Thursday, December 23, 2010

My babies

Here are a few photos to get you through the Holidays. :)

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas

I've been a lazy blogger. Go ahead and smack me.

Work has been booming, Church has been busy, life is moving faster and faster. I wish things would slow down so I could enjoy it, but then if it slowed down, there wouldn't be as much to enjoy. Ah, the catch 22 of life.

Right now, I'm taking the time to write as all the girls clean their rooms while on Christmas break. We will see how long I have to write before I have to go break up a fight or clean something really gross up that has been lurking underneath a pile of laundry..

Just to catch you up on what will be our fun holiday this year.


funny christmas Pictures, Images and Photos

This is my new favorite version of Santa.


My sister and brother in law and beautiful niece will be joining us for the Christmas weekend. I get the privilege of taking their family photos, and we will be having ham AND turkey (there is a debate in our family about which is the best holiday meat, so this year we are just doing it up big time!). We always have tons of laughs and this year will be especially fun because my niece is walking and can chase her cousins everywhere (insert evil laugh here).

We will be taking our annual pilgrimage to Branson to give half our money away on food and ozark entertainment the week after Christmas. I always look forward to this week when we can slow down and enjoy each other's company. While my threshold for being trapped in a small condo with my husband, three children, in laws and sister in law (don't get me wrong, I love them all dearly but there's only so much this recluse can take) is about 3 days, I'm looking forward to spending all five days this time. With as much as Baxter has been working, we need this time. We took a week in October to be together but I didn't get to enjoy it much because I got violently ill on the very first day (I'm talking chills, shakes, and a nyquil drip). I'm also hoping to come away from this trip less bloated than last year. I hope to pair up with my sister in law (who is an ironman athlete) and some of her willpower will rub off on me (not too much though, she eats chia seeds.ew.. I digress). I need not to have to lose 10 more lbs.


I hope everyone is enjoying life as much as me and that you all have a beautiful Christmas.

I will try to resume blogging on a regular basis (New Year's resolution perhaps?)









Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Butterfly

I've been wanting to write this post for a few weeks. Every time I come to the computer I get distracted. I am never in one place too long these days (unless I am editing photos).

This post is about self reflection. I think back to the person I was 10 years ago(20, and pregnant whoa!) and am just amazed at who I have become. In some ways I am still so much like the shy, reclusive, sugar craving, neurotic that I used to be.

I am still shy. When I meet you, I barely speak. I listen but make almost no comment. I think I am still damaged from growing up in a small town school full of girls who thought they were royalty. (If we went to school together, let me just welcome you, Your Highness. I hope your redneck subjects are treating you well.)
I was always out of my element and I guess I am afraid I still have no place in the clique-esque world we live in. You know what they say though, it's the quiet ones you should worry about. If we hit it off, I never shut up.

I order food now. Seriously ( I know there are others of you out there, so don't judge me). If we would go out anywhere, I would not order through the drive through I would not call and order pizza, and I would almost always make my husband/boyfriend order at restaurants. I'm just a freak. I have no idea how to explain this one. I still feel the hesitancy when it's time to order, but am able to push through it. I think it's just part of growing up.

I try to think if any of my ideas about my faith have changed. I feel closer to God now, and I find it easier to put grace in place of judgement. My desire for a stronger relationship with my savior grows stronger every day. There's so much more, but this is a different post altogether.

I'm much more conservative now. I have always been very conservative, but now I just see so much more hurt and damage in the things of this world. I constantly try to block it out. Becoming a mom, and living a life of ministry are definitely the catalysts for this change.

Music. What in the world is on the radio these days. I couldn't tell you 38 of the top forty songs. I used to know them all. My world today is country,soft rock, classic rock, and contemporary christian music. I have officially become my mother (who actually knows who Gwen Stefani is, so maybe I'm not even as cool as her).

I'm 30lbs lighter. My lifestyle no longer revolves around late night pizza, and ice cream for breakfast. I do alot more working out and a lot less television watching as well. Go me.

What can i say. I'm a butterfly. There is still the hint of who I used to be, but I think I've blossomed for the better. I wonder what I will say about who I am ten years from now. How have you changed in the past ten years?


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(Okay, so this was 11 years ago, but close enough!)

Go fly a kite!

We had such a great time with the strong winds yesterday. We took a spur of the moment trip to a kite flying hill.


















The trip was topped off by two of the girls stepping in fire ant mounds. Of course. I will choose to remember the fun.











Friday, October 1, 2010

11 years

Seems like just yesterday I was writing an anniversary blog. Time is flying by too fast these days. It has been 11 years (as of September 25) that I have been a married woman. I tell people that, and they look at me like I should have white hair and arthritis. We were just two silly kids when we got married at 19, and now we have the benefit of experience while still being young and cool...

I remember my wedding day just like it was yesterday. I have to admit, I had absolutely no idea what I was signing up for. All I knew was that I loved this boy, and he loved me, and that we would "conquer the world with our love"...

Boy, was I an idiot. I would not go back and change anything, mind you, but I definitely did not understand the level of work that goes into a marriage. We have endured struggles financially, physically, and mentally. Not without a lot of learning how to communicate have we turned into the team we are today. Some of the arguments that we have had would have been prime candidates for reality t.v.
(Like the time I grabbed the wheel of the car while he was driving because he wasn't listening to me, not my finest moment)

I have to say that after 11 years, we are strong, and we are just as in love today as those 19 year old idiots, but with maturity and a knowledge of what it takes to be married.

