Thursday, December 31, 2009

We're Real Party Animals Around Here

Mmmm, New Year's Eve. Isn't this supposed to be a night to "par-tay?" Yeah, well some party at my house.

It's 10:10pm. I'm not kidding you when I tell you that my husband is snoring. Yes, s-n-o-r-i-n-g. I'm dressed in old-as-dirt, mismatched flannel pajamas. My children are coughing up a lung in their sleep, feverish with strep throat.

I'm wide awake. And bored.

I suppose I could turn on the TV and ring in the new year with Ryan Seacrest and 10 million of my closest friends in Times Square.

I wonder if I can find some streamers and kazoos in my party stash and at midnight, host a celebration for one. Or better yet, jump on the bed, blowing the kazoos and send my snoring husband through the roof. I'm laughing even now at the possibilities.

Although, if I go that route, perhaps I should at least find some clean pajamas that match.

PS: I can think back on all the new years parties I've been to over the years and you know what my conclusion is? I'm getting old. Very old.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pinky Minky

One of the most interesting and exciting presents I got for Christmas was two bagfuls of fabric hand-me-downs from my grandmother. There were piles of scrap fabric, some as big as 3/4 of a yard. All kinds of fabric, all the way from cheesy character fabric to some gorgeous stuff!

At about 7:30 last night, I set my coffee pot to automatically brew at 7:00a.m. But I pushed the wrong button. Never being one to waste a fresh pot of coffee, I poured myself very strong, fully-caffienated coffee. Needless to say, I was set for the night. I wasn't going to be any time soon.

So I broke into the fabric scrap bags to see what I could work up. I found hot pink minky dot calling my name. Oh, it's just so soft, I love that stuff.

A couple hours later, here's the result!!


Monday, December 28, 2009

The Aftermath

I am loving all the lazing (can that be a verb?) around that goes on after Christmas. We have just been basking in all the Santa Claus stuff for the past couple days. Everytime I suggest that we go somewhere, both children ask to stay home. I am loving it. So, since Wes has been hunting, I have been taking vacation, too. At least today, I changed sheets and started some laundry.

This picture was one of the few we got on Christmas morning. For some reason I decided to watch my children with my bare eyes, not through the lens of the camera. And while I'm thinking I might regret it later, it was most pleasant and perfect on Christmas morning.

We had our annual Christmas brunch around 8:30 with our family, and the kids played and played. Jack ate a Hershey's kiss for breakfast and then decided around 10:00 that he wanted some cereal. Fine, it's Christmas! After breakfast, the kids opened presents from mom and dad (a pink smocked dress for JA, a cowboy shirt and pants for Jack and brochures for a springtime trip to DisneyWorld!!). That afternoon during their nap, I knitted and watched Legends of the Fall with Wes. What a perfect Christmas day.

I hope your Christmas was very special and filled with goodness. Celebrating the birth of Jesus with a two year old and a four year old has been magical. I can only imagine what next year will bring.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

Friday, December 18, 2009

My Last Few Hours

Welcome to my last few hours, child-free until after the first of the year. JA is at preschool until 11:30. Jack's at playschool until 2:00. And I'm here in the quiet of my home, trying to decide what to do first. Do I want to scramble around getting 100 things done, not really enjoying anything? Or do I take my time, focusing on only the fun and enjoyable?

I have a few more projects left to finish. (Next year, by the way, my deadline for projects will be December 10. No exceptions. I'm not doing this again. Please remind me of that around Thanksgiving.) But they are the fun ones. Plus, I haven't wrapped a single present. Not one. The pretty packages under my tree are fake, just for decoration. And believe it or not, they haven't been touched by four little hands belonging to two young children.

So, back to my tasks for today. I know I need to finish my grocery list. And when I pick up JA at 11:30, I told her we would go grocery shopping together, since she doesn't normally get to go with me anymore. She was beside herself this morning. Oh, the joys of being four.

Aside from the grocery list, I think I'm going to use my last few hours to focus on me. No one else. Finish my coffee. Take an unrushed, uninterrupted shower. Shave my legs and pluck my eyebrows. And then maybe, just maybe, I'll start a load of laundry and empty the dishwasher.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Have A Pull String

Jack and I were standing in line at the post office yesterday, trying to mail Christmas cards. (I feel like it's so late, it's almost like "what's the point?", but nonetheless, they're in the mail!) I think I may have chosen the wrong time to visit, as the line was fairly long with only one teller working. So, we waited. Jack was pretty much all over the place, playing with a baby Buzz Lightyear up and down the partition posts, on the dirty, nasty post office floor, and through my legs...you know how two-year-olds do. Some of the other people standing in line were mildly amused watching him goof off, while some of the other more cranky types appeared annoyed. I was just hoping the line would hurry and move along.

Jack stood right beside me for a minute. He reached over and pulled the string on the fleece vest I was wearing. At first, I didn't think anything about it until I heard him say, "Hey. My name's Woody." He quickly pulled it again and said, "You're my favorite deputy." And again. But this time, he shouted as loud as he could, "THERE'S A SNAKE IN MY BOOT!" At this point, I was so tickled at him, but was trying to hold it in. Others in line were still not amused. I thought it was hilarious, as I wiped the tears off my face, and looked around for something to distract him quickly. Fortunately, that one post office worker said loudly, "I can help the next one in line."

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas

I can't believe Christmas is getting so close! And even more, I haven't blogged the first thing about our Christmas season. I was starting to feel bad about it, but then stopped.

And then I got a FB post from a friend (of a friend that I wished lived closer so I could see her every single day!!) who was wondering what I am cooking, crafting and sewing. I think that was the nicest thing someone said to me all week long!!

But it's because I've been cooking, crafting and sewing that I haven't been feeling too bad about neglecting this old blog. So here's what I've been up to.

Cooking
1. pork tenderloins, prepared several different ways. I think my husband would eat pork tenderloin for breakfast, lunch and supper.
2. vegetable soup - I love, love, love this soup. I'm in the minority at my house. I've even tried to think like a child and come up with creative ways to present it. Didn't work. So I've also been making chicken nuggets and mac & cheese. Throw in some applesauce and it's a meal, don't you think?
3. amish friendship bread - my husband WAS eating this for breakfast, lunch and supper. I had friendship bread coming out of every corner of my house. I feel bad wasting all the ingredients and starters, but finally just had to give up. But it was de-lish!
4. banana pudding. it's amazing. And even though I'm out of bananas, I'm about to make some banana-less pudding tonight, in the cozy and quiet of my house. If only I could type faster...

Crafting
1. Knitting scarves to give as Christmas gifts. And one day, maybe after Christmas, I'll do one for me.
2. Does playdoh and paint-by-water count? Needless to say, I'm not doing too much crafting, because I am...

Sewing (Lordy, lordy am I sewing!!)
1. I finally constructed a smocked bishop dress. Like, bought the yards of fabric, cut it out (after I figured out the monster pattern!) had it pleated, smocked it, and finished the dress. I thought I was going to scream several times, but once I finished it and Jordan Ann loved it, I wanted to make another one that very day.
2. Several, several jumpers. But that might taper off, as I was recently informed by my four-year-old fashionista, "I don't prefer jumpers. I would rather you make me smocked Sunday school dresses." Ahhh, I see.
3. Britches & bloomers - britches for Jack, bloomers for JA
4. A pink and brown damask smocked bishop dress for JA. I was determined to get it finished for to wear on Thanksgiving and now she calls it her "Thanksgiving dress" even though there is nothing "thanksgiving-y" about it.
5. Pillows for my sewing room and playroom. Haven't finished it them all yet. Believe it or not, I'd rather make clothes.
6. Super-hero capes for a handful of super-heros in my life. I can't wait for my two to see them for Christmas!
7. Another bishop dress with some serious smocking on it. I'm hoping to get it finished without JA seeing the finished dress and give it to her on Christmas morning. After waiting for me to finally make something with the fabric she picked out, I think she'll be just as excited about this as her Bitty Baby from Santa. You think? Well, maybe not. We'll see.

