Sunday, January 30, 2011

happy to you!

Dear Miss Lily Cate,



You turned 2 on Friday.  Yes, I'm a few days late on writing about your special day, but that's life!

You LOVED your birthday this year.  You love "happy to you".  When we sang to you, you thought it was pretty much the best thing ever and you even knew how to blow your candles out.  It was so fun to celebrate with you this year.

I can't believe you are two.  Sometimes I still can't believe I have a third child, who came so close after my second.  These past few years have been such a whirlwind, and you've been such a sweet blessing.  My special surprise.

You are a bit like sweet and sour sauce.  You are the sweetest girl, most of the time.  You love your family so much.  When we drive up from being anywhere, you immediately ask "Daddy?" wanting to know if he's home.  Upon waking in the morning or from a nap, you ask for your sisters.  Just like your big sisters, when I get home from work, you run to me yelling "mommy" and hug my legs.  It's pretty much the best part of my day.

Yet, the sour side.  You are a feisty little one!  I think it comes from having two older sisters.  You learn bad habits from them at times, and fight to hold your place in the family and have a say in how things go.  You and Gracie argue over the same toys often.  Usually one of you is taking a toy from the other, just to be a stinker.  When frustrated, or just feeling feisty, you have a tendency to hit and throw things.  Because you see your sisters go to time out in the corner, you understand the punishment.  And you have to go in time out quite a bit.  Lately, when told to go to time out, you look me square in the eye and flat out tell me "no."  It's hard not to laugh at your attempts to rebel.

Copying your sisters, for better or for worse, is a favorite.  It happens a lot at dinner, towards the end of the meal when everyone starts getting goofy.  If one of your sisters does something silly (and usually is reprimanded for it) you immediately copy them.  A few nights ago Miss Rose was playing her new Paper Jamz guitar and Gracie was dancing.  You went back and forth between copying what Miss Rose was singing and saying, and mimicing Gracie's dance moves.  It is a great teaching point to your sisters, how important it is for them to be obedient because they are setting an example for you.

Lily, you communicate very well.  You started speaking words strongly and clearly a few months ago.  What amuses me is that you mostly use single words to communicate, but you have a lot of words in your vocabulary.  You simply don't find it necessary to use them together, when one word said loudly or strongly communicates your desires or opinions.

You do use a few phrases such as "hold you" and "me too."  That's my favorite one right now, that you recently started saying.  If we are preparing to leave, if someone gets a snack or whatever I am doing at the moment you always say "me too, me too."  Sometimes you even raise your hand to emphasize the moment.  So adorable!

Some words that you say frequently are: snack, juice, milk, eat, baby, rock-a-baby, blanket, brush, shower, fast, ball, cheese, treat, cookie, cupcake, pretzel, lap, open, button, animal, book, shoes on, socks, barrette and so many more.

It still seems like there is a good chance you will be left-handed.  You typically color and eat using your left hand and when you raise your hand, you raise your left hand.  I figure in the next year, we'll really see how this develops.

True to form of your overall development, you are bigger than Gracie was at this age, but smaller than Miss Rose.  Mommy fell way behind with your doctor appointments, so we won't know exact measurements for a few months still.  Your hair seems to be exactly the same as theirs, which means it will be pretty curly by your third birthday.

You have the cutest way of speaking out of one side of your mouth and also pursing your lips when you speak for emphasis.  Your face is very expressive.  Sometimes, it's almost like you are using "baby talk" already to express your wishes.

I am still not ready for you to grow up.  I am not ready to not have a baby.  You aren't really a baby any longer, but you still need a lot of attention.  You ask to be held all the time and it's still easier to carry you around when we are out and about because you don't walk that fast--and you still fall a lot, like most toddlers.  I know that by this time next year, you will be talking in complete sentences, potty-trained, more independent and your personality will really shine through.  There are good things that come with this too.  But your baby-loving mama doesn't mind that you are still her baby right now.

Lily Cate, I love you so much and I can't imagine our lives without you.   I still vividly remember the events surrounding your birth.  Given my birth history, a successful pregnancy and healthy birth really was a miracle.  You were a blessing, a gift from God and I can't wait to see all that he has in store for your life!

