Tuesday, April 28, 2009

this ones for them

I have posted a few today, but I had to do one more entry tonight...for my friends of whom I am not sure I should name, since they are now missionaries (they supposedly get the updates when I post...according to R it's good toilet reading...thanks again R).
When I worked at the church (as a Director of Children's Ministry) R was the Youth Pastor. Right about the time I quit, R announced he and his wife were moving to India on missions. It wasn't a huge suprise, if you know them, their love for Jesus and their passion for sharing the gospel, you knew this was coming. Still there was the shock that it was a reality. Days like today...I sometimes still get that shock. I am nearly picking up the phone when I realize...they aren't "home".
There are many reasons I miss these guys. I can't begin to tell the crazy, lame, funny, and celebratory stories I have from working alongside R, like why the kitchen cart should be pushed backwards or how I finally learned to use a computer. They held me accountable and if you know me, there are few in this world who can call me out and I will really listen to it...it's a fault I am working on. They were like a personal shrink. If I needed to vent, R would nod his head and grunt at the appropriate times. Sometimes I doubted he really heard me, but he let me sit in his office on many occasions and just "get it out" and usually this is all I need to get over it. But if R did use words, it was wisdom beyond his years and I knew it was worth listening to...(well, at least 90% of the time, sometimes...i'll leave that one alone). If I really needed to count on someone to use words, K would listen and give the words I needed. They were both like a personal concordance...I can't count the number of times I called them to say "Hey you know that verse about that guy?" or "Hey when Jesus did that thing...where is that?" They knew it. They fed me meals and made me part of their family when I was single. They welcomed Shawn with open arms and were then Shawn's and my "small group." We had no official meeting date, except last minute when we needed to see friends, play cards, eat browies and just "be" together until late at night. They laughed with us when we were in funny slumps. They were so much a part of such a beautiful and great season of life.
I just recieved a toe ring that K sent to me from India. Here's a small thing about me...I do not like my toes. But I put it on and I love it and I actually smile at my toes when I see it. It's from K. And it reminds me that she's still there and India isn't that far.
I miss R and K so much. Nights like tonight, brownie nights, are the hardest. But...I feel so lucky to have such incredible friends. My heart bursts with pride that these incredible people were my "small group." As K would say, "If only for a season".
For the next season, we will be prayer warriors for them and their kids. And in those prayers, we are going to find a way to India...because we love them. And, we have a box of brownie mix with their names on it.
P.S. R...if you do read this, I was going to post a great picture, unfortunately, I didn't know if I was allowed, plus your name was ironed onto your chest...I figured that's a dead give away. You can thank me later!

Three boys and one coffee pot

Today we had "baby Logan" over. We watch him on Mondays and Tuesdays. He is about 7 months old. Gavin is very helpful to him and Brayden, well I think he likes having someone littler around (although at the rate logan is growing, he won't be littler much longer).
The amount of energy three boys have is amazing. I only have one coffee pot and it is proving not to be enough to keep up.
This morning: Brayden & Gavin had both painted (part of a mother's day gift I can't disclose here), Gavin had played 3 games of memory with mommy, Brayden had locked himself his bedroom three times with accompanying whining to get help escaping the baby gate, Gavin had put together 2 puzzles, Logan had jumped in the exersaucer, Brayden had found his way back to the remote controls on the other side of the house twice (and I swore I had closed that door...) Logan had rolled his head into (and I mean "into" as in, inside) of the home depot tool bench I don't know how many times, Gavin had run around the couch chasing Brayden for at least 10 minutes (somehow avoiding Logan's head feet and hands which seemed to be directly in the way at all times, no matter how often I moved him), Brayden found his way under the table multiple times, each time crashing on the way out, Gavin found me at least 4 times to tell me..."Mom, what baby doing?" (translation: "Mom, the baby is doing something you don't like"...this time it was climbing on the fireplace)...and I am sure there was more that occured.
In between all this, I did manage to feed them all, clothe them all, get the kitchen cleaned up, have two successful potty trips with Gavin, two poopy diapers with the younger ones, throw in a load of laundry and get myself together for the day...I was proud. Because all this happened before 9 am.
For real...if it weren't for the recession, I'd insist on investing in coffee, instead I think I am going to invest in a bigger coffee pot.


