This year I decided to follow the example of other friends on face book and post something each day on my status that I was thankful for.  It was a really fun way to stop and focus on giving thanks each day.  I decided to cut and paste my status updates into a blog post for today so I could record these to look back on later.  Here they are starting with today and going backwards to the beginning of November….

Today I am thankful for each of my children and their unique personalities.  I am so thankful for the privilege of being their Mommy.

IMG_8392Today I am thankful for toothless grins and visits from the tooth fairy. My 5 yr old lost her first tooth tonight :)

I am thankful for my Mom and Dad... for their love for each other and my brother and I as well as our spouses and children. I know I am one of the lucky ones and I truly am grateful for the relationship I have with both of them as well as the relationships they have with my children

I am thankful for friends (young and old) and the chance to spend time with them!

I am thankful for a really wonderful weekend: start to finish!

Thankful for a really, really good Saturday... perfect blend of productivity and family fun...

I am thankful for friends who feel like family and the chance to spend time with them last night.

Today I am thankful for the numerous everyday conveniences which
make my life so much easier and enjoyable and for which I too often take
for granted

I am thankful for 1. rain boots b/c they give me a reason to smile on a rainy day.

I am thankful for harvest parties and  reunions with friends as well as  a flexible baby which makes enjoying those things much more doable.

Today I am thankful for coffee... what a wonderful way to start the day, especially ones that start earlier than I'd like.

photoToday I am thankful for a surprisingly warm Nov day and the opportunity for a spontaneous trip to the park with my youngest two.

Today I am thankful for a weekend spent playing with cousins of all ages!

Today I am thankful for the privilege of knowing and loving Scott's we celebrated his life this morning and the fact that we know he's in heaven, I couldn't help but weep b/c I miss him. He was a true gentleman and a GREAT grandpa and I am so sorry we had to say goodbye.

Today I am thankful for our public library system. What a blessing to be able to take my kids to story time at the library, to have so many wonderful reading resources available (and even set aside on our hold shelf if we want them) and all at no cost to me (well, most of the time anyway). I love our local library!

Today I am thankful to live in an area that experiences all 4 seasons and for the beauty of the fall foliage every where I look.

Today I am thankful that when I got my flat tire it was: 1. on a day when I had left a booster seat at the tutorial in the morning b. on a day when a friend had just called me and volunteered to drive my kids home from tutorial for me c. it was on the shoulder of a road just around the corner from my house and d. when I was walking with my baby in my arms and my 4 yr old crying on the side of the road my sweet friends  drove by and offered to drive us the rest of the way home. God is good!!

I am thankful for  my husband and his willingness to help me out in the mornings, without his presence and help our mornings are much more grumpy and harried.

IMG_7018 (2)Today I am grateful for the opportunity I've had to be a soccer mom. I truly enjoy standing on the sidelines cheering my kids on!!

Today I am thankful for a quiet and lazy Friday afternoon.... followed by breakfast for dinner and a family movie night after soccer practice!

I am thankful for our home school tutorial. I am thankful for the community of friends the kids and I have there. I am thankful for the accountability and encouragement it provides for me as I home school. It has provided the best of both worlds for our family in our schooling experience.

I am thankful that I got to spend the day with my SIL  and my two nephews!

I am thankful that today I got to actually watch part of the girls gymnastics practices (seems so often I am chasing siblings). I am so proud of both of them and it brings me such joy to watch them. They are learning and growing tons and loving every minute. What a blessing that is to me as their mom! I actually cheered out loud in the waiting room today when I saw my 5 year old do a cart wheel on the beam!

IMG_8241My four year old asked for a drink the other day.   I always pour the kids small amounts since we have a propensity to spill things round the circus.  When I handed her the glass she said to me, “Now Mom, that is what I call HALF FULL!”  I couldn’t help but chuckle, guess we know how she sees the world. 


If we gotta rake and bag all these leaves, we may as well take advantage of the seasonal photo op they provide first!

Education is about so much more than book smarts.  I’ve known this for awhile and believed it to my core.  In fact, this fact alone has dictated so many decisions we make in raising our children, especially since we home school and  want to make sure that they are learning more than just “reading, writing, and arithmetic.”

