Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Our (Pictureless) Trip to Disney World

We took a quick trip to Disney World earlier this week. My mother came into town Saturday evening, and we left Sunday afternoon for Disney World. On Monday, we enjoyed the Magic Kingdom, and Tuesday we explored the Animal Kingdom. We had a great time although we wore ourselves out. Monday morning, as we were packing up to head to the Magic Kingdom, we realized that we had forgotten the camera. *Sigh* I wanted to cry, but I knew that wouldn't help, so I didn't. *Sigh*

We stayed in one of the cabins in Fort Wilderness, and those cabins are teeny! There are two double beds and a set of bunk beds. If the double beds were any bigger, there wouldn't be any room to walk! We had a time trying to figure out where to put two pack-n-plays so that we could still walk around enough to climb into bed. But since we didn't spend much time there (except when we were sleeping), it was okay.

Our older three children had a great time! They loved seeing the different sights and riding the rides. Sarah Beth is the perfect age, I think, because she is old enough to do most things and has the energy to do them. Daniel was a little young just because his poor little legs had so much walking to do. Rachel enjoyed riding around in the stroller. Poor Mary didn't have such a good time, but she was a trooper! We pushed her around in the stroller, too, but when she needed a nap, I carried her in my Ergo.

Oh, how I wish we had pictures!

Have you been to Disney lately? How was your trip?

Friday, February 24, 2012

3 in 30 Update

Once again, I didn't do too well with my goals this week.
  • Back exercises. I only did these twice this week; hopefully, I'll get to it tomorrow. However, my back hasn't been bothering me lately, so maybe I can give up these stretches. I probably shouldn't though, should I?
  • Playing outside. I'm just not very good at taking my children outside when the weather isn't perfect. But we did make it out a couple of times this week.
  • Unpacking boxes. I give up on this goal. I've only got a few boxes left to unpack, and it's obviously very low on my priority list. They're not bothering me, and they're not bothering you, so they can wait another month or two. (I didn't mean to make that rhyme!)
Once again, I take comfort knowing that my family was fed and they had clean clothes to wear. For right now, I think that may be enough. Priorities, right?!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

...While the Baby Sleeps

I'm learning a lot about prioritizing these days. Oh, I'm not talking about the big decisions like whether my family is better with me staying home or working. Those decisions are easy.

No, I'm talking about the little decisions that we make all day long: should I clean up the breakfast dishes now or brush my teeth? Should we do school now or should I fold clothes? Should I read a story to my children or fold the laundry? All of it needs to be done, and most of it needs to be done today, but what really needs to be done first?

You know that saying, "Make hay while the sun shines"? Well, I've changed it to "Do (name the chore) while the baby sleeps." I never know how long Mary will sleep, thirty minutes or an hour and a half, so I've learned to prioritize. If Mary wakes up in five minutes, would I rather have my teeth brushed or the dishes done. Definitely, my teeth! If Mary wakes up in half an hour, would I rather have school done or the dishes? School! You get the idea.

I'm glad that I'm learning how to prioritize even these "little" decisions. As Mary gets more and more consistent in her napping, I hope that I continue to prioritize correctly -- that my older children get read to while the dishes wait, and that we play outside instead of folding the laundry.

Meanwhile, everything (almost) gets put on hold while Mary is awake. I just can't seem to put her down when she's smiling at me!

Do you make "little" decisions like this throughout the day? What are your priorities?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Blessings of a Bad Morning

This post is not the one that I had planned to write today, but so many things have gone wrong this morning that I thought I would write about that and how they showed me how truly blessed I am.

This morning actually started at 12:45 a.m. when I was awakened by Sarah Beth coughing. I had given her and Daniel cough medicine before putting them to bed, but apparently hers had worn off. So I got up to give her more. Then Mary woke up, fussing, at 2:30. She has been sleeping through the night, so I don't know what happened. She didn't appear hungry, but she ate anyway. And I was back in bed about 3:00. John's alarm went off at 5:15, and I was hoping for a little nap between then and when I needed to get up about 6:00, but Mary had other ideas, so I got up to feed her again.

I put Mary back in bed about 6:15 and hopped into the shower. And I ran out of hot water which has never happened before in this house. (John told me later that he thinks he may have turned off that switch in the breaker box by accident.) At this point, I made the mistake of wondering what else could go wrong. The house felt cold, so I went to turn on the heat. Guess what. It didn't turn on. The repairman was here yesterday to work on it, but he apparently forgot to turn it back on.

