Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent Sunday! Have to run out and get my wreath and candles, the kids and I are going to learn about and observe Advent this year. I am totally excited about it, I think the Church calendar is fascinating and have never been part of a church that follows it. So we are on a journey of discovery.
I may have missed black Friday shopping, but I won't miss out on the rest of this Christmas season!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

We have a winner!

The winner of our Heritage Makers Calendar credit draw is Laura! From Lunatic Fringe!
Congratulations Laura and to all our entrants, thank you and please let me know how I can help you immortalize your family's memories.
  1. 13 1 . S, Laura
(you have to try random.org, so cool!)

Friday, November 28, 2008

TGIF and last day for give-away!

Today is the last day to enter my Heritage Makers giveaway! Remember to sign up for your free account and leave me a comment to be entered in for your free calendar credit.

Today I feel wrung out. The weather is gloomy, the sky is dark and I am still not sleeping.
But.
We have had a fabulously productive week. (As I wrote fabulously, the Schoolhouse Rocks adverb song went through my head. Love!) My second son, Superboy, is a new boy. You should see the pride and self-confidence radiating from him after 3 or 4 days in a row of quickly finishing his schoolwork. He has spent the last 4 years inventing every possible way of dragging out each assignment. He could literally spend 8 hours sitting at the table, staring at one math lesson. Many of those days resulted in me losing it and one or both of us in tears. The frustration reached epic proportions and I am ashamed to admit my failures. Some days I would just retreat. Hide out in my room, or on my computer and stop dealing so that I wouldn't explode.
We have tried every tactic imaginable to help Superboy to just get done what he needed to. Changing curriculum, acting as his scribe, reward systems, punishments, taking away electronics, yelling... many disciplinary measures would result in a day or 2 of compliance. But we have never found a way to create good habits in this child.
For some reason, this week, something clicked in him. Like he finally realized that if he concentrates for an hour or 2, he can complete all his assignments and then his time becomes his own. And Mommy is happy! And cheerful! And wants to hang out with him and do fun things!
Now, I have spent a lot of time and energy concentrating on all the kids and their school and chores. Sitting with them, doing chores with them, reading and praying with them. I have not always done that. Some weeks I am very remiss in my duties, handing out assignments and expecting them to just do them. But it seems to be what I need to consistently do, actively participate, to get results. And maybe, just maybe, Superboy is growing up a bit.

Girly is really loving the 'school' we have been doing, especially printing on the slate, she will make letters for an hour! Monkey gives me a hard time about every thing I ever ask him to do, but once he gets started he does seem to enjoy it. They seem to be blossoming before my very eyes, the changes are thrilling and a bit sad at the same time. I miss my baby girl. I caught Monkey reading one of those levelled readers to himself the other day, in his head. I just can't believe wrap my head around how quickly the reading progresses. I am awed. I have a feeling it won't be too long until Girly is reading books to herself too.

After this long week of being on, I am wiped. I need a rest, and maybe, just maybe, someone else to tag-team (anyone else miss eighties wwf wrestling??) with me a bit. My hubby really needs a day off! I need him to have a day off!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Canadian Blog awards!

Hey! I just found out that I was nominated for the Canadian Blog awards for best Family Blog!
Thank you to whoever nominated me (Laura!?!), so sweet. mwahhhh!
Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends.

I am still here!!!

I miss you! If any of my blog friends are still out there, I miss you and I apologize for not coming by much in the last few weeks.

As you may have read last week, I have been feeling overwhelmed by all I have committed to doing, all the 'I shoulds', and especially all the 'I haven't gotten to yets'. So I made a decision. I need to be realistic about what I can actually do and I need to prioritize so that the most important things actually have a chance of getting done.

So, I have been making a concerted effort to concentrate on my kids during the day. I home educate, so that means a significant amount of effort and attention needs to be paid to their 'school' stuff. The buck stops with me, and I have been dropping the ball, often. This renewed commitment on my part has paid big dividends with my kid's effort and output. Today was a particularly great day!

My hubby has been putting in 14 hour days, 7 days a week and that means that everything at home falls to me. So I have been making a bigger effort in keeping up the house on a daily basis, helping the kids with their chores so that they are actually finished and making sure everyone has healthy meals and snacks. We have been doing tons of smoothies with frozen fruit and yogurt and a bit of protein powder, smoothie time is a great opportunity for us to sit together to do our devotions and reading aloud. We are reading Rudyard Kiplings' The Jungle Book together. Today we made a quick whole wheat pizza dough and had pizza for lunch, yummy!

