A post with real content

Here it is. The post you’ve been waiting for. One with real information in it!

I’m taking a bit of a break right now during nap time to do some writing.

Today I’m watching two extra children from 11 until 3. So, with them added to the mix, I have a 1 1/2 year old, 2 year old, 4 year old, and 2- 5 year olds. It hasn’t been that bad!

This weekend I snagged one of Nathan’s books- The Cure for the Common Life by Max Lucado. It’s an awesome book and it really has started me thinking about what I’m good at and passionate about. Obviously, I already have a job- I’m an at home mom. But I’ve realized that I could enjoy it more and bring more value to my family if I add some things into the mix that I really like. So, I’ve taken over the finances. Nathan did a great job, but I love budgets. I love to save money. I love numbers, charts, graphs and planning. I love details. It’s also why I can get overwhelmed in some situations when Nathan doesn’t. When faced with something I need to do, I see all the little steps that go into making things work. That can be good or bad! I love lists. I can use these things to help my family and enjoy my days more. Strange?

Sounds like we’re in for some more snow today and tomorrow. I’m not sure where we’ll put it. With the snow as high as it is and the wall and huge tree on either side of our driveway, it’s hard to shovel. Once the shovel is full, we now have to walk a long way to be able to deposit it or be able to throw it very far or high!

Last night we took a drive to Waconia to see some Christmas lights. There is a home there that has a pretty elaborate display and it is set to music that you can tune in on your radio. The kids thought it was cool and Nathan was intrigued with the electronic component– so, a win for everyone!

I’ll leave you with a photo of Audrey’s bed.
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These are all things that she sleeps with. Yes, she insists on the baskets as well. Crazy children, I have.

Do You Trust Me?

Today, and many days recently, I hear the Lord asking, “Do you trust Me”?

Honestly, I have not been living a way that proves that I do.

I will answer that question in big and little moments all day. I will choose to trust the One who is completely trustworthy. Even when it’s confusing and I’m in the murky, confusing, dark “middle”. That place where nothing is clear. I will trust that this is not the end and that a beautiful “end” is coming.

Adventures with Audrey

Audrey and I had an adventure this morning. She and I got to go to the middle school in the town just up the road and do her preschool screening.

It was the just the two of us and that rarely happens. I had told her what to expect and she was excited. I was really proud of her. She cooperated beautifully. I wasn’t worried that she wouldn’t listen, but I do know that if you have an uncooperative child, the screening time ends up being a waste of time. You can’t tell how well a child can see, hear or what other things they know if they wont sit still. Audrey did just fine.

I did well too! I want “Aunt” (Jean) to know that I was a good mom. I just sat beside Audrey and let the nurses and teachers do all the explaining and directing  to Audrey. I never answered for Audrey or “helped” her in anyway. Because Audrey is over the age of 4, they expect a little higher score than they do for the kids that go before their 4th birthday. I think Ethan needed a 16 on the development test where they build with blocks, answer questions, complete sentences and hop and balance. Children Audrey’s age need a 21. She got 28.  I don’t remember how Ethan did, but it was probably close to the same.

So, developmentally, Audrey is right on track. Yeah for Audrey!

In other news, we are bracing for the storm of the century. Well, at least you would think so to watch the weather reports or read them online. Who knows how much we’ll actually get in the end. If it all comes as predicted, with the snow amount and the wind, we’re going to have blizzard conditions here. And the temperatures are going to drop drastically. Wind chills by Saturday night may dip down to -20 to -35! That will feel about 50 degrees colder than it felt today. Minnesota weather is insane. Why do we live here? I need someone to remind me!

There’s a snowman at my table

Audrey wanted her snowman to have breakfast a couple of days ago. She’s a great hostess. She made sure he was all set up at the table and insisted he needed a bowl and a cup.

I know these next photos aren’t perfect, but they capture a sweet moment so I thought I would share them. Isaac noticed that Nathan was getting ready for work yesterday and this is what Isaac did:

Look at him just looking at Nathan and wondering why he doesn’t get to go with him! Cuteness happens here.

Kindergarten Adventures

I’m pretty sure that I’m learning as much as Ethan is during this adventure of homeschooling.

This year’s highlights so far:

Ethan is beginning to read real words!

He has had huge improvement in cutting and pasting skills. Following a line while cutting is a huge deal for a 5 year old. I’m very proud of how well Ethan is doing with this.

Seeing how much he loves math. I introduced the “=” and “+” signs and basic addition ideas this week.

Listening to Nathan and Ethan work on their Astronomy lessons. They were learning about Mercury a couple of nights ago and Ethan was telling details that he remembered that I don’t remember ever learning.

Discussing different holidays.

Watching as Ethan starts to learn to spell three letter words.

Challenges:

Finding a way to encourage and motivate Ethan to keep working on handwriting. I always assumed that this would be one of the easiest things to teach or learn. I was very wrong!

Sometimes, if Ethan gets stumped on something, he just throws out guesses. You know, the kind of answers that you know they don’t even understand themselves and wouldn’t be able to tell you how they came up with it? 😉

Bed-head

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Isaac has some serious bed-head happening these days. I love it! Our baby is 1 1/2 now. I’m not sure of his height, but when I plopped him on our scale (fully dressed) he weighed about one pound more than Ethan and Audrey did at age 2. Isn’t it crazy how kids from the same family can be so different?

