January 31, 2011

the RIGHT way to live life.

home schooling
natural childbirth
eating healthier
being Mormon
being Christian
potty training kids
having 7 children
quitting Ford, bringing 4-almost 5 kids- back to school
declining two job offers
blood transfusions
having my nephew live with us for 6 months
having my mother live with us
accepting church callings
family traditions
teaching my kids

There are so many decisions we have to make in life.  Every day we are choosing how we will live, and how we will raise our family.  We choose based on our desires, the lessons we have learned, and the promptings that we receive.

I believe that this life is a time for us to prepare to meet God.  Its a time of testing, and a time of learning and growth.  Who am I?  I learn more about myself every day as I see what I choose.  When I was young and married, we were in a college church congregation with lots of other newly wed couples.  I LOVED seeing newly weds!!  I LOVED seeing who people choose to marry... people who were alike and people who seemed different.  I love getting to know my children... who they are, what ice cream they like, what books they read, what clothes they wear.  The ability to choose is one of our greatest gifts.

It is silly to look back at our choices with regret.  Obviously, since I believe we are constantly growing, there are things we would do over if we were living our life then, now.  Ellie wanted to wear her ballet costume every day when she was younger.  Now, thank goodness, she would not choose to wear her ballet costume to the grocery store.  (Most days.)  Would I want her to look back at the pictures of her with a ballet costume squished over her clothes and wish she had done things differently?  No!  Her years of ballet costume wearing has made her who she is today.  She was good then, and she is good now.  I LOVED her then, and I love who she is becoming. 

I am a much more patient and confident mother today then I was when my first four children were young.
I don't loose my temper when Lily dumps her cereal on the floor and I don't think my kids are bad or ruined when they aren't reverent in church.  I was very harsh with my first... and, he is OK.  In fact, he is great.  [Actually, I was a strict mother, then a very casual mother, and now I'm stricter again...  ah the journey.]  I used to pray and pray and pray that God would make me patient.  And, when I would loose my temper at nap time I would feel that He didn't answer my prayers.  Looking back, I see His hand in my life.  He did make me patient... I am a VERY patient person.  But, patience didn't come in ZAP transformation.  It came line upon line, day upon day, trial upon trial.  And today, I'm patient.  Tomorrow, I'll be more patient.  That's life.  I was a good mother then, and I am a good mother now.  Because of yesterday's mistakes, I have depth and experience today.  Yes, I am older and wiser and more experienced today than I was yesterday.  Hopefully, I will be more wise tomorrow. 

One thing that I have learned more than anything else is this...  there is not one RIGHT way.  There is not.  There is right and wrong.  There is TRUTH.  There are correct principles and standards that are guaranteed to make you life easier and happier.  But, there is not one RIGHT way. 

I graduated with a degree in Child Development.  I wrote papers and read studies and I knew the very best way to teach a child to sleep through the night, the best way to discipline children, the best way to potty train and get children to eat all their dinner.  I knew that I would home school and NEVER send my kindergartner to all day kindergarten and that I would breast feed and birth all my children naturally.  In my early years of marriage I felt birth control was wrong.  We prayed about it and got a very clear answer that we should not wait to have children... thus, anyone who was waiting to have children was WRONG.  God had told me RIGHT and thus everyone else was WRONG.  Right?  Wrong.

My first child was perfect.  (Because I knew just how to do it.)  We lived with my in-laws for a summer when he was younger and I came home one afternoon to find her in tears.  She said she had never seen such a well-behaved, obedient child.  She wondered if he was a "perfect child" that would die young.  Seriously, he was great.  Then God sent me more children, quickly.  I tried to parent THE RIGHT WAY, and they still ran into the street, said NO and scratched the cheeks of kids in nursery.  My first child lost his perfection with time... and God let me learn humility.  He taught me... there was not one RIGHT way to parent.  Each child was different and each child was actually sent to TEACH ME. 

