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Archive for February, 2012

finding her nitch

Kait is such a sweet, sweet girl.

Not perfect, mind you, but she is compassionate, kind, friendly, thoughtful, smart, as well as many other things.  Competitive, however, she is not.  I know she’s only eight, but as a mom I feel bad that she has yet to find her “thing” . . . you know, that “thing” she’s really interested in and wants to pursue.  She has no interest in any kind of sport, or music lessons, or dance lessons.  She does like being with other girls and making crafty things and working on projects which is why Girl Scouts is so good for her.  She also loves playing school with her little sisters and teaching them things.  Recently, much to both Rose and Pendo’s delight, she has begun to make some homework pages for them to complete.  I think we may have another teacher in the making.  Time will tell.  Until then, I’m doing what I can to help her try to figure out what she’s interested in.  She certainly has a crafty side.  In the past few months, she’s been increasingly interested in learning to sew.  Over Christmas she and Grandma worked together to make a pillow case, and any time I have the sewing machine out, she always asks if she can sew a seam.

The other day I was working on some party decorations for her upcoming rainbow party, and I was sewing together some garland-kind-of-things.  By the way, it’s quite strange getting used to sewing paper.  Easy, but certainly weird.  Kait sat right down and began sewing with some left over circles.

She made a couple of strands to hang up above her bed, and she did a nice job.  I’m excited to pursue this interest with her a little more. My knowledge is severely limited, but maybe we can try making a little skirt or some other simple little thing before long.  Maybe a Spring Break project?

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lately

What have we been up to lately?  Other than taking turns traveling?

I was gone for a couple of days last week, and now G is in another part of the world helping to lead a Spring Break trip.  Other than that, we’ve been our regular busy selves.  I’ve been scrambling to get everything together to apply to grad school as well as organizing play dates, taking Kait to a couple of extra Girl Scout events, running back and forth to preschool and school, making sure homework gets completed everyday, trying to come up with ways to get Kait to absorb her evasive multiplication facts, in addition to keeping other daily life events happening, like grocery shopping and cooking dinner, etc.  It seems like every season is a busy season of life when you have little ones.

We’ve managed to find time to enjoy some special events over the past few days.  One was going to see the U of M Women’s gymnastics team compete against Utah.

Pendo is taking gymnastics lessons, and we could all go for only $5 to this particular event, so we thought we’d check it out.

After watching about an hour of this meet, we all kind of realized that you have to give your life (and your bank account) to be good enough to compete at this level.  I’m glad Pendo enjoys the class she’s taking now, but I’m pretty sure the closest our girls will get to real gymnastics is to sit in the audience and cheer.

One of the highlights of the evening was the opportunity for face painting.

Kait was the only one who jumped into it wholeheartedly.

After much convincing, Pendo agreed to have her hand painted,

but Rose wanted NOTHING to do with it because a clown was the one holding the paint brush.

She was more than happy to watch the “blue team girls” do their flips and twists without a tiny bit of paint or glitter on her face.

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traveling light

I just returned from a quick trip back to where I grew up in WV.

 I’m the queen of over packing because every time the five of us go somewhere, there is just so much to take.  You never know when one of the girls is going to jump or fall in a mud puddle and need an extra pair of jeans or if someone is going to spill a milkshake down the front of their shirt.  I also try to pack as many things as I can to occupy the girls in many different situations.

 This time, I traveled back to WV by myself and was so surprised at how little I needed to take.  It was only a two-day trip, but it was unexpectedly nice to get everything into a fairly empty backpack and a carryon.   It was so nice to travel light.

 I headed home to WV to be with my family as we celebrated my sweet Papaw’s life.  He died on Sunday morning.

 Papaw and I were buds.  I had the privilege of spending a lot of time with him (and Mamaw, too) as I was growing up, and I even lived with them a little bit right after college when I was teaching in WV.  I already miss him, but I’m incredibly thankful for a sweet relationship with a very special man.  I’ll think of him often, but especially on our birthday.  I was born on his birthday and have always treasured sharing it with him.

 The main reason I traveled light on this trip is that my sweet Papaw, after decades of prayer, chose to follow Jesus before he died.  I’m incredibly thankful that I don’t have to say a final goodbye.  I will see him again.  My heart is sad, but my spirit is light.

See you later, Papaw.  I love you and miss you and am oh. so. grateful for all of our time together.

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little ones

Our family feels SO incredibly blessed that Rose’s severe prematurity (born 3 months early) doesn’t have any  major influence on our daily lives.  She is completely caught up to her peers in most areas.  There are a couple of things that we are keeping our eye on and helping her with, but for the most part we think of her as an average, healthy four-year-old girl.

That’s why it surprises me when something reminds me of those early days. . . those long, agonizing days in the NICU, not knowing the outcomes for our sweet little angel.

At the beginning of this year (2012), G and I started working on cleaning out our basement storage area as well as reevaluating our toys.  We’re always trying to figure out what the girls have outgrown so we can pass it along to someone else and make a little more room in our home.  Anyway, on one of those purging afternoons, we came across some diapers that we had saved from when Rose was sooooo tiny.

