Friday, December 11, 2009

Men and Women At Ages 3 and 5

Men could learn a lot from the exchange that I witness between Lydia (3) and Elijah (5) yesterday. I had them helping me clean up the house yesterday and we were done in the living room but Lydia noticed the box of diapers on the floor underneath my piano so she picked them up and asked me what she should do with them. I told her nothing and I wanted them put back where they were. Elijah walks over to her and tries to take the box out of her hands to do it FOR her. Of course she fussed and whined. After telling her to quit whining (drama queen) I told Elijah to let her do it herself. He tells me he just wanted to help her. Lydia looks at him and says "I can do it MYSELF"!!! He says, "I know you can. I just wanted to help you do it". He then lets go of the box and walks away. Lydia pauses for a moment and then says "Ok. You can help me now." You see, she knew she could do it. She was smart enough. She was strong enough. She had the drive. She didn't like it that Elijah was acting like she COULDN'T do it. As soon as he acknowledged her capabilities, she was fine with accepting his help.

I think that is what a lot of women want from a man. Please know my strength. Accept it and celebrate it! But in the process of acknowledging me and my strengths, work WITH me. Help me. Love me. Don't try to put me under your thumb or under your foot. While I CAN carry that box of diapers all by myself, I acknowledge that it would be lonelier and much heavier without my man. And I want my man to acknowledge my personal worth as he helps bear my load.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Money Matters

For a long time I've been debating how to teach my children how to save money. I was never taught to save money and its been a struggle so I want to teach my children.

I raided all their saved money and added in "a little extra" that was sent to them by Memaw and saw that each child had enough money to open juvenile savings accounts at my bank! I was so excited!! So I figured out the tithe for each child and put it in a baggie clearly labeled with each child's name. Then I figured out their savings amount and put it in clearly labeled baggies. Now, while I'm doing this, Elijah and Lydia are standing beside me wanting to know why I'm taking all their money. I try to explain to them that they are going to keep half, the bank is getting some and that we are giving back to God the part that is SUPPOSED to go back to God.

Please forgive my naivete, but nobody was excited about this venture with the exception of MOM! I was so stupid!! I thought they would be sooooo excited to have their own savings accounts!!

Ignoring their pouts and moans of displeasure, I load up the 4 younger children to go pick up Abigail from school. Surely my oldest child will be excited to have her own savings account. Wrong again. All 6 of us trot into the bank with solemn faces, the children because they have to give the bank all their money and mom because she is the only one happy about opening new savings accounts!!!

Lesson learned - there are two things you don't have to teach children - how to lie and how to love money!!!

Hoping they will appreciate my mommy being "mean" when they have a nice nest egg in the bank at age 21 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Monday, November 9, 2009

An Observance In The Differences Between Boys and Girls

I've heard "researchers" say that the behavior of boys and girls is a learned difference and not an inherent one. I still maintain that these people have obviously never raised children.

The twins were given gifts by a lady in the church. They were these cute little teddy bears that recite the "now I lay me down to sleep . . . " poem when you push their paw. When I hand a bear to one of the babies, they would cuddle it or chew it. When my older girls saw the bears, they started cuddling them and playing house. Here is what my son did with the bears today when he noticed them.

I'm in another room and I hear "now I lay me down to sleep . . . " over and over again and then my son cheering loudly at the completion of each poem. I don't think much of it until he runs down the hallway screaming "they tied"!!!! It then occurs to me that instead of cuddling the bears or playing with them lovingly, he was pushing the buttons at the same time to see which bear could recite the poem the quickest. It was a competition.

