Monday, December 31, 2007

Boey Meets Jesus!

The girl who's touched so many hearts and lives (the one who was featured on Extreme Make Over Home Edition in October) went to meet Jesus on Friday. What a beautiful little girl, inside and out, who made such a difference in the world in her 8 short years. Please pray for Boey's family at this incredibly difficult time in their lives. Hold your kiddos a little bit tighter in her memory, pray for a cure for pediatric cancer, and consider how short life is... who and what do you plan to live for if 2008 is your last year on earth?

For more information click on the link to Rebekah's Page on the left side of my blog.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas in a Nutshell

Beginning Saturday the 15th...

Saturday: Anniversary & Present Wrapping

Sunday: Laundry & Kiddo watching for some friends

Monday: More Laundry

Tuesday: Putting Away Laundry

Wednesday: Finishing the last of the Laundry

Thursday: Removing the clean laundry from it's recently put away locations. Packing, lots and lots of packing. Stress and turmoil. Steamers blended mocha to remove stress. Head to church, last minute work that took longer than expected. Getting on the road later than expected. Stuck in traffic. Arrive at families house in St. Helens for a Young family Christmas. Eat dinner. Give presents. Get presents. Lots and lots of presents (my step-mom really likes gift giving!) Stayed the night at Aunt Pam's house. Ditched some of the presents there to lighten the load while traveling. Go to bed pooped!

Friday: Leisurely got ready. Titus opened some birthday gifts from my family members. Mosied to the local Wal-Mart for deodorant (I knew I forgot something! I picked up My Girl for $5... my favorite movie ever too!) Headed up to Black Diamond, WA for an errand with some friends. Stopped at Wal-Mart for a neck heating pad thingy (cramp in the neck) and headed back down to Puyallup to stay with AUNT SUZY! Arrived at Suzy's to Weston and Logan who I've missed terribly (and Suzy, of course). Gave hugs, tickles and smiles. Tried to contain children who were super-excited. Stayed up too late :0) Ended up with Leeann in our bed. She's not fun to sleep with!

Saturday: Hung out at Aunt Suzy's. Met Steve, Heather and Micah for dinner at South Center. Shared a Starbucks. Ended up with both kids in our bed somehow. Even less fun than just having 1. It was on an air mattress too!
Sunday: Went to church in Kent, at Rob's home church. Had lunch with mom and Carmin. Helped clean one of the craft rooms (yes, there is more than one!) Hung out an had a merry time!

Monday: Woke up. Frantically tried to finish a last minute Christmas present that wasn't working out as planned. Wrapped it up just in time to fly out the door for Christmas Eve! Stopped by Wal-Mart for chips to bring to the party at Shelly's (Rob's older sister) and Rob's stocking stuffers. Bad idea. Don't shop on Christmas Eve! Celebrated with Rob's dad, step-mom, siblings and kids. Lot's of cool presents. Lot's of happy kids. $10 gift exchange. I got pistachios! Play card game. Win card game. Stay up late but not too late. Didn't help wrap presents (but I'm not bitter!) Go home happy!

Tuesday: Woke up. Opened stockings and presents with Suzy's family. Got ready. Got kids ready. Finished the second-to-last, last-minute gift. Ran out the door. Went to Rob's mom's. Saw real snow on Christmas! Enjoyed first round of presents. Enjoyed lunch. Enjoyed second round of presents. Finally finished the last last-minute gift that was having technical problems. Played Nerts. Enjoyed dessert. Lost Nerts (uncle Doug gave me a run for my money!). Ate too much, felt sick. Went back to Suzy's. Read the kids the Christmas story and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus. Figured out how to make sleeping arrangements work so neither of the kids were in bed with us. Slept well!

Wednesday: Up and at em. Went shopping. Bought much anticipated day-after Christmas half price favorite shampoo. Enjoyed time with just Rob, Leeann and Titus. Bought Office Calendar and Anti-Monopoly. Went to Rob's mom's and helped clean the other craft room (I find sick twisted pleasure out of cleaning other people's houses... just not my own!). Left the kid's there... along with 8 others... GRANDKID SLEEPOVER! Went on a date with Chuck and Shelly (did I mention there were NO KIDS?) Ate at Zoopas. Didn't have to feed anyone but myself! Saw National Treasure 2 after minor mix up (threaded the wrong movie... switched theaters. Switched back. Watched 2nd sent of previews, finally started movie 45 minutes after initial show time)! Went to see Chuck's office. Landed at Denny's because like a bunch of high-schoolers we didn't want the night to end! Drove back to Suzy's. Played Anti-Monopoly with Rob for 20 minutes, just to get the hang of it. Finally crashed at 1:00.

Thurday: Got up early to get the kids by 11. Ate yummy french toast :0) Okay, we were there at 11:15. Ate lunch at Shelly's. Played Anti-Monopoly with Rob, Shelly and KayLee for 4.5 hours. Won Anti-Monopoly :0) Ate pizza. Enjoyed time with the Barrios clan. Went back to Suzy's.

Friday: Packed up. Ate more french toast. Headed South. Stopped in St. Helens to pick up the gifts we'd left. Ate lunch and stopped at Wal-mart. Rob decided he had to use the restroom as we were getting into the van at Wal-mart so we stopped at the Starbucks across the street. You can't just use the restroom without patronizing right? Came home. 47 degrees. INSIDE. Unloaded the van. Set up cool Lightning McQueen tent. Unboxed ridiculously over-packaged toys. Rearranged kids' playroom and purged toys to make room for new toys. Cleaned out both kid's closets in an attempt to de-clutter and get organized. Put kids to sleep in new tent and sleeping bag, listening to new CD, worn out from playing with all sorts of cool new toys! Took a bath to unthaw (it was still only 65 degrees after a couple of hours). Read the first chapter of a book on getting organized. Spent way too long blogging what was supposed to be Christmas in a nutshell. Hmmm. Good thing I only do that every once in a while huh :0)?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Choo-Choo!

This is a picture of Titus with his new IKEA train set on his birthday!


I just wanted to let those of you who are watching from afar know that Titus's vocabulary is indeed increasing. He can repeat most words and he's even starting to use several of them on his own without being prompted (which is what we're looking for). His favorite is "Mommy, choo-choo!" whenever we go by the train station.

Get down, up, bath, hello, daddy, Leeann, binki, movie, night-night, and words for Thomas the Train and Tow Mater that can't even be spelled with the English language the way he says it! He hasn't used any hard C or K sounds, and he doesn't use any S's either. Those sounds might be holding him back a little.

He can also pray now, "Thank you Jesus, Amen" he says proudly. It's SOO cute!

Well, I've got so much to do today (see I'm blogging to avoid responsibility!), so I best be on my way. Just thought I'd give you a quick update!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Being a good parent by being a good spouse...

Now, here's something I believe strongly in... in order to be your best as a parent you you first have to be growing in your marriage. What do you do on purpose to show your kids how important your marriage is to you?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Has it really been 6 years?

Rob and I celebrated our 6th anniversary yesterday. 6 years! Wow, it seems like it was just a year or two ago that we tied the knot. We've both agreed that it's been a good 6 years. I'm continuously amazed at how good marriage has been. You watch t.v. shows growing up where there is a nagging wife, a lazy husband an intrusive in-laws and bad neighbors. The kid's level of respect generally is on par with the respect coming from a gnat and life is more-or-less miserable. Okay, so really, what were my parents thinking letting me watch so much Married with Children?

