Thursday, August 31, 2006

Date night with the hubby

I look SO forward to Thursday nights. It's date night for RD and I!!! Now, I know that a late night run to Applebee's and Wal-Mart may not sound like a load of fun to the average couple, but it has become the highlight of our week. It makes Monday thru Thursday a little more bearible for the two of us. FINALLY, some alone time, which is a rarity at this stage of our marriage.

I just love spending quality time with my hubby. He is such a perfect fit for me. I'm high strung; he's incredibly laid back. I've taught him to not be too laid back (aka "lazy"); he's taught me to stop and smell the roses, to have a little rest and fun in life. I take things personally; he lets things roll off his back. I'm book smart; he's "common sense" smart. I'm incompetent in regard to technology; RD's saavy with anthing electronic. Another quality about RD that I adore is that he is solid/unwavering in his convictions. He's my "rock" (lowercase "r"). He helps me make decisions based on fact/conviction rather than on emotion (which is hard being female). And the #1 most coolest part about RD is that he's a solid Christian and is the leader of this family. A lot of people bawk at the idea of women being submissive to their husbands. I guess it would be hard if he were mean, nasty, and tyrranical. But if he's truly seeking the Lord (like RD is), it's a joy to be submissive under his authority.

Hmmm... that's an interesting topic to blog about in the future, that is, male headship and female submission. Look for that one on a later blog.

Anywho's, I basically wanted to blog and gush about my stud of a husband. If you girls want to blog/gush about your hubby's, I'd love to hear about it. What makes your husband awesome?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Homeschooling Preschool

Yesterday I was doing some research on homeschooling preschool and came across an interesting article. I think it was more of a parenting/schooling forum but what they said was facinating. They said that what parents think a preschooler should know is completely different than what educators want a preschooler to know. Parents work diligently to get their three and for year olds to learn their ABC's, numbers, and colors (which is good), but apparently that's not what's really important to know going into kindergarten. Across the board, what teachers/educators want their students to know is basic life/social skills such as sharing, listening to/following directions, patience, being able to sit still, being organized, having a desire to learn, etc. and fine motor skills such as knowing how to cut paper with scissors, how to hold/use a pencil, how to paint/mold clay, how to "stay within the lines", etc. If kids have these basic social/fine motor skills, then the letter/number/color recognition stuff will come naturally. The writers of this forum were actually suggesting that children not attend a formal "preschool" but to keep their kids home and teach them these social/fine motor skills there. Have them do chores, read to them, have them help with the cooking, take them to the library, play with balls outside, read books, have them paint and play with clay/play-doh... oh, and did I mention reading to them? They said one of the best things you can do with and for your preschooler is to READ to them. This teaches them patience, word recognition, comprehension skills, developes imagination, etc. That and doing whatever you can to instill a desire to learn. Take them to the zoo or to museums. Involve them in things like dance or music or playing an instrument.

This was so cool to read yesterday. I've been in the mindset that Arianna HAS to know her alphabet, numbers, and colors... but she just doesn't "get it". As soon as something gets too hard, she shuts down mentally and it's impossible to get her to continue. She's just not ready for preschool stuff yet. It was refreshing to know that that's not what's really important yet. To know that we can still just play for another year or two was a cool thing to learn. We'll still go through flashcards and workbooks every once in a while, but I'm not going to push/force her like I have been. I'm trying hard now to focus more on reading to her, giving her "home blessings" (aka chores) to do, having her help with dishes/cooking, etc. She had a blast yesterday helping me load/unload the dishwasher, setting the table, and helping me make bread. And it rests me at ease knowing that those skills are what really counts.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

YEAH!

Cassandra took a bottle of sugar water this evening from RD!!! I think we're going to start her off with one bottle of sugar water a day from RD until she gets used to it. Then maybe she'll take breastmilk or fruit juice (later on). YEAH!

Currently reading & watching

Currently reading:

*Nancy Leigh DeMoss' book entitled "The Lies Women Believe"

Currently reading:

*MOPS' "What Every Mom Needs"


Currently watching:

*Monk (season one)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

What to do when at fast food?

