Not Made to Stand Still

JD isn’t crawling yet, but he uses bottom scooting, pushing backwards, and the belly clock to get around.

Do you know what I’m talking about when I say “belly clock”?  It’s that thing babies do before they can crawl, where they just spin around in a circle and push backwards on their bellies.  He has very limited mobility, but he works awfully hard on it, every single day.

  Last night JD woke up 5 TIMES, so I’m seriously a walking zombie today.  I’m counting down the minutes until Daniel is tired enough to put down for a nap.  Until then, I figured I’d update my somewhat neglected blog.

  The boys had SUCH a great time last week with their cousin Matthew here last week.  Matthew is 17, and to say that Joshua and Caleb seriously look up to him would be an understatement.

  There was one night that Caleb had a cub scout meeting, but his best jeans, which he wears with his uniform, were nowhere to be found.  Alan’s solution was to make Caleb wear khakis instead.  Caleb was a bawling mess, and he absolutely refused to come down stairs and have Matthew see him in those pants!!!  HAAAA!!!  I love raising these boys.  They delight my heart.  I went upstairs and located Caleb a new pair of blue jeans, and all turned out well.

  Here are a few more photos from the visit:

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Joshua and Matthew built this snowman together.

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the builder, hard at work

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Joshua, Matthew, and their creations

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Ya’ll, I try so hard.  I really do, but let’s face it, I can only be in so many places at one time.  Daniel made this mess about 1 hour after Betty finished cleaning the entire kitchen.  I had her come an extra week while we’re having company.  This doesn’t even cover how vast the mess was.  See below….

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The little bitty sprinkles were everywhere, and I wasn’t getting much sleep last week, which made my stress threshold lower.  I might have actually cried when I saw this.  I cry kind of often these days.

Did I mention that all of my guests are very neat and tidy people, and this just further served to show me that I will never live up to what I’d like to be?  I know.  That may sound ridiculous, but to me it just felt like failure.  I barely had the energy or the time to clean it up.

This is what happens when you compare yourself to other people:  discouragement. It never helps. I must stop doing that!  We all have different strengths and weaknesses and circumstances.

I need to make friends with some slackers so that I will feel better about myself……   ; )

I believe there’s a Bible verse about this (my comparing myself to other people):

Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding

2 Corinthians 10:12

and

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Galatians 1: 10

 

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Nonna and the three biggest boys

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Now here’s something I SERIOUSLY enjoy:  bargain shopping!!  Nonna and I hit a consignment sale, and I got all of this for $38.  That included 9 shirts for Joshua and Caleb, plus the books, and the baby outfit, and several of these things still had the original tags on them.  Oh, the fun!!!!

chill time

 

This week I’m in full on stressed-out April mode.  I’m trying to keep ‘calm.’  There’s just something about a military move with four children hanging over your head that makes it a little hard to not become an annoying, hyper version of myself.  I spent two hours this morning trying to get a pediatric neurology appointment for Caleb, only to be met by brick walls.

Don’t you just love an aggravating problem to have to solve?  Ugh.  I have to get my little man seen before the move, and apparently I’m going to have to jump through a whole lot of hoops to do so.

John David is teething, NOT sleeping at night, and he’s still refusing the bottle.

Sleep changes everything, ya’ll.  I promise it does.  I’m a much, much nicer person when I’ve gotten sleep.

I have about a thousand little problems in my head right now, but I won’t bore you with them.  INSTEAD, I will share a few funny quotes I’ve heard lately because, you know, who doesn’t love funny?

*****    Kids are funny!!!!!      ******

The other day, we had to pick up my van from the shop after a terrible oil leak.  I think I hit some rocks or something in a construction zone that ripped up the belts under my hood.

We all six rode over to the Toyota place in Alan’s truck.  As soon as we parked, Caleb was all, “I want to go in!!  I want to go in!!”  That was followed immediately by Daniel’s, “Me!!  Me!  Daniel!  Daniel go!”

  Alan made one request:  “Anyone who goes in has to be still and not fight with any brothers.”

To which Joshua quickly re-buckled his seat belt, as he replied, “Oh, no, that’s not me.  I’m staying here.  I was not made to stand still.”

LOL!!!  Good thinking, Joshua!

…..Meanwhile, Caleb and Dan piled out with Daddy–since they’re so good at standing still—-BAAAAAAHAHAHAHAH!

