Category Archives: Children

Day and Night

 

There couldn’t be more differences than that between Sir Day and Queen Night. One is bright, one is dark. One brings hustle, one brings calm. One brings life, one brings sleep. One brings fears, one brings dreams.

It seems that not only are my children very different, but because of the difference in school age – there is also a huge difference. They are only 19 months a part, but in school 2 years. Second grade brings innocence, pride, playfulness. Fourth grade brings uncertainty, fear and reality. I was just looking at my kids school pictures. The 4th grader looks so grown up. She has a huge smile, shoulders pulled back with confidence and a certain look of knowledge. However, the picture isn’t quite truthful. The 4th grader is only semi-confident and she definitely pouts more than she smiles. The 2nd grader looks cutesy and has her shoulders tilted. She is playful and loves to revert to baby talk. I’m not sure what happens in Third grade – somewhere in the second part of the year, they grow up. They realize they are their own person. Friends change, personalities change. It is so hard to know when and where to step in – or what to say… I sometimes usually say the wrong thing and get stomps and shouts my way. What’s a parent to do? I’m just so lost sometimes…

I’m not complaining. My kids are great. They are well behaved and they love to hug and giggle. We spend our weekends playing games, taking walks and just being together.

Don’t tell the Hubs that I uploaded this… the girls decided to give daddy a “do” while he was relaxing. I wish the girls would still wear these cute barrettes.

In other news, we celebrated part of the 4th graders 10th birthday at the American Girl Store yesterday. We were there for FOUR hours. First, we walked around and oooo and awed over all the dolls, outfits and accessories. Then the girls did a craft. Then we had Tea in the Bistro. They even had little high chairs and tea cups for the dolls.

  

Ready for Tea

so dainty

the almost 10 year old… she was so embarrassed when the entire Bistro started singing to her!

Then, the girls went on a scavenger hunt throughout the dual-level store. When we finally left, I felt like I had run a few miles. Grammy came along too. The girls were so excited because my mom and dad have been RVing for the last 3 months and they are finally home.

Speaking of RVing, for the remainder of the kids break, they are camping with my parents. I recently took a new part time job, so I am able to catch up on some work while they are gone. First though, time to plan the real birthday party and wrap some presents!!


Ski week

There is a week in January that is dubbed, “Ski week”. The local high schoolers are testing the entire week, so we dismiss 2 hours early each day and then the following week, we get off Monday and Tuesday. In the words of my 8 year old (that loves school), “Why do we get out of school if only the highschoolers are testing?” You nailed that one on the head girl!

The girls have never been skiing. After all, ice skating was a big feat, so I wasn’t sure the kids were up to this task. I went back and forth on whether to even take the 8 year old, since she tends to be whiney when learning new things. She doesn’t neccessarily give up, but she will struggle her way through with a sour face and the noises to go with it. In the end, we enrolled both kids in a 2 hour class/4 hour pass. They learned how to move their feet sans skis, then with one ski on, then with both skis. When they went up the magic carpet to go down the bunny hill, I left. I didn’t want to be a distraction OR an excuse to quit. I came back and hour later and was shocked to see that both of my girls were getting on the ski lift to go down a pretty long hill. Pride swelled up in my heart when I saw them coming down the hill – the 9 year old by herself and the 8 year old holding on to an instructors pole. As the 8 year old skied up to me, she had a sour look on her face, but got back in line for the lift. I was more nervous about her not getting a seat on the lift fast enough than I was about her falling down the hill. When they came back around, she was skiing alone! Needless-to-say, after the lesson both girls spent the next two hours going down the slopes with daddy. I am so proud of both of them!

Since the kids had off 2 days in a row, the day before was spent ice skating! I told the 8 year old (after she fell) that falling on the ice hurt way more than falling in the snow. I talked skiing up all day – I think it worked!


Old Wounds

Remember the saying, “time heals old wounds”? Well, it is somewhat true… That is until something triggers your memory and the wound reopens and hurts more than you remember.

