Thursday, January 31, 2008


We took a lovely trip to the children's museum with my parents this morning...and had a wonderful time! I promise to post some pictures eventually...but my parents took most with their camera, so I'll wait until I get those! However, it fit nicely into our "green" theme of the day...they stamped Elizabeth's hand with a green dinosaur...and upon exiting the restroom (our first "stop" when we arrive anywhere these days!) we were greeted by a window display full of green frogs! :) Finding green in our house was quite fun...and all different shades. (I think my favorite is the green piggy bank...a gift to Elizabeth from Aunt Shell...its just so darned cute!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I thought blue might be a tough one for us...however, we apparently have a lot of blue around...that or I just looked harder. I must admit, many of our blues were things that I found...not Elizabeth! :) All the same, we did talk about the color blue while we hunted!
{our butter crock~hand-made my by sister!}
**fyi: if you are ever looking for a hand-made ceramin something-or-other...mugs, casseroles, butter crocks--you name it...something to give as a gift or keep for yourself!....let me my unbiased (he he!) opinion, my sister does fabulous i would love to pass on her info. i think she has an etsy shop these perhaps i need to post that link!
{the dish towel}

{the girls...on the navy blue couch--a double whammy!}

{one of the wheels on elizabeth's truck}

{a blue spatula...handing for scraping the bowl while libs and i whipped up some iron skillet coffee cakes this morning...a treat for daddy to take to work tomorrow morning!}
{cookie monster}

{the lotion dispenser in the girls' bathroom}

{warm and snuggly flannel sheets}

{the dresser in elizabeth's room}

{bags from our bargain shopping yesterday!}

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ten Smile Tuesday...

Wow...two posts in one day...check out the post before this for our "yellow hunt". I still had to share our smiles though...just wouldn't be Tuesday without 'em! A side note before I share my smiles though...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHELL!'s my sister's birthday. Hope you enjoy your day...wish we could be in North Carolina celebrating with you!

1. color hunting...what fun we have had finding colors all around the house!

2. she's sitting on her own...yep, kate has mastered the art of sitting unsupported...okay, so in reality she is still a bit unstable, but as long as she doesn't make any sudden moves, she has it down! libs is quite enthralled by options for playing with her sister!

3. bargain it just me or do i share some "bargain related" smile every week...but this morning we picked up my friend jamie and her little guy, piled in the van, and headed to the outlets to capitalize on some of the end of the season clearance sales (i'm one of those buy ahead for next year during clearance sales type gals!). let me tell you...we found some great bargains....and what i loved most...buying matching things for the girls! time with my girls, time with friends, shopping (and finding great deals)...what's not to smile about!

4. elizabeth's first piggy tails...

5. success with pooping in the potty....need i say more!? this might have brought one of the biggest smiles of all to mommy's face!

6. the girls' first "joint" bathtime...elizabeth was thrilled to have kate join her in the big tub and to "help" with washing kate. we tried this while daddy was home and we could tackle bath-time together...he stabilized kate while i did the washing. i can't help but think that bath-time is only going to get more fun as the months go on!

7. bouncing...always a smile. this time we were able to meet my friend becky and her twin girls (almost 2)....of course we all had loads of fun!

8. our bag full of alligator themed books...i've decided to pick a theme to focus on when we pick out library books...and i will try to start sharing some of the favorites we find. i LOVE the library...but the children's section can be SO overwhelming, especially with both this is my attempt to perhaps discover some new favorites...and have a focus each week or so...i think we will try more animal themes, numbers, colors, the alphabet, and on and on...should be fun!

9. ghiradelli triple chocolate brownies fresh from the oven...with andes mints melted on the top...YUM! seriously, i love baking from scratch, but these brownies are SO good right from the box mix! we popped them in the oven sunday right before uncle dennis, his girlfriend, and his dog popped by for a visit!

10. catching moments here and there with my hubby. mike's work schedule has been crazy...lots of long, late hours...i am so thankful for his hard work providing for us (and for God's grace to enjoy each and every day--even the long evenings without daddy!), but i am even more thankful for the sound of the garage door going up and those moments we can share together before we crash for the night. and i won't reveal it yet, but my wonderful husband revealed a valentine's surprise the other day...sneaky, romantic guy...thats all i am saying'll just have to check next weeks smiles to hear all about it!


a sampling of the yellow we found around the house see the origin of this color hunt and find other participants visit "under the polka dot tree"...this wasn't my idea...i just jumped on the band-wagon since it sounded like a good one!

