31 August 2010

Of Godly Discipline

"It is for discipline that you have to endure.  God is treating you as sons.  For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons." - Hebrews 12:7-8

I have often in my life taken these words a little too closely to heart.  As in, I have stood in the crowd, watching and hurting for those in pain; I have seen others stand in the midst of God's refining fire and witnessed them come out on the other side stronger, with a faith that has truly been perfected in suffering.  Surely, God has brought forth a divine discipline to grow these people into the children He desires.  And then I look at my own life - not perfect by any means - but, still, devoid of anything I would truly consider to be a fire of any sort.  While I have felt shame at my actions and seen consequences I would have preferred to avoid, I cannot honestly say I understand the feeling of suffering.

And at times this has bothered me.  Not for some sadistic need to feel true pain but for the above verse - if I am truly a son (daughter) of God, why do I not receive this most difficult form of discipline?  Does God not think me strong enough?  Or am I so lost beyond repair that He has given up?  Not that these feelings are currently the ones that bombard my life, but I have had them in the past.

Today while reading this passage once again, along with the study notes included with my English Standard Version, I have come to a better understanding of what Godly discipline truly entails.  These notes say, "Discipline was a common term for childrearing through instruction, training, and correction."

Here is what struck me: often when we consider the term discipline, we think only of the harsh consequences.  When I think of disciplining my children I first think of spankings.  But I forget that a large part of disciplining my toddler is teaching her what is right in the first place and training her not to do what is wrong.  The punishment is only what comes after the disobedience - it is not the entirety of the discipline.

Thus, while we, as children of God, may not be in a constant state of suffering, we are always in a state of discipline - but perhaps this season of our lives is meant for instruction, or training (practice for the real test down the road).  We may never know.

But what we can know through faith is that if we have called on the name of the Lord and trusted Him with our lives, He calls us his sons (and daughters) and will continue to raise us up as his own.  We have security in his love for us.

That middle part of verse 7 just speaks comfort and love to my soul, "God is treating you as sons."

30 August 2010

Of Working Out

Accomplishments this past week include losing yet another two pounds of baby weight (which came from being pregnant, despite the fact that my husband claims I've had it since my own birth - he can be not so wise with the words sometimes) and fitting back into my pre-pregnancy jeans (just in time, too, as I was about to tear my maternity jeans to shreds out of pure frustration, and that would not have been so convenient the next time I find myself with child).  Facing that kind of success is enough to motivate one to not only turn to Billy Blanks for a high five but also to allow him an hour of my day (that's a serious commitment of trust for a young mom who only gets a maximum of two hours of quiet a day) to continue kicking my bum into high gear, but this time with his ADVANCED workout.

Allow me to be your tour guide through my mental processes during such an hour:

Yay!  Finally time for the advanced workout.  The half hour Basic is a little low-level for me.  Seriously, did you see the granny in the workout extras? 

Yeah, this is what I'm talking about.

Oooh, uppercuts!  My favorite :)

That woman was Billy's right-hand girl in the last video. I'll bet she's getting a little claw-the-eyes-out toward Ms. Perfectly Toned who bumped her to the back row this time.
Come on Billy, put your shirt down.  I know you're ripped, but your midriff-bearing top was inappropriately bad workout attire in the first place for a man of . . . well, any man.

I am totally not sweating as bad as that girl whose abs are pulled tighter than a military man's bedsheets. (I don't care if she's under hot lights, don't dash my happiness.)

Ok, seriously, look at those abs!  Do they have to show off those puppies during the audition?  Allow the casting director to bounce a quarter off the six-pack?

The grapevine?!  I didn't know I ordered a copy of Tae Bo line dancing.  And apparently my body is not coordinated enough to handle this mesh of workout genres - let's get back to serious business, Billy.

What the . . .?!  Who does he think I am, Jackie Chan?!

Yay!  Cool down!  My favorite part.

Is he crazy? 

Yeah, yeah, Billy, talk away while all your minions are doing the real work.  It sure seems easy to ask us to crank out two more sets when you've been doing nothing but marching in place while pointing out that woman's rear as though mine is supposed to someday match her tight end.

Yes!  The pros in the background are giving up, too.  I see them.  I'm not fooled, Billy.  This workout is not possible for mere mortals.

Oh my goodness.  That woman is literally dripping sweat onto your pretty red carpet.  It's like Niagra Falls over there. 

This is NOT a cool down!  I want to pull in my circle of air - where's the circle of air?!

Yeah, ok, you guys work on those squats, I'll be right back.

Just keep talking, Billy, I'll just sit here until you get to the real cool down.

Oh, we're holding hands now, that's cute.

What the . . .?!  We're done?! 

Okay, so doing the first 45 minutes of the workout and ignoring Sir Crazy Abs for the last 15 minutes still counts as something, I know it.

29 August 2010

Of Country Living

My baby boy, so young and already melting hearts.  He was certainly practicing for his early role as a heart-breaker in church today by playing up the grins and giggles, and basically turning grown women into puddles, whenever held.  He's getting a little too good at this ;)

In other news, you know you're living the country life when the County Fair schedule throws you into fits of excitement (a cow-milking demonstration!) and, when perusing the local newspaper (which was purchased for the sole purpose of taking advantage of the coupons) you realize you recognize no less than four people pictured in the pages, two of whom were the front page story (and another front page story advertised a Pool Party for dogs). 

