Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Blessed to Know Him

My Grandpa Don passed from this earth yesterday morning.  He was a lively fellow with a quirky sense of humor and a real love of life.  I got to know my Grandpa Don when i was 18 years old and moved in with my Nana and him in Jacksonville, Florida.  I learned a lot about the way God works, i discovered peace in the midst of chaos and turmoil, and i found a gentle spirit and a perseverance that i had never witnessed before.

Those days, weeks, months, that i spent with my Nana and my Grandpa were among the most stable in all my life up to that point.  It became a turning point for me, a landing zone, and a launch pad.  I became a stronger young lady for those times spent with Grandpa and Nana; i became a more understanding and accepting person; i began walking a path that led me to Christ.

Sadly, i never shared these thoughts or expressed my gratitude to my Grandpa Don... or to my Nana, for that matter.  Yesterday, i lost the chance to thank him for the change he affected in my life... but in my limited knowledge of God, i believe Grandpa knows my heart.  He is right now observing the lives he has touched, being embraced by Jesus, and beaming at the words he surely heard upon arrival at Heaven's gates: "well done, good and faithful servant."

Well done, Grandpa Don.

You'll be missed.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How to Teach Your Kids to Clean...

I've had an A-HA! moment.  I discovered something that fascinates me, so naturally, i must inform the rest of the world!!

My kids have had to help with household chores since the age of 4, and as they age, they are required to help with more and more disgusting complicated chores.  My son has a difficult time with doing chores, and he pouts a LOT.  Since i believe he has a condition that lends itself to this behavior, i am trying new techniques for eliminating it... so far, we've improved, but we haven't abandoned the pouting altogether... yet.

Today, i stumbled upon a way to get him involved in the cleaning with more eagerness, though i am certain it is just a passing fancy that will not stay around.... 

Cleaning supplies.  Honest.

You see, over the course of the kid's life, he has not been trusted to handle anything more toxic than the vinegar bottle we generally clean with.  Those other chemical-based cleaners i have up high are the Big Guns, and we reserve those for the Adult Cleaning Specialist (aka: Mommy) around here.

This afternoon, in an attempt to make the children's primary bathroom STOP REEKING, i handed the kid the bottle of Seventh Generation Multi-Purpose Cleaner and sent him into the bathroom to "use it on anything and everything until the place isn't yellow and doesn't stink."


He is not only NOT POUTING, but he is HAPPILY CLEANING.  Gasp!

{Sigh}... too bad once he's used it a few times the novelty will have worn off and he won't care anymore.  Ah, well... for now?  Bliss!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hobby?? Or Home Business??

I have begun making hats and headbands just for fun, and i discovered i could be good enough to sell them... so i went out and invested in some cuter yarns, some flowers, and some add-ons, and i am going to make them available to the general public!  Yay!

Keep in mind, the hats take on average 2 hours to make, unless they are really simple and really small.  The headbands obviously use less yarn and take less time to crochet, but they have time-consuming and expensive decorations.

Okay, here are the ones i did this weekend - some are for sale, but some are already taken but don't worry!!  I can make whatever you like if i don't still have it. :^)

Teddy Bear Hat in gender neutral cream of thick and soft 100% acrylic yarn.
$12 - $15 depending on size
(this one is toddler size, age 1 to about 3)

Newborn hats in blue and pink, coordinated for fraternal twins in this photo.
$10 with no embellishments
$12 - $15 with embellishments
$20 for a matching/coordinating pair

Headbands with embellishments, this one 98% Acrylic/2% Polyester
Apple Green with Orange Ranunculus Flower
$8, regardless of size (the flower is the expensive part!)
For any and all of these, ask me about different sizes and colors!!  Also, i will coordinate hats for a sibling group and we'll talk discounted rates to do multiple of similar styles.
Contact: Angie

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thinking in Text

Okay, i'm not a potty mouth as a rule, and i often cringe at the colorful language in our everyday lives.  If i could slap my hands over my children's ears to save them from ever hearing the expletives uttered by unthinking adults, i surely would.  However, 3 kids times 2 ears apiece, divided by my 2 hands doesn't equal successful mathematics, so i will continue to educate them about the choice each of us has with our words.

