Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Too Cute!

Giving an Ergo a Try

I've heard so many of my favorite bloggers raving about the Ergo baby carrier that I decided to give it a try with Justus. He loves the sling, unlike my other kids, and is outgrowing the Snugli carrier and my homemade sling. And I just can't figure out how to comfortably carry my kids in the Guatamalan sling even though the Guatamalan women seem to have no trouble lugging around their preschoolers in it! I have tried a large variety of slings in the past few years and have not found one that is very comfortable both for myself and the baby.

Blogreader KC commented recently on my blog that I should get an Ergo. After researching on it all weekend I decided that she was right and ordered one from a nice homeschooling family she recommended that has an online business: www.thehomegrownfamily.com They processed my order immediately and I can't wait to get it and try it out.

They are pricey, but apparently worth it, and since Justus is my third kid and wants to be held 24/7, I kind of need my hands free to cook, clean, or care for the other kids and need to find a sling that works and works well! The Ergo is supposed to be wonderful for the mother's spine and baby's spine too. It was developed by a mom in 2003 and has started exploding in popularity. You can use it on your hip, on your front, or on your back. We received some money from some family and some friends for baby gifts so that will go toward the Ergo!

Want to see what one looks like? Check out the official site here. Another great site to visit where you can watch an online video on the Ergo is www.myfavoritebabycarrier.com

If you want to give one a try, I would recommend ordering one from the family's website I linked to above since it's the same price as anywhere else on the web, has free shipping, and a 90-Day guarantee. I figure if my baby doesn't like it or I don't use it as much as I had hoped I can return it within a few months and get a FULL refund!

For those of you with gassy/clingy babies, it might be an important purchase for your sanity.
I will let you all know how I like it after I've tested it out for a while. It is supposed to carry kids up to 40 pounds so I can see how it works with all of my kids.

Who are my favorite bloggers who LOVE their Ergos? Tammy, from www.tammysrecipes.com, Crystal, from www.biblicalwomanhood.com/blog and Lindsay, from www.passionatehomemaking.com

Monday, September 29, 2008


Last week I mentioned the phishing scam we were victims of. Blogreader Jennifer wrote this comment:

"My blessed sister in Christ, I have one question. Are you a tither? If you are then you have NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT."

Malachi 3 10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Malachi 3: 11
I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the LORD of hosts.

Thank you for reminding me of these verses Jennifer!

This comment reminded me that I never got around to finishing my last post in my Living Debt Free blog series I did this summer. Tithing is really the most important part of our budget and yet I never got around to compiling my post on the issue due to my pregnancy fatigue.

So, though my time is limited, I want to share with my blog readers that I was trained to tithe as a child, have always tithed, and sincerely believe that tithing is absolutely important in the life of a follower of Jesus. I don't believe that it is a ticket to Heaven or that you should give just to see what you can "get" out of it. I don't believe churches should guilt people into or force tithes and that we should give as the Lord leads us. I do believe, as commenter Jennifer does, that God will prove Himself faithful if we are faithful to tithe. I do agree with the words of Billy Graham on tithing, "Most Christians find that 90% goes a lot further than 100%."

I am saddened to see how few American Christians give and how very few give sacrificially. Some people declare that they would tithe if they had more money. Because how we handle our money is an overflow from the heart, how much money you have isn't the issue. Priorities are. People tend to spend what they make (or more). Why do Americans seem to think they can't give when we are the richest folks in the world? Remember the widow's mite? Or the widow who gave her last flour and oil to Elisha? Why do Christians want to rob themselves of blessings by not giving to the Lord?

If you believe that all you have is God's anyway, then that 10% (or whatever you believe is God's will for you to tithe) isn't yours to begin with and isn't yours to spend. The government takes 10-15% of our income and we manage to survive. Shouldn't we revere God more than the IRS? There are many Christians out there buying a daily mocha or spending $50 a month on a gym they never visit who won't give to their church but once or twice a year. I have been in missions and we have two siblings in missions right now and we have come to find that sometimes it is the poorest of people who give the most.

Is it always easy to give? Not always. Often you feel wonderful about giving and excited to help with a ministry you really believe in. But there are also times, like when I was in college and only making $100 a month, where I could have used that $10 for Ramen instead of tithing. But God ALWAYS provided my needs and gave me above and beyond what I needed. He continues to do so and we continue to tithe and to give above our normal tithe as He blesses us with unexpected income from overtime hours or unexpected refunds. Because both my husband and I were taught as children to tithe, it is generally easy for us as there is no doubt in either of our minds that tithing is the best thing we can do for our budget! Of course the world doesn't understand this AT ALL! How can you build wealth/security by giving money away? How foolish to give money to "an idea of a deity" who may or may not exist, they say. All I can say is, "If you are not a believer, than you won't be able to understand the spiritual wisdom of tithing. If you are a believer and you don't tithe, you are robbing yourself of incredible blessing." I found this article interesting.

If I felt that I couldn't possibly tithe because my budget was so tight I would find a way to live on less or make more money. How I spend my money is a reflection of my heart. If my heart is passionate about the things of God, then I will use my resources to fund the spread of the Gospel, support my church body and help the needy.

2 Cor. 9:6-8
"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work."

You've heard on my blog how God provided our mini-van though it looked like an impossibly big amount just a half a year ago. I could share countless stories of how God has provided exactly what we need at just the right time. But I'd rather hear YOUR stories. How has God proven Himself faithful to you in conjunction with your obedience to tithe?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Only in Wyo

On the way to pick Ali up from pre-school I noticed a guy riding his horse down Main Street. Only in Wyoming!
(Yes, I was taking pics while driving. Don't try that at home...)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Frugal Fridays--Healthy and Easy Homemade Tortillas

This new tortilla recipe I tried is WONDERFUL! They are super simple to make too! Kids love to get in on the fun. I haven't tried making them in bulk and freezing them but I would like to try it eventually so I can have tortillas on hand. These are much healthier and much tastier than the ones you buy in the store!

We love to make bean tacos out of them with homemade refried beans and homemade salsa!

2 C. flour (I use 1 C. of whole wheat and 1 C. unbleached all-purpose) Experiment with other flours if you like.

2 t. baking powder

1 t. salt

1/4 C. olive oil

3/4 C. cold water

Mix all but the water in a mixing bowl. Add water gradually.

Knead dough until smooth.

Divide pieces of dough into pieces of dough the size of a small egg.

Roll flat with a rolling pin to about 1/8 inch thickness.

