Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Banmans: Five Kids And Counting

I watched an episode of the Duggars last night.
They have 19 children.
I am amazed at how happy, sweet, smart and loving their kids are.
And how calm the mom is!

We also watched The Sound of Music this weekend.
Seven children!  
Wow, that always seemed like so many.

 We were at the airport today picking up Mike and I noticed that a handful of the rest of the people waiting for their loved ones were watching my children with curiosity.  Seems like when we leave the house and are around strangers this happens frequently.

Then they look at my pregnant belly.
Then they count the kids up.
Then, if they are really bold, and you'd be surprised how many ARE that bold, they come up and ask
"are they all yours???" 
My kids position themselves in order without being asked or prompted because they know the routine.
"Yes, they are all mine"
Then the stranger wants to know their ages...
(turning to kids already in line) "11,9,6,4,2"
"And one more!  you must be so busy"
"And another on the way, wow you are so brave"





Not at all.

Many times I am afraid;
afraid the quantities of food I need to prepare will keep growing as they do
afraid I will never pee alone
afraid the missing sock basket will soon be a closet
afraid to forget to do my tooth fairy duty *again*
afraid someone will slip through the cracks and feel unloved or unnoticed
afraid to pay for just about anything x's 6
afraid to raise selfish kids
afraid to realize one day that they are all gone
afraid of the orthodontist's bill
afraid to let them drive
afraid to let them date
afraid they might find me annoying
afraid I might lose my temper *again*
afraid when the girls reach my size they might wreck/lose my clothes/shoes
afraid when the girls reach my size they won't think my stuff is cool enough to wear
afraid what might happen if they question their faith
afraid of spiders and accidentally eating a cookie with nuts- gross!
afraid I will regret wasting time on Facebook that could have been spent with them
afraid of who I will be when raising kids is done
afraid they will blame everything unlovely about themselves on me one day...

...and it might be true.

Brave is not a word I would use to classify myself.
{unless we are talking about childbirth}
But my fears are not something that I focus on.  

I am resting in the peace that my Saviour chose me to raise these babies, they are His children. 
 I believe that through His grace I am equipped to nurture and guide and love them exactly how they need to be!
{He even left me an instruction manuel}
I do not think I live up to this potential on a daily basis and that is so frustrating!!

But I am going to keep trying to.
So can you!
A mother with one child has all the same joys, responsibility, and high calling as one with 5 or 7 or 19 kids.

 What you put into it is going to determine what you and your children and their children will receive in the future.  What is more immediate than that?  What is more important?

I can't think of anything.

Mommies, stand up!
Take control of your time and your amazing opportunity to be brave and raise awesome kids!!

Embrace the "busy" years.
Have another baby if you want one!

You won't regret it!!

**Disclaimer:  I am not in any way suggesting that I would like to or am planning to have 19 or even 7 children.  I am quite happy with the soon to be 6 that we have been blessed with.  It's a nice even number and we can all fit in our vehicle.  But I admire the women who have LOTS of children and do it well :)

**Also:  I find it funny that I look at the Von Trapp family as having sooo many kids because we are very close to them in numbers!! Especially funny because I knew myself back when I was certain that I wanted 0 kids!!

**On another note:  I dreamt last night that this baby came out as triplets and yikes, that was certainly NOT my plan!!!  My biggest struggle when I found out there were three?  C names or M names or a mixture??

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mailee's Freshwater Lapbook

Here's Mailee's Lapbook.  She did a great job!

Mikayla's Freshwater Lapbook

Here's Mikayla's little video displaying her first lapbook.

So Fun!

Royally Getting Into School

Two weeks ago the kids and I tried something new.
Trying something new is USUALLY a good thing, yes?
Our new thing was lapbooking and it turned out to be very good!

We have these incredible books with lots of pictures and information and all year so far we have been siting down together, covering the material and then documenting what we learn on some kind of boring page.

I all goes in a notebook.
End of story.

Amber (teacher assigned to us to make sure we are on track) suggested we try doing a lapbook.
I googled this new concept.
He kids and I watched a few videos on You Tube of finished lapbooks.
We were excited!
We got started right away with none of the supplies, no idea how to do it.
The girls have been working lie crazy, looking up extra information in books and on the internet.  They have been digging deeper and been more interested in this topic than any others that we have covered.  It's not because they are thrilled with freshwater and all of it's finer points.
It's because of the lapbook!

