Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Has to be done

Sorry to all of you who will be offended by this, but I have to post this website.
View it without children present!

If you are pro-choice and have never seen exactly what you support, you owe it to the 49million+ babies whose deaths you supported to watch the video.

If you are pro-life, ask yourself this: is there more I can do to help teens and young women who feel like abortion is their best option? Don't give the pro-choice folks a chance to appear as if they are the only ones who care about these women... let's not forget the mothers of these unborn babies.

For those of you who will watch it, be warned: it is real, and it is graphic.

You should also check out:

May God have mercy on us all!

P.S. for those who may feel I am unfairly biased in my opinion that others should know what they support, let me remind you that I am the mother who took her children to a chicken farm to show them how chicken gets on our plate. If you support it, you should educate yourself about it. It's really the least you can do.

We're Baaaaaaack!

Whew! We made it up to the mountains of Virginia and back again... all in one piece, relatively speaking. Dania is officially a car-sick kid, much worse even than her big sister, and that was an unpleasant discovery. We naturally brought home more than we brought up there; we were visiting the grandparents, after all! We went up healthy - for the most part - and had several illnesses while we were there. I am quite certain the grandparents are ecstatic over that turn of events!

After much unpacking, laundry, frig restocking, and new-toy-home-finding, we are relaxed and comfortable. There was food, games, food, piano-playing, food, movie-watching, food, skiing, food, and visiting. With food. I think my mom is afraid we don't eat right. The woman was either feeding us or cleaning up the kitchen after feeding us! Well, it was darn good food, so I'm not complainin'. In fact, I am a little depressed that my vegetarian mother can make a better beef roast than I... a challenge I shall accept!

All in all, we had a great trip, and we are looking forward to more winter visits! Next year, Dania will don some toddler-sized skis and take a turn down the bunny slopes!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Showed Up on Christmas!

Dearest Husband,
It was incredibly thoughtful (and sneaky) of you to spend time - on your own (while I was taking care of our children) - picking out just the right gifts for the children and I (after we agreed on the gifts I had chosen). It warms my heart (and burns my biscuits) that you would care enough about each of us (or want to show me up) to demonstrate your love (and competitiveness) in this manner.

The children are ecstatic over the gifts you got for them (and barely care about mine now that they have opened yours first)! I just love my gifts (though they make the ones I got for you seem insignificant). I thank God for you (though you may suffocate in your sleep tonight). You are truly a gift (one that cannot be returned) and I am grateful for you in my life (that one's usually true).

Your loving wife.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Peace at Christmastime

It is amazing.... All the shopping, the errands, the wrapping, the planning, the gathering.... To just sit here this morning with my children and watch a movie.... The peace I am given this day, the day before a holy day, the day that comes before the culmination of all the shopping, errands, wrapping, planning, and gathering.... When we wish for peace on Earth, do we even understand what peace is? Many of us do not.

To me, obviously, peace is, in a very shallow sense, quiet and stillness and ease. How many of us might wish for world peace but have no true concept of the meaning of it? Does the war in Iraq really touch us, the majority in this country? Does hunger truly have us in its grip? How about cold? Heat? Are we without clothing or blankets this winter? Many of us are not. And many of us will never know that reality.

So... Peace at Christmastime may sound like a fairy tale. To many of us, a quiet morning with our families is enough, though we may half-heartedly wish for more. But to those out there who know, really know, the value of peace, the true meaning of the word, simply by its very absence in their lives, I am compelled to remember you, to pray for you, to wish for peace in a whole-heartedly thankful sort of way. Because while I do not deserve my blessings and this life of relative ease, neither do you deserve a life without it.

May God have mercy on us all, and may He bless every soul who suffers with His grace and compassion.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

9 degrees?!?!?!

Seriously.... 9 degrees?!?!?! We are looking forward to a high temperature of colder-than-freezing today. And I have some errands to run! Aaak!

Have I mentioned yet how much I dislike cold weather? I am your typical curl-up-in-the-sun cat, so this polar bear nonsense is quite infuriating... and irritating... and not even for the birds! Most of them have flown south! I should've followed them while I had the chance....

Okay, so later, when I get back home to my house with heat, I will be blessedly aware of how wealthy I am.... Just to be able to come in out of the cold, into a beautiful home with heated air, put on some hot cocoa or coffee or tea, and get snuggly under the covers on the sofa... maybe with a movie for the family... Yeah, I am spoiled. I am also a whiner, apparently.

Enjoy your day! Hope you are in the above-freezing range....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas is Officially Here!

We had our first Christmas celebration last night, and it was such fun! Thanks to all our friends who brought food and hung out with us as we began our Christmas fun!! We played games, ate, drank, and were generally merry... and the kids had fun, too.

We are really looking forward to the next few days as Daddy is home until the new year. Then we will have a family Christmas Eve celebration, followed by our traditional cozy Christmas morning at home. Then, we are off to the mountains to enjoy some Christmas fun and family gatherings with my side of the family. Really looking forward to that!!! Hopefully, the weather will cooperate... though, cooperate is a matter of perspective, I suppose.

