Monthly Archives: April 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy

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I’ve felt so swamped this last week or two, and the funny thing is that I haven’t even started packing yet! I will probably be pretty scarce for the next few weeks, till late May after we have moved to our new home.  Hooray, I’m so excited for this move!  Well, more accurately I’m excited for the end result of this move, but my enthusiasm to actually pack and move is not so much.  I’m trying to finish up a few organizing and sewing projects (such as toddler bed sheets from king size ones and a few other odds and ends) before I start actually packing, and I’m trying not to keep moving boxes of stuff we don’t actually need.  Matt’s parents were here all this week, so we enjoyed the time visiting with them.  Deanna, Isabelle and I had a few very lovely "craft" times – my sweet mother in law finished sewing the matching blanket covers I had cut out for the girls (from extra fabric from their lovely little church dresses, and some of my sheets).  They are SO cute – it will be the first time any of my girls have any sort of coordinating bedding, and I can’t wait to post pictures after we move (I’m saving them till then for a special new treat at the new house).  Isabelle worked on a little beading kit grandma had given her, and she proudly made necklaces for her and all her sisters.  And I made a little beading project of my own.  Thanks to a good friend from church, I discovered that those cute little wine goblet charms actually have a purpose – to make sure everyone remembers which glass is theirs when you have company.  Since I just found these lovely water goblets at the dollar store, I decided to make matching wine/water goblet charms for up to twelve people.  Not that we usually have that many in our home at one time, but you never know  . . . So for about 8 dollars at walmart, we had hours of happy crafting and wonderful results. I have to say, I love beading!  I’m terrible at getting out crafts (paint, glitter, etc) for the girls, because I’m not a big fan of the mess that ensues. And in all honesty I’m not the most "crafty" person.  I’m far better at reading books out loud   But I don’t at all mind beading, and Isabelle (being a VERY crafty sort) gets quite excited for any craft time.   So even though we probably ought to have been packing, it was a lovely week of crafts around here!  Now it shall be onto the packing, but first a few little pictures from the week:

Isabelle with one of her little necklaces

My little homemade wine charms.  It was fun figuring out how to make 12 distinguishable patterns.

Five puffy little down throws with (in my humble opinion) the cutest duvet covers ever.  Thank you, Deanna!

Naomi hanging around at the park

Juli in a swing

Compare this picture to the one below of Juliette – I think they look so much alike!

More of Juliette in the swing

Miss Isabelle enjoying the grass at the park

Naomi is so brave – you can’t imagine how steep this slide is that she fearlessly soared down many times!

Juliette with daddy and her blanket and teddy bear (for which she has discovered a rather endearing newfound love).

Grandma Deanna with all the girlies

Hannah enjoying some Grandpa Jon time

I had momentarily popped Juliette in a chair in her towel (right after bath).  Hannah decided she looked cold, so she "dressed" her!

Naomi being a very cute little ham!

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Thanks Be To God!

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We have an offer on our house!!!!!!  It’s such a huge sense of relief not to have to keep everything in the house *pristine* while pregnant, packing, and mothering four toddlers.  Thank you to all who prayed for us, and please (if you think of it), pray that this escrow/sale will go through with no problem.  God is so, so good!

Heartschool Part 2

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Sometimes I think one of the biggest purposes God has in giving parents children to train, is that our hearts would be trained thereby.  Today we had another heart issue that God revealed.  One of my daughters asked her sister if she could use her rocking chair.  The sister responded that no, she herself was going to use it.  This was perfectly fine, as it is her chair.  Just for context, three of my daughters (including the one who had asked to use her sister’s) own a little rocking chair – we always look for birthday deals on them at yard sales and such, as they’re such a loved item around here!  I didn’t think anything of it and we went on with our day.  A bit later, while we were tidying up I noticed one of my little daughters was quietly crying while she tidied. I thought she was having a rough day, or perhaps was feeling a bit sad over an earlier rebuke, so I brought her into my room to rock for a minute.  She snuggled right in and I asked her what was wrong.  She surprised me by saying she was just sad because her sister wouldn’t let her use the chair.  At first I just felt sympathy and cuddled her.  I used the opportunity to help her understand that not sharing could create such sadness in others, and she would do well to remember that when her sisters asked to use something of hers.  But after another minute of snuggling I realized something: her desire for her sister’s chair had made her discontent with her own.  A line from the book "Hedge Of Thorns" popped into my head.  The book is about a little boy who sees (and begins to covet) an apple tree beyond the hedge of thorns which his father has told him never to cross.  In his scheming to get past the hedge, he nearly pushes his little sister off the cliff he hadn’t known was just beyond, and which the hedge was intended to protect them from.  His father later asked him this question: "son, what made you forget the apple tree in your own garden?"  God helped me to see that the heart issue was that while she was coveting someone else’s chair, it had made her heart forget her own, no longer being thankful for what she had, but only wanting something else.  So I shared that whole thought with her, and became so convicted in my own heart as I did so.  I was reminded of all the times recently I’ve coveted new things that I think will look nicer in my new home, rather than being thankful for all the wonderful things God has already provided for me (whether they match or not!)  I was able to have a wonderful talk with my daughter which helped her to repent, and which helped me to repent at the same time!  God is very gentle with me, but I am thankful he allows me to see my sin rather than stay in it.  I just pray He makes me more like Him, so my daughters won’t have to continue unknowingly showing mommy her sins!

