Sunday, December 23, 2007

a lullaby of love....

The kids sang a few Christmas songs this morning. They did a great job - standing nice, singing nice and exiting nice. Of course, we had a nose picker or two but you just can't have a kids' event without that can you now? :)

If you're thinking we have an abnormal amount of black children for a tiny town right in the middle of the US. You're right. We are quite multi-cultural for Hick-ville, Nebraska! It's awesome.

If you haven't guessed from seeing other photos - my two older girls are in the back row. Chandler at the far left in the back row. Jaci is fourth from the right in the back row. Robin is second in on the left in the front row. She just commented on how she got to stand between her two best friends. And so she did.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

me an' my girls

See our pretty nails? After taking off work an hour early so I could pick the kids up on their last day of school before Christmas break - we headed to the city. The salon I get my acrylic nails done at, polishes young girls' (6 and under) nails free. So for a whole $18 I got my fill & polish and my 3 girls' nails polished. Not a bad price for 3 (well, 4) grinning princesses!

I decided to go all out and took the girls to Cold Stone for some fantastic ice cream (hello, Mudpie Mojo!) before heading back home to Daddy. We even stopped and picked up pizza on the way home. I think this could become a 'tradition' - if we actually had traditions in our family. {Ya see, we're liquid. We don't do things the same twice, ever. We kinda f-l-o-w through life. Really. It's my husband's fault. ;) }

Anyhoo, the fun has begun and will continue for 2 whole weeks while the girlies are stuck with Mommy, all day, everyday!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

4 year old conversation

As I was taking my 4 year old and her little friend to preschool the other day, this is the conversation I overheard. Mind you, they are FOUR -not fourteen!

Robin: My Dad is WEIRD! Not my Mom. Just my Dad is weird.

Friend: Well, my Dad AND my Mom are weird!

I tm'd hubby to let him know the news. He disagrees. :)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

generosity with a selfish twist

The girls all took some {hard-earned} money to Dollar Tree last night and bought gifts. Jaci and Chandler bought for our immediate family and then a friend or two. Robin bought one gift for a little friend and a pair of high heels ( you know the cheap, plastic kind) for herself. But today, while everyone was wrapping gifts, she decided those shoes should go to another one of her friends. Because, "OTHER people are supposed to buy me stuff, Mom". Very generous of you 3rd born daughter - even if there was a selfish twist to it.

So here's the kiddos holding their self-bought and self-wrapped gifts, that they are DYING to give NOW, in front of our tree - bought today in 16 degree weather (probably with a negative wind chill). Fun memories.

Monday, December 3, 2007

good golly

I already have to holler at my 4 year old (NUMEROUS times) to TURN DOWN THE RADIO. Good golly. What is it going to be like when she's 14?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

photos of the rooms



Monday, November 5, 2007

you're killin' me

Have I said how much my kids crack me up?

Mitch and I have been in discussion about getting rid of the cat. She's gotten really big since these days and she's pretty much a nuisance. The only child who would probably mourn this loss is Chandler. Tonight Mitch asked Chandler what she thought about letting Jane go live in the country, in someone's barn. (wink, wink) Chandler wanted to know "Why?"

"Because she's kinda a pain in the butt"

"Well, sometimes Robin is a pain in the butt." Implying that we would never get rid of little sister just because SHE was a pain in the butt. HA! What a smartie.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

our church's annual Harvest Party

Jaci is 'Kim Riley', an amazing woman from our church, worthy of being admired. She brought some of her own duds for Jaci to borrow for the night

Chandler is....Pink Panther. My creative bone amazes me (ha!). Chandler decided unwaveringly to be Pink Panther about 2 weeks ago. I'm glad the look didn't require too much ingenuity from me.

Robin wanted to be Cinderella. I'm glad that dress from a 'gently used' kids clothes store was her pick for a Cinderella dress. Throw in a tiara we already had and some new church shoes she needed anyway and wala, it's Cinderella!

So, my kids are brilliant at costumes. Pretty much everything I had to buy can be used in everyday use too - pink sweats, church clothes, pink headband (minus the foam ears)..... Yay for us not spending $20 + (each) on stuff we'll never wear again.

Oh, I even 'dressed up'. A camouflage shirt ($5 at Wal-Mart) with some jeans and my camo ballet flats - oh, and a black stocking cap. I was the Enemy's worst nightmare - secret agent style. Hehehe.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

intercessor in training

Yep, that's my 4 year old. Tonight we prayed through our church. It's been a wild last couple of months and things were honestly beginning to feel a little defiled. Call it Halloween evil spirits in the air or just intensified demonic activity in our region but we needed some Light to cut through some darkness and heaviness.

So we met with our 'elder' and his wife and prayed through the church. I decided to touch and pray over every 'door post' - each doorway. Robin tagged along. She mimicked me as I prayed over the first door, then the second. Then she took charge. Praying that bad people couldn't come in and mess up our church, because it's OUR church. Praying that bad people wouldn't come in and use our kitchen stuff, because it's B.C. (our town). It was awesome.

She ended up praying over every pew (yes, pews but chairs will be ordered soon, God willing!). She prayed over the offering plates with us. I'm not sure of all the pleas to Jesus but I do know one was for the football team. (maybe she has some prophetic insight?!?!)

It's such a blessing seeing your kids pray more than just over the food or the day. I encouraged her that Jesus heard her prayers and that He can make things happen when we ask Him to be involved. Yep, it was one of those 'blessed-to-see-signs-of-a-legacy' moment.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

classic moment

If you have never seen The Pink Panther - like the one with real people (as my kids say), you won't think this is the slightest bit funny. If you have seen it - you know where I'm comin' from...

The other night we were at Wendy's eating our dinner off the dollar menu. Chandler (6) started talking about compound words, so the family started listing a few. Mitch says, 'hamburger' with that true Steve Martin accent. So Jaci spouts off, "I have got two dam-bugas in my pocket." I about spewed my Coke. It was truly a classic moment.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

businesswoman in the making

The name of the book my 6 1/2 year old is reading aloud to her Daddy is "The Purple Cow". Though this sounds like a children's book, it is not. It's about being remarkable in the business world. She's learnin' young!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

progress reports

Today was parent/teacher conferences. We weren't too concerned since we stay pretty 'in touch' anyways. I love our school system. I know we're extremely blessed and it's not this good some places (OK, most places) but God definitely has His hand in our schooling decisions. Jaci's teacher has been at that school 14+ years. And Chandler's teacher has been there 24 years.

