Rejoicing for this Mom (and his Sunday School teacher)

Last week I asked Tobin to go brush his teeth and he says to me “Mommy, I’d rather do the dishwasher”, “you want to empty out the dishwasher?”, “yes, we learned in Sunday School that were supposed to do things without being asked”, “Wow, ok, go right ahead!”

I shared this with Kris, our Childrens Ministry Director and she rejoiced with me!  It takes a village sisters:)

Books

Ummm, I think I have a book problem . . .

We decided to have a garage sale at the end of August-mostly to rid ourselves of all the excess stuff we have and it seemed the fastest way to get me into gear to go through every room looking for things to sell.

The kids books, I knew it was a bit out of control, and I didn’t officially count but my estimate is about 300 books.  I kept a “special” collection that if you’re younger kids visit, I will happily read to them:)  I kept a decent collection of picture books.  And, I can’t believe how many early readers I had-even though I have 2 “early readers” I found 30 of them to give away to a friends daughter who is just starting out teaching 1st grade:)  I think I sold close to 100 of them, and I’m bringing a box to my MOPS meeting to hopefully give away.  The shelves looked a bit barer, and then I promptly bought 8 more books at the next garage sale.  I just LOVE kids books-what can I say:)

Message for Moms & Dads

Growing Season

By Melodi Leih
Last fall, my family and I planted bulbs around our home for the first time. I anticipated their arrival all through the winter months. And sure enough, this spring, small green plants began to shoot up out of the ground, and shortly after, beautiful flowers bloomed. Such a fascinating process! It seems odd that something planted in the fall and cultivated through the freezing winter produces flowers in spring.

And yet, I experience similar seasons in my mothering. In the winter of my soul, God feels distant and I am unfruitful. My kids seem more rowdy and my patience more thin. But as I consistently stay rooted in him, he continues to nurture the soil of my heart, bringing forth blossoms for others to see.

Sometimes it takes many cycles of winter to see new growth. And it can be hard to let go of the disappointment that arises when flowers don’t bloom. But that doesn’t mean God isn’t at work, cultivating me into the woman he wants me to be. Time spent on the floor in a pile of Legos or on the couch with books is an eternal investment that will bear long-term fruit. It may not seem like much now, but bulbs buried under winter’s barren landscape don’t look like much either. God will bless my faithfulness. He will bless yours. And our flowers will be beautiful—no doubt about it!
Dear God, remind me that you’re growing me everyday. Lend me your big-picture perspective as I mother my child.

MOPs

Stands for Mothers of Preschoolers.  This is an international group (www.mops.org) that reaches out to, you guessed it–moms with preschoolers, actually anyway with children in Kindergarten & under-that includes babies in the womb:).  I’ve been graciously welcomed in this MOPs group since Mari was 6 months old.  Based on my work schedule, I have been attending off & on.  One of the things I love about these women is that if hadn’t come in 6 months or 2 years, I could show up and they were truly happy to see me. 

We snack . . .

We talk, share & learn from each other . . .

We sometimes make crafts . . .

all while the kids play & learn . . .

God has really given me a heart for moms with young children and I am so excited to be able to “give”as I’m at a stage where I’m not so needy, you know all my kids can walk and talk now:).

The spring clothes transition

Well, I have now completed about 18 clothes transitions (if I’m counting correctly)–you know what I’m talking about, clearing the kids drawers of the past seasons clothes and moving in clothes for the new season.  I’ve developed some strategies and guidelines that I thought I’d share. 

We have a lot of hand-me-downs (thank you Noelle & Troy), add that to my season ending clearance shopping and always buying ahead nature at Mom-to-Mom sales and I rarely need to purchase anything.  I have everything sorted in bins, for example at the beginning of this season each kid had a bin labeled:  Summer ’08, Fall/Winter ’08, PJ’s/accessories–so whenever I get something it just goes right into the correct bin (usually after it sits in pile in the basement for awhile!). 

When the new season comes, I pull out the bin and go through it, have the kids try stuff on to see what fits, decide what I like or what they like. 

Here is where I’ve learned my lesson–kids have way too many clothes!  When Mari was young, I would keep everything, her drawers would be bulging and she would only wear 10-12 of our favorite outfits.  So my rule is–if it doesn’t fit easily in her drawers, there’s too much; if I don’t really like it, it goes; and if there is more than one load of laundry, again too much.  I figure if she’s going to only wear it 3 times all summer and some other little girl might wear it 20 times–she’s better off with it!

As I’m clearing out their past season stuff, I sort what might still fit them in the next season and put those clothes in the appropriate bin, stuff that will be too small goes to the next hand-me-down kid (Tobin, Alyssa & Kashton–other sisters kids).

Another helpful thought that has worked well for us.  We have a 3 bin laundry sorter in the laundry room, labeled with a picture of each kid.  Tobin (at not quite 20 months) has been putting his dirty clothes away for a couple months.  When their bin gets full I do their load of laundry.  I can also tell it’s time because if I followed my rule above, their drawers are getting empty.  The best part–it’s all one kids clothes, so it all gets put in one dresser, no confusion over whose socks are whose, etc.

Do you have any other bits of advice?  I’d love to hear them:)

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