Yes, folks, this is Shawnee, America and as a tax-paying, home-owning citizen, I can truly call this my hometown.  I'm an Oklahoman.  And I only just realized that fact this week.

True, it's a still a little surreal to me when I consider the above facts, but what may be more shocking to others is that, for Oklahoma, Shawnee is nearly a downright thriving metropolis.  I know I was astonished after coming from the suburbs of St. Louis to find that this town, which basically consists of two main streets (and yet FIVE Sonics!  Yes, we're the founding place of said fast food maven) and includes "Cruising the Poo" as an option for Friday night activities, is quite the busy bee when compared to others which can boast a mere stop sign to their name.

But Shawnee residents will not be satisfied simply in claiming three entire exits off of I-40.  Oh no.  Ask any Shawnee dweller and we can tell you about being the birthplace of both the aforementioned popular drive-in restaurant and actor Brad Pitt.  We house two universities and two factories for products sold in stores nation-wide.  We are the hosts of the International Youth Finals Rodeo every July and we even have a sister city in Japan.  And we (yes, we) are downright proud of all of it. 

This, my friends, is Oklahoma.  And, for now at least, it's home.

And I sure can't wait for that county fair!

28 August 2010

Of Philosophizing

Not to get too Lion King on you, but lately I have been thinking a lot about the circle of life (and how it moves us all ;) ).  As I hold my baby Emmett I marvel at the fact that I, myself, was once as tiny as he and did little more than make funny faces and stare at the world around me.  I'm sure my parents also made goofy faces in an attempt to inspire one tiny grin.

I suppose I've just never thought about that before.

Once upon a time my parents were my age and I, rather than being the center of their universe, was just one part of their lives, which is true even today.  I know this, because it is true of my children and I.  I love them with all my heart and, yes, at times it feels as though all I do is focused on their needs, but I also have a little bit of a life of my own.  I  have friends with whom I enjoy spending time, with or without my beautiful children.  I have hobbies.  My husband and I go on dates and, while we spend a lot of time discussing our bundles of joy, we actually have a wide array of conversation which does not always include them.

And someday this fact will amaze them, if they ever even consider it.  They, too, will be amazed that their parents were ever young or that Philip and I are, in fact, individuals who did not exist solely for the purpose of bringing them into the world.

What a mind bender.

27 August 2010

Of Nesting

It would appear the "nesting" instinct hit me a bit late with this past pregnancy as I did very little by way of prepping our home before little guy was born and since I have been a frantic frenzy of nesting energy, attacking areas which have lacked human contact since before the days when Emmett was a mere twinkle in our eyes (and some, sad to say, have never even had a single glance, other than those of utter disgust at their unkempt nature, since the day we signed our names to the deed of this house - or perhaps the day after, when we actually moved in, but let's not split hairs).

In the past two months I have begun to sweep/mop our floors weekly (a routine I had abandoned soon after my schedule included working around one tiny baby's needs, let alone two), the surface of our dresser and bathroom counter were once again allowed to see the light of day, I have ceased the activity of casually discarding clothes onto the bedroom/bathroom floors (I know most wives complain about their husbands, but my former dirty little secret is that I was the cause of the grand majority of disarray in our home), our bed is now made every day (again, an action which I can hardly remember even doing once in the past two years, let alone daily), I have cleaned out the refrigerator and the pantry (I haven't mustered the courage to face the freezer), and this very day I unleashed the monster that was our "Tupperware" cabinet (which, in actuality, contains only one piece of said name brand, but having grown up in a home with two former consultants whose kitchen is currently over-run with the Tupperware of the early nineties, I shall forever refer to our meager cabinet of store-bought cheap plastic by the more lofty title which it has not, in truthfulness, earned).  I finally even hung a few things on Emmett's wall - eventually he'll have the nursery I once envisioned.

I have no idea where all this energy has come from.  I chalk it up to being tired of being unable to be nearly this active for the near nine months I carried Emmett.  Whatever the cause, I can almost hear the praises of our home shouting, "You like me, you really like me!"  I think we're on our way to being close friends yet.

PS If you look really closely at this post, I think you may find the longest sentence in the history of blogging (or at least my personal best).

26 August 2010

Of Blogs and Giggles

It feels vain to say, but I spent about two hours last night reading through older blogs of mine and cracking up.  I asked Philip if it's sad that I amuse myself so well.  (My favorite quote, by the way: "Free is the 25 year-old's Elmo.")  I also asked Philip if I was allowed to quote myself - he did not respond favorably.

Point being, I have been slacking entirely too much on this blog lately.  It feels as though posting everyday has been muddying the waters with mediocrity.  Not that I plan to quit my goal of daily blogging, but I do plan to put more of an effort into quality control. 

On a different note, Emmett and I played a little bit of peek-a-boo while making the bed today (he's a huge help!) and he loved it.  It took him a little bit to warm up to the idea that when Mommy disappears she'll come back, but once he caught on, he decided to reward me with the biggest grins and tiniest giggles.  He is so much fun.

