Thursday, March 29, 2012

Weekly Smorgasbord

Y'all I am so, so late on this. This week has really kept me on my toes and my blog has been sadly neglected. I did think I'd (finally) go ahead and share last week's links:P

Posted: 25 Mar 2012 09:30 PM PDT
I think this is a very interesting post, in general. However, the thing I think that is the most interesting is that (at least in my experience) using the word "penis" is not really taboo, but using the word "vagina" almost always is.  I mean I have no problem saying something about a penis, but I literally cannot say vagina without feeling icky.  I never thought about it being a social construct.
Letters to My Daugther: On Being Beautiful - Narrow Paths to Higher Places
Posted: 25 Mar 2012 08:41 PM PDT
"When the world tells you that you are not enough, you are lacking, you are deficient, look to the one who created you and know that these lies offer only counterfeits of true beauty."

 This post reminds me of a post that I wrote once on beauty. I love Alia's words
Posted: 25 Mar 2012 05:44 PM PDT
Maybe I'm more crunchy than I realize. This tugged at my heart so much.
Planned Parenthood Supporters Mock Abortion Survivor
Posted: 19 Mar 2012 12:16 PM PDT
Wow, this is just horrible.
Posted: 18 Mar 2012 10:08 PM PDT
"I think that wherever you are with kids, you're always at capacity. When I had one kid, I was at capacity. When I had two kids, I was at capacity. Now I'm at capacity at four..I think it's the Lord that grows our capacity with each child He blesses us with."
Posted: 18 Mar 2012 10:06 PM PDT
"I think we could debate all day about whether or not their choice to focus on advocacy vs. aid is the best use of resources, but the bottom line is, they are filmmakers and this is how they've been moved to act."
Posted: 18 Mar 2012 09:37 PM PDT
"He is Lord over the life celebration and Lord over severe acute malnutrition. He is good in the life celebration, and He is good in the severe acute malnutrition. He is. Thank you Jesus."
Posted: 18 Mar 2012 09:35 PM PDT
Really great post. I struggled with this at first, too (and still do at points- like when I totally "waste" a day), but I feel like I am SO much more confident in my decision to be at home for this season (and also so much less judgmental of those who make a different choice).
Posted: 18 Mar 2012 09:27 PM PDT
Y'all know I am a bit obsessed with lists, so I *loved* this.
Posted: 18 Mar 2012 09:24 PM PDT
"Day by day, decision by decision, response by response, we are shaping the view on life that our children will take with them when they grow up and leave our homes as independent individuals."


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Weekly Happenings Post #158 (March 19-25)-- Easing Back In

We had a good week last week.  I decided to ease back into our routine and we actually opted out of a couple of things just because I felt like it.  Sometimes it feels good to say "no".  Yes?

Okay, first, here's a picture I forgot last week that Cookie took:

Monday was a fun day.  We got up and got dressed and then I packed a lunch and got things together and my dad dropped Cookie off (they had taken her car to the shop) and we all headed to the zoo. We went by Primos to pick up breakfast first.  We had a fun time and we basically had the place to ourselves.  It was  a little overcast, but the temperature was perfect.    Cookie and Peyton did point out how small a few of the cages were and that made be a bit sad. Overall, it was another fun trip.  We dropped Cookie off on the way home and then Peyton needed to get to work.  We actually didn't eat our picnic, so we just ate it at home.

After the kids ate lunch, I put them down for naps and they did great.  Graves had missed his morning nap, so he slept a long time.  AP took awhile and once she fell asleep it was almost four.  I let her sleep a little past five and when I got her up she was so mad at me.  During their nap, I read some blogs and worked on my Weekly Happenings post; it takes awhile even though I do it each night now, to get all the pictures in and profread it and everything.  I went through the kids' Summer shoes that I had bought ahead and picked out the ones that would fit.  We played and I fed them dinner and unloaded and loaded dishes. I folded some laundry and got Graves to bed.  I let AP stay up and I called a babysitter for our Ultreya meeting that week and then we read and called Minnie and Cookie on the phone.  I put her to bed around nine thirty, but she took her last trip to the potty around 11:30.  I put pictures on Flikr and then fixed supper.  I realized I didn't have two ingredients for the hamburger corn pie I was making (it's Peyton's absolute fave; I think it's yuck) and he had to get them on the way home.  I read my Bible some and went to bed after I finished supper.

I went to bed a little too late and woke up a little too late on Tuesday.  We had MDO and since Peyton needed to run some errands and we were doing the one car thing, he brought us.  He helped me get everyone ready and out the door.  We had a good day at MDO and Peyton picked us up at 11:30.

 I fed the kids lunch and unloaded dishes and then loaded a bunch of dishes that I had rinsed the night before.  We took Peyton to work and both kids fell asleep in the car.  I was talking to Morgan on the phone and almost missed my exit. I put the phone down, but I still got honked at for changing lanes too late and getting in front of someone.  UGH.  Shows me for being on the phone.  We got home and of course, neither kid napped.  Graves stayed in his bed for twenty minutes and AP watched Charlie Brown and I chilled out a bit.  I gave them baths when they got up and then I fed them a snack and typed up this post from the beginning up to this point.  It makes me itch to not have it done each night.  My mom was supposed to come get the kids, but she ended up getting stuck in traffic on the way home to her house after some errands and got to my house late.  I was a bit frazzled from the whole day.  AP was in a state and I finally just let her wear her bathing suit home with my mom.
 [6-12 mo. pjs she found in a box I was packing up.  Tiny girl!]

