Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Post Christmas Trauma...

As if taking down the Christmas decorations wasn't upsetting enough to our children...Chowder decided he needed to dismember their dear, beloved Christmas tree right before their very eyes. In the living room.

So, we are partially cleaned up. The tree is down. Now to pack up all those cursed little knick knacks my mother insists on continuing to load on top of us. At least, if we end up in another town she will never know if leave them all in their boxes. and of course there are always a few boxes that get lost in every move...

Monday, January 29, 2007

And your mom dresses you funny...

Meatball and Jellybean have been going to ballet class for about six months, now. Jellybean throws her whole girly, twirly self into it. She loves the leotards and the tutu and the shoes. She loves all of the fancy schmancy stuff that girls sometimes go ga-ga over.

But, Meatball...Meatball loves to dance. He loves ballet. He loves the precision and the challenge and the music. He tells us, "I'm so happy when I'm dancing ballet!" and he is. It is his favorite time of week. When you watch him in class his face just beams. Porkchop was so excited to turn three years old so he would be old enough to go to ballet. But Porkchop excels at things that involve sheer brute force. Ballet, alas, is not his thing. This was his second and last week. At least for now. He told me halfway through class that he was just, "too tired of listening and paying attention." no doubt.

One thing that makes me sad about other people's reactions to Meatball's ballet, is that the comments usually come when a brother wants to join the class. There have been three times now that I've overheard brothers coming to class with parents to drop off sisters.
"Can I do ballet?"
"NO! Boys don't do ballet."
"But, that boy is doing ballet."
"Well, my son doesn't do ballet. You're not a sissy!"
No, he's not. and neither is Meatball. I feel sorry for these boys. For the limitations that their parents have put on their gender.

It's almost easier for girls, right now. Girls are expected in this day and age to play soccer or learn karate. The barriers for girls in childhood activities is nearly non-existent. I know it pokes its nasty head up again as the girls get into high school and college. But in the early years, we like our girls competitive with boys. I like that, too. But, if I'm going to tell Jellybean she can try anything even if she's a girl, than I will tell my sons the same thing. and that means ballet, for Meatball.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

ok ok. So I got another carrier ...

When I was perusing Niki's website to order a sling for my friend, I saw that she was now offering Mei Tai carriers from Babyhawk. I had been checking out mei tais for a couple of months now, because I was looking for a carrier I could use to put Ladybug on my back while doing things that I couldn't with her on my front. After researching, I was excited that Niki was offering the Babyhawks because the carrier part is bigger than on other mei tais I had seen, plus they have the headrest so I could wear Ladybug at a mere 3 months without any problems. She has now even fallen asleep while I was cooking lunch. (You can, of course, also wear the baby in front.)

It is very nicely made and very comfortable. The ties are rather long, (which I wasn't use to) but they are not a problem. There is a definite learning curve to getting her on my back. The first few times Chowder spotted me. Now I still kneel on my bed while I'm strapping her on. I have been able to get so much done with her on my back. She is such a perfect baby and never cries, but I hate to leave her laying on her back under her playgym or in her seat for a hour at a time eventhough she doesn't complain. Chowder is looking forward to getting to use it, too. That is the other nice thing about it. So, hats off to Niki again!

**Please note:The prices listed on her site are in Canadian dollars**

Friday, January 26, 2007

Where have I Been...

Well...let me catch you up.

We have spent alot of time nursing poor Beaner in what seems to be her final time with us. She is a mess at 13 years old, but the dearest family dog you could imagine. The twins were taking her for a walk when they were 2 yrs old. She is that gentle and understanding of the kids. Beaner was one of those dogs who didn't just put up with kids the way my dogs did when I was growing up, but actually sought them out to play with them. When Skaterboy was in his knight phase, she would bring him his plastic sword and she would be the dragon and he would "slay" her. When he was Batman, she was his nemesis. When he was playing soccer she was awesome defense and a great goalie.

But I have to carry her everywhere now and her skin is a mess, full of sores. I had to shave big patches of her to be able to heal the sores. She's not eating much. But, she's still there. You know? When we walk in the room, she gets excited and wags her tail and wants you to come. When the kids are chasing each other around the house, she wants to get in on it. She hasn't given up, yet. so neither have we.


