Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Day for Baking

Well, since Katie put out her post about how the wheat bread was nothing more than dark white bread, I've been making my own bread. (I did know that the cheap wheat bread wasn't healthy, but I was trying to encourage myself by saying at least it wasn't white bread). My bread maker has been working overtime this week -- I think I've made almost a loaf a day. I didn't realize how much bread we went through.

Anyways, with today being Sunday, all three kids and I took a nap. When Kara woke up from her nap she wanted to help me. I only had two slices of bread left, so Kara helped me put together all the ingredients for the bread in the bread maker. After we were done making bread she wanted to bake some more. She picked out a cookie recipe (Chocolate Chip of course), and then she preceded to bake cookies.
The baker has to stir the batter
Then she must add the flour
Then comes the chocolate
Stir it all together and bake
Oh, we can't forget to clean up where we were baking

We had a lot of fun in the kitchen today!

And of course we must always enjoy the fruit of our labor.

My Role as a Parent of a Preschooler and Toddler

At the beginning of the year, my dad gave his church a challenge to go through the book of Proverbs (one chapter a week) and create their own commentary on what the Bible has to say regarding the family and the separate responsibilities of each relationship of Father, Mother, Parents, Child, and Siblings. Well, needless to say I started the challenge and did great the first week. I think we are now eight weeks into the year, and today I started chapter three.

This morning I woke up to feed Andy at 5:00, at 5:30 I began to head back to bed and realized that since my alarm was going off at 6:00 anyways, I should get up get ready, and spend some extra time with the Lord -- Thank you Lord for putting the thought into my head!

Anyways, I fixed myself a cup of coffee and sat down to read my Bible, and decided I needed to get back into the Proverbs project. Turning to Proverbs chapter 3, I read the following verses

My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, neither be weary of his correction; For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth, even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

Now, I know these verses are probably written to an older child in which case, the father is the primary disciplinarian (or at least he should be). However, I began thinking about these verses in relation to my role as the primary caregiver of a preschooler and toddler. How am I to be disciplining Kara and Lydia? Well, the answer at least is obvious -- In Love. Of course I love them, so when I discipline I do discipline in love. Well, the more I thought about this concept, and the more I reflected on the times I discipline, I began to realize I don't always discipline in love. As much as I hate to say it, sometimes it is very easy to correct my children out of a heart of frustration. Kara spends much of her day crying about hurting herself or whining to get this or that. About halfway through the day I am frustrated and tired of listening to it -- therefore, I need to hold myself in check as to my own attitude in correcting her. I know it's also easy to correct them in Anger. Lydia and Kara are both very curious and they want to explore and play. They know the rules, but sometimes the temptation is too great and they give in (probably more often then necessary -- but they are only 1 and 2). It would be very easy for me to get angry with them and punish -- but I need to check myself and ask "Am I disciplining out of anger, or because I love them and want them to be conformed to the image of God?"

Here is my conclusion on this verse:
While this verse deals with a father correcting his son in love, for mothers who are the primary caregivers of preschool children in the early stages of correction, we also need to note this verse. Correction/chastisement/rebuke/discipline is to be done in a heart of love for the child. Therefore, we are not to act in anger, frustration, or even as a response to a difficult and tiring day. If we are correcting for any reason than love and a desire to see our children conformed to the image of Christ -- Don't Do It.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Yesterday and today the weather was beautiful, and since we are suppose to have a blizzard tomorrow and possible hail and tornado's tonight, I thought I had better get the girls outside while I could.

Here are some pictures of the girls playing in the back yard today. Kara wanted to play with her gun (a marshmallow shooter), so after lunch I brought them up from the basement and the three of us headed outside.
Kara is protecting the ship while Lydia steers the ship.

Oh know, here comes an enemy ship.
Here Kara and Lydia have become soldiers. Kara of course
is the leader telling her sister what to do.

