Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Whatnot Wednesday

*The more children I have the later my average first teeth brushing becomes.  Is it just me?  Please tell me I'm not alone.  Now that I have three my usually "morning" brushing is about 1pm...sad but true.

*Deep thought: this occurred to me the other day, I do not know what my kids look like.  What I mean is when I see them I really see the most beautiful two girls and little boy in the whole world.  Chances are that's not true but my eyes are blinded with love and can only see them as they look covered up in my love.  I understand a little better now how God sees me when He looks at me, not as the dirty sinner I am, but only seeing the beautiful, holy, blood of Christ I am covered in.

*Chloe had her 15 month check up last week, she is growing!  Woo-Hoo!  Of course I had a horrible visit (this always happens to me).  I got there, they called me back right away, weighed her and put us in a room.  Forty-five minutes later the nurse came in to say that the doctor was running thirty minutes behind, this made me laugh until I realized she meant 30 MORE minutes behind.  In the interest of keeping this story short, let's just end it by saying I was the last person to leave the office at 5:15 when all the lights were turned off and the doors were locked.

*How do you decided what activities to allow your children to be involved in?  Kylynn loves ballet and now she loves gymnastics, but she is interested in taking horse back riding lessons, ice skating lessons, and I am interested in her taking art classes and girl scouts.  My world will not revolve around my children's activities but it's so hard to know what to say yes to and what to say no to.

*I have reached an age where if I do not where make-up I look about 8.5 years older than I am.  It is bad y'all, when my roots have grown out and I'm make-up free (which is most of the time) in my mommy gear I look like a prime candidate for What Not to Wear or Oprah or some other intervention.  I should probably buy some wrinkle cream.

*I have not bought wrinkle cream because I'm not much for grooming.  My toe nails have a few little pieces of blue nail polish on them from at least 4 months ago and it'll probably be there for another few months.  Who has the time?

*Have y'all seen Rabbit Hole, it was a beautiful movie.  I highly recommend it, Kyle was blown away by how much he liked it.

*We have a big road trip planned this summer, 15 hour drive there and back with several days staying at a house in New Mexico.  I'm starting to get scared.  Got any tips for me?


Monday, June 27, 2011 need to show up

I had this great idea.  Really it was a good one and in my mind I had it all planned out perfectly, the way everything would look (beautiful of course), the way all the food would taste (amazing!), the way the mommies-to-be would respond (breath-taking surprise).  This was the plan: we would have a surprise baby shower for the two couples in our home group that are due to have babies in the next month.  Everyone was totally excited, the gifts were bought, the cake was made (not by me, but by my amazing and talented friend), the plan was in place.

All week I had been praying against the worst possible scenario, that the guests of honor would not show up to their shower.  God assured me that He was in control, I believed that they would be there, at least somewhere down deep I did, but I had a hard time holding onto it for the hours leading up to the surprise shower.

First we get an email.  Couple #1 cannot make it, the mother-to-be is understandably tired and needs to rest.  So it's decided that since we've already been calling that couple all week "just to make sure everything's okay and they'll be there on Sunday" that it's time to let the husband in on the surprise.  He says he'll definitely be there and his wife will come if she's feeling okay.  I'm holding onto God's promise by a thread.

Then I get the call.  Couple #2 calling to say they can't make it.  I begin to do some kind of crazy begging/praying to God and while I'm on the phone with them, the grandmother calls to say she can watch the kids and they say they'll make it after all.  Someone once told me, God is never late, but He's never early either.  I cannot tell you how true that is, so very, very true.

Now let's take a moment to give you a glimpse of what's going on in my house as I try to get ready for a shower that may or may not include pregnant women.  In order to get ready I am trying to do the following things: cook snacks for the party, clean the house, decorate the room, wrap the presents, potty train a 3 year old, feed my children every 15 minutes, break up fights, discipline a five year old, soothe a one year old, remain sane. My hubby, whom I love, really I do, but who sometimes I want to throw a shoe at decides that he'll just run out and take some friends of ours (who don't own a car) shopping.  So he was gone ALL AFTERNOON and got home an hour and a half before the party.  Have I mentioned I love him, okay, just checking.

God kept nudging me all afternoon to trust Him, to really, actually trust Him.  To believe that He could not only bring the guests (all four of them) but He also knows how to make snacks, clean houses, and raise children.  Perhaps you are all further along in your walk than me, but I am always shocked at how hard of a time I have with trusting God with the small things, I mean trust you to get my house clean...really You care about that?

