Wednesday, March 31, 2010

{follow me}

Jesus says we should follow Him...which immediately makes me think of footprints for some reason. it is Ff week...just perfect for following and for footsteps. we had some extra friends here this morning as i watched a friends three little boys. i decided to go big and break out the paint...after all, it would either be LOTS of fun or LOTS of mess...a good story for later either way!

i let each kiddo (except jilly who was napping...but we might still have to do hers later!) take a turn. he or she picked their paint color, and i painted the bottom of their foot. they made a footprint on the paper (or more than one footprint--until we could get a good one)...then i wiped the foot clean with a wet towel...and voila...onto the next kiddo.


while the footprints dried we enjoyed the spectacularly sunny Spring weather...running (quite literally running!) around in the backyard. (and sliding and swinging and duck, duck goosing--which is truly hilarious when a 1 year old and 2 year old want to play but totally don't "get it"--just envision lots of aimless running in the backyard!)

then we cut out the feet (actually I cut out the feet...i may be crazy enough to break open paint with six kiddos under foot, but i'm not crazy enough to give those kiddos scissors while i can't watch carefully! :) each kiddo glued his or her foot onto a paper plate, wrote his or her name and the date (or, in most cases, i wrote it), and then we punched holes, tied some yarn on, and voila...a homemade "foot" craft.

(and don't you love that elizabeth is displaying her foot on her foot...and kate is trying desperately to follow suit...can you see her putting her plate on her foot...she just wouldn't cooperate for the pic!)

we did talk about Jesus and following in His footsteps while working on the craft...but, honestly, in the confusion of so many little bodies i'm not sure how much it sunk in. :)


and i just have to share...i think this is such a "boy girl" picture...elizabeth chattering away to aiden...as he listens and listens and tries to talk, and then listens and listens some more... :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

ten smile tuesday...

i've intended to blog several times in the past time. i've actually had a lot of bloggity thoughts started...more serious, thoughtful posts...but every time i sit down i just can't find the words (or the time to actually process). and so, here i am, on tuesday again...recapping our week via ten smiles. in the past week or so i must admit, i am "fighting" for joy...fighting to delight in the little things, the little moments...to not be consumed by how the days sometimes run together...the way the kitchen is a disaster ten minutes after i clean it. i'm fighting to remain...to receive the grace He offers each and every day...to remember that when mama feels sick (and mama does!) it is okay to slow down, to not be as "productive" as i might like. and friends, it is a fight...isn't it?! a fight to choose to believe God and not this world...to believe Him and the enemy's whisperings in our ears. and so i smile...

1. ...about thing like the sunshine outside my window...and the hour between lunch and naps we spent out in that sunshine...sidewalk chalking the driveway, running up and down the sidewalk, jumping, giggling, picking up jilly's toys as she dropped them out of reach again and again. joy.

2. ...about our double date night last week. we enjoyed a game night "in" (on a rainy evening no less...making it all the more delightful to just stay in other than dropping the big girls at the sitters)...pizza, games, good conversation...while our children enjoyed some time playing with friends. (oh...and some oh-so delicious brownies with peanut butter frosting provided by this sweet lady)

3. ...about sink baths. jillian had her first successful sink bath friday night (i attempted once before...not sure what i was thinking because she was NOT sitting up on her own super well at that point...so that plus a slippery sink was not a good combo!). she LOVED it...giggled, grab everything, splashed. and, honestly, being able to bath her sitting up in the sink is a fabulous thing these days since she is so into gumming on frozen waffles or crackers while we eat dinner...which is, of course, messy....and means more frequent need for cleaning! :) she has also added sweet potatoes, butternut squash, yogurt, and applesauce to the foods she enjoys...and she will tolerate sweet peas and carrots, though they still need a good many bites of banana in the mix to keep her interested. banana remains, solidly, the number one food in jilly's eyes





4. ....about "painting on the back porch season"....seriously excited about this one!


