A List Maker's Life: July 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Growing

Kevin just asked if I would please update the blog sometime soon. Hmmm...I don't really have anything exciting or profound to share, but I think he is suggesting it would be nice to have something lighter than the last post at the top of the pile.

As I've mentioned before I have mostly up days, with a few scattered downers. Yesterday was one of those days when I was caught up in the spina bifida in my belly. Today I've been reminded of the joy of a baby boy growing inside. In fact, I stuck my head in a few stores in search of a coming home from the hospital outfit, the perfect new diapers, and an unexpired car seat (seriously...I have a 6 year old, not possible!). It was a better day.

Speaking of the belly, I'm not a fan of belly shots. More specifically, I'm not a fan of my pregnant lady arms and chins. Just get over it, your thinking? Alright, alright. Here's a picture from last weekend.

Our doctor says the little babe inside weighs 3 pounds and is in the 50% percentile for height. He's got a few more weeks to continue gaining strength, increasing lung function, and filling out his kissable cheeks.

Keep growing baby Gabe!
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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

On Healing and Such: The Grayscale

Black & White
~Gabe's body WILL be healed. We trust beyond a shadow of doubt that it IS possible.

~God will choose whether to heal him now, here on Earth, or someday in Heaven.

~Everyday we pray for physical healing soon: That Gabe will be born free of nerve damage. That his brain formation and fluid drainage will be trouble free. That he will learn to walk.

~We continue to invest time into all of the resources that are presented to us. We study what it means to be the best parents we can to a child with spina bifida. We prepare for the diagnosis we've been given.

Gray
~After most conversations I often wonder if others question my persistent prayers and hopefulness. Does it sound like my thinking is too simplistic? Do you see that I am still grieving over what could be? Do you understand that we still hurt, we still wonder, we still question, we still have big concerns? Is it evident that we refuse to let ourselves worry in spite of our circumstance?

~I think:
Worry requires our action.
Concern leads to prayer, trusting His actions.

Black & White
~There are several stories in the Bible that talk of physical healing. In every case the purpose of the physical healing is for God's glory to be evident. It is my understanding, personal footnote perhaps, that His purpose in performing miracles is to attract more attention to Him -not to us.

~In explanation of times when God chooses not to heal the Bible says, "My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

Gray
~If our baby boy is not healed here on Earth I am trusting that it is not because of our lack of faith. It is not because there were not enough people praying for him. It is not because of something we have done in the past. It is not because God thinks there is a lesson we need to learn. Yet I believe we will grow and learn despite any outcome.

Black & White
~Gabe has been created perfectly, in God's image and for His purpose.
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What are your thoughts? Really. The more I study the more I wonder. I'd love to hear your blacks, whites, and grays.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Swirling

There are all sorts of thoughts swirling in my mind. I have lists and reflections I'd happily share, yet my words are jumbling between my head and the paper.

Rejoice always...

We are doing fine. We are very happy to have our car repaired and back in Holland. Gavin and Anne Hope are enjoying all that is summer. Gibson grows more adventurous by the minute.  Kevin is ambitiously tackling my "baby do" list.

Do not be anxious about anything...

Tomorrow Gabe and I are headed to the doctor for a momma check up. Thursday we are back at the specialist who will be poking in for a good look at Gabe.

In everything offer your requests to God...

At the forefront of my thoughts, Dear Baby Brooklyn is likely to make her arrival tomorrow.

The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds...

We appreciate your continued concern for all of us!

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances...I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation...Yet it is good of you to share in our troubles.

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*excerpts from my favorite passage, Philippians 4

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sour

We are learning how very important it is to remember the sweet, especially when we taste the sour. Together they are a lot easier to stomach!

I haven't spent much time tweeting this week, but the 140 characters I did send said something like,
"Even the smallest plans aren't our own.  Okay, I get it.  May we please move on to the next lesson."

We were supposed to spend last weekend camping with our friends in beautiful Traverse City, MI.  We worked together to save our spots way back in January to be sure to make it happen.  Collectively our children, and husbands, have been anticipating the time together for months.  We spent a few mornings last week loading the camper, packing the perfect toys, planning the meals, and brainstorming day trips.

