Sunday, December 1, 2013

Christmas Traditions, Part I

Logan and I have been married 8 years now, and it seems our Christmas traditions have slowly evolved and are still in the process of evolving, especially with our children. I thought I would share some things that are definite parts of our yearly Christmas traditions now.

Since having children, we have made it a point to celebrate with Advent. I realize Advent can signify different things for different families and there are many variations on the theme, but we begin December 1 by telling the linage of Jesus as outlined in the Bible and then follow with creation, Old Testament stories that help to illuminate the coming of Christ and His various attributes, and we then go through Christ’s birth, life, sacrifice, and resurrection. Because we add Christ’s life beyond his birth, we go beyond December 25. I have a neat calendar I purchased and assembled with ornaments for the kiddos to keep as a family heirloom, and Logan and I use an adult devotional book to supplement what the kiddos are learning. The boys are also doing a daily craft—nothing big, just something small each day—to help reinforce the daily scripture.

After having kiddos, I realized I wanted to stick to stories and traditions that reinforced why we were celebrating Christmas, so I go crazy over anything that is related to Charles Schultz’s “Peanuts” version of the Christmas story. (This may also include being a sucker for any Hallmark “Peanuts” Christmas products for my kiddos….)

I have also changed the way I decorate—we keep it pretty simple and have actually gotten rid of things we used to decorate for Christmas at the beginning of our marriage. Each year, we try to add a crèche, or nativity. We have plenty of child-friendly ones because that’s what it’s all about during this stage in our lives raising young children. I gifted Logan with our favorite one we have last year, which will also be a family heirloom and a timeless version we will always use. Logan and I try to keep these in places where the kiddos can interact with them and ‘act out’ the Christmas story.

Our favorite crèche...

Because I love plants, I grow red amaryllis bulbs each year indoors and also plant fragrant paperwhites, which bloom in early January. The kiddos love to watch the plants grow each day and help me tend to them. I also enjoy poinsettias.

Of course, we keep lots of books, movies, and music around. I usually play Christmas music on the piano each evening (I have accumulated quite the Christmas library over the years!) and we have sing-a-longs. Now that Weiss is older, it is rewarding to explain some of the words and lyrics to him and tell exactly what they mean. Some of our favorites are “O Come, Emmanuel” and “O Holy Night.” Of course, the kiddos love “Away in a Manger.”
(post to be continued….)

So---it’s been a loooonng while since I have last blogged. I have realized for quite some time I needed to get back to it, not only because it is a great way to hash out my thoughts and ‘de-stress,’ but as I go back and read my previous blog posts from many moons ago, I am flooded with happy memories that I would have lost had I not documented them. Rereading and perusing my old blog posts, I laugh, I get lumps in my throat--I see the changes and paradigm shifts that have occurred within my own life—the ways I used to think, the ways I currently think. It’s fun to go back and witness all of this just by going back and revisiting my own words and ideas from the past. I desperately need to get into the blogging habit again; with my precious children and so many wonderful memories to be made, I need to do something—other than taking photos—to remember this ever so special time. (It also is a great way for me to keep recipes that I don’t want to lose!) This blog is mainly for me, but if anyone wants to check it out and if my little mundane life can be an encouragement for someone or offer them new recipes, then read on! …..and I don’t scrapbook, by the way. I wish I had that patience, but I am way too disorganized and distractable to undertake such a huge project! Thankfully, in this wonderful, modern, era, there is blogging for those of us who aren’t the scrapbooking type. …Well, here it goes—again. ….a renewed ‘commitment’ to blogging!

