Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I love Lists

If you know me then you know that I am a list maker. I absolutely love making lists for several reasons. It usually keeps me on track, keeps my mind organized so I don't have a zillion things running around in my mind constantly & I can concentrate on my family instead of halfway listening to them while I make a list in my mind (which I'm sorry to admit but I do sometimes). I enjoy the feeling of getting something done on my mile long list & crossing it off or deleting it (depending on whether I'm using paper or digital via my phone or itouch). Making lists helps me feel somewhat in control of things. I actually have a notebook that I keep several lists in. Are you really surprised?  So it comes natural to me that I would have my children make a wish list each year around this time. They've actually been looking through toy catalogs lately & showing us things that they think are cool but last night I actually had them sit down & write out what it was that they would like to get for Christmas.

You may have read or heard me explain this before but here goes again.  Last year we decided to adopt the 3 present rule for Christmas.  Since Jesus received 3 presents from the Wise Men, we thought we'd correlate that with our gift giving because we believe that Christmas is about celebrating God's gift to mankind by sending his son in human form to be born on this earth.  BTW, this was not our idea alone. I have friends that have shared that this was their family tradition & I have since found more people who do the same.  My husband & I found that we were going overboard with presents & we also noticed that even though the kids were very appreciative of what they received, they didn't always play with everything so much. Some things inevitably fell to the wayside of Toyville and didn't get as much playtime. Rather than spending hard earned money (and let me tell you, my hubby works very hard, especially this time of year when its their busiest & everyone is ordering presents online & shipping things to family & friends) on things our kids didn't appreciate as much, we decided to buy 3 presents for each child. Last year they ended up with a more expensive gift & then 2 smaller gifts & then a few stocking stuffers and let me tell you....they were absolutely delighted at what they received. We made just a little room for the new toys beforehand & so when it was time to clean up their new toys that they played with all day long, it was easy to find them a new home. The kids still play with their toys. Oh & if you think that they only get 3 separate toys, well that's not so simple. We've purchased a few toys in the same theme; our son got a box with a few Toy Story characters in it last year. So I guess we 'kinda' cheat in a way but it worked & kept the amount of toys manageable as well as the money spent in a more realistic amount. This year may be on a smaller scale since we are trying to afford a used van so we can carry our whole family in the same vehicle after the baby is born.

Anyway, I found that helping them write out their lists this year was a lot of fun. My son likes a wide array of things & got so excited that he wrote so many more things on his list than he'll ever receive but he was so excited at all the prospects   My youngest has had lots of time to peruse the toy catalog while doing breathing treatments because 'Tis the Season for her to have breathing trouble. She has actually showed me several things she'd like to get & I helped her write them down.  And my oldest, well, she's more concise in what she desires. And she's kinda more practical about deciding, which makes me laugh because it reminds me of myself.  She thinks things like "If I put this on my list, then chances are I'll get it.  She's even asked what the price limit per child is this year.  By the way, she's in 4th grade & her teacher has been having the class balance a checkbook as part of their learning experience. They receive payment for each day they are in school & have their homework turned in on time, etc. She was strategically trying to figure out if she put an expensive thing on the list whether she would get it or not or whether she should skip it & put something else in a better price range.  I found watching each of their personalities emerge in the way they made their list quite fun to watch.

They finished their lists just in time for Daddy to get home from work & for them to explain to him the things they had on their list & why they wanted them & then it was off to bed. ONLY thing was that was probably a bad idea. They always get super excited when Daddy is home because he gets home so late & they don't see much of him but they were doubly excited from making their lists so going to sleep last night & staying in bed was a HUGE struggle.

List making makes me happy. That probably seems kinda strange to some of you but to others, you know what I'm talking about when you get that smile on your face as you check something off your list.  My list as of late has been growing by leaps & bounds.  And makes me think that it is time to separate some of my lists up again.  It's the only way to keep them manageable.  Oh & the apple doesn't fall far from the tree in my case because my dad makes lists all the time too.  He doesn't always make them on paper or digitally but he usually has several lists going in his head.

