Friday, February 26, 2010

Show Us Your Life-Collections

Funny that after posting a verse about silence, I write two more posts!

Today over at Kelly's Korner, it's Show Us Your Life Friday. And it's all about collections. I've never been a big collector of anything. Nothing like the girl in my third grade class who had EVERY plastic charm they made for her charm necklace. Of course, she was quite the accessories girl at 9 years old. She made her own glitter bracelets.

Back when I was working at the church, Big Dan and I had the wonderful opportunity to lead a team each year to the Central Europe Missionary's Conference. While the moms and dads were having worship and bible study, we were hanging with their kids. It was amazing. I have a big soft spot for those missionary kids.

Since we traveled to the same spot each year, I decided I needed to be thoughtful in the purchase of souvenirs. You know how it is, you're there and it seems like a good idea, and then you get home and you think, "Why on earth did I buy this?" This is how I decided to start collecting tea sets. In the shopping district in Budapest there is an amazing pottery shop. It is where I bought my very first tea set.

Another year, I had the opportunity to travel to Germany with some friends who were considering a long term move there. They are now missionaries in Berlin. While there, we visited a thrift shop where I found an authentic Russian tea set for around $10!!

(I have a slight issue with brown/nature colors in case you haven't noticed!)

Big Dan and I love to travel. In fact, it is probably our favorite thing to do together. It's not exactly a cheap hobby. Maybe we need to try and make something like playing cards our favorite hobby. We've had the chance to see lots of places together and by far our favorite is the Dominican Republic. On our second trip there I finally found a tea pot.

These are just a few of the tea sets that sit atop my cabinets. My collecting has slowed down considerably since the kiddos came on the scene. I'm excited about future trips and future tea sets!

Big Dan and I also started collecting a Christmas ornament from every place we travel to. This has been so much fun. Every year, when we put up our tree we have such a great time reminiscing about all the fun times we've had together. My goal is to have a separate tree just for our travel ornaments. Given our history with Christmas trees, however, this might be a bit too ambitious!

The Sleep Training Saga

Remember when I was potty training Drew and I posted about all the little details? Remember how riveting it was?? No???


Well, then you're sure to love the chronicling of "teach the baby to sleep in her bed without a swaddle".

Emily and I are at a crossroads. It is a crossroads of wills. My will for her to sleep, and her will to skip it all together. Things have been humming along nicely during the days, mostly because she has been swaddled and sleeping in her swing. I swore I was going to let her sleep in there until her feet dragged the ground. And then we started having the night time issue. The night time issue involves her wriggling completely out of her Miracle Blanket (aka baby straight jacket) and sometimes even pulling her arms out of her pajamas. She is moving too much to continue to keep her swaddled. And so, we begin the swaddle wean.

It's really fun. And let me just say, I know sleep training is controversial. Probably each of you eight has their own opinion about it. I'm ok with you having a different opinion than me. But at my house, we sleep train. That's just how we roll up in here. And I promise I will not use any more hip-hop jargon. Oh, who am I kidding. Sure I will.

I use a method called, "I just made it up with Drew" that is basically a mish mash of all the different theories mixed in with whatever I can handle on that particular day. We are starting with one nap, no swaddle, no swing.

When I first put her down, she went right to sleep and I walked away patting myself on the back. And then thirty minutes later (NOT a full nap) she woke up and we've been at it ever since. Poor girl. She looks at me like, "Mama, what's gotten into you?"

She'll thank me one day. Like when she's up all night with her baby who won't sleep and I say, "Try sleep training. I did it with you and look how fabulous you turned out!"

Well, then.

A few weeks ago I was reading in Exodus and there was this verse that, seriously, jumped right off the page. If my life were a cartoon it would have had blinking lights and arrows all around it. Listen, I try to be really careful about going "fishing" for verses-just pulling a verse out of context and trying to make it fit my life. But, sometimes, you just know the Lord is trying to speak. And this was one of those times.

"The Lord will fight for you, while you keep silent." Exodus 14:14

Or, if you're like me and need a really blunt word of truth, here it is from The Message:

"God will fight the battle for you.
And you? You keep your mouths shut!"

Silence is not my gift. Apparently, I need to be working on it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ooh La La

Remember that time that my whole family was here and we got locked out of the house? And, then we had to beg Lyla to crawl through the dog door? And I promised to take her to get her nails painted? Yeah, that was almost a year ago, but I finally got around to it!! Lyla and I visited a little spot called "Dudes and Divas" (not kidding that is the name) and she had her first fancy manicure. SO much opinion about this place. But, I'll save it for it's own post. I won't ruin the Lyla story with all my soap boxin'. I must also say that I don't have one single picture of Lyla actually looking at the camera. I can't really blame her though. It looked like the sequins store threw-up in there, so there was a lot to look at.

