Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kid Fashion - Shoes for him

I remember when I just had one child and shopping for anything for him was so fun! Bibs, tiny socks, pajamas, shoes, clothes -- oh the excitement whenever he needed anything new!

Now that I have 3 ever-growing kids, keeping all 3 in shirts, shorts, pants, dresses, skirts, pajamas, school shoes, church shoes, underwear, winter coats, rain coats, swimsuits, swim goggles, winter hats, sun hats, baseball pants, baseball socks, ballet leotards, tights, ballet shoes, soccer cleats, baseball cleats, etc. that are the right size and not too worn out has become quite the overwhelming task. At any given time somebody needs something!

Just today my daughter's feet were crammed into too small ballet shoes that I need to find time to take her to replace and my toddler went to bed in a pajama shirt with some random athletic shorts because the bottoms to all the 2-year-old-sized-boy-summer-jammies somehow disappeared during the passing down from big brother to little brother!

But this past weekend, I tackled a wardrobe issue rather painlessly and learned something new about malekind in the process!

My 6 year-old has been wearing last year's brown sandals to church the past few weeks because it has been warm enough for shorts, but his toes were crammed up against the end. I checked a couple of my usual stores for new ones, but since he moved up to a kid size 1, the choices for classic looking footwear in those stores have disappeared.

But the Internet, is my friend!

You gotta try shoes on, right? And they may or may not work, so that is why I love the sites like that have free shipping and free return shipping if the shoe does not fit or work or whatever!

I found 2 cute options and planned to send one pair back after we decided which was best. They arrived so fast I didn't have time to try them on my son until we were getting ready for church.

I did the girl maneuver on him and put a different shoe on either foot to compare. I was leaning towards the one with the toe covered, but I asked my son what he thought.

Do you know what he did?

Lifted up each foot and examined the bottom of the shoe!

I was amazed at why the part nobody could see would matter. Comfort & cuteness, that's how I rate shoes! He informed me the ones with the open toe (1st picture) had a much better bottom and would allow him to run faster and jump higher.

Hmmm. . .

I called in his dad, my husband, for further help and wisdom. He had been in another part of the house and not heard any of our conversation thus far.

Do you know what my husband did when I asked him which shoe was better?


People, I learned something new about males! I have been married to a man for nearly 10 years, grew up with a big brother, and have 2 sons. I thought I knew it all about boys. Not true!

Apparently they choose shoes based on the bottom of the shoe!

Whatever! The shoe they unanimously chose was on sale for $19.00 versus the nearly $40.00 pair I liked! So the $40 pair was sent back.

No matter how you choose shoes, I highly recommend the Internet shopping. More choices, better prices, not dragging your kid to the store and through the store, and being able to try the shoes on your kid in your home when he or she is in a cooperative mood & while your other kids are contained and not running wildly through the store -- I could go on and on about the benefits!

But I'll just list one more. You get to narrow the choices!!! I chose 2 pairs of sandals that I liked and thus eliminated taking him to the store and having him fall in love with some ugly shoes and fight to get them! It's all about bringing the store to your child, not your child to the store!

Find more Fashion Friday at Big Mama.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Not Such a Baby Anymore!

My littlest baby is turning 2!

If I had a thousand words I'm not sure I could adequately describe you, my beloved 3rd child on the eve of your 2nd birthday:
  1. To say you have made life interesting would be an understatement!
  2. On any given day you can be found bathing in a mud puddle, sweeping the backyard in only your diaper, walking around in your big brother's batting helmet, dumping popcorn kernels all over the kitchen floor, and running wildly through the house with your big brother and sister pretending to "Shoop!" the bad guys.
  3. Your clothes are usually dirty within 5 minutes of being put on you!
  4. You love to give and get hugs! Since you could just crawl, your routine has been: play for a few minutes, come back and hug Mommy, play for a few minutes, come back and hug Mommy. And your Mommy loves it!!
  5. Your drooling abilities rival most bulldogs I've met!
  6. You think you are at least 4 or 5 years old. Just the other day you were patting the seat of your big brother's 2 wheel bike and demanding, loudly, "Ride! Ride!" It took ten minutes to coax you onto the red tricycle instead.
  7. You were our first trip to the ER and we're worried you'll make that trip a regular occurrence.
  8. As the third child, you were supposed to stay a baby longer, but instead you crawled at 5 months and walked at 8 months!
  9. You love your "Brober" and "Sisser". Your big sister will probably never stop kissing you several times each day even when you are much bigger than she is, and just yesterday your Big Brother said you were "The Best Brother Ever!"
  10. You are loud and can be demanding, yelling "Pop-Art! Pop-Art!" over and over from your booster seat at the breakfast table as the toaster strives to toast faster just to stop the screaming.
  11. Be thankful you are the 3rd child. The first 2 children in this family were not given things like Pop Tarts for breakfast at your age! Then again, they didn't get ice cream at 8 months old either!
  12. Also, be thankful you are adorable because it endears you to people like your Sunday school teachers, pediatrician, grandparents and they never believe the bad things your parents say you do!
  13. We are thankful for the blessing of you! The joy, excitement, and hugs you've brought to our world drastically outweigh every gray hair!

Find more Thankful Thursday at Women Taking a Stand, Thousand Words Thursday at Cheaper Than Therapy, and Thursday {Thirteen} at Happy to be @ Home.