Learned behavior my foot!!!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Home Made Dishwashing Liquid

So, I'm trying my hand at home made dishing washing liquid. I figured it would be nice to have on hand when I run out of Dawn or for the family to use as a hand soap. All you need is 2 cups of left over soap shavings OR 2 bars of grated soap. Bar soap is super cheap at the Dollar Tree. Grate it and get 2-3 cups of hot water and mix together. Allow to sit over night. Then add as much water as you need to add the following morning to achieve the desired consistency. Add 1/2 cup of lemon juice or vinegar to help cut grease. Voila! Home made dishwashing soap for all the time or in a pinch! (Talk about pinching pennies!! LOL)

Not Much To Say - Just Some Pictures

Some time ago, my digital camera died a sad death. It had been a very reliable and trusty camera, purchased for me by my mother approximately 5 years ago. I had publicly mourned the death of my Fuji Finepix and was recently contacted by my "real life" friend, PJAcademy. She had been GIVEN a digital camera that she didn't need and wanted to pass it along to me . . . . . . if I wanted it!! HA HA HA HA !!! Do I EVER?! So I get the camera. Its nicer than the one I had, well, because it was newer! I go buy some new batteries for it. I WORKS. All I needed was the USB cord to be able to download the pictures to my computer. Due to an unexpected refund on Elijah's winter coat (thank you, Mom) I was able to go purchase a card reader today to be able to download some of my pictures from my new, old camera, given to me, ever so graciously, by PJAcademy. Here we go - just cause I wanna brag!

This is Abigail looking pretty just because she can. Age 7.

Here we have Elijah, looking handsome and goofy, as usual. Age 4. He'll be 5 in December.

This is Lydia at bedtime after we realize she had her pajamas on inside out and she was stuck and MAD. (Please excuse her 1980's mullet. She has cut her own hair.) Age 3.

This is Hubby and Sunshine Sofie. (5 months) You might be able to imagine that I love this picture!

This is Miss Sweetness, AKA Phoebe.

And this is Thing 1 and Thing 2 together, holding hands and smiling. LOVE IT!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The First Time Trick-or-Treating

In my circles, trick-or-treating is a pretty controversial issue. But setting that aside, we were able to take the children for the first time ever this year and we had so much fun!! Typically the children all attend the fall harvest party (aka - a Halloween Party) at the church but this year the harvest party was on Friday evening. Daniel didn't get home from work in time. Plus, Lydia had pink eye. So none of us got to go to the church party which was actually a hayride/cookout instead of just a children's party.

So along comes Saturday and low and behold, Elijah is puking Saturday morning. So I'm thinking no party and no trick-or-treating. Abigail, the babies, and I go bus visiting while Daniel stayed home with Lydia and Elijah just so I could get out of the house. Then we ran some errands which included going to Wal~Mart. I felt badly that the children weren't going to get to do anything for Halloween so I bought a few bags of candy and a bag of apples to make up for it. When I get home, Elijah hadn't puked all day so Daniel decides we'll go ahead and go trick-or-treating after all. This summer I had picked up a Batman costume for $1 at a yard sale just so Elijah could play with it. And I had gotten Lydia a lady bug cape to play with, also for $1. So Elijah dressed as Batman and Lydia dressed as a ladybug. Then, we put Abigail in one of her foo foo church dresses that we have stored back for her because its too big and then I pulled out my old wedding veil so she could dress as a bride. Oh, she was sooooo excited. (I also found out I could still wear my wedding dress!!)

Here are my little munchkins.

They were THRILLED. We had such a good time. It was so hilarious watching them literally RUN from house to house and I was very happy that they said "thank you" at each door. It was fun seeing all our neighbors having such a good time with the children. Elijah was running pell-mell screaming "Batman to the rescue!!!!" and Abi was, of course, a proper princess . . . except for the running. She is always so excited to be "beautiful". We saw Mr. Incredible, Captain America, a bull dog dressed as a bumble-bee. We tried to get Lydia's picture (our ladybug with their bumble-bee) but she was being too shy and didn't want to pose for it. That was okay. We also saw a small house dog dressed as a hot dog. Lydia was also very impressed with the giant gorilla she saw but would NOT touch it . . . until it walked away. THEN she wanted to "pet" him. Everybody was so friendly and we had a great time. Lydia got tired (and COLD) and eventually Daniel was walking with her from door to door holding her candy bag for her. It was a long walk for those short little legs!!! The twins and I led the pack in the stroller and a fun time was had by all. And the kids made out like bandits with all the candy they received.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Latest "Mommy Moment"

