Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's alarming how well this works!

Works for Me Wednesday is a themed edition this week -- Back to School Tip.

The tip I'm sharing does not, at first, seem unique, an alarm clock? "That's genius," you say, "why didn't I think of that?!!" Stay with me for a couple more seconds.

I'm talking getting an alarm clock for your 7 year old.

When my husband suggested the idea half-way through first grade last year, I was very skeptical. "Yeah, sure he can be responsible to set an alarm clock, turn it off when it beeps, and get himself up -- when he's 14, maybe, but not 7!" I said.

I was wrong.

My oldest loves the responsibility of the alarm and truly does set it the night before, turn it off when it beeps, get himself up, dress himself in the clothes hung on his closet door by his mama the night before, and come down for breakfast.

As a bonus, now that his sister has joined him at elementary school this year and can no longer sleep in, he wakes her up on his way by her room headed for breakfast, and she gets up and puts on the clothes hanging on her closet door! Two kids awake and dressed for the price of one alarm clock -- awesome!

And the bonus, bonus?

This morning, the 3 year old also had preschool, not until 9 o'clock, but still I set his clothes out the night before, too, just to keep myself organized, intending to dress him after the bigger kids left for school. But at 7:05 am both boys showed up in my bedroom fully dressed for the day! My 7 year old had dressed his little brother, too!

Now, if I could just get them to hang the hangars back up instead of throwing them on the floor. . .

Monday, August 30, 2010

My New Sewing Corner

Wanna see one of my latest favorite projects?

I love this one even more than the chalkboard paint!

I recently took up sewing as a hobby, but I didn't have a dedicated space for my sewing machine, much less all the fabric, thread, ribbons, bobbins, scissors, elastic, etc. that go along with sewing. I would set up my sewing machine on the breakfast room table when I was working on a project. We don't use the table to eat on (it's too small for our family of 5 so we eat all our meals in the dining room), but the table gets tons of other activity in the form of homework, snacks, playdough, kid crafts, etc., so I could never leave the sewing machine up for long and with it right in the middle of family life, my kids were always messing with it. The fabric was stacked in a corner of my bedroom and the thread and ribbons tucked into random drawers.It became obvious that I needed to create a sewing area.

I first began looking into Ikea shelves and desks, but I really hated to buy anything because we are trying to get rid of things, clean out, not continue to cram things into our already stuffed house.

Then inspiration hit! In a corner of our master bedroom, we have a china cabinet passed down from my grandmother. I have another china cabinet from a different side of my family to house dishes in the dining room, so this one has sat in our bedroom filled with books. I consolidated the books from the bedroom china cabinet (even got rid of some of them -- gasp!) into our family room bookshelves, leaving AN ENTIRE EMPTY CHINA CABINET!

We moved a rarely-used desk downstairs from upstairs and I was ready to move into my sewing corner!
On the top shelf I put glass jars and vases I already had and filled them with various small items, like extra bobbins, buttons, safety pins, hair clips, and ribbons. The 2nd shelf down has clear plastic boxes that house elastic, thread, sewing machine parts, and small piece crafts. It also has ribbon on spools and little pink buckets to hold scissors, rotary cutter, seam ripper, etc. The 3rd shelf down has stacks of poorly folded fabric. And there are 2 shelves in the bottom cabinet without glass window doors where I can hide the uglier plastic bins of fabric scraps, tracing paper and steam-a-seam.
I love the results of this project so much because now I can work on projects in pieces, 10 minutes here, 10 minutes there and before you know it, you have a new skirt! I'm a mom to 3, so free time doesn't usually come in large chunks of time! Also, I can create things so much quicker when all my supplies are in the same spot! Best of all, this sewing corner cost me $0.00 -- all things we already had that just were not being used effectively!

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

7 Quick Takes from Back-to-School Week

My 3 year old has created a new word: "kindergartening". It is a verb meaning "going to kindergarten or being at kindergarten". He uses it in sentences talking about his sister and says things like, "When she gets done kindergartening we will do that."


Speaking of the "kindergartening", all week it has gone well! I've learned more about what happens during the day at kindergarten from my daughter going for 4 days than I learned from my son going an entire year! My daughter comes home and tells me every book her teacher read, which kids cried, what they cried about, what her teacher said when they were crying, which kids got in trouble and why, and what happened as a consequence.


