Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My little guy and his alphabet!

I sometimes get so busy with my girls' school work and forget about my little guy Easton.  Good thing he can talk...because he reminds me every day that we have to do school with him...we haven't done much...except work on his letters.  I hope he continues his enthusiasm for learning when we get into more complicated things.  I really, really hope he is like his daddy...who is a walking encyclopedia...seriously.  Love them both! 

Anyways, for some odd reason I was holding my phone while we were working on his letters and he asked me to take a video so he could see here is our best shot!  He loves watching my videos on my phone...and calling people...sorry if you have been one of those lucky recipients (Reece, Megan, Angie, and others that I haven't noticed::))

Isn't he cute?  I think so:)  Weston was trying to that is why I was throwing the cards at him in the end:)  Enjoy!

and as I was getting ready to publish this...I remembered I had my sweet Katelyn on video when she was that age!

***I am sure only my parents care about this post, but I thought I would post anyways***

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Perfectly Imperfect.

What we DON’T do defines us as much as what we DO do.

 Do you ever have this overwhelming pressure that you are doing everything wrong and everyone else seems to be doing it all right?  In the world of facebook, blogs, pinterest, and technology in general, it is hard to get wrapped up in what others are doing…doesn’t it seem like other people have it altogether and have all their dots on their i’s and all of their t’s crossed?   After reading this post at:  Simple Mom.
I decided to write a similar post about what I don’t do…..

I don’t:
  • Garden.  I tried.  I would like to try again…but hate pulling weeds…it hurts my hands (even with gloves).  I forgot about our garden after a while…and I don’t like fresh vegetables very well.
  • Eat organically.  I try to get in and out of the store….fast.  I don’t have time to look at labels or even find the organic section…or go to a special store that sells it. 
  • Exercise.  I would like to.  I am worried that my back will go out again.  My goal is to start back on our bike…soon. 
  • Let my kids stay up past 8:00pm when we are home.  Sometime that is the first moment of silence I have had all day.  I start the countdown at approximately 6:30pm…sometimes sooner.
  • Stay in touch with my close friends very well. 
  • Know how to decorate very well…despite having sold Uppercase Living…a home decoration….my husband is way better at that than me.
  • Coupon.  I tried.  It was too much work.
  • Read to my kids if it is past their bedtime.
  • Bathe my kids every day….unless they are really smelly or we have gone swimming.  3 times a week will do.
  • Enjoy catering to idle people who have arms and legs that are fully functioning. 
  • Read my Bible as often as I should.
  • Have live plants in our house. I forget to water them...and they die.
  • Like having a dog.  Maybe if we had a fenced in yard...I would like it...not sure.  
  • Appreciate when people give me a guilt trip for having 4 kids...we wanted to have at least 4 kids...what am I supposed to do...return one to the hospital?
  • Make my kids get dressed every day.  It just creates more laundry for me to do.
  • Do laundry every day.  I only do it twice a week…unless there is an emergency.
  • Wash my towels after every bath…shouldn’t you be clean after you get out of the bath?
  • Care if our kids get dirty...unless they are in church clothes or we are going somewhere.  Living where we live...I have accepted our kids will get dirty...because they are simply, and they like dirt.
  • Make my kids eat their meals if they don’t like it.  They can starve….they won’t die.
  • Take criticism very well from people that haven’t been in my shoes.
  • Put myself before others.  I would rather cook a meal for another family, than for my own.
  • Make lesson plans or keep a planner. I keep everything in my head.  I should probably start writing things down.  I try…but always forget about the list or thing that I wrote down…somewhere.
  • Talk on the phone very often.  I like to chat with friends...but feel bad for calling thinking I might be interrupting something.
  • Vaccinate my kids…one of these days we probably will, but I truly fear that they could suffer a severe reaction when they are young…like I did….but my mom was smart enough to stop.
  • Show enough appreciation for my parents.
  • Mop our floors…but maybe once or twice a month….Actually I haven’t in a few months…(I hope my husband doesn’t see this…I kept forgetting to buy the spray at the store….but finally remembered…so I will get to that one of these days).
  • Buy my kids new clothes….except if I can get a good deal at an outlet mall.  Consignment stores and garage sales work for me.
  • Make my kids make their beds every day.
  • Dust enough.  It drives my husband crazy….sorry hon.  I do my best.
  • Take vitamins.  I have tried…but always forget…maybe they have a vitamin that helps with forgetfulness…Oh wait…I would probably forget to take them.
  • Shower everyday when my husband is out of town…and we don’t plan on going anywhere.
  • Update my kids’ baby books like I should.  Not even sure I have started on my 1 year olds yet.
  • Write thank you cards enough.
  • Compliment my children enough.
  • Care if my kids play sports or not. I am leaning for the latter.   
  • Overly sanitize our kids (and myself).  We need to build up our immune system some how. 
  • Freak out if our kids pick up something and eat it off of the floor. 
  • Leave the house everyday….sometimes only once or twice a week…except for church.  We get more done that way.
  • Appreciate when people tell me I don't discipline our kids enough (or the right way).
  • Dust for cobwebs...unless my husband mentions them...sorry honey.
  • Vacuum unless we have company coming husband is really good at it...why waste his special talent?
  • Wake up before my kids….ever.
  • Keep up with the latest trends…I am a bit behind…I don’t hit the malls or shop at clothing stores very often.   I actually really don’t care about keeping up with what is in style.
  • Get what people do during the day/night…when they don’t work…have kids to care for…and are perfectly capable and able to work---even a simple part time job...or volunteer work.  
  • Think I would ever go back to teaching in a public school setting....even if I had to re-enter the working world.  I think I would go back to school to become a labor and delivery nurse or become a certified midwife.
  • Regret going to college….I needed something to do before I got married and had kids…but am not going to push my kids to go if they don’t want or need to go.  It is a complete waste of time and money for the most part unless you need a certificate to practice something.
  • Have a lot of close friends….and I am ok with that. 
Gosh I have a lot of don’ts on my list….so do I do anything?

