Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Butterflies and Thankfulness




Weird. It's my new word. I use it a lot. Like when Mommy was playing Mario Kart yesterday (Yes, Mommy plays Mario Kart on days she feels she needs an escape from life).

You know what's weird about Mario Kart? The ghost race.

"That's weird," I say.

You know what else is weird? Caterpillars that come in the mail.

"Weal weird."

They came scrawny, small, and awfully hungry because in just one day they doubled in size. They grew. and grew. and grew.

Which, meant they also did a lot of pooping. Mommy even got to see one do his job in action.

Weird.

You know what's weirder than that? The chrysalises they made. It wrapped all around their bodies. They hung upside down. waiting.



Well, one didn't. In Mommy's excitement to show us the first formed chrysalis she managed to knock it off its perch. There it lay. On the pooped infested floor. We thought he was a goner. In fact, we thought he was decapitated.

You want to know what's weird?

It wasn't.

Nope, approximately 10 days later that "decapitated" caterpillar crawled out of the chrysalis a butterfly. His head was in tact.

A few days later, the four others joined him. Or should I say her?

We watched them flutter their wings as they grew and hardened. We watched them fly about the net. We watched them eat the sugar water.

Did you know they taste with their feet?

Weird.



You know what else is weird? Mommy says that's kind of what God does to people when they become Christians. They become a new creature. They change in amazing ways.

Because of Jesus.

Don't believe me? Well, it's in the Bible.

"Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." 2 Cor. 5:17

Now, don't go getting too excited. I don't think any of us will be changing into butterflies. Bummer, because I really wanted to fly. But apparently this change far surpasses any change we witnessed. Sounds pretty awesome to me even if it doesn't involve fluttery wings.


So, with that, Mommy continues with her list of thankfulness...

#71: God's creativity with His creation

#72: being able to watch a caterpillar transform into a
        butterfly

#73: the wide array of creation we can enjoy each day, a
        playground for our senses

#74: sunscreen that lets us play at the pool for hours

#75: another lead for John's job

#76: three healthy children
#77: the men and women who have serve our country and
        willingly put themselves in harms way to protect what
        we enjoy freely

#78: a daughter who is such a helper with the younger kids

#79: Grant attempting to put his clothes on by himself
        today.

#80: dusk, the most peaceful time of day to me


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Where are the Cowboys?






















No, we didn't move to Montana. I hear horses run rampant there. Nope. We drove right down the road. It was $5 horse ride night. It happened to be Grant's birthday night too.



So we saddled up.




And did a little ridin' the range. For those Backyardigans fans out there, have you seen that episode?


However, one thing was missing. Upon arriving I asked, "Where are the cowboys?" Of course this sent Mommy into song, "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?" Whatever. Daddy informed us that these were cowGIRLS. They were missing their hats.


Nonetheless, we went with it. We rode those horses like we were pros. However, when Grant was asked if he'd like his horse to go faster, he replied with a clear and unapologetic, NO.




On the other hand, my horse did a little gallop and turn. I won't lie. I was a little scared.






But perhaps horses are in my future. It may be just the profession for me, jockeying. They like um little and well, I am little.




I wonder if they'd let me wear a cowgirl hat?


Friday, May 27, 2011

Five Minute Friday: On Forgetting


GO:


Forgetting. It plagues me all the time it seems. Just today I asked John, "Did I already tell you about...?"





Forgetting. It seems to expand as your family expands. That well oiled laundry system I was bragging about just days ago. It's hit a snag. I forget to fold. Forget to add more clothes. Okay, who am I kidding, I remember that. I walk by it daily. Sometimes there are things I wish I COULD forget.





Forgetting. Too quickly I forget those "cute" things my children just said. I think, I'll remember that only to find MOMENTS later I'm trying to recall exactly what was so cute as I try to tell someone else.





Forgetting. I forget how Hannah sounded at two. I long not to forget those things. I forget how Grant looked as I cuddled him at night those many nights we were up late thanks to those early newborn days.





Forgetting. Why can't I forget those things I want to forget. Harsh words. Hurt feelings. Sad memories.






Forgetting. Why I have this blog. As a way to remember through words and pictures those times that pass too quickly.


STOP.







Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mr. Clean









Mommy needs some help. From dirty floors to splattery mirrors, Mommy's got her work cut out for her. And, let's face it, there's always work to be done. And, let's face it again, Mommy doesn't always get around to it.






