Friday, March 26, 2010

Pre School- Animal Classifications

Bible and Science:This month we have continued studying that God created Animals on the 6th day.  To help H-man understand the different kinds of animals I created sheets of the different classes (mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish).

We went to this great website to look at the basic features that separate the different classes of animals.  We talked about each area and possible animals that would fall into that classification.  Then I kept the webpage open as we began our project.

I pulled out from our sticker collection any sheets that had animals on them.   I handed H a sticker and asked him which sheet it should go on.  He caught on really fast and had a great time.  I pulled off an octopus sticker, and decided to google search it's classification before we automatically put it under fish.  Glad I did as it is not a fish...(okay some of you may be thinking duh, but it has been a long time since I was in biology). 

I was surprised at how much H liked this activity.  Carrying around his little book has been the pride of his week.  Showing Daddy and gazing at his sorting skills : )  We are going to add to the bottom of each page some of the basic distinctions for each animal group, like cold blooded vs. warm blooded, if they lay eggs or give birth to live young.

It was a fun activity to reinforce how amazingly creative God is in making such different kinds of animals.  On another day this week, I had H get out The Beginner's Bible and look for different animals, once he found a page with an animal on it, he told me what kind of animal it was.

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
H is did lesson  22 this week.  We do 1-2 lessons a week.  I am in no rush, as H still has a year and a half before he officially starts kindergarten; but he loves reading time so we will keep going : )  I must say, I have been impressed by how easy it is for parent and child to work through this book.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I have to admit....

I have a crush... I am totally "crushing"... butterflies and all....

Where do I even start...
Loves the Lord
Loves kids and is great with them
So incredibly friendly
Down to earth
Genuine and real
On fire for God and His word

Don't worry, Mr Steady totally knows about my crush, and truth be told, he is "crushing" a little too!

Did you guess that I am talking about a new church we tried this weekend.  I can't think of another way to describe it but a crush.  We have yet to enter the serious commitment phase (membership) of the church.  But what I have seen, I really like.  The teaching thus far has been incredible, the people friendly, the opportunities to serve many, the focus on family is amazing, so incredibly Biblical...

So there you have it, we just may have found the Body to be connected to.

ps.  Please know that though I have referred to looking for a church as "shopping" and our liking of a church as "crushing" this is a decision that we take very seriously.  We are praying for God's leading in our life, and it is oh, so sweet when He makes things clear.

pss. feeling very blessed right now : )

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

sibling relationships

Where to even begin on this topic. I have never been so in awe of and yet so bewildered by sibling relationships as I am now. How do you go about fostering life-long bonds between your kids?

I keep asking myself, 'What am I doing now that is sure to doom my kids to jealousy or a critical attitude or a lack of love towards each other'?  I guess that I am just coming to the realization that good sibling relationships do not always come naturally and encouraging these relationships is not necessarily intuitive for us as moms.

Earlier this evening I asked Mr. Steady what his parents did to encourage good relationships between him and his brother and sister. Mr. Steady responded, "Well moving every 2 years was huge for us." You see Mr. Steady is what one might call "A Navy Brat." What a funny saying to describe my man because he is far from a brat... but he did grow up in a Navy family where his dad, and therefore the family, was relocated every 18-36 months. I totally see the truth in that statement. It is evident, not only with Mr. Steady and his siblings, but I have also seen a new depth to H-man and Bug's relationship since we moved. Bug loves her brother just the same, she adores him and everything he does (that is when she is not pestering and provoking him). However, I have noticed how much more H-man wants to include her, play with her and make her laugh since he really only has her.

In reality, we are not going to be moving every few years, at least for my sanity, I really hope not. So what can I do to help my kids love eachother and be great friends into adulthood?

I am reading through "Creative Correction" by Lisa Whelchel (yes, you might recognize that name as the actor who played "Blair" in the TV series "The Facts of Life").  She wrote an entire chapter called "WW III: the Sibling Conflict."  Here she wrote, "Since it's more satisfying to throw a punch at an enemy than a friend, try to strengthen the friendship between your kids."  Ha, it made me laugh at first.  But really, it challenged me.  I not only want them to be friends for my sake as the referee, but for their relationship for the rest of their life.  I guess for me, I just want to keep in perspective that the time my kids are in my home and I do get to play referee, is a precious time.  How I respond in conflict, encourage reconciliation, and set up opportunities for their friendship to grow, lasts far beyond their childhood, at least I hope it will!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

church shopping

I hate that term "church shopping", it makes looking for a church sound so consumer based.  We have been in SoCal for 3 months and we still do not have a home church.  Oh, how I am longing to have this decision made and to belong to a church...  We are getting there, but the process has seemed much longer than I anticipated it would be.