Ha!  I finished getting ready and met one of my sponsors and we rode together to my first Junior League meeting.  I'm going to do a whole post about it, but I'm really excited about this opportunity!  I got gas on the way to my parents' and when I got there, I nursed Graves and changed his diaper. AP took forever to leave (a potty trip, ect.) and then we headed to get Peyton.  She told me that she had to teetee on the way to Byram and I asked her if she could hold it (about twenty minutes).  She said yes and I was glad because I would have just turned around and gone back to my parents' house.  She was wearing no shoes and Graves was asleep and noway was I attempting a gas station.  Anyway, she was asleep by the time we got there and I could have been.  Peyton drove home and we put the kids right to bed.  I ate a row of Thin Mints and played on Twitter and then went to bed.  Peyton woke Annie up to use the potty before we went to bed and she basically did it in her sleep. No accidents that night!

I decided not to go to Bible study Wednesday morning.  Graves had had a really tough night and was tired and I knew AP could use some chill time at home.  He ended up going to sleep after I nursed him and sleeping until almost ten.  AP watched Sesame Street and Kipper in our bed and I snoozed a bit and when Graves woke up, I took a bath.  I fed the kids breakfast/lunch and had some lunch myself and then I started dishes and laundry and did some picking up.  Peyton got home from a meeting and I changed both the kids' bedding and then my mom came over.

 We took the bed rail off and I think the room looks so much better!

We hung some pictures and then Peyton and I went to the gym just so I could look around and check it out.  Momma left and we put both kids down and did our Christian Believer readings.  I got on the computer for a bit and then Peyton and I chatted.  We had to wake up both kids and then we got ready and left.
 [Of course, this was Papa's idea.]

  The study was good and when we got home we we fed AP dinner and put the children to bed. I got on the computer and straightened the house and went to bed.

Peyton helped me get the kiddos ready for MDO on Thursday and took us.  To be honest, it was a really long, tiring morning.  We had several drop ins and we also have a couple of kids that come only on Thursday so it was just really, really busy.  We ended up staying to help with lunch even though I wasn't signed up to.  Peyton picked up up and AP fell asleep in the car.  After we got home, Peyton left for work and I fed Graves and let him play a little and then put him down.  They didn't sleep that long, but I did have a little bit of time to chill out.  When they got up, I unloaded and loaded dishes and then we went outside.  Graves was super fussy and I had a headache.  We came in for a snack and Graves had a terrible diaper.  I changed it and cleaned the toilet and then folded and put up laundry.  We went back outside for a few minutes and then I put Graves to bed.  I gave AP a bath and she ate supper and then I put her to bed.   She took forever to go to sleep and my headache was worse.  I ended up getting in bed before Peyton got home.

Friday started out really good.  I woke up rested and took a leisurely bath since Peyton was home.  He left to go work out and I got the kids dressed and cleaned up the house a bit while Graves napped.  We picked up Chik Fil A and went over to the Howie's.  We had a good visit and it was fun to get back in the swing of things.

Things got a little crazy, though, when Aubrey and AP were playing by themselves in Jude's room.  The game they were playing scared AP  and she got pretty upset right as I was in the middle of changing Graves's diaper. I explained to her that it was just for fun and then we left in a hurry to take Peyton to work.  We ended up being so late, so we met him at the a different Walgreens where he was dropping off stuff and then dropped him off at his store.  Annie fell asleep on the way home, but I kept Graves up.  For some reason, he still wouldn't nap.  They stayed in bed for close to an hour, though.  They played while I did some stuff around the house and AP was being sort of ugly to Graves.  She had to take a few trips to time out.  We went over to my parents and that was a nice break.

We picked up Peyton on the way home and dropped the kids in bed.  I got on the computer and he watched tv.

[My mom got me a few new dresses.  I always pick the thing that is more comfortable/cuter and never the one that is more flattering.  I like the ones on the right b/c they're super comfy and more unique, but I think the ones on the left are more flattering in color and fit!]

Peyton left for work about the time Graves got up on Saturday.  Annie woke up shortly after and I got in the tub while she watched Sesame Street on Netflix. 
 When I saw this, I stopped and AP and I had a special prayer time for several of our friends who have adopted or are in the process of adopting and for the future of our own family!

 I fed the kids breakfast and stripped both their beds.  I put fresh sheets on Graves's bed and made a phone call to schedule a time to go have a free "consultation" at the gym.  I put Graves down for his nap and got on the computer for a bit, and fixed myself the BEST breakfast (toasted wheat bread from Great Harvest with Nutella and fresh strawberries) and then did a few things around the house (made our bed, brought clothes to the laundry room, ect.) and then I got out AP's finger puppets and made up some stories with them.  She LOVED that, of course.  We woke up Graves and got ready and headed to the park.  We had such a good time and ended up staying longer than I expected (the whole trip was over an hour and a half).

When we got home, I fed them a super late lunch and started unloaded dishes and rotating laundry.  I put Graves down and then AP cleaned up her toys and then I read to her and put her down for a nap.  They both went to sleep SO fast.  I got on the computer and wrote a post and caught up on Twitter.
I was folding this up and "Winter Song" started playing and my heart flip flopped.  When I question what I do, my heart returns to these moments.

