Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Homemade Scarf Hanger

We had some wood leftover from the awesome swingset my hubby recently built...
Can't remember if I put a picture in the post about this massive undertaking, so here it is in case I didn't!
And when I was in Cincinnati for my birthday (thanks mom, sis and hubby!) I saw a towel hanger at my sister's that I really liked. Hers was beach themed and oh so cute. So I decided to make something like it for all of my scarves. I stained a leftover section of wood and bought some half-off knobs from Hobby-Lobby. My hubby drilled several holes in the wood once the stain was dry and we screwed in the knobs, then had added a hanger to the back.
Simple and cheap, but super cute. Just what a thrifty Momma wants, right!?!
I think you could take this concept and use it in a million different ways, so let's get crafting!

Happenings Around the House

I realized as I was rocking my youngest last night that we have made a big jump from Minnie to Princesses around here. She still likes Minnie, but we are definitely in the Disney Princess era, especially Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty (which she's never seen). Anyway, she wants everything princess right now. We found some old disney princess play shoes and an old pink princess tshirt at a garage sale last week and she barely lets me take them off. Literally. She would prefer to sleep in the shoes if I would let her and she wants to wear that one pink princess shirt 24 hours a day. Every. Single. Day. And whenever she puts on a dress now, she always looks down and says she's a princess and seems genuinely convinced that it must be so.
School is going well with our oldest, seems like we do a lot of unschooling around here. But his writing is improving, he's off the charts in math, and still progressing with his reading. He can also tell you all about our furnace, how it works and why, and he can tell you all the phases of the moon in perfect order and what they look like. He knows all kinds of random things like that because he asks. He likes to figure everything out. Just like his Daddy and my maternal Pappa.
Our youngest is doing great, too. she still knows her letters and their sounds, she has started coloring more (both my kids hate coloring), and she can now write a number one. She can also now count with meaning. She's been able to count for a long time now, but she's recently understood that when you say 1-2-3 and so on, that correlates to a certain number of items.
Also, we finally have all of the garden planted - yay! Lots of science can be discovered in the garden and we are all looking forward to the fruits of our labor. This year we have 12 tomato plants, 3 rows of potatoes, 3 rows of green beans, cucumbers, cantaloupe, watermelon, zucchini, bell peppers, snap peas, banana and jalapeno peppers. Should be an interesting summer! The kids love going outside every morning to see what has popped up overnight!
And the biggest news around here is that we recently found out our big guy has a food allergy to dairy. It was a major blow to us because his favorite food ever is cheese and he chugs milk all day long. But, it answers multiple prayer requests with just one solution, and it is so like God to do that. Wrap it all up in one package for us to be able to get it under control. Our doctor explained that he doesn't digest the milk protein. Instead, his body reacts to it by having an adrenaline rush of sorts, keeping him full of adrenaline all day. This is why he struggles with naps and bedtime even though he's tired, and why he wakes up exhausted at 6:14am everyday. The doctor thinks this is also the cause of his allergies/drainage and ear infections, and even his sometimes ornery behavior.
He's been off of dairy for over a week now and we have noticed a huge difference. Last week, he took a nap everyday without complaining. No running in and out of his room for hours fighting sleep. Same at bedtime. It was amazing. He was also a little different behaviorally and overall, just more pleasant. He accidentally had dairy twice this weekend and whoa, he's like a different kid again. He hasn't taken a nap since then and he's been waking up at 6ish every morning. He's exhausted and whiny and cranky and ultra hyper.

I'm sad that he has to go without his favorite food. It breaks my heart. I want him to have everything he wants in life, and I understand his love for yummy, gooey cheese immensely. I'm sad that I have to call his teachers at church and tell them no more goldfish. I really hope he doesn't have to be the different one in class, that they can all just have a different snack. I don't want my children to ever go without anything they want, even if it is something trivial like cheese. So we will cut out the dairy around here and we will pray. I am believing that God will restore my oldest's body to new and he will someday be able to enjoy cheese again.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What Am I Waiting For?

It has been a typical weeknight here. The hubby took our oldest to a parent-child sports sampler class at the Y and the little one and I went to the grocery. I got home and was bringing the groceries in the door and honestly felt grumpy. That "here we go again" attitude. Our house had gotten a little messy over the course of the evening, more stuff to do tomorrow, groceries to put away, fridge to clean out, etc. Just felt kind of bleh...not in any way dreading tomorrow, but not really anticipating it like I should either.

Then I was standing there putting away groceries and my oldest started telling me about his class. He had volunteered to be the leader tonight! Surprising for my once-shy little guy. He got to pick the warm-up exercises and how many of each they did. He was demonstrating the jumps for me at home and decided he wanted to do 100. So I stood there smiling, watching him jump and count to 100, and watching our little girl toss her pink blanky over the air vent so she could see it blow up like a balloon. At that moment I realized, these are the days and nights that make up the memories of their childhood. These ordinary, simple days, spending time with Mom and Dad. This is what they'll remember. These are the things I remember about my childhood, too. So while I sometimes feel like I'm just rushing through this to get to the next exciting thing, I need to always be aware that these are the exciting things. I don't want to miss this! These are the evenings that will string together their childhood memories. Why do I feel like I have to wait for "something" to be happy and enjoy the moment? What am I waiting for? I should be enjoying the here and now, even if it seems mundane. So what? It kind of is. And that's what I've always wanted.

