Tuesday, September 29

outside

I snapped a few pictures while we were at church on Saturday morning. The line for confession was extremely long so Ryan and I took turns taking the kids outside to run around! Of course it had recently rained so they got pretty dirty, and Luke's cream-colored outfit really took the brunt of it.

ballet hands- this is how she holds her arms in ballet!

Out with the old...


...and in with the new!

We ordered our new Dell Inspiron laptop last week, and it arrived Saturday. I set it up and it's now in full use! I appreciate being able to execute a command and have response within a second or two, instead of having to wait a minute (no joke). I am so happy. :-)

RIP Sony Vaio, you were good to me until the last 6 months, when you started hating me. Then the feeling became mutual, and I'm considering taking you into the backyard and dealing with you, "Office Space" style. ;-)

Monday, September 28

Gracious giving


Last week's cool front got me very excited. I felt the urge to pull out the last bin of clothes we had stored for Luke, and sorted through the clothes he will be wearing over the next few months. This is most everything I have for size 12 months, and only a handful of those items were bought new by me on clearance last year. Sleepers, pants, shirts, sweaters, halloween things- I think the only thing he'll need are another pair of shoes and maybe another nice outfit for mass. I'm so thankful for our friends who gave us/lent us these clothes! Thank you!

Friday, September 25

11 months


Our big boy is 11 months old- less than a month to go! He has cut his first tooth, and has had a runny nose for nearly 3 weeks now to go along with the grumpiness from the tooth. Poor baby, I'm convinced God created us to not remember our infancy because of the trauma of birth and teething. When he's focused on something, he'll get this very serious look on his face and become fixated on it- he loves my cell phone. He copies our movements (except he hasn't really signed much yet) and will "pray" with us at mealtime. He loves for me to carry him, which is why I'm investing some money in a new sling since the cheap-o one I bought on ebay was all stretched out and doesn't fit me! I think Luke would ride in the sling all day if he could. He loves being outside, and will cry and fuss when I just open the door to let Beth go out into the backyard. He'll sit by the backdoor at the window and beg to go out! Once he starts walking, I think it'll be much easier to let him go outside, but now I just hate seeing those little knees get scratched up on the pavement! So we go outside as much as the weather and mosquitos permit, and he (and Beth) are always so happy to be out.

Hide and Seek

If a little kid has ever loved hide and seek, it's Beth. She is currently obsessed with playing hide and seek, and she begs me all day long! Luke is not the best partner at hide and seek because he likes to talk and he gives away our hiding spots! Beth is a very good hider, she's tricked me a couple of times!

under luke's crib! her giggling gave her away.

i guess she figures if she doesn't see me, i can't see her!

she found us!

not so entertained.

one huge critter

We all spent time in the yard tonight mowing and cleaning up, and Ryan nearly ran over this huge thing:
It was HUGE, at least 5 inches long! Having no clue what it was, I took photos (of course!) and then we moved it to the wooded area between our houses. Beth mused to herself, "Where hims going? Probably to find his mommy and daddy."

Upon further investigation (google!) I found that it's a hickory horned devil, and he was just looking for a nice place to bury himself! He's completely harmless, though he sure doesn't look that way!

Wednesday, September 23

Our songs

Maybe one of the most important songs in my life...One I still tear up at every time I hear it. Our first dance at our wedding. :*-)

For My Love- Bethany Dillon

And our last dance:

For me this is Heaven- Jimmy Eat World

Monday, September 21

Lift me up

I was thinking it would be nice to write down a list of my favorite songs for when I feel like I need God to swoop in and pick me up. Every day has it's ups and downs, but some days I need rescuing. Actually when it hits me the most is when I think I'm doing fine all by myself, then I hear one of these songs on our Christian radio station, and I just break down bawling in the car. (Yes, it happens. Becoming a mother has activated my tear ducts.) Anyways, this sort of "spiritual arrogance," as I've dubbed it, is what really gets me most of the time. When I'm keeping it all together by myself but lack dependence on God. It's not even like I don't think I don't need Him, more like apathy (which is almost worse!). So, back to the point of this post, here's my top 10 list of songs that move me.

