Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday Tip Jar

Today is Tuesday (at least I think it is! LOL) so I want to throw out an idea for Tuesday Tip Jar at BlogMommas.

And, here it is...

Initially, I followed the mommy trend of liquid soap for the Vikings in the bathroom. Unfortunately, even after repeated instruction, they still couldn't manage ONLY ONE squirt & regularly filled the sink with bubbles and/or squirted a half bottle in the sink to experiment. And, while I'm all about the learning, it just simply cost too much! LOL

So, I went back to bar soap...but it was too big for their small hands to manage. Back to the drawing board.

In a pinch, the day before grocery shopping day when even Mom and Dad were out of bar soap, I happened on an idea...hotel soap!

Those little bars of soap you find when staying at a hotel are the *perfect* size for little hands! But, I only had 2-3 from our recent travels. So, I headed to my local freecycle.org site and now I am expecting around 10 bars of perfectly sized soap for FREE!!

Head over to BlogMommas today for more tips!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Thank you Chris Tomlin...

...for the best part of my day yesterday.

When I was a sleep-away camper and then a camp counselor, there was a campfire tradition of being asked "what was your rose and your thorn today?" before lights-out. In other words, what was the best and worst part of your day?

My rose yesterday was one of those weird, tear-jerker "momma moments."

The kids and I are driving to church (DaHubby went in earlier in a separate car due to a special music practice). And, as usual, we had the praise and worship music jammin'! LOL I just received the Chris Tomlin Live in Austin CD via swapacd.com (for free). The first song on the CD is "Indescribable".

After the song was done, Flicka hollered from the back seat, "Again, Momma. Let's listen to that one again!" So, I obliged her. And, during that second time through, it struck me.

My eyes filled up and my voice choked as I wondered: Is there anything much sweeter than listening to your 5-year-old sing...

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
You are amazing God

Off hand, I can't think of one thing better. *big smile*

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday Thanks Tank

Well, the biggest thing to happen around here lately (which shows how much we all need to get out more LOL) is receiving a new membership to our local YMCA via a scholarship. Can I shout THANK YOU to the folks who fund these? LOL Because it's making a big impact here!

So, I'm thankful this week for:

DaHubby being able to get up early and workout before work.

The multiple family swims we've all attended in the last week. It's been a blast to see the kids make some serious progress towards independent swimming plus wonderful to see DaHubby get some good splash time in despite his crazy work/school/study schedule.

(OK, can I be *really* worldly with this one? LOL) The treat of watching CABLE while I ride the bikes or walk on the treadmills! Not having cable at home makes it a treat and the 30-45 minutes of working out FLY by! LOL

The yoga and pilates classes that are making my nearly-broken back feel MUCH better!

All the kids' activities - including the play night in the kids' gym we attended last night.

The fact that the kids have slept better this last week than I can remember in a long while! LOL

That all the fitness class are free to members!

But, most of all, I'm thankful for a well-staffed nursery where the Vikings safely and happily play while Momma gets in some ME time!

So, what are YOU thankful for this week? Stop by Pam's place today to see what's up for her Thursday Thanks Tank!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: momentary sibling peace

For more WW, go here or here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tuesday's Tip Jar

Jumping on board with BlogMomma's Tuesday's Tip Jar with one I don't use often but when I use it, I'm *always* glad I've bookmarked it.

Especially with all the news over the winter about children's cold medicine and accidental overdosing, this site has been a lifesaver for a weary, middle of the night mom searching for doses for very unhappy Vikings.

I've used Dr. Sears' medicine cabinet for Benedryl, Tylenol, Motrin, and cold medicines. I've printed out the charts for Tylenol and Benedryl and keep them inside the medicine cabinet.

Whenever I get the chance or when the kids visit the pediatrician, I make a note of their weight on the charts. So, at 3am when someone is sobbing from ear pain, I just check their weight and read the chart and safely dose the kid in question.

Stop by BlogMomma's today to see what other good tips everyone has up their sleeves!

