, for loving me!

So... there are a few of the positives in my life right now. I am not naive enough to think that the negatives won't get the best of me in the weak moments, but with the support and love of my friends and family we will be okay. God is faithful, even when He doesn't make sense to us in the moment.

I'll post more on our move later :-)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Update on Sugar :-)

Well, it's been over a week since my last post and I still haven't had sugar!!! This is huge for me... huge. I'm not doing low carb stuff or anything... I'm still eating fruit, but I am not eating any sugary snacks or junk. I also am not drinking sugary drinks, which isn't as huge because I'm really not a fan of sugary drinks other than a certain punch I make and I just won't make that!

The really big test for me with this was yesterday. One of my daughters turned 7 yesterday! Happy birthday sweet girl! Anyway, I was taking cupcakes to her classroom at school to celebrate. I should say that birthday cake is my biggest weakness when it comes to sweets... I LOVE birthday cake... homemade birthday cake with buttercream icing... and this was it! Well, I at ZERO cupcakes! And I licked NO icing off of spoons and beaters while I was cooking. NONE.

This may sound kind of childish and silly for me to make a big deal of this, but it's really a big deal for me.

I'm not going off processed sugar permanently, but I plan to stay off of it for a little while. The cravings are a lot better than they were the first few days and my mood is a LOT better. Lots better. Which is a good thing :-)

So, I'll keep y'all updated as to my progress with this.

Soccer is starting up! It's going to be interesting! We already have a scheduling conflict... two kids have practice at the same time at different fields (different ends of town). Thankfully my husband can help me that day, but I'm praying it's not a sign of things to come!

It's going to be a great year!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What to say?

It's been a while since I've posted, so I feel the need to update :)

I'll just be honest about my life....

I just started typing up three different posts but couldn't figure out how to say what I wanted to say without sounding rude, so I decided to save them for later :)

Life is going really well! All three of my older kids are loving their classes this year which is helpful to a momma's heart :) Middle school has proven to be better than I expected it to be, which is wonderful! My oldest is enjoying it so far :-)

My mood, on the other hand, is not great. I have PMS and have stopped eating processed sugar... those two things combined make for one nasty mood. I'm not quitting sugar for good, but my sugar intake was out of hand, so I'm detoxing from it for a little bit. I've done this before and once the first few days of "detox" are over I feel much better and have more self-control about sugar. To clarify, I'm not doing any kind of detox program... I'm just not eating processed sugar and making sure I drink lots of water. So.... I'm grumpy!

Thankfully, I have a wonderful husband who I can be honest with and who will support me in times of grumpiness :) I just tell him what's going on and he is understanding and helps out with the kids a lot.... especially when one or more of them are driving me crazy and I need to step away for a minute so I won't lose my cool. That happened tonight with my 5 year old. It seemed she was on a mission all afternoon to push every button I have to make me angry... yikes! After my husband was home and everyone ate supper, she did one more thing... and that one more thing made me want to scream and yell and slam doors and basically throw a two year old fit... but I didn't. Instead I looked and my husband, gave him a "look", and simply said "I can't." Well, he knows me and is wonderful, so he went in and dealt with her (made her clean up the food she had purposely spread all over the floor) and I had a "time out" in my bedroom :-) After a few minutes in my room I was okay again and re-joined the family :-)

So... that's my life right now :-) Pray my mood will get better quickly, please! My family will thank you - ha!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Back to School Blues

I've been such a bad blogger lately! Sooo sorry!! I promise to do better :-)

I'm in a blunt and honest mood, so please keep that in mind when reading this post :) Thanks!

I'm saddened by the fact that so many parents can't wait till their kids go back to school. I do understand the desire for a normal schedule and routine... I get that... but when parents make comments about their kids driving them crazy and that they "can't wait" till school starts back... it makes me sad :( Don't get me wrong... there are days when I want to send all my kids away... we all have those days! So, I am not talking about the mom that makes a hasty statement on a bad day. It's just the permeating attitude of our society that it's such a wonderful thing for our kids to be away from us all day long. I don't like it :(

My kids go to school and we have wonderful teachers!! My babies are in good hands :) I am so thankful for that and feel truly blessed that I can rest easy they will be well taken care of. But I miss them. I LOVE my summers with my kids. LOVE them. I am sad when the summer is over. And I'm not the over-protective, hovering type Mama. I'm not that at all. I just enjoy my kids. They have their moments... they are imperfect humans... but the good far outweighs the bad. They are truly awesome, wonderful, special people! So, I miss them when they aren't here.

The thing that really gets me is that it feels so inconsistent for me to send them to school when I don't know the teachers. I mean, I wouldn't let my kids go to a friend's home where I didn't know the parents at all... not even for a short time... I wouldn't. I would take time to get to know the parents first. If I were to send them to a stranger's home for eight hours a day I'd be considered a bad parent. But it's perfectly fine for me to send them into a stranger's classroom for that same period of time? It just doesn't make sense.

So... what to do? For me, the solution is to get to know the teachers!! At my kids' elementary school I was a PTO officer for a couple years and during that time really got to know them... and they know me. They know I am an involved parent and I know that they are caring, involved teachers. I haven't had any trouble getting to know any of my children's teachers... all I had to do was make an effort.

I've talked a lot on my facebook page about being stressed about my son starting middle school. This is why. I don't know those teachers very well. But last night I went to open house and met them all... and you know what? With a little effort I got to know them some... I know that one of the teachers student taught at a school I used to be secretary at... and I know that one of the teachers has a sibling with 10 kids.... and I know that one of the teachers used to teach my nephew.... and one of the teachers is married to someone I know... and on and on... I showed an interest in them and they shared about part of their lives with me.

I realize this comparison isn't an exact comparison... I realize there is more accountability in a classroom than there is in someone's home... I realize that. It just still feels wrong to me to let a stranger be with my children that much. So, I make sure they are not strangers to me :-)

Okay... enough for my honest, blunt moment. My kids started school today. Can you tell? :-)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My "Business Trip"

My Grandfather who I posted about before died within a week of his stroke. He is with Jesus now, so even though we are sad to say "goodbye for now," we are comforted by the fact that he is in a better place.

The service was in Wisconsin and I wanted to go, so the best option for my family logistically was for me to drive there while my husband took off from work and stayed home with the kids. My husband goes on a few business trips a year, so we kind of joked that this was my "business trip".

It went really well!! I stayed with friends and family along the way and was able catch up with people I hadn't seen in a while :) It was nice. It was a LOT of driving, but worth it. When I arrived in Wisconsin I went to my grandfather's apartment where everyone was going through pictures and papers... a LOT had been done by my Uncle before I got there... I know it had to have been very overwhelming for him.

It was really neat, though... my grandfather kept a file on all his kids and grandchildren. He printed out emails we sent him to put in our file and kept the cards we sent him... so each of us was able to look through our file and remember different special times we shared with him. It was really special :) Even though it was a sad time, it was really a sweet time of reminiscing with my sister and my uncle.

