Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Snacks at the Movies Trick

With a family of six going to the movies is not cheap. Adding popcorn and drinks makes it even crazier.

My solution? I bring baggies, a scoop (1 cup measuring cup) and Take and Toss straw cups. Then I buy a large popcorn and two large drinks. I divide the popcorn and drinks into the stuff I brought and pass it out.

Everybody has their own so there is no arguing about sharing. I'm not breaking the rules by bringing food in. And, I'm not spending nearly as much as if I bought them each a kid pack.

Remember to bring an extra baggie for the scoop to go in when you are finished. And, if your kids are extra hungry or thirsty most theaters offer free refills on their large popcorn and drinks.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ruby and Eliza Claire are Five!

I can not believe my youngest are five.  Wow, time sure does fly when you are having fun.  Honestly, I can't believe we all survived the last five years.  Some of those years were quite crazy.

I am so blessed to be Ruby and Eliza Claire's mom.  They are such amazing girls.  It has been so much fun to watch them grow into their personalities.  They are so very different from each other but have so much fun together.

Their birthday was mostly a quiet day.  This year all of my kids are foregoing birthday parties and other things as part of our way of involving them in the planning and saving of money for a trip to Disney World later in the year.  Michael was not in town for their actual birthday as he traveled to attend his uncle's funeral.  And Rehm was sick.

Once everyone was awake for the day we opened presents.  Then the three girls, Papa and Cici went out to breakfast.  After breakfast, everyone came home.  The girls played with their new things and I assembled the Playmobil things they received.  Mid-afternoon we stopped playing to have birthday cake.

The girls could not decide on a cake so I got to make two.  Ruby chose yellow cake with caramel frosting and Eliza Claire chose chocolate cake with butter cream frosting.  If anyone would like a slice of cake come on over.  There is still plenty.  

For dinner the girls could agree on a restaurant - Chuys.  Cici stayed home with Rehm and the rest of us enjoyed a fun dinner of yummy Tex-Mex. 

The girls both had a great day and Eliza Claire told me she had the best birthday.  I don't think they missed a birthday party at all.  I know I didn't miss planning one.  I think we might have to make the no-parties-take-a-trip-instead plan an annual tradition. 



Rehm and I have spent a lot of time together in the last week with him not feeling well.  I hate he has been sick but have enjoyed many of the conversations we have had.  Today's was especially funny and one I knew I wanted to record for him to read in sometime five to 10 years from now.

We were at the drug store picking up prescriptions.

Rehm: Mom you really are smart! (His reason for saying this had something to do with the way I've taken care of him during his illness.  I don't remember at this point if it had to do with what medicines I'd chosen to give him or something about the visit to the doctor today)

Me:  I'm glad you think so.  I hope in a few years when you don't think your Dad and I are very smart you'll remember this.

Rehm:  Why won't I think you are smart, because you are smart.

Me:  When you are older you will hit a period of time when you think Mom and Dad are old and our ideas are out of date and that we are just not smart.

Rehm: But you are old!

Good thing I was in a good mood because at that point we both laughed ourselves silly.

I really do enjoy spending time with my boy.  I love hearing how his mind works.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby

See bottom for an update on the swimming lesson fit.

This morning Ruby came in my room to snuggle. While chatting she informed me that she would like " a date with just me and mommy where I could have some bubble paper and salad!" by bubble paper she meant bubble wrap.

Later this morning she pitched a huge fit because I tried to help her with her swim cover up after swim lessons. She informed me that I was "pure evil!"

After we got home she had room time because the fit still wasn't over. From her room she decreed that she was NEVER coming out. I told her that was fine. Then I heard her yelling, "But you will bring me food? I've gotta have food! You must bring me food!"

She has now emerged from her room and is in a much more pleasant mood. I think the fear that we might not bring her food finally got her over her room strike.

Such a funny child. I just don't always fully appreciate some of the many facets of her personality.

Update: Later in the afternoon Cici, all three girls and I loaded into the van to go to the quilt shop. We picked out fabric to make a new table cloth for the dinning room. I love the fabrics and can't wait to see the finished product. But I digress...

We got in the van. Ruby sat down in her car seat and discovered it was damp. She proceeded to inform me that it is wet because she didn't wear her cover up home from swim lessons. I agreed and empathized with her that she chose not to wear it. At that point she informed me, "Yes,it is all your fault, Mommy, that my shorts are going to be wet when we get to the quilt shop!" And well, what was I really going to say to that? I chose to silently disagree with her on that point in hopes another full fledge fit would be averted.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Bible in 90 Days: Two Weeks In

It has been a little over two weeks since I started reading The Bible in 90 Days.  I am so glad I took this challenge.  It has been an amazing experience so far.

I have had more discussions with more people about the Bible in the last two weeks than I can count.  It is so refreshing to have these conversations with my husband, my son, my friends, and fellow church goers.  It feels like everyone is talking about the Bible and we are all talking about the same parts.  It is great.

