Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Aiden builds and builds and builds

Aiden has been building barricades for a long time now. I am so annoyed by it, I cant remember when he started.

He blocks off all entrance and exits, he makes it impossible to get to the bathroom without climbing, moving, or stubbing your toe on something. He does it quietly, and swiftly and then proudly announces "look mom".

I have spanked, sent him to his room, yelled, and almost cried for him to stop. All this to no avail.

I have worried that I am stifling some sort of career. Fortress maker?

I don't know what to do about it, but I really really hate being barricaded to different parts of my house.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Are you sure your not having twins?

Is there really ever a time that is appropriate to tell someone, "gosh you are really big"? No, no there is not. And some people think that when one is pregnant it is free reign to comment on appearance. I am pretty sure no one ever wants to be told they look really big. And if a person is big, or bigger than they normally are, they know it. Trust me, you informing them of their additional size is not enlightening them to something totally new.

I think the most dangerous time to comment on someones size is when they are pregnant. There are many more hormones racing around a very tired, overwhelmed, and exhausted body. Especially, when one has gone to much trouble to shower, and appear presentable all whilst wrangling two other small children who are hell bent on making sure their mother never looks like she has seen a hair brush or makeup.

Let me give you some advise, only say things like: You look wonderful. You are so tiny! You look amazing. OR novel idea, say nothing at all - haven't you people ever heard "if you don't have something nice to say, then don't say anything at all". PLEASE. Yes, I am oversensitive, I am pregnant with my THIRD child. I do on some level understand that these comments are not intended to hurt my feelings, and the person offering them is only trying to make a keen observation. But lets talk about the weather instead.

Okay, I am done with my rant. For now.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

It Was Just Odd

This happened awhile ago, but I still think about it almost every time I take exit 20 off 405 south. The same homeless man is almost always standing on the corner of the off ramp at the light. He usually has a sign that says "Homeless and Hungry".

I generally am very skeptical of these people. I think, go get a job, do something besides take advantage of people. I am also confronted with my own fears of ending up like him. I don't think that much actually separates our lives. I am plagued with guilt for not sharing what I have.

My mom gives these people stuff all the time. Never money though. She will hand a half eaten granola bar out the window and they are so appreciative.

I on the other hand deliberated about what I could share for weeks before our next meeting. I finally settled on a big box of Costco crackers. I was nervous as I rolled down my window. He walked up hopefully and I hoisted up my treasure. Surely he had never seen such generosity! His smile quickly turned to a frown. "I cant take that, it is too big" "I could never eat all that."
WHAT? the sign says HUNGRY!! I say, "Oh, well just take one of the little packages then." "No, no, no thanks" he says as he turns away disappointed that I wasn't giving him money I guess.

My gift rejected by a homeless man.

I felt really silly, and also a little vindicated. I don't think this was a good thing to happen to me. Now I have to work twice as hard on my compassion.

Just weird that I couldnt give a hungry man a cracker. Weird.

Friday, April 17, 2009

For Better Or Worse

Some kind person sent this to me anonymously - Uncle Ken :)
I actually tell Aiden something very close to this when I am getting ready. So far, he hasnt been whitty enough to come up with the same response, but I am sure it is in the works.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Nolen had three bad days where the pavement clearly won the fight. He fell and knocked his forehead, then he fell and bruised his cheek, which turned into a pretty green/black eye eventually, and then he fell again and hit the same spot from two days earlier.

I dont know whether it is good or bad that he keeps going right back to the seen of the crime. Is it persistence or stupidity?

Either way, I felt like I had to tell everyone we saw I wasn't beating him.

Poor guy.

Easter 2009

It is all fun and games until someone gets a plastic easter egg stuck in their mouth. Nolen perfected the art of trying to choke on half a plastic egg. Needless to say we only had one day of egg hunting, now they are back in the garage in storage.

To Sleep or NOT to Sleep

As we approach the looming date of adding another baby to the family one thing dominates many of my thoughts. Sleep. More specifically, how do I maximize the amount of sleep I can get?

We put the boys back in the same room. Nolen's room gets really hot in the summer, and he wakes up when the garage door opens/closes, and when the garbage trucks come. So back in with Aiden. We also relocated Ellie to their room. She drives me crazy being in our room. She wakes me up at least two times a night. Aiden gets up to pee once a night, and Nolen usually looses his pacifier once every night. These are just the "normal" things that wake us up every night.

So, no more pacifier for Nolen. Hopefully he will learn to sleep better without it.
No more Ellie in our room (the boys seem to be sleeping through her rituals) waking up to shake, turn 3 times, lick herself, etc...
Aiden is starting to sleep through the night better, when he doesn't fall out of bed or need to pee.

Last night we had one of the "abnormal" things wake us at 1am. A fire alarm battery needing to be changed. The biggest annoyance aside from being woke up, is that you have to determine which alarm needs the battery. So me upstairs in the hallway, Steve downstairs rummaging for batteries, we wait for the next chirp.

