Sunday, May 30, 2010

Boston's 1st Basketball Season

Boston played his first organized sport this year. He finished up last week playing Upward Basketball and he had a great time. We were lucky enough to be on a great team with great coaches, including the youth pastor at the church. It was a great stepping stone into sports, teaching them good sportsmanship and how to be a great teammate. Boston has some learning to do but he has an amazing shot. During warm ups he would get almost every shot he made. But a lot of the time during the game he acted more like a spectator than an actual player on the team, which was cute in a way. But by the end of the season he was blocking, getting open and learning to get under the basket for a rebound. I'm so proud of him and I'm especially proud of his hard work, good sportsmanship (for which he earned two white starts for Christ like attitude during the short season) and attitude even when they lost all but 1 game all season.
Ironically Boston ended up being the same number that Sean was when he played basketball in high school and from what I understand he was a star athlete.

There's my boy shooting his awesome shot!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

1. Rain: it's smell, sound and how it cools down the 100 degree weather
2. Falling asleep with the tv on. After 2 years of not having tv this is a little something that's nice for a girl like me who's brain runs 100mph all the time. It takes the craziness away and I'm able to fall asleep. But that probably only makes since to me!
3. The joy of throwing things away and decluttering....I'm in full Spring cleaning mode!
4. My boys being home....I missed them!
5. Sydney's beautiful, precious, lovely, heart breaking, mesmerizing smile. It lights up my life!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Our perfect land

As I was driving home from dropping my 3 boys off at my parents lakehouse I pass by several ranches with long drive ways where you pass by cows, horses, goats and other fun farm animals. I thought, like many times before, how much fun it would be to live on a lot of acres. How I'd always dreamed of living on a huge lot of land with a long driveway where trees lined the dirt road into our big beautiful house. Where horses and kids roamed (and someone else took care of maintaing the horses because I'm not sure I'm cut out for that!) The thought of living away from the hussle and bussle where my kids can run and run and I don't have to watch them every second while they are outside. Where they have freedom to ride their bikes without a speeding car hitting them and roaming the land without worrying about some crazy person taking them.

And then I realized, my kids are growing so fast. With no definite plans to move to such a place in the grand scheme of things, my kids will most likely grow up in the suburbs, in a neighborhood, with little land. There's only one life to live, and it's going by at a rapid speed for me. Their childhood is moving too quickly. As crazy and hectic as it is with four little ones under the age of 7, these are such great times! And we aren't living exactly where I thought we would but this is the life God has planned for us. This is our perfect plan. It makes me sad thinking that they are growing faster than our plan of moving to all this land, but I have to live in the here and now and enjoy where we are. Make IT our perfect land.
(A picture of one of the ranches I drove by courtesy of my iphone)

1. Dinner with good friends The Garcia's to watch the Magic play in the playoffs (even though they lost)
2. Missing my kids while they spend the night at my parents
3. Feeling like I'm back in college while my kids are away for the night and I have my handsome hubbie all to myself (of course with Sydney in tow)
4. Creative children who love to put on shows for me to video....takes me back to my own childhood....or my college theatre experience for that matter!
5. Kittens...watching my parent's three kittens play is oh so entertaining (and reminds me of my three boys....playing nicely....then a cheap shot!)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

1. Finding a box of clothes I've been looking for in the garage after doing a MAJOR cleaning of the garage.
2. A patient God who loves me even though I am not worthy
3. All 4 of my amazing offspring....I'm daily amazed that God blessed me in such a BIG way!
4. Dinner at CiCi's with my mom tonight....not having to cook, serve and clean up dinner!!
5. Boston was so excited that his friend Logan asked Jesus into his heart last night and Boston has talked about it all day.

Boston's prayer for Logan

When Boston was in Kindergarten there was a boy in his class named Logan. During show and tell one week Boston brought in his Bible man costume. He was so proud of this costume! But when I picked him up from school that day he was sad. I asked why and he told me that Logan made fun of his costume and said it was stupid (a very bad word in the Whitman household.) I said that Logan probably doesn't have Jesus in his heart so he doesn't understand how great this costume is and what it stands for. I said the best thing we could do was to pray for Logan that he would see that light in Boston and someday come to have Jesus in his heart too. Boston prayed this some two years ago.....

