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!

Click to play Trick-or-Treating
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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!

video

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!



Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pure Sweetness

Here are a few shots of Camryn this afternoon -- one of her playing hard and then the precious, precious sleep that followed. She was sleeping so deeply that she drooled a puddle and her hair (yes, all four) was all frumped up on one side when she woke up.


Ongoing Projects -- Still in Pieces

Today, I have devoted a little time to a couple of the projects I'm working on . . . I stress a couple. I did not paint ceilings, scoop mulch, work on yearly calendars for the kids, paint the master bedroom, deep clean the house, paint baseboards and trim, or Christmas shop, which are a few of the other things on my big project to do list. I try not to think about the things I'm not doing, but I find myself bouncing back and forth from project to project, unable to concentrate on one without thinking about something to do with the other one . . . do you think I'm ADD? No, just 2/3 childless for the day and unable to slow my brain down, even though there aren't 87 things to think about each second, like normal. :o)

I bought frames and ribbon for the rod-hung pictures (will pick up the matching rod at Linens-n-Things when they send another 20% off coupon). I also bought some frames to frame brightly-colored scrapbook paper in for Abi's bathroom upstairs. I haven't been able to find any art in the colors of her bathroom that isn't super cheesy. So, I made some. I finished the little flower pot for the bathroom, too. I also bought the mirror to go over her vanity and finished installing the light covers. I started to hang the mirror and then wondered about the electrical wires leading up to the light. That's all I need to put a damper on the day. :o)

I laid out some of the photos for the collage frames I got a while back. However, I realized that I don't have a frame for an additional 11x14" picture I'd like to hang with those two collages (thus, the place holder in the picture to show where the extra photo will go). Now, the big part for me is to decide where to put these things in my living room -- I have such anxiety about this part! I think I'll recruit some of my "artsy" friends' assistance.

Ah, the feeling of creativity!


Click to play My Ongoing Projects
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Struggling Artist

I finally understand the temperament of artists! It is very difficult to be focused and quit daydreaming when you have so many creative and spatial ideas jetting around in your mind!

The oldest two kiddos are at Grandma and Grandpa's house for a couple of days, and I'm finally devoting a little creative energy toward some of the decorating and projects I've been wanting to work on for awhile. Camryn and I did a little shopping for some accessories today for Abi's new bathroom, to hang these beautiful pictures I have from Julie and Shannon, and for our front porch fall decorations. We also made a stop by Sherry's house this morning to see this beautiful picture rod she made -- love it and will probably have to copy it! :o) Camryn and I made a little progress shopping today, but most things are still in the idea stage.
I have so many things floating around in my head, I feel totally distracted and could have just wandered in Hobby Lobby for hours if Camryn's hungry cries hadn't jolted me back to reality. She's such a trooper when shopping!

I wish creativity and getting things out of my head and into the real world weren't so difficult for me! I love the feeling of being lost in creative thought, but I just wish more could come from it!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tagged

4 THINGS I WAS DOING 10 YEARS AGO:

1) going to college at UA - Fayetteville
2) doing freelance journalism work
3) dating Nick (year 4) and waiting for his proposal
4) living in the dorm, not cooking my own meals or scrubbing my own toilet :o)

4 THINGS ON MY TO-DO LIST FOR TODAY:

1)teach aerobics
2)take Abi to gymnastics
3)play T-ball with Brandon
4)buy mums and other decorations for our front porch

4 RANDOM THINGS I LOVE ABOUT MY HUSBAND:

1) he has amazing common sense
2) his IQ is unbelievable -- and he can convey the information he has in his head clearly to other people
3) he tries to be funny and make me laugh when we're having a "discussion"
4) he is loyal

4 JOBS I HAVE HAD:

1)bank teller
2)high school and college-level biology teacher
3)fitness instructor
4)part-time nanny

MOVIES I HAVE WATCHED MORE THAN ONCE:

1)Fried Green Tomatoes
2)Pretty Woman
3)Shawshank Redemption
4)Money Pit

4 PLACES I HAVE BEEN:

1)Hawaii
2)Bahamas
3)Western Caribbean
4)Washington D.C.

4 PLACES I WANT TO VISIT:

1)Gulf Shores
2)Hawaii AGAIN and AGAIN
3)a tour throughout Colorado
4)Australia

4 TV SHOWS I WATCH:

1)NCIS
2)Criminal Minds
3)Wheel of Fortune
4)House Hunters

4 THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT ME:

1) I have a black belt in Taekwondo
2) I hate the feel of washcloths stretched across my fingernails
3) I have very little sense of direction, 3-dimensionality, or rhythm
4) I do not like lotion between my toes!!!

