Monday, December 31, 2007
Then, a week later we attended my in-law's church with them around the holidays when we were in MN. Guess what their pastor preached on? Mary, and the concept of fear! He outlined the many reasons she had to fear (possible stoning, divorce, loss of the man she loved, loss of her dreams for a good life, loss of reputation, giving birth in a stable, etc.) and talked about how she was willing to be God's servant in spite of it all. Once again I felt like God was re-inforcing to me in a profound way that He was going to be with us through another pregnancy no matter how tough it might be or how exhausting. What a blessing that we have such a God who controls the universe and yet still has time to bless miniscule me with the gift of bringing another child into the world and that He loves His children enough to speak to them and encourage them perfectly no matter what situation they are going through! I have no reason to fear the horrible sickness I get for many weeks, the exhaustion of being pregnant with two toddlers, the pain of childbirth, the possibility of another hemorrage after the birth, the fact that we need to move to a bigger place and get a minivan now, the fact that my husband wants a new job soon, miscarriage, the fear of what people will think (3 kids in 5 years of marriage!), how I'm going to chase 3 little ones with only 2 hands, the cost of another baby, etc. because my Loving Heavenly Father already has it covered. He blesses us with the strength to get through the tasks He has called us to. I have prayed before each of my 3 pregnancies that God would give us a baby in His perfect timing and according to His will, and though we may not have felt "ready" this time around, God has presented us with a new opportunity to exercise our faith in the coming year!
Happy New Year to all of you Blog Readers out there!
Sunday, December 30, 2007
To those of you dear friends we missed seeing in MN: I wish we could have seen you! There were some new baby boys I would have loved to see, but due to the fact that we only had a few days in my hubby's hometown during a major holiday and a few days in the Twin Cities and a day in my Grandma's town, it was too busy to get together with all of my friends. I hope you all had good Christmas celebrations!
To those of you friends who spent Christmas in Florida (Jesse, Shiloh, Lyndi, and Colter):
The night that I went shopping at Target in MN and felt like I was going to freeze into an icicle before I made it to my car and the wind was blowing and it felt like 50 below, I was SO JEALOUS of you all who hung out on the beach this week!
One funny thing that happened on the trip home: Jer wet through his diapers 2 times the day we left for home. It was awful! I had gotten Pampers on a super good sale thinking that the "expensive" diapers would be more leak-proof than the Wal-mart brand we usually use. I discovered that I should have used my homemade cloth ones on the trip; they would have held more! Since everything was packed, by the end of the day, he had no clothes to wear but was soaking wet. So, we fished out the easiest thing that was accessible and he got to wear his sister's pajamas out of the dirty clothes bag! Ick! We were eating at Olive Garden for supper on the trip home (Yeah! Our once-a-year treat since there are no O.G.'s in our entire state and we LOVE it!!!) so I changed him in the restaurant. He had to use sister's pink, girly blanket, and wear her pajamas which were really big on him. We turned them inside out so at least you couldn't see the bow on the front and the flowers! I'm sure everyone thought we had a couple of little girls!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Here is a prayer from the book, entitled, "The Gift of Gifts."
Monday, December 17, 2007
Cheerios and Crackers (because little ones can never wait for the food)
Spoons and forks
Coloring pages and crayons
Little toy truck for my boy since he's too young to color
Sanitizing wipes (I'm one of those paranoid moms that sanitizes the high chair and table tops!)
Regular wipes for clean-up after the meal
Paper towels for spills
2 C. (12 oz. package) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 T. shortening
In a large bowl, combine first four ingredients. Shape into 1 inch balls. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and shortening (about 2 minutes) and stir until smooth. Dip balls in chocolate; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper; let stand until set. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 2.5 dozen.
If you buy the ingredients on sale, it costs about $4-$5 to make a batch of these. However, a little goes a long way and you can stretch 4 nice little gifts of chocolate candies out of one batch!
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
After....much neater, though I'd like to spruce it up even more by painting it some day!
