Saturday, February 28, 2009

Temporary Scarcity--Adjustments

Remember back when you had only one child and you thought it was so hard and wondered how you would ever manage two and then you adjusted to a second and wondered what you used to do all day with only one? Moms have an uncanny ability to adjust to the circumstances around them. Though at this point I still wonder how moms with huge families do it and I wonder how we'll keep up with homeschooling during that stage of life, I have learned that I will grow, and I will adjust as I depend on the Lord and we will get through it and will be fine.

My husband's injury caused me to rise to a new level. After a month of dealing with it, I have adjusted and have learned that I can get done more than I ever thought possible, even though before I felt like a work-a-holic. Since King Jo broke his wrist and got really sick with a cold virus, I have shouldered more of the load with the kids than I had before, at times feeling like a single parent. I have had to spend lots of time thinking over, talking over, mailing forms and keeping track of bills, insurance, etc. Between Potty-Training, Cloth Diapering, having lots of company over, and getting ready for a wedding, I never have even the slightest chance to be bored! God has opened the door for me to bring in extra money through lots of babysitting, cooking a weekly supper for pay for my folks, and even a sewing project!

Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile know that babysitting other people's kids isn't my favorite thing to do, unless I we are having a play date or I'm helping some friends out. But my mentality has changed. Perhaps a huge part of it is that we have a bigger-feeling (if not actually bigger) home now and a huge yard and such warm weather this winter. Instead of hating every minute of babysitting, I have adjusted to where it is just part of life for right now and I am grateful for the chance to bring in a little money during a lean time. It does help that the two girls I watch (one at a time--from different families) are very quiet, sweet, and play well with my kids!

This hard time has caused us to grow in frugality as well, which is a very good thing to always be growing in during this tough economy and the possibility of job loss or scarcity. We were frugal before, but now we are ULTRA frugal and are always finding ways to do things ourselves or scrimp and get inventive using things up that we already have. To be honest, I have enjoyed the challenge of having to get by on less and it has caused me to grow in creativity. *Of course if our budget was so low that I couldn't make it work or afford necessities it would be awful and painful. I can say this because we are not in extreme poverty, just in a lean time*

Life is much busier for me now but I have grown from it. I was complaining to my friend a couple of weeks ago that it was such a hard adjustment to have to get up early with the kids and get them breakfast after being spoiled by my hubby doing it for my entire pregnancy and beyond to let me get an extra half an hour of sleep. As I was talking to her I realized I must sound like such a whiner since she has always done that, as well as working a 30-hour a week job, running kids to and from the sitter's, getting up at 5 a.m. to exercise, and shouldering most of the parenting and all of the cleaning too. I have it so easy compared to so many women, whether outside-the-home-working mamas and single mamas here or mamas overseas who are desperately trying to feed starving kids or keep their kids alive in times of war.

When times of strain come along from some kind of life change, I like to see it as strength training or weight lifting. Your body may only be able to lift a little at first, but as you go along you build more muscle and can lift more...and more.....and more...

All of life is "school." With each child that comes and with each circumstance I go through I have the opportunity to lean on God more, build endurance, become more disciplined, be more creative, learn how to be more efficient, work smarter, and give up the good for the better.

Sewing Show and Tell

I've been sewing a lot this week. Justus has outgrown the smaller pocket diapers from our stash so I've been sewing some more diapers for him with fabric and supplies I had in my fabric bin. He and Jer wear the same size now (though Jer just wears them at night and sometimes naps now)--Justus is very stout in spite of being "tiny" and Jer is a beanpole so somehow they both fit in the large size!

My friend Amy liked Ali's polka-dot skirt so much she asked if she could hire me to sew Arianna a little skirt. I had a ball plotting it out and making it! Sewing for little girls is fun, fun, fun!

Here's a skirt I made for Ali using two, heavy-duty dishtowels. It's a sturdy skirt that will hold up well with her active lifestyle! I love the polka-dotted red ribbon. This skirt literally took 30 minutes to make since the towels were already hemmed on bottom and top!

Here's Arianna's skirt. I loosely followed some measurements for a skirt I found online, only to later discover I think I made it twice as wide as it was supposed to be (since the tutorial I was looking at wasn't clear whether the width should be measured from end to end or from the fold to the end.) Basically it's a piece 9 inches high and 28 inches wide from the fold and the second layer (the ruffle) is 6 inches high and 34 inches wide from the fold. It is nice and flouncy and Arianna ADORES her "princess dress." The fun ribbon was a thriftstore freebie I got a long time ago. I made matching socks and hair bows to go with each skirt from things I had on hand.

