Monday, December 31, 2007

An Unexpected Date!!

Tonight Megan (who babysits for us) came over because her parents were going to be gone for a while. She didn't want to stay home alone and wanted to visit with the boys. So, I got a brilliant idea. I figured I would be shot down anyway, but I thought I might as well ask. I called Steve at work (he always works New Years Eve and New Years Day due to year end) and asked if he would want to go on a date. At first, he said he would take me to the cafe. The food there always gives me a stomach ache and it just isn't my idea of a great "date" place. The other option was the bar, which has excellent food, but is super smoky. And a bar on New Year's Eve is not exactly where I really want to be...no matter how good the food is! So then I thought maybe we could go to a movie. He agreed!!

We fed everyone supper and helped get the babies down for bedtime (so Megan really only had Austin and Aidan awake) and then we left quick.

We went to see Enchanted. We have a 99 cent theater in town that has one movie a week, and this happens to be the movie of the week. I told Steve I didn't care if it was a cartoon, I'd go. Well, it did start out with about 10 minutes of cartoon, but it turned into a surprisingly really good movie!

Then we were home by 9:15 and Megan's parents came about 9:30, so we all toasted New Year's at about 9:45 and then Austin and Aidan went to bed. We then stayed up for the ball to drop in New York (11 pm our time...that's getting a little late, you know!) and had another glass of "champagne" (if sparkling grape juice counts??) and went to bed. It was all in all a great and unexpected night!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ethan's WALKING!!!!

video

Today, Ethan was boogy-ing away to dctalk (at least he has good taste!), so I got out the camera to get his dancing. As I was getting it ready, he started walking!!!! Thankfully, I caught a few seconds (it literally is only 3 seconds long) before he fell. He now practices about 8 steps every single time he stands up. He also will walk between Steve and I. It is so cute, but boy we are in sooo much trouble once he figures out he can go further than 8 steps!!

(That's Aidan in the background.)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Daddy's Birthday

Today is Steve's birthday. He requested that I make the turkey breast that we have had for a little bit, so I made my very first turkey. I am very proud of myself...it turned out excellent! I also made homemade rolls, green bean casserole, homemade stuffing (I usually make Stovetop), cranberry raspberry salad, and mashed potatoes and gravy. I tried to find a good recipe for the turkey breast and I stumbled upon one on Allrecipes. I love that site! For dessert, Aidan and I made a strawberry pretzel "salad" (he got cake on Christmas). It has a layer of pretzels, cheese cake type layer, and then a strawberry jello layer. The pretzels turned nutty tasting and it was really good, too.

As we were making the dessert, Aidan asked me how old Daddy was. I told him he was 41 and Aidan got a very upset look on his face and asked me if we had to get a new Daddy now. If he wasn't so upset, I would have laughed right there, but he was very serious and really thought we would have to trade Steve in for a "newer model." No thanks...I think I'll stick with the Daddy we have. He's pretty good. Steve and I got a good laugh over it after the kids were in bed.

"The boys" bought Daddy a VCR/DVD combo and an I Love Lucy boxset. He was thrilled with it; as well he should be considering he picked it all out and ordered it all! Just once I'd like to be able to buy him something he didn't expect...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry CHRISTmas

This year I have been reflecting on Christmas more than any other year. I don't know why...I've been a "real" Christian for over seven years and was raised in the church, so I have truly understood the meaning of it my entire life and especially in the last seven years. It seems to have been triggered by my children. Which is another thing that is perplexing to me, as I have had children for the last twelve years and three of those Christmases I've had infants.

This year, though, it just is impacting me more than any other year. I think about how Mary must have felt. Here she was, never having been with a man, and yet, she was to birth a son who would save the world. Can you imagine how that must feel??? We all think our children are special, but to know that you are carrying, and mothering, the Savior? That is powerful.

Then Joseph. Here he was, engaged to a woman (which was as good as being married in those days), who was pregnant, and it sure wasn't his! Yet, he trusted God and did what was "right." That is unfathomable to me and we could all learn a lesson in trust from Joseph.

The birth of Jesus is a very special time indeed, but without His death and resurrection, it would mean very little. Jesus died for our sins, for my sins.

And God as Father, giving us His son, the human part of Himself. That is what is really on my heart this year. I cannot imagine purposely putting your own child here specifically to die for everyone else. Watching your only child be persecuted and dying a horrible death upon that cross and listening to him crying out to his Father, feeling abandoned. That would be so hard, and yet, God loves each and every one of us so much that he was allowing this sacrifice. As a mother, I wouldn't be able to give up even one of my children, and I have five. I am very selfish that way. I would much rather have something happen to myself than to my children. If one of my children is hurt in any way, that Mama part of me wants to stand up and get in the face of whoever wronged my child, no matter how minuscule it may seem. Yet, so many people persecuted Jesus and eventually put him to death, and God was willing to not only forgive those same people, but also give them eternal life.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have eternal life." -John 3:16

That verse usually seems so "Christian cliche" that I try to avoid using it, but it is such a powerful verse. That one verse sums up the whole reason Jesus came for us. To literally save us from ourselves, if we choose to accept Him and believe in Him. We are so far from perfect, we need Jesus.

