31 October 2011

Of a Little Bit of This

Micaiah felt "Baby Sister" move for the first time today (no we still don't know the gender, but Micaiah is insistent).  The joy on her face with each tiny bump was contagious.

Also, I forgot to mention, Saturday was the first time a stranger recognized my pregnant state.  I always feel this is a big milestone.  It means the world at large can see I am with child and not necessarily overeager at the local buffet.

Unrelated to Baby, tonight's meal on my weekly menu listed "Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes" and just as I was about to dig out my old recipe I remembered this recipe* I had pulled out of my Woman's Day magazine last month and decided, why not be festive?  So it's what we (and by "we" I mean "I") did.  And it made me happy.

*I used cut-up green beans for the eyes as I didn't want to open a can of peas.  I also used 1lb of turkey rather than the called-for meats.

30 October 2011

Of What I Am

It would seem it's a Sunday theme for me: What I Learned in Worship Today.  It's truly remarkable that of all the teaching I take in most Sundays (which is nearly always excellent), I receive the greatest amount of revelation through song.  This is most likely because this is the only time in the week when I truly allow my brain to switch off from plan/worry/to-do mode and just allow God to truly have my mind.

This morning the song was The Stand:

"So I'll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One Who gave it all.

So I'll stand
My soul, Lord, to You surrendered
All I am is yours."

I felt during the song it may be better to offer all I have because, truly, doesn't that include everything within me and without, but then when I really focused on the words, "All I am is yours," the question arose: "Who are you?"

Because when I offer to God all I have, I think first of all my earthly possessions, which mean little to me in true perspective.  Yet, if they are worthless to me, why would I believe them of any value to God?  He doesn't need my resources.  He needs me.  I think, then, of my abilities - my time, my talents.  He can have those, too.  But that's still not everything.

Who am I?

I am a wife.  A mother.  A teacher (whether in a classroom or in my home).  A writer (even if I can't professionally claim the title).  This is who I am.  Have I offered these to God?

Am I mothering for Him or for the sake of quiet and sanity in my home?  Am I acting as a wife for God or for my own comfort and security?  Do I take seriously my role as teacher to my children?  Do I write for His glory or my own?

These are what He wants.  He wants returned not just what He has given me, but all He has created me to be.  He wants me to be His.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

It's interesting He would give me the fullness of this lesson today, because I believe He gave me the homework earlier this week.

I had seen in Reader's Digest (my husband hears this phrase about twenty times a week) information about a contest they were hosting: write a lesson, simple advice or funny story in 150 words or less and you could win $25,000.  Well, I thought, I can do that!  No problem!  Funny stuff happens to us all the time - and I love to write about it.

So I sat down to write.  And I had nothing.  Not one inspiration.  I made a few lame attempts but I knew they were nothing that would grab anyone's attention.  The deadline was coming fast as I had heard of the contest late, so I hated to put it on the back-burner, but I needed to relax my mind in order for this writer's block to ease.  I reasoned it was like looking for something you've lost - it always seems to come to you just when you've given up.

The next morning I woke up praying about it.  And what I realized was this: I wanted to enter that contest for my glory.  I wanted to be recognized and I wanted a prize - a way to provide for the financial needs of our family.  I felt as though God had directed me to this contest, but I wanted to leave Him out of my entry because "God-stuff" doesn't tend to be gold medal material in these kinds of matters - not in a secular magazine anyway.  His writing has certain venues and this wasn't it.


This was clearly not why God gave me any ability with words - not so I could pick and choose when He was allowed to be in it.  And I realized, this contest was, like anything I write should be, not for me.  It was for Him.  It was for His glory.  Whether it was read by five people or the world, it didn't matter.  What mattered is that I honor Him with my words - no matter the audience.  The only "prize" is making His glory known.

So, this is what I came up with.  Now, you're welcome to go vote for it if you so choose, but I'm not worried about it.  

This was my assignment, and today I received the lesson: All I am is His.

29 October 2011

Of Unexpected Discoveries

As Micaiah and I ran some errands around town (oh how I love our Mommy and Me shopping dates), I browsed our brand new Kohls for anything under $10 on which I could spend my coupon (with no out of pocket cost to frugal me).  While in the housewares department, I heard my little girl exclaim, "Look, Mommy! It's a hole for me!"  Sure enough, the wonderful store employees had staggered two display tables in such a way that there was created a tiny hole, just her crawling size, among all the legs.

