Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A New Year of Preteens

Tonight was the first night back to Preteens for 2008. It felt good to be back. I am usually dreading when we start up again - usually because I am a homebody and would stay home all the time if I could! But I have been praying for God to really change my heart in this area and I believe He is working!

When we went tonight we were unsure of what to expect as far as numbers as it was a pretty miserable night and Andy didn't get out to visit like he really wanted to. We have been off for about seven weeks and kids tend to forget about things after that long of a break! Well, we had no need to fear as we had 41 kids out tonight - 25 girls and 16 boys. It was also a night of beginnings. Tonight Eleanna, Morgan, and Adrianna, all church kids, moved up to preteens. This is a sad fact that I am getting OLD! These three kids are the first of six solid church kids to move up. The other three - Eliza, Josh, and Matt (all pastor's kids!) move up in April/ June. All of these kids were born within nine months of each other and have grown up in the church together - now they are entering into a new phase of kids club. Andy and I are struggling to grasp the fact that our first born will be attending club with us - this wasn't supposed to happen so fast! When he was born we joked that he would be in 5&6's before too long and then it happened. Then he went into 7-10's - we thought it would be a long time before he would be coming up to our club - now it is just five short months away! Pray for us as we usher these kids into the new phase of kids club. The next several years that they are under Andy (Preteens, God Squad, Teen Club) are the most critical to their growth in their walk with God. Pray for Andy as he feels this burden - especially for the kids that attend our church. Pray for the church kids as they will be looked upon to be an example to the others. It will be a pressure for them - but it could also be a good growing time for them.

School continues to go. I really hate teaching the months of January, February, and March. It's just a hard time as we are in the throws of all the curriculum and it's seems like it is forever before the school year is done. We have 115 days in - only 65 more days to go! Matt continues to struggle with wanting to do school. The funny thing is that I have caught him reading his book - when he is supposed to be doing school! Now, how can I get upset about that?!?! I have been wanting him to want to read - but now we struggle with the right time to read! It never ends! I guess God is teaching me a lesson that I have yet to learn.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Busy Weekend

Life was extremely busy this weekend! We went to CVS a couple more times and really stocked up on some necessities - oatmeal, cereal, batteries, juice, diapers, etc. I also have accumulated over $100 in Extra Care Bucks! I am so thankful for the cushion as I can get things that we regularly use for a significant savings. It is really helping with the budget! I have noticed I don't run to WalMart or Target for these things as often as I have in the past - which also lessens the temptation to buy unnecessary things! My goal for 2008 is to really put our budget in order and start saving for a washer and a newer used car. Andy is afraid our transmission is going to go any day now and we need to have some money set aside.

Life was also full of church, a Sunday School teachers meeting (2 1/2 hours!) and Prayer Pals. I so love going to Prayer Pals! We have a nice bunch of kids attending. There are several kids waiting in the wings for Pals. If anyone is interested in writing and praying for a kid here in Philly, let me know and I can send you information. This program has been going on for a couple of years now and it is so great to see these kids developing a healthy relationship with a believing adult. Prayer is such an important part of these kids making it in the inner-city.

Another week of school is upon us. Please pray as Matt is having a terrible time again. He just doesn't care to do school. I have made some changes, but they all seem to be futile in getting him excited about learning. Please continue to pray that we do what is right for Matt, as well as Sarah and Daniel.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Adventure Aquarium

On Thursday, Andy's parents came and we all went to the Adventure Aquarium. We had a great time and there was hardly anyone there! It was wonderful! Lois loved the everything - especially the Hippos. They were very active and running around in the water. We also saw the large sting rays (like 6 ft from nose to tip of tail!), the new shark rays (very cool!), and their new touch a shark exhibit! They have always had the touch-a-shark exhibit, but now the pool is bigger and more people can crowd around. We had a great time! We then headed over to the Children's Garden to show Lois the Butterfly house (she LOVES butterflies) - only to be disappointed that it was closed - until March 15th!! This made me a little upset as we have paid for a one year membership - but it will be closed for two months! This is the first year they have done this. They didn't even notify us that it would be closed. I guess I'll talk with them when they reopen. Here are some pictures of the fun we had!I am sorry I have been neglecting the blog the past few weeks. I will make a better effort to do it on a more daily basis. Life gets crazy again this week as all the clubs start up again! Pray for Andy as he goes back into a more than full schedule!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Time Flies!