Yesterday after naps, I piled the girls up in their wagon (JA came home while Andy was napping so I could take the girls out), and we walked three blocks to the city park.
Here Lydia discovers how much she enjoys swinging on a big girls swing.
Kara and Lydia love spinning on the merry-go-round -- of course, Lydia spends more time on her bottom then on her feet here since she has a hard time balancing.
"Lets go bring in the harvest. Mom, you ride in the trailer while I drive."
Lydia has found herself a home inside the choo choo train
Kara and Lydia have climbed to the top of the mountain. Now, what are they to do?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Andy Joins the Family Dinner

One thing I have begun noticing over the past week is that Andy is no longer content in his bouncy seat when the rest of us sit down to eat. In fact, lately he has been fussing to eat about the same time. So today Andy joined us at the table. Not to eat, but I gave him some things so he could feel like he was eating with the rest of us. He really liked trying to grab for the empty sippy cup, and the way he waved the spoons about made it appear as though he were actually trying to get the spoon up to his mouth. But the one thing I noticed the most was how much he smiled during the meal time -- Amazing what the thought of having food does to a person. When Lydia starts fussing all I have to do is put her in her booster seat and she quiets right down -- of course she starts fussing again if I don't give her a snack :-)

By the Way, have any of you noticed the Warnings about Peanut Butter? Imagine, Peanut Butter causing food poisoning -- Who would have thought . . . .

My Dinning Room

Last night after the kids were all in bed, JA helped me hang some more things on the walls of our home. We decided to focus on the dinning room. Here are the results
The picture next to the cabinet is of JA dressed as a Knight, and I am dressed as a princess.
These plates used to be JA's great-grandmother's dishes

Sorry, I know this one is a little dark but I had to close the blinds in order to be able to get this decent of a picture. The basket on the table is one Phillip gave me when he came back to live in the states -- Thank you Phillip.

I've been having so much fun decorating and setting up home. So much that I've actually been able to keep the house semi clean -- An amazing feat for me.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Surgery Update

Praise the Lord, Andy was able to have his surgery. Tuesday morning began for me at 1:00 in the morning when I woke Andy up for his last feeding before his surgery. For a child who loves to eat (and who only recently began sleeping through the night), he was very difficult to wake up to eat. After feeding Andy, I bundled him up and put him in his car seat to finish sleeping because I didn't want to wake him up when it was time for us to go. I went to bed and then set the alarm for 4:00 a.m. We left the house at 4:30 and arrived at the hospital at about 5:15. Unfortunately, Andy woke up when we took his car seat out of the van at the hospital. At 5:30 we went back to the pediatric ambulatory surgery unit. The triage area was really nice, and while most patients (there were at least five while we were there) were separated by only a curtain, Andy had his own little room with a hospital crib. Shortly after we arrived, we had to strip Andy down for them to weigh and measure him. Then he had to wear this itchy hospital gown -- sorry I didn't get a picture of him in his gown. The hardest part in waiting for his surgery was not being able to nurse him because he wanted to eat to fall back asleep, and when the lab technician came to take his blood for a hemoglobin test.
Mommy, I don't know what is going on! Please feed me! I am trying to be content with my fist.
Here is Andy after his surgery now. They took him away from me at 7:30, and then he was brought back from recovery at about 9:30. I'm thankful the time was relatively short. The whole time he was gone, I just wanted to see him. The surgeon came out to talk to us at about 8:45 to tell us the surgery was over and that Andy had done very well.

When Andy was brought back to the triage area, he was not a happy baby. He was hungry, groggy, and disoriented. Thankfully I was able to try feeding him right away. The nurses had already discovered that he is not a pacifier baby -- He spits it back out and gives you the horrible glare as if to say 'You honestly want me to suck on that thing? Give me my fist!' Anyways, he had a little bit of difficulty probably because of the anesthesia, the fact that his mouth no longer stretches as far, and because he had gotten himself all worked out. Finally Andy calmed down enough to eat and fall asleep again. I was really thankful to have both JA and my mom there with me to help encourage me.

Here is Andy in his hospital crib right before we were dismissed. He didn't want to be put down at all after he was finally brought back to me. JA bought him this little bear from the hospital because the bear looked like it had a cleft. We are so thankful for how the Lord allowed everything to go. Andy has been a wonderful blessing in our lives, and we are excited to see how the Lord is going to use this in both our lives and in Andy's life as he grows.

I do want to thank Julie Brownfield for the wonderful encouragement you have been to me for the past four months since we found out about Andy's cleft.
And thank you everyone who has been praying for Andy and his surgery. For his recovery, the stitches will dissolve, and the glue over the stitches will fall off like a scab once the stitches have dissolved. Andy will have a bright red scar between his mouth and his nostril for about a year and then it should fade into a white scar.

