Monday, February 28, 2011

Conversations At Our House

We went to Culver's after church yesterday with some friends. Our Culvers is next door to a hotel and some soccer fields. As we were leaving Deacon said, "what is the hotel for?" Noah answered that he is sure they get a lot of business during the soccer tournements.

Deacon thinks for 1/2 second and then says, "would you say then, that this Culvers does the best business of any Culvers because of the soccer fields?"

Noah replied that he thinks they probably do get more business during the soccer tourneys and that he is sure that helps, but that he did not have enough information to say whether or not it did the best of all Culvers locations everywhere.

But that is our Deacon. Always striving for the biggest, tallest, richest, best and oldest!

Or maybe it is all 7 year old boys everywhere.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Thoughts

*smart wool socks
*$5 jeans from Target
*my husband
*inspiration and insights from my work friends
*peanut M&Ms

*Lincoln's speech stuff- so overwelming, so much time
*oppression of women around the world
*project "Hold off the Addition" (alternately titled Closets, Cupboards and Cabinets)
*juggling childcare and commitments
*kid stuff- each one has their own things that encourage me and worry me

*my weekend off!
*possibly running a 1/2 marathon with coworkers at the end of May (if I can find someone to work for me!)
*Berean's first birthday!

*project "Hold off the Addition"
*reading (I've made time to read again and I am so happy!)
*take pictures of the kids-it's been awhile!
*bulk cooking day!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Deacon and His Future Wife

Last night Deacon told me that I was hot. I explained to him that "hot" wasn't a word that you used to describe your mother. He seemed confused because I had earlier tried to explain to him that when someone called a girl "hot" it meant she was pretty. Noah ruined any progress I had made by coming into the room and saying, "what is the problem? you are hot!"
Whatever. Men.
Last week Deacon was complaining about his schoolwork. He wanted to know why it was necessary to learn math etc, etc. I gave him reasons about every job and life in general requiring a person to be able to do basic math. Finally he said, "maybe I will just do what you do mom- stay home with the kids all day and I will just have my wife go to work."
Of course I went on to tell him how much math I use in a day, just taking care of the house, the groceries etc (not to mention my job in which I use lots of math all the time!) and then mentioned that maybe he should let his wife stay home- that would prehaps be the unselfish thing to do.
He said, "I suppose if we had a baby she should be home, otherwise the baby will just want her all day anyway."
I think we will keep addressing these topics as he gets older.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Through a series of events I came into possession of a shocking pen.
I had mentioned the "pen" to Noah and told him how easy it was to get shocked because it was so compelling and so pretty that you just had to try to activate it.
Over the weekend I was emptying out my bag and came across the pen.
I tossed it in front of Noah, who was sitting at the supper table.
"Oooo..Shiny..." he actually said and reached for it.
All of a sudden he dropped it and got a sheepish look on his face.
"I can't believe I did that, " he said.
The kids wanted to know what was up and I gave them a brief explanation: that pushing the button would hurt.
We prayed for our meal, but I knew the whole time that Roman's fingers were itching.
If there is a button, Roman will push it.
If there is a switch, Roman will flip it.
If there is a crank, Roman will pull it.
Sometimes I look at him and see how hard he is trying not to touch something, but it is as if his hand is not willing to be controlled by his mind.
He grabbed the pen. I told him to go ahead, if he wanted to, but that I was warning him it wouldn't be pleasant.
He pushed it and got a shock.
He laughed nervously.
He pushed it again and got another one.
He laughed.
But did not try anymore.
Deacon tried it.
He was amused.
And tried again.
Lincoln tried it and wanted to keep doing it.
The energy and excitement in the room grew.
This was thrilling, this was dangerous, this was exciting!
Noah and I just thought it hurt.
Apparently, though, we have 3 boys who love to be scared. To get a rush. To feel the adrenaline.
To take a risk.
Great. What next?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

More On Time Management

Here is the link to my friend Jackie's time management experiment. Jackie is also a work part time/home part time mom and I appreciated her insights into her day. I especially liked how she talked about no week being "normal".

That is true, isn't it? I always say, "oh, well this week is crazy because of X, next week will be different." But it isn't true. Last week Noah volunteered at Bible quizzing, I had to do the Valentine's stuff and made my neighbor a meal. This week it won't be those things, but I have an all day class for work, some MD appts and we have ended up spending a lot more time commuting/shoveling due to a snowfall.

It is always something.

