Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Do Pirates play baseball?

(Will is all about pirates right now. He's already decided his birthday party - in MAY- with have a pirate theme.)

Will: Do pirates play baseball?
Me: I don't think so.

Will: But Daddy has a shirt with pirates and baseball bats on it.
Me: Yes, he does.

I guess pirates play baseball after all. = )

Monday, February 25, 2008

Quote of the Day: Praying for Famine?

"I just prayed that tomorrow would be the start of 10 years that food won't grow. I'll just keep cutting our food into smaller pieces and smaller pieces." -William, 4.5 years.

I think maybe he's confused Joseph and the Famine with Jesus and the Feeding of 5,000. Either way, you better start storing your food folks! = )

Saturday, February 23, 2008

What was he thinking?

A few weeks ago the temperature warmed up enough for the boys to play outside. It didn't take long for Ben to decide the temperature was not warm enough for him but Will chose to stay outside. You have to understand that when they are outside they sing, yell, and holler all the time so I pretty much just ignore it. With the windows down I can't understand the exact words anyway.

I do glance out the window periodically when they play outside. The backyard is completely enclosed by a privacy fence so I don't worry about them too much. Mainly my glances are to make sure they aren't climbing over the fence (they've figured out how to stand on the top crossbar but not how to go over. Yet.).

On one of my glances I saw Will sitting in the infant swing yelling and crying. He had climbed into the swing and then strapped himself in and naturally could not undo the straps. Being the good momma that I am I immediately went out to rescue him. But not before I picked up the camera. = )

So, here you go. My 4.5 year-old son sitting in the infant swing. I have no idea what he was thinking.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Benjamin turns THREE?! How did that happen?!

Dear Benjamin,

On February 22, 2005 Daddy and I dropped William (then 5 days shy of being 21 months old) off to stay with Mr. and Mrs. B. and Emma. Then we drove to the hospital.

I had been feeling contractions all morning so I mentioned it to Dr. Manning. She agreed to let me try to deliver you rather than the c-section we had scheduled.

Daddy and I walked the halls of the hospital for HOURS. I was really, really tired. Every few hours the doctor would check to see how you and I were doing. She finally said that you just weren't budging. After being at the hospital for nearly 12 hours I had barely reached 4 cm. I was so tired I agreed to go ahead with a c-section.

So, at 11:47 PM you were born. Dr. Manning had guessed a few weeks earlier that you weighed about 8 pounds (Brother only weighed 6.5 pounds). After she took you out of me she held you up over the sheet so I could see you. Wow, were you big!! You cried and the nurses took you to clean you up while the doctor sewed me back up. After a few minutes, Dr. Manning asked the nurses how much you weighed. She couldn't get over how big you were. NINE POUNDS NINE OUNCES was the reply. Dr. Manning said to me, "You were never going to push him out!"

After a few hours in the recovery room we moved upstairs to the obstetrics floor. The nurses all fell in love with you. Especially our first nurse. She was young and didn't have any children of her own yet. She carried you around and bragged on how good you were and how cute.

A few days later we left the hospital and started life at home with Daddy and Will. Today you weigh a lot more than 9 pounds, more like 35 pounds. You love following your big brother everywhere and you enjoy "loving" on your little sister, Ellie Belly Jelly Bean. Sometimes they both get aggravated at you for not behaving the way they prefer, but most of the time you all get along.

Your favorite foods right now are pizza and pancakes. You ask to go to Burger King and McDonald's a lot (they have indoor playgrounds). You really like the spicy salsa at On the Border.

You can quote Psalm 121, John 3:16 and lots of songs. You enjoy listening to Veggie Tales CDs and Psalty CDs.

Without a doubt you are my little introvert. Big groups of people scare you, as do dogs and cats. You prefer to play with a couple of people you know and are content to sit quietly beside me in a big crowd. Just because you are quiet around other people doesn't mean you are at home. When Brother lets you get a word in, you talk non-stop.

You are great at building things with Lincoln Logs, Dublos, and Thomas Tracks. Putting together puzzles are always fun. You also like to read books and climb.

You and I like to play 2 games. I'll ask you, "guess what." And you say, "I wuv YOU!" The other game I ask, "whose boy are you?" Sometimes you say, "Momma's." But if you are feeling mischievous you give me a sly grin and say, "Daddy's." Then I tickle you until you say you are my boy. We both enjoy this game a lot.

I am so glad God gave you to us. You fill our home with the best chuckle ever. You add enthusiasm and excitement to our lives. I love you and can't wait to watch you grow this year.