~one of the plates on the kitchen wall~


~mugho's ball~

~elizabeth's curious george top--incidentally, this is also her current favorite toy!~

~Kate's block and giraffe (and oh so many other giraffes we seem to have at our house!) and, of course, a school bus...a small replica of the big school bus that Elizabeth loves to watch out the window each morning!~

~finally...Elizabeth...dressed in yellow for "yellow day"~

Monday, January 28, 2008


Inspired by fairlight at "Under the Polka Dot Tree" Elizabeth and I went on a "pink hunt" while Kate was napping this morning. With two little girls in the house, there is definitely no lack for pink things! In the fifteen minutes Elizabeth's attention lasted, she found lots of pink toys and such hiding around the house! they are! (I will note that she kept insisting that Kate's shirt was pink and we should go take a picture of that--BUT mommy decided to let the sleeping baby remain in her crib uninterrupted by a noisy big sister and camera!)

~she chose pink "bows" for her piggy-tails~

~one pink flamingo~

~one pink ball--you have to love this expression~

~pointing out the pink ribbon on the flower~

~pink treasures...a pink monkey, a pink rubber ducky (her newest "treasure"...i picked it up for 40 cents at bath and body works, and she has been dragging it with her ever since...and especially enjoying washing the ducky's "hair" in the bathtub!), one pink shoe, a pink flamingo, Kate's pink teether toy, and one pink ducky phone....and, of course, the little girl who "pinked" these things out!

Just the snippets of 15 minutes of our Monday morning. Tomorrow I will be back with our ten smiles...and perhaps some snapshots of our Tuesday color hunt--yellow! We have enjoyed ourselves in the past days...especially having daddy home Saturday and Sunday after a LONG week at work. Here's what we've been up to....
Going through my scrapbook stash and reorganizing it in its new "home"--the massive drafting desk Mike got for free when his office moved and surprised me with at Christmas! Now I just need to get some pictures printed and start actually working on a book of Kate's first year!
A play-date at the bounce place
A warm and comforting pot of ham and bean soup for a C-H-I-L-L-Y evening!
Visiting grandma and grandpa at Me-Maw's house Saturday morning...where we were blessed with the gift of clothes, clothes and more clothes for the girls (thanks grandma and grandpa!)
Working the church nursery
An impromptu visit from Uncle Dennis and Caitlyn (and Kaida--Uncle Dennis's big dog...and, of course, Elizabeth and Mugho were delighted by this!)
A batch of ghiradelli brownies...topped with melted Andes mints
Sorting, sorting, and more sorting...while daddy and the girls snoozed yesterday afternoon I finally made some sense of our boxes of clothes Elizabeth has outgrown (the one's "in waiting" for Kate!) and the hand-me-downs a friend has passed on...taking stock of what we have and what we need so I can capitalize on end of the season clearance for both girls. I definitely wouldn't call myself "organized" by any stretch of the word...but I LOVE doing stuff like this
Last, but not least...snuggling, giggling, smiling, running, playing, dancing, singing, talking, reading, knitting, sewing, eating "rock soup"--Elizabeth's culinary masterpiece, tucking girlies in bed, splashing in the tub...and the list goes on...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

ten smile wednesday...

as many of you noticed if you came to visit on tuesday...i decided to delay my smiles a day and share what we have been learning about training/discipline. if you haven't checked out that post, please do...and i would love to hear your thoughts...or any ideas, books suggestions, etc. you might have! :) also, and this is so random, but i would also love to hear any input or suggestions on potty training (mostly the pooping in the potty part of it...we have gotten the staying dry part down pat...just need some work on the "clean" part of the equation!). are some smiles from this week!

1. matter how a day might go, at least at the end of it i can be reminded that i gave them each other! one of my friends said this was a huge consolation for her at the end of some rather "rough" days when her two girls were little. i must say, it brings a huge smile to my face to see elizabeth interacting with her sister these days...and to see the smile elizabeth can bring to kate's little face!

2. daddy coming home in time to sneak in before elizabeth fell asleep and surprise her with some extra bedtime stories. mike has had to work late this week and didn't get to see libs monday it was a treat for both of them when he snuck in for some bonus stories. what a treasured sight, seeing daddy and elizabeth all snuggled in her little bed...flipping through the pages of her "little loon and papa" book...the grin on her face a mile wide...and daddy's even bigger. this, dear friends, is what life is made of.

3. watching elizabeth lovingly tuck her dollies into bed (especially since that bed is the same crib my mom used to tuck her own dollies in at night--thanks to poppy, who fixed it up so it could be a special christmas surprise!). libs is such a little mama these days...going through the whole routine, surrounding her dolly with some animals, praying with her, singing songs, and then, of course, hugs and kisses! too sweet!

