Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Making Excuses

When I found out over 2 years ago that I was going to have a little girl I was so excited. I couldn't wait to dress her in pink and put her hair up in ribbons. Also I had this crazy idea that she would be easier to care for, less noisy and easy going. Boy was I in for a shocker! She has been noisy and demanding from the very beginning. I don't know why I had this ideal that little girls were quiet, demure little princesses. She slammed me into reality right quick! In my eyes she is my little princess, but I worry about how others view her. I know I shouldn't, but I do. Just as I did for Jacob, I find my self making excuses for her. Telling others she is just tired. I make this excuse so often it isn't funny.

I find myself using it most often at church (our main source of socializing). She seems to get overwhelmed by the amount of people. If someone talks to her or tries to touch her, she buries her head in my shoulder or gives them the death stare. This wouldn't seem so bad to me, but she does this to her brothers and dad. If her brothers try to hug her or sometimes if they just touch her she screams. I have been trying to get her to stop by sending her to sit in a chair when she does this, but I don't always catch it. And honestly sometimes it is just easier to tell the boys not to touch her. At times she won't even let Joel touch her. I have never dealt with this before. She just isn't affectionate. She just now is starting to give me hugs. If I ask her for a hug she will give me one about 40% of the time. The other times she just looks at me like I was speaking French.

She seems to require a strict routine too. I always have tried to keep on a certain schedule for my children's and my sake. It just keeps me sane. Lauren, however, seems to need it more than the boys ever did. Last night, I was tired and wanted to save time. I had Joel stick her in the shower with me instead of giving her a bath. Bad idea. She freaked. I washed her up and handed her out. She completely lost it. First, she didn't want to be in with me then when I gave her to Joel she fell apart crying and screaming this horrible scream. I'm not sure if these are temper tantrums of a normal two-year-old or something else.

Jacob was a more difficult toddler than the other two boys, but this- whew! I just don't know. I don't want people to think she is out of control, or that we just let her run like a wild animal. We are doing our best, but some days I just wish for that quiet, demure ideal. I know that God has made her who she is and I just need to help mold her through her childhood years. But, most days I feel like I am failing in this. You would think that after 3 boys I would have this figured out, but they are all so different. Lauren is definitely making me work for my title of Mommy. My daily prayer is that I will be the mommy she needs me to be, so that she can be the little girl God intends her to be.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Lessons Learned

This week Isaac and I were reading from one of his Read-Aloud books (we use Sonlight Curriculum which has the parent read books aloud to their children). We are reading a book called "Little Britches" by Ralph Moody. It is about a young boy named Ralph and his family. In 1906 they move from New Hampshire to a Colorado Ranch. In the chapter we were reading, Ralph had made some bad decisions and was facing discipline from his father. The following paragraph sparked a wonderful discussion between Isaac and I.

"Son, there is no question but what the thing you have done today deserves severe punishment. You might have killed yourself or the horse, but much worse than that, you have injured your own character. A man's character is like his house. If he tears boards off his house and burns them to keep himself warm and comfortable, his house soon becomes a ruin. If he tells lies to be able to do things he shouldn't do but wants to, his character will soon become a ruin. A man with a ruined character is a shame on the face of the earth."

This illustration really hit home with Isaac and he honestly admitted that he sometimes tarnishes his character by telling lies. I have been praying that he would understand and acknowledge the importance of honesty. I think it made a big impact because in the past week he has made two comments about earning and keeping the trust of others. I am so blessed to have so many wonderful books to read from that lead us into meaningful and life changing discussions. Kudos go to Sonlight for choosing another awesome Read-Aloud book!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Not So Fast

