Saturday, November 8, 2008

Our Football Fan

The kids both like watching the Gators play on TV, so they know when to sing the fight song and the Gator Bait cheer. We try to explain some things simply, like 'we want the ball to go into the endzone for a touch down.' Last night Kevin took A to a High School football game for some Daddy & Daughter time. A looked down at the field and then asked Hubby, "Daddy, where is the yellow line?"

Our little budding fan :o)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Dino Nuggets

I've mentioned before how Hubby does voices for the kids for pretty much anything they want to talk to them. Today during lunch he was voicing the Dino Nuggets they were eating.

A: Daddy, make the Dino Nuggets talk

H: Okay, (roar voice that kind of sounds like Strong Mad) Oh, you are going to eat me!

A: (chomps head off nugget)

H: Oh! You ate my head off!

G: Daddy, mee too!

K: Oh no, you are going to eat me!

G: (eats part of nugget)

H: Oh, no, you ate me!

G: (takes nugget out of mouth) Sorwee Dino Nugget

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Little Superman

G doesn't care for clothing. He'd rather be stark naked all the time, or as he calls it 'peepee naked.' Can't quite remember how that got started, perhaps something about him going peepee on the floor? Hmm. This also was the problem with getting him to wear the tuxedo for the wedding, or on most days shoes, sunglasses, hats, and jackets. He'd rather be naked! Don't stifle me with clothes mom! This credo of his also apparently applies to costumes.

So I'd purchased a cute little Elmo costume for him and tried to put it on him. No way Jose. Not gonna happen. He ran away so fast and even Elmo couldn't talk him into sitting still for a moment to put it over his head. So I had to be a little creative for his Halloween costume. He has a pair of Superman pj's (and PJs are one exception to the clothing rule I guess, because he doesn't ever want to change out of his pj's in the morning) and so I thought I'd make a little cape for the back and perhaps let him think it's really just his PJs, not an actual costume.

We had a playgroup at the park for his playgroup age kids that we'd met right after he was born. He ended up wearing the costume and only ripped the cape off at the end of the morning.



Mom trick success!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

New Adverb

A and I were discussing the seasons this morning as she was getting dressed for school, and talking about how cold it was today. I told her it gets really cold in the winter time, but it's not even winter yet. She asked what season came after winter, and I said,

L: Spring comes after winter and then summer is after that, spring is when Easter comes and we celebrate Jesus's ressurection.

A: Mommy, I know what we can do when it's Easter. We can sing the songs on our Easter CD. Listen Mommy: 'Christ the Lord is risen toooodaaaay, Ahhhhhleluuuuia'

L: That's great honey, I like your singing.

A: Yeah Mommy, I sang that very Jesusy.

Jesus-y, awesome new adverb. I guess this answers the question 'How would Jesus sing?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Our Status

I'm on Facebook and I love the way that it connects me with people I haven't seen in a long time and that I can see pictures of friends and their new families. The status feature keeps me up to date (almost minutely) with what people are doing. One of my recent ones was: "Lark hates it when her son unrolls the entire paper towel roll"

Reading other people's status updates is funny and occasionally informative (just found out my friend had a baby!), but sometimes they are not so funny. I have a lot of the kids from the youth group, college students, or old high school classmates as my friends. Some of their status updates aren't so great. Most of the time I ignore them but if it's someone I know well, I might call them out on it.

Tonight one person had as his status: "'Kid's name' is going full retard.'" I just couldn't let that one slide and told him that wasn't kind. He soon after replaced it with something else.

I am not intimately knowledgeable about Down Syndrome and other disabilities, but I think that the way we treat others has something to say about ourselves. We can encourage others to speak well and watch our words so they have a clear understanding of how hurtful it can be to say those things.

A perfect example comes from my two little parrots who copy everything I say. When something coming out of their mouth doesn't sound as good as when it came out of my own mouth, I know I need to scratch that from my vocab. It's tough though, you know? I've been catching my self saying 'Good Lord' when there is a huge mess or something like that and that's not really an appropriate response. So I've just tried to replace that with "goodness."

Good thing the Good Lord is with me, revealing my error gently and helping me change. I suggest we gently reprove those who use the R-word and help them see the hurtful power of our words.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Big Day (part 2)

After G had his hair cut the girls all got to the salon to have our hair done too. A did pretty good through the process and was still and didn't fuss about it. It may have been the unlimited cookie supply I was feeding her...but hey! there are no real rules on wedding day.


So, with hair done and makeup finished we were off to the church to get in our dresses and have some pictures taken. I was running around (as usual) getting my dress on, helping the photographers, moving things, finding things, getting the veil put in her hair, and on and on. Once I got myself ready I looked around for A to get her into her dress. After looking for a little bit I found her...



She was passed out on a chair. I didn't know if I should wake her up or just let her sleep. I figured it was too late now so I just decided to let her sleep through the before ceremony pictures and perhaps she might get a 30 minute nap in to refresh her. Was she like waking Sleeping Beauty from her sleep? No way. More like waking up a fire-breathing dragon. She was VERY cranky and didn't want to do anything, didn't want to get in her dress or have her 'princess crown' on, or get in her tights or shoes. Didn't want to hold her basket or throw the flowers. What was I going to do!? The ceremony started in 20 minutes and I had to get her from cranky to cooperative.

I knew she really wasn't trying to be in a bad mood, she just was tired. At one point she said, "Mommy! My smile just won't come out!" Poor thing. We got her all ready (by the way, G got in his tux no problem, but never did get his shoes on), and were in the back of the church waiting for it to be time to walk down the aisle. My Uncle came and saved the day, he started joking around with A and made her laugh and smile and forget about being cranky. No one else could make her smile or laugh, not even Daddy or Mommy, but my uncle was saying things like 'ooh, that wall just bit my elbow' and A thought it was great.

Now, over to G. He seemed like he was doing okay. Then Daddy had to walk my grandparents down the aisle and he had a fit. Once Hubby was out of the area he would cry. And it was pretty loud. I had to take him outside, talk to him a little bit and got him calmed down, but once I came back in it was crying all over again. Then it was my turn to walk down the aisle. And what was I supposed to do? I just walked down and hoped for the best. I got to the front and saw A coming down, sprinkling her petals just as coached. Then when she ran out, she put the basket in her mouth and walked to the front row to claim her lollipop. G never did make it down, Hubby must have gone back to get him because next thing I knew he was sitting up there next to A with his own lollipop. And besides a little comment about Diego during the scripture reading, both kids were quiet and well behaved during the service. My best friend sat up there with Hubby to help, yay! Whew. It was finally over, I got a little emotional as I walked out with the best man, watching the new married couple.

Here's G passing the picture time with Daddy. Notice his 'after' picture for the hair cut. I wasn't too brave was I? She said she cut off 2 inches though! It still has a little curl to the bottom which I was very happy to still have. But she did even it up in places and Unmullet it, which was the important thing, hehehe.





The pictures were up next and they were pretty crazy but finally everything was ironed out and the reception began. It included some interesting highlights like me falling down a brick staircase, the bride's shoe getting stuck in the dance floor, and A almost falling into the river. I gave my toast, I took care of the bride when red wine got spilled on her dress, Hubby and I shared a dance (sort of...if you count alternately picking up children together as dancing) but it was to our song so it was special anyway.

I didn't feel like I had much time to take it all in, but it was beautiful. The reception looked like something out of a magazine. Lights strung up over the garden, the beautiful floral centerpieces, and the (expensive!) linens in pink, green, black, and white were perfect. I think my mom said it all when she said, 'it made all the money and time we spent preparing worth it to see how happy Sis looked and such joy on both of their faces.' It was a beautiful day and the weather was just right. It rained a little bit that morning but was perfect for the evening.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The big day (part 1)

The day started off with the kids waking up around 6:45, not bad I thought, but wished they'd slept in more since it would be a long day and without a nap for A. After packing up the bags, getting some breakfast and getting myself ready, I was taking a look at some of the pictures from the rehearsal dinner the night before and specifically at G's hair.

Hmm. That looks kinda like, well...I don't know. Does that resemble a MULLET?



Sure, the curls look super cute in the back, but he probably did need a trim in the front. A few weeks back A mentioned something about 'G's bangs.' I looked at her and said, 'Honey. Gdoes not have BANGS, Gis a boy...it's...um...front hair'

I was on The Children's Place website the other day and came across this banner ad with a little boy with adorable hair.


Now how can I get his hair to do that? Of course, I'm sure the little boy had curlers in his poor hair before the photo shoot and more gel and hairspray in it than I put in my own hair. I was not willing to curl and gel my son for the wedding.