Thankfully it is NOT the Swine Flu

My toddler who has had a cough for a few days (that is not unusual, he has reactive airway issues and often sounds congested) suddenly started running fever last night. I am not at all a paranoid parent, but even I couldn't help but be a little worried about the Swine Flu when he awoke burning up with fever at 10 PM last night. An internet search on Swine Flu symptoms didn't make me feel any better.

Thankfully our pediatrician always gets the kids in the same day you call, so I was able to get him to the doctor this morning. They did a nasal swab with a Q-tip-like-thingy and then ran a 5 minute test in their lab -- negative for H1N1. I didn't even ask for the test; the doctor said any patient coming in with fever gets the test. My son was given antibiotics for a respiratory infection and is already doing better.

The kids coming in after us looked very, very sick. My daughter didn't understand why I kept lathering her down with antibacterial gel. In fact I nearly depleted my supply of the stuff, so we stopped by Target on the way home from the doctor and guess what was completely cleared from their shelves -- Hand sanitizer!

I majored in biomedical science in college and had a class on infectious diseases with this professor who got really excited when he lectured on the possibilities of major outbreaks. I bet wherever he is now, he just cannot contain himself! Back in that day (11 years ago) genetics, cancer, and HIV were the hot areas of medical science research, but that microbiology professor told us several times, "Microbes are on their way back!" So today, I tip my hat to you, Micro-professor man, not only for giving me an A in your class and loving my term paper on Ebola, but for your powers of prediction!

From Anthrax in 2002 to Bird Flu to Swine Flu, microbes are definitely back! We just pray you microbiologists invent a way to fight them!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Works for me Wednesday: Get rid of Fruit Flies/Gnats

Springtime brings beautiful weather, flowers, and kids playing outside. I just love it!

But, as you may remember from this post I did, my kids playing outside means a lot of in and out, meaning the back door spends more time opened than it does shut.

Which means gnats fly in!

It is so gross to see them swarming around my kitchen, but they are so small and fast, how do you get rid of them?

I combined a few ideas from the internet and created a very simple trap:
  • I poked a few small holes in the lid of an empty, clean coffee can
  • dropped a small piece of banana inside the can
  • put the lid on and set it on my kitchen counter.
  • About 4 hours later I carried the can outside, called the kids over (might as well make a science lesson out of the deal!), and opened the lid.
I was shocked at how many gnats/fruit flies (are they the same thing?) flew out! How disgusting that there were that many in my house, but they are not there anymore!

The gnat trap works for me!!!

Find more Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spring Cleaning

It's gettin' done, my friends!

Slowly, but surely we're getting this house in order. I don't think I told you (and it is so exciting that you really have missed out!) that the weekend before last, I emptied all the lower cabinets in my kitchen, removed the plastic shelf liners, washed the liners, wiped out the cabinets, got rid of a few things, and then put everything back in an organized fashion. I love that I can clean my shelf liners. I'm not too proud to admit that it was nasty in places! Here is a link to the kind I have Warp Brothers #PM125-C 12x25' Clear Shelf Liner -- way, way, better than the old sticky-back kind!

I even talked my husband into letting me purge the cappuccino machine that was taking up cabinet space. He put up a fight because he could remember the exact last time he had used it -- over SIX YEARS AGO! Thankfully he noticed the water reservoir smelled slightly like mold and that convinced him to part with the beloved fancy-coffee-beverage-making-machine that we have not used since before we had kids!

So, what was the spring cleaning excitement from this most recent weekend?

The garage stockpile pantry.

Oh how I love a good stockpile! I posted about my stockpile shopping a while back that you can read here. There is nothing better than running out of paper towels or laundry detergent or Coke Zero (which has edged out the old Diet Coke from our household, by the way) and not having to run to the store, but simply to my garage for more! Okay, maybe there are a few things better than that, but you have to admit, that is pretty good!

Back to the garage pantry, it was suffering. It needed some more shelves. I'd been thinking we'd build some, but then I saw Target had a shelf on sale for $19.99!

My husband had a meeting at our church Sunday evening, so I made it a mission for the kids and me. Go to Target, buy shelf, come home and put shelf together, and arrange our stuff on the shelf all before my husband returned an hour and a half later!

The goal seemed lofty, even my 6 year old tried to convince me to come up with a new mission!

First there was distraction at Target by the kid bike helmets on sale, of which we needed 2, so after some trying on and mind changing, finally a purple one with bugs was secured for my daughter and a blue one with monkeys for the toddler. Then there was a slight hold-up of having to wait for someone to bring the coveted on-sale shelf from the back because the ones up front were all sold. And another delay when we built (okay, snapped together) the 4 tier shelf only to realize it would not fit in our space, so there was much tugging to pull the top shelf off. As it turns out those things snap together real easy, but unsnapping them is not so easy! If my engineer-turned-businessman husband had been home he'd have known from the beginning that the shelf would not fit. Me, I learn by trial and error!

But even so, the mission was accomplished with even time to spare for baths before Daddy got home!

The before:

And the after:
This Tuesday, I'm thankful for progress, although it may seem small to some. Organizing that pantry is probably the only thing I did all weekend that didn't have to be done again today!

See the Org Junkie's Monthly Round-up for more organizing before & afters. Find more Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers, Tackle It Tuesday at 5 Minutes for Mom, and Talk About Tuesday at The Lazy Organizer.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sunday Scripture Sharing - Family Devotional #10

Finally, here is the Family Devotional I posted about wanting to write last week! I'm not sure that I achieved my goal of a week where I did not complain, but I did catch myself several times before I said a complaint and made a choice to say something to affect the situation in a more positive way. For example, one late afternoon/early evening when my 3 year old was very whiney because she had played in her room through her naptime instead of sleeping, I almost said, "I'm really getting tired of the whining," but instead I said, "It sounds like you are tired, go to your room and rest until you don't feel so whiney."

