Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: Having Children Help with Laundry

I have three laundry baskets in our laundry room: one for kitchen towels and dishrags, one for white clothes, and one for darks. I do this to make sorting the laundry easier. One day, Sarah Beth asked me about it, and that day my older children started sorting laundry.

The white clothes go into a white basket, and the darks go into a blue basket. When my children get dressed in the morning or put on their pajamas at night, they are able to put their dirty clothes in the correct basket with just a little bit of prompting. They have learned what clothes go into which basket which makes my laundry job a little bit easier. Right now, Sarah Beth and Daniel are the ones who do the sorting, but Rachel has watched them enough that sometimes she puts her clothes up, too. I probably should start working with her more now that she's two years old.

Yes, I still have to sort the dark clothes again before washing them. If my laundry room were bigger, if I could fit more baskets in it, I would certainly try having them sort the darks even more.

Daniel and Sarah also help me fold clothes. At times, it feels like a free-for-all as I train them how I like things to be folded, but it's worth it. I definitely want to encourage their desire to help, and I have to admit that I look forward to the day when I can turn the clothes folding over to them.

I know that some people actually have their children run the washer and dryer, but my children cannot reach the controls. And they can't read them. So I haven't gotten this far yet in training my children to do laundry. Besides, I'm a little particular about how the laundry gets washed, and it can wait a couple more years until my children are better able to do it.

Do you have your children help with laundry? What do they do?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Do You Put Ice in Your Tea?

I grew up drinking tea...with ice in it, of course. Aren't you supposed to put ice in your tea or water or whatever it is that you're drinking? Except for orange juice and milk. But I really don't like to drink my glass of tea with ice in it; the ice gets in the way, bumps my teeth, and spoils the drinking experience.

One day, I had an epiphany. Why do I need ice in my glass if the tea is already cold? Aha! I don't put ice in my drinks anymore...unless they're not cold. How wonderful! Now I don't have to dodge pieces of ice while trying to get at my drink.

I wonder how often we do things just because we're supposed to. I think that it is good sometimes to evaluate the reasons that we do things to see if we're wasting our time or spoiling the experience...for no good reason.

At a recent MOPs meeting, our speaker told us about one of her friends who doesn't fold underwear anymore. She had always done it, but she realized one day that she didn't have to anymore. She felt so much freer after making this decision. And it saved her time and aggravation.

Is there something that you are doing that is holding you back, ruining your experience (like ice in my tea), or wasting your time (like folding underwear)? Maybe it's time to reevaluate why you do it, and if there's no good reason, maybe you can stop!

Have you already quit doing something silly that you couldn't find a good reason for? What do you think?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Rachel's Birthday Recap

Here are a few pictures from Rachel's birthday.

So intent on opening her presents.

Sarah Beth showing Rachel where to pull to get the present open.

Oh, boy! Look what I got!

Sarah Beth and Daniel were almost as excited about the gifts as Rachel.

Rachel received another costume and a bathing suit. In this picture, she has both on.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy Birthday, Rachel!

Today is Rachel's second birthday. She is such a joy to have around our house with her vibrant personality and infectious laughter. We call her our "diva" because she knows that she is cute, and she expects everyone she meets to tell her so. When we take her places, she tries so hard to catch someone's eye just for that interaction. With her curly hair and blue eyes, she usually gets the reaction she is looking for.

Rachel loves making little nests in two chairs that she has claimed as her own. She has decided that my blue blanket is now hers, although she is willing to share. But if one of her siblings wants to sit in one of "her" chairs, she lets you know that does not make her happy! (Part of that vibrant personality, it goes both ways.)

Rachel also loves to dress up. She has worn that ladybug costume so many times that it's falling apart. She still only has about fifteen to twenty words that we understand, but she chatters all day long. Sarah Beth did the same thing, and it's very cute.

We really enjoy having Rachel around, and we look forward to seeing what God will do in her life.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: Getting Places on Time

I hate being late. I hate feeling rushed because I think I will be late. I hate driving like a maniac and feeling like I need to in order to arrive on time. I like to get ready quickly and efficiently without haste, getting where I'm going at just the right time. Here are my tips for achieving that goal:
  • Pretend it takes longer to get there than it actually does. If it takes me fifteen minutes to get somewhere, I plan to leave half an hour before I need to be there. That extra time gives me a little leeway for the inevitable emergencies that come up, and it also allows time for buckling the kids in their car seats and unbuckling them once we arrive.
  • Pack the diaper bag the night before...and whatever else I may need. I make sure that the diaper bag (and all of the other paraphernalia we may need) is ready to go and waiting at the back door so that I just have to pick it up on the way out the door.
  • Set children's clothes out the night before so all they have to do is dress. Honestly, I don't usually do this.
  • Get up earlier. If I have to be somewhere first thing in the morning, I try to get up just a little bit earlier. A little extra time is always a good thing!
  • Be flexible. With children involved, plans almost never go as, well, planned. Invariably, my children either get up earlier or sleep later than I expected, frustrating my well-laid plans. But that's just life with children.
Of course, I still don't always get where I'm going on time, but I do try. To me, being late means missing part of the program I'm attending or wasting the time of the people who are waiting for me. And I find both of those things unacceptable.

