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Sunday, February 27, 2011

I don't want good kids

I finished up reading Grace Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel just in time to drop it off at the library on the due date. I learned a lot from this book as a parent and as a Christian. Grace based parenting is basically the opposite of fear based parenting. This could be operating out of fear for your children, or causing your children to react out of fear of you. This summary from page 213 really puts it all into perspective.

"Grace-based parenting is not a checklist for parenting; it’s a lifestyle. It’s a clear attempt to retrofit your minds to respond to your children in the same way God responds to you;. Being different, vulnerable, and candid isn't something you do as a grace based family; it’s something you are. "

More than anything reading Grace Based parenting got my wheels turning even if it wasn't principals straight out of the book. First of all the number one best thing I can do for my kids is be an example. I won't be perfect and I will have to admit that and even ask forgiveness (which I have had plenty opportunities for already). But there is no way I can teach them and want them to succeed in a way that I am not holding true to in my own life.

Second my goal is not to raise good kids. My goal is to teach and equip my children for the real world as adults. I had a dog that I trained to do tricks, perform on command, and obey certain cues, but my children are not dogs. It's tempting sometimes to want them to do what I say because they know better and to look like upstanding citizen out in public, but if it's all just a bag of tricks then it amounts to nothing. Some people are completely against any kind of bribes, but lets face it there is usually a reward when it comes to performance. Some people are against warnings. My thoughts are that you can give too many warnings, but in reality if I was an adult that never got any warnings or second chances I would have failed at a lot of the things that I have been able to accomplish. With every discipline, praise, or instruction I am trying to lead with the big picture in mind.

I am a 3 year old when it comes to motherhood because that's the age of my oldest son, and I am totally aware of that. I am sure I will look back and see how ignorant I was, but by the grace of God I can raise up children to love, serve, and live out the amazing plans that the Lord has for them.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Milestones

This week has been pretty eventful for my "babies" which are acting more like big kids everyday. SJ decided she is ready to start walking. She still crawls some, but she is more frequently walking from one activity to the next without any assistance. Here is a video I took at the beginning of the week.
video
Then yesterday Z had reached a new milestone of his own when he came into the room excited to show me the shirt and pants he had put on. I was blown away by this little achievement because he has never put on his own clothes. For nearly a year I had to pull his pants down and up for him every time he went to the bathroom. He has lots of talents, wardrobe however is not his strong suite. Naturally I photographed him in the hand selected, baby blue gap screen print t-shirt, with coordinating black denim, and black rim glasses.
He was so proud of himself and so was I. We even called his ever so fashionable father to share the news.

I guess I've got to get out the baby books for some updates. In Z's case this will be one of the last ones. It's bittersweet.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Messes

This blog has seemed to turn into a tracking sytem for my 2011 new years goals. I have been writing about all the successes I have had with cleaning the house, date nights, family time, reading, etc. The problem is, as much as I want to keep momentum going with the good stuff, I also want to keep it real with ALL the other stuff that is far too often more typical. For example,

Sunday- We went to the park for an evening of fun with friends. Z fell down the slide and bit his tongue. He was okay, but it was bloody, and our clothing had to pay the price.

Photo from that night.

Monday- I had good intentions of having everything clean and organized for the babysitter. I was going to lay out the kids pajamas and leave snacks with little notes that would be helpful. However, somehow the day ended up having a few less hours than most (or maybe not, but that is how it felt), so I ended up frantically running around a messy house at the last minute and wishing the babysitter good luck on my way out the door.

Tuesday- I got the time mixed up for a photo shoot. I showed up two hours early, they were not ready for me and I had to leave and come back. In the end it took up half of my day.

Wednesday- I washed a load of cloth diapers with an ink pen. Granted it could have been worse if it were clothing, but it's still disappointing that most of the diapers and a white wet bag are now blue speckled.
Photographic evidence of some of the damage.

This brings us to today. The house is not clean, the kids are not dressed, I am not making a nice meal tonight. I know it sounds like I'm being negative, but I just don't want anyone that doesn't know me in person to think I have it altogether, although I doubt that's a problem with the amount of typos that frequent this blog. So, in reference to my last post I am still feeling blessed and refreshed, but that doesn't mean that I'm not still a mess.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Refreshed

The head pastor is away this week and so J is in charge at church! This means a very busy schedule for him and a week at home alone with the kids for me. I have had my fair share of play time lately so I think I can handle it.

Two weeks ago I was able to attend part of the CFNI worship conference and see some of my favorite worship artists Brian and Jenn Johnson. I've got the new album and I am LOVE. ING. IT.

