Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Conversations with Ada: The Gospel Version

Tonight as we were going through the bed time routine, in between stories and prayers, Ada and I some how began talking about the gospel.  I can't remember the context exactly, I think she was asking if God hears everything, even when she disobeys.  And I jumped on that b/c I was sensing a guilty conscious, and I tried to explain in four year old terms what it means for God to be merciful to us.  So, anyway, this is the part of the conversation that I had to write down for the record books...

Mom:  (after explaining that mercy means, we don't get what we deserve)  and what do we deserve?

Ada:  to die

Mom:  yes, but we don't have to; why?

Ada:  because Jesus died for us so we wouldn't feel the hurt and because there weren't enough crosses.

Mom:  what do you mean?

Ada:  there weren't enough crosses for everybody

Mom:  well, that's not really why Jesus died instead of us

Ada:  but, mom, there were only three crosses, that is not enough

And I began to go back over the gospel for the five millionth time ;)

 At Marshall's today.  John saw that hat on Ada and immediately began saying over and over, "I do, I do, I do"  And Ada said, in all seriousness, "look mom, I'm a cow girl." 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

and still cleaning...

I am mainly blogging to distract myself from a stand off that Scott and I are currently having with Ada.  It is 9:43, and she won't go to sleep unless I sleep with her.  In our house, Ada falls asleep in our bed, and we move her before we go to bed.  This is just our "make-it-work" solution for her sharing a room with John.  When John is older, I assume it will be easier to put them both to bed in the same room at the same time.  Or not?  Anyway, tonight, Ada decided she wanted me to lie down with her until she fell asleep, but I can't do it or she will want me to do that every night.  And already she falls asleep in my bed, and there has to be some space for Scott and me apart from our children. 

We are out of ideas, though.  She has been spanked a lot tonight.  We have lost count.  I have been compassionate and prayed with her and sang our "do not be anxious" song and rocked with her.  I have lost my temper.  We have ignored her.  I have tried reasoning with her.  She is still awake, but at this point it is a battle of the wills, and we can't give in because disobedience has been at an all time high lately.  We are out of ideas.  She won't go to sleep; it's sort of amazing.  So, we told her that's fine, she can sit on the love seat in the play room, but I can't lie down with her.  So, she is sitting on the love seat, and we are still at a stand off.  I assume she is going to fall asleep on the love seat?  I am not sure.  At this point, she has lost computer games, television, and candy for all of tomorrow, and I am out of ideas for what I can take away. 

Okay, I just glanced at her.  She is asleep on the love seat.  Now we are debating when to move her because we don't want her to wake up and start this whole thing all over again.  That was exhausting, ya'll!!!! 

Okay, cleaning?

It's going okay.  Not great, not horrible.  I just struggle with a balance.  Let's face it, clutter is going to be an issue with a toddler and a preschooler in a tiny little house (or a big house, for that matter).  And it drives me crazy.  But I am working on just doing the best I can.  I don't want my goal to be perfection (ha, I am not even close to perfection over here, but that is what is driving me crazy), I want my goal to be faithfulness.  Diligence.  So, at the very least, I want to do my daily stuff--beds and kitchen and laundry and clutter.  Day in and day out, even if no one could even tell that I am working on this.  I am making a list for the entire week, though.  That's my new thing for the week--naming an "extra" for each day rather than waiting until the night before.  So, here it is...

Monday--change all sheets
Wednesday--mop kitchen floors
Thursday--vacuum whole house (have I mentioned that it's a small house ;) )
Friday--clean out fridge and freezer/grocery store
Saturday--clean cars and dust

This is just an experiment, and this is just for this week.  I think the daily schedule will look different from week to week.  And here's the key, I think.  If something doesn't get done one day, I don't move it to the next day, I just move on to the next thing, and I try again next week.  I don't want to end up with an impossible list on Thursday.  Though, if I get to Thursday, and I realize it's more crucial that bathrooms get cleaned than floors get vacuumed, then I can switch, but I can't "pile up."'s one day at a time.

Happy cleaning (ha!)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quick Homeschool Update

Quickly, because there is much cleaning to be done, I wanted to post a an update on Writing Road to Reading and homeschooling in general.