As for what the future has in store for us, I don't know what road we'll walk, but it will be walked hand in hand. :)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Miss me?

You should, because it has been too long since I have come here to post. Sure, I post on my workout blog some, and my photography blog some, but here... No, I have been a bad mommy blogger.

What's new with us?

It has been a fun and uneventful summer for the girls. My spoiled little princesses had their vacations, and swimming, and trips to the library. For me, this summer has been spent in a fog. I have had a hard time motivating myself to (1). workout (2). stay awake (3). serve a purpose. The reason is a very annoying thyroid problem. I am severely hypothyroid (not the one where you miraculously lose weight and are hyper all the time). Oh no, I have the thyroid issue where your body basically slows to a crawl. Sleepy, depressed, and packin' on the pounds, My summer in a nutshell. I have made myself participate in things that the children will like because I love them and want them happy, but as far as things that I know i should enjoy (working out, going outside, blogging, etc.) I have just not had the energy. I expect to be back in the swing of things in a few weeks, then watch out!

As for any other new developments around here, I'll just go down the list of a few.

*My oldest is obsessed with tween spy novels and wants to work for the CIA when she grows up. If she can learn to keep a secret, she will do well.

* My middle child learned to tie her shoes. I taught her, and we were both proud of ourselves. If I can get her to wash her own hair, I can call her independent.

* My baby got her ears pierced. She told everyone she knows at least five times. She's impressed with herself.

* WE GOT NEW FLOORS! We finally saved up enough to put new floors in. After pulling up the former homeowners carpet we discovered why the vacuum was coughing at us. There was enough built up dust underneath them to build sandcastles (or dustcastles) all over the house. ICK! I'm so glad that nasty stuff is gone. I love my floors!

I hope all my readers are having a great end to their summer, and I promise I'll come back soon and post about all the fun stuff we are doing.

How was your summer?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

4 year old Bean


Today we celebrate Ella's 4th birthday.


Ella is wild, she never sits still, she yells even when she's just talking about something as mundane as cereal. I could not imagine life without her. As she lay beside me this morning after her early morning wake up call, I listened to a rare moment of her peaceful rhythmic breathing and reflected on the day of her birth.


It was a normal pregnancy (although I did have gestational diabetes), a normal delivery, and I expected there to be no complications. She was whisked away to the nicu right after birth, however, and stayed there for 7 days because her lungs hadn't developed fully. From what I hear, this is fairly normal for babies of moms with gestational diabetes. It rocked our world though. We were a mess. We walked around in a sad stupor for that first week, and after she came home, she was never put down. I now fully accept responsibility for her all too independent personality. She's had it with the coddling and she wants to be on her own!


She paints walls with primer after we have just finished the last coat. She applies nail polish and makeup to her legs, arms, face and the carpet. She tries to put together meals for herself (much to the satisfaction of the dog). If she can't reach something, she tries to rig a ladder out of books, boxes, and toys. She likes to call strangers via cell phone and have conversations with them. We like to say we supervise her enough to help prevent the major destruction of our property, but there are never enough eyes around here, to be honest. I'm hoping that with age, her sense of indpendence will guide her as we try and train her up to have common sense as well.


Ella has been the best surprise/blessing/gift I have ever received. I thank God for her chaos everyday (well, almost everyday).
Happy Birthday, Ella!

Friday, July 23, 2010

I've added a blog

I'm a mom, but I'm also an "athlete". I use that term loosely. I'm going to continue to use this blog to tell stories about my crazy/dysfunctional family, but I've also started a "fitness" blog. Come read it!

http://desertthedessert.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer Daze

The girls left for a vacation to the farm in Arkansas where my husband's parents live. They were gone for about 2 weeks. I spent these weeks doing a whole lot of NOTHING! Well, not exactly nothing...




I slept.




I ate out. A LOT.




I took newborn pictures of Levi.




I went to Six Flags with my Bethany.




I slept some more.




I did dishes, twice. (that's how much we ate out!)




Oh, and I got this...














It says Selah, and you can read it both ways. It hurt, and I love it. :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hopscotch

We had a little break in the heat, so my little crazies headed outside to play some hopscotch.

Here are some fun pictures!







Monday, June 28, 2010

Doubt

I don't know if I'll ever be past the stage in my life where I constantly doubt myself. Is it normal, or am I just neurotic? There's nothing more frustrating to my husband than when I assail him with a barage of questions as to how he thinks I'm doing. Me: "How was dinner, honey?" Him: "Great" Me: " Are you sure, because it didn't show in your face that you were really enjoying it while you were eating." Him: "It was great, really!" Me: "I'm not sure you really liked it." Him: (sighs)

Me: "What do you think of this picture, honey?" Him: "Good, really Good!" Me: "Are you sure, you didn't even look at it for very long..." Him: "I didn't have to, it's great!" Me: I don't know, it probably needs more work" Him: (sighs loudly and rolls eyes)

Me: "Honey, How does the house look?" Him: "It looks great, Honey" Me: "You didn't say anything when you came home" Him: I haven't even come all the way in the house yet" Me: "Well, I'm sure if it was really great, you would have already noticed" Him: "What can I make for dinner?"

I do this to my friends too, although I will readily admit to them that I have an issue and need constant affirmation. They handle it in stride (probably because I take the bulk of it out on my poor husband)

Sooner or later he tells me like it is, that I'll never believe anything he says unless I start having confidence in myself. I don't know why I have this issue. I was alway loved and supported, and have always been given plenty of encouragement. It's just something in my psychie that makes me ridiculous.