Then last night we went out to use the groupon we got for Christmas and had one of the best dates ever. It was technically just dinner and a movie, but the dinner was at Simply Fondue in Dallas (it's reservation only, so pretty fancy schmancy).

We started with salads, followed by some exotic Mediterranean cheese fondue, then we got to pick 6 different meats along with many other scrumptious sides for the main course. Of course by then we are totally stuffed, but somehow managed to finish it all of with an assortment of desserts to dip in a chocolate Bailey's sauce. It was incredible!

Afterward we saw The King's Speech.

We both gave it two thumbs up which is a marriage miracle for us. We tend to differ in movie reviews, me being the pickier of the the two of us, but I loved this film. It's rated R for language (just a heads up), but I love the actors, the era, I love that it's a true story. I could go on and on. Hopefully it will come out strong this weekend at the Academy Awards.

All that to say, I may have an intense week ahead of me, but I feel blessed, refreshed, and ready to take on whatever comes next.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A to Z!


As I mentioned at the beginning of the year I have wanted to start working on preschool lessons with Z . All of his other little friends are in day care, mother's day out, or pre k so I was a little concerned that he would fall behind by just staying at home with me. I have had several people assure me that he has plenty of time before he starts school and that I don't need to worry. So, I am not pressuring him in anyway. He is about to be 3 and a half and has at least 12 years of structured schooling ahead of him so now is a good time for him to explore and have fun in a laid back atmosphere.

I am glad to have started the lessons at home with him though. It gives us a chance to have mommy son time, which I know makes him feel special. After our lesson he gets to put a sticker on the calendar for that day. We usually do this a couple times a week.


At the beginning of the year he could say his ABC's and count, but he could not consistently name any of the letters, colors, or numbers with any accuracy. In just 2 months of working together on this he now knows how to spell his first and middle name. He can even write it (although it's not always legible). He knows several letters of the alphabet and sometimes remembers what sounds they make. He can also recognize most shapes and about 8 colors.


That's where we are at right now. I look forward to looking back at this next year and seeing how far he has come.

Friday, February 18, 2011

SJ's Big Addiction


When SJ was about 3 months old she started sucking her thumb. I panicked, I blogged about it, and finally embraced it. Then after all that she quit at about 6 months. She loves the pacifier now, but she will ONLY take the Soothie brand. I have heard that it is the kind that they give you at the hospital (although, I wouldn't know first hand). I had about 4 or 5 them which soon dwindled to two and then one. I had committed in my mind to never have to spend any money on a pacifier. When they are gone they're gone, I told myself. Easier said then done. We would be up in the middle of the night looking for the paci. I would overturn furniture in desperate attempt to find the paci during the day. I literally have had multiple dreams about these coveted soothie pacifiers. I had a dream this week that I was on a beach and SJ's soothie pacifiers were washing up onto the shore. Another time I dreamt that there were a bunch of them in the back of a drawer. Soon enough and with the overwhelming support of my husband I did go out and buy some more soothies... in every color.

Z was a paci addict too, but he took any paci we gave him. He took other kids pacis from them. He would suck on a paci while crawling around with a backup in his hand. I was worried sick that we would never be able to break this child, but when the time came (he was 16 months old) I packed them up with some of the other things I was bringing to the attic and that was that. It was so much easier than I ever expected.

However, I know this is not always the case. I heard this comedian, Dorie Mclemore tell a story about her daughters addiction and her attempt at an intervention. They called it a binky and in the middle of the night they took the binky while she was asleep. When the girl woke up she started looking for it and wanted it back. So Dorie explained "while you were asleep the binky fairy came and took all your binkies away, but look she left something under your pillow for you!" The little girl looked under her pillow to find 4 shiny quarters. She immediately cheered up and with with hope filled eyes cried out "we can buy another binky!"

I love that story. I don't know what recovery looks like for my little paci addict, but what I do know is I am not going to worry about it right now.

Do you have any paci/binky/soothie testimonies?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Modem Down

I currently don't have any internet access at the house. Our router/modem went down and it will take five days for AT&T to replace it. I tried to get my neighbor to give me her password so that I could piggy back on her account. When went to see her last night she was a little inebriated or had a few glasses of wine as she put it and didn't know her password. I am doubtful that she would have known anyway, although she did give J and I full access to her office and computer we still couldn't figure it out.

It's been a little stressful around here (and not just because we don't have internet access). However, today we were able to leave it all behind and escape to a foreign land for a while. At least that's how it felt visiting Fossil Rim with my parents today. It's a wild life rescue center and you get to drive through 1,700 acres of land feeding all kinds of exotic animals. It was the coolest thing ever. If you ever get a chance and are anywhere near the Glenn Rose, Texas area you have to check this place out. We had a blast!

