Thursday, September 30, 2010

A New Routine

As I've mentioned we started this school year sending Wyatt to second grade & Edison to afternoon Kindergarten.

Our school offers an extended-day kindergarten program to children who need a little extra help.  And, over the summer the recommendation was made to put Edison into this program.

We had also been offered this for Wyatt when he was in Kindergarten and we passed for various reasons.

 - We knew Wyatt's personality.  He's much like me in that change is difficult for him.  So, we wanted him to have the year to adjust to school.  And, half-day seemed much more do-able for him.

 - We felt like the expectations placed on Kindergarten students were much higher than they needed to be.  Kindergarten used to be a fun place to learn your letters and numbers and some basic school skills.  Now that so many children attend Pre-K or daycare (none of ours have), children are expected to come into Kindergarten practically ready to read. 

 - We had some issues with teacher who taught the extended day part of the kindergarten session.  We loved Wyatt's Kindergarten teacher for the afternoon, but a different teacher would have had him in the morning and we questioned the wisdom of letting Wyatt go to that teacher.

 - We felt Wyatt would benefit most from us continuing to work with him at home and help him 'catch up' with  where the school thought he should be.

For some of those same reasons we passed when the extended day program was offered to Edison this summer.  And we tried to work with him at home (although if I'm honest here - I didn't do nearly as much one on one practice with him as I would have liked).  

Then Edison's teacher approached us recently and again offered the extended day program for him.  After some thought and prayer we decided to let him participate.  

 - His personality is completely different from Wyatt's.  He thrives on social interaction and is task-driven.  He's been talking about full-day kindergarten all school year and was very excited to go.  We figured we should tap into that enthusiasm.

 - The teacher we had an issue with is no longer there and we feel very comfortable with this year's extended day kindergarten teacher.

 - Edison is less focused at home when John or I try to work with him on his learning skills.  But, we know he picks things up very quickly at school and would benefit from the extra help they are offering.  Even though we still feel the expectations are unnecessarily high we also know he is eager to learn.

So today Edison got on the bus in the morning with Wyatt and he will be there the whole day!

Can I just say that it has been a treat to be able to focus on my little two this morning?  I almost feel guilty saying that.  But, this has given me the chance to give Charlie and Joseph the attention they crave.  Charlie has been a much happier little boy without his big brother her to fight with.  And, I have also been able to tackle some of those household chores that usually get pushed to the backburner so I can play referee.

Oh, and the big change?  Now I can really help Charlie with his potty training.  He really WANTS to wear his underwear.  And, before I'd put it on for awhile but end up putting him back in his diaper.  I wasn't able to direct him to the potty on a regular basis.  I'd forget.  He'd forget. And, we would have accidents.  

He still had an accident this morning but it was poopy not pee (my boys always take longer to learn the poop in the potty part).  Other than that he stayed dry all morning.

So, this change in routine could be exactly the change, the break that I've been needing.  And, I'm hoping that when my big boys come home in the afternoon I won't be as stressed and ready to give them some of my undivided attention.

We shall see....

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Am An Aunt!

Congratulations to my sister, Lorinda and her husband Jason who just had their first baby!  And, in the process, they made me an aunt for the very first time!

Their little boy is a bigun'!  He was 21 1/2 inches long and 10 pounds 9 ounces!!!!   All I can say is WOW!  They named him Evan Chase.  Mom and baby are doing well.  Evan is spending a little time in the NICU so they can observe his breathing.  He had some fluid on his lungs and a bit of raspiness at first.  But, when I saw him last night he looked wonderful!

 The future linebacker

The Proud Daddy with his son!

The Proud Momma

Unfortunately I don't have a picture of Lorinda holding Evan yet.  The above picture was actually taken while she was still in labor.  After laboring all night long they decided to do a c-section.  So, she is quite sore & since the baby is in the NICU she only has gotten to see him and hold him once so far.  Please pray that they'll release Evan to be out of the NICU and in her room today.  

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Ramblings

It's a rainy, chilly day.   And, I just feel like curling up and taking a nap with my children.  But, there's too much to be done.  So, I'll make this quick today.

