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Friday, January 30, 2009

A Valentine Idea to Share

A Sugar Shack
Do these not look super fun? I stole the picture off of this site. The directions can be found there too. I can just imagine the sugar-induced coma my kids will be in if we attempt this one--but I don't think I can pass it up. Who wouldn't want to build a house out of sugar cubes? ;o)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Role Playing?

Tonight Jackson was busy at work constructing potato people. "Oh, is that a mommy and baby?" I ask.

"No, that's Mommy and Jackson," he replies.

Awwww, I felt pretty special. I am missing a nose, but the noses have mysteriously vanished, so we'll let that one slide. Look at my nice earrings and matching hat--I believe he's trying to portray me as sophisticated yet fun. He's one intuitive little boy. ;o) But then, along came Larry starring in his "King George" role. (If you've watched Veggie Tales you know what I am referring to.)


"Mommy broke her hand," Jackson informs me.
*sigh* So much for that.

A Few Sites to Share

I stumbled across this site http://lapbooklessons.com/ through a Montessori blog I like to check out. I am fascinated by the idea of lapbooks, although we have never done one. (A lapbook for anyone wondering is kind of like a scrapbook of everything you are learning about a particular subject, full of pockets, mini-books, etc. to make it interactive). I have been too chicken to try one because it would mean a bit more work for me. ;o) But I wanted to share this site, because even if you weren't planning on doing a whole lapbook with your kid, you could print out bits and pieces for some good educational fun. ;o) This site is free, but does require that you register. Another great lapbooking site (or just a place with great educational ideas) is http://homeschoolshare.com/. I'm hoping to do a few more things with Jackson--like hopefully get an ABC notebook up and going for him. Daily I find that I am so thankful for the internet and the vast amount of free and wonderful educational ideas that are available at my fingertips. Check them out! ;o)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jackson the Decorator

My mom gave Jackson an old calendar full of farm machinery in action. Farm machinery is probably Jackson's #1 love. He was more than thrilled with his new "tractor book." I told him we could hang up the pictures in his room. I was envisioning matting them on cardstock and laminating them. A project for me to work on--sometime in the next month. As soon as we got home he raced up to his room, and somehow managed to grab a tack. He was quite frustrated that he couldn't get it pushed into the wall. I tried to explain to him that Mommy would fix it for him later. Later I hear a "Mommy, come look!" and head downstairs to check it out. Jackson realized hanging it on my bulletin board would be much easier, and very proudly showed off his handiwork. Often throughout the day I find him standing in front of it, expressing his admiration for one beautiful combine. We also have a calendar from Uncle Joel who works at Un.ion Pac.ific--full of lovely train pictures (his 2nd love). I now have some simple (and very cheap!) ways to decorate his room--sure to satisfy one special little boy. ;o)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Dentist Fun

Sometimes my kids' imaginations astound me. Who would have thought a stool, an empty rubbermaid container . . . swimming goggles, a doll's blanket . . .
and a random hose
Would amount to a fun time at the dentist had by all?
(And yes, there is quite a mess in the background. PLEASE tell me your houses look the same way after a day of kids hard at work.) ;o)



Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Strange Occurence

Since having children, I'm going to be honest, sleep has been hard to come by. Pregnancies and nursing babies thwarted me at first. Even though I've been nearly a year out of that stage sleep has continued to remain elusive. Somebody is always needing something--a wet bed, a bad dream, thinking it's morning and time to wake up, sick, etc., etc. I do not recollect the last time I slept through the night. Even if my kids sleep peacefully I have been trained to wake up. I think the most I've slept--straight through--since having kids might be four hours. Sad isn't it? ;o)

Until last night . . . I slept from 10:00 pm to 4:00 am!!! A whole six hours! I woke up on my own at 4, awestruck to realize I don't remember awakening once during that whole time. And then I fell BACK to sleep. Amazing huh? And my kids slept in this morning, so I remained in bed until 7 today--giving me 9 whole hours of sleep.

