Saturday, February 28, 2009

Books I've Read

I think it'd be nice to keep a list this year of the books I've read, not just the ones I hope to read. By the way, I think Anna Karenina is out. I tried really hard but just cannot get into that book. I don't feel very sympathetic towards the characters and at this point, could care less what happens to them. If someone has read it and thinks it's worth it, please try to convince me to finish it!

So far, in 2009, I have read the following:

The Host, Stephenie Meyer
The Girl Who Could Fly, Victoria Forester
The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
For One More Day, Mitch Albom
The Middle Place, Kelly Corrigan
Pretty Is What Changes, Jessica Queller
The Year of Fog, Michelle Richmond
Happy Housewives, Darla Shine
Smart vs. Pretty, Valerie Frankel

Hmm, did you notice that so far I have not finished any of the 5 books from my list? I have now started 3 of them. As I mentioned before though, I am crossing Anna Karenina off. I'll replace it with something else. Maybe Wuthering Heights? I'll let you know.

By the way, my new book shelves are almost completely full now. I love looking at them but it is also a bit sad. I loved the challenge of filling them. I suppose now I should focus on reading the books.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A weekend away

The weekend away with friends was wonderful. It was full of laughter, good conversations, delicious food and the chance to relax without a set schedule. We did venture out in the snow Saturday afternoon for a little bit to visit the shops in downtown South Haven and there was a used bookstore!!!

We returned home early Sunday afternoon and Brendan had been sick since that morning. The "sick-to-his-stomach" kind of sick. He was starting to feel a little better so I unpacked, started laundry and cleaned the bathroom. Josh had been cleaning up after him but I felt better after thoroughly cleaning it. Around supper time, Brendan was hungry so he ate some toast with peanut butter and kept it down. He had been drinking some coke throughout the day to try and help with the nausea, too. Tori said she wished she was sick so she could have a pop. "The grass is always greener . . . "

No one has been sick since so here's hoping it was contained and is now banished from this house.

The only bad thing about our weekend away is that it's over now. I was ready to come home but loved having that time away to look forward to. Sometimes this love of planning is a curse. My mind keeps saying, "What next?" I'm sure I'll find something to plan soon.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Whatever Owen had appears to be short-lived. He made it through the night just fine and ate breakfast like nothing was wrong. After breakfast his stomach seemed to be bothering him but he never did get sick. Then around 11, Tori asked about a snack and he immediately went to the cupboard and started saying "snack". I wasn't sure if this was wise but decided to go ahead and give him a cracker. He drank 2 cups of water and ate a cracker and has perked up a lot.

Josh had told me last night that he could handle a sick kid and that I would still go this weekend but I had still been hesitant. I'm now feeling optimistic and packing my stuff. :)

Hooray for time with friends and a husband who is comfortable being home with the kids!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ready for better things

This has been a rough week. Owen and Rachel have been taking an antibiotic for their ear infections and it was causing a severe diaper rash for Rachel. Tuesday she refused to eat anything and was very lethargic. I started giving her probiotic yogurt and was able to stop the antibiotic yesterday for her so she is almost back to 100%. Her bottom is still a little sore but she doesn't cry anymore when I change her diaper and she's eating normal and energetic.

I was planning to go away this weekend with some friends to South Haven to stay in a condo there that is owned by a friend's parents. Tonight Owen threw up twice. :( It could be from the antibiotic - vomiting and upset stomach are possible side effects. Or it could be a nasty virus that will spread through the whole family. There is nothing to do but wait and see. I had hoped to get a lot done tonight before leaving tomorrow but now think I'll just wait and get things done tomorrow if I end up being able to go. Somehow it's worse to not go after you get all packed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Typical Day

This seems kind of a risky post to write. When do we ever have a typical day around here? But there does seem to be a pattern or routine that we've followed fairly well for the past month or so. There are more things I'd like to add to our routine (namely, chores for Brendan and Tori) but I'm trying to be patient and be happy with what we are getting done. I'm going to try and give you a breakdown of a typical day around here.

7:00 - I get up and shower and then eat breakfast while reading my Bible study book and the Bible. If I have time, I'll also do some cleaning or put a load of laundry in the washer.

8:00 - the kids get up and eat breakfast. While they are eating, I check email and clean up the kitchen or get laundry going.

8:30 - Brendan and Tori get dressed, Rachel and Owen get cleaned up from breakfast.

8:45 - Brendan and Tori start school. We've been doing handwriting, math, and language arts in the morning. Then we separate for reading and to work on Awana verses. Brendan gets a little break while I listen to Tori read and work with her on her verses and then Tori gets a little break while I work with Brendan. About every 10 minutes, I am checking on Rachel and Owen to see what they are doing or why they are crying. I try to direct them to sit at their little table and play with puzzles or look at books or to play in their room upstairs so they are not sitting with us at the big table and getting into school stuff. Some days go better than others. The past few days have not gone well because they have both been sick and need extra cuddle time.

