Friday, February 29, 2008

Thankful...

It is SO beautiful outside today! Seriously, SUNNY and 65 DEGREES!

I am so thankful for the sun and the warmth. There's nothing like a freezing cold, icy, snowy February, to make you truly appreciate a beautiful day!

We got home, and the girls raced out the door to the back yard.

I snuggled with Austin for a minute, and then layed him down. Which brings me to my second praise for this post...

Austin is napping.

Hallelujah!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Famous Fights

Cats vs. Dogs

David vs. Goliath

Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed

Mommy vs. Ellie

That last one was a doosie.

Yesterday morning Ellie decided she wasn't going to school.

And the battle began.

She wasn't going without a fight. She screamed, she cried, she swung her arms and kicked her legs. After a five day break (two snow days, two weekend days, and one sick day), she decided she didn't need school. Somehow I convinced her to get dressed. But that's where the cooperation ended. I had to encourage (aka: threaten) her to get in the car. We finally made our way down the driveway, and headed towards school.

She was still screaming.

She informed me, through her screaming, that I couldn't MAKE her go to school. I couldn't MAKE her get out of the car. She wasn't going ANYWHERE!

Honestly, I got a little scared. How was I going to make her? I started praying.

After a while, I mentioned that she might want to eat the waffle that I'd brought her.

She did.

Then it came to me. My incentive.

You see, she's a very unique child. Spanking doesn't really work with her. Taking toys away sometimes works, but not when she's this determined. Yelling at her only makes her madder. Reasoning works...when she's being reasonable. I had to find something to cut through her rage. It had to be a serious consequence, something that would really matter to her.

Money.

We've tried this before, but she's just now really understanding the concept of money. She got quite a bit for her birthday, and she was very excited about it. She's only bought one thing so far. Spending most of her time planning how to spend it.

So, I took some of her money. One dollar for every minute she had screamed at me.

$26.

She looked at me in utter disbelief, when I told her.

Then she cried.

Then she calmed down.

Then we talked.

Then we hugged.

Then she went to school.

She was exhausted when I picked her up. She went to bed early on her own. She needed me to lay down with her, to hug her.

This morning she was happy. She was sweet, loving, and caring.

And so it goes.

We do this every now and then. Have a massive battle of the wills. They drain me. They make my heart ache. But for her, they seem almost necessary. She needs to challenge me, to battle me. She needs to know that I am still her rock. That my love, my rules, my discipline are steadfast. All children do this. Test us. Her testing is just more extreme than most. I found a blessing in all of this though. Last night when we talked things over some more, I realized that WE were talking. Not just me, we. It used to be a one-way conversation. Now she is able to communicate better, to understand herself better. And that is a huge blessing.

I know this is something that we'll deal with for awhile. What we battle over will change, the type of discipline will change, but we'll still battle. I thank God for the wisdom He provides me during these times. He never fails to whisper the right idea in my ear. I read this on Renee's blog last night, and took it to heart. Thanks Renee, for the great perspective. Most of all, thank you God for helping me stay strong.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Jon & Kate...

I watched my favorite show tonight, Jon and Kate plus 8, and I had to share this bit with you.

Jon and Kate took their family on a vacation to Utah. The trip required a plane ride, that ended up taking MUCH longer than expected. When they finally arrived in Utah, and had all eight sweet kiddos loaded into the rental van, someone yelled...I gotta go pee! That little someone was quickly joined by a few others, and soon poor Kate gave in, hauled them back out of the van, and sent them back into the airport to find a bathroom. Ugh. As the mom of a three year old, I totally feel her pain! Anyway, on to the funny part...While telling this story on the show, Kate said...

I think our lives could be entitled, 'Inconvenient Peeing, the life with twins and sextuplets.'

I laughed out loud, and thought, How Funny. Then Jon popped in with...

And the sequel could be, 'I'm sorry your shoes are wet.'

I about busted a gut! Seriously, I'm glad I wasn't drinking anything!

Wouldn't that be a great title for a book about potty training!

My sanity has returned!

The Problem:


Austin can climb out of his pack n play. He can climb onto the Dining room table, the kids craft table, and the coffee table. He can run faster than either of the girls ever thought about. He's quiet too. I won't hear a thing, I'll just walk into a room, and find something like this.


Last week, I was about to go nuts. I had no where to put him, to contain him. Other than the booster chair and his bed, both of which I'd already used quite a bit, I had no way of keeping him from destroying my house.

This is all so new to me. Girls don't do this. Girls play dolls, they push strollers around, they draw pictures.

Austin is ALL BOY.

I'd heard the saying, "All Boy", I thought I knew what it meant.

I didn't.

