Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Fun Stuff Lately

Thanksgiving week is done, and on to the next set of crazies.  We have D's birthday party coming up in two weeks, then Christmas already!  Life is on roller blades it seems.

We've been busy learning about fun new projects and ideas, thanks to my new favorite website (playathomemom3.blogspot.com)

My favorite that we've tried out:

These are actually little dehydrated beads you can buy at Michael's, in the craft vase area.  They come in a package priced at about 5 dollars, and we only used half of them this time!  You put them in water, and wait for four hours and they plump up and are juicy and squishy.  The kids enjoyed playing with them at all of their stages though!

We wanted ours pink so we added a little food coloring
 Even C had fun dumping them and squeezing them!

Yes, we had to put our entire bodies in these.  My sister (in law)  and I agree that we want to fill a bathtub up with these and go swimming.  Amazing sensory experience!

The dinosaur sand puzzle.  Each bone is made out of clay and matches up to a picture of a T Rex skeleton.  D & K had so much fun playing, they had no clue they were learning numbers right along with it.  Playing in sand is always fun too :)

I'll hopefully have another post up soon about learning to be satisfied and content in all circumstances.  I haven't quite figured out all of my feelings yet, so it may take some time to get it written in a way that makes any sense.  When I tried saying it out loud last night, to Gibbs... it definitely didn't make sense yet :-)

But, I am learning that being 100% present and dedicated to the children is fulfilling my life in a way that I didn't think being "just a mom" could.  I'm learning that there isn't anything wrong with wanting to give my children an excessively wonderful childhood experience, and to do that, I have to put 100% of myself into them.

Monday, November 21, 2011


As Christians, of course, we should always be counting our blessings.  But, if like me, you can tend to get overly focused on what's in front of you, your to do list, the list of things NOT going the way you thought they would... Thanksgiving gives us a great reminder to take a step back and see all that God has given us.  With spouses off work, children taking a break from school... it's like a pause button.  Spend time with your family, good quality family time without a list of things that should be getting done, without the stress of what your house looks like.  All of that can wait. I promise you won't forget to worry about it on Monday.

I love the idea of a restart.  Let go of the ways you failed this week, last week.  The things you let fall by the wayside when the kids were sick.  The  mountain of laundry awaiting your return. God allows us a restart every day.  His mercies are new each morning.... if only I could remember that each day instead of holding onto baggage from the day before.

This week I'm thankful for:
My kids
Fun things we are learning together
My husband. He puts up with so very much from me, and still seems to find me amusing.
My friends, especially my very close friends.... who um... well not to be redundant, but put up with so very much from me, and still find me amusing :-)
My dad, who I never thought would still be giving me advice, listening to my future goals and dreams, offering a listening ear when I need it, but never turns me down.

As an added unrelated side note, I'm going to give you a fun thing to do with your kids this week!  We did this last night, all 5 of us, and we were laughing so hard that one of us had a little accident.... I won't say who.

The Human Alphabet:  Can you guess which letter each of these are?

 Uppercase A

 Lowercase a.... not so easy!

F.... prior to C rolling on top of K!

Try it, I bet you will all be laughing, and your kids will probably surprise you with their creativity and knowledge!  Mine did anyways :-)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Creative Writing

Two posts in two days?!  It's true!  Count me out for the rest of the month now :-)

This one is much more practical in nature, and inspired by my creative children, a book my sister in law was kind enough to recommend to me, and a wintry afternoon.

I've always wanted to write a book.  I love writing.  I love reading.  Reading more than writing. I find words to be inspiring, moving, beautiful.  The bible is chalk full of examples of how important words can be.

Ang brought a book this weekend while visiting, Honey for a Child's Heart, that reminded me of how important it is to pass that love of reading and writing down to my children.

Who hasn't curled up in a cozy armchair by a fireplace, and been caught up in another world, transferred to a different time, a different country?  Lived through another person's fears, failures, triumphs? The world of writing is transformative, magical. For a child, all the more so.