Here is Lyla just after choosing her polish. You can see it gripped tightly in her hand. It took her about .25 seconds to choose pink. Thankyouverymuch.

Here is Lyla sitting in the Butterfly pedicure chair. We were quickly ushered out of the Butterfly pedicure chair, because apparently you have to RESERVE it. To which I stuck out my tongue and blew raspberries. Just kidding.

Finally, it was our turn to get some polish. Lyla hopped right up in the chair and put her hands up on the table like an old pro. Some girls just come by a manicure naturally, you know? She was even more thrilled when she got to sit on a silver glittery booster seat. Plenty of glitter going on. She is keeping close tabs on the little girl next to her.

Lyla was SO sweet and it was such a treat to spend time with just her. She was a little shy to me at first!! SHY! To me! I mean, how can you be shy to me when you've been sitting in my kitchen looking like this:

But, Katy and I talked and it's never been just Lyla and I before. Not to mention it has been almost A YEAR (!!!) since she was staying with me. I made her a CD of all the songs we used to dance to when she was staying here and found a special book for her called "Lyla the Lovesick Ladybug". Can you believe there is a book called that?? She got to pick out a ring (not nearly the spectacular bling she picked out Saturday at the Aquarium...) and a sucker. We met her mommy for lunch (which I'm pretty sure was her favorite part) and got some tiny pink cakes at the Fresh Market. It was so fun for me to spoil her! On the way home, she could barely keep her eyes open. And in kid world, that means a great time was had by all.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

In Which I Share My Heart

WARNING! I always like to warn you when my blog is going to take a turn for the serious. Consider yourselves warned. Also, you might be offended by what I have to say. I'm totally ok with that. We can talk about it if you want to. Or not. You know, whatever.

One of my very favorite sermons ever was given by Andy Stanley, who I have a complete preacher crush on. And by preacher crush, I mean, I wish he was my preacher. Not an actual crush. Just clearing that up. Anyway, I heard him speak at the Catalyst conference several years ago. For me, the Catalyst conference was sort of weird and surreal. It was targeted to a "post-modern" audience. I have never been trendy enough to appreciate "post-modern" targeted things. Like secular songs in a worship service. Just sayin'. Ok, seriously, to the point. Stanley's sermon came on the heels of a talk by John Eldredge. If you know anything about John Eldredge, you know he is super into BIG ADVENTURES and the adventuresome nature of God. All true. Can be inspiring stuff. But Andy Stanley gave this amazing talk about following God and glorifying God when your big adventure of the day is taking out the trash.

There seems to be a lot of movement in the Christian community these days around big gestures and big leaps of faith in our relationship with God. I have had a lot of those times in my life. Mind blowing, jaw dropping moments when the Lord is glorified in my life in a big way. Lately, though, I've been feeling a little "Crazy Love" angst. And by that I mean, I read the book "Crazy Love" and started thinking, "I'd better get busy finding my big crazy act of love." And then I told myself to shut up because I know better. We aren't supposed to go out looking for some sort of giant thing to do "for" God. I hearkened back to good old "Experiencing God" and the tenet: Find where God is at work and join Him there. God is the initiator of His own glory. Mind blowing, huh? My job is to open my heart and my ears and follow God when He calls, wherever He calls.

In all honesty, I've felt a little side lined lately. Benched, so to speak. There was a time in my life when I felt extremely used by God. And, being candid again, He has seemed very quiet in regards to my service to Him. I've been a little complainy about it during my prayer time. So, tonight He spoke to me as only He can as I watched formula dribble down my baby daughter's chin.

It isn't about the gesture. It isn't about the act. It is about His glory. His glory in the mundane. His glory in the everyday. Of course I will raise my hands to praise Him when a soul is saved, a child rescued, the hurting healed. But will I raise my hands to praise Him when the puke runs down my back and I'm playing super heroes for the 15th time in a day? When life gets hard, when sleep is scant, when my husband and I pass like two ships in the night, will I praise Him? My heart and my holiness are his goal. And here's the thing. There are lots of ways for the Lord to get us where he wants us to be. Right now, for me, being a bench warmer is about a lot more than just my taking a rest.