5. ...about "Ee" week...elephant masks(that is what kate is painting above), egg hunts, Humpty Dumpty (because he is an "e"gg, after all!)...and culminating the week by dyeing and decorating eggs saturday. (the girls did a FABULOUS job this year and really enjoyed it)



(daddy and jilly helped too!)

6. ...about a saturday morning outing with my kater gator...love me that spunky lil' wild child!

7. ...about family movie nights.

8. ...about a church that preaches the Truth...even when it is the kind of Truth that pierces you right to the heart...the kind of Truth that makes you uncomfortable and convicted...the kind that ultimately brings you to your knees before Jesus.

9. ...about some tasty new recipes we've tried lately...baked potato soup, spaghetti pizza, and shepherd's pie...all healthy versions...and oh so delish...elizabeth favored the shepherd's pie (even leftover!) and kate ate three helpings of spaghetti pizza the first night we served it! we've also been savoring lots of delicious fresh fruit...plums and pears and even some strawberries...yum!

10. ...about marshmallow fish. this was this morning's project...after all, we've moved on to Ff week. both girls had a blast...and jillian enjoyed hanging in the highchair watching. i was amazed that they finished the entire outline of their fish before even thinking about tasting one marshmallow. we also read about Jesus feeding the five thousand before starting this project... and, yes, they did thoroughly enjoy eating the remaining marshmallows in their bowl when we were finished. (and i found out that perhaps my eyes are going...those orange and pink marshmallows are super hard to tell apart!)




and that...dear friends...is a bit of our last week. i've also put the finishing touches on their Easter dresses, and i'm looking forward to a mommy night out tomorrow with a couple of friends. our little life...in a nutshell!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

some smilin' for tuesday

i just don't have time for words at the moment...so pictures will have to suffice.

playing in the driveway (in the delightful sun!)



our trip to the zoo!



a friday evening at the park...a trip to lowes, followed by ice cream treats in the park, some swinging and merry-go-rounding, and walking by the creek...lovely!








kate did manage to fall while hopping down the path like a kangaroo (two pictures up was right before the fall)...and then she decided to "jump" from the rock and skinned her knees again. we went home with a bloody kneed kater but happy hearts!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

birthday wishes...

birthday wishes for grandmommy (and everyone else too, apparently!)...just wish we could sing it in person, via skype and blog just isn't the same! :)

video

Thursday, March 18, 2010

ten smiles tues(er....thurs)day...

1. hello backyard...we've missed you...so good to be enjoying you once again. the weather has been GORGEOUS the past few days...allowing for LOTS of running around outside. hooray! the picture below is one of elizabeth's first photographic endeavors...and look, we're all centered and everything...good job libbers!


2. the joy of these two girlies...who are delighted to feel the fresh spring air on their cheeks!

who needs rollercoasters, when you have a slide..."look mom, no hands"...oh if only i could bottle up the joyful squeals of delight (and maybe even the shrieky ones when they encounter a ladybug...some serious fear of ladybugs...and all bugs, really, but apparently we have a lot of ladybugs around). is it terrible that is absolutely cracks me up that they are that terrified of ladybugs...spiders maybe...but ladybugs...ha!

3. flip-flops...in march! my toesies are lovin' it!

4. quinoa and pomegranates...yum! one of the many delightful tastes of our seabrook weekend...and i have been making misha's lovely quinoa, spinach salad (with pomegranates, apples, lentils and some balsamic dressing) pretty much everyday for lunch. i've also started weight watchers to get down a better path of eating (and hopefully in the process shed some of the pregnancy weight from not just jillian but what also accumulated and didn't go away with libs and kate too!). so far i'm enjoying weight watchers and learning to enjoy food in a whole new, much healthier way...and especially savored my MOPS brunch this morning...hello weekly "bonus" points!

