Monday, January 31, 2011

Thank You for Comments

I've gotten really bad about responding to blog comments.  But I do appreciate them and thoughtfully read them.  I'm sorry for those of you going through heartpains with divorce and thankful for those of you who shared Date-Night ideas and cheering you on if you have little children and identify with this mommy's hard days.  I don't want to close off comments on this blog so that you do feel free to share and add your thoughts to my posts and I appreciate those thoughts.  But do understand I may never respond.  Oftentimes, I mean to and forget.  My brain gets mushier and mushier with each baby that I have.  If you have a burning question to ask me, you will likely have to ask 2 or 3 times before I remember to answer it.  Just a heads up!
Thanks for reading here!

On Motherhood

Some days being a mommy to little ones is fun.  Some days it's not.  Some days I feel like I have everything under control.  Many days I feel tossed about on waves of endless chores and demands, with very little control, if any.
Some days I feel like I get amazing amounts of chores and tasks accomplished.  Other days it feels like I'm walking with concrete shoes and can barely get a single thing done.

But life goes on!  And I remind myself that this is a season.
I love babies and have always been the type who begs to hold them wherever I go.
I love making baby gifts and taking pics of babies, cuddling babies, and having babies that are all my own.
But this go-around with a fourth baby has truly left me so wiped out that the other day I exclaimed to my husband, "I'm sooooooo over babies!  I cannot wait until Katri turns two!"
I finally understand one of my best friends' who doesn't like the baby stage.  Perhaps it's the fact that all of my children are small and needy or that our fourth is our most demanding baby or that I've just changed enough diapers and lost enough sleep in the last 6 years to bring me to an awakening.  But as much as I enjoy tiny toes, chubby thighs, darling smiles, baby cuddles, teensy giggles, pink dresses, and the wonder of gazing at my tiny beauty and cooing at her, I sigh with relief, knowing this stage will fly by and there will come a day when life is easier.
Life is never easy.  There will always be trials.  There will be other issues, like whining, fighting, sassing, and learning to obey.  There will always be endless amounts of work to be done to maintain life and home and house and school.  There will be concerns over choices they are making as they become independent, and their safety when they aren't with me.
But life will be easier in many ways.
I have a dream that one day all of my children will be able to use the restroom and clean themselves.
I have a dream that one day they will begin to clean up after themselves more than they make a mess. 
I have a dream that they will sleep soundly all night long, never waking me and will complain when I finally must wake them up in the morning, after I've enjoyed an hour of quiet time and a cup of coffee.
When they don't need to be lugged around in a huge carseat.
When I can enjoy a Ladies Night Out without bringing a nursing baby along.
When they get their own breakfast.
When they prepare lunch.
When they do the laundry and mow the grass.
When they don't cry, whine, or scream hysterically when they don't get their way.
When they won't fall down and get cuts and bruises continually, daily.
Ahhh......the thought!
I don't want to rush this stage because I adore when my little blonde 2-year old begs to be held and hear his favorite stories, or when my 4-year old boy talks with a lisp and shows me the airplane he made, or when my almost-6-year-old sounds out the letters of a word in her easy-reader book.  I love their energy, exuberance, and the way they delight over simple pleasures.  I love watching them learn and grow and I don't want to rush this stage.
But life will be easier someday soon.
And when they day comes I will stretch out my hand to a weary young mom and ask her to drop her kids off for an afternoon.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I am thrilled to have discovered 

There was a day when I enjoyed shopping and finding all the deals.  That day has died!  If you've ever dragged 4 small children through Walmart by yourself on a marathon shopping trip, keeping in mind that Walmart is 30 miles away from our home, you will understand why.