Love,
Your Mama

(I'll share some pics soon...no time tonight!)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

fit friday randoms

I haven't kept up too well with Fit Friday since the holidays.  I have been keeping up with it in my own life for the most part though, which is a positive thing.

For today, here's some random notes and thoughts on fitness.

...I am SO spoiled to live in Southern California, where it was winter for all of three minutes so far.  Our weather has been so warm, while other parts of the country are snowed in.  I ran in shorts today.  And I had to find more short-sleeved clothes for my kids.

...my jogging stroller is getting heavy!  I guess that's what happens when your kids grown.  I'm pushing 80ish pounds.  Sea World has a huge walk-on scale in one of the exhibits.  Next time I'm there, I'm definitely pushing the stroller on it with the kids to see how heavy it truly is.

...there is a reason why I don't pay for a gym membership.  I was excited to win a 3 month membership, which I activated mid-December.  I think I've gone 3 times.  It just doesn't fit into my life right now.

...my 2-year old LOVES running lately.  Anytime I have running related clothes on, she says "fast?"  And she'll pretend to run in the house pushing her doll stroller.  It's adorable.  She pumps her arms and her chubby cheeks bounce up and down.

...I'm a cardio-junkie.  But to see the results I want, I need to incorporate more strength.

...I really like Jillian Michaels 6 Week 6 Pack Abs DVD.  In fact, I plan to do it in the morning.

...I love giving a big smile to others pushing a jogging stroller while I'm doing the same.

And, that's all she wrote!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I hope 7 is heaven




Dear Miss Rose,

At 8:25am this morning, you are officially 7 years old.  You have a lot of expectations for this birthday, but you aren't quite sure what they should be.  You just know birthdays are special and you want your day to feel special.  Which is kind of hard when your birthday falls in the middle of the week!  But I'm going to do the best I can.

You continue to grow tall and strong.  Your head almost reaches my armpit and I'm pretty sure you'll be taller than me by the time you are a teenager.  But you still love to cuddle and be hugged.  You want to be carried to bed like your younger sisters, and we indulge sometimes.  Every morning when you wake up, you hug me.  When I get home from work or I pick you up from school, you still greet me with an excited "mommy!" and a big hug.  I love that.

I'm not going to lie, this last year has been challenging with you.  Your attitude has been in full swing.  You are so strong-willed and too intelligent for your own good.  There has been more crying, yelling and discipline then I would like.  But we are responsible to raise you right, and we'll fight for it when necessary.

I'm really hoping that age 7 is much easier for you.  In fact, the past few weeks have been markedly better.  I'd like for age 7 to be like heaven!



You have taken more of an interest in pop music and you learned to look up videos on You-Tube this year (with supervision of course).  You and your cousin love to have dance parties and put on dance shows.  You continue to experiment more with your feminine side.



You love to read and write and play school.  You are an amazing big sister, always willing to help your sisters and they love you in return.  You love outdoor activities.  You are rarely cold and many nights (even though I'm usually freezing) you take off all your pajamas and sleep in your underwear.

Speaking of underwear, you think it's hilarious to run around the house naked before your shower and when I point out the huge windows in the living room, you do a little jig in front of them.  I'm just waiting for the day someone walks up at just that moment!

Miss Rose, we love you so much and we are so proud of you.  Yes, we have our difficult days, but your performance and behavior at school is so exemplary that we know you have incredible potential to be the same way at home.  You are such a unique individual and my prayer is that God guides us in raising you to be who he created you to be.  We don't want to break your spirit or force you into a mold.  We do want you to be submitted to Christ and live in the fulness of his grace.

We love being your parents!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

birthday eve


7 years ago, it was my last evening before becoming a mother.

Miss Rose had not cooperated and was comfy with her head up in my ribs, close to my beating heart.  She would make her debut through the surgeon's cut.


Bean and I went out to dinner that night and saw the movie Big Fish.  I made sure everything was ready and packed for my early morning wake up.  I took my trusty Tylenol PM because I knew there was no way I'd fall asleep quickly.

