Friday, January 29, 2010

Help a Family and Receive an Amazing Lot of Resources

Pin It I've been following the Estes' blog for a while now, through the health issues they've had with their son, Noah. A group of their friends has put together a fabulous fundraiser for them.

There is a ton of stuff here for a pretty small donation amount. I won't put all the details here, just click over and read all about it.

This ends today (Friday) at midnight, so act quickly!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

So long to "Persect"

Pin It I just love the "learning to talk" phase. For the longest time, Brendan has substituted s for f and z for v.

We watched mozies. His hair was poosy. Good days were persect. My personal favorite word was zelzet. He lozed his mama.

It was cute. I loved it.

Then that rotten older sister stepped in. I'd hear them at night. She'd say "VelVet" and he'd say "ZelZet." And I'd giggle. It was very sweet, and even sweeter that he really thought he was saying it correctly.

Then it happened.

He came in and triumphantly said "PERFECT!" And now we watch movies and his hair is poofy and he loves me. Funny how when they get it right, that's it. No more persect around here.

Why must he be growing up so quickly?

(He does at least still mix up his prepositions. I still buy things to him and give things from him. And I'm not pointing that out to older sister ... for a couple of months anyway, when the cuteness of going for the store starts to wear off!)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

First Day Report

Pin It We survived our first day back to school.

It really wasn't awful, despite making one child redo her math, and the other child do the dreaded copy work. The "suggestion" that the math be redone was met with a sigh but no other complaints. The fifteen minutes of copy work was *crammed* into about two hours, but it got done neatly too. All in all, we were praising the Lord for a good day that went much more smoothly than we expected.

And now it's Tuesday.

Pause with me for a brief, happy sigh.

Tuesday is my favorite day of the week! Brendan has Mother's Day Out, and the girls are less distracted. Then in the evening, they have dance, so I get to hang out with just Brendan for a while. :) I love Tuesdays!

And with that said, I need to run and ... ahem ... get the girls out of bed. And make Brendan's lunch. I should probably get dressed too. ;)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Not Me Monday

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Well, after dumping my heart out last night, I think I need a little "not me-ing" today.

It is not 8:00 am. I am not the only one up. We do not have a busy day of "back to school" and I have not made the choice to just let them sleep because I am not enjoying the quiet in the house so very much. (Funny, as I typed that, Brendan just popped in here and told me to get up because the sun's up!)

I have not gotten completely lazy on the meal planning around here the last few weeks. Well, not only the meal planning, but the meal cooking as well. We didn't eat out WAY too much while Jim was here, and when we didn't eat out, I certainly didn't pass a fair amount of the cooking off to him. I didn't *gain* a lot from this leave experience and all of the eating out either. I worked way too hard to lose some weight to get completely sidetracked by fondue. Nope, not me. Let's just hope that meal ideas kind of just pop out at me, because a big trip to the grocery store does not appeal to me so much.

Speaking of grocery stores ... I didn't decide that I needed a day off yesterday and stay home from church while sending two of the three kids with a friend. I didn't take the third child and make a quick trip to the grocery store during church. Nope, not me. And if I had done this, I wouldn't have grabbed the one thing we needed (milk) and impulsively buy a bunch of other stuff that all put together would not make a meal. (That's my nice way of saying I certainly would not have bought a bunch of junk food.)

I'm not sitting here staring at a pile of laundry and various other things that need to be put away and feeling a nudge to get up and get moving, nor am I fighting that nudge with everything that is in me. That nudge has not enlisted the four year old to get me moving, and the four year old is not threatening to bring the gallon of milk into my bedroom so that I can make his ritual chocolate milk. (Oh - I'll bet most of you don't know of my milk aversion and the very thought of having a gallon of milk brought into my bedroom is nearly about giving me hives, and FORCING, yes FORCING me to get out of bed and make the chocolate milk.)

I hope you all have a fabulous Monday!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Back to life, back to reality

Pin It Yep, it's time. The children have now had three weeks off of school, and I'm a little stressed about that. We had a mostly good visit with Jim, but he's gone again and it's time to get back into a normal routine. How much fun is this going to be?

