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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: October 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Keeping afloat???

Life is Hard... and these days I feel like I'm barely keeping afloat. What's the problem??? Nothing. Allow me to give a few minutes of insight to that contradiction.

I've been struggling for some time. I'm not going through anything many of you haven't gone through, or aren't going through right now, but I am indeed going through it. I am a work at home mom with a toddler and a baby. My house, though somewhat organized, is a mess by our standards, my toddler needs a ton of my attention as we deal with attitude and obedience issues and my baby girl is becoming a tad bit clingy (which I secretly love, but makes things difficult none the less.) Where was I??? Oh yes... dinner is late most days, bath time gets missed too often (both mine and the kids), I feel frazzled, I feel tired, and generally I feel guilty when I drop the ball on everything (at least that is the way I feel) again. I'm tired of ending each day dreading my "failures" of tomorrow... and just really want to enjoy my children.

So why am I sharing this now? I'm warning you of some potential away time to come. No, I'm not going anywhere physically. I'll still be right here, but I may not turn on the computer... and if I do, I may not sign on. I've been seeking encouragement from my husband, through others' blogs, books, and ladies at church and have come to the conclusion that I need to back away from everything I can. This wonderful blog is on the "can let go" list.

What does this mean? Well, this doesn't necessarily mean I'm not blogging anymore... I just enjoy it too much! What it does mean is that I'm giving myself a pass to let it go when I need to. Some weeks I may be able to blog everyday, and some weeks I may not show up at all. What is important is that I do my best before God on the jobs he has given to me. That is to help my husband, train up our children and to care for our home. Somewhere after those things is this blog and computer time in general. I'll try to post menus when I can, but I'm freeing myself from "failing" when I don't have the time. I'll do my best to have Learning for Little Ones posts up around Thursday sometime, but if I don't make it, I can rest assured that I was doing the better thing.

Discipline is something I have to work hard at, and I'm in for an intensive practice time in the next weeks and months. I hope you will stick around to catch what I am able to post... and hopefully I'll be here more than I'm absent... in the mean time, thanks for being with me! I love you all!

Before I click "publish post" and go off to one of a thousand duties on my list, I do want to share a few things with you. The following are sites where I have found much encouragement in the last couple weeks. I hope they are a help to those of you who are where I am right now!

Raising Godly Tomatoes... this lady has written an whole book online. Read through the chapters! What an amazing insight to raising children. I'm working on making Lifestyle Tomato Staking our way of life!

Some tips for staying afloat... I found this today and was deeply encouraged by it! In fact, it has been the straw on the camel's back leading to this post.

Money Saving Mom's post here... she addresses a couple things at the bottom of the post.

Hopefully I'll be around again soon...

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Learning for Little Ones: Out in the Woods

Welcome to Learning for Little Ones! Do you have an idea or activity you do with your little ones??? Please share it with us. I'd love it if you would write a post on it sometime in the next couple days and link up to our Mr. Linky. I would ask, though, that you include somewhere in your post a link back to this post so others can participate! Thanks!

I grew up in the city... well, the suburbs really, but My Beloved is a country boy all the way. Add to that the fact that we live well... in a woody area. You know... where there are bugs and spiders and, well, you know. We find snakes on our front steps and deer walking behind our house. A ground hog lived in the hill just outside the kids room for a while. And we have a creek behind out house. We're definitely not in the city any more ToTo... oh wait... that was just a movie.

It's been a long while since I've included pictures with a post that I thought you might enjoy it. So this week I'd like to share with you a little nature walk.

My Beloved enjoys hunting (also not something you do living in the LA area, but here it is a different story) and we have come to really enjoy what a deer or two can do to stretch our food budget. With that (and rising food prices) in mind, we headed out several weeks ago to try out My Beloved's new axe. He wanted to make sure the area around his tree stand was ship shape on the viability scale. The weather was so-so, so we put on jackets and headed out with him... through the woods to his tree stand.

And get this... while Daddy was chopping down trees and such, Tornado got to... play on the ground! This was a loose learning day. He played with leaves, threw rocks, walked around (on a crazy hill), picked up sticks and all around got dirty. I had to force myself to be okay with that.

Daddy even found a little box turtle. We put it somewhere we could watch it, but it didn't come out. Tornado loved looking at it and even pointed to where it was when we put it back under the tree later. Just being out in nature was loaded with learning opportunities. This was a great example of child directed learning... he played and I would tell him what things were. We searched for Daddy through branches and he balanced on the brushy hill.

This picture doens't really have anything to do with learning... but I thought it was so cute. Tornado loves to walk through Daddy's legs!

What are you doing with your little ones? Write a post on your blog and link up here. Be sure to link directly to your Learning for Little Ones post and don't forget to link back here so others can participate too. Feel free to use my little Learning for Little Ones banner at the top. Don't have a blog??? Leave your ideas in the comments section. :) I'm so looking forward to visiting your blogs and learning from all of you!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

So very sad...