Right now, I'm having to push aside all my doubt and surge forward professionally. I feel very confident in my abilities in what I do, and business is starting to really pick up. It's so exciting, but the better I feel about something, the more doubts that creep in. My inner dialogue is terrible and I'm having to stop and shut myself up. I compare myself to some peers, I compare my work with theirs and wonder why I'm not as busy as they are. I am my own worst enemy. How do I stop this vicious cycle. I'm starting to think that I should just use these thoughts and succeed just to spite them.

Monday, June 14, 2010

100 Things that make me happy

I have seen this on a few other blogs and thought it would be fun to try.  I always like to try to put things in perpective and remember all my blessings.  Even if you don't blog, I encourage you to make a list of all the things that make you smile.

1.   staying up late and talking all night
2.   a great haircut
3.   crunchy ice
4.   watching Taylor's face on her favorite ride at six flags
5.   the feeling i get right after a great workout
6.   when my dog spoons my legs
7.   hearing Ella sing herself to sleep
8.   dinner at my parent's house
9.   wind chimes
10.  my favorite jeans
11.  the beach at night
12.  when someone catches me daydreaming
13.  teen camp
14.  wednesday night at church
15.  sunday nights with the teens
16.  talking about books with Kayleigh
17.  fall weather in Texas
18.  floating the river
19.  taking a great picture and not being able to stop looking at it
20.  a great nap
21.  coke zero
22.  getting into God's Word with friends and talking about it
23.  word searches
24.  the smell of the kids right after they have had their bath
25.  new car smell
26.  a paid off car
27.  a great fitting t shirt
28.  crab legs
29.  snuggling with any of my babies
39.  talking with my husband about our future
40.  dancing
41.  girls weekends
42.  riding horses
43.  holding hands with Baxter
44.  a great massage
45.  falling asleep to music so my dreams have a soundtrack
46.  birthday cake
47.  laughing so hard i cry and/or can't breathe
48.  clean sheets
49.  razorback football
50.  flip flops
51.  looking at old photos
52.  the feeling you get as you are climbing the highest part of the roller coaster
53.  the smell of rain
54.  a chick flick
55.  reading a book cover to cover
56.  when my girls use a new (clean) word for the first time
57.  hearing my girls giggling up in their rooms
58.  jumping out from behind a door and scaring someone
59.  date night
60.  my "special days" with each of the girls
61.  quiet prayer
62.  my niece's dimples
63.  fuzzy slippers
64.  giving money to someone who needs it
65.  talking politics wih my political geek friends
66.  baking
67.  having company
68.  shopping for furniture
69.  long hugs
70.  ponytails
71.  getting a letter
72.  singing
73.  Crossdirection Worship team
74.  History
75.  waking up thinking i am late, but realizing i still have a few more hours
76.  Christmas morning
77.  talk radio
78.  hearing a great song for the first time
79.  a clean kitchen
80.  editing photos
81.  long walks
82.  fresh cut grass
83.  a beautiful sunset
84.  family game night
85.  fun sunglasses
86.  looking at the ocean from our cruise ship
87.  jumping on a trampoline
88.  making a new friend
89.  the look of fresh paint
90.  new baby smell
91.  tickling my kids
92.  chasing my kids
93.  teasing my husband
94.  waking up knowing it's my hubby's day off
95.  super mario brothers
96.  my mom's lasagna
97.  my dad's jokes
98.  The Golden Girls
99.  cloud watching
100.  love notes

Can you name 100?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Selah

Teen camp this year was for me, definitely a year that far surpassed any other year in the respect that i was more challenged and more convicted, and more frustrated that any other year that I have been. 

As a leader, you hope to encourage your students in their faith, decisions, and challenge them while they are in the grips of finding who they are in this whole new world that has opened up to them. You don't expect to have obstacles and distractions thrust upon you personally that hinder your ability to lead.  This week I dealt with my frustration with a leader from another church who didn't live up to my idea of what a follower of Christ should look like.  I didn't handle the idea of conflict well.  I felt myself moving toward bitterness, anger, and frustration.  Luckily, I have an amazing husband and wonderful friend who were there to struggle, and exhort, and basically tame me. I eventually used biblical principle to deal with the above mentioned leader and confronted the situation (if you know me, you know that I can gag just thinking about confrontation). The outcome was less than I hoped for because they definitely didn't respond with an open heart, but I definitely felt God working through me.  It's a funny thing how our God works, because just hours after this was over, we were asked for help from teens from another church about (yep, you guessed it) resolution of a conflict.  Had they come to me just hours earlier, I would definitely not been able to guide them in any sort of biblical way because of my own bitter heart. I felt the Holy Spirit move me that night.  I heard whispers of encouragement me and and blessing because of my obedience as I gave Godly counsel to young ladies I barely knew as they shed honest tears about their conflict.  It was amazing.  I don't know if I'm even (I'm actually sure that I'm not) giving it the colorful wording that it deserves.  It was powerful. 

As the week progressed (yes this was just about day 2) God started just moving in every area of our group.  The teens were bold, and overcome with fire for their faith.  They made decisions of action, and choices that are going to be very hard to put into motion now that they are home.  It was wonderful. 

