Thursday, August 27, 2009

Honesty Prevails


What is a mommy to do! Just this morning I heard some unkind grunts and words being spoken in the other room. When I asked Drew why he wasn't using kind words he said that Gabe had hit him and wouldn't stop. I called Gabe into the office and asked him if he had repeatedly hit his brother. Gabe looked at Drew, then looked back into my eyes and methodically leaned his head forward, then slowly backwards. His first real confession of "yes," normally every question receives a shake of the head "no." It was adorable, but I did manage to keep a stern face!

After explaining that we don't hit; Gabe turned to Drew and gave him a hug and a little peck on the cheek. Oh, if only it were that simple! I knew if I didn't discipline Gabe he would be hitting and taking things within the minute. So, I'm typing this post, while Gabe sits in time out crying his little eyes out.

Joy comes in the morning through insignificant moments,
that fade into the past,
never to be lived again!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Restoring Joy

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“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.”
Psalm 51:12

It has been such a long month. We've had some many wonderful things happen, but they have left me quite exhausted! We've had such a fun summer of traveling and changes that it has been really hard for me to get back into a routine with the kids. Plus we've only had 1 car so I've been home bound for the month of August - which is good since I can't spend money if I'm not out! However, I've really been struggling with the normal everyday details of life - being exhausted and very sick certainly doesn't help my predicament. Just today I've been struggling with having a good attitude and asked the Lord for patience. I really wish I hadn't asked, just a few hours later some braxton hicks contractions began and they haven't stopped all evening. That is not the best sign for my weak pregnant self. So, I'll have to call the doc tomorrow and see if we can speed up the progesterone injections by a few weeks. Please pray they work! If they don't we're looking at bed rest, a surclauge, possible hospitalization and the list goes on. Since I'm only at 16 weeks I'm a little nervous - that is really early in the pregnancy for things to head south!

So, in the midst of my anxiety I've just been meditating on all the great gifts I have in my life. I am so lucky to be at home with the boys all day, the mundane keeps me on my toes, entices my imagination and inspires me to spend more time investing in the lives of those God has placed in my care. I truly am lucky, just lacking in joy today! I've been meditating on Psalms 51:12 - restore to me the JOY of my salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. My focus tomorrow will me on "Willing" and doing all the Lord asks of me.

On a new note, we had some great things happen this summer. For starters John accepted an aid position (middle school) with FW ISD and started Monday. He loves his job and the teacher he assists. The kids are wonderful and he is excited for what the Lord will do in the situation. He said last night that God has him there for a reason, he just really hopes and prays it is for doors to open so he can teach his own class. I reminded him that patience seems to be a very consistent theme in our lives so I'm sure we're just suppose to press on and enjoy this ride - - patiently! John is also an assistant football coach - he is in for some long days! The boys and I might venture to the field on Thursday's to watch the team play! It doesn't sound very exciting since I'm not a huge sports fan, but who knows it could be really fun!

Drew has been learning his phonics and writing- I implemented a more formal structured schooling method this August in hopes of seeing if it took off. I've been researching Charlotte Mason and her teaching philosophy's for years and have tried in the past to work on a few methods with little success. Finally Drew is ready! We've just implemented living books and copy work this year. The link above will fill you in on those techniques and others that help direct and focus a child on hands on learning. Drew's favorite book right now is Ping - probably because it reminds him of his Grandma Patti since the story takes place in China on the Yang Sing River. Drew and I just finished reading Little House in the Big Woods and just tonight started Little House on the Prairie. Drew's imagination has exploded! He can recognize 10 of his letters now and knows what most of the letter sounds say. That is a huge accomplishment for Drew - just a few months ago he had no interest in letters or sounds and couldn't recognize a single one let alone know what sound they make. We've adopted 15 minutes of focused training on various habits, so Drew's actual has sit down learning time for only 30 minutes each morning. That consists of 15 minutes of copy work and 15 minutes of phonics. His attention spam seems to flow in short bursts in the morning so this setup has worked wonders! Plus he gets to watch a Super Y episode if he maintains attention on the task and doesn't let his mind wander. The rest of the day Drew just spends following me around, reading, listening to books on tape, using his leap frog pad, asking questions, building train sets, playing Lego's, digging in the sand, and coloring - though coloring for him is more like a chore than a fun way to spend an afternoon. We've also been brushing up on his Catechism's and memory verses though not as formally. He also loves to bake with me and is excited to start learning his months of the year.

