Tuesday, September 23, 2014

To Better Days....

I came across this blog post when preparing for our ladies retreat this weekend.  We will be talking in small groups about our silhouette and how it is lovely in contrast. The closer we are to our light source, the more defined our portrait will be.
 I'm not really sure where I'm going with that just yet, so any ideas are welcome. :)
While I was looking for discussion points on this, I saw a post about 10 truths every mother should hear and it reminded me of my desperate post from last week.
I had a bad day. Thankfully those days are few and far between.  I mean, days are hard often, but I only have toddler tantrums occasionally.
However, there are many days when, at some point, I let those negative thoughts penetrate.  I think "I'm not good enough" or "I can't believe I just said that" or "What are my children going to learn from me when I'm such a disaster."
I don't say this in a way that I'm just a blubbery mess.  I really do have a pretty awesome life most of the time, but there are days and circumstances that just make me question how I'm treating my family and what will my words today to do shape them?
Well, this blog spoke straight to my heart.
I especially love the point that says "it's the sum of days, not just today, that shape your family."
Isn't that true and REFRESHING?
I love knowing that we all have off days.  I do, Jason does, our children do.  It's okay.  We are imperfect.  We are flawed.  We are a process.  I'm not perfect.  Jason knows that (all too well), the children know that (possibly more than anyone on earth) and I know that. I know this applies to my family as well.  And I'm so very thankful for that.  I'm thankful for grace.  I'm thankful for new chances.  I'm thankful for forgiveness and redemption.
Today is a better day.  I know there will be more tough days.  But I hope that in those days, I'll remember these truths.