After Christmas projects
1. Knit hats with crochet flowers
2. Easter outfits - oh, how will I decide on that? And how do you dress a three-year-old boy for Easter? Glad I don't have to decide that tonight.
3. Pillows for my bedroom with leftover fabric from the bedskirt I had made three years ago.
4. Piping. I want to figure out how to sew piping for those smocked piped insert tshirts. That way I still get some "matchy matchy" without the boy john john.

Okay, so that's it. I wish I could post pictures. But that's another reason why I haven't been updating. My computer had a major virus and had to be re-built. I'm working on Windows 98 now. Talk about old school. This is what I had in COLLEGE, people! Needless, there is not a program that can read my pics, much less upload them to the internet. So, you'll have to use your imagination!

Off to make the banana-less pudding. Wish you could come over for some!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Is the Grass Really Greener?

I recently toured my husband's new office space. What a lucky guy - the building is gorgeous, the offices are big enough, colors are nice, and on and on. And while he talks about having to get adjusted to "where his printer is" and "how far away the copier is", I think he's doing just fine.

So while he was showing me around, I had some serious flashbacks to all the offices that I have worked in prior to the one in which I am currently employed, 17 Cherry Tree Lane*. All of a sudden, I began questioning my choice to stay at home. It was incredibly bittersweet.

Sometimes I desperately miss the working world. The responsiblity. The sense of accomplishment. Setting and surpassing goals. Perseverance. Writing. Helping clients meet goals. Creative thinking. Strategic thinking. Many aspects of that world are no longer part of my life.

Or are they?

They're still here. Just in a different form.

For example. The responsiblity. Boy, do I have that now. I have two little lives that look to me for everything. And the sense of accomplishment that I might not always do it perfect, but I'm really good at being everything for them right now, with direction from the good and perfect Father, of course.

Teaching manners and each of the fruits of the Spirit requires much perseverance. Plus, I need to exemplify them in my own life, without fail. I never want to be a "do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do" mother.

Never in my life have I had to be more creative and strategic than I have when working with these two. I mean, how can you not be strategic when you plan two daily routines, train them to eat and nap at the same times and then bathe, read and put to bed, often on your own?

When it comes to disciplining my two year old son, I've had to call upon every creative bone in my body. Resorting to thumping him when he's out of line, to telling him that "Mr. Grocery Store" or "Mr. Walmart" is going to find us when it's acting up in public. Discipline and consistency is tough. It's one of the hardest parts of the job.

Which brings me back to the posh office spaces of my husband. He has someone to come vacuum his office, dust his bookshelves, scrub whichever toilet he uses. I do not. He has a choice of assistants to help him finish his tasks, compile his projects and see to it that calls are returned. I do not.

But he doesn't have the real pleasure of watching two children learn something new every day. He doesn't get to take them for a lunch picnic in the park, watch them run to catch falling leaves, and swing on their bellies. He walks into a household that isn't necessarily spic-n-span like his new office is, but there's laughter and joyful sounds the second he walks in. And if not, tears are easily settled with loving reassurance and often a princess or spiderman bandaid, whether or not blood is involved.

Would I trade this for a sleek office, staplers and sticky notes, a convenient commute or personal account?

Not in a minute. But I really enjoyed the tour. It provided me with the hard, cold reality that life isn't always greener. I'm perfectly content in the grass I'm laying in now.

* Just in case you're not in the Disney loop, 17 Cherry Tree Lane is the address in Mary Poppins, one of our favorites.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Dear Toy Story,

You are a life-saver. Let's start at the beginning...

Today has been a very busy day, beginning around 3:30 when the rain and wind woke me up. I had to tee-tee. Once back in bed, I couldn't go back to sleep. Wes was tossing and turning. Neither one of us could go back to sleep. I had asked him to wake me up this morning at 5:45. So at 5:00 right when I was beginning to doze again, he shook me and said, "Didn't you want me to wake you up at 5:00?" Ummm, no. So we tossed and turned until I finally got up at 6:15.

I had 14 sandwiches to make this morning for JA's Harvest Party. And since we were trunk-or-treating, I thought it would be fun to make pumpkin muffins for the grownups.

At 7:00 the kids woke up. At 7:23, Wes asked me what time we needed to leave. I told him no later than 8:10. I think his head spun around three times. All of us were still in jammies and the kids were just sitting down for breakfast.

Snow White had to get dressed and her mother could not go dressed as the "mean old hag" from the book. And as much as Jack wanted to wear his Woody costume, his class wasn't dressing up. That took some serious convincing this morning.

We were in the car pulling out at 8:12. That was good enough.

So after the trunk-or-treating and the Harvest Party, I went to get an oil change in my car. I waited for almost 1 1/2 hours. Hungry. Mentally making a list of everything else I needed to do. Reading an "In Touch Weekly" from back in February. Talk about old news.

Went to Walmart to start Christmas shopping. And I seriously couldn't concentrate on what I was shopping for. Amazingly, Strawberry Shortcake had a Spider-Man body. And the Hot Wheels were riding on My Little Ponies. All the lights were brighter than usual, sounds were louder. I had to get out of there. I took a detour to the magazine aisle, got a Christmas magazine instead and took myself out to a quickie lunch until the 2:00 pickup.

After we got home and sorted through the 12 lbs. of candy accumulated this morning, I got out our dear friend, Toy Story. Bless you. We laid out a pallet, put on our pajamas and snuggled up for about 45 minutes. Woody and Buzz, you allowed me to close my eyes for some sweet peace.

I think I would have fallen asleep had it not been for a foot to the face when the mean dog came on.

PS: I think all Toy Story merchandise should come with a GPS option. I would upgrade in a second so that all our Woodys could be located with the push of a button. They're just that important at our house.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Post Coming

I've got several new posts in the works, so hang on. I'm coming back shortly.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Who Needs Deer Camp?

Why go to deer camp when you can wake up in the morning and see signs that a deer has frolicked in your flower bed and snacked on the sweet potato vine?!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hello, Fall.

It's official. It's fall at my house. Leaves are turning orange and red. I have James Taylor's October Road playing. I'm making chili.* Last week, I baked pumpkin muffins. And just now, I got out the Williams-Sonoma "Spiced Chestnut" hand lotion. It smells delicious.



I hope you're enjoying a taste of fall.

* On Saturday, I noticed a bag at my front door. I wasn't expecting a delivery of any kind, so this was interesting. Turns out, it's a bag full of green peppers. I'm talking like 23 of them. And they look home-grown. Not sure if the person delivering them meant to take them to another house, but I've chopped up two of the smaller ones for my chili. It's going to be delicious. In the meantime, if you're missing a bag full of peppers, let me know. They're at my house.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

When It Rains, It Pours

I've had writer's block. Actually, so much has been happening, I haven't taken time to sit down and update. I suppose the writer's block comes from the fact that I just haven't known how to say it all. So here it is, not fancied up, just to the point.

Let's begin at the top. About 10 days or so ago, Wes and his family had to put his grandfather in the hospital. Heart problems with advanced dementia. Difficult for everyone.

At the same time, I took a little test, got a positive and found out that I was pregnant. Wonderful news. I was just beside myself. This was a very planned and prayed for baby.

We began telling our family and friends about the baby news, hoping it would help alleviate much of the stress of the other situations going on. Plus we were just so excited and Wes and I are terrible with secrets.

Our family vacation was in the works, but then put on hold until we figured out the long-term issues with Wes's grandfather.

Within a couple of days, I began having trouble with the pregnancy. Ended up miscarrying.

Jack started running a fever. Went to the doctor. Swine flu. Nice. All the while, I'm still "miscarrying". Doctor wouldn't give JA any medicine because she wasn't showing symptoms yet.

Finally, my washing machine broke. Not life and death, but very inconvenient when thrown in with everything else going on.

