Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tometimes you get mad...

The other night, I had the privilege of just spending time with my "Littles" aka the Blossom Buds.  We were getting snacks in the kitchen.  Baby Blossom was sitting in her high chair enjoying some peanut butter and crackers and Blossom3 was chit-chatting with me at the island. 

"Oops, sorry, Baby Blossom.  Mommy didn't mean to scratch your hand." 

Blossom3 commented, "Mama, I yike when you talk yike dat." 

I didn't quite catch her meaning, plus she's a bit congested, which has been making it even more difficult to understand her cute "baby" language.  I responded with an, "Oh ya?" 

"Ya, tometimes, you get mad." 

I gotcha.  A very convicted Mommy realized how important tone of voice is to our Blossoms.  Blossom3 knew the difference.  I know the Word talks about a soft answer, and all of my Mommy friends know the difference between their I'm-a-rested-tender-Mommy voice and the harried-please-don't-ask-me-another-question voice. 

It was humbling.  I responded to Blossom3, "I'm sorry, Honey.  Mommy is still growing up." 

Of course, she's sharp and expressed that how could I still be growing, when Daddy said he's done growing?  I loved that the conversation led into a time where I could explain that our grown-up bodies are done growing, but God wants are spirits to always be growing.  ("Where my 'pirit, Mama?")  Our spirits are the parts that love God.  Yes, God is still changing me and working in me.  I'm growing in patience every day.  And I'm thankful that even a little child can lead me. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


I always find it encouraging being with my sisters in Christ.  I get little morsels, little reminders, that God uses to direct my heart and thoughts, even when I'm not conscious of it.

One sister in the Lord mentioned that the Lord was reviewing abiding in Christ with her.  Yesterday I found a song in my heart and a prayer on my lips many times.  Her words had been a good reminder for me.

Another sister is having a hard time and it reminded me to be thankful for my imperfect husband.  He's wonderful, but he's human. (So am I.  Somehow, we often forget that fact when we focus on our husband's imperfections.)  Gratitude can put so many things in perspective.

When I spoke with another sister in Christ, we both realized how the internet has changed over the years.  It was easier to be disciplined when dial-up required an alotted time... and then you just got off.  Wi-Fi, being always on, has blurred the lines.  All info is right there and most of us have no idea how much time we're actually spending on it.  It makes me go back to my parents' rule from when we were kids.  You don't read anything or watch anything until you've read your Bible first.  It's simplifying the priorities of what goes into you.  Just thought you'd like to chew on those morsels too.  Be blessed!

Monday, March 24, 2014


Things worked out today so that we forewent naptime and visited the library instead.  It's not something we'll be doing regularly, based on how the "little Blossoms" (the Buds?) responded.  It was harder for Blossom3 to listen to and obey Mommy and Baby Blossom was screeching out protests about everything all evening.  Yes, I reassured myself, I am glad we rarely do that.  Still, there was pristine silence in the house for at least an hour this evening due to the fact that there are scads of new books to read.  However, I think I'm veering away from the intended subject of this post.  Back to this afternoon -

There I sat, in my I-can't-believe-I-skipped-naptime-fog, reading up on 3rd Grade Achievement/Assessment Testing, during Blossom1's piano lesson.  Her piano teacher rounded the corner and asked me if I'd like Blossom1 to go through a Hymn Book to learn hymns. 

"A him book?" I responded with what was probably an empty, foggy look.  Honestly, I was feeling so drowsy, I was having trouble focusing!

Of course, our piano teacher went on to say that maybe I wanted Blossom1 to learn some of the hymns from church.

Bingo.  I was finally on the same page as her.  (Don't laugh!)  My brain went from foggy to fantastically excited in one second!  Hymns!!!!!!!!!!!!  :)  (As they say in this modern language - I heart hymns!)

And, we got the new piano book home and Blossom1 promptly sat down to meander her way through a smattering of new songs. 

I was in the kitchen, tending smoky fried potatoes, a screeching baby and water that didn't want to boil (because I was watching it, of course).  But when those strains of Amazing Grace and Holy Bible, Book Divine wafted to me, they rested me.  Those words... oh, those words!  The lyrics chock-full of rich doctrine and decadent thanks for salvation and the things of God... they just resonated in my spirit.  And, I thought, "This must be one of the ways a daughter brings blessing to me and to us." 