Anyway, I'm grateful that our 6 years have been filled with trials and difficulties as we learn to coincide with one another despite our different upbringings, habits, preferences etc., and also with so much joy and excitement as we learn, laugh and love together.

In 6 years, we've had the joy of bringing two kids into our family, we've lived in 2 different cities in 4 different houses. We've both gotten our Bachelor's degrees, we've driven 5 different cars, been to Disneyland twice and all the while we've had tons of fun! I'm loving life and on most days I'm loving marriage too :0) I tell Rob that I always love him and on most days I even like him too!

Really, I think Rob and I are perfect for each other. It's amazing how well we see eye-to-eye on so many things, and how committed we both are to the important things in life. I'd say, we're the perfect fit! Yay for 6 wonderful years of marriage!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Good Manners

I think most people would say that they want to raise well-mannered children. What do you do on purpose to help make sure your kiddos have (and keep) their manners. Also, what do you think it looks like in this day and age to have good manners? I, of course, am most interested in advice for 2 year-olds and 4 year-olds but I'll take advice for any age as my children will eventually grow up despite my protests that they stay this age forever!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Practical Parenting

I remember the days of 'cooking' with my best friend Angie in early elementary school. We would take all sorts of ingredients from our cupboards and mix them all together and taste them to see if we liked our creation. Every once in a blue-moon we'd make something we could at least choke down, but more often than not the dog wouldn't even go anywhere near our delicious food! (Come on, why not eat pickle-juice, flour, cumin, pepper and eggs? It looked good to us!)

Anyway, now that I'm older and so much wiser I understand how certain things work together to make food that is actually edible. When in doubt, there's this thing I like to call a recipe! Brilliant, I know... why didn't we think of that when we were 6?

My point? A gourmet meal rarely happens on accident, without a plan, the proper utensils and ingredients. It struck me today that good parenting doesn't usually happen on accident either. Funny, isn't it that we can be so meticulous about researching a car before we buy it, and painstakingly put care and attention into maintaining it properly--but more often than not we haphazardly raise our children and hope everything turns out okay?

We research homes and neighborhoods, schools and car seats. We put lots of attention into the perfect vacation and the precise coffee drinks. But, we trust that everything will just work together when it comes to our kids. Hmmm...

I'm theorizing that kid's rarely grow to their full potential without purposeful parenting (maybe you disagree and that's okay... but this is how I feel and well, this is my blog... :0). If this theory is true than doesn't it make sense that we should do things on purpose to grow them the way we believe they ought to be (good citizens, God fearing, honest, intelligent, hard-working etc.) We probably all differ on what we feel is most important for our kids, or what hills are worth dying on. But, whatever those things are it seems like we should parenting with a plan in place and a goal in mind.

SO, HERE'S THE DEAL. I'm going to post some questions over the next couple of days (assuming I get some response from my readers). To see what you think should/could/ought to be done to raise certain types of kids. You can disagree with my premise (say, that we should raise our kid's to be obedient), but make sure you give reasons as to why. I'm looking for some real life people to answer some of my questions about parenting. You may not be a parent yet, or children may have children, but I'd like to hear from anyone who's willing to comment!

Click on the comment button at the bottom of any post to pull up the comment screen and follow the directions. You're comment won't appear right away as I've had to put my comments on moderated status to filter some unwanted comments!

So, practical parenting question #1: Do you think it's important to filter what our kid's watch or listen to? If so, what filters do you put in place and how do you enforce them?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Talk about unfair...

I was checking my blog rounds today and anyone who's been reading my blog for very long knows that theirs a cancer kiddo named Rebekah who's stolen my heart. I met her on Leeann's adoption day because her daddy was our adoption lawyer. We were lucky enough to meet Rebekah when she was well enough to come see her daddy work for the day.

Anyway, she's a cancer SURVIVOR with a tough road ahead... but she's one tough cookie and so is her family. I strongly encourage you to spend some time getting to know her through her blog!

Anyway, I read on her blog today that on her 6th birthday (Saturday) their house burned and has significant fire damage. Yikes, I can't imagine the toll this is taking on their family. I get worn out reading about their trials and tribulations, though I'm always inspired by their positive words and encouragements (like hold your kiddos just a little bit tighter tonight, you never know what tomorrow will bring!).

Anyway, I know that I don't have a huge blog following per se, but I imagine many of you have been following her story through my blog. I would like to encourage you to 'adopt a family' this Christmas. I know this family has medical bills galore and they've received more than the lions share of heart-ache over these last couple of years. Let's be a blessing to them this Christmas!

You can donate via pay pal either to Rebekah's trust http://www.helprebekah.com/ or to their family (they can't use her trust for general family expenses) by going to paypal AT attorney adams DOT com - of course deleting the spaces and using the characters instead of the capitals.

You can watch a touching video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StlgiPLr8fU or of course, visiter her blog at http://rebekahspage.blogspot.com/. Please consider making a donation (however big or small) as I know everything helps.

You're prayers are also greatly appreciated. Rebekah had scans last week (to see if she's still cancer free) and they are waiting to get the results this week. Please lift this beautiful little girl up in prayer that she would be cancer free now and forever!

To make it easy to give, I've copied this from http://www.helprebekah.com/id16.html

Contributions can be made by clicking on the PayPal button above, on the front page or HERE. PayPal will allow you to make a contribution using your paypal account OR your credit card if you do not have nor want to have a PayPal account. No signup is necessary - just click and donate!

Contributions can also be made by going into any US Bank and asking to make a deposit to the “Rebekah C. Adams Irrev Trust.” Please be aware that some have reported problems with their local bank finding the account. Please make sure you copy down the name just as shown above.

You may also mail a check made payable to the trust to Scott and Frances or directly to the Trustee: Scott and Frances, Post Office Box 111, Banks, Oregon 97106 or Trustee Molly Mickley, 3305 SE Grant Street, Portland, Oregon 97214.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Look Out World... I'm 2!

My itty bitty baby turned 2 on Sunday! We celebrated by going out to Cold Stone for some ice cream after church and McDonald's, then we came home and attempted to put Leeann and Titus down for a nap. Somehow, a whole lot of ice cream made that difficult. After a while we finally let them out of their room to help us set up the Christmas tree since it was obvious sleep wasn't in their future. We had a great day, though it didn't turn out as originally planned. We were planning and doing a baby dedication and a birthday party for him, but with the storms, rain and snow over the weekend we decided to cancel it since all of our guests (my family) would be travelling a couple of hours in less-than-ideal conditions.

So, my Lightning MacQueen cake pan remains in the cupboard... to be used again another year perhaps? I have more pictures from Sunday, but I'll have to post them later. We're having a small group Christmas party at our house tonight and since I haven't been able to talk my husband into hiring a maid yet... I guess preparing the house my job!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

This is Pathetic

Rob and I were invited to a fundraising masquerade event just before Halloween. After much thought and a little inspiration from our favorite place... we decided to go as Starbucks baristas. I know--it's pathetic! A guy from Starbucks let us borrow his aprons and we dressed in black and khaki! We had a blast and got quite a few laughs about our attire.

Fun in a Fort

This is another set of pictures I've been meaning to post. We took every blanket out of our linen cupboard and built a fort in the living room utilizing all of our couches and chairs and even the dining room table. It was lots of fun... for both us and the kids!



A Little Late...


