Friday, July 30, 2010

Something I Read

"Who is regulating affairs on this earth today--God, or the Devil?  What saith the Scriptures?  If we believe their plain and positive declarations, no room is left for uncertainty.  They affirm, again and again, that God is on the throne of the universe; that the sceptre is in His hands; that He is directing all things 'after the counsel of His own will.'  They affirm, not only that God created all things, but also that God is ruling and reigning over all the works of His hands.  They affirm that God is the 'Almighty,' that His will is irreversible, that He is absolute Sovereign in every realm of all His vast dominions.  And surely it must be so.  Only two alternatives are possible:  God must either rule, or be ruled; sway, or be swayed; accomplish His own will, or be thwarted by His creatures.  Accepting the fact that He is the 'Most High,' the only Potentate and King of kings, vested with perfect wisdom and illimitable power, and the conclusion is irresistible that He must be God in fact as well as in name."

- A.W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God

Thursday, July 29, 2010

First Day of School

Yesterday Ella and I had our first day of "school."  My girl totally freaks out at the mention of doing anything new.  "School" is a new term, and I think her only previous association is of hearing the school bus drive through the neighborhood and asking what it was.  After I told her the bus took the children to school, she got a little nervous when we heard the bus.  "I don't have to go to school, right?"  "No, you're not old enough yet."  Poor girl.

I tried to explain to her yesterday that saying "school" just meant learning about things.  "Well, school is fun for other children but not for me."  This conversation went on and on until I decided to stop trying.  Having "school" is a lot for my sake as well as hers.  I needed some plans and organization for our day, and Ella loves coloring and doing worksheets so I was not trying to make her do something that she wouldn't enjoy.  I also told Ella that there were a lot of other things you got to do at school.

She got excited about writing it all down.
So, armed with these categories to organize the day into activities we started with the preschool workbook I bought at Wal-Mart since James was napping, and I could sit down with her.  She wanted me to color with her, so I did, and we had some argument when I wanted to get up and wash dishes while she finished her picture, but I'll just skip all that.

Can you guess who colored which?
There's not a lot of difference.

I also bought her another Color Wonder kit by Crayola because we love them.  This one had some gel paint in it, so that was her art project later in the afternoon.

I think she's getting tired of me taking her picture all the time.

Finished product

In between working on her letters and "art," she ate lunch while watching Lady and the Tramp.  Our music section of the day was spent dancing to the Celtic Woman dvd (which James loves as well).  I made her have some quiet time in her room for 30 minutes when I put James down for his afternoon nap.  He's been grumpy because of teeth coming in and following me around the house whining, "Ma, ma, ma, ma," and I needed some quiet.  She was not happy about being made to go to her room, but I think she'll get used to it.  When her 30 minutes was up she came out and did a workout dvd with me.  She really loves P90X Plyometrics because she loves to jump.  Then she played some computer games later in the afternoon.  She loves and I do, too!  It's really fun (and crazy) watching her learn to navigate on the computer at such a young age.  They have so many great learning games on their website.

All in all, I was pretty beat by the end of the day.  This is definitely the hardest job on the planet.  

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What am I gonna do now?

I get asked that question at least 50 times a day (I am trying to be reasonable in my estimate.), and I often get very tired of even attempting to come up with an answer.  Yesterday afternoon I had Ella call her grandmother (my mom) to come up with something.  It has been a few years (I think) since Debo has had to answer that question.  My mom's answer?  Make brownies!  So we did.

We really missed you when we were licking the bowl, Hillary.

And yes, she is eating this brownie before we had supper.
But I had one before supper, how could I turn her down?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Love Luke!

(Sorry about the alliteration in my titles lately.  I'm not sure where that's coming from.)

James is still feeling pretty badly this morning, running a fever and wanting my constant attention, so Ella has gone to play with her cousins and grandmother, and we are alone.  His requirement of my presence gave me a reason to spend time sitting still and reading for a little while this morning, and I am reminded again of how much I love the gospel of Luke.  I just love the beginning.  It's so beautiful and so great.  

We've been reading through the Old Testament during our "family time" at night, so in the past few nights we've talked about Sarah and Rebekah and how they couldn't have children and then God blessed them with children (or a child, in Sarah's case).  On a side note, Ella has been asking some very perceptive questions that show she is really listening and desiring to understand.  Last night when KJ told her that Rebekah got pregnant after they prayed to the Lord, she asked, "How did she get pregnant?"  Unfortunately, I can't remember what his answer was at the moment, but the main point is she is listening.  KJ also made the comment, "Boy, Abraham's family sure did have a lot of fertility issues."  I've thought that part of the reason for that was to illustrate to them and to us that He was in control of the growth of His people, and He did not choose them for their great might or numbers.  They were the fewest of all peoples.  

