Wednesday, November 28, 2007

WFMW - Winco Shopping List

Well, I have a tool that I have been using for a couple of years. It is a blank shopping list for the devoted Winco shopper like myself. Each section is for a different aisle of the store, and it goes top to bottom, left to right in the order that I shop, starting with produce, through meats & cheeses, to dairy, then back and forth through the non-perishable goods aisles. It sure makes shopping quicker and I rarely need to backtrack through the store because I forgot something.

I wanted to attach the file in a pdf but I can't figure out how to do it yet. So, if you want it, email me at jenne @ armworks . net and I will send it to you.

Happy Wednesday, ladies!

UPDATE: Thanks to Brenda, my list is posted on her site. you can get to it by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I got myself my very first migraine this week. I do not recommend them if you can help it. Of course we did not know that it was a migraine, and it came on suddenly, with vision impairments, dizziness and off we went to the ER, to make sure I was not having a stroke or something.

A huge and public thank you to Lori for dropping everything and staying at our house so that our sleeping boys could stay put.

An IV, CT scan and $2000 later, I have a migraine. (Who wouldn't after that anyway?!?!) Sure is fun to meet your deductible 6 weeks before the New Year and you have to start all over again. Oh well. I am thankful for my health and husband who took good care of me through the whole thing.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Clothe Yourselves...

It is not too uncommon for our family to enjoy a wonderful morning at church, you know, learning to be more Christ-like, but the moment we get in the car the lessons to which we have just nodded our heads over in eager agreement go out the window in favor of the fruits of the flesh:
"Knock it off, boys!"
"You're going to watch HOW MUCH football today?"
"I said, stop touching your brother!"
Argue. Argue. Selfish. Selfish. Me-me-me-me-me.

Well, today Ryan and I lead a portion of our church's Family Sunday School class. Our job was to lead songs and teach the group Colossians 3:12: Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. You can guess, then, what our ride home from church was like. Well, actually you can't because something very different happened.

On a route we do not usually take, we were stopped at an intersection where a man with a cane, on the opposite side of the intersection, was trying to cross in the crosswalk. He walked with the severe limp of a stroke victim. Head down, his dissheveled white beard and hair kept us from seeing his face. His signal turned to the solid red hand, and he was just barely half way across. The cars waiting to turn left were stuck because he was directly in front of them. The man, in his panic, was trying in vein to keep moving forward but the harder he tried, the less cooperative his legs were. Though he was moving his legs at a furious pace, he hardly moved an inch forward. Everyone at the intersection just watched from their cars as the man struggled.

No, not everyone. My husband jumped out, jogged across the intersection ("What is dad doing? Where is dad going?" the kids asked.). The family - the whole intersection - watched Ryan kindly, compassionately and patiently take this man's arm with great dignity. "Let me help you, sir," I imagine he must have said. The man, Garrett, immediately responded and began to take normal strides and complete his walk across the street. I just sat there with profound admiration. I was astounded at the act. It is an act well within his (or anyone's) capacity, but it astounded me none-the-less. I just sat there, so thankful to the Lord that our boys could see their father demonstrate such Christ-like behavior.

Today Ryan was a living example to the kids of how we are to clothe ourselves: with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Awesome. Truly awesome.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fly Lady Reflections

I just love the Fly Lady. She taught me so much about keeping my house a home. If you have never done the Fly Lady thing, hop on over to her website and check it out. It is for those of us that are overwhelmed by the task of keeping the house tidy. It is for those of us who need three days notice before houseguests come (so that we can get 36 hours worth of babysitting and do nothing but scrub and declutter top to bottom). It is for those of us that are perfectionists at heart, but instead of keeping a perfect house, we see that there is no way we can be perfect, so we give up before we start - and the house ends up in shambles.

Seriously, what would it be like to hear a knock at the door and actually WELCOME that guest in without ten thousand apologies for the mess and clutter and grime in this corner and that hallway.

When piles are sprouting legs and you think you will never see the surface of that table, FLY LADY TO THE RESCUE! I think my favorite idea from the FLy Lady is her "27-Fling Boogie" where you go around your house once a day with a plastic grocery sack on your wrist and look for 27 things to throw away. Oh, and the other wonderful thing I learned from Fly Lady is how to identify and keep on top of "Hot Spots" in your house. These are the places that, no matter what, always end up with a junk pile. Once you identify what those hot spots are, you do a "hot spot patrol," taking 10-15 minutes to put away the things that have collected there so far that week/day/hour. My current hot spots (that need my attention right now, by the way) are
1. the counter next to the telephone,
2. the dining room table,
3. the top of Ryan's dresser (he may use the drawers, but I still use the top),
4. and the spot in my office just to the left of my printer/fax/copier.