4. my new cleaning lady. yep, while i was wiping down the kitchen, elizabeth was scrubbing down her own of her new favorite activities. now lets just pray she can keep this love of cleaning as she gets older!

5. dry, dry, dry! holy cow...this is huge...we've been successfully dry and using the potty for over 3 days now! like i said in the intro, the "clean" part is another thing...but i know it will come as time goes by.

6. the blessing of friends. i feel like i mention this one again and again and again...but it bears repeating. we are blessed with the most incredible family of friends in the world. sunday after they all "invaded" our house (my parents joined us as well...which was so fun!--i simply love that my parents and friends know and love one another!) for some soup and togetherness. we have been trying to make it a habit of going to each other's houses for sunday lunch...much cheaper than a restaurant, more room to spread out and really have good conversations, and far more kid friendly. and you all know me...i love a house filled to the brim with friends...that's what a house is meant for...right!?

7. victory in the "bow" department. yep...elizabeth has decided to surrender in the battle of the hairbow...she has loved carrying them around and talking about them...just wasn't a fan of actually wearing them. apparently a side benefit of our new approach to training is a much more compliant peanut when it comes to her hair. since monday she has been proudly sporting the bow...and even asking for it when she wakes up in the morning! she's such a rough and tumble little girl, so i just love the touch of femininity.

8. clearance...clearance...clearance! i picked up some super cute clothes for the girls (for next winter) at a great price....75% at old navy...gotta love a bargain (especially when its A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E!)...oh yeah, also the clearanced diapers...and homemade baby wipes (see monday's post for the "recipe"). saving money...isn't it great!

9. kate. she's a smile in an of herself. her giggles. her smiles (the kind that simply light up the world!). her newfound love of grabbing and holding. her recent graduation to sleeping without any swaddling. her wonderful sleeping habits...both napping and night-time. her facial expression when she encountered green beans for the first time (a quite disgusted one i might add...though squash did go over a bit better!). these are priceless moments!

10. watching elizabeth eat dry kix cereal from her suitcase (i can't make this up...really!!!). she dumped her baggie of cereal into the suitcase...then proceeded to scoop it out with a plastic spoon...she finished the entire suitcase full. what a card!

**bonus! 11. a renewed pug dog. yep, mugho is back to his playful, barking, loving self...he had dental work done friday...and we discovered the true source of his pain and "un-mugho-ness"...two rotten teeth (yuck!--no wonder his breath smelled like a sewer). poor guy...with a face so smushed in, it's no wonder he has such problems in his mouth! but he is SOOO much better!

i know this post has been somewhat "elizabeth heavy", but seriously, she has been a source of so many smiles in the day to day these days. if you haven't already...check out the last couple of posts...yesterdays is long, but i do think it is worth a read...for it is truly the "reason" behind many of the smiles we have been showered with this week! of course you all know how much we love our little kater-alligator...surely there will be many "kate heavy" posts in the weeks and months to come. apparently elizabeth is just the "star" of this one.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

what we've been learning

i think i might postpone my smiles for a day and share some of the lessons we've been learning and practicing in regards to discipline instead. many of you posted comments expressing your curiosity about how we found success in the dinner and bedtime battle...and so i will share. of course, i must first remind you that we are FAR from perfect...we have lots of those "moments" (you know what i mean)...BUT implementing some different things and renewing a commitment to consistency has helped us immensely. there is more laughter around our house these days...from all of us. there is more obedience and less whining. there is a mama at this house who doesn't feel at her wits end and discouraged nearly as often these days (and isn't that really the key to the "runnings" of the rest of the house.

**okay...after typing this i realize it is a bit scattered...probably repetitive at times...and perhaps missing little pieces here and there. but as i publish it, i pray it might be an encouragement to just one of you today...or perhaps something to file away...something that will encourage another day! i also give you a is lengthy...but hopefully worth the read!

so, what have we been doing differently? well, that wednesday evening a couple weeks ago when my dear friend walked me through getting elizabeth to actually eat what i had asked her to made me realize that though we were applying "the rod" (aka...spanking!) we were not doing so effectively. it also made me recognize that i wasn't training/disciplining consistently. we had allowed eating dinner to be an optional thing as opposed to stepping in as the parents and calling elizabeth to obedience. i was buying into the theory that she was just a "normal" two year old...being picky...and she would eat eventually...especially if i didn't offer alternatives, etc. what we were finding was that elizabeth would rather go hungry than eat what was offered...and she did have quite a stubborn resolve in this. i was not recognizing this as disobedience and other words, i was allowing her to continue sinning by not submitting to my authority as her parent. (please recognize, i am writing this as a christian...therefore, i do not believe that elizabeth is inherently good...or sinless..."for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"--romans 3:23--even my 2 year old daughter).

