Monday, May 31, 2010

being a kid

I've been trying to snap more candid photos of the kids lately.
I've realized that's a great way to capture the really great photos. It's just about snapping a lot of photos, and deleteing the duds. And in the midst, you just might find the great ones!
Someday I'll mess around with the colors, but here are some great ones I got today in raw form.
Gracie and her buddy Bear. Gracie was chasing the tail of a kite. Bear was chasing her!

Such pure abandon.

Reaching up.

The target!

Also, I realize I've been neglecting my blog a bit, or at least not posting as frequently.
Life has been busy as always and I've tried to do a better of job of blogging my life, when I can; not trying to live to blog. Does that make sense?
I'm looking forward to summer, when things will be a bit slower and there aren't so many deadlines and things to do. Even though my work stays the same, it's going to be some much needed downtime for the family.
God's been at work in my life and heart some, and sometimes I have trouble blogging in the midst of that. I need to let God work, while I process it. I'm sure I'll try to share some of it as time goes on. It's good. God is always good!

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Crazy Day!!

It's Crazy Day at Miss Rose's school today!
She had a blast getting ready this morning.
She's been telling us about getting colored spray for her hair for a few weeks now. At 9pm last night, Daddy went 10min out of his way to go to the one place I found to have some in stock. Thanks Walgreens!

I was pretty impressed with this spray.
Miss Rose has rather dark hair, but it did a great job of making vibrant color.

Gracie got in on the action.
But she was being a bit of a grump when it came to posing for a photo.
After Miss Rose left, Gracie wanted pigtails too.
So she's now sporting three pigtails with more color.
I'll have to take another photo of her later.

Lily is starting to want to be a part of everything the other girls are doing.
I'm pretty sure she was motioning to me in the bathroom, with her little noises
that she wanted spray too.
Not just yet though! I'm sure next year when it's Crazy Day at school, all three girls will have colord hair.
I'm heading out to do some errands in a bit. People are going love Gracie's hair!
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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Neutrogena

I've always been a fan of Neutrogena products.  I think it started in my teenage years when I had bad acne and it was one of the products recommended.

A few weeks ago I saw on Twitter that there was an opportunity to review a new product for Neutrogena.  I submitted an application and was chosen.  I received two bottles of their new daily sunblock.

I started using my Neutrogena UltraSheer sunblock earlier this week. At first I was a little concerned that it had a strong smell. Of course this assessment was made with the bottle up my nostril!
Once I applied the sunblock to my face, I never smelled it even once. So odor really was a non-issue.

The things I liked...
-the sunblock squeezes out through a small opening, kind of like eye drops. I found it very easy to control how much I got, which was a big positive for me.
-it went on my skin very smoothly and absorbed quickly. By the time I was done applying it, I was able to start putting my makeup on
-it wasn't greasy at all!!

Things I wasn't sure of
-my main question has been whether I need to apply moisturizer on top of the sunblock. For years I've been using moisturizer with sunblock in it already. I have chosen not to put moisturizer on top of it and haven't noticed extra dryness. I moisturize well at night, so perhaps that is sufficient.

I am really enjoying using Neutrogena Ultrasheer Daily Sunblock. I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a strong sunblock (SPF 70!) that also blocks UV rays.

You can get a $2 coupon here.

They are still looking for more reviewers.  If you have a blog and are active on Twitter and Facebook, chances are you can receive this product for review too!  (who can't use some sunblock!) Click image below.




**I recieved this product for review.  I was not compenstated for this review.  This is entirely my own opinion and statements.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, 
for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30

This is a reminder for myself this morning.  For the burdens I carry.

It's my prayer this morning, for some who are carrying the heaviest of burdens.

I know HIS burden is light.  But the exchange of our burdens for His sometimes seems next to impossible.

Would you pray for Bizzie?  She's not doing well this morning.

How can I pray for you today?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Joys

I have internet friends.  No, not the bloggers I interact with on the web or the people I Tweet with.

I consider this group of about 25 women true friends.  I know more about their children and their lives than I do some friends I have in real life.  We are bonded, first through the births of our children, and then through the interweavings of life.  I talk about these ladies, and the different experiences in their lives, as if I have actually seen them in person and heard their voices.

We met on BabyCenter in 2003, as "20somethings" pregnant with our first children, due in January 2004.  When Bean and I first began to plan our first pregnancy, I wanted to learn more about ovulation and conception.  Up until that point I really hadn't needed to know much.  I googled "ovulation calculator" on my MSN dial-up internet, and BabyCenter was one of the first sites that popped up.  I clicked on it, and the rest is history.  I then discovered the bulletin boards and began to read and learn. 