I am going to address two complaining scenarios in this devotional. The first, complaining when asked to do something, has become a regular problem with my firstborn and is trickling down to his otherwise typically cheerfully helpful younger siblings. It is time to address it! After the issue is talked about in this devotional, complaining about a job in the future from our kids will result in that child having to do an extra job as well.

The second scenario is complaining about something you have been given or offered. My kids are really pretty good at not doing that one. But we were at a birthday party last weekend where the kids were given large lollipops of varying colors as their parting favor as they left, and it was shocking how many 5 & 6 year olds said, "A blue one! I don't like blue, do you have any green?" or "Do I get a goody bag, too?" or "I don't want that one, I want one like he has!" My son was towards the back of the line and I was whispering in his ear, "You take whatever one she gives you and you say thank you! Do NOT ask for a different color!" In the end, I was thankful we witnessed the ungrateful behavior because it made for an awesome teachable moment with my son. When we got back to the car I asked him what he thought about what they were saying and he thought it was not nice. I got a chance to point out how the parents of the birthday child had paid to have the party at a fun place, provided snacks, and cake, and then an extra parting treat out of the goodness of their heart and that the only appropriate thing to say when given the gift was "Thank you!" and then later he could choose to eat it or not.

Today's Topic is:

Do all things without complaining

Ask your children, "What do you usually say when I ask you to do a chore like collect the trash?" "What do you think God wants you to say?" "How about if someone gives you something?"

You are going to act out two different scenarios, each two different ways or if your spouse is doing this with you, then one of you can do the positive and one the negative of each scenario.

1st Scenario: Have your child ask you to do something, like make them a snack, or clean up the toys in their room. Then say, "Sure!" and do it with a smile on your face. Next, do it (or have your spouse do it) again but this time say things like, "Do I have to? I'm really tired. This is too hard! I hate doing this! Why are you making me do this?" the entire time you are doing the task. Then ask your child which one was better and why.

2nd Scenario: Have your child give you a treat like a cookie or candy. First take it smile and say, "Thank you!" Next, have them give it and say, "I don't like chocolate cookies, don't you have any sugar cookies?" or "A purple lollipop! I don't like purple." Ask your children which answer was better.


Philippians 2:14, "Do all things without grumbling or arguing."

What is grumbling? Yes, it is complaining. (Illustrate it further for your children if it seems like they still don't get it.) Talk about what was complaining from the 2 scenarios acted out. The Bible says we are to "do all things without grumbling or arguing." Do you think that means we should only do things we want to do without compaining or things we don't want to do, like clean our rooms, too? Philippians 2:15 goes on to say why we should not complain or argue, so we may "appear as lights of the world." Most people do not like being around other people who complain or argue a lot; it is much more fun to be around someone who is smiling and saying nice things! That is being a light in the world and making it a brighter, happier place!

Dear God, help us to do all things without grumbling, arguing, or compaining so that we can be lights for you! Amen.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Kid Fashion - Swimsuits

Okay now that I got the swim diaper basics business out of the way last week, we can move on to the more fun, regular swimsuit.

The website Kid Surplus has some really cute swimsuits for great prices click on this link for All Swimsuits on their site. They are also running the special $5 Off Orders over $50 at Kidsurplus with code MOMSDAY.

I just bought this cute little girl swimsuit for my daughter and got it in the mail a couple days ago. It is even more fabulous than the picture! It has sparkly sequins on the front of the top that are hard to see in the picture. If your daughter is like mine, sparkly anything is a huge delight!

I do not get bikinis for my 3 year old, but tankinis I will let her wear since they are more covering and also very practical because they make bathroom breaks so much easier! I got her this tankini recently and she literally slept in it for 2 nights and insisted on wearing it under her clothes for a couple days!

For boys, I love the Old Navy swimsuits. They usually have cute ones to choose from like this one or this one with great rashguard shirts like this and this. My oldest son is on the slim side and other brands of swimsuits often slide down off his waist, but these Old Navy kind have a great fit around the waist that stays on him. Also, those swimsuits wear really well. We have some he wore over and over for 2 summers and they still look great to pass on to Baby Brother!

Find more Fashion Friday at Big Mama.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What it is like having a big sister

By having a boy, then a girl, and then another boy, I've been able to watch a big brother in action with his baby sister and a big sister in action with her baby brother and let me tell you, they are very different!

You may remember this post of mine where I shared about the brotherly love between my 2 boys. Well, today's picture reveals a thousand words about what it is like having a big sister:
  1. It is a lot like having a miniature mommy following you around all the time!
  2. In this picture taken about 20 months ago, she climbed into the bassinet portion of the Pack N' Play with her baby brother and is trying to put his pacifier back in.
  3. Notice the baby is not crying, meaning he is not at all bothered by his big sister being there, in fact he is already quite used to her smothering him with attention!
  4. Also, notice the baby is not crying, yet she was determined to put that paci in. She felt he should always be sucking it!
  5. She continues to be the little mommy even now that her nearly 2 year old brother almost outweighs her!
  6. I often hear her asking, "What's the matter Baby?" when he is fussing about something.
  7. Ever the helpful big sister she has also been known to say, "I will show him which one he wants!"
  8. And we wondered why this baby brother barely spoke until he was 19 months old!
  9. It is most amazing to me that she will notice him with a runny nose, run get a Kleenex, and wipe it for him, all without being asked! In 6 years of living, I don't think her older brother has ever willing wiped his own nose, much less someone else's!
  10. God really does equip men and women differently and in general He seems to give women the nurturing role!
  11. Man can she ever make him mad, but oh how that baby brother loves his "Sisser"! He even wants her to sleep in the bed next to his crib, which she obliges most nights!
  12. "Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring - quite often the hard way." ~Pamela Dugdale
  13. I am so thankful they have each other and pray they will always be close!

