Monday, November 28, 2011

Multitudes on Mondays

As November draws to a close, my last list (for now) of "thankfuls":

54. the joy of seeing my children truly playing together for an extended period of time
55. a lovely lunch with a friend who totally understands my daily battles and triumphs
56. pureed pumpkin left over from Peyton's from scratch pie that functions perfectly as baby food
57. the incredible toddler entertainment value found in homemade granola
58. going through the next size and putting Graves in new-to-us precious clothes passed down from his sweet cousin
59. anticipating the adorable baby cousin who will get to enjoy the benefits of his or her aunt's over indulgence in kid clothes
60. the blessing of having our parents live within ten minutes of each other
61. the blessing of two dinners I did not have to cook and two houses I did not have to clean
62. the following conversation....Cookie (to my dad holding Baby Graves): "do you wish you had had a little boy?" Daddy: "Well, I've got one right here!
63. three days with a sister who is also a best friend
64. watching beautiful, clean water poured over my son
65. formally welcoming him into our community of faith
66. covenanting together with our church family to pray for him that he "may become a true disciple who walks in the way that leads to life."

"Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom his world rejoices" 
- Martin Rinkart

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Weekly Smorgasbord

Links from last week:

    Posted: 26 Nov 2011 08:55 PM PST
    I can so relate. Last year our struggle was "The Great Santa Debate". As soon as that was resolved, though, we really felt the need to be even more radical. It's just SO easy to get lost in all the "stuff" and that's not what I want for our family.
    Posted: 26 Nov 2011 08:51 PM PST
    " People seem to think that somehow an adoptable child is inherently good... But if they knew the next door neighbor kid had been involved in a gang...or had been sexually abused and learned to become an abuser herself...would they bring that child over for a slumber party, let alone to be a permanent part of the family...?" Okay, I want to preface this article by saying that I know several Christian families who are in the process of adopting/have adopted. Each of these families is adopting because they have felt it to be God's call on their lives, not because of fertility issues. As I've said several times before, it's something Peyton and I are very interested in and the friend who shared this post with me is also someone who has felt called toward adopting a child. As her husband said "If this makes you question that call, you probably weren't called in the first place". That said, I think it is good to see things from another (painfully realistic) viewpoint.
    Posted: 26 Nov 2011 08:43 PM PST
    I have to admit, I've gotten some bewildered looks on this one. And before we actually instituted it, I got several "It simply won't work"s, as well. I'm sure at some point I'll do my own post, but it feels good to look at people and tell them that, um, we made it work. It's something I have to work on not being too prideful about, but it does please me that we (and they) were able to adapt to this environment. And it also pleases me to know we can live comfortably in our "starter home" without having to sacrifice our study/home office/library.
    Posted: 26 Nov 2011 08:38 PM PST
    "I spent a night this past weekend at a retreat with sixteen other women from church. Some headed to bed by 11:00, while others sat up hours later. Some burrowed under thick quilts and others wanted just a light sheet. Many drifted immediately off to sleep, while a few spent time reading to settle down. There were ear plugs and eye masks and I downloaded a white noise app to my iPod at 3:00 AM. Anyone attempting to implement one across-the-board sleep environment for the whole group would have made a good percentage of us completely miserable. We simply have different needs when it comes to sleep." Really good insight. I also like the part where only 16% of babies were sleeping ten or more hour stretches without waking at six months old. Makes me feel less lonely ;)
    Posted: 26 Nov 2011 08:35 PM PST
    I know I link to Ann Lowrey's blog all the time, but this post is both hysterical and insightful.
    Posted: 26 Nov 2011 08:32 PM PST
    I'm not such a fan of these type shoes for baby girls but for a boy.....LOVE. Gotta keep it classic, though...we got some at Target with baseballs and some at ON with turtles.

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    Holiday Cheer and Tiny Prints

    I am a big, BIG fan of Tiny Prints.  I've talked about my love for this bussiness before, but I wanted to share again.  I was given the oppurtunity to write a post in exchange for fifty free Christmas cards and I jumped on it because I'm such a fan.  Honestly, though, I had been planning to buy my Christmas cards from Tiny Prints this year, anyway.

    We've used Tiny Prints three times before and all three times I have been incredilbly satisfied.

    I used them first for Ann Peyton's birth announcement.  I wanted something cute, simple and sweet and I think they did well by me on all three counts.
    [Note: the quality of these images reflects the quality of my $100 scanner, not the quality of the actual card.]

    Then in 2009, I had a friend who enjoys amateur photography take our picture and I looked at different sites for cards, but my search led me right back to Tiny Prints.  I ended up finding the perfect card- I loved how the holly on the card matches the berries in the actual picture.  And I've thought  little lovebirds were so cute for years! Finally, it was perfect because the lime green in the card matched the chartreuse color of Ann Peyton's dress.  Again, it fit the bill perfectly.

    We had a professional photographer do our Christmas pictures in 2010 and she did the cards, too, but after Graves was born, I didn't even look elsewhere for his announcement.  Again, I had in mind an idea of what I wanted and Tiny Prints did better than I could imagine.  I posted about it here, but I narrowed down what I wanted to several cards with a vintage theme, toile, or whimsical animal print.  And then I found a card that basically incorporated all three!  I was over the moon and of my three experiences, I'd say this was my favorite because it was so personal.  His announcement just screams "SD" to me.

    I am so excited about using Tiny Prints again for our Christmas cards this year...and I think I have something fun and different picked out. The cards have a very sharp, sophisticated, professional feel and the price really isn't bad for the quality of the product you're getting.  My favorite thing about Tiny Prints, though (if it's not obvious), it the variety and diversity in their selection.  I tend to like pastels for birth announcements and red and green on Christmas cards.  I'm traditional like that.  But I also like to add in a little flair- usually in the form of some vintage or some whimsy.  Either way, if you like classic bold red and green? It's there.  If you like funky and bright? It's there. If you like elegant and polished? It's there. If you like clever and quirky? It's there.  There's something for everyone.

    So, quick go take a look around here and enjoy finding some Christmas cheer to spread!

