Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Today's example? I went to the grocery store prepared to spend 1.89/lb for 80% lean ground beef. Not a super great price, but tolerable, and we'd gone without long enough. While leaning over the meat I found a marked-down package of 85% lean ground beef for just 1.49/lb. "Thank you Lord!" escaped my lips without me realizing I was thinking it.
A year ago I would have missed it, simply because I bought ground beef whenever I wanted it regardless of price.
I'll have to pay attention more often so that my Lord may be more greatly praised.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
I view Friday as an "interim" cleaning day - the big cleaning is done on Tuesday but we spruce things up a bit on Fridays. This involves switching out all of the kitchen and bathroom towels for clean ones, watering the indoor plants, emptying the wastebaskets, doing a quick bathroom wipe-down, and sweeping the kitchen floor. The kids help with nearly everything, though I usually do the sweeping myself!
After that's done, we head outside as long as the weather is cooperative. During the summer we often go to Storybook Island or Old MacDonald's Farm and in the fall and spring it's more often feeding ducks at the lake or playing at the playground. The winter just depends: if it's a particularly nasty day we may go to the play area at the mall, or we may just find another friend to play with at home. Today was a beautiful playground-day; we spent time throwing sticks in the creek too. It's so much fun to watch the sticks float away!
While the kids nap, I catch up on projects from sewing to bills. Today I need to work on my plans for a bridal shower that I'm hosting next week and get all of the October birthday cards ready for the mail.
Often after naps on Fridays we end up doing some baking for the weekend ahead: chuch potluck, extended-family dinner, company over - it seems there's always something going on!
At suppertime we load up and head to the "ISI house" - home of the international students ministry we help with. We've found that our kids are actually a great asset as we seek to connect with people from other cultures - Isaac and Abby are just so cute! We stay for supper, visiting and worship and then the kids and I come home for bed while Keith stays to teach an Introduction to Christianity class.
That's what our Fridays look like! To read about the other days of our week, click below:
And be sure to check out what works for others at Rocks in My Dryer!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Or so I thought.
First, I discovered that while there are no actual blackout dates over the holidays, the WorldPerks seats for each flight are limited and therefore SOLD OUT far in advance. That limited our travel to the first two weeks in November or the first two weeks in December. Nothing that remotely approached an actual holiday.
So we switched the plan to travelling between Thanksgiving and Christmas, deciding to just grin and bear all the extra vacation days we'd have to use up. We'd try to fly before Abby's December 5 birthday, maybe even celebrating her birthday in Texas.
Except that when you read the fine print, an infant only flies free when accompanying a paying adult. Keith using WorldPerks miles didn't qualify. Oh, well - we decided we'd pay for his ticket so that Abby could fly free.
Except that infants only fly free if they complete travel before their second birthday. Letting Abby turn two in Texas would necessitate buying her a ticket. BUT we couldn't fly before her second birthday because anything that would get us home before December 5 was a "not-really-blacked-out-just-sold-out" date for WorldPerks.
So we'll still go December 4-9, only we'll have to buy Abby a ticket. But Keith should be able to use his miles now, right?
Nope. Apparently I misread the credit card fine print too. 22,000 credit card reward miles does NOT equal 22,000 WorldPerks miles. Instead, it equals a measly $150 travel credit.
So we got two free tickets through my WorldPerks account and have to pay for two. Could be worse. And it is.
Because we have to pay $52 in taxes for each free ticket.
So much for our free trip.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Experiment 1: Will a "nonscheduled baby" (according to her Mama) respond to a schedule?
Results: I was surprised when three-month-old Abby's mama said that she probably wouldn't nap until 11am or noon. So I decided to try my baby-whispering techniques and watch for yawns and listen for a "tired cry". Sure enough at 9:30 I'd seen two yawns and was hearing the short, coughing cry that means "I'm tired" - it's apparently a universal language. Baby Abby is said to throw a fit when going down for naps, but I laid her down in a quiet room and she went to sleep without a peep.
Experiment 2: Will I like my new RubyToots baby sling?
Results: It's very easy to put on and put baby in, but I still have a sore shoulder after only about half an hour of wearing the sling. I need to experiment with the strap placement on my shoulder. However, I did manage to do the lunch clean-up INCLUDING removing my Abby from her highchair while wearing the baby.
Experiment 3: Will my kids do okay when our new baby comes?
Results: I think we'll be just fine. My Abby loves babies, and she has been very gentle and nurturing, bringing toys, talking to the baby, etc. Isaac is SO different from the unknowing brute he was when his sister was born - instead of tackling the baby he's trying to help care for her and being truly careful. Thank you Lord!
Monday, September 22, 2008
"Most of us know what it is to be overwhelmed in heart. Discoveries of inward corruption will do this if the Lord permits the deep waters of our sinful nature to become troubled and cast up mire and dirt. Disappointments and heartbreaks will do this when billow after billow rolls over us, and we are like a broken shell hurled about by the surf. Blessed be God, at such times we are not without an all-sufficient solace. Our God is the harbor of weather-beaten ships, the hospice of forlorn pilgrims. He is higher than we are. His mercy is higher than our sins, and His love is higher than our thoughts . . . Our confidence is fixed upon our high and glorious Lord. He is a Rock since He never changes, and He is a high Rock because the tempests which overwhelm us roll far below at His feet."
~ C.H. Spurgeon
Saturday, September 20, 2008
I try to remind myself that a lot of the things that annoy adults about children are not actually moral failures on the part of the children, they're just things that kids are learning about, experimenting with, and growing from. Laughing at bodily functions. Snitching food from the counter. Bouncing off the walls.
This list gave me some more good ideas on areas I can relax the rules and just have a little fun with my kids.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
From the time Isaac was very small, he virtually refused to fall asleep when he was being held. He had to be laying in his bed away from any commotion in order to doze off. Otherwise, everything going on around him was far too interesting to allow his eyes to close.
