What a breath of fresh air…

…today was.

For the first time all week, we didn’t have to go anywhere, so it was declared a pajama day.

While the children did a couple of crafty type things nearby, I organized my new cabinets. They made All About Me collages for my Power Binder. Aviana’s mostly featured ice cream, while Brielle’s had lots of fruit. Interestingly enough, they both included a picture of a bed.

I had also boiled eggs for our noon meal, but it turned out I needed to boil another half dozen because we ate several for a snack and then the girls decorated the others so becomingly with markers, they couldn’t bear to part with them for lunch.

A Power Binder was introduced to me by a MOPS speaker for corralling all those papers you need to know where they are.

Mine is basically clear three ring pockets to which I taped (beautifully pink striped) tabs in categories like Aviana, Brielle, Cadrian, Baby D, MOPS, Coupons ect. Essentially any piece of paper I had had in my desk without a specific home.

I also took a tip from that speaker and put all our Compassion children’s letters and info in a binder instead of a basket. And put all our Samaritan Ministries information and news letters in yet another binder.

I also put my underutilized Control Journal in there as well. Now that I’m feeling better, I’m ready to get back into the swing of things. Especially since my Rubba Sweepa, Rubba Swisha and Rubba Scrubba came yesterday.

Kevin came in for lunch and I dashed off to the library for a quick pick up and return and a blessed hour of thoughts to myself.

I read all our wonderful new books to my chickadees (recommend: The Gingerbread Doll, The House that was Tidy and Neat, and this version Old MacDonald, Circle of Seasons and the Parable of the Lily.)

Then we had an hour of quiet time during which I mostly tried to keep the boy from using my belly bump as a step stool while IMing my mom, but there was a little relaxing in there too.

After Aviana’s reading lessons, we watched The Magic Flute, which is part of this superfabulous series the girls just love. I didn’t realize we were about to watch an opera, but they loved it! I enjoyed it too, and I don’t consider myself at all “cultural”.

Then it was time for our Friday night ritual of pizza and snuggles.

Now it’s time to relax and embark on the beginning of watching Centennial. I remember watching it as a kid on TV, so much so that I even read the book, which is not my usual genre choice.

Not much bickering, disobedience, arguing or tantruming or tears today. What a breath of fresh air, to get to the end of the day feeling like I accomplished something and feeling like I am so in love with my family.

Oddly enough it usually is one or the other.

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Making Memories

At MOPS on Tuesday, we had a speaker I really liked. Her topic was near and dear to my heart, and I enjoyed her talk, and got some great ideas. Maybe you will too.

Various Ways to Save Memories

Journal–She kept a journal for each of her four children in which she recorded their pregnancies, birth stories and the day to day moments that fill up our lives, but don’t stick with us unless you write them down. Maybe you’d like to see my journal?

It’s at www.farmfreshiowa.blogspot.com.

Calendar–She recorded the first year of each child’s lives on a calendar–I did this too, but I’m most proud of Cadrian’s since I made it myself. I started working on it before we had decided on his name–it’s weird to look back at that!
Photo books from Shutterfly or other online photo developers
Accordion File Boxes-She suggested you use these to save school work. Just keep the creative and original works.
Video taping

–Get them put on DVD so you can actually watch them. Be sure to tape the every day play, and not just the birthday. We have those little tapes from the camcorder and can only watch them when we hook up the camcorder to the TV. Someone told me if we get a “fire wire” we can transfer them to the ‘puter. We’re going to try that.

Scrapbooking –I love this!! Here are a few of Cadrian’s pages, But I do have many, many others.
Quilt boxes–wrap your baby’s clothes in blue tissue paper (this tip is actually from a fellow MOPS mama) and they won’t fade

To My Daughter with Love is a fill-in-the-blank memory book for a daughter that would make a gorgeous graduation present.

She had a lot of other suggestions as well:

Supply Companies
Exposures (acid free page fillers, photo boxes)
Light Impressions (acid free boxes)

Devotionals-great for dinnertime

A Faith to Grow On
365 Manners Kids Should Know
Taming a Liger (If you liked Napolean Dynamite, spiritual)
The Intellectual Devotional (subjects broken into days)

Adolescent Books-These are good to each read individually and then discuss

Preparing for Adolescence-Dr. Dobson
Every Young Man’s Battle-also has workbooks

Good Read Alouds for the Young-Summer Reading Books Chapter a Day)
Boxcar Children
Farmer Boy-Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Moffats-Estes

I have a lot more to add to this list, but Kevin is waiting to watch a movie with me…

Other ways to make memories with your Kids
For Birthdays offer a birthday party or dinner alone with Dad and Mom
Pray every morning before school
Travel/Vacations-can make great memories, even close trips)

How about you?
How do you make memories? How do you preserve them?
I know you are all so creative, I can’t wait to read your suggestions!