On Friday, when RD and I went up to Ft. Wayne to drop Charles off at college, we stopped at Burger King for lunch. We didn't know where/what we were going to eat until we got there. When we got there, we didn't have much time. The closest/quickest thing we saw was Burger King. My mind started reeling. What on EARTH am I going to eat here? We were first in line and there were quite a few people in line after us. I felt rushed. The salads in the pictures looked gross. What am I going to do? I panicked. I caved. I order a chicken sandwich meal... and I ate it.

The entire time I ate it, I knew I was going to regret it... which I did about an hour later when the food expanded in my stomach and I felt sick to my stomach and couldn't eat another bite of food until 9pm that evening.

But what was I going to do? I didn't have time to make a wise choice, and seriously, the salads looked totally barfy. In hindsight, I should have ordered the chili and a grilled chicken salad (to make a mock taco salad) and had water.

RD suggested I make a plan ahead of time for what to eat at certain restaurants. Our hotspots are: Burger King, Wendy's, McDonald's, and Applebees.

Anybody have suggestions on eating healthy at restaurants, esp. fast-food? Normally, we rarely even eat out, but I need an action plan prior so that if we do have to eat out, I know I can choose something healthy and filling and I won't be tempted to eat something I shouldn't.

What do you guys do? What do you eat?
----------------------------------------

Our time in Ft. Wayne was SO fun. It was just RD, me, Cassandra, and Charles. Arianna and Benjamin went to uncle Kris and aunt Rebekah's house for the entire day- which they had a total blast. But for RD and I, it was so refreshing to be almost alone together and to have time to focus on one another. Kind of weird... we don't even know marriage apart from having children. We had our dating/courtship time and then about 3 weeks after the wedding together before the concept of children came into the picture (when I was heaving in the toilet with morning sickness... ahh... wedded bliss... -wink-). The times we get together alone are few and far between. Don't get me wrong... I see a lot of RD, he is totally involved in parenting with me, and we do a lot of stuff together as a family. But just him and I time... it's pretty rare. Nap times and after the kids go to bed at night is really the only time we get alone. But then there's Cassandra. Almost always when the two older ones are taken care of, she beckons for our attention. Sometimes, right up until the late hours of the evening. I'm not complaining in any way, but I sure do enjoy those moments when him and I get to be away from it all and have some fun time apart from the kids. I guess that's why I really want Cassandra to learn to drink from a bottle... it's mostly so RD and I can totally be alone sometimes. Anyway, I'm getting tired of thinking so I'm going to sign off now. G'night.

"Do I have to tell you again?"

I've been a "flybaby" since about January of this year. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the FlyLady, you should really check out her site: FlyLady.net. Incredible. She helps you learn "baby steps" to take control of your home and get it clean/orderly with only 15 mins a day. Not that my home is spotless, but I've been slowly taking my baby steps and my house is so much more in order/decluttered than ever.

Anywho, her concept of baby stepping can apply to pretty much any/every area of our lives, whether it be keeping your house clean, keeping on top of finances, losing weight, etc. To make long-lasting changes in your life, you cannot change completely overnight. We have to make a little change here and a little change there and over time, we'll get used to our new "habits" and they will eventually be engrained into our way of thinking. It will stick.

If you get on her site, you can sign up for free daily e-mails from the Fly Crew. In each of these e-mails, you get testimonials from other fly babies and a BUNCH of reminders (like "dress to your shoes", "do one load of laundry today", "drink your water", "do your morning/before bed routines", "Swish and Swipe the bathroom", etc.) These reminders are in EVERY e-mail. It gets annoying reading them day-in and day-out... but today, I sorta had one of those "God breezes" she talks about. HUMANS LEARN THROUGH REPETITION.

hmmmmm.

She has a point there. There are LOTS of things that we know we should do but for some reason we just forget. We need those precious reminders (as annoying as they can be sometimes).

I got to thinking about my daily routines. I forget to drink my water. I forget to do things for 15 mins at a time. I forget to get dressed to my shoes every morning. I forget to my 1 load of laundry every day. I get distracted and/or sidetracked ALL the time....