I have found that I have no time to read anything other than my Bible reading each day.  I'm an avid reader and on some level I am really missing my mindless, for entertainment only reading.  But, I am really enjoying reading all the bits and pieces that get left out between the Bible stories you learn in Sunday School. 

Rehm and I were talking about how tedious it was to read about the building of the Tabernacle.  I was telling him it was one of my favorite studies in Elementary Sunday School.  Of course, that was back in the days of flannel boards which I loved anyway. Apparently kids today think flannel boards are boring.  These kids, they just don't know what they are missing.  A well told flannel board story is awesome.

I loved watching my Sunday School teacher slowly build each layer of the Tabernacle.  I was completely amazed.  I didn't feel that way reading about it.  It was pretty tedious, but it did bring back the fond childhood memories for me.  Of course, in Elementary Sunday School we didn't talk about the logistics of actually moving about the wilderness for many, many years with this humongous tent building.  It never occurred to me then to wonder how it got moved.  But you know what?  Now I know the answer to that question!  How cool is that?

I have finished through Deuteronomy.  While I have enjoyed the reading, some of it has been pretty tedious.  There are many things that I don't identify with (the constant gore of the sacrifices, the harshness of God when wrong is done, the complete obliteration of nations).  It is hard to comprehend and reconcile with.  But I know every word was written so that I would know my  God better and deeper and so that I would fully appreciate the gift of Jesus Christ.

I am glad to be taking this journey and glad to have so many around me along for the ride.


Finally a good way to dry beach towels

I just have to share this tip.  I have always had a hard time finding a place to dry towels after swimming. Now that problem is solved!

My solution for the last few years has been to wash them after each swimming trip. This gets old as with a family of six it adds an extra complete load of laundry every time we swim. Especially since I am always behind on laundry anyway. I got to where I avoided taking the kids swimming just to avoid the laundry.

The solution? I bought a second shower curtain rod and installed it on the back side of the kids bathtub. Then I bought the curtain rings that are S-shaped hooks. I hang the towels on the hooks. When I want to hide my drying towels and swimwear I just pull the curtain closed. If someone needs to use the tub then everything just gets pushed to the far end out of the way.

Now we are all happy. The towels have a place to dry, they aren't in the way, and I'm happy to take everyone to the pool to swim.

I can't take credit for this idea. I found it at The Frugal Girls. I just tweaked it to fit my needs.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, June 12, 2011

It's Time...But I'm Not Ready

There comes a point in pet ownership where the right thing to do for a pet is to let them go. That time has come for Howdy. We've known for months that his time was near and our vet agreed that the time is now. I know it is time. I know it is the right thing to do. But, I am not ready...

Having a pet in my life has always been important to me. I know that is shocking considering at this moment we have two dogs, two cats and four fish. I love what they add to our lives. I love their companionship and their constant acceptance, even on my grumpy days. No, I don't love the constant pet hair, or the unexpected vet bills, or the clawed recliner. But, they are worth every minute of it.

I agonize over making the best decisions for the four-legged members of the family when they are ill, or in this case, old and declining and no longer enjoying their lives but enduring them. I ache over making the choice too soon...or too late.

Howdy can't tell me what he is thinking and to the end he is going to do his best to please me. He still gets up, with help, when I ask him to. He still comes to get attention, even when his back half is almost dragging the ground when he stands still for more than a few seconds. He still goes on a short walk every evening, though he has started balking about halfway through. Even though he doesn't feel great, Howdy is still doing his best to be the best pet he can be. It is my duty to be worthy of his trust and love.

I am so glad that we have the ability to make end of life choices for our pets. And, at the same time, I despise having that responsibility. It is so hard. I am not ready...

I know it is his time. But calling the vet to schedule your dog's death is a horrible thing to do. In fact, I couldn't do it because I knew I would cry too hard while on the phone. Michael had to make the appointment. Knowing for 48 hours when my dog's life is going to end is gut wrenching. Trying to find the right time and way to break the news to my children is terrible. But, at the end of the day, the 13.5 years we have been blessed to have Howdy as part of our family are worth every single bit of the pain now.

I keep looking at Howdy and thinking,"Is this really the right choice?" Deep down I know it is. But, I'm not ready...

Unfortunately, he is...


Thursday, June 09, 2011

The Bible in 90 Days: Why I deciced to participate

Today's post is brought to you by a guest blogger, The Grinch himself.  Everyone please welcome Rehm to Mayhem Mania.

Well about 3 weeks ago I found out my church was going to read the Bible in 90 days. Having never read the whole thing I thought this was a wonderful chance to do so.  I am excited because I would get to do something I've never done.  I liked that lots of other people would be doing it.  Then I would have lots of people to discuss it with.

I was also a bit scared because there was a lot of reading.  I was afraid I might not have enough time to do it all sometimes.  I have lots of other activities planned for the summer.

The majority of the first 11 days have been good.  The good parts were when there was lots of action happening, like creation, the Ark...There were a couple of days that have been hard.  When it starts talking about the building of the Tabernacle, the alter for the Tabernacle, and all of the sacrifices it is really hard to continue on because it makes you tired and sleepy. 

