Monday, August 31, 2009

Locked Out!

For my daughter's first day of pre-K today, I thought it would be cute to get a few pics. with the front door in the background even though we were leaving through the backdoor, so she and I stepped outside for about 45 seconds to snap some pictures.
While we were outside, my 2 year old, who was inside by himself for 45 seconds (and boy did I learn my lesson about that), LOCKED THE DOOR!

When I tried to open the door and found it locked, I just thought, "No way am I locked outside with only my camera and my 4 year old, with my 2 year old alone inside!" It was surreal!

I flipped open the mail slot and told my toddler to unlock the door. I wasn't sure if he could, but he had locked it, so I figured maybe he could unlock it.

He tried and couldn't.

Remember my post yesterday about the "Dragging a chair" phase? I told him to drag a chair over, hoping being taller would help him work the lock.

Didn't work.

I had another idea. Maybe he could get the key out and pass it to me through the mail slot and then I could unlock it from the outside. So, I told him to take the key out and give it to me.

Didn't work. He couldn't get the key out.

My daughter, outside with me, began crying, "I'm going to be late for school!"

I began to think I needed to head to a neighbor's house to call my husband to come home from work to rescue us.

Then I had another idea. Surely the 2 year old could get my car keys (also with a house key on the same ring) off the hook in the kitchen and pass those through the mail slot!

I told him to take the chair and get Mommy's car keys and bring them to me.

He was gone for a few minutes.

Minutes where I could be found barking orders into the mail slot.

He returned and said, "I don't see 'em."

I had one last idea up my sleeve. I remembered my husband and 6 year old had been locked out in the backyard when someone (Hmm, could it have been me?) left for errands and accidentally locked the backdoor. But they were able to get in when my 6 year old went through the doogie door.

However, the side gate into our backyard was locked, so I was forced to climb the fence.

In a dress.

With my daughter standing below saying, "But Mommy, you might get hurt!"

I made it over and unlocked the gate to let her into the backyard. We ran around to the backdoor and she went in through the doggie door and once inside she unlocked the door to the house to let me in.
My 4 year old breaking and entering into her own house!

When I got inside I saw my purse on the floor. My toddler had gone through it looking for the car keys, so at least he had looked, but they were hanging right on the hook where I'd told him they were. What is it about males and not being able to find things?!!

I am exceedingly grateful for that doogie door that our dog doesn't use, and for my daughter who saved the day and wasn't even late for school!

Find more Gratituesday here and What I Learned This Week here and Wordful Wednesday here

NOT Happening!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! In this blog carnival, created by MckMama, you can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have NOT been doing this week (but really have)!

Do you ever cheat at Candyland or Chutes and Ladders to make the game end sooner? Good, ME NEITHER! Hypothetically speaking, if one did want to speed the game along a little you could hide those pesky gingerbread man and candy cane cards that send you back close to the beginning and stack the deck with the lollypop and ice cream cards strategically placed so your child will draw them early on in the game. NOT that I know any of this from personal experience or anything. NOT ME! And Chutes and Ladders, well when your child gets close to the spot where they could climb the really tall ladder all the way to the top, you can stealthly move the spinner to have spun the exact amount they need to land on the coveted spot! Who me? I've NEVER done that!

Over the weekend I did NOT come to the realization that my 2 year old has entered what I call the "Dragging a chair" phase. When your toddler enters this phase they begin dragging chairs around the house, climbing up on them, and reaching previous considered baby-proof zones. Suddenly you need to unplug the toaster when it is not in use, because even though it is pushed back on the kitchen counter, the toddler will be found gleefully pushing the buttons!
I remember when my last child entered this phase, and I'd go running every time I heard the sound of that chair dragging because I knew she was up to no good! Glad I'm NOT right smack dab in the middle of THAT phase again!

My 4 year old daughter loves those temporary tattoos, and she is scarily good at applying them to her ownself, wetting the back, rubbing on it, waiting 30 seconds, the whole bit, almost even better than I can do it! I usually don't mind when she shows up downstairs tattooed, but seriously, this one has been on since last Wednesday. It is as if we never bathe her! She really gets a bath every night, she is just very careful not to scrub the part of her arm with the treasured penguin tattoo!

I am NOT seriously considering grabbing a washcloth and scrubbing it off so it won't be in her first day of school pictures today!

