Thankful Thursdays

You may recall from last year, the girls and I do quite a few tea parties.  It got to the point where they were asking for tea almost every day!  Being a tea party lover myself, it was hard to say no. So, this year I decided to make it a special treat for Thursdays — something to look forward to.

In addition, I gave them each a tea party journal.  After each tea party, they are to take their journals and write a letter to God, expressing at least 10 things they are thankful for.  (Even Sierra got a journal, and was happy to participate!)

Today we had milk tea with coconut raspberry muffins and chocolate chip cookies.  Allison was thankful for family.  Sierra was thankful for love.  And, Natalie was thankful for faith.  My heart is full!

First Day of School

The day finally came and went…. the first day of school. The girls had been looking forward to it and begging for it as if it were a trip to Disneyland.  They even made a paper chain to count-down the days. As much as I appreciate their enthusiasm, it did cause me to be a bit concerned at their expectation level — in other words, I hope I didn’t disappoint!

As I mentioned yesterday, the day started off quite early.  As tired as I was, that at least allowed me to get a jump start on preparing breakfast.  I had been wanting to make homemade donuts for quite some time, and this seemed like the perfect occasion.

I thought the doughnuts were yummy — the girls seemed to like the chocolate milk even better.  Funny how that works, huh?  After breakfast, I let them each go to their desks to find a card and a small gift.  I don’t necessarily intend to give them a gift each year, but they were in desperate need of covers for their Bibles as they are starting to get beat-up, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to bless them with them.  The cards I do intend to give every year, as the girls absolutely adore getting cards from me.  (From anybody, really…)

Sierra got some colored glue sticks instead of a Bible cover.  She was thrilled and completed a masterpiece right away!

We don’t exactly have a classroom right now.  We have a downstairs room that has that potential in the future, but to be honest I really enjoy our current set-up. We work from the kitchen table.  It is part of a “great room,” (family room and kitchen), and the girls each have their desk niches in the family room. I recently got this red shelf to help keep me organized, and I am LOVING it!  I still don’t have it totally organized, but it is the best!

The first day we did a lot of talk about “expectations.”  I have been so lacking in having any sort of order to help encourage both their attitudes as well as their behavior and need to help with chores.  It took me all summer and about 15 Pinterest pins to come up with my own systems.  If you’re interested in what the final outcome is, let me know and I will do a post on that.  (Perhaps I should give it some time to see how it will work, first, but so far so good!)

 

It feels so nice to have 2 days under my belt.  Well, I guess I have 2 years under my belt as well, which is also nice!  Today was so much smoother than yesterday.  Perhaps it was because we got to sleep-in until 6:30am!  🙂  I know we’ll have lots more rough days… and even more good days… I’m just happy we’ll have them all together as a family!

School Pictures

Today was our first day of school!  It began at 4:15am with a toddler who wouldn’t go back to sleep.  It ended at about 8:45pm when they all finally got to sleep after our first soccer practice.  Needless-to-say, I am exhausted.  How many more days until summer?  Ha!  Really, I can’t complain… the day went fairly well.  But, it definitely could have been better!  Details to follow… in the meantime, here are their school pictures!  (Note how tired Sierra looks!)

 

 

Super Hero!

It seems lately that everywhere I turn I find a superhero.  If it’s not Natalie on her bike…

 

Then it’s Allison’s life-size rendition of “Wonder Girl…”

 

I didn’t expect to see so many superheros until Malachi was a bit older!  But, I think I know where it’s coming from.  Their new favorite show is PBS’ “Word Girl.”  How funny that they took to it so much!

Lately I’ve been wishing I had super powers!  I wish there was one of me to keep the house clean, one of me to make healthy meals, one of me to workout, one of me to spend time playing with each of the kids, one of me to plan for school, one of me to…. well, you get the idea.  I know I’m not alone; this is the cry of every mom, right?  Oh, and one of me to sleep for 12 hours straight!  🙂

Tomorrow is the first day of school.  I am mostly planned, but not totally.  Oh, how I wish I was totally planned!  But, I am honestly trying to be ok with where I am, and to live by faith; not fear that I’ll never get a handle on things, or fear that I’ll never sleep again.  If I wrote this post last night, I think I would have to say that fear was winning.  I was overwhelmed and overcome.