I don't usually have moments like this. Most often I really relish my time with my family. But from now on, if I ever catch myself just going through the motions, or losing the anticipation of the next fun day here on the homestead, I want to remind myself of this. The magic that is watching my kids dance around the kitchen floor, make up silly words together and giggle, each slip on a pair of my shoes and proudly make it across the floor in them, watching my oldest read new words with ease, watching my youngest count objects around the house...what an enormous blessing. Even though there will always be laundry to do and dishes that need scrubbed, there can be magic in the everyday if we stop to enjoy it and soak it in.

I don't want to rush through this, my kids will already be three and five later this year. Their childhood is going plenty fast enough. <3

Friday, May 3, 2013

That Darn Binky

Oh my. Rough few days at this house.

Do you have a strong-willed or stubborn child? I do. Two of them, in fact. And although they are very different, they are both fiercely determined.

Determination can be a trait to be admired, it is needed in life and extremely beneficial in most any job. My strong-will and determination did much good when I worked for children services. I am certain that God has equipped my children with these traits so that they can be harnessed in and used by Him for His purposes and glory. But turning a complete stubborn, screaming meltdown into something that can glorify the Lord is going to take a lot of work on our part as parents and a lot of wisdom from God. He is the perfect parent with all the answers. And I need some today, that's for sure!

It sounds trite, I realize, but these past few days we have been really struggling with my youngest child over the binky. Like I said, I realize it sounds insignificant, but if you have a strong-willed child, you know what I'm talking about. My oldest child is certainly my most strong, determined child and always has been. Before we brought him home from the hospital, we knew how to describe him (in addition to perfect!)...intense. He has always been intense; mad, happy, sad, whatever the emotion he always displays it to the fullest. Much like me. But with my youngest, it has caught me by surprise. From the beginning she has been laid back, relaxed and easy-going like her Daddy. But there have always been those few things... For instance, she refused to take any kind of bottle/sippy cup, etc. from birth. No long dates for Mom and Dad because she refused to eat for a sitter. No matter what bottle you used or what was in the cup, she wasn't having it.

I finally decided to wean her from the breast when she was almost a year old. Up until then, she had still refused to drink anything out of anything, so I knew it wasn't going to be easy. But I really had no idea what I was in for. I did know that once I decided to stop nursing, there couldn't be any going back. So I stopped. And guess what? She stopped drinking. She literally refused to drink any liquid from any type of cup or bottle or spoon for 7 days. And believe me, I tried everything. During that time, we made several visits to the doctor, tried to give her liquid through a medicine dropper, and finally just made her more liquidy foods to ensure she didn't become dehydrated. It was one of my hardest weeks ever.

And I feel like that's where we are at today with the binky. For several months now we've only let her have it when she's sleeping, instead of all day long. She managed to get over that surprisingly quickly. But last week she was pretty sick and all she could do was lay around, so I let her have it to make her comfortable. Her 103 fever won me over. Oops. That was a mistake.

Three days ago we told her she could only have it at bedtime/naptime again since she's better. That did not go well. She has spent the better part of these last three days screaming. And I don't mean a little crying. I mean the kind of crying that makes me concerned my neighbors are going to call the police because they must think I am torturing her. Shreiking at the top of her lungs, collapsing on the floor, completely inconsolable. Even with my oldest and all of his tenacity, I never knew a child could scream for so long. I've tried everything I can think of, the ignore approach, the tender approach, holding her and scratching her back. I've tried talking to her calmly, time-outs, etc., etc. I've talked to other Moms and gotten some good ideas, but nothing is working to stop the crying.

So that's where we're at. I'm sure I'll update when we finally have a breakthrough. But for now, I'm going to pray for wisdom and patience. And sanity, lol!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cinderella and Love and Such...

We were watching Cinderella today for what feels like the 100th time, and I was surprised at the amount of feelings stirred up in me just by watching her "fall in love" with the prince. It made me think about how I used to dream of falling in love as a kid, as I think most all little girls do. And then a quick timeline of my life so far flashed through my mind. Thoughts of how I found my "prince" when I was only fifteen and how God was in our relationship and leading us long before we gave Him the time of day. All of our mistakes and mounds of God's grace leading us here...

To me sitting on the couch snuggling our babies and watching a fairytale. This life, being a Mom and wife, is all I ever wanted. I knew that when I met my husband all those years ago, I just had no idea it would be like this. There are definitely hard days, but wow God sure is good.

And then I thought about what I want my children to know about finding the one whom their soul longs for. There are the obvious things...someone who is respectful, trustworthy, values family, is of good character, etc. Those are important. And of course, I want my children to have a spouse they can enjoy life with, someone who makes them happy. But the thing I really want them to grasp, is that the most important characteristic of any potential spouse is what his/her relationship with Christ is like. I wish I had known this growing up. Although, that's just one of the many examples of God's grace and mercy in my life. My husband and I were not who we are now when we started dating. But God knew there would come a day when we would run to Him together.

Please here me, it is one thing to say you're a Christian (even if you genuinely believe), but it is quite another to live out your days for Christ, in an everlasting relationship with Him. Relationships, whether with people or Christ, take work, time and effort. The divorce rate is the same among the general population as it is among those who identify themselves as Christians. Knowing the truths of God's Word doesn't help much if you aren't willing to apply them. Being in constant communication with the One who knit you together in the womb is the only way to wrangle the lusts of the flesh, whatever they may be. I want my kids to grow up knowing that this is the one thing they must look for in a spouse...above all else, Christ must be there.There's security in knowing that your husband/wife answers to Him and takes that very seriously. 

There is no perfect spouse, but if you find one who lives for God, loves Him and genuinely puts Him and His will first in everything they do, you have found a treasure. This is the gift that the Lord gave me in my husband, and one that I will continue to pray for for my own children as they grow. 

Marriage, like everything, has its hard days. but if it is rooted and grounded in Him...it is way better than a fairytale.