Monday, January 31, 2011

Wish Me Luck!

It's that time. Like it or not, it's that time. Yep! It sure is. It's got to happen at some point, doesn't it? Time to potty train Daniel. Please don't laugh at me for putting it off for so long. Please don't laugh at me for being so dramatic. Instead, please
  • pray for me.
  • pray for Daniel.
  • pray for Sarah Beth and Rachel.
  • wish us luck.
  • all of the above.
I have been putting this chore off for some time, and it's one of those times where I felt that if I just put if off long enough, eventually I just wouldn't have to do it. *Sigh* He's not going to train himself, is he? It's time for me to realize that.

I bought a copy of John Rosemond's book Toilet Training without Tantrums from Parent or Child, and he has given me the confidence that I can do this. No, we can do this. (Daniel has to help, doesn't he?) If things go well, and even if they don't, I'll let you know what I think about this book later.

In the meantime, we're staying home this week. We're not going anywhere or having anyone over. Sorry, but we need to be hermits this week.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Links of Interest

Here are more links you might be interested in:
  • This article tells the bizarre story of a hit-and-run turning into mob violence. You'll have to read it to believe it.
  • Here's a fun idea: celebrating half-birthdays!
  • There's a giveaway at A Sheltering Tree for a $30 gift certificate that you might want to check out.
  • I had planned to make rainbow cupcakes for Rachel's first birthday, but the stomach flu caused us to change our plans. Here's the link, if you're interested.
What interesting reads did you find this week?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Book Review: The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan


The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan is a strange story. Mercy Land works for the local newspaper editor "Doc," and one night a book appears mysteriously, i.e. supernaturally, on Doc's desk. This book has the ability to show the entire life of the people within its pages. They decide the book has appeared in order for Doc to make right a wrong he committed many years ago, and John Quincy is brought into the story. Of course, John is not who he appears to be.

As I said before, this is a strange book. While Mercy's parents are devout Christians (and portrayed in a good way), Mercy herself and Doc seem not to be. They never pray about the book, even when their lives are endangered by it. There is a strong good vs. evil part to the storyline, but it's not overtly Christian. This book almost reads like an allegory, but it's not. Do I recommend this book? If you like strange stories like this, sure. It is well-written, and I do not feel like I wasted my time reading it. If you like your books to make a little more sense, well, maybe you should stay away from this one.

I want to thank WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group (aka Blogging for Books) for sending a copy of this book to review, but my opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rachel's First Birthday


Today is Rachel's first birthday. What a special, wonderful addition she has been to our family. Here are just some of the reasons we love her:
  • She is exuberant. Rachel loves to smile and laugh, especially at her big brother and sister. John and I agree that she laughs more easily and often than Sarah Beth and Daniel did at her age. Who doesn't love a happy baby?
  • Rachel loves to scream. She screams because she is happy. She screams when she is upset. And she screams just to remind you that she is in the room.
  • Rachel is emotional. In addition to her happiness, she is also quick to fuss...which doesn't usually last long. When she decides she is done with her bottle and pushes it away, she'll fuss, even though there is still milk in it. Silly girl! Of course, her fussing lasts all of two seconds, then she's back to smiling.
In our family, each birthday brings new responsibilities. Here are Rachel's:
  • Rachel needs to learn to walk. Period. End of story. But there's no hurry; as a matter of fact, I won't complain if she waits a few more months.
  • Potty training hopefully will happen this year. I've been reading Toilet Training without Tantrums from Parent or Child by John Rosemond, and I'm a believer. But first, there's Daniel....
Things aren't going to work out for us to celebrate tonight, but my parents are coming over for supper tomorrow night. I plan to make rainbow cupcakes, and if they turn out well, I'll show you how to make them tomorrow...the good Lord willing and the Creek don't rise, as my Granny used to say.

So, happy birthday to my sweet, not-a-baby-anymore Rachel!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Special Birthday Cards


One of the highlights for our children at birthdays and Christmas is receiving cards in the mail. But not just any cards. No, these cards are special because they come from Uncle Ray. Since Rachel's birthday is tomorrow, we have been eagerly searching the mailbox everyday waiting for her card. And it arrived yesterday!!

