Love those Kids Quotes

Before we read our Bible Story as part of our preschool homeschool routine:

Youngest Child:  “Mom, my favorite Bible Story is John the Baptized.”

Me:  “Oh yay because that’s the one I was going to read to you this morning.”

Youngest Child:  “I love John the Baptized because he baptized Jesus.”

Middle Son Holding an 8 1/2 x 11 dry erase board:

Mom this is my ipad.  I am going to go in the family room and play Diner Dash.”

Middle Son in the Library…

Little kid in the library to my son:  “My name is Collin.  I am six years old.  How many are you?”

My son:  “99 dollars.”

As I was cleaning up…

Middle Son:  Mom, you aren’t supposed to hold scissors that way.  You would not get a scissors safety certificate.

After my son colored in my oldest’s notebook…

8 year old:  “Don’t color in my book!  I don’t want all scratches in it when I send it to the publisher.”

Doing Saturday chores with my oldest

8 year old:  How do I get the bucket ready to mop the floor?

Me:  Put a little bit of Pine Sol in the bucket and add water.  You know how to do that, right?

8 year old:  I’m too afraid to add the Pine Sol.

Me:  Why?

8 year old:  What if I drink it?

Me:  Well then don’t drink it.

The “I Don’t Know What To Do With Myself Box”

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We said from the very beginning our son has two modes “Off” and “On.” He has a crazy amount of energy. This fall when he started kindergarten, he was not one of those kids who come home tired and exhausted. Some of my friends said their five year olds would take naps every afternoon the first week of school. Not him. We actually had him run laps around the backyard or ride his bike after kindergarten because he was in that mode we refer to “silly crazy.” It really helped utilize his energy and get him to calmer and more focused state.

We live in a very rainy area of the country and we are pretty much stuck inside a good part of the winter. Even though once in awhile I don’t mind the muddy boots, and wet clothes, I needed to find a way to help him find things to do in the house. So we made a “I Don’t Know What To Do With Myself Box.” If I see him moping around or getting into things he is not supposed to or reverting to “silly crazy” I ask him to draw something out of the box. Whatever he draws he has to do. I put all kinds of ideas such as “Play restaurant with the play food,” or “Build a train with the folding chairs and ride in it,” or “Practice handwriting for 15 minutes.” I have puzzles and worksheets available he can do. It has worked every single time. Even the day it was pouring rain and he drew “Go outside.” He did not want to go outside and protested profusely. Once he got on the rain boots, rain coat, and went splashing around the backyard–he was content. I told him he had to stay out for at least 15 minutes, but he was outside for at least a half hour.

Such a simple thing–I wish I would have thought of it earlier. It is not a punishment. It is just a tool to help him be more focused.

Wednesday Fast & Pray For Our Kids

My friend’s sister named Kim has an amazing facebook page called His Hands His Feet Today.  Kim and her husband have adopted a total of fourteen children (two are in heaven).  Her facebook page is updated daily and it is full of encouragement, photos, stories, inspiring quotes, Bible verses, and information on adoption.

Kim challenged others to have every Wednesday in 2014 a day to fast and pray for our children.  You don’t have to fast from food–just pick one thing–carbs, snacks, pop, coffee, the TV, Facebook etc.  Kim shares:

If you’ve never fasted before, try just fasting 1 meal. Or snacks. Or coffee/pop. Or facebook. Or carbs. Whatever … just submit yourself of the Lord. Die to yourself/flesh. And let’s build up some spiritual muscles for what lies ahead this year! You’ll be amazed at how badly you’ll want “that thing” (you are fasting) tomorrow. Our flesh can be so strong.

 I chose Facebook because I am for better or for worse (probably mostly worse) on Facebook a lot.  Sometimes for legitimate reasons and communication…but nothing that can’t wait another day.  Facebook is a big distraction for me which is why I have been keeping the computer off a lot weekday mornings and early afternoons. This past Wednesday I subconsciously kept inching my way towards checking Facebook, but stopped myself and prayed for my kids instead.

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On New Years Eve I was sitting in church with all three of my children.  People in the congregation were reflecting on the year.  Earlier that evening, I had been thinking about how we had hoped to have foster children by the holidays 2013 and how God led us away from this.  It is still hard for me.  I think about foster care every single day.  During the service as one woman was sharing a testimony about her daughter I looked at my own three sitting together. I felt like God was saying to me–”These are YOUR kids.  These three I have given you.  Love them.  Teach them.  Help them grow to know ME more.”