 I finally ended up having to wake AP up.  Of course, she didn't want to get up, so I let her watch some Charlie Brown.  Peyton got home and we hung out with him some and then went to dinner.  We got BBQ at The Haute Pig.  It was the first time and it was really good.  AP LOVED the baked beans.  We went by my parents to pick up something on the way home and visited for a bit.  We dropped the kids in bed and I cleaned up the house and got on the computer.
You can't tell me she's too big for a bubble!

I had children's church on Sunday and I woke up feeling really sick at my stomach.  I could tell it was probably something I ate and I made myself get ready.  Peyton actually did end up taking his car because he had to do something before work and it was just going to be really difficult to try to do it with only one.  Children's church went well and then in Sunday school we had a guest speaker come talk to us about a mission project.  When we got home, I fed the kids lunch and picked up around the house and then put them down for naps.  I got on the computer and ordered AP some bows and then I took a little nap.  They didn't sleep long.  When the kids woke up, I put up some clothes in their room and attempted to take some pictures of them.

We got ready to go back to church for an Easter Egg hunt, but AP bumped her head and had an accident.  We finally got on our way. Annie had fun playing on the church playground and then they had a special worship time for the kids and a hamburger dinner.  There was a gospel group singing afterward and we stayed for part of that. Peyton met us there and he and AP went to the grocery store and I put Graves to bed when we got home.  I got on the computer and then cooked a veggie dinner (okra, corn, potatos, zuchini, a cucumber salad and boiled eggs).  We cleaned up the kitchen and got AP to to bed and I got back on the computer.

This week has been/will be SO busy.  It's fun stuff, but whew!  That's why this was late and I'll probably be a little absent the rest of the week, too.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Christian Believer: Week Twenty {Belonging}

Faith of our fathers, living still,
in spite of dungeon, fire, and sword;
O how our hearts beat high
with joy whene'er we hear that glorious word!
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.
('Faith of Our Fathers", Fredick W. Faber)

Lesson twenty one was "The Church: God's Called Out People" (God's Called Out People). I really enjoyed reading about and discussing the way we are "called out".  It's funny because I always associate that term with it's modern connotation, which I think is quite negative, so this was really eye opening!

We actually didn't get to watch the accompanying video this time, because yours truly left it at home.  We did have some good discussion mostly about the Scriptures we read.  We talked about how we saw in Mathew 16:13-20 that Peter is the "Rock" of the church and we briefly touched on the Catholic belief that all Popes are his successor.  We then discussed a passage in Acts (15:1-31) and how it relates to authority and conflict in the church.  Finally we read Revelation 21:1-14 and talked about what it meant for a Jewish/Christian audience.  We also talked about how we are all "different tools in the toolbox" and we all have different jobs to do that are part of one overall goal.

Of course, I just had to watch the video later. The presenter that week was William H. Willimon, who a Dean of the Chapel and Professor of Christian Ministry at Duke University.  The first thing it said was that just as God called light into being and it became light, God also called the church into being and it became the church.  It then stated that someone has said that "the greatest heresy of modern religion is that "religion is a private affair".  It gave a short history of what the "church" looked like before Jesus.  Israel in exile created the institution known as the synagogue.  The word synagogue means "coming together" and it was the means by which these people, strangers in a strange land, met together to "sing the songs of Zion, tell stories of the past, and integrate the young into their peculiar way of life". This meeting together kept Israel as Israel during their exile.

The next thing Willimon said was  that being faithful to a living, righteous God is too  great a challenge to go it alone and there is strength in numbers.  However, the  church is more than a warm hearted gathering of like minded people.  The Greek word for church is Ekklesia and means "called out".  The church is God's idea, not ours.  Israel existed because God wanted a people to witness to all other people that he ruled and that is now the responsibility of the church.  Most human institutions are held together by race, class, or gender because that is the way the world gathers people.  But the church is gathered by the initiative of God.  The church exists because God keeps calling people to come forward and be  the church.  Someone has said "God has no grandchildren", meaning there are not "second generation Christians". But God is faithful to both call the church and preserve the church. The word Ekklesia reminds us that we are not only called, however, but called out

Willimon went on to say that Vatican II (the great reformation of the Catholic church in the 1960s) described 1 Peter 2:9-10 as "the most succinct statement of the meaning of the church".  He then went on to break this passage down.  Why were we chosen? For special privilege or reward? No.  We are chosen to be a royal priesthood.  But what do priests do? They mediate between God and the world; they intercede with God on behalf of the world: they represent Christ to the world.  In church, we're all priests and this is what the Protestant reformers meant when they talked about the "priesthood of all believers".  We are now a "holy nation" a the church, holy meaning "set apart".  Notice that the church is described in collective nouns- priests, nation, people- we're all in this together.  The Christian faith is meant to be lived in community.

We are "called out" for a job.  Our human job as church members is to declare, in word and deed, the gracious God who called us out of darkness into light.  As Christians in our culture, as we begin to feel marginalized, we are in a great position to rediscover the meaning of church as "God's called out people".  We need each other in a sometimes hostile, usually apathetic, world.  While we live in the world, we must be different from the world if we are to be truly for the world.

The workbook reading was good, too.  The first point that I really liked that the book made was that we are not called simply to be blessed, but to be a blessing.  The book then talked about Israel and how, though they weren't the first to have a system of laws, they were the first to have laws focusing on holiness.  It discussed how sometimes Israel's sense of being separate could be offensive to modern readers and gave the examples of God telling Israel to wipe out an entire people.

