Thursday, December 23, 2010

what i done today...

.... made an apple pie, a pecan pie, a whiskey hard sauce for said pies, prepped the twice-baked potatoes, prepped the green bean casserole, made the potato salad, researched a killer recipe for the beef tenderloin we'll be having, worked out, colored with the babes, swept the back patio, washed and changed sheets on all 3 beds, fed the children 3 full meals, vacuumed the house, laundered and put away folded towels, played outside with the littles, went on a magical adventure to a desert complete with drinking a magic potion to turn us all into monkeys (somehow necessary for our trip to the desert on my bed), welcomed my baby brother into town, helped consume a Zaxby's family pack for dinner (and there are still leftovers!), made hot chocolate, took jammied kiddos on a ride to look at Christmas lights, showered, blow-dryed my hair (!), put babies to bed on time (complete with rocking, singing, stories, and cuddling), double checked "Santa" presents for any neccesary assembly and/or batteries before 11pm tomorrow night, and blogged.  WHEW!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

a hard week....

It's been a hard week around here.  Long story short, our big girl has had some sin struggles (don't we all!) that we as her parents have not known how to deal with wisely or kindly and the littlest one had a serious reaction to an MMR vaccine.  So, life around here was hard, tempers were short, and kids were out of control.  I'm home this morning from worship, letting the toddler catch up on some rest and just take it easy.  I wrapped a few gifts while I listened to the following sermon on the goodness of children: http://www.trinity-pres.net/audio/sermon10-09-19.mp3.

Some of my favorite oneliners were:

"The gospel is not a ride at Six Flags that you must be a certain height to ride; Jesus welcomed babies into His presence."

"You think you would die for your children?  Well, Jesus already has."

I have had another nasty look into my own heart this week and seen once more my need for Jesus, not just daily, but moment by moment.  I've been selfish, easily frustrated and impatient, and have regarded my children as a hinderance and nuisance to what I think is important for me to get accomplished.  Thankfully, God so desires my devotion to Him that He sent an illness into our home that baffled doctors and could not be cured by tylenol to make me slow down and re-evaluate my calling as the mother of these kiddos and the wife of my beloved.  Thank God for His redemption!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

oh, the things that come out of that girl's mouth!

Today at naptime, Emory and I had the following conversation...

Emory: "Mommy, I don't feel like I'm four."
Me: "Well, what do you feel like?"
Emory: "I feel like a psychiatrist."

It has become our habit that when one offends another in our household seriously enough to warrant asking for forgiveness, that we also ask God, in front of the offended one, for His forgiveness.  The parents do this too in order to model that everyone is in need of the forgiveness God offers us in Christ, and to model humility to our four-year-old.  So, I completely forget the offense, but when Emory was praying and asking God for His forgiveness one day earlier this week, she cried out in a loud voice:

"LORD! Please forgive me for  being so sinful and miserable!"

Cathecizing is paying off.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

pictures of the babes...

It's been cold in our house in the morning, so here's how we've been watching our wake-up cartoons - all bundled up!


We've had another visit from Buddy and this time he wrapped the kids' bedroom doors!

The night Emory and her daddy headed out to buy presents, Ethan felt a bit left out.  I had been washing dishes and he there had been too little noise in the house for a little toddler boy.  When I peeked out the kitchen this is what I found.  Guess he was trying to figure out how to follow them.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas with a four-year-old...

.... adds up to very little secrets to be kept from mommy or daddy!  Last night Emory and her Daddy took a jaunt out to do a little shopping.  While they were out, Emory was warned that if she told Mommy the stores they went to, she would be able to figure out the presents she was getting.  So, mums the word, right?  Immediately upon arriving home I was greeted with, "Mommy, guess what I saw at Barnes and Noble?"  And later as I was laying with her in bed reading bedtime stories I commented on how good she smelled.  She replied, "Yeah, I tried some testers in the lotion store."  Guess I'm getting a book and something that smells yummy! 

And yesterday the kids had a check-up.  Normally we forgo the flu vaccine, but I was asked by my OB to make sure everyone got it.  So, Emory was given a choice by Dr. Petelos to take the shot or the nasal mist.  She looked at him, cocked an eyebrow and said, "The shot.  I don't drink through my nose so we are not spraying anything in there!"  Good thing he is a wonderful pediatrician and thinks she's awesome, just as we do. 

And I am loving Ethan's exclamation of  "YOOK!"  every time he seems a house or lawn decorated for Christmas.  And I thought he wouldn't notice.  Shame on me.  His declaration is made even more endearing as it is said around his beloved "pappy".  (For the record, Emory called the paci an "a-bee" when she first started talking.  I LOVE the names toddlers give to treasures.)

Happy Christmas!  More terribly adorable photos of my babes to come........

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

turns out...

.... Buddy is sometimes naughty!  Look what Emory woke up to this first morning of December.....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

holiday doings...

... Due to the fact that I am not hosting Thanksgiving this year, I have been completely freed up to focus on Christmas.  We've already begun listening to Christmas music, donned a holiday outfit or two, and we've even had a visit from Buddy.  Who is Buddy?  Here at tribe Skocelai, we choose to believe that Santa assigns each family an elf.  This said Elf makes the families gifts and makes occasional visits to the home during the season to keep everybody's spirits up.  How much does he do?  Depends on your elf.  Ours is fairly low-key, choosing to make his rounds only once or twice a week.  I do know of elves who visit every night, they must be getting an extra dose of sugar each night.

Why do elves visit at night?  Because elves never sleep, or at least not as much as we do.  That's how they got the grand job of making toys for Christmas.  Otherwise, it would never get done. 

Last night our elf, Buddy, showed up and decorated our house.  He left some things out, like the wreath, because they were in a different storage unit, our smaller shed.  So, when we left cookies for his thank you gift we hid his thank you note to test his smartness.  We can't decide if he just didn't know that the wreath was missing, didn't know where to find it, or wanted to just to give us a jumpstart on the decorating.  I'm thinking the latter because he also left a dryer full of clean holiday dish towels for me to fold and put away (thanks for that, Buddy).

So, the house is completely decorated, the cookies have been baked and left for Buddy to enjoy tonight, and the big girl is completely psyched.  Her favorite part of the deco was a holly garland that Buddy wound through the rail on her daybed while she was sleeping last night.  I was awakened this morning by the following whisper, "Mom, there's a bush growing in my room."  She and I had fun discovering what Buddy had done in each room.

I'm interested to see if Buddy remains this tame or if he gets a bit more elfish as the season progresses.  I hope he doesn't get too terribly naughty!

Monday, November 22, 2010

2 very unrelated pieces of information...

... since I know you are all waiting with baited breath - we've officially decided on a baby boy name.  Asher Cohen it will be.  Asher is just a name we liked and Cohen came from a late night we spent scouring the internet for good boy names.  It's Gaelic which satisfies a deep need the daddy has. 

And next, I love the way my big kid's brain works.   While at Walmart today she announced, "Mommy, do you remember that Joseph's brothers did not know who he was?  Neither did Cinderella's sisters."  This was out of the blue and totally unrelated to what we had been talking about.  She's a nut!  And, I love the thought that this literary coincidence seems to have been rolling around in her brain for a while.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

opening the floor...

We can't decide.  And while we have 14 weeks left, that's not long at all when you're trying to decide on a good baby name.  Sooo...  We are decided on Ella Margaret for a girl, but boy names elude us.  Currently, the top pick is Asher Cohen.  Give me some ideas, people.  After this I turn to FB!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I will probably be late to my own funeral...

