10.31.2009

Halloween Candy


Yum. Yum. Yum.



Sweeter than Halloween candy, this precious little one.
I could just eat him up!!

Happy Halloween!

Choose


Let me be in love with what You love
Let me be most satisfied in you
Forsaking what this world has offered me
I choose to be in love with You
I will choose to be in love with You.

Let me know the peace that's mine in You
Let me know the joy my heart can sing
for I have nothing Lord apart from You
I choose to call on Christ in me
I will choose to call on Christ in me

For in the fullness of who You are
I can rest in this place
And giving over this, my journey Lord
I see nothing but Your face

Let me know that You have loved me first
Let me know the weight of my response
For You have long pursued my wandering heart
I choose to glory in Your cross
I will choose to glory in Your cross

And I bow down...
Humbly, I bow down...

My beloved - here I am
I bow down, I bow down to you...

****************************************
"Choose" / Christy Nockels / 2008

10.30.2009

My Husband's Pants

So I walked into our master bathroom the other morning and found this note sitting on the counter:



Ummm....what?

And...if he doesn't know you have his pants, what exactly is he wearing?

Nice thing for me, I had a fairly good idea where this note came from, otherwise it could have been a little interesting. Especially considering that the handwriting belongs to our middle school ministry coordinator, who also happens to be our lead pastor's wife. Hmmm...isn't that how rumors get started?

Anyway.

Actually, having been in youth ministry, antics like stealing someone's pants doesn't sound all that out of the ordinary. The note was pinned to an extra pair of pants Kyler took to the Student Life teen conference this summer. It was one of a large number of colorful sticky notes, all bearing words to describe him as a youth pastor.  The pants were stolen as part of our teens' bid to get Kyler chosen as the "youth pastor of the day" at camp.

Pretty cool.

Some of the notes described him thus:











 

 

 And there were many others which read things like:

outgoing

people person

energetic

FUN!

maximum awesomeness

thoughtful

astounding!

He's had a huge Christian influence on my life. Plus...he's funny!

And...

An amazing Christian man who influences my Christian life

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I couldn't agree more.

He is all of those things.

And for my husband: Believe them, baby.  

You are making a difference!
       

10.29.2009

Ready or Not

     
We've got the Lysol disinfectant.

Just bought more hand soap and anti-bacterial gel.

There are Clorox wipes in the closet upstairs.

Been using OxiClean for tough laundry stains and love it.

There's vinegar too, if I want a more natural neutralizer.

The timer is in the kitchen, ready to go.

Carpet cleaner is on the laundry room shelf...enough for now, at least.

Thanks to our wholesale club, we've got 16+ rolls of paper towels.

And blue disposable rubber gloves. We'll need lots of those.

Wish I had them then.

Waterproof pads are washed and folded in the nursery.

Pull-Ups in the closet, Gerber training pants locked and loaded. 

Well, I guess they're UN-loaded. I like them that way.

Deep breaths taken, extra patience prayed for.

You guessed it, Cam's potty training starts tomorrow. 

Ready or not, here we go again...
     

10.28.2009

Power in Prayer

The year after I graduated from college, I worked as the full-time youth director in the church I grew up in. That summer, I carried on the tradition of taking a group of students to church camp in the Texas Hill Country. The camps were set up so that pastors and youth directors traveled and stayed the week with the students from their church, while the students alternated between all-camp events with counselors and staff and small group time with their church groups. I had some time to myself as a result of this setup, and it was a remarkably refreshing week. As a camper, and even as an adult, it is one of my favorite places in the world.

Being a youth director was challenging and humbling. There was enough work for three people (at least), and managing it all was consuming, not to mention overwhelming at times. I wanted nothing more than to be a positive influence in the faith lives of the students I came into contact with in ministry, but it was exhausting. It's amazing how that experience helped prepare me to be the wife of a youth pastor, but that's a story for another time.

I remember returning to camp that summer to volunteer during a few days off, and spending time with Jana, a camp counselor and friend from college. One afternoon, a pastor approached Jana as we were talking together outside. As I recall, neither of us knew him all that well. He wanted to let her know that he had been praying for her every day over the past year, asking God to bless her in her ministry with campers, encourage her in her studies at school, and grow her in her own faith life. She of course was very gracious and appreciative of his words, and we continued on in our day.

I was deeply affected by that pastor's words that day. Maybe not his specific words, but by his heart for the work Jana was doing to impact youth for Christ. More than anything, I wanted someone to tell me they were praying for me, particularly since I was so overwhelmed with the work I was doing. My heart needed the encouragement and affirmation. The truth was, I had taken those few days off to escape from my work and spend some time in a place that inspired me to grow closer to God.

Life went on, and nearly a decade has passed since my time out at camp that summer. I moved across the country, started teaching, got married, and have birthed three sons. My time as a youth director and the words of that pastor to my friend became a forgotten memory of the past.

Until a few weeks ago.

It's incredible how encouraging a few words can be. At least for me, a little positive reinforcement goes a long way. I admit though, I am a people pleaser, and I often care far too much about what others think. Despite that, others' affirmation, not their approval, is what is most uplifting.