I feel awesome today. The sun is shining and I am ready to conquer the world (my world being a mountain of laundry that *cough, cough* I may have been slacking on lately). Yay for sleep!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Being a Big Boy

Since Jackson officially got down the potty training thing late last spring it has been smooth sailing. He has been very independent about it. He will race in, strip off the bottom half of his clothing and hop on the toilet, sitting backwards. But lately, the whole stripping off of the clothing has gotten kind of old. A few months ago, while I was paying for groceries at Wal-Mart, he took off in a run for the bathroom. Wouldn't you know he went straight into the men's. So, I stand out there waiting for him. He finishes up and walks out, wearing only his shirt, and hands me the rest of his clothing. I hurriedly redressed him in the middle of the aisle. And really, anytime he needs to go to the bathroom anywhere it's tricky. You see, the whole sitting backwards thing REQUIRES you to be sans pants. Lately, I've been coaching him on how he should stand up to go potty--like a big boy, you know.

And today he did it! Twice!

Only one small problem . . . he still thinks he must be naked. He came to me asking to have his shirt removed, and I thought he wanted to change. He then quickly takes off his shoes, socks, pants, and underwear. We're talking really naked. ;o) He heads into the bathroom and quite proudly demonstrates what a big boy he is. And I'm left scratching my head as to how I can convince him it's okay to keep our clothes on. In case any of you were wondering why it seems the majority of my "Jackson pictures" showcase a naked or partially naked child this should hopefully answer that question. It gets rather wearisome to coninue to redress him all day long.
So we're making progress . . . I think. ;o)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Week in Pictures

Emmett "hiding" behind the shower curtain

Cheese as a "decal" on the woodwork
Isabella's snowman cupcakes for Cubbies
The girls sets up a "Valentine Factory" in my room
The boys have an "incident" with 3/4 bottle of baby powder
Yes, my camera is fine, it's just the haze of powder in the air
Emmett and his beloved "stickies" (thank you sisters!)
Jackson and his best bud Larry down for a snooze
That pretty much sums it up. ;o)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Thrilling Evening

I thought perhaps I might be able to make it a week without mentioning a little boy who happens to be three. Unfortunately, that is not the case. You know some parents hope to raise successful children, smart children, athletic children. Currently my goal, as far as Jackson is concerned, is keeping him alive and intact.

We were wrapping up bath and shower time tonight and I had sent the girls into my bathroom to begin brushing their hair. I believe Isabella was in there first. I was in my bedroom (adjacent mind you) puttering around. Jackson was flitting about. I tell you all of this because I don't want you to think I am a terrible mother who doesn't pay attention to what her children are doing . . . ;o) I was RIGHT there, as seems to be the case in many of my situations. Suddenly Marissa lets loose with a frantic,"squealy" type of sound and comes running for me. It's a sound I know too well. I brace myself for what I'm about to discover:
Jackson, on the bathroom counter.
Naked.
A plugged in flat iron.
Running water.
Jackson holding the plugged in flat iron under the running water.
Oh, and there were some piles of pumped out hand lotion too.
Horrified doesn't even begin to describe what I felt. Praise the Lord!!! it was plugged into a GFCI outlet. Seriously, what kind of kid does this? I have had a few run-ins with him plugging things in that he shouldn't, but to plug something in and then decide, "Hey, let's stick it under running water!" What ever is going on in his head? It took me a good hour to calm down from the huge rush of adrenaline.
But all is well. Jackson is tucked into bed and sleeping peacefully. My flat iron still works, and all the lotion will wipe up easily. And I made it through one more day, Jackson alive and intact.