    Thursday, November 24, 2011

    We Shall Come Rejoicing

    Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,
    Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;
    Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,
    We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

    Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
    We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves,
    Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
    We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

    Sowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows,
    Fearing neither clouds nor winter’s chilling breeze;
    By and by the harvest, and the labor ended,
    We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

    Going forth with weeping, sowing for the Master,
    Though the loss sustained our spirit often grieves;
    When our weeping’s over, He will bid us welcome,
    We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

    Happy Thanksgiving from the Herringtons!!!

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    What I Wore Wednesday

    So, I love reading people's What I Wore Wednesday posts and I've been saying I was going to do one, but I just never did it.  For a few reasons:
    1. It does take some planning and you have to remember to, you know, take the pictures
    2. It makes me a little nervous- like what if people don't like my style or whatever? Ha!

    Anyway, I FINALLY decided to just do it and I took a picture EVERY day for a week.  Here's what I wore starting with last Tuesday:

    Tuesday was "brown day" at MDO, so I just threw on a brown tee with jeans.  I added a fun headband to kind of liven it up.  Here's a weird quirk about me: one thing I love most about Winter is wearing trouser socks under my jeans and under my boots when I wear dresses.  I'm kinda obsessed.

    jeans: Lucky brand
    tee: Mossimo via Targe
    shoes: old school Clarks
    socks: Gap
    headband: c/o of one of sister's closet cleanouts 

    I wanted to share the kids in their brown, too.  Clearly they were not in the mood.  
    romper: Remember Nguyen (she doesn't own anything more brown; we stay "babyish" as long as possible in these parts)
    tee: gymboree via eBay (I love these little cotton "blouses" because they are cuter than just a onsie, but they snap between her legs so they don't bunch)
    bow: eBay

    romper: brand unknown (consignment buy)
    onsie: Gerber
    shoes: Old Navy (passed down from Sister)

    I had my two Bible studies that day.  Since I wasn't going to be on the floor with kids, I took the oppurtunity to wear a dress.

    dress: Free People (also a hand me down from Cookie)
    boots: Tony Lama via eBay for an AWESOME deal because my foot is really small and nobody else bid on a 5 narrow-- I adore them

    Playing with grimey toddlers, so it was back to jeans and a hoodie.  We took our family Christmas picture (or attempted to) and so I got redressed that afternoon.

    jeans: Lucky
    tee: Mossimo (Target)
    hoodie: Mossimo (Target)
    shoes: highschool Walabees again
    jeans: Seven for All Mankind A Pockets via eBay
    turtleneck: Old Navy
    top: Blueheaven via TJ Maxx
    shoes: black flats with rosettes from Gap (again for like $4 because I wear an unusual size)

    We went to a craft fair, and I wanted to be cute, but comfortable.

    jeans: Lucky
    tee: another Mossimo
    sweater: again Mossimo (I live for Tar-jay, apparently)
    shoes: Xhilaration (oh my stars, more Target!)

    I had a lingerie shower to go to that night, so I wanted to wear something a little different and fun!

    dress: Free People (via TJ Maxx)
    tee: Old Navy
    boots: (of course) Mossimo

    This is not my favorite church outfit, but it's easy and it works.  And if you need to breastfeed in the nursery supply closet (which has actually been made nicely accommodating to nursing mothers with a rocker and such), you go for things that are easy and that work.

    turtleneck: Old Navy
    skirt: black tweed with velvet trim Y*AT
    boots: brand unknown (department store purchase from my college days)

    We spent the day at home and I have the outfit to prove it.  Quintessential SAHM attire with yoga pants and all.

    t-shirt: Target
    pants: Old Navy
    shoes: New Balance
    sweet accessory in the lower left: probably initially acquired on a wonderful trip to Georgia in 2010

    We had lunch with some wonderful friends.  I love dresses and it was still warm enough for something like this.

    dress: Scrapbook (I LOVE that brand)
    top: Old Navy 
    boots: again with the Tony Lamas

    Well, that was fun!  I hope y'all think these are fun to read.  I'm certain it won't be a weekly thing, but I do think it'd be fun from time to time. Maybe next time I'll clean the gunky spot of my mirror first!  Please let me know if you ever do one and I'll make sure not to miss it!

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Weekly Happenings Post #140 (November 21-27)-- Dairy and Caffeine (Failed) Attempts

     Not our best: no make-up on me, Graves looks a little cra cra, and Annie is naked AND not looking.  I guess Peyton looks pretty good, though.

    First of all, thank you all SO much for your helpful comments on my dairy post last week. I was really upset and I felt so much better from the encouragement and the tips.  I just needed to take a step back.  Thank y'all SO much!

    You could probably tell from this post, but last week was slightly, um, miserable.  And the fact that it was miz was all my fault.  For some reason, I decided to gradually reintroduce some dairy into my diet as well as caffeine.  Why I would think it was a good idea to try both at the same time is beyond me.  I had had some caffeine a few weeks back and it seemed like no big deal, but I think it bothered Graves.  I also had some small amounts of dairy, and I still think that may have been it at the first of the week, but I think it was more the caffeine from the way he was acting (turning bright red and screaming at being generally inconsolable....the dairy thing usually presents as more of a general fussiness throughout the day and obvious gasiness.) Anyway, onto the week's happenings....

    He hadn't planned on it, but his intern got sick and so Peyton ended up having to work a double on Monday.  Graves was SO fussy all day and I thought it was a dairy thing.  I had decided that I thought he could handle some creamy soups and stuff, just nothing blatant like cheese or milk.  Well, no.  It was pretty ugly.  I couldn't figure out what it was at first, but then I could hear his tummy and feel it.  It was just full of gas.  Anyway, I woke up with Peyton and we chatted a little and then I fed Graves.  He was up for about an hour from seven to eight and then went back to sleep, so I did to.  Ann Peyton ended up sleeping past ten! I was shocked, but she had had a very busy weekend and missed a lot of sleep the previous Saturday when she was up a bunch during the night.  Anyway, after that we all got up. I cleaned up the kitchen and we had "brunch" and then I pureed some green beans for Graves and started laundry.  I also got a pot roast marinating that I meant to be cooing (I didn't realize it had to marinate for eight hours).  Graves was so grumpy that everything took me forever.  I gave AP a bath and we played and I cleaned out their ears and cut their nails and then Graves fell asleep.  I put AP down pretty late and I knew she wouldn't nap. She did stay in bed for about forty five minutes and I just kind of vegged out on the computer.

