Sunday, July 8, 2012

Mari can use the phone!

Mari has learned this summer to call her dad, as our phone numbers are taped to the fridge.  I can't explain it , but it just fills my heart when she asks if she can call him. I love watching her do this.  She stands in front of our fridge, looking at the numbers and trying to find them on the phone. Sometimes she messes up and it takes a few trys to get it (so far she hasn't called anyone we don't know! And thank goodness that now a days we don't have to worry about long distance, as it has become a standard part of most of our phone contracts).  Going to get a little concerned if I find an international call on my next bill?

I have struggled having a "home phone" because it just seems like an extra bill, but now see that it is vital for us to keep it for the kids. At least until that moment where they are all old enough to be begging for cell phones (not looking forward to those moments).

  As a child, my parents were divorced, and my sisters and I  lived with just my dad. He worked at an auto plant,  and was up in a boiler room, but we could always call him when we needed too. I remember sometimes calling him 5-6 times in a row! Here was this single father, working in a plant with other men, but he would always take our calls and if  he couldn't, he would call us back. Half the time, our calls were to have him settle some fight on the other line.  Now as a parent,  I know what he must have been thinking, " I am at work! I want to be with you but can't because I need to provide! Quit calling me! But call me back if you need to! I love those kids but they are driving me crazy!"   I had forgotten all about that until Mari started wanting to use the phone to dial Dan's number. I found myself so thankful he was always so wiling to be there for us at that time of life, even when he couldn't be physically.

I love hearing Mari  talk to her dad, or when she can't actually talk to him, her leaving a message.  Her little voice with her slight lisp, is priceless. It usually sounds like this, "Hi Dad, it's me Mari. Just want to know how work is going."  She then goes to tell him every moment of her day.

Mari knows daddy is working and sometimes with people, so he might not be able to always talk,  but she can leave him a message and he will call her back.  I shared my recent memory of my own dad and calling him at work with Dan. I love how open he was to making sure he was available for the kids when they called.

This summer is proving that my kids are growing up and are little people, as I am catching these small priceless  moments of them growing up.  I thought Mari  learning to use the phone would be about her just learning her numbers along with our phone numbers; but it has become more about learning her needs of communication, and now as a parent how I and Dan need to be aware of them, even when at some moments we are not physically available.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The dreaded Summer whine of "I'M BORED!!!"...

Summer is just around the corner, and as much as I am looking forward to, "fun in the sun" and days of swimming,  I know we will have those moments at home playing catch up on cleaning, laundry and bills, and I will start hearing those miserable words, "I'm Bored".  So I am starting already to compile a list of things to do other than throwing the kids in front of the TV for a moment of silence.  This idea popped into my head today, as Mari came downstairs wearing this (picture below).  So this will be the first on my list. I am going to print this and tape it up on the wall in the kids room and one on the  fridge, for those moments when I hear the very whiny, "I'm Bored" but when my brain is exhausted and I can't think of one suggestion for them to do in our personal "Toys R Us".  These are the moments I swear they know I need to play catch up on  our life, SO,  I can point them to my secret weapon,  "THE LIST"....Why do I hear Jaws music thinking about this???

-------------> SUMMER "I'M BORED" LIST

1. PLAY DRESS UP (Just mention Halloween, they love to get their old costumes out! "FOR FUN" have them try on each other's costumes!)

