Friday, May 30, 2008

Photo Fun

How is it that going to the bank, Target, Jamba Juice and getting gas with 2 kids can be SO exhausting. We got home and I felt like I was done for the day. And the kids were SUPER good. However, interacting with Miss Rose requires so many words and that can be tiring. She wants to discuss everything, and then do it all over again.

Anyways...I wanted to share some recent photos of the kiddos.

My new favorite photo of Gracie. A friend took this last weekend. I am in LOVE with his camera.



Don't you think this could be a Ben & Jerry's ad??? Miss Rose is always sticking her tongue out of the side of her mouth like that. So cute.



Of course Gracie wanted in on the ice cream action.



And again with the tongue!!


Have a happy weekend!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Do as I say, not as I do

We've all heard it. We've all said it--at least in jest. It was a joke in my family when my Dad did or said something that contradicted with Our rules. We were good sports about it and just accepted that there were perks to being an adult.

Miss Rose is coming up on 4 1/2 and recently I've found myself employing the "do as I say, not as I do" tactic. I haven't said those exact words of course, but the idea is there. I have a bit of mental pain over it, but I guess it's one of the parental rites of passage, such as being spit up on, pooped on and told "I don't like you anymore."

Part of my mental anguish is that I don't want to have this "hidden" life from my child. Nor do I want to set a ton of examples that I wouldn't want her to follow. When I make long lasting decisions, I think about the example it will set for my kids in the future. Sure I'm an adult and can do as I please, and she will be one day too---but I feel strongly about living a life my kids can be poud of.

I kind of feel bad telling Miss Rose--this is okay for mama but not for you. But, I am an adult and she is a child. There are reasons why things are okay for me, but not for her, right??

Here are some recent scenarios.

Drinking soda...this has been going on for probably a year already. We are soda drinkers. I wish we weren't--as it's a bad habit of putting chemicals, artificial sweeteners and sodium in our bodies--but obviously it doesn't bother us enough to stop. Well, it doesn't bother Bean at all! Just me. Miss Rose often asks for drinks of my soda and the majority of the time the answer is no. For special occasions or sometimes when eating out, she gets to drink sprite or sprite and lemonade. My parents were huge soda drinkers too--and we couldn't drink it until we were in high school. I remember a short time my dad decided to charge us a quarter for every soda we drank at home. There was a bowl of quarters in the refridgerator!

Two-piece bathing suit. Ah, this is a sticky one. It's a personal thing for me, that I really don't want my daughters in 2 piece bathing suits until they are much older. Maybe 33. I'm sure at some point in junior high or high school I'll give in, but for now--one pieces. I want them to see bathing suits as functional, not as a fashion item. Little girls in bikinis are super cute, don't get me wrong, but just not my girls. Miss Rose has asked recently for a bathing suit that just covers "this" (as she puts her hands over her chest). Nope. Sorry. Yes, mama will be wearing a 2-piece, but you won't.

Language. Words like stupid and hate are not good to use. Kids tend to use them in reference to other humans. I really try not to use those words around her. But sometimes I'll say something is stupid. And of course she always calls me on it. I do try to change my vocab. But, sometimes, the things I say are part of an adult conversation, and she tries to correct me--or other adults around. Not okay. So I've started telling her that there are certain things adults can say that kids can't--and regardless of what she thinks, correctly an adult is not an option for her.

I know there are more, and as my daughters grow, the list will grow also.

My desire is to set the best example for my children as I can. But sometimes, the example is one of learning boundaries and limitations. I can only hope that as Miss Rose and Gracie grow and mature, they will understand what was behind our rules. Not only is it my job to teach them to be good children, but also to be well-rounded adults. I hope when they are adults as they look at our lives, they will see just that.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Should life be fair?

When was it that there was a conceptual change between "life just isn't fair" and "let's make it as fair as we can" ?

Growing up in a family of 4 kids, there was not always equality. I'm sure it was next to impossible, but I don't remember it really being an issue for me. I do recall my parents telling us that "life isn't always fair." My siblings and I did not compare birthday presents or parties or Christmas gifts. And even if we did, it wouldn't have made a difference to my parents. We just learned to enjoy and appreciate what we had.

It seems today that equality is a huge deal, especially when it comes to kids. We have to spend the same $$ amount on Christmas or birthday gifts AND the number of gifts must be the same. It's not just the birthday kid recieving gifts, it's the siblings too--just so they don't feel left out. If a child is having a hard time with the lack of fairness in life, we console and coddle them until they are feeling better.

