Friday, March 30, 2012

BECKON--- a book review for Tyndale Publishing

Honestly when I started reading this book, I thought I wouldn't make it past the second chapter.  It felt dry and boring.  The description on the back of the book kept me reading though and I'm glad I did. There are 4 parts to the book, the first three parts tell the tale of three different people and how they came to the town called Beckon.  The first part told the story of Jack Kendrick, a Anthropologist, who with his buddy Rudy came in search of his father who had disappeared 12 years ago. Jack, Rudy and their guide Ben explore some caves and end up lost in them.  They find strange and frightening creatures down there.  The second part is about a former LA policewoman named Elina Gutierrez who had come to Beckon in search of her cousin Javier. He had disappeared 4 weeks ago.  She runs into some trouble while she is there.  The third part tells about George Wilcox who is lured to Beckon by Thomas Vale with the promise of a cure for his wife.  The fourth part brings them all together. 

I love a good mystery/thriller book and this book did it for me.  The book was exciting and there was times where I couldn't put the book down.  In fact, I finished it within a few days which is a small feat with four young children underfoot. It definitely kept me at the edge of my seat until the very end. This book was a great read.

I received this complimentary copy from Tyndale Publishers. A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed here are my own.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Things I'm thankful for!

Here comes a mushy post.  I call it Things I'm thankful for.

  First of all.. this man.. My crazy husband.. 

For the past 17 years I`ve been in love with this man.  He faithfully provides for us, he cares for us, he worries for us. He bakes for us. He drinks lemon juice for us. 

He  helps with the homeschooling. 

 Here he`s teaching "T" about money by selling candy to him.  This man is a gem.

He is a jokester.  Sometimes he can get me laughing so hard that I can`t breathe.  I have always loved that about him.  The kids adore him.  He`s a wonderful father.

I`m thankful for these four....

I remember being a child and pretending that my dolls were my children.  Ever since I can remember I have wanted children.  Now I`ve been blessed with four of them.  And they are growing up way to fast on me.

Like this beauty.  I can`t hardly believe that she has been with us for almost 10 years.  I remember the day I found out she was coming like yesterday.  This girl is smart, beautiful, sensitive, kind, loving and full of empathy for others.  It amazes me that we have raised her up so well so far.  Anyone that knows her, loves her.

And this one...

He turns 7 in 3 short days.  He started out his life hard.  He had 3 hospital stays in his first 2 years and many other times where he probably should have been in the hospital.  He suffered from reflux and was a high maintenance babe.  He has grown up into such a mellow, sensitive, easy going kid.  He loves people.  He`s not afraid to ask for what he wants.  He takes after his dad.  He loves to make people laugh.  He wants to be a chef, a drummer and a scientist when he grows up and I`m pretty sure he could make that happen.  He`s determined.  He`s clever.  He can figure out any video game around.

These two.. my youngests...

He`s been a wild man since babyhood.  He started climbing at 10 months and never stopped.  We had to take the ladder off the top bunk when he was 12 months old because he figured out how to climb it. At 18 months we had to push a dresser next to the headboard of the bunk because he had figured out how to climb it to get up to the top bunk.  At 20 months we had to take the bunks down all together because he had learned how to climb up the dresser to get up on the top bunk.
This boy is a sweetie.  He loves wholeheartedly. He says the funniest things like the other day when he told us that his belly hurt because he had alive M &  M guys in there.  He does everything to the fullest.  He`s full of curiousity.  He`s constantly moving. 

My youngest girlie.. what a girl she is.  As a baby, I called her my dream baby.  She slept so well, she ate well. She was such a sweet tiny babe.  At 2.5, she is a handful.  I think she literally thinks she is a princess and we all are her servants.  She`s independent.  She knows what she wants and how she wants it.  It`s her way or the highway.  I am enjoying watching her personality come out and watching her grow.  She has taught me so much about how I`ve parented and how to parent her. She`s strong willed.  I don`t think that`s a bad thing.  Just something that we have to adapt around so that it works for us.  She is super smart and she can be sweet and lovable when she wants to be.  She`s got a smile to die for.  She`s a mama`s girl.   All the other kids have always been attached to daddy but this one`s mine.   Oh she adores daddy but when it comes to who is allowed to comfort her or do things for her, it`s mama all the way.