Chandler is the little star student, excelling in everything. She is very attentive and extremely neat in her work. (That spirit of perfectionism will challenge her character in years to come) The only thing that wasn't off the charts was her ability to do push-ups in Gym class. Darn. :)

Jaci is doing fabulous. Last year started off with her having to play catch up a little, after homeschooling the first years of her life. I'm amazed at where she is now, a year later - reading, spelling, writing - all things that she somewhat struggled in last year, she's got an 'A' in! She is very driven in her desire to excel. (Keep up the drive, baby)

I'm so thankful that God has placed us in this area. Our principal is a Christian, the superintendent is too, as well as many of the teachers. The environment at the school is very peaceful and I can be as involved as I want too. Actually, just today I was asked if I was interested in being a substitute 'para' for the teachers. (teacher's aide) For sure - I like doing life with my kids.

Monday, October 1, 2007

furry nose

Robin's exclamation tonight...

"He did it! Dad's cutting the fur out of his nose!"

Sunday, September 30, 2007

if the shoe fits

My kids really do crack me up on a daily basis. Even on days (like last night) when I want to tie them to the couch because they are soooo 'outta control' at Wal-Mart. But thank God, we live through those moments to indulge in the next 'melt mamma's heart' moment.

A crack me up kinda moment... Chandler put a sign on her door. It says, "If the shoe fits.... tie it". What?!?! Apparently, they have this sign at school. And she wanted a replicate on her bedroom door. Okaaayyy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I suggest....

Robin had preschool this morning which meant she needed to get up at the same time as the big girls. Last night, as I was putting them to bed, she told me, "I w'gest you wake me up." Very good suggestion, darling.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

my kids make me laugh

After this post and the last you'll think I'm a completely heathen mamma...

This morning on the way to school, the kids were pretty wound up. Chalk it up to Daddy coming home tonight or something.

Chandler sings, *"Move your body nice, and smooth and saucy..."

Do you think she's seen 'Madagascar' too many times? I'm sure I won't laugh near as much in ten years if she really is moving her body nice and smooth and saucy but today it was doggone funny.

* That's her exact words. I'm not sure of the exact lyrics, really.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

dirty little secrets

I pay my kids a dime each day for taking a vitamin.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

cold lunches

I was going to comment on the comment on the last post and figured it probably would be too long. So, though I have no real ingenious ideas, here's what goes into the lunch boxes of my girls....

Sandwiches - turkey, cheese, pb (no j for my picky kids)

Pasta Salad - toss leftover pasta with some italian dressing and that makes my girls happy. you could throw some chopped veggies, diced cheese, pepperoni, diced ham or whatever they like.

Meat, Cheese, Crackers

Lettuce Salad - this is a rarity, but sometimes Jaci wants salad. she doesn't like anything extravagant so it works for me.

Cold wraps - anything you put on sandwiches can go in a tortilla. Chandler has had me melt cheese on a tortilla and wrap it in foil with hopes it would still be warm at lunch. I don't think it was, but she didn't mind. of course, now maybe I could squish it into a thermos, eh Cindy? :)

Speaking of thermos... We bought cheap thermoses this year (and may have to upgrade) but that does open up a world of possibilities.

Ramen Noodles, Soups, cheesy burritos....

My kids don't like chips and salsa but if they did, I'd do that. I don't buy things lunch-box convenience-packaged very often (we go through LOTS of snack-sized baggies) but every once in a while I let them pick a Lunchable.

We have a rule, they have to take a fruit or veggie. Usually it's carrot sticks or apple wedges. I dip the apple wedges in lemon juice to keep them from turning brown before lunch. Sometimes, Chandler will do a banana or grapes. They don't like canned fruit, otherwise you could do cute little fruit cups. :)

They usually throw in pretzels or chips. We love string cheese around here. Sometimes (rarely) I get fruit roll ups or fruit snacks. And right now I have a case of pudding in the cupboard from Sam's Club.

I bought little drink bottles that they filled with yucky Country Time powdered lemonade last year. This year I vowed to cut down on sugary drinks. They do water bottles (I splurged on the Aquapods) or juice packs because they don't drink milk really.

Kraft has a Lunchbox builder website. To me, it's basically a different spin on the same ol', same ol' but sometimes that's all ya need!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

how's school going?

We all seem to be acclimating well into the school year schedule. You'd think the girls have grown up all their lives in this school, the way it's all so natural to them. Even with new teachers, it's all good. So, what does our day look like since I'm no longer a homeschool mamma? So glad you asked. :o)

5:50 - I'm up and to the shower. I can rush and be ready in about 30-40 minutes but I like having a tad of time to sip a cup of coffee while applying my 'face'.

6:50 - I wake up the big girls and they have a 'gourmet' breakfast of a bowl of cold cereal or {the latest fave} a frozen Eggo.... with juice.

7:00 - I like to wake Robin up a little later so I don't have THREE kids barking breakfast orders. So after Jaci and Chandler are happily munching away, I bring the third child to the table.

While they munch, I've been reading the first verse of the Proverb of the day. We discuss what it means and how it applies to them and hopefully their day.

After they eat, it's off for clothes, hair and teeth. I'm already seeing that someone better move to the downstairs bathroom in the not too distant future because even three young girls in one bathroom is a trick!

Hopefully they're ready in time to feed and water the cat before we head out, otherwise she's left in daddy's care. To save time in the mornings, they pick their clothes out the night before and pack lunches the night before {if they don't like the hot lunch menu for the day}.

7:40 - We load up to pick up the other little chica who goes to preschool with Robin. Then we head east, their school is 18 minutes away...taking the interstate. (If we're running late, we take the dirt road - it saves us 4 minutes)

8:05 - We've dropped the big girls off and now I have 20 minutes to kill before I can drop the preschoolers off. Sometimes, I stop and get a cup of 'Jamaican me Crazy' coffee. It's good! Since, it's nice out, we usually play at the playground for a few minutes or take a little walk before going into preschool.