Uncle Ray doesn't send just a nice card. He gets the special ones, you know, the ones that play music, sing, and have flashing lights. Sarah Beth and Daniel love their cards; they still play with the ones he sent them for Christmas 2009 (and all the ones they have gotten since then). Rachel doesn't quite "get" it yet, but Sarah Beth and Daniel are excited for her. And they can't wait for their birthdays when they will receive their own cards in the mail from Uncle Ray!

Thank you, Uncle Ray!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Have You Heard About This?

Have you heard about the Philadelphia "House of Horrors"? Our paper had an editorial about it this weekend, and it literally made me sick to my stomach when I read it. No, you haven't heard about it? That doesn't surprise me since no one seems to want to talk about it. If you have a weak stomach, you may want to quit reading, although I challenge you to continue.
A doctor accused of running a filthy "abortion mill" for decades in an impoverished Philadelphia neighborhood delivered babies alive, killed them with scissors and allowed a woman who had survived 20 years in a refugee camp to be overmedicated and die at his clinic, prosecutors said.
You're going to have to do your own research because I just can't write about it. My heart hurts too badly for these women and their babies, and I'm too sick to think about it. "There were jars, lining shelves, with severed feet that he kept for no medical purpose." (Read more here.)

Michelle Malkin has a column about it that you can read here.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Links of Interest

Here are some more links for your perusal:
  • Walter Williams has a good article on what our Constitution actually permits and how it affects our new Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
  • The North Carolina state ban on public cursing was struck down last week, and that's really a shame, don't you think?
  • We serve an amazing God who is fully capable of working miracles, don't we? I just found this blog last week, and this story amazes me, although it shouldn't because we serve an amazing God who is capable of working miracles.
What interesting reads did you find this week?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Finished Object Friday

I finished this blanket for John...finally. I feel like I've been working on it forever, although it's actually been less than a year. (Here is the first post I had about it.) Thank you for all of your suggestions about which color to use for the border. I decided to use green because, well, I like green, and I thought it would look lovely. After crocheting around two and a half sides (about 45 minutes worth of work), I didn't like the green at all. It disappeared when it bordered a green square, and it clashed horribly with the red ones. *Sigh* So I pulled it all out and rechecked the pattern. I discovered that none of the gray squares were on the outside of the blanket, so if I used gray, it wouldn't "disappear." And the gray is nice and neutral so no clashing.

(I also discovered that I made a mistake...not my first in the blanket. There's not supposed to be a gray square on the outside, but I have one. As I always say, mistakes just show that it was handmade. Another interesting thing, while I'm confessing, my squares started out with 13 repeats or 26 rows; halfway down, there are 14 repeats, and at the end there are 15. Oh, well!)

Anyway, John likes his blanket and that's really what matters, isn't it? It ended up being about 4 feet by 6 feet which is the largest blanket I've made.

While I finished up this blanket, we had a cold snap, and I enjoyed having this blanket in my lap while I was working on it. When I finished it, I decided I should make a blanket for myself, but a smaller one. Do you remember the blanket I made for Daniel? Well, he didn't like it. The other day, he saw a blue one in a book and asked me to make it for him. Whose should I start first? Mine or his? What do you think?

A New Blog

No, not mine! My good, real-life friend Kristen just started a blog: Trantham Life. When you get a chance, please head over there and welcome her to the "blogging world."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What Do You Think?

Caught her!

The beginning of a smile.

I love how Sarah Beth arranges her bears and dolls and how she incorporates Daniel's as well.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I Have a Little Problem...

I have a little problem who likes to wreak havoc in the pantry.


I have a little problem who wants to explore the stairs...going down.


I have a little problem who likes to chew on shoes.


I have a little problem that is growing bigger as she learns to pull up on things. (Walking is coming soon, I just know it.)


I have a little problem who doesn't like the way I fold clothes.


I have a little problem who apparently loves the piano. Do you know how much those things cost?