I try to take care of my family to the best of my ability.  As overwhelming as some days are…I wouldn’t trade a single minute of my life for someone else who seems to have it altogether.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Weston is 1 years old!

My sweet little baby boy is 1 today!  Boy has this year flown by fast!  He is so precious to us and couldn't imagine our lives any other way!  We can't wait to see him grow up and see where the Lord leads him to go in his life!  I can't wait to watch our boys bond with each other in brotherhood.

We enjoyed cake and ice cream for his birthday!  Oooops...forgot to buy him a present...:(  so no opening present pictures except for at a little family party that Sean's family threw for the kids back in September ! 

Some milestones for our little guy--
  • He is a full time walker how that makes him seem a lot older.  
  • He is eating people food pretty much full time as well and I have almost weaned him from formula-- yeah!!
  • He only has 2 teeth.  He is probably following in Jocelyn's footsteps in the tooth department.   She had only 4 teeth when she turned 2. 
  • He can say a few words such as more, night night, mama, dada, and something for dog.
  • He likes to fight with his brother.  
  • He gets mad when another kid are hogging me...and fights them off in any way that he can.
  • I think his favorite person (besides me) is Sean and my dad.  He does not like my mom yet...or really very many other people.  
  • Jocelyn is his best friend right now.
  • He likes to hand out raspberries on my tummy...he thinks it is just about the funniest thing.
  • He like to play in the dog water and eat dog food.
               Happy birthday to our sweet little guy!

My 11 lb baby boy!!

Opening present at a birthday party back in September!
I made him a cake with a train on it!
Not sure about this hat thing...all of our other kids wore this hat for their first birthday!
Ready to eat cake and ice cream!

Enjoyed every single bite!

Friday, November 25, 2011

The good, the bad, and the ugly of black Thursday/Friday!

I had my first black Friday experience 6 years ago when we were visiting family in Missouri.  Sean's aunt, my brother-in-law, and I woke up early, drove out to Wal-mart, watched many people freeze outside the store, watched the doors opened and cut the line....ok....I don't think the cutting in line was my idea...but it was really fun shopping.  We got some good bargains and we had a really good time helping each other out and checking off our lists together.  I have always wanted to go back out on a black Friday, but there has always been something preventing me like having a baby or traveling and not having child care.  This year we were home and we actually had a few things on our "would be nice to have" lists that Wal-mart had advertised.  So I had a plan...go to our small town Wal-mart store...that no one typically goes to and get a little shopping done.  Sean and I have visited this Wal-mart a few different years on black Friday and the store is always dead and their door busters are all just sitting there.  Boy was I in for a shock this year...and so were the employees.  I got there about 15 minutes prior to the 10pm deals....there was no where to park except for on the grass and there were no shopping carts left.  I walked in and thought to myself...what am I doing here?  Where did all these people come from?  Why are there so MANY KIDS RUNNING AROUND?  Isn't it past their bedtime?  Apparently some kids stay up until 1 am shopping with their families.  Anyways, I hung out at the cash registers for a few minutes and snagged a cart from an older lady.  She didn't speak English and probably was thinking why this crazy lady "me" was helping her load her goods onto the check out counter.  (There were other people doing the same I had to act fast).

