Picture Time!!!

Today was a day of rest for me (until my kids went to bed). I have had a really busy week, so I wanted to just relax today.
For a morning snack, Caleb, Chloe, and I enjoyed some Cheeze-Its (courtesy of Lizz). Thanks, friend.

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Family photo (taken with the self timer and tripod):
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Chloe is cruising (has been for awhile) and loves to push Caleb:
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Playing together
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The serious artist:
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Lylia and Chloe playing with Brett
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Lylia after swimming
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Lulu enjoying the water
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I love this picture of Lyl….she is so beautiful…
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I do not think I have mentioned this, but my parents bought me a new camera recently. I have been wanting it for so long, and they so blessed me!!! I absolutely love the camera. Its much higher quality than my old camera. The pictures are so much crisper and have better lighting.

The weather was so beautiful this evening. I am surprised how much earlier it gets darker now. Evidence the summer is coming to a close, for which I am glad. I just do not like the heat, and i love Fall so much. Anyway, our lawn needed mowing very badly, so I mowed (I love to mow, have I mentioned that? Its one of my favorite household chores). I also washed and vacuumed my car because it was disgusting. I love a nice clean car, but with two children, that is just not possible. I still do clean it every once in awhile, though.

I am really impressed how much God has changed me since having children. My house is in total disarray and nasty by the end of the day. I do have to clean most nights, just to keep the chaos under control, I do not get frustrated by the mess. This is not my pre-baby personality.

I have a fun day planned tomorrow. An old friend and I are going to lunch. I am sleeping in. It will be a fun day! Have a happy Labor Day!!!!!!

What Have I Been Up To?

I am so glad you asked. I have started this post more than a few times. By the time I get to it, it seems a bit outdated.

I would lie if I said I did not have to clean up an overflowing toilet yesterday.

Or if I said that Caleb did not drink out of the toilet (the day before). When I was in the bathroom with him.

Or if I said I did not start working out today because I am looking pregnant. Only I am not pregnant. It does not help that my parents slaughtered a cow and bought the entire contents of a bakery, then decided to bring it to me. (I am not kidding).

There is a lot more that I have been up to, but those are the highlights, er, the lowlights. Actually, the Amish bakery goods are quite the highlight, only I know the Amish do not have processed butter that somehow becomes fat free.

When the fall begins, life gets super crazy for us. We have students over about 3 times a week, at least. Add other ministry things as well as social events, and we have a full schedule. The best part is that its all really great stuff that I have a total peace about participating in. It just gets nuts. Brett and I thrive on being busy. We actually relax more when we are busier, if that makes sense. We are more intentional about our time, I suppose.

I am very excited for tonight. My MOPS group has our big Kick Off Coffee House night. Yummy treats and fabulous conversation makes for a wonderful evening.
I start a Community Bible Study tomorrow, which I am super excited about, as well. My kids will get to have quality Bible teaching and play with friends, while I delve into the Word of God. Yay!

I have been going to bed at a decent time, and my kids are back to their normal schedule of sleeping until 8. That has really contributed to me feeling more rested and enjoying the days much more!!

Life is good. I have been reading blogs, but just not commenting or posting much!

I Should Have Known.

Well, we decided to put a hold on the potty training. I decided to do it on a whim, and it actually was not the best time to do that. With the school year starting, two ministries I am very involved with are taking off again. There is so much I have to do, etc., that I just got a bit overwhelmed. Additionally, Caleb was not making any progress. I know its called training for a reason, but it was just a bad time. I could not shake that nervous frustration feeling (which is not really me). I talked a my friend, who I consider an expert mom…..she has six kids (in 11 years) and her kids are awesome….so I really value her opinion. After considerable discussion, her advice was to wait a few months, try again, and it would be a lot easier. Taking her advice, I put a diaper back on Caleb. And I have never felt more relieved about anything in my life. Age wise, I know he is capable…..but I think I am the one not ready. It is not because of him growing up or anything like that. I just know the sacrifice it is (and diapers are so easy). And I just think I am not ready for that. To be really honest, I am pretty worn out most of the time. I feel like when I am more rested at night, I will be more patient and hopeful with the training!

