Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lilah helps mommy pack!

We are leaving for Myrtle Beach today. YIPPEE! The kids are so excited. Lilah woke up early this morning and was helping me transport items from my closet into my suitcase on my bed. She came out of my closet with my bra and said, "You pack your boobies!" LOL! HYSTERICAL! She then insisted on wearing my bra. It's good practice I guess. Just a tad too big for her. He he!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lilah and Jax Go To Their FIRST REAL Movie At A Theatre

Liley and Jax went to their very FIRST movie at a real movie theatre today. Every summer we look forward to the $1.00 movies that they offer at 10 am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Today, they offered Despicable Me and How to Train a Dragon. I let Ty choose the movie selection and he chose Despicable Me.

The morning was VERY smooth sailing. As soon as the kids woke up, they immediately went into the bath. I spoke to them about going to the movies. They seemed to understand. After we got ready, I handed each child a "snack" zipblock bag and let them fill it with their very own candy. I also brought red and white plastic popcorn containers, juice boxes, and yogurt sticks. I wanted to have ENOUGH snacks there so that the twins would last through the entire movie.

Our movie theatre.

Lilah and Jax were so excited they could hardly stand it. Ty was either thinking, "Mom, please, your embarrassing me!" Or "What's so cool about going to the movies?"

I LOVE LILAH'S FACE here. It's filled with so much enthusiasm.
I bought ONE LARGE tub of popcorn for $8.00 and allowed all of our friends to share it. We refilled it ONCE, amongst 6 kids, not bad. I even brought our friends their very own plastic popcorn buckets too.
With their candy bag and "baby" in hand, they sat still as the movie began.
"Hi Mom!"
When Lilah grew tired of the movie, she entertained herself by playing with "baby John".
Lilah and Ansley sat on Mrs. Jody's lap together towards the end of the movie.
Lilah peaks through two chairs in front of her to watch the movie. Look at the death grip she has on that sucker.
Who's this little dude? Well, it's BRO-BRO at his VERY FIRST THEATRE MOVIE. He's so cute. I now KNOW for SURE that Jax and Lilah are the same exact age as Ty when he attended his first movie because Jax is able to wear that exact same outfit that Ty is wearing in this photo.
Tyson ate popcorn too while watching the movie.

AND he also stood up to watch some of the movie, just like SISSY did today!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tyson's first movie was Rugrats the Movie. When Ty went to the movies, they offered the movie for $1.00, a drink for $1.00, and popcorn for $1.00. As you can see from above, times have changes.

SO, the $1.00 movie turned into a $15.00 outing.

Mommy's ticket...$1.00
Tyson's ticket... $1.00
Popcorn... $8.00
Sm Diet Coke... $4.50

Good thing Lilah and Jax were free and I didn't buy candy there. GEEEEZ!!!! We made a HUGE mess with the popcorn. Better there than my house. We had the Williams' and the Shelor's join us. It was fun! Lilah and Jax sat through most of the movie, but had to get up occasionally.

Cute movie, good times, yummy snacks!!! See you there next wednesday at 10 am?????

Two small side notes: I think the mommies used this time to get caught up on all of their emails and text messages. There were quite a bit of "lightening bugs" around. :)

I took Ansley to the bathroom during the movie. I noticed some urinals in the bathroom, from my reflection in the mirror. I thought, "Wow, how nice of the movie theatre to give little boys urinals for when their mommy takes them to the potty." Ugh no.... I accidentally took Ansley to the men's bathroom. AAAHHHH! My pupils weren't dilating properly. He he. Sorry Brett. I don't think she saw anything.

My New Favorite Friend Helps Me Curb My Sweet Tooth

Check it out. Only 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 1 carb, less than 1 gram of sugar, and only 15 calories per 2 tablespoons.
Jax saw me squirt a tablespoon in my mouth and he wanted some. He didn't finish his dinner, so I said "no!". Here, he's being caught going for it anyway. This is the classic picture of the boy who's hand is caught in the cookie jar :)
When he couldn't reach it... he got his scuttlebug to get it. STINKER.
Jax tries hard to get some in his mouth. Good thing the whip cream sprayer is practically child proofed.

And Tyson love the whipped cream toooo!!!!

Here's the ERROR in this fat-free, sugar-free, low-calorie sweet... you'd THINK it was healthy, but it's NOT. WHAT? I was devastated to find out from the nutritionist god (my brother) that it's okay to use this to curb your sweet tooth as long as the type of whip cream you use doesn't contain any kind of sugar poison aka fructose corn syrup. This can DID! I had no idea something so close to air would be bad for you. My brother is supposed to give me a recipe to his homemade whip cream that is healthy to gobble up. I'll be sure to pass it along when he does.