Friday, September 19, 2014


a selfish mom of four.  is that possible?  it is.  it is indeed.
yesterday i had issues.  i don't know when it started or why, but i didn't get my way yesterday.  i think the root of this is that i'm missing time with my favorite fella.  he's working like a dog right now and i feel like we're ships passing in the night.... he comes home from work to relieve me.  but sometimes the kids are already in bed or we are running to and fro from some sort of practice.  i need some time with him, for us to reconnect and just sit and talk.  and i know he's tired.  so very tired and i'm so thankful that he works so hard for us.  but i miss him.
so, i'll go ahead and give you an excuse to leave before we get into this any further.  if you're feeling the least bit judgmental or critical this morning, you are free to leave. i don't want to hear how it could be worse or that i should enjoy them while they're little.  i know all those things.  i want to vent to people that are willing to listen and understand.  so go.  i'll wait.
ok, so those of you left are either completely understanding or you judgmental folks don't follow directions well.  either way, keep your negative nelly comments to yourself.  i'm going to take a moment to speak some truth.... about my life anyway.
yesterday, nothing bad happened.  we were all healthy, and happy.... for awhile.  i had an idea of how my day would go and the children had an idea, as well.  sometimes those two things aren't the same.
i woke up at dark:thirty to do my workout, and i was kinda grumbly already.  **why do i have to get up so stanking early to do this, if they would just sleep a little later, i could get a workout in at a time when humans are supposed to be awake, instead i'm up in the middle of the night, trying to work off my tacos.** (those were internal thoughts between the ** BTW)
that awesome, uplifting internal dialogue continued throughout the morning.  i don't know what started it, but it was hard to squelch.  **ugh, are they still piddling around upstairs?  i don't want to go up there again.  how come when i'm up at dark:thirty to get my workout in, maebry gets up at dark:thirty too?  what time am i going to have to get up to be the only awake person here? pack lunches?  i have to do that again?  do they seriously have to eat so much?  why don't they like crispitos?  that's what they serve at school every day.  grumble grumble grumble.**
so, i'll save you the trouble of going through the whole day. that was just before 6:30.  but i'll give you a hint.... it lasted all day.  sometimes getting more violent, sometimes with some attempts to talk myself back into reality.... but i wasn't having it.  i was determined to be a brat.  finally, success.
anyway, everyone got to school after some fussing about shoes not being where they were supposed to be and the red giraffe print pants do NOT match your pink matilda jane dress.  no they don't.  no they don't.  no. change. now.
i brought maebry home for some quiet breakfast. this is where she's started the fun game of eat a bite, throw a bite.  eat a bite, razz a bite, repeat.  it's a fun game.... if you're the one eating and razzing.  if you're the one scraping blueberries off the door facings, it's quite tiresome.
she went down for a nap and i went haywire trying to clean up for my sweet housekeeper to come.  yes, i have a housekeeper and yes, she's very important to me (read the story about maebry's new game if you're thinking anything ugly).  well, i got things straightened up enough so that she wouldn't think i had forgotten she was coming.  toilets flushed, side note: why don't my children flush toilets?  why?
then i realized, if i'm going to shower (which i really should, since i did get up and sweat like a gypsy with a mortgage for an hour in the middle of the night), it needs to be during maebry's nap.... like now.... but the housekeeper could be here any minute..... RUN!  if we, indeed, have 2000 parts, i'm pretty sure only about 1500 of mine got cleaned, if i'm being generous.  but i called it sufficient.  maebry was up before i could get my hair dried or myself dressed, but i made it before the housekeeper showed up.
i knew that part of my mood was due to the fact that i needed some adult interaction, so i texted some friends to see if anyone wanted to meet for lunch. now, this group text had been going on all morning and the last text had been like 25 seconds before my lunch invitation, but after i sent that text, it went silent.  nothing.  well, i thought, nobody wants to go to lunch with me, but they don't want to hurt my feelings and tell me so.... so nobody is saying anything.  hmph.
turns out, they did text back....and they did want to go eat with me.  but my texts never came through.  none of them.  that lunch could have turned my whole day around, i believe.
let's get to the afternoon.  the children are home from school.  their red folders are strewn from the front door to the back door.  papers everywhere, paperwork to fill out, conferences to schedule, fun run money to ask for, blah blah blah, and you can no longer tell my house was cleaned today.  there are stinky socks and shoes and kids everywhere.
i'm planning a baby shower and i had some of the supplies out, and they kept messing with my stuff.  quit.  that's mine.  stop.  leave it alone.  don't mess with that.  PLEASE stop.  go on.  go play.  do homework, have a snack.  get ready for tennis.  get out of my stuff.  put her down.  get your hands off of her.  stop touching that.  FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS GOOD, LEAVE MY STUFF ALONE.
here's the deal. as a mom, all day, every day, we are performing acts of service.  feeding someone, cleaning up after someone, doing someone's laundry, wiping someone's tail.  and on most days i don't mind that, although i don't think i'll miss wiping bottoms, but i could be wrong.
  in fact, i love performing acts of service.  i like to be needed.  but you know what?  sometimes i just want to be selfish for a day.  well, "want" might not be the word.  these days come on without warning, usually.  yesterday, i wanted to make a centerpiece without my children touching it.  i wanted to take a shower without a baby.  i wanted to run errands, but i got called to school because adelaide's braces hurt.  i wanted to eat lunch, but my phone is stupid.  i wanted to be left alone.  i didn't want to be responsible for anyone.  i didn't want to drive to tennis, or fix supper.  i didn't even want to pick up supper.  if i had been alone, i would've eaten a bowl of cereal.  without chia seeds.  instead, i have 5 schedules that, essentially, come before mine.  and sometimes that gets old.  so, i fed the kids zaxby's, gave them baths and put them to bed at 7:00.  it might have even been a few minutes before 7:00.  and i told them that i didn't care what time they went to sleep, but that i shouldn't hear them until morning.  and i didn't.
i came downstairs, sat on the couch and watched football until jason got home.  and i don't think he knew what kind of mood i was in because he asked what i fixed for supper and then he made a snide remark about how it's a good thing his love language isn't "acts of service" since i didn't fix supper.  he was kidding, but i think he knew that was a poor choice because he put his hands up in a surrender stance and backed away slowly.  that.  that was a good choice.