So, on that note, I have been successful weaning Chloe and having her sleep through the night. Last night seemed to be a failure, but it was redeemed. She woke up at midnight (as usual). I let her cry for about an hour (it was on and off). Towards the end of the hour, I just could not take it anymore. I fed her. Normally, she would wake up at 4:30, but she slept until 8:00!!!!! YAY!! One feeding is way better than two. The goal is no feedings, but I planned to take it one at a time.

Everyone told me that when your kids are close together, the first year is the hardest. I really hope thats true. If this is as hard as it gets, I am happy. Because it has been THAT hard, just tiring! Of course, people also told me the first year of marriage is the hardest. While, technically, it may have been the hardest to date, it was actually very easy. I cannot complain, though, my children are so awesome and sweet. Neither is hard to deal with or anything, which I am thankful. My biggest issue right now is that my least favorite phase of a child is when they are mobile but must be watched 100% of the time. I can leave Caleb in a room and know he will be fine (say, when I shower, he can sit on my bed and watch cartoons). I have to watch Chloe like a hawk, yet she is all over the place. Thankfully, our floor plan is open, so I can see her all the time!

All of this complaining, and I actually am enjoying life right now. As I said, things are starting to get a lot busier, but it is all so fun that I am great with that! Caleb and Chloe play together so cutely now. Of course, there is conflict, as well, but for the most part, they are hilarious together. Caleb is Chloe’s “overseer”. When we’re in the basement, she always makes a break for the stairs. He will literally run past her, climb one stair higher than where she is, and lay across the staircase so she cannot pass him. He will say, “No, no, Co-ee”. It is so funny to watch. If she is touching the TV, he will either say, “No touch, Co-ee,” or go up and touch it too to take the attention off of Chloe. He’s so protective. He is related to his father, so that is natural, I suppose!!

Militant Mom

Today is Day 1 of Militant Mom.  

Caleb is in Day 1 of potty training.  I keep putting it off, in hopes to psych myself up.  Today, I just decided to go for it.  We’ve had one accident, but thats to be expected when going cold turkey.  For some reason, I am really on edge and very nervous.  I am not sure if its because my little guy is becoming a boy, or if the thought of potential failure looming concerns me, or if I realize my life is about to change dramatically (diapers are so easy).  Whatever it is, I am a little on edge today.  Its a gorgeous day outside, so at least I have that going for me :).  You are more than welcome to pray for me, as I think I need that.

Chloe will begin tonight in Phase 1 of having to sleep through the night.  She wakes up twice a night, which is way too often for an 11 month old.  I started the process of weaning her on Saturday.  I have cut out one feeding.  She is not thrilled, but the expectation of being done nursing is way exciting for me.  In order to totally wean her, she actually has to sleep through the night.  As much as I hate to hear my sweet Lulu cry, it’s time.  It actually was time a long time ago.  

There are a lot of changes going on in our house right now.  I am not sure what to make of it.  It is exciting, on one hand, but on the other hand, a lot of work….at least temporarily.  

I just have no clue why I cannot shake the nervousness of Caleb potty training.  I want it to be easy, and I think I am expecting the worst case scenario (which does not go in the same sentence as easy).  

For some reason, for the last few days, I have really been wanting to steam clean our carpets.  I have a steam cleaner, so last night, I whipped it out.  After spending about an hour doing it, it dawned on me that Caleb would be peeing on that very carpet very soon.  I actually had no intention to start potty training today.  In talking with my mom this morning, she spurred me on to just go for it.  I was waiting for a convenient weekend when we have no plans.  (Yeah, right).  With her encouragement, I’m going for it.  

I will keep you posted on our accidents progress.

Re-Entry

My friend termed the word “re-entry” to describe the events that surround coming home.  I like it.  I am re-entering my normal world.  And good news: I plan to stay here for quite awhile!  No more traveling for awhile.  Well, I think I may go to my parents’ for Labor Day, but that’s it, for awhile.  

