Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Sunny Shirt

In January, I became an aunt for the ninth time! The new baby was a girl and with all the testosterone in my house, I thought I immersed myself in a really girly gift. My sister and I have been making fabric yo-yos so I used a few tiny ones as flower heads and embroidered the stems and leaves.

And what elegant lady (or big sister) wouldn't love flowers for her hair?


Yes, yes, still emptying the pre-written posts!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Reusing Stationary

I don't really have a flair for decorating. I don't have the touch and I don't have the money to spend (or I just choose to spend the money differently). But oh, the fun of using old stationary...

For my birthday last year, I received a card that had no words on the front and was in the colors of my bedroom...

And in the spring, I got a thank-you note from a friend. Snipped out the artwork, added a photo from my photographer sister, glued on a magnet...

Noticing the frequeny of my post this week? Never fear. I'm not resorting to my old blog-crazy ways...I'm just cleaning out some old pre-written posts. And using this time to re-think the direction of my blog. Less of me, more of you, oh God.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Heart of the Matter

I try to never say I “need a break” from my kids. The terminology rubs me the wrong way! Sure, being a mom is hard. I have four little ones six and under and it is tough sometimes. There are days I feel like pulling my hair out and I’m convinced I am the worst mom in the world!

But kids aren’t housework. The kids aren’t my "job." Kids aren’t difficult text in a book. Kids aren’t a task to complete. (These things require periodic “breaks.”)

My children are people—people that God gave me responsibility for.

Instead of a break, I pray for God’s strength to make it through each day HE has given us together.

(I've found the comments on my previous post interesting, thought-provoking, encouraging...I feel such passion on the subject and I've been challenged to think about my stand...and continue to search the Scriptures to know what I believe...)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Their Mama

There are days when I’m not proud of myself. For me, Mondays and Tuesdays are usually good days. Family together time without the stress of having to handle it all alone leaves me refreshed. I’m ready to start the week and its responsibilities with a cheerful attitude come-what-may. As the week wears away, so does my patience. I’m snappy. Little things bother me. My list of chores I want to do but can’t find the time for becomes a burden. I fuss at a child for spilling a drink. I’m grumpy at dinner. I’m annoyed by the stalling and I hurry the kids to bed. When I’m engulfed by the night-time silence, I begin to think. Is this how I want my kids to remember their childhood—and me?

I want my kids to know I love them and I’m sure they do. But do I make a daily effort to show them? I want to stop and give the needed hugs. I want to really listen when they tell me a story. When they ask to go out to play, I want to put myself in their shoes before I give an answer. I want to give correction gently.

I want my kids to remember I was there for them. I mean really there. Not just an, “I’m here for you,” but I want to be physically there with them. I want to limit all outside “me” activities. I want to recognize any “need” for a break as the selfishness that it is and fully realize that God’s place for me now is not out with friends—though that isn’t wrong in itself—but home with my family.

I want my children’s memories of their Mama to be happy ones. I want them to tell their children about my smiles, about the fun games we played inside when it was raining outside, about the "hotdog man" I made them for lunch, about the stories I told while they were taking baths.

I want them to look back and remember my compassion, my joy, my faithfulness.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Slingin' Saturday--Backpack Carriers

It's another Slingin' Saturday! This week, I'm giving the writing reins to a guest contributor, my sister-in-law, Sarah!

Since my daughter Eve was born nearly 18 months ago, I have been given two different child carriers from people who no longer have a need for them. One is a Kelty Elite and the other is a Tough Traveler. Both fit like backpacks and the child sits inside with legs dangling and head peering over Mommy or Daddy’s shoulder. My husband and I were eager to have one and we had our eyes on a Kelty. Kelty makes quality, durable camping and hiking supplies. It was for these purposes we wished to have a child carrier in the first place. As it turns out, both packs have come in very handy.

The Kelty is more of an upper-end model with an aluminum frame. It gives more support to the child, and it is more comfortable for the parent to wear as it has more padding and also spreads the child’s body weight evenly across the parent’s back, shoulders, and hips.

Furthermore, it has more “bells and whistles”: a detachable rain shield fitting over the child’s head, a compartment for hiking supplies such as snacks and water, and also adjustable straps that adjust to each child’s size to secure him properly in his seat. For this reason, the Kelty could accommodate a slightly younger child than the Tough Traveler. The drawback to the Kelty (and I hate to list any since I am overall so pleased with it) is that in the heat of the day, it can seem like just too much. On a stroll around the neighborhood on a hot day, all the padding and bulk can really make you (or at least me) sweat. It is designed more for a rugged hike where stability for the child and comfort for the parent is important.