... in fact, I've actually asked Eric to have me wheeled down the aisle of whatever church my funeral is held in.  I want him to wait until the service has already begun, and I want to be sitting up and waving.  Yep.  Because I never had it together in this life, so why should I now?

Some things never change.  When Ethan was 4 days old I got a rude awakening as to just how not-together I was going to be as mom to 2 kids.  The hospital I delivered in offers free breastfeeding support groups where you can meet with other moms, weigh your baby before and after feeding to see what they are actually taking in, and there is a licensed lactation consultant there to answer uestions (ok, so we all know what that word is supposed to be, but the letter that words starts with doesn't work ever since I spilled coffee on my laptop.  Or rather, since the toddler I was holding while checking the weather so I would know how to dress my kids for the day spilled my cup of coffee on the keyboard.  But, I digress.)

I went to my first support meeting and actually ran into a friend who had delivered the same day as me at the same hospital.  Good times.  I was met with a noxious diaper upon retrieving my screaming infant son from the carrier.  So, I did what every good mother does.  I looked in my big fat new baby diaper bag for a diaper.  No diaper.  Checked for wipes.   No wipes.  I had to ask my friend, who was a first time mom and was therefore much more prepared than I, and she supplied my needs. 

Flash forward almost 15 months to this past Monday.  I had the kids at the gym and had taken our bag with us.  You know, the "diaper bag" that is not really a diaper bag but I do keep diapers in it.  As well as cups, snacks, books, crayons, and other junk to keep my kids happy while we are away from home.  When I picked the kids up from the gym nursery the very sweet nursery worker informed me, "Um, just so you know.  Ethan had a dirty diaper and there were no diapers in his bag.  There weren't any wipes either.  I put some in there for you.  I'm afraid you might be out and need them and not have them."

Some things never change.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Another favorite thing...

.... is hearing the prayers of children.  They are so honest, sweet, and can be incredibly faithful.  No wonder Christ exhorts us time and time again to have the faith of a child.  Last night Emory prayed for us before supper and this is what she had to say to the Lord:
(Daddy had been gone on his annual man's trip drinking beer and not bathing for a couple of days in the woods with his college roommates.)

"Dear God, thank you for this food.  I missed my daddy today in worship, but You gave him back to us!  Thank you for giving me such a wonderful family.  And, God, did You know we are having a new baby soon?  Amen."

Precious. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

a few of my favorite things...

.... last summer we were blessed to actually complete a kitchen re-do and laundry room add-on.  The ideas we had we'd been kickin' around since we were engaged, and it was fun to see it come to fruition.  Unlike myself, I did research to find time-and-space-saving tips on a budget.  This was a very modest kitchen make-over.  Yet, it did include getting the washer and dryer out of my kitchen  and provided me with a dishwasher.  So, here's my favorite feature of my kitchen:  my large, single basin sink.  It of course, has the faucet that can come out of the holder and acts as a sprayer.  I love it!  Because we have a new computer and we can't find the photo software for our camera, I'll share an image I found on the web...
Why do I love this sink?  It holds a ton of dishes and it is deep so you can't see the dirties until you get up close, thereby decreasing the amount of time I actually load my beloved dishwasher.  It is so large that I can bathe my big girl in it, although I don't.  I did bathe my newborn son in it, though, to save on the bending over the tub and my post-partum belly.  I can fits up to 4 large stock pots in there at one time.  I can de-bone a chicken in the thing.  I am so pleased with this purchase and still remains my favorite feature in the kitchen.  So much so, that if we ever move, we will replace the kitchen sink in a new house if it is not a large single basin sink.

What's your favorite item in your kitchen?

it's beginning to look a lot like....

.... I'm actually pregnant!  I don't think I've done a baby stats post, so I'll give it a whirl.  This kid needs some attention too.

How far along: 24 weeks. I actually had to use BabyCenter.com to look this up because for some reason, I can never remember. 
Weight Gain: around 9 pounds, depending on if I've had a good couple of days.  I still tend to have bouts of terrible morning sickness every now and then that last for 2 or 3 days and I'll lose about 4 or 5 pounds each time.  A week later I find them again.
Cravings: fresh vegetables, soup, real fruit smoothies minus the sugar
Aversions: sweet drinks, fried foods
What do I miss: being able to "suck-it-in"and my own jeans
What I'm enjoying: Ethan blowing bubbles on my belly and Emory's odes of love to "Ella".
Gender: don't know, but I think girl.  Heartrate is all over the place so no indicator there.
Names: pretty set on Ella Margaret for a girl, we think Asher Thomas for a boy but that's still up for debate.
What sets this pregnancy apart from the others: I'm still sick and I'm still working out just as hard as I was pre-pregnancy.   

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Emory at 4!

At four, this gal is amazing!  What a difference a year makes.  Emory's "skills" include:

- using scissors, and almost being able to cut a complete circle
- lacing correctly and not just jumbling up the string on a lacing card
- play "Go Fish" by the rules
- communicating more effectively and crying less when she's frustrated
- manipulating her brother so effectively into doing something that he actually thinks he's in control and it was his idea
- dressing herself completely, including buttons, zippers, and shoes
- taking a shower by herself
- holding her own in a phone conversation
- finishing a color sheet
- hanging out and entertaining herself while I take an afternoon nap
- getting her own snacks, and feeding her brother while she is at it, while I hit the shower
- opening the van door and buckling herself into her carseat
- calling the dogs in, or letting them out (can't wait til she can be trusted to feed them too!)
- brushing her teeth. start to finish

At four, she is seeming so grown-up to me.  Though I know she is still small, she is more of a pal to me and I don't mind her company at all while Ethan takes his afternoon nap.  I used to worry about not having any time to myself to complete chores or just re-charge when the nap was gone, but it was fruitless to worry.  Turns out, she's great company, and even a help to me sometimes.  She's amazing and I am so glad she is my big kid!

She's independent, which I am mostly thankful for, and such a thinker.  This week alone, she's asked some really hard questions... "Why did God choose to love me and make me part of His people?" is my personal favorite this week.  It really is a privilege to be this kid's mama.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

pimpin'

Ok, so I don't usually pimp products, but I'm gonna.  I can not expound enough on the benefits of using Arbonne's make-up primer.  I haven't had any in a little over 6 months, but I've just modestly replenished my supply.  They've changed their packaging and it makes me even happier with the product.  Technically, I am a consultant, but I don't really commit to selling the product.  But, I can get you hooked-up if you are interested.  I'll tell you more tomorrow why I love the primer so much.  It's much too late now to do it justice. 

Also, sometime before this week is out, expect a post about a "typical" day in my life, complete with photos!  Just something fun I saw on a far more glamorous blog and thought I'd copy.  Happy Tuesday, I'm off to bed.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

wookie or wookiee?

Today while the kids were eating a snack and I was being productive cleaning up the breakfast mess (yes, a lot of time expires between when the meal is actually eaten and when the aftermath is cleared away), I said to my kids, "You guys are the 2 best kids God has ever made."  Emory remaked, "God made Ella too."  Ella is the baby in my tummy who can not be a boy!  Emory refuses to call the baby just baby.  It is always Ella.  Anyways... I said, "You're right.  So actually right now in the kitchen are the 3 best kids God has ever made."  To which Emory replied, "We'll soon have two of something.  2 girls or 2 boys, unless you're growing a Wookie in there."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What I think about while rocking Ethan before nap time...

