Saturday, January 23, 2010

Dear Proverbs 31 Woman,

How did you do it all?

Oh, wait.

You had servant girls.


Friday, January 22, 2010

About a "Blank"

13 days.

That is how long Rachel's favorite "blank" has been missing.

It's gone missing before but we've always known where it could be found. For example, we knew it was in the house somewhere. Or we knew we left it at church.

This time?

I know that it is gone forever.

We had gone to the bowling alley to drop Garrett off at a party. Then to Michael's and on to the library. And finally back to the bowling alley to pick up Garrett.

I have checked with each place and torn the van apart. I even walked the aisles of Michael's checking behind things on shelves.

I was absolutely sick over it. The thought that we would never have it back crushed me.

Her "blank" went everywhere that she did. It was with her when she went in for her surgery. It was made out of the fabric and binding that Garrett had chosen for her when I was pregnant with her. And in the last almost 4 years, it has become a part of her.

I have prayed about this missing "blank."

And God answered with a sweet reminder that I have my little girl. I cried thinking about the mom's who are holding baby blankets and missing sweet babies.

So. The "blank" is gone. It stinks. But I have my little girl.

With a new focus and great peace, I dug through my fabric bin and found the scrap I had left of the original material. We headed out today on a mission. We stopped for a happy meal with Grandma first and then hit the fabric section of Walmart. Why Walmart? Well, that's where the original fabric came from and a little piece of my heart was hoping they would still have it.

They didn't.

But that's okay.

Here's a summary of our shopping trip.

Red thread: $1.49

Blanket Binding: $3.98

1/2 yard of the fabric Rachel chose: $1.49

Making a replacement "blank" while my girl looked on: PRICELESS!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My New Cardio Workout and Heart Chart

This morning a friend picked Rachel up for our Thursday playgroup. Emily and I spent a lazy couple of hours just hanging out and then she almost took a morning nap for me. She didn't, of course, probably because she was afraid I would be lonely. She's thoughtful like that.

So, with my little shadow following, I attempted to get some cleaning done. I organized papers. She tried to eat one. I dusted and cleaned the computer desk. She tried to eat the dust cloth. I swept the kitchen, the entryway, and the computer room. She tried to eat everything I swept up.

Anymore, she is quite fast! Sweeping has become a sport. As soon as she sees the broom in my hand, the race is on. Today, it occurred to me that I have to sweep so fast to stay ahead of her that I'm really getting a workout!

So, if you ask me if I have been exercising lately, I will answer "yes!" I got a cardio workout just this morning.

Also this morning, I took the time to finally hang our "Heart Chart" up on the wall.

What's a "Heart Chart?"

I'm so glad you asked.

One thing that I find difficult about raising 5 kids is that if I'm not careful, I can spend an entire day being negative. Someone is always in trouble. Or about to be. Sometimes, the good that one child is doing gets overlooked because at the moment I'm prying a weapon from Rachel's hand. (And by "weapon" I mean, whatever toy it is that she is using to beat on Garrett.)

In an effort to make sure I focus on praising good behavior and not just on the discipline, I created what Aidan has named, "The Heart Chart."

It's just a simple piece of poster board with a Bible verse and many, many hand drawn hearts. Together we memorize the verse. The first few charts were verses related to how God asks us to treat each other. The verse we are memorizing now is Deuteronomy 5:16 "Honor your father and your mother as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and it will go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you."

Then when Gary and I "catch" one of the kids doing something that honors us, we point it out and praise them for it. Then they get a sticker to place over one of the hearts.

When all of the hearts have been covered with stickers, and everyone can say the verse from memory, the whole family gets a reward. This time, the reward we are looking forward to is a night at the movie theater!

I like that we have something that keeps us focused on the positive. I like that we have something that draws attention to good deeds. In a house with 5 kids it is too easy for negative behavior to become the easiest way to get attention. I also like that they are learning that the rules we have for them are not our rules, but God's.

Monday, January 11, 2010

You're Gonna Miss This...Moment...#5

I've decided to spend a few more minutes avoiding work around the house and play along with Pam's blog carnival! Check out her blog to see what other moms are going to miss!

For me, I have been enjoying making baby food again. It's so yummy and colorful! And this time around will probably be my last so I'm definitely enjoying it. Soon, Emily will be asking for mac-n-cheese and swedish pancakes with everyone else.

I'm gonna miss this...

New Week's Resolution

Yes, "week's."

I have never been real big on New Year's resolutions. (I'm not even very big on celebrating "New Years"...I'm more of the "woo-hoo...can I go to bed now?" kind of girl, though I love any excuse to hang out with family and friends and this year we were blessed to have friends over on New Year's Eve as they passed through town!)

I think the last time I made a New Year's resolution was New Year's Eve 2001. I declared that in the year 2002 I was going to get in shape. Instead, I took a pregnancy test and, well, I did get into a shape...round.

So this year, I once again, did not make a New Year's resolution.

But I still have goals. And I really do want to achieve them.

So. I'm going to make new week's resolutions this year. Attainable baby steps.

The last time I tried to read through the Bible in a year, I made it through September. I was so close. Actually I quit when morning sickness started.

My goal this time is to read through the Old Testament in a year and study the New Testament.

Gary and I had listened to a John MacArthur sermon where he talked about reading a New Testament book each day for 30 days to really learn it and be familiar with it and know it. We are starting with 1 John in January. And Gary counted up all the chapters of the Old Testament and figured out if you read 4 chapters a day you can finish in a year (or just under). I've decided to try to read 5 chapters a day because I know full well that there are days I will miss. It's just going to happen.

So. My New Week's Resolutions for this week are:

Be in the Word 4 mornings this week. (Baby steps, remember?)
Clean out my refrigerator and 1 closet.
Paint something.