I am an impatient person.  I want what I want when I want it.  I have to have instant gratification.  I have to have a plan so that I know that I'll get what I want.  When I pray, I want answers.  When I begin worship, I want to feel God move.  It has been a very long time since I have been able to consistently worship.  I have been sporadic on being able to feel the intimacy with God in a worship setting.  I believe now, that this is because I went into it with a heart of impatience.  I wasn't waiting for God, I was trying to force my way into worship. He's always there, but I wouldn't know it because it's all about me. We all read in the book of Psalms this week a little and of course that little word "Selah" is used throughout at the end of  verses.  I knew little or nothing of the meaning behind the word except for the fact that it meant "wait". In doing a little research I found that the word selah was also used as a change or shift of the music played during that time. It's a bridge connecting one phase of the music to the next.

 As we read, I was just fixed on that word.  I liked it.  I like anything that reminds me to hold on to my horses. Then the word changed for me as we did the ropes course on Wednesday.  We did what was called the "Leap of Faith".  I usually don't do ropes.  I let the kids get out their crazy and I watch and make fun of them.  I was basically forced into this one.  You can't exactly call it peer pressure, but I did it.      If i can, I will just paint this picture for you (there are pictures of me doing this and I will post them when I get them).  Picture it, a 35 foot telephone pole with nothing at the top, except a rag about 10 feet away.  The pole is only about as wide as your feet.  you climb to the very top, figure out a way to stand up without falling off, and jump off and try to grab the rag on your way down.  So, as I was making my way up the pole, I was sure to look up, not down.  I was sure to ignore the teasing coming from down below, and I was sure to watch my footing so that I didn't fall off.  I steadied myself and stood at the very top of this pole.  I looked at this rag ahead of me, and had no idea exactly how far I had to jump to reach it.  I didn't look down, and I was confident that I was safe with the harness that protected me.  I took a few seconds to just settle myself and then i jumped.  I grabbed the rag, and then i was lowered to the ground (trying to awkwardly hide the "harness wedgie" that had ensnared me).

 Only later did I reflect on the few seconds on top of that pole.  I had already done the hard part.  I had gotten on the first step, and then I had climbed, and then I had turned around, and then there I was, just.. well.. waiting.  I was gathering myself, i was reflecting on what I had just done, and I was bracing myself for the next step.  The next action I had to perform. I waited, and then jumped.  Now, this word has a whole new meaning for me.  If I am in the midst of conflict, it means stop and wait.  If I want to pray, it means settle down.  If i want to worship, it means pause and reflect.  If I want to hear what God says, I have to be patient enough to listen, and slow to react, or I might fall.

I am just in awe of how God can use the ministry with which He has called our family to deepen my faith, and strengthen my spirit.  I'm overwhelmed.  God is good.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Girls Weekend!

I had some awesome fun with some of my best friends in Austin this weekend.  We swam, went to the zoo, played pranks on strangers.  What more could 5 grown women ask for?

Here we are!






Monday, May 17, 2010

It's not itsy bitsy, teenie tiny, or yellow, 4 out of 5 aint bad.

This morning, I did something i do every year. It's not fun, it's not pretty, and it's definitely not cool. What did I do? I went bathing suit shopping. I have a girls weekend coming up with some fab girlfriends and I needed a new suit. My drawers are filled with past years attempts at looking presentable by the pool.

I have learned from past mistakes. Trust.

I had my year of just giving up and going for grannywear..


I decided that I could wear that when i actually became a grandma, and the next year I went with a style from your favorite stereotype and mine.. the mom blob
(No offense to Keely Shae Smith.  She had a baby, and hey, we've almost all been the mom blob, I just shouldn't have stuffed mine into a bikini)

The next year, boy shorts were in.  I have to say , that is the most uncomfortable bathing suit I've ever worn.  It's especially difficult to avoid a wedgie while carting around a baby at a swim park.

See, there's no way to keep things where they are supposed in these.


The one I had for the past few years, it was what you call a Tankini. I had a good few years with my last one, and it's worn out, and I've gotten smaller, so I decided to try something a little different.

I dreaded going today, but it was all right.  All the weeks of busting it at the gym might have helped, or maybe it was just the fake "you look great" lighting that gave me the illusion that I didn't look like I just came off the farm. Either way, I was pleased and I bought one.  I'm not posting what it looks like, but it's polka dot, very cute, and I felt good the minute I put it on.  It turned a usually torturous event into something i could live with.  It's never something I would love to do every day, but at least i can say today, i'd pick going over getting my teeth pulled. So for all you who haven't bought your sunwear, good luck.  I hope you find something that makes you feel less like someone is about to try to harpoon you, and more like people are envying how you look.

Happy Shopping.



Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Real women mow the yard

I'm all about rocking the roles in the husband/wife relationship, but generally in our house, Baxter has just a few jobs.  He mows the yard, takes out the trash, and does small repairs.  He's also Super Dad, but that's another post for another time.  Basically, he brings home the bacon and I fry it up (and serve it up, and wash the pan).

I've also never been what you might call "an outdoor girl".  I prefer to stay indoors where there are no bugs and dirt (Unless I am laying by the pool with a nice breeze blowing over me).   Yardwork has never been something that I've been interested in doing. Many of you know that I grew up redneck. We had no air conditioning, or any of the high falutin' contraptions you city dwellers had.  So now, unless I have to, I enjoy the nice climate controlled environment that my home provides.  When Bax gets busy at work, (or is just exhausted from the 500 hours he has put in that week), and our yard looks like we should have three broken down cars sitting in the front yard up on blocks (been there done that, like I said, redneck) I put on my spf 3000 sunscreen (just kidding, I don't but i should) and head out to start the mower.  First, I circle the mower carefully , like a wary predator circling it's prey (making sure that I remember how to even start it) and pull the chord.   After I put my shoulder back in joint, I start mowing. I see neighbors who are also out tending to their yard (men) look at me in awe and wonder as I make my crooked paces up and down the yard, I feel like I am accomplishing something great, until I realize that I just ran over a toy that the girls left in the yard and barbie shrapnel starts shooting everywhere. 

