The Ups and Downs

This has been such a week of ups and downs.  Today, specifically, has been a roller coaster of emotions.  I don't know if there's something in the air, if its residue of the ongoing sickness, or a result of my hectic schedule but I'm ready for a meltdown myself.  Seriously.  I can't seem to keep up with work, house, activities, and kids.  I don't feel like I'm getting much help in the way of the day to day housework, yet my workload remains the same.  Very frustrating.  I really don't like to complain about that stuff.  I'm grateful to have such an amazing family, blessed with a big, beautiful house, a flexible job, and super opportunities at church.  I just need a little more help.  Guess it doesn't help that we've all been sick.  Unfortunately, the world doesn't stop and wait for us all to get better.  If I stop, it just piles up higher.

I've felt like such a crappy mom lately, too.  I question all my decisions.  Am I doing the best thing for my kids?  Am I warping them forever?  What can I do better?  I feel like I butt heads with my 5 year old a lot.  She is strong willed and defiant.  I'm a pushover and inconsistent.  Not a good mix.  When I do try to put my foot down and hold strong, she becomes more defiant and disrespectful.  My 3 year old is just that - a 3 year old!  We never had the "Terrible Two's", so we're making up for it with the "Tremendous Three's"!  The sassy mouths from both of them are about to put me right over the edge.  I can handle most things - but the talking back sends me into monster mode.  I try to remain calm and then BAM, enough is enough!  I swore I would never raise my voice to my children because I grew up in a screaming home - and I hated that.  My husband and I have never once talked to each other in loud voices.  Never.  So, why do we have shouting matches with a 3 and 5 year old?  I feel so disgusting afterward. 

The attitudes seem to cycle.  We'll have a good month - and then we have a horrible couple of weeks.  Then we'll have a great month followed by a really bad week.  It's just a vicious cycle.  Right now our major fight is with the girls' first response to everything they're told to do is "No".  It's like they don't even think before they speak - it's an automatic response to anything we say.  They argue with everything and I am so over it!  Don't think that it goes without punishment.  We go in steps - starting with time out, followed by a spanking at the next offense, and then spending a long time in their room alone, etc.  It just doesn't seem to be working.  We're going to have to find something new.  I've tried taking all the toys out of their rooms, taking the TV away, etc.  Today I got creative.  Maddie was so cranky this morning and yelling at me in the car disrespectfully.  I pulled the van over right then into a church parking lot, took her out of the car, and put her in "time out".  (Don't worry.... I didn't leave or even pretend I would do such a thing.  She just wasn't allowed back into the car until she calmed down.)  She did much better throughout the day - until tonight.  Did the same thing with Audrey this afternoon.  She was mouthing off as we were pulling out of the drive way.  I pulled the car over and made her get out.  She couldn't get back in until she apologized for her behavior and assured me she wouldn't do it again.  (Again, no worries.  She was never in any danger.)  Everything was great until we got back home.  Tonight was a BATTLE.  It was just one thing after another that ended with her losing her bedtime story and songs.  It broke my heart because that is a special time we share together at night.  But, I had nothing else to take or do. I'm trying so hard to understand her.  It's such a roller coaster with her.  I don't want to make excuses for her, but I don't know to what extent (if any) her medication plays in her behavior.  She is on medication for her Epilepsy with side effects being "behavioral problems".   She is NOT a bad kid, she just has her moments. 

So, to share the "ups" of this post.  Tonight on the way home from rehearsal we got on the subject of "keys".  (She loves to unlock the front door by herself.)  So, out of the backseat I hear her say, "I wish I had a key to my heart so I could open it up and let Jesus in."  I told her she didn't need a key to let Him in, all she had to do was ask.  She responded, "I already did that."  To which I replied, "when did you do that?"  And, she said, "One night in my room when I was praying."  Then we went on to discuss baptism (and her fear of going under water).  I was so elated for her. 