The book went on to say that when we are so often disappointed by the lack of unity in the church, we should really be surprised by how much there is, because all the laws of human nature are against it.  It talked about how early Christians were persecuted and how this led to them "congealing" as a local body, but also to a spirit of isolation and even superiority.  It finally discussed again about how our purpose is to be a blessing and how the secret to the church's survival is it's allegiance to Christ.

Here are my highlights from the Scripture and text readings:

"How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty.  My soul years, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh cry out for the living God...Better is one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere." -Psalm 84:1-2, 10

"And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.  They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." -Revelation 21:3-4

"The Church, then, is called Catholic because it is spread through the whole world, from one end of the earth to the other, and because it never stops teaching in all its fullness every doctrine that mean ought to be brought to know...It is called Catholic also because it brings things into religious obedience every sort of men, rulers and ruled, learned and simple, and because it is a universal treatment and cure for every kind of sin whether perpetrated by soul or body, and possesses within it every form of virtue that is named, whether it expresses itself in deeds or words or in spiritual graces of every description." -Cyril of Jerusalem

"Two or three Christian believers united together are a church in the narrowest sense of the word." -John Wesley

"...It looses it's character as the church when it concentrates on itself, worships itself and seeks to make love of Church the first commandment." -H. Richard Niebuhr

"The basis of the Christian community is not the family tie, or social or economic equality, or shared oppression or complaint, or mutual attraction...but the divine call...By our common call to the New Jerusalem, we recognize each other on the road as brothers and sisters.  Therefore, as the people of God, we are called ekklesia (from the Greek kaleo=call; and ek=out), the community called out of the old world into the new...But sometimes a false type of like-mindedness can narrow our sense of community...There is great wisdom hidden in the old bell tower calling people with very different backgrounds away from their homes to form one body in Jesus Christ.  it is precisely by transcending the many individual differences that we can become witnesses of God who allows his light to shine upon poor and rich, healthy and sick alike." -Henri J. Nouwen

"The Church is both a fellowship and an institution...The Bible in its various types of literature carries in a relatively stable form the meanings that mark the Christian community in distinction from other human groups...The communication and interpretation of its meaning depend upon the existence of certain offices and rites.  The ministry exists in part to make living and internal the meanings carried externally and objectively in the Bible.  The Lord's Supper is a rite in which the significance of the death of Jesus Christ is remembered again.  Liturgies as a whole carry out for each congregation a pattern of meaning in which mean can participate." -James M. Gustafson

"The first disciples of Christ had the consciousness that they were "called", called by him to an assembly of unity, to an ecclesia.  Not to be faithful to a new "religion", nor to be partisans of a new ideology or social teaching.  What untied them was not the reception of some theoretical "principles or "axioms", but the reception of the call which radically changed their lives: It transformed individuals, detached units, into a single body, the Church.  Their gathering is not exhausted in a simple meeting together; it is not a passing, causal event.  They live as a church, as a single body of life, they share life as "brothers"- just like brothers who draw their existence from the same womb- they are "members" of an organic, living "body"...The church is also this one chosen people, the "new Israel", with a new historical mission: to reveal to the world God's new relationship and covenant with mankind "in Jesus Christ". -Christos Yannaras

Because we the church believe we are a people called out by God for mission in the world, I will gladly join that mission.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

On Learning to Have a Friend and Be a Friend


Yesterday, we had our first little play date with our dear friends, the Howies since Alaina was born.  We had a great time and I'm glad to start getting back in our routine of weekly visits with our friends (I hope Carrie is, too!).

It's so funny to see how things have changed over the past almost three years.  I admit, and I'm sure Carrie would agree, that there are times when I miss it just being the four of us (well, actually, at that point Ashley and Evy were in Jackson and we "lunched" weekly with our three girls).  I mean, all three of our girls were just blissful little beings at that point, and we could go to a restaurant and talk for hours and all three girls ate, entertained themselves and babbled with each other for the duration of the lunch.  Looking back, I think it was a bit of a modern miracle the way they acted and the ease in which we were able to do things.

But, I'd be lying if I said I didn't love this season of our lives and friendship as much, if not more.  It has been SO neat to watch our older girls truly develop their own very real friendship and yesterday I got my first glimpse of what our boys will one day have.  I say often that one of my favorite parts of parenting is watching my children grow into their own personalities with legitimate likes and dislikes, opinions, and emotions.  And part of that is watching them form relationships outside our family unit.

One thing that I've loved about our friendship with the Howies is that the entire time we've known them, they have been about six months ahead of us in the parenting process.  Aubrey is just a step ahead of AP and Jude is a less than a year older than Graves.  It's a little bittersweet knowing that this time the gap will be a lot bigger, but that's another (long) blog post for another time.

Anyway, yesterday was really fun and for some reason a bit different.  I think when we do things at one of our houses, we see a lot more of the kids' interactions than we do at a restaurant.  For one thing, it was different because, like I said, it was my very first time to see our little boys engaging in even minimal interaction. 

But, it was most fun to watch Aubrey and Ann Peyton.  Aubrey is very much a leader and while I am strongly hesitant, at this point ,to label Ann Peyton a "follower", she does tend to have a less dominant personality.  I am proud of her because she finally will tell Aubrey if she doesn't want to hold hands ;)  But for the most part, she goes along with what Aubrey wants to do.  It's just her nature.  Of course, we'll encourage her to be independent and think for herself, but this has also shown me how extremly important it is that she be sorrounded by children who are Godly infuences.