John gave Sarah Beth some cough medicine before he left for work and told me that it was all gone. I said that no, there was more in the pantry. When I went to give Daniel some after breakfast, there wasn't any. *Sigh* So we made a trip to get some because I knew I would need it, and that was the first time I've taken all four children anywhere (except the doctor) by myself.

I have to admit that I was almost expecting to get in an accident on the way home from the store, just based on how the rest of my morning had gone.

However, when I thought about this morning some more, I realized that there was much for which to be thankful.
  1. I only had to get up once with Sarah Beth and once with Mary. I could have had to get up multiple times with multiple children.
  2. I was able to sleep in between getting up with the children.
  3. Like I said, Mary has been sleeping through the night, so I'm fairly well rested and not already exhausted.
  4. Sarah Beth and Daniel aren't really sick; their allergies are just acting up.
  5. Mary went back to sleep this morning so I could get a shower.
  6. We have hot water (almost!) all the time.
  7. We have a nice warm house with nice warm beds with plenty of blankets so we didn't realize that the heat wasn't running during the night.
  8. I had enough time to pray this morning before my children woke up, even though I did not have time to read my Bible.
  9. Breakfast was already ready; we had leftover chocolate chip muffins that John had baked yesterday.
  10. Mary slept through breakfast, then woke up so we could go to the store.
  11. Mary didn't cry the whole time we were at the store which she usually does. I imagine the looks I get with a crying baby would have been much worse with a crying baby and three other children.
  12. We didn't get in a car wreck in the parking lot or on the way home.
  13. We got home in plenty of time to do school.
  14. The rest of the morning has gone fairly well.
  15. The repairman will be here this afternoon to fix the heater.
  16. It's warming up quickly outside, so the house is, too.
So the biggest thing for which I'm thankful is that God gave me such a difficult morning in order to show me how blessed I really am.

Have you had mornings like these? Ones where you realize paradoxically how blessed you really are?

Friday, February 17, 2012

3 in 30: Not Such a Good Week

I didn't do as well this week as I did last week. There are lots of things on which I could blame my inability to accomplish my goals, but in all honesty, it was just my lack of discipline. *Sigh*
  • Back exercises. I did these three days this week instead of the five I intended. I guess that's not too bad. And if I remember to do them tomorrow, that'll be four!
  • Playing outside. Can I blame it on the weather that I didn't take my children outside all week? It was cold and then rainy and then wet from the rain. Does that make me a wimp? Hopefully, today it won't rain, and we can go outside.
  • Unpacking boxes. Once again, I didn't unpack a single thing. *Sigh*
I hope that I do better next week. In the meantime, I will console myself with the knowledge that my family were fed well this week, and they have clean clothes to wear.

Finished Object Friday - A Blanket for Mary

Although I have already made two blankets for Mary (you can see them here and here), I wanted to make one that would fit in her car seat and swing. She seems to have started enjoying her swing as much as her brother and sisters which is a good thing sometimes and sometimes not.

The pattern for this blanket came from Classics for Baby by Alice Hyche, but I made it a little smaller. I used Bernat Softee Baby yarn, the pink which actually has two strands of pink and one of white giving it a kind of uniform-variegated look. (Does that make sense?)

Mary seems to enjoy her blanket which is a good thing because she's getting a lot of use out of it!

What have you been working on lately?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Book Review: Then Sings my Soul Book 3 by Robert J. Morgan

Then Sings my Soul Book 3 by Robert J. Morgan is the latest, and probably the last, in his Then Sings my Soul series. This book is different than the previous books in that it doesn't just have little snippets about the history of each hymn. This book starts with a short history of hymns divided into sections on Biblical hymns, ancient hymns, etc.. After the "snippets," Morgan tells the expanded stories behind six popular hymns such as "Jesus Loves Me." To finish the book, Morgan gives different ways that we can use hymns to worship both in public and in private.

I really enjoyed this book. While I haven't read the first two in the series, I didn't feel like I had missed anything by reading this one first. The history in the beginning was very interesting, as were the stories behind the hymns. I especially enjoy singing hymns, so I found the stories behind them fascinating. I recommend this book if you enjoy hymns or would like to discover more about them.

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

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


This picture is from our old house, but it illustrates well how I feel these days.