  • Wednesday night last week we had a storm and our landline phone and internet conked out for a few days.  It took a call to the phone company (they came out - not an outside line problem) and a little troubleshooting of our own to figure out where the connection was bad.  What I learned about myself?  That first day of no internet access was really hard.  I was in some serious withdrawal.  But, after that?  I actually felt kinda free and a bit more focused.  Am I ready to do away with our internet?  Maybe not.  But, I have been challenged to spend less time on the computer.
  • We are in the final countdown to having the downstairs apartment in our rental unit rented out!  October 1st there is a woman who is moving in.  My husband is almost done with the last bits that need done in the apartment.  And then I'm hoping life will get a little more back to normal.  Whatever normal may be...still busy but maybe a little less so.
  • My sister is about to have her baby!  Any day now!  She's due the 29th.  I've been on the phone with her almost every day.  Since I've had four, I guess I'm her childbirth 'expert'.  Ha!  Anyway, I'm super excited to finally become an aunt.  And, my boys will finally have a cousin (they've got tons of second cousins, but this will be their first first cousin)
  • I've been feeling a little blah, a little overwhelmed, a little grumpy.  Oh, who am I kidding? I've been kinda miserable lately...and for no good reason.  I could attribute it to lack of sleep, or the insane pace our life has been going lately, or that I rarely get any breaks from my kiddos.  But, I need to recharge, refocus, refresh.  I've been praying!  And, I've been trying to make reading scripture more of a priority.  So far I haven't really snapped out of my funk.  But, I'm working at it!
  • I went to a huge yard sale this Saturday with my friend Jamie.  And, I found some things that I am using to help jazz up our 'master' bedroom.  (I always feel funny using that term.  It's just our bedroom.  Nothing fancy.  And, not any larger or more grand than our other 2 bedrooms.)  I'm working at making our bedroom more of a retreat and less of a dumping zone.  I'll share pics later this week.
Hope you are having an awesome Monday!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

If I See Another Apple....

Our apples did well this year.  Usually they are small, misshapen, and wormy.

We don't do anything to our ancient apple tree.  We don't spray or prune or any of the stuff you are supposed to do if you want a nice crop of apples.

image found here

But, this year, they're lookin' pretty good.  My in-laws also have multiple apple trees that are doing well this year.

John picked five 5-gallon buckets for me so far.  And, that's just scratching the surface.  

So, for the last 2 days I've been making and canning applesauce.  And, I'm only about halfway done with what he's picked me so far.  He asked if I want him to pick me more.  

The part of me that hates to see them go to waste thinks he should.  The other part of me.... the exhausted part... thinks not.

So, if you know me and you know where I live, come on over and pick yourself some apples!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

When Husbands Are Busy

We are going through a season right now where my husband is particularly busy and not at home very much.

 His job is going through a busy spell and he is putting in longer hours there (a year ago we were praying for more work at his job because at that point things were slow...what a difference a year made!)

Also for approximately the last 2 months he has been working on one of the apartments in our rental building trying to get it ready for new tenants.  We bought this property earlier this year and it came with a number of issues.  Fortunately my husband is very handy and is able to do the work himself.  But, it has been very time consuming.

On top of that are some of his other committments and responsiblities - a part time job (occassional weekends) teaching motorcycle safety, odds & ends around our house - mowing, cutting wood, winterizing our home, van & motorcycle repairs, etc. etc.

The fact is, we haven't seen much of him lately.  Now I will say that we are fortunate that his work is right down the road.  So, he comes home for lunch everyday.  I look forward to that short break midday where we can see each other (even though it's often just briefly).  Then, he comes home for a quick supper and is off to his next project for the evening.

I'm exhausted.  He's exhausted.  We're ready for a little break.  For me it's hard to be alone with 4 boys most of the day.  And, lately it seems the boys have been testing me and my waning patience even more.  (I am not sure how single moms & military moms do it on a regular basis!)  For John, he never feels like he's able to get done everything he has to get done.  And, I know he's frustrated that he hasn't been able to spend more time with his family.

I am happy that I have a husband who is driven and motivated.  No-one could ever accuse him of being a slacker or lazy.  It's hard to keep up with him though sometimes.  He just seems to have so much more energy than I do.

So, I'm actually going to end this post with a question.  Has your family gone through a time like this?  Do you have any suggestions on how to keep things running smoothly?  To keep our sanity?  I would love to hear any thoughts/ experiences you all have had.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Short (Unsolicited) Commercial

Some of you remember the giveaway I had from Sally Belle Designs a while back.