The obvious solution was baby gates. Tall ones. However, I couldn't find any that would fit our extra-wide openings. I did finally find one, but it was $100, and to close off our playroom, it would take 3. $300 is a lot of money. A lot of money that I don't have to spend on baby gates! But after last Monday morning, when I literally had to strap him into his car seat just to do the dishes, I was about ready to do it.

Then my friend Jen had an idea. An idea that will forever go down as one of the best ideas I've ever heard! She pointed out a little area, a kind of hallway, that is just off the Living room. It has two openings, and two doors. She suggested we get two baby gates for the openings, the standard sized openings. And, of course, shut the doors, which lead to Ellie's room and a bathroom.

Thank you God, that Austin cannot open doors yet.

Yet.

We will soon be investing in those door knob covers.

Anyway, I had never even thought about this area. I was stuck on rooms, and none of our rooms would work. The utter brilliance of Jen's idea immediately hit me, and the next morning I was at Wal-Mart at 7:30am.

The Solution:


You can only see one of the gates in this pic. There is an identical one just out of sight, and together they form this little play area for my very active boy. I have my sanity back! Thank you Jen! Jason and I are eternally grateful for your idea. We spent $40 for two standard sized, extra-tall gates, and now have some peace in our home!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thursday 13, Birthday Edition!

It's cold and icy today. So icy, that my darling hubby had to stay home, which NEVER happens. Normally I'd be pulling my hair out right about now, but not today. That's the difference a daddy makes! Not only have we had a fun day, I actually have time to BLOG! So, here is the long awaited post about Ellie's birthday, along with pictures!

Thursday Thirteen, Birthday edition!

1. The Birthday Girl! This pic was taken at 6:45am, before we headed to school. She was SO excited when I woke her up. She bounced out of bed, and said "It's my BIRTHDAY!" I'm trying to figure out how to get that reaction out of her every day. This pic also shows her new SASSY hair cut. It's absolutely adorable on her, and I think it totally fits her personality.


2. We started the day right, with a healthy birthday breakfast. Actually, I'd bought ADORABLE heart shaped Krispy Kreme doughnuts, in honor of her Valentine birthday. However, they didn't actually taste very good. So she opted for the Original, and so did her mama. Oh, and this pic shows a nice side view of her hair. The curl is natural, and the ribbon says "Happy Birthday."


3. We headed to school, for the class Valentine party. They made goody bags and handed out valentines. Then they decorated their own cupcakes. Yes, this was our healthy snack after our healthy breakfast. Just look at all those sprinkles on Ellie's cupcake!

4. The goody bag!


5. The Cake! Ellie went through a cookbook I have, and picked out this cake.

6. The night after Ellie's birthday we had her party. We had a bowling party with all our friends. I love how she wanted to invite her "buddies." They just happen to be the kids of our friends! Here are two buddies, Z and B, celebrating!

7. Here's a snapshot of some of the mommies. Dear sweet Jen is trying her best to hold my son. Alana was SO happy to get out of her house o' sickness for an evening. And Janelle looked beautiful and oh so stylish with baby poppy. Seriously, I wish you could see her from the front.. She is the cutest pregnant mama!


8. Ellie enjoyed learning the art of bowling.

9. Girl power!


10. Sweet Annie had fun too. Until she dropped at 16 pound ball on her toe. I really thought we were headed for the ER. Then a nice lady came up, who just happened to be a doctor, and checked her out for us. It took awhile for her to calm down, but she ended up being OK.


11. Present time! Ellie love language is gifts. She loves getting and giving gifts. So, needless to say, she was VERY excited by the time we let her start opening.


12. One of her favorite gifts this year was a guitar. Uncle Chris and Aunt Michelle gave her a pink and red guitar that's just her size. She has loved strumming it and making up songs. Even as I type this she has it in the playroom, playing a song for her daddy.


13. And last but not least, Austin. That boy is IMPOSSIBLE to keep up with! He made his way up the skee ball macine a few times. Sweet Z-man was playing with him in this pic. I love it when I see the big kids being so gentle and kind with the babies.


We celebrated all weekend. Ellie got the most fabulous gifts a 6 year old could ask for. She loved her Bee cake, her party, her dinner at Red Lobster. She has no idea how truly blessed she is. I'm glad she had such a great birthday. I had a great time too. Actually, it was the most fun I've had at one of my own children's parties!

I've come a long way from her first birthday, when I melted down during the icing of the cakes!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Loose Ends...

Oh what a DAY!

I am still in my PJ's, and I shall stay that way!

Ellie's birthday party was last night, and it was a blast! I'll try and do a post all about that soon.
But first, the Mailboxes...


Fancy.

But hey, the kindergartners loved them.