One of the last pics we got with Paci
Below is a young Gavin with his Paci

The "paci" was what Gavin named his pacifier. We had made up our minds that we would have it gone by 2, but then, we found out I was pregnant and thought it would be mean to take it away when his brother would get one all the time. So...life went on. We moved "paci" down to just naptime and bedtime. It did not leave the bed.

Finally, last week...I made the decision one day. We're done. No warning, no nothing, I brought in a Percy Train, that I had bought for a reward (Thomas trains were on sale and frankly that NEVER happens, so I bought a few for rewards for down the road). I told Gavin, "We aren't going to use our paci anymore." I place Percy on his dresser and continued, "If you sleep good without paci, you can have Percy when you wake up." (Sidenote: I try not to bribe, and since this isn't a heart issue...I am labeling it an "incentive" it makes me feel better about it). He did it.

I will admit, it took him a bit longer to fall asleep and still does. However, it wasn't a problem. He doesn't take his brother's paci like I thought he would (although he will take it out of his mouth after naptime and tell Brayden he shouldn't have it then). He has only asked for paci once and when I reminded him that he has Percy. His response was, "Oh, I forgot."

Again, I realize the problem is me. It's me whose not ready to watch him grow up. It is me who under estimates Gavin's comprehension (I was thinking there was no way he would understand that it was the end and Percy replaced Paci forever not just that nap). It was me who was holding onto paci. Me who didn't believe in my son's abilities.

Generally speaking, I have pretty high expectations of my kids and quick consequences if they aren't met. Still, I am still amazed at how often they surpass expectation and rise above the limitations I place on them. It's incredible and causes me to re-evaluate quite often.

I want to believe the most for my child, but I also don't want to set them up for frustration, afterall, God says "Parents, don't exasperate your children" (apparently He has no problem with them exasperating us!). So how do we challenge them to be their best without pushing them too far beyond themselves. It's a fine line. This is a line I thought I would be dealing with more in late elementary through school years, but God is showing me...it's a day one until the end, ongoing, everyday, every hour, forever process. I get tired just thinking about it.

And so...I pray for wisdom and guidance and I set the bar a little higher. Just today they both reached it again. I am a proud mom. A mom who is honestly, a little sad she'll never see her first born in his footy pajamas, with puppy, blanky and paci snuggled in bed again.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Baby wipes

I am thankful for baby wipes. Much more to me than a bottom cleaner these suckers have made my life so much easier! Not only do they help with the "yuckies", boogers, spit up and poop, but they do oh so much more.
They wipe faces and hands (which may not get the germs entirely off, but as a mom I feel better if they look cleaner and so I feel better.)
They wipe coffee spills in the cup holders of cars and strollers.
They wipe my dashboard.
They wipe my floor.
They wipe the resteraunt table.
They wipe noses...mine or the kids.
They wipe various food items off of clothes, carseats, strollers, faces, hands, etc., etc..
They wipe who knows what off of who knows where.
They are great. I think, when the kids are out of the stage, where it seems mandatory to keep them with you, I may go through withdrawls. Who knows? Maybe I'll just keep getting them, because I really just think they are soooo handy!
Thank you to the inventor of baby wipes. I can't say wetting down a towel is a "genius" idea or anything. But thanks for taking the time to market it and package it. I am grateful.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Taking on the weeds...

Donning the summer hat...we Washingtonians pretend it's on it's way.
We get our yard ready...

We remember what it looked like last year...