The service went really well. My Grandpa was a fascinating man. He was a veteran and was awarded both the silver star and the bronze star during his service to our country. He was also an engineer that designed a pretty famous bridge in Tennessee. He was also a published songwriter (very talented!). It was special to hear about the little things he did for his neighbors and people in his town. He was truly a special and amazing man. My uncle was presented a flag in honor of my grandfather's military service. It was emotional, but it was truly a sweet and special service.

I had a minor incident during my trip home in the form of an allergic reaction to something. I am not sure what caused it... we think it may have been some fresh basil, but that doesn't make a lot of sense because I cook with basil... but it's not fresh. I don't know.. it's weird.. my eyes swelled all up and were itchy and runny. I also broke out in hives. Benadryl helped, but made me sleepy, so the last day of travel was long. I made it home safe and sound, though :)

My husband is amazing!!! He did a great job taking care of all 5 kids :) He is such a capable and "hands on" dad... that's one of my favorite things about him :) He even got the older three all ready for a swimming party and got them there on time.... and he got everyone to church both Sunday morning and Sunday night. The house was picked up when I got home and it was nice to sit down and relax and be with my family. I missed them!! And I think they missed me too :)

We have wonderful friends that really stepped up and helped out and supported us. My husband didn't have to worry about cooking because several friends brought food for him and the kids (yummy food too!). I know we were prayed for a LOT... and I had a lot of people checking on me. It was easier to be away from my family knowing that there were so many people here that would step in and help if my husband needed them. We even had someone stock our fridge and pantry the day I was coming home so I wouldn't have to worry about grocery shopping. Truly a blessing!

It's inspiring to me when brothers and sisters in Christ step up and help each other during hard and stressful times.

So... it was a long week... it had ups and downs.. it was emotional and inspiring and encouraging. There is absolutely no way around the fact that I am an abundantly blessed woman.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Do I Work?????

What is the deal with people asking me if I "work"? That question really makes me want to laugh out loud... seriously, I just want to bust out laughing when someone asks me that!! Some people ask, "Do you work outside the home?"... I like that question better.

I do understand what people mean when they ask me "Do you work?", and I do realize that most people mean nothing ugly when they ask that question. I suppose that's why I find it funny rather than angering. I do know people who get angry when asked that question, but I'm not angry... just entertained :-)

This question is so entertaining because "not working" is the hardest job I've ever had. And I've had my share of jobs :) Let's see... I worked maintenance at a golf course (mowing grass, etc), I was an office manager, a school secretary, a waitress, I wrote financial reports, and I worked admin in the Marine Corps. I think that's it...

But being a stay at home mom is by far the most difficult of all my jobs. I realize this may not be true of some people... there are some people out there that would find waitressing harder than being a homemaker... I'm just not one of them :-)

It's not hard to pick up after five kids all day... frustrating at times :) but not hard. It's not hard to do incredible amounts of laundry or to cook lots of food or to keep up with the schedule or homework for everyone. Some of it can get overwhelming at times, but it's not "hard", exactly.

The "hard" part is that it is unending. There are no breaks, mentally at least. My babies do not go to preschool, so I am "on duty" all day, every day. There is no lunch hour or chatting with fellow employees... there is no "leaving" work at the end of the day. Most of the time when I leave the house it is to grocery shop or go to playgroup or to a doctor appointment. And when I do leave the house for some "me time" (once a month, maybe?), either I have left after everyone is in bed... or my mind is on whether my husband is okay with everyone or not (thankfully, he is amazing, and is usually just fine). And if I have a doctor appointment for myself, it gets even more frustrating... either I have to take kids with me to my appointments or I have to chase down friends who already have enough on their plate that are able and willing to help me. The other thing that I find very difficult is doing the same thing over and over and over again. I'm not cut out for that kind of "work". But there is a lot of that kind of work in my current "job".

Some people think I am online a lot, and I am. Most days my time on facebook is the sum total of my time "talking" with other grown ups. And most days I get interrupted while doing that. It's the way I keep up with my friends and is my "outlet". It is also where I do most of my "ministering" to others... encouraging people and letting them know I am praying for them. But a lot of the time there is a child asking for something or crying outside my door while I'm on here.

Now, the last couple paragraphs probably sound like I am complaining, don't they? Well, I'm not. :-) I'm just being honest.

Most stay at home moms I know (including myself) would say that the benefits far outweigh the difficulty and that it is worth it. And that's true :) I do have to say, though, that a lot of times the benefits are ones that cannot be described or measured. They are also benefits that don't necessarily make the hard parts easier. The hard parts are still hard... they are just worth it. Watching my 2 year old make his baby brother laugh hysterically doesn't make cleaning up over and over again any easier, but it does make it worth it.

I hear a lot about staying home with your kids being a sacrifice... and they usually mean a financial sacrifice. There are a lot of "things" I don't have... but I am not a "things" person, so I really don't mind that part of it. I'm not saying I never want certain things, because I do... but most of the time I get over it relatively quickly. For me, the part that is a sacrifice is more complicated. To be able to run to the store at 10am for milk without having to pack up diaper bags... or to be able to sit and talk with other adults without being interrupted to take a child to the bathroom or change a diaper... or to be able to take an hour "off" from work to go for my annual "girl" doc appointment rather than have to move heaven and earth to find someone to watch my kids... I suppose I feel like I am sacrificing some freedom? Maybe that's the word I'm looking for? Maybe not? Maybe it's convenience? Not sure...

I have been interrupted like 12 times while writing this post... and I'm realizing I'm saying way more than I intended and now I'm debating deleting half of it and starting over... ha!

But I think I'm going to leave it... maybe it will help someone... maybe not. I do feel the need, however, to add that while being a stay at home mom is the hardest job I have ever had... it is also, by far, the most rewarding. I wouldn't trade it :-) As hard as it may be to believe after reading this... I LOVE my life!!!

So, yes, I work :-) And that's all I've got to say about that ;-) For now, anyway!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Grandpa

Sorry it's been so long since my last post! My posts normally happen closer together :)

I got word yesterday that my Grandpa who lives in Wisconsin had a massive stroke. My Uncle who lives in South Carolina flew there today and is with him now. It doesn't look good. The doctors say it's only a matter of time before he dies. My Uncle is having to make decisions and is facing the prospect of watching his father die. Please pray for both my Uncle and my Grandpa.

Most people expect to lose their grandparents and even their parents in their lifetime. It's a hard thing, but it is an expected thing. But we never really know when any of our loved ones will leave us... young or old... healthy or not.

I am reminded to let those I love know that I love them... to call more... to hug more... to laugh and cry with them more.... appreciate more... to just do more.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

4th of July Plans

We are excited that we are going to have a "just us" family time weekend for the 4th of July :-) It seems we are always so busy with birthday parties for kids or church functions or my husband's quartet concerts that we rarely have a weekend to ourselves as a family. When we do have a weekend to ourselves we usually waste it by being lazy or spend it doing yardwork or laundry. Well... not this weekend!

I decided to plan for the weekend as if we were having company... great food and fun times! Except it will be just us... and I'm so excited!! :-)

Our weekend activities include:

--Yummy food! We will be making homemade ice cream that tastes like a Wendy's frosty :) I will also be making a coconut cake (a favorite around here!). We will be grilling out some BBQ ribs for the first time which should prove interesting. We will also be having corn on the cob, my "fancy" sweet and sour green beans, and watermelon (of course!). Yummy!!!