25 August 2010

Mama Said

Today was a big day for me.

With the end of summer, my Wednesday morning women's Bible study began anew today.  This was my first attempt at trying to get two kids (and myself) fed, diapered, dressed and out the door all by my lonesome.  Prior to today our best time had been 10am.  Today we had to shave an hour off of that time.

And on top of all of this, Wednesdays have been, for over a year and a half now, my grocery days.  Typically this means getting my list and coupons organized before heading off to church in the morning.  Now, that may seem like no big deal, but for an avid coupon-shopper like myself, the process of scouring the ads, flipping through the coupon binder, searching the on-line coupon databases and printing any coupons I don't already have on hand can be a lengthy chore.  And this, also, had to be done before nine.

Thus, during both Emmett's 1:30am and 5:30am feedings (breaking his most current pattern of waking only once - at 6am) I found myself on the internet sorting out my grocery deals.  And, therefore, my work done ahead of time and Emmett satisfied with said food for the time being, the three of us actually made it out the door on time with Bible Study bag, diaper bag, purse, coupon binder, charity donation and, well, each other.  Things were going great.

Two hours later we're leaving church and heading to the store.  Things are still going great.

I pulled into the grocery store parking lot, near a cart stall (this is so crucial when toting an infant in a carrier, a curious toddler, and a coupon binder), got everyone out of the car and situated.  Micaiah settled down rather quickly after being told she had to walk this time, rather than ride in the cart, and we were on our way into the store.  After gliding through the doors, I find myself singing along to the lyrics on the radio, "Mama said there'd be days like this.  'There'll be days like this,' my mama said.  (Mama said.  Mama said!)" All the while I'm thinking, I hope it's not one of those days for me, because things are going great so far.

And that's when I open my coupon binder to pull out my carefully organized (printed) list, which required two hours of VERY early morning planning and quite a bit of frustration with an uncooperative printer, with necessary coupons held neatly together by a binder clip and . . . it's not there.  Nowhere at all.  In fact, the only possible location for the list at that precise moment was sitting serenely on my dining room table.

Meaning we had to go back through the sliding glass doors, get everyone back into the car, explain to the now-sobbing toddler that while Momma is just as upset about this as she is, Momma is managing not to throw a fit (although she wants to), drive home, grab the list, turn around and try it all over again.


Mama said there'd be days like this.

24 August 2010

Story Time

I read somewhere when Micaiah was tiny that talking to your infant helps them learn speech patterns and aids in their own language development.  And if you can't think of what to say, read to them - read anything (it's not like they understand the difference between Time magazine and the Cat in the Hat at that age anyway).  So, I did.  Many times when she nursed I picked up my reading material of choice and simply spoke the words aloud.

Nursing time with Emmett, however, is typically the only time during the day I actually get to sit down.  Thus, it is mostly filled with checking e-mail, balancing the budget, reading blogs or even just watching a show on Netflix (usually something such as Hannah Montana or Sonny with a Chance - I love me my Disney shows when I'm in the mood for mindless entertainment).  Being the younger sibling, most of the dialogue Emmett hears every day is between his sister and I and any books he hears are ones she's begging me to read (over and over and over again).

Today, however, while Micaiah napped, I laid Emmett down for some solid tummy time and decided it was the perfect time for us both to catch up on my reading.  He was fussing a bit when I opened my library copy of "The Woman in White" but as soon as I began my voice-over of the scandal in Welmingham involving Mrs. Catherick and Sir Percival Glyde, Emmett broke out his trademark grin and settled right down.  Anytime I stopped reading for a moment, he threatened to break out his angry eyes, but after awhile he had been soothed right to sleep.

Knowing my voice comforts my child makes me smile inside (and a little on the outside, too).

23 August 2010

Today I am Thankful for . . .

  • Fingernail polish remover and its ability to remove red pen ink from library board books.
  • A daughter who is washable.
  • The fun of mid-day baths (for Micaiah, not me).
  • Fun cupcake liners.
  • A baby boy who is still learning to nap, but doing a fairly good job.
  • A baby girl (who's not so much a baby anymore) who is patient when her momma is busy.
  • A good helper when doing the dishes (she even scrubs cabinet doors, free of charge).
  • A clean microwave.
  • A husband who is willing to help when I've over-estimated the amount of time I have at my disposal.
  • Diapers.
  • Vanilla yogurt and strawberries.
  • The news that Ella Dawn's latest surgery was a complete success!!!! (elladawn.blogspot.com)
"Enter His gates with thanksgiving
         And His courts with praise
         Give thanks to Him, bless His name." - Psalm 100:4

PS  Click on the picture to see it larger . . . pay close attention to those legs - and this was AFTER I took care of the arms.  It's a good thing she's adorable.

22 August 2010

Home Sweet Home

While I know our daughter loves seeing family members (all of whom are currently "gmpa", "mommy" or "daddy"), I think she was quite happy to be home this evening.