Callan has been a tough baby. He very likely has colic, and spends a good deal of time crying each day. Thankfully, this seems to be slowly waning as he gets older. Managing his fussy temperament and still finding time to do housework, spend time with my other boys, and sleep has been a difficult task. (Aside: I know, blogging takes up time too, often late in the evening when I could be sleeping. But I've found that the benefits I gain from writing are worth it.) There are days when I am so overwhelmed by all the tasks before me that it can be crippling. Hence, my increasing determination to trust God and find joy in these everyday trials. Read more about that here.

Singing and leading people in worship has become one of my life's passions. Standing on a stage in front of hundreds of people and speaking, much less singing, is not something I ever envisioned I would be doing, and it certainly isn't something that comes naturally. As an introvert, I am completely out of my comfort zone. But it is something I feel called to do, and I believe my feeling inadequate motivates me to pray and open myself to being used by God.

But even doing what I love often leaves me overwhelmed, despite my determination to be joyful. And of course, I don't always turn over my frustrations and feelings of being overwhelmed to God. More often than not, I try and conquer them on my own, a quest that leaves me depleted of energy and feeling defeated.

So when an older lady in our church approached me the other day in between services to tell me she was praying for me, it made all the difference in the world. Truly, it was an answer to a prayer I hadn't even uttered. God knew exactly what I needed to hear. She told me she'd felt burdened to pray for me since I returned to the worship team after Callan was born. She said she knew that mothering three small boys, one of them a newborn, was exhausting, and that she appreciated my continued commitment to sing and lead despite those challenges. She said she believed I was making a difference doing both, and that God had led her to pray for continued strength and endurance for me.

I nearly cried, and I immediately thought of Jana and my desire to be prayed for all those years ago. I don't know this woman very well, beyond her name and the fact that she attends our church. That she would empathize with my struggles, pray for me, and then seek me out at church to tell me these things was precisely what I needed right in that moment. And, her words of encouragement have carried me through many a tiresome, trying moment these past two weeks.

The lesson in all of this? Well clearly, if we hear God calling us to pray, or go, or do, or be, we do those things. But specifically in prayer, if you are led to pray for someone and God gives you the opportunity to tell them, tell them! You may never know exactly what they are going through or why God has called you to pray, and it may not be evident to you when you tell them, but the weight of your words of encouragement may be exactly what they need to hear. And it may give them just the strength they need at just the right moment. In my case, simply hearing that someone I hardly knew felt strongly enough about my ministry - both as a mother and as a worship leader - to lift me up in prayer not just once but daily, has motivated me and given me strength to face each trial with joy.

Indeed, there is power in prayer.


10.27.2009

Where Do The Children Grow?


When you see a smiling face
Their happiness all over the place



Singing, laughing, cries of glee,
Come they say, Play with me



The slide, the swing, the monkey bars
Look at them close to see who they are.



Lots of races, Ready, Set, Go.
This is how the children grow.



If you watch them everyday
You'll see they learn as they play

 

They'll do what they see, and say what they hear.
You're their teacher though out the years.




Their ideas and thoughts in their eyes shine.
Imagination is a glimpse of their mind



When you’re not looking, don't you know
This is when the children grow.



Watch them as they learn to walk
Listen to them when they talk



Keep them safe, away from harm
Wrap them gently within your arms


 
Teach them to share and how to take turns.
Set good examples from which they will learn.



At home, at school, wherever they go
This is where the children grow.



Where Do The Children Grow 
Christy R. Dawson

10.26.2009

"Not Me!" Monday



Totally frustrated that your post-baby wardrobe either falls off or cuts off your circulation? Wondering if anyone else's child uses the back of their living room sofa as a canvas for his personal artwork? No worries! "Not Me!" Monday was written just for you. It frees me up to admit my many imperfections, and vent about the absolutely ridiculous things that are my everyday. Enjoy at my expense, and join in the fun by commenting below!

*********************************************

Last week, I laughed and commented on a friend's facebook post about her accidentally "making cottage cheese" in a sippy cup. You know, leaving milk in it so long that it curdles into a disgusting, rotting mess? Totally been there. It's gross. Definitely not something you want to happen on a regular basis. Or ever. So it wasn't me who mere days later, discovered not one but three sippy cups full of either curdled milk or fermented apple juice in our car.

Not me! I clean out our car on a regular basis. Yep. Every time we leave the vehicle, it is spic 'n' span and ready for the next family outing. Which is why it is rather remarkable that there is a car that eerily looks exactly like ours sitting in our driveway, completely trashed from a recent week-long trip. Couldn't be ours, though. Weird coincidence.

In a similar vein, if you live with small children, you surely know it is rather easy to keep the house spotless pretty much continually. I mean, how hard could it be, really? So when we left for our family trip to meet our new niece on Monday, the house was immaculate. Seriously, I have no clue where that sink full to the brim of disgusting, stinking dishes came from. I never run out of time to get to each and every household chore. And I especially wouldn't leave a sink full of dishes before we left on a trip. Because, you know, you never do know when a trip you expected would only be one overnight will turn into three overnights. And who wants to return home to a sink full of nasty dishes? Not me!

Two weeks ago, I led worship at church on Sunday morning. After two hours of rehearsal (and just before the first service), I did not totally freak out when I realized I had completely forgotten nursing pads that morning. I also did not tear apart every pocket and compartment of every bag I brought in a desperate attempt to remedy the crisis. Not me!

