Sunday, July 31, 2011

Work It



I'm passionate for fashion. So passionate that some days I cry when I'm misunderstood. And that misunderstanding requires me to put different clothes on. On this day, I chose my swimsuit (a very versatile piece) with my butterfly print skirt paired with leggings (a must have with EVERY outfit) and I chose to accessorize with this pink headband. And what fashionista doesn't have her signature pose to accentuate her look? I call this pose, "Little Bird Learning to Fly."

And, if you stick around long enough (short enough) you'll find how quickly my creative juices flow as I don a new outfit just as mindblowing as the last.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Still








In the stillness there is peace.

A dirt road stuck in the middle of the busyness of life was where I went to enjoy the stillness.

Planning to run, I found myself compelled to walk.

It was still. Peaceful. No cars. No people. Silence.

It was wonderful.

I found myself going to that dirt road often. To think. To pray. To clear my mind.



I was reminded that He is called The Prince of Peace.

I realized I loved Peace. I didn't want to leave this little dirt road each afternoon. I was drawn to its stillness. Its peace.

And it made me understand just a tiny bit more Jesus. It made me want to be in His presence more. He is peace.

And in the stillness of those afternoons, I think I caught a glimpse of His presence.

Be still my soul.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mommy's Moment: What Could Have Been



Sigh.

A wall of toys stood before me. A handful of blue tokens were tightly gripped in my little hand. Weeks of tutoring at Sylvan Learning Center and finally I could cash in on my hard work. The Muppet toy caught my eye. But was it the right purchase? A pack of Kool-Aid straws, for some odd reason, also caught my eye. Trying to be reasonable and feeling pressured, I went against my gut, and cashed in my blue tokens for none other than, Kool-Aid straws.

I remember my mom asking me, "are you sure that's what you want?"

It wasn't. But I felt pressured. Pressured to buy "just the right thing." And though I knew I'd enjoy the Muppet game more, I cracked and made a purchase I regretted. Obviously, because here I sit, 30 years old, still remembering that moment.

Flashforward 22 years.

Sigh.

I just returned from Pier 1. I love Pier 1. It was my store of choice before the tightening of the spending due to the arrival of children.

A $10 off of $10 coupon sent me and the three kids on an evening errand to this previous paradise. I can't pass up 10 free dollars, especially not now when the money is extra tight. But with the excitement, comes the pressure.

It sends my mind whirling.

Who do I buy for? What do I buy? What can I buy that hits as close to $10 as possible? Pier 1 makes it really hard to spend exactly $10. Their prices are $9.97, $8.78...I know your scheme Pier 1. And I'm not happy.

The kids, hoping to stumble upon a special toy, eagerly enter Pier 1 Paradise.

"They don't have toys," I say, much relieved.

But, nonetheless, they add to the pressure. Not only am I on search for "the perfect find" but I'm also under time constraint. How long do I have before a child knocks something over, screams, or possibly falls out of the stroller?

It's not long until Grant says, "can we please go home?" or Hannah knocks a nick nack off the shelf, or Kate leans a little too far forward, almost tipping out. Okay, there is a seat belt but in the rush of getting in and out I did not take the time to fasten her in. I know, bad mother. But she never fell out, for the record.

So I start to sweat. I hit up the jewelry (did you know Pier 1 has jewelry now?). I spot a necklace that I could get a sister for Christmas. Some cute earrings for Mom perhaps. $7 each. Dilemma. I've got to add $3 to my total. To the kids excitement, and to my astonishment, toys junk, that should cost NO MORE than $1 sit overly priced right next to the jewerly. In a rush decision I tell them they MAY be able to pick one toy out. Tell your kids MAYBE and to them it means YES. In the midst of their excitement I return the necklace and thus, turn my MAYBE into a NO. Bad mistake. Suddenly my $10 has turned into THEIR $10 and they immediately begin to whine about what THEY want.

Hoping they'll forget what they just saw, we take yet another walk around the store. Grant still whining he's ready to go home, Hannah pleading her case about how she wants something. And Kate, well, she too has discovered if she can reach a little farther out of her stroller she too can pick something out.