... "I wonder if the little table from Emory's class at church will fit into the van.  Sure would make life easy.  Should we have the tenderloin on Monday or should we have the meatloaf first?  How long has it been since we've had meat?  I need to get the bread out of the freezer to thaw before Emory's birthday dinner on Tuesday.  Did I remember the half-and-half?  I think I did.  Need to check that when I put Ethan down.  I really need to get that tupperware lid out from under the changing table.  I might need that soon.  What is that noise coming from Emory's room?  I sure hope she sleeps today.  I am not up for a show down.  Sure am glad Eric was willing to sort today.  I did not want to do it.  I wonder if any one commented on my last FB status.  I'll check when I put Ethan down.  I wonder if I can justify a Thanksgiving turkey shirt for Ethan.  Emory's from last year should still fit.  I wonder if I should try to match them.  But, do I really want to be that Mom?  Yeah, I think I do.  I can not believe we are having another baby.  Where is that kid going to sleep?  We need to figure that out soon.  I really wish we could paint the living room.  That yellow is so ugly.  What was I thinking?  Argh, this kid is so heavy.  I think it's time to put Ethan down."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

waiting is hard...

....especially if you are almost 4 years old and it seems that everyone around you is getting their baby sister before you.  Mind you, we do not know if we are getting a baby sister, but Emory has her mind made up that is what is growing inside my belly.  Yesterday a good friend of mine had her baby girl.  Thinking Emory would be excited for this little girl's big brother, who happens to be one of Emory's fav friends, I spilled the beans before bed time.  Big mistake.  Big.  Huge!  Emory ended up crying herself to sleep because, "Everyone is getting their baby sister before me!"  Oh, little girl,  are we really going to be this dramatic about it?  Apparently so.

I was hopeful that a good night's sleep would be enough to hit her reset button, but it didn't.  Today I've had to reset the attitude myself.  Over and over and over.  And Emory fights D.I.R.T.Y.  "I don't like the new baby's name."  is her favorite way of declaring her displeasure.  And when that doesn't work she tries, "Mommy, I hear our baby crying.  She's saying 'When will I be big enough to come out?'  She really wants out Mommy."  Like I don't want him/her out too, but we all have to wait kid.

I really hope this baby is a girl.  For all our sakes!

Friday, October 8, 2010

a short rant...

.... It all started when I pregnant with baby #2 and we'd discovered "it" was a boy.  People would look at Emory and then remark, "Well, you're done then.  Lucky you."

WHAT?!

Who made the rule that the goal of child-bearing is one boy and one girl?  What about those of us who kind of like having kids and don't mind a house-ful of ankle biters?  Sure, there are days (today would be one) that I am so ready to be done with parenting for the day that I say no when the big girl asks for more songs and tell her it's time for bed and to hush.  But mostly, I enjoy being Mama, as long as I got a full 8 the night before.  I can get by on a sweet 7, but 8 is much much better for the family.

Now that I am finally showing, I am getting all kinds of comments about the length of time between what will be the younger two children.  Now, this was not a planned pregnancy, but neither is it unwanted.  I could live without the nausea and mind-numbing fatigue, but in the end we get another sweet smelling member of the Skocelai tribe, so it's all good. 

I get that some folks only want 2 kids or even 1, and that's cool.  I think it's very wise to know your limits and operate within them.  Some people would love more and it's just not happening for them.   That's a sad place to be and I hurt for them.  But my word!  Strangers treating me like I am out of my mind for being pregnant is starting to get old.  I got news... God controls the circumstances, all of them, and sometimes we end up somewhere we never expected to be.  I can sulk that family planning was taken out of our hands or find a way to rejoice in His plan for us, knowing it to be perfectly unflawed.

Rejoice!  And again I say, rejoice!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Let's ask Eric...

I'm stealing this fun little game off I Love Mr. Pibb's blog. You ask your husband the following questions and everyone gets to see how well he pays attention.


Obviously, in these questions, I am "she."

1. She’s sitting in front of the TV, what is on the screen?
Grey's Anatomy
He's quick to let me know how much he hates this show.

2. You’re out to eat, what kind of dressing does she get on her salad?
Vinaigrette

3. What’s one food she doesn’t like?
Anything processed, specifically Hamburger Helper.
This causes him great pain as he is a processed food addict, with Ham. Helper being his most favorite.

4. You go out to eat and have a drink, what does she order?
BEER!  or red wine, specifically a Cabernet
He is right.  Obviously, this is when I am not pregnant.

5. What shirt size does she have?
M
True.

6. What shoe size does she have?
9
Nope.
7.5
Nope.
Am I way off?
yep.

7. What’s her favorite type of sandwich?
Diplomat Deli Reuben, hold the Russian dressing
That is correct.  And, amazingly specific

8. What would she eat everyday if she could?
a hamburger
9. What is her favorite cereal?
that Kashi twig stuff with fruit in it.
He really calls it my twig and berries cereal and it is my most favorite.  The twiggier the better!

10. What would she never wear?
a thong.  or a shirt with a cartoon on it.
I laughed out loud at this one.  It's very true, but I would have never come up with this answer.

11. What is her favorite sports team?
Mississippi State
but only because Montevallo doesn't have a football team!

12. What is something she does that you wish she wouldn’t do?
talks at night... to me
hey! I've birthed you a 9 pound son!

13. What is her heritage?
German
and right proud of it too

14. You bake her a cake, what kind of cake?
anything without icing.
This is really only true if the cake is store bought.  He forgot that I have been known to nearly consume an entire carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on my own.

15. Did she play sports in high school?
Softball.
Nope, that was intramural in college.
Soccer.
Yep, but that's not all.
Volleyball?
Yes.
You didn't swim in high school.
Nope.
Not basketball?!
Yep.
Well, it was a small school.  There wasn't much to choose from.

16. What could she spend hours doing?
Reading blogs or books while drinking coffee.

17. What is the unique talent that she has?
That crazy Dwarf voice you do.
He hates that voice.  The kids love it.

18. What is her type of coffee?
Barnie's Pumpkin Spice.
Forever indebted to J. Cox for that one!

If you do a post like this, be sure to let me know in the comments. I'd love to see your husband/boyfriend's answers!

House Rules...

.... according to Emory:

1.) Mommy's lap must never be empty.  If it is ever vacated by a sibling, you must throw all your energy into claiming Mommy's lap for a spell.
2.) If Mommy sleeps too well, she may start to think about adding another sibling.  We must avoid this at all costs.  If she is in bed by 9:30pm, you must plan to wake her up at 1am and refuse to settle back down.  I'll handle the 4am shift.
3.) Mommy likes a challenge.  Don't be too content to eat the same foods over and over.  Periodically refuse to eat a favorite food. 
4.) Mommy has to learn not to leave the bathroom door open.  This means you must keep a keen ear listening for the bathroom door to open and not close.  Every time she forgets and leaves the bathroom door open, you must punish her by playing in the potty.  Be sure to be very messy and get potty water all over everything.  Mommy loves to wipe up messes.
5.) Per Mommy's love of wiping up messes, she adores it when you bring her the dog's water bowl, but only if it is full of water.
6.) Keep a close eye on Mommy's body language.  If you get the vibe that her back may be sore, you must insist on being held all day long.  She'd bever admit it, but she loves to hold a heavy baby when her back hurts.
7.) And since Mommy loves a challenge, if you can tell she is especially tired or has a lot to do, refuse to take a nap.  She loves this!
8.) Mommy loves a tease.  Even though she is the one who carried you in her womb for 9 months, birthed you, fed you around the clock, and generally tends to your every need, make sure you say "Dada" first.  As an added bonus, completely refuse to say "Mama" until you are over 18 months old.
9.) Always be super excited to see Daddy when he comes home, but don't be willing to give Mommy the time of day when she comes back after being gone for a while.  Do, however, give her hell when she tries to leave.
10.) If you ever spot a pile of folded laundry, you must scatter it all over the house.  Mommy loves this game.  She leaves that pile for you to find.

