Sickness, Sewing and Birthday!

 The cold germs continue. They consumed Eliana as of last night. She was suspiciously sneezing yesterday afternoon but the cold consensus was confirmed by the continual crying through the night and appearance of the dreaded runny nose.

Today she had “sick eyes” and I had constant nose-wiping duty. I just re-use the burp clothes I made when she was born for nose cloths because they are so soft on a runny nose! I hoping that she will be a wee bit less cranky tomorrow….:)

Here she is yesterday afternoon, tucking her baby and elephant into Baby C’s bouncy seat:)

She sure loves her babies!!

Samuel reading a little “Chronicles of Narnia” to Daddy:) Samuel is just soaking up any and all time he can get with Ben right now. Playing catch, doing homework, reading books, hugs…

I made a purse! I have a bag-fettish and cannot have enough bags/purses. I absolutely love Vera Bradley because there are so many different styles and fabrics (some cute and fun, some ugly:) but they are super expensive and I can only get them once in a blue moon when I get my birthday discount plus a good sale.

So, I thought I would make one! It took about 3 days because the beginning stages of cutting out all the pieces and applying the interfacing takes a really long time. I added 3 extra pockets because I love pockets! There is one on the outside (you can barely see it) and one big/2 smaller ones on the inside. I thought the blue would be good for fall. Now, I will not show you any close-ups so you cannot see the mistake I made in lining up the exterior and lining of the purse:)

I have had to force myself not to pick up any books this week, just so I would work on my projects. If I have a good book, I can’t put it down and focus on anything else. And I’ve read a LOT of books this summer so it’s been good for me to focus on something else:)

I want to wish a very Happy Birthday to my sweet Grandma! You are such a gift to me, FULL of love, wisdom, kindness and care for your family. I pray this is a special year, full of blessings!

Mommy-duty calls; I hear a sad little girl waking up crying…..

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Fashion Show

 On Sunday, Eliana wore a skirt that my sister made for her. It’s an adorable reversible skirt, which I told my sister is just perfect for a clothes-picky toddler! She started to throw a fit over the outfit I picked out for church but I quickly thwarted her by asking which side she wanted to wear. Tantrum averted and she wore what I picked out! hahaha~sneaky mama:)

My sister asked me to take some pics so she could use them online for her etsy shop. Hence Missy’s fashion show….

There’s only so much you can do with a 2 1/2 year old! 🙂

My crew!

Tonight I went to Samuel’s open house to meet his teacher and see his classroom. His teacher, Mrs. D., is VERY nice and he just loves her already! She gives him lots of hugs, doesn’t like loud noises (they bonded immediately on that one:), and has been teaching 3rd grade at his school for 8 years! He will definitely learn a lot this year. I had this moment when I was listening to his teacher describe their school day when it hit me, “THIRD grade!!” Wow, where does the time go?

I’m getting my crafty bug back! It’s been seriously lacking over the last several months but finally I am feeling my creative juices flowing again:) I don’t have much time to craft these days, as life is very busy but I hope to keep it up as much as possible. I need to have a little “me-time” to refresh myself. I bought a little diaper/wipe cloth case back before Eliana was born and I now use it to carry an extra outfit and panties (woo-hoo~no diapers!!). It was getting really limp and had weird stains all over it so I decided to create my own. Isn’t it pretty?!

There are two pockets inside to hold the diapers/wipes or extra clothes. I gave the old one to Eliana to use for Baby Anna and she LOVES it! She put Baby Anna’s dress, a diaper and some other random treasures in it and she carries it around with her:)

She rarely allows Baby Anna to wear her dress but she was feeling generous yesterday:)

Her imaginative play is really developing right now! It is SO fun to listen to her make her dolls talk (or bathtoys or cars, etc). She has been into these two little dolls I got her for Christmas. They are miniature cabbage patch dolls (about 6 inches high) dressed like Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. She has been dressing and undressing them, giving them baths in her dollhouse bathtub and carrying them around everywhere. She is such a fun little girl!

