Thursday, August 28, 2008

Jack Sprat Could Eat No Fat...

My kids could not be more opposite than they are than when it comes to their eating habits. With, of course, the exception of dessert, and then they are pretty uniform in wanting anything and everything, and more of it PLEASE. They also have similar tastes in Mac N' Cheese, chicken nuggets, and pizza. Dinner is a whole different story.

I think making one dish, instead of two, would save me a whole lot of time time and effort. The Girl will eat any and all fruits, veggies, salads, pastas, and rices. She will not, however, eat much protein...willingly. Especially if said protein is red meat. The Little Man will eat all protein. Especially if said protein is red meat. For him, he would prefer you skip his plate when the veggies and fruit make their rounds. He'll take some pastas or rice, but please, oh please, no potatoes for this little guy. You've never seen someone gag as much as he does when it comes to eating a food that is virtually choke proof. You would have thought you gave the child worms to eat.

As they both sat there and said, almost in unison, "I can't do this anymore. I don't want anymore dinner!" I looked at their plates. The Girl's plate was full of steak. The Little Man's plate had mashed potatoes and fresh green beans.

They would have been in heaven had I asked them to switch plates.

I wouldn't be a good parent if I allowed that to happen.

No, instead I just sat there and watched as they gagged down what remained of their dinners, and thought to myself, "This is a blog-able moment."

Because even though I am on the verge of watching my children throw-up, I am thinking about this blog.

I am all about commitment.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Scissors Will Keep Him Coming Back for More

Today, my Little Man became...well, more of a Little Man. He has been waiting for this day all summer, and for the last two weeks been counting down the days until today finally came. It was the first day of school.

All summer long, every time we would pass his preschool, he would holler out, "There's my school!" with so much pride I just knew he was going to be a pro on his first day of preschool. He did not disappoint, not even the slightest bit.

This morning he popped right out of bed and said, "This is the day I get to go to school like a big boy!" Then he got mad because I chose to make pancakes for the special day and it turned out he just wanted a breakfast bar.

Geesh, you try to make a day special...

He was the most excited about getting to wear his backpack. He has wanted one of his own for so long now. He has been wearing sister's for the last year, and FINALLY the day came when he got to pick out his own.

See how proud he is of his Diego backpack:

I was surprised, and a little proud myself, when I shed not a single tear. I guess it was just so fun to see him finally getting to do something he's wanted to do for so long. I didn't even think about my own emotions and the whole, "My baby, my last baby, is going to school". I just was so happy to see him happy.

Happy Boy walking up to the school building:

Once we got there, he didn't even hesitate for one second. Some mothers comforted their children as they cried for them not to leave. The other mothers, while their children were not crying, did still need to reassure their kids that they were coming back, and it would only be a little while. The Little Man marched right in and found the play dough table and started getting to work. I told him I was leaving, and he didn't even look up. He just said, "Bye, Mom," and kept on working.

I guess I could feel OK in the fact that he isn't afraid he is going to get left, but feeling a little needed, and your child wanting a little love from you wouldn't be the worst thing in the world either. Thankfully, when I came to pick him up, he was very happy to see me. He told me all about how he used the potty by himself today, and didn't forget to mention what good aim he had all by himself.

Proud moment.

He also was very excited about the fact that he did an art project with glue. You know that's special, and only allowed at school. Same thing goes for scissors. And really anything too messy like glitter, play dough, and paint.

That's why I pay them the big bucks.

Plus, it helps to entice the kids to go to school knowing the joys of a cut and paste project awaits. And it worked because The Little Man talked all about his art project and the glue sticks and scissors he had to use to make it. He was in cut and paste heaven.

Did I mention how nice it was to come home to a quiet house. I guess it would have been sad if it would've been for longer than two hours, but knowing I only had a short time helped me to sit back and relax. I didn't even think about missing them for one second. Mostly, because I didn't have enough time too, but also because it was just nice to sit and listen to music, and when the phone rang, I talked. I could hear what the other person was saying, and then I was able to process the conversation, and talk back to them.

It was beautiful.

By the time I noticed the dog was sad, and wondering where everyone was, it was time to go get them.

I guess I could get used to this new life...our new school life.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I'll Refrain from Using Excerpts from Wizard of Oz

It was a normal day. Church, chores, dinner out with my family...oh, and a tornado.

Hubby took this picture with his Crackberry while we were enjoying a yummy Mexican dinner with my Mom and Dad out in their small town 10 miles Southeast of our home.

