Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mimi: this prayer's for you

So you know how we've been doing our prayer sticks at dinner time....well tonight Christian drew my sister Amy's name. We call her Mimi (because when Christian first started talking he couldn't say A-me, so it became Mi-mi). Anyway, Christian starts praying and with all the seriousness in the world he prayed that a tornado would not hit her house. I have no idea why he thought of that, of all the things in the world to pray for, but that's what he came up with.

So Mimi, if your house stays safe from all the tornadoes out there in Eastern Pa, you can thank Jesus and Christian too for bringing it to the Lord's attention.

Simple Moments

I love this picture. They're all there. The boys playing ball...they could do this for hours. Will just randomly throws the ball and Christian catches it. McKenna just watches and cheers "yay Will" over and over again.

Blessed to be his mom

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer: Learning Bags

I have some educational goals for both of my kids this summer, but I don't want to spend the summer doing "school." At this point I think Christian is over it. So we are going to play one educational game each day (with some days off here and there I'm sure). 

I've noticed that in our house if we start the day with the TV on, it usually stays on way longer than I planned. So we're not going to start our mornings by watching "just one show." When my kids come downstairs in the morning for breakfast, there is going to be a learning bag sitting at their place at the table. They are going to play their learning game while I'm getting breakfast ready. And they can continue playing it while they're eating.
Here's a few examples of some of the activities the kids are going to be doing. "Christian's Alphabet Mystery" will probably be easy for him, but I think it's good practice to quickly think of what letter is missing on the alphabet cards. This will help him down the road when he has to put things in alphabetical order. I don't want him to have to sit there and say the whole alphabet just so he knows what letter comes after "k."  McKenna has her own learning bag similar to this but slightly easier.
This is one of my favorite activities that I found HERE.
The white spoons have uppercase letters on them and the clear spoons have lowercase letters on them and then you match them!
The cards have numbers on them and you have to figure out what number comes next and clip the correct clothes pin on each card.
 I also created a bunch of bags out of lessons that were already created for me. All I had to do was print them. Most of these activities are for late Kindergarten or early 1st grade. Go HERE to print your own copy.
 Source HERE
Source HERE

Okay, somebody stop me! Seriously. These are just a few of the bags I've got sitting on my kitchen counter. I have at least five more done and I'm in the middle of a few more activities for McKenna and then I just emailed my mom a list of even more stuff to print for me (she has a color printer, mine broke). I think I might have resurrected the teacher in me or something and now all I can think about are learning bags. Sheesh. 
In all seriousness, I do think these should make learning fun for my kids this summer. And I think they will bring a little structure to our mornings. If I home schooled I definitely think I would start out each morning like this.

Every time I climb a tree

Christian's "fort" under a tree in the backyard.
Every time I climb a tree
Every time I climb a tree
I scrape a leg Or skin a knee
And every time I climb a tree I find some ants Or dodge a bee

And get the ants All over me
And every time I climb a tree
Where have you been? They say to me
But don’t they know that I am free
Every time I climb a tree?

I like it best To spot a nest
That has an egg Or maybe three
And then I skin The other leg
But every time I climb a tree
I see a lot of things to see
Swallows rooftops and TV
And all the fields and farms there be
Every time I climb a tree

Though climbing may be good for ants
It isn’t awfully good for pants
But still it’s pretty good for me
Every time I climb a tree

"Every Time I Climb a Tree" by David McCord

Summer: "I'm bored"

 We've all heard it: "I'm bored. What can I do?" Ugh...seriously so annoying.
I think I find it irritating because it makes me realize just how selfish my kids are. They have so much more than most of the kids in the world and yet they can't find anything to do. So this summer I have a new strategy :) They're going to love it and they're going to hate it! ha!
For the record, I take no credit for this idea. This one comes to you thanks to Pinterest!