But I wouldn't trade my little "problem" for anything!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Link of Interest

This is the only link I have for you this week.
  • To celebrate the New Year, John Rosemond (my mom calls him "the parenting guru") lists his parenting resolutions for, well, us parents.
Did you read anything interesting? Please share.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Help Wanted

I am almost finished with this blanket for John. (It's about time, isn't it? I've been working on it for almost a year.) I just need to weave in the loose ends and edge it. I need your help deciding what color to do the border. John's favorite color is the red, but I'm not sure about using it. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow!!

For the second time this winter, it snowed! Sarah Beth and Daniel are both old enough to enjoy playing in it, and they had a blast! Poor Rachel is too young, but then, she also didn't realize what she was missing. She took a nap while we played outside in the morning.

Doesn't the snow make everything look beautiful?

Sarah Beth enjoyed eating the snow.

She didn't want to be still for me to take her picture.

The only gloves we had for Daniel were a pair of ladies cotton gloves which he wore more like mittens. He didn't complain.

It was fun just running around in the snow.

John was able to come home early, and we all took a walk after lunch. I wasn't sure what to do with Rachel...until I remembered my ergo. She was a great sport, even though she couldn't see anything but my back and her hood.

We came back earlier than John and the older two children because it was raining (freezing rain). Isn't she cute, all bundled up?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Conversation with Sarah Beth

The other night, as Sarah Beth was helping me prepare supper, I dropped a little spot of the batter on the counter. This conversation ensued.

Sarah Beth: That's a button. That's a button. That's a button. (She tends to say things more than once.)
Me: Okay.
Sarah Beth: I'm going to push the button.
Me: Don't push the button.
Sarah Beth: Why not?
Me: You know it's not really a button. It will just make a mess.
Sarah Beth: What if it was a button?

I'm not exactly sure how I answered her question. Do you have conversations like these with your children? Please tell me I'm not alone.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Booking It 2011


I am so excited to join with Jessica at Life as Mom in "Booking It" this year. I joined midway through last year, but I'm thrilled to start at the beginning this time.

My "to-read" stack of books is large, but I've managed to narrow down the books I hope to read this year. These books are in no particular order because I have no idea which ones I will read when. (Okay, I admit it. I couldn't make a list of books without putting them in some kind of order -- alphabetical. *Sigh*)
Currently, I am reading:
All of these books are already on my shelf. They will almost definitely be supplemented by books from my "Wish List" at Paperback Swap as they become available. Also, I enjoy reviewing books for BookSneeze and WaterBrook Multnomah, and those will (somehow) fit into my reading time as well.

While I'm at it, I plan to join to join Jessica in reading Mansfield Park by Jane Austen for March and Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan for June. I've already read both of these books, but I think they're worth reading again.

Do you have a reading list for the year? If so, join the "Booking It" fun at Life as Mom.

Books I added later in the year:

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Links of Interest

More links you might find interesting:
Did you find an interesting link this week?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Finished Object Friday


When I saw the pattern for this blanket, I knew I needed to make it. I mean, it's a STAR! How cool is that?! Since I didn't have anyone in mind when I made it, I will probably just donate it to our church's blanket ministry.

I used TLC Baby Amore in Baby Print to make this blanket, and it measures about 36 inches across, from one point to the other. It was my first time using this yarn, and I enjoyed it. It's bulkier that what I usually use which was nice.

For more Finished Objects, head over to Fresh from the Chari Tree.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Showing Off!


Sarah Beth and I started our "official" schooling Tuesday. We've been playing at it so far, but now I'm going to make it a priority to spend 10 - 15 minutes, at least, four days a week on reading. We are using Hooked on Phonics.

Sarah Beth did so well Tuesday; I was very pleased. She actually wanted to keep going when I thought we'd gotten to a good stopping point. So, we went on! I bragged on her to John at supper time, and he asked her if he could work with her a little bit. She said, "No. You don't know the words." It was too funny! But you can see that she did allow him to help her, although at one point, when she didn't know a word, she asked me what it was because she didn't think he knew it. (It was "bat.")

We had a great first day, and I think that Sarah Beth is actually starting to want to learn to read. Whoohoo!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Puzzles

Christmas night after everyone had left, John and I helped Daniel and Sarah Beth put together puzzles they had received as Christmas presents. As I helped Daniel, I had to keep saying things like, "That one won't fit yet," "That piece doesn't go there," "Turn it over," "It's upside down." Sometimes, I even said, "Put this piece in right there, just like that."