So yes, I did it. I got the guts to get his hair cut. I was supposed to be picked up by the limo at 10 am to head to the salon. At around 9 am I called the salon and asked if they could possibly work him in that day some time. They said they had a 9:30 opening, so I rushed up there with him to try and be back at the house before the limo got there to take me back!



G obviously wasn't too thrilled about this. He did NOT want to be messed with and was a bit scared of what was going to happen. He pretty much cried through the whole thing.



He didn't even like the cute doggie coverup that they had for him to wear.



You can see he has Lightning McQueen to comfort him in one hand and a lollipop in the other hand. He was so distressed he wouldn't even put the lollipop in his mouth. I gave it to him right when he got in the chair and he didn't put it in his mouth until he was safely back in my arms. On the way home I thought, hmm, I'm doing pretty good it's only 9:55, I've still got time! Then a car turned down the street to reveal the limo that was in front of me on the way to my parents house. Okay, well, I'm not that late then.

Tune in soon for the 'after' pictures!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wedding Prep

My sister is getting married this weekend and I went to town to help with the preparations and hopefully prepare the kids for their big roles as Flower Girl and Ring Bearer.

I enlisted the help of her new in-laws to finish up the favors. Now this is a Manly way to work with ribbon. He was rockin with his ribbon cutting technique.


The rehearsal was a little crazy, but everything worked out okay. A and G got to practice going down the aisle twice. The first time G got about 1/2 way down before turning down a pew and running to look for Daddy. The second time he got a little further down. A got all of her petals out about 5 rows down and then put the basket in her mouth for the rest of the way down the aisle.

 Will they make it down the aisle? We'll find out tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

monotonymonotonymonotony

Sometimes it seems like every day is the same. On Sunday afternoon I literally forgot what day it was for a few minutes and I racked my brain and my surroundings for a clue as to what day it was.

The kids were watching their afternoon video and I was doing some cleaning and trying to finish up my "things I can't do while the kids are up" list while they were occupied with the video. I looked at my watch and it was 5:30. I thought about calling my mom. I wondered if I should call her at home or on her cell phone. Would she be home from work? What time was it, oh a little after 5pm. Hmm...will Hubby be home from work soon?

No wait you crazy woman. It's Sunday. Hubby just left an hour ago to go to youth group, your mom obviously isn't at work today.

So when I told my mom about my brain fart, she said, "oh, you didn't go to church today?" But I had gone to church, it was just the moment of doing the same thing I do every single day that caught me up in not knowing which of those days it was.

I told her I envied people who say 'TGIF' because I don't feel like I get a weekend break from my mom/wife/housekeeper duties. Yes, Saturdays are great when Hubby stays home, but often times he has an event to go to or we have something going on. Then sometimes it's weekdays that he'll take off to compensate if he works in the evening or on a special event.

But, I wouldn't go to work just to know what day of the week it is. On the flip side, I don't have to dread Mondays! In fact, Mondays are kinda nice because that's when I go to MOPS meetings. I am so glad Hubby takes care of going to work and providing for our family so that I can stay home. If nothing else I can always ask him what day it is :o)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Our Rebel

A has been going to preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays, just like she did last year. She's really enjoying it and has made a few good friends. Usually on our way home from school we ask her about how her day was, what books they read, what songs they sang and so on. Today we had an interesting exchange:

Us: So what kinds of things did you do today honey?

A: Well, we got to see a fish in the tank. Then our class was going to go outside to see all the pumpkins, but I didn't want to hold Allison's hand.

Us: Oh, why didn't you want to hold Allison's hand honey?

A: I wanted to hold Jacob's hand.

Us: Well, you can't always hold Jacob's hand darling, you need to be friends with other kids too.

A: I had to stay in the office with Miss R and Madison came and took my hat. And I was making a face like this (mad face).

Us: Wait, what happened?

A: Madison came and took my hat because she is a little baby. Miss R took it from her and handed it back to me and I did this (snatching motion).

Us: (Alarmed) Go back to the beginning, tell us what happened. Are you saying that your whole class went outside to see the pumpkins but you had to stay inside because you didn't hold Allison's hand?

A: Yeah, Mrs. B said I had to stay there.

Us: Did Mrs. B tell you to hold Allison's hand?

A: Yeah, but I didn't want to.

Us: So you disobeyed Mrs. B and you had to sit in the office while the other kids went outside to play?

A: Yeah.

Us: And then a little baby took your hat and Miss R gave it back to you and you snatched it from her (increasing alarm)?

A: Yeah.

Us: A! That sounds terrible honey, you need to obey your teachers even when they are telling you to do something you don't want to do. You didn't get to go outside because you disobeyed. And snatching something from an adult is not respectful. Do you understand all this?

A: Yeah, don't make that sad face at me. Make a happy face at me.

Us: Are you sorry for disobeying and being disrespectful?

A: Yeah.

Us: Well, when we go to class on Thursday you are going to need to apologize for what you did today.

And the conversation went on from there. Wow! Our daughter was basically sent to the principal's office in preschool. Great, we have the rebel of the 3 year old class.

The afternoon pretty much went from bad to okay and then to horrible by the end of the day. We are at our wits end today with her. She is so difficult to deal with. She'll go into a tailspin if she doesn't get her way. Hubby and I had to have a long talk tonight to try and figure out what we are doing wrong or where we can improve. We've come up with some areas we can improve on: consistency from us and not answering her so quickly (giving us time to consider her request instead of answering no and then saying yes later because we didn't think about it enough).

Truthfully, I'm not feeling very hopeful on this right now. It's hard to know if it's her age, her personality, or her parents that are to fault.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

More Cakes

Here are some more of the cakes I've made and lessons I've learned from them.

This one was one of my first and turned out pretty awful. First of all the cake was so moist and I put the top layer upside down instead of rounded side up. It split down the middle after I frosted it. I tried to frost it white with blue lettering saying congratulations, but I ran out of room! So I had to scratch that blue off and that's how you end up with the tye-dye look there. It was still yummy though.



Another one that didn't turn out as well as I'd like was a 35th Anniversary cake for my in-laws. I tried adding pudding to the icing because it made for a yummy filling in the middle. Unfortunately it just kind of melted onto the cake. It was good, but looked pretty goofy.



Next off was the 2 year old birthday and it was Elmo since A was nuts for Elmo at the time. I bought a cake pan (anyone need an Elmo cake pan?) and it worked out perfectly. I highly recommend them because the contouring is just right. I learned how to pipe stars and though it takes a longer time than slapping the icing on with a knife the result is a great look that is pretty easy to achieve.



With such an easy shape like Hello Kitty I didn't need a cake pan and I learned how to cut cake into shapes. I made a 9x13 cake and cut it into an oval and used the leftover parts for ears. I didn't have anything long and black except pipe cleaners. They worked out okay but I still the black fuzz on the cake. Yummy.





That's it so far for my cake decorating. I do like doing it and seeing the smiles the kids get when they eat the 'eye' of whatever character. I love planning their parties, they have a homemade feeling about them. Not just the cakes but the whole party just feels simple, fun and well, doesn't cost a whole lot. I know for some parents having a birthday party can be a real drain on the budget because it costs X amount per child at the bowling alley or wherever. Hopefully our kids will enjoy the homemade efforts by their mom.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Have we got a party for you!

It's hard to believe 2 years ago we were celebrating A's 2nd birthday and awaiting G's birth. This year we had the kids party together, there's just so much going on this month with Sis's wedding. They were excited about the idea of a party together.

Their favorite videos to watch are VeggieTales and since it's gender neutral, it worked. We try to keep our parties pretty small, but since they were together we let them invite 2 friends each (plus their siblings) add parents and our family and we had a good crowd.

Our family arrived right as I finished decorating the cake. Before they got there I'd had Hubby keeping the kids out of the kitchen so I could work on it. Well, somehow between all 6 adults we had there G stuck his hand right in the top of Larry's head and eye. I said, "Noooo!" and had to wipe him off and try and fix the cake. Hubby came in and took him out and G walked down the hallway with him with his head down and all sad and said, "I wanna say sawee (sorry) to Mommy". So he came back and told me sorry, too sweet. How do you resist that?

It ended up working out okay, I think I got it fixed enough that you couldn't tell, but I was late to the party. I was pleased with how it came out. From this cake I learned to take a picture of the cake right when you finish it!
For fun we had a coloring table with VeggieTales pages.




Grant! No buddy, not again!





The hit toy of the day, the VeggieTales Pirate Ship from Mimi.




