Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I feel like such a bad writer lately, but I am short on time (I want to talk to my husband!), but here are a few bullet points about my day with the kids.

  • I have been horribly undisciplined this week, but I am hoping that since tomorrow is another day with no mistakes in it I can do better.
  • James is apparently a natural climber.  Sunday at church he started climbing up the steps to the stage, and today he tried to climb into the dishwasher.  It's too bad we don't have stairs.
  • Ella colored and played the Wii.  She also entertained James by running back and forth the length of the house making a lot of noise.  He thought it was hilarious.
  • James tried grapes for the first time.
  • Ella did some Plyometrics with me.  
  • I had a good literary discussion on Facebook.
  • I caught Ella with her hands folded in prayer, moving her mouth as we were getting ready for bed.  When I asked her what she was praying about she said something about, "With God all things are possible."
  • The Wii told us that it hadn't seen Hillary in a long time.  We said, "We know."
  • KJ came home after both the kids were in bed.  I love him.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


After being such a regular blogger while KJ was away, it feels strange to have gone so many days without posting something.  The reasons I have not been writing lately are twofold.  The good news is that I've been hanging out with my husband at night after the children are in bed, and that has been fun.  I'm very glad to have him home.  There have been no more lonely nights blogging away by myself.  The bad news is that since KJ has been home James has been waking up in the night again.  We think he is just being stubborn and crazy and that the only way to fix it is to let him cry it out and know that he is not getting picked up.  I think KJ has spent more nights on the sofa than in our bed since he's been home, letting me sleep while he comforted James periodically.  A couple of nights after he got home I woke up slightly out of a dream-filled sleep and gasped in horror because someone was in my bed.  After 2 weeks of being alone it scared me to death for half a second before I realized it was KJ.  So, please pray for James and us as we lose sleep.  We are both physically tired, and I am emotionally tired of trying to figure out if he is hungry or has a genuine need or if he is just being  a stinker.

In other news, summer is filled with birthdays in our family.  My brother, Josh, celebrated his 27th birthday on Sunday.  I was going to try to write a post about him yesterday, but I was interrupted by a baby who didn't want to take his nap, so suffice it to say, I really love my brother!  I am so proud of him and the man he has become and is becoming.  He is funny, tender, faithful, generous, and loving, and I hope he has a wonderful year.

Josh and his lovely wife, Nicole

Yesterday was KJ's mom's birthday, and we celebrated with lunch at our house with the Kizziah family.  Both Katie and I are so thankful for the ways Mama T. helps us through this stage of mothering small children by encouraging us to savor each moment and giving us breaks by keeping our children for us.  We love you, T!

I tried a new panini recipe yesterday, and it was great!  It was an easy panini to make for a party.

Roast Beef Panini Sandwiches
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 packages (8 ounces each) pre-baked pizza crusts (6 inches)
1/2 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
1 cup French Fried Onions
5 ounces sliced deli roast beef
2 ounces sliced provolone or mozzarella cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 375.  Combine mayonnaise, basil and garlic in small bowl.  Spread on pizza crusts.
2.  Layer spinach, Fried Onions, roast beef and cheese on two pizza  crusts, dividing evenly.  Cover with remaining two pizza crusts, spread side down.
3.  Place sandwiches on baking sheet.  Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until sandwiches are toasted and cheese is melted.  To serve, cut each sandwich in half.

I used 2-12 inch pizza crusts because I didn't see any 6-inch ones at the store and just baked it on a pizza pan.  I used the whole wheat pizza crust, but I'm sure the sandwich would be good with other seasoned crusts, too.  Enjoy!

Recipe from Favorite Brand Name Italian Cooking

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Activities

For lack of anything to really write about tonight, here are a few pictures that illustrate what my children have been doing:

KJ introduced Ella to the world of YouTube.
It can be very entertaining.

James needs a brush, and he just wants to go outside and play.

Two quotes from Ella today, one very like her mother and one not:
"I don't want to get in the pool; I just want to sit on a towel and read."
That is very like her mother.

"I don't want to be in the sun.  I want to be in the shade."
That is NOT like her mother.

KJ put up the pack 'n play so I could safely contain James.
Turns out, it's a good place to contain Ella as well.