My sister flew into KC, and I drove her down to my parents’ house.  In addition to our children (3 between us), we babysat our niece, as well as our little sister, for the week.  Having five kids is tiring, especially since they all have different rules, routines, etc.  However, it was a really fun time!  I love hanging out with my sister.

My little sister (Lylia) is the only child at home, and she much prefers it that way.  She enjoys having siblings, but I can tell she is glad we are all older.  After a few days of being around all the little kids, she starts to fall apart.  Noticing this (because my personality is similar, in that I can only handle chaos for a short amount of time), on Wednesday morning, I asked her if she wanted to go with me to get frozen custard after my kids went to bed that night.  You would have thought I told her she won the lottery.  All day, it was our secret that she would bring up often :).  

Lylia is the girliest girl I think I have ever met.  We went to get custard.  On the way, she asked if we could place a walk-up order, then open the back of my car (I have a SUV) and sit to eat our yummy treat.  Of course, that is what we did.  As “si-si’s” (that’s the term she coined for sisters), we laughed and told each other stories.  Lylia loves to hear stories of my childhood, and I am interested to learn stories of her time at the orphanage.  I am not sure what stories are true and what are from her imagination, but it does not matter…..sometimes what we imagined happened is more important than reality.  I think we are designed like that to not be beat down by life!  Either way, we had a great time laughing!  That was probably my most favorite moment of the week.

My sister and I went shopping a little bit, but not as much as we normally do.  I did get a few cute things….including two pairs of shoes (really cute ones!), a swimsuit top (I already have a bottom that matches), a few things from Target, and a new diaper bag.  The diaper bag is actually a “business weekend bag”, but I am not quite in that “business weekend bag” phase of life….and it converts quite cutely to a diaper bag.  It’s huge!  And I love huge purses and bags!  

As a family, we watched the Olympics.  As with most people, my favorite portions are gymnastics and swimming.  

I had a great week visiting my family.  It is always fun to get out of our normal routine to see people we love.  And, of course, it’s always nice to get home, especially since Brett was there!!  (He did not come on our trip).  I have spent the last day or two re-entering, as I said.  When away from home, I always come up with things that I need to do.  The more I blog, the nerdier I realize I am.  

I organized Chloe’s closet yesterday.  I switched out her 6-12 months clothes with 12-18 month clothes.  She is only 11 months, but she has such cute stuff waiting that I could not help myself.  Her 6-12 month clothes do still fit but barely.  The new clothes are a little big but probably more comfortable!  I am not sure if I have mentioned this, but a close friend of mine has given me Chloe’s entire wardrobe.  I often thank God for her, because it is such a huge blessing for our family.  I love how God provides in the most creative of ways!  Switching sizes is always a bit bittersweet.  We want more kids, but I cannot imagine how sad it will be when I am putting away the clothes for the last time.  

Life is good.  I am glad it’s Saturday.  Brett is actually gone all day, helping the college students in our ministry move into their dorms.  Even so, Saturday feels so relaxed.  The weather is gorgeous today!!  I cannot wait….only a couple weeks left of summer.  YAY!  

Hope your weekend is awesome!

I.

I AM … home!  Yay!  (I will post more on my trip later.)  Being home is the best.    

I WANT… to get back in shape.  Yet, I am doing nothing to achieve that goal.  

I HAVE … blonde hair again!!!  The “Great Hair Fiasco of 2007-2008” officially ended on Tuesday.  

I WISH I COULD … sing and dance.  I have always wanted to be able to do both of those things really well.  

I HATE … when I am grumpy.  

I FEAR … frogs, snakes, flying in a plane, crowds, rats, squirrels, cats, ferrets, nasty messes (Do I sound like Adrian Monk?)

I HEAR … my son asking, “Play in the sink?” (to which I granted his request).  

I SEARCH … for the best deals when buying something.  I enjoy getting a bargain!  

I DON’T THINK … 

I REGRET … some choices I made in high school.  I wish I could go back in time and give myself some wisdom.  