Today we finished learning to write the individual letters of the alphabet in lowercase.  Ada had written most of them before, but she now knows how to write each one properly, neatly, and on wide-ruled paper.  Look at her progress from day one to now...

that was day one.  A bit all over the place.

And today's work

So, obviously, at this point I am really liking this system.  At first it was frustrating as Ada was learning new skills and grasping the concept of base line and where to start her letters and all of those things.  But now, she knows what to do with a piece of notebook paper, and she understands that letters start on the left side of the page, and she understands proper size and placement.  And this is in a matter of just a few weeks.  At this point, we are going to spend several weeks reviewing these letters, and she will practice writing different letters on the same line to reinforce the idea of letter placement in words.  After I think she has mastered the individual letters, we will move on to other phonograms such as "sh," "th," "ow," etc.  There are 70 total phonograms to learn, and most likely that is all we will do with reading this year.  My big picture goal, since she will not be 5 until August, was for her to know the names and sounds of all of the letters and for her to be able to write them.  Since we have accomplished that, I am going to move on to the other phonograms (in a few weeks), but it will be low pressure, since she officially starts kindergarten in the fall, and this is technically "pre-k."

As for homeschool in general, I think we are finally, finally, in a good routine.  We are actually doing school in the afternoons right after John goes down for his nap, or even in the late afternoons while he plays with his trains or cars.  All that official school time consists of is reviewing and writing the day's letters, and my only math goal for this year is for Ada to be able to count to 100.  She is good once she gets to 20, but she struggles with the teens.  I casually go over addition and subtraction, as in "if we have 2 red blocks and we add 3 green blocks, how many total blocks do we have?" but, again, our only goal is to count to 100.  For months now I have been trying to get into a good routine with CC, because at 4, it has been too hard for Ada to spend much more than 30 minutes at a time on concentrated school.  So, we now go over her memory work through out the day--in the car, during bath time, as I cook dinner, and I try to make it a game so she doesn't realize we are doing school.  We go over her bible verse at dinner, so it becomes more of a family thing than school time, and it is working.  Now that we are over halfway through the school year, I have figured out an efficient way for us to get everything done without stressing out.  Thank you, Lord.  And that is why we started this year, when she is four, instead of next year when school "officially" starts.  I will have a much better game plan as we begin the school year next year.

And our favorite place to do school?  The front porch, especially on these beautiful days we had all last month...

Notice Ada's choice of outfits.  Well the ballet attire was because we were just home from ballet, but the heels and my grey t-shirt, were added by Ada.

As for the youngest member of the family, he is busily playing with his birthday gift.  It is a HIT.  He sits and does it over and over, and his favorite part?  Lining up the cars before they go down the ramp one at a time, in proper order ;)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

And the Cleaning Continues

First, though, a few pictures of John playing with his birthday gift this morning before church.  And I will do an official "birthday party post," later. 

 A Fisher Price race track/parking garage to replace the cheapo one we got him for Christmas (our bad, John)
 He LOVES it!!!!

 Mater and Lightening McQueen, and Scott got him the Cars movie as well.  It's his first "boy" Disney movie, and he was excited when he realized that Lightening McQueen matched the one in the movie.  Ada got him a Cars board book, so we bombarded him with all things Cars this birthday, but only because Scott thought he would really like all of it, if only He actually knew about it.  And so far, so good.

Before church this morning.   (these are out of order.  The ones of John on the couch are after church.  He was super tired, waiting on us to put him down for a nap)

Okay, on to the cleaning report

Last week was not a great week.  I didn't feel great, the kids didn't feel great, and it was hard for me to keep up with things.  The good news is that because I have at least developed the habit of doing those "daily" things, I was able to make myself do those as the bare minimum even when my energy level was protesting any house work at all.  Because the kids had colds, I didn't go the gym all week, and I think that also contributed to my really low energy. 

I think I've mentioned my struggle with extremely low energy on here before, but over the past couple of months I have made some changes to try to remedy the "energy situation."  This past week, however, I hit rock bottom again, which was discouraging.  I am hoping that as we hit the gym again tomorrow morning, things will pick back up.  There's nothing like a good hour of spinning to give me an energy high that lasts all day!!!  Seriously.

