Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Yup, it's true! My 10 year high school reunion is THIS year! I really have no interest in going to the reunion since it's totally going to be all the popular people getting together to check each other out and see who still looks good (or doesn't!), who got married, had kids.....okay, yes, I'm totally interested in finding that info out but really, who wants to go see a bunch of people who aren't going to remember you anyways?
So instead, I'll share what I've done in the last 10 years since I became an "adult."
1. Quit being a goody two shoes. Okay, fine! I didn't.
2. Went to college at Miami University of Ohio. Yea for roomates who hate you! Yesssss....
3. Met the love of my life when I was barely 18 years old. Wow, that sounds young!
4.Worked at Petsmart, the Der (Ohioans should know!) and two childcare centers.
5.Dated the love of my love for 3 1/2 looooooonnng and really fun years!
6. Got engaged. (great story!)
7. Got married. And lovin' it!
8. Moved to Indiana.
9. Went to Israel. Would love to go back!
10. Got preggo with and had my sweet Samuel!
11. 8 weeks later, moved to Chicago.
12. Met new friends.
13. Got really sick with thyroid stuff.
14. Started leading mom's group.
15. Got preggo again with my adorable Zakkai!
16. Had Zakkai.
17. Have been/still am supporting husband through school (wait, been doing that our whole married life!)
18. Looking forward to the next step of life!
In the past 10 years, I have cried a lot, healed a lot, smiled and laughed a lot, loved a whole bunch, have had the socks blessed off of me (quite a few times!), have met amazing people, seen new places, been through hard times, been lonely, been loved, been sick, learned to be strong, learned to like who I am, and a whole lot more! I am thankful to God for how He has shaped me through people, places, trials and blessings. I'm looking forward to the next 10 years!
I'm gonna party like it's 1999!
Monday, June 29, 2009
What's a blog without pictures?! This is daddy "helping" Samuel get to sleep:) I thought it was awfully quiet in there and this is what I found!
For those of you who are friends with me on FB, you'll already know this but Samuel said the cutest thing to me the other day. I was doing laundry this weekend and Samuel was downstairs helping me. I air dry all our pants and shirt, so I was pulling a pair of Ben's jeans out of the dryer, when Samuel said, "Mommy, save those daddy pants for me cause soon I'm gonna be a man and wear them! And then we'll go to the clothes store and get me some more daddy pants." This comes from the boy who doesn't want to turn 4 in one week! I'll definitely have to do a special post for a special boy!
Speaking of special posts, with our traveling and insanely busy week, I never got to dedicate a post to a very special daddy on Father's Day. I want to thank the very special daddy of two precious boys! He is a master at many things including: catcher and thrower of balls, teacher of new skills, dinosaur pretender, master tickler, egg maker, protector, recent nighttime snuggler, bear hugger, whiskery kisser, role model, committed and faithful daddy and companion, reader of stories with cool voices, often bath giver, scary shadow chaser and a million other special amazing daddy-like Daddy qualities. Samuel and Zakkai adore you and so do I. Happy Father's Day!
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Every so often, when necessary, Ben and I sit and just talk about our parenting and any issues that may have arisen with the boys (and there usually is something!) and how we want to deal with it or change our approach. This happened a few weeks ago after some behavior changes in the boys, especially Samuel. Samuel is our sweet sensitive boy. He does not tolerate anger or correction well, especially from Ben. We would like to protect his sweet, gentle heart while also teaching him to listen well and obey and receive gentle correction. We often find ourselves putting undue pressure on him just because he is the oldest! We expect him to set a good example for Z and "act his age" (which he does!) and listen immediately and well....be perfect. He was getting really frustrated and we realized that we needed to focus more on all of his really great qualities and all of the wonderful things that he does.
