Friday, August 28, 2009

A bike ride...

Seth LOVES to go bike riding with his daddy. He'll talk about it for days afterward. Last night, I had a photography workshop at the church, so David decided to take Seth out on the bike. We have a bike seat on the back, and it works great.

They usually bike over to the greenway opening near our house. They can do this by riding through the neighborhood and over a bridge that goes over the highway. They only have to cross one major road. It was a little earlier than they're used to riding, right around 5:30. Traffic was heavy. David waited and waited to cross. Finally, the way was clear.

He started off... and the tire slipped. It happened so quickly that there was no time to react. They fell right in the middle of that road. The bike went completely down. David's leg was badly scraped and bleeding. He picked up the bike and headed to the other side as quickly as he could. And no one hit them.

Seth didn't have a scratch on him. Not a single one. David thinks the bike seat must've been the main thing to hit the ground. We are very thankful we got them both nice, big helmets.

David told me about it when I got home. I gave him extra hugs and kisses last night. And I hugged Seth a little longer today and kissed his forehead a little more often and rumpled his hair whenever I passed him in the kitchen.... I'm thankful God had angels posted on that road last night.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The beautiful mundane...

I turn back in the doorway, taking the camera inside. I see, and it comes up to my eye, and I capture this...

It is the natural beauty of the mundane. Baby sits peacefully in dappled shade, contentedly sucking his fingers. I hear the gentle splash of water as big boy fills up a cup and pours it back again. And I think about how peaceful and good it is to find contentment in the pouring out of each of our lives in the little things... giving a pacifier, making a peanut butter sandwich, kissing a bruised toe. God has given me the gift of being able to do these things...

And yet, I let news of a new job stress steal my joy last night. I worried about the coming days without David's help. I fretted and fumed before remembering that it's almost never as hard as I think it will be. God has given me people to help. God has given me enough grace for this day, but I'm worrying about tomorrow. And I ponder on these verses, finding joy again in my tasks.

"If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." ~Matthew 10:43

"If then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet." ~John 13:12

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." ~Philippians 2:3-4

Lord, help me to remember these things as I fill sippy cups and give baths. Thank you for reminding me that what I do really matters.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


We've gotta put this up on the big screen at baby dedication. I can hear the laughing in the congregation now... He steals my heart again every time he smiles.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Just stuff...

I know I haven't written that much that's personal on here lately. I guess daily life has just taken it out of me some, and I haven't had a lot of energy for writing. But the boys are sleeping in a bit, and I had a few minutes...
Last night, we had a huge event happen. Evan woke me up to eat at 5:15 a.m. Nothing too special about that; it's pretty normal. But after I fed him, he was wide awake. That has always meant at least a good 45 minutes of putting him back down to sleep. Well, this morning, I laid him in his crib, happy and looking around, and went back to bed. I fully expected one of us to be getting up in about 15 minutes to soothe him. We didn't hear from him again. HE PUT HIMSELF TO SLEEP FROM A FULLY AWAKE STATE!!!!!! I'm getting him a bronze plaque from the trophy shop later on.

See those happy faces above in the photo? Haven't seen much of that around here for the last couple of weeks. Seth got a horrible virus, and the last couple of weeks have been hard. We're talking grumpiness and whining and plenty of tantrums and crying. Now, I think he's better, but he's gotten himself in a grumpy phase. I'm praying he'll get out of it soon. Yesterday, I was at my wit's end with both of them. Evan (the one resisting being Babywised) would hardly let me put him down without fussing, and Seth was difficult to keep happy for more than a few minutes at a time.
I wish I wrote more about the good stuff, but the bad stuff is on my mind this morning. So if you think of us, please pray that this mommy gets more patience and that her boys give her a little bit of a break today.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A tribute to the Bee Man...

My Great-Uncle Brady died a couple of days ago. We're going to the funeral tomorrow. He was a true small town character who loved Kernersville, NC, his wonderful wife of 60+ years, and his children and grandsons. He got me involved in some of his numerous projects growing up, including the honeybee essay contest and becoming the local Farmer's Market Princess. =) I'm really going to miss him. Even if you don't read the article, the picture says it all. You will be missed, Bee Man.
Daddy, I could totally see you doing this. Love you.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

School ideas...