Today I prayed as I always start my prayers… “Jesus, thank you for today.”  Then it hit me; this is a new day.  I feel empowered… not that I can get it all done, but that God will help me through it.  It is good for my kids to witness my weaknesses and to hear me confess that I need God more than anything.  That happened last night.  For the first time ever, all 4 were crying and needing me at the same time.  (And not minor whimpers, mind you, but major “I need YOU” wails!)  I snuck off into the bathroom and cried.  I called my husband to pray for me.  I couldn’t stop… I walked out and had to face them crying with my own sobs.  It was not fun.  But, we talked… and then my 2 oldest talked and I listened as they talked themselves to sleep.  Natalie was asking Allison who God the Spirit was, and Allison answered the best she could.  It was precious.  Tough times certainly cause us to ponder and think deeper and to call out to the only One who can really help.

“This is the day the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.”  Psalm 118:24

It’s Almost Here!

After 12 straight days of 100+ temps, I am so happy and relieved to report that the forecast for tomorrow is a mere 95 degrees.  Whew… I am not a fan of the heat!  Though, I must say it is so much more bearable now that we have a pool!  And, guess what?  Sierra is finally happy getting in the pool.  Want to know why?  It is not because of the miserable heat.  She spent the first 8 days of this heat wave still refusing to get in the pool.  It’s because we found her a floating device that we call her “ballerina swimsuit.”  Yes, that’s right.  Whatever it takes!  The beauty is that I found it on clearance and she took right to it!  And, the funny part is, she really thinks it’s a suit, and therefore refuses to wear another suit underneath… so beware of a little naked bum running around our backyard!

I realized something the other day… we used to spend hours and hours outside the front of our house each morning at our old house.  We loved being on a cul-de-sac because of it, and were so excited that we moved into another house on a very similar-type cul-de-sac.  However, due to the awesomeness of our backyard, we rarely venture out the front yard anymore!  Because of this realization, I made an effort this past week to get us out front.  The dog was elated; he loves running around out front!  Malachi was quite content under the shade of the tree with his buddy.  And, the girls practiced their bike riding and bubble blowing.  (Side note: my husband took them to Toys R Us one day to beat the heat, and bought chocolate chip-smelling bubbles.  Some things were not meant to smell like chocolate!)

So, as much as we are loving both our front yard and our backyard, we will soon be back to our classroom.  Tomorrow is the official start of our last weekend before school starts!  Unfortunately, my husband is working all weekend which has me a bit stressed.  I was just pondering how it is that I spent the entire summer attempting to organize and plan, and yet I still feel slightly unsettled?  I do know the answer… I have been trying to do, do, do instead of taking a sabbath and praying.  It’s so much “easier” to try to do it on my own, and yet look where it leads me?  So, this weekend I am throwing up my arms… literally.  God will help me through it.  And I am reminded once again of just how desperately I need Him!
Part of my preparation has been coming up with activities to entertain my 2-yr-old.  I have noticed recently she is more capable of certain things, and her attention span has grown a bit.  That will certainly be helpful!  For example, I discovered the girl who doesn’t like to string beads at least enjoys sorting them!

And, this little man… well, the poor dude has been sick.  A few days ago he hit some high temps, so I took him in to urgent care.  They say it’s a slight ear infection and have him on antibiotics, but the poor little guy has hardly slept the past 2 days.  (This is also contributing to my pre-starting-school-stress!)  He also just cut his top 2 teeth, which may be another factor.  Thankfully, this being the 4th time around I know it is a season; a short season that will pass before I know it.  Isn’t he the sweetest?