Perhaps you remember my "While You Were Nursing" post about all of the shenanigans the boys get into while I'm nursing the baby? And you may remember this picture as part of that post:



Certainly, things haven't been so busy (and I haven't so completely given up on salvaging our carpet) that I still haven't gotten around to finishing getting all of the foundation out of the carpet. Nope. And I certainly wouldn't admit it. Not me!

I am not currently feeling so ridiculously guilty about this post that I'll likely delete it. Nope, I'm not so worried everyone will think I'm horribly mean, that someone will comment and say, "Dude, that's my Grandma!", or even worse, that someone will actually recognize the person that I can't stop thinking about it. Ugh.  

If you've had a baby, you know, EVER, than you probably have experienced some sort of post-baby frustration over your wardrobe. Well, unless you're one of those people who walks out of the hospital in their pre-pregnancy jeans. I....ahem....did not do that. Even so, I am not experiencing so much frustration over my ill-fitting clothing that I currently prefer to just wear my husband's t-shirts and boxer shorts around the house, rather than going through and trying to actually figure out where I stand* with the clothing in my closet. (*where I stand = determining which pieces of clothing I am actually capable of squeezing into without removing one, or two, of my ribs.)

While I was cleaning up all of the previously mentioned stinking dishes, Cameron wandered into the kitchen. He loves to help with the dishwasher. This time though, he was just hungry. He discovered the shaker of cinnamon sugar, left on the counter from that morning's breakfast. I certainly did not allow him to unscrew the lid and sniff the contents of the shaker in an attempt to hold off serving lunch until I'd finished loading the dishwasher. I'm smarter than that. Any dummy can guess what happens if you give a two-year-old a shaker full of something. So it wasn't me who, upon turning back to load some dishes, was totally flustered to find that my mischievous son had absolutely shaken cinnamon and sugar 'til his heart's content (well, until I stopped him, anyway) all over the floor and open door of the dishwasher. Nope, not this Momma. 

Speaking of mischievous, during one of our family's trips to the hospital to visit our new niece, we were not so naughty as to concoct a plan that involved my mother-in-law carrying our six-week-old around the hallways of the maternity wing, just to see if he'd be mistaken for a newborn and she'd get in trouble with the nursing staff. Not my family. We're more respectful and responsible than all that.

(Oh - he was and she did.) Ahem...

*********************************************

"Not Me!" Monday is an incredibly fun, blogging carnival started by MckMama. Basically, it's where we all can be brutally honest about the ridiculous things that happen in our lives. Follow this link to her blog, where you can read hundreds more fun stories about all of the things that she and everyone else didn't do this week. And, join in the "Not Me!" fun and leave me a comment about all of the things you didn't do this week!

10.25.2009

Hairspray

Kyler and I and the boys were driving around this week, waiting for news on our niece, when we pulled behind a car at a stop sign. I was laughing so hard (mostly because of Kyler's antics: "Holy Hairspray, Batman!") I could hardly get the camera out in time to snap this:



Now THAT is some hair.
Seriously. It's pink and perfectly coiffed.
Definitely channeling Frenchy (from "Grease").
I bet she only used 2-3 cans of Aquanet.



I'm really not a mean person. Really.
I don't make a habit of laughing at others' expense.
It's just...Jiminy Cricket! 



That is some HAIR!

10.23.2009

One Hundred



 

Wow! 100 posts already. To celebrate, I thought I'd share 100 things I love about blogging...

Just kidding.

I'm just grateful to have found a creative outlet where I can express myself and share my thoughts on faith, family and "growing up." And I'm thankful that at least a handful of family and friends will humor me in my ramblings. Thanks for reading.

Yay for 100!
     

Welcome, MaryJane!

I am an aunt again! Except this time, I have a niece! And I have to admit, I'm a little nervous. I don't have a clue how to do little girls. Boys, no prob. But a little girl? Poor thing has no chance. Neither do her grandparents. With an older brother and three older cousins - all boys - she's gonna be spoiled from the get-go. Well, she'll be that and tough as nails. I imagine she'll learn very early on how to hold her own against all of those boys.



What a little beauty. Here are her stats:

MaryJane Elizabeth 
October 19th / 2:29pm
7lbs. 4oz. / 20.5in. 

 Our family has been out of town since MJ's birth on Monday. She was admitted to the NICU shortly afterward with difficulty breathing. Thankfully, after a short stay of just a few days, she was released back to a regular room yesterday. Many thanks to those of you who were praying for a short stay in the NICU and improvements in her overall health. We are hoping she will be discharged from the hospital and on her way home tonight!
 


Welcome, MaryJane!

10.22.2009

And If the Devil Doesn't Like It

Each summer as a child, I attended a week long "Vacation Bible School" with hundreds of other children from several churches in my hometown. It should come as no surprise that my favorite part of each day was the music. I remember singing this song a lot. Do you know it?

I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.
Where?
Down in my heart.
Where?
Down in my heart!
I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.
Where?
Down in my heart to stay!

It has many verses, but I'm quite sure my favorite (and many other kids' fave, no doubt) is this one:

And if the Devil doesn't like it he can sit on a tack.
OUCH!
Sit on a tack!
OUCH!
Sit on a tack!
And if the Devil doesn't like it he can sit on a tack.
OUCH!
Sit on a tack today!

Oh my.  I just love the ridiculousness of that verse. Good stuff.