I prefer the school of hard knocks. I know, I'm kind of old school on this. Life just isn't fair and I don't feel the necessity to make it as fair as possible for my children. I do not feel a necessity to give them identical birthday parties each year. They may have unequal numbers of Christmas gifts. They are 3 years apart, so what makes the younger one happy may sometimes cost less than what we want to give the older one. And who knows--some years, it may be vice versa.

And I will not feel the need to explain myself about everything. Some things just are becuase I am the parent and I know best. Your brain isn't mature enough to comprehend the vast complexities of why I have made the decision I have. I will do my best to explain in words and ideas you understand, but beyond that--just deal with it.

If I began to recount the vast number of injustices I have had to deal with as an adult...it would equal the number of injustices we all face in our lives. Life really isn't fair. For a variety of reasons. I don't want to give my children a different picture.

What I do promise to my children is that I will love you unconditionally, with God's help I will always make decisions that are in your best interest. As you grow and mature, I will help you understand why we make the decisions we do so that you can learn to do the same in your life.

Life SHOULD be fair. But it isn't. I won't purposefully be unfair to my children, but I also won't cater to their every whim. Because I'm the parent..that's why!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Getting to know you

My friend Amy tagged me, so here goes.

The Rules:


~The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.


~Each player answers the questions about themselves.


~At the end of the post, the player tags other people and posts their name, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog.


What was I doing 10 years ago?
In 1998, I was a Junior in college. I was an RA (one of my fav years in college), on the Prayer and Praise team and also the leadership team for HATB--our Spring Break Mexico outreach (Amy was the director that year I think).

Five Snacks I enjoy:


In a perfect, non weight-gaining world. . .
~Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
~Muffins/Homemade bread
~Starbucks drinks
~Cheez-its (love these too!)
~Dark Chocolate

In the real world. . .
~Apples/Bananas
~Nuts
~FiberOne Bars
~Popcorn
~Dark chocolate--just one piece really makes a difference!

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
~Pay off school loans
~Travel a few time a year doing missions work
~Buy a homes in San Diego (sooo expensive) for ourselves, our parents & siblings
~Invest for our children's educations and weddings
~Tithe and give more than 10%

Five jobs that I have had:
1. Busser/Hostess at Souplantation
2. Hostess at Marie Callender's
3. Customer service for home school catalog
4. Babysittere/nanny
5. pastor

Three of my habits:
1. Checking stuff online
2. Not putting stuff away
3. Putting my hair up, every day, by the end of the day

Five places I have lived:
1. Seattle, WA
2. Spokane, WA
3. San Diego, CA
4. San Marcos, CA
5. Costa Mes, CA
(that's it...all the places I have lived)

Sleepless Saturdays and Sundays

When do kids start to sleep in on the weekends?? No one ever told me when I was expecting, that young children are hardwired to operate opposite to what we think.

Saturday mornings...Bean hasn't been up early showering and leaving for work, the house has been peaceful and quiet. There should be nothing waking my kids up early.

But, let's see. This Saturday, about 6:26 a.m. I hear the first squeal. Then laughter. Mind you, most weekdays normal wake-up time is between 6:45 a.m. and 7 a.m. There were no early wake-ups this week. I go in and Gracie is standing in here crib bouncing and Miss Rose is laughing.

I gave it my best shot. Told Miss Rose it was too early and she needed to stay in bed (she wasn't happy about that, but she obeyed). Took Gracie and put her in the pack and play which is in our room. She layed there for about 2.8min. Then was up, looking at me and yelling. So I got her up and let her play in between Bean and I. Within about 5min she made a loud noise, which brought Miss Rose in our room...so by 6:45 a.m. we had kids climbing all over us.

It's hard to say who wakes who up. Whether it's the baby or my big girl waking first. What I do know is that my big girl knows her days pretty well and what they represent. She knows that Tuesdays and Thursdays are school days, Wednesday is Grammie day, Friday is mommy day---and most importantly Saturday is Daddy day. Meaning Daddy is home--and not working either job. That's her excitment.

During the week I suspect there are times she wakes early, but she knows if she gets up she has to get ready for the day and it's all that much sooner she has to leave home. So she stays in bed and sleeps more. But on the weekends....Daddy AND Mommy are home, so why not wake early and get even more time with them.