Here are some pictures from the Pumpkin Patch mid-October. We went with Leeann's preschool and for some reason I even remember writing a post about this... but it's not on my blog so it must have just been in my head? Anyway, I just wanted to post these pictures since they're cute and since this is kind of my 'parenting journal' ... and so you my faithful readers don't miss out on our family fun!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ode to Ice Cream

I have a serious addiction to ice cream. It's amazing how, regardless of the stress or worry of any given day... ice cream can take it all away in an instant! Yummy! Someday I might need to get professional help to break the cycle. As for today, I just finished my bowl (and consequently the carton). This means that tomorrow I'll have to go to the store for some more! Tis the season for peppermint candy ice cream too. Few things in life are more wonderful than peppermint candy ice cream!

In other news, we spent a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend in St. Helens visiting my family, and this week we are running ahead full-force with our crazy lives!

Leeann and Titus have discovered the art of jealousy and sibling rivalry. They still play together well, and give each other hugs and kisses regularly, they just also figured out that fighting between brothers and sisters is normal. I caught Leeann (my gentle, obedient child) hitting Titus upside the head the other day. Titus has gotten in a fair amount of hot water lately for biting, and they've both been squabbling more over toys and such. As for me, CALGON, TAKE ME AWAY!

Titus turns 2 on Sunday. Where, oh where did time go. How does life go by so fast? I still feel like I should be 16. How did I end up married with 2 kids a mortgage and a mini-van? The good news is that I'm finding that the older I get the more fun life is!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

How the Grinch Stole Christmas





Leeann and I are in a really fun play at our church called, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." We're inviting anyone who reads this blog and would like to see us in action (we are who-people) to come see the play.
Tickets are free, but seating is limited. So, please reserve your tickets by calling the church office at 926-5291.
Dates are:
December 6th at 7 pm
December 7th at 7 pm
December 8th at 4 pm and 7 pm
December 9th at 9 am, 11 am and 3 pm






We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Isn't it ironic?

Have you ever yelled at your kids to be patient? Think about the irony :0) Oh, the wonders of parenting...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

3 Years Ago...

I'm headed off to church in a few short minutes but I'm fondly remembering our Thanksgiving Service 3 years ago. During most of our service on Thanksgiving people share about what they are thankful to God for, and how He's blessed them in the past year.

Well, 3 years ago after the Thanksgiving service I became a mom. It seems so surreal looking back on it, but we made the announcement that we would be adopting Leeann and we took her home from church that day. I love being a mommy and Leeann has been such a huge blessing. She's taught me so much and she's such a special little girl. I'm thankful that God has brought her into our lives in such an amazing way. I'm also incredibly thankful for Kyndall's trusting in us and for her sacrifice and sharing this beautiful little blessing!

I only have 13 (or 14? I'm bad at math) more Thanksgivings with Leeann before I send her off to college. I'm sure I have at least 23 until she does Thanksgiving with her own family though :0) I am blessed!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Uh, yeah... he can do that...

So, here's a little excerpt from my Baby Center on-line parenting magazine. It sends my updates each week telling me what to expect and to give me timely advice for my son. Today I got, your "23 month old, week 3."

"19 to 24 months-Your child now understands as many as 200 words, though he'll probably use only 50 to 75 of them regularly. Many of these words will be nouns that designate objects in his daily life, such as "spoon" and "car." Between 18 and 20 months, his pace will pick up as he acquires ten or more new words each day. If he's especially focused on learning to talk, he can add a new word to his vocabulary every 90 minutes — so watch your language!

During this phase your child may begin stringing two words together, making basic sentences such as "Carry me." Since his grammar skills are still undeveloped, you'll often hear odd constructions such as "Me go." He's understood for some time that he needs language, and he'll attempt to name new objects as he observes the world around him. He may overextend the words he already knows, though, so that all new animals are called "dogs," for example.

Starting around his second birthday, your child will begin using three-word sentences and singing simple tunes. As his sense of self matures, he'll use "me" to refer to himself, and he's likely to tell you what he likes and doesn't, what he thinks, and what he feels. You may hear him say, "David want juice" or "Baby throw," for instance. (Pronouns are tricky, so you may catch him avoiding them.)"

So, um... yeah...

Titus is still acquiring words slowly but surely, and everything seems just fine and dandy (and of course, all kids learn at different rates, some start speaking in full sentences, he's got Leeann to speak for him, he's working his motor skills, etc., etc., etc.). Anyway, I understand all of this and that there's nothing to be worried about at this stage but I couldn't help but laugh when I read that article. 10 new words a day eh? How about 10 total words? Okay, really he probably has more like 20 now depending on how you count a word (when the can repeat it, when it sounds like a real word, when mommy understands it, when he uses it on his own for the correct object?) We were told to count it as the last one, regardless of how he pronounces the word. Progress. That's all that matters right?

Anyway, fun times had by all in the Buhl household. There's not much else to say today. Boy, is my life getting boring? I'm okay with that!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Weekend to Remember

I could write a post that would take you 3 days to read... but I'll try to restrain myself!

Rob and I spent this last weekend at the Hilton (a very nice hotel!) in Vancouver, WA where got the awesome opportunity to attend an event called, "A Weekend to Remember". This an AMAZING marriage conference that is and has been such a blessing in our marriage! We got to go to one about a year and a half ago and we got to go again last weekend. We will try to go as often as possible... that's how good it is. It is here that I shall insert a special thank you to Ben and Brendel for taking care of our kiddos and to Dean and Deborah for joining in on that effort, we are so blessed by your graciousness!

Anyway, I don't even know what to write because we learned SO MUCH. I guess I would simply encourage my married readers to make a strong healthy marriage a priority. It's so worth fighting for! Read books (the men's resource table had plenty of them on CD to aid in making this effort easier :0), attend conferences, do studies on marriage. A good marriage doesn't happen naturally--it takes work, effort and diligence. BUT IT'S SO WORTH IT!

Go to http://www.familylife.com/ and find a conference in your area to attend. The investment is priceless! Why have a mediocre marriage when you can have a great marriage? Your husband (or wife) affects every area of your life, and God designed marriage to be a great thing. I can't think of a greater investment you can make.

Rob and I are nearing 6 years of marriage and I'm still learning new things about him and about our relationship every day. I am continually amazed at this institution called marriage. Getting married is incredibly easy to do, but staying married (and being happy doing it) is so much more difficult. There's so much that goes into the make-up of an individual man and individual woman that bringing them together in marriage and expecting things to 'just work' without consistent effort seems silly if you think about it.

Okay, I'm going to stop now. But seriously, consider making some steps toward a healthy and growing marriage. Yay for a beautiful weekend!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Where did these people go?


This picture was taken at my Senior Banquet aboard the Portland Spirit in 2004. Pre-kids... what did we ever do with ourselves?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

MIA

Has anyone out there seen these children? They've been missing for some time now. I have kid's who look very similar to these... but I'm missing THESE ones. Anybody?



Monday, November 05, 2007

First two-word sentence!

"Get Down". I was ever-so-gently raising my voice... I mean quietly prompting Titus to get off the kitchen chair yesterday when he looked up at me with his big ole goofy grin and excitedly begun chiming in, "Get Down, Get Down, Get Down." He was so proud of himself and I was proud of him too of course!

Really, it sounded more like eet dnnn or something like that, but he's proudly repeated it again several times today. Silly boy!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A Picture of How God Feels

I got a brief glimpse at how God must feel this evening. Titus woke up from his nap and his was whiny and disoriented. I don't think he knew what his problem was as he was still half asleep when I walked through his bedroom door. He just looked up at me with these sad little eyes and put his hands in the air. I picked him up and rocked with him on the rocking chair as he burrowed his head into my shoulder.

