Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Update and a GREAT idea from a friend

Well, we finally survived our week of ickiness.  Littlest man (aka Chunky-Monkey) showed a glimmer of wellness today.  It has been one very l-o-n-g week!!!  My parents, on the other hand, didn't fare so well.  My mom and dad were both sick all weekend...my mom is still recovering.  *sigh*  Poor babies...even if they are my mommy and daddy.   I wish I could take care of them like they take care of me.  But the last thing they need is for me to bring even more sick germs their way!


So your continued prayers are coveted.  Especially for my parents.


Meanwhile, I've been meaning to post this absolute cool idea from Jennifer.  She wrote this comment regarding my post about Tank's new fabulous world of reading...but it's also great for celebrating littlest man's recovery from what ailed him.


Something we do in our family, that I should probably blog about, is lighting the victory candle. When someone in our family accomplishes something or a blessing happens or we just recover from illness, we light a victory candle, usually at dinner time. We then praise Jesus for allowing the accomplishment and have the person pray and thank Jesus for what they did.


For example, when our son learned to ride a bike, we lit the candle and he said, "Thank you Jesus that I can now ride a bike" and we elaborated and thanked God for the healthy body that works properly and for providing the bike. It's a great way to show excitement for the child, but to give the credit to Jesus.


Isn't she one smart cookie?!  While I forgot about this idea tonight, we will definitely have to light a victory candle tomorrow at lunch!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Where did you get your information from?

Tank spent part of our morning working on a sequencing puzzle.  Each set you put together has three parts.  For example, acorn, sapling, oak tree.


Mommy: So tell me what's happening in this puzzle, Tank.


Tank:  This is a worm.

            It turns into a raccoon.

            And then it comes out a butterfly!


When your son looks at you with that smile and those eyes...and then excitedly tells you that in such a matter-of-fact way, all you really can do is s-m-i-l-e......... and then run to the other room to laugh your boo-tay off! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Why I hope my kids take me for granted some day

While I hope my children are appreciative in all that dh and I do for them, my sincere wish is that they take me for granted one day.  At least a little.


Growing up, my parents were ALWAYS there for me.  Yes, my dad and mom both worked all day (very hard at that!) but I knew that they would be at the spelling bee.  Or band concert.  Or booster club meeting.  Or our school's open house.  Or when I needed to talk.  Or to kiss me goodnight. No matter what, they were there...  No easy feat when there were five of us kids.   That's enough of a span to have at least one in elementary, middle and high school at the same time!


I remember complaining about my mom dressing nicely for open house.  As in suit and heels.  Mom, can't you just wear sweatpants and a t-shirt or something normal like the other mom's?  I should've just been glad she cared enough to come and look nice to boot!  My mom would also bring us lunch sometimes.  Not just any lunch, mind you...but either a hot slice of pizza from our fav pizza place or a deli sub sandwich.  It cost her a lot of time and her very hard earned money!  Weren't mom's supposed to do these types of things?  It wasn't until I was older that I realized I was a very lucky-ducky!!!


Today has been a pukey kind of day.  My little chunky-monkey was sick last night with a fever and dispelling a whole bunch of gross-ities (yes, it is now a word).  So I was up much of the night with him.  Then today while I was running a necessary errand, Dash threw up in the car.  As I quickly pull over, Tank throws up.  Then he gets out of the car and gets sick again.  And then on the way home.  And then at home.  Are you feeling a little green yourself, now?


Anyway, you know these things never happen when dh is at home.  He is just now (at 10pm) on his way home from work and has to leave again early tomorrow morning. 


Ahhhh...but what does this have to do with taking parents for granted?  Well, like any good daughter, when things get rough I call my mommy! 


And guess what?!  My dear mom and dad will be here to rescue me tomorrow.  And I didn't even ask them to.  They love me enough (or at least feel very sorry for me!) to drive the 4.5 hours here.  I am so thankful that I have such caring parents.   They found out about my day this afternoon/evening and are planning to leave their house tomorrow morning at 5:45am.  Now that is love, I tell ya!


