Saturday, March 29, 2008

Happy Birthday Eden!




Eden turns 9 today. I remember that wonderful day 9 years ago when she joined our lives. It chokes me up now to think about it. Can she really be NINE??? She was a *wonderful* baby. She was so beautiful and had a perfectly round head. They used surgical lubricant to stick these adorable bows in her hair. Happy Birthday, Eden!






Eden and I are going to go to the fabric store together today--she wants to make a fleece blanket. Tonight we are having a party with Mitch's family.


In other news...Zeke stayed dry all night!! We thought we should throw a party and have a cake for him. Well, Mitch thought that. Eden gave him "the look" that said he'd better not. :)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Tying up loose ends

Sorry to leave you hanging!! =)

The mastitis has healed very nicely with antibiotics, in spite of me only remembering them about once per day instead of twice. I was back up and running on Monday and felt fully better by Tuesday.

We have decided to let the dog go to a new home. After we were confident she was picked up by the pound, we let the matter drop. Mitch did talk to someone from the city, but we did not "claim" her. He discussed the fees, and we had to make a sound financial decision. She is a very sweet, good dog, but not the right match for our family. We know someone will take her. The pound said she knew how to escape out of their kennels. Amazing!

Zeke is still wetting his underwear at night and sometimes during the day (although daytime is better). Mitch and I talked about this for a while tonight. The doctor would say to put him on medication. It really is not a life-threatening condition, and we decided we want to wait to see how things change as he matures a little bit.

Josh is staying dry almost all the time! He has awesome new training underwear for when we go out (made by me, of course), and they work wonderfully. Twice now the weather has been warm enough for him to play outside, and he never comes in to pee in time. So we will have to work on that discipline. Being outside is so incredibly fun, especially for a boy who has just spent the past 1/5 (6 months out of 31) of his life indoors!

I'm still incredibly busy--crazy busy--at Pampered Cheeks. I sort of worked myself into a full-time job for a little while here. I finally got a hold of the reins and have walked it back down over the next few weeks. The painful thing though is my wait list for customs is now 6 weeks out--ouch! I used to love having an order turned around in 2 weeks or less. So that's kind of how I worked myself into a full-time job...accepting orders I assumed I could get done anyways. I need to make about 40 diapers over the next week or so. I don't know how many I actually did this week. I do know it was more than 20!

We got 4 full days of school done this week too! =) I know that normal people go to school 5 days a week. But we have 170 lessons in the school year. We are on lesson 129. If we go 4 days a week from now until we hit 170, we'll be done the first/second week of June. Not bad, I say! And what a relief for me to have a little breathing room in my schedule.

Look out, the weather forcaster says that there will be snow this weekend. Ahhhh...good sewing weather!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Mastitis...ugh

Ok, this is kicking my butt. I suppose God is going to get a day of rest out of me yet! A week or so ago Malachi bit me while nursing (note: later in my story I didn't clarify *where* to the doctor, which resulted in a very funny misunderstanding! ). It was sore for a few days, on the worst day I had to pump instead of nursing, but it got better. It was good for a couple days, then the other side got bit. He actually broke the skin both times. I took the same approach to healing (changing nursing positions, using lansinoh, pumping). Yesterday it was still extremely painful. Saturdays are my big sewing days, you know, so I refused to give in. By 8 pm I was running a low-grade fever and knew I wasn't going to finish, so I gave up. I went to bed, refusing to go to the e.r., and writhed in pain until I finally took some tylenol. It worked like a charm! I suffered through church this morning too (after all, it's not really contagious, lol), determined to fulfill our obligation to do children's church (the last 2 times I have stayed home with sick kids and sent Mitch on alone). Finally this afternoon I made it to urgent care. By some miracle I was in and out in only 30 min with an antibiotic. I really feel crappy. Hopefully by tomorrow I will be feeling much better. This afternoon I don't feel guilty just hanging out and catching up on all the email time I had to forfeit last night!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spring is almost here!! (NOT)

Can you believe it? The first day of spring is in only 2 days?! It's so nice. The sun, when it chooses to shine, is up until almost 8 pm (thanks to daylight savings time). Our schedules are so messed up that we often don't eat supper until then. =S I love the long days. But boy, I'm wondering when spring will actually arrive. This is the scene that I woke up to this morning:







Before you know it, people will be lined up at the farm to buy their plants from the nursery. The owner has been working late nights...I've seen the glow from the greenhouse as I sit up late.




