Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A First Time for Everything

Yesterday was filled with firsts for Eli.  He started his morning with his first trip to the dentist's office.  I can't say enough nice things about Dr. Artemis, Ms. Wendi and the staff at Scandalios Family Dentistry.  Eli and I prepared for this big experience by watching "Ms. Cullen" from Cullen's ABCs.  She has a great set of videos that helped Eli know what to expect.  Here are some pictures of my brave Eli in the dentist chair!

Then, after a special lunch at the McDonald's with the Playland, a nap, and some dinner, we were off for the next first...Eli's first soccer practice with the YMCA.  We have officially entered the land of parents-with-more-than-one-son-playing-sports.  I've started to feel a bit faint when I pass the calendar hanging in our kitchen that is covered with all the fun things we do.  Anyway...Eli was so excited and looked so cute in his cleats and shinguards.  By the way, I just love what the YMCA stands for.  Before practice, everyone recited the pledge and there was prayer!  I must say that I'm proud to be affiliated with this organization!  Ok, back to the actual soccer stuff.  Eli seems to really understand what's going on in the game and as Matt so tactfully stated, "He's like Scout...ball-driven!"  Sidebar:  For those who don't know, Scout is one of our dogs.  The weather was perfect.  Abel had plenty of room to walk, run, and explore.  Jacob enjoyed some quality time with a game on his iPod (hello, tween years!).  And, Eli had a blast playing soccer with his teammates.  Check out the fun!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Back to School!

On Thursday, this one started seventh grade...

I must be wrong.  There is absolutely no way he could already be in the middle of middle school.  I feel like it was just yesterday that we were doing this.

And he looked like this.

Seventh grade?!?  No, way!  Of course, I can't stop time and even if I could, it certainly wouldn't be fair to him or me.  I'd miss out on watching him turn into the man God purposed Him to be.  And, what a blessing and responsibility it is to be a part of that journey!   I pray that this will be a great school year for Jacob and our families--despite the 40 Book Challenge (a book per week, really?!?) and bus arrival time of 6:20am (Lord, help me)!  

These two and I will be embarking on an exciting adventure, too.  

Beginning the week after Labor Day, I'll be starting "preschool" and "totschool" at home with the little boys. I really feel like Eli is ready for some more structured (albeit loosely structured) learning experiences and Abel is along for the ride.  I'm still working out all the kinks (how many days a week, organization of materials so they don't take over and make Daddy crazy, etc), and I have a little planning time remaining, but I can't wait to dive in and watch their little sponge-brains soak it all up.  
And, just so we're not feeling left out, Matt and I are attending Sunday night "Life University" at church. We're studying the book Radical by David Platt.  I think it's going to be an awesome time of growing in our walk with the Lord and can't wait to be challenged.  I'm also attending a weekly morning women's  Bible Study and I think it may just rock my world.  The first chapter is "I Am Worn Out"!  Ok, you're preaching to me already!  I can't wait to not only learn what God's Word says about these challenges we face as women, but also to connect and make some new friendships!

So, here's to a great school year!  I pray we will all learn and grow in these next 10 months!  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A different perspective

As you can tell from the picture, my life is often a chaotic, crazy, kid-wrangling adventure.  Some days, it is absolutely wonderful and I am completely aware of how blessed I am.  Other days, well...no so much!  So that I don't feel alone in this homemaking journey, I try to connect with others that are choosing to stay home.  One of the easiest ways I've found to do that is online.  I have a plethora of websites that I love and even some great online friends all of whom encourage and uplift me as I daily try to fulfill the Lord's calling on my life. 