But things are looking up. We ended up finding a fantastic deal on a new washer and dryer. Drove 2 1/2 hours on Sunday with the kids, ate at a nasty restaurant but then went for ice cream to make up for it, and brought our new front load appliances home in the rain on a trailer. All household laundry, done.

Jack's swine flu has been contained to just himself and hasn't been that bad. Just a fever for about 36 hours, a little cough and some runny nose. That's about it. Good news is that JA hasn't gotten anything and Wes and I are still well.

The miscarriage. If it's not in God's will, it's not right for me. I'm okay with it. Very disappointed, but it's just one of those things. Besides, God gave me a verse back in the summer and I've been meditating on it ever since. Romans 5:28 - "But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently." Isn't that the truth right now?

Grandad. He had other plans than staying in that hospital. He went to be with Jesus on Sunday night. Reunited with his wife and in a much better, peaceful place. The visitation for him is tomorrow and the funeral on Thursday. Will you pray for our family?

Whew! So that's where I've been. I hope things are going better where you are!

Deuteronomy 31:8
"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave or forsake you. Do not be discouraged."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Sticker Lady

This morning I had to run into the grocery store for ONE THING! JA was at preschool and it was almost time to pick her up, and very close to lunchtime for Jack. As I was trying to figure out the Kodak print machine, he was whining, crying, making a scene. I had my hand on his in the buggy but my back was turned. I realized that he was very quiet, all of a sudden. I turned around to find a little old lady hunched over, with her purse propped onto the buggy, digging deep into the abyss of her bag. (We all know the types.)

So she happily pulls out a sheet of Norman Rockwell stickers. She took a second to peel back several of the corners and proudly hands them to Jack. He and I both said thank you and she just smiled and went back to her shopping. Not another word was said.

I hope that when I grow older, that I remember to tuck sheets of stickers into my bag to give away at the grocery store to fussy children and their mommies. She was a blessing to me today. I only wish I knew how I could return the favor.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Thursday, September 3rd

You may remember back in the spring I wrote about Jordan Ann having headaches. After a while of not having them, they're back again. Not regularly, but enough to cause concern. We've seen the neurologist again and his recommendation is to do the MRI.

So tomorrow morning we check into the Batson's Children's Hospital so JA can be sedated and have the MRI. She knows nothing about this yet and while I'm going to try to make it "no big deal", you know as well as I do that it IS a big deal. It will be to her when I tell her that she can't eat breakfast or drink her milk and it's a big deal to me that my little girl will be knocked out and put into a machine.

Will you please pray for us? Her appointment is at 9:00am tomorrow, so if you think about it around then, I certainly would covet your prayers. Specifically, I am praying for a definitive answer one way or another, but also for the Lord's will no matter what.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Hello, hello?

So sorry for the lack of posts. Just haven't been feeling it lately. I finally caved and joined Facebook...it's pretty neat. I suppose that's what's been absorbing my blog time.

That, and just hanging out with my kids. We've finished our playroom and craft room, so we now have a new and improved place to waste our afternoons.

Preschool is going well. We all are loving it. Well, JA and I are. Jack is still adjusting to where his sister is all morning.

So that's it. That's all I got for now. I'll try not to be a stranger.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

In Denial

Tomorrow is Jordan Ann's first day of preschool. I've packed her little backpack, filled with her fresh school supplies. I have her dress hanging in her room, next to her bloomers, pink sandals and pink bow. Before bed, I answered her 378 questions about what preschool would be like, who she would play with, what she would color and a practice round of the Pledge of Allegience (so she would remember how it goes "just in case they said it together".) But in the quiet of my house, I can't help but think that tomorrow is not happening. I am in complete and utter denial. Yes, I want her to go to school, learn, play, experience new things. But I also want her right next to me, under my wing as long as possible.


So tonight when I go in to check on her one last time, I just might get into the bed next to her, and think back on the days when it was just me and her all day everyday. I can remember playing face-to-face on the floor for tummy time, swaddling her every naptime and bedtime, watching her learning to play by herself in the pack and play, and finally when she was 16 1/2 months watching her decide it was time to finally take some steps. My, how far we've come in four short years. And now, preschool. Wow.


Don't blink. It's all happening way, way too fast.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Leapin' Lizards

I love the movie, Annie. My favorite part was the song and dance that all the orphans did where they jumped across the beds. And of course, the part where Daddy Warbucks, Grace and Annie see the Rockettes.

But this post is not about the movie. Lizards, yes. Annie, no.

Ummm, I have a lizard in my house. Right now. As I type.

I just put the kids down for their naps and went into the kitchen to let the dog in. Right there just as I was about to step over it, is a black and green lizard. My heart jumped into my throat and started beating out of control.

What do I do?

I quickly went into my closet for a shoe box. I remember my mother capturing a lizard in a shoe box one time. Slowly, I came from behind and successfully covered the lizard. As I'm bent down over it, I think to myself, "Now what?"

I looked over to the kiddie table and noticed a book - JA's Disney princess book, the size of an Encyclopedia Brittanica. I slid the box and lizard across the kitchen floor until I could reach the book.

Currently, the lizard is taking up residence in the box with the Disney princesses as his roof. I think I'll let my macho man take over when he gets home.

Let's just hope the dog doesn't sniff out the lizard and the kids don't move the box in the meantime.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Need A Travel Agent

We want to take a fall family vacation, but have no idea where to go. Wes has time off and it's a use-it-or-lose-it sort of thing. So unless we can figure out a place to go, we'll be wasting his time off here at the house. No fun. Especially for me, who is "here at the house" all the time.

Help me. We talked about Gatlinburg. He's been there, I haven't. I don't know anything about the place, other than there's Dollywood and some sort of apple orchard we could go to. Have you been? Would you recommend my family of four going?

Where's somewhere else? It needs to be family friendly, within a reasonable day's drive, and fun. Those are our requirements.

So whatcha got?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Our First Fort

Today the rain came. Not just your average thunderstorm. It was the rain that Forrest Gump talked about - "Little bitty stingin' rain... and big ol' fat rain. Rain that flew in sideways. And sometimes rain even seemed to come straight up from underneath."

Seriously, I was almost s-c-a-r-e-d. (I am so used to spelling that word so that I don't translate that to my children, one of which is a born scaredy cat.) Turns out that a tree snapped in our yard, I know Wes is anxious to be the lumberjack he's always dreamed of being.

Anyway, at about 3:20 today, we lost all power. It was the third time this week. And while I've gotten used to it, I had two kids who were stir crazy about 4 minutes into it. It wouldn't have been that big of a deal, but it was so dark outside, we couldn't see a thing inside without the flashlights.

Since I have been feeling 100 times better today, I morphed into "fun mom". I asked the kids if they wanted to build a fort. You probably could hear their hooray's wherever you live. It was a mighty fine fort, if I say so myself.

So there we were, crammed into the fort with blankets, pillows, three of Jack's bees, an enormous Hello Kitty, three flashlights and a couple books. When I noticed the lightning, I covered all four little ears and then waited for the thunder to come and go. As they were all cuddled up, Jordan Ann asked if I would rub them. So I did and then started singing Christmas carols. I think I sang every song that came to me - Away In A Manger, Rudolph, Jingle Bells.

Right as I was finishing up Deck The Halls, Jack proudly let out a huge fart. (Poot, pass gas, booty noise, these words do not describe the noise this child made. So, I'm sorry if you are offended by "fart".) He started belly laughing. JA was in hysterics. I was laughing at them laughing. Why are bodily functions so funny for a two and four-year-old? I'll never know.

But it was funny today, that's for sure. We played fart...um, fort until the lights came back on at 5:00. A very long afternoon, but so, so much fun!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's Not Swine Flu

If you read my post yesterday and the subsequent comment or two, I don't want you thinking I have the swine flu. I don't. I went to the doctor this morning and the strep test came back positive! At least I know what it is, causing all this white stuff in the back of my throat. They gave me a shot in my tush and sent me on my way. Please pray the shot takes effect quickly, as there is no time for mommy to be sick.

