Thursday, January 31, 2008

Some fun pictures

Does anyone else ever take a picture and think, "This could come in handy later!" because that's what I was thinking after taking this picture of my boys with their "pretty bows" in their hair.

Here's a recent picture of our little Miss Bridget, looking sharp as usual. It's not quite fair that my daughter seems to dress better than me and she is only six months old!

And finally, the mohawk twins. They were lovin' this bathtime 'do!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic week!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

scripture in parenting

Deuteronomy 11:18-21 "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the Lord swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth."

We love to teach our kids memory verses for many reasons. Some we have taught them just so they can hide the word of God in their hearts. Others we have used to help them see their sins. Still others we teach them to show them God's love, power, sovereignty and mercy.

When I'm teaching the boys scripture, I usually follow a pattern. First I'll tell them that we're going to learn a new verse. I'll say the verse, then ask them if they know what it means. That usually sparks a great conversation and we can talk about why this specific verse is important. Then I'll make them repeat it after me a number of times. If it's a long one or one that has more difficult words, I'll either chant it or sing it or make up simple hand signs to go along with it. Those little things seem to really help the kids retain the verse. We'll keep repeating it until I think they have it on their own and then I have them say it alone a few times. When they have just learned a new verse I like to find ways to talk about it throughout the day. I'll point out situations where it is relevant or just have them say their verse to people we see during the day to really solidify it in their lives.

The very first Bible verse that we taught our children is Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." I worked with Henry on this one when he was two, and it is one of the ones that he has never forgotten. I love this because it provides such a solid foundation to build on!

One of the next ones that Henry learned is Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." This one comes in handy whenever one of the kids utters the words "I can't...." Another one with the same theme that I recently gave Henry is Matthew 19:26b "With God all things are possible."

A reminder to be obedient is found in Ephesians 6:1 "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." Both my boys know this one very well!

Two that both boys have recently worked on are Philippians 2:14 "Do everything without complaining or arguing." and Philippians 2:5 "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus." These seem to go hand in hand and are repeated in my house DAILY!

One of my sons is a brave little boy who often tries to hide a lot of little fears. One that I've taught him (and remind him of when he is scared) is Isaiah 41:10a "So do not fear, for I am with you," and another is Psalm 28:7 "The Lord is my strength and my shield." The past two weeks in church they have been working on another that I really like for these situations too: Ephesians 6:10 "Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power."

Okay, I'm almost done here. I'd like to mention just a few more. One that I've just found to use with an angry child: Jonah 4:4 "Have you any right to be angry?" I have a child that I think will greatly benefit from learning this one, but I haven't needed it just yet.

Another two that I think are just great and remind us to be thankful are Psalm 118:1 "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." and Psalm 118:24 "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." I say these two with the boys every single day.

So these are just a few of the verses we have worked on with our kids. Some come up more often than others and those ones are the ones the boys know quite well. Others they might need prompting or a little help with, but they really do understand the meanings.

Are there scriptures that your family uses? I'd love to know which ones are important to you and how you use them in your parenting!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

a conversation with Henry

Henry: "One of these days, Daddy's going to take me to see Atwoods!"

[Atwood's is the name of our local ranch/farm store--Sam's favorite place to putter around.]

Me: Honey, we were just at Atwoods. What do you want to see there?"

Henry: "No, Mommy. I'm talking about At Woods. You know, the golfer?"

Me: "Oh, you mean Tiger Woods?"

Henry: "That's what I said!"

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Welcome to Texas.....

Apparently it was time for another reminder (to myself) that I NOW LIVE IN TEXAS.

Because when I lived in Montana, I never opened up the blinds in my children's room and found MOLD GROWING ON THE WINDOW.

Yep. Mold. Lots and lots of it. In Bridget's room. Oh, and in the boy's room too. After SCRUBBING their windows clean I didn't want to take a close look at any of my other windows.

Seriously? This is gross.

We had an RSV scare with Bridget a while back, so we put a warm-mist humidifier in her room. It helped her breathing so much that we thought the boys needed one off to Target I went and got one for their room. I'm hoping this is why I would have mold in the windows. And really, spring isn't that far off for us Southerners, so I shouldn't have to run them for too much longer. And then there won't be any more mold. Right? Right.

(Please don't burst my bubble by telling me this isn't the case!)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Guess I need to be more specific . . . .

The boys were wanting to watch a movie last night that they had borrowed from the library. I wanted to get the kitchen cleaned up from dinner, so I told them that if they would pick up the living room and playroom while I cleaned up, then we could all sit down and watch it together. This is a chore that they do quite often and really only entails putting toys away.

Well, they dawdled. They played. They did everything except clean up.