To make a long story shorter, my mind was troubled. I felt pressure. Pressure to buy just the right thing. Pressure not to spend beyond the $10. Pressure to get out of the store as fast as possible.

It was Slyvan Learning Center all over again (minus the kids).

And just like 22 years ago, I began to crack.

I spotted a nice hand soap and hand lotion set. It didn't fit in any of my gift slots. It was just something "nice" I could put in my kitchen. I didn't WANT it or really NEED it.

It was $9.98.

2 measley cents away from $10.

But, like I said, I was cracking. My thought process was shot. I returned to the overly priced toys junk. We'll grab something for $1. Good luck. After several negotiations with the kids we somehow ended up with a butterfly net contraption for $2.48 for them to share.

My mind frazzled. Ready to leave. We checked out. We paid $2.74. I could have done so much better. But, my mind no longer was willing to cooperate. We loaded up in the car. I took a deep breath. I sat with a buttefly net hitting my head and a handwash/lotion set sitting next to me. No gift crossed off the list. No immediate need met. And spending $2.74 I would not have spent if I had just not even gone to the store.

It was Sylvan all over again. Not getting what I wanted. Making a decision I would regret. Buying something out of pressure.

The ride home brought clarity to my thoughts as I realized what I should have done that would have left me with only paying cents and with an item more likely to be used or given as a gift.

But,

What's done is done.

Kool-aid straws, hand soap, and a butterfly net...all the products of my shopping pressure.

A Muppet toy and a nice Christmas gift, a fading reminder of what could have been.

Monday, July 25, 2011

One Thousand Gifts: 136-145




136: a productive day thus far

137: Proverbs 3:5-6 A reminder that He will direct my steps as I
look to Him. This gives me confidence and relief.

138: two sold jobs for John's business

139: an afternoon rain shower

140: the teeth marks on the crib; a daily reminder of the precious lives the Lord has given me and a little piece of what used to be.

141: a glass of sweet tea

142: clarity of thought last night to help me organize for today

143: a Sunday nap that provided for more clear thinking last night

144: the saline spray and Flonase that is clearing up Grant's nose (at least I think it is)

145: a quiet evening to myself to watch a girl movie and an episode of The Office

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Swagbucks


I'm sure most of you are probably happy my Swagbucks posts have slowed. And that's mainly because so have my points. But, they still are trickling through and I'm still stashing them away for the birthday/Christmas fund.

Thankfully, due to Target's amazing twice a year toy sale (75% off many toys) I've already purchased Hannah's birthday gifts. However, I needed a little something else for Kate's birthday in October. And, what does a third child REALLY need? Well, for Kate I thought she'd like her own baby doll that hasn't already been put through the ringer. So, I found Baby Stella. I've been saving my Amazon gift cards earned through Swagbucks to get her. And finally I have enough. So I just spent $0 and got Baby Stella.

Now, all my Amazon gift cards earned through Swagbucks and online surveys I can dedicate toward Christmas.

If you haven't signed up for Swagbucks, click on the button below. In a nutshell, you earn bucks every few times you search. In turn, you can trade the bucks in for gift cards and other items. As always, I go for the Amazon gift cards. It's a no brainer. You already search...why not earn a little something for it!

Search & Win

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hey Good Lookin'







I have a new friend. It seems it's just hard for us to connect. It's strange. I only see her through this window. She seems just as happy to see me as I do to see her. We laugh. Touch hands. I even tried to give her a kiss. But the connection, it just wasn't there. Odd. Other babies I've seen I can actually grab their hair, hands, clothes. But not this friend. She may be shy. That's what I'm gathering. I'll give her some time. It may just take that for her to come around and step out of her shell. You know what the oddest thing is though? Her mommy looks A LOT like mine.

Speaking of Mommy, obviously she DID NOT use Windex on this mirror and realizes these pictures will never be stolen to be used in ANY glass cleaner commercial.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Full






"In your presence their is fullness of joy. At your right hand, there are pleasures forever." Psalm 16:11

Am I full? So often I seek other things to "fill" me. I am always let down. Why am I suprised?

It's in HIS PRESENCE that their is fullness of joy. He fills me.