5. little girls who "help" by picking out their own clothes. so precious! elizabeth and kate decided to pick out their clothes and dress themselves tuesday morning. elizabeth came downstairs with a long sleeve shirt, a zip up sweatshirt, two pairs of socks, and a pair of undies. kate had four pairs of undies...that's it...just undies. oh how i love those girlies! when i pointed out that elizabeth forgot pants she looked at me, giggled, and said, "silly me!"

6. "mom and loving it"...our church had a special event the other night called just that. it was so encouraging...not necessarily revolutionary information...just a reminder of perspective, some creative new ideas for reaching the hearts of my girls, and good time catching up and chatting with girlfriends. i was most reminded that my time needs to be spent reaching their hearts...because, truly, that is what matters to us...academics are great, social skills good, but their heart is the ultimate. i'm eager to put some fun new things into practice....i'll share more on those later.

7. a wee bit of sewing time. the girls and i hit jo-anns on monday after our aldi run, and i found a springy pink fabric for Easter dresses...i decided to make pillowcase dresses...simple and inexpensive. here is kate's...i still need to work on elizabeth and jillian's....good thing i have a couple more weeks because finding an hour here or there to so is no simple endeavor! we also worked on a super secret project for a certain soon to be birthday girl...


8. tax returns....and a husband who spends his "free" time working on things like taxes and oil changes and all those "fun" things. thanks michael...i love you! (oh, and i did get to go on a date with my hubby on thursday evening...mcalisters, good honest conversation, a trip to target for a new hairdryer (and, yes, that is true romance...a husband who will take time out of date night to browse the hair dryer aisle since yours is completely dead...)

9. catching my sis at just the right time for a brief phone conversation...and anticipating getting to see her in flesh and blood in june! i know, that might seem little...but, really, coordinating between her work schedule and me actually having time to talk uninterrupted is nearly impossible!

10. bean bag sisters...and smiles. the first shot is blurry but can you see just how thrilled jillian is to be sitting in the beanbag by kate...seriously grinning and giggling! (and i'm smiling that the laundry in the baskets behind them is all folded)



11. jilly's belly laugh when you zerbert her tummy or make funny noises. it is the BEST! i so need to capture it on video!

when life gives you lemons....

....do an experiment in digestion. :) yep...it is "Dd" week around our house, so "digestion" fit right in....and if nothing else the girls liked squeezing and eating the lemons.






is it strange that my daughters find lemons delicious?? i mean, delicious. elizabeth licked hers and and ate all the pulp...and kate, well, sweet kate took a bite, lemon rind and all and tried to eat it. (and elizabeth ate two entire grapefruits at dinner the other night...two large grapefruits). i find it so odd...

Monday, March 15, 2010

take two....

i try to hit aldi once or twice a month to stock up on staples. i usually go during the weekend and take just kate or just elizabeth with me...a special outing of sorts. honestly, i don't like to do the grocery with all three...and thanks to my generous husband, i don't have to very often. but today i needed to hit aldi...and it meant taking all three girls. on of our aldi traditions is that whichever girl is with me gets the quarter when we put our cart back...you would think it is a million dollars...that is just how special that quarter is. so today's dilemma on the way to aldi was who would get the quarter. i prepped the girls in advance...kate would sit in the seat next to the quarter "thingy" (because, yes, sitting next to that quarter slot is quite coveted), jillian would be in the pumpkin seat next to kate (oh how thankful i am for double carts...just wish places other than aldi and costco would catch on!), and elizabeth would walk with me...keeping one hand on the cart at all times and NOT touching things (because, seriously, aldi is soooo much more tempting than other stores for some reason!). elizabeth is usually good about walking alongside carts, sticking with me, and not touching...she is used to it since both girls can't seem to happily ride together in the car carts (ugh...don't start me on car carts!).