yesterday i was selfish.  very very selfish.  i'm not proud of it, but i'm speaking the truth here.  most of my days revolve around selflessness.  and that's the way it should be.  i put jason before me and i put each of the children before me and that means if i'm doing anything for me, it has to happen when they are all asleep.  but sometimes, i just want to do my own thing.  and i want them to do their own thing and i want to be left alone for a few minutes (or days).
i understand that these days go by fast, and i should savor and enjoy them, and slow down and smell the roses or whatever, but the truth is, sometimes i just want to curl up with a book and a cup of coffee and pretend like i'm the only person in the whole world.  or i might want to go to lunch with my girlfriends without packing a baggie of chicken nuggets in my purse.  or i might even like to go on a date with my husband while someone else puts the children to bed.
but when i sit and think about it, most sin can be traced back to selfishness in some form.  and i don't want to fall into a habit of being selfish.  i want to look like Jesus to my children and my friends.  yesterday i failed, big time.  and i asked forgiveness from everyone involved. and i think they forgive me.

so, what made my day bad?  it was my attitude.  the children weren't bad.  they were just being children.  they wanted to play with water balloons and they didn't want to do homework.  they wanted my attention and i wanted to be left alone.  they wanted to be right under me and i elbowed them in the head (not intentionally, just because they were literally right under me).
today is a new day.  and it's a good day.
yesterday wasn't awful.  it was ok.  i was just in a funk.  and if i only do that about 5 days out of 365, i think i'm doing ok.  hopefully next year it will be less, but i make no promises.
so for those of you that stuck around, there's a rumor going around that i have it all together and, as you can see, that's just gossip. i don't have it all together.  i have complete meltdowns and many days i survive on little more than Jesus and coffee.  but i know i'll look back on these days and smile.  i know i will.  but i think i'll also have some appreciation of the fact that, despite these days being a blessing, they're hard.  and they're demanding.  and they're infuriating sometimes.  but they're fleeting.  and soon i won't be in high demand like i am now.  i'll be old news, following around bigger people that don't need me as much as they do now.  and i'm sure i'll miss some of this.  maybe even most of it.  but today, it's fresh and it's real and it's exhausting. but i will choose, today, to be thankful. i'll choose to put on a smile and serve my family.
thanks for listening.  if you have any unhelpful advice or snide remarks, you can leave them in the complaint box and i'll get to them later.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Snow-pocolypse part 2