On Sunday our pastor preached on Malachi. He talked about tithing our time as well as our money. This was challenging for me to think about. Noah and I place high priority on our volunteer work and our "servant"work. Sometimes I think it is easy to get tired when thinking about tithing, but just like tithing our money, I have renewed confidence that as a Christian I should be tithing my time both in spending time studying the Bible and praying but also in ways of service. There are 168 hours in my I/can I spend 16.8 of them in service/communion to/with God? That is the next question for me to look closely at.

Speaking of time 4 night blitz at work is over, I have had a little sleep and now is the time to tackle household chores with a vengeance!

P.S. Lincoln is doing incredible work with his speech (even his therapist is amazed!) we add an extra session a week in March and hope to see a ton of improvement!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

In Summary

A few days ago I wrote this post in which I told you all that I was going to keep careful records of what I did over the course of 3 days. In this way, I concluded, I could see areas of wasted time in my life and make sure that my life lined up with what I say my priorities are.

And I did it. Well, kind of.

I made careful records on Monday, but Tuesday and Wednesday ended up being not quite as careful, mostly because we were gone for large portions of the day and I didn't bring my notebook with me, I can recreate it a little, but after reviewing Monday I am not sure that it is necessary.

Secretly I had convinced myself that I was going to find out that I was spending a lot of time on the computer or on the phone or something that I could eliminate.

Here is what I found, however: not much time in my day is being squandered away.

MONDAY-records kept between the hours of 7:00am-10:30pm (after I finished folding laundry at 10 I kept no further records. I probably wrote a blog post and got stuff ready for the next morning)

On Monday I spent 4 hours and 15 minutes away from home. This encompassed speech, swimming lessons, basketball drop off and rockclimbing. During that time I did my sprint runs and my Bible study lesson.

I spent 2 hours and 10 minutes doing school with Deacon (that is average for us I would say).

1 hour and 45 minutes of my day was spent showering, getting ready for the day, nursing Berean, checking email/facebook/blogs. About 15 minutes of that was computer. Berean had a couple long nursing sessions in am and pm. The morning one also included dozing since I didn't have to get up yet.

But here is the worst part: I spent 7 1/2 hours doing domestic chores. 7 1/2 hours of preparing meals, cleaning up after them and doing laundry (I do laundry one day a week, and this was my laundry day). This time also included helping the boys roll and cut out heart cookies, decorating them with the kids and getting them ready for Deacon's basketball practice.

I know the times don't exactly add up, and of course mixed up in there was time I spent trying to get Lincoln to put pants on, bundling the kids up and assisting in their activities and play while I did my stuff. And of course I was being talked to and interacting with them off and on during the day. I do have to say though that because the boys are all pretty independent and Berean naps a lot, there is not as much of my time dedicated to sitting on the floor playing with the kids.

A friend did stop over for awhile, but I was cleaning up/nursing the baby/frosting cookies while she was over. Any other phone calls and stuff were accomplished at the same time that I was making lunch etc.

More impressions to come, but this is a start...and besides, it is time to clean up the kitchen :(

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

They Make Me Laugh

Lincoln has been asking me every morning "Mom, what day it is?" I will tell him, "Thursday" (or whatever). He then repeats it, "mmm...ursday? ok."
I don't know if it means something to him, or if he just likes to ask...
We were at my parent's house the other day and Berean was crawling around and found a small piece of white tissue paper. The next thing we know she had it in her hand and was pretending to wipe her fully clothed butt with it! It was so funny! It floors me that she made the association between the tissue paper and a wipe and then actually decided to demonstrate that she knew what to with it! The boys imitated commercials and super heroes, but never really imitated household chores/tasks.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine Snapshots

Valentine 2011 #1
Roman had a Valentine's party last week. I talked about the popcorn I had to bring in a previous post. I was all over the popcorn. It was on my list, it was on my radar.
What I forgot about were the Valentines.
As we left swimming lessons, heading into rock climbing, I suddenly remembered that he was supposed to bring Valentines for his class- his class which would be starting in 12 hours. We still had to rock climb, drive home, get everyone to bed, sleep, get up and drive to class.
No time for Valentines.
Noah offered to stop and pick some up.
I hadn't purchased any because I was planning to help Roman lovingly create Valentines for each of his classmates with his own two hands. I had visions of finding a super creative way to attach each sucker and they were going to be so cute.
I knew all of this even though I really actually didn't have any ideas at all.
I told Noah that no, I didn't want him to pick any up and that I would take care of it.
We got home and I lovingly created Valentines for each of his classmates with my own two hands.

