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Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Eve Smiles

Dawn started running a fever the last day of school before Christmas break.  One word described the first half of her time off - YUCK!  Not being able to be involved inn family activities was a huge downer!  We got a call while she and I were home Christmas Eve while everyone else was at Grandpa and Grandma's celebrating with all of the usual family traditions.  It was Daddy helping us to get hooked up to Skype.  Although the Skype didn't work (seemed to be a user error on my end), we were able to hook Dawn up on face time on my cell phone so she could hear Uncle Jeremy's telling of the Grinch as he reads it every year to all of the cousins.  As you can see by the look on her face, she was so glad to be involved, she was piping in at the right spots and giggling and laughing with all of her cousins from across town.  Technology can sometimes be a real pain, but then there are times that we can be so thankful for the ability to share special memories and moments without having to share germs!

Monday, December 17, 2012

I Want to Help!

It was a dreary day to put up lights on the house but Matthew wanted to help.  This is the best picture I have of him helping to hold the string of lights with Stacey as David attaches them to the house.

Matthew likes to be involved in what is going on around here and tries to help whenever he can.  His new favorite show is Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood which is a spin off of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.  Each episode has a little song that they sing to reinforce the message.

One of those songs I hear him sing often around the house is "Everyone is big enough, big enough to do something!"  He likes to show us every day what he is big enough to do!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Coffee Diva

Stacey is the coffee making girl in our house.  She loves to make coffee on Saturday morning when we have a little extra time to sit and relax and enjoy a cup or two.  Whenever she hears that it is time to make coffee, she is up and running.  She gets to use our new coffee scoop which I brought home from Door County last month.  It was a little splurge to have something new after 20 years of using the tablespoon measure from the set of measuring spoons we got for our wedding.

Holidays are wonderful with a designated coffee maker in the house.  She knows how to make the perfect ratio of coffee to water, and then she remembers that daddy likes just a smidge of creamer and mom likes a little more to produce a wonderful coffee drinking experience.  She is always willing to jump up and top off a cup if it is getting cool.

Maybe Starbucks is in this girl's future!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

The turkey has been eaten and the first 3 rounds of clean up have occurred.  The children are tucked away in their beds and we grown ups are enjoying one last night with Michelle here before she flies back tomorrow.  It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is over and people are talking about the deals they are getting as they stand in line shopping "Black Friday" sales that now start on Thursday night.

I am not a shopper.  I will sit down with my list and search the internet for deals and have them shipped to my door before I go out and fight crowds and the craziness that I find has become part of going to the mall in December.  Memories of Thanksgiving 2012 are these...ice skating with the kids, the sadness of Dawn opening her ornaments to put up on the tree and one of her favorites was broken, only to be replaced soon after by one of my special ones I wanted her to keep for her own.  Incredible Hulk hands for a boy half their size, attempts at gluten free garlic rolls that didn't turn out too bad, and Adonis stopping by with Mom and Dad for supper and a marathon game of UNO with the kids.

The whole day was a great beginning to the upcoming Christmas season.  Rather than what I hear from so many people who dread the holidays, I love everything about the season.  Mostly because my Jesus was born and came to earth to be the God-man who died to makes life possible for me.  What did I do to deserve it?  Not a thing...and he lovingly reminds me of that every time I stumble and feel so awful about it.  Yes, Thanksgiving is a wonderful way to start the Christmas season.  I love reflecting on the year behind and planning for a new year ahead.  While I bake and shop and decorate I love to ponder His love for me and those who mean so much to me!

I am thankful for the ability to watch my family mature and enjoy each other.  I see as Zach shared today "I am thankful for my brothers because I love them" the true depth of his love every day - times 5 when I count all the other little people under my roof.  God has blessed us in such amazing ways.  Each day is such a gift!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


November has become our month of being thankful, at least in the United States.  With the popularity of Facebook and other social outlets online, we see a lot more "thankful" lists from people we know well, people we have spent time with before and even those we knew better long ago.

I love that Thanksgiving comes right before we start celebrating God's plan to send His Son to the earth during the Christmas season.  It is the beginning of my annual pondering when I look on the past year and evaluate and then look ahead at the coming year and plan.  Snuggling under a blanket with a warm cup of coffee as the Christmas lights sparkle from the tree makes the whole experience something to look forward to all year.