I'll be posting again soon. Until then, I'm getting better. And wading through the accumulating laundry.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

One Sick Momma

Me, that is. I feel like I've been run over by a bus. Several times. My prayer today is to survive until naptime. And that my children will play quietly and cooperate. I'm not holding my breath.

So since I have nothing to offer, I'll direct you to a blog I have recently discovered and LOVE. If you have a few minutes, check her out. I think you'll love her, too.

It's Almost Naptime

If you find yourself with a lot of time, read through her archives. I'm telling you, this girl is hysterical. Tears were pouring from my eyes when I read her post where she details her husband's swollen ear after a trip to Vegas. Priceless.

And if I didn't feel so rotten today, I'd re-read it purely for the laugh.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Proverbs 31 Ministries

Are you familiar with Proverbs 31 Ministries? Over the past 7 or 8 months, I have been receiving a daily devotional from this site and it's wonderful. If you enjoy short snippets and applicable scripture, consider signing up for this email. I truly think you will be blessed.

Today's devotional is especially good.

Monday, July 20, 2009

7:00

Ahhh, the clock method. It's genius. Pure genius.

Saturday morning, both children woke up around 6:15. And started calling out for me. I went into their rooms, reminded them that they needed to wait until 7:00. Neither child was too excited about this. I went back to bed. Wes and I just laughed at ourselves as we listened to them hollering in the monitors. Humor makes everything better, right? We decided to go into their rooms a few minutes before 7 and have a New Year's Eve countdown. They were allowed to get up right when the clocks switched to 7:00. Day One - a small success.

Sunday morning, Jack woke up at 6:45 or so. Started calling out. I went into his room and told him to can it until 7:00. Nicely, of course. At 7:00, Wes went into his room and I went to check on Jordan Ann. Still sleeping, but woke up when I walked into the room. She and I even cuddled in her bed for a few minutes before Bulldozer Jack steamrolled us with sugar. So fun! Day Two - an even better success.

Monday morning, Jordan Ann woke up at 6:55. Started with her 6-syllable-momma. Wes was in the shower, so I didn't have his peer pressure to go into her room before 7:00. I waited. And at 7:00, she got up. We went to get Jack at 7:00, who had been quiet all along! Day Three - perfect.

But what made today so wonderful? Jordan Ann woke up with a dry pullup!! We have been talking about this for weeks now, trying to convice her to stay dry. We are even dangling a mighty fine carrot out there - a new bike. Today she finally did it. And boy is she proud of herself!

So tonight after swimming lessons, we are off to get JA new princess bicycle and "hamlet". (Helmet for those of you who don't understand kid-speak.)

Just a couple but major accomplishments around our household.

Friday, July 17, 2009

One of Those Weeks

Let's first say that I was on my way to the gym this morning desperately wishing for a nap-room instead of rows of treadmills and elliptical machines. I just wanted some peace and quiet in a dark room away from the world. Even 10 minutes. But no such thing. So onto the treadmill I hopped, listened to fun music and read a People. I suppose this is almost as good as a nap-room.

This week of swimming lessons, twice a day has been...exhausting. And I'm not even the one learning!

Day two of swimming lessons for JA was cancelled due to thunder and lightning. Which was fine for us because my two children were basically hiding under the covers in my bed most of the morning. Scaredy-cats. We made banana bread, played a sort and matching game that I've created and went on a safari through the house, complete with hats (thanks Carrie!).

Day three for JA was a disaster. She sat on the edge of the pool for 9 minutes (I watched the clock) and screamed. Turns out that Miss Brittany was a sub for Miss Joanna. For those of you who know my child, you realize that a change in teachers is never a good thing. She finally decided to quit wasting everyone's time and participate. And ended up having fun and did a good job. So off to Kroger we went for a little reward. (I don't usually use bribery. Just for big things. Like waking up in the morning with a dry pullup, more on this later. But in this case, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.) She selected a tacky Strawberry Shortcake baby with a bottle that you can fill with water, give the baby, and then watch it tee-tee. She doesn't know about Strawberry's tricks. I don't plan on cleaning up another booty around here.

Jack got a dinosaur. It's name is Rex. It doesn't tee-tee, thank goodness.

Wes has been out of town for the past few days and on the days he was here, he has left the house before sun-up practically. As a result, I've had a chance to work with Jack on his wake up habits. Mmmm, that sweet child. He is definitely his father's child when it comes to waking up. I think I've decided --- Jack and Wes are soul mates. Jack has an innate ability to call "my dahhhh-deeee" the very second his "dahhhh-deeee" leaves the house. Particularily very early in the morning. And I'm so far beyond caring if it disturbs Jordan Ann.

So Jack has been screaming. After a little while of fussing, then hollering, then crying, I'll go into his room, calmly reassure him that it's TOO EARLY to wake up and that he can get up soon. I'm on day four. It's getting better though. This morning, I was thrilled to see 6:40 when the child began waking up the world.

Tonight, I've implemented an alternate plan. I hear it's supposed to work wonders. We ate together as a family and went out for ice cream. Afterwards, we ran into Walmart. (As if you can "run" into Walmart. Ever. Much less with two small children and a husband.) We left with two digital clocks. I came home, plugged those babies in and my children are so excited! I got a sharpie and a stickie note and put a great big blue 7 on it. Stuck it next to the hour and instructed each child in no uncertain terms that when they wake up, they may call out only if it says 7 NOT 6. I'll let you know how it goes.

This week, I've also eliminated TV in the mornings. No Wiggles, no Playhouse Disney, or Sid the Science Kid. What a difference that has made! Plus, it is just much more pleasant with music on and no background noise from all those random characters. I have enough "characters" around here without adding in the cartoon variety.

Instead, they are playing their own games. I'm reading to them at breakfast. JA was singing to me this morning.

Maybe this is why I'm so tired tonight. But a small sacrifice to make, for happier, well-rested and therefore, well-behaved children.

It's been a good week, but one of "those" weeks that I'll remember forever.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fall Kelly's Kids Party

Who?
You, particularly if you live nearby.

What?
Kelly's Kids Party, adorable children's clothes

When?
Sunday, July 19 2:00-4:00, come & go

Where?
My house (Let me know if you want to come and I'll get you directions.)

Why?
Because we love to dress our children and enjoy cute clothes. Plus, no one's looking at us anymore, so why not dress your children instead?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Child-like Perspective

Swimming Lessons - Day One
When JA's teacher walked over to us, I couldn't help but notice how incredibly TINY she was. And tan. And pretty. And when she spoke to JA, she was nice. JA was set. She likes these types. But when Miss Brittany said, "Are you ready for swimming lessons?" I was fully expecting JA's natural reaction to new things: to turn away and bury her face in my lap/legs/shoulder, etc. Not this day. She reached out, took Miss Brittany's hand and didn't look back. My heart jumped for her.

She did everything the teacher asked of her. Willingly. Although, I will admit, she wasn't crazy about being dunked under the water. All three times. But she survived. And when the 30 minute session was over, she said, "Mommy I did it. I'm so proud of myself!!" I was too.

Fast forward several hours to 6pm and it's Jack's lesson. He's in the Water Babies class. All the other children were, in fact, babies. Comparatively, Jack seemed like a first grader. He was the oldest one and most opinionated, for sure. Wes went in the water with him and had a rough time holding onto him. Poor Jack kept saying, "I do it myself." Yeah, he definitely NEEDS the swimming lessons. He's fearless.

But watching my children conquer the water yesterday was very eye opening for me. It all started when JA and I were sitting on a bench waiting for it all to begin. The pool was filled with "older people" going through their daily routine of socializing and pool walking. I noticed a banner on the wall outlining an aquatics arthritis program. These folks were easily in their seventies and eighties, some frail and some still quite active. None of them looked good in their swim suits. Most were wearing rather unattractive swim shoes. None were tan. None were too proud. They just were doing their best to keep going.