So I'm laying down my quest for "the thing" I'm supposed to be doing. The Lord knows where we're headed. There is purpose in this season. He is no less pleased with me now that my days are filled with dishes and laundry. And I should do each of those things with as much commitment as when my days were filled with children's ministry.

I dreamed of being a wife and a mom. Funny how I got all uncomfortable, thinking it wasn't "enough". Like I said, I know better.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Not Me! Monday

It's just barely Monday. This would be indicative of my life as a whole. Juuuuust squeaking by! We had a week, therefore, I have a few things to confess. For more Mommy confessions, head on over to MckMama's place.

I did not, in a complete remedial Mom move, fail to deliver Drew's valentine's/treats to his class last Thursday. I did not debate this issue for approximately 7 hours in my mind two days in a row, wondering what would happen since school was out on Tuesday for snow. I did not think of sending a note to each child's parent explaining my really good intentions. I wouldn't need to do that, because I'm an all-star mom. Definitely not the only mom who made the wrong choice in not sending treats. Awesome.

I also did not lie to my child about Valentine candy. After my teacher friend showed up here last night bringing all manner of candy from her classroom party, Drew was foaming at the mouth. I definitely did not throw all the candy away after he went to bed last night and then tell him I had no idea what happened to it. I wouldn't do that. It's dishonest. I would not lie to my child.

Last, but assuredly not least, I did not let my child "earn back" his t.v. privileges tonight just because his Dad was working late. I would not have pretty much taken any opportunity to say, "Oh, great job _________ you earned your t.v. back!" That would be lazy and soft. I can totally handle two kids during the worst time of day on my own without the help of Caillou. Really.

It's SNOWING again. There's a dusting on the road, so I'm sure school will be out tomorrow. Good thing we're shelling out for preschool every month.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Desperately Seeking a "Chill Pill"

I've mentioned my type A tendencies. And like any person with a serious problem, some days are better than others. Today was not a proud day.

I remember when I signed Drew up for play school I imagined all the leisure time I would have for cleaning and cooking and shopping. Somehow, though, the days he is in school, I'm like the mad hatter. Don't ask me why getting to play school on time is such a huge deal to me. Because, heaven knows what might happen if he were a few minutes late. He might not get to put stickers on his white lunch sack (aka Valentine's treat bag). I always leave the house like we are on a major mission. It's ridiculous, I know, but that gives you a little back story. And we all know you were clamoring for back story. Moving on.

My near nervous breakdown began this morning at the remedial Starbucks near my house. I don't know if they have "starter" Starbucks, where they put all the new people, but if they do, this is one of them. SERIOUSLY. How long does it really take to make a few lattes? Three times in the last month I have bailed out of the infernally slow Starbucks line and gone to McDonald's where my coffee was served in mere seconds for 1/3 the cost. But I love a skinny Vanilla Latte. And sometimes you get trapped in line. Like today. When I finally got to the order box the voice in the box said, "I'll be with you in a minute..." Blowing a gasket seemed very likely at this point. WE HAVE TO GET TO PLAY SCHOOL ON TIME, LADY!! You know those little talky boxes have a camera in them, don't you? They can see you when you roll your eyes at them or flip them off. I did neither today, but I did lay my head down on my steering wheel in despair. "Please suh, just a skinny vanilla latte..." My son says from the backseat, "Mommy, you need to have more patience."

We then proceeded to get stopped by every single red light in my part of town. Which, for being such a small part of town has a ridiculously high number of red lights. We finally made it to school, and whew, Drew did not miss out on making his treat bag. But the clock was still ticking. I HAD to be home by 10 a.m. to give Emily her medicine. HAD TO, you hear me?? Great and colossal bad things might occur if she doesn't get her medicine RIGHT ON TIME.

While the clock ticked, I made my way to the fellowship hall for preschool registration for next fall. Registration opened at "9:00" and somehow I was still 37th in line. THIRTY SEVENTH. I was ready to kill every single parent and child in the room. Especially the little crusty nosed boy who kept trying to touch my baby. I'm not sure what exactly is hard about taking a number and then making your way to the table when they call your number. Apparently, it's a real brain buster for some folks.
"27 preschool...27 preschool...27 preschool...??" No one moves. Ok then. "28 preschool..." "Oh wait! Did you call 27??" I think the preschool director should have been more like the soup nazi. You snooze you lose, 27.

Believe it or not, I had my skinny vanilla latte, Drew made his treat bag, we were not wait listed at school and Emily got her medicine on time.

