Monday, January 31, 2011

Eleanor finally get's a new toy

These bad boys can cost anywhere from $26-$40 each, easily!  I balked at the idea of paying that much for a baby toy.  That's, like, for the new mom's to spend money on.  Walmart carries them for $30 but I question the quality, and for $30 it better come with a butler to do my dishes.  Once Upon A Child didn't even have one.  Bummer.  However one day I tagged along with a friend who has a Sam's Club membership and lo and behold- I found this awesome Baby Einstein's gym for $19.99!  Sweet!  I used my Christmas money and it came home with me that day.  The funny thing is, even Ernest will sit under it and look at all the bells and whistles it came with.  After looking at these pictures I'm noticing that the musical star isn't even attatched to it.  It was a great deal, thanks Sam's club and thank's Kim for having a Sam's Club membership.

Playing with her new toy.  
This picture speaks volumes of what I have in my home- books and toys, oh- and children.  The only thing missing from this picture is a gun of some sort.

Who is this intruder?  Can't a girl just have some down time with her puppy?

Behold, the Big Brother in his baseball pajamas.  He want's to see the puppy too!

While rolling ontop of her and kicking her face.  Not cool man.  Not cool. 
At least it was more like a "Here, smell my feet" kind of kick and not a soccer kick. 

Kid's gotta learn.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

From here to there

I went from growing up there-

to living here.

Dear Kendal, why couldn't you have been from Tahiti?

Redipping the beaters

Thank you for 'helping' me make cookies.  However, when I gave you the beater to lick, I did not intend on you re-dipping them into the cookie batter for seconds.  Thanks, though, for not getting the clean dishes dirty in the meantime.

And yes, dear readers, this is ALL THE COUNTER SPACE I have in this kitchen.  Ridiculous.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Win a book!

There is a give away on for the Large Family Logistics book! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Late night learning

Tonight, all of the kids were in bed at 6:50.  This is not at all uncommon as we are acustomed to an "early to bed early to rise" mindset.  However, tonight Ethan came into the living room claiming hunger, thirst, and "mom, can I do school work?"  YES.  Never turn down an opportunity to "do school work".  I have noticed he has a preference towards math and numbers.  Writing, not so much.  He has a knack for numbers.  This is a giant flag waving Electrical Engineer, Physics Teacher, Nuclear Technician, etc.  Go child go!  Learn those numbers!

Our "school work" consists of a few workbooks, worksheets printed off the internet, and many MANY field trips.  The grocery store, bank, WalMart, park.  They are all field trips to me, a wealth of education waiting to be discovered. 

I'm not so much a late night person because I can hardly form a sentence past 8:30, but by golly if that kid has brainpower at 7 o'clock then have at it buddy.

Meenie, Miny, and Moe.  Lord have mercy.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Griswold's take over Mall of America

Kendall worked two weeks in a row with no days off, so a 'vacation' of some sort was in order.  We like to do as much as possible as a family, whether it's going to church or Walmart to cleaning out the minivan.  Our lack of "family time" had taken it's toll and we were anxious for an adventure.

First stop- the airport!  We visited the Minneapolis Airport because it's only two exits away from MOA (Mall of America).  I remember my family pulling over to watch airplanes take off and land when visiting family in Dallas.  Now the tradition continues!  Plus, it was a nice pit stop for nursing Eleanor.  Here she is sporting her "Little Sister" onesie and her bonnet. 

Happy 3 Month Birthday to Eleanor in this picture as well!  THREE MONTHS OLD! 
She'll be asking for the keys to the car before I know it...

Nick studios has some cool games and rides but Ethan was completley unattracted to them.  He didn't even care there was a Spongebob and Patrick walking around in costume.  They did have a game where you could be the captain of a little boat and try to launch water on targets and ram other boats, but he was content moving the wheel around then walking away.

Legoland had a helicopter made out of Legos above us, which is what all three of my guys are looking at.  Boys just can't help but be enthralled by machine-stuff.

Nursing Eleanor.  There are NOT enough benches in that mall and the few they have are in the middle of the aisles where people can run a woman over!  No thanks!  This is off to the side where the guys could look out at the rides and I could nurse in peace.  Look at those little purple feet sticking out!

Kendall is holding Ernest and trying to inquire about a sleep number bed.  Ethan is laying down on the bed next to him.  This picture cracks me up!  We have kids everywhere!  Plus it's not too often you see a grown man holding a toddler with his other kid in tow and the sneaky mom nowhere to be found because she's giggling at the scene and taking pictures.

Dear Kendall, did you ever think the day would come that you'd be holding the hands of your two sons, each holding a balloon, and walking in the Mall of America?   This picture speaks volumes about Kendall's parenting.  He loves those boys.

Watch out world, here we come!  I wore Eleanor in my Sleepy Wrap, Ernest had the stroller, Ethan walked, we had one huge bag that we squeezed everything we could possibly need into, a blanket, and two tired parents.

