Wednesday, October 28, 2009

ten smile tuesday...on wednesday

a few hours past tuesday...but here are some of our smiles from the past week.

1. had to share a pic of jillian smiling...she gets more and more smiley every day. AND this incredibly thoughtful little girl decided to sleep for 10 straight hours last night...and her mommy is extremely grateful, especially since i seem to be coming down with some kind of icky-ness. anyway...i know her eye seems to be doing some kind of strange squinting in the second pic, but the smile says it all--priceless! savor and take her in, the rest of the pics are of the big girls.

2. scooter fun. way back on her birthday elizabeth received a princess scooter (or "shooter"....or "motorcycle" as she likes to call it) from her great grandpa and great grandma ethel. well, the weather finally took a turn for the warmer, so we assembled it and showed her the ropes. and, of course, kate had a go at it as well.

step one: finish her snack

step two: "is this the right way?"

step three: she has it figured out

step four: take a break and give kate a turn!

3. FREE pumpkins! thanks ed! my aunt janeen messaged me saturday morning that my uncle ed's office was having "the great pumpkin giveaway" we quickly got ourselves dressed (since we were all spending the overcast, chilly morning lounging in our PJs) and headed over to pick up pumpkins and balloons and enjoy some cider and donuts. hooray! we are looking forward to carving our pumpkins on saturday...we figured we would wait until the last minute this year since our carved pumpkins got a bit rotten by halloween last year!

kate loves her pumpkins...really, she does...but the 1st pic is proof that it isn't all smiles all the time around here. and, call me cruel, but really, sometimes the teary pictures are the cutest!

4. a fabulously fun visit from grandmommy...and between playing with the girlies and loving on jillian, we did manage to squeeze in some rounds of canasta, as many of you suggested we would! most of the rest of the smiles can show what a great time we had....and oh my, to hear miss kate strutting around all week talking about "dah-ma" was "dah-ma" this, "dah-ma" that. she woke up from her naps asking, "dah-ma here?" but we did definitely miss poppy and GG...hopefully we can get up that way to see them soon!

5. my dinner helper. grandmommy captured a better shot of this, but seriously, kate loves to help me cook. anytime i am at the kitchen counter, she pulls a chair over to help me. this time she was using her plastic alligator knife (and calling this a knife is definitely using the term loosely, since it barely cuts through bread) to chop celery for pasta fagioli soup.

6. speaking of pasta fagioli definitely makes the cut. this was my first time trying out the recipe (thanks for being the guinea pigs, jake and carrie), but it will definitely be entering the recipe rotation at our house!

7. a game night with friends. you all know i love me a good game night, and it had been a LONG time...but we had a blast playing ticket to ride and enjoying some good fellowship with friends. jillian was thrilled to hang out with her little buddy maureen...okay, so maybe she didn't quite get it yet, but really, they will get it some day!

8. i digress from my "with grandmommy" smiles though...but here i am, back on track. we made these scrumptious cookie bars...oats, fudge, deliciousness...thanks for the recipe jackie!

9. oh my, too many smiles...i must condense...snuggling under elmo quilts to watch a movie, rocking rag dolls in the cradle ethel sent, our little picasso-kate....and so many more little moments!

10. another delightful date with my hubby....this seems to be a regularly occuring smile, which is a huge blessing! this was our first date without any kiddos along since jillian was born. grandmommy stayed with jillian, and the big girls went to our normal date swap baby-sitting. mike and i enjoyed a tasty, tasty dinner at buca di beppo, and afterward my husband treated me to a surprise some new perfume, while we strolled through the mall. i love my girls....i really do...but oh how i love getting to spend time alone with my most definitely does a marriage good!

11. well...ten smiles just won't cut it this week...we also enjoyed a nice visit with mike's parents on sunday. lunch, hanging out, even a bit of halloween cake!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

ten-ish smile tuesday!

smiling...smiling. not a lot of pictures this week....but lots of smiles in the little things, and there are a few pictures toward the end of the post!

