Early Morning Pondering 

It is day 5 of our Christmas break with 8 kids. 8 yup. We have 5 foster loves right now. 1,2 and 3 year old along with twin 10 year olds. The day has barely just begun. And I’m awake. More from a stuffy nose. And my brain losing the argument about needing to use the bathroom. Now I’m pondering this early morning. Cause I can’t sleep. Christmas is just in a few days. I’m pondering how we will effectively reach each child with the Christmas story. With the love that God sent down. What activities, stories and actions show Christ’s love to children who may not all know. 

I’m pondering all the things I have to do to make Christmas morning magical. I have 4 9/10 year olds who still believe in Santa. Chances are this is the last year. 

I’m pondering that this is the first year with so many foster kids. Which means there will be Mommas waking up Christmas morning without their babies to open gifts. That is sad to me. I wish I could hug them and tell them not to stop working toward getting their babies back. 

I’m pondering that we still have cookies to decorate and hair cuts to get and kids still need to shop and wrap gifts.  But I know it’s ok if they don’t happen. 

I’m pondering how much I still have to wrap even though some elves have helped me a lot! 

I’m pondering that there is no late Christmas Eve service. Even though we could drive 30 minutes to one. Our kids do best in familiar grounds. But it is something I grew up with and my kids loved. To be in the sacuary so early Christmas morning. It is one of the few days I love letting my kids stay up late for. 

I’m pondering I’ve got Christmas dinner to make! And excited that Jeremy and crew is coming. Everyone is. We don’t see him enough. 

I’m pondering Mary. And what she was thinking riding on a donkey pregnant. Her preparations where very different than mine. She had one baby to worry about. And was she worried? What did she bring? They were on a journey. A journey that we all take every year. A journey to that place where Christ becomes flesh. 

This early morning pondering lead me to get up and enjoy the stillness of morning with a cup of coffee. Soon feet and chatter will fill the house. And we will spend our day singing Christmas songs, decorating cookies, sending kiddos on visits with their families and cleaning for Christmas. 

It’s been a while since I’ve shared any pictures here. Enjoy! 


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Where Am I Hiding?

Most days, when I finally see that glimmer of hope, I slowly quickly make my way to my bathroom.  That is my hiding spot in my house.   That is where no one expect for toddling babies may enter.  That is my zone.  A place where I can regain a moment of getting me back and enter back into the trenches of being a mom.  Some days it is easy and other days it is down right hard.

Where else can you find me these days?  You can find me at our church, Ascension Lutheran church.  I am a DCE by degree (Director of Christian Education) and ministry flows through my blood as much as being a mom does.  You can also find me at the DHR building with various appointments and meetings. And soon I will be teaching my second round of GPS classes for prospective adoptive and foster parents.  You can also find me at various other places with 6 kids in tow.  6 kids.  And every now and then you will find me in Target with those six kids.  Most of the time you will find me alone.

But lets face it, with 6 kids, most of the time I am at home, teaching, cooking, cleaning, and keeping our lives organized.  In trying to keep our lives organized, in keeping my life organized I am using Passion Planner this year. I just got mine a week and a half ago and love it!  I still keep our iCalendar up to date, but Passion Planner is more.  I am still working on how to tweak it just for me and my needs…I still have a few more ideas.

Where else am I hiding? I am online quite a bit.  You can find me on Facebook or Twitter .  I have a small addiction to Pinterest. I love my Instagram account.   I tried Snapchat-yeah no.  I also wander over to Google+ also-still learning about the great hangout features!

But the place I am hiding the most, is in the presence of God. In Him I can just be.


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Household Habits: Kid’s Chores

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Every mother struggles with what chores should my child do.  Every child dreads having to do chores. Heck I hate having to “do chores”  But chores are needed.  Chores are what teach kids time management, cleaning skills, and good old fashion cleanliness.

Yeah we are not there yet.  I am trying.  Believe me we are trying.  I have tried every different trick with chores.  Paid, list, stars.  I started Morning Chores and Afternoon chores last December, and those kinda, kinda stuck.  So I decided to stop focusing on the word “chore” and more on the word “habit.”

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What on the chore list needed to be a habit and not a chore.  Like I have make your bed, get dressed, eat breakfast and brush your teeth as some of the morning chores.  Those really are not chores, but more of personally ha  Every morning this is what I expect my kids to do.  So this school year, those types of items are not on the chore list.  Our chore list are actual cleaning chores to help keep the main living area clean.  They each picked three for morning time and four for afternoon time.  They include things like picking up, sweeping, washing windows, wiping down sinks, emptying out the dish washer.  The kids picked out their morning and afternoon chores.  Then I add other habits they need for life, like learning laundry.