Some things on my list were a new lid on my spare one conveniently broke earlier in the day.  They had them advertised for under $10!!  The kids always like getting new jammies...who can beat $4.47.  I needed to get a few gifts for some gift exchanges and birthdays coming up....Easton is going to be thrilled when March rolls around to see what deal I snagged up.  We also wanted to get new dual DVD players for our car...ours broke this summer and they had a really good deal $40 below any other deals out there.  The not so thrilling part of the evening was that my deals that I had marked in the ad where on sale 2 hours apart.  I was thinking that this would be the longest two hours of my Wal-mart out of all places.  I would probably end up sick in the end just being in there crammed with so many people and kids running around...I got a little grocery shopping done...maneuvered around all of the lines for people waiting for their golden ticket for some great TV deals...found some really cozy slippers for each of the kids for a few bucks...found a nice little fleece for me for $4.00...picked up a few other gift for the kids and nieces/nephews.  Then I decided to stroll over where the dual DVD players where going to be unveiled.  I had 30 minutes before those would be on sale.  I had a bit more grocery shopping to get done (can you believe no one was grocery shopping...the aisles were empty...crazy people), but instead I decided to plant myself in the little swarm waiting for the crates to be opened.  People literally had their hands on items waiting to grab them and go.  There were maybe 30 or DVD players available.   I was for sure going to get one since there were only 8 of us waiting for them.  I visited with some people around me...watched a few kids attempt to pilfer through my cart...and then the moment of chaos began...ok...wasn't super chaotic because in the end there were quiet a few DVD players left...and pretty much every other crate had items still on them.  (except for the larger TV's).  I picked up an extra dual DVD player-- duh we have 4 in the end I got 4 DVD players for $30 each!  Pretty proud of myself.  Then I snagged a GPS for the car...having a few second thoughts about that we will see if I keep it.  I just thought it would be handy for going on vacations...but my husband reminded me we have GPS's on our iPads and iPhones...ooops.  I finished up my grocery shopping, waited in line for 10 minutes to check out and was home and in bed by 1am.  Feeling pretty excited about my good deals I snagged up.

Other things I noticed about black Thursday/Friday:
---Even though stores such as Toy's-R-Us advertise their items don't go on sale until 9pm...according to what time zone?  Well apparently 6:30pm our time zone is someones 9pm...I got some great deals for my nieces and nephews for over 50% off and FREE shipping! Went back online this morning and my awesome deals...sold out!!!
---As stated earlier that some people are really crazy for bringing their kids out with them....I still can't believe it.
---Apparently more people are willing to stay up late, than to wake-up early for good deals.
---Garbage cans make good shopping carts...I did not try it, but saw several people who did.
---Wish I had some brave friends that would come out with me to go shopping.  It is really a lot of fun....despite the crowds.

What good deals did you snag up?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What I am thankful for this year!

I have been thinking back to last November...a lot.  My precious little Weston James was born at the end of the month.  My family stayed at my parents house for 2 LONG weeks...waiting for his arrival.  My Dr. wouldn't induce me:(  I remember being grouchy.  I remember being really impatient.  I remember not even wanting to celebrate Thanksgiving.  I just wanted to be done and over with being pregnant and hold my sweet baby in my arms.  As November rolled around this month, I wanted to spend the month focusing on being thankful and teaching the kids about thankfulness.  So what I am thankful for this year...a lot!  Probably too many things to list.
Here are a few things that I am thankful for this year:

The Lord Jesus Christ.  Can I say more?  So thankful that he is in our lives.  I don't know what we would do without him.  He is provides for us.  He watches over us.  He protects us.  He is everything to us.

My husband.  My husband is my best friend...he takes care of us, provides for us, and means everything to me.  Love him to pieces.

My family.  My parents are there for us whenever we need them.  Don't know what I would do without them.  My boys are pretty smitten for their grandpa.  One day Weston will like my mom.  I know it is coming. :)  My sister who is always there (via the phone or e-mail) when we need her.  My aunt who treats our kids like they were her own.

Sean's family.  I love them as if they were my own family.  We are always welcomed with open arms...even though our family keeps growing...they still accept our kids (and us) for who we are...and for our overly excited kids when we do visit.  Love them.  So thankful to have them in our lives.

Our house.  I am thankful that we have a roof over our heads...and heat that keeps us warm during the cold fall/winter days.

Our church.  Not sure where else we would go that presents the gospel of Christ (the Bible) in a more clear, direct fashion...without a lot of hub bub.  Our church family, is like our own family.  Don't know what I would do without them.

