Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

   2014 is here!!!  How many of us have already made New Year's resolutions?  I don't really like the idea of a new years resolution simply because if there is something you know you ought to be doing, why put it off for a specific date just because its "the thing to do"?  But at the same time, I can also see the New Year as a fresh start.  I like making a daily goal for myself.  I don't always get those goals done, seeing as how my three little ones have a tendency to rearrange my schedule at times.  :)  I've learned that being a mother of young children, you HAVE to have a somewhat flexible schedule.  But, if I don't have an idea every day of what I need to try to accomplish, I get nothing at all done.  I just run in circles and it seems as if I'm just "stirring" everything around.  You know, wash the dishes, then as I'm tossing the dirty dish rag into the washing machine, I grab a basket of clothes and begin to fold them.  I go to put a stack of folded clothes in the drawer when someone suddenly needs a new diaper.  Its then, while in the bathroom, I notice the shower needs cleaned.  20 minutes later, after putting away the cleaner, I peek in on the kids playing in the living room.  I stop to pick up a few stray toys.  On my way into the kitchen again, I smell the trash and proceed to take the horrible bag outside to the barrel.  On my way back in, I remember that I hadn't taken any meat out of the freezer for supper.  As I set it on the counter, I ......  You get the idea.  Just "stirring" things around and not accomplishing anything in the long run.  I really do hate that!  I like to have a goal, and then at the end of the day look back with a sense of accomplishment at a job completed and done well.  Many times, after a day of stirring things around, I get so disgusted with myself that I make a "resolution".  I decide that TOMORROW I will do much better, and I begin to make out a new plan for the next day with renewed resolve to get it done.  
The courthouse on our town square.
    I also like to make a "chore list" for a new year.  When you have some real goals in mind, its easier to stick with them rather than just playing it by ear to see if you can fit everything in around the things you'd rather do instead.  Well, I've made some goals for myself for the year 2014!  
   First of all, I plan to start Christian in "school".  Well, not REAL school. :)  We're just going to work on some basics.  We're going to get his letters and numbers down, learn to tell time on a clock, maybe start some basic piano lessons from either myself or Andy.  We've been learning how to rhyme words already and Christian loves it.  I get so tickled!  I try to make a game out of it where we think of little words that rhyme and try to make a story out of them, such as, "The fat cat in the flat hat chased the rat to the mat with a bat and then sat."  Oh Christian LOVES it!  While we are listing off words that rhyme, Audra, wanting to get involved will holler, "FROG" every so often.  I guess I need to work with her as well on her rhyming skills.  It's always "frog" no matter what we're rhyming.  :)  You know, frog is a hard one to rhyme.  There are not a whole lot of words that have that sound.  Maybe she's smarter than I giver her credit for.  Forget cat, hat, rat, mat....try frog, .......hog,........log,.....whew!  :)  
   I also want to start Christian on some chores.  He loves to have a job to do and most of the time does it quite well (another thing we are instilling in our children-When you do a job, do it well, and don't make someone have to come behind you to clean up after you or correct it).  Christian now washes dishes very well, and can even vacuum the floor so well I hardly ever have to go over it when he's done. And he's so happy when he's working!  Its good for a child to have a job to do!  It makes them feel useful and needed.  It also helps them grow up.  Work ethic these days stinks!   I want my children to be hard workers and very efficient.  I tell Christian that he's a young man and that I expect him to act like one.  And he does...most of the time.  I believe that if you treat a child like a baby, he's going to act like a baby.  If you treat him like a young man or young lady at an early age, then they will act like that and will be "grown up in their youth". 
   Anyway, school for Christian.  And potty training for Audra.  Along with helping her speak clearly.  I'm a firm believer in helping a child speak correctly and clearly.  I understand some children take a little longer and some have legitimate issues that need more specific attention.   But for the most part, if worked with and lovingly corrected, I believe a child can learn to speak clearly and properly at a very young age.  Older siblings have a tendency to speak and fill in for the younger ones in the family, and parents do the same thing.  Andy and I have always tried to gently correct Christian when he mispronounces a word, or gets a word or phrase out of context.  He learns so fast and at three years old, speaks very clearly.  I now catch him "teaching" Audra how to say words right.  She's a year and a half and can usually tell me what she wants in so many understandable words.  She's got a ways to go, but....well, that's my goal for this year.  By the time she's two in April, I hope to have her combining words into clear sentences.  She is beginning to take an interest in books so that will help.  I'm also a firm believer in getting books into a child's hand and also reading them to the child.  I know it helps their speaking and understanding skills!
Christian vacuuming
   A goal for myself?  Exercise and get off those last few baby pounds!  But isn't that one such a common New Year's resolution?  :)  And a few other pretty common goals, like getting that horrible storage room cleaned out and organized!  And going through closets and getting rid of things we never use, or are out grown, or broken.  But I do have a few other goals.  I plan on getting on a better daily schedule, like getting up earlier, taking more time every day for each one of my children and my husband, being sure I get my daily chores accomplished instead of staying in the habit of stirring them every day.  I plan on doing more for other people and getting my children involved in it as well.  They learn by example so that means it has to start with me if they are to learn to be generous.  I plan to read more and exercise my brain.  Books are quickly becoming a thing of the past with this new generation coming up!  Your children will love what you love for the most part.  If you read and encourage them to read, most likely they will love it as well.  
   And lastly but not least, I plan on serving the Lord to the best of my ability this year!  He's blessed me and given me more than my hearts desire!  I feel at times that "life" bogs me down, hinders me from doing more for Him.  But, I've come to realize that I am doing exactly what He wants me to do by pouring myself into my children and trying to raise them to love and serve Him.  Motherhood is my job right now.  My calling.  Everything else is extra.  And when those little extras come my way, I thank the Lord for the added opportunity to serve Him and I try to do the job to the best of my ability.  I pray that I will do a better job of being a wife and mother next year than I was in 2013.  I pray that, with the Lord's help, I will look back at the end of 2014 and be able to scratch a few more things from my "chore list".   

    Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might!                                                 Ecclesiastes 9:10


Monday, December 30, 2013

Our Family Christmas

     Wow!  Its hard to believe that Christmas has already come and gone!  Can you believe its actually 2014???  I was thinking the other day about something that had happened when I was 15 years old.  Then it hit me like a ton of bricks!  THAT WAS 16 YEARS AGO!!!!!!!  Why is it that time goes by so much faster the older you get?  I still feel like a kid at times, but then I realize that those days are many many years in the past.  Ok, I'm feeling old right now...  Want to know how old you are really getting?  Just take a picture of yourself, then dig out one of your wedding pictures and lay the two side by side.  Lets get off that depressing thought before I tear up!  At least I'm not as fat as I was on my wedding day.  :)   

  Andy the the kids had the ear infections and the stomach flu on Christmas.   Our Christmas dinner ended up being fruit smoothies instead of ham and mashed potatoes!  :)  We pulled a mattress out to the living room floor for the sickest ones while we opened presents.  It was still a fun time.  I love the gift giving part of Christmas more than ever now that we have children.  Watching the joy on my children's faces as they open their presents bring such love and joy to my own heart.   As I looked around at my family on Christmas, I fought back tears of thankfulness.  I am truly blessed!!!  I love my husband and my three children more than anything in this world.  God has been so good to me.

    We had a good trip to TN at the beginning of the month.  It was so nice seeing folks at our home church again!   We also got to spend an early Christmas with Andy's family.  We spent one day that week in McMinnville to visit with some of our old church members there.  I had a good cry at the cemetery as we visited Rebekah's grave.  I've really been missing her since Wesley was born.  Maybe its the infant stage that's bringing back all the memories.  Maybes its his dark blue eyes.  I don't really know.  I just think about her when I look at Wesley.  He looked so much like her at birth!  I do miss Rebekah and I guess I always will.  God's ways are not our own.  We can only trust Him to know and do what is best for us.  I do thank God for giving me three more beautiful children to take her place.  When you lose one, though, you learn to NEVER take the rest for granted.  They become so much more precious than ever before!  The little cemetery where Rebekah is buried is full of infants!  About 60 stones right around Rebekah's grave mark the place where another mother and father laid their own baby to rest.  One mother lost four of her small children within days of each other...one on Christmas Eve, one on Christmas days and the other two a couple days later, the year the Black Plague swept through.  I love walking through a cemetery reading stones.  It can be very eye opening. Each one tells a story.  As you think about the dates those people lived, you can sometimes guess how they were killed.  Some were buried during the civil war.  Some, like those four babies, died during plaques or other hard times that they faced during those years.  You can almost imagine what happened!  I always thought cemeteries were for old folks.  I was shocked at the number of infants buried beside Rebekah on that little tree covered hill!  Life is short!  And you never know when yours will be over.  I heard a preacher once say that the dash on a tombstone between the birthdate and the date of death represents our life.  Its just a short dash that we live on this earth.  What are you doing with your dash? 

   God has been very very good to me!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Wesley with "The Bear"

   Each one of my children have had their picture taken with this big brown bear. Its kinda' special. It was given to Rebekah by the photographer who took her pictures in the hospital before she died.  Somehow, it became a tradition for each of the babies since to get a picture with the bear.  So, now its Wesley's turn.  He smiles more than any of the others at this age.  I just love it when his little round face lights up with a big grin.  It melts my heart!  :)

I couldn't help but add this one!  Why is the "bottom lip" so adorable at this age?

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

   We got about 8 inches of snow over the past week.  Andy took the kids out to play in it one day.  Christian enjoyed himself, but Audra was so bundled she could hardly walk, much less hop around and play in the snow.  :)  She wasn't real sure about the snow to begin with, being too young to remember it last year.  I love snow!  I don't really enjoy driving in it, but seeing it falling, "hearing" the silence a blanket of snow creates, and feeling it crunch beneath my feet.  There's something fascinating about it all.  An "awesome" wonder in knowing that each and every one of those tiny pieces of ice falling from the sky is different from another.  It truly shows the handiwork of God. 

Little purple Eskimo!

The Courthouse in Liberty.  Beautiful, isn't it?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Random Pictures

   I took a few pictures of the kids today for family.  For once, they all cooperated pretty well for my camera!  Boy, its difficult to get them all to look in the same direction and smile at the same time!  :)