Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Little Miss Independent

I had alluded to Pookie's tendency to just go ahead and get whatever she wants in my last post about the kids. She is the only one of my children who will go into the closet and grab whatever she wants and start eating it. She did not start out being sneaky about grabbing stuff, but that has evolved as she figured out I would take it away when I found out. *smile* Her tendency to run away with things has expanded to non-food items, as well. After my last post, I decided to start keeping track of the things I have found her with. Here are some of the things I remembered to write down:

  • Raisins - by far her favorite snack! They get stolen more often than anything.
  • Body Spray - Not only did she take it from my room, I found her spraying it on herself frantically to get as much out of the bottle before I took it.
  • iPod - When she knew that I saw her, she ran to try and put it back where she found it.
  • Goldfish - We have the biggest box I could find...she can't even get her arms all the way around it.
  • Scissors - Another thing she knew she wasn't allowed to have...thankfully I got to her before she went running with them.
  • Chocolate Covered Almonds - She doesn't even like them! I think she thought they were the chocolate covered raisins. hehehe
  • Make-up Bag - AGAIN! Thankfully, I found her before anymore red got on her face.
  • My Keys - This one is kind of funny, because I have found the doors to the car open when she played with them before.
  • Chip Bag - At 10am, a little after breakfast, I heard her plop down on the floor with a bag. When I turned around, she already had the clip off and was eating.
Here is an example of what it is like when I catch her in the act (at the end, she is telling me to turn the camera screen so she can see herself...)

Last, but certainly not the least...yesterday, she came up to me with my espresso beans. She had taken the bag out of the box I keep them in, opened it and already had a few in her mouth. She said, "Coffee!" Then, she started to chew them. The look on her face was priceless! She looked like she was confused by why something that mommy likes so much would taste so horrible. I wanted to grab the video camera, but it was downstairs. I asked her if it tasted good, she said "mm-hmm" (yes). A few seconds after I figured out what she had in her mouth, she spit them out. So, I only got a picture of her pointing to them on the floor. Still, I wonder if she has learned anything from this valuable lesson???

Pookie pointing to the beans on the floor
The beans by the bag

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Let me introduce you to...Homemaker's By Choice

I was never a big podcast or radio person, but that has changed. Over the last few years, I have transitioned much of the time I spent watching TV to listening to radio programs, reading and, well, blogging! I started out listening to Focus on the Family and Crown Financial Ministries, which are both really good programs. But I found myself looking for something with practical advice and wisdom for me as I went through the day-to-day realities of being an at-home mom. I stumbled upon the Homemaker's By Choice Podcast by accident, but immediately knew I found a great resource! When I later found out that their founder, Donna Otto, was mentored for a time by Elisabeth Elliot, I gained even more respect for the ministry. After listening to them for 2 or 3 years now, I have only praise for their ministry.

If you have not heard of this wonderful ministry, I hope you will check them out. As their name suggests, they encourage women to stay at home with their children - however, their resources are helpful for any mother. They do not have a negative attitude toward women who work. They have even had programs that specifically deal with issues working mothers face. I have learned about Organization, Child Discipline, Marriage, and Building Traditions into your family, among other things - and have always felt encouraged at the end of listening. I have also implemented some of their resources which have helped me to improve in my organizational and mothering abilities. If you are interested, you can also check out their website which includes some other helpful resources.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Evolution of my "Mommy Card"

A friend of mine posted her first "mommy card" and it reminded me of my first one.

I first heard of the Mommy Card when I had Little Man. I didn't have many friends with kids, so I thought the idea was good - I would give them to other moms as a way of trying to connect. As I took my Princess to different community activities, I would hand them out to people I met. Honestly, those first few times were UNCOMFORTABLE! I felt like a sales person giving out my card. However, I have learned a little about timing since then and use them more for when someone asks me my contact info.

I found a "Top Ten Reasons to Use Your Mommy Card" list. There are quite a few of those reasons I can't use because I don't have my kid's pictures on mine, but I still think it's a cute list.

I can't claim that any of my card designs are original, but I was too cheap to buy them so I made them all on the computer. The cards really reflect times in my life, so looking at them was kind of a walk down memory lane...

The first card was when Princess and Little Man were both baby/toddler age, and I wanted it to reflect both boys and girls. After looking online at what was available, I found some clipart in Microsoft Word and this is what I came up with:

First Mommy Card

Then, when Princess was in Preschool, I was giving the card mostly to Moms of preschool girls, so I researched online again and went with a little more feminine, yet still playful, look. I edited the clipart in Word so it would reflect the ages and hair color of each of the kids.