Since Daniel is not even three yet, he really doesn't see the big picture of puzzles. He just tries to put pieces together. Aren't we like that sometimes with our lives? I can picture God watching as I try to fit parts of my life together. "That won't fit yet; it's too soon." "That doesn't go there." "That one has to be rearranged before it will fit." Instead of my frustration with Daniel ("Just put it there, like that!"), God is always patient with me, even as I try to force pieces of my life together that don't fit. He can see the big picture, and I can see only part.

Putting together the pieces* of our lives would be so much easier if we would just relax and let Him lead us, wouldn't it?

*Not that my life is in "pieces." Far from it, things are going very well right now, but I think you know what I mean.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Do You Think?

Do you think Sarah Beth is ready for school?

The other day, she was coloring pictures of pigs, and she asked me to write "pig" for her. She wanted to see what it looked like.

I wrote "PIG" for her underneath her try. (I know that's really a boar; deal with it!)

She wrote this "PIG." Didn't she do a great job? "G"'s are hard!

Here's a better look.

I'm so proud of her!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year's Goals for 2011

A couple of years ago, I posted my New Year's Goals, and then I reviewed them throughout the year to see how I was doing. I added, subtracted, and revised as needed, and I really enjoyed the process. Last year at this time, however, I had a horrible sinus infection; I was so busy trying just to breathe that I just couldn't get around to making any goals. When I finally did get around to thinking about it, I realized that I was going to have a baby soon, and then I would be in "survival mode" for a while. I knew there wasn't really any point in making goals that I wouldn't be able to keep.

But now, my baby is almost a year old (can you believe it?), and I am no longer in "survival mode." I feel like it's a good time to set some goals for myself for the upcoming year.
  • It's time to start homeschooling. Sarah Beth is only four, but she is ready for school. She doesn't think she is, but I know she is. I've been putting it off because I already have my hands full, and she is only four. With the new year, I plan to spend 10-15 minutes four days a week with Sarah Beth, teaching her how to read. That should get us at least used to the idea because when fall arrives, it will be time for kindergarten.
  • Daniel is going to get potty trained this year if it kills me. And it just might, if the process is even half as hard as it was with Sarah Beth. In all fairness to Daniel, we haven't really tried yet. Another project I've been putting off. *Sigh*
  • Rachel ought to learn to walk sometime this year with or without my help. (That's an easy one, at least for me!)
  • I'm sure I could be a better wife to John. I just don't have any specifics yet.
  • John does want us to find a hobby that we can enjoy together. Do you have any ideas? He doesn't want to crochet, and I don't want to hunt. *Sigh*
  • I have got to get better at working with my children to memorize Scripture. I have seriously been remiss in this.
  • Since I don't have nearly the time during the day to read (like all day long!), I have decided to rethink my reading time. I plan to read a "good" book for ten to fifteen minutes during nap time/play time. (A "good" book is an educational one, whether about faith, a biography, or history.) And I will read a fun (fictional or biographical) book for ten to fifteen minutes before bedtime. Hopefully, I will be able to read two books a month, but we'll see.
  • I plan to participate in Booking It over at Life as Mom so you will get to read about all the books I read. I will post more about this goal next Monday.
  • John and I both enjoy having people over, so we plan to continue practicing hospitality.
  • Since I love making baby blankets, my goal is to make at least six for our church's blanket ministry.
  • I need to finish John's blanket.
  • I hate to exercise, but I know that I need to do it. The best time I have found is early in the morning before my children wake up. I like to walk around the neighborhood, listening to a book on my iPod. (Un)fortunately, it's too cold right now. I guess I'll have to wait until spring to work on this one. (Guilty smile.)
  • I am not happy with my haphazard cleaning schedule. I hope to come up with something new so that every part of my house gets cleaned at least once a month. (Some things will be cleaned more often, like the kitchen floor.)
I'm sure these goals will be revised as the year progresses, but I think this is a good starting point.

Do you make goals for the new year? What are they?