Sally doesn't even know I'm posting this, but I had to tell you about my new favorite cards that she's designed.  

It's a vintage toy card set and they are fabulous!  Check out a few from this new set...

I think they rock.  If you like them too, you should really go visit her site.

And, now my short unsolicited commercial is over. 

Have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Your Favorite Song is What?

We had back to school night this week.  My husband sat in on the presentation for Edison's class.   He has the same teacher Wyatt had for kindergarten.  And, I sat in on the presentation for Wyatt's.  I was excited to meet his second grade teacher.

After her little talk she encouraged us to look around the room and in the hallway where our some of our children's work was hanging.  

Here's what Wyatt had to say on his "My Favorite Things" paper

Favorite food:  Peanut butter and fluff (hmm - how does reflect on me as a mother?)

Favorite thing at school:  Recess

Favorite tv show:  Tom & Jerry  (oh great - so I'm a mom who feeds my child food of questionable nutritional  value and I let him watch a show where a cat & a mouse are constantly beating up on each other)

Favorite song:  Creek Balls of Fire  (Um son...I think you mean Great Balls of Fire.  Is it odd that my children are more familiar with music from yesteryear than of today?)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Mawwage Is What Bwings Us Togevah Today"

Ok - If you didn't recognize that quote from The Princess Bride, shame on you.  

Image found here
If you've never seen The Princess Bride, double-shame on you.  Get ye to a movie rental location and rent it already!

Anyway, what I mean to say is...

Marriage Is What Brings Us Together Today.

More specifically, marriage is what brought us together 9 years ago.

Ours was an unlikely love story.  One that took a lot of work and perseverance (especially on John's part).   We are two people so completely different from each other.  Yet, we belonged together.

I thought I knew exactly what type of man I would marry.    I imagined that he would be the sensitive artistic type.  Someone with whom I could discuss books and foreign/independent films.  We would partake in cultural events and find ways to be creative together.

Instead the man that God brought to me is more interested in tractors, engines, guns, hunting, airplanes, and motorcycles.  He's works well with his hands..not at creating works of art, but  in the mechanics and the function of items.  I haven't found anything he hasn't been able to fix.

We really don't have that much in common.  And, we approach life in such different ways.  But, we balance each other.  I trust him completely.  I have no doubt of his love for me.  And, most importantly, he loves the Lord.  

We may be an unlikely pair, but ours was definitely a match made in heaven.

Sorry, this is a picture I took of a picture.  It's pretty fuzzy.  How else to you go about getting pics that aren't digital on the computer?  (I don't have a scanner)

Happy anniversary babe!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cooking With Something New

I don't know if you have this same problem or not.  But, I so often get into a rut of the same-old, same-old when it comes to cooking meals.  There are certain things that I make often and I have a hard time trying my hand at new recipes and foods.

It's not that I'm afraid to eat new foods.  It's just hard for me to break out of my comfort zone in cooking new foods.  Part of the problem is that I have a really hard time following recipes.  In my world, recipes are more of a guideline.  I can't help but tinker with a recipe and change or add things here and there.  Then, I sometimes end up disappointed with the results.

Well, about 2 months ago I saw a recipe in a magazine for a meal with spaghetti squash.  I had never cooked with spaghetti squash , but this meal looked so delicious and refreshing in the picture.  I saved that magazine for the longest time, but I think in the zeal of one of my decluttering frenzies, it got tossed.

Then, we were at a roadside stand the other day and, lo and behold, they had spaghetti squash for sale.  It even had the directions for preparing the squash itself (soooo it probably wasn't a local squash, but that's ok).

Cutting the thing apart was an honest to goodness challenge.  I tried 2 different knives...

Ok - so have you ever seen the inside of a spaghetti squash?  I had not.  It looks a lot like a pumpkin though.  All the seeds and goo had to be removed before baking.

The original recipe I saw in the magazine called for roasted tomatoes, onions, and garlic.  I gathered the very last of my garden tomatoes, & borrowed a couple onions from my in-laws (we've used ALL our garden onions already).  I was super bummed when I realized I didn't have any fresh garlic to roast.  Anyway, I cut up the tomatoes and onions and lay them on a cookie sheet.  Then I drizzled olive oil over top and sprinkled salt and black pepper before putting them in to roast with the squash.