Sadly, due to the breakable nature of the items on display I had to inform her she would not be shimmying through her tiny hole.  It's a good thing she's fairly good at handling disappointment.  It was awfully cute, either way.

28 October 2011

Of Highlights

I don't even know that I can pinpoint one aspect of this day which has made it what it is, but I do know I can walk away saying, "That was a good day."  Here are some of the high points:

- Helping Micaiah create slime after watching Sid the Science Kid do the same in his class and seeing her joy as she allowed the gooey matter to ooze over her fingers repeatedly for a solid half hour.

- Enjoying quality one-on-one time playing with my little man while his big sister was occupied with said slime.

- Feeling productive by hanging in Micaiah's room the ten-cent clock and curtain panels I scored during Dollar General's summer clearance on Tuesday.  Actually installing something within the same week it was purchased is fairly rare for Messie me.

- Reading through Ina May's Guide to Childbirth for the first time.  It may be a bit hippie and cult-like in the beginning, but now I'm wishing I'd read this sooner.  Can't wait to have this baby!

- Watching the Cardinals win their eleventh World Series in the year 2011 - little things like matching numbers make me happy (as if a Series Title wouldn't be enough).

Yes, my friends, 'twas a good day of enjoying the little things.

27 October 2011

Of Dressing Up

If you had asked Micaiah any time in the past couple of weeks, she would have told you, "I'm going to be a fairy!  I have wings!  I fly upside down."  I continually reminded her the latter would not actually be happening, but she was excited nonetheless.  Our costume creativity has definitely waned over the years, but I really was hoping to break out something different this year.  When given her choices, though, fairy was the hands down winner.  So fairy it was.

Then, as of today, as I was explaining how we would go Trick-or-Treating at the school where Aunt Dia works (even though it's not yet Halloween), she decided her face would be painted.  Where this idea came from, I have no idea, but as she was laying down for her nap, she insisted, "You will paint me and Daddy will paint Emmett.  And you will paint my eyes and my face and my nose and my chin and my ears!"  Well, the ears didn't happen and I tried to get away without the chin, but she wasn't havin' it.  So, the chin it was.  And none of it really turned out how I would have preferred, but she's three - I'll do more planning when the mere fact she has paint on her face isn't exciting enough for her. 

 This girl is pure sass.

 With a little bit of goofball.

 I decided the hair shouldn't be left out, so we threw some ribbons in, too.

 She loved it!

And then Daddy came home, ready for his task of painting Emmett, as demanded by our little fairy.  His task of creating a bear was a little easier, but he sure did a great job with it.  May I present the cutest little bear of 2011:
 Seriously, I dare you to find cuter.

 He was enthralled by his tiny paws.

 She needed a car picture, too.  

 So ready for this!  Daddy even taught him to "Rar!"

Our little trick-or-treaters.  So adorable!

And now we're ready to tackle it all over again on Sunday night for our church's Trunk-or-Treat.  By Monday, Halloween will be old hat to us and we'll most likely spend the evening in - with the porch light off. Sorry, candy hunters of Oklahoma, we're tuck-or-tired.

25 October 2011

Of Our Walker

If you have seen my husband's Facebook page, you have seen the latest on our little Emmett's walking abilities. This boy may be "behind" in his decision to start moving on his own two feet, but he sure is determined and independent.

He will now push himself to his feet confidently - still with that cocky little grin that shows he knows he should be proud of his accomplishments - but if you ask him if he's going to walk, he very firmly says, "Nao!" (which his adorable pronunciation of, "No!") - because he will take those steps when he's good and ready, not because you have asked him to.

And if you hold out your hands to encourage his steps in your direction, or to assure him you are there in case he falls, that little man becomes even more adamant, "NAO!"  At this point, he very pointedly will turn in the opposite direction to test his legs.

So, we're letting him go his own way in his own time.

Yesterday, he was already taking as many as 3-4 steps on his own as he joined his sister and me out on the driveway for some Vitamin D intake (aka fun in the sun).  In his little long-john pj's and socks, which were no longer white because of the sidewalk chalk and natural driveway dirt, he wobbled forward so excitedly.

