Friday, February 27, 2009

The Jump from 3 to 4 kids? Easy-Cheesy!

Lots of people are asking me the same question and I have pretty much the same response every time:

"So," they ask, "How is the adjustment from three kids to four?"
"You know," I say with a touch -too-much smugness, "It really is not that different."

Ryan - bless his heart - has heard me give that response a handful of times now and last week he piped up. "You know, Jenne, you keep on saying that things are not much different. But believe me - they are!"

"Yes. Really."
"Huh. I don't feel like I am more stressed or crazy." (Insert pregnant pause here, while Ryan waits for his dopy wife to connect the dots... He has been stepping up to the plate big time since Drake was born. I just can't juggle all the kids by myself at church, and I need help getting everyone loaded up into the car, and his help is critical now at bedtime, and...on and on. He is definitely picking up the pieces that I drop.)
"Uuh, I sure appreciate all the help you are giving me, Ryan."
"Yeah, sure. No problem. But the next time someone asks you that, you can't say that it is no different. It might not be different for you, BUT THAT'S BECAUSE I AM HELPING."

So here's a big shout out to my amazing husband who has quietly filled in the mother-gaps (and they are GAPING at times) while I have proclaimed that I can do it all with one hand tied behind my back.

Truth be told, I am on a sinking ship without my Maker and the man He gave me!

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Must-Hear

May I just take a moment to recommend a must-hear sermon? (Yes, I can. It's my blog.) It's Tedd Tripp's "Shepherding a Child's Heart" series. I have heard the first one so far. Its really good. You HAVE to check it out. Really.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yes, No, or Wait

In our intergeneration Sunday School class we are studying prayer. A couple of weeks ago we were concentrating on how God can answer our prayers: Using a stop signal, we have learned that God answers in one of three ways: Yes, wait, or no (green, yellow, or red, respectively). On this day, we were asked to share with the group a time when God answered a prayer with a "no," so I shared briefly about when I was in High School and really liked a guy and asked God to let me marry him. And He said "no." The adults in the class gave a knowing smile and nod (presumably because many of them had very similar experiences).

That was two weeks ago. Last night at bedtime, Jackson asked me to tell that story again. So I did and let me tell you, it got us talking about some great things: about how sad I was at the time to not get the answer I wanted, but how thankful I am now that I got a much, MUCH better husband instead. They asked questions about "the other guy" and why he was not good, which drove us into a conversation about what a godly spouse acts like, and how important it is to be that and look for that. Davis asked "how did you know it was God, and not your own head giving you the answer?" And that, of course, opened up the conversation to talk about how reading the Bible gives you so much information about what God wants for your life and what he is telling you.

Initially I did not want to make this conversation very long and so I made the story very simple - just a couple of sentences. And I am glad I kept it simple, but I am now very encouraged to share my history with the kids (as age-appropriate - but sooner than I would have expected) as a way to help them form the world view the Lord wants them to have.

So, if you have skeletons in your closet, be thankful. They will be great material for real-life examples for your kids to explore the character of God and what God desires for his children. Don't be afraid to pull the curtain of authenticity open for your kids to witness!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Busy Life these Days

I have so many things I want to blog about but I have SOOOO much TV to watch! We just got through the desert that was January, and now we are being bombarded with ALL our favorite shows all at once. Ryan comes home from a hard, long day at work and flops into his chair asking, "You wanna watch 24?" What is a good wife to do?

But I thought I could at LEAST let you all know that I am alive (albeit, barely breathing...). Funny, I have told my kids that too much "screen time" in a day or week or month or year will turn your brain into a gloppy mess. My seven year old believes me (I mean, he understands the metaphor). But I guess, for this February, I don't believe me. Or at least I am willing to take the risk.

Yesterday, while cracking eggs together, Jackson (nearly 5) said to Davis (7), "I want to put the messy stuff back inside the shell and make it not cracked anymore."
"You can't, Jackson," Davis replied, "Cracking an egg is an irreversible change. Right Mom?"
"Uh, yeah. I guess it is, Davis. Where did you learn that?"
"On that show Sid the Science Kid."

Gloppy Mess? Thank you, PBS. You have made a liar out of me.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hip-Hip-Hooray, Bubbles!

I have four kiddo vignettes today.

Jackson, calling out to me from our storage pantry: "Mommy, Weston is wanting to blow bubbles outside." And before I can really even say no, he continues: "I know we can't. I know that. (insert thoughtful pause here) But...we could if we caAAAAAan!"

Weston and Jackson were running up and down the hallway together. Back and forth, back and forth. They would stop at the end of the hall long enough to get set up to run back. But before the mock race started up again they would both wait for Weston to count to three. His way of counting is not your traditional One, Two, Three, GO! Oh no. Its so much cuter. It goes like this: Eight, oh, eight, EIGHT!! (He has his numbers and letters fused together. To him, the letter "O" is as much a number as it is a letter. He is well prepared to tell people our area code: "five-oh-three."

