Focusing on the POSITIVE

My last post focused on how hectic our week was, how busy we are right now, and all the mischief that Daniel has been finding. (You can read that last post here.)  Today, in honor of the week of Thanksgiving, I’m going to focus on the POSITIVE!

10 Great Things Going on Around Here Right Now:


10.   If I want to catch a picture of Joshua smiling, I just need to whip out the baby.

Joshua loves to make J.D. laugh.  He also loves to pick J.D. up and carry him.  He’s extremely careful and a little timid about doing so, but you can tell it makes him feel really special that we let him pick up the baby.


#9.  J.D. loves all of his big brothers already, and so does Daniel.

Caleb is just a little bit closer to Dan’s age than Joshua is, and Dan is really starting to appreciate Caleb’s friendship.  Sometimes, at bed time, Dan will run in and jump into bed and cuddle with Caleb.  The other night, once our rituals were over, we told Dan to tell his brothers “night-night” and go to his room.
Dan walked out saying, “Night-night, Caweb!!  And night-night Caweb!”
He loves Joshua too, but I think he was just showing Caleb his appreciation for the friendship he had shown him that day.  Caleb is also really good about playing kitchen with Dan.

 8.  While it may have been a controversial year for the Boy Scouts of America, it’s definitely an organization that has benefited our boys.

This is a photo of them getting ready for a pack meeting.  I love that this is an activity we get to kind of all do together as a family.
Dan thinks he’s a cub scout too.  ; )
Poor photo quality…my tablet isn’t exactly a high quality camera!

#7.  John David is now eating seriously pureed solids, which has greatly improved his nightly sleep patterns. WAhooo!!!!!!!


6.  I’m so thankful that he’s so pretty.

5.  Cute Caleb story:

  We were walking to school, and Caleb mentioned a little girl that was in his class last year and how he’s always thought she was pretty.  (This is not unusual with Caleb.  I’m more in danger of getting TMI from Caleb than ever lacking in information!)
  He said, “But this year, there’s an even more beautiful girl in my class.  Her name is *Yellow* (don’t even remember her name, actually!), and she has long yellow hair, and she is so pretty.  She is.

4.  Caleb has it allll figured out.

  I was never the person that had it all figured out.  Each year when asked “what I want to be when I grow up”, I’d give a different answer, because I just had no idea!  Joshua is like that too.  Not Caleb.  This boy talks often about how he’s going to be a “construction builder” when he grows up, and he has been saying this since he was 2 years old.  He once tried to make me pull over in a parking lot so that he could watch them build a Walmart.
  He’s also pretty serious about finding himself a “beautiful wife” that will cook for him, when he grows up.  : )

3.  Compliments

Is there anything greater, as a parent, than having someone give you a genuine compliment about your child?  I like nothing more!  I also instantly like the compliment giver more!
  Ironically, we get the most compliments on a certain very sweet and adorable little mess maker named Daniel.  Oh….if only they knew…..He sure is sweet, compliant, and friendly in public, though, so if you didn’t read this blog, you might also be tempted to think of him as some sort of sweet cherub.  (He’s really more like a rascally little Leprechaun!)
  Recent compliments we’ve received (mostly from church folk):
–about Joshua:  “I love how he looks me in the eye and says ‘yes sir’!  That means a lot to people like me, of my generation!!”
–about Caleb:  “I love having Caleb in my class.  We did a trivia game today, and he knew all the answers.  He just kept raising his hand and raising his hand, and I just couldn’t call on him every time.  When I wouldn’t call on him, he was back there helping out the other kids, whispering the answer in their ears.”
–about Dan:  “Oh, he is sooo adorable.”
                  …..and from his doctor last week:
                  “Well, he’s very verbal isn’t he?  You are just really impressive, little man.”
  Of course, I was pleased as punch to hear that from a pediatrician.  He really does ham it up at these doc visits.  First off,  I set him up for success by arming myself with a bag full of crayons, coloring books, trains, and train tracks.  He stays busy in the exam room building train tracks and not bothering their stuff.
  Then every time the doc or nurse is ready to evaluate him, he ever so happily bounces up on the table and raises his shirt.  He seems to really enjoy it.  He’ll point to one ear and say, “Hurts,” then he points to the other ear and says, “Better.”  Then he’ll point to his tummy and say, “My tummy hurts.”
  And he’s just so happy to be there, that he really is just irresistible!