So, just call me Mr. Clean.






My signature job, cleaning the toilets. When a toilet needs cleaning, I come running. literally.









And yes, that is a mold ring around the toilet. Don't tell Mommy I told you that.



also, excuse the tiny font..blogger will not, I repeat, will not allow us to change its size



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Conversations with...Hannah



Yes, we are gearing up for a Pirate Party which has no relation to what I am about to post but just loved this picture of my silly Hannah.





Just today...






Hannah: Mommy I don't like this show (Dragon Tales).



Me: Why?



Hannah: because they do a lot of wishing and not praying






That's my girl.

Monday, May 23, 2011

One Thousand Gifts: 51-70





Thankful,








for...








#51: a lead today for John's business







#52: a trapped fox







#53: memorized Scripture to fight anxious thoughts







#54: dinner with friends







#55: Hannah's growing success in beginning to read







#56: a great big squeezy hug from Grant







#57: that the Lord gives "us this day our daily bread."







#58: a laundry system that IS FINALLY running like a well oiled machine







#59: people who make me laugh







#60: the sounds little Kate makes







#61: fresh picked flowers







#62: hearing my kids say "I forgive you."







#63: another birthday for Grant






#64: $5 horse rides






#65: prayer






#66: the end to the Oprah show (one girl who WON'T be saddened on May 25th)






#67: a swimming pool on a hot day






#68: a pudgey Grant belly






#69: a healthy check up for Grant






#70: the food co-op







Sunday, May 22, 2011

Taking the Reigns















I've heard Mommy say more than once she hates the baby food stage. Well, I love the baby food stage. In fact, there isn't a food I've turned away. So, I thought I'd take it upon myself to help. You know, feed myself. I try to grab the spoon. I'm successful a lot. Then, I attempt to put the spoon into my mouth. I even graze the side of my face, like she seems to do, to get those extra chunks off. You know, put them where they need to go, my mouth.



Then, there are those times I'm not successful, meaning Mommy and I play tug of war with my spoon. Oh, Mommy, do you see how this is creating a bigger mess? Baby food slung more readily across the chair, floor, table, face, clothes, hands, etc.? If only you'd let me take the reigns. If only you knew my heart's desire to help. I think I could ease your frustration.



Nope, instead Mommy brought in a reinforcement, Hannah. Oh boy, that was a disaster. Stay tuned.


And yes, for those observant readers, my bib comes unhooked a lot. Mommy says I have a "girthy" neck.


No, I don't take steroids.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Picture Time
















I'm at a loss for words. Except, what was Mommy thinking? She drags us outside. Our animal chairs follow. Okay, I don't think they can walk. But, they were there. Somehow. And then, we come in.




Picture time.



What?



Hannah was ready. Hannah is always ready. She strikes a pose on command. You can tell she's been trained. She's been doing this 4 1/2 years.



Grant, poor guy, got woken up from his nap. Dragged outside. And BAM! expected to smile on command.



Me, well, I was ready for my nap. However, I found out real fast that wasn't going to happen.




There she sits us. Mommy. On our respective animals.



Take one.


I can't sit. So, I'm given the alternative. Lie on the sheep. Great. Good. Just, don't ask Grant to hold my head. Nor Hannah to place her hand on my tummy as though the Heimlic was about to begin. Can you say, awkward?





Take two. Grant picks his nose. Really? Gross. Get me outta here! Hannah where are you?



Take thirty. Quit breathing in my face, the botha you. When did you last brush your teeth?



Take...uh...lost count. Grant wake up...naptime was over an hour ago. Hannah, put your hands down. You aren't being arrested. I can't calm down because I still can't get over the boogers, bad breath, and head holding.



Mommy would have been better off taking pictures of our animal chairs. It seems they never stopped smiling the whole time.









Friday, May 20, 2011

Five Minute Friday: When Seasons Change




Today my son is three.





He came into this world with a bang. The labor was...well laborious. 9 lbs. 12 ounces of him. STUCK. No method of pushing could get that baby out. I screamed. A LOT. To the point where the nurse told me to quit screaming and start pushing. Evil eyes glared back at her. Had she ever had an almost 10 pound baby stuck in her pelvis? No amount of pushing was getting him out. It took a vaccum to get my baby out. I'm thankful for vaccums.