If I need daily reminders (and I'm an adult), then HOW IN THE WORLD can I expect my children (who are only 3 and 2) to remember to do what I tell them without constant reminders? That's the part of parenting that drives me absolutely ape wild. I say the same things all day/every day to my children. Don't fight. Stop playing with your food. Tell me when you go poo-poo. Put your plate down. Stop dropping your sippy off the table. Don't chew on your books. Stop stealing from him/her. Stop whining. No, you can't have dessert until you eat your food. Put your toys away. Don't walk on your toys/books. I get so annoyed that I keep working on the same things with them ALL the time.

But if I can't seem to "get it" right away, then why do I get so frustrated at my kids when they don't "get it" right away? Sometimes, I need to hear the same thing 20+ times and I STILL don't get it. Why would it be any easier for a toddler?

....

One of the FlyLady testimonials I read this morning said something that got me thinking of yet another aspect of parenting. She said that "if we talked to our friends' kids like we talk to our own, how many of us would still have any friends?" Ouch. One of the things that I hear myself saying is "I can't help it! I can't control my anger! They drive me crazy and I can't stifle the frustration inside me!" BALOGNA! Then why is that in a instant, I can go from raging bull to absolute gentleness when the phone rings and it's for me? Why is it that I can get to the point of blowing a gasket while I babysit someone else's kid but I don't snap at the child/yell and lose my cool? Why is it that I can be self-controlled while administering discipline when we're at church? So I CAN control it. I'm simply choosing to let my emotions rule over me.

Oh Lord, never before in my life have I EVER had to deal with my sin as I do now as a mom. There has never been anything so difficult in my life. I can't run from my problems... I am forced to deal with them. PLEASE help me. I am so utterly selfish. I never saw the depth of my depravity until I started having children... then, all of a sudden, the total ugliness of mySELF came to the surface. I CAN control my anger. I CAN control my words. Please, by the power of the Holy Spirit within me, change me... one baby step at a time... until righteousness become a life-long "habit". Even though some of this has been painful to see, I thank You for revealing it. Amen.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Something to celebrate about!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, Mom and Dad E.!!! We love you!

Weight loss challenge

For Halloween this year, RD and I plan to dress to the nines and go out on a "special date" down in Indy. RD wants me to get a super cute (ok, his exact words were "super HOT") dress to wear that night. I was getting really excited, that is, until I looked at myself in the mirror. Hmmm. Ok, I'm no where near being considered "fat" but I'm still carrying about 15 lbs of leftover baby "girth". So I made a commitment to myself and to RD that I'd shed those 15 lbs before our date, which will put me at my pre-pregnancy/college weight of 130 lbs. So... I've got a little over 2 months. My plan: cut out all the non-essentials from my diet (pop, desserts, my beloved Cheez-its... sigh..., etc.), limit carb intake, drink lots of water, and exercise at least 5x's/wk. RD plans to hold me accountable... and now I'm asking YOU guys to keep me accountable, too. Feel free to check on me and my progress at any time.

*Just making lunch the biggest meal of the day & keeping supper light and low-carb has helped a lot. I've already lost 10lbs!

PS- for you fitness nuts out there, what aerobic and or toning fitness videos do you like to do? I've been doing Leslie Sansone's "3-mi. Walk Away the Pounds" and her "Pilates" workouts and I also have Cindy Crawford's "Shape Your Body" video (a little old, I know... but it's really hard).

While we're on the subject....

What are your top (5) favorite appliances/kitchen utencils?

Here are mine:

1) obviously, my KitchenAid stand mixer
2) coffee pot (couldn't live without it... and just in case something happens to my coffee pot and is out of service, I even have a back-up coffee press... I'm not addicted... really...) :-)
3) crockpot (awesome during hot summer days)
4) outdoor grill
5) dishwasher (what did I ever do without it?)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ode to my KitchenAid


This mixer was lovingly given to me (from family) as a gift for my Birthday this past June. Thought I would share in the awe and wonder that I myself have in regard to this incredible machine. For those of you that owe a KitchenAid yourself, you understand why this is such a inspiring addition to the kitchen. For those of you who don't own one, you are sorely missing out on one of the greatest creations. This blog entry is lovingly dedicated to my KitchenAid stand mixer.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

New stuff

Check out the family blog. There's a bunch of new photos there.