Gabe has been spending a lot of time listening to books, playing with Drew's train tracks, swimming, and practicing his shapes. He still mumbles a lot and only uses words when absolutely necessary! He is fascinated with his nose and just a few days ago stuck beans up his nose for attention. Gabe watches everything we do and follows me around copying and imitating. Its very cute! Gabe uses sign language much more than Drew ever did, his new favorite sign is "all done!" Gabe loves to tease his brother and is forceful enough to get most things from his brother Drew - sometimes it involves hitting or grabbing. He has mastered temper tantrums but thankfully only practices them once or so a week. Gabe is learning a lot about sharing, kindness and consequences. Gabe has a very long attention span and can sit for up to 30 minutes performing a task. He has even enjoyed sitting for "Little House in the Big Woods" in the evenings. Gabe loves to wrestle and play games -his favorite books are Goodnight Moon and A book on trains. He also loves to clap when the story's are over.

Well there is our update, its been a crazy summer and we're excited for Preschool to begin next Tuesday!

Week 3: No Spending Month


This was an interesting week, we had company come visit us over the weekend, so we had to take a break from our spending sabbatical. We took our guests - David and his girlfriend Kessa, to Joe T Garcia's for lunch on Friday. Then on Saturday we celebrated my mom's birthday with a girls day out for pedicures, a cute little tea house for lunch, and a movie that evening. I had some cash set aside that someone gave me as a gift, so we didn't spend any family money on the weekend. I did have to buy some groceries for when our company arrived, so we spent 42.45 on groceries for the week. Other than that it was a fun and enjoyable week. John had to work most of the week and the kids and I went to the pool and played around the house.

Drew is mastering his phonics and the writing of his letters, while Gabe spent most of the week trying to get his eye teeth to come through . Gabe was especially cranky and even put on a nice tantrum for our company. It was a wonderful week of fun! Drew is very excited to meet his teacher this coming Friday!

Check out the pictures page for more pictures of our month. I've been a little behind in getting pictures up!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Week 2: No Spending Month


Week two was a rather hard week for me. I've been home with the kids for two full weeks. John has been gone almost the entire time - leaving before I get up and home after I go to sleep. It was a rough week of work, kids, cleaning, and nothing else. We went swimming a few times to get out of the house, baked a ton of homemade treats, and read oh so many books. Drew has been eager to practice his phonics and write some letters - I bribed him with a guarantee that we'd take him to his first NASCAR race once he learned how to read! Drew thinks that is where Lightning McQueen lives and races when he isn't making movies.

I was energized late in the week with my first ever double up to 1.00 coupon extravaganza at Kroger! It forced me to get my coupons organized and put together my endless lists of what to buy. My mother and I awoke before dawn (5:30 am), coupon and list in hand. We weren't surprised by all the other frugals who were also shopping bright and early on a Saturday morning. My deals were so incredible that I went back to a different Kroger with my kids in tow that same morning. I spent a little shy of 50.00 on over 155.00 worth of groceries. All of which we will use - there were over 25 items on my list which were FREE - including rice, cookies, yogurts, mayo, and cereal bars!

I took the kids to a thrift store I'd been wanting to visit and spent some of my change on books for the kids. We landed 10 books for $2.50 and spent an hour browsing the endless supply of books. You can't beat .25 a book! John also had a debacle with his phone automatically answering so he had to purchase a new cellular phone yesterday. Overall it was still a thrifty week - I did bribe my mother on two occasions when I really didn't want to cook, I'm pretty sure bribing her for Pizza wasn't a normal fasting procedure, but I was desperate.

Week three is turning out to be a little easier - John has been home so we've been encouraging each other and he has been helping with dinner creations!