Thanks for all your great ideas about schoolin' the toddler...

I think I'm going to go with this particular website for the basic school plan. What I like about it is that I can click on a specific shape, color, alphabet letter, etc., and it gives me coloring pages, activities, and crafts to do for that. I think we'll start with shapes, move on to colors, and then head to numbers and the alphabet. I'm not sure how I'll structure the time yet, but I want to make sure to have a craft and some music and movement in there. I'm hoping that our "school day" will be something he'll look forward to all week, something a little more structured and exciting than the ordinary.

I'm also planning to work something else into his routine. When I was teaching toddlers, one of our daily activities was finding the colored shapes. I had cut a bunch of different colored, large shapes out of construction paper, and I'd laminated them. Wish I could find them now. But anyhoo, I would throw them all around the room, and then I'd have the class bring them to me. I'd hold each one up as it was brought, and I'd say, "Purple circle!," etc. They loved this game every time. Eventually, some of them could bring me a circle if I asked them to find me one, or they'd bring me something purple. You get the idea. I'm hoping this will help Seth, since at this point, if you ask him, everything is blue. =)

Now, if Evan would sit and watch a little more during the mornings, it'd be easier to implement all these grand plans. What a baby cuddlebug I have! We'll see how it goes... =) I'll let you know when I get started.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

God knew what I needed today...

Thanks for all your encouragement on the homeschooling post, gals. David also reminded me that its human nature to be quick to justify why we aren't doing something that someone else is doing. How many times has someone mentioned to me that they jog every morning, and I've said, "Oh, I hate to exercise. Glad you enjoy it!" So, I'm not immune from the poo pooing tendency myself. I need to work on that...

Encouragement came from an unlikely source today. I was at a MOPs playdate, and there was a gal there with a little boy about Seth's age. I've talked to her before, and crazily enough, we discovered that she married a boy I knew from the local homeschooling group in Greensboro. I looked at her son and suddenly saw the resemblance. =) Anyhoo, she told me then that he hadn't liked some things about homeschooling, that they weren't planning to homeschool, etc., etc.

Well, today, she told me that they are now planning on homeschooling Cole for a few years because the school district where they live is so bad. (Originally, the plan was to move to a better school district once he got old enough, but I guess the market nixed that or something.) She proceeded to tell me about a book she'd gotten from the library called "Homeschooling for Free," told me she was going through and checking out the links, and that she'd send me the document she was creating with all the good stuff on it when she was done. We actually had a little homeschooling conversation right there at playgroup! I have to smile. This was the last person I thought would give me this news. God knew I needed this today.

Which reminds me... I'm thinking about having a "school day" once a week this school year with Seth. It's to get me in the groove as much as it is for him. He's a pretty typical 2 1/2 year old. He likes to read with me, he enjoys pointing out things in the stories, and he enjoys doing crafts, if they're short. I'm wondering what I should focus on for "school time" on these days. Any ideas? I'd like a sort of structure for him, maybe a circle time, maybe some fine motor skills stuff. Should I do a letter of the alphabet each week? I'm hoping those of you who've taught toddlers before might have some ideas or resources you can share about a very simple school day schedule and "curriculum." Thanks!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cinnamon Raisin Quick Bread

I got this recipe off of the Hillbilly Housewife site and modified it a bit. I made it with Seth today, and it was quick, easy, and healthy. He could dump all the ingredients for me and stir, and it didn't take too long to bake, so he got to eat what he'd made relatively quickly. I'm sure we'll have more for breakfast tomorrow...

2 c. white wheat flour
1/3 c. sugar
1 T. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
1/4 c. canola oil
1 egg
1 c. milk
1-2 t. cinnamon
1 c. raisins
generous splash of vanilla

Put all ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix. Pour into medium sized greased bread pan. Bake at 375 for 25 min.

Then mix 1/2 c. confectioner's sugar with a couple of teaspoons of milk. Spoon over the top of the warm loaf.