Find more Thankful Thursday at Women Taking a Stand, Thousand Words Thursday at Cheaper Than Therapy, and Thursday {Thirteen} at Happy to be @ Home.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Works for me Wednesday: Cleaning Shortcuts

I have a cleaning tool that works wonders to quickly clear your house of clutter. In mere minutes it will transform your messy home into a place where you can have guests.

The best part is you do not have to go out and buy it. I am willing to bet you have this tool already in your home! You just need to assign it a 2nd job.

Are you ready for it?

A laundry basket!

Here's how you use it. About 15 minutes before guests are due to arrive at your home or whenever the stuff begins driving you crazy, you grab your laundry basket and begin throwing everything into it that looks like clutter. Piles of papers you need to go through, toys, art creations your children brought home, anything that looks bad sitting out or is not in its proper place. Then when your basket is full, or the doorbell rings, you go stash the basket in your master bedroom closet.

Now if you are super organized, you should, soon after guests leave, go through the basket and put everything in its appropriate spot. But, if you were super organized, then you probably have no excess clutter for the basket in the first place.

If you are more like me, then any time in the next 3 weeks that you or any member of your family are looking for something, consult the basket, chances are it is there. Then at the end of 3 weeks or so, anything left remaining in the basket can probably be thrown away!

This trick works great if you are trying to sell your house and must be constantly getting ready for potential buyers to see it! Two years ago when we had our old house on the market and 2 small children, whenever I left the house before a showing, I'd strap the kids into their car seats (to end their ability to create anymore messes) and then head back inside and toss everything that was out of place into the basket. Then I'd put the basket in the back of my SUV and off we'd go, clutter and all!

Now, if this speed cleaning method does not float your boat, I have another.

Schedule a pest-control spraying of your home and then forget about it until 30 minutes before.

I did this one day, and on a day that had a rough morning. It was lunchtime and even the breakfast dishes had not been done! Suddenly I remembered to consult my calendar and there it was, the appointment for 30 minutes later! I launched into a cleaning mode I have never again been able to replicate. Dishes were done, toys were put away, floors were mopped, beds were made, and the clothes that were waiting to be folded on the couch were thrown back into the dryer!

My house looked great in 30 minutes!! It was amazing! I guess the fear of a man who specializes in bugs walking through every room in my home and thinking it was messy was powerful motivation!

Find more Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Inventors take note!

This Tuesday I am thankful for modern inventions. The dishwasher, washing machine/dryer, computer, air conditioner & heater are all my daily friends. (It's springtime in Texas, y'all, so yes, the a/c and heater are both used within the same 24 hour period!) The car DVD player is the biggest blessing during road trips with my 3 little kids! The crockpot completely came through with the yummiest chicken (hint: click that phrase for the recipe) ready and waiting tonight after we returned from the kid activity marathon of ballet class followed by coach-pitch baseball game!

But, I need more.

Inventors, here are 2 of the items from my long "I wish somebody would invent. . ." list. Notice these 2 deal with my car. Hmmm, wonder where I spent a lot of time today?

Needed Invention #1: A neon sign for my car
I live in a large city and there is a lot of on and off the freeway driving and I've often thought it would be so helpful to have a button I could push to illuminate a “Please let me over” sign on the back of my car. Also, I am not the best driver and I occasionally cut people off, but it is completely by accident, so then I wish for the “I'm sorry!” sign. And I often have the need for the “Please cut me some slack there are 3 children screaming in the back and it is hard to focus on driving!” sign. Then there was the 1st day I did car line at my son's elementary school and did not understand the intricacies of the car line system and am afraid I may have cut in front of someone and blocked an intersection for a while. I really needed an “I'm new!” sign.

Needed Invention #2: A soundproof partition for my car
Oh, how I’d love it if someone would invent a soundproof partition (similar to what limo drivers have) to seal off the rest of the car from my driver’s compartment. Then I wouldn’t have to listen to the screaming, crying, whining, fighting from the back seats! At the first sound of unpleasantness I could hit a button and establish a barrier between them and me. Imagine the peace!

Find more Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers and Talk About Tuesday at The Lazy Organizer

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I had every intention of posting one of my Scripture Sharing Sunday family devotionals this weekend. I even knew the topic and scripture I wanted to cover. I wanted to address the issue of complaining in our children and use the verse Philippians 2:14, "Do all things without grumbling or arguing."

But, instead I spent all Sunday afternoon complaining about my children tracking dirt onto my clean kitchen floor!

Oh yes, that white floor I wrote about here was sparkling when we got home from church, but it was a beautiful day here after a very rainy day yesterday. The children played outside a bunch while their daddy worked in the yard and I tried to tackle some inside chores. For some reason when my children play outside, their play entails a lot of coming back inside. One child needed to go potty, another child needed a drink, one wanted a cracker, another a baggie to collect leaves, someone needed to wash the mud off their legs, a child needed to come tattle on their sibling, a sibling needed to defend himself.

You get the picture, right?

My kids are pretty good about taking off their shoes when they come inside and are done playing outside but not so much when they just popped in for a minute.

