Sunday, November 29, 2009

moments to treasure

...i should be is, after all, almost 11 p.m....and the girls surely won't be sleeping in tomorrow morning. and yet...i'm wide awake. i suppose i can thank that free iced mocha from the mcdonald's drive thru i indulged in around 4 p.m. lesson learned...

but in the meantime, i'm awake....and so, i blog. :)

i ran some errands this afternoon. just kroger and wal-mart...and dropping some carmel-corn off to my dear aunt vonnie. it was naptime for kate and jillian, but i decided to let elizabeth forego her quiet room time and come with me. how rewarding. seriously...what a blessing and treasure it is to spend time alone with elizabeth (or any of the three girls, really).

today, as we were walking through the parking lot--her hand holding onto mine, counting to three and jumping over the parking bumper things (you know...the yellow raised strips at the front of parking spaces...), jumping up onto the curb, her little mouth chattering away ninety miles a minute (i can't imagine where she gets that from!?)--i had this moment of absolute fullness. a contented, store it away in my heart to remember forever moment. i almost wanted to cry right there on the sidewalk in front of kroger.

being a mommy is hard...much, much harder than i ever imagined. being a mommy brings me to my knees, tears running down my face more often than i would like to admit. it is humbling. it is exhausting. it is the great revealer of selfishness and control-issues. it is scary. i have raised my voice with my children far more times than i would like to admit. i've had moments of despairing. i have ruined precious moments with my own need to "control" the end product of a project. i fail. i fall short. and so often those moments can be what sticks in my mind so glaringly.

and yet, in that moment, on the sidewalk in front of kroger, i had one of those moments where you are reminded so fully that it is all worth it....the tears and frustrations, the failures, the hardness of mommying. it is worth it. there are ugly moments...we all have them. and yet, there are far more beautiful moments...brilliant gems found in the most mundane and normal experiences, like heading through the parking lot of kroger. i have those moments often...and yet, somehow this one stuck with me in a different way.

in that short moment i was struck by the immense reality that i am elizabeth's mom. what a privilege. i am the one who has the privilege of holding her hand as she leaps over curb bumpers....tiny moments that are filled with the joy and exuberance of a four year old. God has granted me (, really...Mike and me) the gift of shepherding her little heart to follow Him...of instructing her...of laughing and giggling with her...of holding her hand and protecting her as we walk through parking lots. it is me she cries out for in the middle of the night if she is scared.

oh how i pray God would open my eyes more to these little moments...the curb jumping, joyfully normal moments...that in the "hard" ones i would remember to simply let trust Him and rest in the joy that is coming right around the corner.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

a big ol' pan of this...
(not sure why it won't turn horizontal...but it's tasty homemade carmel corn!)


Christmas music, giggles, and a lot of this...


innumberable blessings!

yep...we enjoyed an early dinner...early baths (after wearing PJs all day anyway!), made a big ol' batch of carmelcorn, decorated the tree, and then all snuggled on the couch for the first viewing of The Very First Noel (this movie quickly became one of our favorites last year!) of the season!

many pictures and details on our Thanksgiving and early Christmas with Mike's family coming in another post. we had a fabulous time...short but fun. and now we're back home, relaxing (ha!--actually i mean to say that i spent the day going crazy in the kitchen...pulling everything out of the cabinet, reorganizing, cleaning, etc.), and then busting out the Christmas goodies!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ten smile tuesday

1. three whole i blogged about here (with some pictures of our three month old!)...jillian is three months old today. i really and truly cannot believe it...where has time gone?!

2. daddy dates...mike has been really struck lately with the importance of spending individual time with each of the girls, time to simply connect with them, to laugh with them, to treat them like princesses, and to make sure they grow up knowing just what kind a man they should someday marry...i might be crying as i type this...because, truly, he is such a fabulous daddy to his little girls, and my heart is beyond touched by their excitement and delight in spending time with him. he took elizabeth to the children's museum on his friday afternoon off...they had a blast, and, surprise, surprise, spent 3/4 of their time in the "science works" elizabeth! when he asked kate what she wanted to do, she said, "see animals!"...since it was a little cold and many of the animal are gone for the season they headed to the pet store instead of the zoo...and then to a bookstore. jillian didn't get an official "date" out of the house...but she gets lots of love and attention from daddy all the time. (she might just have him wrapped around her finger in a way the other two truly didn't yet have at this age!)

