Thursday, July 31, 2008

He's almost half of eighteen!

My beautiful boy turned 8 years old today. EIGHT! It is impossible to fathom that it has been that long since we had our first child. He is such a boy, and then such a little man. He is delightful inside and out. When we got his end-of-the-year report card, his teacher said that "he is my quiet leader". I already knew she was an outstanding teacher, but after that report it was confirmed that she really knew him. What a complex, wonderful treasure he is!
At dinner tonight, we all went around the table and described him in 3 words. The theme of our descriptions seemed to be that he is caring, smart and fun. We all described him basically the same way. Toot, a man of few words, simply said, "He treats me nice and plays with me whenever I want. And I love him." And then he hugged him tightly, his very favorite way to express his thoughts.
Jaybird always challenges me, but in a good way. He points me to Christ with his gentle reminders, questions and comments. He genuinely loves the Lord and his family and friends. I absolutely soak him up! He told me recently that he was too old for me to call him "pet" names. As I hesitantly agreed to comply, he stopped me and said, "Well, I guess you can call me one pet name. Pumpkin, I will keep that one." So, here's my pumpkin's special day:

Waking up to balloons, a banner, and a table full of presents. This is him at 7am every morning...fully dressed and morning chores done before he comes downstairs.
His birthday present requests, in a word...LEGO.
His daddy and brother took him to breakfast at Krispy Kreme. Dad forgot the camera, so he reenacted the meal for me. He got to choose all of his meals for the day.
We had 5 gifts for him and Mimi had 1 to open. He opened one at each meal, one between meals and one at bedtime. This was the first gift. We played THREE times. This is actually a great board game!
By mid-morning all of his cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents called. He felt very loved!

See that little birthday banner? It's funny how a little dollar investment makes a real difference! He loved all of the details. This gift was the new Indian* Jones Akator Temple Race game. We played once and didn't really quite get it. But just the fact that it was Indie made it exciting.
A family picture before lunch.
He chose Firehouse subs for lunch. When did he start eating this much? An 8" sub and chips in one sitting!
Toot and Lydie's gift, again Indian* Jones something or other!?

The kids fighting with a lego set piece. He got a lego King Arthur set. We built half of it this afternoon. We can never get enough Leg*s!

Mimi and Papa get the creative award. Mimi ordered Jaybird a hand-carved walking stick. It is really beautiful and perfect for our little hiker!

Dinner: Fuddrucker's for the burger and...

milkshake lover!

Two small appetites= one shared milkshake= adorable picture

There's Mimi with her boys!

Jaybird was in great distress over his birthday cake. He really wanted me to recreate the temple of doom, but also wanted a cookie cake. So Mimi came to the rescue and brought him a cookie cake for his actual birthday, and next week I will make the temple of doom cake for his party. What a marvelous day!

Friday, July 25, 2008

What an honor

The children are all in bed. The house is quiet. It seems like it has been a week since the house has been quiet (and I've been awake to enjoy it). VBS is over and I feel really thankful about how well it went. So many people worked so diligently to minister to the precious children that came this week (including my own). Events like this one make me appreciate the body of Christ. I just feeled so honored to be a part of our church. It is amazing to see how each person makes up a part of the Body, just like a body. It was like watching a well-oiled machine this week. Each woman and teen using his/her gifts and working hard...all for one ultimate purpose, to bring glory and honor to the Lord.
I Corinthians 12:14-27
14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
*Pictured above: My two friends at church, both in their 70s, convinced me to kiss the balloon professor. My man was working in the youth office putting in his office hours. So I agreed to have him in the picture as well, you know, so he wouldn't be jealous of my new crush. I thought it would entertain these two precious, elderly, tired ladies. Well, lo and behold, they posted this picture up in the craft room and laughed at it with anyone who would come and see. I laughed too, but I have them worried about how I will pay them back. This should be fun... Can you tell I took a (very blurry) picture of their picture?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Our week at VBS

