Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Epic Bunk

BFF's :)

We love our cozy little house. It has everything we need, but it is just that....little.
Some days it's frustrating, but most days we like the challenge of fitting what we have into the space that's available, and having less "stuff" because of it. Yesterday was one of the fun days :)
Addison and Tegan share a room. When we moved in here we thought they would like to have single beds because they were getting older. It didn't leave them much floor space, but that was OK...we thought.
It's been more and more of an issue trying to organize their room properly, so finally we asked them if they would consider a bunk bed again. They said yes.
Challenge accepted.
So after being on the hunt for a long time, we found one on the buy and sell and yesterday, we bought it!
And it's the epic bunk. It's T shaped and has a built in bookshelf, drawers, and a writing desk with more drawers....AND a cork board, which they love :)
It is awesome being able to fit so much stuff in a much smaller space than it used to take.
They are happy because they have a super cool bed, and we are happy that they have a spot for all their things now...and extra floor space!


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Monday, September 08, 2014

Favorite Time of The Day

This makes me love the peaceful moments so much more!
Love.

This doesn't happen every day, but most it does, and it's happening now.
A house with 5 girls can get a bit overwhelming at times. True to the name of my blog, "constant chatter" is pretty much the norm here.
The mornings are full of questions (may we have foooooood?) And pretend play, with some world war 3 fights thrown in to keep it real. Sadie usually has a nap in her crib in the morning, so I try to use the opportunity to get at least one big chore done, like cleaning the kitchen or folding all the laundry.
But now, it's after lunch. I sent the girls to play in their rooms for awhile as their quiet time. Myka and Danica are playing with Lego I think, and Addison and Tegan are reading.
Sadie is ready for a nap again, and for this one, we have a bit of a routine. I swaddle her up and sit in the glider in her room with the lights off. I usually nurse her for a bit, then we switch to the soother. .she very seldom nurses to sleep. As I'm rocking her I sing the lullaby that I've sung to all our girls, "Hold Onto Jesus". Her eyes close and her body relaxes, but I keep rocking her. I'm not ready to get up yet, and I love snuggling her for at least one nap a day :) it's also a good time to catch up on things like blogging and Facebook news on my phone (as much as I'd love to say that I spent the entire time screen free, I don't :))
My left arm falls asleep every day while I'm rocking her. Every day I tell myself that I need to recover my glider and add more padding so that doesn't happen anymore, but I never do.
The door is open so I can see what's going on in the kitchen. Today Addison comes in and asks if she can make the girls hot chocolate. I give the " rules" answer... "Yes, but everyone has to stay at the table, only one big marshmallow each, and please put everything away when you're done."
In total my quiet time with Sadie lasts only about 25 minutes, but I have started to really look forward to it every day.
In fact, today's was so short and sweet that it's now 5:30 and I'm just finishing this post after coming back to it about 4 times!
On a given day our house can go to crazy and back a million times. I love it all, but I sure do appreciate the peaceful moments....they help prepare me for when the chaos hits :)

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Big Bang Theory and the Teacher Strike

Big Bang Theory is one of our favorite shows. Daniel and I don't have TV (just Netflix), but every Thursday night we stream that night's show on our laptop. We've been looking forward to this next season all summer, and a couple weeks ago I came across a news story that said it was going to be delayed. The cast of the show didn't show up for the first day of shooting because they wanted to be paid more. Specifically, they wanted a million dollars... PER EPISODE. That's an insane amount of money, and the only other TV actors to get that much were the Friends actors. The end of the article said something to the effect of "don't worry though, it won't be delayed long because let's face it...they will get the money." And sure enough, they have started shooting now because the deal was signed within a couple weeks.
I said all that to say this. As much as I like the show...it's a TV SHOW. It adds nothing of value to anyone's life (except the actors!)
A little closer to home, our teachers ( the people who add value to little lives) are also asking for something too. Their requests are a little more reasonable though. They want a fair wage (which is still too low in my opinion), and they want class sizes small enough that they can actually give our kids some personal attention. Why is the government considering this so unreasonable? Their job is important. I don't say that flippantly. It's very very important. They are not just teaching our children how to read, write, calculate, and work together. They are spending a good part of each day with our children, and as a parent, I can say that if another adult is influencing that much of my child's life, I don't want that adult to be stressed and pulled in so many directions that they can't spend the time they want with each kid.
We are already very blessed with the school our girls go to. Those teachers to the absolute best they can with what they have (which I'm sure is true in almost every school), and they do their best to teach our kids life skills as well as regular school subjects.
A couple of years ago I gave the girls a treat after school. I had accidently put one too many on the table. Tegan came over and handed it to me.
"Wow tegan, thank you for being honest!" I said.
"You're welcome. I thought about eating it, then I thought 'no, I should have integrity'" she said.
They had just learned about integrity that day in school. In fact, they still get certificates occasionally when they model integrity, compassion, and helpfulness in class.
Now, you could say, "yeah, but parents should be teaching those things at home and not relying on the school to do it." I agree with that, and we do. But like I said a few sentences up, the teachers influence our kids for the better part of a day, and it's very comforting to know that they are carrying on or enhancing what kids are learning at home. It would kind of suck if it went the opposite way, don't you think? And I'm afraid that if class sizes are allowed to increase more and more, the poor teachers won't have time to teach those things as much as they may want to, because it will take all day just to get through the basic reading and writing!