The Tough Traveler is much more lightweight, though also made with an aluminum frame. Its design is more simple, not as strappy or padded as Kelty. And though there are some adjustments for both child and parent, the system is not nearly so complex. It is actually for this reason that I like the Tough Traveler. For everyday use, this child carrier works quite well. For walks through a mall or museum, strolls around the neighborhood or park, even for mowing the grass, it is sufficient. It is more “breathable” than the Kelty Elite. And though it is not as comfortable in the long run, I find that I actually use it more than Kelty because of its simple, lightweight design.

Eve enjoys being in either pack. She loves being close to her Daddy or Mommy and also being up high and seeing things from their perspective. The packs are comfortable enough that she can fall asleep in them.

And I don’t recall a time when she’s ever squirmed because she’s wanted out. The child carriers are ideal for when the parent needs to have a set of free hands, to push another child in a stroller, etc. But the child must be several months old before he is stable enough to somewhat sit up by himself. Each frame is made to hold up to 50 pounds.

Note from Sarah: Kelty no longer makes the Elite style of child carrier, though I was able to find it on Ebay for $50. Kelty’s current models are $120, $170 and $200 for the FC 1, FC 2, and FC 3 models respectively. The Tough Traveler has several models, ranging from $142 to $198.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Even Their Legs Are Cute!

Have you seen those cute little leg warmers they make for babies? I love how they are one size fits all so you can put them on tiny babies and keep warming legs as baby grows into toddlerhood and beyond! However, as adorable as they are, I don't really want to spend big bucks on a trendy luxury item. I looked online and found several sets of directions for how to make these myself! They were super fast to make on my sewing machine. And when my sewing machine was on the fritz, I was able to make a pair by hand, too.

So cute on little girls with tutus!

And perfect as an extra layer on chubby toddler legs under jeans when we go shopping!

Edited to add: I combined several patterns to make my leg warmers, but the basic one can be found by clicking here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

From My Mind to My Fingers

I have a confession! My blog has been taking up too much of my life. I've spent only minimal time actually writing, but I've spent much more time thinking about it! What should I write about next? Have I had enough posts this month? Have I had too many? Why do I not get many comments? Am I writing the things people want to read? Pride, pride...

I have an idea of what I want my blog to be. I don't like to write about all the details of my life, where we've been, what we're doing today, etc., but enjoy giving you "bit and pieces." I like displaying some of the things I've made, sharing some things I've learned, telling about my philosophies on many things, showing a few pictures...

I'm an obsessive type of person so I've been writing articles ahead of time and scheduling them for later in the week or month. Then I think of something else to write and juggle the articles around again. It sounds silly but I've really stressed myself out. I've considered forgetting my blog altogether, but I really do enjoy it.

What to do, what to do...

For now, I think I'll let my scheduled post go as planned, but then I must cut back!!! Instead of spending time thinking and planning and stressing about finding time to write again, I'll do as I should have done from the beginning and write what is on my heart-- when the time is right, whether that be once a day or once a month.

I fear losing readers and maybe that is part of the problem. I've become so concerced about everyone else that I'm forgetting that my blog is a reflection of me and my family.

Pray for me as I work through my issues!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Frugality Versus Faith

We have always saved our kids clothing in storage boxes so we don't have to start from scratch each time we have a new baby. We have started to run out of room, though, to keep everything! Brian and I talked about it and decided we were going to have to weed through the boys' clothing and keep only the best quality and most sentimental items.

So we began. I struggled with whether it was the frugal thing to do. After thinking about it and praying about it, we came to the conclusion that while saving clothing does save us money, God had always provided what we needed when we needed it.

We consolidated the boxes and gathered quite a few bags to give away. Fighting my very frugal tendencies, I felt peace that someone would get good use out of the clothes now. And I held to the belief that when our boys needed an item of clothing that hadn't been saved, God would provide!

That same week, the UPS man arrived, delivering a box from an out-of-state blogging friend...full of little boy clothes! What a neat reminder of God's faithfulness to us!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


I pondered what I could write about to include a few pictures we've taken lately. After giving it some thought, I couldn't come up with anything clever, but I'm going to post them anyway!

Our one and (probably) only snow of the winter-- how exciting that Daddy was home to play, too. Our family is all mourning the fact that Brian's winter break is over and he goes back to work on Monday...but we're so thankful he has a job to go back to!

Owen loves the fact that he is a big brother and has someone to take care of! Their carseats sit side by side in the van so Owen holds Benjamin's hand the whole ride. If Ben cries, Owen whispers, "It's alright, Benjamin. Don't cry."

Gavin and Maddie think Ben is their baby. It is the highest honor to hold him while I fix breakfast. Gavin says, "Babies are the cutest things ever made! Don't you think so, Mama?"

Got to love Target! When we found this shirt on the clearance rack, we had to buy it for our Peanuts fanatic!

