Tuesday, September 30

our days, our days...

This week, we're on a TV fast. The TV watching had gotten out of control for all of us, basically due to our life changes, sickness, and exhaustion, so we decided (AFTER watching the Amazing Race on Sunday night) that there would be no more TV until this weekend.** Day 2 of this fast and I'm realizing how necessary it was to say "NO MORE!"

Because. I. am. in. withdrawl.

From PBS.

It's so easy to park Aaron in front of the TV for a 1/2 hour a couple times a day without even realizing it. Now, I'm forced to be more creative, like locking him in his high chair with a coloring page and some stickers so he's not whining at me to hold him while I'm making dinner. I'm learning how to play catch while I'm nursing. And that is interesting. And hopefully soon he'll quit asking if he can "watch TV?" because it's so, so tempting to cave in. But I can do this. I really can.

It's not as hard to resist the temptation to watch TV at night - last night we worked on cleaning out the deep freezer and then read over some study materials for our Wednesday night program at church. I think the evenings will DEFINITELY be more profitable.

Have any of you gone on a TV fast recently? How did it work out for you?

**With the exception of my Walk Away the Pounds video, which I am ashamed to say kicked my haven't-exerted-myself-in-six-weeks patootie this morning!!!***

Monday, September 29

Works of God Monday

This week, God has worked in my life by giving me little bits of encouragement through my wonderful, wonderful husband. He worked a 50 hour week, then slaved all weekend on our siding project. Sunday, we had a sick Aaron, so Michael went to Sunday School and then we switched and he let me go to church. When I got home, this card was sitting on the table and it said "To Mommy" I opened it up to find sentiments of thanks "from my second born" but written suspiciously in my husband's handwriting. It was just what I needed - a good laugh!

So how has God's work been evident in your life? Please share it with us!! First, blog about how God has been at work in your life this past week - it can be a physical provision, a spiritual lesson learned, an opportunity to share with others, anything that was an evidence of God at work in you. Then, follow these directions:

In the Mister Linky widget below,
simply type your name in the top box, or a short description of the work that God has done, and then in the second box, paste the link from your specific "Works of God Monday" post. PLEASE make sure the link is to a specific post on your blog that is a personal testimony of how God has been at work in your life in the past week. Feel free to use the image from the top of this post if you like. Just right click the image and choose "save image as" then upload it into your post. Please contact me if you have any questions, and spread the word to your blogging friends!


Friday, September 26

our boys










Evan is growing soooo quickly! Today marks the 6 week anniversary of our hilarious and wonderful garage sale that resulted in a birth. The adjustment has been interesting - a lot easier than I thought it would be, and it's getting better. Evan slept through the night last night, waking at 5ish to eat, and went back to sleep. Aaron slept until 8:30, so you can guess that everything's a whole lot easier for this mama to handle on a full night's sleep! Praise the Lord for His grace at all times, and especially for SLEEP!!!

And here's Aaron, saying "his" Bible verse.

video

Thursday, September 25

oh, the irony.

Today Aaron does not want a nap (he desperately needs one) and we discussed that at length. After an extended period of time crying in his bed, Aaron started going through his repertoire. The alphabet song, followed by...drumroll please...

Repetetive renditions of Ephesians 6:1.

If I wasn't so determined that he would not manipulate the situation and that he would just obey and lie down and take a nap already, I would be laughing...

Tuesday, September 23

Pinked and all Blue









The soffits are torn off, the important preparation steps have taken place, and the pink insulation has begun. Hopefully soon I'll be able to show photos of the whole HOUSE in this lovely shade of Pepto Bismol Pink. And as you can see, my boys are all blue. Aaron loves to "help" his daddy work outside.

This week is slated to be sunny and in the 70's - perfect weather for working outside in the evenings. Now, if only the evenings were still as looooong as they were during the hotter summer months...

Monday, September 22

Works of God Monday

God has been teaching me a lot this week about His Grace and reminding me to keep trusting and relying on Him. I'm sure this lesson will be a repeat one, and I'm so thankful for His patient teaching and His constant compassion for me. I need all the help I can get!

