Monday, October 17, 2011

Mini Jeni

It's no secret that Kaity is a lot like her Mama. I got a sweet and funny confirmation of that last week in the form of an e-mail from a friend:
"Last Sunday, we had to combine Sunday School classes b/c there were so few 6th grade girls. So the 6th graders joined our 7th and 8th graders and we started the lesson. This one young lady seemed very excited to be there, loved to read Scripture for the class and knew how the lesson ended right as we began reading it. Her manner seemed familiar but I couldn't quite place her. Finally it hit me-this HAS to be Jeni's daughter and it was! She is just like you!! Her face, her mannerisms was Jeni Pittard and it was remarkable to see that. Katie is such a sweet girl and I loved meeting her."
That's our girl! 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Kaity!

Today is Kaity's birthday! I know every parent always says it, but man, has time flown by! I can hardly believe our little Kaitlyn Grace is eleven. She and Joe stayed the night with Jeff's parents Friday night, and yesterday they came home to a birthday celebration. I lined the kitchen doorway with 11 balloons and pink crepe paper, with a birthday card from Mommy and Daddy and one from Joe hanging down. Each balloon was stuffed with a dollar bill! We gave Kaity our copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and then drove her crazy all evening asking, "What part are you on now?" and then quoting parts of it to her. That gave her ample opportunity to think, while rolling her eyes and giggling, "My parents are such nerds!"

For dinner, I served one of Kaity's favorites, Chicken Tetrazzini. Then we played Clue while eating Pumpkin Monkey Bread (SO incredibly good!). I made Butterbeer, a drink from the Harry Potter series, that's a concoction of cream soda, butterscotch syrup and whipped cream. It was yummy!

Kaity is truly a joy in our lives. A baby who captivated us, a toddler who delighted us, a little girl who charmed us, and growing into a young lady of whom we can be proud! And who wouldn't be proud of a daughter who leaves messages like this on your fridge?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Toddler Tips

I'm not one to give out parenting advice, for sure, but I do know after three kids what has worked for me. I'm not by nature a patient person by any means, and I think that's why I strongly dislike working with groups of children. There's always so much noise and confusion, and they, frankly, get on my nerves! God has done a great deal of work with me, though, and I've learned a fair amount over the years about how to handle little ones. You'll notice most of my solutions involve laughter or taking a break. It works for me!

Picky, Picky - A toddler who suddenly becomes picky may not be as picky as you think! Instead of immediately offering different foods until something strikes their fancy, leave them alone with it. Give them the proper utensil, the food, their cup, and walk away to the sink to wash dishes. Or wipe down the counters. Or clean out the fridge. My little ones have always responded to that. Sometimes they just want a little independence. As long as they're not throwing food, let them make a mess! It will clean up.

Cranky Pants? - You know how it is - one minute they're playing happily and the next second they're clinging to the moving target of your legs, whining and fussing, nothing makes them happy! You try reading a book only to have it tossed on the floor. You try to snuggle them only to have them fight their way back down. If they are well-fed and have already napped, then I have the never-fail solution! Lay down on the floor. Yes, you. There is not a baby/toddler/child alive who can resist a parent lying on the floor. Selah goes from snit to smiles in 0.2 seconds flat. She rushes over an climbs on my belly/back to bounce and hear Mommy grunt every time!

Hyperactive? - Sometimes toddlers just have to burn off some excess energy! If at all possible, let them go outside! (Supervised, of course.) Even if it's cold or the weather isn't perfect, it's nice to get out of the house to get some fresh air now and then. While you're out there, play chase, toss a ball back and forth! If you're inside, get down on all fours and chase them. For a bonus, capture all the shrieks and giggles with a recording device!

Flat getting on your nerves? - Walk away. It's better to take a time-out for yourself than to speak or act out of anger or frustration. If you have older children, maybe it's time they spent 30 minutes to an hour supervising the little one. Leave the little one in their crib with toys/books for a bit. Put a baby gate in their doorway and let them play safely in their room alone. Trust me, you'll be a better mom if you take the time to keep calm. While in "time-out", have a quick snack, pray for patience, call your husband or a friend and chat for a few minutes, put on praise music, read a psalm, text someone to pray for you, or go for a short, brisk walk outside around the house.

"This too, shall pass." - What you're dealing with is a stage. They will not be this way, act this way, forever. Consistently discipline, love, love, love, "fight the good fight, keep the faith", "do not grow weary in well-doing", persevere. 10 years, 5 years, 1 year, a month from now life will be different than it is now, with old struggles simply a memory ... and new challenges taking their place! It truly helps to keep things in perspective.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sneak Preview

Here's a first look at a project I'm hoping to complete at some point before the children leave home. Don't hold your breath.