3. mommy time...while daddy and elizabeth took their museum date, kate and jillian cooperated by taking 2 hour naps at the same time...meaning i had LOTS of uninterrupted sewing time. i was able to finish up a few stocking stuffers (crayon totes and baby doll slings for libs and katers), matching flannel PJ pants for the girls (we have a Christmas tradition that they get to open one present Christmas eve...their matching Christmas PJs), and some knit cotton pants for kate for potty training (figure it won't hurt to have extras on hand that are easy on and easy off!).

4. my first venture in applique...and it was a success (well, by my means professional quality...but i like 'em!) here are the Christmas PJs...they have matching flannel pants and then white shirts with their first initial appliqued will have to wait for live models...since they can't put them on until we're at grandmommy and poppy's on Christmas eve!

5. speaking of daddy dates way back in smile #2...i got to have a daddy date this week as well. daddy, jillian, and i enjoyed some tasty Panera and chat-time...and then being the good sport that he is, we just might have finished the evening at jo-ann's buying the flannel for the PJs. :) have i mentioned lately that i LOVE my husband. i am so thankful for his hard work and long hours providing for our family, especially in the midst of the LONG project the past three months. we are so thankful to have him home more these days!

6. cutting and pasting...seriously, these two could cut and paste ALL day long! kate is especially fond of glue...frequently asking, "i do goo, mommy...PEAZ...i do goo!"

7. new schedules. i was increasingly frustrated the past few weeks with jillian's lack of interest in eating and the fact that i was often needing to wake her from a nap for eating. but i felt like surely at just three months she couldn't/shouldn't possibly be ready to only eat every four hours...and, i'll admit it, i was terrified that a shift in schedule might interrupt her sleeping through the night...but it didn't. hooray! she is still sleeping TONS...but is much, much more interested in eating. and, though we never did the sleepsack thing with either of the other girls (they were always plenty warm all swaddled up on their backs)...we gave in this time around. since j sleeps on her tummy and moves all over the place i needed something to keep her warmer (and to keep her from scooting and getting caught in the crib rails or flipping herself over). i found these grobags on mamabargains for a steal and decided to try them. fabulous! anything that helps my baby sleep, sleep, sleep brings a smile to my face!

8. an impromptu evening out with amy. even though the original plan--seeing a sneak peek of "the blind side" didn't work out, it was great to have a chance to see amy (and her friend shelley)...and to have some time perusing the aisles of united art and education afterward.

9. fresh paint. i've decided the only way our downstairs will ever get painted is one wall at a time, one naptime at a time...and yesterday was a productive start...i finished the play/living room and started into the kitchen. hooray! i'm including the pic for those, like my mom (smile!), who will be wondering what color it is. :) it is a greyish tan. love those productive days...though, i'll admit it, most of them aren't so productive! :)

10. winnie-the-pooh. elizabeth and i were running a quick errand saturday and popped in the library. i checked out the original "winnie-the-pooh", and i've been reading it aloud to the girls the past few days. elizabeth is enthralled...she will sit silently for three or more chapters/stories at a time, interrupting intermittently to ask a question or share some little detail she liked. priceless! next on our read aloud list is "charlotte's web"...but it has an amazingly long hold list at the library!

we are so blessed and have so, so many things for which we are thankful. i'm hoping to work on a post tonight filled with some of my thoughts on what makes us rich...come back for that. we will be heading out thursday morning for a quick trip to mike's parents for thanksgiving and an early Christmas celebration with them. we're looking forward to having some time there and then hopefully having a relaxing Saturday at home putting up Christmas decor and getting ready for the start of advent. :)

three whole months...

i can barely fathom that just three months ago i was snuggling you in my arms for the first time...i truly can barely remember the days of being a mommy to just two girls. it seems you have been with us for so much longer than three months...and yet, in the same respect, it seems those three months have past with the blink of an eye.

gone are the days when you were just a scrunched up ball of baby...barely opening your eyes...eager to eat ALL the time. now your eyes are open wide...alert and taking in the world around you, sparkling and twinkling when you catch my eye. you love to stand on my lap ( are definitely a stander...fighting with every ounce of energy to not bend into a sitting position). your lips are ready with full-fledged, toothless grins...and every now and then, sweet girl, you bring the most delightful music to mommy's ears...the beginning burst of a laugh. you even carry on fabulous little cooing conversations. i have to be honest, i just can't get enough of your preciousness.