As the muddy footprints began, so did my complaining, "Take your shoes off!" "Look at what you just tracked in!" "What are you doing?" "Look at the floor!" "Get the hand vacuum!" "Why are you coming in again?!" "Stop! Don't take another step!" "Look at your feet, do you see how muddy they are?" "Do you want to sweep and mop the entire kitchen?"

On and on it went. Finally, I'd had enough and walked out the backdoor and told my children in a not very nice voice that if they needed to come inside for any reason that they must knock on the door instead of coming in.

I had no sooner closed the door than the knocking began!

At the very moment I got annoyed with all the knocking, it hit me.

I was doing the very thing I intended to teach my children not to do!

So, there was no Scripture Sharing Sunday this week. Instead I am going spend the week trying to control my own complaining and grumbling and then maybe next Sunday I can teach my children that they should not complain!

In the mean time you should all go check out this post from Into Still Waters about complaining. It is awesome!

I know I want a home where the environment is joyful & cheerful, which is why I wanted to address some of the complaining I've heard recently from my children, and I don't want them to grow up to be people that other people can't stand to be around. Let's face it, that is how we feel about people that are always complaining! But clearly the attitude change is going to have to begin with me!

Find more tips for Making your Home Sing at Mom's the Word and tips on Making Your Home a Haven at Tammy's Recipes.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kid Fashion - Swim Diaper Necessity

This is more functional rather than stylish Fashion Friday advice, but if you have a non-potty trained child you plan on swimming with this summer, this tip just may change your life!

It only took me 2 kids and countless gross mishaps before I realized, those disposable swim diapers LEAK! There is nothing that will mar an otherwise spectacular pool or waterpark adventure quite like holding a swim diaper & swimsuit clad baby on your hip and realizing that a mixture of chlorine water and #2 is running down your leg!

I wised up by my 3rd child and began thinking there had to be a better way!

Then the place where my older kids take swim lessons began requiring double swim diapers on all kids younger than 3 and one of those swim diapers had to be the reusable kind. They recommended and sold the iPlay brand.

I began doing this on my toddler anytime he went swimming last summer, a disposable underneath the reusable iPlay swim diaper and then the swimsuit on top. And it works, no more leaks!

Here is a link to the iPlay boy version swim diaper I just bought in the size for my soon-to-be 2 year old son to wear this summer. He will be so happy to have a boy swim diaper because all last summer he wore the pink flowery ones that his big sister had to wear to swim lessons (but since they were under his regular swimsuit nobody knew)! has the best deals on these swim diapers right now and they are offering $5.00 off an order of $25.00 or more, just use promo code DAFFODIL.

For the girl 2 year old version click here, and for other styles and sizes for younger babies this link will show you all the iPlay items.

I plan to spend a lot of time at the pool with my kids this summer, so if not for yourself, then for the rest of us in the pool, please get a resusable swim diaper for your infant/toddler!!!

Find more Fashion Friday at Big Mama.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Kid Activities

I could say a thousand things about kids and activities, but I'll spare you and just share 13 thoughts:
  1. I really love watching my kids do new things!
  2. There is nothing better than seeing that look of accomplishment on their face when they achieve something they have worked for! I'll never forget the look on my son's face the first time he swam across the pool by himself.
  3. Is there anything cuter than a little kid baseball game or a roomful of little girls in black leotards, pink tights, and ballet shoes?
  4. Having kids in activities definitely makes life busier and more complicated!
  5. It is all about having a balance. There is a point where the activities get to be too much. Kids need downtime, too, especially time at home just playing with their siblings.
  6. Thankfully little kid seasons are short, so kids can try out several sports and still only have one going on at a time, meaning days off. Soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter, baseball in the spring, and swim team in the summer is a rotation that has worked well for my son.
  7. It is harder to choose for my daughter because she has all the options of her brother but also ballet, gymnastics, cheerleading, etc. So far we've done ballet, gymnastics and swim lessons with her.
  8. Click here for my post on what I want my children to know how to do before they leave home. Activities help with several of the items on this list.
  9. I feel like sports and activities can challenge kids and push them out of their comfort zones, and that is good.
  10. My clingy daughter really gained a lot of confidence through taking swim lessons where I was in an observation room and she couldn't see me.
  11. I would like my kids to find something they really like and feel good at before they are teenagers because it will help with self-esteem during those rough junior high and high school years!
  12. I am thankful for the skills my kids will learn, the friends they'll make, the memories they'll create, and the life lessons they'll experience through extracurricular activities.
  13. Mostly I'm thankful that I get to be their biggest fan!
Find more Thankful Thursday at Women Taking a Stand, Thousand Words Thursday at Cheaper Than Therapy, and Thursday {Thirteen} at Happy to be @ Home.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Works for me Wednesday: Remove Stains

You may remember this picture from my post about my toddler's injury.

Well, praise God the stitches are out and the finger is healing quite nicely, but what about that blood-soaked shirt?

I really thought it could not be saved and was ready to toss it. A nurse at the hospital even joked to my son, "I hope that's not your favorite shirt!"

I decided to try soaking it in Tide with Colorsafe Bleach Alternative mixed with water overnight.

Check out the results:
The shorts came clean, too!

I have not been at all compensated by Tide to say this (but if anyone from Tide reads this and would like to send me a free bottle, I'll put it to good use!), but Tide with Colorsafe Bleach works for me!

Now I've got to go soak the dog bed cover that is currently covered in grape jelly. Oh yes, the chaos around here is not all caused by the kids, but a jelly toast stealing dog too!