On this day, I encourage you to step back from the gifts and hubbub and think about all that Jesus did for us, and God as His Father and our heavenly Father, through His miraculous birth and ultimately, His death and resurrection. If you have not accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, please take a moment to do so. It means everything to God, He wants to spare us all. And I wouldn't want to miss anyone in heaven!

Santa!!!

Aidan was so excited to discover Santa came last night. He didn't even get up early (better than last year's 5 am wake up call!) and then when he did awake, I made him wait upstairs so I could hit record on the video camera. Thankfully I had it all set up so it didn't take long.

That crazy Santa actually brought Aidan a drum set! He was so excited to see it. It was the one thing he kept asking for over and over. Austin got the Planet Earth series DVD, and his favorite, an iDog. They both got lots of movies and cd's and a few other things. Nathanial, Ethan, and Noah received diapers, wipes, clothes, pajamas, and one toy each. They weren't real excited about opening again, but Ethan loved the tripod for the camera and Nathanial and Noah loved trying to get at the chocolate.

After that, we headed to Steve's family for Christmas. Aidan was a nightmare, but after five days of little sleep and only home for 12 hours then off again, I can't really blame him. I almost left with him, he was so difficult. Austin had his moments, too, so it made for a trying day for me. At least now maybe we can get back into some semblance of a routine. That would be nice. Nathanial, Ethan, and Noah were happy boys, so that helped.

We were home by 6:30 and the babies went right to bed, followed very closely by Austin and Aidan. Aidan kept coming down every 15 minutes, but finally went to sleep when we went up at about 9:30. His schedule is just so out of whack he can't seem to settle down. It will be nice when school starts again!!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas at Grandma's

We finally got to Mom's for Christmas today. The roads were horrible and we didn't leave until 10:30. We saw so many cars in the ditch, it was horrible. I can understand being out if you came a long distance and had no idea what you were going to run into, but I totally do not understand risking your life on closed roads if you knew what it was like outside.

It took a little longer than normal, but once we got there, it was a nice afternoon. Nathanial, Ethan, and Noah still had no idea about actually opening presents, but loved the paper. They loved Mom's steps, also. They all kept going up and then I would bring them down and they'd head right back up. They thought it was a game and had a blast.

Austin and Aidan had fun, too and were pleased with their gifts. Austin was more than a little disappointed at one of his gifts. It turned out that the reason he found such a good deal on it on clearance was because it required a battery and battery charger that are no longer available due to a recall. And I wasn't willing to buy him one (there are plenty out there for sale) because they were recalled due to starting on fire and/or exploding. Not exactly a safe item in any person's hands, but especially someone who has no clue about the hazards of a fire. But we have assured him that we will get him something different.

We headed home early enough to get half way in the light, which was good. I did not want to drive after Friday night, so Steve drove, which meant he needed light. Due to keratoconus, he doesn't see well for night driving and hates doing it. Some of the drifts on the way home were amazing! They were as high as the Excursion, and that thing is tall!

Tonight, Santa comes and tomorrow we have Christmas with Steve's side of the family. I think I am just to the point of let's get this over with...and I feel horrible feeling that way because that is certainly not what I want Christmas to be about!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Another Snow Day

By the time Shawna and Chris got home last night, it was turning nasty outside. We were supposed to go to Mom's for Christmas this afternoon and then home, but that is not going to happen. It is so nasty out there. It is snowing, but worse than that, it is blowing something fierce. You cannot see through it and they are closing all the major roads we would need to take.

Chris keeps calling to be sure that we don't go anywhere, but there is no way we are. He had to work this morning and he said he is taking call after call of people stuck, but there is nothing they can do. The snow plows quit even trying until the wind dies down and even the tow trucks can't get through. It is just a mess. Mom was disappointed, but we can't really do anything about it at this point.

We did have fun though! It was actually kind of nice being snowed in with nowhere to go. Steve, Shawna, and I played SNL Video Trivial Pursuit (I suck) and had a blast, while the babies were asleep and the kids watched movies. Then tonight we played Mexican Train after the babies went to bed. Steve and I had never played that and it was so much fun.

The kids were feeling a little cooped up by the end of the day, but all in all, it was a pretty good day.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sledding!

