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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"Survival" with the Littles Part dos ~ Bedtime


Lindsay "sleeping" in her new "bed" our first week in our new house - 2010


  I am a bit more lenient on bedtime than I am on anything.  I know, shocker, right?  Sorry, Smockity, my kids are only allowed to go "down" the slide. 

 It has been a long road, but I finally realized, my body and my husband's NEEDS sleep and we'll kinda just take it where we can get it.  It's almost like a drug ;) 

  When Derek was born, I co-slept with him while I breastfed him.  As he got older and I quit breastfeeding (bad mom!), we put him in his crib.  I'm not sure how it all happened, but I remember having a pillow in his room and laying on the floor next to his bed waiting for him to go to sleep, so Ronnie and I could sleep together alone.  Then my wise aunt, gave us some advice, he was only doing this because we let him.  So we did the "let the child cry themselves to sleep" thing.  It was hard, very hard.  Especially when he would make himself throw up.  It did in the end work, but it was almost too much trouble.

  Lindsay, was a very, very easy baby.  Thank Goodness!!  Because I was pregnant with Hannah by the time she was 4 months old and was very sick!!!  I would breastfeed her and rock her and put her to bed.  She didn't sleep with us until much later.  Derek and Lindsay both spent a lot of time at other people's houses while Hannah was in the hospital, so they learned multiple sleeping arrangements wherever they were.

  By the time, Leah came along, I was babysitting 6 other children, 2 of who came at 5 am! (Did I mention, I'm not a morning person?  I'll touch on mourning routines around here, next post.)  I took 2 weeks off for maternity leave for Leah (Who does that?!?!  I'm nuts, I know!) and then started baby-sitting again.  It didn't take me long to figure out, I couldn't handle all the extra kids (one of which was the same age as Leah) and my newborn and be the mother, I needed to be.  I hated giving it all up, but it was something I had to do for our family.  This is why I call it survival.  You go through seasons and you know you just can't do some things anymore. 

  Anyhow, Leah, slept a lot, so this was very nice for me during this tiring time.  Isn't it wonderful, how God knows exactly what we need and what we can and can not handle?!?!?  Since, I breastfed Leah, the longest, I did co-sleep with her quite a bit more.  However, she did not give us any trouble transitioning into her own bed.  (Her toddler bed, has been a different story!) 

  We no longer practice (for now) letting the child cry themselves to sleep.  For the most part, bedtime is very smooth around our house.  The children put the pjs on, brush their teeth, and if everyone is in a good mood, we sit down on the couch to read a story before bed.  Daddy fills up sippy cups (yes, I let my children take milk to bed, I know, I'm a terrible mother!) and then Daddy tucks in the girls and I tuck in Derek.  There are some nights when Ronnie has to work late and I tuck them all 3 into bed or when I have a meeting and Ronnie tucks all 3 in, but for the most part, that is how we do it.  They all 3 drift off to sleep very easily. 

  During the night, however, is another story.  I'm normally up at least once, sometimes twice, a night, filling up a sippy cup or taking someone to the bathroom, but they always go right back to sleep, we are never up for more than 5 minutes.  We do allow our children to get in bed with us, if they have a nightmare or can't seem to get back to sleep on their own.  So, there are many mornings that we wake up and have 1 or more children in bed with us.  And I am thankful for a husband that allows this.  Some of my fondest memories are being able to get in bed with my parents or grandparents after having a bad dream. (And I had a lot of them, really, I did!) 
  There also has been many of nights, that I have taken a baby to the couch to sleep, so that Ronnie does get a good night's rest.  It's better for me to be tired at home, than for him to be tired, driving a semi all day.  And we have quiet time here, so if need be, I can lay down, he doesn't have that luxury. 

  Remember, the main thing is to cherish the small moments while you can, and if that means loosing a little sleep because someone needs Daddy or Mommy to cuddle with, it will be worth it in the long run.  Behavior issues are another story, and I don't encourage anyone to give into bad behavior, but for us, a couple of hours of co-sleeping works.  For me, I have to remember to put my husbands needs first.  So for us, getting all the children to start off in the beds is priority.  That gives us some one on one time to discuss and day and go over what's going to happen for tomorrow. 

  Children are a blessing!!!  The "littles" stage does not have to be a burden, even with multiple "littles".  Because they won't stay little!  Attitude


Getting ready for bed last night.

 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No Santa........Really?

***These are our convictions only, this does NOT mean, I think you are sinning if you're not like us!!!***


  Ok, you have to admit, you knew it was coming....That we would sooner or later be convicted about Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.  Especially, since we started wearing skirts more often, I mean, really don't the two go hand in hand?  ;)  (Enter Sarcasm Here) 

  I know that I don't have to explain our convictions to you, but since I have been searching my heart and soul out trying to find the right answers on things, I thought I'd just share with you our feelings and convictions on the whole situation. 


1.)  No, we have not changed religions.  We are just digging much deeper than we ever have before.  We still believe in the Gospel and we believe there are many biblical principals from the Old Testament that Jesus did not come to change as many believe today.  

2.)  The Bible tells us again and again not to lie.  It's even one of the Ten Commandments.  Ephesians 4:25 ~ So you must stop telling lies.  Tell each other the truth...

  ***Santa does NOT exist, he does NOT live at the North Pole, he does NOT have flying reindeer, and I could go on and on.  If I continue to tell my children this, I would be lying, therefore, I would be deliberately sinning. 