Here's the thing though. I don't want to. I'm sitting here alone in my house while the kids are at awanas. This is when I usually do lesson plans. All of the stuff is in front of me to do so. It's not hard, either. All I'm aiming for is finishing up plans for January, which, if I'm looking at my calendar correctly is ONE WEEK. Five days. I don't want to do it. It'll get done though, because as much as I don't want to do it, the very thought of lazy kids watching TV is even less appealing to me.

I'm feeling a little over-responsible. It's been nice to just kind of play around the last few weeks, and I heard a few comments on how well the kids got along and all. Well of course they did. They had no responsibilities, nothing to do but play and be entertained the entire time. Essentially they were on vacation. I'm kind of wishing we had done SOME work while he was here. For one thing, he didn't get an accurate picture of real life around here, and another, for both them and me, a certain amount of laziness has taken hold, and we have found that we like it, and would like some more of it, please.

More of it is not going to happen, though. At least I have taken today basically "off" to kind of relax. Yesterday we dropped Jim off and then I took Madelyn to her Upwards game. This was a colossal error in judgment on my part and I ended up leaving before her game even started. (Sorry, sweetheart, you made two baskets and I missed them. Mommy was a bit of a basket case herself though, and needed to be at home for a while.) I've got one child who is having a hard time, and cried and cried and cried last night. In trying to comfort and get this child to sleep, I got an email that Jim had arrived in Germany, and flew first class over there.

Okay, may I be a little TOO honest here? (I know what you're thinking ... that's never been a problem before, why should it be now?)

It made me a little resentful. He has a nice, comfortable flight, and I'm exhausted and cleaning up the mess he made, and being careful to appropriately answer "but why did he leave us, mommy?" questions to his child, who is hurting. Would I ever choose to do what he's doing? Never. I know it's tough, and I would always prefer to be with the kids, even when they're crying and trying to understand, and I'm tip-toeing around to make them understand what I don't understand myself. I know that his job over there is tough and important, please don't think I'm minimizing that. I'm sure he would choose to be with them too if he could, except that he didn't.

Maybe I just need a good night's sleep. Things the army doesn't tell you #52: If you are out of your house for eight months, chances are great that your wife will not be able to sleep in the bed with you when you get back. The kids have been in and out of the bed on a regular basis while Jim's been gone, but ... um ... they're little, and they don't snore. ;)

I'm really rocking the "seeking contentment" right now, aren't I? I'm full of whininess and complaining, and evidently, I don't care who knows it. I'm questioning whether the whole two week leave is a good thing or not - even though we DID have a good time, and he loved visiting with us and I'm sure needed the break, I'm not questioning that at all - it's just the going away again part is tougher than I thought it was going to be, and the thought of "it's just two months!" is not really so much comforting right now. I would like to hide under the covers for a few days, but I suspect that isn't really an option. (Although ... hm ... Gabbi has some pretty fine pancake making skillz, so at least the kids could have their carbs in without me ...)

I'll get it together, and it will happen sooner rather than later. Actually just typing this out helps somehow or other. For one thing, many of you will pray for me, and I know how that helps. :) Another thing, there's a certain amount of accountability for just putting it out there.

And please don't send me hate mail telling me that I'm not being respectful to my husband! He reads this and will tell me so himself if he feels this way. This is a really weird place we're in, and selfish though it may be, if typing this out helps me to deal with it, then so be it.

And with that said ... a teensy bit of motivation has come my way, so I'm going to make some lesson plans for the rest of the month. Five days, right?

editing to add -- lesson plans are done. Tomorrow and the rest of the week will go much more smoothly because of that.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Galveston trip, 1/12/10

Pin It It was a beautiful day yesterday, so we took advantage of one of Jim's last days here and went to Galveston.

The kids very much wanted to go to the beach.
Mom: You may take your shoes off and roll your pants up, but DO NOT get in the water.
Kids: Oh, Mother Dear, we are obedient children and would never dream of getting in the water!

Kids: Maybe we could just put our toes in the water? Since we're barefoot and all, you know.
Mom: DO NOT GET WET. It is JANUARY, and it was freezing last week, so the water is cold. DO NOT GET WET.