So we were watching them. And Jordan Ann leaned over to me and said, "Look mommy at all those big kids. They are having so much fun."

Oh, how I long to be able to look past the surface to see what is truly on the inside. I pray that the Lord will continue to give me reason to have a child-like perspective. What a blessing it was yesterday to hear JA say that, just as a reminder that we all start young and when we're not anymore, we are still young at heart.

Just like all those pool walkers yesterday.

Monday, July 13, 2009

To Recap My Week With Two Four Year Olds

It was a wonderful week last week. I should have posted about it sooner, since Campbell left on Thursday. But it's been a busy few days since then with a family trip to the zoo, Wes's birthday, swimming and splashing outside, a baby shower, a children's clothes party, not to mention the regular stuff like eating and sleeping.

So now I'm sitting down to tell you how much fun we had. The Tea Party was a tremendous hit. The girls had a delightful time (as JA kept telling me). Luckily, Jack slept right through tea time, so we didn't have to worry about him bulldozing the dainty dishes. I moved our wooden kiddie table from against the wall in my kitchen to the middle of the room. I covered it with a white table cloth and added placemats with pink and green flowers embroidered on them. While they were napping, I went outside and got an arrangement of pink roses and fresh basil to make a tiny centerpiece. Our tea set is pink and green so the colors were perfect. I filled the teapot with tea and put little pink sugar wafer cookies and apple slices on the tray. Since it was a celebration for Campbell's half birthday, I had a little present next to her name card, wrapped in pink and green paper.

When the girls woke up from their naps, they walked into the kitchen to see their tea party and instantly, they started jumping up and down. I knew they would love it, but I was very excited myself to see how much they loved it all. The funniest thing - they carefully picked up their tea cups with both hands and BOTH of them held out their pinkies. They were such ladies, for sure.

Since Courtney wasn't able to be here, each night I would send her an email recapping our day so she could at least feel like she was a part of it all. Here's the email I sent on Wednesday night, before we said our goodbyes on Thursday morning:

courtney,

i just peeked in on them before going to bed. i would give anything to have a camera right now. they are laying side by side in the MIDDLE of the bed. JA's forehead is touching Campbell's cheek. the covers are pulled up to their waists and both of them have their arms are on top of the covers. they look like peaceful baby dolls. they seriously don't look like they are real. it's the sweetest thing.

i'm not ready for campbell to leave. neither is JA. it's been such a fun time. we had a Half Birthday Tea Party today and they were such ladies. they poured their own tea (campbell drank lemonade because she didn't like the tea. what???!!) and ate little pink sugar wafers and apple slices. we gave campbell a half birthday present - a new My Little Pony, Sweetie Belle. Sweetie Belle and JA's Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash are somewhere in the bed with them tonight.

each night, the bedtime discussion has been what we would be having for breakfast. tonight, they were so excited that they were having one more breakfast together.

also, i'm sure your mom mentioned the fact that campbell has a little bit of a runny nose. i have given her Benedryl and it seems to be doing better. she didn't ask for as many tissues today. i realized that we needed to break out the Benedryl when we were driving and i heard campbell tell me that my car was "the best". i was thanking her, telling her how sweet she was. and poor Campbell said, "no, it's a mess!" she had a case of "bum in and boop on the botty bop" syndrome.

i just finished washing and folding campbell's clothes. she's sleeping in a nightgown tonight - hearts, I think, so that's the only thing you'll need to throw into the wash when she gets home. thought you might appreciate less laundry than more laundry, if you're anything like me!

i've rambled enough. just know that we're going to miss having her here with us!!

love,
carly

PS: if she comes home saying "booty" instead of "tushie", i'm really sorry. booty is our word of choice around here and i didn't find out that you call it tushie until today. whoops. please, don't wash her mouth out with soap or anything.


If you ever get the chance to "host" a cousin, niece, or nephew, do it. It was some of the most fun we've had all summer. And what memories these girls will have together. I can't wait to do it again soon.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Not One, But Two

Four year olds, that is. My cousin's sweet little girl, Campbell, is here to stay with us for a few days. She came back in October for the weekend and we're thrilled to have her back. She said to me tonight, "Do you remember the last time when we were here? We painted those bags like pumpkins." Yes, we did! She said she wanted to do it again. I told her to just wait, because I have lots more fun things planned.

You see, Campbell has a Christmas Day birthday. Pretty tough, I would think, to share a birthday with Jesus. So, we're having a Half Birthday Tea Party this week! They don't know it yet, but Jordan Ann and Campbell will be such ladies at this party.

And we have a special treat we're making tomorow. And we're riding horses at my uncle's house. And let's see? What else. Oh yes, of course, lots and lots of dress up for these two.

What fun it is to have two little girls wiggling and giggling about everything! And don't worry, Jack is still here. He's the token tag-a-long brother.

PS: Still no camera. So, since I can't post pics of all this fun, you'll have to think back to your best and most fun memory as a little girl and know that this is 100 times more fun!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Those Sweet Bedtime Moments

I just put Jordan Ann to bed. I was kneeling beside her bed, going through our bedtime ritual. For more than a year now, I have had to sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Mary Had a Little Lamb and You are my Sunshine to her and it has to be in that order. This has to happen at naptime and at bedtime. I can't add another song, I can't skip one of those. She's such a creature of habit and bless her heart, she's my child.

Tonight I'm exhausted. It's been a mentally challenging afternoon with these two children I have. So as I was singing our three songs, I layed my head across her chest. She took her precious little hand and started rubbing my face and hair. She was oozing goodness. When I finished, I told her, "Jordan Ann, when you grow up, if you decide to be a mommy, you'll be such a good one." She said, "I don't want to grow up big." I said, "You don't? Why not?" Very quickly, she replied, "I just don't. Will you please tell God that? Tell him that I want to grow little."

Tears welled up in my eyes. I couldn't have said it better myself.

I don't want her to grow up either.

Friday, June 26, 2009

a little randomness

I haven't posted all week. Obviously. I really haven't had much to discuss or document. It's been hot and we've been...well, just here.

This week:

  • I've been exercising and the kids have been playing every single morning.
  • I've cooked real dinners every single night.
  • I have finished smocking another dress for JA.
  • I'm caught up on laundry.
  • My house is relatively clean.
  • I've cleaned out and rearranged three kitchen cabinets and my big pantry.
  • Jordan Ann and I have colored just about every single picture in her Strawberry Shortcake and My Little Pony coloring books.
  • Jack has carried around three or four "mens" everywhere we have been.

With the exception of a few minor meltdowns and sessions in the "no no corner", it's been a wonderful week at our house.

Just to follow up on the potty training (as if you care, but I'm pretending you do). I'm almost embarrassed to admit how well it's going. It's been a breeze. Today's his second day of big boy underwear all day with no accidents. Except for naptime and nighttime, he's been dry. Can I tell you how much easier this has been than potty training JA? Two completely different children, to say the least.

We spent the afternoon yesterday outside playing in the water. I sat and watched my two children in an imaginary world of play. It was heavenly. Somehow Jordan Ann talked Jack into sitting in her lap in our "big red car". Then she drove him around, asking an imaginary lady about tickets and getting directions on where to park. There was so much discussion, thank you's and byebye's, I could hardly keep up with whether they were coming or going. Such fun play!

While they did their thing, I sat in the sun and took advantage of the sprinkler beach ball. It simultaneously kept me cool and watered my flowers. Plus, my toenails (OPI Don't Be Koi With Me, the very best summer color ever!) were the exact same color as the orange in the beach ball. I was very pleased.

About Michael Jackson. I've never really been a huge fan. But hearing the songs played on every single channel last night, I realized that his music is really a soundtrack for my life, in an unintentional and very odd sort of way. Thriller reminds me of first grade. That Pepsi commercial when his hair caught on fire was in fifth grade, I think. Black and White, that was junior high. The song and video with Lisa Marie? Oh, the memories from my freshman year of college. And, why do I remember this --- The interview of him in the red/pink shirt talking about how he was innocent from every allegation against him reminds me of one Saturday when I spent the day scrubbing tubs and toilets in the first house Wes and I lived in. He's made an impact no matter how you look at it.

