Saturday, March 31, 2007

Why do I love house projects so much?

This was my main accomplishment this weekend. I dressed up the window in the kitchen.I got the fabric for $3 a yard. Including the rod and the ring clips, the entire project was under $40, which makes me so happy. With this yellow paint and my lime green bookshelf and these curtains, I would venture to say we have the sunniest kitchen this side of the Mississippi. But it makes me happy, so I enjoy it.
I also put new knobs and pulls
on the cabinets and drawers in the kitchen. I will have to touch up the paint and paint the brass hinges white. I am NOT looking forward to it, but I'll be glad to have that done. It took three trips to Home Depot to get that all squared away.Here's a fun buy. $7 for this little orange, polka dotted planter. I put my half dead violet in it. Maybe now I'll remember to water it. Speaking of watering, I did some gardening. Mainly I made 5 hanging baskets for the fence. Maybe I'll post those later. I am happy with the way they turned out, not so happy with the price tag! Those 5 baskets and flowers cost nearly $100!

This weekend I didn't accomplish nearly what I set out to. But I had a ball with the baby. We were in and out of stores a lot looking for good bargains. She attracted a lot of attention because when she is feeling well she coos and smiles until she can get each person's eye contact. We actually had one woman in the fabric store kiss her on the cheek. That was odd, but a nice gesture, I guess. I also had an employee in a home decor place ask if she could hold her. I didn't see the harm. It is interesting to watch a little extrovert in the making. And I am so thankful, finally, for another family member who loves to shop!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Divide and conquer

This weekend my hubby decided to take the boys camping last minute. So they just left for the mountains. These weekends bring memories that are talked about for months to come. #2 is particularly excited because it is his first camping trip. They looked so ready for adventure. I secretly hate camping. I love the beautiful woods, mountains and creeks. But I prefer to see them on a hike...and the GO HOME! They will come back grimy, filthy and content.
Meanwhile, I am so pumped for my girly time with my little #3. We plan to plant flowers in the yard, go to a french restaurant and go shopping. I may rent a chick flick and have a glass of wine tonight when she goes to bed. Maybe something chocolate would be good, too!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Potty talk

Parenting question:

What is a natural consequence for a kid who always forgets (or neglects) to flush the potty? He loves to clean, so cleaning the potty would not be memorable...and would be kinda gross. I've heard practice helps to break a bad habit, but he would probably enjoy flushing over and over again, too. Please help...any suggestions? Don't be shy! We actually had a guest go to use the toilet and find poop that he left unflushed! Nice!

Unfortunately with #3 we were at the dr again. My little girl never quite shook the stuffy nose from the virus from a week or so ago. See how red her nose is in the picture? I took her to the dr today and found out she has her first ear infection. Six months probably seems young, but the boys were much younger so I feel like this is a great accomplishment to make it this long! I am ready to see her back to normal soon. Some how her sleep has remained uneffected, praise God! Please pray for a quick recovery!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Wild West party

J's sock horse
Pretty cute, huh?

My little cuties all dressed up

Tonight J's class had a Wild West party. I was deeply touched by the creativity and energy that was poured into the party by several of the moms and dads. I wanted to post more pictures, but I am not sure everyone would be so thrilled to have their kids' pictures posted on a blog. The kids made stick horses, painted horseshoes, had live singing, dancing and storytelling, roped pretend bulls and played in this amazing back yard. It was a good chance to get to know the parents and siblings on a deeper level. I am constantly stunned by how accepted and loved our family is at this school! Several parents told me tonight that their child talks about J so fondly, just like he has been in the class all year. I feel so blessed to be part of such a unique, amazing group! J's teachers were there and loved on all of us, including T and LJ.