Ahhh, before long I might let the kids out of their close confines to play with their toys.


And slide down the abandoned slide.





But I don't know for sure. It's all going to be muddy. :oP


Last week we had some bright sunny days that really led me to believe that spring was going to make it. The kids and I took a walk. The temp was actually about 40 degrees F, and I was able to walk in only a sweatshirt (amazing how it strengthens your endurance). The kids asked me, "Is that the last of the snow?" In a different year, yes, but this year, I answered "Probably not." Boy, was I right! The nice thing is that it won't stay around for long, really.


By the way, when we took our walk, the sidewalks were covered with puddles. It didn't look so bad when we headed out--they looked mostly dry with a few wet spots. The picture totally changes when walking with a 4-year old boy and a 2-year old boy. You can probably get the 4-year old to stop splashing *most* of the time, but just try to get the 2-year old to. Go ahead try it.


Ok, one more picture. My father in law had the 4 oldest kids over to his house on Saturday to ride the little snowmobile. They had so much fun. He was really on top of things and took lots of pictures, and when he brought the kids home he handed me a c.d. I am soooo impressed! Not even I am that organized. :)





Saturday, March 15, 2008

Not so much Hosea

Ok...so I'm feeling less like Hosea now. Lady ran away again on Thursday evening. Grrrr. We chased her all over--spent 2 good sewing hours trying to catch her. She refused to come. By Friday she was still out. She had slipped out of her collar when Eden went down to help her get untangled from the chain. I'm beyond frustrated, and do not have the will power left to pursue her!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hosea

"The LORD began to speak through me. He said to me, 'Go. Get married to a woman who will commit adultery...the people of the land are guilty of the worst kind of adultery. They have not been faithful to me.'...The LORD said to me, 'Go. Show love to your wife again...I want you to love her just as I love the people of Israel.' So I bought Gomer for six ounces of silver and about ten bushels of barley." Hosea 1:2, 3:1a, 2. (NIRV...because the kid's Bible was the closest one to grab)

Hosea was commanded by God to marry a woman he knew would not be faithful to him. When she ran off with another man, God commanded Hosea to go after her and redeem her. And to also claim any children born out of wedlock as his own. The purpose behind this was to paint a picture of Israel's (and our own) unfaithfulness to God. It must have been painful for Hosea to have to live out this picture, but our God is so great and loving and forgiving.

I felt a little like Hosea today. Lady ran away again. I chased that dog all over, while I knew my kids were alone inside. I was feeling a little hopeless, and a LOT angry. I was also supposed to be sewing. This made me just furious. But I knew that I was supposed to go get her. Several times I turned back to come inside, but felt the Spirit leading me on. The guy at the farm felt it his duty (at 9:30 pm) to give me a lecture about the dog running all over the neighborhood. As if I thought it was fun to let her out for a good run! I was so upset that I finally interrupted him and politely told him I would be happy to shoot her if I had a gun. He could sense my stress and did a 180 in his attitude towards me. I definitely see his point--the dog is our responsibility, and if she is destructive (he has a nursery and spring is upon us), we will be held responsible. He also mentioned that it is not ok for my kids, he observed that I am homeschooling, to run all over the place chasing her. I walked back home muttering how much I hate the dog, and even called Mitch to cry. When I came in the house I once again banned the kids to ever leave our yard without an adult. Seriously, does this mean that once again they must spend a summer without their bikes unless we are outside? How old do kids have to be to be able to take a walk? Oh yeah, I'm talking about the dog...back on topic. During all this time Lady was running all over the neighborhood, never going really too far. She almost got caught when she was on the neighbor's step whining at the door because she wanted to come in and see their dog. I finally went across the street to another neighbor's house and asked if her (older, calmer, lab retriever) dog could come outside and stand with me. She was more than happy to help. It didn't take 2 min. Allie heard Lady's collar and let out a bark. Lady snapped to attention, and ran right up to us. She had no problems with me grabbing her. She dug in her heels, however, when we hit our driveway. Arrggghhh. Got her inside, though, so that's good. Mitch has plans to buy a shock collar to use in training. We talked with a friend this weekend who trains hunting dogs, and this is what he recommended. So hopefully it will do the trick. I'm glad Mitch wasn't so hot as me. It would be terrible for the kids to lose their dog because their mom can't keep it together. When I got back inside, I took a good breather to clean up a few of the major dirty areas in the house. Then I finished a very cute diaper order I was working on. So that calmed me down a good deal.

