Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
King Jo played soccer outside with all the kids. Whenever they would get a ball past him the neighbor girls would say, "We beat him up! We beat Jose' up!" instead of "We beat him!"
I get a kick out of their language foibles, just as they get a kick out me when I speak Spanish!
When kids talk about what schools they go to, Ali always pipes up in a bossy little tone, "I go to my Grammy's school!" She really thinks she goes to school too just because we visit Grammy's classroom about once a month.
One day we went up to Grammy's room to see her new class pet, a gerbil. She said, "Where are all the kids?" I said, "It's after school, they all went home to be with their moms and dads." She said, "They don't have moms and dads! They are big kids!"
Ali put her ear up to my belly and listened for the baby. She no doubt heard my supper being digested. She said, "I hear him! I think the baby in your tummy tooted!"
Yesterday I was singing hymns while making supper. I looked over and saw Jeremiah sitting in his high chair and he had his hands over his ears!
I have a little vibrating massager my in-laws got me for Christmas. The kids love to use it and think it's a very fun toy indeed and they love to give us massages. Jer always calls them a "soj." The funny thing is, he'll come up and try to massage me while I'm making supper, but the highest he can reach is my rear end, so I get a bum massage!
In the process of cleaning the paper pile on the table, I found a bunch of the artwork that Ali and the neighbor girls had made for me. Since one of our kitchen walls was bare, I decided to rig up an Art Clothesline to hold the art of the week and thus eliminate clutter from my table. It brightens up the kitchen and showcases the creative talents of the kids.
It was exciting to see the clutter and piles disappear yesterday. I accomplished everything I had hoped to, but that doesn't mean that my house was perfect of course due to the fact that I have little people running around behind me all day un-doing what I do!
Monday, April 28, 2008
The day started with our normal routines of breakfast/devotions/straightening the living room/Ali's movie time while Jer naps and Mommy paid bills and mailed letters. It felt so good to get rid of lots of "emotional debt" today. You know the kind of obligations that are hanging over your head to mail this or that thank-you note or get this or that bill paid or your Walgreens' rebate forms in, etc? It felt so good to get my April rebate form mailed, our new health insurance forms done and sent off, and all of our missionary support checks and correspondence done this morning!
Next, I deep cleaned the bathroom and took some laundry down to the laundry room to start a load. The bathroom had been needing a good cleaning so I felt great when that was done.
I then tackled the dishes. It would be nice if they were done completely every night before bed, but that doesn't always happen, which is fine since I have more energy for them in the morning.
I vacuumed the living room as well as the kid's room, and swept the kitchen floor a couple of times (once after breakfast, once after lunch). I cleaned countertops down, cleaned up the kids and got them down for naps so I could take a bit of a "Mommy break" to blog. After blogging, I plan to switch the laundry, quickly mop our sticky kitchen floor, and tackle 3 major clutter zones in our home. My little sewing corner, which needs straightened, our computer desk, which always invites paper clutter, and our table, which also invites the paper piles and miscellaneous odds and ends. I also need to pop a chicken in the oven to slow roast all afternoon. After these chores are accomplished I can feel like today was a VERY productive cleaning day for us and then I hope to take my kids for an afternoon walk as it should be around 70 today.
I don't always have the motivation or energy to tackle so many cleaning projects in a day but today I am feeling great, got good sleep last night and have taken my enormous prenatal vitamins that are supposed to be packed with energy-boosters! It feels good to de-clutter and make the house orderly. I have to admit that our house will never be perfect and that's just life when you have 3 little ones and live in small quarters!
I have been embarrassed more times than I want to admit by unexpected visitors dropping by when there is too much clutter or disorganization and remembering those times serves as excellent motivation for me to get my rear in gear and at least keep things presentable, if not perfect. I agree with whoever said that keeping on top of laundry, dishes, and paper piles will go a long way toward an orderly home! I also agree that less is more and the more you own, the more you have to take care of. So, there will be a lot of purging in preparation for the church yard sale this weekend!