my friend helped bring me to this realization. then she proceeded to lovingly walk me through a more biblical response, including the fact that using my hand to spank elizabeth's diapered behind was clearly NOT getting the message through. she recommended removing the padding of the diaper and using something other than my hand for that actual instrument of spanking (something that would provide a bit of a sting rather than a forceful swat). then she walked me through giving elizabeth the clear instruction and warning her of the consequence should she disobey....she refused to eat, i followed through (leaving the room and taking her somewhere private for the spanking)....then i brought her back to the table, repeated the instruction and consequence...and so on and so forth (each time she disobeyed i increased the number of spanks (not the intensity--mind you, this wasn't about intensity, rather about training). let me tell was a long evening, but when she finally surrended it brought about the most incredible change in demeanor...both in elizabeth and in me. her heart was renewed...she was turning from sin and doing the right thing. i feared that spanking elizabeth's bare bottom would hurt her too much or that it wasn't wrong i was. that night was quite possibly the MOST loving thing i have done thus far as a parent...and it resulted in a little girl who was happier than i had EVER before seen her...seriously. it was truly incredible!

since that evening we have been implementing the same thing in all arenas of our her to respect her parents as an authority over obey...right away and with a joyful heart. i have raised the standard in our house, and elizabeth has quickly risen to meet that standard. the second night it took one spanking for the dinner plate to be cleaned completely...and we haven't had to spank about eating meals anymore since then. honestly, we haven't had to spank very often at is quite amazing. i have simply set the standard of expectation and not accepted anything less than that. i am finding that elizabeth is much quicker to listen and obey...or to admit her wrong and do the right thing. the key has been consistency...taking the time to set the standard and then consistently disciplining if that standard isn't met. this means staying firm to my word and expectation. it means an extra bit of work and being willing to "interrupt" my other agendas in order to train her in the moment. another key has been not allowing myself to take elizabeth's disobedience personally and get emotionally involved. she is going to disobey...not because she doesn't love me...but because she is two. my responsibility is to bring her back to right living...through discipline. what an incredible responsibility God has entrusted to us! as a sidenote...the consistency has fixed some issues before we even had to deal with bedtime. before our "break-through" over that dinner, we were struggling and fighting our way through bedtime...tears, whining, oh-so-much frustration...with a couple days of consistent training in our day to day this problem pretty much disappeared. why...i think it is because she was learning that we were not going to be swayed by the theatrics. as i mentioned yesterday...these days i savor the hugs and kisses, smiles and giggles of bedtime...even the teeth-brushing part!

i admit that part of my reluctance to share the "technique" is that i realize spanking has become something quite controversial in this day and age. however, we have been believers in spanking all along...BUT it didn't work until we applied it in the right way. spanking is not effective when it is used as a last resort or an emotional response. mind you, i don't agree with or advocate spanking when it is used inappropriately or excessively (part of the reason i somewhat hesitated to even share what we are learning and applying--lest someone take it to the extreme...or lest someone think we are crazed and treat our children horribly--hello, can we say, fear of man!)...but i do firmly believe that God has commanded us to use "the rod" in the training of our children. there might be people who read this and immediately dismiss what i have to share because they disagree with spanking children...however, i have seen the results of "the rod" appropriately applied...and at our house, the result has been a repentant and renewed little girl...a little girl who is beginning to understand that she must learn to submit to authority and obey her parents...a little girl who someday will have a better understand of what it means to submit to the authority of God in her life. each day is a learning process, and i realize we have a LONG way to go...but this is the path we are walking down, and it is a path that has given me restored hope and encouragement...even in the midst of the disaster moments. i find those moments pass more quickly when dealt with swiftly. these days i know my approach when hard moments comes...we deal with them...and we move on. before we were spending large portions of the day frustrated and at we can simply have the training/discipline moment and move on to whatever fun is in store.

that said...let me share a few books that have been instrumental in helping me think about God's plan for training a child. i also want you to remember that it was just a couple weeks ago that i shared about our "break-through" experience with elizabeth...please realize, i am just sharing what i have been learning and thinking about....NOT a fool-proof plan or well-formulated system of any sort. i am just sharing what we have found successful in the past week or so. if you want to talk more i would love to...just leave your e-mail in your comment. i would highly recommend picking up some of these books.

