Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pretty for Bedtime and a Question for You...

Here is Emerson after her bath with about 45 minutes to go before bedtime.  This girl is a girly-girl.  Since she was two it's been a struggle to get her to put on anything but a dress, she loves her hair done and nails painted, and loves pink, princesses, and fairies.  And I LOVE it.

So, after bath last night, I was asked to put her hair into a pretty ponytail with a purple (though you can't see it) scrunchy (are those still in?) and a purple headband to match her pajamas.  Yep, that's my girl!

Oh, and in the picture, that's Jon putting earrings in her ears.  He'll do anything for this girl!

And now onto a more serious topic.  To wait a year or not?

My Braeden is 4.  He'll turn 5 at the end of August, just as kindergarten is starting.  He is a smarty pants, very creative, and his vocabulary is, at least to me, pretty darn amazing.  He knows his colors, letters, and very basic math.  He  attends preschool four mornings a week and according to his teacher does really well (he's at home with me the rest of the time).  He loves that time with his friends and jumps right in when I drop him off.

BUT, he is a boy, and his social skills, while very good, are not where Emerson's were when she began school (and he's definitely just a different kid than her anyway).  He's very active and it's hard for me, at this point, to see him sitting in school all day (darn that all-day kindergarten!) with a little homework to do in the evening, though I know a lot could change in the next 5 or so months.

Jon and I have been going back and forth and have talked to a few other parents about starting kindergarten.  I am leaning more towards waiting a year to start whereas Jon is leaning more toward starting him now.   We have to make a decision pretty quickly  because he'll be attending the charter school where my daughter attends and they require a lottery to get in (unless you already have a sibling in the school), so we'll need to give them our decision soon.

At this point, if we had to make a decision right now,  I think we'd say wait, but I'd like to get some more opinions from other moms and dads or even just others with an outside opinion.  Any teachers out there?  I know many of you may not know my Braeden, but I'd love to hear your thoughts in general. 

Wait or not?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Work Hard Then Play

Yesterday I walked into the living room to find this:  Landen hard at work.  Under normal circumstances, this would not be permitted, but he looked so serious and was trying so hard, I raced to find the camera instead before I lost my shot!  And, as you can see, he was content being a willing subject for my pictures (probably because we never let him play with the computer!).  As I was clicking away, he was being hilarious!  You can totally tell he's seen Jon or I playing on the computer - he knew what he was doing!

This was before he knew I saw him... "Ok, now, where is that power button?"


"You're gonna just LET me play this time?!"  Giddiness!

"Facebook!  Type a little here... a little there!"

"This is good... I got it..."

"Adjust the screen a little..."

"And push these buttons..."

"Yep, I got this... know what I'm doing..."

"Ohhhh yeah... Mom, I got this... really... you act like I'm two and have crumbs all over my face or something..."
Silly boy!  And then shortly after, I found this (really I don't leave him alone that much, but as soon as I leave the room, I can guarantee this boy is scoping out things he's not supposed to do).
So, exhibit two: dancing on the table (Dang!  Twice in one day I should have scolded him and twice I grabbed the camera instead.  Encouraging him to do these bad things?  Probably!  - Back to business tomorrow!)

And then Grandmommy came over!  Hooray!  And, along with Grandmommy came her birthday present for Landen - a new bike!  He LOVED this bike!  It is just his size and will be perfect when the snow melts and spring decides to come along (any time now!). 

And this is what the kids do when Grandmommy comes over.  They gather around her and want to be close.  Even if they haven't been able to see her in a while, they love and trust and instinctively want to be with  her and tell her their funny stories and ask her to read books... 

And she does.

It has been a wonderful weekend of fun and being together - and it's only Saturday!  So glad there's still one more day before we go back at it again.

I hope you're having a great weekend, too!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Growing Independence...

** I've been (obviously) playing with my blog yesterday and today.  I still haven't gotten it quite right, so there's likely to be more changes as I attempt to learn more about how to mess with the html in my template (sounds kind of scary, doesn't it?), so sorry it's kind of clunky and messy right now!  Oh well, what do you do?!

Anyway, today is Emerson's first ever school field trip!  And let me say, she is so excited!  Her class is wrapping up an animal unit and are going today to a local veterinarians office, who also happens to have a pregnant horse that we will be able to see (Exciting?  I'm not so sure about that one!).