Helping Heather

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Through my friend Christine’s blog, I recently learned of a sweet blogger named Heather who has just been diagnosed with a brain tumor.  I can only imagine what their family is going through, and I know they would appreciate all of our prayers!  I know this is kind of late, but it seems today was set to be a special day to bless Heather and her family by helping raise some of the costs of her medical treatment.  If you’d like to read more about Heather or bless her family with a love offering, please visit BooMama for more details. With a paypal donor program, it’s so easy to donate one dollar or one million (not that any of us have that, but you never know what God will do!)  What’s more, I Should Be Folding Laundry has set up a prize giveaway to help in the efforts to spread the word and help Heather through prayer or financially. I’m sure it’s such a blessing to their family to have such a supportive community around them, and I just wanted to pitch in and spread the word a bit!

More Of My Favorite Things

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First I’ll admit my least favorite thing of the week: a sandbox with actual sand in it – makes me wonder if there’s a purpose to sweeping and mopping my floors!  And it constantly amazes me to see where the girls manage to get all that sand.  Chances are, if I’ve just put some beautiful braids in Naomi’s hair, the sand will mysteriously end up on her head.  I have decided to fill a little sandbox with pebbles for the girls after we move – I think they’ll love it and so will I! Anyone know any other less messy things to fill a sandbox with?

Anyway, on to my favorite things for the week:

1.  Big bouncy balls (2 for $5 at walmart): the girls LOVE them and they provide so much enjoyment and exercise in this delightful spring weather.  We recently sold our swingset, since we couldn’t really fit it in our new house, but these balls have more than made up for it’s lack.  Juliette can just barely pick them up and roll them, Naomi bats them around, the other girls kick and throw and chase to their hearts’ content.  They especially love when Matt and I play volleyball over their head – the most exercise I’ve had in awhile, and my oh my – you should hear the giggling from all those girls!  Hannah, being very fascinated by different colors lately, is especially enamored with the rainbow ball we gave her on her birthday.

2. SPRING – the budding and blooming, the smell of flowers in the air, the pleasant weather that makes me think I really am an outdoors person at heart, and one more season at this home to enjoy our ornamental cherry tree.  The tree which God used to illustrate to me the truth that beauty is fruit (when I used to wonder what was the point of "ornamental" trees). It’s SO beautiful, and we get to enjoy it outside as well as inside at every meal in our dining room window.

Ornamental cherry buds

The ornamental cherry blossoms

I know I have a better picture somewhere, but I can’t find it – this one is from last year.

3. My new bella band – the greatest invention ever for pregnancy!!! Enough said, see the link if you’re curious – and thus far, in my opinion it really does do all the wonderful things it describes!

4. Dandelions!!! While Matt’s not a big fan of the millions that seem to grow in our yard each year, I’ve decided I love them.  The reason is because they solve a dilemna for me.  Each spring the girls and I love to enjoy the new flowers.  The girls also want to pick all of the new flowers, and this would leave none in the yard.  So I let them pick dandelions to their heart’s content and it solves two problems at the same time!  To them it’s beautiful flowers to pick; to daddy it’s cleaning up the weeds in the yard!

5. Discovering some of my girls individual strengths.  One I’ve noticed a lot of lately is Hannah’s thankfulness – she so often just comes up and thanks me for something.  I rarely, if ever, need to remind her to thank me.  She even does it in her sleep when I put the covers up around her!  Another thing I’ve seen is in Isabelle – she loves her sisters equally, never showing preference. I love that!  Naomi is such a little nurturer.  It’s so cute to watch how sweetly (and accurately) she cares for her dollies.  My other girls were much more into books than dolls, and it’s very fun to watch Naomi be a little mommy.  Juliette is still our little snuggle bunny  – she loves to be outside and will play very independently for about five or ten minutes before she’ll toddle over to get a kiss and a snuggle.  Then it’s off to play again until her next kiss and hug break.

6.  My family! We’ve been enjoying more time together lately due to an idea of Matt’s.  He said he’d rather I leave the dinner dishes for a bit after dinner (which took some getting used to), so we could all just hang out as a family for a bit longer before the girls’ bedtime.  So we either just all do the dishes together really quickly, or leave them till the girls get to bed at 8 and do them just the two of us.  We’ve had such nice talks while doing dishes, and he happens to prefer all the parts of cleaning up that I don’t (and vice versa).  It goes so quickly and we’ve enjoyed the extra time to let all the girls dance around mommy to daddy’s guitar.  Or the past few days of good weather we all go outside for a nice evening romp in the yard – there are shoulder rides from daddy, kickball with mommy, volleyball over everyone’s heads, rocks to find, ladybugs to watch, cool weather to lay in the grass and enjoy together . . . ah, what could be better?

