Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reflections & Resolutions

We're less than two hours from a new year. Brief pause while I screw my head back on straight after the time that just flew by so quickly! I can say with certainty that 2008 was not a boring year in our home. I guess I can't say that any year in the last 5 has been especially boring -- each one has come with a new child, a new home in a new town, a new job, or some combination of the above. :o) We only experienced only one of those this year, so maybe it was more boring than I initially thought. Ha! As I reflect on 2008, feelings of excitement, disappointment, joy, and thankfulness fill my heart!

While I'm not too big on the "resolution" bit, I suppose a new calendar year is a decent fresh starting point to refocus on the priorities of my life.

Of course, I want to continue to sharpen my focus on both my faith and my family.
I want to be more devoted to the time I spend with God every day. I know this impacts every area of my life and is honoring to God.

I also want to refocus on my role as a mother. I want to continue to be a molder, not just a referee, remembering to look toward the end result we desire and not get lost in the minute details of our days. I want to be that interactive, engaged mother who occupies that vision in my head. :o) Throughout the holidays, I've allowed myself to be more distracted and often have found myself feeling like I've wasted a day on things that didn't really matter and not taken the opportunity to really fully enjoy my kids.

As a wife, I want to better provide the support and encouragement that my husband needs to take with him as he faces his daily challenges out in the world (he assures me there is a world out there!) :o) I want to learn how to more effectively show him how much I respect him as a man and that he is my hero. I want to make sure we carve out some time as a husband and wife and not just as parents to this precious brood.

I "resolve" to live my life as a better example to my family. I know that my family learns from watching my actions. I know I need to model healthy lifestyle choices, better anger/frustration management, and consistency. We need to eat out less and eat in more, move more and sit less, breathe deeply more and yell less, smile more and roll our eyes less, read more and watch TV less ... you get the idea!

No "resolution" list would be complete without a goal for losing weight, right? I am back to my pre-baby weight, so why in the world do things feel and look so different?!?! I do want to reduce my body fat percentage and continue to strengthen and tone, and increase my cardio endurance. I am tired of hearing that I look fine for "having had 3 kids." I want to just "look fine." Ha! Seriously, it's not about the vanity issue, but the health issue. I want to be strong and healthy and and know that I'm taking good care of the body God gave me. I feel the best when I'm being consistent in all areas of my health -- exercise daily, eat well, brush/floss regularly, sleep well, drink plenty of water, etc.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Post-Christmas Haze

We're starting to emerge from the fog of too little sleep, too much sugar, and a bad case of the "wannas." It was a whirlwind Christmas but so much fun to watch the kids' excitement and remember what it was like to be a kid at Christmas. Such a magical time!

My dad just couldn't keep from waking the kids up on Christmas morning! They are not to the age yet that they have any sleep problems on Christmas Eve -- it was a struggle to get them awake. Ironic that we used to have to nag and fuss for half an hour to get my dad out of bed on Christmas -- now he's Mr. Chipper. :o) I love it!




Abi and Brandon blowing the candles out on Jesus' birthday cake!
Abi riding her new bike from Grandpa and Grandma!
Camryn got a lot of fiber on Christmas. She just wanted to eat paper. It took her half an hour to open a package because she had to eat every piece of paper she took off the gift.Brandon and Abi playing with their doll house and train set from MeeMaw Sandy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Visit From Christmas Past

When I put Camryn in Abi's hand-me-downs, it reminds me of Abi's infancy. Just a few pictures from Abi's 1st Christmas in her Christmas PJs and of Cam tonight.

Christmas 2004



Christmas 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Camryn is holding down her "milkies," so her pediatrician discharged her this morning. So glad to be home!
Just a few pictures from her gastroenteritis adventures:

This is Camryn before they would let me feed her -- she didn't get to eat for several days. And she likes to eat!
This is Camryn after she got to eat! Did I mention she likes to eat? :o)
One of the few times Baby Cam got a good nap.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sleepless in St. Ed's