Ali models Arianna's skirt for me and gives me her "mad" look!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Love This Message!

This is such a great message on marriage. How do we keep marriage a priority as busy moms?

Check out this link I found on another new favorite blog, The Stay At Home Missionary.

My favorite humorous quotes from this talk for moms are:

"Cleaning house is like stringing beads on a rope with no knot on the end"


"Submission is just ducking so the Lord can get a clear shot at your husband."

A Great Resource for Little Girls

I saw this book in the bookstore the other day and loved it! I didn't buy it because I knew we could get it cheaper online. It is sweet and of all the Christian "Princess" books we own and have seen thus far, this is the cutest! It teaches little girls all about manners, curtsies, dressing up, being elegant and kind, etc. If there's one book you invest in for your little princess, this should be it!

You can buy it here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fun Stuff for Mommies

Instead of writing a bunch of posts highlighting lots of cool things I wanted to share with you all, I decided to combine them in this one, informative post.

I've mentioned before how much I love the bookstore in town that sells all kinds of fun educational toys. The owner is so sweet and gives every kid in town who signs up a $5 coupon off of anything in the store for their birthday. She also gave Ali a free candy of her choice when we went to use our coupon and spend Ali's birthday money there!

It was a tough choice between this Magnetic Chore Chart and a magnetized Alphabet board with a chalkboard and dry erase board, but I decided the chore chart would be the best for our family right now.

There are lots of magnetic "reward stickers" and tons of household chores and goals listed. King Jo and I's favorites are:

Keep Your Hands to Yourself

Stop Whining

Respect Others (We also call this one Obey Parents)

Clean Room


You can hang this from a nail on the wall (though it's really heavy) or prop it up and you can switch the goals based on what you want to work on this week. There are even a couple of blank rectangles for you to write your own goals/chores on. We use one of these for going potty (which by the way is going fabulous) and Jer is so excited about getting a magnet for going potty. Though this chart is designed for one kid, I use it for both kids and squeeze two reward magnets on one square (one for each kid).


Here's a link to make an adorable toddler dress out of one of your husband's old shirts:


This wooden bead kit Ali chose to get with her birthday coupon will go in her activity boxes (see below).

A couple of weeks ago Crystal showed a pic of some boxes her mom made up for her 4 year old daughter to use during quiet time each day. I loved the idea! Because of our temporary scarcity, I refrained from buying large plastic tubs with lids and just got some cardboard boxes from the thrift store for free and put some pretty paper on them. Ali's Grammy got her several things for her birthday that can go in the boxes (like coloring books, foam crafts, educational matching games, etc.) I also added some books with tapes I had gotten at a yard sale a couple of years ago and some preschool activities we had around the house (viewfinder, Magnadoodles, puzzles, small toys, magnetic paper dolls, etc.) Even though I was already basically doing this before, by pulling down a few activities for her to do during her brothers' nap time, I think she likes having a "Box for the Day" and it's even more exciting now for her to have quiet time on the couch. Having these boxes has helped her to be less demanding so that I can have a little breather from the kids, even though one no longer naps. I plan to switch the activities around and add some new ones here and there every once in a while to keep things fresh.


Here is a site I found through themomma and have been greatly helped and encouraged in the area of disciplining and discipling children. It's interesting how we continually need reminders and good teaching on training kids in godliness and being consistent with them. I've been making an effort to put more "tomato staking" into practice with my kids.


One of the best investments I've ever made with $4 is
Wise Words for Mom by Ginger Plowman

This 4-page wall calendar lists over 20 of the most common sins children commit and heart-probing questions to help them recognize their sin. It also gives Bible verses for each offense as well as Bible verses to combat the offense in an attempt to put off the sin and put on the right behavior. I bought mine on Amazon when I was Christmas shopping and got free shipping on it because it was part of a larger order. I use it all the time, especially when my daughter is misbehaving and I'm tired or at a loss for how I can biblically address her behavior. So often it is tempting to yell, "Quit whining!" or "Quit hitting your brother, I'm sick of it!" and address the symptoms of the behavior because these symptoms are horribly irritating to us. However, if we want our kids to be godly, we need to train them to deal with the heart matters, not just the symptoms.