We've been waiting for the cooler weather to tackle Tornado's finger sucking habit for good. We've been working on stopping it during the day wince about 12 months of age, and he had just about stopped when Sweet Pea was born... and now it's worse than it was before. No matter what you do, though, stopping a child's thumb or finger sucking at night is a different matter altogether. Right in the middle of the summer we decided that it would help if we could put a glove or something on him at night... but it wasn't really practical in the hot months of summer... so we waited. Now that it's cooler, you'd think we'd have been ready and waiting, but I didn't remember until last night that we had this big "plan".

Like I said... until last night... when I put Tornado's jammies on. The pair I was going to put on him was no where to be found, so I grabbed the pair of long john jammies from his drawer. Once they were on him, it was pretty funny... the arms and legs are really long (which is great since that tells me they will fit all winter long). We were laughing at the length of the sleeves and how Tornado couldn't get his hands out when the idea it not to help him out. "Arm, arm," he kept saying over and over, trying to get me to free his hands... and "fix... arm". It was very sad when I lay him down in his crib and covered him over with this blankets. When I walked out of that room he was very upset. It was very hard for me as a mommy. Several minutes later, My Beloved went in to check on him and he was angrily thrashing on the bed. My Beloved told him "no" and go to sleep.

He cried and cried off and on for a while. Almost an hour later it was time to bring Sweet Pea in to bed also. I put her down, then went over to talk to Tornado. He stood up first thing when we got in there. I had him give me a hug (without taking him out of the bed.) "Arm," he said. I explained that I wasn't going to fix his arm and that it was going to help him stop sucking his fingers. As he was asking for "arm" again, I asked him if he wanted to sleep on his back or on his tummy. "Tummy" he said and lay down quickly. I covered him up with both blankets... just like he likes.

It was two more rounds of lay this one down, lay that one down, lay this one down and re-cover before I even got out of the room, but the crying stopped and they went to sleep.

At 6 this morning he was crying again, but it didn't last long.

Over all, I think it was a successful evening. We'll see what happens tonight... I may need earplugs!

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Friday, October 24, 2008

A new sound...

I'm so glad I was there to see Tornado's little face when the heater kicked on this morning. It's true, we usually do our best not to use the heater until the very latest possible time. In the past we've had a bit of a contest with ourselves to see how long we could go... but it's cold, and we have babies... so My Beloved set the bottom temp at 60 for the sake of the kids. It was pretty sweet the night he did it. It made me smile in my heart. As we were cuddled up in bed that night (for the sake of cuddling and the warmth it provides) he said he hoped the kids would be warm enough... since they can't cuddle with anyone.

Anyway, back to today. My little ones have been waking up at or before 7:30 these days. Not my favorite thing, but what can I do. So there we were in the living room, I was nursing Sweet Pea and Tornado was playing on the floor, when suddenly the heater kicked on. Tornado's face went serious and he looked up. A moment later he said "car." "No, it's not a car," I answered. He looked around a bit. I told him it was the heater (like that meant anything to him.) Then he stood up and ran to the hall. "See." He said. Next thing you know we were standing at the little medal door to the heater in the hallway. We had to go through this whole "don't touch" thing because it's going to get hot, etc., etc. But it was pretty fun. A "new" noise. Aren't little ones great fun!

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Learning for Little Ones: Bible Time

Welcome to Learning for Little Ones! Do you have an idea or activity you do with your little ones??? Please share it with us. I'd love it if you would write a post on it sometime in the next couple days and link up to our Mr. Linky. I would ask, though, that you include somewhere in your post a link back to this post so others can participate! Thanks!

As I'm slowly moving toward more structured learning time with my toddler (22 months now), we have started a loose "circle time". I have "big" plans for it down the road (I'll share that more later), but for now, I am concentrating on the Bible time part of it. I thought I'd share what we are doing.

One important element of our "circle" time is having Tornado sit on the floor in front of me instead of in my lap. While we don't do all our reading and singing this way (one of the benefits of having our little ones at home with us is getting to do these things snuggled up after all), I do think it is beneficial for him to learn sitting by himself for a time. We have a rug on our living room floor that has squares on it, so Tornado sits in his own square. Then we sing songs (any will do... perhaps I'll pick the songs based on what "unit study" type things we are learning down the road, but this week we are primarily doing Bible songs), pray for someone in the family or missionaries we have overseas (I'm planning to make a prayer book of sorts with pictures of all the people we will pray for, but that's not done yet), and then read Scripture. We are reading Genesis 1 each day (most days anyway) and we've been working on memorizing Genesis 1:1. I incorporate as much sign language as possible and sign while we read. (You could just create hand motions for different parts of the chapter and verse if you don't know sign... Crystal acts it out as she goes along.) This helps keep Tornado interested as I read. He even participates. Whenever we get to the "there was evening and there was morning the ... day, he says day with me.

