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Monday, February 18, 2013

2013 So Far

So far, this year has had many ups and downs.
The downs of course were multiple sickness.  Not fun  We are still trying to get everyone healthy Nathan keeps hovering around 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit with his body temperature and not feeling well.  Abigail seems to be the healthiest of the bunch (note: She's my veggie lover) and Isabelle is teething. (Isn't the girl just the best?  Does her teething so that we can get it all done at the same time and have no needless sleepless nights.  What a team player!)
I never made our picture list with the best of 2012.  That may come sometime in March.  :-)
After having such nice time at home (despite sicknesses, it was nice to never have to go anywhere - most days), there are tons of places we need to run to now....

And then there are the ups that resulted.  Thinking about this the other day, it was nice to reflect on these:

Food
Due to multiple stomach-involving sicknesses in January, I kicked my chai tea addiction.  Herbal teas once again occupy our cupboards.  And although homemade Chai isn't hugely expensive, it still saves money to drink herbal.
Since the last stomach bacteria that made my life so lovely was most likely contracted by food prepared outside our home, we've decided to drastically reduce any eating out.  Having that bacteria for almost two weeks is a great motivator.  :-)
Hence, the food we eat is home cooked most days and much healthier.  My joy of cooking and preparing healthy meals has returned.   Could be because the kids are starting to eat more things that they are presented with and finding more things they like.  Yippee!  We still purchase our bread at the store and I'm hoping to change that sometime soon.  We did however add lots more fruits and vegetables to the kids' and my diet.  And I have a new love affair.  Well, actually it's been since October.  That's when I bought myself and 12" cast iron skillet.  I truly love the thing.  Every time I see it on my stove, it makes me happy.  In honor of it, there will be a series titled "Tools of the Trade" for my girls.  There they will see some of the things that seems to be very useful to this mama and hopefully it'll be helpful to them one day.
Another big one on my list is getting back to freezer cooking.  While it's been challenging to schedule a two-day cooking adventure, there have been little batches of this and that going into my freezers and they seem to be filling up nicely.  I've unsuccessfully tried to freeze banana bread, making double or even triple batches at a time.  The kids and my sweet husband just gobble them up.  But I rather have gobbling than no one eating any day.

David
David has been so busy with work.  He's been so wonderful taking care of all of us sickos.  He got the flu two days before me and was still so very sick when he had to take over for 4 days when I couldn't get out of bed.  Not only did he have to take care of all of us, he had to take care of work as well.  Talk about stress!  The man was amazing.  Thank you, my love.
Baseball season has officially started and there is baseball fever in the house.  Love seeing the passion that David has for baseball and for those children.  He is a great coach and Nathan is a fortunate little kid to have his super busy with work dad take so much time for him.

The children.
Finally, the poor things can return to their routine.  That is if they aren't sick.  Last week was the first week Nathan went back to school for the whole week (since January 2nd!!).  And a sick mama for so long makes for no routine.  It's been hard getting back into it but we are getting there.
We've introduced Doorposts "If/Then Chart" and it has been working beautifully.  Basically it is a chart that lets them know that if they do this, then this or that will be the consequence.  They also get a bible verse with the undesired behavior to remember.  For example, if you argue, complain or whine, you get additional work.  (Yes, Nathan has been cleaning A LOT lately.  :-) )  It's a nice routine for them to settle into and they are actually enjoying knowing what to expect.  They will come to me on their own accord and tell me their offenses.
Bible readings are picking up again as part of our daily routine.  Before Christmas we purchased Elsie Egermeier's and I can only recommend it.  The kids really like it and Nathan just loves it.  Whenever we read from it, he wants more stories.  We are also reading "Ten men who changed the world" and "Ten women who changed the world".  The kids are liking these as well and there is a bit of a competition over the boy/girl thing.  Another addition along these lines is "The Story of the World" by Susan Wise Bauer CDs and they are fantastic!  Nathan especially (I think Abby may still be a bit young to understand it fully) is enjoying these.  He listens to them all the time.  As a boy, he looks for wars and boys fighting.  We've introduced family reading time which was David's great idea.  It's fantastic.  Our first book is "The Hobbit".  We are also reading and watching "Chronicles of Narnia".   We finished The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and watched the movie.  Granted, it is an ambitious book but the kids are liking the time together and a little C.S. Lewis never hurt anyone.  Did you know Mr. Lewis thought his Chronicles of Narnia were "trifle"?  Just proofs the genius of this man.