As for paid chores, I give them a few every now and then.  I paid the boys to clean out the van-big cleaning.  As Christmas gets closer I will make a list for them.  I also use chores as punishments.  Mostly weed picking. Since they grow a lot in my yard.

Our Chore System  isn’t perfect. I would like to think I am creating more household and life habits than them just doing chores.   It is still work in progress.  But certain areas are staying a little cleaner.  They ask me how to earn money instead of saying “I will pick up my bedroom if you pay me.”  We will keep working on ironing out the wrinkles….


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Household Habits: Kid’s Clothing

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Darn those kids.

They keep growing!

And the weather keeps changing.

Which means there are always mounds of kid’s clothing’s.

And boxes of them.  And dirty clothes.  And laundry baskets full of them.  Sports uniforms.  Dance outfits.

Oh and lets not forget shoes, socks, undies, coats, and bathing suits.

Right now I feel as though I am drowning in kids clothing.  No matter how much I am keeping up with it- they still appear.

Paint on clothing?  Just saying as a thought…..Ok I know not really!!

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Here are some ways I am trying to say afloat with kids clothing’s.  When I get done I will then share pictures.

  1. I am purging.  Yes that is right.  I have 4 piles.  Keep.  Give Away.  Good Will.  Throw Away.  Folks I have come to realized that if I kept EVERY CUTE OUTFIT I WILL HAVE NO ROOM FOR THE CUTE KIDS THAT GO IN THE OUTFITS!  Yes I know I yells that.  But I have to say that OVER AND OVER- for my benefit you know:)
  2. Because we do foster care I use to keep a lot of extra clothing.  Now I do not.  I keep a basic starter kit-a small box to get us up and running till I can get to the store.
  3. Organize and label.  I love to buy things on clearance for the next season.  BUT I have forgotten where I have put those wonderful items till they are two small.  This year I have bought NOTHING-it has been hard-till I get my act together again.
  4. Use uniform boxes.  It just makes life easier.  And neater.  You may have to  spend a little extra money, but in the long run it will be worth it.
  5. Throw the un-matching socks away.  They are single.  The others have left the planet.   Just toss the box out and fell good about it.  I did-two tubs I kept thinking “they will find their way back to each other.  Finally one day I just did it.  It felt SO GOOD!  I know money, being wise-but you not stressed is worth more.  TRUST ME!
  6. Freeze the kids to not grow anymore so you don’t have to buy anymore clothes.  Just kidding……
  7. Wait can we freeze the kids?  They are growing way to fast!
  8. I LOVE hand me downs and thrift stores.  But I do buy 1 good pair of shoes for my kids.  Since my kids have wide feet, hand me down shoes are a little harder.
  9. I use to fold clean laundry and have my kids put it away.  But some how I end up rewashing that “same folded” laundry.  So for my sanity I now put my kids clothing away.  I have to get better at this cause most of the time I just keep it in the laundry basket in my room!
  10. Teach your kids to put dirty clothes in a laundry basket.  Somehow my kids don’t understand this….EVERYDAY I remind them and I get this “huh” look, like you want me to do what?  But I am scaling down on how many kids clothes they will have out at once, and if it is not in the hamper on wash day I am not washing it!!

 

So in my spare time this is what I am doing.  When I am done I will show you how our system works.  And no, I don’t mean how to freeze the kids, although I am still investigating that!:)


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Creating Household Habits

Habits. We know if we do something enough times it should become a habit. With summer winding down and schooling beginning, now is the time to create better household habits. Last May our family grew when my 18-year-old daughter in law moved in and soon after my grand baby girl was born.

Having another young family within our family creates new challenges and lots of joy. While we attempted to sell the house and move into what we thought would better fit us, after a while, we decided to make our house work. A key to making it work is creating household habits for everyone.

This isn’t going to happen over night. And the first step -it starts with me. So I am tackling a few areas the next week.

  • Making sure we have a weekly menu and I have shopped for that menu.
  • Planning for cooking for a month and filling the freezer with lunch foods.
  • Keeping the kitchen cleaned.
  • Giving the children morning and afternoon chores.
  • Keeping my closet floor picked up.
  • 15 minutes of organizing an area.

So come with me as I start to create household habits for our family. My friend Sarah is also blogging about Kicking Habits over at Living Gracefully.

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