Yesterday and today our school time was “interrupted” so that I could spend time one on one disciplining a child for behavior.  Each time it was a different child.  Each time the issue was about much more than their behavior but the character issue underlining it.  And as you can imagine, each time it took way more time and energy than I truthfully wanted it to.  But, I plowed through.  As I did I recalled a nugget I took from the parenting DVD I watched last spring in SS.   The speaker said we need to view these situations as “moments of ministry” and GIVE THANKS for the opportunity God has given us  to work on this character issue now… while they are young.  I am so grateful for that perspective change b/c I realize as I home school I am given a unique gift (though I don’t always view it as that in the moment) of extra time with my child to work out these issues.  And I promise you I don’t think a home school day goes by where we don’t have to stop and work on our hearts.  It isn’t quick, it is definitely not painless and I too often wonder when or if we’ll see the end result.  It is my prayer though that through these battles and through these discussions, God will use them to mold and shape our hearts to be like His.

I know that these battles wouldn’t have arisen had they been in a regular classroom this morning. And yet, that doesn’t mean that those underlining character issues wouldn’t still be there.  And so, in a strange way I am grateful for those outbursts and the opportunity they provide for us to work on character.  I am hopeful that God will use them to draw each of us closer to Him and I am thankful for His grace despite my many, many shortcomings as Mom and Teacher.

I left today’s battle in need of some chocolate… I didn’t have time to mix up those cookies yet but after we got some more school work done and broke for lunch I was blessed with some  time to blare some praise music on Pandora while making mac and cheese… it was just what my soul needed.  It’s quiet/nap time now and I think I’m going to mix up those cookies (or at least eat some cookie dough) before we hit the books again this afternoon.   

I feel busy… these past few months have probably been the busiest I’ve been in quite awhile.  Scott worked a ton of overtime, the oldest three played soccer, the girls both did gymnastics, my oldest son started piano lessons, cub scouts is back in action, the home school year began—it takes up way more of my day than it used to…. I am not complaining… I willingly signed up for all of these things (ok… except for the overtime part) and I enjoy them… it’s a stage of life for us that is fleeting, I know. And I am enjoying it. But it is a different stage for us … and it is busy.

All that to say, I have sorta fallen off of the blogging band wagon.  I keep saying to myself, “Oh I’ll blog that..” And then when the day is over, the kids are in bed and I sit on the couch with the computer in front of me… I draw a blank… or I don’t feel like writing anything.  Those “good ideas” I had earlier have flown the coup and all I have is a blank screen and all I feel like doing is scrolling through face book, catching up on a show on the DVR, or reading a book… 

I know I am not destined to be a famous blogger.  I am not going to get hundreds of hits a day or find myself speaking at a blog conference.  I am “just another mom blog” of which there are thousands… and sometimes at the end of a long day/week/month I ask myself, “why bother?”  “why do I blog?”   And then I’ll look at the sidebar on my blog which posts links to old blogs and I’ll click over and I’ll remember days gone by that I had long forgotten… vacations that I have yet to scrapbook, my favorite Halloween photos of my oldest daughter ever,  oh my goodness… I totally forgot it wasn’t that long ago when SHE was my baby!, and seriously when did he grow up? (he used to always leave our house in one crazy costume or another… I forgot that)   That is one reason I blog… to preserve the present so I’ll have it to look back on later.   Another reason I blog is to keep friends and family up to date on the happenings here… We are so blessed to have my grandma and Scott’s Nana reading our blogs… It allows them to follow their great grandchildren  in their day to day activities and antics, which they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do due to the fact that they live far away…. I also strive to blog as a way to “bring glory to the one who made me… and as an added bonus I’ve been blessed to meet some new people who I now consider friends and to further develop some relationships with people I knew in real life, but not as well as I’d have liked…

And so, I am not giving up on blogging… but I am struggling to find my voice in this new stage of life and to find the time of day that I have the energy and distraction free time in which to do it.  Thanks for being patient while I figure it out…

A few pics of life around here this week…







I never considered myself to be high maintenance till I started shopping at Aldi’s.   All my friends had been going there for years and always seemed to gush about the great prices and the fact that their generic off brands were just as good if not better than name brands.   I went once but hated the fact that it didn’t have everything on my list, plus it wasn’t really on my way to or from any place (except church but Sunday after church is not a good time to go grocery shopping—believe me I know, I tried this past week)… so I got along with Shoppers and Safeway, but the grocery bill kept getting higher… I then added Walmart to my list… not close or convenient to where I live, but was saving a lot of money… and then I decided to try Aldi’s again. 