Catharsis on toddlerhood- help #3

"Parenting is more than raising up godly kids into godly adulthood- maybe more so is the fact that parenting forces the PARENTS to "grow up" and become godly."
-Melissa D.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Camping with kids

This up-coming Labor Day weekend will be RD and I's first family camping trip. I'm talking camping... like tents and everything.

First off, I'm so spoiled- I've never "roughed" it that rugged. The closest I've ever gotten to camping were cabins. And even then, I've never done it with kids in tow.

For those of you who are veteran campers, could you please send me some advice? Honestly, I'm a bit nervous, especially with taking two toddlers.

Our tent is huge...it's even got a divider so the kids will have their own little "room". And there's room for a pack-n-play, too. Cassandra will sleep with RD and I. We've also got a mini gas stove (two burners).

I'd like to know what to pack, how to menu plan, how to camp with toddlers, etc. PLEASE send advice. Thanks.

Thought this was a cute article.

Catharsis on toddlerhood- help #2

"Those things we work hardest for are those things we appreciate more."
-Melissa D.

The other day, Kris and Rebekah M. came over for dessert and games. For some reason RD was feeling rather affectionate and everytime I walked past him I couldn't leave without "paying the toll" of kisses & cuddles. The first several times, his behavior didn't bother me. After awhile, I found it irritating because I kept getting stopped everytime I moved about the house. Eventually, I snapped at him and told him to stop (I know, I know... bad wife). As I walked away relieved that the mauling would stop, Kris said something to me that not only put me in my place, but will probably be forever etched in my mind. He said, "It could be worse. You could have a husband that didn't WANT to touch you like that." Ouch.

PS- I made amends to RD and have given him full permission to display his affection at any time.

THANKFULNESS

Kris' comment got me thinking about thankfulness and having an attitude of gratitude. I've come to the conclusion that a lot of the semi-depressive episodes I find myself in has to do with selfishness and not looking at the things that I am grateful for. This especially pertains to my perspective on parenting.

For a long while now, I've been struggling with raising my two toddlers. They are a handful, especially Benjamin- boy howdy! But how much of my struggle is actually self-induced because of my own selfishness? I didn't get enough sleep last night. I don't feel like getting up early so I can start my day off on the right foot. I don't feel like getting off the couch and administering discipline again. I... I... I... Do I ever stop and give God praise for the things that are good and right in my life?!

I should be thanking Him for the ability to conceive and maintain pregnancies. I should be glad to have textbook deliveries and post-partum healing. I should jump for joy that all three of my children were born without any health/mental problems and are developing right on schedule. I should be thankful for a husband that loves me even though I'm imperfect and terribly flawed. I should thank Him that my husband is really involved with parenting and child-rearing and that I'm not on my own. I should praise Him that I have a home, husband, and family to take care of... that I don't have to work and that I can stay home and raise my babies... that we have two vehicles so I'm not bound to the home all day...

There is SO much to be thankful for...
I just wish I could see past mySELF so that I can better see the blessings surrounding me.
Then I wouldn't be so focused on the runny noses, spills, blow-out diapers as I'm walking out the door, sibling fights, toy stealings, lack of sleep, discipline issues, etc.

Lord, please help me to see past my selfishness so that I can clearly see the blessings You've freely given that are all around me. I want so badly to be a good, wise, patient, and gentle mom, but until I can take mySELF out of the equation, I'll never be able to attain that goal. Please help me to daily remove "self" out of my thinking, desicions, and attitude. May I be Your moldable servant. Amen.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Can't get the stink out of your clothes?