(picture of Logan and Boston at Green Meadows farm in Kindergarten, Oct 2008)

At Boston's last basketball game this year he played another team that had Logan as one of its players. Boston was excited to see his old classmate again. Then Tuesday night at the last basketball get together of the season they had a Harlem Globetrotter speak and at the end he explained what is was to have Jesus in your heart and then prayed the prayer for whomever to join in. Finally he asked if anyone prayed that prayer with him to come forward. Well wouldn't you know that the third person to walk up was Boston's old classmate Logan. Boston was over sitting with his team and he quickly turned around and smiled at me, pointed and said, "Look mom! Logan went up!!!" Afterward he couldn't stop talking about the fact that Logan had asked Jesus into his heart and how great that was! He remembered that 23 kids made a confession of faith that night and is stil talking about it. I'm so proud of my little boy! I told him that because of his love and his prayer for Logan that he helped Logan get to where he is now in his faith. What a great thing that at this young age in his life he has already seen the power of prayer in moving someone's heart to Jesus. Praise God!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

1. My neighbor Jerry who brought me 2 cokes and a flower today

2. Hearing Asher tell me "I love you mommy" as I'm tucking him in bed at night. His little, sweet voice just melts my heart

3. Boston's 1st Upward Basketball season is over, he had a great time!

4. Text messaging, especially because whenever I get on the phone something always goes crazy with my kids.

5. Well kids, after having sick ones for several days I really appriciate not having to clean up throwup

Strawberry Lime Italian Ice

Today I made this Italian Ice and oh my goodness was it yummy. It will become a staple this hot hot summer!!

We have a BlendTec blender and these are directions from making it in my blender.

1 Lime peeled
2 Strawberries
6 oz sugar (but you can use less)
7 oz water
2 cups of Ice

Speed 1 for 50 sec
Speed 2 for 25 sec
Speed 10 for 25 sec

I had to add 2-4 cups more ice and blend longer so just play with it to get the consistency you prefer. I hope you enjoy....I know we all did!

Join me in "5 Things I'm Thankful For"

Wow I've had such a positive response about my "5 Things I'm Thankful For." Why don't you guys join me in this daily endeavor? If you blog you can use the picture here and include it on your blog if you like. Let me know if you decide to join me. I would love to read your daily thankful list! What an easy way to quickly journal the great moments in each day.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Starting "5 Things I'm Thankful For"

5 things I'm thankful for today:

  1. My baby girl smiling at me...because I'm her mommy
  2. My oldest son sitting in the passenger seat talking to me about anything and everything
  3. Asher finally giving up his pacifier...or as he so fondly calls it "UhOh"
  4. Dallas - for who is is right here and now
  5. Getting to workout with Rebecca at the Y

I once heard that you should write down 5 things you are thankful for everyday and then at the end of the month take all of those and pick the top 5 you are thankful for that month. Then at the end of the year you can see this amazing list of the things you have been thankful for all year long. I've been meaning to start this for 7+ years now....and now is the time!

Cricket's Semi Homemade Mac and Cheese

When in a hurry I sometimes put together this fast and easy mac and cheese that tastes more like homemade than box.

I use a box to start with. Personally I prefer one that is whole wheat and free of anything artificial. Then I grate up some cheddar cheese and asiago cheese. I cook the mac and cheese according to the box and mix it up. I saute up some onions and add it in with a little asiago cheese. Then I grease a 9x11 pan and put the mac and cheese in it. I add a little milk so it doesn't dry out in the oven. Top it off with the cheddar cheese and put in the oven for about 10 minutes. Then crank up the heat and broil it until it is bubbling and starting to get some brown on the top.
Yummy! Enjoy!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

$70/week update with Gingerbread Spice cake

Here's my update on my goal of spending $70 a week. I made a menu for the next 2 weeks of meals and snacks and Sean and I did all the shopping this weekend. We ended up spending a total of $190. So that's $95 a week. A good start. Hopefully we won't have to make anymore trips. (although I might have to send Sean for milk and bread but we will see). We shopped at Aldi's (a new store here that offers super low prices, Sams and Publix). I didn't use any coupons this time around because I didn't find time to organize that this time around, but I know that would have defiantly helped get me closer to my goal of $70/week. We'll see next time. I also bought some bulk items that will last me for several months (like meat, cheese, etc)

Everything I bought was free of artificial flavors, colors, preservatives and HFCS (high fructose corn syrup).