The roasted squash looked lovely...

And, it was fun to shred the 'meat' of the squash out.  It truly did look like spaghetti.  I saved some of the plain squash and just put a little butter, salt, and parmesan cheese with it for my boys. (They still didn't like it).

For us big people, I sprinkled salt and garlic powder on the squash and then topped it with the roasted veggies and parmesan cheese.  (Next time I'd like to have the roasted garlic and grate real parmesan cheese over top rather than the powdered stuff.).

It was really, really delicious...even without the real recipe.  The only part that took a few bites to get used to was the texture of the squash.  I was expecting it to be soft like a noodle, but it is actually a bit crisp.  I will be making this one again for sure!  

I'm so glad I tried something new.

Finally, I just had to share these 2 family pics.

 Baby Joseph was loving Daddy's baseball cap.

My boys!  Three are still in their pajamas as we are waiting for Wyatt's bus in the a.m.

Have a blessed day!

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Clutter Prayer - Postscript

Um, Hi again Lord.

So, I know in my earlier prayer I thanked you for the clutter and tried to see it as a blessing.

But, Lord, I forget so quickly. I am so human.

You know that I became overwhelmed & frustrated anyway. You know that I grew increasingly irritated at my family. You know that I snapped at my children and probably wasn't very pleasant to be around.

Lord, you know me. You know my my housekeeping skills and in my heart.

that what you were actually saying to me this morning? Were you trying to remind me that I can't do it on my own? That I need help? Were you calling me to you?

OK Lord. The house can wait. This time I'm listening.


My Clutter Prayer

Dear Lord,

This morning I woke up to clutter.  Clutter that seems to materialize by itself.

Food wrappers
Dirty Dishes

I sighed, trying to drum up some motivation to once again tackle this cluttered mess of a house.

But then you reminded me Lord what this clutter means.

We are well fed.
We are well dressed.
We are well cared for.
We are blessed.

Thank you Lord for the clutter.  Now I just ask that you would teach me and teach our family how to keep all that you have given us in order rather than all of it ordering us.

Teach us Lord when we need to let go of certain things, or say no to accumulating others.

And, thank you Lord for your continued blessing and provision.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine Years Ago - What I Remember

What I remember from 9 years ago - I was working at KinderCare. One of the teachers heard on the radio that a plane struck one of the twin towers. I initially thought a plane clipped a tower antennae or something. As we continued to listen, the events unfolded & horror came over us all. Parents started picking up their children early. Everyone was in shock.

I remember talking to my mom on the phone. She was watching it all on tv - I remember her saying with panic in her voice, "Someone is attacking us!"

Since I was at work all day I never really saw much of the news reports and videos that we
re coming out. I am thankful now for that.

All this happened 4 days before our wedding. Everything was so confused and unsure at that time we weren't even sure if our wedding could continue as scheduled. It did. But, I know of at least one person who wasn't able to come because he was stranded elsewhere because all flights were stopped.

We actually decided to go on our honeymoon to Costa Rica. Flights began again right before we left. It was with some trepidation on my part and the planes were virtually empty. So, was the resort we went to - usually filled with American tourists. Only the locals were there. And, I remember talking with them in our broken Spanish and their broken English about the tragedy. They were so sad for our country.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Large Church

So, I had another blog post in mind for today - one all about how I cooked with spaghetti squash for the very first time. I have pictures and everything. I'm still going to do that post, but something else is really on my mind today.

I hesitate to write this post because there are people who read my blog who I'm afraid might take offense to what I am going to write. People I know personally. And, I'm hoping to do it with as much grace and non-judgement as I can. And as you read this I ask that you read it with some grace for me too. I'm trying to work through my thoughts and writing them out is often what works best for me.

Wow. That's quite a lead-in isn't it? Let me get you up to speed. To do that I'm going to take you back about 9 years. During the time John & I were engaged and then newlyweds, we searched for the right church for us as a couple. We tried the church he attended during his early 20's, but I wasn't comfortable with how 'charismatic' is was. We tried some other churches in our area (one from the denomination I grew up in) but they were too 'stodgy'.

