Tuesday, April 6, 2010

One Thing at a Time

I clearly remember the first time I felt overwhelmed by my to-do list. I was in fifth grade and the workload had gone up. Suddenly I was being assigned homework. I couldn't figure out how to remember everything I needed to remember. We had a school assembly one day, where we were introduced to the school counselor and were told that we could go to her about any problem we had--so I took my problem to her. The advice she gave me helped me then, and God has been gently reminding me of it in recent weeks: "Don't look at the whole to-do list, take one thing at a time, do it, and move on to the next."

After being down and out with my knee surgery--and really, having been out of comission for a few years with my high-risk pregnancies and migraines (which I recently discovered were caused by milk--avoiding milk has freed me from the pain I was dealing with every other day), I can look at all that needs to be done and feel overwhelmed. In fact, I had been feeling so overwhelmed, burdened, and frustrated with caring for my home and children that I had become frazzled and depressed. My attitude was to look at everything that needed to be done and to feel my fatigue and sit down because I just couldn't deal with it.

Finally, I reached a point where I couldn't take my frustration anymore and I prayed. I began to get up a little earlier than the kids. Aiden has an alarm clock that goes off in the morning, signaling that he may come out of his room for the day (otherwise he'd be up around 5:30/6am every day). Jocelyn usually wakes up between 5:30 and 6:30 for a bottle and is content to stay in her crib--sometimes she goes back to sleep, and sometimes she plays on her own. That is the time I've carved out to read my devotional, Bible, and pray. It may not be much some days, but I am finding that when I start my day doing that, everything else falls into place.

When I start the day, the kitchen may be a wreck, laundry piled to the ceiling, and Nappy hair is often tumble-weeding across the floor. Before, I would think of all of that, plus every little project that I haven't tackled (such as the stenciled monogram that my mom made for Jocelyn's room that is still not displayed on the wall), and I would get discouraged. Now I feel the reminder "one thing at a time," so I block everything out of my mind and tackle the kitchen, then I move on and tackle something else. All day long I move, doing one thing after another. Slowly, methodically, I move. Stopping to feed the baby when it's time to eat, or to tie Aiden's shoes. These interruptions don't bother me as much as they used to because I realize that I'm doing the best I can do--to God's glory, not mine. And somehow, it all works out just right. Dinner is served and my house is more picked up than it has ever been, even with the many interruptions in my day.

Even if my house is a wreck at the end of the day, I find that if I've had the right heart attitude all day long--I don't care. I can feel proud of the work I've accomplished because I know that God was pleased with how I lived my day. You see, God doesn't look at the outward appearance of things--He looks at the heart. If my heart was in the right place, everything else in my home is placed just right as well--even if I didn't find the time to get to it because I was loving a teething baby, or taking a preschooler to the zoo. As my husband keeps reminding me...who's list do I want to be on? God's or man's? When my answer is God's, somehow it all falls into place and I go to bed with a peaceful heart.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Time has flown since Jocelyn was born. What a delight this baby is! The whole family is in love with her. In the morning when I hear her screeches of delight Aiden and I dash in to greet her. She waves her arms and kicks her legs grinning from ear to ear. We cherish her.

Now that I am past my knee surgery--some of you may not have heard, I wasn't very communicative about it, but on October 6 my knee, which had been injured 10 years ago while playing soccer, bit the dust. I was sitting on the floor playing with Jocelyn and as I switched position I felt it go out (which happened quite often). Immediately I tried to straighten it to get it back in, but it wouldn't straighten. It turned out to be a bucket handle tear of the meniscus (fun, fun) and required reparative surgery. The surgery turned out to be a longer ordeal than we anticipated because it was a repair--usually they just snip out cartilage and let life go on, but in my case, since I'm still pretty young, the doctor decided to repair it. Needless to say, it was impossible for me to care for Jocelyn on my own for quite some time and all of my energy went into recovering from that. Then Christmas came and suddenly I find our family halfway through January--and it's time for me to buckle down and consider what needs to be done to gear up for Aiden's first year of homeschool.

Yes, we have decided to homeschool him. We feel that the public school education does not offer the same worldview that we hold and we want to be sure that this precious child, who was entrusted to us, is educated fully and completely. We don't believe that can be done unless the Creator is included in the lesson plan. After all, it baffles me how one fully explains the creation without the Creator.

We also believe that much of what composes a successful education has been cut out of the public school curriculum in favor of politically correct social messages. What is so silly is that if the messages of Jesus were taught in public school, we wouldn't have to worry about having a politically correct agenda--Jesus taught us to love one another (Matthew 22:37-40) 'Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. The Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.' (NIV).

Also, God commanded us to care for the earth (Genesis 2:15) 'The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.' (NIV). It seems to me that if we didn't cut the Bible out of the curriculum in a misrepresentation of what the "separation of church and state" really meant we wouldn't have to spend so much of our time teaching basic morals in secular ways.

My mom gave me a 2nd grade reader from the 1940's as a Christmas gift...Do you know what they used to teach reading back then? Aesop's Fables! Today the literature is chosen carefully to reflect current political views--I know because I was an English teacher. What wonderful lessons on wisdom and morality have been lost to a generation of children because top educators decided to neglect the classics in favor of a social agenda!

And so, we are going back to the basics with Aiden's education and pursuing a Christian-based classical education.