1. the gorgeous changing of the leaves...i have been purposefully taking "the back way" more often so i can soak in the beauty of autumn in indiana...brilliant reds, vibrant oranges, seasonal browns, mellow yellows, and the lingering greens splashed in. what a time to savor the magnificence of creation!

2. an extremely encouraging MOPS meeting...see my thoughts on it here. thanks for your lovely thoughts ladies!

3. some girl time with my MOPS table ladies. we had a "my life in a bag" getting to know you evening at our table mentor's house...tasty chocolate mousse for dessert, fabulous conversation with delightful was great. i am so looking forward to diving more deeply into relationships with the ladies at my table.

4. two chock-full freezers...i inventoried and organized both the garage and inside freezer yesterday, and wow, we have a lot (i mean LOT) of food in our freezer. what a blessing!

5. sleep, glorious sleep...jillian is doing 7 hour stretches fairly consistently at night (and doing 12 hours total at night!)...i feel like a new woman!

6. my hubby bought me the wii active for our wii on sunday...i've done two workouts, and oh my, it is kicking my bootie (but in a good way!). i'm so excited to have something to motivate me to get moving on getting into shape....especially something i can easily do in the comfort of my own living room...because realistically this is not a phase in life where getting to the gym is a reasonable/feasible option!

7. watching jillian smile at her daddy...i mentioned her very first smile in last weeks "smiles"...and really, the only thing greater than catching my first glimpse of her smile was watching her gorgeous blue eyes look at her daddy and then seeing that mouth open in a massive, toothlesss grin AND hearing her let out a little squeal-y giggle. precious! she is starting to "talk" to us much more as well...oh how i love hearing that little cooing...

8. a freshly bathed baby...lightly lavender scented...smooth and silky skin...snuggly warm. she is also starting to love the bathing process. but really...what could be more smile-worthy than her itty-bitty mohawk. jillian seems to be losing hair in a ring around the middle of her head...however, she still has a healthy tuft of fairly long hair on the top...and it just so happens to naturally curl into a little mohawk at the top. LOVE it!

9. miss elizabeth and i had some special "beauty shop" time saturday evening. jillian was in bed and libs and i were waiting for daddy and kate to come home from a quick visit to a friend's house, so elizabeth decided to take a bath without kate. she lounged in the "spa" (a.k.a. bathtub), soaking, floating, enjoying...and then, after she was sufficiently "pruny", she hopped out, snuggled into some fleecy warm PJs (since it felt like january here!), and we went to the salon (a.k.a. mommy's bathroom) where i blow-dried and styled her hair (nothing more than a pony-tail, but she was thrilled)...and then she insisted on a pony for church sunday morning. she wasn't feeling real photogenic, but here she is with her pony-tail...and though she isn't "smiling" per se i really do think these pics are beautiful...i think the ponytail makes her look even older than she is already looking....

10. and, of course, i would be remiss to include photos of jillian and elizabeth and not include here she is, for your viewing pleasure. no really, this girl is a card...she is getting more and more verbal every day...and with the words comes humor...seriously, this girl is hilarious...and charming. where elizabeth is quite clever and tries to use that to her advantage (ie....tries to manipulate at times...this girl has fabulously reasoned arguments for why we should allow her to do whatever it is she thinks she should)...we are realizing quickly that kate is going to be the one who uses charm to her advantage....busting out that big grin and giggle...and, Lord help us, mommy and daddy find it quite hard to resist. shot number one makes me see the resemblance in she and elizabeth quite clearly (i now see what others see when they ask us if they are twins...and we get asked that a lot, which sometimes surprises me, as i don't really think of them as looking that alike...perhaps since i know so closely the stark difference in personality)...shot number two is her running around the kitchen with her squeaky shoes screaming "squeak" at the top of her lungs...and shot number three...she loves to stand right on top of you and say, "picture" while you are trying to take a picture...oh how i love this fireball!