Now the verse is especially fun, especially after yesterday. He is actually learning it! Like I said, I sign it and say it, and now he is helping. I say "In the beginning," and he says and signs "God" with me. Then I add "created the heavens and the" and he helps me with "earth".

For a long time I thought maybe he was too young and not able to get it, but you never know when they start understanding and remembering... so I'm glad I started early.

More ideas at Tot School here!
What are you doing with your little ones? Write a post on your blog and link up here. Be sure to link directly to your Learning for Little Ones post and don't forget to link back here so others can participate too. Feel free to use my little Learning for Little Ones banner at the top. Don't have a blog??? Leave your ideas in the comments section. :) I'm so looking forward to visiting your blogs and learning from all of you!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lion Bites... they work for me!

It's been a while since I last participated in a Works for Me Wednesday, but here I am... with something that (so far) has been working for me.

Any of you have trouble getting your littles to finish a meal in a timely manner? Seriously... if there were tickets written for going too slow... Tornado would have tons. Of course he only moves slow when we want him to move faster... but then... perhaps it's all a matter of perspective. Anyway... when eating something spoon or fork fed, it is an easy fix to simply "help" him along by holding the fork or spoon myself, but when it comes to sandwiches or other finger foods, sometimes it's like pulling teeth to get that mouth open wide enough to get a "big" bite. (Get it... pulling teeth... opening his mouth...never mind.)

Enter a wonderful developmental place... animals. Tornado loves animals... all sorts! He can sign most of them, do the sounds of some and knows the name of lots! One of the first animals he learned is "lion". Thank you to Daniel and the Lion's Den, the 3 (yes, that says three) stuffed lions in our stuffed animal collection, and of course the lions on Noah's Ark for helping introduce Tornado to the furry maned creature. For a long time he would sign it and roar... that is simply what they were called... "roar". Sometimes that is still the way he does it... and other times he actually says lion. It's so cute... but I digress.

A week or so ago, we were struggling through another painfully slow and highly distracted meal. I was "helping" things along, but still he wouldn't open his mouth wide enough for me to stuff gently place food into. Then I asked him if he could take a big lion bite (bite the size a lion would take), and I demonstrated... roar and all. Here is the correct proceedure for demonstration:
  • beginning placement of your head is chin down, head tilted to the left, mouth closed
  • proceed to roll your head around clockwise, opening your mouth and roaring big while putting something inside
  • end on the opposite side, chin down, head tilted to the right
Sorry I don't have a video clip for you, but I just don't.

Tornado really loved this. Now, whenever I'm trying to encourage continued eating, I simply say, can you take a "lion bite"? Whether he is feeding himself or I'm doing it for him, he instantly gives a wide open mouth roar and takes a bite of whatever.

Give it a try... and if you have any other suggestions, share them in the comments... I love when we can all work together here. :)

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Tongue

My Beloved asked a great question yesterday... and I had no idea what he was talking about. "What is with that tongue?" he asked, referring to Sweet Pea. Once again, MOY here (Mother of the Year for those of you who haven't won this award enough to desire a short hand version of it). My husband notices all the details of our kids first.

MB: Sweet Pea has a cough.
Me: Really?

Me: Did you see Tornado blow kisses this morning when you were leaving for work?
MB: Yeah, he's been doing it for a while.

Those are just two examples (from this week)... then there is yesterdays...

MB: What is with that tongue?
Me: What tongue? Does she stick out her tongue?

Sure enough... I saw it last night. (yuck... I believe there is spit up on my toe right now... sorry, back to the tongue) She sticks out her tongue and leaves it there... all petite (thank the Lord it doesn't look like either child got my tongue), moving it around. It is the cutest thing int he world... I hope she let's me get a picture of it sometime. :)

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Toddler Menu

I'm feeling somewhat on top of things today... actually, I'm feeling tired. Sweet Pea is up before everyone else (therefore so am I), so I nursed and worked on this week's menu. You may have noticed some "fancier" items appearing on our menus these past couple weeks. My Beloved loves flavorful food and enjoys trying new things. He is so gracious to eat the same old same old when that is all there is energy for (i.e. I'm pregnant or have an infant in the house), but I've been that for more than 2 years now, so it's time to venture out a bit. We've been exploring (together) my cookbooks and Taste of Home magazines at the beginning of the week, picking out whatever looks fun (he is kind to me and we've been keeping it to the ones that say fast or easy in the instructions). If your husbands are willing, give it a try... He may be tickled pink (ok... maybe not pink) that you want to make something that he's picked out.