I honestly do not know where the time has gone this week! It seems every minute has been filled with activity! I am finally caught up on my laundry, most of the rooms are clean and school has been going pretty well. The kids finished their school work by 3:00 pm today! A record! As a result the kids wanted to go to Toys R Us. Uncle Jon gave the kids gift certificates for Christmas and they are burning holes in their pockets! Both kids were excited. Matt purchased "My Sims" for his DS and Sarah purchased "Babiez" for her DS. Sarah's is a riot - all I kept hearing was a baby crying and her trying to settle it down! With her game she is a babysitter and has to care for her charges. Right now she has two babies. She could have up to six! I can't wait to see her take care of six babies! I think I will have to video tape that one!
In our running around (I also had to go to Shop Rite and Target) it was snowing!! Daniel was so funny! This is the first time he really knows what snow is. While going into the stores I was holding him and he would tilt his head up to the sky and LAUGH!!! He said the snow was tickling him! He was so into it! I wish it would snow a nice snow at least once this winter so I can get his reaction on video. It was great just to hear him laugh and giggle. A memory for when I am old!

A week ago (Jan. 10) we attended the PA Farm Show with Andy's parents. I can't believe it was a week ago already! We had a great time! All Daniel wanted to see were the cows! You know you are raising a city kid when he wants to see cows! I remember when Matt was about Daniel's age we went to the Philadelphia Zoo and the animal he was most excited to see was the cow! Andy just shakes his head as he used to work on a dairy farm! Here are a few pictures of our fun!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

We Are Alive!

Yes, I know I have been neglecting our blog - we are alive! We have just been extremely busy this past week and I have been taking every spare moment to clean and sort through things. With Andy on a mission to get things in order before clubs start up again (Jan. 28th) we are crazy. As an example we have made three trips to IKEA in one week! It is a joke in our house that the only time we ever go to IKEA is January - for the past four years this has held true! In our desperate attempt to get our lives clutter free and in control we go to IKEA for ideas and usually find something that will work. Andy was excited this year because he found a bookshelf that would work and was discounted because it was being discontinued! He liked the bookshelf so much that he went back the next day and bought the floor model - for 1/3 the price of the first one!

Our week was also filled with school and a trip out to the PA Farm Show. I will post more on Monday with pictures!

Monday, January 7, 2008

1st Day Back

Today was our first day back to school and it went pretty well. The kids were tired and things seemed to go slow and take forever! Matt completely forgot how to do English and Sarah's mind went blank when we did math - but both plugged through and got almost everything finished. Matt still has to finish math and English, which can make for a bad week. But we had a discussion and he is determined that it is not going to ruin his week and make him upset. We'll see.

I put Daniel in his bedroom today for room time. When I told him it was time to go play in his room he said "NO!" I so love the gate Andy installed. I can lock my bedroom door and keep his bedroom door open and hear him and the only place he can roam is the hall! He cried at first - but for like 5 seconds then he started playing. He really enjoyed himself! He played for about 30 minutes when he announced he was done! At that point we were ready for lunch and then he went down for a nap at 12:30 pm. He woke up around 2:15 pm and I was just finishing up the things I needed to do with Matt and Sarah. I believe this schedule may work! Now I need to get myself to bed at a decent time so I can get up and going at an early hour.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Where's Daniel?