A got a Hello Kitty blanket and pillow that she really liked, Meme joked that now she could get rid of her "Lovey" (the little blanket she sleeps with every night). That little joke didn't go over too well and I had to assure her that Meme was just joking and we wouldn't REALLY get rid of Lovey. Sweet girl.



And really, why do we bother with toys sometimes? The girls had fun just running together in the gift bag.



The party was fun, but I sure am glad I don't have to do that again this month! Now on to the wedding.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The perfect cake

Have I told you I love to decorate cakes? I think it started with icing a cake and adding a little bit of umph to it by getting a can of that frosting that looks like Easy Cheese. It was fun to play with and make flowers and designs.

From there I went through the cake decorating aisle and decided to get a few things to start really decorating cakes. A couple of decorating tips, a coupler, and pastry bag (the white triangle shaped thing).

After many plain cakes with flowers and swirls piped onto them I started gaining confidence. Not with icing text however, my handwriting is worse on a cake than it is on paper if you can believe that is possible.

At last I have children who will need at least one cake a year so I have an outlet for my decorating love. Tonight I'm up late working on the VeggieTales cake for tomorrow's party. For a little 'taste' of my cakes, here are some I've done this year. I'm not that great but I'm learning from each try.

Hello Kitty Cupcakes- Here I learned that it is not acceptable to use black Pipe Cleaners in place of licorice. Mmm. Tasty black bits of fuzz.


Mickey- Here I learned that getting the right colored icing is very important. This cake was about to be the biggest disaster. Instead of the Ivory and Black they looked more like 'sunburnt mickey' and 'mickey in old age'. I couldn't even bring myself to take a picture of the awfulness it was. I also learned not to bother trying to make black icing and so in a stroke of genius the ears ended up as chopped up oreo crumbs.



Bathtub ducky cake for a baby shower. I loved this one! I found the 3D duck pan on clearance and had to make this cake. The kids loved eating the duck. But from this cake I learned that the weight of the cake is important. This one was so big that it was too heavy for my cake board. Also I learned I needed stabilizers in order to add 3D elements but since I do stuff last minute that led me to use whatever I had in the kitchen, so I stuck toothpicks in the cake to help the duck stay standing. Watch out for the sticks of wood in the cake guys!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fire Fighters

Monday we took a field trip to the Fire House with MOPS.


So last night A was telling her babysitter all about the seeing the Firefighters. She said excitedly, "We went to the fire house and they weren't even fighting!"

I guess I could have been more clear in explaining why we call them Fire 'Fighters.' Hmm.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Every Season - Nichole Nordeman

Two weeks ago at church we had the new director of Women's Resource and Medical Clinic come and share about the ministry there and how our church could partner with them in saving lives. I volunteered there while I was in college for a few years and really saw the fruit that the Lord was bringing through the work done there. Women come in for a free pregnancy test and counselors are privileged to talk with them, answer questions and be with them in a time of uncertainty. Many clients are so willing to open up and talk about spiritual things. I loved volunteering there because each time I felt the Lord using me to impact others lives. To know that a child's life was saved because I was there to talk with a woman in her time of need is so precious to me.

That's why when the director was speaking at church I felt such a tug to volunteer there again. But in this season of my life I have other priorities and other ministry opportunities. I can't take 4 hours out of my day to go and work somewhere when I have two kids who need me. This season of my life is "mother of preschoolers."

Fortunately, a wave of calm and peace came over me as I realized that when I was in the 'college' season of my life I did volunteer and I used that time well. And perhaps when I'm in "mother of elementary schoolers" season I'll be able to volunteer there again.

It just made me think that with each season things change and what we are able to do changes with it. How we use our time, what we can afford, who we are friends with, where we get involved in ministry to others; all these things change with different seasons. There are some constants in the midst of seasonal change, but our lives look quite different from season to season.

I want to make the most of this season, so that when I look back on it I can be proud of the choices that I made. Right now is probably the only time I can really be involved in MOPS, so that is where I spend much of my ministry energy. Before kids I was able to help Hubby with the youth group. I'm not able to do as much now, but one thing I try to do is be available to mentor some of the college girls who'd like to just go out for coffee and chat. And I try to do what I can to free up Hubby's time so that he can do what he needs to do for his job.

It's hard because sometimes I think this season is never going to end. Sometimes I feel summer will never end. Then you get that little cold weather and it just feels so delicious. But then there are things you'll miss, like going out in the pool, the vacation time, the hours spent indoors because it's too hot...no wait, I don't miss that.

But each season does end, eventually. Some may last longer than others but we need to remember the good things about each season and try not to wish it away. The song below is one of my favorites and reminds me that God is with us in all of our seasons.




"There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven"
-Ecclesiastes 3:1

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Culinary schools want ME?

Have you guys gotten the spam message with the title "Culinary schools want YOU!"? I just have to laugh at that because there is no way they want to take me in. My friend pointed out that the culinary schools may want me, but not the restaurants. But I think that neither should want me, I'm a hopeless case.

It's not that I can't cook, I just don't really like doing it. I never had to cook anything growing up and in college I lived off of Hamburger helper and Pasta Roni. Then I moved in with my friend who had taken a vow of freshacy, not using any packaged foods. Living with her really helped me learn to cook, but I can't say that I inherited her love for cooking. When asked what her favorite meal to cook she replied with something like, "If I can cook without the kids underfoot, something with lots of ingredients that is complicated." My reply to the same question was, "Leftovers."

I can mess up meals in lots of different ways. Case in point. Last night I used the last of the white rice and put in some whole wheat rice along with it. But I cooked them both together for the white rice instructions. Of course I didn't realize until after it was cooked and I was eating crunchy rice that the wheat rice needed more water and to cook twice as long.

Wow, and the Lasagna that I made for some friends (and as a new mom meal after their baby was born). I usually use the oven ready noodles but decided to use regular noodles without boiling them, I'd heard you just have to add more water and cook them longer. Hmm, this sounds familiar. Well, I guess I didn't do enough of either cause when I tried to cut a piece for our guests it just didn't feel quite right. We had to wait on our lasagna for another 45 minutes to cook, while poor friend and family had to scrape the sauce off the crunchy noodles in order for it to be edible.

So most of the time I rely on two or three meals per week to cook and then do leftovers the next day. But sometimes if I'm short on time or if Hubby isn't eating at home that night I'll have a TV dinner. Who can mess that up? Apparently me.

Tonight I was cooking a Healthy Choice dinner for Hubby. I don't like to cook on Sundays, if there are no leftovers I find something easy and don't feel guilty because it's my Sabbath. So I put his in the microwave, sat down to eat mine and check some email. I was thinking, hmm, I'm already done eating mine and his hasn't finished cooking. I thought, I bet when I look up at the clock it's going to say 0:03 or something like that. Well I looked up and it said 43:08! Yikes!

I must have put it on for 60 minutes instead of 6 minutes! He said it wasn't bad, but the dessert wasn't worth trying. I've got to start doing meal planning again so I don't get into this. I don't think about cooking dinner until I'm hungry. It's so hard for me to think ahead.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The only political post you may ever get from me

Watch out blog readers! I'm getting political today! I don't usually delve into these things as I see them as divisive and just not fun. But as I was folding laundry the Lord laid this on my heart and I just had to type it out.

Imagine you are voting in the 1780s instead of today. Consider 2 candidates. Candidate 1 holds many to most of your same views on the economy/taxes, foreign relations, social issues like welfare, and moral views. Candidate 2 is different on many to most of those same issues.

But, what if Candidate 1 was for slavery and Candidate 2 was an abolitionist? Who would you vote for? Would slavery be an important enough issue to make you a single-issue voter? Would you give up voting for someone who shares most of your views to go with someone who supports the rights of African Americans?

These are some of the things I am considering the process of choosing a candidate for this year’s election. What are the big issues, who supports what and is there an issue that is the deciding factor for me?

Have you seen the movie Amazing Grace? It is the story of William Wilberforce’s quest to end slave trade in England. The movie is about how he continued to fight the good fight, to stand for those he had never met simply because it was the right thing to do. I thought it was interesting to see how the opposition to abolition was portrayed. There were many good points on their side. How would the economy fare if slave trade was abolished? Wouldn’t it be better for a gradual change instead of all at once? And even if England stopped the slave trade, wouldn’t France just step in and take all the profits?

As I was watching I realized what a major shift the politicians and public had to make. It seemed insurmountable at times, even to Wilberforce. What changed everyone’s minds and hearts finally? Overcoming selfishness and facing the facts. The fact that it is not right to treat a human like that. The fact that these people were human beings that God created, not animals or a lower class of humans. That skin color doesn’t determine worth. The facts were laid out for a long time and no one could dispute them, yet still the slave trade continued. That is until one day it was too clear for anyone to turn the other way.

