Crazy Life

My blogging has become sporadic. What can I say besides that life has taken over.

For the next 4-8 weeks my life will be more out-of-control than I - your control-freak blogging friend - would ever willingly choose!

Transitions. That is what we are facing. Transitions on many fronts.

#1 - Our church is moving. Just a few miles down the road but any move is a major move! As the church secretary, I am in the middle of much of the behind-the-scenes work to make the transition go smoothly. In two short weeks we hope to moved in and ready for a Sunday worship service. Therefore, I am under more pressure. Not related to the move but due to #2 and #3 below... I will be stepping down from my church secretary position after the transition to the new building. So add some job transition stress on top of the other stress.

#2 - I'm taking on a new challenge - childcare! Our friend Julie has asked me to watch baby Eli (5 months old) when she returns to her teaching career next month. I am taking on the challenge! I see this as a "soft transition" to what will come next, with foster parenting. Eli will be an "easy" child to watch and it will just be during daytime hours. This will help me and my kiddos to adjust to having another child in our home, but it will be an easier, more bite-sized transition than a full-time, 24-hour jump into foster parenting kids with "issues." I'm looking forward to it. My heart is at home. I value family and children and being at home, so this seems like it'll be a good fit. We'll re-evaluate how it's going with Eli once #3 comes to fruition, later in the fall.

#3 - We are nearing the final leg of the foster-parenting preparations. Our 15-page documents are completed (for both my husband and myself). A medical form for each family member is turned in. Our "home study" is being compiled as I write this and we should have it to review in a few short weeks. We have a final class to take - CPR/First Aid - and then our official "request for licensure" goes to the state level. They have 30 days to approve or deny our request. It is looking like we would have a yes/no answer around the end of September / beginning of October. Yahoo!

Lots going on. But it's all good. It's progress. It's forward movement in my life, in my family's life and in our church's life. Going forward to what God has for us, what He is calling us to - ministry, people, reaching out more and giving more of ourselves. Ultimately, we will get through the transitions and the stress because we're keeping our eyes on Jesus. It's all about Him anyway. He will get us through the process and create something beautiful out of it all. Praise His name!

"Fly on the Wall" Parenting

For years I have wondered what it would be like to be a "fly on the wall" in the another family's home, to see how they live their life and especially how they interact with their kids. I often feel like a bit of a failure as a mom and am always wondering if I could do things better as far as discipline, as far as connecting with my kids, etc.

During our trip to California back in May, I had a "fly on the wall" opportunity. And I took full advantage of it!

While in California, we spent a few nights at a wonderful hotel. Then we spent the last few nights at the home of our friends - John and Kate. They have 2 little girls - Abigail (in picture above) who is 3, just a few months older than our little guy, and Hannah who just turned 1.

Watching John and Kate parent their kids was a pleasure. And since we didn't have our kids with us, I was able to observe them without being distracted. I marveled at their parenting skills! They showed such patience! They had such grace with the kids. They were consistent... and they stayed calm in the face of it all. I struggle with all of these areas, so I was taking mental notes on what I was seeing and figuring out how to incorporate what I was seeing into my parenting when I returned home.

I loved how God gave me that opportunity and then used it to encourage me. Seeing someone model the behavior I was striving for what exactly what I needed (reading about it is one thing, but seeing it put into practice is a whole new dimension). Now when I'm struggling, I can remember the example set before and know that IT CAN BE DONE! I can keep calm. I can be consistent for the 847th time... and the 848th too! I can be patient. I can show my kids grace under pressure.

Thank you, John and Kate. And thank You, Father God, for the opportunity and the growth in my life - both of which are gifts from you. Thank You too, Lord, for my children. Help me to treasure them as the gems they are and to parent them in Your ways. In Jesus' name, Amen!

Family Photo Friday

Friday is here again. I have two photos to share today, showing the fun times that have happened at our house this week!

My husband, myself and my daughter with our Cootie creatures.
Got to love playing Cootie!

