Thursday, August 27, 2009

Under Loving Command

Under Loving Command is an article that a friend sent me the link to awhile ago and I finally got around to reading all of it. It is a great reminder of our relationship to God, our responsiblity to Him, and what the Bible says about raising His kids. No excuses, no apologies, no judgement, no anger, just lovingly raising kids in the admonition of the Lord. I desire this for our home.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

School Spider Eggs

...though not a school of spider eggs thank goodness.

The days are getting notciably shorter, and with the approach of fall and starting kindergarten with Livvy, there’s the need to get organized and reorganized. I can’t remember if I’ve said this before on here, but I love getting organized. I love the idea of everything having a place and everything in its place. I love when chores and activities fall nicely in their own time so that you’re not scattered and racing to find or make the time. Now just because I say that I love getting organized and being organized, doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m good at staying organized. But, I think with the on-set of older kids that can help with chores and with homeschooling, the need and ability to stay organized might just be what I need to stay on track.

After discussing things with a few friends over the past couple of weeks, I think I've almost got it. I re-organized a hutch near the dining table to have all of our school stuff available; I pulled in an unused bookshelf that was waiting in the garage for the house to be finished and put some more books and toys on it; I'm still in the process of looking at our schedule and reworking it to include chores, school, individual and together play times (with the help of my friends Managers of Their Home book), etc. I feel just about ready to tackle schooling...I think the kids and I are really going to like how life will flow once there's a little bit more order to things.

The one thing that I need to remember through all of this is the "why" behind what we're doing. I need to learn to surrender the day to Christ and focus on the kids' hearts through this process, not on getting things done because they're on the list of things to do...not on obtaining perfection, or trying to obtain, through organization and scheduling. It's all for not if I lose sight of the hearts of my children...let go of the little things (K.W.A.) and hold tightly to the big.

Saturday night Tom and I found a 2.5" wolf spider (we didn't actually know it was a wolf spider until we did some online research with the kids Sunday morning)! So, what did we do? We caught it, bought it a cage, and now feed it other spiders and bugs that we happen upon. Cool, a new pet. How does Wolfy sound?

Today after Tom got home from work, he went to check on the chickens briefly and found a brown little egg lying against the pen! We were so excited! Our first little egg. After dinner the kids and I went out to look at the chickens too and found a little green egg back in the coop! How fun! Tom's out back right now building nesting boxes for them. Can you guess what we're having for breakfast? Yum, yum!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Home Work

The work on the home has slowed down again...Dad C went home to OH. Tom is still trying to get things done on the house after dinner a couple nights a week and on the weekends but it is slow going. Thankfully before Dad C left at the end of July, he got a lot accomplished and it's looking really good.

The biggest change for me is that the washer and dryer were moved from behind the kitchen table in the dining room and hooked up in their permanant home the laundry/pantry room. My parents came up for that transformation and my Dad helped Dad C and Tom put in a sliding glass door. We were thinking that we would have to get a cheapo door to install for the short-term until we saved enough money to buy a nice one. But, God is good and Tom found a white Anderson sliding glass door at Restore (our local Habitat for Humanity resale store) for only $90. Exactly what we wanted!

The other Wow! is that the house is almost completely sided. Before they could start putting up the siding, Dad C had to screw and glue furring strips every 2' on th existing masonry house. Then he added insulation between the furring strips and Tyvek over all of that. Then the transformation began.
Grammie even was recruited to help put some siding up.
Sammy just loves to be apart of things and help out the men when he can...even if it's just moving some pieces of siding around the front yard. He's a strong little helper.
Tom just has some trim around openings and the gable end on the existing house to do. His goal is to get it done and painted within the next month. Already it looks like less like an addition and more like a regular house...a regular nice looking house. It's so cool to drive up to it. It's a far cry from what it looked like 1.5 years ago. Slow and steady. Soon the inside will look just as good.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Little Elden Trail Head

Someday we might actually hike the Little Elden Trail, but for now, the trail head is fun enough. This past Sunday after the kids woke up from their naps, we packed a picnic dinner, loaded up the van and drove to trail head (it's very close to us, probably a 10 min drive, which helps to make it my favorite spot to go). It looks like God was playing with a handful of rocks and then just let them fall from His hand in this one spot. There are probably a hundred or so huge boulders just at the trail head. It's so cool.