Friday, October 19, 2012


It’s crazy to think our family of four will be expanding any day now! (Granted, I’VE been expanding for the past 9 months…. No pun intended! I plan to get back to the ‘old’ me, or the ‘me’/new normal that my body has become post-children.) The boys seem to be excited to meet their newest little brother, and I am excited to see what his personality will be like when he is a bit older. We have one extreme and another extreme of personalities in Weiss and Klein now and I can’t even imagine another type, so it will be exciting to see. I am anticipating him to look like his other two brothers because they both DO look so much alike and favor each other dramatically—especially when they were little tiny babies. I have been relatively comfortable here during the final hurrah of my pregnancy; I told one of the midwives at a previous appointment that I thought this kiddo might be a bit smaller because I have been more comfortable this time around. She said that could be the case! On my appointment Tuesday, another midwife palpated my abdomen and said the little guy seemed to be somewhere in the 7 pounds range at this point. Granted, babies can grow around a pound each week during those final weeks in-utero, so if he camps in there too much longer, he may still be a BIG boy like Klein (9 lb, 2 oz.). Now that Klein is older and approaching two and a half years, he and Weiss are playing together more like brothers do. It is really so cute to watch (for the most part!). Weiss is pretty good about sharing with Klein and helping him out; on occasion, things get crazy, like a typical brother relationship. They now sleep in a room together and share a twin (yes, you read that correctly) bed. They have a full-size loft bed above them, but we haven’t installed the ladder because we are still nervous about falls from that height and the daredevil little brother who would find a cheap thrill from doing something crazy from atop a loft bed….. Go figure. Mornings are fun because Weiss and Klein wake up at the same time most days and both come out of their bedroom together, with Zoey on their heels (she sleeps on the rug in their room.) In my opinion, every morning is like Christmas morning. (I am referring to those mornings where the boys wake up together on their own, both come out of the bedroom together, and no one is coerced or forced to awaken, thereby creating a bad mood!) Klein and Weiss are really into protein shakes (chocolate banana almond is the favorite) for breakfast, which is a hit for me, as well---one blender-full feeds the entire family! Klein loves to watch me blend the shakes and pulls up his step stool like clockwork every time I fix them. It’s so cute because when I pour the shakes in their Thermos, Klein always screams, “SHAKEY TIME----YEAH!!!!!” Usually after this Weiss and I get started on school, and Klein will either join us and create ‘art’ or play independently, which I am thankful he does quite well in the early mornings, which is the time during the day when we are most productive and fresh for school. Weiss has also been wanting me to teach him piano; I have his books, I am just lazy in teaching him. I was beginning to feel so bad because every time I would sit down to play, he would ask me, “Mom, can you give me a quick piano lesson?” Finally my heart couldn’t take it any more! I finally started back this week with him during Klein’s nap, and he really seems to enjoy it. Like anything else, I need to just put it on the schedule and do it, because he really seems to enjoy it and at this point seems like he is a more artistically/musically driven person from what Logan and I have seen in him. A cute tidbit from this morning: today they were sharing a Pez stash I had no clue existed in a dresser drawer in their room….. I could hear Klein saying “Oh ‘tank’ you, Bubba! Your ‘elcome!’ “ It was really precious and I couldn’t help but chuckle around the corner as I eavesdropped. When I went in the room to get Klein to change his pants before his naptime, he carried one of the Pez candies in his little hand. When I laid him down to change him, he said “Yummy to my tummy, Momma! It’s ‘elthy!’ “ (He obviously has heard the phrase used in our house more than once, but just had it in the wrong context!)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Recent Musings...