I thought about these things again this morning as I read about Zechariah and Elizabeth, another barren woman.  I was also reading these things in light of a conversation I had with a friend the other day who is having her first child at age 30.  It was not the way she would have planned it, she said.  She thought she would be done at 30.  But after reading about all these much older ladies who were not blessed with a child until later in life, I thought I should remind my friend, "It's okay."  My friend did say that it was such a comfort to her knowing that God is sovereign over her life and the timing of her precious first-born child, and He is.  He is indeed the giver of life, and He gives it when He chooses, at the perfect time and not a moment too late.  My friend lost a baby several months before I did, and I think it will be for her as it was for me with James and for Elizabeth:  "You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth."  

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sleeping Once More

James has been sleeping through the night for the past 5 nights, and I am realizing again what a difference sleep makes in my life.  Yesterday as I was driving to church I had the thought, "I'm so glad it's Sunday!," and my heart was lifting up as I anticipated the worship service.  Then I laughed to myself because I knew I felt this way because I had slept for 7 1/2 hours the night before.  I couldn't tell you the last Saturday night when that happened for me.  

Yesterday was fun because there was another party for Sandy at church in the afternoon, and I am so excited about the approaching wedding.  My mom was able to come down, and the only damper on the day was finally confirming that it wasn't my imagination that James felt warmer than usual.  When I took his temperature last night it was 101.2, so I was a bit worried about him.  Thankfully, I spotted two more teeth under the surface of his gums today so I believe they are the culprits.  

This morning I was trying to be a good and organized mother by planning activities outdoors while it was cool for the kids.  James really likes playing in the bathtub, so I keep thinking he will enjoy the baby pool, and Ella is constantly asking me, "Mom, what can I do?" all day long, and since I really don't want her staring at the television or computer screen all day long I filled up the pool with water first thing.  I took charge even though Ella was complaining, "I don't want to play outside.  I want to play on the computer..."  Whine, whine.  But I knew she would have fun if I took control because I am the mom, and I know what's best for her.  When I came back inside after filling up the pool she had already taken off her nightgown and put her bathing suit on and had a smiling face.  I knew it.  But alas, James was not happy.  I guess the water was still too cool for him, and he just cried, so we didn't last very long.  Oh, well.  He still looked really cute in his swimming duds.

I'm thinking of starting a home-preschool for Ella, though.  She's played very well today, but she needs some organization in her life, and it will help me as well.  Then I might have an answer when she says, "But I just don't know what to doooo."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Slow-Down Saturday

We've had a pretty active week, getting together with family, actually going to church on Wednesday night, and I was preparing for a Lingerie Party for Sandy all week, so it feels good to have a bit of a breather today.  I asked KJ last night for permission to sleep in today, and he kindly gave it.  So after I nursed James at 6:50, I went back to bed about 7:45.  (By the way, James not waking up until 6:50 is extremely amazing.)  It was so nice to get another 1 1/2 hours of sleep this morning.  Then Ella and I made a Wal-Mart run (I was out of caffeinated drinks.).  Now we are all four at home with only home chores to do, and it feels very good.

The party was a complete success and very fun.  Sandy got a lot of pretty things and did a great job playing the game I'd made.  I put together a video of me asking Jesse questions, and Sandy had to answer the same questions.  Her goal was to answer the same, and she got to pick a prize out of a basket.  It was very fun listening to them think out loud and coming to the same answer.  Sandy answered most of the questions the same way Jesse had.  It was a lot of fun.

Sandy sharing her engagement story

"Good Luck!"

I was really proud of my menu.
It was my first time to have scene selection on one of my videos.

Party Girls

Friday, July 23, 2010

Happy birthday, Katie!

I gave an advance warning that the summer months are filled with birthdays in our family.  Today is my sister-in-law Katie's special day.  I am so thankful for Katie.  She was my very first sister and is always such a fun and encouraging person to be around.  Some favorite memories of time with Katie are:

  • Our first meeting in Mobile-  Katie cried.  (If you know her you are not surprised.)  But KJ had told her he thought I was the one he would marry, so of course that brought sweet tears.
  • Neon Bubble Car Wash- Somehow we talked each other into buying this ridiculously priced car wash in Sylacauga.  I guess the idea of neon bubbles sounded fun at the time.  Since then we have discovered that it doesn't take much encouragement from the other one to buy something.  I think we've grown a little wiser in our purchases in the past 6 years, though.
  • Living in Springdale Apartments- That time seems so long ago now.  During our first years of seminary we lived just around the corner from each other and shared many a meal together and watched many a movie (most of which Katie fell asleep during).  I'm sure I bugged she and David, but I was always ready to knock on their door and beg them to come over.  
  • Staying in the country- Katie so sweetly cared for Ella and I in her home for a few days after my knee surgery.  KJ had to work, and I don't know what we would have done without her.  She cooked me meals and made me snacks and did the jobs with Ella that I couldn't do.  
  • Having babies a week apart- Last summer we were pregnant together and had our babies exactly one week apart.  
Now we are busy encouraging each other as we learn so many lessons having two small children.  I always feel better when I get off the phone with Katie.  It's so nice to have someone who understands my life exactly.   You are a great friend and mother, Katie.  You're doing a fantastic job, and I hope you have a very happy birthday!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!