but i digress. i decided to break out two quarters...and told the girls in advance that there would be two quarters when we returned the cart this time. i reminded them, however, that if they were not able to listen and obey the first time (or if anyone chucked a wobbly (ha...just had to throw it in there, seabrook girls!) i would be keeping the quartersthe girls did a great job during the shopping trip. elizabeth carried my list and talked to me about the numbers on the pricetags. kate kept her eye on the coveted quarter. and jillian...well, she chewed and smiled and chewed and smiled. until we got back to the van and kate refused climb into her carseat...so while elizabeth happily pocketed her quarter, kate tearfully missed out.

when we stopped at jo-ann to find fabric so i can make the girls matching Easter dresses i decided to give kate a "take two" on getting her quarter. we tromped through jo-ann happily and successfully in spite of their tiny carts, close temptation filled aisles (i mean who doesn't want to reach out and grab all the brightly colored fabrics!), and an impromptu potty stop for kate (HOORAY!). when we got back to the van kate jumped right into her seat, buckled herself in, and proudly proclaimed, "i did it this time. i obeyed mommy!" i pulled the quarter out of my pocket, and with it came two pennies. so i gave kate a choice...one quarter or two pennies. without thinking she grabbed for the two pennies, "i take two mommy!"

apparently i can save myself a few cents if i always keep some pennies around on aldi day...because, after all, two is more than one...and to a two and a half year old that is all that matters!

elizabeth on the other hand held on tightly to her quarter...because, after all, its "bigger" than a penny, and, as she said, "i think it buys more later." smart girl.

have i mentioned that one of the two is a definite saver and the other a definite spender? any guesses as to who is who?

milestones

all this chewing has finally resulted in some progress...

upon inspecting jillian's bottom gums i found that her first tooth has finally popped through the gum. i'm guessing a few more will follow quickly...as she has three more "buds" on the bottom gum. i'm thrilled that all the chewing, icky diapers and diaper rash, and drooling has finally paid off...but more than a little shocked to think she is old enough to have a tooth...

...or to do this...i mean, seriously!?
video
so far jillian shows the most motivation (by far!) of our three girls when it comes to mobility. she rolls all over...scoots herself backward and in circles...and now is getting herself onto all fours. elizabeth and kate never really did the "getting up on all fours" thing...they both discovered army crawling and were quite comfortable with that and then ever so slowly decided to crawl (kate didn't really even try to move until almost 10 months!--i know, that is quite ironic considering she never stops moving these days--or talking, for that matter!). so it is kind of fun to see jillian actually doing what the "books" say and getting up on her knees and rocking a bit occasionally. who knows...we could have another three months before forward motion...but then again, she could take off tomorrow!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

{rememberings}

the little moments worth remembering...

...jillian up on her knees...getting ever so close to forward motion...oh my!

...the endless amusement of blank paper, coloring books and crayons...this occupies both kate and elizabeth for hours on end right now

...jilly's belly laughs when zerberts (does anyone else call them zerberts...or was that just a word from my childhood) are blown on her belly

...laying on the floor reading stories to elizabeth and kate...with one sweet, freshly bathed body snuggled against me on each side

...jillian blowing raspberries while eating carrots...resulting in little bits of carrot everywhere...

...bananas...the only "solid" jilly seems to enjoy...however, you can disguise lots of things in bananas...like carrots and avocados...

...blowing bubbles and watching an incredibly delighted, giggly spin in circles and chase them

...watching elizabeth take off down the sidewalk on her bike all by herself

...the way kate "gallops" around the living room in circle...like a horse...laughing and giggling like crazy

...being in the phase of life where going to the grocery store on saturday afternoon is actually considered "quiet" time for me

...kate's freshly washed curls

...elizabeth eagerness to learn

...jillian's fascination with anything in her reach (and even things that aren't)...and the way her little fingers "scritch scratch" as they try to grasp things...the way she pinched her puffs last night and promptly refused to put them in her mouth...just about the only thing that doesn't land in her mouth these days...go figure!