I spent years dreaming about becoming a mother.  Imagining what it would be like to have a baby of my own.  Once that first baby was growing in my belly, I dreamed about her.  Wondered what she would look like.

Would she have darker skin like her dad?  Or the lighter skin that would be in 75% of her genes.  Would her hair be curly like mine?  What color would her eyes be?


I already loved her.  I was already her mom.

She was my dream come true.



I remember that night like it was yesterday.  I remember waking up the next morning, so excited for what the day would hold, even if it wasn't going to be the birth I had hoped for.

Regardless of the means, my baby was going to be born.  I would hold her in my arms and nurse her at my breast.

I waited my whole life for that day.




It's been everything I hoped it would and so much I never knew it would be.


Motherhood is the best and the hardest thing I've done in my life.

On this, my firstborn's birthday eve, I think back to that night.  I think back on the last 7 years.

And I love it.  Being a mom is the greatest gift.

Monday, January 24, 2011

One thousand

I'm on a journey to embrace each day, to find joy in the mundane, to live as if this is the day the Lord has made, even when the day doesn't hold what I'd like it to.  I'm a few chapters into the book, and it truly is impacting me.  Already I am finding small things to be thankful for.  I hope it keeps changing me.  I want it to change me.



9. A good rubberband for my hair

10. The yellow blanket that's warmed my family since I was a child and warms not just my body but my soul

11. My minivan (can't believe I'm saying that)

12. Sunshine in January

13. Singing. And worship

14. The unconditional love of my husband

15. The barren rose bushes outside our office that will be full of blooms come spring

16. My three girls sitting on their dads lap tonight

17. Favor, and grace

I'm linking up here.  Today's post is incredible.  Such a testament to this idea, this way of living.  Take the time to soak it in.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

because pictures are always good

A few recent photos...it's a big birthday week this week, so hopefully I'll get the birthday posts I've been composing in my head onto the screen!

My award winning almost 7-year-old.  Sometimes she is quite challenging, but I truly am so proud of her accomplishments in school and her consistent amazing behavior.  It tells me we are doing something right!!  Because Miss Rose has her dad's skin tone, people don't often say that we look alike---but I definitely see resemblance in this photo, which makes me happy.  If nothing else, our hair is exactly the same!!  (and you can see that she wanted her two front teeth for Christmas...but hasn't gotten them yet!)


We visited my grandparents the week after Christmas.  Even though they don't live far away, I don't see them often, but they are both failing and will probably be gone soon.  One of the highlights of the visit for me was to see the resemblance between Gracie and my grandma.  My grandma is this tiny, petite thing--but see how full her cheeks and face still are?  JUST like Gracie's. (and it almost all the photos of the day, my grandparents are looking at the kids, never the camera!)

This is how my girl rolls, all the time.  Please note:
1.  The hat and matching mittens she received from friends for Christmas.  While not as prevalent, she still has a strange affinity for gloves and mittens, so this gift was a favorite. 
2.  Her fun furry boots.  Hand me downs, which she loves and wears with anything
3.  Her long polka dot socks, a stocking stuffer, which actually are toe socks.  I thought it would be a fun gift.  It was.  But putting them on her is not fun at all.  You try to get little toes in their slots.
4.  Tights.  Always tights.  Although she doesn't like ribbed tights, thicker ones are ok.  Patterned ones are the best.

What better  way to watch a movie, then laying across your sisters lap.  This was a candid moment I caught that melted my heart!  It didn't last long, but it was so sweet.

More sister love at Miss Rose's award reception.

One of Lily's favorite new things.  This isn't actually ours, but I'm ordering these plasma cars for my kids' birthday presents this year.  They can't get enough of riding their cousin's.  And notice the pigtails??  More of those to come!!

Have a happy Monday :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

a Fit Friday LIST

You know you are a runner when...

