Katie J's Journal

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An exciting week ahead!!! February 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — The McKinney Family @ 2:08 pm

Yes, I know it’s Tuesday and, therefore, not the beginning of the week. However, I had a massive migraine yesterday so my precious husband stayed home and took care of the kiddos for me. It felt like a nice long weekend, even if I was in awful pain. Anyhow…

This is going to be an exciting week in our family for many different reasons. The most important is that my sister, Whitney, is going to have a new baby on Friday!!!! (She’ll be induced, unless the little booger comes early- her babies are always late, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he/she comes early since Whitney’s husband, Matt, has a big audit at work this week that they need to finish up…babies are just like that…) Anyhow, this is the first baby in our families that we don’t know the sex of.  I’ve been frustrated the whole time because I am not a patient person and I want to know what this baby is!!! I want to buy him/her cute things or, if I can’t afford to, at least dream! 🙂 But now that Whitney is so close, I’m so excited about the surprise element. I cannot wait to get that text or phone call telling me if I have a new niece or nephew!!! Whitney, if you’re reading this, I love you and pray for you constantly!

Thursday night is my first sewing class! Whoohoo! I know that, compared to a new baby, this is not really exciting at all, but I’ve been looking forward to it for awhile and have wanted to learn to sew as long as I can remember, so I’m thrilled that it’s almost here!  This past weekend James let me use some of our tax refund to build up my sewing supplies and pick a pattern. The first picture is my sewing machine case. You can’t really see the bottom, but it’s brown. I think the blue and brown is so pretty.

The next two pictures are of my pretty sewing box. I love how it stores all my special tools in an easily accessible way. I know this sounds weird, but I hope it gets dirty and beaten up from using it so much! 🙂

The last picture is the pattern I chose to bring to class. It’s a mommy/daughter apron pattern. I think I’m going to make a full-sized apron for the girls, first, then one for me if I have material left. (I’m using material someone gave me, first, so I may not.) I also might make a half-apron for Evie out of some boyish material because I know he’s going to want to join in the fun!

Okay, that’s it for now. I need to upload a funny picture of Evan to facebook- make sure you check it out later- soooo cute! Love you all and hope you have a great week, too! I’ll let you know when the new baby arrives, and hopefully will post a picture.

Love, Kate


Raindrops on roses… February 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — The McKinney Family @ 7:15 pm

I’ve decided to write a post dedicated to some of my favorite things. Of course, being a mommy, most of them will be things that are child or family-related. I’m going to work on it for a couple of days when I have a second or two because I’m trying very diligently not to let my computer become a god. (Oh, and these are in no particular order…)

1) Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Engelmann- I won’t go into a lot of detail, but basically I used this approach as part of a large program when I taught first grade. Also, I babysat for several families and know several large families that use this as their primary reading “curriculum.” Gabi and I started “school” yesterday. (She said, “Mommy, you’re teaching me like Ms. Beadle!) So far, she’s doing great. She does get easily distracted and has a hard time staying still, but I can get her back on track fairly quickly. The lessons take 12-20 minutes. I have to admit that, even though I know how to lesson plan, I like that it lays everything out for you. It tells you exactly what to say and how to say it and warns you not to use your own words because you could miss an important concept. Great for a mommy with 5 little ones! We got our copy at Barnes and Noble; it was $22, but that’s cheap for a reading “curriculum” when we have at least 5 children that will probably use it!

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann: Book Cover

2) My Ergo– I love, love, love my Ergo! My parents got it for me as Matthew’s baby gift. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to use it when he was tiny because I didn’t have the infant insert. A few weeks ago a friend from church let me borrow her insert and it’s been wonderful! Yesterday I even put Evan in it on my back- he was whiny and wanted to be held and I had lots to do. I love having both hands free and he was content to be along for the ride. Their website is http://www.ergobabycarrier.com.

[ERGObaby Cranberry ERGObaby Carrier with Cranberry lining and Mocha Sucking Pads]

3) Vinegar– Okay, so I know that I’m way late on this one, but I finally bought 2 gallons of vinegar at Sam’s for less than $4 last year to rinse my nursing supplementer with. Since I’m not using that anymore :(, I’ve started using it for other stuff. Last night I had the greatest time sanitizing the sippy cups and, especially, the VALVES! They          were          so         nasty! I’ve tried and tried to clean them, so finally (duh!) I boiled them in water and vinegar. Ta da! White and shiny and gunk-free- and safe for the kiddos! I’m going to get two little spray bottles this weekend so the girls can have some safe vinegar and water cleaning solution to help clean with.  Which leads to the next thing…

4) Laundry: Yes, I just said that I like laundry. Know why? Because Gabs has been helping me with it. I started by folding the laundry, then giving her little stacks and telling her where to put them. Then I let her pick up the stacks and told her where to put them. Yesterday I sat and fed Matthew while she put away all the laundry that she could reach (which was most of it). She confused Matthew’s 2 drawers, but, other than that- she did great! I was so proud of her and it’s so nice to do something productive together. Oh, and she also likes to hang clothes on hangers. She knows that hers are purple and Sarah’s are pink, and the others are too high to reach so I hand them to her with the item that needs to be hung. We still have our “family closet” and I love it! We’re planning on using our closet in the new house/apartment at seminary for the family closet, and using the kids’ closets for storage.