Our Minivan Before Wednesday at 7:00 pm
Our minivan after 7:30 pm. Recognize the difference? How could you NOT?

We are officially NERDY parents. I always said, "I WILL NEVER get a minivan and I ESPECIALLY WILL NEVER get a travel luggage carrier to go on top of my minivan."

As my momma always said, "Never say NEVER!"

Honestly, I am thrilled to have this atop our vehicle. It will provide so much space and much more comfort on our trips to Myrtle Beach. Maybe now we can take a trip to Florida to see Gram too!

If you are interested in one for your own vehicle. Go to Sears. They are on sale for the next week or so and their customer service is supreme. I didn't make an appointment. I walked in at 6:45 pm, picked one out, and they installed it for me for $15.00 and had it ready by 7:20 pm. Can't beat that, right? Now if only I had time to get a bike rack. We are REALLY cheesing out our cool looking minivan. Reminds me of back in the days when I was a kid.

Lilah on her poopie diaper...

Mommy: "Did you poop?"
Lilah: "No!"
Mommy: "Come here, let me take your diaper off, you have stinkies in there!"
Lilah: "Let me see it!"
Mommy: ... I show it to her.
Lilah: "Oh wow! Bubblegum!"

ps. It was poopie in the form of hard balls, if you didn't already put two and two together. :)

WOW Wednesday!

God doesn't mess around. He rewards those who glorify him, Trust in Him, and repent of their old ways ~ regenerate their lives through Him, His son's work on the cross, and by His grace AND he punishes those who disobey Him, are slaves to their sin, and are of this world.

Romans 6:20-23

"For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life (heaven). For the wages of sin is death, but the free of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Isaiah 3:10-11, 24-26

"Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them
for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds.
Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him,
for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him."

"Instead of perfume, there will be rotteness;
and instead of a belt, a rope;
and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth;
and branding instead of beauty;
Your men shall fall by the sword
and your might men in battle.
And her gates shall lament and mourn;
empty.,she shall sit on the ground."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Evidence that the marble jar is working....

One of my BIGGEST pet peeves is crumbs. No matter how HARD I try to drive eating over your plate home, the concept is just not understood. You'd be amazed at how many crumbs a bite size ritz peanut butter filled cracker makes in our home.

While upstairs getting the twins ready for the pool, Tyson was enjoying that exact snack. With a paper plate and placemat available to him, the crumbs apparently still took place. Normally, on any other given day, Tyson could care LESS about the crumbs. Never has. But today, upon my return to the main floor, look what I spotted.


Yes, it's absolutely DISGUSTING that on my dinner table sits a dust pan and hand broom along with my child's snack, but it's MUSIC to my ears. It sends chill bumps down my spine. My child knows where the dust pan is? My child knows how to use the dust pan? My child DESIRES to clean up after himself? Now, if he could only LEARN to put the dust pan/hand broom back, then he'd get a marble. Yup, that's right. He didn't get a marble. You can't do the job 50% of the way in our house and get rewarded for it. I'm hardcore, huh?

This post leaves me seriously wondering, why didn't I start this marble jar incentive SOOOONER!

CLOUDY with a Chance of RAIN!!!!!

At 3:40 pm, I loaded up the car in a SIMPLE fashion (unheard of for me) and headed to the pool so the kids could get a quick hour of swimming in before Daddy arrived home for dinner. About 4:40 pm, the sky turned DARK black. The pool guests quickly packed up and rushed to their vehicles. I more so than them because I just washed my car today.

Being our pool time was cut so short, I decided to let the kids try something NEW. Something even Tyson has never experienced. I let them play in the rain.

It's raining, It's pouring, the kids were ENJOYING....... IT!
Lilah and Tyson wait for the rain. They were so excited even though they really had no idea what to expect.
At first, Ty wasn't sure if he liked it or not. It was cold and fairly HARD rain.
But Lilah was showing him up. She was handling it like a man!
Tyson turned his lemons into lemonade!! Not really, lol, it's just rain water.
This is by far my favorite shot. Tyson and Lilah enjoy the rain while Jax's head peaks out at them. He's my reserved child. I kind of like that I have one of those. He has to really take some time to decide if it's worth it or not .
Big brother and "big" sister were really putting the pressure on. (Lilah copies EVERYTHING her big brother does.).
Jax finally caved. He was having the time of his life, until he began running. I warned all of them NOT to run, especially into the garage. The floor is SOOOOO SLIPPERY. Dangerously slippery.
And to no avail, all good things must come to an end. Look what happens when you don't listen to mommy. That is a GOLF SIZE knot on Jax's head. OUCH! He wasn't being disobedient. I really just think he forgot.
Brother consoles Jax. "It's okay buddy!"
Later, Jax gives it another try. I should have ended the fun there, but this was priceless for me. I've never seen so much laughter. You can tell in this photo that Ty is telling Jax to "walk" after he tried to run AGAIN!


