Monday, November 30, 2009

It's all about priorities

I believe we are here for a purpose. I believe in intelligent design, not only in creation, but also in the everyday events. I believe in individual gifts and talents. I believe that God does not compare us to each other, he looks at his particular purpose for us. I believe it, but some days are harder than others to live it.

Personally, for me, my purpose is to be the best wife and mother possible right now. I didn't plan for any of these kids, but that does not matter. I have them so therefore it is my responsibility to be a mom.

But what does that really mean? Is it a spotless house? Is it wonderful meals? Is it the appearance of everything put together? Maybe partially. But really, if you take all of the responsibilities of this job and add up the time it takes to do them all it would probably add up to a 36 hour workday, oh, and you must always look great and have a smile on your face...don't yell at the kids, be available for whatever your husband needs help with and be a good friend....oh, and don't forget volunteering at church or other good causes....must I go on?

It is really easy for me to feel like a failure when I start comparing and seeing all of the great things other moms are doing. So, I'd rather get a laugh out of it.

This is what my house looks like currently:

Well hello there, Barbie...still here? Right in the middle of the entry way? Glad you combed your hair today.

I can preach constantly...Don't just put your shoes in a pile, put them in your room where they belong! And hang up your coat! Oh, wait....I see some of my shoes back there, too. Oops.

My kitchen table. This will be cleaned up yet. I should be cleaning it now, but this is more fun.

This is a stack of papers that has been sitting here for a week and a half. Each time I pass it, I think, "oh, I need to go through those.." but somehow it is still there.

Somebody's wings. And another pair of my shoes!!!! These are my Docs I got back in '96 or so. I just got them out again recently. I got my (Mom's) money out of those.

This is also a nice picture of the spots on my carpet.

Does anybody else get annoyed by half eaten apples? I didn't even see this one until after bedtime.

10:30 and the coffee pot is still on....just in case!

It's gonna be a long night......

I also have a message on my voicemail saying that I missed my dentist appointment today.

So, was today that bad? Well, it depends on how you look at it.

Today I got to :

  • See several beautiful pictures that the girls drew for me

  • Find new ways to make Max laugh

  • Listen to my 5 year old read to me

  • see my husband's encouraging smile, he even put his arm around my waist...little things like that can make a mommy's day!

  • Watched the girls race down the sidewalk as we walked around the block...Brookie was yelling "we will obey you, Mommy! You can still see me!"

  • Played an exciting game of charades...I love to see girls giggle.

  • Complete math word problems that my 6 year old begged me to do with her (even got us late to bed..hence, the dirty table)

  • Read our book- a chapter book by the fireplace. I didn't think they were listening, but it was about a picnic...

  • and then I got to listen to my 3 year old thank God for picnics.

Yes, it is all about priorities. Thank you God for all of the great things that happened in this dirty house.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


One of my favorite authors is Dr. Kevin Leman. He is a funny psychologist with practical solutions to parenting challenges.

One time I heard him in an interview talk about how each of his children had pet names that he called them and this made each child feel special.

My Mom did this. I was the ladybug.

So, each of my children have a "nickname".

Savannah is my butterfly. She is the oldest, determined, and, of course beautiful! (I think every parent should think their child is beautiful, so I am not bragging, just being a mom :) This reminds me of a butterfly. I have a little chant for her:

Hey butterfly, hey butterfly hey!
Hey butterfly, hey butterfly hey!
Hey butterfly
Spread out your wings and fly!

Summer is my daisy flower. I named her daisy, but she said that it should be daisy flower, so daisy flower it is. When she was about 8 months old, I remember going to the Rain Forest Cafe with our family. She was sitting in a high chair, and there was jungle music playing. I was busy with her sister, I didn't pay attention to Summer until I looked over and she was "dancing" back and forth in her high chair with a huge smile on. It reminded me of a toy I saw years ago that was a dancing daisy. So daisy stuck. Here is her chant.

Hey daisy, hey daisy hey!
Hey daisy, hey daisy hey!
Hey daisy
Open your petals and dance!

Brookie is my puppy dog. Her personality showed within the first hour she was born. I knew she would someone that loves people. As she grew, she continued to be so happy and want to be with me, just like a little puppy. As a baby, she would stick out her tongue each time she smiled. Yep, she's my puppy dog. Loves hugs and kisses, loves to talk and hang out together.