When Jakob was 4, and Drew was 3 and Anna was 16 months old, and I was 8 months pregnant with Ellie, Anna fell into a campfire and severely burned the palms of both her hands.  My life became VERY difficult.  I was not only an overwhelmed young mother, I was a mother who the whole world could see, didn't protect her children.  I had too many, too quickly and I was drowning.  I begged God to carry me.  And, He did.  But, he held me while I endured much and learned much and became very dependant on Him.  The world saw my weakness... and, surprisingly, the world also saw my strength.  In my lowest moments, I was the strongest.  I could feel my growing pains, I had stretch marks, but I became.

As our family healed from Anna's burns, I realized I was very numb.  Post-traumatic stress disorder.  I began taking medication for depression and after moving to Lubbock began seeing a counselor regularly.  I didn't believe in depression.  I remember saying to my cousin-in-law, who is a therapist, "Anyone who laid on the couch all day would be depressed, just tell them to get up and wash their dishes and they'll feel better."  I was anti-medication and anti-therapy... until i felt true depression, took medication and was healed through reflection, prayer and therapy.  That was a journey I never thought I would take.  NEVER.  But, it is a journey that has made me stronger. 

As graduates from college, we built a beautiful home in Michigan.  It wasn't a starter home, it was beautiful.  We had always been blessed with money and peace.  When we left Ford to come back to school, we were certain that our home in Michigan would sell, that we would have enough savings to take us comfortable through our 3 year program, and that life would be well.  We were wrong.  We did not anticipate the crash of the Michigan housing market due to the decline of the auto industry.  We didn't anticipate our pipes freezing and bursting-- destroying our home.  Our homeowners insurance didn't cover the damage- because we hadn't switched to "unoccupied" insurance.  Financially, we hid a bottom that we NEVER thought possible.  We believed if you were "righteous" you would prosper.  We believed that people who struggled financially were people who didn't work hard or make wise choices.  Today, we have greater compassion.  We learned financial lessons we never thought we would learn.  And, we are grateful for our experience.

i just found this picture the other day, and i love it.  this is how i see myself.  a bit out of it, surrounded by kids!
These past few months,  I've been learning much about health.  I'm amazed at the power of my body to affect my mind, and the power of my mind to affect my body.  It's stunning.  I trust myself and my body more.  I'm different.  I've re-evaluated my past 6 pregnancies... with blood transfusions every 2 weeks, inductions and emergency c-sections.  I'm doing things different this time and I feel SO GOOD.  This is RIGHT.  For me, today.  One night I was thinking about my two emergency c-sections.  I thought, I really wish I had NOT gotten induced.  Maybe, if I had not gotten induced, Lily's cord wouldn't have prolapsed, and I wouldn't have had to have a c-section.  The Spirit whispered to my soul, "Jen, don't look backwards.  You listened then, just like you are listening now.  Maybe, you were inspired to get induced.  Maybe, if your water had broken on it's own you wouldn't have known that Lily was laying on her cord and she would have died before you got to the hospital.  You were listening then, and you are listening now." 

I had 5 children who I immunized with no problems.  I was not ignorant, I studied and learned, and I didn't feel any concern immunizing my children.  When it was time for Lily, my youngest, to be immunized, i felt SICK inside.  SICK.  I couldn't do it.  I told them I wanted to wait till she was older.  When she was one, my doctor REALLY wanted me to immunize.  I still felt sick about it, but allowed them to give her ONE shot.  That evening, Lily's whole arm broke out in open sores.  They didn't heal for 3 months.  My doctor said that had nothing to do with her immunization-- I don't care what she says.  I FELT uncomfortable immunizing her, I ignored my feelings, I was WRONG.  She hasn't received the rest of her shots.  I'm NOT against immunizations-- I think they are great and helpful and fine, for some kids.  But, not for Lily.

Sometimes, we start learning new things and we tend to generalize.  I don't believe there is one RIGHT way.  I don't believe that home schooling is WRONG because I know that sending my kids to school is RIGHT for me.  I don't believe that epidurals are WRONG, or immunizations are WRONG, or spanking is WRONG, or depression medication is WRONG, or having a small family is WRONG...  i don't believe that everyone should quit their job and go back to school to get a PhD. 
There is not one RIGHT way.