The other day Crystal from MoneySavingMom mentioned a deal where you can get $10 off an order at if you have ordered from before.  $10 off sounded like a great deal to me, especially since there was no minimum order.  I had ordered some Robeez for Katri for $10 with a free shipping deal at a month before Christmas so, I figured I'd get $10 worth of product and end up only paying $5 of shipping which is a great deal.  However, I began noticing that their prices are really good on many things that I normally buy.  I noticed that if you buy $25 worth of products, 2-day shipping is free.  I noticed that Tom's of Maine deodorant, which my husband loves, is only $4.50 instead of $7.50 (what it costs in our town).  Their Kleenex, bath products, laundry soap products like Borax, etc. are all at comparable or cheaper prices than what I normally buy.  They also accept manufacter's coupons, which you can mail in to be applied to your account.  And so I've decided that from now on, I will be making a monthly order from  I can easily spend $25 on toilet paper, laundry soap, Aveeno lotion, vitamins, kleenex, medicine etc. in a month so I will be getting it through this site and will save myself the work of choosing it in the store, and hauling it home.  This will simplify my weekly grocery store trips.  I also get $10 referral credit if friends buy something from using my code.  My friends save 15% for using my code, so it's a win-win situation.

If you live in a city, you may be able to find better deals than what has to offer.  But if you live in Wyoming, you will love this online ordering thing and it can save you gas money, not to mention several hours spent traveling to the nearest Walmart. often has some good deals or coupon codes too that beat the local prices on diapers too.

So, check out the site!
If you end up ordering from them, please use my coupon code and save yourself 15%.

The code is HEYA1384

If you've ordered from before but have never ordered from you can use the code 10BUCKSFREE to get $10 off your order.  You can get free shipping by ordering $25 before promo code and then it will take $10 off so you will only pay $15 out of pocket for $25 worth of stuff at regular prices.

Many of you friends and readers of my blog have lots of little children and/or are pregnant, homebound, extremely busy, or live in very cold places where it would make sense to buy stuff from

Monday, January 24, 2011

Date Night

I like to dance.  Be it country swing, line dancing, waltzing, or whatever, I enjoy it.  That's not to say I'm any good or that I know what I'm doing.  But that doesn't stop me.
Upon getting married, I was excited to finally have a dance partner.  After years of choosing not to date around and not going to High School dances, etc. I thought this was my chance!  But alas, my husband does not like to dance!  I did get him to attend a homeschool ball in MT with my relatives once when Ali was a baby and I can usually get him to do one dance with me at a wedding, but he is very stubborn about the subject.  I usually end up dancing with my dad or one of my kids.
So, I was delighted to discover this weekend that although he absolutely will not dance with me in public, Josiah will dance at home!  After beating me at Yahtzee, he let me choose how I wanted to be served (thanks to my poor-loser attitude and the fact that he wins most board games we play we came up with the rule a decade ago that whoever wins has to serve the loser in some way, like doing a chore for them, giving them a massage, etc.) 
I chose dancing around the living room to Sinatra.  We pulled the blinds lest the neighbors be out on a cold, winter night peeping through the windows, turned the lights down low, put on an internet radio channel for Sinatra and Louis Armstrong and had a blast!  And because we live with 4 little people, make that 4 MESSY, little people, we danced upon Duplo blocks and little socks, and tried not to trip over toys and dress-ups strewn about. 
We've always had a Friday night "date night in" to watch movies together but this year one of my goals is to spice up Date Night a little bit.  To get out of the rut of just watching movies together, although we enjoy a good movie.  If anyone has any bright ideas, please share them with me!  Watching a good friend's marriage fall apart has made me realize how blessed I am and how much I don't want to take my marriage for granted.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Goals for 2011

Looking over last year's goals, it's great to see how far the kids have come in just a year.  Jeremiah is whining/crying soooo much less and they are all so much more independent.  Many of my goals didn't come to fruition because of our unexpected baby and unexpected move and purchase of a home.  Five of the six trips I wanted to take didn't happen.  The hardest goals to press on with were my spiritual goals and marriage goals, proving that there is a definite spiritual battle going on over those areas of life.  I had many good books listed to read but didn't get to most of them with how busy our year was.  One of my goals was to step back from planning so many parties/showers last year but due to the fact that I know 54 people who had babies in 2010, I ended up throwing 4 baby showers and attending an additional 5!  I threw 17 birthday parties and had over 150 different guests over for meals!  So, my goal of stepping back was a flop!  But despite the fact that many of my goals were not accomplished, I'm still glad I set them.  Goals give us something to reach for and measure our progress by.

I'm trying to keep my goals pretty simple this year. 


Grow closer to God through prayer (praying before children awake)

Memorize the book of Colossians along with Ann from Holy Experience

Establish "True Bread" as a tradition in our home, which is what I call the practice of reading Scripture at each meal.  We did it some in 2010 but not enough. 

