Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tidal Wave

"The Tide dominated on both offense and defense against the Tigers." ESPN.com

ROLL TIDE!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thursday Thanks Tank #54


Ahhh... the day is done... almost, anyway. The kids are in bed. I have a candle burning and Norah Jones playing. It is peaceful inside the house. It is also a beautiful night. I am sitting outside on my patio, listening to the evening sounds in the neighborhood. It is beginning to get dark. I am the most relaxed I have been all day (OH! and I just had 2 of those minature heath bars!!). I am thankful for the peaceful end to the busyness of my day. I am thankful. Here's my Thursday Thanks Tank:
1. A great visit with some friends: Our friends, the McCoys (Minus the Mr.), were in town through the past weekend. I had such a great time. I am thankful for the vist.
2. MOPS: I am thrilled that MOPS (Mother's of Preschoolers) is getting ready to start here. I am excited about what the leadership team has been planning. I am so happy to be making friends in this group.
3. David's preschool: David hasn't started preschool yet but he did have his orientation this week. I am extremely thankful for the open communication I have with his teacher about his peanut allergy.
4. Heath Bar Minatures: I know, this is overkill since I posted about them earlier in the week. Still, they are yummy and I have been enjoying them all week. I am almost finished with the bag (yikes!) and I am not buying more (until at least it gets a little closer to Halloween).
5. Summer: This is our last week of summer break. I am thankful for this summer. I have enjoyed all of the sunshine. I am also thankful for being content to be home most of the summer. At some point in the Spring, the thought of not having a big trip planned made sad. I have been able to enjoy home and family. That's a big blessing!
6. Scrapbooking: This past weekend my friend Kim and I went to a scrapbooking workshop. It was wonderful to scrapbook again! I hadn't done anything in... well, since a few months before Elisabeth was born (so about a year). I am thankful for scrapbooking and all the pictures I have-- especially of my "babies". I have been working on it more this week and I am loving it.
7. Hugs from my Kids: I was not really at my best today. I guess, honestly, neither were my kids! But, at several points in the day I either got hugs from my kids or I gave hugs to my kids. That is truly a wonderful feeling.

That's it for me tonight. Take time to be thankful--you will be better off for it.

This Job Isn't Boring

Today I have been:

A Referee
A Chef
A Navigator (to someone lost driving by my house)
A Prisoner (gotta love kid handcuffs!)
A Trash Collector
An Event Planner
A Schedule Organizer
A Personal Groomer
A Disciplinarian
A Receiver of spewed baby food (Elisabeth doesn't seem to like squash)
An advocate of summer (it is sunny and 80 outside with a nice breeze and my kids want to be inside)
A Teacher
A Temptation Resister (been tempted to "eliminate" in some way or another all of the video games in our house)
A Comforter (a few boo boos and lots of hurt feelings)

I have been too busy and taxed by what has been a very demanding day (and it is only 2 p.m.). I am looking forward to calmly cultivating a thankful spirit. For now, I am just going try to appreciate that I am not bored at work.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Works-For-Me Wednesday: Music Makers

I was surprised to find that my boys loved playing with some simple music makers. All 3 boys (ages 7, 4, and 3) had a blast making loud music and dancing around. They were laughing a lot! Talk about simple! Take an empty aluminum cylinder container (like a pringles can or hot chocolate can) and add a few bouncy balls inside. The boys had a blast and couldn't stop performing when I began to video them. I took so many videos of their entertainment.

Here's a video of the whole band.
video

Stop over at Rocks In My Dryer for more Works-For-Me Wednesday posts.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Trying-it-Out Tuesday

I am trying out something new this week and so far I am getting good results. I cannot take credit for the idea because I read it in a magazine. I do want to take credit for trying it out, though, because it goes against my nature.

School starts next week. During the school year, we get our kids in bed nice and early. Jonathan's bus comes really early in the morning. It picks him up at 7:15 this year (a whole 15 minutes earlier than last year). Jonathan requires a lot of sleep. At the beginning of last school year we were getting him in bed by 8 and he was complaining every day that he was not getting enough sleep. It was also really hard to wake him up. So, we moved bedtime up to 7:30. It helped some. I wish I could say 30 minutes made a huge difference but I just don't know about that. Anyway, this summer our kids have been staying up till around 9 on most nights.