Although she napped a little in the car, she seemed positively exhausted by the time we made it home this afternoon.  And, yet, when laid down in her bed, she opted not to sleep further - usually a recipe for a cranky disaster.  However, minutes after being rescued from her room, she was bounding around the house with the cutest smile on her face.  True, she was being wildly disobedient, playing with just about everything she's not supposed to (another sign of tiredness), but every time she was scolded, she simply gave me a big smile (not the guilty kind, the "I'm happy to be home where I know the boundaries, even if I don't follow them" kind), returned the item and ran to find the next.

Even when she's disobeying I like that kid (Ok, today anyway).

And Emmett has taken to giggling - not a lot, but every once in awhile there's the tiniest evidence of a giggle that follows his grin.

Love it.

PS  The doctors will work tomorrow (Monday) to finish the surgery begun last Monday on baby Ella's heart.  This will be a long surgery and it is a risky one.  Please be praying!

21 August 2010

Packing Up

Philip's cousin is getting married today, which means we had to pack to leave town again.  And by "we" I mean "I." Because as helpful as a toddler who likes to scatter stacks of clothes and an infant who likes to wake up and cry sporadically during naptime can be, for some reason it still just feels like I do it all myself. 

The last time we left town, I perfected a method of getting clothes for all four of us, a bag of toiletries for the adults, diapers and wipes for the babies and a phone charger all in one duffel bag.  I was pretty proud of that.  Until I remembered Philip's extra pair of shoes, my pump, Micaiah's toys, books for entertainment, and the portable DVD player.  On top of that there's the Pack n' Play, portable cot, diaper bag, purse, stroller, water cup for Micaiah, water bottle for me, milk bottle for Emmett and snacks.

For a weekend away.  And a measly two-hour road trip.

Life just doesn't seem as simple as it used to.

20 August 2010

Too Big

On the topic of my babies growing up, Emmett has done quite a bit of that himself lately.  Last night I was pulling out his pajamas and decided he's been looking a little cramped in his newborn sleepers his dad keeps putting him in and my two-month-old has been quickly fitting into his 3-6mo onesies, so it may be time for some 3-6mo sleepers.  So I grabbed a cute one, pulled it out and thought, "There's no way he'll fit into this; it's huge!"  You can guess where this is going.  That's right - fits him great.  My little man.  Sigh.

I told Philip to take him back, this one is too big to be my baby.

Oh how the time flies.

19 August 2010

Life in General

"Ok, I'm getting the feeling that 'Tooth Fairy' is just a bad sequel that didn't have a first movie." - Philip, after sitting through previews to the aforementioned movie which included "Flicka 2" (His reaction - "They didn't even need a Flicka 1"), "Marley and Me: The Terrible 2's" ("Who wants to see that after they saw how the first one ended?") and "Space Chimps 2".

I couldn't argue with any of the above assessments.

In other news, my daughter is old enough to entertain herself by "reading" in her bed for two hours while I slept in this morning, help me make dinner (she even scrambled the eggs!) and also point out to me while eating dinner that I had a little something on my arm.  When did she grow up and where was I?

18 August 2010


Always good to remember: amazingly talented artistry and fun fonts do not a quality children's book make.

After a trip to the library this evening, Micaiah has a healthy stack of fresh board books to peruse as well as a supply of bedtime stories she has not already heard about twenty times each. I was reminded, however, that these new tales may need a little pre-screening before story time rolls around and I find myself reading a very well-illustrated account of a decrepit corpse repeatedly visiting an innocent young boy and his grandmother while cruelly demanding perfection in his pumpkin-flavored pastries.

Fortunately Micaiah is not yet at the age where she comprehends the concept of death, or burying a dead husband in a pumpkin patch or "haunting" or crotchity-refusing-to-die-for-lack-of-pumpkin-pie old men - nor does she seem to notice when Mommy chooses not to finish a book and switches stories halfway through.

But from now on, we're invoking censorship in our library selections!

17 August 2010

When My Baby Smiles

Emmett is finally at the age when he smiles and I believe it's actually on purpose. And I love it! He has the sweetest little dimple in his right cheek which he inherited from his Daddy. As I was buckling him into his car seat this evening he broke out the grins and my heart just melted inside me.

I remembered just how much I love baby smiles.

Now, don't get me wrong, toddler smiles are just fine, but by Micaiah's age I'm more affected by her deep belly laugh and her assertion that, "I you" (she forgets the "love" part, but I know it's implied when she rests her head on my shoulder). But Emmett? His only forms of communication right now are non-verbal (well, besides the crying part, and we all know that's not so much anyone's favorite), so when he breaks out the grin, I know all is right in his world and he's just plain happy to see his Mommy.

And I couldn't be more joyful about that :)

16 August 2010

Our God is Able

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen."- Ephesians 3:20-21

In December I was greatly blessed to attend a "Deeper Still" conference in Oklahoma City featuring the amazing teachings of both Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer. Truly, these women are incredibly talented women of the Word who know how to give it to you straight.

That weekend Priscilla spoke on the above passage from Ephesians and her words have stuck with me to this day, nine months later, and struck me again this afternoon as I was continuing in prayer for Ella Dawn's life. I found more detailed notes of Priscilla's message here, but I wanted to share one of the highlights in this post.