10:00 - Our morning school work is now done. Brendan and Tori will play outside or upstairs or downstairs and will often include Rachel and Owen. If not, I will read to them for a bit and also try to keep laundry going if I'm really on the ball.

12:00 - Lunch time.

1:00 - Rachel and Owen go up for a nap around now. Brendan and Tori have history and science at this time. We also have our read-aloud time. Right now we're reading Henry Huggins.

2:00 - Brendan and Tori go up to their room for rest time and look at books. Ideally, this is when I would get some major cleaning done but more often I end up taking a nap, checking email or reading.

3:00 - Brendan and Tori get up from rest time.

3:30 - 4:00 - Rachel and Owen usually wake up sometime around here. We have snack time and then before too long, I'm making dinner and waiting for Josh to come home.

Overall, it is working out very well for us. I hope to improve my time management skills and to get Brendan and Tori more involved in helping out but am happy with where we are right now. I have time to get things done and time to relax. They have time to get their school work done and lots of time to play and relax. I know there is more we could do for school but I wanted to focus on the basics this year and not try to do too much. I'd rather do one thing and do it well than have us try to do too much and not do anything well. I have added a couple things now that our routine has gotten better and next year I think we can add even more. It also helps that Brendan is becoming more of an independent worker. I really do enjoy my days with them.

*I wrote this last night, knowing today would not be a typical day! Rachel and Owen had their 2-year check-ups and both had ear infections. The dr was surprised they weren't in more pain and said tonight could be bad. We did manage to get school done but it has been anything but typical around here! Hoping for a better day tomorrow . . .*


When my parents came down a couple weeks ago, one of my goals was to get the basement cleaned out. My mom helped clean and put things back in order while I went through the piles of stuff and my dad carried out many boxes and storage tubs. Then when that was all done, we had enough room to bring in this slide that had been sitting out in the garage! Rachel and Owen are the perfect age for this right now.

Hmm, that's not Rachel and Owen. :) I guess you're never too old to enjoy a slide. Brendan and Tori thought it was the perfect spot to sit together and play their video games.

Rachel and Owen were so excited when they saw it! They quickly discovered that not only was it a slide, but also worked as a makeshift trampoline. I love it when they come up with more ways to possibly get injured. :)

Take the good, leave the rest

I took the kids to the library yesterday and now have so many books I want to read! I know, what else is new? :) I know there are some I will read on my own with no problem. One of them is The Host, the newest book from Twilight author, Stephenie Meyer. But there are others that I want to read but perhaps need more motivation to actually finish. I decided to set a goal of reading one chapter a day. This is in addition to my morning Bible study that is actually going really well.

I have decided to read through Happy Housewives first. Today I read chapter 3 and was once again reminded that I may not always agree with everything an author says but that does not mean I need to throw the whole book out. She had some good points but seemed to focus on looks and being thin too much in this chapter. I didn't disagree totally but felt myself cringing at times when I was reading.

I think in the past I may have quit reading at this point and probably would have picked up another book but told myself I'd get back to the first book at some point. I'm glad that I've decided to keep reading it and look forward to see what she says in chapter 4 tomorrow. It's amazing how much easier it seems to finish a book if you just break it down to a chapter a day.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A not-so-subtle hint

It is no secret that I love books. I love to read books, buy books, look at books. So Friday when I was at the outlet mall with my sister and parents, we went into the bookstore. I found some books for the kids and a couple for myself and then noticed a rack at the front that was clearance priced. Every book on there was $1! I immediately went to see what treasures I could find.

I found two books that sounded good. I skimmed through them and they looked like ones I would like to read so I bought them. It was a very busy day on Friday and I didn't get a chance to look more closely at them until Saturday night. The more I looked at them, I better I liked them. Then last night, I realized they were both about the same subject. I wonder if God is trying to tell me something? The titles are "Happy Housewives" and "Queen of the Castle". :) They are both down-to-earth books about enjoying and succeeding at this profession of motherhood.

I will be honest. I like that I am able to stay home but have not "felt" like I liked it. I know that I don't want to work outside of the home but I have not enjoyed my role as homemaker. So yes, these books are very timely. And yes, I do believe God is telling me something and giving me some tools to make some changes. I have been acting like a spoiled brat - if not outwardly, definitely inwardly. I'm working on that attitude.