I make my way to the back yard only to realize why Baxter put in a dog run in our previous house.  I dodge the dog poop minefield cursing under my breath at the poor dogs (who never get used to seeing my angry face and the mower coming at them), and Baxter for not picking up the poop.  By the way, flip flops are never a good idea for this chore. ew. I think I'll have to pay someone to do that, but I digress. 

When I finish, I look around at what I have done and feel like a nature woman.The yard looks decent, not great, but decent.  I conquered the wilderness of my suburban serengeti and feel proud.  Who knows what I could do next?

* gardening is not something I do often, but I have done it as well.  I have put in all of the (okay 95%) of  plants and bushes we have ever planted in any of our houses.

Are you a real woman?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tuned Out

It's at least once a day (usually around 5:00 p.m.) that I'm doing something and I hear background noise and realize that it's my child speaking to me.  I respond with a fake "wow" or "yeah" or "alright" while not even really listening to what my children are saying.  Kayleigh has my number.  She will often ask me something and then when my glazed over eyes eventually turn her way she will repeat the outlandish question she has just asked "hey mom, did you know that Ella is dressing princess up like a bride with all our extra toilet paper?"  I jump to attention and she laughs.  For me, this is what I really struggle with now that my children are old enough to feed, clothe, and entertain themselves.  I've reached a point of complacency that is even taking over my discipline technique.

"Girls, go upstairs and clean your room"
 5 minutes later...
"Hey, why are you still watching cartoons?" 
5 minutes later
"Girls get upstairs or I'm going to get upset"
5 minutes later
"I MEAN IT, NOW GET UPSTAIRS"

And then I spend the next hour in agonizng paralysis as they come down the stairs multiple times whining about how difficult it is, and how much they hate it until finally i just give up and go help them (granted Ella needs some coaching, but she doesn't even try most days)

Each day is a trial of patience for me.  I have lost the focus of my parenting, and it has shown.  My kids are still pretty wonderful (even though we have been having significant issues with one of them lately) and I wouldn't change them for the world. They are a beautiful gift and I won't take them for granted.  I am in the process of reading "Dare to Discipline" by Dr. Dobson (recommended by our pediatrician).  It is giving me a fresh perspective on the three little crazy versions of me and is helping me apply a focus to my parenting.  This book also recommends a loving guide to spanking.  I'm not sure how I feel about this, but it also talks about swift consequences as well and that is the main point that I will focus my technique on.

I vow not to tune out because I am exhausted and let them fend for themselves.  I vow to continually get to know my children and to foster their creativity, and their knowledge of their mother.  It's a delicate balance, I know, when there is also so much that I want to do for myself.  Is it even possible?  I'm not sure.  I intend to do my best to find out.  We are all worth it. 

Does anybody else out there, tune out?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Mom Blob

I'm fairly sure that I've posted on this topic before, but i recently had a discussion with my sister (who is a new mom) about this idea and I thought we'd revisit it.

If you have seen any ads for nursing products, baby shampoo, or any other product a new parent might buy, you probably saw a vision of a mother snuggling with her soft, warm child. They hold each other in a tender embrace as the baby softly sleeps. This does happen on a rare period, but as new moms know and understand, this plays out in stark reality to a mom covered in drool, vomit, or some other bodily fluid, holding her child in tears, begging him or her to sleep for just 30 minutes so she can take a shower or nap for the first time in 2 or 3 days.

If you've browsed the magazines while waiting in line at the grocery store, you might have seen a new celebrity mom showing off their baby. The postpartumly svelte mom has every hair in place, and is all smiles while posing for the camera. The baby is well dressed, and usually sleeping, or smiling. This is also a break from the norm, which is a greasy hair, blurry eyed woman who has lost the belly bump but retains the stretched skin, stretch marks, and extra jiggle bestowed on her by the child, (your baby might possibly be well dressed but neither of you are probably sleeping or smiling).

This all culminates into what i like to call... the mom blob. Just after having a baby (for maybe 4 to six months) most women feel as though they are a walking, talking, shell whose only purpose on earth is to provide sustanence and comfort for someone else. You lose your body, you lose your mind, you lose your sense of self. Added to these physical changes, are all the little stressers that come along. Questions like "why isn't he/she eating every two hours like the book said" or more likely "why is he/she wanting to eat every 10 minutes". "why hasn't he/she pooped since Tuesday?"

Tips to cope with the Mom Blob

Get out and exercise (after your DR. clears it)
You may not lose all the weight right away, but I promise you will feel better about who you are.

Sleep when the baby sleeps
Duh

Avoid going into your closet for your pre pregnancy clothes
You are avoiding a meltdown of epic perportions here.

Do not expect the baby to do any of the things in any of the books you read
Babies are unpredictable and dangerous.

Treat Your Hubby like a king
Huh? After what I just went through, shouldn't he be kissing my unshaven ankles?
No. You are going to have wild moodswings (hey, it's not for sure, but trust me). If you treat him really well, he'll be better at handling them. And you should probably let him know that they are a'comin.