After getting the permission slip a few weeks ago for the trip, I expressed  that I'd like to go with their class and she seemed to be excited about that!  But as the trip has gotten closer, she began asking if I was going to ride the bus with her.  "Of course!" I said excitedly, and she went on her way.

But this morning, she asked again, and then said as politely as she could, "I'm a big girl, Mom.  Could you please not ride on the bus and ride in the van today?" 


What?  My little girls doesn't want me?  Doesn't need me?

What a blow to this mommy! 

Of course, I wasn't upset with her.  And I explained that part of me being there is to help the teacher with the things she needs help with, so just because I'm there doesn't mean she needs to stay with me unless she wants to - of course she can sit by her friends on the bus and stay with them as we travel around seeing the animals, and if she wants to hold my hand, I'd love it, but it's definitely not required.

I let out a big sigh...  I knew it would happen eventually.  As she grows, so does her independence.  And I guess I knew I was signing up for this when I sent her to her first day of kindergarten...

It's something that is hard to let go of for many reasons.

Thankfully, it's a slow process.  She has a few years with me yet!  We'll be learning together how to give and take of  it!  :)

(And I'll even secretly say that I love to see her express her independence and want to do things on her own - besides opening  her own yogurt at lunch!  I'm thankful I'm here to see those growing changes!).

Here's to a fun day at the vet (and no excitement of labor-ridden horses while we're there!)!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

One Word Wednesday — Nostalgic

One Word Wednesday at Aspire

I stumbled onto Aspire, a blog, today.  I've been following her mother for a while at Finding Joy and have enjoyed reading and learning about her life and family and lately, her sweet boy, Samuel, who is very close in age to Landen.  Today she linked to her daughter's blog for a weekly meme she's started called One Word Wednesday (you can go to her blog to find out more how it works).  This weeks word was nostalgia.  This was easy for me because I have been stumbling into many bouts of nostalgia lately!

I've been missing my babies.  Not because they're away from me, but I miss the baby part of my babies.  I'm missing the time I had at home with all three of them (if you know me or read my blog lately at all, you've probably gathered that by now!).  So, the past 6 months, since Emerson has begun her first year of school, have been rather nostalgic for me.  

The sweet:  I'm watching my kids grow - becoming smarter, more social and busy as I run them here and there for their ballet and soccer practices.  I see them grow to understand God more in their childlike ways.  They find new ways and words to show their love for us.  Emerson is becoming quite the artist, Braeden is such a hilarious story-teller, and Landen is so fearless and adventuresome... It's amazing to see all that they are discovering as they are learning life.  I love being able to see how they're growing verbally, physically and emotionally and socially ....

The bitter:  I want to keep them small, to slow the time for just a little while.  Or even go back and get to do it again.  Emerson is in kindergarten now and it's a little ridiculous, but I still have days when it brings tears to my eyes as I watch her run into her classroom, eager to see her friends and learn new things. 

It is such a cliche, but time really does fly!  It goes by way too fast.  I try to take in every moment now, because someday I'll ache for these little ones of mine to be running around our home, singing, playing, yelling, and even the fighting and crying.   I know someday I'll wish for it all back, because I already do!

So here is the picture that came to mind for the word 'nostalgia.'  I took it during a sick day when Emerson was home because of a fever.  Everyone stayed in their jammies.  Emerson, Braeden, and Landen were able to play almost all day, even during her bouts of not feeling well.  And it made me miss our days at home together when they were smaller.  

My growing babies - a very bittersweet and nostalgic thing indeed!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

At Work and at Play in the Driveway

What you see:  The kids playing in Grandma and Grandpa's nice car
just after they figured out they could open the sunroof.
Climbing in and out, pretending they're driving to California to visit Disneyland,
acting like they were on important errands,
and definitely in charge of that car...
Easy and cheap fun that lasts for more than an hour
and creating a great memory of an early spring day at Grandma and Grandpa's!

What you don't see:  My mom, Jon, and I slaving away in our van just a few feet to the right...
vacuuming, scrubbing crayon off the inside panels, and steam cleaning away.
Also cheap, though not so easy or fun....
 and not necessarily memory-creating.

BUT... along with this sweet picture, my kids had fun,
and I now have a clean, fresh, sparkly soccer-mom van,
which definitely makes this mom happy !  :)

Plus, it's the first day of spring!  Woo hoo!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Butterfly Birthday

We love to celebrate birthdays.  It's the perfect time to celebrate life and friendships!  Our good little friend, Xavier, turned four today and to celebrate his day, his family invited us and other friends to celebrate in Denver at the Butterfly Pavillion.