What things trigger your memories? For me it is music or scents. A song will come on and if there is a memory associated with it – good or bad – it comes flooding back. The same thing can be said for scents. A whiff of something I’ve smelled before and where I was or who I was with usually invades my thoughts. Strangely enough, no music or scents are really associated with one old wound… The loss of our dog, Rusty, last year. However, having our new pup around triggers good memories… Which sometimes makes me sad.

Along the same lines, I am producing creating an iMovie called “A Decade of ( child’s name)” for her birthday which is in a few months. It is unbelievable that I’ve been a mom for almost 10 years. Scary, really. It is really hard for me to remember how she was at 2 years old… Thank goodness for old pictures and movies. Too bad the quality wasn’t great… Or that most of the early years are on those small 8 mm cassettes. (I remember those being so cool! The latest modern technology. Speaking of technology… I am trying out writing this on my new iPad2! Woot!) hopefully the movie turns out great and it will be something she watches many times. I am hoping to also make her a baby book. There are a few old albums that I started with baby pics, but it ends after everything went digital. I’m going to scan the old pics and make an online book to print. Besides that, what do you buy a 10 year old???

20120109-151102.jpg
Matching vests… with Grampy.


Super Mom, uh-huh

Not to toot my own horn, but I pretty much “did it all” the other day. Scene.

Wake up, make school lunches, substitute teach half day, pass child in hallway who exclaims “my ear hurts”, takes child to doctor, gets antibiotic, flea bomb the entire house, take dog and child to pick up sister-in-law and drive to the airport… and arrive home by 4:15 to make dinner.

End Scene.

I realize that it has been a few months since my last post. Not only did I get so overwhelmed by the school year, but then the holiday’s happened… and fleas. Yes, poor sweet mini golden pup attracted fleas, six weeks ago. After many – every two week applications of back and forth Frontline to Advantage doses, Capstar instant kill pills and flea bombing the house for the 3rd time… I’m hoping we are done. I mean, each time we will be flea free for a week or so and then BAM, another population of fleas is born. The vet blames the unusual warm weather and claims that 50% of her clients are having flea issues. Not only do I have to spray the furniture, carpets, baseboards and bedding with flea spray, but then after we arrive back home 3 hours later, I have to wash, mop and vacuum it all. It is a pain. We are all itchy. I take two showers a day because I can’t get rid of “that feeling”.

Speaking of the cute little mini golden pup – he loves our Christmas tree ornaments. This is his first Christmas. He slept through the tree trimming – didn’t seem phased by it at all… then suddenly the next day he seemed surprised that a tree was in our house with a ton of nice goodies for him to eat. At first he was only interested in the round ones – why are all these balls on the tree? After those were gone or put up high, it was time to grab anything within reach. Maybe mommy won’t notice if I hide behind this chair with it. Chomp Chomp. I have placed a container with coins in it next to the tree – so if I catch the ornament thief near the tree, I can shake it. So far this has not discouraged him to steal a shiny treat when I’m not in the room.

In other news, today is “Polar Express” day at school. The kids get to wear their pajama’s to school and towards the end of the day they will watch the movie and have hot chocolate. Somehow, I had a lapse in reasoning and volunteered myself to make 3 gallons of hot chocolate. I bet I will look cute lugging the huge gatorade container in to school.


Lunch Time

Life. I exist because the Lord made me, in His image to glorify and worship Him.

My calling is to be a great wife and mother, which I strive to do everyday. I figure out my faults and work on doing better. I pray for my marriage, my kids health and for their future husbands. I look for ways to help others, like tomorrow I am taking dinner to a friend that just had a baby. I feel like my every move is me –  trying harder to be more like Jesus. Yet, I fail.

I’m only human. After all.

Well that doesn’t seem like a good excuse to fail.

I have hobbies… passions, just like the next Joe. Some of these passions include singing, writing and graphic arts. I also like to volunteer my time at the elementary school. I join teams or book clubs because I like to. No one is forcing me to sing on the worship team at church. No one forces me to read a book and then talk about it with a group of girls over wine. I DO because I WANT.

I volunteer because I am using my time and talents to serve others. I go to serve because I like to help out. No one told me that I had to volunteer. I DO because I WANT.