She emphasized the phrase "abundantly beyond" - which in the New King James Version is translated "exceedingly abundantly above all" - and the fact that this phrase, literally translated becomes "beyond beyond" - meaning God doesn't just go a little beyond what we can imagine when we come to Him in prayer, but he goes "beyond beyond" - exceedingly abundantly beyond.

How amazing is that?!

So, right now, when my prayer life is almost completely engulfed in pleading for this baby girl's life, we have in the Scripture a description of a God, OUR God, who is able to go exceedingly abundantly beyond ALL we can ask. Meaning He has the power to not only grant Ella life on this Earth, but he has the power to take that further and grant her a completely healed heart, with no remnant of the damage with which she was born, to carry out a life that will be abundantly more than we ever dreamed to ask for.

That is the power our God has.

Now, I thoroughly understand that God ultimately knows what is best for Ella and that end may not be what we envision, but that does not mean our God is any less powerful.

What a mighty God we serve!

And on one final note, this is how that verse is interpreted in the Amplified Bible:

"Now to Him Who . . . is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams] . . . " - Ephesians 3:20

Yay, God :)

15 August 2010

Listen Here

I explained to Emmett today that Mommy and Daddy are not accustomed to a fussy baby. We are accustomed to a baby that took bottles without a problem, never once caused a problem in the nursery at church, only cried when hungry or in pain, took her naps as scheduled and was not dependent on a paci for said naps. Therefore, he needs to get his act together because we just don't know how to handle his high maintenance ways.

I'm not sure he listened.

In other news, please continue to pray for Baby Ella. She will have her first open heart surgery Monday morning at 7:30am. (Her previous surgery was successful without opening her chest.) They have said that although the first condition of her heart has been fixed by the surgery performed on her birthday, her odds of survival have not increased any. This will be a difficult surgery and the hours following are crucial. Please pray! For more information and updates throughout the day, please refer to elladawn.blogspot.com.


I failed.

After a month of consistency, I finally actually got through a whole day without blogging. Truthfully, I was tempted to change the date on this entry just for my own peace of mind. But here I am, for the sake of honesty, blogging in limbo - as in yesterday has ended but today has not yet started, but since I'm up at 4:15ish (thanks to a certain hungry little guy), I may as well post while it's fresh.

It's so strange that I forgot, too, considering it's finally become second nature, once again, to live my life on a blog. See, once upon a time (as in, about five years ago), I was so addicted to blogging as a way to connect that with nearly everything I saw or encountered I thought, "I so need to blog this!" As a result I blogged every day (sometimes twice or thrice) not from some obligation or self-dare, but naturally. I just loved pouring it out. And now I'm reaching this stage again.

Which would be why yesterday I found myself planning my blog while I was in the thick of its probable subject matter.

Due to an unfortunate judge of sizing while ordering some shirts on-line (we'll talk about that another day, it's still too fresh for me right now) and the fact that the closest store of that particular chain was at a mall in the City about an hour away, we decided to make a day of the trip to return them. We had a plan: lunch, the mall, Home Depot (for Philip). Sweet. Simple. Relaxing.

It started out right: lunch at Fazoli's - one can never complain about that. Sadly it took me until just this point in my life to discover how pricey my fast-food-Italian addiction is (fortunately for me, this Fazoli's an hour away is the closest one to us so I don't get to indulge in said pricey addiction very often). Honestly, though, our entire family shared one combo meal with an added drink and it still cost us $12 - which for a tight-fisted budgeter like me is almost robbery.

Anyway, we had breadsticks, I was happy.

Next stop, the mall. Now, as any parent of young children could have told me, this is where it all breaks down.

First of all, did you know that going to the mall is a popular thing to do? Thus, when shopping with two stroller-bound children, the line for the elevator is so long that it takes 5-10 minutes simply to get from floor A to floor B. Yeah, we didn't.

And after that fiasco, it was only a matter of time, when Emmett refused his bottle as we sat on a cozy sun-drenched (read: hot!) bench outside the germ zoo (read: children's play area) where Micaiah and Daddy frollicked, before I found myself sitting cross-legged on the floor in an abandoned corner of the mall, leading to an Emergency exit, nursing my son, who had now, all told, added an hour to our shopping extravaganza.

This was the point, when faced with nothing but two empty strollers (Daddy was entertaining Micaiah with a nice jaunt around the place) and a blank white wall that the thought came: "I so need to blog about this."

Because that's parenting

After this point, we kicked it into high gear, returned the shirts and hightailed it on out of there. After a quick stop at Home Depot we felt we'd ventured out enough to last us a month at least. There's a reason some young parents never leave the house and I'm near ready to join that homebody party.

Oh, who am I kidding? We joined that party a long time ago.

13 August 2010

My Friend, Billy

I'm not gonna lie - every day as I continue to slip into my maternity jeans - the only ones that fit my post-pregnancy body, even now - nearly two months post-pregnancy, I am eager for the day when I can finally zip into, you know, anything else on these hot end-of-summer days in Oklahoma.

Thus, I have resorted to my least favorite activity of all time - working out. Sigh.