Just like always, they are here for me.  It's not convenient for them.  But they do it because they love me.  And the grandkids (of course).  Mom and dad, I promise that I will try to not take y'all for granted like I did when I was younger.  And I hope that by following your example of dependability and sacrifice, that my kids will take me for granted one day too.  At least a little.  Because when they know that no matter what, they can count on me...I will know that I have found some measure of success.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Mommy's Boys

Just wanted to post a quick pic taken of me and my boys before church this past Sunday.  I just LOVE them!!!


PS Did ya notice all that hair?!  Believe it or not, they are waaaay past due for a haircut!  And yup, that little blonde-hair-blue-eyed one in the middle is mine as well.  Weird, huh?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

We have a reader!!!

I am proud to announce that we have one more reader in the family-- Tank!  I am so very proud of my big-but-little-4.5yo guy!


This last week we started Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (see link in my sidebar) and finished 12 lessons in one week.  Every time he read a word correctly, he'd excitedly suck in his breath and clap his hands.  Words cannot adequately express how cute and amazing he is-- and how my heart melts when he'd clap for himself.  You'd think he just won a million dollars or something!  I must admit that I had my work cut out for me since he already knew all of his letter sounds before we started (thanks to Leapfrog's Letter Factory DVD).  Plus our lessons are extra short since we leave out the writing part of 100 Easy Lessons.


What I love the most about this book is that the lessons are short enough for their limited attention spans.  It is also fully scripted-- so it tells you exactly what to say and when.  It even tells you what to do!  So no advanced planning or prep work is necessary...you just pick up the book and get going.  The biggest bonus by far has to be that they are reading real words within the first week!!!  Talk about a sense of accomplishment!


Another little incentive I cooked up for him was to create a 100's chart.  Actually it started with 0 and went to 100 (in Math-U-See fashion).  So every 10th number was green and number 100 was in large, bold, very red print.  After each lesson, Tank is allowed to place a small sticker on the number that corresponds to the lesson we finished.  When he reaches a green number he and his big brother get a small treat like a piece of gum or candy.  When he finishes Lesson 100 we ALL get to go to Chuck E. Cheese!  I used this same technique with Dash and it worked wonders-- so well, actually, that he never made it to 100.  After Lesson 80 I couldn't bear to keep him "dumbed down" by forcing him to read the stories in the book when he could read real books instead.  So there was no CEC for him since he never reached 100-- just don't tell him that, okay?  He has yet to make that connection!


Oh and we make a very big BIG deal about getting his own library card at the end as well.





Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The minds of my oddball boys

This morning we finished studying the last of the 7 continents of the world-- Europe.  We looked on the map and the kids were fascinated by the various countries, but took special interest in two particular islands-- Iceland and Madagascar.  This led to the following discussion.


Me:  Lele (his aunt) has been to Iceland with Uncle Jason.  They rode snowmobiles.


Dash (6yo):  Really?  I want to go there!  I want to ride snowmobiles!


Tank (4yo):  Why don't we get to go to Iceland?


Me:  Well, if you study your lessons and go to college and get a good job then you will have enough money to go anywhere in the whole wide world!


Dash:  Like Madagascar?


Tank:  No, Dash!  You can go to anywhere you want!  TO TENNESSEE!!!


Dash:  Oooooh, yaaaah!!! TENNESSEE!


Tank:  Yeah, you can ride the bumper cars in Tennessee--even the yellow one!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Voice of the Martyrs site for children

Dh and I are making plans to spend a week in China next month.  It is going to be very, very, very cold but also very affordable...after all, it is winter!  Only the crazies go to China on vacation during the winter!  And only the uber-crazy choose to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary (albeit a few months early) in such a cold place...Have I mentioned that it is going to be really cold?


Dash expressed his concern to daddy the other day.


Daddy, you better be careful in China!  If you read your Bible there, the church police will put you in jail for a very, very long time!  And you can't pray in China or read your Bible or go to church.


This all came about when Dash noticed my Voice of the Martyrs poster on the wall of our schoolroom.  It was a great springboard to talk about how we need to be thankful for the country we live in and the freedoms we have.  It also allowed us to talk at length about how we need to pray for these people in other countries and even send them cards and letters.