Since having Kate, my sleep has been radically affected. It's humbling. Humbling because I prided myself on getting Hannah and Grant on a great sleep schedule early on. Kate, well, she marches to the beat of her own drum and is not so easy to schedule. As a result, my time in the Word has been affected. Those thirty minutes I used to have before Hannah and Grant woke up are gone simply because I just can't get up any earlier than I am. As a result, I find myself more "empty" than full. More prone to wallow in my sin. More prone to fall into temptation to yell at my kids, my husband, complain about our circumstances, get irritated by people who are different than me.

But how true His Word is. There are days I can sneak in time with Him. Read His Words. Pray. And in an instant, I am reminded of His fullness. The fullness of joy. The fullness that can only be found in Him. The only fullness that will not disappoint.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Perks






Like I said before, being a third born has its perks.

Sure, I miss naps, get dragged around to different events, rarely get NEW clothes or toys for that matter, occassionaly get my feeding times pushed back, sit in a soiled diaper a bit too long, and miss some of that special one on one attention that easily gets lost in the chaos of the days.

BUT, there are some perks.

Today, I enjoyed one.

A sucker.

Word on the street is that Hannah, and Grant for that matter, would have never been allowed to taste, let alone, savor a sucker before they were one...heck even before they were  two.

But, at the young age of nine months, I enjoyed a sucker. While the chaos of the day does take away Mommy's attention at times, this can work in my favor. While Mommy cleaned up the kitchen, Hannah, seeing the elevated interest in my eyes as they remained glued to her sucker, so kindly practiced what Mommy preaches, sharing.

I'm a fan of sharing.

A lick for her, two licks for me. Way to go above and beyond Hannah. I even got a few licks off of Grant's blue sucker.

I hardly could contain myself from the sheer excitement of the sugar that soaked into my tongue and rushed through my blood. 

And can you believe it, upon seeing my new found interest, Mommy did not take the sucker away but instead, captured this priceless moment on the camera while I continued to enjoy this delicacy?! 

And that, my friends, is a perk to being the third born.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Being Nosey


I'm a tired guy. Take this picture for example. Mommy instructed me to go upstairs and get my underware on (yes, I'm totally naked under Blankey Boy). I made it halfway up the stairs, took a rest, fell asleep. Sure, I play hard. Hannah keeps me on my toes in the role of "Jack," "brother," or, my favorite, "puppy." However, I'm glad to know my tiredness may be a result of something more. Otherwise I don't know how I can keep these roles up.

You see, I've had a hard time breathing through my nose as of late. Mommy chalked it up to allergies TWO MONTHS ago. However, here we sit in July, a non allergy season, and I still remain stuffy. In fact, as I sleep, you can hear the chaos. If I crawl in bed with Mommy and Daddy I get jabs to my side to be quiet. I know, right? How can they do such a thing?

Well, come to find out, I have a very small nasal passage that has created my difficulty to breathe. I'm also known to snore on occassion. I went to see the ENT doctor yesterday. I had fun. Seriously. I got a sticker out of it and a fun ride on the swivel chair. The doc told Mommy my adenoids are large. In hopes to calm them down I get four squirts in both nostrils a day. We hope this calms the problem down. If not, well, it's to the surgery table.

Yesterday our conversation went like this,

Mommy: Grant lets squirt this up your nose.
Me: I don't want to.
Mommy: Then you can go to the hospital (or wherever) and have surgery.
Hannah: Grant, you don't want to go to the hospital.
Grant: No.
Mommy: Okay let's squirt this up your nose.

I gave in.

So, it seems having liquid squirted up my nose four times a day should help with my fatigue. Apparently all that stuffiness keeps me from a good night's sleep. Or so Mommy thinks.

I've got a months worth of nose squirts coming my way. We're praying every night my nose opens up. I can't take too much more nose squirting. And I've only done it a day.

Monday, July 18, 2011

One Thousand Gifts: 121-135



121: a short visit home to spend time with family.

122: time to catch up a bit with an old friend

123: a full night's sleep last night (minus Hannah waking me up saying, "I've got to tell you something. The clouds are dark outside.")

124: chocolate ganche cake at Publix

125: Kate being soothed in the car by holding my hand. Sweet.

126: Mario Kart (yes, I'm a fan...a little too much so lately but it provides good bonding time with Hannah and Grant, right?)