Good thing, too. I would hate to have to take responsibility for the apocalypse.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Outrage (and an update)

Today I finished reading a book I have been working on for a year. Ok, not really. I did start reading the book last January when Daniel and I were in the Dominican. Remember? I scarfed up all three of my books and was ready to steal his when just like that, the first 19 chapters fell out of his book. The book is called "Winds of War" by Herman Wouk and it is, seriously, a great book. But, it is dense. It tells the story of an American military family during the events leading up to the entry of the U.S. into World War 2. (I feel like I should have written World War II. Are you supposed to roman numeral the World Wars?) It is 896 pages long. And interspersed throughout the book is a lot of war analysis. Believe it or not, I'm not super savvy in the subjects of 1) world history, or 2) military ops.

So. As I was saying. I finished the book today only to discover that it is the first in a set. THERE IS ANOTHER BOOK!!! It is 1026 pages long and there is NO WAY I can not read this book. I'm invested, dang it. I have to know what happens to Pug, and especially to Natalie and her baby. Seriously. And now I know what I'm getting myself into. I'm going to have to read some quicker books first. Or else these two may be the only books I read this year!!!

As for the rest of my resolutions, they are coming along at about a B- pace. I'm not quite as proud of myself as President Obama. I have worn a lot of dresses. I still keep forgetting to wear lipstick. Of course, with Emily having a cold for two weeks I was barely getting the hair in a ponytail.

I have cooked some new recipes. One was particularly good and very easy. It was basically just boneless/skinless chicken breasts, pounded flat and stuffed with frozen spinach artichoke dip (still frozen) and baked. It was delicious, especially if you like spinach artichoke dip. Extra bonus points for getting my son to eat spinach! I also had a "thrown together from junk I had" chicken parmesean dish that went over great. The whole couponing madness sets you up well for having random items on hand and being able to throw them together in a pinch. A pinch being getting all the ingredients out to make pork chops and realizing your chops are bad. Stupid chops. We were in a race all week. I lost.

I've been keeping up with my "read through the Bible in a year" pretty well. It's tough because you cover a lot of ground in just one day. As I've mentioned I'm a ruminator. But, at this stage of my life I don't have seven hours in a day to study maps and original languages and cross references. So, I'm just happy to get three chapters read.

After the big snow last week I was feeling pretty good about the way I've handled this winter. And then, two days ago it started snowing again. I threw up a little in my mouth. I am officially over it. Which, making it all the way to February 10th before having my "Winter, I hate you" meltdown is progress.

I'm thinking of investing in a sun lamp.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

4 months old!

A few days late, as usual, but Emily is 4 months old!! She had her 4 month check-up today, so I waited to post so I could include her current stats.

Emily, at four months:

*You weigh 13 lbs. and 13 oz. Dr. Betts said he hopes 13 isn't an unlucky number for you!! Maybe you'll just gain an ounce right quick and we won't have to worry about it. Or, we could just not be superstitious. Either way.

*You are 24.75 inches long

*You have definitely outgrown your 0-3 month clothes, but you barely fit in 3-6 months. I have two 0-3 month gowns that I'm sentimental about-I keep putting them on you. I guess I'll quit when they fit like a mini dress!

*We have weathered your first cold. It was not too bad. You didn't even run a fever. I did learn that you like to eat to feel better (no idea where you'd get that...) It took me a while to catch on since Drew usually refused to eat when he was feeling bad.

*You are eating 8 oz. in your bottle. You eat the first 5 or 6 like a champ and like to hang around a while before finishing the rest. You have better things to do. Like gnaw your fingers until they are raw.

*You love to sit in your Bumbo seat-especially up on the table (shhhh! don't tell!) while the rest of us eat dinner. You want to be in the center of the action, always.

*You are one of those babies who makes people feel good about themselves. You have such easy smiles and laughs.

*You still babble up a storm and have started making the "ma-ma-ma" sound. I swear! You can ask Drew. He's heard it.

*You are still not sleeping through the night and let me just say I have tried every trick in the book. So, I'm on a break and I'm just letting you wake up whenever you feel like it. I did get six hours of sleep IN A ROW two nights ago. So, thanks for that!

*We are still having some troubles with your stomach, although at this point I'd consider them mild. We are going to be trialing the Prevacid OTC to see if we can't get it under control a little better. 4-6 months is usually reflux hell, so if we can get you feeling good, I'll be so happy.

*You love, love to be snuggled. I hope this never, ever goes away. I spend a lot of time holding you because you just nestle in so good.

