Tuesday, August 29, 2006

It was TEXAS hot today!

I am always the first one to scoff at the people here who say how *hot* it is because I know (along with fellow Texans) that you really can't appreciate *hot* till you have been in Texas in the summer. When we visit home, I have to acclimate my children to the heat down there and remind them of their born ability to cope, since they were born on Texas soil. It's that sort of heat where you just get out of the car, breathe and move quickly towards a body of water or air conditioning. No speaking or groaning because that would just make you hotter.

You just focus...Focus on surviving.

Well, today was a vivid reminder of what *hot* is and so we stayed cool by swimming with our sweet (sweaty?) friends. We do not have a pool and most people we are friends with do not have a pool (of their own) but large neighborhood pools are very common here (just not in our neighborhood). We most often frequent the same pool and I refer to our family as the vagabond pool bums. No bother, really because the pool isn't that crowded so it isn't like we are stealing someone else's spot but I am sure if they check surveillance they might reconfigure their neighborhood covenants after this summer.

We had a wonderful time and tried to relish the end of summer with the fellowship of our friends. We are relatively the same age with at least of couple of kids in the same grades. Not one of us is from this state, but most of us have some Texas roots (not a prerequisite but it helps). What has drawn us together is the common thread that we want desperately to have holy homes, godly marriages, and Christ-centered families. The Texas part is just the cherry on top (hee-hee).

I am immensely grateful for the Godly council & accountability that I am blessed enough to be on the receiving end of. I am never able to take credit for compliments or praises in regard to my parenting or life skills because it has been such a combined effort of these sisters that God has so wisely placed in my path and the Lord himself as he has shaped any and all of the *right* things I have done. I have always been a brain-picker (better than nose) and most always it is so that I may examine their ways and try to glean a nugget of how that God-fearing woman/wife/mother made her choices.

Without my own mother or sister, you would imagine a void or absence existing somewhere within me but incredibly there is none. I have found that in the place of that void the Lord has most graciously placed beautiful friends and family both near and far that love me with this radical, forgiving, unexplainable kind of love. A great big hug & kiss (we kiss in Texas) to my sister & mother substitutes because the Lord has used you in a mighty way and through that you have unknowingly shaped my life and I am forever grateful!

Monday, August 28, 2006

One week to go and the race is on!

Well, I can't believe the summer is almost over! I read my friend Tiffany's blog a couple of weeks ago about starting school and managed to suppress any anxiety about the impending school year. I won't go there yet. I don't have to. We have a week left and we are gonna go out with a bang!

I will post this week some of our many adventures, but today will be cleaning and laundry day so we can be gone for the week without too much snowballing here at home.

We will swim tomorrow then haircuts for everybody, King's Dominion on Wednesday, Open House (meet their teachers) on Thursday and then to the County Fair that afternoon. Friday we will head to an indoor playground because the weather may be yucky.

I have been accused of being a bit sentimental, but to my credit there aren't too many milestones that slip by without me taking adequate notice. I have the privilege of being home with my children and I consider it a blessing that I have always held that conviction and never once struggled with our choice. I get it. That whole "fleeting moment" concept is all to real to me. I am both blessed and burdened with the always present feeling of them slipping away. There is always gratitude to Christ for the opportunity and a great deal of humbleness for the responsibility. As I plan this week of fun & festivity I am careful to examine our quiet times together. I pray that God prepares us for the separation through time together in the word & prayer. I pray that God prepares my girls for the trials of public school, that they will be a shining example of grace & compassion as they reflect Jesus in their life. I pray that as He presents opportunities, they will be bold about the gospel and make wise choices; choices that stem from the convictions through God's word and the example that their father and I set for them. I pray that the Lord will continue to prepare the hearts of their teachers for the development of beautiful relationships, as He has in the past - relationships where my love for Christ is revealed and our convictions are respected and upheld. As long as God makes the path clear for our family we will surrender this decision and trust Him fully for His provision.

End of Summer- I am not letting go without a fight! We are eatin' popsicles till we get sick, catchin' lighting bugs & wearing pj's at 11 am and we ain't stoppin' till Labor Day!!!!!!


Did somebody call for Crazy?

They let me out on weekends, as long as I stay in my wooden cage.

This montage was taken as a result of my simple request for, "please look at the camera & smile". Samuel has a tendency to pose and throw in a trademark *squint*, one of his many endearing qualities.

Ah, there he is, but the moment is fleeting and the dog has discovered a lovely trail of chocolate ice cream down his leg!

Monday, August 21, 2006

A couple of days ago, we went to visit with Chris' brother Scott who lives about 90 minutes from us in the mountains of our great state. Too bad we waited until the end of the summer for this little jaunt because it turned out to be a jewel of a town with all sorts of fun things for the kids. His apartment is walking distance from the downtown area and that alone was enough to entertain the kids for hours! It was so funny to see how captivated they were with this whole different way of living. "Who lives here?" wondered Samuel pointing upstairs. "Who room is dis?" gesturing towards the door opposite of Scotts. When we walked outside to the parking lot, Samuel wondered, "who are deez people at your house?". Too funny! All the while, I could see the girls enjoying the whole *metropolitan/big city* feel of the town and how absolutely cool it was to walk to our restaurant for lunch.