11. a pink bundled baby. and can i just ask...just putting it out there...upon seeing this child in this carseat with the pink hat, pink blanket, pink paci, pink elephant, pink, pink...would there be any doubt in your mind on gender?! just curious...because at least 4 times on this outing i was either asked, "oh, is it a boy or a girl?" or heard, "oh, HE is old is HE?"...that aside, really love the look of her all bundled up with just her eyes peeking out...and i'm so happy that her little pink hat fits...hand-knit by grandmommy and worn by all three of the girls now...i love little things like that!

12. double chocolate mint cookies...YUM!

13. a date with my hubby last the Gideon's pastor appreciation banquet...a delicious dinner and a nice break from the norm. jillian did a fabulous job throughout the banquet, thanks to the moby wrap...seriously, i've mentioned it the past three weeks...but is fabulous since she enjoys being snuggled close!

14.....and finally, the anticipation of knowing my mom is coming to stay with us for a few days starting tomorrow. HOORAY!

Friday, October 16, 2009

...lest ye be judged...

judge not, my friends, judge not.

no, i don't really think you are judging....just have that verse rolling around in my head (which is slightly miraculous that it is actually rolling around and not caught in the fog of exhaustion like so many other things!). but anyway...yesterday morning was a glorious MOPS morning--tasty hot brunch, fabulous ladies, and a delightfully humorous and genuine speaker, marla taviano (her site is sure why blogger won't do my link right now...ugh!)...who just so happens to also be an author...and blogger. she spoke on an issue that is near and dear to my heart (not because i have it all under control, but rather because i so poignantly feel the real struggle...).

she titled her talk "non-denominational mothering"...otherwise known as the judging, comparing, mommy-guilting, etc. we can get so caught up in as moms. here is the article i wrote for "The Crib Sheet"--our MOPS newsletter publication.

“Mommy guilt.” It comes in different shapes and sizes. It can be the byproduct of genuine or imagined scrutiny from others. Googling the words brings up over 820,000 results. Even the most confident of mommies have surely had moments of insecurity over choices they’ve made.

Beth Moore’s recent Bible study on the book of Esther is subtitled, “It’s Tough Being a Woman,” and in the first chapter she makes the case that specifically, “It’s tough being a woman in another woman’s shadow”. This is all too true when it comes to motherhood. As if it is not a tough enough job, women can turn just about anything into a comparison game…breast-feeding vs. bottle-feeding, working vs. staying at home, spanking vs. anti-spanking, home-school vs. public school…and the list goes on. Just the other day a friend had posted a comment about her daughter’s ear-infection on her facebook page. She was not seeking advice, but simply sharing what was going on; however, she opened a can of worms, and what ensued was a debate over 20 comments long regarding the merits and deficits of antibiotics—strong mommy opinions flying in every direction. Perhaps Moore’s statement could easily be rendered, “It’s tough being a mommy in another mommy’s shadow.”

Where does mommy guilt come from and what can we do about it? It seems guilt has everything to do with whom we are trying to please. If we are striving to please our peers (even the well-intentioned ones), we will always fall short. We are individuals, and just as God may be calling one family to follow one particular path, He may call another in an entirely different direction. While our peers (and even extended family) can be excellent resources for encouragement and support, they were never meant to be our audience for approval. Galatians 1:10 offers insight; “For am I now seeking the approval of man or of God? Or am I trying to please man?” We were not created to look for approval from man, and when we do so, we become easy prey for mommy guilt, comparison and competition.

The verse in Galatians also points us toward the solution to mommy guilt—seeking the approval of God. In 1 Thessalonians 2:4 Paul writes, “…just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God, who tests our hearts.” We are to speak (and act and make decisions) to please God. Knowing and fearing God is the key to victory in the battle of mommy guilt and comparison. At the core, the struggle is a worship struggle. Do you worship the opinion of man or do you worship God? In his book, When People are Big and God is Small, Ed Welch writes, “A growing knowledge of God displaces the fear of people.” As we move toward God and sit in His presence, the opinion of others and perspective of the world has far less influence and control in our lives; we are able to stop asking the question, “What are people thinking of me?”