  Now, I have had the conversation on 4 different accounts now.  "Well, I know a lot of Christians out there that do Santa, and their children have turned out just fine."   And here's where I stand on this: 
  1.)  Christians "out there" do A LOT of things "Christians" aren't supposed to do.  They claim to believe in God and go to church, but the Bible tells us, they are "lukewarm and He will spew them out of his mouth". 

  2.)  God's people are to be SET APART.  We are not to do or act like the world around us.  God gave the Isralites almost two whole books in the Bible of rules that were to set them apart from the other heathen lands.  If we give into every popular thing that goes on around us, how are we any different?

  3.)  Satan is very good at using Santa, to pull people away from Christ.  We tell children there is a Santa and there is a God.  St. Nick and Jesus Christ were both historically real people, we can prove that, but Santa and God are both not visible, when children become of age that they do not believe anymore, some have questioned whether or not God is real.  (A friend of mine said he answered this to his child after they told them the truth about Christmas, by asking, how much time do I study about Santa?  How much time to do I spend with God?  If God were not real, why would I put so much effort into studying his Word?)
  Satan even uses movies and stories about Santa to make us feel guilty about not believing.  Derek loves the Polar Express (because of the train), but we have had to stop watching it so much, because it does make you feel really guilty.  It even made me feel guilty about not believing, and I knew that was Satan attacking me!!

  3.)  It comes down to being a heart issue.  God does not look at the outward appearance, the Bible tells us this again and again.  He also gave us the holy spirit to guide us.  Being still and listening is the most important.  If something does not set well with you, then God is most likely convicting you of something.  Which is what happened to us.  We just kept coming back to the same old thing and it didn't feel right.  Once we told the children, it was like a giant burden was lifted off of our shoulders and we could be normal around our kids.  Derek had been asking lots of questions relating the North Pole to heaven and if Santa delivers presents to Hannah.  And since Santa can see us when we are sleeping, does he live in heaven with God while watching us.  It was just becoming too much for us.  Especially having children in heaven that Derek was relating to.  

How did it look for us? 
  Well, I definately recommend watching the Veggie Tales St. Nick movie, for small children, if you haven't already.  Then, we did a history lesson about the real St. Nicholas.  Who by the way, is an amazing person, and definately someone small children can look up to and learn from.  Then I set the children down, for one of our serious talks.  I very gently told them the truth.  Needless to say, Derek, blew up, which I was prepared for.  After crying and being very upset for about 10 minutes that Daddy and I had lied to him, which by the way, we had promised never to do, he calmed down and was perfectly fine with the entire issue.  I explained, that we would still have Christmas, Easter, and they still could receive money for teeth. 
  And I will say, that this Christmas was by far, the best Christmas we have ever had.  To make our Christmas more about Christ this year, we told the children, they would only be receiving 3 big gifts from us, just like Jesus, and some stocking stuffers.  They did not break down and have a panic attack, their faces lit up when their 3 gifts were placed under the tree!!!  They couldn't wait to open "only" 3 gifts.  We also shared Christmas morning again, this year with my parents, who of course spoiled the children as normal.  Which was so wonderful to have them here to see the children's faces!!! 
  Giving only 3 gifts also took a lot of burden off of my shoulders too, financially and time wise.  There is so much hoopla around Christmas anymore, when in all reality, Christ came here very simply.  The sermon on Sunday touched on this.  He was born in a stable, not a castle, that he deserved.  Shepards were called to come see, not rich and famous people.  He was born to commoners, not well to do parents.  Simple is better. 


  I only wish this to be an encouragment to you, not a guilt trip.  I also dare you to research and read about all the true meanings behind Christmas.  Research St. Nick, he was an amazing Christian, research Christmas trees, stockings, and all kinds of Christmas traditions and then do what works for your family.  I pray that the main idea in your lives are Christ.  No, we do not know if Christ was actually born on December 25, but it does give us a day to set aside and remember.  Which is what He ask us to do....."Remember Me". 



Working on our Gingerbread Stables


Working on the MM's


Decorating Cookies for the Nursing Home


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Survival" with the Littles Series

There are many days I feel like the old woman who lived in a shoe......but then I found this pictures and counted my blessings!!!  :)  I'm just kidding!
However, having a blog you are able to make your life look great from the outside, when in fact some days it feels very far from wonderful.  And I spend most of my evenings pouring myself into other women's blogs just trying to glean from their wisdom of child-rearing.  When most days I feel disappointed, because alot of these women have older children to help out (not that, this is the answer to all of my problems), but I can see how older children can be such a blessing to a large family.  So I decided to do a series on living in a family with "littles"  And in this season of life, I call it "survival mode".  I currently have 3 under the age of 6 and we babysit an 8 month old (who's name is Leigha, yes it gets very confusing around here!!!) everyday during the week.  So life can get pretty crazy around here most days!  So, hopefully (if I can get it accomplished;), I'm going to share little tid-bits of what does and does not work for us on a daily basis.
This week will be a Christmas special....