For dinner last night we had burgers, sweet potatoes, and salad. Tonight we had hot dogs, baked beans and corn on the cob. I also made homemade hummus and a Ginger spice cake (which looks more like bread-and it's SUPER yummy, AND healthy! And no one can tell there 1 cup of broccoli and 1/2 cup of carrots in it (pured of course). I got a huge smile and "this is great" from Sean. The kids were asleep so I'll have to test it on them in the morning.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Feeding the family for $70 a week

Can I feed our family of 6 (well 5 technically because Sydney isn't eating foods yet) on $70 a week? And the foods can't contain anything artificial or high fructose corn syrup? Is it possible? This is the challenge I'm taking on. So join me as I try and cut corners, cut coupons, and cut or insane grocery bill! More to come.....

- Cricket

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dallas IEP for next year

I feel like months have been leading up to today.

This morning was our IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting for Dallas for Kindergarten next year. He has had several evaluations with Orange County and today was the final results of all those evals to figure out where he should go and what services he would qualify for.
The stress that has consumed me resulted from the last two evaluations. During these you want your kid to perform at his worst so they can truly see what he needs. But for Dallas these two days he was literally acting at his most extreme worst. So much so that afterward the evaluators and psychologist and the Autistic Spectrum Disorder coordinator all agreed that he needed to be in an ASD class next year.

I froze.

What happened to him being integrated into the class and coming out for the services he would need. Not my child! He isn't that severe. He is very high functioning.

Needless to say Sean and I came to the meeting with bullets loaded, not about to let our boy be placed in a special needs class.

On top of that we had applied to Hope Charter school for the 3rd year in a row. The first year we were 90 something on the wait list (with only 20 spots per grade), last year we were 60 something, and then FINALLY this year Boston got in! Dallas was #7 on the wait list but moved up to #4 because his sibling got in. But I struggled. I asked God why in the world he wouldn't have Dallas get into this amazing school. This school that seems so perfectly suited for him. A school that was started by a pastor and his wife with an autisic kid that they wanted to be integrated into the class. A school the reinforced the same great eating habits we do at home (no artificial anything and less sugar) and incorporates Brain integration therapy and other amazing education plans into the school day. I just couldn't understand why this wouldn't be God's plan.

But today I think I know why.

After a 3 hour IEP meeting it became clear to me that Dallas needs extra attention. It may not be for the entire year, it may just be for a month. But for him to succeed in the long run he would greatly benefit from individualized attention this first year, teaching him the social skills he needs and teaching him correct behavior and how to adjust and handle himself. And the school that he is being placed in seems like a great fit. They even have a sensory room. Sean and I will be touring the school on Monday and will have another meeting to finalize all the IEP in a week, but I'm seeing how God does have his perfect plan. I'm seeing first had how i need to trust him more and more.

I know He knows whats best and I just need to
be quiet....and listen.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Belly sleeping

Asher awoke from his nap today and found me sitting on the couch with Sydney and he crawled up in my lap and went back to sleep on top of me.


Ashers 3 now and I never have him sleep on top of me anymore. It's one of those things about babies that I absolutley LOVE!

So I sat there and relished this moment. I thought about his first 3 years of life and how fast it's flown by. I thought about how quickly it will continue to go by. I watched Boston and Dallas run through the room playing gi Joe chasing each other and I looked at my 5 and 7 year old boys and how grown up they are.

My girlfiend Rebecca was telling me how it occured to her at church this past Sunday as they introduced this years high school seniors that her son would be up there in 8 years. She wondered where the time had gone. She talked about how everyone said it would go by fast but how she never truly underwood that but now she did.

