Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I didn't even attend my 10 year reunion. I know. I know. You're supposed to go to those things--kind of like prom, right? But our 10 year reunion found me 9 months pregnant with Sweetheart. Plus the tickets were like $60 each. I couldn't see spending $120 to go see folks I was fairly sure I could live without seeing only to go into labor and waste our money.
So not only have I not kept up with people, but I also don't know that I've aged. Well, I mean, I'VE aged, but everyone else I still picture the same way they looked last time I saw them. One day when Sweetheart was about 2 years old I was shopping at Academy. She was sitting in the basket while I wheeled around the clothing section. This man kept staring at me. I was starting to get uncomfortable thinking he was a perv or something. Then he walked up to me and asked, "Are you Brenda (my maiden name)?" OH MY WORD! That MAN who was staring at me was John, and we had gone to school together since Kindergarten. How did he get to be 30 years old?
So it's amazed me to locate old school friends on Facebook recently. It's interesting to get caught up with someone's life over the last 20 years in a few messages. I tell them the basics---who I married and how we have 2 kids and I used to be a teacher, yada yada yada. But I'm not sure they would believe the person I have become. I was a Christian in high school, but I was a weak one. All too often I kept my mouth shut and laughed along with jokes and talking that I shouldn't have even been listening to. My witness? Not so good now that I reflect on it.
Still, how do I explain to someone who I have become? Who God has made me to be? And I'm saddened by more than one life story that I've heard from old friends. Oh, how people need the Lord. Wishing now I had been more of a witness to them. Would that have even been possible? Should I have been in public high school just to witness to my friends? Was I ready for that? Or should I have been in an environment where I could have grown into a stronger Christian? I know how I feel about it when I think about my own children...but it seems different looking back at my high school experience.
I don't think my strength as a Christian would have persuaded any of them to live their life differently. How many people come to know the Lord because some girl in their 6th period class is a Christian? Aren't the adults in their life more important of an influence?
All I know is this: children in public school need our prayers.
I'm not planning to send my daughters off to high school as missionaries.
The number of lost people is staggering to me.
And God can do amazing things in a person's life. He certainly has in mine. It makes me look forward to what else He has in store!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sweetheart is learning about horses lately. It's amazing to me to watch the transformation in her attitude when we are doing something she is very interested in. She'll learn more from this unit than I ever plan for her to, simply because she wants to. It's nice when school doesn't feel like pulling teeth.
We've set the math curriculum aside and we are using Math in a Flash* to memorize her math facts before we go on. My friend Carrie loaned it to us and I am loving it! I've tried just about everything to get her to memorize the facts and this is finally doing the trick.
*While searching for a link for this I discovered there are several others products called Math in a Flash. The one I am referring to has undergone a name change apparently. The website, which is here, now calls it Math N More Flash Facts. Here is the page.
After I feel she has a better handle on her math facts we will pick back up in the math book. It no longer stresses me out that we won't "finish" by the end of May. I don't even really plan to quit school for the summer at all. (But I do plan to slow down!)
Little Bit continues to amuse me with her school strike. I have discovered that I can get her to do anything as long as it doesn't take place at the school table. It's psychological. And very odd to me because there was NO stress involved with school for her. Except my stress at not being able to find enough stuff for her to do! She's going to talk herself into wanting to learn to read one of these days. She vacillates between believing she's actually read a book, to asking me, "did I really read the real words?" (Sweetheart informed her one day she was not "really reading" and it planted a seed of doubt in her mind!) But every single time we sit down to read I notice her learning something new. She is so interested in reading--and doing everything by herself! I would rather have that than a kid who wants to sit and complete work at the table any day.
Well, it's late and this is the most boring and rambly post ever. Even the title bores me! God bless you if you made it this far. Good night!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
"Girls! Come on, we have to run to Uncle H and Aunt N's house real quick!"
Of course, as they put on their shoes, the girls were full of questions. Why do we have to go over there? What did Grandpa forget? Are they home? As we walked outside, Sweetheart saw that I was unlocking the car.
"We're driving?" she asked incredulously.
"Yes," I answered.
Her reply? "But, it's just up the block!"
Now here is where I must pause and tell you that my aunt and uncle's house is NOT just up the block. It is very close by, but you must drive out of our neighborhood, across a busy, four-lane street, and into their neighborhood to get there. It's more than just a hop, skip and a jump, especially when it's getting close to supper time.
She continued to try to convince me that we should walk. So I told her, "I'm driving. If you want to walk, feel free." She waited at the end of the driveway while I got Grandpa's medicine and as I was climbing back in the car I told her, "You better not wait--you've got a ways to go. Better take off." She didn't even pause. She turned on her heel and started walking.
Little Bit wanted to walk too but I reminded her she had been sick (plus she's 4). I told her not to worry because sister would be back in the car in a few minutes once her feet got tired. Of that I was sure.
So I drove slowly alongside Sweetheart to the end of our block. I yelled "Stop!" when she got to the busy intersection. She knew--it just didn't look like she was going to stop. She looked both ways and we crossed the street together--she on foot and us in the car. I knew I couldn't follow her slowly on the main road out of our neighborhood, so she walked one block over. Little Bit helpfully yelled, "Do you want to get in the car now?" every few minutes. I was amused to see how long this would go on.
