Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November Challenge, the wrap up!

Mission accomplished.

I am please to say, that despite traveling, temptation, and getting burned out in the kitchen, the Krajca family did not eat out for the entire month of November!

The Good
  • Obviously, the best thing was the hundreds of dollars we saved this month. We're not sure exactly how much we saved, but we know it was probably several hundred dollars.
  • We've noticed a change in our children's attitudes. They're more grateful, complain less, eat what's in front of them, and are way more thankful when we do get to eat out (thanks to their grandparents who took them out to eat over Thanksgiving).
  • We've learned the value of a family dinner.
  • I've learned the importance of planning ahead and working hard.
  • It was good to see how much the little things (Sonic runs, coffee at McD's, a frosty for dessert) really add up.
  • We didn't spend much more on our grocery budget, making the entire endeavor a true financial success!
  • Our Sunday afternoons were a lot less stressful (though our Sunday mornings and Saturday nights were a little more stressful).

The Bad
  • I felt like I was in the kitchen ALL the time.
  • We ran out of paper plates.
  • It was hard to not stop and pick up a Sonic drink, or a McDonald's coffee.
  • There was a lot of planning ahead that I had to do, especially since we went out of town.
  • There were times when it would have been SO much easier to just pick up a Hot-N-Ready.

Overall, I think the month was a huge success! We are planning to do it again, but maybe going out to eat three times (letting each kiddos pick one meal out for the month). The positive aspects of not eating out far outweigh the negative!

How could anyone?

How could anyone ever tell you
You were anything less than beautiful?
How could anyone ever tell you
You were less than whole?
How could anyone fail to notice
That your loving is a miracle?
How deeply you're connected to my soul?

How Could Anyone by Libby Roderick

I heard this song for the first time today, and immediately though of Benjamin and Timothy, two little boys born with deformities. I also thought of a new friend of mine. Her daughter is having cranio surgery today, similar to the surgery that Benjamin had. Please keep baby Samantha in your prayers today.

My thoughts also went to the people we are surrounded with, who have loved us, and our children, and seen them as beautiful. How thankful I am to be in a community of people who don't see the deformity, but rather the beautiful children that I'm blessed with. Though we did get many second glances, and several questions of, "What's wrong with your baby?", we never once heard any negative comment about the boys. I know that's not the case for every parent who has a child born with a deformity.

Not only did I think of Benjamin and Timothy, but also of my other two children, who are equally beautiful in my eyes. I look at them, and am amazed by how God formed and fashioned them, how he is growing them into the people they are becoming, and how richly I am to be blessed with four incredible little blessings.

Mostly, I share this song so that as you look at yourself, your children, and the people you are surrounded with, that you will see the beauty in them. Have a beautiful day!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A couple more... :-)

For Daddy

I have no clue.....

Not sure why Benjamin's shirt says what it does. But I do love how it shows his sweet, three year old personality!

Hand-print Turkey Shirts

It's Thanksgiving craft time at the Krajca house!! We've been working on several projects, most of which I can't post since they're either 1) not finished or 2) being given as gifts. But here's a project that we did yesterday that turned out exactly as I was hoping it would!

Hand-print turkey shirts! After some trial and error, I have a few tips!!
  • Since I have two busy boys (soon to be three!) we try to stay away from white. I found these shirts at Hobby Lobby (watch the sales, and sometimes they are half off!). I wanted to use yellow as one of the feather colors, so we just added a little brown to our yellow to make it darker. Perfect!
  • The first one I did, I tried to do the brown, the colors and both hands at the same time. It didn't work well. :-) The "feathers" dried out. I recommend doing the body of the turkey, and then doing the feathers when the body is a little more dry.
  • Use googly eyes!
  • Make sure you use fabric paint, not acrylic pain.
Elizabeth's shirt.
Micah's shirt

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ripples of Panic

This morning, I reminded Curtis that next Monday Timothy needs to get his booster for the flu shot. At the words "flu shot", Elizabeth, Micah and Benjamin went into full panic mode.

"Do I have to get a shot?!?!"