Thankful


551. Little squeals from outside in the yard – boys chasing one another with the water hose.

552. Saying good-bye to beloved teachers at church – we’re so thankful for your investment into our boys!

553. Mundane – I guess looking ahead can be rather scary so taking life one day at a time has been a blessing! The endless piles of laundry, dishes and wiping exhaust this mommy’s joy. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be exhausted!

554. John’s next step along his teaching journey – praises are being sung as he has accepted an aid position at a middle school in Fort Worth. One step in the right direction! What will it be like with John having a set 8-5 schedule with weekends off? He’s never had that before... the unknown is so exciting!

555. A new(er) car will be added to our family. A special someone must have read my post from last week about the friend who is always fixing John’s car. We will be buying their very nice, dependable, Jeep in a few days!

556. Clothes from a friend – thanks Deana!

557. Thrift store bargains - I was desperate to get out of the house today so we went to the thrift store in hopes of finding some new books. We were excited to find 10 new books for 2.50!

558. We raided Nana’s book stash a few days back; which has provided many fun hours of new reading!

559. Drew’s new love for writing his letters; he is well on the path of learning how to read. He has such a love for looking at books, so his new enthusiasm for writing and letter sounds excites me!

560. An exhausting Saturday of double couponing, park explorations, and swimming. An added bonus – I was able to spend the day with my friend Nicole and her son Ethan. It was a great break in routine since John worked all day.

561. 70% savings at Kroger on Saturday and a well stocked fridge!

562. My husband’s cheeky smile Sunday morning waking me from my slumber. It’s always a great day when it begins with a smile from my love!

563. Sweet almost 2 year old who brings book after book to be read!

564. Making Chocolate chip cookies with the boys

565.. Saying goodbye to my sweet husband as he runs off to sign a contract on his new job!

566. Baby flutters!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Week 1: No Spending Month


Week 1 went fairly well, but my aim for 100.00 in groceries for the whole month left out the fact that we'd been gone for most of July, so there wasn't anything in our fridge. In order to be somewhat healthy and not have Mac n Cheese and hot dogs every day I had to break down and head to the farmers market and Kroger for some real food. I did buy things that would complement various stock piles in our freezer and pantry - this way I'm still using up my surplus. I still have a huge surplus - anyone need dressings or cereal?

So far (besides bills, those don't count!) we've spent:

Gasoline: 36.86
Grocery's: 83.04
Prescriptions: 10.00

I'm so excited, what we're geared up to save this month on groceries/gasoline/eating out/Misc costs like Home Depot charges, will cover the overage spent on our vacation last month. We have a short term account set up for: Vacations, Christmas, HOA dues, and our insane electric bill during the summer. Then the long term savings houses our 3-6 month living expenses and the savings for a new car one of these days - maybe sooner than John thinks! Next month I pray he sells that old white car, which has been a huge blessing, and buys a little truck. We've been talking about it for months and he won't bring himself to do it. His car has broken 6 times in the last 8 weeks - the fixes aren't too expensive and the neighbor does most the work, but there is something to be said about reliable transportation! So, pray he bites the bullet and sells the old car and buys a little pickup.

I did spend 3.50 on a replacement letter for Drew's phonics game - but I had some money in my paypal account (thanks Ebates!) so I used that balance to cover the cost. I also splurged and purchased a song off Itunes for .99! I just love getting quarterly earnings from Ebates!

I've spent the week reading tons of books to the boys. Somehow not leaving the house gives me time to read and relax. I've been baking random things for the kids - like Rice Crispy treats and blueberry oatmeal in order to use up some of my stockpiles. Drew has been my super big helper in the kitchen working on his phonics and stirring the batches of marshmallows. We've enjoyed Little House in the Big Woods this week with hot cocoa too! Gabe is learning more patience and can sit quietly while I read for 20 minutes - I never thought that would happen, its amazing what routine and practice will accomplish. I've been enjoying TOS magazines from this past year - my time got away from me and a great book on the Holiness of God. My eyes are acting weird, I've discovered much of my pregnancy sickness is induced by rapid eye movements so reading and working on the computer can only be done in short periods of time with really strong light - really odd!