Dearie has found out about my blog. It was never a big secret, just not something I shared with him. Until I let it slip a few days ago. Now, he has all kinds of lovely ideas for me. Like he wants his name to be changed to "Chowder." I have promised him this concession if offers no more advice.


Meatball has taught himself to write. I tried using thouse silly workbooks where you trace the letters and repeat them over and over and over. He hated those. So, I quit. Now, he is one with his Doodle. It goes everywhere with him. He has taught himself to write using dvd cases. Not quite what you'd call academic, but it worked. and his penmanship puts Dearie, I mean, Chowder, to shame.

Monday, January 22, 2007

About Resolutions pt 3...

My Spiritual Resolution:
Gain Trust in God and Grow in Faith

Ok...if you have been following my blog at all, you know I sometimes write about my faith journey or lack there of. And you may have noticed that one of the recurring themes is my lack of trust in God and his plan for our lives. I know, I know, being a pastor's wife and all, you'd think I'd have it more together. But, I don't.

Main Objective: I want to do a better of job of seeing God's work in my life.

God is all around me in his blessings. Some days, like most of us, I can only see the troubles, the hassles, the pain, only hear the whining. What a waste of perfectly good blessings. Can you imagine when we are with our children and we make them a special breakfast and they complain about being out of orange juice, or we spend a day at the zoo but they complain that the Monkey house is closed, or we bake them oatmeal cookies but they wanted peanut butter? Sound familiar? I know it does for me. And I know it does for God. Because, I am one of his daughters. and some days I can only come up with complaints.

If I want to combat my lack of trust, I need to start by seeing what kind of God I truly have here. What if I took a moment and actually looked at what he has done with my life? the big picture. Once I see how God works. Once I truly listen. then I can begin to believe. And what amazing things could come of my life if I did truly believe that he has plans for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future. *sigh* that would me s'wonderful.

So, my plan for reaching this objective involves a prayer journal where I will attempt to follow God's responses to my prayer requests. That way I can see and document how my prayers are answered. And my prayers are going to be a bit enhanced. I have started marking scripture verses with post-it tabs and a highlighter. Each color is for a different child and orange is for me/Dearie. This way, when I am praying for each child I can have a scripture verse to help me focus on an intention. I'm really liking this addition alot. It is helping me to spend more time with scripture and it gives me a verse to even discuss with one of the kids if they are having difficulty in a certain area.

Now, I tend to fall through on the follow-through, but even sporadic spurts will help me see that bigger picture unfolding.
and then.
I will be free.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Skaterboy wins the Nobel Prize...

Skaterboy went to work with my dad yesterday. He is a bio-geneticist working in medical research. Skaterboy had a good time and thought all the stuff in the real labratory were pretty darn cool. My dad sent me this picture and his announcement:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Stockholm Academy of Science

Announces the 2020 Nobel Prize for Meidcal Research to a US Scientist for his contribution to finding the cure for Cancer. Skaterboy, preeminent research scientist has been recognized for his determined research into the basic characteristics of cancer cells and identification of monoclonal antibodies that will target specific cell types. This therapy has proven therapuetic value in 80% of the cases with minimal side effects.

Dr. Skaterboy has decided to take a couple weeks off to do a little skateboarding and mountain biking to get his mind back on track. He is determined to find a cure for cancer not just a treatment.

Ugh...somebody make it all go away!!

I just can't bring myself to pack up my Christmas decorations. It is such a pain in the butt! I hate it hate it hate it!! And we didn't even put out the majority of the stuff. My tree is so dry now, that the branches are actually curling around the ornaments so you'd have to fight to wrestle them free from it's cold dead arms.

*sigh* I just need to do this!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

About Resolutions pt 2...

I'll start with easiest one.
To better provide for the bodily well-being of my family

This will namely fall into the nutritional category. Dearie has put on quite alot of weight this last year and his cholesterol has gotten dangerously high for a man his age. While I can't get him out of bed to get to the Y so he can exercise, or stop him from going to Jack-in-the-Box for lunch, I can provide leaner and healthier foods at home. I have to admit regrettably, that I do get a bit resentful about it sometimes. I'm very much a "moderation person." I can have a pint of Bailey's ice cream in the freezer (my absolute favorite!) and only eat a small serving for a few nights. I hate that I'm supposed to not bring this food into the house because Dearie can't control himself or because he can't get to the Y to balance things out. Why should the rest of the family have to sacrifice? I want my children to learn moderation as well.

ok. But that was the 2006 Cakes. I swear. I'm a new girl. Well, sort of. working on it.