and, oh my, jillian claire...oh my do you enjoy your sleep. you sleep through the night from 8 pm to 8 am...from the bottom of my heart mommy thanks you! and for all your alertness and grins and giggles and cooing, you truly don't last for much more than an hour and a half before crashing out for a nice LONG nap...and i do mean long. you don't know the definition of cat-nap (and i must say, mommy counts that as a huge blessing)...nope, you like to sleep 2-2 1/2 hour stretches. you are still sleeping as much as 18 hours a day. and, shhhh...don't tell, but you sure do love sleeping on your tummy, all snuggled up in your grobag. a few weeks ago, while we were visiting grandmommy and poppy, you officially mastered rolling over from your tummy to your back (and, let me tell you, you were NOT a fan of getting stuck on your back) mommy is quite thankful for the keeps you from flipping over AND slows down the wild scooting you do in your crib ( can move! from one end of the crib to another...a 180 degree are crazy strong).

jillian are gorgeous...and precious...and i am wildly, head over heels in love with you. but, more than that, you are chosen and precious in the sight of God...and that is worth far more than anything else i can give you. my prayer for you today is that as you grow you would love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength...He has great and wonderful plans for you, my daughter, and i cannot wait to see just what they are.

i love you!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


....for this Word from my time with the Lord this morning (and thought maybe you could use it too!)

1 Peter 1:18-19 " were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a perfect lamb without blemish or spot."

i know each of us have a myriad of things to be thankful for...but seriously, is there anything more amazing that the blood of Jesus, shed on our behalf. oh how i need to be reminded to meditate on this amazing gift and walk in its reality.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


i could be doing something about this...the three gigantor baskets FULL of laundry waiting to be folded...(not sure why the picture is posting sideways...or why i am stooping to the level of including pictures of laundry on my blog).....

....but instead we are doing this on a rainy tuesday afternoon while we wait for daddy to arrive paper mosaics...two year old+four year old+glue+scissors=thrilling! although i must admit, i was a bit nervous about kate and the flailing scissors, so i decided to cut her pieces for her and just let her have at it with the glue...elizabeth on the other hand is busily cutting her paper into the tiniest, most miniscule bits of paper ever.

Monday, November 16, 2009

ten smile tuesday...early!

disclaimer....this is FULL of pictures....FULL of fun....FULL of smiles!

the girls i enjoyed four fabulous days at grandmommy and poppy's house...we missed day, but in the meantime we had tons of giggles, visited lots of friends and family, and thoroughly enjoyed the break from the norm. we also gave daddy the chance to accomplish a few long overdue tasks around the house!

1. before heading to the lake, my friend jamie and i had a morning of sewing. she and her little guy came over...bringing along sewing machine, fabric and the ingredients for a yummy sundried tomato and basil pizza for lunch. i taught jamie a few little things with sewing and also managed to finish a few little projects...a stuffed taggie alligator for kate (not pictured) and one crayon tote (still need to do another)--and i will be adjusting the measurements to make it a bit smaller. i also have a pic of the elephant taggie animal i made for kate last week.

i'll be using the big twistable crayons...less need for sharpening and harder to break...

the other side of the elephant is opposite...purple minky with a dotted ear

2. poppy! upon arriving at the lake, the girls were thrilled to spend some time outside running around and swinging with poppy. kate spent the two days before we left for the lake walking around and talking non-stop about "i doh poppy house!" "i doh dah-ma (grandmommy's) house!" she was beyond thrilled to actually arrive there!

3. we had a GREAT time...visiting great grandparents and introducing jillian to some of them for the first time!

great grandma j

great grandpa h...we got to see great grandma ethel too! thankful we've gotten to see G.G. so much since she moved up this way!

4. lego fun. elizabeth and kate had a ball playing with grandmommy and poppy's lego stash...leftovers from when my sister and i were little! elizabeth especially enjoyed created flower trucks and garages to park her flower trucks in!

5. grandmommy! i think this is a great shot of grandmommy and her newest grand-daughter!

6. empty coffee cans...seriously...this empty folgers container entertained the girls for a hat, as a vessel for carrying and dumping legos and other various objects...and on and on!

7. jillian having the chance to meet one of her namesakes...miss jill! actually, this was a smile for all of the girls, my mom and i all enjoyed jill's visit! (thanks for making the drive up jill!). as you can see from the first picture, jillian had lots of grins and quickly fell in love with miss jill! see this post for more on why jillian got her name...

