Thursday, March 24, 2005

It is done!

This morning before Bible Study, I signed Reece up to attend preschool next fall! I liked what I saw during my tour on Tuesday morning, and I decided to go for it! The guilt just keeps piling on, but I think she will really have alot of fun! The classrooms are well-organized! There is lots of room for large-motor activity outdoors, music once a week, chapel once a week! I am familiar with the curriculum from my teacher days! It's a really neat place! I hope she loves it!

That day will be art day for Riley, and we'll do some experiments and projects that day as well for Austin! It's going to all be fine!! Right? :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The birthday girl with her presents from her brother and sister! Posted by Hello

Six years ago today...

I had the privilege of meeting a very special young lady! Riley was born at 11:49 pm, after a fairly short but pretty intense active labor! The big surprise that surrounded her birth was the fact that she was 9 lbs, 1 oz! Austin had been 2 pounds smaller, so we were amazed to see this big ole' baby staring back at us!

From day 1, Riley has been a character! She walked early, talked early, and basically took over any place she walked in to! She isn't afraid of trying and failing and she rarely ever gives up on something that's a challenge! She's not a quiet, demure little girl! She's loud, energetic, talkative, and bold! I often think she's going to grow up to be a lawyer because she will argue her case before you until you're ready to either blow up from frustration, or laugh your head off in amusement!

Where Austin indoctrinated me into motherhood, Riley chiseled me. She has taught me not to wear my heart on my sleeve around her! She knows the location of each of "my buttons" so I have had to be more aware of controlling my reactions with her! She also taught me that I had to keep reaching out to someone I loved, even when they wouldn't demonstrate that love back to me!

Happy Birthday, Riley! Mama loves you very, very much!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Movie Review: The Incredibles

This is one of those days that I'd like to save forever in my memory banks for those days that things are a real struggle! Our Egg Hunt got drizzle-delayed, so instead we decided to hit the dollar theater for a matinee of The Incredibles! We went with Daphne's family and Jan's family! 10 kids in all from the almost 9 year olds (Michael, Austin, and Christian) down to 15 month old Corrine!

The kids were absolutely excellent! All of the kids sat towards the front of the theater, and the moms with the little ones sat a few rows back! I had warned my kids about the consequences of misbehavior so I was hoping for some good results, but I was surprised beyond my expectations with how well they actually did! Reece sat beside me in her own seat for about half the movie, then came to my lap for almost all of the rest! Austin sat with the boys, and Riley sat with the girls!

The movie itself was delightful! I cringed a couple of times, especially since Daphne and I had just been talking about media influences on children! There was some instances of 'shut up' and 'stupid', but I was relieved to find out after the movie that it didn't bother Daphne! Whew! :) The animation was outstanding! I had to remind myself often that I was watching a cartoon! The scenes on the island were especially beautiful!

I enjoyed the storyline as well! I am sure some of the underlying themes went right over my kids' heads, but I don't think they minded at all! I laughed quite a bit!

As we were leaving, an older couple who were in the movie with us stopped by to make some really positive comments about our children! That is ALWAYS appreciated! Especially by a mama like myself who is hyper-self-conscious about my childrens' behavior in public! I'm used to getting the negative feedback... so the positive was most appreciated!

We had a great time! I'm really looking forward to the free summertime movies at the mall now!! What do you say, Daphne and Jan?? :)

Sunday, March 20, 2005

What do you get...

when you combine 2 three-year-olds, 1 four-year-old, 3 five-year-olds, 1 nearly-six-year old, and 1 almost-nine-year old with the Build-A-Bear workshop, mall food court, 2 cakes from Publix, Hi-C juice boxes, a ride on the merry-go-round?

A really tired mama? DING DING DING!!! (Are my muscles supposed to ache after a birthday party?? LOL!)

Oh my goodness, that was a fun combination birthday party for the girls! But I am absolutely wiped out! I'll try to give more details tomorrow after our Easter Egg Hunt (that we'll get in if the weather holds out!)! The girls had a great time with all their friends! And the young lady who was our party leader was just fantastic!! I have to remember to call tomorrow to rave about her!! Mom tried to give her a tip but she wouldn't accept it!

Anyway, fun fun afternoon! Definitely worth it!

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Opening Day!

If it weren't for the fact that I am exhausted beyond belief, I would have many witty things to say about today's Opening Day for the Little League Baseball Season! It was SO wonderful! Austin's team lost, but Austin had a great game! He went 0-0 with 2 RBI. To the 'unknowing' eye, that doesn't seem all too impressive. But considering that Austin didn't swing once last season at the ball after being hit by a pitch in one of the first game, this was awesome! Today, he swung at good pitches, struck out once, and then actually made contact with the ball and grounded out at first, while allowing 2 runs to score! It was just so fantastic! I'm so happy for him!