My hope is that one day we will look back on abortion the way we now look back on slavery. My prayer is that we will overcome selfishness and face the facts. The fact that there is life and personhood before conception. It’s obvious with today’s medical technology that babies in the womb are humans and don’t become human simply when they are born. We can know that life begins at conception, because at conception a process begins motion, the fetus keeps growing and growing. You can’t pinpoint a time after conception that signals, ‘okay, now it’s human.’ The sex of the child is determined at conception, how could this fetus be a boy or a girl, but not a human? Even if you could say ‘well, it’s not human until this..’ At 5 weeks the major organs are developing, the heart starts beating and blood is pumping. That’s before most women even notice they’ve missed a period! Not only is the child harmed through abortion, the mother is also in danger of harm physically and emotionally.

I feel strange even pointing these things out, since it’s not obvious to the world. I wonder how the abolitionists felt when they told people of the horrible atrocities on the slave ships and plantations and then were met with nonchalant attitudes.

As we near the current election, I keep hearing about ‘women’s rights’ and how if you aren’t for abortion you are against the equality of women and setting women back 50 years and on and on. “Women’s reproductive rights?” What exactly does that mean? The right to control your own uterus, no matter if another human stands in the way? I think that EACH person has a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness and as humans we need to stand up for that to apply to each person, even those who are still in the womb.

I don’t really care for politics. I dislike discussing it with people because I know I’m not fully educated on all the issues. I just don’t have time for that, but even if I did have the time, it wouldn’t make a difference in my vote. Simply said, a law allowing innocent human life to be killed is enough to make me a single-issue voter. I don’t know about all the issues, but I do know who stands for what on this issue. And for me the choice is clear.

The Cookie Suit

Last weekend G pitched a fit when we tried his little suit on him for Sis's upcoming wedding. He lay on the ground crying and saying, "I don't wike it, jacket owf. Take it owf!' Plus he threw the ring bearer pillow on the ground. A did the same thing with her dress and said the beads were hurting her. Needless to say, I was not encouraged by this and in my head flew visions of screaming children running down the aisle or through the church like they were being tortured.

A friend gave me a little suit that was smaller and I tried it on him today. I picked after naptime because I thought he'd be more cooperative. He was not.

Then I got an idea!

A throwback to my psychology degree (see mom and dad, it was worth it!) I decided to use positive association with the suit. I said, 'hey Grant, do you want a cookie?' and told him when he got his suit all on that we'd go get a cookie. He cooperated slightly better though he was still grabbing at the coat wanting to take it off. I called it his Cookie outfit and I think I'm going to try putting it on him every few days to get him used to it. Maybe he'll even WANT to put it on so he can have a cookie. We've got 3 weeks until the big day, so hopefully this will work!

Here we are in the pantry anticipating the cookie



Jacket on, success! Do you think we could move from unhappy to slightly happy?



Okay! That's a little bit of a smile! I think we are on to something here.




A mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do, right?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Parenting is an apprenticeship, not obedience school

I'm a part of a new Sunday School class for parents of elementary age and younger kids called the Homebuilders class. For the first few weeks of the class we've been looking at a book called 'Parenting in the Pew' by Robbie Castleman. I've not read the book, but I really enjoyed our class today and it's good to hear from other parents about how difficult and challenging this whole parenting thing is.

One of the topics today was on Modeling, specifically how we model worship to our kids while we are in church. Now I'm not dealing with this right now as my kids are still in the nursery during 'big church.' But, modeling behavior is something that I've had on my mind for a while. I've heard all the quotes:

'Practice what you preach'
'Kids learn more of what is caught than taught'
'Your children will become what you are, so be what you want them to be'

Today the quote of parenting as an apprenticeship was burned into my memory. I am aware that I am basically performing on stage for my kids 24/7 (well, maybe 12/7since they don't see me at night). As my sister and I were arguing this weekend A came in and asked, 'Mommy, why are you and Aunt Sis arguing?' Sigh. I want to provide the best model for them in all aspects of life, especially spiritually, but I need God's help to do that. I know perfection isn't possible, and it's not bad if they see me doing wrong things as long as they also see me asking for forgiveness or admitting what I did was wrong. I don't want them to think I'm perfect because they aren't perfect either and they need a good model of repentance as much as they need a good model of obedience.

But there are some things that I am a 'Do as I say not as I do' kind of mom. Most of these have to do with food. I feel slightly hypocritical as I refuse to give my daughter a cookie at breakfast and tell her, 'Honey, we don't have dessert after breakfast' when she didn't see that I ate a whole piece of cheesecake for my breakfast. Hmm. Or when I make her eat all her green beans and there aren't even any green beans on my plate. I saw an article one time about a woman who, for 30 days, only ate food that she would feed her child. And if she wanted to 'cheat' she had to give it to her child too. I wouldn't have lasted 30 days. Doing these kinds of things was much easier when they were little and they didn't know what chocolate was or what it tasted like. Now I only eat cookies during nap time, and I always look down the hall to make sure they are not waking up before I get the cookie jar down.

I personally need to be more disciplined about things that are good for me. Things like going to bed earlier, not spending so much time on the computer, not biting my nails, studying the Bible more regularly, and not eating so much junk food.

Until I master all that (ha!), I'll try to keep my cookie eating out of sight. Hehehe.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A man of many talents

Right now Tow Mater and Lightning McQueen are chatting with A and G. They are telling them all about the surprise birthday party they are throwing for Flo. Oh, now Doc Hudson is in on the party, and Mia and Tia are coming too. Oh, and Luigi and Ramone. It's amazing that all of them can fit in the bathroom as the kids take their bath. It only makes sense when you realize they are all being voiced by my husband.

He truly is a man of many talents. He can impersonate all their favorite characters like VeggieTales (excepting Junior and Laura), the Cars crew, Sesame Street, and Tigger. Then he makes up voices for toys that don't have specific voices like Meow-Meow, Papa Bear, Big Duck, and on and on. They love to have characters from books and coloring books talk back to them. One of A's favorites from an old coloring book is Surfer Dude with his SoCal voice. Then there's Widow the spider and Coral the snake (with a lisp) from the Poison Patrol gang (gotta love that safety propaganda). I don't know how he can come up with so many different voices but it's like having Robin Williams around the house and the kids just soak it up, asking him to make pretty much everything talk to them. It's not like things have to have a mouth for them to talk either, our Heinz bottle comes alive with a dull whiny voice and Mustard tells him to go back to the fridge to the delight of the kids. I think that Hubby created the voice of 'Grins and Giggles' (a high pitched demented clown) just to annoy me one day but unfortunately it stuck. Even though we've long used up that bottle of baby wash, Grins and Giggles still attends all their baths.

Perhaps it started when A was very little. We had a little fingertip toothbrush that looked like a little puppet. After a while she decided she didn't like getting her teeth brushed and so Bristles from Brussels was born. Bristles takes the red-eye from Europe every night just to brush their teeth and chats about what they had to eat that day. He speaks English, but with a Dutch accent of course.

G is always saying, "Hey Purcey, gess what?" or "Hey Ketchewp, gess what?" or Hey Whoever in order to get Hubby to say "What" in the appropriate voice. So the other day at church A learned about some Old Testament story involving leprosy and brought home a picture of a man with dried corn glued to the body (ewww...). She was telling us the story and G says, "Hey, Weprosy, gess what?" Sorry, buddy. We aren't going to be voicing infectious diseases. You know, we gotta draw the line somewhere.

Sometimes I get a little jealous when the kids are clinging all over their Daddy. G used to favor me, I used to be the one he'd want to cuddle with and go to when he needed comfort. I don't think I was ever that for A, she was always 'Daddy's little girl.' I joked that when G was born there was finally 'one for me.'

When we got out of the car on Sunday for church A was holding daddy's hand and G was holding mine. When G wriggled out of my hand to hold hands with Daddy I said, 'Why can't I be the favorite?'

However I can't get too jealous because I realize, what an amazing man I've married. I get him as my husband! I knew I wanted to marry a man who would be a good father, but I never could have imagined how good Hubby would be with our kids. How they absolutely adore him, need him, and want him. It makes me love and appreciate him all the more. The best part is I am top in his list, so I guess I am someone's favorite.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The three people you meet at the grocery store

I think there should be a Mommy Olympics. If so, you could have events like how fast you can quiet a baby using the 5 S's, or surviving a long distance car ride. But I think the main event I'd be interested in watching would be a trip to the grocery store with more than one child. Points could be given based on whether you got all the items on your list, or if you remembered your coupons, and used your savings card.