The best thing about this place, is that the kids' imaginations come alive with kings, queens, knights and dragons. Livvy (the king) and Sammy (a knight) started picking up swords (sticks), claiming castles (big boulders) and defending the queen (me) against mean dragons (Daddy and Ben). We had the best time climbing the rocks, running between them and hiding behind them. If you live in Flagstaff I highly recommend you go and check it out. It's way better than any playground!

A New Day

It’s really funny how knowing the right thing to do isn’t enough. You actually have to act upon it and put it into practice. And that’s exactly what I’ve been reminded about in parenting. Just a disclaimer upfront, sometimes the right thing to do with the kids or just a particular child is not known and that’s when I go to my close friends to see if they have any advice on the matter.

But, there are many times that I do know what needs to be done but because a number of excuses, family in town, laziness, busyness, etc I don’t do it. And that’s what’s been going on around here. I’ve been relying on what we’ve done in the past. I’ve been real easy going, low on structure, and low on training. I’ve been giving warnings to my commands instead of expecting and requiring first-time obedience. I’ve been disciplining rather than training. Both are good, but when training is lacking, than there’s a lot more disciplining that goes on and the kids aren’t getting what they need. And the lack of proper parenting is bound to rear its nasty little head sooner or later.

So…when we were out at a friend’s house late last night and it was time to go, both big kids fell apart. I was mad and I was embarrassed. Mad? I really had no excuse to be mad; if I as the parent have failed to train and equip my children consistently, then it’s my fault, not theirs, when they fall and my failure becomes apparent to all of our friends…ugh!

After getting home last night and getting the little ones into bed, the honey (that’s Tom if you didn’t know) and I did some talking. We discussed the behaviors that we saw in us that weren’t good; we discussed the behaviors that we saw in the kids that weren’t good; and we made a plan. We will be sweet and loving in our words and actions. We will pray with our kids throughout the day – to thank God for something that we just did and to ask for His help when things aren’t going well. I will direct more of their activities during the day and help out with more of the household chores – too much time to do what they want has led to the kids being reluctant to do what we ask them to do. We will accept no whining.

And that is exactly what we’ve been doing today. I got up early, did some Bible reading and praying. Tom got up early, did his quiet time. There’s nothing like your own precious children to drive you to your knees and cry out, “God, save me! Save my children!” When the kids woke up we explained the changes and then set about our morning. We ate, we cleaned up, we did some work in the front yard, the kids played in the sprinkler, etc. We’ve had a great morning. Frankly I expected more resistance. So far I’ve been pleasantly surprised and pleased how the kids have responded to my consistency – I haven’t even had to be a mean mommy…yet. I know that this is a battle for their souls; I want and need to step up to the plate, fall on my knees and do what I know to do. Pray for us.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ben Turns One!!

Well, I'm a little late adding this to the blog, but I couldn't just skip it altogether. Our little Ben turned one year old on July 21st! Now I'm going to sound like my mother, seems like just yesterday we brought him home from the hospital. He's not yet walking...maybe another month. And, par for the Cutlip kids, he still has no teeth...maybe another month.

To help celebrate (and do some work on the house), my parents came up the weekend before Ben's birthday to join Tom's parents and us. During the day the men worked on installing a sliding glass door in the dining room (more on that in a future post) and the kids and us ladies had some fun climbing some big rocks at the Little Elden Springs Trail Head. After dinner we sang Happy Birthday to Ben and gave him some birthday cake and ice cream. Even though he was a little under-the-weather, he loved it.

Grammie and the kids decorating Ben's birthday cake.

Oma and Ben.

Opa, Pop-pop, Oma, Grammie and kids.

The Cutlip kids!

Our Bubba Ben.

We moved Ben's pack-n-play in Livvy and Sammy's room about a month ago. They love having him in their room with them. We told Livvy that if we have another baby and if that baby is not a girl, then she would have her own room...that made her a little sad. They love all being together, even if Ben wakes them up in the morning with his loud squawking.