and dream of summer.
Shawn, Gavin, Brayden and I have been working on the backyard, and front for that matter. The sun has shone a few days and we have tried to make the most of them. We have been weeding, we have been power spraying, mowing, weeding more. We have many locations for weeds...it is the one downfall of a big yard. We brought out the kids buckets, put up the watertable and we are ready. I dream of summer days, sitting on the back porch after a BBQ, drinking a glass of wine and just being. Everytime I look outside, I see hints it's getting closer. I also see the weeds. They haunt me.
I look at the pictures and I see a my backyard...flowers in bloom, sun shining down and looking as though everything is right with the world. It's what I envision for the days to come. But I know, in reality, I will sit on that back porch, enjoying life, when BAM...my eyes will fall on a weed. And once you see one weed, they are everywhere you look. It's a phenomenon I will never understand, but truly despise.
It reminds me of life. Things are going smoothly, the day has been good, then BAM...your eyes fall on a weed (or worse, someone points one out to you). This often taints my vision, until pretty soon, all I see is weeds. I don't notice the green grass, the flowers blooming, the sunshining...the good that is.
Instead of focusing in on the one weed, pulling it out and getting back to engaging in what is beautiful, the pessimist in me takes over. I sit back and get consumed with how many weeds there are and how much work I have before me. I no longer see my flowers.
This summer, I am going to make an effort to take the weeds on, one weed at a time. Figuratively and literally. I am going to pull out the one or two that initially bothered me, enjoy the beauty there is before me, and take on the other weeds another day. My decision is made, because my yard and my life are too big to take on all the weeds at once.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Failing to learn

Today I bought Gavin a big boy puzzle. It has 24 pieces, no frame and it's of Mater, "Red Red Race Car" (aka Lightening Mcqueen) and "Scary Combine". We worked on it together 4 times and now he can do it himself. He threw huge fits when I wouldn't help him (we had a ridiculous amount of time outs over this puzzle today), but when I was cleaning up dinner and he saw I was occupied...he did it all by himself. It was awesome. I knew he could, but I was still really impressed when he did. It took him awhile and it took me holding myself back from just popping a few in to help him out, but he problem solved and it worked!!!!!
It made me realize I need to step back more. Even if it means some tantrums because he thinks he needs the help. Sometimes as parents, I think we are so concerned about hurting these little egos that we step in and prevent failure. But failure is learning. Falling down is learning. Spilling is learning. Wetting your pants is learning. Not getting what you want is learning. Putting the pieces in the wrong spot over and over until you get the right one is learning. Today Gavin did all of these. Did it make for a long day...YES! For both Gavin and I. I think we both failed a bit, but we learned. And in the end, I would say all the failure made today a truly successful day.
As I write this, Gavin is watching "Cars" with his Cars puzzle box sitting on the couch beside him. Everytime I check on him, he pats it and says, "Mom, Mater,...I did it!" Yes, because I let you fail. It's awesome kid!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Forced productivity

This morning was laughable. I went to get Gavin out of his bed, to find him SOAKED. I forgot he was in a pull up when I put him to bed. Gross. So...off with the clothes and into the shower.
I got the kids ready for breakfast and decided to be extra on top of things by cutting up chicken for tonights dinner. After breakfast, I put the kids in their roomtime, but the chicken on the stove and I went to blowdry my hair. What I was thinking here...not quite sure. Not sure if I was thinking at all!
Then, to top it off, I plugged in my straightener and went to check e-mail in the far back room. That's when I smelled it. Burning. My first thought was that my straightener couldn't get that hot. Then I heard the chicken sizzling. YUCK. As I walked out into the hall, I hit a wall of smoke and was engulfed. It smelled like foster farms had gone up in flames. I ran to the stove to remove the chicken, wondering why the smoke alarm wasn't working, when...the smoke alarm started working. Of course, then Gavin started wailing.
Standing in the hall, waving a blanket at the smoke alarm with a pan of chicken in my hand and a crying son to my right shaking his baby gate yelling "out please"...I glanced at the clock to see...it was only 8:00 am. For real? I am not supposed to do this much by 8 am. In my dreams I wouldn't even be up by 8:00 am.
In the end, we opened the doors and windows, lit some candles and soon the smell of my chicken inferno started fading. I have a clean boy, who has clean sheets and a clean blanket. I also have extra loads of laundry done, because they were in the wash when i needed to put the pee clothes in. I am showered and have my hair done. I have some salvaged chicken for dinner and my garbage is taken out. My house has a lovely candle smell and my kitchen has been cleaned. All by 9:00 am.
I wouldn't have chosen this morning...I am certainly hoping the rest of the day doesn't follow suit. However, it does feel good to be so productive, even if I was forced into it. How's that for optismism?!?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

