Thursday, June 21, 2012

training and learning.

Malachi Tie-Dyeing
and making a clay car
{Portland Children's Museum}

      An awesome alphabet book we found at Costco

I am really bad about posting frequently now days! I figured it was finally time to give an update on our life. For Malachi's last Birthday my family pooled their cash together to give him enough to buy a membership at OMSI, the Zoo, or the Portland Children's Museum. Stephen and I have only had a second car for about 6 months now and I finally got off my butt and made the trip up there to purchase our membership. I'm glad I decided on the Children's museum because it's much more age appropriate for Mal right now and has SO many activities! He had a blast and missed nap time so getting him to leave was hell. I'm really excited to get his clay hand print back so he can paint it then hang it on our wall somewhere!

I'm still trying to keep him busy with activities at home so when I found the above alphabet book at Costco the other day I was over joyed! All of the pages are laminated so you can just wipe it right off and keep using the book. I know it's a little ahead of his time but he kept wanting to "do it" so I broke down and got the dry-erase markers out. I've made a decision that if he doesn't want to do a learning activity, I will not force him to do it. I was blown away/so happy with how well he did drawing the letters! he really enjoyed himself and receiving the praise that Stephen and I would give him. If you think this is something your kid(s) might like it was only $7.

Stephen has been pretty busy with work lately. Summer is usually their slow time but things have picked up A LOT since they started the furniture line. Some of you have an idea of what he does but have never seen pictures so here is the website for the company. Stephen also tweaked his knee at his last soccer game which sucks because he'll probably have to sit the last two games out. Taking time off of work hasn't been an option so he's still had to function with a hurt knee at work. I feel helpless when there's nothing I can do but he's a trooper and will be back at it soon enough!

As for me there's not much new! I started a new devotional that I'm excited about ( getting to know who Jesus is/was.) I'm always wanting to know God's word better and understand it, so I'm finally diving in. thankfully I have a VERY smart husband who went to private school and can help me understand a lot of what I'm studying.Photography has been really slow and I've had to dig more into the part of it I HATE (marketing.) Working for yourself has it's ups and downs but right now it sucks lol. I've decided to start a 20 day challenge for myself since I have been eating so poorly! For some reason when I commit to something that's going to take a lot of time I give up easier because I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. The good news is I have been maintaining my weight rather than gaining it back so it hasn't been ALL bad. In case you are wondering my 20-day-challenge consists of NO sugar, NO processed carbs, and getting more ACTIVE. I'm hoping to get my motivation back through this and find fun ways to lose my last 40 lbs. After my 20 days I might start water aerobics back up so I can keep as much pressure off of my hurt foot as possible while still getting a good workout.

I'm excited for:

Mine and Stephen's upcoming Birthday's (Jul. 19 & Aug. 2)
July 4th
doing a little vacationing this summer as a family!
the day God decides to bless us with our second child
only having one last piece of debt to pay off! 


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

DIY Wax Tarts

So I've been obsessed with Scentsy and recently my oil burner. I decided to start putting my Scentsy bars in my oil burner and it works SO well. I love how quickly it scents up my entire apartment and I don't have to worry about the wax evaporating! Since I've been on this kick I've been on the hunt to not only find new scents that I love but are also inexpensive. After getting super frustrated I just decided to make my own with candles I have laying around. Most of you are probably thinking why doesn't she just burn a stinking candle?! Well for one candles take longer to scent up the entire apartment and two when the wick is in the wax it just doesn't smell as good to me. Call me crazy but that's my personal opinion. The Mango candle I used was brand new so pouring it was MESSY I suggest using a spoon of some sort to transfer the hot wax. The green candle I used was a votive so I had to melt it in a can. Enjoy!

Monday, June 4, 2012


I've started a new routine with Malachi that requires me to have "school" with him 30 minutes per day. He's at the age where he is capable of learning so many things and I'm just trying to teach him. Nothing has annoyed me more since becoming a parent, than moms/dads who make you feel like crap because your child is the same age but apparently not as advanced. My son is my pride and joy but I will never hold him up as a trophy  or make other parents feel bad about their kids because of his progress. I love this fellow mom's title "parenting beyond punishment" because our job isn't to just steer our kids in the right direction...but to also make sure they don't miss out on being kids! Let's start lifting each other up as parents and stop tearing each other down over silly things. I hope you enjoy this fellow mom's blog post as much as I did!