Yesterday, I spent most of the day wrapping presents.  I had originally decided not to put the presents under the tree until Christmas Eve, until we had to have a big "family meeting" about behavior (another post, another day), and then decided that yes, I would put the presents out to do some behavior "training" (for the most part, we like the Pearls "To Train Up a Child").  I waited until Quiet Time to wrap all of the children's gifts.  This year, we are doing 3 presents a piece, just like baby Jesus received.  So I wrapped all 9 presents and placed them under the tree and then as the children began to stir I opened my bedroom doors and let them "help" wrap family members' presents.  Leah sat on the bed with me and handed me my needed supplies.  While Derek and Lindsay helped with giving me tape and carrying the presents to the tree.  It went much, much smoother (is that a word?) than expected!!!  And so far, no little fingers have touched or bothered the presents.  However, we have little Leigha back today, so we'll see!!!
Last night, we went to Wal-Mart as a family and spent the entire time hiding from each other buying presents for each other.  It was great!  The kids really liked sneaking around, while Mommy and Daddy was on the phone making sure we didn't run into each other.  In addition to their 3 presents they will be opening from Mommy and Daddy, they both picked out 2 presents to buy for each other (with their own allowance, after a little talking to).  We will be doing more "sneaking" today as we wrap those presents!  Daddy wrapped Mommy's presents in the garage last night, it was quite funny!

A couple of nights ago, I got the bright idea to make these wonderful Gingerbread Stables from Raising Arrows,but we are not really crafty people, so it didn't go so well.  I would upload pictures for you to see, but after spending the past 15 minutes looking for my USB cord for my camera, I guess that's not going to happen this morning!
We ended up just decorating the graham crackers like they were cookies with icing, mm's, gum drops, and candy canes.  It was something very simple for the kids to do and Ronnie and I sat at the table with them and just had a good time spending time together. 
The next day, I baked some sugar cookies and let Derek and Lindsay decorate them with the leftover icing, sprinkles, and mm's and we took a trip to the nursing home (the funeral home as Lindsay calls it) to pass out some Christmas goodies, while Daddy was in the woods hunting.  I made sure to pack the stroller, because I knew there was no way, Leah could handle holding my hand that long.  Thank goodness, I did, because she was not a happy camper for most of the trip!  It was a great trip for the older kids to get into the Christmas spirit, though!  There eyes just lit up giving out their cookies they had made.  And the elderly were wonderful and very thankful to talk and see the kids.  We will definitely be making a trip back!!!
Well here is just a few ideas of what are family has done for Christmas to teach the main idea of giving and Christ.  I will share more of what works and what does not later on when less of the "littles" are awake ;)  
Have a great day!!!
And Remember "All things are possible, through Christ, who gives you strength!!!" 
 Phillipians 4:13

Thursday, November 24, 2011

So much to be thankful for this year!!!!

  I always take this time of year to sit back and reflect and thank our amazing Heavenly Father for our blessings.  After the month we just had, I have soooo much to be thankful for!!!
  After my surgery, two hospital visits with immediate family members, and for those of you who do not know, I just had my second miscarriage this week, I have quite a bit to be depressed about.  However, somehow, even when we lost Hannah, I seem to cling to all of the good in my life.  This morning, I woke up completely exhausted, my body still cramping from the miscarriage and very sad that I have lost the excitement of another new blessing in our house.  However, when I rolled over to see our two daughters in bed with me, I immediately praised God for giving me beautiful reasons to move on.  I sucked it up, got dressed, put a smile on my face and decided to make some cinnamon rolls (that always makes everything all better, right?). 
  As the children awoke, they all came and found me and hugged me and gave me "sugars".  Ronnie had left to track a deer he had shot the night before, but I love having the peace of knowing that he always has the best intentions for our family and tries so hard to take care of us. 
  Things have been tight financially for a long time, but as I look back, God has kept his promises:  We've never went hungry, we've always had food and we've always had a warm house to live in.  Most days these things seem like simple things, but when you're strapped for money, they become major, important things. 
  I know, there are still many trials ahead, but I thank God for his promises and his love.  I am sooo not worthy and undeserving!!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

"I want to be just like Derek"

  I often times struggle with the fact that so many of my family members live in disbelief.  Some in disbelief that there is even a God at all.  I look around and see his marvelous wonders all day long!!!  I also have a peace, knowing that the God of the universe is holding my baby while she sleeps peacefully.  If I didn't have have that, I'm sure I would never have made it after her funeral. 
  My husband's favorite bible verse is Romans 1:20 ~ From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made.  They can clearly see his invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature.  So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God.  But yet, there are still those who can't see him or don't want to.  The chapter goes on to talk about how they've made God into other idols and their hearts are so dark.  I used to just rub this off and think nothing of these people.  If they didn't want to believe, then that was their own problem.  I often times struggle with getting angry at people denying God and his amazing love for us.  But now, through the help of my son, I'm taking on a new prespective. 
  I used to think, as long as I was saved that's all I needed to worry about, but this is not true nor biblical.  Jesus came for the lost not the saved.  And I need to have the same outlook on life.  I need to have a care and concern for these people.  Derek, amazes me at how much he worries at his age for our family and friends.  He, gets really upset at the fact that they do not attend church or believe.  He used to make himself feel better by telling me they at least have a bible in their house, but now as he has grown as a christian he realizes that bibles alone will not save them from Hell.  I just pray, that my baby boy will hold tight to his concerns for the lost and dying souls of this world.  I know he is capable of amazing things if he stays in the word and keeps his love for his heavenly Father! 
  It's amazing to me how the world looks through a 6-year-old's eyes.  And the bible tells us to be like children and we will enter the kingdom.  So, I am going to work much harder at trying to have the heart of a child, just like my son.  And to be as concerned with others as I am myself if not more for others!