You'll also notice that we are "out of town" Friday night and Saturday. My Beloved and I are traveling to the Philly area to shoot a wedding Saturday morning. The kiddos are staying with trusted friends. I know they will be eating nutritiously, but I have no idea what. :)

Anyway... here is the menu. Enjoy!
Find more ideas, visit MPM!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

We interupt this program...

Forgive me as I am putting off Learning for Little Ones this week in lue of continued sickness, catching up, and a crazy morning. Learning for Little Ones will (Lord willing) return next Thursday for your reading and participation... so think of something to share with us all!

A crazy morning... The furnace man came today. No biggie, right? In our little home though, the fumes from whatever he used to clean/prepare our furnace for winter use smelled up everything. We try to keep the babies away from chemicals anyway, but with Tornado's RAD (and the fact that he's needed nebulizer treatments 4 times since yesterday morning for all the wheezing), I knew we needed to get out of the house. As soon as we could finish breakfast and get it cleaned up, I put Sweet Pea in the sling and Tornado in the stroller and we were off. An hour later we were still walking back and forth in front of the house and down the street. It even rained on us for a while. Thankfully it wasn't cold! By the time he was done, it only smelled like unused heater in here... he had burned off most of the fumes the fans I left running hadn't wisked out of the house.

Good news though... whenever we are ready to do so, the heater is ready for us!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Toddler Menu: A Sample from the Life of my 22 month old

We've been in this together for a while now (except when I drop the ball... but even then I like to think you are encouraged to find that we all do that from time to time, others of us more than the rest... I just try to "keep it real" around here.) I can remember way back in the beginning when I used to type out "my 13 month old". And now to think we are coming up on 2 years! Ok... let's not think about it quite yet. I digress... here is the menu for my 22 month old.

Perhaps I should put together one easy to read page that tells you which menus were for which ages... though most of them are interchangeable, so maybe not.

Oh... I do have something new coming though... we are beginning solids with Sweet Pea this week, either today or tomorrow depending on how tonight's plans change. This will begin some (somewhat) regular posting on babyfood I make myself! Stay tuned!

More from MPM!


Friday, October 10, 2008

My Friend J

Updating to say... No one dies at the end of this post! Thanks for your concern!

The college I attended in the Florida panhandle instituted a "Campus Parents" program for freshmen. Being assigned to a couple of single ladies who roomed together near campus, we didn't have quite the same experience as those assigned to actual families. Still, the program was a huge blessing to me. I heard from our campus mom just a couple weeks into the first semester. She invited me to their home with the other girls assigned to them. I asked who the others were. One was a girl just a couple rooms down from me. She was nice, part of our prayer group (assigned by room) and in my nursing classes (I have no recollection of her name). The other was J. She gave me her room number and told me when she'd pick us all up. J's room was on my floor, just down the other hall. I headed down to introduce myself.

"Come in," I heard after knocking at the door. Opening the door I saw several girls. A couple sat at the desk and another was on the phone. I looked to the girls at the desk. "J?" They pointed to the blond haired girl on the phone. Wouldn't you know it... she was talking to our campus mom. After a moment she was hanging up... I introduced myself, we chatted a minute and I was on my way. Another week later we were all meeting up in the lobby where our campus mom would pick us up. I had mentioned to J that my birthday was the same day we were all getting together, and when I got down to the lobby she waited with a card. Not only that, but a card with chocolate in it. That was a special treat.

From then on it was decided it seemed... we were friends. Over the next four years we would be there for one another as we dated guys, struggled in classes, missed parents, and a slew of other bonding details. I remember watching J draw or stipple for art class, laughing like silly girls about whatever there was to laugh about, encouraging one another with what the Lord was teaching us, and her crawling up in my lap (she's a little more petite than I) when she missed her daddy.

She called me at home during the Christmas break of our senior year with big news. She was engaged to E. So exciting. I went out almost that same day to buy fabric for the quilt I would make them. I picked yellow and white and green squares, as well as greens and yellows for the daffodil applique I added to the white squares. I worked the applique mostly on Saturday mornings in the library's media lab where TVs were set up and a great collection of good-hearted movies I had never seen gave me a break from the academics of the week.

Toward the end of the year, I had the chance to throw her a bridal shower where I surprised her with the song I'd written for her wedding and then that summer, to sing it as she walked down the aisle.

After one year in Germany with the Air Force, J and E decided to move to Los Angeles (as they were still with the Air Force and had to pick somewhere) to be close to me. I was so excited. They were still 35-40 minutes away (or 2 hours... depending on traffic), but we could see each other way more often. They arrived with the news that J was pregnant with their first. We got together as often as possible, always playing games and telling stories, laughing harder than we had in weeks.