As I'm laying there with Asher wishing I could stay there forever and love on him I heard "ring ring" coming from my cell phone sitting next to me. Well actually it rang the song "soul sister" by Train which I find I a whole lot more fun. I quickly answered it so I wouldn't wake my sleepy boy and on the other end was a lady in broken English asking me if I had a black and white dog named Dillard. She had gotten loose and was several streets over. My utopian experience reminising on ashers childhood was quickly interupted as I was catapolted back into the craziness of my life.

"kids! Load up in the car. We gotta drive to get Dillard".

- Cricket

Friday, May 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Asher

Happy Birthday my sweet Asher! Today my baby boy turned 3 years old. Where does the time go? 3 years ago I was at the hospital having an all nighter with my funny husband and crazy best friend Jessica (who left her 3 kids with her parents and drove all the way to be here for the birth). It was a fun fun fun labor....and an OH so painful one. I was trying hard to deliver without an epidural but since he was 2 weeks late they had to induce me. After 13 hours of hard hard labor without the epidural and still only 5 centimeters the nurses decided to start upping the pit at a more rapid rate. That's when the tears started flowing from my tired body. But in the end the epidural was great and the rest of the labor was enjoyable and it was even more amazing not knowing the sex this time around. And even though I already had 2 boys when the doctor said, "It's a boy!", I smiled and fell madly in love with him. How old are you Asher? He responds, "3!" as he holds up all 5 fingers.

We didn't have a big party this year but enjoyed celebrating with our famiy of 6 with a much requested Umizoomi cake. Since they don't sell any Umizoomi stuff yet being that the show is so new I had to improvise and print out pictures online and tape them to popsicle sticks. But it turned out great and he sure loved it! And we watched lots of Umizoomi today!

Admiring his Umizoomi cake I made for him. Opening presents. He wanted trains, of course we have about 1000 at our house already since he's the 3rd boy, but he trains he got! A Thomas the train set thats kinda like a rollercoaster for trains and a piece to add to the Geotrax set. We must own everything they sell for Geotraxs!

Thank you Asher for all the laughter you have brought into our lives. You truly are one of the funniest people I've ever met and most other people say the same thing about you after meeting you. Your smile is infectious and the words that come out of your mouth never cease to amaze me. What a blessing you are and I thank God for you!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My princess

She takes my breath away each day....

Are you there God? It's me Cricket

Do you remember this kids book? "Are you there God? It's me Margret" I feel like I keep asking God this question.

  • Especially on hard days when the minutes seem to pass by ever so slowly and I feel like I'm trying my best to be the best mommy I can be.

  • Especially on those days when I wake up with no energy and gulp down a coke and eat some chocolate to get my engine running.

  • Especially on those days when Dallas starts the day out with a tantrum and Asher is screaming "NO!" at me.

  • Especially on the days when it feels like there's total silence on the other end.
    Are you there God? Are you tired of my pleas for help? Are you tired of me trying to do it all on my own?


It's the most beautiful word in the English language and I've just recently really started to understand what it means.

  • It means that when I cry out to God, to him it sounds like a beautiful song.

  • When I feel like I'm failing, to Him I'm beautiful and perfect.

  • When I get angry at the kids, they forget about it totally and look at me like I'm supermom.

  • That I can go to Him, even if I haven't read my bible or prayed much in days, and He's right there waiting for me with no judgement.

  • I means I can sin and He still wants me to come to Him.

  • It means I'm forgiven, no matter how bad I mess up.

For a busy mom I feel guilty because I don't have time to read my bible or pray or do devotions daily. And when I do the devil even sneaks in and tells me "you didn't read enough, you didn't pray enough." I heard some good advice that said "His grace is sufficient." Its not WHAT I do that makes me closer to him.

It's my heart. It's the relationship. It's the faith.

I often used to look at my relationship to Jesus much like one here on Earth. If I didn't put in the effort He wouldn't want to talk to me because I wasn't trying to make the relationship work. In my mind this made since. But Jesus is so much bigger than me. He love and grace mean that it doesn't matter how much or how little I come to Him, he STILL loves me the same.