Anyways, I know I never post "controversial" things on my blog, but this is important. Give the teachers what they want. They are not being spoiled actors demanding more than they need....they are the people who are teaching our children, the next generation of adults, the skills they need to be the architects, doctors, and inventors that the world needs. They just request the tools they need to do their job as effectively as possible.

P.S. I have a 5 year old who should be staring kindergarten on Tuesday. She has been practicing her letters and writing her name for over a year in preparation. She has gotten frustrated with herself because she can't read yet and she wanted to before going to kindergarten. She has her first day of school outfit picked out and hung up in the closet. And now the day is almost here and I have to tell her that she can't go.
And why? Because the government doesn't see some of these things as important. They are important because our children need to be taught things, like conflict resolution, better than the government's level of understanding on the subject. Figure it out. Our kids want to go to school. And our teachers want to teach them.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

30 Things...10 People Who Have Influenced Me

Dear Girls:
As you go through life, you will connect with more people than you can count. Some of those people will have a lasting impact on your life....hopefully all good :)
I have been blessed to have some amazing people in my life, and through their influence I have grown to be more of the person I want to be
From a young age you hear things like "treat others how you would want to be treated", and things like that. It's advice worth heeding. In all those encounters you will have, you never know who your life will be influencing!
One of the biggest influences you will have will be on your future husband a and children. Until then, do the best you can to surround yourself with people who inspire you and build you up...it is said that you will become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Influence is strong!

This was a hard list to make, because I could have put so many people down who have influenced me in one way or another. Here are 10 who have made a big impact on my life:

Daniel: as well as being my best friend and husband and all that entails, he has influenced me in many ways. Watching how he interacts with other people, and how he interacts with and loves our daughters is inspiring. As a parent, he is level headed and wise, and I am so blessed to have his influence not only for me, but for our daughters as well.

My mom: she has taught me so many valuable lessons. She taught me to love God, love people and be hospitable . ..she showed me how to be a good mom by the way that she was a mom to us. She taught me to be a capable woman and how to get things done (she does most of her own home improvement projects herself!). I could go on and on about the ways she has influenced me. I'm so thankful to have a mom like her :)

Lance warkentin: kind of a random one after talking about my mom and husband, but he was my boss for my college job. He ran a restaurant and catering company, and it was the best job I've ever had. He influenced my love for cooking, and taught me so much in the short time I was there. I still remember my job, and many of the recipes I learned there, with fondness.

Carol Powell: she was my pastor's wife when I was growing up. As a family, they were amazing, and I really really enjoyed the time I spent with her. Other than my siblings, babysitting her son was my first babysitting job, and it continued used throughout my teen years. She was also an exceptional pianist and taught me everything I know about music. I never felt like a kid around her. She treated me, and everyone else she knew, with respect, and that meant more to me than even I knew at the time. She definitely influenced the way I learned to treat people. I was sad when they moved, but we still stay in touch over Facebook. I always love seeing her posts :).

Lindsay: she's my neighbor and friend. We met 10 years ago, shortly after Daniel and I moved here. She's a friend that I really admire. She's so down to earth and practical, drama free, nonsense free, and going to her house makes me feel immediately peaceful. It's like a coffee filled oasis where I can escape from the rest of the world for a morning :) she doesn't even have internet. She grows much of their own food and raises lots of animals. She has really influenced me in the area of caring for my family. I'm always calling her for cooking advice, and she taught me how to preserve different foods. She's awesome :)

Grandma Joan: one of my best friends! She and I have gotten along so well my entire life. She also influenced me in areas like cooking, baking, and hospitality. I have always loved spending time with her...we laugh a lot when we are together! An amazing woman, and I'm blessed to have her in my life :)

Teresa: the first person I met when I was a nervous new college student. Thankfully, she was too, and we clicked. We have been roommates through college, and close friends through engagements, marriage, and kids. She's kind, wise, fun, and so strong in her faith. She has influenced me to love people like crazy...I don't know many people who let Jesus' love shine through them like she does!

