Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Weird




Weird. I know. But awesome too, right?  I'm perfecting the look daily. Some may wonder if I too, like Mommy, have Dwayne Syndrome. Looking at this picture it does appear my left eye does not move as it should. Honestly, I think it's due to lack of experience on my part rather than a non functioning muscle. And you know what that means, practice, practice, practice. I also find that wearing a Tinker Bell tobaggan (my favorite because it's blue) under this yellow hat provides a weird look to go with my weird trick.

You know you're gonna try this as soon as you stop reading (cuz otherwise you'll be seeing double).


Monday, August 29, 2011

One Thousand Gifts: 146-155



Thankful for...

146- my parents taking Hannah and Grant for a few days this week.

147- some extra "goodies" from Dan and Jeannie for our pantry and fridge (one being a 12 pack of Coke) 

148- Grant's growing interest in putting his clothes on by himself

149- watching my kids learn

150- The verse: "He who did not spare His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, how shall he not with Him also freely give us all things?" Romans 8:32  A continual reminder that the Lord has met my biggest need in Jesus and that He will,therefore, meet my lesser needs.

151- The words to Jesus I My Cross Have Taken

152- non spill bubbles (thanks Aunt Bethany...a HUGE HIT for everyone at our house)

153- hearing Hannah and Grant at different times tell each other "I love you."

154- people joining me on the homeschool journey

155- 2 frozen pizzas in the food co-op

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Three's NOT a Crowd (for a minute)








Like I said before, sometimes I get a bit anxious in my crib. And, thankfully, I have my peeps to help soothe me to sleep.

And when I get up? Well, for some reason, I am met with great enthusiasm, not from my peeps, but from my siblings.

The way they climb into my crib makes me think they may have a future in parquor. Well, maybe rock climbing because parquor would entail them jumping out of my crib which only Grant has started working on.

And don't ask me why they are sometimes the first to respond to my waking. Who knows what Mommy is doing (though I do have my theory). But, for a few minutes at least, they provide some comic relief as I wait for my celebrity.

Grant throws his blankey on me. It stinks. Thankfully Mommy realizes this too when he tries to give it to me for my naptime. Mommy may just have saved me and my crib from a bacterial crisis that only the CDC could eradicate.

Hannah often gets me to stand up on the crib. She still thinks it's a major achievment when that happens. I could SO do that on my own but I'll let her glory in the proud big sister moment. And occassionally we all think it pretty funny to have them scream point blank into my face. Don't ask me why I laugh, I just do.

We also find the mobile pretty funny, the yellow chick in particular.

So we share a few laughs as we patiently wait on Mommy. Wherever she may be.

My theory: She's sitting on the couch downstairs sipping a Coke and watching The Office.

I mean, what else would she need to do while I'm sleeping?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Next Hot Dog Eating Champions


 Sometimes a little competition hurts 


In "THE ZONE"

I'm convinced. Especially after tonight.

Hannah and I are being groomed to compete in hot dog eating contests.

So we're a little slow eating our vegetables. What's the problem? Mommy needs to sit and relax her feet for at least over an hour. We're thinking of her, really.

But...

She doesn't see it that way.

Instead she puts on the timer. Puts me up against Hannah and. we. race.

Yes folks, there's something about a timer, sibling rivalry, (and sometimes the threat of going to bed early), that gets the fork a movin' and the food a stuffin' in the mouth.

And then there's the cheers. Mommy and Daddy standing by our side chanting our names, pumping their arms, faces frozen in smiles just hoping their little game works.

Oddly, it does.

Our cheeks full and bulging, we hear the time check...7 minutes....4 minutes...

the squash, broccoli (you enter any vegetable of your choosing) moves at an amazing speed into our mouths and down the hatch.

And you have it. Mostly success. Tonight, just as the buzzer went off I stuffed my last piece of squash into my mouth. Though I lost the competition I managed to maintain my bedtime. Winning.