Momma, however, was not excited when he began to venture onto the downward slope toward the end of our driveway - something about a brand-new toddler on uneven terrain that also happened to be concrete just seemed unwise to me.  So we keep most of his practice indoor these days.

Because the sharp corners of the entertainment center and fireplace are clearly much safer.

When did our home become a toddler death trap?  Where was I when Micaiah was learning to walk?!

Well, the good news is he's walking - and he's progressing at a very rapid rate, so soon those corners will be nothing to our confident little jogger - right?

23 October 2011

Of Fanaticism

Since moving to the Gateway to the West during my fifth grade year, from La Vista, NE, where my only regular stadium visits were to cheer on the Omaha Royals, I have been an avid fan of my hometown team, the St. Louis Cardinals.

Now, let me make this clear, my definition of an "avid fan" means I will go to the games as much as I have the opportunity to (which, now living out of state, means once every year or two) and I will watch on television if they are in the World Series - oh, and I purchased a set of Cardinals pajamas as Philip's Valentine's Day gift to me this past February, because they were on clearance.  I know you are so surprised at just how hard-core I am.

Thus, this week finds me, for the third time since moving from home (which, ironically, is also the third time since my family first moved to the St. Louis area . . . huh), glued to Fox Sports nightly as I cheer on my St. Louis Cardinals as they take on the Texas Rangers in this year's Fall Classic.

And by "cheer on" I mean I have the TV on in the background while I work on other projects on my computer or read a book during commercials.  I get excited when they score and sad when Texas runs past home plate.  When they win, I get cocky on Facebook and when they lose I'm a little down, but I understand - everyone has their good days and their bad days.  There's no yelling or jumping up and down (though that will come in the event of winning the Series Title - an event that has happened once since I have been following my precious Cards.  Turns out it's not nearly so exciting when you run outside and realize the rest of Oklahoma is going about life as normal.  Baseball isn't really their thing.).

For the most part, this roller coaster of fanaticism rides more like something from the three-feet and under corner of your local amusement park, but I can have my moments.  Like waving my rally towel when we're behind in the fifth inning.  Until I realize I have no idea where this towel came from because it's talking about the "1,000th Game" on December 7, 2007.  No one plays baseball in December.  I guess my real rally towel must be up in the attic with my other Cardinals memorabilia.

Because that's how we die-hard fans roll.

22 October 2011

Of the Eagerness of Anticipation

It finally happened.

After sixteen long months (although, really, it has felt so short and, really, I have only been anxious for this milestone for about a month or so), our son took his first step!

And his Papaw, his great-grandfather, had the privilege of being on the receiving end.  Of not only his first step, but his second, fourth, and fifth attempts to do more than tumble over after one timid step - somewhere in the middle, I got a step, too.

That is how little man spent his evening: proudly standing for minutes on end.  So improved has his balance he was even bending to reach his ball and righting himself to standing again with not so much as a waver - he can throw it, too, without losing his proud stance.

It's still true he prefers to bend and use his hands as aids to "walk" forward, but he definitely tried a number of times to move ahead unassisted.

He still has some time to go before Momma's arms will be baby-free for a short while before filling once again with Baby Penguin, but we're excited for our growing man.  And if you could see the grin of pride on his tiny face with each moment of independence, you'd be pretty excited for him, too.

20 October 2011

Of All Three of Them

All of my precious babies have updates today - what a day!

Micaiah: We're on three days in a row where our little girl has consistently not only used the potty, but did so after telling us she needed to!  And we've only had one wet pull-up in about four days (not counting sleep times)!  Rejoice!

Emmett: As I tinkered on my laptop this evening, I noticed him watching me out of the corner of his eye and saw the most proud smile on his face, as if to say, "Are you seeing this?"  And that's when I realized, seeing my son standing up with a toy in his hands - not touching anything else - is not a normal sight!  I quickly applauded him and he finally gave his legs a rest by leaning forward on the ottoman.  But he spent the rest of the evening standing for a second or two before dropping again and starting over.  Yay!