I'm pretty dang good at potty training.  But, I don't think there is one right way to potty train.  Each child is different...  each mother is different...  my way may not be your way, what is right for my child may not be right for your child.  Today, I don't have all the answers.  BUT, I have learned to HEAR and FEEL and KNOW what is right for me and my family.  I know the feeling that comes when I'm doing what is right.  I also know the sick feeling that comes when I'm not listening.

I hope that as you read my blog, or talk to me in person, you NEVER feel that I think you are WRONG for being different from me.  I change.  Life is customized.  Our trials, our children, our ups and downs, I believe much of what we experience in life is exactly what we need to learn and grow. 

In our church, we believe in a prophet- just like in the Bible.  Sister Hinckley, she was the wife of our last prophet, was asked by her daughter-in-law to give her some parenting advice.  Sister Hinckley said something like, "Oh, honey, I don't have anything to say.  They are all so different.  Ask God, He knows your child better than I do."  (Yes, this is my interpretation of a story I read, not a direct quote.)  She was a prophet's wife... and she was WISE.  Wise enough to know that there is not one RIGHT way.

Yes, we still need to learn.  Every day I am learning.  Every day.  I believe that God inspires me at certain times to learn about certain things.  With my past 6 pregnancies, I wasn't prompted to read Ina May Gaskin.  This time, I am drawn to natural child birth like a kid to candy.  I'm eating more green food.  I LOVE my kids school.  I'm moving to Oregon.  I'm having my 7th baby.  You don't have to be like me for me to respect you.  I hope that EVERYONE is wise enough to know that there is NOT one right way.  Just because people don't choose what you choose it doesn't mean they are ignorant... it might mean they are NOT SUPPOSED to do what you do. 

I love people who are willing to do what they FEEL is right, even if it is different or weird or not what they had planned.  It isn't long on life's journey before you learn not to judge other people for being different.  With experience you realize that what you feel good about doing today, you might not feel good about doing tomorrow.  Life is good.  I LOVE the journey.  And today, I have no regrets about my yesterdays.

January 27, 2011

i love my job.

really-- i LOVE being a mom.
it's the best "job" in the world.
and... {almost} every day i'm grateful that i get to stay home with my little ones.
this is the life i always wanted.
and today, i'm grateful.

January 26, 2011

getting ready.

our realtor is coming tomorrow...
so we're busy doing a little of this--

and a little of this--
hope you have a great day!!

January 25, 2011

my life in pictures.

Have i told you i really like my kids?
Jakob did dishes on Sunday night...
he thought he was so funny when he took a picture of MY (healthy) soup...
and then HIS (dishwater) soup.
He kept saying... "Mom, i made dinner for tomorrow night!"

Anna was cranky yesterday...  when i went to bed i found her sweet apology.

 Mom, I love you so much!
I'm sooo Sorry for not lissning to you!
cute huh?!
i still have hole punched hearts all in my pajamas...
{i'm excited to leave her a "i love you too" love note on her pillow today}
aren't girls fun?!

It snowed, a dusting, last night.
my kids were so excited.
leah came into my room all decked out in hat, scarf, gloves, boots, coat...
telling me to hurry up so i could help her make a SNOWMAN!!
i explained there was not enough snow for a snowman.
she was determined to prove me wrong.
a bit later, she found me and explained that now i needed to turn on a movie for her, wrap her in a blanket, and give her hot chocolate with marshmallows. 
"Because that's what you do for little girls that are freezing."
She said, "I don't know that, but i think some man told me that before.  So can you mom?"

i sure love these kids!!
(even when i'm pregnant!)

ps- you know michelle is going to end up in the finals-- they always pick the weird, mean ones.
it'll probably be michelle and emily- final two.
i think this bachelor is nice, but he needs a little more counseling.  way too nice.
he needs to be a bit more assertive when girls interupt him...
he needs to stop kissing girls because they are emotionally unstable...
and, i'm not sure i like him with any of the girls i've seen so far.
i'm glad he has to start kicking girls out... still too many weirdos.
Emily Maynard from The Bachelor 2011 Season 15 with Brad Womack
pps- the professor says i'm most like emily.
he's so funny.  and has an odd sense of optimism... 
EVERY movie we watch, he says i look and act like the HEROINE. 
even when i'm obviously NOT like the heroine.  and, i'm not a southern belle. 
he says, "you're loving and kind like she is." 
please, let's not shatter his sweet "reality".