--Fireworks! We will buy some and do them in our driveway :-) We live in the county so it's allowed. My two year old gets a little freaked out, but we have a good time.

--Camping! Well, sort of... We put the tent up (or make a fort) in the living room and have fun snacks, talk, and laugh :-) Then we let the kids watch a movie in there and stay up later than normal. My hubby and I sleep in our own bed... it's more comfortable!

--Water fun! We don't have a pool, but that doesn't slow us down! We have a slip n slide and a fun sprinkler and a kiddie pool... we also have a trampoline :-) Back yard fun!

So, I hope all of you will be having a fun 4th of July! We surely will!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Reality....

Well, the reality of VBS wasn't as bad as I thought it would be :-)

If you read my last post, you know that I was dreading certain parts of VBS.... today was the first day so I thought I'd give an update.

The decorating wasn't that bad.... there are some people who go over the top with decorating their rooms, and that is wonderful because they really enjoy that part of it... but I'm not one of those people, so once I let go of the fact that my room just isn't going to look like those rooms... I was good :-) A sweet friend from church (the "go to girl"... you know who you are!) helped me get it all set up. We kept it very simple and were done quickly and were even able to help out the VBS director a good bit Sunday afternoon since the room was finished. And you know what? The kids in my class had no complaints about our room :-) Yay!

Then there was my concern over discipline issues I might have in my class. The last time I taught a VBS class there were a couple of children in there that were incredibly difficult (one of them hit me!) and that had me worried the same thing would happen again. But it didn't :-) I had 8 kids today and they were all very sweet kids. There was one child who tried to talk while I was talking some, but I can handle that :-) I also had a different helper during class time who is someone I didn't know very well but had the opportunity to get to know better today... and I love that! She helped out a lot! :-)

I'm still out of my comfort zone, but it's good to get outside our comfort zone occasionally. I learned a lot today about how long it would take to do activities.... I thought the activities would take longer than they did, so I can adjust the plan for the rest of the week based on what I learned today.

I could use prayer that I get some sleep :-) I've been having trouble sleeping and it would be a lot easier to be energetic with these children if I were rested. Other than that I am optimistic that this week will be a good one :-)

Good night! Gotta head back to Saddle Ridge Ranch in the morning! :-)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Honesty time...

I'm not sure how to say what I want to say without sounding like a terrible person but I'm going to say it anyway.

At first I was hesitant to post this because I didn't want people to misunderstand, but then I got to thinking and really the way I feel isn't as "out there" as I originally thought it was.

I've agreed to be a VBS teacher this summer.. and I must admit that my feelings are very mixed. I feel both excitement and dread and the same time. Yes, dread. That sounds terrible! But then I got to thinking... when teachers go back to school after the summer I hear them talking about dreading it... and these are people who love teaching. I hear people who go on vacation talking about dreading coming home but they love their lives. Then there are people who love their jobs but dread certain parts of it... like police officers that dread paperwork or accountants that dread tax season. So, I no longer feel *as* bad about the dread part of my feelings.

As far as VBS goes, I love studying the lessons and coming up with fun activities to do with the kids :) And I usually come up with my own fun activities rather than use the ones in the material just because I enjoy letting my creative juices flow :-) I love watching the looks on the kids faces when they learn something new or are excited and having fun. I enjoy teaching the material. Those are the parts I am excited about :-)

Then there are the parts I dread. The decorating of the room and the herding of the kids from place to place and dealing with discipline problems and children not listening... those are the parts that I dread.

People assume that because I have a lot of children that I must love working with kids. But I don't. I don't love it. That sounds absolutely TERRIBLE. I know it does. But it's true. I LOVE teenagers and I LOVE working with women and I could go on... there are many things that I love doing. Things that God has gifted me in and things that I look forward to and get almost giddy about. Working with classrooms full of children just isn't one of those things. People tend to either think I'm kidding or I'm awful when I say that... oh, well.

Now, don't get me wrong.... the kids that are in my VBS class will have a BLAST! They will have a great time because I will be energetic and I will be fun and I will see to it that they LOVE being at Bible School :-)

And by the end of the week I will adore the kids in my class... but I will also be glad the week is over.

There I go with the mixed feelings again.... :-)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Kid Funnies :-)

My kids are hilarious! It would be wrong of me not to share the fun ;-)

My 6 (almost 7) year old daugher asked, "Mom, why do some ladies have to wear those special baby-making clothes?" After a short conversation I figured out she was talking about maternity clothes... then my husband replied, "Those are baby-done-been-made clothes!" :-)

My almost 10 year old son was having a birthday party and I was going to pick up his friends to bring them to our house and he asks, "Mom, would you please not chit-chat with your friends so you can get home faster?" He knows me well ;-)

The almost 7 year old daughter again.... "Mom, why are girls and boys not supposed to change clothes in front of each other but it's okay for me to watch you change my brother's diaper?" (He's 11 months) :-)

My 5 year old daughter was pretending to be me and goes "AAAAHHHH-CHOOOO" (pretending to sneeze)... and then says, "oh, man, I think I wet my pants!" Then she says "oh wait a minute, I forgot something" and proceeds to shove a pillow up her shirt and says "you only do that when you have a baby in your belly" Hahahaha!! Guess they pay attention? ;-)

Well, I hope those made you laugh! They made me laugh for sure!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Inconsistency... Grrr....

There are many, many ways that a person can be inconsistent... many, many ways. And I am inconsistent at times... I know this. But this blog is dedicated to the people out there that feel like it's okay for them to tell others how to live their lives, but are flabbergasted when someone tells them what to do.

I'm sure that someone comes to your mind... right? I have a couple people in my mind right now as I write this. I can admit it! ;-) Maybe you are one of these people? Hmmmm.....

The thing that most people feel free to tell me is that I shouldn't have any more kids. Usually it's either that or it's that I am too strict or expect too much out of my children. Whatever. If you feel that way, then that's your opinion and that's fine. But why is it okay for you to tell me that, but it's not okay for me to tell you that I think you let your daughter dress too provocatively or that I think you are more concerned with your child's happiness than insuring they grow into healthy, productive adults?

I could not imagine just out of the blue telling someone (either stranger or acquaintance) that they are doing something wrong just because I don't agree with them. Don't get me wrong, if someone asks my opinion I will be honest... and if I am close friends with someone and am concerned about something they are doing I will pray about whether to talk to them and will say something if that's what I feel is right. But only if there is relationship there... if I know where they are coming from and what their life is like. And I have had friends and family express concern to me about things... and I am so thankful I have people in my life who love me enough to be concerned about me.

Obviously this doesn't always apply... if I saw someone leave their baby in a hot car... um... I don't care who they are, I will say something. There are times when it is fully necessary and right to stick our noses in other people's business.

Maybe some people just don't have that discernment? Maybe they think the fact that my kids have chores is an emergency of utmost importance and they *have* to say something? I don't know... but I do know that it bugs me.