Well, now its time for me to write out a few lists for myself for the rest of the week to make sure I get things accomplished that need to be done. I have several responsibilities & I want to be sure that I don't forget or drop the ball on any of them & that I don't take away from precious family time in order to complete them (which I have been known to do because I just can't bare when I commit to something & then don't get it done.)  Plus, I don't know about all of you but I have to be prepared for Black Friday deals if there is something on my childrens' list. If I can get it for cheaper, I mean MUCH cheaper, then I will try to do that to stretch their budget just a little farther.

Try your hand at making a list today whether its a wish list or things you need for Thanksgiving dinner or perhaps you have some goals you'd like to reach by a certain time...now's the time to make a list. It's fairly easy, just start writing & see what happens. Then be sure to visit your list & start crossing things off as you complete them. Once you get the hang of it, you can make it more complicated by categorizing & prioritizing.... but really, keeping it simple can be lots of fun & helpful too.  I encourage you to make your list today!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Some things take time

This morning my youngest was giving me a hard time getting ready for preschool again. I wondered if it was because she was having trouble adjusting to Daddy being on vacation last week & back to work this week.  While I think this is part of it I was thinking that maybe her having the start of a cold & not being able to breathe as easily might have something to do with it too.  She even climbed in between Adam & I last night, which she doesn't do very often unless something is wrong.  And the last 2 nights she has been extremely difficult to get to bed.  So this morning I was frustrated & we were running late getting her to school because all she wanted to do was argue with me.

She kept saying things like: No, I don't want to pick out clothes. No, I'm not getting dressed. No, I don't want to eat breakfast. I am NOT going to school today. I"M Skipping!!!  What???? In 1 month she'll be 5 but come on....this should not be a typical 5 year old's behavior. Right?  I had to get the rest of her clothes on her & do her hair all while fighting with her about yes, she was still going to school. Today is actually the last day of the week for her since she has tomorrow off & she doesn't go on Fridays.  I kept asking her what was wrong & she wouldn't answer anything but the phrases stated above.  Then she started crying & finally told me that one of the teacher helpers had been gone all week & someone else was taking her place. I asked her if she liked the new teacher helper & she said she was nice but she liked the other teacher's story reading better.  I asked her if that was why she wanted to be late all week.  She said yes.

Ummm...this girl is too smart for her own good sometimes.  Let me explain. Miss A is one of her teachers and at the beginning of each morning she sits on the carpet & reads with the children after they "check in" by practice tracing or writing their names & then they go & join the kids on the carpet with Miss A & read books until all the kids have checked in.  Miss R has been substituting & apparently Morgan doesn't like change very much & doesn't deal well with it. I never realized that she was more like Gabby in that way because she has always been so independent.  Morgan also told me that they had a fire drill yesterday & she really dislikes those.  So instead of rushing out the door to try & actually make it on time to school....I sat down with her & explained that people can't always be at work. Sometimes they are sick or have a sick child they need to care for & that's when they bring substitutes in.  I also explained to my bright girl that when she is having trouble with something she needs to talk to someone. She can talk to parents or her teachers so that we can help her through the feelings she's experiencing.  I refuse to allow my children to grow up with no coping skills. I have seen what it does to a person to not be able to cope with change in far too many lives & I won't let my children not learn that skill.  Change happens to all of us in some way, shape, or form.  I have never liked change very much myself but I have learned to cope with it so that life doesn't get me down & I have put my faith & trust in someone that never changes. God.  Maybe that is why for THE longest time my favorite verse of the Bible was always Hebrews 13:8 which says Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  I know that he is my solid rock that never changes in a forever changing world & I am working to teach my children the same thing.  No matter what happens in the life we live on this earth, he will always be there to help us through it.  I truly believe that with all my heart.