This week I am going to continue with the daily stuff--kitchen, laundry, beds, clutter, and I am going to continue with Monday as my official bathroom cleaning day.  The other thing I want to focus on this week is keeping surfaces clear.  That is the biggest clutter problem in my house--the dining table, kitchen counter, top of my dresser, etc. etc.  I want to make a point to keep those surfaces clear, and I think it will make a huge difference in the clutter level.  I also realize that I need to get rid of a lot of stuff.  We still have too much stuff for this small space, and I need to purge, purge, purge.  There are piles of things in the master bedroom and in the laundry room that really have no official "home" in the house, and I also need to get rid of so many toys.  But, before I become overwhelmed, this week I will focus on continuing with what I am already doing and keeping surfaces clear.  And I will press on...

Free Menu Planning Service

If you are in a rut with meal planning (like me), you might want to take advantage of this free offer.  I'm really excited about it.  You just type in your preferred grocery store based on your zip code, type in a few of your family's meal preferences, and then the website shows you recipes based on sales and your personal preferences.  Awesome, right?  I just signed up.  I'm really pumped about this.  It also creates a grocery list for you based on the week's recipes.  You can add to the grocery list before printing it.  Plus there is a free i-phone/android app, so you can just send your grocery list to your cell phone.  I like that you have choices about the recipes, so it's easy to find something that your family will like, but it still does a lot of the work for you.  The only thing I would add to make it better would be if it somehow linked up with Southern Savers to actually match coupons to the meals--but I guess I have to do some of the work ;)  Anyway, find the link and free code here...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Official Birthday Post

Well, we have just arrived home from the doctor, and Ada and John are resting on the couch.  It was a sort of traumatic experience, as every bit of Ada's tendency towards drama came out when it was time for the shots.

She overheard me on the phone with the doctor a couple of weeks ago, so she knew the shots were coming, and it has been a huge topic of prayer since that day.  We have gone over bible verses, strategy for fighting fear and worry, etc. etc., and in Ada's words, "I prayed about it in my head [silently] and my brain is still thinking about it!!!"  Isn't that the trouble with worry!!!  So, Ada started crying when we left the house, so I sang the "do not be anxious song" all the way to the doctor, which did stop her tears, and she actually was enjoying herself until the shots, at which point she had a complete and utter meltdown.  I had to corner her in the room, pick her up, with her kicking and screaming, and put her on the table, where I held her upper body down, and the nurse held her lower body.  It was AWFUL, not to mention a bit embarrassing.  And it scared poor John half to death.  He, however, did surprisingly well with his shots, crying just a little bit, but overall holding it together.  Especially in light of Ada's performance.  Oh man, it was so bad.  And it's a tiny doctor's office, so we certainly made our presence known.  And Ada announced to me just now that shots do hurt badly, and they are much worse than bumping her head or falling off her bike.  She now has a grape cream slush from sonic (I promised a treat beforehand.  What if you could choose a fun treat, and a grape cream slush is what you chose?!!!  Crazy.)

Here are the official stats.

Ada weighs in at 34.5 lbs, putting her in the 26 %, so moving up!!  And she is 41 1/2 inches tall, putting her in the 57% percentile!!  These are big numbers for us!!

Little John weighs in at a whopping 23.2 lbs, putting him in the 3 % and is 32 1/4 inches tall, putting him in the 5 %.  But Ada was hardly on the charts at age 2, I think she might have been below the 3 %, so there is hope for him yet.  Do I think he will ever rise above the 50 %, no, but I think he might climb out of the single digits at some point in his life ;)  As Scott's dreams of him being a star athlete fly out the window ;)  (Just kidding, buddy, if you are reading this years from now).

(the package came, mom--obviously.  And I let him go ahead and open it.  And we thought the outfit was really cute!!!  Seriously ;) )

Overall, both kids are right on track.  The doctor says they are super healthy, and we have no concerns.   Yay.  Apparently John's eating habits are normal, and I just have to dig in my heels and not give in to the easy way out with goldfish every time he's hungry :)  And he only has to know 15 words at age two to be "normal," and I think he definitely says over 15 words, so we are good.  