I managed to remain mostly sane and almost calm with the gentle reminders He was giving me.  And in the end it was a wonderful baby shower, the house was good enough, the food was (dare I say it) amazing, the gifts were wrapped, and every single expectant parent was there, along with the rest of our home group.  It turned out that both husbands had to be told in order to get them there but the wives got to be at least a little surprised.  It apparently wasn't part of God's plan for the mommies-to-be to be surprised He had a much better plan, they went home knowing that they are loved and that they are part of our family.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Three kids, three months: an update

This was obviously Kyle's idea, thank the Lord for Daddies!

It has been almost three months since Chloe joined our family, it does me good to type that out.  In my day to day existence it seems like we've had forever to adjust, but writing out the word three, reminds me that we are just at the beginning and it's okay to still be experiencing bumps in the road.

The other night I asked Kyle something that had suddenly occurred to me, "do you think it's as hard going from two to three now as you did at first?"  He agreed that "having three" doesn't seem all that hard, what is hard for us is going from our youngest being three to our youngest being one.  I'll just be honest and say I am selfish with my time and the constantness of parenting a one year old is hard to go back to.

so yes, Jack has on no shorts, but we're potty training, what can you do
I am finding that I actually like the pace that three children keeps me at, the days go by quickly and we're having lots of fun this summer.  We have definitely found our new "normal."  I am hoping summer lasts forever, the removal of pre-school from our schedule has been a blessing to our family.  The break from cooking was good for my soul and now I'm really enjoying cooking again (it comes and goes in waves) and I pretty much go to allrecipes everyday and type in what I've got and cook what they tell me to, they've never let me down.

I am happy.  Does that sound weird, I have less time for myself, am more tired, and feel like I can't give anything the full attention it deserves, but I am happy.  I am enjoying this life so very much, I am enjoying raising these children, I am even enjoying having them all to myself for the whole summer (shh...don't tell anyone but I even think I understand the draw of homeschooling now).  Even though I complained of our very full schedule this spring I must have gotten used to it because we spend very little time at home, if we're not off to to an appointment, we at the splash pad, Target, or the library.  Today at the library, we all got to pet a snake (yes even me, who has a freakish fear of snakes).

check out Jack's "smile"
The potty training is going...well it's going.  He got the pooping down immediately no accidents, no problems, but he pretty much pees in his underwear all day long.  I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing wrong and have on my list of things to do to call a friend of mine to see if she can give me some advice (and you please I'd love advice!)

And it's official my new most annoying comment I receive is, "are they twins?" (referring to Jack and Chloe).  I know, I know people do not mean to annoy me, but let's just say Jack's size is on my mind enough without people thinking that he and his one year old sister are twins.  On the topic of Jack's size we have seen/will see several specialist this summer about it and I'm excited to move forward to see if there is a cause and if there is anything we can be doing to help him grow to his full potential.

Chloe's personality is unraveling more and more each day.  She is such a different little girl than she was when she came home.  The more comfortable she becomes in her home and her family, the more I get to see who my daughter is.  She is still adjusting, she is still grieving and has a way to go to trust me fully and even farther to trust Kyle, but every week I see her make progress and I know that someday she will be where Jack is now and I will have a really hard time remembering what this phase was like.

Friday, June 17, 2011

What I'm loving this month

Our blackberry bushes were a bust this year, we got a total of around 22 blackberries out of 3 huge bushes.  On the other hand we have tomatoes, oh yes we have tomatoes in abundance.  I hate to waste food so we've been eating lots of tomatoes (and eggplants, onions, basil, and mint, our other bumper crops).  The other day it occurred to me I needed to eat some red meat soon, I couldn't remember the last time I had eaten any meat and it's no fun to be anemic.

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My favorite tomato recipes so far, tomato pie (thank you Elizabeth!) and fried green tomatoes.  I'll let Ms. Paul Deen tells you to make a tomato pie but for the fried green ones just do this, dip green tomato slices in flour, then egg, then panko crumbs, fry until a beautiful golden brown, remove from the oil and grind up some sea salt on top.  Oh my they are some kind of wonderful, I just drooled on my keyboard.

I got two of these dresses from Land's End and they finally came in this month, I waited two whole months, but let me tell you it was worth it.  I have a new uniform folks.  I wore it to the splash pad in 200 degree heat and I stayed cool.  I love it, it is very flattering, I wish I would have ordered three instead of two.