There we were, my mom and I, loading up another fajita when Hubby said, "Is that a warning coming over the radio?" At the same time as he said that, I had looked out the window and saw that little lovely making its way to the ground.

No worries, we were far enough away to be safe.

(I guess that isn't an expert opinion, but I am guessing we weren't in any imminent danger as no one else in the restaurant took cover, but instead ran outside with their cameras/camera phones to take pictures).

The kids were extremely interested in all that was going on. The Girl could not get enough. She was so sure that it was coming straight for us. She got The Little Man worked up enough for him to exclaim loudly to all the other patrons of the restaurant, "The tornado is coming right for us! It's going to suck us all up!" Thankfully, he only said it once, and it didn't cause anyone to have a heart-attack.

The Girl had this funnel cloud worked into some sort of super sucking and throwing monster in about four seconds. She was sure that when the tornado came for us it was going to suck us up with the car and spit us out, "all the way to Australia". We assured her that 1. We were not going to get sucked up into the tornado, and 2. Tornado's can't, "spit you out all the way to Australia". She seemed happy with that and then decided instead, if the tornado couldn't, "spit us out in Australia", surely it was strong enough to spit us back out at home. It would be like a little amusement ride in her mind. The more she thought about it, the more she decided that it may be the quickest way home. In fact, to save time, we should just hitch a ride on the tornado.

After a few minutes of reassuring both kids that the tornado was gone, tornadoes can't pick you up and spit you out across the world or even into the next city, that they were both safe now, and that no one was hitching a ride anywhere on any tornadoes, both kids calmed down right away.

Just in time for the radio to do an emergency flash flood warning.

The next half hour was spent explaining that the neighborhood wasn't going to turn into an ocean and that none of us were going to be floating away.

If I could have just a tiny glimpse into her mind, I think I would be blown away.

Maybe all the way to Australia.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I Just Couldn't Leave Well Enough Alone

Remember my post about playing baseball with the kids? Well, we played again tonight. Hubby wanted to see the kids in action, and since he used to play baseball himself, he thought it would be a good time to give some pointers.

At first, I just sat back and watched, enjoying the family time together. I was also enjoying the fact that it wasn't me chasing after the ball and fighting with the kids as to who's turn it was next. I was a casual and peaceful observer. Then, I thought, "You know, I would like some video and pictures of this fun evening we are sharing together."

I managed to catch this on video.

Didn't I already know that was going to happen? Thankfully, no one was injured, but did you see how close that thing came to my face? Maybe not because really all you see is the flinching part, but it did indeed come very close to hitting my face.

I figured since I already had a close encounter, I may as well keep on pushing the envelope, and I just kept on video taping because, let's face it, if I don't video tape who will? Also, if I don't video tape and take pictures, then I get wrangled into being the ball girl, and I've already been there and done that this week. Thankfully, I was brave enough to take one for the team, and be the videographer. That's when I caught this triumphant moment. I think he does pretty well for a three year old, and since baseball is a summer sport (mostly), he will be allowed to play.

(Our rules for which sports our kids are allowed to play aren't really based on if the sport is dangerous or could be harmful, but mostly on what season they are in because I am a weenie, and I don't want to sit out in the cold and snow to watch any sort of practice or games.)

(I believe that style of parenting is not generally grouped together with the other styles of parenting that have anything to do with self-sacrifice.)

(I'm going to hang onto this rule until my children call me out on it. Plus, there are so many wonderful warm weather sports, I hope they will find one they really like and not want to be apart of any of those cold weather sports.)

(Yes, I know I live in a cold and wintry state, and the likelihood of me watching a game in the cold is very high. It's about as high as my chance of my kids wanting to play a cold weather sport, but I am trying hard to guide them in a different direction.)

(Plus, The Girl has played a winter sport. She played basketball. That sport is right where it should be in the winter, indoors.)

(Obviously, I feel extremely guilty about this rule and I am trying to justify it, so I will just stop now.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

She's Doing Free Consultations Until the End of Kindergarten

The Girl realized today that she LOVES to talk on the phone. Before today she has had a few random phone calls that have come in just for her. Mostly birthday wishes or a congrats for a special day/occasion. Today though, she got a call from her cousin, just because.

She lit up, like all the other times in the past, when I told her the phone was for her. Then it was this whole thing of, "For me? Really? Me?" And, "Well, who would call me? Who is it?" And again with the "Me? The phone is for me?" All said with a smile and a bit of drama. You do know that The Girl has been described as dramatic by some, right?

