Sunday, February 28, 2010
Cleaning, scrubbing, organizing, filing, sorting, and trashing just makes me giddy! It puts a smile on my face and pep in my step!
I'm almost done with all my spring cleaning projects inside and so I thought I should spring clean my blog and let it reflect the joy of SPRING. (And yes, I'm in complete denial that tomorrow we're supposed to get hit with a snow storm that will leave us with a 6-8 inches of cold, mushy snow...)
Because today it is a lovely 64* in South East Kansas! So as I sit on my porch waiting for my sleeping babes to wake, I'm gonna give my blog a facelift...
So hang in there while I experiment! I'm gonna give myself a new "tag-line" too!
(It's the little things in life that excitement me!) :)
Friday, February 26, 2010
I know, for me, once I set a schedule, I can easily feel frustrated and defeated the first time my schedule isn't followed. And with 4 little ones, there is rarely a day where something crazy and unexpected doesn't happen, which throws everything off!
That's why the key for me is: ROUTINE. I no longer try to keep a schedule that is planned out by minutes and hours. I figured out pretty quickly that just doesn't work for us!
Instead, I just aim for routine...and there are days even that is thrown out the window and then I revert to my "Today We Will..."
My ideal routine (we end up following this 3 days out of 5):
--Get dressed, Brush teeth
--Devotions (everyone sits on couch and "reads" their Bible)
--Prayer and memory verse (together on the couch)
--School--move into dining room/school room *more below*
(Liberty lays down for nap)
(Trusten is learning the calendar, the globe, doing Rod and Staff and Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons)
(Brahm is working on counting objectives, number recognition and Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons)
(Samuel is learning to sit quietly and play during school time!)
--Lunch (and daddy's home to eat with us!)
--Group read aloud
--Pick up house
--Daddy home from work
*School usually takes us about an hour--including and considering interupptions!
----We all start out talking about the calendar (day, month, year)
----Then we move onto the globe and just discuss it (they always have questions about "where is this?" "who lives here?" etc)
----Brahm and Samuel then start playing school (this means they cut paper and glue) while I start Trusten's R&S
----Then Trusten takes a break, while I work with Brahm on his objectives and TYCTR
----Brahm and Samuel are dismissed from table and Trusten works on TYCTR
----Very soon Liberty wakes up (note: because Brahm and Samuel are playing crazy!)
So then what about the other 2 out of 5 days when mommy is feeling
Then we just focus on our "Today We Will..." list.
"Today We Will" is what we aim for on a crazy day. (These things WILL get done, but in no particular order! )
**Quiet time with Jesus
**Trusten: Rod and Staff workbook
**Brahm: Counting and/or Letters
**Pick up house
On days, like these, we play LOTS of Legos!
(Notice we don't necessarily attempt to get dressed, make beds and do every school lesson on "those kinds of days")
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I said, "Uh, no!" and I must have made a face because he said he wanted to take a picture of my "gross-out" face which he said was "hilarious".
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
At first, when Ryan and I only had Trusten, I was constantly asked, "what do you do all day?"
Then people started telling me we needed to have another kid so that Trusten doesn't become spoiled, so he has a friend to play with, and on and on.
Even after Brahm people seemed so puzzled as to how I kept myself busy during the day "just staying at home all day". Geesh!
Well, now that we're a family of six, we get lots of comments...but they are nothing like what we used to hear!
Even though, in our eyes, we're still a small family, we still get lots of comments about our "big" family. I suppose that's because we have so many little ones so close in age.
Whenever we go out to eat or to the store, we get *at least* one comment about our "big" family. Most of the time, we don't mind the comments at all, but sometimes it does get a little old. Especially when it's the same people saying the same thing over and over.
Or when people are being down-right rude in front the kids (once someone said, "Just looking at all your kids gives me a headache" (rudely) right in front of the boys.) That was NOT okay with me and I let them know it. I never want my kids to think that way about themselves.
Because of that, there are now certain Wal*Mart associates that we avoid because they seem to feel very negative and outspoken about our blessings!
But for the most part, the comments are pretty harmless...and sometimes amusing. Instead of getting offended, we usually just tease back.
So here are a few of my favorite responses to some common comments.
"Your hands sure are full."
- "Yes they are!" because...well, they really are sometimes! or "Full of blessings!" especially if the boys are listening or "If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart!" which is corny, but old people like it! or "Not quite yet, I still have some fingers left" if I'm feeling ornery.
"Haven't you figured out how that happens?"