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While sitting in the truck with me, Joshua said, “You know what I think when I hear ‘Toyota’?  I think of a toy Yoda, like from Star Wars.”

Cute.

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The boys were pretend playing, and I heard Joshua ask the group, “Who is going to be good, and who is going to be bad?”

Daniel, jumping up and down, shouted, “Me be bad!!  Me bad!!!  RAAAAAAAAWR  GROOOOOAAAAAAAR!”

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I think if I were a little boy, I’d be very happy here in this house, and that’s not a bad accomplishment:  providing a happy home for the boys.  As Rick Warren says in his book, it’s not really about me, is it?

My Vacation Disaster

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the boys…..before they kicked Dan out for keeping them awake : ) He is a terrible bed buddy.

This past Friday, we gathered up all of our chick-ies and headed to Massanutten Ski Resort.  I had been so proud of myself for finally booking a nice vacation for us, well in advance.  We aren’t always the best vacation planners.  You can make us sound fun by calling us “spontaneous”, but really that just means we procrastinate until we actually leave and then end up “winging it,” missing out on all the things that book out really far in advance.

  We were all set this time.  I had an awesome condo booked for us, I had Joshua enrolled in a snowboarding class, and I did it all for FREE.  Yep.  All we had to do was listen to a time share spill while there.  No problem.  We’re way too thrifty to fall for that.  They’ll never get us.  Right???

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Not too shabby, right??  Did you see me?  I’m the red blob in the bed on the left.

All was well until about 6 pm on Friday night (our very first night there).  I ate too much pizza at the on-site pizza place, and by bedtime, it was becoming clear that this was NOT going to be a fun vacation for the mama.

I caught the DADDY of all stomach flus.  I didn’t actually feel normal again until today……a solid 5 days later.  It felt like being in labor for the first 24 hours of it.

Saturday morning Alan took pity on me and decided to call it quits and abandon condo.

Alan:  I’ve got everything cleared from the room and ready to go. Should we get Joshua from snowboard school early?

April:  No!  Don’t do that!  He was so excited.  I can wait 2 more hours.

Alan:  Well, the time-share tour is at 12.  We might as well go, rather than just sitting in our car.

April:  or…..but…..I don’t know…..

…..I’ll spare you the agonizing details.  Five hours later, we drove out of Massanutten, the proud new owners of a Massanutten time share.

Right.  They won.

I do have a little bit of good news.  By Tuesday, the buyer’s remorse had hit us full on.  What were we thinking?  I wasn’t really thinking.  I would’ve signed any number of documents to get those people to stop talking and let me leave.

There’s a 7 day clause.  Alan drafted the letter last night and mailed it today.  We should be out of this by the end of the week and back to living debt-free.

Meanwhile, life at home is beating me over the head with a stick.  John David and Daniel have developed a cold.  The worst part is that JD doesn’t sleep when he’s sick.  I was up with him three times last night, and I doubt tonight will be much better.

He isn’t really napping either.  There were moments today when he was quiet, and I thought, “Oh, good,” but then I’d look at the monitor, and he’d be rolling around in his crib.  This is a new and unwelcome development.

I pretty much spent the last couple of days going from helping JD to helping Dan to feeding everyone.  There are still-packed suitcases everywhere.  If any prospective renters ask to come take a tour, I might just throw in the towel and flee the country.

*****LESSONS LEARNED*****

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1.  If you want a time share, you can buy one for exactly $1 on ebay.  Just know that all time shares come with maintenance fees of several hundred dollars a year, even if the time share itself is paid off.  People sometimes inherit them, don’t want to pay the maintenance fees, and so they practically give them away.

2.  Life is hard……but we already knew that.

3.  Never think you can take a time share tour and not get sucked in.  Those people are good at what they do.

4.  Joshua loves snow boarding.  At least there was that one good thing that happened.

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  At least I am finally on the mend, and we should be free of the time share soon.

  I always prefer that my writing be upbeat and encouraging, sometimes even funny, but this has just been one of THOSE weeks.  It’s like life has given me some lemons, then given me some sores, then squeezed the lemon juice into the sores.

  I really have nothing at all nice to say about this week of crying babies, stomach flu, and bad decisions, so let’s look back at a few cute pictures from pre-vacation disaster.  Maybe that will put you and me both in a better mood!