I couldn't help but capture Ernest's melt down on camera.  The mall wear's me out too little buddy.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

For the comfort of others

I'm hoping to attend MACHE this year.  MACHE is a conference held every year in Minnesota and it stands for Minnesota Association for Home Educators.

I was reading over their brochure for this years conference and came across some lines that really ruffled my feathers.

An area will be provided for mothers with nursing infants up to age 18 monthsOk, then what? There's no area for mom's nursing a two or three year old?  Too bad so sad, you no longer meet our age requirements so you can choose the restroom or your car?  Hmmm...

Carrying on,

Husbands and other children are not allowed in this area.I can respect that there are women who feel a bit akward having a man come into an area where you are nursing.  I totally get that.  But if he needs to come in to grab the car keys, or give her the cell phone because her mom's on theline, or something ridiculously simple as such, then what's the big deal?  If you are uncomfortable nursing in public, then use a blanket or nursing cover to cover up.  Be discreet.  If you have your boob hanging out for every Jim and Joe to see, then surely you don't mind the gal next you tossing a set of keys up to the hubby who wants to grab an Aquafina from the trunk.  Just sayin...

If there are kids in the area with the nursing moms, then these are kids who, I'm pretty confident in saying, have lived in an enviroment with another nursing mom.  I doubt three year old Janie is going to go searching under my Hooter Hider wondering what I'm doing to the baby.  Ethan doesn't go up to my nursing friends asking "What's that?  Can I see?  What are you doing?  How does that work?"  The kids are used to it.  Actually, my kids don't understand what bottles are for!

And for the big finale:

For the comfort of all attendees, we request that you do not nurse your infants in any public areas.

Oh no you didn't!  Listen here, whoever wrote this brochure, if I can push a cart, nurse a baby, and get my grocery shopping done at Walmart, then I can nurse at this big'ol confrerence of yours. 

Check it, I've got laws on my side:
Minn. Stat. § 145.905 provides that a mother may breastfeed in any location, public or private, where the mother and child are authorized to be, irrespective of whether the nipple of the mother's breast is uncovered during or incidental to the breastfeeding.

This is my favorite stat:
Minn. Stat. Ann. § 617.23 specifies that breastfeeding does not constitute indecent exposure.

I think they are going to step on some pretty big toes by stating these requests.  There's nothing wrong with nursing in public.  Nothing.  I always carry a blanket or my beloved Hooter Hider (oh yes, there is such a thing) because I am uncomfortable exposing my boob to the world.  That's just me.  If there's a mom in the world who let's it all out without a care in the world, then amen sister you've got the guts to go for it.  I applaud you. 

In the mean time, I'm going to write MACHE a note requesting these lines be removed from next years brochure. 

No bueno, MACHE.  No bueno.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Find the baby

Can you see a baby in this picture?  At first I saw a lot of different stuff, then I saw the big baby :)

Ernest's Mohawk

Dear Ernest, thank you for letting mommy play "hairdresser" with the last of mommy's hairspray.  Ponytails don't need spray, and that's all your mom wears anymore.  You even kept your hands down while it dried, good boy!  Thank you for being a product of your mother's creativity. 
Your mother who has nothing better to do than do cute things to you.

Ps, that's a broom handle in the background, proof that housework does get done around here!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Band and jams

Did you know I play the violin?  I started in sixth grade and was first seat in seventh, eighth, and ninth grade.  Then I transferred to a magnet school that did not offer orchestra, band, football, etc.  Although I stopped playing in school, my family had a band.  When I was little I played the tambourine.  Oh yes.  My brother played the drums, dad played steel guitar and mom played electric bass.  We were "The Johnston Family Band".  The winters were our high season of demand and we'd play at all of the rv parks in the valley.  Later on in junior high/high school it was my parents, a rhythm guitar player and myself.  Our best paying gigs were New Years which was when bands are in the highest demand for parties.  After I left they became "Classic Country Band" and we'd play whenever I came home to visit.

Mom in the white shirt playing bass, dad playing steel with the white cowboy hat.  Looks like we're at a bar here.  I grew up at the VFW, American Legion, and country bars. 

A jam at someones house.  Mom on the left, dad in the lower right.
Mom and I playing at the Winter Texas Appreciation dance at the
Rio Grande Valley Livestock Showgrounds.  Dad played in another band that had a gig there every year during the livestock show, so we got to go every year.  Love it!
One more time.  We sing well together, good harmony.

A bit of Christmas year round

I don't know where to start so I'm just going to lay it out there-
Christmas isn't a huge deal in this family. *gasp*

Here me out on this because I think it's pretty outside of the box.  To me and our family, Christmas is Jesus' birthday.  We bake a cake and sing happy birthday to Jesus.  We have a nice meal (aka: not peanut butter and jelly but more along something that must be baked and have some time and effore put into).  We do exchange presents in our family.  We even put up a tree, although it's a small one.  But to me, Christmas is year round.  We talk about the birth of Christ in June, on Valentine's day, and whenever else one of our many children's Bibles opens up to the Christmas page.