Cook in ungreased frying pan for 1-2 minutes on each side. (Medium heat)

Wrap in a dishtowel to keep them soft and foldable. Eat immediately or store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Investing in Alathia

Overheard at the dinner table:

King Jo to Ali: "Ali, can you imagine what a spirited girl could do with the Holy Spirit in her?"

This week I'm thankful for Ali. I'm thankful because I know God gave me exactly the little girl He wanted me to have. He knew that if I had merely had the two, easy-going little boys I would think I was a perfect parent or that parenting is pretty easy. He knew I would be proud and haughty. He knew I needed to be challenged to grow, to learn, and most importantly to see His face continually. So, He blessed me with an amazing little person who gives me daily opportunities to lean on grace.

And as I look back on all the struggles and situations we've been through, I have to agree with the words to a Sara Groves song,

"I can't remember a trial or a pain He did not recycle to bring me gain. I can't remember one single regret in serving God only and trusting his hand."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Three 3 and Under--Third Kids

Perhaps it was because I was the oldest, but I always had this idea that the first kid gets the most attention and love. My parents didn't show favoritism or anything but my brothers were always complaining that I could do this or that because I was older and it wasn't fair. I was also the only girl so I got to do different things than the boys and Dad made the boys do more of the physical chores around the home. I won't tell you which brother, but one of my brothers even complained when Mom bought me my first bra, "Why does Lindsey get everything? Why can't I get one too?"

So, needless to say, I kind of had the expectation from books and talking with other people that the youngest kid or kids get shorted. That they get less attention, the parents are more lenient with them, they are the tag-alongs to their older siblings, etc.

Since I've become a parent of a third child I've been excited to see that EACH and EVERY baby I've had thus far has been EQUALLY anticipated and EQUALLY loved! So, this post is for my hubby (who is a third child) and my youngest brother. While it may be true that parents don't have the undivided attention to pamper and cater to the third baby's every squeak or boil the pacifer every time it hits the floor, I think the third child gets even MORE attention because the older siblings are always crowding around him, kissing him and begging to hold him. I adore cuddling my third baby so much because I've realized how fast this stage goes and am more apt to appreciate it now! Whether your baby is a big surprise or not, easy or difficult, closely spaced to the other kids or not, boy or girl you love them with all your heart and can't imagine life without them! I speak only as a mom of three, but I'm sure my blogging friends with seven or eight would back me up on this!

The Gentle Mother's Support Club--On Your Knees

How's everyone doing in the mothering with gentleness arena? I'm finding that it's been a LOT easier for me to be gentle when I'm not pregnant but that doesn't mean it's easy. I am still daily tempted to lose my temper with my spirited child or be harsh or unreasonable in my expectations. I do see improvement in my own life as I continually seek God in prayer for His strength, wisdom, and help in parenting.

Last night I was listening to a sermon by Piper on marriage and parenting and was greatly encouraged by something he said (as usual!). He talked about how parenting is hard and yet it is our business and what we are to be about. And we should read like crazy on the subject but if you don't have time to read a thousand books, you should fall on your knees and cry out to God, "Shape me into Your image for this child!"

So, that's my new theme! When I'm at my wits' end and don't think I have an ounce of patience left for my children I want to ask God to give me what I need at the moment for my child, in order to ultimately point them to Christ in everything I do.
In the comments section let the rest of us know what challenges/victories you have had this week in parenting with gentleness!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Keepin' Things Real

I don't know about you but sometimes a person can be intimidated by other bloggers. Everyone puts the "best of themselves" on the blog and when we see their showcase we start to wonder why we can't keep our home looking like something out of Country Homes and Gardens, cook like a gourmet chef every night, and do a zillion crafts and projects with our children while maintaining good grooming, good exercise habits, regular personal devotions and family worship, and managing a home business on the side.

I doubt there is anyone out there that would even consider the idea that I'm perfect, but lots of folks have asked how I do as much as I do. And so, for the sake of honesty, I wanted to remind you that this blog reflects that I'm a learning, growing, changing person. I often highlight our daily routines or things that we are doing currently, but this is not to say that I do everything I've written about at all times.

For example:
*At one point I loved having a detailed home management binder with printed checklists of daily to-dos. It worked wonderfully for that stage, but at present I use a regular notebook in my binder to jot down meal plan lists, grocery lists, and daily to-do lists in pen, making life simpler since I'm in the stage of having a newborn and adjusting to 3 kids. I love the binder approach and will probably go back to more detailed checklists during the homeschooling years.

*I haven't done a lot of crafts recently. I love sewing and crafts but haven't had the time to do more than simple mending or making bead socks recently. Eventually when I'm getting even better sleep and am feeling up for it I plan to make some leather shoes for Baby J. Of course he's already got several hand-me-down pairs from Jer too!

*People who ask me how I find the time to blog don't realize how easy blogging is for me. I've always loved writing from the time I could write my ABCs and I have an abundace of words. Writing for me is thrilling and therapeutic and thanks to a particularly stoic high-school typing teacher I can type really fast, meaning I don't have to spend hours and hours composing or writing a small post (like a friend of mine who tried to blog and then gave up). If you're not the writing type, seeing someone else who writes often may make you wonder how they do it, but perhaps you can play an instrument well or paint a beautiful mural whereas all I can paint is blobs! Where do I find the time? Well, because it's a hobby I blog during naptimes (aka "mom's free time") while nursing the baby. I blog when my husband is volunteering with the Youth Group on Wednesday nights or during those long nursing jags before baby goes to bed if my hubby isn't using the computer. We don't have TV so I blog instead of watching TV!

*Couponing doesn't consume my life even though I often write about great deals I've gotten by doing couponing. While I do coupon and shop the loss leaders weekly, I only spend about 5 minutes a day glancing over MoneySavingMom and printing off good coupons. Since we get very few coupons in the weekly paper here they are easy to clip and organize. I shop Walgreens about once a month now.

*When you live in a small space, getting out isn't a burden but a joy. While I probably do twice as many playdates as many of my other mom friends, I don't feel overwhelmed because I have learned with my two particular children that it is easier to manage them if we have time away from the house. This is especially essential due to the neighbors that we have and the fact that due to the neighbor kids being mean or saying bad things, we often have to keep the kids indoors to prevent our kids playing with them. Since we live less than a mile from just about anything in town, it doesn't take long to get out. Therefore when we escape to the park it is a blessing and a way for the kids to get a nice change of scenery and a chance to run. We go to library story time once a week, have a set park playdate once a week with friends, Ali has preschool twice a week, and we usually visit my folks once or twice on the weekends. In addition to this we usually have one or two other playdates a week that are not regular, but might be something like going on a picnic, going swimming, or visiting friends we haven't seen in a while. With having 3 kids I try to keep the outings to one a day, but I can definitely manage two if we do something in the morning and then later, after naps, we have to grab some groceries or feel like going to the park. I try to combine exercise and outings by walking as much as I can.