Love Always,

PS. You are having a great week of potty training. Only 1 accident all week! Yippee!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Quote of the Day: Good Idea!

As we drove in the car recently Will announced, "I need to get my money and go shopping for Ben a birthday present."

To which Ben responded, "I fink dats a gwood idea! I wike pwesants."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

7 Weird things about me and food.

Billie at Embracing the Journey to my Daughter tagged me this morning for 7 weird things about myself. Since I already did that one here, I decided to do a food related weird things post on my other blog. I don't think I'm all that weird but you might. = )

Just call me Martha Kent.

The other night Will requested that they all three wear their Super Man pajamas. Yes, I know Ellie (the little one) is a girl but as Will grows I buy him new SM pajamas and the others get passed down. Right now she thinks it's pretty fun to be dressed like Brothers. Complete with cape!

Will's request was so he could teach Ellie how to fly. Doesn't every big brother teach his little sister how to fly? What are big brothers for?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Eutychus should have been at our church! He would have never fallen asleep (see Acts 20:9).

I think I've mentioned that our church meets in two conference rooms in a hotel in downtown Providence. This has some definite advantages.

We don't have to guilt anyone into cleaning the church Saturday mornings (or pay the pastor and his wife an extra $50 to do it). We don't have a mortgage. No one has to shovel the snow out of the parking lot. And last but not least, we don't need a committee to pick paint color and carpeting after we remodel.

Although that last one might be a nice problem to have. For 3 weeks in January/February we had to meet in a different location while the hotel remodeled their conference rooms. The old decor was early '90s mauve with paisleys. You can imagine our surprise when we walked in a few Sundays ago and found this:

As I look at these pictures I realize I should have taken a shot of the whole room. 'Cause these pics are just NOT doing justice to that carpet! If you have a hard time staying awake during the sermon all you have to do is look at the floor. And if that doesn't wake you up I think you might be dead.

I have to say it all coordinates really well. I like the yellow and green of the walls and curtains. I even like the carpet. As an area rug. About 3x5 feet. Between the beds in my boys' bedroom. But for a conference room? How would you ever decorate for a conference? Or wedding reception? Or office party?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Isaac, Robinson, and Hellen are now ours!

Sunday afternoon we sat down to choose 3 children to sponsor from Compassion International. How do you pick which child receives your help and which doesn't?! Needless to say we had a hard time choosing.

Our original idea was to select a child who was about the same ages as our 3 children. By the time we pulled out the computer this afternoon there were no 3 year-olds left to sponsor in Uganda and their sponsor program doesn't go younger than 3. I have really fallen in love with the Ugandan children this week through the blogs I've been reading. So, we decided to pick from the 4 and 5 year old children.

William is at a stage where it's very important to him to be the oldest. So he selected Isaac. Isaac's birthday is July 19, 2003. He is one of 7 children.

I don't think Ben really understood what we were doing so I picked for him. Robinson's birthday is July 13, 2002. (I just realized he shares a birthday with my father-in-law!) He is one of 8 children. His smile makes me think he's as mischievous as my two boys!

Last but not least, we chose Hellen. Her birthday is May 26, 2003, one day before Will's. She is one of 5 children.

The process was actually quite simple. A few clicks, a credit card payment, and we are now the proud sponsors of three children living in Uganda. Three children whose lives will be changed forever. Three children we will pray for, send letters and cards to, and maybe one day even get to meet.

What about you? Is there a convenience or luxury in your life you could do without so a sweet child in Uganda could have a pair of shoes, go to school, and eat a meal every day? If so, don't wait. Go here and follow the links to sponsor a child. Boy. Girl. Teenager. Preschooler. They are all waiting for you to demonstrate love and compassion to them.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Shopping 'til I Drop

Last Saturday was my day for errands. After a fortifying breakfast of pancakes I headed out. First stop: the Salvation Army Thrift Shop where I unloaded the fruits of my Friday labors.

Then I headed to Sears. Our local Sears has a Land's End section in the store. I heart Land's End! I found these jeans. They are fabulous! (Although Joel takes some convincing of that.) I even splurged on myself and paid full price.

And I found these shoes. Most of the winter things were on sale for 50% of the lowest marked price. My shoes were regularly $39.50. I paid $12. Oh, yeah! That's what I'm talkin' about!!

I could have bought a long sleeve cashmere t-shirt for $32. Cashmere! For $32, Ladies!! Sadly, they didn't have a color I liked in my size.

