Wednesday, March 30, 2011

One Year in the Blog-o-sphere

Today marks the one year anniversary of my entrance into the world of blogging.  When I mentioned this to KJ this morning he said, "What would I do without my blogger?"  (I'm afraid that no one but me will recognize this as a quote from Sherlock Holmes in the new BBC Sherlock, but it is, so my husband was demonstrating yet again his uncanny ability of remembering obscure quotes from movies and using them in very apropos ways.)  He then commented that it seems as if I've always been blogging.  And in many ways he is right.  

I have loved having a creative outlet and a means of inducing me to write down and remember the million little moments of these early days of mothering that would otherwise be lost and forgotten.  By way of remembering, you can read my first blog post, Tuesdays with Hillary, HERE.  Also, for your viewing pleasure, here is the video that I never could get to load at the end of that post.


There are a million small changes that have taken place in our lives in the past year, but perhaps the passing of time is most easily seen in James.  That video clip is from the end of January, but here's my baby last March.


I would love to post something infinitely clever on my one-year anniversary, but I'm afraid that baby pictured above is now quite mobile and whiny and needs his mother to come up with something for him to do.  He's already cleaned out the pantry, played with the shape-sorter, walked around with a blanket over his head, run into a chair and bumped his head, and he's currently shut himself in the bathroom and is banging on the door.  Better run.  Thanks for reading!  I think that after one year, I'm still happy wherever I am and whomever I'm with, though I'm still too much in touch with reality to be as completely pleasant as Elwood Dowd.  I'm working on it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Book to Telly

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson

I just love these guys.



Judson

Today is my littlest brother's birthday.  I suppose he's not so little anymore, though.  He's 22 today.  Here he is when he turned five.


I show this picture so you can notice how the siblings contributed to the birthday celebration.
The flowers and balloons were my contribution (I've always been a terrible artist.).
I'm guessing Jesse contributed the Batman and Robin characters.
His balloon text says, "Robin, to the BATCAVE."  

As the baby of the family, Judson let me "mother" him a little longer than the other boys.  He used to crawl in bed with me in the middle of the night when he was little.  I don't think I was always nice about this arrangement.  I can remember it getting on my nerves.  But as I sit here and look at old family pictures and contemplate the fact that my firstborn will turn five this year, I feel ashamed for the times I was such a mean big sister.  Babies don't stay babies forever.

Oh, look.  There we are in a tree!

And there's Batman and Robin.

Judson has always loved my babies.


He taught himself how to play the guitar.

He's really good.


We love you, Uncle Judson.

We wish you a happy birthday
and pray for much grace to be upon you in your 22nd year.

We're thankful for you.

Pictures from Last Week

KJ and I went on a date Thursday night and bought some lilies.
We also made plans to build a little patio in the backyard,
maybe with a fountain and an eternal flame.
We'll see.

James got his first pair of sandals.

He found a rock.
I'm in constant fear that he's about to throw it at me.

Legos are a new favorite of James.
He loves to take this little man's hat off and put it back on
again over and over and over.

Ella has a neighborhood friend.
When the weather is fine she comes over after school.

They like to run and play.

I'm thankful Ella has a friend to play with in the afternoons.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

News Items

"I know how you like news."
Mr. Knightley to Emma in 1996's Emma

"Well, I can't help feeling, Doctor, that you're making a mistake
 not allowing the woman to talk.
If she'd been around at all, she might've picked up some interesting news items."
Elwood Dowd to Dr. Chumley in Harvey

There were several mildly interesting/funny things that the kids did or said today, and I thought I would try to sift through my brain tonight in an attempt to remember them.  I make no promises.  The above quotes always flash through my mind when I think about "news" or "new items."  So...here we go.  