It was July.. we had just gotten back from our whirlwind trip to Florida.. I dropped the older two kids off at VBS and went to pick up our dog from my friend’s house.  She offered for me to leave the dog there a little longer and also live kid 3 and 4 and run to the store from groceries… kid free grocery shopping?  This was an offer I couldn’t refuse!  Since she lived really close to Aldi's I decided this would be the day I found out what I was missing. 

I get to the store… only to remember that they require you to deposit a quarter to get a shopping cart.  Of course I have no quarter.  No problem, I am kid free, I’ll just carry what I need in my hands.  So there I am roaming the aisles of Aldi’s awkwardly carrying my groceries, dropping things left and right when I finally get to the register and deposit my goods.  It was then that I recalled the second rule of Aldi’s… they only take cash, check, or debit card.  I had none of the above.  And so I left grumbling under my breath, dejected at having to return empty handed from my rare shopping trip alone for groceries.

It took at least a month for me to muster up the courage to return again.  This time I am SURE to bring my debit card and I even e-mail myself the pin so I won’t have to worry if I forget it.  The kids and I manage fairly well, even though I am yet again without a quarter… I had the stroller so I stuffed stuff around the baby in the umbrella stroller, found a few empty boxes in the aisle that I filled and had the kids carry drag them to the register for me.  As we pile them onto the belt the cashier tells me that next time I need to not pack the boxes before putting them on the belt.  (I guess this is rule number 3 at Aldi’s).  I don’t care though b/c I am just so happy that we are actually leaving with food this time! 

I’ve returned again about once a month since.  I kid you not I’ve still managed to show up without my quarter or my debit or my pin. I’ve had to leave my cart at the register, dig around my car and renter the store, wait in line again and check out my stuff.   The number of times I’ve gone with my quarter, debit, AND pin… is sadly far less than the number  of times I forgotten at least one of the above.

One day I did manage to score a close parking spot, I had my quarter and I had my debit card and pin number… as I triumphantly departed Aldi’s having finally followed all of its rules, I realized something.  There is one bonus of shopping at Aldi’s.  As I walked around I noticed that many of the other costumers had multiple children hanging inside, of the side of and all around their carts.  Aldi’s seems to be the only place I can shop and not get started at with huge eyes as I carry my cart bulging with food and children… Here I don’t get asked, “Is all that food for you?”  or get told, “My, you have your hands full.”  Seems Aldi’s is the place to shop when you have many small children.   Which makes sense b/c Aldi’s is significantly, SIGNIFICANTLY, cheaper for some things on your list and can save you a bundle.   A fact which draws mothers of many small children even though this poor mom has to bag her own groceries, bring her own bags (yeah right… never remembered this rule yet), return her cart to the front of the store, bring a quarter, bring the right  card, remember the pin, and after all this can’t even reward herself with a Starbucks! 


Our oldest daughter had a little fun getting into her character for Halloween.  When posing for pictures in their costumes, she decided to  fully act out the part of Snow White.


I think my favorite part of the reenactment was when she asked us to take her picture sleeping with the apple. "Skip the ol posing by the door with the trick or treat basket, we’ll go for playing dead on the floor with an apple.”


Then she was awakened with a kiss from her prince.



“Thanks Dad for being my prince,” she exclaimed.


Oh sweet girl, there’s nothing he’d like more than to be your prince forever.


Excuse me while I go blubber in the corner as I think about this picture one day popping up on the screen during a video montage at her rehearsal dinner… can’t you just stay our little girl forever?