I also wanted to take the time to share a story and a link with you! My cousin, Charity, and her husband, Scott, are adopting a baby boy this fall, after a long journey with infertility and fostering. Scott started a blog a few months ago about life as a foster parent and now as a soon-to-be adoptive parent. He really has a gift with writing about all that God has taught them through these experiences. What started out to be an extremely painful situation, has opened their hearts and doors to bigger things than they ever imagined.

If you have some time, please consider praying for and/or donating to their adoption fund. They have stepped out in faith, trusting that God will provide all that they need and so far have been blown away by the support from family and friends all around the country!  They even have a sponsor, willing to match their first $5,000, which they are really close to reaching! Please feel free to pass on their story and link to anyone you know that may be able to help. Their blog is: http://yoderlife.tumblr.com and their fundraiser page is: http://www.gofundme.com/YoderFamilyAdoption

Have a good night!

A New Season!

 Is it Monday already? I had no idea so many days went by without blogging! Last week was absolutely exhausting. There was so much going on and I was completely wiped out by Friday night. I am like my Grandma now, falling asleep halfway through a movie;) (Love you, Gma!)

On Saturday I got to sneak out of the house for a good chunk of time to go to a baby shower for our good friend, who flew back from CO! I finished up a little sewing Saturday morning before I left, while Ben had the boys practice some math and then act out “Peter and The Wolf.” He found this music online and it is very cool! I will have to copy the link so you can listen to it. It was so cute to watch them act it out and then, of course, Missy had to join in:)

Here is one of the things I made for my friend’s soon-to-arrive baby girl! I thought she might like a pretty dress to wear for her first Christmas!

I was pretty happy with how it turned out:)

I also put together this cute little kit for Eliana, to keep her busy. I saw this on pinterest awhile back and finally got around to making it. I bought a pencil box for her when we went school supply shopping, for less than a dollar and then found a pack of colored popsicle sticks and Velcro dots. I cut the Velcro dots in half and put a half on each end of the sticks, both sides.

She seriously played with these ALL day! Making shapes and letters and all sorts of things. Very easy and fun!

Just doing a little light reading:) Some of Eliana’s favorite books to get from the library are Beatrix Potter books. They are about animals and they are perfectly sized for little hands to hold!

Silly girl:)

Zakkai already has his first cold of the season:( I am hoping that with some extra rest and good hand washing, it will pass quickly. He was a bit on the cranky side tonight!

Samuel brought home the first homework of the year already:) Thankfully, it was very easy and there was no arguing! I need to work hard on creating good afternoon routines because it can get very stressful between the after school hours and bedtime, with the boys coming home emptying book bags of papers, begging for snacks, helping with homework, neighborhood kids knocking at the door, preparing dinner, bedtime routines and beginning to get ready for the next day. Makes me tired just to type it!

I do love a new season though, with the hope of creating fresh, new routines. Always the chance to do it even better than before! And fall is my very favorite season!

First Day of School!

 This morning was an absolute whirlwind, trying to jump back into a morning school routine! Samuel woke up feeling sick to his stomach, probably from nerves. Unfortunately, I can easily identify with that since I suffered from terrible “school sickness” when I was growing up. I still remember throwing up all over my desk in school….

Thankfully, he was much better after a good breakfast. The baby came about 10 minutes before we had to walk out the door so we were busy, finishing packing lunches, brushing teeth, putting school supplies in the bookbags, etc!

Here are my big boys! Third grade for Samuel and first grade for Zakkai! Aren’t they so cute?!

Zakkai is SO excited to be in first grade and in Samuel’s school now. The boys lined up in different sections of the parking lot so Ben went with Samuel and I stayed with Zakkai. It’ll be tough from now on when it’s just me dropping off and going between the two!

Here is Z with two of his classmates and his teacher, Mrs S! She said she was SO excited it worked out to have Zakkai in her class and have us as one of her families. We are so thankful for her!

Ben said Samuel’s teacher, Mrs D, is very, very sweet and Samuel really likes her already. He had a tough time last year because he had a rowdy class and his teacher, whom we really really liked, was very loud, something he doesn’t feel so comfortable with. His new teacher said she doesn’t like loud noises and yelling and he was thrilled about that:)

Eliana wore her backpack to school, too! She really missed her brothers a lot today. Thankfully, she was a bit distracted because I took her and the baby to my MOPS bible study so that helped. She said she wants to go to preschool and I told her next year she gets to go! (sniff!)