Side Note: He's going to want to fix everything when the baby cries and you feel bad and he'll be extremely frustrated when he can't. He will take it hard. Be nice to him.

Now, I'm not dissing motherhood. I love being a mom. Motherhood is an awesome wonder. I'm just providing reality. It's not all teddy bears, and baby bottoms. It's a tough, hard, ugly business some days. But, If you can lower your expectations, and find the little joys mixed in with all the drool, poo, and snot, it really is quite wonderful. If you are a new mom, or are about to be a new mom, here's a phrase to remember: Just hang in there. :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Break Diaries





The week is just flying by, let me tell you. I don't remember having this much fun since I saw a documentary about how to make wooden shoes.

I'm just kidding. The girls have been miraculously well behaved (thank you, WII), and we have enjoyed spending time together.

Of course Tuesday evening, we went to Gamma and Papa's for Taylor's family birthday party. She really got crazy for her Zhu Zhu Pets. (those things annoy me, and make me want to pull all Baxter's chin hairs out). She loved her rainbow birthday cake, and her unicorn birthday card as well. If you don't know her, you would not be surprised that this fits in so perfectly with her personality. She wants to redecorate her room with a "candyland decor". This girl is all girl, all the time. When I do her laundry, I don't have to separate anything. It's all some version of pepto pink.. I digress.

Wednesday, we spent most of the day just hanging out and playing. I took a nap (thank you WII), and we had a dance party. We had church in the evening, and we were all really glad to get out of the house. It was a pretty uneventful day (that's a good thing in my world, folks).

Today, we went to the park, took some pictures, had lunch with one of my good friends at Chick Fil A. Yum. It again, was a pretty uneventful day. Tonight, I prepare for our trip to the motherland (AR) to visit our family. The weekend is going to be jam packed. Another birthday party for Taylor, a college gymnastics meet, roller skating, etc. I'm tired just thinking about it, and I haven't even started packing yet.

I know this hasn't exactly been seat gripping entertainment, but i just wanted to think on what my life has transformed into. I drive a minivan (you can not be cool and do this) and hang out at chick fil a. Going out dancing, is opening the windows and turning up the Kidz Bop cd. I love it, and I wouldn't change it one bit (okay, I could stand to actually go out and do something adults do every once and awhile, but that's it, I swear).

I have to admit though, there's one big similarity about this week now and then, at the end of the week, you always wind up looking for where the time went, where the money went, and looking forward to next year.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Spring Break Diaries

My, oh my, how my spring break celebration changed in the last 12 years or so. I, of course, was never a "party til you puke" on the beach kind of girl, but I did enjoy the R&R that comes with no classes, warm weather, and good friends. We would spend it visiting family, just hanging out, or fitting in as much goofing off as humanly possible. After becoming a mom, spring break seems like less of a break, and more of an experience. The girls get up when they want, I stock the pantry with junk food (no, that's not a usual around here), we play, we have dance parties, and we goof off as much as humanly possible.

These are the spring break Diaries..

Because it started yesterday, I'll go ahead and post the first day right here.

I caught a huge break and everyone slept in 'til 9:00 a.m. I haven't kept my eyes closed that long since I watched 28 Days later...(seriously, you haven't lived until you've seen someones face being eaten off) Then we had a peaceful breakfast of fruity pebbles, (the girls actually had fruity pebbles, I had a granola bar.) and they stayed in their pajamas for most of the early afternoon. There were intermittent WII tournaments, small amounts of cleaning, and the high point of my afternoon came when i blocked Taylor from trying to send Ella down the stairs in a cardboard box. Much to her dismay, and Ella's, i wasn't about to let that happen.

The evening was rounded out nicely with the girls, again having fruity pebbles for dinner, and me able to escape for a while with a great friend who was in town for a short time.

Day 2

Today is Taylor's birthday. As of 12:45, we've already been to the gym, and had another Wii tournament. I've already been chastised for not letting Taylor have everything she wants to eat and do today because after all "mommy, it's my day". (I don't know where she gets it). Lunch is next, and a family party for her later! To Be Continued..

Monday, March 8, 2010

Preparing for Rain

I'm both sad and excited about the developments of the last month. Three weeks ago, we discovered that Ella's preschool will be closing (very sad, all three of my kiddos have gone there and have LOVED IT). The church that we left to pursue ministry had this awesome, wonderful, special, mothers day out program. The church is trying to sell the building, and as they don't know the future, they have decided to halt the program next year. There's the backstory. Well, Ella and the two children that I currently watch need somewhere to go next year. Next year will be Ella's last year home with me, before she enters kidergarten (this brings a whole other range of emotions to be discussed later) so I wanted it to be special. I had already decided and discussed that I would be taking fewer days providing childcare for my friend to focus on my photography business. I would only be doing in the 2 days a week that they had preschool (before and after). We found a similar program, and i enrolled Ella (it turns out I knew the director!). Something seemed to be holding my friend from enrolling, and well, long story short, she has decided to go a different way. No hard feelings here, I want whats best for her kiddos! So that leaves me where? Here's how i see it..

(1) Ella and I will have quality time during her last year at home with me.

(2)I will have even more time to focus on my business. I can't tell you how many times I've questioned myself for starting a business of my own. My friends and family closest to me keep urging me on, persisting and insisting that if I have this much passion for something i have to keep going with it. I don't have a very good track record for finishing things out (example: there is still a white spot behind our armoire where I didn't paint.). So, I've decided that I'm going all in, earning my way to either failure or success. Just keep swimming, as the fish say...

