January 31, 2008
January 29, 2008
I need to download the latest pictures, but I took this one of Tobin and Kenna just a week and a half ago. Tobin decided Kenna needed to have her back scratched. They were so cute together, and I thought it would be interesting to get comments from other people: What do you think, do they look alike? I think Kenna most resembles Tobin, but some people say no, definitely Arden. I'll put a picture of Arden below Tobin and Kenna, and you can see what you think. And just for kicks, I'm also posting a picture of Charis at approximately the same age. No matter which sibling you think Kenna resembles most, I bet everyone agrees that all four are definitely related!
January 26, 2008
An acquaintance told me she used to work for an opthamologist, and she said that since pinkeye is a virus, eyedrops don't do a thing. It just has to run its course. I'm not sure whether I believe that, because her eye has shown such obvious improvement. But if it cleared up so quickly on its own, then hey, I won't argue the point.
Since Ted is at a men's snowboarding retreat this weekend, I ended up shuffling kids to and from church for Sparks-a-Rama practice from 10 to noon. A friend came early to the class so she could be here to let the ladies in as they arrived, so we hustled to church, dropped off Charis and Tobin, made a stop at the potty for Arden, came home, and then did the whole process all over again about an hour and a half later. I think the last guest from my card class left around 2 p.m.
It was such a gorgeous day outside that after everyone was gone, I quickly packed up all the kids, leaving the mess until later, and headed for the park, where we spent a glorious hour and a half, soaking up the sunshine. Tobin made friends with a boy who was maybe 7 or 8 and was an absolute joy to watch. You could tell he was the firstborn in his family! Definitely a leader, but he was sweet to let the younger boys choose their roles. They were playing some kind of Star Wars scenario and ran all over the equipment on their "space ships" or "escape pods," depending on what was happening. It was so fun to watch them playing and see my kids interacting with complete strangers, yet acting as if they had known them their whole lives. Kids are so great that way! Kenna didn't do a whole lot. She crawled very little but seemed to enjoy watching the commotion. I really hated to leave...I could have stayed and watched the kids a lot longer, but I knew Kenna was going to NEED her nap after being awake for over 3 hours.
So now we're home. I got the stamping stuff put away, after making up the rest of the cards. (I had one lady not show up, and she didn't let me know in advance, either, sigh.) I cleaned up the kitchen, folded a huge load of whites that I left in the dryer yesterday, and got the last load of the week started in the washing machine.
Now it's almost 5:00, and I can't stand the thought of going down to the kitchen and coming up with something to eat! The kids barely even had lunch...they munched homemade French bread but weren't interested in the beef stew, unfortunately. They also had fruit and chocolate chip bars. Nice balanced meal, eh?! I'm really tempted to head to McDonald's and let them play on the playground. But that would involve letting Kenna crawl on the filthy floor. The McD's over by our old house did have a nice toddler play area, so if I want to drive half an hour, I suppose we could go there...but it's also Saturday night, bath night, and I don't relish being out very late and having to wrestle hyper kids through the bath routine.
Calgon, take me away!!
January 24, 2008
So, to make it up to the kids, I played games with them here at home while Kenna napped, then we all left the house a little before 10:00 to make the 40-minute drive and have time to park and get inside 15 minutes before appointment time. Thankfully Kenna did great the whole time we were gone. We had the appointment, getting in and out in record time, got the eye drops from the pharmacy, then went to the ATM and Burger King on base to pick up lunch. Then to the commissary to get my groceries, filled up with gas, came home, put Kenna to bed, put eye drops in Charis's eyes, unloaded the van, put away the groceries, discovered people in my back yard taking pictures...!!! Turns out they are from the HOA, and thankfully we aren't in trouble. :-) They just need to catalogue the plant life in our yard since we border the outside part of the community. In case of water damage, etc., and in the event the HOA would need to replace the walls, they need to know what kinds of trees and bushes they would need to replace in the yard.
Anyway. Kenna is sacked out, and the kids are playing quietly, so it's time for me to do some card-stock cutting! I'm excited about my Birthday Bonanza card class this Saturday morning. If all ladies come who signed up, I'll have 8 people here stamping away!