We attempted to violate this principle just a couple of times, once when he was about fifteen months old. Out and about touring the city of Chicago, we reasoned that surely he would reach a point of such exhaustion that he would sleep for a while in the stroller.
It was not to be. We strolled at the museum, along the lakefront, through the busy downtown. He wouldn't so much as lay down - all of the sights were so engaging. He didn't nap all day long, and even as we walked back to our car (past his bedtime, in the dark) he would not allow sleep to come.
My daughter is not that way. We took a long but lovely walk after lunch today, Isaac riding his bike and me pushing Abby in her stroller. At 12:30, she was asleep in the stroller (before her normal naptime) regardless of the hot sun and constant chatter between myself and Isaac. At 12:36, I woke her up.
I laid the kids down for naps at 1pm, thinking of course my poor little dear was still so exhausted. But she must not be. It's 1:53pm and she's still babbling away in her crib.
Kids are nothing like a good science experiment: instead of being repeatable, results generally confound me.
That's what I've been doing with a long list of phone calls I have to make. I am NOT a phone person.
So instead of procrastinating one more day by writing a wonderful, eloquent blog post, I'm off to find my phone.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
If you were to ask me how my day is going, I might say, "We're off to a good start! I'm rejoicing because this morning my little guy asked me what it means to be a righteous man."
We had lots of fun this morning too - isn't going to the playground YOUR favorite thing to do?
I laid the kids down for nap on a high - my little lady (21 months) "read" a story TO ME before her nap. THAT is exciting.
Though I write this with a bit of a humorous tone - that really IS my life and nothing excites me more than sitting in this front-row seat, watching them grow.
I don't have a "life". But I wouldn't have it any other way.
"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 10:39
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
We ate at fun restaurants, shopped at cute shops, went for a long drive in the Hills, played Dance Dance Revolution (!), spent our nights in a cute little cabin, watched movies, played games . . . and best of all, went hiking by ourselves for the first time since Isaac was born.
It was cloudy and misty when we set off, but it didn't really rain until we made it back to the car. We hiked down a beautiful green canyon, rock-hopping over a creek to make it to the location known as Devil's Bathtub. It was cool, dark, quiet, peaceful. All the things that hiking with the children usually are not. Of course I love taking them hiking. But the silence - oh yes. The sounds of rushing water, of birds high in the trees, of the wind rushing through the treetops, the stillness of the canyon. Oh yes. Wonderful. See for yourselves.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
At 9:00 we head to the library to pick out books before the 9:30 story-time. The kids really enjoy going and it is good practice for them to sit still and focus while the librarian reads. After we arrive home around 10:30, two of my nephews come to spend a couple of hours with us. This is one of the highlights of Isaac's week, and he is always so sad if they can't come. Four kids four years old and younger makes for an exciting morning, and generally everyone plays very well together. I feed the kids lunch before the boys leave, then my kids go down for their naps.
Thursdays are another "project" day for me during nap-time. I work on anything from sewing to phone calls to lesson planning. Usually I give myself the first portion of that time as a little break - I catch up on email, read my favorite blogs, and post on my blog! Then it's on to whatever project on the to-do list manages to call my name the loudest.
After naps we usually play outside or go for a walk until it's time to prepare supper. Keith is always home at suppertime and then it's generally his call on how to spend the evening - yard work, family bike ride, playing quietly at home or whatever else sounds good!
To read about how we spend other days of our week, click these links:
And for other helpful "works for me ideas", be sure to check out Rocks in My Dryer.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
But the most fun I had all morning was when we returned home: rolling around the yard together and hearing my son's infectious laughter when I started a grass fight.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
there is no sense in not appreciating things;
and there is no sense in having more of them
if you have less appreciation of them."
We roll and tumble our souls in beds of roses,
"Lord, may I see and appreciate each small daily gift of love You give, and may I bathe my soul each moment in the remembrance of the rich and bountiful grace You've given."
Monday, September 8, 2008
Dining room, living room and kitchen strewn with coffee mugs, wine glasses and pasta plates at midnight = an hour of clean-up the next morning
An evening of laughter, reminiscing and memory-making with friends old and new?
Friday, September 5, 2008
I took that ten dollars to the wholesale bread store and bought four loaves of bread, two packages of bagels, a package of hotdog buns and a box of English muffins.
Don't you just love seeing how far ZERO dollars will go?
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Before she comes, the kids help me with a couple of little chores, like emptying the wastebaskets or unloading the dishwasher. We often use Wednesday mornings to tackle a little project, like cleaning the patio area or making granola bars. This morning we transferred all of the kids' winter clothes (hand-me-downs and yard sale finds) from storage boxes to their drawers. It's starting to feel like fall around here!
During the kids' naps I don't have a set agenda for Wednesdays. I always have things that need to get done - like paying bills or writing thank you notes. There are also always a few projects in the works - sewing or preschool planning or whatever. Wednesdays are nice catch-up days: if the cleaning didn't quite get finished on Tuesday, there's time to tackle it on Wednesday.
What works for you? To see what my other days of the week look like, click here:
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Tearing apart toys.
Hurting his little sister.
Climbing all over the grocery cart.
Saying unkind things.
I thought he needed to run off some energy outside, but that backfired too. Instead he got to sit on a chair in the kitchen while I unpacked the groceries and made lunch.
What WAS his problem?
Or MY problem, maybe - could he have sensed the mile-long to-do list in my head? Could he tell that my focus was not on him? Behaving badly = attention (albeit negative) from Mama. Behaving well = Mama rushing around trying to accomplish two days worth of work in one (and ignoring Isaac).
A lesson to remember.