Benjamin is my little buddy! He's such a trooper and happy to be anywhere his Mama is! He has more than doubled his birth weight and comes in around 15 pounds now. My babies are always chunky!

How beautiful are the feet of them who bring Good News!

Woo Hoo! We Have a Winner!

And the winner of The Great Sling Giveaway is Commenter #15, Babychaser!
(Be sure to visit her blog to read about her life as a stay-at-home mom of two little ones!)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Shapes for Lunch

A Quick Idea For Learning With Preschoolers:

When I had my first, I had endless time to teach him the basics like shapes and colors and so on. Now that I have four, my time is short, but my desire to teach is still there! I've come up with a fun way to teach the little ones shapes. We have a Shape Lunch. I'll serve circle crackers and/or circle grapes and triangle (a slice cut diagonally) or square cheeses. Other days I'll cut sandwiches into rectangles. We talk about the shapes while we eat. It is such an easy way to have a fun learning moment while we do something we have to do anyway!

Last chance to sign up for my sling giveaway. Click here before 9 pm ET.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mommy Math on a Family Outing

6= the number of times I entered a public restroom

2= the number of times I personally needed to use the bathroom

2= the number of poopy diapers I had to change on a dirty restroom changing table

27= the temperature on the thermometer meaning it was too cold to change the diapers in the car

28=the approximate temperature in the public restroom (prompting my toddler to tell me his backside was cold!)

1= the number of time I had to change the baby's outfit because poop was all the way up his back

1= the number of toddlers who turned and said hello to someone washing her hands as he lay exposed on the changing table

1= the number of children I had to beg to please wait until we got home to poop

3= the number of children who crouched in the corner or buried their heads in my coat when the toilet flushed

Don't forget to sign up for my giveaway by clicking here!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Great Sling Giveaway!

It is finally time for my sling giveaway. It seems as though I've been talking about this for months. I will be giving away one of the products I've reviewed over the fall and winter.

Slings are great for new and veteran moms and make wonderful gifts! You have the choice of the following (click on the product name to read my review):

Please leave me a comment telling me which sling you would choose if you won. Earn an extra entry if you write about this contest on your blog. (Be sure to leave a separate comment giving me the link.) Contest ends Friday, February 13 at 9 pm ET.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What Are You Reading-- February Edition

When Brian has his 10 weeks off every winter, we spend lots of time as a family during the day and lots of time at night (after the kids are in bed) reading. As a result, I have a rather hefty list this month. Here is what I'm reading:

On my own...
The Bible: I'm continuing to work through the New Testament with Brian-- we are in Mark.

The Duggars: 20 and Counting! by Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar

New Faces, New Friends by Arleta Richardson: one of the last novels in the Grandma's Attic series

The No-Cry Potty Training Solution
by Elizabeth Pantley

With the kids...
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

Sarah Whitcher's Story by Elizabeth Yates

Proof that you are never too young to listen to a great book!

Now it is your turn! What are you reading? What are you reading to your kids? What are your reading in your personal devotions? What are you reading for fun? What magazine do you pick up in your spare time?

Don't forget to check out the bookshelf in my sidebar where I periodically add some of the best books our family is reading!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Night Visitors

It's 3 am and a little feminine voice whispers, "Mama, can I lay with you?"

"Baby, it's the middle of the night. You need to be in your bed."

She begins to crawl up beside me as she says, "But I want to be with you."

Five minutes later, the baby (who until this night has been sleeping through the night in his basket) whimpers. The little girl moves to my other side and I tuck the baby in with me to nurse.

Morning comes. My back is cramped. I feel sleepy. I start to complain until I think about how precious this time is. When the little girl is grown up, I'll miss her golden hair lying across my cheek as she presses against me in her sleep. When the baby moves from home, I'll miss his voice.

Please, Lord, "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (Psalm 90:12)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I did not keep my 2-year-old up all day and not give him a nap just so he would go to bed early at night. Not me!

I did not buy a can of whipped cream for the kids' hot chocolate and then eat most of it myself. Of course not!

I did not get so wrapped up in what I was doing that I forgot I had to cook dinner and then have throw something together at the last minute...every night this week!

I did not line the kids up for a photo shoot and then get frustrated when they didn't all smile and look at the camera at the same time. I didn't make them sit there for twenty minutes until I got the perfect shot either! I just wouldn't do that!

I did not serve my picky eater applesauce again rather than make him try his corn! Not me!

I did not make my 4-year-old play BINGO with her brothers and then bow out of Chutes and Ladders myself. (Of course I wouldn't do that because I love Chutes and Ladders and love how you always get to the top and then have to take a slide all the way to the bottom and start again!)

I did not make my 6-year-old son wear yellow flowered pajama pants under his jeans to go out in the snow because I couldn't find anything else to be his second layer.

No, not Me!
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