Mommy Memo

It was my turn to write the "Mommy Memo" for our local MOMS Club newsletter this month. I just finished it and thought it would make a good post here as well! LOL And, if you are reading this via the RSS feed to Facebook and are in my MOMS group - wait for the newsletter! *wink*

“Different mommies, different rules.”

But, Mom, THEY get to wear shorts…but, Mom, they don’t have to wear a jacket…but, MOM, they don’t have to leave yet.

And, I say “different mommies, different rules.”

Flicka’s already wondering why her mom does things differently than other moms sometimes and, 80% of the time, those four words get me out of a longer explanation.

But, what about the other 20%?

If you think about the amazing number of choices, the variety of backgrounds, and the astounding number of different experiences we have all had, it’s a miracle any of us really have anything in common at all. There are an infinite number of combinations but we still bond together over the trials and joys of pregnancy, labor, nursing/feeding, diapering, pacifiers, sippies, and potty training.

And, yet, we as well as our children all turn out “normal.”

One of the most profound things I’ve learned being a mom is that there is no one right way to raise kids. Despite what we hear from family, the media, and each other, there is no one right way to fit every child of every temperament at every age.

While this may not come as a shock to some of you, it was for me in a way. Being a mom isn’t about doing it “right,” it’s about diving in with both hands, up to your elbows dirty, thinking your brain will explode noise levels, and coming up with happy, well-balanced kids!

It’s hard work – a point I think few of us would argue. And, we are all striving to do the best by ourselves, our spouses, and our kids each and every day. Accidents happen; mistakes happen too. And, at least half of them are probably done in public.

But, we’re all heading the same general direction toward the same common goal. So, when you see the mom at Dairy Queen doing things differently than you, cut her some slack. And, when the mom at the park does something unexpected, just let it slide. We all have a different “bag of tricks” and a varying level of skills that we use. That along with all the infinite possibilities mentioned above makes each decision we make particularly unique. But, what’s so cool about it is this – no one knows our kids like we do and those decisions are made especially for them.

Unique moms. Unique skills. Unique decisions. Unique kids.

Thus, my simplified answer to Flicka: different mommies, different rules.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Reading Thing 2009

Happy first day of Spring!!

And, no March 20th would be complete without Katrina throwing down the gauntlet again - just as the weather here in Michigan is FINALLY improving, she's challenging us to hunker down and tackle a stack of books! LOL

Her Spring Reading Thing challenge starts today! And, she wants to know what we'll be figuratively chewing on the next 10 weeks. In the interest of balance, I tried to pick a mix of fiction and non-fiction this time....so here goes:

Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto
A Charlotte Mason Education by Christine Levinson
Jesus Take The Wheel: 7 Keys to a Transformed Life with God by Stuart Migdon
Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel
The Girl's Like Spaghetti: Why, You Can't Manage without Apostrophes! by Lynn Truss

Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber
The Heretic's Daughter: A Novel by Kathleen Kent
Magi by Daniel L. Gilbert
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Ambitious? OH, yea! But, we'll see! Stop by Katrina's (I'll put in the direct link when she puts up her post) and see what everyone else is tackling. (I ended up changing my list at least twice when I see what the other participants have chosen! LOL) And, good luck!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday Thanks Tank

The days have been so busy this week - I can't believe it's Friday tomorrow already. It was one of those blink-and-you-miss-it weeks.

But, the little things broke through...

I was blessed by two friends and their kiddos and our new somewhat-regular "evening widow" playgroup. LOL All three of our hubbies are off conquering the world in their own ways during the evenings recently so we've taken to getting together, letting the kids play, making up an easy dinner, and blowing a few hours while the kids wear off some energy. These two ladies are in my top five favorite people from my MOMS Club group. *big smile* And, I love hanging out with them.

The weather! Hello! Here in Michigan - where it breaking 50 degrees for the first time means breaking out the shorts and flip-flops - we *REALLY* enjoyed this week's temps and sunshine.

We received a scholarship via our local YMCA due to our recent financial hardship and they offered us a family membership at a significantly lower rate! Praise God!