I also had a coupon "Spend $50 get $10 Off." Unfortunately, that was regular price. For the lack of .50 cents the cashier wouldn't let me use my coupon. Not to worry, I just had her clear the purchase from her register and took myself upstairs to the children's section where I found a short-sleeve onesie for Ellie for $6.50. I would have paid that for the onesie anyway. So I consider myself to have paid $2 for my shoes or to have gotten the onesie for free and paid $9.50 for the shoes. Either way it was a great deal! Don't you love how that logic worked? = )

After showing great restraint at Sears (I've spent all my clothing budget and had to dip into my allowance. That always slows my shopping.) I moved next door to Wal*Mart. Where I found long sleeve turtleneck onesies for Ellie for $1. Yes! I said $1!!! She already has these exact ones so I went up a size in anticipation of Fall 2008. Then I noticed tights for $2 each. I bought 5 pairs, 1 for now and the rest in the next size for this fall. The knit hat was $1 and the 2 pack of knit gloves were $.50. Ellie was THRILLED with her new clothes. = )

After making my other boring Wal*Mart purchases (baby wipes, etc.) I headed to Price Rite for a few perishable groceries. No great deals to report there.

Four stops in one trip with many great deals. I call that a successful shopping trip.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Bloggers with Compassion International in Uganda

I've been trying for half-an-hour to write a witty and compelling post about this:

Instead of me writing something, why don't you click on "read" or "watch" or "see" and go check out what those fine bloggers have written? You will be blessed.

And for the record, Joel, Will, Ben, Sally & I will be sitting down on Saturday to select three children for our family to sponsor. Yes, three. One for each of my own children.

How about you? Can you sponsor a child? It's $32 a month. Don't even tell me you don't have the money cause I am not going to believe you. Compared to what those children live with we are rich, my friends. Filthy. Stinking. Rich.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I figured out what to do with the 20+ boxes we received via Amazon and other stores at Christmas!

Here are the results of my decluttering (you can just scroll down to the next post to view the before/after pics or feel free to click the link). The stack on the left is mostly kitchen things. The stack on the right contains toys, clothes, and other things that I boxed up way back in November and never hauled off to the Salvation Army. In case you're wondering that's 10 boxes and a tin foil turkey roasting pan. I bought it to use at Christmas but ended up buying a ham instead. The bottom left box is the one the ham dinner came in. = )

The box with green tape on the edges (it's the LL Bean box in the below picture) came packed with Will's sleeping bag for Christmas. When he saw it in my pile he said, "Why are you getting rid of my box?! I want you to get rid of Ben's box (he also received a sleeping bag for Christmas) instead of mine." I think I have a mini-Messie on my hands!! = (

Here's everything loaded in the van. I hauled it all to the Salvation Army on Saturday. I'm so proud of Joel. He didn't go through one box and didn't ask me what was in them!! Way to go, Sweet!

I had to laugh when I arrived at the S.A. I couldn't get close to the drop off location because a U-Haul was unloading things there. Now that's what I call decluttering!!!

Decluttering My Kitchen

The organizing books I've been reading lately and Org Junkie's Monthly Organizing Round-up inspired me to work on my kitchen.

As far as organizing goes, I think my kitchen works fairly well. There's a place for everything and everything is in it's place (or the refrigerator or the dish drain).

But it's been making me a little crazy lately. So I set to work organizing my kitchen Friday afternoon.

I emptied most of my cupboards onto the counters.
I put like items together (all the platters in one stack, plastic bowls in another, etc.).

Then I looked each piece over and decided what I use every week, what I use monthly, what I use seasonally, and what I haven't used since we moved into our home 5 years ago.

Anything I don't use weekly and monthly (or the current season) would be stored in the basement on utility shelves and anything I haven't used for months would move to the Salvation Army thrift store. = )

As I decided to give away an item, I placed it in a waiting box.

Then I evaluated my cabinets. I'm barely 5 feet tall so anything high in my cupboards requires climbing on a chair to retrieve.

Annoyance! I made a plan to put occasional items in the high spots and regular items in the low spots.

After evaluating where to put everything I filled the cabinets again only putting back items I wanted in the kitchen.

I am very pleased with the outcome!

The decluttering process was not an easy one. I had to throw away several items. Like a plastic bowl with a cracked rim. It's still usable but the crack aggravates me like crazy.

I used the Irritation Test. If an item annoys me then why keep it just because it's still usable. After all, I rarely use it because of the irritation. At least that's what I told the guilt that came when I thought about throwing away a "perfectly good" bowl.

One thing I realized through this process is how few of my kitchen items are used on a regular basis. Over the past five years I've complained innumerable times about how little cabinet space I have but now I realize I (mostly) have enough space, I just had too much stuff I never used.