I should have mentioned before that Lucy arrived home around 6 pm.  6 pm.  That's rather late from the 10:30 dismissal.  Lucy's funny about how much information she discloses.  Sometimes she will come home and tell us every. single. thing that happened at school.  Sometimes she says nothing, and there's not much that can be done to squeeze any information out.  On those days, I usually just wait and when she starts talking, I get plenty of information.
Well, the night when she got home, she was just matter of fact and aloof about the whole day.  I said something about her being "stranded" on the road, in a bus.  She said, "Mom, we weren't stranded. There was just a lot of traffic."  Bless her.  She had no clue that everyone was so worried.  Her teachers are amazing.  Kindergarten teachers, as a whole are amazing.  Can I get an amen?  Seriously, those people have so many starts in their crowns, they'll need a neck brace to hold their heads up.  And they deserve every one.  And then a couple.
As the story unfolded, or at least when Lucy started talking about the day, I found out that they actually stopped twice to use the restroom.  Once in a pet store, or an animal training center or something.  Lucy said that the first stop was for the kids that like cats and dogs (I'll go ahead and inform you that Lucy would rather use the restroom on the side of the road, in front of a busload of friends than walk into a building full of cats and dogs).  And the second one was a truck stop/gas station.  The teachers took the children inside 4 at a time.  At the gas station, the bus driver brought out crackers for everyone "because it was her birthday."  Oh, the warm fuzzy feeling. The sweet bus driver didn't want anyone to think they were not getting lunch, or to worry in any way.... so she told the children the crackers were a special treat for her birthday, not the reality which was that the children were not going to eat any time soon, and they were unsure about how long they would be on the bus.  She's an angel, too, I tell you.
Anyway, Lucy said they were warm and having fun on the bus.  She was completely oblivious to the danger and fear of the grown ups around her.  *small pause, this reminds me of my first flight.  I can't remember how old I was, but we were going to Dallas... it was so stormy.  There was lightning all around us.  Even the business travelers put their newspapers away and watched nervously.  But my brother and I had no idea we were in danger.... we thought it was awesome.  That's what this whole situation reminds me of.*
Well, that night, after Lucy and Shelby returned safely, we (Jenni, because I was still not functioning fully, for some reason, when I'm super stressed, I walk around aimlessly, having no clue what I've done or what needs to be done.  Jenni, on the other hand, went into "just do something" mode and cooked some soup she found in the freezer and cleaned up the kitchen.... for that, I'm thankful) made some chicken nuggets and Jenni pulled apart 2 oranges (the only fresh fruit in the entire house) for the girls.  Did I mention Tuesday was going to be grocery day?  Yeah, we had no food.
The girls laughed and played and thought this sleep over was the biz.... until bedtime.
Jenni and I were done.  Actually, here in Alabama, we would say "dun."  I mean it.  I was exhausted.  Mentally, emotionally, physically.  I was tired from worry, from stress, from fear, from walking in the snow, being in the car all day, and my feet hurt.  A lot.  They literally burned, like a sunburn from ice.
Jenni's back was hurting and she was away from her pain meds.  All I had was tylenol and ibuprofen.  That wasn't very helpful.  So, we decided an early bedtime was in store for all.
That's when the meltdowns started.  Caroline wanted her mommy.  Nobody wanted to sleep where they were assigned.  Seriously, nobody.  Everyone was upset about the sleeping arrangements.  And Jenni and I were not interested in anyone being up during the night, so we were trying to make sure that we kept siblings together and such.  Everyone went to sleep pretty quickly, but they didn't stay that way for long.  My girls were bunked up downstairs (because they wanted to sleep in sleeping bags, like Jenni's girls).  Lucy was up and in my bed shortly after 11.  Julianne was put back to bed a couple of times.  Caroline was up at some point and hit her head on a doorknob.  I still am not sure how that happened, but she was up for a couple of hours.  Then everyone was up at 5:30.  5:30.