1. While driving on streets you sometimes run on, you imagine yourself running along them

2.  When you see someone running, anywhere, you wish you were running too

3.  When a) a song with a good beat comes on the radio or b) a song on one of your playlists comes on the radio, you thinking about your foot cadence during that song

4.  The small amount of spending money you had, went to new shoes & new running clothes

5.  You buy your friends running related items because you think everyone should love running

6.  You try to think of ways to make extra money so you can register in more races

7.  You want to run a half marathon pushing a jogging stroller just so you can say you did it

8.  You are considering running a FULL marathon, even if you can't do a complete training schedule for it because you are pretty certain you could finish and that would be your only goal.

9.  Your oldest daughter wanted running clothes and running shoes for her 4th birthday.

10.  Your youngest daughters love to put on your running visor and shoes

11.  Anytime you are wearing workout clothes, your almost 2-year-old says "fast" and says "me too."

12.  No matter what challenge you face during the course of the day, big or small, you think "a good run would fix this."

13. Reading this list makes you happy and proud.  And you realize you have accepted and embraced your identity as a runner.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

the best I can do?

How often do you find yourself thinking, or saying "I'm doing the best I can."

I am pretty sure I both say and think it quite a bit.  Sometimes, it's quite true.

Often I think its how we give ourselves permission to not achieve perfection.  We know perfection is impossible, yet we still want it, or at least the appearance of it.

Other times, we use that phrase as a cop-out, an excuse.  If we say "I'm doing the best I can" no one can really fault us.  They feel pressured to accept it as truth, because "the best I can" is relative, it's not objective.

No one else can tell you what the best you can do is.  They may try, but usually they just say "ok" and leave it at that.

Has anyone ever challenged you though, and said "I think you can do better?"  I don't think anyone has ever challenged me in that way.  It would be difficult to hear, but I'd like to think I'd take inventory and truly investigate if I was doing the best I could.

I'm in the process of reading and teaching the book The Me I Want to Be by John Ortberg, and that's exactly what his wife told him.  She approached him with several things she wasn't happy with and he said "I'm doing the best I can" and she said "no, you're not.  You're not living up to what you teach and preach or what you've done in the past."  That incident was one of the factors that lead to the journey which turned into this book.

It really has caused me to stop and think.  I believe I've been accepting too much mediocrity in my life.  Mediocrity that I'm to blame for.  I let things go in the house.  I don't keep up with various cleaning and organizing tasks.  Yes it's true that I'm tired, that I'm busy, that I'm a working mom of young children, that I need to take care of myself.

But truly, these things I leave undone for far too long, take probably a maximum of twenty minutes to complete.  Easily done.  But discipline and a plan is required.

In some respects, I'm NOT doing the best I can, even though I try to pretend I am.  And it's not about perfection or getting things done.  A lot of times, I just forget what needs to be done when I have the time to do it, until it's too late and I'm too tired.  The bottom line is I feel better about myself and better about life in general when I am on top of these basic tasks.

This last week and weekend were pretty out of control.  The little girls were sick and I was trying to get work stuff accomplished from home. Then I taught a class all day Friday and most of Saturday.  When I got home on Saturday we drove 90 miles to one of my best friends baby showers.  Sunday was a busy day at church and I officiated a memorial service in the afternoon and didn't get home until 3:30pm.

I had every reason to sit around on Monday and relax.  But so many areas of my home needed attention. And we were all home and it was a warm, beautiful day.  In actually started on Sunday when I cleaned the kitchen and dining room floors.  Monday I went to work cleaning, purging and organizing in the girls' rooms.  I de-cluttered other parts of the house.  It pretty much took all day, between stops to play with the kids, attend to them, and take care of life as well.

It felt good.  It energized me.  And when I walk into the bedrooms, it's like a breath of fresh air now.  I can say on Monday, I truly did the best I could.

This morning, I got up at 5:15am so that I could run.  Bean had to leave at 6am and I'm needed to be back in the house by then.  Yes, it was early.  But I haven't been running enough and I've been more on edge and tense.  So running early, was my best.

I have a list of forms I'm going to print from Monday Saving Mom and Simple Mom to help me organize.  I love lists and organization, routines and plans. But I've been slacking big time.  It's time to step it up.  I'm going to find what works for me.  I want to do truly do the best I can do.  I don't want to settle for mediocrity any longer.