Baby Penguin: Apparently he/she has experienced a growth spurt in the last month, according to the midwives, as they measured the size of my expanding mid-section.  Meanwhile, this growth spurt has apparently not affected me negatively as I've actually dropped a pound in the same amount of time.  That'll teach those midwives to ask me with a wary eye what I've been eating.  (Please note, despite the smug nature of my previous statement, I am, in fact, eating, very much, just not more than I need and not tons of things I shouldn't be.  Please don't be concerned for my health.)

Oh, and we'll end with proof of this growing baby:

19 October 2011

Of Proper Training

I'll admit, we were not very good at capitalizing on our daughter's need for clean at a young age.  Though we occasionally remembered to ask her to clean up what she took out, we most often found ourselves facing a living room filled with toys after she went to bed and either cleaned them up ourselves or just left them out for the next day (after all, she was going to play with them again, anyway, right? - this was in our Messie stage).  On the times when we asked, she was very good at putting things where we told her to (she was a neat freak after all), but without consistent training she fell away from the habit.

Now putting toys away at nap/bedtime is a chore for everyone.

Everyone but Emmett.  It turns out, our decision to be more persistent about picking up now that Micaiah is of the responsible age has had more impact on him than his elder sister - who still acts like she's not sure what we mean when we use the all-encompassing term "toys" and must be told to intentionally notice and pick up each individual item ("Please put this doll where she needs to be," "Put your books away," etc.).

Which is why it's exciting to me when I'm helping Micaiah get up on the potty before naptime and I turn to Emmett to instruct him as he crawls toward us, "Emmett, please put the toys away" and he promptly does an about face, finds the nearest toy, crawls to the drawer where it goes, pulls open the drawer and deposits the toy, then proceeds to do the same with all of the other play-things on the floor.

Our little man may not be able to string two words together himself, but he is amazing at following orders.

Train up a child in the way he should go . . .

17 October 2011

Of Our Little Hound

It's been awhile since we've played hide-and-seek as a family, but tonight, as Emmett finished his cinnamon-sugar topped piece of pie crust (a remainder from last week's chicken pot pie), Micaiah begged to continue the hiding game she and Daddy had started before dinner.  Thus, we began many rounds of the game.

She has still not learned the fact that, as Philip puts it, "This is hide-and-seek, not Marco Polo!"  She still responds when we search for her and expects us to do the same (though we are typically much less compliant).  At one point, as she and I cowered in Mommy and Daddy's shower, she was just about to yell out to Daddy who still, unfairly, calls her name while seeking, but I stopped her just in time, "Shh!  We have to be quiet!  Don't answer Daddy!"  The anticipation and sneakiness of it all was just too exciting for her as she let out the occasional squeal of joy.  We were found out.

When it was our turn to seek out Daddy, we made the rounds in all the rooms to no avail.  So while she kept searching, I decided to release the hound.  Emmett had finished his pie crust by now and was eagerly watching our every move.  I knew he had not only seen Daddy, but this little sucker could sniff out his Daddy within a 500-ft radius.  Daddy is, after all, his favorite person.  After wiping his hands and face, I set him on the ground and encouraged him to follow us back to the bedrooms as we continued our search.

"Come on!  Let's go find Daddy!"

Our stubborn boy sat still, though, just between the living room and the entry hall.  Finally he lifted his little arm to point toward the front door and said in a confused tone, "Daddy."  Being that the entryway is where we had counted before beginning our search, we hadn't thought to look there, but knowing Daddy is a pretty sneaky guy, I decided to follow Little Man's leading.  Sure enough, there was Philip, squeezed into the newly-cleared coat closet, where he'd apparently sneaked while we peered in bedroom closets, and had now been for the past five minutes.

That little boy is the best secret weapon ever.

16 October 2011

Of Painting

Friday night, after much anticipation on my part, I finally got around to trying out this recipe I found on Pinterest a few months ago:

Micaiah was also very intrigued as I gave her no information what I was doing, but, in her general interest to always know what Mom is up to in the kitchen, she kept a pretty close watch over the proceedings, confused over the fact that Momma was cooking neither food nor drink.  It was like 20 questions and Mommy was not cooperating.

By the end of the day, these six jars just made me happy inside every time I saw them:

So, having still not told our daughter of our big plans, it was a great motivator to get her to finish her nachos last night for dinner when we announced, "But when you're done, we're going to paint - with our fingers!"