I still feel a little like Hosea. I wonder if in some way my attitude towards the dog doesn't make the kids wonder if I'd treat them the same way if they run away? If (as a teen or young adult) the kids physically or even just emotionally "ran away" from me, would I go after them? Would my chase be half-hearted? Would I give up? Would I pursue them more than once? I do want them to know that I love them. Of course I know that they are sooooo much more important than a dog. But do *they* know they are more important than the dog? I don't know if they really do--if they love her, she may be as important to them as any other family member. I know this does happen in some families. That's what kept my foot to the path (and snow--I took a couple of dives into the snow when I stepped on uneven ground--loved that) tonight as I pursued the d.u.m.b. dog.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Catching Up

I finished 12 one-size fitted diapers today. Those are probably the most time-intensive diapers I make, so this is a huge feat for me. Especially considering I only started them on Saturday...but I didn't get to work much on them...so the bulk of the work was done yesterday and today. (Ahem, do I need admit that we didn't do school either yesterday or today?) Oh well...back to that in a minute...I decided that I "earned" a few minutes to write a blog and catch up. I even took notes while I worked yesterday and today, so that I could remember all I wanted to say. :)

First off, yesterday Micah was writing a report about Jupiter. He said that no one knows for sure what is at the core of Jupiter. Caleb says back, "Yeah someone knows." Micah says (in his know-it-all-big-brother voice), "Nuh-uh." Caleb and I reply at the same time, "God does." This led me to a deeper thought. As a human race, do we think we are invincible? That every problem that we face today will some day be overcome? I mean, right now we do not have the technology nor the power to even put a space ship into the atmosphere of Jupiter (much less send one to the core). Micah's research says that the pressure alone is great enough to crush a ship. So...do we think that some day we will have the power to do that? I think that in some ways we really do have an "invincible" mindset...that we have much more power and control over the future than we really do. While there are certainly instances of "the sky is falling and the world is going to end" things like global warming, I also think that we tend to be a bit too big for our britches and optimistic about the future in ways that are ridiculous. Maybe we are even just too arrogant, making predictions about the future that are based on grossly misguided assumptions. I'm not saying that we won't some day be able to send a ship to Jupiter. But it sure does seem a bit ridiculous to even be talking about it. Ok...now I'm starting to lose the essence of the thought I was following yesterday...that's the problem with taking notes, I guess.

Next, there was a cool quote in that video I posted a link to. I tried several times to edit my post and add it to it, but alas...there were unexplained "forces" keeping me from doing so. Here ya go:

"Political correctness has replaced Biblical correctness in our world today."

Oh no...the next thing I was going to talk about was my business plan for Pampered Cheeks. Oye. That will actually be a little long. I have been putting a lot of thought into the direction of my company. The most fun question I have been working through is "What are my advantages?" It is a little draining to sit and uncover what I have to offer that is so special (or so different from other companies). I also wanted to talk about supply and demand. Obviously I should have taken at least *one* business course in college. All those math courses don't seem to be helping me out here. I only learned recently that if the supply is low, and the demand is high, that you are supposed to raise prices. Let me tell you, that took a little while for me to think through! I have been making more diapers (obviously), which means that I'm getting more feedback and reviews than ever. Mostly I keep them to myself, but sometimes people ask where they can post a public review. By the way, there are reviews here and here. So it seems that my worry-meter is directly attached to the number of diapers I sell...the more I sell, the more I worry. One slightly negative, or perceived as negative, comment about my diapers makes my stomach ache. I'm trying really hard to get rid of this worry thing. The dozens and dozens of positive reviews I've received overwhelmingly tell me I'm doing something right. I believe that the worry is an attack of Satan. When he can't get me there, he's trying to get me in another area--supplies. Some of my supplies come from sources that have long waiting periods or limited availability. It is hard to plan for the future when my business has been growing so rapidly. I tend to need to breathe calmly and deeply from time to time when I get to the bottom of the barrel on particular supplies. But God ALWAYS provides. He ALWAYS does. So why do I worry? I'm trying so hard to lay my business in His hands. While He wants me to do it, I will prosper. When He says I am done, I will be done (sniff, sniff). But I don't have to worry.

