Tuesday, January 26, 2010

ten smile tuesday

wow...there has been a lot going on in the past week! here are a few smiles.

1. an impromptu morning at the library when our MOPS group was canceled due to icy roads

2. a delightful afternoon with my libber girl...i posted about the afternoon here. but here is a pic with libbers in the new dress she picked out...notice the lightning mcqueen sticker...a gift from kate, who received the stickers after pooping on the potty sunday morning...

3. kate pooping on the potty....the progress is slow but sure in the "stinky" department, but we are having more and more success each day!

4. watching the Colts win...and eating ice cream cones with my kater gator afterward! sundays in general have been fabulous the past couple of weeks. we've been working hard to be intentional about making sunday more of a day of rest...and it has been phenomenal!

5. the best flock group in the entire world...seriously...i love these peeps! one of our dear families is taking off for the mission field...so we got some group shots at our meeting monday. apparently having many children is a prerequisite to being part of our group...these kiddos represent four families...four families, fourteen kiddos...with one on the way!

6. lots of fun crafting, painting, and drawing fun with the girlies.

7. snuggling on the couch with my family (with a kater gator nestled on my lap), "ratatouille", and a big ol' bowl of popcorn!

8. my jilly-girl is 5 months old...where has time gone! check out my post here for more pics of that sweet girlies (and the other two at 5 months old as well!)

9. homemade, from scratch 100% whole wheat cinnamon sugar bagels...better yet, making them with elizabeth.

10. my most recent crafty endeavor...making colts tu-tus for the girls...so they can cheer the hometeam on to a superbowl victory in style! :) i'm hoping to get some little shirts appliqued in the next few days. they have been twirling and whirling in their tu-tus all day today.

11. as i was pulling together some loose ends before dinnertime i captured kate and elizabeth playing "doctor" with jillian. precious giggles...precious smiles and adoration as jillian looked up at her sisters...so sweet!

12. oh...and a fun girls night. we gathered at a friends house after the kiddos were in bed...enjoyed popcorn, monster cookies, and LOTS of conversation. good stuff!

13. oh...and (see...i told you it was a good week) i've managed to get my bootie out of bed by 5:30 and work out, spend quality time with Jesus, and shower before the girlies are up for the past week...it has been fabulous!

Monday, January 25, 2010

same dress...different baby!

i have captured all three girls on their 5 month birthday (within a few days of it...jillian's pics are from sunday...which was her 5 month birthday!)...wearing the same dress...love seeing the pictures side by side!

who is who? amazing how they each have their own little look...but especially jillian!

love me some jilly giggles...this girl has such a fabulous smile!

she chews on anything within reach (seriously...anything...)

but this might be my favorite. kate plopped herself next to jillian mid-photo shoot and started reading her "gossie and gertie"...and jillian really was paying attention. made kate's day...and mine too! kate even threw in several of the right words....what a great big sister she is. and can i just mention that she is seriously in love with jillian...seriously...she calls her "jillian boo bear"...she tries to help jillian roll over...she pats her head...she replaces her paci when needed...she hugs and kisses. precious!

(and if you weren't able to figure out the pics...the first was kate, the second elizabeth, and the third jillian)

Friday, January 22, 2010

dearest elizabeth...

when, sweet girl, did you get so big? when exactly did you go from toddler to little girl? when did you become such a fabulous conversationalist...politely placing orders with the waitress at the restaurant, carrying on endless dialogue with anyone we see, talking to me like you are much older than four. when, i ask?

elizabeth, you are beautiful...inside and out. it is a great joy to see you learning to share and show kindness (especially to kate...and, yes, sweet girl, i know it is so hard sometimes). i truly savor listening to the time you spend laughing with your sister, teaching her, playing with her, imagining, giggling. i enjoy being past the sheer "obedience" phase of discipline...being able to get a better glimpse of your heart and to talk through things with you, watching you wrestle through what it means to please God...wrestling with the "why" of obeying...and eventually coming to the point of doing the right things for the right reasons. sometimes you amaze me with your deep questions and insights into spiritual things...sometimes it is the simplicity with which you accept things or see life...and others times you make obvservations and comments that truly make me laugh outloud. i love you, sweet girl!

and elizabeth, today marks a day of "mommyhood" i will always remember...an incredible mommy/daughter outing. the true goal was your first *real* haircut (not counting the one time mommy trimmed your hair last summer)...but it was really more about the whole day. and, oh my, was it is terrific afternoon. daddy stayed home with jillian and kate...and this was an afternoon for just the two of us.