Sunday, April 27, 2008
When a friend reminded me at church about a baby shower for a gal we know that is tomorrow, I didn't have to panick, thanks to my trusty "Gift Stash." I always keep a gift stash out of habit because my mom had one and they are so useful. My gift stash is divided into 2 boxes and 2 bags which sit on the shelf in my bedroom closet. I have one large gift bag full of used gift bags, tissue paper, ribbons, and wrapping supplies. Then I have one large gift bag full of baby gifts only. I have so many friends having babies in this stage of life that I find it helpful to separate my things. The baby gift bag is where I stash brand new baby clothes I have found on clearances or at the thrift store for a quarter. Walgreens freebies that are for babies or great deals I've gotten on wipes or other baby items also go in there. When I need a baby gift, I can whip one out in a jiffy! My other couple of boxes hold all my excess freebies, gifts I've picked up for specific people on great deals or general gifts that can be used for a variety of holidays and occasions. Even though I have a gift stash, I still try to choose gifts for friends and loved ones that are special and useful to them. I don't just give someone any random thing at the top of the box. Last Christmas, I was trying to think of things to give my bachelor brother when I realized I had lots of men's products on hand thanks to freebie deals. He was living on a very tight budget at the time and so a gift of men's shampoo/deodorant, etc. was much appreciated! My mom and mother-in-law often appreciate the quality body washes or lotions I am able to get for hardly anything by shopping the deals. I also dig through my gift boxes frequently to make missionary care packages or look for something to bless someone who is sick or having a tough day. Of course we still buy gifts specifically for special people in our lives on top of having the Gift Stash, but the Gift Stash is so nice to have on hand.
For example, one day when my Grandpa first went into the hospital, my dad planned to make an emergency drive to MN late that night to be with his dad. He stopped by our house on the way out of town and I had already packed a lovely care package for Grandpa out of my Stash. The funny thing was, just 30 minutes before he came by to get the package, we got an e-mail from some friends of ours whose little girl was having heart surgery the next day. It turned out that they were in the exact same hospital, 1,000 miles away! So, quickly I dug through my kids' gifts in the Stash and found a couple of cute little things that any 2-year old girl would love, things I keep on hand that I got on clearance for Ali's friends' birthdays. We were able to send an encouraging suprise gift to this little girl, via my Dad! There have been lots of other times I have benefitted from my Stash and it has saved me lots of money, considering that the choices in this town are few and far between and a last-minute gift could be expensive! Whether you need party favors, shower prizes, birthday presents for last-minute parties (our Mexican neighbors usually ask us to a birthday party on the day of), or little gifts for Valentine boxes, your children's schoolteachers, May baskets, or Mother's Day, it's great to have a Gift Stash!
My friend Heather made the pink feather boa clip for Alathia. The only feather boa I could find in our area has really big feathers so it is less airy looking and more flouncy and dramatic. We always get comments on these clips wherever we go!
Thanks to inspiration from http://www.thehomespunheart.blogspot.com/ and also thanks to being totally frustrated with the way my daughter's hair constantly looks wild and unkempt, I decided to make up some ribbon hair clips for her and for gifts. It's so cute to see little girls in bows (Meredith of http://www.likemerchantships.blogspot.com/ always has her daughter dolled up in cute dresses and bows!) and they are super easy to make. You just take some clips, which can be purchased at most Wal-Marts or Ben Franklin stores, and hot glue a bow or snip of feather boa onto the clip. Thanks to my friend Heather for these clips, which she sent me when I couldn't find them in my own town! She also taught me, through e-mail, how to make the feather boa clips!
With the ribbon scraps I had on hand, I whipped these up today. You can get fancy and put a strip of velvet ribbon on the inner part of the metal clip to help hold very fine hair, but I didn't have any and they don't sell any in our town, so I skipped this step.
Parenting tip: If you, like me, have a wild little girl who is prone to taking her hair clips out at inopportune times and looking her worst just when you had hoped she would look her best, then perhaps you could benefit from this: I plan to plant a few of these little bows in my car, purse, and diaper bag, along with a tiny comb so that just before we go into a store, or church, or to the library, we have a back-up plan to fix those ragamuffin hair-dos!