I loved the Making My Home a Haven challenge for the past 2 weeks at Biblical Womanhood. Unfortunately Crystal had to cancel it one day due to a computer hacker problem, and I had to skip one day due to my tooth pain. However, I enjoyed it so much and the accountability and comaraderie that I may post on this topic from time to time again as the mood strikes me. Today I tackled the kid's bedroom and last night the book case. I had read in a magazine that if you pull all of the books out to the outer edge it makes your bookshelf look much neater. It sure didn't last long though as Jer thinks it's a great game to go push all of the books back in! Ali currently sleeps in her toddler bed in our room as we've worked on getting Jer to sleep in his own room for the past month or so. Soon we will move them both into the same room, which may mean they will likely try to play the entire nap time and won't go to bed until very late due to egging each other on and giggling.
For now, our bedroom is the biggest housekeeping challenge I have because it's small and has a toddler bed, a queen log bed, 3 dressers, a nightstand, a large bookshelf, a laundry basket of work clothes, our Christmas decorations storage tub, 2 baskets of children's books, 6 rubbermaid storage drawers, and all of my craft tubs, gift boxes and wrapping supplies, and all of our files and bill slots. It can get to be an absolute pig sty! I can barely walk in there due to lack of space! I can't put my clean clothes away as Ali's bed blocks my bottom 2 dresser drawers so I always have piles of clean clothes around. It will be so nice to move eventually, but until then I will do the best I can to clean it up this weekend and figure out a way to have a little bit more space.
Once the Ibuprofen kicked in life was good again. My mom came by with a delicious supper, tortilla soup (which tastes like fancy chili) which she happened to have in her crockpot. If you know my mom, she usually works until 6 pm at the school grading papers and hates to cook so it was amazing of her to bring us a tasty meal. Thankfully my numbness had worn off by supper time and I was able to eat my first meal of the day. Boy was I hungry and boy did that tortilla soup hit the spot! She also took my toddler for a few hours so that Ali could attend the Christian school Christmas play and give me a little bit of a break. There is nothing like having two toddlers screaming at you and whining incessantly when you are in pain!
I managed to live a completely normal existence until the middle of the night when all my pain meds wore off and it felt like someone was mountain climbing with a pick axe in my jaw! Complete agony! One of the longest moments of my life was waiting for all the meds I gobbled to take effect. It took a good half hour to an hour! I kept thinking about that last contraction in Jer's labor where I thought the pain would never end and I wouldn't make it. That's how it felt last night!
I don't mean to sound like the biggest baby and biggest whiner ever. I realize there are people out there who have gone through much worse (like my dad's tricky root canal or my father-in-laws accident while cleaning a chimney that ended up breaking his jaw and half of his teeth and resulting in lots of fake teeth and a wired jaw for a long time.) This experience has made me SO THANKFUL for the advanced care we have today. I imagine the pioneers just had to suffer until the infection killed them!
Now let's hope I don't get an ulcer from taking so many meds and taking them on an empty stomach!
*Tip of the Day: If you ever have a tooth surgery, DO set your alarm clock to wake you up every four hours so that you can prevent the excruciating agony which will cause you to lose a lot of sleep!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
*I had great ambitions to sew a beautiful apron for a friend for Christmas and thought it would be cool to make her daughters matching aprons too. Not going to happen! I had to accept that this isn't the season to do that and the original gift I have for her, which is sitting in the gift pile ready to go, is perfectly acceptable and will be appreciated.
*I wanted to send a cousin an e-card, but it's getting late and it takes a lot of time to load cards to preview them with our dial-up internet. So, I sent her a Happy Birthday e-mail, which is just as heartfelt, but takes less time.
*I wanted to make a dainty, very fancy snack for the Toddler Gift Swap we're going to tomorrow (the kids all choose a used toy to swap among friends). Instead, with a throbbing tooth that continues to pain me, I will be grabbing the quickest thing I possibly can, like some store-bought cookies someone recently gave us.