Learning to Knit

One of my goals this year is to learn to knit. I decided to go the route of children's knitting books. One book said it was for ages six and up. I figured if a six-year old could learn than surely I could! The three books I checked out from the library were:


I like all of them--the one that officially got me going was "Kids can Knit." I have now accomplished the "knit" stitch and the "purl" stitch, and can knit various square and rectangle shapes. ;o) I have a LONG way to go! And did you know Lincoln has a specialty yarn shop now? It is located at Sutter Place Mall, down the hall from my favorite fabric store The Calico House and across from A Page in Time (scrapbooking). I think I could just hang out in one building all day long. It just needs a book store, and then I think I would move in. ;o) But back to THE YARN SHOP (that is, I believe the name), they have some of the softest yarns I have ever felt, like one combination of cotton and soy. Strange sounding, but oh to have a blanket made from it! It was around $7 for a measly 6 ounces, so I need to get a whole lot better before I make that kind of investment. ;o) Marissa wants to give knitting a try too--I'll keep you updated if we make any progress in that area! It is a great portable craft to keep my hands busy--you know those times you are craving something to do but don't want to get out a big ol' mess of stuff? Knitting is perfect. I will see where this venture takes me . . .

Monday, January 12, 2009

Questioning

The preschool years are said to be the years of "why" questions. Marissa never really seemed to go through this phase. Isabella, on the other hand, has become the queen of questions, some of which include:

"How do they make tortilla chips?"

"How do they make Barbie hair?"

"How do we make cheese?"

"How do we get fabric?"

"How are crayons made?"

I am always baffled by the things she is wondering about. I do my best to come up with an explanation, but sometimes (as in the case of the Barbie hair) I have no idea. Nor have I really thought about it much. Yesterday I got asked the question every parent dread, the "grand-daddy" of them all . . .

"Mommy, how do babies get in your tummy?"

And for a second you freeze and time stands still. "Ummmmmm," you blush and stammer. And you think fast.

My answer: "Well, God takes a tiny little piece from a daddy and a tiny little piece from a mommy and makes a tiny little baby and puts it in your tummy."

My five-year old was happy with that answer. But then Marissa chimes in "A tiny little piece?" she questions. My answer was a bit too vague for her.

"Cells!!" I announce triumphant, "God takes a few little cells from the parents and they get stuck together to make more cells that make a baby."

"Ohhhhh cells!" Marissa affirms. We had just got done learning about cells last week in science.
*relieved sigh from Mommy* Crisis averted.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

This is the night that would not end . . .

"The mother's agree that indeed the years do fly. It's the days that don't. The hours, minutes of a single day sometimes just stop. And a mother finds herself standing in the middle of a room wondering. Wondering. Years fly. Of course they do. But a mother can gag on a day." ~Jain Sherrard

Oh, what a long evening it has been. Josh is working tonight, which happens often, so it is not like I am unaccustomed to being home alone with the kiddos in the evening. For some reason beyond me Jackson became "Turbo Jackson." He's a handful on an every day basis, but every now and then he "turns it up a notch." And *yay* that was tonight. He got so very loud and "hoppy" (when he is happy or has a great idea he literally jumps around BOING!BOING!BOING!BOING!). Nearly everything he played with was thrown--down the stairs, at people, off the bunk bed, etc. *sigh* For two hours I corrected and admonished, but I was wearing down much faster than he.

So, I called a 7:30 bedtime. One of the joys of being mom--I can do that. ;o) I don't know if anyone is actually asleep yet. Isabella may be--we had to make a doctor run this morning for ear infection #2/sinus infection. But at least we're moving toward "resting bliss."

Sometimes being a mom is quite wearisome. Nothing quite prepares you for the selflessness involved. Nothing quite prepares you for how messy it is. You enter into motherhood brimming with wonderful ideas, a collection of things you plan to teach your children, dreaming about the ways God will use you to shape their hearts and lives. At some point you are blindsided by the fact God is using them to change you. Many, many times you are humbled by what a massive job it is.

We will keep plugging away with our Jackson boy. I am soooooooo curious as to the kind of older boy he will be, what kind of young adult? People continue to tell me that those crazy, impossible ones turn into really neat older people. Let's hope so. ;o) But for now, I must stay faithful in the "now." And perhaps sip some chai and take a bubble bath . . .

