Monday, December 31, 2012

Mommy's Musings

Today is the last day of 2012... I know that's not news to anyone but it is just crazy to think that the year is almost over.

Last year for Christmas, my parents gave us a blessing jar. We've been able to write down special events, moments, gifts etc that we have been blessed by! What a wonderful way to see God's hand at work in our lives!  We didn't write down everything, although I wish we would have, our blessing jar would be overflowing!

I am a worrier, and with all the changes going on in our country it is hard at times for me to remember WHO is really in control! This next year I want to do better, I want to really see His blessings in my life (mundane as it may seem at times). I don't want to be so filled with worry and anxiousness that I miss the everyday blessings He sends my way. 

So, for 2013, I am committing to filling up our blessing jar! Yes, big blessings are easy to find, but I want to find joy in the little blessings, like baby giggles, hearing "I love you" from my kiddos etc.

If you haven't read Ann Voskamps book "One Thousand Gifts" I would encourage you to pick it up, it's all about finding blessings in the ordinary!

I will leave you with the lyrics to one of my favorite songs:

Don't you worry about anything,
Instead pray about everything.
Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.
And the peace of God,
Far beyond what we can understand
Will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.

Where will you find your blessings in 2013? Write them down, even the small things, you'll be amazed at what God uses to work in your life!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Reflecting on 2012 - Preparing for 2013

Yikes, the year is almost over... excited to see what the new year will bring for our family!  This post will catch you up, from Thanksgiving until Christmas, we've been busy!


Our super smiley girl!

Amelia is "being like daddy" with her Starbucks cup full of whipped cream - she assured us that it was real coffee though!
So proud of Amelia, I told her the order of letters, but she wrote them all by herself!

Let me introduce you to the new system in our house!  This has seriously eliminated all arguments about clothes.  I was so sick of the girls wearing the same Tinkerbell shirt and jeans so I was picking out there outfits, we would all end up in tears because they didn't like what I picked.  So now, every Saturday I fill up the shelves with 6 outfits (their church dresses hang) and every morning they get their clothes out, and get dressed without complaint!  Why didn't I do this sooner!?

A new favorite "treat" for the kids is having grapefruit for breakfast... 

Abram and Soph both got their first hair cuts thanks to auntie Cara!

Celia actually learning to enjoy her car seat!

 Amelia enjoying her first year of ballet class

Learning to play together when mommy is busy with Celia.. today they were having a picnic!

A new family favorite (we try to do it once a month) - make your own pizza night!

Abram's newest favorite passtime - coloring - he didn't color the bird though, I think big sister did that!

The girls and their gingerbread house!

The girls decorating the tree!

All decorated!

We played some minute to win it games this year during our family party... everybody had lots of fun!

         Tim, trying to get a cookie from him forehead to his mouth!
All the kiddos gettin' grammy!

Grammy organized a live nativity reenactment for our viewing pleasure!  Amelia was the sheep and Soph was a wise man!

all the cousins (minus Abram and Celia) doing their play!

We all went in together and got mom a replacement Advent wreath since her original one broke... a special tradition in our family!

This year Sophia was old enough to help papa light one of the coveted 5 candles!
Daddy helping Abram open his Christmas jammies!

Sophia opening her new cabbage patch doll Kiya!

Amelia opening her new cabbage patch baby Birdie!

Christmas morning, opening stockings!

Abram got a set of Weebles for Christmas, they are the favorite toy this year!

All 3 of the kiddos playing with the Weeble tree, hopefully learning to share!  

Amelia playing with her Christmas present - magnetic dolls!

Sophia got a giant box of princess dresses for dress up for Christmas!

Our little bug turned 3 months already, I'm packing up the newborn/0-3 month clothes and getting out the 6 month stuff.  She is such a happy baby, sleeping great, taking good naps during the day, LOVING her new jumper and to watch her brother and sisters chase each other around the house!  So thankful for our 4th littlest blessing!
 Tim and I also celebrated 6 years of marriage this month!  What a blessed 6 years it's been, a new house, 4 beautiful babies and many other countless blessings for our family!


This is how I plan to spend a good part of my afternoon tomorrow ... hot cup of coffee and my planning journal...gotta see how far "behind" we are! We'll be starting school up again in one week after daddy goes back to work!  Time to get crackin'!
Coming January 1, 2013 I'll be posting our new school schedule and will be getting back to three posts a week so stay tuned!
Mondays: Mommy's Musings
Tuesdays/Wednesdays: Teaching Toddlers
Fridays: Our Week of Family Photos!
Hope you all had a blessed Christmas and have a wonderful New Year!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Catch up in pictures!