I just might go set my timer right now for 15 minutes and attack those bad boys. Or I might watch my TiVo'ed episode of The Office. You know, we all have our priorities.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Oh, Isn't He Precious!

Before you scroll down, you ought to jump over to Angela's post on ugly baby pictures so that this makes sense.

Angela, you have no corner on the market, my friend. I hate to "one-up" you, but really, I must share.

And now,
I present to you
the winner
of this year's
circa June 2005

Ta Da!!

(just try to top that...I DARE YOU!)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Kids and Allowances

So now you know the train table story, and you know that it lead me to think more carefully about how and what we were teaching our kids about money. I have sat down several times to write this post and I have to admit that no matter what, it always comes out like an overcooked turkey: painfully dry. No one wants to read a boring post (the least of which is me!), so to save you all from such a lot, here is just my "ah-ha moment," and a couple of links if you are interested in learning more:

The purpose of chores is to teach kids responsibility and contribution to the family.
The purpose of allowance is to teach kids how to handle money.
Working to earn money is another lesson in and of itself.

There are some great resources out there from the Barnabas Foundation, Crown Financial Ministries, and, and of course Eternal Perspectives Ministries.
Happy linking!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A small Sleep Tip addition

I was re-reading my sleep tips and realized that I have one more:

If your baby is uncomfortable (perhaps with gas pains?) when it is time to sleep, lay her on her LEFT SIDE. Did you know you can burp laying on your left side but you can't burp (without urping) on your right or on your back? It's true! Imagine what a relief it would be to a baby to JUST BE ABLE TO BURP!!

Now go ahead, drink some pop and lay down. You know you want to try it!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

WFMW - Sibling Arguments

My kids were arguing about ridiculous things (ridiculous to an adult, anyway), like who would sit closest to the baby at the breakfast counter, who got to choose today's TiVo program, who got to sit in the preferred van seat, and so on. You know, there are some disagreements that require character development and training and other that just need a quick solution. I was worn down of being the referee on this one, and so I came up with this:
The popsicle sticks have each boy's name on it and are stuck to the wall with that gummy sticky stuff (is it called Sticky-Tac?). When there is one of those arguments, the kid with the stick on top gets to choose. Then I (or one of the kids) switches the sticks to that the other kid's stick is on top.

It works like a charm. Actually, it works better than a charm because now my older son "saves up" his turn for what really matters to him that day (usually being in control of the TV... he's going to be a great man someday) and defers to Jackson's wishes on van seat preference and which color of bowl he wants. Jackson has not QUITE put together Davis' logic. One day he will and I have a feeling that the stick system will outlive its usefulness. But today I have worked myself out of referee employment, and that works for me!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