Tomorrow wraps up our last day of VBS. Wow, it has been exciting and exhausting.
*My friend, Alicia, and I were in charge of morning and afternoon skits and group time. Alicia nominated me to be the quirky "Professor Wilma" in the skits. I had to trip, scream, jump and act generally crazy in front of an audience of 150 children and my closest friends. Funny thing, I actually came to enjoy it by mid-week.
*My Jaybird shared the gospel, in his own little way, with a Jewish friend in his group. It went something like this, "Hey buddy...Just wondering if you believe in Jesus?" To which his friend replied, "Dude! Yeah, I know about Jesus. But I'm also a little Jewish." Jaybird responded, "Can you kinda be Jewish and kinda be a Christian?" And the banter went on and on... By yesterday, Jaybird seemed to believe his friend generally received Christ as his Savior. What a blessing for him to witness!
*Toot tells me in the car yesterday, "Hey Mommy! God has a special house made for me in heaven. Jaybird, what will it look like, do ya think?" Jaybird says, "I don't think it says in the Bible....but I hope mine is retro." Toot looks confused, as if to wonder, "What the heck does retro mean?" And then he responds, "I want mine to be covered in stickers."
*Another interesting conversation with little Toot, struggling to process. "Mommy, did Moses and Noah die on a cross, too? What about the Israelites?" Not sure what he was thinking!?
-Picture on left: Daddy couldn't help at church, so he volunteered to cook three dinners for us this week. (At the end of a day of juggling three jobs.) Wow, what a man!
-Picture on right: Jackson is elated to start another day of VBS!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Why, oh, why did I join facebook? I just thought I was clicking on someone's picture...but I invited him to be my "friend". Not so sure I want this person on my facebook. How do I get myself into these situations?

More on the Bible study after rest...VBS sure is an energy-zapper!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Notes from my Bible study

Too exhausted too write anything new. But, remember this Bible study? Maybe I'll just post a little bit each day this week from that study, as well as random pictures from our day that have nothing to do with the topic, like the one to the left of Toot focused on a video game at Chuck E. Cheese.

Title: Cultivating a heart of worship in the day to day: A love offering to the God of my salvation

"No distinction was made between the sacred and the every day...their life was all one piece. It was all sacred and all ordinary." Sue Bender

Intro notes (in bits and pieces): This is my desire for you and for me, to view the ordinary as sacred and worshipful. To not just talk with the Lord when we need Him, or just acknowledge Him when we see a sunset or a baby or our hearts are stirred. But to commune with Him, worship Him, like we breathe the air. To make our very existence intertwined with seeking His glory. We can certainly not attain perfectly worshipful lives this side of heaven. I am a complete failure at loving God the way that I want to and the way He deserves. But we should long for it as we grow in our relationship with Him. Even though our righteousness was perfectly accounted for on the cross, we can grow in holiness. Or as I have heard, "Once you see the face of God, the world is forever transformed into His features." (Peter Kreeft) But how does this transformation take place in the individual life of the believer?

-I divided this idea of moment-to-moment worship into nine components. Let's look at each one as rungs on a ladder; the ladder leading to the heights of pleasure we can receive from seeking to honor Him in all that we do.
-Notes from the first and second rung tomorrow...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Paranoid and sleepy

I've missed these beautiful boys

I have never been good at spending the night alone. My husband rarely travels, but when he does, I call Nana or Mimi to come and keep me company. Also, as I've mentioned, I like to have a plan. Yes, I am the girl that always listens to the flight attendant to hear the escape route from my plane seat. That's me. Well, when I am home without my husband, I have no plan for the imaginary mad man that might bust through the front door. How would I get him and save the kids? This is the question that rolls over and over in my head when I am here without my man. I have little experience with being alone at night because I lived at home during childhood, had roommates in college, and without missing a day, got married right away. I never lived alone.

This weekend it was just Lydie and I. The boys and my man all went on a camping trip. Do you know how many hours I have slept this weekend? A total of five. Not only am I exhausted now, but I am preparing to emcee VBS this week. It's really not just being the emcee, but doing goofy skits in goofy costumes and leading the music and dancing. I want to go to sleep just thinking about it!

And for the life of me I don't know why I am prone to this degree of fear. I remembered verse after verse and prayed about it, but I just couldn't let go of it! It's very frustrating and exhausting and silly.

Friday, July 18, 2008

How did she do that?

Look at her with my keys as we were leaving...she knew she was in the driver's seat!