January 22, 2008
Sunday morning as we were getting ready for church, Arden asked me, "Mom, when will we stop going to church?" I told him probably not until we got to heaven, because then we would be with Jesus and wouldn't need to "go" to church. I was surprised when he adamantly told me he would stop going to church when he turned 100.
"Why?" I asked, wondering if he had plans to suddenly become an atheist in his old age.
"Because then I'll be so big I'll poke through the ceiling," was his serious reply.
Last week Tobin had an exercise in his language arts notebook that involved matching short words to make larger compound words. Some were obvious, but more than a couple actually could have been combined different ways. Examples: Sand box, sand bag; hand set, hand bag; swing set. It didn't help that half of the selections were on one side of the page and the other were on the back side.
So Tobin goes through and does a great job of creating words. I wasn't looking at the answer key, but I did notice the potential difficulties with the selections that could have gone various ways. It didn't bother Tobin, however; he simply put the remaining two words together to create his own compound word: upbox.
"Hmmm," I said. "I think the leftover words maybe should go with different words. That is kind of a silly word, don't you think? What's an upbox?"
I was kidding. That was a rhetorical question. But Tobin looked at me as if I were the dumbest mom on the planet and answered, "An elevator!"
January 20, 2008
Welcome back to reality!
Tuesday night I was awakened for no apparent reason at 2 a.m., but, since I was awake, I trotted to the potty. (Does anyone else have issues with waking up at night to use the bathroom even though you're not pregnant anymore?!) Back in bed, I lay awake, coughing and hacking. I could tell I was keeping Ted awake, so I got up, worked in my stamp room to create a project for my stamp club, had a snack (I was also hungry--what's up with that?), and went back to bed, where I lay awake for another half hour and finally dozed off just in time for Ted's alarm to go off at 5:00.
Wednesday night Kenna woke at 3 a.m. and nursed. Since she so rarely nurses these days, I don't mind middle-of-the-night feedings since they don't actually happen much at all. She hadn't wanted to nurse right before bed, probably due to being overstimulated from our night at church. So I wasn't too surprised that she woke up hungry. She promptly went back to sleep. I did not. At 4:00 I decided to get up and clean my office. Wow, did it need cleaned, and I was pleased with the results, though I hadn't planned to do it in the middle of the night. At 5:00 I bundled up and went for a 3-mile run, so I was up for the day.
Last night Kenna woke at 2 a.m. This isn't a usual occurrence by any means, but she is now battling a runny nose and fever, so again I wasn't too surprised. She nursed well and didn't make a peep after I laid her back down. I'm fighting a cold/cough myself, so I hacked awhile after lying down, despite taking another round of cough medicine, and finally got up to get a cough drop. I fell asleep before I finished it and woke at 5:45 to find a miniscule blob between my tongue and the roof of my mouth. That is a WEIRD feeling to wake up to.
It's amazing how we can take a simple thing like a good night's sleep for granted! I'm not sure why I've been awake so much at night this past week, but maybe God's trying to get my attention about something. The middle of the night is about the only time I get any peace and quiet, so maybe I should start making a cup of hot tea and doing my devotions the next time I wake up and can't get back to sleep!
Hmmm. This post has made me sleepy. I think I'm going to take my contacts out and try taking a nap!
January 19, 2008
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Though I returned home last Sunday (the 13th), this week has been filled up with catching up on emails, phone calls, regular mail, homeschooling, and yes, even working on my business. I had a workshop for my deaf friends Tuesday morning and a stamp club that meets once a month yesterday afternoon. I've also booked a couple of parties for March and a long-distance "Party in a Box" event for a friend in Ohio. (If anyone else is interested in hosting a "Party in a Box," leave a comment or email me so I can give you more information!) Then last night a friend came over for dinner and an evening of scrapping. It didn't feel like it, but it was 11:30 p.m. when we wrapped things up! I'll be updating my scrapping blog later today after I take pictures of the 7 pages I completed.
So, it's been a busy but balanced week--and that means I have not blogged or read my friends' blogs at all! I have a lot of catching up to do in that respect! But I'm thankful to get back into a routine. Of course, the routine sometimes seems to change daily, especially with an 11-month old!