*I wanted to have a loaf of home-baked bread made fresh and wrapped attractively for every neighbor in our building with a sweet Christmas card attached. My especially "crunchy" neighbor was going to get a loaf that was made with olive oil, all-natural flour, sunflowers, etc. I had to let this illusion go and settle for the baskets of chocolate candies. It's enough that I bake all our own bread for our meals. Sometime, maybe in January or February I will have the time to bless my neighbors with bread, but in these busy days of December, it's not possible.
*I'd love to make an apron, pair of ribbon socks, pair of leather shoes, fancy hair barrette, or flannel rag quilt for every friend and kid I know and am related to, but I have to just step back and accept that I can't. There are times when I can bless family and friends with handmade gifts and I enjoy it heartily, but I can't "do it all." This is why I share pattern links, craft ideas, and info on making these projects because if someone truly wants something, they can learn to make it, just as I have done!
*I wanted to fresh squeeze orange juice (by hand) for my husband and I every morning this week as we've had colds. I also wanted to eat fresh crushed garlic, take apple cider vinegar daily, and all my vitamins. Instead, I forgot to buy garlic, forget some of my vitamins and to take my vinegar and only managed to squeeze the yummy OJ one morning. Instead we are feeding off the delicious homemade chicken rice soup I made on Sunday to help heal our colds.
*I wanted to have 10 cloth diapers made for my single mom friend who has to use cloth due to an allergic baby. After today, I won't see her for another month and the few diapers I have made her (in the Fuzzi Bunz style) are so convenient and nice for her as she works, goes to nursing school, and deals with a very sick baby with severe health problems. I know she really needs them and appreciates them and this is my "benevalence project" for this holiday season. However, I ran out of waterproof material and am waiting on my next shipment and realize that with our upcoming trip I likely won't get to the diapers until January. I guess she'll survive for a while using old-fashioned diapers with pins like our grandmothers did!
*I wanted to have the house cleaned top to bottom and everything completely spotless for the managers who are coming this week to work on the apartments a little bit (they live in Washington, D.C. and come about twice a year.) They will be renevating our living room light which no longer works, and due to the fact that lots of workmen and our managers will be in and out of the house starting tomorrow, I would love to impress them with the cleanest apartment they've ever seen. *laugh* Like that is EVER going to happen! They will just have to realize that real people live here and toys everywhere are proof that we are blessed to have two tiny, busy ones here daily! Besides, why on earth would I want to clean everything before they go and rip out an eighth of our ceiling and make a world-class mess?
*I wanted to get a million things done today, but my jaw is so swollen that I am thankful to have gotten just several projects done and that I was able to take my kids to their friend's birthday party. It's becoming more evident as the pain continues that I will be seeing a dentist tomorrow!
There are many other things I wish I could do: caroling, buying gifts for and delivering them to the nursing home, hosting a Christmas party club to share the Gospel, planning a craft-making party for my gal friends one evening, etc. etc. etc. But alas, sometimes the GOOD things aren't the GREAT things and the GREAT things aren't the BEST things. I want Jesus to be the focus of this season and my family's health and well-being to be next! This necessitates that I learn to use the little word, "no" more often than I would like to.
What are ways that you keep things simple during this busy time of year?
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Today for the Making Your Home a Haven Challenge we are supposed to do a project like tackling a drawer, shelf, or closet. I tackled my spice cabinet as it's been bugging me recently. I straightened and organized and wiped it out. I am so happy with the results! I tried not to overschedule my day so that I have plenty of time to play with the kids (something I haven't been doing enough of recently). All of the items on my list are done except the yard stuff. It's icy cold with lots of snow outside, but I still need to get a pile of branches moved out of the yard.
I also got an unexpected but pleasant call from my brother, whom I haven't talked to in a few months as he's been in Argentina. He's spending Christmas in Florida and gave me a call. Ali chatted with him on the phone. He asked how she was doing and if there was snow and she mentioned going outside and said, unprompted, "I FWEEZED my buns off!" It was hysterical! Meanwhile, he's picking lemons and tangerines which just seems weird to do at "Christmas-time."
Supper tonight is Nachos, which is very simple, especially since I have frozen bags of hamburger in the freezer already cooked and refried beans and Green Mountain Lava Salsa already made! (See my Cooking posts for the salsa recipe).
