Friday, April 30, 2010

I'm not a photographer

I'm not a photographer by any stretch. But I love taking photos of my kids. And sometimes I get lucky and get some good shots. If I knew how to edit and had editing software, I could probably bump these up a few notches.
But I don't. So here's the real deal.
{Sometimes, I think there should be a blog carnival for those of us with simple point-and-shoot cameras and no fancy lenses. But who would want to see those pictures? That's probably why there isn't one.}

I love the how the sunlight was hitting just right at this random angle I shot. Makes her blue eyes really pop.

Oh, these sweet chubby ankles. I know they won't be like this for long. Her feet are still so tiny! She's just starting to outgrow her 0-6 month Robeez, although they still do fit. It's warming up, so most of her time is spent barefoot.


My free-spirited child. She spends her time running around and doing her own thing.


Then a quick pit-stop to love on her baby sister.


And this girl, always on the move.  Intense.  No time to stop and smile for mama.



Oh, how I love these girls. 
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

this and that

I should be doing a lot of this. I could be doing a little bit of that.

What are this and that?  Oh, you know.  Those things that need to be done every day.  Daily chores, cleaning, projects.  We all have this and that to do each day.

But instead, I'm in the mood to write about this and that.  Plus I have a bit of a headache, so I figure a bit of downtime before I do school pick-up won't hurt.

I haven't been blogging much lately.  I blog in my mind of course, and I have a variety of topics I want to write about.  I've still never shared the complete before and after photos of our home addition for my parents.  Our house also got painted and re-stuccoed.  A few weeks ago I spoke to a moms group (it was a blast!) and I've been wanting to recap my talk here.  I was asked to speak on "Bringing Balance to Your Life." It was a topic I really enjoyed preparing for and am often reminding myself what I shared with the moms, because I applied it to my own life.

God has been doing work in me lately on being content and not constantly pining for my life to be different.  Last night at church I spoke on God being enough and what he's given being enough.  Again, God was speaking to me as much as he was speaking through me to others.  I don't get the opportunity to "speak" often, but when I do, I love it!  I think in the summer or fall I'm going to teach a quarter of our Connect Classes (adult sunday school).  It's good for my mind and heart.  I'm feeling a lot more peace about all parts of my life, and that's a good thing.

I'm still seeking more peace about not having more babies.  Like I've said before, I'd be struggling with this whether or not we had chosen to take care of this medically.  I just like babies.  I like kids.  I like being a mom.  I'm doing better with it.  But then there are weeks, like this one, with babies being born and I received a package of baby products to review and I just need a baby.  I'm envious of my friends who are "done" and happy about it.  This is where God's peace and my contentedness come in.  And trust.  Because if God wants me to have another baby or child, by my own body or adoption, he'll orchestrate it as long as I'm delighting in him.

Since I'm not having more babies, I've decided it's time for summer prep for my body.  I'm happy with my size, but there is some toning needed, which also probably involves about a 5lb weight loss.  I tried the Belly Fat Cure diet.  I lasted one day.  It wasn't quite balanced enough for me and the foods I was eating gve me heartburn.  So I'm back to good ole Weight Watchers, my tried and true eating plan.  Of course this week there have been various social activities involving good food and buttercream frosting.  But I haven't over-indulged.  I've been trying to do ab work every other day (my trouble area after 3 babies and 3 c-sections).  I think it might be making a difference, albeit small right now.

I want to blog more about running.  Which is my sanity.  It may not be your sanity, but there is something out there that is.  I firmly believe everyone should have some form of activity a few times a week.  Not just for your body, but for your mental health.

I'm starting to think I need to come up with a weekly schedule or routine.  To decide when certain parts of the house get cleaned, when the kids laundry gets done, when I do prep work for meals, when I work on projects.  It may not always happen the way I plan it, but I need a plan.  I'll probably get more done regularly if I have that plan.

Bean and I have an opportunity to get away tonight for one night.  And we took it.  Pretty amazing for me, I'll admit.  I'm a junkie for my kids and I've been gone a lot lately.  But this is local, and just one night and we need it.  This will be our first night away with no kids in years.  Like, the last time may have been when I was pregnant with Gracie.  Want to know the first thing I'm going to do?  Go run on the hotel treadmill.  Yeah, I'm serious.  That's part of my ideal night away.  Sick, I know.