I will post more pictures of Andy as he heals.

As for Valentine's Day

This is the wonderful present that my husband bought and assembled for me for Valentine's day. I've always admired armour's, and when we saw this out furniture shopping back in January, JA bought it for me as an early Valentine's present, but I just got it on Saturday.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Last post before the Surgery

Currently, we are still on track to have Andy's surgery on Tuesday. Andy is healthy, and the girls are healthy enough to travel now.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about his surgery, but I know this is what the Lord has for our little man right now. I hate the idea of him being put under while he's so young, but I have confidence that the Lord will bring him through again. I praise God that Andy's surgery should not be difficult. Please be praying for Andy as he undergoes his surgery Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m. Also, I ask that you pray he can ward off any sniffles or nasty bugs until after his surgery (and preferably after the stiches have disolved). Thank you for your prayers!

Now, on a lighter note

Uncle Rob -- Are you proud of me? Can you give me some lessons whenever you come visit?

Kara has developed a new fascination for JA's guitar. She has always had a love for music and instruments, but now that we finally have a real instrument in the house she is thrilled!

This is our mode of transportation for going to church. Andy seems to enjoy the sling, and that wagan is the fastest way for me to get the girls to church without chasing them out of the road :-) They also enjoy their ride.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


I must tell all of you women out there who read my blog that I have the most wonderful man in the entire world. For all of you who are single, I guess you'll have to settle for the next best thing.

This week all of the females in our family were hit hard with the flu (I'm pretty sure it was the rotovirus - but no definite diagnosis). Kara started off the week by getting sick Sunday afternoon. Lydia got hit with it Tuesday night, and then I got hit with it late Wed. night. Thursday I was totally wiped out -- I couldn't even go up or down the stairs without collapsing. So, for majority of the week JA became the sole caretaker of Andy with the exception of feedings. I was so thankful for a husband willing to take his son to work with him so we could keep him healthy for his surgery -- of course it does help that work is right across the street :-)
JA even gave Andy his first bath in the bathtub today. Usually I put the kids in the bathtub as soon as their cord falls off because it is a whole lot easier for me than bathing them in the sink and I never wanted to spend the money to buy a baby bathtub. However, up until a couple of weeks ago Andy's belly button was still oozing, so I waited to put him in the tub until I knew he was completely healed.

Today my dad, and two of the men from his church -- Thank you Wes and Bart and Dad!!! -- brought up the remainder of our furniture. We had purchased some leather furniture for our living room. My wonderful tremendous detail-oriented husband spent about two hours tonight making sure all of our leather furniture was properly treated with the leather protectant. I'm so thankful that JA is so detail oriented. Too often I complain about him taking too much time on the details, but I know if he did things the way I typically do things, nothing would be done well.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who offered their advice. I hope I didn't come across to indicate that Kara is always terrible (although on certain days it may seem that way). The day after I made my previous post, Kara decided to be extremely sweet. Despite the fact that she was sick and wouldn't eat or drink much, she insisted on helping me to wash dishes.
Here is Andy's new favorite toy
Did somebody say Hawaii? Wait, let me get my purse.
Mmmm, Mom, this puppy chow is good. It doesn't taste anything like the puppy chow I ate at my great Opa's.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Pleading for Advice and prayer

Deut 4:10 Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.

I long to see my children grow up to know God, but sometimes I wonder about my oldest daughter. I know Kara is only three (well, almost), but many times when we talk with her or discipline her, she will either laugh us off or her eyes will look cold and defiant. Is this an attitude that is normal among children who are testing their boundaries, or are we in for the time of our lives with Kara?

Let me give you an example. Yesterday, we went to the grocery store. JA took Lydia, Andy, and the groceries out to the van while Kara and I stayed inside to pay the bill. Next thing I know Kara takes off and runs towards the parking lot. When I grabbed her and brought her back, I squatted down to talk with her. While I was talking with her, she just stared at me defiantly. Please Pray for her that she will come to know her need for salvation.

She totally refuses to acknowledge any wrong doing on her part whether it's lying or blatent disobedience. Instead, when punished she says "Mommy you mean!" or "Mommy, you hurt me" (even if all we are doing is holding her wrists to talk with her). I must admit that I find myself getting frustrated with her on almost a daily basis.

Kara, finally sleeping after spending the day with the flu.