This isn't an overly sweet bread. I like the flavor, its pretty healthy, and it makes a nice, quick breakfast bread or something to take to a friend, all from ingredients I always have in my pantry.

Taking a break or changing a lifestyle?

Some days, I think that maybe I should make the fact that I plan to homeschool into my own personal state secret. If I let it pass my lips, then I have to cut off a finger or something. That would at least keep me from hearing the inevitable incredibly annoying comments that people make about our family's choice.

Today I made an offhand mention of the fact when saying that our dining room won't be reverting back to a dining room when the kids are older because it will become a school room. Big mistake.

Another mom whipped around, looked at me, and said, "You're really going to homeschool?" in much the same way that she might've said, "You've really decided that you're going to sell your house, join the circus, and then get a frontal lobotomy?"

This led to some muttering from her that ended with, "Well, some moms need a break from their kids." I nearly bit my tongue off, but I held it.

Really? You really think that moms who choose to homeschool are just a rare breed of wonderwomen who don't think they need breaks from their kids? Get real! I don't think I've ever claimed that, and I never would. I'd like a break as much as the next gal!

So I went back to this post from Brandy, and it made me feel better. Rant over now.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Baby shower ideas...

The baby shower today went really well! I think the mom-to-be enjoyed it, and that's the most important thing. But I've learned some things from hosting baby showers, so I thought I'd share...

- Polka dots are easy and cheap and festive. You get a lot of bang for your time and your buck. I have a pack of pastel paper that just keeps giving and giving and giving. I traced yellow and green circles with different sizes of cans in my pantry and cut them out, cutting through several pieces of paper at once. I put the dots on the table, taped them to my fireplace, put them on my coffee table, and taped a few to the door, in lieu of balloons on the mailbox.

- Colored bottles make a bouquet of flowers go a lot farther. Gerber daisies arranged this way can decorate a table and be put all over the living room. You can get clear and different colored bottles like these from Michaels for about a $1 a piece. And then you can use them to decorate your kitchen windowsill. I know I do. =)

- If you have small children, use their stuffed animals to decorate. I had a giraffe and a blue gorilla hanging from the china on my mantel and a stuffed dog on the coffee table.

- M&Ms look great in a wine glass. Your guests can just pick it up by the stem and pour the candies onto their plates.

- This is a great website for baby shower games. I used the baby bingo on here. One nice take on baby bingo is collecting all the items listed on the card, putting them in a basket, and letting the mom-to-be draw them out instead of call them out. I was missing a couple of things (like baby powder), so I printed out pictures of those from the internet.

- Different colors of grapes are really nice arranged around a special hunk of cheese. I saw a picture of a cheese platter laid out this way on Like Merchant Ships. It made it look at lot more fancy.

So those are my ideas. Anyone else care to share some other pretty ways to decorate for a party? I'm always open to suggestions...

Friday, August 14, 2009

For all the girls in the old Ech caregroup...

I went shopping this afternoon for a baby shower that I'm throwing tomorrow. I got Brie and grapes and strawberries and her favorite flowers, etc., etc. This evening was spent making cupcakes and cream cheese frosting, putting together shower games, decorating, and cleaning. My brick fireplace has green and yellow polka dots all over it, and Seth and Evan's stuffed animal are perched perkily everywhere. I'll blow up balloons and attach them to the mailbox tomorrow. A couple of girls are bringing things to help out, but this shower is mostly me. And I'm really excited about that...

Because I've been thinking about you today, Ech caregroup girls from Sovereign Grace Fairfax. And this is my chance to attempt to do for another sister in Christ what you did for me. You see, this gal is a new friend. She hasn't lived here that long, and she doesn't know a lot of people. Sound familiar? It should.

Because I remember a time when you invited a girl into your caregroup, one who was a new friend that you'd known for a few months, tops. And you gave that girl a totally awesome baby shower. You didn't know her well, but you knew that you wanted to show her the love of the Body of Christ as if you'd known her all your lives. You didn't skimp; you didn't hold back. You made her favorite foods and a diaper cake, and you gave generously. And she hasn't forgotten that.