I actually didn't join in much on the conversation in the "January Joys" group during my pregnancy.  I mostly read what others were experiencing and their day to day lifes.  After the babies were born--their actual birthdays stretch from December 2003 to February 2004--the group decided to move to a more private board.  I had enjoyed my participation from afar, so I decided to become more active and they welcomed me.

In the days when our babies were young, we posted a lot.  It wasn't uncommon for our daily conversation thread to be 50 or 60 posts long.  We shared our challenges with everything baby-related, and then began to share more of our lives as well.  As our "January Joys" have gotten older, and most of us have added more children to our families, we don't have the time to stay in touch like we once did.  Thankfully, most of us joined Facebook around the same time and are able to keep up with one another through status updates and a private group page we established there.

We've all known, as the years have gone by, that we'll walk with each other through some of life's most difficult journey's.  One of our January Joys was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis as an infant, and we've supported this family and learned about this disease. Many ladies began raising money and doing annual Cystic Fibrosis walks for Maddie, and then her sister Gracie who was born a few years later with CF also.  A few years in, one mom went through a divorce, and just recently we witnessed her getting married again!  Last year, we were floored when a husband was diagnosed with brain cancer--a dad with a 5 year old son and 2 year old twins.  He fought valiantly, but died within just a few months.  Parents and siblings have passed away.  Job changes and moving.  Deployment and miscarriages.  We walk together.

And now, it's happened again.  We find ourselves on another difficult journey.  The 2yr old daughter of another mom has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain stem tumor.  She is not much younger than Gracie.  Her brother, Jefferey is one of the youngest Joys.  Miss Rose has often been the "biggest" Joy in size, and Jeffrey happens to be one of the smallest.  His mom and I always laughed (cyber-laugh) that they would be quite a site together!  There is nothing right about this situation.  Nothing okay with it.  My heart breaks.

It's a special connection we all share.  As I scroll through Facebook tonight, almost everyone of the "Joys" has shared the Caring Bridge link for little Bizzie, asking their friends to pray for this little girl.  We hurt together for this family.  We pray together, although each one is at different places in their faith journeys.

 Some of the Joys have been able to meet up in person.  I've wanted to, but it hasn't worked out yet.

One day though, I will meet them.  My Joys.

Pray for Bizzie with me. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

snippets

Life moves by, at it's ever-fast pace, and I've been trying to focus more on the living, than on the blogging.

But as always, life is never dull and my mind is always racing!

We went to Disneyland yesterday.  It was a wonderful experience!  We waited less than 20 minutes for each ride.  We just took Miss Rose & Gracie, and they were so exited.  I think they were a bit overstimulated though--and much of the day they were a bit quiet, taking in everything around them.  I'll share some photos soon.

Lily is just bursting with personality these days.  She's starting to say quite a few words, which perhaps makes up for her lack of walking at almost 16 months.  It's okay though.  I like that she's still my baby.  Many of her words would not be understandable by someone on the street, but we know what she's saying.  Baby is still her favorite word.  She says all of our names now.  This evening Gracie was watching one of her favorite shows, Little Einsteins and we realized Lily follows the directions to "raise your arms as high as you can and say "blastoff".  It's pretty cute.  She also says and does "pat, pat, pat."  She is quite vocal in her opinions.  Especially when a sister takes her toy thinking she won't mind, or if she wants one of their toys.  Which happens quite a bit.

We finally heard back on the home improvement grant we were approved for.  The timeframe is still not certain, but we are getting closer to having a bathroom that doesn't gross me out with black grout that can't be cleaned and having the original windows replaced and an actual pantry, among other things.  God is good to bless us with this opportunity!

Bees swarmed in our garage today.  We have no idea why.  They were going in and out of a hole in the wall, so we suspect they were trying to build a nest.  Bean and a brave friend went in with spray to kill them and stuff to fill the hole in the wall.  Hopefully tomorrow, there will be no more buzzing in the garage.  The Bean family has some laundry to do.

My birthday is in about a month.  I have a particular health goal in mind for that date, which I think is totally do-able, if I stick with healthy eating and regular exercise.  The past few weeks I've been very happy with my health habits.  I feel like I'm turning a corner in health being the norm and treats and splurges being the exception.  My main motivation is my children.  Someday, I'll do a blog or two just on that topic.