...elizabeth's delight in drawing pictures of buzz lightyear again and again and then writing his name on them..."Bu33"...when i showed her the correct way to write a "Z", she did it correctly, then looked at me and said, "that's nice...but i like z's better when they look like 3s"...yep, this one most definitely has a mind of her own...

...even the tears and tantrums and arguments...because, truly, i know that someday my house will be much too quiet...bare of the little toys i am constantly tripping over...and i will want to look back and remember...remember the noise and chaos and exhaustion...the life that bursts at the seams every moment of the day right now

Friday, March 12, 2010

spring...and other bits....

remember how i told you about my dead camera battery...and my complete lack of pictures from the weekend...well, these sweet and beautiful friends have blogged here and here (there are actually several posts there...and will surely be even more...with even more photos...see, i told you her photography was unbelievable!)...with pictures and beautiful, perfect words...you should check them out...

as for me...i'm getting back into the swing of things.

tuesday and wednesday were painful...seriously painful. as in i really truly forgot what it looks like to be mommy to three girls...to keep up with the house (and i mean that in the barest sense...i'm not striving for heroic measures of cleanliness or organization here!)...to put food on the table...to have patience...to discipline and train...to remember to change the laundry loads...to come up with creative projects and resist the lure of the movies and shows...to reserve some energy for when daddy comes home...to cultivate peace in the home...

it is coming back to me slowly but surely. i actually did conquer the heaps of laundry (although i must admit, they aren't put away yet...i wouldn't want to be an overacheiver after all!). i even managed to clean a toilet last night. my downstairs is cleaned to the point that i can put my feet up for a few moments during nap/rest time (and victory of all victories i'm actually awake during naptime...i've fallen dead asleep every other day this week).

wednesday i managed to see past the "to do" list and savor some time outside...soaking in the first vestiges of spring...teaching kate to pedal her big girl bike (which she quickly traded in for her good ol' red tricycle)...savoring elizabeth's delight in taking off down the sidewalk for the first time of the season...drawing hopscotch squares (and then drawing separate squares for kate who (much to elizabeth's irritation) just wanted to fill them with colorful chalk rather than jumping in them...realizing that the housework will wait. i don't do nearly as good a job at that as i would like. i watched the girls zoom down the slide and catapult themselves into the air while swinging on their tummies. it was delightful to have a tiny taste of what is coming...freedom...open windows...new life. i love that about this time of year. and now it smells like worms...which is truly a beautiful smell in march in indiana...the smell of worms means spring rains...which means green grass and sprouting flowers. bring it on! even better...i feel spring in my heart...and that is a beautiful thing.

this bike riding stuff takes a lot of concentration!

what's that? oh, you were wondering what kate is wearing...yep...she did dress herself that morning...and yes, those are orange legwarmers with pink dots...and a camo skirt...precious, isn't it! and oh.so.kate....really...

the view from behind....

the sun came out in the afternoon...and jilly woke up and joined us outside

hopscotch

this sweet girl covered...and i mean covered...herself in chalk dust

but my favorite part of the day...my favorite-ist part of all...being outside, playing in the driveway when daddy's car rounded the corner...one of my favorite parts of spring and summer...being able to greet him in the driveway!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

smiling

...not my traditional "ten smiles"...but, trust me, there were at least that many...probably more like a hundred times that in the past week....i spent an incredible long weekend in washington...in the quaint little coastal "village" of seabrook...in this house....with all of the gorgeous, incredible women i mentioned in this post (if you haven't already i would encourage you to browse through their lovely blogs...you'll be blessed...i promise!). and the weekend was full of gorgeous sun...which i'm told isn't the norm for coastal washington, especially in march!

this post would surely be full of pictures...that is if my camera battery hadn't been almost dead upon my arrival to seabrook. i'm sure, though, since the group is FULL of incredibly talented photographers, there will be plenty of photos to go around. mine aren't all that good...but i had to share anyway...because it is still a bit surreal to see all these gorgeous faces in the same room.

katie, nikki, dawna and chelle...as katie reacts to the surprise that a bridal shower was being prepared for her while she slept saturday morning...

minta, me, and dawna...

our cottage...it was set off a bit from the rest with gorgeous trees and a "hiking" path behind it...

oh so delightful to spend a weekend with my jilly-girl

ready to head to the beach with the babies...jack with his auntie minta, jilly and i, and court and quinn

so...what did i smile about...