So, that's the this and that in my head right now.  Part of the weekly schedule I want to develop involves what I do with my lesiure time.  Less aimless internet browsing.  More focused blog time.  More focused reading time (I have about 10 books, not even novels, that I want to read).  So maybe I'll be blogging a bit more, and it will be more focused.  We'll see!

Hope you have a great Friday in preparation for a great weekend!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Not Me!



It's been so long since I participated in this blog carnival.  It hasn't been for lack of material though, usually lack of time.

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

So, without further ado, may I share with you what I haven't been doing lately?

I did not scrape what appeared to be a dried booger off the floor as I was cleaning it.  Any sneezing individual in my home would use a Kleenex.  They would not just let their snot fly.

I did not find myself coordinating a wedding recently.  I don't have experience in this area and wouldn't try to undertake such a task, even if the original coordinator found herself in the hospital.

I did not say to my children "who needs to poop, because I smell a poopy fart?"  Gracie did not respond by raising her hand and saying "I had a poopy fart."  We are much classier than that.

And lastly, I have not over-indulged in sweets and Diet Coke these last few weeks.  I have more self-control than that and I am applying the lessons I learned during my months of fasting Diet Coke and my month of not eating sugary treats.

Yup, pretty typical "not me" stuff going on in our circus on a regular basis.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Can't stand it

They are just the cutest things ever! I tell ya, two kids in two years is no joke. Especially the first year. But seeing their relationship form and watching them play and interact is so fun.



Gracie easily reverts back to "baby mode" and Lily loves it. One of their favorite activities is crawling around together.



And I love that when Miss Rose is in the mood, she gets in on the fun and silliness with them.

So far, no one can elicit a belly laugh from Lily better than her big sisters.

They are pure joy. {when they aren't wreaking havoc!}


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

why not?

Although blogging is mostly a hobby and outlet for me, I always enjoy networking through blogs.

I decided to list my blog on Top Baby Blogs.

Want to take a minute and vote for me?

Click here!


Help Our Rank & Visit Top Baby Blogs, Baby Blog Directory!

Thanks!!  Is your blog listed?  I'm happy to return the favor and vote for you, just leave a comment on this post.

Monday, April 19, 2010

unfortunately

We survived another trip to the dentist this morning.

Miss Rose experiences great anxiety when dental work is required. 

Unfortunately, she needed a tooth extracted at the age of 2, which traumatized her.

Unfortunately, she has inherited soft teeth with deep grooves. 

And I learned today, that her teeth may be doomed before food ever gets stuck in their crevices.  She had a 6-yr old molar come in recently, that already had a hole in it.  The dentist gave me a name for it, which I can't remember and am too lazy to google right now. 

These are some unfortunate combinations.

At age 4 she had some dental work done and they chose to sedate her with Versed.   It was quite an experience because the medication made her pretty loopy and she was saying some funny stuff.  I was sad to have to see my girl like that though.  And even with that sedation, I had to restrain her some for the dentist.

Today, we decided to try nitrous oxide first.  I gather that not all 6-yr old need this.  However, my poor girl was in tears as soon as we hit the doorway of the exam room.  Part of me wants to tell her to snap out of it and buck up, but I know that she has legitimate anxiety.

It was borderline at first.  She bawled through the shots, even though the nitrous was on her and the dentist used numbing gel before he gave the shots.  But, she didn't move through it all.  In fact, I think the bawling helped.  I've never seen her mouth so wide open before.  It was hard to see her so affected.

While the novacain took effect, so did the nitrous.  By the time the dentist returned, she was calm enough for him to do all the work needed (2 sealants and 2 cavities).  We see a pediatric dentist, so she was able to watch a movie in the ceiling and listen with headphones which help drown out the dental tools.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid this won't be our last visit for cavities.  It seems that she's doomed.  We do the best we can, but even the dentist says for her, it's just inevitable.

Unfortunately, for Miss Rose, I renewed a passion to limit the candy my kids eat.  I've been lax lately.  Especially with all the holidays and birthdays in the past 5 months.  It's not like they eat inordinate amounts of candy, but they could certainly eat less. 

Some things, you just can't change.  You do the best you can.  But you can't control everything.  It's unfortunate, but it's life.  Life will never be perfect.  There's always going to be a challenge.  There's always going to be something that isn't fair. 