This little onesie I snagged at the thrift store is going to be a favorite for our little western-boy-to-come!
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
I think my friend Shiloh gets the credit for coming up with this idea, and it's a great one! Friends Shiloh, Amy, and I decided to do a babysitting co-op on Friday nights. This means that we all take our kids to one home where one gal and her husband babysit while the other 2 couples go out. We should all theoretically watch the kids one night a month, be able to go on two free dates, and there will be one Friday night a month where we all just stay home and don't do the co-op. Sometimes with illnesses, church programs, or traveling, we will have to skip some Friday nights, but it will just pick up right where we left off in that case. Last week was my turn and since my husband was out of town most of the evening, I watched the 6 alone. They did remarkably well given our small apartment and all the energy and excitement! What a great way to go on cheap dates without having to pay a sitter or bug my parents who are exhausted on Friday nights! It will be nice to have 2 hours to just hang out as a couple. Some things that we couples have chosen to do with our time so far: Go for a drive, go out for dessert, talk, go on a dinner date, go for a walk, stay home and paint the bathroom, etc.
We all have small children who are great friends and play together constantly at church and weekly activities and oddly enough we all have one boy and one girl. Two of them are preschoolers, 2 are 2-year olds (the twins), and 2 are 1-year olds! I guess we will wreck the perfect numbers/stats of the co-op when we have our third!
I've highlighted in red the things that are King Jo's special foods of the day:
Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, veggies Snack for King Jo: Jerky
Sloppy Joes, French Fries, Salad
Pancakes, Hashbrowns, Bacon
Sub Sandwiches (Spicy cajun pepper turkey with pepper jack on homemade french bread), Sour Cream and Onion Chips, Peanut Butter Cookies
Mom's Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas, Salad, Tortilla chips and salsa Breakfast: Coffee Cake
Prairie Fire Chicken Strips, Zuchinni/veggie stirfry
Snacks for the kids and I this week:
Homemade Wheat Bread with butter
Lunches this week:
Tuna sandwiches and chips
Ramen noodles, cheese, fruit
Leftover Sloppy Joes
Vegetable beef/barley soup (homemade)
Most of the time our breakfasts are cereal. We drink water, juice, and milk throughout the week.
The items I needed to buy for this week's menu cost around $55, which isn't bad at all for our town. However, keep in mind that I have elk hamburger on hand and things I am using from the pantry or leftovers from last week.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
My Great-Grandma Suzie raised 9 kids and was a single mother after her husband left her. This was during the post-depression era too. She worked hard at a restaurant, bringing home the food scraps and leftovers after work for her hungry kids. Great-Grandma Metzler raised her kids on a ranch in the literal-middle-of-nowhere-WY and had to ride a buckboard wagon into town. There was no medical care and no phones, internet, stores, and next-door neighbors.
Even my Grandma, my dad's mother, had it way rougher than anyone I know today. She had 6 children by age 25 and they were very, very poor. There was a time when Grandpa was in the hospital with polio and their landlord raised her rent $1 per month and she had to leave that rental due to the inability to pay. She didn't have a dish washer, a car, and she didn't have the option of "choosing" to have kids or not have kids, she had to boil glass bottles for the babies (she couldn't breastfeed) and do cloth diapers on all of them. She took in sewing and babysat for other people to bring in extra money. Even with 6 kids of her own, she'd sometimes watch a few other babies for pay!
Our parents, too, had harder times than I've had. My mother-in-law had no choice but to work due to lack of finances, and she juggled 3 kids 5 and under while working full-time and still kept the house clean and was an amazing and loving mommy. My mom did most of the child-rearing for the 3 of us alone, and often on an incredibly tight budget as my dad poured hours and hours into starting his own business and working like crazy. We didn't have any health insurance growing up.