January 24, 2011

birth- ina may gaskin.

i checked out this book, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, from the library.
ina may is probably the most famous American midwife.

this book is very well-referenced among natural, home birth type people.
i do not include myself in this category...
having had 6 hospital epidural inductions 2 of which resulted in emergency c-sections.
i was kicked out of a midwife's office with my FIRST pregnancy- they panicked after my first blood test.
yes- midwives do panic.

back to the book.
the first half is a compilation of birth stories of people who birthed their babies with Ina May on "The Farm".
to me, the farm sounds a bit like a 70's hippy compound.
intriguing, a bit "free spirit, no bra" sexual, and not something that many of us have an opportunity to experience.
i'm a bit addicted to birth stories lately...  on the Internet, you tube, or in books, i really enjoy reading about other women's journey to bring forth their children. 
i love hearing how they face their fears, how they deal with intense pain, how they feel when their babies are born.
i love the commonality that i see... birth is really not that different among cultures and woman.
i love reading how doctors and midwives react to labors that start and stop, babies who get stuck or turned, woman who are freaking out...
i even love hearing the advice of my friends... "natural birth is way over-rated, it's the worst pain you will ever experience, my throat hurt from screaming, you do feel amazing when it's over." of "you can do it, it's not that bad."
personally, i am so curious how i handle intense pain/pressure.
i believe the hypnobabies idea of putting yourself into a hypnotic state is naturally what i do...
i tend to zone out and remain calm in everyday stress... i'm more a zoner than a freaker.
but, i'm curious.  and, i'm also intellectual.  i'm not sure that i would be able to experience extreme "pain" and continue to tell myself that "labor doesn't hurt."

i LOVE the second half of Ina May's book.
i LOVE it.
I'm making my husband read it, and gifting it to all my girls when they are expecting...
(note- i'm not having the professor read the beginning accounts of birth stories...)
Ina May is not a trained doctor-- but, she has attended and birthed hundreds of babies.  She has the natural gift of intuition in labor.  Her ability to help women deliver babies naturally is astounding.  In the 2nd section of the book, she really explores the history of birthing babies and why we do some of the things that we do.

Ina May said some people describe birth as pushing an orange through a nostril.
She disputes this claim... a nostril was not designed to push an orange out of it.
Ina describes the amazing design of a woman's body-- how we are designed to contract and open and birth babies.  It is part of our design... our body opens and our baby can come out. 
I also love how she reminds woman that labor pressure does not "hurt" us.  The pressure transforms our body to deliver our baby.  It is temporary and useful.  It doesn't cause us injury, it helps us birth our baby... and then it goes away leaving us filled with adrenaline and oxytocin.

Another thing i love in this book, is how Ina shows a woman's ability to influence her labor with her thought processes and words.
during my first pregnancy, there was a girl that i knew from church who was a nursing student.  she was so excited that she was going to be able to watch my labor.  it was uncomfortable for me... i didn't want her in the room with my husband and i the whole time, but i didn't feel like i had any choice. 
i'm not sure that i could have pooped in front of that girl-- but i performed a far more soul and body showing event of life in front of her.