I recently heard the song "Better than a Hallelujah" by Amy Grant. Wow. It speaks volumes to me.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Update from a too busy mama

Man with 4 kids it seems impossible to keep up with my blog lately. I need to spend some time catching up and connecting the dots on here. I've been engulfed in figuring out IEPs (Individual Education Plan) for Dallas next year and dealing with meeting after meeting and many evaluations for him. It's like a full time job. But hopefully in the end it will be all worth it.

The exciting news is that Boston got into Hope Charter School for next year and Dallas was number 7 on the waiting list. Although he will now move up since he has a sibling that got accepted. I couldn't be more excited about this school and it looks like it will be the MOST perfect fit for my kids.

Asher is getting ready to turn 3 and he's the most adorable and yet crazy child. He's definalty coming into his own and he's letting everyone else know it! With his 3rd birthday only days away he is counting down and looking forward to having an Umizoomi cake. now I just have to figure out how I'm going to make it!

Sydney is smiling, cooing and just plan BEAUTIFUL. She takes my breath away each and every day and I am truely in awe that God blessed me with a girl. I was really starting to believe it would never happen so each day I'm so thankful for my perfect family! She will be 3 months old in a few days and I can't believe how fast the time is going by. I'm charishing baby moments each and every day.

I have been working out everyday at the Y (even on the weekends) for about 3-4 weeks now. Definatly feeling the burn! I get 2 hours of childcare there everyday so I take advantage of that. I get a nice workout in and then shower and get dressed there. It's nice to be able to shower without everyone, including the dog, joining me in the bathroom. And I even get to workout with my girlfriend Rebecca which is a huge plus! Haven't lost any weight but the inches must be coming off because I can fit into some things I couldn't before.

I've been doing a lot of research on supplements and diets and we are going to start the Gluten Free/Casin Free diet as soon as school is out. We will probably go ahead and elimnate Dairy first and then slowly ease our way into Gluten. I started Dallas on a supplement called 5HTP and it's been hugly helpful for the last week that we have been taking it. I also started us all on a pharmacudical grade Omega supplement. Of course we are all on a great multivitamin/mineral supplement. I will be adding back in probiotics next week.

I have been working on healthier cooking and making everything homeade. Instead of buying waffles or cookies I make my own (the recipes are memorized now I'm making them so much). As daunting as it can seem to make things from scratch, the more I do them the easier they are. And I don't feel guilty feeding them to my kids because I know exactly what the ingrediants are in them. I saw a new show called The Food Nanny and I love her idea of having a theme night for each night of the week. I think I'm going to implement this into our routine. It would probably help Dallas too, since he really likes a schedule and routine. maybe then he'll be more likely to eat what we are eating.

Asher is showing many signs of Sensory problems and my girlfriend Jackie said it may be a yeast overgrowth so I'm going to attack that and see if we can fix it that way. Lord knows it would be crazy to have another kid with Sensory Processing Disorder in this house. Although I'm starting to feel like an expert when it comes to SPD. (well I guess that depends on the day you ask me....ha ha)

I think God is looking for me to lean into him more and more. I surely can't do any of this on my own. Most days I throw my hands up and ask God to show me how to parent because i'm feeling so lost. But he's been coming through and holding my head up high. I'm so blessed with each one of my children and they are shaping me to become the woman God made me to be. And I'm so thankful for my unconditional loving, patient husband. Without him I would give up for sure. We saw Train in concert last week and when he sang the song "Calling all Angels" it had a whole new meaning to me. You know how you can hear a song you have heard a thousand times but then after you have gone through a certain experence the song has a whole new meaning? Well that is how I feel about this song now. In it he sings, "I need a sign to let me know you're here." I say this to God daily. And then he says "I won't give up if you don't give up." This is how I feel about Sean and I. Thank goodness we never give up on the same days. One of us is always there to pull the other one up when we have given up. That's what makes having a great marriage partner and best friend a blessing. And it's in those moments that you see God there, holding you both up.

So I'm here blogging world. Although I feel like there are many brain cells missing. Hopefully I'll carve out a little time in each day to blog,....its the most amazing therapy for me!