My friend Natalie, who is from this area encouraged me to be patient in the process.  There are many great churches in the area and each one is a little different.  We have to consider which one is best for our family, which church we believe in their vision and doctrine, which one we will be used to serve at and above all else we are desiring to be patient as we seek God on where we should be.

I am just so ready to belong, to be a part of a congregation, small group and Bible-study.  To show up on Sunday and have familiar teachers and classes for my kids, to see familiar faces and not just a sea of strangers.  I am excited for when the decision is made.  Until then we are looking for new churches to try and re-visiting some of our favorites and praying that God will make the decision clear for us.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday Morning Pancakes

When we moved we decided to  start a new family tradition that everyone just loves... Saturday Morning Pancakes.  We stole borrowed this idea from our friends Walter and Heather.  We even use their recipe, because it is so good.
We use Trader Joes Multi-grain Pancake mix (but if there is not a TJ's by you any whole wheat or multi-grain mix should work just as well)
2-3 Table spoons of Flax Seed
1 mashed banana
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (I don't like the texture of large walnuts in my food, so I use the Pampered Chef food chopper to really get them small

I also add blueberries to mine (blueberry pancakes have been a craving of all 3 of my pregnancies)
On special occasions I add chocolate chips to H's and Mr. Steady's
Or I try little things to make it fun for H and Bug.  Cookies cutters or making them into the shape of a bear... okay that is as creative as I have been thus far : )

So, we have loved starting this little, but fun family tradition.  It is kind of healthy and it makes me smile each Saturday morning as I sing "Banana Pancakes" by Jack Johnson. 

ps.  H has started measuring the days by how many days until Saturday Morning Pancakes.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Waving the white flag...

I have been fighting (with all my might and every home-remedy) a nasty sinus infection for the last week.  I have been drinking tons of water, doing a nasal flush with the Neti Pot, gargling, doing a heat compress, taking my vitamins, drinking green smoothies, taking naps, avoiding dairy... and then trying it all over again, and again... to no avail.

I tried with all my might to avoid antibiotics; I hate taking anything extra when I am pregnant.  But everyday I have been feeling worse.  I have been getting up 2-3 times at night, unable to breath through my nose and my throat hurting incredibly bad.  I called my doctor (OB) to ask what to do and he thought that it was best that I get started on an antibiotic.  So I did, this afternoon.  I pray that I am able to start feeling better, and soon.  I also, keep praying for God's protection over our little one as I am on this medicine.

On a side note, in the past I have had great success with the Neti Pot (I don't know why it didn't work this time).  It is the strangest feeling in world, but the instant relief is well worth the temporary discomfort.  Also, it is not very attractive in process, so be careful who is around for your first Neti experience : )
Himalayan Institute Ceramic Neti Pot, White/Yellow

I wave the white flag and surrender... Sinus infection you win your antibiotics this time.  But you can't say I didn't give up a worthy fight.


I feel like I am always evaluating and praying about how I am spending my time. Am I being a good steward of the time God has given me? What can I be doing more to connect and play with my kids? Am I making the time to spend with my man? Is blogging a waste of time? Is reading other's blogs the best use of time?

I often wonder how other mommy's of small children allocate their time. What time saving tips are in place to make their homes run smoothly? Are other moms incredibly disciplined or constantly feeling frazzeled and that not everything important is getting done? There is a lot on the plates of mamas; to get in housework, homeschooling, family Bible study, exercise, blogging, quiet time with God, quality time with their husbands, friends, co-ops, laundry, errands, women's Bible studies, groceries, food prep and play time with their kids. Whew, that was exhausting to even write : )

Not that I do all of these things perfectly, but here are some of the time saving tips that have been shared with me that I work on implementing into our routine.
1.  Get up before your kids... at least an hour! This is a hard one, but one that I have been working on the last few months. It has been more rewarding than I would have ever imagined. It has taken so much discipline on my husband and my part to get to bed by 10. But it has been so worth it!
2. Meal Plan! I am a huge fan of meal planning. I will write another post on just this.
3. Have a plan for the day. Be flexible if it doesn't go as planned but start with a plan. Even when H was little I liked to plan into the day times that I would sit on the floor and play with him. Otherwise, the Type A in me comes out and all I do all day is "get stuff done" and have him just tag along.
4. Plan at least 2 days a week to stay at home. It is so natural to always be on the go and out of the house, thus letting everything at home pile up. Again, another post dedicated just to this subject.
5. Get your baby on a schedule! I know some don't agree with this, but for our family, it has REALLY been a blessing. I read Baby Wise and Secrets of the Baby Whisperer. I highly recommend both books if you are pregnant, or have a new little one. Training your baby to sleep as a baby has paid huge dividends for us, even H still has good sleep patterns.
6. Meal Prep during nap time. On the days that I am diligent to prep for dinner during nap time, the hour leading up to dinner goes SO much more smoothly. On the days that I don't (like yesterday) the kids are frustrated that they don't have my attention, I am impatient and by the time we sit down to eat I want to rush through dinner and get on with bedtime.
7. Limit your internet time. Ahhh, this is so my weakness. I can spend hours perusing surfing the web, looking for ideas, recipes, gifts, a good laugh. So, for me anyway, I have to give myself some restrictions of how often and at what time of day I can be on the computer. I would hate for my kiddos to remember their preschool days marked by Mama always looking at her laptop.