2.  Thanksgiving coming up!

We have made plans for what looks like it will be a fun Thanksgiving.  We’re doing lunch with another family, so I won’t have to cook the whole meal.  Yay!  Then after dinnertime, we are getting together with friends for dessert.

1.  Our whole family is well today.  We all got to go to church together yesterday.

 Alan and I looked at each other in the sanctuary, like “Wow, this is nice!”  We had all the kids squirreled away to age appropriate classes, and it was just the two of us on the pew together, enjoying a nice relaxing hour in God’s house. It was a great time to remind ourselves how blessed we are, and thank God for these blessings.

This is reality.

This week I got my hair cut a lot shorter.  Why?  Because I have a lot of days like this:
*Just to clarify, there is no typical day.  This is just sort of how it went this week.  It goes much better when the littles and I are able to stay home all day!*
5 or 5:30am
Hear the baby talking and my alarm going off.
Hit snooze until baby gets louder.
Have several dreams about alarm clocks going off…
Feed baby.
While feeding baby, hear the alarm start going off–but can’t stop feeding baby to go turn it off….
….Pray the boys don’t wake up yet, but really I know Dan’s already waking up in his room.
The day has barely begun, and already I’m wishing the babies were five years older!
(Spare me the “I will miss this” talks, I’m too sleepy to believe you anyway).
Put baby back to bed….hope he’ll go back to sleep so that I can have coffee in peace.
Coffee Time!!!!
feeling proud to be up early, tired but trying to be optimistic, savor the two seconds of silence…
6/6:15 am
Take first sip of coffee, only to hear Daniel upstairs calling me to come get him.
Alan saves the day and goes and gets him for me.
So glad I married Alan.
Moment of happiness….until I hear the baby telling me that no, he didn’t actually care to go back to sleep.
Bacon cooked for Joshua.  Boys appear.  Joshua complains about almost everything on his plate.
Convince boys to go upstairs and get dressed.  Put them in two separate rooms so that they will actually get dressed, instead of laughing wildly while they whack each other with pants.
(artwork by Joshua)
This is just what boys do.
Every day.
Dress Daniel.  Rush the kids.  Put J.D. in car seat.
He hates being put in his car seat, so he cries.
Return home.  Breathe a sigh of relief.
Try to feed the baby some food:
Call it quits and breastfeed.
Put baby back to bed.
Give Dan something to do, and then make the mistake of thinking I can shower and get dressed.
Find this:
Yes, that’s Dan, and that huge mess that you see?  That would be an entire, brand new, box of baby cereal, which he poured all over my kitchen.
Spend every minute I can squeeze in cleaning that up for the rest of my day.
Go from this to whatever errand I had to run that day.
Where do stay home moms go with their kids?
-pediatrician’s office
At least those are the things we did this week, all on different days, though.
Come home, feed them, and put them to bed.
Wish that Daniel would go to sleep.
Periodically check on Dan, who is playing in his room, not napping, just to make sure he hasn’t pooped in his pants.
Oh no!!!  It’s time to get the boys already, and I have absolutely no accomplishments to show for my day…other than the errands and the fed and dressed children.
Wake up babies.
Daniel has been sleeping for all of 5-10 minutes.
Feed J.D.
Show up 5 minutes late to pick up the big boys.
If the weather is good, and no one is contagious, we might even get to play at the park beside our house. This is my social hour as well as their’s!
Arrive home.  Put baby to bed.
Collapse on sofa.
Dig through book bags for any information as to what my children were doing all day.
This is what I found in yesterday’s book bag: terrible school picture of boy #1.  This was the re-do.  I’ve decided to keep this to remember this year by….I’d show it to you, but it was so bad I’m afraid it would go viral.
Guide children through homework, being constantly interrupted by phone calls, toddler problems, you name it.
“What are we having for dinner?”
Drat.  Dinner.
Do I make a meal plan and have food on hand to make?  Yes.
Where in this day that I just described was there time to make it????
Throw together embarrassingly simple supper that also could have passed for a snack or a lunch.
Look at children lovingly and wonder when in the world this is going to slow down!
Feed the baby again.
Throw appropriate uniform on whatever children has an evening activity.  Grab book and go over whatever it is I was supposed to teach them (Sparks verses/ cub scout stuff).
Regret not having this done already.
Call Alan and remind him of activity, just to make sure he’s tracking.
Microwave some oatmeal and call it my supper.
Alan rushes in, changes clothes, and grabs kid to take to activity.
(Sometimes he stays and I go.  That is a welcome break for me!)
Start bed time proceedings for whoever is home.
(Bath time.  artwork by Caleb.  That’s Caleb in the tub.  That thing to the left of the house is the mailbox.)
 Alan and child arrive home, and we put them all to bed.  (Sometimes I’m the one with an activity, thankfully).
Do we have to bathe all the kids?
Which ones did we bathe last night?  Let me see their fingernails.
Sorry, Aunt Ellen.  We’ll all be cleaner in a few more years.
Now before you judge us. I promise we don’t have an activity every single night.  Also, I do stay with the boys while they eat their dinner.  On the weekends, we all have dinner together as a family.
Tonight is one of those treasured nights that not a single one of us has to be anywhere!
Look!  Sometimes they do really cool stuff:
Joshua’s quarantine strep throat fort.
So right now the baby is crying and Daniel is upstairs in his room, not taking a nap.
Dear Saturday, please come soon!!!!!!