I think going to the Publix is one of the most stressful things I do regularly as a mom. And it's not like I can just decide not to do it anymore. We have to eat! I'm seriously considering making trips around 9pm after the kids are in bed. It seems like such a waste to go during my 'free time' but it may be worth not dealing with the insanity of taking the kids along.

The simple solution would be to send Hubby to the store, right? Well, there's a lot of problems with that. For one, I never really know what I need until I see it (or until I see it's on sale). Two, that would still put me at home watching the kids. Three, he always comes home with some kind of specialty drink or expensive meats or other things I think of as special event items.

I had an epic trip to Publix last week culminating in A pushing G out of the cart. But you know it's not going to be fun when the whining begins when you get to the first aisle. A realized she wasn't on the 'juice side' of the cart. OH NO! THE WORLD WILL END, I PUT MY DAUGHTER ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE CART. Then she whined about not wanting to be strapped in for the next 10 aisles. I reminded her over and over that she needed to have a good attitude or else she wouldn't be getting a cookie. Of course I already knew she wouldn't be getting a cookie on this trip, but if I'd told her that she'd been ballistic the rest of the trip and I needed something that might make her turn her attitude around (is that terrible!?).

Now G on the other hand was peachy keen for the first 1/2 of the trip. He'd look over and say, 'was wong A?' And then happily play with his book or point out Dora balloons. But about halfway they apparently decided to switch up. A started keeping in mind the cookie and decided I meant what I said about not getting unstrapped. Then she wanted a hug and said she felt better. So G sees what's happening and realizes that they can't both be cooperative at the same time so he steps up to the plate. By the time we get over to the milk, he's hitting her and punching her for some reason. It's all really a blur now, I think I just was trying to make it through. It's about this time I realize that shopping no longer is a pleasure.

Where did the days go when Hubby and I would meet up at Publix in our dating days and we'd laugh about all the different names for sodas or just chat about our day? Or even something simple like being able to get in and out in under an hour? I always felt Publix's motto, 'where shopping is a pleasure' was true.

It would probably still be stressful if we were the only people in the store, but knowing that other people are only a few feet from my whiny kids makes the trip worse. Thankfully, most people just ignore it. But there are those who feel they need to comment. They fall in to three categories really:

1. The Grandparent: God bless them, old people know that kids can be crabby sometimes. Many a well meaning old man or woman has come up to my kids and said, "what's wrong sweetheart?" and tried to talk them out of their unhappiness. The result is that the kids get scared of them and quiet down for a minute but then start right back up again as soon as they are gone.

2. The dirty looks person: My least favorite. I narrow my eyes and glare at my computer screen just thinking about them now. They may not say anything to me, but they don't have to, I know what they are thinking. "Gee whiz, those kids are loud, why doesn't she keep them under control?" They are the middle aged man (who I'm sure doesn't have kids) or the 'together mom' whose only child is calmly munching on a rice cake or organic cardboard...I mean cracker.

3. Sympathetic Mom: God's way of encouraging me. Today I had a lady pat me on the shoulder and tell me "You're doing good" and, "it's always more humorous when it's not your own kids." My only solace is that other moms are dealing with the same thing.

But I did treat myself today. I did finally make it over to the bakery where I picked up two cookies for the kids. No, I didn't cave in, but I did tell them that if they behaved and were good in the checkout aisle they could have the cookie after dinner (I compromised with A and gave her 1/2 a cookie, G got nada). While I was at the bakery I spotted the Bavarian creme filled eclairs and decided that I had been a good Mommy and I deserved a treat. Definitely worth 70 cents, mmm. The lady working behind the counter even tried to give me a cookie. I guess I looked like I needed one.

Seriously, next time I'm getting my iPod, a Frappichino, and going BY MYSELF!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Chatty G

G really is talking a lot more. Sometimes I'll hear one of them talking in the other room and I can't tell who is talking because G is starting to use full sentences. The other day he said:


"Oh, dang it, I got milk on my face."

"White-ning MaCeen ooh stuk a mud? (Lightning McQueen, are you stuck in the mud?)

(As I'm trying to dress him) "No, mommy I don't wike dat shirt."

"Mommy, pursey is sweeping ova dere" (Percy the train was laying on his side)


Oh, and when I asked him I he wanted me to cut his hair he said, "No mommy". Hehehe.

UPDATE: So yesterday the kids were going through the pantry and I've got 3 cans of Miller Lite on the shelf to use for when I make my Beer Bread. G picked one of them up, pretended to drink one and then looked at me and said, "Daddy's Juwice Mommy!"

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Girls weekend


I have lived out my sister's college days in one weekend.

This past weekend I met up with a 8 of her girlfriends and we had a big bachelorette weekend. I planned the accommodations, looked into restaurants, and planned the meals at the condo. The other girls took care of the party aspects. The place was quite nice, in the middle of everything. Next door is a mall with 3 stories of stores, a movie theater, bar, Starbucks, Cold Stone, and an ocean side bandshell with concerts at night. The condo place itself had 4 pools, a lazy river, and indoor mini golf and spa.

On Friday night everyone arrived by 9:30 we started getting ready to out to a club. I jokingly asked Sis if she thought we'd be ready by 11pm, but we didn't leave until. I'm pretty sure this was my first time at a club, I'd been to swing dance nights at some clubs in Gainesville in college, but none after I turned 21 and so they all thought it was so cute that this was my first club experience. So we get in and some guy who worked there came up and asked us what 10 beautiful women were doing all dressed up and if this was a special occasion. I told him my sister was getting married soon and Sis said the actual bacholrette party was going to be the next night and that we'd come back to this club if he could get us all free cover. Totally a my mom thing to do, I was pretty proud of her! He said he could do that and then he showed us up to the VIP lounge area and sent 2 bottles of champagne to our table. It was fun to dance, but it was really crowded and smelled like smoke all over. At around 2:30 we left and walked back to our condo, only 2 blocks away. We did have to help one of the girls back as she had too much to drink and ended up throwing up when we got back to the condo. Sis said that now I had experienced her college life.

I can't say that I feel like I missed out on much. While I enjoyed dancing and goofing off with the girls, it's not really my thing to go out and drink a bunch. I felt a bit out of place at times, and they joked that I was the Mother Hen, but in general had a good weekend.

The next night we went out to dinner, stayed to drink and listen to music, and then to the club again. This time we got there around 11:30 and stayed until 3am. When we got back to the condo I stayed up even later talking to three of the other girls there. One was engaged and the other two had recently broken up with their long term boyfriends. As I listened to them I could feel their longing for exactly what I have: A loving husband and a family. They are at a tough point in their lives. They asked my opinion about things and I was able to share with them about God's plan for relationships and at around 5:30 I wrapped the conversation up by praying for them. They mentioned several times that they appreciated it and our chat.

The Lord opens up doors in all different places. I had been praying in the weeks leading up to the trip that God would help me to be a good role model for them and that they might see something different about my life that would give them a desire for God. It was a blessing to be able to give them comfort and perspective.

It was interesting to see what college might have been like for me. What if I had joined a sorority instead of Campus Crusade? What if I had gotten more involved in Psychology socials instead of a Bible Study. I don't regret a moment of my college experience and I feel it was one of the sweetest times of growth in my life. I met and married the love of my life, I made so many good friends, and I grew in understanding and maturity. At 27 years old I always feel more at home with my 30 something friends. Even though the girls on this weekend were only 2 or 3 years younger than me I feel like I chose the right path for me.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I can't do it!

I just can't bring myself to do it. My eyes tear up when I think about it. It's not really that hard, I could have someone else do it but I just don't know if I can allow it to be done. But people are starting to say things and I'm starting to feel pressure to do it. One day I'll just have to get myself all hyped up and just do it.

My son needs a haircut.

But I can't do it! I can't bring myself to cut those golden curly locks. People have said to me, "Oh she's so cute." or "His hair is really getting long, when are you going to have it cut?" and "You just need to have another baby so you'll get a girl and she can have long hair."

So sometimes I think, yeah, I really should cut it. Then I think, ah forget what other people say. I love watching the bouncy curls as he runs down the hall, or running my fingers through them as he cuddles on my lap. I get teary-eyed thinking that his hair will never be the same after it gets cut. What am I to do?