Find more Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family.

Monday, April 13, 2009

What a difference a year makes

So, as I posted this morning, my plan for the day was to take my 3 year old daughter and my 1 year old son with me to the grocery store and farmer's market because even though it was my 3 year old's normal preschool day, they were still on Easter holiday. But, as soon as I hit "post" on the blog and mustered the will to tackle my agenda for the day, the phone rang.

One of my daughter's friends wanted her to come over and play. I gathered that her mom was offering a playdate where I was fr
ee to leave so I agreed. The errands had to get done, so as much as I'd have liked to spend the morning watching my little girl play with her friend, I just couldn't today.

Now this would be my daughter's first playdate without Mommy staying with her.

A milestone hit a little earlier than her older brother did, but this other mommy is a friend I have known for a while and our girls know each other very well. My friend and I both have older boys so our girls are not the sheltered firstborns and we moms have figured out the magic that the drop off playda
te can be! Not that I don't enjoy some quality momversation during a stay and watch playdate, but the errands are a bit easier with one less child in tow!

Now, my little girl has had her bouts with being clingy, specifically a two and a half year bout that began when she was born and then some sporadic bouts since turning two and a half. But, she has become much more independent in the last year. Still, I wasn't sure if my leaving the playdate would f
reak her out or not.

I eased into it. "Guess what? L wants you to come play at her house. Do you want to go?" She replies, "Yes!" Okay, then let's get dressed.

I waited until about 10 minutes before we needed to leave to break it to her that I wouldn't be staying with her for the playdate. I a
ssured her that I'd be back in an hour and a half and that L's mom would be there and what fun it is to be a big girl and play at friends' houses without your mommy there! She seemed skeptical but bought into the idea. However there was still big potential for a freakout, crying, clinging fit once we got there and the reality of my leaving set in.

I pulled up to the house. My friend and her daughter came outside. We exchanged a little conversation about how our Easters were, then my daughter and her little friend took off running into the house and closed the door. My friend and I looked at each other and said, "Well, okay!"

That was it y'all!

No clinging, no crying, NOT EVEN A GOODBYE!

From the little girl I carried around on my hip for the first 2 and a half years of her life because she refused to walk or leave my side without major drama.

I wasn't sure if I should cry or cheer.

I drove off for the farmer's market with just my toddler strapped in the backseat and did a little of both.

Well, not really crying, but a moment of sadness fo
r the rapid growing up of my baby girl. But, also cheering and pride for the big girl she is becoming.

Such is the life of a mom. We are to work ourselves out of a job, to slowly, slowly, slowly make them more independent.

As much as we think we'd like to keep them babies by our side forever, this would deprive them from experiencing life, the joy of making their own way in the world, and fulfilling the destiny that God has for them. And deprive us moms of the blessing of watching it happen.

So this Gratituesday I'm thankful for God's design, because if I had my way I might just choose to freeze my little girl right here at 3 years old!

Find more Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers and Talk About Tuesday at The Lazy Organizer.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Eight is Enough

Sweet Heidi at Blue Eyed Blessings tagged me to play the Eight is Enough game, and I'm in, but I'm going to alter the rules a little and just post a lot of random things about me and the number 8, okay? If that is against all bloggy etiquette (by the way it took about 8 tries before spell checker was happy with my spelling of that word!), then I apologize -- remember I'm new!!

And I also just spent nearly
8 hours in the car with 3 little kids.

My kids' normal bedtime is
8PM. As we drove home, guess what time the last one finally fell asleep in the car? 10:18PM! Just about 10 minutes before we arrived home!!!

But we did make the trip with only one stop for dinner -- amazing!

I am very gr-
8-ful for the car DVD player!

I am also glad I did not have to say
8 times, but only once today, "It is never okay to wipe snot on your sister!"

If I'd played by the original rules,
8 of the things I was suppose to list were the 8 shows I watch. I do not actually watch 8 shows. I watch 3 - Lost, Survivor, and Jon & Kate plus 8. I know my husband and I have completely missed the American Idol bandwagon, but we don't know what we're missing and that is good because if I added more shows I wouldn't have time to blog!

Does anyone else watch that Jon & Kate plus
8? I can't believe I put my 3 kids to bed and then watch a show with 8 little kids screaming and fighting. But it is funny how much I can relate to and I only have 3 kids and they have 8. I love it when she's telling her kids not to crowd her or yelling, "People out of my way!" I will never be critical of her for this because I understand! It never fails that I'll be in a bathroom fixing 1 child's hair and suddenly all 3 children will be in there with me, and I can't even move without stepping on someone!

I'll leave you with the
8 items on my agenda for the day (besides the normal diaper changing, book reading, kid dressing, meal making, mess cleaning, etc. that goes on every day):
1. create my meal plan for the week and grocery list
2. visit the farmer's market and the grocery with both my little kids in tow because preschool is still on Easter holiday
3. pick up the dog from boarding at the vet
4. unpack
5. wash
6. pick up at elementary school
7. take daughter to ballet & take son to baseball practice
8. prepare snack to take to daughter's preschool class tomorrow

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 10, 2009

It's Friday but Sunday's coming!

A couple years ago right before Easter I attened a funeral for a friend's mom and the pastor had the best message, "It's Friday, but Sunday's coming!"

Meaning, life is so dark, so hard, so painful, so full of suffering right now just as it must have been for those who watched Jesus die on the cross that Friday, but we as Christians now know that dark Friday was followed by the glorious joy of Sunday when Jesus rose from the dead!