When I think about all that my ancestors have gone through I feel really spoiled. Why do we feel entitled to so much in our generation and why do we take so many blessings for granted? We have it ten times easier than our grandparents, and yet we are always craving more stuff or saying we are so exhausted. Sometimes I think that it is OUR FAULT that we are exhausted. Yes, there are never-ending chores and lots of expectations of mothers today, but the reality is that we all have enough time in our day to get done what really needs to be done. God won't give us more than we can handle. How is it that many homemakers can't get their laundry or housekeeping done when they have vacuums, washer, dryer, dishwasher, and all kinds of cleaning products? How is it that some stay-at-home moms think they need to eat out 2 or 3 times a week because they are too tired to cook when the reality is that there are people starving in this world who would just love to have any food at all for their children? Why is it that we think that we can only "afford" one or two kids when we have way more money and options than our ancestors had? Why do we think our kids need all kinds of stuff and need to be chauffered around to every activity under the sun from toddlerhood on?
I hope this post doesn't come across as judgemental. I'm not trying to point fingers at anyone in particular but am just pondering how easy my life is compared to the lives of my ancestors. When I stop and think about my many, many, many blessings, I am truly, truly grateful. Thanks to a program in our state, our kids have free health care and free medicine. Our third child's birth will be covered completely through that same program! The Lord is providing us with a bigger vehicle as our family grows and we have more than enough clothing. I can purchase healthy foods and feed my family delicious meals and a variety of things on our food budget. We are always warm, have running water for staying clean and we have free laundry facilities here and we can actually afford to use disposable diapers half the time (unlike my grandparents or parents). There are thrift stores in town that sell nice clothing for a quarter or less so I don't have to sew my children clothing unless I want to for fun. I've never had to wonder how I would feed the kids or whether or not we would be evicted or couldn't take my kids to the doctor in the event of illness due to lack of money. I've never had to take my kids to daycare as God has provided just enough so that I can be home with the kids. That alone is a rare and amazing priviledge in today's world where most people can't survive without dual incomes.
So, I guess this post is to encourage myself not to take my many blessings for granted and to not be lazy. I want to use my time, energy, and resources wisely and be generous with others. I want to be an example of endurance and diligence to my children, no matter what hard times come. If God gives us a very large family, then I don't fear that I will go insane or not be able to handle it. I'll trust that He will give me the strength I need for the task! Having a 3rd kid is definitely not going to kill me (unless I die in childbirth!)
As they say in WY, "Cowgirl up!"
We took a blue cupcake to my mom, Grammy, at the Christian school where she is a teacher. She had had a rough day teaching school and was suspicious about the cupcake when I was taking pictures. She actually wondered if I put laxatives in it or stuck something in it that would blow up in her face (I can't imagine why? It's not like I'm the family practical jokester or anything =) Ali had to come right out and say, "I have two brudders" before she got it.
My dad, Boppa to my kids, is also bewildered about why we told him to eat his cupcake.
"Ohhhhhhhhh!" With a little clue or two from Ali, the look of realization dawns in his eyes and he immediately gets a gloating look on his face. He was one of the few who was convinced I was having a boy. I then had to endure the "The rubber doesn't fall far from the rubber tree" Lecture which I was dreading and knew was coming. My cliche-loving Dad is convinced that people take after their parents in many ways and he was SURE I was having a boy since my mom had a girl and then two boys.
Some people like to share a happy secret quietly, some like to blurt it out loudly, and some like to announce it in creative ways. I fall in the latter category. I feel like really big news doesn't come along very often so I might as well make the most of it and make a memory! Here are the ways we announced our pregnancies to our families:
*With Ali, we got a pink and blue balloon and snuck it into my in-laws' house while they were at work and left the balloons tied to their chairs at the table, and a cute note on the table with a baby rattle on top of it that said, "Hi Grandpa and Grandma, I can't wait to meet you in 7 months!" It was their first grandchild. They were shocked and surprised! Since my folks lived 1,000 miles away I recruited my brother, who was at home then, to buy a cheap pack of diapers and write little messages all over them and he was supposed to hide them all over the house. But instead he made a trail leading out from their bedroom to all over the house and they were mystified as to why their teen boys had left diapers all over at first! It was their first grandchild too! Ironically, my frugal mom saved all the diapers and when we moved to WY, she gave them to me to use for Jeremiah!