I am going to bed tonight praising God for giving us a school that is a perfect fit. This has been an emotional week for me regarding schooling because we have been praying all week about whether or not to send T to kindergarten next year. He turns 5 on August 31, the last day to make the cut for kindergarten. We had reservations, knowing he would be the very youngest one in his class. My man listened to my observations and opinions and then asked me to allow him to make the ultimate call. I promised to submit. He decided yesterday, after a long conversation with the principal of the school, that we ARE sending T to kindergarten. Tonight as I looked around at the amazing families and teachers, I was excited for the first time and not nervous. T is in for a really special treat!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Two thoughts on anger and marriage

My friend and I had a pretty candid conversation about marriage and the differences between men and women today. We shared how we are discovering how much anger we can allow in our hearts towards our precious husbands. We discovered two main reasons why this seems to occur for us. We agreed that the first is because we were trained in Bible studies and at church as young college women to save ourselves for our husbands. We obeyed faithfully and consequently expected a fairy tale marriage. Over the years life has sometimes proved to be difficult and sad and hectic. Somewhere along the way we realized that we began to really miss the romance and the fairy tale that we always secretly expected. Even with amazing, loving husbands I would venture to say that most Christian women realize in their marriage at some point that they have had false notions of what marriage would "look like". (We probably have the same false notions of parenthood, as well. No one ever told me that you have a 6 week period after giving birth, that my hips and stomach would never recover or that my hair would turn 5 shades darker, among many other things!)
The second reason we found that we have harbored anger is because we are secretly resentful that our husbands seem to have more freedom to be alone or with friends than we do. They leave the house for work and come home 8 hours later looking exactly as they did when they left! (Meanwhile, we are lucky to get a shower, have spit-up on our shoulders, and look generally frassled by 5 pm.) We often find ourselves longing to run an errand or eat lunch alone or with a friend, and it irks us a little that our husbands have that option almost daily. I remember my husband coming home and telling me once that his friend had treated him to lunch at a restaurant that I love. I calculated that during that fun luncheon, I was dragging the children through Kroger somewhere between isle 1 and 10. I remember feeling deep envy for my husband that day and not serving him with a happy heart, to say the least!
By the end of my conversation with my friend today we were laughing at ourselves. One of God's biggest ways of showing me grace is by honoring my efforts to be open and vulnerable with my own sin to other women. He always shows me how common my struggles are and usually allows me to laugh at myself. Honestly, my friend and I both have newborns that are our third children, so we can excuse some of our desperation and chalk it up to exhaustion. But truly I think every woman I know has struggled in these areas to some degree. Thankfully, God has given me a quick, easy solution. I need to pray more for my husband. I need to beg God to give me a selfless love that is truly happy for him. I need to realize that his needs are just as important and vast as mine. I need to believe that the gospel is true and that He can take away my sinfulness and replace it with love. And I need to be very diligent in having girls' nights and date nights to reconnect.
"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded." James 4:7-8

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A New Season

Today is the first day of spring and #3 is 6 MONTHS OLD! It's been half of a year already. Wow, time definitely flies faster with each child, don't you think? It is supposed to be 78 degrees this afternoon and sunny. The flowers in the yard are blooming and we've all pulled out our spring clothes. This afternoon I am taking the kids out to lunch and then to Publix for a cupcake to celebrate #3's 1/2 birthday. Can you tell we love reasons to celebrate?

Here' s what my little girl has learned this month:
  • She is now eating all cereals and several veggies. She has cut her feedings down considerably. Only 5 feedings now, three of which are at our mealtimes and include solids.
  • She takes two long naps a day, 2 1/2-3 hours a piece and goes to bed when her brothers do.
  • She can sit up alone, but topples after a while.
  • Her favorite toy is her Exersaucer.
  • She can grab and shake her rattles and manipulate all of her toys really well with her cute, little chubby hands.
  • Her favorite song is, "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam".
  • She holds her hand out when she wants to be picked up.
  • We started baby sign language with her, but no success yet.
  • She is eating from her highchair.
  • When I hold her on my hip she squeezes on and fits well like a big baby and not a sack of potatoes.
  • She now uses both hands, switching back and forth.
  • She has no use for the swing or bouncy seat any more.
  • She shows a little shyness with strangers.
  • She loves other babies and still prefers men over women (with the exception of Mommy, of course!).

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A healthy, normal day, thank the Lord!

Things are back to normal around here. #3 is playing and #2 is dressing her up like Spiderman and is good! She still has a little runny nose, but it is clear and she seems to be happy again. No fever for 2 1/2 days! I forgot what a happy little camper she is when she is feeling good. (And I also forgot what a depressed, pathetic lunatic I am when my kids are sick!)