Food.  I am thankful that God has provided me with the tools necessary to make meals for our family every day.

Facebook.  Ok...silly...but sometimes when I am all alone during the day in this small little village that we live is nice to know that other adults are out there...and then I don't feel so alone:)

Homeschooling.  I am thankful that we live in a state where we can home school.  I love seeing my kids' little minds at work and seeing them learn something new every day.

My husbands' job.  Even though it is a pretty stressful job, I am thankful that in this economy he has one.  I wish he didn't have to travel as much...but it is what it is.  I am also thankful that he can accrue frequent flyer miles on his companies dime, that we can then use for personal pleasure.  Did I really just write that? 
Staying at home.  I am thankful that I am able and willing to stay at home with our little munchkins.  I can't imagine missing their firsts and being away from them while they are so little.  

Friends.  I have some dear friends that are taking the same journey as me with their own kids.  Thankful that we can bounce ideas off of each other and can just sit and talk about anything.

My camera.  I am thankful that I can capture the memories that we make together as a family.

This blog.  I know silly...but it is a journal for me...kind of public though...but it archives some of the fun things that our kids are doing and just documents our life...easier for me than scrapbooking and writing things down with paper and pencil.

The Y.  Daycare is included with our membership.  Need I say more?

Glue.  Scissors.  Paper. Crayons.  Do you know how many things you can create with those 4 items alone?  Thankful for the many different crafts that pop into my head that require these 4 little tools.

Our kids.  Raising 4 little ones have been the most challenging thing that I have ever done.  I wouldn't trade it for anything.  They are the most precious gifts from the Lord Jesus Christ.
     Easton.  He now lets our dog out at random times throughout the day...without me even asking.  He also feeds him.  Praise the Lord.  That dog drives me crazy.

   Jocelyn.  She is a 2nd mom to baby Weston.  I know sad.  But she can make him happy...if my hands are already full.

    Katelyn.  I am thankful for Katelyn who provides us with much needed entertainment and drama throughout our day. 

    Weston.  I am thankful that our little boy is thriving....and is almost 1 years old!!  Love him! 

Psalm 107:1
"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Little ones and thankfulness!

Last year I skipped teaching my kids about Thanksgiving.  I wasn't planning on even celebrating Thanksgiving because I was due to have Weston right before the holiday...he came a week we ended up celebrating the holiday (I was extremely grouchy and getting really impatient)...we spent the evening walking the halls of a vacant hospital...only to be sent home...(the grouchiness and impatience...continued).   Anyways, my creativity was really low during the this year I took advantage of the month of November to cover with the kids the history of Thanksgiving and how it became a holiday.  Almost every day that we did school the kids wrote on a leaf what they are thankful for.  They came up with these things all on their own...pretty proud of them...sorry if you are not on the will have to take the matter up with the kiddos:) 

Katelyn Rose is thankful for: 

  • Cousins
  • Nan (my aunt)
  • Grandpa
  • Poppy
  • Disneyland
  • Dad
  • Great grandma
  • Grandma Rene
  • Grammy
  • Ice cream
  • Grandma Karen
  • Weston
  • Mom
  • Uncle Nathan
Jocelyn Rene is thankful for:

  • Family
  • Hot air balloons
  • Daddy’s work party
  • Maggie (our dog)
  • Aunt Nettie
  • Uncle Nathan
  • Poppy
  • The Mayflower
  • Grandpa
  • Grammy
  • Angie
  • God
  • Grandma
  • Nan
 Easton only participated when he felt like it.  He is thankful for:
  • Uncle Nathan
  • Grandma
  • Tea
  • Poppy
  • Dad
  • God
  • Grammy

and one last picture from our unit!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Pilgrims and Thanksgiving!

Well this has been a short week of school...really short.  We spent an extended weekend in Southern know it was the opening weekend for deer rifle.  Duh!  :) My husband doesn't have anywhere local to hunt, so I am always excited for him, when we can go down there so he can hunt with his family.  Last year was a complete bust...well not really because we were blessed with Weston, but he wasn't able to hunt.  I felt so bad for him.  He didn't have enough time to kill anything this year....bummer.  I think he had a good time though.  He had a flight to catch to New Jersey, so his time was cut short...maybe next year. 
Anyways, we came home with sick kids, so school was whatever I could squeeze out.  Since the hubby was out of town we even did school in the evening.  Mostly just little arts and craft projects.  We read, read, and read some more about the pilgrims.  Such fascinating stuff.  We studied the Billington family...they were the rudest, and crudest of the entire Mayflower bunch.  The girls enjoyed learning about that family for some reason. 
There are quiet a few good resources online that we have come across but our favorite is from Scholastic:  First Thanksgiving.   There are quiet a few YouTube videos also.  Our favorite one was a little tour of the Plimoth Plantation:  here

These little turkey's were made by tracing the hands of our four kids....kind of cute!