These are little preemie diapers, not much bigger than her four-year-old hand.  We let her keep them to put on her babies instead of leaving them tucked away in a box.

The girls have enjoyed playing with these little diapers, but I’ll never let them play with the one sweet, teeny-tiny diaper that we saved.  This is the kind she wore when she was first born, weighing only 2.2 pounds.

In those early days, this diaper was HUGE on her little buns.  The NICU nurses could hardly keep it on.

These first diapers aren’t any bigger than a little maxi pad (sorry, boys, but it’s true).

After taking this picture, I tucked that little fella’ away in a safe place.  That one is a keeper.  It’s a reminder of the many miracles God has done in bringing our girl so incredibly far.

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laundry ladies

I really dislike doing laundry.  I think it’s because we have so much of it.  I don’t want to seem ungrateful in any way because I’ve seen how the African mamas wash their clothes.  I don’t mind the washing and drying or even the folding (too much).  It’s the putting things away part that just gets me.  I do it anyway, but I don’t like it.

Well, when my friend explained how her three girls (who happen to be almost the same ages as my girls) help with laundry and how they have been doing this for a couple of years, I thought I’d give it a try.  Pendo is finally old enough to assist with this, and I’m LOVING it.

Right now I wash and dry everything, but I would like to see if Kait can help a little more with that this coming summer.  After everything is dry, I bring it up to the living room and pass out a small laundry basket to each girl.  They even have their own spot on the carpet so they don’t argue about who sits beside whom.

Now we’re ready to distribute the laundry.  Right now I’m the one who puts the clothes into the right basket, but in a few months I’d like to see if they can do this part, too.

As soon as they get their own clothes in their basket, they start folding or putting shirts and dresses on hangers.

Each girl also helps with the towels.  Kait takes the bath towels, Rose gets the hand towels and dishtowels, and Pendo gets the wash clothes and cleaning cloths.  While they are doing this, I fold both mine and G’s clothes and all of the socks.

We often finish around the same time, then we each carry our own basket upstairs and . . . are you ready for this?!? . . . . each of us puts our own basket of laundry away!!  I absolutely love it that I’m only responsible for putting away two people’s clothes instead of five people’s clothes.

I will say that G is not nearly as excited about using this new system as I am.  He tried it with the girls once when I had to go somewhere, and it didn’t go very smoothly that time.  I’m not sure he’ll attempt it again, but maybe.  I completely love it and am SO glad we figured out a way to make this work in our family.

What other things do your kids help with?

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new for 2012

I’ve been wanting to do a better job with training the girls to help more around the house.  In fact, it’s one of my new year’s goals!  I know that Kait is completely capable of doing most minor chores, but I wanted to reevaluate and increase her responsibilities as well as figuring out what the little girls can do to contribute to the chores around our home.  I’m not talking about scrubbing the basement floor or cleaning out the deep freezer, just simple things like making their beds each morning and taking their dishes to the sink.  After talking to a few friends about how their children help at home and after discussing it with G, we came up with a good plan of what we’d like to try  in the beginning of 2012.

G created a chore chart for each girl and then printed them out.

He used pictures so the little ones would know what to do each day.

Kait has a couple more responsibilities, and they will likely increase when summer comes and she’s not in school.

Over all, it’s really working out well.  The girls have a sense of accomplishment, and it actually helps me a little.

When it’s Pendo’s day to help with the dishwasher, she only gets to the silverware, but that helps.  Rose and Kait help to unload all of it and to put away the things they can reach.

All three girls enjoy when it’s their day to sweep the kitchen and dining room.  They even help (as much as they can) move the chairs out of the way and then back when they are finished.  I also use a little broom at the same time to get the corners and harder to reach places, but it does really help to have them contribute to this daily job.

My favorite one of all is laundry!  More on that tomorrow.

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We had an amazing weekend enjoying some of our favorite friends.  These are the kind of friends you don’t get to see very often and can just jump in where you left off the last time you’ve seen them.

Chris and Lindy live and serve in Kenya most of the time, and they are currently in the states.  They blessed our socks off by driving allllllll the way up from North Carolina to spend a few days with us.  We also got to meet the newest addition to their family . . .their absolutely precious little boy.   Each of our girls was quite enamoured with their little guy.

During the year that we lived in Kenya, we spent most of that time living in the guest house that Chris and Lindy oversee.  It was a HUGE gift from God to meet them soon after we arrived in Kenya and to be able to live with them.  We now think of them as family.  SUCH sweet people!

I also got to break in my new running shoes with my running pal.

Lindy and I used to run together when we lived in Kenya, and I had forgotten how much nicer it is to run with a partner.  The miles flew by SO much faster with a friend by my side.  Ok, that sounded like we ran for miles and miles.  Um, no.  I’m still at the 2-3 mile range for my daily run.  Just so you know.  I’m not a real runner.

Anyway, we LOVED having our good buddies with us and look forward to the next time we can see them again.

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