*My house isn't always clutter-free, there are always dirty dishes to do, and my floors seem to be filthy again about 5 minutes after I mop. I definitely strive to have a clean and orderly home but it often falls short of that due to the two little tornados I live with and I don't beat myself up about it.

*Things change based on the stage I'm in:
--When I'm suffering from morning sickness I'm not doing frugal things or cooking much at all
--When I'm pregnant my hubby gets the kids up and gets them breakfast to give me more sleep, but when I'm not we all get up around the same time.
--I rarely shop the thrift store anymore now that I have 3 kids
--Doing one load of laundry a day first thing in the morning is my preference but I have switched to doing laundry just 3 or 4 days a week and doing a few loads on those days due to situation we are in with having to walk down to a laundry room and share one washer and one dryer with many other families.
--When I'm nursing a baby, I do a lot more quick e-mail checks since I'm confined to sitting for several periods of time all day long. While I try not to be online much when the kids are awake, if they are having a blast playing together in their room or in the back patio/yard and I'm nursing the baby I will get online. But those quick e-mail checks definitely have to be quick since they are liable to start fighting after a few minutes of peaceful playing together!
--Ali used to watch a 30 minute video each morning so I could shower/do bills/computer time. Now that she is in pre-school 2 days a week and we have other activities going we don't do videos much at all now. When I was pregnant and very exhausted she sometimes watched one in the morning and then another one while I made supper.
--At this stage of life I find it easiest to absorb Scripture by listening to my Bible on CD while I clean up the kitchen. This doesn't mean I don't sit down and read my Bible ever or don't do devos with the kids, it just means that this is the main way I'm getting Scripture during this busy newborn stage.
--Jeremiah has decided to start sleeping in until 9am meaning devotions with both kids don't happen before or after breakfast like before. No matter how sleep and school schedules change things though, it still is my priority and goal to always have this time with the kids and King Jo always takes the time to read Bible stories to them and pray with them before bed as well.
--When we lived at the farmhouse we used to hang-dry all our laundry and have wood stove heat. These chores consumed a lot of my day whereas in-town apartment living is a lot simpler and less work.

So, you see, life is always changing and flexing with the current needs of the household. In the midst of the all the routine changes, my love for God and my family remain constant, as well as the goals to train our kids consistently and be teaching them the Word. Some nights I cook like Martha Stewart, but then the living room is usually a disaster. Some nights the house is spotless but we eat tuna sandwiches for supper. Some days we do a fabulous craft but there's likely a mountain of clean laundry waiting on the couch to be folded after the kids are in bed! Some days the kids are dressed in adorable outfits with perfect hair-dos and other days they pick out their own clothes, muss up their hair and look like total ragamuffins. There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not working, all-day long, though you'd never know it since most of what I do gets undone!

I'm a real-live imperfect Mama just learnin' and growin' along with everyone else!

Kid Funnies

We pulled out the potty chair to see if Jer was remotely interested in learning to go potty. He knows that if he goes he will get a small piece of candy like a chocolate chip. He was trying hard because he really wanted some candy. All that came out was air.
He said, “Me tooted. Get candy?”

Ali was eating burritos with sour cream on them and stated, “This is yummy shaving cream.”
(Keep in mind that Ali somehow developed the idea that people with moustaches are bad…..)
Daddy was explaining to Ali that we need to be kind to the neighbors because God loves them. He was saying God is nice and wants us to be nice. Ali answered, “Oh. Does He have a moustache?”

Ali passed gas at the table and we said, “What do you say Ali?” Her immediate response was, “It wasn’t me. It was Bear-Bear!”

I was reading something funny and was chuckling. Jer heard me and said, “Dustthis tooted?” (Apparently we laugh over that a lot in this household!)

Ali was eating lunch with her daddy and said, “Guess what, at preschool today we had ranch and carrots and I was licking the ranch off my plate and the teacher said not to do that and I told her my daddy taught me to.” (And the sad thing is, he did!)

I asked, “Ali do you like the home schooled girls that come in to help Miss Jenny teach preschool?” Ali replies, “Yes! They don’t have moustaches!”

We asked, “Ali, do you like Boppa? He has a moustache.” She said, “I like just his whole body but not his moustache.” We asked, “What about Grandpa Joel?” She said, “I like him, but not his moustache.” And the same response about Uncle Coco and Uncle Paul.

We all sang Jesus Loves the Little Children to the baby. After we finished Ali said, “You forgot pink!” I said, “Are there pink children?” She said, “Yep!”

Daddy cut his hair with the Flow-bee. Ali didn’t notice his cut until a day or two later. All of a sudden she said, “Daddy, you cut your hair! You look like a boy!” (Did he look like a girl with hair an inch longer?)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pics of the Week

My guys!!!

Grandpa, known to my kids as "Boppa"
The project my dad and hubby have been working on for the last year. A 3,000 square foot log home with a two-car garage attached. King Jo has peeled the bark off of most of the logs for this house....by hand!

A Heart Overflowing With Praise

I mentioned in my last post that there were many temptations to give in to worry this week. Well, only one day has passed, but already things are looking so much better!

We contacted all of the proper authorities on Monday morning and got our financial stuff taken care of. It turns out that the folks who stole our information did indeed try to use our debit card all weekend. (Isn't it sad that they probably purposely did this just before a weekend so we couldn't take care of it for a couple of days until banks opened up?) But, here's the cool thing: They made a few charges to both e-bay and AOL to "test the card." It turns out these $1 charges get credited back to you since they are just set up to test people's credit accounts and so they get refunded back to your account. Obviously the folks were testing out our info. Then, they tried to make a larger purchase somewhere online and then tried to do an even larger purchase. For reasons totally unknown to us (but known to our God), the card wouldn't work on the bigger purchases. There is no reason it shouldn't have because it worked for the minimal test runs they gave it. I believe with all of my heart that it was God! I believe He was answering our prayers and looking out for us even a day or two before we discovered the fraud and started praying over it! Can God answer our prayers before we even pray them? I believe He can! God is so, so good to us! He blows my mind!