Happy New Week everyone!

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Review and a Preview

Another year behind us. Another year stretches out before us.

It's easy to miss all of the changes happening gradually right before my eyes. But here in the early days of a new year I can look back over the last 365 days and am amazed by all that last year brought us.

A year ago, Gary and I were beginning 2009 with a marriage restored. We started the year wondering. Wondering who the new little one would be that was due to be born into our family in June. Wondering how God planned to use us to help others who were walking through the same struggles He had brought us through.

And here I sit, looking back over 2009. That new little one is of course, Emily, who is laughing at her toys just a few feet from me now. Born, not in June, but in May. On my mother's birthday! And boy did God have plans! Gary and I both became closer to a couple we had known who separated early in 2009. We were blessed to be a part of the church family that rallied around both of them and lifted them up in prayer, and then rejoiced with them as their walk with God grew and their marriage was restored! God also brought couples into our lives that are still struggling in their relationships. And we continue to fight with them to keep satan from destroying any more homes.

With Emily's arrival the end of May, I chose to take a year off from serving in the preschool sunday school. And was blessed to be able to spend the sunday school hour with Gary in the ABF (adult bible fellowship) where he was given the opportunity to teach 4 of the lessons. As we enter this new year, Gary is teaching the January lessons from the Purity Principle by Randy Alcorn. And I'm looking forward to starting teaching again in June. I was working with 3 year olds and hope to stay with that age! I am also very excited about our winter women's bible study starting in February. I always love our bible studies. We have the greatest godly women at our church who are willing to lead us younger women! This next study I've invited 2 of my neighbors to join me for a new Mom's study! It will be focused on what God's word has to say about being a wife and mother and will be much lighter on the homework than the normal studies. I love a good Beth Moore bible study but I've got to be honest...adding Emily to my day has made my life quite full!

On the kid front, last year Aly finished her last year as an elementary student. She started her summer becoming a big sister...again! And in the fall, she walked through the doors of the middle school. (Let me pause to shed a tear or two.) She got a new sweatshirt and a computer mouse on Christmas morning and was happy enough with her gifts...and then as we were cleaning up, the Christmas tree rang. Her first phone call on her first cell phone! (One more pause for tears. Okay.) I think 12 is way too young for a cell phone...but when we stopped to consider what a great thing it will be to threaten to take away when she's in trouble, and the fact that it doesn't cost us more each month and the phone was only $ was the perfect time!

In 2010, my little girl who first made me a mom, will become an official teenager! Yikes! Who knows what else God has in store for her this year!

Aidan spent the first half of last year surviving 2nd grade. Let me first say that I liked, and still do like, his 2nd grade teacher very much. That being said, it was not a good year for Aidan. Many prayers were said for him and especially over the summer as we waited to hear who is teacher would be for 3rd grade. And God greatly blessed him with our favorite teacher of all time (Aly had her in 3rd grade as well)! He wrapped up the year 2009 maturing and excelling in school. He is taking piano lessons and working so very hard to master his skateboard and the new snowboard he got this Christmas.

In 2010, my little man will turn double digits! He will soon find out if the artwork he drew will be chosen from among the 14 finalists as the design for the school yearbook cover! And come fall, he will leave behind his first elementary school to enter 4th grade!

Garrett was a half-day kindergartner when 2009 started and a full-day 1st grader when it ended. His Kindergarten teacher adored him and he had a wonderful year! His 1st grade year has started off just the same! I do miss our afternoons with him :o(. I am so grateful that our school district was still half-day kindergarten in 09. He adores his new baby sister and can always get a smile or laugh from her!

In 2010 Garrett will finally be old enough to go to summer camp. Just a half week this year but he can't wait! The kids have gone to the same camp I went to when I was a kid. Last year, however, no one went. The money wasn't there and Miss Emily was due the week that camp would have been. It wasn't meant to be. But 2010 should see 3 happy campers!

Rachel had a very big year in 2009. She turned 3 and got a big girl bed. She got her first opportunity (and only!) to be a big sister! She started the year dancing with a "princess" at my cousins wedding and ended the year beating the family at Wii boxing :o) She worked on colors, numbers, and started her letters for home school preschool. I'm still not decided if I want to sign her up for pre-school screening in February. It makes me a little nervous but I'm curious to see if she's where they think she should be. I've got a little more time to decide.

What 2010 has in store for Rachel is not the question. The question is what does Rachel have in store for 2010!

And our littlest family member. She wasted half of last year growing in the womb. She's making up for that though! She let us know that she was a girl on Gary's mom's birthday. Grandma Karen would have loved her! And loved that we gave her the name Emily (she had really wanted us to use the name Emily!)! Emily was due on my birthday, born on my mom's birthday, in room number 201...her daddy's birthday! She's a pretty special little girl! She started rolling around the room and pulling herself forward before she turned 5 months old! She started officially crawling and sitting herself up the next month. She's got things to do, places to go and apparently didn't get the memo that, as my last baby, she is supposed to slow down and let me enjoy her infancy a little bit longer! She got lots of cute jammies, and her first baby doll for Christmas. And Santa brought her hair clips which she desperately needed!

In 2010 she will be walking. And I guess she decided that she'd better get right on that because she took her first steps, holding on to me and the towels I was folding, on January 2nd! She desperately wants to enroll herself in Stair Climbing 101 but I keep kicking her out of that class. She will celebrate her first birthday this year and if we get to actually enjoy some hot summer weather (unlike 2009) then I'm looking forward to introducing her to our pool!

Well, that's enough looking back and looking ahead. Right now, I need to pack up Candy Land and bundle a couple girls up to go grocery shopping. That's what lies ahead in our immediate future :o)