Other facts about Isaac:

  • He is no longer afraid of baths (as of two days ago). For no reason we can think of, he was afraid and now he isn’t. Mysterious.
  • He loves music. More than Ethan and Audrey, Isaac really seems to appreciate listening to music. E&A are all about twirling and performing, Isaac will sit and listen (and do a little jig) to songs that we put on the computer. We were playing clips from the SingOff yesterday and today and Isaac loved it. Maybe it’s the harmonies?
  • He can climb to the very top of the bunk bed when adult supervision isn’t there to stop him.
  • He says, “No” in such an adorable way that we sometimes ask him questions that we know he will say, “no” to, just so we can hear him say it.
  • He is very attached to his pacifier and I’m not looking forward to the battle of giving that up.
  • Every day he spends time playing with play-doh.
  • Every day he eats a little play-doh. (glad it’s non-toxic)
  • He’s very determined and resourceful. If he can’t reach something, he will go and find something that he can stand on, drag it to the right location and climb up to claim the prized object.
  • Besides the word, “no”, he also says, “Mama”, “Daddy”, “Audy”, “Eaty”, “this”, “doggy”, “shoes”, “up”, “grandpa” and something that sounds like “thank you”. I’m sure there are more words I’ve missed. Those are the ones he uses most often.

One White Christmas, Coming Right Up!

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I don’t think there’s much chance that we wont have a white Christmas this year. Friday’s storm brought about 8 inches of new snow. I’m still in the “Oh it’s so pretty” stage. That changes to “I really hate the long, cold, dark winters in Minnesota” stage soon after Christmas is over. I think it’s because I don’t have anything else in the winter season that I’m looking forward to.

It was nice to be back at our own church yesterday. It had been almost a month (in Cottage Grove one week, snowed out the next week, in Shakopee last week). During the weeks of the advent season, the pastor does the children’s story. Ethan and Audrey happily ran up to the front when it was time. Nathan and I often feel a mixed sense fear and anticipation regarding what questions the children will be asked. Ethan ALWAYS has an answer. He doesn’t always get called on, but his hand is flying high. I have had people comment to me months later on something that Ethan “shared” during the children’s story. This week, Pastor Paul asked, “What do you do at your house to get ready for Christmas?” Immediately we hear Ethan’s voice mic’d, “This is the first year we have Christmas lights in our room.” Then we hear Pastor Paul say, “Oh, and you have them on the bottom bunk, too?” I love how Ethan finds it necessary to share the extra details. It is probably one of those stories that is funnier when you are there to experience it, but I wanted to write it out so I don’t forget it.

Family Time

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I promised Ethan we would play some games a couple of nights ago. I think it was Wednesday. We got out some cards and played Go Fish and Bible Memory. I wondered how well Isaac would cooperate, but he did great! We gave him some of the cards that were missing matches and he played with them. It’s the kind of thing I usually think will be too much work or I’m too tired to do it, but when we do it, we have fun. I need to remember that!

I’ve been trying to think about what I want my kids to remember from their growing up years. Spending time as a family playing games is one of those things. I also want them to remember that we played with them and were willing to imagine and go along with their crazy schemes sometimes. We’ve been reading The Long Winter so, someone (maybe it was me or perhaps Ethan) had the idea to pretend that we were the Ingalls and there was a big blizzard outside. Ethan was Pa, I was Ma, Audrey was Laura, and Isaac was Baby Isaac (we added him to the story). We snuggled under blankets and marched around the house to stay warm- just like they did in the book. And “Pa” would “go outside” and hunt bear. Every time he opened the door to the outside, there would be a bear waiting. It was amazing! Pa kept bringing us more and more meat. Lots of fun!

On Friday night, as we were tucking in Ethan and Audrey, Ethan told me that I should be careful not to step on his imaginary friend, Thunder. There was a sleeping bag laid out on the middle of the floor. I guess that’s where Thunder was sleeping. I went to the pantry and grabbed 2 cookies and brought them back to their room. I told Ethan that I wasn’t sure that I believed that Thunder was real. I told them that I was going to leave 2 cookies on his pillow and if they were gone before morning, I would know Thunder was real. Ethan and and Audrey looked at each other and proclaimed that Thunder would definitely eat them. I left the room and listened to them whispering and sneaking about the room. A few minutes later, they ran out of their room to tell me that Thunder had eaten the cookies. I guess they proved me wrong!

This weekend is the Winter Festival in our town. That means there is a parade that goes by our house. It’s like a miniature Hollidazzle parade. All the vehicles/floats are decorated with Christmas lights since it happens at 6:30 and it’s dark outside. We stood at our front kitchen window and watched as it went by. Ethan and Audrey were standing on chairs. Isaac was in his booster seat. All three of them had flashlights and would shine them out the widow and wave them wildly to catch the attention of the passers-by.

These are parenting moments I want to remember.

Oh, we also attempted to take a family photo. It was disastrous. This was the best we got and Ethan isn’t really smiling and Isaac is fuzzy. It was hard work.

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I Need Your Help!

Through the last year, I tried to take a picture every day to document our lives. I was more successful some weeks and months than others. I need some inspiration and ideas from all of you to keep me going. Will you help me out?

Leave a comment and let me know what photos you would like to see in the next week or photos you wish you had of your family or life. I’ll do my best to get those photos taken AND posted. Doesn’t that sound awesome? I just need a little inspiration.

I tried to get a good photo of all three kids together the other day.

One nice photo. See?

And several ones where Isaac has started to attack Ethan and Audrey. Isaac just finished bonking Ethan in the nose here:

Audrey was Isaac’s next target. It was all downhill from there! Never a dull moment here.