"Ah, this is what God must feel like..." I said to myself. I love being needed. I love it when I'm the only person in the world who can comfort my son whom I love so dearly. I love when he shows my his affection and adoration. I love when he spends time with me and when he wants to be close to me.

Yup, I bet that's how God feels too!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Happy Birthday Rob!

Monday was Rob's Birthday. He took the afternoon off and we headed up to Portland to spend the day at IKEA. It was lots of fun and it turned out to be a great family day. Of course, I'm not complaining about getting to spend the day at IKEA... or with my family!
I just happen to think this is the CUTEST picture in the whole wide world of Titus.
And, here are my two favorite boys!

And my favoritist little girl!
And, here's the Birthday Boy! My best friend. The coolest guy ever. World's greatest husband, and funnest daddy! Happy Birthday Rob!

The After Party

We ended Rob's Birthday evening with doughnuts instead of cake. Cake isn't his favorite and Krispy Kreme is conveniently located on the way home from IKEA. Perfect!

The kiddos not only got the doughnut that they picked out, but they also got the 'hot and warm' free one too. They were just a little bit happy about getting to partake in daddy's birthday doughnuts!

Sugar shock!
Does life get any better than this?
Finger-lickin good!
The Birthday Boy!

Aww

Here's a picture I took of Titus reading in his Sunday School class the other day. I thought it was too cute not to share!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pictures!

These are the pictures of Leeann sleeping that I said I'd post a while ago. Better late than never?

This is Titus playing a game of hide-and-go-seek!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

So, it's not broken...

Here's our random news:

My dishwasher had latched just fine since I lamented about it's stubbornness the other day. Sorry for those of you who were grieving with me!

I turned the heat on today. We have a sick and twisted goal of keeping the heat off until November 1st, and turning it off for good on May 1st. Today, it was 64 degrees in here I woke up... which was a little too cold for even me!

Titus had his early intervention meeting Tuesday. Not much to note except that they'll keep up on his progress and he seems to be doing fine in all areas other than his verbal communication. Even that he does well with, he just doesn't speak English like I said earlier. She gave us some things to work on with him.

Leeann can recite verbatim, 5 little books about princesses and their values. It was a birthday gift and it comes with a CD that reads the books aloud to you. She's picked up on it quite quickly and can recite each of the books clearly and precisely. We're thinking about seeing if we can get her some educational CD's, like the presidents of the U.S.A., the states and capitals or the periodic table or other such. Let me know if you have any suggestions!

Rob's been keeping busy. He's doing a 5 week series on Getting Fit. You can listen to it online at www.northalbany.org. I recommend it, because they're good!

We had Rob's dad and brother down, and my cousin Jenni and her kiddos a few days later so we've been blessed with lots of company lately!

Well, I think that's all I've got for now. I think the kids and I are going to brave the wind and go grocery shopping! Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Herd of Elephants

My children are supposed to be napping. They are up in their room, which is right above mine and for some reason it sounds like I have a herd of elephants over-head. I'm sure that's what's up there because my kids are angels and the must be sleeping!

The kiddos share a bedroom and they are locked in there at sleeping times by a baby gate at the door. There are two beds, two dressers and a rocking chair-- not much to distract them or to destruct. For some reason though I'm hearing a consistent pitter-patter bolt across the floor overhead. Hmmm. It is occasionally interrupted by a loud "thud" and some whining. What are those elephants doing?

And now, suddenly all goes quite. Funny isn't it, how as a mother the times you worry are not the times where it sounds like elephants are going to fall through the floor? Rather, it's times that you can't hear anything at all. The ironies of life!

Monday, October 15, 2007

No, not the DISHWASHER!

I almost had a heart attack today. I had just filled the dishwasher full of dishes, poured the soap in and shut the door. But, when I went to latch it, the latch wouldn't move into lock position. The lock was broken. I fidgeted with it for a few minutes then I got out a butter knife to see if I could persuade it to move like it's supposed to. It was no use. I gave up and walked away contemplating my future without a working dishwasher.

A few minutes later I walked back to the dishwasher to see if there were any bolts I could unscrew, or anything I could take apart to try to fix the problem. What I discovered was a little hole right next to the latch that has a little metal piece that is in some way attached to the lock. I slipped the butter knife into the hole to see what it would do and it made my latch move! Yippie!

So, if you time it just right you can slip the knife in, move the latch part way (but not all the way or the door won't close) and push it closed before the metal part moves back... you can successful close and latch the dishwasher!

Never mind the fact that the top rack falls down on occasion and that you have to completely rinse all of the dishes before you put them in. Minor details! I'd rather have a half-functioning dishwasher than no dishwasher at all.

It's one of those appliances that are not a necessity. If the fridge breaks you have to beg, borrow or steal to get a new one. You simply cannot do without it. A dishwasher on the other hand... not the case. I suppose it would make a nice enclosed drying rack though, that way I wouldn't have to clutter my counter with a drying rack. Hmmm, that's a silver-lining if and when my dishwasher shall decide to completely revolt against me!

In the meantime, I'm enjoying the sounds of my running dishwasher. I'll take what I can get!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

My children MANIPULATIVE?

As a parent I try really hard to be consistent. If there's a rule, it needs to be followed 100% of the time, or else the rule holds no value. If my kids are allowed to jump on the couches sometimes, but not all of the time... the rule is of no use, my kids will continue to jump on the couch. Especially at this age where the world is so black and white to them (come on, do you really agree with those who say you can reason with a 2 year old?) rules need to be black and white and so do their consequences.

Like for us, running out (or even stepping out) into the street without holding mommy and daddy's hand equals (dare I write this for the world to see... gulp...) a swat. 100% of the time you will find this to be the case. This is a significant safety issue, and I'd much rather them learn this lesson with a swat than with a car! And, the reality is, Leeann learned this lesson after only 2 or 3 times and even Titus, at 22 months old (though he had a few more 'reminders' if I remember right) knows that he's not to step into the street.

Anyway, we have lots of variations of that around our house. The breaking of some rules equals time-out, some equal swats, some mean that you need to apologize to whoever you offended. Sometimes you have to back and try it again until you do it the right way, and sometimes you need to fix whatever you broke, tore apart, took from it's proper location in the house etc.

The hard part is the 100% of the time business. If they learn that they can get away with something while I'm on the phone for instance, they will try this. At church, Leeann sometimes things the rules no longer apply and so she retests the boundaries. When we have company over somehow they automatically want to see if the rules have changed.

So, in order to get them not to take advantage of the above mentioned scenarios, the rules and consequences still need to be the same. They may be modified (like taking them aside or into another room to administer whatever the consequence might be), but they must never be changed.

Before you critique our parenting too much, do I succeed 100% of the time? Of course not. Do I strive for it? Yes, because I think it's that important. I can see the behavior of my children quickly diminish when I put my guard down and selectively enforce or ignore the rules. Please don't spend the next 10 years of your life watching me waiting for me to mess up. If you really want to find this to be the case, come over to my house for the afternoon and I'm sure you'll find something to satisfy that need!

Anyway, all this to preface the title of my post. My children are manipulative! They learn so incredibly early what mommy's weak spots are. Today, I was mopping the floor. It was slick and Titus was wanting to come into the kitchen. I told him "No, no Titus, you need to stay out there or you will get an owie." as I replayed in my mind Titus running across my freshly mopped floor a few months ago to land smack on his backside in tears!