Uh-Oh, I did NOT just hear her say from upstairs, "Mama, I'm going to pick what I want to wear to school". Gotta go practice some Jedi mind tricks to get her to pick what I want her to wear! May the force be with me!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Allergies, Allergies Go Away

7 or maybe 8 Quick Takes (I'm too worn out to count)
  • I spent a good portion of the day at the allergist for my 4 year old daughter with my 2 year old in tow. What I thought would be a 30 minute check-up turned into a 3 hour tour through fire ant allergy testing.
  • We knew my daughter was allergic to peanuts, eggs, and cats. The allergies scare me, especially the peanut one which most kids do not outgrow. But people are very aware of peanut allergies these days, not serving kids snacks with peanut products (this is a Finer Thing), so we haven't had much trouble avoiding them. Also, her allergy is not so severe that she cannot be around peanuts, she just can't eat them. So, I guess I've made my peace with the fact that she has that allergy (even though I breastfed her until she was a year, isn't that suppose to help kids not have allergy issues?).
  • So during the routine follow-up, EpiPen prescription refill visit to the allergist today, I mentioned to the doctor a reaction my daughter had to some fire ant bites she got recently. She got a rash on her chest, her eyes were watery for a while after, her nose got runny, and she got a slight wheeze. I gave her Benadryl and a few hours later she was fine. The allergist was really worried that her reaction involved more than just a skin reaction and said we needed to test her for a fire ant allergy. "What's your schedule like for the rest of the day?" he asks me at 10:45 this morning!
  • I've been down the allergy skin test road before, but it only takes 20 minutes, they do it in her back, and it is not that bad, but the fire ant test is done a little differently. It is injected under the skin on the arm with a needle rather than the regular prick skin testing, and they do it in very low quantities and gradually increase the amount, waiting 15 minutes between each stick until there is a reaction or they get to a high enough dose to decide you are not allergic. So while your child is crying that the control (straight histamine) is itchy, and indeed it is a large swollen, inflamed bump, and she asks you if she has to get any more needles, you can only say, "I don't know."
  • She did test positive for an allergy to fire ants, a potentially anaphylactic allergy based on her previous reaction. Apparently I should have used my EpiPen at the first sign of wheezing. Even though I already carry an EpiPen everywhere, the thought of actually using it scares me, but the allergist assured me it won't hurt her to use it and it is better to use it when it was not needed than not use it when it was needed! The good news on the fire ant allergy is there are shots that are around 97% effective at preventing a severe reaction to fire ants (anyone else hooked on amazing feats of modern medicine?). The bad news is she has to get the shots twice a week for a while, then once a week, then once a month for five years!
  • I would like to give a huge shout out to the nurse who provided the Dora DVD to distract and entertain my daughter during the process. You were a gift straight from heaven! And when it was all over and you came back to the room with a Dora sticker and plastic bracelet as prizes for my little girl being so brave, well, I just could have hugged you right then (I'm sure you're glad I restrained myself and just profusely thanked you)!
  • To the allergist, you are a great doctor with excellent bedside manner with my kids, but there is a limit to how many times you can use the phrase, "potentially life or death" when talking to a mother about her child before that mother will start to hyperventilate. Four times may be one time too many!
  • And now excuse me while I go construct a bubble around my little girl, because we live in Texas and fire ants are everywhere. Just after the allergist, my kids had swim lessons and I unloaded them from the car and right before I sent them scurrying across the grass into the place where they have lessons, I realized the danger that could be lurking in that grass and scooped up my 4 year old, carrying her into and out of the lessons. Yes, the fire ants have made me a little neurotic or maybe it was the back to back to back episodes of Dora!

Find more Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life, Hooked on Fridays at Hooked on Houses, 7 Quick Takes Friday at Conversion Diary.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Elusive Organization

I love organization! Pictures of organized spaces, blog posts about organizing, organizational products, labels, color-coding.

But, I'm not super good at achieving and keeping organization in my home. A large part of the problem is that I am a bit of a packrat and my husband is even worse than I am.

Cassette tapes? Yes, we have them. A cassette player? Hmmm, don't think so! I know we have books from every class my husband took in his years earning a degree and 2 masters degrees.

And do you know what happens when 2 packratish people give birth to 3 children?

There is a house crammed with way too much junk!

Can you say artwork times 3 children? Sunday school worksheets & crafts times 3 children! Party favors from goody bags times 3 children!

I've been trying to get organized since, I don't know, forever? I have made some progress, but it is not as fast as I'd like. Lately I'm so sick of the stuff that I've finally begun to get rid of things on a daily basis. I just hope I'm sending out more than is coming in!

13 Things I've Gotten Rid of Recently:

1. Broken toys

2. Cheap plastic toys (when I find them strewn about the playroom I've started putting them in the trash can instead of putting them away. The kids never miss them, except for the fake gold coins -- apparently they were my 6 year old's treasure. Who knew? Well, put them away and I won't throw them away. Count it a lesson learned the hard way!)

3. Magazines (I can't believe how many back issues we've saved)

4. Torn books

5. Toys the kids hardly ever play with

6. Clothes that for some reason I saved from my 1st son, but look too bad to put on my younger son.

7. Not so special crafts my kids created (you cannot get sentimental about everything they produce -- right?)

8. Mardi Gras bead type necklaces -- what is it about kids and these necklaces? they seem to multiply around my house. I throw them away and more appear!

9. Old, broken cell phones (I guess I was holding out hope that the phone I drowned 10 months ago would somehow revive itself!)

10. Wire hangars from the dry cleaners

11. Instruction manuals to appliances we no longer own

12. School info. flyers and handbooks from last year

13. Expired coupons

Now I need to go toss about 97 more things!