The idea I am trying: Start the school schedule the week before school. That way, you are transitioning before school starts.

The last 2 nights my kids have been in bed by 7:30. Mornings are hard for me (I am not a morning person) so I haven't been waking Jonathan up at 6:30 yet. Yesterday they all woke up on their own at 7 a.m. and this morning it was 6:45. Yes, it IS early! But, it feels good because I am choosing it and not being forced into it. (My husband says this School Schedule idea is as much for the parents as for the kids! I really agree with that.)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Irresistable

I should NOT have bought these this weekend. They are so small that they are easy to eat without thinking much about it... too easy...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

IPOD Mystery

One thing I just don't get:

This weekend my husband borrowed my friend's CD, "80's Power Balads," and loaded it on his IPOD. My husband has never borrowed any of my U2 CDs. In fact, he does not have any U2 songs on his IPOD.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Not Well

I feel sick. Not only did Seth dress Elsie this morning in a sweet pink UT onesie (Thank you Colliers) but when I had to run to the store before breakfast, I grabbed my UT hat. After breakfast, Seth was playing and singing Rocky Top and playing the UT fight song. I feel sick. These pictures prove I am not well...


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thursday Thanks Tank #53



My heart is happy and my head is full of thankful thoughts. Here are some of them:

1. Extended Warranty: We had car trouble this past weekend. On Monday we discovered that our extended warranty covered the work.
2. My baby girl resting her head on my shoulder: Elisabeth was pretty tired this afternoon. She missed a nap. She was so sweet laying her head on my shoulder.
3. Kid JOY: It is satisfying to watch the kids the put everything they have into playing... EVEN when it is in a stuffy and VERY loud McDonalds playland.
4. Sunshine and Rain: I am thankful for the blue skies we saw today after 4 days of rain. I have finally figured out how to feel thankful for the rain... my grass is looking nice and green!
5. Girl Time: I am about to go out to a late movie! I have been getting some quality girl time this week because my friend Kim is visiting. It is refreshing and fun, fun, fun!
6. Swimming Lessons: Tonight was the last night of swim lessons this session for my kids. I have just loved watching them in their lessons. They have loved it and it has been fun to watch them play and learn.

That's it for now! I am off to the movies. Woo hoo!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Trying Tuesday

This Tuesday morning I am trying to get a grip on my day. I woke up angry at the morning. I did not sleep well. At some point my 4 year old woke me up saying he heard a scratching noise. I was absolutely out of it when he woke me up in the middle of the night. He climbed in bed with me and I proceeded to try to comfort and talk to him while I was sleeping. My husband ended up taking him to bed. Sometime later (not sure of the time because my eyes couldn't focus) I was jolted out of my slumber by the sound of my 3 year old screaming from upstairs. He was up and needed to go the bathroom. Instead of coming downstairs for help (like he often does) or calling us from upstairs (like he sometimes does), or even just simply crying (which us usually does), he was screaming at the top of his lungs. I bounded upstairs as quickly as possible. I got him to the the bathroom and back in bed. Not long after I lay down (it couldn't have been that long because I was sleeping so lightly), my sleep was broken by the sound of a dog peeing. Yep, my dog peed in the house. (What in the world?!) I nudged my husband and he got up for that one. This morning right before 7, I heard the thundering sounds of my kids feet in their bedroom above mine. It was not a happy sound to my ears. It was too early for kid noise. Then, my sweet baby who normally wakes up around 8:30 started crying about 7:20. She was awake because she had pooped. I thought to myself... I hate this day already. I said outloud, "This is going to be the worst day." I cannot explain accurately just how grumpy I felt when I got up. (My husband could describe it in great detail.) I convinced my kids to play in their room. I got my baby comfortable, safe and entertained. I reheated my coffee (for the 2nd or 3rd time) and went outside. I sat out on my patio and prayed. My prayer was the prayer of a child. This is too much God. I am not ready for today. I can't handle this. Give me grace. Help me not kill my kids ("give me patience"). Give me energy. Help me. Give me. Give me. Give me. I felt so small praying this way but it was all I could do.
I opened the Psalms to the 19th one. I found "The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant." I remembered wanting to be "radiant" when I read Psalm 34 on Thursday. I turned the pages there. It says, "I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant." I thought to myself: "Ok, God. I am looking to you." I read on and found this: "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." I certainly felt crushed in spirit.
That's what I am trying out today... finding joy in the "precepts of the Lord", "seeking the Lord" and just simply resting in the fact that the "Lord is close" to me. I am not facing a tramatic event or especially trying tribulation. It is just Tuesday at my house. I am comforted to know that I can become "radiant" as I look to him.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My Favorite Family Restaurant