One thing I am really looking forward to this year will be our thankful Thursdays. Every Thursday we will sip tea and journal together 10 things we are thankful for.  This idea of journaling our thankfulness, of course, is not unique.  But, I am so looking forward to building gratitude in their little hearts and having tea parties with my little girls while they’re still little!

A Fun Find and a Favorite Recipe

Do you ever fall in love with an item at a store, and then walk around with it in your cart until you come up with a use for it?  That happened to me recently at Home Goods.  (Actually, that always happens to me at Home Goods only I don’t always find a use so sometimes I have to put it back!)  I found this “old” wooden crate and thought I would fill it with school supplies or something.  then it occurred to me…

I have been wanting a drink holder for our table FOREVER!  The girls take out far too many glasses a day. They need one spot to keep their daily cup to use over and over.  That’s it!  Of course, some day Malachi will need a spot, too.  So, I took it home and painted their initials on each spot.  I finished it off by painting a simple “refresh” on the outside just for fun.  I am in love with my new find!

And, I am in love with a new muffin recipe my girls go crazy over… They’re not really “healthy,” with all the oil and sugar, but there are some healthy elements like apples, raisins,  carrots, and almonds that help me feel better about serving muffins (frosting-less cupcakes!) to my kids for breakfast.  Would you believe the recipe is from the side of my flour bag?  I rarely cut those out, but this one intrigued me.  Here it is:

Glorious Morning Muffins

2 eggs

3/4 cup oil (I use EV olive oil!)

1/4 cup milk

2 tsp vanilla

1 1/3 cups unbleached flour  (The recipe calls for 2 cups, but I do some whole wheat, as well)

2/3 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups shredded carrots

1 cup shredded apple

1/2 cup coconut

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup craisins (I added this part, as well!)

3/4 cup sliced almonds

Heat oven to 350.  In a large bowl, beat eggs, oil, milk, and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Combine wet and dry ingredients just until moistened.  Stir in carrots, apple, coconut, raisins and 1.2 cup of the almonds.  Divide batter into muffin cups with liners.  top with remaining almonds.  Bake 20 minutes. Makes 18 muffins.

Oh, and serve with cute napkins.  Ok, I made that part up, but I sort of have a napkin fetish and these were a recent gift from my dear friend Glory who always finds me the cutest napkins ever.  Aren’t they awesome?

Great Grandma

I’m 37 1/2 today.  I normally don’t celebrate half birthdays.  I rarely even notice them, really.  But, as I look at these pictures it occurred to me…

I am 37 1/2, and I still have 3 out of 4 of my grandparents living.  I don’t know many of my friends who can say that.  What an incredible blessing!  As we were just up north, we went to see my oldest grandma who is 97.  I hadn’t seen her in a few years, but I knew she’d gone downhill quite a bit.  I was shocked to see not how far she had gone, but how sweet she still was!  This lady is incredible.  My memories of her are always smiling, laughing, and saying “Oh, good!” or “On our way rejoicing!” and my personal favorite, “Isn’t that NEAT?”

She is still the same sweet lady.  She smiled and laughed her precious grandma laugh.  She had recently lost a tooth, and kept covering it out of embarrassment.  I kept wondering what my girls were thinking. I remember visiting my great, great grandma when I was little.  (Yes, we have good genes!)  All she could say was, “What’s your name?  Want to see my false teeth?”  Over and over.  I’m sure this experience is about the same for my girls.

I walked out of the room and was overcome with emotion.  It completely took me by surprise.  I wanted to go in a corner and sob, but we were on our way to a party, and it just couldn’t happen.  Most likely this was the last time I will see her on this side of heaven in this body.  Even as I type this, I am surprised by my emotions.  I am blessed by a legacy of joy, of solid marriage, of a foundation in Christ.  I have not experienced much heartbreak in my life.  I married my first boyfriend.  I have 4 healthy children, and no miscarriages.  And, I still have 3 grandparents… I am blessed, blessed, blessed!