You might bawl a bit like Miss Rose, but there is always something else you can choose to focus on (like Kung Fu Panda playing in the ceiling).  But the pain is for a purpose, a greater good.  And afterwards, you may feel numb for a while.  Slowly, the memories fade, the pain recedes and predictability returns.

Unfortunately, that's just life.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

my kind of saturday

We had to wake up, and get up early this morning.  Usually on Saturdays, even if the kids wake up we sometimes send them back to their room, where they snuggle and talk in the same bed, or we snuggle in our bed, just to get a few extra minutes. 

Lately though, there's been no sleeping in on Saturdays.  Miss Rose has t-ball games at 8am almost every Saturday.  On the one hand, it's nice to get the game out of the way early in the day, but it also makes for a long day!

So we were up and at 'em early, out of the house at 7:30am.  I had three kids in our Saturn as Bean was dropping the van off for servicing.  Let's just say, I am VERY thankful for our minivan.  We thought there was a courtesy shuttle that would bring Bean to the field.  Not on Saturdays though!  Luckily my sister (who's visiting this weekend) saved the day, even though she wasn't planning to get up early and go to the game.

Miss Rose had a great hit her last at bat and got the game ball.  Which of course is a huge deal when you are 6.  Since my niece is also on the same team, there is always a lot of family at the games--and we enjoy hanging out.

After the game, my sister and I headed to our local (man-made) lake for a run.  I used to run there all the time.  But since having a third child, and now living in a neighborhood I can run in, I don't go as often.  But I need to.  It's so nice to run on the wide path and not have to worry about curbs and cars and crossing streets and turning corners.  I think I run a bit faster while there.

When we got home, Bean was finishing up some yardwork.  My neighbor came over to tell us about a yard sale a few blocks away with cheap, old ecclectic stuff.  I was sweaty and smelly, but headed over anyways with the kids.  I scored a small teapot, a cool small aqua bowl, a few odds&ends for Miss Rose and a chaise lounge with pad for: $5.  When I said cheap, I meant cheap!  Usually stuff in our neighborhood is a bit more. 

My mom also came with us and they gave her a microwave, not sure if it worked or not.  I lugged the microwave home for her.  Then headed back for the lounge chair.  And yes, I lugged the whole chair a few blocks home.  It really wasn't too heavy, just awkward.

I supposed I could have tried to get it with a car, but it would have been the same amount of trouble as walking home with it.  I am sure I was quite a site.  Bean laughed (and didn't offer to help) when he saw me nearing our home.  But come on, for $2, it's worth it!  Now I can lounge outside in the sun or read or watch the kids play.

My sister-in-law had arrived with her two kids in the midst of all the rukous.  There was lots of commotion.

And I still smelled.  Maybe that's why I got the stuff for so cheap.  They just wanted me out of their yard!

Finally things calmed down and after giving the little girls lunch, I got a shower. 

This is my kind of Saturday.  Family, craziness, running, carrying chaise lounge chairs two blocks and enjoying our great weather and neighborhood.

Bean is going to use a new charcoal grill for the first time tonight.  A friend was supposed to be coming for dinner, but had to cancel.  But we'll go ahead and enjoy the tri-tip without her!  And maybe we'll even roast some marshmellows on the charcoal.

I hope you're having a great Saturday as well.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

cyber baby book

I'm terrible these days at keeping track of things in baby books.  In fact, I've yet to start Lily's baby book.  I do have a "First Year" calendar that I tracked milestones on.  Well, at least some of the milestones.

So for now, I'm relying on my blog for record of my kids development.

Miss Rose is maturing so much these days.  The last month or so we haven't had any major discipline problems with her.  A few months ago, we had some huge knock-down drag outs.  But we stuck to our guns and kept our expectations high, and she's rising to meet them.  She's been very sweet and loving, not only to her sisters but even us!  Miss Rose is also doing wonderful in school.  She had her first spelling test today and scored 100%.  That's my girl! 

For the first time in her life, Miss Rose hasn't gained weight, but she has continued to grow in height.  She's still very solid, but has grown leaner.  Her legs go forever!  She's loving T-ball and is definitely showing talent.  Bean and I aren't parents to push our kids much, but we just want to give them opportunity.  We're excited to see what sports she continues to like and want to play.



