Saturday, February 28, 2009

Remembering Grandma

One evening during AWANA's, I spent the entire time visiting with Nita in the nursery. Nita is quite an amazing woman. I just love talking with her - such a Godly woman of prayer. I'm always encouraged after I see her.

Somehow our conversation made it's way into her life and the jobs she'd had (that's an amazing list). Her last place of employment was at the Veteran's Home here in St. James, and that sparked my interest. "What years were you there?" I asked her. And don't quote me, but I think it was something like 1984 to 2002 (or close). She also told me that Shirley (another wonderful woman I know!) worked there during some of those years as well. This was intriguing to me because my grandma worked there during that time, too.

My thoughts sort of drifted off to my childhood. Since we lived in Rolla, and since St. James is only 8 miles from there, occasionally mom would take me to see Grandma at work during lunch time. Sometimes we would get a McChicken at McDonalds (my favorite at the time) and take it with us, also picking up something for Grandma! We'd visit, but probably for only 30 minutes or so.

I told Nita about this, and I wanted to remind myself to ask Shirley about it, too. I wondered if either of them would remember her.

Last night, I drove Shirley home after our church service. We started talking, and I mentioned my grandma working at the Veteran's Home. "What was her name?" she asked me.

"Gladys Lehnhoff" I responded.

"Yes, I remember her. She was a daytime aide. I have a sugar cookie recipe from her."

If you're reading this Shirley, I want you to know that I had a few tears in my eyes after you told me that (thankfully, it was dark). What's amazing is that my grandma has been gone for 15 years in May, and I still think of her quite often. I wonder what she would think of my kids, of my husband, of the life I have. I wonder if she'd still live in that little apartment in Belle...the one where I spent so much time, the one that I'd go to when I pretended to be sick at school just so I could watch The Price is Right with Grandma. I wonder if she'd make Wacky Cake with my kids, let Sarah play with her hair and paint her nails, let Caleb build her a big house out of those lego blocks she had. favorite memory...would my kids help her decorate her Christmas tree each year like I did with my sister?

I miss her...and this is probably why I'm so willing to make every attempt to let my kids see their grandparents and spend fun time with them as often as I can. I know they're creating memories that will last forever.

Grandma with her kids: Uncle Jim, my mom, & Uncle Roger.

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Lesson From My Dishwasher

Here's a bit of a confession for my readers. I'm the type of person who usually (okay, almost always) thinks that the way I do something is the best way to do it. (This is where my husband and sister - when they read this - will sarcastically say to themselves HOW SHOCKING!) :o) I rationally know that it doesn't really matter which direction Josh vacuums, but if I'm there watching him do it, I have to work very hard not to say, "Why didn't you start over here first?" And it's not just that, it's other little things like how to give the kids a bath, how to do laundry, how to drive (how close to follow someone in front of us, etc). Even something as little as how to take a Tylenol (Josh drinks the water first, puts the Tylenol in his mouth, then swallows) I think my way works better. I know, so silly.

And of course, there's how to load a dishwasher.

I have always been one who rinses the dishes quite thoroughly first, just to make sure nothing is stuck on. I had never even tried to see if my dishwasher was good enough to get off that stuck on food before (oatmeal is the worst). Until two weeks ago...

My mom was here watching the kids for me as I went and watched Josh's last basketball game. She is always so sweet to do dishes when she's here. I usually try really hard to get them done before she comes because I don't want her to think she has to do that! But I know she just likes helping me out. When I got home, I noticed the kitchen was all picked up, but there were no dishes in the draining rack. She usually doesn't load the dishwasher, so I asked, "Did you put all those dishes in the dishwasher this time?" She told me she did, and then I couldn't help myself...I had to ask, "Did you rinse them off first?" But she didn't. I came VERY close to taking them all out and rinsing them off. Yet, I made myself NOT do it. That afternoon, I ran the dishwasher just knowing I'd have to pick off food.

Would you food was left on those dishes.

As I put all of the dishes away, closely looking at each one, I learned a lesson:

There are other ways to do things! :o)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Make Daddy Feel Better

Yesterday Josh called in sick. This happens quite fact, I can't remember if he's ever been sick since he's started teaching, and as far as all the years we've been together, I could probably count on one hand the times he's been under the weather. He slept literally all day yesterday and did not emerge from our room today until 2:30 pm!! I've tried to get fluids in him, and he did end up eating half a bowl of soup when he got up. He was diagnosed with strep last night (at the Rolla Urgent Care - yeah, it got that bad) and I'm thankful my mom was able to help us out with taking him to see a doctor.