"'Pink' [this is how she pronounces the word - so cute] our fingers!  And I get a brush?!" she asks excitedly as she demonstrates painting her nails, an activity we have not done in some time, but she loves all the same.

"Well, no, we're not painting our fingers, and we're not using our brushes.  We'll use our fingers to paint on paper!"  At this point I realize we may have done things backward when our daughter is quite adept with paint and a brush and yet is baffled with the concept of finger paints.  But anything involving paint is a good thing for her, so she's all set to finish those nachos.

"I want green paint!"  This is what we hear non-stop for the entire process of spreading newspaper and preparing palettes on paper plates.  Surprisingly enough, from a girl who doesn't always name her colors correctly, she actually reaches for the green paint first.  Go figure.

And the rest of the rainbow follows quickly after.  She may not have understood at first, but she is loving this!

Emmett, though, is still having difficulty with the concept.  Though Mom repeatedly dips her finger in color and smears on his canvas of brown packing paper, he still insists the best place for the paint is his mouth.

Not wanting to encourage him, but curious as this corn starch/sugar/salt combo seems to be quite delectable to our little man, I sneak in a small taste, too - not too bad, actually.  It's at this point I remember corn starch is a primary ingredient for home-made pudding.  I have essentially made our son a plate of very vibrantly-hued pudding.  So, whatever.  I tried to take the plate away after he finished orange and yellow, but he was so darn disappointed and it really wasn't that bad for him, so I let him finish.  He never did do any painting (other than of his lips).

Micaiah finds this all very strange.

"All done!"

Meanwhile, Micaiah has run out of brown paper and turns to Mom's method, just using the palette as the canvas - we're all about re-purposing in this household.

Overall, a rather fun evening and, I think our kids would agree, not a bad way to spend a half hour.  But we might wait to give Emmett his own paint again for awhile.

15 October 2011

Of Creeping Me Out

One of Philip's three goals for this weekend was to clean out his closet.  I had thought I might join him in his Saturday afternoon ambition, so I headed in the direction of my closet.  I took one step in, made a sweeping look around, and walked away.  Well, let me re-phrase that because I feel I implied there was room to step into my closet.  I stood on the threshold, rather, took one sweeping glance, and turned around to walk away.

A more lazy better use of my time, I decided, would be to grab the plastic purple treasure box I've had since elementary school (it came with a box of Crayolas - so awesome) in which I keep my pennies.  I toted the nearly-full box with me back from my parents' house in June and have planned to cash them in, but have yet to do so.  And one of my many useless enjoyments in life is counting change, so even though there is no point, as the machine at the bank will do it for me, I settled down to count out my pennies - just to see what kind of hidden treasure we would find.

Making conversation, I pondered to Philip, "I bet I have $10 in here.  What do you think?"

In his wordy, yet manly, way, he responded, "Yep."

"Seriously?  You're not even going to throw me a guess?"

Exasperated, though mildly amused by his adorably childish wife, he tossed out, "$7.63."

Satisfied he was at least pretending to play along, I began to dole out the change - creating stacks of ten pennies each, lined up in groups of ten.  After about the first twenty cents, I was beginning to believe I may have overshot a little bit.  He might be a tad closer - darn it.

I weeded out the dimes (they didn't count in my mind) and the one wheat penny we won't be cashing in.

After six dollars, I was beginning to see my husband was most likely going to win this silly game (of which I was the only one who cared).  After seven dollars I was beginning to get a little freaked out.  There was clearly not an entire dollar left in my diminished pile - he probably wasn't going to be exact, but he'd be darn close.

With each stack of ten, I began to giggle a bit more, piquing Philip's interest. "What?"

"I'm at $7.50," I announced as we both eyed the meager pile of pennies remaining.

"But it's still probably not exactly $7.63," he doubted.

I counted out the final ten-stack.

Here was my finished product:

This man creeps me out.

This is the same man who, when playing Loaded Questions with 11 other people, half of whom were virtual strangers, he correctly matched each person (something that never happens in that game, especially with so many people) on the amount of time we all spend in the bathroom on average.

Creeps me out.