I'll still have days I slack.  We'll still spend days in our jammies.  But I want to have earned those days.

I want to know I'm truly doing the best I can.  Because I know I'll be happier when I am.

What do you think?  Do you use this as a cop-out sometimes?  Are there any downloads, forms, schedules etc that you find helpful?

Monday, January 17, 2011

one-thousand

For some time now, I have been entranced with Ann's blog.  It is so deep, yet so simple.  Sometimes it makes my head hurt, and others it stirs my soul.  It brings up pain and also rejoicing.  I don't remember ever pre-ordering a book before, but this one I have.

As I browse through blog-world, I see snippets from those who've had a sneak peak, those who are reading early copies of the book.  They use words like wrecked, ruined, changed.  I need those things.  I eagerly await this book.  Not just for her words, but for the Spirit who inspired them and will make them come alive in my own life and heart.

In this new year, I want to embark on a new journey.  A journey of gratitude.  I want to join those who each week list the gifts, the things they are thankful for.  It's easy for me to get wrapped up in what's missing, in the lack, in the unfulfilled desires, the unrealized dreams, the daily mundane.  But I have so much to be thankful for.  The giver of life has given me much.

If you haven't visited Ann's blog, please do so.  And I'd love for you to join me on this journey too, of One Thousand Gifts.




I have to start with the obvious, because sometimes I take these gifts for granted.

1...a husband, who loves me wholly and unconditionally

2...daughters, who run to greet me, assailing my legs and wrapping their arms around me

3...a home, that is ours, in a neighborhood we've always dreamed of living, with family and friends close by

4...the physical ability to run

5...a voice, to express my love to God in song

6...the honor of ministering to people in their time of need

7...friends of the heart

8...the health of my family...I'm witnessing too much heartache and loss these day

Come back each Monday as I journey towards these one-thousand gifts and beyond.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

running through my head

Much of this past week, I haven't even known what day it is.  Bean got sick at the end of last week and by Sunday, Gracie had the fever/aches/chills/cough and then Monday was Lily's turn.  They were very sick all week and I only was able to go to work for one day.

I'm not sure how moms who don't have understanding, flexible family-friendly jobs do it.  I can take care of the necessary stuff from home and I have wonderful people in our office who support me and my 347 emails I send when I'm home with the kids.

I was barely home the past three days.  I'm really glad that tomorrow is a holiday and we can have a family day.  I'm planning to work on Thursday, because I need the time at work.

Someday, I'd like to have time and energy to have a hobby.  The Energizer Bunny, I am not.  I admire women who put tons of energy into their family and life (and sometimes even a job) and still have time for hobbies.  I know the day will come when the kids require less energy, but it seems far off!

Does laundry ever end?  No, I think not.  If we want to wear clean clothes that is.  I sometimes complain that I have to walk to the garage to do my laundry, but our last house I had to walk downstairs to a dungeon.  So I'm thankful for that.

I have major race-fever right now.  I want to register for several races this year.  But they are PRICEY.  At least for me :)  I have a few in mind that I want to do, but I haven't actually decided yet.  I need a goal, something to drive me, something that excites me.  Staying up a little too late, and my warm bed on a cold morning have made my morning runs almost non-existent.

Gracie seems to have had some behavior-regression as a result of her illness.  Or there is still something wrong.  She has never been so whiney, so needy in her life.  Or at least since she left her infant colicky state.  She is asking to be held so much (and she's a lanky almost 4-yr old) or to sit with her.  She wants to lay on the couch and watch TV or movies.  And the fits she throws when she has to actually do something.  She still has a bad, deep cough--so maybe there is still something going on.  It's quite frustrating.

She's also not eating well.  I can tell she lost a pound or two, which is a lot for her.  She's my beanpole.  Not 40lbs yet. Gracie complains of her legs hurting.  Not sure if it's a ploy to be carried, or she needs to eat more.  But I don't like getting in the --what will you eat mode--I want her to eat what's prepared.