Often, Ina compares birth to sexual intercourse.  She explains how your attitude during the process can add to your pain-- some woman feel extreme pain putting in tampons, some tampons hurt more than others, some sexual encounters are pleasurable, some are not... what changes is not necessarily a women's ability to perform, or her bodies ability, or the size of the object inside you, but the preparation and mental attitude surrounding the circumstances.  i'm certain that i would have some performance anxiety if i was asked to have sex with my husband in a hospital room surrounded by nurses and doctors and interested students... not sure it would be the most relaxed, positive experience of my life.  {although we have had practice "relaxing" while children were knocking on our locked bedroom door.}  And i propose that intercourse isn't even as intimate, exposing or sacred as child birth can be.  i asked the professor how he would feel.  what if they asked him to poop in a bowl in front of a group of student doctors?  i think he understood how it might be a bit more difficult to relax.  interesting. isn't it?!  see- i told you i'm starting to understand home births.  {understand, as in, "i see" not "i could choose"}  Really, i'm not particulary modest when it comes to childbirthing... i've never had an issue with a male doctor or even doctors that i know in a personal setting.  I guess, after reading her book, i can see how constant monitoring, people coming in and out that you don't know or like, and even a hospital setting, can really make it more difficult to remain calm and relaxed and allow your body to do what it was designed to do.  It makes sense. 

as i've birthed my babies, i've heard women in other rooms who were SCREAMING.
i don't think i'm a screamer.
but, i imagine there is a point, under prolonged intense pain, that anyone would loose control.  i get that.
i'm curious if i could experience a normal, natural labor and remain in control.
i'm curious what it would take to bring me back if i started to loose it.
i'm interested what would push me over the brink...
i THINK i could handle the pressure of contractions IF everything was going well. 
for me, my biggest obstacle is going to be intense pain with NO progression.
my greatest worry is that i need pitocin to dilate.
i'm concerned that i will never go into labor on my own.
i'm concerned that if i let myself wait to go into labor, i'm going to birth a 12 lb. baby
(my mother had 2, my mother in law had boys over 10 lbs-- they did it, i could too.)
i'm not worried about pushing- i'm good at that.
i'm not worried about an emergency- hospitals are the best at emergency situations.
i'm worried about a labor that comes and goes and lasts for 4 days instead of 12 hours.
that's ok on the FARM.
but, i can't go for a walk in the woods once i'm checked into the hospital.
i'm so interested to experience the birth of this baby.
i have loved this pregnancy- transfusion FREE!!
i'm really getting that baby itch.
having had 6 children- i believe much of the FEAR of childbirth is replaced with an understanding of the JOY.
i know i can do this, whatever happens, and I AM EXCITED!

Many of you are pregnant, or will someday be pregnant...
i highly recommend this book... especially the 2nd half.
remember- i'm getting weirder so i enjoyed all of it.
good book.
interesting read.

i'm learning, but still very grounded.
no need to reassure me!! 
i have LOVED my epidural births. 
I don't think c-sections are the end of the world... i am SO GRATEFUL for hospitals and doctors that have saved my life and saved the life of my babies.
People say, "As long as my baby is healthy." 
And, i can't even say that.
i have known and loved many families whose babies weren't "healthy", and although the experience was difficult, it was beautiful and perfect.
life is good.
pregnancy and birth is EDIFYING and MIRACULOUS.
i'm SO excited to meet this new baby!!
only 10 weeks left.  maybe...
thanks for the insight ina may!

i LOVE little kids with hiccups.
so cute.
especially when you tell them to stop... or when they try to make another hiccup come.

i also LOVE little girls with ballet costumes on over their clothes.
so they can dance... all day.
love it.

January 21, 2011

6 for friday.

1. House of Order?
it's January 21st.
my home was supposed to be completely organized by today so that i could have next week to decorate and clean before it goes on the market.
i'm ALMOST done.
just my kitchen is left (and the leftover stuff on my dining room table that i need to find a home for).
i highly recommend a major house overhaul when your pregnant (and the idea of sewing or fixing something makes you sick) and moving (and the idea of putting one more thing into a box makes you sick) and graduating (thinking you will have money to get what you need)... EASY to purge and sort and label!!
my desire for order is FINALLY greater than my desire for thrift and recycling.
2. going VEGAN?
you would laugh if you could see what i'm eating lately.
my friend (thanks rachel!) lent me this book... Original Fast Food by James and Colleen Simmons
it's that "green smoothie" diet where they really encourage you to eat FRESH fruits and veggies.
this is what they say is GOOD to eat in a day
"consume 4 to 8+ fruits, 1+ pounds of leafy greens, 1+ pounds of solid green and non-green, non-starchy vegetables each day.  consume 1+ cups of beans freely, and limit both starchy vegetables and grains to 1 cup each per day.  Limit nuts and seeds to 1/4 cup total per day.  All vegetables may be eaten cooked or raw, the more raw the better."
i've been trying to do it for two days and i can't believe the ENERGY boost it has given me.