How do you get where you're going on time? Please share!

Monday, January 23, 2012

A New Post...on my Other Blog

After a long time of ignoring my other blog, I have finally written a new post for it. Pastors and some lay people have been arrested for praying in public. You need to read about it here.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Eternal Life and the Government

I'm currently reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, and I read this quote yesterday. I found it interesting, so I thought I would share it with you to see what you think. Lewis has been talking about how eternal life changes our priorities, as the things of this world are short-lived when compared with living forever.
...Immortality makes this other difference, which, by the by, has a connection with the difference between totalitarianism and democracy. If individuals live only seventy years, then a state, or a nation, or a civilization, which may last for a thousand years, is more important than an individual. But if Christianity is true, then the individual is not only more important but incomparably more important, for he is everlasting and the life of a state or a civilization, compared with his, is only a moment.
Here is one more reason why Christianity and democracy (or a republic) go hand-in-hand. In democracies and republics, people are free to be what they want to be (for the most part), whereas in totalitarian governments and most other religions they are oppressed. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How Blessed We Are

I started reading Safely Home by Randy Alcorn the other day, and before I finished reading the second chapter, I was struck by how blessed we Americans are...without even really appreciating it. Safely Home is a fictitious story about an ordinary, Christian Chinese man and an American businessman. Most of the little bit that I have read so far takes place in China.

Quan and his family get up at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings and bicycle to a house church. They worship and pray but have to be finished and gone before dawn because prying eyes may see them after the sun comes up. Prying eyes can lead to arrest, imprisonment, or even death. Only a couple of people have Bibles, and the one that Quan has was hand-copied by his mother. During this particular meeting, the police storm in, threatening anyone who does not renounce God and leave. Quan fully expects to be beaten, at the least, and imprisoned, if not killed.

How different from our experiences here in the United States! I know that I am guilty of not praying for my persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ. I know that I do not appreciate the danger they are in and how easy my life is here. May God forgive me for my callousness, and may He use this book to soften my heart to what is happening right now in other countries.

Do you pray for the persecuted church? How so?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Trip to Disney World

My husband certainly is adventurous, isn't he? Just a couple of weeks ago, he took Sarah Beth and Daniel to Louisiana for a kind of family reunion. Yesterday, he took them to Disney World, the Magic Kingdom. Isn't he brave?

Because he was by himself, he wasn't able to take too many pictures, but here is a few that he did take. They didn't say so, but I bet that Sarah Beth's and Daniel's faces hurt from smiling so much. When Daniel walked in the door, he said, "I had a wonderful time!"

Sarah Beth couldn't stop telling me all the different things that they saw and did.

John took this picture right after they rode Splash Mountain which explains why they look a little wet.

I have to admit that I'm jealous of the fun they had without Rachel, Mary, and me. We plan to head back down in a month or two, taking the whole family this time!

What did you do this weekend?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mary's One Month Update

Mary is one month old today. It's hard to believe that we've had her for a whole month, although at the same time I can hardly remember what life was like before she arrived. (Of course, I don't really remember what life was like before any of our children came except Sarah Beth, and that's only because I was working full-time.) Isn't it amazing how quickly children become part of our lives?

What is Mary doing? Well, not much. She's doing great at night; usually, she only wakes me up once. She is still sleeping a lot during the day, and she is typically very fussy in the evening (aren't they all?). Her brother and sisters love her to pieces, especially her sisters. Rachel isn't as gentle as she should be, but she's learning. Sarah Beth loves to sit by me when I'm feeding her and pet her little head. They're still calling her "the New Baby" which I think is adorable. The biggest thing is that Mary started smiling Wednesday. They're just little, bitty smiles, but I can see them!

I didn't think so at first, but it looks like she's going to love her swing as much as her older siblings did.

Mary had a doctor's appointment this morning, and she is 10.13 pounds and 21.7 inches. When she was born, she was 8 pounds, 11 ounces and 19.37 inches. She is now in the 90th percentile for weight and the 70th for length. My mother calls my milk "butterfat," and I think she's right since Mary gained two pounds in a month!

How am I doing? I love being able to sleep on my belly again, and being able to breathe is a wonderful thing. I had a touch of insomnia while I was pregnant, but it's all gone now. As soon as my head hits the pillow, I fall asleep; Mary's crying is the only thing that wakes me up. I even sleep through John's alarm half the time. I have to admit that I'm glad not to be pregnant anymore except that I miss being warm. When those pregnancy hormones left, well, I started freezing.

How are things going at your house?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Booking It: 2012

I'm excited about joining with Jessica at Life as Mom in her Booking It Challenge again this year. Here is the list of books that I want to read this year, in no particular order:
Just like last year, I plan to supplement this list with books that I receive from PaperBackSwap, BookSneeze, and Blogging for Books. But since I don't know what will be available and when, I cannot plan for those books. There will also be books that I read with my oldest daughter; she has discovered "chapter books," and we can't read enough of them.