Gracie, has been three for almost two weeks now, and it's starting to show.  The age of three is my least favorite so far.  My kids don't seem to have terrible 2's (in my opinion) but the whining and complaining and asserting of their will and desires at three is quite challenging.  Gracie is doing a lot of whining and is quite impatient.  She's still so sweet though!  She randomly will hug us and say "I love you" and it just melts your heart!


Gracie has always been better at independant play than Miss Rose.  She loves her "friends" and her favorite toys are small stuffed animals and small plastic animals.  She usually picks an item that is her "favorite" for a few days and then moves on to something else.   I love watching her play.  She's started to sing and make songs up, which is precious.  She was singing at the top of her lungs before dinner tonight.  She LOVES her baby sister and her big sister too.



Oh Miss Lily, she's growing and changing too fast.  Most of the time she still has a "baby" look to her.  Especially since she still doesn't walk.  But her communication grows by leaps and bounds, reminding me that she's coming up on 15 months.  Her first word was definitely "hi."  She loves waving and saying hi and making friends.  Whenever we walk around the house to my parent's door, or next door to the neighbors, she gets all excited and starts waving and saying "hi" before we even see anyone.  This also means she's a fan of talking on the phone and saying hi!


Lily has a new fascination with babies.  Real ones and baby dolls.  She says "bebe" when she sees another baby (even if they are close in age to her) and about dolls and stuffed animals.  She even tries to feed baby dolls with a baby bottle.  Because we have so many "big kid" toys around, she usually picks random toys to play with and doesn't play with a lot of "baby" toys even though we have them. 


Both girls love crawling around and having Lily follow them.  She still has her "special crawl", although she does crawl normally from time to time.  Lily loves seeing the girls after she wakes up in the morning or after a nap.  She gets excited and flaps her arms and legs as we leave her room and looks to the living room for her sisters.  Watching their relationships grow is so fun.  Lily already asserts herself when they have a toy she wants.

I try to take photos and video frequently, but I worry that I don't get enough.

These moments are so special.  I read something somewhere in the cyberworld recently that said when your children are young "the days are long, but the years pass so quickly."  There is so much truth to that.  I don't want to miss any moments that I don't have to.  These are the best days of my life {so far}.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

p.s.

Yesterday I shared about Gracie's birthday, and her first pet--a Betta (doing some google searching yesterday, I found this is the correct spelling!) named Minnie.  She specifically requested a fish from "Aunt Kath."

Minnie was welcomed to our family on a Saturday.  Gracie spent a lot of time sitting at the table watching Minnie swim.  She'd turn the bowl if Minnie wasn't in her view and she asked all the time to touch Minnie.

I left for a conference on Monday morning and Minnie was doing swimmingly.

On Tuesday afternoon out of the blue, I got this text from Bean.

"p.s.I will be buying another Betta.  My Mom killed Minnie with tap water."

WHAT???  I immediately called Bean for an explaination.

The girls had convinced Grammie to change the fish's water on Monday, which she did without checking with us.  Therefore, she didn't know Minnie needed purified water.

Tuesday morning Gracie ran to the table, and said "where's Minnie?"  Bean went over and found Minnie belly up on the bottom of the bowl.

"Um, Minnie is sleeping right now.  I'm going to put her in the kitchen."

Thankfully, both girls accepted this explaination, even though we had fish a few years ago and Miss Rose knows that dead fish are flushed down the toilet.

After work that day Bean got a replacement fish and "Operation Imposter" went into effect.

It's amazing.  Minnie changed colors!!  I talked to the girls that night and they both wanted to tell me how Minnie was asleep in the morning and now she changed colors.

Even now, a week later, many days one of the girls asks to see Minnie and if she has changed colors.  We have a pretty talented fish.

Not only did Minnie change colors, but Minnie the Second is also a bit special.  She loves to dive down and burrow in the aquarium gems on the bottom of the bowl.  So much so, that her head gets stuck and she can't get out.

I'm being completely serious.



This photo is from my phone, but you get the idea.  She's actually stuck here and had to be freed.

We have to move the gems to free her head.  This has happened several times.

Way to go Bean.  Way to choose an odd little Betta.

I think if Minnie the Second goes the way of the buffalo, Gracie will have to have her first lesson in death and dying.  And then just maybe, we really will get a dog because our fish died.

