Monday, January 3, 2011

Family Goals 2011

Family Goals for 2011
As the New Year approached, we talked with the kids about what things they would like to achieve this next year. We explained that a good goal is picking an area in your life that you want to improve. Here is what the boys came up with:

Alex (71/2)- he first said to improve his time on the new car racing game he got for Christmas. Then seriously said: to work on completing my math homework on time!

Evan (5 1/2) - to have Papa teach him soccer so he can become a better player and maybe win a trophy when he gets older. (This was a shock since Alex is the soccer fanatic and Evan only likes to pretend to play!)

Rachel (2 1/2)- our goal for her: to learn the alphabet

We also thought it would be good to think of some spiritual goals for them. We will be sitting down with each of them individually and discussing these. They will each work on a memory verse related to their goal. We hope that, by God's grace, their hearts will be softened to His word and grow in love for Him this year.

Alex- grow in his desire to hear God's word and apply it to his life. Lately he doesn't want to hear Bible stories and complains about having to go to church.

"And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." Mark 12:30

Evan-living peaceably (he seems to find joy in provoking his brother or sister.)

"Do unto others what you would have them do to you." Matt. 7:12

Rachel: controlling her reactions. She wants her way and lets you know it. We will definitely be focusing on learning self-control and responding in love.

"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1

Mykhaylo and I thought of some for ourselves as well.

Myself: not being self-reliant and thinking I can get through the day on my own strength.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

Also, I want to apply God's word to the situation and recall it to mind before I react.

"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." James 1:22

Mykhaylo: wants to be more of a servant.

"And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, "If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all."" Mark 9:25

Of course, we can't accomplish any of this on our own strength but by His grace. Our desire to cultivate meek and gentle spirits will only develop through daily quiet time with God.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

EC The Beginning

I first heard about EC when I read The Diaper Free Baby. I had a vague idea that this practice was used since my husband is from Ukraine and a friend of his explained that they "cue" their babies to use the potty. She did not explain anything further. I tried to "cue" my two boys when they were babies and by 18 months they each were wanting to use the potty on their own. However, I did not know how to proceed- do they wear underwear when going out or put them in a pull-up? What if they don't want to wear a diaper but I'm not willing to clean up another miss? Should I insist they use the potty even when they don't want to go?

I had a lot of questions and didn't know where to turn. Many of my friends warned me that teaching boys to use the potty too early would actually cause delays later. I unfortunately gave in and kept them in diapers. My oldest had bowel problems through kindergarten and finally turned a new leaf in 1st grade. My second child was potty trained and out of diapers even at night when he turned 4. He was a challenge because he would only poop in his diaper when he went in for his afternoon quiet time. My parents finally promised him a week at their house only if he was potty trained. That did it!
Finally, when my third child was 6 months old, I discovered the above book at the library. I started applying the principles off and on. By the time she was 13 months she was using the potty regularly and at 2 she goes on her own. With such exciting results I new I wanted to try it with a newborn but was unsure it would be as easy since we had a boy. I started EC with my 4th child on December 13th and he was just about 5 weeks old.

The first time I held him over the toilet, I cued him by say "psss" and he peed all over his feet! It seemed to come so naturally aside from the discomfort of wet feet. But this wasn't ideal and it was very uncomfortable for both of us!

The next day I cradled him over the little potty after his naps, and he went again. I noticed after I fed and burped him he would try to wiggle up my shoulder and seemed uncomfortable. I would put him on the potty and he would pee.

What has surprised me so far is how much my little guy can go! Even if we wakes up with a wet diaper, he will pee on the potty then a short time later have another wet diaper! What is a challenge is determining when he has to poop versus having to burp. Many times he will be struggling while sitting on the potty and finally has a big burp.

For me there has been a lot of second guessing at the beginning. Is he crying because of x, y, or z? There are also times when I'm just too tired to get down with him next to the potty and sit while he tries to go. Sometimes he is fussing in the middle of the night because he wants to go potty yet at 2 am I'm opting for some extra sleep. However, I have seen a great improvement in his sleeping habits since going on the potty. He is less fussy at night and when he goes on the potty in the middle of the night he goes back to sleep quickly.

So far, this has been a real bonding experience. Just like understanding when he is hungry, overstimulated or needs to burp, noticing when he has to pee is just as natural. Watching his big sister cue him and then he immediately goes is also a lot of fun. And not having to wipe up a big blow out is a big plus!! I have saved on diapers and wipes but I'm not really counting.

I'll be posting more as the time progresses to keep a record of how it's going. Please feel free to ask any questions or leave a comment if you have done this before. I'd love to hear from others!

New Year prep!

The New Year is fast approaching. I love welcoming in another year. For me it is a chance to evaluate my routines, challenge myself and start fresh again. I know people have mixed feelings about making resolutions, but I find them helpful. I think of it as setting goals. If I don't put any thought to how I live, things will probably stay the same and I won't be living to my fullest potential. Some people don't like to stick to a list. They feel it doesn't allow for spontaneity. Well, I know from experience, even with things like menu planning, if I don't plan, we eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch every day. How boring is that? (Don't get me wrong, I do love a good Pb&J sandwich!) My point is, without a plan, you are less likely to see your progress in a certain area and less likely to change.