Mommy guilt and pressure will most likely not disappear anytime soon, but we do not have to live in the shadow of other’s mommies. We can establish a daily tradition of looking into Scripture and growing in our knowledge of God. We can prayerfully seek His wisdom and guidance as we make decisions for our families. We can rest in His grace when it comes to decisions we make in regards to parenting. And finally, we can be sure we are not casting shadows on the other mommies around us by offering grace to one another just as God extends it to us. those are some of my thoughts on the topic. and really, the MOPS meeting and this topic had great timing...coinciding nicely with Dr. Phil's working mom vs. stay at home mom show. i was feeding jillian wednesday afternoon and randomly turned on the was like a train wreck that i couldn't take my eyes off of...watching working moms and stay-at-home moms "square off" in regards to their choices, especially when he brought out all the working moms from the "control room" to weigh in on the merits of working...and, oh my, don't even get me started on the extreme-ness (is that even a word) and judgmental attitude of the chief representative of the stay-at-home moms. i will admit, i have strong feelings about staying at home with my children. i don't do it because i think it is fun or easy...i don't do it because we simply have oodles of cash and wouldn't know what to do with some extra money (can you feel the sarcasm dripping from that statement)...i do it because mike and i feel strongly that it is the right choice for our family, that it is where God has called me to be, AND because it is worth the sacrifice. BUT that is OUR choice...we are responsible only to God to answer for that one else. so, it seems to me i should allow others to make THEIR choice and answer to God for their choice...they shouldn't have to answer to me. God knows each of our families and circumstances...and He is gracious and perhaps rather than sanctimoniously trumpeting our opinion and passing judgment we could simply love one another with gracious hearts.

my MOPS table discussion definitely revealed that it truly is a struggle for each and every one of us...whether we express our struggle easily or internalize it, it is there. whether it is over the size (or organization and spotlessness) of someone else's house, the style or size of their clothing, the perfect behavior of their children...and on and on...we all have one or more areas we can tend to struggle with comparing in....or judging.

marla pointed out the reality that whatever we struggle with or feel most insecure about is what we notice in others. oh how true...probably because of the current trend to focus so much attention on how breast-feeding is best (and yes, i understand that it is) combined with my struggles with milk supply have always made that a "hot button" for area where i continual fight insecurity. so yes, i will admit it, whenever i am in a room with a bunch of mommies and i pull out my baby's bottle i shirk a little bit...wondering what some of the breast-feeding mamas are thinking of me. not only that, but i have a radar for other if somehow seeing another mom feeding her baby with a bottle will affirm my if somehow other mom's opinions and affirmation are more important than what God thinks of me. or, when i find myself in a crowd of breast-feeding mamas i often feel the urge to justify or explain..."well, i'm pumping because i struggle with low milk supply...and i just supplement formula" if somehow this makes me more or less of a mom...what in the world, why should i feel the need to explain myself?! absurd really...and yet, my heart struggles...i struggle to fix my eyes solely on jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith.

and it isn't just bottle-feeding. it is discipline. it is weight. it is creativity and "fun" with the girls. and on and on and on. and truly, the bottomline is that when my eyes are fixing on others...comparing...they cannot be fixed on loving that person...or on growing and becoming more like Christ in my own life. in fact, the more we compare, the more we grow embittered, the more we make those women out as our rivals, the more we strive to become like other fallen human beings as opposed to our Lord. oh that we would be women who truly LOVE one another with the love of Christ...and women who fix our eyes on Jesus....that is my prayer for each of us today!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