Friday, January 9, 2009

Quiet

My household is still strangely sleeping. These mornings are rare. I set my alarm for 5:00 this morning, "just because." I wanted to take advantage of some extra moments of quiet and dark. I admit, I didn't heed the alarm's beckoning call. In spite of my laziness, I still am enjoing the quiet and dark I was craving. This happens in the evenings too, after the kids have fallen asleep. But for me, there is nothing like being the first one up in the morning, getting a head start on the day. I find it strangely refreshing. Of course, I would describe myself as more of a morning person, although since having children I have struggled with the "popping" out of bed I used to be able to do. But being alone in the morning as the horizon begins to flood with color just fills me with joy and thankfulness for a new day.

I've got a monkey bread baking up in the oven. I made one for my sister earlier this week and have been craving some ever since. ;o) I try to plan a special breakfast for Friday to celebrate the end of a week, the beginning of a weekend--sometimes monkey bread set to rise in the fridge overnight, or cinnamon rolls. Sometimes, when I am feeling really ambitious I set out the night before to fry homemade donuts. I pick one of these and then serve with orange julius. Yummy! ;o)

Other plans for the day would include cleaning, laundry, and hopefully a trip to the library. I have a whole bunch of "holds" to pick up which include several "teach a kid to knit books." Yep, I'm hoping to take up knitting. I figure if these books can teach a child, surely they can teach me. Marissa is going to attempt knitting also. I'm looking forward to trying something new and a bit beyond my element.

Well, the household is stirring now, my monkey bread is nearly done, and my time is up. ;o) Have a wonderful Friday!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pom-Poms and Other Such Nonsense

I have a great story to share--another Jackson story. Josh commented on how often I blog about him, but I just can't help it. He gives me such fabulous material to work with. This story would involve supper tonight. We were having baby carrots and I was hoping to dip mine in some ranch dressing. As I stand at the counter attempting to squeeze some ranch onto my plate, I find nothing is happening. I squeeze harder (yes, I am sure we all recognize where this is going) and still nothing. So, I squeeze REALLY hard. Of course, the little plastic cap with the hole blows off and ranch goes EVERYWHERE. Thankfully there wasn't that much left in the bottle. However, it still managed to get the whole bottom half of my sweater, the counter, the cabinets, not-to-mention a huge puddle on my plate. I mop off my sweater, and share my ranch dressing bounty with Jackson and Emmett (the girls are strangely not ranch fans). We finish our supper and I go to clean up. As I am wiping ranch off the floor I discover strange round things in the ranch. Peas? Maybe somebody decided to put peas in the ranch dressing bottle? But no, they were small,white POM-POMS. And sure enough on Jackson's plate : That would explain the clogged bottle, don't ya think? I finish cleaning up the mess and head upstairs to find this:
This is "moon sand" usually stored on the high shelf in the closet and brought down at special supervised occasions. Apparently Jackson climbed the closet. And then I turn around and find this:
Even Emmett is getting in on it. That would be milk, shaken out of the sippy cup, causing lovely puddles on the bookshelf. Just perfect for the trains to drive through (inclement weather perhaps?). Jackson also enjoyed doing this (scratch that, enjoys, as in has not grown out of this phase). Why must boys dump liquids, powders, SUBSTANCES out for the vehicles to drive through? What is wrong with the plastic track? Must everything off-road it? Now, I admit this is just a tiny little mess, nothing like ranch dressing sprayed everywhere or moon sand in the carpet. But I do believe this is a sign of what is to come. These little boys are plotting against me.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Round Three

So, just over four weeks ago I took Emmett to the doctor, diagnosis: ear infection, treatment: amoxicillan. Two weeks later we are back at the doctor, diagnosis: ear infection, treatment: suprex. This past Sunday, I notice his face getting this weird blotchiness to it. On Monday, his eyes begin to goop up, and after his nap his right eye is all swollen and only opening half way. So back to the doctor we go today, diagnosis: ear infection, pink eye, a yeast-inspired diaper rash, and some eczema. Treatment: augmentin, eye drops three times a day, antifungal cream, and some hydrocortizone cream. He is really liking those eye drops . . .

