Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Gerlachs! We are spending the holiday in Lynden with Bill's family. We thankfully made it through the snow and ice and it's a White Christmas here. It's still snowing!! The kids are having a blast playing with their cousins, and Bill is having some quality snuggle time with Matt.
Thank you Jesus for car chains, 4-wheel drive, and loving family. Today and always we remember the humble way you came to the world, even though you are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Happy Birthday too to David and Papa Bales! We love you and miss you today.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Good job Amelia!

I was in Fred Meyer last week with only Amelia because Caley was in Playland. (But I did not feel like I was cheating on Cost Cutter!) Amelia was pushing the cart around, and several people stopped and commented how cute she was. An older lady asked what her name was and I said "Amelia" and she said, "That's a good, real name. It's not stupid like those new made-up names you hear nowadays." 

I didn't tell her that Big Sister has a "made up" name that's only gained popularity in the last 3o years. See Kaylee's popularity here (we changed the spelling to make our Caley unique and to distinguish her from her namesake TV character.) Just for fun, here is Amelia's popularity.

Getting my butt kicked--part 2

Does my home promote peace?

This was another principle I took away from meeting with Jan a few weeks ago. As a mother and a wife I am the manager of my home. This job includes such things as wisely stewarding the money Bill earns, keeping a clean and healthy home, food in my children's bellies, clean clothes for everyone to wear, and keeping the kids busy and learning, etc. But it's not enough to simply do those things if I am constantly yelling at my kids to eat their dinner, neglecting my children in order to get the house clean, or becoming bitter at my husband while I'm making dinner. Our home needs to be peaceful. Peaceful for me, the kids and Bill, and for any guests we may have. This means that when Bill comes home for work it should be peaceful, I shouldn't bombard him with problems or cranky children all the time.  Trisha over at Work and Worship wrote a great blog entry about this very thing, read it here. (While you're there, I highly recommend her entire series on homeWork, it's fantastic.)

I recently wrote "Does my home promote peace?" on an index card and put it by the sink. I look at it all the time. And honestly I sometimes have to answer that question with "no" in the moment. I yell at the kids, complain about all the work I have to do at home, and just feel overwhelmed. Then I need to remember that if my heart isn't at peace, then my home cannot be at peace. My heart can continue to be at peace by reading the Bible, talking to Jesus and just letting certain things go. Saying no to things that might stress me out unnecessarily. 

Does my home promote peace? Only with Jesus' help.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Getting my butt kicked- part 1

The week of Thanksgiving my women's group met at Jan's house (the mom of a girl in our group) and were treated to an amazing brunch/snack and babysitting while we were able to ask Jan questions about almost anything. She has four grown children and they're a very close family. Since everyone in the group has young children and primarily stay home with them, the questions were mostly about our children, our marriages, and how to do those things well without going crazy. She had a lot of wonderfully wise things to say, and connected it all to Jesus. We are to teach our kids to obey us in order for them to learn to obey God. We are to direct Caley and Amelia to Jesus, above all. 

One point that resonated most with me was that little kids shouldn't watch much (if any) TV. Her reason was that the shows and movies offered today are just too stimulating for young children, that the frames are moving so fast it's just too much information for a little person to take. She said she's noticed that after watching a Disney (or similar) movie, little girls get really whiney and little boys get really active. (At least I think that's what she said, I kind of forgot since I don't have boys.) Jan suggested that if kids are going to watch TV, it should be something at their pace such as Mister Rogers. In real time they watch Mister Rogers walk into his house, take off his shoes, walk across the room, change his coat, etc. 