- We joke back, "Yes we have and apparently we're pretty good at it!" (if they say it in jest) or once I nicely replied, "They are children, not a disease" (because the person was being mean about it)
"Do you have your parade permit?"
- We've gotten this twice and both times I shot back, "We sure do! Do you want to join because you look like you'd make a perfect clown!" (Yes, I really said this but in a very loving way :) !)
- We've heard this a few times, but recently someone said it to my in-laws at an airport ("You need to buy them a T.V." was the comment) and my very sweet father-in-law just gave a courtesy laugh and said "Nah". To which I added, "They want more grandkids!". I mean, I don't think they have enough kids in their lap yet, do you??? :)
Okay, and just for kicks, here are just a few quotes I like...
"If evolution were true, mothers would have more than just two arms."
"The Bible calls children a blessing and debt a curse. But in our society, we reject the blessing and apply for the curse. Something is terribly wrong with this picture."
"'Be fruitful and multiply' means just that. Multiply. But you seem way too comfortable with simple addition!"
and my personal favorite...
"Birth control is for sissies." (although I'll admit that even I am a sissy sometimes :) !!!)
Monday, February 22, 2010
I *LOVE* (yes, LOVE) cloth diapering!
I'll admit, I'm kinda addicted to it! But still, we've only spent probably $200-$250 on cloth diapers & accessories (that is for all sizes/stages). And they've already gone through two boys and now Liberty is using them!
Plus, I just love seeing my kiddos in cloth diapers! It's cute and it makes me feel frugal and old-fashioned--which, yes, I like feeling!)
I like anything that is practical, simple and cheap so that limited my search immediately! There are lots of fancy choices out there, but I get so lost with all the mention of inserts, AIO's, pulling, etc. And I'm not willing to pay a big upfront cost...
So after researching for about 3 months, we found the perfect thing for us.
We use Bummis Whisper Wraps that velcro on just like a disposable diaper and they need an old-fashioned 'prefold' in the middle. --->
For diaper changes, the prefolds can be switched out and the wrap can stay on (as long as there wasn't a leak!)
<---I also have Dappi Covers (these go on like pants) I use, but they are not as easy to change, since they go on like pants...but they work and they are cheap! They also hold in moisture a little better for longer periods of time. They are a soft plastic that go over a fastened prefold. For fasteners, we use Snappi's which are super easy and pain free (unlike diaper pins)! (Dappi's with Snappi's and prefolds are definitely the cheapest solution in CDing!)
When I'm using a prefold with a Snappi (and a Dappi cover), this is my favorite way to put it on...
So, once we decided on the cloth diaper that was best for us, we had to then choose which website to order from...that was JUST as exhausting!
I made an excel spread sheet of prices (I LOVE spread sheets!) to pick the best deal. So, we now order all our cloth diapers from either Cotton Babies or Little Lions (*be sure to look at their clearance!)
Also, we keep an eye on Ebay for better deals on Snappi's!
Besides prefolds, Bummis Wraps, Dappis,and fasteners, I've collected a few fleece soakers from generous MOMYS that I'm starting to love using!
They go on like pants too but are cute, soft and wonderful for heavy wetters!
(***Upcoming post: The Lies Women Believe about Cloth Diapering!)
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Whenever I hear February 20th, my heart sinks all over again and I instantly think back to that morning, the phone call and all the sadness that followed.
It's been 9 years since my friend Nick died.
9 years already? It doesn't seem like it's been that long, but I guess it never does.
Leading up to Nick's death, there had recently been a lot of deaths at SBU. So much so, it was almost eerie.
The first tragic car wreck at the beginning of the year killed Jay and Sarah, which really shook the campus. Then in August, James died, which devastated everyone. In December, three more SBU students died in a car wreck; Mary, Bryon and Gregory. It seemed like everyone was in shock--walking around in disbelief from all the tragedy.
For a campus of 1,700 students, we were more like a family. Everyone knew each other-at least by face, if not always by name. And it seemed that just as we would start to heal from one death, another would death would occur. It was a weird season at SBU.
When I started school at SBU I was just another invincible, "happy go lucky" college student. But with the tragedy of each death came the reality that life truly is short.
And while I wasn't closely connected to any of the students that had died, I watched close friends of mine mourn the loss of childhood friends, siblings and roommates.
I was saddened by all the heartache, but strengthened by the faithful reminders from the Lord that life is a vapor (James 4:14). I was thankful I could learn the lesson from afar and not have to sit in the middle of the valley that so many people around me were in the midst of.
