Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Since I actually took the pictures (as horrible as they may be), Richie said I should post them. So, without further ado, my recent haircut. Just three weeks late. :)

And can I just encourage you if you are thinking of having your hair cut in a drastic way, please consider donating it to Locks of Love.

A Blessed Detour

While we were heading home from vacation, we had the wonderful opportunity to visit my sister, Jessica, and her family. It was short, but oh, was it sweet! I am so thankful that God allowed us this special time to visit with them! The cousins all got to play outside and it was fun.

Jessica and her husband, B.T., will be leaving with their children very shortly for the international mission field. It has been postponed by a month or two, but will be here before any of us know it. They complete their training and have commissioning tomorrow. I'm proud of you guys!! If you'd like to see their blog/website and learn how you can pray for them, click here. If you go, make sure you check out their blog entries, good stuff! :)

There are so many pictures I could share, but I am restraining myself. I especially wish I had a good one of Caleb chasing Uncle B.T. on tricycles. Too funny!

My sister, Jessica, with Abigail (left) and her daughter, Lorelai

Samuel (right) and cousin Brian
You can find GratiTuesday at HeavenlyHomemakers.com.

Monday, September 29, 2008

One of Those Days

I am ready to go to bed and begin tomorrow. Today has been one of those days. Which I guess could mean a lot of different things. So, one of those days where you feel like you only get half of everything done.

I'm not talking about half of the things I might have on a to do list. I mean only getting halfway through any task. The only thing that got finished today was having an upstairs bedroom carpeted.

And someone else accomplished that.

Well, okay, I did get completely dressed, but that's probably just because said person was coming to do the carpet. And I did get zucchini bread made, but it took me five hours to finally finish making one batch.
My blessings from the Lord
If nothing else, it just proves to me how much I need God, and that's not a bad thing. And of course, these three little ones are worth every interruption and unfinished task. They are God's biggest project in my life and I cannot allow raising them to only get halfway done.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Do You Hear What I Hear?

I can't look at this picture without hearing Whitney Houston singing, "I believe the children are our future..."

Look out America, here comes my little world changer!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Pumpkin Passdown

One thing I hope to do this fall is to collect pumpkins from friends and neighbors as they finish using theirs for decorating purposes. Of course, before the whole let 'em rot on your porch thing starts happening. :)

So what will I do with all that pumpkin. I plan to roast the seeds for yummy snacks and then cook and puree the meat, which I will then can or freeze. Here are some of the things I will use the puree for/in:
  • baby food
  • pumpkin bread
  • pumpkin pie
  • pumpkin dip we enjoy with graham crackers
  • pumpkin soup (we'll at least try it)

We'll see how creative we can actually get through the winter. :)

For more Frugal Friday tips, head on over to Biblical Womanhood.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Let All The Earth Rejoice

There are certain things that will take place in the future that I look forward to with great anticipation. And as I dwell on them, I get so excited I feel like I could burst!! Which is a gross understatement.

I can literally choke myself up with the thought of hearing every single language join in one chorus praising the Lord at the same time. We recently had a Spanish/English service at our church and during worship my spirit just began to cry out with the desire to hear all the nations declaring His praise together.

And on top of that, it's not going to be just humans, but every creature. Can you imagine what that is going to be like!!?

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!" Revelation 5:13

My imagination cannot even begin to do it justice. The overwhelming intensity of it all. The beauty. The truth. The volume.

And then. Then imagine all the earth. All the earth singing to the Lord! Trees clapping, mountains bursting into song, jubilant fields. (Psalm 96, Isaiah 55:12) Glorious! There have been times in my personal time with God when it's like I have seen the trees smiling and the flowers laughing in the joy of the Lord. The wind dancing with His praise. Can you imagine just how amazing it will all be?

And then to actually be with Him. To see His face, to touch it. To be held in His embrace. To dance with Him. Oh, how I look forward to it all!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Magnetic Family

One might say we're an attractive family. When it comes to dirt.

It just doesn't stop coming. We must carry some genetic phenomena that draws the dirt to our house. Oh wait, that would be called children, right? *grin*

But I know it would be a falsehood to place the whole blame on the little ones around here. It does happen to be very convenient though. I mean, who am I going to blame when I have a stain on my shirt and there are no longer any kids in the house?