We are staying with Shawna and her family for the weekend because we are going to Mom's for Christmas tomorrow. Today we took the kids sledding. It was raining and still foggy when we got up (raining, in December!), so we waited for a while. That was disappointing to Austin because he was so excited to go (not a lot of hills here), but he had to wait.

The hill was huge and everyone was so excited, except Aidan. Aidan, as I figured, was terrified. He did go down, once, with Austin. He started crying halfway down the hill (I did get it on video, though...that's on dropshots) and said he was not going down "ever again." And he didn't. He made snow angels instead.

Austin went down several times, as did Emma. They went down alone, together, with Shawna (Emma) and had a blast. Cael surprised me the most. He was hilarious! He's only two and he would go down the hill by himself! Then Shawna would run down and grab his sled and he'd do it again.

Tonight, Shawna and Chris have their Christmas with Chris' side, so we get to stay home and get everyone to bed early for tomorrow.

Friday, December 21, 2007

To Grandpa's House We Go...

What a nightmare. Today was a day that was meant to be fun and relaxing and it started out horrible. When we first started talking about Christmas, I thought it would be nice to have it this afternoon. Then I realized Austin would still be in school and to get to my dad's on time (two hours away) would be impossible. Thankfully, it worked for everyone to push it back and start at 5. To do so, we would have to leave right after Austin got out of school (early) at 2:00.

We woke up this morning and it was so foggy, we couldn't see our neighbors house. Lo and behold, school was delayed. That means, no early dismissal, which means no getting to dad's by 5 because Austin's bus doesn't even get back to Sumner until 4:00. Never mind the fog. I called Dad and they were fine with it being later.

Austin got home and we immediately left. Wow...I did not realize just how bad the fog was until we started going. Thankfully, most of the roads are very familiar, but it was still treacherous. We had to drive very slow because most of the way I could only see two little dash lines ahead. We stopped 3/4 of the way through for a potty stop and to get a little breather before hitting the worst part of it. Not because it was any worse outside, but because we were about to go on roads we've only been on a few times and they are windy, hilly, and no fun on a clear, sunny day in the middle of July. That part actually seemed to go quickly by, thankfully.

Finally, we arrived at Grandpa and Grandma W.'s house. It turned out to be a great night. The babies' discovered Grandma's cabinets full of tupperware and had a hayday. That was better than any present anyone could possible think to give them. They weren't into unwrapping any presents yet, but loved the paper once it was off.

The best part was being able to relax and be with family. It's so nice when things aren't rushed and we can just enjoy each other's company. I don't see or talk to my dad all that often because everything is crazy busy here right now, so I really enjoy it and look forward to it when we do.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bummer

Thankfully, school was delayed today due to fog, so Austin was able to sleep in. He panicked when he woke up at 9:00 and saw the time. I guess he doesn't trust that I would wake him up, if he overslept, to be in time for the bus. I was just glad he was able to get a few extra hours of sleep.

Aidan was supposed to have his preschool Christmas program this morning, but it was canceled because of the late start. His teacher did say she is going to try to reschedule it for January and I hope she does. He was so excited and I was so excited to see him, so we were both disappointed.

Christmas Cards!

If you are waiting for a Christmas card from us (like we're so important...yeah, right), I am way behind this year! I just finally got them printed up and sent them out this morning. At least I got them out before Christmas. Doesn't necessarily mean you will get them for Christmas, though. But they are coming!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Shopping with Austin

Austin had his doctor's appointment in Cedar Falls tonight so we did our outing alone again. I love this time with him because it is peaceful and we get to talk. And he does actually talk to me during this time. It's the only time we get alone anymore, so I look forward to it. I told Austin that tonight and he said he enjoys it, too.

We also had to get all our shopping done since I didn't have any other kids with me (aka, those who believe in Santa). We had a ton of stuff to do and he was pleasant throughout it all. He only asked once if I could finish another day.

It seemed to take forever for some reason, especially because we went really fast through all the stores, but when you add in wait time at every single store, it adds up. We finally got done with Target at 10 pm. We got in line at, I kid you not, 9:30. They only had two registers open at that time, and one was an express lane. Now why you would only have two registers open just days before Christmas is beyond me, but whatever. So we waited and waited and finally got up there. The lady kept looking at Austin and me and finally said to Austin "you must not have school tomorrow." When he said he did, she looked at me, then him, and said, "you better get home and get to bed." OK, I realize it's late, he's normally in bed by 7:30, so this is very rare. But, I cannot stand for a perfect stranger to pass judgement on my parenting. She doesn't know the whole story (we live an hour away, we have four other kids, this is an exception, not the rule, etc., etc., etc.) and she is just there to check out my goods, not comment on the time and Austin's still being awake.

