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Saturday, December 1, 2012

All Settled!

It's been quite some time since I posted, because life has been crazy!  We've now been in our new house for 11 days and I'm feeling like we're finally settled.  The only boxes that remain are memory boxes high in the closets and Christmas tree ornaments waiting to be put on the tree tomorrow.  The rest of our decorations are up, including Jon's dream of icicle lights along the roof.  I never knew he was hoping to do that, but I really like the look too.  They're on a timer too, so no worrying about remembering to turn them off.  I put together the paper chain and lifesaver santa today as well.  I am looking forward to starting a new tradition with the kids this year - 12 days of baking.  I put together a list of 12 different desserts that the kids will help me to bake from now until Christmas.  We'll start out slow with Tues/Thurs this week, but do more as the weeks go on.  They love to help baking and with our new counters this should work out great. 

I've been really behind with Carolyn's school work lately, there just hasn't been time.  I focused this week on getting her signed up at a new gym and for swim lessons.  And we continue to read books.  I am struggling though with how to work with her at this point.  I am cutting back on work, which does give me much more time to both plan activities and complete them.  We're also now minutes from The Grove and the Kohl Children's Museum.  Jon's mom graciously bought the kids a membership to the museum for Christmas that started today, so I'm thinking we'll head over there one day this week.  I think the Grove will be good for winter days when we want to head over to look at the animals as well, and perhaps we can spend more time reading the information about each animal, writing down the names to get books at the library about them.  Carolyn is really into workbooks, so I am considering looking into getting her some that are appropriate for her age.  Time is a major factor and I'm not sure how to handle James while she's working either.  I've tried sitting her at a table to ask for help while working and sitting with James nearby reading or playing.  But she wants individual attention while doing the work.  And she still needs to nap.  I enjoy my time with her in the evenings reading chapter books, so I don't want to infringe on that.  I'm thinking I need to find activities for James to do that are age appropriate while Carolyn is working as well.  If we do just 30 minutes a day I think all will feel well stimulated and we could get through a lot.  But I'm just not sure what to do.  Any ideas on how to create activities that challenge both a 2.5 and 4.5 year old at the same are appreciated.  I'm thinking maybe something with color/shape recognition for James but creating patterns, counting, and spelling for Carolyn?  I'll spend the next few weeks brainstorming as I don't see starting anything until the new year anyway.  But all suggestions from anyone reading are welcomed.

I'm also setting a new goal in my weight loss journey.  With the new house and moving the scale, I've decided to start over.  So my starting weight last week was 175lbs.  I would like to lose another 10% of my weight by the time we head on vacation in June.  That gives me about 6 months, so just over 0.5lb/week to get there which is doable.  Considering I was down to 173 this week, it's a good sign.  I think at that point I'll be happier with the prospect of wearing a swim suit.  So I'm going to try not to eat too many of the goodies we're about to bake.  And we'll get the weight bench put back together soon.  Here's hoping for more success!

We have been extremely blessed by God and I find myself reflecting on this frequently.  Jon has a track position for this Spring that should also be a foot in the door for next Fall.  We are looking forward to the opportunity to share our financial blessings with others as we start to incorporate monthly giving into our budget.  Once we've built our emergency fund back up we're hoping to give more to church and pick a different charity each month to give $25 or so to.  We don't have a ton extra now as we work to pay down various loans, but I believe part of our blessings has been our stewardship with what God has giving us so far.  We're ready for the blessings to continue to be poured out and I'm excited to give back to some of the places that helped us along the way - like both of our undergraduate colleges.  Jesus is the reason for the season and this year it's very easy to remember that every day!

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