But on the morning of February 20th, I found myself in the deep crevasse of my own valley.
I remember waking up to the sound of the phone ringing in my dorm room so early in the morning and thinking something must be wrong.
Then I remember hearing Mike ask me if I was sitting down and that got me thinking "something IS wrong".
He proceeded to tell me the news but all I could comprehend were bits and pieces as my mind was reeling.
"early this morning", "car accident", "Nick", "dead". I was trying to put it all together as my mind reeled and I sat in silence thinking surely it wasn't true.
I remember putting the phone down and walking around aimlessly in my room until finally I decided I should take a shower before heading to the house where everyone was gathering. Once in the shower, images and memories flooded my head. I began crying so hard (which was the first time I had cried that morning) that I had to sit down.
It seemed so unreal "that" Nick was gone...the Nick from almost all my high school memories.
I remember trying to pick out clothes and wondering why I was even trying to match them. Then my friends came to my room as they heard the news and knew I needed them...Regardless, I felt very lost and alone.
Nick was my friend from my hometown. Even though we went to the same college, we didn't hang out in the same circle of friends anymore. Our lives had gone different directions.
So even though I had supportive friends that were a huge comfort to me, I had to walk through alot his death by myself.
I struggled to fit in with my old high school friends who came to college with me, but chose a different path. I wanted more than anything to cry with someone who knew Nick like I did...but everyone from high school had changed so much. We were so different now and I was a stranger.
It even seemed like I was mourning the death of a Nick that everyone else had forgotten...or never knew in some cases.
That made me feel all-the-more like I was a stranger. And I guess I was. I was an outsider now. I didn't feel like I belonged at the apartment that my high school friends now lived in. But I didn't want to be back in my dorm room-where no one really understood and life was just going on like nothing had happened.
I wish I could say that I turned to the Lord and clung to Him in my sorrow and loneliness. But I didn't. I turned away from his voice. For the first time since giving my life to Jesus, I started to doubt.
But faithfully the Lord had put Amber in my life a year earlier and she walked me through a lot of my sorrow and confusion. Sometimes I think if it weren't for her, I might have completely fallen apart or even fallen away. God was faithful, I just didn't see it at the time. Thankfully, He's faithful whether I notice or not!
At the time of Nicks death, I was asking God a lot of questions. I had a lot of "why's" and "what if's" that haunted me.
Honestly, none of my questions have really been answered, even today. But my perspective has changed. I thought at first that Nicks death was in vain...that no spiritual fruit grew from his death. But now I just trust instead of judge. I believe in faith that God's glory is greater because of Nicks death. I know now that just because I can't see with my physical eyes how the Kingdom of God was impacted after Nick died, that doesn't mean that no one was changed.
And most importantly, I know that even after 9 years, God is still working through Nick's death. And He who began a work, will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6).
Friday, February 19, 2010
She crawled sooner, sat up sooner and she is even talking already, saying "Dada" "MuMu" and "Bub Bub" (Brother).
But the newest thing that she's been trying, is to stand up on anything she can reach and pull up on. (The boys didn't do this until 10 months).
The last few days, I've seen her be fairly successful at this but she hadn't mastered it...that is, until this morning! I walked into her room and found this...
My "Joyful Joyful Morning Sunshine" (as I call her in the mornings because she wakes up so happy) has learned to pull up!
And just TWO days ago I lowered her crib...Phew! JUST IN TIME!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
"What doing?" (all our boys have said this as they learn to start talking--but right now it's Samuel and I love the way it sounds out of hi smouth!)
"Doodie wake!" (Samuel screams this every morning when he hears Liberty waking up)
"Sorry I 'Bless You'd" on you Momma" (Brahm after he sneezed on me)
"Momma I can't close my eyes because it's dark in there" (Brahm trying to take a nap)
"That noise you make is pretty, Momma" (Brahm when I was singing to him)
"A lot of people are really hurt." (Me talking to the boys about Haiti)
"Is blood coming out of their bodies?" (Trusten)
"Some of them." (Me)
"Are some peoples bones out of their skin?" (Trusten)
"Probably so." (Me)
"DID JESUS COME OUT TOO????" (Brahm, very concerned)
"Does Jesus have a bed and table?"(Trusten)
"Probably a table, but not a bed. Jesus doesn't need to sleep."(Me)
"But I thought he rested on the 7th day?" (Trusten)
"When I'm 10 like Elliott (his cousin) what will my name be?" (Trusten)
"I love you as big as space" (Trusten)
"Momma your as pretty as a stain glass window" (Trusten)
"If God is the Father and Jesus is the Son, who is the Holy Spirit in their family? Just the ghost?" (Trusten)
"Daddy, I love you as hot as the sun and as the oven when Momma cooks." (Trusten)
Monday, February 15, 2010
Original Liquid Laundry Soap (this is what I used to do):
~5 gallon bucket
~5 gallon paint stir stick
~3-4 gallons Hot water
~1 cup "Washing Soda" (also called "sodium carbonate" or "pH increaser")
~1 cup Borax
~Plain Ivory soap bar (we buy them in bulk at Wal-Mart on bottom shelf)
**or if you want to use this on Cloth Diapers, use Fels Naptha (sold at WalMart), Ivory causes build up on cloth dipes, so DO NOT use it!