I can't recommend this resource enough! So many moms, even those of us who have gotten Bible college degrees, don't know where to begin when it comes to pointing to specific verses for specific sins when we are in the throes of the moment when our child is being naughty. This chart is a lifesaver for me and I hope to memorize it this year and study all of the verses more in-depth so even if it's not handy, I can incorporate the Bible based teaching as I'm correcting and training my kids. This isn't a substitute for studying the Bible, having devotions with your kids, and continually growing in the area of biblical child-training, but it is a useful tool!

Monday, February 23, 2009

My Test Cake

What little girl wouldn't adore a cake like this?
Carsen and Kennedy were over when I decorated the cake and they thought it was great fun to watch and lick the frosting off the utensils I was done with.
Of course the day after Ali's birthday I discovered a new blog, which I love, and this cake! So, next year we are going to make this cake for Ali's birthday (she's already declaring it will be a princess party for all of her friends!)

I wanted to share this link with all of my friends since many of you have little girls out there who would love a cake like this too! She has a video tutorial that's very informative on how to make this. I used a couple of oven-safe glass bowls to make the dress.

One of my friends and I were talking about this cake and she mentioned it would be a cute bridal shower cake and then it hit me, I am having a shower for my sis-in-law to-be next Sunday! So, I don't have to wait a year to have an excuse to make it. Hence the test cake above! It was fun to do and I'm sure I'll get better as I do more of them. I made it longer and taller than The Happy Housewife's cake in order to more closely resemble Anna's wedding dress. I'm hoping to do the real cake for the shower in chocolate instead of white cake and with an all-white dress and with a barbie that more closely resembles Anna (with a veil on top of her head of course!) My brother just can't understand why we ladies get into stuff like this!

This cake cost me around $4 to make (including the dollar store barbie) and it yields about 10-12 pieces. I know it looks really slim, but it's actually made with two cake mixes!

Cute Pics--Warm Days

The kids had fun on the fourwheeler today in the 60 degree weather. It's surprising to me to see how Jer looks almost as tall as Ali in these pics. He still has shorter legs, but he's gaining on his sis!

Kid Funnies

Jer came into the kitchen one morning and said, "I'm a big talker." (There's the understatement of the century! I don't know where he heard this phrase, but this kid is proof that it's not just little girls that are verbal! His daddy says he is never without a car in his hand and a word in his mouth.)

One day Jer looked at me curiously and in a sweet little voice said, "Are you cwazy (crazy)?"

One day Jer walked up to me and said, "You da king!!!"

Jer is getting into praying over the food. One day he prayed, "Thanks for Daddy, and Justus and puppy, and Daddy..." (For one thing, we don't have a puppy, and for another, what about Mommy, the one who takes care of him all day long? How come he's doubly thankful for Daddy?) Tonight he prayed specifically for each person in the family and that they would all feel better, even though only Daddy is sick. I guess it wouldn't hurt to feel better than we currently feel!

I'm trying to teach Jer not to pick his nose. So often when I look at him he says, "See! I not pickin' my boogahs!"

I overheard Ali say to Jer while playing, "If you want to marry me you have to be nice to me!!!"

One day Jer came up and batted his long lashes at me and said, "Mama, will you mae-wee (marry) me?" Awww!

Tonight Ali asked, "Can God have vitamins?"

When we first became parents we determined to have our kids call Uncle Colter and Uncle Grant Coco and GooGoo since their names are difficult for little ones to pronounce (and partly since it's a way at getting back at little brothers who tormented me.) So, ever since Ali could talk, this is what they go by. The other day, I said, "Guess who is coming on an airplane in just a week?" Ali yelled, "Hot Coco and Anna!!!" I about died! Maybe Anna will take to calling him "Hot Coco."
I made a fancy barbie cake and decorated it in front of our friends' twins. I then asked Kennedy, "Do you have a barbie with black hair I could borrow to make a make another cake?" She said, "Yeah, I have one, but my barbie isn't a cake!" (As if to say, "Goofy lady, my barbie is a toy and isn't edible!")

More Posts Coming!

Lots and lots of post ideas are swirling around in my head and I can't wait to share them all with you. But first, I have a mommy advice question for all of you regarding Justus.

Justus has been pretty constipated and only going #2 every few days. He screams in the shrillest voice in agony when he goes poo and we usually take his diaper off and try to bicycle his legs and stuff. With is doc's okay we are giving him juice/water every day as well as peaches/prunes/apple baby food and this helps some days but other days it doesn't seem to make things any easier for him. And when he goes, he goes about 4 times in a row and (don't read this if you have a weak stomach--this is mommy speak) and the first time is really hard and black, the second is brown, the third is green and the fourth is green mush. He was having such hard stools that he would bleed as he was going and this was torture for us to watch, not being able to help the poor little guy. So, does anyone have any tips? I don't think he's allergic to his formula and it doesn't happen every time, but it's becoming more common. We don't give him any bananas and we've stopped cereal in the hopes that it aleviates this constipation.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Alathia!!!