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We had the best speaker at MOPS the other day. She spoke about discipline-what it is, what it should look like, what worked for her. Her only credentials were raising three kids, one of whom was extraordinarily strong willed, and being tuned into the Holy Spirit. Her talk just lit a fire under my bum about how I have kind of slacked off in the area of expecting full time, first time obedience.

When we got home on Tuesday, I sat my girls down for a chat, and told them I was sorry I had been allowing disobedience in their lives. I told them God expects me to discipline them when they disobey and they need to answer me when I say their names, they need to do as I say without whining, arguing, or complaining, and they need to always be kind and respectful to everyone.

Who’s to blame when I get frustrated if I say “Brielle.”….”Brielle!!” …”BREE-ELLE!!” and then she comes?
Me. I’ve trained her to not listen until I raise my voice.

Who’s to blame if I start to lose my cool when my four year old argues with me?
Me. I’ve trained her that she will get a response, she obtains an ongoing dialogue if she talks back to me, instead of just expecting obedience and disciplining her if it doesn’t happen.

Who’s to blame if they drive me crazy by fighting and bickering with each other?
Me. I’ve trained them by allowing them to disrespect one another.

I realized after this talk that I have let the standard slide as of late. I’m going to have to interrupt Cadrian’s nursings. I’m going to have to pull the car over. I’m going to have to get up and get a hold of the offending child. I’m going to have to get–and stay– more consistent.

Discipline sometimes scares me–I grew up in an angry home; where yelling, screaming, belittling, criticism, hitting and striking in anger were the norm. I was very strong willed, and I found I could push and push and get my way. This is the opposite of what I want for the lives of my children.

I don’t want raised voices. I don’t want my kids to feel like failures if they don’t do it “right”. I don’t want hurt feelings. I don’t want my emotions to rule the home, but the standards of God. I want my children to know what treasures they are. I want my children to know how loved they are. I want my children to realize they have value simply because God created them. I want them to feel secure in the boundaries in our home.

And I hope and pray that by returning to the basics of discipline, God will accomplish this through me.

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Bits and pieces

*Baby B just got throwing up for like–3 hours. Kevin was reading to the girls, and I was cleaning up the kitchen.

“Ooohh,” he hollers, “Brielle just threw up all over us!” Double ick!

We get everyone cleaned up, put the preschooler in bed. By the time Aviana is asleep, I have Brielle calmed down and put her in bed, there she goes again. Repeat. Again.

In between sessions, she was in a chipper mood. Poor baby! And it’s not like we had anything new to eat tonight either…

*I went Bronze with Usborne! This means I get to order $100 worth of books for $10 as a reward! Hooray books!

*I’ve had an on and off earache since Sunday. I went to the doctor yesterday, and he said it was sinus, because the ear looks good.

*I hate having allergies. I hate rainy cold cloudy gloomy dreary days. I hate not feeling well. I hate having to put away the last vestiges of non-maternity clothes. I hate not being able to afford cute trendy maternity clothes.

*I’m working on a craft for MOPS next week. We’re going to make decoupage boxes for card storage, and cards to put in them. It’s good to get some creative mojo going because goodness knows, I haven’t scrapped properly in months. I miss it! I scrap in my head, and I blog in my head, but since the blogging can be fit in in small snippets of time, and I prefer to scrap a whole layout in one sitting while I’ve got the creativity flowing, I am having a terrible time fitting it in.

*Aviana has been getting to have hot cocoa in the morning if she sleeps in her bed all night (ie does not come crowd me and breathe in my face in the middle of the night). Tonight before she went to sleep, she told me, “I’m not choosing hot toto in the morning, Mama.”

Thanks for the heads up!

*We might be doing a home birth! I’m really excited about the prospect. We met with a home birth midwife on Saturday, and we both loved her. We’ve done a lot of research and are confident in the safety, peace, and security of bringing baby boy into the world in his own home.