It is the time for hot drinks in mugs, fleece blankets and afghans folded over the back of the couch to grab when we get chilly reading or watching television.  It is also the time for snuggling and enjoying laughter and silliness along with deeper discussions together about the serious issues of life and where our family wants to spend its time and energy.

Togetherness...we cherish that in our house.  Most especially now as the children are getting older and their world has expanded past the borders of our backyard and into the community to various venues.  We have become busy this year!  I have heard the kids at different times echo my thoughts when they say "Mom, can we just hang out and snuggle tonight, or do we have somewhere we have to go?"  I am thankful for time to spend laughing, talking, sharing and growing together right in our living room!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Whole World In His Hands

Zach's new love is maps, especially the United States.  He has taught himself the states and most of the capitals in the course of this last 4 months.  His 4th grade siblings who are learning states and capitals in school are appreciating the hints he can give them as they quiz each other.

Imagine his excitement when he got home one day and saw the globe I had hung under his bunk while he was gone. I will often see him studying it and he always wants to find out "where that country is" if we are talking about a new place he hasn't heard about before.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Missionary Visit

This is amazing to me.  I had been reading a few books about missionaries and others who share their story of persecution and survival as a Christian all over the world.  I was excited to find out a few weeks before that Don Richardson was planning on visiting our church and share his experience in New Guinea during the sermon time.

We attended the 8 o'clock service that day as we usually do every week.  All four of the older kids sat and listened intently through the whole service as Mr. Richardson is a very engaging story teller.  As we were ready to leave Dawn wanted to go past the book table where he had his books and DVD's.  She asked me for one of each!  We settled for two since I had one already on my Nook that she could read.  She stood asking questions and finding out more from Mr. Richardson as she had him sign the books and introduced herself.

The next week, for her extra reading time at school she brought his book "Eternity in Their Hearts" to have at her desk to read.  The week before as a birthday gift, she had used a gift card at JoAnn's and bought some clay to craft with.  As the week progressed, I made my way downstairs to see what she was up to.  There in a used shoe box she had constructed a jungle village with all kinds of details.  I wish it was easier to see all of the detail of her creation in this picture.  It is awesome!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Home Again

Home again after a dreamy few days by the bay in Wisconsin.  Yesterday was the first day home and we hit the ground running.  It was Thursday and Thursdays are the craziest days of the week!

Today is moving a little slower and I am excited to get to the cleaning up and organizing done so I can work on some of my afghan.  I spent a lot of time on vacation knitting and reading which I love both but don't have a lot of extra time to do while at home in the middle of the rest of our lives!  I want to get finished with this afghan because it is a really great pattern.  I am never bored because there are so many stitches and seven different colors.  There are 152 rows that you repeat three times and for me there are 2 down and 1 more round to go!  That means I am 2/3 of the way done.  I am excited too because as David says, you make some great things, are WE ever going to keep any of them, or are you going to give them ALL away!  This one is a big project that WE are going to keep!  Hopefully not too far down the road, I can post pictures and move on to the next great project!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Little Guidance

Homework sometimes turns into a discussion on life at the Sloan house.  I love these times and I especially love them when I can observe from the outside looking in!  It is awesome to watch the kids ponder more than the questions on the page.

You never know where the discussion will end when the homework comes out!

Baby Morgan's Blanket

I meant to post this in July after the last post with the arrival of Baby Jonah.  Here it is October and I have been distracted by all kinds of life.  So, back to the blog, here is the blanket that I sent for Morgan a couple days after the last post in July.  The colors in this kit were so fun and I am excited to have a good bit left over to make another, or a totally different project.  I am a pro at flying geese after this!  There can never be enough quilts to put on the floor when a little one needs to move around a little bit!

Friday, July 20, 2012


It has been a summer of babies!  Well, actually it started back in late March when Cousin Jacey was born. Matthew is loving holding babies, playing with babies and seeing babies for the first time.  Just last week, Jonah was born and we were able to go to the hospital and see him.  
Yesterday David's cousin Rachael had her baby girl and we were able to show the kids the pictures on Facebook.  Matthew again was enamored by the sweet little baby Morgan who came out of Cousin Rachael's big belly.  He got to meet her last month when we went down south for a long over-due visit to some of David's family.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Here's to US!