Well, this morning my mom called to see how things were going. After talking with her for a bit, Caleb asked if he could talk to Mama. I heard their conversation on Caleb's end, and this caught my attention..."Well, she will help, but Jesus will make Daddy feel better." :o) I asked her what she said, and she told me, "I was asking him how Daddy was doing and said that Mommy could make Daddy feel better. Then he let me know who would really make Daddy feel better!"

It made me smile :o)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

We Love Dave Ramsey

"...the borrower is slave to the lender." Proverbs 22:7

In October of 2007, I had a defining moment. I'm sure my sweet friend, Sarah C, did not know the impact of her book suggestion at the time - or maybe she did! I remember quite clearly the Wednesday we were at a playgroup together. As we stood next to the snack table, watching our little ones run around and be silly, I mentioned to her that I was frustrated with our budget. I shared with her how things felt so tight all the time since we lived on one income, a teacher's salary of all things!

And being the walking library that she is (always having just the right book for me at any given moment) she asked, "Would you like to borrow a book that Chris and I have found to be helpful?"

Well, I'm not exactly a reader...I sure love to start books that intrigue me, but I always end up putting them down and forgetting to finish them. But I told her, "Sure, I'd love some help!" and the next time she saw me, she handed over The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. It looked interesting, and I told Josh that maybe this is something we should read together. Boy, I never imagined how gung-ho he would be about it! :o) We read that book from cover to cover together. I would read a few chapters, then he would read a few chapters, then we would discuss it. This is something we had never, ever done before!

In the spring of 2008, when we received our tax refund, we paid off our van. This left us with ZERO car payments (the Malibu was already paid off), and that's an awesome feeling! We were committed to NEVER using our credit card again, even though we had a balance on it (small compared to the other people we read about, maybe not so small to us - $1800) we knew that we would put more towards the card, and put our next tax refund towards it to pay it off.

I'm happy to report that I'm writing a check today to pay off DISCOVER!

We also have money left to put a small chunk towards paying off the down of our house - something Dave Ramsey frowns upon (borrowing the down) but we didn't know him back when we bought our home! :o)

Did I mention that we took the class Financial Peace University? This is an amazing 12-week study that goes into more detail than the book. We completed it last fall (Sept - Nov 08), and it was nice having a couple that we knew there with us (Chris and Sarah). I'm hoping to have them over for dinner sometime soon for the ceremonial cutting of the credit card!

This has been an interesting journey for us. Though I wish I would have known Dave Ramsey about 8 years ago (when we first got married) I'm glad we didn't wait any longer to revise our thinking. I just love listening to Dave on the radio, and I can quote him word-for-word:

"This is the Dave Ramsey Show...where debt is dumb, cash is king, and the paid off home mortgage has taken the place of the BMW as the status symbol of choice!"

Monday, February 23, 2009

What Does Your Bible Say About You?

Today's Christian Women Online - Internet Cafe was particularly thought provoking to me. I'd encourage you to check it out by clicking here, and be sure to visit that site as often as you can...badge on the right side of my blog.

Memory Monday

On April 8th, 2008, I found out I was pregnant with our third child. It came as a bit of a surprise, but we knew we want another child just happened a little sooner than we thought it would! April 8th was the night before I left for Dayton, OH with my mom to watch my sister perform for the WGI Championships. I did not tell my sister or my mom about the pregnancy during the week we were together. I wanted that week to be completely about my sister and her last year to perform with The Pride of Missouri State. I was sick the entire week, and I just tried to pretend like I must have had some sort of bug. Sure wish I could have enjoyed the trip more!

So this Memory Monday is sort of a "two for one" post. :o) When I arrived back home from Dayton, Josh and I started discussing how to tell our family about the pregnancy. I personally like to tell them face to face, and so does Josh. So we called his parents one day and asked them if they wanted to meet us at our house and then travel with us to Matt's Steakhouse for dinner. We decided we would tell them while we were eating...we didn't know how we would bring it up, but that was the plan!

When they arrived at our house, we all loaded up in the van. The seating arrangements were always the same: Josh and his mom in the front, me and Sarah in the middle, and Caleb and Josh's dad in the back. Caleb loves sitting next to Papa! What we failed to realize is that an almost 4-year-old is not so good at keeping secrets! We had already told Caleb that "Mommy has a baby in her belly!" and I think he was more excited about that than we expected! So...without prompting whatsoever...I could hear a little voice say to Papa, "Guess what, Papa! Mommy has a baby in her belly!"

I looked at Josh's dad...I then turned and saw Josh's mom looking at me. Their faces were lit up with excitement! "Really?!!" Mary said with joy! I nodded and said, "Yep! We were going to tell you at dinner, but I guess Caleb beat us to it!"

I don't think I'll ever forget Caleb's sweet little voice saying, "Mommy has a baby in her belly!" The evening turned out even better than we planned. It made for a great memory.