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my sweet littles, all bundled up to go out into the cold  (Dan was blowing a whistle.)

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A couple of weeks ago, Alan bought an out-of-season watermelon, and you would have thought he’d brought home the world’s largest chocolate bar.  Everyone was SO excited.  Everyone had to take a turn cutting the thing, and it was the cheapest little party I’ve ever thrown!!

Side note:  It was seedless, as most watermelons that I find these day are.  What happened to the seeds?  Is this genetic engineering?  God made them with seeds, right?  That wasn’t good enough though, eh?  Who wants to pick through seeds?  No more seed spittin’ contests around here.

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Joshua with a butcher knife:  yes, it made me a little nervous.

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Go for it, JD!  The slick tile in the kitchen is where he does his best bottom scootin’, and yes, Joshua still follows behind him with a pillow.  “Oh, no!  He got away from his pillow again!”  We couldn’t have asked for a sweeter first born!

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Oh, and about our would-be vacation….bleh…..there was one quote that I can remember that brought a smile to my face.

Caleb:  (looking out the van window) Look!  Graveyard again!  Or dying holes.

Joshua:  *giggled* Yeah, you call ’em dying holes, but it is a graveyard.  Always go with your first instinct, Caleb.

After the week I’ve had, I suppose I should just be thankful to not need a dying hole just yet myself!!!

New Year’s Check Up

Goal:  Be anywhere near as happy as Dan…That’d be great!
As I wrote in a previous post, my goal for 2014 is to chill.  I want to calm down, enjoy my children, and not get all worked up about a bunch of stuff that doesn’t even matter all that much!
  I was doing pretty great on day one, but then January 2nd hit, and Alan went back to work.
  I don’t think ‘calm’ or ‘happy’ would be the first adjectives my children would use to describe me Thursday and Friday.  
  Sigh.  Maybe it would have been easier to just say 2014 Goal:  Lose 5 pounds.  ha!
  Oh well, I’ll be chill tomorrow…..for today I have started reading a book I just HAVE to share with you!
The author is also a blogger at http://moneysavingmom.com/.
  I’m only on chapter two, but already I feel inspired!
My favorite things so far about this book:
–She talks about the importance of budgeting your time the same way you would budget your money.  You can bet 2 hours (at least) will be taken by things you do not expect, plan 8 hours for sleep, and the rest for the things that matter most to you.  She points out that  you can end up feeling like you’ve failed after a very productive day, just because you planned way too many activities for that one day.
–She provides charts in the back of the book to help you plan.
–She talks about the importance of de-cluttering your house.  
–She reminds us of the importance of setting a big goal and then breaking it into smaller pieces.
I so look forward to reading the rest of this book!!  Highly recommend!  We’ve been living “debt-free” for four years now, but tightening our belts really needs to happen this year.  Raising children is expensive!!
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Update on the kids:
  Joshua is playing basketball this year.  Alan said that he and Xavier had a great game today.  Joshua had made such a huge improvement from the last game that he got the “game ball” today!  Yay, Joshua!!
  We have learned so much about handling team sports, now that we’ve been doing this a few years!  
Our new rule:  No kid plays team sports before 1st grade.
  With the first kid, it wasn’t really so bad because it was just ONE kid’s sports schedule to manage, but with as many as we have now…..If they are going to take up that much of the family’s time each week, the child needs to be able to actually understand what they are playing out there!!
   Also, we burned our kids out on baseball before they had a chance to really get good, and we don’t want to make that mistake again!  But then sports just weren’t really something our first two boys were into at a very young age.  If they’d actually liked it, it might have been different!!
  Caleb insists that he DOES still like soccer, and he’s already on me to register him for spring.  I wonder if I can convince him to wait until next year, when the goalie position begins…..
   John David is finally all better! 
Dan has had great potty training success this week! 
No one is sick here!   Hurray! 
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I have to share a great find!  I’ve been on the hunt for a good work-out shirt, without having to order online.  I hate Target’s because I don’t look so great in spandex these days….sooo  I found a very simple 100% cotton Hanes, purple t-shirt at Wal-mart.  For $3.88!!!  Love it.  Now it’s not the best for major sweating, as it is 100% cotton, but for a winter work-out, I really like it.
“Don’t let the urgent take the place of the important in your life.”  –Charles Hummel  
(quote found in The Money Saving Mom’s Budget  by Crystal Paine)  

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