"Are you going to make me go too?!?!"

"Why do we have to get more shots?!?!?"


And being the loving, encouraging, and sometimes provoking mother that I am I calmed their fears by saying, "Yep. Everyone has to get two more shots!"

There was crying (literally, tears!), wailing, whining, and eye rolling from Curtis.

I chuckled, and got to work calming them down, and assuring them that they weren't getting any shots right now.

Why such a strong reaction? Let me feel you in on what this year's flu shots were like for the Krajcas.

We went during lunch time on a Friday afternoon. The plan was for the four boys to get the shot, and Elizabeth and I to get the flu mist. The boys can't get the mist because of their asthma, and the baby's too little, and Curtis took one for the team. Unfortunately, I found myself in the middle of a nasty upper sinus infection, complete with fever. No flu mist for me!

Our brilliant plan was that Curtis would go back, get the shot, while assuring the older two boys that they would live. Then the nurses would give Micah and Benjamin their shots.

Benjamin went right after Curtis. Benjamin was sitting in a chair, and the nurse knelt down by him, slid his shorts up a tad, and gave him a stick. I think her plan was to just quickly get the job done before Benjamin could freak. However, she clearly wasn't ready for Benjamin's lightning fast reflexes! Benjamin proceeded to arch his back, and straighted his legs, which made the needle slip out before the the injection was done. Benjamin received a total of six sticks, screaming every second of the time.

Curtis is attempting to help hold Benjamin down, and Micah is under the chairs. Elizabeth is crying in the waiting room, and I was shaking my head since my kid was one of those kids.

After all that, Benjamin happily went and got his sticker and lollipop. And Curtis set to work on pulling Micah out from under the chairs. Thankfully, the nurse was a little more deliberate, and got some back up, and had Curtis hold Micah. LOTS of screaming, more from anticipation than anything else.

Finally, the boys and Curtis are done, and I head back with the baby. Elizabeth was NOT convinced that the flu mist wouldn't hurt, despite what I had told her, and what the nurses had told her. She was in for a pleasant surprise. And of course Timothy was unaware, mad, then easily calmed.

I'm already dreading next year's flu shots, since all three kids will probably have clear memories of what happened. Lovely!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Shutterfly Christmas Cards

I have a list. A Christmas Card To Do list. I've already ordered my return labels, but haven't yet decided on what Christmas card to pick. Since I'm a scrapbooker, I have TONS of accounts at many different photo developing locations. One of the places I've used in the past is Shutterfly. A couple years ago, I ordered the most adorable Thomas the Train photo book. I was able to use Thomas the Train backgrounds, and use my own pictures from when we went to ride Thomas. I had fun making the book, and my kids love reading it! What's better than a book about yourself and Thomas the Train?!

Recently, Shutterfly has released their 2010 Christmas collection of cards. Yesterday, I spent some time looking through their site at just a few of their 199 Christmas cards. Normally, I can quickly pick out the card that I would purchase, since options are fairly limited. Shutterfly, however, offered several options that I loved. Here are a few.....
The ones I chose are for only one picture (since I'm lucky to get just one good picture!), but there were cards that could hold up to seven or eight photos!

Another thing I really liked was how there were cards that said Merry Christmas, rather than just Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings (though they had those too, if you're interested!). There were whimsical cards, classy cards, simply cards, elegant cards, and kid-ish cards. There were cards with snow flakes, plaid, stripes, monograms, nativity scenes..... you name it, I'm pretty sure they have it!

Not only does Shutterfly have amazing cards, they have some pretty awesome gift ideas as well. Check out this desk calendar (a great gift idea for your husbands little office space)....
and this pewter ornament. (Which I'm sure would be a winner with the grandparents!)
I've placed orders with Shutterfly before, and have always been pleased with the product that arrives at my home.

And if you're a blogger, check out how you too can blog about Shutterfly, and receive 50 free Christmas cards!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hand Turkeys

This morning, we're working on a few different Thanksgiving crafts. The boys made turkeys out of their hand prints, while Elizabeth worked on school and Timothy napped.