I'm going to upload a few pictures of my baseball guy, and then go see about making some dinner! We have another big day tomorrow...but you'll just have to wait until tomorrow night to find out what it is! :)

Friday, March 18, 2005

How toddlers are like puppies!

My dear friend Angie just welcomed a new member of the family to her home! It's her sweet little puppy, Spritz! Spritz is a little Toto dog like from the Wizard of Oz, which is sort of appropriate because Angie lives in Tornado Alley! :) Today I read Angie's blog entry describing Spritz's first day at home! It's just precious!!! Angie says we need a puppy in our house! But after reading Angie's blog it's become evident!

We already HAVE a puppy!! It's Reece! :)

Spritz does not like riding in the car and makes lots of loud noises.
Reece does not like riding in the car and makes lots of loud noises!

Spritz is very happy when you give him cookies.
Reece is very happy when you give her cookies!

Spritz loves to chase his big people-siblings around the house.
Reece loves to chase her big people-siblings around the house!

Spritz pees and poops on the carpet while he is learning where he is really supposed to go.
Reece pees and poops on the carpet while she is learning where she is really supposed to go!

Spritz pretty much slept all night but made a few growls when it was time to go to sleep.
Reece pretty much sleeps all night but makes a few growls when it's time to go to sleep!

And finally, here is the clincher:
Spritz has his mommy just crazy about him.
Reece has her mommy just crazy about her (and just plain crazy too!)!

Disclaimer: I do not really think my 3 year old is a puppy! No hateful comments about it! This is supposed to be funny! :)

Mama Guilt

Have you ever had it? I have it ALL the time for various reasons. This time it's a biggie: Tuesday morning I'm going to look at a preschool for Reece.

It sounds very simple you know: 1. Place youngest child into a nice, nationally accredited preschool program at a nearby church. 2. Get enormous amounts of fun, crafty, exciting school work done for older children without having youngest child dump over the science project, color herself with the markers, or dump the glue on the floor. 3. Pick up youngest child from the wonderful preschool program where she has played games, sung songs, created age-appropriate art (and not on herself). 4. Live happily ever after!

So why do I feel so rotten for considering it? Let me count the ways.

1. If I was a good homeschool mom, I would be able to meet everyone's needs without shipping the youngest off to an institution. (Hey, I never pretended not to be melodramatic!)

2. You know, number 1 pretty much sums it up. :(

I really thought this past year was going to be the worst. And it still may work out that way. Things may change over the summer and Reece will settle down and want to be part of the excitement rather than the cause of the destruction. It's just that I'm not the most craft or project oriented person on the planet. So when we do try crafts or projects and it ends up looking like something out of a bad lunchroom food fight, it's very frustrating to me. Not a very good excuse for a homeschooler, huh?

I guess we'll see what happens after I take a tour of the preschool next week! I'm hoping for either a very definite "yes!" or a very definite "no!" feeling to come over me! Mostly because I'm thinking if I have to make another major decision anytime soon my head might explode! :)

Monday, March 14, 2005

The one where Jennifer orders SOTW 3 and Adventures with Atoms and Molecules

Anyone who knows me knows I love a good bargain. And they also know that I cannot NOT use a $10 off $65 purchase coupon from buy.com when it comes around!

But in the midst of this whole 'what kind of homeschooler am I or do I want to be' drama, the decision of WHAT to buy was a mystery! But this coupon, this FREE money, was going to expire at midnight!! I just couldn't allow it to happen!

So I ordered the next Story of the World book (Volume 3) and the activity guide. I also ordered the Adventures with Atoms and Molecules books (1 and 2). These are the next history and science recommendations from Well-Trained Mind. Now mere hours ago I was lamenting that I don't know what to do for the kids for school. Why, you may ask, did I just spend money to buy books for next year?

I did it because I remembered something. In buying these books, it doesn't mean I'm 'teaching WTM'. It means I'm planning on teaching Austin and Riley something about early modern history and something about elementary Chemistry. Daphne has been using the chemistry books this year and she says they are super! I really do like the SOTW books, even if it seems to go right over my kids heads. I've been planning to use them again next time around anyway so whatever doesn't connect this time will connect next time (perhaps, LOL).

It's funny! I'm not really typing this out to explain everything to anyone, except myself! I keep losing sight of the forest for the trees. I need a plan and some structure, that I know. And I need reminders to myself that I make things work for me and the kids, not the other way around.