But I tell you what, I'm taking him to every "Guess the number of marbles in the jar" game I can find from here on out.  Either that, or he's getting a job as a Carney guessing weights and birthdays.  We're definitely marketing this talent.

PS When you count the silver coins (which I had never intended to do, so it still doesn't really matter), I had $9.98 - I was only two cents off.  Not nearly as impressive, but makes me feel a little better about myself, so let me hold onto it.

14 October 2011

Of Matching

Today, as I was trying to herd my children to naptime, Micaiah became very excited about a reference I made to her Potty Book - so excited, she ran to retrieve it right away, despite my protests.

Because she seemed very eager to show me something in particular, I relented and gave her my full attention.  Quickly she flipped the pages to a scene depicting the potty animals on the bus.  After pointing to the tiger on the bus, she then directed my attention to the cars in the background, where a silhouette of a tiger family driving their cartoon sedan down the highway could be seen.

"That's his baby and that's his Daddy and that's his son," she said with much excitement.

Likewise, the showed me the rabbit and his family in yet another drawn vehicle - "That's his parents and that's his Dad and that's his baby."

The simple fact that our daughter had examined this picture closely enough to match the animals to their much smaller and less-highlighted counterparts in the background of the picture, found them to go together and named them as a family is remarkable to me.  And, what's more, she knew it was a remarkable discovery and had to share her revelation with her mommy.

That girl is just too smart.

13 October 2011

Of Getting There

I have good news!  After months of putting books in Accession Number order (which probably means nothing to you and, in reality, means nothing as far as the library goes, as the books will still have to be re-organized according to call number), I am done with that step of the process!  Done!


Now, after fixing in the computer all the erroneous information I found while re-organizing (which are mainly due to my learn-as-I go technique of library management), I will actually be able to put spine labels on the books, which will allow for further re-organization and . . . finally . . . an open church library!!!!

Praying that all of this can happen while I'm still able to move around comfortably and before a certain little baby enters the world and occupies the majority of my time for a season.

12 October 2011

Of My Blessings

On days like today, when I want to spend all day annoyed with my son for his silly tantrum that made me abandon my work in the church library to save everyone's ears, and then he turns around and does something cute - which totally does not get him off the hook, though it helps - or when Micaiah uses naptime to spread sunscreen all over herself and then lies about it, even though she smells like the beach and a contraband tube is on the floor in her favorite hiding place,  it's a good idea to focus on the things my children do well.

Like when Emmett helps put away the toys just as I ask - even his favorite glowing, spiky, bouncy balls - so he can go take a nap.

Or when he gives his sister her toys back when I remind him to share.

Or how happy he is at diaper changing time - even if his lightning fast leg kicks make changing a challenge.

Or Micaiah, when she runs to the potty all on her own, getting her seat situated because she has to go (even when that means leaving behind her favorite toy - the iPad - so she can do her business).

Or how she has actually been eating her meals lately without much fuss - even the meat at which she typically turns up her nose.

Even in the frustrating moments, I recognize the blessing I have in my children.  So grateful to call them mine.

10 October 2011

Of Getting it Done

Slowly but surely I am sticking to my commitment to check off my lists - both the mundane and the memorable.

I realized, as the cleaning list is rather long and somewhat cumbersome, I needed to stop avoiding it and take advantage of these fall days.  So, as the sun peeked out from the clouds today, I was inspired to see that sunshine more clearly through our clouded windows, the ones which have never seen the likes of a washrag or glass cleaner.  Today was makeover day and they sure do polish up nicely.  Of course, it was easier to get to some of them thanks to the destructive nature of the canine claws in our backyard and our subsequent lack of screens.

Sadly, however, due to an issue of dead shrubbery adorning the front bedroom windows, with which I did not want to tangle, and a rather formidable spider web (with equally formidable resident) spanning the width of the side bedroom windows, those were largely walked away from - which I figure is just as well for the time being, as those blinds are never opened anyway.  The unfortunate part of this is that there is still a certain tiny check-box with no happy check indicating the completeness of the activity.

But at least sunlight now permeates the primary living areas of our home with a greater clarity than ever before.  I consider that a win.