127: rainy days

128: the funny things my kids say that keep me laughing like today when Grant told me he doesn't like the Pistachio Veggie Tales movie because "it freaks me out." Or when he said, after pooping in his pants twice in a row one night last week, "I just can't believe it."

129: a safe trip to Birmingham and back

130: my kids fighting over who gets to sit next to me...I know one day I'll miss it.

131: the Holy Spirit. How encouraging to know that "we do not know what we should pray for as we ought but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." (Romans 8:26) Thankful the Lord knows sometimes, many times we are frozen in knowing what to pray and how to pray and that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us "according to the will of God." He's got my back.

132: Chore charts...a way to get my kids working a bit more around the house.

133: one clean bathroom in the house...it's better than NO clean bathrooms in the house.

134: a new farmer's market in walking distance from my house with fresh vegetables and fruits.

135: Grant putting on his underware by himself...backwards and inside out but it's on and HE did it.

Next Up...





Mommy will be the first to tell you, she's not a fan of bow headbands for babies. However, she may have recently been converted. Thanks to a friend, I was passed along this beauty of a bow. And, let's just say it's been a big hit. I wear it quite frequently to accessorize my latest look. I can dress it up or dress it down. Also to go along with my latest look in these pictures...drool. Excuse me.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Mommy's Moment: Mopping Madness



When people say having kids makes every task take twice as long, believe them. It's not a joke. I'm living proof.

Today, I made my goal small. Sweep and mop the kitchen floor. MAYBE maybe vaccum the den. Without kids around, this task could take at max 30 minutes, usually less. I'll be honest, I get overwhelmed with cleaning for so many reasons. One being I feel guilty I'm not spending quality time with my kids. Another being, why clean it up when it's going to get messed up in less than an hour again? Another, I'm just too tired. But today, today I pulled myself together to get 'er done. Seeing Kate turn into a mop and broom herself, picking up every crumb and mess stuck to the floor was my highest motivation.

So,I moved the chairs out. I even assigned Hannah and Grant in on the "fun." I allowed them to wipe the chairs down. While my chairs did not become sparkling clean, they kept Hannah and Grant busy, helping with cleaning and feeling important, for a few minutes at least. And, yes, they washed their hands thoroughly afterwards.

So, I run my all time favorite "broom," The Swivel Sweeper, across my floor only soon to be interrupted...THE FIRST TIME. Hannah has taken it upon herself to push Kate in her doll stroller. I glance at Kate. She's not screaming. She's a little bit forward in the stroller but after cautioning Hannah to be careful I decided to let the stroller ride continue. And it does. For a bit. Screaming soon permeates the air followed by, "Mom, she fell out!" I rush to the scene to find Kate on the floor and Hannah looking dumbfounded. I appease Kate and give Hannah a stern warning.

I return to my floors hoping soon to start the mopping process. Que Grant. He stares ever so longingly at the food inside the opened fridge. Getting close to lunch, I realize he's hungry but I kindly deny his one of MANY requests for a "nack." I return to preparing my mop for the big job. And I see him. He picks up his cow hat, throws it on the floor then turns and SCREAMS at me, "I'M MAD AT YOU!" Apparently he was hungrier than I thought.

I'm a bit dumbfounded. I didn't see that one coming. In fact, I can usually spot when a major meltdown is coming. I missed this one totally.

I put down the mop (that hasn't been put to work yet) to discipline. I return to my mop as Grant tries to calm down. I get a few good strokes in when I see he's ready to talk after his "discipline." I put the mop back down. I go to his side and ask why he was "disciplined."

"because I disobeyed," he manages to squeak out while sucking his thumb. And, while this may appear to be a "good" answer, it is not. In fact, it's his answer to everything when he's in trouble. And while the root of it is disobedience, there's the way in which he chose to be disobedient, like, oh, screaming in my face. And when prompted to tell me how he was disobedient he chose to cry some more and plead "I don't know."

Back to my mopping. My mop has dried out a bit from the long hiatus. I rewet it and strap it back on. Several more strokes, and then I hear Hannah (convinced she knows every thought and desire of Kate's) giving Kate another ride of her life.