J made a new friend.


And those are my children hanging out the van window.


Thankfully, the cheetah was in an enclosed area.




Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Storms On The Way

Actually there aren't any more storms expected around here anytime soon. We did have another no work, or school, or church day on Wednesday because of ice and that was fun, but today is super sunny and it's a beautiful 65 degrees out. Amazing! So the only storm I am here to report is the one we are about to be cooking up in the kitchen.

A month ago my mom and I took on the endeavor of freezer cooking. We (mostly she, to be perfectly honest) put together about 10 meals ready to easily prepare and eat in a hurry. I didn't want to say too much about it until I knew the results. Now that all of the meals have been consumed I can report that I loved it! I plan on doing a full length tutorial eventually, but for now let me just share a couple tidbits of what I am talking about.
The first thing I did was look up plenty of websites ahead of time, like Once A month Mom and Money Saving Mom, but in the end I did my own variation. Once a month mom does 15 dinners a month for various reasons and it made sense to me, so I wrote a list of 15 meals. Some were freezer meals, a few were not, some were new, others were classics that I know I can easily throw together.
The meals didn't last as long as expected because some of our meals that were scheduled outside the home ended up cancelled because of weather or illness . That made our previous efforts that much more rewarding though because I was prepared for the unexpected! All I had to do was grab a frozen meal from the freezer and heat it up. The whole experience so far has been a success.
My mom is back in town, I've got my ten freezer meals planned, and now it's time to go cook up a storm!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Last week I said that I was going to start reading Same Kind Of Different As Me. Well, I did start it and finished it within three days. I loved this book so much I had to force myself not to read it all at once. The story is about "a modern day slave, an international art dealer, and the unlikely woman who bound them together" (to steal the words right off the cover).


The chapters alternate between the perspective of the two writers. It goes through the story of their upbringing all the way up to how their lives collided and were forever changed. My friend Tracy warned me to be prepared to cry like a baby and she was right. So now I am warning you in case you plan on reading it. The story is 100% true and is sure to challenge and inspire you.

One of the things I really enjoyed about the book is that most of it took place in the DFW area, so when they mentioned specific streets or landmarks I already have a mental picture and know exactly where they are referring to. One of the writers grew up in Corsicana which is right by where I live. I even photographed the Corsicana choir for their High School year book. One of the most memorable moments I had in this city was when I graduated from college. I went to Navarro college in waxahachie, but the ceremony took place on the main campus in Corsicana. Here is a photo of me from that day.
Unfortunately it was heart wrenching to hear some of the prejudice and injustices that happened in this area not that long ago.

Anyway, I don't want to share anymore at risk of spoiling it for anyone, but go check it out. If you need to vent your thoughts with someone afterwards, like I did, I am available. I've already started on another book called Grace Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel, but you aren't going to find a review from me next week or anything. I will be taking a little more time on this one. The past three books I have read have kept me turning pages late into night and I think it's time for me to get caught up on my sleep.

What about you? Have you been reading, sleeping, or neither?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Resiliance


Just got back from spending an uneventful afternoon at the hospital. It's been two weeks since the pneumonia/broken collar bone incident. Z had a followup with an orthopedic doctor at the children's hospital today. It looks like everything is healing up well. He doesn't have to wear the sling anymore and in 4 weeks we'll go back again to see if his bone is like new.

We've been trying to stay true to our commitment to regular family fun activities, but it was hard to be too active when Z was recuperating. Even with 2 weeks of "down time" we managed to roast smores in J's makeshift fire pit in our backyard.


After that he had a little visit to grandma's house which as I mentioned before was extended due to inclimate weather.



For super bowl we all wore our football t-shirts even though none of them were teams that were playing.

Then last night we made valentine's cakes and gave one away to some friends.


So as you can see we are completely back into the swing of things and Z is operating at full speed. Now I just have to figure out how to keep up with him!


Monday, February 7, 2011

February is typically the coldest month in Dallas Texas. That's why I don't like winter here very much. When I am pumped about drinking hot cocoa and singing Christmas carols in December it ends up being 68 degrees outside. Then there maybe a little bit of new winter wardrobe excitement, but that only lasts so long. By the time I am feeling like winter should be ending and I begin to think about spring it starts getting cold. Not cold enough to snow, but cold enough to feel miserable!