    Once they got up, we cleaned up the house some and then headed to my parents by way of McDonalds.  I was just kind of tired from all the crying from Graves and the whining from Annie.  I ate my second dinner with my parents and the kids both seemed to really enjoy the change of scenery.  We left early and I put them to bed right when we got home.  I got on the computer and did a bunch of stuff- organized pictures, worked on a couple of posts, went through some bookmarked posts and signed up for some sewing classes.  Peyton got home and we talked and I stared cooking that pot roast. I decided to just cook it in the crock pot over night. By the time I got everything cleaned up it was after one. 

    Tuesday was another rough day.  We had MDO and Graves did okay, but he was not himself.  When we got home, I left the kids with Peyton and ran to a consignment store across town to get one of those doorway jumpers.  I got it and rushed home so Peyton could leave for work.  Graves was in full meltdown mode and stayed that way for over an hour.  I held him, put him in the swing, gave him two kinds of medicine and fixed the rice sock. I fixed AP's lunch and tried to eat some of the roast I cooked to, but I was kind of antsy at that point.  You know that feeling where your toes are curling up and you're almost shaking you're so anxious? Yeah, that.  Anyway, he FINALLY fell asleep and I put AP down for a nap.  She never did go to sleep, but she played in bed for over an hour.  I messed around on the computer for thirty minutes, cleaned up the kitchen and talked to Logan on the phone.

     I got both kids up and I was trying to get the fabric part out of the Johny Jumper and I got the whole thing so tangled up.  I don't think it comes apart and I was so frustrated.  Graves started screaming again and I nearly lost it and just took the thing and (literally) threw it in the laundry room.  I had to go to our Ultreya meeting because Peyton wasn't there to make the announcements he needed to (he's the president).  I was so tired and it took everything in me to get the kids dressed and in the car.  We made it and Graves actually seemed to like the change of scenery.  I dropped AP in the nursery, but since it was kids from the youth group keeping it and he was such a wreck all day, I decided to keep BG with me. He did pretty good and getting out was good for me, too.  We got home and I fed the kids and they both went down relatively easily.  I straightened up the house and got on the computer went to bed.

    We had Bible study on Wednesday and I debated not going, with Graves in such a state.  Peyton said he'd keep AP, though, and I decided to try it.  Peyton and Annie ran errands and we had a good time at Bible study.  Graves actually seemed better.  On the way home, we ran by the grocery store to get some soap for making laundry detergent.  I picked up a few other things and got to the car and realized I hadn't paid for the soap.  UGH.  We went back in and paid (I was so glad to only have one kiddo with me at that point) and then headed home. Peyton left for work and I got the kids down for naps and ate lunch and got on the computer for a few minutes.  Then I settled in and studied up for Christian Believer since I was going to have to lead the group again.  I had to wake both kids up because our Ultreya group was serving dinner that week at the church so we had to be there before five.  I had a good time serving coffee with a sweet older lady I adore and then I fed Graves and rushed to to Bible study.  We had some good discussion, but it wasn't my favorite week.  It was pouring down rain when we left and thankfully Darlene was there to help me get both kids to the car.  No way I could have carried both of them and Peyton's turkey dinner by myself ;) We got home and I put them to bed and got on the computer and straightened the house and cleaned our bathrooms.  I went bed once Peyton got home.

    I had planned to get up earlier than usual on Thursday but I ended up sleeping THIRTY minutes late.  Peyton helped me get both kids ready and we still made it on time to MDO.  It was a good day. We had turkey cookies to celebrate Thanksgiving and we stayed and helped through lunch.  We got home and I put both kids down for naps.  I got on the computer and then started getting ready because we were having my dad take some pictures for Christmas cards.  I ironed the kids clothes and got ready and then Peyton got home and we woke the babies up and got them dressed and headed to my parents' house.  We took pictures for awhile and then came home.
    Terrible lighting, but I love her face here!

     [messing with the camera settings and trying to keep BG warm and happy]

    I did some dishes and then got ready because I was subbing for some friends' bunco group.  I had a good time and it was nice to just breath without the kids.  I got home and Graves was back up (Peyton had managed to get him to sleep for a bit sans boobs somehow), but Annie was asleep.  I fed him and put him back to bed and we talked some and then I got on the computer.

    I slept a little later than the kids because Peyton was home Friday morning.  Once I got up, I got us all ready because my mom was coming over to go with us to Handworks.  It took us awhile to get out the door, but once we got there it was fun.  I didn't find near as much I liked as I have in previous years, and the kids neither one wanted to stay in their strollers, but I'm still glad we went.  I'm SO glad my mom was there, though because we ended up hanging the umbrella stroller on the Graves's big travel system stroller and holding him and letting Ann Peyton walk.  At one point someone did offer her a sucker and I told her she could have it IF she got back in the stroller.  It was hilarious because she THREW MonkMonk (who was riding in the stroller) on the ground and climbed in as fast as she could.  Ha!  After that we had lunch at Newks and took a bridesmaid's dress for an upcoming wedding to be altered.  We came home and my mom stayed with the kids while I ran to get a present for a lingerie shower.  I got home and my mom left and we attempted naps.  Annie was in a foul mood, but she did end up playing in her bed for over an hour. Graves never did fall asleep either and so I just let him play while I folded laundry and watched Lost.  We got kind of a late start getting to my parents' for red beans and rice and so we stayed later than usual. Graves went to sleep on the way there and took a long nap in their Pack N Play (which he never does). We had a good time and both kids fell asleep in the car on the way home.  I got on the computer, heated up Peyton's beans and talked to him some when he got home.  I did dished and cleaned up the kitchen and then went to bed.  Graves slept TERRIBLY.  I figured the late nap wouldn't matter because it was close to the time when I put him down for the night anyway.  I'm still not sure if that was it or if he was still dealing with his caffeine/dairy issues.