8:30 - Now, that I'm child-free, I head home. This is where my schedule gets fuzzy. Here are my 'intentions'....

Monday mornings - spend with hubby. It's his day off so we've declared it 'date morning'....after he returns from Romania anyway.

I'm hoping to spend that 9:00 hour with Jesus the rest of the days. Then I'll have a little time to breeze through some housework before heading to work at 11am on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

Robin gets home from preschool around noon. So we eat lunch together and then do whatever's on the days list. Of course, now I'll be working some so those days are different....

2:40 - Time to head east again. The girls get out at 3:15 but I like to actually find a parking place so I like getting there around 3.

3:40 - When we get home, the girls have a snack and work on homework - which has been very light so far. (yay)

5:00 - I begin supper prep (oh yeah, I'll have to cook again since hubby's done with his fast) and we eat between 5:30 and 6pm.

8:00 - The girls begin their 'next day prep' {lunches, clothes, backpacks} and then get into pj's so they can mellow down before heading to bed about 8:30. If it's before 9, I like to read to them from a 'classic' and we started "Little Women" but haven't read for a week or so. The version of Little Women I started, I hate. It's huge and intimidating to ME so I'll either find the original or maybe move on to something else.

I forgot how nice it is to have an hour, or two, (or three...) to wind down before heading to bed myself. My PLAN is to work out after the girls are down - either jog (while it's still nice outside) or pop in a kick-boxing video. We'll see how this goes.

So there's a, a somewhat detailed version of what a day looks like at my house!

Friday, August 24, 2007

a little somethin' we do

Last night, we took the girls to McDonald's (their choice). It wasn't on the agenda but something happened earlier in the day to warrant the trip to the fast food joint of their choice.

See, My Beloved made a commitment to them YEARS ago, that.... when we get comments from strangers on their good behavior (NOT how cute they are, that would drive us to the poor house :o>) that we will bless them. They are a blessing to others - we bless them.

Yesterday, as I was leaving their school after eating lunch with Chandler and then hanging out with Jaci at recess, one of the teacher's aides (or whatever they call them these days) came up to me and said, "I just want to tell you have DELIGHTFUL your girls are....and I don't just say that to everyone."

Ah, that warms a mamma's heart, ya know?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

emotionally unattached mom...

...Yeah, that's me. I think there's something really wrong with me, like I don't truly love my kids or something. I mean, shouldn't a mother who is sending her baby off to preschool feel sad or something? Shouldn't I be sent into emotional turmoil and mama bear claws of protection flare?

But no, none of that happened yesterday. I wasn't one bit hit with a nervous stomach ache as Robin boldly walked up to the preschool door. I was just....happy. Not happy that, WooHoo, my life's my OWN now. But just happy for this next chapter in life - for all of us. And, sheesh, she's been soooo excited about starting preschool, it would seem a shame for me to be sad when she is so stinkin' happy. I'm happy for her. I'm happy our lives extend beyond ourselves into the community.

So, if being happy that my kids have this life of school makes me a bad mom then, I confess. But if rejoicing with those that rejoice and strategically launching my arrows into our planet (with MUCH prayer) is OK, then maybe I'm not such a bad mom after all.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

at the edge of my seat

Jaci, ready for 4th gradeChandler, ready for 1st grade

So, today...first day of school! Our morning did not go as well as this lovely families did yesterday. But we made it. Everybody got up in time and was ready but at the last minute it started to rain which meant we needed to take the interstate instead of the gravel road. Which meant we should of left 5 minutes earlier. And when we finally did head to the car, Chandler needed to go potty first. And as I was finally the last one out the door, I realized their lunchboxes were still in the fridge. Yeah, chaos. But, like I said, we made it.

This year is number 2 in public school. Last year was our 'big change' as the older two girls went to public school for the first year. I'd home schooled Jaci from pre-school up through 2nd grade. And just started Chandler on some pre-school/kindergarten stuff. I'd felt God stirring in my heart about not home schooling since mid-year of the last home school year and then last August we took the plunge.

God confirmed that we were obedient through the entire school year and wow, it does a heart good to know you're living in obedience. The kids will continue in the same public school this year and then, as we said from the VERY beginning, we will take one year at a time. (My Beloved said that about kids too - we didn't set a number or not set a number if you please -he said, we'll take them one at a time. And so we have ....three.)

Anyways, this week brings yet another transition for our family, as little Robi-bird will head to preschool for 3 mornings a week. I've never sent any kids to preschool before. Never really thought I ever would. But after living a year in an only child mode, Robin seems to be a prime candidate for a pre-school (as in, pre-kindergarten) life. There's something about how a mother bonds with her last child that may make life more traumatic when the last one 'flies'. And this seems like the best way to make August 2008 a bit more bearable for her and me. She's pumped and has been asking WHEN she starts, for months. Tomorrow can't come fast enough for her.

I'm not sure what this year is going to be like. We still are believing for some radical changes within our ministry - life would change drastically for me then. I'm at the edge of my seat though, waiting for whatever God opportunities 2007-2008 will bring.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

9 years ago...yesterday

Yes, 9 years ago yesterday I had just birthed my first child (in the comfort of our own home). After about 10 hours of easy, slow labor and a few more hours of hard, real labor - our first girl had arrived; 7 lbs. 2 oz. and lots of dark hair, she was a beauty. Well after her very-cone-shaped head turned into a nice little round head. :o)

So yesterday we celebrated the 9 awesome years of Jaci's life. She wanted a carnival theme so we cooked up some delicious, fatty, high-calorie, high sugar foods and invited 3 families over to party with us. We put up some outdoor games that she got as an early present from her grandparents so the kids had some outdoor fun while the adults mostly chatted within the air-conditioned haven of our home.

From this angle, the cake almost looks like a hot air balloon, but it's not. Jaci was pretty adamant about having a ferris wheel cake. So even though I told her I didn't think it would be the most fabulous-looking cake we've ever done, she still wanted it - so that's what she got.

This is what we got her. A 'craft bag' filled with scrapbook supplies. She lives up to her name which is 'maker of the beautiful' - Jaci Taylor.
The most unique gift she got was 4 snails... like real aquarium snails. What do you do with snails?