I was ready to head home, when Steve reminded me I needed to stop at Staples for ink. Staples was closed, but Best Buy was open, thankfully. We ended up getting home at 11:15 and I immediately sent Austin to bed.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Daddy's home for lunch!!

Since I had my meeting with the school today, Steve came home to stay with everyone while I went. Lunchtime came while I was gone, and Steve decided that macaroni salad would make a wonderful lunch option. Nathanial, Ethan, and Noah agreed whole-heartedly and loved it. This is what I came home to:
Nathanial:





Ethan:

Noah:

And a meeting...

Austin has done exceptionally well this year with responsibility, turning in his work, on time, and getting things done in a timely manner. In fact, he's done so well, I was beginning to wonder what was going on. He usually does very well the first 3-4 weeks, then peters out and "forgets" stuff. Last week, I got "the call" and e-mails from several teachers. His work wasn't turned in and he was just "out of it." And not until I got home did I remember that last week, they had two late arrival days. That would probably be the main reason for all of this.

So today I met with them. I informed them that he is doing much better this year than he has in the past, considering it's December and almost semester end and usually this sort of work doesn't even make it through the first quarter. I tried to explain the wonders of Asperger's and his lack of organization, but once again all I heard about was how intelligent he was, how well read he was, and how articulate and what a vocabulary he had. Soooo...you didn't do any research on Asperger's, then, is what you're telling me???

His science and social studies teacher has been concerned because he's been a little speed demon again (remember the famous F on a science test of all things???), but when he turned in his last test, he did very well. He was done in 5 minutes flat and he kept asking him to be sure to look it over again and make sure he didn't have any wrong, but Austin insisted he was done and read the rest of the class. Well, sure enough, he got two wrong and got an A on that test. Sometimes I just feel like screaming and wishing he would fail...only to learn that fastest isn't always the best in life!

He's also apparently taken a liking to hiding his coat behind the door of a nearby classroom, instead of putting it into his locker, when he decides to take it off at all. Hmmmm...wonder why that's happening? Wouldn't have anything to do with his locker being chuck-full of garbage, would it?? So he was talked to about that. He also wears his coat and gloves most of the day and they were concerned about that. I did inform them that he wears his coat all day at home. One of two things is happening there. Either he is, once again, not eating and losing weight and can't keep warm, or just as likely, the coat has become part of his "uniform." I sometimes think they must believe that he has only two shirts and one pair of pants and they never get washed. He routinely wears the exact same clothes over and over and over (and I was them every single night). His dresser drawers and closet are filled to overflowing with very nice clothes, but he won't deviate from his "uniform." So, hence, the coat has become an article of clothing that he must wear. This is not a battle I am willing to fight and, in the long run, really doesn't matter, so I told them to ignore it and let him do it.

He got his ITBS test results back today. I haven't seen them, but they did tell me that in two or three, he was once again off the charts (100% accuracy and 13+ grade level). They were ever so proud of themselves as a school...or at least, the principal was. I didn't tell him they have very little to do with it. At any rate, I hope that he brings home the results himself in the next couple of days so I can look them over myself.

I also talked with the principal and he said that he did indeed, punish the young lady to the fullest extent after talking with both Austin and her. He said Austin did admit to saying she liked a 10 year old, but she admitted to saying I got pregnant by Austin. The only comment he couldn't prove was the "gay" comment (because that word is banned) and "noone" heard her say that. They did hear everything else, though. He spoke with several "witnesses" and decided it was a "balancing act" and he decided to trust Austin "this time." And I quote "I just hope I did the right thing." Oh, trust me, you did.

All in all, a pretty good meeting and it seems like Austin is still doing well. They said they could tell that I had spoken to him, because he is buckling down a lot better this week. I warned them that after Christmas break, it would be a nightmare again, and he would take a good 2-3 weeks at a minimum to get back into a routine. Hopefully I'm proven wrong, but I doubt it...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bullies

On Tuesday afternoon, I recieved a call from a young lady that goes to school with Austin. She has, in the past, had quite the thing for Austin, but it was unrequited. I liken it to my first crush. Austin is her Corey F... I can commiserate, oh how I can commiserate.

At any rate, she has, apparently, moved on. She has gotten herself a 13 year old "man" of a boyfriend, she so informed me. The reason for the call, however, was to preempt whatever it was the Austin was going to tell me when he got home. She literally called me the instant her feet hit the pavement off the bus. She informed me he was going to say she called him all these names, but she didn't say them, and if I didn't believe her, I could ask "AR." Hmmmm.....then how do you know what he's going to say and how do you know I'm going to believe him??? Interesting, to say the least. But, at the end, she did say that he told everyone that she was in love with a ten year old (how DARE he....she's ELEVEN!!!), but the truth is her boyfriend is 13. Ah, the trials and tribulations of the young...how I so miss it (NOT!!).