At first she put the phone up to her ear and was kind of shy and quiet, "Hello?" Then that melted in about half a second when she realized it was her cousin on the other line and he wanted to ask her some questions about Rattlesnakes and Kindergarten. He's going to his first day of Kindergarten tomorrow, and he thought he should ask the pro. Apparently, he thought he was going to the pro with his Rattlesnake question as well. I don't think she let him down.

Her side of the conversation went like this:
"Oh, Rattlesnakes? Ya, I know about them."


"Oh, well they have this rattle on the end of their tails, and when they get mad they will shake that rattle at you to give you a warning. If you don't listen to that warning and don't respect their space then watch out! If they keep rattling and decide they are done rattling next they will curl up and the BAM they will reach out and bite you with big fangs. Their bite will inject venom into your blood, and then if you don't go to the doctor, you will die!"


"Ya, that's what they do."

She went on to talk about how she hasn't seen one in real life, but she has seen them on TV and in some books she got from the library. She also gave him a good encouraging chat about Kindergarten, her garden, how to catch moths the correct way, and how her bug garden/swimming area was coming along. Oh ya, she also talked about how to collect rain in a rain gauge so you could measure how much water all the plants and bugs were getting.

She was just about to start another really random topic when her cousin cut her off and asked to talk with The Little Man.

Smart kid.

I think when he asked his mom if he could use the phone, he thought that he would be able to do some of the talking.

After non-stop chat about science and Kindergarten, and not getting a word in edgewise, he realized if he was going to get to do any talking he better get the three year old boy on the phone. All The Little Man had to say was, "Oh hi, Cousin." and "Wha'chu do today?" and then a few "Uh-huh"'s were thrown in to show he hadn't left his post.

When The Girl got off the phone, she was glowing and said, "I just looooove talking on the phone!"


I better get an additional line put in the house.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

We Managed to Stay Injury Free

I realized that we haven't been taking advantage of the beautiful summer weather as much as we should. We had three straight days of yucky rain and pretty cool temps. It was at that moment I was afraid the season had changed, and I didn't get to say goodbye to summer. No more messing around. We are going to soak it in as long as we can from here on out.

I made the kids go outside today after lunch. They were actually excited as well. I guess it had been a long time since we'd been outside to play. Why do we take the beautiful weather for granted come the end of the summer? They did their usual things; The Girl looking for bugs and mud, and The Little Man trying to find rocks to throw.

Then The Little Man went into the garage and found his baseball bat and ball. He came out with a gleaming grin on his face and said, "This is my baseball bat and ball dat Grandma gave me for my birdday!" Then he went on to ask, "Do you want to pway with me and use my stuff?"

How do you say no to that?

As The Little Man and I got started, with me throwing the ball and he trying to hit the ball, The Girl saw what we were doing, and quickly wanted to join in on the action. So I made her the catcher. Each child got 10 swings before they had to give up the bat for their sibling to have a turn.

First, I wished I had a camera. I also wish that the camera had someone else behind it besides me. I would have loved to see us. I also would love to have that memory as a picture. After thinking about how I wished I had a camera and what we would look like, I also couldn't help but think of America's Funniest Videos.

Weird, but true.

I can blame it on my Spin instructor who put an AFV video on this morning in class.

Seriously though, I kept thinking about all the videos I have seen where there is this cute little family just trying to have some fun playing America's favorite past time. Then WHAM-O! Someone gets hit in the head, gut, or crotch with either the bat or ball. Somehow, there was a camera there taking in all the footage to keep for all of time, and now is trying to win money as a result of their injury.

Even though there wasn't a camera present, I thought about what was going on. We had a mom, a five and a half year old, and a three year old...and we were playing baseball.

I made everyone take a few steps back and away from one another before we continued on.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Some Girls Like to Play with Barbies

I still make The Girl take a nap everyday. I know, I am pushing my luck, but she doesn't know any better than at 2:00 pm everyday the whole world take naps. I don't plan on cluing her in anytime soon that it's just her and her brother and the infant/baby crowd. I know that she usually only sleeps one or two times a week, but the quiet time just to herself is needed regardless of if she chooses to sleep or not. Plus, the quiet house helps her brother take a nap, and for him, napping isn't an option.

Oh ya, and did I mention that's when I regain all sanity lost up until that point in the day.

So ya, naps are a requirement for everyone in this home.

Today, she enlightened me as to what she was up to while she was in her room for two hours.