Shhh…we don’t want any negative feedback, so unless you have some positive birth energy to put out there, please refrain from letting me know–or telling anyone who will likely give us negativity!

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Pilates Recommendations?

Today in MOPS we had a Pilates instructor come and actually hold a class for us. I love “working out” with friends!

Anyway, it felt like a workout. I have two Pilates DVD’s–Pilates for Pregnancy, and Gaiam AM and PM Pilates. But I don’t feel like I did anything after I’m done with them, like I did today. Today I could tell I worked my core, and my thighs–oh definitely my outer thighs–I wonder what the difference is.

I have to really like the DVD because it is HARD for me to get motivated to do things by myself. I’m much more of a “with a friend” kind of girl, but having to drive 1/2 hour to get to a friend, plus factoring in two small children and their schedules, makes that hard too.

Do you have any recommendations? Or tips?

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Today in MOPS we heard an absolutely dynamic speaker. I was truly impressed. I had not really looked forward to this meeting, because she was talking about organizing.

Last year, we had had a speaker come and talk about organizing, and she had a thinly veiled “I’m so much better than you” air about her that really got under my skin.

By nature, I’m a messy. I know however, that I function so much better and feel so much more at peace with my environment when things are tidy and in their place. It’s a constant battle for me to go against what I’d rather do –play and be lazy, and make myself do what I know I need. Plus with Kevin not seeming to care or notice that much and the girls the ages they are, simply maintaining some tidiness and organization is always an uphill (up Mt. Kilimanjaro) climb!

I perked up right away when this speaker said that her God given temperament is sanguine, just like me. (If you’re curious as to which you are, here is a quick totally not scientific test you can take which will give you a good idea and which has the strengths and weaknesses of all four temperaments on the right side) She has had to work for the last ten years on changing her style in order to be more organized. Further more, she was FUNNY! Always a huge plus for me, I immediately wanted to organize and purge my house from top to bottom.

Being around my friends also energizes me, so upon arriving home, while Aviana was sleeping, I got rid of a lot of duplicates from my drawers, and made labels for this drawer so everything will have a “home” (label maker :gift from DH)

organized the girl’s drawer, and tossed some mismatched stuff
likewise the plastic ware drawer
got all the clothes folded. (They are still on the dining room table, but hey baby steps, people, baby steps) Those baskets were all full of clean unfolded clothes and the rack so full of hanging clothes I don’t think it would have held another thing.
got out eleven pounds of ground beef to thaw with the intention of browning it all tomorrow, which will save me a lot of time in the long run when I’m preparing dinner
and cleaned out and wiped out the fridge (actually, I did this yesterday, but it seems appropriate to include it today)

But before you start worshiping the dirty lineoleum on which I tread, (Or thinking I’m a few eggs short of a dozen) I still had a mess on the counter

and the floor!
Then while Kevin took the girls upstairs, I made dinner and finished cleaning the kitchen.

All in all, a good start!

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Weekend recap

Busy doing nothing–living life.

Friday night I finished up the MOPS craft with some friend’s (Thank goodness for their help, or I still wouldn’t be done!) It was a great chatty night covering topics like underwear and Oprah, boys and babies, diapers and dyslexia, adoption and arrests . Free conversation like this is why boys aren’t invited.

Saturday I spent the morning at the mall selling coupons for a MOPS fundraiser. It turned out that I was there at the wrong time, but yet it worked out perfectly (and another girl was there on the wrong day, at the wrong time.) It was totally God orchestrated though to work out like it did even though I was completely scatterbrained about the whole thing.

When my friend watched me in conversation with a couple at the mall, I was amused at her comment, “You not only sell them, you’ll also get to know their whole family and invite them home for dinner. “

It was even funnier when my sister and I were talking later. She was telling me about a speaker on the four main personality types she had just heard at her MOPS group. She was reading them to my mom the day before, and when she read the description of sanguine, my mom interrupted to say, “I have never heard a truer more accurate description of your sister!”

(This link takes you to a fairly decent personality test so you can see what your temperament is. If you don’t want to take the test, just look on the right hand side for the definitions of the four basic temperaments)

I already knew this was my ‘label’, but I’m interested to find out more about why it came up twice in one day. Usually when that happens, God is telling me something. I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

Later that afternoon, Aviana was in rare form, and had several tantrums. The girls seemed to both be so tired that I gave them baths and put them to bed around 6:30 pm!