When we got to the end of the 3rd block it occurred to me that she was going to do this or die trying. She had no intention of getting back in that car. I couldn't drive slowly enough even riding the brake so every now and then I would drive ahead a few yards and wait for her. She was trotting, practically jogging beside us. I kept telling her to slow down--we'll wait. There's no hurry.
There were SO many obstacles along the way! Things that I usually watch out for, she now had to take notice of on her own. A car was getting ready to back out of the driveway. Would she notice? (I hollered out of the window before she got there.) The sidewalks are old and tree roots have kicked them up in places. Would she remember to look down so she didn't trip? A big dog came charging at her. He was behind a fence, but she took off running anyway because he startled her. A few houses were decorated for Halloween. She was kind of spooked and walked faster. Some places didn't have sidewalks--was she watching for ants in the grass while she walked?
I was RIGHT BESIDE HER and yet I felt very far away. She looked very big and very little all at the same time as I watched her catch up in the rear view mirror. We talked to each other through the rolled-down windows the whole time. And yet I wasn't really there to help her. If she tripped and fell I couldn't catch her.
The whole thing was an analogy of growing up.
I will tell you that when she got to the church on the corner of the busy street and stop light, I made her get in the car. I drove her through that intersection and to the first side street and let her back out. She made it all the way there. I have never seen such determination and pride in her face. We got in the car later that night and hit the trip odometer. It was exactly 1 mile.
The challenge we face (this coming from a mom who believes it is my job to protect my children) is how to teach them, train them, and then let them practice while we stand close by, so that one day they can do it without us. That walk made me realize all the little things I need to train her on before she is ready to walk alone--and also how very proud I'm going to be to watch her when she does.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
End your story by sharing what your end goal is. I think we have all come to the conclusion that this can't just be a little "project" or a "blog thing" that we participate in for a time. This has to become a healthier way of life. So, what will be the indicator for you of satisfaction? You know, people who suffer from anorexia don't have an ending point. It's never enough. Perhaps it's your blood pressure numbers, your cholesterol, your ability to run a certain number of miles, your jeans size...whatever. What will be the point where you can say, "There. I like where I am."
Whew! That's a lot to think about, isn't it? Good luck and see you next Friday!
Friday, October 24, 2008
Well, I can tell you right now what I would do! I would join Curves. First of all, it's only for women and that is a plus for me when you are talking about 1. wearing work-out clothes and 2. moving the way exercise requires, I would rather not have a bunch of men around. NOT that they would be looking at me, but still.
And here is where I will pause to tell you a story from college. I come from a fairly hairy family. My sister and I couldn't WAIT until the day we were allowed to shave our legs because we needed to very badly. As genetics would have it, we also tend toward hairy feet and toes which is not a very lovely thing for a woman. We call them Hobbit Feet and they are not good. So, I don't know if anyone else on the face of North America has to do this (except my sister and I), but we must also every now and then shave our feet and toes.
I have now shared more than I ever expected to in the blogging world. I'm sorry.
Continuing...my college roommate's family made my family look like those Mexican Hairless dogs. When her older brothers were in boot camp they had to shave twice a day because they got 4:00 shadows at 2:00. She understood the Hobbit Feet thing, needless to say. So one day roommate and I are getting dressed to go work out at the campus gym. As I was pulling on my socks and shoes I mumbled out loud how I really should have shaved my feet that day but oh well, who's going to see them? Then we joked about how I would probably drop a weight on my foot and some cute guy would come over to see if I was OK and I'd be forced to yell, "YES! YES I'M FINE! NO YOU MAY NOT LOOK AT IT--REALLY...IT'S FINE!" rather than let him examine my hairy, shameless foot.
Well, in the free weight area, I was doing curls or whatever I thought you should do over there and right beside me some guy dropped a 10 or 20 pound weight and it landed right beside my foot. Missed it by inches. Of course, my first reaction was to look for my roommate and when our eyes met that was it. It was that messy kind of laughter that makes you have to run from the room or you'll wet your pants. Lesson learned.
See? Working out without men in the room is a good thing. You knew I had a point, didn't you?
So, back to Curves. You just go through the little circle of exercise machines in time to the music and visit with the other ladies and in 30 minutes you are done! It sounds like a dream except that: no babysitting, LOTS of money. But that's what I would do if I could.
Now, about my week. It wasn't the best one ever. Little Bit got sick and I hadn't been on a proper grocery trip and she didn't feel like going to the store so that meant we ate pizza one night and hot dogs the next. Not the best menu for a mama on a mission. I had a few too many cokes but very little chocolate as we are just out of everything sweet. And here's the amazing part: I AM STILL HERE. I was just sure that life would cease to exist if I didn't have a certain amount of chocolate every day but huh, whad'ya know?
This week I plan to:
1. Go grocery shopping for a proper menu!
2. Continue to cut out sweets as much as possible. (Yes, Carrie. I had a BITE of a Twix bar today. I'm admitting it---since you saw me and all.)