The girls did have one little tussle.  They were playing a game and Annie got  little scared.  This illustrated something else to me.  This is exactly why, if we don't do formal preschool next year, I really want her in a lot of social situations.  Besides being a bit shy, I can already see (in other instances, not just that day) a bit of a propensity to fear and anxiety.  NOW, it is so important to me not to do anything to quash her tender heart.  I know for me that it is one of my greatest assets, but I also have a good bit of baggage from years of struggling through anxiety after anxiety.  I'm just now, at almost twenty seven, starting to REALLY see it loose it's hold on me.  Just like I am operating in preventive mode and doing everything I can to cut it off at the pass, because I know Graves has a genetic leaning toward ADD, I want to make sure that her fears and anxieties are something I take into consideration. It's something that I want to be sensitive to, but at the same time not something I want to encourage or make into something bigger than they are.  And I don't want to shelter her from opportunities to work through and process things at a very young age.  Yesterday was a good opportunity to hug, talk, and then "brush it off" just like we tell her to do if she trips and falls.

The other funny thing that happened was Annie had a little accident.  Aubrey told Ann Peyton several times "you need to tell you momma if you need to potty".  While Carrie was quick to remind Aubrey she wasn't the boss, I told Carrie later that I thought (and hoped) it was a good glimpse into their future- "you need to tell your momma if someone offers you a drink"; "you need to tell your momma if a boy tries to um, get fresh with you"; "you need to tell your momma if you see someone looking at your paper during a test".

I am so proud of our little girls (and our little guys) and I can't wait to see  how their friendship grows and develops!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Weekly Smorgasbord

Last week's links:

    Posted: 18 Mar 2012 08:29 PM PDT
    "Does anyone who savors books read that way?"-- good question. The article does seem to have a bit of a bias, but it made me think even more about our school choices for our kids.  [More on schooling plans in an upcoming post...swearsies.]
    Blue Like Jazz: The Movie – The Gospel Coalition Blog
    Posted: 16 Mar 2012 09:19 PM PDT
    I am excited, no VERY excited about this little film. Peyton and I have never been big fans of the Kirk Cameron/Sherwood type Christian films and we've gotten taken to task about it before. This is a movie I'm excited about, however. I do think I'll end up having some issues with it, based on this review (especially the fact that the gospel isn't clearly articulated), but I'm excited for something different. Related to this specific post, I really like the discussion (toward the end) about whether we see Miller as "prescriptive" or "descriptive".
    Is 6 Months of Exclusive Breastfeeding Unrealistic and Idealistic? | PhD in Parenting
    Posted: 15 Mar 2012 10:21 PM PDT
    "The objection to the breastfeeding recommendation in particular is perplexing because there are many health-related recommendations that most people do not live up to. While we may recognize that we are not achieving the ideal state on some of these other health issues, most people do not feel personally insulted by the recommendations."

    "Just because you don't manage to eat seven to eight servings of fruits and vegetables every day, isn't a reason to change the recommendation or to protest initiatives designed to make fresh fruits and vegetables more accessible to people."

    I've thought about something similar to this before. Why is it okay, for example, to say "organic fruit is best?" but saying "breastfeeding is best" causes a big stir?
    The Biggest Mistake that Bloggers Make - Momcomm — Momcomm
    Posted: 12 Mar 2012 10:50 PM PDT
    "You can't succinctly describe what your blog is about." I need to think on this
    Posted: 12 Mar 2012 10:49 PM PDT
    "It's a great little evangelical party trick. But it's also the honest truth. I don't know when I was saved."

     I personally do know the moment I was saved. I don't remember the date, but I do remember the experience. That said, as a Methodist, most of us do not. So this post resonates. A lot.
    Posted: 12 Mar 2012 10:48 PM PDT
    "Lately, I've been noticing a trend I'll blame on Pinterest, blogging, and social media. There is a brigade of moms who turns every minor holiday, celebrity birthday, movie opening into a Grand Event worthy of celebrating, photographing, and making tutorials." So true.
    Posted: 12 Mar 2012 10:47 PM PDT
    "The bitter that follows the sweet is having this pregnancy be over with. i'll miss the kicks, the feeling of having her growing inside of me… there is nothing in the world quite like it. and even though she will be in my arms, i won't have that anticipation of when is going to arrive? will she be healthy? what will she look like? how big will she be? and truth be told, i'll miss the anticipation, the unknown, the waiting."

    I have felt this way both times. It's such a strange, surreal feeling.
    Posted: 12 Mar 2012 10:43 PM PDT
    "It is a way of tidying corners of my mind--sweeping fleeting thoughts, ideas and images into piles of random words that become a bit more real, more permanent when I take the time to braid them together into sentences. And sometimes, it is the simplest of days when I have nothing amazing about which to write that the need to do it--to unite fingers to keyboard and mutter things under my breath as I type and reread, delete and recompose--seems even more important. I want to be inspired. Always. I want to feel that spark that makes me come alive. And while I think most of us feel fulfilled to wake up every morning, pour a cup of coffee and go about our day loving on our kids, I think we feel more alive when we take the time to be inspired..."
    Posted: 12 Mar 2012 10:40 PM PDT
    "I sound like a woman stuck together with chewing gum and twine some days." "I am convinced that the shortest distance between strangers and friends is a shared story about our broken places." "How for years I attended a church where I didn't know anyone beyond "fine." And how my new strategy for making friends is going to be sharing more than they're expecting to hear."