So Titus slowly backed out (obviously he understood the instructions) then he kind of looked up at me, tilted his head and pursed his lips for a kiss... then he came running across the floor to me! He didn't want to disobey me, he just wanted a kiss right? Oh, how sweet!

Wrong! He knew that it was the one thing that would melt my heart enough to let him get away with disobeying me. See, pure and utter manipulation from a 22 month old! Just to let you know, I made him obey first then just outside the kitchen we had a kissy-fest!

Leeann is famous for doing this while we have 'the talk' after a time-out. I will be explaining to her why she's in trouble, or I will be listening to her explain to me why she's in trouble and she'll just look at me, burst into tears and say, "Mommy, I just want to give you a hug!" Arggg. How do you deal with that? Again, we finish our conversation and then have a hug-fest... but it's so hard to stay strong in those moments!

Bottom line--being a mommy is tough work, but it's oh-so rewarding! Watching my kids daily grow into happy, healthy, snuggly (see I'm a sucker!) little people makes every inconvenient reminder of the rules worth while. I love my kiddos, and I happen to think they're the greatest most special and wonderful kiddos in the world... especially when they run to me with their arms wide open making the kissy-face, regardless of their disobedience!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Weekend Highlights

Highlight #1: A family in our church had 2 extra Casting Crowns tickets... and being Pastor's Appreciation Month and all, they invited us along with them! It was AMAZING! So good just to sit in the presence of God with no worries or concerns (working at a church makes that a difficult task on Sunday mornings!) If you ever get the opportunity to see Casting Crowns in person it is SO worth it! What a huge blessing. Speaking of, one of the people that opened for them sings the song "Choose to be a blessing for life." I LOVE that song. Casting Crowns sings so many amazing songs that are encouraging, education and just plain true--as brutal as the truth can sometimes be. Anyway, it was a HUGE HUGE HUGE blessing!

Also, Kyndall babysat Leeann and Titus which was also a huge blessing. This is the first time she's watched them and more-or-less the first time she's spent time alone caring for Leeann since she's was 16 months old. Kyndall has proven time and time again that she's respectful, trustworthy and responsible (after all, she is growing up graduated from high school, finished with her college certificate and working at a real job, living on her own. Though I still think of her as 15!) Anyway, being in search of a babysitter I thought about asking her but didn't bring it up to Rob. He brought it up however, and we both decided that it was time. The kiddos had fun, and so did we! Thanks Kyndall!

Highlight #2: Rob's dad, Steve and brother Dan... or rather, "Uncle Dan" came down on Saturday morning and went to the Beavers football game with Rob. They had fun and it was great to have them down here! Leeann and Titus became crazy kiddos in the presence of Uncle Dan, he's got such a way with kids! They also go to come to church with us on Sunday and they got to hear Rob preach which was extra special. I think it was the first time Uncle Dan had gotten to hear Rob preach too! I wish they could have stayed longer, but I'm glad they got to come regardless! Thanks for coming down Steve and Dan!

Highlight #3: We had a very special family date on Sunday. We packed up kind of late on Sunday night and headed to the coffee shop up the street from our house. They have a big screen t.v.! We got some drinks and watched Extreme Makeover Home Edition with Boey's story (see a few posts before this one). I cried on a number of occasions, and even Leeann had tears streaming down her face seeing Boey being sick. She was also rather distraught that they were breaking Boey's house but I assured her it was a good thing, that they were building her a new house that would be safer for Boey!

I found out last night that www.abc.com had full episodes of the t.v. show, so click on over and watch the show if you missed it on Sunday!

Highlight #4: Okay, it happened last night, not this weekend... but... Rob and Titus and I finished dinner and were talking in our bedroom while Leeann finished her dinner in the dining room. We were chatting for a little while and realized we hadn't heard from Leeann in a few minutes and I joked about her sleeping at the table (it's been a while since she's done that though it was quite common in her younger days). Anyway, we went out there and sure enough, she was fast asleep with her head resting on the table! It was SO cute. So, I put the kiddos to bed at 6:30 because they were both obviously tired (Titus's nap got cut super short). Rob went to his meeting and we were sitting on the couch at 9:30 and all of the sudden I heard Leeann yell from her room, "Mommy, I'm all done!" It was hilarious! I think she woke up thinking she was still at the table and wanted to let me know she's all done with her food? Cute. I have pictures, but I need to down load them. I'll try to do that soon!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Oh Man

Leeann's Cheerios ended up making their return to the real world on the living room floor this morning. I think maybe she coughed too hard because she's had a pretty deep cough lately. She's getting to hang out on the couch with 'the bowl' watching PBS. She doesn't seem to mind too much! So, it's a lazy day for us I suppose!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Having fun at the MCOY

M-C-O-Y... that's what Leeann calls it. For those of us who aren't four years old it is also known as the YMCA. Rob and I took the plunge and joined a couple of weeks ago. We've both noticed a little more padding over the last couple of years than either of us would like to see so we're hitting the gym 2-3 times a week. The kids go with us and go to the childcare center while we do cardio and weights, then we take the kids to the gym to 'exercise'. We play tag, we race and kick the soccer ball around. We even went swimming the other day which was extra fun!

I look forward to our times at the gym. It's not so fun to get ready to go but I'm always grateful we made the time once we are there. And, I'll be even more grateful when (hopefully) I start to see the results physically. An added bonus--I usually get to watch Oprah :0)

One thing that probably detracts from my goal of health and weight loss is my fairly new found blended mocha habit. I realized today that I've had one every day since last Friday. Friday I made one at home. Saturday I had a meeting with some ladies at Starbucks. Sunday I had a lovely date with my husband at Starbucks. Monday I had one at our Monday morning staff meeting. Tuesday I made one at home (I had a headache and it seemed to be the only thing that would make it go away... hmmm) and today I got a coffee with Kimmee, a high school girl that I'm mentoring this year.

Yikes. It seems that my habit is spinning out of control. And, like I said, I'm pretty sure it's not helping the waist-line issue!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Pictures!

I finally downloaded my pictures for the first time in a month (hence no posts with pictures lately!)


This is Leeann's First day of preschool picture!

This is Titus not wanting Leeann to get all of the attention!


The kiddos "helping" me make some cookies a few weeks ago.


The binki and blankie. This is how Titus looks most days and how I will probably always remember him looking in my mind as I look back on his baby/toddler years!!!
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22 Months Old

Titus turns 22 months old today. That puts his birthday a mere 2 months away. It will be his once in a lifetime extra special birthday since he will turn 2 on the 2nd of December! We went to Wal-Mart the other day and I was scoping out potential birthday presents already :0)

In other news, I packed away Titus's 6-12 month clothes on Friday and pulled out his 12-18 month stack. It was fun to get so many new treasures just by opening up a box! Once again Aunt Suzy has graciously passed along plenty of little boy clothes perfect for this stage! The pants fall off of him and every thing's a little baggy... but the 12 month pants are too short and some of the other clothes are getting a little too snug. So, I kept out his jammies, jeans and a few of my favorite shirts in the 6-12 size but I'm in process of laundering all the new clothes. It's like Christmas, only better!

Titus is becoming quicker to try and mimic more words, and some of the words he's already saying are becoming more clear. So, I feel like he's making progress! He gets more and more fun each day. It's so awesome to see both of the kiddos grow and grow and grow...