Theres Mailee's Lapbook nearing completion.
(stay tuned for videos of the girls presenting their books)

We have decided to go with this new concept.
It helps the kids explore the topic more thoroughly.
It helps me get creative.
It is a goal we are working toward together.
It makes a lot of snips on the floor. (which has always made me feel quite satisfied:)

Our new topic is Castles!

We got some file folders.
(These are the base for the lapbook.  We used regular paper for our first ones and they were kind of a mess)

The construction has begun.

 Can't wait to show you the finished products!!

 Can't wait to tell you all about this castle:)

(remember tracing this way?  Taping paper to the window, so old school, so fun!)

 On a slightly unrelated note, I finally broke down and allowed my living room to transform into a schoolroom.  The kids love it.  Actually, I do too.  It only took me half a year to embrace the fact that we do school at home and that may involve maps and calendar charts on walls.  I set up a folding table near the windows and we work there which frees the kitchen table up for eating.  This is a good thing.

One more thing to add to this very disjointed way too late at night post...

So excited when things like this happen around here:

I pulled this cool book out of one of our bookshelves.  I set it on the kitchen counter and began reading the instructions. (It's a book that you can build.  Have I ever mentioned that my Mom buys the best books and toys?) 
The kids flocked to it, helped set it up, asked a few questions relating to castles and then started "playing".
All 5 of them.
No fighting.

Checking out the cool book.

The next thing I know Mikayla is busy at work creating more characters to play with in the book castle.

Again, they are working together to color in the new characters.

She even made a little boy knight for Caleb!
(not pictured)

Here is the "room" where they sleep and the beds made out of index cards that were created in coordinating colors.

I am encouraged when I experience times when my children choose to play together and use their imaginations.  No screen time, just old fashioned fun.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Banmanland Recipes: Caesar Salad

I have been *trying* to do salad as the main course at least 2 nights a week.

Little confession:  I am personally not much of a fan of eating anything green...
or leafy...
or in the vegetable family...

This presents a problem on more than one level.

A. My body needs these foods
B. My husband promotes health for a living and stands 100% behind what he promotes and a big part of health is eating the right foods and all of these items fall into the "right foods" category
C. I have 5, soon to be 6 children that I want to teach to have better habits than I have!

So for myself and my little family, I like to make salad for dinner FUN!

Here is one of our go-to Salads.

The key to salad at my house is to offer all the ingredients separately with a disclaimer that they all must be eaten by each member of the family.

Not sure why but my kids are happy to eat almost anything one at a time but they are not into eating it if it's all mixed up.  I don't understand it but I have learned to embrace it:)

Mmmm, green is good!

Separated salad contents...
(I do not put the food on the plates, they pile it on in whatever order they prefer) for Caiters!

This is Mikayla's plate.  As they grow they begin to realize it tastes better when it's all mixed up.

Banmanland Caesar Salad

Romain Lettuce
Turkey Bacon (cooked and chopped)
Chicken (cooked and chopped)
Parmesan Cheese (grated)
Home Made Croutons (chop up some bread, throw olive oil, garlic powder, salt & onion powder on them and broil till they are browned)
Sunflower Seeds

Caesar Dressing (from the Body By God cookbook):
1/4c red wine vinegar
1 TB honey
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 TB olive oil
1 TB lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2-1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (optional, we like creamy caesar dressing but it tastes great without this)


Uh oh, just noticed the only thing he didn't eat in this photo is the lettuce!  Rest assured, he won't be leaving the table till that's all gobbled up:)

Other favourites at our house:

- Chef's Salad
- Chinese Chicken Salad
- Taco Salad

Do you have a fantastic salad?  I want to hear about it!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I Wanna Be Rich

This verse caught my eye.  It was on the bottom of an email from the librarian at HCOS.

"Through skillful and godly Wisdom is a house (a life, a home, a family) built,

and by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation],
And by knowledge shall its chambers [of every area] be filled with all precious and pleasant riches."
Proverbs 24:3-4

I am in no way considering myself skillful, but I desire to be!

I am experiencing this more and more as I try my hardest to be intentional about how I spend each moment, to lay my desires down and seek God's purpose in the big picture and the tiny details, and as I dig deeper with my kids. 

 Peeling through the layers of daily tasks, whining, tantrums and attitudes, I am finding so many "precious and pleasant riches" in each of the kids, in the time we spend together, in the joy it brings me to slow down and just allow "us" {home all day in our jammies} to be enough.