    He was awake pretty early on Saturday so we cuddled some and then Peyton left for work and I got a bath before AP woke up.  I woke her up around nine in hopes she'd take a nap and I finished getting ready while she watched Elmo and Graves played.
     sweet brother and sister

    Logan gave him this outfit.  She said it looked like Peyton to her and she was so right.  So cute and funky.  And it's SO soft. My little jail bird!
     He loves playing with hair and his sweet sister usually accommodates him.  I can't believe she will because it HURTS!

    I fed him and got her and me breakfast and then he took a nap.  I started laundry, straightened up some, cleaned out a storage box in the kitchen that had some of the last of the kitchen stuff from when we painted the cabinets in it (yes, I procrastinated with that).  I swept in the laundry room where the kitties had made a huge mess with their food and scratch toy and then I put the Johny Jumper back together since I had washed the seat cushion part of it.  I had to use a screwdriver and everything!  Graves woke up and I played with him and then vacuumed the bedrooms and the study and gave AP a bath.  She was SO mad about it.  She really hates having her hair washed and I can't decide if she's legitimately scared or just super bothered by it.  Either way, this time, she would not mind and she got in trouble.  I'm going to have to find a strategy or something.  I felt so productive that morning!

    After her bath, she ate lunch and I grated soap and made some laundry detergent.  She went down for her nap and I nursed Graves and got him to sleep, too.  I had lunch and watched Lost and folded several loads of laundry.  I got on the computer and then got ready for a lingerie shower for my friend Amanda that I was going to that night.  Graves woke up and my mom came over to watch the babies until Peyton got home and I finished getting ready.  Momma pulled my ironing board of the the door (it's one of those that hangs) and broke it.  AHH.  My friend from college, Ashley, came over to pick me and we headed to the shower.  Poor Annie cried when I left.  The shower was fun and it was good to catch up with everyone.  I got home and Peyton had the babies in bed.  I uploaded some pictures to Facebook and fed Graves when he woke up and went to bed.

    Peyton had to deliver Sunday School curriculum to the different classes and then go to work on Sunday, so the kids and I went to Sunday School and late church.  It was kind of a hassle getting them ready by myself- AP kept trying to take off her tights and fighting me about everything.  We finally got there and it was a good lesson in Sunday School about thankfulness.  The sermon in church was about slowing down and enjoying the magic of life.  Always timely!  On the way home, we went by Walmart to pick up (I know I'm crazy) something my mom found to use for favors at their birthday party in April.  Ann Peyton was still in a mood and her nose was running and I knew she felt bad.  I told her she had to get in on Graves's side of the car and she pitched a royal fit.  I was so frustrated.

    We got home and I fixed her lunch and fed Graves and put them down for naps.  Annie stayed in her bed for a couple of hours, but she never went to sleep and she kept calling me in there.  Graves didn't do much better, he'd fall asleep, but he couldn't stay asleep.  I watched Lost and ate lunch and folded a really small load of laundry.  I was so tired and frazzled by the end of naptime and I just decided not to try to do much so we played and read books in AP's bed.  I did put up some laundry in their room and then I fixed their supper.  Peyton finally got home (he had to stay an hour late) and I went to bed at about 8 o'clock I was so tired. I actually ended up just putting on the mattress cover and curling up in Peyton's sleeping bag because I was too tired to put the sheets I had washed earlier back on the bed. That's bad!  I woke up before midnight and took a bath to try to get rid of my headache and I chatted some with Peyton and then went back to bed.

    Really, this past week was so reminiscent of our early days as a family of four, with Graves dealing with all his "issues" and with Ann Peyton being kind of out of sorts and unlike herself, defiant even.  Those days are such a blur, but they were pretty hard.  I'm so glad that, for the most part, we're in a different phase and things are MUCH easier.  I'm looking forward to the rest of this week- we don't have "school" or church and I'm hoping to just relax and get some things done around the house!

    Weekly Smorgasbord

    Okay, here are my links (a bit late) from last week:

    Posted: 21 Nov 2011 08:24 PM PST
    Is Lightroom worth it or would Elements be just as good? I asked on Twitter and I only got one response, so let me know if y'all think Lightroom has a definite advantage or if Elements would be just as good for my purposes. Also, I don't want anything TOO complex, but from what I can tell, neither are. I'm kind of leaning toward Lightroom because it seems like it's really good for organizing photos, which is a BIG deal to me.
    Posted: 21 Nov 2011 03:57 AM PST
    What a sweet, lovely post.
    Posted: 21 Nov 2011 03:56 AM PST
    "That fine is usually an awkward diminishing of the truth." PREACH.
    Posted: 21 Nov 2011 03:55 AM PST
    What a fun idea! I love to ready, but I've gotten lazy with it. I need to really be intentional because there are so many books I want to read!

    Just Don’t…. » Ordinarily Extraordinary
    Posted: 16 Nov 2011 08:41 PM PST
    WHO says these things?
    Posted: 16 Nov 2011 12:54 PM PST
    "But I have learned that sometimes the best way I can take care of my family is to take care of me." Amen and amen. I think most moms in the stage I'm in really struggle with self care. But it is so important.

    parenting 101 from people who know things: safety first! « should be the beginning:
    Posted: 14 Nov 2011 09:22 PM PST
    "It's important to me to be an empowering parent, rather than a fearful one. Learning these lessons means letting go of the reigns a bit on my part. It means not hovering. It means letting him play hard & adventurously. And for me, it meant bypassing the padded corners and door locks." We didn't overly baby proof for Ann Peyton (although I did get the toilet locks, and she broke them was an anxiety thing with me), but partly that was just due to her nature. I thought we might do a little more for Graves, but I really like the mentality behind this post.
    Posted: 14 Nov 2011 02:18 PM PST
    "In the era of the supermom where we feel pressure to be an odd mixture of a June Cleaver housewife and a Martha Stewart business mogul, are we afraid to verbalize that we cannot do it all? Is there shame in that feeling that maybe, somehow, someway, we failed womanhood?" This post is really well-written and really important.
    Posted: 14 Nov 2011 02:16 PM PST
    This is an old post I meant to link to awhile back. To me, the way the two genders differ in play activities is so fascinating. I can't wait to see it play out (no pun intended) in my very own living room!