We don't eat out much. We just don't. Much of the reason is because it just isn't relaxing taking our crew (7 yr old, 4 yr old, 3 yr old, and 9 month old) out. Another reason is simply because we enjoy not spending a ton of money on food that the family may or may not love. A third reason is that when you have child with a food allergy, eating out feels a bit like mission impossible. There are so many things to consider.

I was delighted recently to read that Red Robin caters to people with food allergies. The information came from a few allergy blogs that I read from time to time. It is hard to convey how suprised and excited I was to read that Red Robin had a special peanut allergy menu at participating locations. Naturally, I called up our Red Robin to see if they had the allergy menu. The hostess was very nice but unaware. She put me on hold a few times while she talked to the manager to get answers. Then she let me know that they do have a peanut allergy menu that they print on request. She told me that they had just printed one out for me. Since it was the 2nd of August, I immediately decided that I should take David on his Date to Red Robin!

When we arrived a few hours later for dinner, the hostess working was not the same hostess I had talked to on the phone. I had to re-explain about the allergy menu. The menu was found pretty quickly. We sat down and I enjoyed reading the Peanut Allergy Menu. I was slightly concerned that the menu said in bold print that was valid only until the end of July. I asked the waiter about it and he said he would check for me. A manager came and talked to me and explained that a new regular menu was coming out Aug 12 and that the allergy menu would be updated then. I was fine with that. I was touched by concern and kindness of the manager. She talked to me about David's allergy for a couple of minutes and explained that when they are alerted that someone has an allergy, they make sure that one person preps that person's food (instead of the food being passed down the food prep line).

We have eaten at Red Robin countless times and we have never had an allergy problem. Getting the Peanut Allergy menu was eye opening. It states that the Red Robin seasoning that they put on their burgers and fries are not "peanut safe". Thank goodness we have never had a problem with that. I ordered David a plain burger. I realized a few minutes after we ordered that I forgot to ask for fries without the seasoning. I thought about how many times he had eaten those fries and wondered if I should let it slide or if I could allow myself to ignore the new information. The manager brought out our food. She told me she went ahead and left off the seasoning off the fries. I thought that was very thoughtful! Before we left the table, when we were about done, another manager (presumably a higher level manager) came directly to our table and asked how everything was for us.

It was such a great experience. They do not claim that the allergy menu can keep an allergy sufferer safe. In fact, there are warnings on it that say that they cannot guarentee allergy safety in their restaraunt. I understand the legal reasons for that. I am impressed that Red Robin has gone to the effort it has to provide for customers with food allergies. (They also have a wheat/gluten free menu.) I was delighted by the service and care we got. I didn't expect it them to be going out of their way. It was extremely nice.