*With Jer, both of our families were vacationing together in March at my family's cabin in the mountains for some snowmobiling. So, we had these little photo magnets in the shapes of schoolbuses because both of my in-laws are bus drivers. We put a photo of Ali in the first one and my due date with a ? next to it in the second. We all sat down to dinner and King Jo placed them on the refrigerator directly in front of the huge table, hoping the parents would notice since the fridge is bare. They didn't! In fact my parents just thought that King Jo's folks had actually brought magnets with them on vacation when they glanced up and saw schoolbuses briefly. King Jo had to open and close the freezer door many, many times to get everyone at the table to notice what he was doing and his mom was the first one to read the magnets and figure it out. My parents were sooooo surprised! It definitely takes them awhile!
*With Baby #3 we were going to be in MN for Christmas, and my parents were also going to be there visiting my dad's folks who live there. We made a little poem, rolled it up and stuck it in a tiny bootie ornament and had both our sets of parents open it on Christmas Day since we saw them both on that day at different times. To see pics of this you can read about it under my Stories About Our Family category on my blog. We also gave a bunch of our closest friends a letter to open on Christmas telling them about the baby. We snuck one into King Jo's sister's stocking and then called her on Christmas morning to tell her to check her stocking on the fire place (as they hadn't put anything else in them) and they opened it and were very surprised!
*Finding out baby's gender this time, we decided to do a cake surprise for the grandparents. So, one of my best friends from college, Hannah, is a cake decorater and she made a pretty cake and delivered it to my in-laws. They were very surprised to see a cake show up at their house all of a sudden and the top read, "Congratulations, It's a ......" They had to cut the cake to figure out the mystery. Of course the white cake mix had been dyed blue! I did the same thing with my folks here, taking them blue cupcakes the day of the ultrasound. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, my parents have a hard time "getting" stuff. They both ate most of their cupcakes and still couldn't figure it out, even though they knew about the ultrasound being that day and King Jo's parents didn't. So, Ali had to help give them some clues about why the cupcakes were blue!
*Telling your hubby you are pregnant:
*With Ali, he was in the bathroom with me and we were both a little in shock and not sure if it was true when the test came up positive.
*With Jer, we were on our second month of "trying" (the only baby we tried for) and I was so thrilled I went WAY overboard! I look back and laugh at myself at the way it all backfired. Since I knew our baby would be born in November I cooked a HUGE Thanksgiving meal complete with EVERYTHING except turkey, as it wasn't in season, as a celebration of the little one to come in November. I made a card with a picture of a man holding a quiver of arrows and drew an arrow shooting into the quiver to join the one arrow in there. I had my camera ready. The minute King Jo walked in the door I started snapping pics and handing him the card. He'd had a bad day at work and was not in the happiest of moods and was irritated. He didn't understand the card and he was upset that I had gotten up in his face immediately with a camera. He was overwhelmed by the 10-course meal and only ate a tiny bit of it (he's not an enormous meal eater but is a big snacker, hungry all the time). I was so heartbroken I just burst into tears (pregnancy hormones) and he felt so bad he bought me flowers that night after Youth Group. He told me later that he prefers me to just come out and say it plainly than to do a big ordeal about it. He also was grumpy out of concern for me because he thought it was really early to be so ecstatic as the tests were positive a few days before my period was even due and he wasn't sure it was for real or not yet. I learned my lesson!
*With Baby #3, we went shopping together and he knew I had bought a test since I was late. Later that afternoon, I took it, and immediately e-mailed him (since he wasn't with me when I took it) a very direct-approach e-mail that said Baby #3 would be coming in August. I attached a photo of Jer to the e-mail that had a caption saying, "I'm a big brother." Needless to say, this was a much better way to break the news to him and he was excited!