Monday, April 12, 2010

the story of a birthday and a fish

There once was a litle girl, with the cutest curls, with a penchant for Mickey and Minnie.

Dressed in her "pretty dress" just like Minnie, she was ready to celebrate her third birthday.


Her most beloved gift that day?  A Beta fish, received upon request from her "Aunt Kath", who was promptly named Minnie.  Who swam around large pink and purple gems, perfect for our Gracie-girl.


She would have sat, watching Minnie swim for the duration of her party, had we let her.  But we got her outside and she had a blast!  Minnie's dress got itchy, but that's okay because two of her aunties bestowed upon her ,several things "Minnie" (even though they didn't know of her Mouse-themed party).  She looked super cool in her Minnie glasses. 


Gracie LOVED the birthday song being in her honor, finally, after enduring no less than 7 family birthdays in the past few months.  She requested a pink cake.



This Princess gift bag with opening castle doors that revealed the Princesses was declared as "bootiful".


 She would have also been happy to stop opening gifts, after receiving gardening gloves.  She loves her a good pair of gloves.


  The girl also loves her some Ice Age.  We are now the owners of all three: Ice Age "the baby one", Ice Age the Meltdown and Ice Age "the dinosaurs."  "The baby one" is our current favorite, edging out "the dinosaurs" who have been reigning for some time now. 


By far though, her favorite gift was Minnie the Beta.

To be continued....

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Inside and out

If I'm being completely honest, raising children is more difficult that I expected it would be.  The care and feeding of children I'm really good at.  I got plenty of practice with my siblings, babysitting in high school and nannying during college.  In my opinion, that is easy, and very fulfilling.

But raising children is so much more than caring for their physical needs.  I want to raise children who embody Matthew 22:36-40; who love God, love themselve and love others.  It can kinda be boiled down to that, can't it? 

This.  Is hard.  The balance of discipline and grace.  Of tough love and compassion.  Determining what is childish and what is disobedience.  Letting kids be kids but also teaching them to obey and be respectful.  For instance, what do you do when an adult is purposefully egging on your intense child?  When that child responds in like manner to that adult, where's the line between respect and standing up for themselves? 

I feel like I'm winging it a lot of the time.  I worry about not being consistent and the effect it has on my children.  There are so many things I would like to do on a regular basis to help in shaping their soul.  But life usually gets in the way, and those planned things don't often happen.  Of course I often hear wonderful reports about my children and their behavior when they are away from home.  But at home, we deal with the brunt of their human nature.  And it ain't pretty.

Then there are days like yesterday.  When I get a glimpse of who my children are becoming and I breath a small sigh of relief.

I realize I am 100% biased, but my daughters are beautiful.  They truly are.  And when I get the opportunity to enhance their natural beauty, the result is stunning.


So. Adorable.

They were beautiful in a special wedding yesterday.  A good friend from church got married, who has been babysitting for us since Miss Rose was one year old.  In fact, she stayed with our girls last year when I went in early for my c-section.  She was probably the first non-relative person we left both Gracie and Lily with.  She adores my girls and they adore her.


Here's the true beauty of the day though.

It was a long day.  I tried putting Gracie down early for a short nap, but she just played.  We arrived at the church and got dressed.  And as it is with all weddings, lots of waiting for photographs before and after the ceremony, and waiting for the bride and groom to arrive at the reception.

But my girls, behaved so beautifully.  Sure, they were kids.  They were running around after the ceremony, so they probably have the sheen of sweat on their brow and very flushed cheeks.  I told them more than once to stop running.  Gracie even ran into a pew, cried for a while, then returned to running.  They spent a lot of time at the reception under the tables.  What better fun is going under a table with a floor-length tablecloth?

And if you've read my blog for long, you know that Miss Rose is as "tomboy" as they come.  Wearing a formal dress with her hair up in a clip, tights and dress shoes, is not her idea of fun.  (Gracie on the other hand, was in seventh heaven again.  She was quite disappointed to walk into church this morning and see all the wedding fan-fare gone.)  But Miss Rose had a wonderful attitude and seemed to understand how special this was.  Although she couldn't wait to get her tights off after their entrance at the reception!

They walked down the isle perfectly.  They smiled beautifully in every photo.  They received compliments with grace. 