Needless to say, we'll be visiting the doctor early next week if she doesn't snap out of it soon.  Lily has a cough still too, but she's just a little "I'll be 2 in 2 weeks" hellion.  She is SO spunky.  It's funny, and exasperating.  She gets sent to time out quite a bit.  It works for us right now, because she sees her sisters go to time out, so she understands the concept.  She needs a post all her own soon.

I'm hoping, praying, believing for a good, routine week.  My psyche desperately needs it.  My home and family need it.  I'm feeling a bit off, a bit unsettled tonight.  Antsy.  I don't want to just survive, I want to thrive.

And I need to run.  That goes without saying though, huh?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

running through my head

This no time/energy/creativity for blogging right now is bumming me out!  I love this little space.  But I love the three little people and the big man in my life more, and they've needed a lot of me lately.

The past week has been very challenging.  It was the first week back to school for Miss Rose and back to work for Bean and I after a week off after Christmas.  I found it pretty difficult to get back in the groove.  Even though I was waking up at the same time, and had the same morning tasks, we were almost late to school most of the week. 

I have been dealing with some pretty bad headaches this week.  Migraines, tension headaches that grip my neck and shoulders.  I have one right now.  This is a trouble area for me, but this week has been especially bad.  It's a combination of stress, anxiety, caffeine withdrawls and who knows what else.  I went to the chiropractor on Wednesday and have another appointment on Monday. 

A friend of mine is dealing with some internal bleeding believed to be caused by taking too much Motrin.  I pop that stuff like candy.  Along with other meds for pain.  That scares me.  If I can't get the pain under control I will probably see a doctor and figure out what they can do to help me.

Bean had a very bad flu the past few days.  He doesn't often get sick and when he does, usually he powers through.  Not this time.  He spent much of two days in bed or on the couch and I got the kids out of the house when possible to give him some quiet.  He's on the mend, but is not 100%.  Then Gracie woke up today with a fever, which makes her vomit.  Luckily, it was mostly mucous and stomach bile.  But still, not fun.

I'm hoping and praying no one else gets it.  But Lily has a bit of a cough, which is how Bean started out.  And Miss Rose constantly fights a runny nose, usually from allergies, but it easily turns into an illness.  I need to get back into the working and thriving in life groove.

My floors all through the house are terribly dirty, we are always behind on laundry, and I have more organizing to do in the new parts of the kitchen.  Let's not talk about the constant state of messiness in the bedrooms.  Miss Rose desperately needs a chore chart and a behavior chart too.  Her attitude and how she speaks to us is a real challenge right now.

All in due time I suppose.

Bean and I just finished a week-long Daniel fast with our church.  It really felt like a lot of the difficulty we faced this week was due to our obedience to God and the enemy coming against us.  But in spite of it all, we stayed true to our course and are believing God for blessing and guidance as a result.  It's difficult to not have the "spiritual high" after what should be a spiritual experience.  But sometimes you just have to be obedient, even when you don't have the "high" to go along with it and trust that God will honor your committment.

I'll be working home from tomorrow with a sick Gracie.  I'm hoping she wakes up without a fever so she can go to Grammie's on Tuesday.  I need to get back in that groove!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

'are you?

Lily loves to be near me. We have a pretty small house but if I'm not in sight, she walks around saying "are you?". It's the cutest thing. Even though her constant presence can be a bit of a nuisance at times. I know in the next year she will make the complete transition out of babyhood and toddlerhood. So I'm enjoying it to the best of my ability.

Lately, this blog has been asking me the same question--where are you?

I'm here. Just lacking energy and the mental capacity for blogging. This last year I've developed a real appreciation for well-written blog posts. Which means I cringe a bit when I post something that is rambling or sub-par in my opinion. I keep waiting for more time.

This week has been a little rough getting back to routine. I really enjoyed the week off at home. Even though I'm getting up at the same time, I've been just shy of late dropping Miss Rose off. This morning I even had to go back home after the two drop offs to put makeup on. I'm not very superficial, but a little makeup makes me feel put together and ready for a work day. I don't wear makeup as much when I'm at home.

So here I am. But here I go again. I hope to return soon!

And because they are cute...











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