I tag Andi and Erin!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Fresh Start

I love the feel of clean, crisp sheets. It's almost worth all the work of washing and changing the bedsheets for the first night of sleeping on them when they're all fresh! That's what I feel asleep thinking about last night -- the feel of clean sheets and the need for fresh starts sometimes.

I love the idea of brand new, unmarked notebooks and sharp and pointy new Crayons. I love the chilly renewing of fall mornings. I love opening the windows on the first warm, breezy spring day. I love the feeling of inner cleanness after a good workout or a good cry. I love the feeling of fresh starts.

I've been struggling with a few things lately and was frumping around the house, picking up toys during the kids' nap time yesterday, fretting about what to do and how to deal with the not-so-positive feelings I was feeling, when I suddenly found myself soaring through the air. Before I knew it, I had not-so-gracefully landed on my knees, the victim of one large Hot Wheels. I immediately heard the voice of God say to me, "I will get you on your knees one way or another!" Talk about a double whammy -- injury to my body and my pride. God was just waiting to give me a fresh start -- He, in fact, made us with a need for His fresh starts -- and I was more interested in nursing my hurt feelings along.

I love the feeling of fresh starts!

Pumpkin Patch '08

We made a trip to a local nursery's "pumpkin patch" today!

I promised the kiddos that they could pick out a pumpkin if they'd only smile a few times for pictures . . . everyone smiled, just not at the same time.

Brandon, the man hunter, fell in love with the first pumpkin he came across. Abi, on the other hand, needed half the morning to find just the right one. Brandon was most delighted that he got to carry his pumpkin around in the pumpkin wagon! All was great until we tried to separate the little man from his beloved pumpkin for the car ride home. After much yelling and a few tears, Daddy caved and let him keep it ... Big Softy! :o) After a post-pumpkin trip to the park for a train ride, the three tired little pumpkins enjoyed a loooong afternoon nap!

Click to play Pumpkin Patch '08
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Monday, October 6, 2008

The Birds and the Bees ...

are buzzing around our house!

Today, we were all in a public bathroom right before Abi's gymnastics lesson, and Brandon AT THE TOP OF HIS VOICE says, "How come she doesn't have weenie, Mommy?", pointing at Abi. I said in a whisper, knowing all the moms in the waiting area on the other side of the door were listening by this time, "Well, Brandon, God makes girls and boys differently, and He doesn't give girls weenies." Thinking this topic was closed, Abi then adds, "If God is a boy, does He have a weenie, Mommy?" -- again, as LOUDLY as possible! I said, "I don't know, Abi, I don't know what any part of God looks like." Seriously!
I've always believed in having an open relationship and ongoing conversations about the "birds and the bees" with my children -- I just didn't expect that it would be in full swing quite yet. :o)

A few weeks ago, Abi and I were driving past the hospital where Camryn was born, and it was dark. The light in the room where Camryn was born was the only one on, and I said to Abi, "The room with the light on up there is the room Camryn was born in." She was suitably impressed and asked which room the son of a friend had been born in. I said, "Well, you can't see that room from the outside (this is where I should've stopped!) because Mrs. D had her tummy cut to get her baby out, remember, and they do that in a special room." As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I knew I'd messed up! Abi is a pretty logical kid and the if/then's started churning in her head! I could see it coming like a freight train. She said, "If they didn't cut Camryn out of your tummy, how did she get out then?" (note: the very accusatory tone in this question!) So, I thought to myself, "This is where the rubber meets the road -- do I 'weenie' out (pun intended) or do I do what I've always said I'd do in these situations. So, I took a deep breath, and described the extra hole between her pee pee and poo poo holes -- and, then, of course, she needed a NAME for it! Really! She now has a really, really neat word to use when coming up with words that start with the letter v. **SIGH**

Friday, October 3, 2008

Perfectly Imperfect

From the little cafe au lait spot on Abi's forehead to Brandon's inability to put the first letter sound on most words to the single long hair on Camryn's head that makes her look like a character from a Dr. Seuss book, I absolutely love the unique things about my kids . . . those things are what make them perfectly imperfect!

I love that Abi hums when she's concentrating. I love that Brandon can make a mess from nothing. I love that Camryn is so interested in her surroundings she can barely take the time to nurse. I love that Abi draws backward letters sometimes. I love that the top of Brandon's ear folds over on one side. I love that Camryn has hair on her booty crack. I love that my kids are uniquely made!

I am so critical of myself sometimes about my own imperfections -- God reminds me through my children that those "imperfections" are what make me unique and to be accepting -- even grateful for those strokes of creativity from God's own hand.

A few pictures of imperfection . . .