Second Mommy Card

Recently, Little Man was finishing up his first year of Preschool and I was thinking that I needed to print some more cards. Somehow, I didn't feel comfortable giving all the Moms of rough-and-tumble boys such a feminine card. So, I decided that I should make a card that reflected me a little. I found a card online, and basically copied the style.

Current Mommy Card

Okay, so this one is feminine, too; but it is more applicable to any situation because it is more to reflect me than the kids. I liked the more sophisticated style, but truthfully I am already thinking of doing one that has more of a fun flair to it, as well! I always did like changing things up, and I have fun putting them together.

It is amazing to me how such a little thing like changing your "Mommy Card" can help you reflect on how much life changes in such a short period of time!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

How Will They Remember Me?

Every time I make a decision how to spend something, time or money or energy, I tend to second guess myself. That was definitely the case at lunch the other day.

So, we were getting ready for lunch. The kids were all around the table, and I was getting the food ready. I decided to sing to them. Have you ever heard "This is me" by Laurie Berkner? It is a very fun song that the librarian uses during story time to get all the kids moving around before they have to sit and read. I did my own little version, (along with descriptive actions...)
"This is [Little Man], This is [Little Man], I love [Little Man] and his energy...
He likes to jump up and down (jump, jump, jump)
He likes to race his cars (vroom, vroom, vroom)
He likes to run all around (run, run, run) 'cause he has energy
Oh, I love [Little Man], I love [Little Man], I love [Little Man] and his energy"

I knew I couldn't leave the two girls out, so I started in with Princess:
"This is [Princess], This is [Princess], I love [Princess] and her energy...
She likes to dance ballet (do-do-do-do-do-doooooo)
She likes to run and play (run, run, run)
She likes to act all crazy (blah, blah, blah) 'cause she has energy
Oh, I love [Princess], I love [Princess], I love [Princess] and her energy"

Not to be left out Pookie was already chanting "Me! Me! Me!" So, I went on:
"This is [Pookie], This is [Pookie], I love [Pookie] and her energy...
She likes to spin around (spin, spin, spin)
She likes to hop up and down (hop, hop, hop)
She likes to sing little songs (la, la, la) 'cause she has energy
Oh, I love [Pookie], I love [Pookie], I love [Pookie] and her energy"

The kids had a good laugh, and Little Man immediately started HIS own version:
"This is Mommy, This is Mommy, I love Mommy and her energy...
She likes to type on her computer (type, type, type)
She likes to watch movies (whoa, whoa, whoa)
She likes to lay in bed (sleep, sleep, sleep)

At this point, I interjected, "So, she can get more energy!" and we finished the song. The next day, as we were singing again, Princess wanted to add her own illustration of how I get energy, and said, "She likes to drink her coffee (sip, sip, sip)."

Now, as all this was going on, I was actually not having a very good week and was feeling quite sad about my kids' description of me. To fully appreciate the mommy guilt, you have to have a little background. For the previous two weeks I had been distracted by projects on the computer. I have a very tenacious personality, but sometimes I can be way too focused on one thing and not pay attention to the other things going on.

For example, we had lost the video of Pookie's "cosmetology" because the disc in the camera was bad. So, I had been moving our home videos into the computer so we would be able to capture more of those moments on the hard drive. I got into the middle of it...I had to be at the computer all the time to check if the last one had finished, start a new one, save them, label them with the correct dates, etc. I didn't just do a few of them so we would have room on the hard drive, I wanted them ALL done. Good goal...bad execution.

By the time we were singing our little lunchtime song, I had been feeling guilty about my inability to prioritize when I am in the middle of something. I thought, "What am I doing? These are things that can be done in pieces - I need to be present with my kids when they are around. I need to pay attention to them first." Their little version of our song made me think, "Is this what they notice about me? Is this what they will remember? I do so much for they not know?"

After feeling guilty for a few days, I remembered a video a friend of mine had posted on her blog about the "invisible woman." You can watch it here:

In this video, she says that others may not see, but God sees. He knows our efforts and the sacrifices we make. I didn't notice until today, but at the end she says this, "They will never see - not if we do it right, not if we do it well." My kids should never feel the weight of the sacrifices I make for them.

As I thought about writing this, I remembered something from my childhood. A single time that I was encouraged by my Mom. This interaction came during a phase in my life that we really did not get along very well. I cannot tell you what we argued about during that time, I can't tell you what punishments I got; but, I can tell you about the t-shirt with the teddy bear and rainbow on it that she gave me as a "Thank you" for helping her around the house.