Here are the books that I added to my list through the year:
What are you reading this year?

Monday, January 9, 2012


I'm having a little bit of a writer's block. I just don't have anything to write about, it seems like. But I wanted you to know that was the cause of no recent blog posts; there's nothing wrong...although I am pretty busy with my four little ones, especially the littlest.

Mary went on her first outing yesterday, if you don't count a trip to the doctor or the trip to visit my family for Christmas. We went to church. And we sat in the nursery the whole time because she didn't want to be quiet during the service. Oh, well. We tried.

On a different subject, please pray for my good, real-life friend Laura. She's having some complications from her epidural after giving birth to her seventh child. I've heard those epidural headaches are awful; thankfully, I've never experienced one.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Book Review: December 1941 by Craig Shirley

December 1941: 31 Days That Changed America and Saved the World by Craig Shirley tells the story of how the United States got into World War II. There are thirty-one chapters, one for each day of the month. The author apparently reviewed many newspapers in order to compile this book. This book doesn't read like a story; it reads like a compilation of newspaper articles, but it works! There is tons of information in this book about the United States in this time period, not just about the war and how we entered it. There are prices for airline tickets, what people were buying as Christmas presents, what they were doing, etc., which really gives the reader a nice glimpse into life in the 1940's. Of course, there is also loads of information about how we got into the war and how people and the government did their parts.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There were many things that I learned that amazed me: how even the government didn't know exactly what happened at Pearl Harbor until days later, and how FDR felt no compunction in censoring that information to the rest of the country. This book is packed full of information, and if you like history, especially history about World War II, you'll want to read this book.

However, this book isn't perfect. It could have used better editing, as some of the sentences didn't make sense, and there were many other errors that better editing would have caught. Also, the book tended to repeat itself; it has the same exact information in different chapters. If you can overlook these problems, it is still a great book to read.

I want to thank BookSneeze for my (kindle) copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My New Year's Weekend or The Little Girls and I

I spent this weekend alone...well, alone with Mary and Rachel. Here's how that happened.

One of John's cousins threw a New Year's party Saturday afternoon. Since he hadn't seen most of his extended family, who live in Louisiana, in years, he really wanted to go. And he decided to take Sarah Beth and Daniel with him. They left Friday afternoon and didn't get back until Monday afternoon. Of course, it would have been nice if we all could have gone, but it was just a little too far for Mary and me.

While they were gone, I enjoyed my two littlest girls. Rachel loved being an only child...when she was the only child. When my hands were full with Mary, Rachel didn't like that so much. We spent a lot of time reading books and playing. And I have to admit that I watched too much t.v.. But it gave me something to do while I was holding Mary, trying to get her to sleep. I forgot how much time newborns take, even though they sleep so much. It seems like, if they're not sleeping or eating, they're fussing...and you're trying to get them to stop.

I also baked two batches of cookies which won't be conducive to my losing weight. One batch, the Vanilla Wafers, I put into the freezer. The other batch, the Chocolate Minty Melts, I left out so we can eat them all and remove my temptation. We took a couple of walks, too, and I got to see some of the golf course I hadn't seen before.

I wish I had been able to take some pictures, but there wasn't anyone to take any of Rachel and I snuggling on the couch reading or sitting at the table playing with the different colored, stackable pegs. I wasn't even able to take pictures of Rachel playing with Mary because she would follow me as I went to get the camera. *Sigh*

What did you do for the long New Year's weekend?

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Goals

It's that time of year again: time to make goals for the new year. Honestly, I kind of enjoy this practice of making goals; I enjoy thinking about things that I want to do over the coming year, and a new year gives a perfect time to start. (Of course, if I were more disciplined, I would make goals throughout the year and begin implementing them immediately.)

Last year, I made a few goals, but I was unable to complete all of them. Beginning with a hard first trimester of pregnancy, then followed by John being out of town for two months, then two moves in three months, I gave up on my goals for the year. But it's time for new ones, and so here are my goals for the upcoming year.
  • School. We need to get back to this since we have taken some time off with our latest move and Mary's arrival. But I think we're going to wait a little bit longer until Mary is in some sort of routine.
  • Reading. I hope/plan to read two books a month: one a good, fun read, like a novel or biography; and one that's a little more challenging. (We'll see how that goes with a new baby, however!) I also plan to join in again with Jessica's Booking It at Life as Mom.
  • Losing weight. I've got some baby weight that needs to go (about twenty pounds). Hopefully, I'll figure out how to do some exercising with four small children tagging along! Mostly, I'll just be watching what I eat.
  • Run a 5K. Our local care pregnancy center has a 5K run in September or October, and I plan to train for that. (When John reads this, I'm sure he's going to laugh since I haven't jogged at all since we got married.) I don't plan to start jogging, however, until probably April.
  • Hospitality. We haven't had people over since we moved to Florida, but we hope to remedy that this year...but not for a little while. We might wait a month or so for Mary's sake.
I'm trying to keep things simple this year since we have a new baby. Do you make New Year's goals or resolutions? Would you like to share them with me?