Wednesday, October 27, 2010

An Idea

We have so much.

We have so much food.
So much stuff.
So many toys.
So many clothes.
So many wheels.
So many resources.
So much free time.

I am trying to get across to the boys how much we have and how big of an obligation we have to share food. to share toys. to share clothes. to share wheels. to share our resources. to share our time.

All those things should not just be for us and our family and our friends.

We do Operation Christmas Child boxes every year, and a toy drive through Noahs work, but this year I wanted to add to it. Enter the Samaritan's Purse gift catalog. The gift catalog has all kinds of gifts that you can sponsor for people who need help.

I got so excited as I read through it with the children. In honor of Berean I will pay to feed a hungry baby for a week. In honor of 4 healthy births I will help save the lives of Mothers and Babies. In honor of sweet Lincoln who loves milk I will help provide milk for another child. In honor of Lincoln who got bit over and over while we were camping I will buy a mosquito net for a child in a malaria infested country.

Roman listened carefully as I read through the catalog. He said that he wanted to buy a fruit tree for a family. Deacon wanted to provide food provisions for a family for a month. "that way", he said, "I can help a baby and a big brother".

It made me sad to think that a "cheap" dinner out for our family of 6 could feed a family for a month. And that instead of buying halloween candy I could have used the money to buy an emergency shelter for a family.

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of did for Me."
Matthew 25:40b NIV

As we enter the holiday season I am going to be asking myself these questions:

What do I really need to spend money on?
What could I do with my money that would make an impact bigger than me?
How can I teach my kids to want less and give more?

I think I know the answer to that last question.
I need to model it.

I encourage all of you to check the links and inspire your family to give!

A Rambling Post About My Stroller

April 15th, 2003- Tax Day
I met Noah at Deming Park in Terre Haute, IN.
He was on a lunch break from school (he had a lot of breaks).
I had the day off (I had lots of days off)
We ate Jimmy Johns.
We played disc golf (maybe?)
I told him we were pregnant.
I walked a lot in Indiana. What else was I supposed to do? Working 12 hour shifts gave me lots of days off. So I walked.
The most important thing that we put on our new baby registry was the Graco Travel system. A car seat with a matching stroller.
We didn't register for a crib.
We didn't even buy the poor kid a crib.
We didn't buy baby monitors.
The poor kid didn't even have a baby monitor.
But he had a stroller.
We had a stroller.
After he was born. I walked. We walked.
We moved back to Minnesota and we walked some more.
I hit the stroller with my car.
But it kept working, although one wheel was never quite right after that.
Deacon and I put countless miles on that stroller.
And then Roman was born.
I got a double stroller.
But still, oftentimes I would just stick both of them in my old stroller.
And we would walk.
I discovered that if you laid the seat down, 2 small semi-buckled children fit perfectly.
And it was easier to push than the double.
Lincoln came and more miles were put on those wheels.
And crumbs on the seat.
And stickiness in the tray.
And the sunglass holder broke off.
But still it rolled on.
Berean was born. I asked Noah if he thought the stroller had another summer or two left.
He said, "maybe".
We pushed Berean in it. I thought it might make it.
Sometimes the wheel would fall off. But I would put it back on.

And then we took the fateful trip to Duluth.
We went to see the Tall Ships.
And we stayed another night.
At a park on a sunny day in Duluth I told Noah I was going back to the van for the stroller.
He told me to be careful opening the back gate, as it was packed quite fully.
I opened it carefully, but not carefully enough.
My stroller fell out.
There was a lady standing at the van next to me.
"been there, done that" she laughed.
a minute later,
"Your wheel is rolling away".
I looked down.
My stroller wheel was rolling away across the parking lot.
I caught it. And I told the woman,
"Thanks. It does that sometimes. I just have to put it back on and it will be fine". (does that line remind anyone of anything?)
And I did.
But when we got home we looked at the stroller.
It was not really fine.
The wheel was cracked.
The stroller had strolled it's last.
It is now in a garbage dump somewhere.
And we now have a new sit 'n' stand.
But I will always remember it fondly.
I went to my archives to find a picture. I thought it would be hard to find one.
The first file I randomly chose- from June of 2008- had this picture:
I loved that stroller.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What's on Your surface?