We almost made it.  About 40 minutes south of our destination the verdict was clear, a long weekend vacation was not in our plans THE plan.  The engine on our vehicle decided to blow.  We spent the day "stranded" while we waited for dad our hero to pick us up save us.  Which he did.

During the wait, sweet Anne Hope - who is typically not a "go with the flow gal" - declared this sour day to be the best camping ever.  "We got to eat yummy food (all the gas station type junk food that we could round up), play in the sand (they used the shovels in the backseat to dig in the gravel by the road), swim in the big lake (in their undies because their swimsuits were buried in the trailor), and we made new friends (who wondered why in the world the little urchins were swimming in their undies)." 

It's really all about perspective.

Now, I think I'll find some nuggets .  This summer has given me plenty sauce for dipping.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

We 3 Teach

Since growing a new baby, raising my other three busy babes, spending time with my amazing Kev, making jewelry, blogging once in a while (winky face), and enjoying the summer sunshine wasn't quite enough to keep me busy I am thrilled to be part of this new venture!  Seriously, I was MOST thrilled to be part of a project that validates my professional teaching background and keeps me current with books, curriculum, and other educational products of significant value to both parents and teachers.

I've joined two of my best blogging buddies, Katie & Amy, to create We 3 Teach Media.  You'll get a bit of an idea about what we are up to based on our mission statement below, as well as noticing some small (but exciting for me) changes here on A List Maker's Life.  Most significantly you will see I have new buttons in my right hand side bar where they used to all read "Your Ad Here."  I will also occasionally feature articles written by the We 3 Teach sponsors.  Those posts will be labeled We 3 Teach so it is clear when the writing is not my own.  Other than that I will continue to post my lists, my reflections, my experiences with all of our kiddos, and more as you've grown to expect that in this little corner of the web.
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We believe in the power of numbers.
We believe in the power of reliable voice.
We believe in the power of education.
We are power teachers’ networked blogs.
We are the new day in the world of teaching, parenting, and technology.

We 3 Teach Media is here to bring your product into the light. Our shared vision for We 3 Teach Media is to foster children’s love of learning through games and play, while at the same time bringing new and innovative educational products to the attention of parents and teachers everywhere.
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Carolina Pad

Update: This giveaway is now closed.  The winner is Courtney Kay, comment #3! 
Courtney Kay said...
My roommate participated in Girls on the Run

Congrats lady, we all know how college girls need their organizational tools:) 

Oh, Happy Day! I am excited to share the new Commerce with a Conscience collection from Carolina Pad.  This new collection is summery, contemporary, feminine, and sports bold colors.  I love it.
Commerce with a Conscience™ is a partnership working together to create a communication platform for non-profit organizations. The first Commerce with a Conscience collection – the Kendall Kollection – was launched in 2008 in support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

This bold and colorful Dreamsicle collection was created by Carolina Pad and designed by JACK!E to benefit to supporting Girls on the Run International.  Girls on the Run is an organization dedicated to 3rd through 8th grade girls.  The 12 week after-school curriculum teaches girls to stay true to themselves and to live free of societies stereotypes.  The lessons innovatively weave training for a 5k run into each session as the young ladies learn to celebrate their bodies, honor their voices and embrace their gifts.

The pieces of this collection pictured include:
~1-subject notebook
~ Ideal book
~Ribbon-tie journal 
~2-pocket folder
~Composition Book
~Personal book
~Binder with tab dividers

All of the products in this collection have been created with thought to their durability and function.  However, Carolina Pad also gives special attention to the little details by including stickers for personalization, full color graphics inside and outside of each product, fun fonts, inspirational quotes, adorable ribbon ties, durable pockets, and so much more! 

On a personal note, my very favorite product in this collection is the Ideal Book. This 3-subject professional notebook is one of my all time favorite list making tools.


The Dreamsicle collection is now available in major retailers nationwide.

Now, for the extra fun news...Carolina Pad has offered you the chance to win a collection of products similar to the ones pictured above.

