February 25, 2007

Charis's List

Charis is a Born List Maker, just like her mom! Awhile ago I found the following list on her art desk, where she had been making Valentine's cards. She has 6 things to do with the first 4 tasks crossed through...I think she lost the list amidst her creative mess before she could cross off the last two items. Here's what she wrote:

Make haets. [hearts]
Make peple.
Drae on haet. [Draw on heart.]
Cut it owt.
Tape it.

I love it! I just know someday she'll do the same thing I do--add tasks to her to-do lists that she's already done just so she can cross them off and feel the satisfaction of having accomplished so much!

A Few Pictures

It's been ages since I got any pictures up on the blog, so here are some for your viewing pleasure.

Here's a picture of Charis with her new glasses! She's doing a good job of remembering to take them off when she's reading or doing close-up work. Doesn't she look adorable?!

Charis and Tobin enjoy some time with Daddy on the floor!

OK, finally a pregnant picture. This is at 37 weeks, the night Ted and I went out for our Valentine's date. We went to the Melting Pot and enjoyed cheese fondue appetizers, salad, and a yummy chocolate Oreo fondue dessert tray. Then we went to see the movie Music and Lyrics, which I won't necessarily recommend because of various sins on display, but I have to say we laughed our heads off throughout most of the movie. Most people who lived through the 80s would likely appreciate the humor in this romantic comedy.

It's a Girl Thing...

Last night Charis and I enjoyed a girls' movie night. The boys were in bed by 6:45 p.m.! This is partly because they needed the rest--Arden was up at the crack of dawn and told me he wasn't "fee-wing vew-y well" several times throughout the day, and Tobin was having issues with loose poop. And honestly, it was partly because of behavior issues, mostly on Tobin's part, that resulted in the loss of movie-night privileges.

Anyway. Charis and I cuddled up on the couch and watched her movie choice, Sleeping Beauty. It's been a long while since I'd seen the movie, so I opted to actually watch it with her rather than multi-task. I'm glad I did. I enjoyed the cuddle time with her. During a section in the middle, when the prince is dancing with "Briar Rose" in the woods without knowing she is the princess to whom he is already betrothed, I glanced down and saw Charis rubbing both of her eyes. I asked her if she was tired, and she looked up at me with shiny, wet eyes and said in a trembly voice, "My eyes just feel like crying!"

Mind, this happened during a happy, sappy part of the movie--nothing remotely sad going on here! I thought it was too cute that she got so emotional over the gushy, romantic part! That's my little princess. :-)

Big News!

No, the baby hasn't arrived yet. But we did find out that Ted was chosen for a leadership board position! He'll be working at "Creech." I have no idea what that means or exactly where it is, other than it's in the Las Vegas area (not at Nellis AFB), and--most importantly--it's a two-year controlled tour, which means NO deployments! Wahoo! We're relieved that we don't have to move for the 4th summer in a row. Now that we're settled into this house and enjoying our friends, church, etc., it's nice to feel we can put some roots down and plan on being here 2 1/2 years before our next assignment. Ted will begin working in June at his new job, shadowing the guy he'll replace. I think he's looking forward to the change.

February 18, 2007

Getting Ready for Baby

I'm slowly starting to feel more prepared for an infant to arrive! It's funny how in some ways, though, the closer I get to the due date, the less I feel ready. I know from past experience that the birth happens, ready or not, and somehow, before you know it, the new little gift from God is as much a part of your family as any other member, and you begin to wonder what life was like before him/her. So, I guess I shouldn't be too anxious about that.

Friday afternoon I went with Debi to register at Babies R Us. I've never registered for a baby shower before (mine will be March 10, assuming I'm not in the hospital!), and it was quite fun. We had given some things away, like the bouncy seat, that we'll definitely want again, and having sorted through the baby boxes gave me a much better idea of what we still have and what we actually need. I purchased a going-home outfit for her as well as a matching T-shirt and onesie combination for Charis and her baby sister. The t-shirt says "I'm the big sister," and the onesie says "I'm the little sister." They both show a big and little "ballerina" together. Precious! We'll have to get their portraits taken in those! I can't wait to give the shirt to Charis at the baby shower.

I restrained myself from buying anything else that day...better to wait until we see what we'll need after the shower. Plus, Babies R Us is, admittedly, not the most economical place to shop for baby clothes.

Yesterday our whole family went to Target to shop for the stroller/car seat combo. I don't even remember what brand it is, but we settled on one that has an animal theme so can be gender-neutral, just in case God sends us another boy later on. It's nice, with one-handed steering, and the handle of the car seat looks to be much easier to carry than the one we had for the other three.