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I'm reading Bringing Up Girls, by Dr. Dobson.  I have cried my eyes out reading this book, mainly because I'm an emotional mess, but also because the book is so insightful into what little girls and women need from their parents.  This book is all about meeting your daughter's needs in such a way that she can grow up to be a successful, godly woman.  I think I'm going to have to buy it, it is a lot to take in in a few short weeks, and it is definitely a book worth owning.

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My pandora station introduced me to, Ray LaMontagne, I had never heard of him before and I am smitten.  His voice has some physical effect over me, I feel myself relax and refocus on happy things.  I wonder if there is any way I could stick my earbuds in my ears and listen to him during Jack's doctor appointments without looking like a crazy person, no?

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I drank a whole bottle of Simply Lemonade in about 2 days last week.  Oh my it is good stuff, it tastes like homemade lemonade, trust me I know.  For some reason I could never grasp today, before I had kids I regularly made lemonade from scratch all summer long, that's right I juiced the lemons by hand.  On that same note isn't it funny how before you had kids you thought you were "busy" and now you realize that you didn't even know the meaning of the word busy :).

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Did y'all watch Lost?  I didn't and I've yet to see an episode, but it seems like every week I read another blog about someone watching Lost on DVD and how much they've enjoyed it.  So it's not fair to say I'm loving Lost, but I'm loving the idea of watching Lost this summer, the problem is how to get my hands on the series for free to cheap, I am the only person in the world without Netflix (we use story), any ideas?

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Have you heard of Seeds Worship music, if you haven't here's all you need to know, it is scripture put to music for children, that will not make you want to "accidentally" break the CD.  It is good stuff, the Seeds of Courage CD is so good I listen to it by myself all the time, I'm often in need of courage.  The even cooler part is that all the CDs come with an extra copy you can give to a friend, free birthday present, score!

We finished our study a while back, before and after pictures coming soon, and my favorite thing about it is that I finally get to hang up this poster I bought from JollyGoode.  Flower patch farmgirl told us about her and really I might just plan another room around one of her prints, I love them that much!

How about you anything you're loving this month, let me in on it, please!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Whatnot Wednesday

*We have had a more relaxed summer, that is for sure, but we are still busy, really busy.  Some weeks are worse than others, this week and next I have 4 doctor's appointments, 4 speech therapy sessions, 2 gymnastic classes, 2 home groups, a play date or two, in addition to the normal activities that fill up the lives of a family of five.  Why am I telling you this, so that you will see just how stupid I am to have begun potty training Jack on Saturday.  It was an accident really, he used the potty a couple of times so I said let's give this a try, not realizing that it would mean that during the first 14 days of potty training we would be gone most of the time and have our accidents in a number of embarrassing places.  Note to self: when potty training Chloe check calendar first :).

*This is all I know about potty training, just go for it, do not use pull-ups (if it can be helped), pray, remind yourself that it only seems to take forever while you're in the middle of it, buy extra laundry detergent, bribe, pray.

*We're in the dog days of spring around here folks, that's right, don't forget it is still officially spring, and when was the last time you saw a temp lower than 100.  I know, I know, I love summer, I have to remind myself of this often while we're out running our errands.

Notice the yogurt he's eating and the cute summer haircut

*Did you know that they make dairy free, soy free yogurt, I just knew that they must and I drove on over to the College Station grocery stores (we live in Bryan which the grocery stores have decided are filled with people too poor to want any of those neat options) and I found it.  It's made with coconut milk and the brand is SO Delicious.  I finally understand why some people drive to a big city every so often to get certain groceries, it's hard to get speciality stuff in this town and it's expensive when you find it!

*Jack had his teeth cleaned for the first time today, I was totally worried about it.  He did great, no problems whatsoever, shows what I know.

*The kids are loving gymnastics and normally I would be loving watching them loving gymnastics.  The only problem is 2 out of the 3 times we've been the air conditioner in the viewing room was out, it is out of control hot, today the thermostat in there said 95!

*Kylynn has decided she made a new best friend in gymnastics, she has no idea what the girl's name is, I guess when you're five you skip over the small talk and get right into deep discussions bonding you for life.