D: Mom, I didn't sleep today. I just rested.
me: That's fine. It's important to get rest.
D: Ya, I just read some books.
me: That's a great choice for nap time. It's nice and quiet.
D: I decided not to wait for you to read me that chapter book. You know that one we got from the library?
me: Really? What do you mean?
D: I mean I just got started on it without you. I read chapter 1, chapter 2, chapter 3, chapter 4, and then half of chapter 5.
me: You read all of that by yourself?
D: Ya, I guess I can read chapter books all by myself...

Great! Couple that with her not wanting me to walk her into school anymore, and I am pretty much useless these days.

The more they grow up, the more I realize I am not really cut out for this whole "Mommy" business.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Also, I am Exhausted From Staying Up Late with Michael Phelps

If I would just try to keep up with this blog, I wouldn't have to do so many catch up posts. Unfortunately, that's not the way life happens. I am trying really hard to just go with the flow more these days, and not be so rigid, living life by too many rules. Thankfully, I love writing this blog, and so I actually miss it when it's been a few days.

1. The blog change? So, I wasn't really trying to change the look of my blog. I kind of liked the plainness of it all, but I had been thinking about about a change, and found a free template that I was kind of fond of. I just wanted to try it on though. I didn't want to make a change for real. However, when I went to slip the cute little number on my blog, well, stuff happened. I lost a bunch of stuff and links that I wasn't intending on changing. I tried to get it back, but it was no use. So I figured I would make a change to the new template that I had found.

Not so easy. When I went to put in that template, I came across some errors that I couldn't figure out. Being that it was late already, and I was trying to catch some Olympic action, I decided to go with my third choice (my second choice didn't look as cute on as I thought it looked on the hanger).

I am still not 100% sold on this, but it took too long to recover all the side bar stuff that I lost, so this look will probably stick around for a while.

The font is too small...whatever.

2. The Girl did great for the rest of the week of school. She got to walk in by herself, finally, on the second day, and didn't look back. I, however, cried all three days. I am hoping that next week goes a bit better in the whole "Letting Go" department.

3. I seemed to have caught some sort of yuck. I don't know where from considering I don't know anyone who is or has been sick (with the exception of The Little Man, but this is not of the same variety). I am hoping that I can blast it with some serious sleep that I have been lacking lately for one reason or another.

4. Speaking of missing out on sleep, we had our first slumber party at my sister's house this weekend. Hubby and Brother-in-Law were in a race today called the Muddy Buddy. It's a run/bike/obstacle course that you do with a partner. It looked like a really fun time, and both said they were eager to do it again next year.

Previous to sleeping over, was Brother-in-Law's Birthday Bash. That kept us awake for a bit longer than we usually stay awake, but hey we were trying to be wild and crazy and make it past the eleven o'clock mark. The kids shared an air mattress in the room next door to the room we were sleeping in. They had a blast sharing a bed together. The Little Man was so pumped he just couldn't stop saying thank you over and over again, and The Girl said, "I think we are going to have so much fun in the same room and bed, that we just might roll over and talk to each other until we fall asleep!"

That there is proof that the enjoyment of talking into the wee hours of the morning is born into little girls, and doesn't have to be nurtured. Besides feeling sorry for The Little Man, as I am sure he has other ideas that make for a fun night, I also had a pang of sorrow for her future husband. My Hubby just looked at me like, "My gosh, you have taught her this already!" No words really needed to be spoken between us. I mean, I could go on all night about how cute I thought it was, but Hubby is pretty much over the whole "talking into the wee hours thing" after eight years of marriage.

Back to the Muddy Buddy.

I thought with all the rain we've had the last two days that we wouldn't be able to go because, as much as I wanted to see Hubby crawling through the mud, I didn't want stand freezing and wet with my two little cherubs waiting for him, and hearing over and over about how cold and wet they were. Thankfully, there was a break in the weather, and although it wasn't my ideal 85 degrees, it was nice weather to wait for our racers in.

The Little Man didn't disappoint though. He repeated that he needed to go to the bathroom so many times, that I thought I was going to lose my mind. Don't think I am mean. I just knew Hubby was going to be crossing the finish line within seconds, and I was going to take him as soon as I got pictures of the mess. Finally, I couldn't bare to make him hold it anymore and we walked to find a bathroom. Just as we were turning the corner, Hubby and Brother-in-Law were heading up the straight away. I picked up The Little Man like a sack of potatoes and ran wildly over to the mud pit with my camera out trying to capture them. People must of thought I was a lunatic. Some crazy woman with a child slung over her shoulders, running, camera out in front, screaming "GO DADDY GO!"