So, an update on Kenna, since Megan asked. :-) It's taking 4 chairs these days to pen her in the family room. She's worked up to an average of 45 minutes of contented playpen time, so I am able to count on that as time when I can get other things done. It hasn't worked quite as well as I would like to do our Sonlight reading in the family room while she roams...she seems to not like Sonlight! We get a few pages read at an extremely high decibel level as we compete with her shrieks, and then I give up and dismiss the kids until later when Kenna is napping.
She is becoming more proficient on the stairs, but I am not even close to feeling comfortable leaving her on her own for that activity. Still, she loves crawling up them and always does so with a big grin on her face as if to say, "Aren't I a big girl now?!"
An update on the nursing issue...I did pump while I was gone, and amazingly she hasn't completely rejected me upon my return. However, as we were having to supplement more and more even before I left, it's definitely dwindling. I can count on her to nurse well when she isn't completely awake, so late at night, first thing in the morning (sometimes), or (rarely) in the middle of the night. We're at an average of about one nursing period per day, whereas before my trip it was usually two. So I guess the trip did have a noticeable effect. But you know what? I'm OK with it! She's a beautiful, healthy girl, and we have made it quite a long time considering all the issues we've had over her short life.
So there you have it! An update from me! It's now breakfast time...TTFN!
January 08, 2008
If you saw the pictures of our house, you can see the difficulty Kenna's new skill presents. With a sunken living room and family room, the only place to go (in Kenna's mind) is...up! I no sooner set her in the middle of the family room with some toys than she is scampering over to the stairs, climbing up them and proudly looking back at me as if to say, "Aren't you coming, too, Mom?!" She then scoots around the corner to the big staircase, at which point I am right behind her. I've allowed her to crawl up the carpeted steps several times, letting her get a feel for what could happen if she decides to sit down with a cheek hanging off a step. She hasn't fallen yet, but if it weren't for my hands right behind her she'd definitely have been in the ER.
Since I can't very well let her wander at will, I've tried being creative in order to pen her in. The gap between the family room and the dining room is too big for the gate we have, and even so, the wall curves at the only point we could lock it in place. So I've taken to laying two dining room chairs down beside each other. I learned quickly that I couldn't simply SET the chairs there--Kenna pushed and pulled one out of the way and escaped within moments. The first time I laid the chairs down I made the mistake of assuming that simply placing an obstacle before her would deter Kenna from trying the stairs. She crawled through the legs and became frantic when she realized she was trapped in a "pen."
Third time was the charm--I placed the chairs in a way so that Kenna could neither move them nor get caught in them. It worked. And we spent a lovely 20 minutes listening to her scream because I was fixing lunch in the kitchen and she was not.
This afternoon I tried taking a project to the couch so she could play with the obstacles in place and not be so upset that she couldn't be where I was. It worked! She explored her little domain quite happily. (Who needs toys, anyway?) I think we were in that room, Charis reading, I working on swap cards, and Kenna moving about, for at least a half hour before she got tired and started to fuss. Whew. There's hope for at least a minimum of activity during this phase!
We do playpen time one or two times every day, anywhere from 20-30 minutes, depending on how well Kenna is doing at the time. (In fact, that's the only reason I'm able to blog at the moment, since Ted is working late this evening.) Those times are when I can get a shower, answer some emails, or do something that involves not having to look over my shoulder every other second to see where my little Houdini has gotten herself.
I will say this is definitely throwing our school schedule for a loop! I don't feel safe doing school with Kenna on the loose, though now that we've gotten the chair wall to work, we can probably at least do our Sonlight reading in the family room while she roams. We've taken to cramming in as much school as possible during Kenna's morning nap, and the rest of the day kind of goes downhill from there.
I know we'll eventually get used to this phase. And Kenna will eventually learn how to navigate the stairs both ways so I won't have to worry about her killing herself. But then my worries will just be beginning...the rate she's going, she's going to be a pro mess-maker!
January 04, 2008
FOOD AND DRINK:
* Give up just one Starbucks drink a week or else downgrade to regular coffee instead of the pricey espresso-based drinks.
* Replace one fast-food lunch per week with a brown bag lunch. (Can't do it? Just stop super-sizing instead to save 50 cents to a dollar each meal.)
* Skip dessert when dining at a sit-down restaurant.
* Stop making impulse snack purchases at the checkout line.
* Stop buying one bottle of water for $2 or $3 every day.
* Skip the soft drink at restaurants and order water instead.