So, then my call waiting beeps and it's Austin, near tears. The young lady apparently called him a little B*tch, an f'er, and gay. She's called him these quite a bit the last two weeks (must have started around the time the "new man" entered the picture). I gave him retorts. I told him to tell her he can't be a little B because he's a boy; thank her for saying he was so happy; and ignore the F'er comment. This went much farther, though. The creme de la creme of it all...she told everyone at school that Austin got me pregnant with the triplets. Ohhhhhhh...no she didn't!!!! I told Austin I was on the other line with her and to get home immediately. I went back to her and said that I would be meeting with the teachers on Thursday anyway and I would figure it out then, but for now, I would take her side into consideration and listen to Austin's side and then decide.

I immediately hung up and called the middle school. I try to let Austin fight his own battles, but she has been bullying him for far too long and I am sick of it. The name calling is one thing, to say something like this is quite another. They said they would pull them both in in the morning and discuss it. I informed them that Austin was worried that she would start crying like she always did and get out of it. They said they would take that into consideration. I hung up and still had to comfort my son who at that moment, came flying in the back door.

We talked and I told him I had called the guidance counselor and principal and asked for his side of the story. Apparently, he did say she liked a 10 year old, but that was it. He didn't call her names, but he did when he got home. Oh, boy did he...and I didn't stop him. I felt like he needed to vent.

Austin came home from school today and FINALLY they are putting the bullying policy to good use. She has been given three Saturday Schools (which is exactly like it sounds...Saturday from 7-3) and if she says anything again she will be put on suspension for one day for each word. She is also to sit in the front of the bus and get on after Austin and if Austin wants to sit in the front, she needs to sit in a totally different spot. Since most of the trouble from her seems to come from the bus.

So I have a tiny bit more faith in our schools today, which is a good thing lately.

Am I EVER going to feel better????

So now it's in my chest. Lovely, just lovely. Seems this thing is just enjoying working it's way through my body. And as much as I would have loved a nap today, I couldn't do it. Aidan had his follow up on his hearing and I had a haircut. Try rescheduling that right before Christmas.

Aidan's tube was out of his left ear, but they said his hearing is "normal." They put him in a soundproof booth and tell him to sit very still and not get the wiggles, lest he hear the tones, and then pronounce his hearing "normal." Sure, in a silent room, with noone moving or talking, he hears things. In the real world, he doesn't. So she pulled the tube out of his ear and said she will see him in six months, unless we have more trouble. Well, I guess it's useless to point out that he isn't hearing at home or at school, even though she was told that. Because her test says he hears. So we wait again.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Still sick...

I am still sick so I am not doing the Making Your Home a Haven challenge today or yesterday. I wish I felt better, but I feel like I have been run over by a truck. It started yesterday with a somewhat stuffy head, little cough, and an earache. Today, my whole head is about to explode and my sinus's are just miserable.

Steve keeps reminding me that I never get sick. And he's right...I usually don't. I always say it's because I eat boatloads of garlic in a normal day. I love garlic...I will get it into my body in whatever way I can, normally. But the last week, I haven't had much, and boom! I'm feeling icky. A little more that coincidence, wouldn't you say??? Yeah, I know...probably not considering the season we are in.

We also got at least six inches of snow today and I asked Austin to go out to shovel for me. You would have thought I asked him to go out back and dig up the dead dog that's been under the oak tree for the last four years. So, I gave him "options." I told him he either went out to shovel or he sat inside with Aidan, Nathanial, Ethan, and Noah while I shoveled...even though I'm terribly ill (what's wrong with a little guilt once in a while??). He chose to stay in. I guess it's my own fault for giving him options. It's times like this when you wonder why that big yard with a long driveway was worth it. What's really wrong with just a tiny yard, little sidewalk and no driveway? I'm starting to see the benefits. So I got it done, then promptly got in trouble by Steve for not waiting until he got home.

And now, I'm going to bed to hopefully sleep this thing off....

Monday, December 10, 2007

I Hate Mondays

Am I the only stay at home mom who absolutely dreads Mondays?? The weekend is wonderful, routine is pretty much gone (which is good and bad with an Asperger child in the mix), Daddy is home, and everyone relaxes. And therein lies the problem. The routine is gone, everyone relaxes, and Daddy is home.

Which means the house is a mess, and the babies are out of their 12:30 on the dot naptime (in favor of "whenever it's convenient, whether that's 11 or 1 or anywhere in between), so Mondays I have to clean, clean, clean and restructure our lives. Every single Monday I do this! Ahhhh!!!