3. Continue drinking tea instead of cokes most of the time.
4. Walk 3 times. I have a story for you later about walking but it will have to wait.
Oh, and husband took me to a golf tournament Sunday and we walked quite a bit there. Guess that counts. Last week it was the zoo. I gotta figure out how to exercise more than once a week!
Have a great Friday everyone!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
We even found a green barrette for "Kit's" hair!
That collar is an entire blog post on its own.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
There was a mom and little boy in front of us and she seemed very agitated with her little boy. He was so cute and had just turned four. We'll call him K. I learned a lot about this duo while waiting an hour and a half in the clinic with them.
Ms. Smith is divorced from K's dad. I know this because when he said, "I want down" she said, "Yeah, well I want your dad to send money." In fact, each time he said, "I want..." she came back with her own statement. I want a billion dollars. I want to take a shower and get to work. Actually, she needed to get to work. She was paying with her dad's debit card, which they wouldn't take. They asked her why she was using someone else's card and she told them, "Because mine doesn't have any money on it!" Duh clinic lady. She took the debit card to the ATM and got cash. They were having computer problems and she waited a really long time to be seen and then waited even longer for her prescription. K finally did get down and came over to talk to me and Little Bit.
I tried to keep both kids entertained because K's mom was just so stressed. I really felt for her. In between her bouts of snapping at him and getting angry, she really was trying to be a good mom. When a gentleman asked K about the pinwheel he was holding, she gently coached him to "look at the man when you answer him, K." I saw lots of moments of good mom coming out. But oh, the stressful moments took center stage. It was getting more and more uncomfortable to try to ignore.
Then the other clinic lady whispered to me "how do you contact CPS?" I understood that they might call because she was getting really close to a breaking point it seemed to me.
So why weren't any of us helping her? It was like a train wreck. You just stood there, not believing what you were seeing or hearing. The lady ended up not calling right then. She told me she decided the woman was just having a really bad day. We both agreed what she really needed was help. (and she hadn't hurt K at all, she was just getting really angry)
From what I gleaned, she works 7 days a week so I'm sure K is either in day care or at his grandparent's house. She gets no child support. She was up all night with a sick little boy who then felt good enough to run around the clinic while she faced losing money by being late to work. She hadn't showered and probably hadn't eaten anything either.
She kept saying, "Why can't you sit still like that little girl?" Oh how I wanted to tell her that Little Bit used to be a holy terror. It was only through concentrated training that she is now like she is. But then I thought, no...it's more than that. I have a husband who comes home at the end of the day and supports any discipline that has taken place. He participates in the training with me. We do not disagree in front of the kids. I am also home with Little Bit and able to work with her little bits at a time instead of in bursts of 2-3 hours after work/daycare is over. And also, we know the love of God.
Which is really the main thing that Ms. Smith needs. If you think about it, will you pray for her too? She was nearly in tears by the time they left. She said bye to me as she was walking out holding K. You know, you kind of bond with someone after 1 1/2 hours in the same waiting room! I squeezed her arm and smiled as I told her bye. I should have done so much more. Which is why I'm praying now.
And as much as my heart hurts for this stranger I've met once...as much as I want her to find joy and peace...God wants that even more. I cannot imagine how He waits for us.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
10 Years Ago I ...
1. was 27 years old.
2. was pregnant.
3. lived in our first house.
4. was a 1st grade teacher.
5. had been married for 5 years.
5 Things on my to do list...
1. Put away clean clothes
2. Get out fall/winter clothes for the girls
3. Go grocery shopping already!
4. Sew a skirt
5. Think really hard about Little Bit's upcoming birthday
It's not time for action yet--just thinking.
5 Snacks I enjoy...
4. Chocolate donuts
5. Pretty much any Little Debbie's snack cakes
I didn't say I eat these anymore--just that I enjoy them.
5 Things I would do if I were a millionaire...
2. Pay off debt.
3. Build a big ol' house for us and my parents (maybe adjoining?)
4. Make sure my mom got that library with the window seat she's always wanted
5. Give to missionaries
I'm not holding my breath.
5 Places I have lived...
1. My hometown in Texas
2. My college town in Texas
3. My hometown in Texas
4. A nearby town in Texas
5. Back to my hometown in Texas
I am nothing if not stable.
5 Jobs I have had...
1. Vacuumer of our church on Saturdays.
3. Day care provider
5. Church secretary
Three of those jobs were in the same building but spanned over 20 years of my life.
I'm not taggin' anybody because WE HAVEN'T EVEN FINISHED SCHOOL TODAY!!! You can play along if you like though! OK?
Sigh. Which means I'll be picking up fast food for lunch today. Which is money we don't need to spend. Wait, there's more.
The bug man was coming today at noon. The house wasn't picked up. Now, I'm not one to make sure the house is spotless--but people, he has to be able to spray! So we got up this morning and started cleaning. It took about 1 1/2-2 hours before everyone (slow Sweetheart included) was done with their rooms, etc. Then we started school and guess what? Little Bit decided to come to Pre-K today! That delayed Sweetheart's starting and then she wanted to watch a video with Little Bit. I explained that meant she was making a decision to do school in the afternoon. (Fine with me--the whole day is crazy anyway) She said she understood but I suspect there will still be great wailing and gnashing of teeth this afternoon.