5) Bluebehemoth.com: A friend introduced us to this site last year and we love it! It’s kind of like a Christian itunes, except on a much smaller scale. We have a huge wishlist of things we want to listen to. My new favorite that we downloaded last week is called, “Teach Them the Faith” by Dan and Karen Vitco. It’s the Shorter Catechism put to song. At first I wasn’t sure about it because the songs are really soft and slow, but now I love them. The woman who sings them has a beautiful voice. They’re perfect for bedtime; we have a cd in both the boys’ room and the girls’ room for nap and nighttime. In fact, I know you’ll laugh, but James and I can hear the girls’ cd from their room at night and we love listening to it, too. Very good resource to teach your children the basics of the Christian faith at a young age.

BlueBehemoth.com dinosaur

6) Mommy Necklaces: Okay, so this is something that I’d actually like to have, but don’t already have. They’re necklaces that were designed for nursing, but are for all mommies. They’re made to be pulled and played with without breaking. In fact, they have a 3 year warranty. I haven’t worn any jewelry at all in over a year, and haven’t worn it more than on the occasional Sunday for 3 years- I just was always worried about it snapping off and bead or things falling everywhere and someone choking. These are beautiful and should withstand the test of my kiddos, even. (If anyone wants to drop hints to James for Mother’s Day, you’re welcome to. 🙂 Just kidding. Their website is http://www.mommynecklaces.com. They even have matching earrings!

Okay, that’s enough for one past. You may be bored reading this, but, then again, maybe some of these things are things that you’ll love, too! I hope so! I’ve got to get ready for “fun day” tomorrow. We’re going to Charlotte to go to the Apple store at the mall and to Ikea. Yay! I’m determined to pack and plan as best I can to have the most stress-free day that we can have. Plus, we’re bringing food so that we can save money. (Though we may eat lunch at Ikea because their food is a great deal and they have Swedish choices, which will remind me of growing up in Europe :).) Hope you all have a great weekend, too!


Super-quick update… February 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — The McKinney Family @ 2:33 pm

I have a long list of things I want to accomplish today (do I ever not have a long list of things to accomplish? :)) so this will be brief.

Last Friday we celebrated Evan’s 2nd birthday. I can’t believe that that little 3lb 9oz baby has grown into a 23lb little boy. I took the girls to the dollar store Thursday night to pick a present for him- we got a ball with a frog on it. He loved it! I don’t know which he likes better- balls or shoes. Anyhow, we were going to go shopping this weekend to get a present for him from us, but decided not to. We need to be really careful not to spend money on things that will be forgotten in a week, as well as try not to bring more clutter into our house while we’re trying to clean out to move.  Seminary is looming on the horizon- whether we move this summer or James starts out online depends on what happens with our Naaman.

In other news, I am thrilled to be going back to school! Ha ha, not really, but sort of. I’m going to take a class at the local community college called, “Sewing Basics.” I’m so excited! James bought me a sewing machine for Mother’s Day last year and I haven’t been able to use it because I’m so intimidated. I know this class won’t make me an expert seamstress, but I’m hoping it will help me gain some confidence and not be so scared to try and make mistakes. The class is 5 2-hour sessions for $89… I think it will be money well spent as I’ll be able make lots of clothes for our children and other household “pretties” that would be far more expensive at a store. And it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time. Yay!

I’m going to ask you to please be in prayer for my brother, Matt. I don’t want to divulge many details (though I may in email since it’s more private) but he’s have some major issues. In fact, “major” is a HUGE understatement. So you know how to pray, I’m not sure if he knows Christ or not. He accepted Christ when he was about 12, I think, but there hasn’t been fruit in his life for a long time. I don’t say this to be ugly or gossipy- I tell you because I love my brother so incredibly much- so much that we named our son after him. Please, please approach the throne of our Lord for him.

Well, that’s it. I hope everyone is having a wonderful week. We were thankful to have our Daddy home yesterday for President’s day. Love you all!