Wes and I were commenting last night about the LACK of news on (we're very much news junkies around here!). I'm thinking that Jon and Kate must be thrilled that they're no longer making headlines anymore.

Which brings me to my next topic. That show. I'm so sad for that family. I have been watching the show since the beginning and feel like they are my friends, in a very stalkerish sort of way. I have noticed Jon wearing tshirts with scripture, and seen notecards taped to their kitchen cabinets with verses, almost like memory verses. What an opportunity they have! I was just hoping that this week's big announcement was going to be that their marriage was worth fighting for and that they would be turning off the cameras to focus on what was best for their children. It's my opinion that continuing on in the path they are going is NOT what's best for their kids, despite the hundreds of times they say it to themselves, each other and the cameras. I'm done watching them. And so sad for them.

And what's worse? That people will continue to tune into this train wreck of a show and ratings will continue to drive their decisions. I just wish they would turn their backs on the cash so that they can better the lives of those eight children in ways that matter.

So there you go. Bits of randomness for today.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's Potty Time

So now that we're home from our vacations, I can face the inevitable. It's time. I can't ignore it any longer, as much as I'm NOT ready for this.

It's time to potty train Jack. He's constantly asking to use the potty and he's usually right on. He's going before bathtime regularly and I've just been pretending it's not happening. Isn't he too young for this? Don't boys potty train later than girls? Didn't I just finish potty training Jordan Ann? Are you serious?

I've gotten him those thick training pants that I loved for JA and a set of the cutest tighty-whities. I just couldn't introduce him to Cars and Transformers via his underwear. And there's something weird to me about having Elmo on your britches. So plain ole tighty whities it was.

Here's my dilemma, though. And if you have potty-trained a second child, please leave a comment and let me know what to do here. JA is Jack's biggest encourager. She's right behind me like a little duckling helping me do everything for him when it comes to pottying. She thinks she needs a reward when he goes, too. So, do I need to share with her, too? It seems like the same concept as giving every child in the family a present on a sibling's birthday. And that has always seemed ridiculous to me. But I have to admit, I do feel bad about dishing out candy rewards (even if it IS just two smarties or two m&m minis) and constantly telling her she can't have any. Your thoughts?

I seriously can't believe it's time! It seems like just yesterday I was making bottles for this baby!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Things to Remember About This Trip

1. Jack won't know he's sleeping in the closet if you don't tell him.

2. There ARE people who are sporting Kate's "porcupine" hairdo. I promise, I saw it with my own two eyes. I nearly fainted.

3. Don't try to be supermom and plan to take pics of your children swimming, forget and end up with the CAMERA swimming in two inches of water at the bottom of the pool bag. Broken. On the first day of the trip.*

4. Do try to take as many pictures as possible of all the landscaping (on the first day!) so that next spring, you can copy their flower bed and hanging basket combinations.





5. Bring twice as many drink boxes as you think you will need because mommy and daddy will want to drink them, too.

6. If travelling with two little ones, plan on not getting much nighttime sleep. Sleeping in one room = hard-to-settle for everyone.

7. Relax. Relax and enjoy all the simple things about family vacations. Such as climbing trees. Watching the fountains from our windows. Quacking at ducks. Sliding together down the waterslides. Reading stories with two babies in my lap at bedtime.





8. Take time to see vacations through your children's eyes and at their speed. It would be ridiculous to think you could linger over dinner and use linen napkins instead of scarfing down a $40 entree and mopping up with wet wipes.

9. Room service for breakfast beats the breakfast buffet every single time. Plus, when you take it out onto the balcony on a beach towel blanket, it's a wonderful breakfast picnic.

* Seriously. The camera is gone. The only way I have these pictures was because the card INSIDE the camera was not damaged and I used my parent's camera to download to my computer. Take pity on me and buy me a new camera. Please.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Grand Affair

We just returned from our second and last family vacation (AKA conference for Wes) for the summer. This time, we were at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear, AL. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you may remember about a post I wrote last year (on the old blog) about the wonderful spa day I had and the time I spent in the Quiet Room. If I close my eyes tight, I can still go there in my mind. Needless to say, this trip was fun, but not quite as relaxing, with two children in tow.

We arrived on Thursday night around 5:00. We checked in, found our way to our room (that's right, one single room for all four of us) and then to find some dinner. We ate at in the Grand Dining Room and the kids were as good as could be as expected, considering they were "road weary" and hungry.

Towards the end of our dinner, I looked over at a table of 7 girls my age. Each one looked like she could have been my friend. Two were pregnant and all of them were having fun. I watched them, longing to be sitting at THEIR table. (Don't get my wrong, I love being with my family and this vacation was wonderful. But sometimes the grass is greener, right?) There was an empty chair at the their table with my name on it, I was sure of it.

As we were getting ready to leave, I stopped at their table, smiled and said, "Can I pull up this chair and be your friend? I'm so envious of your girl-time and I just know we would be friends!" They were hilarious and told me to have a seat! Too bad I couldn't, because I know it would have been a ball!

I'm sure they spent their girls' weekend at the spa and quiet room. Not me. I was at the romper room on the second floor.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

the old becomes new again

My mother is back. She decided after her hiatus that she wasn't ready to quit blogging. She thought she deleted it, but we found it. It's been restored and she's writing again.

If you get a chance, go visit her. She just wrote about her sweet dog Ellie Mae. She's the best four-legged sister a girl could ask for.

Monday, June 8, 2009

You Get What You Pay For

Consider this a fair warning. I feel like it's my civic duty to fill you in on this.

Tonight we had what was called a "snick-snack-snupper" when I was a child. Daddy's not home for supper and mommy doesn't really want to cook. So a frozen pizza it was. My children typically eat pizza with no problems and it was a dollar something at Walmart this morning. (Just call me el cheapo.)

At our regular dinnertime, Jack alerts me with constant whining. The child has an alarm strapped to him for every mealtime everyday. I knew they would both be hungry.

I popped in the pizza and 15 minutes later, voila. Supper.

I got out my cute pizza cutter and made adorable triangles for their plates. After I burned the fingerprints off my thumb and first finger, I thought it would be a good idea to cut Jack's up in little pieces. Jordan Ann requested full triangles.

Add some fruit and a cup of milk and I was feeling pretty proud of myself. Not the most wholesome, but sufficient.

I called them in to the table and they anxiously climbed into their chairs. I put their plates in front of them and Jordan Ann popped her thumb in her mouth and laid her head on the table. Jack ignored the pizza and put away the strawberries faster than you could say "strawberry."

"What is the big deal here?" I thought to myself. So, I tried a piece of it. Cardboard. Cardboard with nasty pizza sauce and cheese that resembled styrofoam, even cooked.

Neither of them would eat it. I couldn't blame them, though. It was terrible.

All the books say that if your kids don't eat what you put in front of them, don't give them another option. I stretched it a little on this one. I didn't want them to go to bed starving because I purchased a frozen pizza for a dollar something.

Yogurt for supper.

(I hope that doesn't make me a terrible mother. I'll try better tomorrow.)

And for future reference, don't buy frozen pizza for a dollar something, thinking you can take the easy way out and provide a fun meal for your children. Or if you do, be sure you get some yogurt, too.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Vacations and Colors

It's been the longest blog vacation I've taken! I'm back now.

We've been on a "real" vacation to Florida --- heavenly. We played, swam, ate, slept, watched movies, rode bikes, found parks, hunted for seashells, rode merry-go-rounds and enjoyed every second of it. The highlight of the vacation was the hour-long nap I got on a porch swing in the breeze. I didn't want it to end.

But we're home now. And you know when you come home, you have just as much work to do putting everything back where it belongs! That's what I've been up to this week.