While Jesus was hanging on the cross He promised one of the criminals hanging next to him that, "Today you shall be with Me in Paradise." Luke 23:43

We, as believers, have that same promise that one day we will be with Jesus in Paradise! So, no matter how dark and unbearable Friday is, Sunday's coming!

Praise God for that tremendous hope!

Glory to God, too, for the magic of the plug-in wireless internet thingy (that is the technical term, by the way) that is allowing me to post this while in-route to Oklahoma to visit family!

And God has out done himself with these Texas wildflowers! We just stopped and got pictures of the kids in the biggest field of bluebonnets I've ever seen in my entire life!

We spotted the cars by the side of the road and the gorgeous field, so of course, we did a U-turn and hauled the kids out on the side of the interstate and plopped them right down in that field of bluebonnets for pictures. Somebody will have a rash tomorrow, but the pictures were worth it!!

Have a blessed Easter! I won't post again until Monday or Tuesday!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What It Is Like Having a Toddler in the House

What it is like having a toddler in the house:
  1. Yeah, it's pretty much like that. THOUSANDS of popcorn kernels strewn across your kitchen floor!
  2. He pulled the bag out of the pantry, took off the clothes pin that was keeping the bag shut, and shook the entire contents onto the floor.
  3. I was just a few feet away and heard him rustling in the pantry but it was snack time, the bigger kids had been in the pantry, too, and I assumed he was getting out crackers.
  4. Then I heard it, a sound like rain and wondered what in the world had happened that it was raining in my kitchen.
  5. The next sounds were from my 6 year old shrieking, "He's doing something really bad!"
  6. I stared at the mess in disbelief. We were having guests the next day and I had many things to clean up already!
  7. Clearly the popcorn kernels became first priority.
  8. I whisked out the 2 sets of hand brooms and dust pans as my toddler began shouting, "MESS! MESS!"
  9. I guess it was a lesson in cause and effect for him. Bag of popcorn kernels + opening + turning upside down = MESS!
  10. I made the mistake of enlisting my toddler and 2 older kids in helping clean up the mess, I guess I thought the work of cleaning it up would deter any of them from making such a mess again, but soon there were popcorn kernels coating the entire 1st floor of my home!
  11. Because you see, kids sweep with gusto and they are not so good with the dust pan!
  12. If you come to my home anytime in the next 8 months you are likely to step on a kernel. Take my advice and wear your shoes at all times!
  13. Thankfully that mischievous toddler is also the sweetest thing, giving the best hugs many times each day. Just yesterday when I got him out of his crib first thing in the morning, all he wanted to do was, "Kiss . . . Sisser! Hug . . . Sisser!" and he did, crawl in bed with his big sister and kiss and hug her!
Find more Thankful Thursday at Women Taking a Stand, Thousand Words Thursday at Cheaper Than Therapy, and Thursday {Thirteen} at Happy to be @ Home.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Works for me Wednesday: Make a Difference

One of the saddest things that happens in our world is the mistreatment of children. Child abuse and neglect happens far more often than most of us can bear to imagine.

This website from Child Help quotes the statistic that 4 children die every day in the United States as a result of child abuse. That is like a large plane crashing every month filled with only children and killing all of them! Now if that type of plane crash were happening over and over again, we'd do something, right?

April is National Child Abuse Prevention month.

But what can we do? I know I used to feel helpless reading the newspaper articles, but then I became a volunteer with an organization called Child Advocates. It is a local chapter of the national organization called CASA. CASA stands for court appointed special advocate. The National CASA website is

If you volunteer, you will be a difference in the life of a child!

As a court appointed special advocate I am appointed by a judge to a case of a child or children who have been removed from their home for suspected abuse or neglect. I stay on the case for the roughly 1 year it is open and until the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. I am not paid. I am a volunteer, but because I am appointed by the judge as the CASA, or also called Guardian Ad Litem (GAL), I read the case file, visit the child monthly, talk with the CPS caseworker, attorneys, doctors, therapists, teachers, parents, relatives, anyone with information about the case. I then report to the judge and testify in court during hearings every few months and at the final trial or dismissal hearing about how the child is doing and what next steps are in the best interest of the child.

I have no special skills beyond just being a person who cares, but I work with a coordinator who is on staff with Child Advocates and she answers my questions and accompanies me to court.

The CPS caseworkers are loaded down with many cases, sometimes as many as 30-40 cases. The attorneys appointed to represent the children are also carrying many cases and sometimes do not even get to visit the children they represent. Since CASA volunteers usually have only one case at a time, they can devote much more time and attention to the case and the judges realize this and it has been my experience that they really listen to my recommendations about what is best for the children.

As an advocate you can not only influence what happens in the child's legal case, like whether or not they go home, but you can be a support person for that child who is in a very tough situation. I have worked with mainly young kids, but I have heard stories of teens that are in foster care and having behavioral and academic problems at school, but once a CASA volunteer gets on their case and starts visiting them regularly and taking an intrest in them, suddenly the school problems clear up, all because how they did finally mattered to someone!

The knowlege that someone cares is amazingly powerful in the life of a child!

Okay, still thinking you're too busy to help? Well, what happens if you don't? What will these children that fall through the Child Protective Services cracks grow up to be? A child that grows up in a home where they are unloved and hurt will grow up to hurt others. They may become the criminals that prey on your grandchildren in 10 or 20 years. But getting that child into a safe, loving home can turn their life around. Currently there are only enough CASA volunteers to serve about half the children in the system.