Really it's sweet. Although we'd enjoy a little more sleep, the excitment on their faces is hard to resist. And there's nothing that a little coffee can't cure!

Still though, at some point they'll make the turn right? They'll be teenagers who we'll be dragging out of bed at 11am. In the meantime, we'll enjoy their enthusiasm about the day with us.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Win!

A free Ergo Baby Carrier from Along for the Ride

I can't remember...oh wait, MARGINS

Why is it that throughout the day I think of a variety of things to post about...and when I sit down at the computer, my mind is empty? That's exactly what's happening right now. I even had a title in mind...but now...nothing! AH--I think I've got it. Margins.

We're doing a small group study right now on creating margins in your life. The main principle being that we (humanity) like to push everything to the limit and we don't leave any space for the unexpected--or we just get burnt out.

Wednesday it was on financial margins. Perfect since that morning Bean and I got word that our car repairs were going to run us $3000! We were stressing. We had decided to use our "economic stimulus" to stimulate Saturn, but that bill was almost 2x what we got. We are really working towards some financial goals--the the first being getting of credit card debt, and buying a home in the long run. We just finished paying off new tires for my vehicle and now this. It seems like just when you catch up---you fall behind again.

So, financial margins... the idea that there is space between your expenses and your income. Most of us pretty much spend whatever we make--even if it's going to the "right things," we spend it. Bean and I make a good deal more now then we did when we were first married. But now we have 2 children, need a larger home, pay for childcare etc. Like us, you probably say "if only we made more." I find myself thinking that a lot.

However...our discussion on Wednesday made this statement "it's not about income, it's about lifestyle." Andy Stanley says if don't have margin, it's not because you don't have enough income, it's because of the lifestyle you choose. So I started thinking about it.

We have a cable/phone/internet package. It's a "good deal" for the services we recieve, but it's a lifestyle choice to have digital cable, high defintion service, DVR (like Tivo) and high speed internet. (I know, I know. Please don't judge!) It's a lifestyle choice to eat out a few times a week. It's a lifestyle choice to buy a few cartons of ice cream a week or soda or favorite snack items. It's a lifestyle choice to have unlimited Blockbuster rentals.

We don't have a lot of margin in our finances. Perhaps a little bit, but not enough. When I get frusterated from now on, I'm going to remind myself--it's about lifestyle, not about income. We CAN make choices to increase our margin. Honestly, it's going to be a bit of a process I think. Bean and I need to talk about it. See what lifestsyle changes we can make to maximize the income God has blessed us with.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It Is Finished

For 13 months my body has mostly belonged to my baby. Actually, it was more like 22 months. Almost 2 years. That's kind of a crazy thought. For 9 months she grew inside of me and then for the next 13 months my milk helped sustain her.

For the longest time, she's been ANGRY in the morning wanting to nurse right away. I'm not sure if it was a hunger issue or just wanting that connection. A few weeks ago she started not waking as angry and then last weekend she skipped a few mornings, so I just decided to go with it.

There have been several times in the last 10 days that I could tell she would have gladly nursed. Usually this is indicated by her hitting my chest area with her forehead. I'm not sure why that's her "nurse now" sign, but it has been. It kind of makes me laugh. At least it's not lifting up my shirt or something. Once I comfort her in another way, the desire to nurse seems to dissipate.

Weaning this baby has been difficult for me, mentally. She was attached to nursing much longer than Miss Rose. Maybe because I was working out of the home 3 days a week, so she really wanted that connection. I was able to work at home during Miss Rose's first year. By the time Miss Rose was 1 year, she was such a "healthy" size that nursing her wasn't a tender moment. It was more like wrestling an orangutan! Gracie is such a petite thing that she still feels very "baby".

I think there is also a real sentimental aspect for me. When Miss Rose was weaned, I knew I'd have more children. I didn't know how many, but I knew I would nurse more babies. Now though, I know that there is just one more baby in our future. There were some complications with my last delivery that make me nervous to have more children. My doctor has assured me another pregnancy will be okay, but I will be closely monitored and will deliver early. I feel that going through pregnancy and delivery one more time is probably low risk, but more beyond that might not be wise.