here you are...ready to head out the door. eyes sparkling and eager.

our first stop was le peep...where you ordered a mickey pancake (incidentally you also did the ordering for mommy too...french toast and diet coke (when the server asked what we wanted to drink, you said it loud and clear, "my mommy would want a diet coke please"...completely unprompted by me!...i mean seriously, when did you get old enough to order for us?!). you proceeded to eat the entire pancake (and several bites of my french toast) even though it was seriously BIGGER than your head!

then after hitting the clearance racks at old navy we made our way to cookie cutters. you were so brave...excited but reserved. you selected the car chair...climbed in...and sat as still as a statue, listening and quickly following instructions when the stylist asked you to put your head down or turn this way or that. when asked how you wanted your hair cut, you responded, "a bob...stacked in the back..." just as we had talked about at lunch. :)

i walked in the door with a little girl...and i walked out the door with a big girl...amazing really how much older you look.

the green balloon she gave you was a highlight...as was the promise of a chocolate chip cookie at target (our next stop!). and at target you patiently shopped with mommy...looking through each rack, trying to find the perfect dress...which you insisted should be green...not for any particular occasion...but just because...because every little girl who is becoming big should get an afternoon of lunch out, haircuts, and dress shopping! :) target didn't have anything to your liking (although you pointed out several things your sisters would enjoy...and oh how that was precious to my heart...you thinking of them!). so we headed to kohls...and there you found it...your green dress...just perfect (and you also happened to score a bunch of clearance bargains for your wardrobe next winter). its good to be a girl, elizabeth!

sweet girl...i am thrilled that God has gifted you to me...that this was just the first of many lovely girlie afternoons we can spend together. i love you. I LOVE YOU! you are beautiful and precious and amazing.

mommy :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

ten smile *tuesday*...

i've been so out of the routine of posting ten smile tuesday...and here it is wednesday...but i will go ahead and share some of what we've been smiling about.

1. a letter to daddy from miss elizabeth. she dictated...i wrote...and then she used my copy as a sample to make her own. i'm so proud of my girl!

2. building a snowman....while jillian and kate napped in the afternoon, just before all of our snow melted away, elizabeth and i went out and built a snowman. what a blast!

3. a date night with the hubby

4. a baby shower for a sweet friend...good time with fun ladies...and some out without kiddo time too! that was followed by some time out with just kater gator a little later...we went to pick out some potty prizes and big girl undies. she is doing a great job with staying dry...just needs a bit more motivation and encouragement when it comes to putting "stinkies" in the potty.

5. qwirkle+popcorn+my husband=fabulouso...'nuff said!

6. a delightful, restful sunday...watched some football, took a nap, spent time with my favorite four people...a good day!

7. finishing off that sunday with some tasty pancakes made by daddy....and some "jemia-mites" to finish off the meal (silver dollar size pancakes)...the girls were thrilled to call poppy and tell him they had "jemia-mites" (which were poppy's specialties when i was growing up)

8. see that buzz lightyear pen?! yep...kate's "prize" for putting "stinkies" in the potty. what can i say, it was a fabulous monday morning...i was up in time to workout, shower, and have some good time with the Lord before the girls woke up, and then kate woke up and "stinkied" in the potty. that, my friends, is a good day!

9. need i say more...yep...this snuggle, buggle girl!

10. who needs cars when you have shoes? the girls are having a BLAST playing with their wooden "anamalz" in their shoes. kate is zooming around, honking, and just plain having fun...this is by far one of kate's favorite things to play right now.

*bonus* pudding pictures! i made pudding and let the girls practice drawing letters and shapes...and eat the pudding. good times...
true to personality...elizabeth used the tips of her fingers and started "daintily" with her drawing and sampling...

...while kate...well, she was kate...

Monday, January 18, 2010

dear jillian...

dearest, sweetest, most precious jillian,

you are beyond cute. i cannot get enough of your grins and giggles and coos.

i love the way you press your head up against me to snuggle.

i find just about everything you do adorable...from eating your tabbies (and sticking pretty much anything in your mouth) to the way to grin at your sisters (especially kate).

you reached out to hold elizabeth's hand in church yesterday...and made mommy almost cry (and miss a great deal of the sermon).

you had a long day yesterday with fussiness (so not normal for you) and a bit of a fever from teething, and shhh...don't tell, but mommy kind of enjoyed it...not the painful for you part, just the holding you a little closer part.

one small request...stop growing so fast!


p.s. jillian would like to send a special shout out to jackie...thanks for the cutie outfit! (and yes, that means that my not yet 5 month old fits in a 6-9 month outfit....she's not petite...thats for sure!)