I LOVE … being in love with Brett.  I love everything about him!!  

I ACHE FOR … ALL of my family to know the love of Christ that has transformed my life.    

I ALWAYS CRY … when Brett preaches at church and talks about our children.  

I AM NOT … getting pregnant for awhile, which mean when I wean Chloe next month, I will not be pregnant/nursing for the first time since June 2005.  I think I have only mentioned that a few times on this blog.  LOL  So you can only imagine how excited I am for a body break.   Which, at the same time, feels very selfish because the gift of children is so awesome.  

I DANCE … never in public.  At home, I cannot stop myself when Brett does a beat box.  (Don’t you wish you could see that?)

I SING … in the car and sometimes at home.  If I could actually sing well, I would sing much more often.  My voice is bad, even to me!  I do sing to my children, though.  

I NEVER … go to bed early.  I physically cannot shut down before 10:30, usually more like 11 pm.  It may go without saying that I am also never chipper in the morning.  It takes me awhile to wake up.

I RARELY … raise my voice.  On occasion, I do when I get really frustrated.  But typically, I keep a mild tone. 

I CRY WHEN I WATCH … Caleb and Chloe being sweet with one another.  I just a bit teary.  

I AM NOT ALWAYS … the person I desire/aspire to be.

I HATE THAT … I get my priorities mixed up a lot.  

I’M CONFUSED ABOUT … why anyone is purposely mean-spirited.    

I NEED … to steam clean my carpets.  They are disgusting!!

I SHOULD … be getting my house back in order after being gone for a few days.

You Asked. Now You Shall Receive.

As you may know, I left a post a few days ago that you could ask anything you want. I will not answer those questions.

1. If given an afternoon all to yourself, what would you do?
If I were without children for a few hours, I would first take a nap. I love to sleep, and I do not get enough. After that, I would wake up, get a Diet Coke and Cheeze-Its, and sit in my basement and watch recorded TV shows I have. Wow, that sounds delightful. I know my answer should be much more selfless, but that is the truth.

2. When do you plan to have another child?
I would like for my next child to be born around the time Chloe is 2 and 1/2. I love my children to pieces, but I feel pretty worn out most days. I cannot imagine throwing a third child into that mix. However, I do not feel that our family is complete yet. And, I am very excited to have another child. I just need a break. I have been pregnant and/or nursing since May 2005. That is a long time, folks. I am SO thankful for pregnancy, the ability to nurse, etc. But I just want a break before embarking on that endeavor again. (Is that way too much information? Sorry for the long answer!).

3. Do I ever plan to go to Hawaii with Brett (I had wanted to for our first anniversary)?? And, would I ever travel with another couple?
I would love to go to Hawaii….eventually. However, financially, it would not be an option right now. Plus, that is really far to leave my children (at this age). I would like to go one day, but probably not until my children are a bit older. For now, I would stick closer to home. I do want to take a trip with Brett. Even if it is hard on the budget, I think things like that are important.

I would definitely travel with another couple, but I would be very picky. (Katie, you and Wayne would be so much fun to travel with! So you would make the cut!) I am a finicky traveler, so I could only travel with friends that I would be comfortable around and who would travel in the same style as us. For instance, it would be hard for me to travel with someone who wanted to GO GO GO instead of relax. I do like to do things, but just not a jam packed day that follows a strict itinerary. Or another example would be that (financially) we would not travel with people who only want to eat at super expensive places, stay at the best hotels, etc. Make no mistake, I would love a vacation like that. But because that is not something we could do right now (I am not trying to complain about money. We do fine, just do not have tons of extra money to vacation with), it would be awkward for me. But, Katie (she is who asked this question), I know you enjoy a bargain like me, so we’d get the best bang for our buck :). That is, once again, a really long answer. So, to sum it up, I would enjoy traveling with a couple who Brett and I were both friends with the respective couple!

Thanks for asking!!!

I am leaving town for a few days. I will be back at the end of the week. Have a wonderful week!!!!