Thursday, July 29, 2010

Suddenly I Don't Care About My Nails

I have short fingers. I used to bite my nails, so they are not so pretty. I dig in the dirt alot and I don't like to wear gloves and painting, dishes, cleaning, and other mom jobs get them dirty, too. I don't choose to spend my money on professional maintenance. So I often look at my hands and think about how I such ugly they are and even worry about it sometimes.

This morning after I got up at sunrise and fed Max I went back to sleep and had a dream. I was on a boat that was a large flat board with a rounded tarp on top. I was with my family, Mom, and Mother-In-Law and surrounded by people that were not speaking English. We were fleeing the US but I didn't understand why. I just knew that it was very dangerous for my children and I asked why we didn't need passports and no one told me a good answer.

It was weird and completely fiction I hope but I was left with residual emotions of what is really important. I'm glad a dream can do that and not an actual event. So today my dirty house, the ants, my plants that did not thrive through the summer heat, and my hands- all that didn't bother me.

this was my devotion. coincidence?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Busy Mom Essential

I've said before how I love water bottles but these are great.  They are from Target, about 8 something a piece and really do keep water cold for 12 hours.

We use them at meals and in between wherever we go. The girls love them and are (most of the time) responsible enough to keep track of them and fill them when needed.

I don't have to get a drink every time someone is thirsty or wash dozens of cups a day- and they have water readily available. Now cold water even when they don't put them in the fridge.

Anything that makes my life easier gets a big thumbs up from me!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why I Love Homeschooling #5


Half of the time can be spent in the "classroom"- I mean, outdoors just talking about what we saw.

I have the privilege of growing up in the country where you can find something new every day. My parents welcome us most any time. Beautiful. Breathtaking. Peaceful. Full of nature. All we need to do is look and talk. Ask questions. Wonder.

"Mama, look! There is a huge bullfrog in the patio!"
"Are you sure it's a bullfrog?"
"Yes, it's huge!
"Let's go look."
"Oh, it is huge, but it is a toad."
"How do you know, Mama?"
"What does it's skin look like?"

Toads, toads everywhere. We are not sure where they come from but the patio was full of them from tinier than my pinkie fingernail to larger than my fist. They caught over 20, I'm sure.

Later that day all 4 girls ran screaming, out of breath, "I caught the big one! I caught the big one!"

They were relocated in a more appropriate place.

"Look at the tree we planted last year. How has it changed?"

"Here is a cicada shell. Mama! I remember the cicada we saw last year that was coming out of it's shell."

The Berenstain Bears Blaze a Trail"Can we Blaze a Trail?

(Yes, tiarras are allowed when trail blazin')

"Look at the sky! What's your favorite color?"

(GASP!) "There is an opossum on the deck eating the cat's food! What is it doing here during the day?"

"This tree has 16 rings on it."

"Look out the widow! There are one hundred thousand birds outside!"

"Wook at my fish! Max, do you want to touch my fish? Wook! He touched it, he wikes it!"

Even Max loves the outdoors.

This is my home school bible. I go back to it when I need encouragement or wisdom. It talks about the importance of nature. I love it because I agreed with it before I even read it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Art Bag

Like I said, our school will be starting soon and I was thinking of what I could do for Brookie (4) to keep her occupied when we are doing "older kids" stuff.

It's funny how we change with the number of kids. With Savannah I would have worked on including her as much as possible to enrich her inquisitive mind but that doesn't work with Brooke and I'm not willing to fight it.

She loves art. She is very messy about it, too. I could put a huge canvas outside and give her paint and she would spend all day on it. And it would probably end up completely brown because she just doesn't want to stop so she just keeps adding colors, mixing them one after another until they end up an ugly brown. Her buttons would probably burst with pride.

I found this cute art bag at Hobby Lobby and impulsively bought it (30% off, what can I say?) I used the list from this art Mom, and added a few more things (more impulsive buys). Totally worth it.

This is what it looks like when she organizes it....

Her sisters help, too.