By the time I was done in the kitchen, I thought they had wasted enough time. So I told Henry, "You are in charge of this clean-up. If you want to watch the movie, you boys need to pick up your toys! I'm going to go fold a load of laundry and when I come back ALL of the toys need to be off of the floor. If they are, then we'll watch the movie. If they aren't, we won't. Deal?" He agreed.

The boys dove into their job. I went to work on the laundry.

When I came back, all of the toys were actually off the floor! Yay for the boys!
The only thing is that every matchbox car, every stuffed animal, every plastic hammer and screwdriver, every dinosaur, every single toy they had played with yesterday was now lined up on either the coffee table or the couch or the train table. They didn't put a single toy away, but they did get every toy off of the floor!

Next time I'll remember to be more specific. This time....we watched the movie. :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Parents University-Faith

Another installment of Parents University, once again hosted by the lovely Kat. This week's topic is Faith.

Wow, this is a VERY big subject, and one that I can get really excited about.....but I'll try to keep this short. One note, for anyone who doesn't normally read this blog: My children are still very small! My oldest is only 4 1/2, so I haven't really dealt with any older issues. Also, the things I have to say about what works for us are just that....what works for us.

Mark 10:14-15 "When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.'"

The first thing that I would point out is that children trust us as parents. They know that we have their best interest in mind and they know that the things we say are true. So what better time to fill their minds with the word of God than while they are young!

Children are like sponges, right? They soak up EVERY word we say (even if we don't want them to!). So in my mind, it is so very important for us to always lead our children to the Lord.

One way that we do this is to point out their blessings to them. The kids are having fun playing outside? We talk about how God created everything (the sun that is warming us, the trees providing us shade, the flowers they are picking out in yard, etc...), and we take the time to thank Him for it.

We also have noticed that our four year old has an amazing memory. He can remember entire books, the whole plots of movies, pretty much everything that has happened in his life. One thing we do with this is to provide him with memory verses. I'm always amazed how many he can remember at a time! But even my two year old is good at remembering verses. I try to choose shorter ones for him, but sometimes we just have to work longer on the longer verses. We do this so that our children can store up God's precious word in their hearts.....Psalm 119:11 says, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."

We also try to keep our children surrounded with books, movies and tv shows that have a Christian theme, as a way to teach them and get them familiar with Bible stories.

I don't think there is a more important job for us as parents, than to teach our children about our Mighty God and his desire to know each of us personally!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Week in Review. . . . .

We celebrated Jordan's 3rd birthday....

..... which gave us a chance to catch up with some of the cousins!

A quote from Henry, heard while I was in the bathroom, "Mommy, Bridget was crying so I'm carrying her for you!"
And he really was! He had one arm around her chest and the other arm sort of holding her arm out. She wasn't hurt, but wow. It was a little scary.

The boys did some painting, which made them want to paint EVERY SINGLE DAY!

Jonah enjoyed "re-organized" the boy's closet for me. (Later I helped him hang everything back up. He didn't enjoy that as much.)

Captain America, Mr Hawaii 2007 and I made cookies. Oatmeal chocolate chip. We're still eating them actually!

Jonah thought it might be fun to play outside....with the 30 degree weather. He didn't understand why I made him come inside and put on dry clothes. (So much for the "burning cold" weather, huh?)

Bridget found a new way to hang out. Doesn't look very comfortable to me, but she sure likes to lay this way!

I got my haircut!

The boys found some snuggle time with Daddy in what they have nicknamed "The Papa Chair."

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Read any good books lately?

My very thoughtful brother gave me a generous gift card to Borders for Christmas. I am anxious to use it and looking for have you read anything good lately? I'm open to any suggestions except children's books--I'm using this on me!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

sweetly sleeping

If you were browsing through the pictures that I've taken in recent months, you might say to yourself, "Wow, there are sure a lot of pictures of Bridget sleeping!"

I do love to watch my kiddos sleep peacefully. And really, she's just so cute! :)

And a quick quote from Jonah this morning....

"Mommy, will you carry me inside? It's burning cold out here!"

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Parents University--Consistency

Kat, over at The Secret Life of Kat, is hosting Parents University on Thursdays. Session one is this week and the topic is discipline. So here is my two cents--don't forget to head over to Kat's blog to see the other contributions!

This is certainly a broad topic, but I guess what I want to focus on today is consistency.

That was a buzz-word for me going into parenting. I thought that to be a "good" parent all I would have to do was be consistent in disciplining my children. Feel free to laugh here! Aren't we all great armchair parents before we actually have kids?

Anyway, three children later, I do still think it is important to be consistent. If a specific action or disobedience will result in a specific punishment today, then it should always result in that same punishment. That way the child knows what to expect and can thrive within those boundaries.

The point where this became the most difficult for us was when we realized that our second child does not respond to discipline in the same way that our first does. It was hard for us (okay, mostly me!) to accept that we would have to treat each child individually. It would be so much easier to have a cookie-cutter answer to every situation, but in reality that just doesn't work.