With hubby working such long hours, I either have no car or I take him to work at 6 am and get back at 8:30 or so and leave again at 7 pm to get him and back home again after 9pm. If I take the car, I can get out and do some stuff, but I have absolutely no time to myself either before the kids get up or in the evenings. And that means.... No Blogging! and No scrapbooking either. Wah!!!

I am also pretty darn tired, so the days that I do have some time to myself, I don't really want to open my computer. My eyes are scratchy and droopy, I just want to curl up in my bed and sleep. So I have been trying to do that.

I do really need to finish making my Christmas presents on Heritage Makers, hopefully I will find the time this week. Then I need to crochet Zed's stocking before Christmas. Girly's took me 3 years to finish, oops! The Christmas before I had her, I crocheted 4, so I can do it, I just need to steal the time from somewhere.

I do feel much better about everything, thank you all for your encouragement. I am trying to be more accepting of my situation and my limitations, and doing the best I can.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Crybaby! and giveaway is back on!

The Give-away is back on! All you have to do is sign up for a free Heritage Makers account here, or leave me a comment with your email addy so that I can register your free account and you will be entered into a draw for a free custom calendar credit and my design help if you desire.
Draw is Nov. 28th. Good luck! and all of you who already signed up during the glitch, will be entered as well. Thanks!

***
What a week! I am feeling very overwhelmed by my life right now. So many 'I shoulds', ack! And I feel like I shouldn't complain because this life was my choice. I know there are those in my hubby's family that feel that way, I chose to have all these kids, despite their advice, therefore I dare not complain. Or if I feel overwhelmed, frustrated or tired, then that it yet another reason why I should put my kids in school... (not all of them feel that way, they are pretty darn supportive actually!)
I did make these choices, because I thought, and still think, that they are what is best for my family. Most of the time. Occasionally, like today, I feel like I must be insane to think for one second that I can make this work. And honestly, on my own strength there is no way that I can be successful at any of it. Funny how, as I write this out, the answers come to me. (apparently my grammar is failing me, but...)
The answer being, that I don't have to do it on my own strength. I can rely on my heavenly Father. My God is sufficient for all my needs. Let me repeat that to myself for a moment... My God is sufficient for all my needs. repeat until absorbed.
Why is that so easy for me to forget? I have been running around like a mad woman, lamenting all that I 'need' to do, but can't seem to accomplish. Having a good cry, at least daily, at all my failures and frustrations. I just can't do it all. I can't get my house to stay even remotely clean. I can't blinkin' get it clean at all! I feel like I am a complete failure as a teacher most days, just the thought of planning, implementing and facilitating the 4 learners in my home is so daunting that I want to pull out my hair. And all the extras? Where do they fit?
Why do I fight God so much to try and hang on to all this. He just asks for me to give it to him and lean on him. I know I can't do it on my own, and yet I resist giving it up. Silly, silly girl. I guess this is one of those growth things. Isn't that the point of my blog name? To keep morphin' into the woman he intends me to be?
Okay, okay, I get it! I really do. I am trying here God, thanks for yet another chance. Giving it to you, right now. Deep breath. I can't do it all myself, thank you for helping me, uplifting me, carrying me. Thank you for covering over my mistakes, especially with my kids. They are pretty darn terrific, in spite of me some days. Thank you.
'K', feeling a bit better now. ahhhhhh.

***
For those of you interested, there is a Heritage Makers virtual workshop tonight, learn all about storybooking and my terrific business. Here is the link:
8:30 PM (Pacific), 9:30 PM (Mountain), 10:30 PM (Central), 11:30 PM (Eastern)https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/453240517

Monday, November 17, 2008

wee bit of random

Happy Birthday Shalagh!!! I hope you eat lots of cake and get wonderful gifts. I love you to pieces and still miss you always.

***
So Brent's mom is home from the hospital and doing well, she had an angioplasty and a stent put in her heart, hopefully that will prevent any more angina. Thank you so much for your prayers and care. I think we are feeling a bit less stressed here. In fact I actually feel rested this morning, I got a bit more sleep than I have been! I let myself stay in bed until I was ready to get up, so nice.

***
We took the kids to a free preview of Bolt on the weekend, it was so cute. And free is definitely the way to go to the movies when you have 5 kids! We still spent 25 bucks on treats! It must be free week, because my kids are going to a choral performance on Wednesday that includes an educational time with the performers and free pizza! mmm pizza...