Jael: my sister, and one of the strongest women I know. I don't want to invade her privacy here on my blog, but she has been through a lot. That woman has conquered mountains, let me tell you! Her influence on me has changed throughout our lives, but has always been there. Her strength is inspiring. We live a world apart right now, and I miss her like crazy, but watching her life from far away, she never ceases to amaze me!

Karen: I really couldn't have asked for a better mother in law. We are quite a bit alike in personality, and enjoy each others' company. She has been largely influencial in my relationship with God. We have had some looong and wonderful talks about God, family, and life, and those talks have made a huge difference in the way I see or deal with some situations. I'm very thankful to have her to talk to!

God: I've always been a christian, as far back as I can remember, but when I learned what it was really like to have a real relationship with Him, my outlook on life changed dramatically. He is and always will be the greatest influence in my life. I could write a novel here I'm sure, but I'll save that for a later post.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Take Time To Make Time Stop

If you think the title of this post is cheesy, just wait until you hear where I got it from! Most of my "moms of girls" friends might know.
A Barbie movie. It's from a Barbie movie. I forget which one, but they sing a lot in it...and because I usually only hear my kids' movies (they watch them while I drive), I noticed that these were the lyrics to one of the songs in the movie. It just stuck with me, and reminded me of a post I wrote a couple of years ago about slowing down for a time to really take in the moment.
Anyways, moving on. Our life seems to be in fast forward this week. I seriously have barely had time to sit down. Thank goodness for breastfeeding so I'm forced to sit occasionally! Between cooking, canning, cleaning, helping Daniel with Reno's and answering six hundred thousand questions a day, I can't seem to finish one thing before moving on to the next thing that needs my attention.
And then yesterday, while I was sitting to nurse Sadie, I slowed down. I made myself stop thinking about hurrying her up so I could move on to the next task.
All of the other girls were playing outside, and Myka came in for a snack and asked if she could come sit with me. At first she asked to play Wii but I suggested she read a book instead. She saw one in the living room and said, "how bout I read this one? I love it!"
She sat on the edge of the couch and tried to balance the book on her lap while holding her snack in her other hand. I said, "why don't you scootch back so that your back is against the couch? That way your book will for in your lap." For the life of me I can't remember what her snack was, but this is when the moment slowed right down for me. She was thoughtfully chewing each bite and saying "hmmm" as she turned the pages. The biggest thing I remember noticing is how her feet hung off the edge of the couch just to her ankles and thinking about how soon it will be that her feet can touch the ground while sitting there. Then I got super imaginative and started thinking about she and I sitting like that when she's an adult, sipping coffee and chatting.
I quickly snapped back to the moment though and just watched her. It was such a short part of my day, but it stuck with me. I wrote it here for no reason other than I don't want to forget it, and I KNOW unfortunately, how quickly memories like that fade.
Don't grow up too fast Myka :)

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Friday, August 22, 2014

What a Week

Grandma even came for a visit!

What a busy, busy week it has been! Actually it has been the last two weeks that have kept us on our toes. I feel like we are in super production mode! Lol.

The girls had swimming lessons every day for the past two weeks. Not just every day, but ever morning....at 9:30am. By the time we were out the door everyone was happy to go, but there was definitely a few mornings where I know we would have all rather stayed in bed! The girls did great though, and we did have a lot of fun in the pool. Sadie even enjoyed the water! This morning when we were there, the girls would put just their lips under the water and blow bubbles, and she started copying them! She would put her lips in the water, then pop back up and smile :)

We are also trying to get our house and rented trailer ready for winter (😵), and when Daniel has had days off, we have been working like crazy. He's been renovating the entryway to be warmer and more practical. The girls have been super helpers by hauling away the wood and insulation, and doing pretty much anything he needs help with. I can't wait to see it when we are all done ....it's going to be so organized! Lol.

My grandma had a knee replacement surgery last Thursday. I was lucky to get to go visit her in the hospital twice. It's hard seeing someone you love recover from a surgery like that, but she has done so well! I'm excited that as she recovers even more, her knee will be so much better. She's had so much trouble with it this year :(

Sadie had her two month checkup yesterday, even though she's almost three months (I think I have what's called "fifth child syndrome"). She's 13 pounds, happy and healthy. It's so easy to take that for granted sometimes, but we really are so blessed to have a baby like that. It makes my job a lot less stressful, that's for sure!