This is sort of a "day in the life" thing. I am going to try to snap a photo of a surface in my house once a week. Then when I look back I can remember what was going on.
Noah and I both forget about things when they are not out- so our surfaces reflect our busy life.
So without further ado, here is my first surface (by the way, it isn't the messiest!)
Feel free to join me on Tuesdays and share your surface!

~Noah's Bible~
~The Beth Moore Study book we are studying together (Daniel)~
~Love and Respect (which has not yet been read)~
~Star War's Blaster~
~A notebook with lists in it~
~How to Have a New Husband By Friday- (partially read)~
~Deacon's drawing/writing notebook~

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Who says we have no style?

Last week we joined some extended family for a day at the apple orchard.
Earlier in the day my mom had given me a Gymboree ad with coupons.
It was in my van.
Right after arriving at the orchard it was time for Berean to nurse.
I sent the boys off scampering under the care of the relatives.
And sat in the van to nurse the baby.
The Gymboree ad still lying there caught my eye.
It promised
Lasting Quality
Unique Details
Incredible Value
Head-to-Toe Looks
It pictured children looking cute and dressed smashingly.
I sighed.
"If only", I thought.
Then I unloaded Berean and went off to meet up with the troops.
I saw this:

"Hmmm..." I thought. That looks like Lasting Quality to me. Roman's daddy has had that hat for a long time.

And what about those pajama pants? The dinosaurs seem like Unique Details. And the fact that he has them on backward to hide the hole in the knee (now on the knee pit) is pretty special too.

The shoes, or pieces of rubber, have gotten plenty of use.

They combined with the hand-me-down sweatshirt, undershirt and pajama pants seem like an incredible value to me.

All in all, I would say that Roman has the Head-to-Toe look that Gymboree is advertising.

What do you think?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Since I haven't updated her Baby Book...

Berean turned 7 months old on October 7th!
I can't even begin to tell you how much joy she has brought into our lives.
When I picked her up from the nursery on Wednesday the volunteer said, "She is just wonderful". I said, "I know".

I haven't updated her baby book, so I thought I would just throw some new info in here for documentation purposes.
*teeth: she has 5 teeth. 3 on the bottom and 2 brand new ones on the top. She got her first tooth over labor day weekend- when she was 5 months old. The third bottom one and the top ones have all come in around 7 months.
*She started actually crawling on Oct. 11th- prior to that she got around by a kind of scoot/lunge thing
*Able to skillfully and consistently get into a sitting position on her own sometime before September 23rd
*pulling herself up to a stand now at 7 1/2 months (not real often, but can do it)
*Most nights sleeps a 10 hour stretch, then eats and then sleeps a couple more hours. Occasionally she will only sleep an 8 hour stretch before nursing.
*usually goes to bed between 7-8. Sometimes earlier though. And sometimes later.
*If we are home all day she takes a 2 hour morning nap and a 2-3 hour afternoon nap. However, we are seldom home all day so she sleeps whenever it is convienent. And she is totally fine with that.
*she likes to sit in the swing at the park and to go down the slides with her brothers.
*she likes to watch the world from the front carrier or her stroller.
*she only likes to feed herself
*She puts everything into her mouth

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Will Wonders Never Cease?

Over the last 2 days...

*I found money blowing around outside. No, friends, not a dollar. Not a 5. Not even a 10 or a 20. I found a 50 dollar bill! It was in an abandoned parking lot. I asked at the clinic if anyone had been looking for it and the answer was no. The boys and I are discussing what to do with it. They, of course, think that it would be good to donate it to their lego cause- I am coming up with more altrustic options.

*Berean is now pulling herself up to a standing position. Oh! And she can now eat cheerios, which is good since she refuses to take pureed foods from a spoon.

*Lincoln was sleepy and sitting on the couch with me. Deacon came down and said, "Roman and I are playing upstairs in our room. Why don't you come up and play, Lincoln?" Lincoln didn't get up right away and Deacon came back and asked again. I LOVE this. I am so glad that they are such good friends- and even though he is younger and can't talk (much) they still not only include him but actually SEEK out his company.

*Roman considered eating an egg.

*Roman ate the "white part" of his egg.

*I worked all weekend and with the help of my husband managed to keep things loosely controlled around her.

*Yesterday I made 8 phone calls regarding our insurance battle and got absolutely nowhere.