GIVEAWAY
To be entered to win, please leave a comment here that somehow incorporates the word "girls" (in honor of Girls on the Run)

To earn extra entries:
Write a Facebook status update mentioning Carolina Pad and linking to this giveaway.
Find Carolina Pad on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway including @listladykatie and @carolinapad.
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Notes & Disclosure: This giveaway is open to residents in US and Canada only. Individuals who have won a prize package from Carolina Pad in the last 90 days are not eligible. Entry will close on Wednesday, July 28th. Good Luck! Thank you to Carolina Pad for sending me product for the purpose of this review, as well as providing the product collection for this giveaway.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sweet Summer

Sweet Tradition

Sweet Determination

Sweet Reward

Sweet Success

Warm Sunshine.  Fresh Summer Rain Shower.  Happy Smiles. 
Cooperative Children.  The Biggest, Bluest Berries.
The perfect combination for a morning of picking in the patch.

Sweet Indeed

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Feeling Crafty

This week's steamy heat, and lack of inspiration for playing outside, left Anne Hope and I looking for a project. We dug out the glue gun and put him back in business after his extended spring break. Time for some new hair pretties!
Let's just say, we went a little crazy!
I was actually surprised by the variety of ribbons I have collected in the last year, giving us many colors and styles to choose from. 
Our interest in this style clip, instead of the traditional bow, was peaked after a friend showed us the project she was working on for her own little princess.  However, we added our own twist by incorporating some of the leftover jewelry pieces I have collected from my adventure with Accessories Inspired.
Another good friend generously shared with us a HUGE collection of no longer loved jewelry.  Instead of using all buttons as centers for the flowers, Anne Hope and I had fun finding the perfect pair of earrings to repurpose as flower centers.  Such girly fun!

Perhaps we should have taken a look through her closet to be sure we had outfits for each pair of new buttons.  Nah...just another reason for an upcoming shopping spree!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Vehicles

Each summer we take full advantage of our season passes to a local historical hot spot. Dutch Village gives the kids an opportunity to explore hertiage and culture, while enjoying some old fashioned fun. It appears the experience also gives us all a taste of some old school modes of transportation.

{horse and buggy}

{muscle powered train cars}

{hard work.  big smile}

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Get Moving: Family Fitness

Update:  This giveaway is now closed.  Congratulations to comment #13, gapmlm.

gapmlm said...
I clicked on "We're on the Fence" :-)
July 15, 2010 9:32 AM

Jumpstart will be sending you the Get Moving Family Fitness Wii game in the days to come.  Please email me with your mailing address to accept your prize.
the box
As you may know, JumpStart has been creating top learning games for kids for years. Today, they are introducing their newest game for Nintendo Wii in stores across the country.  To create this game Jumpstart teamed up with fitness expert, dancing with the stars pro, and mom of four, Brooke Burke.    This particular game is a bit of a new idea for Jumpstart. Typically they create activities to make learning fun for kids. This time their goal was to tackle another important topic that isn't always viewed as fun –exercise! Not only can they say they educate young minds, now they are seeking to educate young bodies.

The disk includes more than 15 sports challenges in 11 exotic arenas.  Volleyball, Step Aerobics, Baseball, Pinball, Running, Ice Skating, Football, and more. You name a popular sport, this game has it!

Some key features in the game that make it exciting include:  design your own character to race and play, build customized routines for an extra challenge, compete head to head or play solo, play underwater, and access expert tips for more ways to stay healthy!

To play Get Moving: Family Fitness regular Wii controllers are required.  Some games offer the choice of switching in a Wii Fit Balance Board, if you have one. 
Basketball 3-point Shooting
Gavin enjoyed the many options provided in this disk for playing familiar sports. His favorite activity is the Basketball 3 Point Shot drill. We sent him to play independently in hopes of getting a realistic picture of how easy or difficult the game was for a six year old. He had a bit of trouble setting up the initial profile on his own.  This could be due to the fact he was most anxious to just get started. Once he was exploring the games he was able to figure out the necessary buttons and hand motions for many activities without reading the directions. Yet, there were a few sports where the controls were different than other Wii games he is familiar with and the reading the instructions was important.
Step Aerobics
We did not have access to a balance board, so we did not get to try these activities using that piece of equipment. However, I am looking forward to trying the Step Aerobics on the balance board sometime soon.