We made a chart for him a long time ago, around the age of 2. I redid it in the last few months to reflect his age. He helped me make it, cutting out pictures from magazines, glueing, etc, which made him feel pretty proud! It has several categories on the side, such as "Helping mommy around the house", "Good Behavior (listening, being kind, gentle, using nice words, etc), "Cleaning up toys".... And on the top are the days of the week. I put velcro on the squares of the chart and on the backs of the stickers I made. Everytime he exhibits good behavior that we notice, he gets a sticker and for every 5 stickers, he gets a prize! We have a prize bucket that we keep up on the fridge stocked with cheap Target $1 toys, stickers, etc.
We realized we needed to reward him more often so we also have a "special" chart next to his regular chart where he gets to color off squares and work for a Thomas train. The behaviors for this chart are generally the more immediate ones that we really need to focus on right away. For example, the first one we did in the fall was "Staying dry at naptime and other potty behavior", a more recent one was "Staying in Bed and good nighttime behavior." The chart you see above was his recent one that took him 2 1/2 months to complete! He earned Duncan the train as a reward and HE WAS PROUD. It is amazing how effective these charts are! His newest chart is going to be to earn Peter Sam (you guessed it! Another train...) and it is focusing on behaviors out in public. For instance: listening well to other adults, good behavior this week at VBS, etc. He LOVES to color off these squares! We think he really deserves these prizes, too! He also gets a lot of verbal praise (so that he doesn't only behave for prizes and stickers), hugs, etc.
We have also been really focusing on our tone of voice with the boys. We were getting frustrated with behaviors and noticed that we were raising our voices more and, as I confessed above, focusing on Samuel's behavior a lot. It's so easy as a parent (or a human!) to get low on patience when there is a lot going on, at certain times of the day (can we say dinnertime?) or when you are frustrated by certain behaviors. We are really making the conscious decision to speak calmly and yet firmly, get down on the boys' level, explain our reasoning (esp to Samuel who understands) and most importantly, LISTEN to Samuel. We feel it's really important that we respect our boys as we parent and discipline so that they know they are being heard by us.
Friday, June 26, 2009
There are a few reasons for doing the above unmentionable. The biggest reason is that S is staying up ENTIRELY too late at nighttime (almost 9 pm), rolling around and keeping Z awake and driving me crazy! His naptimes were a lot shorter than they were 4 months ago and at least once a week, he's been staying awake the whole time anyways. My sister suggested to me over this past weekend that I might want to consider dropping his nap, saying that he would go right to sleep at night, which her boys have been doing. I filed her information away, far far away, in my head for a rainy day 3 years from now.....I thought:) Yesterday, I kept his door open all through naptime while I was cleaning the apartment and let him read books and draw and then for the last 15-20 min I asked him to lay quietly so I could have some rest time. He was so happy and pretty well behaved and guess what?! Last night, he was snoring within minutes of his tired little blond head hitting the pillow! It made for a much less stressful nighttime!
Right now, he is playing quietly with his train table and occasionally snuggling with his giraffees and talking. I am actually enjoying my quiet time with him. I think it could also be handy in the fall. We applied for preschool and weren't able to get in, unfortunately, so I am thinking I can spend this new quiet time in the afternoons with him doing preschool activities! I'm looking at the bright side:) Wish me luck!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
The infamous Liberty Bell
The grave of Benjamin Franklin and Wife
Christ Church~Beautiful and church of many famous Philadelphians, Ben Franklin and George Washington included!
Independence Hall where The Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written, signed and read to the public.
Sign outside of a building where we took a tour. I do have pics of the inside but I didn't want to bore you!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Aside from our rough start to our trip with Z's fall, we had a good time. It was incredibly hard for me to leave the boys; I didn't sleep a wink so by the time we left at 4 am Friday morning, I was sobbing and Ben was patting my knee and telling me to take a nap:) 5 naps and two burning eyes later, I started to feel slightly better....