I`m thankful for my dad... He`s always there for me.  Willing to help on any project my mind conjurers up.  He`s smart, he`s handy, he`s generous of his time and his love.  He`s amazing.  He`s my daddy.

I`m thankful for new babies in the family.  Especially now that we aren`t having any more kids.  There`s nothing like a soft squishy cuddly baby to wrap your arms around.  This one is my nephew Griffin who is just 5 weeks old.  I have 3 other nephews and two neices.

 Another thing that I`m thankful for is good friends for my kids.  I didn`t have many friends as a kid and always felt alone in that.  I`m so glad that my kids have a ton of friends that they can laugh with and have fun with.
 There are lots of things that I`m thankful for.  Here are some things that I don`t have pictures for.

1. My family.  My mom, my brothers, my sister and their families.  My mother and father in law, my brothers and sisters in law.
2. My friends.  It`s taken a long time to get friendships that I could count on and I`m so thankful for them.
3. My church.  It`s awesome to be a part of a group of people who honestly care for and support me.
4. My God.  Without him, I`d be in a very bad place I think.

I`m sure there are other things that I`m forgetting but for now, I`ve gotta get supper on the table for my family.   Who ever reads this.  I`m thankful for you.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A lesson learned..... for Mom...

So a couple of weeks ago we came across in T's" schoolwork a picture of a coconut.  "T" wanted to know what it was.  So I explained it to him and he said he'd love to try one.  He's had the shaved coconut before but he wanted to see a whole one.   So the next time we were at the grocery store we saw one and he begged to buy one because he wanted to see it opened up.  So seeing as it was on sale and I thought it was a good lesson for him, we bought one.

Fast forward to last monday night.  It was Sabbath week (every seven weeks, our church takes a week break so all lifegroups are cancelled) and it was also March break which meant that "T" didn't have karate. (it's held in a school) So we had our night all planned out.  We had supper, we were going to open our coconut and taste it and since it was beautiful out, we were going to go on a family walk.  Fun stuff.   So since Hubby and I had never opened a coconut before we were sure to look up a few you-tube videos so that we knew the correct way to do it.  Because of course these days, you tube videos know everything.

First we dug a hole into it with scissors to drain the water out.  Next we had to crack it open.After a few whacks with the back of a knife, with no result, we moved onto a hammer.  That did the trick.  It cracked right in half.  The next part was removing the coconut meat from the shell.  Now this is where things began to go wrong.. And I do have to admit.  My husband was right.  Shh don't tell him.  You see the you-tube videos said to use a knife that bent easily so that it would conform to the curved shape of the shell.  Well, I don't have a bendy knife.  I just have regular knives.  Since I can be stubborn, I figured I could just do it with a regular knife if I was careful.  And I was trying to be careful.  So I stood over the sink and began to dig the coconut out.  This was going to take some time.  I gave the kids all an initial taste test and as they began to lose interest, they slowly began to leave the room.  (In hindsight, maybe a God thing?)   Hubby started to leave the room and I jokingly say to him, "you know I'm gonna end up cutting myself right?"  He said something about using a bendy knife and to that I just said "yah yah"  (see? stubborn I tell ya!)

2 minutes later?  You guessed it.  Coconut shell slipped from my hand, knife slipped into my hand.  I had accidentally stabbed myself.  Wow that hurt.  I yelled and Hubby and the kids came running.  My head started to get cloudy.  Hubby is talking to me but I'm not quite sure what he is saying.  I leaned against the sink as he gave me a cloth and suddenly things became clear.  I asked Hubby to get some gauze and let me think.  It was 6:30 at night...almost bedtime... I knew I would probably need some stitches. Hubby came back asking if we needed to go to the hospital and yelling to the kids to get their boots on.  Then it came to me!  Call Dad!  So Hubby got on the phone and soon my dad came and got me.

After a 2.5 hour wait in the waiting room, I was seen.  3 Stitches and a tetanus shot later I was sent on my way.  I gotta say.. getting need stuck into a nice stab wound was not pleasant but the freezing that came with it was such a relief.    I'm so thankful to my dad who took the time and stayed with me the whole time. He really is the best!