There is a part of me that wants to call these people out on it. If they say "You really should stop having kids" for me to say "You really should wear modest clothes" or "And that is your business why?". Occasionally I do... but mostly I don't... mostly I smile and nod and walk away. How I respond usually depends on my mood. But I'm thinking I'm going to be in the mood to say something more often... because this particular inconsistency is driving me a little nuts lately :-)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Freedom is not Free

I must admit that I take my freedom for granted most days. I go on about my business, making decisions about my children's education and health and my lifestyle. I pray and talk to my children about Jesus and my family goes to church three times a week. We do all these things without even giving a moment of thought to the fact that there are people out there who would die for the freedoms I enjoy. Without giving thought to the fact that people DID die for the freedoms I enjoy.

Today I am remembering... remembering that people died so I could be free... remembering that there are people fighting right now so that I can continue to be free... knowing that the people who are fighting right now are sacrificing time with their spouses and their children... knowing that some of the people who are fighting right now may not ever see their families again. Remembering... knowing.... hard stuff. It's stuff that should be appreciated and remembered.

So, thank you. Thank you to every person who has served our country. Thank you to every person who has sacrificed time with their loved ones so that we can be free. Thank you to every child that kissed their daddy goodbye and cried for him to come home. Thank you to every wife who loved and cried for and waited for your husband to come home. Thank you to every parent who hugged your child goodbye in an airport telling them how proud you are all the while scared to death. Thank you.

It is because of you that I am free to write this. Today I will not take that for granted.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's here!!!!!!!!!!!!

Summertime is here!! I am SO happy that school is out and summer is here! I love, love, love having my kids home with me all day! Call me crazy... but I do :)

We have lots of fun stuff planned. Getting together with friends, VBS, church camp, beach trip (if the oil doesn't stop us)... tons of fun!!

I'm working on a daily schedule for our summer days. My oldest son NEEDS a schedule or he gets annoying. He wants to know every minute of every day what is coming next. He will bug and bug until he is "in the know" about our plans. So, the best solution is to have a daily schedule he can refer to rather than constantly be asking. It's actually more of a written routine than a schedule because it is a flexible plan.

A big part of my problem in developing our schedule is electronics time. My children are not allowed any electronics time (tv, video games, computer time, dvd's, etc) on Monday - Thursday during the school week. But during the summer I want them to be able to enjoy some... it's just hard to work out logistically. I am unwilling to let my kids stare at electronics all day, so we must have limits. The main difficulty I have is that they each enjoy watching different things...

The two year old likes Clifford and Curious George, except that he normally doesn't actually sit down and watch it. He's in and out of the room.

The girls (4 and 6) have similar taste, so I can let them have their tv time at the same time.

The oldest (9 yr old boy) likes very different things than the girls do.

But, it's hard to let them all have their preferences without letting the tv be on all day long especially since they don't have tv's in their rooms.

I've tried to come up with a schedule where one gets to be on the computer while the other watches a movie, but then they have to switch and when it's the girls turn on the computer they both want to play..... grrr....

But I think I've come up with a plan. I won't bore you with details, but you are welcome to ask if you want to know for some reason :)

Hopefully the plan will work and we'll be set up for a summer full of fun days!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Insomnia Stinks!

Two or three times a year I will come down with a bout of insomnia. It usually lasts a week or two and then goes away on its own.

It's so annoying!!!

It's been about two nights now that I haven't been able to sleep for no apparent reason and the effects are starting to hit me. I am tired and have no motivation. If this continues the way it normally does, a couple days from now I will become grumpy and be irritated by little things and be short with my husband and the kids. Then a few days after that, I will just be numb... I won't care if the kids are fighting or if the house needs to be cleaned up... I will just exist and do the bare minimum of what is needed to take care of my family.

Then... a few days after that... I will, for no apparent reason, sleep... all night long... with no trouble. And the next day I will feel like a new person and it will be over. Until next time, anyway...

Why is it that even though I know what's coming (the grumpiness and numbness), I can't stop it? You'd think I'd be able to rationalize through what is happening and talk myself out of snapping at my children. But... no... I know it's coming... and I have every intention of being "better" this time... but to no avail. Grumpiness abounds... yikes!

The crazy thing is that I go through periods of not sleeping when I have babies and I don't get this way. I'm tired, of course, but I don't go to my grumpy place. I suppose that's because I have a sweet little baby to show for it :-) During these bouts of insomnia there is nothing good to show for it... just annoying sleeplessness... lying in bed for hours unable to fall asleep no matter how tired I am.

I've tried all sorts of solutions... changing my schedule and my bedtime, limiting tv, changing my diet, eating certain sleep inducing foods, exercising different times of day, and I could go on and on... I've tried lots of things... but this just seems to be something that has to play out. It never lasts more than two weeks, but always lasts more than a week no matter what I do.

I've also tried medications, but even if they help me sleep they don't help the way I feel the next day. Most of them don't help me sleep and then I feel even worse the next day (not fun!). The ones that do make me sleep... I have a medicated feeling all day the next day and I'm still in my grumpy place. So, it's just not worth it. Not to mention that I am nursing a baby and won't take very many medications while I'm nursing. The only thing that seems to help is an occasional Tylenol PM. But I will only do that every third night if I'm pregnant or nursing. And then there are times that doesn't even work... *sigh*.

So... since this seems to be something that is an inevitable part of my life, I'm trying to learn to make the best of it. If I'm not sleeping I will pray, or get up and go into the other room and read. It seems a waste of time to just lay there.

So... pray for me... I'm two nights in... that means there are somewhere between 6 and 13 nights to go...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Of course I think my choices are best....

....otherwise I'd make a different choice.

But that doesn't mean I'm judging people who make different choices than I do.

Why is this so hard for people to understand? If I say that I feel like I have made the best choices for my family, then (some of) the people around me get defensive and act like I am critical of their choices. Most of the time I am not. Occasionally I get in a critical mood and have critical thoughts... I'd be lying if I said I don't... but later I'll come to my senses and realize that I shouldn't criticize that person. And rarely... like almost never... do I tell other people that they are wrong for their choices. But even still... it seems that people (I'm generally talking women here mostly because I'm around women all the time) get defensive toward others who make different choices than they do.

And I'm not talking about just myself here.... I watch this play out in conversations all the time. I'm going to give an example of how I see conversations play out... these are made up names :)

Sarah: I can't figure out why my baby has reflux... maybe I should change formula?

Becky: I don't know... I've breastfed my babies and they didn't have reflux.

Sarah: I tried to breastfeed but it didn't work so now I'm trying to figure out this formula thing.

Becky: The first several weeks of breastfeeding is so hard! I hope you get the reflux figured out.

So... normal conversation, right? No big deal. Except that after Becky leaves, Sarah turns to me and says "I know she thinks it's my fault that my baby has reflux since I'm not nursing."

Huh? Why do people go there? Becky didn't say that. Why does Sarah assume that? Why do we think the worst of each other?

I do realize there are some overly-critical people out there.... and those people are wrong to be that way.