8. a visit from aunt cak and uncle pat...and look at the cool bib (you might have to enlarge the picture to see the bib) my aunt cak knit for jillian...can't wait to try making one!

9. nails...what could be more exciting! more than nails, the girls had a blast running around in the new addition...somehow the wood floors and drywalled walls must seem like a big huge playground. they thoroughly enjoyed running around, giggling, and "helping" poppy...and stabbing dried spray insulation globs with nails. kate was a nail magnet! the white dusty bottom shoes and pants were well worth the oodles of fun the girls had playing in the new addition. (as a side and dad have made huge progress...the girls slept fabulously in their unfinished lake bedroom (as did jillian and i)....and they are already talking endlessly about when we get to go back to spend Christmas at the lake)

10. building boats. poppy helped the girls build boats and launch them into the chilly lake. kate and elizabeth had a blast helping poppy drill the hole, pound in the mast with a hammer, and even coloring them with crayons. they tied rope to the boats, launched them into the lake and then reeled them in...what fun!

11. the fact that the 2 1/2 hour drive was without incident or need for a potty break on the way there AND the way back!

12. coming home to daddy! it was a gorgeous saturday upon arriving home daddy and his girls did lots of running around and playing in the backyard!

13. a fabulous play-date with a delightful friend this morning. i am so thankful for genuine, willing to admit their imperfections, relying on God's new every morning mercies kind of friends. the girls had a blast playing with their friends....and i very much enjoyed hanging out and having some good, honest, deep conversation about God, mommy-hood--the joys and struggles, and walking in grace with my friend.

14. and since most of the other pics were of the bigger it is...the obligatory jillian picture. isn't see precious!? hard to believe that in one week she'll be three months!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

ten smile tuesday

finally...some smilin' on this ol' bloggity blog...not sure where the past couple of weeks have gone. in fact, sometimes i wonder where the whole month of october got off to...or september for that matter. i can hardly believe it is almost Thanksgiving...and then Christmas...whoa!

1. all things "A"...i decided to start some structured crafting and alphabet time with kate...starting with, of course, the letter "A"...A is for alligator and ambulance and anchor and ANTS...we had lots of fun with "ants"...ant sandwiches (PB&raisin/cranberry)...making our own paper ants. kate had a blast tracing the circles for the body and helping me glue the parts...she really, REALLY like glue...did i mention that she is two...seriously, what is it with two year olds and glue? i only have a picture of elizabeth making an ant though...and she insisted on coloring her ant white....whats that? did i hear you asking why? well...because she was so delighted to find a use for the white crayon that she wanted to throw in the trash last week because it "didn't work" on her coloring book. what a funny girl!

2. chubby little hands...that stay chubby for far too short a time! (these are kate's little marker lovin' hands, by the kind of cracks me up that she automatically grips crayons and markers correctly...something we are still working on with elizabeth...she is definitely our fine and gross motor skills girl while libs is all about the verbal development!)

3. an impromptu and sweet lesson from Jonah. background story: in the mornings i have been trying to spend time during breakfast telling the girls what God is teaching me/talking to me about during my quiet time before they get up. yesterday we had just sat down and i was opening the Bible to tell them what i was learning when kate started repeatedly asking me to read Jonah..."Jonah, JO-nah!" so i did...and then we whipped out the gigantor sized sheets of paper daddy brings home from work, i drew some a "big fish" with jonah in his belly...and we colored while talking about Jonah 2:9, "Salvation belongs to God"...such a sweet moment. (and lest you think it was all sweet and perfect theology, i was trying to emphasize that only God saves, and then asked elizabeth various questions, like "does money save us? she would say "no", and i would say, "You're right, salvation belongs to..." and we would all together say God. that worked until i offered the question, "Does candy save us?" elizabeth thought for a moment and responded, "yep mommy...i think candy does save..." so much for that! :)

kate wished she could color too...but instead, she and her elephant watched from the bouncy seat!

4. did i mention that right in the midst of reading Jonah at the breakfast table daddy showed up with donuts (on a monday morning, no less!). yep...we had daddy home ALL day yesterday for an extra special day off. he took the morning off initially to get something fixed on the van, and praise the Lord, it took just an hour for him to drive to the mechanic, get the problem fixed, and get home! even better...the mechanic fixed it for the whole morning cost just $6...the price of the donuts he picked up on the way home! then he ended up taking the rest of the day off just because!