I continue to be thankful for my in-laws who offered again to watch the kids while I grocery shopped this week. While they aren't able to take the kids as often or all day like they used to, this would be my number one wish list of times to be alone so it's a real blessing.

I thank God for a small-but-with-LARGE-repercussions realization this week related to my parenting with Flicka. THANK YOU LORD for showing me gently what I was doing and what it was doing.

I stumbled into (almost literally) another "mom friend" at the park this week that I haven't seen since Thanksgiving. She's just wonderful but so busy. I've been meaning to make it a point to seek her out only to hear this week that her hubby - who is stationed at our local USCG station - will be transferring onto his next assignment in about a year. *sigh* I am thankful for her friendship, thankful we ran into each other, and will now DEFINITELY make it point to find something we can do together.

I'm thankful that someone sees fit to let me sing at church. LOL I remember being told in high school that I couldn't sing in tune. DaHubby, on the other hand, encourages me to sing - and he is from a family of amazing singers. And, while I have had momentarily illusions delusions of glory of singing in front of people, in my heart of hearts I know that when I sing, I lose myself in worshiping Him and I am closer to Him then than nearly any other time of prayer that I can remember. Whether I can carrying a tune or not, THANK YOU to those who are OK with me stepping up to a microphone each Sunday morning.

And, I am thankful for my bloggy friends. Earlier this week, I considered pulling the plug on my online life for a while. But, I received so many sweet comments here, on Twitter, and on Facebook that I'm re-thinking it somewhat. I will probably still cut back but have come to really appreciate my online buddies a bit more this week.

And, what are YOU thankful for this week? Stop by Pam's today and see what she's thankful for.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday Tip Jar

BlogMommas hosts a "Tuesday Tip Jar." It's similar to the WFMW's I have participated in. But, WFMW has gotten so large and unwieldy so I thought I'd jump in with BlogMommas with a recent idea instead.

The Vikings actually "taught" me this one...the kids recented received squirt guns from Grandma P and Papa D when they went on vacation in Florida. Normally, the Vikings would play with them in the tub until warmer weather arrives here in Michigan. LOL

But, I started getting suspicious when they volunteered to wipe off the kitchen table after breakfast last week. Then, I saw how they were doing it! LOL
Need some help getting your little ones to help with clean up? Give 'em squirt guns and some dry washcloths and you'll be AMAZED how clean things get! LOL

Stop by BlogMommas today to see their ideas!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Random thoughts I'm trying to put in order

Feeling really unsettled lately...like there's a big change coming on. A unplugging the TV, clearing out basement & giving it away, taking long-term fast from FB & Twitter kind of change.

And, it's a combo of things:

1. This article which refers to going out and living my life instead of staying inside and Twittering about it. I LOVE my online friends and the way they challenge me, open my mind to new ideas, and make me laugh but no one here can participate in that. Facebooking and Twittering are technically solitary pursues. Online lives are deceptively cozy - there is a false sense of community. The only community I technically should be building is here around me. I've been toying with the idea for a block party for the last few years - and why don't I do it?

My blogging started as a writing outlet that morphed into a kind of online documentation of our family life - like a family-sized baby book! LOL Blogging led to Bloglines which led to Twittering which led to Facebooking. It's like blogging was my "gateway drug" to this online life! LOL

2. A book on scheduling for h-school moms (prioritizing what's really important to us and dropping the rest).

3. A book one and book two on the failure of public schools & their tendency to drive out inspiration, creativity, & critical thinking w/ their "herd" mentality. Gatto's books have taken my teacher training, my own school experience, and that of my teaching experience and turned it on its head. As a former/continuing student, I'm furious. As a semi-retired teacher, I'm shaking my head in agreement at the things he accuses public schooling of. As a parent, I'm turning into a huge "momma bear" wanting to protect the Vikings from it all. It's official - I've become the parent I used to make fun of. LOL "Unschooling" is sounding better and better to me. LOL

4. Our change to the Dave Ramsey mindset - whjich I've written about here several times

5. My endless ADD & Momma frustration of the constant clutter (electronic & physical) & cleaning around things we never use.