But there are a lot of us out there that feel we make the best choices for our own families... and at the same time trust that you are making the best choices for your family. Even if those choices are different. What works for one home doesn't necessarily work in another home... and we usually have no idea why people have made certain choices, so why judge them?

And for those people who are the overly-critical, judgmental type... some food for thought... the people in your life that you think are so "wrong" may be avoiding doing what you want them to do simply because they have no desire to be like you. And why would they? If you are mean and critical all the time... why would they take your advice? Just a thought.

A lot of the time, though, we read criticism into the things people say.... when, in reality, we are not being criticized. Maybe we get defensive because we are insecure about our choices? Maybe we have trust issues? Maybe we are just paranoid? But, in the end, if we know we are making the right choices for our family... then we shouldn't feel the need to apologize for thinking those choices are best. We should be confident in what we know is best for our homes. And we should stop assuming that people who make different choices are out to get us. If we avoid everyone who is different from us, then we miss out on a lot of great people.

My experience anyway :-)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hurry Up and Wait...

Little known fact about me: I spent 5 years in the Marine Corps Reserve... went to boot camp at Parris Island and everything. It was an interesting time in my life, to say the least.

One very common phrase we heard was "Hurry up and wait!". It was fitting, for sure... my whole platoon would be hurried through the shower... hurried to get dressed... hurried to eat... hurry, hurry, hurry... then we'd get where we were trying to go... and we'd wait. And wait some more, usually.

It seems that's a common theme in life outside the military too :-) I mean, my daughter's 5th birthday party is later this afternoon, and all week I've been preparing things, making lists, hurrying to be "ready".... and now I wait. The things that are left to be done I can't do till right before the party... so I wait.

I tend to be early everywhere I go... ha! Seriously... I'm at Sunday School fifteen minutes early and usually end up having to wait on my children's teachers to get there before I can go to my class... and so the cycle continues... I hurry my kids through getting ready... we get to church... and we wait :-)

The worst... labor!! When I'm having my babies, my labor tends to go quickly... and the nurses are funny. They never believe me when I tell them it's time to deliver. They always tell me to give them one good push to see where we are... and every time (I've had five babies!)... half way through that push they say "Don't push!" and then hit the call button and have the doctor called in and the nursery nurses called in... and once again... I've been in a hurry to have this baby... and I wait.

And here I am... I've hurried up... and once again I'm waiting :-)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Why My Playgroup is Impressive...

I go to a playgroup once a week with my two that aren't in school yet. I LOVE it!! It's nothing fancy, but it's such a wonderful time to talk to other moms while our kids play together.

Thinking back it was definitely meant to be that I go to this group. My husband and I lived in Butler, AL for two years before we moved to Meridian (he works there) and I would come to Meridian periodically for doc appointments and to shop. One day I was at McDonald's playland eating lunch before making the drive back home and I got to talking to another mom there. She invited me to a playgroup that met at her church and gave me her phone number... she was so sweet and welcoming! A lot of time passed because we were moving to Meridian and I was about to have baby #3 at any moment. Since so much time had passed, I didn't call...

We started going to the church my sister-in-law and her family went to (we are still members there!) and I met another dear friend of mine there... and she invited me to a playgroup that she went to... you guessed it... same one! :-)

The group has changed a LOT over the 5 years (WOW! I cannot believe it's been that long!) that I've been going... there have been times there were only a few of us and times that there were a lot of us. Some of the moms have outgrown playgroup because their kids are older now and some have moved away.

But there is one thing that has always been true for me.... I LOVE those moms! We are a very diverse group of ladies.... we go to different churches, some are military and some aren't, some have more money that others, some have one child some have more, some homeschool and some public or private school, some are democrats and some are republicans... and I could go on and on. But we are all moms! And we have fun together and we laugh together and we are there for each other when one of us needs something. It's pretty awesome :-)

Part of the reason I am so impressed by this is because of how MEAN I've seen moms be to each other. I mean... seriously? Why is that? Why are moms so mean to other moms who don't make the same parenting choices they do? It is possible to have strong opinions about something... and even discuss those opinions... without being mean. But some moms are still mean. It makes no sense to me.

But not at the playgroup I go to! :-)

So, if you are interested in coming to playgroup, leave your email address in a comment and I'll be happy to give you more info... but if you're mean... don't ;-)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Second Best Friend

I have amazing friends!! Truly amazing friends. Friends that think of me often and go out of their way to find out how I'm doing and be there for me if I need them. They pray for me and they love me and they help me and they share their lives with me. I am truly blessed with wonderful friends.

My daughters are at that age where kids are doing the "I'll be your best friend if..." and "You're not my friend anymore..." type of things. UGH! It really annoys me and actually makes me angry... but that's a different post for a different day :-) The title of this post might lead you to believe that I am the same way... that of all my friends I pick a favorite and they are my "best" friend. That's not so... really, it's not.

Anyone who knows me well knows what I'm about to say already. My best friend is Jesus. Really. I'm not intending to sound super-spiritual here... really, I'm not. But there has been more than one time in my life that Jesus was all I had. He was truly my rock and carried me through some tough times.

My second best friend? Wild guess? My husband. Really and truly. He is my go to guy for advice and comfort and support. When I get good news or something bad happens, I think of telling him before anyone else. His love for me baffles me at times.

He's been out of town some lately. I miss him when he's gone... really miss him. The first day it's the fact that he is so helpful around the house (does dishes, bathes kids) that I miss (honesty!). But about the middle of the second day I miss HIM. I miss who he is... I miss having him come home at the end of the day and talking to him and sharing with him about my day and listening to him about his day. I miss his smile and, well, just his presence in the house.

So... he is and will always be my second best friend. LOVE HIM!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

What do I see?

Please don't laugh at me!!! :) Okay, you can laugh if you want... anyway, sometimes when something is on my heart I write it down in the form of a short story or poem. I wrote this a while back and thought I'd share :-)

What do I see?

Messy little cheeks

And hands playing with spaghetti

Little eyes looking with wonderment

At those slippery saucy noodles

Toys all strewn throughout the house

This and that are out of place

Imaginations running wild

Every moment a new discovery

Holes are dug out in the yard

The dirt is thrown about

Anticipation of the tree

That surely now will grow

Missing cushions from the couch

And blankets from who knows where

Their inspiring determination

To build a fort they love

Do I see the messy faces,

Or do I see the wonderment?

Are the toys a burden to pick up,

Or do I learn from the discoveries?

Do I see the holes in the grass,

Or does their anticipation make me smile?

Do I insist the cushions must go back,

Or does the determination inspire me?

Do I choose to see the burdens,

Or the moments that inspire?

Will I choose to enjoy my gifts,

Or will I choose to wish them away?

--Juliet Johnston

Friday, April 23, 2010

Terrible Twos??? Don't think so...

For as long as I can remember people have talked about the "terrible twos". So, when my first child turned two, I braced myself... surely this is going to be awful and terrible... well, it just wasn't. He did go through a "stage" of difficulty when he was three, though... and then again when he was 7.... and I hear there are difficult stages in the teen years...