ten smile wednesday

i was dreaming of snuggling up under some warm blankets and snoozing away on this rainy afternoon...but since a certain four year old (not to name any names) decided going peacefully and quickly into rest time wasn't her cup-o-tea this afternoon that plan went out the window. so, instead, i'll take these last 15 minutes before miss jillian wakes up and hopefully finish "smiling". as a note, that certain little four year old is now resting quietly...and this mama is thankful she took the time needed and used the experience as a teachable moment...but, wow, nothing wears out an already worn out mama more than the defiant will of a four year old...can i get some amens ('cause i know MANY of you reading this are right there with me...or will be soon enough!)!? are some smiles!

1. this morning jillian smiled for the first time...HUGE and intentional and right at her mama! can't beat that! she's had a few little maybe-smiles in the past week, but i'm counting this as the first REAL one. and, oh my, it was gorgeous. i simply basked in the beauty of no pictures, but perhaps soon!

2. a fabulously fun family photo shoot at the park yesterday afternoon. a friend from church was our photographer, and she was wonderful (if you live in indy and need a photographer i would highly recommend her!). kate and elizabeth smiled and giggled and cooperated...the park had several scenic opportunities for pics...jillian cooperated. how fabulous to be able to say we not only got pictures but had a blast. can't wait to share some of our favorites in a couple of weeks!

3. a bathed beauty...who incidentally is now seven weeks old. (and these were actually taken on the day she hit that marker). as a sidenote...she is changing more and more everyday...and i honestly have no clue who i think she looks like/takes after now...she looked like my baby pictures as a newborn and yet also had a strong hint of elizabeth's baby pics...and now she has taken on a look all her own....a very precious look though...if i do say so myself!

the lighting isn't great...but i just really like this pic for some reason...she is waking up and so much more aware every day...i need to get on our desktop computer and find the pictures of kate and elizabeth wearing this same outfit, posed in the same way around this age....maybe then we'll see some resemblances...and actually, i think looking at this particular shot she might just be a spitting image of elizabeth. but looking at the bathtime ones above she looks so different.

5. the blessing of friends...who are really more like family. jill, nathan and brennan came to celebrate elizabeth's birthday with us. have i mentioned lately what a blessing this sweet girlie pictured below is...if not, i said it now. and do you see the fabulous moby wrap she made for me...both jillian and i are definitely enjoying far my favorite baby carrier i've owned!

6. beads and markers and all other things entertaining. i'm enjoying that kate is getting old enough to participate in craftiness with elizabeth and me. she definitely enjoyed stringing beads...for awhile...then she got a spoon out and pretended to eat them...whatever floats her boat.

7. "squeaks"...aka kates new shoes. they just so happen to "squeak" when shes walks...which is cute and also a wee bit annoying in the wrong sistuation or place....BUT they also were almost half the price of the other option kate's extra wide feet. and, seriously, she loves them...and really, you can only own and wear shoes that squeak when you are you might as well live it up! not only that, but we were also able to pick up the next size up tennis shoes for later this winter on the clearance table....woo-hoo! gotta love a good deal on shoes...especially when our only real option for kate is pricey stride rite (which are so cute...but really, so pricey!)

8. our four year old...who just so happened to celebrate her birthday last thursday...with a bug cake, her honorary aunt, uncle and cousin (aka....jill, nathan, and brennan), pizza, and a couple presents. click here to see a more complete run-down of her big day!

9. our MOPS fall cookout...roasting hotdogs over the fire, pumpkin painting, lots of good eats and good fellowship...capped off with tasty smores (or perhaps cheetos...because that just might be what i had for dessert (i'm just sayin'...maybe...)....good times, good times! by the way, elizabeth was SO into pumpkin painting, but the picture of kate was better...seriously, i think libbers could have painted her pumpkin ALL day!