Normally, I have my alarm set for 5:30.  That's not because I like getting up so early.  Or because I get up and shower before everyone else (not anymore anyway).  But it's because I like to wake up and drink my coffee before I see or talk to anyone.  Anyone.  Don't talk to me until I can see the bottom of my coffee cup.  Twice.
Well, 5:30 everyone was up.  And ready for breakfast.  Caroline walked in as I was stumbling around fixing the coffee pot.  She was as happy as she could be and acting like she'd had a full night of sleep.  She said, "Miss Tiffany, Miss Tiffany, Miss Tiffany, Miss Tiffany, Miss Tiffany, Miss Tiffany, Miss Tiffany, Miss Tiffany, It's tiiiiiime for breakfast!!!"  *This is where I might have growled.  Sorry, Brooke. :)  After growling, I told her I would get right on breakfast.  After I started the coffee pot.
  I started rummaging through the pantry/freezer for breakfast food.  There wasn't much.  I had a couple of frozen waffles, some french toast sticks, oatmeal and cereal.  With no milk.
Needless to say, nobody wanted any of that for breakfast.  Well, those are the options.  I was met with, "I allllways drink milk for breakfast."  Not today, kiddo.  "I don't like dip." It's syrup... who doesn't like syrup.  "I want milllllk!"
It was awesome. :)
I also didn't have any coffee creamer.  Which is just about enough of a reason to walk 4 miles in the snow to Publix.  I wish I was kidding.
Anyway, it was about this time that I was starting to really act bratty.  I was bratty in my head before this point, but at this point it was no longer filtered through my "It's fine, we just have a houseful of kids and we're snowed in and Jason's at work, and I know that everyone would do this for me, and it's okay that we have no food and 25 kids here, and no clothes or mittens for anyone to go outside and play in, and they all want to watch a movie, but can't agree on one, and all I want to do is crawl back in bed and start over.  With a cup of coffee..... but we're going to make the best of this" mindset.
No more filter.  I'm pretty sure I sent Brooke a voxer message that sounded a little like, "I'm going to need you to walk to my house, barefoot if you have to, to retrieve your child."
It might not have actually sounded like that.  But that's what was implied.  I'm so sorry Brooke.  I wish I could redo that whole day with another attitude.  Actually, I don't want to redo that day at all, but I do wish that I had reacted better.  Here's the deal.  Jason wasn't coming home that day either.  And I knew that.  He was on call and couldn't leave the hospital.  Adelaide was coming home.  And there just wasn't a definite end to the "playdate."  And that made me anxious.  I don't mind having playdates.  I really don't.  I'm not, however, a fan of sleepovers.  And I get really nervous when I have a child and their parents *literally* can't get to them.  Like, what if they get sick.  They're mine.  What if something happens to them?  My fault.  Anyway, I was ugly.  And I'm sorry.
And let's take a break for me to mention that Caroline is the sweetest, most well behaved child.  She was so good.  It's not like I had an awful, disobedient child to deal with.  Not at all.  There were just a lot of sweet children here.  And they were all girls.  And they were all young.  And I was tired.
And irrational.
Anyway, they played and ate 3 bags of popcorn while "watching" a movie.  I still had not showered at this point.... and was scared to leave anyone unattended to do so.  Maebry was "fed" popcorn and I had to pull it from her mouth.  Twice.
And by the time we cleaned up breakfast, the children were asking about lunch.  The options for lunch were even more sparse than the options for breakfast.  Lunch meat (no bread) ravioli, more chicken nuggets....
Guess what... nobody liked any of that.
I'll stop here for now..... and please don't judge me for my horrible attitude.  I've acknowledged that I'm an awful caregiver.  And a horrible human being.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ice Storm of 2014.... a scary story Part 1