    Posted: 12 Mar 2012 10:39 PM PDT
    Posted: 12 Mar 2012 10:39 PM PDT
    "I have a hard time distinguishing between what is important and what doesn't really matter at all, because to me, everything matters so much. Heck, I think inanimate objects have feeelings and so anyway it's hard, when I see hurt and beauty in absolutely everything that is in front of me, and my eyes are always darting toward who or what might be falling into the cracks."

    This is me.
    Posted: 12 Mar 2012 10:37 PM PDT
    "The home makes the nation." Yes.
    Posted: 12 Mar 2012 10:36 PM PDT
    Such a sweet post.
    Posted: 12 Mar 2012 10:35 PM PDT
    Beautiful, heartbreaking poetry.
    Posted: 12 Mar 2012 10:35 PM PDT
    Pictures like this make me want to do it again. So badly.
    Posted: 12 Mar 2012 10:34 PM PDT
    "The thing about it is, when people put their heads down and end up achieving these grand things they are after, or they live extraordinary lives, people tend to replace the words: obsessive becomes focused, stubbornness becomes determined, and selfish becomes self worth."

    Monday, March 19, 2012

    Weekly Happenings Post #157 (March 12-18)-- What a Nice Break

     [Seriously, do not all these people (excluding myself) look like they went to the drunk Saint Paddy's day parade?]

    [The regular pic- we had to retake it because Peyton switched the kids and my OCD self could not deal.]

    Last week was really good.  I actually felt horrible- tired and run down and very, very emotional.  Now, before anybody jumps the gun, it was due to that lovely phenomenon that indicates the lack of a pregnancy.  So, nobody get worried ;)  However, it was Spring Break, so "school" and most of our other activities were canceled.  I really do love all the things we do, but it was good to have a breather.  It did make me wonder if maybe we are a tiny bit overcommited.  I feel dumb saying that, because we don't do that much, but it's just nice to be home.  I got to work on a couple of projects I've been putting off and putting off, caught up on laundry, and did a good bit of much needed housework.

    Toward the end of the week, my sister also visited from Nashville.  I really try hard to just drop everything as much as is reasonable when she's in town, because it's so infrequent.  So we spent a lot of time with her and my parents.

    I was so excited to just have a calm, laid back day on Monday after the busy week we had enjoyed.  The kids slept late and I woke up right before Peyton left for work and got a bath.  Graves got up and pulled up for the first time.  I was so excited!  I dried my hair and AP woke up.  I fixed the kids breakfast- together they ate a POUND of frozen fruit.  How are they so little?  I cleaned up the kitchen while they ate and loaded some dishes and washed out things to recycle.  They played a bit and then Graves took his nap.  I let AP watch a movie and just kind of vegged out on the sofa.  I was tired and had a headache.  I ended up waking up Graves and I folded a bunch of laundry and put it up in their room.

     I cleaned out AP's pj drawer and fed them lunch and then it was nap time.  Both kids fell asleep and I had a snack and then took a nap myself.  I felt SO much better, but when I woke up it was 5:30.  I went to wake them up and Graves got up, but Annie fussed and I let her stay in bed a little longer.  They got up and I folded more laundry and then Peyton got home. I put sheets on our bed and tried to arrange some things on Graves's armoire (now that he's been here almost a year, I think the nursery is finally done...ha!).

    We just hung out at home and it was SO nice.  Peyton and I talked and he played with the kids and then I put Graves to bed and he took AP to the grocery nine o'clock.  Ha.  I got on the computer and when they got home we fed Annie dinner and I put up groceries and made our supper.

     ["He chewing Jesus"....ugh, maybe Annie needs to be a little more devoted to her quiet time with the Lord. Ha!]

     AP ended up going to bed around eleven.  I know, that is insane.  I finished up on the computer and we went to bed late.
    [Not sure what happened, but we found her like this in the middle of the night.]

    Tuesday was our busy day as far as being on the go.  Peyton and I got up and got ready in a hurry when we remembered it was voting day.  We dressed the kids super fast and threw them in the car and went to vote on the way to take Peyton to work.  The line was short (or nonexistent) and we got in and out really fast.  We dropped Peyton off and headed home.  Poor Annie did not want to get out of her car seat and I really needed to get Graves down for a nap, so I let her watch some Elmo and I got him fed and laid him down.  I was able to get dressed and make up my bed and check my email really quickly and then it was time to go again!  We met my friend Caroline for lunch at Newks.  We had a great time visiting and catching up.  We got home and I fed Graves and put the kids down for their naps.  I got on the computer and put some pictures on Flikr and played on Twitter and before I knew it, it was time to wake them up to go get Peyton.  Annie actually ended up being a reverse transfer and she fell back asleep in the car!

    We picked up Peyton and drove through Wendy's and then he had a meeting so we dropped him off.  I needed to pick up something from my parents' so we went over there and killed some time.  We picked up Peyton and came home.  Peyton fed the kids dinner and I put up some laundry and straightened in their room and then we put them to bed.  I worked on a couple of posts and then I played with my new sewing machine and got to work on a little project.  We went to bed super late again.

    We were home again all day Wednesday since our morning and night Bible study were both canceled.  The kids slept in and when Graves woke up, I trapped him in the bathroom and took a bath.  I fed him breakfast and did a few things on the computer and then Annie woke up.  He played and she had breakfast and then I put him down early for his nap because he was acting tired.  He took a nice long nap and I was able to vacuum in the living room and the kitchen and mop all the brick floors.  When he woke up, I folded laundry and did some dishes and then it was lunch time for the kiddos.  After lunch, we played some more and I put them down for naps.  I watched part of The Time Traveler's Wife because Peyton had watched a little the night before and I wanted to catch up so we could watch together.  I got the kids up (Graves only slept a tiny bit and AP never did go to sleep) and Peyton got home.  Graves was super cranky and we took turns playing with him and then took his monthly pic.