--Grate Ivory soap bar (or Fels Naptha bar) into small non-coated pan. Put just enough water in pan to cover the soap flakes. Heat on low until dissolved.
--While soap is cooking, fill 5 gallon bucket with 3-4 gallons of hot water.
--Add to the bucket of hot water, 1 cup of Borax and 1 cup of Washing Soda.
--When the Ivory flakes are dissolved, add those to the bucket as well. Stir.
*If possible, stir every hour as it cools, thickens and "gels up". If you leave this over night, it will be solid and very hard to "break up".
*Store in bucket or pour into old detergent containers for easier access. Use 1 or 2 cups for a full load of laundry.
*Washing Soda can be found in the laundry aisle or by pool accessories.
*Recipe may need to be adapted to hard/soft water by adding less/more of the Borax and Washing Soda.
Powder Laundry Detergent (this is what I currently use):
~1 Ivory soap bar or Fels Naptha soap bar
~1 cup Borax
~1 cup Washing Soda
--Grate soap bar.
--Add grated soap bar, Borax and Washing Soda to a container.
--Mix up and use 1-2 Tablespoons per load.
*Optional~Use a jar to premix solution in water, before adding to wash
*Again, you can use this on cloth diapers if you use only Fels Naptha
More "homemade" recipes to come!!!
Friday, February 12, 2010
As we sang this phrase from a popular Hillsong over and over last Sunday at church, it just hit me like a ton of bricks.
The Lord had my attention.
This is what I've been missing...falling and worshiping here. "Here" is not "there" in our church sanctuary. "Here" is the place I'm at in life right now.
"Here" is 4 kids under 5 who are constantly wanting things from me all day.
"Here" is wiping up pee off the bathroom floor AGAIN because someone missed the toilet.
"Here" is hardly sitting down all day expect to feed my sweet baby girl.
"Here" is making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for the millionth time.
"Here" is folding the same basket of laundry twice because someone accidentally dumped it out.
"Here" is reminding my arguing boys, once more, that toys are not more important than one another...and that toys are not worth so many tears.
But most importantly, "Here" is where I need to be worshiping.
"Here" is a really, really hard place for me sometimes. It's a constant pouring out and giving of myself. But at other times "Here" is the joy of my entire being. A selfless living that makes me glad I am nothing but a wife and a mom.
The truth is, falling and worshiping at church is easy. The whole tone of Sunday morning is one for experiencing God. And my heart is ready and waiting on Sunday mornings to experience him.
But what about the rest of the week? Sure, I think about the Lord many times throughout my day. I pray little prayers all day long. I recite scripture to my boys as we carry on with daily tasks. But what about my worship in my everyday, mundane tasks?
As I continually pour out and give of myself, what is God getting? In other words, am I doing it all for Him and His Name's sake?
So I'm going to start working on this...falling and worshiping HERE.
And if I happen to stumble in the midst of my day, at least I know I'll find myself falling at His feet and not laying in front of an idol called "Me".
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
He is just 6 months old and having major surgery this afternoon.
Ryan went to college with his parents (Ryan and Rebekah) and then they served with us in the youth ministry at our old church in Lee's Summit.
So far Camden has spent almost his whole life in the hospital. He came home for a short time, but his condition worsened, so he had to return.
We're praying this is a successful surgery and it that it will be one step closer to him coming home.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Silent Glory (on homeschooling) by Stacey McDonald (author and speaker)
Are you Tired? by Lynnette (friend, author & fellow M.O.M.Y.S)
No, Mr President. by Piper (aka Johnny P--a favorite pastor, author, speaker & theologian of ours...and the namesake of our first dog...RIP Puppy Piper!)