This is the same child that went to bed screaming and fighting with me following that beautiful conversation. 


Project Life Week 7

2/8 - My favorite picture of the girls - taken on Audrey's 3rd birthday.  (Also, love my red dining room walls.  heehee)

2/9 - We've had a few spring like days lately.  And, Audrey had her little friend over for the first time.

2/10 - A place where a lot of time is spent "thinking".  =)

2/11 - Just a sweet picture of my girl.

2/12 - Maddie loves walking home with all the big kids from the school bus.

2/14 (1) - Can't see it for her arm, but Maddie wore her "I Love Santa" for Valentine's Day.  LOL

2/14 (2) - Girls & Nana with their Valentine's Day goodies.

Kid's School Work

I like to think of myself as having kicked the pack rat habit.  But, there are some things I just can't part with right now.  One of those battles has been what to do with all of Audrey's work that comes home each Friday afternoon.  Her graded homework, themed coloring sheets, writing practice, math problems, and art projects to name a few.  I can't throw them away!  However, they are piling up higher than I'd like.  I finally found a solution to some of it.  I remembered today that I have a large empty binder and a few boxes of clear page protectors that my mother-in-law passed on to me when she moved.  So, I got everything neatly tucked away in a notebook (with room to spare for the rest of the year) and we can actually go back and flip through to see how she has progressed.

Just thought I'd share!  OH, and if you have any suggestions for all those great art projects that don't fit in a binder... feel free to pass those ideas along.  I haven't quite decided what to do with those.

This was part of the pile.  I usually just stick them in one of the two wire baskets (seen in the pic) hanging on the wall.  I cleaned them out today!  (And, added a basket for Maddie.)

Everything is now neatly organized into the large binders and sheet protectors to view. 

Not every single sheet is visible.  If they had a sticker or smiley face, they are definitely visible.  =)  But, those that were incomplete or similar to others, are tucked neatly behind others. 

Valentines Mailboxes

It's Saturday and we're having a pajama day.  Everybody is sick at our house, so I thought it sounded like a good idea.  And, what makes pajama day better?  A craft, of course!  I pulled out some old shoe boxes and my new BFF - Mod Podge - and created Valentine Mailboxes for the girls to take to school Monday.  They can take their Valentines cards for their classmates - and bring back all their goodies in their own box.

Very simple to make!  I'm sure we've all made them at least once as a kid.  I just wrapped each shoe box with left over red Christmas wrapping paper - using the Mod Podge.  After it dried, the girls and I punched out hearts, cut out scrapbooking paper, and found heart stickers.  The girls decorated them however they wanted and then we covered everything in Mod Podge.  They're nothing fancy - but they're cute, made by the girls, and serve their purpose.  Enjoy!

Maddie LOVES to "paint" with the Mod Podge!

Just wrapped the top and bottom like a gift - only with the Mod Podge instead of tape.

Covered everything with a coat of Mod Podge - let it dry - then add the decorations.

Audrey didn't want her face in the picture, but she did a great job decorating.

Just waiting to dry....

Final product, photographed by Audrey!  You can't see it, but we spelled out their names on heart stickers on the sides. 

Project Life Week 6

 This past week was a lot about Maddie.  She started preschool and was very excited.  I've misplaced my camera more times than I care to admit this week, so I may be a picture or two short.  ;(

2/2 - Caterpillar Soup - a favorite activity!

2/3 - My sweet friends that I'm singing with, bought me a Vera Bradley planner like they each have - how precious are they?!

2/4 - Pudding mouth and crazy hair - that's the norm around here.

2/5 - I'm really digging Maddie's outfits lately.  She wears those mittens and hat with everything (even her pajamas)!

2/6 - My scrapbooks!!  If I could only take one (set) of things to a deserted island.....

2/7 - Maddie LOVES preschool!