Check back with us in fifteen years. Or check on ESPN when the hot dog eating contests come on. Mommy and Daddy may be grooming the next eating champion...or just developing anxious eaters who eat too fast and consequently endure heartburn and a tendancy to be overweight.

Either one.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Peeps



(in Mommy's laziness she decided to leave the picture sideways. Sorry.)

Sleeping these days is hard business. I feel a bit sorry for Mommy. I think I'm giving her a hard time. But, I think she should take it as a compliment. I mean, she has a fan. A die hard fan. A fan willing to forego sleep to be near the one she can't live without. Okay, I really can't live without her since she is part of the source of my nutrition, but I'm talking about a more emotional need that binds me to her.

But, there are days she must not feel the same. (tear) Because, well, she makes me cry. She leaves me in this bed. alone.

but not totally...

because I have these guys...

my peeps.

Tigs and Glow-worm. Okay, I know, exactly, it's a seahorse, but Mommy, in her nostalgic ways, insists on calling it a Glow Worm because that's what she had. I go with it.

And, yes, I enjoy my peeps. Especially when Mommy is in view while I'm hugging them. And yes, I still hug them when she leaves. In fact, I go to sleep usually with my arm tightly wound around Tigs' neck.

If I can't have Mommy, well, he's the next best thing...

and you too, of course, GLOW-WORM (however I am a bit peeved when I accidentally turn you on in the middle of the night and you sing your melodic tunes with your bright light...). Work on that and you may move up to number one peep.

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's Complicated





Having two sisters can get complicated...

And I have a feeling those complications will only escalate as the years move along...

As for now, those complications arise when I'm invited to a princess party. You heard me right, a princess party.

I like to think Hannah and I share Ada as a friend. Sure, she's a girl but her age fits so nicely between Hannah and me. But, when it's time to go to her princess party, what's a boy to do?

Not wanting to be left out, I too, wanted to dress up. Of course, not as a princess and, unfortunately, not like a prince either since I have no princely attire.

I had two choices: a duck or Spider Man.

Like any heroic, manly boy I went with...

Spider Man.

And I was proud (okay, apparently the black suited Spider Man was evil in the movie but just look over that). I'm still proud.

Hannah, on the other hand, was not. She DID NOT want her princess picture taken with Spider Man cramping her debutant style.




Like I said before, having sisters, well, it's complicated.

CHEESE!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Christmas Challenge



Still working towards our Christmas and planning to spend no more than $100 for the total cost of our kids' Christmas. Yesterday, thanks to the Huggies reward program, I cashed in points to "buy" this rainmaker for Kate.

I know, real exciting, right? But what do you get for a third child who has so much already due to older siblings? Thankfully, she'll only be one. And being a one year old, the "wish list" consists of anything that makes noise or anything she can throw or put in her mouth. I believe this makes the cut.

So, it cost me $0 out of pocket...well...it actually cost me hundreds of dollars in diapers if we want to be real honest. While I enjoy the reward system for buying diapers...I really think they could be a bit more generous with how many points they delve out. This baby cost 350 points. A big box of diapers earns you 16 points. So after buying 22 boxes of diapers (retailing at $440 if I had paid full price, which thankfully I did not nor ever will) I earned enough to snag this $10 item. Thanks Huggies for such grandiose generosity.

So, here's the rundown...

Total of $100 spent: $7.89
Total remaining:  $92.11
Total gifts bought: 4 (a reusable/washable coloring table cloth, 2 pillow pets, and this state of the art rainmaker)


And the challenge continues...



Friday, August 19, 2011

Five Minute Friday: New











New.

Life around me breathes of newness.

But newness isn't always fun. A lot of times, newness is hard.

I can't help but think of the transformation a caterpillar takes to become a new creature. There's nothing easy about it. But it's beautiful.