They turned out well and actually took less time than going to the store, and certainly less money!
Valentine 2011 #2

Deacon had basketball practice on Valentine's Day and I came up with the idea of making heart cookies for the kids on his team, and decorating each one with each kid's name and jersey number.

Of course I made the mistake of telling him that I was going to do this, so I had to follow through.

The cookies turned out pretty cute, and even though I was labeled an "over achieving mom with too much time on her hands" by some other parents, it was still fun to make them.

I excitedly asked Deacon how the kids had liked the cookies. He said they liked them. I pressed him a little further (sometimes he gives me way more info than I ever wanted, and sometimes it is like pulling teeth to get anything.) He finally stopped what he was doing, looked up at me and said, "Mom- you gave them cookies with their names and numbers on them. Who wouldn't like that?"

And he is right, you know, who wouldn't like that?

My friend asked me if I had made one for Noah.


Valentine 2011 #3

Speaking of Noah.

You know, I really married a sweet guy. My watch has had a dead battery for a couple of months. I depend on my watch a lot and it is quite annoying to me to not have it working and on my wrist. I have tried to take it a couple places but no one would replace the battery because it is a Fossil brand watch and needs to be replaced at the Fossil Store.

Anyway, on Valentine's Day Noah took it all the way to the far-away-difficult-to-get-to-with-four-kids-in-tow Fossil store and got my battery changed.

Yeah, Noah!

Tonight I was late getting home and I made him late for broomball.

I hate it when he is late and he makes me late.

He was nice to me anyway.

Sorry, I was late, Babe.

Thanks for loving me, anyway.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Bow

We have discovered that her bows stay in better if she has a little banana in her hair :)

Friday, February 11, 2011


I was going to post cute pictures of my children today, but instead you get a list of links- articles that I have read recently and found interesting!

This article is about adult picky eaters- who knew it could be a labeled disorder?

This one is about healthcare. I love this article, finally someone with some common sense!

Can money buy happiness? This study on Money and happiness was an interesting read.

Noah dropped this one in my inbox this morning, stating "I guess you were right again!" I have always told him that alcohol is dangerous and I would have less hours at the hospital without it! Well, that and the end of life issues from the above healthcare article- those two things do help keep hospitals in business, that is for sure!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Challenge

I hear a lot of the same things from people:

Questions about how many children we are going to have.

Why we are choosing to homeschool.

How busy our house must be.

But lately the statement I hear the most is: "I just don't know how you fit everything in".

And the truth of the matter is Octamom is right , no one gets it all done.

And I am always looking to be more efficient, to cut out the wasted time in my life.

Now, I am not talking about time to recharge- I am talking about time that I waste doing stupid things, things that don't matter in the long (or short) term for my life or for anyone elses.

But here is the thing. We all (whether we have no kids, 1 kid, 4 kids or 8 kids) have the same number of hours in our day. Yeah, some people may work a little more, some people may need more sleep etc., but not one of us has more or less hours than anyone else.

We just all choose to spend our time on different things.

I have been thinking about picking 2-3 days and keeping careful track of where my time is going and making sure it is lined up with my priorities.

Obviously, I will probably waste less time on those days since I know I am keeping track.

But that is ok, I think the exercise still has the potential to be eye opening.

I am planning to keep track of Monday (14th) and Tuesday (15th) next week and possibly Wednesday 9 (16th).

I will write a synopsis of what I found out about my time management on Thursday the 17th.

Anyone care to join me?

If you do, pick a day or two between now and next Thursday and jot out your life. Be ready to comment what you discover on my post next Thursday (or write it on your blog and I can link it).

I am looking forward to actually knowing what percentages of my life are being spent on what activities!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Overachieving Parent

Ha Ha

Bet you thought this was going to be a post about me, didn't you?

But it isn't.

Roman had a Valentine's Party today for his homeschool Kindergarten class. 2 weeks ago the teacher had set out a signup sheet for party items.

There were things like Valentines stickers, sprinkles for cookies, Valentines plates, napkins etc. Then there were was the big ticket item: Large cut-out heart cookies for 11 children- so that they could decorate them at the party.

And of course, all of the parents were signing up for the glitter, the sprinkles. All the stuff that requires no more attention than a trip to the store.

I looked at the list and the over-achiever parent in me (or at least the person that has had to be the one trying to get people to pitch in for events) felt compelled to sign up for the cookies.