The boys were so happy when I picked them up. Zakkai was so excited because he gets his very own desk for the first time (he always sat at a table before) and I thought that was really cute! He mentioned like four times that he gets to use his new scissors and earbuds tomorrow. It doesn’t take much to make him happy!

Samuel got his promised stuffed animal so he was thrilled about that and this year he has a classroom that is upstairs, instead of down like the previous two years. He already left his lunchbox at school and it was only the first day……

This morning at MOPS, it was one of the mornings that really felt God-orchestrated, for lack of a better description. I was heavy hearted from last night and feeling a little chaotic from the morning. It was supposed to be our last meeting of the summer and instead of starting the video right away, the ladies got to talking. Imagine my surprise when the topic strangely turned to children and when to give them “THE” talk about the birds and the bees. Coincidental? I think not.

I don’t usually talk too much during the meetings, instead preferring to take things in. But I did speak up and shared briefly what had happened last night with our boys and that we were struggling with this very thing and how much sooner you have to talk to kids nowadays. Now we just have to figure out how to reel things back in and start at square one instead of square 14. Oh, I pray they can forget the things they were told and exposed to!

The moms were so incredibly encouraging and I think it opened a lot of their eyes to how you cannot sit back and just pretend it all doesn’t exist anymore. You have to be incredibly proactive as a parent these days, if you don’t want your kids to be bombarded with adult content and/or wordly filth at a young age.

I got a little more of the story this afternoon from one of the neighbor kids who passed the information on to my boys and I am going to have to go talk to two of the neighboring mothers tomorrow. Please pray I have the wisdom to know what to say and how to say it and that these kids can be protected! We haven’t decided how to or if we will even approach the parents of one of the children involved. It’s really complicated.

Samuel is the one my heart hurts for the most. I found out that he has been carrying this around for at least a week and a half or two, which would explain some very unusual and confusing behavioral changes we have noticed in him. He is so sensitive that it is easy to tell when things are bothering him and my heart breaks to know that he has been afraid to tell us because he knew something was not okay and he was embarrassed. Please pray for him to find peace and for us to keep reassuring him how much we love him and that none of this is his fault! He is such a sweet boy.

And to end on a lighter note….tonight at dinnertime, we were discussing school year bedtimes. We decided Samuel can now stay up until 8pm, since he is older and often likes to read in bed before falling asleep anyways. But we were trying to decide what time to get Z to sleep, as he is often much more tired than Samuel. Zakkai broke in and said, “You can put me to sleep whatever time you want!”

Ben said, “Okay, your bedtime is 6:15pm. You have 6 minutes til bedtime!” Zakkai backpedaled really quickly and said, “Well, you can put me to bed anytime after 7 o’clock, okay?”

To which we immediately responded, “Okay, then 7:01 will be your bedtime!” He jumped in again with, “Anytime after 7:15 or 7:30 is okay for my bedtime, okay?” We had a lot of fun teasing him because he started out so willing but then kept pushing it back farther and farther. He is such a funny boy! We ended up deciding on 7:15, since he really does need the extra rest, but he is still holding out for 7:30pm.

Always, pushing the boundaries….

Wisdom through Heartache.

When you hold a new baby in your arms and look down at that sweet face, you are struck by their pure innocence and guilelessness. It is something you want to last forever in those big blue eyes that stare up at you. You want to protect them from skinned knees and bruised foreheads, being teased, tears of sadness, evil.

But sadly, eventually, the world creeps in and one day the innocence is stripped away a little bit. And as a parent, your heart is broken. We’ve experienced this little by little over the past two years here. Mostly due to neighborhood children, sadly. You may remember my blog post when the boys came running in to tell me the very bad words that they were being taught. A little innocence gone.

Or the stories I’ve shared of them being teased, bullied or punched, leaving physical and emotional marks. A little more innocence gone.

Tonight, another big chunk of that innocence was taken away and my heart, my mothering heart that longs to protect and keep harm and evil away from my children, is broken. I am not talking about just bad words or teasing or even bullying, all of which we have experienced. I am talking about true worldly filth.