I love our kindergarten teacher's style! I personally heard her the year my son had her say in a gentle, matter-of-fact voice to a child who was crying because he didn't win the game they were playing, "That's not something we cry about." And my daughter said when a little girl in her class cried because she couldn't fold up her towel after rest time that that same kindergarten teacher told that girl, "You could solve your own problem by asking someone else to fold it for you." Spoken just like someone who has spent years in a classroom full of 5 and 6 year olds!


The other difference (besides getting way more info. about the day) I've noticed about sending a girl to kindergarten versus sending a boy is the amount of time you need to allocate in the morning to trouble shoot wardrobe and/or hair issues! My son has never complained about anything I've put on him or had much of an opinion on his clothes or hair at all, but my daughter? Well, just in this one week she's decided there is a certain type of hair clip she likes, "Don't give me that other kind that open like this", and one of her two pairs of shoes we tried on several times before school began now suddenly slip up too much in the back for her liking and she doesn't want to wear them. Sometimes it feels a bit like trying to please the princess from The Princess and the Pea!


And second grade! Well, that is the year you get your own locker at our elementary, so that in and of itself has made for an awesome year for my son! And I know! I don't think I got a locker until the 6th grade, but you know everything happens younger for kids these days. And to be fair, it is not a locker with a lock and they just put their backpack in it in the morning and then get their backpack out of it at the end of the day!


It has taken a lot of restraint on my part not to make my son pose in front of his locker for a picture! Although he'd probably more willingly do it now than when he is in 6th grade, so its settled I'm taking the camera up to school next week!


Last, I'll have you know that I can talk the big talk about not having the goal of an "easy life" for my kids, but I am the mom that shows up at elementary school pick-up with ice-cold bottles of Gatorade in my purse for my thirsty, hot, little darlings because it would just be too hard for them to wait the 4 minutes it would take us to drive home to get a drink! (In my defense it is roughly 300 degrees outside right now where we live and the kids have to walk half-way around the school outside to the covered black-top where they all gather to be picked up by the parents).


Have a wonderful weekend!

The Girl Creative

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Our goal is not an easy life for our children.

We were so thankful to meet several families touched by Ethiopian adoption this past Saturday!

As I talked with a woman also with 3 children similar ages to mine who just recently received a referral for a toddler boy in Ethiopia, I asked her if they were taking any of their children with them to Ethiopia, and she said,

"It would be such a hard trip for them."

And I swallowed the words I was about to say, that we really wanted to take our two oldest kids with us to Ethiopia. I suddenly felt guilty for my desire to take my children on a "hard" trip.

It took a few minutes, but then I remembered, our goal is not an easy life for our children.

Traveling to Ethiopia they may:

be bored, restless, or uncomfortable on the long flight,

get sick from exposure to new germs,

be tired from the jet lag and time change,

go hungry if they don't like the food available to us in Ethiopia,

feel sadness over some of the things they see there,

have their hearts stirred with compassion,

gain a new understand for how other parts of the world live,

learn to embrace a culture very different from their own,

begin to appreciate more all the blessings they have,

see where their new sister came from,

be haunted by the children we can't bring home from the orphanages,

develop a passion for helping others that lasts their entire lives.

So, yeah, it's a choice I'd make.

I'd rather my children be hungry, tired, sad, uncomfortable, sick, even, if that were the price for gaining a heart more like Jesus.

Find more Thankful Thursday.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Custom Outfit for $8.00

I made my daughter this outfit for about $8.

Used about $3.00 worth of material and $1.00 worth of ribbon to make the skirt. Followed step-by-step the free instructions you can click on at the bottom of this Oliver + S blog post.

Bought the t-shirt for about $4.00 at Target, cut out a flower from the fabric used to make the skirt, used steam-a-seam (fusible webbing) to iron it onto the shirt, and then stitched just around the inside of the flower with my sewing machine to ensure it stays attached to the shirt through many washings.

And the matching hair clip (there's a bonus hair clip in this picture that I made at the same time).
For the hair clip that matches the outfit, I cut out another flower from my fabric with my pinking shears to make the scalloped edge, put a button in the center and sewed the circle and button to a circle of felt to give the fabric some stiffness.
Then I just sewed the felt to a hair clip.

Felt and hair clips are super cheap (like pennies) and the button was an extra I already had from 10 years worth of saving buttons!

The whole outfit took me just a little over an hour and I am a beginner sewer, so that is probably really a high number! Not bad for a cute $8.00 outfit!