The commitment can be scarey, but it is similar to giving money to your church above and beyond what you think you can comfortably do. There is an amazing feeling and boost to your faith when you allow God to fill in the gaps, and just watch Him provide! I do not believe God wants us to be comfortable in this earthly life.

How can we be comfortable knowing there are children suffering? When I became a mother the thought of children suffering became even more unbearable. The average of 12 hours per month I spend on this volunteer job is absolutely the least I can do! And yes, those hours are sometimes hard to fit in with my own family obligations, but I feel like it is good for my kids to see their mom serving others. Much of that time I am able to fit in as phone calls during their naps, or visits on weekends when my husband is home.

Jesus died on the cross to redeem my life. I sacrifice much less to redeem the lives of children! A volunteer opportunity where you can really become a difference, perhaps a life and death difference in the entire life of a child, well, that works for me!

Find more Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family

Monday, April 6, 2009

Thankful for Friends!

I am thankful for friends -- old and new, seen and unseen.

Yesterday we were privileged to be able to host a gathering at our house for 9 families, including our own for dinner and an Easter egg hunt. We have known these other couples for years, since before we even had kids! Between all of us we now have 22 kids with 1 more due in just a few weeks.

We are all busy and don't get to see each other as much as we did when we were just married couples without kids, but we have made it a point to get together a few times a year and what a blessing it is! The kids range in age from 7 years on down to infants and they have known each other since birth and we've had a blast watching them grow up!

I'm thankful to be sharing this parenting adventure with these sweet friends, thankful for the blessing of their friendship that has loved on me and my family through happy and sad these last 8 years, thankful for the 22 beautiful kids we have welcomed into our group and thankful for our backyard to entertain all those precious little ones yesterday with minimal mess and clean-up!!

Now for the new and unseen.

I am thankful for blog friends who love on me through their comments and inspire me with their posts! I have learned so much from other bloggers these last few months I've been blogging -- everything from recipes, neat crafts, amazing spiritual truths, parenting tips, funny kids stories, and mom confessions that make me feel like I'm not the only one!!! The blog community is awesome!

On that note, Beth at Not a Bow in Sight gave me a blog award. Thank you Beth! You are a sister!!

Here are the rules to spread the sisterhood spirit:

(1) Put the logo on your blog or post.

(2) Nominate up to 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude!

(3) Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.

(4) Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

(5) Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

So the folks I'm nominating are:

Into Still Waters

My Treasure Hunt

Hold it Up to the Light

You are inspiring women that I am thankful this blog world has allowed me to know!

Find more Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers and Talk About Tuesday at The Lazy Organizer.

P. S. Has anyone seen this article? Crazy stuff! How much do I love that this is coming out during this Passion Week before Easter -- a lot!! May we all reach out to His light and pass it on!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday Scripture Sharing - Resurrection Eggs Family Devotional

I'm not writing my own devotional this week because I found a resurrection eggs scavenger hunt that is really great. I did this with my kids this past week and was really surprised at how many of the clue answers my 6 year old was able to figure out. Then his little sister and brother had fun helping him find the items the clue pointed to. This is very easy to set up because you actually probably have all these items already at your house, so just let the kids search for them -- bread, stone, coins, sheet, etc. So, click here for some great Easter sharing family fun.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Kid Fashion - The Monogram

I shared a few weeks ago about one of my great loves, the smocked dress, well, today I am sharing something almost as near and dear to my heart.

The monogram.

What is it about adding a 3 letter or 1 l
etter monogram that just makes it adorable?!!!

The dress below I found plain on Ebay for around $12.00 and then I took it to a local shop and paid a few dollars to have it monogrammed. An adorable custom dress for less than $20 -- you can't beat that! Unless you have your own monogram machine and then you can beat that. Also, if you do have a monogram machine be sure to send me your address, I'll be over with a stack of clothes!!!

This next dress, brown with white stripes, I bought on sale at BabyGap for cheap and then added the monogram to make it special. has super cute monogrammed t-shirts. I will be featuring some of my favorites in coming weeks.

Check out these adorable custom, monogrammed diaper bags. I've had 2 different versions of these for my babies and loved them. So durable, washable and cute!

And, I've linked here before but you gotta love these monogrammed bloomers and these monogrammed onesies!

You can find monogrammed headbands, hairbows, pony tail holders, baby booties, bibs-- the possiblities are endless!

But I gotta stop somewhere, so maybe there will be a post of The Mongram Part 2 someday!

Find more fashion Friday at Big Mama.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Eastertime Thankfulness

13 Things this picture makes me thankful for:
  1. Easter!
  2. Being able to teach my kids about the new life they can have in Jesus when we talk about eggs and the new life they represent.
  3. This year the new life from an egg concept will be easier to understand because we saw a chick hatch at the rodeo a few weeks ago!
  4. Jesus is alive!
  5. Dying Easter Eggs
  6. The newspaper protecting my table!
  7. Daddy's old t-shirts as smocks. We use them for so many things!
  8. Being able to do kid things again myself just because I have little people to do them with!
  9. Eating beautifully colored hard-boiled eggs with a lot of salt for days afterward!
  10. Multi-colored little fingers!
  11. My white floor I wrote about here will be multi-colored for a while!
  12. Water will wash away that mess, just as His blood washes away my sin
  13. Matt 28:6a, "He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said." What a privilege it is to serve a God like that!!!
Find more Thankful Thursday at Women Taking a Stand, Thousand Words Thursday at Cheaper Than Therapy, and Thursday {Thirteen} at Happy to be @ Home.