Don't get me wrong...I love weekends. I love having everyone home with nowhere to go and nothing to do, most of the time. And if we do have stuff to do, it's usually stuff we want to do and look forward to. That's part of what makes Monday so hard. Everyone is back to their lives and not home and I am here, back to speaking to a 4 year old and three 10 month olds. My speech goes back to a 2 year old level and I long for decent grown-up conversation again. Because, let's face it, by the time Steve gets home, I'm pretty wiped out for any intentional adult conversation.

Today, I'm feeling REALLY icky, so the house is going to stay a mess and I am going to take a nap with the babies instead of cleaning like I should...because I am miserable. And I'm planning on going straight to bed the second Steve walks in the door tonight, too. That's probably why I am feeling even more "Ba-humbug" about the whole Monday thing anyway.

Be gone, cold, ear ache, and stuffy head, be gone!!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Making Your Home a Haven - Day Five

Refresh Your Spirit (5 minutes)

Today I read James 2 -3:12. I really needed that today, all of it. But one verse especially hit me. Growing up Catholic, I have a hard time with my sin being the same as someone who was a murderer or anything "more major" because I was taught that there are "levels" of sin. That has been the hardest thing for me to grasp since switching to a Protestant religion. I hesitate to point out differences, because what matters is that we are Christians, but this teaching is not biblical at all. What makes it difficult is that Satan is always right there, justifying what I would like to believe. Oh, I just gossip. I just overeat. I just have a very hard time with forgiveness. (There's more, trust me, there's more.) That's not at all the same as a murderer, is it??? But of course it is. God sees every sin equally. And whether it is difficult for me to grasp, it's the Truth. I don't even think it is difficult for me to grasp...I just don't like to think about it and don't want to admit it to myself. All this came from a simple verse "...whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free." (James 2:12) I fall so short of the glory of God, yet I know that I am forgiven...and that is a powerful thing. I still have a lot of transforming for God to do, but that's the wonderful part of Jesus...I am a work in progress and it's within His power to change me.

Take Time to Make a Plan (5 minutes)

Here's my list for today:
Kitchen (Steve was home with the boys last night, so I have some work to do!)
Upstairs Landing
General Pick Up

I have more I want to do, but I am keeping it realistic. We also have Steve's Christmas party tonight, so I know I won't get as much done as I have to get everyone ready for the sitter and go get the sitter.

Do Something:
Seeing as I'm all about efficiency, we're combining today's regular Frugal Friday feature with our current
Making Your Home a Haven Challenge.

Today, instead of the usual challenges we've been doing all week, I'm encouraging all of you participants to make your home a haven by taking some time to spend as a family or spend some time doing something for your family. Have fun with your family! It's one of the best ways to make your home an oasis.

I have eaten breakfast with just Aidan and I this morning. It took half an hour just to eat a bowl of oatmeal, a plate of pickles, and a glass of milk (no, I'm not pregnant...that was Aidan's meal...I just had oatmeal and coffee), but what Aidan and I really enjoyed was having that time to ourselves and not having anyone else around. I think that's why he dilly-dallied so much this morning!

Since we do have the Christmas party tonight, we can't have a family night tonight, so I am grateful that I already had a 'family weekend' planned. This afternoon when Austin gets home, though, I am going to sit with him on Club Penguin (which is an awesome little site) and help him win some coins to upgrade and deck out his igloo. It doesn't sound like much, but I am trying to meet Austin where he is at and this is what he loves to do.

Aidan has requested that Daddy, Mommy, and Austin make colorful cookies for Santa, also. No babies, though, please....we will lock them out of the kitchen. (What he said, not me. I suggested waiting until they were napping; he agreed.) I was not planning on doing a lot of Christmas baking this year...I felt like I didn't have time. But now I see how important this is to Aidan, so I am going to make time. So I guess we're doing that this weekend, too!

Have a very blessed weekend everyone!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thank Goodness for Steam Cleaners....

I was bringing in babies yesterday and, as you notice by Noah's hat, I had just gotten in the door when Aidan told me that he "accidentally" spilled half a thing of spaghetti sauce on the floor! No problem for the three of them, they'll just enjoy it right off the floor. Ick!!

Thank goodness for steam cleaners...or Steve would kill me!
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Making Your Home a Haven - Day Four

Today's Challenge (Let's hope I do a better job of accomplishing this today!)

Refresh Your Spirit (5 minutes)

I encourage you to pick a special verse to meditate on today while you're going about your homemaking tasks and write it down on an index card and put it in a central location as a reminder.