I do wish for more patience, not going out somehow leaves me drained at the end of the evening. John has been gone most of the week so I've been exhausted. I wish I'd get that second trimester energy back! God has been so faithful to provide enough energy to get the dinner cooked and a mother who will come over and help! Typically I'd take the kids out to a park and run to McDonald's when I was tired and not wanting to cook. Maybe we'll pack a picnic and head to the park tomorrow night!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thankfulness Overflowing

holy experience


“Man worships because God lays His hand to the dust of our experience, and man miraculously becomes a living soul - and knows it and wants to worship.”
—Douglas Horton



531. A new favorite song which expresses much of what I’ve been mulling over in my mind these days. (Addison Road – What Do I Know Of Holy)

532. Little boys falling in love with books... a Mommy/English lover’s dream!

533. Drew getting his first bee sting, we then looked up the difference between bees and wasps online and Drew stared at the stinger of the wasp for 30 minutes; asking questions I’m sure only his dad knew the answer to. Drew left quite proud that the poison in the sting only hurt a little (but scared him a lot)!

534. Little chubby feet running towards me with “Run Away Bunny” and “Goodnight Moon” --pleading for more reading time. I love it when their attention span is long enough for a quick book!

535. A fantastic vacation to the rouged NW, blueberry picking, ocean romps, a cooling brook, deep friendship, and fond memories. Can we go back?

536. Thank you Lord we made our flight home from Portland, spending hours in the airport with little children on standby was not an attractive option - especially with frozen blueberries as my carry on. I've never been the last on the plane and hope to never repeat that horrible event again - bribing old ladies to cut in line (John), crying at the ticket counter for them to let us on - not my fondest moments!

537. Drew’s great accomplishment – he built his very first train track all by himself. It took up his entire room, he was so proud of all the work he put into it! So were his mommy and daddy! Now to keep little brother away from destroying it... hmm.

538. Leap Frog Fridge Phonics – Drew is really enjoying the hands on, touching, listening and repeating of letters instead of sitting at the table fussing with mommy. Such a great help and Drew is starting to learn a lot! Now if I could just find the letters Q, D, E on Ebay to complete our set - 2.00 at the Goodwill so I can't be too picky.

539. Laundry that seems to always need to be put away – lately it gives me some quiet time to just meditate in the silence while the kids sleep and John is at work.

540. A re-occurring theme in my devotions – reminding me to be patient and WAIT on God’s timing. So hard to do but something I need to hear daily.

541. Cocoa (in the summer, we're Oregonian's living in Texas skin!), little learners, blankets, classical music, the Bible, and Little House In The Big Woods before bed. Thank you Lord for the endurance to consistently push though, even when I just want to put the kids to bed and have silence. Their eager little faces ready to listen to words on a page make my evenings worth the sacrifice.

542. A kind neighbor who fixes John’s car, often weekly! (correction for this week: daily - belt broke on John's way home from work last night.)

543. The privilege of saying goodbye to a man I never met (I knew his wife). His funeral was a testimony to his godly character and his passion for God’s heart. It challenged me to endure, finish well, live big, and sacrifice more. It is a memory I won’t soon forget.

544. Teething 21 month old – Mommy gets more cuddles than usual!

545. My TOS magazine which always challenges me and provides great articles on being a better mother and educator to my kids.
546. A night out with my sweet man – a king sized bed and fancy breakfast with tons of time to just talk about life. A special thanks to Grandma and friend who watched our little men!

547. A new life at 13 weeks – so small yet brilliantly formed in my womb. I can’t wait to meet you! God has such big plans for your life!

548. Drew’s little voice lifting high “Holy Holy Holy” before bed. I loved the story his Sunday school teacher said to me yesterday, he said that Drew will always be remembered because when they were telling the story of Paul and Silas singing in the prison, Drew piped in and said, “... if I were stuck in jail, I would sing Holy Holy Holy as loud as I could, then my mommy would hear me and come rescue me from jail!”

