Shwowtid.

I’m so sorry to have neglected my blog. I sent myself to bed early last night with a terrible migraine. I seem to be suffering from them a lot lately and would love prayers to figure out why and how to kick them out on their backside!

I was up very early yesterday doing some party prep and making my grocery list and I thought I’d peek out at our guardian snowman, only to find him smashed beyond recognition. I felt really sick about it. I know it sounds silly. After all, it was just a snowman. But to explain to your children, who are innocent of the ways of this evil world, that some person lacking kindness and goodness, came by in the middle of the night and smashed their hard work to pieces….not an easy thing to do! Their sad faces broke my heart:(

In good news, we are working hard to prepare for this party on Saturday! I finally got off the procrastination train and the creative juices have been flowing. Finally. Hopefully I can get everything cleaned and put together with minimal stress! We’ll see. I’m just really glad I don’t plan parties for a living or something. Kudos to those people! Next year, we just may be sticking with a fun family activity. Maybe parties every other year? haha. I bet that would fly really well with them, don’t you think?

I leave you with a sample of Zakkai’s cute writing. They went to see a theater play of “I’m Going On A Bear Hunt” for a field trip on Monday and must’ve been asked what their favorite part was. Zakkai wrote,

“I liket the sho. I liket when they shwowtid the wotre (water) guns at us and I got shwowted in the face. Zakkai Thomas”

Haha, I cherish these writings!! Oh and p.s., “Shwowtid” means “shooted” which means “shot.” In kindergarten speak:)

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Let It Snow!

 We’re finally getting our winter at the end of February! This morning I was out and about getting pelted in the face with sleet while taking Z to his 6 year check-up. (He’s nice and healthy! Tall and a healthy weight!). By the time we left the drs office at lunchtime, the icy sleet had turned to snow.

And it hasn’t stopped snowing yet!!

And lucky for the boys, it’s perfect snowman building snow! They finished their homework in a jiffy and raced out to play and build a snowman so that we could see it from the window. Here is Miss E watching the action:)

I peeked out and was amazed at the size of their first snowball!!

Here’s the boys rolling up the strangely shaped head:)

Missy wasn’t feeling too well today, as she’s coming down with (another) cold. Blast these winter germs! She and I just watched and took pictures from the comfort of our warm (ish) home.

They got stuck when trying to lift their humongous snowman parts on top of each other so they enlisted the help of Daddy.

Quick as a flash, their 6 foot plus snowman was put together and ready for some decorating!

They had so much fun that I was almost tempted to join them. Almost:)

They found a scrawny carrot for a nose, some charcoal for the eyes, cheerios for the mouth, a scarf and someone even gave them a pipe for his mouth!! I’ll have to take a good picture from outside tomorrow so you can see. All the neighbors walking by seemed to enjoy watching the boys!

Anyone else think the snowman has a little resemblance to E.T.??

I just have to share my latest project with you!! I am so excited about this one! And disclaimer, in no way am I intending to brag or act like I’m some put together bloggy, blog mom (gag); I just really love to do stuff like this and enjoy sharing!

I almost never sew anything for myself but I spotted this bag pattern and knew I had to make one for myself! I should admit here and now that I do have a bag fetish. Just so you know.

I learned some really cool new things while making this! I put in my very first zipper, as you can see in the front zippered pocket. Not nearly as scary as I thought:)

I learned how to put in eyelets to make the purse sturdy for the drawstrings. (the bows).

I did magnetic snaps for the bag and for this cute inside pocket!

Oh, I’m just crazy about this bag! I still entertain the idea of making and designing bags to sell someday. To share the love with people who also love bags like me:)

And something that is fun about this bag is you untie the bows and pull it out to make a huge bag to fill with whatever you want! A fun travel or beach bag maybe?

Lots of room inside!! It took me over a week to make it because there were a ton of steps involved and I needed some special tools to pound the eyelets in place and got stalled after I ordered a tool that didn’t work and had to send it back and wait for the new one.

I think I just might take this fun bag on our vacation to Florida next month! That’s right, our family is making the long sojourn down to Florida in a few weeks to visit my grandparents. What’s even more fun is that we’ll be meeting my mom, step dad and my sister and her little fam down in Georgia and we’ll travel the rest of the way together!

Woohoo!

And I leave you with another (terrible) shot of our new guardian. He sort of looks like a dog snowman in this picture…..but don’t tell the boys I said that!