I think it's time to go to bed.  We were all so exhausted today!  Which means Bean did a ton of work in the yard anyways, because he is the Energizer Bunny.  Miss Rose came down with a mysterious fever in the early hours of the morning, was fever-free and lethargic most of the day, and then had a fever again this evening.  So she'll be missing school again tomorrow.  Hopefully it's a little virus that will run it's course and be done.

'Night!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

a good start to the morning

I started yesterday by watching this video. You must click over to see it. It will be well worth the less than a minute it takes to watch it. But then you will watch it a few more times. Because it's that cute.

I totally bit Steph's style too...I'm teaching Lily this little bit, as "baby" is one of her favorite words to say.  She's learning too.  Maybe I'll have my own video to share next week!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

You asked!

Well, one of you asked but I'm sure you will all appreciate it. This was texted to me by one of my paparazzi today.





That's a wad of antibacterial wipes (thanks Chick-fil-A for having a dispenser of these on the wall) in my hand.

Such fun!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sometimes

Sometimes, you eat dinner at Chick-Fil-A with friends.

Sometimes, the kids are very excited for the enclosed play structure. They run around before the food gets there, then the scarf down their food so to return quickly.

Sometimes, when you have a weak-stomached child, the constant playing upsets their full tummy and they upchuck a little at the top of the play structure.

Sometimes, Mama has to climb up to the top (which isn't all that easy when the platforms alternate sides and are close together) to clean up said child and stomach contents.

Sometimes, being Mom-of-the-Year, means your friends who are there also, and your loving spouse, can't control their laughter or their cell phone cameras while you do your Mom-of-the-Year work.

Sometimes, the best exit from the top of the play structure is the slide.

Sometimes, your so-called friends and so-called spouse continue to snap photos as you finally make your exit.

Sometimes, just as you finish sanitizing your hands, you realize a less than pleasant odor is coming from your baby.

Sometimes, you are impressed that there is actually a Diaper Champ in the bathroom with the changing table.

Sometimes, you want to toss your dinner, when you flip the top, only to find the nastiest dirty diaper on the other side.

Sometimes, you make your exit as quickly as possible.

Sometimes you laugh. And are thankful for friends who say "I remember when our kids were young, I was just always tired."

Sometimes, you see the other side.

But you realize, that you are enjoying the ride.

Friday, May 14, 2010

love.love.love.

This sweet, sweet girl is just three hours old.

 
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Besides my own children, I don't know that I've held such a fresh baby. I'm still reliving the moment, a week later.

She had been swaddled up, but was getting ready for time with Mamacita when they wanted to snap our photo together. I had no complaints about her sweet, unbathed skin on mine. Even Mamacita was surprised to hear from the nurse that baby T hadn't been bathed yet. She smelled so good and was so soft. The nurse's response? "That's just Mother Nature."

Mother Nature. She's so good. She's got it all right you know.

Baby T was born just 15 minutes after they arrived at the hospital! Mamacita didn't know she was that far along, as her plans included an epidural. But Mamacita was quite the rock star, laboring at home for several hours, and then giving birth so quickly. Her comments "I can't believe women do this on PURPOSE without drugs." But she did it.

Birth. So amazing. This would have been my "dream birth." But I birthed three children, in equally amazing ways that were a dream, because afterward I held a fresh baby in my arms.

Go on. Scroll back up. You know you want to take in that scrumptiousness one more time and remember the last time you held such a fresh baby.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"I Will Carry You" Free e-book

Many of us in blogland have been captured by Angie Smith's story at Bring The Rain.  I think that may have been one of the first blogs I visited a few years ago when I made my first tentative steps into the blog world.

Reading her newly published book has been on my mental to-do list.

Barnes and Noble is offering her book in electronic version for free right now.  If you have an iPhone or Blackberry, there are free reader applications you can download, and I also believe you can download software to your computer as well.

Find all the information here.  (And check out Ann's other posts too.  She's incredible.)

I haven't read a book yet on my iPhone, but I'm excited that this will be the first one.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I scream, You scream

A friend took this photo (with a very nice camera obviously...gotta get me one of those!)
I love it.
I love the way it captures the color of her eyes. They are green but with some hazel qualities too.
It also makes me want to eat a huge ice cream sundae right now.
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Saturday, May 8, 2010

x 6

This is my sixth Mother's Day.

It might be my seventh. I have weird memory and if I recall correctly, I was ovulating Mother's Day weekend in 2003--the month I got pregnant with Miss Rose.