Check out Thousand Words Thursday, Thursday Thirteen.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"I broke the door!"

I was out with one of our other children at a birthday party last Saturday when my 2 year old woke up from his nap and soon came running to his Daddy with his gleeful news, "I broke the door!" Yes, he was very proud of himself and even joyfully repeated the news for me when I got home 30 minutes later.

That white plastic he's holding?

That would be the child-proofing doorknob cover I was so excited about here.


At least it bought me 2 months.

And actually the last few days that he's been able to get out of his room at naptime, he hasn't come out at all. So, maybe, just maybe (please let it be so!) we don't need that doorknob cover anyway!

Check out more Wordless or Wordful Wednesday.

End the Morning Nagging

"Eat your breakfast." "Brush your teeth." "Come on let's fix your hair." "I'm waiting, are you coming to the bathroom to get your hair fixed?" "Why aren't your shoes on yet?" "Come on you're going to be late!" "Don't forget your backpack." "Do you have your backpack?" "I can't believe you got in the car without your backpack!"

Yep, that's what you could hear my husband or I saying every morning of last school year when our firstborn was in kindergarten.

It was an exercise in patience, extreme patience, every day from 7AM to 7:45 AM and my husband and I?

Are not morning people.

But mornings this year?

No nagging at all, no reminders, and the 6 year old is ready and waiting by the backdoor at 7:35AM!

The answer was so simple I cannot believe we suffered so long without it!

Before this school year started I bought this little blank, fish-shaped cardboard flip book for $1 at Michaels. I filled the 10 pages with the tasks my son needs to do before school each morning and a few pieces of really terrible artwork:

1. Wake up & Get Dressed (we lay out his clothes the night before)

2. Eat breakfast

3. Clear your spot (this means his spot at the table)

4. Help pack your lunch

5. Brush teeth

6. Hair Fixed

7. Put socks and shoes on

8. Grab backpack and lunch

9. Be ready by backdoor at 7:35 AM

10. Have a super day! We love you so much! "Do not fear, for I am with you; I will strengthen you and help you." Isaiah 41:10

So our 6 year old follows the book step-by-step in the mornings and if he achieves the 7:35 AM goal without any reminders he gets to move up one on our privilege ladder.

And for the last 2 days it has worked beautifully!

Find more Works for me Wednesday here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The 1st Day of 1st Grade

My 6 year old had his first day of 1st grade today. After I picked him up, we returned home and settled in at the kitchen table with a snack so my son could show me all the 1st day paperwork I need to fill out so it can be returned tomorrow. "My only homework tonight is to make sure you get all these papers filled out," my son said gleefully! "Oh, so I have homework tonight," I said.

And then I began the standard mom questioning, but trying to be real casual so he didn't notice the interrogation. "Who did you sit by at lunch? Was your teacher nice? Did you do any work today? What did you write in your journal?" etc., etc.

All of the questions met with good, positive, upbeat answers. Then to be a little silly, I asked, "How was your desk? Is it a good desk?"

To which my son smiles and says, "Yes, but there was one thing bad about the desk."

Me: "Oh, what's that?"

the 6 year old: "I have to turn my chair upside down and put it on top of my desk at the end of the day and it's a heavy chair. It took me about 2 minutes to get it on top of the desk."

Me: "Well, that's good, you'll have strong muscles by the end of the year from all that chair lifting!"

The 6 year old grins and agrees.

Me: "Was there anything else bad about your day?"

the 6 year old: "No."

Me: "Was there anything else good about your day?"

the 6 year old: "Yes, too many things to talk about!"

And that my friends, is a blessing! So many good things from his day that he can't even talk about them all!

I said a prayer of praise aloud with him right then, thanking God for a great day!

Find more Gratituesday here and What I Learned This Week here.

Not My Child

MckMama is hosting Not My Child Monday today. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else's kids have NOT been doing.

This is absolutely NOT my child heading off to 1st grade today! There is NO WAY he is old enough for 1st grade!
I am always super organized so I most definitely did NOT clean out this boy's backpack last night from last school year and find a plastic Easter cupcake topper! NO, my child would NOT fail to clean out his backpack for months and months and even if he did, his mom would surely do it for him!

And this . . ..

my child!

And those kids running through the fountain in their clothes when the sign clearly says, "No running"?
NOT my kids!

And this is surely NOT
my daughter, polishing off the last of her chocolate ice cream from a baseball helmet bowl at the baseball game we went to on Saturday night! She does NOT love ice cream and enjoy every last drop, except the one or two that fell on her skirt!

While we were at the game it was NOT my 2 year old who ate numerous things off the floor and then almost succeeded at grabbing some popcorn from the people sitting in front of us!

Happy Monday Everyone!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

I watched the movie Annie last week with my kids. It was on sale for $5 at Target and I couldn't resist buying it. It was really fun sharing a movie I loved as a kid with my kids. And the unexpected bonus? My 2 year old is hooked on the "Tomorrow Song" and has been randomly breaking out into his own rendition of it and requesting I sing it over and over again!

