What a privilege it is to have the opportunity to babysit for our nieces & nephews. I've been babysitting for nieces & nephews for almost 16 years now. My sisters four children are getting older, so the days of watching them are less frequent and the nieces and nephews from Kevin's side of the family live an hour and a half away, so that is a rare privilege as well. This past month, though, we were thrilled to be able to watch six of the nine on three different occasions. The first weekend of October our niece Karis (age 1) stayed with us for the day on Saturday while her parents went to Ohio. We also picked up our little brother (we're in the big brothers big sisters program) ,Immanuel, and headed to a Veggie Tales party in Fort Wayne. The kids played games, ate hot dogs & got to meet Bob & Larry in person.
The following Wednesday, our three nieces, Maci (age 13), Lexis(age 9) & Rylie(age 7), were able to get off the school bus at our house and we spent the afternoon playing outside and baking cookies.
Just yesterday our two nephews, Easton (age 3) & Lincoln (4 months), spent the day with us. We picked up Immanuel and went to a Harvest Celebration at our church with tons of games & candy. I sure got a lot of attention carrying Lincoln around in the snugly and what fun it was for me to take care of a baby again. We took all five kids to Wendy's afterward and many eyes were focused on our big colorful family. Fun memories!
Last week my mom and I finished up the canning season with a big batch of Taco Soup. It feels good to have my canning shelves and freezer full of the delicious things our family loves to eat through the winter. Here is a list of the items:
Black Raspberry Jam
Yesterday my mom called me in the morning and asked if she could come over for the afternoon and bring all the ingredients to make supper together. I had just laid out some fish, but quickly threw those puppies back in the freezer and said "come on over". We had a fun afternoon making BBQ meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole & broccoli salad. We also whipped up a batch of cut-out sugar cookies and decorated them all while the kids were napping. Thanks, Mom! I love you!
The kids spend time in their rooms from 9-10 each morning playing, looking at books & listening to music. They both usually do well during this time and sometimes I forget they're even here and get caught up in what I'm doing. Here is what happened today during room time:
Kaiya sometimes gets into things she isn't supposed to, so I try to check on her from time to time. Today, she had taken all her clothes off (she usually does that a few times a day) including her diaper and was enjoying her freedom. When she saw me she said "I'm told (cold) mommy". I replied "you look cold, honey"! I grabbed the camera and snapped a few shots.
Earlier, during Caedmon's room time, he was upset and crying because he couldn't find one of the balls he was playing with. I told him to ask God to help him find it. Well he asked God but wasn't real happy with that answer, and wanted me to find it for him NOW then started getting upset. So he took a time-out on his bed to regain some control. After the time-out he got up, looked under his bed and immediately found the missing ball. I said "see, God wanted you to get some control and then He helped you find it". Later when I passed by his room, he was happily playing with the balls and I heard him talking to God like he was playing ball with God.
This past Sunday, our pastor preached about the importance of and challenged us to take time daily to read & study God's Word. It has also been a topic of discussion during the bible study time at my once a week dance class. In fact, our instructor has been asking us each week, "How many days did you spend reading the bible this week?". Although my goal is to spend everyday in God's word, it certainly doesn't always happen. With both of these reminders coming in the same week, it seemed to me that God was nudging me to try to do better. Just this morning another little reminder came from my son. He asked me "mom, did you do your vevotions"? I was relieved to be able to answer "yes, honey". Then he asked "why"? I told him because I want to learn more about God. And he replied "I like to learn about God, too", and I said "that is very good, Caedmon". Our conversation ended at this point and I continued to make my bed. Caedmon was laying on the floor with his head on one of the many fluffy pillows that cover our bed just for decoration...the ones that Kevin really loves. :) As he was laying there, he must have been in deep thought about God...I heard him say " God, you're always my best friend." "God don't send wind, so we can fly our kite." (I think he got a little mixed up on that one) Then as we moved out to the kitchen as he was playing with his new balls from Grandma Bontrager, he asked "Can God play with me, mom?". I said "sure". So he looked over to his left and said "Wanna play with me?". I had to chuckle. I've been teaching Caedmon the creation story lately, so some questions about that story came next in our conversation. "Mom, can I eat fruit off the tree?" I said "yes". "Can Adam & Eve eat fruit off the tree?" Then I went on to explain the story again about Adam & Eve. "Can God share some fruit with me?" So many sweet innocent little questions came from Caedmon this morning about God. It's fun to watch him learning.
Matt Redman's song "Never Let Go" has become a favorite worship song of our whole family. It's on the radio a ton and has been sung several times at our church during worship. Caedmon has been singing it for the past year or so and now Kaiya has joined the choir. While our family was riding in the van together earlier this week, Kaiya was singing it to herself from the back of the van. She just kept repeating "Oh no, you never let go". Her daddy just stared at her from the rear view mirror and smiled.
Two weeks ago, the kids and I decided to tag along with Kevin on a business trip to Milwaukee, WI. I really debated if I really even wanted to attempt to go since it was only a one night thing. Caedmon had been asking recently if we could stay at a hotel. He didn't care where the hotel was...it could even just be down the street and he would be happy. The fun of everyone in the family sleeping together in one big room with a TV is a huge excitement for him. With daddy's persuasion, we all decided to go. Kevin was going to be in a meeting the whole day on Monday, so we decided to leave early Sunday morning so we could do something together as a family that day and make the trip worthwhile. It was a five hour trip and the kids did great in the van...the DVD player helped. :) I was tempted to stop by the big IKEA store in Chicago since it's right on the way, but decided the kids would probably rather go to a children's museum in Milwaukee. Shucks! So that's what we did. The Betty Brin Children's museum http://www.bbcmkids.org/, is located downtown Milwaukee right on the lake and is a perfect hands-on museum for the ages of our kids. It was beautiful weather that day and fun just to roam around the downtown. We took a few pictures in front of Kevin's Corporate Office while we were there as well.
Unfortunately, we woke up to rain on Monday morning and Kevin was off to his meeting...all day...leaving me...alone with the kids...in a hotel room. They were bouncing off the walls by 9:00am and I was struggling with displaying a few of the fruits of the Spirit. I kept watching out the window to see if the rain would let up a little. Finally I decided to brave the rain and walked 6 blocks to the mall with rain splattering in my face the whole time. The kids stayed pretty dry with their jackets, hoods and the stroller canopy, but I was pretty damp and cold by the time we made it to the mall. We hung out at the mall the rest of the day and the kids even took naps....at the same time...in the stroller. I guess all the bouncing off the walls in the hotel room made them tired. It also could have been the fact that they both woke up at 6 am and started talking and laughing at each other. I have to say that I was glad we took the extra effort to go. The good memories certainly outweigh the not so good ones.
Well, here it goes...my first blog entry. I must blame my sister-in-law, Joyce, for piquing my interest and getting me started with my own site. I guess you could say I've become a little addicted to checking hers everyday and as I started thinking about the whole idea and enjoying all of her entrys, it really made a lot of sense to me. I'm really into scrapbooking and have been pretty faithfully attending a once a month scrapbook group which meets at a local scrapbook store in our area. Although I love scrapbooking and will continue to make books recording the wonderful events in our family, this whole blog idea seemed like an even better approach to recording those everyday thoughts and events that go on from week to week. It seems like I've forgotten a lot of the sweet little things my children do and say because by the time I have a chance to scrapbook about it, it's long gone out of my memory and I've never really been great at journaling. I've tried writing some things down too, but all my little scribbles sometimes get lost in the big pile. I'm not planning to hang up my cropping scissors for good, but am hoping that this blog will be a wonderful addition to capturing all those little moments of life that seem to flutter by so quickly.