But two was a breeze! I thought... maybe it was just him.. he hit it late... so, with the next one I braced myself again. She was a more difficult baby, so surely she would have the "terrible twos". Nope. Two was great... three was okay... four... harder. She is 6 right now and we are in one of "those" stages.

Third child... again, two was great... three was HARD... four is good.. she turns five soon, so I'll keep you posted :-)

My fourth is 2 right now. He is just the CUTEST... he is so funny! :-) He's sweet and says the most adorable things. Like when someone is crying he points at them and says "they wrong!"... if it's a baby it's "baby wrong!". He's trying to say "Something's wrong with the baby.", but it comes out so cute!! Of course, he isn't perfect.. but he is adorable!!

My 5th isn't there yet, so who knows?

So far I would have to call them the "fun, adorable twos" :-) Every child is going to go through transitional times and test the limits. But I guess we just can't put all kids in a box and say at what age that will happen... because it's been different for all of mine :)

Plus it kind of entertains me when people talk about the "terrible twos" or how difficult the teen years are... when they are seeming to be going through the "terrible thirties" or are difficult to deal with themselves... ha! ;-)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Summer Plans

There are less than 30 days of school left! Which leads me to start looking at summer :-) I absolutely love having all my kids home for the summer. Love, love, love it!

We aren't the type of family that takes a vacation every year (can't afford it!)... in fact, as far as family vacations go... it happens very rarely. But this summer we are going to the beach! My 9 year old son is actually the one responsible for us making it happen this year. The conversation went something like this:

9 year old: Mom, we got the sheet about our TAG trip for this year... it costs over $200!!!

Me: Yes, it does... it did last year too. (he went last year)

9 year old: It did?!? That's a lot!

Me: Yes, it is!

9 year old: Mom?

Me: Yes...

9 year old: How about I don't go on the TAG trip and we go to the beach instead?

Me: Uh... why do you want to go to the beach?

9 year old: Because I've never been!!!

Me: Let me talk to your dad about it....

So, that's how it happened. My 9 year old has never been to the beach!! Yes, that's pretty pitiful... but in my defense, he has been to Chattanooga and to Disney and to Chicago and other places. Now, those trips were ones that someone else paid for... yay! Or they were trips we went on because someone was getting married or something like that. Anyway, that still doesn't change the fact that he's never been to the beach. So..... we're going to the beach :-)

Another reason that it has taken so long for us to plan a beach trip is that we (my husband and I) aren't really beach people. If I could choose a vacation spot, I would choose the mountains... not the beach. I don't like sand or sweat or bathing suits... so... that kinda hinders how I feel about the beach :-) And my husband likes the mountains too. He sunburns easily, so that's part of it. But we want our kids to experience the beach, so we are going :-)

We are spending three nights. We'll be cooking our own meals while we are there to keep costs down. Eating out with 5 kids gets pricey, so we'll be cutting costs where we can. Two will be in diapers, so that should be interesting :)

If I'm honest, I'm a little nervous! That sounds crazy, but I'm nervous about keeping up with everybody and the idea of getting all five kids and two adults lathered with sunscreen often enough and two diapered kids in clean diapers on the beach is a little overwhelming. And then there is the dilemma of how to carry towels, drinks, sunscreen, swim diapers, wipes, books, etc from our room to the beach... especially when we will have one child that isn't walking yet (or just starting to walk) and a two year old that may have his own ideas about where to go. The older kids will help carry stuff and hold hands of little ones, but it's still an overwhelming thought.

But... even though I'm nervous, I'm also excited :-) My kids will LOVE it, I'm sure! And my husband and I are already planning on doing some special things with the older ones while the babies are napping. My husband is planning on taking our oldest son to play tennis while I stay with the younger ones while they nap one day... and on another day I will take the girls to do something special while he stays with the nappers. So, it will be fun :-)

So that's how three nights of our summer will be spent (pray for no hurricane!!!) :-) I'll fill in on our other summer plans later :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Sometimes I have bad days... yep, really :-) And sometimes I have problems and "issues". Everyone does. And each of us feels like our problems are a big deal in the moment. Some problems are a VERY big deal and some problems, in the grand scheme, are issues that we won't even remember happened a few years from now.

There have been a couple things going on in my life recently that I'd consider problems. Not big problems, but problems that are important to me right now.

But it's all about perspective. The issues I'm having are not issues that are insurmountable and certainly aren't issues that 10 years from now will be anything that stand out in my past as major.

Today I visited a dear couple that I go to church with whose baby boy just died. They went in for a regular check-up at 28 weeks pregnant and there was no heartbeat. They delivered the baby the next day via c-section. Apparently the umbilical cord had a kink in it and he died. How sad!! This sweet couple loves the Lord with all that they are and are amazing people. I am so sad for them that they are going through such a hard time.

This is definitely something in this couple's life that they will always look back on as a major event in their lives, and rightly so.

It just gave me some perspective.

Not that what I'm dealing with isn't important or relevant in my life... just that I need to keep it in perspective.

Thought I'd share :-)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Taxes, taxes.... and a party!

It's that time.... have you done your taxes yet?

I do our taxes myself. Fun :) *sarcasm implied there* ;-) I did my federal taxes a long time ago because we get a decent refund. I sure hope the child tax credit stays in tact... that helps us a lot! :)

But I just did my state taxes today. I procrastinate on my state taxes. They are more complicated for us because my hubby works in AL and we live in MS. It's really not hard... just time consuming and we usually end up pretty much breaking even so it seems pointless.

Oh, well... they are done :) And by the deadline :) It's really not like me to procrastinate... I usually do things way ahead of time... but I avoid this one every year. Yikes!

One of my daughters turns 5 this month!!! She's growing up way too fast :) She finally talked me into having a carousel party, so we'll be having a "butterfly" theme birthday party at the carousel this year. Should be fun!

When I went by to pay at the park office, my 2 year old son looked at a man that was there, smiled and said "bye bye Daddy!!!" Hahahaha!! The look on the man's face was priceless! It was pretty funny :) He does that, though... calls people Daddy randomly... my oldest daughter used to call any man with facial hair Jesus. That was funny too!

Sorry this post was very random... but my brain is fried from doing my taxes! ;-)

Monday, April 12, 2010

As Promised....

Well, I said I'd keep y'all posted as to my progress with being healthier, so here I am...

I have good days and bad days. Overall I'd have to say I'm not doing terribly well with it. For a couple weeks I did really well with exercise, but that has dwindled. My eating habits are terrible... just being honest.

But today is a new day :) I did an exercise video this morning (most of it... I was interrupted twice to change diapers), and I have done well with eating today... so far.

A couple things that are SO true and helpful to me that I have heard in the past couple days....

Paraphrased from my pastor to apply it to my situation: I shouldn't wait until I "feel" like exercising and eating right before I do it. It seems I keep waiting to magically want to get up and exercise and no longer want to eat junk food. Not gonna happen! I need to do what I know is right whether I feel like it or not. Easier said than done :-) But very true and something I needed to hear :)

And a friend shared with me that she struggles with motives in the area of food and exercise.. me too!! If I'm honest, my motives have more to do with wanting to look better rather than being healthy and honoring God. I don't think that wanting to look good is a bad thing.... it just shouldn't be "the" thing. And looking better is obviously NOT working for me as a motivator. If it were, I'd have lost weight by now.