***
I can't believe how Baby Zed is changing! He can be so sweet and sunny, laughing at mommy, taking a wee nursing break to smile up at mommy. Aw, just reaches in and pulls on my heart. He, thankfully, started taking a soother last week, so he isn't suckling all night. My poor back is much happier.

***
The Boy, my eldest, turns 14 tomorrow. I have to say, this having a boy in the midst of his growth spurt is so much like having a baby. The changes and growth happen so quickly that it is overwhelming to my mommy heart. I revel in each milestone on the road to manhood, while mourning the little boy he is quickly ceasing to be. He can get his learner's driving permit tomorrow! Yikes!

Someone pass me a tissue so that I don't get tears into the birthday cake I need to go make...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ack, a glitch!

Hi guys,
I am having a problem with my site currently and have temporarily suspended the give away. I will get right back to you about it. In the mean time, if you want to sign up for a free account, please email me or leave a comment with your email addy and I will get back to you. If you do that you will still be entered into the draw when it resumes.
If you already did sign up will you please drop me a line, because the glitch in the site means that I don't know that you have and therefore I can't enter your name in the draw.
Thanks!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Shameless Self-Promotion & Give-away

I am super psyched!!!! In spite of still not sleeping, in spite of having a head cold and a migraine and a sick tummy, in spite of going a bit stir crazy with my kids and the cold weather....
I am so excited! Today I picked up my O magazine with my HBB featured as one of her all time favourite gifts and I got my first commission check from said business! Our business is also on the Oprah website!!!! I would love to show you how you can earn your own helping other people record their family's memories as a consultant, like me.
I also finished my first storybook, check it out below! Make sure you choose the full screen option, it may take a few seconds for all the pages to load.

As for the give-away... I am giving one lucky reader a Heritage Makers calendar credit and my personal help in creating their fully custom calendar. All you have to do is go here and sign up for a free Heritage Makers account and then leave me a comment. While you are there, I highly recommend taking a look at all our gorgeous products and awesome templates. Great gift ideas.

So go here to be entered. And I will be making the draw on November 28, 2008!

Preview











Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ode to Insomnia

Oh Insomnia
Horrid lack of sleep
I didn't miss you one bit
but back you came......

Okay, I am way too tired to write an ode. Or anything else. Baby is only getting up once at night, but unfortunately I am not really sleeping. At most 3 hours a night. I was trying to figure out why my eye won't stop twitching, then it dawned on me. Oh! I have only had one night of real sleep in weeks! It was enough to tide me over for most of last week, but apparently this week I need some more.
Sleep will come again, I know it will. Until then I may not be around much, the computer screen aggravates the twitch.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Updates

Well I guess I can say goodbye to nablopomo. I forgot what these out of town company weekends are like, plus I haven't had any breaks from the kids because hubby has been either working, at the hospital or helping his Dad on a job. He also went to floor hockey for the first time this week! I was so happy, I have been trying to get him to go and socialize and play for a while now. He works far to much and plays far too little.

Brent's mom is out of critical care and waiting for tests. She will be in the hospital for awhile I guess. We are all fine here at casa de Mighty, no more tummy flu for us! Today was a productive day for us, the kids got their school finished and I got to clean, cook and work on my Christmas gifts while my Dad played with baby Zed. I love having extra hands around.

My mom is also in town, she came and took the Boy out for a birthday date yesterday and bought him new pants. I was so excited about that, because all of his other pants are floods. All my kids are in need of a shopping trip, I don't know what happened, all of a sudden they have drawers full of teensy clothes. It's like they keep growing or something.

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day here in Canada, where we remember all of those who have served in the military, especially those who lost their lives to protect our freedoms. It also means a day off for my hubby. Thank goodness, I miss him.

I will try to catch up on my blog visits tomorrow, hope you are all well.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Health Matters

So hubby's Mom is doing well. There was no significant damage to her heart muscle. She is still waiting for a bed in the cardiac care unit and is under observation. They are looking for the cause.

Everyone here is good, I think Brent and his brother were a bit shaken by it all. It is hard to face the mortality of your parents. But she is a fighter, she has already survived breast cancer and we hope to have her with us for a long time yet.

I am also praying for my great grandma, who will be 98 on Monday. She has always been in fabulous health and leads an active lifestyle to this day. But last week it was discovered that her intestine had twisted and she went into surgery where they removed 2 feet of intestine that was becoming gangrenous. I am praying she recovers fully.

