Thursday, January 29, 2015

8 Weeks Sleep

Ruth slept 9 hours last night. It felt great!

She's been mostly sleeping through the night since about 5 weeks, but with a slight touch of a cold this past week we've been up early, between 4 and 6, before we go to sleep for a little longer.

There's no reason to complain, we are rested, happy and in love.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Swimming

Elinore has invented a new game she loves to play, especially on our bed.  She's swimming.  She will pile up a blanket or just leave the bed as is and she'll stand up and jump on the bed falling while she does.  That is the splash!  Then she'll move her arms and swim, swim, swim!  If her brothers are around she'll say she's sinking and they'll come be the lifeguards to get her. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Christmas Day 2014

As usual the boys woke up by 7 on Christmas day.  We were fortunate though in they were so excited to play with their Zoomer robots from Christmas Eve they managed to wait until 8 or so when Elinore woke up, so we didn't have to wake her up, and so mom and dad could get a little bit more sleep.  Then we took care of the dog and some minor mornings things and headed to the living room for some Christmas fun.

Christmas gift opening in our house usually takes a few hours.  We started just after 8 I think and wrapped up around 11.  We hand out a gift and watch them open it; then it's some playing and some assembly if needed before the next one.  We've never really forced it on the kids this way, they just enjoy checking their stuff out and playing with it!  We gather trash as we go so we don't loose anything and they really get to enjoy their gifts.  We try not to do a ton of gifts, but I think every year we have a few more than I expected.  This year I think we found a good balance!

Once we finished at 11, the kids got dressed, ate a snack and played some more while I showered to head to my mother-in-laws house.  We were the first ones there at her house.  They were eating at 2, and we arrived about 1 after the hour drive out to her place.  We had a lovely time there.  We were able to share gifts with her before everyone else came.  Their gift opening is much more chaotic!  It's all handed out when anyone wants and opened immediately.  I often don't know what the kids got until the next day when we unpack everything from the car, which means I usually have no idea who gave it to them either!  We had a great time there though, and everyone was enjoying meeting Ruth!  Other than grandma, no one from his side of the family had met her yet.  :)  Keith won the awesome gift award there because he got the miter saw he'd been envying for months now!

His brother gave it to him.  We've been borrowing his brothers for a couple months now.  He'd told Keith before Christmas he needed it back to make a few cuts for something at his house then he could have it back.  Here that was just a ploy all along for him to get his saw and Keith to take his own home!

One of Keith's childhood friends stopped by for awhile after most of the family had gone too.  My mother-in-law had run into him in her work at Wal-Mart one day and invited him over since he didn't have plans for the day.  He and his son came over and they all caught up on things over the years until we had to leave.  We were to be in Canton at the boys mom's Christmas gathering at their Great Aunt's house around 6.  Their Great Aunt and Uncle are always very welcoming and we stay for a few hours for them to see their family and exchange gifts with the brother sister, mom and her husband.  They'll get a gift from their Grandma and Great Grandma usually too.  They enjoy it, and it's good for them to see their family too.

Then it's time for the hour drive back home to unload a loaded up car!  While we may not be so extravagant, gifts for 6 people and all 6 of those people take up a lot of room in our min-van! 

Monday, January 19, 2015

A New Start

I read an article today that mentioned it was Monday and an opportunity for a new start.  That is something we hear so often, especially this time of year with it being January and all.  It got me thinking, why do we insist on starting something new or changing our view at the beginning of a year, month or week?  Even a day?  We all have the ability to change what we're doing or how we view something at every moment during the day. 

I know I sometimes fall into this trap with certain things, but I'm trying to get better about it with other things.  My pitfalls of starting at the beginning of a week center around my working out especially.  I struggle to start something like that in the middle of the week.

I'm making an effort though to make changes around other things when I recognize a need.  So many things I see that need a new start have to do with the way I think about things or see things or my attitude.  I'm really trying to pray and focus on changing it when I see a need or sometimes when someone else points out a need, often my husband!  It's something I want me kids to see in me as they grow up.  None of us are perfect, and I want them to see changes in my attitude or behavior so that they know they have the power to do the same thing.