Kids: Hey, Mom? Could we just tiptoe through the water just a teensy bit, so we can get up on that rock, and you could take a fabulous picture, complete with fake smiles? Please, Mother Dear!

Uh oh.

Look, Mom! Be distracted by me! Pay no attention to the small children frolicking in the water!

Mom: I'm so thankful that I know my children well and packed a change of clothes for every little body!

Then on the way home, we stopped in High Island and let the kids search for shells, and to let the mosquitos feed on us.

I love this picture:

And once again, we have to wonder if the mom was present on this trip. She must have been, everyone has fresh, dry clothes on.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

We Are Supa Freaks

Pin It Oh yes we are. A whole family of super freaks.

There's the littlest one who has a freakishly large bladder. (and I am IN NO WAY complaining about this!) Then there's the middle one with the freakishly high pitched voice. If something should ever happen to Alvin, Simon, or Theodore, I know an excellent replacement. Seriously.

The oldest and the father have their freakish abilities as well, but out of fear of retribution, I'm choosing to leave those off of this post.

Then there's me. My freakish ability? I'm glad you asked. I have freakishly excellent bionic hearing, especially after 10 pm. I also have a freakishly low noise tolerance. In case you were wondering, this is not really an excellent combination.

Last night, while in my room, I could hear one cat eating her food (from across the house), the other cat purring (she was actually in the bed with me), the dog breathing, a pine needle or two fell from the trees in the front, a couple of ants carried some of Pepper's food away, I believe there was a frog on the driveway ... and that's not even mentioning any noises any other person who lives here might have been making. We had to get rid of the fish a few years ago; they were WAY too loud!

I know totally where the low noise tolerance comes from, and I know he reads this blog. Genetics. And I'll leave it at that. ;) Some friends and I were talking about Bill Cosby's bit about parents really not being interested in justice, they were just interested in quiet. Oh my. I am that parent. "I don't care if she hit you with a baseball bat. You looked at her funny and now she's screaming, and she's a lot louder than you are, so you're in trouble!!" And I'm also the "I don't care if you can breathe or not; just be quiet!" person. (hm, I should probably never be asked to accompany kids to camp or anything like that. I'm just sayin'.)

And with all of that said, I hear Brendan stirring around, and I hear girls NOT stirring around, and it's time to start our day.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Pin It editing ... I've been in a dilemma since I posted this. I do think the raffle is a great idea, but something about giving with the idea of getting something in return is unsettling to me in the face of all the images I'm seeing. But then again, the prizes for the raffle are donated, and the causes being supported are the same causes that I would want money to go to anyway. Like I said, dilemma. It really doesn't matter to me if people donate to a raffle or donate just to give, just please donate. (And I have to say that I'm delighted that Drama Queen commented on my blog! I love hers! She's a volunteer with the American Red Cross; so her blog would probably be a good way to keep in touch with needs as they are and ways to help.)

I found this today and thought I'd share. You can click on the button to go to the site.

It's a raffle with lots of fabulous prizes, to raise money that will to the American Red Cross and

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Poor Neglected Blog!

Pin It We have been so crazy busy since Jim got home! Seriously -

He got here Thursday afternoon.

Friday we (finally) had our Christmas.

Saturday we went to visit my parents and had a "shower" for my three nephews.

Sunday we had church festivities, including a luncheon, and then Jim and I went to dinner after the kids went to AWANAS.

Monday we had co-op and then spent the afternoon lazing around after the busy few days. Madelyn had basketball Monday evening, then we went to a sweet friend's for dinner.

Tuesday Brendan had MDO, the girls had dance, and Madelyn and I went to get her flower girl dress. We met friends for lunch then watched movies while the girls were at dance.

Wednesday (today) we have been truly lazy. Like I took a shower and just left my hair as it fell lazy. Jim, Gabbi, and Brendan will be going to church tonight, while I sit home and watch American Idol and take care of sick Madelyn. (Yes, she's sick again. Poor thing. I suspect a doctor visit will be in her future.)

Tomorrow Brendan goes to MDO again, the dog goes to the vet, the girls (probably just GIRL) has choir. Grocery shopping must happen too.

Friday, if everyone is well, we're going to meet some friends in Houston for ice skating and La Madeleine.