All this has me thinking about how thankful I am for my health and that of my kids. And that I need to be a good steward of that health by feeding us all properly and leading an active lifestyle. A good kick in the pants for me. And for my hubby too. He actually went to play floor hockey with the guys at church this week and, surprise surprise, realized he isn't twenty anymore.

And after the chocolate cake I made is gone, I will get right on that healthy eating thing!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Please Pray

Please say a prayer for my mother in law, I think she is having a heart attack and they are on their way to the hospital.
I actually think she may have had a smaller attack earlier in the week from what she had described to me, I pray that the damage is minimized and that she is okay. My kids need her!

Update: Thanks so much you guys. Okay, she is having a heart attack. She is being treated in hospital, so I am sure she will be okay. Thank you again for your prayers, so appreciated..


Today I am thankful that my m-i-l is okay. God is watching over her.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Life Swap?

I think I forgot to tell you all a funny thing that happened to me this summer. I got an email, supposedly from the show Wife-Swap, telling me that they had read my blog and thought our family would be great for their show. When I opened that, I laughed out loud and said, "Well, I guess that confirms it, we are freaks!" I haven't actually watched the show, but I would imagine if someone thinks we are fascinating enough for tv, they must think we are a bit out of the ordinary. 5 kids, homeschooling, in the middle of renos... craziness to be sure, interesting? I don't know. But hubby and I thought it was hysterical.

Anyway, the other day at dinner it was very loud. All the kids were acting nutty, I am sure it must have been a full moon or something. Or they were all coming down from a 3 day Halloween sugar high. In the midst of this craziness, I turned to my hubby with a somewhat helpless smile,
"Remember when Wife Swap sent me that email? At this moment I might just say yes. Yikes!"

Later when I thought a bit about it, I thought they would swap me with a woman with an opposite lifestyle to mine. So maybe I could go to the gym, have a massage and a manicure, lunch with friends, hmmm... not so bad...

Then I went to kiss my babies goodnight. I sang them lullabies and got 27 kisses from my Monkey boy and 10 hugs from Girly. My 11 and 14 year old boys kissed me goodnight and wanted me to sing to them as well. Still! Then I crawled into bed with arms around my teensy sweetheart and in the arms of my big sweetheart and thought how there was no where else I would rather be. I am so blessed.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Little Blessings


























Today I am thankful that both my preschoolers stopped whining at playgroup and went to play with the other kids finally! And my big boys finished the bulk of their school by 7 am. I am also thankful for little Z, he slept 7 hours 2 nights in a row! Little blessings to make my day a little easier.

New layouts

up at Immortality Art

if you need an invite, email me!

Oprah loves our books

Check this out!

Oprah Loves Heritage Makers





Just in time for the holidays! Heritage Makers is featured in the December 2008 O Magazine as one of Oprah’s All-Time Favorite Gifts! So exciting! Our hardbound storybooks are featured on this exclusive list. Check out the magazine on newsstands now!













As part of the celebration, we’re offering an amazing Oprah special! Get your pages for less than $3.00/page!

Special Offer #1:

Scrapbook pages - Buy 7, Get 3 FREE!

(10) 12 x 12 scrapbook page credits + 1 month FREE Studio Premier

Only $29.95 Save $34

Special Offer #2:

12 x 12 Hardbound Coffee-table Style Book

21-pages + 1 month FREE Studio Premier

Less than $3/page!

Only $69.95 Save $30

Go here to get in on this special Oprah offer!

To see the storybook that Oprah got that started it all, go here.


From the Heritage Makers blog

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Life Lessons learned

Baby Zed was just falling asleep on my breast, the boys were watching their Canadian History video on the couch beside me and I could hear that Girly was getting into something. That is what happens when she needs attention, when we are all too busy doing and not connecting with her. In she ran with flour on her hands and proceeded to wipe it on the ottoman. Ack!

But, and I am so proud of myself, I got up, told her to vacuum up her mess and asked her if she would like to bake something with mommy. Then I took Baby upstairs, laid him on the bed and went down to make cookies with my girl.

Monkey joined us as he hates to be left out. After we had a batch done, I put on the kettle and we all sat down for tea and cookies. I asked the kids who makes the best chocolate chip cookies in the world. There had been some discussion about this because they had eaten cookies made by two other women recently and proclaimed them both the best ever. My kids are nothing if not polite. *wink.

I was greeted with a chorus of, "You do, Mom!" Right answer.