I'd love to hear comments on how you share big news and some stories from you on the subject!!!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
This Bumpkin bib, brand new, was around 10 cents and is easy to wash after every meal.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Never put your bread machine a few inches from the counter edge! Yesterday the kids and I were greatly startled to hear my bread machine jump off the counter and land upside down on the kitchen floor! It was still plugged in and still spinning the dough even upside down! The lid popped off and the dough got on the floor so I picked it up, cleaned it out and started over. It wasn't broken in any way and made another batch just fine thankfully! I'm glad it wasn't hurt since it's one of my most-used appliances! I know I didn't put it right on the edge of the counter, but it worked itself forward! My new trick is to put a can of nuts or a plastic glass in front of it so that if I hear a cup/container of nuts fall to the floor first, I can run and check on the bread machine and see if it's close to leaping off the counter!
Monday, April 21, 2008
One project I did a long time ago, but keep procrastinating on posting about is my school drawers. Remember when I said all of our homeschooling/preschool supplies desperately needed a place to go? Well a long time I cleaned out this drawer, which I got last summer at a yard sale for $1.50, and filled it with the school stuff and stuck it between our computer desk and the kid's picnic table in our living room. Top drawer is coloring books and library books, second drawer is playdough, paints, flashcards, foam letters, etc. Third drawer are activity cards and miscellaneous. We had been putting the marker and crayon boxes in there but the kids were just getting into them too much and making messes so those are still on top of the fridge (the highest place in the house and one of the few places they can't reach!)
The leather and craft stuff that used to be in the plastic drawers that now hold school stuff got rotated to a plastic bag for many months. I was tired of the un-organized mass of leather and stuff sitting in bags in my bedroom so I got these plastic tubs and neatly arranged my leather in the bottom one and my beaded-sock/ribbon-sock supplies in the small one on top. So much neater now, hurray!
The other main project I've been procrastinating on that I should tackle this week:
Matching mother/daughter dresses for Ali and I. I was waiting to find out the gender of my baby so that I could make an extra dress to match our baby if it was a girl. Now that I know it's a boy, I need to get going on it before I get too big to even wear the dress! I've been contemplating buying a maternity pattern and making mine a maternity top and skirt instead of a jumper so I can wear it longer.
If you want to get in on the de-cluttering challenge this week, visit www.biblicalwomanhood.com/blog to partake in the challenge and be inspired by other women!
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Meredith, 30 weeks pregnant with Simon, looks casual, but not frumpy in her jeans and top.
Meredith looks lovely in this light, cool summer t at 36 weeks along with Simon.
In my hunt for cute and comfy maternity clothing for the summer, I have discovered a few really great places to get them for a decent price. I never would have thought http://www.ebay.com/ would have had sooooo many great maternity clothes for so cheap! I ordered a cute t-shirt the other day for $1, plus $3 shipping. Can't beat that price in this town! There are thousands upon thousands of items, so check it out! Try http://www.motherhood.com/ to shop Motherhood Maternity online and they have a HUGE clearance section with tasteful and stylish clothing that is half the price of buying at a discount store like Target or Wal-Mart. Sometimes http://www.oldnavy.com/ has some good clearance stuff too. Cute nursing clothing can be found at http://www.motherwear.com/ and I FINALLY found one site that actually sells long skirts made for a pregnant belly, http://www.littletouchofelegance.com/. Interested in having some clothing made to order? Check out the site http://www.7sisterssewing.com/ for very traditional, modest dresses that are custom made at home.
Of course if you have great stores, outlets, malls, and department stores with great clearances you can also find some good bargains. But for me, living in a state where there isn't much for maternity outfits in the entire county, buying online or hitting a big city seems to be the way to go.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Shiloh, 18 weeks pregnant with Carsen and Kennedy, looks ready to go to church or a fancy function is this feminine, gauzy gown.
Meredith, 28 weeks pregnant with Simon, looks classy, but casual in this modern-looking button-up.
Kristin, 32 weeks pregnant with Noah, looks gorgeous in this casual long-sleeved t-shirt and khakis!
More to come.......
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Ali loved rolling out tortillas for supper last night. We had black bean tacos.
I love this tortilla mix from Wal-Mart (in the Latino food section). All you have to do is add water and it's very inexpensive!
Yummy oatmeal raisin muffins! Jer-Bear loves to try and help sweep!