*I had a soda with dinner tonight (we ate out), I gave up caffeine about a year ago, so this was a very bad decision on my part, I will be up till about 2 o'clock tonight.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Back to the Basics

One of my goals this summer was to get back into the routine of a daily "quiet time."  This is an area of my life that I have always struggled, I get into a good routine, something happens, a new baby for example, and I get off track for much longer than it takes to adjust to the new baby.  I finally get back into a good routine and the whole process repeats itself all over again.  I have never crossed over into it being a habit, you know something you do without thinking, every, single, day, like brushing your teeth.

This summer our church is going through the Essentials Bible study* that some of our pastors have put together and I am really enjoying it.  The Bible study has been offered many times during my years at our church but I have always passed, thinking that it would be boring and really only useful for a new believer, I was wrong.

The Essentials study deals with the core beliefs of Christianity, such as the Trinity, the deity of Christ, how to be saved, assurance of salvation, the Holy Spirit, and so on.  Although I'm at a place in my walk where most of the information we are covering is not new to me, let's face it as humans we grasp very little of the God we serve. It is always good to go over the basics again, to learn them more, for our own knowledge, in order to better share with non-believers, and to remind us of the reasons to praise Him.

Our home group has decided this summer to read Mere Christianity as a supplement to the Essentials being preached on Sunday morning.  C.S Lewis' radio talks from the 1940's are collected together to form this book, where he is arguing the truth of Christianity.  This truth transformed him from an atheist to one of the most respected Christian authors of our time.  I have enjoyed his book more than I ever would have imagined.  He is surprisingly non-divisive, not to mention brilliant and funny at the same time.

My hope this summer is that I take the time to put my own ideas aside, to learn who God really is, who He reveals himself to be in His word.  Not who I think He is, not who various denominations have told us He is, but God as He actually is.  The more I study His word, the more I realize that what He wants from His followers is so much different than what most of us are willing to give.  I am challenged by His word, I am learning that he would rather have me feeding the hungry than attending another Bible study, loving the lonely rather than planning another family activity, and fighting for the oppressed rather than arguing with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: "I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God." That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic--on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg--or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great moral teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” -C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

*If you're interested in doing this study it is available, along with any other bible study our church offers, online to be downloaded for free here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Whatnot Wednesday

* Your tax dollars at work: The IRS is investigating the legitimacy of our right to claim the adoption credit, two months later we still do not have our tax refund (and yes we definitely qualify for the adoption tax credit).  Today we got two envelopes from the IRS, both addressed to Kyle and myself, inside each envelope was a letter stating that they had received the paperwork we sent them AND another identical letter.  That's right we received two envelopes containing four letters each saying the exact same pointless statement of, we got your mail.

*The snack experiment got off to a bad start.  Less than 24 hours in Kylynn stole a piece of a brownie, now mind you it was a tiny little piece but still.  Now that the newness of it all has worn off I've yet to see her eat anything out of her snack bin and the fruit and veggies are hardly touched.

* Since Chloe came home I've been doing my grocery shopping at night time.  By the time we get the kids to bed and I get all my stuff together I'm getting to the store around 9 o'clock at night, it's amazing to me that I manage to buy the right things and stay awake to drive home.  Last week I got home from the store and began putting everything away, I was so tired that it took me about 15 minutes before I noticed this.

Yes, there are onions hanging in my pantry.  Kyle had taken up some of the ones from our garden and had hung them up to dry while I was out.  Speaking of my pantry want to see the rest of it, well since you asked and all.

*My summer goals are coming along.  The teacher's pet in me now feels like I'm going to be graded since I let the whole world 12 people who read this blog in on my goals.  I've begun reading Bringing Up Girls by Dr. Dobson.  I am really enjoying it and at the same time terrified to ever let Kylynn or Chloe leave my sight again :)

*Kylynn is so excited about gymnastics that she keeps asking how many more days.  Yesterday afternoon she asked if it was tomorrow yet (because I had told her that morning that gymnastics was tomorrow).  I told her that it is never tomorrow it is always today.  This made me laugh to myself thinking how much my "deep thought" would be over her head, instead of being confused she said, "I knoooow that mooom, but when is it going to be time for gymnastics."  So much for teaching her something this summer.

*Speaking of Kylynn did I tell you she's got some weird fascination lately with coloring on things that she knows she is NOT allowed to color on, the couch, or the carpet for example.  By the way, anyone know how to get crayon out of your carpet or how to get your five your old to obey?