I feel very off-schedule today and furthermore, very un-organized. Even for me! And I'm not really a strict schedule person either. Oh Monday...you are not panning out like I wanted.
OK, the bug man is through so now I can get busy...gotta get back on track around here before I go crazy! Hope you are having a great Monday everyone!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
If money, time, babysitting, etc. were not an issue...what form of exercise would you choose to participate in?
And then you can tell me what you really do in real life. Even if it's just washing your baseboards--tell me what you are doing to get up and move more. I haven't really added exercise to my Fitness Friday plan yet and I need some ideas.
Have a great week!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
The reasons I began blogging about Little Bit's tics were: 1. I needed to "talk" about it. and 2. To help someone who might be going through the same thing. I read everything I could find on TS on the computer (probably 3 times!) and what I found a lack of was real stories about how it affected real people. The medical information was good. I learned a lot from what I read. But when it really all boiled down, I wanted to know what life was going to look like for us.
Over the spring and summer the only bad tic I can remember was the sniffing. She sniffed everything that came near her, but especially books. Every time I turned a page I had to wait for her to get her face out of the book so I could continue reading. Sniffing wasn't as bad as the licking tic. I thought that one was going to be the end of me.
Now, the tics are beginning to come back. Her current tic is jumping. It started a few weeks ago and the first time I noticed it was at the mall. Every few steps she would just hop a little and then continue walking. S said he had already noticed it once. The thing about this tic is that it really doesn't stand out on a 4 year old. Little kids tend to be kind of jumpy and spastic anyway. If she were 14, it would really look odd. That's the part I dread.
The most interesting part to me is when she explains her tics in her own words. We haven't told her, "You have Tourette Syndrome." We haven't even discussed the tics--we just try to ignore them and be patient. I think of it like a child who stutters--the parents will wait patiently for the child to get the words out and not let it seem like it bothers them. That's just part of their child, you know? I mean, we don't ignore them, but we also don't call attention to them in front of her. One day I suppose we will have a discussion with her about her tics, but I don't think she's aware that it's something unique about her yet.
Oh, but back to her description of the tics. Right after she turned 4 and before she was diagnosed she told me "I need to do it" about one of her tics. I thought that was a pretty telling statement about what was happening to her. This week we were doing something and she was really hopping a lot. Tics tend to get worse when the child is excited or stressed so I asked her, "Are you excited?" (what we were doing was kind of fun) and she said, "No....I just....the bottom of my feet hurt so that's why I have to jump." I said, "Oh, that makes the bottom of your feet feel better?" She said it did. All I can think about this explanation is that they say there is a sensation that comes before the tic. Maybe this is what she was explaining? Even though she also hops when she's on her knees...but oh well.
Also this week was the first time I have ever seen her trying to suppress a tic. She usually seems very unaware of them and hasn't been a bit self-conscious yet to my knowledge. However, this week I was holding a skirt up to her waist to see how long I should make the hem. She started wiggling around a bit and looking funny. Finally she said, "I need to jump." So I moved the skirt away, she hopped 2 or 3 times and then I finished. Having to stand still was really hard for her at that moment because the tics needed to come out. It's strange. It really is.
I'm beginning to suspect that this time of year is just going to be bad for tics. Her birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas...there's a lot of excitement coming up. Last December was the worst ever, so I think we may have a pattern here.
And about blogging...I've already met a mom online who is going through this same thing with her little boy. So, I'm really glad I decided to share.
Friday, October 17, 2008
My best moment was Wednesday night. We had a potluck dinner at a couple's house from church. Well, I guess you could call it a potluck but we ordered pizza, OK? I brought bag salad along and ate some of that with my piece of pizza. THEN, just as I was about to get up and get seconds on the pizza, someone showed up late with the best looking salad I have ever seen. So, I had salad for my second helping instead of pizza. I was so proud of myself, I celebrated with a brownie for dessert. But can I tell you how much different my menu would have been even 1 month ago? Trust me. ONE piece of pizza and ONE brownie are not my usual numbers!
Speaking of numbers, I measured myself today and even though I know the accuracy of my measuring is not scientific, I have lost 1 inch in my hips and 1 inch around my middle! I have also lost 1/2" in a few other places and I had to tighten up my bra this week. That made me pretty happy! Then, when S got home from work today, he hugged me and said, "You feel smaller." That made me REALLY happy! I told him I was inches smaller than a few weeks ago! (Edited to add: I just measure this morning and I have lost 4 1/2 inches total!)
Still, my clothes fit. But soon. Soon. Small choices every day. Repeat.
OK, about these snacks. When Karly and I first started this weight loss journey I was really concerned about what I would snack on. What I can't believe now is that I hardly think about snacks anymore. If I'm really hungry I get something. But a lot of times I look at the clock and say, "It's already after 4:00. Surely I can wait until supper." I'm not saying I don't snack...I'm just realizing how much mental energy I used to spend on food!