     Can't tell it from here, can you? This is seriously a favorite picture of mine!

      I put up some laundry and straightened the kids' room and then we went outside and played while Peyton mowed the yard.  We came in and fixed Annie's and Graves's dinner and gave them a bath and then it was bedtime.  Peyton and I finished the movie and I organized some stuff to go the attic.  I went to bed at a somewhat reasonable time.

    Thursday was NOTHING like I had planned.  We got up and got ready and then I went to the attic and organized some stuff and got down some things for a friend with a baby on the way.  Peyton fed the kids breakfast and then we had a few errands to run- to Walgreens and the church.  My dad called to say my grandmother's sister (my great aunt) was in town and she really wanted to see the kids.  So we ran home, had lunch and got ready and then dropped Peyton off at work and headed to the retirement center.  We had a really nice visit and when we got home I put the kids in bed.

    Neither slept and it was getting late, but I made them stay in bed an hour.  When they got up, I started straightening the house.  I went through some piles, started laundry, and then cleaned up the kitchen.  After the kids ate, I put Graves to bed and then browned some meat.  My friend Catherine came over to get the baby gear and while she was here, AP had an accident, got soap in her eye, and slammed her finger in a door while she was.  Ouch.  After she left, I let AP here. watch a movie for a bit since we had to go get Peyton and I uploaded some pictures.  We got Graves up and picked Peyton up at 10 PM.  We got home, transferred the kids and had dinner. I got on the computer and finished Graves's (way late) monthly post and went to bed.

    She fell asleep like this on the stool after her last potty break.  She just crashes these days.

    Friday was another good day at home.  Peyton woke me up with Graves so he could get ready for work.  Apparently he had also been up with him around 4:00.  I guess he didn't go back to sleep after I fed him, and I didn't even realize it? Anyway, he said he had been up for about an hour and then he was up again at seven.  I locked him in the bathroom with me and took a bath after Peyton left and then I fed him breakfast.  While he ate, I started laundry and dishes and emptied trash cans and took out the trash.  I also scrubbed our bathroom floor because it was gross.  He was acting sleepy so I put him down early for his nap and he slept about an hour before AP got up.  I took a little nap, too ;) When they got up, I trapped them in our room and put up some laundry.  They played and then I tried to vacuum the bedrooms.  I put Graves in the Pac N Play.  He screamed and at first I thought he was just made, but then I decided he was scared.  I ended up doing our room while  holding him.  I fixed our lunch and put up more laundry and then we headed outside to play. We came in and I nursed Graves and read to AP and then they had rest time.  Graves took a short nap and AP never did fall asleep and I ended up letting her play quietly in her room and putting some toys in his crib.  They did good with that!  I wrote a blog post, checked in on Twitter, and watched an old Christian Believer video.
    [refreshing treat- strawberries and lemon Girl Scout cookies]

    I got them up and started putting up more laundry.  Peyton got home and I finished and then straightened some in the nursery.  I worked on a project outside.

    Then I started some laundry and then we loaded up and dropped Peyton at the gym and headed to my parents' house.

     I LOVE these sunglasses Peyton got me in New Orleans, even if I do look like a bug!

    Since Cookie was coming home on Saturday, they held of on beans and were having tacos, but we still decided to go.  Peyton stayed home to work out and try to fix my dresser that's been broken for months.  We had a nice visit with my parents and when I got home Peyton and his brother were still working on the dresser.  I put the kids in bed and played on the computer a bit and then went to sleep.

    Saturday was ridiculously lazy.  Graves woke up nice and early and Peyton left for work.  I had a bath and fed him breakfast and did a lot of straightening I didn't do the night before.  I unloaded and loaded dishes and changed over the laundry and he played a little and then I put him down for a nap.  AP still wasn't up so we had a repeat of the day before and I took a short mid morning nap, too!  When she got up, we snuggled and watched a Charlie Brown video.  I made a phone call about a song I heard on the radio the night before and then I worked on a blog post a little while she watched Sesame Street.  I usually try to limit TV and I try not to blog when the kids are awake, but I broke my rules this time.  I also cooked breakfast around 11:30.  I typically HATE that.  Peyton could eat breakfast at 1:00 in the afternoon, but I only like it for dinner, or...breakfast.  Anyway, we had oatmeal and then I woke up Graves. Ann Peyton had a little accident on the kitchen floor, so I cleaned it up and then I folded some laundry while they played.  I got their lunch together and did dishes from lunch and breakfast and folded and put up more laundry.  I gave the kids baths and right after they got out Annie had a second accident on a stool in my room.  I sent her to the bathroom and she pushed Graves for coming in and bothering her.  I sent her to time out and we had a talk and I got them dressed.