Okay, so the "sleeping peacefully" didn't last too long after I posted it last night. However, she did discover sleeping on mommy's chest last night (the "gut bed" as my aunt calls it) -- and managed to sleep off and on fairly well, considering all of the middle-of-the-night visits you get here.
I think I'll be complaining to the management, however, because one shouldn't leave a resort that costs this much per night with swollen eyelids and raccoon circles under your eyes. :o) She really does look pitiful! She is so accustomed to being put down in her bed and just going to sleep, without mom in the room, trying to hide from view. So, I finally laid her down in the crib and stood in the hallway, listening to her cry for what seemed like forever, and she's sleeping deeply now.
Her lab work looked better this morning, and the doctor said he'd like to give her some Pedialyte today and start to wean her off the IV throughout the day. She'll be able to nurse again late this afternoon! If she tolerates the breastmilk well through the night, we might get to go home tomorrow.
Thank you all for the prayers. She'll be feeling spunky by Christmas, I'm sure, ready to rip some paper off packages. She practiced that this morning with one of my magazines (at least it was with pages I've already read). :o)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thankfulness

I couldn't be more thankful right now! My baby Cam is in the hospital, but my heart is bursting with thankfulness! Thankful that we aren't one of those families living in a Ronald McDonald house, seeing our baby attached to IV lines for months on end and being poked on and woken up around the clock. I'm so thankful that in a few days, she'll be rehydrated, and we'll be back home to life as normal (well, after our Christmas stint at the Grandmas' and Grandpa's!)
It gives me a small glimpse into how hard life must be for families with truly sick children. I am blessed!
She's sleeping peacefully now, after many hours of tortured crying -- not because she was in pain but because she was overtired and mad that she couldn't get down and do what she wanted -- and mad at the cast on her arm over her IV catheter that prevented her from playing with some of the toys -- and mad at the nurses who seem to have an internal beeper that said, "Go wake that baby that just fell asleep 2 minutes ago!" :o)
Thank you to our friends' prayers, our family's dependability, and especially for Sharon making a magazine and chocolate pit stop for me. :o) For all of these things, I am thankful!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Reflections of My Life

Sometimes I'm so wrapped up in the details of life and trying to keep everything under control, especially in public places, I miss the humor -- hysterics -- in our family life.
I get caught off guard sometimes by the looks on people's faces while watching our family in action -- I know I get a kick out of things, as an outsider looking in. Sometimes it's the looks on their faces that alert me that something is going on with one of my children that I'm not aware of, too! Like Brandon standing behind me in Wal-Mart, eating boogers as fast as he can, knowing I'm going to make him stop when I catch him! Or Camryn climbing over the back of the childseat part of the cart while I'm putting groceries on the conveyer belt at the store.

I see the reflection of my life in the eyes and faces of strangers.

Take today for example -- following is an excerpt of an email to a friend that illustrates well:
Well, we made it 1/2 through GW when B decided to bash Abi's head in w/ his juice cup. So, no party store for naughty B today! Aah! So, we went to meet Nick for lunch in South FS instead, and I thought since I had a few extra minutes I'd run into the Fianna Hills consignment shop. Well, Abi turned a large display table over on herself -- thought she had a broken leg seriously! Recovered from that, slunk out of the store in shame. Went to restaurant w/ Nick. Brandon announces at the top of his lungs that he "feels pee pee in mine weinee" and "I'm pushing it down but it won't stay down!" Seriously! So, again, we slink away, heads hung down. :o)

Seeing the looks on people's faces as these types of things go down are what remind me of just how funny the kids are! And being in public is what sometimes keeps me from beating them to death! Know what I mean?! :o)

Life is good!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

New Developments

The kiddos are reaching all kinds of new milestones lately ...
  • Abi cut an entire picture out yesterday without any "crumbs"!
  • Camryn figured out how to open the wipes container and single-handedly removed about 50 wipes in under a minute!
  • Camryn has learned how to make her brother shriek like a little girl by derailing his trains!