I am so looking forward to more of this. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Double-Teaming and Doing What Needs Done

Due to a concept called "Double-Teaming," some mornings just don't go as planned.  I'm not talking about sports either.  I'm talking about that mysterious phenomenon that causes small children to awake at exactly alternating times of the night.  And stay awake.  For a while.  'Cause their head hurts.  Or they can't sleep.  Or something like that.  So, sometimes this Mommy just takes sleep whenever she can get it. 

<Newsflash:  Mommies have to be able to function.>

I rolled over at 7:45am and was greeted by two more smiling Blossoms (aside from the Baby Blossom and Blossom3 that were already in my bed), and I reluctantly met the day. 

"We have a surprise for you, Mommy!"

Like little elves, they'd been busy.  They had set the table, prepared breakfast, folded the last load of wash that I hadn't been able to tackle last night and fed all the animals. 

Now THAT'S the way to start the day.  This Mommy heart was overflowing with gratitude.  I'm pretty sure I have the best Blossoms ever

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

8 Ways To Keep Baby Hydrated When Sick

As a result of a nasty thing known as a stomach bug, I learned a few things about keeping babies hydrated.  Baby Blossom is 10 mos old, was throwing up and had diarrhea, just so you have a little background info.  I thought I'd share a few things that worked for us.

#1 - Nurse, Nurse, Nurse
My babies have always loved the comfort of nursing when they are sick.  I give 'em as much as they want when they want (which is really no different from what I do when they aren't sick.)  But, to say, Nurse, Nurse, Nurse, is really to say, Hydrate Yourself, Hydrate Yourself, Hydrate Yourself, which brings me to the next point. 

#2 - Drink Water In Front of Them
Baby Blossom was way more interested in drinking what I had, than what was in her sippy cup.  I just wanted fluids in her!  So, I set the example.  I drank lots of water!  I don't know what to tell you if you're squeamish about your baby drinking after you.  I just know that I was ready to do whatever I could to get her drink, including letting her drink out of my cup. 

#3 - Flavor Your Water
I tried making my own Pedialyte, since many moms have great success with this.  She didn't like it.  My children are used to water all the time, so to her, it tasted gross.  (It has a mild, salty taste somewhat similar to Gatorade.)  What worked for me was putting ice and a very small splash of 100% juice into her water.  She liked the slight change of pace.  I did NOT go overboard with the juice because I didn't want it to add to her diarrhea. (It didn't.)

#4 - Straws
I used the straw like a little siphon and siphoned into her mouth.  It's similar to using a dropper, which was actually next on my list to try, though I never got around to it.  (My straw theories worked!)  I think a dropper would work very well for a younger baby.  If your baby is a little older, try some fun curlicue straws.  The Dollar Store usually has them for cheap. 

#5 - Ice Popsicles or Very Large Ice Cubes
I dug out my beloved summer Popsicle molds, put in a very small splash of 100% juice and filled them the rest of the way up with water.  Baby Blossom sucked on them.  My older children actually asked for these when they were tired of me pestering them to drink water. 

#6 - Wet Wash Cloths or Wash Cloth with a Very Large Ice Cube
Baby Blossom was happy to suck on a clean, wet wash cloth.  I also inserted a very large ice cube in it.  (She was fully supervised.)  More fluids down that little throat!

#7 - Make a Game Out of It
Grandma came over and true to form, teased Baby Blossom into downing several ounces of H2O.  She simply grabbed Baby Blossom's sippy cup, pretended to take a drink, giggled and handed it back to Baby Blossom, who quickly snagged it and took a swig.  Can't have Grandma drinking all your fluids, can ya??!!!

#8 - Novelty Cup
This is my most successful point of all.  I filled a plastic cup with a sturdy straw and set it down on the floor.  She crawled over to it and drank and drank and drank.  I was shouting HALLELUJAH! 

I kept a sharp eye on the number of wet diapers she had in a day.  This is something to watch with babies.  Using that Novelty Cup was a huge lifesaver for me, but mostly it was a combination of ALL the points that kept her hydrated.  It was full-time job, just nursing and thinking up ways to get more fluids in her, but it worked.  I'm so thankful for the Lord's hand upon us during that. 