The largest set of wine glasses we received for a wedding gift was a set of four.  It is true that we got THREE sets of four wine glasses, but none of them matched.  I remember doing a registry and thinking about my colors and all of the things I would need to set up housekeeping the summer before our wedding on August 9, 1992.  Yes, that is 20 years ago!  Hard to believe!

I wanted a black and white kitchen with red accents.  The truth is, I got one set of dishes from my registry and nothing else that matched.  It is also true that I have never had a black and white kitchen with red accents.  I don't even want one someday anymore.  So, you could say a lot has changed in 20 years.

One thing that has changed is the state of our stemware collection.  We currently have four wine glasses left out the three original sets, with none that match (we got a set of two about 5 years ago in a silent auction along with a hotel room and a Melting Pot gift card).  Imagine my surprise when I was in Hy Vee yesterday picking up some extras for the weekend and saw the Drugtown (Hy Vee Drugstore) liquidation going on.  If you don't mind shopping out of blue tubs, there was some great deals!
I bought some great new wine glasses (two MATCHING sets) for six bucks!  It is nice to replace some of the things that have become tired and out of date.  It is also fun to go shopping and pick out the things that match the life we have built over the last 20 years.  Sitting and enjoying a glass of wine with my best friend and love of my life is most definitely something that I do on a regular basis.  I can't think of a better way to spend six dollars!

Friday, July 6, 2012

School Supplies

It is that time of year again.  The time when the children start getting excited about finding out who their teachers are and anticipating the start of the next school year.  I think they need to just chill out and enjoy the rest of their summer, but there is always a little bit more excitement as we pass the fourth of July and summer's half way mark.

Instead of telling them that we would wait a couple weeks and take care of it like I normally do, I loaded the girls in the car and headed to Staples.  I had a coupon, a rewards certificate and of course 15% school supply pass in hand for the occasion.

EXHIBIT A: Here is the stash of goodies we were able to obtain!  I just have to say that school supplies have CERTAINLY changed since I was a child!  I know this will date me and make me sound like I am getting old but when you can pick from 50 different patterns of composition notebooks and about the same number of differently designed zippered pencil cases and still can't find one that is "perfect" for you, I have very little sympathy.  I tell my children every year that I got to pick from three different notebook and folder colors usually...RED, BLUE or GREEN.  That is all they had back then, and composition notebooks - BLACK, just BLACK!  Don't even get me started about ball point pens.  BLUE or BLACK and that was ALL (they made RED but you could only use red if you were the teacher)!

Which brings me to EXHIBIT B...the ball point pen pack! These are Bic crystal pens...the same ones we used to buy but were only available in the traditional colors, BLUE, BLACK and RED.  It was either Papermates or Bics in the 80's, the only two pen companies out there.  I picked out the pen pack for the children this evening because I wanted my own Bic pen in two different shades of green, two different shade of blue, purple, pink...and the list goes on!  The triplets each needed three pens apiece NOT black.  Well, I think this should take care of it!  Stacey took the three pink ones, Dawn took the three purple ones and Ryan, my sure and steady child picked classic blue.  The same classic blue that I got to take to school when I was his age!

These pens brought back a memory for me.  About my sophomore year in high school, Bic broke out of the mold and came out with GREEN ink in their crystal pens!  A friend of mine could get them in the town she lived in but they hadn't hit the stores in my community.  I gave her my money and she stocked up on green Bic pens for me.  After all that trouble, my teachers asked me to stop using my green pens because because blue or black were the only acceptable colors to use for homework.  (that was back when we used to have to write out our final copies of term papers because not everyone had computers or typewriters in their homes).  Boy have times changed!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bye Bye Baby Boy!

It seems as though this time I had no feeling of nostalgia when it came time to take the crib down.  I didn't shed a single tear and didn't pause for a single moment when it came time to "uninstall".  The only pause was when I was trying to find the proper size allen wrench!

Matthew was so excited to be moving into his big boy bed he was jumping up and down.  We borrowed a toddler bed from friends and all the way home from their house he was in the back talking about his new bed and how he was going to help mommy wash it up and get it ready to sleep in.