As usual, it has been a while since my last blog! Hopefully I will have more to chat about after the newest little Stanley arrives! The countdown has officially begun! I am 37 weeks, and I am at that point in pregnancy where it is just not “cute” anymore…. I have also had something this pregnancy that I really didn’t have in the others—pregnancy induced insomnia. It’s not that I am too uncomfortable to sleep; I just wake easily and can’t go back to sleep when I do. NOT fun, folks. Oh well. I am thankful for a happy baby and I am healthy, so I can stand to be a bit tired during the day. I guess God is just prepping me for a normal day in the life of a busy mom with 3 kiddos! I have also slowed down on some activities, but have picked up some new ones. Infant Aquatics wrapped up for the year, and I will begin teaching again either late March or early April of 2013. (That is so crazy to say, huh?) I will definitely have our smallest munchkin in the pool as fast as I can get him! Even the tiniest babies can float, and they actually do it very well because they find the water soothing and they don’t have any preconceived notions of what happens. They are truly precious to see in the water that young! I really enjoyed teaching my first season of Infant Aquatics—I have been blessed with the most fabulous indoor pool in this area, and I love teaching the kids. I’ve also had lots of positive things and comments coming from the parents and family members of the kiddos and babies I have been so blessed to teach. That’s what a one on one lesson will do for you---the kiddos do learn aquatic safety and swimming basics! I love to see how many of them are ready to move on to stroke work (the bigger kiddos) when I am finished. It’s so amazing seeing kids who are initially afraid to stick their head under the water turn into ‘little fish’ who are diving for swim rings at the end of the course! Since I have wrapped up IA, this means that the school year has officially started! As I mentioned in my previous post, we are homeschooling Weiss---he would be starting kindergarten in a traditional group setting this year. We attend an amazing co-op on Tuesdays called Classical Conversations, which is a Christian version of classical education. I had researched it last year and really liked what I saw, but in particular, the families who were involved with the program. It is a national program with local affiliate cooperatives of families, and this is the Marble Falls area’s third year. Classical Conversations has children from preschool to 12th grade, and as they age, Latin, logic, and debate are a part of the core group of subjects (we don’t really have to deal with these for a few more years!). Klein and Weiss look forward to ‘school’ every week. The tutor presents the new information for the week ahead, and all of the information is presented with movements, motions, songs, pictures, and other catchy ways for the kiddos to learn. The kiddos also learn an art concept each week, have music, a cool science experiment or two, and each child has to speak over various topics in front of their peers each week, so public speaking begins early. It is so fun to watch the little people give their weekly speeches. One week, they told their favorite story, another week was favorite jokes, and this past week was facts on their favorite animal. Homeschooling has really been an enjoyable experience so far for me! I really do love it. It’s fun to see what Weiss is learning, but also discussing things with him and seeing what is in his little heart and mind most definitely trumps the learning part. He is learning at a rapid pace—that is just the nature of working with a child one on one, regardless of their initial ability. What would take me several hours to teach to a group of ten takes 20 minutes--or less--to teach to only one. If Weiss understands a concept, we move on. However, the various programs I am using are great to review everything so I can be sure he has retained the information we’ve gone over. I’m absolutely loving the math program we are using; it is extremely comprehensive considering the scope of knowledge for his age, and looking back at what I learned in comparison to what he is learning now, I am amazed at where he is and the confidence he will be able to have with math! He has a goal to move to the next level by Thanksgiving or Christmas, and each day anxiously adds another number to his number line that shows how many more lessons he has left to finish! He is going to be rewarded for his long term goal with a much awaited special something he has picked out. I have really loved teaching him math and phonics, and discussing history and biblical concepts with him have been exciting, because he is learning to relate certain areas at a young age. For example, we are working on ancient cultures in history, which includes the ancient Egyptians. He now knows these are the Egyptians of the bible who are mentioned in Exodus, and it was neat to see his eyes light up when he realized the connection on his own! We’re reading a short chapter book on ancient Egyptian culture from the “Magic Treehouse” series, and it is so amazing to see the joy he has when he finishes a book on his own---he is so proud. Weiss and I have a lot of fun together, as well! After we finish work for the day, I usually try to do a fun activity or schedule some one on one time during Klein’s nap. Sometimes it’s just playing a video game together, but other days, we do little art projects or crafty things. Sometimes we just discuss topics, life situations, and how to handle things and different types of people. Logan and I try to pose hypothetical situations to make him think, especially with how he responds to other kiddos and people. He is a work in progress, but he is doing great. I can see such a difference in the nearly two short months we have been working together. We are going through the bible together from beginning to end with a great picture bible and I am explaining some of the concepts that are a bit--ahem-- shocking, to say the least, to a child has been interesting. I am glad he is already learning to understand even those who love Christ devoutly may fall and stumble, but God still loves them despite their many flaws. (This was our discussion after Moses killed the Egyptian, with Rebekah and Isaac playing favorites with their children…. As you all know, the list goes on!) Weiss is also going to begin going to the local nursing home every other week to interact with those who live there, as well. When Logan arrives home, he is great to ask about what we have done for the day and encourage Weiss. He loves to get involved and ask questions about what we have done and where we are going with learning. He also helps to explain things in a way sometimes that I have not thought of. Usually this is done around the dinner table. He is so patient with Weiss and really helps me tremendously. I am blessed with a great husband who, when it comes to things regarding our children, sees things in much of the same perspective as me. Of course, this is a long post. I am hoping to get some recipes on here soon that our kiddos love and so I can have an e-copy of them….. Hopefully (I’m a wishful thinker!) I can get some of those done soon! Here are a few recent pictures of us, and I'll have to get on Logan's computer to get some more great ones of the boys. Until then, everyone!
Here's Logan and I at a recent event in Horseshoe Bay. (Almost 37 weeks preggo here!)
Here's Klein snacking after playing hard in the rain for about an hour and a half and then riding the real, live Thomas the Train at "A Day Out With Thomas" this past weekend. It was a super fun day for all of us!
Here's Weiss in his Thomas the Train rainboots, happy as a lark, with his "Weiss Air" airplane after waiting so patiently in line two separate times with Logan for a balloon creation....