I think the glue stick is her favorite thing...the kind that comes off purple. She doesn't use it to glue anything, just to color with it.

Check out the fancy bracelet she made for Daddy. He put it on without flinching. What a guy!;-)

As long as we can keep Max away, I think it might just work.

So Here's The Thing...

Okay, I am torn in so many directions right now. School will be starting for us in 2 weeks (and I'm not ready...and I won't be!) Ellie will come in less than a week, I have a list of projects that need to get done, my son is in a "quality time" phase, or maybe it's not a phase. All of my children love personal time and they need to eat, too. And clean clothes to wear. We currently are in a panty crisis.

I have so many things I would like to add to our lives- trips, curriculum, experiences, conveniences. This costs money!!! My wonderful husband provides well for our everyday living but honestly (don't tell anyone) I want more :)

More to give, experience, learn, create more time for those I love.....

and to get rid of this nasty carpet.

Sooooo, I've had some children's books that I've written and one illustrated for a few years now and I have this strong urge to try and do something with them, and an equally strong urge to forget it. Any time we start a new job or try something new it just takes trials and time. Am I up for this? Do I self publish? How would I market effectively? If I can't even keep up with the underwear in this house, how do I pile on more? I have books to gain knowledge but I haven't had the time to read them!

But did I mention that I love writing and illustrating? It would be a dream job for me. But I'm just a novice at both. Sigh.

Therefore, if you read this and believe in the power of prayer as I do, please ask the good Lord to bless me with wisdom and opportunity. All great things in my life has happened by following God's leading so whatever happens I'll be okay. Thank you, dear friends.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Weight Is Lifting!

I don't handle stress well.

So if God promises me joy, I want it.

worries  insecurities   fears  
money problems   anger  
 hopelessness   depression  

The weight is lifting now!

"Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened unto you."
- Matthew 7:7

I am asking for a worry free, joyous life despite my circumstances. The weight is lifting.

My pastor spoke on how God's love is unconditional but his promises are conditional. If you don't work, you won't have what you need. That is conditional. If you don't come to God and fellowship with him, he will not be able to bless you as he intends to!

God's blessings take faith and discipline. I don't mean I have to jump through hoops to get God to notice me- I mean that he has given me the way to a fulfilling life because he knows how things work so I should listen and learn from the expert, right?

I'm making the effort to listen and obey more. It is working! The weight is lifting!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Few More of My Favorite Things

Since I am not very organized and have overbooked myself every single day, I have to use my strength (creativity) to find ways to make it.

Prayer is no. 1. Days where I ask God for directions always go smoother and not to my glory, believe me.

A coffee shop with a play area. 20 minutes to read a devotional and plan the day. It works way better for me if I am out of the house.

Jelly Telly and What's In The Bible with Buck Denver. One of my goals for last year was to lay out a time line of biblical events so we could understand the Bible better. Phil Vischer made my life so much easier by creating these programs.

IXL Math- This works for us. I don't need to print off dozens of worksheets or buy books, we've got it covered here.
Giggle Learn- Love this.

A family membership to children's museums. We have one for Wonderscope. If you get the bigger package, you can also get free admission at other children's museums like Exploration Place, the Magic House, and Science City. This is well worth the money!

Zoo passes are great, too. Again, worth the money and you can visit a less amount of exhibits and just enjoy without feeling guilty.

YMCA family memberships. I find this as a great value, since childcare is not extra. We can go to any YMCA in the KC area and they try to find the best deal for you. I get a break from the kids but they are still right there, and I get a little hit of endorphins. Some also have indoor pools so we will be taking advantage of that this fall!

Get involved in a church! Many opportunities and blessings come from a church family. Again, they have childcare (YAAAAAY!) While I have my spirit refreshed. My church is Grace Christian Fellowship.