And, let's be honest, although I truly enjoy the low-key workout of the weight-prejudiced, pregnancy-unfriendly WiiFit, there are days when that leftover belly flab just needs a little more kick in the rear than a light routine of step-aerobics. Which is when I turn to probably the only purchase of the late-90's that I don't regret - my VHS collection of Tae-Bo.

My favorite thing about Billy Blanks is how encouraging he can be. Even after years of not visiting he never blames me, never says, "Where has your lazy bum been?" or "What do you think the cause for your recent weight gain may have been?" and he most definitely would never tell me, "That's obese!" when looking at my pregnant scale. No, Billy cares. Billy wants me to do what's best for my health, and he knows that a good, strong workout can just plain make you feel good.

So, this morning, as I was dreading carving a half hour out of my morning schedule between sitting Micaiah down for breakfast and Emmett waking up for his morning snack (hoping to squeeze my own bowl of cereal in there somewhere), I was elated to remember that my long-ago ebay investment included an 8-Minute workout. See? I told you Billy understood me.

Thus, for a strong 8 minutes this morning, my body felt toned as my toddler rubber-necked with glee in seeing her momma kick and punch (ok, I'll admit, there might have been a little more fear in those eyes than glee, but we'll pretend) her way back to her smaller size.

After all, Billy says it's important for me to take the time to take care of me. Even if it's only 8 minutes.

Thanks, Billy.

12 August 2010


My kids played together for the first time today. It was the cutest thing, as I'm sure you can imagine.

Micaiah, being a loving big sister, had asked to hold Emmett in her lap. She's done this before and he usually lasts about 30 seconds before she pokes him in the eye and it's all downhill from there. Well today there was poking, but he seemed to have gotten used to the unintended abuse poured on him by his big sister. And he decided to respond today with a good-natured near-grin and a light fist in the face (because, you know, he has total control over his limb movements . . . or not). She responded with as near a tickle as she can get with her low-degree (read: non-existent) level of gentleness.

He simply continued to smile as they traded tiny punches and she giggled wildly.


11 August 2010

Alone at Last

One of my favorite times of day these days is Micaiah's nap time - and it's not because I don't love precious moments with my little girl or because I can't seem to be extremely productive around the house while she's awake without feeling as though I'm neglecting her.

It's because I love my alone-time with Mr. Emmett. I love those wonderful hours when I can snuggle with him on the couch without making someone feel left out, or lay him on my lap, staring into his adorable eyes, saying silly things to him to see if he'll smile on his own without having a finger poked in his face, or have tummy time, watching his little legs and arms wiggle around without worrying that other tiny legs and arms will stumble over him or smack him on the head with their bright orange laptop.

When parents make the leap to extend their family beyond having an only child it begins to become very difficult to find one-on-one time with any one child, so any time such as this which is naturally built into the schedule is quite a treasure. And I'm quite enjoying it while I can.

10 August 2010

The Dance

This has to be a fast one because I only have 10 minutes until midnight and in order to have a post every day, well, I'm pretty OCD about having accurate dates.

Highlight for today: While watching an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond wherein Ray and Deborah dance together at a wedding, Micaiah slid down off of her daddy's lap, stood in the middle of the floor and held her hands out to him, saying "Das" (that's Micaiah-speak for "Dance"). And, thus, he proceeded to hold her hands as they danced together in our living room. Granted, our daughter has yet to learn the art of the slow dance, so there was a lot of booty wiggling and some strange dance move wherein they alternated lifting their legs sumo-wrestler style, but it was precious nonetheless.

And that's what makes the middle of the night feedings at this point with Emmett worth it. He may never ask his daddy to slow dance (or, I'm kind of hoping he doesn't), but he will definitely do something equally as precious (who knows, maybe I'll finally get to do a little dancing myself ;) ) someday. Oh, who am I kidding, one dimpled smile out of that kid (gas or not) makes it all worth it right now.

09 August 2010


"The LORD has done great things for us; We are glad. . . .
Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting" - Psalm 126:3,5

After some minor delays, Ella Dawn was born this afternoon at 3:23pm, weighing slightly over 7lbs. And as of this evening her first surgery is complete and the doctors are "very happy with the outcome." Praise the Lord!!!

Ella is now in the NICU and her mom is recovering from the C-Section. Continue to pray for healing for both of them. Ella will still need further surgeries, at least one more very soon, but we rejoice for all the Lord has brought them through thus far - with great faith for Ella's future.

One thing I have learned from Ella Dawn is the amazing power prayer has in our lives. Not only in God's answers to the prayers themselves, but in its simple ability to draw us closer to God. In begging for the life of a tiny baby girl, we knit ourselves together with one purpose and bind ourselves up in God's perfect will, trusting in Him with all that we have.

I know, personally, as I spent time early this morning lifting up Ella and her family, tears flowed down my face as prayer for this little one became a session of praise to God, who is faithful no matter the outcome. And beginning my day in such a breath-taking way could only make it better.