I ran across this VOM site today that is more suited for children.   Check it out and read it with your kids!  Take every opportunity to encourage a heart for missions, a compassion for lost souls and to show them God's power in these people's lives!

Monday, January 9, 2006

Saturday School-- am I mean or what?!

Yup, you saw that correctly...we school on Saturday's!  Am I a meany-mommy or what?!


One of the things I LOVE about homeschooling is that we schedule "school" around our life instead of our life around school. 


Dh's schedule is different every single week so there is no steady, predictable schedule in our house.  When dh is actually home, we like to spend time with him and enjoy activities around the house (like yardwork or kicking around the soccerball) as well as special outings (like golf or bowling).


This situation is not exactly conducive to having lessons 5 or even 4 days a week, especially when you couple that with our precious Chunky-Monkey (1yo) literally climbing all over the house!  So we have lessons every single day we can to make up for the lazy days, sick days, dh-is-home days and any other one-of-those-days that seems to pop up.  And when a true vacation or fun day comes around (read: FIELD TRIP!), we can do it guilt free!!!


This past Saturday was a very easy, light day of school. 


We practiced our handwriting and art by making thank you cards for the plethora of Christmas gifts the kids got (and I'm sorry for any family members who don't get a card...I can encourage them to write several thank you's but I'm not a miracle worker in getting them to write a dozen!).


For science, we planted narcissus and amaryllis bulbs.  One for each kid and they will be keeping track of the progress each day as well as being responsible for the care and watering of these (hopefully) beautiful white flowers!   They were fascinated with the thought of these hard bulbs turning into flowers.  One of them already had roots growing down from the bottom and the shoot growing up (side effect of being bought at 75% off two weeks after Christmas).


For geography, we spent some time looking at the map and finding the various places that dh was travelling to over the weekend.  We talked about North and South America and how the closer to the equator you get, the warmer it generally is.


We ended with an additional chapter from our read-aloud Dolphin Treasure and looked up information and video clips about dolphins on the National Geographic Kids website.  They made the connection (all on their own) that both dolphins and people are mammals. 


I just love these easy light-learning days!  Not only is it real hands-on (as in they will remember) learning for the kids but it fosters a closeness with my children that I truly cherish.  They are little for only so long...it really is like you blink and they grow up...well, at least most days anyway!

Saturday, January 7, 2006

Meeeee? Weird???

At least I don't air-type like Teresa!  Some people air-guitar, she air-types.  Yup, she is certifiably strange...kinda like when Tetris came out and I was all obsessed with getting things to fit nicely with each other.  I'd see a skyline and imagine how the buildings need to flip and rotate to fit perfectly with each other...or I could see the blocks in my sleep or even when I was driving.  Talk about scary!


Anyhoo, Teresa's post got me thinking about how I may think I'm a normal weird person but maybe I'm really an abnormally weird person like JenIG.  I don't think I can come up with five weird things at the moment (although I'm sure if dh were here he could come up with five hundred) but here are just a few weird/strange/annoying habits I have:


1.  I have to have things even.  If I'm walking up the stairs, my feet have to alternate steps equally and evenly.  I cannot feel like I'm putting more pressure on one foot than the other.  Same with walking on a sidewalk with the lines across.  I can't only hit the line with one foot but must alternate accordingly.  This makes for some odd feet shuffling at times!


2.  I flip through magazines backwards.  I thought dh was a freak when I first saw him do this...but lo and behold 10 years later, I am doing the same thing.  Pick up a magazine and open up the last page.  Then work my way from back to front.


3.  I like to clean.  Especially other people's houses.  So long as it's because I want to and not for money.


4.  I don't shave my legs.  Nope, I'm not a sasquatch, porcupine legs or anything like that-- just asian and not a hairy person in general.  My boys don't have hair on their heads and I don't have it on my limbs or lip (or eyebrows but that's another story!).


5.  I'm double jointed at my elbows and (I think) wrists.  So when I sit down and lean on my hand, the inside of my elbow bends out.  You can also twist my arm pretty far and it doesn't hurt a bit.