Hmmm. I go to Starbucks for a "pricey espresso-based drink" probably once every 2 months. I eat lunch at home every day, and Ted takes leftovers to work every day. We never super-size. Sit-down restaurants are few and far between, let alone splurging on a dessert when we're already stuffed and taking home doggie bags. My kids have pretty much stopped asking me about the treats at the checkout counters, because I never, EVER buy anything there. (Except chapstick--it's hard to find anywhere else, and I do admit that I bought a 96 cent tube of chapstick a couple of weeks ago.) We don't buy bottled water except at Sam's Club, where it averages out to be a quarter a bottle. Even then, it's purchased with the intent of taking it with us somewhere, not just drinking at home. And I already skip soft drinks at restaurants, partly because I'm cheap and partly because I can't stand the taste of soda anymore. This section is not going to help me save $2008...
* Cut out a premium channel, lose the TiVO service, or reduce the number of receivers in your home.
* Use the library instead of always buying new books.
* Bue one less issue of People magazine (or other checkout counter magazine) per month.
* Buy matinee tickets instead of going to the movies in the evening.
Hmmm. We don't have cable, TiVO, or anything else. We pay nothing for TV! Buying new books, well, that suggestion could help, though we already utilize the library tons and only purchase maybe a few new books each year, typically for gifts for each other. As for buying magazines like People? Bleh! It's bad enough to have to see the covers in the checkout line! With a military discount we can get into evening movies at matinee price, but our outings are limited to once every few months anymore regardless. This section may possibly save us a little bit of money, but if we like a book well enough to buy it, I don't know that we'd want to wait for it to be available at the library anyway.
* Use coupons.
Ha! This is all they could come up with for shopping! OK, I do use coupons, BUT I refuse to scour papers and cut them out. I find that I can use the pull-off ones at the commissary and save several dollars or more each visit. On the rare occasion I do take in a coupon myself, I find that the brand advertised is more expensive than comparable products, so I end up not using the coupon after all. (Thus my decision to stop wasting time cutting coupons.) I suppose this could be beneficial for some people, but for me the time involved just isn't worth it. I suppose if I couldn't shop the commissary I might do it, but even so...the Walmart brand is a lot cheaper than the brands with coupons anyway...so maybe not?
* Stop doing it!
We don't even need to go there. As non-smokers, we've already saved tons of money.
* Don't pay for services you don't use or need.
We only pay $27 per month for all our phone services through an internet-phone company. I agree, why pay a local service for caller ID, call waiting, voice mail, etc. when you can save so much money with a different option? We made the switch about a year and a half ago, and despite some initial difficulties, overall we've been pleased enough with the service, especially since we're saving $50 over what we were paying monthly.
MEMBERSHIPS, CLUBS, DUES:
I won't go into this because it's another N/A for us.
* Consolidate errands to save on gas.
Trust me, with 4 children, I don't exactly hop in the van and drive willy-nilly around town. Our outings are VERY planned in advance!
* Pay bills online.
We already do!
Well, Las Vegas Review-Journal, I have to tell you that you have not exactly inspired me. What is sad is that so many Americans could truly save money with these suggestions. I think most of my friends and family are pretty frugal already and would likely agree with me that these suggestions are already part of their lifestyle.
How about ideas for saving money if you're already frugal? I'd love to see a list of suggestions from those of us who don't frequent Starbucks or McDonald's! I'll start:
* Two words: God's math. When we put Him first, He truly does pour out the blessings. We have NEVER been able to out-give God!
* Remember it is more blessed to give than to receive: Pass on clothes and items you don't need...and chances are you'll find yourself on the receiving end when you need to be. Somehow we are swimming in clothes for Kenna, even though we have hardly purchased anything for her ourselves. We've been blessed with friends and family who have passed on clothes, and it's so great to dress her up without breaking the bank!
* For variable expenses like gifts, recreation/entertainment, and Christmas, set aside cash each month (according to what your budget allows) and stick to what you have. Don't resort to plastic!
Anyone else want to contribute?