We celebrated a little on Sunday, but I want to wish my mother a very happy birthday today.  I love and appreciate you more than ever as I am only at the beginning of the joy and pain-filled journey of motherhood, and I can understand a little better all that you have invested in us.  I hope you have a wonderful day.  You are very loved!

Cute Children

James has been pulling up on everything since about 5 days after learning to crawl, but until yesterday he had never pulled up in the crib. I guess I go in his room pretty quickly after he wakes up, so he's not had a reason or chance to try.  But when Ella and I went in his room to get him after his morning nap yesterday, he stood up to greet us.  He is such a big boy.

KJ took me to lunch yesterday, and Mama T and John David came over to play with Ella and James.  Ella and John David had a great time playing Toy Story, Memory and other make-believe games with each other.  When I came home they were both cackling while watching old cartoons on television (Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound).  I got a couple of pictures of their infectious smiles.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Moments in Mothering

I just wanted to record this before I forgot.  Before we left for Arab Ella was assuring KJ that she would be back soon.  She said, "If you sleep, you can dream about me."

Is she sweet or what?  

Weekend Fun

The kids and I went to Arab Saturday afternoon so we could go to a tea for Sandy on Sunday.  We had such a great trip up.  James slept for 1 1/2 hours.  Ella watched Wallace and Gromit, and we sang songs the rest of the way.  I was very thankful because James usually only sleeps 30 minutes in the car, and Ella will get antsy, but Saturday was good.  My dad brought my grandmother up Saturday, as well, and we had a good evening together.  

It is always good to be back home at Arab FBC, to see the familiar faces and be thankful for the ways the precious people there have given, served, and prayed for me throughout the past 17 years of my life.  Sandy and her mother and sister were able to join us for church, and I so enjoyed hearing my father preach.  It was so good.  We had a fabulous lunch prepared by my dad and Judson.  It was so much fun being with all the ladies in our soon-to-be joined families.

Ella with her special friend, Shelby Grace
Ella sat with Shelby and the rest of the Arab youth group during church.

Before the Tea

We also celebrated Debo's birthday, which is on Wednesday.

Sandy and Grandma Murphy

Katie could always make Ella smile.

Nicole and I
(photography by Ella)

Now there are three!

A quiet ending to a very busy day

We're so thankful to all the sweet Arab ladies who blessed Jesse and Sandy with so much.  It was such a special and fun day yesterday.  We can't wait until August 14!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sleeping through the Night

I am waiting for James to wake up so I can nurse him.  That almost never happens.  Did he suddenly decide to start sleeping through the night?  I don't think so.  But when he woke up crying at 11:30, KJ went in to rock him and put him back down, and he shut his bedroom door on the way out.  I don't really agree with this practice completely because it gives me some kind of separation anxiety to not know if he wakes crying in the night, even though in theory I know it's okay because I need to let him cry anyway so he will stop waking up and crying.  However, I had no anxiety last night because I was unaware of the situation. I took a Tylenol PM last night because the night before I was awake for 2 1/2 hours after waking up with James.  I think that after 9 months of irregular sleep my body just doesn't know what to do anymore.  I'm used to having to wake up fully in the night to perform motherly duties, and I can't go back to sleep on command any more.  It's a horrible problem.  But I slept blissfully last night, and didn't open my eyes until 6:45, at which point I realized that KJ must have shut James' door because there was no other explanation for my having slept through the night.  Sure enough, I got up to find his door shut.  But James is still sleeping peacefully, so I know there was no harm done.  

On a side note, we took our first trip to Chuck E Cheese last night.  I wanted to go to Hobby Lobby and look at some lamps and pictures, and the rain was pouring down as we got there.  Since I only wanted to get in and out of the car once in the rain (Have you ever tried to hold an umbrella over your head while removing a child from a carseat?  Impossible!) I suggested Chuck E Cheese because we could walk there from Hobby Lobby under an overhang, and Ella had never been so I thought she might have a good time.

When we walked in the door, Ella was less than thrilled about having her hand stamped by a strange lady, and she had her "unsure" expression on her face as she took in the chaos around her.  She didn't want to ride any of the rides, but she had a good time watching KJ and I play Skee Ball, and she played a mean game of air hockey with me.  (And yes, I did let her win.)  She also danced on the blue screen where it projected her on to the television dancing with Chuck E.  