Don't get me wrong. I'm choosing the form of education that I like best and I believe God has put the burden on my heart to educate my son following the classical method, but I also understand that I am not perfect and I know there are going to be struggles--I'm sure that you'll read about them here in the years to come! No one form of education will turn out the perfect child. I will do what I can, but ultimately it is God's work that is going to be done, not mine. The prayer of this mother's heart is that her children will ultimately become children of God's kingdom. Nothing else matters in light of eternity.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fire Trucks!

In an attempt to wear Aiden out in an educational, family-oriented way, we've tried to find ourselves some interesting things to do around town. Most recently we were told of a fireman's parade that was being held--so we went. It was cool except for the fact that the parade consisted of fire trucks driving by slowly with sirens blaring--all of them. Jocelyn cried despite my attempts to keep her ears plugged and I'm half-deaf these days after that.

That's what happens when men plan things. I'm sure some guy thought it'd be so cool to have every firetruck drive by with the siren on, but there were no moms around to point out the danger of having such high-decibel noise around young children's ears. Ha ha ha--boys never grow up do they? It was fun though once the sirens went off.

They gave the kids a chance to climb on the trucks and learn about how fires are fought. Aiden loved sitting in the driver's seat, but he was all business once he was up there--he was so nervous.

Note that the balloon accompanied him into the truck. He loves balloons. Unfortunately he lost this one because he couldn't control the balloon in the car and kept bopping the driver (aka Daddy) in the head with it. So this balloon saw a quick demise.

It was a lot of fun seeing the trucks up close. I'm so thankful for the men and women who selflessly serve our community. And of course it's fun being able to take Aiden to small events like this and see his eyes light up with excitement. The joys of parenthood!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Getting the Energy out.

Aiden has energy...only in our house it is known as Energy. We even have a chant that we say: "Energy, energy, Aiden has energy!" This is because Aiden's Energy is like an entity of its own. He is up at the crack of dawn and spends his naps bouncing around his room playing--despite the fact that I've removed every toy from the room. Although the removal of toys has coincided with a burst in imaginary play. So the Energy is a constant topic of conversation in our house.

Aiden: My energy told me to wake up.

Aiden: My energy is hungry. He wants food because it's all the way empty to there (pointing at his toes).

So I try to use his energy in constructive ways by encouraging him to play in the yard and taking him on walks. Unfortunately, with a baby up in the middle of the night, mommy's energy isn't quite as abundant as Aiden's. One day I hope to keep up with him, but for now I trudge behind his Energy trying to make sure it doesn't get into too much trouble.

Thankfully one of my children is still immobile:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Buckeyes are out

Fall in our house means football season. We're slowly indoctrinating our kids. At this point Aiden refers to our team (either the Ohio State Buckeyes or the Washington Redskins) as the good guys and the other team as the bad guys (and Michigan is a bad word).

In fact, since we've been watching football I noticed that he was pushing kids on the soccer field from behind if they had the ball. I wasn't sure where he got it from until we were watching football this weekend and he said he's not allowed to tackle people. Suddenly I put two and two together. He's been watching football and thinks that's how he's supposed to play soccer. Oops. We quickly explained that in the sport of football there is tackling, while in soccer you're not allowed to tackle.

Mike also took the opportunity to ask Aiden if he wants to play football. He said yes--making Daddy proud...but my guess is that once he's on the receiving end of a tackle he'll have a different opinion. But I've been wrong before. We'll see.

Pictures from Aiden's First Game

Here is the sequence of Aiden's first goal--we actually caught it on camera!

He was one excited little boy! He kept yelling "Yes! Yes! Yes!" the whole way back. After his second goal (not the one you see above) he told a little girl on the other team, "that's two!" She indignantly replied, "no, it's one!"

He had fun--and that's the most important thing at this age.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Soccer Daze

Reading the comments from my last post brought a smile to my face. Thank you so much for your encouraging words about pumping! I am so glad that we've made it this far, and to be honest, I'd love it if she would just start nursing one day, but unfortunately she just has a very poor sucking ability and no latching ability anymore. So it'll be bottle feeding for us :-) It's not very convenient, but it's not as difficult as it was during the early weeks.

On to another first for Aiden:

From the time I first saw the pink line on the pregnancy test, I've been looking forward to going to sporting events and cheering for my kids. To me, that's what motherhood is about--being my kids' biggest cheerleader, no matter what they want to do. I love just standing back and marveling at the people that God is growing them into. Today was Aiden's first soccer game and it was an absolute blast!

I anticipated being the mom of the kid who was doing cartwheels at one end of the field while everyone else played soccer at the other end. Instead Aiden took to the game like a fish in water--although there was one child on the team who was spinning around in the backfield totally oblivious to the ball--and his mom's desperate attempts to get him to join the game. He scored three goals today. Two for his team and one for the other team--he wasn't the only child to score on the wrong goal--which is what makes it so fun to watch. It's like one great comedy routine. I love this age! I keep telling him I'm going to put bricks on his head so he stops growing, but he doesn't like that idea. In fact, the other day he started crying and saying that he didn't want bricks on his head, so I think I need to stop joking with him about that :-) Poor kid!

As for Jocelyn's first sporting event, she chowed down on a bottle and napped in the Baby Bjorn carrier. What a trooper!

I'll try to get some pictures up later--I don't know how to get them off of Mike's camera...