I AM going to get all this figured out one day!! Surely I am! Right?

Unschooling today!

It's Monday, which is typically my favorite day of the week! But today, I'm just wiped out!

We had a busy weekend! Austin participated in Sparks-a-Rama for his AWANA club, and their team won! He also had baseball practice last week, and Riley started cheerleading! Russ had a gig on Saturday night, but my mom was in town for the Sparks-a-Rama so I wasn't totally alone! She and I took the kids to Moe's Southwest Grill for dinner! YUM YUM!

But this makes now 2 weeks in a row that I haven't had my night out, and you know what? I am just worn out mentally! I know there are lots of moms who never get a night out, but I know that I need mine! I may have to see if Russ can take all 3 kids to cheerleading one night this week so I can get out!

Also, and this is vital: it's almost time for break week again! I can feel it in my bones when we're needing a break from school! That will come soon enough! ;) But for this week we're going to do some unschooling! I asked Riley what would make school fun for her and she replied "Only ever do ART all the time!" Sure, right, no problem! @@ We'll figure something out! I've just got to find something that Riley will enjoy, and that will give Austin a sense of success so he will stop feeling like he is dumb. I don't want either of them at these young ages to already hate school. The plan is out there somewhere! At least I hope it is... I'm not sure I'm up for homeschooling without a plan! OK, so what I am needing is something with some structure and plans for me, that will afford Austin some successes so he doesn't feel inadequate, and that will engage Riley so she's not bored.

Uh huh. Yeah. Not a problem! ::sigh::

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The first 4 points!

OK, since I'm not reading the message boards anymore, I need to find something to do online! I just remembered I promised to talk about the first 4 points in the statement of faith from Beth Moore's "Believing God" bible study! So hang on, here we go!!

1. God is who He says He is!

2. God can do what He says He can do!

3. I am who God says I am!

4. I can do all things through Christ!

Of those 4 points, I think #3 has been the hardest for me to process! I honestly didn't know who God says I am! Through the study I learned that The Bible says I'm blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed, and forgiven! In other words, loved!

The one thing that struck out at me from the study of point 3 was this verse: "Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness." (Genesis 15:6)

In the simplest terms, I don't have to understand what's going on in my life. I don't have to understand what already happened in my life or why. I don't have to know right now what things are going to happen in my life in the future. I know that God is who He says He is, and that He can do what He says He can do. And HE says that He has a plan for me, and that all things works for the good of those who trust in Him.

I'm going to just Believe God about who He says I am, and trust him in His goodness! And that can be credited to me as righteousness!

Yee Haw!! And all God's people said AMEN!

Friday, March 11, 2005

God's Word is alive and active in me!

I just cannot express in words how deeply this Believing God Bible study is touching me. Yesterday's video lesson was no exception! For some reason, it feels like Beth Moore has a direct line into my soul. She talks about things and teaches scripture as if she knows my heart, my fears, my insecurities. And not just the ones that I joke about with friends and online. But the deep ones. The ones that maybe only God truly understands! I don't believe I've left a session where I haven't wept at least once.

In this study, we have a 5 statement pledge of faith! I'll go into the first 4 points in another post, but #5 is God's Word is alive and active in me. I have to admit that I didn't really get what that meant until yesterday. God's Word is powerful! He didn't have to speak the world into being, yet that's exactly what He did! He could have just thought it and it would have happened.

Being created in the image of God, we also have power in our words. (Power in a good or in a bad way also!) And there is no greater power than using our mouths (in an active alive way) to express the Word of God!

I knew this in my head. It's one reason I have my kids participate in AWANA. I want them to have that scripture in their heads and in their hearts, so that when a situation arises, they can SPEAK the truth in power! But it doesn't just apply to my children!! It really does apply to me too, and I need to get that into my heart!

My next goal is to take some of these verses from this study, and some other favorites that I have underlined in my Bible, and memorize them! I'm also anxious to do this week's homework, because Beth said in the video that the homework is going to really take us step by step in how to apply this principle to our lives! That's just what I need!!!

Also, I wanted to share a line from last week's homework that really stood out at me and gave me hope: Our insecurity tends to overwhelm us on the brink of something big!! Oh WOW!! I'm going to cling to that for dear life! I don't think I've ever experience such a period of insecurity in my life! I feel like I'm paralyzed to the point where I can't even trust my own decisions and judgement at all!

I've re-read this twice and it just doesn't convey the awesome message that Beth gave in yesterday's session! I really encourage everyone to take this Beth Moore Believing God study if you can!! I think they still offer it online through Lifeway stores! :) It'll be worth it, I promise!

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Hiatus

It's happened again!