Today my little guys had their first tball game of the season. #2 is on the youngest league, the four year olds. My sides hurt from laughing at those guys! One little boy cried every time the ball did not get hit his way in the out field. One time this little cutie stopped in mid tracks and started crying because his hands were so cold. Several kids ran to third base instead of first. The kids commonly looked like they were playing football instead of baseball as they dove and fought for the ball. Oh, they were so cute! I think #2 is going to be our athlete. Even big brother was proud of his quick plays on first base and his good hard hits and fast running. He was absolutely having a blast! #1 had fun, too. He just seems to be more into daydreaming and less into the game. To quote him he told me this weekend, "God just made me different, Mama!" Yes, he did. Different and precious and smart and amazing! I truly believe the highlight of the game for him was the award/snack time at the end. He got "best sportsmanship" and #2 got "most Christ-likeness". My proudest moment of the day was when my Dad complemented #2 on playing so well at his game and he looked over at #1 and said, "You are a gweat baseball player, too!" My Dad was not showing any favoritism to #2, he just happened to be sitting by him at the moment. But I was proud of my little boy's love and selflessness to think of his brother's need to be noticed, too.

My parents drove three hours and spent the night last night just to see the boys play their short, one hour games. Do my kids have any idea how blessed and loved they are? And #3 enjoyed warm hugs, and a new highchair and rattles from Nana's shopping spree with Mommy. She has lots of love for both sets of her grandparents and loves visits and cuddles from them! She is soaking up her important and special role of being the last grandchild on both sides of our family...or at least we think she will be!?

I am so stuffed from my parents treating us to Outback for dinner. Wow! I'm going to go stuff my big ole' bloated booty in the bed!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Our visit to the emergency room

It all started with #3 and a "cold" on Saturday. By 3 am her fever spiked at 103. We fought the fever, upset stomach and stuffy nose for the next day and a half. I took her to see the dr. on Monday just to be cautious. Her lungs, throat and ears were normal, it was "just a virus" and we were sent home with cold medicine. By that afternoon her fever was moving toward 104. Our boys never run high fevers so I called one more time. At the end of the conversation I mentioned she is making a grunting noise. Turns out the grunting noise can be a sign that a baby is having trouble breathing. I really didn't think she looked like she was having trouble breathing. But the nurse on the phone told me to get to the nearest E.R. When I began to debate aloud which hospital would serve her best she replied, "You just need to get to the NEAREST emergency room!"

I began to feel my heart beating faster and the blood rush to my face. I told the boys we had an emergency and I needed them to get on shoes, quickly. #1 lazily replied, "Mama, I'll be right there. I want to finish my computer math game. It is educational, after all. I am counting money!" I turn him around and explain to him that the baby is really sick and we need to get to a hospital quickly. I tell them that everything will be alright, but this is an EMERGENCY! Poor #1! In the next 10 minutes he would patiently and calmly find my lost keys and the lost infant seat for the car. (How does someone forget where they put a car seat??) I throw a few things in a diaper bag, turn on the hazard lights and we pull out of the drive way. (Sidenote: My husband was coaching little league so he was not there to help me get the kids loaded up. The boys were at home due to runny noses.)

I call my man and tell him what is going on. Then we spend the next 15 minutes trying to keep #3 awake. #1 sang to her, laughed with her and talked to her the whole way there. When we got to the emergency room I decided to quickly park the car. We pull into the lot and I couldn't find a parking spot. #1 and #2 begin to pray. We immediately found a spot. My boys minister love and grace to me so often in my times of need!

As I do the half walk, half run, while dragging three children dance into the E.R., I see my husband pull into the parking lot. We proceed through the adult ER into the pediatric ER. It sortof made my stomach sick to be in that room! There were two kids that had vomit pans. One girl had a "goose egg" bigger than any egg I have ever seen on her forehead. Three kids had swollen arms or wrists which appeared to be broken. And there was one other sick baby. And then there was some goofy teenage couple that did not look sick and the guy was oddly amused with the Mary Poppins movie. He actually made me laugh. Within 10 minutes our best friends from church came to pick up the boys. Thank you SO much to them! They drove 30 minutes to the hospital and took the kids home, had special prayers with them for #3, gave them their favorite bedtime snack, loaned them pjs and toothbrushes, and let them fall asleep secure and happy. I will never know how people make it through life without a church community to love and care for them!