Friday, December 12, 2008

History Repeats Itself

The big kids and I were making these design-and-fuse patterns with colored beads this morning when Brandon said in a rather high-pitched whine/shriek, "My nose hurts!" I told him to quit picking it, since I'd seen him picking his nose almost non-stop this morning. He said, "No, it really hurts!" So, I told him I'd look at it -- and was then planning to prescribe some lotion for a picked-raw nostril. When I tilted his head back, much to my surprise, I saw a blue bead occupying his nostril! All I could do was laugh hysterically!
When I was in kindergarten, I did the same thing! Only my bead was round and red. My mom said it just proves that Brandon is smarter than me -- he managed to do the same bizarre thing but did it two years earlier than I did! :o)
We tried the tweezers to remove said bead, but he jerked every time I tried to grab it. It was very quickly disappearing into the blackness of his nose hole. In kindergarten, I chased my bead way up into my nose and remember that it was a very traumatic removal. So, plan B: I held Brandon's empty nostril closed and had him blow out really hard. Sure enough, the bead shot across the room!
Ahh, motherhood! What a comical journey!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pushing my Buttons

Brandon loves to depress those little raised "buttons" on the lids of fountain drinks. The problem with him doing that is he pushes them down too hard and splits the lid. Very irritating.
One of those funny motherhood moments that just make you laugh out loud ... a few days ago we were in the car (feel the stress mounting already), and Brandon started depressing the raised buttons on my daily addiction's lid (gotta' have my Diet Coke!)
I spun around and said -- no kidding -- "Stop pushing my buttons!"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Money Does Grow ...

This morning, in the car, Abi said she thought about money growing in her sleep. "Huh?" was all I could say to that.
Oh, boy, here we go -- she's only four and she already thinks money grows on trees. Ha!
She said, "You know, Mom, you give somebody 8 and they give you 10 back. You give them 9 and you get 11 back. Daddy told me. That's how money grows."
It made Nick's day to hear that his little princess is an investment banker in the making. She said Daddy was going to show her how to make the money in her piggy bank grow. Now if only Daddy will show me how to make the money in our checking account grow a little more. :o)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

God Wears Diapers

We have a nativity set that Abi was playing with today and left in the middle of the dinner table. Tonight, during dinner, Abi asked if the wise men brought baby Jesus money when he was born, and I said that they brought him presents but that the presents were not money.
Brandon said in his most authoratative voice, "They brought him diapers and potties!" Of course, my child would pick the most practical gift to give the newborn Savior of the world (I hear you, Sharon!) :o)
The thought of God wearing diapers as an infant made me chuckle at first, but then it reminded me that Jesus did live as a fully human, even pooping His diaper -- He really can understand our daily struggles.

Gallery Showing

Abi's really into the human form lately. She draws pictures of babies crawling and sitting up, pictures of people sitting in chairs, AND this ...

A picture of her brother standing to pee-pee in the potty! Her kindergarten art teacher will be amused -- I hope.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Going to Grandma's

The three little people shared some fun times with Grandma over the Thanksgiving holiday ...
They helped her set up her Christmas tree and hung all the ornaments. Abi and Brandon cooperated so well. Abi gave him ornaments that she thought he would like and help him when his ornaments wouldn't stay on the branches ... so sweet!


Abi was getting a "big girl" pedicure from Grandma when Brandon decided he wanted to play and stuck his feet in there with her. I thought she was about to go ballistic! But, she didn't. She seemed to enjoy soaking her feet with Brandon and even made a concerted effort to "make room for Brandon's feet." After seeing Abi sitting in a booster seat, Brandon insisted I bring his booster seat so he could "sit like Abi."

Mom and Dad have a pull-down, Murphy-style bed in their office. The kids decided they would sleep on it like a bunk bed -- one actually in the bed and one on the floor under it. This is when I said a quick prayer for the job Grandpa did in attaching the thing to the wall! :o)
They tried this a total of 3 nights and were actually able to go to sleep only once. The other two nights, someone had to be moved to stop the giggling and whispering. It was fun to listen to them having such a good time together, though!


Camryn ate a few snacks over the weekend because her tooshie was getting a little too flat! Ha! Aren't those precious cheeks!! She did cut her first tooth this weekend! No more toothless grin in our house. I am very sad!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My 15 Minutes

I've heard that everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame.
I'd trade my 15 minutes of fame for the 15 minutes I shared with Camryn last night. She woke up at midnight for her "milkies," as usual. And after she finishes nursing, she's usually anxiously seeking her binkie and leaning in toward the bed, wanting to be laid down.
However, last night, she put her head down on my shoulder and was almost immediately breathing deeply, sound asleep. The scent of baby lotion and warm milky breath, coupled with the weight of her little baby body on my chest were almost more than I could take without my heart just bursting!
I settled into the big oversized chair and just soaked it up for about 15 minutes before she began to stir.
I'd trade fame for that anyday!