1. Bebo Norman- Nothing Without You
2. Mercy Me- Here with Me
3. Addison Road- Hope Now
4. Tenth Avenue North- By Your Side
5. Overflow- Cry on My Shoulder
6. Phillips Craig and Dean- Revelation Song
7. Mercy Me- Jesus Bring the Rain
8. Casting Crowns- Praise You In This Storm
9. Knees to the Earth- Watermark
10. God of Wonders- Third Day

I'm sure there are more that I'm forgetting now, but these really are some of my favorite songs ever. I started listening to Christian music mostly toward the end of college (as a result of a Lenten sacrifice of giving up secular music in the car), but I guess I could say it really started in Lifeteen during high school. Love Song for a Savior? Dive? Yeah, those bring me back! (Anyone from Lifeteen read my blog?!) I listen to Christian music mostly now, especially now that Beth listens to and repeats music she hears. I love watching her jam out to Toby Mac. ;-)

And for good measure, a really good song on the radio right now:
Johnny Diaz- More Beautiful You

Sunday, September 20

Christmas in September

I have really been itching to get Beth some play structure things for our backyard all summer long, but now that the weather has been cooling off (staying in the 80s, mostly!) I thought it was high time! I've been checking our local classifieds website with the hopes of finding a deal, but every time I'd email someone their item would already be sold! In desperation, I sent an email to our neighborhood's yahoo group, and someone replied. She said she'd take $40 for all of this:

Score! So what, it's at least 8 years old, but Beth didn't seem to care! It's faded but still in very good condition! There's a little playhouse with a table/kitchen and the other thing is just for her to climb all over- just what a 2.5-yr-old needs! Ryan brought it home with the help of a neighbor, we cleaned it and set it up that night so when Beth woke up it was already in the backyard. She was so excited! We're not sure if we'll put wood chips down. We probably should but it's more work and more money... We might just let her kill the grass, then replace the sod when we need to move. ;-)

And for good measure, here's a picture of Luke from last week. I had to get dinner made for company and he has been so grumpy because of his cold/tooth coming in, and nothing was consoling him. I popped him in my mei tai and he passed out! I love my slings. I don't know what I'd do without them.

Wednesday, September 16

B.G.






My Bethie-Gee. How I love thee.

You are a constant source of inspiration for me. You are already wise beyond your years, there are many times I look at you and wonder when you grew old enough to string together a perfect sentence. Weren't you just learning how to walk?

Your imagination leaves me jealous, how I would love to loose myself in books and blocks for an hour at a time. When you ask me, "Are you happy?" How on earth could I say no? You can come to me in tears, sheepish, or sad- and a split second later after a tickle or a silly face you will collapse into a fit of giggles.

When I peek in on you while you're sleeping (because you ask me to check on you), it never ceases to amaze me how twisted around you are on your bed, half under the sheets, partially on the pillow... It's so funny, I wish I could take a picture without waking you up! Though you'd sleep through a hurricane (at least you have before) so maybe one photo might not wake you... I'll try it.

You are such a sweet big sister to your brother. You are a second mommy to him, and sometimes a little short-tempered, but you do such sweet-spirited things to him without my prompting. Your hugs are generous and I know you truly want what's best for him, and I know you love him so much. I love spying on the two of you when you're playing together, it melts my heart. This is what I prayed for; my dreams of being a mommy have come true.

Your hard-headedness reminds me of someone I know, but I know that one day it will help you stand up for the faith I pray you will profess throughout your life. You leave me wanting to be a better person; truly you were ordained by God to be my daughter. Every breath is a gift, and for you I am so thankful.

Ready for a headache?

This has been one of the busiest weeks of my life, and it's only half-over! Ready?
Woke up Monday morning to exploded milk in car. Had to figure out how to drop off car with kids since they couldn't ride in their carseats, dropped off kids with neighbor and dropped off car. It's deadline day so had to call 4 clients to follow up. I'm also working on a tri-fold display for our ministry fair expo this weekend so I've had to email back and forth about that. Then I got a new client so I had to write some more. Combine that with multiple phone calls from the magazine, the clients, the people I've been talking to about buying yard toys, and just general email correspondence and that's a lot of time on the computer. Only my computer runs at half-speed compared to the rest of the world, so there's a little more time wasted. Then I realized Beth was supposed to have dance that day, so we had to reschedule with the studio- a few more emails. All of that, plus writing, plus trying to get Beth to nap and Luke to chill out for a few minutes since his tooth is hurting him so badly, plus they both have runny noses and are slightly cranky. Then we had to pick up the car, but it wasn't ready so that was another headache. Make dinner (barely), put kids to bed, and work some more.

That was Monday.