I'm putting it off for now. I'll let you know if I get enough guts to do it :o)

Monday, August 11, 2008

God of Wonders-Caedmon's Call/Third Day

This is my ultimate favorite song. The lyrics are so great and it just leads me into worship so easily. I don't remember the first time I heard it, but my favorite group is Caedmon's Call so I probably bought the CD right when it came out. On this song they collaborated with Third Day and it made for a great combination.



It came out while I was in college. I remember sitting in my car on the way to some kind of exam and at stop light this song came on and the sun was setting and the sky was so beautiful. I remember singing and crying just realizing how beautiful the world is and how wonderful God is.

The lyrics express my wonder at how big and incomprehensible God is to my small mind. He is beyond our galaxy, holy, and everything we see around us shows his beauty and creativity. I remember learning about astronomy and the professor gave some physical examples of how big other planets were compared to earth, and then how small our galaxy is compared to other galaxies and it all just blows my mind! I can't comprehend it all, and yet God created it all and can keep track of the number of hairs on my head. In physiological psychology I remember studying about the human eye and how complicated it is. I just sit in amazement as people can think that all this just happened through evolution. It's obvious to me that the universe is declaring it was created by God.

Anyway, I love this song and love listening to it when I'm outside enjoying nature, so I thought this video would be a good way to show the beauty and complexity of our universe.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

G-Rated Bible

I'm the Sunday School teacher for the 2 and 3 year old class in August and A is in the class. She likes when I'm the teacher and we are studying the story of Esther this month. A loves the VeggieTales video of Esther and has been going around calling herself Queen Esther and G, of course, is Cousin Mordecai.

The story of Esther is that she's a beautiful Jewish girl chosen to become the Queen for Xerxes, the King of Persia. Cousin Mordecai doesn't bow down to Haman (one of the King's top men). Haman tricks the king into signing a law to kill all the Jewish people. Mordecai tells Esther to go to the King and ask him to save the Jewish people. She's allowed to go uninvited, but bravely faces the King. He listens to her and ends up having Haman killed and the Jews saved. (That's the quick version, lots of other things happen too). Today the lesson was about Haman's plot and Esther preparing to go to the King.

A lot of these Bible stories are not exactly "G" rated. I mean, if they were made into a Disney movie (like Prince of Egypt) I wouldn't take them to see it. Not yet at least. A friend of mine who doesn't take her son to church was asking me about this the other day. She was asking what they teach in Sunday School and if they tone it down for the kids. She wanted to know if they told the story of Jesus, with the cross and all. So today as I was telling the story, I didn't exactly 'dwell' on the fact that Haman wanted to kill Mordecai (and all of the Jews), but it's not something you can leave out of the story.

So what effect does that have on a young mind? Is it to early to discuss death with A at almost 4 years old? Does she even have the capability to understand or does it just go over her head?

So A tonight has been pretending to be Esther again, but this time she's been saying stuff to G like this:

Baby Mordecai, are you sad that you have to die? It's okay, I'll give you a hug.
Mordecai, I have to go in the closet now and die. Are you going to be sad? Are you going to cry?
Okay, Mordecai, lets go over here and die together. This looks like a good spot.

YIKES!!! What have I done?

Update: So I was putting her to bed tonight and read her Bible story. It just happened to be the story of Jesus rising from the grave. After the story was over she said:

A: Mommy, am I going to die?
M: Well, honey, everyone dies eventually
A: I don't want to.
M: When you die you can go to heaven.
A: But what will I eat there?
M: I don't know baby, I've never been there, but it's a wonderful place. You never will be hungry and never get boo boos.
A: But I don't want to go to heaven! I don't want to die ever I just want to stay.
M. Okay baby, why don't we pray about it and ask God to help you feel better about it. You don't have to go to heaven right now, I don't want you to go right now either. We'll pray that God lets you stay right here for a long time. Okay?

Anyone else deal with this kind of stuff?

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Golden Rule

Hubby and I are at our wits end sometimes. I think we forget that our daughter is not even 4 years old and we expect much more from her. I hope that is the case anyway, and that we aren't raising a selfish brat. When I read other moms blogs, or am on the phone with another mom and hear their kids doing the same as mine I take comfort (it's the ones with the perfect angels that I just don't relate well to).

One lesson we just can't get to sink in for A is the Golden Rule. You know, do unto others as you'd have done to you. She just will grab (or should I say snatch) a toy from G, push him down, or hit him with something. This week in particular has been trying. We've all had a cold and so not only are we all sick (meaning less energy, less patience) we've also not been able to go anywhere and have been stuck at home inside, going a bit stir crazy. They've watched more than their quota of videos this week.

I don't really know the solution for this but prayer. Prayer that we are doing the right things, prayer that she would change and grow in self-control, prayer that we'd be patient and not just get so frustrated with her. One's sense of justice can overpower a desire to be calm when you see some child tackle your own child and take their toy, even if the offender is your own child. I still get that Mother Cub feeling and want to protect G from all that.

I keep telling her that we don't let G do those things to her and we aren't going to let her do them to him. Patience, patience, right? What happened to the light at the end of the tunnel I had been seeing in regards to her turning a corner in her attitude? I can't wait for school to start again! More regularity in our week, other people encouraging good social skills with her, plus a break for me.

Then there are those sweet times like tonight when, after reading bedtime stories, she just wanted to cuddle with G in my lap, then sing to him and pray with him before bed. My darling little girl.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Outsmarting Me

A is one pretty smart cookie.

Tonight she was having a bad attitude and Hubby had to give her a spanking for talking mean to him. Afterwards she ran off saying, "I'm going to run away from God!" I guess she thought that would make us upset or something. I came out into the hallway as she was toning down her attitude and deciding to be a little nicer. One of the kids most requested Bible stories is Jonah. I said to her, "You can't run away from God, you might get eaten by a whale." She replied, "No I won't Mommy, there are no whales in our city."

Well, there goes that idea.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Zula Patrol

A was talking to Grandma the other night and thanked her for the die cuts that she sent for her to make crafts with. Then she went on to tell her about the new place mat that she got at Walmart and how it has planets and the solar system on it, like Zula Patrol.

Zula patrol is a kids PBS show that is about little aliens who travel the galaxy on missions that help teach kids about space and science. She went a few weeks ago to a special showing of one of the episodes at the planetarium. She loved it and Hubby found this video online that both kids now love to watch and sing along to.

Well, the song is cute and all, but when you are folding laundry or doing dishes and find yourself humming it, it can be a bit annoying. It is very easy to get stuck in your head and not be able to get it out. I've made a little policy with Hubby that he can show it to the kids while I'm in the shower or in the other room, to minimize my hearing it.

So as A is talking to Grandma she states the following:

"We always watch Zula Patrol on the internet. We watch the theme song and another video. Mommy definitely does not like the theme song."

Hubby and I bust out laughing at this truth displayed in such an adamant voice on her part. But for her credit she did go on to explain what she meant.

"She doesn't like it because it gets stuck in her head, but she does like it because we like it."

Nice save honey, nice save.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Something for me

In addition to music I love to dance. I guess they go hand in hand really, I can't listen to a good beat without bobbing my head and if I'm at home in my kitchen along I'll really start jamming. I took dance for a few years in elementary school and then from 8th-12th grade. Mostly jazz and acrobatics, but a little bit of tap (not my favorite). I wasn't a ballerina, I enjoy jazz and hip hop dance the most.

So now I'm doing something for me! It's been 10 years since I took dance. Not counting the Jazz Dance class I took the last semester of college. So I've been taking a Jazz dance class at the studio near my house through the community education classes.

Ahh, I'm enjoying it so much. It feels so good to be on a big floor with a mirror, instead of my kitchen floor bumping into the fridge. I don't have to use my hallway to practice leaps. I'm so out of dance-shape though it's pitiful. I remember all these things I used to be able to do and yet I'm loosing my balance and sadly not as flexible as I once was. I was sore from Wednesday-Saturday after my last class because I was pushing myself to do splits. I just have to laugh at myself, me with two kiddos and I want to be twirling away on the dance floor. Though I'm not the oldest person in the class by far. Tonight one of the older ladies (mid 50's?) said I was 'feisty' because I was dancing around in between going across the floor. I laughed and thought I don't think I've ever been called 'feisty' before.

This is my thing for me. It's not work, it's not wife, it's not mommy, it's not anything but me. Tonight was the 4th of 6 classes, so it will be done soon. I want to sign up for another class in the fall (by then I hope I'd be ready for a more advanced class) but that's really a whole school year commitment to once a week, so I'll have to play that by ear. Oh my gosh, and a recital? Whoa. I don't know if I want to go there! My recital days may be over.