We loved our time in Philadelphia! Wanna know the truth? We liked it even better than Chicago. I'm not a big city person and do not want to raise my kids in one but I really liked Philly. Chicago feels much colder and industrial in comparison. We had a really nice time at the wedding, met lots of new people and spent most of our day Saturday in Historical Philadelphia visiting sites like the Liberty Bell, Ben Franklin's grave and the very Senate house where George Washington and John Adams got sworn in! Pretty cool. History is really fascinating to me. I forget that our government didn't start in Washington; it started right there in Philly. (I'm sure that's what they called it, too:) I would highly recommend a trip there! It could've been the history and neat things that we saw that made it so great but it was mostly likely holding hands, strolling aimlessly along with no place to be, watching the other parents struggle with their children who should've been napping, watching stupid movies, sharing a giant ice cream treat, exploring a new place together, getting rained on and not caring and just spending time together. Yep, I'm pretty sure that was it.
The boys got along famously while we were gone, being spoiled by Muggas and Grandmas alike. They had various new toys, popsicles stains and stories about parks and bowling. Crackers and cousins, watering the garden, helicopters and Papa's tractor. Riding on Mugga's front porch, picnicing with Grandma, kitty cats and cows. Red cups and green ones, beds on the floor, new stories read to them, airplane noises from Papa and the city of bugs. It's the stuff boy's dreams are made of!
We are all off schedule, exhausted, hot but happy with good memories of the weekend to spur us on through the week! Pics to post tomorrow!
Friday, June 19, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I said I would write a post on our new parenting goals and I will....but I'm too lazy to upload some pictures of their charts that we're working hard on. It takes forever to upload pics to my computer. That's why I am longing for something like this: http://imaging.nikon.com/products/imaging/lineup/digitalcamera/slr/d60/index.htm because I randomly have a lot of money lying around. Snort.
Monday, June 15, 2009
I'm not even sure where to start. The story is about an Officer escorting a young Marine home for his final resting place. He was killed in Iraq April 9th, 2004. The movie is about the journey to Wyoming and the astounding respect, duty, and honor that was shown to this 19 year old Lance Corporal.
Most of us live day to day without seriously thinking about what is going on half way around the world. We are not profoundly touched when we hear the 3 second blip on the news about a soldier killed in action. Most of us do not know that there are thousands of grieving families across this nation, maybe even miles from our homes, wondering if anyone cares about the life of their son or daughter, wife or husband, brother or sister, uncle, aunt......
Most of us are not army wives or husbands or parents who have to live for 6-15 months at a time without our loved ones, often raising children by themselves and holding down the fort, praying probably hourly for the protection of their loved one. Most of us, if we were honest, are glad we aren't one of those people. They are profoundly affected by the 3 second blips on the television.
I have the honor of being the sister-in-law of a Corporal in the United States Army. My husband and I prayed daily for him as he was deployed for 15 months, returning home safely last August. We will never know what he went through, what he saw, what he had to do; we only know that it has changed him, it has made him into a man. We have the utmost respect for him and any other member of the Armed Forces and for their families who sacrifice daily, unseen, to keep our country safe. This is on my heart after having watched a very respectful movie, honoring the life and home-coming of a United States Marine. I am incredibly ignorant yet incredibly thankful for what goes on each day to make my life, my husband's and children's lives, our families and friend's lives safer.
Thank you to the men and women who have served or are currently serving. Thank you to their families. May God bless you.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Although the boys have been driving me crazy at bedtime lately, they have been amusing me with some funny stuff lately!
Samuel: 1) (having a conversation with me about how Z is younger than S, so he can't drink out of a big boy cup as well yet) "But Zakkai won't be younger when he gets older!" good logic!
2) "Let's go on a pitnick!"
3) "I smell a squirrel and a chickmunk! They smell like little teeny tiny animals."
Zakkai: 1) "One, Two, Free, Four.....Nine, Ten! I count!" Missed a few, buddy:)
2)"I have 'tinky feet!" said very proudly!
3)"Oh, ho ho!" and he sounded like a jolly pirate..
I'll have to write a post, maybe tomorrow, on some new goals for our parenting and new focuses with the boys. We've been doing a lot of talking and thinking lately about improving how we parent and being the best we can for our boys! There is nothing like having children to make you want to change....