Today, Lydia was still recovering from pink eye and I had to leave church early so just Abigail, the twins and myself were in the van. So its was basically just Abi and I. We were chit chatting and I looked up in the sky and it was fairly clear and the moon was so bright! I don't know if it was officially "full" or not but it was awfully close to full. And I commented to Abigail that it looked like God was holding a giant flashlight and shining it down onto us and saying "I see you". She agreed and said that it was like God was reading us a bedtime story. I said "Abi, if God were going to read us a bedtime story, what would he say?" She said "He would tell us that God loves us" and it made me tear up. I'm so glad that when my little girl imagines God reading her a bedtime story, that He is telling her how much He loves her.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Speaking of Updates . . . . . . . . . .

I am convinced Sofie is going to crawl at any moment, literally. She is already skooching backwards all over the living room. And last night, she successfully skooched forward. Today, I'm sitting at the computer catching up on my cafemom, and she is up on her hands and knees rocking back and forth. I have FEAR!!! Once that child gets moving, there will be no stopping her!! This is so fun!! I can't believe how time is flying by!! Crawling at 5 months and before she is sitting up! What a maniac!

Now, while Sofie is working on crawling and being a "mover and shaker", Phoebe is pretty content to sit and observe the world. She can sit on her own but is still working on mastering sitting UP on her own. She still tends to prop herself a bit with her arms beside her but any day she'll be letting go and won't have such a round bottom.

Learning To Be Abased - A Day In The Life

Phillippians 4:11-12 (emphasis mine)
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have LEARNED, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

Yesterday was a lesson in learning to be abased. I think it is interesting that the Lord specifies to us that we have to LEARN to be content both in being abased and when we abound. So, obviously I'm still in need of some educating based on yesterday's happenings.

Lydia needed to get to the doctor yesterday. We have one vehicle and Daniel had our double stroller in the van which he had at work. Our phone was not operable so I had no phone, no ride, and no stroller, and no internet to get in touch with anybody to try and find a ride. I couldn't get in the touch with the doctor in order to set up an appointment but, as pink eye has been going around the church and I highly suspected Lydia had fallen victim, I needed to get her in to the doctor. Deep Sigh. So Daniel calls and sets up and appointment for Lydia and I had to bundle up the twins in the wagon. Its not so bad. Its really hard to get up the stairs and heavier to pull than pushing the stroller but at least I have the wagon. I don't know how I would walk around town with both babies without the wagon.

So we walk to Lydia's doctor appointment. Now, honestly, most days its okay. If I were CHOOSING to walk to the appointment it would be no big deal. But not having a choice, I don't know. For some reason that makes it worse. So here were are out in the damp weather with the babies, Lydia with pink eye and, wonders never cease, an ear infection. (I've never had a child with an ear infection before and didn't even know she HAD an ear infection.) And Elijah, God bless his heart, thinking this is the greatest adventure EVER. While I'm still sick and tired. Nobody had eaten because I had to run out of the house so quickly to make it to her appointment on time.

We then walk from the doctor's office to the pharmacy only to find out it will be a minimum of an hour and a half before the prescriptions will be ready. No thank you. I'll send hubby back later. So we walk on home. We were gone for three hours. And its okay. Really. It SHOULD be okay. So why was it so hard?

Dear Lord, please give me the grace to be content on those days where all I want to do is have a pity party for myself. Help me to realize that things could be worse and be thankful that the weather wasn't too cold to walk, it wasn't raining, and we all had the health to walk there and back. Help me to be thankful that while we don't have 2 vehicles, we do have one which allows Daniel to get back and forth to work every day. Help me to be thankful that he has a job so that the van isn't available to me during the day. Thank you for giving me a doctor that I love whose office is so close to the house that walking is an option. Thank you for the pharmacy for the same reasons. Dear Lord, your provision is more than I deserve. Thank you, that in 7 years of having children, we just encountered our first case of an ear infection and pink eye.

Dear Lord - Thank you.
(Picture was taken by me with my Dad within a mile of their home.)