Although we still believe it is essential to teach our kids the basics of sports in the real world, outdoor, arena.  This Wii game is a fun addition to their repertoire of fitness fun!

GIVEAWAY
Jumpstart is offering one reader of A List Maker's Life a free copy of the game Get Moving: Family Fitness (retail $29.99).

To be entered to win, please leave your comment here. I'd love to hear what type of physical activity your family is most enjoying this summer!

If you'd like additional entries in this giveaway, please let me know if you are a follower of A List Maker's Life. You may also add one entry daily for taking a moment to click on the button in the right sidebar that reads "We're on the Fence." Thanks!

This giveaway will close on Thursday, July 22 at 10PM EST.
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Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of JumpStart Get Moving: Family Fitness at no cost in order to test the products’ abilities and give my own personal opinions on it. The opinions I have given are mine and may differ from others but were not influenced by the company or the free product provided.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chillin'

"I may not talk a whole lot,
but I have a real appreciation for the written word."
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Associations

In the past I've met with friends where I was defined as teacher, Hope College alumni, mom of a preschooler, Christian woman, city newcomer, and more. These pieces are, and will continue to be, part of me. 

Last night I met with an amazing new group of women, giving me a new association - spina bifida moms.

I will admit that joining these ladies took a lot of courage. I had, and continue to have, so many questions about what life is going to look life for us and for Gabe. Hearing much of what these moms are dealing with, as well as their perspective on day to day life, was inspirational. Yet, it was frightening.

Today my head is bursting with new information, new questions, new to dos, and new hope for our new journey.
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Friday, July 9, 2010

Busy Body Book

 Oh! BusyBodyBook, be mine. 

There aren't many things that thrill a list lady more than finding the perfect planner.  I've been using the BBB Family Calendar for the past six months and love it.  When the 2011 editions (academic year and calendar year) were recently released I was anxious to check out the updates and so pleased with the way BusyBodyBooks listened to suggestions in making some small changes, while keeping the key features that make this planner a gem. 

When I reviewed the 2010 edition I mentioned that the designs were gender neutral, yet I would enjoy more options.  Specifically I was hoping for a floral pattern.  Joan, and her team, listened to that request and this year my BusyBodyBook has flowers and a touch of pink!  Yeah. There are, however, still options for those who prefer not to be so girly.  The 4 all new design options are called Spring, Summer, Winter, and Fall.

Winter 2011 Calendar Year

Some of my favorite features in this planner include: month at a glance pages (a new feature!), spiral binding so the current week lays flat on my counter, large pockets in the front and back of the organizer for storing important extras, and a thick plastic cover to protect the pages during frequent handling and spills.

Yet, there are other things to love as well.  It includes weekly grids, journaling boxes, perforated shopping lists, address book pages, and more.  Each week is given a two page spread. On the left hand side, half of the page is blank for thoughts and doodles. The other half of the left side is list paper with small check boxes.

The weekly grid, unique to BBB, includes a 5 columns.  They are intended to be used to organize several different schedules, while coordinating them side by side.  However, there are options for personalizing this organizer to best meet your family's needs.  This year I labeled my columns as follows: Kevin & Katie, Kids, Menus, Contacts, Online To-Dos. In 2011 I am guessing I will need one column for specifically organizing Gabe's appointments and another for the kid's school commitments.  I did see another intriguing suggestion for column labeling: social, emotional, spiritual, physical, and educational.  A neat way to organize for the whole person, for those who aren't using their planner to organize the whole family.

If you'd like to give the weekly grid format a try there are weekly grid sample pages available for free download.  In addition, if you are a wall calendar type person BusyBodyBooks also has an efficient and affordable option available.  Right now would be the perfect time to purchase the Academic Calendar book to arrive in time for back to school.
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Thank you so much to BusyBodyBooks for sending me a 2011 Family Organizer to review.  The planners retail for $17.95 and the wall calendars are $14.95.  However, I have not been paid for my opinion or my honest thoughts in this post.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hooray for the Red, White, and Blue

Update: This canvas print giveaway is now closed.  I used the good ole draw a name out of the hat method to choose the winner.  Jenn, I hope you enjoy your 16x20 print!