(Picture taken three days before I had Gabriel)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Spiritual Gifts

"Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good." 1 Corinthians 12:1, 4-7

I have taken three different "Spiritual Gifts" tests in my life, at different times in my life (ages 18, 23, & 29), all of which gave me the same result. I can then conclude that God must be confirming what my Spiritual Gifts are! :o)

It is very helpful and beneficial to discover what your Spiritual Gifts are. To take the test I took recently, click here. When I read my results, I then began to pray that God would help me to understand how best to use them for His my daily walk with Him, in my fellowship with other believers, and in my service to our church.

My top two are

Have you discovered your Spiritual Gifts?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Who's at the door?

My mom often stops by on her way home if she's in the area for some reason. Sometimes it's a trip to Rolla to go shopping, sometimes it's when she's on her way back from visiting Sonja in Springfield. Even if it's just for a quick hello, she'll come by and give the kids a hug and be on her way.

So one afternoon, she gave me a call like she usually does if she's on her way. "I'm on the overpass, I'll be there shortly," she said. This means a person will be at my house within two minutes or less, so I unlocked the door and got ready for the kids to be excited to see Mama. Then, within a minute, I heard a knock at the door.

"Boy, she was sure quick this time!" I thought to myself. When she called, I was nursing Gabriel, and I have sort of mastered the art of walking around and nursing. I'll admit, it's not something I could do at Wal-Mart or anything, but around family, it works out just fine. I had my shirt completely pulled up, Gabriel on the left breast, and I opened the door. But instead of seeing my mom, I saw a sweet little girl and BOTH of her parents. She was going door-to-door selling girlscout cookies. All three of them got a full view of at least my chubby side, and I quickly pulled Gabriel off and pulled down my shirt.

I felt rather obligated to buy cookies at that point; however, the girl and her parents have not returend to collect the $4 or give me what I ordered. I'm not sure if I should expect them! ;o)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tans and Tattoos

It seems that about this time every year, I start to feel very unhappy with my skin tone. I just don't like how pasty-white I look, and I recall the days of my youth when I always had a bit of a tan that lasted all year due to all the time I spent outside during the summer. My sister tries to encourage me to embrace my pale self, but I just can't do it! So a couple weeks ago I bought a tanning package at one of the tanning salons here in town. It's been two years since I've done this actually, and usually I only go once or twice a week - stretching out those 15 tans to last as long as I can! Yes, I think about premature aging, but I don't need a lecture...that's not why I'm writing this blog! :o)

For Valentine's Day, Caleb picked out "Cars" cards. With them came some cute little stick-on tattoos. Evidently, my kids had never put them on before, so in an effort to show them they were fun and ok, I lifted up my shirt and put Lightening McQueen on my tummy. Caleb thought it was pretty neat, so he decided to use Sally and Mater!

That afternoon, I went to go tan, and as I was putting my lotion on, I realized what I had done: I had put on this silly kids tattoo without thinking! I knew as I looked at it what this meant. There would be a Lightening McQueen outline on me for quite some time! And so...even after a week, I still have Lightening McQueen on my tummy. Thought he's in outline form, he's still there.

It's just a daily reminder that I'm willing to do about anything for my kiddos! :o)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Caleb's Drawings

When Caleb became old enough to hold a crayon and sit at a table, I assumed that's what he would do - he would sit and color many pages and draw many pictures for me. This was not the case, however, not even close! I remember feeling frustrated that he didn't like to color or draw, and I wasn't frustrated at him, I was frustrated at myself thinking I must be doing something wrong.

I have learned, though, that it was just something he wasn't interested in doing at that time. Since he turned 4 and began preschool, I have seen his coloring and writing abilities improve. I also attribute his development to his participation in his Sunday school class.

Monday morning he drew a picture for Papa (Josh's dad).

They are next to water and are holding fishing poles! I'm not sure why the tree is on top of the water, but he drew the tree before the water. :o) He wrote his name down the middle for some reason, but that's ok. I try to encourage him to write his name as often as possible!

I know his writing and drawing will continue to get better. I've learned not to push the issue, and I let him color and write when he wants or when I know he's in a good frame of mind to try it.

He may not be Picasso, but I'm proud of him just the same!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Secret Sisters

At the beginning of each year, the women in our church have the opportunity to sign up for Secret Sisters. This group of women commit to praying for each other and also giving gifts to each other throughout the year (once a month or so) for birthdays, anniversaries, or just because! They don't have to be anything expensive, just something thoughtful. We each filled out a form of our "favorites" to help out with this process! On the same form, we wrote about specific prayer needs in our lives.

Since Valentine's Day was Sunday, I noticed many bright-colored gift bags on the Secret Sisters table, full of hearts and pink with red gift paper. Very festive! One woman received some carnations, one of my girlfriends who showed me her gift received some fun "pampering" items like fingernail polish (red of course!) and other fun goodies. Since I associate chocolate with Valentine's day, and since my Secret Sister is diabetic, I found all the sugar-free chocolate and candy I could and put it in a gift bag. Fun stuff!