10. this probably should go with the beads and markers smile...but i don't feel like dragging the pictures up here it is...painting with water. my sweet friend cortney sent a package that included some of these fabulous books for libs and katers...and oh how they are enjoying them. as for jillian, well, she is enjoying watching... :)

11. and i could go on and on...godly counsel from godly women who are willing to take time out to love younger women, a baby who is consistently sleeping 6 or 7 hour stretches at night and settling into a bit of a routine, a date night with my hubby, a great flock group from church, dinner with one of our flock group families...and so many more.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

they're on their way....

ten smile tuesday will have to become ten smile we've had quite the full tuesday! Bible study this morning...a "picnic" lunch at church...home long enough for brief naps (and a haircut for daddy)...and then off to the park for a family photo shoot. our photo shoot was a blast...lots of laughs and smiles, two delightfully cooperative big girls (praise the Lord!), a precious little baby girl, a cool but sunny afternoon, wooden staircases, knotty trees, lots of rocks! i cannot wait to see (and share) our photos once they are up on natasha's website.

so tomorrow...tomorrow i will be back to share sure to check back then!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

happy birthday to libbers!

happy birthday to you...happy birthday to you...happy birthday dear elizabeth...happy birthday to you!

the bug cake...elizabeth helped me roll the starburst and cut out the dots. perhaps she has a future career in cake decorating...regardless, she thought it was beyond special to help decorate her cake. and i definitely enjoyed the time spent with my four year old!

dearest can it be that you are four...that this moment 4 years ago i was just an hour away from meeting you and holding you in my arms. we didn't know if you were an elizabeth or a benjamin. we didn't know your eyes would be blue or your smile so dazzling. but God did. it is hard for me to believe how quickly time has passed tall you are, how talkative, how incredibly smart, how beautiful. you are a blessing to us. you are our silly monkey...full of smirks and giggles and silly crazy are full of persuasive suggestions (and learning to use those abilities in wise rather than foolish ways!) have always had an amazing attention span and ability to are a delicate balance of timidity and fearless leadership. how amazing to think upon all the little details that make you "you". you are forever carrying around a stuffed week it is george, the next poppy-saurus-rex, the next your GG and Big Bapa bear. you have the most delightful little voice and the shrilliest shrieking scream (the same one when you are excited and when you are scared...which most upon means you have encountered a bug, and that makes it highly ironic that you requested a bug cake for your birthday!). your favorite time of the day is definitely "school time"...that hour or so of the afternoon when kate is napping, before your rest time, when you have mommy all to yourself...working on your letter-writing, reading stories, coloring, baking, playing doesn't matter what we do, you simply savor that time (then again, maybe that is just because you know rest-time is coming and you need to savor those last moments beforehand). in the past months you have become quite obsessed with telling us about all of your friends as well...ellie and riley and miranda and, of course, best buddy brennan. as the biggest of the sisters you waver between being the boss and being the big helper. you love to get right in jillian's face and talk to her in your sweetest, sugary voice..."Hi baby girl...Hi Jillian...its okay..." you clearly adore your itty-bitty jillian sister. when you and kate play you like to make up all the rules and ensure that kate follows them; you waver between excitement that she is big enough to play with you and frustration that she is big enough to get into what you perceive as yours. and yet, at least a few moments of every day are filled with the beautiful music of you two laughing together or the sight of you sitting and reading to her or helping her learn to use the potty. someday, sweet girl, someday you are going to be one incredible mommy! but for now, stay four...enjoy and jump...scoot your scooter...pedal your bike...giggle...jump in the big puddle in the parking lot rather than walking around it...carry your animal friends everywhere...savor the simplest delights of life...look at the world through innocent God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and believe Him with the wonder only a child has...color outside of the lines...sing out of key and dance like a crazy woman without fear of what others might think...imagine...pretend...believe that a cardboard box is a mansion or a to meet your daddy every afternoon and greet him with unfettered enthusiasm...kiss me on the cheek just because...look at the world in wide-eyed wonder. savor four...and mommy promises to do her very best to be four with you!