Monday, October 10, 2011

I got sick and convicted

I'm sorry, I haven't posted in awhile.  But I just got released from the hospital on Saturday after finding I had to have surgery.  So here is the story.  This is a testimony I gave yesterday morning at church on what all happened. 
*Dan - is my family physician, but he goes to church with us and instead of calling him Dr. O'Brien, he seems to prefer us call him by his name at church.  So that who I'm refering too in this.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011 was just a normal day for me.  It was just a normal day for God to use for a “small” awakening in me and my family.  Tuesday started out with morning chores at our house, school work to be completed, lunch, quiet time, my sister came by, just the usual.  Tuesday, this time of year, is soccer day for us.  So I started preparing soccer uniforms, shin guards, water bottles, and packing the car.  I’m Lindsay’s soccer co-coach this year, which consists of standing by agreeing with the “real” coach”.  So after I got the kids ready I went to my room to get my shirt on and change clothes.  The skirt that I wear to the games is a little loose, so I always wear a belt with it.  When I came back in the kitchen, I had a little pain in my stomach, so I just thought I’d gotten the belt a little tight and went on.  By the time that we were ready to leave I’d decided maybe, I just needed to use the bathroom.   Went, no luck.  So we loaded up and headed out.  Throughout the game, my stomach just continued to cramp.  So when we were finished, I ask Ronnie if we could eat supper at Taco Bell.  That would solve my problem!!  Haha….bad mistake!  

I spent the night throwing up.  Our friend Angela, had seemed to have the same problem, the earlier Saturday, and said she threw up and felt better.  So felt confident, I’d feel much better by morning.  Ronnie had called and Megan and left her message that I was sick and could not watch Leigha tomorrow.  As the night drug on, the cramps got much worse and the throwing up seemed to pick up.  By morning, Ronnie ask if we should stay home and take me to the doctor.  Well, let me stop here and interject, that it’s not Dan that I hate, but that I hate going to the office to see him!  It has to be really, really bad for me to go see him!  Not to mention, I don’t ever take medicine, ever!   I have to be absolutely miserable to take medicine.  And Ronnie tends to think I’m a little overdramatic, which I really don’t get ;)  (Another topic, another day).  And the rule in our house is you’re not allowed to complain unless you want to go to the doctor or take some medicine!  So I guess he was thinking, I’d suck it up and drive on if he threaten going and seeing Dan. 

Nope, I tricked him!  I was miserable enough to go in!!  So we all 5 arrived in the office early the next morning.  Dan felt bad enough for me and didn’t like what he saw, so he sent us to the ER for an IV and some tests.  So, we stopped for some gas, had to jump the car (don’t you love how it always finds the just the opportune time?), dropped the kids off at my Grandma’s and finally arrived at the ER.   They hooked me up, gave me some good meds, ran some tests, and decided I still just needed to go to the bathroom awfully bad.  Finally by the afternoon, I was feeling a little better and not throwing up, so we were sent home.  I threw up on the way out, but we just chalked it up to all the pain meds and went on.  We stopped by Wal-Mart to grab some meds and apple juice (because you know that makes normal people go to the bathroom.)  Got back out to the car, and of course you know, it wouldn’t start again.  So I climbed in the back seat and lay down while Ronnie went back in, bought a battery, and changed it in the parking lot.  Finally, we picked up the kids, went home and I went back to bed.  The next two days were not any better at all.  Ronnie called in on Thursday and checked in with Dan and took me back again on Friday for a shot. 

All this time, Ronnie is receiving an offer from River Farms with benefits and is battling the idea with selling our semi, which is his dream.  All he wanted to do was talk it over with me and I couldn’t fathom talking and being sick at the same time.  I felt like a horrible wife, this was a really big issue for my husband, and I couldn’t help him.  It was a decision that we really needed to be making together and he had to make it on his own.  Which was extra hard when, I’m the one that takes care of the finances in our house. 

The kids had a field trip on Friday, and I was determine they wouldn’t miss it, so after the doctor’s visit, Ronnie took me to my Grandma’s to be tended after while he and my sister took the kids on the field trip.  I just kept throwing up and was throwing up the pain medicine for the cramps.  By now my mother had been called and summoned to be by my side.  So, her and my step-father made the 3 hour trek down and when she arrived, I just lay in her lap and cried for awhile.  When Ronnie got back, I decided it was time to go back to the ER.  So mom, Ronnie, and I loaded up.  I don’t remember a lot about the next couple of days, because of all the pain meds.  I just know, we ended up doing a CT scan and finding that it did have to do with my bowel and it could be and an adhesion or just temporarily blocked.  I know I had lots of visitors during this time, and I’m told I said some quite funny things.  Sorry, if I don’t remember you coming to see me, but I really did appreciate it.  And, I know, Ronnie definitely needed it!

They came in and finally told me that I’d have to have to have an NG tube.  Now, NG tubes on the same list as Barney and candy corn for me, I’m just not scared of the latter.  I absolutely refused at first.  I said there had to be other things we could try first.  I had watched them put one in Hannah and there was no way I was going through that!   The pain finally caught up with me and God broke me down enough, I surrendered.  I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t a walk in the park, but it definitely wasn’t the worst pain I’ve encounter in my life.  And the nurses worked with me very well and didn’t just shove it down my nose. 