Find more Works for Me Wednesday, Show and Tell, and Penny Pinching Party.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Her First Day of Kindergarten

I'm so proud of us!

Not only did my daughter and I both survive her first day of kindergarten, but we did it without a tear between us!!

Praise God for a great first day for not only my new kindergartener but my 2nd grader as well, who spent the afternoon after he got home from school saying, "I can't wait until tomorrow!" because he's so excited to go back.

3 Things I'd like to say about this first day of school 2010 picture:

1. I do realize I cut off their heads, that's intentional because as much as I want to, I try not to show my children's current faces on my blog (maybe a baby photo that could look like anyone's baby). I do this for various reasons and I may change my mind on this someday, but for now, that's the way it is.

2. Notice my son's arm around his little sister's shoulders? So sweet and I promise nobody told him to do that. There really is just nothing like having a big brother at elementary school. Now when they're both in the same middle school or high school one day, they may be less than thrilled with the idea of being at the same school, but for now they think it's pretty cool! I loved hearing about how they saw each other and said "hi" on the playground as the 2nd graders were heading in from recess and the kindergarteners were coming out!

3. Did you notice the smiling faces on my daughter's feet? Oh sweet mercy, this picture is proof that I can, occasionally, pick my battles in this parenting war.

Here's the story, remember my daughter's crazy sock love I posted about here? Well, while I was in Target a few days ago, I found some socks that were crazy on the bottom part that should be covered by the shoe but had a perfectly acceptable light pink or hot pink band around the top part that would be seen outside the shoe, so I bought them in the hopes of pleasing both my crazy-sock-loving-daughter and my I-want-my-daughter-to-look-cute-not-crazy self. But, the plan back-fired big time.


Because I forgot one of the two pairs of school shoes my daughter had, the silver sparkly ones she most wanted to wear the first day, were MARY JANES, meaning the top part of her foot would totally show!

She happily put on those smiling froggy socks and strapped on her silver sparkly Mary Janes this morning when I realized the complete failure in my thinking. There those smiley faces were smiling up at me so perfectly showing between the strap and the shoe part of those Mary Jane shoes!

I ran to the sock drawer and brought her a pair of solid hot pink socks and suggested she wear those instead. But she would have none of it, she began to get upset, tears threatened, and y'all . . .

I backed off!

Even my 3 year old was on my side. He pointed out, as only a little brother can, "Your friends are going to laugh at your silly socks!"

She hesitated, but still didn't waiver in her choice.

And the irony of the fact that I pray for my kids to be able to stand strong and make choices they feel best even if it means people laugh at them was not at all lost on me in that moment!

So, I let her go to her first day of kindergarten with those crazy smiling feet!

Boy, does God use our children to refine us or what?

**If you'd like to travel back a couple years and read about his first day of kindergarten, it's here.

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Random on a Friday

My daughter has been 5 for all of 9 days, we're in the laundry room (actually it's more of a laundry hallway, but that's not the point) she points to the washer and says, "When I was four I used to climb up there." I nod my head remembering well her monkey-like antics. Then she tells me, "I did lots of crazy things when I was four!"

Oh, the hindsight 9 days can bring!


Speaking of things kids say, my 3 year old is trying something new with his daddy. I've been parenting for 7.5 years now through 3 kids and while I would never consider myself an expert, (actually it's the opposite, the more I learn the more I realize I still need to learn) but, I will say I've seen some kid tactics in my time. You know, things kids say or do to try to get their way or to get a rise out of their parent. But my 3rd child has taken it to a whole 'nother level.

When he's upset with my husband because he didn't get to do something he wanted to or because he got sent to "time-out" he says, "I don't love you anymore!" over and over again.

I'm not sure why I've been spared the experience of being directed that lovely line, but I've overheard it a few times. Seriously, what 3 year old says that? Shouldn't we at least have teenagers in the house before we're dealing with that?!!

I've gotten the question and am so sorry I left this out of my Chalkboard Paint Post, but I ordered my Chalkboard paint here in the black color. It is made by the company Plaid that also makes Mod Podge. I got that kind because I'd heard it was non-toxic and that many of the other chalkboard paint products are not, seeing as how I have young children and you just never know what they are going to put in their mouths, I wanted non-toxic. But, it didn't work as well on glass as I think some of the other brands might; I had to really glop on the paint for it to stick to the glass jars.

