Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Fun

Kid + Box = FUN!

Momma said there'd be days like this...

Week in recap:

Refrigerator goes out. Small fortune to fix.

Tire on van has a screw in it. Try twice to make appointment. Have to cancel because...

Ellie gets sick. And is still sick. Go through more diapers in day, than used to in a week. (and she was just really potty-trained!)

We revisit stressful discussions about future school decisions.

"Help me, Lord, not to be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present my requests to You. And Your peace, O God, which transcends all understanding, will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

You know you're on a tight budget when...

...You're at Tar.get, staring at the und.ies, waffling over a more comfortable 3-pack or the super value 6-pack, same price. (Quality v. quantity...hmmm...)

...Your Hubs buys bread at, good deal for 2 loaves...except it tastes like cardboard. And yet, you know I'm still eating every last slice. Including the ends.

...I needed to bring a paper plate for each of my students to school from home. So I brought exactly 25 plates. No room for mistakes, my friends. Oh, and took home the two extras from students who were not there.

...For a recent tire repair, I think I asked the poor man three times if the repair would be free.

...Ten dollar sunglasses break, so I purchase a cheaper six dollar pair. comes through again with the jumbo pack of Bounce dryer sheets. 246. One package. And yet, you know I'm still tearing those buggers in half.

All hail the tiny budget and the lady who loves her.


Josh: Do you think we can go to a cabbage again this summer? Like the one we went to with GPW last year?
Me: Cabbage?
(note to self...cabin + cottage = cabbage, not just an average vegetable anymore)

Rhyme time with Ellie:
Ellie: Shoes...BOOZE!
(just a little FYI, she meant it as "boo-boos", seriously...)

Ellie and the Hubs were spending some quality time last weekend perusing the pictures in a Little Mermaid piano book I have, and had a conversation that went something like this...

Ellie: I want to be a princess and dance with a prince.
Hubs: I could dance with you.
Ellie: NO, you're not the right size.
(Hubs stifles a giggle..guys giggle, right?...and pursues an appropriate-sized options for his dear girl)
Hubs: Maybe, Josh?
Ellie: Ok, but Owen will have to go with Katie (cousin).

Friday, April 18, 2008

Music has arrived

The piano is here! It arrived with little drama and has subtly become a part of our home. We moved it ourselves, well, the Hubs and several strong family members and neighbors moved it. I was in charge of, "It goes there." (hehe)

The following Monday my mom came to watch the kids while I went to work and she brought tons of my old sheet music and piano books. It was a whoosh of memories. Piano lessons, practicing, singing along to some funky 80's songs, (Mike and the Mechanics, anyone?), and even my little side trips to the Hubs house after practice. He lived only a block or so away from my piano teacher at the time. I'd leave my lesson and stop by to see him for a little while. It was when we were first dating.

I remember practicing at home and singing along, my teenage dreams of becoming a singer, or a least a piano player for church services, building with every crescendo. I remember sitting at the piano, playing and thinking that I was all alone in the house. I could sing, practice and I forgot that there were other people around. (much to my brothers' disdain.)

As soon as my mom and I had gone through the books, she said, "Well, go play something." I sat down and pulled out a few easy church songs. Ahhh. I smiled from the inside, out. Hearing music flow through our house makes it even more of a home. The piano does need tuning, of course, but that hasn't stopped me or the kids from belting out some tunes, albeit, off key. I hope that our kids can make some memories on this piano. It already has created some for me.

Oh, Ps. Some cute things about the lady who gave us the piano. When the Hubs went to pick it up, she also gave him the little vase and wooden tulips that are sitting on the piano. She wanted them to be for the three kids. She is Dutch and apparently, this piano will always be, too. (note the tulip in the middle of the music stand). She also called me again, later, to let me know she had a lamp for the piano. She's bringing it to church on Sunday. I hope she knows what a generous gift this is to our family.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Party is getting musical

Here at the Party house things are about to get more musical.  Yes, we have our Dance Parties, and Flashlight Dances. But now we are goin' classical.  
We are getting a piano!

A very nice, old lady from our church recently returned to her apartment after some time in a rehab center for hip issues.  She needs to clear her apartment of things that could possibly get in her way as she adjusts to life on her own again.  She had heard through a friend that we were looking for a piano.  My mom has one and someday that will be ours, but until then we will be able to enjoy this lovely gift.

The Hubs is on his way home with the piano right now. excited.  

Will post pictures later...

I'm sure the kids will love this, too.  Mmm...maybe, too much??
Tylen.ol anyone?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

He Walks!

This post is about three weeks late.

Owen is walking!
The day we heard about the Hubs' grandfather was the day Owen walked. I wrote a little about it here.

So with no tape left in the video camera, I tried getting some stills of the little guy making his way across the floor. Needless to say, the shutter speed and the speed of my growing baby boy are NOT the same.