While we will still need to be vigilant about watching our credit report and have learned a lot from this experience, I think the worst of it is over. I can't help but wonder if God allowed this in our lives in order to bless one of you out there too! Maybe one of my blog readers, or one of our friends or family members would have been scammed out of a TON of money if not for the warning to be careful about things like this. Or maybe the steps we took to track the phisher will end in their capture, preventing them from hurting more people.

Thank you for your prayers! Also, my neck is feeling amazing today!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Trying Not to Be Anxious

This week is turning out to be an exercise in trusting God and not giving in to worry. I'll be extra-vulnerable today and share some of my worries:

*Thursday night we were the victims of a phishing scam. We just found out on Sunday evening that the very detailed info we provided online to what we thought was the IRS turned out to be a scam to get our bank info. So, no, we aren't getting a big refund from the IRS but instead will be frantically cancelling our debit cards and watching our credit report like crazy because of the fact that it is now quite likely King Jo's info has been stolen. The e-mail looked and sounded so real and the website it connected us to looked exactly like the real irs.gov site we have visited in the past to print tax forms from. I hope you all will be smarter than we were about things like this!

*There seem to be absolutely zero rentals available in our town and any that happen to come up are usually about double what we can afford. Our landlords recently raised our rent $125 more a month which is an outlandish price for the size of our apartment but they did it because they can since there are virtually no rentals in this town. Will we be stuck in this over-priced shoebox forever?

*My unsaved brother is going on a roadtrip to a dangerous, sin-filled city this week. I wish he was saved.

*Though a rather small worry, Jeremiah has had a rash (MCV) for many months that is not going away but is now spreading. There doesn't seem to be a cure for it unless we go to the doctor and have the bumps frozen off again (which doesn't go over well with an almost-two-year old!)

*My neck has been giving me major troubles and yet frequent chiropractic visits just aren't affordable for us right now.

In spite of all these things weighing on the brain, I hear that still small voice whispering in my soul. "Do you trust ME? Am I sovereign over all? Am I sovereign even over the internet sphere? Can I deliver you from an enemy you don't even know and can't even see? Am I truly your provider? Aren't MY plans perfect even if your plans for your life get changed somehow?"

I'm reminded to be thankful. It's not easy when trials come but the Word says,
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everthing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:6-7 (emphasis mine)

"And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:19

So I am thankful that today my mind is focused on utter dependance on Jesus instead of on the usual merely good things I'm focused on. I'm thankful for the hope of Heaven, my true home, as I live in a world right now where there are always hardships and obstacles to overcome. I'm thankful for the unity my husband and I could have in prayer throughout the day as we pled for God's help and protection in our identity theft trial. I'm thankful that God is using these circumstances to build our trust in Him and glorify Himself as we share answered prayers with our children and unsaved friends and neighbors. I'm thankful that God has so blessed us and cared for us in the past as a loving Father that we can trust that He will act and work out all of these situations. (Nearly every time I sit in that beautiful minivan I'm reminded how tangibly God answers prayer!) I'm thankful for the Body of believers who can share our burdens and pray for us.

If you would, please pray with us today that this whole identity thing will be resolved swiftly. Pray that God would open up the right rental in the right timing and give us patience to wait, pray that my youngest brother would come to Christ, and pray for Jeremiah's bumps and my neck. And if there is anything you are worrying over that you would like us to pray for, please let me know in the comments.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Three 3 and Under---Simplifying Parenthood

Any parent knows that there about a zillion parenting books, magazine, methods, and theories out there. It takes all of about 2 seconds to discover that much of the advice is unbibilical, contradictory, or just plain confusing.

With so many different ways of parenting, it can be overwhelming and/or confusing for the new parent to wade through it all and decide how they will raise their kids. Those of us who have a tendency towards perfectionism can easily become the hyper-first-time-parent.

Believe me, I've been there and done that! My mom and other experienced moms, I'm sure, got a kick out of me. Both hubby and I were terrified to leave Ali the first time and worried about her the entire hour we were on our date. She was 3 months old and we left her with my MOM!!! I was totally into the whole infant-potty-training thing for a while with Ali too until I began to realize it was more about Mommy Training, and with moving cross-country and traveling as summer missionaries, it just didn't work for our lives at that point. Parenting was so new to us and we wanted to do EVERYTHING right. I even had the gall to look at screaming toddlers in the grocery store and declare to myself, "My children will NEVER act like that!"

If there's one thing I've gained from older, wiser moms, it's to keep it simple and RELAX! Whereas I used to wonder how I would manage Wal-Mart trips when my second baby came along, my pastor's wife would talk about how she always took her 4 little kids to Wal-Mart alone, no problem. When I would agonize over leaving 10-month old Ali in the church nursery even though she never cried over me leaving, she would remind me that Ali would definitely live and be fine! I look back on those days and chuckle now that I have three. Now if someone offers to hold my baby, I am overjoyed for the little break instead of hovering and watching their every move! With each baby I've had, I've been sooooo much more relaxed and confident in my parenting. I realize that there are no perfect parents and I have a tendency to go to the "experts" a lot less and instead focus on what's really important. I've said on my blog before that with the first pregnancy you have "What to Expect When You're Expecting" memorized word-for-word. With the second you may glance at it once a month. With the third you may glance at it twice (when morning sickness is kickin' your behind and you need some refresher ideas for coping, and when you are dying to go into labor and want to obsess over labor signs).

Last night I was flipping through some of the parenting books on my shelf and realized that if I was still a hyper-parent I'd be carefully logging sleeping times for all of my kids and analyzing their sleep schedules to death. I'd be doing a potty journal for Jeremiah, desperately trying to get Ali to trace letters and learn to read before her peers and trying to daily calculate whether or not the kids had eaten so many servings of proteins and carbs and fruits, etc. etc. But because I'm no longer a hyper-parent, over-analyzing and over-reacting I am going to be handing a lot of those books off to the thrift store. Don't misunderstand me. I love books, reading, and research. I have recently gained soooo much encouragement from the book "Raising Your Spirited Child." However, now, instead of going to the "experts" for advice or parenting theories and ideas, I'm more likely to go to the Word of God first, which is where I should have started in the first place. I'm more inclined to focus on training in character and not worry about the little day-to-day things or things that I can't control. My head hits the pillow and I'm asleep istantly instead of getting up all the time to check if the baby is breathing or if they have died of SIDS. I laugh at Parenting magazines that tell you everything you should be doing as a parent and feature $80 designer onesies and $500 strollers that you NEED to have.