How has God been at work in your life this past week? First, blog about how God has been at work in your life this past week - it can be a physical provision, a spiritual lesson learned, an opportunity to share with others, anything that was an evidence of God at work in you. Then, follow these directions:

In the Mister Linky widget below,
simply type your name in the top box, or a short description of the work that God has done, and then in the second box, paste the link from your specific "Works of God Monday" post. PLEASE make sure the link is to a specific post on your blog that is a personal testimony of how God has been at work in your life in the past week. Feel free to use the image from the top of this post if you like. Just right click the image and choose "save image as" then upload it into your post. Please contact me if you have any questions, and spread the word to your blogging friends!


Friday, September 19

extra plummy

I had purchased some plums a week ago at the Farmer's Market, and there were just too many for us to eat before they would have turned to mush. So off to Allrecipes I went, and found this wondrous concoction. I made it without a pie crust, more as a crisp/cobbler, and it was scrumptious. I reduced the sugar in the filling to 1/4 cup and added a handful of frozen blackberries as well.

This was a two thumbs up recipe according to all the Muths who tried it.

Thursday, September 18

Praising God

Sometimes, you just have to decide to praise. More often than not, God ends up changing my heart so that I'm actually praising. From my heart. So, today was one of those days.

I was frustrated that Aaron was being a pistol. I needed to be praising the Lord that our little pistol is alive and well, and that he brings a wonderful dimension to our family. I needed to be joyful that God has given me the opportunity and privilege to teach Aaron about HIM! (over and over and over - we all need review, right?)

I was discouraged, feeling tied to the couch for most of the day whilst Evan nursed. I needed to be praising the Lord that all is going well in that department. I should have been grateful for the time to sit and rest.

I was disappointed when things did not go my way. Our weekend plans to finally begin siding are thwarted by other things; I wanted a nap, and didn't get one; other little things began to sow large hedges (not seeds) of discontent.

I had a little pep talk with myself.

It started with my knowledge of other people's struggles - real and serious sickness, those with dire financial needs, those who have lost loved ones - and mine are pale.

You've done this, right? Struggled with a bad attitude about your "problems" and then looked at someone else's and felt really guilty? So on top of the actual struggle you now have a boatload of heavy guilt? Well, quit it. (I told myself this, too)

God did not give you their struggles. He gave you yours. And He gives each believer the exact measure of grace to get through it. Whatever "it" may be. Feeling guilty for struggling is just plain silly. Admit that you need help (or HELP! as the case may be), ask God for help, and get on with the struggling, already!

Bottom line? God knows what Jenny Muth can handle. Today, it was two little boys with lots of needs and sinful hearts. Today, He gave me grace to handle it. And I'm still drawing on His grace, His wisdom, to continue on, to trust Him for things like enough sleep and wisdom to know how to handle a difficult toddler at naptime (and bedtime, and playtime). I'm struggling with these things when others have things that seem far more difficult to trust Him for, on the surface.

It's my struggle, and it's real. Just as "big" struggles are real. But it's always His grace. Sufficient to the day. To the person. To you.

Wednesday, September 17

our first of many...

It's our first of many many crazy Wednesdays. I'm sure with two littles it will be interesting and interestinger. *grin*

I got more sleep. *BIG grin* And the boys & I went to the farmer's market, where we picked up 2 quarts of yellow wax beans and 6 bell peppers. YUM. We also went to see Michael and took the guys some donut holes. I like feeling better.

Hope your Wednesday is peachy.

Tuesday, September 16

AHH!

Today, my total sleep tally from last night nears 3 hours. My brain, at times like this, waxes philosophical, of all things. Sleep deprivation does not a sharper Jenny make.

In five years, Aaron will be seven.
In ten, he will be twelve.
In fifteen, he may be graduating from high school.

Despite my lack of sleep, I must be vigilant.

Inquisitive
means
asking
"WHY?"
at all the
inappropriate
times.
(like right after directives)
Lord,
give us
wisdom!
parenting is such a daunting task,
full of such heavy responsibility.

Aaron got a Bible in his new two year old Sunday School class. He's been carrying it around, asking us to read it, and to sing the "Bible" song. So last night we started working on teaching him Ephesians 6:1. He would repeat the phrases and then when we were done would say, "Again?" and we'd do it again. Michael asked him to come sit on his lap so we could sing songs before bed and he said "Obey parents. Bible says."