I don't think he really had the concept in his head about what was going to happen because when the bed was going up he was just amazed at how all the pieces made a bed just for him!  What a big boy we have!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Brothers Aren't Bothers

Now that Matthew is getting older he is "one of the boys". Each day gets just a little louder and rowdier than the day before. There is such a different atmosphere when there are three little boys wrestling around.

I can't say I could have imagined what life would have been like, but it certainly is fun!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Junior Warrior Girl's Basketball

We are a little sad that the basketball season has come to a close. It took a little time at the beginning to get to know the girls and for them to come together as a team and play well.

All of the parents were so proud of the girls' efforts to grow together as a team. Our first experience with team sports was a very good one!

Stacey grew and improved so much! Can't wait til next year!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Scrapbooking Weekend

I enjoyed a weekend away this past weekend and got a few pages done. Not as many as usual but I did get to relax which was nice. I loved using some of the new papers and embellishments that I hadn't gotten a chance to use yet.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sharing Family Recipes

I had been up most of the night last night feeling bad. Stomach upset along with dizziness that woke me up a couple of times. I moved out to the couch in the living room to sleep so that my tossing and turning wouldn't bother David. The phone rang at 5:30 a.m. and woke me up after only 2 hours of sleep. Not having snow (or dense fog) on my radar before bed, my mind of course went right down the list of all my loved ones could be on the other end of the phone call with bad news.

Looking at the number on the caller id, I sighed in relief when I saw the 558 number - school...awesome, a delay! Oh wait, no it isn't awesome...today is supposed to be the first day of our 1 John Bible study! Now that will be delayed a week and Matt and I will be staying home today. So, painting, napping and taxes are on the agenda today instead of cherished time with good friends.

All of that went through my head as I laid on the couch, because with a 5:30 phone call it is rare that I can go back to sleep once the early morning wake up call comes! One by one the children woke up and were informed that they would be home until 11. Joy and delight of course, were the emotions of the hour.

How wonderful it is when children wake up and ask "what is for breakfast"! I just wanted to crawl back in bed and leave them to their own devices. But, that isn't good parenting! So, I sat in my chair and told them that it is about time that nine-year-olds learn how to make the secret family pancake recipe! Squeals of delight went up and they began. (wanting no help of course) Adding chocolate chips as their "signature" ingredient, they spent the morning gaining very important life skills and making yummy pancakes!

Snow Sculputres

I was going through my pictures this morning and realized I didn't post the pictures of the great art that graced our front yard for a week before the January thaw. People were sending me messages telling me "hey, I drove by your house, cool snowmen!" It was a sight and I loved having their imaginations on display in the front yard, if only for a short time.

The snow had already started to melt when they went out to work on it but it made the snow more sticky and perfect for sculpting! It wasn't quite as cool as last year when the snowplow left a HUGE pile in the corner of the front yard, but they rolled the snow from every corner of the front yard to make the "fort". There were trails of grass all over when they were done for the night. The surprise came the next day when they got up and found that it had snowed over the top of everything so the front yard. It was much prettier once the new snow had covered the dry brown grass!

The kids have been pretty disappointed with the amount of snow so far this winter. January did bring some snow thankfully...December was snowless! Hopefully February and March will come through for them!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

When Mom Forgets What You Need...Just Ask

I was tucking in the boys tonight and Zach was a little more conversational than normal. I found a little boy devotion book on his shelf that we had read together some but never got all the way through. I told him that we should get back to reading devotions together in the morning and he said we should start tomorrow.

After putting Matt in his crib and turning to leave I heard a voice "Hey, Mom". (Zach always puts "Hey" before Mom when he addresses me). I looked back to see what he needed and as plain as day he posed a question. "Can we do that thing that we did when I was three?" Oh boy, I had to think for a minute about some of the things he may be talking about because we did a few things when he was three!