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Goodness Gracious!

Goodness gracious! Where do I even begin? I know my last post was a commitment to blog more this year, and every time I wanted to blog, I felt I really didn’t have anything relevant to say. I really did think about blogging many times, though—I just thought I would try to change the format and make it more of a catchy, fun blog, like all of the other incredibly fun blogs I have read in the past….. Unfortunately, my blog doesn’t have that same ‘spark’ or enlightened quality that displays the blogger-in-residence has attended a writer’s workshop.....(I certainly have not, but if anyone wants to pay for me to go to one, I’m in!) So it is just back to the proverbial, Stanley blog grindstone. I don’t have a way with words; I merely transfer life’s musings onto my blog to save for some day in the—(gulp)--not so distant future, when I am a little old lady seeking to remember my younger years when Logan and I were both young with our little people running around our house. I want to continue to document to preserve these precious memories to share with my future self, husband and children as the years continue to roar by. So here’s a long starter post to catch everyone up with our family….. So—what HAVE we been up to? Logan and I are expanding our family yet again! We are excited to welcome the newest Stanley, boy #3, into the household in late October. I felt like we had a name for both Weiss and Klein by this time around in my past pregnancies (it’s like week 27 for me now), and so I am ready to get this little guy’s name finalized! Yes, it is certainly harder to find a name when you have a “threepeat” of the same sex…. Hopefully this will be nailed down in another week or so. I have the name I would like his to be; I’m just waiting on the husband to mull it about. I finally finished my master’s degree…. YEAH! I completed all of the national tests that were required after many years of being a mom and going to school…. Of course, I am not going to be gainfully employed in my prospective degree field at the present moment. After my kiddos leave the nest for college one day, I would love to start working again and utilize what I have learned, but now is not the appropriate season. I love being a mom, and this is where I am in life right now and wouldn’t trade it for the world. In late April and throughout May, I got certified to teach infants and young children aquatic survival lessons, and I LOVE it! It’s a nice little part-time gig for me, and it is extremely rewarding and fulfilling! I am thankful our family (both grandmothers, in particular) could rally around me and take care of the kiddos when I was away at Dallas during the weekdays. Logan was also busy with the role of ‘super dad’ during my training. Speaking of Logan….Logan is busy with work, loving it as usual, and has some interesting ministry opportunities coming his way… Hopefully I can talk more about that in a later post if things happen accordingly to God’s plan! We’ll see in the next few months what will pan out. Things are a bit up in the air because of the arrival of the little man in October, but I am sure this ministry opportunity will eventually occur, and I am super pumped for Logan! And the boys? They are both growing so fast…. Weiss is five (going on 50) and will turn six in December. Klein will turn two August 8. Weiss will be starting kindergarten this fall, and we are homeschooling him, so this is truly a new journey for me, because I will have to get my ducks in a row more than he will! I won’t go into the “whys and why nots” that tend to occur with anyone who home schools, but if you have questions, just ask me in person, and I’d be happy to answer! Right now, though, it seems like I am getting books in the mail every day and we are currently ordering furniture to set up his ‘classroom’ area, which is more like a workspace for both Weiss and me. I’m contemplating what our daily schedules will look like, and deciding what days we will tackle certain learning elements. I’ve recently attended some workshops and also reading plenty of literature to prepare me for the task at hand. Weiss will also be attending Classical Conversations, which is a Christian home school methodology and home school co-op program, on Thursdays. I’m excited because I’ll have a group of families to learn from, and I am very excited for Weiss because the kiddos in the program are truly great kids with amazing families. I’m looking forward to new friendships made (both Weiss’s and my own) and all of the memories we will make. It will certainly be a new stage in life for both Weiss and our entire family! Weiss is also starting team soccer this fall, may continue to do art classes with an instructor he has worked with in the past here in town, and I might sign him up for martial arts. (I need to check on the martial arts bit!) Klein is growing up so fast—it seems like he is growing up much faster than Weiss did at this age. I don’t know if it is because he is the second child, or if second children are ‘with it’ faster because of their older sibling, but he understands much more than even I know and is picking up so many new words very rapidly! He’s got a quirky little sense of humor and is quite personable with people, like Weiss. And speaking of Weiss….Klein and Weiss definitely favor one another in looks when comparing their features! It will be interesting to see if all three of our boys look alike! I certainly need to label their baby pictures because if they are each wearing the same or similar clothing in the pics, I may forget who’s who one day! Klein has the cutest little expressions and words, and is quite jovial most of the time with a smile on his face. He usually wakes up in a great mood, is eager to get ready of a morning, brush his teeth (yes, he enjoys this!) and hair, and he doesn’t balk when you put his shoes on. He is pretty easy in most departments, if you ask me! Klein will be attending ‘preschool’ (or technically, ‘pre-pre-preschool’ since he is a two-year old) at the Bluebonnet Learning Center at the First United Methodist Church. I loved their program for Weiss, and I am super excited that Klein is starting. Yes, it is a bit bittersweet because Klein is so young, but each Tuesday and Thursday he is gone will allow me to get some really productive school time in with Weiss and ensure I have things accomplished, especially when the newest Stanley arrives. Klein will be in ‘school’ from 8:30 to 2:30, so it will also allow him time for a nap, which is a good thing to keep in his schedule! This is just a ‘starter’ to the multitude of information I have missed…. I regret ending so abruptly, but I also want to do a bit of reading tonight! Hopefully the next post will come sooner rather than later! I need to make my blog more of a priority in my life!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Here's to Some Changes......