You may get the impression from my blog that I have it all together. If you know me in real life, you may think that I can get it all done. But that is far from the truth.

Most days, I feel like I'm just barely keeping my head above the water, that I just need one more finger to plug the dike. There always seems to be something that needs to be done immediately. Today, for instance, when I walk into the kitchen, there are the breakfast dishes that need to be washed. When I make my way into my bathroom, first I see the bed that needs to be made and then the trash cans that need to be emptied. The living room couch is full of towels and sheets that need to be folded. How am I to get it all done? I don't know. Honestly, I feel harassed by the housework. It's always there, always demanding more from me.

Then there is school. And Daniel and Rachel need some time. And, of course, Mary needs to eat.

I feel like I never quite catch up, although some days are worse than others. Honestly, I wish I could toss all of the "need-to-dos" into a closet so I can't see them. But I don't think that's a good place for dirty dishes.

I know that something needs to give, but I don't know what. Home-cooked meals? Laundry? A tidy house? Blogging? But I enjoy it so much! Feeding Mary? I don't think so! Spending time with my children? No.

Do you feel this way? How do you handle it?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Our Exciting Weekend

Well, exciting may not be quite the right word, but it sure was fun!

As you know, Daniel's birthday was Sunday. In order to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, we scheduled Mary's baptism for the same day, hoping that both sets of grandparents would be able to be here for the events. And it worked! My parents drove down from Georgia, and John's mother and her husband came over from Louisiana, and we were thrilled to have everyone here!

Here we all are.

Here is just our family, but you can get a better look at the christening gown.

A word about the christening gown: my mother made it for our children, and it is beautiful! All four of our children have worn it to be baptized, and Sarah Beth will get it when she has children. I feel so fortunate to have such a gown for this special occasion.

We celebrated Daniel's birthday Sunday night for supper. When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday meal, he couldn't think of anything, so I started listing things that he likes. Pizza? No. Spaghetti? No. Chili? No. Meatloaf? Yeah! Yeah! I want meatloaf! So we had meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and sugar snap peas for supper. (Do your children like meatloaf? Is mine strange?)

We've been talking for a month or more about what kind of cupcakes to make for Daniel's birthday. Sarah Beth gets strawberry cupcakes (her birthday is during strawberry season), so Daniel wanted blueberry cupcakes. Blueberry muffins? Yum! Blueberry cupcakes? Not so much. We decided on chocolate cupcakes with blue icing. The icing was actually peppermint buttercream, and there's just something not quite right about eating something blue that tastes like peppermint.

Then we opened presents. Poor Rachel thought the presents were for her since she got to open some for her birthday just three weeks ago.

Do you see Daniel's black eye? It's not his first.

Playing with the legos that Grammy gave Daniel.

We had such a good time with our visitors, but I have to admit that it's nice to have our house back to ourselves again. What did you do this weekend?

Mary is Two Months Old!

Mary is two months old today. She's not doing much more than she was at one month except for one big thing: she's SMILING! But it's very hard for me to get a picture of her smiling since I'm the one who can get her to smile the best, so you'll have to settle for a half smile.

We think that Mary is turning the corner of her fussing. Our other children started fussing at six weeks, and it continued until they were three months. Mary started fussing earlier, and it looks like she's going to stop earlier as well. I'd better knock on some wood, though, don't you think?

Mary has also started sleeping through the night...I think. She still occasionally gets me up, and we had a couple of bad nights last week. While I don't mind getting up with her once a night, getting a full night's sleep is wonderful!

We all really enjoy having Mary around, but Rachel seems to think that we have gotten her a new play toy. She loves to play with Mary, and Mary is a pretty good sport about it. I can't wait to see the relationship that develops between these two of my daughters!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Daniel!

Today is Daniel's fourth birthday. We love having Daniel around for many reasons, one of which is that you never know what he is going to say. He is our comedian. Along with saying silly things, he likes to do silly things, especially when we're trying to take his picture.

Daniel is also a big helper. He loves to help me unload the dishwasher, and he has just discovered how much fun it can be to help me fold clothes. (I just didn't realize that it was that much fun!) When I get home from the grocery store, he wants to help bring the groceries in. Sometimes, he's not big enough to help, and that makes me sad. I want to encourage his desire to help.