While writing this blog post I got an email from a friend saying she was in labor. Is there anything more awesome than that? I mean labor is awesome and then the obviousness that this is her 3rd child to deliver so she has the mind to sit down and email all her friends to pray for her when her labor begins! My reply? "I'm praying! Now go take a shower and have a snack because you know they won't let you do those things once you get to the hospital until that baby comes out!"


I posted a long time ago about having a hard time figuring out an answer to the question I was getting since we announced our adoption plans. The question was/is (just heard the scenario again last weekend from a friend) "I want to adopt but my husband isn't on board." She hasn't written part 2 yet, but in her "Reluctant Husband Syndrome - Part1" Amy has written the best post I've read yet on this topic!


You know you're ending summer with a bang when you and your kids have eaten pizza for the majority of the meals in the last week -- there was the dinner at the baseball game, dinner with friends at the pool, lunch at the Studio Movie Grill while we watched a $1 summer movie -- there's just nothing easier or more universally liked than pizza!


I took off my earrings at the end of the day and noticed they looked like this:

The picture's a bit blurry, but you get the idea, right?

I blame all the chlorine I've been exposed to this summer!


Have a wonderful, matching earring kind of weekend!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's Not In the Textbooks

Next Monday I'll send my 2 oldest children off to school. Public elementary school. It will be the first time for my daughter who is starting kindergarten.

And the truth is, I'd rather not send them.

For me, I'd rather keep them home.

I enjoy having them around, I feel better knowing where they are all the time, the schedule is easier, and we can shut out parts of the world that are hard to deal with.

But Jesus says, "I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one." John 17:15.

And Matt Chandler of the Village Church says, "The public schools are the only place left where there is a mixture of every kind of socioeconomic, ethnic and religious background. There is no other venue that plays out like that."

And so we send them, out into the child-sized version of the world that is public elementary school. And at home we talk with them, love them, hug them, read the Bible with them, and discuss a lot of what they are dealing with in the hopes it will keep them from the evil one.

But, for my heart, my mother's heart, it is hard when things are not always perfect and lovely for my kids out there in the world.

So, I need to remind myself that even if the lessons are hard, they are preparing my children to stand strong when even greater challenges arise later in their lives.

My first job out of college was a good one, a real career in the business world with potential for much success even early on, and I often think about how funny it is that much of what benefited me most in that career-world were not the things I learned from a book, but the harder life lessons I learned in public school.

13 things I'm thankful I learned as a student in public school that prepared me for the working world:

1. How to leave my home every weekday and go someplace whether I wanted to or not.

2. How to be bored - in work sometimes my assignments were not challenging, but I needed to do them anyway, and sometimes I finished all my work and had to wait before I was given more.

3. If I didn't eat enough at lunch, I'd be starving well before it was time to go home.

4. How to sit next to someone that I didn't really like.

5. How to take directions from a variety of authority figures.

6. How to make friends with people who were very different than me.

7. How to share Jesus with unbelievers.

8. How to feel different because of my faith yet still stick with my convictions.

9. That even if I was tired I had to sit at my desk and work rather than going somewhere to lay down.

10. That you earn respect a lot quicker with hard work than bragging about your abilities.

11. That the most popular guy or girl doesn't always do the best in the long run.

12. When you don't understand something, it's much better to ask for help right away than to pretend like you understand.

13. I'm no better than anyone else, I just have the benefit of an awesome God working in my life!

Find more Thankful Thursday and Thursday Thirteen.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Reformed Pack Rats

I've shared before that my husband and I are pack rats by nature and that the results of 2 pack rats marrying and producing 3 children equals a house filled with way too much junk!

But, we've been working on it for a few years now, and we've gotten really, really determined the last year or so to have less stuff.

The stuff was stressing us out, tempting us to get more stuff like containers and storage furniture to manage the stuff, and when it came down to it, the stuff was beginning to hamper us from doing the things God was calling us to do, like bring another child into our home.

So, this past weekend we had another session of cleaning out (I think we only need about 75 more of those sessions before we'll have it all under control!), and here's proof that we are, in fact, reformed pack rats:

A graduation tassel from 1994!

We took a picture of it and threw it away!

Monday, August 16, 2010

If You Give a Girl Some Chalkboard Paint. . .

I warned you over a week ago, that some chalkboard paint had arrived in the mail. Ever read the book "If you Give a Mouse A Cookie"?