*I actually have a plan for Christmas gifts for my children's teachers. Already. And it is only October.

*Halloween, however, is less than 2 weeks away and I don't have a plan for that.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Julie's guide to injuries

Crashes, tumbles and falls are bound to happen.

We know that, and we accept that.

And we don't react. much.

It actually drives me crazy when my kid falls and somebody else makes a big deal out of it. Because then it suddenly is a big deal.

This is what happens in my head in the 20 seconds I have to react to a situation:

Is the child conscious?

If the child is not conscious, I would start an emergency response protocol.

Was the child's head involved?

if the answer is "yes" I feel for bumps, look at pupils and monitor (without alarming child or making a big deal about it)

Is there blood?

if "yes" I attempt to stop the bleeding. I use what is available. Spare diaper. Kleenex. Paper towel. White tee shirt. (Something to keep in mind is that it is probably a better idea to whip one of your boys shirts off rather than removing your own. Things can get a little awkward, and you really want to concentrate on your child, not making sure your stomach is sucked in. Just sayin'.)

Is there screaming?

I try to stop the screaming. I just can't think if there is screaming going on. Also it draws attention and extra people's extra anxiety to the situation which just makes everything worse. I have found that bandaids work really well in eliminating screaming.

Are all bones in their correct positions?

This is, of course, important to note.

If in my 20 seconds I note that the child is conscious, the head wasn't hit, there is no blood and there is no out of place bones and no screaming- then we are good. Nothing more needs to be said except maybe a "way to have your helmet on!" or "you really got some air on that one!"

If there is blood 9 times out of 10 it can be managed with a bandaid, some pressure and a kiss. That and a "wow, that sure was a crash, wasn't it? You will have story to tell later!"

And they always do.

But now we have a princess problem. And even if I don't react when Berean "bonks"- 3 little men do.

And they kiss and they hug and they baby talk.

I forgot to take them into account when I decided to attempt to curtail drama queen reactions.

Never again will I forget the power of a brother.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day In the Life Linkup!

I realized today that you guys don't read my mind.

My last post is a "Day in the Life Post" sponsored by Navigating The Mothership . The
Mothership has the rests of the posts up now- head on over to read them!

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Day in the Life!

Wow! Doing this "day in the life" thing is hard! The other d.i.t.l posts I have read have been done by people with fewer children- I had a really hard time catching everything that was going on, but it was still fun!

Here goes...

Baby Berean had joined us for a nursing session at 6, and just had continued to hang out. As is his MO, Lincoln (3) had also bounced in to play when he got up. As long as they are not wild, we let them come in after waking up. (Apparantly they can be wild enough to rip all the covers off, but not pull the mattress off?) And yes, those are my pjs- sweatshirt circa 1992 and sweats. And yes, my husband wishes it were different. And yes, my husband could have tidied up before taking the pictures- but he didn't. Welcome to our world.

The battle with pink eye is at it's end in our house, but drops for one child was still one of the first activities of the day.

Breakfast is at 0830. Roman has granola. Lincoln has Honey Nut Cheerios and toast. Deacon has toast. Berean refuses to eat her oatmeal and bananas. Same story, different day. I have toast too. The bowl has the makings of banana bread, and the dish has the ground turkey waiting to be browned and added to the evening's chili. Multi tasking very early. I also unload the dishwasher and start a load of laundry during breakfast.

The boys are really into their "word whammer", so the kitchen was filled with the alphabet and sounds, and of course the putting together of words. Important words like Yoda.

Berean looks so sad because she has 3 problems in her little life:

1. She only likes to eat if she is feeding herself or if she is being served milk straight from the source

2. She chokes when she feeds herself

3. She is now 7 months old and can't only nurse. She needs something else too!

While we eat I work on some flashcards. I don't have to cut them, I don't have to buy them. See? I can just use the backs of some name cards from highschool! Good thing I have saved them for the past 12 years!

I am still bitter when I look at my markers. I bought them because they said "teacher recommended". Why would teachers recommend something that wasn't washable?

Quick sweep of the kitchen and dining room while the boys pick out their books.

Reading time! (still no shower. I will get to that during the first school break. And I always hope no one comes to the door before then).

The books we read during our first reading session. A little something for all ages :)

Just a random picture Deacon took that turned out better than we expected. After reading Deacon worked at his geography and math at the table.