Tonight Lydie-bug and I went out alone together. We were on a mission to find her some new pajamas. My family members know that I do not like to spend money on pjs. It just seems like a waste when you can spend that money on a cute outfit instead. So, I have two simple criteria for pajamas: they should be decent and cheap. It seems my girl had different plans.
Notice she is pointing at the "pin-cess"
She saw this little gown and began pointing and grunting. She recently spent some time with her two older girl cousins and since then has been wanting to play dress-up. I think she thought it was a princess costume. My first response was ignorance, you know, the I-don't-have-any-idea-what-you-are-talking-about-look. But she's too sly for that. She responded with, "Pin-cess, Mommy. Right here!" And she tugged on the bottom of the gown. "Okay, but we're only going to try it on!", was my clueless response. I am obviously new at this daughter thing. So I let her put on the gown on top of her little dress. The minute it was on she took two steps backward, held her arms out by her side and said, "Me! Me! I pitty(pretty)!" Right then and there I knew I was suckered. She wore her $12.99 gown over her dress all the way to the cashier and out the door.
So this is what having a daughter will be like; maybe shopping is not such a good idea! Any way, when did she get old enough to wear GOWNS?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A little PMS talk

Ever since I quit nursing Lydie, my hormones have been a wreck. I have never struggled with p.m.s. (maybe cramps here in there, but not moodiness) in my life! But since about a year ago, my hormones rage during p.m.s.. I have struggled with all kinds of physiological symptoms like depression, irritability, extreme fatique, and mood swings. I have actually had to ask my husband to mark the four days leading up to my monthly visitor on his calendar. This is for his sanity and so that he can extend extra grace and actually pray for me! I have been very reluctant to go to the doctor because I know they will ask me to take depression medicine or birth control pills. I have no desire to be on either, although I am certainly not opposed to either. I just don't feel a peace about those choices for me personally. (I have never been a big medicine taker. I have to be unable to function before I will even take a Tylenol.)
So I have opted to just wait. These last two months were the clenchers. I had promised my husband two months ago (when I was so hormonally messed up that I literally could not get out of bed for two days) that I would give it "two more months". I am thrilled to say, this month is the first month that my little visitor came with NO side effects. I was as shocked as my husband. He said earlier this week, "You didn't even get mad at me last week!" Bless his heart. But, he was right, it was a milestone. Man, hormones can do crazy things! Right now, I am looking down at my hair all curled up on my shoulder. Before my pregnancies I didn't have a single wave in my hair. But with each mega-dose of pregnancy hormone surges my hair has gotten curlier and curlier and darker and darker.
Nevermind the hair, I'm just glad not to feel out-of-control moody this month. I pray that things are finally leveling out for good. Lydie is 21 months old and my body just now feels completely back to normal. For those of you that have handfuls of children, back to back, with nursing babies in between, my hat is off to you! I'm not sure if my body, or my family, could manage!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Got any book jackets lying around?

I am a sucker for children's books. When I was in college and working towards my degree in early childhood eduction, I would buy one hard cover children's book a week. I started a great collection for my classroom. Now my children have inherited all of those books. And thankfully, we all love to read.
Over the years I have collected unwanted book jackets. Our favorite books that were bought in hard copy all have these lovely, shiny book jackets. We all know that my boys would rip and tear them. So, I gently took them off and placed them in an ever-growing stack in my craft closet. I am NOT a pack rat, and basically throw out everything without an immediate use. So this little collection might be the only group of things that I have collected over the years with the dream of "using them some day".
Lo and behold, the day came! I decided to frame them for our school room! Here's how I did it:

I wanted a red "matte" around each print. So I bought a roll of solid red wrapping paper at Wal-mart for less than $3.00. I traced the glass from each frame on to the red paper and cut out the shapes. Then I used my paper cutter to cut the book jackets to fit each matte/frame with a small border of red left to show.I used my scrapbooking glue and scotch tape to hold the jackets to the paper. I only had 8 frames and I wanted to frame 11 book jackets.But that's okay because I had three extra wooden frames that I recently took out of our family room. I had a half-empty can of white spray paint that I used to turn the wooden frames into white ones, after three quick coats of paint.