I am taking everything I'm reading at homeschool message boards completely to heart and it's crushing me. So as of today (March 10th), I am on message board hiatus until further notice!

I need to get back to remembering that my kids are my kids, that they are smart in their own rights, and that I'm educating them from where they are to where I want them to go!

I know I should be able to read the message boards and take what I need and leave the rest. But lately, I seem to be taking every post as additional proof that I'm a big homeschooling failure! Well, who needs that! LOL

On a positive note... it should give me much more time to blog!!!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Movie Review: The Pacifier

Any hopes for a career as a movie reviewer are just out the window now! It has become abundantly clear that I just cannot be open-minded when reviewing a movie! You'll see why in the next paragraph:

I got to see The Pacifier Sunday evening. This time, I did not attend the movie all by myself! I had the pleasure of being accompanied by quite the handsome fella! He's a younger man, with amazing blue eyes, a sensitive soul, and a love for popcorn! My husband even suggested that I go to the movie with this younger man! OK, OK, it was my boy!!!

This was Bubba's 2nd time to see a 'real' movie (read that as 'non-cartoon') and we just had a blast! I haven't really taken my kids to see many movies, but this one seemed harmless enough! And Bubba is the sort of kid to see bad behavior or attitudes and not want to emulate it! That didn't used to be the case, as he would chase his younger sister around as "Hopper" the bad grasshopper from A Bug's Life! But, he has matured in some ways!

This movie was just delightful! Now, if you're looking for incredible acting, or a deep involved plotline with lots of twists, this probably isn't the movie for you! I recommend you go see Finding Neverland (that just sort of slipped out!). But if you want a fun movie, that's perhaps a bit too full of poopy diaper jokes, you'll really enjoy The Pacifier! Vin Diesel is a fun, fast movie that I really enjoyed taking my nearly 9 year old to see!

I'm not going to be able to detail any cons for you, because I just had too much fun with my son to even notice anything bad about the movie! There wasn't anything that came across to me as "Oh I wish he hadn't seen/heard that!" There were a couple of really tender moments that had me bawling (easy as that is!) and had Bubba claiming that he was rubbing his eyes because he was "real tired, mom!"

As an aside, there was also a scene where Vin Diesel... well, let me just quote the lady behind me at the theater: "That was for the moms in the audience!" ;)

So my career as an unbiased movie reviewer is down the tubes!! I loved this movie because I got some special date time with my boy! Did I mention he has requested to be allowed to keep the popcorn box because it reminds him of how much fun we had?? Oh, who on earth can beat that for wonderful?!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Could it be?

3 years ago right now, at 1 AM, I finally said to Russ, "I think I might be in labor!"

(See why this is so annoying to my husband when I do it each year?!)

At 2 AM, I finally called the midwife who said that it was time to get to the hospital and find out what's going on! It was miserable weather out, so I felt really bad about calling my friend Kristi, especially when I wasn't sure if it was really labor. She was going to come over and sit with the kids, but she had to bring 5 month old Bobby! She arrived at the house at 2:30 AM. We got to the hospital at 3 and got settled into a room and checked around 4 AM!

I'm sure by now you're anxiously wondering how this is going to end, huh? LOL

Reece was born at 7:56AM! The surprise with her birth was that she was born after only 2 pushes! I pushed for so long with my other kids! It's amazing that she's 3 years old now! Well, in a little less than 7 hours!

Stay tuned for pictures and important details of her birthday, for now I am going to sleep!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Shower!

3 years ago right now... around 10 PM, the contractions were bothering me enough that I couldn't get to sleep! So I took a nice, long, hot shower! I also drank 32 ounces of water to see if the contractions would stop!

Suppertime...

3 years ago right now, I was starting to feel contractions! I didn't feel like eating much supper, so I went and lay down on the couch!

Feeling sentimental!

In less than 18 hours, my 'baby' will be THREE years old!

As I always do in the days/hours preceding one of my children's birthdays, I start reminiscing about what I was doing exactly this time however many years ago! It drives my husband absolutely insane! But I really can't help it!

It's 2:10 PM now... 3 years ago right now, I had just gotten home from the half-price day at the big Consignment Sale at the fairgrounds! It was fun to look at the people's faces when they asked when I was due and I said "3 days ago!" I was carrying so small with Reece!

I'm really not even sad that she's turning 3! I am hoping that this year will be a turning point, and we'll start having more fun! She's been quite a handful as a 2 year old! Though I have to admit I cannot believe I am going to have a 3 year old who isn't even starting to potty train! YIKES!

Stay tuned the rest of the evening for more "3 years ago right now!"