Tuesday, October 28, 2014
I'm turning 30 this week. Oh, how much younger that feels than it used to. Lately, I've started to wake up slower and my back hurts more often. (I continue to blame it on the 37 lb. 2-year old that wants to be carried everywhere.) No matter, I've been getting all sentimental lately, since apparently that's what "old people" do, so here are my musings about turning 30, and some of the most poignant lessons I've learned in my time. You know, the good old days.
1. "Fair" is a place with Ferris Wheels, the description on the front of expensive coffee, and my Math test scores. Life is not fair.
2. Chocolate can cure anything...except maybe diabetes. But everything else.
3. A 30-pound sleeping child actually weighs 100 lbs. It's a scientific fact.
4. Never fall asleep chewing gum unless you want a haircut.
5. Five minutes of quiet is blissful...unless you have a toddler...then it's terrifying.
6. Glitter is only fun when you're not the one cleaning it up.
7. Life goes too quickly when you want it to slow down, and too slow when you want it to speed up. Try to enjoy it all.
8. High schoolers continue to look younger every year. Soon they'll put be putting 2nd graders in teeny bopper clothes and calling them Freshmen.
9. The original Nintendo Super Mario Brothers beats any game on any system. Ever.
10. Knowing how to do the Macarena is cool. Actually doing the Macarena? Not cool.
11. Never leave your husband's toolbox next to the car. Your toddler may start beating the car with a hammer. Or remove the license plate. Or both.
12. Silly String and sand. See #6.
13. "Sleeping in" means something totally different after kids. Before kids, it means dozing until 10, then lollygagging with a warm beverage and a magazine. After kids, sleeping in means the sun is already up and no one is screaming for you.
14.Whoever said "it's only water" has never seen the destruction a 2-year old can create with "only water".
15. Your Grandparents are special characters in your life. Unfortunately, you don't usually appreciate the privilege of spending time with them until you wish you had spent more time with them.
16. In the hands of a toddler boy, books, dirt, spoons, and shoes can all be used as a weapon.
17. Walking into a dark room with Legos scattered on the floor is among the most painful experiences you will ever encounter.
18. Ice cream for dinner is acceptable. A fruit and nut topping makes it healthy.
19. Fire alarm batteries only die at 3am. I think it's a law.
20. Always roll up the windows before you go through an automatic carwash. If car windows (saayyyy, from a 1960s VW Bug) are broken and don't go up, well, enjoy the hot wax facial.
21. Whatever crazy antics you put your parents through will come back to you tenfold from your own kids.
22. Try to arrange layovers at airports you wouldn't actually mind being stuck in. Being stranded in Kansas City during a blizzard is cruel and unusual. Ditto on Syracuse.
23. If you're in control of the TV remote, you're in control of the house. Use or distribute the power wisely.
24. 99% of the things you worry about never happen. Of the things that do happen, 99% are not as bad as you thought they would be.
25. Playing the harmonica through your nose is a rare talent. Note: Rare doesn't always mean good.
26. Strapless wedding dresses must be fit properly. Otherwise, the risk of a "wardrobe malfunction" in front of your new in-laws is a distinct possibility.
27. Find something (or many things) to smile at every day.
28. When your 5-year old tells you she can't talk to you because she's on her imaginary cell phone playing Words with Friends, maybe you should dial back the phone usage. Or at least just play while she's not looking.
29. Comparing your struggles with the successes of someone else is like hating Mt. Everest because it's not the Pacific Ocean. God made us all unique with our own individual talents to offer. Don't belittle your talents because they're different than someone else's.
30. Sometimes, your greatest heartache becomes your greatest blessing. (Read Junior's Story Here.) God's peace feels so much stronger in the struggles.
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Sunday, October 26, 2014
This weekend, in a moment of blazing Mommy Glory, I got out the well-loved sand-water table and filled half of it with water, and the other half with dried beans. I imagined my children gently playing with the water and running their hands through the beans while giggling in delight. I then imagined them playing outside for an hour while I cleaned the house, then we would all meet inside for hot cocoa and freshly baked cookies.
Hahahaha. Hahaha. Ahem. HAHAHAHA.
This is what happened after 10 minutes. We had to order a ShopVac. Not joking. By the way--wet black beans stain concrete.
Soooooo, I decided to find some less messy sensory play ideas. Because I have better things to do than pick dried beans out of grass. Junior loves playing with ice, so I wondered how I could turn ice play into a sensory rich activity. I found a few ideas for ice drawing, ice cube shapes, and freezing toys inside of ice cubes. Perfect.
All you need is an ice cube tray, water, and some small toys or craft supplies.
Here's a picture of how they turned out.
Here are some ideas for ice cubes tray fillers:
(*always keep an eye on your children to make sure they don't put any small items in their mouths once the ice melts. Consider the age of your children when using items that could be a choking hazard.)
