Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Minute to Win it

Sunday night Mitch and I had our friends Renee and Sarah over for dinner and to play games. I laughed so hard that night playing the silliest game Minute to win it. Here are some pictures of our fun.

 I was trying to blow a feather into that box...I failed LOL

Sarah had to bounce the ball 15 times in row, she nailed it!

Mitch had to blow every card off leaving the last one on the box. He did it!

I had to blow one feather from one box to the other. I failed :)

Balancing a feather on a pencil Sarah and Renee look like they're holding their breath lol

This was my favorite part LOL. Renee had to swing his banana to get that small white ball up the ramp and into that box. 

We had to roll an egg across the table. Whoever got it across first without letting the ball fall off the side of the  table wins. Sarah won :)

 This portion of the game probably took about 10 minutes. Mitch won this round. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Stress Test...I failed

Proverbs 14:1 "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down."

That was me yesterday, the foolish one. I don't understand why yesterday was so stressful for me, it just was. It started out cheerful getting ready for church, but there was a glitch...Skylar would not get out of bed and get ready. She even got up to lock her door so that she wouldn't be bothered. We got onto her for it and moved on. The church service was inspiring and I left there in a great mood. Things however went downhill when I decided I wanted to go to Wal-Mart to pick up some groceries and a new game to play with friends that I was expecting that night. That shopping trip was a nightmare. While shopping I spent my time repeating myself to the kids, don't touch that, get down, get up, let's go, slow down, hurry up, DON'T TOUCH THAT! I even threatened to spank them if they kept touching and climbing on things. Why wouldn't they listen to me? And then there was the whining. My words cannot capture how stressful and aggravating that trip was for me. I was drained by the time I got home. I unloaded and put away the groceries and then had the kids lay down for a nap so that I too could have a nap. It should come as no surprise that the kids did not want to lay down. I was however able to get enough rest in to feel recharged. The day continued on only getting worse. The kids started fighting and yelling at the each other, hitting each other, tattle tailing on each other, and then there was the whining! Maddox dumped a bottle of Maalox in his room and that stuff stinks! Skylar pulled down part of the blinds in Maddox's room as well. Why were they being so destructive? They had also trashed the playroom. Toys everywhere (though that is normal) but they had drinks and food up there as well, not allowed! I couldn't contain my frustration. I was yelling along with the kids, I was spanking them and giving them time outs. Nothing seemed to work. My patience was gone, and I was not being kind. By the time 7pm came around I decided to put them to bed early. Fortunately they were just as ready as I was for them to go down. Relief came over me that I wouldn't have to deal with their fighting and whining anymore. Soon after came regret. What happened today? Its not entirely their fault. I am the one who is raising them. I most likely didn't deal with behavior in the best way. I lost my temper and I yelled way too much. Did they behave at all yesterday? I don't know, I wasn't looking for good behavior yesterday, I was only focusing on what they were doing wrong. That needs to change. My focus and attention needs to be  on what I want to see more of in them. How else can they blossom and grow in those areas of good behavior. Whenever I criticize them with their bad behavior there must be 10 more compliments and praises when they do something right.

Mitch finally came home and soon after around 8:30 friends came over for dinner and games. It was nice being with grown ups. 

This morning I woke up knowing that I wanted a better day. The house was already clean. I used a lot of my frustrated energy yesterday cleaning. I had my quiet time while the kids watched cartoons and Mitch was at the gym. I fixed breakfast for the kids, got ready for the day, lit candles and put on peaceful music. I apologized to the kids for yesterday and I told them that I was having a bad day. We also talked about how their behavior was not acceptable. I held them both, loved and kissed on them, we all needed it after yesterday.  I know of this one mother who when she gets upset, instead of yelling she brings her voice to a whisper. It couldn't hurt to try right? So this week instead of yelling I am going to practice whispering. I've actually have already had to use my whisper voice today, and you know what? This whisper thing just might work. I know that I am not perfect, but I love my kids and I am trying my best. Today I am dusting myself off and trying again.

"Yelling at a bud won't make it bloom. Your home will not blossom into a haven if you are not controlling your temper." ~Unknown

Proverbs 15:1 says "A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger."

Friday, January 14, 2011

A cherished week stuck at home

The kids have been out of school all week long from the snow. I've been doing my best trying to keep them entertained, but with also trying to keep the house cleaned, prepare 3 meals a day, and keep up with the job that pays me (I work from home). Things can get pretty frustrating and my patience can wear thin...real thin. Of course every parent worries and wonders how they are doing as a mother and I'm sure this week I blew it. However, last night at the dinner table Mitch asks the kids if they're ready to go back to school, because staying at home all day and all week must be pretty boring huh? Well Skylar warmed my heart by answering, no, I am not ready to go back to school, playing at home has been fun! She went on to describe all the fun stuff that we've been doing this week, such as playing with neighborhood friends, playing games at home, reading stories, making forts, and so on. Thinking back on the week myself I realized it has been pretty fun, especially if you put aside all the fights I had to break up between the kids this week, but other than that its actually been really enjoyable. We had many cherishing moments cooking and baking together, sledding in the snow, cuddling and watching movies, and just enjoying one another. My yard is still covered in snow, but the roads are clearing and next week they'll be back at school. Things will be normal again and maybe I can finally give the job that pays me my full attention. I will have peace and quiet at last (at least until 2pm), but I will also have confidence that I can do this again when school lets out for the summer.

 I thank God for the snow and for this cherished week stuck at home

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Clean and Organized?