  1. Ella was sitting up in a chair in our living room this morning playing with Princess dolls and suddenly asked me, "How do I look?  Do I look like a woman?"  What she wanted me to notice was the fact that she was sitting with her legs crossed.
  2. James ate what I believe to be a nice-sized helping of charcoal ash this morning.  We were going outside to enjoy the sunshine and cool breezes.  I grabbed a snack and prepared to sit in the grass and read, If God is Good:  Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil.  I took a bite of granola bar as I was walking out the door and looked at James, waiting for him to ask for a bite.  When he opened his mouth it had a huge wad of blackness.  He kind of had a confused look on his face, too.  I went into freak-out mode because I thought it was bird feces (where was my faith in the midst of the evils of an adventurous eater?) and started a vigorous finger-sweep.  James commenced crying and carrying on, and I honestly think it was more because of my finger in his mouth as opposed to the bad taste of whatever he was eating.  He's behaved normally for the remainder of the day, so I suppose he's fine.
  3. Ella and I read P.D. Eastman's, Go, Dog.  Go!, together this afternoon.  I read the words she didn't know.  Later tonight she re-read it by herself.  I was really proud of her.  Every so often when she got stumped on a word she would yell, "Mo-om,"  because I was back in James' room cleaning.  Then she would ask me about the word.  From that point on James began to mimic her calling for me.  Mo-om was quickly followed by, "Ma, Ma, Ma-aaa" ad infinitum.  It was only cute because he just knows a handful of words.
  4. James really has been attempting a lot more words today.  He attempted nose, mouth, eye, as well as saying, "What's that?" and "All done."  Also lots of Ella's and Mama's.  He was a communicative little booger today.  
  5. I don't remember what brought this conversation on, but Ella said today, "Mom, you can have another baby if you want to.  Elizabeth's mommy has a LOT of children.  She just keeps on having more and more kids."  Hmmm...
  6. James obeyed me several times today.  The wind kept blowing our gate open while we were in the backyard.  He looked longingly at it and then looked back at me.  "No, no, James."  He looked at the gate and looked at me.  After a few minutes of staring out at the great unknown, he looked back at me, and I said, "Come to mama."  He dutifully trotted over to me and gave me a hug.  I was so proud.
  7. After going through a couple of other Bible story books at bedtime, we brought out The Church History ABCs again.  Truthfully, it just came back by popular demand.  The first night Ella had forgotten that, "A is for Augustine," but she remembered that "B is for Anne Bradstreet."  Tonight she had them all down and before we got started said, "D is for John Donne."  I have to admit that this is my favorite family time book, too.  I especially love reading the extra historical tid-bits located in the back of the book.  I have to share tonight's, and then I'm done.  (Did you catch that pun?  I did not do that on purpose.)
"John Donne was poised for quite a career in London politics.  Then he fell in love with and married Anne More in 1601, against her father's wishes.  He happened to be Lieutenant of the Tower of London and had Donne jailed for a short time, prompting Donne to write:  John Donne, Anne Donne, Un-done."

Are you kidding me?? The guy's father-in-law put him in the Tower of London for marrying his daughter.  I just googled it, and this really did halt what would have been a successful political career, because he fell out of favor with all his father-in-law's peeps.  Wow.  I found that interesting.  But, perhaps Donne wouldn't have become a pastor at age 45 if it hadn't been for that little incident.  God is the ordainer of our paths, is He not?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tulips

Guess what!  This red tulip?  KJ bought this plant for me back in 2009 for no reason that I can remember now.  After it died, he planted it in our flower bed out front.  I was a little skeptical.  After all, neither one of us has much experience with gardening.  Last year the plant grew back, but there were no flowers.  This year...  Behold!



The pink tulips?  Relics from Valentine's Day 2010.  This plant has grown so beautifully.  We already have two blooms, and there's at least three more to come.  I like Spring.  And my husband really likes paying for one plant and getting one for free the next year.


Be Careful Out There

Yesterday I showed you how sweet and cuddly James can be.  For the sake of balance, I thought I would show you how destructive he is the rest of the time.  I love this Huggies commercial.  I love the expressions of horror on the adults' faces as the toddler runs gleefully through the house wreaking havoc.  It's such an accurate depiction of what life is like with someone in that age-group that I thought I would share it with you.  The actual commercial as it runs on television ends with someone saying something like, "Be careful out there."  I always try to take that warning to heart.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Love Makes You Real

Last night I read Ella the story of The Velveteen Rabbit, or How Toys Become Real.  I doubt I'm the first to think of how this delightful story of nursery room magic is applicable to people as well.  And I thought about being a mother last night as I read, about the miracle of new life nurtured and carried within my body for nine months, the hours spent providing sustenance for those sweet babies for the first year of their life, 30 pounds of weight gain, 700 hours of lost sleep, circles under my eyes...


Generally, by the time you are Real, 
most of your hair has been loved off,


and your eyes drop out and you get
loose in the joints and very shabby.


But these things don't matter at all,
because once you are Real you can't be ugly,
except to people who don't understand.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What We've Been Doing

This week has been a little busier than normal; thus, the absence of blog posts throughout most of it.  Sometimes it's hard for me to remember what I've been doing, but after sitting here thinking about it I can remember that...


Wednesday I did housework all morning, and T came over for a visit around lunchtime.  She stayed with the kids while I went to buy an ink cartridge for our printer.  I ran it dry last week printing off internet coupons, causing KJ to wonder if it would be worth it financially in the end.  We'll see.  Ella wanted to help T clean out her car, so it was just me and James for the rest of the afternoon.  I had forgotten how peaceful and easy life is with just one child's needs to meet.  We went outside to play for a little while, and I read outside for a little while longer after I put him down for his nap.  It was nice.  I also got cleaned up while he was napping, and we went to church in the evening.  


Pretty Curls

Thursday I decided to go to Birmingham with Hillary to visit her new niece in the hospital.  We took Ella with us, and it was fun to visit with Hillary's family.  Ann Elizabeth was definitely sugar and spice and everything nice.