I thought I had done a good job of capturing photos of me and my children each Mother's Day. I thought wrong! Perhaps other family members have photos they took, but I don't have as many as I recalled.

We lost several months worth of photos about four years ago. Including a photo of my first Mother's Day (2004). There is a hard copy of it somewhere. Which is of some comfort.

I didn't look back to check the exact date, but Miss Rose was dedicated in May 2004.  So these photos are circa-Mother's Day.  I actually remember being in church on my first Mother's Day because they were sending a pastor to get Starbucks drinks for various moms who qualified in different categories.  I had the youngest baby, so partway through the service I had a caramel macchiato in my hands!


In 2005, we took my Grandma out the day before Mother's Day.


(does this photo give you some clues as to which sister Lily favors?)

In 2006, we, well, I don't know. But I did find this photo from a week or two before Mother's Day.



Gracie-girl came about a month before Mother's Day in 2007. I remember being thrilled that I was a mom of two on Mother's Day. (Some good friends had their second child TODAY! How fun is that to have a brand-new baby for Mother's Day.)


Miss Rose sang her heart out in church that morning as a treat to the moms.



I guess in 2008 I thought it would be cool to take a picture of Bean and the girls on Mother's Day. From what I can tell, this photo was taken on Mother's Day...but I can't find any photos with me in them! The life of a mom....always behind the camera!


(and yes, Bean rocked earrings for several years. Until Miss Rose started playing sports, and he didn't want to be "that day" trying to look too young. Yes, that really was his reasoning for taking them out. I didn't mind, because I never was a huge fan of the earrings.)

Last year Mother's Day was special because we also dedicated Lily that day. Would you look at this? An actual photo of me AND the kids.


I happen to like this photo too. Smiling and posing like I'm a model...only I'm breastfeeding my baby. I love that someone captured this moment.


My NEW goal is a photo each Mother's Day with all my children. It probably won't always be picture perfect, but it will be us! Lilybug has been sick today. In fact, she's having a very hard time falling asleep tonight. I'm really hoping that she's more herself tomorrow. We don't have much planned, but even doing nothing will be nicer with a happy baby.

Happy Mother's Day friends!!! And don't forget to say a prayer for those this year who didn't get their wish to be a mom, and those mom's who don't have their children on this earth any longer. They are close to my heart this year as I reflect on how blessed I am.

If you missed it...check out yesterday's post on Motherhood also.

The real gifts

I've already received my Mother's Day gifts.  They came in

2004


2007


2009


Truly, I have need for nothing else.

Just BEING a mom is a gift.  A precious gift.  A gift that some long and strive for; a gift given and then all too quickly taken.  An elusive gift, they are always chasing.

I have been given this gift three times now, and I don't take it for granted.  Not one single bit.

My wonderful husband has recognized my motherhood each year with sweet gifts and tokens of appreciation.

But these faces.  That greet me {early} each morning.  They are my never-ending gift.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Shadow play

Look who found her shadow yesterday!
Lily found much joy in swinging her arms about like a wild woman.
(And Mama figured out how to use the "Continuous" setting on our camera)
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Thursday, May 6, 2010

She

She
Is the fairest one of the bunch
Was my first child, in many ways.  Poor girl.
Has followed in some of my footsteps, but blazed her own trail though them
Making some much wiser decisions than I did
Knows herself better at 23, than I feel like I know myself at 32

I
held her as a newborn
each night as my mom prepared dinner
gladly changed her old-school cloth diapers with big pins and plastic pants
was her second mother, much to her chagrin as she got older
am proud of who she is and who she is becoming

She blogs
I read
And am inspired, challenged and amused.
I think she needs to keep it up.
My favorite recent post.

Give her some comment love!  (and maybe a suggestion for a new title)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Motherhood

I love this photo.

Surrounded by my girls.  A mother to three children. 
The "minimum" number of children I wanted.  I finally had them. 

A sweet, sleeping newborn on my chest.
A five-year-old; my first baby.
An almost two-year-old; still very much a baby.



So far, motherhood to me has meant babies. 
Making babies, growing babies, birthing babies, raising babies. 
Dreaming of motherhood always meant dreaming of babies.
Although it was often pure chaos, I loved having two babies for the past year.
I loved being that mom with two kids born in two years. 
That mom people looked at in the store like I was crazy. 
It was something I always kind of wanted, but was too afraid to plan.
But Gracie-girl isn't so much a baby anymore. 
And every day Lily is growing and changing. Too fast for my taste.
Too soon, I won't have a baby. It's bittersweet.
I need to start re-defining my motherhood soon. I'm not ready yet though.
I'm still drinking in the baby-ness of my now 15-month-old.
I hold her chubby cheek to my face. I cherish her grip on the back of my arm. I memorize the heaviness of her head on my shoulder before I lay her in the crib.