This is Jaci and her aunt. Yes, not her cousin, but her 7 1/2 year old aunt. I told you we were a crazy big family. :o)

Happy Days, Jaci-Mace! We're so very proud of you!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

we live too close

So we surprised the kids. At the beginning of summer I had made some plans to make sure the summer didn't pass without us doing something 'out of the norm'. We got in a few crafts and the kids did a gob of reading but most of the plans that required finances - got duped. Except....the Surprise Day which was last Monday.

The kids have been looking forward to this surprise and have had no idea what it could be. We took them to a hotel in the city just 1/2 hour away. And this is why... We stayed in this particular hotel a few times before we moved to this area and the kids dubbed it our hotel. Since we moved here a little over 2 years ago, the kids have asked numerous times, "When are we going to stay at our hotel?" And our answer? "Never. We live too close."

Well, we decided to fulfill their desires and book a room. They didn't have it figured out until I actually went in to get the key to our room. Score for mom's secret behavior! They got to swim as much as they wanted, ate out twice, and got to have Belgian waffles in the lobby for free. All when we could have just driven to our house a mere 30 minutes away. Fun times in the life of a kid.

Even for my hubby and I, it was fun to escape a little bit from the mundane. Of course, we can never use the "We live too close" line again. Dang.

Monday, August 6, 2007

black pieces of poo

In a home of 3 little ladies, you can bet that 'playing house' is top on the list of things to do. They often have every doll and stuffed animal out, thus each having extremely large 'families'. They play what they see - everything as 'real life' as possible.

So, last night I notice Robin cutting smallish bits of black construction paper. Didn't pay much attention. I'm used to her itty-bitty messes. Next thing I see is her pulling a diaper off a doll with...the black construction paper stuffed in it. Hmmm, if only real poopy diapers were that easy to clean up. She did all the antic of a messy, smelly diaper though. "Ew, gross, baby, you stink."

I'm sure that one was a learned trick from her big sisters and, wow, aren't they creative?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

'can't forget' phrases

It is really funny to hear a 4 year old say, "Ah, that's gotta hurt." But yesterday, while watching a 'biggest splash' contest at the pool, that's the phrase from Robin's lips. Later that day, it popped out during some show about sharks.

She's learned it from the pool this summer. Too many big kids doing wild flips from the board and too many little kids learning to dive -and not quite making it. Funny stuff.

Monday, July 30, 2007

my baby is 4

Here's the birthday queen! Robin turned 4 yesterday. Yes, my 'baby' is now 4. Talk about a new page in life. I've never had a 'baby' who was 4. My other 2 each stopped being the 'baby' at
2 1/2 yrs. Wow.

We went with an 'under the sea' theme after seeing some cupcakes at Sam's Club with crabs, seahorses, etc on them. I found this idea online. I also made Mock Sushi. (I guess this link is for the 'how to' video. somehow they deleted the actual recipe. And of course, I forgot to take pics.) Very cute. And yummy too!

For some reason, Little Bird asked for an alarm clock for her birthday. Maybe because she is starting pre-school in a couple weeks? Not sure. But I figured I'd make her day by spending the $5. :o)

A little story about the child who was born on July 29th... When I was pregnant with my first child, I was 'confident' I would go late. My mom was always late, my grandma delivered twins 2 weeks late, blah, blah, blah. So, no surprise when Daughter #1 showed up 12 days late. Crazy enough, Daughter #2 was also 12 days late. Now with Robi-bird, being my 3rd child, I was just SURE that I would go on time, maybe even early I thought. (I also thought she was a boy) But even if she wasn't 'on time', I could not possibly go over 12 days late, right? Ha. This child was 1 day shy of being 3 weeks late! In case you're wondering what insane doctor let a woman go that long in this age - I had a great doc that I saw through the pregnancies and then delivered at home... all three girls. That to say, we tend to do things the old-fashioned, natural way in my circles.

So she arrived, finally, at 9 lbs. 2 oz. A beautiful, full head of dark hair, big baby. Some said she looked like an 'Indian' baby (like really from India). And with that weight, kept up the pattern of each of my children being one pound heavier than the last. THAT, my friends, is why we have 3 - not 4!

It was soon obvious that this child was blessed with passion. In her infancy, it was mamma's milk she was passionate about. I've never had such an aggressive nurser. 4 years later, her passion comes out in different ways (though she still likes to eat!). I don't want to damper that passion, just direct it towards Jesus and His ways. She is my free-spirited little bird - flitting where she may!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

ah, yes GRACE

Funny that my last post was titled 'Grace and more Grace'. I have child who was in need of it for the past two days.

Thursday we had a picnic in the town the kids go to school in. Chandler (6) ended up taking a library book up to the picnic tables. I told her it probably wasn't the best idea but to be sure to get it when we left. Well, wouldn't you know, heading down the interstate to the big town for the afternoon, she discovered she had left it there. Ugh. We don't live in that town, so I had no one I could call and ask to pick it up. Double ugh.

We decided to phone the library and ask them to pretty please go and get it and hold it for us. They accommodated. Thank You Jesus.

Then Friday morning.....the girls were up and ready for summer school early so they had time to play for a while. When it was time, I hollered down for them to get their shoes on and get in the car. They I thought when I saw them both in the car. We head down the gravel road a little ways when Jaci pipes up, "Chandler doesn't have any shoes on." I'm thinking, like she took them off in the car? Ah, no, she didn't put her shoes on before she got in the car! Now, we are typically a barefoot family. It's pretty normal for the kids not to put shoes on if we're just running to the church or something so it's understandable, sorta. But incredibly frustrating when we're headed to school and have to turn around. Sheesh.

I can't say I handled either situation perfectly but probably better than I would have 2 months ago. Sigh.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

grace and more grace

I just finished reading Grace Based Parenting...again. My inner-parenting-self so resonates with the heart of this book but so many times my parenting does not reflect grace. Here's a few notes, which I may have blogged in the past but obviously I needed another reminder.

Humanity's (thus, children's) 3 driving inner needs:
1. A need for security
2. A need for significance
3. A need for strength

Grace doesn't fit well with stricter models of parenting. Grace often contradicts parenting plans that want to distill roles down into checklists. Grace-based parenting is a heart-activated plan that takes its cues from a daily walk with Jesus Christ. Because of this, grace and strict parenting textbooks will never find themselves in agreement.