Here's the final product. Can you tell which frames are painted?Some of these book titles bring the warmest memories! That one in the bottom left corner is titled, I Believe in Jesus. I read that with both the boys when they accepted Jesus as their Savior. And The Nutcracker is our absolute favorite Christmas story! And The Polar Express and Verdi (my husband and boys are oddly fascinated with snakes) and The Tale of the Three Trees!! I am so delighted to have these memories lining the main wall in our school room! I will not have time to hang them until next week, so I'll post pictures of the wall then. Won't the bright colors pop off of the robin's egg blue wall color? I can't believe that even me, the non-pack rat, can find materials around the house to create a whole wall of art for $3.00! If I can, anyone can!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Final day of camp

Yesterday was our last camp day. We had a wonderful time of worship at church and one last lunch date. My husband took his turn to make the seven hour journey (round trip) to pick up the kids. By yesterday morning, I missed them so much it hurt. So I spent the entire afternoon trying to busy myself. After a one-hour random stroll through Target, I came home and worked in the school room. I have so much to do in there before we start school!

This will be my last shameless post on my home projects and polished toenails and all that. In case it has been a little sickening, I apologize. If it is at all redeeming, I got out the vacuum cleaner twice in the hour that the kids were awake when they got home. And there were two crying outburst. So on that note, here's what I did in the school room.
The bookshelf before

The bookshelf after. I found a sheet that has royal blue, robin's egg blue and lime green stripes. I like not having to look at all of the messy papers and books under there. So I cut the sheet in half and took off some of the length and then hemmed it.
I hung this leaf above Lydie's table. The table, chair (with flower pad), and leaf all came from Ikea* for next to nothing.

I hung stuff on our learning wall.

This is our theme for the bright colors, of course
Another Ikea* find. I hung this mirror at eye-level for the kids near their dress-up area.
It is easy to open with a Velcro attachment. This is all I could focus to do as the anticipation of seeing my babies was killin' me. They look more beautiful than ever! I am so glad they are back.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day 2 of Camp Polished Toenails

Yesterday was another late start for us. We sat around for the first hour or two of our morning in our family room with coffee and a quiet time together. I usually start my day this way, only with the children along side. The quiet and stillness took a little getting used to...but we managed.
Then we decided to take advantage of the sunshine and do a few "projects".
Our yard was in desperate need of some attention. Here it is after we mowed, weeded, swept. I love this little house. The back yard is still a bit of a jungle, but in better shape. We had to quit and pace ourselves because this was looming...
Our garage has been unorganized since we moved in two years ago. This is my husband's area and I didn't want to step on toes, but it was unbearable for me. I could not stand it another day. We started the yard and garage projects at 10:30am and came in to check the time at 6:00pm. But look at the after shots! (We filled two large garbage cans and two extra trash bags full of junk.) Two completed projects!

I kept having to remind myself that it didn't really matter that we left for dinner at 7:30. I'm not used to being on my own schedule! So we went to this great little Mexican restaurant, complete with music and Mexican dancing.

I couldn't mortify my introverted husband and ask a stranger to take our picture again tonight. So we took individuals. Doesn't he look rested and happy?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Day 1 of Camp Polished Toenails

I decided that when the kids are away at Camp Stinky Feet, our home would be called Camp Polished Toenails. This name symbolizes the lavish lifestyle I am enjoying while I have no responsibilities. Here's a peek into day one:Cooking at Camp Polished Toenails: And then we eat our food in bed with a movie! (This is actually from Thursday night.)
Grocery Shopping at Camp Polished Toenails: fresh flowers, decorating magazine, cute striped umbrella (not in picture), and lunch (favorite potato chips and a Diet Coke)
Project #1 at Camp Polished Toenails: clean every inch of the van, even the trunk. Work is not allowed at this Camp...unless it is a "project", of course.
Good bye, carpool number.
Exercise at Camp Painted Toenails: One hour walk without pushing a stroller. I needed the exercise to prepare for dinner.
Shopping at Camp Painted Toenails: I hardly shop anywhere but the thrift store these days. I had $40 and found two outfits and a dress for me and two dresses for Lydie. (The boys' sections had nothing cute at all!) This simple outfit above cost $3.99, the shorts were $1.00.
This dress for Lydie costs $2.00. I need to replace that broken ribbon around the bottom, but otherwise it is in perfect shape. This is why I don't take up smocking, because I can find these hand-made dresses for next to nothing!
My crush at Camp Polished ToenailsDating my crush at Camp Painted Toenails: a night at our favorite restaurant and a movie
Who my prayers are filled with at Camp Painted Toenails!!