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The other day I witnessed something. A cute, sweet little girl came up to my daughter, put her arm around her and proclaimed, “You WILL sit next to me at lunch.” My daughter, being a bit shy and sweet herself replied, “I would like to sit with Judy today. I sat with you every day this year so far.” To which the little girl replied, “No, you are sitting with me!” … and so she did. She also cried about it later.

There are many forms of bullying. Some know they are doing it, some do not. How might we solve an issue like this? A sweet little girl telling others what to do… I am at a loss.

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I leave you with a funny:

The whole point in writing songs is to publish them… my daughter, age 7 brought a handful of papers to me the other night. It was pages of words that she had written. She was glowing and a bit embarrassed for me to read them. She claimed that it was a bunch of silly, crazy songs that she had made up – but maybe she should just throw them away – quick!… because after all, The whole point in writing songs is to publish them – and these are waaayyyy to silly to publish.

How can I keep from singing Your Name? I am loved by the King and it makes my heart - want to sing


Funny bones…

The funny part about funny bones is nothing. I mean really, who came up with that?

Instead of harping on all that has happened in the last two weeks (earthquake, hurricanes, flooding), I am going to share a few funnies.

Remember Rusty? Our old faithful one eyed Golden Retriever who wouldn’t walk over grates. I love how dogs have quirks. Sammy, our 8 month old pup is not afraid of much. He sat with us on the Fourth of July to watch fireworks – unfazed. He walks over grates or other obstructions without hesitating. Thunder is his friend. However, Sammy will not go up or downstairs at our house. It is not that he dislikes stairs, he has gone up and down plenty of them that are outside… but it is something about the carpet (texture?) that he doesn’t like. He has made it upstairs a few times (when he was little enough to still squeeze himself on the hardwood part of the stairs) and then proceeded to either chew up kids toys or pee… so, I’m fine with the fact that he has a carpet aversion.

another Sammy quirk...

My kids think they are comedians. So much so that both of them can recite entire sets of Brian Regan. In fact, if you were a fly on the wall at our house, you would frequently hear conversations where each person replies with a line or two from a set. Just this morning as husband was leaving for work, the following conversation took place:

Husband: “Bye guys, have a good day.”
Kids: “You too!”
Husband: “Take Luck”
Kids: “Take care of the luck you might have…”

Okay – so it is only funny if you have listened to BR…

What I think is funny is when my little comedians come up with their own material. Whether it is funny or not – it is pretty cute when they think what they said was a winner.

In other news… did I mention that the youngest finally learned how to ride her bike sans training wheels? Hooo Weee, what a day.

husband running with 7 year old…

… and we finally bought a tree to place Rusty under…

goodbye friend...

oh yeah, and the first day of school…

do I really have a 4th and 2nd grader?

and for the fun of it… an easy, yummy recipe that I made up:

White bean and Black bean (or half and half) Soup:

2 cans Cannelli beans
1 clove garlic
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1/2 and 1/2 (about a 1/2 of a cup)

blend, heat

1 can black beans
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1/2 and 1/2 (about 1/2 a cup)

blend, add some sweet corn, heat

Ladle white bean on one side of the bowl and black bean on the other side of the bowl to create the half and half look… eat.


Little Women

My  number one calling in life is to raise little women of faith.

It’s hard, children that believe in tooth fairies and Santa Claus. I mean, I’ve tried to explain that Santa was a person named St. Nick – who was a good man that gave presents to children. They get that… but… yet. The other day I actually overheard a conversation with the girls and their friends. It was about the tooth fairy and it sounded like this: “The tooth fairy is a small little fairy that comes and brings you money and takes your teeth.”  “Really? because I always assumed that it was just my mom since the tooth fairy is always late or forgets.”  “Oh no, the tooth fairy is really a scary monster that loves to steal teeth, but then feels guilty for taking them and that’s why he leaves you money!”

The Easter bunny is an easy one. Maybe. My 9 year old exclaimed about two years ago that it was really creepy for a grown man to dress up as a bunny and break into our houses, just to give them candy. I was like… um, yeah… that IS creepy. So again… where does that leave us? Do you have faith in him or are you just trusting this grown man to not steal anything in our house?