Grace based families are homes where children are given:
1. The freedom to be different
2. The freedom to be vulnerable
3. The freedom to be candid
4. The freedom to make mistakes

Grace helps you find the balance point in a world of extremes and keeps you from investing your energies in a long list of things that don't matter.

Legalistic parents maintain a relationship with God through obedience to a standard. The goal of all this when it comes to their children is to keep sin from getting into their home....When these children do sin, they are punished more for allowing the sin to happen than they are for the fact that it happened.

Grace-based homes are not homes without sin or regrets. They are just homes where, no matter what, you can't be written off.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

water fun

While visiting my family this past weekend, we spent an evening at my aunt's house, swimming. I had a ball playing with my 1 1/2 yr. nephew who is fearless in water! The girls had a blast, jumping off the board, trying to dive and just rough-housing with their uncles and aunts (most, there own ages).

Little Robi-bird started jumping off the side with no flotation devices (usually she wears 'water wings') and kicking her legs like a pro to get the 4 foot over to the steps, head under water! Go Rob-head!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

insult or compliment

Yesterday, Robin told me my hair looked like Jimmy Neutron's. When I answered, "What?!?!" She said, "The MOM on Jimmy Neutron. It curls up like hers." I asked if that was a good thing and she said Yes. Well, that's good. I really don't like being insulted by a {almost} 4 year old, but if that's a compliment, I'll take it!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

don't get me wrong

I'm going to tell you that my girls have really played together well this summer but don't get me wrong - they still fight sometimes, it seems like non-stop. But really, they are incredibly creative when it comes to playing dolls, house, church, school, library, store, etc. They will go into the basement or sunroom or their bedrooms and I can be left in my own world for literally hours.

Dense mother that I am, I asked my husband if this was really a GOOD thing. I think he was, like, 'duh, enjoy it girl.'

The only problem with their creativity is the MESS that it brings. And I have a hard time with messes. I'm really trying to loosen up but sheesh, (I'll let you in on a secret) I really like a picture-perfect house. (How's that for transparency?)

So the girls and I, we have an unspoken compromise - they can trash the house while they play but they have to pick it when it's time. So far this week, they've done really well with our deal - and I think I have too.

So we're enjoying the last drops of summer vacation around here. School starts in, what, 4 weeks I think. I haven't accomplished near as much 'training' as I had planned with the girls but I think I've decided oh well. What's a summer break for anyways? Playing house and trashing the real house, of course.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

birthday parties

The big girls are each invited to a birthday party this week. Actually Jaci has already left, hers is an overnighter. Chandler goes on Tuesday for the afternoon. Fun times.

The girls and I will visit Memo & Papa (my parents) this weekend - three hours away. While there, we'll get to attend an anniversary party for our friends/pastors from our home church. Ah, summertime.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

personality test

In the same frame of mind as I posted in my other blog, I found this FREE kids personality test. They are recommended for ages 7-12 but I did one for my 6 y.o. too. Though I don't think it's as accurate as the results for my 8 1/2 y.o.

I'm a freak about personality quizzes, love languages, gifting profiles, etc. It actually helps me be a little more understanding with people's 'quirks' (and by that I mean, what I perceive as quirks because they are different than me!)

Anyways, it was fun to do THESE for my kids.

Monday, July 9, 2007

cocoa bean

This is our little CocoaBean! She will turn 4 in just 2 short weeks. She was dubbed CocoaBean by a black woman in our church who noticed how tan she is getting. You can't tell by the picture but she is DARK! We love looking at her tan lines - and her 'white butt'. So funny. She wanted this bandana tied on after I (being silly) put it on earlier tonight. But Jaci's (8 y.o.) comment was, "Well, atleast she's the right color for it!" Yeah, I guess so. Daddy called her Jemima. :o)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

july news

Chandler-bean lost her second tooth yesterday! "I was just twisting it and it fell out."
Now she's searching her mouth for any other hint of looseness.

In other news... This is the pile of candy the kids 'bagged' from the big 4th of July parade in our 4th of July City! Thankfully, they are pretty picky candy eaters so we eliminated a portion of it...after I picked out what I like!

And oh, since I'm working backwards anyways....Here's the chicks in their cheerleaders get up. They won the "Husker Fan" Division (my eyes are rolling because of the SIXTEEN categories). They did get $10 cash instead of a gift card though. :o)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

they are thrilled

Tomorrow's the BIG day. The kids parade here in our tiny little town. This is our 3rd year of participation. To some families here in town - this is a BIG deal. Like a Little Miss pageant, they spend way too much money and time on a float and dressing their kids up for the 3 blocks (or is it 2?) they coast through downtown.

Anyways, our idea's are usually pretty thrown together. Number 1, I'm not terribly creative. Number 2, it's a KID's parade, down 2-3 blocks with MAYBE 100 people watching, probably more like 50. And number 3, I want this to be FUN for my kids. I don't want them to have to endure phsyco-neurotic mom for a month because I'm 'getting the float ready'. (plus with SIXTEEN judging categories, everyone wins (a $10 giftcard to WalMart).

Wow. I guess I have some pretty serious issues about this deal. I feel better. :o)

All that said, my kids are being cheerleaders . I bought cheap little white skirts, cheap little red tank-tops, and cheap little white shoes for girls that needed them. My splurge? Little mascot tattoos for their cheeks. And they are thrilled.

Oh, in other news....Channer-bean has just about mastered riding her bike, sans-training wheels! The only practice still needed is the starting part. Yay for my 6 year old!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

a regular post

I started to comment on the comment on the last post and it turned out quite long (as a comment) so I'll turn it into a regular post....

It was a grace filled day. The kids did really good with the food limitations. My middle one (6) even did fruits and veggies only all day until about 5:30. If you knew our family, you'd know this is quite a feat.

The other 2 just cut out sugary things, including the beloved 'pink lemondade' which is actually koolaid, ya know. Again, a pretty big deal for them.

We had a good prayer time in the evening and I prayed blessing over them, using their name meanings as a reference. Pretty cool!

Now we just stand still and see what the Lord will do....