Daniel is all boy. Yes, he has three sisters whom he loves dearly, but he also has the typical boyish traits. He loves to run and jump, play with balls, and shoot his guns. He enjoys taking things apart to see how they work, and he hasn't met a button that he hasn't wanted to push. Oh, and he loves to play golf so it's really nice that we live on a golf course.

Daniel has a sweet spirit, as well. If you're sad or lonely, he will try to make you feel better. If one of his sisters wants something that he's playing with, he is likely to give it to her. He loves giving kisses, and I love receiving those little boy kisses.

But don't call him a "little boy." He will correct you each and every time because he is a "big boy!"

Happy birthday to my "little" Daniel-boy!

Booking It: February Edition

I'm surprised that I was able to read four books in the past six weeks (since the beginning of the year). With a new baby, I'm not able to read as much as usual. And with four children, I'm not able to read as much as I would like. But I wouldn't trade my children for any amount of reading. I think I'm getting the better part of this trade off!

Safely Home by Randy Alcorn is the book that I really want to tell you about because it is such a good book, and if you read it you will learn so much. Li Quan and Ben Fielding were college roommates twenty years ago. Quan became a Christian while in the U.S. and went back to China when he finished his studies. Ben stopped following Christ (probably because he was never a Christian in the first place) and became a businessman to the detriment of his marriage and daughters. As a business proposition, Ben travels to China and stays with Quan to learn more about how to market his company's products there. Ben learns more than he bargains for, as he witnesses the intimidation of Quan just for being a Christian. Then Quan is arrested, and there is nothing even Ben and his powerful company can do to help Quan. Through regular visits, Ben watches Quan deteriorate in prison as he endures beatings and torture. Ben has no idea this is happening today in China, and it changes him. Interspersed through the story, there are snapshots of what is happening in heaven as Jesus Christ and resurrected saints watch what is happening down here on earth, and I found this part especially fascinating. If you want to develop a heart for the persecuted church, I highly recommend this book.

The other books I read this month:
  • Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. I forget how much I enjoy reading Lewis when I haven't read anything by him in a while. I hadn't read this book before but decided to give it a try after reading Jessica's review last year, and I'm so glad that I did! Lewis takes so many of the truths of Christianity and explains them in practical ways. His illustrations and examples are wonderful, really helping his readers to understand what he is talking about. While this book is geared more toward non-Christians, there is a lot that Christians can get from reading this book. In case you can't tell, I really enjoyed this book!
  • Spring Rain by Gayle Roper. After an one-time indiscretion on her graduation night, Leigh becomes a single mother. Ten years later, she has put her life together when the father of her son comes back to town. Leigh has to deal with her continuing feelings for Clay as he deals with his for her. At the same time, Clay's brother is dying of AIDS which adds more tension. Then threatening phones calls come from Leigh's father's former cell-mate; he wants the "treasure," but Leigh has no idea what he's talking about. As they deal with all of these situations, Leigh and Clay grow closer together and overcome their past difficulties with each other. I enjoyed this Christian thriller/romance, and I recommend it if you're looking for a good, fun read.
  • Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist. I didn't care for this book, so I don't have much to say about it. The main character Tillie has to chose between having a husband and family and keeping her job; I can't think of a job that is worth giving up the option of having a family, and her aim is to be a lady's maid, a servant. And there were too many bulging biceps and heaving bosoms, especially for a Christian romance. But that was all there was, thankfully.
I have also read several "chapter" books with my daughter, but I cannot remember what they all were. If I were willing, she would love for me to sit down and read her a whole book at one time!

To see what others have been reading, head over to Life as Mom: Booking It.

Friday, February 10, 2012

3 in 30 Update

How I've done with my February goals this week:
  • Back exercises. I've done well with this. Assuming that I do my exercises today, I will have done them five times this week.
  • Playing outside. I did well with this one, as well. I took my children outside three times, and their babysitter took them outside one more time.
  • Unpacking boxes. This one was a big fail. I didn't unpack a single thing from any box. Can I blame it on my husband who forgot to move the box for me? No? I didn't think so. I know that I could have taken some things out and moved it myself. Oh, well. There's always next week.
I think that two out of three isn't bad, but I hope to do better next week. How are you doing with your goals?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Busy, Busy

I'm sorry that I don't have much for you this week, but it's been busy around here. There's actually not much going on except for the normal activities of life, but for some reason, they seem to be eating away at my computer time. I've got lots of ideas for blog posts but no time to write them.