how amazing to be celebrating four years of your seems just yesterday we were celebrated your third birthday with a trip to the museum and pumpkin train...and then with your choo-choo cake and party...and to think of your second birthday, pictures here..or way back to your first birthday with pictures here!

make a wish!

kater enjoyed the cake too!

opening your scooter from great grandpa ray and great grandma actually pronounce this "shooter"...OR as you told your uncle nathan, its a "motorcycle"...he he!

playing with your "Tag" reader from mommy and daddy...

aunt jill, uncle nathan, and brennan celebrated with us

kate and elizabeth both LOVE uncle nathan...this time kate got to him with a book first!

mommy and "aunt" jill...aka...the best friend in the world...and look at the "present" jill made for very own moby wrap. i already am a huge fan of it and have a feeling jillian will spend LOTS of time snuggled up in it...for many months to come!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

ten smile tuesday

i'll start my smiles with three terrific gifts...i mean really, could there be anything better to smile about...well, my hubby, of course, but i don't have any big ol' pictures of him to post!

1. jillian claire...6 weeks already...oh my!

2. katherine christine...our ever in motion, spunky little princess...seriously can you see all her "bling" in the second picture...6 or seven necklaces, a headband, bracelets...and babies, always carrying babies around....

3. elizabeth irene...who turns four on thursday...FOUR! oh my goodness where have four years gone?! sparkling eyes, brilliant mind, amazing verbal skills...and almost! grandmommy, she rediscovered this hat you knit several years back and thinks it is the best thing ever!

4. elizabeth asking to feed jillian...and then enjoying every minute of it...precious!

5. a few hours by myself at the salon....eyebrows waxed, hair cut and styled, one refreshed mommy!

6. autumn foods...taco soup and cornbread in particular...and all the apple sitting on my counter waiting to be turned into apple crisp to take to our new neighbors, all four of them...minus the new neighbors who already received a loaf of pumpkin bread....

7. did i mention new neighbors...or pumpkin bread. its crazy...we've had houses all around ours on the market, some for over a year, and all of the sudden they've all sold in the past month or so. we are excited to have new neighbors to get to know...and we're excited to share some treats. i made some loaves of pumpkin bread to deliver to some of them, but a certain almost four year old (as in just DAYS away from four!) just might have done some "sampling" from the top of a couple loaves...oops!

8. family movie night..."The Muppets Take Manhattan" with homemade carmelcorn as a tasty much fun to hang out on the floor and simply do some relaxing together.

9. potty training progress...we've officially started the potty training process with kate, and so far she has had some success...including telling us she had to go and then successfully pooping in the potty (i know..i just said poop...but its my blog...i can say poop if i want to, and besides poop that makes it into the potty is a definite highlight in my life right now!).

10. a fabulous not-really-a-date-night night that was an awful lot like a nice date with my hubby. (did you follow that?) our church had a dinner for small group leaders last night and provided childcare for the big mike and i enjoyed some fellowship with other group leaders, a yummy dinner catered by bravo, encouraging conversation, and a little break from the norm...which is always nice...

and now i'm off...need to finish some cake preparations. we are actually celebrating miss elizabeth's birthday tomorrow evening (a small pizza party...and i mean small, just beloved "aunt" jill, "uncle" nathan, and brennan joining us) since mike and i have a date night with free childcare on thursday night (don't know you would do it too...who turns down a night out with the hubby when you don't have to pay a sitter!...i mean really, she doesn't know what the actual day is!) :). i'm making a "bug" cake...highly ironic since she is terrified of real bugs...and i mean shrieks in the highest pitched voice and frantically flails her arms around terrified. but she thinks pictures of ladybugs are cool and at one point requested a ladybug cake (in among the other seventy cake decor requests she has made in the past month or so)...i'm tweaking the ladybug a little since she also happened to request chocolate frosting...but it will be a bug nonetheless. pictures to come!