His entry into this world was indicitive of his personality. He's a firey guy. Passionate. But tender hearted. Our first few months, rocky. Too much sleeping. Too little weight gain. Okay, he lost weight. Quite the crier. For those faithful followers, the Walmart post should remind you. And when I say crier, I really mean screamer. Yes, he screamed bloody murder from the time we left the house until the time we got home.





Now, the season has changed. Those days of wracking hands over feeding, sleeping, screaming..have come to a close. Well, I'm still wracking my hands over feeding (he always asks to eat), and sleeping (he visits me in the middle of the night wanting to snuggle), and screaming (yeah, we're still working on that one, thankfully it's not when we're out and about).





But seasons have changed. He's a preschooler now. Babyhood. gone. Toddlerhood. gone. Preschoolhood. here we are. But soon to pass just as quickly as his first three years.





Life's seasons change all too quickly in this thing called motherhood. Just as I think I've got a handle on one season, BOOM, we're catapulted into the next. Sometimes I'm glad to be moved on to a new season, other times, I'm saddened. Too quickly my children grow. Too quickly they change. It's like they become a new person during each season, leaving behind who they were just a few short years ago.





But when seasons change, I am to be thankful. Thankful we made it to another season. Thankful for the precious time I had in the past and looking forward to the memories to be made in this season and the next.





So, Grant, happy birthday. I am embracing another season with you. A new season full of learning and growing. I'm saying goodbye to your toddler years and hello to these preschool years. You are a blessing in our life. Just as you are.




Thursday, May 19, 2011

Christmas Challenge





Christmas Challenge 2011 is on! Several days ago I earned a $15 credit to Zulily thanks to a friend who signed up under me and purchased something. So, I've been looking through the daily deals to see if anything caught my eye for my kids for Christmas. Honestly, the thought of "buying" more toys for my kids is a bit overwhelming. If you're anything like us, toys are beginning to take over our home. And, it seems that half the things I think they will LOVE, they never end up playing with. Instead they choose sticks, pillows, rocks, and whatever else they can find around the house that AREN'T toys. So, I'm trying to be wise with what I "buy." Well, today I did find something from International Playthings. It's an activity mat (like a tablecloth) with pictures, mazes, and other activities to do. You use washable markers and then after they're done, you wash it and you can do it again. My kids love coloring. What kids don't? It was regularly $30. It was on sale for $13.99. So, with my $15 (which can be put toward shipping too!) I purchased it. My grand total was $4.96. This will be under the tree for Hannah, but of course I'm sure she and Grant will both play with it. It's big enough for 6 kids. So, first Christmas purchase: check.



Total of $100 spent: $4.96

Total left: $95.04




If you are interested in signing up for Zulily (I really do love their site), then click my "Christmas Challenge" title. Then, ask your friends to sign up with you so you too can start earning some free $15.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Come On, Rain!"


















Rain boots: check



raincoats: check



UMBRELLAS: check



Rain:




still waiting...



As Mommy's favorite children's book says, "Come On, Rain!"

Monday, May 16, 2011

One Thousand Gifts: 41-50





It's been awhile. But my list continues...







#41: a meal out at Cracker Barrel thanks to a gift card from a neighbor John helped







#42: the joy that exudes my children and continually brings lightheartedness into my days






#43: that the Lord strengthens us to do all things, that we don't have to muster it up ourselves






#44: free movie rentals at the Blockbuster kiosk






#45: family that shares in our joys and our struggles






#46: Aleve...modern medicine in general that can wipe out a nasty migraine among many other



things






#47: watching a caterpillar turn into a butterfly with my children and being reminded of our



own transformation as believers, that, in Christ, we are a new creation.






#48: the Lord's provision for our family this week thanks to swing sets needing stained and foxes



needing trapped but more importantly thanks to a hard working husband willing to do



those jobs






#49: coupons, another way in which the Lord has provided for us






#50: when my son shouts "yay! school time!"










Sunday, May 15, 2011

Big Brother








Don't mess with my sisters. You'll be sorry. You mess with them, you mess with me. And while I may not be older than Hannah, I'm definetly working my way to bigger. I wear my shirt seriously. More importantly, I take my role seriously (or maybe it's the fact Mommy told me we had to go in and I didn't want to).