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Sweet children? Where are you? Is it the endless days of cold dreary rain? the lack of sunshine? Have you been cooped up for too long with only your mum for company? Is it a phase? Oh, please tell me it's a very short-lasting phase you're going through that will end soon! Please?
I would really like it if you would be kind to each other and use your nice words to talk instead of hitting. I would LOVE it if the whining would desist immediately! The screaming joyfully and unjoyfully...well...it gets on my nerves. But most of all, oh puh-lease, most of all, could you go to bed right on time? No more throwing giraffees and rays back and forth? No more jumping and giggling until hours past your bedtime? Please?
I want to go outside as much as you do and breathe in the fresh air and have lots of fun giggling and playing at the park. I really do. Picnics? Sure! I'd love to have more picnics under a tree or down by the lake! Walks? We can take millions of them, even that "pine cone" walk that you've been begging me for. Gosh, I'll even treat you with ice cream. Anything! If you'll just come back to me, sweet children, wherever you are....I miss you.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Even better with shoes on the wrong feet no less!
Oooh! Try stripes with slippers! A definite must!
I opened Samuel's door after naptime today, on my way to use the restroom. He came stumbling out and sat nearby me. I asked him if he took a nap and he nodded vigorously and said, "I did take a good nap and then I woke up for 8 minutes! Because I thought it was time for naptime to be over." Funny, I always thought a 20min nap was supposed to be a power nap....
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
My name is Heidi and I am a Target-a-holic. I make at least 1 trip there a week and that's all I will admit to. I buy everything from Target: my clothes, my children's clothes, our food, our....well, everything. I can look around the room right now and spot at least 5 things from Target. The pleasure I felt when I first moved here and saw the two-story Target nearby wasn't normal. The extreme bliss and insane joy that bubbled up in my soul when I first stepped foot in my local Super Target where I do all of my grocery shopping was...well, let's just say I may have driven away friends.
I have an addiction. I often enter the sweepstakes to win the $5000 gift card that just calls my name, all to no avail. I'm not sure that anyone really wins. I think it is all a cruel joke to prey on the thousands of un-named Target-a-holics out there. Mr. Target was a genius to open up such a wonderful store. I thought I had it good in the last place we lived when we had Super Walmart to grocery shop in. I know, I know, not even in the same caliber! I could do a whole post on Super Amazing Target vs. Super Cheap Walmart but....I won't. The name Target speaks for itself. The only thing that would make SuperTarget even better would be to partner with JoAnn's Etc and combine stores. Of course, I may have to move in then.
You know you spend too much time in Target when your son recognizes the route you're driving and says, "I'm tired of going to that store every time!"
My name is Heidi and I am a Target-a-holic.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
In June/July 2004, Ben and I spent almost a month in Israel. It was Ben's second time there. Everyone kept asking us if we were scared because it was such a dangerous country:) About the only scary things there are the drivers (#1 cause of death there) and the 16 year olds walking around with M-16's! We spent several days touring with a very knowledgable guide and spent most of our time digging at a site called Hazor. It was an amazing trip! I cannot express to you how incredibly cool, for lack of a better word, it is to be in a place with such history. And a place where Jesus walked. Amazing.
There are so many stories I could tell, like how Ben almost died there, but I'll save those for another day:) For now, enjoy a few pictures!
Us sitting on the steps in front of the Temple Mount
Driving on our way to visit a site called Lachish. Rows of Grape trees
A view of the Mediterranean Sea from the ampitheatre in Ceasarea Maritime
The Flag of Israel
Have a great night!