But I didn't, resolving to come back at the end of class and sign up for them if no one else did. After all, maybe an under-achiever parent would decide that it was their time to step up. I didn't want to stand in their way.

So after class I came back and saw that someone had signed up for the cookies.

Of course it wasn't an under-achiever parent trying to jump into an over-achiever role, instead, it was:

The Ultra Over-Achiever Parent.

Well, not really- this is the woman that is so nice and helpful and would never dream of leaving an item like that for the teacher to handle. After all, her son is in the class, so if cookies they need, cookies she will make.

She doesn't do it for the glory. There is no glory in making a bunch of cookies for a bunch of Kindergartens and then anonymously dropping them off.

She does it for the teacher and the kids.

This woman also has 4 kids, teaches the 2 days at the co-op and works a 40 hour work week besides. She and her husband also homeschool their children.

So when I came back to the list, I felt bad.

I signed up for popcorn.

And I popped it myself.

Well, Noah did, anyway.

I talked to the cookie making mom at class this morning. She was fretting about the cookies because she had made normal ones, and then remembered that one little girl in the class is allergic to eggs. So she found a special eggless recipe and made the little girl her own special cookie- she was fretting because she was afraid she had messed up the recipe.


And that is why I say she is not just an Overachieving parent, she is a woman who cares about people- even if that means going the extra mile.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Sense of Humor (and the post where I may offend John Adams)

Well...I wrote this on Friday, but it never got published...

*we are a back from whirlwind trip to attend my Grandpa's funeral. Things went well, and now we are trying to get back into the swing of things. I think it will be a lazy day here. I am also holding out hope that the temps will indeed skyrocket and that the driveway will "shovel" itself*

I am having Deacon memorize the Presidents for school this spring. He also is expected to remember at least one thing that happened during each ones presidency, or something interesting about them. We are up to #10, and have been reviewing.

George Washington was easy, and he does pretty well with the two James. He latched onto Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren right away, and the fact that William Henry Harrison died a month after taking office was especially fascinating to him.

But that John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams are sticklers.

I have no idea what the hang up is- I mean they are no George Washington or Abe Lincoln, but they are also not exactly no-names like Chester Arthur or Benjamin Harrison.

None-the-less, he has trouble with them.

We were reviewing John Adams and he was supposed to draw a picture of something about J.A.

He drew the above.

When he finished he came to tell me about it.

"I drew one of those squirrel things".

"do you mean a scroll?"

"Yeah, I thought it looked like the Declaration of Independence."

"Did John Adams write the D of I?"

look of horror on his face

"No, he didn't! Now what am I supposed to do?"

he studied his picture for a moment and then smiled

"We could say he invented the skateboard!"

And then he laughed uproariously about his document that looked like a skateboard.

I am glad he can laugh at himself.

We settled on writing "Helped" above the picture because he did help,

and besides being "The Father of the Navy"- I couldn't really find anything else about him that

appealed to Deacon.

After all, he is no George Washington.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

From Day to Day

It's not always easy.

Last week I was sitting on the couch, nursing the 10 month old (sometime I will tell you about nursing a 10 month old).

At the same time I was watching Roman and Lincoln run around the living room while trying to teach them a Bible verse.

I was also loosely monitoring an interview that Deacon was conducting via telephone.

I just started laughing, the whole scene was just so ludicrous.

Most days, the second we walk in the door:

Berean is wailing. She wants some milk and her bed.

Lincoln can't unzip his coat and wants a drink.

Boots are flying.

Coats are flying.

Deacon wants to know our schedule for the next 2 weeks and when will he be 16.

Oh, and when can some of his work be shown to the public?

Roman is starving. His stomach hurts and when, oh, when, will it be 4:30?

When, oh, when, will Daddy be home?

Some days it is not easy.

Some days I have a sweet gig.

I think we are going on about 2 hours of independent play time.

I got home and nursed the baby. The boys disappeared into the basement. I laid Berean down for her nap, cleaned up the kitchen and put together chili for supper.

I called Noah and told him there was 20 things on my list today.

He hates that.

I told him it was 7 degrees outside.

I hate that.

My baby girl looked like she was dressed by a 2nd grade girl today.

2nd grade girls love that.

Still no boys.

They came up, fighting,

and hungry.

I laid some food on the table and washed 2 dishes.

I turned back around to find empty dishes and no children.

They are down playing in their imaginary world.

One is a puppy. One is Iron Man. There may be Jedi or legos involved.

We mix mediums over here.

I am eating gobstoppers and blogging.

I have a sweet gig.