After reading a picture book telling the Easter story, Jackson said "IIII-EEEEE KNOW WHAT A MIRACLE IS!!" You do?!? Tell me!! "Its when you get sick and then you are UN-sick. When you are hurt and you get UN-hurt. When you are dead and you get UN-dead! ...But I don't know how they do that. How do they do that and why can't IIIII-EEEE do that?"

Weston continues to be a potty-trained champ. We seem to have progressed beyond his obstinacy and are finally in a phase of "joyful release." Sitting backwards on the toilet seems to have made the biggest difference because he can finally see what is going into the toilet. And that is fascinating. When he discovered that forcefully peeing created some great bubbles in the toilet he screeched, "Buuuh-booos!" And yesterday, he added a new phrase. "Hop-hop-ho-way, Buuuh-booos!" (Hip-hip-hooray, Bubbles!) Its the cutest stinkin' thing I have heard in a long time.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The threat to Throw

The arm is raised, the older sibling is flinching in anticipation of the hard or pointy or heavy object to make contact... He knows better. He knows (because this is not the first time he has struck this pose) that he is not to throw that lego on his older brother's head. Yet the arm is raised...

Oh Weston, Weston, Weston. What am I going to do with you?

I'll tell you. I will being NOW teaching him a principle from the New Testament: Sinning in your heart is the same to our Lord as sinning in action. "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28). Lucky for me in this case, my two-year-old is not too good at hiding what is going on in his heart. The devious two-year-old bodily pose and smirk makes his motive and intention clear.

And so before he has the chance to launch the lego, pitch the puzzle piece, fling the fire engine, or heave the helmet, my little guy gets a swat as though he has already committed the deed. Because in his heart, he already has.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I Love That Man

Ryan and I got to work together all afternoon today. It was really wonderful. Tiffany took our two big boys, and the two little boys took monster-sized naps. In the mean time, we laid down our new laminate flooring in our family and dining rooms. We were in a groove, working so well together, solving the few problems that came up, but mostly just diligently laying those boards and chatting. Ryan told me what to do and I did it with a genuine, smiling, willingness. I wish I was always so pleasant to him... he deserves at least that much.

The only thing I like more that working together with Ryan is watching him laugh with our boys. It absolutely delights me! And that's was I was treated to during a break from the flooring. The boys had returned to us and we dined together on Pizza from Sparky's (notice I capitalized "pizza," as though its place in our family rises to the level of proper noun...) in our basement, the last bit of square footage that is not in total disarray. Aw, who am I kidding; it was a disaster area, too, but at least it was free of sharp edges and fascinating tools.

Thanks, hun, for a great day and for being such a wonderful daddy.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

25 Random Things

It's a Facebook Phenomenon. I can't resist...

1. All my nails grow long and lovely except my thumbnails. They always split WAY too low and I have to clip them when they do.

2. I am not a people pleaser, but I am learning the virtue of compassion and genuine concern.

3. My two year old is currently screaming and crying because he needs to have a BM but is afraid to do the deed. Patience, Jenne. He will eventually figure it all out.

4. The year we studied Genesis in Women's Bible Study changed my life and taught me what the term Grace really means. I am still astounded that God would choose such screwed up people to bless and do His work in this world. That knowledge gives me great hope!

5. I run all my shoe choices by my husband, who has 100% veto power. Foot Fettish, he has.

6. I don't believe in anti-bacterial soap. No super germs in this household, thank you very much.

7. I used to wear contacts but my husband gave me the gift of Laser Eye Surgery about five years ago. Thanks again, sweetie!

8. I have never downloaded an MP3 to listen on an MP3 player.

9. Ever since I was in high school, I have been excited to be in my 40's. I have this notion that by that age, I will probably know enough that people will actually think I know what I am talking about.

10. I secretly panic when I see a pair of snow ski gloves not being worn that are not hooked together by that little hooky doo-hicky thing. I have my father to thank for that. It was a BIG DEAL to not hook your gloves together. I guess we lost a fair share of single gloves in our day.

11. I am so proud of my husband. He has built up our little business from nothing and worked so hard to keep it strong. I never knew how wise he was until he took this venture on! (I am a slow learner)

12. I wear size 11 1/2 shoes. Yeah, yeah, I know. I can ski on them.

13. I have dreams of one day getting to speak often in front of groups of fellow moms.

14. I love-love-love having four boys. I lay awake at night praising God, just amazed at how blessed I am to have the honor of raising them with my husband.