"She wanted to ride again," she tells me as she moves past me. Kate's not screaming. And, giving Hannah more credit than I should have, I managed to convince myself she learned her lesson when Kate fell out.

"I'll be right back," I hear her say to me or Kate? as I push a few more strokes out on the floor.

THUD. I hear next.

"Hannah? Did she fall out again?"

"Oh yes Mommy, she fell out! She wants you!" Hannah exclaims.

Mop goes down.

Kate and the stroller lay on the floor.

Hannah, who has returned from the garage, stands next to Kate and the stroller with skates in hand. Use your imagination.

Another firm rebuking insues for Hannah along with her being forbidden to take Kate for another ride in the stroller.

I return to Grant. He's calm. He manages to tell me he screamed at me. He apologizes. We talk about how he SHOULD HAVE responded. We hug. He goes to get his blankey. Case closed.

I try to put Kate down. She screams.

The Baby Bjorn is in sight. I'll strap her up and mop, I think to myself. I do it. As quickly as I strap her up I realize it was a mistake.

While she seems to be content, I worry about the prospect of whiplash. With every hearty stroke (and I do need hearty strokes because rememeber, my floor has not been cleaned in, I won't say, and there is crustiness that needs some serious elbow grease), her head bobs.

Then the oven beeps. Did I forget to mention that I decided to throw in some chicken nuggets and fish sticks for lunch? Grant's meltdown could be due to low blood sugar. I joke. It was ready. I thrust in the lunch food (Kate carefully and securely away from any heat).

Realizing my method of mopping with Kate strapped to me was fruitless, I unstrap her and set her on the floor in the den. Screaming commences. Avoiding the inevitable. . .Hannah TO THE RESCUE!

But, I must keep mopping. I mop along only to find yet again Kate sitting in front of my eyes IN THE STROLLER,Hannah proudly standing behind her. And, here's where my parenting skills crashed and burned, I just went with it. She was happy, for the moment, I needed to finish the floor, surely Hannah would be careful this time. So, I gave in and refused to remind myself of the last words shared with Hannah.

I got a few more strokes in and immediately had to rescue Kate (again) whose arm was stuck in the stroller. I know, I know, what was I thinking? Survival.

I pulled her out. Took the final strokes to my floor. And took a deep breath. It was done.

Thanks to a few prayers for strength from the Lord, I managed to survive this without losing my temper. And I wonder where Grant gets his?

What should have taken me 30 minutes max took over an hour. And though my kids can drive me up the wall sometimes, sitting down and eating lunch with them afterwards reminds me yet again of what a priviledge it is to get to spend my crazy days with them. I love them, even if they do scream at me and disobey me.

And no, the den never got vaccumed.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Gratitude








Go.

Today I am full of gratitude...

for Chick-fil-a.

For simply dressing up like a cow, our whole family eats for FREE.

If you know me at all, you know I LOVE A GOOD DEAL.

If you know our current circumstances, a free meal is even MORE VALUABLE today.

I also have GRATITUDE for my husband, who on any other occasion would NOT, I repeat, WOULD NOT dress like a cow. But, for a free meal, he died to himself and took one for the team. This is our first year he's allowed me to take his picture, minus the trash bag cow "shirt."

And, gratitude for my kids, who humored me, as I made their hats, trash bag shirts, and painted their noses...with mascara. You see we had to be decked out from head to toe.

Hannah, a little skeptical this year asked, "why are we wearing trash bags."

"Just go with it," I say. And she did. She wore her trash bag, hat, and painted nose proudly and kept it on until we left.

Finally, I'd like to say thank you for the Chick-fil-a cow. Thank you for bringing excitement into my little Grant's face when he saw you.

He said, "the cow won't be dare. He neva is."

But I told him he comes when we dress like cows.

And he did.

And Grant hugged him. And smiled. And waved big waves. And kept his little eyes on him the whole time.

We even got our picture with him. I am grateful we most likely will never see that picture.

STOP.



Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Say WHAAAAT?







This Fourth of July SPARKED a lot of questions for me. It was my first time to celebrate this holiday and I was left, well, confused.