After the boys colored their turkeys, I added feet, eyes, beaks and the waddle. As I was drawing the beak on one of Benjamin's turkeys, I asked if he knew what I was drawing.

"Yep! You're drawing the turkey's pecker!" Super.

Proud of the final product!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The up side

Since the time change, the two big boys have been waking up around 5:30. Sometimes it's just one of them. Sometimes, it's both of them. I've been trying to continue to keep our regular schedule (no naps, in bed at about 7:30), but they are still waking up at 5:30!

Yesterday and today were especially tough. But, here's the up side to having such early risers....

Friday, November 05, 2010

Sell This House!

In case you were wondering....

Yes. Our house is still on the market.

No. We haven't had any offers.

Yes. We received one "good" lead.

No. It didn't pan out.

Our plan? Our plan is probably that we'll take the house off the market the week of Thanksgiving, and try again when the market is a little better (the spring is a much better time to sell a house, especially in a college town).

I'll admit, I'm a little discouraged. Curtis and I put so much time, money, sweat, money, and effort into getting the house ready to be put on the market. I'm not too surprised that this is how it will all pan out, but I do wish it had gone differently.

I am looking forward to not having the house on the market during the holidays. I want to be able to decorate, make messy creations in the kitchen, pack to head to KS, wrap presents and enjoy the holidays without worrying about whether or not I'll have to madly clean the house to show.

Through this process, I've prayed that regardless of the outcome, I would be content with what the Lord has provided. We are very thankful for a home, for the flexibility to take the house off the market when we want, that we're not in a time crunch, and that even though it would be nice to have another room and a school room, we have everything we need in this house.

So there's the latest, in case you were wondering!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Things that make you go hmmmm......

A baby sucking on the paper towel holder. What?! Why?! How?!
Tiny Tim turned 9 months on Tuesday. And since I haven't even started his first year scrapbook (bad mommy!), I wanted to document where he was at this point in his life.

Yesterday, he had his well visit. He weighs 21lbs and 12 ozs (70th percentile), is 29 inches (85th percentile) and his head is off the charts! He is quite a big boy!

Timothy is crawling, pulling up, and cruising on furniture.

We've been signing with him, but when we ask him to sign, he just smiles at us and looks at us like we've lost our minds.

Last week, we discovered his first tooth! Never before have I been so excited at the sight of a tooth! He hadn't been sleeping well at night for several weeks. We had heard that teething with a cleft baby is horrible, and I was so thankful to see that there was a reason he hadn't been sleeping. We were also excited because we've been told that because of the cleft, he could have teeth come through in odd locations (the roof of his mouth, out the front of his gums, under his tongue....) or some of his teeth might not come through at all. Though there's still a possibility for all those things to happen, we're happy to see that he has one little tooth in the right place.

I've tried reading books to him. Not a fan at this point. He does enjoy pulling books off the bookshelf though, so maybe his love of books is just starting slowly.

Timothy is a sweet baby. His disposition is happy and content. He is a great napper! When we're getting ready to leave the house, he crawls after an adult, like a little puppy worried about being left. Our family loves him, and is so thankful that he is part of our family!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Once upon a time.....

Once upon a time, when Elizabeth was about 4 months old, my house was clean, dinner was ready, and all the laundry was done.

That was six years ago.

And it hasn't happened since.

No wonder I'm tired all the time! My life has turned into a continuing To Do list. Just when I finish one task, I realize that there is another one waiting for me. It's hard to enjoy a feeling of accomplishment when there's always something else to do. But it's also easy to feel totally overwhelmed if I don't take the time to enjoy what I have accomplished.

Because of that, I am please to let you know that today I....
made a yummy fall breakfast for my family.
unloaded the dishwasher.
put away three full baskets of clothes.
disciplined my children.
have nursed the baby three times.
taken Timothy to his 9 month well visit.
made two freezer meals.
made dinner.
taught Elizabeth about horizontal, vertical and oblique lines.
given the three older children baths.
browned 5lbs of ground turkey.
made lunch.
hugged four sweet children.
kissed a boo-boo.
talked with a friend.
kissed my husband.
Skyped with far away family.
tried to soak in the day, and savor who each of my children are, despite their wild behavior.