Hey puppy dog, hey puppy dog hey!
Hey puppy dog, hey puppy dog hey!
Hey puppy dog,
Come here and give me a hug!

Ellie is a rainbow. A rainbow is a sign of a promise from God. Ellie is a miracle! She is bright and sunny, fun and happy.

Hey rainbow, hey rainbow hey!
Hey rainbow, hey rainbow hey!
Hey rainbow,
Come shine your colors on me!

Max is my tiger. He is all boy, and loves it when I roar at him.

Hey tiger, hey tiger hey!
Hey tiger, hey tiger hey!
Hey tiger
Show me your biggest ROAR!

He smiles through the entire chant until I say ROAR! Then his eyes get very big, his legs kick, and his arms flap up and down for about 20 seconds, then he relaxes and smiles again.

Nicknames are very important to each of the girls. When they meet someone at the park, they introduce themselves and then tell the new kid their nicknames.

They love it when someone buys them something with a picture of their nickname.

They want birthday cakes with their nicknames on them.

I really think this makes them feel loved.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas traditions

Stuff, stuff, stuff! I really don't want anymore. Yeah, some people are cutting back due to the economy, but the main reason I want to cut back on gifts is because we don't need any more stuff!

I also don't want greedy kids that think they need any more stuff!

So, my family as a whole is re-thinking our holiday tradition of piling as many gifts as we can under the tree.

This week we started our Christmas season. A little Christmas music, enjoying watching a few Christmas lights go up this week in our neighborhood, and we bought some pretty Christmas tissues 'cause we need them anyway.

We also made a box for Operation Christmas Child. So, from now on, this will be our official "season opener" for Christmas: Packing a box for someone else. More traditions to come......

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


We spin for weekly "jobs". These include a nurse, a waitress, a meteorologist, and a few others, but the one everyone wants is the chef.

The chef gets to go grocery shopping with me and help cook.

Today we made granola.

I love my granola. It has all kinds of good stuff in it. Did you know that it is actually recommended to have oils daily? Good oils, of course.

I think the "new" food guide pyramid is great. It includes the healthy oils. My favorite granola has plenty of this. Fiber too.

It is also very easy for kids to help with...and if they help make it, they are more likely to try it.

Granola Cereal

4 cups quick oatmeal
2 cups raw wheat germ
1 cup hulled sunflower seeds
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup flaked coconut

1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup cooking oil
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. vanilla

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, blend together the remaining ingredients until smooth.

Spread on large baking tray and bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes. Cool before storing in an airtight container.

Yield: approx 1/2 gal. cereal.

I like it best on top of vanilla yogurt with frozen berries. My kids will eat this for breakfast or a snack. I just had some now. Good for you and yummy!

Monday, November 16, 2009


My attention span is horrible with some things....but with origami, I could spend hours on one project if it was necessary.

My kids will pick up on whatever I am excited about. We struggle with cleaning, but do great with origami.

I like it because:

It deals with geometry

It involves problem solving

Its a creation

It's a cheap toy and when the thrill is gone, you throw it away!

Today we made ladybugs and dogs. I found a website that has easy origami for kids for free.

They had fun. They named their dogs and pretend played with them.

I also have some animal print origami paper and made more complex animals with them. I did most of the work, but they enjoyed being a part of the creation and then played with them as well.

If you buy a package like that, though, you might want to check what language the instructions are in. There are pictures as well, but these instructions were not in English...made it a little harder!

I think it is kinda neat to show how a square can make 2 triangles and so forth. If you are just playing around or if you are trying to instruct a child, you can say things like:

"Show me how to make a red triangle."

"Now open up your paper, how many rectangles do you see?"

"Fold the paper in a diagonal to make a triangle."

"Line up your corners so you don't see any white, then crease the fold."

Look at all of the shapes you make...marvel at what folding a paper can do....have fun with the end result!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Brookie's Story

Today we wrote stories. We used the little paperback blank books- I've seen them at US toys and Mardel's. I'm sure any teacher store would have them.

Each one of them wrote a story. I'd like to share Brooke's.

Brooke is 3 1/2 and talks constantly. Really fun.

A worm, a ladybug, and a grasshopper did crawl, flew, and hop. There was a spider. We were there too. We were in town to see them.

We picked up the ladybug. Mommy picked it up becuase it is her nickname. Daddy's nickname is Country Bubba. (don't ask....) Summer's name is Daisy Flower, Savannah's nas is Butterfly. Ellie's name is Rainbow, and I am Puppy.