Laugh in Stereo

This picture of Camryn brought back memories of a very similar photo of Abi when she was about 5 months old ...

Monday, November 24, 2008

What's Cookin'?

Camryn explored her inner chef tonight while I was working on dinner -- and was hamming it up in her highchair. She is such joy!




Sunday, November 23, 2008

Never Boring

Life in our house is never boring -- I think that might be the title of my someday book.
Just a few highlights ...
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Holly Jollies

We decided to try to beat some of the chaos of the Christmas season and put our tree up before Thanksgiving this year (I can hear the gasps from my mother and brother!)

Nick's mom and grandfather came to visit this weekend, so we thought it might be a fun time with them, too. Meemaw Sandy brought the kids adorable matching Christmas pajamas to wear while trimming the tree, wrapping packages, and watching Christmas movies.

Nick and I have been talking about different things we want to be "our" traditions for various occasions and holidays. There are things we each did in our families growing up that we certainly want to carry over into "our" family's traditions. But we also want to incorporate some unique things. One thing I decided to try this year is "Christmas Camping." I absolutely love sitting in a dark room, lit only by a glowing Christmas tree. There is something so peaceful and mesmerizing about that to me. I love sleeping by the light of the Christmas tree, too. So, I thought what a great thing to fall asleep with the kids under a newly decorated tree each year, after a day full of tree decorating, cookie baking, present wrapping, and Rudolph movie watching!

I heard some of the sweetest giggling from Brandon last night, lying on his pallet by the tree -- a full 15 minutes of it before I decided that he wasn't going to be able to turn the giggles off and actually go to sleep . . . Abi, on the other hand, was out cold in a matter of minutes and loved waking up next to the tree. Definitely an idea worth trying again next year with an older Brandon (and an inflatable mattress for me).

A few pictures from the beginning of our Christmas season . . .

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oh, Boy!

I read a quote off of a mint wrapper at Chick-fil-a today that really struck a chord with me:
"It is better to build boys than to mend men."
Wow! Raising Brandon seems like such an insurmountable task at times because boys / men are so foreign! I can know and understand what Abi is thinking at any given time, and her responses are so predictable to me -- because it's the female way.
I am glad I know some moms of boys who are blazing the way ahead of me in fine fashion -- and the Creator of my little boy who will guide our way!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Connect-the-Dots

One of the favorite activities in our house right now . . . and a complete annoyance to me! Brandon is unable to complete them by himself yet, so I have to point to each dot, showing him where to draw his line to. And, even though Abi can look at the dots and the rest of the picture and tell us what the dots will make, she insists on doing them anyway.

As I stood hunched over Brandon, working on a *precious* little connect-the-dot puppy with him, I was thinking "Isn't there a more direct way to get this darn dog finished?!" It was like God instantly gave me two black eyes when his Truth hit me right in the face (to borrow the brilliant illustration of S.W.)
One of the truths God has been patiently teaching me for, oh, about a decade now is that His plan is far better than my plan. My plans would generally take the shortest route from A to B, which we all know, of course, is a straight line. Now, how exciting would the connect-the-dots picture of my life be if I were in charge? :o)
God, on the other hand, takes us from one adventure to another, down often indirect paths that make a far more interesting picture when all of the dots are connected. And, like Abi and Brandon, I need to enjoy the journey from one dot to the next.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Little Comedians

We've had a wonderful morning just puttering around the house in our PJ's, doing crafts, starting a few homemade Christmas gifts, cooking a big pot of veggie beef soup and being comedians. I don't think they generally intend to be funny, but they are!

Abi decided that she wanted cereal and milk for breakfast - seems like a normal request - except that she wanted chocolate milk on her cereal! Funny!


Brandon is making tunnels by biting a chunk out of his apple wedges, and Abi is driving her "truck finger" under the tunnel bridge. Who thought apple wedges could be so fun!