2. PLAY DOUGH (if you are fearful of this, get over it! It is such a savior and once it dries, it sweeps up (ok usually!) But after three kids, and a one year supply of it from an awesome friend, I really learned to pick my battles about it as it keeps the kids busy for hours and I am learning to let them be a kid...AND LET THEM MIX COLORS....if you want to have fun and make your own here is a link to a recipe..Thanks Lynden!  ( USE THE CREAM OF TARTAR (learn from my mistake, it will be sticky if not;/)
3. PUZZLES ($ store is great on these and maybe make it a once a week trip to get a new one)
4.  GO "OLD SCHOOL" CRAYONS & COLORING BOOK  (have them color a picture to mail to i.e.  friend, relative. Tell them you need a "NEW" one for your fridge or grandmas fridge!) older kid idea: find them a friend's kid who they can become a Pen Pail with to send pics/letters too)
(chalk & pavement games )
6. MOVIE  OK,  for those moments where you are tired and they need a break themselves, set up a "Popcorn and Movie  Time" Try to make this a regular set-time during the day (when you are home) so they know when their screen time is and might help avoid them to keep asking to watch tv. Have more than one kid? My kids each get a day a week where  they get to pick what they watch, then they already know who gets to pick what show/movie (SAVES ON THE DRAMA). (Usually the dollar bin at Target or even the dollar store sells the plastic popcorn buckets 2 for a buck?  Anything to make it more fun and "real"! Also request "new" movies (ones you know they haven't seen) from the library, to make sure they are into the movie, and not bored two minutes later. Even better have them dress as the character of the movie they are watching and add DRESS UP to this  activity, and they may take forever to get ready and never even sit in front of the screen!)

7.  PLAY SCHOOL to keep up on skills during the summer, have worksheets for them or websites. For the older kids math sheets, for the little ones dry erase boards to practice their names. ( Have an ipad? The Dora Sky Writing ABCs is a great app (This recently through #Starbucks app of the week was free),
8. BOARD GAMES (here is a few that keep my HARD to keep busy kids busy...Go Ape, Lite Brite, Zingo and Connect Four are our favorites!!%26%23174%3B
9. CUT & PASTE Get glue sticks, old magazines and paper and let them cut and paste.
Recently we started doing this and the kids loved it (if they do it "too fast" tell them to make their "Own Magazine") This was fun to see what pictures they cut and put together


10.??? Already  drawing a blank as my moment at the computer is being brought to an end by screaming kids who  need to be pushed on to something else!! See why I started making  a list!  Most days my kids will play with their gazillion-million stuff animals so that is always a savior....but shoot me your suggestions!!! would love it! Thanks!  ~Al

For more summer deals for those days of needing an outing or to see if you can find a good deal check this awesome site out

Always READ the small print...:)
(as always...some "FAMILYRIFIC" ideas) If you don't know what that means, go back a few posts!  
I  sometimes allow myself to get frustrated by some bloggers  who seem to have it "ALL TOGETHER" so for your peace of mind, we  probably won't be as structured as I want to be this summer, but the days we are, they are so wonderful, and it is all about striving to survive most days! So all attempts get an "A" for Effort!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mari and her Biblical insight....

Mari on Wednsday nights goes to a group called Cubbies, part of a ministry called Awana.  It is club meeting like boy/girl scouts where the kids earn badges for learning Bible verses.  As we just moved it has been a great resource for the kids to go and meet new kids and to learn about God and not to mention, have some time away from me for a few hours so we both can re-charge.  The people there have been great and highly recommend it if you are looking for something for your kids.  It is affordable and in these days, a safe place to take your kids.  Here is the Awana website.  There are different clubs for each age group:

Mari and her brother Hank in the car last night got into a "deep" conversation for being 3 and 5.  Their dad overheard them saying, "God has to be real strong because he can hold the whole world and space too."

Mar also told me this morning, "You know mom, Jesus died on a cross. We made a cross last night at Cubbies. A cross looks like a lower case T."

Then her and Hank also continued their God is strong thought, as Mari told me, "That if God dropped the world, we would be just falling."  She also then said, "That Satan is mean and must be real ugly.

I love these moments with Mari.  She at 5 is already so insightful (when we wants to be).  Last, she told me and then asked, "Mom, we are suppose to love our enemies. Isn't Satan our enemy? Are we suppose to love him?"

Wow.  I am still trying to look up how to answer that one!

Monday, January 23, 2012

"familyrific" idea...Museum inspired (by Mari of course)

First let me  try to define "Familyrific" (it is a term my friend of 4 kids and I of 3 use with each other):  It is used in conversation to describe an "attempt"  to do something as a family, but to know that even in that attempt, with all the "good intentions", and "moment of purpose and romance of FUN FAMILY FUN" , it all may turn into nothing but pure chaos, total disaster, yelling, and crying (mostly from the mother who tried so hard to do it in a moment of sanity and hope, thinking her family has "grown and matured" to the next level to achieve this attempt). It is also used as reference to things that other people have done and are successful with and can make something look WAY too easy; but for you to pull it off, it takes an arm and a leg.

