Tuesday, March 31, 2009

An Example

Today someone was such an example to me of what it means to love my kids well. I was focused on getting the books on the tables for the book sale (and finding the ones I want for the kids) rather than focusing on teaching them to help me. One of the other ladies who was helping is a school librarian and she put my girls to work--and they really wanted to. I was so humbled and mortified that I had relegated my girls and was so focused on what I thought I needed to do--rather than using the experience to help them learn and loving them well. I need to slow down and work on this. And yet, at the same time I was blessed to see how they responded to other adults and how helpful they wanted to be. Sami truly has a heart that wants to be helpful. Autumn is now at an age where she has started to see how to be helpful without needing to be told or asked. I was blessed this morning to see the love in their hearts and to see how God is shaping them--even amidst my selfish pride.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Funny things the girls said

Yesterday while I was driving home after we went for a walk with a friend, Autumn said, "Eli loves you more than we do, Mommy." I replied and asked her if she and Sami didn't love me. She said, yes, they did, but Eli gets upset when I leave the room and they don't. So, Eli must love me more than they do.

Then last night we went to buy shoes for my husband and on the way home, we got into this silly train of talking about fruits and vegetables. I'm sure this already in some joke book somewhere, but I never read those and it seems far funnier when your own child says it or it happens to come out of your mouth or your spouse's. So, here's the jist of the funniest part. First we were singing the names of fruits of vegetables in all sorts of funny ways with operatic notes, but then we started a dialogue between the fruits and vegetables.

The strawberry said to the peach, I need to go brush my hair. The peach replied, I think you need a shave. The strawberry said, you're right. I do need one. The peach then said, "I've always got some fuzz, I never can get a clean shave." Then the watermelon chimed in with, "I never have that problem. I'm always smooth."


Random Thoughts

We went to some friends' house on Saturday night and had a good discussion about whether or not you can lose your salvation. One memorable thought that one of our friends shared was something he'd heard John MacArthur say--that if it were up to me, I'd lose my salvation every day. The other thought that hit me really hard was when I realized that our salvation is synonymous with God's love to me--I can't lose his love nor can I lose my salvation--the gift he has given to me.

"For God so LOVED the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

Next note...
Last night, Ravi Zacharias was discussing our secular society and what that means for Christians. He had a great quote when he described talk show hosts as always learning, but never understanding. Hmm... Insightful, we thought.

Last note...
Eli started sleeping through the night a little over a week ago. Yay, God!

And now, I must run up and get him and the girls and get started with my day.

Oh, and last praise, Sami ate her one mushroom and little tiny bite of kale in under 15 minutes last night (more than 10, but less than 15). Praise God! Little steps, little steps...

Monday, March 16, 2009

a quote to think about

In his sermon yesterday our pastor said something, I think it was a quote by someone else, but I'm not sure. It was this.

What God has to say to us is far important than what we have to say to God.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


In our small group, we are studying Genesis. It is different than the usual study of Genesis. It is written by Tim Keller from Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC. This week we were talking about marriage and God's creation and work. We've spent a few weeks on work.

In the scripture, it says that God put Adam in the Garden of Eden to care for it and to name the animals. Adam had work to do from the beginning. One of the questions was what does this say about gardening? Gardening is an interesting thing. As the workers, we plant the seeds and care for them. But, God is the one who sends the rain and the sun and ultimately God is the one makes the plants grow--not us. It is not all under our control. I was struck by how we are not as independent as we think we are. And yet we have this need to be in control of things in our lives--rather than trusting God with them. We trust the plants to God because we realize we have no other choice, but don't we need to trust him with everything else, too? I think we just think we have a choice to be in control of the things in our lives--but we're actually in control of things far less than we realize, I think =)

Well, I still have dishes to wash and I hear children waking so I need to run. I will try and think of more interesting thoughts from the study to post.

Friday, March 13, 2009


I wish it were easier to go shopping with three kids 5 and under.

I wish Sami would start eating her vegetables and eating her dinner.

I wish Eli would start sleeping through the night.

I wish I wasn't so tired all the time!

I wish many, many things, but most of all that wishes would come true =)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Standing up for ourselves

It is a horrible thing in our society today that we, as adults, can be afraid to stand up to children and teenagers--afraid of what they'll do to us. Two things happened this week that I want to share--to encourage you, my friends to stand strong--these kids need us!

First story:
I was out in the backyard with our puppy while she was going poop. Two teenage boys hopped the fence behind me and were about to hop the one next to me when I noticed them. I was on the phone and hung up. I asked them what they were doing, told them they weren't supposed to be--that it's private property and I knew that wasn't their house. I told them they needed to go the other way. I also said that we didn't want any one hopping our fence because it's totally rusty and we didn't want anyone to get tetanus. My adrenaline was pumping! I am so thankful that God helped me remain calm and talk to these two teenagers in a composed, kind way. I am also thankful they went back over the fence and went the other way.