Now that birthday party season has come to a conclusion around here (thank goodness!), we're easing into summer. Most days lately have consisted of this:

I have more pictures than I can count plastered to my fridge. I'm loving it!

I'll be back soon.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Simple "I'm Sorry" Would Have Been Sufficient

Jack is going through a "hitting" phase. He'll hit anything or anybody (especially me) when he doesn't want to do something. It's very humbling to be smacked by a two-year-old.

I'm trying to nip the behavior in the bud before it gets out of hand. It's been a challenge so far. But I'm perservering.

Take last night for example.

I was in the process of putting him to bed. He needed his bees (blankets), which were in the den. So I let him leave his room and told him to come right back. He usually is pretty good at this. But last night he decided he would dilly-dally around. I went to look for him and he was sitting right NEXT to the bees, smiling at me. What a charmer.

I calmly walked over, picked him up and headed for his room. UNTIL. I felt a bare-handed, two-year-old, slap across my neck and chest. It stung so bad, I almost screamed.

Immediately, he went to his no-no corner. I left him there for a few minutes. Then I went back to "discuss the behavior" (as much as possible with a two-year-old) and for sorry's and hugs.

I turned the corner and he quickly pulled his finger out of his nose. He said, "Here you go, mommy" and held his finger up the air. After I looked closer, I saw that he was giving me a booger.

Thanks, Jack. A slap and a booger. Just what I always wanted.

Friday, May 22, 2009

this is why i voted 10 times

I watched American Idol on Tuesday, as I always do. Then I proceeded to sit there and hit redial over and over and over. I got through 10 times.

Can I tell you how much I love Kris Allen? From the very beginning, I thought there was something different about him. (Plus, he's from the South and I have a tendency to cheer for my fellow Southerners.)

And then today, I read this post on Kelly's Korner and watched a You Tube video of Kris leading in worship at his home church in Conway, AR!! This makes me like him even more!

If you don't click to read the post yourself (but I hope you do!), let me tell you the best part...

Apparently, Kris told his mom that "he needed one more week because he was witnessing to Adam and needed a little more time with him." I have chills.

I truly believe this: Almost 100 million votes were cast in this finale and Kris turned up the winner, because our sovereign God saw fit to bless HIS child in an abundant way.

Now I feel like it's my honor to begin praying for him, his new wife, their marriage and their witness. What an opportunity they have! My prayer is that they will be strengthened as a result of this recognition. And also, that the seed that Kris Allen planted in the heart of Adam Lambert won't be wasted. Won't you pray for these lives, too?

I fell asleep last night before the report came on, but on Bill O'Reilly last night, he was reporting on American Idol in his Culture Wars segment. I'll see if I can find the link to this story, as I think it relates to the "WHY" on Kris Allen's win on American Idol.

God's at work here. Don't you feel it?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

the pinata

Wes and I had such fun making this pinata for Jordan Ann's party. But I think the kids had more fun trying to break it. The instructions we were following told us to use 4-5 layers of newspaper. We were tired after three. Imagine how hard it would have been with all 5 layers!

We ended up having to cut into the bottom so the bigger boys could finally break into it. Out poured the goodies. I think everyone ended up taking home something fun from the pinata.

I know you can buy these at party stores everywhere, but if you need one for your own party, try making one. It was really easy and although it probably would have been something JA would enjoy, we worked on it at night after she was in bed already. Each morning when she woke up, she was excited to see how the pinata had transformed overnight. Maybe next year she can get her hands dirty and help with it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Crazy for Cupcakes

It's official. She's four. The Cupcake party that she asked for the day after she turned three and that I've been thinking about ever since was so much fun!

We had cupcakes, cupcakes and more cupcakes on Saturday morning. With our friends over to play, we had the best time celebrating Jordan Ann's birthday.

I made the cupcake cake using the best pan from Williams-Sonoma. Those adorable cupcake bites came from the Bakerella website. (Unbelievable, that lady.)

The most fun, though, was the pinata. I'll post pictures of that tomorrow.

Thank you, friends, for coming. And if you weren't here, we missed you! We'll do it again next year. :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

So Long. I'll Miss You.

Playschool. Today's the last day. And I'm so sad.

For two reasons.

One: it's over and there's no playschool during the summer. And because there's no playschool during the summer, I have no organized activity for my children yet. I suppose I should get creative, right? I will. Hopefully.

Two: it's over for Jordan Ann forever. Next year, she'll go to real PREschool. She's already appealing to my sentimental side and told me the other day that she didn't want to go to preschool but wanted to "just stay at home with you." She had real, live tears in her eyes. So, in less than 2 seconds, I had tears in my eyes, too. I'm such a sap.

The fall will be an adjustment for everyone. Admittedly, I will struggle the most, I'm sure.

But we're not thinking about that just quite yet.

Instead, I'm taking them to school for parties and playtime and I'm coming home to finish the last details for her party.

And I'll probably cry at some point today as I prepare to celebrate that my pink little burrito baby is turning FOUR tomorrow. Why has it gone so fast? When did I blink?

Jordan Ann at three years old. Today's the last day. And I'm so sad.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Smocking, Paper-Mache and a Turtle

We're getting ready for a cupcake party around here! Starting with the outfit. Because everyone knows you need a new dress for a party. But due to the fact that it's almost 90 degrees outside and we're having an outside party, my original plan of JA wearing the pink dress I smocked was a little unrealistic.

So out came plan B. Last Friday, I decided to start smocking a cupcake outfit for the occasion. I've been at it nonstop. (You can ask my husband and laundry basket!!)

I finished it just a few minutes ago. I can't tell you the sense of accomplishment when I took the smocking threads out, saw the finished product and tried it on JA. It's just what I wanted.

Onto the next project. Wes is even helping on this one. We're making a cupcake pinata. (I realize that right now, it looks like E.T. But eventually, it's going to resemble a cupcake.)

Not sure what the birthday girl is going to think about this one, but at least we'll have some little boys at the party to smash it. If that doesn't work, I've given Wes permission to get out his golf clubs.

Last but not least, this little guy heard we were planning a party. I don't think he's a welcome guest at all. (Yes, that's the ENTRY to my garage.)






Thursday, May 7, 2009

Today

I woke up annoyed this morning. That's really the only word to describe it. Just annoyed. And I can tell you this because I've already confessed this to my Father, been forgiven, and moved on. So, moving on...

We were up and at 'em early this morning. Jack had a stinky diaper with a black cloud following him, so he got changed and dressed earlier than usual. When JA realized that Jack was already dressed, she decided to get dressed herself. By herself. Like picking-out-her-own-outfit by herself.

She skipped down the hall wearing perfectly acceptable pink tshirt. Good. Then she chose shorts that were cute. Except they were cute a year ago. This year, they are a tad too little. For some reason, she wasn't buying it. She HAD to wear these shorts. So, pick your battles, mommy. "Fine, wear them. And I'll try not to laugh as I bounce the quarter off your booty, they're so tight," I thought.

I told her she could wear pink sandals or her white sandals. She said, "Nah, I think I'll wear my tennis shoes and socks." Ah, yes. Of course.

We headed out to the gym. (Lord knows I wasn't taking her anywhere else in that gettup!) Halfway there, I realized I WASN'T EVEN GOING THE SPEED LIMIT! It was 40 and I was hardly going 30. What's the deal? I was still annoyed, but this is strange, even for me.

We go in and get to the childcare area. JA pretended to be sad I was leaving. (This is a new phase for her and I'm ready for it to be over.) Jack took off and didn't look back. A friend of mine was there already and so she and I talked and walked. I was glad we had two treadmills together. Makes exercising much easier.

I even told her I was annoyed today. She's such a sweet friend, she just listened. And told me a funny story about her little girl getting dressed in a cute smocked dress. She said, "I look just like Jordan Ann." Not today, you don't!!!

So, we finished up at the gym. When I went to pick up the kids, they were happy and having fun. Love it!