But Monkey piped in with his Aunt's name. I said, "What?!?!" and laughed.

He looked at me very seriously and said, "Mom, I don't always think what you think."

Can I tell you that I was ever so proud in that moment? I am doing something right.

So thankful today to know that everything I say does not just go in one ear and out the other.


Oh yeah, I decided to do Nablopomo and 30 days of thanks this month, come and join me! Thanks Lori for inspiring me!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Afternoon laugh break

I hear a cacophony of Canadian Geese outside of my window right now. That is the only word for it, cacophony. Man I love saying that...

The sound reminds me that even though the day is mild, the winter is well on it's way.

The other day, as I drove through the magical, super saturated light that only touches us before the sun sets (and all afternoon in these northern autumn days), I saw a large gaggle of geese flying overhead. I pointed out their distinctive v-formation to my gaggle of kids in the backseats, "Look at the gee......... what the?!" And then I laughed and turned on the windshield wipers. Goose poops all over the window. Nice.

I am thankful today for little moments that lighten my days, for remembering to step back, gain perspective and laugh rather than get upset or yell at my kids. There have been so many overwhelming moments lately, so many where I could just give into my coarser nature, so many where I have. But I am trying. And therefore discovering the smiles in the rain, the laughter in the storms. I hope you find some laughter in your today.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Halloween tricks.


















My two Monkeys and my baby banana!

What a strange Halloween. We only had the three little kids at home with us. The Boy left for youth retreat at a nearby ranch and Superboy went to the football game with the neighbours. So strange to not have all of our kids with us, I missed them!

The preschoolers were pretty hyped up, by the time we were finished dinner they were both in tears. Monkey boy really didn't want to put on his gorilla costume and Daddy had to reach pretty deep in his bag of tricks to convince him.

The kid practically ran from house to house yelling Trick or Treat, giggling and laughing. All the neighbours really enjoyed our little sweeties and we got to visit with people we haven't talked to much since the summer.

When we finished our cul-de-sac we left to go and visit hubby's relatives with our little monkeys. After one stop Monkey was crying again because he was so tired, and before we got to Gramps', he was asleep. Poor Monkey, too much sugar and anticipation.

By the time we got our Monkeys and Banana baby tucked in, we got a call from the youth pastor. I guess the stomach flu that hit the rest of us finally caught up with the Boy on the way to the ranch. Our poor boy had thrown up all over the bus and then hadn't stopped. Daddy drove out to get him. Poor kid didn't even get to gorge himself on junk before he got sick, he missed all the fun.

My kids are getting so big, this halloween is just the beginning of the kids having other places to be and go rather than hanging with us. Life is changing, our family is growing and growing up. I miss my boys already!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Remembering Callum

For those of you looking for an amazing baby gift or those of you with new babies I wanted to share an awesome sling with you. I had a HipMelon sling for my Girly (Love it!) and now I am getting a new one for Baby Zed, this one.
Here is this sling's story, from the website:
A pregnancy, a new baby: A time of excitement and expectation and hope. We carry our babies, love our babies, birth our babies and then bring them home to be raised, nurtured, and loved. We live happily ever after.

But happily ever after does not follow all pregnancies. In fact, some stories end more tragically than we’d like to consider.

Stillbirth: A dirty word to some, but a stark reality in 1 in every 115 pregnancies. Beautiful babies of 20 weeks or more gestation, fully formed with 10 fingers and 10 toes, who die before birth or during birth leaving shocked parents and families to mourn a baby they’ll never know.

We dedicate Carry on My Wayward Son sling to all the babies who did not make it out alive to the waiting, hopeful arms of their mothers and fathers. Babies who will never see a first birthday, who will never know the feeling of the warm sun on their little faces, who will never sense their mothers’ gentle kiss. And we dedicate this sling to the families that live with the anguish of this profound and traumatic loss every single day.

We ask that you remember, that you acknowledge their short, impactful lives, and that you join us in our endeavor to support efforts in stillbirth research and prevent a family from ever having to know the heartache of leaving the hospital empty-handed.

***

HipMelon Baby Wear will donate the full purchase price of all Carry on My Wayward Son slings purchased to stillbirth research in the name of Callum, son to HipMelon founder, Caterina Patterson, who was born still at 34 weeks gestation on November 1, 2007.

Carry on, sweet boy. Carry on.

So please consider buying a sling that will benefit charities trying to prevent this tragedy in other families lives.

Thinking of you today C., embracing you and dear, sweet Callum in my heart on this, his first birthday.