Speaking of songs, this post from Boo Mama totally takes me back and makes me want to visit iTunes and download some songs I don't hear nearly enough in my 2009 life!

Can you imagine my husband's horror if I suddenly started playing some Survivor, Kenny Logins, or Celine Dion?

Just as soon as I get my kids settled in school, tackle all the spring cleaning I never did, finish potty-training my toddler, jump back into a regular exercise routine, get caught up on a year's worth of photos, and re-volunteer for my volunteer job then I'm totally going to try making one of these shirts. How cool is that idea?

What? Did someone mention potty-training and exercise? My 2 big goals for the summer. 30 Day Shred -- complete; Days 31-90 -- not complete. What can I say? I just got so sick of the video and hearing the same comments and not funny jokes. It is a great workout, but even with there being 3 levels to rotate between, 30 days, every day, in a row is enough to make you sick of just about anything! I need a new exercise video or the temp. outside to drop below 100 degrees so I can run! As for potty-training, as long as my toddler can be naked from the waist down he's potty-trained, very few accidents. But, you put that Bob the Builder underwear on and it will be soaked in minutes. Do you think they'll let me send him to Mother's Day Out wearing nothing from the waist down? Now that would be a finer thing!

One thing I did accomplish this summer, I'm proud to say my 6 year old can now tie his own shoe laces! I thought we'd never get there, but yes, he'll start 1st grade in non-velcro shoes!

Last, grab a couple Kleenex and head over to this post of Megan's. You'll be glad you did!

Find more Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life, Hooked on Fridays at Hooked on Houses, 7 Quick Takes Friday at Conversion Diary,

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

His Comfort

God is a God of all comfort. His comfort sustained me after my diagnosis with lymphoma 5 years ago.

1Cor 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God & Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and God of all comfort.” V. 5 goes on to say, “For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.”

After I had surgery to remove 2 enlarged lymph nodes from under my arm and on my side, the pathology reports strongly indicated cancer. My husband and I were quickly ushered into the staging phase where doctors would perform tests to determine the extent of cancer before deciding on the best course of treatment.

The weeks that followed were a blur of unpleasant tests, waiting on results, and doctor visits. It was truly a difficult time as we tried to digest the news while I was still recovering from surgery, but it was not a time of devastation as it could have been because we were so comforted by God and amazed at all the detailed ways we felt His presence during this time.

One of the early details God took care of was my claustrophobia. The first round of tests entailed a PET scan where I’d be enclosed in a scanner for up to an hour. My husband was incredulous that this test frightened me more than the bone marrow biopsy, which even the doctor described as very painful. As senseless as it sounds, pain didn’t worry me, entrapment did.

I remember thinking God had some sense of humor to choose someone with claustrophobia to be a cancer patient! During my quiet time that same day, God led me to, Ps. 118:5, I laughed when I saw it! This verse says, “From my distress I called upon the Lord; The Lord answered me and set me in a large place.”

I memorized the verse knowing I’d need that large place in a few days when I was inside the scanner. As the nurse injected me with the radio-active tracer die the test would use, she assured me I’d be fine in the machine because, “It is really pretty open”.

I did not find this to be the case, when they slid me in the machine with my elbows out and I was touching the sides! I had only about 6 inches of space all around my body and could not see the opening! I began to panic and wondered how I’d ever make it through the next 30-60 minutes, but when I closed my eyes and remembered the verse, the Lord did set me in a large place and the scan passed in what seemed like only a few moments, although the clock said I was in the scanner for 40 minutes!

Another way Jesus lavished comfort on me was by allowing me to see good come of my situation. A few days after my diagnosis I prayed specifically for God to reveal to me how he was using the situation for His glory. Within hours of that prayer, my dad called, who has been a Christian in title most of his life but who had never really seemed to allow Jesus in his everyday life. My brother and I have prayed for him for years and had conversations with him without any visible results. During this phone call from my dad, he commented that he was very glad for the strong faith my brother and I had and wished he had the same for his own life. It was a huge breakthrough!

Then a few days later a friend told me she’d brought up my cancer situation during a lunch with co-workers and a girl who was not a Christian began asking questions like, “How are she and her husband dealing with something like that being so young?” and my friend was able to share with her that we had a faith in God and were leaning on Him. It comforted to me to see God using my situation to turn hearts to him!

I am not going to lie and say that every moment of my journey with cancer was easy and that I was able to stay focused on God without fail. Each day presented a battle with human nature and Satan, both wanted me to feel sorry for myself and focus on the worst-case scenarios.

When I’d begin to get down or consumed with worry, I’d also feel tremendous guilt, because I knew that God was in control and was going to take care of me and of my family but at those moments it was so hard to really believe it. During those times I was too overwhelmed to pray.

But by God’s perfect plan, just 2 months before my diagnosis I’d started going through a Bible study that ended up relating so perfectly to everything I’d go through with cancer. One of the lessons was on the power of the name “Jesus” and how just saying it aloud can bring His presence and mercy into any situation in your life. So during those dark times, I’d come to my senses enough to call out, “Jesus!” that was all the prayer I could manage, but without exception, each time, one of two things would happen, either I’d immediately feel a consuming sense of peace or there would be a heaven-sent distraction – a friend would call or my son would need me and my self-pity would be forgotten.