all the yuckies

Dirt. I have lots of dirt in this house. My kids like dirt. Gavin likes to dig in it. Brayden likes to eat it. I, well, I like to clean it.
Poop. My kids are regulars. Gavin talks about his "big poo-poos" when he finishes with them. He likes to see me flush poo poo. He reminds me we can still smell the poo-poo. (With my boys, sometimes it's hours later.) Brayden, he just poo-poos a lot and in very odd shades. I, well, I am pretty certain, our garbage can will forever smell like poo-poo, even when the diaper days are long gone.
Boogers. Gavin will only allow you to get them out if he can "see 'em" when you're done. The amount of snot and bugers that have left my children's nostrils is amazing. The amount that has been transfered to my left shoulder is just as incredible. Gavin likes to see 'em. Brayden likes to smear them. I, well, I like to wash them off my clothing.
Dirt, poop and boogers. We refer to them all as "yuckies" here, but my boys are starting to become fascinated with the yuckies. I am sure it is just the beginning. My boys like messes and here they have an OCD mother. God smiles. Thanks for the lessons Big Guy.


So, we were at church and had a guest speaker (and friend) speak on her international ministry. She started Kidzana 10 years ago in her basement and it has now turned into a hugely recognized international ministry that teaches leaders to teach kids. It's awesome...they go into different countries around the world and teach the importance of reaching children for Jesus and then teach the locals to do it!!! I was inspired. I wanted to give God my everything and see what he does.
Same night: I watched a Hallmark show on a women who saved over 2,500 jewish children in the Holocost. Mothers had to give up their children to save the kid's lives. This women risked her life time and again, got beaten for it and watched her friends get shot for it. I realized, I am not ready to give up everything. Could I hand over my child? Could I even ask someone else to hand over thiers? I am not sure I am ready for everything.
I want to be. I want to give God my all. I want to be willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to glorify Him and his kingdom. But I am not sure I have arrived. I am praying someday I will. I figure it's a start. Until then, I am proud to be His work in progress.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

He's really one...

Today, Brayden is really one. He won't remember today. He doesn't know it. He didn't know what to do with his present (his brother did...and that wasn't too pretty). He didn't like his party hat, it didn't help that mommy accidentally snapped the elastic on his cheek. He isn't sure why mommy keeps trying to pull his pointer finger out and hold it in the air. He doesn't get it. But I do.

I get it all too well. A year ago today, I had my second baby boy. He was little with tons of black hair. He was so tiny and came so fast. He slept a lot. He pooped a lot. He grew. He pooped more. He started laughing and smiling. He sat up. He still pooped quite a bit. He crawled. He started out with his first steps. And he turned one.

To him it's just another Thursday, where he goes into childcare at MOPS and we go about our routine. But not to me. Looking back at my baby, in his big boy car seat, facing forward, with his now blond hair, his toothy smile and watching his eyes flutter shut and his head lilt to the side as he gives into sleep...I am in awe of this child and the year I have had with him.

Sometimes I want those baby days back. But it is because of the last 365 days of learning about and getting to know this little person, I couldn't love him more. I want to hold him all day. But he's a big boy now and he has things to discover and places to go. I will settle for stealing as many cheek kisses as possible. And though he won't...I will remember today for him.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Young again...