Red Robin has been a favorite of mine for a long time. I like it even more now.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thursday Thanks Tank #52


I am thankful for:
1. Friends that Travel: We had some wonderful friends visit us this past weekend. I am still thinking about how much fun it was to be with them.
2.Encouragement: I appreciate the encouragement I have been getting lately. My husband has encouraged me. My Monday Moms group has encouraged me. My Dad has encouraged me. My sister has encouraged me. It is wonderful to receive encouragement in what ever form: emails, phone calls or conversation.
3.Clean Clutter Corner: I have this one space on my counter right next to my refrigerator where clutter accumulates. I tackled the clutter pile today and the corner is clean!
4.Today’s “Simple Mom” post: I enjoy this blog from time to time but today’s post hit me right where I needed it—it got right to my heart. I needed a reminder to ENJOY my job!
5. Hearing my 7 year old claim he followed a Bible Verse and agreeing with him: Yesterday Jonathan said he and his brothers were following Psalm 133:1 (a verse he is learning at church). It was “good” and VERY “pleasant” to be able to agree with him!
6. Homemade Pizzas: We have been making our own pizza’s lately. I think it has been once a week! Sometimes we make our own crust and other times (like tonight), I use the Pillsbury Pizza Crust that you just roll out and bake. I just love pizza!
7. My new cell Phone: I am really enjoying the new phone my husband got me for my birthday.
8. Baby Girl Dresses and Kisses: I gotta tell ya, Elisabeth is sweet in dresses! She has been "kissing" today. She puckers up and sucks her lip until she makes a kissing sound. It is so adorable! I just love it.

Alright, time for my pizza to come out of the oven! I hope the rest of your Thursday is great and that you take time to be thankful.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wednesday Words



"So why do we worry? Because we do not believe. We are not really convinced that the same Jesus who can keep a sparrow in the air knows where our lost luggage is, or how we are going to pay that auto repair bill, or how we can get to our destination on time. Or if we believe that he can deliver us through our difficulties, we doubt if he will. We let Satan sow seeds of doubt into our minds about his love and care for us... We are to pray about everything. Nothing is to big for him to handle, and nothing is too small to escape his attention."(see Philippians 4:6-7) Jerry Bridges, The Practice of Godliness

I read this last night and it struck a chord with me. I have not been worrying much lately but I realized that I have been failing to include God in the little details of my life. I go through times when I pray more about "big" events or concerns. This was a fantastic reminder to me to include God in my daily routine by praying about my little concerns.

This morning I read:
"I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame." Psalm 34:4-5

I am striving to be radiant today!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Thursday Thanks Tank #51


Today I am thankful for many, many things. I started my list early in the day and then the day got away from me. So, here is some of what I am thankful for:

1. Birthday Love: I received so much love yesterday as I celebrated my birthday. It was a great day and I have so many wonderful friends and family!
2. Peaceful Afternoons: This afternoon I got 3 out of my 4 children to take a nap at the same time. What a wonderful surprise bit of peace and quiet.
3. New Friendships: I am getting to know some new friends with the MOPS group here.
4. Fajitas: My husband made fajitas for me last night (yes, he grilled the meat and made all the fixins!) They were so yummy and I enjoyed leftovers today.
5. Otter Pops: Really, these popsicles are ingenious. The kids think they are the best. There is little to no mess AND they come 100 in a box.
6. Kind Neighbors: We were invited to a neighbor’s house tonight for dinner. The neighbors have a quiet house (a one child- soon to be 2 child family). We came with our 4 kids and felt welcome.
7. My bed: Man, I am tired. I am thankful for my wonderful bed… goodnight…

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

35 Things

Here are 35 things I have discovered during the last year:

1. I can survive without regular trips to Starbucks.
2. I accomplish more being weak and in prayer than being strong and determined.
3. In a small town, going across town is considered a long way.
4. Distance cannot stop Friendships.
5. Fields can be beautiful.
6. It is fun showing the boys “girly stuff” for Elisabeth.
7. Txt msging is fun.
8. I realized (yet again) that giving birth is different each time.
9. It makes me happy to see dolls in my house.
10. Loosing a pet is hard.
11. Riding my bike is refreshing to my soul and great for my body.
12. I enjoy playing the Wii even though I lose to most everyone I play.
13. It is exceptionally nice that my husband doesn’t have PT every morning.
14. I don’t realize the impact I have on other people.
15. I love trying new recipes.
16. I like having cut grass more than I hate having to cut it.
17. I enjoy making school lunches for my son.
18. Cost Co is absolutely worth it.
19. Heath Bars are my favorite candy bars.
20. I have to be unapologetic about being vocal about David allergy.
21. I don’t want my daughter to wear UT Orange.
22. I am a “peacemaker” (according to 2 separate personality tests that I took with 2 unassociated groups of people).
23. Some people have a very incorrect perception of me.
24. Giving my kids individual attention is as beneficial to me as it is to them.
25. I was not wrong about how happy air conditioning makes me.
26. I can sing along to “Feelin’ Good Again” without realizing it.
27. Keeping my bedroom clean is a wonderful priority.
28. I don’t like the idea of a frog loose in my house.
29. I don’t miss traffic jams.
30. Having to take a Driver’s License written exam makes me nervous.
31. Three major life changes (my husband changing careers, moving, and having a baby) created unlimited opportunity for growth as a individual and in my marriage.
32. I miss having Krispy Kreme doughnuts and it is hard to explain to a 4 year-old that we can’t just hop in the car and head to the
”doughnut place” (that is 2 hours away).
33. It is hard to have my bedroom on the same floor as the living room when it is Saturday morning and I am trying to sleep in.
34. The gift of “cleaning the house” for Mother’s Day is a beautiful and thoughtful gift.
35. I hate making resolutions but I love setting goals.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Tasty Tuesday

This recipe was such a hit last week. Everyone loved it! In my house, to get a 100% approval on a meal is almost unheard of. We will definitely be having this one again. I found the recipe in my Bethany MOPS cookbook.

COLA CHICKEN

1/2 cup chopped onion
2 T vegatable oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 can (12 oz) cola
1 cup ketchup
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
4 1/2 tsp cornstarch
3 T. cold water

In a skillet, saute onion in oil until tender. Add chicken; brown on all sides. Carefully add cola, ketchup, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. Remove the chicken and keep warm. Combine the cornstarch and cold water until smooth; add to skillet juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Return chicken to pan and heat through. Makes 4 servings.

(For my non-ketchup loving friend, you should consider trying this even though it has ketchup in it. It was yummy!)

Friday, August 01, 2008

One-on-One Time with the Kids

Once my 2nd child was born I realized the need to spend one-on-one time with each child. I also quickly recognized that time was almost impossible to find. I had to work hard—really hard—to give each child individual attention. Each new child and all the new activities that come with having more children just multiplied my struggle.

I am so excited to have found something that works for me! This past month I tried out my new “Date with Momma” idea. It was met with enthusiasm from all.

Once a month I am going to go on a date with each child. The dates are scheduled on each child’s birthday anniversary. (For example, David was born on Sept 2nd so on July 2nd I took him out on a date.) This helps me because I have a date to plan around. This makes it intentional. The dates are going to be time slots of one-on-one time with Momma. I have explained to each child that some months it might be a bike ride with mom or a trip to the park with momma. Other months it might be dinner with mom or another activity (that costs a little bit of money). If we have something else that needs to happen on the birthday anniversary (like in July we were traveling during the week I would have had 2 Momma dates and I couldn't manage the time), we will just postpone the date a week.

What I realized last night as I was on my last July date is that I am benefiting from this as much as my children. The time is spent focused on laughing and loving my child. I am not distracted by my housework, other children, the computer, or anything else. I am not looking at my watch trying to mentally plan what’s coming next in my day. I am focused on my child. I am wrapped up in loving that child. I wanted to bless my children. I never imagined how much it would encourage me as a mom.

This month the kids all choose different activities. Oh ya, this month for the 1st date, I gave them each a choice when it was time for their date. They all made different choices. I think that highlights their individuality. David chose to go bowling. Thomas chose to go out for dessert. Jonathan chose to go swimming.

Here are some pictures of our 1st Dates:







I didn't take Elisabeth on a date. I am cherishing her special moments... like dressing her up in sweet dresses and letting her fall asleep in my arms. Here's the most recent picture of me holding her.