Friday, November 27, 2009

Worth A Try

If any of you know me, you know I LOVE to scrapbook. However, I don't get much of a chance currently. But, hey...that's just the breaks when you have a 3 month old and a toddler. I'll get back to it though!

Recently, I've had my eye on a pretty cool new scrapbooking gadget that would be the perfect fit for all of my scrapbooking AND geeky tendencies: a Cricut Gypsy. Trouble is, they're ridiculously expensive. I found a blog contest (at the Gypsy Spot) where one is being given away and all I have to do is put a link on my blog. So here goes... I'll let you know if I win!

Happy Black Friday

Well today was the first in a long series of Black Friday's where I didn't venture out to join the mass hysteria in the retail stores. Kind of a bummer, actually. It's always a lot of fun. There was just nothing I wanted that was on sale this year so I figured I'd stay at home and shuffle around the house in my slippers, just enjoying the time with the kids.

Kevin left this morning at o-dark-thirty to go hunting with some buddies. Let's hope he gets one soon. He's definitely got buck-fever.

Natalie and I decided to use up some super ripe bananas I've been holding onto in the fridge and make a double batch of banana bread loaves. Mmmm... We used this recipe (one I've never tried before) and amped up the spices a little like one reviewer suggested.

This afternoon we're off to a bouncy birthday party. It seems those are all the rage here now. There's several party places in town that are warehouses full of moon bounce equipment for kids to tire themselves out on. It should be fun - and I'm hoping that no nap + lots of bouncing = early bedtime. We'll see.

Liam hasn't discovered bouncing yet, but he should be successful at drooling his way through the party.

Monday, November 23, 2009


What do you have to be thankful for?

Last Sunday we had a sermon talking about Thanks-living (or living with a thankful heart). I'm typically annoyed by such light topics and want more depth, but interestingly enough something struck a cord with me. The pastor gave reference to Abraham Lincoln officially making Thanksgiving a national holiday where we give Thanksgiving to God.


I am not sure that I ever really think about WHO I'm giving thanks to when it comes to Thanksgiving. More just the things and people that I'm thankful for. Kevin and I launched into a whole converation about "how can you be thankful to nothing?" and I realized that I had been. In my mind, this has never been a religious holiday, but more of one where I eat lots of good food, remember my friends and family, and plan my strategy for Black-Friday madness. Which I guess is exactly the approach any non-Christian might have toward the day as well. It's definitely how it's marketed.

How have I missed the point all of these years?

Later that afternoon I ventured out with Liam to pick up a treasure I'd found on Craigslist (a favorite site of mine). The well-kempt woman that stepped onto the tiny porch (housing her kitchen table, also for sale) looked kind but perhaps a little nervous. The bargainer in me asked if she'd take any less for the item that I thought was a bit overpriced. She faltered, embarassment in her voice as she told me "No, not really. To be honest, we really need food." All of the sudden, it was ME who felt embarrassed. Embarrassed for having wanted to wheel and deal her down five measly dollars. Embarrassed for my SUV with heated seats that was going to take me to Target to peruse stuff that I didn't really need. Embarrassed for buying her stuff so she could put food on her table. Oh no wait. She's selling that kitchen table.

For food.

I found out a flood of other information later that day about her. She's got cancer and can't sit long so she's stopped attending church and listens to it at home on the internet. Her husband quit his successful home improvement business to take a job that pays $330 a week at Johns Hopkins JUST so he could have the medical benefits to pay for her care. They have 5 dollars to their name after all the bills are paid. And wouldn't you know it, but they don't even have a real fridge. They have two of those dorm room fridges with the teeny tiny freezers inside and one of the fridge's doesn't quite work right. All that she had in that one was a little bit of vegetables starting to turn. Between the two of them there was no milk, no bread, no cheese, no eggs.

As we talked I saw her love for the Lord and gratitude for His provision and it cemented in my mind that if SHE can be thankful to Him, I MUST be thankful to Him for all that He's provided.

So this is it.

This Thanksgiving marks the first of many God-focused Thanksgivings for me.