On the morning of January 28, things were going pretty smoothly, albeit very busy at the McKeown home.  Packing lunches, getting everyone ready for school and Maebry ready for her 6 month check up.  Lucy had a much anticipated field trip.  My housekeeper was coming, so I was tidying up in preparation for that, trying to remember to leave the door unlocked.   Jason was on call.... which seems to always be the case when anything bad happens.
I rushed around, finally leaving to take Julianne to school at 9:00.  Maebry was still in her pajamas, with an outfit packed to change her into... an outfit that consisted of a fleece dress and onesie, and socks.  No blanket.  Because we were just going to pop into the office and back.  No time spent outside.
  My thoughts were that I would grab Starbucks (breakfast and coffee) on the way to Vestavia Pediatrics.  Well, when we were running late for school, I knew I wouldn't have time to stop before our appointment, so we continued on our way.  
I arrived at the doctor's office around 9:20 for our 9:30 appointment.  As predicted, I saw a *few* snow flurries.  But nothing unusual.  We were called back to our room soon after arrival.  A room with no windows and very little cell phone reception.  With the little signal I did have, I tried to schedule a lunch date with friends since our ladies Bible class was cancelled.  Little did I know that there was a really good reason to cancel class.  We proceeded to get our check up and immunizations.  And we walked out of the examination room to see that the parking lot, streets and vehicles were COMPLETELY white.  Not just a dusting, as expected, but COMPLETELY covered with snow.  I slid to our car, with Maebry and pulled out of the lot to head home.  I called Juli's school to ask if they were dismissing early.  "Yes, now!" said the lady at the desk.  I apologized and told her I was on my way, but I had no idea.  I called a friend and asked her to pick up Adelaide for me because she's a walker and I had no way to get to her.  Thankfully, she was right by the school and picked her up.  That's one child that I didn't worry about during all of this, and I'm so grateful for dear friends and God's providential hand.
When I approached the main road, I realized it was going to be a loooong time before I reached Juli's school....but I had no idea what was to come.  We inched along, literally.  I started to panic when I remembered Lucy's class was on a field trip.  Let's pause for a moment and discuss this. I ALWAYS go on field trips with my children.  ALWAYS.  This is, in fact, the first one I've ever missed. Lucy's teacher already had a parent that wanted to go, and I had already scheduled Maebry's checkup.   I still have mixed feelings about this.  If I had been on the field trip, I would have been with Lucy.  However, there would have been NO WAY I could have gotten to my other three children.  Just like always, God's hand in action.  
Maebry and I traveled down Highway 31 for four and a half hours.  FOUR AND A HALF HOURS.  That's LONGER THAN the time it takes us to get to Memphis from home.  I had prepared ONE bottle to take with us.  Because I planned to be gone one hour.  Not all day.  We had a few diapers.... and she had just gotten 4 shots.  As we crept along, I would put the car in park, climb on my knees and feed her a bottle over the seat, a couple of sips at a time.  She cried.  A lot.  I cried.  A lot.  I prayed and begged for the safety of my children.  That I would get to them safely and that we would all be together that day.  I had meltdowns on the phone with friends that talked me down and comforted me.  I realized I was shaking and hungry (it's now about 2:30 and I haven't eaten all day).  I found a "blessing bag" we made in Girl Scouts for the homeless.... it had a protein bar and trail mix.  A blessing, indeed.
After four and a half hours, I reached Hunter Street Baptist Church.  Maebry was hungry and wet.  And sore from shots, and ready to be out of her car seat.  A sweet lady at the door hugged me and cried with me.  A teacher brought me a crib sheet to wrap around Maebry's bare legs.... ladies I've never met comforted me, cried with me and just understood the hurt in a mama's heart when she's away from her babies.  
I calmed down and retrieved Julianne and a friend's daughter.  This friend couldn't get to her daughter because her car was in a ditch after sliding down a hill.  We loaded up, again with the help of a total stranger at HSBC, and headed home.  Slowly but surely.  The traffic was less congested by now and we did okay.... dodging abandoned cars and inching across slick spots.  I prayed aloud almost the whole way home, at least between the girls saying, "mommy, why's Maebry crying?"  "Miss Tiffany, your car is messy."  "Mommy, can we watch a movie?"  Miss Tiffany, do you have snacks?"  
We made it within a mile of the house before we approached the final hill.  A hill I had never realized existed until I needed to climb it to get home.  There were many vehicles in front of us that had tried and failed to climb the hill.  The shoulders of the road were covered with cars.  There was no way to get two tires on grass as instructed.  I did try to get up the hill. But I failed.  So, I parked at the bottom of the hill.  I gave the girls a pep talk in the car.  It went something like this, "Girls, this is NOT going to be fun.  It's going to be cold.  It's going to hurt.  It's going to stink.  But we have to do it?  Okay?  We are going to get out and walk up this hill.  In the snow.  We are going to make it home and we are going to get a snack."  
We got out, buttoned up coats and put on hats that were left in the car *ha! that's one good thing that came out of my messy car* and began our trek up the hill.  I was wearing flats, a long sleeved shirt and a sweater with jeans.  Again, Maebry's legs were bare, so I wrapped her in the crib sheet that was loaned to me and I took off my sweater to wrap around her.  I pulled her close to my chest and started walking up the hill.  We stayed on the shoulder and walked up the hill.  The girls quickly started complaining and crying.  "Mommy, it's cold."  "Miss Tiffany, I need help, can you carry me?" I cheered them along, "you've got this, keep walking"
We met a couple coming toward us and they graciously turned around and walked to our house with us.  The lady removed her coat to wrap around Maebry and they held Julianne and Caroline's hands.  
We got home and found Jenni and Riley here waiting for us, with soup on the stove.  
All the while, Lucy's class is still stuck on a bus on the interstate.  
They finally found shelter at an elementary school close to the interstate and waited for parents to try to get them.  A friend with a four wheel drive selflessly offered to go back and get Lucy and Shelby for us.  Jenni and I paced at the window looking for them.  Crying and wringing our hands in worry.  
When that truck pulled up in front of our house, I just about burst with thanksgiving.  Lucy seemed unaware of the fear I was feeling.  She came in smiling from ear to ear.  We bunked up and prepared for the night.  