As the time for K to be born drew closer, I told them to call me the minute they were in labor and I would be in the car. I needed to know immediately to make it through traffic... especially if it all happened during rush hour, and especially because the hospital was another 20ish minutes away. They took me on a tour of the hospital with them the month or so before their due date, so I knew where I was going. Then the call came... around 11pm on the 25th of March. I had talked to them not too long before... just checking in. When the phone rang, I knew what was coming and I was off for the hospital. There was still a decent amount of traffic, but the Lord went before me as cars seemed to move out of my path like the waters of the Red Sea parting before Moses. I arrived to the hospital to find them still in the waiting room. I had made it clear that I didn't need to be in with them and that I would wait in the waiting room all night. I just wanted to be there. As J was changing into her hospital gown, E told me they wanted me to stay... if I wanted to. Did I ever. What a joy it was to be there, not only to see, but to help.

I had the opportunity to be there for the birth of their son a couple years later too, before they moved to Ohio... a long way from me. I was sad to see them go, but knew that I myself was leaving the following year and it wouldn't matter much. Before I knew it I'd fallen in love with My Beloved and was in PA... not far (ok... 7 hours) from J and E and their kids. We were able to travel (My Beloved and I) to see them one of the times I was here that Fall before we were married (I met My Beloved's parents that weekend too as they were only a few hours from there.) J took our engagement pictures... what a treat. We had such a great time with them... and they got to meet My Beloved.

I had asked J to be my matron of honor in our LA wedding, but hadn't heard an answer yet. I was hoping K would be our flower girl too. During that weekend E took me aside and had some questions for me. He wanted to make sure this wedding was a good idea before his wife and daughter were part of it. Apparently I answered all his questions and calmed his heart about the whole thing. I have often appreciated the time and forethought he put into it. I was very blessed in those years they lived close to have him watching out for me.

I was blessed to have both J and K in our wedding. J did so much the weekend of our wedding that I really didn't get to spend any time with her. She ran errands, put our bouquets together late into the night, got up early to decorate the reception, gave a short devotional for my bridal party before the ceremony, and took care of lots of little details to get us out of the reception on time. I cherish the pictures I have of her that weekend, because they are memories of her serving us where we don't have memories actually being together. Her wedding gift is a drawing she did from one of our engagement pictures that still hangs over our bed, beautifully framed. I love it still!

In the years I've lived here, we've had a handful of opportunities to travel to Ohio to be with their family, as well as a couple Thanksgivings where they came here. Last Fall we were sad when the time came for them to go home to Oregon (done in the Air Force). No more, quick, 7 hours away weekends for us (not that any 7 hour trip is quick with kids... therefore we really hadn't done many recently.)

They've been gone almost a year now and we have struggled, between time differences, kids, and their various living situations before securing a home recently, to be in touch regularly. Though we miss each other, it really doesn't matter. We always pick right back up where we left off. Just a week or so ago we had a chance to talk (for a couple hours... nearly impossible with her 3 and my 2 kids.) It was great catching up. She was almost due with her 4th, and my kids were growing so much. I even got to talk to K... so big now!

Last night, My Beloved and I were settled into the couch watching a program when the phone rang. It was J... and she had news! A little boy was born (possibly D, but we'll see) yesterday morning at 2:52 am.

Congratulations J and E... and K and J and L. I just wish I was there!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Learning for Little Ones: Homeschooling Your Toddler

Welcome to Learning for Little Ones! Do you have an idea or activity you do with your little ones??? Please share it with us. I'd love it if you would write a post on it sometime in the next couple days and link up to our Mr. Linky. I would ask, though, that you include somewhere in your post a link back to this post so others can participate! Thanks!

Google and I are not friends. Don't get me wrong... I love Google. I love watching videos and looking at pictures of animals with Tornado. I love that if ever we wonder something, all we need do is ask Google. So when I say we are not friends... really it has more to do with communication. Google and I do not communicate well with each other. My Beloved may have them on speed dial (ask me about this one sometime), but Google never works for me.

Let me give you an example... I have typed homeschooling my toddler, homeschooling your toddler, toddler homeschool, homeschool toddler, homeschooling a baby, homeschooling little ones, home school toddler, etc, over and over into the Google search and as I've mentioned before... nothing. For the most part anyway. There is very little out there about homeschooling a toddler. Most of the articles etc that I have found are talking about how to homeschool older children with a toddler underfoot... not about educating the actual toddler at home.

(Do you think I've flagged enough search words with that last paragraph... anyone looking for homeschooling information for their babies and toddlers... I hope you've found me, because I'm about to share something crazy that I have found... last night!)

That's right... I have found minimal help on the internet when searching "Homeschooling toddlers", but when you switch that up to "toddler lesson plan" or "toddler lesson plans", things are a little lot different!

Go ahead... try it... I dare you! I've barely even tapped the resources available... I found it late in the evening and haven't had much chance to explore. One link I do have for you is this one... Toddler Lesson Plans. This particular one has some great ideas for getting started yourself. Just scroll down to get past the ads.