I am...

....reminded that most things come with time. i spent the morning listening to kate chatter away with me, telling me all about the illustrations in the books we were reading, talking to her sister, and just plain talking for the sake of talking. this is the same kate who was barely talking on her 2nd birthday 5 months ago. now, as i type, elizabeth is coloring pictures, cutting them with scissors, and pasting them into the correct "positions" in her workbook without any assistance from mommy. this is the same elizabeth who i worried would never figure out anything fine motor skill related.

...hopeful that our run to wal-mart for extra protection pampers (and going yet another size up) will prove worthwhile...meaning a dry baby, dry sleeper, and dry sheet tomorrow morning. oh please let it be!

...looking out my window and marveling at what a wise and amazing God we have...a God who has planned seasons so beautifully, caring for the trees and grass...thinking it is quite awesome to think that He cares for us much more even than His incredible creation.

...pleased that we made it through CVS and wal-mart without tears or tantrums.

...thankful for beautiful, godly ladies who encourage, support, and motivate me.

...thrilled that kate has figured out the whole "pee pee in the potty" process and hoping she will get the pooping in the potty down quickly.

...not above bribery to get the above "random" squared away.

...avoiding a mountain of laundry that needs to be folded.

...bragging on my husband who washed almost all of that laundry (along with hanging with the three girls AND vacuuming!) while i was enjoying a baby shower for a sweet friend.

...celebrating getting up in time to workout, shower, spend time with Jesus, and enjoy oatmeal with bananas and a cup of coffee before the girlies rose. (well...kind of...i was still finishing some journaling while they enjoyed a little "clifford")

...looking forward to reading some more "charlotte's web" with elizabeth in just a few minutes.

...wishing two nasty teeth would pop through the gums already and give my sweet baby girl some relief.

...trying to decide if some resting or more working is in store during nap/rest time.

...excited to hear that a friend will most likely be able to bring her son and daughter home to their family. they are orphans in haiti...and due to the earthquake they are hopefully going to be granted humanitarian pardon and released to go home THIS WEEK--it has been a two year plus adoption process! praise the Lord for joy in the midst of a tragedy.

...praying, praying, praying for Haiti...and praying, praying, praying that God would let us have wisdom and discernment where we need to give and help.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

He cares...

i just had one of those moments...i've read enough of your blogs to know that i'm not the only one who has them. i also know the Bible says (in 1 Cor. 10:13) i'm not alone....that no temptation has seized except that which is common to man...that He is faithful...that He won't let it be more than i can bear (even when it feels like it might be)...AND that even better, He will provide a way for me to stand up under it (and quite honestly, i am clinging to that truth right now!).

on the news, on the radio, splashed across the newspaper we are seeing the devastation of the earthquake in Haiti. we are hearing death tolls...reading of homeless people...knowing that people who already had next to nothing, now have even less. and it truly does put my daily struggles into perspective. and yet...my daily struggles haven't gone away...as petty and small as they are in comparison, they are still there. i have spent a lot of time in the past 24 hours wrestling with just that...my petty small problems...the devastation of a widespread tragedy like the earthquake in Haiti. and you know...i keep coming back to the reality that even though they are small in comparison, God still cares about my daily struggles. He cares...period. yes, we definitely should be praying and doing whatever we might be called to in the way of helping Haitians (and others in crisis)...we should be keeping in mind the many, many blessings in all of our lives...but, friends, let us not trivialize our personal struggles. they are real....and no matter how small God cares.

anyway...back to my moment. friends, i am NOT and will most likely NEVER be classified as a clean freak. while i like the feeling of sitting in a nicely organized clean room, i don't enjoy the process. i truly enjoy going to friends' houses (even the ones that have kids too) and gazing upon the majesty of their sparkling kitchen countertops...you know, the kind that aren't stacked with miscellaneous, doesn't have a home, random "stuff"...or one too many kitchen appliances. and, honestly, i want that to be my kitchen. but alas...it isn't. mine is the house with one too many toys strewn across the floor...a kitchen sink that doesn't stand a chance of being completely empty for more than 10 minutes...a refrigerator top and counters with "stuff" stacked here and there. i remember my parents teaching me when i was younger, "just put it back as soon as you are done with it"...a lesson that would work fabulously if half of the stuff had homes to begin with....a lesson that would be fabulous if my children grasped that concept fully. but much of the "stuff" is still looking for a home...and my kiddos, well, bless their little hearts, they just don't get it. and honestly, most of the time i am able to put into perspective the reality that right now there are more important things than a spotless and organized kitchen...or house, for that matter. and other times i pridefully (just as "wrong" as going the other direction in my thoughts) think of all the people i know whose kitchen (or bathroom or whatever-room) is messier than mine...people who i have it so much MORE together than...oh, even typing that hurts...the reality of my sinful, prideful heart...ick!