It started off innocently enough, an unused picture frame I took the glass out and painted the cardboard backing with a few coats of the paint (waiting about an hour between coats), and ta-da! -- instant way to post random messages around the house!

Then I moved on to the jars I'd been using to store dry goods in the pantry. I used some painter's tape to section off a rectangle and painted a few coats.
and transformed the jars into label-lover happiness!

Of course now I needed a jar to hold all the chalk!

Next came the plastic bins from Ikea that house toys on a shelf in the playroom. I used heavy-duty card stock (recycled from the back of last year's Christmas cards -- I knew my packrat ways of saving even all the Christmas cards that come in the mail would come in handy some day!), painted on a few coats and cut them to fit and then used permanent double-sided tape to attach the label to the bin.

Painted some cardboard castles and tied them to bins in my daughter's closet.
Painted a few other random things that I didn't get good pictures of.

And guess what?

Still one-and-a-half jars of the chalkboard paint left!
What's a girl to do?

A wall!

I need to paint a wall!

First the sanding:
And more sanding -- the big guns this time (side note: don't you just love summer when your kids can go all day without getting their hair fixed?!!!)
Painted on about 3 coats of the paint:

Waited 24 hours and then had the perfect spot for my kids to write, draw, or for me to leave notes for them! Instant sunshine and flowers added to my kitchen!

These were really fun projects and I'm loving all the new chalkboard surfaces, and grateful for a family that not only puts up with, but even assists with my wacky projects!

After all that guess what was written on the board where I'm going to display the dinner menu?

Can you believe I still have half a jar of the paint left?!!!

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Batman's Surgery and the Bulldog Surgeon

Last Friday my 3 year old had his adenoids removed. It was outpatient surgery. My son wore his batman jammies complete with an attached black cape to the surgical center. He was a hit with the doctors and nurses and got a lot of extra attention, things like, "I've never operated on Batman before!" Needless to say my toddler did not want to change into the medical issued Bugs Bunny hospital gown, but no worries the nurse was quick to let us know that was fine and the hospital gown was not mandatory. Big Duke, my son's beloved large stuffed bulldog was allowed to go back with him to surgery.

He was in surgery for about 45 minutes, which included the time to get him under anesthesia, and when I got to go to him in recovery Big Duke looked like this:
Someone had fun putting a surgeon's mask on the stuffed bulldog!

My 3 year old did great! The recovery room nurse said he wished his adult patients were as good. I said, "Well, that's one perk of being a 3rd child, you're pretty tough!"

Anyway, we got to go home quickly and the real challenge was keeping my toddler from crazy physical activity. He did not want to rest on the couch, he wanted to play and he was still coming out of the anesthesia. He took off running at one point and nearly collided with the wall; I saved him just in time! And I suddenly had to be vigilant about the stairs again after not worrying much about him climbing up or down for the last couple years!

The next day he ran a little fever, but I was told to expect that due to inflammation from the surgery and that I didn't need to worry unless it got over 102 degrees. His throat was hurting him the next day, too. It was really sad, but a little funny, too, when my 3 year old began fussing, "When they gonna put my adenoids back in!"

Anyway, he's on the mend now. The fever lasted about 3 days, and it took about 5 days for his appetite to seem like it was getting back to normal. Now he's still a little more cranky than usual, I think the antibiotic he's taking to prevent infection post-surgery is upsetting his tummy a little. It's still too early to tell if removing his adenoids will decrease his drooling because there is inflammation at the site where the adenoids were removed, hopefully in the next week or two we'll notice a difference.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What The Waiting is Like Four Months In

Thursday the 12th of August, marks exactly four months waiting for her.

Four months since we got on the official wait list with Gladney (our adoption agency) to adopt a child (girl in the ages of 0 to 30 months) from Ethiopia after completing months of paperwork and even more months before that of struggling with the decision and asking God a thousand times, "Really? Are you sure that's what you want us to do?"

When we began the paperwork and had our initial orientation, I think the average wait for a child over 12 months old (which we are open to) was four months, now it's about seven months, so we likely have a few more months before we get our referral (that's when we're matched with a specific child). We're not really sure why the older kids are going slower now, the wait for babies under 12 months has actually gone down from nine months to eight during the same time the wait for older kids has gone up. After the referral we will have to wait to find out our court date in Ethiopia and then we'll travel for that court date and get to meet our daughter, return home to the U.S. for 3 to 6 weeks and then be able to travel back for our Embassy date and bring her home.