I was put on ice chips only, which by now was great because in the ER, they wouldn’t let me have anything.  But after a day or to, ice chips become old and Satan started working at my spirit.  I started thinking about how good something would taste even if I had to throw it up again. And then I thought of all the starving families around the world who would give anything for nice clean ice chips!  Or all the people around here that are sick and cannot eat for very long periods of time.  I prayed that I try to have the best attitude possible, which is a lot for me when I miserable (remember something about I’m a little over dramatic).  The eating issue was Satan’s best tool, the entire time I was in the hospital.  Just when I’d think I’d get to eat, I was told no again, and I’d feel myself start to get really angry at the nurses or hospital.  And I’d just have to remember that it wasn’t them at all. 

I just have to throw this in there, because it’s just too funny to leave out.  About this time, Robin, being the kind and wonderful friend that she is, brought this brightly colored bag full of goodies, while I was NPO.  She had packed ginger snaps (which I couldn’t eat), a couple of magazines full of home recipes to look at (which are magazines I LOVE, but made me hungry), lotion and chap stick.  She felt really bad, but I assured her it was great and I used the chap stick the entire time I was there!  The other things I very much enjoyed at the end of my visit at times when I was bored.  The timing was just hilarious.

By this point, Dan has decided to call in a surgeon and we set a surgery date to go in and look around.  But on Monday night, I spiked a fever and my stomach had become so distended that they decided to just open me up instead of exploratory.  I prayed fervently Monday night, while Ronnie lay sleeping on the bed next to me.  I replayed Jesus in the Garden while the disciples kept falling asleep.  I have had 4 c-sections, so surgery is not huge thing for me.  But this was different, I didn’t know what to expect.  What if they couldn’t find it?  What if they couldn’t repair it?  What if I had to have a colostomy?   Oh, my gosh!  What if I didn’t’ make it?  I just about made myself sick.  Then God began to work on my heart.  What if I didn’t make it?  Is he still not the creator of heaven and earth?  Is he not big enough to take care of my 3 small children and husband?  We’d already been overflowed with phone calls and offers to help with the children.  I most certainly would not have been the first mother to leave behind a family.  And I definitely needed to quit thinking that I would be.  And besides that, was my God not big enough to save me and heal me?  Why was I even thinking these thoughts?  So what if I had to have colostomy?  Why did I think that the world revolved around me and would end if something worse happened?  While, I had become miserable with the NG tube, I suddenly realized there were people that have to live with an NG tube for much longer periods of time.  When had I become so blind and selfish?  I was almost mortified with myself.  I thought of Lanie and Nancy and Tony and Jamie.  I was in no way near any shape like they were or are!!  And is God still not Alpha and Omega and has he not blessed them?!?!  He had used their sicknesses or accidents to mold them into the beautiful, strong women that they are.  Could he not use this for me?  I slowly drifted to sleep in the comfort of my heavenly Father’s arms that night (and maybe with a little help of morphine).

I awoke the next morning ready for surgery and ready to feel better.  I was so blessed so see Anthony and my old preacher from Bethel.  Who both talked and prayed with me before surgery, which really helped calm my spirit.  Grandma reported no trouble in dropping the kids off at Crystal’s, which I was really worried about Leah.  So I was peacefully wheeled into the OR.  Satan, of course, would have none of this, and starting making me think about the breathing tube and scaring me with that and if I was going to hurt before I fell asleep with the anesthesia.  I remembered back to my emergency c-section with Derek and right before Dr. Borhan put the mask on my face, ask me “You are saved, right?”  I just kept repeating that over in my head, “I am saved, I am saved, I am saved” until I fell asleep. 

When I awoke from surgery, it was painful and I won’t go into detail, but I made it through and was wheeled back into my room.  I was told my bowel was repaired and they had taken out my appendix.  PRAISE GOD!!!! 

The next 4 days was a constant spiritual battle, (due to lack of food).  Ronnie and I definitely struggled as a couple and finding our way with me being in the hospital.  I’m a bit of a control freak and struggled knowing that things were running smoothly back home.  He, however, was wonderful!!!  And managed great!  God, definitely used this experience for me to see that I don’t have to be in charge of every little detail and that I should be very, very thankful for the husband that he has provided me.  I thank God for all of our wonderful friends and family.  At one point, my mom said teary eyed to me, “I wish we had a church like yours!”  Everyone has been great by helping out with the kids or bringing me flowers or calling.  And I don’t think anyone can possibly understand how much that means until something happens to them. 

I know that my little medical excursion is nothing compared to those battling cancer or long term illnesses.  But I felt a very strong pull to testify about how God worked through this with me so intricately.  So once, again, thank you everyone for everything!!!!  And especially the ginger snaps, Robin!!  I love you all!!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

1 year later marks a time to be thankful!