Main objective: I want to do a better job of meal planning /grocery shopping/preparation

This also fits into the financial category because our grocery bill has gone through the roof! We buy very few prepared foods but lots of meat, dairy and lots and lots of fresh produce. (I am proud tht my kids raid the fruits and veggies drawer before the cookie jar.) The price of all three of these things has gone up quite a bit in the last year. In an average week, we go through about 8 gallons of milk, 2-3lb bags of apples, a crate of clementines, 2lbs of bananas, 1lb of pears, a quart of strawberries, 2 to 3 lbs of grapes, 1 lb of carrots, add in the last week a bunch of celery and two small watermelons. (That doesn't include veggies cooked for lunch or dinner.) about 3lbs of cheese (at least! my kids love cheese) and 3lbs of lunch meat (depending on the week. Some weeks it's gone in a couple of days, some it lasts all week and I throw some out.) To help with the financial side of the grocery shopping I have tapped into the Angel Food Minstries as a resource. This is an excellent organization that is not a "charity" plan for poor people (though it benefits them, of course) it is more of a giant food co-op. I don't buy every month, because some months their menu doesn't suit our tastes. But for February I have ordered 2 units and a special. (yes, I know alot of it is not low in cholesterol. I use most of it for the kids' lunches.) and I am exploring CSA's in my area for next year's produce.

Also effecting the financial side, is the fact that lately I don't have a clear plan of meal options, so I don't have meat thawed or ingredients on hand. This leads, of course, to more take out than our allowed once a week. So, key for me, is I need to stop grocery shopping blind and go in with a definite plan. (I saw this on Shaz's website today and will be adding it to my menu for next week. looks yummy.) Make sure I have enough potatoes and frozen veggies on hand to be able to pull something off. I know I won't be able to work with an official menu. Our family due to its size and chaos, needs flexibility built into the plan. This means I need to make sure I have options on hand.

Secondary Objective: Schedule and "Enforce" all doctor/dentist/orthodontist/chiropractor appointments
Well, that's pretty self-explanatory. Need to follow-through with it. oh, and not be such a big chicken myself and get to the dermatologist regularly to have skin cancers removed and moles biopsied. (My family has strong history of skin cancer)

Secondary Objective: Provide plenty of activites that include exercise and fresh air.
This one is generally not a challenge since my kids are constantly clamouring to be outside and go on hikes, ride bikes etc. But, I need to go when asked and not come up with lame excuses, as I do sometimes, because I don't feel like going.

hmmm...looks like a lot bigger bite than I thought, at first. But I will push ahead anyway. Any progress has to be good progress.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

About Resolutions...

I know, I know. Alot of people are opposed to them. "We never keep them, the repeated failure, etc. etc."

Well, I like them. I make them every year and every year they are in the same three categories. Financial, Spiritual, and Family.

They are the same categories every year because I have to break them down. I can't resolve to completely transform one area of my life. That is just too big a bite to chew. So, every year I break down one step. I never fully fulfill the resolution, but definite steps are made in that direction. Eventhough I fall short of complete success, I have little successes and I'm better than I was the year before. Our financial set-up is still a mess, but last year I resolved to plan for security in the future. Along that line, I got our life insurance policies up-to-date and upped our retirement contributions. Marked improvements.

I still don't pray and read the bible daily, but I pray and read the bible more than I did the year before. And I added several studies that I completed last year and read one spiritual book a month. Not complete success. but better than the year before.

I'm no June Cleaver, but I did work on being less controlling and allowing my children to be more themselves, speak more for themselves instead of me always opening my mouth for them. I involve them more in the daily work of the family. Not perfectly, but they feel more like the vital parts of the household that they are. They have really grown over the last year.

So this year's resolutions fall into this pattern. I will blog more about them individually as I figure out the meat and bones of them.

2007 Resolutions
Close the Leaks So We Can Give Away More Money
Gain Trust in God and Grow in Faith
Better Provide For the Bodily Well-being of My Family

Saturday, January 13, 2007

There will be no escaping...