- small plastic animals
- bouncy balls
- wooden letters and numbers
- craft pom-poms
- fruit such as cut grapes or strawberries (for an edible surprise)
Linked up at: A Mama's Story, Enchanted Homeschooling Mom, Mom's the Word, and Parenting and Homeschooling in Faith
Saturday, October 25, 2014
All that to say, this encounter renewed my interest in Plain folk, and I was thrilled to receive Beverly Lewis' novel The River.
The novel takes place in 1977, and follows two sisters, formerly Amish but now living among the “Englishers”, named Tilly and Ruth. Following the drowning death of their youngest sibling Anna nine years prior, Tilly moved to Massachusetts and married, and now has twin 4-year old daughters. Ruth moved to Massachusetts several years later after a failed courtship and ensuing heartache.
The rest of Tilly and Ruth’s family still live in Lancaster, PA, and the sisters are invited to share in their parents’ anniversary celebration. Though as good as estranged from their family, they decide to make the trek out. Returning to Amish country brings back painful memories for Tilly, as she is reminded of little Anna’s drowning, while she was supposed to be keeping an eye on the girl. Tilly also has a strained relationship with her father, who has never seemed to approve of her. Ruth, likewise, is reminded of the heartache that caused her to leave the Plain life as well, as she runs into her former beau, Will.
Can the sisters make peace with their family, and their own past? Can their current lives ever be in harmony with their Amish upbringing?
Like most Beverly Lewis novels, this book gave a wonderful glimpse into Amish culture. I liked the storyline, although I wasn’t sure about the passage of time in several instances. Although a majority of the story only takes place over the better part of a week, date/time notes at the beginning of each chapter could have been useful. Lewis is the master of making your feel comfortable with the Plain lifestyle, and the main characters were likeable. Tilly was strong and had an obvious firstborn mentality, whereas Ruth acted young and naïve at times. I appreciated the words spoken in Pennsylvania Dutch were often translated right after use, so I didn’t have to lose my train of thought by looking through the book for a glossary, like I’ve seen in some Amish novels.
The love story with Ruth and Will did not seem to tie up all the loose ends, but I liked how Tilly’s character developed, and how she interacted with her family.
Overall, this was a quick and enjoyable read.
*I was sent a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
The book is ideal for toddlers aged 1-5, and is partially cut out in the shape of a star. It's a short book--only 6 thin board book pages, but is a cute story with rhyming words and adorable illustrations.
The story begins in present day, with two children looking out into the winter night sky at a bright star. The next several pages talk about the star that drew the Wise Men to seek out Jesus. One detail was not lost on me, and I truly appreciate it--the story shows the Wise Men meeting a toddler Jesus, not a newborn Jesus. Many scholars now believe that Jesus was about 2 years old before the Wise Men reached him and few stories relay that information. The last page shows the same children opening presents on Christmas morning, and the story says how Jesus is the reason for Christmas.
I thought this was a precious book, and my 2 year old really liked the colors and the novel shape of the book. I always like to give my children a book with a new pair of PJs on Christmas Eve, and this book would be make a perfect gift for a toddler. Very sweet, short, but still proclaims the message that Jesus is why we celebrate Christmas.
*I was provided a free copy of this book from Zondervan Publishers in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.
Since her choice of "Unicorn Princess Rainbow Sparkle" is a little robust for common use, I'm going to start referring to her as Tater. She's always been my little Tater Tot, even before she was born. I actually call her Tater more frequently than calling her by her given name, which is why, at age 3, she was appalled that I would purchase tater tots and feed them to her. She's refused to eat them ever since.
So, Stinker is now Tater. I guess that means she's growing up. If only growing up meant she'd actually clean her room...
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Monday, October 20, 2014
2. I've been to 9 MLB stadiums. Wrigley was iconic, but my seat was right behind a concrete support beam so I'm not entirely sure who actually won.
3. I'm left-handed.
4. If I had to live someplace other than California, it would be somewhere in the South. I love bacon and saying "y'all".
5. I love Jeopardy and at one point (obviously before children), didn't miss an episode for 10 years.
6. I came in 9th place in the State Spelling Bee in middle school. "Spigot" tripped me up...the woman pronounced it "spicket" with an over emphasis on "ick". I was one round away from advancing to Nationals.
7. I don't play any musical instruments, unless you count the harmonica. In high school, I recorded a CD of myself playing Harmonica Hymns. I gave it to people I loved. Looking back, they probably thought I hated them.
8. I have a major sweet tooth, and always have at least 3 kinds of chocolate in my secret stash. (Lately it's been dark chocolate coconut bars.)
9. I traveled quite a bit in my younger years...I managed to visit most of the "I" countries: Israel, Italy, and Ireland. Unless something really drastic happens, I will probably never make it to Iraq or Iran. Iceland is still a possibility.
10. Breakfast for dinner is always acceptable. Especially pancakes. I have a weakness for pancakes. (Try my favorite Blueberry Pancake Recipe!)
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