Yesterday the four of us sat on the couch and watched High School Musical while eating ice cream. It was a special treat for all of us and the kiddos LOVED it. Titus couldn't help but clap and dance along with the movie!

Well, Tuesday's are my day 'at home' where I get to do lot's of fun stuff like laundry and housework! I better hop to it, it seems as though I have enough to last me until bed time tonight!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Special People

There are four families that have had a lasting impact on me, three that I have never met. One family I met only briefly, on our adoption day. I read about them almost daily. I pray for them, I cry with them and I rejoice with them. I hold my kids just a little bit tighter every time I read about their pain and suffering. Sometimes I squeal with delight when I read good news. I'd like to introduce you to these four families who have been devastated by cancer in their young children.

Rebekah is a bright-eyed five year-old little girl who has been fighting cancer since April of 2005. Her daddy was our adoption lawyer and I started to work with him that same month Rebekah was diagnosed if I remember right. I was going through the stress and chaos of trying to officially make our daughter part of our family and they were going through the stress and chaos of keeping their daughter alive. I've been reading Rebekah's blog nearly from the start of her ordeal. She's fighting cancer and winning, though each day provides for trials as the family learns daily that fighting cancer leaves lasting wounds, physically, mentally, relationally and emotionally. Rebekah is a tough cookie and a beautiful little girl. She got to make a special trip down here on Leeann's adoption day, I'm so glad I got a small glimpse of her personality by meeting her in person. www.rebekahspage.blogspot.com.

Second is Rachel. I learned about her from Rebekah's blog. Her family lives in the mid-west if I remember correctly. She lost the battle with cancer at the beginning of the summer. She was only seven years old, with the faith of giant! Her family is still grieving daily as they learn to do life without their precious daughter. It's heart wrenching to read about their loss. I've cried on a number of occasions reading her blog. I started reading it a month or two before her death. I thought for sure she was going to win her battle. I wanted so badly for that to be the case! You can read about her here: http://www.caringbridge.org/mn/rachelhansen/index.htm

Third, baby Lexie. She lost her battle just 11 days ago. She was only 10 months old and battled cancer from birth if I remember right. They knew that they would likely lose her from very early in her life as she only had less than a 10% chance of survival. They made the most of her short time here on earth, and they didn't take a single day for granted! http://www.caringbridge.org/cb/viewHome.do I've been reading her blog for a couple of months now after seeing a news article about her.

Finally, there's Boey. I learned about Boey when I found out that Extreme Makeover Home Edition was coming to Corvallis (the town right next to ours). She's a spunky go-getter full of faith and life. She was diagnosed in January of 2006 and I believe she's battle cancer for the 2nd time. She's an amazing young girl and her story is worth following as she fights this battle with cancer. The latest post on her blog almost brought me to me tears... good tears! Extreme Makeover airs her show this Sunday at 8:00, so make sure you tune in! http://www.jenessabyers.com/. The call her a warrior, and a warrior she is indeed!

These are four girls with very different stories at different stages in their fights with cancer. Their families are all full of faith, hope and love and their daughters have all been an inspiration to me in so many ways. Click on some of the links above and get to know their stories... you'll be so glad you did, and I promise you will hold your kids a little bit closer tonight!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Weekend Fun!

This weekend was a great family weekend. We went to the library, and to Wal-Mart and swimming at the YMCA. We've watched movies, snuggled together and just generally spent some great time together. I love my family, and I love every opportunity that we get to spend time together as the four of us. I came home from work on Friday afternoon and Rob had cooked a yummy lunch of breakfast wraps. Leeann and I walked in (she was at preschool) to daddy cooking with a candle on the table and Leeann said something to the effect of, "Look mommy, we're going to have a date!" I love where we accidentally create such special moments that serve as wonderful memories for years to come. Our kids are a blessing and my husband is such a huge blessing. I love my family! It's only 5:00 and we still have 3 hours to hang out until the kiddos go to sleep, I love weekends like these!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Mine and Whoa...

Those are two other words that Titus has begun to use fairly frequently... I didn't want to leave them out!

I did have a conversation with Early Intervention this week and they are going to send a speech therapist out a couple of weeks from now, so we'll see what they say about Titus's lack of engish speaking skills!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Phantom Pregnancy

I feel pregnant. For the record, I am NOT pregnant... but I feel like I am. Don't go around starting any rumors because, well... that's never a good idea and at this point there is a 0% chance that it's true.

Anyway, for the last couple of days nothing has sounded, or smelled, good enough to eat. I've been super tired and on the days I didn't have to be at 7 like normal I've slept until 9 or 9:30, and only then because an outside force (the phone, the kids) woke me up.

I've had afternoons where I feel like I can't keep my eyes open, and though I woke up at 9 today I took a nap at 11:30 while I was snuggling on the couch with Titus. He's feeling a little under the weather, which makes him wonderful to snuggle with! I'm lethargic and absent-minded. I haven't felt nauseous and I don't feel like I'm coming down with a cold. I just feel--pregnant.

We don't have any more little bundles of joy in mind for our family, just in case you are wondering. God is God, and we are not... but those are our plans. The kids are finishing lunch which means it's almost their nap-time. Perhaps that means it's mine too? The only disappointment about not being pregnant is that I don't have a good excuse to sleep in late and take two naps in one day. Oh well!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tim the Tool Man Titus

In large part, I'm using this blog in lieu of a baby book. I write funny stories, updates and milestones in the lives of my children... and you get to 'listen' in on our fun.

So, here's an update on Titus: He grunts... like Tim the tool man Taylor from Home Improvement. He simply speaks in manly grunts making plenty of noises and sounds to get his point across. He'll hold entire conversations without saying a single English word. He mimics sounds, uses inflections in his voice and points adamantly... but he doesn't actually talk. My friend Jessi (Hi Jess!) has a little girl named Halle that is a few weeks older than Titus. I started reading about Halle saying all sorts of words around a year old. Now she seems to be talking in full sentences and Titus-- Well... grunts!

I also started reading several months ago about my friend Becky's daughter (Hi Becky!) using all sorts of words, and holding real conversations also. She's three months younger than Titus!

I thought Leeann was a late talker because she didn't start using her first words until she was 18 months old. Between 18 and 20 months she was regularly picking up words.

Titus is nearing 22 months old! Today, I got a babycenter.com updated on my "21 month old, week 4". It gives articles and polls, milestones and concerns for the average baby at that age. One of the questions today was, "Should you be concerned if your child isn't speaking in sentences?" Ha... I'm concerned that my son doesn't speak english!"

It stated that by the time a child turns 2 the average child will know 50+ words. Titus regularly uses: mama, uh-oh and bye-bye. He used to say papa a lot and sometimes says dada. He's said one time each amen, Jesus (though I missed those), banana, Brenna, and kitty. Oh, and he occasionally says ball too. That makes approximately 11 words if you count those that he's only used once. Oh, and thank you. He says thank you quite frequently, but he says it like a ventriloquist. He doesn't actually open his mouth, but he 'says' in under his breath, like in his throat. It's quite strange!

I don't think there's any reason to be concerned because he responds to commands, he engages appropriately and he uses plenty of sounds. They say boys sometimes talk later; as do those with older siblings that do all of the talking for them.

Oh, and I was reading today that the binki sometimes interferes with a child's ability to speak. My child is very attached to his binki. We try not to give it to him during the day much, but he still seems to have it a lot (you know... like last night when we were at a friends house playing cards and we wanted him to calm down. The binki and blanky did just the trick! Or, when he's throwing a fit in childcare at the YMCA. Or, if he wakes up in a bad mood we'll let him keep it a while. Oh, and then there's the occasional binki for our sanity in the car. The list seems to go on and on...)