Just some things that work for me.  I would love to hear what is working for you : )

Monday, March 15, 2010

Podcast worth listening to

I just listened to an AWESOME message on impacting kids lives.  I was going to write out a summary for ya'll, but then I decided that it is worth every person (NOTICE that I didn't just say parent) to listen to.  I pray that you will take the time to listen, that your heart may be encouraged and that you will be challenged!

It is from Pastor Dave Nelson at K2 the Church (a great Christina church in Salt Lake City).  Yes for those of you not from Salt Lake you would be amazed at what God is doing through some amazing Christian churches in the area.

Message is called: "Completely Impactful"
You can listen to it: here, click on Redbox, date is 2/21/10

Or here on iTunes.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Pre School

Pre School activities for this week...
Baby Signing Time  This is more for Bug than for H-man.  However, H loves it so much more than she does.  Sometimes, H will say to me, "Mama look at me I am trying to tell you something."  Then he will sign it.  Bug has down the necessities (more, please, all done, drink, milk, thank you).  However, H can't get enough of signing.

Reading readiness:  Bottle cap cards...
A few months ago I made these cards for H after getting the idea off of one of my favorite blogs, 1+1+1=1.  You can see the original post here.  He really likes them.  The front side has the letters written in and the back side just has open circles.  In hopes that they will grow with his reading/ spelling development.

Writing Practice:
H has been using Kumon's First book of Uppercase Letters.  I really like their style and even the order they have kids learn to write letters.  I usually cut the sheet out, put it in a clear plastic cover and have him use a dry erase marker.  Once he has done one letter throughout the week, he can take it out of the plastic sleeve and write it in pencil.  Great system!  We pair the lower case letter with the upper case letter for the week.

My First Book Of Uppercase Letters (Kumon Workbooks)
Kumon: My First Book of Lowercase Letters

Bible: This year we have been going through the story of creation each month.  This month we are learning about how God made animals on the 6th day.  We spent time reading the creation story.  H asked me, "Why are we reading this again?"  Guess, he kind of has it memorized by now : )  We also took time to review last month's memory verses about love.  1 Corinthians 13:4-7, Proverbs 17:17 and Proverbs 17:22.  (I am trying to figure out how to add the PDF file of our verse cards, but when I do I will add them). 

 H-man is 4 years and 5 months old!  I can't get over how quickly he is growing up!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Love/ Hate

Oh, how I love my bug.  She is hilarious, and growing into her personality more every day.  I am realizing that I have such a Love/ Hate relationship with the 12 month- 20 month phase in my little one's life. 

glimpses of personality
playing games
lots of snuggles
new independence
babble and new words
watching them grasp new ideas
watching them learn, grow and develop
Playfulness and Joy

I hate, or should I say, I as a mama struggle with...
doubting myself if I am doing things right
wondering if they fully understand
helping establish consistent rules
temper tantrums
that my little one does not fully grasp what I mean by "Get Self Control"
The constant testing the limits
The days that I stink at being consistent
My little ones inability to express what they want
Fits and whining

Ahh, this is just a season, right?!?! I do love this phase more than I hate it.  But I would be lying if I said that I loved everything about it.  I am just seeing how strong-willed Bug is compared to her big brother. I thought this phase was challenging with him, but now I realize he was just the warm up. Game on.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hindsight Parenting

This week at the Moms group I am a part of we had a speaker come in and talk on lessons she learned in parenting. She was great, funny and so real and full of insight. I am sure that I might lose my notes... so I am going to write about all I learned, maybe you can pick up a thing or two from this wise woman that I was so blessed to hear.

3 Things she is glad that she did...
1. "Yes"= Yes and "No"= No Say what you mean, and make sure your kids know that you mean it! Be consistent! Be willing to follow through on what you say to your kids. No idle threats. Because when we give idle threats we are only training our kids that they don't have to listen to us.
Uggg, so hard for me when I see issues with my kids not listening to realize that it is mostly from my lack of consistency. Hard to face the fact that we as parents are a part of the problem!