*Now for some links I've been meaning to share (the titles are mine, theirs are more normal):
      From It's Almost Naptime, Vitamin D is speed
      From Russell Moore, Adoption talk from Kung Fu Panda 2
      Also from It's Almost Naptime, 30,000 dollars for their adoption, paid in full by God
      From Sit a Spell, This post had Kyle and I asking hard questions and praying big prayers


Sunday, June 5, 2011

The snack experiment

We've been having a little problem around here for the past six months or so with Kylynn, she has been sneaking candy.  The girl has a sweet tooth and while sweets are far from forbidden around here I tend to keep candy as a special occasion treat.

But there is candy stashed away in the pantry and in a jar in their bathroom (for potty training) and she knows it.  Unfortunately this has happened repeatedly and while we've been able to deal with the lying associated with the candy stealing, she now will admit it when asked, we've yet to stop the sneaking of the candy.

I don't know about y'all but my kids have robbed me of half of my brain cells, so I am not creative when it comes to discipline, it's a constant part of my job and I get in a major rut.  Whenever this happens I turn to Kyle, thankfully he still can think outside the box, his idea: give her unlimited access to healthy snacks.  Foods that she can count on being there and that she is allowed to go and grab without our permission.  When we told her of the idea she was ecstatic, I'm pretty sure the words "without our permission" are her favorite words to hear.

So I spent the afternoon preparing a bowl of food for her, in it I put yogurt cups, cheese sticks, apple slices, blackberries, carrot sticks, broccoli, and celery slices.  Used my new handy dandy labeler (which I need in case that dream of professional organizer ever comes true) to print a "Kylynn" label for it and put in on the bottom shelve of the fridge where she can reach it.

When I brought her in to show it to her the first thing she did was grab a yogurt cup, which she ate half of.  After dinner, after saying she was full, she walked up to me munching on a cheese stick, and I managed to not say anything.  I'm excited to see how this works, to see if giving her more freedom actually helps her to obey the rules.  I'm not sure if she can resist the forbidden fruit in favor of the real thing, but it's worth a shot.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Summer Goals

I love summer and I live in Texas, I'm weird like that.  I accept that beginning in April and ending in October I will be sweaty and gross and a little smelly, I stop fighting it and try to enjoy the heat, and you know what it works.  There are so many things I love about summer, even if it does mean two showers a day.  I love more time outdoors, grilling dinner, beach trips, summer dresses, tans!, sunlight, and days that seem to go on and on (in a good way).

I also love summer in that way that High school students love summer, months stretched before you to take a break and do nothing.  The days of doing nothing left me so long ago I actually don't remember what that feels like, but I look forward to the slower pace of summers all the same.  I have less things on my calendar, less is expected of me, so I always have big dreams of all I'm going to accomplish each summer.  Dreams that are crushed come September when I realize I let the days get away from me and haven't accomplished a single thing.

No more, my friends.  This summer I made goals, and I wrote them down, AND I'm going to write them down here in public to hopefully spur me on to accomplish something these next few months.  Got any goals for the summer, I'd love to hear them, comment some of your goals or better yet write your own post and leave the link in the comments.

2011 Summer Goals:

1. Read five of the non-fiction books I have been meaning to read forever.  I am currently reading Mere Christianity (more on that soon) the other four will come from the following list I've got going.  Radical, No Biking in the House w/o a helmet, Organized Simplicity, Year of Plenty, One Thousand Gifts, Shepherding a Child's Heart, Bringing up Boys, Bringing up Girls.

2. Read four books for fun.  Got any ideas, lay em on me!

3. Get my computer time under control, set up a plan/schedule of rules for healthy computer usage.

4. Greatly related to #3, get back into the routine and then habit of spending time DAILY in God's word as well as continued prayer throughout the day.

5. Get together with several friends I haven't seen in the past few months.

6. Finish organizing our study, and set up a workable work area for me.

7. Hang the various wall hangings throughout the house that have been bought in the past six months.

8. Complete my sewing projects.  (That is the funniest sentence I've ever typed, but I'm serious, really, kind of, no I have to get it done!)

9. Goals for teaching Jack:
*Potty trained.  This has to happen this summer or I suddenly become a homeschooler and need to add some more goals and books to my summer :)
*Begin to write his name
*Work on counting to 10

10. Goals for teaching Kylynn:
*Know all letters and the sounds they make
*Count to 20, write numbers 1-10
*be able to swim

So what about you any summer goals?