Is he really only two?

and I wonder

Sunday night, at Meijer, I saw one of those funky looking crossover vehicles ENTIRELY covered with a photo of sunflowers. It was bright green (leaves) and yellow (sunflowers). And there was this quote by Helen Keller screened onto the back window.

"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows."

I happened to see the driver, a white haired jovial looking gentleman. Wearing bright blue scrubs. I wish I'd had the fortitude to stop him and ask his story. Unfortunately, it was raining, and he was parked on the passenger side. I didn't make it out of the van in time. But really, those are just excuses. I could have made it if I had really wanted to. I could have flagged him down. And now I'll always wonder.

But, it made me smile on that drizzly night, and I wished fervently that I had a camera phone or at least a camera with me to capture the moment.

Monday, September 15

Works of God Monday

I'm sick (fever, congestion, headache, stomach, etc, etc.) The baby's sick (thankfully just congestion) The toddler's grumpy (sick?). Today I'm thankful for a flexible job for my honey so that he can come home and take care of us. Yep, it's that bad. I'm also thankful that I was able to score 14 boxes of cereal this weekend for a measly $8. Woo Hoo for sales and coupons. We'll be eating Multi Grain Cheerios and Kashi GoLean Crunch Honey Flax for awhile. (well, actually, at the rate Aaron goes through Cheerios...maybe not that long.)

Even in this time of feeling miserable and sleep deprived and miserable (did I mention sleep deprived?), I don't doubt that God good. He is good, all the time. His plan is perfect. And He is at work in your life, too - I'm sure of it. I hope you don't mind sharing!!

Here's how it works. First, blog about how God has been at work in your life this past week - it can be a physical provision, a spiritual lesson learned, an opportunity to share with others, anything that was an evidence of God at work in you. Then, follow these directions:

In the Mister Linky widget below,
simply type your name in the top box, or a short description of the work that God has done, and then in the second box, paste the link from your specific "Works of God Monday" post. PLEASE make sure the link is to a specific post on your blog that is a personal testimony of how God has been at work in your life in the past week. Feel free to use the image from the top of this post if you like. Just right click the image and choose "save image as" then upload it into your post. Please contact me if you have any questions, and spread the word to your blogging friends!

Thursday, September 11

the hard stuff

It's easy to cover things up, isn't it? Especially our struggles. Today I read Amy's thoughts. Good stuff, there.

the lowdown on the carrier

Well, I never would have thought that a photo of siding and my "excited" face would result in so many inquiries about the baby carrier! I got several emails and after answering uh, one...I thought I'd just tell a little bit about it here.

This is a Mei Tai style carrier, and mine has pleated straps (about 6" wide when spread out) at the top to help with better weight distribution. We got this carrier when Aaron was about 10 months old and we were on our way to Washington DC for a mini vacation. Unfortunately, it was too hot to use (98 and UP with 98 percent humidity) when trekking around the city, and we ended up stopping at the nearest Babies R Us for an umbrella stroller instead, which worked out for the best.

I was planning to make the carrier, but I ran out of time and have to admit that I was just plain lazy. So I was looking all around for something ready made that was cute and that would cost under $50. I thought that was a reasonable request but apparently it is not. So I happened upon DreamHaven Baby run by Erin in Washington. She makes carriers, and I saw that they were QUITE reasonable.

So I looked around on the site and didn't see any fabric I was in love with at the time. You know how I can be when I get something in my head. I asked Erin if I could send her fabric for a carrier, and she gave me a "labor only" quote, which was again very reasonable. I found the brown fabric in the home decor section of JoAnn's, and fell in love with the green paisley. Michael wears this carrier too - with the brown side facing out.

So. Two weeks later I had my carrier. It's very well constructed and I hope to use it for years to come! I loved using it with Aaron, who was about 18 lbs or so when it arrived. But I love it even more now. Nothing beats the value of hands-free toddler chasing. And hands free youth group attendance. Grocery store, farmer's market, post office lines, walks...I've used this pretty much any time I have to tote 2 kids by myself, and I probably will at least until we get a double stroller.

Oh, did I mention that this greatly improves my back pain as I don't have to keep my arms up in the "newborn carry" position. This is the most comfortable carrier I have ever tried.