5. incredibly tasty homemade artisan bread...our creative activity at MOPS this past week. SO good...and SO incredibly easy. the dough stays in your fridge and you simply pull off a hunk, shape it into a ball with a gluten cloak, let it sit on your counter for a bit, and then bake it in a steam oven...and voila...bread in just minutes! the recipe came from the book, "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day"...which is definitely being added to my Christmas list!

6. hand-me-down Crocs for the girls...sometimes it is the little things. but seriously, they are loving their matching purple "monster" Crocs (they came with silly monster figures stuck in the holes)

7. time alone with the big girls. i've had chances a few times in the past week or so to take just elizabeth or just kate out for an outing or some errands...what precious time to be able to spend alone with each girl.

8. tasty salads for dinner. i will admit it...if mike won't be home, i really don't usually cook...this past week he worked several evenings tying up loose ends on a project, so i bought a rotisserie chicken at costco and (okay...i'll confess) one of their prepackaged spinach salads, and voila...healthy tasty dinner for me. true confessions...the girls just might have eaten PB&J or yogurt each of those nights (and whichever they didn't have for dinner they probably had for lunch). good thing mike is home for dinner most nights to encourage me to cook! and i really do enjoy cooking...but mostly when someone else at the table will truly appreciate and enjoy it (and honestly, kate is in a phase where it is a constant battle to get a healthy dinner down...a battle that is a big overly wearying and not worth it to fight on my own when i've already been home alone with them all day!)

9. jillian is in a fabulous routine...good sleeping, good eating, great growth! we had her two month check-up friday...she is 12 lbs. 10 oz. and 24 1/4 inches long now...90 percentile weight and 95 percentile length...definitely a happy and healthy baby girl! i am loving all the coos and grins and interaction. go here for some pictures and video of our sweet girlie!

10. crafting...crafting. i discovered this site...and have thoroughly enjoyed browsing through it, feeding my creativity...adding far too many projects and ideas to my already limited time! i did, however, find the time to do a bit of sewing one evening after the girls were in bed...some embellished burp rags for a friend's new baby girl...and a taggie elephant for jillian's Christmas stocking. i'm hoping to get some more fabric cut and projects ready for sewing, as tomorrow morning a friend is coming over with her new (first ever) sewing machine, and i am planning to teach her a few things (which is laughable considering i don't know all that much!...but like i tell really don't need to know much to do some really cool things!)...and hopefully crank out a couple more stocking stuffer projects!

and i could go on...but i won't because in just a few minutes a sweet little girl will be waking up, ready to eat and cuddle and snuggle. and besides that...i really need to do some packing since the girls and i head out for a quick trip to the lake tomorrow as soon as our sewing morning is finished...must pack and finish some cleaning around the house!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

i give....

okay...i am going to concede to the reality that there just won't be an official "ten smiles" for this week. BUT, i will share a few pics of our little monkey and cow...and perhaps some snippets from last week.

*as i mentioned before, H1N1 struck, taking me down...we think both of the girls had it as well, but thankfully their symptoms were very mild. mike became the main caregiver for jillian, and thankfully both of them avoided the sickies! actually, getting sick was good for our gave mike some much needed time off at home...a chance to unwind and relax and bit...and best of all, a chance to bond with jillian in an incredible way! and, as for me, i had a chance to rest...

*while the really cold weather throughout october, mike's big project at work, and then the sickies interfered with our plans to do a pumpkin patch or the ZooBoo...we did carve pumpkins on halloween morning, and the girls and i made pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting. YUM!

*my mind is FULL to the brim and overflowing with crafty projects for Christmas stocking stuffers for the girls (good thing i have SO much time for crafting...HA!). i made the "mistake" of perusing etsy one evening, and oh my, my mind was filled with ideas for each of the girls...crayon wallets, baby doll slings, an elephant shaped lovey and elephant taggy animal for jillian, bibs...and on and on! i did find some time last night to do a bit of crafting...some burp cloths for a friend who just had a sweet baby girl a few days ago (hooray for another girlie buddy for jillian!) and another baby girl who was born a month ago.

*jillian sleeping through the night! right as i came down with the flu, jillian decided to begin sleeping through the night...what a considerate little girl! she is now consistently going 10 hour or more stretches at night and settling into an awesome routine during the day. she is SUCH a contented and joyful baby...what a blessing!