Follow these house rules and your life here will be charming.

Monday, September 27, 2010

in the background...

... of my home this morning as I mosey about trying to make sense of the giant pile-o-stuff I brought home at 1:00am last night from Kid's Market is this:

"Can you find a B-word?"

For some reason, this phrase being repeated over and over and over on Nick Jr. this morning is starting to make me giggle and come up with some words of my own.  Has nothing to do with the 4 hours of sleep I was treated to last night, I'm sure.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Must be doing something right....

.... We have the pleasure and privilege to be attending a little month-long parenting seminar at a friend's church on Tuesday nights in September.  Last night's session was on discipline, and was a much needed reminder and source of encouragement.  One of the highlighted points of the evening was Dad's authority.  A question was raised about the all-too-familiar threat of some moms, "Just wait 'til your Father gets home." and it's appropriate uses.  It is no secret that Daddies generally command more authority around the home.  And if not, then their administration of discipline is at least usually more painful.

 On evening, not too long ago, I sent Emory to sit on our bed during supper.  This is our go-to waiting spot for the administration of that extra-special love of discipline (see Proverbs - there's a whole lot of "if you love your child, you must discipline him/her" in that book!).  Daddy decided that he would administer the lovin' and give a tired Mama a break.  As he walked into the room he was greeted with a wail of, "No!  Not you!" 

John 3:16

Emory style: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only forgotten Son...."

Friday, September 17, 2010

an interesting glimpse...

....into the mind of my big girl.  We ran a couple of errands this afternoon after naptime and one of those errands was to drop off some clothes in a Hannah Home drop-box. 

Emory asked, "Is this place Hannah Home?" (The drop-box is located in the parking lot of a gas station.) "No, this is just where they have a little  mailbox for people to put things in for Hannah Home." 
"Mama, do people live in Hannah Home?"
 "Yes, Baby, they do?"
"Who lives there, Mama?"
"Women who have mean husbands take their children there to be safe."
"Some ladies have mean husbands?"
"Yes, Honey, some husbands and daddies are very mean."
"Our Daddy is kind."
"Yes, God gave us a very kind Daddy."
"He's even kind when you're not there."

That's good to know.  Never thought to wonder about that.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Giveaway!

To help a very worthy cause.  My friend, Jama, and her family are seeking to adopt a baby domestically  through the Lifeline agency here in Birmingham.  Since that is the agency my family used eons ago when my parents were involved in foster care, I can't help but be interested.  Jama is doing applique to raise money for their adoption.  To get the word out about her little business, she's hosting a giveaway, here, on her site.  Check it out!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

a little bit of comfort on a hard day....

.... this morning marked one of my biggest parenting failures yet.  I won't go into the morbid and gross details, but I will tell you it was U.G.L.Y.  However, it did lend itself to a frank and good discussion with my daughter on sin - hers and mine -  and our desperate need for Christ daily.  So, all was not lost.  But, I still wished we could have accomplished the great discussion without the ugliness it took to get us there today.

It's interesting that there was so much sin flowing in our home this morning.  Our catechism question for the week is #29 "What is sin?" (For those who don't know:  Sin is any lack of conformity to, or transgression of, the law of God.)  We've been discussing what "lack of conformity to" and "trangression of" are.  Today, during our post-incident discussion, I callled what we'd each done sin for the first time.  I really don't think I've ever told Emory she was in sin.  I've told her she is wrong, made a poor or foolish choice, or just plain disobedient. 

It went well.  She even stopped me at one point to tell me we needed to confess our sin before we sleep tonight to get rid of the sin in the camp.  That is a reference to the battle of Ai that Israel lost because of Achan's "hidden" sin. (Thank you Jamie Soles!)  So, I feel comforted that she was really listening. 

While she has bounced back, I've nursed my wound most of the day.  "How could I have treated her that way?" and, "Will I ever be able to please the Lord in my parenting?" has rung through my mind most of the morning.  During nap time, I switched on a sermon I've been meaning to listen to.  The pastor was preaching on grace and obedience and was so what I needed to hear today.  The following really had my number, "We do not just have the gifts of God, we have the Giver Himself." 

And praise God that we do!

Friday, September 10, 2010

more cute stuff about my kids...

.... Ethan, being a boy toddler, is frequently drawn to grosser things than the two gals he's home with all day long.  So, he frequently hears Emory and I exclaim, "Oh Ethan!  EWWWWW!"  So now, he will do something that he knows is going to get a reaction - like lift the potty lid, peer into the trash can, or put his big sister's toes in his mouth - look at me, flash a wicked grin and say, "Ew?" 

When I send Emory to put her dirty clothes into her hamper I will inevitably hear her giggling and then she'll appear holding random items Ethan has thrown in there when no one was looking.  Today it was one of his chunky cars and a red comb. I get a kick out of seeing her enjoy her baby brother's quirks.

Today on the way home from a friend's house, we passed a small farm with horses out to pasture.  I asked Emory what she would name her horse, if she owned one.  She replied, "Probably Walrus."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Just life...

No deep thoughts tonight, just what life looks like right now.  I'm one day away from being 15 weeks pregnant and I am really ready to begin feeling more human-like.  However, if all goes well tomorrow, it will have been the first full week I've not thrown up in a while!  Now, if the general yuckies and fatigue would give way to that second-trimester-honeymoon, everyone in this house would jump for joy.  Still haven't gained anything, and in fact, I wore a pair of pants the other night that didn't fit before I was pregnant.  Go figure.  My dream of not battling baby weight once this kid arrives may actually come true.  Usually, by this point, I've put on about half of what I'll gain.

Ethan is cracking us up these days.  He and Emory have kind of begun playing together.  I don't have to monitor nearly as closely as I was when they are in the same room.  She is making good choices and even showing some inclinations to be kind to her baby brother.  It looks as though she may have figured out life is more fun when she is making him laugh intead of making him cry.  I've even caught her really enjoying him, which is such a blessing to me.  I'd love for these two to be friends.  This morning they were playing a game where they were each holding one end of his blankey.  She would lead him from his room, across the hall, to her room, and then back again.  This went on for about 10 minutes, both of them laughing hysterically.   It was a treat to watch.

Ethan loves to watch her and imitates everything she does - from trying to jump like her to twirling like she does when she dances.  He'll do the most random things and then wait for us to laugh at him.  Today Emory was reading books on the couch with her legs dangling over the edge.  Baby wierdo toddled over and sucked on her bare big toe for a moment.  At first, Emory did not know what to do and then when I started laughing at him, she relaxed a bit and let herself laugh at him too.  He, of course, was eternally proud of having secured another laugh from his fan club.

He loves to stack things, throw whatever he can get his hands on, and would practice getting into a chair and sitting down sucessfully for hours.  He and Emory are very different that way.  At his age, once she mastered a new skill she wasted no time on moving on to the next skill to master.  Ethan will master a new skill and then practice it over and over and over just for the simple pleasure of success.  He gets really proud of himself and I've even witnessed him clapping for himself when he's not aware he's being watched.  He's just such a delight to have around.

Emory has been reading non-stop.  She's begun to recognize some words by sight and will tell you how many of a certain would is on a given page.  Her favorite word right now is "zoo".  I think it's the first word she's recognized that starts with a z, so I think it's an extra cool word to her.  We were reading Lyle Lyle Crocodile the other day and she blurted out, "There are 3 on that page."  She was referring to how many times the word zoo was used.  Seems a little Rain Man-ish to me, but at least she's on the right path to learning to read.  If she keeps it up, she might have it mastered before she  makes it to kindergarten.