I went back to sit down next to him on his bed and tried to probe a little deeper into his mind. I thought maybe he meant the toddler devotion book we read at that time so I asked about that. He said, "no, we read devotion, ate breakfast, brushed our teeth..." That is when it hit me. His preschool teacher, in helping us get used to transitions and things that he struggled with at the time, printed us a bunch of PECS pictures and gave us a velcro chart to use at home to help him with his morning, after school and before bed routines.
I asked him about it and he smiled real big and nodded. I love that face...the one I see whenever he knows that I "get it"! I asked if he wanted me to use pictures or just words now since his can read and he told me he liked both. But, he explained, he wanted to be able to "put a check" next to it when he is done. Then, since he was on a roll he asked "can I have one for morning time, home from school time, and bed time too"? Bless his little heart...he knows what he needs even when I had overlooked that myself. He asked for it. I just love him! He is getting so good at communicating.

So, of course after his bedroom door closed I was off to find the perfect updated (he wanted one "for someone who is 5, not 3") routine chart. There is never anything PERFECT but I did find three things I could put together and make something I think he will be THRILLED with when he wakes up in the morning. It is so rewarding as a mom to know that I am providing something that my children need. This was one of those great days!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I love TWO!

Matt had been playing for awhile and wanted to watch a show before he took his nap. I told him to go get ready and I would be in to turn on the television. When I came in from the kitchen, there he was sitting ready to watch with his row of cars lined up on the couch ready to watch with him.

He had been playing with his little wheelie cars that have little people driving them. He had lined them all up so the little faces were watching the screen. I love two year olds...life is full of all kinds of cute moments!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Boys and Cars

I don't know what it is in the male genes in this house...but my oldest two boys have competition and a desire to be first coursing through their veins. I think this has to be from their dad because although I like competition, and like to win, it is not a requirement for me to participate in an activity!

Last week was the annual cub scout Pinewood Derby. Ryan thought it would be cool to make a "canoe" car. So that is where it began. There is a very fierce streak of competition in his blood. It has been something that has been a concern for me as his mom, from pretty early on as it could potentially affect his life negatively. He and I play games all the time as an attempt to "practice" having fun even when we don't win. To be honest, I don't really feel like too much progress has been made in that area, but he likes to play games and we continue to practice playing for fun.

That brings us to last week. His car ran in the second heat. That first run for the car is always the moment of truth...after all that time shaping, sanding, staining/painting and waiting for it all to dry, the time has come. Can the car actually race?

Ryan's did...he won the heat! I am not sure if his car has won ANY heats in the past. His goal has always been a cool design and he has been pretty good at being okay if it didn't get top times. But this year...it won the first heat so hopes were set high right from the start. The problem was, the computer program wasn't set up right and it didn't record properly. Since they were only in the second heat, they fixed the problem with the program and started all over again. Second heat time again and Ryan's cars races...THIRD in the heat. AUGH! I have to
admit, I was pretty disappointed too!
There were quite a few heats that his car won so if we are looking at year to year improvements, his car ROCKED! The final standings put the little canoe in 6th out of 31 so it wasn't too shabby! He was pretty surprised when Grandpa arrived to watch the races too since he didn't realize I had invited him to come.

There were a few tears, but after the disappointment at the start, I can't say I blame him. It is always a learning experience and I was pretty proud of how he dealt with his feelings. His car did win the vote for "Best Car That Isn't A Car", defending his title from last year when his "bobsled" car won the same award.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kitchen Love: Step One

Funny to put the word "love" along with the word kitchen. At least for me. Most of the time, I am looking for ways to spend as little time as possible in that room of the house. In the busy years of raising a family, I have found this is not a plan that works for me since homemaking includes a lot of kitchen activities. I am a creative person and use those talents in every other area of my life but for some reason when I walk into the kitchen it is like I have a total brain freeze.

Always admiring people who love to cook and plan wonderful meals for their families, I come up a little short in my enthusiasm for the "food" part of my job. So, I am working on the idea of loving my kitchen. Step one: David and I both got $50 gift cards to Kohls for Christmas and I waited until they sent out their next round of coupons (which was a great idea because WOO HOO: 30% off!) We agreed we would find a set of cookware we could both be excited about and combine our gift cards.

So, here it is...its red. How cheerful, as a first step to change in my kitchen, this bright new addition. Back in, oh...probably 2000 I had a Pampered Chef party and earned their great set of cookware for half price. The set has served me well but as pieces have worn out, they don't sell the ones I need to replace in their open stock so I have supplemented with other pieces. I haven't had a 2 quart sauce pan since 2005 when after a rice cooking incident mine was scorched unmercifully. I tried everything to salvage what was left of the bottom of the pan but it really was hopeless. Needless to say, that has been somewhat inconvenient.