Kevin and I watched a movie and immensely enjoyed each other’s company.

Today we were at church by 8:00 a.m. Kevin worked tech and I in the toddler room. I greeted for the second service and then went to church. It was all about selfishness; which is one of the areas I constantly seem to struggle with. Am I being selfish or just setting healthy boundaries? I never know.

We stopped and bought a new heater for the kitchen, which is the coldest room in our home. This one is purported to heat evenly floor to ceiling, and be really inexpensive to run. I’m excited to try it out.

I snuck in a quick nap, and made yummy Pumpkin Spice Cake then we all four snuggled on the couch upstairs with some hot cocoa and watched part of Matilda. We dropped off the girls at Joyce’s and went to our home group.

While posting the link to that recipe, I just noticed I completely forgot the Miracle Whip and only put in two eggs. That would explain why it looked nothing like the picture. I’ll blame it on Brielle distracting me. Still though, everyone at home group wanted to know who made the cake and raved about how good it was.

I’m just shaking my head at myself right now, and chucking wryly.

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A great idea for summer–Super Summer Challenge

**Edited 2011**I’ve updated since we actually have done the Super Summer Challenge, and are now on our second year of this fun way to spend the summer–you can read more here.

At MOPS today we had a great speaker–Linda Wicks– talking about the Super Summer Challenge. Besides being incredibly fun to say over and over, the Super Summer Challenge is a wonderful way to motivate your children to do all sorts of tasks and achieve new heights. Aviana is a bit young for it this year, but I thought I would go ahead and share the source with you fine folks, so you could take advantage if you want.

Basically, you make a list of challenges for your children to meet, assign points to each challenge, set a number of points each child needs to earn based on ability and age, and decide on the prize the family will earn when everyone meets their point goal. Deceptively simple, and yet wondrously effective!

Go for it!

I’d love to hear how it turns out for you…
After MOPS we had a highly enjoyable picnic at the park. I’m so glad to finally be able to break out the sundresses and flip-flops!

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Secrets of Organized People

continue to elude me.

At MOPS today we had a professional organizer come in today to speak with us. It was interesting, and she is coming over for a complimentary consultation on Friday. Yet, I feel as if I’m about as organized as I can get. Here are some of the Habits of Very Organized People she included in a handout.

They only keep what they need or love. we still have a room full of my inlaws stuff. Plus here is our mentality: We got a new universal remote. I programmed it for the TV, VCR and DVD player, each of which have their own remotes, not to mention the remote for the stereos. After making sure the new remote would run the afore mentioned items, I said, “Great! now we can get rid of this old, broken remote!” (It’s broken, which is why we got a new one to begin with) Still with me? And Kevin responds with, “Maybe we should hang on to it in case the new one conks out!”
They have a place for everything. Sort of. I keep things in a spot (flashlights for example), but then other people use it, and we end up with a flashlight in every room. Sitting out.
They put things back. See above. I have trouble putting things away myself.
They keep it where they use it. Generally. I keep my stamps and all note card materials together. Bowls & measure cups together. Hot pads above the stove. Fish food on the fish tank. Like that. But I don’t know WHAT Aviana’s measuring chart is doing on the dining room table or her piggy bank is doing in the china closet or her books are doing on top of the refrigerator.
They write things down. That would be why I have post-its all over. We do have a central calendar where I write my stuff and the girls stuff down and Kevin is getting into the habit of it!
They don’t procrastinate. That’s what I’m doing right now.
They don’t allow papers to pile up. Papers. What papers? Do you mean those papers? Or those? Or maybe these?
They set goals and assign deadlines. I set goals. I even set deadlines. I make lists. I just don’t usually make my deadline.
They don’t over schedule. I don’t do too badly with this one.
They prepare for tomorrow tonight. Rarely. Rarely.
They multi-task. Always. I’m the queen of nursing and doing anything else. Although truth be told, Brielle is getting too big to nurse and walk around anymore. So I nurse and cut things out, or nurse and email ect.
They give themselves an extra 10. Yeah, I do too, and then the baby needs changed, or Aviana took off her shoes, or I forgot to go to the restroom, or I realize there are no more snacks in the snack cache…

Maybe you can relate?

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