Have a great Pre-Christmas few days, y'all!

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Better, but Busy, Day

Today, the children had fewer meltdowns, though it could have been due to the play dates we had scheduled. It was, therefore, fairly easy to keep them on track. All in all, not a bad day. We had some friends over, so the house was noisy, then we took Grampa to dinner - Happy Birthday, Grampa! After dinner, we ran through the grocery store as a family, then headed home to decompress and hop in bed.

A little housework, some Baker Girls on CD, and I decided to take their advice.... They said to Leave it There... so I did. I walked away from the remaining housework and sat down with a book I have been meaning to read as soon as the littlest bairn was tucked into bed, where I enjoyed a trip to Biblical times with Queen Esther.

Yeah, I have no real problems.

Blessed beyond measure,

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Children Unite!

My children all got together last night while I was sleeping and decided to up the ante. They agreed to sabotage all of my good intentions with back-talk, whining, defiance, and drama. And that was just for breakfast.

My day started with my husband grouching at me about something that doesn't affect him, followed by the Mommy Sweater attaching herself to me over my morning coffee and clinging for dear life. Not to be outdone, The Boy decided to refuse to do his math. That's it. He just wasn't gonna do it. So there. (yeah, he did his math) As if that wasn't enough to turn Super Mom into a blubbering idiot, The Princess, aka The Eldest Child, spent a laborious hour writing sentences for her spelling words, because "it's too ha-a-a-a-ard" to write a sentence using words like "kitchen" and "throw." Uh-huh. Sure.

Well, more whining continued throughout the day, interspersed with moments of blatant defiance and dramatic flair over things as simple as picking up their own messes or putting on socks to go outdoors.

I love my children, I love my children, I love my children.

So, I survived the day, thanks be to Jesus, and headed off to my small church group meeting, which was salve to my frayed patience and comfort to my tired mind. Outmaneuvering a houseful of children bent on Mommy Destruction: Phase II is sure taxing. Some cocoa and Christmas music does a Mommy good.

Tomorrow, I will be waiting at the bottom of the stairs with the whip and chair!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cabin Fever!

With all the wet, cold, yucky weather we have been getting, the kids and I have been stuck inside a lot. I feel like I am getting cabin fever! In an attempt to keep the finances on track, we are staying in, but I REALLY want to go out and do something!! Aaaak!

Dania is climbing the shelves to get to new and different toys (put there so she can't reach them, mind you).

Calysta is being bossy and snotty to her brother (listening to her mother, for sure).

Quin is being obstinate and refusing to be cooperative (trying to be a little man and in charge of his own destiny already).

Mommy is trying to hold it all together (piece by piece, one finger-hold at a time).

And Daddy just comes home and laughs at us (after all, he is with other people in a different environment all day)!

I sure hope we can survive the winter - is it spring yet?

How about now?


Oh, well, Christmas will be a bright spot, and January will bring renewal as our home and homeschool get a thorough cleaning and organizing!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Attitude Adjustment

When you can listen to your children interact and hear all your parenting mistakes....
When you can watch your children play pretend and witness everything you've ever done wrong....
When you catch yourself reprimanding your child in the very tone you are reprimanding her for using....

It is time. Time for a much-needed attitude adjustment.

Our children learn what they experience. Mine have obviously been experiencing a bad attitude a little too often.

Children speak what they hear. Mine have clearly heard too many nasty tones recently.

Children are what we make them, to a large degree. I refuse to go on shaping them in this most negative way.

One thing you may already know about me is this: I am passionate about things I believe in, but not unwilling to focus on my own shortfalls. I try not to focus on other people's splinters while walking around with a plank in my eye! (that's from the Bible, just in case you wonder where you had heard it before)

Clearly, no one - save Jesus - is perfect. But without trying to be better, none can be all that s/he is designed to be. I intend to be better. I intend to give myself - and my family - an attitude adjustment.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ice Cream Day

Yes, I realize it is cold outside. I understand it is December. I even acknowledge the chilly drizzle falling from the sky. But we wanted ice cream cones. And our favorite ice cream was on sale. And it was on the grocery list, so we didn't even impulse-shop!

We had ice cream cones for lunch! Really, people who only have dessert after a meal are just packing additional calories onto an already-met caloric need. Let me explain. You need 300-400 calories for lunch. So, you eat a sandwich and some chips - maybe some soup and crackers. You ingest your 300-400 calories. Then, you want something sweet. You want a treat! SO you eat a 200+ calorie dessert. Ummm, do the math, people! That dessert destroys your weight worse than eating the dessert in place of the meal would!

So, my kids are happy to have a mommy that believes it is okay to eat an ice cream cone for lunch every once in awhile. After all, we are only as old as we feel, as young as we act, and as responsible as we have to be!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Nap-free is the way to be!

From Minivan Moments
Well, most days!