I tried to make the table very pretty and exciting for her so that when she got up she would be surprised. I awoke to, "MOM!!! Get up!!! It's my birthday!" She was thrilled with the new moon plate, the gifts, and the Special Day Bear we put on the birthday person's plate.

She wore a little crown Grammy gave her on Valentine's Day. Here she is opening a card that Grandpa Joel and Grandma Kathy sent.

After breakfast she was allowed to open one gift. She opened two Bible puzzles from Aunt Kandi and family! This kept her busy for an hour as she did the puzzles several times.

When Daddy woke up we let her open another present, one Grandpa Joel and Grandma Kathy had sent out. It was a My Little Pony playset! I think this was her favorite gift of all since she never stopped playing with it all day and even took it for Show and Tell the following day to preschool on her special day! She named the ponies Bambi and Feline.

Before lunch it was around 50 degrees so we took a walk on the river path near our home for some fresh air and exercise. This winter sure has been strange. The only time I can remember getting enough snow to play in was last fall when we got dumped on and made the igloo. It's been a very warm winter this year (and I'm not complaining!)

Justus enjoyed the walk in his Ergo.

I let Ali take this pic; the first she's ever taken with my camera! Now, when I ask her what 4 year old girls do, the first thing she says is, "Take pictures!" She did a very good job and it's not her fault I was having a bad hair day!

Pretty view!
It's so nice to have the pretty river path right next to our home where we can enjoy the outdoors!

This mural painted by the local highschoolers was a perfect backdrop for a girl who wanted a moon-themed birthday (although the moon is not pictured here as it was too high up on the mural).

The dress-ups, opened up after lunch, kept her busy for hours!

As I made supper, Ali painted moons to use as place cards at the table. After they dried she put some foam stars on them and then carefully wrote each person's name on the moon as I spelled them out to her. She has Jer's name memorized because she always looks at his wooden letters on the wall above his crib!

Letting Jer help open gifts. He cried when she opened the ponies (which he calls horses) and said, "Now it's my burfday!" I was thinking of wrapping up a matchbox car from my stash for him but he did okay the rest of the day and Ali let him play with some of her things.

I made yellow cupcakes to look like moons, but they didn't turn out as pretty as I'd hoped. Oh well! They tasted great and were low-fat (with sweet potatoes snuck in of course!) We had roasted chicken, baked potatoes, salad, and homemade bread for supper. My parents and my brother Grant came for the meal and family party. I didn't get pics of them, oops!

Opening a gift in yet another dress up outfit!

Ali loved her alphabet book! She immediately sat on Uncle Goo-Goo's lap and made him look at every photo with her.

Jer wanted to try out Ali's new flower-girl shoes that Grammy got her. If it seems that this kid NEVER wears pants it's because he sprays on them going potty and so he goes through about 4 pairs a day and is always "between pairs!" Oh well, our house stays very warm!

Ali all dressed up in her new shirt, with her new moon purse, ready for preschool!

What a big day! I felt a little sad for her as the day quickly drew to a close. I know how much she loves birthdays and now she has to wait a whole year until the next one!

On Wednesday, our little Ali turned 4 years old!

Wow, the time went by fast!

It was so much fun this year to celebrate with Ali. She was even more excited than last year and looked forward to her birthday for a whole year! She enthused over all the little touches I added to the day and each and every gift. She declared, "I'm going to be very good on my birthday!" and she was for the most part! She made me very proud as I watched her invite Jerby to open her presents with her so he wouldn't feel left out and she got to choose a movie to watch and she chose Jerby's favorite on purpose to please him. It's moments like that that feel like my paycheck for years of work!

Ali Joy is always a leader and not at all shy! At snack time she said, "Sing to me!!!" So Jer and I sang a few rounds of Happy Birthday to her. When it was time for her to blow out her candle and to serve cupcakes and ice-cream later that evening she ran into the living room and yelled to her Daddy and Uncle and Grandparents, "COME ON!!! You have to come watch me blow my candle! Come on guys, it's time for cake!!! Sing to me!!!"