Tuesday was a lot of the same thing, since I didn't meet my deadline (hehehe, but totally out of my control!), and PLUS we had 3 pieces of our furniture delivered! We have my dresser, Ryan's chest, and the mirror- the bed is supposed to come sometime soon. We lived out of suitcases for a month or so, so last night we spent a lot of time decluttering and sorting through clothes to donate. We filled two big bags, filled our new dressers, and are finally getting our room to feel slightly normal again. Though my computer desk is still a card table.

Wednesday. More phone calls, more emails, two new articles (so two new deadlines) and a meeting. Plus I keep standing up a phone date with someone. Then my computer randomly shuts itself off...

Thursday and Friday hold the same things for us, except for tomorrow I have to go up to church and hit the grocery store on the way home. Friday I might collapse and hibernate all weekend.

Garden- 1 week old

Carrots

Broccoli or Arugula, not sure? They apparently look the same at 1 week old, and I've already forgotten which row is which. ;-)

Unwelcome visitors in our yard. They're all over our neighborhood, thanks to all this rain we've been getting! FINALLY!

Tuesday, September 15

update

I added some pics to my blog about my car, I finally figured out that I can send pics from my phone to my email- duh! A little slow on the technology, haha. Anyways, scroll down and take a look. I wish I'd taken more- of the stroller, the car seats and all the other stuff. These were taken after I'd already taken everything out of the car!

Mom my ride

Click here to watch this video on youtube! I don't want to embed it because some not-nice ads pop up after the video is over, but the video itself it worth watching!

Monday, September 14

Today

Friday afternoon I ran to the grocery store with the kids to get some stuff for the weekend. We got home, Ryan unloaded the groceries while I started making lunch, then I put the kids down for naps, then Ryan's parents arrived and I had to run out for an errand...It was a busy day.

On Sunday, I realized there was no new gallon of milk in the fridge. I figured I'd left it at the store (wouldn't have been the first time) and reminded myself to get a new one next time I was at HEB.

WELL. Today Ryan is getting ready for work and can't find his wallet, so he goes out to check my car. He rushed inside and said, "What's wrong with our car!?!?" Apparently I hadn't forgotten the milk. No, it was definitely there in our car, all over the place! The milk EXPLODED. It was in the back seat (I remember putting it there now) and I guess it started curdling and just exploded EVERYWHERE. It was all over the car seats, ceiling, seat backs, seat fronts, inside the a/c vents, under the seats, in the front seats, on my steering wheel, on my CD cases, on the stroller packed in the back- EVERYWHERE. Literally, the only place I didn't see it was on my rosary hanging from the rearview mirror!

I gagged just opening the door because it smelled so awful.

After a near almost-breakdown, I took everything out of the car and rolled the windows down. I started the car seat covers in the wash and put everything worth keeping in a pile and everything to be tossed in the trash can. I told Ryan I wanted to bring it somewhere to be cleaned since there was just no way I could tackle this, so I called a place nearby and they said they'd detail it for $75. Well worth it, I think. I drove it over there (while my neighbor watched the kids), and the guy stuck his head in and had this "holy cow" look on his face. He said they'd need to charge an extra $15 bucks, lol. He looked bewildered that something like this happened, and I asked him if this was the worst he'd ever seen. He said no (something about a dead dog in a trunk...) but that it was definitely up there, ha! I told him if they get it looking and smelling like new again, I would tell everyone on the planet how awesome they are!

There's just no way it's going to smell like new again though. We've had it for one year and one month; it still had the new car smell. I'm guessing that the milk exploded soon after we got home from mass yesterday (after 10:30) because everything was dried and really caked in. So disgusting.

I've cleaned off the car seat shells but still have to clean my CDs (luckily not a lot), some toys and my sunglasses. I'm thinking about throwing my glasses away, they were just $8 from Old Navy!

I know I'll laugh about this one day, but right now the wound is still too new. I will definitely be making sure we get the milk out of the car from now on!



I took these pics on my phone so they're not great, but you get the idea.

Saturday, September 12

Like Mary

In case you missed it on Facebook...

One day last week Beth was admiring this picture I have on the wall in her room:



She grabbed her favorite blanket and put it over her head, then got Eric (her doll) and her stuffed lamb and said she wanted to be like Mary:



I see the resemblance, don't you? (I think we have our All Saint's Day costume! We'll just borrow one of Luke's blue blankets instead of this pink one, and I'll make her a pretty blue dress!)

Thursday, September 10

A tooth!