 

 

Heartschool Part 1

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We’ve really been enjoying our school times lately.  I’ve enjoyed the chance to sit and read favorite books to my favorite girls.  I love watching Isabelle blossom and learn so much more each day.  I love that we’re actually doing (in a little way, of course, since she’s four) copywork, oral narration, phonics, and dictation now, and having so much fun with it!  But today I found another reason to love our school times. They are a perfect opportunity to work on a specific matter of the heart in my girls’ lives: cheerful contentment under authority.  Today God helped me to see the heart issue underneath what could have just been a petty irritation, and I am so thankful for how He lets us school not just our childrens’ minds, but their hearts as well.  I have my daughters switch between "stations" during our reading – a blanket with favorite preschool toys, a little table at which to draw, the dollhouse and my lap being four common ones.  What’s funny is that often I’ll pick toys that the girls have been dying to play with (today I let them use this really cool animal chess set I own – they’ve wanted to play with it for so long, and I figured it wouldn’t break on carpet), yet they can seem bored and listless during school times.  For awhile I wondered if I wasn’t giving them something stimulating enough to work on.  I wondered if they were lonesome not sitting in my lap the whole time (though if I tried to have one or two of them do that, they’d desire to get down).  I’d see a less than happy look on someone’s face and wonder if I was asking too much of toddlers.  Then I’d remember that I truly believe it is more than worthwhile to teach self-control to my little ones at this young age, that they have plenty of "free" play time, and that this was truly for their benefit. Today was the epiphany, and it came through God’s grace and those silly little chess animals.  I asked one daughter to play with the animal chess (the daughter who had particularly coveted these chess animals for the longest time) while it was her sister’s "special time" to snuggle and read with me.  I noticed that I had to repeatedly rebuke her for either trying to get up without actually doing so, looking mournfully at the couch and asking to sit with me (after she’d already had her turn, and had asked to get down), using her feet to kick at any other toys within reach, and pretty much doing all she could to not play with the toys I’d given her.  She was quiet, and didn’t do anything (technically) that I told her not to, but she was obviously not content.  Then we all switched and this daughter asked to go to the blanket which had a bunch of little dollhouse people and furniture.  I said sure, and she plopped down.  A minute into reading I noticed the same things.  She was barely staying at the edge of her blanket, mischiviously trying to reach anything but the toys she had been given, looking sad, etc, etc, etc.  I pondered this, as I knew that when I was holding her she had wanted down, and that any other time of the day she genuinely would have loved to play with these toys.  And I realized that even though it wasn’t particularly disruptive (like I said, she was staying quietly on her blanket), I had seen these little symptoms in all my girls in varying amounts and at different times over the past few weeks.  And I realized that the only reason she wasn’t happily playing with those toys was because I had told her it was time to do so.  If she had had totally free reign, chances are she would have chosen to do one of the very activities I’d set out for her.  But because I had now told her to do that, and not something else, her little spirit just didn’t want to.  And I realized my little spirit had not been faithfully correcting these small manifestations of discontent I’d been noticing recently.  So after feeling a bit discouraged at first, I did begin to correct them with kind but firm discipline.   It took about three times of needing to rebuke/discipline, and a heartfelt explanation to her of what the problem seemed to be.  I explained that she needed to learn to be happy with what she was told to do by those in authority over her.  God doesn’t want us to fuss about doing something simply because we have been told to do it (I think I was preaching to myself, too!) He wants us to do all things with joy for Him, and to be content and happy with what He’s given us to do at certain times.  I suggested a few different ways she could play with the things on her blanket and said she needed to do so with a happy heart, not just "barely" obey with a grouchy one.  And in God’s grace He changed her heart.  She began to play so happily with the toys she’d been given.  It was amazing to see the change, and to realize how much these little ones truly do understand!  I just pray God will open my eyes each day to the things I need to be correcting, not ignoring.  I was glad He taught us both in school today, and very blessed to see the sweet fruit that came out of it.

Thinking …

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Rebeca was kind enough to send me a Thinking Blogger Award . . .

. . . and I now have the privilege of linking you all to five other blogs which bless me and cause me to Think, and upon whom I would like to bestow this little award.  Here they are (some linked to particular posts I enjoyed):

Musings Of The Dings Matt and I both really enjoy reading the very honest writings of Lois and Evers – they are serving the Lord mightily raising a godly family, and I learn much from them.

Sharpening Our Arrows Christine has always been a dear friend whose wisdom I greatly value, so I was very excited when she started writing down her stories in blog form.  It’s always an encouragement to read her posts.

I Choose Joy Gena is also blessed with lots of little ones, and I have really profited from many of her posts, particularly in regards to organizing her day with her children, and their homeschooling journey.  She’s given me lots of ideas for our own home and school!

Embracing The Journey JavaMama is a woman after God’s own heart, and it shines through her posts.  It’s always a refreshing blessing to read her musings on motherhood and life in general.

Femina Nancy Wilson just started this blog, so I wanted to pass it on to you all.  I’m sure it will be filled often with lots of wisdom, as Nancy certainly has plenty to share!

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Hopefully I did this right   Thank you, Rebeca, for thinking of me!