Use cloth diapers and want to get that "not-so-fresh" smell out of them? Have body odor smells you can't remove with normal laundry detergent? Ring around the collar? You have GOT to try this detergent!!! My sister recommended it to me- she uses it on her cloth diapers and it TOTALLY removes all the smell. Kinda funny because it's for hunters that need to take the smell out of their clothes so they don't scare off the animals. It works like a charm! RD switched deoderants for a while but after some time, it stopped working... hense, it left some hard-core BO smells in his shirts. I could NOT get the smell out, so I tried 3 different laundry detergents- to no avail. That's when Cyndi let me have a couple load fulls of this hunters detergent. In one wash it completely eliminated all odors from our clothing. If you've got some tough smells that you want to get out, try this laundry detergent. We got ours at Wal-Mart in the hunting section for about $5. Let me know how it works for you!

PS- RD returned to his original (effective) deoderant :-)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

About those protein shakes...

Most protein shakes on the market are icky tasting and have a chalky texture. The kinds that I have discovered are tasty are GNC brand (a bit pricey) and Wal-Mart's "Body Fortress" brand- which can be found in the pharmacy area. We prefer the Vanilla flavor because we can blend in fruit with it. Even plain, it tastes good. Chocolate's good, too. Stay away from that Mixed Fruit flavor. Yuck!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Best disposable diapers

For you mommies out there that use disposable diapers, may I suggest you trying Wal-Mart's Parent's Choice diapers. They are THE best diapers that I've ever come across (and I've tried nearly everything on the market). We rarely have diaper rashes, blow-outs, or pee-pee leaks. AND... for a jumbo-mega pack (which holds over 60 diapers), we spend a little over $10. I kid you not. Try them out and let me know what you think.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

More yummies from the D. Family kitchen

All-Purpose Marinade
*
good with chicken & beef

In a 1-gallon freezer bag, add:
-meat
-Worchestershire sauce
-Soy sauce
-garlic powder
-pepper

Close bag and mix/shake meat in marinade. Let set for a few hours/overnight. Awesome!

Lemon Parmesan Fish
-fish fillets (we prefer white fish like orange roughy, tilapia, etc.)
-lemon juice
-water
-salt
-pepper
-Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 350F. Place fish fillets in roasting pan. Pour lemon juice over fillets. Add enough water to semi-dilute lemon juice. Salt and pepper each fillet. Sprinkle a hearty layer of Parmesan Cheese over each fillet. Cover, bake for approx. 15 mins or until fillets are flakey. (About the time I can really start smelling the fish is when I find that it's done.)

Homemade Pizza
*compliments of Laine's Letters
-RD and I made her pizza dough/sauce recipe today. Wow! It was the first homemade pizza that I've ever had that I've liked! Check these web pages out:

Whole-wheat pizza dough
There was enough dough for one really large pizza and a few bread sticks. We used a steel pan with holes in the bottom since we had no way of moving the pizza to a 500F stone. Worked great, although next time I'd try greasing the pan. Since the dough continues to rise while in the oven, make sure your pizza crust is sorta thin as you roll it out.

For the sauce, here's the recipe we used. Scroll down. It was too salty for us (esp. since there was already salt in the tomato sauce, we were using salty meats, and we sprinkled salt on top of the cheese as requested on the dough recipe). Next time, we'd cut the salt out of the sauce recipe altogether. That would make it just about right.

To speed things up a bit, I'd chop up the veggies/shred the cheese/prepare the sauce ahead of time.

Enjoy!

Benjamin's 2-yr. B-day wishlist

Benjamin will be turning 2 this Sept. 4. For Birthday ideas, check out the D. Family blog.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Pearls of Motherhood

I SO needed to read this today. Hope it encourages you, too.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Happy Four Years!

As of August 3, 2006, RD and I have officially been married 4 years! Wow! We celebrated by getting grandma & grandpa D. to "monitor" the kids after they went to bed for the night while RD and I went to Applebee's to enjoy 1/2-off appetizers. After we feasted, we had our Wal-Mart ritual and headed home pretty late. We had a tag-along because SOMEBODY won't take a bottle yet. Sheesh. But Cassandra was a little angel, as always. We've had a pretty eventful 4 years together. Looking forward to sharing MANY more years together. I LOVE YOU, RD!!!

New pics on Family blog

Check out the D. Family blog to see new pics of our kids/new pet.