"I was on a parenting bulletin board recently and read a post by a mother who was worried that her 4 1/2 year old did not know enough. "What should a four year old know?" she asked.

Most of the answers left me not only saddened, but pretty soundly annoyed. One mom posted a laundry list of all of the things her son knew. Counting to 100, planets, how to write his first and last name, and on and on. Others chimed in with how much more their children already knew, some who were only three. A few posted URLs to lists of what each age should know. The fewest yet said that each child develops at his own pace and not to worry.

It bothered me greatly to see these mothers responding to a worried mom by adding to her concern, with lists of all the things their children could do that hers couldn't. We are such a competitive culture that even our preschoolers have become trophies and bragging rights. Childhood shouldn't be our race.

So here, I offer my list of what a four year old should know:

She should know that she is loved wholly and unconditionally, all of the time.

He should know that he is safe and he should know how to keep himself safe in public, with others, and in varied situations. He should know that he can trust his instincts about people and that he never has to do something that doesn't feel right, no matter who is asking. He should know his personal rights, and that his family will back them up.

She should know how to laugh, act silly, be goofy, and use her imagination. She should know that it is always okay to paint the sky orange and give cats six legs.

He should know his own interests and be encouraged to follow them. If he could care less about learning his numbers, his parents should realize he'll learn them accidentally, soon enough, and let him immerse himself instead in rocket ships, drawing, dinosaurs or playing in the mud.

She should know that the world is magical and that so is she. She should know that she's wonderful, brilliant, creative, compassionate and marvelous. She should know that it's just as worthy to spend the day outside making daisy chains, mud pies and fairy houses as it is to practice phonics. Scratch that -- way more worthy.

But more importantly, here is what parents need to know:

Every child learns to walk, talk, read and do algebra at his own pace and that it will have no bearing on how well he walks, talks, reads or does algebra.

The single biggest predictor of high academic achievement and high ACT scores is reading to children. Not flash cards, not workbooks, not fancy preschools, not blinking toys or computers, but mom or dad taking the time every day or night (or both!) to sit and read wonderful books with their child.

Being the smartest or most accomplished kid in class has never had any bearing on being the happiest. We are so caught up in trying to give our children "advantages" that we're giving them lives as multi-tasked and stressful as ours. One of the biggest advantages we can give our children is a simple, carefree childhood.

Our children deserve to be surrounded by books, nature, art supplies and the freedom to explore them. Most of us could get rid of 90% of our children's toys and they wouldn't be missed, but some things are important -- building toys like blocks and legos, creative toys like all types of art materials (good stuff), musical instruments (real ones and multicultural ones), dress up clothes, and books, books, books. (Incidentally, much of this can be picked up quite cheaply at thrift shops.)

Children need to have the freedom to explore with these things too -- to play with scoops of dried beans in the high chair (supervised, of course), to knead bread and make messes, to use paint and play dough and glitter at the kitchen table while we make supper even though it gets everywhere, to have a spot in the yard where it's absolutely fine to dig up all the grass and make a mud pit.

Our children need more of us. We have become so good at saying that we need to take care of ourselves that some of us have used it as an excuse to have the rest of the world take care of our kids. Yes, we all need undisturbed baths, time with friends, sanity breaks and an occasional life outside of parenthood. But we live in a time when parenting magazines recommend trying to commit to 10 minutes a day with each child and scheduling one Saturday a month as family day. That's not okay! Our children don't need Nintendos, computers, after school activities, ballet lessons, play groups and soccer practice nearly as much as they need US.

They need fathers who sit and listen to their days, mothers who join in and make crafts with them, parents who take the time to read them stories and act silly with them. They need us to take walks with them and not mind the .1 MPH pace of a toddler on a spring night. They deserve to help us make supper even though it takes twice as long and makes it twice as much work. They deserve to know that they are a priority for us and that we truly love to be with them."