Friday, May 13, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Deep Breath







My friend, Laura Beth, inspired me to partake in "5 minute friday," a writing prompt started by The Gypsy Mama. The writer in me loves writing prompts. Each Friday she posts a prompt and encourages her readers to spend 5 minutes in response to that prompt. A bit stream of consciousness style. Love this idea. The prompt this Friday, Deep Breath.


Breathe in. Time has stopped. The kids are in bed. John is in bed. Life has stopped for just a few minutes. A few minutes to collect myself. To stop myself. To remind myself. To sort through my scattered thoughts.


It seems life moves full force, like a freight train. How did we get here? I looked at my husband the other night as we were eating. I looked at our three beautiful children. Then I asked, "How did we get here?" It seems just yesterday I was lacing up my running shoes and racking my hands, nervous for the race about to begin. Life was simple then. I didn't know it. But it was.


So I take a deep breath. Here I am. 15 years, one husband, and three kids later. The days move fast. The years, faster. All the more reason to take a deep breath. To stop before more time slips away. To breathe in and remind myself of my purpose, my roles the Lord has given me. To live each moment as a good steward with what the Lord has given me: a husband, a home, three children, a relationship with my King.


So tonight I am reminded to take a deep breath and to stop, to remind myself that life is not a race and to slow down in order to live purposefully this life the Lord has given me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mommy's Moment: A Christmas Challenge

Okay, so, Christmas is clearly a ways away. But today I had an idea. I am setting a goal to spend no more than $100 on my kids' Christmas. That is $33.33 per child. I'm a bit hesitant to make that goal. BUT, I want to TRY to do it. Money is tight these days. But thanks to programs like Swagbucks, Zulily, MyPoints, survey sites and a new site I just joined, EverSave...I can earn free money to put toward's my kids' Christmas. If you aren't a member yet of EverSave or MyPoints, sign up through me! Let me know and I'll send you an email! I'll get free money to put toward a purchase. If you aren't signed up with Zulily...click the link below. Every time someone signs up under me and makes a purchase, I'll get $15. And of course, the same goes for you when someone signs up under you! Here's the link:

http://www.zulily.com/invite/jharman454

As I make purchases for my children, I'll post what I spent and what I bought. I also have a few items in my gift closet that I purchased during the Target clearance sale back in January. I will include those prices (they're still on the box) as well if I decide to put those items under the tree.

So, I'm excited. Excited to see if I can do it. Excited to see the Lord's provision in creative ways. And it holds me accountable for making wise decisions regarding spending money toward our Christmas.

And of course, with this post I can't not put a button on for Swagbucks. I've earned over $500 in Amazon gift cards simply by searching the web with their search engine. So, if you're one of the few out there who have not jumped on the bandwagon..click the button below. For every 450 points you earn you can cash it in for a $5 Amazon gift card. And they've added lots of new gift cards too that you can earn. And, I'll earn your points along with you up to 1000!


Search & Win

So, Christmas Challenge 2011 is on! Anyone want to join me?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Disappointment
























I know, I'm only four, but I've had my share of disappointments. Mommy's refusal to let me wear the butterfly skirt, flower shirt, and navy blue knee high socks out in public is one. Another is the fact I can't have a treat after every meal. But nothing is more disappointing to me than Easter egg hunts. If I could make lists, that would be my number one. Let me explain.



Last year, I attended my second egg hunt in our neighborhood. To put it in a nutshell, they began the egg hunt before my little legs could make it to the starting line. The result, I stood in the middle of the field, tears streaming down my face with an empty basket. Talk about embarrassing. But, there was hope. They directed me and a few other's with empty baskets to a small area with a few more eggs. However, I was outdone again, but this time by adults. Yes, adults were jumping in front of me and hoarding the eggs in their shirts. Mommy stood up for me. The greedy adults, however, paid little mind to Mommy's plea. In the end, the hunt was a disappointment, my first egg hunt disappointment.



This leads me to my SECOND egg hunt disappointment. We arrived this year prepared. Daddy asked the officials if the adults would be reminded to only let the kids gather the eggs. Apparently Daddy wasn't the only adult who gave this reminder. Grant and I scanned the field of eggs. We mapped out our plan. Then, we waited. and waited. and waited. It seemed we waited forever. But we were patient. We gazed upon the eggs set before us. We imagined what goody lay inside. We could almost taste the sweet candy melting in our mouths. And we hoped. We hoped for that golden coin. What did it mean? What would it bring for us?