I am not saying we should put all our focus on our bio kids and forget about the orphans, foster children, children in need of mentors, etc.  I think many of us can stretch outside of ourselves and love on these children at risk and in great need.  But we have to do what God has asked us to do and WHEN He asks it of us.  For some reason I think God is growing us all so we can become a foster family in the future or else something similar.  Our hearts are willing and we continue to listen to His wisdom and guidance.

Feel free to join me on Wednesdays as we lift our children in prayer.

Post Christmas Happenings

I love Christmas Break.  It takes on a whole new meaning when you have multiple kids in school.  I have greatly enjoyed the last few post Christmas days with my kids.  Sleeping in, a loose schedule, a chance to get caught on projects (the house is REALLY clean!), family game nights, meals out, and new toys to play with.

For New Years Eve we really wanted to get together with friends.  Back when we lived in Michigan we spent almost every single New Years from the time I was a senior in high school until we moved to Oregon with the friends I went to high school with.  Since moving here we have not had a long standing New Years tradition and it gets a little difficult with young children.  We did have a few friends over–kids and all–and everyone stayed up until midnight.  The News Years ball dropping on TV was followed by the neighbors setting off massive amounts of fireworks.  Thankfully everyone slept in until at least 9 AM and the younger two took LONG afternoon naps on New Years Day.  

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I was going to take the kids our local carousel downtown on News Years Day (because it’s free) but the younger two pretty much slept the entire afternoon.  So we made the day after News Years Day a “Mom and Kids Outing Day.”  The library was having free winter crafts stations.  It was nice break doing lots of crafts with them and not being responsible for the supplies…or the clean-up.

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Then we went upstairs to check out more books and do some light reading.  My younger two love these “silly chairs.”

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And even though the carousel was not free on January 2nd we still went to it.  Since I am a sucker for outings, I let the kids ride twice.  My independent youngest does not like Mom standing by her or holding on to her horse anymore. I actually watched the kids from the side for the first time.  I am OK with this as two rides in a row usually makes me a tad queasy.
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After the carousel we went to Starbucks where I was grateful to use my gift card for a java chip frap and let the kids get something from the bakery case.  We saw the most beautiful sunset and I was quickly snapping photos in the parking lot.  I looked over and saw a gentlemen doing the same thing.  When I returned home Facebook was flooded with “sunset pictures.” Some were even on the news and in the local paper. A winter sunset let alone one this beautiful is very rare here in the Pacific Northwest.  We’re used to clouds, rain, and general blah grayness.  Our rainfall has been extremely low this winter and I am hoping that doesn’t mean we make up for it in the spring.
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My oldest got a rubber band bracelet kit for Christmas.  I was eager to make bracelets with her. After about a half hour of trying and my frustration level rising, I decided to put it away.  I can’t sew anything and did not inherit my mom’s amazing seamstress ability.  But I figured I am pretty good at braiding so this shouldn’t be that hard, right? Well after watching a You Tube video over and over this morning, I completed it!  Now I need to teach her how to do it.

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On Monday it’s back to school and back to early mornings and normal bedtimes.  Hopefully normal eating and exercising too–I’ve been a bit of a slacker.  I am grateful for the last two weeks.  

December 15: Church Christmas Program

I was a little nervous helping with the church Christmas program this year because my musical abilities are quite lacking.  My knowledge of sound equipment is even less.  I had so much help and it was wonderful.  It was a part of the worship service and not a church drama that required kids to memorize lengthy scripts.  Just the children sharing the Christmas story in language they understand and songs that are special to them.  It blended in so nicely with the Advent service.  I was touched by the children’s participation in worship.

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December 14: Special Saturday

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur Saturday with Grandpa and Grandma aka my parents began with a morning of swimming in the Phoenix Inn motel pool where they stayed.

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Then then they took our oldest our for lunch (each child got his or her own turn going out for a meal alone with Grandpa and Grandma–so special for them) and brought her to a birthday party.  Later in the afternoon we saw the movie Frozen which I highly recommend.  Then three overly excited kids opened presents from Grandpa and Grandma.

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The youngest was thrilled to get her own white tiger!  This soft cuddly creature now shares her bed with her.