and then there are other moments....moments when a myriad of different things set it off...the tension mounts...i dream of what i would like things to look like if they would just behave. like this morning, standing in the middle of my kitchen after taking a loaf of bread out of the oven, surveying the "wreckage" of the countertops, and i began attempting to tame the madness while jillian napped and the big girls played in the playroom upstairs. i had about four minutes of peace, and then....girls clamoring for lunchtime (even though they'd just finished a snack moments before)...mugho rooting behind the trashcan trying to reach a rogue carrot that snuck out of the trashbag...and SNAP...there i am...yelling at the dog, tears streaming down my face, elizabeth and kate looking at me like i was a complete lunatic...completely having lost balance.

as i stood in the bathroom (with the door locked for one moment of aloneness) composing myself, it hit me like a wave. He cares. He cares about this struggle of mine...this temptation to let my priorities wander...the temptation to compare myself to others....the temptation to lose focus on what is most important in life, HIM. He cares...and He walks with me through it. and...while i am crying out to him over things like the homeless, injured, lost people in Haiti, i need never forget that He wants me to cry out for my daily struggles. He wants me to cry out to Him for wisdom, for help, for guidance, for TRUTH...He wants me to cast ALL my concerns upon Him....whether it be concern over potty training or kitchens or natural disasters. He is THERE....and He is just as much there with me in my kitchen on a thursday morning as He is in Haiti on that same thursday morning.


it hit me so powerfully that i just had to sit down and write about it...my stream of concious as i processed it...because, truly, that is the best way for me to process. and here it is...for all of you to read. yes...the "stuff" is still strewn about the countertops...actually, it is even messier since i had started trying to tackle it. and yes, i am still determined to make progress on those countertops...but this time with His help...and not because i need to be as good as a friend with a clean kitchen. and not until i get some lunch for my hungry little monkeys...which is what i am going to do right now!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

what we've been up to...

i'm still here...see, really, i am.

i started a "ten smile tuesday" last week...and then was distracted by the last minute chance to join some gals at maggiano's for dinner....and then i tried to pick up and finish that post friday...and was distracted with my need to get ready for my date with my husband (a date to celebrate his new job!--yep...his new job! he starts tomorrow! a full-fledged, hire a baby-sitter date...complete with a tasty dinner, great conversation, some window-shopping, and snuggling on the couch watching a movie afterward). and now it is sunday...and i gave up on that other post...finally was able to upload some pics from my camera...and voila...here you have it...my third attempt at a catch-all, catch-up post. i'm sure to leave LOTS of things out...but here are some highlights from the past week(s)....

see this little muffin...yep...she's still cute. see her sunglasses....yep, it is apparently bright in our house. actually, its not, this is just what happens while mommy hangs out in the bathroom with our in the potty training process little kater gator. sweet kater...she has good days and bad days...but we are officially in the process...and, oh my, i am once again reminded of how much delight bodily functions bring when they make it into the potty.

elizabeth and kate have been hanging in their new bean bag chairs...upstairs in their almost finished new playroom (which used to be the office/play/junk/guestroom). they are quite enthralled by bean bags...both sitting in them....

...and getting bombed by them when poppy comes to visit! ...and the shrieking and screaming, yep...delight squeals (and not so delighted ones) seem to be filling our house lately. where do these little girls get their shrill, shriekiness from.

we've been eating bread...homemade bread...and lots of it, as i experiment with the new bread cookbook mike bought me for Christmas. "Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day". the loaf below is 100% whole wheat and flaxseed...YUM! i've been milling our wheat flour again, and it feels good to get back into the swing of making our own sandwich bread, etc.

we had a great visit from grandmommy and poppy and GG last week. we enjoyed some wii bowling...a little bit of qwirkle...and some toy story yahtzee. good times were had by all!

we've been shoveling snow...and making angels in it too!
we've been tickle-monstering and horsey-riding (sometimes at the same time, as you can see!)

and just plain lookin' cute!

...and so.much.more...but truly, this will have to suffice for now!

what have YOU been up to?