Ciao!

Hello!

We are still alive and well! I haven’t had much of a chance to be home or on the computer the past couple of days, which really helps my Lent decision about the internet! haha.

Today Eliana and I went to MOPS. She has adjusted SO well to going into her 2 year old classrooms at MOPS and at church on Sundays. It was really tough for awhile but we had great teachers working with us to help her adjust. It’s fun to see her happy to go play and to hear her chatter on the way home about what she did. She’ll say, “Ms Barb. Pway Puzzles! Goldfish.” And this afternoon she kept singing some song about the Bible. Not sure if she was making it up or she heard it today but either way it was cute!

She did not nap today though, which was frustrating. It almost seemed like she was energized by her fun morning, whereas I was suffering from a horrendous headache and needed to lay down for a bit. I was laying in the next room listening to her talk the entire nap time. It went something like this:

“Mommy! Mama, turn light on. Mama, where’s Daddy? Daddy’s downstairs. Waaaaaaah! Daddy, Missy cryin’. Daddy, downstairs. Mama, go check Daddy. Mama! Mamaaaaaa! Mama, check Daddy downstairs. (thump, bang.) Waaaaa! Missy hurt. Missy need bandaid. Missy need Dora bandaid. Mama, need Dora Bandaid!!!! All better now, Mama? All better? It’s all better, Mama. Waaa-aaa! Missy wake up!”

And on and on, for 2 hours. I was even more exhausted by the time I got her up! Needless to say, she went to bed early tonight.

We had our neighbors over for dinner tonight, which was nice. We’ve been trying to break down our isolation walls and reach out to people and Ben just threw out a dinner invitation to our neighbors, a couple with a new baby, over the weekend.

I was really nervous because we don’t know them really well and I didn’t feel well all day but prayer works, let me tell you because my headache almost completely disappeared while they were hear and we had relaxed easy conversation and built the start of a great relationship!

Great start to the weekend! Hope yours is, too!

Happy Z Day!

6 years ago, at 2:11pm, a screaming, dark-haired baby boy entered the world and changed our lives forever! He’s our spunky fighter, our giggly boy who loves and hates to be tickled, our screamer, our dreamer, our creative, lego-building, future inventor!

He was surprised this morning with chocolate-chip pancakes, which I was sure would please him:) It did! We’ve never had a kiddo who got to celebrate a birthday during school before. They sure know how to make a kindergartner feel special! He got to wear a special birthday crown for the day (which you’ll see below), he was given a sticker, a sparkly birthday pencil and he got to pick out a new book to keep!

I volunteer at his school on Wednesdays in the LRC (library) reshelving books and helping a class with check-out. I got to see him in the hallwall on my way in and I was there when they announced his birthday on the loudspeaker! It was fun:)

When he came home, he got to open presents! Well, all 2 of them:) We got him a kid camera, which is just crazy about! He is always begging me to buy him disposable cameras and wishing he had one and now he does! It’s only a 2.3 megapixel but we can put the pics on our computer like our camera. We found him taking pictures of us, his Leapster Explorer game, his soup, his towel and more:)

Cheese!!

When we got home from school, a package from Grandma was waiting at the front door! He was awfully excited to see that! Here he is with his new lego set all put together. He loves his legos!

It’s funny, I usually try to make them a special birthday dinner on their birthdays but he was at school when I did my menu planning and grocery shopping last week so I didn’t get to ask him what he wanted. I felt a little guilty about it but went ahead and threw a soup in the crockpot today; Ham and Lentil Soup and wouldn’t you know, he came to the table at dinner, peeked in his bowl and exclaimed, “My favorite soup!!!”

Haha! It worked out well:)

I just love this pic! First of all, his mismatching jammies, which is very normal for him:) But second of all, this is him listening to Mugga and Papa sing him Happy Birthday over the phone:) He looks so sweet and happy!

This morning at breakfast he said, “I’m a little sad about not being 5 anymore.” I turned around from flipping pancakes and said, “Really? Well, 5 is a pretty fun age but I know that being 6 will be pretty fun, too!”

He thought for a moment and then said, “Yeah, and I will learn how to run faster this year!” Haha.

I pray this is a wonderful, amazing, happy and healthy year for my big 6 year old boy! I want to savor his little boy-ness, celebrate his growing big boy-ness and show him how much I adore him and how much God loves him each and every day.