I just don't understand though, how my floors can attract so much dirt? I think we could vacuum twice a day and still go to bed with dirty floors. Where does it all come from and why won't it leave? *sigh* Kind of like post-baby weight, you know.

It's one of my life's true mysteries. If nothing else, I can proudly say, yes, my house looks lived in...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ignorance is NOT Bliss

Like so many things in this world, that saying is so contrary to the Word of God. And so many people happily, and many times flippantly, declare that phrase with satisfaction and pride.

To some extent, I understand - although I don't think we'd find to many people who could not read or write that would agree with that statement. It's easy. It requires no change.

Yet there must be change and I find everything within me crying out for the wisdom of God. There is no happiness in my ignorance. My plethora of ignorance. In my desire to bear the image of Christ, my desire to be a godly wife, and my desire to biblically train up my children, I MUST seek out His truth and apply it to my life.

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. Proverbs 14:1

I don't want to tear my house down. And I don't think I know any woman that would say that they want to destroy their house, but it's what happens when we do not have a God-centered home. So, on continues my quest for the wisdom of God. Here are just a few verses concerning wisdom that give me great excitement, if you're interested. And you'll see the majority of these are from Proverbs, go figure...:)

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. Psalm 111:10

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength; for waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisers. Proverbs 24:3-6

The heart of the wise teaches his mouth and adds learning to his lips. Proverbs 16:23

Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. Proverbs 3:13-14

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Proverbs 4:6-7

Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 24:14

Lord, my hope is in You. As Solomon asked, I to ask for wisdom and discernment. To live my life blameless before you, to keep my home as a refuge and also as a place where Your Kingdom is brought forth on this earth. Remove foolishness from me and let Your wisdom reign in my heart.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Back to Reality

We just got back from the most exhausting vacation I've ever had. I don't even know where to start, so...I've been avoiding the computer. I feel like avoiding a lot, BUT I'm trying to break that habit...gotta jump in some time, right? All part of that end of vacation, back to reality thing.

We have been overloading ourselves on colonial life and the early English settlers with a little science, farm life, and presidential learning in the mix for fun. Yep, good old Williamsburg, VA has been our playground for the last eight days. (I should be able to post some pictures in a couple days...once I quit avoiding going out.)

Anyway, we're back and I wish I could say well rested, but we have many memories and that's important. And there were so many things that we didn't get to do! We'll have to visit again some time a few years down the road. I'll probably share about different experiences in the next week or so, but I wanted to get back into the swing of things.

And I totally have to give a "shout out" to God because even though we didn't get back home until 7:30 pm last night, we had a good first day home today! :) Thanks, God, for taking such good care of us!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


There's been so much going on and I just don't have the time to get it all down, but here's a small (and I'm sure incomplete) recap of what's been going on here.

  • I got a new camera and I'm so excited! Our CD-Rom is broken, so I cannot instantly download my pictures since I can't download the software, but I cannot wait for the day that I can!
  • Caleb lost 3 teeth in 3 consecutive days. He's got a mouth full of gaps and it is so cute.
  • Richie is gone for the weekend camping at a Men's Retreat with church. I hope he has a good time hanging out man-style and comes back refreshed.
  • I got 11 inches cut off my hair! I hope to post a picture. This will be my third time donating to Locks of Love, which I just love doing.
  • We were given two double strollers, one tandem and one side-by-side jogging stroller. Talk about lovin' it! :)
  • We also received some peaches that I juiced and made baby food from. I also put up tomatoes and apples this week. Not as much as I had ambitiously hoped at the beginning of the season, but yum!
  • Abigail rolled over for the first official time! She turned 3 months old yesterday, can you believe it? She is such a gem!
  • Busy trying to get ready for a week-long vacation coming up. Can't wait!
  • Started our "official" school year. We decided to do Adventure's In My Father's World this year from My Father's World. I hope to share more soon, but so far I'm lovin' it and I think Caleb likes it also.
  • Maintaining our focus on the Lord and His love and training our kids in His ways. The Lord has really been working on me about keeping a lifestyle of worship, doing everything as unto Him. Wiping noses and all. ;)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Genius Workbook Idea

I saw something at The Happy Housewife a week or two ago that I just had to share. You can use a sheet protector to extend the life of your workbooks.