Maybe what my kids will remember is that one day, while making lunch, we sang and danced and laughed together making up songs about each other. Maybe that is what I should remember, too. Hopefully, that is the legacy I will leave.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Everyday Fun

During the first few months of Princess' life, I read articles on the importance of jotting down little quotes and memories so that you would remember them over the years. I have never been as good at this as I wish I had been, but I am still thankful for the articles because I know I have captured more than I would have without them. I used to send out emails with collections of some of the things the kids had done or said, and decided that I would try to resurrect the habit here. So, without further are some stories, quotes and pictures from the last few months.

Wedding Dress Shopping
Princess is going to be in a wedding in October, so we went dress shopping. She had fun trying on all the poufy dresses, if you couldn't tell by the picture! =0) We also went to get our hair done together. Although we went to the kids' salon, she sat on the women's side with me. She was VERY excited to get her hair washed professionally. They don't usually do that for the kids, but she asked me on the way to the salon, and asked them as soon as we got there. For those of you with Facebook, you can see more pictures of her in the dresses on my page. (If you don't have a Facebook account, you can email me and I will send you the link.)

Recent Princess Quotes:
"I don't sleep ever! Except at Christmas, I pretend to so I can get presents!"

After I tickled her, she turned the tables and tickled me, singing a song from her Memory Verse album, "Do unto others what you would have them do to you, to you!"

She introduced herself as Mater, from the movie Cars, saying, "Shake my wheel!"

"On hot summer days, hot chocolate turns to water! I love water."

Little Man:
This shirt was a present from the kids' auntie who is in RCMP training. Little Man was so excited about it, that he grabbed his fireman's hat (the closest thing to the RCMP uniform he could find) and declared that he was an officer! We quickly took some photos to send to her (sorry for not getting them to you sooner, auntie!).

Little Man also finished his first year of preschool. He is looking forward to summer, and asks to go in the pool every time he sees the sun shining. Unfortunately, the big pool he would love to swim in isn't even ready yet.

Recent Little Man Quotes:
"I was shade bathing!" (He said this to me after disappearing while playing outside. I found him laying in the grass under the tree.)

Princess had already been sick a few days in a row, and had a fever. When Little Man acted strangely one afternoon, I knew it was time to take his temperature. Sure enough, he had a high temp and needed medicine. He immediately started crying and pointed at her saying, "[Princess] touched me!" It is nice to know that he really understands the concept of spreading germs!

Little Man doesn't like it when characters in TV shows do things they are not supposed to. He came running upstairs the other day because a character was disobeying. When the show ended, he said, "Phew! I thought that naughty boy would never stop!"

Learning Cosmetology
Ah, yes. Doesn't she look so innocent? So angelic? No, her stitches did not open and bleed, Pookie is just experimenting with my make-up. I wish that I took pictures every time I find her with something she is not supposed to have, I could probably make quite an entertaining album. Here, she is using my eye shadow brush to apply a cream blush to her chin. Whenever I find her with something like this, she runs away trying to get as much done as she can. (i.e. if she is eating, she stuffs her face as fast as she can until I catch up with her.)

Recent Pookie Quotes:
When we say, "I love you" to Pookie, she now responds, "I love you, too."

I asked her if she wanted to help me find something, she responded, "Help you to find them."

She was VERY excited at having strawberries for lunch the other day, and was serenading them as she ate, "Strawberry, strawberry strawwwwwberrry..."

Pookie always remembers to say her prayers. Usually, it is just a series of "Jesus esus esu es jesu" and then "amen" However, at lunch the other day, she included her apple and her boo-boo in her prayers.

I know that I will never do it justice, I will probably never catch it on camera, but I hope I never forget her singing her favorite bedtime song, "Jesus Loves Me." The facial expressions she makes are so cute, and her memory of the words is amazing to me.