That is the question I awoke to when Matt came into my room this morning. I was clueless! Andy and I got up and started calling for him - but he is the kind of kid that does not answer out loud when you call. So we were met with silence and I started to get a little concerned - but Andy found him a few seconds later, under the dining room table, with a blue lollipop in his mouth. He worked hard at getting it out of the packaging. His teeth were blue, his tongue was blue, and chin was blue from the dripping of the blue saliva, because the pop was way too big to fit in his mouth - though he managed to stuff it in there! He was quite pleased with himself to say the least!

As a result of Daniel's wanderings we installed a gate at the top of the hall so he can only go to our bedroom or his bedroom. Daniel watched Andy install the gate - all the while saying "I don't want that!". Andy would tell me and I would say "Too bad!". His response was "oh-kay" in a very sad tone of voice. I think he is finding that his new found freedom isn't as free as he had originally thought it would be!

The crib came down today! Sarah's room seems so big! I am going to be setting up a play area in there for Daniel. I need to think it through before I go and buy anything so I can set it up just right. Sarah is excited because she will have more room to play as well. I also want to set Matt's room up differently, though his room is tough to change due to the odd shape of it. I would like an area for Daniel in there as well, just in case he doesn't cooperate while we do school - he has an area to go to that is safe. Matt is having a hard time with this as a lot of his stuff needs to be put away on a daily basis - something I have failed at teaching him. He will learn.

My room is finally clean and organized. In May I will be going through my bookshelves to weed out books for the Used Book Sale held by the one homeschooling conferences I attend in June. Last year I went through a lot of the things I never use for teaching Matt and Sarah - stuff I had used when teaching in a classroom. I made over $200! I am hoping to get rid of a bunch of stuff again this year. I am really liking this "open space" idea! Now - not to buy anything unnecessary for the next six months - one of my many New Year's Resolutions! I have decided to try and make lists and stick to the list when purchasing things. I am a terrible shopper and never know what I have and don't have and tend to overspend. I am determined to keep to our budget this year! Please pray!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Mom...I awake!

Yes, at 6:15 am my sweet boy came to my side of the bed and told me he was awake! I was glad to see it was 6:15 and not 4 or 5 am! I told him it wasn't time to get up and to go back to his bed and he did!!!! He stayed there for another 45 minutes! He sang and talked and I had to keep telling him to quiet down - but he listened! I was so glad!

He also did well with his nap. I put books on his bed and at first he started crying and telling me "I HATE BOOKS!" meaning he did not want them there because he knew what that meant! I talked to him about staying on his bed until I came to get him. When he woke up - almost 2 hours later - he called to me from his bed. He did not get off! YEAH!!! When I told him he could get off he was so happy "I get off!!! I coming, Mommy!" He is so funny! He went to be by 8:00 pm and Andy and I did not stay in the room tonight - we went to our room. He again stayed in bed and fell fast asleep. I guess he is getting used to this new adventure in life! The crib will come down on Saturday. The Pack-n-Play that he took naps in came down Wednesday. Rooms are starting to look bigger in our house!

These past few days off have been the best of our vacation. I am so glad I went with my gut and took the full two weeks off. I think I am mentally ready to start school again. Tomorrow I work on the school room and get that all re-organized.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year - New Schedule

Daniel moving to a bed has been a new experience. He now wakes up and is roaring to go at 6:00 am! I am NOT ready to go that early in the morning. I worked hard this morning to teach him that he needs to stay in bed - even if he is awake. I managed to keep him there until 7:00 am. With him waking that early he was down for a nap by 12:30 pm. I was hoping he would take a 2 hour nap - but it doesn't look like that is going to be the case. He was awake by 2:00 pm. I made him stay on his bed until 2:30 pm as I am going to need at least two hours to get things done with Matt and Sarah for school. He was not pleased with having to stay on his bed. Tomorrow I will give him books and some small toys he can play with after he wakes up. Hopefully, he will get the idea he needs to stay on his bed. Please pray for him (and me!) that he will get hold of this new schedule quickly. Since he woke up from his nap so early, however, he was in bed by 7:30 pm. Now the big question is - what time will be wake up in the morning?!?!? I hope it is not before 6:00 am! I guess I am going to have to change my schedule and go to bed earlier so as to get up earlier to be with Daniel. This could be a good thing - I think.....