When we first walked in a sweet little boy approached us with his hand out and gave us 5 tokens.  I'm not sure why; maybe he had to leave.  But we didn't have to purchase any tokens.  We just ate and played a few games and left.  KJ found several abandoned tickets, so we ended up with 39, and Ella got 4 Tootsie Pops as her prize.  She was happy, and so were we.  On a side note, who knew that Chuck E Cheese would have surprisingly delicious Barbecue Chicken Pizza?  It was fabulous!  I am looking forward to a date night there.  Barbecue Pizza and a Skee Ball tournament!  

My only sadness came from not having my camera with me (a first trip to Chuck E Cheese felt like a big deal), but here is our family on the car where it takes your picture:

On another side note, KJ pointed out that we were  by far the youngest parents of younger children there.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Favorite Fridays

Here are some of my favorite moments with my children from this past week in no particular order:

  • Story time at the library- I was able to take the kids to preschool story time at the library Tuesday morning.  It is such a great program.  They sing songs, read stories (of course), dance, play in the bubbles, and make a craft.  My favorite moment from this week was when James crawled out of my lap and crawled up to sit by Ella and listen to the story.  He was so cute.

Doing the Twist

  • Sharing apples- I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

  • Going to Sam's with Ella last night- It's not often that we get to do things alone together anymore, so it was so much fun to go out just us girls.  We waved good-bye to the boys, Ella grabbed her purse with a brush tucked safely inside, and we were off.  She was excited to go to Sam's for the first time.  We sang "Princess Songs" on the way, and she brushed her hair in the parking lot before we went inside and a couple of times inside the store.  She helped unload all our items on to the counter when it was over and didn't cry when I hit her toe with the buggy.  Ouch!
  • James eating his band-aids- James had his 9-month check-up yesterday and had to get two shots.  Later on in the evening he was left alone for a couple of minutes, and when KJ went to retrieve him, saw that he was chewing on something.  Upon doing the finger sweep he found that James had pulled his band-aids off his little fat thigh and was trying to eat them.  Thankfully, nothing was actually ingested.
  • Ella quote of the day- We were playing a memory game on  (very fun!).  I always comment on what a good memory Ella has.  She plays Memory better than I do.  When I said something this morning she said, "I just think."  Ohhh, that's her secret.  Thinking.  Who knew?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

SO Tired

Today I moved the furniture in our living room all around the room, only to move it back to its original resting place at the end of the day.  No other arrangement seemed to work well with our furniture, and now I am exhausted and comforting myself with three things:  

  1. It wasn't really pointless effort because now I know that the way we have things arranged is the best possible way.
  2. I was able to vacuum under the sofa and armchair as well as clean the baseboards behind said furniture.  A lot of dust can accumulate in two years. 
  3. I was going to rearrange the books on our various household bookshelves anyway, so it wasn't a waste of energy to remove ALL the books from one nice-sized shelf, tug the bookshelf across the room and back and then put all the books back on the shelf again, albeit in different locations.  
Ella really had a hard time with understanding what in the world I was doing.  I tried to explain that I wanted to see how the furniture looked in different places.  She finally agreed that it was okay for me to move it as long as I put it back where it belonged when I was done. I kept thinking of a passage from Jan Karon's These High Green Hills.  My husband empathizes with Father Tim completely.  That's why I did this while he was away.  Father Tim writes to his bishop:

Why are women always moving things around?  At Sunday School, Jena Ivey just had the youth group move the kindergarten bookcases to a facing wall.  On the homefront, my house help has moved a ladderback chair from my bedroom into the hall, never once considering that I hung my trousers over it for 14 years, and put my shoes on the seat so they could be found in an emergency.  Last but certainly not least, if C could lift me in my armchair and put it by the window while I'm dozing, she would do it.  Without a doubt, you have weightier things to consider, but tell me, how does one deal with this?
His bishop replies:

In truth, it is disconcerting when one's househelp, SS supervisor, and wife do this sort of thing all at once. My advice is:  do not fight it.  It will wear off.  P.S.  Martha would add a note, but she is busy moving my chest of drawers to the far side of our bedroom.  As I am dealing with an urgent matter with the House of Bishops, I could not be brow-beaten to help, and so she has maneuvered it, at last, onto an old bedspread, and I can hear her hauling the whole thing across the floor above me.  This particular behavior had lain dormant in her for nearly seven years, and has suddenly broken forth again.  Perhaps it is something in the water.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

More Pictures of My Gramma

I wanted to add some more pictures since my last post was done at 4 a.m. and I couldn't upload these at that time of the morning.

I love this picture of she and Papa.

My first birthday

The birthday girl and boy

Even though my dad bought the question mark candle,
I seem to recall this might have been my grandmother's 50th birthday.