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

in the middle of it all

Tomorrow has been dubbed an all church day of consecration for our local body. My Beloved has called people to fast - however they feel led - and then come for a time of prayer in the evening. Of course, in our home, this filters down to the kiddos.

We discussed tonight what they would do. I know their little minds don't fully grasp the 'fasting principle' - heck, I don't think I do. But we all know we are giving something up to show Jesus that we love Him more....more than our favorite ________. (For me, every type of physical food is my favorite so I have to give it ALL up. :o>)

So, I'm praying for grace. For me. For the girls to experience God in a real way, a way that their short years will know Him as reality. I believe this will be a sacred day in the life of our Body. Not that we've never spent time seeking Him in this way before. But, this is a NOW moment for us. And I want my girls to be right in the middle of it all.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

lest parents of boys think....

.....that parents of girls don't get the 'gross out' moments. A story for ya...

Today I was doing some much needed housework. After our week of swimming lessons and VBS'ing - the house was in dire need of some tender loving care. (the fact we're having 2 families over for lunch tomorrow didn't have anything to do with it - ha!) Anyways, I was doing some housework and noticed a couple windows on our french doors into our sunroom were pretty smudged so I grabbed the Windex and knelt down. As I approached the window, I realized what the smudge was - BOOGERS! Oh. my. Gosh. Of course, it was the doing of the 3 y.o. She grabbed a kleenex and 'got it'. Yeah, right. I did some serious scrubbing with Windex and papertowels to get that smear off. Deee-scus-ting!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

cowboy lapse

The girls, especially the older ones, have the worst sunburns they've probably ever had. They never really burn beyond pink cheeks and shoulders but 8 hours in the sun over 2 days did them in.

Since we don't have swimming lessons tomorrow, we're going to lounge around shirt-less and watch movies tomorrow. (well, I don't have a sunburn so I'll keep mine on!) No swimming lessons also means we get to catch up on sleep a little before tomorrow night's VBS finale. Wah-Hoo! (click the link to understand why I just had a cowboy lapse)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

$15 total

This was the first day of swimming lessons because of rain yesterday morning. The 2 older girls were signed up and ready to roll. I had decided against having Robin take this year because I wasn't sure she was tall enough and she was OK with not taking.

Well, we found out all her friends were starting up this year so she (and I) decided to give it a shot. She LOVED it. She has one of the most passionate personalities of anyone I know - and the lifeguard's got a taste of that today. Makes me giggle.

Tomorrow this foursome of 3 and 4 year olds will jump off the diving board for probably the first times in their little lives. Robin's pumped. (we'll see how pumped she is when she gets out there tomorrow) Fun times.

I love our small town pool. Our family of 5 swims all summer for $50. The 3 kids take 2 weeks of lessons for $15 TOTAL. How great is that?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

little athlete & a clear picture

(just mamma's ramblings here. for documentary purposes.)

Jaci had Volleyball Camp last week. Four afternoons. She really liked it and apparently did pretty well. She earned a certificate that they didn't just pass out to everyone.

She also is in the middle of softball season. This is only her second year but she enjoys that too.

This opposite-of-sporty mamma has herself a little athlete in the making. I'm proud of her.


In other kid happenings....

Last Wednesday Jesus chose to reveal Himself to my girls in a very real way. We were at prayer and the kids were doing their own thing. No problem so far.

Earlier in the day, the youngest 2 were playing at the neighbor's and I told them NOT to get wet. (the wading pool was out)

So back to prayer. Jaci came in after prayer, soaked and said, "I accidentally got wet." Yeah, right. I, evidently, wasn't clear on my non-approval and she went back and continued playing in the water.

As we are just about to get in the car, Chandler comes over, soaked. She KNEW the no-getting-wet-rule so this was in the spanking realm. I gave the needed warning and we headed home.

They were both sent to put pj's on and wait for discipline. That minute I got a phone call. The neighbor, taking full blame for them both getting wet. Now, it was not his fault they got wet and I contemplated carrying out full judgment. BUT I got a Holy Spirit nudge to use this as a picture of Jesus.

They were both guilty, deserving of punishment. YET someone else was accepting full responsibility for their wrong doing. What a clear picture of the Gospel, eh?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

totally unscripted

This happened a week ago (june 3) but I don't want to forget...

We were sitting visiting with a couple guys after our 20-somethings group, and Robin all the sudden ran and jumped on Mitch's lap. She whispered in his ear, "I wanna pray." And so she did. She prayed for the guys and our family and that was that.

Totally unscripted, unprompted, but beautiful.

Friday, June 1, 2007

barbarian spirit

So my kids are inheriting the 'barbarian spirit'. The city pool opened today and it was freeeeezing. No joke. They just filled the pool this week. The weather has been very spring like, low 70's. And there is no heater in pool. Today's high was like 72 or something and it rained off and on. BUT the pool opened regardless and we were there. I went fully clothed and had goosebumps sitting there beside the pool. But my kids can say they were there on Day 1. They're nuts I tell ya!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

i guess they're a hit

I thought I'd throw a fun activity in for May - even though, my plans were zilch for the whole month of May as to get refreshed from the school year. Anyways, the 'fun thing' was to take the girls into Barnes & Noble and buy them each a book - or 2, if they could keep it under $10.

Robi-bird decided on more of a board book that is educational - like colors, shapes, etc. - but the lure was the 4 puzzle pieces on front, that can be fit in throughout the book.

Jaci went with a Junie B. Jones book, number 17 I think and an Easy Reader about 'Dash' (as in 'The Incredible's').

Chandler-bean finally decided on a Junie B. book, number 7 I think and an Easy Reader about 'Nemo' ('Finding Nemo').

I also picked up an educational workbook for each of them to take to my parents' next week. They homeschool year round and I figured my kids could have some quiet book time too, if 'Meemo' sees fit.

Also, arriving in the mail today was the first box set of Junie B. Jones books. The kids had never read any of them before but now have each finished one. And I see that Jaci is part way through a second. I guess they're a hit.

Friday, May 25, 2007

how cool is that

My kiddos are in day 2 of a lemonade stand. Do you know people in small towns actually stop at lemonade stands....and buy....and tip? How cool is that?!?!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Holy Spirit led a 3 1/2 year old

Today at lunch little Robi-bird prayed this prayer....