Over breakfast I explained to her that she was born 4 years ago and arrived underwater in a blow-up swimming pool (home waterbirth). Later I heard her telling Jer that she had fallen in a pool when she was a baby but she got out and was okay. =)

Alathia has enriched our lives in so many ways. Since we welcomed her into our family 4 years ago we changed forever. She has caused us to grow more and love more than we every thought possible. She is a wonderfully spirited and adventurous little girl who will no doubt make her mark on the world someday! I'm excited to see what this year has in store!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Too Funny!

I found these at the Dave Ramsey site. You won't understand them very well unless you've listened to Dave's radio show! I highly recommend Dave's show and all of his materials!

The Dave Ramsey Pick-Up Lines for 2009

You look familiar ... didn't I deliver a pizza to you last week?

You're so hot you could melt my debt snowball.

Good thing I have identity theft insurance, because you stole my heart!

Call me your mutual fund, honey ... 'cause with you, I'm showing interest.

Are you unpaid credit card debt? Because you have got FINE written all over you!

If you turn me down, my life will look like a country song.

When I saw you, my jaw dropped like the value of a new car.

You should be my retirement plan ... you'd put the "OK" in my 401k.

I still have money in my restaurant envelope ... can I buy you dinner?

Why am I nervous about talking to you? Because you're better than I deserve.

Bead Socks

Heather at is letting me guest post today on how to make bead socks. They are simple and fun and make cute gifts! So go visit this post to figure them out!

Temporary Scarcity--Potty Training Earlier

MommaBear questioned if I should be potty-training during this busy time of life. Good question! Here are my reasons for potty-training Jeremiah right now:

*After a week or two of using cloth diapers again I realized that cloth diapers really aren't that different from underwear. It was amazing how much more aware he was of his own body going potty when he was in the cloth.

*We babysat Jeremiah's best friend, Arianna, who is 2 months older than him, a couple of mornings in the last couple of weeks and she was always going potty on the little potty chair. He wanted to mimic her and said, "I wanna go potty too!"

*With King Jo working less hours, he is home more to help with supervising Jer's going potty. I've been staying home a lot too during this time (trying to shop less and go out less as we have lots going on this month) and that's a NECESSARY component of toliet training.

*I knew it could theoretically be done! Though I'm not into infant potty-training after trying it with Ali as a baby and realizing how much work it is ("Mommy Training") I do know folks who have successfully trained little boys before, or shortly after, two years old when they are old enough to walk themselves to the potty. I also stopped to consider that the pioneers and our grandparents, who didn't have the luxury of disposables, somehow managed to do it! And if you wonder if little kids can really be trained to go potty or are "ready" you need to take a look at babies around the world who are trained to go on command at just a few months old. It's possible! Even my own little Justus seems to prefer going poo whenever I take his diaper off! He often goes in the middle of a diaper change into a wetwipe, making cloth diapers even more do-able!

*I found a book at the library called "Early-Start Potty Training." While it has some tips, it really wasn't as great as I thought it would be. It's way over the top in being anti-disposables and thinking disposables harm toddlers' health. However, it did make me stop to consider why all the doctors and childcare books these days are pushing for kids to "be ready" and "take your time." The diaper companies make billions of dollars off of parents choosing to wait an extra year or even two with potty-training.

*Need. When we have to find a way, we do it. Honestly, if we hadn't had this financial set-back I would have happily bought diapers with coupons until this summer when I had planned to let Jer run around naked and learn to go in the yard. But when you don't have that option and it's a choice between scraping poop off of cloth diapers or training a child to go in the potty, you get busy!

Jer is 27 months old and Ali was trained at 23 months (and with the exact same motivation due to the fact that I was babysitting a potty-trained girl and she wanted to copy her!) He stays dry at naps if he goes pee-pee before his nap and can go a few hours, or even all afternoon without needing to go potty. But I do put a cloth diaper on for naptime because prevention is better than a huge clean-up! Half the time he comes up to me and says, "I'm going pee-pee" which means he's about to go, and half the time I sit him down if it's been a couple of hours since he's last gone and he'll go within a few minutes of me sitting him down. He still has some accidents (usually not the floor-cleaning, carpet shampooer type accidents that were common the first two days of training) if he starts to go in his pants right as he's telling me he has to go. I do let him wear undies to church, running errands around town, and riding in the car to pick Ali up from preschool. We still do a disposable at night for bed since 12 hours is way too long for him to hold it!