I also had to declutter the utility shelves in my basement. I should mention that several years ago I worked as a Pampered Chef consultant. Thus I have a lot of really nice kitchen equipment. It was a little difficult passing some of it along to the Salvation Army (like an apple corer, microwave cooker, and v-shaped cutter) but I've never used two of those items in my own home so there wasn't much point in keeping them.

Once the utility shelves were decluttered I moved everything left out on the counters in the kitchen down to the basement.

Again, I'm very pleased with the outcome. What tips do you have for organizing kitchen cabinets?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Boys experiment with scissors. Baby Girl does NOT appreciate experiment.

This morning, about 11:00 AM Eastern time to be more precise, I strapped Ellie into her booster seat at the kitchen table and told the boys to sit in their chairs. I handed the boys our plastic tub of crayons, each a pair of what I believed were children's safety scissors, a glue stick and blank paper.

This arrangement usually provides me with 15-20 minutes of uninterrupted chore time. I keep half an ear on the kitchen and go about my work. And so I did today. But the 15 minutes ended up costing me the rest of the afternoon.

My subconscious mind realized the boys were up to mischief with Ellie. I could hear it in their voices. But it didn't sink into my conscious mind to go check on them. And then Ellie yelled. The kind of yell that means "I'm hurt!!!" The yell that causes all mommas to drop what they are doing and hurry to the source of the yell.

When I walked into the kitchen both boys were kneeling on chairs on either side of Ellie and leaning towards her. Each had a pair of scissors in his hand. By this time she'd taken a huge deep breath and then proceeded to wail at the top of her lungs like she was being beat.

Only she wasn't being beat. She had been cut!! I could see blood pouring from her chubby little palm. One of her "loving" big brothers had cut her little hand!! Will quickly threw Ben under the bus for the deed. I sent both boys to sit on their beds until I had Ellie calmed down and cleaned up.

I grabbed my trusty "Blood" washcloth. (It's a dark purple so no stains show.) And pressed it on her hand. The cut is on her right hand. Palm side. Over the knuckle area. Just between the pointer and middle finger.

After about 5 minutes Ellie had calmed down enough she no longer wanted to sit on my lap. I managed to get a band-aid on her and then she was off again to play. You can't keep that girl down for long!

At that point I called Ben to the bathroom (where we minister "discipline" to the "seat of correction"). I think he now understands that you do NOT cut Sister, or anyone else for that matter, with scissors. Then I called Will into the bathroom. It didn't take long for him to confess to TELLING BEN TO CUT ELLIE. Needless to say he received a little correction, as well as a lecture on how telling someone to do something wrong is just as bad as doing it yourself.

A few minutes later I noticed Ellie's band-aid needed to be replaced. As I looked at the cut I couldn't tell if it needed stitches or not. So I called the pediatrician's office and spoke to the nurse. By this time it was 12:08. She said to come in at 1:00. You have to like a doctor's office that will fit you in like that! So I called Joel who agreed to drive home (he had the van). We loaded everyone up, took daddy back to work and then drove to the pedi's office. And made it there right at 1:00.

Thankfully, the doctor said the cut is a "flesh wound" and doesn't need stitches. We just have to keep it clean and covered for the next few days.

There are days I tell Joel at supper, "You still have three children. It was a good day." Today was one of those days.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Book Recommendations for Organizing Your Home.

Recently I borrowed a few books about organizing from my friend, Amy. I knew before I read the books that my house is a mess. OH BOY! do I now realize in how much of a mess I've been living!!

First I read Smart Organizing: Simple Strategies for Bringing Order to Your Home by Sandra Felton. Mrs. Felton describes ways to go about decluttering your home one step at a time. I really appreciated her 80/20 rule. My understanding of this rule is that if you improve your home (or room, or closet, or drawer) by 20% it will seem like you've improved it by 80%. That gives me a lot of freedom and hope. I don't have to improve everything at once, or even everything in a single room at once. Bit by bit I can organize the mess and create beauty.

Mrs. Felton also provides some amazing ideas for maintaining your home. Like keeping a roll of paper towels and all purpose cleaner under your bathroom sink so you can clean any gunk off right when you see it. Maybe you already do this, so bear with me, but this was a new idea to me. It makes sense! How many times do I see toothpaste or soap gunk on the bathroom counter and think "I should get a paper towel and wipe that up" but I don't because I don't want to take the time to go to the kitchen for the paper towel and then to the hall closet for the cleaner. But if it's all right there under the counter I'll take the 30 seconds necessary to wipe it up rather than being annoyed about it all day (or all week).