I was so convicted by this! We (meaning mostly I, Addie) were letting Caley watch TV nearly every morning and sometimes a movie at night. It became fairly routine for her to ask, "Can I watching something on TV" when she woke up, and we'd flip on the TV so she could watch PBS or the Christian cartoons. They were okay shows, but I was starting to feel convicted that I was using the TV as a babysitter. I was able to get a lot done during that time, but it was getting be too much. Jan's talk was so timely for me. Since that week, we have been making a conscious effort to limit Caley's TV time and being selective in what she gets to watch and how much. And it's going so great! She still asks to watch a movie or TV most days, but I just tell her "no, there are plenty of other fun things to do at home." Instead of TV, she has really taken to playing with playdough, drawing, and just sitting and reading books. These are all things that she liked to do before "the change" but now she's getting much more imaginative with her play. I've also noticed that the girls are playing together so much better. Caley can still be rough sometimes with Amelia, but she is getting more gentle and involving her more in her play. (Maybe this is because Caley is older and more "mature" and Amelia can actually play now instead of laying on the floor spitting up!)

It has been so wonderful to watch Caley's little imagination take flight. She's always loved taking care of her stuffed animals and I frequently find her bears and babies tucked into our or her bed. She's getting more creative though. The other day the girls were playing in Caley's room and they shut the door--I wasn't allowed inside. I heard Caley knock on the door, open it and say, "Hi bunny, I'm glad you could join us." It was so cute! Amelia was just playing with the dollhouse next to her, so peacefully. 

We still let her watch movies, but now it's more of a treat. She watched Shrek when her friend Olivia came over, and a bear movie one night before bed. She still loves Wall-E and other movie characters. 

I learned so much else from Jan, but this has been the biggest thing so far. Thank you Jan for your insight and biblical counsel!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Help Yourself!!

After nearly 18 months of living with us, Amelia feels comfortable enough to get a snack whenever she wants:
 Yes, she got the bowl and cereal out by herself. 

From now on...

I'll remember to skip running on Tuesday, the night before garbage day in our neighborhood. 

Why, you ask?

Because Tuesday night this week I was running and ran into someone's GARBAGE!!! And not just garbage, but a huge pane of glass that was completely blocking the sidewalk. I was completely blindsided by it, and subsequently knocked it over, breaking it, and knocking over the garbage cans and recycle bins, and fell on the ground. Sure, it's probably not the smartest idea to run at night, but when it gets dark at stinkin' 4:30 it's hard to avoid running after the sun goes down. Thankfully I wasn't really hurt, I was wearing long pants and a sweatshirt so the glass didn't hurt me. But the last few days my upper body has really hurt because I caught myself after the fall and it was a shock to my muscles. 

This was an interesting way to meet our neighbors, to say the least. Wednesday I stopped by the "glass house" just to tell the guy what happened. He was very apologetic and nice, thankfully.

Learn from another of my mistakes: don't run at night before garbage day. (Doing stupid things for others to learn from is just a free service I offer.)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Just add this to the "stupid" file

Tuesday mornings I get up early and make breakfast sandwiches, and enjoy a quiet morning before the kids get up. This week on Tuesday Caley woke up at 630 (which is too early!) so I told her to stay in bed a little longer until the sun comes up. Around 715 I went outside to get something, keys in my hand, knowing the kids would be safe in their rooms/crib for less than 5 minutes. The instant I stepped out the door and heard the doorknob lock it dawned on me that my house key was not on my keychain, but in my purse. Crap. There weren't any open doors or windows (which is a good thing, but didn't help me out at the moment). My only hope was Caley.

I got a ladder and put it outside near her bedroom window and talked to her through the window. "Caley, this is Mommy. Climb over your gate and go downstairs." I told her this a few times, but wasn't sure if she'd do it. We have a gate on her door because her bedroom is at the top of the stairs and we don't want her to wake during the night and fall down the stairs on accident. Although she can climb it, she is usually very obedient and doesn't climb anymore. We are actually training her to stay in her bed until someone comes and gets her after sleeping. 

I got down from the ladder and ran to the front door and rang the doorbell. She yelled from inside, "I don't know where you are!" and I said, "I'm outside. Go to the slider door and open it." I could hear her little footsteps come down the stairs and run to the slider. I ran around to the back and she let me in! Thank you Caley! You saved me a call to Daddy and a disruption to his day to fix my stupid mistake. 

*Of course afterward we talked to her about opening the door for strangers. We told her to only open the door for people she knows--Mommy, Daddy, Papa, Grama. Stranger Danger!!*