We've started a new message series at church, based on the book of James. I love the way that he (James) blends both encouragement and conviction into his words for the Church. There is so much good stuff there! So much I need to work on, too. Right off the bat, I'm reminded to check my attitude with the first four verses:

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
3because you know that the testing of your faith
develops perseverance.
4Perseverance must finish its work
so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4 (NIV)

*********************************************

I do not have it all together. Far from it! Truth be told, I've altogether been having a rough time of it lately. There's just so much going on in our lives, and having a newborn is just plain hard, no matter how you shake it. Errr...perhaps I should clarify. The "shaking it" was referring to life in general, not my infant. Just so we're clear. In case, you know, you were wondering. Which you probably weren't.  

Anyway.

I've decided to be more joyful. And I picked a heck of a time to start, too. Seriously, I'll have plenty of opportunities to practice! Without going into detail, suffice it to say circumstances are not making life a cake walk presently.

In the midst of it all, it's easy to focus on why I can't be joyful. But why should I let my circumstances define who I am? By allowing them to define how I go about my day, I am doing just that. Instead of choosing how to act in spite of those circumstances, I am simply reacting to them

You know those people who are joyful whenever you see them, all the time? The ones who just have a bright outlook and contagious positive attitude? They're attractive, aren't they? Not in a physical sense. Attractive as in, you simply want to be around them. So does everyone else. Don't misunderstand me; it's not a fake-y, happy-go-lucky-and-smiling-no-matter-the-circumstances sort of attitude. That wouldn't be attractive, because I doubt anyone could pull that off and still seem authentic. Not for long, anyway. The attitude I speak of isn't always happy, but it is continually joyful.

That joy springs out of a choice, not a personality. It's a discipline. And if you practice being joyful long enough, it becomes part of your personality. Our disciplines guide the decisions we make and how we respond to the circumstances we face. Eventually, if practiced long enough, they help shape who we are.

And so do tough circumstances and trials of many sizes: 

17For our light and momentary troubles
are achieving for us an eternal glory
that far outweighs them all.
2 Corinthians 4 (NIV)

These "momentary troubles" give us the opportunity to practice joy. And joy gives us strength to face our circumstances:

Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." 
Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV)

See? It's circular. We respond to our troubles with joy, and that joy gives us the strength to respond to our troubles. "Ah-ha!" you say. It's really not all as crazy and nonsensical as it sounds.

So! I'm redoubling my efforts to make joy a discipline in my life. And you can help by keeping me accountable, please. I want to be more joyful!

And if the Devil doesn't like it (and I'm quite sure he doesn't)...

He can sit on a tack.

10.21.2009

Beauty of the Lord

I will declare the beauty of the Lord,
Nothing compares to the beauty of the Lord,
Jesus, your love takes my breath away.
Now I'm living every day for the beauty of the Lord.

"Beauty of the Lord" / Desperation Band / 2004

*********************************************

It's late, and I'm up with the baby again, typing one-handed as he nurses.  I'm thankful that he's nursing, as many times during this time of night he won't be consoled by nursing or snuggling. Those nights, Kyler and I begin that delicate dance of "volunteering" to be the one to stay up for an hour or two before trading off. It's maddening.

And then I remember what I should do in these circumstances:

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, 
whenever you face trials of many kinds...
James 1:2 (NIV)


But it's hard to be joyful in those moments when Callan is so difficult. When I'm so utterly exhausted I can hardly think straight, and so wracked with guilt when my working husband is the one sacrificing sleep so I can rest. When I spend hour upon hour rocking his tiny frame to sleep and gingerly placing him in the bassinet in our room, only to wake 30 minutes later and start the whole process again. 

But then, it's also in those moments that I have the most clarity about this beautiful miracle God has entrusted to me. Even through the haze of blurry-eyed exhaustion, I can see the beauty of the Lord. Even when I feel as though I'll never "get it together" as I learn how to "do" three children under 3-1/2, and even when I feel frustrated to no end and uttnerly helpless to stop Callan's incessant crying, I can choose to find joy.

My baby cries an awful lot, but his cries mean that I have a baby.

JOY.

I am exhausted from weeks of sleepless nights spent rocking a restless infant, but I have been rocking him at home. There are many, many mothers who rock their children in Pediatric Intensive Care Units, forgoing sleep to keep vigil over a gravely ill little babe.

JOY.

My body aches from hours of carrying Callan and an equal number of hours spent nursing to nourish his growing body. But those aches mean I am able to nurse him, and I am able to carry him. This should carry special meaning, since I was unable to carry Kayden for several weeks.

JOY. 

And though his constant need to be in my arms seems at times inconvenient or tiring, I know there will come a time in the not-so-distant future when I will ache for this time when he likes nothing better than to snuggle in my embrace. 

JOY.


Jesus, your love takes my breath away. So I will declare the beauty of the Lord. And in that beauty I find joy.
 

10.20.2009

Quick Update


As promised, an update on our brand-new (and only!) niece:


MaryJane Elizabeth
10/19/09
2:29pm
7lbs. 4oz.
20.5in.


A few hours after she was born, MJ was taken to the NICU with difficulty breathing. Her doctors are watching her closely and running several tests to try and determine what is causing the trouble. As you are led, please continue to pray for health and safety for mom and baby, and wisdom for MJ's doctors. I'll post some pics as soon as we can take some!
 