Between dealing with Daniel trying to rid our kitchen of candy (everytime I turned around he had another peice of candy in his mouth!) - and getting Matt and Sarah to do some things for me, I managed to clean half of my bedroom. I am purging many things!!! My goal is to simplify so that cleaning will become easier. Andy has done an amazing job of getting rid of clutter. His tall tower that sat in the corner of the dining room - collecting all kinds of dust and what not - is GONE!!! The dining room feels so different with the tower gone. It feels more open. Things are getting there. We hope to have the house in a decent order so as to have preteens over sometime in February/ March and plan on having a group over at least once a month. Please pray as we make plans on who to have over and what activities to do with them to help them grow closer to the Lord.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

WOW! 2008! I can remember as a child when one teacher asked what year it would be when you were 39 - and now it's here!!!! I will be 39 this year! Matt will be a preteen!!!! Andy will be 40!!! So many things to look forward to! God is so good!

We left Sunday afternoon to go to Andy's parents where we had Christmas #3. The kids were excited to open more gifts. Matt got a Mars Lego set, Down Gilead Lane Season #8 Cd's, a CD clock radio, and a Klutz Hacky Sack book. Sarah got a remote control car, Down Gilead Lane Season #9 Cd's, Tamogotchi Virtual Pet, and a Klutz Twilling Book. Daniel got a Cars Race Track, a wind up Cars car, a Dr. Seuss place setting, and........ a DRUM SET!!!!! You should have seen the joy on his face! It came with drum sticks and everything. It is an electronic one and he thinks it is great! Mom is still formulating ideas about this gift. Daniel didn't get this gift until Monday because in Grammy's words "I want to be liked one more night!". We still love them!

Monday evening we attended out second wedding of the weekend. Jeremy and Rachel were married at 8:00 pm on New Year's Eve. When we were first invited to this wedding I was very unhappy and did not want to attend. But Jeremy is the son of Ellie who does A LOT of cooking and things for Andy and he felt, for her sake, we should attend. So we did. It turned out okay. Bill & Patsy, Jack, Christine, Joneric, Steve & Katie, and Frankie all attended the reception so we had a lot of fun. The reception was a bit different in that there were hardly any chairs to sit on and all of Rachel's family and friends snatched up the ones available quite quickly! We were supposed to mingle and eat hot or'dvors - so for 3 hours we stood and mingled with the Cornerstone crowd. They didn't serve the cake until 11:30 pm, so we just stayed until midnight as we knew we would never get home before the New Year struck. It was fun to wish our co-workers and Cornerstone friends a Happy New Year.

Today we just hung out at Andy's parents. This afternoon Matt and I went to "The Promenade". It is a shopping center in Saucon Valley that has a Barnes and Nobles, L.L. Bean store, a Children's Place and a myriad of other stores. Matt has been tagging along with me to go shopping as of late and it has been a lot of fun! He really opens up when he is in the car and shares a lot of things I would never know about him. Today he shared how he really feels he can open up to me and is comfortable with sharing things with me. I feel so honored. Please pray that I would say the right things and be the encouragement that Matt needs. He is so much smarter than me and questions things so deeply - I am often times at a lack of words. Please pray as we develop this relationship that I would guide him into the loving arms of our Father and that his faith would be strengthened daily.

On our way home we stopped at Berean Bookstore (formerly Provident Bookstore). I had been given money for Christmas and was very excited to buy some books! The greatest thing is that Berean has a Pastor's discount card - 20%! As long as he is present it can be taken off of anything, except for clearance prices. This was so cool! Berean often has $5 books and I got one for $4! They has Chris Tomlin's new CD on sale for $10 and I got it for $8! I am now well stocked for the next few months as I bought six new books! One of my New Year's resolutions is to read more. I really miss reading and am determined to find time to read more. I think that is one that I can keep!