What have I been up to? Goodness gracious, it’s been a while. I’ll be perfectly honest, I have been up to a lot. For starters, I grew another person:
I know, he’s all kinds of adorable. He’s bigger than this now. He was born in January. Four months old now. Time really flies. You can call him Smiley.
This is the happiest kid I’ve ever met. He is so chill. God really blessed me with an easygoing baby. Because the last one- ALL BOY. In a wonderful and beautiful way, but wow. When mama’s favorite thing is to sit down and enjoy a cup off coffee in the kitchen without interruptions (HAHAHA THAT IS HILARIOUS) and number three wants to figure out how the screen door opens… Yeah… sitting down doesn’t happen much.
But Number Four- Smiley, if you will- I thank God for the gift of him. He is so content. And at four months, he’s not crawling like Number Three was.
Yes, I said four months. He was also walking at seven months. My poor husband. Big Guy (which is also hilarious that I named him Big Guy for this blog because he is the smallest out of all the kids) is the busiest boy I know. He is in to EVERYTHING. My life is never boring, for sure. Just a peek into his shenanigans:
Yep, our tiny family is now not so tiny. It’s wonderful and busy and crazy and loud and messy and all of those things wrapped up in a big bow of blessings. It takes up most of my time, energy and brain power raising and teaching and cleaning up after these little humans. But it’s incredibly worth it.
Two days into our Challenge to Read All The Books this month, and I realized I need to step it up! This is a short month! And there are hundreds of books to read! Nevertheless, we read 9 more books today! (16 down, over 200 to go! I’m not going to count them, I’ll do that after we’ve read them all!)
Disclosure: This post also contains some affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive advertising fees.
These are the books we read today, along with a short little review and our rating:
The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons: This is a neat little story written by Gail Gibbons that tells about Arnold and his apple tree. It’s not like other books by the same author where it’s just information. It’s neat to see it in a story format. It still has some science information. Bubba liked this one- there were quite a few aspects he was able to compare to real life. (5 stars)
Jump, Frog, Jump! by Robert Kalan: A story of a frog, and how it escapes from many predators. This is one of my favorites, and I just love having the children participate in this story, yelling, “jump, frog, jump!” along with me as I read. I used to read this to the kids in daycare. We even made frog hats and jumped around the house. (5 stars)
If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff: What happens if you take a mouse to school? You’ll be running all over the place! I love the If you… books. I don’t know that we’ll be reading this one much, however, only because we homeschool and it’s only a little bit relatable. We’ll probably keep it on the shelf, but it probably won’t be one of our go-to books. (5 stars)
Rainbow Fish ABC by Marcus Pfister: Not really a story book, as much as the alphabet on pages decorated with Rainbow Fish characters. Definitely not in Bubba’s age group, but a cute review- especially if you like Rainbow Fish. (4 stars)
Truck by Donald Crews: I have to admit, we’ve had this book for quite a while, and I’ve never read it. I sat down to read this one, and quickly realized it is a wordless picture book! Bubba and I had some fun looking at the illustrations, talking about how the scenarios are similar to his daddy’s job, and recognizing street signs. I normally wouldn’t rate this one as high, but it had a personal relevance to Bubba, so it gets (4 stars).
Stargazers by Gail Gibbons: This was a classic Gail Gibbons book on a fun science topic. I liked it because even though it covered astronomy, my four year old son got something out of it. He wasn’t too thrilled with the book, but it’s got some neat pictures, and can open doors to a lot of learning! (4 stars)
Can You See What I See? Toys by Walter Wick: We really enjoyed looking for the hidden images in this book. Not a lot of literary content, but the pictures are really fun to look at! (5 stars)
God Made You Special by Jennifer Holder: This is a quick read, encouraging for kids, letting them know that whoever they are, God loves them. I did, however alter the content while reading. The book gave two examples of what made a person special- neither of which Bubba enjoys, so I improvised and said “playing with trucks” and all was well. (3 stars)
This week went by fairly quickly. It wasn’t an outstanding week, nor was it a boring week. But it’s over, and here comes family time, Peanut’s last basketball game of the season (whew!) and the chance to prepare for another week with my beautiful children.
Monday came the introduction of the new math program we’re using. School went well- and so quickly, and I’ve gotten completely sidetracked from doing preschool with Bubba.
Tuesday was the Pajama Party and movie day with our homeschool group. After trying to figure out the technology and which computer would work with a DVD and be compatible with the church’s AV system, we found that we wouldn’t be able to watch the VeggieTales movie that I had brought. No fear, though, we just streamed Netflix. Gotta love Netflix.