I made those notes yesterday, then today, there was a great broadcast on the radio by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. You can read the entire transcript or listen here (you may have to scroll to get to Tuesday, March 11, 2008). She quoted many great scripture passages, and this one stood out because the kids and I memorized it earlier this school year:

"Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the rock eternal." Isaiah 26:4
God is so cool to have this great reminder at a time when I desperately need it!!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Important Stuff re: Our Rights

If you haven't heard yet, there was a ruling handed down in the courts in California (no big surprise there) saying that parents who do not have a CA teaching license will not be able to homeschool their children. If this ruling is upheld, it will only be a matter of time before it spreads to other states. It is a very sad removal of rights. Please consider visiting the home school legal defense association and signing a petition that they will organize and submit to the CA state supreme court: http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/ca/200803030.asp

Today on Focus on the Family, there was a great episode regarding this topic. You can listen to FOF online here: http://www.oneplace.com/Ministries/Focus_on_the_Family/Archives.asp

Also, the American Family Association is producing a video series for tv regarding the suppression of Christians' rights. You can watch the first video here: http://www.silencingchristians.com/video4.aspx I'm kind of bummed that we don't have t.v. so I can see the rest of this series.

No, I'm not bummed that we don't have t.v. Maybe I'll blog more on that later. :)

A handful of things...

It has been a busy week here...a little crazy too. Very up and down emotionally for Mitch, who is concerned about finances (me too). We fell off the wagon and didn't do such a good job homeschooling this week. We *painfully* finished 3 days of school so far (remember the goal is 4). No wait, Eden and Caleb didn't finish school yesterday. So that means that today I hope to get them finished with yesterday's work, plus get another full day of school in. Ouch. They just need their momma to sit beside them, yet every day this week I have been a scatter-brain, flitting about from one end of the house to the other, from project to project, not staying focused long enough to get them done with work. I cannot remember a time in my life when I had so much to manage at one time. It is really challenging and very rewarding. My brain is on fire and alive...energized and ready for each day! (If I go to bed before midnight and don't get up until after 6:30, that is).

Malachi's 3 new teeth have not made him a very happy camper. They're not quite through yet, even though their sharp little edges can be felt now, I noticed yesterday that the skin was yellowed and a little bleeding around one tooth (trying to grow back over). Poor baby, you know that has to be a constant irritation. He hasn't been very "nice" when nursing. Poor momma.

Josh has had a couple of accidents this week, mostly in the bathroom floor just not getting his pants down in time. He insists on sitting on the big potty with a potty ring. He is so short he has to have a step stool just to get up on the potty. So there is a little bit of prep work necessary to get the potty ready for him to use. It's pretty frustrating for me--I wish he would just use the little potty chair. But he is a "big boy." His vocabulary and mannerisms are growing every day too. He says the funniest things at just the right time. And puts the cutest faces on. We laugh and laugh at him. Then when we ask him to do it again (especially for an audience), he usually gives us a mean look or looks down and to the side. As if to say "You are not worth my time. I won't look at you and you will go away. I don't know what you're talking about." Unless I get out the camera...then he's ready to do all kinds of cute poses...if I'll show him after each photo of course. The most startling is when one of the older kids will do "force choke" aka Darth Vader style, and Josh will pretend to choke and die. Nice one, buddy. Then of course he gets up and force chokes them back. LOL. Here are some photos. I was in my sewing room working, taking some pictures, when he came in whining about something. I turned and took a picture, then showed it to him. He forgot about what was troubling him after a couple pictures and then I nabbed these "staged" ones. He was having a lot of fun...obviously. :)





I should probably go start school. It's not as if we don't have much to do today!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

In other news...

I thought I should post a personal update in case you don't want to read my long-winded sound off below. :)

I took Malachi in for his 9-month checkup yesterday. He weighed a whopping 22 lbs 7 oz. He has also grown an inch since December. The three teeth that he was working on cutting are all broken through the skin now, so he is noticeably happier. Eden slept on the couch last night, and I honestly forgot to turn the baby monitor on (but I did make a special trip upstairs to get it and put it in my room...just forgot to turn it on), so Malachi "slept throught the night" again. Ahem...which means if he woke up, he didn't cry long enough for me to hear him. I *can* hear him without the baby monitor, he just has to cry for a little while. Ahhhh...blissful sleep. He woke up really happy, and that always reassures me.

Zeke stayed dry all night last night--yay--after about 5 days in a row of peeing in the bed. He is doing better staying dry during the day...yesterday he was dry all day. Josh had one accident yesterday, the first one since last Sunday (a week ago).

Time for school!! I'd better run now, the kids are really starting to act crazy and fight, etc. Ugh. I am just so sick of that. I can't wait for warmer weather!!