And to reward myself for my hard work, I decided our family would be taking a "Nature Walk" after dinner. However, being under-ambitious, living in the suburbs, and parenting two children, ages three and under, who cannot tell the difference between a small patch of grass with trees bordering a nearby creek or Yellowstone National Park, we opted to stroll on down to the said small patch of grass at the bottom of our street, admiring the fallen foliage and damp-grass smell of our recent rainfall to the point just before wandering across the creek into Private Property.  And the forest was just dense enough to cause Micaiah to declare, "This is scary!  Let's go home!"

Nature Walk.  Check.

We'll have our bucket list wiped out before you know it!

09 October 2011

Of Pumpkin

It was only a year or so ago I first opened my distinguished palate to the fine flavors of pumpkin - in any form.  Thus, having missed out on this autumn wonder for so many years of my life, I have made it my mission this fall to discover all the wonderful forms of pumpkin I can find.

And Pinterest is aiding me in my glorious task.

This weekend, as we had company in the house to aid in the consumption of any pumpkin endeavors, I undertook my first project: Pumpkin Cookies.  And boy was I a fan.  Although the sugar-overload of the icing does not allow me to enjoy more than one tiny cake-like cookie at a time, I'm definitely appreciating these little wonders.

I was also able to recently partake of Sonic's Pumpkin Pie Shake, so giddy to finally share in the joy so many others have expressed this time of year when restaurants begin to break out the seasonal fare.  And if that shake is any indication of what I have been missing out on, I am so ready for more.

Bring on the pumpkin!

06 October 2011

Of Babies (and Boys)

Of Emmett's expanding vocabulary, his current three favorite words are: "Hi!", "Daddy" (which is somewhat universal for both Mommy and Daddy - it's basically his way of saying, "Hey, you're an adult I know and love!"), and "Baby."  Of the three, while hearing him proclaim, "Daddy!" at the end of every work day when Philip walks through the garage door is pretty special, I find the most precious to be his newfound love for "babies" - which are any and all stuffed animals and dolls (of which there are many in this home).

When we find him in his crib snuggling his Build-a-Bear, basketball-playing, monkey, he'll hold it out and say, "Babeee!" (he always draws out the last syllable - it's absolutely adorable).

When he found in the kitchen the tiny McDonald's toy of a little girl dressed as the Big Bad Wolf (dressed as Grandma - it's a very confusing toy), he pointed to it excitedly and said, "Babeee!"

And when he was cruising around the living room on their push and ride truck, he stopped to retrieve from the floor his sister's handmade rag doll from Grandma Veta and declared, "Babeee!" while he hugged her, held her out to see her again, and hugged her once more.

Tonight, after we cleaned the kids' rooms for Grandma and Grandpa's impending arrival, he was coveting his sister's Glo-Worm which she was carrying everywhere, so I asked Daddy to retrieve my old bald-headed Cabbage Patch doll (it was a "Baby" Cabbage Patch Doll - it was meant to be bald - I'm not that destructive!) from Micaiah's bed - she was not giving that baby the correct amount of loving and, besides, it was wearing one of Emmett's own newborn onesies - it was like the pair were meant to be.

And sure enough, he was so happy to have his very own baby.  He pulled his baby up with him to sit on the futon and patted the space next to him where Momma sits for story time.  Thus, he hugged his baby all during their bedtime story and carried it off to bed with him when it was time.

Clearly he's learning to be such a great Daddy from the wonderful example provided for him in our family.

I'm just hoping this loving tenderness for babies holds for a couple more months, so he can greet his real life Baby brother or sister with the same amount of affection he shares with Sissie's dolls.  Fingers crossed!

05 October 2011

Of Lunar Companionship

Micaiah was so proud of her coloring sheet from Awana this evening, depicting the carrots God made when He created all the vegetables, she would not allow me to put it in her tiny Puggles backpack, as she would rather grasp it in her own two hands.

Holding tightly to her carrots, she peered out the window, where it was "very, very dark" and searched for the moon, which she excitedly kept an eye on the entire way home, as it was "coming with us!"

As she bounded out of the car upon arriving home, she announced with much enthusiasm, "I want to show the moon my carrots!"

And, thus, she rushed out to the driveway, far enough to see the half-moon lingering over our home and proudly held her orange-scribbled paper as high as her tiny arms could reach, shouting, "Look, Moon!  See my carrots?!"  She held it there for a full minute, allowing the moon to fully soak in the wonder of her artwork.