This season of life, there is a lot of newness, beginning, of course, with John's new job...new business...that he and his partner have diligently been working on the past 6 months. With this newness comes uncertainty...mainly financially. And it's hard. Hard to start a new business and get the ball rolling. Hard to trust in the Lord's provision.

And it seems that from that exhale of newness, other areas are affected. It's from this newness that I've been challenged to see God and His Truth in a new way. To wrestle in a new way with His character and His sources of provision. Wrestle with the idea that newness often times isn't accommpanied with comfortability. And that His "working all things together for our good," doesn't always mean it's going to be easy.

But in all the newness I am confident in a bigger newness...that He is committed to making me new. With each new trial or circumstance He is refining me, making me into a new creation,

making me more like Him.

Isn't that a newness to be celebrated?

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
Romans 8:18

*i would be lying if i said i wrote this in 5 minutes...in the time i sat down to write my phone rang three times and I had to manage an unruly child.*

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Perspective





I'm a little embarrassed. Or maybe it's Kate who should be.

She's the chunker.

She's the one who is only 10 months and fits into the same outfit I wore at 18 months.

Who's laughing now Kate?

Sure, I was scrawny. But you're a porker.

Okay, I know, you're only weighing in at the 9th percentile. But you're a Harman porker.

You'll be begging to wear my skinny jeans. But, if those thighs keep that extra cushion, sorry sister...no skinny jeans will be able to wrap around that.

But, in sisterly love, I'll have to admit, you do look pretty darn cute...chubs and all.

Sail on, sister, sail on.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mommy's Moment: Seriously?


What are they thinking?

I had to do a double take as I sorted through my inbox this morning. Did that really say, "how to make the cutest lunches ever?"

I laughed upon viewing this picture. The carefully designed giraffe with its well placed spots and flower cut outs had to be a joke. Is parenting.com that out of touch with mothers?

Or am I that bad of a mother?

For me to create such a masterpiece would require a lot of time and maybe even an art degree.

I have neither.

A mom of three, our lunches are quite chaotic. Not the best atmosphere for delving deep into my artistic crevices to create a lunch simply too impressive to devour.

My version of "how to make the cutest lunches ever" would be using my cookie cutter to turn those pb and j's into a star or heart. And, quite frankly, I rarely even do that. But when I do my kids think they're the bomb. Wow. what would they think if I crafted this giraffe and his jungle atmosphere from a wide array of food on the food pyramid (oh wait, they got rid of that, thanks Michelle Obama...that was a really important endeavor)?

I don't think I want to find out. Their expectations of me and their lunches would sky rocket while my sanity would crash and burn.

Crash and burn.

While my hat goes off to those moms who have the time, energy, and creativity to create such an eye pleasing display, I will press on. Press on simply to feed my kids. That in and of itself is a feat. And at the end of the day isn't what really matters the fact that your kids are still alive, whether they ate a giraffe whittle out of a block of cheese or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich slapped together in record breaking time?

I think I'll let Subway keep the title "sandwich artist."

Monday, August 15, 2011

One Thousand Gifts: 146-155




146: my free small smoothie (McDonald's is right when they say, 1 in 3 wins)

147: children who like to snuggle

148: an almost fall-like day

149: my days spent home with my kids

150: my children who love to sit on my lap and listen to stories

151: Hannah asking, "Mommy will you please pray that I'll feel better?"

152: seeing Hannah excited about her new homeschool group

153: Grant apologizing without me asking him to.

154: scrounged up change to buy a Coke.

155: baby Kate back to good health

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Racing Day






Well, two weeks ago it was racing day.

My first racing day.

Mommy signed up for a 5k. And while Grant and I weren't quite ready for a 5k, we were ready for a 50 yard dash. Okay, seriously, I was ready for a 400 yard dash, but it seems they thought it best if we only dash for 50 yards.

My only goal: to receive a gold medal.

And, as you see, I achieved that goal.