When the kids and I talk about Jesus and salvation, they can tell me that they have a personal relationship with Jesus and that they believe He died on the cross for our sins so that we might live in heaven with Him forever when we die. We have had discussions about “the body and the blood” (communion) and why they represent what they do and how Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross (the shedding of his blood) was what he did (die) for us so that we might have a life with Him (in heaven). Whew. They understand and yet, they don’t. They are only 7 and 9 years old. I can only keep reading to them, discussing with them and praying for them (and with them).

It is my calling.


Kit and Kat

My kids love nicknames. In fact, the 7 year old wants too badly to have a cutesy nickname, that she will refer to herself in the first person. It’s hard – the 9 year old has a natural name that comes with plenty of nicknames. Not only that, but she was the first baby. You know that story… 1st baby gets all the pictures taken, the nicknames, the songs made up about them. Second baby… not so much. I only have two kids, so I’d imagine that by the third baby you either feel guilty and take even more pictures, or you are so lazy you only have one picture. Anyway, lately I’ve tried extra hard to call my 7 year old some nicknames that could go with her name and it always makes her smile.

For those of you that have followed along since the start of my first blog, HalfMyHeart, you will remember that I referred to my kids as “Pig Will” and “Pig Me Too”, which are names of two little pigs in a Richard Scarry storybook. Then, in this blog, I’ve always referred to them as their current age. The other day, I was singing the KitKat song… I’m not sure why, but it was stuck in my head. We had been calling the 7 year old “Kat” because both kids like to act like cats… and we needed a new nickname anyway. So a lightbulb went off and I called the kids into the room with a huge grin on my face. “Guess what guys? You are now, “Kit” and Kat”!!!” They loved it.

Sammy digging at the beach. How do I stop the digging!! You should see our yard...

In other news, the girls have been at VBS and swim lessons all week. Vacation Bible School is from 9-12 and then their swim lessons are at 4 pm… we we have a few hours in between to play or get things done. I have never seen the kids crash so hard at night before! I love good summer activities!! However, I can’t say that there hasn’t been the fair share of fighting. I feel like they are so competitive at everything they do… right down to getting the mail. They even fight over who gets to let the dog out of his kennel when we arrive home from somewhere. Please tell me this is normal and that they will grow out of it!!! It sometimes always puts me on edge too… I find it best to try and walk away, even if that means I go outside. The last few days I’ve ordered them outside to run the dog around. This seems to work for about 2.5 seconds.

So… I’m thinking of starting a club. I’m not sure what kind yet – and who it will involve, but I’ve played with a few ideas. I love to cook, read, sing, eat cheese, ice cream and drink wine. I thought maybe I could even start a children’s chorus… but I’m not sure if I have the patience for that, unless it was a very small group of kids. I’m thinking I like the sound of a wine and cheese book club where we taste different cheeses and wine each month and discuss the current book we are reading. We could even exchange recipes and/or bring appetizers to share. Either that or I will start a tennis club.


Cracker Jacks

What’s in the box?

Every day this summer my kids and I are trying to do or try something new, whether it be a new skill learned or a new place to visit locally. Or go on some kind of cheap outing.
School ended on a Tuesday, so Wednesday morning we had a girls day out shopping. We mostly bought birthday presents for friends, but we enjoyed some slow walking around the mall with no real agenda. Thursday we found ourselves at a park with a pond. We fed the ducks and geese, played on the jungle gym and took Sammy for a walk. (He mostly tried to eat goose poop, ew!)

Friday we went over to my sister’s house so that the cousins could play.

baking cookies with cousins!

On Monday, we had  a play date with a new friend and went to the open gym for the kids to jump around.

Yesterday was a day to learn a new skill. I taught the girls how to answer the phone properly. Dun, dun, dun. Up until now, they have only talked to grandparents on the phone. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I call my kids friend’s houses and the child answers with uncertainty… or they call us and I can’t understand who they are and what they want.  Speak in full sentences child, I cannot understand you! We practiced using manners, talking in complete sentences and getting your point across immediately. We also discussed information that should not be given away while on the phone, especially if you don’t know who is on the other end! For example, “She can’t come to the phone right now, can I take a message please?” Instead of, “um, she is not here… or she is on the potty.”  The rest of the day was spent working on the kids scrapbooks.