And then there Camryn who has a bad case of "too much tush!" She has more tushie than her little arms can hold up, I think. :o) I feel the same way when I do push-ups!

video

There is a Laundry Fairy

After all these years of my mom telling me that there's no sense in putting off doing dreaded household chores because there is not a little fairy who will come in the night and do it for you . . . the Laundry Fairy visited my house last night!
I woke up this morning and found a load of clothes folded on the kitchen table, where last night there was only a pile of unmatched socks and wrinkled towels!
Thank you, Mr. Laundry Fairy! I love you!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Heavy Metal

Camryn has discovered her love of "heavy metal" music. You've heard of garage bands -- well, here's our little kitchen band star!
There's nothing quite like a metal bowl and spoon!

video

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ahh, a Perfect Day!

Even though the blah of winter time soon grows weary, I love the first wintry day. Today, fits that bill. Rainy, overcast, mid-forties . . . the perfect occasion to crack out my favorite sweatshirt and furry house shoes and light a fire in the fireplace! And I might have to pull out the jacket for indoors, too, because my favorite sweatshirt is now threadbare and stretched-out enough to fit over a 9-month pregnant belly. :o) But, it's still my favorite and has just now reached the ten-year mark. It has another winter or two in it, for sure!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Packing Again

No, thank God, there's not another household move planned again any time soon. But, it's come the time to pack away those infant things that I so look forward to unpacking with each bundle of joy in our family. The triangle sleeper, newborn binkies, baby socks, bouncy seat, newborn tub, and other baby things are all stacked up ready to be packed away in the attic.

It seems like just yesterday that my Mom and I sat in the living room floor oohing and aahing over the little things as we pulled them out of the Rubbermaids the week after we found out that Camryn was a girl. Now, it's already time to put them away. When I packed them away after Brandon, I didn't feel quite as sad, almost fearful, that I'll never put one of my babies in that tub again or take another picture of a sleeping baby in the bouncy seat to match the other kiddos'. I don't know what God has planned for us as parents in the future, but I do know that I will certainly miss the pregnancy and newborn stages as a Mom, if I never experience them again.

For now, up to the attic it all goes.

Creative Play

I love to hear the sound of laughter in our house!

Abi and Brandon are at such a fun age right now, as their capacity for truly creative play is overflowing! Last night, I heard squealing from the living room, followed by, "It's okay, Brother, it doesn't hurt too bad." Curiosity got the best of me, because she usually screams like she's under-going an un-medicated amputation if he even brushes up against her. So, I peeked around the corner and saw Abi stretched out, making a bridge with her body between the chair and ottoman. Brandon was climbing across the "bidge," and they were both squealing with delight. Abi told me there was a "huge water fountain" (aka waterfall) underneath her!

Abi enjoys playing restaurant lately, too. She had me make her some paper money and receipts to use as she served customers in her restaurant. The menus are full of fare she has in her plastic food box, and she does a great job of bringing refills and lots of napkins -- she's learned what she sees, for sure. Restaurants generally lose money on my diet coke order, and I think a tree dies every time we eat out at a place with paper napkins (Do we eat anywhere else??) Ha!

I love watching their creative play -- it gives me such a raw glimpse into their schemas of the world. So many things are revealed that I might not otherwise know about my kiddos. And it reminds me of my childhood, when I thought the made-up lyrics to my songs were platinum bound and my pillow-stuffed belly was sure to produce the next world leader. Maybe the latter will be true, but certainly not the first. :o)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Loving Memories

Today is Papa Ray's birthday -- oh, how I wish we could celebrate with him. Such a bittersweet day! I remember growing up that my mom was always a little melancholy on the birthdays of her parents and brother who had all passed away. I never understood why, but, like so many other things that I begin to understand as I "grow up," I now have a better understanding of that.