I will keep the family sized skillet and stove top wok because I make probably 5 out of 7 meals a week with those and the new set doesn't have an equivalent. I was also THILLED to find out that my steamer insert from the old Pampered Chef set fits nicely into two different sizes of the new pans. That was the one thing that we were hesitant about when we were looking at this set. I use the steamer insert all the time!

The little bonus was what they call the one egg wonder pan. David took it out of the box and immediately thought it would be best used as part of the toy kitchen set the kids play with downstairs! (I put my phone next to it when I snapped the picture to show the comparison...it is TINY!) It really is a one egg wonder! I am sure that during this time of our life it will be used the least of all of the pieces. I am looking forward to handing my honey an egg sandwich as he walks out the door for work in the morning. Talk about minimal clean up!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Grandma Johnson's Scones

These are not MY Grandma Johnson's scones. I was searching today for a few easy recipes for breakfast goodies to surprise my children. Allrecipe.com is my favorite place to start when searching for good recipes. The spinner app for the IPhone is pretty cool and I use it a lot to figure out how to use the ingredients already in the pantry.

Scones are not my favorite. They seem a little on the dry side to me, although they aren't too bad with a good cup of coffee! But, when I saw the recipe for "Grandma Johnson's Scones" I had to try them since my Grandma Johnson had some pretty great recipes and it made me a little sentimental. It was a very quick recipe! I substituted chocolate chips instead of raisins because the only raisins in the house were individual little snack boxes and I didn't feel like opening enough of them to get a cup. They aren't the prettiest but not bad for my first attempt.

I ate breakfast cereal every weekday morning growing up, so I assumed that my children would be perfectly happy to have the same. Each morning they ask in hopeful anticipation "what's for breakfast"? One of my goals for this year is to come up with a few other breakfast options because well, I love my kids and it is fun to find ways to get them excited when they wake up in the morning. Along with that, I am also trying this year to become more "at one" with my kitchen. As a homemaker, my kitchen needs to be more like my office than a place where I try to spend the least amount of time possible. It isn't an efficient room right now, but trying to find the best way to set it up so it works for me is a goal that has moved to the top of my list.

The kids will be pretty pumped to have chocolate chip scones in the morning! I can't wait to surprise them!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Master of Transfer - Mommy Bonus!

The one day this week we were planning on going out of the house is of course the day of the winter weather advisory with blowing and drifting snow. Matthew was extremely excited to be able to walk with his boots in the snow so it was a highlight for him.

Unfortunately, on the way back home after lunch, he fell asleep. Although he has always been able to transfer from his car seat to his bed and stay sleeping (unlike any of his siblings), I knew this would not be a successful attempt with all of the winter gear to get off of him!

Mommy Bonus! Once I had unbuckled and gotten him out, he was still sleeping! Although a slow process, I was able to get all of his winter things off and snuggled into his bed still sleeping! It is always great to be able to enjoy a full naptime. It looks like winter has truly arrived in Iowa and at least for today, that is okay!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Here We Go Again...

It has begun...what should be my last potty training experience. A little bit of excitement is lying there behind the doom I always feel as the adventure of potty training begins.

I have been thinking and talking about starting with Matt for some time now since he talks a lot about the toilet and has both pooped and peed on the toilet already. This morning he asked if he could have big boy underpants and I really couldn't tell him no.

Dare I get a little excited that for the last 2 1/2 hours he has been totally successful - dry pants and pee in the toilet. I would LOVE to have an "easy one" this time. I have had some of each, but only one that was truly easy.

There is not a single pull up in the house which I think is a good thing. Pull ups have sabotaged many a potty training attempt in my past. They are too much like diapers. For one of the older kids, it wasn't until there was pee in the big kid underwear and they were uncomfortably wet that there was an understanding of what needed to be avoided. The pull ups were too absorbent and a little too comfortable even when wet. It only took one accident in that case and the training was complete.

Matt is pretty smart. Unless he gets it into his head that he can "control" the situation with his decision to go in the toilet or go in his pants (one of his other siblings did just that), it will be fine.