You knew what being a member of the Body of Christ truly meant. It's the same kind of radical selflessness that my brother's new caregroup in St. Pete gave them when 10 people showed up to help them move in... who hadn't even met them yet. Because we are the body of Christ, and this is how we show that we're different. Thank you for giving me radical love. You're an inspiration to me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

An encouragement for parents...

I just found this from John Piper. And with my second son sleeping peacefully on my lap, I think about how it will apply later on perhaps. I will pray.

Camping lust...

I don't know why, but I'm dying to do this again. Soon!

We haven't been camping since Seth was this little, and I miss it. Yesterday, I found my fingers wandering as I searched the internet for small travel trailers you can pull with a van. The Scamp is adorable. But, I had a talk with Dad, and he straightened me out after informing me that campers take as much time to set up as tents, cost a ton more, require tags and insurance, a place to store them, etc. So that idea is out. Besides, I got to thinking about it, and I don't really like being with the rvs in campgrounds anyway. Too close to the bathrooms, not enough space on the site, etc. I guess I really am a tent girl at heart. I want as much nature as I can get!

So now I'm lusting over large family camping tents with three rooms for sleeping. And I'm wondering how Seth and Evan would do sleeping in the woods with us. And I'm thinking about all the simple things I could do to keep from having to cook. Maybe getting a gas cook stove would actually save time, and I could heat up precooked meals on that. (David's biggest complaint about camping is that we spend too much time cooking over the campfire when he wants to hike. I, however, like the idea of hanging around the campsite and cooking around a campfire. We have to find a middle ground.)

But now I must go and get the baby. Anybody else thinking of camping on this hot August day? Maybe I just long for cool, green woods...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Evan at 10 weeks...

Our tiniest family member isn't so tiny anymore! Ok, well he is, but he isn't. =) Seth and I took him for his 8 week checkup (late), and he weighed a whole 12 pounds! That would be the 50 percentile for his age, so he's a porker compared to spindly little Seth, who never made it above the 15th percentile, if I remember correctly. In height, he's leaving the other 10 week olds in the dust. He's 24 inches long, making him in the 90th percentile. People keep telling me how long he looks, and they've been right.

He started smiling on the day after he turned 8 weeks, and he's given us a lot of smiles since then. He loves being with people, and if we put him where he can see faces, he often stops fussing just because of that. What a social baby! He still loves to nap with me sometimes, and I get so much joy from snuggling with him. He is such a little sweetheart. I went out last night to do a big grocery shopping run, and I found myself missing holding him. I couldn't wait to get back and snuggle with him on my shoulder before bedtime.

He now naps in his own bed! This is big stuff around here. The crying it out technique wasn't working well, and it was early to push it. Mommy was too impatient, I guess. So we've switched to swaddling him when he gets drowsy, letting him doze in my arms, and then taking him upstairs and putting him in his bed. Sometimes we'll have a couple of false starts where he'll wake up and start crying, and then I start over again, but he's getting the idea. He'll often spend at least an hour per nap in the crib now, and that's huge.

I think I've decided that I have a tendency to be less patient with the second son than I was with the first. And I think that's because I know what the future looks like, so I'm more in a hurry to get there. I didn't know with Seth, so I didn't try to rush things along to a particular destination. So I'm finding that I have to remind myself of how young he is and how well he's really doing. He'll sleep longer soon enough. I don't want to wish his babyhood away. But I am finding that I enjoy the time with him when he's awake more now that I get a little break while he's in his crib. =) Everybody needs a little space, even Mommy.

The posed watermelon shot didn't work out so great. He kept slipping. But, hey, I tried. =)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Yard sale finds...

We all slept in a bit on Saturday morning, even the baby. After a spirited breakfast table baby dancing session (with Vanilla Ice on Youtube), David suggested that we go out yard saleing. "But it's already 9:30," I said. "Anything good will be gone." But he thought it would be fun, so we went. For FUN! =) Not expecting to find anything... and of course, we hit the jackpot.

Above you see Seth's early 3rd birthday present. David's afraid to keep it in the shed because its wood, so he gets it now. Maybe we'll save the train set part for his birthday, I don't know. I've seen train tables before on Craigslist or at the stores, and they are usually at least $100. And often, that's without the trains and track and stuff.