KJ and I went to our couples Bible study immediately following my return, and then we had a few friends over later that night.  KJ impressed everyone with his knowledge of Tolkien lore as they pored over an atlas of Middle Earth.  Yes, we are that cool.

Friday I spent the morning at the grocery store.  I'm attempting to save money through taking advantage of Buy One Get One deals and using coupons.  It takes a little longer to shop, but I'm hoping it will pay off for me.  By that I mean that KJ has told me whatever is left over from our grocery budget is mine to use as I please.  I'll let you know how it goes.

I cleaned the house throughout the afternoon and prepared to make the amazing Barbecue Pizza we made last spring break.  It was amazing again.  After dinner we went for a walk around the block, enjoying the rise of the full moon.  Kameron and Olivia are in town for the weekend, so we enjoyed hanging out with them after the kids went to bed.  Unfortunately, the battery on my camera was dead, so there are no pictures from that, but here's the moon.

Are my moon pictures becoming repetitive?
I'm sorry.
The glory of the moon never dims for me, though.

Saturday is here already!  KJ is going to watch the kids while I take a walk, and then we'll enjoy some time at home, followed by more hanging out with these fun kids.


My meditation for the day:

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness,
and all these things will be added to you.
So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow
will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.
- Matthew 6:33-34 -

Friday, March 18, 2011

Memory Verses

Here are the verses I've memorized this week:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, 
but with humility of mind regard one another as
more important than yourselves.  Do not merely
look out for your own personal interests but also
for the interests of others.
- Philippians 2:3-4 -

I just had to ask KJ for help with verse four, so I obviously need to review a little bit more.  Yesterday was  pretty busy, and I need to get to the grocery store.  We're out of milk and juice.  That's a minor emergency at our house.  At least I get to go to the store alone.  It's nice having help.  Oh, what help is that, you ask?  KJ's cousin, Hillary, is in the process of transferring back to school here, and for now will be around off and on for the next three months.  It makes a mother's life so much easier.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bedtime Routines

Every parenting book out there will tell you the importance of bedtime routines for young children.  Routines provide structure that let children know what is coming next.  They should be calming and relaxing.  A common bedtime routine would be:  bath time, put on p.j.'s, read a book, and go to bed.  Bath time went pretty well.





Little did we know he had an escape plan for after his bath.
I only wish I could show you all the pictures from the chase that ensued.

Maybe if I hide under here, they won't find me.
Let me just pull this chair in so it will be harder to see me.

But eventually, the escapee was captured and diapered.
Oh, the shame.


Now that we've had our relaxing bath it's time to
put on our pajamas.

I'll get away next time.

Let's go, Ella.
Don't patronize them with a smile.

According to the bedtime routine guide, a nice bedtime story should be coming right about now.  But at our house, Ella wanted to play, "Sack."  I had never heard of this game, but Ella explained it to me.  First, you climb into a blanket and get wrapped up in it.


Then you swing around a few times before you wind up on the couch.


Apparently, it's really fun.


Now that everyone is relaxed,
it's time to go to bed.


Night-night, Mama.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Great Outdoors and My Camera

Yesterday was the first sunny day we've had since I got my new camera. I was so excited to go out and start snapping pictures in all that wonderful sunshine.  Are there any other free-spirited mothers out there who used to say, "Hey, I want to go to the beach." And then you would grab a book and your car keys and head out the door? That's the kind of girl I was in college.  (Thank you, Dad, for paying for my gas.) But now I think to myself, "I want to go outside somewhere nice today. How about that state park I've never been to that's right up the road from my house?" Then, I dress the kids, change diapers, shower and dress, pack up snacks and drinks and diapers and wipes and extra bibs, grab my purse and my camera, and THEN we head out the door. Whew. It almost makes it not worth it. Almost. 


So we drive out to a playground surrounded by a lake sparkling in the sunshine, and I strap James in the baby swing, and he is delighted, and I turn on my camera, and the screen displays this message: "No Card in Camera." Are you kidding me? I left my card in the computer last night. I was so sad. And it wasn't like I could just turn around and go get it; I'd already paid my $3 entrance fee. But THANKFULLY, that is not where this story ends. In the one little square of earth where my phone had reception, I called Hillary who happens to be in town and has a key to my house, and she and her friend, David, so graciously brought me the object of my desire. Aren't you glad they did?



I don't think they were too sorry that they made the trip out.  It was a beautiful day.  We were also joined by another friend who really loves playing with my kids.  I was thankful yesterday for God's providence; I would not have stayed nearly as long or been able to let James run around as much without extra hands on deck.  It would have been no where near as pleasant as yesterday afternoon was.



And it was really pleasant.



Reading some news last night made me remember that not everyone had a pleasant day yesterday.  My thankfulness was multiplied.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Night Life

Hey!  Let's watch a movie.


How about this one?


Can I sit in your lap?


And dance?



Let's get nervous...
even though we've already seen this movie four times.


Then we'll all get really sleepy...


and be so thankful for this night.