So, we now have a car seat and a going-home outfit! Guess we're just about ready for our new arrival, ha! My next purchase will be a pack or two or three of newborn diapers, but I prefer to get those at the BX, so I'll have to wait until I'm on base again.

February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Whew, this was a busy day for us! I woke to an alarm to be sure I'd get up in time, the first time I've had to do that in a long while. But as I had a scrapbook club meeting here last night and got to bed later than I intended to, I know I would have slept long past time for me to be up and moving.

I had to drag the kids out of bed at 7 a.m. Any other morning the boys would be up and bouncing by that time, but of course today everyone was sound asleep. They had dry cereal in the van on the way to the B's house, where I left them with Sarah before heading to base for my two appointments.

First up, anesthesiology. This is a required appointment if you even want to think about having a spinal or epidural during delivery. Since I have not had a drug-free delivery yet, I don't anticipate going the full-blown natural childbirth route this time around, though I'm open to the possibility if labor progresses at a more bearable level of pain than the last time I delivered. (Getting a couple of drips of pitocin was NOT fun.) At any rate, I signed the papers, which do not bind me to actually having an epidural, but should the need/desire arise, we won't have to take time shuffling papers around.

Then, since L&D was just around the corner, I poked my head in so I would actually know where to go once labor begins! This was my first time to the second floor of this hospital. I got a quick tour, then headed downstairs for my actual 36-week appointment.

Wow! 36 weeks and counting! The stats are currently 1 cm dilation, 50% effacement, soft cervix. The midwife who checked me was careful "not to stir things up!" There's no rush! My mom will be coming out here March 6, and I'm fine with waiting until then to deliver. :-)

I took advantage of my kid-free time to get some groceries, then took them home to put everything away. I happened to look out the front door, because a customer had thought about dropping by to leave an order for me. She hadn't, BUT, I did find two vases of flowers waiting for me! Ted had a dozen red roses delivered for me and one pink rose with baby's breath delivered for Charis--her first flowers from a man. :-) I put the flowers by her seat at the table and got out the gifts he had gotten for the boys--a Cars bicycle helmet for Tobin (who just got his first bike recently) and a Cars Leap Pad book & cartridge for Arden.

Then it was time to go back to Sarah's house for our own little Valentine party! We were joined by two other moms and their kids, for a total of 9 kids all together. We enjoyed a yummy lunch and of course lots of treats, and the kids played fairly well together while we moms had a great time chatting. I could hardly believe it when I realized it was nearly 2:30 p.m.! Poor Sarah had been stuck with my kids for almost 7 hours. :-) OK, I was there part of the time, but after hearing that Tobin had had some behavior issues, I know it wasn't the easiest morning for her with all 6 of our kids together. (Sigh...why is it always Tobin?!)

The kids loved their Valentine's gifts waiting at home for them. We called Ted at work to thank him for the surprises. After some quiet room time to give me a chance to decompress (and make a Valentine's goodie for a friend of mine), I worked on a special dinner--not fancy as far as preparation, but the kids enjoyed it. They got strawberries to dip in Cool Whip, and I made pancakes shaped like Mickey heads. While the kids loved the pancake shapes, Charis remarked that she thought I was going to make heart-shaped pancakes. The idea had not even occurred to me--3 circles joined together just seemed so much easier than trying to form a heart shape with pancake batter!

Charis hardly ate any of her pancake and complained later that her tummy was hurting. And, as she had been sniffing quite a bit, she also said her nose was sore. She didn't seem feverish, but together we decided that maybe we should skip AWANA tonight and just get some rest.

It was a good plan. The kids were in bed by 7:15, and I am headed there myself now!

February 11, 2007

Random Stuff

Since I have hardly a brain cell left at the moment, I will simply list some random descriptions of what has happened with our family over the last few days, and perhaps the next time I blog I can actually put together a coherent post and even add a picture or two. Our camera batteries have been charging all day--I haven't taken any pictures in quite awhile. Anyway, without further ado, here goes...

Friday afternoon I had my first day time stamp club meeting with 11 women and I don't know how many children here. There are 12 club members, so we'll get to enjoy each other's company for a whole year! The kids actually did quite well, considering there were so many of them, and the ladies seemed to enjoy the projects I showed, despite the rather numerous interruptions. I thank God over and over for giving us this house...it's so perfect for our home school set-up plus my business and allows me to hold workshops and be a mom at the same time. What a blessing.