    Cookie had just gotten into town so she and my parents came over and brought her new puppy.  We all got ready and walked to the park.  Well, there was a "no pets" sign.  I haven't really seen pets there, but I never saw the sign before either.  Anyway, we took turns watching Louie on the periphery of the park.  Apparently while my dad and I were hanging out with the pup, AP had ANOTHER accident.  My mom took her to the bathroom and then just let her keep playing in wet panties.  UGH.  Whatever.  We headed home and when we got back things kind of got crazy.  I got AP a snack and then Louie and one of the cats started terrorizing each other.  Annie teeteed again on a stool in her bathroom and my mom was trying to rearrange stuff on bookshelf.  I got Graves to sleep and then they left and I put AP down for rest time.  Ugh.  She had two more teetee accidents during rest time. WHAT IS THE DEAL? I tried not to get frustrated, but we've gone weeks with no accidents and that day we had like what, FIVE? Ugh, anyway, I got on Twitter and put some pictures on Facebook.  We went over to my parents for beans when Peyton got home.  Actually when he got home, I was literally laying on the floor being crawled and climbed all over.  Anyway, Ellis and Minda and Logan ended up coming.  So many of my favorite people all in one room!  We gave AP a bath before we left and put the kids right to bed after we got home.
    Bubba LOVED his beans!

    Annie got up and had one more accident.  Peyton asked her about it and she said she "wanted Momma to talk to me".  We decided it was an attention thing and that we'd try to focus more on  her, but we also told her she'd go to time out if she did it again.  NOW, I've always been kind of horrified about punishing for potty training issues, but she's been potty trained for a good little while.  So...I think it was fair.

    She did wet the bed that night, but we didn't punish her for that.  It was so gross, though, that Peyton gave her another bath after it happened at five A.M. and I went ahead and stripped her bed.  We put her in bed with us and went back to sleep for a bit.  We got up and got ready for church on Sunday and headed to Sunday school.  The lesson was good and Peyton was an usher at the late service.  We picked up a pizza and headed back to my parents' house.  We had a good time seeing them again and then we headed home.

    We went by the grocery store to pick up food because Peyton's brother and his wife were going to come over for dinner.  Peyton called them to confirm while I was in the store, and they ended up not being able to make it so I just put everything back and left.  We got home and regrouped and then headed back to church for our last Radical meeting.  On the way home, we stopped back by Kroger for some birthday cake Oreos and also by Target for some Easter happies for the kids and a bra for me.  I also got Annie some leggings!  We got home and got the kids to bed and then I got on the computer and Peyton watched some T.V.

    I think I'm ready for the routine of this week, but I'm not sure.  It was so nice having a break!

    Friday, March 16, 2012

    Five Minute Friday Prompt: Brave

    Within weeks of Ann Peyton's birth, I came to a conclusion, one I've shared quite a few times on my little blog- the most difficult thing about parenting is the emotional resources it requires.  When people say this is the "hardest job in the world" that I'm doing, it resonates; I can't lie.  Not because it's drudgery.  Not because my kids have boundless energy and so many times at the end of the day I feel like I rush bedtime because I just have nothing left to give.  Not because I feel like I've lost myself in it, though sometimes that is the case.

    But because there are so many fears to fight.

    The fear that something will happen to one (or both) of them.  That something as ordinary as a careless driver or a rogue medicine bottle or an uncovered outlet could snatch them away from me me.  Forever.

    The fear that they will grow up to seek thrills in the dangerous ways this world condones.  That playing this game could destroy their lives, or at the very least, break their fragile hearts.

    The fear that I'm not, and will never be, enough.  That I don't give them enough of me- my time, my patience, my understanding, my sympathy.

    The fear that they'll make poor decisions that will effect their entire lives.  That they'll never make the one most important decision in life and will live for themesleves instead of Christ.

    The fear that I'm a poor example of doing the latter. 

    Do y'all have these fears, too?

    If so, be brave, Momma!

    Carry on, warrior. 

    His grace is sufficient. 

    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    Letter to (Eleven Month Old) Graves

    Dear Graves,

    This is the first time for me to be a few days late writing your letter.  When that happened with your sister, I bawled my eyes out I was so upset.  But, these days things are different.  I guess with your second child, priorities align and I realize what is a big deal and what isn't.  [For example, the dead cockroach I pulled out of your mouth the other day? Not near as unsettling as it would have been for me as a first time momma.]

    Anyway, you are a month shy of a year and I'm in disbelief.  Actually, I think I'm in denial.  Some days, it will hit me and it's like I've been splashed in the face with a bucket of icy water.  My little peanut is getting so grown and time is moving so fast.

    For example, you begin crawling toward the end of January, but I forgot to mention it in last month's letter and now you're puling up!

    You've also cut your first tooth (finally!) and you've started eating more table food.  You LOVE soft steamed carrots and you're a big fan of turkey, but you're current favorite is bananas.

    You babble a lot and you say "Momma" quite frequently.  I love hearing you say those little syllables. You love to laugh and you have the biggest grin when you do it.  I swear it looks like your face is about to bust!

    You wear lots of 12 mo. things and size three diapers.  You take two naps a day and sleep about twelve hours a night, but you usually wake up once or twice to nurse and then go right back to sleep.  We recently got you a big boy car seat and I've put up a lot of toys that are too babyish.

    You love playing with "gadgets" and you can't keep your hands off our remotes and phones.  You also love music and I can tell your love for it is only growing.  You like to "dance" and bob your head and when you're upset and we sing to you it really calms you down.

    I'm so happy about the warm weather because you also really like being outside.  The only problem with the backyard is that you think leaves are for eating.  I usually hold you in my lap or we go on a walk.

    Graves, you are such a wonderful little boy and I love the stage you're in right now.  I could just eat you up and I probably pick you up and squeeze you more than I ever have before because you're just such a delight and so stinkin' cute.  Darling, I love you so.

     Momma (and Papa)

    P.S. Your outfit is a 12 mo.