Needless to say, I didn't get the best pictures.

Oh, and The Little Man didn't have an accident.

Here are some dirty pictures:

Here they are crossing the last mud pit before the finish line:

Up and out and running to the finish...filthy guys!

A little cleaner after a dip in the reservoir:

There, that somewhat catches us up.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I'm All Weepy Again...

Well she made it. She made it through the first day of Kindergarten. Oh. My. Goodness. It was a bit harder than I thought to walk away from that classroom today. I have walked away from her at preschool many times, and thought this would be similar, but nope. Notsomuch. As I walked away I felt like I was walking away from our old life.

This is the beginning of the years that "speed by at the speed of light" I am told. "Twelve years that are like on big blur ," mom's of recent graduates have told me. I can't handle that. I thought the first five years went by fast.

I think I have decided that if I could take a moment in time and freeze it, so we could stay there forever, it would have been this past summer. The kids were just at a perfect age. They loved each other, played hard, still took a nap, were a bit more independent, helped each other out, they love their mommy...ooops, how did that get in there? I mean they love to learn, they aren't too mouthy...yet, and the little things are big things still. We didn't have to rush off anywhere and we could decide what we wanted to do just on the spur of the moment. It's been pretty close to perfect.

As I walked away from my little girl in her uniform and braids, sitting at her table all by herself, and wishing I would just leave already, I walked away from this time. I won't have it back again. I'm going to wake up tomorrow and she'll be graduating from high school, and I'll be the one that said, "I don't know where the time went! It just zipped past us at the speed of light."

As I tried to get encouragement from my mom today, after I whined pretty much the same thing I just wrote out here, she just said, "Yup, school pretty much ruins everything."


I have a much better understanding of why more and more parents are homeschooling now. I have never been so close to making the same decision. Then I think back at the homework we had to do this past summer and the reading program The Girl and I did this winter, and after I am done shaking, I realize I just might not be cut out for homeschooling. Plus, The Girl loves school.

As I was dropping her off, and trying not to cry in front of her because I didn't want her to get anxious about the upcoming day, she turned to me and said, "Today is the last day you are walking me in right? I mean tomorrow I get to be dropped off like the big kids, right?"


She's five and already doesn't want to be seen with me. She's already too independent to have her Old Mom around. That little comment didn't help with the tears situation. Not one bit. I did hold it together until I walked out of the building. I started tearing up again when Pax kept asking for her. I forgot to realize that his best friend was now gone five days a week. I was so wrapped up in her and myself, I forgot about The Little Man. He just wants to know when he gets to play with her if she goes to school, "All da days".

Beyond the whole "Next stage in life" thing, I also realized something else that might drive me nuts for the rest of the year. I have a certain way that I feel like the word "Kindergarten" should be said. I don't know if I am too fond of the term "Kindie" and I definitely can't stand it when people say "Kindygarten".

Clearly, I am all over the place with this transition. So before I get too crazy, I'll just post some pictures of my sweet girl....

In her jumper...She HAD to wear this on the first day.

As she walked away from me...

One last turn around:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

This and That

Just a couple of things on my mind today...

1) My baby, my sweet baby girl, is supposed to start Kindergarten tomorrow. I have a stomach ache as I sit and type that out. I say "supposed" for a good reason. The Girl has NEVER gone to the first day of school. She always misses it due to a freaky illness. The first year it was Hand Foot and Mouth disease (yummy), and the second year it was a bad case of Croup. Well, like I mentioned yesterday, The Little Man battled a stomach bug this past weekend, so we are just waiting for it to make the rounds. Since The Girl has missed the first day of school the last two years, I am thinking that the bug will probably hit tonight. I hope not for her sake...OK and mine. I also hope it doesn't hit in the middle of the school day...

2) Have I mentioned that I love having a garden? We have had a vegetable garden for the last 3 summers, and I can't imagine not having one. The only thing I want to do, is figure out a way to make it bigger. I believe that would be called farming, and our "covenant controlled community" might frown on our front lawn becoming a large produce department. At least it's organic.

The bunnies would love it though.

Which would make my neighbors hate me.

But what if they could eat all the goodness from it?

Then they would love me.

Oh, it's a battle that I don't want to fight, so I will just be happy with my smallish garden in the back yard.