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Multitudes on Mondays

    And again, with the blessing counting.

    44. the truth that, even on their worst days and mine, these countless hours with them are a gift not to be taken for granted
    45. the calm that came within five minutes of being in my dad's presence
    46. the perfectly timed reminder of precious childhood memories with him in the form of a John Cougar Melloncamp song on the radio
    47. those who hold the Christ-light for me in the night-time of my fear
    48. the marvelous inventions of caffeine free Coca Cola and lactose free milk, their surprisingly strong resemblance to the real thing
    49.  the babe's happy disposition when I don't stupidly indulge in the real things.
    50. the chance to relax, laugh, and just breathe in the company of dear friends sans babykins
    51. the precious papa who encourages, pushes for even, me to enjoy nights like last
    52. the gift of blogging and the encouragement and advice amidst life's tangles from strangers and near strangers as well as friends
    53. the always timely reminder to slow down and enjoy the magic of life and the related commandment to rest

    "'Sometimes", said Pooh, 'the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.'" -A.A. Milne 

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    Dear Diary Dairy

    I miss you.

    [I started writing this post a couple of weeks ago and then I decided not to publish it because it just felt whiney.  I've said it before, but I feel like there is a fine line between being real and honest and transparent and being negative and complaining all the time.  But this week, I hit a wall again.  So, I'm going to be honest and put it all out there.]

    This is so stupid and meaningless in the greater scheme of things, but oh my gosh, this going without dairy for the benefit of sweet Graves's tummy has gotten so hard lately.  The other day, I just lost it and cried about it.  It had been a long day and I thought of several things I wanted to eat so bad and they were all, of course, milk or cheese or whatever.  I'm so awfully tired of peanut butter sandwiches.

    I talked to my mom the other day and was telling her that I felt like he'd never grow out of this- that we'd be having lactose free ice cream at every birthday party and a vegan groom's cake at his wedding.  "Darling," she said "it's only been seven months." I totally dissolved into tears again and blurted out "THE LONGEST SEVEN MONTHS OF MY LIFE." Now, that is a lie.  They've been sweet, beautiful months.  Months where we've all grown and learned and loved.  But in that moment, I felt such defeat. 

    I guess I am just kind of desperate at this point.  Like I said, I know there are bigger issues in the world, but it's been so hard lately, for some reason.  For one thing, Peyton (bless his heart), asks me all the time if I want a bite of his ice cream or whatever.  Poor thing, he remembers before I can respond and I can see him wanting to suck the words back in.  I asked him the other day what he would say if I told him I was going to just put Graves on formula.  I know he thinks breastfeeding is really important and also he's hecka cheap, so I kind of knew his response, but I was just curious.  He said ultimately, he'd want me to decide, but he'd want to sit down and talk about it first.

    I'm nowhere near that.  (If y'all haven't noticed) I feel really strongly about breastfeeding my children and in the end it's a small sacrifice.  I would feel so incredibly selfish if I stopped at this point for such a trivial reason.  But I'm not gonna lie.  The thought has crossed my mind, as evidenced by the aforementioned conversation with my sweetie.

    Y'all want me to be REALLY honest? I'll tell you the other thought that crossed my mind.  Something that kind of horrified me.  Although I've been accused of having an eating disorder multiple times, it's something I've never, ever struggled with.  But a few weeks ago, for just a brief second, I thought maybe little binge and purge wouldn't be so awful just this once.  I wanted some pizza that bad that I thought about scarfing it down and barfing it back up.  That is NOT healthy. Please don't tell me that I have a problem.  I know it wasn't a healthy thought, but it didn't go anywhere and it was good for me because it woke me up to things.

    It really didn't change anything, but it did make me recognize that this is harder for me than I've led myself to believe.  I keep telling myself that it's a dumb, minute thing and I'm stupid for obsessing over it, but it's gotten rough and I need to be honest about that.  We've also tried to limit our chocolate to mostly fair trade stuff (see this post) and I've cut out caffeine and sometimes I just look around and think "What CAN I eat?".

    There's one more sad part and then I'll be done.  I feel like (among lots of other things) it's kind of making me Graves's  babyhood.  Or I should say, I'm allowing it to make me rush things.  I want so badly to get to a year and just be done.  And I feel so much guilt for saying, even feeling, that. Giving up a few foods seems like such a small thing and I can't understand why I get so upset over it.  I guess it's just that SO many of my favorite foods contain dairy.

    Additionally, if it weren't for this, I'd probably really consider nursing him longer.  Probably not past eighteen months and I'm sure not past two, but it's something I've thought about.  For those of you that think I've all of a sudden gotten super crunchy, I actually considered it some with Annie, before I was a natural birthing, non-circumcising hippie mom ;) But, for a variety of reasons, I didn't end up doing it that time. My mom breastfeed me until eighteen months and it didn't seem that outlandish.  I just don't think I can do it at this point, thoug.  And I feel so horrible about that. That I would allow something so shallow to affect that decision. But it is what it is.  And right now, I'm thinking nobody will ever have such a celebratory first birthday as he will.  I'm throwing myself a party!

    I really didn't write this to illicit a bunch of sympathy or because I want people to pat me on the back.  I'm doing what is the norm, what is expected, and what is the only reasonable thing in my mind (despite a bit of well intentioned advice of the "just give him a bottle" variety from some people very dear to me). I just wanted to process this and also have a record of my feelings.  Thanks for bearing with me.

    Edited To Add: I have found a few substitutes- I've found some lactose free milk that's not bad and even some ice cream.  The main things I really miss are cheese, sour cream, and creamy soups.  We've been eating a lot of "meat and potatoes" type dishes because most casseroles have dairy.  I realize that things could be WAY worse!  And if you have any, I welcome all suggestions you want to send my way!