The entire ordeal was over in 2 hours. We found out that #3 reacts to high fevers by grunting when she breathes. Apparently kids have all kinds of weird ways of dealing with fevers that spike quickly. She was not actually having breathing problems at all. By 10:30 we had gotten the boys and we were all 5 back under our own roof and in our warm beds. #3 is still really sick with a high fever, but I am confident that it is just a really bad virus and I pray it will run its course soon! What a night! Did I mention that I have a phobia of hospitals??

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A taste of spring

Spring is in the air! I am so excited for warmer weather! Here are some pictures of the kids enjoying our neighborhood playground. The boys are REALLY into pirates right now, can you tell? Oh, I LOVE the end of winter...picnics, rain puddles, the park! Bring it on!!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Facing the Giants

Tonight we watched Facing the Giants together. It is an incredible movie and God used it to deeply minister to my soul. I don't have time to write much except I do want to highly recommend it to families with children of all ages. My boys weren't into it during the first 10 minutes, but loved it by the end. I cried, well sobbed really, at least in 5 different scenes. The movie shares a beautiful story of God's grace and love and what He can do when we are not ruled by fear!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

We are weak but He is strong...Yes, Jesus loves me

I have finally surrendered myself to the fact that I am in an exhausting season. I am typically an optimist to a fault. Through deep fatique and exhaustion over the past months, I could always see light at the end of the tunnel. But sometimes, it is what it is. Whew, and what IT is, is EXHAUSTION!

I can't help it, the optimist in me has to say...But I am SO thankful for the work God has given me! (That thankfulness doesn't keep me from literally weeping several times a week begging God for a break, but I am thankful none the less!) I think the bottom line is that it is time for me to be a little pushy with #3 about her sleep patterns. I began this week letting her cry at night. I realized suddenly, she will be 6 months on the 21st, she should not need a middle of the night feeding! So I have laid in bed the last 3 nights and listened to her cry for 30-50 minutes. She always gets back to sleep and continues to sleep all night. She has slept for 10 hours (minus the time crying in the middle of the night) all three nights without me picking her up or feeding her. And she wakes up in the morning happy and cooing, which is God's way of graciously showing me that the crying will not scar her for life!

I think we pulled away from many responsibilities and ministries when we had #1 and #2. But during this season, God has plainly revealed to me that we should not do that! In fact, we have felt lead by God to reach out to more people right now than ever before in our marriage. I know that God's grace is sufficient for me as I strive to give Him all my love and gratitude. But there are some days that I struggle to put one foot in front of the other. So I have to ask what gives...the housework, the needy friend calling for advice, the family that needs a meal, the children that want to play one more board game, the baby that will only settle for Mama's arms, the home cooked meal, clean sheets, time in the Word, the phone call to the friend who had the doctor's appointment, the article for the church newsletter, the extra book that I wanted to read with the kids, the meeting at school, the prayer for the teacher, the email to the family member, the glass of wine with my man.... So many wonderful ways to touch other people, so little time!

Today my husband blessed me beyond any other thing that could have come my way. He gave me one hour that I would normally be driving carpool and asked me to spend it resting. It was beautiful and ministered to my soul as much as my body. He even took the kids out to lunch to give me more quiet time. I guess God uses our own weaknesses, whether emotional or physical, to allow others the opportunity to bless us. "When I am weak, He is strong."

Thursday, March 01, 2007

All about #2

#2 loves rhyming words. He ends every sentence with two rhyming words. For example, "Good morning mommy, hommy" or " My favorite color is blue, glue". It used to be cute until he nicknamed the baby a silly name. That drives me nuts! I keep hoping that poetry will be his gift and maybe we'll see him reap from the rhyming madness.

So the other day we were at Moe's. He always gets a kick out of the loud greeting. He is quite the extravert and appreciates the warm welcome. So when they yelled, "WELCOME TO MOES!" He quickly yelled out, "WELCOME TO MOES, HOES!" We laughed histerically along with a few others that heard him. What a character!