I know there are more... go have a look for yourself.

What are you doing with your little ones? Write a post on your blog and link up here. Be sure to link directly to your Learning for Little Ones post and don't forget to link back here so others can participate too. Feel free to use my little Learning for Little Ones banner at the top. Don't have a blog??? Leave your ideas in the comments section. :) I'm so looking forward to visiting your blogs and learning from all of you!


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Halloween... some things to think about

I found this great post over at Apples of Gold Ministries about Halloween. After I started reading it I thought about writing my own post. After I read a bit further though, I found that she says just about everything (and more) that I would have wanted too. I hope you'll pop by and be challenged in your views of celebrating or not celebrating such a day.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Second Best Love Story EVER ~ Part 5

You have all been very patient, and so here it is... another edition of my love story. It's only a small chunk, but I thought I'd participate in Owlhaven's Love Stories in October, so here I am participating. I started mine back in July, so if you want to get up to speed on what I think is one of the best love stories EVER (second only to the best love story ever... the one where our Groom will one day return to earth to take His bride up with him), start over here!

Thursday arrived, and with it, lunch. I was with that same group of girls as we gathered our food and found a table in the dining hall. I desperately hoped I was being sly enough as I craned my neck to see around the room, desperately hoping to figure out where My Beloved was sitting, or whether he were there at all... without anyone noticing. As we put up our trays and left the room almost an hour later, I was very disappointed to have missed seeing him again. He was working back at the office during the conference, only coming over for meals, so my chances of seeing him that day were greatly diminished, and that was very sad.

Though afternoons were widely unscheduled, there were different opportunities to participate in each day. This particular afternoon, they would be showing (on the big screens in the “conference center”/gym) a documentary on the lives of, primarily, Nate Saint and his co-workers, one of whom had a big impact on my desire to serve the Lord overseas. This was one I wasn’t going to miss.

I had separated from my new friends and was on my way in to find them when I saw him. There he was… at the production stage again. I smiled at him as I walked by, finding the rest of the girls in the bleachers about 5 or 6 rows up. I quickly evaluated the scene. I could climb the bleachers (not a real big deal), climb in to one of the center chairs (again… big deal), and sit with them… leaving more than a hundred or more empty chairs between me and the screen (and who really cares about that?), or… I could sit down in the first row of bleachers by myself (I don’t mind being by myself), and maybe My Beloved would come over and talk to me. I (nonchalantly) told the girls not to worry about me… I preferred to sit down lower and didn’t mind sitting by myself. They didn’t fight me on it, and thankfully, no one came down to keep me company.

I set my bag down on a chair and settled into the seat next to it. I hardly had to wait at all before he was on his way over. I stood to greet him and we talked for a minute. As the movie was about to begin, he asked if I was sitting alone and I invited him to join me. Sweet! I thought… I had the perfect in to do so without looking obvious. We sat and commented through the whole thing… something I tend to do. It makes most people crazy, so I took special note that it didn’t seem to bother him… and in fact, he was participating. We took turns commenting on something, then asking the other what we’d missed because we’d been talking. I’m going to have to marry a man like this, I thought to myself again.

To be continued...


Potty Training Review

Well, we gave it a short try... and now we are going to put it on hold for a bit. Sunday we went all out and tried to go diaperless. The hopes were that he would notice he was going, or at least be uncomfortable when he did. Not only did he not seem to notice, but he didn't care after the fact. 6 pair of pants and 6 pair of undies later we decided it isn't worth the frustration right now (especially with me being sick--the main reason we did it on Sunday. With me sick, we weren't at church anyway.)

So... we will try again in a couple months. No failure... just first attempt!


Monday, October 6, 2008

This Week's Dinners... taking the easy way out

I know, I know... it's not really the easy way out. By not doing the work now, I will have to "fake it" all week... and that never ends up being easier. But today I'm sick... still. I have been all weekend, and I just don't have the mental energy to decided what food we have and what Tornado should eat... and how it all works out nutritiously. Sorry. If some of you have ideas of how to balance nutrition this week, I'd love t hear it... simply post your nutritious "toddler" menu and link up here. Otherwise... here are our dinners for the week (planned last week, so I can manage it.)

Tuesday: Chili and Cornbread
Wednesday: Chicken Alfredo, pasta, salad
Thursday: Pork with Fennel and Panchetta, Red Potatoes
Friday: Taco Salad
Saturday: Pizza
Sunday: Pancakes, eggs, fruit
Monday: Left Overs

Join us this week with your nutrition based meal schedule. Post your meal plans for the week and link up here. Please link back here so we can all use your ideas! Hopefully I'll have my normal toddler menu up next week. And for other menu ideas, visit Meal Plan Monday!


Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Momentous Day

I was on the phone in the living room at the front of the house. My Beloved called out from the back of the house, "Hey Dear... I don't think Tornado's in his bed."

My eyebrows scrunched toward the middle as I rose from my chair and walked down the hall to the kids' room. My Beloved was in the middle of something, so it was up to me to check on things. I opened the door quietly and there he was... standing in the middle of the dark bedroom with the baby bathtub, he just looked at me before saying something. "I've got to call you back," I told the client, suddenly glad I had mentioned that some sort of nap time shenanigan was happening as I walked back. With that, I hung up the phone, set it on the floor and attempted to regain composure. It wouldn't be good for Tornado to SEE me laughing. No, that wouldn't be good at all.

It took a couple more times of going in, giving him a swat, telling him to stay in the crib and leaving again before he finally fell asleep. The second time I was in there though, Sweet Pea awoke to the talking. As I lifted her out of the pack-n-play, I noticed 5-6 pairs of baby sneakers in the bed with her. Thankfully, they were on the other side from where she was sleeping. Can you imagine if he had hit her with each shoe?

We feel blessed that this is the first time. I've known for a while that he could do it... we were just thankful he didn't know he could. :) Have your little ones ever climbed out of their cribs? What did you do about it?

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Thanks for the Birthday Wishes

I just wanted to say thanks for all the birthday wishes last week. I heard from more than 20 of you... and it really was fun! I know it is easier to read and not comment most of the time, but I really do love to hear from you.

My birthday was different than planned, but still special. My Beloved made wonderful birthday plans... I knew he was up to something, but had no idea what until our car went into the shop and used up all the money for my birthday plans. My Beloved was sooo sad when he had to tell me the car ate my money, so I asked him what we WERE going to do. Well, Friday night we were supposed to go down to DC to meet his dad for dinner (down for a business trip). That part had been planned for weeks, but we canceled when the car got sick. Apparently My Beloved was making plans for us to stay overnight and spend Saturday in DC walking around. What a fun treat... I've not been since living here... which is to say in my adult life at all. :) We will still go someday... I just thought it was very special that he planned that for me.

So what did we do? We laid low most of the day... and tried not to spend money. I found a coupon on MoneySavingMom for a free kids meal at Bob Evans. I printed it out and we went there for breakfast... figuring that breakfast was cheaper than eating dinner out. Then for dinner we cooked together... it was fun. Oh, and my mom send my favorite cookies... we ate them all week. :)

Well, I'm thirty... it's true. I wonder what God has for me this year! :)


Friday, October 3, 2008

Potty Training: Day 3

I'm half tempted to give it up and begin new next week (or thereafter). I've gotten some good advice from others of you who have already done this and I agree, I want HIM trained... not me.

We did go on the potty twice yesterday... but I'm sure it's a matter of good timing on mommy's part and not understanding.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Not afraid of what's to come

"She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed with scarlet." Proberbs 31:21

I have always understood this verse to be saying that our Proverbs 31 woman is prepared. In recent history (the last 50-75 years), most of us have little cause to worry of the snow. Our heated homes make it possible to just flip a switch and stores make it possible to simply go out and buy a warm clothes and a new winter coat for our children. I don't think our Proverbs 31 woman stopped at that though. Can you imagine a modern P31 lady having winter coats for the kiddos, yet forgetting that sun screen is necessary in the hotter months? I don't think so. Or perhaps you could word it another way... "she did not dread the start of the school year, for all her household had their school supplies."

Ok, I realize I may be putting words in King Lemuel's mom's mouth here, but it's the principle I'm getting at. The principle of preparedness! And what better time to talk about it than now, as a new version of "snow" is ahead.

That's right... no one can tell you what's going to happen these days. Of course we never know what to expect from tomorrow. Just think, we could all be raptured up before it even arrives (those of us redeemed by the blood of the Lamb that is). But then again, perhaps we will remain on earth much longer than expected. In the mean time... who knows what will happen. With the economy the way it is, things are even more uncertain. Will things level out? Will the House vote in the $700bn "rescue" bill? If they do, will it help? Or is it too late? And are we really doomed if it doesn't pass? Or is it already too late? So many questions, and no answers. What is going to happen tomorrow? And how long will it take before it affects my family? Will my husband loose his job? Will we have to move? Or will things simply get more expensive?

There is no way to know, but my family has decided that it is better to be prepared... and in some ways, to be prepared for the worst. With the "worst" in mind, we have begun making plans for what we can imagine.

::Knowing food prices are likely to increase even more, My Beloved has made arrangements and purchases for this years hunting season. Just today he is making sure the scopes on his hunting riffles are right... making it easier for him to get the meat we will need next year. Sure, the sport of it may be lacking... but when it's for the food, we aren't so concerned with that.