I do like to make sure I have some chocolate around. I feel very deprived if I don't have some chocolate. I have bought some Weight Watchers brand chocolate cakes, Oreo 100 calorie packs, and Weight Watchers ice cream bars. (Not all at once!) Other than that, I try to just grab 4 or 5 Triscuits, a handful of baked tortilla chips with salsa, Weight Watchers yogurt, or sometimes I just drink tea. I have found if I keep drinking all day then I am not as hungry. When you stop sucking down 44 ounces of empty calories (Sonic anyone?), you actually feel hunger and thirst and can respond to them! What a concept.
Oh yes, I said I would try to walk 2 times this week. Well, we went to the zoo on Monday and that totally counts as 2 walks because there was a LOT of walking involved. While pulling a wagon with an ice chest and/or a 3o+ pound 4 year old in it. Also a few times this week we just stepped outside and walked down the block and back. Not at a fast pace, but just to get out and move.
So, it was a pretty good week. Now I can't wait to hear how everyone else is doing because it is SO encouraging to know others are doing this too! And I want to hear about the things you are doing because I get good ideas from you people. So, thanks for playing along.
Next week's topic will be about exercise. I'll give you more details over the weekend, OK? :)
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Besides telling us about your goals and how you are doing, this week we are discussing:
Laundry is a really easy thing to get the kids involved in at a very early age. First of all, it's constant so there's lots of time to practice and furthermore, who couldn't use the help? But, oh! This is supposed to be for the children. Sorry. Yes. They NEED this skill or otherwise they and their future family will be naked.
Really little kids can help sort laundry. Heck, it's like homeschool curriculum 101 isn't it? It teaches them colors. It's great. Teach them to check Daddy's pockets. Let them rub stain remover on spots. Laundry is a blast when you are little. My kids LOVE to spray their stains and they never forget to either.
Then, my girls graduate to helping me throw things in the dryer. Little Bit used to love this job. She also got to toss in the dryer sheet and push the ON button. What could be better? Sweetheart is finally tall enough to be able to get the clothes out of the washer and put them in the dryer herself so that is a real help. Come to think of it, they would make a great team out there. Hmmm. It's going to be a while before they are allowed to load the washer though because it is old and testy and if you get the clothes the slightest bit uneven it has convulsions.
My nephew has been washing his own clothes since he was 10. He's really good at it but I'm glad my sister started so early with him. He tends to be thick-headed and as recently as last summer he was still waiting until he had NOTHING to wear but a towel while everything he owned was in the washer. So, part of learning to wash clothes is knowing when to wash, right?
Then there's folding clothes, putting them away properly, and ironing. Carrie mentioned the other day she was going to start teaching her daughter to iron on pillowcases. I learned on pillowcases too its just that I never remember graduating to men's dress shirts and pants. And I'm still really bad at those. (Sorry, S!)
If nothing else, thinking about all these things makes my head spin. Ha Ha laundry pun. Sorry.
There really is SO MUCH to teach our children besides reading, math, history, science, spelling, etc. I know I have been guilty of over-thinking the academics and neglecting the other important stuff. But I don't think we need to get over-whelmed by all this. These things are learned a tiny bit at a time over many years. We just need to be mindful to stop and think every now and then, "What can I teach them next?"
I am not capable of teaching my children every homemaking skill they will need. It's not even possible. I must teach them the basics, but there is another way to approach all the other things. What I think it boils down to is making homemaking, to them, interesting. If I am excited about learning to embroider, they will see that. Perhaps I have decided to learn to make my own soap. I don't know...throw in your own examples here. If I am creative with my homemaking and it doesn't only seem like the world's most boring occupation and chore, then maybe I can inspire my girls. I want them to see all the things you can do at home. Sweetheart is interested in being an artist. Let's get some paint-by-number prints and do them together. Then frame them and talk about all the ways we can make our homes lovely. Little Bit loves taking pictures. Let's get some developed and frame those to give as gifts, wrapped up in lovely paper and ribbon. I think part of this is about inspiring my girls. Yes, there is drudgery to this job and they must learn the character to get through that with a thankful heart...by example. But there is also the blessing of being able to do so much for your husband and family. They can learn that from other examples than me too!
I don't know, I just get excited thinking about all the things we could learn to do. They will probably be interested in learning some things that I don't care one thing about. But I will encourage them. I hope they learn from me that you can always learn new things and there are lots of exciting things you can do as a homemaker. Right after we finish that laundry.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Whether you have sons or daughters, I believe there are some basics all our children need to learn. Things like how to use a needle and thread, and sew on a button, will be a valuable thing to equip our kids with. I know a lady who sends all her family's mending to the dry cleaners--even lost buttons. What a waste of money and time! A mending kit is a great thing to send along with your child to college or to tuck away in a hope chest.
Now, I don't have sons, so I can't speak about how much I would teach my sons. I have no idea. But as for my daughters, I have high hopes. They one day will have a home, hopefully with a family in it (although that's certainly not a given) and will need to know how to do some things. Sewing curtains, pillows, blankets and other household items can be a great way to save money and make a house lovely. I hope to help them go further than me and learn to sew clothes. What a blessing to their family or, like Dorcas in the Bible, what a blessing to others!