Ray meant so much to all of us, and his being gone leaves such a void in our lives. Everything is just a little less colorful without his involvement. There are things everyday that I wish I could share with him, knowing he'd be excited with us and, of course, have a little piece of advice to offer. :o)
I most miss his laugh and his hugs and the way he ate hamburgers and how he put pepper on everything and how he could sleep propped up on his side in the floor in front of the TV and the sound of him coming home in his stiffish uniform and the sound of him saying, "What's my Abi doing?" when he called and the way he got all worked up about things he disagreed with and driving up their driveway after a long trip from wherever we were living at the time and seeing him on the mower in the front yard, waving us home and how thrifty he was and . . . so many things!
I have so wished that he could hold Camryn and that we'd be able to see just how smitten he is with her. He thought Abi was the pinnacle of perfection, and I know he'd be just as in love with Camryn!
We love you and miss you!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Broken Joy

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land
Our pastor's sermon today was titled "How to Live in a Broken World," and it was a powerful message that really helped me put a finger on what I've been feeling from so many people I know. It was a bold message that addressed how so many Christians are living in fear and are allowing circumstances to blur our vision. As we prepare to elect the next President of our country this week, the message was a great reminder that "We don't fix sin problems [in our country/world] with man's solutions" (Ronnie Deal). Only God's solution will fix the problems man creates and experiences because of our sin nature. So many people I know are feeling very discontent, fearful, and just out-of-balance, in general, and are citing the economy-related problems, political unrest, and uncertainty for the future. Ronnie reminded us of the truth in Colossians 3:10:
... and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator (NIV).
We don't have to live, mired down in the worries and disappointments of this world -- it is all temporary anyway. God calls us to focus on his purposes and truths and not to relinquish our joy because of our circumstances.
There are certainly many things that we need to stand up for in our society and things that need to change, but, as our pastor said today, God calls us to be doer's of the Word, rather than just hearers (and sulkers and worriers).
I look forward to voting this week, and I also will remember that God has a plan for each of us and for our nation. Rather than being depressed and fearful about our nation's current status or what may happen in the future, I will choose to live in joy.
There's never a better time than the present to share God's love, hope and certain Truth with those around us who are being swayed by promises of change, financial security, and a host of other man-made solutions, while being swallowed by fear, insecurity, and difficult circumstances.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Priorities

Something I got in an email a few weeks ago and have been meaning to share:

Just for this morning, I am going to smile when I see your face and laugh
when I feel like crying.
Just for this morning, I will let you choose what you want to wear and
smile and say how perfect it is.
Just for this morning, I am going to step over the laundry and pick you up
and take you to the park to play.
Just for this morning, I will leave the dishes in the sink and let you
teach me how to put that puzzle of yours together.
Just for this afternoon, I will unplug the telephone and keep the computer
off and sit with you in the backyard and blow bubbles.
Just for this afternoon, I will not yell once, not even a tiny grumble when
you scream and whine for the ice cream truck, and I will buy you one if he
comes by.
Just for this afternoon, I won't worry about what you are going to be when
you grow up, or second guess every decision I have made where you are
concerned.
Just for this afternoon, I will let you help me bake cookies, and I won't
stand over you trying to fix them.
Just for this afternoon, I will take us to McDonald's and buy us both a
Happy Meal so you can have both toys.
Just for this evening, I will hold you in my arms and tell you a story about
how you were born and how much I love you.
Just for this evening, I will let you splash in the tub and not get angry.
Just for this evening, I will let you stay up late while we sit on the porch
and count all the stars.
Just for this evening, I will snuggle beside you for hours and miss my
favorite TV shows.
Just for this evening when I run my finger through your hair as you pray, I
will simply be grateful that God has given me the greatest gift ever given.
I will think about the mothers and fathers who are searching for their
missing children, the mothers and fathers who are visiting their children's
graves instead of their bedrooms, and mothers and fathers who are in
hospital rooms watching their children suffer senselessly, and screaming
inside that they can't handle it anymore.
And when I kiss you good night I will hold you a little tighter, a little
longer. It is then, that I will thank God for you, and ask him for nothing,
except one more day..............

Friday, October 31, 2008

True Motivation

We discovered Brandon's best motivator: candy. He's generally somewhat shy and not always so brave in new situations. However, tonight, he figured out after the first house that if you knock on the door and say "Trick or Treat," they will give you candy! At every house we visited, it was Brandon who marched bravely up to the door and gave it a good, solid bang. For once, it was him leading Abi around, showing her the ropes.
They were all adorable and had a great time getting dressed up and going trick-or-treating with Mom, Dad, and Grandma!