A neighbor came over and complimented me on how clean and organized my house was. Wow! I was really flattered! But if she only knew about my hidden messes, such as my closets and laundry room. Those things I can usually shut a door on and hide from company. I must also confess that though I do try to keep a clean and tidy house its not always this way. The FedEx man always seems to catch me off guard. It never fails, whenever he arrives at my door and I have to sign for a package my hair is in a towel, I am in a robe and the house is a disaster. I'm actually expecting a package next week, so I guess we'll see how that goes this time around.

I am not a neat freak and organizing does not come natural to me. In fact I am a big time procrastinator. So I use tools to help me such as http://flylady.net/ . Flylady is my biggest resource and I have been using her for 5 years now. Typing it I can't believe its been that long. A more recent motivator has been http://www.womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com/. Courtney has great tips on homemaking, parenting, and marriage. And then there is the Proverbs 31 woman. This woman is amazing and is one to be admired. She can do it all! and she does it with grace, kindness, and with a passion. Read Proverbs 31:10-31 and you'll be motivated to get your home in order too.

So after my neighbor left I got started on cleaning out and organizing my closets. My bedroom closet was my biggest task.

Our bedroom before

and after! I added bins for our belts and hats

Our linen closet before

and after! I moved all of our games in this closet too. I even have a bucket of makers and crayons for the kids within their reach.

Our coat closet before

and after! I moved the kids' shoes to their closets and on the top shelf is a box for gloves and scarfs.

Skylar's closet before


Maddox's closet before

and after!

My house actually feels cleaner with the hidden messes taken care of. Today I am working on the laundry and the laundry room. Now I just need to keep up with it!

Proverbs 31: 27 "She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Love Thy Neighbor

In our old house in our old neighborhood I hardly knew any of the neighbors. It just about drove me crazy. I wanted to feel like my neighborhood was a community. Once you move in aren't people from your street suppose to bring you homemade pies and jello? Aren't you suppose to be able to go next door and ask for a cup of sugar if you run out without it being awkward? I thought so, but instead I find it to be the norm to keep your head down while you're getting out of your car and walking to your front door. My kids didn't have any neighbor friends to play with, and I felt like we were missing something.

We moved into our new house about 5 months ago. Its a cute neighborhood with a swimming pool and a park. The kids love it! and so do I. Within a month or so after moving in I met a neighbor two doors down. I only so happen to meet her because I was outside with my kids and she shortly came outside with her kids. My daughter was riding her bike, and her daughter was riding her bike. My son was riding his scooter, and her son was riding his scooter. The girls almost immediately recognized each other from school. So I went over and introduced myself to the mother and well our kids have been almost inseparable ever since. I enjoy the kids running back and forth to each other's houses. This is how its suppose to be. I love it!

Now if only I knew the neighbors whose houses are right next to mine. Its still the same story where each family goes into their own house not to notice a neighbor next door. If I were to pass them in a grocery store I would never even recognize them. This isn't all their fault. I am just as guilty. Too shy, too busy, not even thinking about it really when I get home. Its just straight to the door for me. Why shouldn't I be the one to knock on a door to introduce myself?

Well this week a huge snow storm came our way. The schools have been closed all week and the kids and I have spent a lot of time outside playing in the snow. Tuesday I noticed one of my neighbors shoveling her driveway. Dying to meet my neighbor I decided it was time for me to get over my shyness or insecurity and introduce myself. And I did it! I even helped her shovel her driveway while my kids played in the snow. We chit chatted for a bit getting know one another. I had mentioned while making fun of myself that I had run out of milk (which is crazy because everyone knows to stalk up on bread and milk before it snows) and generously she gave me a 1/2 gallon of milk! After we finished her driveway I invited her and her kids over for hot cocoa. The kids ran wild and I loved it. She was great company and I'm so glad that I am getting to know my neighbors.

James 2:8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day!!

The night before the "Big Snow" I let the kids build a fort to camp in together. They wanted to watch the snow fall at night. We heard them giggling until about 9:30, then they were fast asleep.

They looked so sweet sleeping

The next morning we woke up to Maddox singing "Its Christmas! Its Christmas!" Then quickly changes his song to "Its snowing! Its snowing!" LOL he is so precious.

The kids were so excited to see the snow. At least 7 inches had fallen. It continued to snow all day.
For breakfast I made snow cream and blueberry muffins. They were a yummy treat for everyone :)
After cleaning up and getting ready with layers upon layers we headed out into the snow. We walked up the street to our neighborhood pond and field to take the kids sledding. Before we got started however we found a nature trail. After only 5 months of living here in our new house, this is the first time we have discovered this small trail. The kids really enjoyed marching through the snow and shaking small tree to have a blizzard of snow fall down on them.

Watching them sled was the highlight of my day! And I think the highlight of their day too! This was their first sledding adventure :)

After a fun day in the snow it was time to come in and get some homemade hot cocoa. It was very rich, but good. Next time I'll use more whipped cream and less cocoa.

Then I made chicken vegetable soup. We kept our bellies warm today.

After lunch I caught up on my chores and we all rested for a bit before our neighbors stopped by to visit. The family that came by is the family of Skylar's best friend Cadence. They also have a 3 1/2 year old son for Maddox to play with too, along with a new born baby. The kids ran wild as usual while they play together :)

We ended our day with a bowl of chili. We laughed about our day and we all look forward to doing it again tomorrow.

2011 Snow

Best snow day ever! I don't think I have ever played in so much snow! Highlight of my day was watching the kids sled for the first time

Enjoying a cup of fresh snow cream!

We don't own sleds, so we had to improvise and use pool floats

My beautiful snow princess

Shaking the tree to make the snow fall

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