And help the mommies not to kill their babies and give them to us because we love babies.

Now, we are absolutely anti-abortion, pro-adoption but it is not a topic of conversation around our kids. (Not on purpose, it's just never come up.) I went around the table questioning the girls and Mitch if she had prayed this way prompted by something she had heard them pray or even say - nada.

I am overwhelmed by the fact that she truely must have prayed this way prompted by the Holy Spirit Himself. Two and half years ago, I started having a desire to adopt at some point. (I'd NEVER thought about it before then.)

I'm starting to think God really does have a plan that includes adoption for our family! Your will be done, Jesus!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

summer has begun

Thursday the kids got out of school at 11:20 - for good, well, for the summer anyways. We decided to pack a picnic lunch and head over to the new playground for a couple hours before heading home.

The kids then signed up for the library's summer reading program. They were a little leery of what they were getting into but quickly jumped right in and read for the next 24 hours, with a little sleep in between!

So far our plans to kick back and enjoy the remainder of May, without an alarm clock, is going well. The house is even picked up so we're having fun but not trashing the house. Always a good thing. The weather's been fantastic so we've been outside alot. I guess that helps the house issue.

We have very few plans for the rest of the month but jump into June with a splash and swim like crazy the rest of June. The kids go to my parents the week we head to San Antonio, then back to Volleyball camp, VBS, ball games, swim lessons, a wedding or two and likely much more.

I'm enjoying the quiet of this moment for sure!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

what's that? um, a mop my darling

This happened awhile back but it's worth remembering...

For about 6 glorious months, I had a working Scooba. I loved my Scooba. My kids talked to Scooba like it was our personal pet. Then, as the lovely manual said it would, the battery died after about 6 months. Scooba wouldn't go 45 seconds and would sound his "I'm dead" alarm. We're too cheap/poor (actually read: I'd rather do something else with my $30 each paycheck) to replace the battery, sooo.....

So one fateful day, I did it, I pulled out the dreaded mop. And get this - my 3 year old looked at it with curiosity and asked "What's that?" ?!?!?!

It really hadn't been that long but I guess she became so attached to Scooba that she forgot the old-fashioned way of cleaning our tile floors!

Monday, May 14, 2007

jumping, tossing and running

Friday the kids had Field Day. We went to watch. It began as a beautiful day and turned out rather hot but it was fun all the same. Chandler won the spoon race (dashing with a small ball - instead of egg - on a spoon). And Jaci did awesome at the sack race and the running races.

Following the morning of jumping, tossing, and running was the Talent Show. We decided to stay (but later decided we could've skipped) and watch these elementary kids strut their stuff. I was so reminded of the old days of Home School Performing Arts Nights. Minus a couple country songs sung, the afternoon was filled with classical piano pieces and kids singing the current Christian pop songs. (I told you we were in an awesome school district!)

Since neither of my girls were in the show, I'd have to say that my favorite act was a Kindergarten boy who sang "Ring of Fire". Probably why this was such a hit to me is because I just watched "Walk the Line" last week and actually understood why he came up and said, "Hi, my name is Sam C." Otherwise, being the sheltered homeschool grad that I am - I wouldn't have had a clue how funny it was that he said that, let alone who even sang the song. The kid did a great job too - all lines memorized and sang on key. His mama should be proud!

So, the kids are counting down – 2 ½ days until school is out!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

something's burning my eyes

OK, this is kinda gross, but it had me in tears, I was laughing so hard.

Last night after church Robin was in the bathroom. Mitch and I were standing outside the door, in the youth room waiting. We hear a voice, "Oh, I just got my last poop out." That's great.

The following words out of her mouth? "Something's burning my eyes."

Monday, May 7, 2007

freeked my mom out

Chandler-bean's class went to the zoo on Friday. I went along. Today in school Chandler-bean wrote a paper about the trip to the zoo, and I quote my kindergartener....

My mom holded the millipede.
It freeked my mom out.
Ashleys mom gave us some food so we could feed the goats.

Her words are quite accurate except that a man actually held the millipede on my arm so I could feel it walk on me. Ew. I'm cringing again. Oh, and by the way, I closed my eyes and turned my head as this happened. Yes, I am a girl - a prissy, girly girl and I hate creepy crawlies. The only reason I did this is that a burst of slight barbarianism stirred up in me as my 6 year old daughter looked on.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

goin' to town

Robi-bird dropped a chunk of "Turtle Cake" on the floor tonight. Of course, Jane (the cat) pounced on it. Robi asked, "do you really think she'll eat all of that?"

My response, "well, she's really goin' to town on it."

Robi, "No, don't take her to town. I wanna keep 'er."

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

she's in.... and other news

So, Robi's signed up for preschool this fall. What am I getting myself into? We shall see.

Chandler informed me that she cried at school today. She cried because she misses their student teacher - who of course, finished her student teaching and left. I didn't realize she had grown so attached to her. This one's got a soft heart - Jesus mold it and shape it.

Jaci had a heartbreaker of a lesson today. She auditioned, with a friend, for the school talent show. They were having my hubby play guitar to accompany them and only practiced with him once, right before the audition. Needless to say, their cute little act didn't cut it. I'm sure it would have with more practice but....oh well, there's always next year. Here's where we 'weep with those that weep'.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

kitty chiropractor

My husband and I have a habit (probably a bad one) of popping each other's backs. Actually, he does a good job on mine, I make a weak attempt at doing his.

Anyway, today Robi-bird was kind of laying over the cat. I asked her what she was doing. "I'm popping Jane's back." Um, probably not a good idea sweetheart.

Monday, April 30, 2007

the girls don't kiss me anymore

The girls now just jump out of the car and run up to school in the mornings, even my 6 y.o. I don't think I was prepared for no kisses in elementary school. Sigh.

(Don't be alarmed. I still sometimes snatch them back for a kiss before they take off. The point is - they're OK without one. Sigh.)

Friday, April 27, 2007

like totally

I was talking with Robi-bird about Chandler's friend coming over today and her response -

Today !?!?! That's impossibly cool!

Yeah, like totally.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

this tool

While I was down at IHOP, I knew I couldn't return to the girls empty-handed so I visited the Forerunner Bookstore. I ended up buying "Hinds' Feet on High Places" arranged for children by Dian Layton. Together we've read just the first chapter which was broken into two parts but it's really good. It's inspired good conversation with the girls.