Finally, the officials called Grant's age group to the line. Basket in hand, he was ready. Parents were reminded to only point out eggs and let the children put them in their basket. We had high hopes for Grant. He was one of the older ones this year. His legs were stronger. His arms, more muscular. Yes, he was ready. The caller gave the command. Grant and Mommy were off. However, it seems most parents did not heed the advice of the caller. As Mommy recalled,



"One parent scooped their child up and ran with him as if he was a football."



The chaos was appalling. Parents went ecstatic. By the time Grant picked up his first egg (and tried to open it then and there unaware of the consequences of that fatal move), the eggs were gone. In fact, those greedy parents who managed to throw eggs into their child's basket had, in fact, gathered eggs in my designated section. Leaving only a handful for us to hunt.


And, there stood Grant. He managed to gather one more egg in the mad rush. He stood proud, though. He, HE, himself, found those two eggs. Mommy didn't throw his in the basket. It was the work of his little hands and feet. I told him to raise his head high. Be proud. Even after a one year old, who's basket overflowed with eggs (can you say "competitive parent?"), tried to take Grant's TWO eggs from his basket, I told him not to be ashamed, that he earned his eggs. That boy will grow up and still be expecting his daddy to help him while Grant is a successful business man, reaping the benefits of hard work and some blood, sweat, and tears.


He stared blankly at me.


After watching that fiasco, Daddy coached me. He laid before me a plan. A plan of success. Make a beeline to the back of my section. Start gathering eggs. But, you see, it was a failed plan from the beginning. I was ready, yes. But I was outnumbered. Outnumbered by boys taller and faster than me. By boys and girls armed with more experience. More tenacity. More drive. So, when the caller yelled, "GO!" I did run. I made a beeline. It just seems so did everyone else. And before I could reach down for an egg...they were all gone. It was only due to one boy's disinterest in one of his many eggs, that I was able to get one. It was last year all over again. I froze. My eyes welled up. I looked back at Mommy and Daddy and I cried. Daddy came to my rescue. Tears of disappointment rolled down my cheeks.


So, when one mentions disappointment, I can't help but think of egg hunts.


However, thanks to Mommy and our neighbor, Mrs. Julie, I'm beginning to rebuild. Rebuild my respect for egg hunts. Shortly after my "after egg hunt" nap, my friend Emma, Grant, and I, enjoyed another egg hunt. One where we weren't competing against over zealous parents and more experienced kids. And I must say, this time I was not disappointed.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

In Training







Happy Mother's Day to all the Mommies out there. I spent today in training with my mom.



Today marked a first for me. I went for a run with Mommy. I've been asking for awhile, you see. Most of the time, okay, ALL of the time, except for today, the answer has been no.




Today, I hit the jackpot.


Mommy told me to throw on some running clothes and lace up my sneakers because today was the day.




Well, I don't REALLY have running clothes. But we made do with the clothes I had. I picked it out all by myself. It was important to look as much like Mommy as I could. And, as far as lacing up the sneakers go, my Nike's are all velcro. So, no lacing required.




But, in a few short minutes I was ready to go. I reminded Mommy that we need to stretch before we run. So stretch we did.



And then...

WE WERE OFF.


I soon realized, however, that running is hard work. So, I had to stop. And, I advised us to stretch, again. So, hands and feet on the concrete, we stretched. And then we walked. And then we stretched. And then we ran. . .for 3 paces. And then we walked. And then we stretched. And stretched. And stretched. It seems I have quite the knack for stretching. And, it's a lot easier than the actual running. So, why not looked like an experienced runner while actually not having to put forth much of the effort? I even showed Mommy the stretches we do in dance class. As Miss Anna calls these stretches, "a good hurt." I reminded Mommy of that as we stretched.


Overall, my first run was a success. Mommy and I talked about flowers, trees, bugs, sitting in clouds, telling lies (of course we should never do this), and I showcased my new song for her about Jesus.


I can't wait for our next "run."

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Great Outdoors



























We play hard.






Anyone who stops by our house between the hours of 3pm and 7pm will likely find us outside. At the end of the day the remnants of our fun cover our skin. Dirt. Grass. Food eaten in a hurry. Sticky residue from spilled bubbles. Occasional sunscreen left over from sprinkler jumping. Lots of chalk. And most importantly, big smiles. Bikes, swings, leaves, bugs, friends, and imagination all work together to ensure endless hours of fun. It's a kid's wonderland. We can't help but SMILE!