I hope that I get though the whole thing. This is an amazing program.  I like how it is a short time period so I don't have to remember to do it everyday for a whole year.  It is quicker so I can make connections between the Old and New Testaments and different books.

Wish me luck,

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Summer is Going to Kill Me

We are only on Day Two of Summer Vacation and I am ready for the school year to start.  I know we are all just getting adjusted to the different pace and schedule that summer brings.  But, my goodness!  My kids are whiny brats! 

As of today, Day Two of Summer, I've already done the one thing I swore I would not do this summer.  I took all four children to the grocery store to do the weekly shopping.  Honestly, the car ride to and from the store were probably more annoying than the actual store time.  And this is after re-arranging seats this weekend to split up the bickering children.  Apparently, one certain child, that will remain nameless, just can't help but bug their seat mate. 

At the store itself, Charlotte got mad that I wouldn't let her ride in the cart.  She is almost 8!  What is she thinking?   Ruby and Eliza Claire insisted on riding in a cart even though I told them they are really getting too big.  Their argument consisted of reminding me they are only four.  So I'm taking that to mean when they turn five later this month the cart goes.

Of course, after procuring the  humongo cart with the added two seats that is impossible to steer, five minutes into the shopping the girls didn't want to sit in it.  Bummer for them, that wasn't a choice.  I told them they were the ones who wanted to ride and ride they would, for the entire shopping time.  I wonder if they will be so insistent about riding next time?

Rehm and Charlotte actually got a few Camp Life Skills lessons while shopping.  Rehm was in charge of keeping a running total of what we had spent so far and Charlotte was in charge of marking things off the list. 

Hopefully, we will all survive the first week of summer.  I know it will get easier as we all get used to spending so much time together, but I really hope I don't have to take them all to the store again any time soon.


Sunday, June 05, 2011

Eliza Claire Cuteness

She calls the refrigerator the refrigdidator (re-frig-di-date-or).

She and Michael are currently watching college baseball together on TV.  She is asking about a million questions.  It is too cute.  But the cutest thing is that she keeps calling the umpire the "empire."

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Reading the Bible in 90 Days? Seriously?

Over 350 people from our church are participating in The Bible in 90 Days program this summer.  When it was first announced I thought "no way!"  How in the world would I read the entire Bible in 90 days?  Over the summer no less, with four kids to occupy. 

I've made an effort in the last year to get out of my comfort zone and push myself physically and emotional.  I've also made it a priority to understand who I am and what I am capable of and stopped beating myself up about not doing everything.  In this year of self discovery, I've determined that I am very much the tortoise and not the hare.

I can't do things in a fast and furious manner.  Especially when starting a new habit.  If I do, I burn out in a week or two and then feel like a failure when I don't stick to the new regimen.  I have found that I do better to make small goals and build on them.

For example, I started doing the Couch to 5K program in mid-March. The first day I almost talked myself out of doing it because I truly didn't believe I could do it.  But I realized I would definitely fail, if I didn't try and trying alone was a success in and of itself. I should have completed the program as of this week.  I'm not quite halfway.  Do I feel like I have failed?  Nope, because I have tried something new and stuck with it for nine weeks.  Will I ever complete the program and run a 5K?  Probably, but if I don't, I have still been successful. I've tried something way outside my comfort zone and given it my best effort.  I'm slow, but I'm doing it in a way that works for me and who I am.  

My personal motto this year has become, "I am tortoise hear me...plod."  Yep, boring and down right anti-climatic, but completely and totally who I am.  Progress, no matter how slow, change, no matter how small, are my successes. 

How does someone who has embraced taking the slow and steady approach to the world end up committing to read the Bible in 90 days? I don't really know. My first response to my Bible Study group was, "I'm the tortoise not the hare and this is totally the hare's approach.  I'm scared!"

I am scared.  I am a tortoise.  I am a slow reader.  I don't do well with big change.  This is a big change, requiring about 45 minutes of reading every day for 90 days! I've never read the Bible all the way through.  I've read chunks but never the whole thing.  I've failed at so many projects that required me to jump in with both feet and do something different.

I'm also very excited.  I'm out of my comfort zone and I've learned this year that is a good place for me to be.  I am growing and stretching and challenging myself by attempting something I don't feel capable of doing.  I feel empowered by trying something new and by testing myself. 

I'm four days in to the reading.  I've completed Genesis.  All the stories were familiar but this is the first time in my life I've read every last single word in Genesis and I did it in 4 days!

Will I complete this journey in 90 days?  I intend to.  Will I be a better person for doing this? Yes!  I will have accomplished something that I didn't think I was capable of and I know God will stretch me spiritually through this process as well.  I am excited.  I am the tortoise but for the next 86 days I will be impersonating the hare.

Wish me luck and say a prayer for my endurance.  I'm sure I'll be posting more about it as the summer progresses.


PS. I'll be posting on Facebook everyday when I complete my reading.  This is my way of being accountable during the process.