Her most favorite place right now is the library.  We have the best story time and children's librarian, Ms. Laura, at our library.  She knows my kids by name, makes it a point to speak to them and me after story time, and she's terribly gifted at working with young children.  She remembers what we've been reading and asks Emory what she thinks about certain books.  Reading accounts for about 80% of what we do with our playtime, with riding our tricycle accouting for the other  20%.  Even Ethan will come sit next to us as we read.  He still won't let me read to him like she did at his age, but he will sit by us and turn the pages of a book over and over and over while we read book after book.  And, he won't be fooled by a board book.  No sir, he wants a book with pages, just like sister.  On the upside, I feel like he is learning earlier than she did how to treat a book with respect and care.  He's surprisingly gentle with the pages and has only tried to tear them once, and that was on a 4-hour car ride home from Mobile when I felt like tearing the pages of a book myself!  Maybe it's his tempermant, or it's the benefit of seeing us and how we use them.  Whatever, it's working!

So, that's life in a nutshell.  Silly boys, little girls who love to read, and a mama who's glad to be puking less.

Monday, September 6, 2010

another top ten...

.... Top 10 ways you know you are a "real" mom:

10. Nursing bras are your regular bras.

9. You finally part with all those cute clothes you wore on your honeymoon because you realize you will never again fit into them or they are no longer practical.

8. Consignment season gives you a high.

7. Your three-year-old tells you to zip it up and when you ask, in atonishment, where she heard that phrase your husband gently points out you say it.  Regularly.

6. By the time you are expecting your third child, ultrasound photos don't get framed or hung on the fridge.  They stay in the bottom of your purse which is where you stashed them on your way out of the doctor's office to pick up your other children.

5. Comfort food is anything you didn't have to make.

4. You finally see the beauty of elastic waist bands.

3. Any time away from your kids with your spouse is considered a date.  Sitting down to order is not necessary but a really good bonus.

2. You know a "Potty Time" song, "Brush Your Teeth" song, "Go to Bed" song, and a "Clean Up" song.

1. Grocery shopping by yourself is such a luxury it warrants stopping for a special drink to enjoy while you're out.  Just make sure you toss the cup before coming home so you don't get busted by the big kid.

some recent musings from my oldest...

.... She has recently noticed that there are no women in front of the congregation during worship and has asked why.  Thankfully, she was appeased with my answer of, "Because God wants it that way." because I wasn't really sure how to expound on it.

At lunch one day this past week she was eating carrots sticks.  A snack she regularly enjoys.   I guess not on this day because she held up a carrot stick and announced, "I'm pretty sure they will eat these in hell."

We've begun singing the doxology as a family before dinner as kind of a family blessing.  Of course we all know that the last line is, "Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost."  This got translated in an odd way in Emory's brain.  One night after her bath she took off down the hallway in just her towel.  On her return flight to the bathroom, she spread her arms out wide, making the towel seem like eagle's wings and announced, "Look Mom, I'm the Holy Goat."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

yanked from Molly Piper's blog...

.... this is too good not to share. These are Molly's words regarding the birth of her twins.

I’m a big fan of the epidural. Abraham always comforted me against the haters by saying, “The most natural thing for a human to do is avoid pain. Thus, an epidural is natural childbirth.” I love him.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ethan!

How do you celebrate one of the most amazing little boys ever to enter this world?  You start with filling his playroom with balloons to play with, then you add a little bit of chocolate chip waffles for breakfast - complete with a candle, of course.  Then, you add a dash of a trip to a splash pad for the morning with a whole bunch of friends, not forgetting the boy's favorite lunch - PB&J with a side of blueberries.  Top with blue cupcakes for him and his buddies.  Next add in an extra long afternoon nap.  Stir in a bit of his favorite dinner, hot dogs, cheese, and watermelon and don't forget the made-from-scratch chocolate cherry cupcakes for dessert.  Alternate each meal with a small gift, leaving the biggest gift for after dinner.  Voila!  Happy birthday, Ethan!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Honey and Cream Cheese Filled Fig Muffins

TO DIE FOR!

To make the filling:
3/4 c. low-fat cream or neufchatel cheese
2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 tsp. vanilla
Combine well and set aside.

For muffins:
2 c. flour (I used 1 c. white and 1 c. whole wheat)
1 and 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 egg white
3/4 c. packed brown sugar (I used only 1/2 c.)
1 c. buttermilk (or plain yogurt, sour cream)
1/3 c. olive oil
1 and 1/4 c. figs (my fig source was low so I bought chopped dates)
Combine dry ingredients and whisk.  Combine eggs and brown sugar in another bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute.  Add buttermilk and oil to wet mixture.  Stir to comine and then add to dry ingredients.  Be careful not to overmix.  Fold in figs (or dates!).  Fill muffin cups half-way full.  Add a generous teaspoon of the filling and then add just enough muffin batter to cover.  Filling should not be visible.  This recipe calls for a sprinkle of sugar over the tops of the muffins, but I omitted that step.  Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.  ENJOY!

I had enough batter for 12 "regular" sized filled muffins and 6 non-filled mini muffins.  This morning Ethan ate a regular size muffin (and an apple!) while Emory stuck to one mini muffin.  Go figure.  But, even the sugar addict in the house (Eric) said that these were good.  So, what a winner.  Very healthy, high in fiber, low in calories, and even satisfies those who prefer junk food!  What a winner.  This recipe came out of an Eating Well magazine that I totally swiped from my parents and am considering subscribing to myself.  I have a few more recipes to try before I make that decision, but I'll let you know....

Friday, August 6, 2010

to Gigi's house we go...

.... I did it!  I packed up two children, drove 250 miles to Mobile (which means 4 hours in a car), and have spent almost 4 days soaking up some grandparent and uncle fun.  My brother lives next door, and my sister's husband is down here completing a summer legal internship - so Emory has LOVED all the extra folks to perform for.  My favorite moment so far was when I asked her to pick up a toy Ethan had dropped in the car and she responded, "No, I am not responsible for his stuff."   Typical attention overload and sleep deprivation three-year-old style.  I've decided to expect poor behavior and only address what is truly abominable, 'cuz that just comes with the territory when visiting grandparents.

Ethan has a nice room to himself upstairs and Emory and I am sharing the "purple room" which makes her super happy.  Turns out, it is not so bad sharing a bed with her if said bed is queen size!  She loves being a "lady" and being included in most adult activities.  Yesterday we bummed around, and discovered a rockin' sale on carseats.  I knew we were going to need one for Emory since we've been borrowing one that needs to be returned.  Planning to stock up, I was thwarted when I was told the carseat didn't actually go on sale until today.  Turns out that worked out to my advantage.  I was able to come home and research the carseat and found out it was the number one rated safety seat. After checking Ethan's carseat, I discovered his expires in December, so now I was able to get 2 for a great price.  Half-off ain't bad for a Graco Nautilus.

This carseat is the ultimate carseat.  Cupholders, toy caddies, and it will be good until my children are 100 pounds.  It converts from a carseat with a 5-point harness to a high-back booster to use with a shoulder belt, then to a regular booster.  Score!  Neither child should need another carseat.  While I was inspecting expiration dates, I discovered (to  my delight!) that the infant seat is good until December 2013.  I was afraid it was expired since we acquired it 4 years ago and it was a hand-me-down.  Must not have been too old....