One of my regular reads is "Passionate Homemaking" over at www.passionatehomemaking.com (obvious web address, I know, but you may want to link up!).  Yesterday, the title of the post was "What Man Can Relate to a Stay-At-Home-Mom?"  I clicked to read that one, quick, fast, and in-a-hurry!  What followed was eye-opening and a perspective I doubt I would have gained on my own.  So, for you other homemaker/stay-at-home-moms, read on and be encouraged!
"What Man Can Relate to a Stay-At-Home-Mom? by Natalie Didlake--
I sat down and made a list of all the rigors of wife- and motherhood I could possibly think of. There are…A LOT!
  • Exhaustion
  • Feeling alone or isolated from the outside world
  • The struggle for regular, healthy rest and refreshment
  • Having too many things to do
  • Grief over your children’s rebellious hearts toward you and God, sometimes even frustration or anger
  • Changes in your physical body due to childbirth/care and age
  • The minute-by-minute flow of daily, constant demands
  • Loss of a sense of control over your life in general
  • Worries about the poor character you are passing on to your kids by example
  • Loss of a sense of usefulness in ways you used to enjoy
  • Loss of sleep
  • Loss of mental/emotional rest
  • Loss of time with husband
  • Loss of a sense that your husband relates to your experience as a wife/mother, perhaps feeling lonely/isolated even in your own home
  • Rejected and undervalued by our culture
  • General despair and frustration
  • Feeling distant from God because of all these imposed losses!
Whew! I’m ready for that list to be done. Won’t be re-reading that again! Too many of these hover over my head daily like a black Eeyore-cloud, following me everywhere I go.
There are so many days I can’t wait for my kids to nap so the house is quiet, for everybody to go to bed so I can take a break from meeting needs, sometimes…for everybody to grow up and leave!
I used to think the only one who really understood was a fellow mom. And, really, what help is that? A friend with 3 or 4 kids can’t do much but sympathize with my lack of sleep!
About a year ago, as I read through the gospels, I began noticing incidents in Jesus’ everyday life that startled me. Because they were very similar to the incidents that sometimes make my life sticky, as a stay-at-home-mom. So I started a list of all the troubles Jesus endured, all of them eventually culminating on the cross. Here it is:
Jesus was:
  • Underappreciated
  • Misunderstood
  • Exhausted
  • Physically worn down and destroyed
  • Rejected
  • His gifts and abilities were often ignored or discredited, and later totally rejected/wasted by the people who killed him
  • Cut off from friends, family, and the outside world
  • Bore the weight of the sins of the world, an impossibly huge demanding burden, on his shoulders, to hell for us.
  • Lost all rest, well-being, comfort, closeness to God (physically, spiritually, and emotionally)
  • Was rejected by his culture
  • Totally lost control of his life and circumstances
  • Felt total despair
  • Was totally alone
So, there is a man who understands! Even when I’m in the trenches, poopy diapers a-plenty, lack of time, running on zero sleep, with guests coming over to eat the dinner I haven’t cooked yet. The remarkable thing about Jesus was, he suffered stress, despair, and isolation, but not because he doubted God (like I do) and believed he had no choice but to deal with it alone (like me).  He CHOSE to take it all on, so we wouldn’t have to.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” (Galatians 3:12)
More than before (since I made that list), my mind turns to Jesus when strain, stress, or tiredness creeps up on me. More than before, I don’t mind so much that it’s there. It crept up on Jesus, and he let it. He took it on for me. He understands! He’s is certainly my example for sacrificial motherhood, but oh so much more. His perfect love and life go on record for me. He’s my stand-in….better than a mom-friend!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What High Tide?

Me:  Hey, Mama!  You might not want your chair there.  The tide is coming in!

Mama:  I'll be fine.

Mama:  Ooooh, a little water--that's not too bad!

Mama:  Whoa!  Ok, ok!  I'm fine!  No big deal!

Mama:  See, guys!  I told you I'd be fine!


Me:  I told you the tide was coming in!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hot Fun in the Summertime

The Sloans have been vacationing!  It looks kind of like this...

While we've been at the beach I have been overwhelmed by the work of our Lord.  Taking some time to really slow down, spend tons of time with my family, and enjoy the gorgeous beach has brought about a whole new level of gratitude in my heart!  I have amazing children, a fantastic marriage, loving parents, and a God who loves me enough to allow me to live this blessed life!  My cup runneth over...I simply could not ask for more!

Friday, August 12, 2011


Every year, the little boys get a membership to Marbles Kids Museum as a Christmas gift.  I must say it is the BEST gift ever!  We don't need more things around this house, so this is the perfect "experience" gift for my active boys.  Here are a couple of pictures from our visit this week.  I forgot the "big" camera, so I used my iphone.  Needless to say, I should read the manual and get a good app or two for taking iphone pictures.  These just don't do my cuties and their fun justice.  