Yesterday I blogged about Lauren sleeping through the night. HMMMM- not no more! She woke up yesterday with a pretty high fever and spent the day sort of moping around. Last night I put her to bed and she struggled to get to sleep, but finally dozed off around 9:30. At 11:30 I heard her cry out. I spent the next 3 hours sitting in the over-stuffed chair in her room trying to help her get comfortable. She must of had a tummy-ache because she kept skirming and thrashing. Plus she kept flailing her arms and hitting me in the chest every few minutes. I would just doze off and she would swing her arms out. Then I would jump because she startled me. She would peep at me through sleepy eyes and then slip back into whatever crazy dream she was having. This vicious cycle played over and over. I finally layed her down in her crib at 2:30, stumbled my way back to my bed in a comatose state and slipped into oblivian until 7:00!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Daily Devotions

In a previous post I wrote about struggling to find time to do my devotions each day. I received 2 comments and I found each helpful. This is what I have been doing. On the days when I wake up before my munchkins, I reach for my Bible. I have only been able to do this on 2 days, so I have installed a back up plan. On the mornings when I am exhausted and feel like I need a crane to lift me from my bed, I do my devotions in the afternoon, right after I put Lauren down for her afternoon nap. The bonus to doing them in the afternoon, as my brilliant sister-in-law pointed out, is that the boys see me spending time in the word. I am always looking for ways to be a good example for my sons. I want them to see me making God a priority. What better way than to do my devotions when they are awake. However, I have had to ask for quiet and remind them not to interrupt me unless blood is pouring from their bodies or something is on fire! My prayer is that I will continue surrounding myself in God's holy word each and every day. Gaining strength and wisdom not only for myself but for my children.

She Did It!

Lauren has slept through the night for 4 consecutive nights! Her previous sum total of full nights of sleep, in her short life, I can count on one hand. I can tell you I feel like a new woman! Way to go Lauren!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

My Sweet Boy

Isaac just brought me a handful of wildflowers that he picked for me while he was in the woods. As soon as he handed them to me he got out the Michigan Wildflower Guidebook. He looked up the flowers and informed me of the names of each one! Not only did I receive a beautiful bouquet, but I was taught the names of some wildflowers by my bright young son!Tenderhearted and smart too, I think I'll keep him!

Spring, Beautiful Spring!

I am happy to report that spring has finally sprung in my part of the country! It has been beautiful here the past couple of days. The birds are singing and building their nests. The froggies serenade me as I hang up my laundry. My daffodils are budding. Yeah Spring!

I have been busy getting my hands dirty in my gardens. I got industrious with a spade shovel and removed a bunch of Irises from my flower beds. I decided to give them a new home in the ditch along the road. Hopefully they will fill in among the trees and make a nice bed of flowers along with the Tiger Lilies that are there. Joel ran the rototiller in a portion of our vegetable garden last night. I planted my lettuces, radishes, Swiss chard, spinach, onions, turnips and sweet peas. I can't wait till I can have my first salad from our garden. Yum, there is nothing like it!

However, since I have been so busy outside lately, my house is showing tell tale signs of neglect. Therefore, I am called in to cleaning mode. Scrubbing bathrooms, laundry, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming and general de-cluttering are my lot for the day. Times a wastin' so I must get a move on it!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

God's Perfect Timing

Over the weekend I lost a filling out of my tooth. I know not the most exciting news to blog about but stick with me for a bit longer. So, yesterday I called to make an appointment and they were able to get me in at 8:30 this morning. Normally that time wouldn't work the best for me, but Joel is on vacation this week and it just happened that he was going to be around to watch the children.

I got to the dentist's office a little before my scheduled appointment, they took me right back and numbed me by 8:30. Then I sat and sat, for almost an hour. I was just slightly (and I do mean slightly here) perturbed at the amount of time I was waiting. Finally, he came in and began drilling. However, I felt that searing pain of a nerve ending being attacked. So, I was given another shot and waited some more. At last, my filling was in and I headed out the door to run a couple of errands.

Here I must digress a little, this morning my parents, aunt and uncle were placing my grandma in a nursing home. I had been praying for each of them and my grandma since I had awoke. As I finished my last errand I drove by them as they were heading to the nursing home. On impulse, I did a u-turn at Walgreens, and headed out to join them. When my mom saw me she grabbed a hold of me. She started crying, saying how much it meant to her to see me. I stayed an hour and helped place my grandma's belongings in her room.