Why do they always need to be changed at night? Or is it just ours sabotaging our sleep?

Anyway, we have 8 more weeks to work on maximizing our sleep situation before Schwark baby #3 arrives and wakes us up every two hours.....

Monday, April 6, 2009

Babies to Little Kids

Little Kids
Babies (Aiden is in Red, Claudia is next to him in the overalls, and Morgan is directly across from Claudia)

I guess I can call them little kids now. I dont feel like they are toddlers anymore, but kids seems too old. Here are Aiden and his long time friends Morgan and Claudia.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Shout Out to My Hubby



Steve revamped our laundry room! And it looks so nice. And it is much more user friendly. Here is what he did:
Added pedestals to the washer/dryer
Moved washer/dryer
Moved wire shelving
Added cabinet
Installed new lighting
Added a short persons coat hanger

Thank you husband! It looks so wonderful!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Jesus Is Risen!

I am always looking for new ideas to incorporate into our family traditions. What does your family do to celebrate Easter and the resurrection?

Schwark Family Resurrection Week Celebration

Palm Sunday (Sunday before Easter)

This is the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a young donkey colt. The people lined the way, waving palm branches and crying, Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!

Waving palm branches was a Roman custom that was used to welcome a ruler or king. The significance of the Palm branch lies in the fact that the people were welcoming Jesus as they would a new political leader. Jesus' message to them was symbolized in the animal that he rode. A ruler would have been riding on a horse. Jesus chose to come in a humble way. His attitude is summed up in Philippians 2: 5-8 (NIV):

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in the appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross."

Decorate the table for lunch or dinner using real or artificial palm branches. Children might enjoy making the palm branches out of green construction paper.

Instead of placing the food on the table, leave it in the kitchen. After prayer, take turns serving each other the food. Even small children enjoy having mom or dad help them serve another member of the family. Talk about what it means to serve others. When we do we are serving Jesus.

After dinner you might talk more about a servants role and how humbling it was to have the job of washing the people's feet. Take turns washing each other's feet. (Mom be prepared, this could get a little messy! Have lots of towels ready!)

Supplies Check list:

Green construction Paper


Jesus went to the temple to worship God. There he saw something that upset Him very much. He saw men using God's house as a place to sell animals for the sacrifices. They were exchanging money from foreign places into money that could be used to buy the sacrifices. These men knew that the people coming there needed animals for their sacrifices. They were taking advantage of this situation by having the animals right there in the temple courtyard for people to buy. They were making money off of the sacrifices.

Jesus became very angry and said, It is written, 'My house will be called a house of prayer.' but you have made it a den of thieves. Jesus made a whip and drove out the vendors and their animals. He overturned their stalls and buckets of money.

Talk about how Jesus wanted God's house to be a house of prayer, not a house of chaos. Talk about what is the proper behavior and attitude that pleases God when we worship Him. What is prayer? Is church the only place where we can pray?

Discuss the verses in

I Cor 3:16: Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?,

I Cor 6:18: Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.

2 Cor 6:16: What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."[

Our bodies are a temple, too, because Christ dwells within us. What are some ways that we might treat our bodies that are not pleasing to the Lord? What are some ways that we use our bodies to glorify God?

Activitiy: Buy New Outfits for Passover Dinner and Easter Sunday Service

Every day Jesus came to teach at the temple.

One of the teachers of the law asked Jesus, Of all the commandments which one is the most important?

Jesus replied, Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.


Share your love for God with a neighbor by taking an Easter Lily to them. The Easter Lily is a symbol of purity and light. Jesus came as our pure sacrifice and as a light in the darkness.

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Easter Basket

Jelly Beans (black, red, white, yellow and green)

Easter Lily

At the Home of Mary and Martha: John 12:1-3
Family Devotions: Martha and Mary were friends of Jesus. Their brother Lazarus was the man that Jesus raised from the dead. They wanted to give Jesus a special dinner to celebrate and give thanks. The dinner was held at the home of Simon, a leper that Jesus had healed. This was a night for celebration. Lazarus was alive! Simon was healed! What the guests did not realize was that in just a few short days Jesus would die.

The story tells about one woman who gave of the best that she had.

John 12:1-3

Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3Then Mary took about a pint[a] of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Light a fragrance candle or incense. Talk about our lives being a sweet fragrance and sacrifice for God. Pray asking God to help your family to always give your best to Him.

Dye hard boiled eggs (use as table decorations for Passover)

black : Stands for the darkness of our lives before Jesus when we were still in sin

red: Stands for Jesus shed blood

white: Stands for our sins that are washed away

yellow: Stands for streets of gold in heaven

green: Stands for growing in Jesus

Easter Egg Origins
Eggs are often identified with Easter. Long a symbol of fertility and immortality, the egg reminds Christians of the rock tomb from which Christ arose.

In medieval times, eggs were traditionally given to all servants at Easter. It is said that King Edward I of England (1307) distributed 450 boiled Easter eggs, dyed or covered with gold leaf, to members of the royal household.