I recently read an article online or several parenting quotes for various things, and a few of them stuck with me.  So much that I've printed them out and hope to put them on index cards around my house as reminders.  A couple of my favorites are listed below:
  • The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.  - Peggy O'Mara
  • A child seldom needs a good talking to as a good listening to. - Robert Brault
  • Children have never been very good a listening to their elders, but they have enver failed to imitate them.  - James Baldwin
 These have really been impacting my thoughts on parenting over the weekend and today, and hopefully for the better for my children.

And one last quote that summarzies so much about what I believe and how our family lives.
  •  Being a mother is an attitude, not a biological relation.  - Robert A Heinlein

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Baby Blessings

I just finished reading this book.  It was gifted to be after Ruth was born by a dear friend.  I really enjoyed the book.  It was a simple read and easy to pick up and put down with the hectic life of motherhood of 4.  It was full of scripture and interpretations of scripture that were constantly turning me back to my faith and the true reason we are here, to be children of God.  The messages were meaningful and hit home for me through so many of the pages. 

It was an excellent gift and something I'd consider giving to another new mom. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Boy

For the last couple weeks Elinore has taken to calling me boy.  Well, not just me, but lots of us in the house.  It just so happens that with me, it's wrong!  I keep trying to correct her and tell her I'm a girl, but she just says yes and goes on with a "thank you boy!"  I don't know how long this phase will last, but for now, I guess boy it is. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Christmas Eve 2014

We had a wonderful Christmas this year.  I was so grateful to have had everything shopped for and wrapped long before thanksgiving was here, except for a few loose ends.  It made the month more relaxing and let us enjoy the transition to a family of 6 with Ruth's arrival!

As usual, we spent Christmas Eve afternoon at my parents house with both of them, my brother and his girlfriend. 

We had sandwiches for a meal this year since everyone but me had to work that morning!  Keith made cream chicken and mom made bbq beef.  We had deviled eggs, macaroni salad, party potatoes, vegetables and pie to go with it.  We ate together and conversation was good.  We talked about poultry houses for a large portion of the meal as my brother had just been to a farm with a few, and I work with them at work for insurance purposes.  We wrapped up the meal and cleaned up and headed to the couches for gift opening time!  The kids tore through theirs first, but us adults waited and opened ours.  At my family's Christmas we take turns so everyone can see who gets what gift and who it came from.  I like it that way, I was raised that way, and I think it helps us appreciate more and better enjoy our time with family.  The boys got Minecraft books they've been wanting for some time and the each got a Zoomer from Carly, they're super excited about them!  My big gift was a new dehumidifier for our basement, and Keith got a giant wreath to hang on our front porch next year.  He's been wanting one for a couple years now.  We gave my mom Lennox china this year to match her set.  And we collectively went together to get my Dad a new plotter for the office. 

After we finished our family gathering, we headed to our church for our Christmas Eve service.  This is one of my favorite services of the year.  The sanctuary is beautiful, it's dark, there's candle light, and it's a very moving experience.  This year, Keith, Ruth and I played Joseph, Mary and Jesus.  It consisted of us sitting in the front of the sanctuary during the candlelight part of the service while everyone sang Silent Night.  It was a great experience.

Although, Elinore wasn't a fan of us being up front away from her.  She was crying and carrying on for my mom.  So much so that one of the ladies next to us up front in the choir, who also happens to be one of Elinore's favorite people, when a got her to come sit with her. 

Then we headed home to put out cookies and milk for Santa and rest up for the next day!

Reading

Most kids have reading homework to do. Caden is one of them. He had to read at least 35 minutes a week. After some early homework slacking, I quickly learned he needed to read outloud for us to hear so he wasn't cheating.

Now to the point of my writing, when he reads, it's like he sings. It is very sing song like.  He enjoys it and he reads, so I'm happy with it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Family Adjustments

We welcomed Ruth into our family last month, and it was an adjustment for all of us!  The boys, Keith and I were certainly more prepared for it than Elinore.  It rocked her world!  She has certainly been excited to be a sister; she doesn't seem to realize she's been a sister since she was born.  It's more real now that she has a sister to her!  (Sorry boys!)

She has mothered and tried to play with Ruth from day one.  So much so that she was upset going home from meeting her the day she was born that Baby Ruth wasn't coming with her!  However, her ability to follow directions and listen to mommy and daddy quickly started to dwindle as she tested the waters with us.  She became deviant and pushed LOTS of limits, especially in the evenings. 