6. If we have to move for DaHubby's new career *I* don't want to pack all this crud up.

7. In a way the kids and I need fewer choices. Too many things to watch and to play with keeps us from actually going OUT and LEARNING something and/or getting some EXERCISE! And, I don't mean starting the lesson/team sport merry-go-round either. Just "unorganized", creative, investigative, self-realizing discovery. Stuff we can do together as opposed to me dropping them off at yet another activity.

8. Tired of finding new things I want to try and having no time and/or resources to do them. We love our garden - but have no time to try new seed pots I saw the other day. We *really* want to do a compost bin (maybe something like this) and a rain barrel for water conservation but no time and no money. I'd like to find something beautiful and useful to grow on the arbor DaHubby built for our wedding. (We had the ceremony under it.)

DaHubby wants to finish his boats. I want more time for solitude, reading, exercising and crafting. I want time ffor actually *doing* things with the Vikings as opposed to telling them "go watch/play/do whatever while I get housework done." Activites we can do as a family as opposed to dropping off the Vikings at yet another activity. More time for Bible reading - for all of us.

Random thoughts from a random mind this morning...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

March 8th

I'm kinda glad that day came between my birthday last Friday and Flicka's on Monday. With all that's been going on - including Flicka's party on Saturday - it's been easy to "forget" the passing of March 8th.

I am thankful for my life - don't get me wrong. I am very, very, VERY aware of how precious life is. Miscarriages: our two little angels in 2002 and 2008. Cancer: losing my brother-in-law, Pojke's namesake, in 2005 and by a miracle of God's hand still having my sister-in-law here after a brutal battle with a rare leukemia last year. Accidents: losing friends in 1988 and 1996 and nearly losing one my of little sisters in 2007. And, my little Viking miracles themselves.

But, I knew my heart would be breaking a bit on Sunday.

I was due with Böna on Sunday...and given my labor history, I would still be carrying that lil' one right now just about to pop.

And, I have been trying to be at peace as I've watch several bloggy, Twitter, and Facebook friends "enjoying" the challenges of second and third trimesters. But, it's been hard.

I *know* that I'm now 41. I know that I've been considered "advance maternal age" for nearly all my pregnancies. And, I know how entirely exhausted DaHubby and I are from raising the Vikings while DaHubby works while attending school full time. I know that eventually we may be moving extensively due to DaHubby's new upcoming career. I know that with DaHubby's work hours being cut recently that we're often *just barely* making it these last few months. I DO NOT miss those sleepless nights, the soreness from nursing, or the diapers that we are nearly free of except for Pojke's overnights.

I know all that - but I just don't feel "done" yet.

Yet, I can't barely hold an infant at this point. And, I'm afraid of what will happen if I hold one too long. Will I desperately want another? CAN I have another? Will I finally know I'm done and begin to mourn that relatively small part of my life?

After working and praying and scraping and climbing out of situation after situation to just GET pregnant, it is very, very hard to do something permanent on the conception front. I've learned to lean on God in ways I never, ever, EVER anticipated to get pregnant and in being a parent so why couldn't I trust Him with this?

I still have incredibly mixed feelings every month as cycle day 12-16 roll around as well as those edgy, anticipatory days before my monthly guest arrives.

All I know is that He knows what is best. And, that I need to trust Him with everything and all will be fine. So, why am I having such a hard time with this?

I feel like the Vikings when I'm trying to get them out the door to load them up in the van and they insist that they're coming but they have to bring this and this and this with them. It feels like God's trying to edge me forward but I'm insisting on brings this and this and this with me as I walk towards Him. But, I'm so loaded down and my hands are so full that I'm not able to receive what He has for me.

My MOMS Club is having a garage sale in May which will be limited to baby and mom stuff only. So, Lord, I need an answer...do I clear the basement of all the baby stuff in storage even though just typing those words is making my eyes fill with tears? And, Lord, keep our little angels close to you. Whisper to them that we love them and miss them and that we'll see them soon.