(See your doctor if your baby is getting dehydrated.  I'm not a doctor, just a mother of four trying to share what worked for us.) 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Routine and Restraint

Last week, Baby Blossom came down with a stomach bug, which hit the rest of us too.  I suppose it was a minor bug, but it still created 13+ loads of wash.

(9 loads down, still more to go...)

I'm thankful that we're back to normal.  Life was all "hickly-pickly," as my Amish cashier friend would say.  As a result, I observed that the Blossoms were struggling to obey today.

"Pay attention to your work."
No attempt to obey.

"Stop talking to your sister."
Babble, babble, babble.

 Daddy pointed out that days on end without restraint really affects their obedience level.  It seems like routine is very much of their restraint.  It's like the boundaries.  When it's cast off, every blossom does what is right in her own eyes.  So, it's back to the routine for us.  The Rugged, Mountain Man affectionately tells people that Mommy runs this place like the military.  I like that description. We aren't every man for himself.  We're working toward a common goal, moving as a unit and we know how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I'm thankful for the Man

I'm just thankful for the Rugged, Mountain Man.  When bellies are hurting and stomachs are churning, he heads for Wal-Mart to get the stuff that makes little (and big) sick people feel better.  After 11 years of marriage, he still remembers that Mommy always preferred yellow Gatorade.  And, that makes me smile when I go to the fridge.  :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Nature: God's Sensory Table

I've been hearing lots about sensory activities for children and have been pondering where it all fits in my interactions with our Blossoms. 

We took a walk down the road to the fish hatchery and creek today in the beautiful spring-like weather.  My girls were ecstatic to be in nature - up close and personal.  We talked about run-off, pollution and water always taking the path of least resistance.  (It's always learning time in Mommy's school.)  It was a good little science lesson.  But beyond that, I noticed how they interacted with everything they saw. 

They had to touch it. 


Whether a puddle, a stream or a fragment of quartz, they just HAD to touch it.  That may not seem like news to you, but it really sunk in to my brain.  If kids aren't outside, just playing, exploring, discovering, they aren't learning about the world around them.  So many kids aren't and so their teachers are bringing nature-esque things to them via sensory tables.  And I applaud that.  But, we've made the sacrifices for our children to be here, with me, every day.  It's up to me to foster the exploration of the Great Outdoors, ie God's Sensory Table.  I gotta let them touch stuff.  They have to check it all out, see how it feels, see what it does, see how it works.  Good, old-fashioned play has long been under-rated and those of us that built forts, dug holes, played in sandboxes and hung from trees should repeat those things with our children.  Almost every mom I know has access to God's Sensory Table, in some form or another.  Today was really just a reminder how important it is to get out and get dirty in our world.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Weekend Recap

We're Daddy Adorers here.  All of us.  So, when Daddy wants to get away just to do a little fishin' or something, we're all heartbroken.  Or almost heartbroken anyway... and a little dramatic about it, but hey, with four Blossoms... what do you expect?  We're the Daddy Fan Club after all.  So, this weekend, I set out to make it fun, even without Daddy being around. 

Friday night kicked off with pizza out with Grandma.  I've always loved Dives... Hole In the Wall type restaurants.  There's one drawback.  The high chairs don't always have safety straps.  I realize that some children never realize this fact.  Sort've like the hog that's held in by an electric fence that's never turned on after the 2 weeks he was shocked by it when he was a piglet.  This concept doesn't work for my Blossoms though.  Baby Blossom instinctively knew that there was no child restraint straps.  My friends, she was out of that high chair and crawling across the table in one half of a second.  So, I tied her in with her hat and a blanket.  Oh yes I did.  The pizza was awesome, by the way.  And then, Grandma Game Night (as opposed to Family Game Night).  Want some laughs?  Try playing Charades with an 8yr old, 6yr old and 4yr old.  Oh, and Pick Up Sticks - with pretzel sticks.  Fun!  And tasty too!

Saturday morning dawned with a fun breakfast.  Monsters Inc cereal - on special from the local bent-n-dent store - bursting with marshmallows and sugary goodness.  I manage to work on some invites for my sis-in-law's baby shower and then we loaded up to head out to a local Doll Clothes Store.  It was amazing!  Proof positive that American Girl dollies don't have to be dressed up in expensive clothes and accessories to be fun.  I believe they declared it, "The Best Place On Earth."  Believe it or not, I enjoyed walking around the store 10+ times so every Blossom could decide what they were buying with their money.  (That and the fact that my little girl self enjoyed the dolly ball gowns and teal cowboy boots and such.)