We are mostly at peace with the wait right now and have not hit the antsy point, yet. We are thankful for the Gladney FBI which is an unofficial website that keeps track of all the families currently waiting on children from Ethiopia with our adoption agency, so we can see people getting referrals ahead of us and know that it actually happens, and follow their stories through the links to their blogs. Also, we can see the families still waiting who have been waiting longer than us, and that keeps us from having our hearts race every time the phone rings because we are pretty confident it's not yet our turn. So, that website is a blessing and gives us a bit of information during what is otherwise a pretty "quiet" period in an adoption, meaning you are not regularly talking with your caseworker at your agency.

But, the hard part is in understanding how there can be so many orphaned children in Ethiopia (roughly 5 million) yet there are families ready, willing, and approved to adopt them who have been waiting months and months. I know adoptions just take time, and much of that time is spent doing things that are so important like making sure the child is really an orphan. And we trust our adoption agency and God's perfect timing so we just wait. But, I guess I'd feel better waiting if I thought there just weren't any orphans right now.

We're using the time to get ready, as much as possible. I'm reading a great book right now, The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family by Dr. Karyn Purvis. I highly recommend it. She gives very practical strategies for dealing with a child from "hard places" and best of all she gives hope that no child is too far gone. I love her Godly, positive outlook and it is in contrast to some negativity I read in some other books that are supposed to help adoptive parents but really I think they'd just scare many people away from doing it!

And we're meeting more and more families that have been touched by adoption and can I just say, I LOVE a good adoption story! Seriously, I can't get enough of them! They are always just slathered with the obvious hand of God at work. I've gotten now where I just wait for it when someone starts telling me their story, I know there will be an example or several of such an amazing "coincidence" that only God could orchestrate! And we have several adoption events coming up, both at our church, through our agency, and through a neighboring church, so I'm excited to meet even more families! At two of the events I'll even get a chance to love on some precious Ethiopian children now at home in the U.S.!

Find more Thankful Thursday.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The day I learned my daughter and I do not have the same taste in socks

This past Saturday I took my daughter with me to buy some socks to go with her new pink tennis shoes for school. The packages of socks were buy one get one half off, so I told her she could pick out one pack and I'd pick out one.

Guess which ones were her choice and which were mine?

As we left the store and she proudly swung the bag containing the newly purchased socks, I asked her, "When are you going to wear those crazy things?!!!"

Her reply?

"Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. And on Saturday and Sunday I'll wear the white ones!"

At least kindergarten will see her coming!

Monday, August 9, 2010


Baby Girl, you will be 5 tomorrow.

And I can hardly believe it.

To say that you've made my world brighter these last 5 years would be such an understatement! You have lit up my world with sunshine I couldn't even have imagined!

You are sweet, loving, precious, kind, and helpful. Your Daddy and I are so proud of you and thankful you are our daughter!

Your brothers adore you and I never cease to be impressed that you are not only a great little sister but a wonderful big sister, too!

You love roller coasters, chocolate anything, ice cream, hot dogs, fruit, pickles, having your toenails painted (especially if one foot can be pink and one purple!), your dollies, your blankies, reading (and oh, how we are amazed that you mastered reading even chapter books by yourself before turning 5!), gymnastics, dance, swimming, pretty much anything that gets you wet, animals, and packing a bag full of stuff to take with you on even the shortest outings!

I love your sweet heart. You are always quick to think of others, worrying, "Where will Daddy eat dinner?" when he's out of town for work. You were the first one to verbalize that absolutely we should adopt, "We could share our home with them . . ."

I pray this is the year, the year you are 5, that your dream for a little sister will come true.

Happy birthday darlin' girl, I'm so grateful to be your Mommy!

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Progress on Many Fronts!

My 3 year old son announced in his very loud voice to the library this week, "I'm holding my (I'm not going to type the word on my blog because I don't want to turn up in those Google searches, but begins with a "p" and end with an "s") because I need to go pee-pee!" Yeah, there was no end to the number of stares as people reacted to hearing that word shouted across the quiet library! And to think it was just a little over a year ago that I was worried about that child's verbal abilities! Praise God now he can communicate very clearly, but perhaps a little too loudly!


On a very positive note, my 7 year old is beginning to be able to fold dish towels so they actually look folded at the end of the process!