January 01, 2008
I know it's not a HUGE priority. This year I hope to lead our children into some service projects and help them find ways to share Jesus' love with others in a more tangible and consistent way, and that, for example, truly IS a priority. But the fact is, I put myself and the things I enjoy doing at the bottom of the to-do list. Don't think it's for a noble cause, serving others before myself and all that. Ha! If only I could truly say that were the case. Sadly, though, I confess that I'm as selfish as they come, and instead of always thanking the Lord for the precious gifts He has given me to shepherd, I find myself grumbling and complaining with a woe-is-me, I'm-such-a-martyr attitude that disgusts even me.
So what to do about it? Scrap, of course! Follow me on this one...I'm trying to justify making this a priority. :-) Seriously, working on our family scrapbooks is something that brings me joy and also benefits our family. We all love going back to look at pictures and reliving the memories together. The kids and Ted all enjoy flipping through our albums. That brings me great pleasure in and of itself. But the creative process also helps me fight stress and discouragement. When I work on a layout, any troubles I'm facing somehow leave the room. My focus is completely on what I'm doing.
Focus--that's another goal I have for this year. I'm as bad as a 2-year-old some days, with an attention span of a gnat. I am hoping that by slowing down and scheduling in some activities that help me develop the habit of concentrating on one thing at a time, perhaps I can get past this obsession to multi-task, which often leaves me feeling frazzled and as if I just can't quite get things done properly. Ultimately I want my focus to be on Christ, who alone is worthy of all my praise and energies.
So, if you're a scrapper (or a wanna-be scrapper), I invite you to check out "208 in 2008" and let me know what you think. Pass the link on to any scrapping friends, and come by often. That will help keep me accountable so that I'll actually DO the pages, take pictures of them, and then post them! I hope it will be an encouragement and creative inspiration to many others!
We enjoyed the time my parents got to spend with us. They left Sunday morning to go to New Mexico to spend some time with my dad's sisters, and then they will drive back to 'Sconsin (as we affectionately call their home state--to say it properly you need to contort your lips to make the O sound more of a cross between an O and a short A, but drag it out a bit to emphasize the northern accent, as in 'Scaaaaaan-sin). The kids acted like they didn't know what to do with themselves after Grandma and Grandpa were gone. Due to a scheduling error, Ted had to work on Sunday, so it was pretty quiet by the time we got home from our 2 services at church. Kenna went right down for a much-needed nap, I camped out on the couch enjoying some quiet time to read, and the older kids wandered about disconsolately for awhile before finally settling down to their own activities. Charis cried rather passionately, already missing Grandma, her crafting buddy. But then she got involved with a doll kit my mom found for her and seemed to lose all track of time!
It ended up being a nice thing that Ted had to work on Sunday, as he then got both Monday and today off. We did a small amount of clean-up Monday morning, though nothing at all like we probably should have! Kenna was NOT a happy camper, refusing to nap most of the day, much to our chagrin. She is having difficulty staying in a horizontal position when it's time to sleep! Somehow between the screaming fits we managed to have some down time (Ted on the computer, me at my scrap table) and make treats (baklava and hot Mexican dip) to take to the New Year's Eve party at Heather and Blair's house.
We arrived at 7 p.m. and set up Kenna's play pen in Heather's sewing room, hoping she'd crash after a day with little sleep. By the time everyone arrived, there were 7 families there with a total of 22 children. Whew! The kids played remarkably well together, and Kenna did sleep a little bit, though not the whole time. We stuffed ourselves with all kinds of fattening treats, and then 4 of us managed to get in a game of Settlers of Catan amidst the chaos.
Though we didn't plan to, we stayed until just before midnight!! We arrived home just as the fireworks were going off on the Strip. We could see them from our bedroom window, but the kids were tired and completely unimpressed. I guess fireworks from a distance just isn't the same! Kenna blessed us by "sleeping in" until 7:30 this morning (her normal wake time is anywhere between 6 and 6:30 a.m.). The boys were up by 8:00, and Charis slept until after 10:00! I think the boys will need a nap time today...there has been a severe lack of sleep around here during this holiday season.
So, here it is, New Year's Day, 11:15 a.m. and I'm still wearing my bathrobe and glasses. I have, however, scrapped 3 more pages (for a total of 9 in the last 2 days) and am catching up on our blog, so that has to count for something! Kenna is sleeping finally, and I think we'll be getting our lunch ready soon. Today will be a lazy day of watching and playing games, I think.
Hope you all have a wonderful start to the new year! May God bless and guide you every step of the way!