Ellie: Mom, can you do me a favorite?
(pretty sure she meant favor...Josh used to say this all the time, too.)

Ellie: Let's sing, Mom
Mom: Ok, what should we sing?
Ellie: If You're Happy For Your Nose.
Mom: Hmmm.... OH, if You're Happy and You Know it!
Ellie: That's what I said.
(Letting that one fly on by...)

Stormy Thoughts

A couple of nights ago there was a bit of a storm here. Our first good thunderstorm of the spring season. Lightning split the sky and loud thunder followed. As soon as it started I knew the kids would be up. Josh has always been afraid of storms and has spent many windy nights either in our bed or in a sleeping bag on our floor.

So as the wind started and the thunder boomed I was ready. The Hubs and I were downstairs watching one of our favorite shows, and we heard the first cries. I ran upstairs. It was Ellie. I hopped on her bed and pulled her close. It's unusual for her to wake during a storm, but she was afraid. Soon, Josh was at the door. I smiled at him, and he quickly ran to the bed to join the cuddle huddle.

I talked to the kids about how the storm couldn't hurt them, it was outside. That God was protecting them and watching over our house.

Ellie said, "But, it's still scary out there."

I told her how God picks an angel for each person and that angel watches her and keeps her safe.

"But, it's still scary out there."

I reminded them that Daddy and I were just downstairs and soon we would be upstairs in bed, too, close by.

"It's scary out there."

Soon, I knew I just needed to go. To let them try to be courageous on their own. To trust in the words that I told them. A few more reassuring words and hugs later, I left.

As I told this story to some friends last night, one of them mentioned how we often have this same conversation with God. He tells us in His word that he is watching over us, that He has plans for us that are beyond our comprehension and that His power in our lives is a comfort. To trust Him and his will for our lives. To be courageous in His name.

And yet, we say,"But it's still scary out there."

We balk at doing His work, even saying His name to others, and stepping out of our safe zones to reach those who need help.

"It's scary out there."

Yes, it is. But we have the Ultimate Savior.

I've been in my walk with the Lord long enough to know this doesn't mean we won't ever get hurt, feel afraid or make mistakes. But the fact that we are not doing this without His watchful eye...what a comfort, what a blessing.

I'm not very good at doing this, this stepping out, breaking free. But one day I'll be able to say with confidence...Thank God for the Storms.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Spring Break Musings

Well, our Spring Break days are coming to a quiet close. The kids are in bed and hopefully will be ready to go tomorrow! It's back to school for Josh and me, and I'm not sure I want to go back! After coming off our pseudo-vacation in Georgia, it felt indulgent to have this whole week to "play" some more. I, of course, had a few lists of things I wanted to do, and then we had a meeting and my list went out the window. We did many kid-focused activities all week. We had two days at home, but those still were filled with games, times outdoors and even a craft project. (check out these cute sock puppets!)

Looking back there were so many things I could have done for myself. Planning, time spent surfing the web, blogging, etc. But in the end I was so glad to have that quality and quantity time with the kids. I recently was at at shower where a friend of mine read a devotional about working moms and the struggle we face to get that kind of time with our kids. Because of all this time off I got to see my little baby start walking. It just happened one day. And he is on the go all the time now. No hand holding for this little guy. The day we found out about the Hubs' grandpa, Owen started walking. His grandma was here and witnessed his first real steps. I got home from work, sat down and looked at Owen parked in the middle of the room. He stood up from where he was, and started taking steps toward me! So I was there. I didn't miss it. In fact, I haven't missed much in the last two weeks. That has its good parts and bad parts, but still, I was there.

We had a great day at my brother's house one day. It was a great spring day and we spent a lot of time outside, shooting baskets and riding scooters. The kids now have a new phrase from their Uncle...."Book it!" It means to make the basket. I guess I learned something, too! Owen got in the action, too and seems to really love being outside. I'm picturing many skinned knees this summer. Badges of honor, to be sure, but lots of skinned knees and hands. Although as you can see in the pictures, I think he enjoyed watching the fish in my brother's fish tank the most!

We ended our week at a local children's museum and had a blast with some friends. I forgot my camera (hello, momma brain!), so I have no cool pictures of the kids exploring this really great place.

All in all, I guess I wouldn't change a thing. It gets me excited for summer (only a couple of months away!!) and all the things we can do then. I should start that list now, too. Hehe.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Ten thoughts

I was tagged by Emily for this one. So here goes!

1. Dishes, laundry and a clean house are a process.

2. Ellie is learning her letters and their sounds really well now.
From her L-Max. Not me. *sigh*

3. I have the cutest kids. Ever. Sorry folks. It's just the truth.

4. Am I missing out on some grand life adventure because I've been a bit chicken to take risks since I became a mother?

5. When will I stop second-guessing my decisions?

6. I am so ready to eat spring salads and barbecue just about anything! I can smell the grill now!

7. We're headed to the Outer Banks this summer...Can't wait!

8. How did Owen go from walking to practically running? He'll be a year in two weeks. *sigh* I ache to freeze this time and make more memories.