Parenting is a very hard task. It takes committment and guts and utter dependence on the Lord. But parenting really can be more simple than we Americans tend to make it these days. When I start to feel pressured to over-analyze or over-do parenting, I remember that people have been parenting since the days of Adam and Eve and they have done it without manuals and theories and gadgets of every kind. I doubt Mary and Joseph obsessed over their children's baby acne, nap schedules, or feeding patterns. I look back at the pioneers who settled out west and realize that instead of analyzing parenthood, they just did it! They had real concerns, like how they would keep their kids fed and clothed, and they sacrificed and were willing to work hard for them. One of my friends, Susan, e-mailed me today and said that people ask her all the time "how she does it" with 4 kids, two of whom are twins, and one of whom is just a year younger than the twins. She said, "I just do it!" It doesn't take special talent or incredible amounts of patience. You just roll up your sleeves and get it done!!! And invariably you learn and you grow as you go!

Yesterday my good friend Amy and I took 7 kids ages one-month to four year to the swimming pool, in strollers and on little bikes, and we had a great time! Then we walked all the way back to her house and made lunch for them. Of course it took work and lots of reminding the kids not to ride in the middle of the street or not to run in the pool area but the kids did awesome and we all had fun. We got more than a few wide-eyed looks from other people though! I wish I had taken my camera to capture the way the 6 little ones held hands and formed a chain to walk from the locker room to the pool! As I have a tendency to do these days, I forgot pants for Jer to wear after swimming and undies for Ali, but it was a very warm day and it was no big deal. The more kids you have, the less you beat yourself up about little things like that!

Letting go of some of those things that don't really matter can make parenting so much simpler. While I still can't stand sticky hands and require my kids to eat in the kitchen, I don't mind if the house is messy or they get covered in dirt and mud when they go outside. I don't obsess over whether or not Justus should or shouldn't be sleeping in our bed. That's where he sleeps best and we love cuddling up next to him, so we do it! Jeremiah was a late-crawler and walker but instead of wondering if something was wrong with him or rushing him off to the doctor I counted my blessings that he was still immobile for so long and he eventually took off with a bang and hasn't stopped since! My kids may or may not be doing what their peers or doing, but I don't care anymore because I'm enjoying the ride! I've learned that this stage whips by with lightning speed so I need to take as much time as I can to cuddle them, kiss them, tickle them, and read to them, and most importantly: teach them God's Word.

So lighten up and relax and life will be a lot simpler! Throw out the parenting magazines that just make you feel like a bad parent, get rid of the books that haven't helped you a bit, let the kids get dirty and play, give yourself some grace, don't panic over the minor scrapes and bumps, and seek the advice of older, wiser moms!
*My missionary brother, Colter, gave me this Guatamalan sling. Justus is the first of my babies to actually enjoy riding in the sling!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Chief End of Man

I have been wanting to post this video for a year now! Now that we have DSL we can! Ali's Grandpa ("Boppa") was so proud of her he tried to get to her to say it in front of all his Presbyterian friends, but of course she refused!

Daddy N' Me

We have DSL!!!

You may be thinking, "Welcome to 2008!" I know. I know. But I didn't grow up with internet and had to figure out how to get an e-mail account when I was in my Freshman year of college. Since then we've always had dial-up, so this is something really new and really cool for us! You may actually see some videos of my kids on my blog occasionally now! Last night we had fun looking at various YouTube videos (I love America's funniest home videos) and catching up on the videos I was never able to see before (Girl Talk's Friday Funnies and my friend Kristin's videos of her kids), etc.
It's amazing how fast I can load my favorite blogs now and upload pictures and check e-mail, etc. Checking the grocery flyers and shopping online will be so much easier now! Yeah hurray! And we're only paying less than $2 more for DSL than we were for dial-up thanks to a new deal in our area.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

10 Things I'm Thankful Jesus Saved Me From:

I found Abraham Piper's blog through my new blog-buddies' site, A Reforming Mom. I love his post entitled, "10 things we don’t mention in worship songs, but that I’m happy God saved me from."

Here's My List of 10 Things I'm Glad Jesus Spared Me From....

1. Dating in High School (I would have made so many mistakes....)

2. A Car Accident Today (someone jammed on their brakes and turned right in front of me and I discovered the van brakes work well in a pinch!)

3. Extreme poverty in Childhood

4. Rape or Molestation

5. Homelessness

6. Having an Alcoholic Father

7. Miscarriage

8. The Death of a Parent in My Youth

9. Belonging to a Cult or Being Blinded by False Teachings

10. Being Married to an Abuser

(I'm not implying that if you have walked through some of these trials you are lesser of a person or less blessed by God. I'm merely pointing out that these are some trials I'm thankful God hasn't given me. I have had plenty of other trials to deal with and being that I'm still young I could still experience some of these things but I'm grateful for the grace God has given thus far in not allowing these things in my life!)


If you have followed my predicaments with our interesting neighbors, you will want to check out the song I wrote for Julie's parody contest a couple of weeks ago. I didn't win, but I did blow off some steam after the whole incident with picking up their daughter's poo in the yard....

Check out my song lyrics.

To Make a Cake

Since the kids are forever and always playing in the dirt and mud pretending to make cookies and cakes I decided to have them bake a cake yesterday in honor of Justus' one-month birthday! First they wash hands in a bucket of soapy water (which I keep handy for those times when fingers make their way into noses and mouths....)
Let's grease the pan! Jerby discovers that shortning doesn't taste that good.
Ali gets to add the water.
Both kids get a few turns to stir.
While mom is putting the cake in the oven, Jer decides to sample the raw cake batter.
While the cake is baking, Jerby has fun making yet another mess! Of course it was sister who snuck the water out of the bathroom to make mud and got into trouble for it!
Being dirty is so much fun!