Saturday is Mad's first basketball game and we have friends coming over for dinner.

Thankfully next week should be a leeeetttle bit slower. Or maybe not. We're hoping for a pretty day to go to the beach, and Jim and I are planning to have a real date. I think that's it on the list, before Jim goes back on Saturday.

Wow, no wonder I'm too tired to blog.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mommy Guilt - homeschooling

Pin It I just have a brief addendum to my mommy guilt post from the other day. A significant portion of the guilt I deal with revolves around our homeschooling. I made a video of our typical day and thought I would share it with you. If this were your typical day, would you feel some mommy guilt?

And for those of you who know me and are wondering why you never knew I had two additional kids and another one on the way ... well, I feel guilty about that too. :-P

Okay, CLEARLY this is not me, but it was too funny not to share!

In completely unrelated matters, Jim is home on leave now. The blogging might be scarce for the next couple of weeks. Or maybe not. I usually just blog as the mood strikes anyway, so who really knows. I do want to continue the mommy guilt topic though; I'm really still sorting through my thoughts on it. I see that this is going to be one of the ways the Lord is working on me in 2010!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Can We Talk About Mommy Guilt?

Pin It As an FYI, I don't really know where I'm going with this post. Just kind of typing out thoughts that are in my head.

Mommy guilt. Who deals with it? Does any mom NOT deal with it? Really?

It starts EARLY. I wasn't really bothered by having a scheduled c-section with my very first child. Then someone mentioned that I should have at least tried to avoid a c/s; that it would have been better for the baby. Guilt.

How to feed her, where to put her for sleep, put her on a schedule, let her cry it out, sippy cups, sweets ... and that's just for the baby days!

Then it's time out, telling them no, let them go to McDonald's, drink juice, drink milk, cleaning up after themselves ... toddler years covered.

Play makeup, did you read enough to them, did they have a vegetable with every meal, do they clean up after themselves, do they make their bed, are they learning their abc's and 123's, do they watch TV, and what about the carseat ... preschool years ... check.

Then it gets REALLY difficult. (As my friend Di used to say - little kids, little problems, big problems. Amen, sister.)

The thing is - where is all the guilt coming from? I mean, yes of course, if we live on McDonald's and TV, that's not good and there should be some healthy mommy guilt from that. But the other stuff? Is it really going to matter if I've decided that I don't care if my 11 year old wears mascara? Is it going to matter that we have leftover pizza and have had it for all three meals today, so unless we REALLY reach and count tomato sauce as a vegetable, we're veggie free today?

Do I have such a vision of perfection that every single thing I do that doesn't meet that vision is going to induce guilt? I can say all day long that "His grace is sufficient for me" but if I'm feeling guilty for buying white bread rather than wheat simply because I don't want to listen to kids complain, how do I make trusting in that grace REAL in my life?

What I want to know is how do I decide that I AM content with who I am and the choices I've made? And even if those choices are wrong wrong wrong, His grace is sufficient, and His forgiveness is real.

I'm just guessing that the Lord does not want me to be so crippled with guilt and afraid that I'm going to do the wrong thing that I'm almost incapable of doing anything. I seem to remember several verses about FREEDOM, which I desperately need. He came to set us FREE, to keep us out of the ruts we get into trying to cross every "t" and dot every "i" just perfectly, and the fear that if I don't do it exactly right, then I'm not good enough. The laws we set for ourselves and the guilt we carry around when we break those laws ... a whole lot of which don't even matter.

A friend told me last night that I needed to give myself permission to let go of the "I'm not good enough" and the "I'm not doing this correctly" and just be me. I suspect that if I can figure out how to do that, I'll be the ME that the Lord created me to be. I just need to figure out how to do it.

It's a hard line to walk though, because I don't want to use freedom as an excuse for laziness, ugliness, obnoxiousness. I never want to be a stumbling block to someone else. There has to be a way to do the things I know that need to be done, to extend grace to myself when I don't, to not hang on to guilt, and to rejoice and be content in myself. Lord, please help me to find it.