I did not notice a bag for me before the worship service, so I didn't really give it much more thought that morning as I walked past the table and headed towards the choir loft with the rest of the choir. We sang our worship songs, and then Bro. Stephen motioned for us to head towards our seats with the rest of the congregation as we do each Sunday. When I sat down, I noticed that Josh had picked up my bag from my Secret Sister, a very cute bag I might add. I admit that for a few moments, I did not pay attention to Bro. Jerry as he began to give his message!

I slowly opened the bag, and then pulled out a book. I read the title, and then began to feel tears fill my eyes. It was Devotions for a Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. Josh sort of looked at me funny, and I knew he didn't understand why I was tearing up. You see, on the form I filled out, my prayer request was for my marriage. It's not that we're not ok, it's just that I've found that since having children, and especially after Gabriel arrived, I feel like I have not "had time" to nurture my marriage. I asked that my Secret Sister would pray for me and Josh and that we would find time for each other and find ways to strengthen our marriage.

So I don't know who she is, and I'll have to wait almost a year until the "reveal" night. But I wish I could give her a hug and tell her thank you. That gift meant so much to me.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Memory Monday

This week's Memory Monday takes me back to the summer of 1987. My dad signed me up for a summer softball team in Rolla that spring...I had turned 7 the previous November, so dad thought I was ready to give this sport a try. Oh, was he in for a summer of hard work and frustration!

I remember going outside almost every afternoon and playing catch. He also worked with me on hitting, an effort that truly tried his patience I'm sure! But looking back, I can say that he really did show patience through all of it. This aggressive guy who's philosophy is, "If that's your best, your best isn't good enough," never showed that side of himself to his uncoordinated, 7-year-old daughter. We just kept working at it, day after day.

Each game I would go up to bat thinking, "This game I'll get a hit!" But I didn't. I'm pretty sure I struck out every time. I'm guessing that made for a long season for my parents! Until the very last game, the very last at bat. I went up to the plate with a new batting stance that dad tried to show me...hoping this would be what gave me the chance to hit that ball!

I swong...the bat hit the ball...success!

I was probably shocked, so as I took off towards first base, I took three steps (or so) and then fell flat on my face! Dad was coaching first base, so all I could hear was him saying, "It's ok, Chrissy...just get to the base!" I'm sure he just wanted me to be safe at first since it was the only time I got to touch first base the entire season! I got up and made it to the base, blood running down my knee. I don't even remember what happened after that, the rest of this memory is a blur.

The next spring I remember telling my dad I didn't want to play softball anymore. I'm sure this made him a little disappointed, so he just said, "Let's just try it one more summer, and if you don't like it after that, you don't have to play anymore." That summer I was the best hitter on the team, the "big girl" who teams always had to move the outfielders back for. It was a much better experience.

I'm glad he made me try one more time.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Valentine & Basketball

This morning I woke up and got myself ready to head to Waynesville so I could watch Josh coach the last game of his season. My mom came and played with Caleb and Sarah so I could go with just Gabriel.

As I sat there, realizing it was Valentine's Day, I thought to myself, "This is actually a perfect event for me to attend on this day." After all, it was Josh's basketball skills that I admired so much when I first had a crush on him! :o) The boys played a great game, beating Waynesville 35-32.

And then my thoughts began to drift to a more important aspect of Josh's coaching: the example he sets for these young men. This year I was not able to attend as many games as I wish I could have. With the new baby and adjusting to three kids, it just seemed too much for me. But in today's game and all the games I've watched him coach, he has always been a classy guy. He treats his boys with respect, and I believe they respect him as well. I will never have to explain to my kids why daddy said a "certain word" because Josh doesn't talk like that (we have, however, had to make sure Caleb did not understand a "certain word" said by a coach during one of the games he attended this year).

Josh - I just want you to know how proud I am that you're my husband and that you are a wonderful coach and a wonderful example, not only for the boys you coach, but for your own children...and the children you work with during "game time" at AWANA. Thank you for being the same person no matter where you go.

Friday, February 13, 2009

My List

If you're on facebook, you've seen my list of 25 Random Things. But I've revised my list and added a few interesting tidbits! :o)

1. I'm a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl.

2. In 1992 I was in the Miss Pre-Teen Missouri pageant and made it to the top 20 out of over 200 girls.

3. I pitched at SBU for two years. I learned a lot about myself as a person and athlete. The coach who recruited me left before I got to play for her, and the coach who took her place did not know me, my stats, nothing. He had no faith in me, and I evidently do not do well in that kind of situation. Wish I could have pitched all four years, but I realized it wasn't going the way I thought it would. God had other plans for me...