I love you, Zakkai Nathaniel!!

Budget Appeal

Budget.

It’s a name, a word, an idea that can strike a chord of fear, stress, anxiety, and even excitement in our hearts. Probably fear the most!

It’s something most people probably have and/or need. For us, it is a need. When you are a family of 5, living in an expensive city, have children with rapidly growing appetites and bodies and do not have a lot of money to work with, you must have a budget.

I don’t remember having a budget when we first got married. Did we even need a budget? We were living on love! The first time that I really remember us sitting down to figure out a budget was after we’d been in Chicago for a year. We had a general, wimpy budget. A little food, a lot of rent (which, unfortunately double the minute we made our move from Indiana to Illinois and has continued to increase since), some clothes for our cute new baby, we were set, right?!

Wrong. Suddenly a year later, it came time to plan out our finances, as we have done every August/September since we’ve been here, being on the academic calendar. And we realized, all those little extra trips for the “forgotten” dinner ingredients down the street at the ridiculously-over-priced grocery store? Killed what little budget we had.

Oh…..a budget! You mean, we have to actually restrict our store trips and have a limit on how much we spend? Yikes! So we did the nasty, the ugly, the horrible job of calculating what we were spending on average and after we got over our spasms, chest pains and finger-pointing, we settled on a budget.

You know a stinky thing about budgets? They don’t stay the same because prices continue to increase! Very annoying.

So our budget has been tweaked and twanged, cursed over, dusted off and recalculated every single August/September. Gradually, as the University sucked my husband in and claimed him as its own, Headmaster Heidi took over budget duties. And one baby became two. Rent went up a certain percentage every year. People needed clothes. We moved. A few times. Had the third bambino. Continued to feed these bottomless pits, we call children. Had to buy a bigger car. And pay for the gas that is so overpriced here. And so on and so on.

And the guilt of my failure at not being able to have a perfect budget and remake my children’s clothes out of rugs and drapes, eat beans 65 times a week and make my own shampoo like all the other perfect bloggy moms out there, really began to weigh on me. I always kept thinking “this month will be the month I stay on track and do a better job.” And then, oh, crap, milk rose another $.20 a gallon, Samuel grew out of his underwear and the car’s making a funny noise.

Budget? What budget? And on and on. Recently, as God has been breathing new life into our family and home and revealing areas of neglect, we have been (as you can probably tell) revamping many things here at home to make things run more smoothly and efficiently. Today was budget day. It wasn’t planned. It started suddenly with tears (on my part, of course) and frustration but it ended on a really good note.

You know how sometimes, even though you might have a semblance of a budget, money just seems to fall into a black hole? Kind of like socks after laundry day? Well, we fixed some of those holes today. We decided to apply our new cleaning rule to our budget, a home for everything! A home for every dollar. Our miscellaneous fund, which includes Ben’s monthly nasal spray (a lifetime expense), laundry money and clothing among other things, isn’t very large but is constantly blown to pieces. We added some specific categories, moved some things around and most of all….we got on the same page (imagine that!!) and for the first time in awhile, I am feeling real hope that next month really will be a good month.

 One of our new favorite verses is in Jeremiah 17. It says, “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

We’ve been like thirsty plants for so long but now we are being replanted and soaking Him up like a tree by the stream! Allowing Him to shed light on dirty, dusty areas so we can clean them up and honor Him better. It’s painful and it hurts kind of like ripping off a scab but underneath, it feels really good.

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Oh, and we were able to cut our internet bill down by $35 a month!! Our internet provider didn’t quite tell us we had some other options until they were forced to send out a price change sheet of all their services recently. Despite me asking them at least 3 times in the last 6 months if we had other choices or options to lower our bill, no one ever told me that we could downgrade to a lower plan! Frustrating to say the least, but at least now we can save a little $ in that area. It never hurts to ask! Again and again and again….:)

We got caught up on some other things today like sending out invitations for Z’s bday party next weekend! I was a bad mommy and procrastinated on the planning and details and we had to postpone til next weekend instead of this weekend. I feel really bad but he’s been really gracious, as children always are, and hopefully it will be special for him.

I asked him if he could turn 5 again and he said, “No way!! But…I might stay 6, if you want me to….” Such a sweetheart! Pics of the birthday boy tomorrow!!!