Friday, June 5, 2009
And here I am almost 11 years later, driving in a big city with a bunch of road-ragers! Living in a humongous city has definitely increased my ability to become a confident, aggressive driver. You have to be aggressive in order to survive! The people who drive exactly or below the speed limit usually get left in the dust with hateful glares and the distant sound of honking. I remember how terrified I was to live here and drive on some of the major highways, sure that I would be killed instantly or worse, get flicked off and have people yell at me. Can't have that! After almost 4 years of living here, you'd think I would be able to shake off the rude, road-ragers that seem to having nothing better to do with their time than to terrorize other people on the road. Not so, I found out today as I almost got crushed by a huge white 12 passenger van. I was shaking when he swerved by me, glaring and shouting what I am positive, were not kind, encouraging words. I'm glad my boys won't learn how to drive here;)
Speaking of my boys. News flash: They're adorable! That is, when they aren't driving me up the wall and creating new lines in my forehead. Zakkai, who can make even the least messy of foods, messy, chowed down on a piece of string cheese, only to have his hand covered in cheese-goo. I'm sorry, there's no other way to describe the nastiness! I wiped him off, completely I thought, and layed him down for naptime, when he held up his hand where there was a forgotten speck of goo and said, "I masty, mommy!" "Masty" is his word for nasty:) Then, as boys will do, he stuck his hand in his mouth and declared with great glee, "I ate the masty cheese! All clean!" Boys.
Samuel is really into this pretend game we play, where he is an animal and he crawls or hops up to me and makes the animal sound and I pretend feed him whatever that animal might eat. He might be a frog who hops over to get a dragonfly or a dog who ambles over for a treat. His latest animal is a baby wolf. It is the cutest thing you've ever seen and heard! He howls like a baby wolf, which sounds like "Howwwwwwwwwwwwww!" in a sweet high pitched voice and I feed him raw meat. He'll howl and tell me he's "How-ing" for his mommy wolf. This morning I left the boys finishing breakfast at the table to go talk to Ben and in the backround a few minutes later I suddenly heard the "Howwwwwwww" of the baby wolf calling his mama wolf. I wish I had a video camera with sound!:)
Enjoy the rest of this beautiful day!! I'll be outside later soaking up sunshine with my "masty" boy and my baby wolf!
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Yeah, about that great. I have been trying to blog everyday but it's hard to blog when you feel blah. I think Z, Ben and I have all had a minor stomach virus or something this week. Hopefully it's on it's way out!
The boys and I went to visit a friend who lives about 50min away today. We played with two of her youngest children, who are adorable. It was SOOOO nice to be in the suburbs away from the city. It's like a whole new world! I realized today how "apartmentafied" my children are. (don't try to spell check that:) We live in a closed in city area where we have no backyard and out on our adjoining playground, can't play with balls or water. We don't have a garage to store bikes or a trampoline. My friend had a trampoline and my boys barely knew what to do with it! They were terrified when their new little friend started to jump and it made them bounce. It was a little embarrassing:) Ben and I have a list of "somedays." Things that we'd like to do or have someday. Like a house. With a backyard. So our children can become "unapartmentafied." It's good to dream...
For now we're happy with our simple little life!
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
I have a big container of toys in their closet and every couple of months, I switch out toys. They become "brand new" to the boys and everyone is happy. Genius, I tell you! Another smart thing is to store away a few Christmas and Bday presents to pull out one at a time for special prizes or rainy days:) I first started doing this the year Z was born. I put several things away from Christmas and pulled them out little by little after little brother came along so Samuel would feel special and keep entertained. Worked wonders!
I am lame-o today with not much to report. I have really been trying to spend my evenings doing crafty, "girly" things, that are fun and also on my personal goal list for this year. For instance, getting caught up on scrapbooking. I am now up to Sept 2007. I am SO determined to get caught up by the end of the year! If I do one month of pictures (ex. July 2007), once a week for both of them, that's about 4 months in one month. Following me here? If I do that, I should be caught up around November! Who am I kidding? I know probably the only people to ever care about these books are me and any future Mrs. Thomas'! Do boys like to look through scrapbooks?
Anyways, I get torn because I am also trying to finish my quilt this year, too. It's one of those things that you know you need to finish or it'll become like an 8 year project. I'm on a year and a half now:) I already have ideas for several other ones, like quilts for the boys, especially now that they're both in big boy beds. How cute would that be?
I'm off to bed. I'm trying to get in bed early these days because I'm back to working out like a good girl! I did my Shred again and I don't think I'll be quite as sore this time. I hope.