Other things
Gardening
On my list is getting ready for our garden which I'm actually planning ahead of time this year.  I'm a bit overwhelmed with it but once everything is in place, I'm sure it'll be just wonderful.

Hobbies
My bible study has been lacking greatly.  When I was sick in January, there was no way I could read.  Once I fell behind so badly, I think a part of me just gave up.  Back I must go!  My whole being longs for it.  Our church is currently going through Hebrews and Allistair Begg has been helping me catch up with his sermons on the book of Hebrews.  His sermon on chapter six of Hebrews is especially good.
Knitting is finally back in my life.  A little red dress has emerged for a tiny little cutie pie.  It's very exciting to be knitting again.

Worth Mentioning
For some reason, since October of last year I'm really craving all things German.  From food to decorations.  Maybe I'm just missing my family?  Either way, a nice lovely calendar made by my oldest brother made its way over here.  And a lovely surprise package from my mom filled with all kinds of craveable things.   Now if that isn't something to cheer about, then what is?

Over the last year I've collected a massive amount of Pinterest ideas. Many of them have found their way in our home but too many were only pinned.  That will be something to tackle this year, starting with DIY cleaners and beauty products, especially for the kids.

There is so much more, especially about the kids individually but that will have to be another post.  Hopefully soon....

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sick Days

Most of us were sick through most of January and then the kids keep having sicknesses for two or three days well into February.  January was pretty tough.  The sicknesses weren't just a cold.  It was the kind of sickness were if you had a tiny bit of energy, you'd have just enough energy to lay on the couch and watch TV.  For me personally, it was a lost month.  I got nothing done.  Nothing.  Expect for doing laundry and getting dishes done for the two days in between sicknesses that I was granted.  :-)
Nathan had a pretty tough run.  Seems he's just not getting fully better.  His fever goes down, he gets back to school and then he's sick again.  He's missed out on most of his first wrestling season which is now officially over and he's very sad.  He's missed a ton of school days but has been able to keep his grades up thankfully.  He's still a straight A student.  We are very proud of him.
Abigail has been battling some sort of stomach virus for the last week and a half but she's a trooper.  For some reason, unless she has to vomit, she's a low-fever, chipper sick girl.  She still has energy and loves to help, especially with Isabelly.
Isabelly has been just as cheerful as her sister with her milder versions of viruses but lately has  been quite the grouch.  She is teething.  Both incisors are coming through (it's been a 2 1/2 month ordeal) but now they are finally hurting her.  The usually sweet beyond sweet girl is very grouchy, screams at any sibling and every question is met with a stern "no!" instead of her usual "ja".
And David, the man who gets NEVER sick, got sick.  He had a very rough month.  He had high stress at work and then had to take care of the kids for many days as I was in bed, just trying to make it through the days and hoping that maybe tomorrow would be better.  He was great.  He got the flu, was vomiting all through the night, got a little rest and then had to take care of everyone just one day later as I starting the same flu.  What a man!
Thankfully none of us are having serious sicknesses anymore and hopefully even Nathan will be able to kick this thing.  We've also found out about some pretty powerful natural remedies along the way (Elderberry syrup, Echineachea drops, fennel tea - my best friend in January, thank you mama - and the good old lemon, ginger, honey, hot water mixture that auntie Megan told me about).
Sad thing is, with all that sick time, I didn't get any reading or knitting in!  Really, a wasted month except for the times that I actually had a little energy and got to snuggle with my family.
We are all just really looking forward to warmer days.  And less visits to the doctor, for sure.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Potty

Isabelle has been saying "peepee, potty" for about two to three weeks now, indicating she wants to go peepee on the potty.  So I finally succumbed and ordered her a pink and white little potty.  Potty training was nowhere on my radar but I guess she is closer to two years old than I like.  Yesterday the potty from Amazon arrived.  We made a big deal unwrapping it and she was thoroughly excited.  This morning, in our morning routine, all the girls went into the bathroom to get dressed.  As Abigail went to use the potty, Isabelle sat down on hers.  Then, noticing that she had her diaper and pants on, she motioned for me to take them off.  Her clothes came off and down sat the babe.  She sat for a while and every time we asked if she went peepee, she enthusiastically said "ya" but really hadn't.  After we got bored waiting for her sitting joyously on her potty, we told her we had to go downstairs for breakfast.  She squeezed her face and as to not dissappoint, she peed in the potty!!!!  So we naturally made a big deal about it, the boys were summoned and we all cheered.  Yeah, baby!  Now please potty train as quickly as your brother... (literally trained in one day! - Thanks, Mr. Ezzo - Potty Wise).