This week I stumbled across a blog that is providing challenging questions for various areas in our lives. There are a lot of good suggestions which I am going to apply to my own life. You can check it out here: I would love to hear what resolutions/goals you make for the New Year. One of my first will be posting more regularly on my blog!

Happy New Year!

Menu Plan Dec 29-Jan 7

Cheesy ham and pasta bake
I added roasted red peppers and marinated artichokes. Next time I'll leave them out.
Kids liked the ham and pasta the most.

Asian Shrimp and Edamame over rice
Stir fry green onions & garlic with edamame. Add shrimp and cook until done. For sauce mix 2 tbsp cornstarch with 4 tbsp soy sauce and add to shrimp. Sprinkle 2 tsp brown sugar, mix and serve.
This was a great impromptu meal! It had good flavor, a nice thick sauce and best of all my 2 year old gobbled up 7 shrimp!

South Beach diet Turkey meatloaf with mushrooms and beans
Baked potato and corn
Good, hearty dish. My kids liked the ground turkey and beans and didn't mind the mustard sauce.

Ground beef Fajitas with rice and homemade salsa
Verdict: frying the tortillas before adding the filler gives them a great taste and enables me to fold them closed with the filling inside for the kids. Family favorite!

Pizza Hut Pizza
Using my son's book-it coupons and preparing for the New Year!
Verdict: note to self- don't order pepperoni even if all the kids say they love it (they don't!)

Pork spareribs - new recipe
Spanish rice, corn

Orange Chicken over rice, broccoli

Breakfast for dinner- scrambled eggs & cheese bagels with bacon

Ham Bean Soup with biscuits

Spaghetti and vegetables
pizza dough twists stuffed with cheese

Ground turkey stuffed red peppers

Homemade Pizza and Salad
Pumpkin pie chocolate chip muffins

Monday, August 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

With school beginning next week I'm trying to get back on track with meal planning.
This week's plan:
Caesar Chicken Salad

Grilled Lemon Chicken

South Beach Dijon Ginger Pork
Mashed Potatoes
Carrots and Broccoli
Strawberries with whipped cream



End of Summer getaway!
Since we will be in a condo with a full kitchen, I am planning on bringing foods easy to prepare:
Salmon & tuna cakes, Spaghetti with sauce and pre-made pancake mix for breakfasts.

Does anyone else have easy to travel meals they can recommend? For other great meal planning ideas head over to Organizing Junkie.

Friday, June 18, 2010

What a week!

Hi Company Girls!

It's been a tough week around here. Our septic system backed up and our finished basement was flooded. After painstakingly trying to mop up the overflow from the bathroom that reached the living room we called the insurance and they sent a cleaning crew. Praise God for companies that clean these messes professionally! Today they ripped out all the contaminated areas which included gutting out the small kitchen, part of the wood floor in the hallway and living room and taking out the vanity and sink in the bathroom. WOW! Now we have to get the insurance adjuster to realize how much of a disaster this was. At least now I can walk down there without gagging!

Ironically, when we went into our side of the basement which was untouched it smelled worse than the clean side! We soon realized that the couch had a very bad odor and discovered a small hole underneath that we assume a mouse crawled in and never made it out. Now that couch is joining all the other items waiting to be thrown out. What a day!

But it is not without some major blessings-
My 5 yr old son, seeing how distraught I was through dealing with the above mess said "Mom, I love you!" And gave me a big hug!

I had my 20 week ultrasound and saw a beautiful little baby moving all around oblivious to all the chaos. We are waiting to find out the sex and want to be surprised for the first time!

Yesterday, a gal from church invited us over and fed the kids and I lunch providing a much needed haven of rest away.

And, today, another gal from church called and asked if she could bring dinner over tonight! We loved the food, especially the kids, and were so thankful for her love for us.

My husband keeps asking "What is God trying to teach us through all this?" I'm not totally sure, but I do know that He proved Himself faithful in sustaining me, helping me clean up an unbearable mess, provided timely cleaners, and wonderful sisters in Christ to build us up and display God's love. We do serve a loving God who does take care of us!

To hear what other gals did this week check out Company Girl Coffee. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What's your response?

I have been convicted lately of how little patience I have toward my children. This was made more clear when a friend sharing prayer requests asked that she would not have a reactionary response in dealing with her children. That phrase "reactionary response" made me think of how quickly I blow things out of proportion when handling situations between my kids. I respond based on my emotions and not on biblical truth. What is worse, I am undermining my own instruction for them to be kind when I lose my temper or raise my voice.

In Romans 2:1-5 Paul addresses this very same attitude.
"Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man- you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself- that you will escape the judgement of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed."

I love that God's kindness is meant to lead us to repentance. If we ask God to forgive us, He will! What is more astonishing is that we can pray "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." Ps. 51:10 So you and I don't have to be burdened down under our sin but can start anew each moment. What a wonderful truth!