10.19.2009

"Not Me!" Monday



Our family is headed out the door to Morgantown this morning, on our way to the hospital for the birth of our niece and cousin, the second miracle for Kyler's sister Karina and her husband Josh. I will post stats, pics, and share their story (an incredible journey) as soon as I get the go-ahead from them (I want to give them an opportunity to announce first). Prayers are appreciated for a healthy, uneventful c-section for mom and baby (37 weeks).

Given our little road trip, I'm posting a "Not Me!" rerun. Never fear, it's a doozie! I'll post this week's tonight after we settle down from today's travel and excitement. Hopefully, the hotel will have free wi-fi....

Enjoy! I got a good laugh reading this one again (probably because I'm so thankful it's over!) 

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I'd like to dedicate this week's "Not Me!" post to Member's Mark (Sam's Club generic) brand disposable, latex-free, blue rubber gloves. In our house, the first week in June shall always be known as Rubber Glove Gratitude Week.

Are you ever so completely exhausted, you wish you could just drop right where you are and snooze? So wiped out from hauling a 7-month-pregnant body around and chasing your two active toddlers all over creation, you want to forgo the double sink full of stinking dishes and just collapse? Well I'm sorry, but I can't relate. On Monday, it certainly wasn't this 7-month-pregnant mother of two who was too lazy to even leave the boys' bedroom to rest her weary body. And it wasn't the recollection that our bed that was absolutely piled with laundry motivating me to just crumple onto the floor in the boys' room and snooze away while they napped. And just for the record, it also wasn't for like the fifth time in two weeks.

Do you ever take your children in for their well checks at the pediatrician's office and wonder what in the world the other parents must let their children get into, what with all of the bruises, scratches, bites, and cuts covering their bodies? I used to. Since Kayden has grown up and Cam was born, I understand. Even so, my kids never look like those other scratched up kids do. I keep them bruise, scratch, cut, and bite-free week in and week out. So I didn't walk in this week with a genuine anxiety over whether or not Child Protective Services was going to visit our family afterwards. Because even though I parent two very active, curious, daredevil little boys, they don't bruise. In fact, it isn't my second son who on a regular basis looks like a peach that rolled off of the stand, down a ravine, and into a briar patch. He's got tough skin just like me, and besides, what mother would let her kids get into so much trouble that it wasn't too unusual for them to look like they were in a bar fight the night before their pediatrician's appointment? Not me!



In other news, Cameron peed in the potty! I am so proud of my little man! He's been showing interest in the potty for about a week now, especially since we are desperately trying to get his older brother to use it on a regular basis. So when he wanted to sit on the toilet and give it a try last Monday night, I of course helped him climb aboard, encouraging all the way. And when he actually peed in the toilet, we did a little happy dance (yes, really)! Naturally wanting to continue the training, he got off of the potty and we walked through the entire routine: flush the potty, move the stool to the sink, wash hands, etc. Surely, I was not so excited that he had actually used the toilet (particularly when his brother is boycotting toilet use...) that I forgot he was still without pants. And I certainly didn't let him brush his teeth sans pants, and then offer him a sip of water. Not me! I remember little tidbits like drinking-water-generally-causes-a-bathroom-reflex-in-small-children. So it wasn't me who turned back from helping Kayden to see my angelic child peeing again - all over the cabinets and floor in the bathroom. Thank you, rubber gloves.

It wasn't the same little cherub who managed to trick his Daddy into thinking he was perfectly contented to sit and draw at his indoor picnic table, only to sneak away minutes later and begin a masterpiece on the floor, walls, windows, and miscellaneous other items within his crayon's reach. Thanks again, rubber gloves (and Magic Eraser pads).


Kayden is seriously giving us a run for our money in the toilet-training department. So, when he asked to use the bathroom earlier this week and wanted a little privacy, I didn't think twice when I let him half-shut the door and finish his business while Cam and I played in the living room. (No really, I didn't think twice. Probably should have, eh?) Nah, not with my kiddos. Because really, it wasn't my beautiful first-born babe who shouted from the bathroom five minutes later, "Moooooommy! I'm dooooone! And look at aaaaaall the paper!" And it wasn't me, who upon opening the bathroom door and retrieving my perfectly trained potty master, found a toilet stuffed to the brim with nearly an entire roll of toilet paper. A used toilet stuffed with nearly an entire roll of unrolled toilet paper. Toilet paper that was quickly absorbing the contents of said used toilet, but had to wait to be taken care of because of the toddlers (one of them pantless) who were quickly scaling the stairs, ready for naptime. Oh rubber gloves, I am so grateful for thee.

Which is why I really wish I'd had you with me for the next few paragraphs...

Kyler and I split parenting duty on Sunday morning. He took Cam to church, and I took Kayden to Leesburg for the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) Walk to Cure Diabetes. I figured he could walk if he wanted, and of our two children, he is generally more easy-going on outings. Which is why I want you to understand that it must not have been my darling child who, just as we were pulling into the parking lot before the walk (the walk in Leesburg, a 45-minute drive from home), began vomiting all over the back seat of the car. I did not have to drive past several walk volunteers, stopping cars to direct us where to park, with all windows rolled down, a toddler covered in vomit, and an odor wafting out the windows strong enough to knock out an elephant.