We haven't really done any bible study type books for quite a while so I'm happy for this tool in this season!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

more teeth falling out

Another lost tooth! This time, Jaci-Mace. Both of her top front 'big' teeth had already come in but one baby tooth was holding on, being pushed in between them. Not good. We had a dentist appointment scheduled for Tuesday but it got postponed. And in the mean time, Daddy got determined and yanked it out Thursday night. Woo-Hoo!

We had a deal with the loss of this tooth.... I had spent a little more on a 'clearance' jacket than I had said I would - with a condition, she couldn't have it until the tooth came out. For a while she was diligent to wiggle, wiggle, wiggle but then she got lax. So when she called me Thursday night to tell me that the tooth was out. The next words were, "Now I can wear my jacket tomorrow!" Good job, big sis!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Yesterday morning I went and visited a preschool, Good Shepherd Lutheran. We've never done the preschool thing before but are seriously considering it for little Robi-bird for next year. Her life is quite different than the other girls' was at this age, being the only child at home all day.

I really like the gal who runs the preschool. She's a fun gramma-type, well actually she IS a grandma. She's been teaching preschool for over 20 years. And a good friend from church told me that all her 4 grown children had this lady as their preschool teacher and that she was awesome. This friend is a woman I highly respect as a Godly mamma, who has amazing children - all serving God today.

Our other option for sending Robi somewhere would be the Montessori preschool and I don't think that is the way we want to go. The 3rd option is that she doesn't go anywhere but I 'vow' to dedicate more one-on-one time with her. Unfortunately, my vows don't usually get fulfilled.

So, much prayer is going up for wisdom in this decision. Until then, there's only 4 weeks of school left before summer break and we are sooooo excited around!

Monday, April 16, 2007

first tooth lost!

My middle princess lost her first tooth yesterday at church. It's been sooooo loose. She was in Children's Church and pushed it with her tongue and was surprised when it came out! Congrats, Chandler-Bean!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

stepping through life

It's been our tradition for close to 2 years now, that I give the little gals pedicures when Daddy has a board meeting. So once a month, I wash my princesses feet. Tonight as I scrubbed their little toesies, I prayed that God be Lord over all the steps of their life-journey.

We traditionally watch a movie while I pamper their little feet. Tonight it was Charlotte's Web - the new version. Pretty good movie, though I'm a sucker for the animated oldie.

Now, it's bedtime and I may be headed there shortly too. Yawn. Is this what 29 is about?

Monday, April 9, 2007


So, we pretty much have a rule at holidays, like Easter and Christmas, that the 'no candy before lunch' rule goes out the window. I don't tell them this but the kids aren't really expected to eat much 'real food' - though I do hope they eat a few bites of something that isn't sugar-loaded. So has the weekend been - much chocolate, jelly beans and the like - little veggies.

But the weekend is now over, back to real life - school, semi-healthier food and bedtimes.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

broken glass

Robin broke my mirror this morning. It was just a little hand one from Wal-Mart. I didn't yell at her (amazingly). But I wasn't sure how to handle this. We had just talked for probably over 2 minutes about being careful with it because it was glass. We discussed which part was glass, which part was plastic. Then....she dropped it.....and ran off bawling. When she finally appeared several minutes later, still crying, I chose grace. I forgave her without all the 'but next time' or 'see, mommy told you...'. I held her while she cried a while longer - she's the cry-er - and then it was over. I'm still not sure I did the right thing but it's over.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

in the long run

I have had chores for the girls since they were pretty little. The list has varied throughout the years and even seasons of really no chores except getting themselves ready for the day. I've used different methods of lists - charts, index cards, etc. I've given allowance for doing chores, given allowance for only money management purposes and just handed out money for no reason at all.

I really laid off chores when they went to school this fall - instead of homeschooling, I mean. Just this week I've updated our chore system. And re-installed allowance, for money management only. Though they could earn extra money for doing extra jobs.

Robin (3 y.o) - helps unload the dishwasher daily
set napkins & silverware at suppertime
helps feed & water cat one day a week
helps clean out litter box one day a week
puts away her own clothes a couple times a week

Chandler (6 y.o) & Jaci (8 y.o)
load dishwasher (together) daily
make bed daily
feed & water cat twice a week
clean litter box twice a week
put away own clothes twice a week
clean out toilet every other week (rotate with sister)
clean bathroom sink & mirror every other week (rotate)
Chandler - set plates or bowls at suppertime
Jaci - get drinks for supper

The pet chores are new since we just got the cat. The bathroom chores are new to them too. Also the bigger girls used to unload the dishwasher while I did all the loading.

This summer, I'm going to start teaching them to prepare meals. I think I was cooking quite a bit at Jaci's age. Just tonight, I was whipping up Hamburger Helper (vote me mom of the year - ha) and thought, 'Ya know, Jaci could be doing this.'

My mom was/is excellent at teaching us all (10 kids) how to take care of household tasks. For me, it seems to be just as easy to do them myself - but not so good for my ladies in the long run. Now, if I can just remember to get the cash to give them their allowances. I NEVER have cash.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

not 'off the rack'

Now to post one of the things that spurred this blog....

The other day I met a long-time friend for supper. Actually my entire family accompanied me and there was several others there too - including my children and 3 other little ones.

As my youngest daughter walked up to the 'crowd', my friend commented on her outfit. "Did she dress herself today?" she asked. I responded that yeah, I guess she did. My daughter was wearing a funky green skort with a big flower on it, a t-shirt that didn't exactly match but didn't clash and....(the kicker) cowboy boots. She really didn't look bad, just not that 'off the rack' look.

So today, said daughter came down after dressing herself...
black knit pants that say 'Angel' (in PINK) across the rear - only she had them on backwards
RED 'Husker' t-shirt
PINK shawl

She's definitely her own look!

joshua 3:24

I'm starting another blog to journal only things related to parenting and my girls' lives. I fail at recording all the funny, cute and sweet stuff I wish I would've remembered. Maybe this will help. All my thoughts, philosophies and struggles as a mamma - someday someone may learn what NOT to do and hopefully a few what TO DO's from these entries.