Encourage teen girls' in their faith--whether through a monthly prayer meeting, another modesty night, or just visiting more with them at church.

Host a sewing day to make things for women in Zimbabwe.

Continue helping my friend Amanda do a weekly Pray & Play group for moms.

Motto for me spiritually this year:  "Only speak words that make souls stronger." (from Ann Voskamp)

Go to bed at 11pm except for one "free" night each week
Lose 20 pounds of baby weight by continuing to "weigh-in" with a few of my friends via e-mail each week.

Use cash for grocery budget as much as possible and stay within budget
Save up to buy a DSLR camera (either a Canon Rebel T1i or Nikon D3100)
Use any bonus cash or tax refund to pay down our mortgage faster

Work through the rest of My Father's World 1st Grade Curriculum with Ali
Teach Jeremiah his letters
Continue cleaning job (2 hours a week at a local law firm)
Read everything I can about photography
Learn to use photoshop
Learn to use my new DSLR
Put together a portfolio

Continue our longstanding tradition of Friday night date-nights but find more creative ideas rather than just the usual movie

As much as I hate not doing something for friends to celebrate them, I'm going to try really hard to NOT plan a gazillion parties/showers this year.  Hospitality is my gift but with 4 small children, including a nursing baby, I need to step back.  So, I will give cards and small gifts to friends on their birthdays, or attend parties others are hosting but will not feel personally obligated to make a cake and do a "get-together" for friends' birthdays.  I expect to throw parties for my kids, hubby, and parents, and possibly a baby shower for one friend and my sis-in-law.

I hope we can do 2 weekend camping trips this year and possibly 1 other family vacation, like a trip to Rapid City, SD with Josiah's family

Start back up with the bulk cooking once a month that was such a blessing last year!  I haven't done it for 4 months because of baby and am missing it!

Shop less.  I once enjoyed grocery shopping but the more kids I have, the more tiresome it gets.  I'd love to be able to shop once a month but need to work up to that.  I currently shop once a week.  I hope by the end of the year I am shopping 1-2 times per month (not counting quick milk/produce runs to the store).

Plant my first garden now that we have a home of our own!

Plant grass.

Have Josiah paint the garage and fix the fencing around our yard this summer.

Train the children to do more household chores as part of their daily routine:
Justus-make his bed, clean up toys faster
Jeremiah-set the table, cook, clean faster, load laundry to laundry room, help bring groceries in
Alathia-help with dishes, cook, clean bathrooms, switch laundry, fold laundry
Breastfeed Katrielle until a year
Katrielle is already sleeping through the night so I don't have to make that a goal--HALLELUJAH!!!!
Justus-potty training this summer

Books I'd Like to Read in 2011

A Sweet and Bitter Providence
A Portrait of Calvin
Family Driven Faith
Heaven at Home
Womanly Dominion
Somewhere More Holy
1,000 Gifts
A Charlotte Mason Companion
Respectable Sins
Understood Betsy
Dug Down Deep
The Vine and the Trellis

Things I Expect to See in 2011
Meeting my new nephew--the first child of any of my own siblings--exciting!
Katrielle learning to eat food, crawl, talk, and walk
Lots of friends and family in our home.
Opening our home to missionaries who are traveling through.

This year's motto for our home:
A place where words of grace are spoken.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Things seem to happen in spurts for us.

All of our friends going to college with us.

All of our friends getting married too.

All of us having babies.

All of us having more babies.

And statistics say, that whether Christian or not, 50% of couples will divorce.

So, 7.5 years into marriage, when people supposedly get "itchy" we are beginning to see families crumble.  Three couples so far in the last year.  One close to us.

What do you say to a friend whose whole world has fallen apart?

I ponder these things as I go about my day, tormented.  Grasping to understand.  Feeling the pain of the little ones involved.  Trying to imagine the upheaval.  Praying that God would work.  Snapping at my kids only to realize it's my devastation seeking an outlet.  Wondering who I can talk to.  When a person's appropriate to share the news and offer comfort.  But it seems like gossip to share the news of the death of a marriage.

The death of a marriage.  I never thought it could happen to them.

