Aaaahhhhh! Relief at last! Peace once again. Oh, how I love volume control!
I have also had some disheartening moments. We spent quite a bit of time this morning talking with some Jehovah's witnesses. We don't usually have discussions with such door-to-door folks, but this is the gentleman's second attempt with us, and for some reason, we agreed to pull out our Bibles and compare notes. We had some interesting discussion, a great time researching the Bible, and although the gentleman left without converting us, I can only hope that God can use something from our morning to plant a seed of truth in his heart.
This evening we decided to take a VERY rare opportunity and have a "family movie." So rare, in fact, I don't think we have done such since last Christmas, when we watched "The Nutcracker Ballet" at Grandma's house. Anyway, we rented a Christmas movie advertised as PG and family comedy. I cannot believe what is now considered PG! I was actually in shock. Why is it so necessary to put swear words and sex content into everything today?! I guess the only movie I will be watching in the near future is Fireproof--a Christian film, and one I have been wanting to see for some time.
Then I decided to get on the computer and read the news. First, I read some of the headlines about the carnage occuring in India, followed by the saddening stories of people who died right here in America from the Black Friday crowds trampling and shooting each other. I would ask "what has our world come to," but I already know it is prophecy being fulfilled. Then, to top it all off, I noticed an update had been made to an article from earlier this week. Mind you, the earlier article had revealed the fact that a sample of American-made baby formula had tested positive for melamine--a chemical toxin used to make plastic, or as in the cases in China, used as a filler for food items. This chemical has been responsible for countless pet deaths from contaminated pet food, as well as a number of infant deaths from contaminated formula in that country. So, in this article (I wish I had a copy, sorry), a note was posted, basically saying (in paraphrase), "don't worry, it was an isolated case, and the FDA has already proven melamine is safe up to 250 parts per billion, which this sample was well-below." Well, tonight's article was completely different. As it turns out, while not all samples tested positive, it was not an isolated case. In fact, 2 popular brands tested positive multiple times--including the one that we use! Interestingly, this article said that "recent tests" had shown that the melamine level was now determined to be safe up to 1000 parts per billion. While it is certainly a concern, we realize we cannot worry about it. Even if we switched formula, something else could easily be contaminating a new brand. It is just further evidence that, unless you grow your own food, you just truly don't know what is being added into what you eat. It is also further support of the fact that it really is no wonder we have so many unexplainable illnesses in the world today.
Really, all we can do is Thank God for all that we have, do our best to care for our bodies with the resources he has given us, and then have faith that He will take care of us in every other way.
So, in the interest of brevity, here is my current status on plastics: In our current circumstances, I cannot eliminate plastics to the point that I had originally desired. So, I am instead focusing on eliminating where I can. I am trying to avoid any plastic cookware, bakeware, storage containers, or serving dishes. I am also trying to eliminate, or at least reduce, any plastic toys that could potentially come in contact with my children's mouths.
It was a very interesting attempt though. With all the information being discovered in regards to the toxic chemical components of plastic, it has been very educational learning just how often we come in contact with these toxins. Kinda scary, really!
We started the month off with a huge airshow. We learned that A has no idea how to fall asleep in the stroller (he hates being on his back), so I wound up carrying him half the morning on my back, where he loves to sleep. The kids had a great time--JR in particular. He got to see stunt planes, choppers, the Thunderbirds, skydivers, and more.
JR has developed a fascination with the drums. He stopped going to his kid's Sunday School class so he could attend "big church." Considering he spends most of the hour watching the drummer, though, I have a feeling it isn't the sermon he comes to hear. He has been LOUDLY pounding anything I will let him. I have, for the most part, kept his noise confined to the play room so we can all escape as necessary. When he combines his drumming with his singing, oh, such joy (and NOISE) fills the house! Just for kicks, this past Sunday, I took him over to actually meet the drummer at the church. JR, of course, played shy, but the drummer picked him up onto the platform, let him sit on the stool, and then actually helped him play a tune. JR couldn't hide the thrill he got from that! So now, he wants to be a pilot, a "train-driver", a teacher, AND a drummer! Notice how he sat his little stuffed dog in the chair to watch him.
Then comes little A. He is sitting up totally by himself now, and just today I noticed he FINALLY has his first tooth popping through. He has been showing signs of teething for months now--I'm talking bumps on his gums, copious drool, fussyness, not sleeping well, discomfort with sucking on his bottle, ridges along the gum line, chewing on everything, pale/white pressure areas around his gums, and even a distinct point of a tooth we could feel that has refused to pop through for over 6 weeks. Finally today, I can actually see a tooth poking through. And it is NOT the point we have felt for months. That one is yet to come. Oh, and after the refusal to sleep at the air show, I decided it was high time he learn to sleep on his back. From the beginning he refused to sleep well on his back, so after weeks of sleepless nights, I finally gave in and allowed him to be a tummy sleeper. To this day, he sleeps great on his tummy, but has trouble on his back--this means in his carseat, in a stroller, anywhere he can't lay on his tummy. So, one night when he was pretty tired, I laid him on his back in his crib, tucked him good, and turned on his mobile. I let him cry, going in and soothing a couple of times, but, after a surprisingly short cry session, he actually fell asleep. Later that night I went in and flipped him on his tummy so we could all sleep well through the night. The next day, I picked one of his naps and did the same thing. He cried just for a few minutes, and dozed off. Ever since, he goes to bed on his back at night, and usually once during the day, and he rarely even fusses now. He plays for a few minutes and falls asleep. I still have to work up the courage to let him go all night on his back, but he is defintely getting better. Today, on a lengthy trip, he fell asleep twice in his carseat without crying. That was amazing, so it must be working somehow!