I've really noticed some changes in Addison this week too. Maybe not changes exactly so much as I've noticed her personality a lot more. She's really starting to " mother" her sisters. It's really awesome to see her helping so much, although I do have to say this....if I ever need to be honest with myself about things I do or say that I probably shouldn't, I just have to watch to see how she talks to her sisters. She's like a little mirror reflection of me! That's sometimes kind of scary, especially when I hear her say things that I said I would "never say" to my kids....it's usually empty threats or guilt trips :(. There is much room for improvement!
That part aside, I really appreciate how willing Addison is to play with the other girls, and how nice she is to them even if I know she'd rather be doing something else!

Between trips to town, renovations, yard clean up, cooking, and looking after the baby, I am pooped. I'm so glad that swimming is done and I can just be a hermit this next week. I am excited to be busy, but at home instead of in town. The girls and I are going to pickle some beams, do some baking, and help Daniel fin
ish the entry. And I can also use Sadie's nap time to sew a little bit, yay!

I was so distracted that I didn't think k to take many pictures of our crazy week, but here's a few snapshots :)


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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Five Things I'm Passionate about

Finally, another installment in the "30 things I want my kids to know about me" series!

1. God
2. The subject of abortion
3. Learning about pregnancy, breastfeeding and childbirth
4. Joy
5. Marriage

Bonus #6: baby care, like bathing and swaddling...hence my business :)

Dear girls:

To me, being passionate about something means that you think about it a lot, and when the subject comes up in conversation, you think, "ooooh, yeah I want to talk about that!" It's something that you research lots and always want to learn more about. Because of that, you form pretty strong opinions...which is cool. In my opinion, having an opinion is a good thing (see what I did there?), especially if you know lots about a subject. It gets annoying when you tell everyone your strong opinions all the time though, especially if they didn't ask.
I sure hope I don't do that! but I do enjoy a riveting conversation with people on any one of the above subjects :)

Being passionate about things is good. It's what changes the world.

I can already see each of you girls forming passions about different subjects, and it's really cool to see your personalities come out in that. On one hand, I wish you could all stay little forever....watching you grow so fast is hard for me because I want to slow it down a little! On the other hand though, I look forward to see what kind of young women you are going up to be and what sorts of things will hold your interest!

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Danica's Blankie

The original blankie :)

The new one...i think she loves it.

Shortly after Danica was born, I bought her an AlllyZabba blanket from BabySteals. I wanted her to have a special blanket that she could take places with her (she had a special quilt from grandma, but that had to stay on the bed). I loved the idea of the minky and satin together, and thought it could be her "special blanket." Little did I know just how special that blanket would become!
In three years she has only spent 4 nights away from it...and those were hard night, let me tell you!
"Polka dot blankie" has been hallway around the world with Danica, helping her sleep every night when she rubs the satin between her fingers. It helps her feel better when she gets hurt or is sick, and when anyone else in the family is down, she generously offers her blankie to help us feel better.
It's been a fort, a picnic blanket, a blanket for sick stuffed animals, a cape, and anything else her little imagination comes up with!
One night a few months ago we couldn't find it. Finally, after looking for an hour and a half past her bedtime, we told her that she would have to try and sleep without it and we would bring it in right away of we found it. She reluctantly agreed and left us with this: "if you see a blankie that has colored polka dots and feels soft when you do this (rubs her finger and thumb together), then that's polka dot blankie."
The blanket has held up really well for the past three years, though it's not without it's scars. There is a nail polish stain on it and a spot I had to sew back together when myka accidentally snipped it with scissors. It's not as soft as it was because you are supposed to air dry minky and, well, that didn't really fly with her. It hasn't been an issue now that she's older, but when she was two, even waiting for blankie to finish getting washed was a challenge!
I've been wanting to store the blanket in her hope chest when she's done with it, but have been getting nervous that it would get wrecked or lost before that point. Daniel suggested that I get her a new one last time they were on BabySteals and try to swap them. The new blanket arrived yesterday :)

Daniel held it up to show her and asked if she wanted to trade. I could tell she was thinking about it but said, "no, I don't want to."
"Are you sure? You should feel it!" He said.
She reached out and touched it, then quickly, almost timidly, she handed Daniel hers, grabbed the new one and ran to her room.
We walked in to find her snuggled up on the bed with it and her eyes closed. 20 minutes later I went in and found her fast asleep :)
"New blankie" has found it's way into her heart and now I'll store the old one in her memory box. And what sweet memories it holds!

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