Wednesday came the next installment of our Pursuit-For-The-Perfect-Curriculum. Spelling Power arrived, and I kind of dove right in to the placement for Peanut. I’m thinking I’ll be giving the Manual an hour of my time this weekend and perhaps even watch the DVD that comes with it to explain the process. I’m fairly confident I’ve placed her correctly (I did follow those steps to the letter,) I just need to solidify my idea of how the program actually works.
Thursday was a different kind of day. I think the whole Nesting complex is combining with my utter exhaustion of this winter, and I wrote out a three page list of all the things I want done around the house. But I started in Bubba’s room. Shame on me for not taking pictures. But imagine taking out every. single. toy. from his room and piling them up in the living room. Picture a 4-foot by 3-foot pile about two and a half feet high. It disgusted me that he had so many things in his room. (I am so leaning towards minimalism sometimes.)
Then I vacuumed and shampooed the carpets. Then we went to the pile (and I had to stop Bubba from jumping into the pile for fear of hurting himself and crushing his things) and we organized everything. Peanut brought up two boxes from the basement- one for Doesn’t Belong in His Room, and one for Not Keeping Any More. We sorted all the things, making a pile for all the toys that went back in his room. Then we methodically placed his toys back. I dug out a basket for the cars, the dinos went back into their bucket, all the Pirate toys went on the correct shelves, and I brought back the toddler bookshelf from daycare days.
Now, his room is delightful and much easier to clean. We’ll see how it is next week.
Today was another up-in-the-air day. At 8:30, I called my sister to see if they’d had breakfast yet. Then I told her I was coming for her four year old, and I took him and my two kids to McDonald’s for sausage and the Playplace. They played for over an hour. I also met a nice lady with two little boys. One of which was a Cheetah who wanted to attack any children he saw playing. Fun times. I mentioned something about homeschooling to her, and she asked me some questions about it, saying she was thinking about homeschool for her older boy. I had the thought that I wish it were that easy to drop comments about my faith and witness to people like that. Because Moms who want to homeschool are almost like people searching for God sometimes. They’re afraid to ask, afraid to commit, afraid to jump off the public school bridge. If only we could be so bold to share a little about Jesus like we do with our school choices.
After McD’s, we stopped by the grocery store, and then home, where Peanut finished school in an hour. Wait, is that right? Yep, an hour. What did I do here? I switched math and spelling, and now school takes an hour? I feel like I’m missing something, or I’ve forgotten a subject somewhere in my closet… Maybe it’s because we’re nearing the end of our My Father’s World year, and things are just slowing down.
Looking forward to next week, and hoping to find ways to make it GREAT!
As I watch my 3 year smile and ask me countless inquisitive questions about every item in our surroundings this morning, I am fighting the urge to hush him. His sister is trying to finish her math so that we can get on our way out the door for a play date with their cousins.
And then he takes the lids off his puzzles and tells me they are going to be sleds for his feet in the snow. I look at him and say, “You mean skis?” “Oh. Yeah. They are my skis.” I just slowly gaze at him, watching him smile at his imaginative accomplishment as he slips and slides around the dining room on his makeshift skis. Then all of a sudden I remember that I probably shouldn’t allow him to step on the lids of his puzzle boxes.
But why not? The poor kid has been trapped in the house for over a week, the frigid cold preventing any kind of outside play. Why can’t he come up with something that will entertain him and release some energy? Why am I always so drawn to corralling my children into what I want them to be, into how I want them to behave?
In that brief moment of clarity, I decide to just give up.
I give up trying to mold my children into carbon copies of myself. They have their own personalities and their own ideas of “fun” and “play”.
I give up trying to curb their imaginations because “that’s not how we behave in the house” or “that’s not on our schedule”.
I give up feeling like I should have rigid rules and beating myself up because I can’t get my kids to obey them. (Aside from the essentials like loving one another, obeying God’s Word, and no drinks on the carpet. Those are all a given.)
I give up having a set time for school to start. A lot of times, 9:00am just isn’t going to cut it. Especially with a new little one coming this summer.
I give up harboring a feeling of failure on my part and frustration with my beautiful children.
I’m giving it all up. This isn’t what mothering is about. Motherhood shouldn’t be a battle, and sometimes, I feel like the battle is with myself. Or I’m making up struggles with my children, but really, they just want to be themselves.
I’m not giving up parenting, or Biblical correction. I’m not giving up instruction or guidance. What I’m giving up is controlling my children because they aren’t what I want them to be, or they aren’t behaving exactly as I wish, or they aren’t doing something how I would have them do it. My controlling nature has caused so much frustration in our days, and caused me to resent certain parts of our days because I dread the struggles with getting my children to “do it right”. But no more. I GIVE IT UP.