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Weekly Happenings Post #139 (November 7-13)-- Travel Mercies

    Last week was good but busy.  I think the weeks are just going to be that way for awhile.  It's fun, but I'm so tired at the end of the day and I feel like our house is suffering.  It's definelly not neat or clean to my standards (or probably ANYONE'S).  I did cook a few times last week and I'm proud of that.

    Here's the deal with the title- for some reason we had several crazy car seat situations this week.  By the grace of God, everyone is fine.  Also by the grace of God, Momma hasn't had a full blown nervous breakdown.  Yet.

    We had a nice day at home on Monday.  Peyton was working late, so I slept in a little bit.  He left around ten and I played with the kids and had breakfast and then I worked a little on a post.  Graves took his morning nap and I took a bath and straightened up our room some and got laundry started. I worked on a blog post. Graves woke up and I fixed AP's lunch and then changed both kids' bedding.  We played and read some books and I put Annie down for her nap.  I snuggled with Graves and ate my lunch and then he got sleepy again.  He took a good nap, too (I was surprised since it was kind of close to this morning nap) and I watched Lost and folded some laundry and got on the computer. I had to wake AP up and she was hungry, so she had an early supper.  Graves woke up and I folded more clothes and and fed the kids dinner and then I got started on our supper.  I told Peyton if he would meal plan and help me shop, I'd try to do better with cooking.  He was a little ambitious, ha!  It felt good to do a few things with more than four steps and that many ingredients though.  I made this chicken pasta salad and these corn muffins and since I was steaming some green beans to make into baby food for Graves, we just salted some and ate them.  I put Graves to bed after Peyton got home and finished up supper and then we watched Parenthood while we ate after AP went to bed.  I cleaned up the kitchen and finished a post and went to bed. 

    We had Mother's Day Out on Tuesday and it was a good day.   It was also election day and we stopped by the polling place on the way home.  That was after I realized that I hadn't buckled AP in when I heard her little voice from the backseat say "Momma, buckle me!".  UGH, so scary.  I put Graves in the sling and held AP's hand and they did pretty good.  Annie really wanted to go look at some books (we vote at the library), so I let her for a few minutes, but Graves started getting fussy and I knew he was getting hungry.  She was MAD to have to leave.  On the way out we ran into an old friend of mine and Peyton's from the pool, Scott, and his wife.  After talking for a few minutes, we headed to the car.  A reporter from the national news stopped me and wanted to ask me some questions.  I was pretty embarrassed and both kids were really antsy, but I did my best.  Thank goodness it never aired; I'm sure I would have looked like the token Mississippi idiot!  Anyway, we got home and I fixed AP's lunch and fed Graves and attempted naps.  Annie fell asleep pretty fast, but Graves fought it.  He slept probably thirty minutes total over the course of a few hours.  Once AP got up, I put up clothes while they played in the nursery and fed them supper.  I nursed Graves and put him to bed a little early and then Peyton got home.  He played with Annie and I worked on my closet and hung up laundry while we waited for the election results.  Sadly, Proposition 26 didn't pass.  We put AP to bed and I worked on my Beth Moore study.  I was way behind and super tired and finally I just went to bed, too.

    Peyton had a meeting Wednesday morning and then worked the late shift, so we were on our own most of the day.  Fortunately, we had a lot of activity to keep us busy! We had Bible study that morning and it was really good even though our group was smaller than usual do to sick kids and such.  After it was over, me and Morgan and our kids and another friend of ours, Jennifer, all went to Newks for lunch.  It was fun but, not surprisingly, the kids didn't last long. I went by the bank on the way home and Graves was WAILING.  I happened to finally look back at him (the mirror that I usually look at him in is in Peyton's car) and his car seat had come loose and was totally lopsided in the back seat. It looked AWFUL.  I freaked out and immediately pulled into a parking place and fixed it. I usually don't fool with the seats at all, but the other day I had tried to tighten it.  We use seatbelts because my car doesn't have a LATCH system and I couldn't figure out if I just didn't get it tight enough or if something was making it come loose. We got home and I put them down for naps.  Thankfully, they both took awesome naps and I was able to really study my Christian Believer stuff.  Good thing because Peyton wasn't going to be there and I was, at that point, woefully unprepared.  I finished that up and got on the computer for a few minutes and straightened up the house and then I had to wake up the kids.  We got ready and I fed them some supper and then we headed to church.   The lesson went great and I think I actually did okay leading it.  When I got home I got the kids ready for put and put them to sleep.  Annie was not having it, though.  She stayed in her bed, but she was still talking when Peyton got home around ten thirty.  She was saying things like "MonkMonk has a tummy.  MonkMonk has a belly button.  Baby Graves had a belly button." Um, HAD?!?  Peyton got home and we had leftovers for dinner and I actually fell asleep on the sofa.

    Thursday, we were back at MDO.

     Peyton gave her a bath that morning and she didn't want to get in but then, as you can see here, she was very pouty when it was time to get out!

      Graves car seat came loose again on the way there and I had to pull over twice on the way to church and fix it.  It's was so scary looking back and seeing it bumping all around.  If I hadn't been literally a block from the church the second time I would have just sat on the side of the road until Peyton could get there.  Anyway, we made it and Peyton came up to the church and fixed it.  I was so upset and did start crying a little.  I do have to say I think it's a testament to the fact that I'm at a really good place with my anxiety that I didn't have a full blown nervous breakdown over it.  Anyway, the actual school day was not bad. It was another good day, but we had a lot of kids out. We actually ended up combining our room with the older toddler room for most of the day, so that was fun.
     Annie with Darlene, who would be my favorite boss I've ever had except there was this certain Assistant Pool Manager at Briarwood that I was quite fond of....fond enough of to marry, anyway :)

    We stayed for lunch and when we got home we got to visit with Peyton a little before he went to work. He also showed me how to do the car seats- I wasn't pulling the belt tight enough. Honestly, it's pretty hard for me to do it that forcefully, so I'm going to continue to let him be in charge of that if at all possible!