"Give me revelation...Show me what to do...
'Cause I've been trying to find my way...I haven't got a clue...
Tell me should I stay here...or do I need to move...
Give me revelation...I've got nothing without You!"

-Third Day, "Revelation"

The Party

I scrolled back and realized I had posted any of the party pics here at the blog! *smacks forehead*

So, for those of you who haven't seen the photos yet on my Facebook page...it's quicker to give you the FB photo album link that load them all up to Blogger so...here ya go! LOL

Monday, March 9, 2009

Flicka's birthday cake

With thanks to my mom-in-law...

Happy birthday to my "sweetheart miracle"! I pray this year teaches you more about yourself, about God, and is a kind one to you. XOXO

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Shhhh...a boobytrap! *tee, hee*

And, when Flicka opens her door in the morning...an avalanche of balloons for the girl's actual birthday!

Friday, March 6, 2009

41 reasons to be thankful

Well, it has been 14,965 days since I was born but, while I'm sure the Lord's blessed me at least that many times since then, I don't have the time today to come up with 14,965 things to be thankful for! LOL Probably should have posted this yesterday for Thursday Thanks Tank but I'm in the midst of planning Flicka's own birthday extravaganza for tomorrow! LOL

So here goes...

for God's grace
for His word
His salvation
and His supply!
my parents and their spouses
my sisters
my extended family in SE Michigan
my in-laws
my extended family here in SW Michigan
my pastors
my local church family
my "church grandma" - Sister P.
my "church parents" - Brother and Sister B.
for Becca, Juli, and Beth who remind me WHY I believe
all my new MOMS Club buddies
Anita, Sara, and all my early blogging buddies
Janet, Allana, and all my PAIF buddies (And, especially Allana since it's her b-day today too!)
for this home
for our transportation
for our technology which *tries* to make our lives easier! LOL
my health and that of DaHubby and the Vikings
DaHubby's job even as unsteady as it is
for DaHubby's college adviser - she's such a blessing in this stressful time
for Dave Ramsey's advice, class, and radio show
for living *just* where I dreamed I would when I was young
for closets with clothes and cabinets with food
for my joy in reading
for my joy in cooking
for my ADD (and that's a tough one to be thankful for! LOL) which blesses me in backhanded ways I couldn't have anticipated
for the miracle in Brother B last year
for the miracle in Peggy this last year
for the past year of craziness
and for the upcoming year...filled with God's promises!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Blessing Brag via Goldilocks

...and I'm bragging on God entirely!

Our sweet lil' "Goldilocks" aka our "harvest gold" 2001 Ford Focus has been DaHubby's and my love mobile! LOL It was our first purchase after we got married nearly 8 years ago. I remember having to make sure I signed the correct name to all the paperwork! LOL

She's been all over our state and even took us on our honeymoon to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota.
And, she has been a DREAM car - we love that we've done nothing but put gas and oil in her and put some brakes and tires on her in 8 years. She's been into the dealership 2 or 3 times for recall items that needed to be replaced but she's been incredibly healthy all these years.

In May 2007, she rolled 100,000 miles. I don't drive her often (since I have the "grocery getter" aka the Freestar which has yet to be named) but I'm guessing she's up around 120K now. She was also paid off nearly 3 years ago which means no more "free rides" for maintenance! LOL

So, we knew she was coming up on some work needing to be done. We were just hoping she'd make it through this financially lean period...but the inevitable happened: broken front springs. *sigh*

Goldilocks was diagnosed recently by DaHubby and a buddy at work. They figured the work could be done at home (so the labor would be "free" or I'd have to make DaHubby pasties again or something like that LOL) but the parts were still looking to be several hundred dollars. Well, that's what emergency funds are for and we figured we do it sometime this week after work in the evening while DaHubby's on spring break from school.

But, as Dave Ramsey says, that's not good enough! LOL

DaHubby dropped a dime on the dealership...remember, this is an 8 year old car with nearly 120K miles on it. And, guess what? The springs are a recall item! And, their replacement is ENTIRELY COVERED! WA-HOO! DaHubby will drop Goldilocks off at the dealership tomorrow morning and she should be done before he leaves work!