I hope that you have enjoyed our stories! If you would like to see more pics, you can check Facebook or email me for a link.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Stones of Remembrance

For my Bible Study, we have been looking at the book of Joshua, which describes how God lead the Israelites through the Jordan (on dry ground) on their way into Canaan. God instructed the people to get 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan and set them up on the other side as a memorial to what God had done for them. When their children asked about the stones, they were to tell the children the testimonies of what God did for them. So, we are supposed to be thinking back on our life and remembering the things that God has done in our lives. As I have been looking back, it is fun to remember some of my stories. The teacher of this study, Beth Moore, also encouraged her students to write down these types of stories for their children and grandchildren. I thought, “Wow ! How cool would it be to have my parent’s stories written out to read?” So, I am thinking that I will start trying to write them down as I remember them so that my children can learn from them. Here are a few examples of stories I remember:
  • When I was about 8, we had a family movie night and we were going to watch Star Wars. I was excited about the popcorn and soda - that pretty much made movie night! I was a little scared about Darth Vader, though. I wanted to sit with my Dad, but it was SO HOT and humid that he told me to sit on the floor with my brother and sister. (In his defense, he had no idea I was scared. *smile*) During one part of the movie, I was nervous, but felt comforted by the feeling of arms around me. It was then that I thought, “Wait, Dad said I couldn’t sit with him.” I looked down and I was sitting on the floor, no physical arms around me. It was one of the first times I remember feeling that God was real.
  • When I was 16, I felt really ashamed about some things I had done. I couldn’t shake the feeling of guilt and shame. I prayed and prayed, but could not stop thinking about what I had done. We had a “One Year Bible” that I picked up one day, and I read the verse from Luke, “Daughter, your faith has healed you, go in peace.” That was the first time I ever felt like a verse from the Bible spoke directly to my situation. I was overwhelmed by the idea that God could use a verse to speak to my situation. From that moment on, without trying, I didn’t think again about what I had done. It was like my guilt was gone.
  • The last example is from my 20th birthday. The night before my birthday, I was a little depressed. I was going to have a very uneventful day for my birthday. The previous few years, I had really good birthdays, but this year I had to work in the morning, and had worship practice at church that night (I was going to a church an hour away, so I would not have a lot of time in between.) I was complaining to God about my coming day because it was going to come and go with no celebration. During my prayer time, I felt like I was supposed to pray and ask God to give me a teddy bear for my birthday. I had never really dated much, and I had never received a stuffed animal for my birthday, though all my friend’s boyfriends had done things like that for them. I did NOT want to pray for that, I thought it was ridiculous. I told God that. However, I was really uncomfortable and felt like I was being pushed to pray for a teddy bear. I finally decided I would never sleep if I didn’t just ask for it. So, I prayed, “Fine! God, I want you to give me a teddy bear for my birthday!” After I prayed that, I was peaceful and was able to go to sleep. I worked at a hotel, and when I got there in the morning, some of the construction workers that would stay with us every week had left me a birthday card, it was a nice surprise. (I love good surprises on my birthday!) When I got to the church that night, it was pretty empty. I looked around trying to figure out where everyone was, and my friend Joy came out of one of the smaller rooms to invite me in. She had planned a surprise party for me. Worship practice had been cancelled, but she made sure I did not find out. Guess what two of the girls from the youth group got me for my birthday? A teddy bear. I named him Chester, on the spot; which I thought was a strange choice. Later, I read what the name meant and found that the “suggested character quality” was, “Strong Defender.” The verse associated with it was, Psalm 31:3, “For Thou art my rock and my fortress: for Thy name’s sake lead me and guide me.” I really needed God to be that and do that for me in the few years that followed.
In our society of needing “proof” to believe in anything, I know these stories may seem to be “coincidence” or some could have been in my “imagination.” However, I lived through them. There are so many other stories that have happened that prove to me that there could not be that many coincidences without someone to guide them.

This past Sunday, we sang a song that included these lines:

“All of my life, in every season, You are still God.
I have a reason to sing.
I have a reason to worship.”

As I had already started writing this, I found it interesting that we sang a song about God being in every season of our lives. Another coincidence? Maybe. Maybe the worship leader knew what we were covering in our women’s Bible study. No matter how it came about, it made me think about my life even more. Even the times when I have been at my lowest, I can point to people or circumstances that God used to comfort me in those situations. I had a reason to worship, and even sing, during those times. In the good times, I have clearly seen the faithfulness of God and they also gave me a reason to rejoice, sing and worship.

What about you? Do you have any “God stories”? Times that you have seen God active in your life? If you have children, have they heard these stories? Have you written them down for their future encouragement? If you have stories, and they are not yet written down, I encourage you to think about doing that. It has been such a good thing for me to remember these testimonies of my own life and I think they will be fun for my kids to read later on in life. I don’t know everything my future holds, but there are some things that I know for certain are going to happen that I can’t wait for and others that I dread ever coming. Knowing that God has been there in the good and bad times of the past gives me comfort and hope that I will not have to walk into anything in my future on my own.