Luke is cutting his first tooth! At 10 1/2 months! Maybe now he'll look a little older. ;-)

Wednesday, September 9

Luke's sleep

Luke's been sleeping pretty well for about a month now, so I feel like I won't jinx myself it I blog about it!

Probably a month to 6 weeks ago, we were kind of fed up with the sleep situation around here. We decided to do a combination of No Cry Sleep Solution and The Sleep Lady, mixed in with a little bit of my knowledge of how Luke works. We've been very consistent about his bedtime routine for several months now, so preparing him for sleep hasn't been the issue. But helping him fall asleep without pacing around the room for 30 minutes- that was the challenge.

We started with a bedtime routine, shorter than Beth's because by the end of the night Luke's usually worn out so he doesn't have the patience for me to read him a book or two. When I go to sit down and read/rock, he immediately wants to nurse. He'll let Ryan read to him for awhile, but then calls me in to be the "closer!" I nursed him till he popped off (he won't fall asleep while nursing- not his thing) and then I rocked him for another minute, paced him for a few minutes, then laid him down while he was VERY drowsy. I mean, nearly asleep. Then I left. He woke up and started fussing, so I set my timer for two minutes. When it dinged, I went in, laid him back down and patted his back, shushing him, and stayed with him till he was calm. Then I left again, and set the timer for 4 minutes. Went back in, same thing, then left. I planned on doing 6 minutes, but by a few seconds after I left, all was silent! Same thing the next night, and the night after, and I think by the fourth night I could lay him down drowsy and leave, and not hear another peep from him.

I don't remember how or when he started sleeping longer stretches. For awhile, he'd wake up at 11 pm and we'd let him fuss for two minutes, then four minutes, etc. I don't think we even made it to four minutes though, I think he was out after one time of going in and quieting him down. When he'd wake up at 2 or 3 am, I'd nurse him then put him back down, and always went down easy after that. Then he'd wake up for the morning around 6. Ugh that's hard!

After some time, he's sleeping longer stretches. We put him down around 7:15 and usually don't hear a peep until around 3-5 am. I go to him, nurse him, and put him back in bed and he's down again till about 6:30-6:45. That's about what's happening now.

Now, for nap time, I still haven't figured that one out. A few weeks ago, for about a week, he voluntarily was sleeping longer stretches and he was so happy that week! It was amazing! But, I can't make him sleep during the day, you know? Right now he naps from about 9-10 am, then 12:30-1:30, and sometimes from 3:30-4:15. When he was happiest, he napped from 9-11 then again from 1-3. I didn't know what to do with myself, Beth and I got a lot done around the house that week!

I love our bedtime routine for our kids. Getting our kids to sleep has never been an issue since we've been so rigid about the routines. Ryan and I have it easy, I know it! It's a blessing most of the time, but a curse some of the time. We have them so "trained" that neither of them will really nap under any other circumstance. On those rough days, don't you know I'd love to pile them all in my bed and nap together! But, Beth won't sleep anywhere else in our house other than her bed, and Luke won't sleep next to me anymore. It's sort of sad, because I know those are some tender moments I am missing out on! But, I tell myself, at least I have the chance to get some sleep at night, sleep that I desperately need. Now I just need to make myself go to bed earlier than midnight, then I might actually catch up on some sleep from those incredibly rough early days!

Fall garden

our backyard stump leftover from the hurricane. we can't be the only people with stumps still in their yard! besides, it's the perfect tiny stage for a tiny person!

On labor day we spent nearly the entire day outside working! In the morning, I prepped my garden and Beth helped me plant seeds. I planted 3 rows- one row of carrots, one row of broccoli, and half a row of lettuce and half a row of arugula. Since they're single-harvest plants, it's best to plant them in rounds. We'll see if the first round even makes it up out of the ground! This will be my first fall garden since last year I was, um, a little busy.




The rest of the day we worked on the yard- mowing, edging, weed-wacking, pulling weeds, cleaning the garage, and enjoying the great outdoors. It was hot, but oh well. Our kids don't know any different, Beth would gladly choose to play outside in the heat than stay inside in the cool.

It's an end-of-the-summer miracle! We planted our crepe myrtles the year we moved in, and this is the first blossom! Poor trees have been the subject matter of many jokes at their expense, and finally one of them bloomed! Ryan and I are so happy, who'd have thought a blooming tree would make a man so giddy!