Did you notice the new profile pic? I decided it needed an update. Austin was like 2 months old in the last one!

And lastly, I'd like to bring you some musical enjoyment. Ellie got this AWESOME guitar from Aunt Michelle and Uncle Chris last night. We've all taken turns with it, and had a blast. Just a bit ago, Annie picked it up and started playing. I think she may be on to something here. You know, they allowed instruments on American Idol this year! She said her song is "Life is a Highway", one of her favorites from this movie. However I think we may need to rename it...

Veggie tales on a highway with Tom, Jerry, Dora, Max, Ruby, Garfield, Aunt Michelle, and Austin.

video

Bye Bye.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

For Ellie

There is a song on my iPod, that often brings tears to my eyes. It usually happens on a day when I've been too frustrated, or yelled too much. It's a song that always gives me some good perspective. You'd think it was a christian song, but it's not, it's actually country. It is...

In My Daughter's Eyes, by Martina McBride.




The other day I was listening to this song, and I began thinking about how it applied to my life. Especially my life with Ellie. I was already feeling a bit nostalgic, knowing it was almost my first baby's 6th birthday. As I listened, I began to write down my thoughts, and then I decided that I would post them for Ellie's birthday.

These are some lines that jumped out at me, and my thoughts and feelings on them...

In my daughter's eyes...I am strong and wise, and I know no fear.


I love how I am still your rock Ellie, the person you turn to when you are scared or unsure.

...I see who I want to be, in my daughter's eyes.


Oh how true this is. I see myself as a strong, confident person in your eyes.

...Everyone is equal...


I love how you see God's people, all equal. There is no judgement in you. There is no self-conciousness yet. It's a wonderful place for you to be.

...this miracle God gave to me, gives me strength when I am weak...


Again, so true. You strengthen me daily. Sometimes in good, fun ways. Other times in harder ways, but I have become so much stronger because of you.

...It's hangin' on when your heart has had enough, it's given' more when you feel like giving up...


There have been times when my head, my physical self, and my heart, my emotional self, have had more than I think I can bear. But I keep going, because you are SO worth it.

In my daughter's eyes, I can see the future...

I see you, Ellie, as a caring, beautiful, strong woman. I see an animal lover, a leader, and most important, a grown-up child of God.

...I'll be there, in my daughter's eyes.


I'll always be with you. I give a part of myself to you every day. And you give a part of yourself back to me. We strengthen each other, and we soften each other. I am so glad to be your mother. I am so glad you are my daughter.

Oh Ellie, the excitement I felt when you were born! I knew my life, my heart would never be the same. You were so wanted, so planned for, so anticipated! You've given me a new life, a life as a mother. I've loved caring for you, teaching you, raising you. I am so excited to see where this next year takes us! Have fun being six years old sweetie. I love you!
Love, Mommy

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I must confess...

I think I need to clarify something. Although I am a crafty person, and I did major in art (for a little while), I am NOT making those little mail boxes as our valentines.

That would be over achieving, and I am not an over achiever.

As is evidenced by the fact that I haven't showered today, and we're all still in our PJ's.

Those are the favors for the class party. I'm in charge of the party, and therefore, in charge of the favors. I delegated pretty much everything else out, except for one craft. You might be thinking, Well, you're still an over achiever since your in charge of the party. And to that I'd say, not really. It's just that Ellie's birthday is on Valentine's day, and when I found out that her class would have a party that day, I offered to plan it. I wanted to make sure it wasn't completely lame!

Our valentines are kitty cat ones we picked up at target!

So I'm very sorry if I mislead you in any way. The thought that you all thought I was miss domestic diva, just making hand painted mail boxes for the fun of it, made me cringe!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Catch up.

This morning when I realized school was canceled, yet again, I thought...

Allrighty, if we're spendin' the day at home, we're gonna get some serious stuff done.

Granted, I was still in bed at that moment, and all of my kids were still asleep.

It's now 12:24 on my computer clock, and essentially that means my day is already half way over. What have I accomplished? Not much.

Well, I did get all the goodies together for the kindergarten valentine party. I bought cute little metal mailboxes, and this morning I painted the names of all the kids on them.

Oh, and I did get the favors started for Ellie's birthday party, but I still have some work to do. Apparently I need to work on my math skills. I bought 3 packages with 4 favors each in them, for a party of 14 kids.

Now I have to go back to Target.

Anyway, that's about all I've accomplished today. I did peel two apples, does that count?

So from now on I shall be very productive.

Unless I get distracted by the leftover valentine's candy.

ps: for some reason my spell check on blogger hasn't been working. it's been that way for several of my posts, so i apologize for any misspellings that may have occured, or will occur. is this happening to anyone else?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Thursday 13

Thirteen um...interesting facts about my oldest child, Ellie.