Simpler Times… February 4, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — The McKinney Family @ 2:45 pm

My girls have been fascinated with watching “Little House on the Prairie” episodes lately. Gabi thinks she’s Mary and Sarah is Laura. They call James “Pa” and me “Ma.” Yesterday Gabi even told James that his middle name is Charles Ingalls. 🙂 Sooo precious. At dinner last night, Gabi asked, “How many old is Mary?” I said, “Probably about 11.” She said, “Well, this Mary is 11, too.” (referring to herself) In fact, they love it so much that my mom bought them Season 2 on DVD yesterday. (Less than $15 at Wal-Mart- a bargain, for sure.) When I told Gabi that Lollie was bringing her 6 new Laura’s, she said, “OH! She’s a good girl!” Anyhow, watching all these episodes with them have made me long for a simpler time. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely appreciate modern conveniences such as running water, electricity, and indoor plumbing. I can’t imagine having to wash clothes by hand, hitch up a buggy to go somewhere, or make all our food from scratch. I guess I just wish there was a happy medium. I mean, why does it have to be that, with modern conveniences, comes busyness? Why can’t we live in small houses that are “just enough,” eat food that is homegrown and healthy (that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg at the store because it’s labeled “organic”) and observe Sunday as a true day of rest, instead of a day spent rushing from home to church and back again, only to hurry through lunch, get the kids down for nap, and begin getting ready for the week ahead? What if TV wasn’t an option to distract us from our families and unhealthy, processed food wasn’t there to tempt us into obesity? I realize, as I type this, that we will never truly be able to go back to the way it was. However, I wonder what I might do different as a wife and mother to make life less complicated for my family. As we get ready to make a big move this summer, I have to admit that I’m sad at the thought of leaving our wonderful home with hardwood floors, a playroom, and a huge kitchen and dining room. It makes me nervous to think about living in a tiny apartment with all of these little people around my feet. I’m trying to look at is as a blessing, though. As we go through our “stuff” and try to separate what we need from what is unnecessary, I hope that our life will get a little simpler, even as it gets busier with James in school and working full-time. And, though I’m frightened at the thought of being a minister or missionary’s wife for many reasons, I wonder if it might bring some simplicity into our lives, too. It depends very much on what the Lord calls James to do. I do know that the missionaries I worked with in Romania were a couple with 2 small children that spent almost every day serving the Lord together. Do I dare hope for something similar for us? Might the Lord call James to something that would not only minister to others, but to his family as well? I don’t know; I’m just wondering, and hoping. Have any of you had thoughts that were similar? Have you found ways to simplify life for your family? I’m afraid to tell you that this is probably not the last you will hear from me on this subject because it’s one that is constantly bubbling around in my mind. But, for now, have a wonderful, peaceful day with your families. Love you all!


Rainy day fun… February 2, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — The McKinney Family @ 1:59 pm

It’s a rainy day here in SC. The snow is almost finished melting and is in that yucky stage where it’s just slush and mud. I’m choosing to be thankful for the day, though, because I have much that needs to be done here at home. We’re having pajama day to celebrate :). The boys are in their new pjs from Aunt B and the girls are in their new summer dresses- I guess we’ll call their day “dress up day.” 🙂  I’m going to make a list of things I need to do today; maybe it’ll help keep me accountable.

1) Spend time with the Lord

2) Tell my sweet husband how much I love him and appreciate him and how incredibly handsome I think he is :).

3) Play with and read to my kids.

4) Snuggle with my baby boy who is growing way to fast for my liking.

5) Finish my book (It’s a historical fiction book based on the story of Rachel and Leah- very good. I’m eager to see how the author deals with the fact that Jacob married both daughters, since this story is set in the 1800s in Scotland.)

(now for the less-fun things on the list…)

5) Finish laundry and put away

6) Wash dishes

7) Clean bathroom

8) Maybe get started on the clothes I need to organize for summer… maybe

I’m sure my list will grow longer as the day goes on; it always does.  And I’m sure I won’t finish half of it; I never do. But it gives me a goal to reach, and some accountability. I hope you all have a wonderful day, rainy or not :).


February 1, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — The McKinney Family @ 3:43 pm

I saw this on another blog, and it looks fun… Corletta, if you’re reading this, you definitely should do it since you’ve now run a marathon :).

Below is a list of things people have done in their lives. I bolded the ones I’ve done. I’d love to see your answers, so if you do this on your blog (if you have one) leave the link in the comments. 🙂 Here’s mine:

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland (well, “World”)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (sign language)
15. Adopted a child (2 of the most precious children ever!)
16. Had food poisoning (yuck- from a salad bar)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (Romanian, but the family I stayed with helped)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (had enough, but was I satisfied? I have to be truthful and say, “no.”)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke (not pretty)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been inside an ambulance (on the way to the helicopter pad with my Matthew :(. )
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp (Dachau)
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter (wish I hadn’t b/c it was when Matthew stopped breathing :(.)
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (Big Bear, got him for my 8th birthday and he slept with me until I was married- now he’s Gabi’s)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book (if being published in a book with others counts)
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car (leased- never will again)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous (David Robinson)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby (2 of the most precious babies ever!)
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit (finally at a point in my life where I’m grateful for the lesson learned)
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Okay… your turn!  Have a good week!