I cut the squares out of an old pair of Joe's pants and T-shirts of mine and Kaity's.
I hope to keep y'all updated on how the project is going.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Think I'll Keep Him

I'm pretty sure that I love Jeff more than I love bacon. It's close, I'm not gonna lie, but bacon can't make such an amazing latte for me just because it loves me; my Handsome can. And that tips the scales decidedly in his favor.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

German By Immersion

The best way to learn a language is by using it. Jeff and the kids and I have learned phrases and words that we use in our everyday conversation which helps keep the language fresh in our minds. In addition to what we're learning through Rosetta Stone, we also labeled a bunch of stuff in the house with German tags.

Spiegel - mirror; Steppe - stair; Bild/Bilder - picture/pictures

Some things are labeled with their noun, some with their color. In this case, the fireplace itself is labeled as a Kamin, while the mantel ...

... is labeled as weiß (white).

All the doorways are labeled with the room name you are entering, in this case the Küche (kitchen).
As for Selah, she's still trying to master English, but we haven't let her off the (German) hook. Jeff translated one of her books into German. "Old Hat, New Hat" has become "Alten Hut, Neuen Hut"!

Friday, October 07, 2011

Home Improvement

I have lots of projects I would love to do in the house. Some cost a little, some cost a LOT, and some are blessedly free. Depending on how much money I have available, I like to take out a project idea and bring it to life now and then. You've seen my nerd clock and my dry erase board just to name a couple. Well, another free project I completed recently is this:

I had this shelf put away for a long time, and I finally hauled it  I finally had Jeff haul it out of storage. I cleaned it up, he hung it, and now it's the perfect spot for a few treasures. My copy of my cookbook, a Mason jar (not in the picture, but it holds all the dry erase markers for my board), a little (East) German teacup from my childhood, a recipe box I was given at my first wedding shower, and all my aprons! I love making little improvements in our home -- especially free ones!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Boys Are Different

I don't know if you can quite see what's funny about this picture, but I'll tell you about it, anyway. The other day, Joe needed to read Ginger Pye for school. It was a beautiful day and he requested to be able to read outside. I readily agreed and sent him on his way. I looked out the window a few minutes later to see this:

He's standing on the swingset reading his book! By the time he'd finished the chapter, he'd also sat on top of the slide and in a swing. I've said it once, I'll say it again:

Boys are different.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

My Permanent State of Dorkiness

Okay. It's a known fact that I am a dork. As a teenager I did not spend countless hours learning how to apply makeup, fix my hair, how to pose for a camera ... I was too busy reading. And as a result of this deficiency, I am now incapable of being in a photograph that does not show my glaring dorkiness. Being photogenic is not a skill I've mastered. My head is always tilted to one side or the other. Or, though I'm not overweight, I somehow hold my head in such a way that I have a double-chin. Or I have buckteeth. Anyway, Jeff was poking fun at the pictures he was taking of me the other day, and I explained to him that there was no use in even taking pictures because I did not need photographic evidence of my permanent state of dorkiness! So he asked me to go through my rant again. While he filmed it. And I didn't know it.

Two things:

1. I love how casual Kris is about the whole thing. "Oh, okay." It's perfectly reasonable to him that Jeff is filming me being a dork. Also, please note that Kris doesn't say, "You're not a dork!" or anything like that. Because he knows it's true. *sigh*

2. Jeff loves the ending where I say, "You can stop anytime now ... Heifer."

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Circle Yer Wagens - Fall 2011

Last Saturday, Jeff, our friend Kris, and I drove up to Sevierville, Tennessee to Circle Yer Wagens, a VW show/swap meet. We rode up in Kris's little diesel VW.

My handsome fella.

"Stop taking pictures of me, already. I know I'm a dork, I don't need photographic evidence!"

Hi, Kris!

On top of the mountain! A balmy 36° - those aren't smiles on our faces, we're grimacing!

Jeff and Kris talking with Gary and Gary, Jr. about all things V-Dub.

You'll see this again soon. I bought it for a craft project - for ONE dollar! Score.

On the way home we stopped on the side of the road with about 50 other people to watch 2 elks tussle with one another. Apparently it's the beginning of their rutting season.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Weekend Getaway

This past weekend the kids were beside themselves with excitement to be able to go visit with Grammie and Bobba! We met in the middle at a Dairy Queen where the grandparents asked if the kids wanted ice cream and the kids cried, "Of course!"

The children and Grammie and Bobba thoroughly enjoyed their weekend together. They ate lots of fun food like Chick-Fil-A and Oreos, they played with Lois, they visited with Grandma Fran, they went to the pool, they watched movies, played on the Wii, and were generally silly.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Gramma's House

Friday we had the privilege of visiting with my grandmother - my dad's mom. She lives about 2 hours away, and we still don't get down to see her as often as I'd like. The kids enjoyed their time with Gramma, and loved finding tadpoles in the rain barrels!