I had to turn away to hide my tears, although I did not hide my shock well. I never have hidden my emotions well. Tonight, please pray for us to have wisdom in how best to protect our boys and what steps to take to do that.

Being a parent is hard enough. Being a parent who is trying to instill Godly values and principles in an increasingly moral-less world, is even more difficult. Everything that we teach them, everything that we try to model for them, everything that we try to shield them from, goes against what the world is teaching. Everything.

Kids are exposed to way too much, way too early and they are not capable of knowing how to process what they see and hear at such young ages. Technology is a HUGE part of this problem. The kids running around our neighborhood, ages 6-10 all have their own ipads, smartphones and kindles. With no supervision or limits. Samuel has started to ask when he can have his own phone (um, not till you’re 30! 😉 and tonight I was able to get it through to him a little bit more why we are so strict about what we expose them to. Whether having their own phones or unlimited computer time, to spending time at other kid’s houses who are regularly unsupervised.  Not to be ogres. Not to be harsh and unfair. To protect. To love.

Kids need guidance and good role models. They need limits and boundaries. They crave limits and boundaries, whether they will admit it or not! The question is always how to find a good balance between protecting and sheltering. They are going to learn this stuff eventually but dear Lord, not when they are eight and six!! Please, not now.

How would you as kindly as possible cut off certain friendships from your children, especially when they live close by? Is it possible to do that kindly?

Please do say a prayer for us to parent with wisdom and love and to trust our kids to God, especially now that a new school year is beginning. We would really appreciate it!

Brothers.

 When we found out Zakkai was going to be a boy, I needed about 10-20 minutes to adjust from my hopes of having a girl before I was truly thrilled that Samuel would have a brother! Immediately visions of bunk beds and two little boys playing cars or trains together danced in my head. And oh, how I enjoyed those early years of my two little buddy shadows that went everywhere with me!

They played SO well together when they were littler. At least that I remember. It’s entirely possible that I blocked out the more unpleasant memories! Okay, so I probably did. But I do know that they loved to play together. And they still do. Most of the time. Until Samuel’s older brother bossy tendancies get in the way. And Zakkai’s annoying little brother tendancies get in the way.

We teach over and over about respecting each other’s words, compassion and kindness to each other. And just when I am about to rip my hair out thinking that nothing has gotten through to them and their relationship will be nothing but tattling, wrestling and shouting at each other, they have moments where their giggles are uncontrollable. They get caught up in an invented game or a silly moment and they just love being together. And then I feel a little hope all over again that maybe the fighting is normal and they really will love each other and learn to be not only brothers but friends.

I pray and hope that as they get older, they will learn to treasure the gift they have in each other.

A built in life-long friend.

Back to School Party!

 I promised my boys and end of the year slumber party which quickly turned into a back to school slumber party instead! Last night was the big night since it was the last Friday before school starts. Wow!

We started out the evening by letting the kiddos make their own pizzas!

So proud of his mad dough spreading skills!

Eliana spent most of her time pilfering pizza toppings:)

Finally her dough was spread and she got to decorate to her heart’s content!

We picked up a Wii game at the Redbox for them to play while they ate their own pizza creations. We were hoping for the Angry Birds game but they didn’t have it for some reason so we ended up with Madagascar 3 Wii.

 
Eliana kept saying, “It’s our own pizzas! Where’s your own pizza, Zakkai?”

Then I got out t-shirts for them to decorate with fabric paint! Boy, were they excited!! Eliana had to go to bed (no all-nighters for her!) so she got to do hers this morning. The boys just loved this!

Here is Zakkai’s creation! His is a car with all the details, driving on a road. He only had to be told 6, 5,789 times not to squeeze the paints so hard;) Samuel decided to finish his creation this morning.

We finished up the night with homemade peach ice cream!

Homemade peach ice cream and Farkle, a really fun dice game!

After breakfast, Samuel and Eliana got right to work decorating! Samuel said he was thinking Eliana could paint a nice barn scene with some animals but I said that she probably isn’t quite ready for that level of art yet!

Samuel working hard and enjoying every minute of it!

No barn scenes! Only paint polka dots for Missy Girl:)

Here is Samuel’s finished homemade Angry Bird’s shirt! He did a good job!

 

They are already asking when they can do it again:)