4. I married my high school sweetheart. We've been together since 1996, married in 2001.

5. I have a degree in business but wish I would have studied political science instead.

6. I tend to start books and not finish them. I wish I could read much faster.

7. I want Gabriel to be Gabriel until he makes me call him hopefully I have a few years! :o)

8. Josh and I hope to take a second honeymoon on our 10th wedding anniversary. I have two years to plan/save/prepare.

9. I have over 20 Christmas CD's.

10. In school, I had straight A's all the way through 8th grade until I got a B in science. It was downhill from there...could never get an A in science again! :o)

11. I've been 5'9 since 6th grade. Yeah, imagine those middle school dances...ugh.

12. I want to lose 40 pounds before my 30th birthday.

13. My entrepreneurial dream is to open a Curves.

14. I am afraid of the dark.

15. Caleb's due date was August 25th which ended up being Sarah's birthday! :o)

16. I love when Sarah says, "Daddy, YOU ROCK!" at the end of a Guitar Hero song.

17. I love when Josh gives me a back rub. I would seriously take it over a professional.

18. There are days when I miss working "outside of the home" but I can't imagine going back yet.

19. My first car was a 1991 Pontiac Sunbird. I had it until I was 3 months pregnant with Caleb in February 2004 when we decided to get a "family" car.

20. I miss marching band/color guard more than any sport I participated in.

21. I don't think I ever want to live more than 35 minutes from my parents and in-laws.

22. I miss my Grandma Lehnhoff. She's been gone 15 years in May.

23. I'm getting tears after typing #22.

24. I'm thankful I learned that a breastfed baby can be on a schedule.

25. I text using grammar and punctuation.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Cute Things Kids Say

I wish I was better at writing down the funny things that Caleb says! I used to jot them down in a word document when I'd remember to do so, but that's been a while!

Well, last night, his friend Alli said something so cute. They were downstairs in the basement at church, getting ready for the opening ceremony of AWANA. Alli's Bible was sitting on the floor, so Caleb picked it up and started flipping through it. He looked up at Alli and said, "What does it say?" And she responded:

"Well, I don't know, but my mom is a great reader!" :o)

My Sweet Baby

As I was looking through some earlier posts, I realized that I haven't really mentioned Gabriel much on my blog. I suppose the older kiddos have more interesting stories (a 12-week-old doesn't exactly say silly things or do silly things)! But he's certainly worth talking about, so here is a post just for him! :o)

He arrived on November 19th, and he has been a great baby right from the start! Besides a tiny scare in the hospital that involved a respiratory issue (they think he ingested some amniotic fluid) things have been so perfect. He's been on a schedule since day one, nursing every three hours on the dot! This is a blessing by itself considering most babies who nurse are every two hours, and Sarah, my two-year-old, wasn't on a schedule at all! He's a great sleeper and has slept through the night a handle full of times...the other nights he gets up once, and I'm trying to wean him from night time feedings.

I love his sweet smile, and though he doesn't exactly laugh yet, he does make a cute giggle-type sound. He even "talks" to us when we talk to him!

Being the third child means mommy isn't quite as good at taking pictures or sending mass emails about the littlest thing! :o) But I do adore him. He's so fun to cuddle with, and I look forward to watching him grow!

(FYI: The picture was taken without him being "buckled in" just for the sake of the cute sleeper. I wanted to be able to see it, so don't worry, we always buckle him!) :o)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

No Smoking Policy

This morning we had Direct TV installed in our house. Our cable rates were going up (a lot) in April, so we decided to shop around and find something that would fit our budget and include some fun channels. I'm thrilled to have Sirius Radio and Noggin!

The men who were here were very, very nice. They were great with the kids who asked them questions as they were working! Caleb brought out his Batman cave to show one of the guys, and even said, "When I grow up, maybe I can work with you!" The man smiled and said, "Maybe!"

After they left, I walked into my bedroom to see where he put the receiver for that room, and you would have thought he smoked a pack of cigarettes in there. Wow, it's still really strong. It got me to thinking...I wonder if customer service positions will ever be smoke free. I know it's a stretch. I know that having the hospital go smoke free when I worked there was a big deal. But really, if one of my nurses smelled like that when I wasn't doing so well, it certainly wouldn't make my stay there so pleasant. And when these guys came into my house smelling so very strongly of smoke (and left the scent here) it doesn't really make me a happy camper.

As I said before, they were very nice and did an excellent job. I just wish my house didn't smell like smoke.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Time Out Revision

When I was pregnant with Caleb, I wanted more than anything to be a stay-at-home mom. But that did not become a reality until he was two-years-old (after Sarah was born), so in the meantime, he spent his days at the Mel Carnahan Family Learning Center during the hours I was at work. It was a great facility and very convenient since it was right across the street from the high school where Josh teaches. I grew to love the girls who worked there, and they taught me a lot as a new mom.