Is it mandatory to wear red, white, and blue? It seems Hannah, Grant, and I were all required to adorn ourselves in this fashion. . .and then to take countless pictures.

What's the point of headbands?

When someone says, "smile!" before taking a picture, should I, like Grant, pretend to have a major overbite?

Or, is it necessary to cock my head to the side like my sister?

Or, do I do both?

Better yet, is it necessary to take so many pictures of us? Mommy should know it is impossible to have us all looking at the camera at the same time.

However, I would like to point out my camera readiness.

Of greater importance, what's up with sitting outside until it gets dark, only to be further irritated by a steady DOWNPOUR of rain, only to be FURTHER FURTHER irritated by bright lights with loud booming noises while sitting in Mommy's wet lap under a wet blanket.


AND, why IN THE WORLD did Mommy think I'd actually like to sit still in her lap, in the rain, in the dark, and watch those bright lights that followed the loud booms?

BEST YET, why didn't WE have an umbrella? A raincoat? A hat?

Can you tell me where I can get one?

These are just some of my questions regarding this, this, well...holiday.

I hope YOU had a happy Fourth of July.

I just had a Fourth of July, minus the happy.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Prima Ballerina







It all started several months back. At my birthday, if you recall. My ballerina birthday. My hopes of becoming that prima ballerina began.

The past several months, I, along with a few of my friends, have been diligently practicing for our big debut as ballerinas. Miss Anna led us along this magical journey.

And, last month, we had our debut, our recital. Miss Anna wrapped our hair up in buns, painted our faces, and led us up on stage.

And we danced.

I managed to keep my tongue in my mouth most of the time. I've been working on that.

Overall, it was a success. So much so, that Miss Anna agreed to do it again in the fall. Although, I'm sad to lose some of the ballerinas (Lucy and Addyson) I look forward to sharpening my dancing skills. Next year perhaps we'll be well equipped to bust out some M.C. Hammer moves and...oh...wait...wrong genre. Let's try that again, maybe next year we'll be well equipped to take on, well, whoever is a really good ballet dancer. Someone who ends with the letters -chsky....

I bid you adieu. (courtsy)

Sunscreen Warning


You can't trust um. At least that's what the news has been saying lately. Who am I speaking of? The sunscreen companies. It seems they've been misleading us this whole time. False advertising is to blame it seems. We haven't been spared from those UVB rays. But, thankfully, Mommy has me well covered. Not in sunscreen, but in special swimsuit clothing. My special strawberry swimsuit (and matching, rather floppy and large, hat). Thanks to this getup, I'm well protected from the sun while lounging at the pool. Okay, it's not so much lounging, it's more like being carried like a sack of potatoes from the mushroom pool to the big pool while Mommy keeps up with the other two. But, we'll say it's lounging. It sounds more relaxing. And, in the midst of all that "lounging" I'm being protected from those harmful rays IN STYLE.

Mommy would like me to add the money saving that's going on here as well. Not only is my health being protected in this getup, so is Mommy's wallet. Thanks to my rashguard and hat we are spending less on sunscreen. Also, my bikini bottoms are, well, a swim diaper. So, we are also not buying swim diapers. Take that you money sucking diaper companies. And she snagged this getup for about $3 thanks to, yet again, Zulily.

And that's all I have to say about that. Word to your mother.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Welcome





Funny story along the lines of welcome.

It was early,early in our marriage. The topic of discussion: shower hooks. You know, the top of the discussion list for most marriages, right?

I like to decorate. It's a way to make our home welcoming. A place people feel comfortable and at ease. . .even in the bathroom.

We were hanging the shower curtain downstairs. I disliked the hooks that I had to use with our shower. John, the decorator he is, suggested to use the plastic hooks.

But that won't be welcoming, I said. I want the bathroom to look welcoming. What says the opposite of welcome like plastic hooks (sorry to all those who may have those in their home)?

So, I rearranged some things. Used the hooks that looked welcoming.

To this day John informs me of how welcomed he feels in our downstairs bathroom thanks to those hooks that hold our shower curtain up with such ease and style. (I'm writing with MUCH SARCASM here)

But, for you to get the full effect of how welcoming they made my bathroom feel, I've taken a picture.

WELCOME to my bathroom (or a piece of it).