Monday, October 27, 2008

McCain/Palin 2008

Our family was very fortunate to see Sarah Palin and her husband Todd in person tonight at the politial rally in Salem! She gave an awesome speech and drew quite a crowd with her visit to Southwest Virginia. Barack Obama was here last week and we were told that he did not draw anywhere near the crowd Sarah Palin drew tonight! It was completely packed out with standing room only. We got great seats though since we had 2 strollers, security directed us to the "off limits" handicap section! Here are a few pics from the rally. Sissy enjoyed cheering for Sarah Palin with her republican red pom pom!
Sarah and Todd PalinGiving her Speech

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Busy, Happy Life!

I apologize to all the family members and friends who regularly check this blog to see what we are up to! Life has been incredibly busy. I joined the dance ministry at our church and in order to do so I had to go on a "Womens Encounter" which is where the women from our church go twice a year to a camp at Smith Mountain Lake to really seek the Lord and and be set free of any strongholds in our lives. I had an awesome experience there and definitely heard from the Lord about some things!
This is my small group at the Encounter!
Back row: Laura, Karen, Kim
Front row: Allison and baby:-), Pam, Lindsay

Monday, October 20, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Happy 25th Birthday Sweetheart!


I just had to let everyone know that my wonderful husband turned 25 Yesterday! I am so proud of him. He is an excellent husband and father! I thought I would tell a little about what he has been up to these days. He is still doing some consulting work part time and putting ALOT of time into our Real Estate business... Please pray for his business that things would start to break loose soon! He has several deals in the works but they are all taking time. The financial burden of carrying 2 mortagegs for so long has caused him alot of stress. He is working very hard at becoming a full-time real estate investor so that he can devote more time to being a Dad, ministry opportunies, and have a business that our whole family can be a part of. He is very active in the Roanoke Regional REA and started the "New River Valley Real Estate Investors " group that now meets at the Christiansburg Library. He loves going to a prayer group for men at our church who all have their own businesses. They gather very early every Monday morning and pray/worship for about 2 hours! He also immensely enjoys playing on our Church volley ball team. He has been much happier since coming back to Christiansburg and I am very excited about all the opportunities that he has had here both for business and meeting other like-minded men to be a part of his life! God has been so good. Happy Birthday Sweetheart! I love you with all my heart!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Getting it Done with Toddlers!

One of the things we enjoyed talking about at Mom Group at Church on Wednesday is how we get things done with toddlers running around. It is certainly not easy, especially when they are close in age! I will tell a little about how we are currently managing at this stage of our lives. I hope a few years from now I will look back at this and have children assigned to do a few more of these chores!

Our cleaning goes something like this:

I start a load of laundry first thing every morning before breakfast.
Mondays - I polish furniture upstairs
Tuesdays - I polish furniture downstairs
Wednesdays - I clean bathrooms (except tubs)
Thursdays - I vacuum and mop all hard floors
Fridays - do whatever may not have gotten done on a busy day during the week!
Weekends - I am thrilled if Daddy can take boys somewhere while I spend time organizing!

Daddy is responsible for keeping all trash cans emptied, showers cleaned, and upstairs carpet vacuumed.

Isaac and James are responsible for daily picking up the living room, their bedroom, and keeping their play room clean.

They are not allowed to keep anything in their bedroom other than their clothes, stuffed animals, books, and cd's. (I got tired of their bedroom being a wreck and them not going to sleep due to the toys). They keep their wooden toys in the living room in a wooden chest and all the ugly,plastic, loud, annoying toys in the basement play room. This helps their bedroom to stay nice and clean and allows me to listen to their play a little more. (If there is an argument it is easier to figure out who started it!).

We keep an attractive "catch all " toy basket next to the fire place in living room for random toys that make their way to the living room from the basement or stuffed animals that somehow make their way down the stairs! I go through it when it gets full and have kids return the toys where they go.

All the kids take a bath together and one hamper for all of them is kept in their bathroom. All 3 of them including Sissy are required to put their dirty clothes in it! (this eliminates dirty clothes laying around in their bedrooms)

I got a rack from Wal-mart to hang on the inside of the hall closet door that has wire shelves perfectly sized for holding kids shoes. Each child has one shelf to keep up to 3 pairs of shoes on. If I find their shoe's anywhere but on their feet or on their shelf, they (not Sissy of course) have to take a grocery bag outside and clean out the van. I certainly don't have time to look for anyones lost shoes when we are trying to get somewhere on time! It is amazing how well the boys have started keeping their shoes where they belong!