One of the things I'm glad Caleb learned was how to sit in time out! He could graduate out of the baby room when he began to walk, so he entered the 1's and 2's room right after his 1st birthday. And if you know Caleb, it probably doesn't surprise you that he had to learn the concept of time out at an early age. :o) They had a time out chair, and I remember being shown that chair and being told that the kids would have to sit there for one minute per year of age. We wanted consistent discipline in his life, so to avoid confusion, we did our best to implement the same discipline in our house. We chose a time out spot and went from there.

The original spot was next to the front door of our house. It didn't take Caleb long to figure out, though, that if he scooted over just a bit, he could see the TV! So eventually I moved him over to the corner where the front door meets the door to our bedroom. It's actually similar to the Gosselin kids time out spot (yeah, I've mentioned that family in a previous post...I watch that show too much).

Recently, however, I noticed that he was very wiggly during time out or would talk. And the biggest problem was the fact that Sarah would walk over to him and start talking to him. Sort of cute, but that's not effective in the realm of discipline! Not to mention it seemed time outs were not deterring him from misbehaving.

I began to think of how to do something differently. I remembered that my friend, Sarah H, would have her kids sit at the kitchen table with their heads down for their time outs. So one morning about a month or two ago, I sat Caleb down and said, "Caleb, we are going to do your time outs differently now. If you misbehave or disobey mommy, you will sit here at the table with your head down." He replied, "Like at Miss Sarah's house?" Evidently, he noticed those time outs!

And so, our new time outs have been WAY MORE effective. Perhaps this ties in with my Training Up Caleb post. Wish I would have thought of it sooner! :o)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Memory Monday

I've decided to take time each Monday to write about a memory of mine. It could be as recent as yesterday or as far back as kindergarten! It could be silly or serious, a brief writing or a long one, but I'll just come to the computer, close my eyes, and see what comes to mind! :o)

This week: Josh's birthday in 1996

I could write several "Memory Mondays" about Josh and me in high school! This one is silly and probably short, but I just smile each time that I think about it.

When I realized I liked Josh, he already had a girlfriend. I was quite forward back then, so I made it very evident that I was "going after" him! We had Spanish class together, and each day, I would be sure to call him a "stud" because he was, after all, quite amazing on the basketball court! When I found out it was his birthday, I decided to get out a piece of notebook paper and make a card. The outside said Happy Birthday and the inside read:

Roses are red
Trees are green
Hopefully someday
You'll go out with me

I'm pretty sure he broke up with his girlfriend within a couple weeks of that. I'm not sure. I ended up getting mono and was out of school for several weeks, maybe a month. All I know is that when I came back, my friend Megan came up to me in the hall and said, "Guess what! He broke up with her!"

And the rest, as they say, is history...

This is Josh and me a year later...Spring 1997

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Beautiful Day

Finally, after weeks of super cold weather, we were blessed with a gorgeous day! The kids and I went outside for over an hour, and it was so much fun. I'm actually not an outdoorsy kind of girl, but after being cooped up for what has seemed like several months, I was just as excited as the kids to go out and see the sunshine!

(First picture...Caleb drew "our family" in sidewalk chalk. Second picture...Caleb and Sarah riding in their Jeep.)

Gabriel went outside with us, too. It was the first time he had ever been outside for any length of time. He seemed to really enjoy it! He watched "Bubbie" and "Sissy" swing on their play set, and eventually he drifted off to sleep as the wind lightly blew across his sweet little face. I'm looking forward to putting the baby swing on the play set and seeing all three of them play. I think he'll be ready for that swing in a couple months.

I thanked God for the day. It's just what I needed, and I'm sure many moms thanked Him today, too!

Waiting for Alli

When I was 4-years-old, my parents moved from Warrensburg to Rolla. Both of my parents had new teaching positions, so it brought us to this area. I remember the rental house we lived in and still drive by it on occasion. And what I remember the most about that neighborhood was the little girl who lived across the street. Her name was Jennifer, and we became great friends - you know, one of those close friendships you have as a child that never seems to leave your memory. She invited me to "Daisies" at her church on Wednesday nights and to Sunday school on Sunday mornings. Her mom was so friendly to my mom, and it was just a great relationship. I remember playing with her awesome doll house, and she would come play with toys at my home as well.