I had a student in first grade many years ago who was very large and very oddly shaped. She wasn't a standard beauty by any means, but she was cute thanks to her mom. Her mother told me she couldn't buy many clothes for her in the store (she really had an odd shape!) so she sewed them. That child looked so cute each day--all thanks to her mom's sewing that flattered her. And the more I shop, the more I see the need to be able to sew modest clothing for my girls! I believe learning to sew will be a huge blessing to my daughters.
OK, Brenda. How?
Well, actually I'd like to hear from some of you on that one! At our house, Sweetheart got a small sewing machine for her 9th birthday. She is learning to sew straight stitches, but still isn't really good at guiding the fabric. Here is the doll quilt we are working on:
Bright enough for you? She loves it! We got the tutorial online for free. It will cover her 18" doll perfectly in bed so she was very motivated to work on it. However, I think she needs more instant success so next time we will do a smaller project. I'm thinking about some easy Christmas ornaments I saw someplace online. Now, I started teaching Sweetheart to sew with a needle and thread when she was 7 or 8. Little Bit hasn't show any interest yet, but when she asks to learn, I plan on starting her with plastic canvas shapes and one of those big, dull needles. Even little kids can do that. I think it's one step up from lacing cards.
Anyway, I read that you should always make sitting down to sew with mom fun and enjoyable. A critical mom will kill the joy VERY quickly. But, if they are enjoying it, no matter how horrible their sewing comes out, they will keep trying. And if you've ever sewn, you know that practice is the biggest helper of all. I'm trying very hard to give Sweetheart only what she can handle and helping her with the rest. This process of learning to sew will be a long one--so it's something we need to sit down and do often.
But in all of this, our attitude is the most important thing--not our skill level. If we are constantly griping about housework and what a chore everything is, it will seem quite unatractive to our children. Not that we need to lie and let them think we LOVE LOVE LOVE doing all of it. Sometimes they need to know that we are in no mood to do it, but we will because we want to serve the Lord. I'm afraid that watching me be a homemaker is as big an influence on my daughters as any skills I try to teach them.
So, what are your thoughts on teaching kids to sew?
Sunday, October 12, 2008
It could also be that Little Bit has dropped out of Pre-K. Yep, she just flat quit. Last week, husband asked the girls, "How was school today?" and she said, "Fine." I looked a bit surprised at her and reminded her that she hadn't set foot in the classroom all week. (Not that I care--if she wants to play instead I let her. She's FOUR!) She informed us that she wasn't ever coming to Pre-K again. Not ee-ver at Christmas! (her words)
Well. OK then. My very kind friend asked, "So, she dropped out of Pre-K? In HOMESCHOOL?" Um, yes. Apparently so.
But Mrs. Fuentes over at A Wise Woman Builds Her Home reminded me in this post that there is more than just academics to concern ourselves with. I have daughters and they have much to learn about homemaking! When I was in 8th grade, "Home Ec" was an elective you could take. It was very popular because you got to cook and it sounded like a blow off class. I didn't get in. In high school, the only people who took Home Ec were the girls who got pregnant. That's how it seemed anyway. I always heard they had to take it. Truthfully, I think EVERY girl should have to take it. WHOA! What's with all this crazy talk, Brenda??? That's sexist. That's not politically correct!!!
But seriously (I know I've said this before), everyone asked me "What do you want to be when you grow up?" but no one mentioned that no matter my career choice, I was going to have to live somewhere. Thinking like the world will get our daughters on the wrong path very quickly. So let's stop with the arguments society uses. Let's look at God's word:
3 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Titus 2:3-5
It really isn't that part about being homemakers that makes the whole argument either. It's the understanding that we are our husband's helpers. We are the managers of his home. And folks, there is a LOT to that job! If you hold this view, then you know that you must parent differently than the world does. Even differently than how many, many Christians parent.
I must teach the multiplication facts to my daughter. But I must also teach her to sew, cook, manage finances, etc. I don't think 18-20 years is enough time for everything I must impart to them! If you follow the path of the world, you are pretty much finished with most of your parenting job when they hit the teenage years. Then you just hand them a cell phone and try to keep up with where they are. No, I know there is more to it than that, but if you have your children at home more than the average American teen, then you will have loads more time to work alongside them, helping them practice the things they will need to know when they are grown. Who knows? You might even get the chance to show some of their friends how to cook as well!
This week we are going to explore some ways we can teach our children the "other stuff." This is your responsibility, by the way, whether your children are homeschooled or not. WE don't have to do all the teaching though. My aunt had a little sewing class in her home a few years ago with several 12-14 year old girls. They LOVED coming to her class and each of them made a quilt. That was something their mother couldn't do, so she found an older woman to teach them. Pretty cool. And don't feel excluded if you have sons--they have a thing or two to learn before they leave home, too!
Oh, and our topic for Fitness Friday this week will be: What Are You Snacking On These Days?
Friday, October 10, 2008
I didn't have the most exceptional week on the will-power front. I snacked too much and too many chocolate Kisses crept into my mouth. BUT, I made better choices than I usually do and also made many good choices along the way. I guess that's what will eventually make the difference--little good choices each day. Needless to say, my clothes are not falling off so much just yet.