-"Shepherding a Child's Heart"--Ted Tripp
-"Don't Make Me Count to Three"--Ginger Plowman
-"To Train Up a Child"--Michael and Debi Pearl (I am the first to admit that some things in this book are a bit extreme...and some are just not something I would try...HOWEVER, the general principles, Biblical framework for training children, and basic information is wonderful!)
-"Child Training Tips"--Reb Bradley

Monday, January 21, 2008

what a difference...and homemade baby wipes

it is absolutely amazing what a difference a few weeks can make (well, the time and a bit of "tweaking" when it comes to training and discipline with elizabeth). i used to DREAD nights when mike had to work late or have a meeting, Bible study, etc....the prospect of getting the girls bathed and in bed by myself was just overwhelming. while i do still really enjoy having my hubby home with me...being alone in the evening with the girls is a much happier and less stressful experience these days. mike has been working a lot of overtime...and most likely will be for the next week or so because of big project deadlines. but i am happy to report that i am not breaking out in a cold sweat about this! in fact, today i managed to get both girls fed, bathed, and in bed without any tears or incidents...nope, just kisses and hugs, giggles and songs. praise the Lord! even better...the house isn't a complete disaster either...right now i can hear the hum of the dishwasher running and the dryer tumbling...the counters are wiped, the toys put away...and here i am...with a chance to relax!

i definitely had some "dark" moments in the first months of kate's life...overwhelmed and consumed with the thought that i would never "get it together" again. i've had a couple realizations since then...1) i never HAD it together...really! 2) the only way to have it together at all is to get over myself and surrender to just let Him lead me through it all moment by moment...trusting that He is not bringing anything i cannot handle...and that regardless of how overwhelming a moment might seem, it is for good...that i might be conformed to the image of Christ. 3)this (whatever it might be) will pass...too soon i will be looking back and missing each phase, so i better love it and savor it while i can! sure it is a bit frustrating when elizabeth decides to "help" bathe kate and dumps a whole cup of water on the living room floor instead of in the tub, but it that much of a crisis. someday i will be wishing she could be more interested in "loving" her sister! anyway...i am so thankful that God is opening my eyes and reminding me that in Him there is light! last thing that i have to share. for all you mom's out there who are sick of paying for baby wipes...a solution! i know, some of you might already do this....and some might have tried and given it up...but a friend taught me how to make homemade baby wipes that actually work well. (i've seen some homemade wipes that just don't cut it...but these do!).

homemade baby wipe "recipe"

bounty paper towels ( bounty...the generic brands rip too easily)
2 cups water
2 tbsp. baby wash
2 tbsp. baby lotion
1 airtight canister type container

Cut the paper towel roll in half (so you end up with two shorter rolls)....use a serrated knife...and you do have to really "work at it" to get through the cardboard center. Place the one half of the paper towels in the canister. Then combine water, baby lotion, and baby wash in a small saucepan (actually measure the soap and lotion....2 tbsp. is more than you think). Bring mixture to a boil just enough to make sure lotion dissolves (don't let it go long enough that liquid starts evaporating!). Next pour the mixture over the paper towels, seal the container and flip it upside down a couple times to coat the paper towels with the liquid. Once it is saturated, the cardboard center should easily slide out, and voila, you have homemade (great smelling!) baby wipes!

**I am using a Michael Graves airtight canister (sold at Target)...they have a butterfly clip thingy for the seal...easy to open and close with one hand, but still a very airtight fit. It is the 2.9 L size. They are a little pricier than some canisters but works well and still will be a savings in the long run compared to buying wipes!
**Target also has Bounty paper towels on sale this week....12 rolls for $12. That makes 24 rolls of wipes...or, almost 2,600 wipes!
**Target also has the large boxes of Pampers (Cruisers and Baby Dry) on clearance near might want to check it out. Quite a deal! I bought ALL their size 3's! You should have seen the looks people were giving me as I wheeled my cart through Target...but hey, who can pass up clearanced diapers!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

extra christmas pictures...

Elizabeth "surfing the web"...she did try to use the mouse like a wii nunchuck!
Kater and her alligator from grandmommy and poppy

Daddy and his girls
playing under the toy...such cute sisters
big smiles
hey...whats all this!
checking out the packages...
hey...this one's for you grandmommy!
the gator again

Here are some pictures from our Christmas with my parents. I know they are a little late...but they're the ones they took with their camera!