This month marks a year that we moved into our new house.  This whole topic is a little touchy for me, but I don't ever want to give off the perfect picture here, which is very easy to do when blogging.  Ronnie and I definately have our struggles just like everyone else.  So here it is, all on the line.  When we got married 8 years ago, we bought and moved into his parents' trailer that Ronnie had grown up in.  It was a little weird at first for him, moving from his own bedroom into his parents' room to be our master bedroom.  We were both so excited and full of wedded bliss!!!  We bought a new washer and dryer and other small appliances and set up house very quickly before Ronnie headed back overseas to finish his deployment.  I quickly began re-decorating, to make it "our home".  By the time Ronnie arrived home for good, he could barely tell that it was the same trailer.  We lived on his parents' property for 4 years.  Then we recieved the news that he would be deploying again and I had just found out I was pregnant with Hannah.  So we made a family decision to pack everything up and move the trailer to my hometown 20 minutes away to be closer to my family and the hospital.  It was a very sad time for us, however, like with every new move in life, a bit of excitement peered around the corner.  We moved the trailer into a mobile home park at the edge of town.  It was a very nice, well kept park, but still it was a park in town.  Ronnie, the kids, and I were very used to living on 56 acres of nothing but woods.  It was very peaceful and serene, which is exactly how we liked it.  And living in town was just the opposite.  Now we had neighbors literally 20 feet away from us on either side.  However, we made it through and for the next 2 1/2 years lived there in town.  Then we became pregnant with Leah and started to look for a new house, we were quickly outgrowing the trailer, (even though it was a very nice sized trailer:  3 bedrooms, 2 baths).  However, because of some terrible finance choices we made earlier in our marriage due to deployments, Hannah's hospital stay, and a business we had to sell to deploy, there was no way we could purchase our own home.  So we prayed and made the decision to start looking for place to rent.  This was a very disappointing step for us, but one we felt we needed to take.  After owning your own home, there is just something about giving it up and saying you will trust the Lord to provide a home for you and allow you to stay in it even when you do find something.  But, just like he always does, God provided!!!  Isn't he awesome?!?!?!  We attended a small group party from church at some friends' house.  Come to find out, they rented the house and would soon be moving out.  And the house was beautiful and exactly the size we needed!!!  I had been friends with their landlords for years, so I contacted them about the house and in less than a month we were the new renters.  Now, here is were God is absoulutely amazing!!!!  Our friends moved out on Sunday, we put our trailer up for sale on Monday, sold it on Thursday, and moved into the new house on Saturday!!!!!  Who says that God does not provide the desires of our hearts?!?!  It still gives me cold chill to this day thinking about it!  We were to pay two months rent for a damage deposit, so we scraped together the money to pay the new landlords to move in to start working on the house before we actually sold our trailer.  Our friends that were moving in, graciously left their damage deposit, so we only had to pay one month's rent!  Talk about a huge blessing and relief off of my shoulders!!!  We were able to use that money to help purchase new appliances.  Which by the way, I bought everything on clearance at Lowes and paid half or even less than half price on everything we bought!!!! 
   The day we moved was a very sad day, though.  I had one of the worst allergy attacks ever!  Thank goodness for our great friends, Darren and Melisa, I'm not sure how I would have ever made it without them!!!  And then walking around the trailer comepletely empty, I just cried.  Every single memory Ronnie and I had together up until that point had been made in that trailer.  Except for Hannah we had brought every baby home to that trailer.  It might have been cramped, but we were happy!!! 
  But, God always has new beginnings and blessings right around the corner.  As sad as we were to leave it behind and as scared as we were to be renting and not owning, we were excited to live in this new " big" house with a yard!!!!  We have made plenty of new memories, our landlords are wonderful, wonderful christian people, whom we love dearly, and the children have learned so much living here and enjoying life to the fullest!!!  Our landlords are one of the biggest farmers in southern Indiana, so there is always something going on around us.  We are completely surrounded by corn fields (well this year it was bean fields), and you can always see a tractor or truck of some kind driving around.  There is an old hog barn on the property we rent, so we have turned this place into a small little farm for us :)  We don't know how long we may rent here, but God will definately let us know our time.  We are starting a financial class this week, that I am super excited about, and it teaches the biblical examples of living debt free, so the ideal time would be until we can save up to buy a new house with cash.  But who knows?!?!?  We'll see what God has in store, he has definately taken very good care of us thus far, and I have no doubt he will continue to do so!!!  I am so far beyond blessed, and I thank God everyday for everything he has given us!!!!

Just one of the many beautiful sunsets behind our "new" house.

The simple wooden swing in the tree out back.

A small glance at our garden this year.

Whites hanging out on the line to dry.

Our chickens in their coop.

I am so thankful for the simplicity of our life here at our new home.  I just pray I can pass all this on to my children and that one day they will appreciate the small things in life.

Friday, September 9, 2011

3 years.....

    Some days it feels like just yesterday and other days, I can't even picture her face with out looking at a photograph.  3 years agao, today, I sang my baby girl, Hannah Elizabeth, to sleep for the last time. 

     I have a hard time putting into words how I feel about her sometimes.  Because, just like all my children, I want to express my love and show how proud I am of all of them, but with her, of course, it's different.  I shared in a testimony at church the other night, I always dread the question of, how many children do you have?   My heart is shouting 4, but then most times I just quietly say 3, to avoid the whole conversation.   I struggle with this almost daily.  I want everyone to know, that YES, I have a 4th child, that NO, you do not see her standing here with my other children.  And YES, she is in heaven, but it's OK!!!!  I hate the look that I get from most people when I tell them that we lost a child.  It's like they instantly feel bad for asking the question.  And that's is the opposite of what I want when I answer. 


   I'm very proud of my 3rd daughter.  She was a fighter, better than most!!!  In her young 3 1/2 months, had to endure 4 surgeries, and came through with flying colors!!!  She was amazing!!!  And my heart is filled with joy that 1 of my 4 children is already and heaven, which means I only have 3 more to go!!!!   Ensuring one's eternity, is alot of pressure on a mother.  I drill my children daily of God's wonderous love, hoping and praying that they too will choose this christian walk, even though it will be harder.  There are no words that are strong enough to describe the heartache, I as a mother, or Ronnie and I, as parents went though this week, 3 years ago.  But knowing, that she is eternally a child of the King, how could it have ended any better than that?!?!?! 
     For, mothers out there, that have had to or are having to bury a baby, I want first to stand up and say to you, if you can't stand by and bury your child, don't feel guilty. 