The "What can I do Can?" is filled with little slips of paper with various activities on them. If you ask "what can I do" or whine about being bored then you pull a slip of paper out of the can. Some of the slips of paper say fun things, some of the slips of paper have chores on them, some of the slips of paper have exercises on them. The rule is...YOU MUST DO WHAT'S ON THE PAPER RIGHT AWAY.  I think it's going to be fun :)

Here's my master list with my own ideas and ideas from lots of other websites (go here to read a ton of ideas and to get some free printables):

Play with sidewalk chalk
Climb a tree
Catch some ants
Help Mommy with the laundry
Build the biggest LEGO tower you can!
Build a giant train track and show it to Will
Run around the house 4 times!
Watch TV
Build a fort with blankets
Blow bubbles
Fly a kite
Do 15 jumping jacks
Set the table for dinner (fancy)
Throw all the laundry downstairs
Make a beach in mommy’s bathroom
Make a craft out of the recycling trash can
Draw a picture for Grammy & Grampy
Read a book
Paint with water
Swing on the red swing
Play math games on the computer
Put a puzzle together
Go cloud gazing
Make a zoo with your stuffed animals
Go a million miles on your bike :)
Make 8 baskets with the basket ball
Play with play dough
Make sock puppets
Play hide & seek
Type a letter on the computer
Sweep the garage 
Build a blanket fort
Make a musical instrument
Go for a walk and collect items to use for a nature rubbing
Build a tower out of toothpicks and marshmallows
Play categories (aka: 20 questions)
Make a list of as many black and white animals as you can
Clean the playroom
Babysit Will
Do school work 3 papers
Clean up the yard
Draw a picture with your foot
Play with remote control car outside
Play the Wii
Dust your room
Put on a blindfold and draw a picture
Pillow fight
Make pudding 
Do school work 2 papers
Make up a show for mommy & Will
Set up the slip n' slide and have fun!
Ride your bike to the circle
Sing a song
Say (2) scripture verses
Call someone to say “hi”
Play air hockey
Have a balloon stomping race
Plan a surprise for the mailman
Make and plan dinner and do it by yourself
Make a treasure map &  go on a hunt
Make an obstacle course
Wash mommy’s car
Play a board game
Do something nice for someone else
Make popsicles
Bake a cake and decorate it
Create a rainbow out of food & eat it
Slide down the steps in a sleeping bag
Go to the circle on your scooter
Vacuum under the kitchen table
Make up a song & dance
Make a list of words that rhyme with “ball”
Cut out some coupons for mommy
Fill up a watering can and water some plants outside
Get the net and clean the pool
Go on a scavenger hunt (get the paper from mom)

My goal (for the most part) is to make whatever activity they're doing an independent activity. I want them to be able to do it on their own and I don't want to have to go dig around for supplies to find for them to do I've put together a bin of all the supplies we could need and it's ready to go.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I've been struggling with Christian lately. He's just in a rough spot right now. We've been here before and somehow made it out on the other side, but I just really don't know what to do with him right now. His behavior has caught me off guard because we were doing so well for so long. He has so many great things going on in his life right now and he just chooses to be unhappy. It's tough for me to watch. Tough to know just how to guide him through this.

We're mainly dealing with respect/tone of voice/attitude/ don't give me that look....kinds of stuff. For the record...I don't ignore that kind of behavior.

Tonight for the first time ever Christian told me I was annoying. Alright....stop laughing. We all know I'm not annoying :)  You can just imagine how well I received that back talk from him. Thankfully I was super calm when I responded, but I am certain that the extended period of silence he had in his room did not change his heart. ((Sigh))

When I kiss his freckled little sleeping face at night I often find myself questioning whether or not I'm doing enough or responding right or giving him what he needs or .....   and I pray that God's grace will cover all my failures.  I fail continually in this role of mommy, but I am sure that my creator sits confidently on His throne and His grace far exceeds my failures.

Romans 1:15  "Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace..."