And now I will do a little birthday questionnaire.  I will answer it on my own this year, and next year he can hopefully answer himself :)

favorite toy:  any kind of race track or ramp and the cars that go with it.  Bless him, he also ends up playing with Ada's toys a lot--tea party set, barbie and barbie car, etc. etc.

favorite food:  carnation instant breakfast in the mornings, which he calls juice.  Any junk cracker--goldfish, ritz, etc., and he loves spaghetti and pizza.  And thankfully, yogurt, which is one healthy food he gets everyday.  I buy the yo-baby "meals"  (meant for babies), and they have green bean and pear puree, or sweet potato and apple puree, and he loves it.  (and it smells really gross, fyi.  I mean, green bean yogurt?!!)  

favorite tv show:  Dora!!!  By far.  In fact, he really would have loved a Dora cake, but I had to draw the line some where.  In his defense, he also likes Diego, I just forget to record Diego.  Every morning, he gets to watch one episode of Dora, and Ada gets to choose an episode of something, and that is what they do while I get the daily chores going.  

favorite thing to eat for lunch:  peanut butter and jelly, or yogurt.  He also loves mac and cheese from the box, I am ashamed to admit.  And will some times eat whole grain buttered noodles.  

favorite animal:  "goggie," "duck," and "moo"

favorite book:  he actually loves books, much more than Ada did at this age, and he will sit and listen to us read entire books.  No favorites in particular, though.  My favorite to read to him is, "I Love You, Mouse."  Such a cute book that I bought for Ada when she was younger

best friend:  well, he is with Kate Harman A LOT because Jessica and I basically have the exact same schedule.  He calls her cake, and gets excited when we pull into the Harman's neighborhood, saying "yay, cake!!"  

favorite thing to do outside:  throw balls up in the air, "run races,"  he loves for me to say, "on your mark, get set, go," and throw my arm down like we are starting a race.  He also loves going on walks in the double stroller

bedtime routine:  Scott puts him to bed.  They lie on Ada's bed, read some books, sing some songs, and pray, and then he goes down in his crib (will be staying there for a while) with his blue blankie (his favorite thing in the whole world), with the classical music cd playing (which we have used since Ada's newborn days) and a box fan on

What else do I want to remember about John at age two?  He loves Ada/Uggle so, so much.  They are very close, and I am thankful for that, but they also already fight--quite loudly, at that.  John is a challenge, and I think the next two years are going to be pretty hard.  But I now know that ages two and three are hard, but that age four brings relief.  So, now is the time to be consistent with discipline and eventually we will see the fruit of our labor...  John is not super disobedient or stubborn.  In fact, Ada was more disobedient.  With John it is truly an anger thing, and he doesn't know how to control his emotions.  Yesterday he wanted goldfish so badly, but he had not eaten all day, and I said that he had to have yogurt.  He was so frustrated, and he just threw his sippy cup as hard as he could at the yogurt cup and yogurt went everywhere.  I had to spank him, and I put him in time out while I cleaned the yogurt off of everything and let my frustration calm down.  His emotions are hard.  He is frustrated a lot of the time, and I can see the battle in his face and eyes.  I know that adding some years will help because it will be easier to work with him in knowing how to manage those strong emotions that usually come out in frustration and anger.

But he is also very fun.  Sometimes he and Ada get going in the back seat, being silly, and John laughs so hard.  And he makes such funny faces, trying to be funny.  Plus, he is my cuddle bug.  He loves hugs and kisses and sitting in my lap with his blankie.  He loves to run.  And can run without stopping for a surprisingly long time.  He loves to jump, and he likes to show us how he can jump.  We always have to say, "good job, John!"  And like I mentioned, he loves books.  

The more I get to know Ada, I think she is very sanguine.  She wants everyone to be happy, she likes a good time, and she is so quick to forgive.  And she is not nearly as shy as I thought she was going to be.  Overall, she enjoys life.  She struggles with fear, so that can get the best of her, but over all, she is pretty happy-go-lucky.

And then I look at John, and he is much more likely to be by himself, very focused on one task, which usually involves lining up his trains or trucks or stuffed animals.  He seems to be my thinker, my sorter, my book-lover.  They are so close, but I can tell that they are going to be so different.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the years.  

Bottom line, I am so very thankful that I get to be John's mom.  What a gift.  What a gracious gift.  I pray that he will grow into a man who loves God with all of his heart, soul, and mind.  That He will fight for truth and be a strong leader.  I pray that he will be kind and tender hearted, full of mercy.  Bottom line?  I want Him to know God and make him known!!