As you can plainly see, I have sorely neglected my family's blog.... Although I am busy most of the time with the kids, I certainly could make time for my blog, and I really should be making time, because I know it will be something I will look back upon one day as a treasure trove of memories for my little family.

By saying this, instead of detailing some senseless, nonsensical things of the past--as you can read in my previous posts--I want to only write when I actually have something of relative importance to say. (I previously was slapping up blog posts onto the web I would write in record time, so I was getting fairly lax regarding my usage of spelling and grammar.... Yikes!)

So what will the "new" blog posts be about? Yes, you will certainly witness me stepping up upon my proverbial soapbox on occasion, because this, my dear friends, is part of the essence in which God made me. However, I want to offer things that will benefit others, but in particular, my children, who are truly my magna opera in life. Their understandings of the world around them but most importantly, the Creator of the Universe and Father of Lights, begins with Logan and me, and one day we will answer for this foundational structure we have established within each of our children. We are seeking to honor God in raising our children to glorify Him as they grow old. Ultimately, I want to encourage my kiddos to love others because we have first been loved, and to forgive, as we first have been forgiven. I want them to live this precious gift of life to its fullest potential, realizing how precious indeed it truly is and how incredibly blessed each of us are. I want them to know we are not here by chance--there is an incredible purpose for each of our lives, even though we may forget this on occasion in the sometimes monotonous state of this thing we call "life."

On a lighter note, I seek to use this blog to also document my "fun" side. Of course, I'll throw in some recipes (because going paperless makes it easy and my recipes are always easier to retrieve on the computer), good books (I have a hunger for a wide variety of books), and, of course, pictures of the latest antics of Weiss and Klein, and perhaps a few shenanigans of their parents....

Here's to turning over a new leaf.