    The kids took good naps again and I had a mix of productive activity and leisure time.  I washed dishes (or sink was FULL) and then goofed off on the computer and then I started making some potato soup to go in the crock pot for supper.  I talked to my sister in law on the phone and rotated some laundry cycles and then I got the kids up and got them ready to go back to the church.  We all had supper and then headed to the church because I had a Sunday school curriculum committee meeting.  Annie was pretty ill behaved the whole time.  I think she was just bored because she was in the room she had been in all morning (we just met in the nursery so the kids could play) and I wouldn't let her go get toys from the other nursery room.  Anyway, the meeting was good and pretty quick and when we got home I let her stay up a little bit and then put both kids to bed.  I got on the computer and when Peyton got home we ate supper and fell asleep on the sofa again!

    The kids slept until eight on Friday and I had a lot of energy for once!  I got them up and then started some laundry and unloaded and loaded dishes and cleaned up the kitchen from the night before.

     [her own little fake plastic supermarket menagerie on the piano]

    I got the kids both ready and hopped in the shower and got ready myself because we were meeting Carrie and her kids for lunch.  It had been SO long since we'd been to lunch together mostly because with four of them, somebody is always sick this time of year.  Once Alaina gets here we may NEVER get to go out to eat! It was fun and we had a good time, although Annie was a little sad at first that we weren't going to the zoo with Aubrey again.  She also told me that she wanted to "get dirty" because last time we ate out with the Howies (like a month ago!) she and Aubrey played in a flowerbed and got...dirty.  The things she remembers!

    After we got home, I fed Graves his lunch and got both kids down for naps.  I got on the computer and caught up on Twitter and wrote a post and then Peyton's mom came over to keep the kids while I went to see the dietitian.  It was a good visit and I'm making progress! On the way home, I stopped by Wear It's At, a consignment store I like, to see if they had one of those doorway jumper things because Graves LOVES the big jumperoo at MDO, but I just can't deal with another enormous baby thing in my house.  Anyway, they didn't have one, but I got a couple of things for the kids.  I got home and Peyton has beaten me there.  We hung out a little while and then got ready to head over to my parents' house for beans and rice.  We went by Target on the way for diapers and stuff.  We had a nice time at my parents' and got home late and just dropped the kids in bed.

     Minnie's beautiful Fall decor.  She does such a great job playing up the rustic theme of their house.  I keep meaning to post some pictures of their house because it's SO neat and different.

     Playing beauty shop with Minnie was a hit!

     For the record, this is how I eat my B&R.  Separate.  On a divided tray with farm animals on it.  That was Peyton's from his childhood. And probably has a crap ton of BPA in it.

    We chatted some and went to sleep pretty soon after that!

    I woke up Saturday with an awful sinus headache.  We were planning on going to Granny's house, so I was bummed.  Peyton went to work out and I got up with the kids and we had breakfast and straightened a little around the house.  I felt so bad, though, so I kind of hung out on the couch.  When Peyton got home, I took a bath and got ready and we left a little after our goal time.  I slept most of the way down and when we got there, I felt a little better.  We had a great time and I got to hang out some with my sister in law, who I hadn't seen in a long time.  And Ann Peyton was beside herself excited to get to place with her cousin, Simeon.  After lunch, I started feeling bad again and I got sort of dizzy and nauseous.  I knew I couldn't make it back home like that, so Graves and I went and took a nap.  We left later than we meant to, but it was fine.  I rode in the back with the kids so AP wouldn't fall asleep since it was so late.  We got home and I soaked in the tub to try to get rid of my headache with a steamy bath.  It worked and I helped Peyton get the kids ready for bed and then got my stuff together for children's church the next morning.  I got on the computer and wrote Graves's (late) letter and uploaded some pictures to Flikr.  I went to bed late because I had napped so much and then we had a TERRIBLE night.  Graves slept great, but AP was up so much.  This is so TMI, but I think it was because she was constipated.  She did end up going number two in the frog potty, which I tried to be super excited about at three in the morning.

    I got up and got ready for church on Sunday morning and then got Peyton and the kids up.

     [And then they all fell back asleep.  Look at that smile on BG's face!]

    He was moving slow and we were running late and I ended up getting everyone ready myself for the most part.  I had children's church and it went well.  Not too many crazy kids this time!  I met Peyton and we went to Sunday School (we decided to just to to our regular class instead of the parenting class that day).  After church, we came home and had lunch and got the kids down for naps.  I got on the computer and organized some stuff to take to the attic and then I got ready and wrapped a present and headed to a shower for my friend Amanda.  The shower was fun and when I got home I hurried and got ready and it was time to head back to church.  Peyton was going to an evangelism committee meeting, so I just sat in the nursery with the kiddos until it was time for Bible study.  Logan stopped by after church and we had a nice, but short, visit.  After she left I took Graves's seven month pictures and we fed the kids and got them to bed.

     I wish I could take these on something other than automatic, but as you can see I can't seem to get any that aren't either blurry or full of "noise".

    I uploaded pictures and worked on a few posts and then I went to bed.

    This week hasn't really gotten off to the best start.  Graves has been crazy fussy I think because I thought he was starting to tolerate dairy and had some creamy soup.  Wrong assumption and we're all paying for it! I'm hoping it will get better as the week progresses.

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    Multitudes on Mondays

    Here we are again.  Counting the daily blessings and enjoying them all the more for it.

    24. a full day at home with my peanuts
    25. fresh sheets on every bed (or crib)
    26. a new found confidence in the kitchen
    27. the privilege to vote my convictions
    28. the gift of civil disagreement
    29. the opportunity for change
    30. the hope for the unborn
    31. tiny toddler voice from the Buick backseat "Momma, buckle me...."
    32. the Lord's protection of her in spite of her mother's absentmindedness
    33. toddler toothbrush on the silver chest
    34. frog potty in the kitchen
    35. iced trays of frozen pureed fruit in the freezer
    36. the peace that comes as I learn to accept my house as is during this season of life
    37. those men and women who have bravely shed blood, sweat and tears for our freedom
    38. the nation they have helped sustain
    39. the privilege of knowing and loving several of them
    40. the glorious relief that is the end of a day long headache
    41. time spent with the beautiful family that I married into
    42. the opportunity to teach and guide little children
    43. the opportunity to be part of a truly dynamic Sunday school class

    Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    Letter to (Seven Month Old) Graves

    Dear Graves,

    I'm a day late on your birthday letter.  These kinds of things drive me nuts.  But we were on the road going to see Granny yesterday and I had a horrid headache, so it just didn't get done.  Anyway, here it is now!