Today I read my verses for Bible study tonight. When I was finished with that, I was flipping to Psalms and my Bible fell open to Proverbs. The very first verse that popped out at me was "A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands." (Proverbs 14:1) This spoke volumes to my soul today. I don't literally tear down my home, but I certainly don't do a very good job of building it up most days. Our home itself and everyone in it. I can be short with Austin and Aidan, not spend enough time with either of them, short with Steve, and I can just plain not feel like cleaning that day, so it doesn't get done. If I don't consciously think about dinner, it's usually spaghetti because that's easy. I am trying very hard to change this part of my life and be more conscientious about my daily living and make our home peaceful, presentable, and a happy place to come home to. I want everyone to feel welcome here, and most days I don't feel that it is very welcoming.

A verse to meditate on today for myself is:
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13


Take Time to Plan (5 minutes)
In addition to writing out a short to-do list numbered in order of importance today like we did the past few days and thinking ahead to what you'll have for dinner tonight, take a moment to plan some special way to bless your family this weekend. Maybe it will be something like breakfast in bed for your children, or a treat for your husband, or a special family activity. Think of something out-of-the-ordinary which will show your love practically to your family.

To Do List:
Pick up all the toys. (Done)
Spend time alone with Aidan when the babies take their nap. (Done)
Help Austin with whatever he needs when he gets home.

For Supper:
Turkey, mashed potatoes, and broccoli.


I actually get a good one for this weekend, because we already planned it. I am not going to clean at all this weekend, and neither is Steve. We are going to go get our Christmas tree and cut it down. Then we will decorate the house. We are taking Austin and Aidan to see Bee Movie, also, this weekend.I also have been meaning to write a letter to Austin for a long time now, and I am going to do that this weekend.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Making Your Home a Haven - Day Three

Refresh Your Spirit (5 minutes)
If you have a chance, I encourage you to think of three things you are thankful for. Write them down and express gratitude to the Lord. Focus on the blessings in your life, not on the things you wish you could change.

Do I really need to admit that I didn't read anything again today? But, at least I did do the next part.

There are so many things that I am grateful for, but these are the three that I am most grateful for today:

1. Steve
Having a husband who is loving and Godly is a huge blessing in my life and I am so thankful to God for bringing him into my life. I cannot imagine a day without him. I still get excited and look forward to him coming home every night (and no, not just to help out with the kids, but because I want to be with him). We are very comfortable in our lives and I feel like I truly have a partner in this marriage and neither one of us is doing all the work. We both equally share the load and I am so grateful! His sense of humor can really help to lighten my stress and he knows just when to use it!

2. My boys
I am so thankful for God's blessing me with each of my children. Austin is such a blessing in so many ways everyday, even though we have many challenges. I believe those very challenges are what make our relationship stronger. Aidan is such an enrichment in my life and brings such joy and humor to it, even when he is being strong willed and ornery. Nathanial is such a peaceful little man and makes you feel peace every time you hold him, even when I have to chase him down. Ethan is so sweet and so funny to watch, even when he's stealing all his brothers' toys. Noah is so loving and cuddly, even when he's needy and whiny.

3. My Bible Study Group
I have needed to get out of the house for so long now and just spend time with other women, without children and discussing and challenging my faith. This prayer was recently answered with the start of a new Bible study group with women I know. Thank you Kasey for inviting me and thank you Deb and Taunya for starting this!!


Take Time to Plan (5 minutes)
In addition to writing out a short to-do list numbered in order of importance today like we did yesterday, I encourage you to plan what you are having for dinner. Make it your aim to have dinner completely made or almost completely made by lunch time. This will make for a much more peaceful afternoon and evening.

To Do List:
Clean:

Living Room (done)
Dining Room (done)
Kitchen (done)
Bathrooms (done)
Our Room (not done)
Babies' Room (not done)
Playroom (not near done!)

Since I knew I would be cleaning all day and I knew I wasn't going to be in the mood for making supper, tonight's dinner was Casey's pizza. And, it was free! I had enough coupons to have our free pizza!!

Do Something! (15 minutes or so)
Today we're going to focus on the laundry and laundry room. Your goal by the end of today is to have all of your laundry finished, folded, and put away.For those of you with a laundry room or laundry area, take some time to organize and clean up this area. Wipe down your washer and dryer, check for socks and other articles of clothing behind and on the sides of your washer and dryer, and clean out your dryer lint.

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha....THAT is hilarious!! Right, well, I think not. First, 15 minutes would not get near what needs to be done in that room. And after everything else I did today, the laundry room was the last room that I had time for. So, on to tomorrow's list, I guess. I hate putting stuff off, but I really don't have a choice with this one!

Away I Go...