549. John’s patience and understanding after a particularly hard day.

550. A child who stays in bed all night without waking and wanting to sleep on our floor..... funny how once I put my foot down and said no it stopped! Why didn’t I think of that 5 days ago! I’m also thankful for a full, uninterrupted nights sleep!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Quiet

The kids are in bed and I'm sitting on the couch, devouring frozen yogurt, reading the new "TOS Magazine" and listening to my new favorite song "What Do I Know of Holy" by Addison Road (Below) over and over again. I'm mulling over starting a composting bin with red worms (a very NW thing to do!) and dreaming of the homeschooling material I've been researching.

I love our fasting month, no temptations to turn on the TV and veg out!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Week 13



By Week 13, the baby is taking on a more human look. The baby's eyes begin to move from the sides of the head to the front.

The baby also has many internal changes happening as well. The intestines move down from the umbilical cord to the abdomen. Also the villi in the baby's intestines are forming which will be crucial when digestion and peristalsis begin to occur.

Even the baby's tiny pancreas is beginning to produce insulin this week.

All of this occurs when this little fetus is only about an ounce in weight and about 3 inches long!

Read more: http://pregnancychildbirth.suite101.com/article.cfm/pregnancy_week_to_week_week_13#ixzz0NvQFioJ7

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Little Peanut Update and Misc. Savings

I had my checkup today, everything went great. Our peanut is growing and had a normal heart rate (174). I gain a pound since a month ago but my tummy is protruding a lot - my body is already changing. The boys are super excited about having a little brother or sister. I'm excited for the morning sickness to go away.... still waiting! I'd also love my energy back!

The boys have been enjoying the hot weather, we swam in the whale pool this evening and made some rice krispy treats for the kiddo's to enjoy. Drew and Gabe were so excited!

I've been busy saving money - I took a few months sabbatical from couponing while we cleaned out the cupboards and freezer. Now I'm getting back into the couponing. Here are a few of the deals I did this week to get free food!
  • 10 boxes of Rice Krispies at Albertson's which cost 8.00 (oop) after coupons and in store ad. I will receive a 10.00 rebate check sometime in the next 4-6 weeks. So I made 2.00 - here come the Rice Krispy treats!
  • Sweet & Sour Chicken bowls from the Schwan man - they had a deal that you could get any item for free under 10.00 (found on Moneysaving mom). I splurged and bought some frozen yogurt for 5.00 but I don't think that will break by 100.00 grocery budget this month.
  • Free pint of Starbucks ice cream thanks to a Facebook e-mail I received.
  • I made some yummy pesto from the basil in my garden which went crazy while I was on vacation.
  • John, the boys and I made homemade ice cream Sunday night with our ice cream maker. I used some half and half from our deep freezer that had an expiration date of 11/2007... yikes! The ice cream tasted great and cost about .50 cents per pint (excluding the half and half because I haven't a clue what I paid back in November 07 - can you tell it was a Thanksgiving deal?) The ice cream went great with the blueberry cobbler!
  • Reading RC Sproul's book The Holiness of God which I ordered last month free from www.ligonier.org. It arrived while we were on vacation!

Monday, August 3, 2009

August - A Month Long Journey


It is August! It is time for our family to go without! It couldn't have come at a better time, we're still in the vacation mindset of eating out and splurging, so our reality check will come via hard core disciplines this month. Actually, it may sound like an awful practice, but I really look forward to our fasting months. For some reason I am challenged to save, bake, create from scratch, stay home, spend more time in God's word, listen to relaxing music, bring out the candles, read those books I've been staring at, and pray more. I love the fruit of our month long fast, prayer comes more naturally and concern for others is always more on the forefront of my mind. I always feel closer to God and my time in the Word is more in depth. Not spending is like going without caffeine. It is really hard in the beginning, but after a few weeks you don't even noticed your without it. An added benefit of our no spending month is the subsequent months also benefit. In reviewing our numbers, we eat out the most two months prior to our fasting month, we also spend the most in the months of January and July which are the months leading up to our fast. A month to regroup and focus our minds on the family and biblical priorities changes our entire family - not just the finances but also our hearts!