As you continue reading, please also keep in mind that after I had parked the car and sucked in an adequate amount of fresh air to stabilize my nauseous pregnant olfactory senses, I did not then pick through said toddler vomit to get my child out of his car seat and into the parking lot. And after that, I didn't strip that toddler naked in the parking lot and douse him with the contents of a bottle of water, sponge-bathing him in wipes and anti-bacterial gel to cover the smell of vomit, all while an unending stream of people strode past on their way to the starting line.

Please recognize that I am prepared at all times for large messes created by excessive amounts of most any type of bodily fluid, so thank goodness I didn't have to wipe out (pun intended) my entire supply of baby wipes to remove large chunks of vomit from the car seat while Kayden ran back and forth next to the car (in the parking lot, while that unending stream of people continued to walk by...) completely stark naked. I then did not have to empty the contents of a full one-liter bottle of water (the one which I of course, intended for us to drink on the walk) onto the soiled car seat to remove the remaining vomit.

During all this time, it absolutely was not the conference center shuttle bus that came by at least three times, each time stopping so that all aboard could witness the goings on and the driver could ask me if we needed a ride. Ummm....a ride? Not me! More baby wipes? A pressure hose? A haz-mat suit? A pop-up cubicle to surround my car so that every living creature attending this walk won't later be able to identify the pregnant woman squatting and contorting in odd ways over her enormous belly while scraping vomit off of her naked toddler and large, bulky car seat? Absolutely! He didn't offer any of those things. But he did come by five minutes later and offer me another ride, and then engaged me in a conversation about where in West Virginia we were from, because he was from Inwood, and wasn't Harpers Ferry pretty this time of year, with the river full after all of the rain? Yep. That shuttle load got a ride and a show.

Note: I did finally find my naked toddler a pull-up and some clothes. I did not have to dig them out from underneath several huge boxes in the trunk, from a grocery bag of what may or may not have been dirty clothing brought home from Kyler's parents' house several weeks ago.

So when we finally took the nice shuttle driver man up on his multiple offers of rides, it wasn't my toddler who decided to run off in the opposite direction while mommy lugged the stroller, diaper bag, and camera to the shuttle door. And when I finally retrieved my recalcitrant toddler from the parking lot and got him started onto the steps of the shuttle bus, it most certainly was not ALL of the gentlemen on the bus who just sat staring at the sweaty, tired, pregnantmother struggling up the steps with multiple items, bulky stroller and toddler instead of offering any kind of assistance. So I sat down and thanked them all for waiting. And we all bounced along to the walk starting line and had a grand time.

Seriously. Where are the rubber gloves when you really need them?

Believe it or not, I'm not finished yet. When the walk was over, we returned to the car, opening all doors and airing it out for several minutes to eliminate the pleasant aroma of vomit-stewing-in-90-degree-heat. I then may or may not have used one of my husband's t-shirts to set in the soggy, vomit-juice soaked car seat that I had to return my toddler to for the ride home. And I couldn't have been in a hurry (because Kyler and I were planning on taking his parents out for a fancy brunch at The Bavarian Inn with the remaining balance on that gift card from our date night a few weeks back). So after I rushed home, dragged Kayden and the car seat into the house (not because I couldn't find the water hose for all of the overgrown bushes on the side of our duplex, but because I genuinely wanted to clean all of the vomit off of the car seat inside my house...) Believe it or not, even though we hadn't actually arrived home until 12:30pm, by the time I'd finished cleaning the car seat, dumping the car seat cover in the washing machine, and convincing Kayden to please get his rear end in the shower now, we still had plenty of time to shower, dry hair, dry car seat cover, reassemble and reinstall car seat, and drive 20 minutes to Shepherdstown for our 1:30pm lunch reservation. After all, I am superwoman. Five minutes IS plenty of time for all of those things.

As it turned out, Kyler's parents asked him to reschedule our lunch for a less hectic day (surely not because they didn't want to have lunch in a fancy restaurant with a toddler that might spew chunks of fancy brunch on them at any given moment). By this time, I had already put a swim diaper on Kayden (because we were going to lunch and the car seat would be wet), thinking I could change him into more suitable clothing when we arrived at our destination. Seeing as how I currently employ a standard pregnant woman's memory (read: impeccably flawless), I did not then forget about the swim diaper when lunch was cancelled. I also did not just leave my toddler to play in the living room in only said swim diaper for the next 30 minutes while I uploaded pictures from the walk and collapsed in the living room. And it most certainly wasn't me that finally realized that Kayden was still in a swim diaper when I saw him lying on the (carpeted) living room floor, surrounded by a sizeable puddle of urine.

And then, I did not make a bee line for the carton of disposable rubber gloves...

And...just in case you are wondering, I did not just totally blow off helping my husband put the kids in bed so I could blog and get all of this out of my system. And I don't intend to eat a very large quantity of ice cream and watch several episodes of FRIENDS after blogging in an attempt to forget this week's events were in fact a part of my everyday existence.

Because they weren't and they aren't. Nope. Not me!

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"Not Me!" Monday is an incredibly fun, blogging carnival started by MckMama on her blog. Basically, it's where we all can be brutally honest about the ridiculous things that inevitably happen in our lives.

Follow this link to her blog, where you can read hundreds more fun stories about all of the things that she and everyone else didn't do this week. And, join in the "Not Me!" fun and leave me a comment about all of the things you didn't do this week!

10.18.2009

Name That Photo

I recently took this picture of my growing brood of boys, and almost immediately thought it worthy of its very own name. And I hope you'll find it just too fun an opportunity to pass up! Let me know what'cha think!