We had a puppy named Rosebud. Then there was Buddah. (She got this from Air Buddies.)There was 2 pet doggies. They were Buddah and Rosebud. (At this point I asked "What happened to the ladybugs?")The daddy ladybug, the mama ladybug, and the baby ladybug and the kid ladybug just flied.

("What happened to the worm?)The worm crawled to gymnastics to do a tuck. Then he crawled back with Natalie. (I have no idea who Natalie is.)Then they got a bat first and then they got a pumpkin. It was a pretend bat. It was Halloween.

("What happended to the grasshopper?") The grasshopper hopped back to IHOP.

The spider went somewhere to eat and make a spider web.

There was one more animal. A cow. And a pig and a horse. There was a baby pig and a mama pig. That what they are. There there were more horses. They were galloping.

Then the rocket ship got up in the air. It was pretend. The End.

We don't have a TV. But really, who needs a TV when you have a Brookie?


journal 003
Originally uploaded by Wendi S

All 4 girls have journals they write in. This is a habit I have tried to get in to...maybe I just should have typed it instead. Hopefully they will keep it up.

I think journals should be pretty (if you are a girl, at least).

If they can talk, they can journal. Even if it is just a few sentences about the day. Think of what they can learn with journaling! Remembering the day, sentences, sequencing, describing events, writing the day and date at the top...and much more.

I like to use a spinner for many things. We spin for which day of the week they will journal since there are FOUR of them and only one can write herself. It takes some time. I like to switch up the days since we do different things on different days.

They look forward to this. When I forget about it, they remind me.

This is what they write:

Monday, October 5

We made waffles for breakfast and pizza for lunch. Then we went shoe shopping. Then we went to Target. It wasn't night time. we got a cart. we went home. It was night time. The End
-Brookie, 3

Thursday, October 8
First we got up, go tdressed, made my bed, and ate breakfast. We drew pictures of rainbows. I drew a picture for Sheri because it was her birthday.

We pretended that we went to Hawaii beach and then went back to Shawnee. It was a long trip to Shawnee and the beach. When we picked up we said "tweek".

We went to gymnastics.We did candlesticks and handstands but Donovan was there. We went to the bookstore. Mommy left her purse and we went to get it. Then we went to McDonald's.
-Summer, 5

Thursday, October 22
We had breakfast. We had blueberry muffins. We got dressed. Then we went to Target, but Wendi forgot her wallet. we went to McDonald's for lunch. We cleaned the basement, got our tutus on, and went to gymnastics. I got a balloon. We went to Price Chopper. We got cupcakes, cheese sticks, and summer sausage. Then we went home and we ate summer sausage. The End.
-Ellie, 6

Monday, August 31
Today we had yogurt. This morning at breakfast we had yogurt with granola and berries. My favorite berry is a raspberry. And a blueberry.

Yesterday we were at Grandma's. We loved being there because there were kittens and cats. I like Pinky Pie and Ginger the best. Before we left, we had a drink named lemonade. It was pink. I was so good I drank it outside. It was yummy! Then we went home.

It's really fun to be home too. There are no dogs there.

Sometimes on the 4-wheeler both of the dogs chase us and they are going to go to where we go fishing and they go in the water and say "Let's go swimming!" They love to go there a lot.

One time I was outside sitting there where the dogs were. He (Grandpa) asked if I could go with him. I said "YES!". It was fun. Grandpa told me the dogs said "let's go swimming!" The End
-Savannah, 6

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Sketch Book

I love artsy stuff! I have always loved drawing, painting, pastels...anything to do with arts.

I met my friend, Sheri about 8 or 9 years ago..a real professional artist!! I was so excited, but I hid my enthusiasm so I wouldn't scare her away. :) I love hanging out with Sheri because we could talk for hours about something like crayons...the way they smell, our favorite colors, weather we peel the paper off or leave it on...

A couple years ago, she showed me her sketch book. What a privilege! I was so excited I started one of my own. Here are a few of my pictures.

About the same time I was involved in a small group in church that was studying a book called The Creative Call by Janice Elsheimer. I realized I had a yearning to be creative that I had stifled because I had come to the conclusion it was silly.

I need to read that book again.

This is one of my joys.

My kids draw daily. They have a sketch book, but we save that for only certain projects. They could go through it in a day if I let them. Go ahead, doodle with crayons, markers, colored pencils, whatever you like!