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The kids each got small gifts for Grandpa and Grandma.  Love it when Christmas comes early!

 

December 6: Snow Day

We did not understand it when we moved to Oregon.  Why this would constitute a snow day.

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I remember the inches upon inches of snow in Michigan and the frigid cold air.  My husband grew up in Canada where it is common to get below zero.  But here in Oregon there’s a couple factors why this is indeed a snow day…and why everything shuts down.

For one we get dangerously icy roads.  There is no salt truck and no snow plows (which also means not as many pot holes or salt wear and tear on the car.)  Sometimes the snow melts quickly because the cold temperatures don’t last, but then when it gets cooler at night it turns to ice.  Also consider the fact no one here knows how to drive in it.  Us Michiganders forget too quickly as well.

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But the kids love snow.  They get giddy, excited, and can’t wait to run around in it.  I have to quickly scurry and find gloves and hats.  They own no snow boots and or snow pants.  I love watching them enjoy it.  Sometimes I’m sad they don’t get to do the sledding, snow forts, and ice skating I did as a kid.  Yet they are making their own memories.  Maybe one of these years we’ll venture to the mountains for winter activities.

To be honest I was very tired of the snow when we were getting ready to move.  I was not disappointed at all Oregon received little snow because I wanted a break from it.  There are times when I do miss the winter wonderland everywhere.

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This little sweetheart I get to watch two days a week.  It’s her first winter and her first Oregon snowfall.

The kids did go to school today, but the school closed at 1 PM.  Tomorrow is supposed to be only a high of 28 which is super cold for us.

Halley’s Comet

Oldest Child: “Mom, when is Halley’s Comet going to come back?”
Me: “Let me google it…not until the year 2061. You will be 56.”
Oldest Child: “How old will you be, Mom?
Me: “84,”
Oldest Child: “You’ll probably be dead.”
Me: “Gee. thanks.”

And I will have you know that I have two living grandmas who have surpassed the age of 84.

 

New adventures this fall

Here in Oregon we went from a summery August to a rainy windy September.  It felt like we skipped from summer to winter with no fall in between.  I’ve never been diagnosed with seasonal affect disorder, but when the weather changes from one extreme to the next does affect my level of anxiety.  Thankfully it’s October and we’ve had many sunny days.  I am glad fall returned.

A few months ago I envisioned this fall being the start of our family becoming a foster family.  We felt like God was calling us in that direction.  Both my husband and I were blessed by the classes and honestly it has given me new tools and parenting skills with my own children, my child care kids, and even my middle schoolers in youth group.  Due to various reasons, that calling is currently on hold.  The main reasons being my husband is busily working on his doctorate and that means two trips to St. Louis in 2014.

I also felt like God was calling me back to work, but not working outside the home.  You really can be a working mom and stay at home mom at the same time.  I currently watch four kids (ages 6 months, 15 months, 4, and 5).  And I absolutely love it.  I had no idea I would enjoy this much.

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It’s been awesome to see the kids come in from school or dropped off and comfortably find the toys they want to play with or share with me about their day.

I noticed when they first came they wandered aimlessly around the house trying to go into rooms they were not supposed to or struggle to focus on one project.  Now they find the toys they like.  They know the routine.  Our “arts and crafts time” around the kitchen lasts much longer because they are more comfortable and engaged.

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My own kids intentionally share their toys with them.  And we’ve done some very fun projects.  Honestly I don’t know (and it’s sad to admit) if I would be this intentional about doing these activities with my own kids if I didn’t have other kids in the house.  These kids are helping me a better mom in a different sort of way.

My own kids have adjusted well.  My oldest does not see the child care kids for more than a half hour in the morning as she is in school all day.  Although the youngest have their moments of insecurity and conflict, they do enjoy the extra kids around.

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I grew up on a street with seven houses.  Almost every single house had  young families.  There was always someone to play with and some game going on.  During the summer months we were outside all day long until the sun set.  We don’t live in that type of neighborhood and the times have changed.  My husband is forever reminding to let our kids create their own childhood and not expect them to have the same childhood as me.

Yet I always envisioned my home being a place with kids going in and out.  I have had to create that with play dates, child care, sleep overs, friends over etc.  I do love calm, serenity, and quiet.  This is why our living room aka my husband’s sanctuary is off limits to younger children.  But I do love a house with energy, noise, and activities.

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