Wednesday, September 10

Is it time yet?

I have bags and bins of clothes to sort through and redistribute for sizes and seasons. (praise the LORD for His provision!) I'm sure this seasonal task will only get more fun as we are blessed with more kiddos, and we have more sizes to sort through.

My quandry - this morning it is a chilly 39 degrees. But the highs for this week are going to continue in the 70's with alternating days of sun and rain. So do I pack up the shorts and sleeveless shirts or hang on for a few more weeks to see if we'll have another warm spell?

How do you decide when to switch over the clothing? Do you switch yourself over at the same time? Also on the topic of clothing, if you have more than one munchkin, how do you do laundry? Do you have separate hampers for the kiddos and wash everything separately or do a big family load and sort later?

Tuesday, September 9

it's a beautiful day in our neighborhood















Or it will be a beautiful day, once we get this stuff on our house. I'm sure our neighbors will shout gleefully, maybe even from their rooftops. We decided to go with Cypress Green siding and white trim. I couldn't be more thrilled, as you can see by the oh-so-flattering no-makeup-and-it's-been-a-long-day photo. Not sure if you can get an accurate idea of the actual color with this picture, but it's kind of a medium sage.

I also had a little "he-woman" time today as I ripped down some pieces of our previous siding. I always feel "so" powerful when I use manly tools like a hammer to accomplish something like that. It almost makes me feel like grunting victoriously. (go ahead and laugh...)

As a side note, I canned 6 quarts and 8 pints of pintos today. Just for the record, the smell does not stay in the jars. Needless to say, the house is airing out. For the weather IS beautiful today. Very much. I love this autumnal preview.

Quotable George

"Some days, having a working brain really pays off."

--Curious George

Today, I'm canning pintos. And taking care of my children. And trying to accomplish a list that seems a mile long. Oh, and did I mention taking a nap? This would be one of those days. C'mon, brain, don't let me down!!

Monday, September 8

Works of God Monday

"Count your many blessings, name them one by one...and it will surprise you what the Lord has done!"

1. A good night's sleep last night, hallelujah!
2. A surprise substantial monetary gift that will help us with some expenses.
3. A great doctor's appt for both boys last Friday, I'm thankful for healthy children!
4. A really great turnout to the youth group's parent meeting last night (even though I couldn't go, this is still awesome as turnout is usually very low!)
5. We were able to order our siding this weekend!!!!
6. I'm learning soooo much about God's Grace and my inabilities. God is big, and I am not. It's so good to be reminded of that.
7. A great visit with the St. Clair family this Thursday and Friday!
8. I am feeling so wonderful, almost as if I didn't have a baby just three weeks ago. I'm totally amazed.
9. and the list goes on...

OK, it's now YOUR turn to share! First, blog about how God has been at work in your life this past week - it can be a physical provision, a spiritual lesson learned, an opportunity to share with others, anything that was an evidence of God at work in you. Then, follow these directions:

In the Mister Linky widget below,
simply type your name in the top box, or a short description of the work that God has done, and then in the second box, paste the link from your specific "Works of God Monday" post. PLEASE make sure the link is to a specific post on your blog that is a personal testimony of how God has been at work in your life in the past week. Feel free to use the image from the top of this post if you like. Just right click the image and choose "save image as" then upload it into your post. Please contact me if you have any questions, and spread the word to your blogging friends!

If you don't have a blog, tell us about how God is at work in your life by leaving a comment!

Sunday, September 7

while the child screams

OK he's not actually screaming, but the two year old is protesting sleep, so after making sure all his needs are met, and that he's been sufficiently cuddled and sung to, I distract myself from his pitiful cries (all 10 minutes, as it turns out) by catching up on my blog subscriptions. OK, not catching up, but catching a few.

And boy, howdy, did I need to read this. I love my neti pot, but Shannon says it a whole lot funnier.

Thank you, Lord, for humor, right when I need it most.

Speaking of humor, Aaron's new favorite song (almost to the exclusion of all other songs) is the Alphabet song. The traditional version, which he can sing, but not usually on cue. It's so adorable. He also likes the "A-B-C-D-E-F-G, Jesus died for you and me" version which he's working on learning. A letter fixation? Hmm. I guess if he can't reliably identify his colors, we can at least wow them with counting to 17 and singing the alphabet. HA!

anybody got a spare toothpick?