Seriously though, the veggies from the garden, they just taste better. I have been eating a cucumber with The Girl now for a couple of days (it was huge) that is absolutely divine. The Girl said, "Wow, Mom! You just never know that cucumbers could taste this good until you grow them yourself." I know people go on and on about home grown tomatoes tasting so much better than store bough tomatoes, and I imagine that this phenomenon holds true for cucumbers too because they are just heaven. This phenomenon also holds true for carrots. I can't say anything about this year's crop because they aren't done yet.

I have been asked if I grow tomatoes, because I guess all gardeners grow tomatoes, but the answer is, "No". Nary a person in my home will eat a tomato plain. Even if it is fresh from the garden. I get a lot of wincing with that answer.

The beans aren't bad either. Just a little tip though: If the package of seed say "High yielding crops", they aren't stretching the truth to sell more seed. I have so many green beans right now that, even though I have been giving them away, I have been researching how to freeze them properly. I have a feeling that the same will hold true for the cucumbers. I will not be freezing those, however, so I'll need to find a way to make it work.

Oh, yea, and the peppers. Mmmmmm....I can hardly wait. I have some gorgeous JalapeƱo, Anaheim, and Banana peppers just waiting to be harvested and chopped up then put into soups, chile's, and salsas. Speaking of salsa, The Girl and I decided, besides our traditional carrots beans and cucumbers, we are going with a theme garden next year, and the theme will be salsa. JalapeƱos, tomatoes (there you go, you can stop wincing now), onions, and a planter pot for cilantro. Yum-O!

3) Can we talk about armpits here? If this topic totally grosses you out, feel free to be done with this post. I got in on a special at a local day spa/laser clinic. It was for underarm laser hair removal. It was a screaming deal and I thought, "You know, if I never have to shave my pits again, I could be a pretty happy woman." Also, I have seen someone who has had it done and, for armpits, they were really pretty. So, I signed myself up and went today.

It was interesting.

I have to go back every three weeks for 6 total treatments, so in 18 weeks I will be sporting some gorgeous armpits.

I'll just say, it's good to have an end date and a really good end result to look forward to.

And also, I am happy that it only takes about five minutes per side.

Lastly, anyone who has had large areas done i.e. legs or backs (and also I'll throw in an upper lip here too because that seems like a really sensitive place to me) are total studs (or crazy).

If you see me in a tank top in February it's because I am trying to show off the fruits of my labor.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I Heart My Hardwoods

Besides totally changing the look and feel of our home, there was another reason to get the new hardwoods. This one I could not stress enough to The Hubby. He was just like, "Ya, OK!" every time I brought it up. The issue would be that of cleanliness.

Hubby didn't want to believe that our carpets were gross even though we vacuumed and had them cleaned. I, on the other hand, knew all too well what lurked beneath the surface, and it was ugly. Sure, they looked all pretty and innocent, fresh after a vacuum, but really they were still hiding stuff down deep.

Yesterday, The Little Man had a tummy bug. It was so wrong on so many levels. For those of you that know me well, you know that this could be a whole post all by itself. For those of you that don't: Hello, my name is Mandie, and I DETEST vomit (at least that's the very short version of it). Through all the nastiness, though, there was a silver lining; I never had to worry about it hitting the carpet and then never getting out all the grossness. Sure, I still had towels down all over the place, but that was for ease of clean up, not for protection sake.

After the mayhem died down, I started cleaning. Guess what? I could use bleach!

All over the place!

Even on the floors!

Not that I needed to though. The Little Man was a champ at hitting the bucket.

I still did it anyway though.

Because I could.

And it made me feel lots better knowing that any trace remnants of yesterday were totally destroyed.

I hope.

Now, my home bears the sweet smell of bleach and Lysol.

So nice and cozy!

If you aren't feeling the sweetness of that smell, well, you should have been here yesterday...not so sweet or cozy.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I'm Getting Serious...and Longwinded

When you come to this blog you will mostly find silly, sometimes cute, and sometimes gross stories of my kids. I love having this blog to document their lives...our lives together. This one is about me, though, because I am doing something new, and it is giving me a new perspective on life, mothering, and my Creator.

A few years back I heard of a non-profit organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep from one of my sisters. This organization is involved in helping out families that are suffering from losing their babies. These are parents that have had hopes and dreams demolished due to a loss of their brand new babies. They provide beautiful portraits of their babies that they will never bring home. They do this all for free because they believe it aids in the healing process.

"The soft, gentle heirloom photographs of these beautiful babies are an important part of the healing process. They allow families to honor and cherish their babies, and share the spirits of their lives."--nilmdts website.