  God, created us as women with compassionate souls.  I arranged for there to be no grave site services after the funeral, because I could not watch them place my tiny child into the ground.  My husband, loving and understanding, took on the the weight of the world and did this job for me.  It was the hardest decision I had to make throughout the entire process.  But it was one that God has definately given me peace about knowing, that it was something I could not endure and he had given me a wonderful, amazing husband to protect me from that.  Also, if there are other things that will and did make the process of mourning easier for you as a mother, don't ever feel silly about that either.  I had Hannah wrapped in a warm, pink, fleece blanket before they buried her, because my motherly instincts did not want her to be cold.  Yes, I knew at the time it was silly and still to this day, know that the idea is silly, but it was something I had to do!  And I don't once regret things like that.  Because at the time of my heavy grieving, it helped me sleep at night.  And God knew that I needed that comfort. 
  Through it all and now on the other side and once again blessed with another baby, Leah, I can proudly stand up and say, that our God, is an AMAZING God, who is has never once left my side and has showered us with blessing upon blessing!!!!


Psalm 23

A Psalm of David.

1 The LORD is my shepherd;

I shall not want.

2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters.

3 He restores my soul;

He leads me in the paths of righteousness

For His name’s sake.



4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil;

For You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.



5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil;

My cup runs over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

All the days of my life;

And I will dwell[a] in the house of the LORD

Forever.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Scheduling

  I am obsessed with reading all about schedules.  I have been ever since I was a teenager.  The best day of the year was when I would receive my new schedule for the upcoming school year.  I have this fetish with being organized.  However, most of the time, I am not, but I am very in awe of people who are.  My best friend from school, Ashley, was the only one that seemed to acknowledge this love of mine by buying me an organizer for my hair things one year for my birthday.  I loved it!!!  Actually, I still have it!!!  I have a weakness for buying any magazine that has organizational tools inside or pictures with new organizational ideas.  I am also a big fan of www.flylady.net  If you don't know anything about her, you must check out the website!!
  Well anyway, I've been reading up on all of the Maxwell's books on Managers of their Homes and Chores. These books were very biblical and very encouraging in the area of raising your child to "work".  Today's society is so against "child labor".  However, that is not the way, God created the world.  Children should be taught at a young age to do their own share and do it joyfully.  My girls love to be given wet wipes and to work hard making something sparkle!  Derek also enjoys collecting aluminum cans and crushing them to take to the junk yard to make some extra cash.  I won't lie there are a few complaints here and there, however, once all the work is finished, we can all sit down and enjoy each other.  
  So, after much thought and concentration, I have finally finalized our new schedule and chore charts for this upcoming school year.  I am sooooo excited!!!  So here they are.  I hope this is a help to anyone looking for scheduling and chore ideas.  And please, don't be afraid to ask questions.  I'm open to suggestions and comments!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Daily Schedule



Derek’s Free Time / Mom’s Shower

Breakfast / Devotion Time

Morning Chores



School

~Math

~Reading

~Writing

~Science/Social Studies/Bible

~Spelling

~Typing



Free Time

Lunch

Quiet Time

Piano Practice

Afternoon Chores

Free Time

Clean up – Get ready for Daddy!!