One of my sons is VERY strong-willed, the other is very compliant, and as such, they respond very differently to (and require more or less) discipline. So to get the best response out of each one, we do discipline the two differently. We are still consistent with each child, and we do have expectations of both that are the same, but their punishments will vary according to the child. And we always make sure that their punishments are private to protect the dignity of our children.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I think they take after their dad.....

'cause they sure didn't learn that from me! :)

And also . . . .

. . . . there's a fun contest over at MCK MAMA's blog! I don't know what the prize is yet, but I'm sure it's fabulous . . . . so head on over and take a guess at what her photo is a picture of!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Little girls are so fun!

Of course, little boys are so fun too. I don't mean to say that they're not.

But can you put little boys in flower decorated tights? And shiny black shoes with bows on the toes? Can you get away with big ribbons and bows in their hair? And little bits of lace here there and everywhere?
Yep, it's great to have a little girl!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thursday ramblings....

So I know I've been ignoring my blog. Too much going on! I'll just leave you with a few quick pictures and an update.

Sam is doing MUCH better. He was released from the hospital on Tuesday and has been resting at home. He must have taken the doctor seriously because he actually did REST which is quite unusual for Sam. He was up and about a little bit yesterday and today he actually went in to work for a short day. So things are looking up on that front!

Bridget is doing well. She is just the most joyful little baby in the world! It seemed like she was ready to try baby food, so I gave her rice cereal for the first time last week. Here is a picture of her first bite:

which was taken right before she spit it all out! I've tried a few times since that day, but she still isn't quite ready. The funny thing is that she gets really excited when I feed her and loves to try it, but she just can't figure out how to swallow it yet.

The next two pictures were taken on our new property a few weeks ago. Sam called on his way home from work and said, "Why don't you pack a picnic and we'll eat it out at ranch!" So that is exactly what we did. It was great--the weather was beautiful and we ended up staying until it was REALLY dark. The boys ran around with flashlights and Bridget took a little nap.

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Not quite how we had planned for our new year to begin....

It might look like a normal evening, playing cards with Jon and Kelly......, snacks, lots of diet coke.

The thing that makes this night unusual is the location of my husband.....

Not content with just spending all day on New Year's Day in the emergency room, Sam thought it might be fun to spend a couple nights in the hospital to cap off the week.
Sam had a minor out-patient surgery a few weeks ago. There have been a few unexpected complications and he had to have an emergency surgery on Sunday morning. He is doing fine and is expected to make a full recovery.
He has a pain pump attached to his bed and a table full of junk food--I think he'll make it.

All joking aside, please do pray for Sam. My husband is a real go-getter (always moving) and it is VERY difficult for him to be confined to a hospital bed. Please pray that he would keep his spirits up and that his body would heal quickly. And that he would be patient with the nursing staff! :)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

San Antonio....and the fate of the gingerbread house.

For a few weeks before Christmas, Sam hinted to me that we might be going somewhere in the days after Christmas. Some sort of little vacation with Jon and Kelly. All he would tell me is that we would be driving somewhere between 3 and 30 hours, and he wouldn't tell me which direction. Didn't exactly narrow it down, did it?

Christmas morning, Sam let me open a little package that showed me our trip would be to San Antonio for three days, including a visit to Sea World!

It was a little chilly in the morning when we got to Sea World. Good thing we all had coats and hats!
Henry got to ride his very first roller coaster! It was really so fun. He laughed through the entire thing, got off and ran right up to the start to go again.
Much to his disappointment, Jonah wasn't tall enough to ride the roller coaster. He found joy in the teacup ride instead!
We stayed at the park all day and the boys crashed in the car on the way back to the hotel. Daddy was happy to carry them up to the room--I'm sure he was feeling very thankful for elevators!

After a few minor modifications, we had a great two-room suite! The kids slept behind the curtain in their room.....

and the adults played cards and ate junk food in our room! :)

Jon and Kelly had their own room, but we confiscated some of their furniture while doing our renovations!

We went to almost all of the shows at Sea World--they were so much fun. That is really a great place. Sam was able to get us really inexpensive tickets on craigslist.

While we were in San Antonio we also ate a great Mexican dinner on the river walk and took a boat tour of the river walk. It was all still decorated for Christmas and looked so very pretty. There were Christmas lights EVERYWHERE. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of anything after Sea World since my camera battery needed charged and I didn't remember to bring the charger along!

And on a completely unrelated note....

Remember our lovely little gingerbread house?

It has been driving the boys crazy. It is made of candy, after all.

And candy is meant to be eaten, right?

I told the boys they could start in on the house, and I showed them how to pull off the pieces they wanted to eat. All very civilized and everything. I walked away for a moment and when I came back, they were devouring the house with their teeth!

At least they were taking turns!