The children are only allowed to use one cup per day. Their cups are kept upside down on a small clear cutting board by the sink. Isaac is always blue, James is always green, and Sissy is always pink.

We grocery shop at Krogers and I use the kind of buggy with the blue plastic attachment in front where two older children can sit. The boys sit there and Sissy sits in the buggy seat. (yes, people stare and think I am not old enough to be their mother!)
The boys are required to carry all the groceries into the house (except for eggs and super heavy bags) while I put them away.

No one (not even Sissy) is allowed to run off after supper without helping to clean up! All 3 kids clear table and bring everything to Mommy while she is standing at the sink. (I use mostly plastic glasses and melamine plates so nothing gets broken) Daddy wipes off table, and sweeps dining room. (I am hoping this will train them not to run off without helping after supper when they are teenagers!)

Isaac gets the mail most days and brings it to me. I sort through it and put what we need to keep in a basket on top of the refrigerater to eliminate kitchen counters getting junked up or important mail being toted off by a toddler!

If I am doing a chore while the kids are around I ask them to help, for instance if I am unloading the dishwasher then I have Isaac organize the silverware into the silverware tray. If I am doing the laundry then I get them to switch it or get clothes out of the dryer.

That is pretty much it! Everything does not always get done but at least we have a goal! If it has been a busy week we will use the weekend to catch up on things. If you have any other idea's on ways to manage every day tasks with toddlers, please leave me a comment!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Encouraging!

My friend, Thomas Dunbar sent me this column today and I found it very encouraging. Thank You Thomas!

Weekly column (Rachel Balducci)

When my four boys were very little, life was hard. While I remember being happy in those not-so-long-ago days, I also clearly remember the challenge that even ordinary tasks seemed to bring. Going to the grocery store was monumental, going to Mass felt next-to-impossible.Imagine the dismay I felt the day a friend with older children commented on the ease of my current situation."Enjoy it now," she said as I juggled my brood of boys, "because these are the good years. These years are fun!"I felt a sharp pang in my chest, a shortness of breath and possibly some dizziness. "Take me now, Jesus," I wanted to say, "because I just don't think I can handle too much more fun."If these are the good years, I remember thinking, how am I going to survive the tough ones? At that point in my life, my feet hit the ground running every single morning. In those days, I often felt like I was barely treading water. My lowest point was the day I stood in front of the door and refused to let Paul go to work, not without me. Of course I look back on those days with fondness – they were not terrible days. But they weren't always the most fun either. There were plenty of fun moments throughout each day, but some days I found those moments by sheer act of will. "I will be grateful in the midst of this child's meltdown," I would tell myself, "I will rejoice even though it takes me three hours to get everyone dressed and loaded in the car. "Despite my best efforts, I did not rejoice constantly. There were plenty of moments when I fought back tears, when I was exhausted and overwhelmed and envious of any mother whose children could follow her from point A to point B. "One day," I would dream with delight, "we will actually go places and the boys will do what I say and know how to act in public."And that day is (mostly) here. We made it. Now I look back on those years with the babies and toddlers and I marvel that we made it through. Those were very tough years, but they are somehow a part of our history. We made it through the bulk of our boys being babies and I now enjoy where we are immensely.These days, when I see a mother who is in the position I once was, I am quick to tell them that it does get easier. While I don't want to diminish the challenges of having older children, I think it's easy to forget how utterly exhausting it is when they are younger. A mother of toddlers does not need to hear that things are going to get worse – that does nothing to encourage her.I was telling a friend recently, she who has three little ones and is plowing through those same white-knuckle years, that it will get easier."I don't want to say it too often," I told her, "because I don't want you to feel bad about how tough it is for you right now."She loves her life, to be sure – she loves her job as a mother to these precious souls. But she suspects (and I confirmed) that she is absolutely in the trenches right now. She is in that stage where motherhood is very physical and exhausting. Of course I can still say that motherhood is very physical and exhausting, but not like those years. Because now, when we have places to go and things to do, it is not the overwhelming task that it once was.The days of babies and toddlers are indeed precious – the days of older children are a different, absolutely delightful stage to enjoy as well.