We have also spent the last couple weeks getting ready for our homestudy. S got his medical eval done, we have been checking in with our references, and applying for and collecting background checks and driver histories from 3 states. The last few days in particular, I have been gathering and sorting the paperwork we have and making copies. We drove to a nearby state this morning to actually collect some additional paperwork in person, as that state is known for its incompetence with handling such paperwork. So, we are almost there. I have to pick up the kids' medical forms tomorrow, then we have our first visit by the social worker on Saturday, then hopefully my last bit of paperwork will arrive in the mail soon, and finally, I have to get my medical eval completed. We can see the finish line.
In math, he was doing 1-10 easily, but had trouble with his teens. We had practiced 20-29, but he couldn't seem to get the fact that you just say the name of both numbers (twenty, one, etc.) I had also introduced the "tens" (30, 40, 50)all the way to 100, but he was also having trouble with that. So I typed up his numbers. In large print, I typed numbers 0-9 in one column, then 1-9 in another column. I cut the 0-9 out to make a single long strip of digits. The 1-9 column, I cut into individual pieces. Then, I showed him how to read down the strip, counting 0-9. Then he was to pick up the "1", lay it beside the "0" on the strip to form "10", and slide it down the strip as he counted 10-19. The process repeated with "2" sliding down for the twenties, "3" for the thirties, etc. He got it in just two tries! It was amazing! In just one day, he literally went from struggling to count above 10 to counting 0-99 with no more than an occasional correction or reminder. Today, I actually had him count 1-99 without his column, and he did it by memory!
Somehow, this system just seems to have made the light-bulb come on his head, and he totally gets it! I noticed his reading lesson went smoother today, and his counting is all but perfect. I will have to remember this method for my younger kids!
Here is the recipe we concocted:
- 1 Chicken carcass per 4 quarts water
- Giblets, if desired (they will make the broth much stronger!)
- Desired amounts of vegetables such as carrots, celery, onion, potatoes, etc.
- Desired amounts of herbs such as parsley, bay leaves, etc.
- 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper per 4 quarts
This picture shows our yield of about 8 quarts of broth (divided into needed portions to either freeze or use tomorrow), and a bowl of chicken and veggies for soup. YUM!! As a side note, S quickly tired of munching on the cooked giblets, so I gave them to Will. Mind you, this is a dog who NEVER gets people food, and rarely gets any hand-fed treats. That dog was in absolute HEAVEN!!!
The warm up: both competitors get a good grip on the rope and circle each other to size up the opposition
And they're off! Tugging mightily!
Will has JR off balance. Can JR recover?
JR regains his balance, and braces himself. He is determined to win this match!
Oh!! He's down! Will finally has enough, and with a single solid jerk, knocks JR right off his feet! But wait, JR refuses to let go of the rope!
Will proceeds to drag JR across the floor, as JR tries desperately to hang on. (At this point, mom steps in and tries to delicately explain that Will has won the game.)
Click on the image for a larger view. Enjoy!
My handsome heartbreaker! We learned this week how true the title is when a tiny little girl (who we have never seen before) walked up to him at a restaurant, grabbed him by the hand, and said, you can come to my house now. Poor JR didn't know what was going on, and explained to us that "that little girl wanted to take me home!"
Daddy's little princess
- to pray (there are few things sweeter than a young child's prayer!)
- to whisper if they have an urgent question about someone
- to ask questions about others when we are alone in the car or at home
- "potty-talk" (i.e. anything related to bodily waste) should not happen at the dinner table
- gas should only be expelled in the bathroom (it is so funny when my son suddenly jumps down from the dinner table with the explanation "I have to go pass gas!")
- manners (it is sad when manners are so rare, that people compliment when they hear your children use them!)
- to raise a hand or gently touch me in our specific way and wait for acknowledgement, rather than interrupt an adult conversation (in person or on phone)
- to like vegetables (I really felt like I had done something right the other day when JR suddenly said, "Mom, for lunch today, I want broccoli, sweet potatoes, and peas!" Unfortunately, I didn't have all those items, but geepers, that came from my 4 year old!!)
- a routine (life is soooo much easier when children know what to expect, go to bed and stay there without a fight, ask to take their baths, and stay in their rooms until the designated times!)
- to play independently sometimes
- to clean up their toys (no, I do not have a clean house all the time, but it is nice to have a little help at "clean-up time")
I think we have been saved many a potentially embarassing moment thanks to a few of these. What are some things you are thankful for?
Spread a nice, not too-thick layer of creamy peanut butter on an empty toilet paper or paper towel roll. Be sure to entirely cover the outside of the roll.
Sprinkle the peanut-buttered roll with wild birdseed, or, for older kids, roll the roll in the bird seed (this helps it stick a little better).
Run a string through the roll to make a hanger, note proud faces of your children, and hang outside for birds to eat.
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response,the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The Invisible Mom.
Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands, I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it? I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude- but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. Iwas sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees. 'In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, afterwhich I could pattern my work. No one can say who built the great cathedrals, we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man,'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction but it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my child to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand-bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen, if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.
Pooh Bear and Eeyore
I don't remember a cow grazing the Merry Meadows!
S and I went as Bible characters. Aren't we a cute family?!