This week's topic was: What are you doing differently at mealtimes?
There are several changes I have made. First of all, I'm drinking unsweetened, decaffeinated iced tea with my meal. I used to drink 2 cokes with my meal so this is bound to make a difference. I did have a coke or 2 this week when I didn't have any tea made and just couldn't stand the thought of water. But 2 cokes for the entire week is VERY different than 2 cokes with one meal, wouldn't you say?
The next change I have made is I have been trying to eat a salad with my meal. Now I've heard that you are supposed to eat your salad first so you will fill up and not eat so much of your entree. I have also heard that you should eat your salad last because it aids in digestion. Does anyone know the answer to this?
The most important change I have made is a change of plates. You heard me right--I am no longer eating on the every day dishes that we have. Instead, I am using some of my grandmother's Fire King Jadite plates. Look at the difference in these two plates:
The apple plate is 10" and the Jadite plate is 9".
OK, the actual diameter is only 1 inch different, but the area where food can sit is much smaller on the Jadite plate. Here was my lunch this week (leftovers):
Here is the exact same lunch put on one of our larger everyday dishes.
See how much empty space there is? That plate just BEGS for more food to be piled on it! And guess what? That's exactly what I have probably been doing! But when I eat on the smaller plate, I feel like I have lots of food. Pioneer Woman talked about her Jadite dishes in this post and she was amused by how much smaller the serving sizes were when these dishes were made. It's true you know. Our portion sizes have gotten HUGE! We have to get a grip on this and one way to do it is to get yourself a smaller plate. Just go to an antique shop and get a cheap, pretty, smaller plate to eat off of. It really does make a difference. (I find the smaller plates that came with our dishes are just too small.) Oh, and I challenge someone to slip a tape measure in their purse next time they go to a restaurant. Let me know how big the plates are there!
Coca-Cola advertised many years ago that a 16 ounce bottle of coke "serves 3!" Seriously? Sixteen ounces serves 3 people? Then how come I have sucked down Route 44s from Sonic for years? Hmm. Hard to figure why I'm overweight, isn't it?
So, in review: drinking tea, eating salads, and eating on smaller dishes. Now, my goals this week are to snack healthy, drink healthy, watch portion sizes, and stay out of the candy! Oh, and I'll try to walk at least 2 times this week.
I can't wait to hear how everyone is doing and get lots of tips and encouragement!
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Not that I could even DO this job.I mean, all jobs have stress with them. But this?
This can't be good for their health.
And I NEVER want to be THIS busy. OK?
Thankful for my job....
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Had I written this post a few hours ago, you would have heard me say that homeschooling is exhausting because I'm tired of the whining. Oh, how Sweetheart can carry on during math time. I tried to video her the other day, but it didn't work out. But, I had her complete one side of her math paper tonight with her dad. And it was very satisfying to hear him tell her all the same things I tell her every day. Very satisfying.
No, the REALLY exhausting part of homeschooling is all the thinking and decision-making we have to do. Let me explain.
It was really easy back when I was following the prescribed path of the world. You graduate, go to college, get married, get a job, have a baby, return to work after your maternity leave, choose the best child-care arrangement for your child, choose a preschool, send them to Kindergarten, manage homework and sports, etc. There isn't much to think about. You do what everyone else is doing.
Oh but it gets harder when you get off that path. I know because I got off a few years ago. And it was hard. It felt like completely uncharted territory (although it certainly wasn't!) I get it now. I get that parents are in charge of their children--not the state, the government, "the man", or the schools. After that stunning realization, you further realize that if you are truly in charge of your children, then you are the final decision-maker on all issues.
We have to decide what curriculum is best and how to implement it. We have to decide what grade level our child would do best working on...what time of day they work better in...what chores they will do each day...what skills they need to develop outside of "school time"...how they are doing in their spiritual development...how their attitudes are holding up...what kind of character traits need working on...what extra-curricular activities they will be involved in...how much running around is too much...how to know we are staying home too much...who their peers will be...what they will be exposed to and when...what to protect them from...
There is just SO MUCH THINKING about things! It's exhausting.
But we must remember where wisdom comes from (God). And we must remember to ask Him to show us the way. And really, that's not a "homeschooling issue." It's a parenting one.
Monday, October 6, 2008
I am having so much fun seeing this little yellow hand-me-down travel around the blog world (and the real world!). I think all the girls look just precious in it, don't you?
Here are the other Sisters in this fun game:
Little Bit-4 years, 9 months
Keep your eyes open! You never know where it will end up next!
Sunday, October 5, 2008
SOOOOOOOOOO, if you are joining in with us this week, I wanted to tell you a few things. First of all, we will be sharing our goals for the week. You can change your goals every week if you want. Just tell us what they are/were and how you did. Last week we finished this sentence: I can't wait until... So you can throw that in your post too if you want.
Now, this week's topic (in addition to anything else you want to say!) will be:
What are you doing differently at mealtimes?
Yep. That's it. You have to be doing something differently than you were or differently than your family is doing it. Let's all share our little tips and strategies with each other, OK?
Now the happy news! Julie at My Life As JulieMom (who is so awesome) voluntarily made us a Fitness Friday button! Yeah Julie!