Monday, January 4, 2010

I Heart Faces

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This week, the I Heart Faces photo challenge must have "I Heart Faces" somewhere on the picture. For me, it's an exercise in learning how to use photoshop more than anything else. haha. I thought these two pictures were cute and appropriate for the theme though.

Maybe if another pic scrolls across the screen that looks doable, I'll do another one too, but for now I just have two.

(this is two girls, not just one contortionist ... what happens when girls want to play while mom is trying to take "real" pics!)

"I am submitting this photo into the i heart faces logo contest. By entering I am granting i heart faces LLC permission to consider my photo for use in the marketing and promotion of their website."

I decided to add one more:

Not Me again

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New Year, same ole' me.

I did not undo three months of hard "healthy" work in one month. How is that even possible? How can it take ages and tons of hard work to lose weight and just a few oreos to gain it all back?!? That's totally not fair. Okay, perhaps there were more than just a few. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

In related news though, I am not all sore ... from walking. Nope, not at all. I did a great walk/jog thing with five miles a day regularly until December hit, so there is no way that a brisk half mile walk could possibly make me SORE.

I am not totally irritated with still having Christmas stuff up, including presents that are unopened. We decided to hold Christmas until Jim gets home, which seemed like a good idea at the time. It's not now driving me crazy to have it all there, nor is it really bothering me that I can't get into my closet because the rest of the Christmas stuff is in there. I am not currently considering letting them open a few presents just so that they're out of the way. Nor am I considering just taking some more pics of the tree and sticking them on the wall so I can put the tree up. I was reading on another blog this morning how Christmas builds up and builds up, but then when it's over, it's just plain over. This is so true! Hopefully we just have a day or two left ...

(by the way - I will not be disassembling the tree as my children are opening presents. Nope, not me.)

I'm sure I have some "not me's" for my kids, but since they're rolling out of bed ... at 10:00 am ... I'm going to go try to decide if I should offer them a late breakfast, or make them starve for a little bit to have an early lunch, or come up with something and call it brunch.

Friday, January 1, 2010

It was Five Years Ago Today

Pin It It was five years ago today that I first suspected that this little guy might be on the way.

I think I'll remember it forever.

Jim had to work late New Year's Eve, so I had planned a fun night with the girls. We were going to make English muffin pizzas and brownies, and I had rented The Princess Diaries. We were going to have popcorn, make our dinner, and watch our movie until Jim got home, at which time, we'd put Madelyn to bed (she was just three!) and take Gabbi out to watch fireworks.

We went to lunch on New Year's Eve, all four of us. I even remember where we went - Quizno's! I got some soup and looked at it and thought "I can't eat this!" Almost immediately I started feeling sick. Not morning sickness type sick, SICK type sick. Fever, chills, that sort of thing.

We went home after lunch and Jim went to work. I was planning to have a fun night still; Gabbi was six and knew that New Year's Eve was a special night. I kept feeling worse and worse and finally put the movie in early and camped out on the couch. I remember getting up to make their pizzas and watching the clock to count down the hours ... not until the new year, but until Jim would get home.

By the time he got home, I was probably as sick as I had ever been. Jim tried to get me to go to the ER and I didn't want to. New Year's Eve ... I imagined the ER wasn't a most pleasant place to be. I told him if I wasn't feeling better in the morning, then I'd go. I honestly have no idea what he and the girls did the rest of the night.

The next morning rolled around and I felt worse! Then the thought that I might be pregnant crossed my mind. Then it became a little more than a thought, almost a certainty. It was very early though, too early to test. No way was I going to risk going to the ER and have a doctor not listen to me and give me a medicine that would hurt the baby, that the more I thought about, I was SURE was there.

Thankfully, Dr. G's office was open the day after NYD, and he DID listen to me when I told him I thought it was too early for me to test, but that I also thought I was pregnant. And I was RIGHT!

I don't have "I remember when I first thought I was pregnant with you ..." stories for the girls. A New Year's can't go by without me thinking about Brendan's story though! (And then a few days later, hearing that the Lord had prepared a buddy for him, even from the womb!)

hm ... it was also while recovering from this sickness that Madelyn found the scissors ... and to this day proclaims that "Ms. Micah made me look like a boy!" but that's another story for another day!

Happy New Year, friends!