Freshly washed and clothed, the kids frost the cake after supper.
Yummy! Happy One-Month Birthday Baby Justus!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Investing in Alathia

How is Ali liking preschool these days? Well, the other day, she enthusiastically exclaimed to me, "I LOVE preschool Mom!!!" She is so excited to get out of the door with Grammy that she hardly remembers to tell us goodbye! I love the things she is learning too! Everytime we go somewhere in the van she unbuckles her own seatbelt and then unbuckles Jeremiah and helps him out of his seat. She proudly says, "My teacher says we help one another." I guess when the teacher says it it's pretty cool as compared to when Mom says it! I've had a LOT less clashes with her in the last couple of weeks. I'm not sure if that's related to having some time away from her when she's at preschool or our new napping arrangement but whatever it is, it is nice!
For the past month I've been thinking of ideas for teaching Ali to be even more independent.
What kinds of things are we working on?
*Letting her pour her own milk as long as the jug isn't very full.
*Making her get her own drinks of water by filling the cup in the bathroom.
*Teaching her to wipe herself (not going so well yet...)
*Talking her through a frustrating situation instead of immediately helping or fixing it.
*Continuing to have her clean her own messes/sweep up dirt on the patio from her endless dirt cookie making, etc.
*Having her load the dryer with wet clothes and load the washer with dirty clothes.
*Continue to have her do her daily chores (making her bed, picking up clothes, and cleaning up toys).
*Setting the table.
*Biking. Ever since she started pedaling around on her own on Father's Day she is now thrilled to bike to the park or the store while I push the double stroller!
*Folding towels and washcloths (and continuing her chore of putting laundry away).
*Carrying her dishes to the sink after a meal.
What kinds of things would I like to see her learn this year:
*Cooking more with Mama (she loves it but she's often running around outside burning off tons of energy when I'm fixing a meal so she doesn't get as much opportunity as I'd like her to).
*Learning how to spray down and clean the bathroom sink.
*Folding more clothing items.
*Learning to cut coupons out =)
*Taking out the compost bucket and dumping it.
*Sweeping things off the floor with her small broom.
*Help out in the garden when we are able to have one.
I'm sure there are many more things I would like to see her learn, and will see her accomplish but I'm drawing a blank on anything else right now. I'm amazed at how independent Ali has become already in just the last year and I'm excited to see her doing so much on her own. Of course an Amish girl her age could probably sew a quilt and make a pie by now, but for where we live, she's doing pretty good! I now understand how moms can survive having lots and lots of kids! There is a tendency to think they have 6 babies or 8 toddlers, but as they get to preschool-age and beyond, they start helping and actually doing things for themselves, which is nice!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Three 3 and Under--3 Things

Three Things Have Really Helped Me.......

......in learning how to cope with having 3 little ones.

#1. Preparedness

Being prepared pays off big time! Remember the freezer meals and stocking up the pantry and de-cluttering at the end of my pregnancy? Trying to be prepared for things is crucial to survival with 3. Of course I'll be the first to admit that sometimes you think there are diapers in the diaper bag and there aren't, and quite a few times little Justus has been barefoot because I've forgotten to put his booties on before we head out the door. But if you have a mindset of thinking ahead, planning, and organizing in advance it helps a lot. I always try to stuff my pockets with Kleenex when my kids have a cold because I've known the icky-ness of NOT being prepared and having to use their clothes or mine as a tissue! I always try to make sure the baby is fed well before we go out to appointments or lengthy errands. It's not a guarantee he won't cry and want to be held but it at least reassures me that he has had his needs taken care of first and shouldn't be too hungry.

#2. Multi-Tasking

One of my single friends saw me the other day and witnessed me juggling the three kids while my almost-two-year-old was throwing an uncharacteristic-of-him tantrum. She was like, "Wow, you must be great at multi-tasking!"

Multi-tasking is a must for any mom, but especially a mom of more than one child. This means you should be able to talk with or read to a toddler while you nurse a baby, and unless you think starving is fun, you should be able to eat one-handed while nursing or holding an infant. Sometimes you will find yourself doing even more than that at a time. Like going to the bathroom while nursing a baby or talking on the phone while nursing the baby and eating supper. Anything involving the phone is an interesting juggling act with 3 kids unless they are all napping.

#3. Don't Expect To Sleep Much

I've always been a night-owl, since I was a tiny infant (whose bassinet got banished to the hallway so my weary parents could sleep) and no matter what stage of life I am in I stay up late. I'm sure my mom gleefully thought that when I was a busy college student, or pregnant or living with a newborn I'd start going to bed at 9 pm every night, but the truth is that even when I'm preggo I don't go to bed until 11 or midnight! Even later if I'm reading a great Joel Rosenberg novel! Even when I have a newborn I keep my consistent bed time and I don't take naps unless I'm really sick or have pulled an all-nighter or had 2 hours or less. I do well with little sleep. Six hours of sleep is fine but 7 is usually ideal when I'm not pregnant and 8 works fine when I am. This has served me well as a mom because you are NEVER, and I repeat you are NEVER EVER guaranteed your sleep when you have kids. I have a friend who took naps even before ever having kids and usually takes one daily now that she has only one kid. I can't understand it! After all, her kid slept 12 hour nights straight through at a month or two and is an easy child! If you are this kind of mom you may want to consider not having more than one kid or learning to live as a walking zombie. I honestly don't have much advice for the mom who is like this and is pregnant with, or has recently had, a third child. Pray pray pray for God's strength and help and learn to pump your milk so your hubby can help with nighttime feedings!

I really liked what "Passionate Housewives Desperate for God" had to say on this subject. So often we make sleep into an idol and think "I NEED my sleep!" Sleep is something we often have to sacrifice as a mom and the lack of sleep can help us to depend on God more. It's not fun, and it's not easy, but we have to learn to walk in the Spirit, with or without sleep. We are physically healthier with sleep and we do truly NEED it in one sense, don't get me wrong, but if we are always worrying about how much sleep we got or setting our expectations too high we will be more frustrated than if we realize that as a mom of little ones, there will be bad dreams, wet beds, colds and flus, and nighttime feedings galore so we should expect that our sleep will be minimal or at least interrupted.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Help for the Overwhelmed Parent

Thank you, thank you Kristin and thank you, thank you whoever first recommended the book to you, Kristin! I have so enjoyed reading Raising the Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka at Kristin's recommendation!

Even though it's a lengthy read, the overwhelmed parent will find it to be easy reading and it will lock you in and capture your attention. And hey, it's written by a Minnesotan, a fact that should make all of you friends in the artic country proud!

I could write forever on what I learned from this book but I will condense it down by quoting the author's first statements in chapter 1, "The word that distinguishes spirited children from other children is MORE. They are normal children who are more intense, persistent, sensitive, perceptive, and uncomfortable with change than other children." She also goes on to say that they can be MORE energetic and moody than the average child too.

In speaking of the difficult days with a spirited child, the author writes, "...you realize you've left more public places in a huff with your child in five years than most parents do in a lifetime." Ding, ding, ding, that one fits me and my child is only 3 and a half!!!