Dania is now taking fewer naps! Mommy made that executive decision after many months of dealing with a miserable toddler for an hour everyday after her nap. Mommy's opinion is that naps should improve the child's disposition, not wreck it! So, after many months of pre-dinner nightmares, we have banished the nap. And it is not altogether unpleasant, actually.

I certainly can use the middle-of-the-day break from my busy little imp, but the constant struggle to put to sleep, followed by the inconsistent amount of nap, wrapped up with one hour of post-nap whining sure put a constant damper on the day. Then, when Dania started to show signs that she could stay up all night after having a lovely afternoon nap, Mommy took drastic action!

We are now in our second week of fewer naps (about a nap every two or three days is working), and the Crankmeister's disposition during the day is much improved. And Dania is going to bed at a decent time each night with very little fuss. And Mommy is very surprised that the nap is not as missed as she thought it would be! In fact, our days are downright happy!

We visit the Pediatric Otolanryngologist (ENT) in a couple of weeks, so we may find a solution to the sleep issues, but for now, this is what works. So, for us, the day has come. Naps are not part of the plan. At least not right now.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Homeschooling and Parenting

In general, intelligent parents do some sort of homeschooling every week. We teach our infants and toddlers skills they will need, and we talk to our preschoolers about letters and numbers. We help grade-school children with homework, and we answer endless questions about absolutely everything. All of this is home education.

The usual vision of the homeschool varies significantly, from children seated around the kitchen table writing in workbooks, to kids in various stages of hands-on activities throughout the house. Sometimes it looks like a tidy, orderly arrangement, and other times, it seems to be chaos. One thing is certain: no two homeschooling families are alike!

We do things somewhere in the middle most days. We have some orderly lessons at the table, but we throw in mud play in the backyard and spontaneous trips to the museum. Sometimes we do math first, other times we read, and still others, I start with our Bible lesson.

The reason I am writing about this is that I stumbled on a woman's homeschooling blog yesterday and she made some valid points, mainly that the average non-homeschooling family has some preconceived ideas of what homeschooling looks like. I have been truly blessed by my family and friends in their complete acceptance of what I am doing for my family. But even I realize that oftentimes, their ideas of what happens around here are fuzzy at best.

So, I want you all to know that I am a normal homeschooling mom. And what that looks like varies from day to day and week to week. But one things stays the same: I teach my own kids. I teach them math, science, reading, and writing. I also teach them manners, anger management, relationship science, nutrition 101, and basic housekeeping. In short, I am a parent who is entirely responsible for what my children grow up knowing. And if you ever find yourself thinking, "I could never do that," then say a prayer for me. 'Cause most days, it is more of a challenge than I let on!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Can I stay the same age....

... even if my children still get older? My son turned six yesterday, and it is amazing, to say the least, that my children are now 9, 6, and 2!! How did I get so old???

I remember being nine. I may not remember much about 6 or 2, but 9 I remember. I remember thinking my parents had it all together, grown-ups still knew almost everything, Barbies were still cool, my town was so big I couldn't comprehend its size, and summer was all about playing outside until dark, which was past normal bedtime.

Looking back, I realize I had a completely distorted view of what growing up would mean! I thought I would feel different inside somehow. In a lot of ways, being a grown-up is really just about making right choices when you want to make wrong ones, like doing the laundry when you want to watch television, making dinner when you want to order take-out, and picking up the Bible instead of the latest suspense novel. Being a grown-up is about being responsible.

Of course, being a grown-up also means you can go outside instead of cleaning up the kitchen, eat an ice-cream sundae for dinner, go to the mall on a rainy day to window shop, or stay in your pajamas all day. Being a grown-up is not so bad. It just doesn't feel as different as I expected it to.

My life is good. In fact, it's great. Can I just stay here?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

When Your Kids Make You Proud...

Yesterday, I received an invitation to help the Nashville Rescue Mission provide Christmas dinner for some homeless men, women, and children who would otherwise go without a warm meal at such a special time. I did two things: I decided that our family could afford to feed 6 people (less money than taking us all out to McDonald's), and I explained the Mission to the children and asked if any of them wanted to help. Here's where God moved my family.... You ready for it?

My son brings me his only dollar. Yeah, I asked him, and he said it was the only one he could find. And he gave it to me for the Mission. {sniffle}

My oldest child, my first-born, brought me $4. She said she wanted to feed two people. On her own. {sniffle, sniffle}

I promptly wrote a check. God is so GOOD.

As if that is not enough, the oldest brought me the rest of her money this morning and said she wants to feed more homeless people Christmas dinner. She then says, "Well, I am only going to buy Littlest Pet Shops with my money, and I don't need any more of those." Counted out, she is providing Christmas dinner for 5 people. All by herself.

I think I will be writing another check. Thought out, my 9-year-old is more generous than her parents. When was the last time I drained my wallet to help someone else?

That, my friends, is the true spirit of Christmas. May it be with you this year, as well.