What started it all

You see to your right, the picture of what started it all. You might remember that not too long ago I was wondering how to avoid spoiling my kids. I have been doing some research and have found some interesting and helpful information that I am excited to share with anyone who takes the time to read it. That post will come soon. But first, I thought it fun to tell the story of what started it all... It was a dark and stormy night... we were minding our own business when suddenly, out from nowhere jumped the most terrifying sight a mother has ever seen: the Christmas Toy Aisle at COSTCO!! (OHHH the horror!!) Like a deer in headlights, I froze. Run! Run! I shouted to myself. But it was too late. My children saw it too.
Davis, my six-year-old train fanatic, asked for it for Christmas (to which I responded, "You never know what will be under the tree. That is a pretty expensive gift, though." He took that to mean, "No" and cried all the way home. And it was the kind of quiet cry that kids do that makes you empathize with their plight. The kind of cry they try so hard not to show you because they know they are too old to cry about things like this. The kind of cry that pulls at your heart like the sun's gravity to the orbitting planets.
The short version of the story from this point is that he decided that THIS was what he would be saving his money up for next. The last time he committed to saving up for something, it was a $40 item (Thomas the Train's Clock Tower). He saved up for that thing for more than a year. He worked so hard. His saving's focus never altered. I think he made it all the way to $15. He finally gave up and asked to go to The Learning Palace where he looked longingly at the toy he tried so hard to save up for and then chose to go ahead and buy something else less expensive. I think he quietly gave up, though he was a trooper about it. That following Christmas, the Clock Tower was under the tree and you have never seen a happier kid.
So now, he wants to save up for Costco's Train Table, priced at a "reasonable" $130. Now you know exactly what I was thinking: "That poor kid is NEVER going to save up enough money in time." By Thanksgiving the toy aisle will be replaced with spring bulbs and patio furniture. And to save $130, at $1 per week (1/3 to giving, 2/3 to savings/spending), would take 197 weeks to save up for. That's almost 4 years!
So you see my quandry. I could dash is hopes and tell him to not bother. I could encourage the little chap to work his tail off to save as much money as he can from now until he is ten, in hopes that the Train Table is still carried by Costco. Or I could match dollar for dollar what he saves so that it only took two years of blood, sweat and tears (sure hope Costco still carries it). Or I could guearantee that he get it by buying and hiding it until he earned enough so that we did not have to deal with the devastation that would come in June of 2011 with FINALLY earning enough only to go to Costco and see that the Table is no longer there. Or, I could just buy it for him for Christmas. Oh. this is a lose-lose situation. To make matters worse, Ryan recently confided to me that he does not want any more Thomas stuff purchased: we have plenty!
I actually have a happy ending to this story. It happened about a month later (yesterday). Once Davis realized that having a train table would take up lots of floor space and that whenever he built on the table he would be very restricted on how big the track could be (he currently builds his tracks on the wide open floor of the playroom), he decided that he would find something else to save up for. Today he brought me one of the little fold-out marketing tools that comes inside a Thomas toy and shows every toy the company makes (he has saved it since last Christmas and it has been folded and unfolded so many times that it is ready to fall apart into 24 equally-sized squares). "Here is what I want to save up my money for, Mom. The Sodor Scrub and Shine. How much is that one?" We looked on the computer and found our new savings goal is now only $40. So I fully expect to make a trip to The Learning Palace in the next two years to pick up one of those bad boys.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Coppin' a 'Tude

Do you have a child that gives you a run for your money? I do. He was the kind of kid that when you gave him the choice, "Are you going to obey or disobey?" he would look you in the eye and say, "disobey." I could not believe that he would rather have a spanking than submit his will to me. I was encouraged that, after a year, his answer started to (ocassionally) be "obey."

But today I am a little overwhelmed by the 'tude he sports. Mostly he dishes it out when he is angry or frustrated. He crosses his little arms, gives a hard-eye look and hollars, "Well ok then, I'm NEVER gonna DO it!" Most of the time the sentence does not even make sense in the context, but in his little mind I think it makes perfect sense. The second option in his "I'm frustrated and AN-GRRR-Y" arsenol is to flop down on the floor screaming and crying like the two-year-old he no longer is. And the screams can last a long time, and he is so noisy that you can't reason with him or even ask him what the problem is. He can't hear you and you can't understand him.

I am honestly beside myself. I fast-forward to the teen years and shake in my boots. I sat alone in my car today, praying for the Lord's wisdom with this little guy. That is the very best place to go. I know the Lord will give me wisdom (enough for each day, but perhaps not a fraction more).

I am just not sure how to even help him through the frustration. Because, I know that the feeling of anger is legitimate, and you can't ask kids to stop feeling a certain way (heck, you can't ask adults!). A feeling is a feeling and you can't stop them or start them. They just exist. It is what YOU DO with the feelings that can glorify or grieve The Father.

So how do you teach a kid how to get from anger and frustration to calm response? Do you let them scream it out in their bedroom until the anger is used up or exhaustion hits? Do you get angry back (duh, no)? I have tried whispering until he is interested enough in my words to quiet down enough so we can talk. I have tried walking out of the room until he quiets down (ticks him off more and prolongs the event significantly). I have tried tickling him until he can't be angry anymore. I have tried spanking him. I have tried time-outs. I have tried... so many things.

I think I have come to the conclusion that I need to understand how anger and frustration works inside a person, and how a person who loves the Lord can bring himself down from the anger in a godly way. I need some help so I can teach my little guy some coping mechanisms for these intense responses. Any thoughts? Any resources?