Whew! I feel GREAT! I hope you've had a productive day as well.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Guess what I saw.....

.... for the first time 7 years ago today.

You didn't think that test was current, did you? :-) Because let me assure you, I am not pregnant! For the record, we are not planning on adding any more biological children to our family. The adoption door is open, but at this moment, we feel that we are blessed beyond measure, and that our family is complete.

Back to my story.

Seven years ago today, Curtis and I found out that we were pregnant with Elizabeth. It was not the first time I had taken a pregnancy test, but it was the first time I saw two pink lines! We weren't planning on starting a family at that point. Curtis was working on his master's degree, I had just started studying for the GRE with plans to get my master's degree starting the following semester and was teaching. Thought we knew we wanted a family someday, we didn't feel like someday was then.

We were at my parents house in Kansas when we got our big news. I was beginning to suspect that I was pregnant, but didn't want to take a test there. But my curiosity got the best of me, and I made up a lame excuse about going to buy Halloween candy on sale, and bought a test. As soon as I walked in the door, my mom cornered me and said, "Are you pregnant?!" I just stared at her, and shrugged my shoulders. Boy had she called my bluff!

I took the test, waited the appropriate amount of time, and Curtis and I checked it together. Positive! No question about it. We showed my mom, who hugged us and shared the news with my dad who was also very happy. Though I was happy, I was still in quite a bit of shock!

A week after my positive test, I began bleeding. Curtis and I went into panic mode and rushed to the ER where a very cold doctor told me, "You're probably having a miscarriage. There's nothing I can do, so go home and call your doctor on Monday." Praise the Lord, the doctor was wrong. Through my first trimester, I continued to have problems with bleeding, and was told more than once that I would probably miscarry. It was determined that I had a very large hemorrhage. My doctor and the ultrasound tech told me they had never seen a hemorrhage that large where the baby made it past 12 weeks. We were given a 50% chance of losing our baby.

I celebrated turning 12 weeks on our 3 year anniversary. And as I'm sure you've all figured out, by the grace of God, I carried that baby full term, and delivered our first child, Elizabeth the following June.

To think back to where Curtis and I were 7 years ago today, is nothing short of remarkable. We had no idea how much our life would change with the arrival of Elizabeth. I remember being so scare, all the time, of motherhood. Even once Elizabeth arrived, I was scared. Being a first time mom is hard! There are so many fears, unknowns and doubts that you experience.

I am so thankful that God gave me such a wonderful surprise 7 years ago! And I'm so greatful for how he protected Elizabeth during my pregnancy. Seven years ago, I never would have guessed that I would be the homeschooling mother of 4 that I am today, but I'm happy that His plans are higher than my plans, and that His plans are always perfect!

Monday, November 01, 2010

November Challenge

This month, Curtis and I have decided that we won't be eating out. At all. No Sonic happy hour, no Chick-Fil-A coffee, no quick runs through McDonalds for breakfast. Part of the reason I came up with this is for "fun", just to see if we could. And then when we had to unexpectedly put lots of money into the van, it just seemed like a wise idea.

This afternoon, when Elizabeth was begging to go to a restaurant, I explained our Challenge. When I then said Ineeded to go to the store, Elizabeth reminded me that it still cost money to buy food, so maybe we should just eat out. She's a determined one!

I've been researching inexpensive, family friendly meals. Here's what I have so far on our menu for the month.
Chicken Chili
Beef tacos
chicken tacos
chicken stir fry
potato soup
tortilla soup
sloppy joes
chicken and sausage casserole
poppy seed chicken
baked chicken

Do you have any meals to add? Something cheap that your family loves? A quick and easy meal I can throw in the crock pot in between math problems with Elizabeth? Please share!!

And wish us luck! The first challenge comes tomorrow morning. Normally, I reward myself with a coffee and biscuit from Chick-Fil-A if I make it out the door for co-op in time. Micah sweetly assured me that maybe I could just make coffee at home. Sweet boy!