If I hadn't lost my filling, if Joel hadn't been on vacation and if the dentist hadn't been behind schedule, I never would have seen my parents driving my grandma to the nursing home. It may not seem that amazing, but God's timing is perfect even in the little things. He knows when his children are hurting and need comfort.

Time for Prayer

Last night as I sat in Lauren's room, cuddling with her before bedtime, she kept putting her hands up to my face. I thought she was trying to play with my glasses, because she kept placing her hands right in front of my eyes. She did this about 4 times and I still didn't understand what she wanted. Then she placed her hands over her eyes. I finally understood. She wanted me to pray with her. About a week ago I started praying out loud with her at bedtime and she was ready for me to pray. It was so adorable I just had to share.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Girl's Weekend

I had a wonderful girl's weekend! Every year my 3 sisters and I spend a weekend together with our mom. Sometimes we go to a bed and breakfast, but for the past couple of years we have congregated at my mom and dad's house. I actually enjoy staying there because it is so relaxing. Plus we have a fully stocked fridge and pantry! Chocolate is the main staple with a few nutritous greens thrown in to make us feel like we haven't sabbatoged our daily diets completely.

We spend most of our time gathered around the kitchen table working on scrapbooking or other various crafting projects. As we work, we chat and the whole house is filled with our laughter. It is the most awesome time. My sisters have the driest sense of humor. So, I always have great memories that I can chuckle over later. I am truly blessed to have sisters and a mom who are such great companions. Just one more of the many blessings God has bestowed upon me.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Time with God

I often struggle to spend quiet time with God each day. I have good intentions of getting up before my children do. I even set my alarm. However, events throughout the night hours often cause me to hit snooze a few too many times. Whether it is a child sleeping on the floor beside my bed, I dare not wake a sleeping bear by turning on my lamp. Or Lauren has gotten me up too much in the night. When 6:30 rolls around I am comatose. When the alarm sounds, I literally feel like I have a cement helmet on. My eyes and head are so heavy that I can't pull myself away from falling back to sleep. I tell myself just a few more minutes and then I'll get up. Some how before I know it a little somebody is peering into my face to see if I am still asleep. I know this is selfish. I know that I need to spend time with the Lord each day. I have yet another problem with early morning devotions. When I am triumphant and awake to do my devotions, I tend to end up with my head on my chest, catching a few more zzz's.

Ideally, I would like to find some niche of time, during the day to have devotions, but around here there is always noise and interruptions. Not to mention, not enough hours in the day.

So, that brings me to the evening hours, when there is a flurry of activity. Baths must be taken, toys picked up, dinner cleaned up and some precious time carved out to spend with my children before the close of another busy day. After the kids are tucked in for the night, I turn to the mountain of laundry that has been building on my living room floor and any other undone motherly duties. By the time this is all done, I must confess, my brain is sending out distress signals. All I want to do is get off my feet, pull up the covers and drift off into oblivion!

This brings me full circle and not a moment of quiet time spent with the Lord. Now don't get me wrong, I talk to God all day long. I pray on the fly. I may snatch a few moments to talk with my Savior, while tossing in a load of laundry, or when I am chopping vegetables for dinner (if I'm not interrupted by Lauren drawing a mural on the linoleum), or during a lull in the roar that is my home. But what I don't get is Bible time and a chunk of solid prayer time. I need this. I need it so Jesus' light can shine through me, I need it to be a better wife and mama, I need it to show my children the importance of spending time with our Lord. Yet I always let it slide. I know this needs to be a priority in my life. I have great intentions, but lack of will power. My everlasting goal is to make my devotions a daily reality.

How about you ladies who read this blog, do you have an answer to finding time, as busy wives and mothers, for devotions? Any insight or practices that have worked for you? I would love to hear your comments.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Weekend Update

We have spent the last 7 days fighting off Strep throat:( Caleb came down with it first last Wednesday, then Lauren on Friday and Jacob on Monday. The fun continues at the Bowers Ranch!