A word to the wise: if any of your children are not yet past the writing on walls stage, you might want to hold off on the oil pastels. Magic Eraser won't get it off!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

If Mama ain't happy...

It really isn't fair. But it's so true. If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

A short night, teeth cleaning this morning that left my mouth aching. Baby sick for the first time, (always terrifying), cleaning up messes...and then the horrible cycle of Mama's not happy, can't fill the love tanks of her kids and they become more needy, causing more work for Mama.

I remember yelling at the top of my lungs one time (not my finest hour), "When do I get to be in a bad mood?" When do I get to feel sorry for myself? When do I get a time out? Who is gonna calm me down when I am hurt? (BTW, you should have seen the look on my kid's faces when I said this. They went from meltdown to quiet confusion.)

Three thoughts:

1. This is my job. Get over yourself, Wendi. You signed up for this. You signed up blindly, but you signed up. Too late to back out now.

2. I need to do a better job of taking care of myself. Not because I deserve it, but because everyone will benefit from my joys.

3. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems. The only reason I can say this is because I trust in the almighty God, who has given me his promise, and he keeps his promises. So, who is going to take care of ME? Well, God of course. So I can give everything to help others and in turn I will get more grace.

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word...

Kids are people: Green stuff on your skin

For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay is a great book....not an easy read, but a great book. The book talks about a philosophy of learing developed by a woman named Charlotte Manson. This book will challenge the typical modern person's idea of education.

One of her main points is that "Children are born persons."

I like that. Not properties, not frustrations, not idiots. Persons. I think it sounds better to say "Kids are people." A conversation with Savannah reminded me of this novel idea.

Mommy: "What happens if you don't drink water?"

Savannah: "You will die."

Mommy: ....starts to continue with some point along the lines of your body needs water....

Savannah: (interrupting) "Mommy, if you don't drink water, you won't have any more green stuff on your skin.

Mommy:>>>>>at this point, Mommy has one of three options.<<<<<<<<<<

A. Say, "Don't inturrupt me!" and continue talking
B. Give Savannah a "that was weird" look, laugh, and continue talking
C. Say, "What green stuff are you talking about?

Thankfully, I was thinking clearly and chose C.

Summer: (seemingly knows exactly what "green stuff" her sister was talking about) "Yeah, Metu said there was green stuff in her arm......"

Mommy: Think, Wendi, think, think, THINK...oh yeah. Metu, their Grandma, had shown the veins in her wrist and explained that there was blood in them. And, well, they look green. And if you don't drink enough water, you won't have the water for your blood and the green stuff might go away. Hummm. "Good point, Savannah".

Treating kids like people lets you get a look into their minds...their bright, learning, minds. Well, I think that's part of the joys of being a mom.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


A few years ago, I was sitting in my MOPS the speaker was being introduced, disappointment came over me. We usually had great speakers that got me excited about motherhood, but I was certain this one would not measure up.

She was a home school mom. The perfect stereotype....jean jumper, bow hair, Birkenstocks. I knew this would be a waste of time. I was SO wrong! By the end of her speech, my idea of what homeschooling was completely changed. I was convinced that this was what we needed to do. There were 3 points that stuck with me.

1. Kids can learn by living real life experiences and conversation (not necessarily classroom style learning.)

2. Everyone can be a home educator...even if the kids are in or will go to a school somewhere.

3. It's okay for them to be bored. Actually, it's good for them to be bored...they need to find something to do themselves.

This morning was one of those mornings. I had a few things to take care of and just let the kids do what they will...(within the rules, of course).

I was pleasantly surprised to find they had all found things to do.

One was drawing pictures from a Draw Write Now book. It shows the child how to draw animals one step at a time, adding a few features each step.

The youngest was working on her fine motor skills, stringing beads.

Another was building with blocks.

And my scientist, the oldest was reading a science book and trying to plan a few experiments, which she did and then showed to the rest of the girls.

I have found that if I take the time to explain something with enthusiasm one or two times, they will join that enthusiasm on their own terms and learn much more than I could ever teach!

After lunch, we went to Ernie Miller Nature Center

There were a few bright colors amongst the browns of the dead leaves.

Lichens on old tree trunks

A stage where the girls put on a show for me :)

A snake...and I didn't even run away. The environment just made me want to sit and watch him for a while...........

A beautiful fall day!!