Happy Birthday, my precious boy. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Happy, happy birthday, John Thomas

My big boy John turns two today, which of course as the mom, all I can think about is what I was doing this time two years ago. 

 (breathing through some contractions)

saying good-bye to big sister, Ada, as we headed out the door to the hospital
 quickly kissing him before they whisk him away
And later that evening after a shower, some food, and some rest, visiting my little guy

And a year ago...

And now...

just kidding, but that is so him... a better picture of my John...

Happy 2nd birthday, precious boy!!!

(I will be back on Friday with a more detailed, John is two post, after I have some official "stats" from the pediatrician, and we will have a tiny celebration on Saturday evening, so I will also post about that...)

Monday, February 6, 2012


This is the kind of day we have had.  I think this just sums it up.  John, sitting on the floor of the laundry room, eating lucky charms and saying "ummy" (yummy) when I caught him and asked him what he was doing.  I had actually set all of those boxes of cereal out to be thrown away.  I was trying to make some space in the pantry, and we aren't big cereal eaters for so many reasons--empty calories anyone?--but every once in a while when the budget is extra tight and the cereal is at a rock bottom price, I do cave and buy a box or two.  Anyway...John was too quite for too long, and I had to go check out the situation, and this is what I found.  Which, once Ada discovered what he was doing, it turned into a gigantic sibling fight, and I had to jerk the box away and everyone ended up in tears.  (Ada and John, I mean, not me;) ) Not good.

And while we're on these pictures, does anyone have a great solution for shoes because we, obviously, do not!!

So, the day has mostly gone down hill from there.  The house is a wreck from the weekend (I have to be extra on top of the house over the weekends or things just spiral quickly), and I woke up in a terrible mood because I did not wake up early as intended.  Well, I was woken up at 5 am, with Ada lying beside me in bed crying (she doesn't even wake me up in the middle of the night; she just climbs in), and she explained that she had had a bad dream.  So it took a while for either of us to go back to sleep, so I kissed my 6 am wake up call good-bye.  And I spent most of the morning having a pity party for myself over the size of my little house.  There are a few things that are put on hold right now due to the size of our house, and I am not having the best attitude about it today.  But, it was so encouraging for me to hear that other moms, who most likely live in more normal size homes (I should say American normal, because goodness knows this house is a mansion compared to a lot of the world!!), also have a hard time waking up before their, really, it's just the way life goes with young children and really has nothing to do with the house I am living in.  The house that really has been mostly a blessing, I should add, I just have a bad attitude today.  It's a great little house, and we are very thankful for it, but today I just feel like pitching a fit.

And isn't it funny how our children's moods feed off of our mood?  Or at least that is how it works at my house.  So, Ada's attitude hasn't been great, and I haven't been kind or gracious, as we all gathered in my tiny kitchen (you can see what I am fixated on today), while I tried to clean it up a bit and go over our memory work at the same time.  And Ada couldn't remember a thing, and I was frustrated.  And it was sin nature in full force.

So, we have hugged and said I love you, and at this moment, I am allowing Ada and John to indulge in cartoons while I work on CC stuff for tomorrow (in-the-classroom day) and eventually plan to straighten the rest of the house.  I don't have the energy this afternoon to "train" the kids in cleaning up with me.  Instead, I just need to get the house cleaned up so that the rest of the week won't go so badly.  

I'm so thankful for grace.  And a new day.  Tomorrow is a new day with new mercies.  Amen?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday Nigh Check-In

I am assuming that most of you are busy watching the Super Bowl.  We are just starting the game (thank you DVR) because Scott wanted to wait until the kids were in bed, and I am here for my weekly check in.

I feel a little burned out this week, I have to say, because my house still doesn't look like I want it to look.  I feel like I am working really hard to keep it straight, but I am not sure what realistic expectations are for this season of life.  I don't want the state of my house to affect how I treat Scott, Ada, and John, but it often does, I am ashamed to admit.  If at the end of the day, the house feels chaotic, my mood is usually not a good one, so I am trying to find some balance here.  I want to care about how my house looks, enough to maintain some sanity and order, but I don't want to care so much that it affects my relationship with my family.  Oh, help me, Lord. 