My son climbing the outside of the steps. Thankfully they only go 6 steps up... or he'd keep going! He's a boy. He likes to climb. He lives dangerously. I will struggle with accepting this all the days of my life.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thankful Thursday

In light of not having phone or internet service for almost 48 hours earlier this week, today I am thankful for phone and internet service! :-)

Apparently mice ate through our phone line about a mile away from our house. This is what the repairman told me.

Being without created feelings of isolation, but also made for a day with no interruptions. I focused on my kids in a more engaging way. We had a great few days. So my challenge is to now keep some of that focus and not allow my time to be so eaten away with this computer screen.

But I am thankful to be able to connect again. One of those things you don't realize how much you rely on until it's gone.

What can you thank the Lord for today?

Blessed to be a Blessing

A few days ago I offered to help out a friend. She has 3 little girls and delivered a baby boy last month. It goes without asking - she's tired! I offered to bring them a meal and to take her 3 girls out for a morning. We had a play date at our house, while Mom and Baby enjoyed some down time together. We headed to a local park to play and had lunch. Just so happened that the day we picked to do this was also Mom's birthday, so we made sure spend a few minutes making birthday cards to deliver when we returned the girls home. No time to make a complete birthday cake, but I did manage to whip up some no-bake cookies to deliver too.

We had so much fun. The girls all seemed to enjoy getting out of the house - hard for a mom to pull off with 4 little ones. And my kids always enjoy having friends over.

Summer fun for all!

The question for you today - who can you be a blessing to? All of us can offer something. What will it be for you today?


Going on 36 hours (as of Tuesday morning) of not having a telephone line or an internet connection at home.

Been interesting. And refreshing too.

So when we are reconnected, this blog will be updated.

Until then...

Family Photo Friday

Friday is here again. On this blog, that means the posting of family photos from our week. Starting with the best first.

My hubby and my daughter posing for a shot that turned into a tickle fight.

My children love playing with playdough. When my daughter is busy with school work, my son often asks if he can play with playdough. Here both of them are with some funky creations.

My little man with a little cap on. Too cute.

Happy Friday to you!

Thankful Thursday

Today I'm thankful for family.

Today is my husband's 35th birthday. Happy birthday to the love of my life!

Also, last weekend my oldest brother and his family stopped by for a visit, while traveling from Wisconsin to Florida (via Indiana - a rather indirect route, I know). Although brief, it was so great to connect with them and give the kids a chance to play together.

The 5 cousins together

My daughter with her same-age cousin Christa. They had a blast playing together and told me at one point that they were part of the "we're missing the same 2 teeth" club! :-)

Thank you, Father, for the gift of family. What beautiful relationships!

Works for Me Wednesday - Scratch and Dent

Last week our fridge (which is over 20 years old... came with our house) started making strange noises. This came a few weeks after the freezer portion gave out - making a puddle of water on the kitchen floor to be discovered one Sunday morning. We decided to go refrigerator shopping BEFORE it died completely. Last Saturday we went to a local appliance store that carries new items of the "scratch and dent" variety.

We found a wonderful fridge that still cost a pretty penny but was hundreds (maybe even thousands) less than any other option for the same fridge. The only flaw is a dent on the side, which is hidden when the fridge is between the cabinets.

Scratch and dent appliances - they work for me!

Homeschooling: Character

For the last few months, I've been focusing slightly less on academics with my almost 7-year-old daughter and more on character development. This broadly falls under the "homeschool" heading but really is more about life in general than school. To boil it down for my daughter to understand, I came up with 3 basic goals. I printed them in bright colors and posted it in an obvious place for my daughter. Now it is easier to bring her back to the list and remind her of the goal and the Bible verse that supports it. I see improvement in each of these 3 areas and am greatly encouraged. Here are the goals that we're currently working on.