Our children are taught that Santa is a fun person that someone made up so it's "a fun story to talk about".  But usually it's followed with "Isn't that silly though?  Christmas is about Jesus being born!"  We do watch the Rudolph movie with the abomidable snowman, and the Grinch is a funny looking guy.  But Charlie Brown Christmas is our favorite where we pause the movie after Linus recites the book of Luke and explains "That's what Christmas is about Charlie Brown."

We enjoy taking the time to be with our family, since everyone has off that day and we have only so much time left with the grandparents.  Next year, Kendall wants to stay home on Christmas to have a "stay in your pajama's all day" kind of day.  His dad's side will be celebrating in January and his mom's side celebrates on a different weekend anyway.  This was the last year his grandma would be hosting Chrstimas so it's up to an aunt or uncle to host instead, but we don't plan on attending since they do it on Christmas day.

Merry Christmas!!!
Little sister's hat is covering her eyes.  Poor thing can't catch a break.

Not that much better but quick the littlest-big brother is about to take off his hat.

The best of four pictures. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My doorstep is a safe landing

To the pregnant reader who doesn't want to be pregnant,

I'm sorry you don't want your child.  To you, there are plenty of good reasons.  Worthy reasons. 

Are you fourteen or fifteen years old?  Did your mom say to 'get rid of it'?  Does your boyfriend beat you? Are you unable to care for your child?  Did you have plans?  For college?  To finish high school?  Are you too old, say 38?  Are you done having kids?  Are you afraid?  Mad?  Discouraged?

I heard you wanted to get rid of itIt.  To get rid of, as in, an abortion.  That nasty a word that nobody wants to talk about.  The easiest thing to do, right?  Run down to the cities on a Saturday afternoon, in and out, have your friend drop you off and walk around Mall of America while you get it done, then the two of you can drive home and act as if nothing happened.  Nobody has to know.  You and your friend were at the MOA all day, right?  Besides, if nobody knows, then nothing happened.  Right?

Hear my heart when I say this: don't.  Don't do it.  Just don't.

I'll tell you what, here's what you can do: have that baby.  Follow through with it and don't hurt yourself or that baby.  To me, 'baby' is any stage of the pregnancy.  Any. 

Then bring that sweet little child right on over.  That baby would be welcomed in this family at any age or time.  Just knock and run if you have to.  Leave a note, don't leave a note I don't really care.  If this is what it takes for you to not go throught with what you thought was best, then so be it.    Bring that child here and let me take care of the rest.

In this household, there are no "opps" children.  They don't exisit.  Children are welcomed and loved on, no matter what the situation, what the background, what the circumstance.  There are no "mistakes", and nothing is "unplanned". 

Quick facts about the abortions performed in Minnesota in 2009
12,388 abortions were performed — an average of more than 33 every single day.
32% of the abortions were paid for with taxpayer funds.
32% of the abortions were performed by Planned Parenthood — more than any other provider.
19% of the abortions used the dangerous and sometimes lethal RU486 abortion drug.
4% of the abortions were performed on women under age 18.
44% of the abortions were performed on women ages 18 to 24.

Abortion as birth control:
40% of the women reported that they had at least one previous abortion.
949 of the women reported that they had three or more previous abortions.
21 of the women reported that they had nine or more previous abortions.

Abortion complications:
9 complications were reported by women at the time of the abortion, including cervical laceration and hemorrhage.
79 complications have been reported by women after leaving the abortion provider, including hemorrhage, infection requiring hospitalization and incomplete abortion.

Reasons given for abortions:
31% of the women reported
“Economic reasons.”
64% of the women reported
“Does not want children at this time.”
Less than 1% of the women reported that the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest.

All of these statistic are from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.

Don't be a statistic.  You don't need to.  There really are options.  And there are still people in the world who would love to help you and that sweet little baby.

In Deuteronomy 5:29, God says, “Oh that there was such a heart within them, that they would fear Me and keep all my commandments always,
that it might be well with them and with their children forever!”

And in the end, I'll leave the light on for you.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The chicken dance

Tonight was absolutely a blast!  Kendall turned on The Chicken Dance and we all danced the entire chicken dance in our living room- twice!  We talked about firetrucks.  We ate dinner together.  The boys and I jumped on our mini trampoline, emphasizing on "taking turns" in hopes Ernest will some day catch on it doesn't entirely belong to him.  Now Kendall and I are having bits of conversation while watching Seinfield. 

My favorite moments are the moments we share together.  I love my little family.

In her Harley shirt. What a tough gal.

Big Brother and Jowls.