I am so thankful for the healing God has given me from cancer. But the greatest gift has been the comfort not the healing. The healing may be only temporary, with one swollen lymph node, I could be right back in the thick of cancer. We are not promised a trouble-free life on earth, but God’s promises of comfort are everlasting.

Click here for more Thankful Thursday.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Proof I should not do anything before my morning coffee

What is going on in this picture?

Well, my husband usually makes the coffee in the mornings, but he was out of town for a few days last week, and the night he got back it was really late, so the next morning I let him sleep in, and I made the coffee. And apparently 3 days in a row of making coffee is more than I can bear.

On this 3rd day of making coffee by myself, I measured the water, poured it in the maker, measured the grounds and added them (even remembered a coffee filter), and hit "brew".


Coffee overflowing onto the counter, into the drawer, down the cabinet, onto the floor at 7AM -- Good times!

And proof positive that either I'm really not cut out for this homemaker gig or I really should not do anything before I drink a cup of coffee in the morning.

Actually, I think this picture proves both are true!

Check out more Wordless or Wordful Wednesday.

Bunk Bed Brothers

I really do strive to be helpful in this blog. I learn so much from other bloggers that I want to give back. And as I was putting clean sheets on the top bunk of my sons' bunk beds, it occurred to me that I'd not shared how our bunk bed situation was working.

I think I blogged a few months ago, before we moved my toddler out of his crib, that I was worried about the bunk bed logistics, but now that it's been a few months, here is the update: (And the helpful part, I know you're all sitting there thinking, "When exactly is this going to be helpful?")

We did in fact move the toddler into his big brother's room right when he turned 2, with him sleeping on the bottom bunk. That moved my 6 year old son up to the top bunk. We continued to keep the ladder side of the bunk beds facing the wall as we'd always done and figured out a way that the 6 year old could climb up the footboard of the bunk beds using a little red ride-on car as a step stool.
It is not the safest solution, but the 6 year old scaling the footboard to get to the top bunk is much safer than turning the ladder to facing out and thus allowing the toddler to climb up to the top and jump off. Which if you know my toddler, you know he would totally do!

This solution has worked great! There is still floorspace for playing in their room (there wouldn't be any if the beds were unstacked), and I think the fact that they can talk but not see each other cuts down on the silliness at bedtime. They laugh and talk a little, but there is no rough-housing going on. Only the 6 year old can get up to the top bunk, my guest room is now freed up to be a guest room again, and I do believe their bond as brothers will be even stronger from them sharing a room!

Now my daughter is praying every night for a sister to share her room. Have mercy!

And I need tips on making it easier to change the sheets on that top bunk -- anyone?

Find more Works for Me Wednesday tips here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Best Yet Cornbread

I love cornbread, but I have tried many different recipes over the years and never really felt like I'd found the perfect one.

I don't like whole corn in my cornbread, nor do I like jalapenos in there. I like it sweet, but not too sweet. And not too dry. I like my cornbread recipes to be able to be made in one bowl for easier clean-up. So you see, my cornbread expectations are high and specific. I've tried tons of recipes in my quest for the best cornbread, but each one would leave me saying, "It's good, but could be better." So the quest would continue.

Recently (as in this very day), I modified a recipe and finally found one I'd make over and over again. I'm not ready to commit to it being the perfect recipe, but it's the best I've made yet!

The Best Yet Cornbread

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 canola oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch round cake pan.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Stir in egg, buttermilk and vegetable oil. Pour batter into greased pan.
3. Bake about 20 minutes.

I prefer my cornbread served plain, but my husband and kids love syrup on their cornbread!

Find more recipes at the Blog Hop and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Top Notch Nutrition Around Here

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

For me:

- My family of 5 did NOT go out for ice cream and eat only ice cream for dinner one night last week.

- Then one of the nights my husband was out of town I did NOT feed my 3 children a dinner that consisted of chocolate chip pancakes I'd cooked earlier in the week and saved in the freezer, edamame, pears, and jerky (deer jerky my father-in-law brought on his last visit). When my 6 year old questioned the combination of pancakes and jerky, I did NOT actually tell him, "It's fine, you know jerky is kinda like bacon!"

- I did NOT walk back into my kitchen after starting some wash, to find all 3 of my kids on the floor drinking out of plastic bowls like they were dogs!

- I did NOT allow my children to paint themselves with pudding and actually join in on the madness myself!

Can't wait to hear what everyone else has NOT been up to!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

10 more days until the first day of school for my 1st grader. I am definitely less stressed about the start of school this year than last year when he started kindergarten. Now we are familiar with the school, know at least basically what to expect, and are used to the 8am to 3pm schedule. Still, I'm praying for the year and his teacher. I know one year he's sure to get a difficult teacher, and as hard as it will be, I'm counting on that experience to prepare him for a difficult boss down the road. I want him to learn to deal with that while still living at home where we, as his parents, can help counsel him through it, rather than having an experience like that for the first time when he's living alone and worrying about paying rent and making dinner, along with facing the difficult person every day. But I'm not ready for that lesson this year!