That being said, there are days i think like a sailor - those are the days that i seem slow-witted because everything i want to say is being dredged through my child-friendly filter.  Now, however, with online chat and text-messaging as a regular method of interpersonal communication, there are handy abbreviations for all those devilish adjectives... and i feel proud to have learned a new language at such a ripe age!

This morning, my sleep-deprived brain was unable to properly filter a colorful reaction to a seemingly-unreal scenario - but it's okay, because what i said was "WTF!" Yep, the letters, not what they stand for.  As a general course of behavior, i do not use the "f-word," but "WTF!" really fit at that moment.

So, though i do not advocate the willy-nilly use of ignorant language, i can now thankfully add yet another method of filtering to my repertoire.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tired... but not beaten (i hope)

When i try and it does no good, i am tired - of trying.
When i give and it doesn't get returned, i am tired - of sacrificing.
When i pray and i feel no relief, i am tired - of hoping.
When i hurt inside and i can't make it stop, i am tired - of hurting.

Life is so hard, but i have to trust that God knows what He asks of me.
One thing i am sure of: when i think i absolutely cannot take any more, i think of Jesus and all He suffered for me... and i pick myself up out of the Self-Pity Pit and keep trusting God.

I may be losing some of the battles, but i know how the war ends... and that helps.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fine Motor Skills

In the child development world, we have numerous terms that apply to various stages and developmental milestones, as well as terminology for skills that are learned and mastered.  One such term is "fine motor skills," which basically means a child can use his/her hands and fingers to do smaller tasks.  These skills change and grow as the child changes and grows, which is why fine motor skills are delineated according to which developmental milestone rather than age (we know children mature at different rates, so saying a child should be able to do peg puzzles at a particular age is vague and unhelpful since some will do it earlier, others later, and the rest fall somewhere in the middle - thus, there are averages in place for us to "get an idea" of where our children lay on the spectrum, but we mostly think of it in terms of developmental ability rather than age level).

(i say all this because i tend to talk like everyone knows these terms, and i am frequently reminded that they are not as commonly-used in the average parent's vocabulary, so i don't want to lose anyone since we all know what fine motor skills are - we just may not call them that.)
Okay, lesson over.  Are you tracking me now?  Good!

It never ceases to amaze me the differences in my own offspring, put together using the same 2 sets of DNA for each of them.  My oldest was advanced in many things, right on track for many things, and a bit behind in a few.  No worries from me, though, since i knew this was all based on "averages" and that she was overall a balanced child.  The next child was a boy, which changed everything since they mature in different ways at different rates as girls (for the most part).  He was behind in things my oldest was advanced in, but advanced in things she struggled with.  Hmm...  Same DNA input, same parents... but, okay, they're individuals.  I get that.

Now, however, i have another girl that i have watched grow to be a preschooler and i am noticing even more differences!  She is NOT a boy, but she follows her brothers gifts and advancements quite well, while somehow achieving the advancements of her sister at the same time!  There's not much she's average in or behind on, so i am constantly perplexed that she is even my child!

Why am i writing about this??  Not to brag, that's for sure!  I had nothing to do with my children's level of intelligence, and i take no credit for it.  Additionally, it is oftentimes more difficult to parent the bright children than the average children, so i have on occasion begged God to give me stupid children (tongue in cheek, here) so they will not strain my parenting skills so much!  However, the Lord, in all His Wisdom, has given me the ones i have, and i cherish them.

So.... yesterday, i received the laminator i ordered and have been laminating stuff like mad for 2 days! (if the dog'll sit still for half a second, he's getting laminated!) Today, i had a stack of freshly-laminated pages stacked up, ready for me to cut the small pieces out so i could assemble some file-folder games.  When i noticed one was cut not-so-neatly-but-certainly-functionally, i assumed my eldest got sloppy in her assistance with my project.  However, about an hour later, my littlest child was discovered sitting in the floor with the pages of laminated raindrops, the scissors, and a small stack of cut-out raindrops.  Wow.  She was so proud of herself!  And i was amazed at how well she was cutting these things out!!

The fine motor skills of this child have always awed me, but today, i was nearly speechless.  I really wanted the pieces cut away from the outlines to the laminate wouldn't peel away from the paper with use, but i couldn't really fault my 3-year-old's success with cutting on the lines, so it'll do.  Just exactly how it is.