I wonder if....

I will ever post the pictures from our trip to the Bahamas. Grrrrrr

Don't "Light These Up" for the 4th of July

FIRST, incase you tend to look at the pictures on my blog, but stray from reading them, let me grab your attention real quick. YOU COULD BE THE LUCKY WINNER OF A REPLICA of THIS ADORABLE CRAFT. Find out the details below. PS. Shame on you for being a looker and not a reader, ha ha.

I've had a huge increase and desire to bake and craft lately AND NOT just baking a good'ol chocolate chip cookie or painting a sun catcher. I ENJOY, thoroughly, starting with the bare essentials, ie. flour or wood, and generating something greater out of it. I also love UNIQUE things. Foods or crafts that people haven't eaten or seen before. Often times, I'm not the original creator. I do however add my own personal touch to things to help make it my own. I'll jump through hoops to get the finite detailsof a recipe. I'll read 1,000 reviews or harass a real bakery 2,000 miles away to share their secrets with me. I usually do not receive a no. LOL! Darren always says, "you are every retailers worst nightmare." LOL! It's true, but for me, seeing the joy my end result brings to someone's taste buds or fireplace mantel is priceless.

Yesterday, I let my creative juices flow. We were already at A.C. Moore to buy jars and stickers for the kids, so I treated myself to some 4th of July paper, embellishments, and stickers. I created my very own set of wooden fireworks and their sitting on my kitchen counter to help celebrate the freedom our Country offers us.

Here are the details.
Sunday night we went to Lowes. I purchased a 6 foot piece of wood ($1.02). A Lowe's employee sawed it down for me (free). I requested (3) 10.5 Inch Pieces, (3) 8.5 inch pieces, and (3) 6.5 inch pieces. Monday, I purchased some 4th of July papers, crafts, paints, and embellishments. Some of it I already had.
I modge podged the scrapbook paper onto the wooden blocks.
Here are the embellishments I chose for this set of fireworks. Stickers, a wooden star, which I painted yellow, and a "USA" pre-painted, wooden 4th decoration.
I found some candles that have been sitting for years underneath my sink and I put them to good use.
I removed the wicks fromm them.
You can buy candle wicks at the store but they were $1.99 for 6. I had them in my shopping cart, but at the last minute, I chose to put them back and utilize the bag of candles I already have and do not use for it's intended purpose.
After I modge podged the paper to the wooden blocks, I tied the "fireworks" together with "jute" string, giving it that "country" feel. WHY? I don't know. My home is definitely NOT decorated that way. My willing hubby drilled a small hole in the top of each firework.
Then, I inserted a candle wick into the hole (remove the silver piece obviously). The candle wick is a MUST to make firecracker look realistic.
I used foam dots to adhere the flag and "USA" embellishment as well as the star to the firework.
And wala!!!

The craft didn't turn out exactly how I had envisioned, but they're cute. I asked Darren if he thought they looked like a set of fireworks and his reply was, "No. They look like presents to me." UGH. What does he know?
I thought this would be a great craft to get Tyson involved in. I gave up control and allowed him (he was so persistent about it) to paint his wooden blocks whatever color he wanted... not just red, white, and blue. After about 5 minutes, he gave up. I said, "You're no fun. I thought you would have a blast creating your own fireworks." He said, "Mom, you did this craft for yourself, not me." OM GOSH! He totally called me out on this. He he. He's too smart for his own good.

So... here's how you can WIN A SET: I want to increase the amount of followers I have on my blog. Click on the word "follow" on the right hand side of my blog. If I see that you are now following me, I will enter you into a drawing for a set of wooden fireworks. If you are already a follower, leave me a comment on my blog and I will enter you into the drawing. A comment alone will NOT work unless you are already a follower. The drawing will take place on Monday, on July 4th. HOW appropriate. You can display them the rest of July.

PS. Just don't "light these up" for the 4th of July!!! Your home will burn down. Ha!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Marble Jar (Part 1)

Yesterday's sermon at Church was so powerful, so eye-opening and so convicting. It caused me to desire new changes. Changes spiritually, changes physically, and changes emotionally. I guess you could relate this to an epiphany in a sense. Spiritually, I want my prayer life to grow leaps and bounds. Send me any prayer requests you have... your petitions will help me grow here. Right now, I've decided to leave my biggest prayer request "silent" except for and with my closest girlfriends and husband, but I can tell that God is already working on it... I hope. I mean, I guess I could just chalk this up as a "good day" or a "calm day" and I'll take it, but my faith is higher then to leave it at that. I know and I trust from John 14:14 that if I "ask anything in [His] name, [He] will do it." I know my dear friends are praying for me and it shows.