My husband was out of town for 3 nights this week, can I just say, "how do single moms do it?"!

I actually had to dispose of a dead roach myself today! First I bribed my 6 year old with a dollar to do it. He refused. Thankfully I was able to vacuum it up with our central vac. hose that is super long so I didn't have to be that close to it! I dissected a dog in college and have handled more than my share of baby and toddler poop, but roaches? They give me the hebe gebes! Now before you call me a wimp, how big are roaches where you live? Here in Texas they are big, like the size of a small mouse kinda big!

Anyone know how to spell "hebe gebes?" I'm totally guessing and best I can tell its not in the dictionary. That middle "b" may be doubled in both words. Spell check isn't happy either way!

At least I've remembered to give our senior citizen dog her meds. twice each day (usually my husband's job) and I did remember today was trash day and manage to get it out to the curb. But after I did the dishes last night (when he's home my husband does the dinner dishes every night) I did forget to start the dishwasher and thus woke up to hungry kids and dirty dishes. I won't make that mistake again!

I'm hooked on keeping up with a few blogs by moms with kids older than mine. They give me a glimpse into what life will be like down the road. And having a little forewarning about what's ahead is definitely a finer thing! This week I loved this blog post from Raise them Up about taking a picture of her middle schooler son as he got off the bus after his first day of school. And this one from Virture Alert cracks me up and opens my eyes to what it is like to move a child into college.

And reading those makes me kinda thankful I'm still in the soap phase with at least one of my kids. You know the soap phase, right? It hits around 2 years old and if your child is in this phase they are not content with one pump of the soap to wash their hands, they must have at least 7 or 8. And if you allow a child in this phase to sneak into the bathroom alone, in 45 seconds they will have dispensed 22.5 pumps of the soap onto their little hands and smeared it all over the bathroom counter. During this phase you actually begin worrying about all the money you are spending on hand soap and start diluting it with water, and hoping said child doesn't actually want to go to college someday, because the college fund? Is being spent on hand soap!

Find more Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life, Hooked on Fridays at Hooked on Houses, 7 Quick Takes Friday at Conversion Diary,

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Minnie Mouse Never Looked So Good!

13 Thoughts I have to share about this picture:
  1. Apparently my daughter has a tiny bit of my uncraftiness!
  2. Yet, similar to her mom, that doesn't keep her from trying the crafts with gusto!
  3. As it turns out the age recommendation of 6 and up means the craft may not really be the best for a 3 year old! Who knew?
  4. I helped her with the first few stitches, explained the entire process of sewing all the black squares, and then we'd move on to a different color, then I left her to work for a few minutes while I started dinner.
  5. I came back approximately 4 minutes later, to this!
  6. When she said, "Help me get the needle out" I thought, "Sure, how hard can that be."
  7. Twenty-five minutes later I was still unthreading, unwinding, and unsewing the Minnie Mouse just to free the needle.
  8. Success was finally achieved without cutting the yarn, which in hindsight really would have been the way to go.
  9. I needed an Aleve after that.
  10. When my daughter wanted to try with a different color the 25 minutes of delicate, impossible untangling passed before my eyes.
  11. And I quickly steered her to a different activity.
  12. And hid the Minnie craft so as to avoid future Minnie sewing madness!
  13. In my daughter's defense, she did get farther than her 6 year old brother, considering he lost his needle before even starting his sewing project!
I'm just thankful nobody takes pictures of my sewing attempts!

Check out Thankful Thursday, Thousand Words Thursday, Thursday Thirteen

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

If There Was No Rain, We'd Miss the Rainbows

My husband and I captured this picture of a rainbow during our 10th anniversary trip to Maui this past May. We drove to the IO valley and as soon as we parked it began to rain. "Rats!" we though, "that storm will put a damper on our hiking plans."

But as the rain fell, we got out of the car and hiked up to a viewing point anyway. And we were thrilled to see this magnificent rainbow!

If there had not been the rain that day, we would not have seen the rainbow. We would have missed the blessing of standing in the rain absolutely in awe of the beauty and wonder of God's creation. That magical moment would not be forever emblazoned upon our memories of that trip.

I love how you can still see the dark storm clouds in the top of the picture. Because that is just how life often is. The storm comes, we complain about the storm, we step out and begin to walk through it, soaking wet we finally look up, and that is when we see the rainbow.
"And God said, 'This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. And it shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud," Genesis 9:11-14
I shared yesterday a little about our lymphoma storm a few years ago, and I can honestly tell you, as tough as that storm was, the rainbows we saw as a result changed our lives for the better.

Check out more Wordful Wednesday.

Meet Big Duke and his sidekick, Big Duke

There they are, Big Duke and Big Duke sleeping peacefully next to my 2 year old.

Anyone else so afraid of something happening to their toddler's security item that they actually buy a duplicate?