If you've never been there, you must go!  Beside all of the amazing insects they have, you have the option to hold a tarantula (which both Emerson and I did today!), feel a starfish, and wander in a jungle-like room filled with butterflies of all sizes, shapes, and colors.  And there's more!  There is a big room filled with butterfly facts, games, and activities for all ages of kids and a great gift shop to look through.

So, we packed our lunches, carpooled with our best friends, and enjoyed the butterflies and each other (unfortunately Landen woke up sick this morning and Jon was already planning on staying home to watch the NCAA games all day with his buddy, Tod, so we missed them today!).  We had a blast celebrating Xavier's birthday (plus the cupcakes Jen, his mom, made were adorable and equally as delicious)!  Here are some shots from our day:

I love this picture of the two of these best friends, Emerson and Kendall.

We all took turns holding Rosie, the massive and furry tarantula!!  I had absolutely no intentions of holding this thing, but Emerson agreed that if I would hold her, she would hold her.  So I had no choice!  The lady held our hand the whole time, thank goodness, because if she hadn't, I'd have probably thrown the thing across the room!  It still gives me a little bit of the shivers!

The butterflies were mesmerizing!  Emerson and Braeden were a little creeped out, but I thought they were beautiful!  And they were EVERYWHERE!  Flying all around us.  And as Bill is showing, they might possibly land on you!
After walking through the jungle of butterflies we had some playtime (while also learning about butterflies and their habitats), then enjoyed cupcakes and presents outside in the perfect weather.

And then we head home.  Emerson got to ride home with Xavier's family because she got to have a sleep-over at their house with Kendall (which is great! We're so blessed to have friends that our whole family is great friends with their whole family!).  Shelly took this picture of Braeden and I (and Greeney, his new tarantula) on the way home.

Now, off to bed and up again tomorrow to celebrate another birthday!  My grandpa turns 81 tomorrow!  (My grandpa literally has about the energy of a four year old, so I anticipate an eventful time tomorrow, as well!  Woo hoo!  :) )

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring Break Slumber Parties

First, I just want to say I have been overwhelmed by all the pictures, video, and stories coming from Japan this past week.  It is constantly in the back of my mind with thoughts of families who can't find each other and homes destroyed.  It's easy to get swallowed in all of the tragedy still occurring on the other side of the world because I try to imagine the fear and heartbreak that those people are in the middle of, but I can't.  I am comfortable in my home, surrounded by my healthy family so I can't possibly understand what it is they face.  Though I am reminded at how quickly and easily it can be taken away.  I've watched video after video of the moments the quake and tsunami hit.  It's just so amazing and awe inspiring. 
 We think we have it all under control, but we don't.  Disaster can strike at any moment despite how strong or prepared we think we are.
 (I've actually decided that I need to turn it off.  My mind has been filled with those images and it is distracting.  My heart aches for those people and it can be consuming sometimes.  I'm resolving to be thankful for the good things around me.  Not because I should stop caring  - because I do, so much! But I've decided it's healthier for me to detach myself from it for a little while.)

I'm again reminded to cherish what I have been blessed with.

And right now that is spending Spring Break with Emerson and Braeden.  It is so good to have them home.  Watching them enjoy each others company and being stricken by the friendship these siblings have.  I love it!

We've also enjoyed having slumber parties.  This time, though, it has been with me!  This just means they get to sleep in mommy and daddy's bed with me and stay up a little later than their siblings doing fun things.  First it was Braeden's turn.  Our plan was to read a book and possiby watch a short show, but our time together turned into a talking session with Braeden doing much of the talking!  And I tell you what, this boy could run a marathon with his tongue!  Kidding aside, it's really one of my favorite things about Braeden - his imagination and curiosity that guide his stories and questions and give me a glance into his little mind.  I also think one of Braeden's love languages is quality time and he thrives on the one on one time he gets with Jon and I.  So, Braeden talked and talked and asked questions until he finally just stopped and said, "Mommy, let's go to sleep now."  But wait - then he remembered one more thing he wanted to ask - then again told me we should go to sleep, so we did. :) It was a great time with my little boy.

The next night it was Emerson's turn.  And her choice of fun activities?  A make-up party!  I put make-up on her and yes, I let her put it on me.  And then we took pictures of each other.  It was a fun time of making each other look "beautiful." 