Second story:
Yesterday a little girl (first or second grader) walked up into my friend's yard and threw a big rock at her dogs behind her fence. My friend was so shaken up. My husband took care of our kids while I drove to my friend's house in another part of our neighborhood. I asked her if she knew this little girl and she did. She told me where she lived and her name. When my friend finished work, she went over to the little girl's house and spoke with her. The little girl tried to lie to her, but my friend told her she saw her (and the little girl's eyes got wide). She told her she had been angry, but wasn't anymore and she didn't ever want to see her do that again. I was very proud of her. My friend told her that she watches from her window. That was a blessing because I'm sure this little girl will tell the others that they are being watched.

But, this situation reminded me of several lessons. Be careful of how old the children are that your younger children are around. Older children often find it fun to egg younger children on into doing things they know they shouldn't do. I've saw this with my daughter back in December at a church function.

Third Story: My neighbor saw something suspicious in our neighborhood but wasn't sure about calling the police. I called and discovered that they would do a drive-by without stopping at my house--so that no one would know I called.

All of these things happened because I was home. Please don't think my neighborhood is a bad one. It's not. But, kids today are often not being taught what's appropriate and what's not--how to treat other people's property. I'm thankful that my friend and I are home during the day so that we could witness each of these things. I'm sure many things happen in a lot of neighborhoods, but people aren't home to see them.

Anyways, my lesson for me and my husband in this is--we need to care and make a difference in the lives of these kids--they need to know that trespassing is not okay and we need to make a difference in our neighborhood. And just as importantly they need to know that adults will not bow down to them--they need to have boundaries. I believe strongly that children with boundaries are much happier and safer than children who don't have them.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kindergarten Retention

Should My Child be held back? Is my child ready for first grade?

I typed these two questions in on google and I was disappointed with what I found. the information was so general that it was hard to be very helpful. I know someone who has been told by their child's teacher that they need to think about it. She didn't know what to do. She had no idea her daughter was struggling before February. There's a lot of issues in this.

1) Why would they be held back? Is it for social, emotional, or intellectual (or a combination) reasons?
I read a wonderful article that made me aware that had I not been homeschooling Autumn this year, it would not have been the best thing to put her in school. She has a late birthday and misses the school cutoff by only a bit. But, for her social and emotional, as well as physical development it would have been wiser to wait if I was putting her into school.
An example of an important non-intellectual reason to wait for putting a child in kindergarten: their eyesight doesn't fully develop until they are 5 years old and this can make reading more difficult because a child is more prone to mixing up letters--not meaning to--because of their eyesight if they start school too early.
As parents, we think that if someone says our child isn't ready to move on to first grade or not ready to start kindergarten, then that person is saying our children aren't smart enough. In the case of starting kindergarten early or late, it usually has little to do with intellectual ability. It has so much more to do with fine motor and gross motor skills, as well as social, physical, and emotional development.
Whatever the reason is, the place to begin is talking to the teacher. I think it is one of the hardest things for us as parents to have balanced views of our children--I have seen this now as both a parent and as a teacher. I do strive to see both the strengths and weaknesses of my children--because as a teacher I saw so many things that the parents did not see or denied. It made it very difficult to work with the parent to bring the best out in a student when a parent denied their child's behavior or weaknesses. Because when we, as parents, make excuses for or deny our child's behavior, we enable them to not have to take responsibility for what they are doing and have done and thus we keep them growing up and becoming the people we desire them to be--and more importantly who God wants them to be. Often teachers see a side of children that parents do not see and they also see what the children are learning and struggling with on a daily basis.

2) Unfortunately, my children are about to wake up and I don't have much time to write. But, I wanted to list briefly your options if you are unsure about how your child is doing.
a) Have a parent conference with your child's teacher and keep in touch regularly via email or phone. Email is generally easier, I believe. Don't yell at a teacher and berate them. It isn't productive and it breaks down communication rather than builds it up. The parents were one of the reasons I left teaching. We will destroy our schools if we keep children from taking responsibility for their behavior and their learning.
If your child is struggling with what they are learning:
If your child is behind, ask for extra work they can do at home that would help
Ask for suggestions (activities) about how you can help them at home.
Set up a few times when you can go in and observe the class and watch what is going on. Take notes and talk to the teacher afterwards about your child--don't attack the teacher's teaching, because the teacher will become defensive. And besides, that isn't the point. Your point in being there is to help your child and see how he/she is doing--not to criticize the teacher. You can trust that all teacher's get observed during the year by their principals and they are evaluated on their teaching.