Motherhood.
It's everything I hoped it would be, and more.

**This post is part of a giveaway on We Are THAT Family.**
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Sunday, May 2, 2010

It just is

Our bodies were made for physial activity.  After Adam and Eve sinned, God told Adam that he would toil and sweat for the rest of his life.  Most of humanity has had to work in agriculture and still does. 

But through so many changes in culture and technology, many of us don't have that necessity.  We work desk jobs.  We drive places.  We don't have to use our bodies for nearly as much as they were created to.

There are countless articles citing research that physical activity has tremendous positive effects on all parts of life, not just our bodies.  Just Google it, or pick up a health magazine and you'll read about it.  But, we tend to focus only on the physical benefits--losing weight, gaining muscle, achieving fitness goals.  And exercise becomes a chore, one that's easily put off.


It's Sunday night, and we're planning our week.  I'm thinking through Monday.  And figuring out how and when I'm going to exercise.  I try not to see it as optional.  Are there other things I could do with my time?  Of course.

But my body was made for physical activity.  And I need it. I need it to be happy.  I need it to have patience with my kids.  I need it to feel strong.  I need it to clear my mind.  To feel connected with God.  I've learned that I'm a better, happier person when I have regular physical activity.

Right now, "regular" means about three times a week.  If I could manage to wake up early a few mornings a week, it would be more.  But most of the time, I can't. But three times is good.

Ideally, I'd love to exercise for 45-60minutes.  Usually it's more like 30.

Running.  It just is something I do.  I don't make time for it, I just have time for it. 

I'm already happier, just thinking about running after work tomorrow.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Too big?

I'm playing around with my blog look once again.

Is my header too big?? 

Look who's 3

I snapped this photo on our way out the door for Gracie's 3-year appointment. She's very excited about being three and very proud that she can show you her three fingers. She's been in the 3-yr old class at Sunday School for a few weeks now. The teacher recently told me that when addressing the class she'll often say "okay three-year-olds, let sit down for storytime" or some other direction. Each time she says this, Gracie is sure to show the teacher her three fingers and say she's three. Although it sounds more like "free."

I was smart this time around, and took Gracie to the doctor without any other kids in tow.  It was fun to have that time with just her and talk about whatever she was interested in.  She was a superstar at her appointment!  It's so fascinating to see the varied personalities my children have.  I recall that Miss Rose was not very cooperative at her three-year appointment.  She was apprehensive and anxious.

Gracie though, is more of a free spirit.  Willing to try something new, especially with mama close by.  She went through the entire vision test without much hesitation.  Miss Rose was shy, and didn't want to respond.  Gracie wasn't afraid of the headphones for the hearing test and was able to indicate when she heard the beeps.  She even peed in the cup without much struggle.  At Miss Rose's Kindergarten check-up, we made three trips to the bathroom and there were many tears shed before pee went into the cup.
My girls balance each other out though.  They bring out the positive in each other.  It's a wonderful thing to witness.

Gracie is measuring in the 75-90% for her height and weight.  Miss Rose was usually closer to 100% or over, but both my girls are probably going to be taller than their parents.  Miss Rose has gone this past year without gaining any weight (a first for my solid girl!) but I believe she's grown an inch or two.  I'll have to check her records.  This is the first time in her life that she's able to wear the warm-weather clothes we bought at the beginning of the school year now that it's getting warm again.

Gracie isn't quite as solid as Miss Rose though.  She weighs about what Miss Rose weighed at 2yrs old, and in fact the outfit she's wearing in this picture was one Miss Rose wore at 2.  Which is nice, because Gracie loves to be carried to and from places and it's a little easier on my back.  Miss Rose was the same way at 3, and I was about to give birth to Gracie at the time, and I remember how much it broke my heart to tell her that I couldn't carry her any longer.  I don't always carry Gracie, but what can I say, she won't ask for that forever, so I give in from time to time.  Or most of the time.  But who's counting?

And three...still my least favorite age.  Even Bean has commented recently on the almost instant change that took place after Gracie's birthday.  She's quite obstinate and challenging at times.  But she's still our Gracie-girl!
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