Before & After: Laundry Room

 This is slightly painful to show you, but this is our laundry room before the big makeover.
I spend a LOT of time in this room and am so thankful for it, but it needed a little TLC.
 Great space, but nothing special about it. And it is one of the first rooms you see when you walk in the house through our back door. We have lots of backdoor guests so I wanted this room to look decent!

And here it is today! I adore it!
I painted all the woodwork white. Painted the walls grey. Got a new washer & dryer (that's what started this whole project). Bought a shower curtain and my sweet friend Angie made them into full length drapes for me. Moved my kitchen rug into the laundry room and ta da!

About the washer & dryer:
I did a ton of research before finally deciding what washer & dryer to get. Most of the feedback I got from other people was that they do NOT like their front load washers. After reading up on it myself I decided that I did not want to have to maintain something. I need appliances to work for me, not the other way around.  So I didn't get the cute navy front load washer I wanted, but I am completely THRILLED with our new LG top load washer. It's huge and gets our clothes so clean. You're going to think I'm being dramatic, but it's honestly changed my life. I don't spend my days going laundry anymore. I do about 5 loads a week (which is still a lot with this huge washer....1 white, 1 dark, 1 pink/red, 1 workout clothes, 1 misc. sheet/towels/rugs) but it takes way less time.

Summer: Teach them to pray

Do you see that countdown chain?? Yikes! Summer vacation is almost here!!! Yippee.
 Actually Christian only has five more days of school. 
I've been spending a LOT of time prepping for summer. I want to be really intentional with the time we have and I've made some specific goals for each of my kids academically, spiritually and in the area of character development.
 One of my main goals for both Christian & McKenna is to teach them to pray. They're great at praying for their food or praying for someone to get better, but beyond that they don't know what to say. So we're getting intentional about it by using this cute little basket on our kitchen table.
The basket is from Target! Love it!
 Inside the basket are popsicle sticks with the names of all our our extended family members, names of missionaries, names of neighbors, teachers, etc. Some of the sticks just say "give thanks" or "share a prayer request." The original plan was that each child would pick a stick when we sit down to dinner and it would be their job to pray for whoever or whatever their stick says.
We were going to get started with this when school is out but I'm not even kidding...they couldn't wait to do it. So we started this weekend and they want to pray for someone every time they sit down at the table. We've almost gone through all the sticks (in just one weekend). Yesterday I even heard them pull a stick and pray for people all on their own. Christian gave McKenna some hints about what to say and she even did it without any help. When I sat down at the table a few minutes later she wanted to repeat her prayer again so I could hear it.

I know the novelty will wear off at some point. But in the meantime I'm enjoying hearing the precious voices of my children lifted up to their heavenly father. And don't worry, I've got a plan B for later in the summer when they're tired of this prayer strategy. I'll share about that later!

Luke 11: 1
"One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."

Saturday, May 26, 2012

awesome...ok not really

We just bought a new Intex above ground pool. Just one of the small ones for our back patio. Our other one was awesome...lasted 4.5 summers with no issues. I just spent 3 hours setting this one up and I put an inch of water in it only to find that it leaks. Customer service is of course not available on the weekend and you're not supposed to return it to the store. This could not be more annoying!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pearly Whites.

This little cutie is going to be "knocked out" today while she gets some dental work done. This could possibly be one of my least favorite things in the world. Poor girl. She has to drink the sedative this morning and it tastes nasty, so please, please pray for her...that she will drink it all and not spit it out like last time (yes, her mouth is a bit of a mess...I'm praying that once we get rid of these baby teeth we won't have any more issues).

We have to drive an hour to the dentist office and she can't have anything to eat or drink until it's over. I know in the scope of life this is minor, but it's going to be hard on her. Thankfully my mom is keeping Will and putting Christian on the bus, so I only have to handle McKenna.

Just pray that they will fix everything (so we won't have to do this again) and that they listen to me and get it right this time :) You know, because I'm an expert on pediatric dentistry. ha! I'm kidding of course, but I really do need to get them to listen to me about a few things.