What I hope is that giving up these things listed above, I am making more room for joy, for love, for relationships, and for the beauty in the lives God has given me to raise.
With the bitter cold temperatures, we have not ventured outside of the house much this past week. After Christmas and New Years, we stepped back in to school on Thursday. Friday, we slipped back into Holiday Mode.
Today was a little of both. This mama wasn’t feeling too hot, so I stayed on the couch while Peanut did some bookwork. Bubba got to experience his first phonological success, as we read the first book in the Progressive Phonics Alphabetti Series. The look on his face was priceless when I told him he sounded out the word “dog”. (Although, I’m fairly certain the retention isn’t there, and we’ll have to read this book a few dozen more times for him to grasp the concept.)
I also opened up an account on Khan Academy to make math skills a little more fun for Peanut. She enjoyed having goals, and seeing her progress. Hopefully we can make this a regular activity and encourage more joy in math.
All in all, I consider this day a success when Bubba is happily playing in his room with his Jake and The Neverland Pirates toys, and Peanut is sitting in her room reading Nancy Drew: The Bungalow Mystery.
I will start with April, since I did happen to post up through last March.
April: Peanut turned 7 years old and wanted a “Rainbow Party”. Many friends came, and they all had a blast.
May: My twin sister and I had a quick three day trip back to San Diego to support our sister in the loss of her daughter at 30 weeks gestation.
June: Wonderful news, I was pregnant, and so thrilled.
July: My twin sister and I hosted a yard sale, Peanut had a very successful lemonade sale, and the next day I had some concerns, which resulted in an ultrasound. The test showed one healthy baby and one “non-viable egg sac”. One week later a follow up ultrasound at about 6 weeks, and both babies had not survived. Oh. And I turned 30.
August: Three weeks after the devastating news, I finally miscarried. I was hospitalized due to blood loss. It took me three weeks to build my blood levels back I up to where I could stand for more than a few minutes, and clean my house. We also started second grade for Peanut. And I made a wedding cake for my neighbor. (Probably shouldn’t have done that- healthwise.)
September: I took on the role of co-teacher for our homeschool group.
October: Bubba turned 3; we celebrated with a Pirate Party. Bubba and his cousin dressed up as Jake and Captain Hook for Halloween.
November: I announced to the Facebook world that I was 12 weeks pregnant! (yes, again! the pregnancy in the summer wasn’t announced nor was the miscarriage, other than to family and close friends at church)
December: I honestly can’t believe it’s over already, but we reflected on the gift of God’s Son, made over 20 dozen cookies and enjoyed family and friends.
So, 2013 was truly an eventful year. It was filled with grief and sorrow, but also with wonderful memories, beautiful family moments, and so much love. I learned, last year, that God is faithful, no matter our Earthly circumstances. That submitting to His will brings about peace I couldn’t even imagine. I learned many things about myself, about my faith, and about my limitations. And I can honestly say that it was a good year. Not because of what happened during the year, but because the year was given to me as a gracious gift. And because I am a different person than I was last January.
Well, I gave blogging a shot last year. I went all the way through March. Then life hit. Hard. I will tell the story of my past year in a later post. I promise.
This post, however, is a happier post.
Welcome, 2014! The kids decorated last night, Peanut had a friend stay over, and Bubba even stayed up until 11:45!
I’m not a sentimental person when it comes to new years. I don’t usually set resolutions, and I’m really not good at remembering what they are. By January 7, I forget that I even set them, usually.
But it is a good starting point to get back into this website! (Thanks to whomever it was who started following me, which reminded me how far behind I was on this, which prompted me to reset my password and get on here!)
Some verses to ponder as you all embark on one more year:
No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not as I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and recieve the prize for which God, through Jesus Christ, is calling us up to heaven.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Life has definitely whizzed by. And a lot has gone on.
Today we are getting back in to the routine of school. Tomorrow we are going to a Valentine’s/ 100 Days of School Party with our homeschool group. We are all excited about it.
Yesterday we made valentines:
I gave Peanut full creative license on hers. She decided to add her own artistic touches with glitter glue and ball point pen.
Bubba and I worked together on his. He loved the stickers.
Today, we counted out 100 goldfish and 100 chocolate chips for the group trail mix, and 100 crayons for show and tell. Peanut was shocked that we had 100 crayons, and was amazed at how small of a pile it really was.
This afternoon we will be making cupcakes and cookies to bring to the party. (I’ll post pictures when they’re done!)
I have been working hard the past week crocheting a blanket for a friend who is about to have a baby. It took me four attempts to get the width right, and I feel like it’s still shrinking. It could be the yarn I chose, but I think it’s the variation in my tension with each row. I should be done by now!