This July 4th was different.  We stayed close to home.  No picnics.  No beach visits. No fireworks.  
We did, however, check off many things on our project list. 

In the midst of our to-dos we spent time painting rocks with the kids. 
We also had a great time decorating bikes and wagons for our traditional Independence Day parade. 
 Although there were a lot fewer spectators than our past parades at the beach, the kids made the best of it!

This post is linked of You Capture: Patriotic

Did you capture a special moment over the holiday weekend or have a favorite summer picture you'd like to see enlarged?  Digital Room, canvas printing Los Angeles specializes in photo prints.  They have offered a 16x20 print as a giveaway here on A List Maker's Life.  If you are interesed in winning the print please make specific mention of it in your comment.  I will look forward to randomly selecting a winner on Monday, July 12th.

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The canvas print giveaway is open to US Residents, 18 and older, only.  Thanks!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Nesting

In preparation for our babe's arrival, we've been tackling one room at a time.  They all need touch up paint, new trim, electrical work, light bulb replacements, organizing, freshening, and more.  The nursery is by far the most fun to work on and we think it's ready to go. 
This special cradle is the one my dad originally built for Gavin.  Little Gabe will be the fourth to snuggle in.  The beautiful knit yellow blanket and matching booties, seriously made of the softest baby yarn, are an early gift from Great Grandma Ellie.  Gabe's Winnie the Pooh fuzzy lovey, picked by his Gram, is also ready to pack in our hospital bag.

Gibson's familiar toddler bed has moved to the other side of the room, nestled under the "Guess How Much I Love You" wall mural. 
All of our favorite board books and stuffed animals have found a home on the changing table and book shelves.  The blue baby blankets have been washed and folded (although I'm certain that little G will unfold them all a few times before our wee G's arrival).
Gabe's special baby blocks, made and delivered by Kate, were the perfect inspiration for getting the boys' room cleaned and put together. 
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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Be Encouraged

This week has again been busy with appointments for mom and baby.  Although I was extremely anxious about seeing my own OB for the first time since my ultrasound he was incredibly kind and took extra time to talk through my many questions. Then, today we headed back to the maternal fetal medicine specialist for an ultrasound recheck and consultation. 

To this point our top prayer requests (as shared early in June) are : the fluid in Gabe's brain will remain stable and/or decrease,  he will grow strong until it is safe for his delivery and surgery, and his paralysis will be limited or non-existent.

The doctor's message for me today was "be encouraged," as ultrasound pictures showed the size of Gabe's brain has almost doubled in the last 4 weeks, the fluid level in his ventricles has only increased from about 10 mm to 12 mm.  That means, in proportion to his head size the fluid levels are less significant.  We are certainly praising God for this answer to our prayers - to your prayers.  It works.  He works!

We ask that you continue to keep this request in your thoughts in the weeks to come.  We are also going to pray very specifically from this point on that Gabe will overcome the statistics and have full kidney, bladder, and bowel function upon delivery.  In addition, we will have a test in about four weeks to determine whether or not Trisomy 18 is present.  We pray for the peace not to borrow trouble by worrying about that diagnosis until we know for sure.

As a personal request, we are also praying for wisdom about the decisions we make for Gavin and Anne Hope's schooling in the fall as Gabe will likely arrive just about the time school begins making the logistics a bit tricky.

In my plea to encourage you all to continue storming heaven for Gabe, I'd also like to introduce you to a couple other babies who have also been in my personal prayers.

Lewis - In his 3rd week of life, he has been working diligently on growing and healing. Today was a big day for him and his parents as they anticipated a possible shunt re-adjustment surgery.

Brooklyn - Her dear momma, who has become a friend and encouragement, was one of the first answers to my many prayer requests after our diagnosis.  Brooklyn is expected to arrive in less than a month and is continually in my thoughts and prayers as well.

For Gabe, for our friends, for all of us - we continue to hold to the truth in Luke 1:37, "For nothing is impossible with God."

Believing it,
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