Baby Steps

So, I've posted about Audrey's crippling shyness... but we're making progress!!  I am so proud of her!  There is an older girl on her school bus that lives a few houses down.  Audrey always talks about her, but not so much to her.  So, over the last few weeks, I've encouraged her to talk to her as they walk down the street from the bus.  It started out with her just saying, "Hi, Regina" and "Bye, Regina".  Audrey has asked me several times if she could go to her house - yet she wouldn't talk to her.  Last Thursday she asked me again as we were walking home from the bus and I replied, "If you want to play with her, you have to ask her yourself."  Much to my surprise, she turned around to Regina without hesitation and said, "Can I come to your house and play some time?"  Regina said, "Yeah, I'd like for you to.  I'll ask my mom."  So, today was an official play date!  They did so well together!  Regina, who is in the 4th grade, played so sweet with Audrey.  (Regina is an only child and would like to have a little sister.  Of course, Audrey loves older girls.  They're so "cool".)

This whole play date was a "God thing".  My plan was to just drop her off "like a big girl", but Regina's mom really wanted me to come in, too.  I was somewhat hesitant because I left Maddie at home with a sick husband (and she was sad she didn't have a play date) and honestly, I thought it might be awkward because I don't know her very well and thought the conversation might be hollow.  I've walked to the school bus stop with her several times, but never much more than chit chat.  This may sound silly, but I have a hard enough time understanding people that speak perfectly good English - give me someone with a thick accent and I struggle to hold up a conversation.  Seriously, I think there's something wrong with my ears - or at least the line going from my ears to the brain that comprehends what it hears.  I say, "huh and what" a lot.  Anyway... back on topic.... Regina's mom was an absolute joy!  Turns out they moved to the US 20 months ago from Mexico City (where she was an auditor for the government) - and they did not speak any English.  Let me say, to have only started learning the language 20 months ago, she is doing amazingly well!  She said she really wants more opportunities to practice English conversation.  She's at home alone a lot.  She doesn't work.  And, her husband is gone for long periods of time for work.    This time he was gone for 50 days - or was it 15?  That whole "hearing" thing again.  Anyway, I asked her if she went to church anywhere and what other activities she was involved in.  We had a nice visit, exchanged phone numbers, and agreed to get together again more frequently.

It's always nice to meet a new friend!  Here I was worried about Audrey - when I think it was really the adults that needed the interaction.  God sure is crafty!  =)  And, He sure is good!


Ok, friends.  I need an intervention.  I caught a glimpse of myself on the screen at church this morning.  Shew.  Disappointing to see what I've done (or haven't done) in the past few months.  My clothes are tight.  :(  I'm tired.  I have no energy.  This time last year was when I started my get healthy journey.  It's time to reignite the fire!  I started this blog a year ago to document my journey to health.  It has slowly turned into everything BUT health.  We're joining the Y as a family next month.  Can't wait!

Caterpillar Soup

I read this activity in a book a few years ago.  It's a great activity for the kiddos while you're cooking in the kitchen.  ;)  I put a large bath towel down to cut down on mess.  Then, add a large bowl, mixing spoons, funnels, cups, measuring spoons, etc.  I also fill up squirt bottles with water (add food coloring to create "sauces"), old spice bottles with salt, and sprinkles.  They mix it all up and "cook". 

Project Life Week 5

1/25 My big helper with a "powerful" hand vac. Loving the hair!

1/26 Love to catch a sleeping baby any chance I can.

1/27 - On my nightstand - Bible, prayer journal, and new Pandigital that I'm starting to love.

1/28 - Our "Treasure Box" - the girls can take a trip to the box on Fridays for earned goodies.  Thank goodness for the $1 bin at Target!

1/29 - We had a beautiful spring like day.  The girls and the neighbors loaded their babies into the inflatable jumping house and played for hours.

1/30 Two days in a row of spring like weather.  Loved this pic of the girls on their bikes.  We spent hours playing in the cul-de-sac.

1/31 - Maddie's first day of preschool.  She did NOT want her picture made!
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