You, oh Father, know my little guy better than anyone else. He is Your 'masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which You have set aside for him to do.' Give me wisdom and strength to nurture in my little guy a passion for You. Teach me to be a better parent for him. Show me my failures and successes so that I can be clear-hearted and clear-headed with him. Thank you for allowing me to parent him. Help me to lean every day on You, the perfect parent, rather than on myself.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

WFMW - Diaper Doublers

Can a Safeway product be a Work For Me Wednesday? (Who makes these rules, anyway?)

These days, even when I put a bigger diaper on my guy he still wakes up soaking wet - all the way through to the crib sheets and blankets. I went to buy a box of super-duper, extra absorbent, extra-EXPENSIVE diapers to alleviate these morning woes and I ran across the magic of diaper doublers. They look like the pads we wore - and hated - twenty years ago, but I promise you will LOVE THEM NOW! And here is the best part: $2.89 for this pack of 30.

And as my wonderful sister helped me realize, he is sleeping longer at night and the 5:00am wake-up has eroded...

...but as I am learning, you have to be careful what you blog. The moment you speak it into the blog-i-fied world, your children will know and they will sabotage you. My kids have been making a liar out of me all week long as they have argued more this week than they did all last month! So please, no one tell Weston about this post. ok? I am really enjoying the extra sleep.

Diaper Changing Wigglies

Today I was stuggling with little Weston (11mo), to get his diaper changed. He was twisting and turning with all his strength. And he was angry that I was not letting him have his way.
He has been trying to twist his way out of diaper changes for several months now...I am trying to remember, but it has been since he was at least six months old. And the protests and have fluctuated in their intensity and frequency...we are currently in an upswing.

But today it occurred to me that these flagrant, "I don't want to do what you are making me do!" protests can actually be considered little gifts from God.


Follow me here. Have you ever wondered "when is it time to teach my child to obey?" (Of course. We all have.) As soon as they are able and have a mind to not like it, the twisting begins. Voila! You have yourself the answer.

And how do you teach it? When the protest begins, I stop what I am doing (unless I have a serious poop factor going on!) and begin to train. Give a firm "no" and pull his little arm/shoulder gently back to the changing table where it belongs. Let go and repeat as necessary - and outlast him. And here is an idea that just came to me: If you know the protest is coming, don't start the diaper change until you have laid him down and you have yourself a little training session. (I am going to try that one tomorrow!)

One of my kids was extremely persistant when it came to demanding his own way (who am I kidding? Like I can legitimately put that sentence in past-tense). I think I struggle with him in areas of obedience 5 times harder than with my more compliant child. I have learned that correction and training needs to be consistent, but you can also be creative. For diaper changes with him, I would give him a toy to play with, or sing songs or play with him to distract him from the protestation I knew would otherwise come (and of course that did not always work... often there were protests anyway... ). I figured that I had PLENTY of training opportunities with him all day long and that I did not need to (and could not possibly) fight every battle with him, so if he was distractable, I took him up on that offer. Pick you battles, pick your battles.

All that to say, I can be thankful for those diaper protests that begin so very early because it is a real in-your-face-mom window into my child's heart, so I can know what is being stored up there and what needs to be trained out. And I can see that as a real blessing.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Dinnertime chatter

I do just love paying a little closer attention to my kids' chatter. Today at dinner, Jackson's meatballs were too hot so he asked me to blow on them. So like the dutiful mother I sometimes am, I got my face nice and close to those steaming balls of meat (which were slathered in marinara) and gave a few gentle blows.

In the mean time, Jackson was huffing and puffing (sort of like you do with a sneeze... breathe in a bit, a bit more, and a bit exhales between them until your lungs simply cannot hold another molecule of oxygen... Now just add in some dramatic, cartoonish inhale sounds and you've got the picture). With that huge lungful of air, Jackson let loose on his meatballs as though trying to blow the house down. My posture, mind you, has not moved from my gentle blowing. Coming full force at the plate of spaghetti and me is all the wind and spit of a three-year-old.

"Ugh! Jackson, Mommy did NOT like that. There was lots of spit in that blow."

About 10 minutes later, his mind has come full circle and he is talking about spitting in mommy's face. "That was FUNNY!" says he.
"No, Jackson. It was not funny," says I.

And what do you say to that? Nothing, really. Not then, anyway. Oh, but Davis had something to say about it. He leaned over to me with the back of one hand near his mouth so Jackson's ears might be shielded and whispered, "You can just ignore him, Mom."