Monday, September 7

Last week

beth's first day of "school." we joined our local catholic homeschool group, and beth and i attended the toddler "pray and play" group together. she was a little shy but overall really liked it!

tap shoes! can't get enough of them!

she's so proud of her tap shoes!

crawling over the upside-down coffee table, he loves climbing over things!

Sunday, September 6

Visit to Aggieland

Yesterday we made the trek to Aggieland to celebrate our friend's 1st birthday! Which- you know that that means- Luke's 1st birthday is next month. Ack! Anyways, we had a really great time visiting with our friends, Beth got her first "Howdy!" from a member of the corps, and Luke visited his future college campus for the first time. ;-)

beth's first "howdy!"

luke and the birthday boy- future roommates? we'll post this picture on their dorm room door!

daddy and his little "muggies" (as beth says for some silly reason)

our little family of aggies

Saturday, September 5

Silly

From a couple of days ago... For some reason, Beth gets a kick out of laying backwards on the firetruck toy we have, and Luke was pulling up on the table. This series of pictures makes me literally laugh out loud!



Wednesday, September 2

Rough day

Today I had one of those days that no mother wants to have. I was grumpy, the kids were grumpy, the house was dirty, and we had places to be and people to see. By the time we got home, kids were starving and tired, mommy was worn down, and the mess really added to the stress level.

All I wanted was to nap. I didn't care about the pile of dishes in the sink, the dirty floor, the mountain of laundry, the diapers to be folded... I just wanted to sleep. I got Luke down then went for Beth. She resisted a little today, most likely sensing my anxiousness to get myself into bed and therefore not paying enough attention to her. I fell asleep while rocking her, jolted myself awake, laid her in bed and practically ran to my bed to try to catch as much sleep as possible before one of them needed me.

But...

Beth wasn't ready to sleep. She came to me, needing to be tucked in again. So I tucked her back in, and got comfortable in my bed again. At this point my head was racing, and I begged God for an hour of sleep or 10 minutes of sleep, whatever I needed to feel rested. I figured if she went down now, she'd be down for an hour, and there'd be a teeny chance that Luke might sleep that long too.

It didn't happen. I was up and down, trying to get Beth to nap and then resettling Luke into sleep, only to discover he didn't want to resettle and 45 minutes was enough. I don't think Beth napped at all.

I was dragging. I was crankier than ever; I bet every mom has felt that way at least once or twice. I couldn't think straight, I couldn't see straight, and I was angry. I was angry because I felt like God wasn't listening to me. I was reasonable afterall, I asked for 10 minutes or an hour. I asked for what I needed, not what I wanted (to sleep all afternoon!).

I guess He had different plans for me. Unfortunately today I failed to sanctify this opportunity for grace. I didn't accept my afternoon of sleeplessness willingly! I remained grumpy and snapped at the kids, I ignored Beth a little because I was angry that she wouldn't nap and I was bitter that Luke wouldn't sleep longer. He needs longer naps, but he just can't do it. I started my chores angry at God for not giving me the little bit of rest I needed.

Looking back on my day, I can't believe how selfish I was. To miss opportunities to enjoy my children. To miss chances for personal growth- instead I fell behind a little. To miss out on an opportunity for redemptive suffering, how I wish I could have offered it up for a special friend who needs my prayers.

Tomorrow will be a better day. God forgives, my children forgive, and my house is now clean thanks to a man that loves me more than I know. Tomorrow I will do better. I will accept my hardships, and realize they're no so hard after all. I have everything I've ever asked of God- a husband, two children, a roof over my head and food to eat. Why was I angry that he didn't give me a 10-minute nap?

Tuesday, September 1

Ballet!

(she wore socks since it was a trial class, now we have to get real ballet shoes!)


Yesterday was Beth's first ballet class! The trial class went extremely well, Beth met the teachers and walked right in. The first 5 minutes or so, she just stood there and watched everyone else (they started with tap) but after that she really got into it. The teacher said she could stay in, so she's joining! It's once a week, and she will have 15 minutes of tap and 45 minutes of ballet. She wasn't sad to leave, but all day today she has been asking to go back! I think it'll be great for her to do this, not just to learn dance but to learn stuff like waiting for her turn in line and following directions from someone other than her parents. ;-) If all goes well, she will be part of the production next June, so mark your calendars!

Luke had a pretty good time too. The studio had some toys for the other kids to play with, who were mostly younger brothers. I learned that Luke really likes trucks, and that I should probably get him some "boyish" toys instead of all these hand-me-down girly things he's playing with!
 
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