James is being forced to wear the girl bib as punishment for keeping me awake for 2 hours in the middle of the night.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


KJ's mom (affectionately known as Mama T.) came over for a little while this afternoon so KJ and I could go out alone.  Hooray!  It was wonderful.  I would really like a few days alone with my husband as opposed to a few hours, but I will have to wait for that.  All you who are married with no children yet, enjoy these days!  Of  course children are a blessing, but it is also such a blessing to talk to your spouse uninterrupted so enjoy this season!  We had a very successful trip, and I found all manner of good things to read.  It was so pleasant to have the time and the quiet to walk calmly through the library and look over book titles without holding a 22 pound baby on my hip and constantly adjuring my 3-year-old to stay close to me.  (I must say that those are fun memories, too, and bring their own kind of joy.)  Ella took a picture of KJ and I before we went  to the library.  She did a really great job, didn't she?

I found Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell.  She was a contemporary of Charles Dickens and wrote for one of his publications in the 1850's, Household Words.  Cranford is delightful reading, painting a picture of the social doings of a small English village.  Life is different there than in fashionable London.  Here is something that made me laugh:

My next visit to Cranford was in the summer.  There had been neither births, deaths, nor marriages since I was there last.  Everybody lived in the same house, and wore pretty nearly the same well-preserved, old-fashioned clothes.  The greatest event was, that Miss Jenkynses had purchased a new carpet for the drawing-room. Oh the busy work Miss Matty and I had in chasing the sunbeams, as they fell in an afternoon right down on this carpet through the blindness window!  We spread newspapers over the places, and sat down to our book or our work; and, lo! in a quarter of an hour the sun had moved, and was blazing away on a fresh spot; and down again we went on our knees to alter the position of the newspapers.  We were very busy, too, one whole morning, before Miss Jenkyns gave her party, in following her directions, and in cutting out and stitching together pieces of newspaper, so as to form little paths to every chair, set for the expected visitors, lest their shoes might dirty or defile the purity of the carpet.  Do you make paper paths for every guest to walk upon in London?
Oh, the joys of British literature!  And any good book, of course.  If you are not the reading sort but appreciate English dramas, you should definitely check out the BBC production of Cranford and Return to Cranford.  

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 12 - Welcome Home, KJ!

As I write, my husband is falling asleep at our house, and I am so happy!  However, I am too wired to go to sleep now, so I thought I would post some pictures of his homecoming instead of tossing and turning with excitement.  I hate to be unproductive with my time.

My son looks so huge in this picture.
I can't believe how big he is.

James jumped up and down in my arms when he saw KJ.

James really liked his present.

Ella got a Brazil flag.

Words cannot describe Ella's happiness.

Ella and I made KJ his favorite cake.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 10 - Father's Day

The father of my children was absent today but much talked of among us.  Ella is especially ready for her daddy to come home, and I am so thankful she has such a present and involved father.  So many children do not.  I am thankful for my wonderful Dad today and for my father-in-law who has loved me as a father.  I truly am grateful to have such men of character in my life who have illustrated for me God's tender, compassionate, and faithful love.

We had lunch at KJ's parents' house this afternoon where Ella and James got to play with Big Daddy.  James was very exhausted, but I had a chance to get some pictures of his climbing adventures.  He stood up at T and Big Daddy's house today, too, with his hands on the keyboard.    I was thinking it would be really crazy if he was an early walker like his daddy.  KJ walked at 9 months.  That would be very unexpected for me, as Ella didn't walk until 13 1/2 months, but James is already 2 months ahead of her in the crawling department.  

Big Daddy is whistling the "Andy Griffith" song for James.
James loves music; he always sings along when he hears it.

There he goes...

Ella will often take out her camera when I do.
I should do a post soon with her pictures.

Contrary to appearances, he did not fall and bust his head open here.
I rescued him before that could happen.  
He just lay across the trunk for a second.

He did it!  Look at that big boy.

I had a song in my head by Marty Goetz as I was thinking about God being our Father.  If you have never listened to his music you are missing out!  He is a messianic Jew (He has a song called Jew Born Anew.) who composes the most beautiful music, most of which is pure Scripture.  He sings and plays the piano.  I was thinking of a line from We Being Many:  "...with God as our Father, who loves us a mother loves her newborn child."  Listen to it!  I just did, and it is good to go to sleep with such truths in your heart.

Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.  O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forever.
- Psalm 131:2-3-

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 9 - A Day of Happenings

I couldn't resist posting some pictures of our day for KJ before bed.  I think he will have one more chance to be online tomorrow morning, and I know it will make his heart glad to see the faces of his loved ones, especially since it is Father's Day.  It seemed to be a day of many happenings for James.  He got his first bloody lip.  I didn't see it happen, but I think he fell over on a wooden spoon.  Or maybe he just hit his face on the ground, but I noticed blood on his bib mingling with the drool when I picked him up to comfort his tears.  I tried to get some pictures, and he didn't seem too upset about it.

You can see a little bloody drool there.

A lot of notice gets taken of babies, so Ella likes to get in on the action.

James also performed another feat that made me fear more bleeding lips.  He pulled up to a standing position using the trunk that sits on our hearth.  It is not really tall enough to do that so he was bent over with his hands touching it, but he was on his two little feet, legs standing tall.  Ella and I clapped and cheered, but then I quickly put him back on his bottom.  He loves to explore the fireplace, though.  I felt like Mary Poppins telling him he could never be too careful around fireplaces.

I was attempting to block his passage with the toy basket.
It sort of worked.

James had yet another misadventure today while Ella and I were listening to letter sounds on a Hooked on Phonics c.d.  I had the c.d. playing in the living room where we have surround sound, and James crawled over to the sub-woofer only to back away quickly, crying.  I couldn't figure out what happened until he covered his ear with his little hand.  Oh.  Poor little guy.

We didn't have any plans today, so after the thunderstorm this afternoon I abruptly decided that we would go out.  We went to a couple of stores and ate dinner at Jason's Deli.  James had his first ice cream experience.  He didn't want any more puffs after that.  He would only be satisfied with more ice cream.  We had a good time but came home exhausted.  A three hour outing with my children on my own really took it out of me.  I'm so glad Ella is such a big girl, though, and learning to do so many tasks by herself.  I was holding James, so I couldn't help her in the bathroom but could only wait outside the stall.  She did everything herself, but I did play supermom holding James in one arm, and lifting her up with my other so she could reach the sink to wash her hands.  That is probably why mothers have back problems when they are older.  We are very ready for KJ to come home.  Happy Father's Day, sweet KJ!  You are such a wonderful father to our children!

James is intent on his puffs.

Eating ice cream

Ella loves chocolate (and making faces).

Friday, June 18, 2010

Day 8 - End of the Week

I don't really have any blogging inspiration tonight, but the kids are in bed, and I wanted to post some pictures for KJ.  He really enjoys and appreciates getting to see us and what we are doing while he is away.

This morning April Hollingsworth came over with Raine and Seth to play.  Raine and Ella had a good time playing together for the most part.  It reminded me that I need to give Ella a chance to play with other children more often so that she can learn all the rules of social engagement.  She had a few meltdowns when Raine didn't play the way she wanted her to play.  She recovered pretty quickly each time, and Raine was very sweet about it.  The thought just occurred to me that we never stop learning how to interact with people.  I do and say things all the time when I get together with others that I wish I hadn't done or said.  Oh, well.  Ella is only just embarking on her life adventure of learning to play well with others.

Ella and Raine eating lunch

Sweet Seth

Other than our morning visit we didn't do anything exciting or go anywhere today.  The kids played well together this morning in Ella's room while I was cleaning.  They both enjoyed the cash register.  James enjoyed the plastic food.

Ella helped me fold the laundry this afternoon. She's quite adept at towels, bath cloths, and other sundry items.  

I guess that is the extent of our activity today.  The children are now nestled snug in their beds (I hope.), and I need to exercise and wash a few dishes.  I always have a hard time deciding what to do with my time at night because there are so many things I find enjoyable.  I could read, work out, clean, watch television, watch a movie and iron, study.  There are so many good and productive things to do but only a couple of hours to call my own at the end of the day.  This might be the most humdrum post I've written all week.  My apologies.  

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 7 - Thankful for Friends

I think I have mentioned before how hard it was for me last year when KJ was in Brazil, and I expected it to be like that again.  Maybe being more prepared led to more prayers on the subject from both KJ and myself, and I must say that it really has been a good week, and having two small children keeps me much busier than only Ella did last summer.  There is not a lot of time to mope, and the Lord has been gracious to fill our days with fun times and good friends.

Yesterday Heather Roach, a friend from our church, came and watched the kids, allowing me to go grocery shopping by myself.  You mothers know what a treat that is.  It truly is an enjoyable experience.  She stayed a couple of more hours after I got home and colored with Ella.  They enjoyed watching Cinderella together, and I enjoyed some adult conversation.