Soph holding baby Celia

                                                Abram checking out his new sister!

                                         Amelia wouldn't hold Celia but she gave her a kiss!

                                             All four!  This is about as good as it gets!

                                               A very tired mommy with new baby Celia!

                                              One of Abrams newest loves!  READING!

                                   THE ONLY one of our kids who actually enjoyed her first bath!

                                                      Looking like her sisters!

                                                                My 3 precious girlies!

                                                  Celebrating Amelia's 4th birthday!

                         Her princess cake (ignore all the dishes on the counter in the background :) )

                                   Growing so fast!  2months, 11pounds 2 oz, 22.25inches long

So you are caught up to November anyway, December pictures coming later! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

YIKES... Long time no blog!

Well, I'm not sure where the last 3 months have gone.  We've been busy as ever, trying to adjust to life as a family of 6!  (did I mention that we haven't had working internet for the whole time too?  other than on my phone - slightly difficult to update the blog from my 2in screen phone!)

This year is flying by... Celia will be 3 months next week, Amelia turned 4 in November, and Sophia and Abram are in total toddler mode! 

We're still working on school with Amelia, but we've cut back a lot since Celia was born!  Amelia is working really hard at writing her letters though, and we do lots of counting games, but we're taking a break from the "Sit down at the table" type of work.  The goal is to have Celia taking actual naps in her bed (as opposed to in my arms) by January, thus making it easier to have a better "school schedule!"

Tim and I will be celebrating our 6th anniversary this Saturday!  God has blessed me abundantly that's for sure!  Looking back, 6 years ago today I was working full time, in school full time, planning a wedding, living at home and looking forward to a life with Tim!  Now, 6 years later, I'm working full time as a mommy, planning preschool lessons and meals, living in a wonderful neighborhood and looking forward to the day I get a full night of sleep!  How life changes!

Now that we have working internet again I will be getting back to a regular posting schedule, complete with pictures!  :)  Until next time!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Blessings Abound!

Our fourth child has arrived!  Celia Marie was born on Wednesday, September 19, 2012.  She came in to this world after only 4 hours of labor at 10:30 in the morning!  A little peanut at 7lbs 4oz and 18inches long (our shortest one yet!).  I am feeling wonderful and Celia is nursing like she's been doing it forever - such a blessing!

The three older kids came up yesterday with grandma and papa to meet their new sister.  There were three very different reactions!  Abram (being only 15 months) has no clue what is going on, he just wanted lots of hugs and kisses from mommy.  Amelia (almost 4) said she would hold Celia once she came home but was quick to offer her lots of hugs and kisses and was constantly making sure she had all the stuff (paci, blanket, lovie etc).  Sophia on the other hand, the little mother of the bunch (our 2nd born and 2 and a half year old) ran right in the room, wanted to hold Celia right away, gave lots of hugs and kiss, asked about her diapers, and where her diaper bag was and said she was ready to take her home now.  It was so precious to me to see them all interact with one another!  We'll see how things go when I go home with Celia in another day!

I am writing this from my hospital bed... waiting for the nurse to bring me my precious little girl!  Words cannot describe how elated I feel to not be pregnant anymore.  But besides that, I feel so much joy in my heart as I think of the blessings God has given me. Four beautiful blessings in fact.  Each of them precious.  Each of them unique.  Each of them fearfully and wonderfully made.

When I was expecting our first a dear friend and very wise woman told me, "instead of dreading those midnight feedings with baby, use them to pray over your child."  ("it'll help you stay awake too!").  So that's what I did, I started praying over my kids when I was up with them at night.  Last night (or early this morning really) when the nurse brought me Celia, she did not want to eat, in fact they had to wake her up so I could feed her because it had been so long since "dinner."  So we prayed together, I thanked God for bringing her into our family and asked for wisdom and patience, among other things.  What a sweet, sweet time it was together, just me, my baby and my Heavenly Father.  She finally ate and we both settled back in to a restful sleep.  Now, I'm not going to lie to you, I love my sleep, in fact I require lots of sleep.  So for me to say that I really look forward to many more midnight feedings wouldn't be completely true, but the opportunity that it allows me is a gift that I do cherish.  I don't have tons of uninterrupted time in my life with the kiddos running around, so to me, for the few months that a baby wakes at night to eat, that is just another blessing God has bestowed upon me.  A chance to run to Him, to cling to Him for strength, and wisdom, a chance to lift my children up to Him in prayer.  And what an amazing blessing it is.