This toddler-disaster insurance policy in the form of a 2nd large stuffed bulldog sure works for me!!

Find more Works for Me Wednesday and Wordless Wednesday.

Monday, August 10, 2009

5 Years Ago Today

5 years ago today, August 10, 2004, my husband and I sat in a hematologist's office as she told us to work with my ob/gyn to "come up with a plan for preserving my fertility" because I had lymphoma (a type of cancer) and would likely need a combination of chemotherapy and/or radiation that could potentially leave me infertile.

Exactly 1 year later, August 10, 2005, our daughter was born.

How could that have happened? It is a long story, one I haven't yet shared on this blog because I didn't know how to narrate it into a blog post, but a story I hope to begin sharing in coming days. It is a story slathered with so much God that I fear somehow I will not do Him justice in how I share it, but know that if I do not try I will certainly fail.

So for the purpose of today's post, I will make the story short and say this . . .

Our plan that August 10th, 2004, involved an elaborate process of doctors and medical procedures that would allow us to freeze embryos before I began cancer treatment so that one day, if I was cured enough, we could have the possibility of having more children. We had a 17 month old son at the time but very much dreamed of having another child.

God's plan, however, was one we could not have imagined possible that August 10th 2004. God's plan was to completely heal me of any sign of cancer
before treatment, leaving multiple doctors baffled, and forcing them to delay treatment until I showed the signs (which I have not in these last 5 years), and to provide us a beautiful, perfect baby girl exactly one year, to the day, later.

Our miracle was not supposed to be born that August 10, 2005, she was nearly 3 weeks early, but born completely healthy. But by God's plan, the timing of her birth was exactly right, because the date "coincidence" allowed His fingerprints to be so clearly revealed on our story, our lives.

Find more Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Bloggy Love

You can read here about why I blog, and these reasons are all still true, but there are times I wonder if I'm doing it right. If this blog is too much of me and not enough of Him, and if it is a worthwhile use of my time. So, it is very encouraging to get positive feedback, especially from other bloggers, other moms.

Kat from Art's Chili recently nominated me for the "True Heart" Award. And when I read this description of the award:
"Those who receive this award are of the sweetest nature. They are kind, friendly, funny, loving, eager to share their love for Jesus with others, and brave in their efforts to reflect Him to this darkened world. They are the kind of folks you're blessed to know, even if it's only in the bloggy-sphere," I really could not imagine a better compliment! Thank you, Kat, for blessing me with this award and sharing your sweet family on your blog every day!

Lori from Peterson St. Louis, gave me the "Because I'm the Queen" award. Thank you for my first tiara! Hearing that my blog "brightens up" your day, is so uplifting!

I would like to pass on the kudos, but I'm going to buck the system a little and link not only to a blogger I love and am inspired by, but a specific blog post that has been especially inspiring to me! There are so many great blog posts out there, and it is a blessing to be able to read great content for free! It has been on my to-do list to share the links to great posts I find, so hopefully this will be the first of many "Great Reads" I pass on.

  • I love Blue Eyed Blessings and all her great craft ideas. Her post here on the birthday party she did for her daughter is awesome, and I totally copied her idea of dipping strawberry marshmallows in chocolate and covering them with sprinkles for my daughter's birthday this past weekend!
  • Not a Bow In Sight's post about cleaning out her master bedroom closet is pure gold! And do you wanna know why? Because it is real. It is a real mom's closet (complete with cassette tapes, y'all! I cannot tell you how blessed I was the day I saw her post and realized we are not the only ones with saved cassette tapes!) with a real desire to get organized which she does in a real way, not in a make-you-feel-so-intimidated-you-won't-attempt-it-yourself-Container-Store-ad kind of way!
  • For the last few months I've wanted to make my own bread. I've made homemade rolls before but a loaf of real bread always seemed too intimidating until this post from Art's Chili. Now her girls are extraordinary so the fact that they could make this bread at 8 years old does not guarantee I can do it in my 30s, but I am inspired to try. This week, Kat, I'm going to try it!
  • I always have trouble thinking of creative things to serve or pack for my children's lunches, but this post has an amazing amount of great suggestions!
  • Last, but not least, if you are a member of a church you have to read this post by Shaun Groves! It is one of the most memorable things I've read all summer!
And to all you fellow bloggers out there, thank you for creating an amazing community where we can learn, laugh and cry together!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Before 10 AM

Do you ever wake up at 6:45AM to the sound of kids,
jump in the shower for a just wash your-body-but-not-your-hair-shower (maybe that's technically a bath, but standing up!),
break up a battle,
feed everybody,
feed yourself,
drink coffee,
hug your kids,
start some wash,
unload the dishwasher,
clear the table,
brush kid teeth,
have oldest child change the Diaper Genie,
brush your own teeth,
get 3 kids dressed,
get yourself dressed,
load the dishwasher,
tell kids to clean the playroom,
end up doing most of it yourself,
make a grocery list,
pack lunch for the activity later in the morning,
get kids downstairs,
take care of the dog,
get shoes on everybody and in the car for 2 errands,
arrive at the 1st store at 9:31AM . . .

and realize it doesn't open until 10AM!