Now that my mornings involve trying to sleep in any amount I can to make up for lost slumber through the night, then sitting a toddler down for a breakfast of Cheerios, a banana and milk and sitting myself down to try to eat a bowl of cereal over the head of a nursing infant, while hoping to maybe squeeze in a workout and a shower somewhere in that schedule, my prayer and Bible Study time have taken a hard hit. And, let's be truthful, even before my routine was entirely dismantled, my time with the Lord was rarely what it was today: a simple raw honesty with our God, pouring out my heart's cry, repeatedly placing my faith and trust in His ability to overcome all situations. That is what has been missing. This is where I have failed - until today I forgot to even yearn for such a time. Settling only for a reading and study of God's Word, satisfying as that may be, could never be a replacement for the deep communion I felt with Him today.

But now that I see what I've been missing - how could I NOT make that time every morning?!

And on a slightly lighter note, I asked myself this morning as my prayer time began with darkness out our windows and ended with the meagerest of the morning light poking through, I know the Proverbs 31 woman rises while it's still dark to prepare for the day - but do you think it counts if we wake when it's still dark and then stumble back into bed an hour later? Here's hoping for yes.

08 August 2010

Praying for Baby Ella

First allow me to apologize if you are looking for a cute anecdote about our family with this post. This will not be one of those posts.

Tonight (or this morning/afternoon, depending on when you read this), I am asking you to join me in prayer for a precious baby girl who will be born Monday morning (August 9) via C-Section. For those of you who don't know her story, her name is Ella Dawn. Her parents have gone through much difficulty in conceiving her and this pregnancy has been very physically demanding on her mother, Amy. On top of this, halfway through their time with her it was discovered Ella had two rather rare heart conditions - particularly rare when they are combined.

Not being a medical person I cannot accurately go into much detail, but I do know this - immediately after being taken from her mother's womb, Ella will be whisked away to her first surgery to repair her broken heart. The given prognosis to this point has not been completely promising, but we, as her church family, have bonded together in begging healing for this precious baby girl.

Please join us.

"Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." - James 5:16

(You can follow Ella's Journey here.)

07 August 2010

Lights, Camera, Action

Philip and I used some of our amazon gift cards from swagbucks combined with some birthday money to finally invest in a video camera to document our growing children with a little more ease. Now, we haven't been completely video-less thanks to our digital camera which can serve both functions, but it is nice to have a pocket-sized version devoted solely to capturing those great moments that just can't be satisfied sitting still.

And we didn't buy just any camera. We got a waterproof camera, which serves the purposes of being both inexpensive, yet providing quality video, with the added fun factor of being, of course, impervious to water (and thereby closer to being indestructible, which, with a toddler with a penchant for exploring toilets and an accident-prone mommy, who has also been known to drop electronics in toilets, is always a huge plus). Therefore, we took the most obvious course of action for anyone who has been in possession of a waterproof camera for a little over a week - we took it for a test drive in the backyard.

And, bonus, Micaiah got to have her first experience of running through the sprinklers. And she loved it. Well, mostly. She still doesn't quite understand the running through the water thing when she's on her own, but she's more than happy to let mommy and daddy hold her and do the running for her (smart girl, avoid exercise at all costs, that's my motto). Good times were had by all. And we have it all on tape (or, you know, SD card, because who uses tapes these days?).

On a note only related in the category of things we recently filmed on our camera - Philip got video this evening of story-time, with Emmett paying close attention to every picture in Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. We may have another book lover on our hands. And I couldn't be happier about that :)

06 August 2010

A Good Evening

If you know me at all (or have been following this blog for awhile), you'll know I love a good bargain. My hubby will tell you, I can get a little excessive, especially when it's free. Our mailbox is routinely filled with everything from free deodorant and razors to free bags of chex mix or M&M's (he doesn't so much argue on those days). So, you know I'm telling the truth when I say I had a pretty good evening tonight.

My tiny family of four gathered in the car to run a few errands. The highlight of the trip was a quick stop to the mall that took no longer than 15 minutes (in the mall! On Tax-Free Weekend, no less) and allowed us to walk out with a good sized light-up glitter ball for Micaiah and a travel-sized Bath and Body Works lotion for me and we didn't spend one precious penny (nor did we break any laws). I love the feeling of going shopping without having to, you know, spend money.

And, I'll tell you, between the new ball and her first ride on the 50 cent horsey at Wal-Mart, Micaiah wasn't complaining too much, either.

05 August 2010

Growing Up

Our little girl is growing up. And it's so hard to believe.

This evening we went out to eat. And she sat in a booster chair. Not a high chair, a booster chair - she wasn't even strapped in! And she did just fine, as we knew she would. And she drank water from her own cup with a straw. Not that she hadn't done that before, but we didn't even have to cut her straw down for her - just popped it in and she took over - didn't even spill (except for when she was being difficult toward the end and did so on purpose).

Then we came home to put her to bed. I pulled out pants that I was just sure were way too long for her but they were in her drawer and they were p.j.'s so it didn't much matter. But they fit. A little extra at the bottom, but not nearly as much as I'd expected.

After story time, we prayed together, as usual, and then my little girl, who just seems all grown up climbed in, by herself, to her newly converted toddler bed. She doesn't have a crib anymore. I won't walk in to find her standing at her railing, arms outstretched just waiting to be rescued. Now, she'd better stay in her bed until I come to get her anyway, but she'll just be sitting there. And when I walk in she'll scramble out of bed all on her very own.

What a big girl.