I told my mom that I feel like I am treading water, and if I stop treading for even one second I start to sink.  Which means, I still don't feel like I have control of it.  Which I am guessing is where being dependent on the Lord, even in this, comes in. 

That being said, the goal for this week is to get in bed by 11, so that I can wake up at 6 am before the kids wake up and spend some time in the word and prayer, first thing.  The problem is, our house is so small, that usually if I wake up, the kids wake up.  They sense it, I think.  It drives me crazy.  So, again, I am praying that the Lord would work it out for me to wake up without the kids.  Prayer, prayer, prayer.  What else can I do? 

When we started CC this year, I told myself that we were starting now, when Ada was 4, so that by the time she was in kindergarten, and even more importantly, first grade, we would have some sort of routine established.  This year is a trial run for us, before our homeschooling really counts.  And I sense that figuring out this housekeeping thing is a HUGE aspect of successfully homeschooling my children.  We can't successfully complete the day's school task in the midst of chaos.  Complete it well, I mean.  And I feel like teaching my children order and self control is just as important as academics.  It's life skills, I'm talking about. 

So...goals for this week, continue with my daily tasks--beds, kitchen, laundry, and clutter, clean the bathroom on Monday, and I am adding earlier to bed so that I can wake up at 6 am before the kids.  We'll see how it goes...

And I will leave you with a few pictures of the kiddos as we have been soaking up this spring-like winter.  Tonight we even took a family trip to the high school track, and Scott and I talked about how much the weather felt like fall or Spring.  It's crazy, but I am not complaining!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

A few things about the kiddos

As you already know, I think that John gets much of his personality from me.  His mind seems to work much like mine, though it presents itself in different ways.  As I would think it would since he is a different person, and a male person at that.

As John approaches his second birthday (and I will write a more John detailed post next week on his actual birthday), I am beginning to see his little personality develop at a rapid pace.  And his tendency toward obsession is obvious.

For example, he loves to line things up.  His trains, his stuffed animals, any other objects that could be categorized into the same group (he is very aware if two things shouldn't be grouped together, and will quickly correct me if I try to quickly clean up by mixing things together in baskets--he wants things categorized!!)  In fact, his newest "activity," is to line his and Ada's stuffed animals and dolls onto the ledge of the tv cabinet, then he names each one of the animals, and then he takes them down again and starts over.

 I know that this is really too dark to see, but he was so into his little game that night (the rest of us were finishing up dinner), and I had to get a picture for the record books.  Once he had them lined up "just right," he would start at the beginning of the line, naming the animals, "baby, baby, elmo, moo, duck..." and he would say it quietly too, almost as if he wasn't aware that he was saying it out loud.  The problem was that the animals would fall off the ledge, and he would have to start all over.  But, as angry as John gets, he is very patient with these little "rituals."
Here is one with more light, but he doesn't have the full line up going...

Some more examples of his obsession?

Today, he walked out on to the front porch, and all of the blocks were out on the ground.  He said, very dramatically, "uh-oh!!"  and he immediately started picking them up.  I bent down to help him, and he said in a panicked voice, "no!" and pushed my hand away.  So, I left him alone with it, and he kept picking them up.

And lately, he doesn't want my hands on the grocery cart when we are at the grocery store.  You can see how this is a problem.  He tries to push my hands away, and often it ends with his having a breath holding spell because he's so upset about the fact that my hands have to be on the grocery cart.  The Publix car cart works to my advantage b/c his back is to me, so he is not aware that my hands are on the cart...

I just pray for him and his character and the man that he will be.  God made him just like this on purpose.  Very much on purpose.  And I pray for wisdom in knowing how to guide and direct him so that his weak areas are strengthened, and I pray that I would not discipline away the areas that are good things, strong things, but different than, perhaps, I want them to look.  If that makes sense at all...

In the mean time, as I was typing this, my little guy woke up from his nap, so I better go and get going with our "afternoon things..."

p.s. while I have been typing this, Ada was off playing her new favorite game "What Not To Wear," a show I sometimes watch during "rest time."  (while John is sleeping, and Ada is playing by her self).  She asked if she could use my makeup, and to buy myself some time, I said yes.  Here is the finished product...

By the way, she always stops what she is doing to watch the make up portion of What Not To Wear.