I mean the thought didn't even occur to you that the store would not yet be opened, it's the middle of the day in Mommyland!

Anyone else hooked on stores that open before 10:00 AM? Definitely a finer thing!

Find more Finer Things Friday at The Finer Things in Life, Hooked on Fridays at Hooked on Houses

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

She's almost 4!

This weekend we will be celebrating my baby girl's 4th birthday!

I know, 4 is hardly still a baby, especially in our family where she is not even the youngest child, but even she tells me, "Mommy even when I be four, I'll still be your baby." So there you go, I have her blessing!

In honor of your birthday Sweet Baby Girl, 13 things I love about you:

1. I bought you your first pair of tap shoes a few weeks ago, and you tap danced in the kitchen for the longest time in your princess nightgown.

2. We take you to Sea World and you are terrified of the person in the Shamu costume that greets us at the gate, but LOVE all the roller coasters you are big enough to ride and can't wait until you are tall enough for the really big ones! "Mommy that was fast!" you say to me with the biggest smile when a ride ends.
3. I take you to a friend's birthday party and you are scared of the balloons but eagerly pet the 4 foot long snake that is brought out for the kids to see.

4. You are a wonderful little sister to your big brother, patiently putting up with all of his bossing you around!
5. You are a great, caring big sister to your little brother, running to get a Kleenex and wiping his nose without even being asked, just because you noticed it needed to be done!6. When you get something out of your dresser drawers, you actually close the drawer back, unlike your brothers!

7. You are the latest sleeper of our 3 kids!

8. Not only do you put up with all the bows I put in your hair, but you even ask me to put them back in if they fall out!

9. You can clean up the playroom just as well as I can!

10. You choose your clothes based on comfort, and thankfully for me, this means you pick dresses over jeans!

11. You love books and can recite several of them from heart!

12. Depending on the situation you can be quiet and shy or loud and crazy!
13. You are my sunshine and light up each day!
I am so thankful God gave me the gift of you!

Check out Thankful Thursday, Thousand Words Thursday, Thursday Thirteen

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What's in your potty?

This post was brought to you by the letter "H".

When you have little kids in the house, you just never know what you'll find in the potty!

Check out more Wordless or Wordful Wednesday.

Strategic Sock Drawer

The theme for this week's Works for Me Wednesday is "Best Back to School Tip".

For me, back to school means getting everyone out of the house earlier in the mornings and with a firm deadline and again in the late afternoons for various activities. This can be tricky when little kids are involved!

In conjunction with my shoe shelf that I posted about here, the strategic sock drawer definitely helps makes things run a little smoother for us. Now in the summer this isn't an issue because the kids are wearing Crocs or sandals without socks, but for the school year when more socks are needed, this drawer is a time saver!

The sock drawer is located downstairs in the living room and holds all three of the kids' socks. This way they don't have to run back upstairs for shoes or socks and we can get out of the house in a hurry! Also, it is low enough that they can reach the drawer and handle their own socks in the morning.

And feel free to admire my drawer dividers -- most of them are repurposed shoe boxes!

Find more tips at We are THAT Family.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Holding My Hand

My toddler has reached the point where more than half the time he walks with me through parking lots rather than being carried. It works fine, and saves me from lugging his 30 pound self around on my hip, as long as he holds my hand.

But sometimes, he tugs his little hand out of mine, refusing the hand holding.

I remember well, this phase with my firstborn child. He loved to walk on his own and the freedom of not being carried. When he tried to push the independence too far and wanted to walk by himself through the parking lot, I would say, “You need to hold my hand.” At that point he would clasp his two chubby toddler hands behind his back and say, “I’m holding
my hand.”

In his toddler mind he was holding his own hand and thus didn’t need to hold mine.

Although he was indeed holding his own hand, I knew that wasn’t good enough to protect him from cars or keep him from stumbling over the speed bump, so I’d lean down and say, “Walk and hold my hand or be carried.”

Many times I had to follow through on the carrying part when he balked again at holding my hand. He is that strong-willed child always testing to see if you’re really serious about the consequence. But his desire to walk rather than have to be carried was great enough that he eventually would hold my hand.

I didn’t go through this phase with my 2nd child. She was quite the opposite and wanted to be carried everywhere as a toddler. The issue with her was getting her to walk on her own.

But, now I am again tackling the hand-holding-battle with my 3rd child. Thankfully he is not as strong-willed as his brother and usually agrees to the hand holding at the first, “You need to hold my hand" command.

But still, I am saying that phrase a bunch these days.

And so during my quiet time when this verse jumped out at me I couldn't help but be captivated by it:
Psalm 37:23-24, “The steps of a man are established by the Lord; and He delights in his way. When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong; Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.”
Man am I ever thankful that the Lord is holding my hand! Because holding my own hand sure wouldn't cut it!

Find more Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers & Tackle It Tuesday at 5 Minutes for Mom