So today while the winter storm blusters outside, I announced to my middle son (the only one awake and at home) that I wanted to write a book.  "Me too!" he shouted.  "Let's write one together!"

So we did.  I've never been able to come up with a good enough plot for a children's book, but always thought it would be fun if I could!

We sat down on our couch in the basement.  Turned the fireplace on, had cups of hot chocolate and discussed ideas about what to write. I had a notebook, and a pen, and an excited child by my side.  Together we wrote the story of Riley the Polar Bear, and His Surprising friend, Bomb the lady bug.  Yes, he chose the characters.  Yes, he named the characters.  He also was kind enough to draw pictures in the notebook, and critique my plot as we wrote.  He now has his own favorite book, inspired by his own active imagination.  Better than I could have written alone, and twice as interesting for him.

Tonight, I plan to repeat the experience with K.

The magic of Christmas has arrived early, along with the snow, at my home :-)   I think I'll put up the tree tonight....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Self Control, and the Opposite

On August 13th, I wrote a blog posting on discipline, if you haven't read it, it might be amusing to go back and read it after!

Lately, life has felt a bit out of control.

First, it started with meeting my weight loss goal, which was an exciting milestone, but with that comes a lack of strict self control with eating and exercise. "One extra cookie won't kill me now!"  Soon one cookie was five cookies, and soon five cookies... well.  I won't admit how many cookies I've eaten. in one sitting.  But it's not pretty.

Next, my newly acquired discipline with cleaning the house, my check mark list I completed each week, felt like routine.  So I quit.  I thought, how realistic is it to have a list that I check off EVERY week?  I need to find a healthy balance here, and now that I'm used to cleaning every day, it should be easy.  Ironically, this is pretty much the same talk I gave myself when I "quit diet-ing" ... which I already knew wasn't working!

Then off slides the bible study.  First it's just one day behind.  I can catch up tomorrow.  Then I'm an entire week behind, cramming in a week of lessons in a day so that I am not embarrassed at bible study.  I'm sure that's what God was going for with that whole "be in the Word" thing.

Self control is defined as restraint over one's own impulses, emotions, or desires.  Nearly all of my "discipline" issues really seem like self-control issues. And as I allow one thing to slide, my self control is weakened.  It's a landslide at this point.

I found this list of bible verses all on self control: http://devotionalchristian.com/self-control-bible-verses/  if you are interested, let me just warn you, there are a LOT.

By far the most interesting to me is Galatians 5:22.  Self control is a fruit of the spirit.

I'm having a light bulb moment where things are finally coming together for me.  A month and a half ago, I felt quite confident in  my own abilities. I had found a way to balance taking care of the kids, exercising, eating healthy, bible study, serving the church family, cleaning the house.  I really didn't need God for anything anymore!  And soon all of the things I was doing, I was actually doing for me.

It started off with the right attitude.  I want to feel healthier.  Then, it became, I want to look better.

I want to provide a warm comfortable home for my family, but then it became an obsession with a list, mostly filled with resentment that I had to do so much by myself.

I want to learn more about God's Word so I committed to being in the study each day, but soon it was just another thing on my list to complete.

If I completed enough things, tasks, finished my to do list, I felt successful. Prideful.  Arrogant even.

I'll end this with far greater words than I could come up with, except to say that I am learning, slowly.  So slowly and painfully sometimes!  But as I realize my own weakness, and my own inability to "keep up the show" of having everything put together all of the time, I know I glorify God more. I know then it's His strength keeping my family, our church, my home, and myself, sustained and loved.

“Those who serve God must serve Him in His own way, and in His strength, or He will never accept their service. That which man doth, unaided by divine strength, God can never own. The mere fruits of the earth He casteth away; He will only reap that corn, the seed of which was sown from heaven, watered by grace, and ripened by the sun of divine love."  -Charles Spurgeon