(3) More time to devote to ministry of family and teens.

(4) More time to work out (i don't know if i can handle that, but I'm going to enjoy it)

So, metaphorically speaking, i'm preparing for rain. I'm planting my harvest, and seizing the day.

How about you?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bucket List

99 Things I Ought to Have Done

Hey, I have about a million things I could post on, and will. Life is going great, yet busy. Here's a fun little diddy to keep yourselves entertained, while i wade through the chaos.

Instructions:
Copy the list, bold the ones you've done (with explanations if needed), share with friends.
1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (yes, marching does count!)
4. Visited Hawaii (Send me, I'll go)
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity (I want to change this to, step out of my comfort box and give!)
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris (nope, but i hear it's smelly)
13. Watched a thunder and lightning storm (we're in tornado alley, almost impossible to avoid)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (photography is now my passion)
15. Adopted a child (trying to decide what God wants in this area)
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight(almost every night growing up, thanks Kris!)
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill(guilty!)
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise (and i tentatively have two more planned for next year!)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (I don't even know who they are, i need to get on that, i guess)
35. Seen an Amish community (right outside Springfield, MO)
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied ( I am there now, I think!)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke (I'm sure I have, but not in public)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight (one of my happy places)
46. Been transported in an ambulance (with Ella bean, and all her RSV crud)
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (on our cruise we went snorkeling, during a storm. when it calmed down it was awesome but awkward.)
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud (mmm. mud pies)
54. Gone to a drive-in theater ( i need to find one here)
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business (this one)
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason (I have the best hubby ever)
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check (dumb and in college)
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (she ain't pretty folks, but she is my "Linda")
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job (temp job, again dumb and in college)
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle (my dad had one)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book (this one is a definite must do)
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car (high school graduation present, 1998 dodge Neon, and our PAID OFF MINIVAN in 2004)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper (many times in high school for being a band geek)
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
86. Visited the White House (i'd like to, maybe in 2013)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club (for a short time, and I'd like to find one again)
93. Got a tattoo
94. Had a baby (times 3)
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gym Etiquette

For many of us who frequent the gym, we know the basic rules of what to do (and not to do) at the gym. Don't forget to wipe down your machine when you're through with it (sweaty swine flu). Don't wear light grey workout pants...(if you don't know, just don't do it). Don't put your mouth on the water fountain spiget (drool, slobber, and cooties). Don't wear perfume, or cologne (gag, and barf, I love the word barf, btw.).

However, I guess there are a few unspoken rules that need to be put out there. I will perform this task with a sense of duty and honor. I have observed these infractions just this week.

1. Do not use a treadmill to stretch (especially if you are wearing spandex). Please do not hike your leg up on the side of the apparatus and lunge. It is very distracting and disconcerting to runners behind and beside you. I almost tripped and slid off the back of my treadmill around mile 4 while trying to avert my eyes. There are stretching machines in the back of the gym for a reason. Use them.

2. While I appreciate the thoughtfulness of you putting on underwear to workout, I would rather not be alerted to the fact that you are wearing a large black thong. Please find some pants that stay up, or a shirt that stays down. You choose. I would rather not have to see that, or the college age guys flagging each other down to point and laugh... Maybe I should have mentioned something to you, but you were two rows up, and I didn't feel like yelling. Just put it away, k? Thanks.

3. I know you think that multitasking is efficient and wonderful, but could you wait fifteen minutes to call your friends on the cell phone? I don't really feel priviledged to know what happened at the kegger two weeks ago, although i do realize the eliptical machine might do wonders for your beer gut. Tell Bubba about it later.

4. Deoderant is a must. Period.

5. If you are waiting for a weight machine, don't hover over me like a vulture. It puts pressure on me (and goodness knows I already feel pressure to hurry and get the heck out of the overly testosterone scented area of the gym). I'll stand up and walk away when I'm done, You'll know

Okay, those are some tips for anyone who might be working out in my general vicinity. Take them to heart, and do them with pride.

p.s. It's not polite to pass gas while in public. (sit up slip ups will be overlooked).

treadmill Pictures, Images and Photos

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Upgrade

Remember when we decided to finally after five years beautify our house so we could sell it? I got to enjoy the finished product for maybe three weeks before we got out of there. What did we do next? We went out and bought a fixer upper. With our track record, I would have thought our house would be finished up just in time to have everybody over for Kayleigh's graduation party. How excited am I to understand now that we are starting this process now? Guess...

So I currently have a toilet in my guest bedroom. If you want to freak your neighbors out, just sit on it and open the blinds.. It'll definitely get people talking. We are starting small with our guest bathroom. It's a half bath, but boy is Bax turning into Extreme Home Makeover. We are putting ceramic tile in, repainting the walls and ceiling, replacing all the fixtures, and getting a new seat for our toilet (it's wooden. Why would you want to feel like you are sitting on a pew while you are doing your business? But I digress)...We (Baxter) have ripped out the previous flooring, we(Baxter) have removed the toilet (as previously noted), we (Baxter and I)have primed and painted the walls and just need to finish the final coats (which Baxter is doing right now as I type while laying on the couch). Then we will begin the scary task of ceramic. I don't even want to think about it yet. We have his parents coming in a week and a half so it's kind of urgent that they don't have to hang their clothes on the toilet, though I wouldn't put it past his Father to think the new fixture in the guest room a stroke of genius. We are going to get it done!
Next up, we are having our awesome contractor friends over to put in some doors for the dining room and guest room.