A Twist On Grilled Cheese

Some of you may already do this but I find it spices up grilled cheese just a bit on a boring day. I always spray the outsides of my bread with olive oil instead of using butter or margarine. I don't know if it actually does any good or not but it seems like it would be healthier to get in some omega 3s with it than using butter. Then I put one slice of American cheese, and 2 or three slices of the this sliced low sodium lunch meat along with a little bit of low fat Miracle Whip. Next I sprinkle some Italian seasoning on the inside and fry as usual. It just shakes things up a bit on that afternoon where you don't want the same old same old but you need something quick.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Favorite Picture From Lydia's Birthday

If you read my previous post about combining birthdays, I stated I would post some pictures "later". Well, welcome to "later"!!!! This was taken with my husband's camera phone which is really crummy but better than nothing. Miracle of all miracles, everyone was looking at the camera. Here is my happy brood!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Money and Food Stretching Tips

Here is a recent food stretching technique I've started using to try and make my meat last longer. One of our local grocery stores will periodically run a sale where ground beef is actually cheaper than ground turkey as long as you purchase packages of 3 (or 5) pounds or more. I try to catch this sale and take advantage of it. When I get home, we will take our 5 pounds of beef and divide it into 6 units making the meat that SHOULD last for 5 meals into enough meat for 6 meals.

Try it. I bet your family doesn't notice the absence of that quarter pound of ground meat and you get an extra meal from it.

You Can't Make Me - I'm Not Gonna Do It - At Least Not Right Now

Lydia's birthday is today. My "Miss Thing" is now 3. Abigail's birthday was 9 days ago. I had planned on a very small family birthday party here at the house for Abi. No big deal. Just a cake, drinks, and whatever gifts the aunts, uncles and grandparents might want to bring. I was asked a couple of times if we were going to combine Abi and Lydia's birthday "parties" because my nephew's birthday (same side of the family) is 2 days after Lydia's. So, for them, its 3 birthdays in about 10 days. I didn't want to but Daniel decided we would combine and that was okay. I wasn't for it but it wasn't worth fussing over.


We had the birthday celebration last Saturday and it was nice. But I had bought a brownie mix and some frosting to make for Lydia's birthday today. I wanted her to have SOMETHING special just for her on her day. Well, today just wasn't a good day.

It was 3:00 before I realized I hadn't sat anything out for supper. I kept trying to make the brownies all day but stuff just kept coming up. So as I was trying to make brownies around 3:00, I got a call from Abi's school letting me know that she didn't have a ride home. In the process of trying to figure that out, I skip the eggs in the brownie mix!!! DO NOT FORGET THE EGGS!!! I put them in the oven and they just weren't baking correctly! I couldn't figure it out! I kept looking at the box trying to figure out if I had the oven set wrong or maybe they hadn't baked long enough. 45 minutes into what SHOULD have been a 30 minute process, I realized I had forgotten the eggs. So I had this rubbery, greasy, bubbling mess!!! NOW WHAT?! I HAD to have SOMETHING for her birthday because I had tried to sing her "happy birthday" that morning and she told me it wasn't her birthday yet because her birthday wasn't on the table!! (no cake - no gifts) GRRRRRRRR! The three year old had no clue about combining birthday celebrations!! I knew she wouldn't.

Plan B - make a home made birthday cake. This I can do. She wants a pink cake. Ok. STINK! No red food coloring. Plan Bb - ask her to pick either a yellow cake or a green cake. She selects green. No problem.

Now on to dinner! Thaw the ground turkey for spaghetti. Set the water on the stove to boil for the spaghetti noodles - um . . . . . noodles . . . . . where ARE the noodles? No noodles. We had bought everything to make the spaghetti EXCEPT the noodles. Plan B - egg noodles. Crisis diverted yet again.

Dinner goes fine. Not really enough spaghetti sauce. Mental note to self to purchase an additional jar of sauce at Aldi when planning next spaghetti meal. Cake is done. Did not over bake. Allow cake to cool and on to the home made frosting. No real butter. Stink. Must use margarine. Not the end of the world. Mixing the frosting with the mixer when my beaters start clunking and rubbing. I stop the machine. No apparent problems. Start it back up and they started clunking together so loudly it scared me!! Mixer is now officially dead. Had to finish mixing the frosting by hand. Now need a new mixer.