Bubba thinks it’s his blanket, even though I told him it was for his friend’s new baby sister. He keeps taking it and wrapping it around himself, which pulls out some stitches. Ah, but he’s so cute putting the blanket over his little toes.
I am so excited, however, that my dining room has FINALLY gotten the second (and last) coat, and I can hang my pictures back on my walls! I am so relieved that it’s done, and I can check that off my list!
Saturday was Peanut’s first basketball game of the season. She has gotten really good at making baskets. She was “so super excited” to play her game.
She’s been working on her dribbling, and trying to be able to dribble without looking at the ball. She’s improving, too.
The game showed a lot of areas where we need to work on. Like, explaining to her *how* a game actually works. Tonight’s practice was promising, though. And she was playing defense amazingly in the scrimmage. She also was paying attention as to when to switch to offense. So this Saturday’s game should be fun.
My Tuesday Morning Bible study has been really convicting. When Jeff and I came together to decide that closing my child care would be the best decision for our family, I was very encouraged that: A) we made a decision together as a unified husband and wife; and B) Jeff would be encouraged that I could actually give him the space he needed to lead our family in the financial realm of life.
This was a HUGE step for me to take because I like to be in control. Of our money, of planning, setting goals, of everything. And God has been teaching me that HE is ultimately in control, and I NEED TO LET HIM DO HIS JOB.
I realized, by studying pride and humility, that I was trying to take back control of our life, and searching for ways I can work in some child care clients to make some extra money. Which is basically telling God, “You’re in control. I know that you’ll work things out. In the meantime, I’ll try to fix this on my own. I don’t trust you 100%”
I am a work in progress, you know.
On a lighter note, I loaded up on these today. Guess why.
Bubba is doing amazingly well, and much better than I expected. Is it wrong of me to have low expectations for a 27 month old boy in terms of potty training? I only began this endeavor because he kept coming up to me and saying, “Mama! I pooped! Change me!” I figured I’ll give it a day or two, and if it fails miserably (which it still could) then we won’t speak of it again, and try another time.
He had zero accidents today. Until I left him in the care of his Daddy while taking Peanut to B-Ball practice, during which he peed in his underwear two times. And I got an exasperated phone call asking me where all the underwear was. Which is why you see the above. I stopped at Family Dollar and picked up a couple extra sets and some pull-ups for the church nursery on my way home tonight.
(excuse the poor image, my phone was the closest thing I could grab at this moment)
There is a bug in our house, and I have caught the brunt of it. My head aches, my chest feels full, my sinuses are loaded with pressure, and right now I feel like I’m on a commercial, talking to a smiling pharmacist in their white lab coat and fake smile. You know which commercial I’m talking about, right? The one where they point us viewers to aisle five.
Except I don’t like to take medicine. I can’t wrap my mind around taking a pill to stop a symptom my body obviously needed to create. I don’t know why I think my body wants every sinus in my head to be filled with mucus that’s just stuck there not moving, but I do. It goes along with the thinking that medicating a fever is a no-no. Or maybe it goes way, way past that thinking.
I did take that Emergen-C stuff that tastes like chalky, fizzy, raspberry chalk-water. A few times in the past few days. And I got worse.
But, I will count my blessings. Jeff came home today and told me that he was sick with a stomach bug. All I can say is, I’m glad I’m not puking. And I will only baby him if he stays home from work. (Which he said he won’t do.)
During this sick day, I didn’t get any chores done. But the sheets I ordered for my bed came from Amazon today (yay for two sets of sheets now!), so I managed to throw those in the washer.
I took the kids to the library for Preschool Story Time. It was a nice 1/2 hour where I didn’t have to think about anything.
Peanut just took a math test, copy work, and Bible Devotion, so it really didn’t take any effort from me.
Bubba played with the Fisher Price Farmhouse I dug out of the closet the other day (I still think it’s hilarious that he tells me it’s our new toy. It’s older than he is.) and he played with that most of the day. I put my bucket of animals with it. So there were lions and sharks and cows and elephants and snakes in the farm. We did, however, have a very educational discussion about what animals belong on the farm.
Lunch was macaroni with shredded cheese. When Jeff got home, we watched The Lorax, and then we fed the kids leftover pizza and put them to bed.
I really wish I didn’t feel so crummy. I missed a really great Bible Study with the girls from church tonight. We are studying Lies Women Believe, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
Perhaps I will feel refreshed and renewed tomorrow and I can get my chores done, buy AAA batteries, do some cooking, and finish up Peanut’s school week with time to spare.