But the story gets better... I was under the impression that both carseats were charcoal grey, which suited me fine.  However, when we pulled the second carseat from it's packaging, we discovered it was pink with purple flowers!  My girl could not be happier with her new ride.  God is good!

I got treated this afternoon when my Mom took us to the crisis pregnancy clinic she works for and allowed me an ultrasound.  Emory even got to take some pictures.  I am 10 weeks and 1 day, and this precious baby was kicked back, one hand behind his/her head and sucking it's thumb.  Baby never wiggled once, and has a very average heartbeat, right smack in the middle of the normal range.  Good news for the Mama.

We're headed back tomorrow, and we're all anxious to see our daddy again.  Ethan just wants to be home.  He has not handled being away from home well.  Won't let me out of his sight and screams if the dog moans, the kitty meows, or anyone looks at him.  He's been sleeping A LOT, completing confirming for me that he crashes when he can't deal.  Poor guy,  he and his sister are total opposites.  This has been just what the doctor ordered for her - a change of scenery - and she's thriving.  The boy is having panic attacks because nothing is as "it should be".

Well, off to Mom's famous spaghetti, a phone call to daddy before his big poker game, and maybe to sneak out for some ice cream.  I can fudge, I've lost half of what I considered my baby weight once we got here.  Sucks to be sick, but it's good for the waist line!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

baby news...

.... heard a tiny heartbeat today - always exciting.  Got the news that there are a couple of factors in play that get me an extra ultrasound next visit!  Decided against the name Ellis and are back to the drawing board.  Ella Margaret and Asher Knox are key contenders right now.  Still haven't made the switch to maternity clothes, but my doctor declared, "You've got a little pudge!" today, so we're getting there.  Only gained 3 pounds so far, and this is by far the longest it's ever taken me to show.  Plus, I'm gaining more slowly than with the other two kids.  Chalk it up to never being able to stop long enough to eat.  And, my go-to remedy for naseau (which is all afternoon long!) is a couple of glasses of really cold water every time I start to feel sick.  Really seems to help. 

That's it on the baby front.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A new twist...

... on a Bible verse Emory has been learning in Sunday school.  I was quizzing her Sunday night and she asked me to start her off.  The verse is Psalm 150:6 "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord."

I started her with, "Let" and she quickly jumped in with, "Let me people go!" 

After laughing heartily at her, which she did not appreciate, I decided to give her a few more clues.

"Let everything that has breath..."

She shouted, "BREATHE!"

Oh well....

Negotiations...

....  our local mall now has a candy kiosk.  Since Daddy-O had just recently been yearning for some good, quality, candy-store variety gummy bears, we picked up a pound.  Daddy is not the only one who loves gummy bears.  Since they were super-pricey at $2.99 per quarter pound (I know!) we've been doling them out in 5 gummy bear increments after meals.  During lunch one day this week, Emory was lobbying for just a few more bears.  "How about 6 today, Mama?"  "You know, I think 5 is a good number Emory."  "You know what else is a good number, Mama?" "What's that Kiddo?" "Ten."

At CFA this week, I had to ask Emory to eat 3 bites of nugget before heading off to play.  We all know what I really meant.  Deadpanned, she looked at me and said, "I've already had one, so that just leaves 2, right?"  Nice try.

Friday, July 16, 2010

food advanced...

.... is what I've dubbed our big man.  He might not be as physically active as his buddies, but the boy can eat!  It's nice to be able to hand your 11 month old a slice of watermelon, still on the rind, and he devours it!  At a recent birthday party he downed three slices in addition to several pigs-in-a-blanket.  I don't even pack food for him any more when we go out.  Tonight he and his sister split a chicken quessadilla at Jason's Deli.  He ate more than her.

The boy is also talking a lot earlier than Emory.  Shocker!  Especially since you would wonder if he ever gets a word in edgewise.  But, he's really not the silent type.  His vocabulary includes:

"Tank-too" for thank you
"ba" for ball
"Dah-dee" for daddy
"Mah" for more or eat
"bye" for bye-bye complete with the wave
"dis" for here you take it (when he wants to hand you something)
"uuuhhhhh!" at the top of his lungs means MINE I think
"ah dah" for all done

And, he will shake his head for "no thank you".  Emory wasn't talking at all, just signing, by her first birthday.  However, Ethan prefers to talk and has yet to sign anything.  Interesting. 

The boy is completing our family more and more each day and it is hard to imagine him as a big brother.  He's been our baby for 11 months now.  Seems so sad that he'll be de-throned so quickly.  But, if anyone can handle it, he can. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dearly We're Bought

Taken from the Gadsby Hymnal # 102
Words - Joseph Hart, 1712-1776

Come raise your thankful voice,
Ye souls redeemed with blood;
Leave earth and all its toys,
And mix no more with mud.

refrain:

Dearly we're bought, highly esteemed;
Redeemed, with Jesus' blood redeemed
Dearly we're bought, highly esteemed;
Redeemed, with Jesus' blood redeemed.

With heart, and soul, and mind,
Exalt redeeming love;
Leave worldly cares behind,
And set your minds above.

Lift up your ravished eyes,
And view the glory given;
All lower things despised,
Ye citizens of heaven.

Be to this world as dead,
Alive to that to come;
Our life in Christ is hid,
Who soon shall call us home.

© 2005 Red Mountain Music
http://www.redmountainmusic.com/

How's that one hit 'ya?  Not just bought begrudingly, but highly esteemed!

Friday, July 2, 2010

the day the planets aligned...

Today was one of those days.  The good kind.  I "slept in", which really means I ignored the pleas of my children to get out of bed and get them something to drink until 7am.  There weren't really pleas, just repeated whispers.  After a fun breakfast of yogurt that was still frosty from having been frozen in the deep freezer ("Mom's giving us ice cream for breakfast!"), everyone had clothes on and teeth brushed by 8:30.  A record.  Then, it was a quick nap for the bubba, while Emory and I prepared ahead most of lunch for our friends who were coming at 11am.  At 10:00 I woke the baby, loaded everyone into the car, and Emory got a big girl haircut.  We got home, and since everyone else was running behind, I had half an hour for the big girl to indulge in some brain mushing cartoons while I got to play with the baby.  Alone.  For half an hour.  Huge.

Our friends arrived and we visited and ate amongst the chaos of feeding and tending to a collective group of 5 children (3 of them under 1 year), and then we headed outside to burn off some energy.  After everyone left, my children went down for long naps with no resistance, I got the house restored in a whopping 15 minutes, indulged in reading and a little chatting with a friend.  After the naps were over, everyone snacked eagerly, and allowed themselves to be loaded up again for a run for new sneakers for the big kid, a bank visit, and a Publix stop.  Dinner was hot dogs, chips, and fruit.... and the big girl asked for seconds!  Since she regularly survives on air, I was happy to oblige. 

No one needed baths, so it was a family dance party before donning pj's, brushing teeth, and hitting the 'ole sack.  I snuck back into the first one's room to "sneak a song" and just cuddle.  By 9pm, I was in my pj's with a cup of tea and The Help while the dearest watched soccer.  And now, at 10pm, I am blogging about a good day and about to retire to a bed with clean sheets.  Oh Happy Day!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

how life feels right now...

a little boy watching the big boys play basketball in the street...

backyard ice cream!

Incidentally, Ethan's first cone, too!  No instructions necessary.
He's food advanced.



don't judge a book by it's cover...