AND I'll add one more from Stacey, Legalism: Yours, Mine and Ours.
So those are my favorites! There are probably more, but that's enough reading to keep you busy for now!!!
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Whether it's over vegetables, the main course or an item in the salad, at least once a week, you will hear the words "It doesn't always have to taste good" at our dinner table.
When it comes to food issues, we definitely chose our battles (we're not the type to make our kids go hungry if they don't like the meal), but because dinner has the potential of being one of the most hectic parts of our day, we had to instill some rules so it could be a time we all enjoy.
For our family, dinner was not enjoyable when we would make our boys eat something. It made for lots of tears on their part and lots of frustration on ours. We almost dreaded dinner time and by the time it was over we were exhausted.
Our ideal, was to put food on the table, we all sit together, eat and enjoy the company. Now why is that so hard?
Overall, our biggest obstacle at dinner is centered around the fact that they don't like how it tastes.
That is why we say so often "Well, it doesn't always have to taste good" and we try and teach our kids the following about food:
- Jesus tells us to give thanks for everything, so that includes this food we're eating.
- Food is first and foremost for our nourishment, not our enjoyment, although sometimes you get both!
- Daddy works hard to make money for us to have food to eat, so we must be thankful.
- Mommy works hard to make the food we eat, so we must be thankful.
Well, when there is a food item on the table that someone doesn't like, we have a few rules:
- You can not say anything negative about the food itself (ex:"this tastes gross") because these feelings seem to spread like wildfire (ex: "yeah, it's slimy" and soon no one wants to eat it).
- After expressing thanks for it, you can politely refuse the food after one bite (ex: "thank you for this mom, but may I have more salad instead?")
- You can not have any other food that is not on the table (more on this below*).
So as long as these rules are followed, we let them refuse a food being offered, because honestly, it's easier to just choose our battles in this case. Everyone has likes/dislikes and we want to respect that but they need to respect the fact that what is on the table is what is for dinner.
*With that said, there are certain meals that I just know our boys don't like. Some of Ryan's favorite meals (Mexican Chicken Casserole, Green Chili Burritos, etc) are meals that our boys do not enjoy...yet. So instead of heading into dinner knowing that they are not going to eat most of what is offered, I chose to win the battle before it even has a chance to start! I will sometimes put together a simple plate of peanut butter sandwiches or crackers with tuna, etc.
And since they can chose any food on the table, they have the option of tasting the main course, but choosing to eat only the sides. And little do they know we all avoided a battle!
Still there are times when not everyone will especially like what is offered, but what you see on the table, is what you get and "it doesn't always have to taste good"!
This may not work for every family, but it definetly works for ours!
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
"Oh no! Meatloaf? Ugh."
Growing up, as far as I was concerned, "meatloaf" was almost a bad word. I was NOT a fan.
But this recipe is different from any meatloaf I've ever had. Everyone in our family loves it! Ryan actually requests it and our boys cheer when they hear it's meatloaf night! And I love it because it's good for leftovers too!
Try it out on your family!
--1/2 cup KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce
--1 lb. ground beef
--1/2 cup chopped onion
--1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
--2 T parsley
--salt & pepper
--Combine all ingredients. Mix lightly to blend. Form into loaf. Place in shallow baking dish.
--Bake uncovered at 375* for 40-50 minutes. Remove from oven, let stand for 10 minutes.
As we say around here, it's Yummer Yummers!
In fact, we're having it tonight and I'm serving it with salad, corn and baked potatoes.
And, by the way, my new favorite way to make baked potatoes is after washing them, to stab them all over with a fork, lightly cover each one in olive oil (just rub on with your hand), then roll each one in salt and place in the oven with your meatloaf (at 375*) for about an hour.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Monday, February 1, 2010
Our wedding day!
7 years ago today my life-long best friend and I got married!
It was February 1, 2003. We had prayed for good weather it was a beautiful, sunny day...it felt like a perfect day in the Spring! It was about 60 degress and there was not a cloud in the sky! And the presence of the Lord was so rich, the whole day through!
My sweet hubby had flowers delivered to my room...
Our amazing ceremony. Everything was perfect! I remember I kept getting so overcome with excitement that I was going to be Mrs. Ryan Wheeler! What an honor!
Look at those kids!!!!!!!
The bubble farewell
I still remember how weird it was for us to kiss in front of all our students! Kids, close your eyes!
These 7 years have been the best years of my life. I would not trade them for anything in the world. Ryan and I are best friends, soul mates and kindred spirits.