Deep sigh.

I'm so glad she is only 3. I had asked Daniel to stop by the Dollar Tree to get her 2 small $1 gifts so she would have something to open, as AGAIN, she had no clue we had already celebrated her birthday the previous weekend. She was thrilled with her green cake. She was thrilled with her new coloring book, fairy doll, and Dora spinning tops. She was even happy with the birthday card Abigail had made for her.

Lesson learned through all of this - Never Never Never combine birthdays for children. It is their special day celebrating their unique entrance into this world and should remain as such.

Second lesson learned - always keep a spare cake mix in the house around birthday time.

Thank you, Lord, that my children are still so small that they are unaware of the things that are missing in their little lives.

Thank you, Lord, that today is almost over!

Thank you, Lord, for my precocious little three year old who is so appreciative of mommy's efforts.

Thank you, Lord, for all those sacrifices made by my own parents that I never saw or recognized.

(Hoping to have some pictures to add tomorrow if they aren't forever stuck on hubby's phone.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Frustration On The Homefront And Why I Don't Homeschool

Elijah will be 5 in December. The boy is just a smartie and he is bored at home. I don't blame him. I wish we had a fenced in yard where I could send him outside to play. But we don't. So we try and work with it.

Monday I decided I would teach him the alphabet and figured I might as well teach Lydia (almost 3) at the same time. So I find an "alphabet book" online that I could print off. They color the "A" and then glue an upper case and lower case "Aa" onto the picture. When they complete all the pages, they color the title page, assemble the book, and voila, their very own alphabet book. I intentionally chose to do this while Abigail was home on Monday evening because I thought she would enjoy helping me teach the other children. It went over fabulously! They loved it. We learned "A stands for apple A, A, A" and they had loads of fun.

Tuesday I was so sick and we didn't do our letter.

Yesterday, both were bored so I decided we would now learn the letter "B". Well Elijah did not WANT to learn the letter "B". He fought me the whole time. While Lydia was learning "B is for boat", Elijah was doing his level best to destroy his coloring page and fight me every step of the way.

So our "school session" yesterday ended with Elijah's "B" paper being thrown into the garbage and an affirmation in my heart that if I had to home school my children they would be idiots!!

Today, Lydia will learn that "C is for cat - C, C, C".

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another Money and Meal Stretching Idea

A few weeks ago we were buying groceries at Aldi and I was comparing the prices of the different cuts of chicken. It was daunting. So all the way at the bottom of the freezer section were the whole chickens. Now, I had never purchased a whole chicken because I didn't really know how to cook them to get a good flavor and I had no idea how to cut them properly. But when I compared the prices, I figured I would figure it out!!!!

I have a perfect glass dish to put the chicken in for baking. I rinse my chicken, cut up potatoes, throw them in the dish and top with about half a bottle of lemon pepper marinade from Aldi ($.99). I bake at 325 for approximately 3 hours with the lid on. When done, there are about 2 cups of chicken stock in the bottom of the dish. I use the chicken stock to create a gravy to make home made chicken pot pie. I accidentally left out the chicken meat a few weeks ago for my "chicken" pot pie but I had used my left over chicken stock and you couldn't tell the chicken was missing!! Use the cut up potatoes for your pot pie, also. That is meal number one from my whole chicken. I then used half of the chicken meat to make chicken salad for the children and I for lunch the next day. For dinner that evening I used the remaining half of the chicken to make a rice, broccoli, and chicken cassarole. You could also use part of the meat for chicken noodle soup. I'm sure you have a gazillion uses for chicken meals!!!

So that is how I get at least 3 meals for my family of 5 (the twins don't eat real food yet) out of one chicken!! Talk about stretching your dollars!!!!