... a sweet friend sent me a link to a John Piper clip about whether or not mothers should work "outside the home".  She had posted it on Facebook and got quite a few comments.  I am always amazed at how emotionally charged any issue regarding parenting can be.  That being said, I do have a few personal comments to make.

I am a stay-at-home mom.  I've always wanted to be a SAHM.  It's my dream, and I'm living it now.  I considered my days working full time to be filling the gap until I had kids.  I've never had aspirations to be anything other than a great mom.  I'm guessing I'm one of the lucky ones.  Friends have told me so.  While I certainly do have bad days, and some seasons have seemed to hold more bad days than good, that was also true when I was working.  I don't mind the mundane aspects of motherhood.  I feel a lot of pride when I tell people how I spend my days.  My only regret is that there isn't another adult in the house to enjoy these kiddos with me.  Joy multiplied and all that.

Now, do I believe that just because someone works outside the home or doesn't love motherhood as much as I do, is wrong?  Not really.  My only opinion is that if you have been blessed with children, they do need to be your primary calling.  I do believe that if you are working (and by "working" I mean a 40-hour work week) because you can't stand your kids, or being "cooped up" all day, and it is not a financial need, then something is wrong and you need a priority shift.  If you have a 20-hour/week job to earn fun money or explore a creative outlet and you can do it without stringing your kids out -go for it!  A lot of my friends do this.  I've done this.

I want us to remember that it is not the staying at home part that is required by God.  It is raising your children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord that is required by Scripture. I do think working full-time makes this harder, but I also think it can be done.  I also think a mom can stay-at-home with her kids and not come remotely close to fulfilling her calling.  If she spends all day on the computer, gabbing on the phone, or watching TV while ignoring the crying baby and the fighting siblings, she is no better than the mom who schelps who kids off to day-care because she "doesn't do kids".  And, yes, I've had mamas verbalize those thoughts to me when I was a teacher in a daycare.  Mothers who thanked me for taking care of their kids because they didn't want to do it.  I can't think of a single working mother that I know and call a friend who fits into this category.  Any working moms I know have exhausted other avenues before returning to work.

So, my point is.  Be gracious to those mothers who are working (especially those within the Body).  You may not have the whole story.  And, don't just assume any SAHM is doing her duty.  She could be abdicating behind closed doors.  Simply put, don't judge a book by it's cover.

Friday, June 25, 2010

it's happening, i can't stop it...

.... though, goodness knows I've tried.  It's not that it's a bad thing, I just want to be young forever, and this is evidence that I'm not gonna be.  What's happening to me?  I'm becoming my mother.

Want evidence?  Here you go:

- I drink a pot of coffee all by myself, every day.

- I've recently begun to think that an elastci waist-band in a pair of jeans makes perfect sense.  Although, no, I do not own a pair... yet.

- My 2nd and 3rd children will be 18 months apart, just like the 2 brothers directly below me in the Steffler clan line-up.

- I carry a large cup of water with me wherever I go.

- And, just today, I've discovered I have an addiction to bags.  Not that I need all 100 that I own, but I can't stop buying them.

Yep, it was the bag one that enlightened me.  I'm my mom.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

feelin' dusty...

... Psalm 103:13-14 "As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust."

So, yea, I'm pregnant.  And, no, we weren't "planning" this right now.  Don't get me wrong.  We did want more children, just wanted them a tad later.  Yes, I am excited.  Yes, I am overwhelmed.  Yes, I am scared.  Yes, I am happy.

No, I am not scared because my Ethan and Ellis (baby #3, boy or girl) will be "close".  I am scared because I am discovering how frail I am.  Spiritually speaking.  I do want this baby.  I am not afraid of what it will cost me in terms of physical labor, time to myself, and room in a tiny house (remind me of this in about 30 weeks!).  I am afraid of failing my children.  And my husband.

There are so many days when I feel inadequate with the two I have now.  I answer questions more irritatedly that I wish I did.  I wave my kids off more frequently than I should.  Emory hears, "Just do what I told you to do!" far more than any child should.  I let exasperated sighs escape when I tend to Ethan's dirties, or when he just needs a cuddle off my time-table.  Geez.  Who wants a mama like that?

Yet, I have the promise of the Spirit of God to refresh me when I am weary and no one seems to be cooperating at bedtime.  I have the promise of the Spirit of God to fill me with joy and come up with some way to make my children laugh when I am feeling more sour than a Tear-jerker.  I have the promise of the Spirit of God to grant me wisdom when the big girl is acting out for attention, yet the baby has had seemingly none for days.

And, I have a delightful husband who will take a 2am feeding.  Who doesn't complain when dinner is a PB&J, as long as it is served with a smile.  Who gives the kiddos a bath and handles bedtime while I play on FB.  Who doesn't mind hunting down his clean clothes out of the dryer.

So, I close with Philipians 4:13, for Pete's sake... "I can do ALL THINGS through Him who gives me strength."  (I'm guessing this means even juggling 3 kids in a 3 bed/1 bath house!)

Friday, June 18, 2010

more from the funniest three-year-old on the planet...

... We've joined the pool.  Two weeks ago I paid a large sum of money, suffered the humiliation of posing for a photo badge, and voila!  we have tons of fun in the sun at least twice a week.  It is Emory's all-time most favorite thing to do.  (Yesterday she even swam to me, several times, with her face IN the water.  Cool stuff, I tell you.)  When we made our maiden voyage to the the cement tub of dreams, I impressed on Emory the importance of obeying the lifeguards.  "THEY are the boss of the pool.  You must do what THEY tell you to do.  THEY will blow their whistle at you if you do not follow the pool rules."  So, as all children are wont to do, she was running on the deck of the pool.  In all fairness, it is incredibly hard not to do when at the coolest place in the world.  Seems like torture to me, but I do get the wisdom in it.  And, like all lifeguards are wont to do, one of them casually hollered, "Hey!  Stop running."  Emory stopped, turned to look at him, looked front again, and skipped to her destination.  (Evidence of sharing genetic material with a mama who did cartwheels to the front of the class in first grade.)

At church a few weeks, Emory was running a-muck, and our Aimee corrected her.  "Emory, my children aren't allowed to do that, and I bet your daddy doesn't want you doing that either."  Aimee was right.  Our darling cherub looked her dead in the eye and said, "Well, my daddy is not talking to me right now."  Luckily, Aimee has enough sense of humor to have relayed the story with a smile.


And most recently, a desperate attempt to reach the tootsie rolls:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

just for my parents...

.... Emory and I had a discussion today about where people who do not love Jesus go when they die.  Big stuff for a 3 year old, I am aware.  Rather than terrify her with the idea of physical torture, I tried to emphasize that the real tragedy for those who die before accepting Christ is that they can never ever get to God again. 

Here is how the conversation went:

E: "Are people who love their sin more than they love Jesus in heaven?"
M: "No, they go to a place called hell, where God can not go because the people there are wicked.  They never get a chance to love God again and they can't ever get to Him again."
E: " So, people who love their sin more than Jesus go there?  I don't want to love my sin more than Jesus.  I want to love Jesus more.  And my snack.  And my cup.  Do we know anyone there?" (I'm guessing she meant hell.)
M: "I don't think so, baby, but it is a real place."

Later on when we were in Ethan's room, he pitched a fit when I took his bottle away because he was dumping out it's contents on the rug and himself (can you see where this is going?).

E: "Mommy, is Ethan sinning right now?"
M: (oblivious to where she is headed) "Yes, baby, he is in sin right now."
E: "He needs to go to hell."

Score!  Two points to the mama who is endearing her children to each other!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Do you see it?
















No?  Well, here, how 'bout now?

















Still can't see it?  How's this?
































