Monday, September 30, 2013

Recently. More or less.

A quick glance back through my recent blogs shows it's been at least 2 months since I've given a thorough update.  So I'll try to run down what we've been doing and what's on my mind.
First off, I'd like to say happy birthday to my mom.  Her birthday is today, and I'm honoring her by having a slice of AMAZING from-scratch coconut cream pie that I made.  (Along with a cup of decaf.  Perfect combo.)  My best pie to date, if I don't say so myself.
Secondly, I'm thinking of changing the name of my blog.  I'm not exactly a new Mommy anymore, with #4 on the way.  I mean, there are always new things in the adventure of Mommy-hood, but.... I've got a neat name in mind.  I'll see if I can change the look of things around here.  (Sometime in the next year..... Or two.....)
I don't know what we were so busy with this summer, but it seems like it has been non-stop around here.  I can give you a run-down of September, at least - Paul served at two Encounters, and had to work the other two weekends.  He's had days off (his work does a rotating shift) but between errands, church stuff, and family stuff, we hadn't had a day at home with nothing to do until last week.  It was so nice.  We also started school and Awana.  I finished my ladies' Post-Encounters the same week Paul started his with the men.
So there's been just a little bit going on.  Between my naps and eating bon-bons.
Okay, so there really have been naps.  Almost daily.  I don't sleep well at night, which leads to debilitating exhaustion in the afternoons.  I have every intention of powering through, but reading to the kids after lunch kills me.  More than once I have been asked, "Mommy, why do your words sound funny?" as I am falling asleep mid-story.
So, in baby news (since that's the cause of exhaustion)(well, one of 4):  I will be 30 weeks this week.  According to my weekly email updates from, baby is 15 inches long, and 2.5 pounds.  Oh my goodness - getting so big!  We are still working on names.  We had a girls name settled, then I found one that I liked better, I think, but Paul's not on board.  And we're still up in the air on a boys name.  But I can tell you for sure it won't be Whale Pig.  (See last post.)  I've gained more weight than I care to admit, but the lovely news is that the doctors office measures from your first appointment (2 months along).  So according to them, I've only gained 15 pounds!  My veins are definitely worse, so I am in the compression stockings constantly.  My hernia also has gotten worse (Yes, the hernia I got fixed last summer.  It only stayed fixed for a week.), and is huge and ugly and generally painful.  The stockings do kind of keep it pressed in, but I have to get out the sexy belt a few times a week when it's really popping out.
I think I've finally figured out how home-school is going to go this year.  I am not "one of those" moms.  My vision of all my little students gathered around the kitchen table, dutifully working on their papers..... Um, NO.  If I can manage to get both of the boys at the table at the same time, Zadie is standing on the table, throwing things.  What works best is to do school one at a time.  Some days it's Nathan first, other days it's Jacob.  No particular rhyme or reason to who goes first, other than who happens to be most eager or need a change of scenery (picking fights with siblings).  I tried having Nathan do seat work (practicing writing, etc) while I help Jacob, but even if he's not doing his actual school, he's still at the table, and gets fidgity halfway through his lessons.  So I just let him play.  Plus, having one of them playing while the other does school keeps the little girl entertained better.
We have had some major attitude problems from Nathan over school.  Not wanting to try, telling me I don't know what I'm talking about, etc....  GAAH!  Paul discovered that praying with them at the start of the day seems to help.  He did a little devotion time with them, but last week I just prayed with them individually, which I like.  I want to find a way to have a prayer time with each child every day.
With Nathan, we are only doing math and reading.  I figure that come December, I won't have much time, and these are the main things he needs to learn.  Plus, the more I try to teach other things, the less I can focus on getting him to read!  It seems like it's taking so long, and just not clicking with him.  I try to remind myself, he's a boy, and he JUST turned 6.  He's not that behind.  But I also don't want to make excuses for him if he's not trying hard enough.  But math, he's really good at.  Maybe I'm biased, but it seems like it just clicks for him.  He knows all his doubles (1+1, 2+2, 3+3, etc) up to 10+10, and his +1's.  He's writing "number sentences" (5+3=8, etc), and grasps the concept.  This was what he tells me last week:  "We had 8 kittens, but one died, so that's minus one, equals [counts kittens present] five."  (Hey, he understands the concept.  Just doesn't have all the tables memorized yet. :) )
Jacob learned how to write his name in the first two weeks of school.  It's not perfect, and the letters aren't always in order, but I thought it was pretty awesome that he went from knowing nothing about letters to being able to do that.  He has some in-depth preschool material, but I'm definitely not doing it as in-depth as I did with Nathan.  Part of it is that Jacob knows a lot of it already (he knows all of his shapes, colors, how to count, and recognizes numbers up to at least 5), but the other part is the time factor.  Jacob is still 3, and his attention span is pretty short.  I just want him to be able to recognize and write his letters by the end of the school year.
We squeeze science in whenever it comes up.  Part of home-schooling is looking for those teachable moments.  For some reason I mentioned "invertebrates" on the way to Awana last week, which led to an explanation, which now Nathan understands:  Vertebrates have backbones.  Invertebrates do not.  We play a game - "Is a worm a vertebrate or invertebrate?  Is a cat....?  An octopus?"  Lesson learned.  They are outside a lot, so have tons of questions about things outside, and I take the time to explain them to the best of my ability.  It's not in a textbook, but it's still science.
All in all, I probably spend at least 3 hours a day just on one-on-one school or violin.  Add to this wrangling a one-year-old, the house, and the garden.... No wonder I'm tired all the time.
Zadie is 17 months and quite the feisty little thing.  She isn't talking yet, but makes her opinions quite known.  She has said words very clearly, she just doesn't use them.  She babbles a lot.  And I mean a lot.  She steals my cell phone constantly (screaming fit if I take it away), and loves any toy phone she can get her hands on.  She is a very in to shoes, and wears everyone's around the house.  She'd change her own shoes every 10 minutes if she could find more of her own.  I told Paul this is not an obsession we will feed.  She can have a pair of good shoes, and a pair of every day shoes.  She doesn't need more, no matter how cute little girls shoes are.  I can tell already we are going to have another strong-willed child, like our oldest, on our hands.  Things will be interesting in a couple years.  She loves to wrestle with her brothers.  If they are rolling around on the floor, she'll wade right in to the middle of it.  She loves getting dirty as much (or more!) than they do.  She's discovered the world of under the deck.  At least once a day I have to lure her out from under there (sometimes using my cell phone as bait).
We've been having issues with Jacob biting lately.  NO idea where this came from.  He bit a friend at church, and left a huge bruise on his arm, and bit Zadie later in the week.  This is a habit that must be broken.
Nathan lost another tooth tonight.  He's up to 5, 3 of them (including tonight's) lost in accidents.  When he came in to my Bible study room at church this evening to tell me he lost a tooth, I was expecting it to be the one that's practically dangling on the bottom.  Nope, it was an only-slightly-loose top one that got knocked out when he collided heads with Willie.  Maybe those top ones will finally come in, now that there's room!  (It's been 9 months.)
In non-child-related news.... My sister comes home from Africa in a month!  I was thinking, Jacob was 18 months old and not talking when she left in 2011.  When she gets back, Zadie will be 18 months.... and not talking.  Just trade one for the other, I guess.
Okay, enough updating.  I'll close with some pictures of my entirely too-grown-up children that Paul took this morning.  He was trying to get a picture of Zadie in her Dorothy (Wizard of Oz) outfit, but she wouldn't hold still.  (Click on photos and Blogger will open up a full-screen slide show, so you can see them better.)
Let's pretend you don't notice how horribly messy the house is in these pics.  And I feel like I shouldn't admit that it's twice as bad tonight, thanks to the oldest and youngest not taking naps.  I'm not touching it.  The kids made the mess, the kids will clean it up.... Tomorrow.