I told my mom about the class and she asked if A was taking dance too. I was dancing around in the kitchen the other day and A and G were watching and smiling at me. I asked her, "Honey, do you want to take a dance class like Mommy?" She flat out said, "No." Hopefully one day I can pass on my love of dance, but following directions isn't really her style at the moment.

I guess my parents would say that reminds them of me at that age. My first dance recital I got out there, started the dance, then realized some other people weren't standing on the right tape marks so I went over and moved them where they should be (in the middle of the dance!) and then finally joined back in at the end. I guess somewhere along the way I found my love of dance and movement.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Peanut Butterfly

Well, that's what G called it, 'Peanut Butterfly', in a voice that was saying "more more more please!"

We had some friends over this morning for a playdate and they all wanted a snack. So I whipped out the animal crackers because I wanted some snack too. I made some trail mix and stuck a few animal crackers in everyone's bowl and then proceeded to dip my own animal crackers in the peanut butter jar so my stomach would stop growling. G came over and wanted another cracker so I gave him some with the PB on it and he LOVED it, licked it all off and offered up the same cracker to be dipped in the delicious goodness once again. Of course I made him get a new cracker, but then A wanted some and she got a big spoonful and then G wanted a spoon of it too. Then they were both back for spoon refills (not directly out of the jar mind you).

So we said goodbye to our friends and I walked them out to the car while G stayed inside in his highchair finishing up his trail mix. When we came back in he was a little fussy and soon enough I realized his face was a little red and what do you know, he's got hives all under his eye and some on his face. So I called the dr's office and had the nurse call me back. Obviously I checked him out and wiped him all off to make sure that it was off of him and he seemed fine other than he was a little fussy because his ear and eye were itchy. The nurse/PA/whoever called back about 15 minutes later (about 30 minutes after pb eating) and by that time the hives were subsiding. She advised some Benadryl and asked some other questions about his breathing (normal), family history (none, Hubby has some allergies, not peanut), and those kinds of things and told me about when I should give him more Benadryl and when to call 911.

So about 15 minutes later Dr. calls us and by this time the Benadryl has made him hyperactive and I'm trying to get them in bed. We discuss what happened (and by the way, I'm feeling quite foolish because I've always known not to introduce peanuts until age 2....or is it 3? and I don't want to sound like an irresponsible mom on the phone to the dr.) and she says she thinks from this it's obvious he does have a peanut allergy and all that goes along with it:
-No Peanut butter or peanut products for Grant (like M&Ms, we have to read labels now?)
-Emergency Epi Pen is prescribed to our pharmacy and needs to be with us at all times (oh and we talk about how not to leave it in the car, how it's to be used on the way to the ER, not just as a remedy, how long the effectiveness is, etc)
-We need to just get all the peanut butter out of the house
-That it's probably not something he'll outgrow
-How you can't tell what type of reaction a child will have based on how they reacted another time

So now I'm introduced to the world of peanut allergies. Old CSI shows are coming to mind as are visions of anaphylaptic shock and sticking my son in the leg with a needle and then rushing to the ER. After researching it on the internet, I don't believe the laminated signs that you can purchase for your school classroom proclaiming, "Peanut Free Area: It's COOL to be Peanut Free!"

He loved it! Peanut Butterfly! What a shame to not be able to feed your child the deliciousness that is Peanut butter? Plus we have literally 6 jars on the shelf in our pantry.

Now, I may be in denial, or I may be an intuitive mom. I guess time will tell. But I think it's a phase. He ingested quite a bit of PB for his size and all he got were a few itchy spots on his face that cleared up within an hour? Certainly not ER worthy. I do think it is something he'll outgrow, just like both the kids had allergic reactions to yogurt and now both tolerate it fine. I did read a few studies online about how kids outgrew this allergy, especially ones with a low peanut IgE levels. Obviously I won't be feeding him anymore peanut butter for a few years, but I certainly am not going to stop your child from eating a PB sandwich in the same room as mine.

So now I don't know really where to go from here, but hopefully the poor little guy won't remember too much about how wonderful it tasted.

UPDATE: At 5 years old we had him bloodtested and no peanut allergies. Now he enjoys all things peanut but doesn't call it Peanut Butterfly anymore.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Current Convictions

Our church is holding a parenting class in the Sunday school hour entitled, Effective Parenting in a Defective World. It is a video series and I've really enjoyed it thus far. It has convicted me and encouraged me.

In the first session I was convicted that we need to have a goal in our parenting. What do we want most for our kids? To be successful, get in the right college? To be happy? To become a well-adjusted adult? Those are all decent goals, but they fall short of what God wants for our children - Holiness. Our main goal in parenting is to raise kids who conform to God's standards, not the world's standards. It doesn't matter if they end up making a 6 figure income if they don't love others.

Truthfully, I had to ask myself, "what is my goal for myself? Why do I do the things I do? Is it to be holy or to be happy?" I came to the conclusion that most of my decisions are based on what I want, what will please me. I haven't been in the habit lately of asking God what he would want. Which leads to the second conviction: What we want our children to become we must be ourselves. Our kids are watching our example and are going to do the things we do and not what we say. If I tell A to share with G and yet I don't want to share my time with them they are not going to get it. It makes me think about the decisions I make and do I want my kids to turn out like me? (some ways yes, but not in area of self-control at the moment)

In the second class I really took home the point of how we need to have a positive relationship with the kids, enjoying time together. I again have to admit that much of my day is spent keeping them busy so I can get some other things done. Not necessarily important things either, sometimes it's things for myself like watching videos on youtube or reading a book. I know why the kids sometimes prefer Hubby to me, because the time with him is spent wrestling or playing. Even though I'm with them the bulk of the day we don't play a lot together. So from this lesson I realized that I need to have fun with them, and I have been trying to spend focused time just playing and laughing with them (not getting something else done in the process).

So the first two classes were very convicting for me yet I went away from them encouraged because I felt like now I knew what I needed to do and since they are so young I still have hope for doing a good job (and not screwing them up totally).

Today's class was also encouraging but in a different way. Today I felt like I already had a handle on what was discussed and it was encouraging for me to know I was going in the right direction. Today was about how children have two primary needs: Significance and Security. That with their actions they are always asking "Do you love me?" and "Where are the boundaries?" I totally related to those questions because A is always testing the boundaries, to find out how far she can go. I know that she needs to know we will enforce consequences so that she knows where the boundaries are.

He also said that a child's primary responsibility is to learn Obedience. I was just telling A the other day that it is her job to obey Mommy and Daddy and that it is our job to teach her and take care of her and that we both need to try and do a good job. I think it's going pretty well at this age (I'm sure some is developmental) yet we need to be more consistent in enforcing consequences. It just seems so mean sometimes to be constantly spanking her or taking things away.

She has a little duck toy that is growing in a bowl of water. She wanted the bowl of water next to her while she was eating lunch, but I told her not to touch the water or it would go back on the shelf. So for a while she didn't touch it. For a while. So when she touched it I put it back on the shelf. She threw herself on to the floor in a crying fit and I explained to her why it was taken away. I did it all in an even tone because I had confidence that I was doing the right thing. She said, "are you going to be a good mommy and change your mind?" I told her no, that if I changed my mind and gave it back to her I would be a bad mommy and I can't let her disobey me without consequences.

But she is always pushing those boundaries, trying to figure out how far she can go, just how long she can do something before I will act on it. The video today in Sunday school also mentioned that if you have to tell your child 3 or 4 times or resort to yelling in order to get them to do something then your child has trained you and has been a better student of you than you have been of them. My kids know that when the computer is in my lap I'm less likely to get up and discipline them so they can get away with more.

I was also appreciative that the video discussed the differences in age groups and how we need to discipline them differently at different ages. He said the 0-5ish age group are the concrete thinkers and they just need us to tell them right and wrong, not so much motives behind things. He said that at this age we tend to talk too much and that "Because I said so" is an appropriate answer. It's when they get to be older that they need to know the reasons behind the things we say, but at this point they just need to learn that mom and dad are in charge.

So though I am convicted about my parenting, it is good to know that there is only one perfect parent and he is gracious to me and knows my faults. He knows I can't do this on my own and I need help. Fortunately through church and reading good books I am getting this help.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A-isms

Some quick thoughts from A:

A: Mommy, look at these things on my pajama pants
-Shows me the little tightened cuffs on the bottom of her pants
A: These are turtle bottoms
L: They are what?
Pause
L: Oh, like turtle necks, but on the bottom of your pants...


A: Mommy, my nightgown isn't a nightgown now.
L: It's not? What is it then?
A: It's a DAYgown now because it's daytime.