The hair bow business is being completely ignored and my social life is pretty much obsolete but  I am feeling like this is where I need to be right now.  

For today anyways.  
Everyone was happy today {for the most part}.  
There were no uprisings against the teacher. 
No AWOL students.
No crazy screaming lady Dr Jekyl/Mr. Hyde type display from me.
We got a lot of fun things accomplished.  

It is easy to feel like I am in the right place when all is going well.  I am working on feeling this way when the days are not so perfect!

I thought this verse summed up what we desire for our home, where we are trying to head, and where I am certain my Father has purposed us to be.

From time to time one of the kids will come up and ask " are we rich?" 
How does one answer that? 

Of course we aren't.  {when stacked up against the people in this affluent town we live in}
Of course we are.  {when we see how others are living around the world}

But by God's standards, by what makes our lives thick with blessing and full of joy, we are so rich and there is unmeasurable potential for more wealth!!  

Post this verse up where you can see it.

Let God's riches fill your home!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Artistic Adventures With Maddie & Cait

Yesterday my two younger ladies and I had a fun afternoon together painting a great big canvas for their room.  I "nakified" the baby, set out 10 pre selected colors, gave each girl a pile of paint brushes, sat down and enjoyed the mess!

It's amazing how great kids' art can be.
Kids don't worry about perfection or place unrealistic expectations on themselves.
They just like to have fun!

Have you painted with your kids lately?  
It's so fun!
Grab a gigantic canvas and go to town!

Maddie discovered she could make a circle by pushing her brush down and spinning it.  
She went crazy with her circles!  
I love how it turned out!

Maddie was really generous with her blank canvas, she let me and Cait do whatever we liked. 
 It was a big free-for-all!

Here are some of Cait's cute paintbrush marks:)

More beautiful circles!

Here's the finished product up on the wall!

And here's our little baby just a bit messy after her fun painting project:)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cait's First Piggies

Today Mike took the two big girls up for another day of skiing and Caleb spent the day with Grandma and Grandpa so Maddie, Cait and I were home alone.  We made good use of our time.  We painted a beautiful canvas for their room, watched Charlotte's Web, and made pancakes for dinner.

Most notable event of the day; Cait got her first piggy tails.  She was so cute checking herself out in the mirror.  This has been an exciting event for each one of my girls because they have all been old enough to recognize that the new hair experience = fancy, special, pretty and exciting! {This is my delicate way of saying my babies don't grow hair very fast so it's a big deal when they have enough to make pigtails!}

Enjoy these photos with me...

So proud of the new hair-do!


Clearly being old enough for piggies is not too old for sucky fingers...

 First time she's ever made this funny:)

Cute stuff Cait Bear!

 I know I have said this before but it constantly amazes me that all these little milestones keep coming with each of our children and they are just as special, just as precious as they were the first time with Mikayla.  I love how God gives us a fresh perspective with each one of our sweet kiddos!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day, School Day

 This morning we geared up and headed outside to enjoy one of God's miracles...SNOW!!  A foot and a half of snow was blanketing everything.  It was so beautiful!!

 Caleb's snow angel.

Mailee looking at how much snow has accumulated on the post!

 Maddie with a  snowy hat.

 We trudged up the path to the top of the hill behind the park.  Would have been more enjoyable if Cait would have walked...perhaps I need a little sled:)

We did this shot in the summer.  The kids tried it in the was a little more difficult!!

Look at Mikayla, she voluntarily picked Cait up so that she could get some air too!

Caiters catching some flakes.

Mikayla catching some flakes too!

This week school has gone really well.  It seems like every day we have {many} moments of frustrations, kids not listening, little spats between siblings, and it seems there is never enough time to fit everything in and get the table cleared for meals and snacks. 

 I am trying not to focus on those details.  The kids are having a lot of fun, we are praying together and learning to work together and the positive experiences outweigh the craziness.  When I think about how much time I used to have with the kids when they were in school, the ratio of meltdowns and arguments/ time together is WAY down from last year.  This is a good thing! 

 Sometimes it is difficult to keep this in perspective when we are together all the time.  There are not many quiet, peaceful, alone moments for me these days.  I suppose one day when I have lots of quiet time and no little people around, I will be so thankful that I chose to have them home and embrace hours of fun, loud kid-filled moments!!!

I hope you {if you live in Canada} get a chance to enjoy the snow with your kids today.  I did not enjoy putting the gear on OR cleaning up the gear afterward BUT it was so worth it to get outside and have fun together!