Just a side note, Kara does have some moments where she can be extremely sweet. My heart melts when she comes up to me out of the blue and says "I Love You" or "I help Mommy"

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Unpacking is loads of FUN!!!

Since Sunday I have been steadily trying to unpack boxes and discover what was in each box. Unpacking has been a bit of a challenge since the house was not completely ready for us yet. The painting in the kitchen was not finished until Tuesday (the same day our refridgerator was delivered). However, the kitchen is the one room I have completely finished (other than mopping the floor). Here are some pictures of my kitchen.
The windows look out into our fenced in backyard (hurray -- great for small children). You can see the front of the fridge. When we purchased the fridge, I didn't realize how big it would be!

I am really excited about having a double oven. So my food can all be warm when I need to set it on the table.

This last picture shows you a more realistic picture of the colors in my kitchen. The red is very bright, but I was so tired of white walls that I wanted to keep my house bright. The theme of my kitchen is a coffe theme! The one appliance I am the most excited about is a dishwasher. Now I don't need to use a straw to clean out all the little crevices in the sippy cups.
These dolls belonged to Oma, so I am thrilled to be able to have them up in my home. Someday I'll pass them on to Kara and Lydia so they can remember their dutch heritage (something I am very proud to be).

Friday, February 02, 2007

A Long Trip

Well, we have completed our traveling (at least for long distances) for hopefully a long time (or at least until Phillip's graduation). I am sorry it has taken me so long to update, but we just connected to internet last night. I will probably create a new post everyday for a few days in order to update everything.

Our first stop on our trip to move was at my Opa's house. It was wonderful being able to see him and my uncle again. My Aunt Billie stopped in to visit also.

As you can see from the pictures above, Opa was a big hit with Andy and Kara. Tuesday morning, Opa found a cartoon channel for Kara. So, Kara found the most comfortable seat in the house -- Opa's lap -- for the entire morning. Lydia was too interested in playing with the remote or chasing the dogs.
I enjoyed having Billie stop in for a few minutes to chat. I woke up both of the girls so she would have a chance to see them.

As much as I enjoyed this visit, it was also a very emotional visit for me. I know this poem that follows is a bit long, but I think it covers the whole gamut of what I was feeling.

Where Were You

Today we stopped in for a visit

Like we have done so many times before.

I had so much to tell you,

so much has happened since we last talked.

I came to show you my son,

And listen to your stories of parenthood.

Yet something was missing

We visited with Opa at dinner

and ate his hamburger spinach.

Kara and Lydia shyly played

and chased Crystal and Bobbie.

Aunt Billie came by

And we talked like we had in the past

Yet something was missing.

We sat down with Opa to play

The games we’ve played in the past

And then I looked up

to watch you sleep in your chair.

I discovered then what was missing

The chair sat empty in the corner

You are what was missing

How could I think this visit was normal

As though nothing had changed.

Of course things were different

For you are no longer on earth.

I could not show my son

Nor converse as we had done before

You were missing from here.

Emotions came rushing about me

I still don’t know what to feel

To sort out my thoughts

And understand this confusion

Reality finally hit me

I finally am forced to admit

That you are no longer with us.

Confusion tumbled about me

Why did things have to change.

My heart has so many questions

Yet I know my place not to ask

Disappointment came down upon me

As I realized my dreams unfulfilled

My son I brought with me

Your eyes were not to behold

Sorrow about o’er whelmed me

When I realized your life has been passed

On earth I never would see you

And then tears touched my eyes.

As quickly as the emotions came

rushing and sweeping about me

my heart was uplifted

As Christ brought fresh to my mind

Yes your life here is over,

But you are not gone

For In Heaven you live.

Comfort than touched my heart

At the thought or you in Heaven

Walking without pain

Loving without hinderence.

I rejoice at the thought of my Oma

Walking upon streets of gold.

Singing with voice uplifted

Praising my Savior and hers.

For you pain has ended

Sorrow has ceased

For in Heaven you live.

I can picture you now up in Heaven

Gathering the children around

making them baskets of yarn

Filling them with the candy of love

And now I must trust to my Lord

The Oma I have adored

For with Him you now live.

My Oma I thank you

For all you have given to me.

You’ve taught me to have courage

And to trust with my heart not my mind

You’ve given me a heritage

That I must now pass on

For you have given me love.

I Love you Oma