9. Mom's Taxi is once again running. Two T-ball practices a week and often a game as well. Need more quick and healthy dinner ideas.

10. I've been having a bit of a pity party for myself again. Yep, full streamers and party horns included. Need to remember to count my blessings instead of those that belong to others. The grass isn't always greener. And, heavens, we have so many things to be thankful for.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Georgia Aquarium

Recently we had the opportunity (through a very generous gift from the Hubs' aunt and cousin) to visit the Georgia Aquarium. It is said to be the largest in the world! We definitely were impressed and had a terrific time. Our only regret was that we didn't bring Owen along. He's at that stage where he points at everything he finds interesting and there's a lot of grunting and "ooo's". But still, we spent time just gazing at the many colorful kinds of fish and animals that that call water their home. Here are some of our favorites...

There was a glass tunnel that you could walk through as you looked at all of the sea life swimming around you. Ellie and her cousin Kyra posed for a shot along one side. It was amazing to feel just a bit more a part of the ocean as stingrays, sharks, and other sea life made their path through the water around us!

These sea lions were hilarious. It was a beautiful day and we're pretty sure they were dueling over the one sunny spot on this rock. I would, too!

These Japenese crabs were HUGE! And an easy favorite for a lot of us!

The grouper wins for most hilarious fish face. At one point in our tour there was this huge wall of glass that you could just sit down in front of and spend some time watching the fish. The grouper kept just "hanging out" in front of where we had plunked down. It was as if they were saying.."Don't watch those other guys...we're the most handsome ones here!"

The kids got a kick out of the touch pool. It housed stingrays, and some small sharks. Unfortunately, the pool's depth and some timid kidoos made it hard for many to actually reach and touch them.

Cousin Katie was fascinated! So many colors, so much movement! I loved watching the kids, watching the fish!

This was a great stop along the way, too. Lots of very colorful fish were traveling along this reef. Josh and I saw one fish "yawn" looked like it had fangs!

Here's a shot of that tank from a bit farther back. It's so neat to have fish swimming above you!

Even if it's one of these!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Cold Tangerines Book Review

Recently, Short Stop gave out a generous chance for some fellow bloggers to read a book she had read and give a review. I was lucky enough to be a part of it. Thanks, Sarah!

I liked the book. I felt like there was quite a roller coaster of emotions throughout the book, and I was swept up in it, with my arms up, yelling and screaming all the way. I liked the style in which she wrote, too. I often caught myself saying...if I had the time...that's how I could write. She seemed to be saying things straight from her heart and I liked that. I enjoyed how it read like a blog, with short, focused passages about looking for God in all places and experiences. Her attitude about loving life and filling her days with happier thoughts is one that certainly appeals to me. She seems to have overcome a lot and her stories make you see that God heals all wounds, if we let him. I connected the most with her stories about jealousy. The mommy world is one that opens that door to comparisons so easily. When I see someone else who seems to have it all, know it all, have well-behaved children, money, time or the spiritual walk of a saint, I feel pretty small in comparison. I needed the reminder that we all have our own gifts and God loves us just the way we are.

Thanks Sarah for giving us the chance to read and review this great book!

Check out her sidebar to see others who have reviewed this book as well! There are so many great bloggers out there...we could all write a book!

Stone Mountain

While we were in Georgia we had the chance to visit one of the state's natural wonders, Stone Mountain. This is a massive piece of granite that has made it's way through the earth's surface. It sticks out like a brazen pimple in the middle of Atlanta's beautiful landscape. You can hike it, or take a high-flying ride up to the top. We opted for the ride, you know, because we had small children with us. (yeah, that's the reason) It was a windy day, but a beautiful view was our reward when we got the top.

Josh got a big kick out of running all over the rocky mountaintop. He said it looked like the moon. I love how his imagination works.

Ellie liked the mountain, too. She wasn't sure at first, but after Grandma pointed out a couple of worn in spots that looked like chairs, she began to explore. She balked at taking pictures, so I was glad to get this one of her and me enjoying the view under a lonely tree.

Owen said, "I claim this mountain for toddlers everywhere!" Dibs on the first chick who can crawl up the mountain!"

We were so happy that Grandma and Grandpa could go with us that day. Aunt Aub was able to come, too. I love this picture because it shows how windy it really was that day. Sorry, Grandma, but it still is a great pic of you guys. (Ellie is sitting in one of those "chairs" that Grandma showed her. God carved out a special little place for her to sit.)

My two trailblazers decided to take a short trip back down the trail to check out the terrain. Follow that white line!

It was a beautiful sunny day. We were so glad to have some family time outdoors after a couple of days of more serious family time. We felt a bit closer to heaven and had a chance to remember what an amazing world the Lord has created.