15. I enjoyed my first peanut butter and jelly sandwich at age 19. Prior to that, peanut butter made me gag. (How on earth did my mother survive 19 years of peanut butterless lunch-making?!

16. I pretty much always think I am right, and usually others believe me (or they say they do) because I can say "it" with such confidence but I actually, am wrong a lot. (Don't tell my husband.)

17. I never had even an inkling of a desire to travel anywhere beyond Bend or Seattle until Ryan dragged me to Sweden 5 years ago. Now, the travel bug has given me the itch. Let's explore South America, sweetie!!

18. I shop at Kmart rather than Walmart because I don't impulsively buy things there. Who would? I came in for shampoo and razors. I leave with shampoo and razors. Saves me tons of cash.

19. My sister is my bestest friend.

20. I can count on one hand the number of times she and fought as kids. Really.

21. I was a cheerleader in high school. Some of my best high school memories are from the top of that wooden cube they had each of us cheer from.

22. I have been learning how to enjoy my kids more this year. Thanks Lindy.

23. I am not a saver...I am a tosser. And it has gotten me in trouble pretty much everywhere I have been. Once I tossed Ryan's favorite pair of bright, bright yellow (uuu-guh-lee!) shorts with the Squirt soda pop emblem on the front of them. They were his frat party dancing shorts Freshman year. He was sooooooo mad at me. I was sooooooo sorry (that he noticed they were missing). It took him several years to forgive me and stop bringing it up.

24. I don't scrapbook. I don't take pictures (very often). I am glad I don't do the former. I kick myself for not doing more of the latter.

25. I am really good at starting projects but have to force myself to fi

GiveAway from Joy!

You gotta-gotta-gotta check out Joy's giveaway. Actually, even better, check out her blog all this week. she is dealing with matters of the mommy-heart: How we spend our time at home. Very encouraging and also quite convicting.

Thanks, Joy, for taking the time to share your thoughts!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Quiet Book

Upon searching for some interesting things to keep kids quiet and/or occupied during church services, I ran across this great idea called the "Quiet Bag." Click here if you want to read the entire post and comment series.

In the quiet bag are Christian books, workbooks, paper crafts, lacing cards,felts, etc . . . for the 4-6 year-olds and small hand-helds and board books for the wee ones, we especially like to take some Noah's ark animals and a wee felt ark. Our 8 yr old is getting to an age where he prefers to listen to the sermon and draw a little.

I also came across this idea (same website, again in the comment section of this post) for teaching kids corporately how to behave in church. Hey C-Stone family! While not all of this applies to our church, wouldn't this be a fun skit to do one day in Family Sunday School or during church?

At our church, all kids are expected to attend the worship service once they start Kindergarten and I feel very blessed that we have such a great preschool program for our 10 month old and 4 year old boys. Our oldest son, who is 6, attends church with us then goes on to his SS class when we go to ours. When the kids start kindergarten, they go to a crazy, over the top "I'm Big Enough" program. The couple that teaches music in the preschool will get up on stage with their kids, but the dad is dressed like a little boy...suspenders, shorts, knee socks and a's hilarious, especially since he has gray hair and a mustache!! There are three rows of 5 chairs on stage to represent "church" and he does ALL of the wrong things and the "mom" who is really his wife, struggles to keep him in line. He shouts and waves to his friends, squirms in his chair, lays in the floor, makes vroom noises with a toy car and puts his feet on the chair in front of him. During this time, someone else is narrating what's going on and asking the kids if they think this is what he should be doing? The kids love it and it really gives them a sense of what NOT to do. Once they have watched the program, they receive their own tote bag that says "I'm Big Enough" on it and they use this to keep quiet activities in for church. I make sure to always keep a folder of worksheets to slide in as well as Color Wonder markers/paper, a small etch a sketch, pipe cleaners (which are always a huge hit), dot to dot books, circle a word pages and picture search books We've been very proud of him and also surprised how much he learns from hearing our pastor's message.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me.

Some sixteen years ago, after Ryan and I had been dating a mere 3 months, we had a funny conversation that we always remember every February 2nd. The story goes something like this:

Ryan had not known me long enough to know just how much of a birthday brat I am and so when I told him on that cold January day, "My birthday is coming up soon, you know." He wracked his brain nervously, wanting so desperately to impress his first and only girlfriend he had ever had. "Yeah. Your birthday is February 2nd!"
Offended that he had not remembered the correct date (he clearly did not know that it is a national holiday), I answered with a huff and a puff, "February 2nd?! No! It's August 1st! How could you not remember?!"
"You said it was 'coming up soon!' August is not soon! You tricked me."
"No, I did not trick you. August is coming up soon. Its only 8 months away and then its my birthday!"

So now, every year, he wishes me Happy Birthday on February 2nd, and begins his preparation for the national holiday that is "just around the corner."