2. Her life was and is more than her children Other relationships and ministry are also priorities... God Husband, Bible study, girlfriends all need to be a part of life. If we don't want our kids to think the whole world revolves around them, then show them that God has placed other people in our life that need our time and attention at times. In no way was she advocating putting your kids at the bottom of the priority list, but just encouraging us that there are others that may need us, not just our kids. And that having kids and being busy as a mom is no cop-out for not being involved in some capacity in the lives of others outside our home.

3.She allowed her children increasing responsibility and freedom We want to raise godly kids! Not Just good kids. Good character far exceeds good manners!
This is something that I feel like we are always working on, and will be for as long as we have influence in our kiddos life. It is a challenge to think of responsibilities that are appropriate for my 4 year old to always be in charge of, but I think so important for him to know that he is a vital part of our family. That he has responsibilities because we deem him trust-worthy.

3 Things she wished she would have done differently...
1. She didn't give her husband enough freedom (to fail) or encouragement (that was not instructional). Dad's are going to do things differently than we do as moms. That is why God has given each child both of you, to balance them out : ) The more we step in and dictate EXACTLY how things should be done to our husband in regard to our kids, Daddy is going to start pulling back and just let us do it all... since the message we are sending him is that he can never seem to get it right. If the bedtime routine is a little off, who cares, at least you have a man willing to help put them to bed! Let him be the dad that God created him to be!

2. They didn't take a family day/ evening Do something weekly as a family to cultivate family time. Whether that is making Sundays a family day where you all spend time together or you pick an evening of the week to play games. Spend time as a family nurturing these relationships and building memories together. This is something that we have been meaning to implement for a while now. We actually want to put into a place a family devotion time and a family play day. I want to start this now when our kids are young so that they think that it is fun and look forward to it. From talking with others that attempted to start this when their kids were Jr. High age, it was too late. The kids thought it was "lame." Get it in place before the "too cool" factor starts : )

3. She didn't have enough fun time with her kids It is not just about setting up fun activities with your kids, it is about being a part of it. How often have we not jumped into the pool, lake or ocean with our kids so that we didn't have to "get our hair wet?" Or set up a craft for them to do, but never joined them in the fun. There will be times that we can't always join in the fun, but when the opportunity presents itself, jump in, get wet, dirty, go through the hassle of getting on all of your snow clothes and don't get a darn thing checked off of your to-do list! This one was especially convicting to me. I am the mom that brings a book to the beach and expects the kids to either play by themselves or to play with daddy. Hopefully, I can break this streak before my kids start to think that Mama is no fun! So, "Have fun with H" and "Have fun with Bug" is on the to-do list for my week : )

Sledding with H last winter. So glad I bundled up and was a part of the day, not just an observer.

Finally, being a mom is a hard job, it sounds so incredibly cliche to say it, but if you are a mom you know it is true. We are often our worst critics, and probably for good reason, we see all of our selfishness get in the way of parenting our kids with unconditional love. Please remember that God has chosen you to parent your kids, you and no one else!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

sick kids

Sick kids + throwing up in the middle of the night= awful night
Sick kids + being on vacation= total bummer
Sick kids while staying at a friends house (who have a 5 week old)= seclusion to the basement
Sick kids = canceled play-date
Sick kids + canceled play-date with sweet friends we have not seen in MONTHS= Sad kiddos, but really SAD Mama

The kids and I flew out to Utah (our old home) to see our friend, have fun and connect with some of those we dearly love. Today was supposed to be a big day... 5 families were going to get together for a big play-date... however, as soon as I woke up to H-man throwing up at 4am, I knew that today's plans were not going to happen. Thankfully, Bug has not been throwing up! Whew, God knew there was only so much this pregnant mama could handle! Bug is congested with something going on in her chest, but is in pretty good spirits! Unless you take into account her extra sassy attitude and testing of the limits. H is doing much better as the day has gone on; he has been able to keep down (in this order) ice chips, Gatorade, Saltines, apple sauce, and gram crackers!

Though summoned to the basement for the day, as to not contaminate an entire house... it has been a decent day. Thanks to some sweet friends! Mandy thank you for the flowers! Kira your grocery run for saltines, Gatorade, medicine and more was critical. And Hal, thanks for not kicking us out despite the illnesses we brought into your home.

Ahh, the camaraderie of these sweet friends has been such a blessing today. And such a reminder of why I miss living here SOOOOO much!

Rough Day + Sweet friends= a good life


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