I am finally beginning to understand how come we all thought our parents were nerds when they acted like kids. I firmly believe, after 25, you never feel older, you just get older. Therefore, when you do something that a 25 year old (or younger) might do, people think you are...well, dumb. Tonight I was "dumb" and I loved it.
Two of my dear friends, Stephanie and Janelle, and I went out. These ladies are now in High School, though I met them when they were 7 & 10 and I had just started as Director of Children's Ministry. And though they were just "little kids" they became some of my best friends at church. Not so little anymore, but still dear to my heart, I have wanted to see them for a long time. But they are in High School, which translates to...they have lives. And well, I am a mom, which translates to...no life, but two really cute tag-a-longs. It's been a long time coming, but we finally had a reason to make this get together happen....Hannah Montana.
Bless these girls, they were the ones I would drag to all the teeny bop films when I worked at the church. I love those flicks. Stephanie has probably seen more Hillary Duff than and girl should and I remember making Janelle listen to Hillary in the car. (Yes, they still hung out with me...go figure?) Anyway...since Hannah came out, we made a date.
It was "life-changing" as Janelle put it. We laughed, Stephanie sang along with "The Climb" (pretty full volume, too) and we all held hands as Hannah revealed she is really Miley (spoiler alert...sorry if I ruined this for any closet fans). And I was young again...we took our picture with our tickets and decided it was worth all 10 dollars we had to pay. I love those girls.
It's moments like this, where I can't believe I am a mom. I walked back to my car, saw the car seats and thought...really? When did I become old enough to have two car seats and a sippy cup in the cup holder? Am I old enough to raise kids? Shouldn't there be some permit I had to get? Cuz seriously, Janelle and Steph are great with kids and though in High School, sometimes I think they might really have better ideas on what to do with my kids than I do. When did I become 31? And why does 60 seem "young" now?
I would like to take this moment to thank Janelle and Stephanie, for letting me be young again...or old and dumb...I am not sure which. They have made my life better on so many levels that I only pray one day they will understand. I look at them and though they are technically young, they are much older than the 7 and 10 year olds I first knew and I am so proud of them and in such awe of the women they are becoming! I pray my kids grow up to have the same kindness towards people and love of the Lord they have.
And though, I still want to get dates with them to sit down and catch up and get to know what's happening in their hearts and lives, I can't help but thank the Lord for a night out with Janelle, Stephanie and Hannah. Thanks girls, for not being too old for Hannah or too young for a thirty one year old mom. I love you. And I love Hannah.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Daddy's Birthday at Jimmy's...ahhh...heaven in the form of pizza for dad!
Brayden's first bit of cupcake.

Not so into the party hat!

Gavin eyeiung his handy work on his first ever dyed Easter eggs...he loved it!

First day of shorts!!! Yes, in Washington, that's a celebration!
These are just a few of our April celebrations...more to come I am sure!

Friday, April 10, 2009


Somedays I feel like all I have done is use directives or ask silly questions. No touch. Don't hurt your brother. Get down. Get up. Stand still. Come here. Say please. Say thank you. Do you need to go potty? Is that yours? What did mommy say? Why are you in a time out? Between these I am trying to run a household...laundry, dishes, diapers, laundry, dishes, diapers. And on the days where no one seems to be listening and nothing seems to be getting done, I have to truly wonder if my children are excited to get into bed and leave the grumpy lady to herself. I give myself the mom pep talk, "Do it now and it will pay off later...kids are resilient...blah, blah, blah." But in the end, somedays you just feel bad and wished it had gone different.
This week I had a small insight. Shawn was home on spring break and so there was some more mommy freedom. Gavin would cry when I left...even if it had been a time out day and he was having fun with dad. When I came back, Brayden would do his happy bounce and immediately come to be my little leg warmer. Gavin would meet me at the door. One morning, after I had fed the kids and gotten them dressed, Shawn took over and I went to lie down (bless him). I heard Gavin running all over the house searching for me and screaming, "Mommy, whereareyou? Mooooommy. Crying to be with me." To spite the fact that it pretty much annhilated any thought of a nap, it lifted my spirits to know he wanted me around. (He would also do this when I went to the bathroom and left him with dad...then it wasn't as cute, I just wanted to use the potty.)
Seeing their desire to be with me helped. I would like to clarify here, that their dad is an amazing dad, who couldn't be more fun if he tried. Really...he's incredible. But it was good to know, there's just something about a mom. To my kids...I have that somthing. I may be grumpy sometimes and I may be the time out lady, but they know I love them. The happy bounce and the crying tell me so.

It pays to be cute

It starts so young.
This morning I heard Gavin's voice from in my room, "Mama, help please."
I went to open the door and looked down. "You are not supposed to be in there without Mom or Dad."
"Sorry, Mama." He voiced, as he tried to edge around me. It is then I notice his clenched fist and his desire to get me out of the way.
"Gavin, what is in your hand."
"Scuse me Mama." So focused on getting to his room. I followed him to see him march straight over to his piggy bank and start depositing the coins he had confiscated from Shawn's change jar. The little sneak!
I had to laugh. He loves that piggy bank. As Shawn pointed out, "We could give him buttons and he'd be just as happy. Don't worry about it." I am not worried...yet. I am sure someday, the child will think money grows on trees and he'll sneak to the change jar because he really wants that quarter! When that day comes, I will have to teach him he can't just have money, it's got to be earned.
But for now, I had to give him some props for his ability save and to put his cuteness to use. He has earned many a dollar today transfering those coins from daddy's jar to his bank. I'll tell you what...if he weren't so cute, his pursuit would have been stopped. But until he really understands the value of a dollar, he's going to make bank.