...delightful friends...time to connect--to laugh, to cry, to share, to hug, and sit quietly

...a sweet, delightfully flexible baby girl while traveling...seriously...maybe 10 minutes of tears on the entire trip there and barely any on the way home (well...until we were stranded in chicago...but thats another story)

...four days of incredible quality time with jillian...it was amazing...really amazing.

...delicious food (cooked while wearing the sweet little aprons katie and leslie whipped up to surprise us with...aprons that matched each of our personalities perfectly!)

...laughter...laughter...and more laughter

...being missed....i know, that might sound odd, but it was nice to be away and to hear the girls missing me...but also to hear just how much fun they were having at home with daddy

...a bridal shower for our dear aussie mate, katie...

...sweet ladies who loved and served me even when i felt oh so icky sicky for a bit

...a photo shoot of my sweet jilly-girl...something i had only dreamed of after seeing leslie's other INCREDIBLE photography

...a sweet devotional time together...and the time apart to just enjoy being with Jesus

...the encouragement of other messy, imperfect ladies striving to please Jesus, love their families, and delight in the beauty of life...sharing our struggles, encouraging, wrestling through things, sharing ideas...going deeper than one can go in a blog...oh so much deeper

...being able to hug one another and constantly seeing our faces all mingled together in the same place...which is simply AMAZING!

...lots of funny things said...and i do mean LOTS!

...the jacuzzi...always a treat!

...the faithfulness of God...who meets you in moments of panic and fear (even if you fail to respond with faith immediately)...like perhaps being stranded at the airport in chicago in the middle of the night due to fog...ugh!

...the encouragement and support of a miles away husband...a husband who spent four days juggling two big girls at home, missing his wife and smiley girl...and whose love and support gave me sooo much encouragement in the midst of the fog-situation

...rental car agencies with infant carseats!

...my incredible dad, who navigated me out of an incredibly foggy chicago (as in so foggy you can't truly read the street signs unless you are right on top of them)

...landing in my hubby's arms when i finally arrived home...snuggling next to him in bed and closing my eyes with the knowledge that he would be there when i woke up in the morning (err...should i say in about three hours)

and last, but most certainly not least...

...hugging and kissing my sweet libbers and katers...and knowing anew that no matter how frustrating some days are...no matter how much i feel as though i fall short...no matter how HARD this mommy thing can be (or how imperfect i am at it!) it is all worth it.

my heart is full.

this post is SO incredibly inadequate to describe the weekend. because, truly, i cannot put it into words...it is in my heart...tucked beautifully away. i will, however, say, the girls were not what i expected from reading their blogs...yep, you read that right...i said they were NOT what i expected. nope. they were SO much more...more beautiful inside and out...deeper and more genuine than i could have imagined. they are the kind of friends i can chat with for hours and hours and hours...or simply sit with quietly...and that is such a beautiful gift...a treasure really. there was a part of me that was sooo nervous and insecure when i thought about the weekend...but i did feel God encouraging me to go...and my husband...and friends...telling me how fabulous it would be. oh how i love that those insecurities were completely stripped away the very second dawna, misha, and katie pulled up at the curb of the airport in seattle....the very moment misha leaped out of the van to envelop me in a hug. God did an incredible work in my heart when it comes to fear...and so many other areas, really...it was simply beautiful.

and i could keep going on and on and on...but for now, i need to wrap up...time to get back to the laundry folding, lunch making, boo-boo kissing reality of being a mama. and that too is beautiful!