Money and Meal Stretching Tip - French Toast Bites

My family is a little bit picky about bread. If the bread starts to get dry, they aren't fond of eating it. That's okay. Introducing French Toast Bites!!!!! Take your bread that is getting a little stale, obviously no mold, and tear it up into pieces. Make your french toast mixture. I use eggs, milk, and a touch of vanilla in mine. Then, toss your pieces of bread in your egg mixture until completely coated. Fry on the stove top until done. Put on a plate or in a bowl and drizzle with syrup. Voila!!!! French Toast Bites. My kids think they are the greatest and have no idea that mommy has put to use that "dry bread" that they don't like.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Having a Baby Changed My Life

I knew having a baby would change our family. I knew having twins was going to be a complete upheaval. I wasn't prepared for how having these babies would change us as a family unit and how much it would change me.

After Lydia was born, 3 years ago on the 26th, I had a very difficult time. I'm sure anybody who knows me personally didn't much enjoy me. I struggled with depression. Daniel's work schedule was very hard. Elijah was extremely difficult to deal with. I was fighting my life. I wasn't content in anything. It was a very hard time. So when Daniel very seriously started talking about wanting a baby, I fought that, too. I didn't WANT another baby. I felt like I couldn't handle the children I had. Throw on top of that being sick every 45 minutes all day with a pregnancy . . . . . . no thank you. But the Lord worked on my heart. And one day He told me that when the time came that I was ready for another baby, I might not be ABLE to have another baby. Wow. Talk about a punch in the gut. So along comes that first, faint, positive pregnancy test.

I'll fast forward to just after the birth of the twins. It was hard. I had to have a 4 unit blood transfusion and that was scary. I felt awful after the birth from being so anemic for so long and the ordeal of the birth and transfusion. I had no idea how hard it would be on my body to have been that low for so long. Adjusting to their births was more time consuming than I had thought. It was a good 10 days before I felt "maternal" towards them. But then it just seemed like things clicked one day and I realized these babies were the greatest thing that had ever happened to me.

All the sudden I was so content in my life. The babies didn't require an overwhelming amount of work. More work? Yes, of course. I was exclusively pumping for both of them and changing diapers and feedings and taking care of the other children was/is truly a full time job. (Praise the Lord we no longer pump. They both nurse now.) But it all just seemed to flow somehow. I'm enjoying my life so much more than I did before they were here. And I don't know if I'm enjoying the "twin" aspect of it. Maybe I would have settled in the same way had we had another singleton. Maybe God knew the uniqueness of having multiples would settle me - I don't know. But I'm having the time of my life. They just "fit". I've never been more settled and content. Someone used the phrase "calming influence" and that is precisely what has been brought to our home with their births.

Yes, having twins is a lot of work. But it doesn't really feel like SO MUCH WORK now that they are here. They are so much fun. And its a truly wonderful thing to watch my older children interacting with the babies and each other. I'm having fun watching them grow and develop. Its very interesting to have 2 babies the exact same age and watching them do the exact same things at the exact same times. Yet they are so different. And its a joy to see some of the character traits that we've been TRYING to instill in our older children coming out in how they deal with the babies. Elijah is so gentle and even Lydia is amazing with them. Abi is the "little mother" that I expected her to be, maybe even more than I thought she would be!

Looking forward to what the Lord has in store for the future . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Yep - I'm a Loser!! (In more ways than one!)

So I knew to start blogging would be a hit and miss thing with me! I've been "missing" for a while, I guess. Almost a year since I last posted. But to say our life has changed and that I've been a bit busy would be a gross understatement.

The twins were born May 28th. They are now almost 5 months old! Its taken me this long to figure things out and get things situated. We are finally settling into life and some seblence of a routine and I thought I might try blogging again. I'll be posting some pictures from their birth and since then. I can't post any more recent pictures because my digital camera finally died, so sad, so nothing within the last month or two.

I'm currently working on cutting out a doll pattern to hopefully make the girls some dolls. Not that they need any but I would like to see if I can do it.

OH!! And the biggest way I'm a loser . . . . . . . . I've lost 61 pounds since the twins were born! I have about 73-75 more to go! All kinds of weird issues there! I didn't think losing weight and going down 4 (or 8 - depending on how you look at it) would effect me mentally so much. Its a double edged sword. But more on that later.

So I'll get a family update posted here in the next day or two and I hope to start updating my blog several times a week.

Best to all!!