Got this little craft idea and template from:  DLTK's website
Our leaves featuring what the kids are thankful for...hard to photograph...but fun to see what is on their hearts.
I always like surprising the kids with fun snacks...this is made using a pre-made rice krispy treat.
And another fun lunch...can you believe they couldn't figure out what this was...seriously?!...maybe it was the legs....they only ate the fruit and one touched their circle sandwich...probably because they were all sick. 
And that is all folks...short week...another short week next week...but hopefully December will bring more of a routine.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Seasons of a Mother's Heart: Enduring with Grace

This is my last review for the book I have been reading Season's of a Mother's Heart by Sally Clarkson.  I have really enjoyed reading the book and belonging to my friend Erin's online book club at: Home with the Boys.  You can read other book club member's reviews every Friday on her blog.

Chapter 12:  Enduring with Grace

There are quiet a few things that spoke to my heart in this chapter.  Probably too many things to list...

"Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised."  
Hebrews 10:35-36

This chapter focused quiet a bit on endurance....for born again Christians, endurance is bearing up under the weight of persecution, difficulties, sufferings...Biblical endurance is always forward looking...looking for the divine reward in the end.  It is active and purposeful.

With your one day at a time.

"When you are worrying about tomorrow, you are, in effect, saying that today is not worth enjoying."  pg. 228

I am guilty of this.  How often do I find myself thinking about the future and worrying about what is to come?  Probably everyday. 

"Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."  Matthew 6:27, 34

"Worrying, as the Lord Jesus Christ teaches, adds nothing to your life.  It only subtracts from your ability to live well today."  Pg.  228

Something for me to chew on.  A lot of things in this book spoke to my heart....a.lot.  I hope you enjoyed reading my reviews for this book over the last 3 on to the next book...The Best of Me by Nicholas I will not be reviewing this book.  :) 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A little family weanie roast!

We love having weanie roasts in the woods behind our house.  Sean's mom joined us for this little roast! (not pictured).  Thought I got pictures of everyone...but I didn't.  Here are a few pictures from our lovely evening!  Good memories!

 Easton mowing the yard!

Monday, November 14, 2011

A little tea party for the kids!

Sean's mom visited us a few weeks ago for the first time.  She brought tea and Belgium chocolates with her! I decorated the table and we had ourselves a tea party! Can you say...YUM!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Pilgrims, Mayflower...and a little bit of this!

These past few weeks we have slowly gotten into our Thanksgiving Unit.  The kids and I have studied the history behind the Mayflower and about the different families that came over on the Mayflower.  Some great stories out there about this topic and the different families!   My girls love hearing about what the little pilgrim girls had to endure. We still have a lot to cover and hopefully we will get to the first Thanksgiving celebration before Thanksgiving hits for us!  Not very many pictures, as we have been doing a lot of reading and watching of YouTube videos.  Here are a few things that we have worked on these past few weeks:

 Our "thankful" leaves.  The kids are writing what they are thankful for on a leaf and we are displaying them around the back patio door...these are Jocelyn and Easton's...Katelyn's did not photograph due to the sun.  Some sweet things that are thankful for!

 My little pilgrim girls....they made pilgrim hats!
 I didn't have enough paper for Easton to have a I used the scraps...he didn't seem to mind:)
(above)  Easton working on his letters....he loves participating in school....if Katelyn gets up from her desk....he snatches her chair and waits until it is his turn.  So sweet!

 The girls competing against each other on spelling and addition problems. 
Jocelyn working on her "ai" words. 
Can't forget about my little climber boy...

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kids in the Kitchen: Candy train

Jocelyn was looking through some recipes the other day and saw a recipe for a cute little candy train, so we thought we would give it a try. 

 We gathered up supplies from the kitchen.   You can use just about anything that you have...we had to buy some frosting to use so everything would stick together and we didn't have any candy bars...luckily it was after Halloween so we got a pretty good deal.
 Each of the kids got to assemble three cars for the train.
Katelyn assembling her car.
Easton admiring the train...he actually thought the was a functioning train...tried to get it to move several times.
 The finished product!!
The kids were so excited to eat it for their bedtime snack...I let them choose two of their cars...they could hardly finish one car...just a bit too overwhelming I guess.

Such a fun activity for the kids!  What kind of fun things do you do in your kitchen with your kids??  I am always looking for fun new ideas!