So, some things do take time.  And though I really dislike being late for things, it was an easy choice for me to spend some extra time talking things through with my little girl to help her through these changes that happen that she has no control over.  Remember to set aside time for your loved ones. They may not tell you how much they appreciate you & the time you give but you should know that they do feel that way.  Oh and Miss A was there today & Morgan gave her the biggest hug but she'll be out a few days next week so we have some prepping to do.  I talked to Morgan's teacher this morning to let her know what is going on in Morgan's head so that they can help us out as well.  So far we have been blessed with wonderful teachers that are willing to work with us to help provide the best education & social experience for our children so far.  I am very thankful for that!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Happenings

It's hard to believe that today is already November 1st. Where oh where has the time gone? It is sneaking away on me so quickly.  This year I had a bah humbug attitude about buying costumes for the kids. I figured that we didn't need to spend any money on them since we have tons of stuff in the dress-up box in the playroom closet. I was right. The kids picked things out, dressed up & all they really cared about was getting the candy & going as fast as they could from house to house.  I'll admit, it was fun watching them smile with each added piece of candy to their baskets.  Not that any child needs as much candy as they managed to collect. In fact, the amount that just one of them received would have been plenty for all 5 of us and then some.

Trick-or-Treating was from 4:30-6:30pm this year in our town. The kids got home from school at 3:45 and we started to get them ready though they were less than cooperative.  We decided to keep things simple since my sister & her 3 children were here as well so we fed them oatmeal for dinner.  Do you know that getting 6 kids to put their costumes on along with having hats, coats, & mittens is a HUGE challenge. It was crazy. They were loud, couldn't hear directions being given to them & finally I had to raise my voice to be heard above all of them. The countdown was on & they ended up being 15 minutes late to start trick or treating.

First they went to the neighbors on our side of the street that we know. Then proceeded to head down the block & to the next block all the time I was watching my watch.  Our friends Chris & Belinda were due to visit us at 5ish & we didn't want to miss them since we already miss them so much from them moving away a few months ago.  We walked to several houses & then headed back when I got a text that they were almost at our house.  We were sooooooooo excited to see them.  Everyone hugged & we went in the house & sat down to visit.  Braly, Morgan, Kimmy, & Katelyn were anxious to go back out so after about 10-15 minutes of visiting, they went back out for more fun with my sister.  Gabby & I sat & visited with the Gilberts while Xander played the PS2.

When I asked Gabby why she didn't want to go back out she said she doesn't like looking at yucky costumes that some people choose to wear. She's 9 now but she didn't feel comfortable being by so many strangers & asked to hold my hand while we were out. She asked if she could even stay home when the others went back out for more fun & I explained that she'd have less candy than the others & she said she didn't care. So I was ok with that as long as she was.

Our visit with our dear friends was too short as usual but very enjoyable. So neat to hear what God is doing in their lives & share what he's doing in ours as well.  I look forward to each visit we have with them. We do need to make sure to head down to see them sometime too. Perhaps after the new year since the rest of our year will be hectic with Adam working longer hours prepping for the holiday season at UPS & then the actual holiday season being so busy.

And do you know what I did?  I completely forgot to take ANY pics of the kids this year. That's why I wanted to be sure to journal about it here so I wouldn't forget.  Morgan was so excited & was skipping from house to house as she wore part of her Pirate costume.  Braly decided to be Darth Vader & wore his actual helmet that he got for Christmas one year that talks, changes his voice, & breathes like Vader. He had fun & enjoyed collecting candy & seeing people he knew & saying hi to them. Gabby was less than excited about Halloween because of her dislike for strangers & costumes that make her feel uncomfortable so she wasn't into anything super creative. She choose to wear Jammie pants & go as a slumber party girl. I tried to talk her into carrying a pillowcase but she wasn't thrilled about anything so I dropped it.  Adam missed this year due to work & dropping his sister off for play practice.  And Reggie Dabbs was in town doing a night rally at the middle school & I heard that over 400 people showed up for it & 130 people prayed to start a personal relationship with Jesus.  What an amazing night that had to have been. God's Kingdom just expanded & that is so COOL!!!