On the upside, the weather has been beautiful! I was able to get out to my flower garden on Saturday and clean it up. It is now ready for planting. I also added more stone to a path that I started last spring. It divides two of my flower gardens. Hopefully now it will be less muddy to walk on. I got slightly ambitious and pulled out some low growing evergreens (to be honest I got them loosened but Joel had to remove the stubborn things) that were growing along side our garage. I transplanted them to the other side of our house. Hopefully they will continue to grow. Needless to say, I am a feelin' it! I have a few sore muscles!

Sunday we bred our rabbits. If all goes well in a month we should have 5 does with babies! It is so much fun to watch the babies grow and change. They are really adorable and so fun to love on! It is a great learning experience for the boys too. Isaac is anxious to see how many babies we end up with. It will be interesting to see, indeed!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

What are little boys made of?
Frogs and Snails and Puppy dogs tails,
That's what little boys are made of.

What about Snakes?

Isaac and Jacob went sloshing through the stream and swamp today. They were rewarded with finding three garter snakes. Which they promptly brought up in buckets for me to see. I was pretty impressed with the small ones. But, when Isaac picked up a really BIG one, I took a couple of steps back. It was one of the fattest garter snakes I have ever seen. What a brave boy I have!!

What is it about spring that brings out the hunters and gathers in little boys? Maybe its because of the long winter months. There are less slimy and slithery things to pick up and examine when the snow blankets the ground. I am blessed though, not only do they pick up creepy crawlies to show me (quiet often shoving them up close to my face so I can get a good look), but they come bearing fistfuls of pussy willows and dandelions! Life with boys is so sweet!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Here Kitty, Kitty

In all of my 35 years of life I have had only three close encounters with a wood kitty (that's country lingo for skunk) and all have been interesting to say the least. The first two involved camping, campfires and food. This evening no camping was involved. Just a leisurely drive home from my parents. We were coming up to a stop when we noticed a strange kitty sauntering into our neighbors yard. We all saw it at about the same time. We let out a collective, "Whoa!" Lauren joined in with an excited giggle and "Meow" (code word kitty). We sat and watched the skunk hobble through the neighbors yard and concluded it had a wounded front leg. It didn't seem bothered by us and continued its search for food. We sat there watching for at least 5 minutes. Country entertainment at its finest! It was the first time I have seen a skunk in daylight. Previously the cover of darkness and a mad dash for safety blurred my vision. Lauren thought it was really cute. I was glad she was restrained in her car seat, inside the van. Otherwise, she would have made great attempts to pet the pretty kitty.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Where Are You Spring?

Where did spring go? That seems to be the question on all of our minds. I think we are in the season of mud right now. It is everywhere! The boys took Lauren out to play this afternoon. I picked out a pair of jeans that aren't my favorites for her to wear. It was a good thing because I'm pretty sure she came back in with at least 1/2 a pound of mud on her back side!

I am looking forward to starting my vegetable garden. Usually by mid-April I can plant lettuce, radishes, spinach and peas. I'm not sure it will be that soon this year. The ground is still pretty saturated and it is still quite cold here.

I spent about an hour Saturday planting assorted flower, pepper, and tomato seeds into starting trays. I am trying some new flowers this year, English Daisy, Foxglove and Cardinal Climber. I am anxious to see if they will grow well for me.

Isaac has been my helper in getting the seeds started. Each morning Isaac and I gaze closely at the trays to see if we have any new seedlings. He usually spots them before I do. It brings us such enjoyment to see the amazing process of growing plants. We always wonder how anyone can say there isn't a God. All you have to do is take a close look at the intricate details in a flower to know we serve an amazing God. Last week I was trying to thin out some Bachelor Button seedlings. Isaac just couldn't see throwing them away. So together we planted then into a starter tray so that he can put them in his flower garden this spring. It has been wonderful to be able to share this common interest with him. I believe he has grand ideas for his portion of the flower garden, just as I do!
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