Supper

Enjoy Daddy / Evening Activity

Snack / Storytime

Bedtime




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~





Morning Chores

Derek –



1. Get Dressed

2. Make Bed

3. Pick up PJ’s, Cup, and Turn off Night Light

4. Eat Breakfast / Pick up Breakfast Mess

5. Brush Teeth

6. Take out Trash / Pop Cans

7. Feed & Water Cats

8. Sweep Dining Room Floor

9. Do School Work



Lindsay –



1. Get Dressed

2. Make Bed

3. Pick up PJ’s, Cup, and Turn off Night Light

4. Eat Breakfast / Pick up Breakfast Mess

5. Brush Teeth

6. Wipe off the Table

7. Clean the Bathroom

8. Do School Work





Afternoon Chores

Monday – Wipe off Doors, Trash Can, Refrigerator, Washer, and Dryer

Tuesday – Clean all the Light Switch Plates and the Base Boards

Wednesday – Do Laundry, Clean Bedrooms, Fresh Sheets

Thursday – Clean out the Van

Friday – Dusting and Windows










Monday, August 15, 2011

2011-2012 Curriculum Overview

So, we back to hitting the books!!!  And this year, I am so excited to get at it, because I have found a curriculum I have fallen in love with!!!  At least for this year anyway (I kinda have a weakness for curriculum).  Before I go into detail of what we will be using, let me give you our background.  When Derek was 4, I withdrew him from preschool and we tentatively made the decision to homeschool.  We started attending our local homeschool co-op and we all fell in love!!!  Now, at the time I had just recently ended my college career of majoring in Elementary Education and had stopped working at the local Elementary school.  We were still on the edge of whether or not we would be taking this leap full blown or if we would be doing this year by year.  So I decided to purchase Saxon Phonics and Math, mainly because that's what I was familiar teaching and if we ever did decide to send Derek to school, I definately wanted him to be able to slip right in without any major changes.  My best friend, Melisa, was using Abeka with her children in addition to the Saxon Phonics and Math, so I would spend hours pouring over her books and she gave me a lot of resources too.  So for the first year and half (we started halfway through the year when Derek was 4)  I used the Saxon, the Abeka for science, health, and social studies, and kinda just did bible on my own ideas.  
  Then this spring we went to the convention in Cincinnati......oh did that ever change my view!!!!!  Now, mind you, Melisa had taken me to Evansville and it was definately a good thing for my first convention, it was smaller and alot less to take in at one time.  We walked in at Cincinnati and I literally got weak in the knees!!!!  I almost cried, I just wanted to run in and tear the place apart and just soak it all in!!!  Our homeschool co-op has monthly Mom's Night Outs and we had just had a night where we all shared what we were using.  So I had written down lots of ideas to look for while in Cincy.  So with lots of prayer and lots of good speakers, I finally made some great choices for this year!!!!  I decided I really liked the idea of Heart of Dakota at least for the ages of my kids.  Now, I'm not saying I'll stick with it all the way through highschool.  But for now, it's a perfect fit for us!!!  It gives soo many choices, so I can pick and choos what I want to use.  And then to make it even better.  I didn't even have to buy it!!!  Another wonderful mom, Angela, from our co-op just finished the exact one I was looking at for my kids, so she's letting us use it this year!!!  How awesome is that?!?!?  And does God not provide the desires of our hearts when we hand it over to him?!?   
  So here goes.....

(Sorry for the indecency, we like to do school in our pj's!  And no, I don't keep a crib in our living room all the time, we've been redoing the girls' room:)

Derek: Age - 6  1st grade
Heart of Dakota ~ Bible, History, Science
Saxon ~ Math
(We also do lots of Math Workbooks from School Zone, the kids love them!!)
Finishing up - 100 Easy Lessons ~ Reading
Explode the Code Book 3 & Beyond the Code Book 1 ~ Reading & Spelling
A book I picked up at Goodwill for $.50 on grammar that is awesome!!!
(Silver Burdett &Ginn - World of Language 2)
A Reason for Handwriting Book A
A free typing tutor online to teach typing
Bastien ~ Piano


Lindsay:  Age - 4  Pre-K/K
Heart of Dakota ~ Bible, History, Science
School Zone workbooks ~ Math
100 Easy Lessons ~ Reading
(She actually learned all of her sounds and letters from Leap Frog's Letter Factory!!!)
Explode the Code Book 1
A Reason for Handwriting Book K
Bastien ~ Piano

Leah:  Thinks she's bigger than she is
(Because you know, she has to been included!!)
Lot of coloring books
bowls, spoons, cups, and rice or beans
egg carton and pennies
blocks
board books
learning to play the piano "gently"


  So, why do I love Heart of Dakota sooooo much!!!  Well because it ties the three subjects into one!!!  You have a weekly memory verse, so the kids are hitting the scripture hard!  And it starts them out in creation and ends with today and hits on the end times.  It goes all through out history and weaves in science.  And it doesn't just hit the biblical characters for history you also talk about great christian men like St. Valentine.  I am just absolutely in love with it!  (Can you tell?)  Well, if anyone is in doubt of what to use or thinking about using, I hope this is to some comfort to someone.  Otherwise, I hope you have a great school year this year!!!!  Praise God, we live in a country we can openly homeschool!!!! 



Thursday, July 7, 2011

Homemade Laundry Soap

  I've had several people ask me for my recipe for making laundry soap, so here it is!!!  I actually got it from the Duggar's first book and you can pull it off of their website too.  By the way, they have an awesome new wesite!!!  Just had to throw that in there ;) 

Ingredients:
1 bar of Fels-Naptha soap (you can actually use ivory too, but the measurments are different)
4 cups of hot water
1/2 cup of borax
1 cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (It has to be the Super Washing Soda, baking soda or just Arm & Hammer will NOT work!)
5 Gallon Bucket
Empty laundry containters or any kind of pour container
 *optional* essiential oil, such as lavender, for scent





                  Grate your bar of soap into a sauce pan with the 4 cups of hot water.


                    Stir continually on low-medium heat until all the little flakes of soap melt. 



Fill your 5 Gallon bucket halfway full of hot water and pour in the borax, the arm & hammer, and the melted soap mixture and stir until all the ingredients are competely melted.  Then fill the remainder of the bucket full with hot water. 


       Stir the mixture once more, just to ensure everything is mixed well. Then you need to cover the bucket (if you have the lid to the bucket, let it have a little bit of breathing room, because it will expand since it's full of hot water) and let it sit overnight to gel.  Then take your dispenser and fill half with your laundry soap and half full of water and shake well each time you use. 

    This recipe makes 10 gallon of laundry detergent.  I made this batch today, and the last batch I made was in January, and I even gave my grandmother some, so you can see how long it lasts!!!  I also read somewhere that it comes to about .01 cent a load.  It's around $5.00 for the 10 gallons!!!!!  You can barely buy a small bottle of laundry detergent for $5.00 without a coupon!!!

   Use about 1/4 cup of detergent for front loaders and about 1/3 cup for top loaders.  I think the Duggars say something else, but I found I wasn't using quite enough soap to get my clothes clean.  My husband and kids must get dirtier than Michelle's ;)  Now, when it says let it gel, it will definately gel!!!  It looks really funny, just remember to shake before each use.  When you shake it up, it will make it very liquidy (is that a word? ;), this is ok, it isn't going to be very thick like store brand detergent.  Also, this soap isn't very sudsy, but this is ok too, it's not supposed to be!  I hope this is clear enough  :)     Happy Washing!!!!