Even if it takes him a while to be fully and completely trained, the fact that he's consistently going 4-5 times a day in the potty saves me having to change and wash diapers. He still needs some help pulling pants up and down sometimes but I don't mind and he'll soon learn that especially if he wears sweats a lot. He still needs to learn going potty standing up and he especially needs to learn to stop spraying on his pants when he's sitting there going. Our little splashguard thing keeps falling off and though he tries to "point down" he doesn't always succeed, so there's still plenty of laundry to do right now! It is LOTS of work to potty-train and a big commitment, but it was actually easier than I thought it would be since so many people have told me how hard little boys can be to train. It's not something I would ever want to take on if I was pregnant! I had to remind myself over and over during the pee-pee clean-up that everytime he was going potty, even if it was on my couch cushions or on my floor, that he was learning what his body does and learning about the sensations that accompany elimination. Each clean-up episode brought us one step closer to the goal!

We started off using BIG rewards (a sucker or candycane from the candy jar) and once he was going a lot, we moved it to monkey bite mini-cookies and now conversation hearts. After the first 5 times Daddy bought him an ice-cream cone, and then again after the next 5 and after 20 more times he got a Happy Meal! It's so fun to see how excited both of the kids get when he goes potty and how proud he is to be a big boy!

One thing that I have discovered with potty training that the books don't often talk about is obedience. If your kid won't obey, they will be very hard to potty-train. Jer is very compliant but we've had some times where he refuses to try to go potty when we ask him to try when he hasn't gone in a while. Keep in mind, we're not forcing him to actually go, but asking him to obey and sit down, just as when we ask him to clean up his toys and he is expected to obey us. If your child consistently obeys then you can ask them to sit on the potty for a minute and try and there won't be a big show-down, scream-fest, etc. So, teaching kids to submit to authority helps even in the potty training arena! I'll be sharing some links in the future that I have found helpful for training kids in obedience. I'm no expert but it's just something I realized when we've been training Jer. I can imagine it would be a nightmare if you tried to potty-train if your children don't listen to you and don't ever have consequences to their disobedience.

Having a potty-training kid isn't easier than having a kid in diapers (in my opinion) but it is a lot cheaper! It's amazing how long the disposable diapers last now that Jer is training and Justus is in cloth. It's also amazing how much less trash we have to empty now!

Just because we are training earlier than some doesn't mean I think all kids can do it and that it works for all lifestyles. It's what works best for us right now and every family is different!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Temporary Scarcity--Birthday Gifts on a Very Tight Budget

I picked up this monogrammed photo album at Family Dollar last fall for $3. I had been to a craft night where someone showed me their alphabet scrapbook for a preschooler and decided I wanted to do that when Ali's birthday rolled around.

When my hubby injured his wrist and we immediately began buckling down our spending, I decided I would fill the album with free magazine clippings of various pictures for each letter instead of spending money on photos. I was bummed that I wouldn't be able to use fun photos of Ali herself. However, ran a tip a few weeks back about signing up for Kodak and getting 75 free photos! Bingo! I then had more than enough to do 3-4 pictures per letter as well as getting a few extras to send to the grandparents.

I had intended to make Ali a no-sew tutu using instructions here, or video instructions here, which would have cost around $5 but before I bought the materials I found a bag of dress-ups at the thrift store for 50 cents! Yay! They got a thorough washing and Ali could care less if they are new or used. She will have so much fun with them!

Bead socks are so cute, so fun to make, so quick to make, and so cheap! I got this like-new pair of socks at the thrift store for 10 cents and already had a big stash of pony beads on hand (but even if I had bought them they are very cheap). Ali is really into purple right now.
My friend Heather over at will soon be featuring a guest post by myself on how to make these bead socks, step by step, so visit her blog if you are interested.

I picked up this plate for $1 at Alco in their dollar section a while back. The moon purse was $1 at Dollar Tree and she adores purses and bags! For a whole year Ali has been dreaming about a princess/castle birthday party and telling everyone, even strangers in the grocery store about it. Every time she sees something she likes in a store she will say she wants me to get it for her birthday. It's an understatement to say she is excited about turning 4 and getting some gifts! But in the last two months she changed her mind on the theme and began talking about a "Moon" birthday as she got really interested in the moon from some books we read. I had to break the news to her that she wasn't having a friend party this year (we're going to do every-other year now since we have 3 kids to celebrate now) but she is still excited to be able to take moon cupcakes to preschool and to have Grammy and Boppa over for dinner and gifts on her day. And even if friends aren't coming over this year, we can still have a moon theme to our day to delight her little heart.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Justus Update

No teeth yet!

Already fascinated by monster trucks. I steal brother's whenever I get a chance.

My first biter biscuit. Yum!