This month when challenged to watch TV or spend money I will be praying for two dear mentors of mine (1 from last year and another from this current year) who have lost loved ones this past week - one a husband and another a son. I can't imagine how to comfort or even share in the loss of such a tragedy. The bible says when we humble ourselves (Ps 35:13) and discipline our bodies (I Cor 9:27) our faith will draw us closer to God and he will instill us with godly wisdom. I'm excited to see myself become more disciplined and compassionate. I often find myself "put out" by the unplanned events of the day, the neighbor who wants to talk or the mom who needs a break for a few hours, instead of looking at them as God-ordained meetings. Our family is also working this month on being content - content with where God has us. We also are praying for obedience, we know some tough choices are in our future and we want to obey God regardless of what He asks of us.

It is going to be a wonderful month! Day 1 is over and no money has been spent! I celebrated by baking us a crisp with the blueberries we picked in Oregon. John just got home so we're off to talk about the challenges ahead and the budget we want to abide by this month. I'm thinking I can get away with only spending 100.00 on groceries?

Home To Stay

We made it home from our wild trip to Oregon! We had so much fun and did so many wonderful things, here were the highlights:

  • Attended my grandfather's 80th birthday/reunion
  • Visited the Fletcher's in Washington and enjoyed their hot tub, hospitality, and humor!
  • Toured Down Town Seattle in a "Duck" while struggling with morning sickness that is aggravated by motion











  • Realized I'm getting old while playing volleyball at the BBQ my Aunt and Uncle put on for everyone visiting for Grandpa's 80th.
  • Went to the Zoo in Seattle with family and our good friends the Stringers. John enjoyed a guys day of building shelves in the Stringers garage with Mel's husband.
  • Enjoyed visiting with 50 members from the Adamson side of the family, including my Dad who lives in Seattle
  • Took the boys to a Mariners game - Gabe's first. We were in row 16 - nice and close!
  • Stayed a week in Portland during their heat wave
  • Enjoyed a luxurious night away from the boys with a fancy breakfast! John and I actually were able to finish a few conversations in one sitting! Thanks to Patti and Bethany for watching the kiddo's.
  • Gabe enjoyed a wonderful day with Gradnma Patti and Uncle Scotty playing on the property - I heard Gabe took two bathes because it was so hot and he was so dirty!
  • Spent a day at Cannon Beach enjoying the cool 65 degree weather! We also enjoyed the best pizza and mocha in the NW!
  • Visited the candy store in Cannon Beach, watched how to make Taffy, bough the kids a special treat and then went to the toy store!
  • Picked 12 pounds of blueberries at the patch, the kids loved it and I took some awesome pictures! They all made it back to Texas!
  • Had water balloon fights with the kids during an especially hot day!
  • Spent tons of time visiting with my best Oregon friend Bethany. I miss you already!
  • Spent a day at Shriner's Hospital in Portland watching John get tons of test run for a follow up study his old hospital is performing. It was nice to see all the people who worked on John - from physical therapists, to nurses and doctors. Everyone enjoyed seeing "John's boys" and delighting in their blue eyes and blond hair!
  • Picnicked at a fun sand/water park in Sherwood. The kids enjoyed cooling off and using their imaginations building moats and race cars!
  • Ate at my favorite pregnancy restaurant's common in Oregon - Baja Fresh and TCBY!
  • Visited with John's family - enjoyed a picnic with Grandpa tractor and Grandma Carol down by a quiet and cool stream in Hillsboro. We had fun throwing the disk and watching the kids get dirty and wet!
  • Almost missed our flight back to Texas due to a miscalculation in the gasoline gage, spent an hour on the freeway waiting for John's brother to save us with some gas. Then cried and bribed our way through security and finally made it on the plane - then bribed and prayed a few people would move seats so we could sit next to the boys on the way home. Then we finally made it to Texas and 2 or our 3 suitcases were loaded on the wrong plane. We are so very glad to be home!
To view pictures of our trip click here - there are hundreds of new pictures !