So, today is a new day :-) Didn't I say that already? :) A verse spoke to me this morning... that's the only place I know to start with this area of my life... the Bible... Psalm 119:37 - "Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, and revive me in your ways"

My prayer is that God would give me strength, correct motives, wisdom, endurance, and success in this area of my life. Most of all I pray that my life and efforts in this area of my life will bring glory to Him.

So, there's an update :) Hoping to report better news next time.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Commercials cause funny moments....

My kids are pretty hilarious :-) My son recently told me he thought he looked like a sock puppet in a picture we took while he was playing in the snow... my daughter told me that she no longer wanted to get married when she is 20, she'd rather wait till she is 25 because having babies hurts... and so it goes... life in my home ;-) Love it!!!

But the other day, my 6 year old daughter had me ROLLING on the floor laughing... literally... I could not stop laughing and tears were streaming down my face... and it was even funnier that she had NO IDEA why I thought she was being hilarious!! If you're a boy you may not want to read any further... just saying.....

To set the scene....

Our TV was on... can't remember exactly when or why... but it was on, and my daughter sat down and was watching a few minutes. Commercials were on and this new commercial where "mother nature" is handing out the "monthly gift" came on. Have you seen it? Anyway, the conversation went as follows....

6 year old: Mom! What monthly gift is she talking about? Why don't I get one?

Me: You aren't old enough.

6 year old: Do you get a monthly gift?

Me: Yes.

6 year old: How??? Is it wrapped??? That's not fair! What do you get???

Me: Well.... it just kind of happens on it's own... God made ladies that way. No, it's not wrapped.

6 year old: So, why can't I have one... I'm not too young. Mooooommmm!! It's not fair! It said it was pearls! I'm old enough for pearls!

Me: Sweetie it's not pearls... I promise... and you really are too young.

6 year old: Why is it funny that I want my monthly gift!?! You are trying to trick me!! There isn't really a monthly gift is there? It's like the tooth fairy... it's not real! You are tricking me, aren't you?!?!

Me: Sweetie, I promise I'm not tricking you. There really is a monthly gift, but it's not a fun gift... you wouldn't like it anyway. I wouldn't lie to you... I promise.

6 year old: I want to see it. Will you show it to me? Next time you get one I want to look at it and see what it is. And I'm going to tell my brother... is he getting a monthly gift yet?? Is he old enough (he's 9)????? Is he hiding his monthly gifts from me??

Me: No, your brother isn't getting a monthly gift because it's only for girls... when they get older. And, no, I'm not going to show you my gift.

6 year old: Well, then when I start getting my monthly gifts I'm not going to show them to you since you won't show me yours!

Me: That's fine, sweetie... it's only fair :-)

OH MY GOODNESS!!! I'm laughing now just thinking about it!! I almost didn't post it because of the topic, but then I thought.... it's on national TV!! Way more people see that! So... here it is :-)

Love my babies! :-)

Monday, April 5, 2010

How I get my babies to sleep through the night...

I get asked about this a lot so I thought I'd share. I have five kids and they have all slept through the night pretty consistently by about 3 months old. Some were earlier (around 8 weeks) and some were closer to the 3 month mark.

Every family is different and the way I do it is not for everyone... it's just the way I do it :-)

I breastfeed exclusively... none of my babies has ever had a bottle. But I do use a pacifier for my babies who will take one (my boys did, my girls wouldn't). Our babies don't sleep in our bedroom even at the beginning mostly because my husband is the lightest sleeper I've ever met or talked to. The times we've tried it he has woken up at every wiggle, snort, and movement.

For the first 4 weeks or so, I sleep in the baby's room and I nurse pretty much constantly. At around 6 weeks I start putting the baby down in his/her bed in their room and going to my own bed. When they wake in the night I go into their room and spend the rest of the night in their room. Over the next few weeks the time I'm in my own bed gets longer until they sleep through the night on their own a couple times. After they do that, if they wake in the night, my husband (yes, he's wonderful!) goes into their room and makes sure their diaper hasn't leaked, changes them if they need it, and gives them their pacifier. He's the one that goes in there because if they see me they want to nurse. Once he comes back to bed, if they continue to fuss I go to them and will nurse them... you never know when they've hit a growth spurt after all :)

Now, in order for this to work, I have to be diligent to get all their feedings in during the day. There is no letting them sleep for a five or six hour stretch during the day. Sometimes it's hard to be diligent about this because it's easier to let them keep sleeping, but I've learned the hard way it's better to wake them :) I wake them up to feed them every 2 - 3 hours all day long. The sleeping through the night won't happen if I don't do this consistently.

I don't do rice cereal at all during this time. I don't give my babies solids until they are 5 or 6 months old. I do use their sleeping patterns as cues for when they are ready for solids. If they have been sleeping all night consistently for over a month and then all of a sudden start waking, I think it may be time to try solids, so I do.

My kids go to bed at 7:00 (I let the 9 year old stay up a little later than this reading in the living room), so I put my babies to bed at 7:00 and then get them up to feed them right before I plan to go to bed. Right now my 8 month old goes to bed at 7:00, eats one more time at 10 and goes right back down, and then wakes up at 6:30 when the rest of the kids get up. He's been doing that for several months now. I eliminate the 10 feeding around 10 months or so usually. Then they sleep straight through from 7 till 6:30. I could eliminate the 10:00 feeding earlier probably, but I usually don't want to risk them waking up in the middle of the night so I hold on to it a while :)

I don't let my babies cry for long periods of time, but I do let them cry a little. My 8 month old from the beginning did not want to be cuddled or held while he fell asleep... he wanted me to put him down. He'd fuss for less than 5 minutes or so and then be sound asleep. If I tried to get him to sleep by rocking or cuddling I'd have to fight with him for 30 minutes or more. I was glad to figure that one out :) Every baby is different, though, and some of mine did like to be cuddled.

The other important thing that helped me was that I didn't nurse my babies to sleep (after the first 4 weeks or so). I would lay them down awake, they would fall asleep, then I would feed them, then they'd be awake a while. This was important so they didn't expect to be nursed (or fed) to sleep.

I realize that my methods will not work for everyone... some parents like to co-sleep... some moms don't have a husband willing to go into the babies in the night.. some moms won't want to sleep in their babies rooms for a month. But this is what works for us... hopefully someone can take what will work for them and it will help :-)

Friday, April 2, 2010

He Changed Me!! My Story.

The Easter season is one that makes a lot of us reflect on what Christ has done for us. I know I do. How amazing it is that Jesus (God made flesh) would choose to humble Himself, come to earth as man, die to save us from our sins, and then defeat death and the grave.... HOW AMAZING!!!

I know there are a lot of people who think that Christians are ignorant or uneducated for believing what we do. And to be honest, I don't blame them. Before I was a Christian I thought it sounded a little nutty and certainly didn't believe it was true.

My testimony... my story... is very long and involved. But I'll give a short version for any who are interested...