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Halloweens of Past

Halloween 2004: the cutest little ladybug I ever did see!

Halloween 2005: the cutest lion I ever did see!
Halloween 2007: Brandon as another precious lion and warrior Indian Nick
Halloween collage: two bunnies, an Indian, and a very mad lion

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby C!

Unbelievable that our baby Camryn turned 7 months old on Sunday!

We love you, Baby C! It's hard to believe how big you are -- what a blessing! I was looking at some pictures yesterday, taken of our family before you were born, and it's hard to even remember what our family was like without you! You are such a joy and add so much to our family.

She sure enjoyed her birthday cake! She ate the big piece, sucked the crumbs off of her hands, and demanded more!

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a.k.a.

Lately, my kiddos have been known as anyone but themselves . . . a policeman, a "naughty" crocodile, a bride princess, a fairy princess (yes, there are many different classes of princesses), an Indian, a baby . . . and sometimes just the demons that seem to have invaded their bodies!

Dress-up is the big thing in our house right now, which is wonderful, creative play, and Hey! it gives them one more thing to argue over! One would expect them to fight over who gets to wear the bridal veil and pink plastic heels, right?

Thank you, Mrs. Debbie and the Grandmas, for all of the dress-up clothes lately! So much fun!

Just a few pictures of the dueling a.k.a.'s:


Friday, October 24, 2008

There's Hope

This morning, Abi got a piece of mail from one of her friends -- so sweet to see her little face light up when I pulled it out of the box! Of course, what one has, the other covets. So, Brandon has meltdown and tears because he doesn't get "mailee." I'm not one of those moms who tries to make everything even and "fair" because -- BRACE YOURSELF, Mom, here it comes -- "Life isn't fair!" (Yes, I just quoted my mother! It has come down to this!) and because I'd drive myself crazy trying to make everyone happy.
So, we came in and had a snack, and Abi asked for a piece of paper and an envelope. I assumed that she was sending mail back to her friend, Lindsey. I asked her if she needed to know how to spell anyone's name before I went to get in the shower, thinking, again, that she was making mail for her friend. She said, "no." After I get out of the shower, she drags a grinning Brandon into the bathroom, and he's holding an envelope with pictures all over the outside. Abi proudly announces that she doesn't want her brother to feel sad, so she made him some mail . . . . now, enter the sappy music and the siblings running across a flowery field, arms outstretched toward one another . . . . okay, so I don't hope that all sibling rivalry and beatings will stop, but there is hope!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mimicry

It's said that imitating someone is the best compliment you can give. Abi wanted to copy the pumpkin picture Aunt Cori made for her and Brandon when they were here last weekend. Not a bad imitation -- with an added witch and a few more words! :o) Then, she took the tape and taped them to the front of the house by the door. I love that kid!

Owl Pellets

Cleaning out my washing machine after washing a load of the kids' clothes is a lot like dissecting an owl pellet . . . you know exactly what the kids have been up to by the left-overs in the washer.
This is a picture of the specimen today: acorns, small pine cones, the plastic size rings off of department store hangers, a rubber band, leaves and rocks.

Nick and Grandpa have gone camping and deer hunting for a week, so the kiddos and I went to spend the weekend with Grandma. As usual, we had lots of adventures. On Saturday, we visited with Auntie Sherial at the day use area at Crystal Springs, where we collected a lot of sand and a few treasured rocks. Camryn loved, loved, loved the sand! She dug in it and "cooed!" Saturday afternoon, we made a trip into Hot Springs, where we shopped a little and had dinner with Grandma.
We spent the day Sunday at the campground where Grandpa and Nick are camping. The kids put together an impressive collection of acorns, rocks, leaves, and pine cones. Thank goodness they had Grandpa crack open the black walnuts and hickory nuts to eat or I probably would've had one of those clunking around in the washer, too. They enjoyed riding their bikes, going on a nature walk, playing on the playground, and even roasting hot dogs and marshmallows on a fire that Grandma built!
What a fun weekend!