My lesson learned.. listen to youtube videos (and your husband) hehe.  no seriously.... I wrote a little list of things I needed to buy at the store yesterday, then had J add a few other things.  When I got the list back, there was a heart drawn on it and inside the heart was written "Don't play with knives please mom"  Thank you "J".. I'll try to remember that.

So here I am, typing mostly one handed (I've gotten really good at using my pinky, ring and middle fingers) my story.  I can tell you right now.. I'll probably buy my coconut in the bag variety from now on.  I have a wicked bruise on my hand.  It extends from my palm, around my thumb to the knuckle and between my thumb and index finger.  It's really fascinating.  I'll spare you a picture of the actual stitches but I thought the bruise was kind of cool.   That's all for now!  And just to amuse you, there's a picture of Sweet Pea down at the bottom.

That reddish bruise just appeared today.

See how purple the bottom of my thumb is?

I found this pic today when I emptied my camera card.  It was taken at breakfast a week or so ago. Somehow she flipped her bowl of cereal right into her face.  Of course we had to take a picture!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

What happens when you teach some kids about the digestive system?

Your son becomes poop.   At least that's what happened to my son.  Every week we get together with another homeschool family and do some group schooling.

We do this book------------------------------------------->

It's called 
"Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology
by Jeannie Fulbright. 

Yesterday we finished the lesson on the digestive system.  And since our two girls are always making up plays, we decided to give them a project.  Make a play all about the digestive system.  They ran off and in record time came back and said they were ready.  It was quite the play. 

T and C were the food.  T is a slice of pizza and C is broccoli. Don't those sound lovely together?

Here B is preparing to eat the food.
"J" was the tongue and the food was landing on it

And the food falls down down down into the stomach.

Here the stomach pushes and churns.. killing bacteria...
and breaking down proteins..

It's then into the small intestines where the villi absorbs the nutrients from the food as it's pushed along.

Then it enters the large intestine which absorbs the water from the food.

Eventually the food is evacuated from the body.. Here B demonstrates sitting on the toilet and since T" had a brown sweater on, guess what he was elected to be.. yep you guessed it.  The poop!

 It was an amusing and informative play.  These kids are awesome!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday Blues

I'm having a really hard time starting my day today.  It could have something to do with the fact that Sweet Pea had a hard time sleeping last night and kept screaming out my name.  By the time I'd get in there, she would already be asleep again... Maybe she was screaming out in her sleep. Who knows.  All I know is that I have a headache and I'm feeling rather lazy today.

It's 9:20 though and I've got all three kids started with their schoolwork and Sweet Pea is playing with her baby and stroller.  What makes my day worth living?  The way my heart melts when Sweet Pea asks me to fix her stroller and phrases it like this... "Can you fix my stroller, my mama?"  How can that not just make your whole day?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sciencey Science

The other day we got to do a science experiment.  The kids LOVE to do science experiments.  J has been doing a unit in her science called Water and Matter.  In it she is learning about soluble and insoluble substances.   So we did a little experiment with things we had around the house and learned what was soluble in water and what wasn't.  T had to get in on the sciencey stuff too.

First we filled 4 cups with water.  Then J added salt to the first one and stirred it around.  What do you know! It dissolved!

 Next she added sugar to cup number 2.  Amazing!  It dissolved as well.

Cup number 3 got some sand.  I bet you are wondering why I have sand lying around my house.. After a couple of years of saying "oops we can't do this experiment because there is snow on the ground and we can't get the supplies" I got smart and looked through our science curriculum this summer and created a kit of everything we would need this year.  The sand came courtesy of my friend Holly.  It's official science experiment sand.

She stirred and stirred but that darn sand just wouldn't dissolve.

Next comes the oil into cup number four.


No J, no amount of stirring will dissolve that oil.

And there you have it folks.  Sugar and Salt are soluble substances while sand and oil are not.  Aren't you glad you learned something today?  My kids are!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A day's peek into living with a two year old.

Let me tell you some stories.  The first thing I'm going to say is this:  It's 10:30 at night and I"m exhausted from yet another busy day.  It's not abnormal for me to feel this way.  When "I" was 2, I couldn't keep myself awake past 10:30. He would hit the floor running in the morning and not stop til his eyes closed at night.  He was busy! Climbing, getting into things and doing typical two year old boy things.  But this is a different kind of exhausted.  My girl Sweet Pea keeps me mentally exhausted. She is so independent and strong willed that I get to the point where I don't want to think anymore.  Here are some of our adventures today.