So, what does this have to do with the price of tea in China or the title of this post, "Marble Jar"?

Today, I tried to make wiser choices. I made changes in the way my day got started. I made changes in the way my children's day got started. I made plans. I had goals. And I stuck to it all. I felt accomplished and that feeling always is a good one. Agree?

One thing I decided to try and improve in our home is order. Not order in the cleanly sense, I'm pretty sure I've had that talent since I was at least 8, but order with my children. Let me put it more positively... better management or increased harmony amongst them. I thrive off of structure. I like calmness. I desire guidelines in our home, control, and peace. With children, it's possible, but the odds are against me and 3 little depraved souls.

Last year, I came across an article in a magazine that was written by a mother who tried it all. Sticker charts, verbal praise, allowance, etc. etc. etc. She was fed up. She was tired. She felt like a nag and also like a broken record. She was at her last straw and decided to give it ONE last ditched effort by creating her own incentive system called a marble jar. I wanted to try this last year, but instead decided to rip the article out of the magazine and save it for when the twins were a tad older. This morning when I woke up, I decided, today was the day we were starting this idea. Now, I know many of you probably don't agree with reward systems or incentive programs. I'm not entirely sold either, but for my Tyson, especially, it works and it works GOOOOOD. So for now, to maintain that "order" that I spoke of earlier, I have to mimic this mother's marble jar idea.

The idea behind the marble jar is that each child gets a clear glass (or plastic) jar and every time they do something worthy (follow directions, clean their room, going out of their way for someone, speaking kindly to others etc.) then they get to put a marble in their jar. Once the jar is full... a reward is given.

The one area we will have to watch out for with Tyson when using something like the marble jar is that he will start to expect a marble for everything. We have decided that the marbles are to be earned for behaviors that our children struggle with. The marbles are rewards for things that aren't getting done. If brushing teeth is an issue then a marble is given when the child brushes their teeth without hassle.

Visual reward systems work well for younger children, I think. I have noticed a HUGE difference today already. Here are just a few examples:

1. NO behavior issues in A.C. Moore. No handling of store items or running off.
2. MANNERS.... "YES MAAM" has never been said more than it has been said today.
3. Being helpful without asking... we place our shoes on the steps when we take them off and Tyson brought everyone's shoes up and placed them in each person's closet. He usually walks right passed them.
4. Tyson has been overly kind and GENTLE with is siblings today.

We have made several rules regarding the marble jar reward system:

1. You cannot ask for or suggest that you deserve a marble. If so, one is removed.
2. If you are ill tempered, ugly, disrespectful, or disobedient a marble can be removed.
3. Do NOT expect a marble to be placed in your jar for every kind deed you perform.
4. Remember, kind deeds are NOT to be done JUST because you want to earn a marble. Kind deeds are to be done because it is expected of us and should be the desire of our heart because it pleases our God.
5. IF you are caught adding to your jar without permission or stealing from a sibling's jar, your jar gets emptied.
6. You cannot earn a (-) negative amount of marbles. That's too much to keep up with.
7. When your jar is filled to the "line" or the piece of ribbon we tied to the top of each jar, you are entitled to a $20 ANYTHING. Sounds like a lot, but the mom who's article I read said it takes about 4 weeks to fill the jar being marbles can also be removed.

I look forward to using this in the teenage years to come. This mom had children ranging from 3 to 16. She said her teenagers were constantly on the prowl to "one up" each other in the house (ie. they would set their alarm early to empty the dishwasher before the house woke up.) Where I struggle with this incentive program is the fact that we are learning in Matthew 6 to "beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven." It appears and sounds as if this marble jar could essentially and potentially go against this command. I am hoping this will help train Tyson, Lilah and Jaxon to desire to be obedient UNTIL the Lord changes their heart for good. Who knows how long this will stick. We will revisit it from time to time to make sure it's the best decision for our family. For now, it really does seem to be working great! I give it an A++++
We went to AC Moore today. Purchased plain glass mason jars. I allowed each child to pick out their very own stickers to use to decorate the outside of their jar.

Tyson decorates his jar.

Tyson's jar. He recently told us that he would like to go to College to be an astronaut, hence the reason he picked out space ship/astronaut stickers. The colorful ribbon at the top of each jar is the "line" where the marbles must be filled to. If you look closely, you can see Ty has earned 4 marbles already.
Lilah was the first to finish. Lilah chose butterflies stickers.
Lilah's jar. Lilah has earned 1 marble already. She's been a tad feisty today.
Daddy helped guide the twins with their stickers.
But as usual they said, "I do it!"
Jax chose train stickers.
Jax's jar. Jax has one marble too.