Well, we got this little beauty, train set and track included for... $18! That was all we had left after stopping at the one other yard sale we visited, where I was blessed with a new postpartum wardrobe.

Somebody at that yard sale was exactly my current size. And they had name brand taste. After I got home and figured out that the shorts I had bought fit like a dream, I took our change bag and hurried back by myself. Everything was either Gap or Banana Republic. I got a pair of black pants and a pair of brown pants that feel so soft its like wearing pajamas. I came away with two skirts, at least 6 pairs of pants, a t-shirt, and a dress. And each item was... $1. Just the dress in the picture above makes me feel like a million bucks.

Shirt...Gap... $1
There's a lady who blogs who shows all these outfits she's pulled together with things she bought at yard sales. They're really nice looking, and I have scoffed and sneered at her posts. I figured she had to live in some ritzy area because I'd never seen any clothes at a yard sale that I thought were worth buying. And I've looked at a lot. Well, I've now seen that it can happen. =) And I feel very blessed. It's hard to feel good about your leaky, saggy body when you have a 10-week-old baby. This has helped a lot...

Friday, August 07, 2009

On their way to Florida...

Vance, Terri, Isaac, and Claire came through on their way to Florida! Yep, instead of that professor position he applied for in Wisconsin, Dr. Whitaker got a job as the strawberry breeder for the University of Florida. Location: Tampa! Muuuch better... Cheaper plane ticket prices for us and a much shorter driving time. So they drove through the night from Minnesota and arrived at my parents for some family time on their way to their next adventure.

The picture above shows probably my favorite thing about this particular visit. Seth and Isaac have spent most holidays together since they were born, but until now, they've been playing around each other or stealing each other's toys. Well, this time, they became real friends. It's such a sweet thing to see how much Seth looks up to his big cousin, and Isaac was so gentle and helpful with him.

All the big kids slept downstairs in my parent's "junk" room. Seth was sooo excited about the fact that he was going to be sleeping with Isaac. "I sleep with Isaac! I sleep with Isaac!" We put them downstairs, and they laughed at each other for an hour. We went and checked, and they were where we put them, but super happy to be together. Made me remember all the sleepovers I had as a child. I was a little bit envious. There's nothing like a slumber party for simple pleasure... staying up late, giggling over stuff that wouldn't be funny at all during the day, too wired to sleep until the wee hours of the morning.

This trip, the big boys took their first boat ride ever with Papa. Dad got some little life jackets, and all the guys (except Evan) headed out to Belews Lake. When Seth got back, we asked him how it'd gone:

"Isaac got in water!"

They tested out the life jackets. =) Isaac leaned over to touch the water and flipped out. Vance was smart enough to smile and not make a big deal out of it as he hauled him back in, so he didn't get scared. Dad just did his trademark shake of the head and smile. A fantastic time was had by all, and now Papa has another toy to add to his arsenal of things to excite small boys... as if the tractor, chainsaw, and big lawnmower weren't enough already.

Chillin' at the breakfast table... See Claire's totally righteous shades...

Here's the big girl herself. She was watching me attempt to take pictures of Evan on a watermelon. You can tell she's impressed with my efforts. =)

Nana's marching band. What is it with my mom and John Phillip Sousa! Evan also participated this time. He was completely asleep for the whole thing. =)

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Cute baby legs...

It's 3:00 a.m., and I have a new allergy to crepe myrtles, which has led to a hacking cough, which means I'm not sleeping. So I thought I'd do something truly productive, like post pictures of cute baby legs. Couldn't you just eat them with a spoon?

And here is the big baby, copying Evan sleeping on the Boppy. His latest obsession is wearing his sunglasses anywhere and everywhere. He's very proud of the fact that he can usually get them on over his ears all by himself. We are not allowed to help. I expect that when Evan is 30, he will call me on the phone and say, "Mom, I have this recurring dream that one of the Blues Brothers keeps trying to shove a green pacifier in my mouth, and I wake up in a cold sweat. Did something traumatic happen when I was a baby?"
Wonder how much that therapy is going to set us back... =)
And now I'm going to go upstairs and try the sleep thing again...