This morning she woke in a pretty good mood.  I was happy but I knew that it probably wouldn't last.  I successfully convinced her to use the bathroom. I got her usual breakfast started (waffles and cerweal) She ate up her waffles pretty good.. Even tried to trade her half eaten waffle for her brother's full one and didn't pitch a fit when he refused.  When she was done, she decided that she would like another waffle and very politely asked for another one.  So I popped another eggo in the toaster.  Here comes the first fit of the day....are you ready for it?   My loving husband was rushing out the door to work when the toaster popped up just as he was walking by it.  So he grabbed the waffle and put it down on Sweet Pea's plate.  "NO I wanted to get it!!!" she screams.   He says sorry and rushes out the door, probably thankful to be going to work and not having to deal with what comes next.  I was at the stove top making oatmeal for my boys when I hear the plate and the waffle hit the floor.  Yes she threw them.  I sighed and continued on with what I was doing.  I tend to ignore her tantrums quite a bit. "I", who for some strange reason will eat floor food no matter where it's been made a bee line for the floor waffle.  At first I told him to leave it but then I figured it would probably teach her a bit of a lesson if her brother ate it.  So I told him he could have it.  A few minutes later, Sweet Pea is on the floor searching for her thrown waffle.  I told her that when she throws her waffle. her brother will eat it and that was that.  Thankfully she had calmed down from her rage and was okay with that.  And on went our day.

The rest of the morning was fairly uneventful aside from her running out to the living room naked from the waist down and yelling at the kids not to look at her bum.  She was looking for her underwear.  We found her some and she went off to play.  One by one the three older kids finished their schoolwork and went off to play with her.  Surprisingly she plays very nicely with her brothers and sister and doesn't seem quite as strong willed when it comes to them.  I made my grocery shopping list and when I was ready I told the kids to get ready to go.  Out of the four of them, my little two year old surprised me by being the first to get her boots and coat on.

Off we went to do our errands.  I had to stop by my dad's to give him a twoonie that I had found that had three bears on it.  He collects them.  Thankfully the life saver that he is, he hopped in the car and drove with me to the few errands I had in that part of town.  I was able to run in and do my thing while he sat in the car with the kids and chatted.  It literally only took 10-15 minutes to do what would have taken at least 45 minutes if I had to drag the four of them in each store I went into.

We dropped dad back off and it was off to the grocery store.  The smart mom in me actually came out as we were heading into the store and I took everyone to the bathroom BEFORE we started our grocery shopping.  When we were done, I put both Sweet Pea and "I" into the cart (gotta love those double seater carts) and set off with J being the list checker and T grabbing things off the shelves for me.  At home I had organized my list according to the aisles and I just KNEW that this time, it would be faster.  (this was about 2:30 or so)  I was planning on meatloaf for supper and knew I needed to get back in time to cook it.

Things were going pretty well.  J was happy with my organized list and we were whipping through the aisles.  Until we got to the dairy aisle when Sweet Pea discovered that if she could reach down with her boot, she could push my grocery bin and bags off the bottom of the cart.  Ugh... I tried reasoning with her.. nope.. I tried being firm with her.... nope.... finally I just took her boots off and threw them in the bin.  Without her boot, she couldn't reach the bin.  Problem solved.  This is when "I" decides that he needs to go to the bathroom again... this time number two... GREAT!  So off we go across the store, into the elevator, down the hall to the bathroom.  I had J take him in while we waited outside the bathroom door because it is next to impossible to squeeze those big carts through those small doors.   A million years later, we were back on our way.

We were on track again... chugging along.... then I think it was in aisle 9 as I was trying to decide which brand of honey I would buy, Sweet Pea gets mad.. I'm still not sure what provoked her but I could almost hear her thoughts.. "what does mommy hate the most? hmmm I know squished bread!"  She grabbed the nearest bread product in the cart which happened to be hamburger buns.  She proceeded to hug those buns very very very tightly.  I had to pry both those little arms off my bread.  She then looked for something else and laid her eyes on the eggs.  yikes.  She began slapping them so I grabbed her little hands and held them to the cart handle until she had forgotten what she was mad about.  Then she was perfectly happy again.  Soon we were done with our grocery shopping and headed home.. Our shopping trip with trips to the bathroom and disciplining actually took longer than usual despite my planning.  The nice meatloaf supper I was dreaming of was becoming a distant wish as it was 4:30 and I needed something quicker.