With rolls like these you'd think I'd weigh more!

Justus had his 6 month check-up today and boy was I surprised! He looks so chubby and feels so much heavier these days, I was totally unprepared to hear that he's ONLY 14 something pounds. I was so surprised that I didn't even catch if he's closer to 14 or 15 #. He's really short too, at around 25 inches.

I think his smallness took the Doc by surprise too. He was a student doctor this time and he first said, "Oh, you are SO big!" and after asking his name he said, "You look like you could dole out some justice big boy." Then he looked at the charts and realized what a shrimp he is! All of my babies have been "tiny" and low on the scales but they've always been healthy and had plenty of cheeks to go around. I guess it doesn't matter how we feed our babies, they just tend to grow slower, although Justus is growing much slower even than his siblings. He is healthy though so there is no concern there.

Justus weaned himself from breastmilk now, which is very sad for me since I had hoped to continue that for much longer. I had origianally hoped to breastfeed him for a year and a half, longer than the other two, but alas, our plans don't always work out how we want them to. His Doc reassured me that just nursing him exclusively for 4 months puts him in an entirely different category when it comes to lowered risk for allergies and asthma, etc. so that made me feel better. I tried and tried and pumped to try to give him breastmilk in a bottle when he began refusing the breast because it wasn't fast enough, like a bottle, but my body just wouldn't give out anything. Though I wish I could be nursing him, there are a lot of perks to bottle feeding. It is a lot easier to do and you can share the feedings with your spouse and Grammy when they are around. You can feed easier in public and feed easier while juggling other kids too. And though he still seems to have a fast metabolism like all of our kids and not be sleeping 13 hour stretches on one bottle like some babies do, I know he would still be waking up twice as much if I was only nursing him and I'd be a complete zombie.

He's been sleeping pretty well for a month or two now, going to bed around 6:30pm and waking up at around 11pm for a bottle just before I head for bed and then at 5 or 6 for a bottle, after which I go to sleep until 7am when I get up with all 3 of the kids. He's still our happiest, easiest little guy. Jerby was such a Cuddle Bug from Day one, needing constant cuddling and hugging and crying when he wasn't with me and I can totally tell Justus is completely different. Justus seems very social, and not at all needy. He is happiest when Ali is giving him a gentle tickle torture and he loves to just feed off of Ali and catch her attention and giggle uncontrollably with her. Uh-oh! But I can also tell that he will be a lot less defiant than Ali because there's a real easy-going streak about him too. I'd have a dozen kids if they were all guaranteed to be as easy as this guy!

Pondering Sabbath

Am I the only one who wonders how to reconcile taking a Sabbath and being a mom? Being a mom is my hardest job I have ever had, and yet it is the one role I can't just take a weekly rest from. Even if I don't do household chores and do minimal food prep, there is nothing restful about caring for my kids.

Then there is the idea of being hospitable. Now that we have a place that feels somewhat roomier for hosting company we are trying to have more people over; something we didn't do often when we were in the tight little apartment. Sunday seems to be the best day for others to come over, but there's no doubt about it, having company is extra work.
So, how do we reconcile being hospitable with taking a weekly rest? How do Mommies observe the Sabbath?

And in speaking of Sabbath, I'm not talking about legalism and making lists of dos and don'ts. I'm talking about obeying Commandment #4 and acknowledging that God knows what is best for our bodies and wants us to take a day to focus on Him and on resting from our work.

Monday, February 16, 2009

What Am I? An Odd Reality about Us

I still haven't figured out what I am. Extrovert or Introvert? This is the question. Some of you may be chuckling right now and saying, "Of course she is an extrovert!" But you don't know the whole story.

Though I had friends and birthday parties and lots of fun as a child, I was very, very introverted and shy all through my growing up years. It wasn't until I became very active in CEF missions work that I learned to get out of my comfort zone and rely on the Lord to help me evangelize and share the Gospel. I began to see that shyness can be a form of pride, and if nothing else a form of selfishness. One girl I really respected said she used to think I was a snob because I never talked to her; when in truth I was so intimidated by her because she was popular, the most gorgeous girl I'd ever met, and a very sweet and talented person.

So, as I crawled out of my "shell" I became a crazy extrovert. In my late teens and college years I was gung-ho about all social things, including practical jokes and pranks, and attended all the fun and lively Bible College activities. I got to hang around girls constantly all the time (I'm the only girl in my fam) and experienced the whole gamut of roomie relationship issues, from tears and traumas to tickle tortures and snow baths and giggling together late at night.