No, I didn't win. In fact, I think I came in second to last place in my age group. But, like I said, had they allowed me to race 400 yards, I think I could have won. I'm more of an endurance runner, not a sprinter. My fierce competitors were sprinters.

As for Grant, well, he started with a disadvantage. Apparently some lady thought little of his athletic prowess. When the lady hollered, "go!" she held Grant's hand and sped walked with him.

Thankfully, Mommy's enthusastic yells from the side gave Grant confidence that this lady was holding back his puma like speed. He broke free of her hand holding and took off. Unfortunately, his competitors (who were not held back) were close to crossing the finish line. Grant did manage to beat a girl. Grant also managed to snag a gold medal.

Kate is wearing it now.

As for Mommy, well, she did not receive a gold medal. And, if she gained anything,it was further confirmation that her body doesn't move like it used to.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Beauty



Beauty is...

a bouqet of brightly colored crayons bunched in my son's hands

the laughter that fills my ears as my children wrestle each other to the ground

the feet that bring the Good News

a conversation filled with honesty and realness

the freckles that sprinkle my daughter's face

my husband's dirty hands, a reminder of his hard work

fresh cut flowers from our yard that now bring color and life to our home

a sleeping baby on my chest

silence

the sun setting over a quiet lake

the Lord, who makes all things beautiful through Christ


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mosquito Man...





Gardening is hard work.

There are elements to brave. Elements that are not easy to endure for the faint of heart, like my sister, Hannah, whose delicate body could not perservere in these harsh conditions.

What conditions, you ask?

Heat, Humidity, and lots and lots of HUNGRY mosquitos.

If you have a keen eye you may notice a change of attire for me.

No, I am not vain.

My street clothes (a muscle shirt and shorts) proved too vulnerable for the unrelenting pests that swarmed the air trying to thwart our plans of a successful potato dig. So, like any good super hero, a change of clothes was necessary to maintain my authority.

With the help of Mom (a must have for every super hero) I return to the potato dig a different man, not even a man, a superhero, ready to combat the pestilence that tried to undermine my efforts in the dig. I returned as...



 
MOSQUITO MAN......

Those mosquitos didn't have chance.

Covered literally from head to toe, I rejoined Grandaddy's laborious efforts to dig up the potatoes. I was his apprentice, much like Robin is to Batman.

He dug, I put them in the bucket. He showed me some worms. He showed me potatoes that weren't worth keeping, and he showed me the gems...those that would be fit for a king to eat, all the while mosquitos bouncing off my new armor that proved impenetrable (I'm growing in my learning to spell) to their carnivorous attacks.






I could practically hear the pings as they darted off my chest.

And I thought....

This just may be the beginning of something awesome.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Mommy's Moment: Joining the Ranks




5 years of motherhood and I've escaped it. I've counted myself lucky as I've heard horror story after horror story. Though, I knew one day I too would join the ranks.

Today was that day.

And I didn't expect my 10 month old to be the one to intiate me into the club.

But she did.

With at least five good dousings.

You see, she's been under the weather. A fever the past day and a half. But no other symptoms.

Until tonight.

Perhaps I jinxed myself when I told my mom today on the phone that my kids typically get fevers with no other side effects.

Perhaps the not so solid diaper after dinner should have been a warning I heeded better.

But I didn't.

And, in the middle of her last nursing she stopped, raised up, and let it A.L.L. out. It happened in slow motion. I sat. And she spewed. I didn't move. I didn't scream. I just sat. And watched while allowing myself to be saturated in it. And while I was silently horrified, I was also pleasantly surprised. My milk supply, always in question, appeared to be quite sufficient.

Back to reality, my only help came in the form of a 3 year old and a 4 year old who sat downstairs playing a competitive game of Mario Kart. John was away.

 Would they even unglue themselves to help me?

Well, apparently "she threw up all over me," was enough to peak their curiosity as they paused the game to come and see.

I could use a pause button.

And so they came to my aid, two paper towels in hand.

Two paper towels would not even wipe down one arm.