Then we tried the church that John grew up in. It's a large church. I felt it might be a little too large. But, we started attending semi-regularly and thought that we may have found a nice 'compromise' church for us.

About 2 months or so into our attending, they introduced a building project. The church also housed a private Christian school (actually the one my husband had gone to). The church and the school were outgrowing sharing the same building. I could kind of understand this. But, what I couldn't understand was the amount of money they were proposing spending to build a separate church building on their property. 18 million dollars.

I could not wrap my mind around this kind of money. There are churches in other countries that meet in huts with dirt floors. There are ministries right in our own area that need support. And there are people, often our own neighbors, who struggle to make ends meet. Why did such an extravagant amount of money need to be spent on building a church?

We continued to attend the church for a short time after that. But, I couldn't come to a point where I agreed with this decision. A conversation I had with one of the staff of the church in which he tried to explain the expense as a way to reach out to the needs/ expectations of a culture that looks for the kinds of amenities you might have at a nice mall. Was he comparing the church to a shopping mall?

That kind of sealed the deal for me. I felt like we needed to find another church. My poor husband thought we had finally settled in and now I was telling him I didn't think I could continue going there. The good outcome was that was when we found New Hope Community Church....a tiny church that met in a converted warehouse. We were part of New Hope for most of the last 9 years and formed wonderful relationships there that will never end. (Last year we had started attending another church. I talked about that journey a bit here. And, unfortunately, New Hope ended late this summer).

Fast forward to our first child being born seven years ago. A friend who still attended the large church we left invited me to attend a moms group that was meeting there. I did and I fell in love with the moms group and have been attending their bi-weekly Friday meetings ever since. I also was involved in the group as a small group leader and hospitality staff. Even though I didn't attend the church itself I've gotten to know so many moms through the group - some who attended that church and some who attended other churches. I've made wonderful, wonderful friends there. And, as a mom to young children, the support and encouragement I've received has been priceless. The building project had been put on hold in the meantime too and I really didn't think a whole lot about that aspect of the church anymore.

Fast forward again. To this morning. It was our first moms meeting of the new school year. And, it was our first meeting in the new church building. The building project which had been on hold finally started last year and was recently completed. As a matter of fact I believe the congregation recently had it's very first service in the building.

And, what a building. A full-size cafe, a fireside 'chat' room, a wall water cascade, cathedral ceilings, beautiful furnishings. All this was just in the walk to the child care suite and the meeting room where we were going to be (which was complete with one of the largest flat screen tvs I've ever seen).

And, I felt....How can I describe what I felt? I guess the best word I can come up with is unsettled. I felt unsettled and disturbed. Have we, the church, bought into our culture's love affair with bigger, better, more? Have we forgotten our responsibility as the church to care for others and their needs? Have we mistaken our own comfort as one of those 'needs'?

Then I have to wonder if I am being somewhat hypocritical. After all, for the last 7 years I've taken advantage of the one of the programs that church is able to offer. And, I will say in defense of the church that they do offer an extensive amount of programs. They truly make an effort to reach out to people in every walk & stage of life. They have programs for people who are working through addictions, people struggling with depression; they have programs for senior citizens, and numerous programs for children. I can't begin to list all the wonderful support systems this church offers not just to it's own members, but also the community.

I guess that kind of support system is possible because it is a large church, a wealthy church.

But, still, I am perplexed. I am even a little bit sad. I think of ways that money could have been used. Could they have foregone the wall water cascade and given that money to the local ministry that reaches out to teenage moms but is often unable to pay it's staff members because of so few funds available? Could they have scaled back on the technology and given that money to missionaries overseas who are trying to raise money to build a well in their village? Could it just have been a little less so that more could have gone to those truly in need?

It makes me think of the book Revolution in World Missions by K. P. Yohannan. It's one that Thy Hand Hath Provided is doing a book study of right now. I read the book a couple years ago and my mindset about my own comfort/ needs was definitely challenged. It is a book I would highly recommend you read. And, if you click on the link with the book title, you can actually request one for free.

I'm still struggling with what I'm thinking/ feeling. But, I'm also reminded that when I feel that way I need to go to the Word. I need to read what God says and then let him speak to my spirit.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

But They Were Playing So Nicely...