Love the 70's vibe he's got going on here with the shirt unbuttoned. 

So big.

Love, love, LOVE them.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Paul:  "What should we name the new baby?"
Nathan:  "I think we should name him Allen."  [Not even in the running, FYI.  No clue where he came up with this name.]
Paul:  "What do you think, Jake?"
Jacob:  "I think we should name him..... Whale Pig."

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Quote to Consider:

When you go to the beach, you might get "bombed" by a sea gull.  It happens.  It's when you leave it there that you have a problem.
-Pastor Larry Carrier, quoting his youth pastor (1950s? - in California)

Put this in context some of the thoughts we allow in our head.  Get that crap outta there!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Storms in Life

I went to another Women's Encounter in July.  At this one I was a server - I was there to serve and pray for the attendees.  
After Encounters, there is an optional 7 weeks of follow up meetings.  The other server from our group and I have been taking turns leading them for our small group of ladies, and a couple weeks ago, the study was on Conquering Adversity.
I have been listening to Christian talk/teaching radio a lot lately, and there have been several messages on storms and trials in life.  I also have been trying to read a daily devotional, and a couple of them have been about the same subject.  God knew I would be leading the study on the subject, and I know put these teachings in my way to pass along.
The first thing was from the century-old writings of Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest.  This is the July 28 devotion (in an updated style):
We tend to think that if Jesus Christ compels us to do something and we are obedient to Him, He will lead us to great success. We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us. In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way. What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.What is my vision of God’s purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish— His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see “Him walking on the sea” with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see “Him walking on the sea” (Mark 6:49). It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.God’s training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future. We have nothing to do with what will follow our obedience, and we are wrong to concern ourselves with it. What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself.God’s purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life right now. If we have a further goal in mind, we are not paying enough attention to the present time. However, if we realize that moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious.

What struck me from this one is that so often, we think that after we get through a certain part or trial in life, then we will have learned a lesson, received a blessing, etc.  But what Chambers is saying is that the lesson is now, the blessing is now, God's purpose is now - during the storm!

The second teaching on storms that stuck out to me was on the radio, Dr. Michael Youssef.  The message was part 3 of the series "Surely Not Me.....And Definitely Not Them!" - a set of messages based on the book of Jonah.  This particular message was about the storm on the sea when Jonah decided to disobey and run away from God.  He had several good points.
There are three types of "storms" people go through in life:
1.  The type brought on by my actions.
2. The type caused by actions of others.
3.  The type allowed by God as a test of our faith.
When we face a storm, we must determine the
1. Cause
2. Cure.
3. Consequences.
Similar to an illness, we must figure out the cause of the problem before we can cure it.
And, like the reading from My Utmost, Youssef stressed that "God wants to use you NOW."  During the storm.  The sailors were watching Jonah.  They knew he was the cause of the problem.  How was he going to react?  The cure for him was complete surrender to God.  Other fixes didn't work - rowing harding, throwing cargo overboard.  It was only when Jonah submitted to a situation where only God could save him (being thrown overboard in the middle of the sea!) that things became calm.  It was the cure - and also the consequence.  Three days in the digestive juices of a fish?  Lesson learned!

I would like to think that most of the trials that we face as Christians aren't the result of our own stupid actions, but I know a lot are.  Nevertheless, there are things to be learned whatever the trial or cause of it.  Our memory verse for the week was James 1:2-4, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

Anyhow.  These are just my jumbled thoughts on the subject, but I'm hoping it gives you something to ponder, as it did for me.  And if you are going through a storm of some sort, maybe it will be the encouragement you need.