The other book I've read is a "two-in-one:" The Messies Superguide and When You Live with a Messie also by Sandra Felton. Through this book I realized that I'm an average housekeeper. Dust on the coffee table doesn't bother me but washing dishes so we have something to eat on makes me crazy! I feel encouraged to know I'm average and don't have to live up to my friends' standards of cleanliness.

The book also opened my eyes to the way Joel has been thinking and feeling about our stuff. This was HUGE for me. I now understand why we have piles and piles of stuff we haven't used for years in our basement. I see that when I declutter (box up the junk and haul it to the Salvation Army) it's very difficult for him. (I have to say he's doing really well in this regard and NOT going through the boxes I've packed up. He's trusting me not throw out any of his treasures.)

This book included a couple of short chapters on decorating your home once you have it cleaned up. She walks you through how to choose colors, textures and furniture. I feel VERY inspired to create a home that is beautiful as well as functional.

There you have it. I'm inspired to work on my home and maintain the work I've already accomplished. If you are feeling inspired, too, click here to go read more about Sandra Felton. You might also check out Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie. She has a lot of great ideas and links, also.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

It was a nice weekend.

I'm back from my weekend break. Saturday my sweet hubby let me sleep in until 9:30!!! I had gone to bed at 10:30 PM which is early for me lately. That means 11 hours of sleep, ladies!! If you don't count my quick trip to the bathroom in the middle of that night. = ) I used to laugh at my mom's puny bladder. Three children later I commiserate with her.

Oh! I should tell you Friday afternoon I decluttered half of my kitchen cabinets. There will be more about that later in the week.

I also did our taxes. I always do them with the tax booklet the IRS sends us. Sadly, I couldn't complete them because I need more information about the stock we sold. But I went ahead and ran some best guesstimates on the figures and it looks like we'll get a nice check back from Uncle Sam. That ALWAYS makes me happy. I've been sweating the taxes lately because 1. we had several unexpected sources of income (see the above link for more details) and 2. Joel got a really nice raise, and 3. we didn't add any children to our family in 2007 thereby increasing our exemptions and child tax credits. But it appears my fears and worries were unfounded. Isn't that the way it usually is?

Saturday I ran errands. More on that later. And Sunday we went to church. Tonight we ate supper at Chili's. They used to be my favorite restaurant. I still love their chips and salsa but the last 3 times we've eaten there I've not been very satisfied with my meal. Which makes me sad since we used almost all of our eating out money on that meal. Oh, well. There's always next month.

That's what I've been up to this month. I'll warn you now that next week, starting the 18th, I'm focusing on potty training Ben so I don't know how much I'll be on the computer then.

I think that's all I have to say, for now anyway.

Friday, February 8, 2008

What I've been up to.

Not much. It's been about 2 weeks since my boys have played in the backyard. We all went to the park for a walk Saturday but other than that they haven't been outside. That means they are climbing the walls and so am I!!

Wednesday night I met 2 girlfriends for a girls night out. We shopped and then went to Applebee's for half-priced appetizers. The waitress finally asked us to leave at 11:30. = ) We had a lot of fun. I managed to come home with a new purse and 2 t-shirts. I tried on a pair of jeans but they didn't have the color I wanted in my size so I'm going to order them.

Why am I telling you all this mundane stuff? The point is I'm going to take a blogging break for the weekend. I have a few tasks I want to get done (like taxes & decluttering) that are always easier to do when someone else is watching over my three little people.

Have a good weekend and maybe I'll be back Monday.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Peace and Quiet

Sometimes I just can't help myself. They are so cute I must take pictures. William is in the first one. The rest are all Ben. He's slept in the "big boy" bed since about 21 months. I can't remember the last time he fell out. Which is pretty amazing given these pictures. And yes, I absolutely turned the light on so I could take these pictures and they didn't budge! Don't you just want to kiss all over those cheeks!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Walk in the Park

Pop over here to see cute pictures of my kids on our walk in the park Saturday. Just ignore the picture of me. It's terrible and I'm in BAD need of a haircut but I don't want to do it too soon before Easter.

Monday, February 4, 2008

You know you are organized when... don't have to turn the light on in the dark kitchen in order to get the bag of M&Ms out of the pantry. = )

Friday, February 1, 2008

These boots were made for walking...

Here we have Ellie Belly Jelly Bean who refuses to sit or stand still for a picture. Her blue jean jumper and pink suede boots are a big hit at our church. Ellie would wear the boots every day if I let her. I'm a afraid she's a shoe girl. Which will be fine as long as she's content with Pay Less and Wal*Mart.

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