So these are interesting days. I am entirely too motivated by my next opportunity for bonding with my pillow. If you've never known the desperation of sleep deprivation, you are welcome to come spend the night with my children.

Last night the boys took turns waking up, Aaron winning the prize for the most times awake. What a stinker. I thought I could count on him sleeping all the way through the night, but not last night! It seemed like I would just get done feeding Evan and Aaron would be yelling. Thankfully, I have a fabulous husband who took care of Aaron in the night. Unfortunately, this means that we are now both in need of toothpicks for our eyes and in my sleep deprived state I can only find one set. And of course, this is the busiest. Sunday. ever. for us.

And I'm not sure, in my fuzzy brained state, that this passage would be in context for my particular day, but even if it's not, I know this to be true at all times: God said, "...My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness..."

At the end of the day, God is going to be glorified. May He use us - even when we need toothpicks.

Oh, and if anyone has any insight on getting the toddler to go back to sleeping through the night, I'm all ears.

Wednesday, September 3

not my intention

I don't mean to complain, just to ask - how long does it take for two year old molars to come in, anyway?! This has been, by far, the worst tooth emerging experience in our family thus far. I feel horrible continuing to pump Aaron full of Motrin, so we've been doing 1/2 doses except for at night. I also feel sorry for the poor kid, it's taking such a toll on his little personality that it has to be hurting quite a lot!

Such a tiny problem, with such far reaching arms. I sure hate all the discipline issues it seems to bring - I know how grumpy I get when I'm in pain.

I think it's nap time. For me.

Tuesday, September 2

ClearPlay

A looong time ago, I wrote a post about Clean Films just in time for them to go out of business. Ooops. Well, in our search for a similar product, we found something we love even more. ClearPlay - a DVD player with customizable editing capability. Don't ask me how it works, I don't know. All I know is that we can watch movies from Netflix or the video store and this wonder-machine edits out all the profanity and other content we find objectionable. The great part is that it is fully customizable, so you choose the level of filtering you want in categories like profanity, nudity, violence and much more. There are are four levels in each category, from no filtering to most filtering.

Most of the time, the editing is smooth and virtually undetectable. There are a few times when we've thought, "oh, I think we missed something there!" but for the most part, it's great. Here's how it works:

You buy the DVD player (a one-time event) and activate your filterstik. The filterstik is a flash drive loaded with the complete library of ClearPlay titles that plugs into the ClearPlay DVD player. You then can watch any movie that is in that list. You can also subscribe to the "easy updates" which allows you to have access to filters for the newest DVD releases the day they come out. This is a montly fee. We've had this service for over a year, and for us it has been worth every penny.

Right now, you can get more information here, and ClearPlay is offering a free flash drive just for requesting information. Check it out, or click on the button in the sidebar!

an excellent point

Here is a great post reminding us as women of our true and highest calling.

Monday, September 1

Works of God Monday


This weekend has been a great one - Michael is home, able to work on various projects we need to complete! Hurray! I'm hoping to hit some of the Labor Day sales later today, and we also are excitedly anticipating a visit from some friends this week. We are looking forward to some catching up and fellowship. It's been entirely too long!!!

And happy due date to me! I never anticipated having a child arrive TWO WEEKS early, but we are so glad Evan is born and I'm not still pregnant on this due date!

I'm excited to pray through the month of September for Muslims to hear the gospel, understand it, and come to know the true God on a personal level. May we become more burdened for those around us of all faiths to come to a true saving faith in the only true way!

It is YOUR turn to share! First, blog about how God has been at work in your life this past week - it can be a physical provision, a spiritual lesson learned, an opportunity to share with others, anything that was an evidence of God at work in you. Then, follow these directions:

In the Mister Linky widget below,
simply type your name in the top box, or a short description of the work that God has done, and then in the second box, paste the link from your specific "Works of God Monday" post. PLEASE make sure the link is to a specific post on your blog that is a personal testimony of how God has been at work in your life in the past week. Feel free to use the image from the top of this post if you like. Just right click the image and choose "save image as" then upload it into your post. Please contact me if you have any questions, and spread the word to your blogging friends!