Monday, January 9, 2012

O Christmas Tree

I informed the kids yesterday that when they got home from school today, the tree and the Christmas decorations would be down. I have learned through the years that in order for a smooth transition from the Christmas season into the rest of the winter, it is best that I give them a warning.

Stacey and Matthew spent some time looking at the lights and ornaments for one last time and playing with the nativity after breakfast. It was sweet to watch them in their own way "say goodbye" to Christmas before leaving for school.

This is a hard Christmas to say good bye to for me too. I think that as the kids get older and I try to keep up with the activities and events of our lives, time just passes like a whirlwind. It gives a new meaning to what God says about our lives being but a breath. I sure am feeling it lately. It seems like we just put the tree up and I don't feel like I had time to sit and ponder. I like to ponder at Christmas...I mean, Mary pondered the greatness of God and all that He is, even though she didn't fully understand the whole picture from her side of the cross. It gets me to thinking what is it that I really understand when I think of the fullness of God and who He is? I need to ponder too and Christmas is one of those times when I make more time than normal to just sit in His presence in the wee hours of the morning when the twinkle lights seem to cozy up the house with a little extra warmth. It just went by way too fast for me.

So, maybe I will just have to make 2012 a year of pondering, finding those moments when He whispers to me in the stillness...it may not be all about sadness, this may just be the beginning of a new dimension of relating. Whatever it is, I am going to get this tree down today and look forward to the opportunities of 2012!

Friday, January 6, 2012

January in Iowa

Yes, it is January. The children got home from school and I sent them out the door. How strange to only have an hour of daylight after school to play when we are outside without coats! The last couple of days have been strange.

I am the "hibernating" type. I like winter, all of the cozy activities that it brings. I get caught up on scrapbook pages, knitted dishcloths and all the other fun crafts that I like to do when it is too cold to do anything else outside. I sure don't need tulips and other buds coming out in January thinking it is spring!

I find myself in a confused state as I watch my children playing outside at this time of the year, especially since they aren't building snow forts and snowmen! To get myself into the winter spirit, I made myself some hot chocolate to enjoy, even at 60 degrees! The kids were pretty thrilled to enjoy some too!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Just What IS An Emergency, Anyway?

2012...day two (as he calls it on his calendar). 4:30 p.m. and Zach is doubled over in pain. He has had episodes like this before and so I waited a little bit but then thought it would be best to take him in and see what this might be. The word "appendix" always seems to come up in conversation with David during these times. Off we went to the urgent care clinic. They took one look at him and told us to go to the ER. They too were afraid it was appendix and knew they would be wasting time without the proper equipment there to diagnose.

Poor boy...can't even stand up and out we go again to the car. He tries to walk because he tells me it hurts worse when I pick him up. After a 45 minute wait with a pager, we get checked into the ER and were told it would take 2 HOURS to get him in to a doctor (said as though that is perfectly acceptable I will also add). Meanwhile he is crying, moaning and yelling out in pain disturbing all of those who are in the waiting room watching the Rose Bowl!

I was trying really hard not to judge, but what IS the definition of an EMERGENCY anyway, as they shot me dirty looks. In this case it seemed to be first come, first served which would work for most any of the situations I saw, people laughing, talking about the game, watching their clock annoyed with the wait.

I had a 5 year old child in excruciating pain and the poor thing was made to sit in a waiting room for TWO HOURS! He gets the bravery award in my book. He was so exhausted from being tense and hurting that when we finally did get him in a room, the look on his face was priceless when he saw there was a bed and a pillow! I gingerly helped him up and as soon as his head hit the pillow he balled himself up in the fetal position where he had a little relief and he fell right to sleep. The doctor had to wake him to take a look at him.

The doctor did the right thing coming into the room embarrassed that it had take so long. As he looked Zach over I could tell that he was not happy that Zach had been made to wait that long hurting so bad. When all was said and done I was so relieved to find out that it was not his appendix. Who knew that a bad case of constipation could be such a terrible ordeal. I can't imagine how much worse it would have to be for someone to have compassion on a 5 year old and move him to the front of the line. I actually think there were a couple in the waiting room that would have let him go ahead of them!