Fast forward to supper time.  I like to get Sweet Pea involved in things that will teach her a little responsibility.  So I asked if she would like to get the ketchup out of the fridge and put it on the table.  She said no (first mistake.. asking her if she would like to.. I have to make it seem like it was her idea.  What I should have said was.. We need ketchup for our chicken nuggets and french fries but it's in the fridge....)  So I ask one of the other kids to do it and "I", always eager to help, jumps up and gets it on the table.  Sweet Pea screams "NO I DO IT!"  The next thing I know, the ketchup is flying through the air across the room.  Hubby was home at this point and I all too gladly left the disciplining up to him.    He put her on time out... she jumped off, he put her back, she jumped off and hits him, he put her back, she tries to hit him again and misses, he puts her back and so on and so forth for the next 5-10 minutes.   It was one fight that she was going to lose and she finally realized it and sat quietly.  Supper was uneventful and eventually it was bed time and she was oh so agreeable when I promised to read her two stories.  And that my friends is a day in the life of a strong willed 2 year old.  I'm sure you can see why I"m exhausted.    She tests me at every corner and I'm constantly rethinking my parenting strategy.  I do have to brag... A lot of times, I can make her do exactly what I want her to do with out a fuss just by phrasing things right.  But I admit, when it comes to raising her.. I have to think a lot.  Every moment, I have to stop and think before I say or do things.   And before you think that she acts this way because she gets away with it.. believe me she doesn't.  I don't tolerate defiance and hitting very well.  There are some days that she spends a good portion of it in her room on time out.  But I've got to pick my battles and you know what.. sometimes she needs to win one.  She is testing her independence and who am I to say she can't have an opinion about the things going on in her world..  So when she comes out of her room wearing a pink t-shirt and red tights with holes in them completely happy with her outfit choice.  I praise her for getting herself dressed.  I love her independence even when it exhausts me.. because I know as she gets older, she will more likely be a leader rather than a follower.   As long as we can teach her to be a successful child (and by successful I don't mean riches, I mean well mannered, moral and empathetic) she will make the right choices as she gets older..

I was at my bible study tonight.. and I was thinking and praying... not particularly about Sweet Pea, but she popped into my mind... and I said to God... I wish it was a bit easier... I wish she wouldn't fight me on every single thing...   Then I realized... I have it easy....I have four wonderful well behaved children for the most part. They are healthy and happy.  They teach me something every single day.  So I'm not going to dwell on how hard it is to deal with her.  I'm going to thank God for her.. for her independence and her opinions.  I'm going to love on her as best as I know how and keep trying.  Because that's what Mom's do.

A rare moment.  She fell asleep in our laps in church.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Preschool no more!

Today my third one, my hyper, active crazy boy who I thought would be so hard to teach because he just can't stay still has finished preschool.  Three months early!   I amazes me at how much he wants to work on school and how focused he can be.  Sometimes he would do 25-26 pages in one sitting.  If you know I, I know that you will be shocked at that.  "I" is such a busy boy, it's hard to imagine him sitting still for that long to get anything done but he really does have the focus that it takes to get his school work done.

Of course, I'm his mom and I know him and his limits.  I'm sure that helps.  I know when he needs to move around and give him slack for that.  I think if he were in public school, he wouldn't do as well.  It's just a basic need that he has to constantly be moving.  I know he would be such a disruption in a classroom but here one on one he excels.  (well realistically it's one on four but who's counting)

I'm so proud of him.  He really is a sweet, caring boy.  I've always said he doesn't know how to do life halfway and he's proving it. I love that about him.

What's next?  Well, on Monday we start the process of teaching him to read.  His kindergarten year.  I think by the time he is supposed to start kindergarten, he will have a good foundation in reading which will really help him out in the long run.  He's excited to learn to read and do the same book as his big brother is currently doing.

Here's the proud boy with his finished preschool book!