It is no secret that there is not a mother out there that does not get overwhelmed, tired, frustrated, mad, and cannot possibly be everything to everyone that needs her so....why not stop trying to be a super mom and take a break when you can? It took one whole year of homeschooling to figure this out. I hope this year will be an improvement!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things: Plants, Plants, Stickers, Plants

If you read one of my previous posts about friends I mentioned how friends enrich my life. Sheri So is one of those people. We are like two little girls giggling and full of excitement over anything pretty. 

One of our favorite stores is Family Tree Nursery. If you live in the KC area, you must go here! We made a date and went yesterday, Starbucks in hand. I love all plants...and even though I promised I would not buy any more perennials, I lied. My favorite, though? Succulents. I want one of each. I let Brooke and Summer each pick one out because they endured my addiction for way too long, and it meant more succulents in my house.

We made a terrarium. I've been wanting to do this for years and finally had the resources all at the right time. I still want to do more, though.
It had to be pink. One of my tactics to get the girls excited about it. I don't care about the color of the sand, though. I just want the succulents. It will look great in our bright blue play room!
I love the layers.

And if you were a little bug inside, like the one I picked off of my jade, you might see this.....

I know I said that Sook is lacking in romantic gestures, but look what he brought home today!
(the roses)
I can count less than my ten fingers how many times I've gotten flowers from him. He even commented on the color..."pink is good, right?"  What a great day!

Oh! and the Lucky Bamboo is one of my new purchases, too. The little balls in the jar were teeny tiny and grew when I put them in water...Sheri had given me a few and I couldn't wait to use them on a new bamboo.
Please ignore my messy kitchen! Blogging is much more fun than cleaning....

Check out my fun stickers that were gifts to! We know each other so well :)
Flowers and Ladybugs....

I have a burn from planting my flowers now. Oh, so fun. Sharing plants that need to be thinned, finding little seeds to try and plant next year...ooooh! I found some balloon plant seeds! I am exhausted from my favorite things. Good night!

Thoughts From the Bathtub- And Some Other Thoughts

I took a bath in our hotel room the other day. I haven't taken a bath in years. It was very nice. I could hear the kids fighting in the other room and I didn't have the urge to do anything about it. A few minutes later I could hear Sook giving the girls a slop drop on the king sized bed we squeezed into. It was nice.

When I grew up we had one bathroom with one bathtub. I didn't know how to take a shower until high school....I had taken one with the curtain hanging on the outside of the tub and water was all over the floor. I know, I'm a genius. But at least I did figure out the right way to shower from then on!

I remember working in the hog barns, with the whole family. Every so often we would have to clean them out with a power washer. You can't imagine where I would find dirt- and the smell! I would run to the house the second I had permission, trying to be the first in the tub.

Having dirty jobs at a young age makes you thankful for any other job that follows. It could only get better!

We only had 5 channels on the TV, I believe. No remote control. I don't feel robbed in any way.

The Berenstain Bears and Too Much TV (First Time Books(R))Now we don't have a TV. I don't miss it. The neighbor girl came over the other day while we were watching America's Funnies Home Videos on the Internet. She bragged, "We have a REAL TV at our house!" My girls didn't even flinch. They know too much TV is a bad idea. We can thank the Berenstain Bears for that.

My husband is all for the no TV thing too! He says we could be doing other things that are more productive. It is amazing how I still feel busy. When would I have time for TV?

As different as my husband and I would seem, we are very similar. I also had pho the other day. I have not had it in a while. It is so good! I do love (most of) the differences that my husband and I have. He has introduced delicious new foods to my palate, brought a new perspective to my thoughts, and, well, I just like people that are different...somewhat different, that is. Even though we were born on opposite ends of the earth we are still people, and people can still be similar. We are both quiet "thinkers", tend to be artistic in one way or another, and love family.

He made me laugh the other day when he said he worked hard to be able to marry an American woman. It was quite funny because he appeared to put little effort in dating. He is lacking in the romantic gestures. When he explained himself, though, I realized that he was right. From early on he worked on learning how American people think, act, how their sense of humor works, what their priorities are and so forth. That was quite flattering to me that I was the product of years of training for him!