Monday, September 30, 2013

Making your home a haven

I want my home to be a haven for our family.  A place where my children feel safe and can be themselves.  A place where our minds can rest and our hearts feel joy.  A place where laughter and noise are abundant.  I stress about our home being clean and organized.  I like for Jason to come home to peace and order.  It doesn't always happen.  In fact, that only happens about once a week. But that's my desire.  In reality, our home is made up of a lot of littles.  A lot more people making messes than cleaning them up.  But this is a season.  A season that will pass all too quickly.  For how, toys are strewn.  Clothes are dirty.  A lot of clothes.  Crumbs stick to our feet and everything's sticky.  The pillows are never just right.  The blankets are rarely folded.  The table isn't set for a dinner party, but rather covered with art.  There are closets that should require a hard hat to enter and don't even think about under the beds.  But, our home is full of laughter.  It's full of joy and love and peace.   Not peace and quiet, but peace.  We are happy.  We are healthy.  We are together.  We are thankful.

I'm linking up with Women Living Well this month to take a challenge to make my home a haven.  They are sharing tips every week this month to make our homes more peaceful and welcoming for our families.  I'm always up for a challenge, and I'm excited to see how this one works.

Now, the first week includes buying a new candle and placing it where it can be seen. Every time the flame catches your eye, you're supposed to say a prayer for peace in your home. Everyone that knows me knows that I don't do candles.  At least not candles with wicks.  I like this idea, though, and I'm trying to decide if I'm going to stick with the candle idea or try something else.  Also, the drawing this week is for a year's supply of yankee candles.  How ironic would that be if I won?!?  I believe I'd be using them as an example of what NOT to buy. :)

Anyway, I'm praying for my home this week.  That it will always be full of laughter, peace and joy.  One day, if the Lord wills, when my children are grown, Jason and I will come home to a place that is quiet.  A home that is neat and clean just like we left it.  I pray that we enjoy those days even though they are very hard to wrap my mind around now.  For now, I pray for peace.  A haven for my family.  A place full of mercy to make mistakes.  Grace to see us through.  Love that surpasses any challenge we face elsewhere.  A place where my family reconnects and stands strong against our fears.  A place where we pray and sing and play jokes on each other.  A place where we know, without any doubt, that we are accepted and loved.  Do you want to join me on our challenge this month to make your home a haven??

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hola, Maebry.

Lucy has been asking what language Maebry will speak when she learns to talk.  Will it be English, Spanish, French?  This began a discussion about language acquisition.  I told her that Maebry will learn to speak the language we speak because that's what she will hear and therefore repeat.  I wasn't sure where she was going with these questions, but I could see the wheels turning in her head.
A little while later, I found Lucy, nose to nose with Maebry, saying loudly, "Maebry, UNO, DOS, TRES, QUATRO...."  
She's bound and determined that Maebry is going to speak Spanish. :)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Organizing School Papers

I was asked this morning how I organize school papers.  And I laughed.  Because I wouldn't even get near calling my system "organized" but it does work for us.  Mostly.
My girls bring home a boat-load of papers from school.  And for the longest time, they just piled up because I didn't know what to do with them.  Well, here's the system.
First, when I unload backpacks, I sort the papers depending on whether they need to go back to school or if they stay home.  The ones that go back need to be dealt with immediately or they WILL be lost in my bowl of shame.
The papers that we are to keep at home go in a paper sorter in my laundry room.  This one came from Home Goods.... like 3 years ago.  It fit all of my children then.  I'll need to upgrade to a system with four sections soon, but for now, Maebry's worksheets and art work are limited. :)

If it's a calendar, reminder, short term sort of thing, I hang it in the command center.  Jason thinks that name is lame.  He's never actually said that out loud, but I know him.  I'm right, aren't I, honey? :)
He still loves me.  
I do keep the calendars when they are no longer relevant because it helps me look back and see what the kids were doing at a certain time. :)  If it's something that I might need for ready reference (class room list, future dates, etc. it goes on the bulletin board in my laundry room.  I also have a file in my MomAgenda binder for things that I need for Room Mom responsibilities, like the email list of parents, special information about the teachers and other things like that.

The final resting place for the kids' papers is in a binder... to keep forever more.  Actually, some of them find their final resting place in my recycling bin.  Because how many math worksheets do we really need to hold on to forever more?
No, really, I sort through their papers and decide what to keep and what to "file" in my trash can.
We make a binder for every year. You can find the cover sheet here. And when I say we make one, I mean I made one once.... like 3 years ago.  But we ARE going to make one for every year.  I'm only one year behind, actually.
The girls LOVE to look back on their work and see their art. :)  This is also helpful, because we can look back on their achievements... like the Big Hand award or the MVP in P.E.

 That's it.  How do you sort YOUR papers!?