If you would like to donate to the crappy carpet fund, let me know. It is what I am looking most forward to doing (these carpets have ten years of pets. What I'm sayin' is, help a sister out.)

*Side Note, there were better images to go along with this post. I just thought this was so disturbing and hilarious that I would share it with the world.

toilet golf Pictures, Images and Photos

Friday, January 29, 2010

O'Doyle Rules

Kayleigh is my sweet child. She really does not have a violent bone in her body. Really, if her sisters hit her, she whines, but she does not hit back. She just takes it and gets upset. I have found this character trait to be one of the most precious, until this week.

This week, Kayleigh encountered her first bully. It started with a little girl who told Kayleigh that she wanted to be friends with her as they were walking home from school in our neighborhood. The next day, the girl admitted she lied to kayleigh about where she lived, and who her parents were. The following day, the little girl and her friends yelled at Kayleigh (and Taylor this time) and called them names. This continued for a few days with both of my daughters complaining about the "weirdos" who hang out at the tree line by their school. It all erupted on Wednesday when Kayleigh (in tears) and Taylor arrived at our doorstep and announced that because Kayleigh had ventured into their territory she deserved (and received) a punch in the arm. I, of course, have visions of finding the little girl and, well, we won't go into it (not my best moment). Kayleigh was shaken, but received support from her friends at church that night (and several teens in our youth group who volunteered to walk home with her should she need them, lol). She's better, it's being taken care of at school (after a well written email by Daddy) and Kayleigh is NOT afraid to walk home (especially after given permission to defend herself in a very nonsubmissive way). She has yet to walk home yet after the incident, but I have high hopes this issue has been put to bed, although i know that it is not the last time she or my other children will deal with a cruel child. Ahhh parenting.

*side note. Taylor will not have to worry about bullies. She volunteered to stay behind and "take care of it" (the 5 third graders), but Kayleigh resisted and forced her to come home with her.

Youth Ministry Remastered (volume 1)

I previously posted about how we are revamping how we look at, and pursue) a new youth ministry, here is an update on how it's going.



Last Sunday, our youth group "took over" the regular Service. As you would have walked in, you were greeted by a friendly teenager (or several, we had to split them up because they were looking very intimidating, as they were a little overzealous in their duties), as you were seated in the sanctuary, you might have noticed teenagers in the sound booth, teenagers as ushers. As service started, you would have been led to worship by teenagers (they did wonderfully, we practiced for months!), the only portion of the service not led by teenagers was the message (unless you count a 30 year old with the mind of a teenager). Baxter spoke to our congregation about the leaders of tomorrow. Our church is going through our 20 year anniversary celebration. His general message was that the term youth ministry should be considered a misnomer. We need to cross the lines and divide that separate the "big church" from the teenagers. Not only in the church, but also outside in the community. We must break down stereotypes and talk to each other. We are all part of the body, and teens can and will take ownership of their faith if you give them the chance. There is a time and place for separation, but we should take every opportunity to disciple each other. Teens can teach us a thing or two if you think about it! Summary: Our teens relished the chance to show their gifts. It has inspired them to step away from the box. Goooood Stuff.

Next up, our teens participate in the 30 Hour Famine, completely planned and promoted by an eighth grader!

Monday, January 11, 2010

My New Toy

My buddies gave me a new toy for my birthday. Here is a present for them...
video

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hey, come on it's not all fun and games...

For those of my readers who are familiar with the typical makeup of a youth ministry program, there's generally a consistent pattern to how each service might go.
You've got your games, you've got your music, and you've got your hip youth pastor (usually wearing holy jeans, and sporting "the youth pastor goatee") who breaks down the bible for a total of about 20 minutes each service. We've certainly fallen into this trap in our ministry (well, maybe not the hip youth pastor part), and don't get me wrong there's nothing wrong with any of these elements. If you ask a guest or visitor after they leave one of these services what they would remember the most, it would be "hey we played this awesome game and it was so fun" (if they had a good time).

I haven't had experience with a whole lot of different churches, but in my several years of volunteering this is what I've seen. It may not be as prevelant as it feels, but we want to do better. We want discipleship with the older generation (50 and up, no you're not old, just older okay?), we want in depth study, we want community, we want true worship (we are so getting there already it's amazing to see!)we want the students to take ownership of their faith and their group. We want graduates to go off to college knowing why they believe what they believe. If they've already started actually LIVING out their faith, they can take it with them, and stay in church rather than take a 20 year hiatus once they go off to college (which is the statistic I believe for those that stop going to church). So, how do you make these things the focus of a ministry? Just do it? Right. Got it. It's a bigger process than one would think. The winds of change are a-blowin' and we are at the "fetus" stages so to speak. It's an exciting time. God is working! More to come later.

Birthday Week!

It's everyone's favorite time of year again, my birthday week celebration. It's a low key celebration this year. For instance, yesterday I celebrated by doing about 6 loads of laundry and pulling one of the girls toothbrushes out of the toilet. I'm not giving up on having a spectacular rest of the week, though. I've got faith in Baxter that this year he'll pull something together. (especially since I know he reads this blog daily and is now reminded that he better get with it). He's been very good the last couple of years about surprising me. I am turning a milestone age this year (I won't put it down, it's too hard) and am catching a lot of grief from several people so I had at least better get something out of it!

I don't want to be leaving this age behind. It's been a good year. Maybe next year will be even better!

More updates to come when something magical happens!

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