When I first went to their website, I was so grief stricken I cried for a few days. My heart ached for these families. Being a mother myself, I knew the kind of emotion that surrounded having a child. I knew what it was like to wait nine months to meet someone, and fall instantly in love at first site for no other reason than they were here, in my arms, crying. I could not bear the thought of what it would be like if something were to be different in my situation. If something had gone wrong and I had to leave without what I had hoped for. It was back then that I decided I had to be involved with this organization.

After working on my portfolio for a few years, I finally had compiled enough work to submit. I was really scared. I was scared that I couldn't do this even though I knew I had to. I am not really a very strong person emotionally. I rarely let someone cry alone. I can't handle seeing someone in pain or in heart ache, and yes, I cry at some commercials. I also tend to go from just a few tears to full-on bawling within seconds. Shortly there after, you could find me in a heap on the floor, choking on my snot and tears, and barely able to catch my breath.

Clearly, I had a large obstacle to overcome in order to do this type of work.

Plus, there was the toll it would take on my family. They were the ones that were going to have to put up with me after I came home. They were the ones that would have to deal with me as I added more work to my already busy photography life. And it was them that would have to be able to switch plans on the fly if I needed to be at an unexpected tragedy. I struggled with this decision for a while after I completed my portfolio. I just wasn't sure.

Thankfully, I didn't struggle alone. The One That Knows Me Best was right there with me. It was His calling in the first place, but I was sure I wasn't strong enough. I didn't want to disobey, but it seemed impossible.

I'll never forget the time when I felt Him assuring me to go forth with the thought, "I've called you to serve me, but I didn't say it wasn't going to cost you anything." It felt like all I heard for a while from Bible studies, friends, songs on the radio, and just life in general was the idea that really good things can come from really difficult circumstances. I finally realized that I was going to do this, and I wasn't going to do it alone. If I was to do this it would be from the strength He would give me.

After helping two families, I can say that I have lived the verse, "I can do everything through Him who give me strength." -Philippians 4:13. I have also felt the verse "...My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness..." -2 Corinthians 12:9 come to life in a way that I cannot put to words.

I am just beginning in this journey, and I cannot wait to see what God has waiting for me. Already, he has blown my socks off not only in providing me with the strength I need, but also through meeting the needs I didn't know I had, and helping me serve Him in ways I didn't even think about serving in. I can now pray for people, by name, who may have never had a prayer uttered for them otherwise. I've prayed for healing, comfort, and love for someone else during a time, when I thought previously, I wouldn't be able to function. Not only am I able to function, but am able to give compassion, love, prayer, and in the end I am able to give them a gift. A gift that I hope, in conjunction with their Father's love, will heal and give peace.

While running today, after having a session this past weekend, I heard a song on my iPod that helped me to better put words to how I feel about this. Besides being beyond grateful to see and feel God working in my life, I also am touched by these words by Jeremy Camp from "My Desire":

...And I know my heart is to feel You near
And I know my life
It's to do Your will

This is my desire, this is my return
This is my desire, to be used by You
This is my desire, this is my desire
To be used by You

All my life I have seen
Where You've taken me
Beyond all I have hoped
And there's more left unseen

There's not much I can do to repay all You've done
So I give my hands to use

This is my desire, this is my return
This is my desire, to be used by You...

Words cannot express how much I believe that I am exactly where I need to be when I do this type of work. Please continue to pray for strength and guidance for me and if you are able to, please pray for these families who are in desperate need of comfort, love, and peace from a Father who knows just what it feels like to experience the loss of a child.

"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." --Galatians 6:2

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Big Guy

I love that my kids get so excited about birthdays. It doesn't matter that it's not their day, but it is a special day, so it is fun. I tried really hard to feed into their enthusiasm and did some special stuff for Hubby.

1. I let them hit,er spank, their Daddy as much as they wanted to so he could get the appropriate number of spankings for his birthday. I did make them stop though when it came time to "pinch to grow an inch" as it seemed like they were enjoying the hitting, er spanking, a bit too much.

2. I tried so hard to do something special for the Hubby today. Hubby doesn't really care one way or the other if there is any type of party or special thing planned. Birthday's just aren't a very big deal to him. I like to make birthdays special, and I like surprises. So even though we didn't have anything extravagant planned, I did want to have something special. I planned to get the kids involved in picking out some special cards and helping make some brownies from scratch. It was supposed to be a surprise, and a fun time for the kids.