Okay, so it didn't take me long to come up with five!  I could probably add a lot more but don't want to add any more fuel to the Marsha's-a-complete-nutjob fire.  Feel free to add of your own wonkyness in the comments section or if you post it on your own blog, please let me know so I don't feel so alone!



Thursday, January 5, 2006

I had hopes that this day would never come

Me:  Hi Dash!  What do you have in your hand?


Dash (6yo):  It's a moth.


Me:  You should let it go...or you'll end up killing it.


Dash:  I really want to keep him-- forever!


I walk away.  Ten minutes later, the poor thing is still in Dash's fist.


Me:  Dash!  It's probably dead already...just let it go.


Dash:  No it's not, Mommy!  Seeeeee??? (the moth moves just a little bit)  I'm going to name him Dash because that's the best name ever!


Dash and Tank (4yo) run off to make it a home out of leaves and sticks.  Tank begins peeling bark from a tree to feed it.  (*sigh* I guess we need to shift our science lessons from plants to bugs and critters!)  Another ten minutes goes by and the moth is not moving anymore.  Nice mommy that I am tells him once again that it's probably already dead. 


Dash:  No mommy, Dash is just sleeping; he's taking a long nap...he's hibernating for the winter!  Hmmm...funny how that one wing is crooked, I didn't know a moth could sleep like that. (He happily trots off to the front yard with Dash still in his clutches).


Who am I to argue with such logic?  The boys find their bugscope and as he's trying to fit poor little Dash into it, he looks at me and says:


Mommy, Dash is dead. (ya think?!) Look, his wing got caught on the edge and it got squished.  Poor Dash.  He was a good moth. (Yup, I'm sure it had nothing to do being trapped in your fist for half an hour)


Now I'm just waiting for them to go bury dear old Dash in the backyard.  They'll probably plant him in the dirt pile to see if he grows more moth's. 

Just kidding-- my kids have a little more sense than that!


Oh well, it could be worse.  They've been happy for years just looking at the crawdad's, lizards and frogs around our yard...and the occasional gigantic spider or slithery snake.  I knew the day would eventually come when they'd want to actually keep one as a pet. *sigh*  I'm sure this is the first of a long string of innocent little creatures that will lodge with us!


So to all of you out there who have a house full of critters-- I salute you!  I, however, will be doing my best to keep them at least in the garage...I'm not too fond of things creeping around my house.  And heaven forbid that *I* unknowingly step on of these things in the middle of the night (or even day)!  Ewwwwww!!!


Edited to add that after dinner tonight, he got this sad look on his face and said he really missed Dash.  Funny how they can seem so grown up at times and like such innocent little babies the next!

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Jesus in the Midst

I just love Nancy Campbell's e-mail's!  They are always timely and encouraging to my heart.  Here is what I received in my in-box today.  If you would like to subscribe, just follow the instructions at the bottom.





Revelation 2:1, "These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks."


The seven golden candlesticks referred to in the above Scripture are the seven churches of Asia who were to be a shining light to the darkness around. God also wants to walk in the midst of our churches today. He wants to walk in the midst of our homes. He wants to fill our homes with His presence so we can be a light in our neighborhoods.


Would you like Jesus Christ, the Son of God to walk in the midst of your home? If He was walking around in the midst of your home, do you think it would make a difference to what is going on? Do you think it would make a difference to what you say? How would it affect the arguing, the complaining and the bickering? Would it change what you watch and listen to?


Jesus wants to be in your midst. Matthew 18:20 says, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Start the day by honoring His name and inviting Him to come into every room of your home. Honor His name throughout the day. Call upon His name. Do everything and say everything in the name of the Lord Jesus as it commands us in Colossians 3:17. And He will fill your home with His presence.


I love the beautiful Scripture in Zephaniah 3:17, "The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing."


Look what happens when Jesus is in the midst of your home...

  1. He will deliver you. He will give you the victory. The NIV says that "He is mighty to save." The Moffat's translation says that He will be "a Warrior to the rescue." Oh how wonderful that He is always available to come to our rescue.