Now I have a 4-year-old, and he has a close friend, too. Her name is Alli, and he talks about her all the time. A few mornings ago, he got up and came into my room to grab a few pieces of paper. I wasn't sure what his agenda was, but he proceeded to the kitchen to find his crayons. He drew a picture for her and wrote her name on it. (Would you believe, the two words he knows how to spell are "Caleb" and "Alli"...priorites you know!) :o) He also drew a picture for her brother, Payton. He asked me for two envelopes, and I taught him how to fold the paper to fit into the envelopes. Then we mailed them! He was so excited to send them mail. And I thought it was so sweet that he wanted to draw pictures for them.

Then the next morning we got ready for preschool. As I walked Caleb to the door of preschool, he saw Alli's van pull up. He said, "Mom, I'm waiting at the door for Alli!" Well, it was 20 degrees outside, and I wasn't really thrilled about the idea, but I figured if he was willing to stand out in the cold for Alli, then that's what we'd do. As several parents went to the door, they pulled it open and gestured for Caleb to go ahead of them if he wanted. He said, "No, thank you, I'm waiting for Alli!" When Alli got to the door, he was so excited. I gave him a hug, and they walked into preschool together.

I'm thankful that Caleb has such a good friend. I know she prays for him at nighttime (her mommy has told me!) and he prays for her, too! These are the kinds of friendships that stay in our memories for a lifetime. I pray that Caleb and Alli have many more years of fun memories to make.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

If my house is clean, my comptuer must be broken.

Last week, my friend Ashley emailed me and asked me what my job description would be as a stay-at-home mom. She asked how/if Josh and I split the household chores since I'm home during the day. I thought about this for a while because I wanted to give Josh credit where he deserves it! :o)

For the most part, and I think Josh would agree, I do 90% of the household work during the week, and probably 70% on weekends. He is very willing to make dinner every night, mostly because he is home by 3:30 pm, and that's one way he can help me since I've been doing most of the other chores during the day. Oh, and those chores would be laundry, dishes, vacuuming, making beds, picking up after kids, bathrooms, dusting...yeah, you get the picture. On the weekends, however, he does pitch in more. He's done the laundry quite often on Saturdays, and usually I can get him to vacuum, too!

But let's not forget the child rearing - which is why I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom in the first place! On cold days, I don't mind that Caleb plays the Wii more often. So Sarah, Gabriel, and I cuddle on the couch and watch him play Mario Kart and Wii Play. If Sarah gets board with that, she'll go play with her kitchen set, and I'll go with her so she can make me a pretend lunch! On warmer days, I just love going outside with them and watching them swing on their playset or seeing Caleb drive his John Deere mini-tractor! Sometimes we color in coloring books, work on AWANA verses, read stories, play with play-doh, or just do random things. We do watch PBS and Playhouse Disney on TV sometimes. Caleb also likes to teach us the songs and games he learns at preschool.

I know I've heard moms say that a clean house is not important while there are small children in the house. It's important to just be with them and play. But honestly, I do not play with them the entire day. I know, it's shocking! There are times when they are independent and do things on their own. Caleb not as much as Sarah, but they both have times when they're doing something without me. During those times, even if it's just 10 minutes, I will try to pick up around the house. If I keep up with it, the house says clean!

That is, until I started blogging. Now...if my house is clean, my computer must be broken! I often use the minutes I used to clean reading blogs! Shame on me! I'm trying to quit. I need "Bloggers Anonymous" or something. If you know of a group, let me know! :o)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Baby

Each year for birthdays and Christmas, Sarah always receives several cute baby dolls. This year, she received two dolls that were the same, so I set one in the pantry hoping I'd remember to take it back to Wal-Mart one of these days! Yesterday, Josh said he would run to Rolla for me, so I asked him to take that doll back while he was there...finally!

Our normal routine for trips to Rolla includes Josh taking one of the kids if they want to go. I was in another room, but I heard Josh ask Caleb, "Hey, you want to go to Rolla with me?"

"Why are we going?" Caleb asked.

"Well, we need to take that baby back," Josh replied.

And the sweetest, most sincere voice, I heard, "But Daddy...............................why are we taking Gabriel back???"

I laughed so hard I almost cried. It was so funny. But it was also so very sweet. I just love my kids!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I've waited my entire life to do this!

I remember quite clearly sitting in Mrs. Edward's 5th grade class during reading time, in a semi-circle, on the floor, listening to her read to us. I sat behind Melanie, and I asked her if I could try to French braid her hair. I'd watched my mom braid MANY times for color guard girls, so I just knew I could do it. And I did! After that, I think I braided several others that day.

For many, many other occasions, I was the one girls came to for French braids. From sporting events to band competitions, I did it countless times. Even in college, I remember waking up a little early and doing double braids for my suite-mate on several mornings!

So for almost 20 years - since 5th grade - I've waited for this day. The day when I'd have a little girl who would sit and let me braid her hair. It was a moment I'd thought about for a long time.