After the kids found a Star Wars card that played the theme music, and got a whiff of the sweetness that was brownie batter, The Little Man cracked. He couldn't contain himself. I think he lasted about 1.5 seconds and then said, "Daddy we got you the best Star Wars card and made yummy brownies!"

Scott, knowing it was supposed to be a secret, and that I would be upset that the plans had been foiled, responded with, "Buddy! You're not supposed to tell people their Birthday Surprises."

The Little Man's eyes got big like saucers as if he knew he messed up, and he quickly responded with, "Just kidding! Daddy, that was just a joke, OK?"

I don't know what I was thinking when I thought he could keep all that goodness to his three-year-old-self. Maybe next year.

3. After making pancakes and bacon for his birthday dinner, I now know what the perfect gift would've electric skillet. Why oh why do we not own a skillet? How many pancakes, French Toasts, and grilled cheese sandwiches do we have to make in order for us to get it into our heads that being able to cook more than 2 items at a time would be beneficial for a family of four? So after cooking two pancakes at a time for seven people all while hovering over my mother who was working the other burner with the bacon on it, I think I got to sit down to pancakes about 30 minutes after the first people finished their dinner, and were asking for second helpings.

I am putting a stop to the insanity this week.

4. I love that for the next 7 months I get to tease Hubby about how old he is. It starts today, and will not end until my birthday comes in March.

Good times,people, good times.

Hubby, I hope you have had a wonderful Birthday. It wasn't extravagant and there were no special surprises, but I do hope that you were able to enjoy the much as your aged body will let you.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I'm Thankful He Also Got His Good Looks

I have found a funny little gene that has been passed down from Hubby to The Little Man. It's got nothing to do with the dark eyes, a weird earlobe, or if he can or cannot roll his tongue. No, this gene has to do with being able to sing song lyrics correctly. Hubby is the worst at singing the right words to songs. I honestly think he doesn't even try sometimes. In his defense, music just really isn't his thing. I, on the other hand, love music. Can't sing to save my life, but love music. I know so many song lyrics it frightens me. Over the past week or so I have heard some pretty funny lyrics coming from The Little Man.

It started off pretty small with the "Rain, Rain Go Away". The original version goes like this:

Rain, rain, go away
Come again some other day
We want to go outside and play
Come again some other day

The Little Man prefers this version:

Rain, rain go away
Come a day another time...

We have tried and tried to correct it, and he just cannot sing it right. I have decided that it is now officially too cute to correct, and have changed the way I sing the song to this new version.

Now for something from the radio, "Blessed Be the Name" by Tree 63. The lyrics are:

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

The Little Man is singing:

Blessed by the name of the Lord
Blessed by your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be the holiest brain

His brain is holy indeed.

Our last sample is the song Live Out Loud by Steven Curtis Chapman. The lyrics are:

Wake the neighbors
Get the word out
Come on, crank up the music, climb a mountain and shout
This is life we've been given, made to be lived out
So, la, la, la, la, live out loud.

The Little Man's Version has been slightly influenced by what he is currently very interested in:

Shoot your laser
Shoot it all out...

Yes, we still LOVE the "Lipe Sabers"

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Animal Emotions

The Girl has always been very good at letting us know exactly how she feels. Either through a full- on emotional breakdown complete with drama that could win a Daytime Emmy, or she will simply tell you just how she feels with word pictures that will not let you misunderstand a single emotion. Sometimes she does it when she is happy, but generally speaking, she does this when she is angry, sad, or frustrated.

Today, it seems as though she wanted a little privacy in the bathroom. This isn't always the case, so when The Little Man didn't budge on the first or second time she asked, she got very upset with him, stomped downstairs, and let me know just how it feels to not be heard.

D: Mom, I asked and asked Paxton for some privacy when I was going potty, but he wouldn't leave!
me: I'm sorry. Can I help you out with this?
D: No, Mom! I had to go potty right there with him in the same room. He just wouldn't listen to me. It's like he can't hear me!
me: I hate it when I feel like people don't hear me.
D: Ya, I get so frustrated when people don't listen. I feel very disrespected and frustrated.
me: Yup, I know just how you feel.
D: Ya, then I get really angry. I feel like I am a King Cobra with his neck all flared out ready to bite someone!
me: (paused for a second to soak in that picture) A King Cobra, huh?
D: Ya, a King Cobra that's really angry.

Come to think of it, I think I have felt my neck flare a few times in the heat of the moment.

I have never given much thought to biting anyone though...