Today, in most countries the eggs are stained with plain vegetable-dye colors. The Syrian and Greek faithful present each other with crimson eggs in honor of the blood of Christ. Ukrainians create intricate designs with checkerboard and rhombi patterns, dots, wavy lines, and intersecting ribbons. Blessed by the priest at Easter, the artistically-rendered eggs become symbolic heirlooms.

In Austria, artists design striking patterns by fastening ferns and tiny plants around the eggs, leaving a white pattern after the eggs are boiled. Common symbols in the designs include the sun (good fortune), rooster or hen (fulfillment of wishes), stag or deer (good health), and flowers (love and charity).

Egg-specking is a sport all over Europe. Eggs are rolled against each other on the lawn or down a hill. The egg that remains uncracked is the winner. In Washington, D.C., there is an annual celebration of egg rolling on the White House lawn on Easter Monday.

Shop for Passover Meal and Resurrection Cookie Ingredients:
Matzah Bread

Crown Roast Lamb

Green Salad



The Last Supper was held at Passover.

Serve Unleavened bread: This symbolizes the Bread the the Israelites took with them from Egypt. In their haste, they did not have time to let it rise. The bread that Jesus broke at the Last Supper was without yeast or unleavened. Yeast stands for sin. Jesus said the bread represents his body. He was without sin. His body was broken for us.

Serve Lamb: The Lamb was killed so that the blood could mark the doorposts of the houses of the Israelites. When the angel of death saw the blood on the doorpost he would pass over that house and not kill the first born child. Jesus is our Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Serve Sweet peaches and honey: as a symbol of hope. Jesus is the hope of the world. He is sweeter than the honey in the honeycomb.

Serve Grape Juice and red wine. Jesus said this cup was a sign of his shed blood for us on the cross. Whenever we drink it, we should drink it in remembrance of Him.

Green Salad: as a symbol of new life. The green reminds us of the new life we have in him.

Read the story of Jesus betrayal and crucifixion. Discuss why Jesus was willing to die for our sins. Talk about accepting Jesus as your Savior from sin. If your child is old enough to understand, give him an opportunity to receive Jesus as Savior.

Hold a Festival Of Light service in the evening.

Materials Needed:

Large Candle
Small individual candles for each person

Play the Old Rugged Cross, then recite the following reading

The Large Candle should be lit and the lights in the room lowered.

Parents should read part 1. Children who are able should read Part 2.

1: The people walking in darkness have seen a great light

2: On those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.*

1: Long before Jesus was born, God spoke to His people through the prophet Isaiah. He said,

2: "Arise, shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.

1: See the darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and His glory appears over you.

2: Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

1: Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm, Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy.

2: All will come proclaiming the praise of the LORD!

1: Then you will know that I the LORD am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

2: No longer will violence be heard in your land, nor ruin or destruction within your borders, but you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise.

1: The sun will no more be your light by day, nor the brightness of the moon shine on you.

2: For the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.

1: Before Jesus died, he told his disciples, I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

2: Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

1: Jesus died to overcome the darkness of sin and arose that we might have His light within us. (Light your candle from the bigger candle)

2: We are to share His light with others. (Each person lights their candle, first from the leader then lighting the candle of the person beside him. Passing the light along.)

1: You are the light of the world

2: Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

1: Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

2: Help me Lord to share your light with others.

1: For a city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.

2: Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house.

1: We ought to share His light with others. (Close by singing "This Little Light of Mine", or "Shine Jesus Shine" and then have prayer for those you know who need to have His light shine into their hearts.)

(Scripture references used: Isaiah 9:2, Matthew 4:16, Isaiah 60, Matthew5:14, 5:16, John 8:12, 12:46, Matthew 5:14, John 8:12.NIV)

Saturday: Resurrection Cookies: teach your Children the REAL story of Easter. That the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior is not dead but has Risen. We serve a Risen Savior.

You will need:
1 cup whole pecans
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
a pinch salt
1 cup sugar
a zipper baggy
1 wooden spoon
scotch tape

These are to be made the evening before Easter. Preheat oven to 300F.
*** (this is very important --- don't wait until you are half done with the recipe).
Place pecans in zipper baggy and let children beat them with the wooden spoon
to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested. He
was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read: John 19:1-3

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 teaspoon vinegar into mixing bowl.
Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar
to drink. Read: John 19:28-30

Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life
to give us life. Read: John 10:10&11

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest
into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers,
and the bitterness of our own sin. Read: Luke 23:27

So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the
sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to
know and belong to Him. Read: Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.
Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins
have been cleansed by Jesus. Read: Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper covered cookie sheet.
Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.
Read: Matthew 27:57-60

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.

Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.
Explain that Jesus tomb was sealed. Read: Matthew 27:65-66

GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight.
Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read: John 16:20&22

Greet everyone with “He Is Risen!”

Open up Resurrection Cookies: Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.

Read: Matthew 28:1-9

1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."

8So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

Attend Church

Easter egg hunt