I should have learned my lesson by now.   

Edison and Charlie were playing outside, and for almost 15 whole minutes there was no crying, no fussing, no fighting.  There were only happy voices...and quiet.

I should know from past experience that when it is too quiet I should go check on them.

Apparently they decided to make a dirt road for their trucks.

On my porch.

Because of how the light was coming in, it was hard to get a good picture.

Trust me,  it was a lot of dirt.

It was easy enough to sweep off, but somehow I'm still amazed by the superpower of little boys....creating messes where there were none in lightning speed.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What Did She Do Next?

I love a good story.  I love the way an author can use words to pull you into another place, another time, another life.  I love the way details help to flesh out a story or a character.

Especially a character.  Reading about someone's feelings, background, actions, reactions all intrigue me and help me get lost in the story.

If I'm honest this is what sometimes makes reading the Bible difficult for me.  Those details often aren't included. The stories sometimes leave us hanging.  (I guess that's why I enjoy Christian fiction authors like Francine Rivers so much.  She's able to bring the Bible stories & characters to life...based on biblical fact but her own imagination fills in the blanks.)

One of the stories in the Bible that I keep coming back to is the story of Mary and Martha.  It's one that speaks to me so much in this stage of life.  I've mentioned before that I so often feel like Martha.  Overwhelmed.  Overworked.  Stressed.

But, as I was reading the story again the other day, I was left wondering and imagining.
After Jesus said to Martha, "Martha, Martha.  You are worried and upset about many things; but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41-42. NIV) the story ends.

Boom.  Over.

Here is what I really want to know....What did Martha do next?  What was her response?

Did she stomp away annoyed and even more upset that she didn't get the help she was expecting?

Did she find a quiet place to cry overwhelmed by Jesus' words?

Did she feel chastised?  ashamed?

Did she sit down and listen alongside Mary?

Did she simply go back to her preparations perplexed by Jesus' words?

What did she do?

As I thought about it more, I slowly started to realize that it's not really important what Martha's response was.  (And, someday in eternity we can discuss it at length).  What matters is OUR response.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Urge to Purge

I tend to be very sentimental about things.  I have a very poor memory in general but when it come to my things  I can remember where each item came from, where I was living at the time, what point of life I was in.  

The same holds true about my children's things.  I remember if something was given as a shower gift, birthday gift, or Christmas gift.  I can remember who gave it to them.

And, this ability to remember has made it very difficult to let go of things.  Maybe I've been afraid that letting go of the things will mean letting go of the memory.  I've worried about offending the people who gave it as a gift.

Other things that have made it difficult to purge my house of all the stuff it's accumulated is the worry that if I get rid of something, I might need it or wish I had it someday.  I've also been stuck with stuff because I think that I should really try putting it all together for a yard sale..or I should try selling it on ebay or craigslist.  And, then it continues to sit in boxes or closets, or in whatever portion of our house designated as a 'waiting' area...and it waits and waits for that magical moment when I have enough time to organize it and DO something with it.

Well, lately I've been getting tired...really, really tired of how stuff has been ordering my life instead of the other way around.  And, something has begun to break through.  That something is the urge to purge!

While I do still have a few boxes of items set aside for that 'someday' yard sale, more often than not I've been purging...

Clothes that don't get worn or are stained or ripped?   In a bag to be dropped off at a clothing drop (some places will take ripped/stained clothes & then sell them to companies that recycle clothing)

Broken toys?  Toss 'em.

Books & magazines I'm done reading?  Donate them to the library for their annual book sale.

Things I just don't use anymore?  Drop them off at a reuzit store or....

One of my favorite things to do is to set them in front of our house marked 'FREE'.  It saves me the trip to the drop-off and it's kind of fun to watch and see who will stop to pick them up. Here are some items I had out front yesterday.

Some of you might wonder why I wouldn't sell the baby items at a yard sale.  Honestly they have been sitting in our one room in a pile of yard sale hopefuls taking up space.  And, I was just tired of it, ready to be rid of them.  I figured, is it really worth my time & effort to store this, mark it & try to sell it for the sake a few dollars?  Or, I can put this out and hopefully someone who can really use it, takes it.

As it turned out, two women stopped at the same time to pick up the baby items.  I thought for a minute there was going to be a fight over who got to take them, but I guess they worked it out.