::Knowing that our oil heat is going to be through the roof, we've purchased long johns for everyone to wear under clothes. That makes it possible for us to keep the heater set lower... or helps that much more if oil becomes harder to come by. (Tip: We found "long john" pajamas for the kids at Walmart.) We've even been able to find some on clearance to save money.

::I'm finally going to do something with all those old jeans I've been saving forever. I'm going to make a super warm quilt from them... again, protecting us from the cold. (Now if only I'd done it before... then I could really say I was prepared.)

::We are slowly trying to "stock up" on canned goods and other staples that will keep. By doing this little at a time, we are able to stay within our normal food budget each week.

This is only a handful of things we've started working on. Hopefully, we won't need them, but I find that I am "not afraid of the snow" to come because we are prepared/preparing for whatever may come.

Are you preparing for the "snow" for your households? What are you doing?

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Potty Training: Day 2

Well, I'm not sure what you would call yesterday... Day 1 I suppose. We had one "success" in the morning, but none the rest of the day. Well, there is a paper taped up in the bathroom with one sticker on it anyway.

On we go with today. I just hope I can keep my patience today. Not sure what was the deal yesterday, but I struggled with just about everything. I don't think it was the fact that he filled his diaper within minutes of getting off the potty, or the fact that Sweet Pea had a blow out on my lap again, or that lunch was everywhere... but somewhere in there I lost my cool. Ended up putting Tornado in bed and Sweet Pea in her exersaucer so I could regroup.

Here's hoping today is a new day!


Learning for Little Ones: Matching Colors

Welcome to Learning for Little Ones! Do you have an idea or activity you do with your little ones??? Please share it with us. I'd love it if you would write a post on it sometime in the next couple days and link up to our Mr. Linky. I would ask, though, that you include somewhere in your post a link back to this post so others can participate! Thanks!

I recently found a post on teaching colors to our littles. Instead of a “this is red, this is blue” approach, she begins by teaching her little ones to sort by color. What a brain moment for me. That sounded so much simpler than the rote method I found myself trying. For weeks after that (and still, truth be told) I tried to find something he could sort by color. It seems we don't have anything like that in our home. Crazy. I was getting a little discouraged.

Enter the puzzles my mom brought in May. At the time they were way over Tornado's head, so they got stashed for "later". After playing with a puzzle during our vacation in Michigan, I decided he may be ready for me to bring them back out. One of those puzzles has 8 music notes, all of different colors. Under each piece the puzzle looks the same, except it also includes the color written out. The word really doesn't matter at this point, but the puzzle is wonderful. Instead of sorting by color, Tornado has learned to match by color! Genius! He may not know that the one in his hand is pink, or green, or red (though I tell him with each one), but he has learned that the one he has in his hand is different than all the rest, and that it matches the space on the board of the same color.

What can you do if you don't have a puzzle? Make the matching parts yourself. A friend of ours made a matching game for her little ones several years ago... I just never put the pieces together in my head (until this very post as a matter of fact.) Color (or have your little ones do it) a different color on different pieces of paper -- as small or large as you like-- then make a matching set. Lay one set down and help your child to match them up. I may do this with Tornado too... just to reinforce the idea. In fact, the same principle can be done to teach sorting shapes, and perhaps even numbers or letters.

Has anyone done something similar??? I'm all ears!... or eyes anyway! :)

What are you doing with your little ones? Write a post on your blog and link up here. Be sure to link directly to your Learning for Little Ones post and don't forget to link back here so others can participate too. Feel free to use my little Learning for Little Ones banner at the top. Don't have a blog??? Leave your ideas in the comments section. :) I'm so looking forward to visiting your blogs and learning from all of you!


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Potty Training: Day 1

I considered waiting to post something about this until we'd seen success... but then I decided... what fun is that? So here I am to give it to you real time. We're starting official potty training today, October 1st. I have no idea how things will go. Perhaps we will give it a good try, then step back for a while if Tornado shows no interest... but we are going to give it a real try! He is still young (22 months this Saturday), so I do expect it will take a bit longer than if we waited another year. That's ok. I'm not looking for overnight or complete success. I imagine my crib sleeping baby will still wear a diaper to bed for a long while, but we're going to see what he can do during the day time (each success is one more diaper spared).

My plans
::I will take Tornado to the potty (he has his own little one that he already likes and has used successfully a couple times since we've had it) when he wakes up and every hour-ish after that until he actually uses it. After that we'll see.

::When he does go potty, he gets to flush the big toilet (something he likes) and he will get to put a sticker on his "potty chart" (I started making an official one, but today we are just going to start with a sheet of blank paper and some old stickers from my sticker box.) He started Sunday School a couple weeks ago and they put stickers on an attendance sheet each week. I'm hoping this will be fun for him.

I'll let you know how it goes.