I thought we had somehow managed to have the plague pass by our house. The plague that swept through the houses of all of my friends and several of my family members over the holidays. But, no. The rotovirus has taken hold in our family. The pukies are among us. So far, Ladybug only has a cold. I'm very worried about her getting this bug. It seems to last for nearly a week and I worry about her getting dehydrated. C'mon breastmilk...do your thing.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Cutest baby ever...

Skaterboy was playing with Ladybug in my room tonight and told me that "We have the cutest baby ever."
How could I argue?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

*sigh* I have my son back...

You haven't heard much about Skaterboy. I have blogged about him a couple of times. But, Skaterboy has had a lot of difficulties. He has been on medications for ADHD, OCD, depression and an Autistic Spectrum disorder. He has been quick to fly off the handle, combative, uber-sensitive, defiant, pestering. This has been hard to take because he has the kindest heart. But, our relationship has been strained to say the least (especially with Dearie) for several years. We have been seeing a family counselor for two years.

Skaterboy has been out of school for three weeks, now. We pulled him the week before Christmas break because he was failing everything. Even with all of the school's attempts to help him. (and they did try) It was looking very very hopeless. Not to mention the fact that we were shelling out over $6,000 a year for this school. This was very frustrating to all involved since he is obviously quite bright. He scores in the 80th-90th percentile on most of his standardized tests. He was getting As and Bs on his tests even with doing no homework. It had become quite apparent that Skaterboy and school were not a good fit.

In just the last three weeks, the change has been phenomenal. You wouldn't know him from a month ago. He is trying hard with the family, hanging around instead of locking himself in his room, he takes things in stride instead of blowing up, he is looking for ways to help out around the family instead of being indignant everytime he's asked to do the smallest thing. The house is so...relaxed now when he is around instead of the house vibrating with tension that puts everyone on edge. And he is off his medication.

I enjoy my son again.

Does this mean the change is permanent? No way! He's a teenager. Will he always be so agreeable? I seriously doubt it. But, just getting to see a glimmer of this young man again is so crazy wonderful! I don't how things will end up looking when he starts "school" tomorrow, but I know now, without a doubt, that this was the best decision we have made with him in years. And I am thanking God tonight for it and I'm praying that Skaterboy recognizes the amazing human being that God created in him and that he finds his purpose in life.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Not the Gift of the Magi

On Christmas Eve, the kids put their names in a Santa hat and then took turns drawing them out to see who they would be buying a Christmas gift for. Meatball picked Jellybean and Jellybean picked Meatball. Seemed perfect since they're twins and all, plus both were very excited about it. Dearie had decided that all the kids needed a nap before we went to the dollar store because we had two church services that day.

Naptime was a nightmare. It was Christmas Eve after all. (Usually when we have naptime, the afternoon's activity hangs in the crux. If they are not listening and taking their naps, we don't do whatever. Because 1.) They have set up a pattern of not listening and 3 preschoolers not listening is a difficult monster to control. and 2.) They will be tired and whiny. Another monster.) I explained that we would not be able to go shopping if they weren't listening and settling down for their naps. I was even going to make it easy. Just 10 minutes would have earned them the trip. But 10 minutes could not be strung together. Not even 5 minutes of good behavior.

So, I told them we would not be going shopping. They asked, "So, can we go downstairs?" I told them they could. As they happily filed out of the bedroom, Meatball who was last in line stopped. He looked at me and asked, "So, Jellybean won't get a Christmas present from me, then?" I explained that she wouldn't. He turned around and got back into his bed. My heart melted. What a beautiful little boy. I turned to tell Jellybean about this wonderful Auntie Claus moment. I said wasn't this a sweet thing for Meatball to do. I said it was such a loving sacrifice. She looked at me wide-eyed and pensive.

I asked her, "So, what are you going to do?"
and she looked at me pointedly and said...

"Tell him to buy me something pretty."

Thursday, January 04, 2007


has no use for words...

Happy Love Thursday

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!!

My New Year's Resolution is to thank God more for this...

I just got this picture from my cousin's wedding. (Dearie helped officiate) It was taken this summer while I was pregnant with Ladybug. We danced again last night, and I am so lucky because I absolutely adore this man. We couldn't be happier. We were talking in bed last night and both of us said that even though we sometimes worry about the kids or about money, we have never worried about us. It's like we are a given.