Friday night Tobin was sick. I thought it was odd on Thursday afternoon when I went in to check on the boys during their room times and BOTH of them were sacked out...I didn't even tell them to nap! Arden does fall asleep on his own occasionally, but Tobin?! Never! He seemed OK Friday, though he didn't play a whole lot with the other kids but chose rather to watch a movie (which is not at all unusual for my media-addicted boy). However, I knew something was up when, at around 4:45 that afternoon, he brought his blanket out and curled up on the couch, promptly falling asleep. He was burning up when he awoke and wanted nothing to eat, though I did finally coax some applesauce and milk down him (his choices when presented with a list of options). I gave him some medicine, and thankfully he was just fine on Saturday--after sleeping until 9:30 a.m.!

Saturday we spent a very lazy day at home. Arden was in his p.j.'s until 4 p.m.! I did shower but wore my flannel pants and comfy sweatshirt all day. Charis and I made Valentine's Day cards, and I did lots and lots of reading aloud to the boys. Also, I made my first batch of bread from our breadmaker! It turned out wonderfully!! I suspect I'll be stocking up on flour and other ingredients so I don't have to buy store-bought bread anymore. ("Dead bread" is what some friends of ours call it.) One question, though, for any of you who happen to make your own bread...how do you store it?! I filled 2 large ziplocks with the slices I cut...is there a better method out there?? Do tell!

Today after church we went to Sam's Club to pick up Charis's new glasses--I'll post a picture of her wearing them when I can. She looks adorable with them on and says everything looks "more bright and bigger!" I may have to remind her that she's supposed to take them off for reading and close-up work.

So this evening Arden had a nasty cough--actually, he's had it most of the day. He's prone to asthma/allergy symptoms, and the cough doesn't seem like a "sick" sort of cough. I'm wondering if I should make an appointment for him to see the doctor. He got an inhaler to use temporarily during the fall, when his symptoms got really bad, but the doctor kind of expected him to not have problems after that. Every now and then he goes through these bouts, and it has been rather windy outside...so if it's allergy-related, I think we'll need more help than the cough medicine I gave him tonight out of sheer desperation.

February 09, 2007

I Can See Clearly Now...

Yesterday Charis and I did some math review. She's been doing quite well with subtraction, but I had noticed that she seemed to have forgotten the little tricks with subtracting 9's and was a lot slower than before with some other facts. So we've been reviewing this week. I played a flashcard game with her that had her starting across the room and moving a step toward me for each fact she answered correctly. It didn't take long before I realized she was having trouble reading the numbers from a distance.

Later, she couldn't read one of the spelling words she had just written on the white board after she sat down in her chair (which isn't that far away from the board--though she DID write pretty small). I decided to see if I could get an appointment for her eyes to be checked, especially since the pediatrician had suggested it last fall since she was too shy to say much during the eye exam.

Thankfully, I was able to get her in on the same day! Sarah watched the boys for me while I took Charis to the appointment. She was very much looking forward to the experience and did quite well with all the questions and tests, much better than I think she would have done if I had taken her a few months ago. She didn't seem to be nearly so shy!

Well, the bottom line is that she does have some slight near-sightedness, -.75 in each eye, so the doctor gave us a prescription for glasses ONLY for distance. He said she should NOT use them for reading or close-up work. Charis was ecstatic to find out we would be getting her some glasses! (I guess kids' perception of glasses has changed since I was a kid and got called "four eyes!") I took her to Sam's Club and we picked out her frames, an easy task since only 2 were small enough to fit her little face! Pink or blue? Pink, of course!! She was most disappointed that we couldn't go home with them right then and there, but they'll be ready to pick up in a week or so.

Being the daughter of two early and avid readers, both of whom had glasses at a fairly early age, Charis was likely doomed from the beginning. :-) I'm thankful that we caught the need sooner rather than later and also glad that she won't need the glasses for reading at this time in her life. And I'm glad that she enjoys reading as much as her mommy and daddy (and truthfully most members of her extended family) do. She was on page 143 of #10 in the Bobbsey Twins series as we were sitting in the waiting room, and I know that she's read that book at least once before!

February 06, 2007

Gorgeous Days

The weather here in Las Vegas has been fabulous of late. I love being able to let the kids run around outside in February! Of course, it's a bit annoying to feel we must wear long sleeves and pants in the mornings and evenings only to shed our warmer clothes in favor of shorts and t-shirts during the warm afternoons. I'm doing more laundry than ever. (Note to self: Begin training children to examine their own clothes for spots and to put away clothes that are NOT DIRTY!!!)