It was possibly the sweetest thing I have ever seen in my life.

04 October 2011

Of Standing on His Own Two Feet

For awhile now, it has seemed Emmett has wanted to initiate a standing position in the middle of the room. I would catch him pulling up to his feet, but leaning forward on his hands, and then, suddenly remembering he doesn't know how to do that, he would often move on with his life.

Apparently, though, it was the wood floors that scared him (and who can blame a banana-skinned little boy like himself?), because tonight he found in the hallway the changing pad that has been waiting to join the garage sale pile (which the children actually commandeered yesterday as their rowboat, with Micaiah captain, of course) and decided the padding on that would work nicely for his standing practice.  And he went to town.

Multiple times, he would hike his little haunches up in the air, knees bent, and tentatively release his hands from the floor, reminding me of a little surfer catching his carpeted wave.  Occasionally he would make it to a full upright before toppling over, but mostly he lost his balance while still squatting.  But progress is progress and for each moment his hands were not making contact with his makeshift tumbling mat he earned a great deal of applause from his captive audience of Mommy and Daddy.  And he loved it.

Mommy is particularly excited because standing on his own is the final step before those big first steps.  And I (and this growing belly) cannot wait to have a walking boy in this house*!

*Please don't remind me of these words when he is running like a madman through this living room and I am begging for him to slow down so Mommy can just catch up.  That would just be rude.

03 October 2011

Of Checking Them Off

I know I am not alone in this, but I have a confession to make: I love checklists.

A dear friend of mine always teases about herself that you know it's bad when you add something to do your "To Do" list after you've done it, just so you can feel good checking it off.  Yeah, done that.

So, when I find checklists created by someone else, that I didn't have to put thought into but still puts a little fire under my widening behind to get some things done, I fall in love.  And, via my favorite blog, A Holy Experience, I have found two wonderful checklists for the fall:  one to inspire a little family fun, and one to inspire us to get some work done.  Hopefully we'll strike a nice balance and still be able to check 80% off each list (a noble goal, I think, especially when you consider there's no way this house is getting pressure-washed).

I hope to blog about some of it, but either way, I encourage you to download (or create) your own checklists and take a little control of your time!

01 October 2011

Of a Tender Heart

I love Micaiah's sweet heart.  She can be having the crummiest day attitude-wise, but the minute she hears someone isn't feeling up to par, she's there to make them feel right.

The other day, as we got home from a day of working in the church library, a task this pregnant body is finding more and more difficult with each passing day, I sat for a moment in the car after pulling into the garage, just to catch my breath.  Concerned I wasn't moving to eject her or her brother from their respective seats, Micaiah asked, "Mommy, you alright?"

"Well, the baby is hurting right now" I explained as I rubbed a sore spot on my expanding belly.  This explanation, though sad to her, seemed to make sense as she confirmed, "Oh, your tummy hurt?"

Later, after lunch, as I released her from the booster seat, she asked, "Mommy, you okay?" 

Feeling just fine, and forgetting our conversation from earlier, I answered, "Yeah, I'm okay; are you okay?"

"Yeah, your penguin not hurting anymore?"

Man, that girl is the greatest.

Then, this evening, as Daddy spent the day away, having valuable guy-time, a second-trimester morning (aka evening) sickness was hitting me.  Trying my best to bear through the day when I could barely move off the couch, the kids spent a lot of time in front of the television.  At one point, she turned to me, hoping to cuddle with mama - something I would have loved, if the squirminess of a three-year-old wouldn't send me over the edge.  Sadly, I had to decline.  It took her awhile to understand, which just broke my heart as she asked in as many ways as she could think of.  Finally, I started to cry.

"Mommy, are you sad?"

"Yes, baby, because I want to spend time with you, I just can't."

I covered my eyes to compose myself and when I re-opened them, she had vanished.  Emmett sat slapping and squawking in my face (thanks for the empathy, buddy), but his sister had disappeared.  Seconds later she re-appeared with the blanket from her bed.

"Here you go, Mommy," she said tenderly as she spread the covering over me in an attempt to ease my sorrows.

I will ever be grateful for my little girl.