So here is my latest "familyrific" idea: we got a new and our first "real" dining table, so  with it a new "center piece"  (see picture) inspired by many "MadMari At the Museum" trips! 

At the museum, they have a kids room where there  is a GIANT world map on the wall.  I LOVE THIS MAP!!  There have been visits where  I just stare at it.  I am so surprised after looking at it as an adult, that either I have never heard of some of the places on it or am dumb founded to see  where they really are at in relation to us. It is just Amazing. 

I was a pretty decent student as a kid so I don't know if I can blame my education. Maybe I was just never encouraged or cared to really know where places were at.  I think too I just learned about them on a "need to know" basis.

 The biggest trips I went on as a kid were to Florida and Myrtle Beach. I don't think I really expected to be able to go anywhere else.  I did get married  in Canada, and  last year I visited a friend in Italy to only get there and realize how much I didn't know about Italy leaving me in culture shock!  Slowly now I have been exposed to other places and  I think too I can thank my kids to help open my eyes to new places (and adventures).

So with this idea I really want to talk to the kids about the planet we live in and that God so beautifully created.  We also have a list of sticky notes next to it with people we know; some separated  by states, and some separated by oceans and countries. Part of the plan is to  at dinner, use the time to pray for these friends and family and even people we have never met, to make the kids aware that life doesn't literally "revolve"  around them.  

Mind you, like most busy, crazy families, we don't always get to sit at the table in that "Norman Rockwell" fashion. I aim at having at least 3-4 meals a week at the table and even one of those nights is a frozen pizza night!  And as described "this is familyrific". In our first few attempts to do this, the kids really have cried and screamed over who gets to pick a country, who can turn the globe, and I have yelled numerous times, "QUIT SPINNING IT", and they have even  fought on who gets to pray (Fighting to Pray? I know, how do those words even go together? And it doesn't matter if they all get a turn, then they are fighting over who goes first ....;/ )  I know we won't get to do it on a daily basis that my "familyrific mom mind"  first planned, but I also have hope that as the globe is displayed in our house, the kids will take interest in it.  Mari already has, as she is probably going to be my "world traveler" out on her "Safaris" finding new animals!  

Maybe in this attempt someday as a family we will be blessed to get to travel the world?  

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mr. Eyeball

Have been wanting to post this for a while....Over Christmas we spent Christmas Eve with my husbands family and their friends, the Arbaugh's.  This would be the first time Mari had met the Arbaugh's.

The kids were great and Santa came and we opened presents Christmas morning with Dan's aunt and uncle.  Later that morning while looking at pictures on the fridge, Mari said, "Oh look that is Mr. Eyeball."
There on the fridge was a picture of another family memeber who is an older gentleman and great uncle to Mari who looked a lot like "Mr. Arbaugh" from the night before.  It took us all a few minutes to put it all together but when we did her mispronunciation was priceless and a Mari moment; and forever Mr. Arbaugh will be Mr. Eyeball.

Also we recently moved and Mari had lost her precious blanket "MiMi".  MiMi has been with Mari since she was 9 months and one night she just started asking for "Mimi", and we gave her everything until this white silky blanket was it.  As she got older I loved why she said she loved it, "Because it is cold on one side and soft on the other." (one side is satin while the other is plush). At night she just lays the silk side (the cold part)  on her bare stomach and goes to sleep.  Mimi at one point even became a "she". I bet you didn't know blankets had genders???:)

So with a little help from ebay and "Santa", Christmas morning MiMi was brought back to us (even a little "whiter" and "cleaner").  Mari squealed and ran around like a MaD Woman!!!  She was so excited!!  We told her Santa had found it and brought it back just for her.  This was probably the best Christmas with all our kids....Just a few updated pics...

Mari and Aunt Lissee making crayons 
Mari NYE 2011 sporting Piggie Tails:) (a big deal to do her hair
these days!)

Silly girl

Mari and her Mimi (and I think she was pretending to fall asleep so she would be
carried up to bed;/)