She's gotten over the hump of it, and she better understands the limits as we've tried to consistently enforce them, and some things we just gave up on.  Pick you battles right?  

The boys were really good when Elinore came along; they weren't too phased by it.  With Ruth, Keith and I have a difference of opinion.  Shortly after we all came home from the hospital, we both noticed the boys becoming very mouthy and demanding and rude.  I think it was part of their way of adjusting to the new sister, but Keith thinks it was just a coincidence.  Either way, it's hard to tell if they're back on track of not since we just started school back up last week after Christmas break.  Christmas and all the excitement and family and lack of routine and New Years messes with everyone, and they were not exception.  Although they did fairly well, and I was glad to have them home with us for a few weeks to spend together.  The first couple weeks home without them seemed weird!  I missed them.  I'm glad they're back in school and we're getting into a routine again though too.  Change is good. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Grunts

Ruthie grunts a lot.  We think it's adorable, and we always know she's around! 

Last weekend, she was sleeping, and the kids and I were in the same room watching Full House.  Keith and I gave the boys the entire series of Full House on Amazon instant for Christmas.  We decided it'd be a great family show for us to watch after they were introduced to it on our Pittsburgh vacation via Nick at Nite. 

Anyway, I asked Caleb to look at Ruth and see if she was still sleeping.  Without missing a meat he says, well if she was awake she'd be grunting! 

And we all laughed!

Leviticus

In January 2014 I started reading Leviticus and took notes on some paper I keep on my nightstand in place of the electronic keeping I did in Genesis and Exodus.  I still wanted to keep track of my notes as I read though, so I tried to recreate them here to my memory.  It only took me a year to finish this book of the Bible. 

Leviticus is the book of rules and instructions on how to live a life pleasing to God.
  •  There are instructions for many offerings.  The smell of the offerings is pleasing to the Lord.  The offerings must be of a product or animal, as specified, without flaw.  There must be nothing wrong with it. 
    • Burnt offerings
    • Grains offerings
    • Fellowship offerings - This is for a special promise or a gift to God.
    • Sin offerings
      • There is also mention of sins that you accidental; once you are aware of the sin you committed, then the offering must be made. Sometimes we are guilty and don't even realize it.
    • Penalty offerings are to retun the given plus 1/5th. 
  • There are instructions for priests for each of the offerings too.
  • Some of the offerings are for the priests to eat as allowed int he Lord's rules and laws.  
  • Moses anointed Aaron and his sons per the Lord's guidelines.
  • Aaron and sons offer sacrifices and the people saw the Lord's fire.
  • Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, are destroyed by the Lord because they didn't follow the guidance from Moses and God. 
  • Holy and unholy must be kept separate.
  • There are lots of rules that make you unclean.   Each of these sets of rules also have directions on how to become clean again.
    • There are rules for animals and food that make a person unclean.
    • There are rules for a new mothers.
    • Skin diseases are evaluated by priests.
    • There are rules about mildew, priest evaluate this too.  
    • There are rules about the body.  Those releasing fluids are unclean and those who contact them, semen included, make you unclean.
    • There are rules about a woman's body and her period.
  • Directions were given to Aaron to make the tent holy and have Israel belong to the Lord again in cleanliness.
  • Sacrifices must be made at the meeting tent of the person is to be cut off from their people.
  • You cannot eat meat with the blood of the animal still in it or you're cut off from your people.
  • There are no sexual relations allowed with your family.
  • Not follow any rules from God is a sin.
  • When you harvest, you are to leave some grain/grapes in the fields for the poor and travelers.
  • There is a reminding list of the 10 commandments.
  • Two different things must not be mixed.  For example breeds of cattle or seed in a field.
  • Do not mistreat foreigners, teat them as your own citizens.  (I think we in America forget this passage in our world today.)
  • There are directions for punishments of sin; to be killed or God will remove you from your people.
  • God forced sinners out of the land so his people could live there, so they must keep his laws to remain.  
  • There are directions for priests behavior.
    • Stay clean
    • Do not be shamed
    • Follow rules
      • family rules
      • marriage rules
    • His children must have nothing wrong with them and go before the Lord.
    • Offering food may only be ate by specific family members and slaves.
  • There are special holidays listed:
    • Sabbath (every 7th day)
    • Passover and Unleavened Bread (January 14 and 15th)
    • First of the Harvest
    • Feast of Weeks (50 days later)
    • Feast of Trumpets (July 1)
    • Day of Cleansing (July 10)
    • Feast of Shelters (July 15) - This is 7 days long.
  • Aaron's instructions for lampstands and holy bread
  • A person who spoke against God was stoned to death.  
  • "Eye for an eye" passage
  • Every 7th year the land will rest.
  • Every 50th year is Jubilee.
    • At Jubilee, land is given back to the original family.
  • Do not cheat one another in land sales based on the time until Jubilee.
  • Directions on how to treat the poor.
  • Poor who become salves are to be treated as hired workers.  At Jubilee they may return to their family.
  • Other nations people around your nation may be used as your salves.
  • Your obedience = God's protection
  • Disobedience = discipline and God turning from you
  • There is ALWAYS HOPE in God if people are sorry for their sin.
  • There are costs for gifts to the Lord.
Something else I noticed throughout the book was that several times it was mentioned that "this law will continue for you from now on, where ever you live."