Anyway, I think I'm going to call early intervention this week to see if there's any reason to be concerned or to see if they can just give us some simple tools to help encourage him to speak more. I'm almost 100% sure that he's just fine, but I know that early intervention can be a huge asset if there is something to be concerned about.

So, there you go... an update on my Titus! I'm going to try to attach a picture soon of him with his binki and his blanky... because that's how he is most of the time! I don't usually blog those, but it would be fitting for this post :0)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ridiculously Busy

I've written a dozen blog posts in my head as I'm flittering from here to there. I've even 'written' some really good, deep, meaningful ones. None of them have actually made it to the blog however because I'm in over my head with a little bit of everything!

I feel like I've been going and going for who-knows how long now! Last week I spent my 'spare-time' peeling wall-paper off of walls in some of our children's classrooms. This week I've spent my 'spare-time' prepping and painting along with some delightful volunteers.

On top of a plethora of paint, we officially joined the YMCA. We've gone 3-4 times a week for the last couple of weeks. It's GREAT, and I feel great, but at an hour a whack (plus shower time, and getting ready all over again...) it takes a bit of time out of my life that wasn't usually missing.

Oh, and this week I'm "teacher mommy", substituting at the preschool I used to work at (which happens to be at the church, and happens to be where Leeann goes to school... hence the teacher mommy).

Oh, and did I mention I'm launching a new Fall ministry which I feel desperately behind on... still lacking small group leaders for a program that starts next Wednesday? It kind of stresses me out, but I'm trusting that God already has in mind who He wants there... I just don't happen to know who those people are yet!

And I'm starting to mentor a high school girl this week, which I'm really excited about!

Oh, and a couple of ladies and myself have started a "Mom's on Track" accountability group. I'm trying really hard to be a great wife and a great mommy... so they're holding me accountable to some things that help keep me on track. This is necessary especially because I'm involved in so many different things, that I have to have my home life in order first and foremost. It's great stuff, but I've been working extra hard to keep my home in order in spite of all the craziness going on... which just takes that much more time and energy. Time and energy well spent however!

So, I have a list in mind about a mile long of things that I need to do... but just about NO time what-so-ever to breathe... let alone make progress. I'm just trying to stay afloat this week. Now I will exit my pitty-party, and get some sleep. It's probably best!

How do mom's do what they do? I'm simply amazed!

More Disney Pictures

I just realized that I still have more Disney pictures to blog...
Princess Minnie
Snow White 1 and Snow White 2
Dreams really do come true!
Leeann didn't know who Poccahontis was, but she knew she was a 'princess' and that made her special regardless!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Size Update

Leeann had a doctor's appointment yesterday about both kids got weighed:

Leeann is 39.5 lbs and Titus is 20 lbs 10 oz. and 30 inches tall. They both seem healthy and happy!

I hired a new babysitter

Yup, she's entertaining, educational, always available, always on time, and best of all... she's free!

Okay, that's a little misleading because she still has to have a safe responsible adult in the house with her and she lives inside of a square box... but still, she's GOOD!

This might sound silly to most of you... but it was an epiphany to me.

Let me back up: Rob and I decided to pull the plug on the t.v. a few months after we got Leeann. We didn't want her mimicking what she was seeing, and in general, we just wanted to protect our family time by not subjecting ourselves to hours in front of the screen each day.

We're not tyrannical. We're not freaks. We don't judge you for having t.v., it's just a choice we made for our family. We do rent and borrow lots of movies and the kiddos watch t.v. at other people's houses (though we do like to monitor what they are watching regardless.) But, I usually only put on a movie for my kiddos once or twice a week. And, for the last couple of months I'd turn Curious George on at 2:00 if we were home, if I remembered, and if the kid's weren't napping. (PBS is the only channel that comes in clear with our antenna).

Anyway, I literally have NEVER turned the t.v. on for my kid's in the morning. I just haven't thought about it... I don't know why. The other day however, I needed a shower and the kids needed to finish eating so I decided to turn the t.v. on for them and 'trust' them out in the dining room while I showered. They usually play in my bathroom while I shower.

The result? Mommy got ready in record timing and even got to eat breakfast before church! The kiddos and I all left the house in a less hurried mood than normal, and we got to church early. Yes, early! And, the shows they were watching were educational shows even... it's not like their brains are going to rot from a little PBS in the morning. Why, oh why did I not hire this babysitter sooner? She's AMAZING!

So, I told Rob that night that I no longer wanted to fear the t.v. There really are some great shows on PBS that are funny, educational and very entertaining for both of the kids. I still don't want the t.v. on all day, and I still don't want my kids watching it for hours at a time... but PBS is indeed my new favorite babysitter!

Monday, September 10, 2007

A day in the life of a working mom

Being a working mom has it's challenges, it's rewards and it's drawbacks.

Really, it's kind of a difficult life to balance on most days. Take today for example. I work 20 hours a week and we've worked it out where I do many of my hours in the office while Leeann is in preschool. Titus goes to a friend of mine's house and I get the bulk of my work done while sacrificing as little time away from my kids as possible. Today is one of those days I'm supposed to be in the office.

Rob takes Titus, or Titus and Leeann whenever possible, so Titus is only in childcare 6 hours per week (except Sunday mornings when they're in their Sunday School classes).

Anyway, back to today. I'm supposed to be in the office today, but Titus is running a fever. He's breaking 3 eye teeth and one molar, so I'm pretty sure it's due to teething, but I don't want to drop my child with a fever off at Eroica's house since she's got a 4 month old and a 2 year old. That's just not nice!

So, I got the kids ready this morning and took them to the coffee shop with me for a staff meeting. They ate breakfast and behaved quite well. Then I packed them up, took Leeann to school, went back to the coffee shop for the remainder of the staff meeting and now Titus and I are hanging out at home killing time until we have to pick Leeann up again.

Needless to say, quite unexpectedly, I'm not getting my time in the office today. That's okay, a working mom always has to have a Plan B right? So now, I'll have to squeeze what I needed to get done today into the remainder of my week. No problem?

Well, working from home proves to be difficult on most days. It takes me an hour to get done at home (with interruptions) what it would take me 15 minutes to do in the office. It's just one of those things, any mom can sympathize I'm sure!

In order to get into the office where I can be most productive I have to do one of the following:

1.) Bring my kids with me, but then the problems with interruptions are the same, and every one else in the office suffers :0)

2.) Arrange for child care which takes time to organize, get the kids ready, drop them off etc. It also costs me either time (to pay back the baby sitting by swapping kids) or money, by paying a babysitter.

3.) I can call Rob away from work to bail me out. But, let's face it, he has a job too, and that usually isn't an option because he's got work he needs to get done.

4.) I do my work while Rob's home (which already happens some anyway) but then that takes from family time... which we try to be protective of.

See the dilemma? So, as long as things work according to plan, I'm able to get most of my hours in and most of my job done with as little time, energy and money expended into the childcare efforts as possible. The problem is, things rarely work according to plan! And, if I had enough money to pay a babysitter for both kids while I worked... then, well, I wouldn't need to work!