    As the days grow shorter, so the months seem to as well.  The first few months of your life certainly didn't drag, but they went by at a pace I was comfortable with.  These days, though, I look at you and am shocked by what I see.  I aspect to see a newborn and instead I see a baby over half way to his first birthday!

    You are getting more and more fun and interesting.  You smile and laugh and you love to "talk".  There is so much babbling going on whenever you are awake!

    You are growing so fast!  I had a lot of 6 mo. sleepers and you're about to be done with those.  Some of your Winter clothes really didn't get much wear it's been so warm and you are getting so tall. You wear lots of 6 mo. things and some 6-9 mo. and 9 mo. outfits.  You wear a size two diaper in disposables, but I'm thinking it's almost time to move up.

    Minnie has started calling you "Bud" or "Bubba" a lot because she says you're becoming less and less "Baby Graves".  I will call you Baby Graves, however, until the day YOU object ;)

    You've started to like baby food (finally!).  You've tried green beans, peas, apples, and pears. You love them all!  You also tried bananas, but those seemed to hurt your tummy.  Your favorite things are Baby MumMums, though, because you can feed those to yourself!  Your dairy intolerance seems to be getting better, because I've eaten some creamy soups and things like that and it hasn't seemed to bother you.  Praise the Lord! You seem like you're teething (LOTS of drool and you want to gnaw on every last thing you can put your little hands on), but there's no visible evidence yet.

    You've started kind of pulling your hair when you nurse and I think it's such a precious little habit.  It's all the more sentimental because your sister used to do the exact same thing.

    You are sleeping better these days, too!  You sleep some eight hour stretches at night now because I've finally let you sleep on your tummy.  You take a (usually short) morning nap and then a good solid afternoon one.  I'm glad we sort of established a little routine, although I know it's prone to change!

    You've made acquired some new skills lately, too.  You can roll across a room now, but your biggest accomplishment this month has been learning to sit by yourself.  You LOVE it.  I think you've been dying to do it for at least a month; you were so tired of being flat.  You sit and play for longer and longer stretches and lately you and your sister have stared to "play" together more instead of just beside one another.  She loves to make you giggle and the other day I walked in y'alls room and it was the first time I've ever seen her truly working hard to entertain you for an extended period of time.  Your precious smile was well worth her efforts! Nothing makes me happier than seeing the relationship between the two of you grow and change.

    You've started to enjoy your excersaucer more, but you really love the jumperoo at Mother's Day Out.  I'm thinking I need to get you one, but I'll probably try to find a doorway jumper since I don't think we need another big baby apparatus at our house.

    You've taken a major liking to one of Ann Peyton's old lovies- Flopsy.  That bunny is your favorite thing and I can tell you're getting quite attached.  Annie took much longer to find and claim a favorite stuffed animal, but you are just so very tactile.  You love touching things and soft things make you so happy.  You remind me of your Mickey, who I shared a special bond with as a little girl, because of our deep seated love for soft (sometimes ratty) t-shirts. 

    Speaking of soft things, your all time favorite toy  is The General.  You are an animal lover, Graves!  Ann Peyton really liked the kitties as a baby, too, but she had nothing on you.  You love him so you squeal when you see him and try to grab his fur.  He is so sweet to you (it's like he knows you're a little bitty thing) and just lets you do what you want.  Nevertheless, I've started demonstrating how to pat gently and you just shriek with joy as I rub your hand up and down his furry side.

    Graves, I am loving this stage with you- figuring out the things you love and trying my best to create more experiences with those things for you.  I'm glad the things you love are things I love- soft blankets, sweet kitty cats, and more than anything, your darling sister. You are such a precious gift to us, Baby Graves.  We love you!

    Momma (and Papa)

    P.S. Your outfit this month is (I think) a 6 mo.

    Weekly Smorgasbord

    Okay, so this week's list is more minimal than usual. I guess I just haven't been spending as much time reading blogs lately. I'm not sure what I HAVE been doing, though, because as I told someone today my house looks like a pigsty that got hit by a tornado. I'm going to try to remededy that tonight and tomorrow! Anyway, sometimes I feel like a short list can be more meaningful, as every item on this list is truly superb!

    Posted: 12 Nov 2011 07:54 PM PST
    Kristal inspired me so much with this post. I tweeted about it earlier this week, but every time I find out about another friend doing this thing that I'm afraid of (adoption), it gives me confidence that one day we can do it, too!
    Posted: 12 Nov 2011 07:53 PM PST
    This is seriously one of the most well thought out, articulate things I've read on the subject. I love the slavery analogy, the consequentialists argument, and the part about how we work to protect "potential people" all the time. So well done!
    Posted: 12 Nov 2011 07:50 PM PST
    This video is SO cool. You just have to watch it.
    The Howie House: Spiritual Warfare
    Posted: 06 Nov 2011 02:10 PM PST
    "Aborted babies can't say, 'Abba.' But the Father hears their cries anyway. Do we?" I want the answer to that question for me to be "YES!" Lord, make me your hands and feet for the least of these."

    Whoa, I'd really like to be best friends with the girl who wrote this convicting post. OH, WAIT! ;)
    Posted: 05 Nov 2011 10:00 PM PDT
    "So I don't leave you with promises that all will rosy if you just work hard enough at it. I only leave you with the promise of His grace in the hard moments, the moments that you are sure you've failed at the one thing you've worked hardest at your whole life. I leave you this morning with words of hope for mothers in anguish: Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it.James 1:2-5"

    Really, really good words here.

    Hope you enjoyed this week's smorgasbord!