Even though they were tired and often hungry, they listened and obeyed.  There was minimal complaining and no whining.  They were polite and respectful.  I only had to give one time out.  

The beauty inside of them shone through yesterday.  Their outer beauty was just icing on the cake.

And for the first time in a while, I thought, maybe we are doing some of this right.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

the privilege of prayer

I have something special to share.  You want to read the text, and see the special photo at the end.

Although this blog focuses mostly on my children and family, thread throughout my posts, you will find my faith.  I have a strong faith in Jesus.  I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God.  I was lucky enough to be born into a family of faith and raised that way. 

I was one of the odd kids who would cry, and by cry I mean sob, whenever we didn't go to church.  It was my favorite place to be as a kid.  It was my rock, my refuge, my lifeblood as a teenager.  Now, I work at a church.  Clearly, my faith and the church are important to me.

Prayer is a huge part of faith.  It's conversating with God.  Talking to him and listening to him talk back.  Does he talk to me in a audible voice?  Not usually.  But I hear his spirit in the quiet of my heart, in the still of my mind. 

I've spent my whole life praying.  Praying for guidence, for forgiveness, for help, for healing.  I will admit, much of my prayer has focused on myself.  But I've also prayed for the healing of family and friends.  I've seen God answer prayers.  These answers are people who are still alive today, who shouldn't be.  My best friend's mom who fought lymphoma for years and finally is cancer-free after a bone marrow transpalnt from a donor.  My mother-in-law, who is a stage 4 breast cancer survivor.  My childhood friend who had a heart transplant before she turned 30.  I could list so many more.

If you are a frequent reader, you know babies are my soft spot.  I dreamed my whole life of being a mom, and it's everything I hoped for and more.  I knew I was blessed to get pregnant on the first or second try with my first two children, and then to have an unexpected pregnancy. 

A little more than a year ago, I learned that a good friend was finally pregnant after a years-long struggle with infertility.  And I rejoiced with her!  Not long after, news came that this baby was not healthy.  This baby would probably not survive outside the womb.  And I prayed.  I prayed for healing.  I prayed for a miracle.  Then, as more understanding came, I prayed that this baby boy would not suffer.  He was born straight to Jesus' arms.

I continued to pray, for my friends.  For their pain and sorrow.  For healthy babies without medical intervention.  A miracle occured.  Within a few months, this mama found herself expecting again.  She alternated between grieving her son, and rejoicing in the healthy development of her daughter.

Suddenly, in just a few days, everything changed.  This much-awaited, much-prayed for baby girl was born much too soon, just before 25 weeks.  A mere 1 lb and 6oz.  And I prayed.  Hundreds, probably thousands prayed for this little one.  I often shared specific requests on my Facebook status, and friends of mine, who did not know this family, prayed and believed with me.  They waited anxiously for updates, and stopped me in the lobby at church.

I even fasted Diet Coke, which is huge for me.  It was the least I could do, as I prayed for this little one.  Prayed that she would survive the complications, that she would thrive and come home to her parents waiting arms.

I learned so much about prayer during those months.  As we saw her grow, and conquer challenges, I realized what an incredible privilege it was to be praying for her, to be a small part of the answers to prayer.  I firmly belive that the hundreds and thousands of people bombarding heaven on her behalf, made a difference in her life.  In her survival. 

Prayer is a privilege.  To be a part of how God works in someone's life.  To watch your prayers be answered.  And sometimes, to watch God answer them in the way only He knows as best.  To be able to pray, His will be done. 

I don't understand everything about prayer.  I just know that I pray.  That God responds.  And that I know, that I know.  That's enough for me.  I'm thankful for precious baby Finley.  She taught me an important lesson which will stay with me for the rest of my life.  It was such a privilege to pray for her and to see God move.

And it was such a privilege a few weeks ago, to hold this little miracle baby in my arms!  (It was a total coincidence that we matched!)

This is a miracle.  Finley is home.  Growing.  Thriving.  Showing no major signs of long-lasting effects of her prematurity.  She's 5 months old now, and about the size Gracie was when she was born.  But, can you see, she has a few leg rolls?!  Absolutely adorable.

Here's a close up (although she had just scratched her face).
Isn't that the sweetest little headband on her?