Gardening Day

How cute is my most willing little helper!?

  I have mentioned before that my favorite parenting book is Large Family Logistics.

Two things I like most about this book:


1.)  It serves as a great reminder of the need to involve the children in chores.  It’s so easy to forget to do that, and there is literally more work at this job than I can do myself.


I actually had to remind the boys of that today at chore time.


“Joshua (he’s our whiner of the day), do you remember this week how you ran out of all your favorite pants to wear and how that made you feel?”


Joshua nodded pitifully, and I said, “Well, that’s what happens when no one helps me with the chores.”


Caleb and Daniel both dutifully did their chores with quickness and no complaining, so I of course also made sure I praised them for this, where today’s whiner could hear me.


I learned that in my short teacher’s training that I did in Texas:  the importance of praising the children doing the right thing, and you will quickly see the other children trying to follow suit.  It WORKS!


Now I do say TODAY’S whiner, b/c they each take turns with their whining.


Once Joshua calmed down, each time I gave him a task, he seemed to almost enjoy his job.  The hard part was getting past the fuss he put up.  So my goal for this week is to work Joshua well and get him past this whining and complaining problem.


You know, God doesn’t like whiners and complainers either.  Just think about how he handled those murmuring Israelites, wandering in the desert!



#2. The other thing I like so much about that book is the concept of assigning major tasks to each day.


Monday:  Laundry Day.  Obviously, in a ‘large’ family, you have to do 1-2 loads a day anyway, but laundry day helps you catch up on the laundry you’re behind on.


Tuesday:  Kitchen Day.  Extra cleaning and cooking in the kitchen


Wednesday:  Office Day:  filing, organizing office space, etc.


Thursday:  Errand Day:  the day for appointments, shopping, and various errands.


Friday:  Cleaning Day:  You still do basic chores like tidying up, dishes, and laundry everyday.  But cleaning day is when the vacuum and dust rag get used all over the house.


Saturday:  Gardening Day:  love this day, but still feel guilty about neglecting the mess in Alan’s office that needs to be addressed.


“You have no office,” you say?  Yes, you’re right.  We don’t even have a desk, so Alan has turned my dining room into his office, and he is constantly bringing in papers galore and leaving them on the very decorative buffet, you know, right where everyone who enters our house can see.


I have GOT to find a place to set up a desk for him before I go batty.  I already made him a huge drawer for all that stuff, and yet it’s all still on top of the buffet.    Therefore, no matter how much I straighten the house still looks messy.


Another goal for this week:  find solution to the Alan home office problem.


Today’s Gardening Day Fun:

I just added those hanging ferns a couple weeks ago.  And don’t you just love azalea season!?


This corner of our yard desperately needs some decorative plants, so I bought these three azalea bushes.  Now if I could just get Alan home during a daylight hour so he could help me dig the holes for them!  We don’t even own a shovel, so it’s not easy.  I dug half a hole today with a trowel.  I made Joshua help.




I think the concrete and the storage building got the most water, but the experience that he had from it was right on target.  : )

That was the most productive hour of our day.  Now it’s time for us to go to Joshua’s baseball game, followed by me taking the boys to a birthday party, while Alan studies for the Sunday school lesson he has to teach tomorrow.

   …..By the way, we bought a boat…..and yet we’re not sure when we’ll ever have time to actually use the boat.  Does life ever slow down?  We could really use a slow down!  I’ve kind of hurt myself a little, carrying Daniel around so much and just doing my job.  Therefore, I have come to a very unpleasant conclusion that it’s time for me to be more careful with this giant belly condition that I have and train Daniel to walk more.
    We’re still praying for all our family members in time of distress.  We love you!

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