And my dishwasher is really clean. There's just nothing like scrubbing the inside of the dishwasher door hinge with a toothbrush! And the crazy thing is I kept thinking, "This is so gross, I really need to do this more often!"


The fact that, that chore went undone for so long leads me back to the subject of some sort of household chore management system. I tried out one months ago that involved writing all the household chores on index cards and filing them by days in a little box and rotating them based on how often they needed to be done like daily, weekly, monthly, annually, etc. But, I couldn't stick with it. The sheer number of index cards overwhelmed me and I'm ashamed to say I didn't really even make it through a week using it! But, my system of tackling tasks only when I happen to notice they need to be done doesn't seem to be working too well because by then it's so bad I need a Haz-Mat suit to tackle the job when maybe just a rag and some water would have worked if I'd addressed it months earlier!


However, I do have a latest cooking-from-scratch success -- homemade yogurt!It really is not that hard! I followed these directions nearly exactly and it turned out great!


A highlight of my weeks this summer has been watching my daughter at gymnastics! We did Mommy & Me when she was really little, but I took her out of gymnastics once she was doing dance because it was just too much to manage with her brother's activities. For 2 years she has asked me when she could take gymnastics again, but she loved her ballet/tap class, too. This summer, though, while she was off dance class I signed her up for gymnastics at a nearby gym that intimidated me a little because they've trained Olympians, but the experience has been great! The gym is not too pushy or intense for her like I feared, they are really good coaches, and she LOVES it! It is so fun watching her tumbling, flying through the air, jumping, and climbing -- all the things my little daredevil just craves doing! And I have to say with her new outlet, she is climbing the counters and sides of the stairwell inside the house much less and the jumping down the stairs from the 5th stair up has stopped, too!


Look what arrived in the mail recently!
If y'all were not around this blog for the Spray Paint Mania of 2009, well, this just may rival that! There are already upwards of 8 different surfaces in my home now coated in chalkboard paint and by the end of the weekend there may not be a spot left that hasn't been transformed into a chalkboard! Now if I just had some chalk that wasn't the sidewalk chalk kind!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

13 Things I Wish Were Self-Cleaning

Today while unloading the dishwasher I noticed some gunk in the bottom corner of the dishwasher near the door hinge and upon closer inspection, there was actually tons of nasty stuff built up down there. I had to tackle it with the rubber gloves and a lot of vinegar! And it got me thinking, if dishwashers can clean dishes (which don't get me wrong, I am thankful for), why oh why can they not clean themselves?!!!

So in honor of that thought and 12 others I had after it, I give you

13 Things I Wish Were Self-Cleaning:

1. the dishwasher

2. diapers!

3. the shower

4. the sheets (especially on that top bunk!)

5. that area behind the washer & dryer

6. the refrigerator

7. the pantry

8. the dog

9. the car

10. the toliets

11. the baseboards

12. the ceiling fans/light fixtures


Wow! I had absolutely no trouble coming up with 13 things, took me like 45 seconds! I think I could go on all day!

If anyone uses my idea and actually invents a self-cleaning version of any of these, you totally owe me a free product!

Find more Thankful Thursday and Thursday Thirteen.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Because sometimes Mama needs a ride in the stroller!

You may remember the picture from last Wednesday of my 3 kids crammed into 1 stroller at an amusement park. Here's another stroller picture from that day after about 7 hours at the amusement/water park.

Oh yes I did crawl into that stroller while my kids were finishing ice cream, curl up with a towel as my pillow, and tell the kids now they could push me around!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hard Questions

Why do my children deserve to have their college educations paid for before they are even old enough for college when children half-way across the world are dying of starvation?

Why do I have 3 winter coats in my closet when there are homeless people who don't even have 1?

Do I love my children because they share half of my genetic material or do I love them because they are a gift from God and because I spend time with them and take care of them on a daily basis?

Is it better for a child to grow up in an orphanage without a family but among people of their same race and culture or to leave their country and culture to gain a forever family who will care for them and love them but look different than they do?

Why did we ever think our daughter needed a $50 baby doll who looked just like her when that baby lies in the crib upstairs while the $15 Target doll with a skin color different from hers goes with my little girl nearly everywhere?!

Don't all kids deserve a family?

Who will step up for the 147 million children without one?

Can anyone watch this video or read the first few paragraphs of this article and not cry?

This post is part of the Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge.