It's been a busy 6 weeks. In addition to all the normal craziness surrounding the holidays, Jeff and I both celebrated our birthdays and our 6th anniversary. Despite the chaos, it's been full of delight. Graham loved Christmas last year, but this year it's at a whole new level. I just stared at him and watched the delight in his eyes as he watched the The Polar Express one night. I swear his eyes were sparkling!
Graham just makes me smile...especially at Christmas. His imagination, his choice of words, and his facial expressions just make my day. Here are a few of Graham's humorous holiday quotes:
"He's a mean one. Mr. Munch."
Graham's review of the movie White Christmas. - "I don't like the shooting. I DO like the singing!"
After we returned home from a Christmas Eve party, he had this conversation with himself: "I didn't think they were going to have cookies. But they did have cookies. (short pause) Silly Graham!"
He also told his Grandma that Santa was stinky...probably because of his reindeer.
After he got a candy cane from the Santa at preschool, he said, "It tastes like cement." His teacher stated, "You mean it tastes like peppermint?" "No, like cement," Graham said.
A year ago, I cried when I met our sweet Lucy. When I saw her, her hair looked black. Her skin was dark. Some people called her my little Hispanic baby. But, now her jaundice is gone...her skin looks like mine. And her hair is light brown...looks like it might turn blonde. She's got beautiful blue eyes, and her cheeks are still just as full if not fuller than the day she was born. She still has those precious dimples.
I've been a little emotional today. I've thought about what a whirlwind this last year has been. But I have tried to treasure this year a little more than I did the first time. This time I knew how quickly it would go by. This time I knew that 3:30 am feedings wouldn't last forever. This time I knew she wouldn't always want to lay her head on my chest. This time I knew that before long I would be tucking her into a big girl bed, potty training, and dropping her off for her first day of preschool. And so I was able to stay a little more sane during those crazy first days, weeks, months.
I linger after she's fallen asleep in my arms, because I know these moments are precious. Before long I'll be at my daughter's wedding. Maybe I'll be reading excerpts from this blog at her rehearsal dinner. And I'll continue to linger over all those "firsts" knowing that they may soon be her "lasts."
I don't want to forget this first year. I want to always remember her contagious, uncontrollable laugh. I want to remember her blowing kisses all day long. I want to remember how she adores her brother and how she plays cars and trains with him. I want to remember the crazy dance she does every time she hears music. I can't forget how she cries when she sees the cow at Chick-fil-A or how she tears up when I simply say the word, "No." I can't forget how she would probably be content with me holding her all.day.long.
I love Lucy like crazy, and I can't wait to see what a beautiful woman she becomes. I can't wait to see what God does in her life. Happy First Birthday Lucy Paige. I'm so blessed to be your mom.
Shepherd's Pie and honey glazed carrots were for dinner. Graham wouldn't touch the Shepherd's Pie. He just kept asking for more carrots. "I'm so glad you love carrots, Graham. Did you know that carrots are so good for you? They help you see better." (By the way is this just an old wives tale? Hope I wasn't lying to him.) Anyway, after a few helpings of carrots, I insisted that the boy eat some meat and taters. A few minutes later Graham looks at me with his eyes halfway closed. "I can't see! I can't see!" "Why are you saying you can't see?" "Because I need more carrots." And so manipulation begins. Or maybe it just continues.
I confess that I feel guilty when I let my kids watch a TV show, and I feel proud when I've read them two books in one day. I confess that I consider myself a good mom when I've cooked a meal from scratch and when we've done a craft at home. I confess that sometimes I determine whether I've had a good day or bad day based on if my kids have taken their naps or not. I confess that I think I have the ability to make my kids smart, beautiful, and a follower of Jesus. I confess that I often care more about how my children act in public than their actual hearts. I confess that I compare my children to other people's children. I confess that I judge other people's parenting skills. I confess that I'm insecure about my own parenting skills. I confess that sometimes I put more thought into the cute outfits I want my kids to wear than in my children's salvation. I confess that I'm really just a screwed up human being desperately hating my never stopping sins who is asking God to do something amazing, life giving, and eternal in the hearts of my children. I confess that despite my fleeting, doubting ways, I want Jesus for myself, and I so fervently want Jesus for my children.
So G started school today. We've been talking about it non-stop for the past few weeks, but today he cried like a baby when I left him. What happened? He was so excited about it. His teacher sent me a text a few minutes later saying that he cried for about 10 seconds. So, that makes me feel a lot better about how the day will go. He loves kids and having activities to do, so I think he's gonna love it! I guess I was a little anxious too, because I left without even grabbing my wallet. But I did remember my two kids, G's backpack, and a lunch. I hope I'm not forgetting something else. I guess we'll see how the first day went this afternoon.
If you ask me, the front door wreath is always a great clue to what the rest of a person's house looks like. It's one of the areas where someone can be creative on the outside of the house. Because let's face it...some of us don't like the outside of our house nearly as much as we like the inside of our house. I'm embarrassed to say that until recently, I never had a wreath on my door. That is until I found one I loved.
About a year and a half ago I fell in love with this wreath posted on the Purlbee website. I started following the templates, and it morphed into the wreath pictured above which is hanging on my front door. Everyone has been posting about felt and yarn wreaths these days. I absolutely love them. I have had this wreath up for a while, so I'm looking for some inspiration for a new one. Maybe I'll try Lydia's yarn wreath, or maybe I'll try this wreath with the burlap I have laying around. I'm just not sure. Let me know if you have ideas. If I don't hurry, it will be Christmas before I have something up!
So for those of your wanting a potty training update (I'm sure there are so many of you out there), I thought I'd give one. This conversation from last week pretty much sums it up.
Me: Don't you want to wear underwear?
G: But I don't want to wear underwear.
Me: Why don't you want to wear underwear?
G: Jesus died on the cross for my sins.
Hmmm....not sure how to take that. I could think deep. I could go into the theological implications of this statement. But, I'm just going to assume he isn't ready. He told me today that he wanted to pack up his underwear and send them to his cousin. So needless to say, potty training isn't going well. I'm taking a potty training sabbatical before I go crazy.
Did you see where Wipeout was filming in our local Target? Oh, wait. That wasn't Wipeout. That was me and the kiddos yesterday.
It all started when I told G he was going to wear underwear. A year ago I thought G was a genius child when he potty trained himself. But it only lasted for 2 weeks, so we've been potty training ever since. I've tried a million things, so this was just one more attempt at getting him to commit to potty training. I decided to take the plunge and let him wear underwear to Target. BIG MISTAKE.
While we were in the checkout line, I almost completely wiped out on the floor. I looked down, and the floor was covered in water (or so I thought). As I was trying to get the attention of an employee to inform them of the mess, G jumped up from the back of the cart yelling, "I'm wet!" Wet was an understatement. He was drenched.
Completely flustered, I got out of line and went to the bathroom. LP was screaming, and I realized she had turned around in the basket and gotten her foot stuck between the bars. "Oh great, they're going to have to cut these bars off!" My mind was racing, but I slowly worked her foot out. I got both kids out of the cart and started thinking about my next steps. I had no idea how to hold LP and help G go to the bathroom and change clothes, so I strapped LP onto the changing table and walked back and forth between the stall and changing table. A grandmother who was very concerned about LP offered to help. I of course did not refuse. They do have a sign in there that says, "Do not leave child unattended" but they forgot to put up a sign instructing you on how attend to your baby and your potty training child. I had no idea what I was doing. But, somehow I helped G go to the bathroom, put a diaper on (found out later it was LP's diaper), and changed his shorts. It was such a fiasco. I mean seriously, how are you supposed to hold on to a baby and help a kid go to the bathroom who can't undress himself? Any advice would be welcomed.
Since G was obviously not ready to give up diapers, I went back to the baby aisle to get some more. As I got back in line, a lady next to me told the cashier how there was water all over the floor and that her son had just fallen in it. "I'm just glad it was him and not a old person, " she said. I was pretty much freaking out inside. I could have gotten someone hurt AND there was a kid next to me who was covered in G's urine.
But what is the mom etiquette in a situation like that? I sure wasn't going to inform the kid that he had a 2 year old's pee all over him. Now that would have been a scene. For once I was thankful that G drinks a million cups of water a day. My well hydrated child fooled everyone into thinking there was just water on the floor.
And so we left the scene of Wipeout and headed home. I had one more stop planned, but I couldn't handle any more outings with my kids for the day. I needed to be home. I needed them to take naps. I needed to figure out an exit plan if this ever happened again. Potty training is going to be the death of me.
"Those things are so archaic. Your baby could die in one of those, you know." Well, maybe no one said those EXACT words, but I heard some bad things about Johnny Jump Ups. I didn't even think they were still being sold in stores.
But I didn't care, and I thought they looked like fun, so when Graham was about 6 months old, I bought one at a consignment sale. He loved it, and Lucy loved it too...until that one dreadful day.
Lucy was having a blast jumping in her Johnny Jump up while I was working in the kitchen. Laughing, squealing, and then POP. I turned my head around to see my sweet daughter flying backwards and watch her head hit the hardwood floors. It was like I was was watching a bungee jump gone awry. It all seemed to happen in slow motion. The vertical belt on the Johnny Jump Up completely split into two pieces, sending Lucy into the air. I ran and scooped her up. She stopped crying within a few seconds. More scared than anything.
And so our Johnny Jump Up died that day. I'm not too sure I will buy another one. At least I know to never buy one from a consignment sale. I think the person that had it before me probably had an baby that came out weighing 20 pounds.:) You just never know these days who has been jumping in your Johnny Jump Up. I'm thinking that you need to be able to get a BabyFax report when you buy used baby items. You know, like a CarFax report. They need to give you the height, weight, and cleanliness of the baby who used the product before you buy something like that. Cause you just never know...now do you?
The smell was awful, and it was distinct. Jeff and I realized it at the same time. It was a skunk. Jeff ran outside to check on Steve. I did what any good housewife does in the time of crisis... I Googled "how to get the skunk smell out of a dog." After making some concoction using all my baking soda and vinegar, Jeff advised me it wasn't Steve. He gave him a bath with soap and water, and Steve by no means smelled good, but he sure didn't smell like a skunk. The skunk must have sprayed right outside of our house. It was 10:30 p.m. I was exhausted, and I thought I was going to throw up because our house smelled so bad. But what are you going to do? I sure didn't want to go hunting for that skunk. So we went to bed trying to breathe through our mouths and hoping the smell would just disappear.
The next morning, our house still stunk. We had become so used to it, that we didn't even realize it until we left and then came back in the house. I became paranoid that our clothes smelled and that everyone would run away from us. When Graham got up, I told him the whole story about the skunk. And like a good boy, he wanted to go outside to check out this skunk. Thank goodness the skunk wasn't around.
A few hours later it was quite evident that G needed a diaper change. One disgusting diaper to say the least. As I was changing him, he looked at me and said, "Ohhhh, there's a snunk (skunk) in my bottom!" I couldn't control my laughter. In fact, it was so stinky that I wouldn't have been surprised if that skunk just hopped right out of his diaper. Needless to say, we've been snunked...in more ways than one!
I thought I'd just share in more detail what I made for Lucy's room. First up: the birdie mobile.
Seven months ago I was doing Google searches for "things to do on bed rest" and "what to do when you're bored." It was 100 times better than bed rest in the hospital, but I was still going stir crazy. One of the things I decided to do was make a bird mobile for Lucy's room. I found this adorable mobile and tutorial online and got to work. It involved hand sewing, but what else did I have to do, right? When deciding on fabrics to use, I think it's best to mix and match. I just used random fabric I had around the house simply because I really couldn't go shopping. The beauty of this mobile is that the fabrics don't necessarily go together on individual birds but as a whole project they flow quite nicely. Clear as mud, right? After you sew and stuff the birds, it's fun to add embellishments. Maybe some wings, buttons, or a ribbon tied here or there. You get the picture. The possibilities are endless. Check out this website if you want to download the bird pattern!
I've been meaning to post these pics for a while, but I just haven't gotten around to it. Lucy's room used to be Graham's room, and we were lazy and just didn't want to paint. Plus, I love the color blue! So I transformed this former blue boy's room into a blue girl's room. I recovered Graham's bumper pads, made a bird mobile, used some embroidery hoops to spell out her name above the bed and threw together a wreath. The room is very random, but I love the randomness of it. Blue is for girls too...I hope you agree.
I sat down to right a post about something cute that Graham said, but I think I'll save it for another day. I can't get these storms out of my mind. I think about family who barely escaped death in Tuscaloosa, I think about videos of the most ominous looking tornado I've ever seen, I think about me pacing the hall in the early morning debating on whether we should wake the kids up and get to our "safe place."
Two years ago a tornado struck about a mile away from us and it killed a young mother and her baby who was only a few weeks younger than Graham. I've been a little more terrified of tornadoes since then. On that Good Friday, I saw the tornado on TV and heard the news anchors calling out street names near my home. I sat in our "safe place" with my two month old son scared for our lives.
There's a part of me that wants to move where tornadoes don't exist or build a storm shelter or do something completely radical. I want a really safe place. And then I'm reminded that if the Lord wills that I no longer live, I will die and if the Lord wills that I will live, I will live. No storm shelter can alter God's will for me and my family. It's terrifying and yet at the same time completely comforting. My "safe place" is in Jesus and Jesus alone.
So, I've got a baby who thinks she only needs to nap for 15 minutes a day. Need I say more? I haven't done much blogging. But, it looks like she is improving, and I hope that means my blogging will improve as well. I have too much fun writing to abandon this thing altogether. I will be back. Meanwhile, you should check out Jenna's giveaway. She's got some really cute art prints that I think would be adorable wedding or baby gifts. The two pictured above are some of my favorites. I'm thinking about asking Jenna to change the second one to "SLEEP BABY." I mean, little Lucy is still adorable and sweet, but I just wish she would sleep! So go check out Jenna's blog today! You might just win a free art print.
Have you seen my friend Jenna's blog? Everyday Clever is cute, fun, and full of great design ideas. Jenna was one of my college roommates and is now teaching while finishing her interior design internship. So...I think you should check it out. You might just get inspired to do something new to your home!
It's storming today, and the worms are out...at least in our kitchen. I wasn't up for getting out, so instead we stayed at home and made dirt pudding. I almost forgot about that stuff. But then I had a 2 year old and was quickly reminded. Graham sure enjoyed it...just like he enjoys anything chocolate. He told me the worms were scary, but then he ate them, so I guess they weren't too scary. I didn't have any Cool Whip, so I made real whipped cream, and it made it even better! You can tell from the pictures that G had to have a bath before nap time. Chocolate covered him from head to toe!
I asked G if he wanted to read a book, and he went to the bookshelf and pulled this one off. Then he told me, "Read self." Okay Graham, knock yourself out. He sat there for a few seconds so he could "read self" and then gave the book to me so I could read it to him. I said, "Don't you want to get a book from your room that has pictures?" He replied, "Read this." So I began reading him The Summary of Christian Doctrine. I'm pretty sure applying for seminary is on his agenda for tomorrow.
"Aw!" "Almost!" "Fall in Water!" "Splash!" "I did it!" I bet you're a little confused right now, but these are all things that Graham said last night as we watched Wipeout. The kid loves that show. Who would have thought? I looked at him with a smile thinking about all the times I had gotten frustrated with him throughout the day. Wanting affirmation that everything was okay, I reached over, grabbed his hand, and said, "I love you Graham." He simply retracted his hand and said, "Space."
And of course I knew exactly what he meant. When he follows me into the bathroom I say, "Graham, I need some space." I wasn't sure he completely understood me. But I'm now convinced he has a pretty good handle on what "space" means. Okay Graham, I'll give you some "space." Just don't turn into a teenager too quickly, you hear?
This is the book that Jeff so appropriately chose as Graham's potty book. Thank you very much Jeff. I love cleaning up mudpies.
And in other news, this is what our son looks like when when tell him to close his eyes as tight as he can. It is also what he looks like when you tell him to smile for the camera. Go figure.
And this is our happy little girl. I'm thankful to be saying "happy." She's been going through a very fussy stage, but I think we're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm at least happy that she's been sleeping really well. Eight to ten hours between feedings at night! Graham was about 7 months old before he started doing that!
If I were married and didn't have kids... at least not kids that run around the house like crazy and need to eat every 2 hours, then I think I would do this for Valentine's Day. Pretty cute, clever, and romantic, huh? Can't you just picture a couple lounging on the pillows and eating Chinese takeout with their chopsticks? It's a Valentine's Day fort featured on Design Sponge. All of you friends out there who can ship your kids off for the evening or haven't yet embarked on the journey of parenthood should definitely try it out. What's more fun than building a fort? And if anyone dares to build a romantic fort, please send some pics. I think I'm in love with Valentine's Day.
...there was a red balloon and a little boy turning two! Yep, I'm the mother of a two year old. And this two year old loves the moon, and he's pretty fond of the story Goodnight Moon, so I decided to put on a Goodnight Moon 2nd birthday party. We wanted to have RC colas and Moon Pies and rent a Moon Bounce, but maybe we'll save that for another year. We went the healthy route for lunch with hot dogs and mac n cheese:) and then dove right into the cake and ice cream. Graham enjoyed himself while I came to terms with the fact that he's no longer a baby. Here are just a few pics from his special day.
Well, my Granddaddy worked on airplanes, but not during World War II, and my cousin sang "Precious Lord" and not "Precious Jesus." I just got through updating this information on the previous post so that it will be correct. It's hard to keep up with 90 years worth of events! :)
March of 1920. That's when my Granddaddy entered the world. He had no idea what God had in store for him. He got older and worked hard. It was the Depression, and he had to quit school just to help provide for his family. He met a girl and fell in love. He served as a quarter master in World War II. He had four children. He wanted all of his children to go to college...something he was unable to do. And all four of them did. And then he watched his children get married and have babies of their own. 10 grandchildren. He got to see all 10 of them go to college as well. And then he got to see his grandchildren having babies. 14 great grandchildren. And who knows how many more to come.
When I think about Granddaddy, I think about a lot of things. I think about the camping trips he took me on from the time I was a toddler. I think about him pulling me behind the riding lawn mower in the wagon. I think about air popped pop corn, the candy box, peanut butter and banana sandwiches, nutty buddies, afternoon naps in the sun room, Bing Crosby, and staying up late to watch the Johnny Carson show. I think about New Years Eve when my parents dropped us off and we celebrated with Granddaddy and Grandmother by banging on pots and pans in the living room. I think about him giving me money to put in the offering when I went to church with him. I think about all the Christmases, all the birthdays, all the meals, all the school programs he attended. When I think about my childhood, I think about my Granddaddy.
He wasn't famous. He wasn't perfect. But he was a great man. A man who loved Jesus. I can't help but wonder in "It's A Wonderful Life" fashion how different my life would have been without Granddaddy. If he hadn't taught my Daddy about Jesus, then I wonder if my Dad would have taught me about Jesus, and I wonder if I would then be teaching my two children about Jesus?
On the day he died, I told him I loved him. He tried to talk back. But my dad assured him that we knew he loved us and he didn't need to have the words at that moment. See, that's the thing about people you really love. Of course you want to tell them you love them, but words aren't always necessary. He's loved me for 28 years. Told me many times that he's loved me in words and actions. I didn't need that affirmation on his death bed. I tried to memorize his face as he laid in the hospital bed, and I held his hand. Over the last 90 years, I wonder how many hands he shook, how many hugs he gave, how many flat tires he changed, and how many babies he held with those two hands. I kissed his cheek and told him I loved him again. And then I left near death at the hospital to go hold new life as I cradled my two month old daughter in my arms.
Just before eleven I got the call. My husband told me the news. My dad was praying and my cousin was singing "Precious Lord" during his final minutes. I cried and then sat on the couch just thinking about my Granddaddy. As it got closer to midnight, it started to snow. With all the lights off in the house, my daughter in my arms, and my husband by my side, we stared out the picture window as the snow blanketed the ground. I couldn't help but think, "Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow." And I knew Granddaddy was in heaven not because he was a hard worker and had a beautiful, successful family but because his sins had been made as white as snow. I was thankful for the snow...thankful for the reminder that sweet Granddaddy had gone home to a place where "sickness, sorrow, pain and death are felt and feared no more."
Dear Lucy, The night before I met you, I didn't sleep much. All the anticipation of what was to come the next day on top of the sleeplessness that already accompanies pregnancy didn't make for a good combination. Plus I had to be at the hospital early for a 7:30 c-section. I put on a dress and leggins, threw on a pair of Converses, and had your Daddy take one last pregnancy photo. It was chilly, but not too cold. Or maybe it was just all the adrenaline that kept me warm. It was dark outside when we got to the hospital. Nurses came to get me ready for surgery. They asked questions. I tried to answer them. Meanwhile I was dying to meet you. Nattie and Papa brought Graham to see me before they took me back to the OR. Your daddy and I prayed. Then it was time. I was shaking when we got to the operating room. Teeth Chattering. It was cold. But I was also so nervous. You were going to be born 4 weeks early, and I was well aware that you could potentially spend some time in the NICU. But I was also hopeful. It seemed to take forever. It did actually take a little longer than anticipated. But finally, finally I heard your cry. Your Daddy commented on how much hair you had. Then, I finally got my first glimpse of you as the doctor held you in his hands. I cried. After you got cleaned up, your Daddy brought you to me for a quick kiss. And that evening I held you for the first time. It was a sweet day. One I won't forget. The day I got to meet you, my daughter, who I already loved.