Most people who meet me would say I'm an extrovert because I continually approach new people and invite them over or get to know them. I love doing that and reaching out to people excites me. If I met me at a social gathering, I would think, "Poor Josiah. She must talk his ear off." I never lack for topics to discuss and issues to work through and I enjoy lengthy and lively conversation with friends.

On the other hand, anyone who meets King Jo says, "Does he ever talk?" He is often taken for the shyest, quietest person in the room to the point of offending some people (like future in-laws) because they are trying to get to know him and he just doesn't say much, if anything. His whole family is quiet and not very talkative around new people too.

But here's where the weird stuff comes in. At home we are COMPLETE OPPOSITES! This is why I can't figure out what I am. An enjoyable evening for me is hours and hours of silence and getting lost in a good book. Though I love my hubby dearly, I don't mind a bit that he is gone for about 5 hours on Wed. night helping with Youth Group. I relish and savor the complete silence and the ability to get projects done. Some nights, if I feel my hub is asking me too many questions or trying to converse too much, I actually lock myself in the bathroom for a hot bath, or go fold laundry to avoid conversation. He loves to talk with me, cuddle, play games, do things side-by-side and just interact back and forth. At home I'm like the stereo-typical man and he's the stereo-typical woman.

Some may blame this on our current jobs. My job involves endless conversation and training with the kids and I sort my thoughts out best writing them down (hence, my blog). If I want a lengthy, spider-webbing conversation, I call a friend or my mom. My hubby works with my dad and there isn't a lot of conversation over the scream of the chainsaws and wood planer or sanders, etc. Perhaps someday in different circumstances we will find ourselves changing again.

If you asked me if I feel energized by time with people, I'd say "Yes!" If you asked me if I feel energized by time alone, I'd say, "Yes!" I can't say if I'd rather spend a day laughing with girlfriends or a whole day by myself, curled up in a solitary cabin with a book. Both sound nice.

So, in order to meet my hubby's needs during this stage, I have to force (yes, force) myself to talk more and be more communicative and he has to learn (yes, learn) not to talk as much and to let me have some "down" time.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Temporary Scarcity--V-Day!

Now, I'm not normally such a grump when it comes to V-Day, but this year feels different. In between filling out endless health forms and paperwork dealing with my husband's injury, taking care of 2 energetic little children and 1 always-hungry baby, getting ready for my brother's wedding in a few weeks, planning a bridal shower, preparing for Ali's 4th birthday next week, taking care of all of Ali's preschool Valentine party obligations, potty-training Jer, having people over once a week, and doing a daily exercise program, I'm just plain not that motivated to make Valentines' Day as cutsie and fun as I did last year (see here ,here, and here). My friend Shiloh asked on Sunday, "Are you ready for Christmas?" At first I was puzzled. Then she explained that there was so much to do for V-Day this week that it felt like getting ready for Christmas!

In spite of our lack of funds to go out to eat or have a date away from home, we are going to spend some special time together.

Here's what we plan to do:

Make heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast

Do a scavenger hunt with heart-shaped papers for the kids (with messages telling them why we love them)

When the kids go to bed at 7 we will prepare a meal together from things we have on hand, and eat by candlelight, soaking up the quiet and lack of interruptions (we hope). I plan to make frozen hot chocolate for the first time as a special treat.

My hubby did get me flowers, which was a nice surprise, and I plan to give him some coupons for massages/favorite cookies/hugs&kisses as well as a food treat I picked up last week on a great sale.

My mom plans to have us over for lunch and do a little Valentine's box for the kids. We always did this growing up and it's lots of fun. I'll throw in a couple of candies for the kids which I picked up for 20 cents each last week and a nice card for my hubby that I bought last year and forgot to give him.

Ali made some of her Valentines by painting hearts on paper and Grammy gave us a big bag of cute Valentines to choose from for her classmates since she's a teacher and had lots of extras on hands from years past.

We sent all the grandparents a cute Valentine card with a photo of the 3 kids on it that we got for free thanks to a tip from Money Saving Mom a couple of weeks ago. We got 6 photo cards absolutely free, no shipping, no purchase necessary! Yay!

In past years I've often tried to give all of my friends and family Valentines and bring them to lonely people, neighbors, etc. and get my folks and brothers a little treat for the Valentine box but this year I just don't have the energy. Instead, I'm trying to focus on my hubby mainly since Valentine's is supposed to be about your significant other, and not necessarily about everyone under the sun whom you love in general.
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