 And yes, she did take pictures of me, but as beautiful as she made me I'm not quite confident enough to post those!  Haha!

And yesterday morning, Jon took off from work and we all went swimming together. 

The week has gotten off to a good start and there's more to come this week celebrating our good little friend's birthday, who is turning 4 and then my grandpa's birthday this weekend who is turning 81!

I'm taking these days of spring break as slowly as possible as to enjoy every moment with my kiddos. 

And I'm looking towards summer! 

P.S.  I heard Blogger is going to do an overhaul soon.  Kind of excited about that! 

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Someday she'll stop asking

It's the same every night.  Curtains are closed and her desk lamp is switched on.  Snuggled on her bed, Jon reads a chapter out of her most recent book outloud.  I get her a cup of water.  Then she snuggles down under covers, adjusts her purple unicorn pillow pet (the only pillow she'll sleep on as of late), and then asks, "Will you lay with me?"  Sometimes the question is directed at me.  Sometimes Jon.  Every night.  

Many nights there are so many things for me to catch up on, to finish for the day.  And it's easy to say no.   "No, sweetie, remember all the dishes on the table from dinner?  I need to get those cleaned up..."   That's almost always followed up with a "Please?!"  It's easy to think of a good reason why I shouldn't tonight - I don't want her to need to have someone to lay with her in order for her to go to bed at night (a bad habit!) - or there really is so much I need to get done!  

But I've been trying to pepper in some yes's in the midst of all those no's.  

And every time I do, I am SO thankful that I did!  It's during this time, in the quiet when we're still and snuggling together, that she spills the details from her day.  For a six year old in Kindergarten, the details sometimes include who was mean to her that day, or what instrument she got to play in music, or how good her lunch was.  And it's a beautiful, perfect time for me to weave in a reminder of how God may have been working through those circumstances in her day.  And to tell her how much I missed her that day.  

And to think, if I had said no, I would have missed those words shared between us. 

Someday, she won't ask me to lay with her anymore.


I LOVE my boys with all of my heart and soul, but there is just something about my sweet girl - about US girls.  There's something special about that.  And I treasure the time I have with her in the quiet at night before she drifts to sleep.  Oh, how thankful I am to be this girl's mommy.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

A Hot Dog Party

Yesterday we celebrated Landen's 2nd birthday!  It was a great fun time of playing and eating and just celebrating our sweet boy with close family and friends.  


Landen loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (pretty much the only t.v. show he's ever seen), which he affectionately calls Hot Dog (hot dog, hot dog, hot diggety dog!), so of course, we had a Hot Dog party!   

To add to the theme there were Mickey Mouse signs made by Emerson, Mickey cupcakes decorated by Landen and his friends, the clubhouse music playing in the background,
and hot dogs for lunch!  It was a fine day and fun was had by all! 

We couldn't ask for a better way to celebrate our boy's two years with us!
We're so thankful for all who celebrated him with us!

And check out this post!!

A Book And A Pancake - The Boys

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Friday, March 04, 2011

Sick Days

Oh, the joys of wintertime!  Stewing in our our germs at home while it freezes outside!   We spent almost all of last week with sickies in our house.  However, while I don't ever wish my kids sick,  I did relish the time we had at home together.  We stayed in our pajamas all day, had warm soup for lunch, snuggled and watched movies, and read books together.

My favorite thing, though?  It was (between doses of Tylenol) seeing Emerson and Braeden play together all day like they used to - before Emerson was in school all day.  Of course they play together after school and on the weekends, but not the kind of play where the story lines of pretend are drawn out all day...

It gave me the bittersweet feeling that reminiscing about the days when they were little usually does.  It was a good reminder to never wish my days away! I loved seeing these brother/sister friends play together! 

They were so engrossed with playing with each other they didn't even notice that I was taking pictures!  That's some good playing!

And tomorrow we celebrate Landen's 2nd birthday!  A "hot dog" party is in the line up with good friends and family.  Hot Dog is how Landen refers to Mickey Mouse (you know... hot dog, hot dog, hot diggety dog!).  

These are the best of times!

P.S.  You Are My Sunshine... 

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

I Refuse To Do Nothing

My oldest is just over six years old now.  I've been a full time wife and stay-at-home mommy for six years!  Wow, six years - seems so long to me, yet I know it's not long at all!  If words could express how blessed and joyful I've been over the fact that I've been able to be home with my kids through their first milestones, giggles, book reading sessions, playtime, and time talking about God, those words would be dripping with the thankfulness of my soul!  I love this job.