Baby, has arrived and is ready for breakfast!  May God bless you this day, and may you find joy in all your circumstances!

*Pictures coming later today!

Workbox Activities for Preschoolers (and Tiny Tots)

A couple weeks ago I had a few requests for suggestions for activities to do with preschoolers.  This in no way is a complete list and I am constantly coming up with fun new ideas but here is a general list to help you get started.  What I love about coming up with activities for these kiddos is that the sky is the limit, their minds are so ready to learn that you can turn really any every day item in to a teaching tool!

Sorting craft pom-poms by color - either into small bowls, or ice cube trays
Matching nuts and bolts - raid daddy's tool box and let them see if they can match the size (small parts so be careful around really little kiddos)
Sorting change - give them a handful of coins and see if they can recognize the differences
Building with legos - construct something small, see if they can copy it
Lacing cards/beads
Making patterns - use anything from colored socks to fruit loops
Cutting practice - ever wonder what to do with all that scrap paper?
Clipping clothes pins - give them a paper plate to clip them on
Paper clips - let them link them together
Board games - monopoly, rummikub, othello, playing cards, scrabble, chess, checkers. memory, etc
(my kids love to "play" these games - use your imagination)
Sensory tubs - rice, pasta, pinto beans, etc

Like I said, this is not a comprehensive list but it'll get you started with some fun ideas to try with your preschoolers!  If you have any other fun ideas leave a comment, I'm always on the hunt for new things to do with my kiddos!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Missing In Action...

Yikes, has it really been two weeks since I posted last? Where did that time go?

We have been busy over here, cleaning, sorting, schooling, playing and lots of long walks. Honestly the weather has been so nice lately that we've been spending oodles of time outdoors...sometimes taking three walks a day!

On top of preparing for baby number 4 who will be joining us shortly, I have been chasing around a very active boy. It seems everytime I sit down to the computer Abram has found something new to climb on or in to. This weeks newest discovery for him was that he can climb from the chair to the table to our half wall and balance precariously on top-talk about giving me a heart attack. The other discovery for him recently is that he no longer wants tp go down the stairs backwards but walking, so he stands on the top and dangles a foot over the edge...mommy has had to run to catch him many times in the last few days. Needless to say, I have no pictures of him doing either of these as I was more concerned with safety!

his past week Amelia started her ballet class. She had a ball and is excited to go back this week!

Another exciting thing for us is that fall Bible study started up at our church (as well as Tuesday Tots-the children's program). This semester I am doing a study on the book of Philippians all about choosing joy in the midst of hard times. There are about 20 ladies doing this study. I am really looking forward to seeing what God teaches all of us in the coming weeks!

Sorry, no pictures for this post, lots coming on Saturday! And next Monday I'll be posting my master list for our workbox activities as some of you have askef for some new ideas!

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Our Week In Pictures!

And boy what a week it was!  Prepare for picture overload! 

Lots of trike riding outside!

My cousin was visiting from Georgia with her two littles, so a bunch of us headed to Impression 5 Science Museum in Lansing for the day!  Definitely worth the drive!

Grandma helping Abram down the slide!

Playing house!

Amelia giving Abram a few pointers...

My little climber

There was a whole soft section for babies... Abram didn't enjoy it.

Amelia not wanting her picture taken

The water section!  Sophia would've stayed in here all day...

...unfortunately, Abram ended up getting soaked so they didn't stay in there all day!

Amelia wanted NOTHING to do with the water and preferred playing house!

Snack time!

One of Amelia's cousins showing her how a catapult works!

Watching the "moths" fly

Making a life cycle

This made me laugh... Sophia HATES slides at the park but for some reason she loved the ones they had here!

Amelia the pirate

Learning about pulley systems

Abram wasn't a huge fan of being up so high, the floor was clear which I think freaked him out a bit!

The girls LOVED this giant mouth...

36 weeks

This is his new funny face!  I love it!

Amelia is very excited about starting ballet next week... however she is NOT a fan of having her picture taken!

Thankful for generous neighbors and grandparents (and this was toward the end of the week after we'd eaten most of it)!

"Mom look, I'm going to the circus" (not really sure what she was thinking)