Sound confusing? It's not. Cut a slit in the side of a sheet protector and fit it over the page you want to use. Use a dry erase marker to "write" in the book and when you are finished with the lesson, you can erase it and move the sheet protector to the next one. This way you can reuse the workbooks.

For the original entry, click here. She gives a photo pictorial in case you need to visualize it.

This is great for homeschooling, but I think it would be awesome for of all types of other "books". Mazes, word searches, crosswords, bible study guides, etc. I haven't tried it yet because we don't do too many workbooks except handwriting and art and Caleb needs to continue those in pencil, but I can't wait to give it a whirl. I love an idea that stretches my dollars and is easy to implement! :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Egg on My...

Floor. Again. The fourth time in six weeks.

Egg Incident #2 - The picture really doesn't do it justice.

Samuel. My beloved son, so full of joy and life. So curious about the wonderful world around him. And quite the talented mess maker. Can I just tell you how hard it is to get 15+ raw eggs off a floor. And just how disgusting raw egg feels between your toes.

The boy is good. A stealthy predator of all that is clean and orderly. I have not been able to catch him in the act of this glorious egg breaking time he's been having...until today.

Caught red-handed, thanks to Caleb's warning of, "Mom, I think Samuel's up to something suspicious." I got there in time for only 3 eggs to be broken and to chastise at the actual time of the crime.

So, in honor of my momentary Mommy success feelings and as a tribute to the end of summer, I thought it would be fun to recap, in photo, some of his other summer fun that I was able to capture for posterity.

Case of the Strawberry Bandit

This is one of my favorites, probably because the whole thing was so funny. I was slicing strawberries in the kitchen to put up. The boys were playing on the front porch with the front door open so I could keep an eye on them. Samuel quietly comes in and next thing I know swipes a handful of strawberries, flies out the door, and devours them. There was no sign of their existence, except what you see on his face. And in his ear.

One of many marker messes. Not to mention fingernail polish on 2 occasions.

I personally like his use of color here. So pretty. And don't you just love those toddler feet!

Finger licking good.

This is what happened to the leftovers of Caleb's birthday cake. I think he enjoyed, don't you?!

And just so you know that he does get clean. One of many baths (I think one day he had 3). You gotta love a good bath shot.

The maid knows her job is secure with this one around. ;)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

You Might Be A Mommy If...

the thought of cleaning under the couch makes you shudder.

You never know what treaures you're going to find. Crayons. A quarter. A matchbox car. A puzzle piece that's been missing for a week. Dust bunnies. UFOs.

UFOs? You know, as in Unidentifiable Food Objects. Which of course has its own five food groups. Crunchy, Sticky, Stale, Mushy, and "I don't even want to know".

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Blah, Blah, Blog

Okay, obviously I've been messing around with my blog. Not what I want, but since I already did this much, it's what I'll stick with for a while. I already miss my green and white design from before! What do you think?

I was just trying to go for something a little simpler. Less busy. I like this one, but it's not quite me. So, we'll try again in a couple months I'm sure. :) The ongoing search for "Jo Ann" in a blog, without paying for it. Brighter colors, stripes, polka dots, ribbons. I have an idea in my head, but I need time to learn and put it together. And patience.

I got this off of The Cutest Blog On The Block. I needed something quick to work off of. They have some adorable designs!

Happy New Year

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
(Emphasis mine)

September always feels like a new year is starting to me. Perhaps, it's because it's so close to my birthday. Or maybe because it's the beginning of the new school year. The Hebrew New Year will also begin soon. And now, after an encouraging word from the Lord this past Sunday, it feels that way even more so.

And I'll take it. A fresh start. Forgetting what's behind and pressing forward. Maintaining determination in pursuit of the Lord. Being steadfast and resolute, that I can stand in this world and declare that the Lord our God is good!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Have You Seen These Things Yet?

Maybe I'm so out of it these days that these things are old news, but I thought they were so cool! It's a t-shirt band that fits around your waist and hips to maintain skin coverage. Or as they call it - rear view exposure. You can find them at http://www.myhip-t.com/.