She writes, "You feel weary, drained, and much too old for this, even if you were only in your twenties when the child was born. It's hard to love a child who keeps you up at night and embarrasses you in shopping centers. On the bad days, being the parent of a spirited child is confusing, frustrating, taxing, challenging, and guilt-inducing. You may wonder if you are the only parent with a kid like this, scared of what is to come in the teen years if you don't figure out what to do now in the early years." Page 10.

There is sooo, sooo much in the book that is encouraging to me as a parent of a very spirited child. I have been "at my wit's end" so many times after reading parenting books because the methods they suggest do NOT work with Ali. I especially get frustrated with books that claim that if you do this, your kid will do that. Or books that leave no room for grace or differing temperments in children. Before I had children I suspected that if you were firm and consistent and spanked them in love they would turn out fine. After all, I was disciplined that way and it worked wonderfully for my folks. Even though I have a very spirited younger brother I somehow thought that he was the way he was because my parents eased up a bit and spoiled him more since he was the youngest.
Then I became a parent and experienced an 18 month old who could take any and every article of clothing off and fling poop all over her room EVERY SINGLE DAY no matter how I pleaded, cried, or disciplined her. I experienced a child who would get into EVERYTHING and in fact pushed open the screen door and crawled out into the yard before she could even walk sending me into a frenzied panic when I couldn't find her anywhere in the house. I experienced a kid who could scream for hours, who could pull off the most show-stopping tantrums ever in public and who could take whatever discipline was dished out and still refuse to bend her will. A girl whose grandparents laughed when I told them I was going to teach her to be a lady.

Finally.....a book that helps me to understand my daughter and feel like I'm not alone. It's like a breath of fresh air.

While this book isn't a Christian book, I still gained soooo much from it, in the same way that a Christian could gain from a book entitled, "How to Sew Hand-Made Quilts." The book explains the different traits of a spirited child and how to deal with their pesonality traits in effective ways based on lots of research and collaboration with parents of spirited kids. It doesn't talk a lot about discipline and give you fool-proof methods, but gives you the tools to figure out discipline that works better based on your child's temperment. The author does mention briefly in the tantrum chapter that one should never spank a spirited child, which I disagree with. I believe it is Biblical to spank for willful disobedience. However, I agree with the author's statement that one reason it can be harmful to spank a spirited child is because they are so intense and so good at riling us up that it's very easy for a spanking to turn into abuse so it's best to not spank if you can't handle it. A very good point.

While Ali doesn't have issues with adapting to new situations or to change like some spirited kids, she scored the highest possible score in energy, intensity, and persistence. She is also quite sensitive, something I didn't realize until I took the quizzes and read this book. No wonder she is irritated by the smell of dirty diapers in the bathroom garbage or freaks out if there is a wrinkle in her blanket. She's also very perceptive and can be moody. The book also pointed out to me that the reason we clash a lot is because we are similar in a lot of areas. When I took the quiz I realized that while I'm not a spirited parent, I am a spunky one, and I discovered I am way more energetic and intense than I realized, which no doubt causes clashes between Ali and I.

The author gives practical tips for diffusing battles with your spirited child and preparing and planning ahead to try to avoid struggles. She talks a lot about introverts and extroverts and how this trait affects the spirited child too. She emphasizes that because spirited children are MORE...than other kids, they take more training, attention, and parenting. So true! I feel like it is effortless to discipline Jeremiah! On a bad day, he gets disciplined a couple of times. On a great day for Ali she may only get a few consequences!

One of the best things about the book is the way the author speaks about the spirited child in positive tones, reminding the reader that spirited people are often the leaders, the inventors, and the people who make a difference. I know I have been guilty of labeling (my difficult, challenging, strong-willed, stubborn child, rebel, hellion etc.) and I have had to lay aside the dream or expectation I once had of what a little girl would be like (feminine and sweet and docile and obedient, etc.) and accept Ali for who she is.

Some phrases I got a kick out of in this book, (not sure what pages they are on and these quotes aren't word for word)

*If you are an introverted parent and not too energetic and you have an extroverted and very energetic child, you may feel like a Mack truck ran over you at the end of each day!

*If you have an energetic and intense child you may find that he/she is the one tackling his/her friends out of enthusiasm at a playdate. (Bingo! That's my Ali!)

*An energetic child can often be found falling out of his chair at dinner time or trying to get up and down a million times (am I the only one who has tried tying their child to a chair with a robe tie to keep this from happening constantly? I would LOVE to buy a trampoline for Ali to burn this energy off on!)

*One mom of 5 was quoted as saying something like, "If I counted up all the tantrums of my last 4 kids and combined them, they wouldn't come close to equaling the amount of tantrums my first child had." (I sure hope this is true for me and that any future kids we have aren't spirited.)

*If you have a spirited kid, you can pretty much guarantee your sister-in-law doesn't and everyone is looking at you at family gatherings and wondering why your kid is screaming and what kind of a parent you are or is doling out advice!

*Your child might be spirited if they have never whimpered or cried softly but they WAIL and SCREAM from day one! (So, so, so, so true! Even now, when Ali has a bad dream she goes from silent to screaming at the top of her lungs immediately! If she is frustrated or something little is bugging her she hollers and loses control! This immediately irritates my hubby and I and it's hard to be loving, kind, and calm with her because of this.)

If you have a spirited child (they may have only a couple of the characteristics of all of them) I highly recommend buying a copy of this book to use as a reference for years to come.

Kid Funnies

I found this embarrassing story on the web. It's hysterical! Of course it's author is anonymous!

"If you have young children, you’ll understand this. My three-year-old daughter had a lot of problems with potty training and I was on her constantly. A few weeks ago we stopped at Taco Bell for a quick lunch in between errands. It was very busy, with a full dining room. While enjoying my taco, I smelled something funny, so of course I checked my 1 month-old son and he was clean. Then I realized that Mandy had not asked to go potty in a while, so I asked her if she needed to go, and she said, “No.” I kept thinking, “Oh no, that child has had an accident, and I don’t have any clothes with me.” Then I said, “Honey, are you SURE you didn’t have an accident?” “No,” she replied. I just KNEW that she must have had an accident, because the smell was getting worse. Soooooo, I asked one more time, “Miranda Suzanne Smith! Did you have an accident!?” This time she jumped up, yanked down her panties pulled up her dress, bent over and spread her cheeks and yelled. “SEE MOMMY, IT’S JUST TOOTS!!” While 30 people nearly choked to death on their tacos laughing, she calmly pulled up her panties and sat down. An old couple made me feel better by thanking me for the best laugh they’d ever had! I should have taken her word for it! When I got home and told my husband, he almost died laughing."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Three 3 and Under--Sleeping Arrangements