How great is the God we serve!? THANK YOU LORD!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

3 am ramblings

Can't sleep - have this rant rolling around in my head...

"God doesn't mind if you miss church once in a while."

How convenient that in the cases someone has said this to me that it only makes their lives easier. It's not God's job to spoil us like little children saying "It's OK, baby, do whatever you want that makes you happy." It's His job to walk us through things in our lives that make us more like Jesus. And, that doesn't happen by indulging us. Any good parent knows that. It's gonna happen when He challenges us. God doesn't "make" bad things happen but He USES them!

And, I don't go to church because I feel obligated to do so or because it's "expected." I go because I *want* to be there. I enjoy going there, being in His presence along with that of the fellowship of believers. Worshiping alone, while obviously possible, is not Biblical for the long term. We are part of the Body and as such need to be around other believers. Iron sharpens iron. By voluntarily withdrawing from being His presence, we're holding back our growth in Him and resisting His will and our part in it.

I don't know about you but I *want* to be part of His will. Being in His will is the safest, most joyful place to be. The years I spent out of His will were ones I wouldn't want to repeat.

He is holy and righteous and the creator of the world - and He still wants *ME* - a sinner! He knows my name. He's held me in His hand while I was still being formed in the womb.

I want to worship him - not only because He is due that as the King of Kings but because I want to say THANK YOU!

You want to stay home on whatever your day of worship is? Go right ahead but I'm gonna be there in the front row - learning, growing, in fellowship, worshiping. I'm gonna wade in chest-deep and get my hands "dirty" in the lives of those around me at church - help where I can, minister where I can, be God's hands and feet in their lives...even those I may not agree with or those that get on my nerves. And, they will do the same for me.

But, even if they don't, it doesn't matter. It's not about getting something back or being taken care of! I want to serve because God saved me and because that's what Jesus did.

No, I didn't join a cult. And, it's not about "the rules." It's about discipline - practicing those things Jesus walked in everyday. And, it's about dying to self, putting aside things that distract us from Him. We will always fall short but we gotta keep trying.

And, it's about the LOVE - always the love!

Part of a testimony I once heard recounted the day this man found himself drunk again and miserable. And, he said he felt a wind blow through his home and heard God speak to his heart "if you'll try, I will help."

Sounds like a good deal to me. How 'bout you?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Spring Has Sprung

Well, at least somewhat here at the Viking Hus. Been bit with the clutter-busting bug and now I'm eyeballing stacks, books, shelves, and basement boxes looking for stuff to Ebay, freecycle, sell, or toss. Today's beautiful sunny (but still cold 20-something temperatures) weather feels wonderful.

Been looking for an online cleaning too. Thinking about a new blog design - something downright girly, which I never do. Cleaning up the right margin of unused or unneeded links and badges.

Getting back on track with blogging - I hope. Set a personal rule that no Twittering or Facebooking happens unless I've completed a blog post for the day.

The sun (and the Son) seem to be working on me overtime. And, I *like* it!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A spiritual facelift

Our pastor emeritus (Brother T) spoke today since Pastor D was out of town with the youth at WinterFest. This 82 year old man of God who pastored this church for nearly 20 years has had some major health hurdles this last year but was still strong enough to preach this morning - praise God!

And, he talked about "spiritual face lifts" Have you had yours? We all have troubles, pains, and challenges but God's grace and glory should be so part of us that it shines through whatever we are dealing with!

Consider this:

Proverbs 15:13 A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

1 Samuel 1 18 And (Hannah) said, "Let your maidservant find favor in your sight." So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer [sad.]

Exodus 34:29 . Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony [were] in Moses' hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him.

Matthew 17:2 and (Jesus) was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.

Being near God should make us shine. If we're not spending enough time with Him, we could be losing our "glow" - His glory within us.

Are you spreading His glory through your countenance? Can people see God shining through your everyday circumstances? Have you had your spiritual face lift each day after spending time with God in prayer? I wish I could say definitely 100% yes for myself but I can't. But, we can all do better - with God's help and His grace.