My "Good King Jo" and I grieve together.  Talk things over for a long time, in shock.  Not usually a cuddler, I find myself inching closer to him in bed and grabbing his hand as I fall asleep.  Thinking about how I can show him how much he means to me tomorrow, this week, this year.....this lifetime.  He's a blessing I often take for granted, especially in these tough days of mothering little ones.  I need to know we're okay, even when the world around us isn't. 

I smile thinking about the goofy ways my other friends' husbands show they love their wives.  Facebook statuses about their wife's "hotness" or a birthday cake that took $30 of ingredients and several hours for him to make her.  Suddenly these little displays of love mean so much.

I pray.  I call.  I offer what little I can, the equivalent of a toy shovel in an avalanche.  She cries as she thanks me.  I cry too.

The road ahead is hard.

But, God is good, and He is at work.  I cling to the hope that just as He saved my parents' marriage, He can save theirs too.

*Out of respect for my friends in these difficult situations, I won't be disclosing personal information or names here so please don't ask.  This post is just an outlet for my grief.*

Friday, January 7, 2011

Christmas Company Re-Cap

The visit with my husband's family for Christmas was okay. And I'm not even kidding!!! There were lots of toys, good food and conversation, cousins who never see each other getting to bond and play all day, getting to know our little nephew who is now 1 and exploring and celebrating together. All in all, in spite of the fact that Katri would not nap at all while company was here and was up a lot at night, I have to say it was the best visit I've ever had with my in-laws. I planned extremely simple meals and took short-cuts wherever I could (store-bought rolls, muffins, pies, veggie trays, shredded cheese, etc.) and my sis-in-law and mother-in-law helped out as much as they could. My mother-in-law almost always does dishes 5 times a day when she visits and she cleaned up after every meal this time so that was a blessing, as were the stacks of paper plates we went through!

After the typical visit with Josiah's family, I end up feeling extremely angry with my kids and like a failure of a parent. Part of it is the fact that the kiddoes get really excited with having or being company and the long drive to MN probably plays into it, but they have usually been on their worst possible behavior around Josiah's folks. Which stinks a lot because his folks were super strict with their kids and don't recall their kids ever acting that way. I think my kids sense my nervousness and act up even more around them.

But other than Ali thinking she was crowned the queen of all the cousins and ordering them around left and right (anyone have tips on making a kid less bossy?) they were pretty great and Jer has stopped whining so much (something I've noticed in the last few months and have been delighted about and was also pointed out by my father-in-law). They got to show more of their true colors this time. And it turns out our nephew who we thought was perfect and who has never misbehaved one iota in our presence does have a sin nature and throw tantrums and fits, and fights with his brother just like our kids! What a breath of fresh air it was to see that! I love him all the more now! And he has a really strong-willed little brother who is just like Ali at that age--delightfully cute and extremely smart but with a mind of his own! So the playing field has been considerably leveled for us at family functions. (Even as a baby our nephew barely cried.)

I actually came away from this visit thinking it would be fun to get together again with Josiah's family and also having an incredible appreciation for my kids. My kids are wonderful! My kids are flexible! My kids are servant-hearted! They were so anxious to see their cousins they were willing to do anything to be accommodating. They told everyone we saw in town, strangers or not, about their cousins coming and they talked about how they would share all their toys. Ali gave up her room and drew pictures for all of the guests to put on their pillows. Jer was eager to show his cousin who is his age all of his favorite things and he likes him so much that even when cousin was biting him, playfully but still painfully, he said, with a smile, "That's okay, he can do that!" (We'll work on boundaries later! I'm just so excited to see how open-hearted my kids are!) My kids sleep anywhere, whether in a car or hotel room or different room of our house, travel well, and don't have to live and die by the schedule. They have a routine but it can be flexed at any time for Christmas dinner or a special playdate, or having company, etc. We've lived so many places and had so many varied experiences in their young lives, including them each having 3 siblings, that they are really easy-going kids. And I love that about them!

I can't help but think that the worst is behind us. Every visit will get easier as kids get older and better at self-control and all the cousins are beyond napping stage. I will never have to host another visit while pregnant or in the newborn phase. I did the best I could and I know if I can survive that, I can survive anything!
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