Home for lunch... mmmmm, boxed mac n cheese... do you see a theme here?  Easy food = happy mommy and happy Blossoms... and RELAXED Mommy... after naptime, voila - it's gorgeous outside... hmmmm... I loaded up the muddy bikes and off we drove to the park for some bike-riding.  I can't believe how much Blossom3 improved since last summer.  I couldn't keep up to her anymore, which probably means she doesn't need me... sniff, sniff.  Fresh air and smiling Blossoms.  Wow.  So enjoyable.  Back home to start supper of Mozzerella Sticks and veggiesm (easy food!) and get them in the shower and watch Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang. 

Ya, we missed Daddy.  But, I enjoyed them.  I tried hard not to work.  (Yes, this is very difficult for me.) And I tried to slow down and do stuff with them.  So, so, so, so enjoyable.  And wonder of wonders, Daddy came home early next afternoon.  WHAT A GREAT WEEKEND!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Just a little tip

Once, what seems like long ago, I told you all about my "staff of slaves"... the twenty-first century kind!  A dustbuster is one of those slaves.  In case you're wondering, this is the one we own and we love it.  That's sorta beside the point right now though.

What I wanted to share with you is a nifty little trick that I'm sure you MUST need if you're a Mommy and you have drawers in your kitchen... and if your chilluns help at all in the kitchen (and sometimes, even if they don't).  Have you noticed those corners of crumbs in your drawers?  Long ago when I had "only one or two" children, once or twice a year, I deep cleaned everything. 

I mean E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. 

Now, not so much. We clean.  We keep things tidy.  Nay to deep, deep cleaning. 

So, those crumby drawers never get dumped out and wiped down and beautified.  But, I'm not quite sure they need to be anymore.  Every so often when I notice those crumby corners, I either grab the dustbuster or call for a Blossom to grab a dustbuster, and one of us gets after those crumby corners.  Let me just say that you can take care of all the drawers in your kitchen (without emptying it of its contents!) in less than five minutes.  Clean doesn't have to mean a lot of time.  Whip out your dustbuster and tackle those crumby corners!  It'll make you smile the next time you're searching for your can opener. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

From Friends

I have interactions with many levels of friendships in my life.  From just-met acquaintances to known-you-all-your life bosom friends, I've been noticing that there's always something I can learn and glean from people.  My most recent gleanings have been accumulating inside my brain.  I thought you might like to be privy to them.

- You may be tired and not feel like it, but laugh anyway.  The moment you smile, you'll feel better. 

- Having a teaching degree isn't what qualifies a person to homeschool their children.  Being willing to make sacrifices for a wholesome, Godly education is the biggest qualifier for homeschooling one's children.

- With regards to curriculum, pick something and stick with it through the long haul.  It might not seem or feel like it's working, but with persistence, it is. 

- Shoot straight with people, even if it's your kids that are trying to deceive themselves. 

- Say what you think you really should say.  If you shouldn't say it, don't say it.  That way, you don't have to second guess yourself later. 

Many of my friends are not necessarily in the same season of life as I am.  I wanted to write down these nuggets of wisdom, so I can better remember them later.  Iron sharpens iron, after all.

Monday, March 3, 2014

5 Reasons I Want to be Like my Husband

The Rugged, Mountain Man's birthday was February 23rd. 
I had great intentions of writing this as the crowning touch to his special day.  Alas, dipping homemade Mr. Goodbars and whipping up my specialty, Raspberry Cheesecake may have taken up much of the time.  That, and the usual weekend catch-up chores. 
(Can you see who's the photographer of the family and who is not?)
But, I'd been thinking about the Rugged, Mountain Man's virtues and I realized,
I want to be more like my husband. 
He is patient.  I want to be more patient. 
He is consistent.  I want to be more consistent. 
He is thoughtful in how he cares for his Girlies.  I want to be more thoughtful. 
He is unapologetic about the things that matter.  I want to be less apologetic about those things too.
He is cautious about big decisions.  I want to be more cautious. 
So, Lord, make me more like my husband. 
I'll follow him as he follows Christ. 
(Photo Credit to Naomi Elle Photography)