Monday, April 6, 2009


It is amazing how various items we own, which at first appear so harmless, turn into weapons of distruction the minute a little boy touches them. The latest and greatest at our house is the "ho-yo"...aka yo-yo.
Gifted to him at the Easter egg hunt Gavin recentely attended, said yo-yo has been on the rampage for two days now. To spite the fact that the packaging said for three and under, we opened it, had it sized for him and now we are jumping, ducking and pulling Brayden aside to avoid it's onslaught. Brilliant, I know. (Why start heeding the age recommendations now?)
Gavin was needing it rolled up again and again. He can get about one "yo" out of it and then he needs help. Finally giving up on the up and down motion, he has taken to swinging it around and whacking whatever may be in it's way. We tried to teach him "walk the dog" and had him dragging it behind him, telling him, "Look, you are doing a trick." Not to be decieved, this lasted for about two minutes before the yo-yo was back in motion over his head and into his brothers.
Finally we gave up and made the yo-yo an outside toy. It sleeps indoors. Yes I have even tucked it into a blanket. Outside it comes alive at full force. I will say, my bushes and plants have taken a thrashing, but it beats his brothers head or my shin.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

We did it!

Brayden's birthday party is coming up. I have been finishing his scrapbook, editing his first year video, getting the supplies and putting together the favors. During each task, I think, I cannot believe it...ONE! And as much as I am celebrating him, I took a moment today, to celebrate the fact that I made it too.
It's like graduating from high school, everyone asks "Where are you going to college?". Excuse me, how about a "Congrats on the 12 years of school you just managed to finish! Way to go...take some time to celebrate." Nope, instead we all move to look ahead. As parents I don't think we recognize that we too, have accomplished something.
One year of diapers down.
Continual sleepless nights, done.
Bottle cleaning, over.
Fighting with my husband about who gets up at 1am to get the baby, until we are both wide awake...no more.
Poop up the back...well, not nearly as much.
Baby carrots staining clothing...finito.
Setting down the baby only to see him topple over...not unless his brother is around to push him.
Being the only source of babies nutrition...nope!
We did it! And to top it off, we have a beautiful, smiling, healthy, child who is starting to walk, laughs often and is ready to conquer the great big world. I say we did allright. Did he fall along the way...yes. Did we drop him? Only once. Did he get sat on by his brother. A few times. Did he get sick. A little. Did he survive...you bet! And we survived with him.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy Heart

I am trying to teach Gavin to have a "Happy Heart". (By this I actually mean content heart, but it doesn't sound as kid friendly, so I'm stickin' with happy.) He is a sweet child, but can get frustrated easily and is having a hard time with first time obedience and rejoicing at his brother's success. Even as I write it, this seems like some big expectations for a 2 year old, but when you break it down, I don't think it is.
To accept that we aren't going to do choo-choo train colors every minute of the day shouldn't be a monumental chore. To get in his chair when I tell him to...not too tough. It shouldn't take me asking three times and I should not hear "No." To say "Good Job Brayden" when he walks, instead of pushing him down...it can be done. All of these things I know he is capable of.
And so we institute time outs. (To be honest, Gavin obeys best when I tell him to go to time out. He runs there crying, but he goes the first time I ask him...weird.) Or when he has a fit because he is frustrated, he has to sit on his bed with his blanky until he can have a "Happy heart". I feel as though lately Gavin is in time out or on his bed, quite often. It is frustrating...not only for me, but for him too, I am sure.
We want our family to be about getting along, trying hard, and encouraging one another. And so daily, I gear up to do battle again, with a two year old who has yet to see beyond himself. And as I send him to time out for the ...I don't know what time...I realize I need to use each minute he's in there to pray. Because, my lessons may be a means to an end, but his heart will never see beyond himself without God's help. And frankly, my heart won't be so happy without some divine intervention as well!