Because it's not about the STUFF I have or the TURKEY I eat or even about the PEOPLE I love, but more importantly about the source of all of that. God. And Him alone.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blackmail Material

Yes, you've taken a bath with your sister.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

26 Months

I know 26 months isn't normally a big milestone worth celebrating. But, Natalie, I feel like I'm witnessing a transformation of baby to little girl right before my eyes. I saw a glimpse of the future you just yesterday when I fixed your hair in a neat little pony tail and noticed your face had lost some of its baby features. For a split second I could see you as a little girl and it made me instantly wistful as I realized that a chapter in your life was ending and a new one beginning. Just tonight you told me that you loved me, unsolicited, for the very first time. It's days like this that I wish I had a "pause" button and could just rewind and keep playing those moments over and over again.

This little face, YOUR face, grinning at me from the other side of the lens tonight tells me quite a story. There is the macaroni and cheese on your cheek from dinner out at Dennys. You and Liam and I went (despite my apprehension that your post-nap whininess would manifest itself into an all out war). Surprisingly we had the best time we've ever had out to eat. You confidently picked your meal from the kids picture menu. "Macaroni, please". And ate every last bite. We then went to Target where you informed me that the "A" in the Target sign was broken and I suggested that it needed new batteries. You must have told me 40 times after that "new baowees, A". You were very concerned.

Then there's the rug burn under your lip from the post-nap fall out of your crib. This is the second time this week that you've fallen out while climbing and I believe it might be time for the toddler bed. It makes me sad to think we'll be giving up this symbol of your infancy and also nervous about getting you to stay in place during time-outs and naptime. I'm sure I can't keep you in a crib until your 18 though so this time has to come at some point. Thankfully you weren't hurt more than what a popsicle ("popsollll") could take care of. And you seemed perfectly content to suck on that while you recounted to me that you "bussawip" (bust your lip).

The smile on your face and your bright eyes (despite being tired) speak to your interest in seeing how things work. You haven't looked at the camera (intentionally) for quite a while. It's a level of control you have over me, I suppose. You know I want you to look so therefore you don't. But, just recently I started showing you your picture in the camera right after I took it and you've been more interested in posing for me. We can call it an interest in how the camera works or just vanity... whatever it is, I'll take it!

Then there's the duct tape on your pajama zipper. Redneck, I know. But, seriously, it's the only way we can keep you from undressing yourself and taking off your own diaper in bed. It's happened a few times and I'll go to extreme measures to keep it from happening again. All I have to saw about that is... Ewww.

And finally, the Dora sticker on your pajamas. No, you didn't go potty, but at least you tried. I know you only agreed to try as a stall tactic for bed, but that's okay. I was convinced that we were going to have SOME success tonight, but no luck. I DO believe that I'll have the mental picture of you sitting on your throne in the middle of the kitchen scrunching up your face and trying to "squeeze" it out. Little girl, you make me smile every single day.

You're a good big sister for Liam and I think you two will be fast friends. He giggled for the first time BECAUSE OF YOU a couple weeks ago and is ALWAYS interested in watching you and seeing what you are doing. I know you two will be good buddies when he's a bit bigger and hope you can always be close.

Natalie, I love you so much. You are truly a blessing to your dad and me. I'm so glad I get a chance to be your Mama.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Happy Halloween... a little late

Halloween was fun this year. Natalie actually "got it" and enjoyed going around to the Trunk or Treat's at our church and a nearby church. She got LOADS of loot - most of which she couldn't eat. Yeah, we're evil and don't let our kids have sweets. She didn't really care though because we had plenty of her favorites ("bears" aka Teddy Grahams, Goldfish and a granola bar) to swap her for her candy. She really enjoyed carrying around the bucket and was very intent on carrying it all in her bucket - no matter HOW heavy it got.

Liam was the ever cool-and-collected slobbering dinosaur. Hey... I've got to take advantage of dressing him like I want now because this is DYNAMITE blackmail material for later on in life!

All in all it was a fun night. Kevin commented that it was too bad stuff like this didn't happen more often. It's nice to see the community coming out of their houses and interacting with one another - even if they are all dressed up like hoochie mamas.

Which is another thing...What IS up with the costumes these days? We were behind one young mom pushing a stroller wearing a super short skirt and thigh high stockings with her behind hanging out for the world to see. Seriously folks...what IS wrong with people?

But I digress.

I'll leave you with a picture of the fam right before we headed out to trick or treat. Don't the kids look enthused? They WERE having fun...really.