If you do not feel you have received enough help from your child's teacher, then go and talk to the principal or assistant principal and get them involved. All of these things do take time and effort, but your children are worth it. =)

If your child is struggling socially, talk to the teacher and again and go observe. Help your child find a niche--a place to make friends that makes them feel secure--whether it's sports, band, girl scouts, or awanas. They will take those feelings of security with them into school and feel better about themselves and more easily make friends. It is not an inborn skill--how to make friends--it is learned and as parents it is up to us to help them develop that skill and learn how =)

I am afraid I just babbled a bit, but I tried to write some things down in this entry that I did not find when I did my search on the web.

Monday, March 9, 2009


I just heard a moment ago about President Obama's intention to reverse the Bush's administration's policy today and to support embryonic stem cell research. He was quoted as saying "we should not allow ideology to dictate scientific and medical research".

Just because something medically can be done--doesn't mean it should be done. This idea has come to me many times over the past year since I read a really good book. Dr. Paul McHugh makes this point in his book The Mind Has Mountains (a great book about psychiatry and many current issues). He tells a story about talking with a colleague at one point who says to him that he has a horrible job--he destroys people's perfectly good body parts--because they don't want them, yet people all over the world would die to have their bodies work properly! A terrible irony.

Please pray for our president today. As we should always, really. It grieves me. Just because someone can steal, doesn't mean they should. Just because someone can cheat or lie, doesn't mean they should. Just because there is research that can be done, doesn't mean it should be done. There are better ways to do it.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Stomach Bugs

Last Tuesday, Autumn got sick with a stomach bug. It was just before dinner so it was such a blessing that she just slept it off. Sami woke up this morning (5 days later!) at around 3 am and threw up. She's sleeping it off a little, but the timing for Autumn made it a lot easier for her to get through it. I had no idea that the virus could go 5 days before popping up again! I think what happened was that I saved Autumn's sandwich 2 days after she was sick and my husband gave it to Sami while I was taking Autumn to school. I wouldn't have given it to her, but he didn't know. I think that must have been how she got sick. Hopefully, the rest of us won't get it =)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

eBay and Smoking

I have always appreciated on eBay when sellers say from a smoke-free home. I usually don't worry, though too much. But, now I will check! I bought a stuffed animal monkey for Eli on eBay just like the ones the girls have (Boyd's doesn't make them anymore) and it arrived quickly. But, it smells strongly of cigarette smoke! I forgot to check! So, now I'm trying to not waste the $11 I spent on the monkey and get the smell out. Any suggestions???

Oh, and don't forget to check for the mentioning of a "smoke-free" home the next time you buy something on eBay.

PS. OxiClean will get the smell out of clothes--but there's no way to get it out of books.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Congressional Ear Marks

I heard an interesting thing on NPR this morning that I just wanted to share. It matters to me because one of the senators mentioned in the reporting was Barbara Mikulski, one of the senators from Maryland.

The discussion was about the stimulus bill and all of the pork barrelling in it. John McCain tried to raise concern about it in the senate but he was in a tiny minority who was concerned about it. There is a small group who are in fact outspoken about how important it is to pork barrel. One of that group is Sen. Mikulski. They played a quote from her to the effect that it right for the Senate to do this and that they ought to. They played a quote from John McCain listing some of the pork barrelled congressional ear marks (which by the way Congress is talking about giving Obama the right to do without congressional approval). One of the ear marks was simply called "Project for a Sustainable Las Vegas" Another was for termite research in New Orleans, Louisiana. The list was quite extensive.

Knowing this will definitely shape the way I vote the next time Mikulski comes up for reelection--knowing her role in this stimulus bill. I know that stimulus for our economy is important, but does termite research and a project for a sustainable Las Vegas really stimulate our economy?

Just a little food for thought.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My wedding dress and lost and found

Really these are two different things =) I got married almost 8 years ago and I have dragged my wedding dress along with us through every move we've made. I guess that would be a total of 5 moves. Several times I've thought about getting rid of it, but for some reason I still have it. Today, I saw it in the back of the downstairs closet and thought I would try it on. I know that sounds crazy, but Autumn thinks wedding dresses are princess dresses (mommy sized princess dresses). Surprisingly and thankfully it fit! That felt good to know I can still fit in my wedding dress from 8 years ago.

Lost and Found... I hate losing things--especially when I only have one of something. I only have one pair of shoes for Eli and on Thursday I lost one in the house. I looked all over and almost got really stressed by it, but I decided to try and let it go. I almost went to buy a new one on Friday but waited and used the ones that are too big for him as a filler. Today I found the missing shoe in the bottom of the dirty laundry. I was so thankful to find it--and thankful that I didn't get mad when it had gotten lost.