This dry sink was part of the dining room set to our old dining table.  The table & chairs are long since gone, having been well used (read: falling apart).  I held on to the dry sink (a really solid piece) because it was a) holding our board games & puzzles and b) I thought that someday I might paint it.  

I realized that I was probably never going to tackle the painting project & I was just tired of it.  So, out it went.

And, someone eventually took it.  (An Amishman in his buggy stopped first to take a look at it.  While he didn't take it he did let my boys pet his horse.)

The only dilemna getting rid of the dry sink cause was....
where to go with all the games?  

Finally, I also had to share a picture of a really cool yard sale find.  This might seem counter-intuitive to my 'urge to purge'.  But, this is something I just couldn't pass up.

An air hockey table!!!  Something my boys thought would be really cool to have.  AND I got it for $5!!!!

It's currently in the space left behind by the dry sink in our computer room.  This will not be it's final location.  I would like to move it out to our sunroom...which inspires more purging!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What's For Snack?

My boys have been coming home from school famished. The first words out of their mouths are 'What's for snack?' as they drop their backpacks and start rummaging through the cupboard.

I've been incredibly frustrated because I'll list option after option...all met with groans of dissatisfaction.

"We've got graham crackers." Ugh. No.

"How about pretzels?" Uh uh.

"Fig bars?" I don't feel like fig bars.

And on and on this would go. All the while things are falling out of the cupboard as they are searching in the deepest darkest corners for something that's good.

I needed a snack solution.

And, it wasn't new fancy snacks.

I needed to make their options more visible and accessible. Then they would be responsible for choosing what they would eat. Here's what I did...

I hadn't put away our picnic basket yet (usually after summertime is over it goes back up in the attic). I decided to bag up snack choices in snack sized baggies and put them in the picnic basket.

This was a great way to clear my cupboards of mostly empty cracker boxes and bags. And, it's all easy for them to see & reach.

Some snacks I bagged....
life cereal
graham crackers
ranch fish crackers
smores fish crackers
fig bars

The boys were very receptive to this yesterday. They each probably picked out 3 or 4 bags of snacks. (I think I'm going to put a 1 or 2 bag limit on them. But yesterday I didn't want to squelch their enthusiasm.). The BEST part was NO WHINING!

I'd like to do something similar to this with refrigerated items and have a spot set aside in the fridge with easy to grab & eat snacks - little baggies of carrots, string cheese, yogurt, fruit, etc.

What do you do for snacks at your house?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Finally, Some First Day of School Pics

We're on the third day of school and this is the first day that our schedule has started to look like what I had envisioned.  We took Edison to PM Kindergarten after lunch and the little two fell asleep in the van.  So, now I have the big two at school and the little two sleeping.  Aaahhh.  Now, I hope to get some things done, but thought I'd check in here first.

On a side note, I think my husband thinks I'm a little wacky with this whole blogging thing right now.  For instance the other day I had a short window of free time, during which I blogged, and he was incredulous that I would spend my precious free time blogging.  

Plus, I think I talk about other people's blogs too much to him.  Too many of my conversations begin with "Today I read on another blog..."  or "Do you know what another blogger said?"  Cue the blank stare from my husband.

Anyway, I wanted to share some back to school pics, so here goes....(I have a really bad habit of never clearing my memory card, so it took me forever to download just a few pictures.  I almost gave up.  Just wanted to share that frustration with you.)

Wyatt - Second Grade

Edison - Kindergarten

 Waiting in the van at the school.

Time to go in.

 Edison and his teacher.  He has the same teacher for Kindergarten that Wyatt had.  She's awesome!

My School Boys

My Husband's Idea of School Transportation

The second day of school John took Edison to Kindergarten...his way.  For everyone out there gasping in disbelief, yes, he really took him on the motorcycle.  We sort of set a precedent with Wyatt when he was in Kindergarten...that was the first time Wyatt rode on the motorcycle with John. So, of course Edison wanted to do the same.

How do I feel about this?  Not great.  And trust me, there was (and there still is) a great deal of discussion over this subject.  But John assures me he is very, very careful with them. I always tell him, it's not him I'm worried's other drivers.   What do you all think?  Would you be comfortable with this?

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