We debated on lunch and while my brother-in-law had several suggestions for their local favorites we went with a faithful standby: Five Guys Burgers & Fries. If you have never sunk your teeth into one of these fat, juicy, artery clogging stacks of meat then you are soooo missin' out! We walked through the town market area and I lamented over not coming sooner, not coming with more money, and not coming with my GIRLFRIENDS so we could do some serious shopping :)

Oh, and did I mention that we took Tex with us? Tex is our 9 week old cockapoo (more cocker than poo but that is another post and a bit debatable). He did so wonderfully! NO accidents whatsoever and was the most patient and calm little traveler. Can I say the same for Samuel? Regrettably, no I cannot.

You see, our next visit was to a little shoe store where "can I call her *aunt* Robin" works. This is the kind of store that I call "hoy-tee-toy-tee" but I guess in more distinguished circles you would call it "upscale". It was definitely hip and definitely stylish and definitely not somewhere I would normally bring my three children and our dog, BUT we were visiting and not shopping so we will be quick. I tried to take some mental notes as I scanned the room but I didn't absorb much because I was a bit worried that at any moment, one of my kids would wipe a booger on a $400 pair of sandals.

The girls were so well behaved... such little ladies :) I was so proud and really feeling my feathers start to poof out a bit when I realized that Samuel had been spending a considerable amount of time in the dressing room. My dear brother-in-law who is childless at this point, therefore found humor in this moment that would otherwise cause any parent to either pass out or bolt for the door. He informed me, between his cackle of laughter and gasps for breath that my son had filled his pants. Oh, yea and I mean *filled* them good.

I rounded the corner and found our little Sam or should I say saw his two sets of fingers wrapped around a dressing mirror while he was hiding behind it. He made a quick confession and we headed to bathroom where he proceeded to step much too quickly out of his soiled britches causing..... well you can go there in your imagination if you want but I'll spare you the details. After a small bathing session in this fru-fru shoe boutique I came out with the girls and we wisely decided it was time to go.

As we said our goodbyes, I glanced down at the dog and realized then that our puppy who we have only had one week had made it through this entire visit without one accident.

And he didn't even need a Mader truck as an incentive.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Who painted that?

As I was savoring a sweet moment with my son this morning, snuggled up on the couch, he wondered out loud some very interesting questions. With his t-shirt pulled up he carefully examined a small mole on his stomach. "What is dis?? Mom, what is dis on my belly?" I thought about telling him it was a dot or choosing a word that I wouldn't have to explain but I answered honestly and told him it was a "mole". Didn't matter what I told him really because he had already decided what it was and only wanted confirmation from his momma. "No, Momma it's not a mole! It's a paint. Somebody painted dat on me! Who did that?" This one way conversation goes on for a few minutes while he debates whether or not it is dry yet or if it black or brown and then he asks me again, but this time he wants an answer. "MOM, who painted dis on me?" I told him that God did. God painted that mole on you Samuel.

A few seconds pass as his mouth gapes open in utter disbelief and shock and says, "What dat you say?!?" We laughed at his reaction but at the same time I pause for reflection at the wonder of it. As an adult I have no less wonder at how fearfully and wonderfully I am made. While I don't know that God designed for me to be quite so *soft* (my children's words) in certain places I do know that the details of me are the absolute divine handiwork of my creator and to God be the glory!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Oh Mader Truck!

Definition of Bribery - the practice of offering something (Mader, Sally, and Lightning McQueen) in order to gain an illicit advantage.

Yes I will admit that I do hope to gain an advantage, although I would hope in the world of parenting it wouldn't be considered "illicit"! You see, I have resorted to the act of bribery to encourage our youngest to complete the potty training stage. He mastered the first stage with speed and enthusiasm (especially when given the opportunity to water the grass in 10 states during our summer vacation). It was the second and oh-so-nasty stage where he has put up considerable resistance. We have tried everything.

Stickers on the potty, stickers on the wall, M & M's (they gave him the runs), a foot-tall Batman, a box of BC Builder Dinosaur toys, avoidance of a nap, making him clean up the mess, wearing a diaper, not wearing a diaper (bad idea), fiber-filled foods.....you name it but apart from Spider-Man coming over for dinner I really felt like we had covered all the *creative* ways to encourage this boy.

That was until the Cars movie came out and he was given the "Mader truck". When I saw the love and adoration that he poured into this little die-cast truck I knew immediately - "I'll keep that toy hostage in return for some potty pooping!!!!" It's mean, I know but hey I'm getting desperate here!

Well it has worked like a charm yet also failed miserably. There have been days where he has earned that Mader truck, then a Sally car, and even Lightning McQueen. But in the act of a typical three year old, he regressed and with the saddest face kissed each of those little metal treasures and told them goodbye as I placed them on top of the fridge..... again & again (we keep the tokens on the fridge as a visual reminder of "what could be").

We all know these trials pass and as our pediatricians and mothers are always quick to tell us: "he won't go to college like that". O.K. while this may be true it doesn't serve as very practical advice for how to cope at this moment!

Seriously, that advice is under the assumption that he MAKES it to college!!! Let's see how this day goes and at the end of it all if our boy goes to sleep with his Mader truck then we know there has been a victory :)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Am I bloggin'?

ooooooo! I'm tellin' cause you are bloggin' and you don't know what your doing!!!! O.K., it's day 1 and we will see where this ends up. I have lots to say and even more words spinning around in my head that won't make sense on my tongue. Let's hope they come together on the page and my brain language translates well in the world of "the blog"!

I pray my efforts will expose *His Glory* in my weakness and failure. Feel free to post your opinions about anything, but be forewarned in the areas of breastfeeding, staying at home with your babies, and God's sovereignty. I get a little fired up and I don't mind climbing on top of my soap box to discuss those matters :)

Blessings to all!