As we headed out the car, I held Jack and JA held my hand skipping the whole way. As we went, we sang. All three of us, as loud as we could.

1, 2. I love you.
3, 4. Let's count some more.
5, 6. Get your kicks.
7, 8. Counting is great.
9, 10. Numbers are our friends. Let's count them all again.

And you know what? I wasn't annoyed anymore. Instead, I was refreshed and ready to be a fun mommy again.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Finished Projects

I mentioned a while back that I was learning to smock. Oh, I have just loved every second of it. The class I took was for geometric smocking only, but I have since figured out picture smocking, too. Both of them are so completely addicting, it's unreal. I've loved it.

Here are a few pictures of my first two dresses. Not only do I love them, but so does Jordan Ann. She's requested a white one next. I'll just have to see about that!

Over the weekend, I was shopping in a quaint children's shop in Birmingham. Wes patiently waited outside, so I could browse without sighs and watch-checking. (You know what I'm talking about.) I stumbled upon a dress that took my breath away. It was white with ivory and light blue smocking on it. But then as I was drooling over it, I realized it was the EXACT same smocking pattern that I had just finished on that pink dress. I immediately turned to the price tag. $82. My dress was not. (I was very quick to inform Wes how much $$$ I'm saving him by learning to smock.)

My next project? Learning to construct these dresses, so that I can make them from start to finish. If only I had more than 24 hours in one day. Or else didn't need sleep.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy May Day

I love May. Perhaps because as a child, it was the end of school and the beginning of summer. Or maybe because it's the "prettiest sounding" month of the year.

Both my children were due in May. Although, Jack decided he would prefer April and came 2 1/2 weeks early. Jordan Ann gave us a false alarm on Mother's Day, only to have the nurses send us home in the middle of the night (rolling their eyes in the process, I'm sure.). Then she hung in there snug as a bug until she was induced 4 days early. She's always had a mind of her own, that sweet girl.

So today's May Day and I'm happy. I just love May.

I want to make one of these and secretly deliver it to your door this afternoon. Since I can't, please accept my May Basket with so much love.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Choo Choo Cookies


I wanted to give something other than toys for the party favors for Jack's party. (Besides, what mother would want her kids coming home with a train whistle? You can thank me later.)

I really wanted to give Thomas the Train trains as party favors but have you looked at the price of them? Times the number of children at our party. Equals not in my party budget.

So I settled for train cookies. I had a ball making these, figuring out how to make royal icing that hardens this century and then bagging them up cute.

My children loved the broken ones. So did my husband. Oh, who am I kidding? I loved them, too.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'm No "Ace of Cakes".

Are you familiar with that show on The Food Network? I've watched it a couple of times and thought to myself, "what's the big deal?" Yeah, well. I now have a new-found respect for people who bake and decorate beautiful cakes.

I decided to try my hand at it for Jack's party. While shopping online for plates and napkins, I found this cute train pan. I read about it, looked at the pictures and thought I would add it to my cart and see what I could do.

I wanted to do something for his party that was different than the typical cake that matches the napkins or cupcakes (saving that for his sister's cupcake party). So a train cake it would be.

I wrote last week that I had a cake dress rehearsal to see how it would turn out. So glad I did. I ended up making several adjustments and figured out that I was decorating the cake backwards. (Only I would do that!) So decorating the cake for the real deal went much smoother.

I think the most fun was mixing all the icing colors. I felt like I was playing with grown up playdoh.

I wish I had taken pictures of the process for you. But honestly, I was so nervous, that I didn't have the forethought to do so. Instead, here's the finished product.

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Dear Boy is Two

Yesterday was Jack's big day! He's two years old and I can hardly believe it. Where is the time going? (I feel old just saying that line!)

We had such a fun train birthday party yesterday afternoon. The weather was perfect, windy, but nice. All our friends came. Everyone took turns riding the train and the kids played. I know mine had a ball.

I successfully baked and decorated a train cake. And didn't trip as I walked it from the dining room (where it was hiding from my nosey children) to the back patio for the party. I think I held my breath the entire time. I'll post details about baking the cake in a separate post.

Jack has a love affair with balloons. So today after his two year checkup at the doctor, we played outside together and he carried balloons around and had a blast doing it. Who knew balloons were so fun?

(I have uploaded 170 photos from yesterday's party. Needless to say, I'm dying to share them. I'm creating a photo album on the Kodak Gallery like I used to (for those of you who weren't in the loop back then, I used to email pics out once a month for more than 2 years!). So, leave a comment and let me know if you want to see them. Otherwise, I won't bore you with all these pics!)

Happy birthday, my sweet little boy!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Stage Fright

I want to make a post, really I do. But I don't have much to say (or am I running low on energy and that's why I can't come up with anything?).

I've spent the afternoon making a "dress rehearsal" cake for Jack's birthday party. I just thought it would be too cute to mess up at the 11th hour, so I wanted to do a trial run. Turned out decent, so I'm glad I did it. Now I'll know what to do to improve for the real thing.

Speaking of dress rehearsal, JA's ballet recital was this past weekend. Can I just tell you that I felt like I have been holding my breath for her all week long? I'm so glad it's over. (And I've since exhaled.) She did a fantastic job ----- at the dress rehearsal. At the recital? Not so much. She screamed when I left her, which made me cry, too. And then when her dancing debut came up, she stood there. Literally, just stood there. The night before at the dress rehearsal, she did 100% of the dance. On cue. Perfectly. I suppose she had stage fright. Or was a dancing diva drama queen.

Oh, but she was cute.


Didn't I start this post with nothing to say? Oh yeah. I did. I'm done now.

Off to enjoy peace and quiet tonight and do a little smocking. (I'll post pictures soon, I'm working on my second dress!)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Sweet Morning In The Park

We went to the park this morning and we were the only ones there. Jordan Ann had requested to go to a specific park in town -- "the one by Gammy's house with the fire truck". (To the girls who usually go parking with us, you were missed. JA asked no less than 14 times where our friends were!)

But being there, just the three of us, was rather nice. It brought back memories of when JA was a baby and she and I LOOKED for places to go and things to do just us, because none of my friends nearby had babies yet.

It was a little chilly this morning and luckily I had jackets in the car (right next to the loose Cheerios and sippy cup with what used to be milk -- I know, nice!).

I was able to sit and watch them play, run, slide and hop around together as friends. When they needed a break, they came to me for a drink and handful of Apple Jacks. Then they quickly scampered off.

Even as I write this, I have tears in my eyes. I know that in they fastest blink of an eye, they won't be little anymore. They won't be calling out, "Watch me, momma!" every 45 seconds. Their legs will finally move as fast as their minds want them to and there will be no more clumsy falls.

Jordan Ann won't be wearing a white sweater buttoned at the top with a pink bow in her hair as big as her head. Jack's little New Balance tennis shoes will one day be bigger than my size 8 flip flops.

They will not be content running and playing, singing and laughing on a playground such as this.

Oh, but what joy and pleasure I have had today watching and listening as they tried climbing up the slide and laughed hysterically as they slid to the bottom.

And then that moment when I heard Jack say, "Hi 'Nan (which rhymes with "train") when she got to the top of the stairs where he was standing. She enthusiastically said, "Hi Jack" right back to him and put her arm around him for a sweet hug. Can I tell you that I almost lost it right there?

One of my prayers of many for their precious lives is that years from now they will share a very special bond of family and friendship just like they are showing me now as little children.

I realize that I have just rambled and shared random details for no other reason than to say:

I've had a full cup mommy moment with my children today.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter From A Child's Eyes

We had a wonderful Easter filled with several egg hunts, parties and lots of candy! Here are a couple of pictures from a fun Easter Egg Hunt hosted at Mati Claire's house. (You can click here to see more details from Carrie's blog.) And every last detail was arranged at this party. Carrie, her mom and sister thought of everything.

Although my attempt at a decent a group picture was just a joke, I think these pictures tell the story of this fun Easter party nicely.