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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Simply Mickey D's

Conveniently, there is a McDonald's with an indoor playground just 3 blocks from our home. This is especially dandy during times like these, when we would rather not take our children to an outdoor playground where the cold Chicago wind can get them!

Tonight, since we wanted to go somewhere we knew our children would actually eat all of their food, McDonald's was our dinner location of choice.

Here are some pictures of the girls right before they finished their nuggets and started to play:

Sure, at face value there doesn't seem to be anything particularly phenomenal about spending a Saturday night at a local McDonald's with your family. Even so, to me there is something so wonderfully special about evenings like this.

Think about it. Here I am, with my iced coffee to the right of me, and the man of my dreams to the left. Here I am, watching the man of my dreams as he holds our son, who is peacefully sleeping. The same son who we so eagerly and earnestly prayed for, and who is now almost a year old. Our blessing. Our legacy.

Here I am, watching my curly-haired, mini-versions of myself, run up and down the indoor playground equipment, enjoying one another and occasionally calling me, just so I will look up for a minute and wave. I shake my head as I realize they are trying to make friends with the other kids, amazed at how fast their growing.

Here I am, laughing and pondering life's delights and challenges with the man whom God has given me as a head, a leader, a protector. We converse about something job-related and then he somehow casually slips in that he thinks I'm beautiful. I say, "Huh? Oh Really?" and we both chuckle and move on. We reminisce on old times. We laugh at inside "you had to be there" jokes that only the two of us can understand.

In a world where so many are chasing money, power, and prestige, by the grace of God, I am sitting in a McDonald's on a Saturday night, enjoying something that money can't buy. There is just something so marvelous in the simplicity of that. This is the kind of simplicity that I am coming to value more and more.

Mrs. Anna T. writes beautifully on the subject:

I'm living a wonderful life...A life of simplicity and finding joy in the simplest things.

You will be encouraged by the stories of countless people who spend less and live more, people who made choices of frugality and simplicity, people who cut up their credit cards and have never been happier. Frugality isn't just spending less. It's being creative and resourceful, patient and thankful.

In our day and age, home life is – sadly - devalued, unappreciated, and sneered at; good home life, with its orderliness, cheerfulness, peace, contentment and simplicity is so very rare, that some people of my generation grew up without knowing it at all.

Simplicity and letting go of non-essentials has been a blessing in all areas of my life...It's sweeter than I could have imagined, to simply let go...It's so important, so essential if I truly want to delight in the beautiful and simple life of a wife and mother - a life I was so richly and abundantly blessed with.

You can read more from Mrs. Anna T. and the value of simplicity at Domestic Felicity.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bob's Way vs Charlene's Way

In his book, The Best Life Diet, Bob Greene writes,

"...I'm a stickler for this rule: Stop Eating At Least Two Hours Before You Go to Bed.

This is part of a strategy to get you to shift your calorie consumption toward the earlier part of the day, as well as one of the most effective and easy eating habits you can establish"(pg. 58).

I've decided to do things Bob's way. But, let the record show: I'm not happy about it.

You see, I don't think Bob understands that it isn't until after I have bathed and put my girls to sleep, did an evening clean-up, and finally wrestled (and I do mean that literally) my 11-month old to sleep, can I finally sit down, relax, and actually enjoy something tasty to eat!

I mean, has Bob been a Stay-At-Home-Mom? No.

Does Bob have 3 children under the age of 5? I seriously doubt it.

So why am I going listen Bob? Well, because...

I figure: A desperate overweight mama has gotta do, what a desperate overweight mama has gotta do.

Besides, I also figure Bob's way will work much better than Charlene's...


Monday, February 22, 2010

Scrub a Dub Dub

Enjoying kitchen sink baths since 2009.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Little Chefs

Our children have a very crafty godmother who stunned us all with the one of a kind aprons and chef's hats she made for Christmas.

Here is a picture of the set sold at Pottery Barn Kids:

Now here is a picture of our girls with the ones their godmother made:

Not bad eh? I'd say she gave Pottery Barn a run for their money!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Great Excuse

Did you know?...
According to some industry statistics, women purchase about 75% of the chocolate candy sold each year.
Did you further know?...
About 75% of chocolate candy purchases in the days before Valentine's Day are made by men buying it for women.

Can you see how we win in both of these scenarios? How woman of us.

Although many of us indulge all year-round, Valentine's Day is such a great excuse for chocolate! And according to the statistics, not only can we have a guilt-free indulgence, but we can have one that we don't have to take responsibility for.

"Oh honey! You bought me chocolate? You shouldn't have. But, since you insist..."

Happy Chocolate...ahem...I mean...Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

- Author unknown

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

You Might Be a Homeschooler if:

"You get light headed in teacher supply stores."

When I became interested in homeschool, my fear was that I would have trouble finding out "how" to do so. Little did I know, the challenge with homeschooling is not a lack of information, but an abundance of information that is difficult to choose from!

I am still investigating kindergarten curriculum and I have found every opinion on it from "kindergartners don't need a curriculum at all" to "kindergartners need 3 hours of school time a day." I am sure the answer falls somewhere in the middle, right?

Furthermore, my homeschooling adventure waxed even more interesting when I decided to sit down with Noelle in order to "introduce" her to her first set of Dolch Sight Words. I didn't want to overwhelm her; nevertheless, she knows what sound each letter makes and is starting to sound out some basic words. Thus, I thought knowing some more sight words would boost her confidence when reading.

I sat down with her and to my amazement this happened:

Me (lifting up the card with the word "the" on it) Do you know what this says?

Noelle: "the"

Me: (lifting up the card with "is" on it)"Do you know what this says?"

Noelle: "is"

Me: (lifting up "go", then "I", then "me" etc...etc...)

Noelle: "go", "I", "me"

I showed her about 14 words and she only hesitated on 1! Who knew?! Needless to say, she read a Theme 1 Houghton Mifflin Phonics book yesterday.

My guess is that between my reading aloud to her and the endless hours she spends on Starfall, she has committed to memory way more phonics than I realized.

What about you? What were your experiences with teaching your child to read?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

You know you've had a busy week when...

1. Everyday you asked, "What day is it?"

2. You ate most of your meals in your car.

3. You found yourself actually longing for the day when you could stay home and just clean up.

4. By the time Friday came around, Monday felt like 2 weeks ago.

5. You come up for air only to realize you didn't write any blog post! Yikes!