04 August 2010


Sometimes it's hard to believe that a) our baby boy is an actual person and will one day be able to communicate with us through more than just crying and b) our silly, fun-loving, very expressive and independent toddler was ever this docile and uncommunicative. I told Philip yesterday that sometimes it feels like Emmett isn't "real". His only activity is to sit in my arms, or wherever he happens to be placed at the moment, and either sleep or stare. And the staring isn't even very directed - it's always rather shifty and sometimes a little cross-eyed. It's like he's trying to figure out what's going on but has no idea where to start.

Thus, due to his lack of motor skills or ability to emote or interact in any form, it can be hard to remember that he is, in actuality, a real person - a person who will one day reject carrots (or peas or both) and will want to share (ie steal) his sister's toys and, probably, pull her hair (actually, that's not hard to believe; he does it to me every day - but some day he'll do it on purpose) - he'll have feelings and be able to express them! He'll even giggle when I tickle him (heck, right now I'm amazed that he'll ever smile on purpose).

It's just so crazy seeing the blank slate knowing that some day it will be more full than I can ever imagine right now.

Love it.

03 August 2010


I did something rare today - I made a spontaneous trip to Wal-Mart.

When I think about my life now and my life two years ago, it's truly crazy that a trip to purchase Ziploc bags, cat food and corn dogs is now the height of my spontaneity. Once upon a time my husband and I would make random trips to Wal-Mart at 11pm to buy Mouse Trap because, well, we hadn't played it since we were kids and that sounded like fun. These days that would either require one of us to stay home or both of us being irresponsible enough to believe that our two kids, confined to their cribs couldn't possibly burn the place down if left alone (and trust me, the latter isn't happening).

In addition, having become an avid coupon shopper, I tend, these days, to plan my trips to the store days in advance. For example, I know that I'm going to the grocery store tomorrow because Wednesdays are when I grocery shop. If I intend to go to any other store I decide whether to go in the morning, with the kids, or in the evening, leaving the kids with Daddy. Afternoons don't work because that's when Micaiah naps. I'll then need to consider Emmett's feeding schedule - can't go when it's time to nurse! And once the time and day are established I set to work creating an organized list, pulling coupons and being prepared with a full plan of action.

This is how my life works. I am comfortable with that.

So, today, when I realized at 10am I had two hours until hubby would be home for lunch, Emmett had a full belly and we had no other morning plans, I had the crazy thought, "We could go to Wal-Mart!" Now, in full disclosure, I had actually planned the coupon/list part of the trip yesterday, but I had yet to choose when, this week, it would actually happen. So to decide on a whim this morning felt almost like crazy talk.

And then, once decided, I had to change two diapers, clothe two children, clothe and mascara myself, gather the list, print last minute coupons (yay for free tub fizzies), put two babies in the carseats, be sure I had my coupon binder, cell phone and purse, run by the bank to deposit some checks and then finally pull into Wal-Mart.

Let's review, we live three miles from Wal-Mart. I decided at 10am that would be our morning activity. I pulled into the parking lot right at 11am. And this is why we don't do random shopping trips anymore. We're talking serious time commitment.

And yet, today, I did.

And I felt free and downright giddy (but that could have been the free tub fizzies talking).

02 August 2010

Weighing In

Because I don't trust my eyesight (which has been in sore need of a visit to the optometrist for a good four years now) to accurately interpret the tiny tick-marks of our traditional bathroom scale (we're too cheap for any of those fancy-schmancy digital affairs), I resort to weighing my children on our Wii Fit Balance Board. Now, don't ask me how we're too cheap for a $20-30 digital scale and yet own the much more expensive Wii Fit - just trust that it makes sense to us (and the latter was a gift, so there!).

Now, the Wii and I have had our differences, stemming from the fact that it cheerfully and, yet, rudely labeled me as obese the entire time I was pregnant with Micaiah. With every situation of the arrogant machine asking me why I thought I may have gained weight since our last session, I tried in vain to find the button with the option, "I'm with child, you ignorant piece of technology!"

But we've moved past that. Promise.

Today, my 279th day since the last time I took it's mocking, the Wii was sorely disappointed to see that I have gained 15 lbs since my last visit - again, I would fail in any attempt to explain my weight as the result of having recently given birth. The fact that I feel the need to justify myself to a mere video game is another matter entirely.

So, once we got past the shaking of the virtual head and the embarrassment of being told that maybe I should aim for smaller, more attainable goals next time (no joke, this is the humiliation to which a pregnant woman attempting to lose that baby weight is subjected by the makers of Wii Fit - thanks!), I was able to actually weigh my son (at least it's smart enough to work that kind of math).

Turns out, my baby boy weighs 14 lbs!

Or so says the Wii Fit.

01 August 2010


I would just like the record to state that today, August 1, 2010, I have completely unpacked the suitcase we took with us this weekend. In fact, it was unpacked, with clothes in the laundry within an hour of walking through the door. I simply needed to document this moment and the fact that I won't still have a semi-packed suitcase residing on my bedroom floor this time next month (not that I would ever wait that long . . .).

Ok, I suppose I can't guarantee that fact considering we'll be heading back out of town in a couple of weeks. But it was a nice thought.