  • Live in peace with your brother, to carry out Psalm 133:1 which says "How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in unity."
  • Model good behavior for your brother, to carry out 1 Corinthians 11:1 which says "Follow my example, as I follow Christ.
  • Respect your parents, to carry out Exodus 20:12 which mentions 1 of the 10 commandments that says "Honor your father and your mother.

Menu Plan Monday

A new week is upon us again. Do you know what you'll be eating this week? Here is our plan.

  • My friend Kate's homemade tomato soup (new to us), grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Tuna sandwiches, carrot slices, cucumbers (fresh from a friend's garden)
  • Homemade pizza
  • Chicken pot pie
  • Cheeseburger Soup
  • Breakfast for supper
  • Leftover buffet
Feeding my family is one of my primary roles as mom. It's a privilege, but often feels more like a job. Cooking doesn't come easy to me, but I am working on keeping a cheery attitude when tackling tasks that are laborious. I'm always mindful that my kids are watching... and they are sponges that will soak up whatever attitude (good or bad) that they see in me.

So, here's to good eating and good attitudes too!

Family Photo Friday

It's Friday. It's Friday! Happy dance, anyone? :-)

My son playing with blocks, trains, tractors, and firetrucks. He was a happy boy!

A rare moment - the display of affection between siblings!

The cheesy grin from my happy little man! :-)

Happy Friday to all!

The County Fair

Our county fair is going on this week. We've already made 2 visits - one afternoon of browsing exhibits and animals, a second afternoon of rides (strategically planned for "Dollar Days" when all rides are reduced to $1). Our entire family LOVES the fair!

My favorite part is walking through the exhibit hall. I am always amazed at the creativity God has given people! Here are my kids LOVING an exhibit that was just their size. This was in the category of "Recycled Articles." It's an entertainment center turned into a kid kitchen. Pantry shelves. Little cupboards. My son is right in front of a faucet with a stainless steel bowl under it, making the sink. A pretend oven on the left. Ultra cute. And would be so easy to make... with an old entertainment center!

My kids were equally enthralled with this doll house. Very cute and creative.

This was my daughter's 3rd (or is it 4th) year of entering an "exhibit" for a 4H project. She's young enough to be part of "Mini 4H" in which every exhibit gets a ribbon. This year's project - a plate of 6 no-bake cookies that are all the same size.

Wherever you may be, get out there and enjoy your county fair!

Works for Me Wednesday - Summer Reading Programs

Summer is here. For most children, that means lazy summer days with nothing to do. Reading is always an option, however.

And with these Summer Reading Programs, you can't go wrong. Free books and free prizes for doing nothing more than reading!

We LOVE books at our house, so I'm always excited to see reading programs that reward kids for reading... since it's something we would be doing anyway!

Menu Plan Monday... a day late

It's Tuesday... but with the long weekend, it feels like Monday. Here's what we'll be enjoying this week.

  • Grilled chicken, salad on the side
  • Spaghetti with homemade meatballs and cheese bread
  • Homemade personal pizzas (using tortillas as the base)
  • Meatloaf with baked potatoes
  • Homemade veggie soup
  • Tuna cakes
  • Breakfast for supper (scrambled eggs, toast, sausage links)
What's on your menu?

Family Photo Friday

Happy first Friday of July. 2010 is half over. The year is flying by.How are you spending the days you've been given? Wisely, I hope!

My son is finally making the transition from the crib to the toddler bed. He is 2 and 1/2 and would happily stay in the crib. We are the ones deciding it's time to move up to the "big boy bed." He's doing well, overall.

My daughter with a fancy Lego pyramid she made.

Always seems to be a photo of my son being a ham. This week is no different. He hopped into a reusable grocery bag sitting on the floor and waited for me to notice him, with that huge grin beaming at me.

My daughter serves as the official reminder... Happy 4th of July! Thank God for the blessings we we enjoy as Americans. That's what we'll be doing!

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for a bed frame, boxspring and mattress that we were given FREE from Freecycle!

We are in need of a few extra beds as we begin our foster parenting journey, so this was a great find and much appreciated! I love Freecycle!