Lucky for me we've had snow the past couple years. And plenty of it. This makes the winter blues so much more bearable. Schools and businesses were shut down almost all week last week. I was able to do some cooking from scratch. Since I couldn't run out to the store I had to use what was on hand. I made crepes for the first time.

I got to read another book too. Z was stuck up north with his grandparents when the bad weather hit so it was the epitome of chill time at our house. When J got the text that he didn't have to go into work on Friday we opened all the blinds had breakfast in bed and soaked up the beautiful white landscape in our back yard while staying warm and cozy under the comforter.

We spent the majority of the day in there so the cleaning I had done earlier really paid off.

Here is a photo of the view from our bedroom windows. I took pictures of it all because the day was so relaxing I am desperate to never forget it.
Have you been snow/iced in recently? How do you pass the time stuck in the cabin?

Friday, February 4, 2011

1 Month To GO


SJ turned 11 months old today. I have been anxiously waiting to do this update because her new milestones have been so exciting.

She took her first steps on January 18 and has been practicing everyday since then. She's not walking yet though. She can take 3 reluctant, wobbly steps at most before deciding to get down on the floor where she is more secure. But if I am holding her hand she feels confident enough to drag me along behind her.
She has 8 teeth now and is eating all kinds of new foods, but I am still holding out on the cake and sweets until the big party in a month.


She has started waving hi and continues to enjoy laughing, clapping, dancing, and CLIMBING!

No shortage of 10 month photos here. Since I got a new lens for Christmas she has been a great subject for me to practice on. I got her a dress for her one year photos and we'll be doing that shoot soon. It's an exciting time of year for this little lady on the move. I wonder what she'll be up to next?



Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Redeeming Love (a novel)

Since SJ was born I have been reading one book after the other. I've read about parenting, faith, philosophy, biographies, politics, finance, you name it. Everything, but fiction. I don't do fiction.

Then back in September I was listening to a conference speaker who quoted a book called Redeeming Love and a shriek came from a group of girls in the audience. Everyone was whispering about how they LOOOVED that book and it's SOOOO good. I wrote it down. I was interested in learning more and reading it for myself. Then when I looked it up I saw this photo of the cover.
I gasped. It's a novel? It's definitely a novel, it says so on the cover and not only that, it's a long novel. The epilogue is like a miniature book in itself. I put the idea out of my head, I had a long enough list of nonfiction that I had yet to read. Then I saw a girl carry the book around at our church coffee bar and I asked her about it. She said that she had already read it and LOOOVED it. She told me I could borrow it and insisted that I did. I just finished reading it this week. Once I started I could hardly put it down. There were slower parts and about half way through I was ready to quit just before it started picking up again, but it was well worth a week of my reading time. I learned a lot from it spiritually and I can even say undoubtedly that it has strengthened my marriage.

I am linking up with Try New Adventures Thursday hosted by Loved Like The Church this week (that name goes perfect with the theme of this book!) I know reading a novel doesn't sound like much of an adventure, but it's new to me, and nearly 500 pages of drama, suspense, and romance is all the adventure I needed this cold winter week.

All that being said, am I hooked on novels? No.

I don't have a problem with them. I admire people that can read 500 pages of anything. But I won't be moving onto book #2 of Francine Rivers as one of my friends predicted via text the other day. Next up on my list is Same Kind of Different as Me.
I got it for Christmas and it's sitting beside me right now just begging to be cracked open.

Are you reading anything right now? Have you read either of these two books? I am always open to recommendations.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Clean Room

I know I probably sound like I pride myself in being messy, but that is actually not the case. One of my new year's resolutions was to tackle the clutter in my house. I assigned a different area for each month and this month was my bedroom. I already shared about cleaning out my closet which has been great. I also cleared all the clutter off of my nightstand. J and I had bought some table lamps at Ikea at our anniversary and they've been sitting in the box because I didn't even have a place for them with all of the junk that was piling up beside my bed. Today I was able to get the lamp out of the box and start using it which I love because I have been reading so much (another resolution I had).



Oh, and since we're on the topic of new year's resolutions, finishing the remodel of the master bedroom was something that was on my list of goals back in 2010. Thankfully J and my dad had pulled it off. It's been a long process, but our room went from this (when we moved in)


to this

It's so rewarding to see it done. I finally had the mirror hung up along with some other wall hangings, like this sign that says "With God all things are possible".

I originally wanted over the master bathroom door frame so that I could see it from our bed, but then I decided it might be a little weird to have that verse over the door before you go to potentially take a dump.

Anyway, I am currently on my laptop in the bedroom enjoying the peace and satisfaction that comes with having a clean room. Now if I can just get it to stay this way then I'll really be onto something!