In this day of ultra low rise pants and shorter shirts, I thought it was a fantastic idea for keeping modest. And protecting the world from that which they truly do not want to see. :) It's one of those things that also leaves me wishing I had made it up.

I wonder if I could make my own out of a tight t-shirt.

Frugal Friday - Water Tips

Okay, so my sister, Jaclyn, and I were talking today and our conversation has pushed me into the realm of my next blog step. Participating in my first ___________ ... I don't know, what is this called anyway?

Side Note: I was not kidding when I admitted my techno unsavviness and my desire to remain there to some degree. The whole blog button, carnival, and various other terms I cannot even remember right now from bloggy world overwhelm my already overloaded brain. Who knew such a vast and confusing land existed in cyber world? :) Now I can at least say I tried it once. And by the way, do we think we could start any more of these?! There's only like 500 for each day. Ah, I digress...

Anyway, here's a couple tips for conserving water, saving on your water bill, and things that might help in a time of drought:

1. When you need to get warm or hot water from your faucet, catch the cold water in a container as you wait for it to heat up and use it to water plants. In further thinking, I guess you could always use it to "flush" the toilet, fill up a humidifier, or anything like that.

2. Save the water that you have used to boil pasta, veggies, etc. in and let it sit. Once it is cool, use this to water plants. This is important where Jaclyn lives because the city charges her for the water that goes down her drain. An added bonus if its "veggie" water, it could add nutrients to your soil.

These may not make a huge difference, but every little bit helps, right?

A Sigh of Relief

Quickest photo I could find of Caleb already on the computer

We had our first day of our homeshcool co-op today. Caleb absolutely loved it! And I am releasing a HUGE sigh of relief.

It was so funny this morning because I had butterflies in my stomach like it was the first day of school, only with less fear and anxiety. :) He is safe. And since he's so opinionated, I had concerns. Especially if he got bored. But like a lot of things in life, much ado about nothing.

Every Friday morning from now to December (the schedule changes for Jan.-April), he has Art, P.E., Presidential Election, and World Geography. He already soaked so much up just from today's classes and was upset that he didn't have anything to take notes on. You see, he doesn't want to forget what he's learning.

I woke up this morning and realized I never asked anyone what he should bring on his first day...oops! Easy enough to remedy. Then he can write away during class. Of course, knowing him, he'll be asking the teacher to stop so he can have enough time to write. Maybe I should buy him a tape recorder so he can transcript lessons at home. :) You laugh, but he probably would.

I hope all my kids have such a desire to learn. Samuel certainly wanted to stay. He wanted to play so bad. He also did not like leaving Caleb there. He kept yelling,"Fawher". That's his way of saying brother and its the only thing he calls Caleb. Brother and Baby, I wonder if that's what he'll call his siblings for the rest of his life.

I was just so glad our first day of co-op went well. No one escorting Caleb to me after classes. No phone calls from teachers. I'm ridiculous, I know. Can you tell I'm ultra-hyper-sensitive about it? ;) I hope it stays this smooth all year. And fun!

I'll do a post soon about what we're doing at home this year.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Story Behind the Wig

Man, tough crowd. Between comments left and conversations on the phone and in person, the need for my repentance is clear. In order to restore everyone's sense of peace, let me give the background on the previous post.

She's auditioning for a prequel to Annie.

Okay, so now I know that I'm the only one who thinks I am funny. Perhaps it's sleep deprivation.

Anyway, I was watching the daughters of a friend and they had brought their new Build-a-Bear buddies to show me. One of them had made an elephant and it was the proud owner of the lovely red tresses.

Please rest assured that the lovely Miss Abigail only had to endure the wig for as long as it took to snap the picture (notice the poor quality). She was a very good sport about the whole thing.

If I had to pick my favorite answer, it would be B) A desperate attempt to quiet Richie's constant comparison of his haircut with Abigail's. I do not find that funny. Comparing a sweet baby girl's head to that of a father who's losing his hair. Talk about cruelty! ;)

And now that my sister, Jessica, has made a connection to George Costanza's mother (see her comment in the previous post), I find no ounce of humor in the photo.at.all. I guess I won't be posting the picture I took yesterday of her in a blonde wig... :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Multiple Choice

Which answer best describes this picture?