I do, however, have some fun posts planned for this weekend and next week. Daniel's birthday is coming up, and we're having Rachel baptized on Sunday. My parents are coming down for the weekend, and we're so excited to have them here. Hopefully, John's mother and her husband will also be able to make it.

I just wanted to let you know what's going on around my house these days!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Accepting Help

Mary is fussy. She fusses a lot during the day, but all of my children have at this age (not quite two months old). With my admittedly small sample size of four, I think all babies at this age are fussy, so I don't worry about it. At home, we deal with it by putting her in her bed where she fusses herself to sleep in five to ten minutes. When I'm out, however, I can't do that.

On the rare occasions that I go out, usually it is to church, a church function, or to MOPs. And while there, Mary cries. And cries. And cries. She usually refuses pacifier from me; often she won't even nurse. And I cannot quiet her down. I just can't, no matter what I try. I feel like such a failure when I cannot calm down my own child.

Sometimes, a kind soul will take pity on me and take Mary from me. Guess what. They usually have more success in quieting down Mary than I do. Do they know more and better tricks? Maybe. I really don't know.

My point here isn't complaining about how fussy Mary is. That's life, and after four children I know it's not personal.

My point is that sometimes you have to accept help when it's offered. I am a very independent person; I do not like to ask for help. If I want something done, I'll do it myself. If I am unable to do it, well, it's likely to be left undone.

This independence is not a good thing, I know that. And I think that God is using Mary's fussiness to show me that I am part of a family, a family who cares about me and wants to help me. But sometimes they don't know that I need help. A fussing baby is pretty obvious, but other things are not. As my family in Christ, they would be more than willing to help...if they only knew what I needed. I'm learning this lesson, and it's hard. Like I said, I don't like to ask for help, but I think it's time that I learned.

How independent are you? How hard is it for you to ask for help?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Finished Object Friday

I'm so glad that I've got something to share finally! I'm not getting nearly as much crocheting done as I would like, but I guess that's what happens when you have a baby.

a close-up so you can see the pattern a little better

John rarely asks me to make a blanket, but he asked me to make this one for one of his friends who is having a baby. I made it a little smaller than the pattern so it can be used in the bassinet or car seat. I had been wanting to make this blanket for a while, but I just never got around to it. Actually, this blanket was one of the few that I could make right now. Since we don't have a yarn store in town (and even WalMart doesn't carry yarn here), I can only use what I have on hand. I hate to order a couple of skeins and have to pay shipping. But I think this blanket turned out nicely. And I love the fact that it didn't cost me anything since I was able to use yarn out of my stash!

What have you been working on lately?

3 in 30 Goals for February

I've been reading Aurie's blog Welcome to Our Good Life for a while, and I've watched her set and achieve her monthly goals via "3 in 30." I decided to join in. These goals will be different than my New Year's goals; those are bigger, yearlong goals which may not be fulfilled, like hospitality: when are you actually done with that?

Anyway, here are my three goals for February:
  • Exercises for my back. I can tell that my back is weak, and if I don't work on it, I'm sure that I will hurt it. And I really, really don't want that! I plan to do exercises five times a week to strengthen my back.
  • Taking my children outside to play. This one is hard because there is so much to do inside. But we should really take advantage of this lovely, warm Florida weather and go outside. I hope to take them outside three days a week (out of the five weekdays).
  • Unpacking the remaining boxes. I've still got a few boxes that need to be unpacked, and I really want to get those done.
Is there anything you're trying to get done this month?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

January Review of New Year's Goals

As I have said before, I don't see the point of making goals if you never go back to review them. I like to post them on my blog so that you can keep me accountable. Here is the review of my New Year's goals for January.
  • School. We started back on Monday. So far, so good!
  • Reading. I have read two books this month (the reviews are upcoming), so I guess I made my goal. But I really would like to read more. There are so many good books out there that are calling my name.
  • Losing weight. I've lost five pounds so far!
  • Run a 5K. Since I don't plan to start training for that until April, I'm doing well!
  • Hospitality. I've been thinking about it. I hope to start having people over again sometime later this month or in early March. We really enjoy having people over, and we miss practicing this type of hospitality.
After making my list, I realized that I needed to add another goal: getting my Florida pharmacist license. Getting all of the paperwork done was a nightmare; now I just need to take the law part. But I'm waiting for Mary to get a little bit older because I'll need to leave her with John when I take the test.

How are you doing with your goals for the year?