This would be it. If we can't kick this ear infection it will be tube time. We were almost at this point last winter, but then HOORAY! spring arrived and we were healthy up until the cold weather hit again. Unfortunately for him, spring is still in the distant future. I will be stuffing him with yogurt from here on out. Poor guy. Anyone know of some other foods rich in probiotics? He's had "skin issues" since infancy. He just always seems more susceptible to rashes, etc. In spite of everything, I really can't complain about how he has handled it. Maybe he has just grown accustomed to a constant ear infection. :o( So we will be praying that this time, the antibiotics work.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Jackson's Quirks

Jackson is a different sort. He's the child that leaves Josh and I scratching our heads more often than not. He's the very loud one, the very intense one, the very strong-willed one. He's the one who makes me wonder if I know anything about being a mom. He is just THAT different from my girls. Jackson was a very sweet and easy-going baby. He is now very routine-oriented and unable to be swayed from whatever notion he has cooking in that head of his. However, he is also quite amusing. A few things that have made me giggle this week:

~The fleece blanket obsession. Remember the fleece tractor blanket I made him for Christmas? Well, he was really excited, but it has not replaced the other one. When it's time for bed (or nap) he wants the tractor blanket spread over his bed, Marissa's old Care Bears fleece spread horizontally over his pillow, and then he still carefully covers himself up with smallest Cardinals fleece blanket. If the blanket covering his pillow shifts it totally sets him off. He will cry until it is fixed because he can't stand to have his pillow showing.

~"I drive Uncle Lou Lou's tractor," Jackson tells me while we look through his tractor book, "I want a HAAAAYbailer!" He just loves all farm machinery. We have many conversations about the things my dad and brother have and everything Jackson plans on taking out for a spin.

~At mealtime Jackson and I sit next to each other on one side of the table. Lately he has been pushing his chair right up next to mine and and sitting as close to me as physically possible while gazing at me with this goofy smile. He must like me. ;o)

~Shutting the door to his room so he can fill up his tractor's wagon with shower gel in private (done that twice now)

~Always choosing nice button-down shirts or sweaters--church clothes--to wear. He's very opinionated about his clothing. He wants the new jeans, not the ones with a hole. He doesn't want his hood on, he wants the Bob the Builder yellow construction hat. He wants to put his shoes on himself. And my-oh-my NO TAGS. He despises tags in his shirts. I am slowly having to cut out each and every one. He goes nuts if he feels a tag.

~The pictures he colors--usually he picks one color and then he intensely colors the picture in using just that one shade, very forceful and dark.

Those would be my current Jackson giggles. He's going to be a lefty like his mommy--perhaps that is why he is so strange. ;o) At least he keeps our lives interesting!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My Word for the Year

So, I am sure all of you out there have been waiting on the edge of your seats wondering what "word" I was going to pick for my 2009 theme. And I am sure some of you probably had suggestions about what you thought I needed to work on--and wisely refrained from sharing them. ;o) After careful thought, I am choosing the very first word that popped into my head, the word I kept going back to . . .



KINDNESS


Why kindness you ask? My first reason is this--lately I have noticed the tone of my voice, particularly at home, has a tendency to sound annoyed, frustrated, and utterly disgusted. When I go downstairs and find my entire canister of powdered sugar dumped on the table and overflowing to the carpet, and my baby rolled in it, kindness does not leap to my tongue. I find myself distraught--and put out. The thing is, I don't want my kids to remember me as some frazzled mommy. I want them to see me as a joyful and loving one. And obviously, I set the tone. How do Marissa and Isabella respond when (inevitably) those pesky little brothers destroy something of theirs? Unfortunately, time and time again I have been humbled (in a not-so-good way) by nastiness they could have only learned from the best. So my goal--kind words that build up and not tear down.

However, kindness goes beyond what comes out of my mouth. It also extends to my thoughts and actions. I need to be better at extending grace to others in my thoughts, and not so quick to judge another's actions. I need my own actions to be more selfless, loving, and done for the good of others. So many times I will think of something I should do for someone else, and then never act on it, missing the opportunity to show kindness.
I am applying my word to the kids too, I've even got a nifty little slogan "Be kind in 2009" to get us all motivated to watch our thoughts, words, and actions. ;o) We'll keep each other accountable. Which I am sure will once again be very humbling (in a not-so-good way) ;o) for me.