The other thing that the girls are doing everyday is school work. During breakfast we are doing 4th grade level flash cards for warm ups. The girls are sitting with a notepad while I read the questions. There is one for math and on the other side is a thinking problem for reading. Here is the link (click here!) for the cards. After breakfast, we go downstairs to the white board and table for a math lesson. We are doing Multiplication facts, learning groupings and memorizing by writing… a new fact everyday. The fourth grader is being very patient while we are learning/writing the 2’s facts since she already knows them. Then we do a Language arts/Spelling work sheet and finally the girls read for 15-20 mins. We try to be done by 9:00 AM. So far, so good! I would like to incorporate one or two book reports, science experiments and other subjects… but we will see.

I’m not sure what we are going to do today… maybe bake some cupcakes! Grammy and Grampy should arrive around 3:00 PM, since they are on their way home from their RV vacation.

Cracker Jacks. You never know what the prize in the box will be… (I couldn’t use “life is like a box of chocolates”!)

what's in that big box?

Homemade Cracker Jacks

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2004

Prep Time:
20 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
1 hr 15 min
Level:
Difficult
Serves:
about 3 quarts

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups salted Spanish redskin peanuts
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted plus 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 9 cups popped corn
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cane syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the peanuts, pecan halves, cayenne, Essence, Worcestershire, lemon juice, and melted butter, tossing to coat well. Spread mixture evenly over the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet and cool on parchment paper or paper towels. Combine the cooled spiced nuts and popcorn and divide evenly between 2 lightly greased baking sheets with 1/2-inch edges. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining unsalted butter, sugar, and cane syrup over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Pour hot mixture evenly over both baking sheets of popcorn and nuts. Using a lightly greased spatula, stir the mixture well so that everything is evenly coated.

Bake for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove caramel corn from the baking sheets and cool completely on waxed paper. Store in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.

Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup

Recipe from “New New Orleans Cooking”, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William and Morrow, 1993.


Couch Potato

My dog is a couch potato… and he likes his pillows too.

Often it is easy to just lay back and do nothing. In fact, it is my preferred method of exercise relaxation.

I actually love my walks with a walking companion. While the kids were in school and I was only working part time, it was easy to fit a walk/jog in everyday. Now my choices are before husband leaves for work – or when he gets home. I need a little motivation to get going early. While husband gets ready for work, I stretch and play with the puppy. I make lunches, coffee and breakfasts. I have the time for a brisk walk – but that would require actually getting dressed and… moving. Gasp. So… what do I do?

Never give up! It’s very easy to give up when things don’t go your way. We’ve all been in situations where we get discouraged and made it difficult to persevere. Life is full of challenges. Nevertheless, it’s important that you keep trying. So, everyday I will wake up and try to persevere. I will win this challenge, eventually and then hopefully, just maybe, it will become a habit.

I’m calling this challenge “passion for perseverance”…  because I have a passion to succeed. If you remember, this time last summer, I tried the same sort of challenge. I have managed to wake up early, do stretches – etc… but still not the walk or run part early.  I have found the print out of my verses which includes Hebrews 12:11 which says, “11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” I am going to re-print this verse in large bold print and stick it on my forehead, so when I rise in the morning, I am blatantly presented with the reminder to get my rear in gear.

The second part of the challenge is to continue my morning devotionals and stretches… and add to it, worship. I’m not sure how I am going to accomplish all of this before 7:00 AM, but that is where you come in. I am going to need some accountability partners – and what better way to stay accountable than to have you do this challenge with me? If you twitter – will you #P4P (#passionforperseverance) and document your mornings with me? That way our accountability will remain on the same thread. Whether you are trying to get exercise in before daily chores and routines start – or you want to do both parts, with devotions and worship too… I hope you can help keep me on track.