10.17.2009

What Shall We Do?

What shall we do with a drunken sailor napless toddler?
What shall we do with a drunken sailor napless toddler?
What shall we do with a drunken sailor napless toddler...
In the middle of the afternoon?

Sing with me now!

Seriously. In a bar fight, I'm sure the toddler would win. Errr...except the toddler wouldn't be in a bar. Or a bar fight. Ahem...obviously. And you know, I think I'd prefer the drunken sailor any day. Okay, not really.

Who wouldn't prefer this sweet face?




Except that when he doesn't nap, that sweet face looks like this:

Don't stare at it too long. It even scared me.

All joking aside, I've exhausted all of my ingenious ideas on this one. Or maybe I'm just exhausted. Either way, it's driving me bonkers. Until about two weeks ago, enforcing nap time was for the most part a successful venture (bedtime...notsomuch). For whatever reason, the boys have decided that now nap time is also the time to push every blessed button in my body. And honestly, with an infant that isn't sleeping well at night and is generally only happy in my very tired arms, I don't have many buttons left.

I've tried every positive reinforcement strategy that I'm willing to. I've tried every negative reinforcement strategy that I'm willing to. I'm even okay with it if they *gasp* don't nap for a day or two. My main goal is to get them to rest. I mean, it's pretty stinking adorable when I walk in and find them both snuggled up in a twin bed together, quietly reading or plotting their next rascally adventure talking together. Instead, it seems that nap time is quickly turning into an episode of Ultimate Fighting Championship. The past few days, I've come to expect the enormous THUMP and ensuing screaming about five minutes after I leave their room. And when I walk in, I usually find Cameron sitting on his brother, trying to pry his precious taggie blanket out of Kayden's fist, both of them shrieking like banshees.

Can you help a tired mother?

Please, please, please offer any and all suggestions you may have! Whether we've tried them or not, I'd be happy to hear them! Because when it comes right down to toddlers, I much prefer this:



Not this:



10.16.2009

The Darnedest Things

I know the phrase is over-used, but really, kids do say (and do) the darnedest things. For example, in our house...

Kayden says "BA-licious!!!" instead of "delicious." He can say "delicious" perfectly, he just thinks the other is more fun (and apparently, it conveys the sentiment more effectively. Go figure.)  

After drinking watered-down V8 juice (yeah, you read that correctly. Blame their dad. Even I'm not that mean...) Kayden made a sour face (who wouldn't?!) and said, "Umm, Daddy....there's something IN this..."

The boys and I have watched the animated Disney flick "The Emperor's New Groove" a few times in the past several weeks. The part where Llama Cusco is chased by jaguars apparently left an impression on Kayden. He incorporates similar scenarios into his pretend play at home and on the playground at the park. Except, he doesn't believe the animals are jaguars. Instead, he shouts after me, "Watch out, Mommy!! The dragwaters are chasing you!!!"

For some reason, Kayden pretends that his Dad's pants are jelly. We're clueless about this one.

Lately, the boys are really getting a kick out of their new made-up game. Basically, they begin running shuttle runs back and forth across the living room, picking up piles of "bugs" and pretending to shove them in their mouths and eat them at each end. I'm still trying to figure out how this lines up with Cam's recent phobia of everything buggy...

And finally (for now, anyway)...

The other day I overheard Kayden talking with a pile of stuffed animals in the living room. Among them was a giant (three-foot) Elmo. Spontaneously, (Well, I thought it was spontaneous. I suppose it made perfect sense to him...) he leaned over, pulled open and whispered into Elmo's mouth: "Helloooo? Your Highness? Can you hear me?"

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So...what sorts of things do you hear in your house?

10.15.2009

While You Were Nursing

Remember the movie, "While You Were Sleeping" with Sandra Bullock? I remember it as being pretty decent. As far as unrealistic romantic comedies go, that is. The concept of falling into a coma while some random stranger (who happens to be infatuated with me) infiltrates my family, claims to be my fiancee, and ultimately ends up falling for my brother is pretty disturbing, but anyway... 

Lately, I have not been in a coma (nor have I been doing very much sleeping, for that matter.) What I have been doing is nursing a baby. Lots and lots of nursing. Just like his brothers, this baby likes to eat. It's been a pretty interesting adventure, having three kids in just over three years. And this time around, by far the most entertaining moments have occurred while I've been nursing the baby. Or, the remnants of what happened during that time have been discovered shortly thereafter. Without a doubt, the boys are catching on to the fact that I'm pretty well tied down when Callan is eating. Their initial fascination with what he was drinking and how he was drinking has waned in favor of all of the fantastic things they can delve into while I (at least seemingly) can't do a darn thing about it.

I had a chuckle the other day when I realized just how relaxed I've become about a little chaos in the house. Seriously, when Cam was born, I used to think days like this or this were every-once-in-awhile craziness. Now, they're pretty much the norm. You need only read a few of my "Not Me!" Monday posts to figure that out. Ahhh, the days when I only had one baby. What were those like?