This is an answer to prayer.  What a privilege to have been a part of this miracle.

home sweet home

I feel like I haven't been home in almost two weeks.  I have been at my house and slept in my bed many of those nights.  But I haven't really been home.  I've been moving from event to event, checking things off my to-do list.  As soon as one thing was finished, it was on to preparing for the next thing.  From new ministries I'm launching, to Good Friday and Easter festivities, to birthday parties and traveling with a 1 yr old. 

But now, I'm home.  And it feels so good.  Lily seems pretty happy to be home too, after traveling with me the last three days.  I can focus on the things of home.  Catching up on life, on time with the children, on cooking and groceries.  Bean does such a great job of keeping things going when I'm gone that it's easy to pick up again.

Sleeping in my own bed last night was glorious.  I didn't wake up once, unlike sleeping in a hotel room with a baby in a pack and play next to you.  Lily had some difficulty staying asleep early in the night, but once she was out, she slept until 7am, a somewhat late hour for her.  She was actually still dozing when I went in to get her, and probably would have continued to if I didn't have to get her up for school drop-off.  In fact, when I first reached in to get her, she shook her head (her favorite method of communication lately).  "No Mama, I'm so happy to be in my bed, I'd like to stay here."

I'm embracing and enjoying the mundane today.  There is nothing like a few weeks of busyness to help one glory in the day to day duties of homemaking and childraising.

I have so much blogging I hope to catch up on.  Cute stories, fun photos, recording the milestones of our lives.   Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

tired and blessed

I am one tired mama. This is one of our marathon weekends.  As much as I try to avoid having a lot going on in a weekend, sometimes it can't be helped.  I'm really working on my attitude and frame of mind about life.  Focusing on some of the thoughts I shared here.  This is the life God has blessed me with, and it is what I make it.

I spent a lot of time last night and this morning cleaning in preparation for Gracie's birthday party.  But that means I have a home, which we actually own.  It means we have plenty of toys, clothes and other belongings to get strewn about our home.

We went to our church Easter Egg hunt, at a local middle school.  I am thankful to be a part of a church that enjoys blessing our community.  We gave away a bike (which my nephew happened to win!), a playstation, ipods and more.  

Shortly after arriving home, it was time for Miss Gracie's 3rd birthday party, about which she was so excited.  I scurried to make the final preparations at home while Bean picked up pizza.  What a blessing to have enough money to have our large family over and feed them lunch. 

After the party (which was a huge hit and will get a post of it's own in the future) and clean-up, kids were down for naps and my sister and I escaped on a spur of the moment shopping trip.  With my sisters help, I actually got a few clothing items, that are in style, that are right for my body, and that fit.  Again, a blessing to have been able to find a little extra money in the budget for clothes.  And a sister that I enjoy spending time with.  

Once dinner was eaten, children were bathed and put to bed, it was time to turn to tomorrow.  I ironed dresses and skirts.  So far, Miss Rose is agreeing to wear a skirt and shirt--approved by her--for Easter.  I certainly hope my practical-dressing, tomboy daughter keeps that courage!!  What a blessing to have three beautiful daughters.  Watching friends go through struggles with infertility, gives new perspective on children.  I am blessed and amazed that I have three daughters to dress for Easter tomorrow.

And then it was assembling Easter baskets.  But it's not about the baskets or the candy or little gifts.  It's about the Savior.  It's about his gift.  I want to teach my children that Easter isn't about new clothes and candy.  It's about new life and the sweetness life with Christ brings. 

So yes, I'm tired.  But I am so, so blessed.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

right now

Right now
It's a wet morning outside.  The sun might be coming out, or it might give way again to more rain
It's cool inside the house and I'm curled up in a blanket
Right now
My 6yr old is playing school in the kitchen
She's cutting things up, instructing her class in the same way her kindergarten teacher instructs her
She's wearing her jammies, and a Santa Claus apron
Right now
My 3yr old is playing inside a cupboard
The baby is trying to play with her too
There are long necklaces involved (I'm keeping a close watch) 
And words like "yee-haw" and "lasso"
These two, are becoming fast friends and playmates
Right now
We're having a jammie morning
The baby's diaper soaked her jammies this morning, 
So I just put her in another pair of jammies
Why get dressed when you don't have to?
Even kids need a down morning
To play and be kids
And mama's need a down morning
To watch the children play in their natural environment
Right now
All is right in our little world (although we'd like Daddy here too)