I must say however, that I love my job. I wouldn't trade my job for anything! I don't regret the time that I spend working, because I feel like it makes me a better mom even though I spend more time away from my kids than a stay-at-home mom. See, I'm the kind of person that needs to know that I have an identity outside of my kids. I need to have a project, a passion, a hobby... something besides my kids that I get the opportunity to pour in to. Not at the expense of my kids, but alongside being a mom. I feel like I'm better able to focus on my kids, and on being a good mom, when I have some outside chaos in my life also. I get depressed on days that I'm home, doing nothing, wandering around aimlessly. So really, I feel like the kiddos get a better me when I'm not solely devoted to wiping noses and dishing out animal crackers. (I know this isn't the case for everyone, but it happens to be for me... props to all those stay-at-home mommies who can devote all of their time and attention to their kiddos without going insane... you deserve a million blue-ribbons!)

Not to mention, I have the coolest job in the world! I get to lead and influence adults who are making an eternal difference in the lives of so many kids! Which, if you think about it, does directly affect my kids also! If I won the lottery today, I think I'd still choose to keep my job. It would be easier, because then paying for child care wouldn't be so difficult... but I really don't think I'd quit. Maybe then, I'd just volunteer, but I certainly wouldn't quit. And I'd hire a maid!

Regardless, this is the stage of life we're in. As a family, we chose for me to work part-time to help make ends meet. We knew that choice would have consequences both good and bad, and it's what we've chosen for our family. I admit though, sometimes it's difficult... especially during busy seasons of ministry (Yeah, keep that in mind, since Rob and I work at the same place our busy seasons usually over-lap!). It's difficult, but still a huge blessing. I'm glad God is providing for us by giving me a job that I love. I love my life! God stretches me and strengthens me daily.

He's been teaching me a lot by this juggling act of being a Children's Ministry Director, a Pastor's wife, a mom, a woman of God, a friend, a cook, a maid (what I wouldn't pay to have one of those around!), a chauffeur, an owie-fixer, a problem solver, and so much more...

With that, I'm going to go spend some special time with Titus since it's just he and I right now... that doesn't happen very often. I should probably take advantage of it!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Reason #6 Not to Mop Your Kitchen Floor

I was mopping my kitchen floor like a good wife and the kiddos were obediently staying off the slippery surface, playing nicely with each other...

...until, like a classic movie clip Curious George (i.e. Titus) came running across the kitchen floor slipping on a banana peel (i.e. a freshly mopped floor) and fell backward just as I was screaming, "No, Titus, doooooon't!". It was hard not to laugh once I realized he was fine. I bet he won't come into the kitchen when I'm mopping anytime soon. Then again, I'm not likely to mop again anytime soon and his memory seems to rival Dory off Finding Nemo.

In other such Titus Monkey news, I found him on my freshly dusted kitchen table today... undoubtedly helping?

He also learned how to undo the buckle in the Costco shopping cart and thoroughly enjoys standing up in it.

He climbed to the top of Eroica's play set, up a straight up wooden ladder the other day, and he was appearing to attempt to decend down a climbing wall... until I loudy yelled at him in a panic!

Oh, and he was caught trying to climb up Rob's bookshelves at work today in attempts to get some toys. Good thing they're bolted to the wall eh?

Oh, and I caught him climbing up the baby gate too... uh-oh! Not the baby gate!

Also, he came proudly running into the living room today displaying Leeann's disposable camera's that had been tucked away on the kitchen counter. He can reach the counter, climb effortlessly on furniture, and he fears nothing. Anyone want to contribute in advance to his first E.R. bill... it's gotta be coming soon!

And just in case your wondering, I don't actually have 5 other reasons not to mop the kitchen floor, though I'm sure I could come up with some!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

"Honey, Sweetheart"

Tonight Rob and I are watching Sarah. She's 2 and cute as a button. Let's be honest though, Rob's locked up in the bedroom working on school work, and I'm in the kiddo's room working on my laptop. I was working, now I'm blogging, but I digress! Sarah, Leeann and Titus are entertaining each other rather well, making my babysitting job more of a "make sure they don't hurt themselves or anyone else" kind of job. I'm okay with that!

Sarah and Leeann are playing with their baby dolls and calling each other "honey" and "sweetheart". They are trying to convince me to sing to their baby so it will sleep, and they are bossing each other around. "Honey, make sure you put the books right here...", "Honey, sit down." etc.

Titus, on the other hand, is rolling his John Deere Tractor through the doll house, climbing on the little chair, making an abundance of noise and throwing toys.

Girls will be girls and boys will be boys eh?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Moment Where Time Stood Still (Day 5)

Months of planning, saving and preparing... and it all came down to this moment. This is what Rob, Mee Maw, and myself all wanted to go to Disneyland to see. The moment where Leeann got to meet her best friend, her favorite princess... Cinderella! She just about knocked her over when she ran up to give her a big hug. Her eyes were huge and she was so excited, I wish all of you could have been there. This moment made the 40 hours in the car and the months of scrimping and saving absolutely worth it!

The hug.
She was showing Cinderella where she was at on the front of her princess autograph book.
Cinderella etched her name in Leeann's book, so she'll never forget the moment they met!
Leeann got up and started dancing and twirling her dress. Cinderella thought that sounded like a great idea, so she got up and danced with Leeann! I've replayed these moments in my head over and over again since we've been back. I think this is one of those moments that a mother will never forget! My only regret is that we didn't get to spend more time and Disneyland. We've decided that we will definitely need to make sure we can go for another day or two on our next trip. Two days in the park just weren't enough! I wouldn't trade seeing that moment in Leeann's life for anything in this whole world! I love being the mommy of a princess!

California Day 4

On Sunday, we once again woke up later than we should have, but that's okay! We originally wanted to go to church at Saddleback on Sunday morning, but it was an hour from where we were staying, so we decided to go to the Museum of Tolerance instead. This museum has a great Holocaust exhibit, and Rob and I have greatly enjoyed our studies of the Holocaust. We recently learned about this museum from the movie Freedom Writers, and we decided that that's what we do on Sunday afternoon.

So, we ate brunch at Denny's again. There was only one other white family in the whole establishment, that was a new experience for me. We did a little shopping at Target to gear up for the rest of our trip and we stopped at Starbucks (see Rob's blog). We also dropped Rob's tux off at Men's Warehouse and went to a grocery store.

Well, I guess by the time we did all this Titus was tired and cranky and didn't want anything to do with... well, anything. We got on the freeway and missed our exit, so we had to improvise by taking the next exit and trying to back track. By this time Titus was irate, tired, irritable and... well... screaming at the top of his lungs. He couldn't be consoled for anything.

So, eventually after feeling desperately lost Rob pulled over and pulled Titus out of his car seat an snuggled with him in a small patch of grass on the side of the road.

I couldn't tell from the AAA tour book whether the museum closed at 4, or started doing it's last tours at 4. Since it was already after 3 we decided that if it closes at 4 it's no longer worth the effort to try to find it. I bit the bullet, used some roaming minutes and called the museum. Good news, it's actually open until 6! Bad news, the Holocaust section was under construction. Yeah, well, maybe I should have called BEFORE we set out on our wild adventure!

So... we ended up here... which wasn't such a bad detour!
Yes folks, I can officially say I drove down Rodeo drive!



This says the Beastie Boys just in case you can't read it. I was taking all of these pictures out the car window as we were driving!

Titus eventually fell asleep and we slowly made our way to the hotel in Anaheim. When we got to the hotel Rob looked up where we had been in relation to the museum. We were running parallel to the street it was on, only a few blocks away.

Oh well, it was an adventure!