Today I let the kids play out in the front for awhile. Recently we purchased used bikes for Charis and Tobin. Charis's other bike is way too small, and Tobin didn't have one. I paid $40 for both bikes and noted the last time I went to the BX that one identical to the bike I just got for Charis was selling for $109! WOW! It does bear mentioning that we do need to replace the innertubes in Charis's bike, but for now she is working on learning to ride without the training wheels on her smaller bike, as the "new" one doesn't have any. Tobin's does, thankfully, although I'm sure he'll be zooming around without them in no time.

I miss the sidewalk we used to have in front of our "old" Las Vegas house. Now, though, we live across the street from a pathway that winds around the neighborhood. The sidewalk goes straight across from our house for quite a ways before it curves out of sight. The kids are allowed to go 4 light posts. :-) They love to ride up and down on the sidewalk, abandoning their wheels to climb on rocks and go exploring. There's also a large area to the side of our house full of rocks and bushes that is perfect for exploring or, as the kids were playing at today, "finding mysteries." (I think Charis has read too many Bobbsey Twins books!)

While the children played quite happily outside, I worked in the garage with my new see-through storage containers and the boxes of outgrown clothes that have been piling up throughout the house. I purchased 10 of the storage containers last week from the BX, thinking I'd have several left over for holiday decorations. Hmmm. I've filled up 7 containers and haven't even begun weeding through the clothes that the kids are currently outgrowing! I think I need to go buy more containers.

I sorted through the boxes of baby items and the few remaining girl clothes we have. When Charis was in her 24 month clothes, we packed up all her too-small stuff to send to my cousin, who had twin girls a couple of months after we had Arden. So we don't really have any girly items in the newborn to 2T categories, though I did find a number of yellow, green, and white onesies and jammies that have served all of our infants quite well. I have two tubs of infant boy clothes and one each of 12 month and 2T. For girls, I have a smallish amount of 2T, an even smaller amount of 3T (we gave a lot of 3T clothes to a mom at my MOPS table last year), and a full bucket of 4T, which Charis only recently outgrew!

So. Seven containers are labeled and stacked neatly in our garage. I feel so efficient! I should have begun an organized storage system for our clothes years ago, but there has always been the question: To keep, or not to keep?! Whether 'tis nobler to hand over unused clothing to those who need it, or better to save in case the Lord doth bless us with more children...that is the question. We've done a bit of both, I guess. You'd never know it to look at the 2 tubs of infant boy clothes, but I gave away at least one tub's worth last spring to a mom who really needed the clothes. I let her come and pick out what she wanted from our piles. I've also given more boy clothes away to a lady in our home school group who adopted 2 boys within the last year or so. And somehow we still have plenty in the event that God blesses us with another boy in the future! I guess it comes of having had our boys in 2 different seasons--Arden was only able to wear a small handful of Tobin's old clothes.

If we keep having nice days like today, I may very well get our whole garage cleaned out and organized before this baby arrives! I'm definitely in nesting mode...

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?!

Our home school verse for this week is Philippians 2:14, "Do everything without complaining and arguing." (Rule 12: When we have work to do, we do it without complaining.) As I wrote the verse and rule on the white board Monday morning, I thought how appropriate it was that we're looking at this topic this week, because it seems that the complaining around here has escalated greatly. And, as any adult who has ever watched more than one child play knows, arguing is a fact of life amongst siblings and friends.

Little did I know that I'd soon be dealing with one of my children arguing with ME every time I asked him to do something! I told Ted this evening that I don't really recall this being much of an issue, but truly, the last two days, just about ANYTHING I have asked or told Tobin to do, the response is some kind of argument as to why he shouldn't do whatever it is.

"Tobin, you're my lunch helper this week. Please come help me set the table for lunch."

"Well, I just need to finish coloring this picture."
"I don't want to be lunch helper. I decided I want to be dinner helper instead." (What do you think he would say at dinner time if I asked him to help then?!)
"I'm making a house right now. I'll do it later."

And so on.

It makes no difference what the task is...it could be as simple as "Please take your dirty shoes off the counter" or "Let's get in the van and buckle up." EVERY time he has a come-back. For quite awhile he was doing a fabulous job of saying "Yes, Mommy," and obeying, if not immediately, at least somewhat in the vicinity of the time I asked.

So, I ask you: Did I bring this on by asking my children to memorize a verse and a rule against complaining and arguing?! Thank heavens I'm not having any major "issues" with Charis and Arden right now! I don't think I could handle training more than one child in more than one area at this time in my life!! Not that it will get any easier after the baby arrives, but my life is so full of distractions now as it is...I need help focusing.

Sigh. I guess no one ever said parenting would be easy...

February 04, 2007

My Personality Report

Thanks a lot, Megan, for "making" me stay up way past my bedtime! ;-)

I am an Animated Leader.