I mean truly love it.

I take my job as wife and mom very personally and seriously and know that God has put me in this role to love, support, serve and minister to my husband and babies.  I strive to make it my first priority daily.  And there is such weight in that!

Within the past few months, though, I have felt a stirring in my heart.  Really, even more than a stirring - maybe even a command?  A command beyond my first job of wife and mommy.

I'm going to be honest and up front and confess that I've been recently struggling personally with how God works in this world.  His ways are above our ways, therefore I know I'll never fully understand all He does and allows.  There are moments when I even feel that His ways even seem (please forgive me) cruel.  And the sin and weight of this world are heavy.  It's been a time of crying out and searching for Him in the midst of my lack of understanding.  I have posed to Him many questions that weigh on my heart, many even stemming from the stories I read in the Bible.  I have never expected to hear God audibly, but (thanks to some guidance by Priscilla Shirer in her most recent study) I have recently been becoming more aware to how He may be speaking to me in this.

One evening several months ago while I was watching a news commentator, he mentioned a verse from Matthew - the parable of the talents.  Kind of a random thing to hear on a cable news show, but ok!  It really struck me.  I mean, knocked me over.  The man who hid his gold - kept it safe instead of investing it- was sent into outer darkness.  Whoa!

Next, my small group have just finished reading a book together called Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  In a chapter in this book he tells story after amazing story of believers who have sacrificed to reach out and love people who need to hear about the love of Christ.  He stresses the need to be "on fire" for God.  In our short time in life, we are commanded to go out and share the love of Christ.  To preach the good news.  To take care of the homeless and widows.

And just last week,  I was perusing books on Amazon and the book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand was number one on their e-book bestseller list.  I had no idea what the book was about, but it had several hundred ratings with an average of a 5 star rating, so I thought I'd go ahead and buy it (I know - kind of a risk when spending money on something!).  I was immediately pulled in. This book is a truly amazing biography of a man during World War II.  **Spoiler Alert**  Very briefly, Louis Zamperini, who was an Olympic runner, was drafted in the war as a lieutenant of an Air Force bomber.  He crashed at sea, drifted for 47 days, was captured by the Japanese and the author closely details the way this man was severely beaten physically and emotionally for years - almost to the point of death.  Eventually he was rescued by our military and brought home where he suffered from anger and nightmares and alcoholism.  Shortly after his return, his new wife decided to attend a rally happening nearby held by a young Billy Graham.  She immediately brought her husband the next day and he was changed.  He accepted and believed Billy Grahams message.  He turned his life around and has spent (he's still alive) the remainder of his life sharing the forgiveness and love of Jesus to troubled youth - and even personally to the guards who beat him those years during the war.

I am completely moved by this man's story.  He took a terrible tragedy and used it to show the love of Christ to people who are surrounded by anger, hurt, and hopelessness.  (This is probably... no, this IS a terrible synopsis and I do it no justice.  The book is truly amazing and I'd recommend it to anyone!)

And last, I was listening to a Christian radio station a few weeks back.  They announced a small "campaign."  It was called I Refuse to do Nothing.  It is so easy for me to get wrapped up in my busy life, but there are so many people who are hurting around me in my city.  In my neighborhood.  And when I hear of believers sacrificing for the cause of Jesus, I picture selling all my things and moving to Africa (though I have dear friends who have done just this!), which is a littler overwhelming!  So, it's easy to not do anything at all.  There are so many people so close at hand, whom I could help every single day. 

SO, I feel like my answers, though they may and probably will never be fully answered, may somehow lie in these circumstances being brought to me.  I think the truth is I'll be able to understand and know the character of  God so much better when I step out of my comfort zone to serve someone else - the homeless and widows, perhaps.  I really feel I am being told to do something.  Anything.  It has been over a year since I've served in a church and I am feeling pulled to do it again.  To volunteer to love on kids each week and teach them about the love of Jesus. I'm not sure what my other options are at this point, though I am praying specifically for that opportunity to be made known to me.

I also know I need to be an example to my kids as to what His love really means.  What it means to obey Him and to give of my time to use my "talents." 

Thanks for hanging with me this long.  I know that was a bit of a rant!  Haha!  It is something that has just been so close to my heart these recent days.  I appreciate you letting me share a little bit of my journey with you.  And I am genuinely excited for how God decides to answer me and show me where we can be used.


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