Not my best work, but pretty good for a squirmy 2-year-old with very fine hair! :o)

The Gosselin's New Home

If you're a Jon & Kate Plus 8 fan, you certainly tuned in to last night's episode to catch a glimpse of their new home. It was quite impressive from the view we saw on TV - gorgeous kitchen, huge living room, spacious EVERYTHING! I kept thinking at some point they would show a view of the entire outside, but they didn't. And it got me to thinking, "I wonder why they haven't shown an outside view." So, being the Google search guru that I am, I looked it up:

Price: $1.3 million
Square Footage: 6200
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 5 full, 2 half

Book sales must be good!

I used to really enjoy this show, but as the seasons progress, Kate has become more disrespectful to Jon. Last night she threw a fit about a coupon, and then said, "This is why I can't let you out of the house." She constantly talks down to him, always cuts off his sentences, rolls her eyes at most of his comments, need I go on? Yes, the kids are cute. Yes, I'm sure having 8 of them is stressful (I get stressed with just 3).

But I do not believe that God said, "Wives, respect your husbands...unless you have 8 children and give interviews to TLC."

I've had this conversation with a friend before, and I keep wanting to give Kate the benefit of the doubt - that perhaps they just edit it this way. If they film for a week and cram all of these comments into one, half-hour show, I suppose many wives would have a handful of eye rolls and snippy comments. But I don't know. She still seems a bit over-the-top.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Training Up Caleb

I'm guessing many Christian parents can recite this verse by heart:

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

Somehow, subconsciously in my mind, I think I revised this verse. It says, "Be tough and consistent with my toddler, and when he is about 4 or 5, things will surly get easier." So as Caleb pushed my buttons when he was 2, I just kept telling myself that if I was tough and consistent, one day I would wake up and he would be calmer, more obedient. I was very frustrated at one point when he was about 3. I would ask other parents who I thought were wise and had "good kids" why he was still acting certain ways. Many would just tell me, "It could just be his personality." For some reason, that answer just didn't make me feel any better! By the time he was 4, I thought...ok, my day is coming...he's going to be good this year!

Evidently, that day has arrived.

Over the last several weeks and months, the "grown-ups" in his life have began to tell me how they've noticed Caleb behaving so nicely. Sunday School teachers, AWANA leaders, Children's Church volunteers, friends and family - at some point, someone in each of these categories has mentioned they've seen a difference. I think yesterday might have been the most encoraging comment for me: one of his Sunday School teachers (who is also a kindergarten teacher) tugged on my choir robe as we were greating one another, and she said, "Caleb is quite the little man lately. He's really maturing." I smiled, and I think if I would have been in a more emotional state-of-mind, I would have cried!

Now this is not to say that I still don't have to work hard at it. I feel like he's at a different level now. I have to be on him about speaking respectfully to me (and Josh) when he doesn't get his way. He still sometimes takes toys from Sarah when they're playing. But overall, and let me add PRAISE THE LORD, he has began to be a sweet little boy.

I do not say any of this in a boastful way at all. In fact, if you're reading this and have been close to Caleb since he's been about 2, you know the struggles I've endured! I think I say it all to encourage others and to thank the ones who have encouraged me. It means a lot to hear that he's doing better.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

That's in the Bible?

This morning in our Sunday school class, we briefly mentioned church discipline. It was sort of a bunny trail - it stemmed from what I said - that to respect your church leaders is to go to them about a problem we might have with them rather than going to your best friend and blabbing about it. Another man said, "Yes, and then if it's not resolved, then you are to find another church member and bring them into the conversation." And finally, if it is then not resolved, it is to be brought before the congregation. We agreed that this is in regard to big issues, I wouldn't go before the church about that tasteless bumper sticker the preacher has on his SUV (just kidding, Jerry)! But if a church member/leader has sinned against you, it is right to bring it to their attention and go from there.

Then a young lady asked, "That's in the Bible?" This girl is a single mom with two young boys and just recently became a Christian. I'm so glad to see her in church each Sunday, and I believe it's important for us as her church family to nurture her spiritual growth. I love when she asks questions like that because it challenges me to be able to site the scripture of any topic. I noticed that everyone nodded (to agree that it was in the Bible) and one person verbally said, "Yes, that's in the Bible." But that's just not good enough for me...I feel that I should be able to tell her exactly where it is. So I grabbed my Bible and flipped to Matthew...I knew it was in the middle, so I started scanning. Then I found it:

Matthew 18:15-17 (Jesus speaking)

If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or tax collector.

I truly feel that we need to be strong with scripture to be able to defend our beliefs - and if someone asks why I believe a certain way, I'd better be able to back it up...not just say, "It's in the Bible." I'm not perfect with this, of course, but this morning certainly reminded me that I need to be in the Word as much as possible to be able to show a new believer - or even an unbeliever - where the verse is located in reference to any given topic.