This is:

A) The newest version of Baby Laugh-n-Grow

B) A desperate attempt to quiet Richie's constant comparison of his haircut with Abigail's

C) A strange outlet for Jo Ann's love of red hair

D) A homeschool science experiment gone terribly wrong

E) None of the above

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Vaccination Alteration - Part 2

I wanted to follow up and share our plan where vaccines are concerned. We have decided to go with an alternative schedule for Abigail. It's not the exact schedule that Dr. Sears recommends in his book, but pretty close. Like I said in my earlier post, I'm still not thrilled with vaccines, but I'm much more comfortable with this choice. Here are just a few highlights from my thoughts:

My precious baby girl

One of the main reasons I opted to use an alternative schedule was to stagger the shots she'd be receiving that contained aluminum. Since I was a sophomore in college (yikes-11 years ago), I have been against most things aluminum. I've been slack lately, drinks from soda cans, not looking for a deodorant that doesn't contain it, etc., but this was really important to me and her little body.

The biggest hindrance we face, which is extremely important to me, is getting the MMR broken into individual doses. I need to contact our local health dept. and see if they offer each single vaccine because our doctor's office cannot.

I personally did not feel comfortable with going unvaccinated. So, this offered a sensible option to me. I feel like her body will be able to process the "nasties" that are in vaccines better and it won't overwhelm her. All while still being protected against some pretty offensive illnesses.

I was surprised at how easily Abigail's pediatrician was in agreeing to an alternative schedule. He even commented that the alternative schedule in The Vaccine Book was one of the best he had seen. He and I tweaked it a bit to fit my family's needs and it was pretty simple.

I will have more co-pays and need to keep track of it, but her health is worth it. She will have shots every month for a while. I fell bad about that, but I think it's better than overloading her body in one sitting.

I do believe we might travel overseas as a family at some point, so better to space them out now than whammy her all at once, if the opportunity does present itself.

There is so much more controversy going on right now than I thought. I read an interesting post by Stephanie at Keeper of the Home and was surprised to learn that some public service announcements will be released soon concerning vaccinations.

I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say that the whole public health thing has me concerned to some extent. I don't know what the right answer is though. I guess that's another reason why I like the alternative schedule so much.

When trying to make our decision about vaccinations, I read several different viewpoints from other moms on the subject at Prayer of Hanna. I really appreciated reading what they all shared a while back and their blog is great to get different perspectives on a lot of topics.

I wish the vaccines contained different ingredients and I wish there was no risk of illness. But that's not the real world. Become informed and educated, pray, and make the right decision for your family.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hairy Situation

I started my day with hair problems and ended it with hair problems. Not mine, but that which belongs to the head of my firstborn.

Caleb has always had an obstinate cowlick. It's as relentless as he is in many ways. We have spent years trying to tame it. We've shaved it. We've grown it out. And yet, there it remains bringing back many fond memories of Alfalfa from Little Rascals.

He has currently been growing his hair out and we are beginning to see some progress in getting the stubborn thing under control, but with it has brought new issues. Issues that, in all my *ahem* parental wisdom, didn't think we'd face until Abigail got older.

He went through a phase at 5 where he wanted a Mohawk. So, we obliged with a faux-hawk every once in a while and he was appeased. Now, he wants a small ponytail like Annakin from Star Wars.

In the midst of trying to reach some sort of compromise and trying to not let it get too shaggy, I cut it the other day. He hated it. He disliked it so much that he fought tears as he stomped upstairs to his room to console himself. When I finally saw him 1 and 1/2 hours later, he let me style it and it actually looked pretty good and in style.

I offered to buy him some styling gel to help hold it in place and I thought life was good. So much once again for my so-called parental wisdom. I have created a monster! He is constantly checking his hair and gets upset if anyone touches it. Repeatedly asking me if it still looks okay. Today, he kept asking me to put more in so it wouldn't move and got upset when I wouldn't.

In case you're not understanding the severity of the problem...he practices running around the house to estimate how fast he will be able to go when he's playing with his friends without his hair being disturbed!

And I'm left disturbed. How can an 8 year old boy be so worried about his hair? I am trying to be the good mom and pick my battles, but I am seriously ready to get the razor out and use it on his well-coiffed head. You see, he's added something else to his bedtime routine at night...fixing his hair.