See If Mommy Can Catch Me apparently is a new game that Nathanial loves to play. He climbs the steps, and he is getting fast. He thinks he's hilarious playing "where am I?" Today, I left the living room for a few seconds to get Aidan peanut butter toast (I hope they aren't allergic to it, because Ethan got a bite), and I thought I heard noises in the babies' room through the monitor. I run out to the living room, and sure enough, Nathanial's missing. I ran upstairs and he came out of their room, threw his hands up in the air, and giggled.


I grabbed him, took him back downstairs, put an excersaucer in front of the steps (no time to get the gate back in place) and went back to Aidan's toast. That took maybe 30 seconds and I returned to, again, no Nathanial. What?!?! He pushed the excersaucer out of his way, then continued up the steps. He was halfway up the second set (we have a landing) when I caught him and he started giggling again and the moved even faster. Apparently, the other new game is How Fast is Mommy? Not fast enough obviously.


So, then I moved the humidifier in front of the steps...that's a little heavier. I guess I have to make time to get the gate back in front of the steps.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Making Your Home a Haven Challenge - Day Two

Refresh your spirit (5 minutes)

Again, late start, so I didn't read much. I did pray quite a bit today, but I always do that. I need to get better about setting time aside for myself, which is part of why I wanted to do this in the first place.

Take Time to Plan (5 minutes)
Do you have a plan for today? A few minutes of strategic planning before you begin your day can not only help you to be much more productive, but it can also save you a lot of time. If other things come up which are more important, be cheerful and flexible.

To Do List:
Go to Waterloo early in the morning. (Didn't happen - we didn't leave until 10!)

Pick out fabric for the boys' blankets for Christmas from Granny and Grandpa Charlie.
Target - general neccesaties (diapers, wipes, soap, etc.); Christmas presents for nieces and nephews.
Lunch
Home for naps. (Didn't happen = VERY grumpy babes)
Pick up Austin from school (Got home just in time to meet his bus and pick him up.)
Clean living room. (Again, didn't happen.)
Time with Aidan alone while babies take naps. (Obviously, didn't happen.)
Get supper made and eat together.


Do Something! (10 minutes)
Since we tackled our entryways yesterday, we're moving on to our living rooms today.

This clearly didn't happen today, with everything else we had going on.

Oh, well...there's always tomorrow!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Making Your Home a Haven Challenge - Day One

First, I wanted to thank Gina (Everyday is a Precious Gift) for posting this on her blog. I have felt that our home and life is chaos lately...well, not even lately, since the pregnancy and birth of the triplets. I am so ready to get into a schedule in my life and feel more in control of things. Gina is a true blessing and her posts couldn't have come at a better time! So, for the next while, I will be doing the challenge with Gina and the women at Biblical Womanhood (www.biblicalwomanhoodonline.com/blog.htm). Here goes!
(All italics are Biblical Womanhood's words.)
Day One of the Challenge
Refresh Your Spirit (5 minutes)
Take five minutes, brew a cup of tea or coffee, and sit down and be still before the Lord. Pray, read a Psalm, thank the Lord for His goodness and blessing in your life.
Not that this is an excuse, but I didn't start the challenge until a few days late, so I unfortunately did not do this.
Take Time to Plan (5 minutes)
Today's planning project is centered on a morning routine. Write down five things you want to do in the same order every morning. Keep it simple and only stick to five things. If five things seem overwhelming, start with three. Starting somewhere is better than not starting at all!
My Morning Routine:
1. Take a shower!
2. Coffee and spend time with the Lord.
3. Breakfast for Aidan and the babies.
4. Get supper planned and meat out to defrost, if needed.
5. Put in a load of laundry; fold and put away everything in the dryer.
Do Something! (5 -15 minutes)
Each day I'm going to be giving you a simple organizational task to complete in your home. And today we're going to start at the very beginning - a very good place to start! Then go to your front door and pretend you are a first-time visitor to your home. Walk in and take a look around. What is your immediate impression of your home? Is it calm and clean or cluttered and chaotic? Take five to fifteen minutes to clean, de-clutter, and beautify your entry area.

This is the view as you walk in looking straight ahead.
Before:


After:
The view to the right of the door.

Before: After:


This is the view to the left of the front door.
Before:
After:


It is bad enough posting the before pictures, but it really does make me feel better and feel like I actually accomplished something. That's rare these days.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Whew...

Aidan got his speech results back and his speech is within normal ranges. Yay! So we don't have to do anything about it and his funny little sayings can remain funny. He also brought home a little Santa countdown and is getting very excited for Christmas to come!

Ethan seems to be getting better...very slowly, but there is improvement. Nathanial is a little worse, but nothing like what he was a week ago, so still overall better. Noah has still not gotten the nasty cough...still has a runny nose and is very whiny and his ear still hurts, but better overall. They all seem to slowly be getting a little bit better thankfully!