With Grant's new found sense of smell, he immediately said, "ooo I smell dat," and left the room immediately.

I don't blame him. I still "smell dat."

After Hannah's curiousity was quickly fed and she retrieved a BATH towel for me, she too left quickly.

Needless to say, the laundry is now running and a shower is calling my name after my two video game entusiasts are in the bed.

And to all those mothers who have walked this road before me, I'd like to say my hat (if I was wearing one) goes off to you. I've heard stories far worse than mine and I applaud you. And I hope you welcome me into your pukey ranks.

Homeschool Diaries


 Making letters with shaving cream!

 She actually did make a letter at some point with the Geoboards!






The Good: though slowly, we are moving along. Hannah continues to have success in reading her Bob Books. We have completed through letter N. She is beginning spelling. She hears words and then calls out all the letters she hears in those words. It's fun to see her get excited! Her cutting skills have come a LONG WAY and she successfully can cut on her own. Hannah has also mastered several sight words. Grant, surprisingly, has also mastered a few.

I've been reading The Well Trained Mind thanks to Laura Beth who kindly shared her copy with me. I've been thoroughly encouraged. I will be teaching Hannah via the Classical Education model. Having been a public school teacher, this is the opposite of what I ever learned in my teaching life. However, as I read this book I am greatly encouraged that this is a great model to follow. Here are a few quotes that encouraged me the most:

"If you create a language-rich home, limit tv and videos, and then teach systematic phonics, you will produce readers."

"In about thirty minutes per day, plus informal teaching as you go about your family life, you can easily teach you child beginning reading, writing, and math concepts, all without workbooks or teacher manuals."

Jessie Wise

These quotes are directly related to Pre-K and Kindergartners. I liked them because it's simple. It's doable. And it's proven to be successful. With three kids, one still an infant, I need simple. So, the BEST thing over the past couple of months I've gained personally, is a better understanding of Classical Education and a growing heart for it. AND, somewhat of a burden lifted off my back as I have realized it doesn't have to be complicated. This is very different from teaching a classroom of 24 kids who all come from different backgrounds.

AND, starting the 23rd, we will officially start homeschooling. Thursday is Open House. I'm a bit nervous but also excited to see Hannah in this new environment. We are starting a new chapter.

The Bad: Maybe the fact we've only made it to letter N and it's August. But, in reality, Hannah knows all her letters and sounds so I'm not going to beat myself up. She's reading some too. We'll continue to move forward as we continue on our homeschool journey. And perhaps knowing how to work with Grant. He's a firey little guy at times. I'm trying to teach him the right way to hold his pencil/crayon. He's not having it. So usually I back off and wait for another opportunity to show him. He's easily frustrated so I mainly maintain a hands off approach at this age. I'm hoping he will grow out of that.

The Funny: The other day I was drilling Hannah on her sight words and Grant said, "I want to do it." Humoring him, I obliged and showed him the first card. Right away he said, "of." He was exactly right. I should him another. He read it right away. I just laughed. I didn't give the little guy enough credit. He knows maybe 2-3 of the 10 words and that's from just sitting there while I drill Hannah.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Whole








Life is a bunch of tiny moments. I get lost in those tiny moments, forgetting the whole picture.

In the midst of laundry, dishwashing, changing dirty diapers, cleaning up the toys, and disciplining my children it's easy for me to lose sight of the WHOLE.

There is a much bigger picture to my life, a bunch of tiny pieces that the Lord promises He's "working all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

I'm thankful for the WHOLE. Because it's easy to get lost in the mundane moments. To forget my purpose in the midst of picking up toys, wiping down the counters, disciplining my children.

I don't know a lot of things in the midst of these moments that don't promise easy living or comfortability...but I know the WHOLE. That in all these events, comfortable and uncomfortable, the Lord is working them for my good. He is making me more like Him and in so doing He is receiving glory. His glory is my whole. And He is committed to me.