A: Mommy, we should say the prayer after we eat, not before we eat
L: Why honey?
A: Because it says 'by his hands we all are FED'
L: (pause, thinking) Oh, past-tense


So as not to leave my youngest out, when he spills something or does something he knows we won't like he says "ohw G" just like we do when we are bummed we have to clean up milk off the floor or whatever. They are picking up every little thing I swear!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Nightmare

Here I am up before the rest of the household. I’ve just awoken from a nightmare. In it I had arranged to take A home on the bus with me as a special treat for the last day of school, but somehow I’m on the wrong bus. I realize we are going to a different neighborhood and when the bus lets us off I have no idea where she is. I start panicking and calling others and don’t know what to do. I get in someone else’s car and start to drive off to where the other bus might have dropped her off. As I’m backing up I almost backed over some other child. Now I’m in hysterics and somehow Hubby finds me and now he is going to drive us around to search for A. I call out of the window to one of my friends and say, “Have you seen A? I have lost her and I can’t find her!” We drive away, I’m crying, and then I wake up.

I also had a dream the other night that I lost G. I can’t remember the details as clearly, but in the dream he was a baby and there was some kind of misunderstanding about who had him as we were all going out to dinner, but I do remember the feeling of panic, “Where is my child!!” At the end of this nightmare I was realizing that we may have put him in the trunk of the car in a plastic bag and he might have suffocated. Yikes.

Now the kids are up and I hug them both tight thanking God for keeping them safe. I guess I’ve joined with mothers everywhere as I worry for the safety and well being of my children. I can only entrust them to the Lord and ask for His protection for them.

If you’ve seen me interact with my kids you know that I am by no means a ‘helicopter mom’ and don’t hover over my children to ensure they don’t get hurt. My kids are always getting bumps, bruises, and scars. One, they are both so adventurous and have been ‘climbers’ from the time they could crawl. I’m constantly removing them from the tops of tables and closets. Two, if they are not in danger of seriously hurting themselves I think experience is a good teacher. I warn them of dangers first and show them how to avoid it (for example, how to walk around the swing set without going in front of someone who is swinging), but when they refuse to listen to me I am not afraid to let them experience the consequences of their actions.

So the psychologist in me comes out and analyzes my dreams: I’m secretly afraid that one day my kids will be seriously hurt because I wasn’t more vigilant about their safety. When she was 2, A got a gash on her lip. I let her play with a little metal shopping cart (not a toy), when I knew it was possible for her to fall on it and get hurt. But she had played with it before without injury and she would have thrown a fit if I didn’t let her play with it. So I have to remember to be a tough mom when I need to refuse the kids do something they want. My jury is still out on whether or not they can jump on the bed.

When I hear of other people going through an accidental tragedy my first response is sympathy instead of judgment because I know it could have been me. I’m sure you’ve heard the stories on the news about a child dying after being accidentally left in the car all day. Possibly some parents in that situation are uncaring and simply forgot their child. But I always imagine some struggling mom, who’s been up all night and is sleep deprived, now off to work, has a million things on her mind, is on autopilot and forgets her silent sleepy child in the car seat. How horrible then for her as people say such mean things about her parenting like, ‘how could a loving parent forget about her child?’ when she was doing the best she could.

The one that I fear most of all is backing over my child with a car. A year or so ago I read a Reader’s Digest article about the increase in accidental deaths from backovers. The article stated that larger vehicles having more blind spots and pushed for legislation to make improvements in vehicle safety. The tragedy of these stories is that 70% of the time it is a family member that is in the driver’s seat. In the article they called it the ‘Bye-bye phenomenon,’ that Daddy or Grandma is leaving and they run out to say goodbye again. I could just see my kids running out to say good-bye to Hubby while I’m trying to get another load of laundry in the wash. That is one reason why we always wave at the window as he leaves. These news stories haunt me and it’s possible that some of these cases are because the driver is careless, but I just hate to hear other people reprimanding them over their driving skills. As if they or I have never been careless in a car?

When people lose a child the grief will be with them forever, no matter what the age. When it’s an accidental death of a young child it can cause even more pain because of the feeling that it could have been prevented. But to be the CAUSE of your own child’s death….It’s hard to imagine something worse.

Hearing about Steven Curtis Chapman’s daughter’s death recently and how it was her teenaged brother at the wheel makes me so sad. This problem affects every walk of life and we need to take extra care when driving near children and always know their location as we are backing out. You can visit the website: www.KidsandCars.org to get more information and suggestions on how to prevent these accidents.

The song he wrote, ‘Cinderella’ has a new meaning for me. The years that I have these children with me are short. I know that one day they will be gone. Hopefully not by death, but surely by growing up. Only the Lord knows the span of our days and I need to enjoy the precious time that I have with them.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Clair de Lune, Debussy

Click play to hear the song:



I love music, but there's something about the violin that touches me specifically. If a song has a beautiful violin solo or is a classical piece heavy on strings I can melt away into the song. Songs like "To love you more" by Celine Dion make me forget it has words and just make me want to play 'air violin.'

So I could include tons of songs on my soundtrack that have wonderful violin solos. This is one I had my bridesmaids walk down the aisle to on our wedding day. I remember playing it one day in my apartment and I was walking to another room. When I heard the violin come in at the beginning I stopped dead in my tracks. It was so beautiful!

In college I started listening to classical music and developed this love of the violin. It made me want to learn how to play. Of course it's really quite hard to learn how to play an instrument if you don't have one. So I asked for a violin for Christmas one year from my parents. They thought I was was nuts, but kept their eye out and heard about someone who was selling a violin. So on Christmas day 1999 I got my violin! I took lessons for a couple of months after that and even played Cannon in D in my friend's wedding in August 2000. I was only playing the 9 note melody while the experienced violinist played the hard part. I stopped taking lessons after I got married (thus not having the parental funding). Now my violin collects dust under my bed and when I hear these songs I want to get it out and learn to play again. I'm afraid at the moment, I play air violin better than the real thing.

Maybe one day I'll pick up the violin again, or take dance lessons again, or do more singing, or open that Rita's Italian Ice place. There are lots of things I'd like to do, but for right now it seems that my time is mainly given to raising these cute kiddos. When I was out at Publix this morning I had to wait for an older woman coming out of the door before I could go in. She remarked that I had more precious cargo than she did and it reminded me that this is a special time in my life with these youngsters (even if right now I'm trying to keep G from hitting my computer and me with his toy car).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Amelia Bedelia

Okay, so at A's age everything is taken literally and nothing is forgotten about. If we mention something in passing she'll mention it weeks later. We laugh because we'll use an idiom and she'll take it literally and it reminds us that she is still learning the English language. She laughs when Hubby reads her Amelia Bedelia books. I loved those books as a child and I personally have a very literal sense of humor. I constantly bother Hubby when he asks what is for dinner and I reply, 'food.'

So the other day Hubby was playing with G in the other room. He running around, throwing G up in the air, wrestling, or some other aerobic activity. He must have gotten tired and said, 'oh, man, I'm getting old.' A and I were in the kitchen getting dinner ready. A moment later she looked at me with a straight face and said:

'Daddy is going to die.'

My eyebrows went up past my forehead and I was wondering if I was in one of those horror movies where the children can see people and hear stuff (those creep me out worse than any of them cause kids are always talking about imaginary things and you just wonder sometimes...). I collected myself and said, 'what do you mean, honey?' She just kept playing and said, like Poppa's Poppa (my grandfather who passed away last month). I remembered the conversation with her when she asked 'why' about his death and we told her it was because he was very old. So of course when she heard that her dad was old, she figured he was going to die too. I told her that Daddy wasn't near as old as my Poppa. Fortunately she doesn't seem to grasp what death is at this point, as it didn't seem to worry her that she thought Daddy would die and we went on to play with her toys.


On a really funny note: The other night I heard Hubby talking with A in her room while getting her ready for bed. I heard her excitedly telling him: "Daddy, I want to wear the Dora pull ups and find the blue Hershey Kiss!" He came and asked me if I knew what she was talking about and I had no idea. Often she will tell us about something in one of her videos or something at school and so we usually consult each other if we don't know what she's talking about. I had no clue what she meant and he went back to her room and then I heard him laughing. He brought out the package of training panties and showed me what she meant. Check out the bottom left corner next to Dora jumping for the 'blue Hershey Kiss.'



She was quite disappointed when we explained there was no chocolate in each pair of pull ups, and the Hershey Kiss was a just a little blue drop of water to show that the pull ups could hold liquid.