We have tried just about everything when it comes to sleeping arrangements for our brood. Ali started off in a little bassinet next to our bed, and sometimes slept between us, and then spent most of her first year in a Pack n' Play in our room because we only had one-room apartments, and we didn't have a real crib. Jer spent much of the first year of his life in a Pack n' Play in our bedroom even though we did have a crib at that point because we were scared to put our tiny boy in the same room with Ali at night.
When it came time to teach Jer to sleep through the night, we tried moving the Pack n' Play to the living room and letting him "cry it out" which didn't work at all and probably made the neighbors super mad. Finally, we moved Ali's toddler bed to our room and put him in his own crib in his own room and that worked wonders. He was a year old at the time. When he was used to sleeping in there, we moved Ali's bed back in there and ever since they have shared a room. However, they cannot share a room at naptimes because they talk and giggle and don't get any sleeping done.
So, I have tried various things for naptimes. For the last year Ali has been napping on my bed. However this poses some challenges as I have to CONSTANTLY be checking up on her and disciplining her for getting off the bed and into my things and jumping on my bed, etc. And no, she doesn't learn, no matter how consistent I am, and does the same irritating things over and over and over endlessly! In order to protect my bed, I have tried having her lay on the living room couch. However, this is even more stressful as I can't do laundry or chores or even be on the computer without her asking me a million questions and refusing to go to sleep.
My most recent experiment is to put Jer on my bed and Ali in her own bed in her room, alone. Justus' bassinet is now in the living room so I can conveniently watch over him as he naps throughout the day and he sleeps between us in our bed at night. Because Jer is a much more obedient and compliant kid, he can go to sleep on my bed without getting into a million things and even if Ali isn't sleepy, at least she is alone and in her own space for an hour or two, which is something I would go crazy without considering how much she exhausts me with her intensity and energy.
Of course it would be ideal to have a huge home where every child could have their own bedroom and have a place to rest and have "quiet time." It's hard not to be envious sometimes when I visit the huge elaborate homes of people I know and think about how nice it would be to have so many rooms, a huge fenced-in yard for the kids to romp in, and a dishwasher, a garage, more storage space, etc. It seems like life would be so much easier if I had these things at my disposable for raising 3 little ones. However, I have to remind myself how blessed I truly am. I make myself remember my rancher friend who is living with her two tiny kids and husband in a one-room trailer an hour away from town in the middle-of-nowhere with no internet, no TV, and no people, other than her folks and brothers and sisters. She only gets to come to town once a week for church and a quick grocery-shopping trip. She thinks I'm spoiled for having dial-up internet and the chance to rent/borrow movies to watch on weekends! I also know that most of the people in this world have far less space to live in than I do. My parents jokingly state that 45 Guatamalans could live in our apartment kitchen! (They visited Guatamala this spring).
So, even if other people have more wealth or more conveniences, we are making it work with what we have and we are learning lessons along the way. When you have a tight place you are forced to declutter and re-arrange constantly and the kids have to learn to share and get along. They have so much fun singing together in their beds after we put them to bed each night. They have had to learn to clean up their things well since our space gets used so much. Our apartment is fairly easy to straighten up and clean since it is such a small space! Because we have lived in such tight quarters, just about any house we buy someday will seem like a mansion!
Oddly enough, a couple of my friends with the biggest houses have said that they too started in very humble circumstances, like living in someone's basement or in a teensy apartment with lots of little kids. One gal even said she envied ME a little bit since she missed those "cozy" days of living in a tiny apartment! Wow!
Sorry for the major rabbit trail but I guess sleeping arrangements always leads me to the topic of housing/envy of other's housing, etc.
For those of you with 3 kids, I'd be interested in hearing how you make sleeping arrangements work at your house!

Deals of the Week

Sorry no pics of my merchandise this week but this was a GREAT week for freebies/deals!

Items I got COMPLETELY FREE this week:

2 pkgs. Kotex pads
1 Scrubbing Bubbles Action Scrubber (mail-in rebate form)

2 packages Mom 2 Mom wet wipes

1 bottle Chemistry hair conditioner
1 water filter pitcher cartridge
1 box Excedrin
3 bottles of Robitussin (not only did I get these free but I got paid $7 to buy them thanks to coupons!!!)

Items that were a GREAT DEAL:

Foil 2 for $1
Kleenex 89cents a box
Colgate MaxFresh toothbrush $1
Pampers $6 a package with catalina coupons
Chex Mix (2 bags) at 40 cents a bag after coupons

Tava Sparkling Beverages $1 for 4
Fiber One Granola Bars $1.75 box
Unbleached Flour (25 pounds for $7.50)
Betty Crocker Brownie/Muffin/Cookie mixes (50% off retail price)
Apple Cinnamon Instant Oatmeal $1 after $2 off mailer coupons
5 DiGiornio Pizzas at $4.49 each
Suave shampoo and conditioner 30 cents each
Breyer's ice-cream (our favorite) B1G1

*Note* If you like Tava beverages, you can get them free at Safeway this week if you purchase 5 cases and use 5 $1.50 off internet printables. That would be 20 Tava drinks for free! We decided against it because we don't like the taste of Aspartame in them.

Health Food Store in Town That's Going Out of Business:
Organic Sucanat (raw sugar cane)- 12# for $18
ECOVER natural laundry stain remover $2

Friday, September 12, 2008


I just had to shout it from the rooftops now that the big new is OUT! Our good buddies here in town, Jesse and Shiloh, recently found out that they will be joining us in the
3 Kids 3 and Under crowd!!! The great thing is that they announced it today, on their twins' third birthday, and told everyone that Carsen and Kennedy are getting something special for their birthday: a new little brother or sister in early May!
Now it's goodbye Jeep and hello minivan for the Blasdel family!!!

Comparing the Kids

Justus in His Bouncy Chair
Jeremiah in His Bouncy Chair
Justus Staring Off Into Space
Jeremiah Staring Off Into Space
Justus Pouting
Alathia Pouting
Justus' First Bath (my short and chubby one)
Alathia's First Bath
Jeremiah's First Bath

Justus in Red Snowflake PJs
Jeremiah in Red Snowflake PJs
Justus Crying
Alathia Crying

Justus Bundled Up
Jeremiah Bundled Up
Justus Yawns
Jeremiah Yawns
So, who do you think Justus resembles the most?

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