1) She's EXTREMELY strong willed.


2) She wouldn't wear panties for 2 years, after she was potty trained. Then we had a panty showdown, and she's been fine ever since!


3) She had to miss a pre-school field trip, because she wouldn't wear socks with her Crocs on a day when it was 30 degrees outside.


4) She still hates socks. This year I bought her a pair of boots with fleece lining, so she doesn't have to wear socks when it's cold.


5) She HATES to shop for clothes for herself.


6) She gets "stuck" on a certain outfit, and wants to wear it for days at a time.


7) She HATES to wear new clothes, and I often have to threaten her with losing a privilage, if she won't wear something new. I realize it sounds harsh, but seriously, if I didn't threaten her, she'd never wear anything new.


8) She's very smart. Sometimes she's smarter than me.


9) She's beautiful...blue eyes, porcelain skin.


10) She's a great swimmer!


11) She's obsessed with cats. She's been obsessed with them since she noticed our cat, when she was about 4 months old. She has tons of stuffed cats, but only one real one, for now. Somewhere along the line, she talked us into getting her a real kitten when she turns 7. That's one year away. I think we agreed because at the time she was 4, and we figured she'd forget. She didn't.


12) She just got her hair cut short! At first I wasn't crazy about it, but she loved it, so I was OK. Then I got to play with it, and fix it, and now I LOVE it. It totally fits her. Sassy, funky, different.


13) She turns 6 years old in ONE WEEK! Valentines day. She is our sweet Valentine, and until last year, she totally thought Valentine's day was just for her!


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Home

On a day like today, when in a matter of hours, the weather has gone from a balmy 70 degrees, to a chilly 40 degrees, complete with arctic rain and a tornado warning, I find myself truly appreciating Home.

My body ached for home this evening. As I shuttled children to dance, and dinner to daddy. As I braved icy rain drops in flip flops, because I didn't pay attention to the forcast. As I fought fatigue brought on by a mere five hours of sleep last night. As I drove dark, wet, and curvy roads with three children to keep safe, I craved my home.

Finally, at what seemed like midnight, but was actually 7:00, we arrived home. I quickly tucked three tired babies into their beds, and breathed a sigh of relief.

Home.

Dear Lord, Thank you for my home. Thank you for blessing me and my family with a nice, warm, safe home. I know it is only an earthly home, but it is so important for me now. Thank you God for this place to take refuge in, to raise children in. I am so grateful tonight for this blessing, for this Home.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Our Snow Day.

Our snow day was much different than this one.

Or this one.

Or this one.

Our snow day wasn't picture perfect, it wasn't what I had dreamed it would be.

Honestly it was closer to a nightmare.

You see, when you have a child like my oldest, things don't always run so smoothly.

She thrives on routine...

School was canceled.

She has very little patience...

It took us an hour and a half to get ready to go outside.

She demands a lot of attention...

She had to share me all day, with her younger brother and sister.

Ours was a day filled with much screaming, fighting, crying, raging, time-outs, and for me, headaches.

But there was one bright moment, a moment that I will remember, and cling to. Because that's what I do, I cling to these moments to help me through the darker days.

Ellie wanted to build a snowman. I told her I would help, but it would be a few minutes. Unfortunatly as the oldest, she often has to wait for my attention, while I help her younger brother and sister. It had already been a difficult and long day at noon, and honestly, all I felt was relief when she didn't scream at me to come and help her. I assumed she found something else to do while she waited for my help. Then I went to check on her, and I was amazed.

She built her own snowman, from the ground up, all by herself. It was awesome and I was so proud. It stood as tall as she, and her face was beaming as she posed for a picture.


I have wanted to write this post for 2 days now, but my mind was blocked. Then I read this, and my mind opened. As I commented on Rich's post, I realized that I had many of the same thoughts.

When did that happen? Her ability to competely errect a snowman on her own.

When did that happen? Her ability to try something Big without myself, without knowing FOR SURE that she could do it.

I struggle with this child, she is so strong. But it's these moments that I cling to, these moments, when I see what she is becoming. These moments, when I see that she really is growing up. Most of the time these moments are bittersweet, the growing out of babyhood. They are bittersweet with my two younger children. With Ellie they are just sweet. As she grows, she is happier, and I am happier.

Our second snow day was much better. It was what I had hoped for. Daddy was able to stay with us for a few hours, and play with his girls in the snow. It was beautiful and wonderful.

Annie went to Nana's for the afternoon, giving Ellie some much needed space. Ellie relaxed into her day off, and truly was a pleasant child. And my headache left, as I let myself just relax with her, and enjoy a quiter house.

One day at a time, sweet Jesus...