We love you so much baby sis! It is so much fun to see you learning and growing!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Yep. That's plural. Been quite a night around here. Not to be outdone by the princess of puke, who is getting quite good at aiming down my shirt, Drew was in rare form.

We had a little dance party after dinner tonight. We tend to do things like this when Daddy is working late. It helps pump me up for the home stretch. You know that hellish period when two kids cry before bed time?

So. We're dancing and the song is giving instructions. We come to the part where it says, "Turn around, turn around, turn around" and Drew says, "I'm just gonna swing my arms instead of going around." And I say, "Why?" And he says, "Because when I spin around I get busy and then fall down."

You go, boy. Get busy on the dance floor!

Later, he popped up on the couch and shouted, (in a panicky voice) "Mommy, where are my eyebrows?" I was struck dumb for just a moment. When I gathered my wits I said a profound, "Wha?'

Drew: "My eyebrows, mommy, where are they?"

So, I walk over and feel his eyebrows. "Right here."

Drew: "WHERE??"

Me: "Why don't you go in the bathroom and look in the mirror at them?"

Drew: "Ok."

Emerging a few seconds later he says, "Whew. Thank goodness. I thought I lost them."

And again I say, "Wha???"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sled? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Sled!

Well. You're welcome.

For the Blizzard of 2010, I mean. I'm pretty sure it was this statement: "Spring is coming. I can smell it" that set off the freak set of circumstances resulting in near 10 inches of snow. In Nashville. Where snow never accumulates. Again, you're welcome.

You should have seen my snide smile when I woke up on Friday morning. School had already been cancelled and once again it was dry as a bone. I had visions of the dusting we had only a few weeks before. You know when my son could barely scrape together a snowball and making a snow angel got mud on his clothes? I wasn't even alarmed when it started snowing big beautiful flakes at 9:30 on Friday morning. However, when it was still snowing at 11 p.m. after I fed the baby and was headed to bed, I was shocked!

The next day we awoke to a flat TON of snow.!!! I must say that some of my favorite childhood memories are snow memories. My parents were fun. Have I ever mentioned that? Like, sometimes, hilariously fun. Combining that with the fact that I'm still 10 on the inside, making some fabulous snow memories was tops on my list. Sadly, the first day did not go according to my imaginings. First, Big Dan's computer crashed. No big surprise there, as it is in our house. His top priority was getting a new computer. Second, we had a birthday party to attend. Don't get me wrong, it was great, but there was SNOW!! So, Drew and I did not get to venture out until after his nap time. Also known as the "crabby hours." Really, he might as well just stay in bed until bedtime.

So, we bundled up (my spirits were buoyed by the fact that my ski bibs still fit. Haven't had them on in a good 10 years...) and headed out. Drew's number one wish was to make a snow man. It was tough that first day because the snow was really powdery and it was hidden under a layer of ice. But, dang it, if he wanted a snowman, I was gonna work to get him a snowman. He lost patience after around 5 minutes and insisted we start decorating. So, without further adieu, I give you, Mr. Snow Lump:

Yep. All we got was a small mound on the ground. But Drew was sure proud of it!!

After that, Drew was done in. It was too cold to play in the snow. He would come back out when it was warmer. Yeah. Bad news about that...

Day 2 of the blizzard proved to be the big winner. I got out with Drew before nap time and we had a blast. We traipsed around in the woods and walked down to the creek. It was particularly fun to chuck big chunks of ice in the creek. Apparently. Then we ventured over to our little neighborhood playground. I suggested we run up the hill and swing together on the porch swing. When we got to the top of the hill, Drew looked at me and said, "Let's roll down the hill!" So, we did! I'm pretty sure I was quite a site rolling down that hill as a grown woman, but man was it fun! We were laughing so hard we could barely breathe. I think Drew was shocked that I actually did it. I did have to close my eyes. My equilibrium ain't what it used to be and I was feeling a little woozy. We trekked back home and Drew headed to sleep.

In the meantime, I could not let it go. I wanted to sled so dang bad and there was not a sled in town to be had. Trust me. I checked. But I was a woman obsessed. Hell bent, you might say. So, after nap, I loaded up Drew, a laundry basket, a yoga mat, and a cookie sheet, and back to the hill we went. The clear winner was the cookie sheet!

And, yep, Mama got on that cookie sheet a time or two herself and flew down the hill. Pretty sure I almost broke a hip, but it was well worth it. Drew was a wild animal. All his inhibition flew out the window and he catapulted himself down that hill over and over.

In honor of our redneck sledding adventure, I let Drew help me drive home a la Britney Spears.