Now can you see it? Yes! That's right! My children consumed the same thing for lunch today. Ladies and Gentleman, we've almost arrived....

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

tsk, tsk.....

I have a friend. I have a friend with a baby. I have a friend with a baby that Emory adores. Never mind that God has provided the kid with her very own baby brother, she prefers Isaiah. I guess it's only fair. There are times I prefer someone else's kids too.
Emory has decided that Isaiah is the baby to which all babies must be measured. As we were headed to the pool yesterday I heard Ethan creating an all too familiar sound. The sound of the velcro on the headrest on the reversible car seat being peeled off. Here is the ensuing conversation:

Mommy: "Emory, do you hear that noise? Do you see what Ethan is doing? You used to do the same thing when you were a baby."
Emory: *clucks her tounge* "I bet Isaiah doesn't pull on his carseat head rest."
Truth be told, Isaiah is a little imp. Eric calls him a lephrechan. He has that gleam in his eye. The one that surveys a room and within seconds is planning a bit of mischief. He cracks me up. It might actually be that Isaiah teaches Ethan a few things about mischief. Ethan strikes me as a happy to play by the rules kind of guy, while Isaiah seems bent on finding out if those boundaries really are there. I know a certain little girl like that. She's a delight and maddening all at once. Let it be known, that lephrecans can be trained to play nice, but you must never let your guard down. And you must hold the upper hand by always maintaining eye contact and NEVER let them see you falter or they WILL exploit your weakness.
Now, Ethan is up to his own mischief. Mostly, when left on his own because mommy is running around like crazy to get ready for VBS, which we are hosting at our house this week. Need proof?



Friday, June 4, 2010

crackin' me up!

Emory is so much fun these days, when she's not using her powers for evil.  Let's just say that the same personality quirk that makes her so darn funny also makes her so darn maddening at times.  Here are some of my most recent favorites:

On Sunday she was trusted to grab her own quarter and put it in her church bag.  The place where we keep a pen, a snack, a piece of gum to keep her quiet happy, and her offering.  When the plate was passed we rehearsed for the bazillioneth time that we do not take money out, we put money in, and quickly because others are waiting.  She has a fetish for money (sorry future Mr. Emory) and she takes great delight in eye-balling all the different monies people put in.  She will even grab it out to inspect it.  If she's not doing that, she's having a hard time parting with her precious quarter.  That I understand all too well.  However, this particular Sunday I realized her quarter was REALLY shiny, and gold.  Upon inspection, it was indeed a Chuck-E-Cheese token.  Eric and I had to hardest time controlling our laughter.

When we were leaving the Ulimate field last night to go home, Emory spotted a dog.  It was laying down and facing us.  She stopped, moved a little closer to me, and whispered, "be careful of that lion, Mom."  I guess if you're 3, a Vizsla could be mistaken for a female lion.

And lastly, when daddy was leaving for work, I was outside putting something into the car.  Emory had followed me, and was standing on the sidewalk waving goodbye.  I grabbed Bubba and brought him out to wave to Daddy too.  Since he has mastered the art of waving "bye-bye" (Ethan, not Eric), I wanted to show him blowing kisses too.  Not to be outdone, Emory began blowing kisses too.  Daddy returned one and Emory, in a rather exaggerated reaction, threw her head back, and grabbed her cheek.  Then she casually looked me in the eye and said, "That one got me."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

terribly productive.....

.... My friends, I have no idea how it happened, but I have been terribly productive today and it is only 9:43am.  So far today, I have gotten up, fed the children, dressed the children (Emory's hair is even combed!), and went to the store.  I've fallen hook, line, and sinker for Publix and it only took 5 days.  That's quite a fall.  By 8:15am, I had pulled out a wee bit of extra cash for the week to jump-start my stockpile-o-savings and was selecting the cleanest "car cart" with buckles that actually work.  Turns out, unlike Walmart, Publix believes in taking care of their buggies.

I spent $53.81 and saved $48.45.  Not bad.  We are stocked up on soup, granola bars, juice boxes, and swimmie diapers.  My favorite buys from today are the Del Monte fruit chillers (pack of 8, I think) that I nabbed for $.49 each, the Kid Cuisines I got for $1.20 each, and the swimmie diapers I scored for a sweet $5.  The gal at the service counter remembered my kids' names (always earns brownie points with me) and there is a precious, and I do mean precious, older black gentleman (think he's a bagger?) who followed me out to the car to tease me a little.  That ranks him pretty high in my book.

So, now the wee one is in his bed, the big one is playing outside, I have nothing left on my to-do list today except play with my children.... so, I think I will get to it and go play "Publix" with Emory. 

And, guess where you'll be finding me about 8am each Wednesday? 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

a whole bunch of photos...




(The delicious mess left after eating a ton of yummy strawberries from the VFM.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

fighting for restoration....

It's a long story, and another post, but today I'm fighting to take back what is rightfully mine as a child of the King.  I woke up grumpy, easily irritated, and even not feeling too great.  Just down in the dumpos for no good reason.  YET, in His grace, I am being reminded to pray for help rather than muddle through in my own strength.  This morning I told the Lord that I refused to be a grumpy momma today.  I won't settle for just making do.  I'm a child of the covenant, have 2 pretty terrific kiddos to call mine and spend today with, nothing really pressing to do, and a whole array of cool stuff to pull out and enjoy with the babes.  So, we're pushing back the Sam's run until after lunch, filling up the pool, and heading out after the wee one is up from his morning snooze.

And did the grumps just magically disappear?  Heck no!  But, I will not allow evil to have it's way.  At least not today, and not on my turf.  I can not tell you how many times already I have already cried out to the Lord to literally, and radically, change my perspective from being irritated to being able to enjoy the mess Emory is making as she fills her pool, the chalk she got all over over her body as she traced her hands and feet (by herself!), and the mulch we tracked in when we came inside.  Today, that's praying big!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

these are a few of my favorite things...

.... seeing the man-cub crawl!  He seems like such a different kid now that he can get to where he wants to be on his own.  And, there are few things sweeter than walking in the door and being greeted by my baby boy making a bee-line for me.

.... having cool conversations with Emory.  She's just one of my all-time favorite people, and for good reason.  One of my recent favorites was today at lunch I asked her what made God's people "different" not entirely sure of what she would say.  Her answer was so much better than mine would have been, "We get to go to God."  She nailed it.

.... having a big girl who is not afraid to speak the truth to me.  Yesterday I was being petty and easily annoyed as I was getting her dressed for the day.  At one point I must have sighed, because Emory looked at me and said, "You want to spank me, don't ya?"  Again, she nailed it.

.... watching daddy and his son "wrestle" on the floor.  Ethan does love me, but he really loves to play with his daddy.  I don't get nearly the squeals that daddy does.

.... having our home so full of people we love that we are bursting at the seams.  We had such a house-ful this weekend that some folks were even sleeping on an air mattress in the kitchen.  I love it!

.... watching my family enjoy my children.  Honey for a mother's heart.


I promise photos are coming soon!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

let me just say...

... that every bit of hard work that went into getting this family ready for the beach was entirely worth it.  Emory was delightful, Ethan slept like a champ, and the spirits were a-flowin'.  I discovered our friends are even way-cooler than I thought.  The house was huge, beautiful, well-stocked, and closer to the beach than any beach-front condo I've been in.  And, I even lost a bit of weight, though I have no idea how.  It was the perfect vacation!

Pictures to come (and they are adorable!).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

a day in the life of the man-cub...


Breakfast





Playtime



Lunch



Mischief




Dinner