I also had a question as I read.  There are many things that will make you unclean and touching certain things will do that.  Do you always know if someone or something is unclean?  How do you know?

21 Day Fix

This morning I started the 21 Day Fix workout. I'm hoping I can stick with it. Weekdays I'm not worried about, it's the weekend that I'm not used to working out on.

Ruth was born about 5.5 weeks ago. I did 5 days of postnatal yoga last week to see how it went and it felt good. Now it's time to see how this goes and if I can lose some baby weight.

I'm not following their nutrition plan, I don't have time to put stuff in containers for the day while I'm feeding so many other mouths, but I do plan on trying to improve what I eat.

Keith gave me this for Christmas, so hopefully it gets well used!

I weighed myself before I started this morning, 168.2 lbs. This is about 20 lbs. from where I was before my pregnancy with Ruth. It's also about 20 lbs. down from where I was when Ruth was born.

As a side note, I never lost the last 10 lbs. from my pregnancy with Elinore, but when I got pregnant I was training for a half marathon and was more fit than I'd been in a very long time, so I was okay with those extra pounds.  I'd like to run a half again someday when the kids are older!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Are they really married?

So as the financial secretary at church, twice a year I print out reports and provide to the entire congregation.  I often end up mailing them out since I can't catch everyone at the church and some don't attend regularly, so I always address them and put return address labels on them.  I have a drawer full of return address labels.  They're the free ones that non-profits send you to try to get you to donate more.  Most of them come in my maiden name.  I always figured the address is the important part, so it doesn't matter if my last name is wrong. 

After the first of the year I was handing them out again.  When I gave a friend of ours, who's very active in the church, his letter, he asked when I'd be getting new address labels.  I explained to him my thinking on it and asked why.

Apparently every time I do this he gets a handful of questions from people asking if we're really married! 

Ruth - One Month

On Thursday the boys and I took Ruth in for her one month check-up.  It was supposed to be just Ruth and I, but a school closing changed those plans!  Elinore still went back to the sitters for the day though and she was quite excited about seeing her friends again after 5 weeks away. 

Ruth weighed in at 9 lbs.  She was 21 inches long.  She's officially bigger than Elinore was at one month of age!

8 Hours!

Ruth gave us 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep last night! She is 5 weeks and 2 days old.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Clocks

Caden and Caleb have been learning to tell time in school.  So far they've mastered digital clocks, so they avoid the other and just to a room with a digital clock if they want to know the time or someone asks them. 

This leads them to obsessing over the actual numbers on the clock.  If they aren't all exactly the same all over the house, they're all upset about it.  Our bedroom is especially difficult for them.  Keith and I have alarm clocks and they rarely match. 

It throws them into a panic because they don't know which clock is right and which one to believe, even though they're only minutes apart!

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Super Hero

Elinore started playing super heros with Caleb when he pulled out his toy capes to play with her.  For Christmas Elinore got her very own super hero cape that was pink with purple trim and a mask to go with it.  She wears he cape around saying she's going to RESCUE people. 