<img width="210" src="http://i197.photobucket.com/albums/aa83/julietsoukalas/fit.gif" height="200"/></a>
You can also use the picture of the button in your posts on Fridays. Just to be pretty. Thanks Julie--you really do rock! You know, she's doubly awesome because she's adjusting her "Foodie Fridays" to fit in with our Fitness Fridays. So check her out for yummy healthy recipes on Fridays!
Now, just in case you need it, here is some information on Mr. Linky. If you don't need it, you can stop reading now.
To sign up on the Mr. Linky, you need to link to your Fitness Friday post, not just your blog. To do this on a lot of blogs, you simply write your post, then publish it, then view your blog with your new shiny post up. Then, click on the title of the post and you should notice in the address bar of your computer it will say something like, http://www.nameofyourblog.blogplace.com/fitnessfridaypost instead of just http://www.nameofyourblog.blogsplace.com/
Those aren't real links, by the way. :) If your blog won't do this by clicking on the title, then try clicking on the time stamp at the end of your post. Find it--it's somewhere there. It's called a permalink. Copy and paste that new long address line in my Mr. Linky after typing your name in the first box! Sound clear? If not, shoot me an e-mail. I did my first Mr. Linky wrong too! THAT way, people will be able to find your Fitness Friday post immediately no matter how many weeks it's been since you posted it and they won't have to search your archives.
Ladies, you will never know how much encouragement this is to me! Thanks for joining in. See you Friday!
Friday, October 3, 2008
Last week I finally found my motivation to lose weight. I just couldn't ignore all the hints around me any longer. I've asked a few others to join me on the journey. My goals, if you remember, were to cut out cokes and bedtime snacking. Here's how my week went...
Day 1--I had to drink half a glass of Coke to wash down my Tylenol. Getting off caffeine cold turkey will do that to you.
Day 2--I cannot believe I'm doing without snacks! I actually felt hungry today before a meal. Hungry--like my stomach growled and everything.
Day 3--I had a bedtime snack because we had friends over tonight. BUT, I made sure it was fat-free popcorn and I only had a small bowl. Pretty good.
Day 4--I ate a yogurt for breakfast and stayed away from the donuts at church. Then, Sunday night our church had an ice cream supper. I had some, but not a lot and I didn't go back for seconds. I don't think my church is helping me. :)
Day 5--I'm actually going between meals without snacks. I don't miss them really, I just have to remind myself to not grab them. I heaped up on vegetables tonight at supper. I have Weight Watchers ice cream bars in the freezer and I haven't eaten any. Praise God for helping me have self-control. It's from Him I know!
Day 6--I can feel a difference in the way my jeans fit. It's every so slight, but it's there.
Day 7--The family voted on Sonic tonight for supper. There is nothing healthy at Sonic. I tried...I had a chicken strip wrap and didn't buy fries or a Coke to go with it. And I didn't feel sorry for myself. I am satisfied at the end of the meal and know that I don't need anything else. I don't just keep eating because it tastes good. This is very new!
Now. Here are my goals for the upcoming week:
1. Continue with last week's goals.
2. Increase fruit and vegetable intake.
Just a little at at time, Ladies! And now the fun part.
I can't wait until...
...I can wear my wedding ring again. I know that sounds horrible but here's the story. I get eczema on my hands and I finally just had to take off my wedding ring to get it to clear up. It was months before I tried it back on and by then it didn't fit so well. Then my hand broke out again. Then I stopped wearing my ring. Now it doesn't fit at all. I know I could get it re-sized but I'm going to be skinny just any minute now! :)
...I can't wear some of my current clothes anymore. I absolutely cannot wait until the day I put something on and realize I can't wear it because it's just too big and baggy. Won't that be wonderful?
OK friends, it's your turn! Make sure you link to your direct Fitness Friday post and not just your blog address! I can't wait to hear how everyone is doing!
Thursday, October 2, 2008
This week, in addition to sharing our goal for the week and how our goal for last week went, we will be completing the following sentence:
You can finish that any way you want. So join in and let us know how you are doing on your journey!
See you tomorrow!
Yeah. I'm that guy. Or girl. Whatever.
I feel like I have a lot of plates spinning and it's hard to keep them all going at once.
I'm still working on decluttering....sometimes.
I'm still trying to transform our budget...once in a while.
I'm still trying to sew Christmas presents...when I can find time.
I'm still trying to lose weight...everyday.
Then there's the homeschooling, the regular housework, my marriage, reading to my kids, Bible study, etc. etc. etc.
There are so many things I need to do and am trying to do that I feel a lot like those plate spinners. What always takes precedence are the squeaky wheels. That sewing sits undone because S needs clothes to wear to work. The budget doesn't get worked on because the school needs to get done. The decluttering is halted because I'm so busy just trying to keep up with the everyday clutter around here.
Are these excuses? A little, I guess. I KNOW it was more important for me to go to the driving range with my family the other night rather than work on stuff around here. LOTS of things are more important than having a perfect house. And yet, things need to get done.
But I know I have not been given more than I can bear. God is able to help me with all things that I need to do.
So why is it I forget to ask Him for help?