Sound Off

Ok, more about Global warming today. Because I feel like I don't have a voice anywhere else, at least I can put it out here. I read two great articles today continuing on the theme that the earth is experiencing global cooling and what the political ramifications of that are.
First off here is an article that gives more background to the numbers I quoted the other day:
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/BillSteigerwald/2008/03/04/cool_news_about_global_warming

Here are some of my favorite quotes:
"Well, NASA says recent satellite images show that the allegedly endangered polar ice cap -- which will melt completely one of these summers and kill off all the polar bears if we don't slash our greedy carbon footprints and revert to the lifestyles of medieval peasants -- has recovered to near normal coverage levels."
"There's even better news for polar ice-pack lovers from ice expert Gilles Langis, who says Arctic ice is now even thicker than usual in spots.
"So far, Watts and his volunteers have checked out more than 500 weather stations ... nearly 70 percent of the sites fail to meet the government's own standards ..."
And the clincher statement:
"As far as Google's search engine knows, Comiso's comforting report has appeared nowhere but in Canada."

Here are some political (and concern my own pocket book) ramifications:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,334682,00.html
"John McCain, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton all promise massive new regulations that will cost trillions of dollars to combat global warming. McCain says that it will be his first task if he wins the presidency. After consulting with Al Gore, Obama feels the problem is so imminent that it is not even really possible to wait until he becomes president."
"Surely, they were rising from the late 1970s to 1998, but "there has been no net global warming since 1998." Indeed, the more recent numbers show that there is now evidence of significant cooling."
"Mankind is responsible for just a fraction of one percent of the effect from greenhouse gases, and greenhouse gases are not responsible for most of what causes warming (e.g., the Sun)."
"Although some blame global warming for seemingly everything, according to others higher temperatures will increase the amount of land that we can use to grow food, it will improve people's health, and increase biological diversity."
"If we believe that man-made global warming is “bad,” we still don’t want to eliminate all carbon emissions. Having no cars, no air conditioning, or no electricity would presumably be much worse than anything people are claiming from global warming.
You want to pick a tax that just discourages carbon emissions to the point where the cost of global warming is greater than that of cutting emissions."

It really is not a simple topic, but as we watch the presidential debates and listen to smooth-talking promises flowing from the lips of the candidates, it would be prudent for us to consider the real evidence that they may not have taken the time to research. Or perhaps they have, but would rather present a more dramatic picture and then say what they think we want to hear...in order to promote their own causes.

I seriously thought we would be seeing these numbers and articles like this a year from now, after the presidential elections are over. I figured that having the best proposal to fight "global warming" would be essential to winning the election. I am stunned to see this data so early in the game. What I really hope this means is that the candidates will "wake up" and change their song and dance program.

Hmmm...a funny thought just occured to me...I wonder if CHINA paid any money towards Al Gore's little movie he did a couple years ago that really got the ball rolling on global warming? Since really, China stands to gain the most economically from policies in the US that would cut emissions. And now with the value of the US dollar decreasing and that of the Yen increasing, I am more suspicious. I am also more hopeful that, as Mitch said, we will stop importing "little plastic dinosaurs" and start producing them ourselves. After all...if the value of the Yen continues to grow, eventually products from China won't be so cheap anymore. China *may* be hoping that we have forgotten or become inable to produce for ourselves at this stage in the game. I really think that the spirit of the American people will rise, and we will show that we are quite capable of producing the products that we need to survive and prosper. I am also hopeful that American people will turn their hearts back to God. THEN we will be a great nation, respected and revered, once again.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

Sunday, March 02, 2008

February Customs

Final, unaudited (because there's no way I'm gonna do that right now) count: 76 diapers and covers made in February. That includes the ones I kept for my own kiddos: 1 large fitted for MJ, 1 Large cover, 1 OS pocket, 2 trainers for Josh. And the trainer I passed on to Kristin. It does NOT include the 14 or so microfiber inserts I sewed, plus the other inserts I was working on. It also does not include diapers that I didn't put the pictures of into the right file (ie: if I saved them somewhere else on my computer in a rush to get them done). Wow, that is sooooo close to my production goal of 20 diapers per week. That was an old goal I had last year when all the kids were at school during the day and I "only" had Josh and Zeke home with me. To think...I did all this AND homeschool (whether I was good at any of it is subject to judgement...lol)!

I was thinking that February was a really short month, but after looking back at all these photos, I am beginning to think otherwise!!