You know... I was in the middle of typing up a bunch of details but I stopped and deleted it. My life story is kind of sad. It's one that causes people to walk away from feeling sorry for me... and that isn't what I want... I LOVE MY LIFE!!!

So, how can I say this without getting bogged down in all the negative details? I will say that I went from a life that was overshadowed by shame and depression to a life that is full of love and joy :-) Knowing Christ has changed me from a girl who felt I didn't deserve love from anyone to
a woman who is overwhelmed by love from family and friends and my church family.

Please don't get me wrong... I am not trying to pretend that life is perfect. It's not. There are people in my life that disappoint me and hurt me and fail me sometimes. There have been hard things and sad things in my life. It's not all hunky dory by any means. BUT in the midst of the bad and the negative things... I still have joy. I still love my life and I still trust God. And that love and trust could only come from God Himself.

If you knew me before I became a Christian you know how drastic the change has been. There is still a lot to be changed :) But the change God has made in me is awesome and overwhelming and I am SO very blessed.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Jesus... for what you did for me. Words are not enough... I pray my actions and my life glorify You daily.

If you are reading this and don't know Christ, you probably think I've lost my mind. I pray you will experience the peace and comfort knowing Christ brings to your life. There are many Bible believing churches and pastors that would be happy to talk with you. Just leave me a comment if you want some info.

Today my husband and I will be making Resurrection Rolls (really cool!!) with the kids and tomorrow we will dye Easter eggs... and we will share the story of Christ with them and we will play and have fun... and we will do our best to remember our blessings and be thankful. We are so very, very blessed. Thank you, Jesus!!!!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's not fair!

I was talking (well, emailing) with a friend recently about parenting and it has sparked some thoughts I thought I'd talk through and share.

It's always been interesting and confusing to me when I see families with multiple children and some of the children thrive in the home and others don't. I can't even count the number of families I've known where there was one child who thrived and respected their parents and another child who seemed depressed and resentful of their parents.

I'm sure there are multiple reasons for situations like this and I don't want to pretend to be an expert (I'm not!) or try and over-simplify the dynamics of family life. But there is something I've observed that I think may be a contributing factor.

As parents, we have values and principles and rules and parenting techniques that are unique to our families... and that makes perfect sense, of course. What works in your home may not work in my home and vice versa. But I think that's too simple... I think sometimes we need to use different techniques with different children within the same home.

It seems simple enough. My children are very different from each other. Discipline that works for one child does not work for another and what motivates one child does not motivate another. What makes them feel loved and special is not the same for all of my children.

So, what's the problem? I think part of the problem is fairness. We, as parents, want to be "fair". If I take one child out for a special ice cream treat, I feel like I need to do that for all my children. If one child gets to have a spend the night friend I feel like I should let the others have a friend too. And on and on it goes... and then we get frustrated when we can't keep up with everything for everybody.

It seems a trap that is easy to get caught up in. I know a lot of homes have ages where children are allowed to do certain things... when you are 8 you can watch this movie... when you are 16 you can drive... when you are 45 you can start dating ;). But one child may be able to handle a movie at 8 years old while the other would have nightmares at that age. One child may be a very responsible driver at 16 and another may not.

So, when my children notice I'm doing things differently for each of them and cry "it's not fair!".. what do I do?

Well, I could give in and treat all of them the same... but I don't think that's the right thing to do. They are different people and don't need the same things. I could say "life's not fair, deal with it." but I don't think that's right either.

I think I should talk through it with each of them. Explain my reasons for what I do.... explain that taking electronics time away from my 9 year old is something that will change his behavior, but means nothing to my 4 year old. Explain that, as their parents, it is our job to learn about and get to know each child individually and not to treat them as one unit. Give each child several choices of fun things to do and discover what each individual child enjoys... not assume that just because my 6 year old LOVES to go shopping at Walmart with me, that my 9 year old wants that too (he hates it!).

So, I'm not going to be "fair" :-) I'm going to do my best to discover what makes each of my children tick... what makes them feel loved and special... what motivates them to love God and other people... what helps them understand the hard things in life... what they can handle at what ages... and even though it may not be "fair", I hope and pray that it will be what's best for them.

I sure do love those little people :-)

Monday, March 29, 2010

"Not so super"-mom

The whole Supermom thing is kind of funny to me. A lot of people (some serious and some joking) call me that and I really do take it as a compliment :-) Most of the time I feel so inadequate, though. I have so many faults and there are so many parts of being a mom that are just not my strengths.

This is on my mind because one of my weaknesses was glaring at me all day yesterday. I am NOT sympathetic toward sick people. At all. That is fine if we are talking about my husband, but not so much when we are talking about my 8 month old. He woke up at 4 something in the morning yesterday with a fever and a croupy cough. I got up with him, gave him medicine, cuddled with him, fed him, and put him back to bed. He slept a while and then woke up... and was fussy... all day.

And then the struggle within myself ensued... I'm a mom... it's my job, my privilege, and my responsibility to snuggle my babies when they don't feel good. And I'm good with that... I really am... when it works. If I can pick up my fussy baby, love on him, snuggle him, and then he becomes a content baby... I'm good with that. It makes me happy :-) It's when I pick them up and do all those things and they are STILL fussy that I struggle. It's when I am rocking and nursing and cuddling a fussy baby who is continually fussy no matter what I do that I get incredibly frustrated. I don't like it, I don't enjoy it... I just want to put them down and walk away. But they are sick... they don't feel good. So I feel guilty :(

I'm a mom who is willing to let my babies cry some. Not for long periods of time, but some... yes, I let them cry for a few minutes at a time. If they are learning to soothe themselves to sleep or as they get older if they are pitching a fit, I will leave them in bed and let them cry a little. I don't have a problem with that. But when they are sick... it's different. I don't want to leave them in their bed to cry when they don't feel good... but I also don't want to rock and walk with a fussy baby for hours on end either. Thus, the struggle.

So, which side wins? Does the guilt win out and I rock and cuddle, or does frustration win out and I put them to bed?

I must take a break for a second and say that when my husband is home he is amazing and wonderful and helps me so much! He will rock and cuddle a sick baby too :-) Love him! He was gone with the older kids to church a lot yesterday, though, so I was home with the sick baby.

Is the suspense killing you? ;-) What did I do?

I did both. I held and nursed and rocked and cuddled my baby. I talked to him and kissed on him... and some of the time he cried and some of the time he was quiet. But then when I got frustrated... I laid him in bed and took a shower. Not a long shower... but enough of a shower that when I got out I was ready to go get my baby and start all over again. And then I loved on him and rocked him and cuddled him and kissed him some more.

Those few minutes of crying were good for both of us. I was less frustrated and it seemed to help him realize that, yes, it is better in momma's arms. So, he was less fussy as I held him.

Then he went to bed and slept all night... and this morning, he isn't fussy anymore :-) His fever is gone and he talked to me and smiled at me while I fed him his cereal this morning. Oh, my goodness, I love my babies!!!

So... sometimes I'm "not so super"-mom. And that's okay. God's grace is sufficient :-) I've been "not so super" with my other kids and they are happy, well-adjusted, silly kids. Love, love, love my babies! Did I say I love my babies?