She asks for help to put the cape on, but you have to know what she wants because she calls her cape a cap!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

I'm Scared

Elinore has developed a new habit.  She's constantly saying "I'm scared."  At first we took her seriously and asked why and helped her through it, but I think now she's caught on that it gets her lots of attention, and we hear it probably 20 times a day.  We hear it while we're sitting at the table, driving in the car or playing with toys.  Her attitude through the comment is no longer one of fear either, but more of a passing phrase. 

So we've started asking her of what, and not it's usually a pink monster.  We reminder her monsters aren't real, they're fake, and we move on.


Tuesday, January 06, 2015

One Thousand Gifts

After I finished reading Carry On, Warrior, I decided my next book would be One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  I ordered it on Amazon one day at work, and with it came the first chapter free via Kindle, so I started reading it on the Kindle app on my phone that day, and didn't want to stop.  Next thing I knew, I was cancelling by actual book order and ordering it on my Kindle app on my phone.  I gave myself a headache that first day reading the first 60 pages of the book no my cell phone! 

However, just after Christmas I did finish the book, and it was a good read.  I did occasionally get lost in the overly poetic flowery language.  I certainly can't write to that level or description, but she does it well.  I probably could have gotten the point though in less words, but maybe that was part of her point of the book, that we are to be thankful for the small things and to notice them we must describe them well. 

My favorite chapter of the book, chapter 7, was focused on an interaction she had with some of her boys and it meant a lot to me in my own parenting of our 4 kids.  I highlighted my way through this book too finding things to be so useful.

The key points I took from this book were to be thankful in all circumstances, which i already knew from the scripture, but she gave a new perspective on it that was helpful.  The second thing I took away into practice, again, I knew this, but she helped me understand it better, is that each of us are created by God and if we see them that way too, we become more Christ like in our actions and words with others. 


Monday, January 05, 2015

Carry On, Warrior



When Glennon Doyle Melton first released the book Carry On, Warrior, I purchased a copy, read a few chapters and never had time to finish it.  Then she released it in paperback, and I bought that one too. 

Back in May or June I started reading my paperback copy of the book.  It took me months to finish it, but this past fall I did, and I'm so glad I finished it.  This is the first book I've ever read that I actually wrote in as I was reading (besides college textbooks of course).  I underlined things, I started things, I made notes.  It changed the way I thought of some things.  It didn't change my beliefs, but made me think of them in different ways and expanded my horizons. 

When I finished the book, I even shared it with my Sunday School class as there was a peice in it about fear and love, which was the current topic in Sunday School.  The timing of it was so great.

The most moving part of the book for me though, was near the end when she wrote about death and meeting God.  Her comment was along the lines of it not being a meeting, but a greeting and a question of, where did we leave off?  As the conversation between God and I continues.  I'd add the exact quote if I still had my copy of the book, but as good books do, it's found its way into a friend's hand for their enjoyment. 

Even in this, I feel my writing doesn't do this book justice, it was such a great thing, and something that has been seeking more books that will help me grow in my faith and relationship with our Lord. 

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Best Gift of 2014

Keith did a great job on my Christmas present this year.  I recieved several items from my Amazon wish list, which is great, but the best gift of all also came from my husband.

So great that when he told me about it, I had not words, just tears. 

For the last year or so I've been wanting to sponsor a child, and Keith and I had talked about it and thought about how great it would be for our family, and he was always on board.  However, every time I sat down to actually do it, I was overwhelmed with the organizations, choices and decisions to be made, so it never got done. 

For my Christmas gift, through Save the Children, my husband sponsored a 9 year old girl in Haiti.

I don't know much more about it at this point.  He says there is information still coming in the mail, but that is enough for me right now, and even as I write this, I'm crying about it again. 

This is the meaning of Christmas for me, and this is something that means more to me than any other gift received. 

It is certainly the greatest Christmas gift I've received, aside form Jesus himself that is. 

Friday, January 02, 2015

Weirdest Gifts of 2014

The weirdest gifts of 2014 were received by Keith and myself.  They were from my mom and some of the first gifts we opened at our Christmas on Christmas Eve at her house.  Keith received some Comet Bathroom Cleaner.  I received some pledge. 

Practical and surprising!

The Best Yes

A dear friend of mine had been recommending I read The Best Yes  by Lysa Terkeurst for some time before I actually picked it up.  I was hesi...