Monday, December 10, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
It's scary how much he looks like our Dad did in the 70's with that afro! He didn't even realize how "old fashioned" he looked until he saw these photos!
Grant has spent the last 10 years working on bikes and pouring most of his time, energy, and financial resources into various bikes! One hot July day he biked 80 miles in 6 hours!
The plus side to this extremely busy day was that when I returned home from my appointment and shopping trip my hard-working hubby who peels logs all day to the point of exhaustion had done a huge sinkful of dirty dishes and towel-dried them (which is something I NEVER do since I think it is a waste of time). He also had cleaned up all the toys and junk in the living room and vacuumed it! My hero! Nothing says love like having your most hated chores done for you! He didn't even know I'd had a busy day either!
Tomorrow I think I will put my feet up and take it easy. Eat a lot of chocolate and take time to read a fun book. Days like today are thankfully pretty rare! But I do have a tendency to be a work-a-holic, even if I don't technically have a real job. Even if it seems like I accomplished a lot, I had about ten more things running through my brain today of things I need to do. I relentlessly punish myself to get EVERYTHING accomplished all at once! Ease up girl, back away from the To-Do list and no one will get hurt!
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
Ahh! So refreshingly neat! Now if only it would STAY that way!
The ladies at Biblical Womanhood are doing a two-week challenge on
Today, in addition to refreshing your spirit and making a plan for a morning routine she suggests working on the entryway to your home. Since we don't have much of an entryway in our tiny apartment, and I've already been trying to contain jackets in a special laundry basket and we have a little rug all set up for shoes, I decided to tackle the worst spot in the whole house; our computer desk! What an eyesore when you come in the door and see that across the room! Being that I get a lot of bills/mail and love books, this has become the catch-all for anything we want to keep out of the reach of tiny fingers. I hate it and my husband gets sick of it, but everytime I clean it, it takes about one day before it's back to chaotic. So, the next two weeks will find me working on this spot A LOT! I cleared a spot on our bookshelf to handle all the books I'm currently reading. I put little odds and ends in a plastic box and tried to sort magazines, flyers, and little notes on scraps of paper. I'm making more of an effort to jot notes, shopping lists, addresses, and little reminders in one little notebook in my purse where it's all contained and not a bunch of strewn paper clutter.
A few things I DID do to make my home a haven today was lighting a pretty candle (Holiday Cheer scent), bake a batch of Crystal's 30-minute-homemade rolls for our sandwiches for lunch, and put on some Christmas music. I also did my general Monday morning cleaning in addition to babysitting my friend's adorable 2-year old twins for over 4 hours! What a morning!
Friendly Mommy Tip: Don't ever give 3 two-year-olds and a 1 year-old crayons! Let's just say my kitchen floor was very colorful and is now VERY clean!
Our Morning Routine which I do daily and don't need to write down because it's in my head:
1. Hubby or I get up with the kids and give them each a banana, some cheerios, and sippy cups of milk. One spouse always lets the other sleep in. We split this up about 50/50 just based on who is the most tired that day!
2. I usually do dishes or work on some kitchen cleaning while they eat. I don't bother eating since the interruptions are too great at this point!
3. Clean up kids, change diapers, bathe if needed (every 2-3 days) and get them dressed for the day. Do Morning devotions with them, reading some of the Bible, praying, and singing songs or reading stories.
4. Put Jer down for a morning nap. Put an educational video on for Ali (we let her watch 30 minutes a day). Then shower, get dressed, and grab a quick bite to eat if possible. Check e-mail and do paperwork until her movie is done (bills, organizing shopping lists or coupons, letters to mail).
5. Seek to do as much laundry as possible during the morning when few other residents here are using the washer/dryer.
6. Try to get the living room vaccuumed and straightened up nicely before King Jo arrives home for lunch.
7. Kids get a snack around 10 a.m. and usually start fussing for lunch at 11:30 a.m.
8. Try to do an educational activity with Alathia, whether painting, learning letters, cutting paper, or practicing Bible verses.