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While I'm nursing the baby, simply playing with toys is often replaced (at least temporarily) with the more favorable (and less boring) "see-how-many-of-these-boxes-of-toys-so-lovingly-organized-and-labeled-we-can-dump-on-the-floor-before-Mommy-catches-on." As you can tell, Mommy caught on rather quickly, and now tries to minimize the damage by distracting the demolitionists with VeggieTales. It sort of worked:





While I'm nursing the baby, Cameron frequently gets a hankering for some sort of snack or drink. I tell you, this kid could survive alone on a deserted island for weeks on end. If he's hungry, he'll go to untold lengths to find something to eat. The child is not bound by silly little things like the height of the shelf where we keep the cereal bars, or the weight of the we-just-bought-it-yesterday, wholesale-club-size tub of animal crackers. I'm pretty sure he'd be perfectly content to make himself a grilled cheese sandwich or scramble up some eggs if I'd leave him alone in the kitchen long enough.

While I'm nursing the baby, the boys inevitably get involved in some sort of brotherly skirmish. A few times, it's been an all-out offensive, complete with bloody casualties, like the time Cameron knocked his older brother upside the head with a large block. There was so much blood on the paper towels I used to mop up Kayden's injured head, he actually thought I was "putting red" on his head to help it feel better.

While I'm nursing the baby, Cameron often sets out in search of new media for expressing his artistic creativity. Three weeks ago, he grabbed a crayon and began coloring in the hard plastic eyeballs of every stuffed animal within reach. Two weeks ago, he created a masterpiece with various colored pens on the back of the sofa. Last week, he found his inspiration in my makeup bag:
 

And while I'm nursing the baby, Kayden often announces that he has to go to the bathroom. Under normal circumstances, I'm thrilled with this new-found independence. Recently, he's taken the unchaperoned opportunity to "wrap" the entire bathroom with toilet paper, which he gleefully (and silently) unrolls while he purports to be doing, errr...other business.

Stay tuned...undoubtedly there will be more to come...

10.14.2009

Six Weeks


Quickly growing,

often crying,

 

picture humoring, 
 


adorable cheeks sporting,

Mommy hugging,

 

six-week-old!

10.12.2009

"Not Me!" Monday



Embarrassed that your child urinated all over your husband's grandparents' nice white sofa...twice? Totally frustrated that the majority of your wardrobe consists of garments stained by baby spit-up? Wondering if anyone else's child has ever completely dismantled the couch cushions? No worries! "Not Me!" Monday was written just for you! It frees me up to admit my many imperfections, and vent about the absolutely ridiculous things that are my everyday. Enjoy at my expense, and join in the fun by commenting below!

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I value routine, and I know maintaining one (or at least attempting to maintain a semblance of one) is important to my children. Therefore, it was not our boys who went to bed no earlier than 10pm all but two days this week. 

I also value good hygiene and cleanliness, and am totally on top of all of my children's needs, all the time. Which is why it couldn't have been me who failed to notice that Cam's diaper had gone unchanged long enough that it was literally dripping. Gross. Good thing it wasn't me who neglected to change him.

The boys and I often try and meet Kyler at his parents' house (near church) for lunch on his long days at work. Last week during one such family lunch date, I did not witness my husband giving the boys sippy cups full of V8 juice. Watered-down V8 juice. Desperate to get vegetables in their bodies or not, that's just disgusting! (As in, involuntary gag reflex engages just thinking about it. Blech!) After drinking one sip, Cam simply stated, "I done," and got down out of his chair. Kayden had a sip a few minutes later, made a sour face, and said, "Ummm...Daddy? There's something IN this..." Ha! Not MY husband!

Poor Kayden fell and split his head open this week. (You can read about what happened in my "Never A Dull Moment" post). I am totally level-headed pretty much constantly. So it was not me who flipped out after my son returned from the ER upon seeing that his now repaired "boo-boo" looked like this:



And it certainly wasn't me who later realized (upon intense inspection) that what I initially assumed was opened (and frankly, chewed-up looking) flesh was actually part of the surgical glue compound. Nope, not me!

And finally, I'll end this week's post with one of Cameron's creative endeavors while I was nursing the baby. Except Cam is a calm and altogether boring child, who never gets into things he shouldn't, takes things apart just for curiosity's sake, or erupts in loud episodes of screaming just to hear his own voice. So when I found him on the floor with my makeup bag and its contents spread all around him, I know it must have been some other two-year-old who silently scaled the bathroom counter, retrieved the bag, took it to an inconspicuous, out-of-sight-and-out-of-reach-while-Mommy-is-nursing-the-baby location, and proceeded to inspect and devise his own creative use for each bottle, blusher, and brush. Not my child!

And, upon discovering Cam doing all of this, I definitely didn't allow him to continue exploring while I retrieved the camera and snapped pictures 'til my heart's content. Not me!

As promised in my "Makeover" post, my pics and dialogue of Cam's exploration of my makeup bag:


Hey Cam! What'cha got there?



Oh! Is that Mommy's makeup brush?
Hmmm..what'cha do with that?



Of course.
You use it to paint foundation all over your feet.



Oooh, gorgeous.
Nicely done, kiddo.
 
 

Ummm...and what's that in your hair?
Oh, it's mascara?
Waterproof mascara?
Oh, okay, no problem then. Just checking.

 

My makeup was needing a makeover anyway.
 
 

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I'd love to hear about all of the things you didn't do this week! Scroll down and click on the comment link to leave a note. "Not Me!" Monday is an incredibly fun, blogging carnival started by MckMama on her blog. Basically, it's where we all can be brutally honest about our imperfections and admit parts of our week that we'd rather not have happened.