After Heather left I was able to talk to KJ online, and then I began packing Ella's bag for an overnight trip to her grandparents' house with John David.  I know they had a wonderful time together.

It was very quiet after T. and Ella left.  I fixed myself some leftovers for supper, and James watched God Made Me and played with a water bottle.  He was very tired and went to bed at 7:00, and then it was even quieter.

So I was all prepared to do a little bit of this:  
when there was a knock at my door.  We don't have a peephole, and we put something over our windows so I can't see anything but shadows outside.  It was dusk, and I hardly ever open the door when I'm home alone anyway.  I just saw this dark shadow of someone holding what appeared to be a suitcase, and my first thought was some kind of door-to-door salesman.  I hesitated, and there was another knock, so I ran to my closet in the front of the house to peep out the blinds.  My eyes fell on what appeared to be Hillary Winter's car.  I ran back to the front door and opened it wide, and there she was!  I was so excited.  I have missed her so much in the 2 1/2 weeks she's been gone from Tuscaloosa.  I was very used to her practically living at my house, and it has been lonely without her.  

She came bearing gifts (more blackberry preserves, books, and t-shirts for my kids), and since Ella was gone and James was away we settled in for a good chat.  It was so nice.  Another plus to Ella being away (although I did miss her) was getting to go back to bed this morning after James' early waking and feeding.  Oh, the bliss.  We then showered and dressed and went to the Pugh's to visit with Katie, John David, and Claire.  Ella and John David were playing with pla-doh, and Claire and James did some baby communing.  It was very sweet.

After James' nap we made a visit to All Fired Up to make a Father's Day present for KJ.  It was a lot of fun, and James really cooperated and behaved perfectly.  

When we left All Fired Up we went to Winn-Dixie to pick up a few items for supper.  Ella's favorite thing about Winn-Dixie is getting to "drive" the cart with the steering wheels.  I put James in beside her, and he loved it.  He was so cute and precious with his hands on the steering wheel, checking it all out.  What a sweet boy.

Can you tell by their expressions that it's really hot?

Ella enjoys her cookie dough.

We ended the day with taco salad and a cookie cake.  It was such a fun day, and I was thankful that James was such a trooper and took naps when he was supposed to do so.  He also crawled the longest distance he's ever been tonight, all the way through the den and dining room and into the hallway.  I think he would have kept going, but I had to rescue him from the plug on the lamp.  

I am so thankful to Hillary for surprising me last night and for all the sweet friends and family who have made this week so enjoyable.  We still have 4 1/2 more days without KJ, but I am hopeful that they will be just as good.  We are planning on having another friend from church over with her little girl to play with Ella in the morning.  She also has a precious one-year-old who James will enjoy, I'm sure.  We are hanging in there, KJ!  (Although I will say that Ella has seemed a little sad and out of sorts tonight.  I think she misses you.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pictures from Our Day

My husband requested some pictures from our adventures today, so these are for him.

The day started with breakfast, and James really wanted some of Ella's cereal.

This resulted in Ella spilling the cereal all over the carpet.
I got James a snack, too, and all was well.

I think Ella watched too many musicals at a young age.
She's quite the performer.
I like that you can see James' teeth in this pictures.

We went to the library after lunch today and had a pretty good time.  James was attempting to hurl himself out of the stroller, but other than that it was uneventful.  I think the attraction was his toes and the wheels.

James reached over and grabbed Ella's hand.

Ella played her first computer game.

Ella informed me when we got inside that she didn't want to read books today, and she pointed at the computers longingly.  There was an older girl playing a game on one of them.  I reluctantly walked over to check it out.  I wasn't sure what games were on there and if she would be able to play them, and James was still hanging over the side of the stroller.  She really did a great job, though.  She pointed and clicked (I think it was her first time) and got the answers right.  Her daddy would be so proud of his little gamer.

James and I waiting while Ella played games

James played in the kitchen while I cooked dinner and discovered the amazing doorstop that makes the oh, so fun noise.

Those are all my pictures from today.  I should have taken one of Ella talking to KJ via Skype tonight, though.  How different is the world she is growing up in than the one I was 3 years old in?  I'm sure I didn't participate in technology until I was much older.  I got a record player for Christmas when I was about her age.  She's looking at her father's face and talking to him while he is on another continent.  It's a brave, new world.