since Christmas i've been continually hungry-- and thus eating JUNK. i think my body was starving for nutrients but i just felt "doughnuts!" honestly, at lunch time i make a huge salad. it seems disgusting to me. i want a big pastry... but, i sit down and eat my salad, and it's actually good. if i ignore my initial craving, my body is so much happier. i feel so much better! naturally i love healthy food, i just think i'm in a carb-addiction place of life, so i need to detox for a bit...
no, i'm not totally vegan. my balanced mind does not let me do anything in extremes... just eating more green stuff and less man made stuff. i feel so good!

3. got CLOTHES?
we JUST got our student loans yesterday. yup. we've had $1 in our checking account since the week after Christmas. CRAZY!!! i felt like i was jumping out of my skin. really, i hate not having money. hate it.
i took my bigger girls on a shopping trip after school to get a birthday gift for their friend. we stopped at ross and i got myself a maternity shirt, a new pair of shoes, and a pair of CUTE maternity jeans. i also got new socks for the professor, the big girls, and the boys!! i'm SO sick of looking for socks in the mornings! i could feel the joy seeping into my veins... is that bad? i really love to go shopping. yup, retail therapy does this woman good!!

4. the bachelor.
this is a confession. it sucks me in. i watch the bachelor... on MONDAY nights. And, i know it's horrible. not only is the show itself sketchy. it starts at 7pm, when my kids are AWAKE, and i try to yell at them to go to their rooms, but they watch with me, and ask questions like, "Mom, is it ok to kiss that many girls when you're not married?" and, here is the WORST!! we are VERY good about having Family Night on Monday night. this week i asked the professor if we could switch to Tuesday... because of the Bachelor.
HORRIBLE. HORRIBLE. (we don't have a DVR, but i could watch the episode later on the computer if i wanted to.) why do i get sucked in? why? i've only watched it twice. maybe next week i'll wait and watch it on the computer without wondering eyes. it's my semi-sin. thanks for listening to my confessional.

5. kids.
-today, on my baby name poll, EVE and EDEN are tied. i should say, I'm shocked that so many people liked those names. most people i talk to do not like the name Eve... it's my favorite. it was the professor's idea, and at first i didn't like it... but it has grown on me. He likes Eve Antionina (after my italian great-grandmother). i don't know yet.

-lily is talking a lot (for her, not for a regular 2 year old)... but, she still leaves off the first sound of every word... ankie for blankie... oopie for poopie... an't for can't... anks for thanks... etc. it's weird. she can say the sounds on their own, or at the end of the word, but not at the beginning. If i coach her, she'll say, "ppp. ppp. ppp. oopie." Is this normal?

-leah has woken up at 5:30am every day this week... she goes into every bedroom and turns on the lights, then climbs into the crib with lily. i threatened to make her sleep in the garage. that child!

6.  baby showers.
my sweet friend from PTA offered to throw me a baby shower.
isn't that nice?! 
she asked me for a list of who to invite.  i HATE this.  part of me wants to invite everyone i love, so that they know i really like them.  part of me doesn't want anyone to feel like they need to come and bring me a gift.  it's hard.  and so, i keep procrastinating my list writing.  just sayin'.

January 20, 2011

fun with toddlers!!

my kids are GREAT.
and, they are very good at playing by themselves...
for a few weeks.
this week, i am feeling the fact that i've been organizing and not nurturing.

so, here is my list... fun things to do with the little girls during the day.
[beware-- it's profound.]