As I'm weaning Gracie, I realize, the next baby I nurse will be the last baby I nurse. So it's like I want to hold on to nursing Gracie longer. I can barely bring myself to say "she's weaned." When people ask, I say "she hasn't nursed in a week. I think she's weaned." Of course there still is milk...but I'm sure not much! I know, it's really a silly thing. But that's what a blog is for, right? Sharing your secret thoughts.

But, it's time. Gracie is sleeping later in the mornings now. I suspect she was waking earlier to nurse, wanting that connection--although she truly needed more sleep. She wakes happy for the most part and I love hearing Miss Rose and Gracie laugh and play together in the morning--at a reasonable hour. Before, Gracie would be yelling and I'd go in and Miss Rose would be covering her ears and sleepily say "can you take her out please."

It will be good...strike that...it IS good to have my body back. My hormones will even out. Now if only I could have the cup size back that I lost after nursing a 2nd baby. Oh the sacrifices a mother makes.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Funny 4 year old

Kids do say the darnedest things! Hubby and I have never really done the baby talk thing with our kids, nor do we talk down to them. On one hand, I think it helps kids mature and be able to communicate well. On the other hand, it makes for a brutally honest, smart alec daughter.

Here are some of Miss Rose's recent one-liners.

When verbally invited by another 4yr old to her Barbie Birthday party.
"No, I don't want to come. I only like boy toys, I don't play with Barbies."

When she heard hubby and I talking about the Iron Man Movie.
"If I was Iron Man, I'd iron EVERYBODY."

When some of my co-workers stopped by randomnly (note...my job is basically in my backyard--church/parsonage etc).
"What are all these people doing here?" Mind you, she knows them and sees them several times a week.

After splashing water on herself drinking at a drinking fountain.
"My bad."

Whenever something pleases her.
"That's what I'm talking about, baby."

After finding out she didn't have to go somewhere.
"Whew, close call."

While pointing at an unfortunate blemish on her aunt's face.
"What is THAT?"

During one of her pretend games.
"Do you want me to pour some finger rays on you?"

While standing behind a large chair, when told to stop playing (Transformers...thank you boys in her Sunday school class) and get ready for bed.
"Hold on, let me transform into a little girl again."

And my personal favorite, said randomly every now and then while she grabs onto my legs.
"You are the best mommy in the world."

That's my girl!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Perspective and Answered Prayers

I posted a few weeks ago about Miss Gracie's birthday and how it ended up being a little disappointing because dh got sick, so most couldn't come. What I didn't share in that post was the perspective I gained by the end of the night.

When my mom arrived at our house she told me she had recieved a message saying "have you heard about A.G.? It doesn't sound good. Is it true?" AG is a lifelong friend--a few years younger than me. We haven't lived near each other in years, but keep in sporadic touch. One of those friends you can pick up with so fast because you have so much shared history.

I hadn't heard anything, but had her cell # in my phone, so decided to try texting her after my mom shared the message with me. After all the birthday festivities, we were just hanging out and my phone rang...a number in her area code. It was her dad.

I knew right away, it wasn't good if her dad was returning my message. She is only 28 but had a massive heart attack a few days before. So bad that she basically died and was revived a few times in the emergency room, was basically on life support, not a good prognosis, would perhaps need a heart transplant.

Well, God sure kicked my butt on that one. Here I am crying over spilt milk basically--that my baby didn't get the party I had wanted for her--while my friend is fighting for her life. What perspective. This is why my motto is "no crying over spilt milk." When I do--I find that it is so worthless. Normally I would have just rolled with the punches for Miss Gracie's birthday. But I chose to be a crybaby and once again, learned the error of my ways.

Enter PRAYER! A blog network was established for my friend and I'm sure she went on dozens of prayer lists and chains at multiple churches. You can probably guess the end of this story. She has been almost completely healed! Home from the hospital now. It's a complete miracle. They don't even have a current prognosis for her, as people don't usually survive such a heart attack, much less walk out of the hospital without a transplant. God definately wasn't done with her yet.

Another lesson learned in prayer was this past week. I received an email about a desperate situation a friend of mine was in--waiting on governement and agencies. I shared the request with BelovedMaMa as well as our staff prayer meeting on Thursday morning. I'm sure many others were praying as well. Sure enough...within just a few days the situation completely changed and all prayers were answered.

Not that I don't doubt the power of prayer. I'm a pastor after all. I pray for people daily. But, sometimes it's nice to get a little faith boost. There are some situations in my life that I am going to renew my passion to pray about, and trust that I'll see change and answers!