Oh boy, here we go.

We're home! She did AWESOME!!! They gave her two different sedatives and she was seriously snoring on the way home. Her balance is still a little off (4 hrs later) but she's going great. The dentist listened to me and did exactly what I was hoping he would do! So I feel great about it. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Last week

Monday: McKenna had a playdate :)

Monday: Grocery shopping. McKenna wanted to get her picture by these Angry Bird fruit snacks so she could show them to Christian (since we did not buy them).

Tuesday: Gorgeous day. We worked outside in the yard and cleaned out the playhouse!

Tuesday: Christian declares that this guy looks like Daddy.  So we texted Daddy and he agreed!

Wednesday: We had our first corn on the cob of the year. It was pretty good!

Wednesday: Christian even ate it. Shocking!!!!!!!

Thursday: Author's Tea!

Thursday: Baseball game!

Friday: Field trip to the landfill. It was a Magic School bus kind of trip. The bus actually drove us up on top of the mountain of trash. It was pretty cool.

Friday: Field trip continued...we headed to the local park to pick up trash and eat lunch and play of course. This picture of is of Christian with his two best buddies.

Friday: Baseball game...again

Friday: McKenna's favorite thing to do at the games is dig in the mud, gravel or dirt. But on Friday we planned things out a little better and she colored for awhile before returning her her dirt digging.

Saturday: Playdate with a friend!

Saturday: McKenna and I made cupcakes and then set up a "toppings bar" so that they could add anything they wanted to the top of the cupcakes.
The end.

Good Morning Will!!!

This is how Will greets me every time he wakes up from sleeping!!! He loves his bed and thankfully has never tried to climb out! I hope he loves playing in his crib for a long, long time. 

Up, up and away...

Will was napping, Christian was at school and I was busy mowing the grass. I looked over and saw McKenna sitting on the swing trying her best to make it go.
If you drive by my house anytime soon you'll notice that our back yard is getting a little out of control. The grass is getting pretty high, but that's because I realized in that moment that there will always be grass to mow. For the rest of my life I'll have grass. I won't always have a little girl who giggles as I push her higher and higher.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Just sayin'

I love it when the weather channel tells you there's a 30 percent chance of rain when there is a torrential downpour outside :)

A Night to Celebrate Christian!

 He has walked down this hall hundreds of times this year, so it only seemed appropriate to snap a picture of him.
 Christian's teacher organized an Author's Tea where he was able to share his work from the entire school year. My favorite was this piece of fiction that he wrote about a kickball game. You can see his "dedication" page in this picture. He dedicated his book to Will.
 His story was called "The Best Kickball Game Ever." It was so cute!
 Even McKenna was interested.
 Oh seriously...he's so precious and has had the most amazing first year of school. I am so thankful!

 Even daddy was there, which was a huge deal. He wasn't sure if he was going to be able to make it but earlier in the day McKenna told me that Christian was so excited about his author's tea because our whole family was going to be there. That resulted in a quick phone call to Ryan and he made it happen. He knows when it counts!
 Christian had an entire stack of priceless work to share with us. And when he was done sharing he served us all refreshments (you could tell his teacher had prepped him for this) and then he gave us a tour of his classroom.
 Another one of my favorite pieces was a book that he wrote in each month of the school year. It was so neat to look back at how much his handwriting and spelling had improved since September. Christian was actually the one showing me the difference.
 Reading to Dad.

 Then we headed down the hall to see Christian's artwork that was displayed in the art show! Who knows what on earth that is...he wasn't even sure. He told me it was supposed to be "abstract."
 He was so proud to have a piece of art in the art show...never mind the fact that all kindergarteners get to have something in the art show.
Then it was off to baseball! It was a busy night, but it was nice to be able to spend an evening recognizing and celebrating all of Christian's hard work this year.