See that last photo there?  The one with the boys playing in the water.  It was taken a few minutes after Eli climbed onto the adjacent waterfall/fountain pool and asked if he could get in.  And, it was taken about 15 seconds before Abel made his first (and almost successful) attempt to climb right into the little "pond"!  Yeah, we're from the country and we like it that way!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Precious littlest one

Last night, Eli spent the night at Mema and PaPa's house with his sweet girl cousins and Jacob was back at his mom's for the week.  That left our littlest, Abel, as an only child for the night.  I had my Weight Watcher's meeting last night (down 38 pounds total) which gave Daddy and Abel some wonderful one-on-one time.  This morning, I ran errands and went to the library with my precious youngest boy.  Oh, how sweet that time was.  It is rare to have alone time with Abel.  He wakes up first, but shares a room with Eli, so both are usually up at the same time.  Abel is the first to bed at night.  His nap coincides with Eli's most days.  This morning was a blessing.  I was reminded of how much he is growing and how blessed I am to be his mama.  He is the happiest and friendliest toddler I have ever known.  I love watching him turn a stranger's frown to a smile with his wave and greeting.  I mean, who could resist this kid??

This morning, we sang and clapped; we read books and did fingerplays; we shopped and talked.  He brought joy to my busy world.  God has entrusted me with the responsibility of training this little one up and I pray daily that He leads me as I do His work.  I think it's just a bonus that this sweet little boy (and his two brothers) bless me daily as I answer His calling.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Yes, chef!!

Jacob has taken a recent interest in cooking.  Of course, I'm sure it has absolutely nothing to do with my obsession with, um, I mean fascination with all things food related on TV.  In my dreams in which we have a DVR, mine is filled with "Top Chef," "Extreme Chef," "Chopped," "Restaurant: Impossible," "Iron Chef," "Rocco's Dinner Party," "The Great Food Truck Race"...

I'm sorry, where was I?  Oh, that's right...Jacob and cooking.  So, he's been asking to help in the kitchen and has proven to be an excellent sous chef.   Recently, he decided to kick it up a notch (yes, the Emeril reference was intentional) and asked to prepare dinner alone.  He cooked for his mom's family while on vacation, so it was time for him to take over our kitchen.

One of his favorite meals is our version of Shepherd's Pie and that was what he chose to prepare.  Here are a few pictures of him at work as executive chef of the Sloan Diner.

It's a joy to foster my boys' interests, be it the Steelers, B-B guns, or cooking.  And, wouldn't it be cool to turn on the TV one day and instead of Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, or Guy Fieri, we'd see Jacob Sloan?!?  

By the way, dinner was deeee-licious!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Crash and burn-part two with pics

No credit is given to the old saying "once bitten, twice shy" around here.  After dinner, we headed outside, only to replay the earlier events of the day (see previous post) and take another spill.   It's simply a parent's worst nightmare.  Abel, however,  didn't seem too concerned.  He's "Super Toddler"--faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to repeatedly fall down...  Poor kiddo!

Since I was snapping, and everyone was together and getting along, I figured I'd try to capture all three boys.  And, through the magic of photo editing, Abel's boo-boos don't look too bad!  I'd say I've got some good looking sons!!

Crash and burn

Since it wasn't outrageously hot this morning and since little Eli was feeling somewhat better (he's had a fever and felt icky since yesterday afternoon), we headed out to play in the yard.  The boys ran and chased each other.  We found some funny-looking bugs.  Abel and I practiced "come here"--I am currently training this instruction.  Eli played with some "ginormous" sticks.  And, the boys played in the ditch at the top of the driveway.

For those who don't know, our driveway slopes fairly steeply from the street down to our home.  Eli took off down the driveway toward the house and Abel wasn't far behind him.  Abel picked up speed and I could see it coming. He was getting faster.  The downward slope was outrunning him.   Time slowed to a crawl.  My legs were stuck in place.  There was no way I could prevent it.  Abel wiped out...in a really big way.  He tried to catch himself, but the momentum was just too much.  It looked like he just dove into the cement.  I rushed to him and picked him up.  Bless his heart!  He looked like he had just scrubbed the left side of his face on the driveway.  There were scrapes and some blood and lots of tears.  Of course, I think some of his tears were because I told him we had to go inside.  If you know Abel and his love for the outdoors, you completely understand that.

Once inside, he stopped crying (this kid is a bruiser with no drama--love it!), we cleaned it up and applied the cure-all that is Neosporin.  And with that, Abel was over it.  He was signing and asking for "outside!"  Really, little guy?!?  Do you remember wiping out face first into the driveway?  Are you sure?

So, without hesitation, we were back in the yard with the boys running and chasing each other and all is again right with the world.  Well, except for the "two-face" look that Abel will be sporting for the next few days!