Most of our arguments can be linked back to misunderstanding in communication. Not that he doesn't speak English well, but how things are phrased or where the perspective is coming from. Even after years of living among Americans, his Laotian roots still play a part in this relationship. But I always say each household is a different "mini-culture" so maybe it doesn't have anything to do with the color of our skin or our first language???

People are just so interesting. I was taking a bath to get ready for a wedding. The best weddings are the ones that show the couple's unique personality, and not trying to outdo anyone by doing what they think others will like. Sarah and Ken's wedding was beautiful- and unique to them .

I could ramble on but I think it would be just rambling, then!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Friends and Family: A few (or more) thoughts on the subject

Funny when you need some character improvements how God uses other people to speak. Usually there is a common theme in my thoughts, trials, conversations, and so on and finally I get the hint and say, "OK God, I get it! I need to do a little better in this area."

People are important. Family and friends, in particular.

God is my rock, but he gives us people to help us along the way and people that need my help. Family is a group of people that I didn't get to choose, for the most part, that God says, "You are a team. Love each other, help each other, make each other a priority and serve each other.....even if you don't like each other."

I really have not "gotten" this until recently. Isn't family a tough subject? Some family can be easy to love but others that are not so easy for various reasons. I'm sure anyone can relate. Or maybe they just don't like me! I have to thank the Suderman's for being an example of a loving family for me! God has used them, a family that has many different members, some have been harder for me to connect with than others, but all in all, we are family!

For Christmas one year, my Dad got a package to drive at the Kansas Speedway. A few circles around the race track on Easter weekend. Despite the freezing weather people from all over the country gave up a day or two to come watch and experience this together. That is the kind of family we are, as different as we are. There is a feeling of belonging and security in a loving family.

So, if you are my sister, brother, mom, dad, in-law, niece, step anything, (even my husband), uncle, aunt, or cousin. God has said that I should love you and serve you...even if I don't like you (lol) or you don't like me! (By the way- all of my family has something about them that I enjoy. If we focus on these things and not our disagreements life be a little less stressful.)

I want my immediate family to learn this. Even if there is a time you can't stand to look at each other, you must get over it and love each other until you DIE. That's right. Sacrifice for each other even if you can't stand to be in the same room. That's when we need to ask for Grace!

This lesson took a long time for me to learn, too. My church is my family! They should be treated that way as well. I'm still working on all of this....

Friends, we get to choose. I have been blessed with great people that are not relation to me. Some are close...well, as close as you can be when you have a houseful of kids. Some I consider close even though we don't see each other often. I just know I can count on them and they can count on me when needed, and I love them dearly. Friends have enriched my life beyond what I can describe. Some are "friends" that I am not so close to but would love to be if life ever gave me the opportunity.

Two lessons I've learned:

1. Don't take your friends for granted. Make time for them. They are more important than things, a clean house, TV, or whatever else may take up time. True friends will come over even if you didn't clean up the dishes or laundry. They won't judge you based on if you put your make up on or bought the right clothes. I fear that I have not been as good as a friend as some have been to me. I thank those whom have given me grace when I need it.

2. Some "friends' aren't, and don't need to take up precious time and energy. They can suck the life out of you and break you down for their own enjoyment. They need to be dumped to go live in their own misery...and maybe say a little prayer for them. I have too many family and friends that God has told me I must love to spend it on someone he did not intend for me. I am not saying that they don't need a friend and are not important to God, but going outside of God's plan for us just distracts us from his great plan for our lives!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Nature's Playground

Whenever I say we are going to a park the kids think that means a playground park. Not all parks are alike. Today we went to a nature park with a natural playground.

First time around, the older girls ran ahead while Brookie lagged behind and climbed rocks.

A chipmunk watches Summer eat her snack.

He was not giving up easily.

The second time around the other girls realized how much fun the rock climbing was!

Climbing, climbing, climbing, then sliding down!

Pretend hoarse ride

Max had fun, too.
Playground equipment not needed.