  2. He will rejoice over you with joy. He takes great delight in you. When Jesus is in the midst, there will be rejoicing instead of gloom and despair.

  3. He will quieten you. The word for 'rest' in this Scripture is 'charash' which means 'to hold one's peace.' The NIV translates it correctly, "He will quiet you with his love." How wonderful. When Jesus is in the midst, He will help you to hold your tongue and be silent. He will help you to be quiet instead of lashing out or throwing a wobbly.

  4. He will sing over you. Isn't it wonderful to know that when Jesus is in our midst that He sings over you with joy? God joys over His people. He rejoices over them to do them good. (Deuteronomy 30:9; Isaiah 65:19; Jeremiah 32:41) He wants you to sing over your children with joy too.

What a joyful home when Jesus is in the midst!






I am walking with Jesus in my home.




"Lord, I thank you that you want to walk in the midst of my home. I invite you to come into every room. I invite you to be the Head of our home. Amen."


Many women like to save these devotions. They print them out and keep them in a folder to read over and over again. Some print them out and pin them on the fridge with a magnet to read through the week. If you are printing this devotion and need it to be smaller, highlight and change to a smaller font.

If you know others who would be blessed by these devotions, you are welcome to forward them or let them know they can subscribe by sending a blank email to subscribers-on@aboverubies.org

Monday, January 2, 2006

Hello from Springfield, MA!

I would spell out the MA part but can't quite remember the ending to it and dare not offend anyone from around here!


We left sunny, warm weather and landed in a slightly cold with lovely snow on the ground Hartford, Connecticut.  Then we hopped in the hotel van to MA...weird, huh?  Dh and I had a very lovely day today starting with sleeping in until 10:30am.  It was quite nice to not have to worry about little footsteps running around upstairs or our sweet littlest one hollering for us to come rescue him from his bed. 


We got up and then headed to the Holyoke Mall for a little grub and some shopping.  It never fails that when I've got Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket, no kids hanging on my leg, AND my fav store of all time-- H&M-- which is not available in the South...I cannot find a single thing to buy!  Why is that anyway?  When you can't buy anything (or shouldn't!) you see a bzillion things you like.  But when you are searching for something to buy, there is not a single purchase-worthy item that tickles your fancy.  Dh even headed to Sears to give me lots of shopping time at H&M and was completely shocked that I did not walk out with bags full of clothes and such.  So I shall return home tomorrow well-rested but with a slightly empty suitcase.


Then we took the bus (gotta love public transportation!) to the movie theatre down the way where we saw King Kong.  I really wanted to watch Narnia but dh reminded me to practice some self-control and wait until we can take the kids with us and all see it together.  The movie was okay and a very long 3+ hours but the company was fabulous!!!


I can't believe the day is already over.  We have a very early 6am van time tomorrow morning so I best get going...assuming the plane gets in tonight for us to take out of here tomorrow.  They are expecting quite a snowfall overnight.  I wish I could bring a snowball back for the boys-- they would think that was the absolute most coolest thing (next to making a snowball themselves)!

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Heading to Hartford, CT!

Just packing a few things to head to Hartford, CT with dh until TUESDAY!!!   Dh gets some nice overtime for working on New Year's Day and since it's a nice looong layover, I can come along for a nice retreat without having to pay for a nice hotel...just meals and entertainment.  My very nice and wonderful in-law's will be here soon to stay with the kiddos.  It is sooo nice to not have to pack for the kids and for myself!  Tis going to be a very niiiiiiice getaway!


It's a little weird sitting here almost sweating in the 80 degree heat and yet packing a coat for the cold weather up north.  I think there's even a chance of snow up there tomorrow!  My boys would be so disappointed if they knew...so don't tell them, okay?


Hope y'all had a great first day of 2006!  I spent the last minutes of 2005 folding laundry and cleaning up the house while the kids and dh were fast asleep.  Yuppers, we ARE the original party animals!!!



Marsha (who is currently a spoiled and very blessed mom of 3 boys and wife to 1 wonderful man!)