Monday, June 30, 2008

My Boy

I may just be used to the cautious life of girls, but I happen to think Jones is pretty fearless, because he did this:
video

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

June Jubilee

Halle and Maia have been in gymnastics classes all school year and just finished their June Jubilee, a showcase of all they have learned for family and friends. We were so proud of all their hard work and all they have accomplished! Here are a few highlights...






I've Got...



a happy girl.

Thank you so much to everyone who wrote with words of encouragement about little Lael and some of my concerns. I was so uplifted as a mama... and honestly, pretty excited, about this whole blogger community we've got here.

I realized that being baby number four holds incredible blessing and also some challenges for my girl. She has three older siblings who adore her...constantly. And, as sweet as all their affection is, combined with their breakdancing and yelps of joy (and let's be real, pain too) Lael is a litte overstimulated. So, I decided I needed to be wearing her a bit more than I was. I have always loved having my babies in a carrier when we are out, but doing this at home wasn't the norm for me. My back usually feels kaput after an hour or so of walking around.

To be successful and enjoy all the benefits of babywearing, I knew I needed something that would feel great and be easy for me to use, and that Lael would love riding in. When I tried on this sweet contraption... I found exactly what I was looking for.

As a hunk-a long fabric, this wrap seemed really complicated, but I was so pleasantly suprised at how easy it was when the gurus at the baby store showed me how to use it. Mostly, its so comfy and SO secure feeling. I think my back is actually in better shape wearing Lael around the house verses holding her, because her weight is evenly proportioned in the way I support her.

And my sweetie...she couldn't be happier, she has a mama snuggled close and gets a bit of a break from all the lovin' that was just a tad too much. Her sleep is better (in and out of the Moby), and we are greeted by smiles and even coos (!) when we play. So, the update: lip-quivering has departed our home... hurray!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Inspiration...

"Words, because they represent ideas, have the power to sway nations, touch and inspire individual lives. It seems through the centuries, whereever Christians have lived in community, education has resided- first to teach the Word and secondly, to contemplate and consider the words and lives of others."
-Karen Andreola


In the search for living, rich, beautiful books for my children, I have come to see the nourishment such literature brings! I can recall the stories that still dance in my own mind and heart...those that have made an impression that is stamped upon me forever. It is so easy to forget my own heart in the journey of motherhood, but I can not neglect this vital piece of my own continuted education. I must be as diligent in my search for words that will speak to me now as I am for the words that touch the lives of my children.

I love ethnologies. I love reading the stories of real people in real places and having the sense that I am there among them, tasting a culture that I don't comprehend without their narrative. This is my new favorite:



These essays read like a journal, swirling with the insight of an American in Paris. It is all at once romantic and witty and full of keen observations that have taken me inside French life. If you happen to be looking for something to nurture your sense of adventure this season, this book just may be it!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mad


I can't believe I haven't yet taken the time to announce the great joy of being an auntie to little Madeline Elaine Waller! I am so in love with her and so proud of her mama and papa and the way they love on her and care for her as new parents. Check out my sweet niece, she's exactly one month younger than Lael, born on April 11th...isn't she ADORABLE?

A Jar Full


CHORE JARS

I am a little obsessed with systems... They give me a sense of control around our house and help me split and organize big jobs and the daily chores into small pieces that I feel able to accomplish. Over the years, I have gotten some great tips and ideas from the Flylady and would highly recommend her site to anyone looking for a way to keep life flowing well in their home.

One of the things we do around here are chores...when my oldest was able (and so excited) to help out around the house I was suprised at how wonderful it was to have her working beside me. We would wash windows, vaccum and cook meals together. She continues to take such ownership of the way our home runs and she actually enjoys it!

Discovering when she was old enough to have responsibility and real "chores" all her own was tough to figure out for us. We saw how much she just loved doing things to being a part of our family and we didn't want to squash her joy...we wished we had the same enthusiasm! But, as the other kids began to be ready to help out too and the list of jobs kept growing and growing, we saw the need for some order in the process of cleaning up our house each day. Most of all, we wanted a spirit of joy to permeate our daily life and "work" around here. Inspired by foam counters at the Dollar Store and leftover mason jars from my failed attempts at canning last summer, we eventually settled on these chore jars.

The big jar is filled with the chores that need to be done each day. The night before I divy them up into the girls smaller jars (I try to mix it up for some variety) and during "chore time" the girls draw a chore from their jar and complete it or are responsible for that job as it pops up throughout the day. The chores currently up for grabs are:

-sweeping
-laundry helper
-wipe sinks
-clean windows
-set table
-clear table
-empty garbage
-feed bunny
-empty dishes
-dusting

When its done they put it back in the big jar so its ready to go the next day. At seven and four years old, they can do this independently (Halle helps Maia read her chores) and their little two year old brother is asked to help them. We usually blast music and dance and get crazy...we just have a big whoosh of cleaning for about 20 minutes after breakfast. Its the perfect time for us to get our house ready for school or any guests that might arrive.

One BIG word of wisdom here is that we believe so strongly that our kids need to be trained to do these tasks well before they are set loose. That means mommy or daddy take time to work alongside the child and give them tools to be successful, offer encouragement and smiles, and prepare them for what will later be required.

This step can be hard work and take time, but if you do decide to implement chores in your home, please just hang on and be patient. This season of training has such tremendous benefits! It is a delight to see your children take on a task with confidence and know they can do it with excellence because you have gently layed a foundation for their success! Those little smiles of "helpers" are priceless and so is the freedom it brings as they share jobs around the house!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Plan: Part 2

I was so impressed with myself after I posted a meal plan last week: I was actually able to stick to it and relieve oh so much stress at dinner time. Thank you for your sweet comments last week. The biggest hit of all was the spinach lasagna, even all the kids ate it up (which is saying alot if you've met Maia and understand her passion for all things peanut butter) Check out the recipe I used from Mandy here.Just until I get back in the habit, here is what's going in our tummies THIS week...