During the first break from school, I was supposed to take a shower. But instead I did more laundry, put the babe down for her nap and checked the mail. We got another big packet of insurance stuff. I spent sometime looking over it and getting more and more frusterated.

We finished up science, history and more reading and than Deacon got Berean up from her nap. I managed to squeeze in a shower.

Lunch was cheese quesadillas, banana bread and apples. Berean sucked on an apple, but refused once again to eat anything else. I managed to get the chili in the crockpot for supper.

And then we piled in the van and were off. Currently in the CD player in the van? "Welcome Home" Adventures in Odyssey.

First stop was speech therapy. The boys and I read books and Berean crawled around during Lincoln's session. (no pictures, I don't think it is allowed). He did a great job! During the session I finally verified that Berean is indeed actually crawling and the far reaches of her little kingdom are moving ever closer.

After speech we met some friends at a nature center for a nature walk.

It was a beautiful day.
We all thought so. Some of us had trouble getting a picture of us without upper face chopping.

After leaving the nature center we hung out with the neighbors a little at their house, and then we came home to this:

It took the boys 1 hour to clean up the 4o or so items on the floor here so they could watch their movie.

I busied myself cleaning up my mess. And doing more laundry.

Berean busied herself perfecting her crawl, and playing chubby bunny with whatever she could find. (don't freak out. I was watching her). By the way, the basket in the background was full of papers and random things that needed to be put away or taken care of. Notice I said "was". Berean went to bed before Noah even got home from work.

Our long lost Auntie Karla arrived during our supper. The chili got a little hotter than intended- and there was no way those boys were going to be able to eat it without choking (Noah and I liked it, however). I made them hotdogs.

Karla is not actually licking Noah's head. That would be weird. She is actually quite a bit in front of him, but they are being goofy. They were still happy because MNF had not started yet and so they had no idea of what a train wreck it would end up being. Karla is wearing the shirt
from the 5k we did on Saturday.
After supper Noah got to work cleaning the kitchen

Karla and the boys folded and put laundry away.
I took pictures. I helped with the laundry too.

The game started and Lincoln climbed up onto my lap and immediately fell asleep.

Hmmm...I guess I stopped taking pictures. We put the boys to bed. We watched the game, folded the laundry, helped my sister with some paperwork and sorted my basket of miscellaneous stuff and did some computer work. Once again our bedtime was midnight. All in all it was a fun day, and a pretty typical one for us. It had all the regular components of school, outings, outside playtime and lots and lots of housework :) I did miss exercise today, but that happens too!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


We don't really budget officially.

We have an idea of about how much we can spend a month, and we are both reasonable spenders. ie: we spend less than we earn.

But I got to thinking (which is a dangerous thing, and which is what happens when I have too much time alone) what if we were super careful with our spending?

Enter "the $450 plan".

This month our Cub/Rainbow/Target/Walmart budget is $450. If there is anything left on November 1st, we get to split what is left.

And I love a challenge.

This isn't, of course, just groceries. It is supposed to cover anything that we buy at those stores. I have a lot of meat in the freezer currently, and this amount isn't that big of a stretch for us, but it still could be a little tough. It will help to keep us more mindful of those "quick trips" to the store to pick up "1-2 things" and how much they add up.

I probably won't keep the same budget for every month, I will adjust it based on activities for the month, how many staples we have stocked etc.

I think it will be fun.
Noah doesn't think so, but he is willing to go along with it.
For now.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Controversial Monday: Personal Ick Factor

Of course, once again, it is very late.

What can I say, I was busy making 50 pounds of apples into applesauce. And I have another 50 to do tomorrow.

But I did want to throw this out there: What is your personal ick factor?

You know, the thing that you just don't do.

Or at least don't want to do.

Vomit? Blood? Sputum? Bugs? Vermin?

Working as a nurse, I have seen it all.

But that doesn't mean I like it.

Mine is probably open wounds. But I really don't like vomit either. Or sputum.

Somethings I don't mind, like sweet baby pee.

Which is what we call it.

The conversation goes like this:

"I just got peed on!"

Me: "who cares? It is just sweet baby pee".

I try to major on the majors.

What is yours?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sleep like a baby!

Getting them out is hard sometimes. Once they're out, they're gone.