"The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house of the LORD
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing,
To declare that the LORD is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him." --Psalm 92:12-15

Monday, July 19, 2010


Hello, all! It has been awhile since the last posting. LOTS of things have happened: Weiss is growing, growing, GROWING and becoming more opinionated and mischievous, Logan is staying busy with work, and I finished my classes for the semester----YEAH! We've been squeezing in some last minute things before Mr. Klein Bennett Stanley makes his grand debut, which we are all looking forward to. I've noticed I haven't been as prepared for the "second child" because I've been busy with Weiss--chasing him around all day and doing his activities. Klein's room should be finished this week (I'm 38 weeks now--39 tomorrow), so that will be great. Weiss slept in a bassinet in our room for the first six months, anyway, so if Klein got here, it wouldn't really matter, because we plan to do the same thing with him. The boys' rooms have been a major undertaking---Mom and Dad have helped tremendously with painting both rooms (I'll have to post pictures at a later time), and Cinda is doing the "detail" work in Klein's room for his striped wall, which is looking awesome. We had some setbacks, however; she had to get stitches in her hand and then got the stomach bug, so we had plans to work last week, but it was a no-go. (It's soooo nice having an interior designer as a mother-in-law!)
My dear sweet friend Hannah threw me a baby shower, despite the fact she is due just a few weeks after myself. (Thanks so much, Hannah!) Alana, my dad's sister, made a surprise visit, which was great! I was excited to see her. That same weekend we had a fun wedding to attend, and I was sooooo thankful the reception was indoors! (Thanks Lauren and Blair!) That was two weekends ago, so that packed weekend was our last "hurrah" before we started slowing down to prepare for the entrance of the new kid on the block!
Weiss has been busy with swimming lessons this month; he is doing progressively better as he gets more lessons under his belt! He loves the water and will jump off of the dock at the lake, but he is just more tentative when he begins lessons with someone new. It didn't take him a long time to warm up, however! Martha is the swim coach at Faith Academy, so I really like her and feel she is doing a great job as his teacher. Speaking of water---Weiss got out on the tube behind the boat for the first time on July 17! Logan and Weiss were hanging out on the tube, and we sort of had to "sneak" the ski rope to Logan so Weiss wouldn't freak out. He loved it, though, and did really well. If we would have asked him if he wanted to go, he would have refused--that's why we had to go to Plan B. He may be doing private lessons with Martha in the month of August; she is really great with him and the other kiddos.
Recently, Weiss saw "Toy Story 3" in the theater; it was his first "theater movie." He is now obsessed with "Toy Story 1," "Toy Story 2," and all of the cute characters. He got a toy Rex that you squeeze and he roars. He now takes Rex everywhere. (This is pretty unusual because Weiss has never attached to a toy like that before.) He takes Rex to certain parts of the house with him and wants him to go places with us. It's pretty cute. Weiss is still into Thomas the Train, so he is always building elaborate track set-ups all over the house. He builds these great tracks---some with double- and triple-decker bridges, but then won't run his engines on them! (I guess it's all about the creation process for him!) I've even caught Logan sneaking a few pictures...I think he is envious!
Klein is getting bigger, and the midwife says to be prepared for any day now! My midwife group doesn't induce, so I am being very patient at the moment. I am content because I know all of the work that is ahead since I am a "veteran" now...haha! I am excited for his appearance, but I am okay with waiting, because I don't want to go through what we did with Weiss (3 weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit....not cool).
Logan has really helped me out lately by hiring someone to clean our house. She cleans Dickey and Cinda's home, the dental office, and also several of Cinda's friends' homes. Nettali has been a such a great help; I think Logan likes it now that our house is staying clean! I could do an "okay" clean, but I DESPISE mopping. I LOVE to vacuum and do almost everyday, but mopping and putting on sheets are not my forte. I could work in the yard all day, every day (if I didn't have a 3 year old to watch!), but working indoors is not my favorite. I think Logan has figured this out. Now that Nettali is cleaning, I have devoted my additional energy to ORGANIZING, cleaning and sorting! It is coming along at a slow pace, but Logan and I are both making progress in the house AND garage! It is a wonderful, freeing feeling!!! Anyway, enough about the nesting!
I will hopefully keep everyone informed about Mr. Klein's arrival. I will probably be more likely to post on Facebook, but we'll see how that goes! I know I will be SUPER busy with my two--wait--THREE boys (including Logan!)