I have not been able to keep up with the spring cleaning for normal people. What does that say about me? :) I have been able to keep up with the bathroom, laundry and keeping the floors clean and that is about it. I hope to figure out a way to accomplish more but I might just have to do mine in the summer. In the meantime, if you'd like to continue with the series, check out Biblical Womanhood for the next assignment!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Is it possible? They're two!

My sweet little twin babies are now two. My mind cannot grasp this. I was so ready for them to turn one. My shoulders relaxed and I seriously felt them drop about 2 inches on their 1st birthday. I had no idea I had been that stressed. Not that the first year was all bad. I remember so many sweet, precious things. And I loved watching them grow up and change. But I always felt like I had to be ready for the next phase - eating solid food, crawling, drinking from a sippy cup, learning to eat table food, drinking milk. There was always something new to think about.

Then they turned one and had gotten the hang of most of that and I could relax. Well, mentally. Physically, I was more active, chasing them and keeping an eye on them and making sure things didn't end up in the toilet.

It has been a really fun year and I am not quite ready for them to be two. Two means becoming more independent and potty-training and possibly moving out of the crib into a toddler bed. Oh, my. I'll have to work at keeping my shoulders relaxed this year. There are definitely things to look forward to - I'm looking forward to hearing them talk more and more. I love hearing them talk to each other. They have a unique relationship and it is truly heart-warming to see them make each other laugh.

Josh started writing little poems for the kids a few years ago and this year he did one for Rachel and Owen for the first time. He said he had to wait for their personality to develop more. He had lots to work with this year!

Owen's birthday poem from daddy:
My name is Owen and I'm two to date
But I think that my birthday is on my plate
I'm pretty sure that I've got a good arm
I throw stuff at Dad and cause him harm
I hope you like to read to me
I'll bring you books until I'm three
My middle name is the next thing I'll say
Since I hear it from my mom almost every day
Rachel is the boss as we make our rounds
Even though I outweigh her by seven pounds
Watch me close and prepare to get tough
'Cause I love to walk around and mess with stuff!

Rachel's birthday poem from daddy:

My name is Rachel and today I'm two
I wish my fingers could show you it's true
My bangs are so long they are in my eye
They get all wet whenever I cry
I'll tell you a story when you come out
But you won't understand what I'm talking about
I like to play with my dolls and it shows
As they lay around the house without their clothes
Owen and I are always on the go
We empty our dresser and say no-no
I'll help you out with whatever you do
'Cause my favorite phrase is "thank you"!

Spring cleaning for normal week - the living room

I hope week 1 went better for you than it did for me! I read the book and then kept my eyes open for trash but even though I'd get the trash out of a room one day, there would be more the next. I still have trouble areas - namely, the kitchen counter. I also have a hard time making decisions about what to keep and what to throw away or sell so there wasn't a whole lot I could do quickly.

That brings me to week 2. This week we're going to focus on the living room. For the whole scoop, check out this post at Biblical Womanhood. Since I just put up new bookshelves and have spent so much time putting up my books, there is no way I'm taking them all down now. I am opting to go through all my cupboards and storage areas and things on the shelves and try to weed out as much as possible. I started today with the cupboard in the end table. :) It was a baby step but it got done. Tomorrow I will tackle the entertainment center, which has many storage compartments.

I have read that you really only use and enjoy 20% of what you own and the other 80% keeps you from finding and enjoying the 20%. I believe there is a lot of truth in that. I don't just want bookshelves full of books - I'd rather have them half full of books that I love. When you have too many choices, you sometimes become overwhelmed and walk away instead of choosing one. I'd rather have 10 family games that we all love than 50 games that we don't play because we can never decide which one to get out. I know this happens with my kids, too. When I go through their stuffed animals or toys, suddenly they play with the things that are left because they are more easily accessible and visible.

I also tend to be nostalgic so it's good to remember that you don't have to keep an item to keep the memory. But you could always take a picture of the item. :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Up with people

I love music. I love all kinds of music. I love how it makes me feel. I love how certain memories are connected to certain songs and when I hear those songs, the memories just come flooding back. It's like my past is never that far away if it's connected to a song.

One album that was a big part of my childhood was Up With People. It was a group of college kids, I believe, that would go around and perform. My parents had the record Up With People, The 75/76 Show Album. I would listen to that record over and over, sitting on my bean bag with big huge headphones on. I'd have the album jacket open so I could read the words and sing along. Oh, how I loved that record.

For the last 5 years, I have been searching for it. I've looked on itunes, I've googled it, I've searched everyway I knew how but no luck. I thought my parents still had the record and had thought about buying a record-t0-cd converter so I could get a digital copy.

Today my dad shared the wonderful news - it is on itunes! I just downloaded it and feel like I'm back in 2nd grade. I just need the bean bag chair and the headphones!