Saturday- Father's day BBQ at mom and dad's

Sunday-Portabella Burgers with fresh fruit and steamed asparagus with lemon butter
(the kids will have just fruit and asparagus with pasta)

Monday-Homemade Pizza with basic sauce and cheese (we'll let the kids make their own individual pizzas),served with fruit salad

Tuesday- Broccoli Calzone with mozzarella and pesto (use 1/2 of pizza dough from the previous nights double batch)

Wednesday- Hummus platter with carrots, bell peppers, cucumbers and pita, served with strawberry kababs

Thursday- Baked Salmon with bread,vegggies and fruit

Friday- Potstickers with sticky rice

Saturday- Josh is shooting a wedding so the kids and I will eat leftovers and cereal :)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Lip-quivering In Action




Sage, Wise women out there... I need help. I might have four children, but I only have one Lael and this baby is so different from any other that has come into the Kill household. She smiles all the time and is generally happy, but the girl is so serious! She also gets worked up... every day! She seems sincerely anxious. After having had three "mellow" babies, I need to know if this is simply what its been like for everyone else all along.

Case in point #1: Big broher has "claw" shaped salad tongs and pretends to be a tiger while Lael is in the swing...a full foot away, mind you. The result: one solid half-hour of screaming and lip quivering.

Case in point #2: Mom is doing the super-human one handed dishwashing jive with baby in arms, when plates collide and make a loud noise. The result: frightened jerk followed by above mentioned screaming and lip-quivering (this time only about 5 minutes).

Case in point #3: Crying baby needs to sleep, loving father wants to cuddle baby...Daddy time is cut short by the all too familiar screaming and lip-quiver as soon as mom makes the hand-off. The result: Dad passes back to mom after several minutes of soothing (must be a nursing thing,right?)...baby stops crying. Mom makes the pass back to dad and immediately witnesses the screaming, lip-quivering anguish of baby. This goes on for several passes until loving father gives up and just cuddles next to hot wife, which really is pretty great for everyone anyway...but, what is going on?

So, blog moms, what do you think? Is it just my turn, finally, to have a baby who is a bit more jumpy and dare I say, "normal" ??? Or, is there something more going on here? Is my baby in need of something I might not know how to give her because she doesn't fit the Kill baby M.O.? If this is just Lael's personality, thats cool with us, we like her quite a bit, lip-quivering and all... I just don't want to miss something here and this is getting a little weird. Plus, I am starting to worry about how it affects the rest of the kids... routine kind of goes out the window when there is non-stop crying. The result lately has been this:



Dog pile co-sleeping, although it does make such a cute picture, just can't go on forever!

Finally... A Plan!

In the spirit of Jodi over at Billy and Green, I am finally going to post (which really means actually prepare) a meal plan for our week. I used to do this all the time, but after Lael was born, its all gone a little south in the kitchen department. Somehow posting a meal plan on my blog makes me feel accountable to actually having one, so here, for your enjoyment is the lowdown on what the Kills will be eating this week:

Saturday: Pizza with basic tomato sauce served with fresh strawberry kebabs and vanilla yogurt (Josh will be gone shooting a wedding, so its a kids' favorite kind of night around here)

Sunday: Double Batch (freeze one) of Enchiladas with rice, fresh limes and limeade slushies.

Monday: Spinach Lasagna with fruit salad and garlic bread

Tuesday: Thai Pizza with fresh fruit and sticky rice

Wednesday: Tomato Basil Tart with fresh vegetables and strawberry kebabs

Thursday: Bean and Cheese Quesadillas with guacamole, chips and salsa

Friday: Pancakes with peanut butter and nutella (I know, I know...),raw nuts and fresh fruit on top

Friday, June 6, 2008

Pony Bath

So... any of you ever had curdled milk in your kitchen sink? No? Ahhh... it might be because you never left the kids alone in the kitchen when you put the baby down for a nap and so you weren't around when they got the awesome idea to give their My-Little-Ponies a bath in hot water, vinegar and milk...sounds refreshing, don't ya think?

THE K.H.O.

Josh and I are fairly caffeine driven. We don't really like it, but we're willing to be okay with it in this season of life...This morning the reality of our dependence really hit home; it went something like this:

Kristen (while holding Lael): Will you grind the coffee for my espresso? I can't really do that one handed ....

Josh(barely moving): uh-huh

Pajama-clad kids in other room becoming restless for parents who are awake: Don't hit me...you can't have that...where did you put my blankie?...screeek,scream,yelp...

Kristen: ugh...coffee, I need coffee

Josh: Guys,come on, I'm getting mom her coffee.

Kids, realizing the urgency of dad's chore and an opening for willfullness: AHHH! AHHHH! (lots of muffled pushing, pulling, rustling)AHHH!

Josh: Okay, everyone to their beds. Daddy's having a kid meeting RIGHT now!

Kristen: Yeah guys, go with dad... its like a club, he has some stuff he needs to share with you... like a club! I then began to down my espresso in giant gulps...

What followed was actually the sweetest part of the day... Josh loved on our kids, read them Scripture about serving others and how Christ said to deal with wrongs done against you and prayed with them. Then he told them the name of their new club...KIDS WHO OBEY...

Josh: Okay guys... the meeting of the K.H.O is now complete!

Kristen(amazingly refreshed): So, what's the K.H.O?

Josh: Our new club... Kids Who Obey

Kristen(super clever from caffeine):Wouldn't that be the K.W.O. ?

Josh: Blank stare, then... Oh, yeah...but its an "H" sound...

After a good laugh, we headed back to the kitchen to make Josh his own coffee