-go for a walk
-practice writing our letters, abc's
-sing abc's
-make abc's out of pretzel sticks or play-doh
-dance to our dancing cd's
-take a bath with lots of plastic animals
-finger paint
-make cookies
-dress-up and act out 3 little pigs or Goldilocks and the 3 bears
-invite a friend over
-eat ants on a log
-play play-doh
-make a restaurant
-have a picnic in the house
-go to the gym (they LOVE the daycare part)

-take the girls swimming ($5 at the gym)
-go to McD's for lunch
-have a "red" day... dress in red, eat red, color with red, play i spy-- where everything is red, put red food coloring in their milk...  oh the possibilities!
-clean-up playing Cinderella (mom is the evil step-mother)
-make paper airplanes
-make them dolls out of aluminum foil
-clean the windows together!!
-blow bubbles
-make a tent under the table and read books with a flashlight
-put newborn diapers on their baby dolls
-cut a piece of fabric to make them a new blanket for their baby doll
-dress up as princesses and watch a Disney movie... drink apple juice in a stemmed glass for lunch.
-put curlers in their hair at night
-go to the library, read them as many books as they bring me
-write little shopping list, let them push the small carts with their list and a pencil
-stay in our pjs all day, do no housework, just read and sing songs and laugh together...
-take a nap in the same bed
-put makeup on them
-paint nails
-play hide n seek
-swirl in circles and get dizzy
-play ring around the rosie, hokey pokey, where is thumbkin, once their was a snowman, and even peek a boo... again for as many times as they want.
-make a line of tape on the floor and let them try to walk on it (with leotards on of course)
-teach them how to do jumping jacks, stand on one foot, walk backwards, do somersaults and skip
-play tickle monster
-play memory
-do puzzles together
-make play doh
-let them be an animal all day-- serve lunch in bowls on the floor, with a drink bowl that they can lick
-go to the store and let them pick ANY ice cream they want... have ice cream for lunch.
-color in coloring books together
-melt broken crayons in a muffin tin and make new crayons
-put bubbles and food coloring in their bath
-get a piece of wood from the garage and make a fast ramp for your matchbox cars (you can find fun tunnels with oatmeal boxes, old wrapping paper tubes, etc.)
-build a zoo out of blocks or things you find around the house
-pretend they are tigers and put them in upside-down laundry baskets while you fold laundry (every now and them throw them a sock as their bones)
-make a fort out of pillows and couch cushions... feed them lunch in their fort
-make inside mailboxes, send them mail throughout the day
-get boxes from your garage and wrap up old toys, have a pretend birthday party!!... let them wrap little things to play birthday with their dolls
-make funny faces with their lunch on their plates (olive eyes, carrot nose, sandwich like a smile)
-ask them what they want to do... and do it.

i've found that doing one small thing with them each day, changes things.
it really doesn't take long... and, it's FUN!!
sometimes i just need to remember and readjust.
gratefully, kids have a way of reminding you when they need some loving!

honestly-- organizing is VERY difficult for me... playing with toddlers-- this is my PASSION!!

what do you do for fun with your toddlers?

January 18, 2011

organization inspiration.

i love ideas.
and so, when i find something i love i copy it into my file of house ideas.
i have different folders in my house idea file... one of them is organization ideas.
one thing i haven't been good at-- saving the PLACE where i got the picture from.
so today, i thought i'd share with you my inspiration ideas...
but please forgive the lack of sources.
i PROMISE to do better with this in the future.
First-- i LOVE this craft room...  from august fields
(actually, i love this whole house.)

the common elements...
built in shelves or cabinets.
splashes of color.
no crap.
great containers.

yes, if i had a large house, and more money... i'm sure i could achieve beauty in my organization.
but i have a dream...
a dream where i am surrounded with beauty and order in the home in which i live.
within the budget i have been given.
amidst children and chaos.
my home is a house of order.
i just think i can have a house with a little more order and a little more beauty.
starting today.
(for sure, if i surround myself with dreams- i should be able to plan beautiful spaces into our new Oregon house... i can't wait.)
wish me luck!
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