Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Weekly Smorgasbord

Here are last week's links (as usual, a bit late). I went back through some "read it later" posts I had bookmarked, so some are old, but I thought still relevant!







    Posted: 22 May 2012 09:23 PM PDT
    This was a really good reminder for me!
    Posted: 22 May 2012 09:21 PM PDT
    "Bono: You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics; in physical laws every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I'm absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that "as you reap, so you will sow" stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff." Bono: You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma..........

    I think it's really interesting the way Bono explains that most religions hold on to a doctrine of "karma" and to an extent such a thing does exist, but Grace (through Christ) overrides it. I also think it's neat to see a mainstream rock guy speak so boldly about his faith. I also like how he kinda calls the guy on in the second to last paragraph on the "Jesus was a great teacher" idea.
    Posted: 22 May 2012 09:11 PM PDT
    "How about we hold them? How about we say that it sucks, and it's not fair? How about we say we're sorry, admit we don't really understand? How about we become comfortable with silence? How about we become the one that can listen without judgement, the one that can take it without being shocked and affronted and offended by honesty? How about we say we love them? How about we say that we're here and then we prove it? How about we learn how to hold hands, to hug, to sit beside, to write hand written letters, to bring meals, to baby sit, to do laundry, to make phone calls, to meet for coffee, to pray and pray and pray in secret?"
    Posted: 22 May 2012 09:09 PM PDT
    Very interesting post.
    Posted: 29 May 2012 09:02 PM PDT
    "How can I tell you of grace unless I have taken the cup with both hands and been filled with the sharp, hot truth? I can't recommend something I've not tasted."
    Posted: 29 May 2012 09:01 PM PDT
    "I'm her mama, and He's our Father, and shame is not invited into our family."
    Posted: 29 May 2012 08:22 PM PDT
    If you don't read anything else in this list, READ THIS. "...of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC). Drowning does not look like drowning." "And parents – children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why."





    Enjoy!

    Meet Me in the Land of Hopes and Dreams, Part 2: Jazz Fest with The Boss




    I'm glad I decided to do a whole separate post and not combine it with the first part of our NOLA trip because seeing Springsteen was just such a big!freakin!deal! for us.  I've kind of been putting this post off because it's hard for me to fully express how meaningful this was.  It's (relatively) easy for me to talk about my children, my friends and my faith and wax poetic about those things, but when I try to express my feelings about my favorite singer and how going to an outdoor festival with my husband ranked among the top five experiences of. my. life (wedding, birth of our two kids, and Cursillo are the remainder of the list, if interested) and things get, well, weird.  I don't know why I'm embarassed or uncomfortable.  Some people love to sky dive. Some people love Disney World.  Some people love backpacking through  Europe.  I love hippie music festivals and Bruce Springsteen.  Okay?

    First of all, before I get to the pictures...I wanted to just share a little bit about my love for this man as a musician and as a songwriter and as a performer.  I would say he's definitely in my top five artists/bands that I love and more often than not probably fills the number one spot (James Taylor, Paul Simon, Tom Petty, and a couple of others also vie for the spot).   If I had to pick a style of music I like I would either choose the singer/songwriter genre or just classic rock.  The Boss really fits into both catagories, but then he adds in so much more.  Lots of his music has a very folksy feel, which I LOVE.  At times, you can hear shades of blues and gospel music as well.  I love the variety so much.  I can listen to Born in the USA and then The Rising and they are completely different albums, but both are so good without even focusing on the lyrics. 

    But, of course, there is so much to be said for the lyrics themselves.  Most of my favorite songs of his are like beautiful poetry- "Thunder Road" is probably the best example I can think of.  I will say that, in recent years, his writing has gotten very political and is almost a bit of a social commentary. Although, Peyton and I obliviously differ a LOT from Bruce in our political viewpoints, I feel like a lot of his newer songs that are written about current situations really resonate.  He's written and sung about September 11 and Hurricane Katrina and I feel like the way he expresses his thoughts is just beautiful. For example, the song "The Rising" is written entirely from the point of view of one of the firefighters that rushed into the towers on September 11. As I've said before, we are pretty conservative (honestly, I believe if you're a Ron Paul fanboy like Peyton, you really can't legitimately get too much more conservative before you're in far right talk radio host territory).  That said, we are lovers of social justice and we have a heart for the poor, so much of it is really relatable.  So, when I hear his songs that are clearly written with a political agenda, I don't so much think about him embracing Obama or slamming Bush in his response to Katrina.  I try to take a big picture approach.  

    Additionally, his lyrics have a decidedly spiritual quality that I love.  Now, don't y'all think for one hot second I'm claiming to know for sure this guy is truly a Christian.  [Although...and I know this is super weird...I've prayed for him to have a real relationship with Christ if he doesn't.  I know that is beyond strange, but I just like him so much.  There are certain actors I've prayed the same thing for...mainly Katie Holmes, mainly during my late junior high years when Dawson's Creek felt next to reality.   I know that is beyond weird.  I'm a weird girl, okay?] That said, I think a lot of his songs contain a great deal of truth. Peyton and I are not huge KLove fans, but we do love some RUF tunes (in spite of our Wesleyan heritage, yes, we do listen to music written and performed by reformed minded brothers and sisters) and songs from the Modern Hymn Movement (Keith Getty, anyone?).  All that to say, you can only listen to "How Deep the Father's Love" so many times on repeat before you need a break.  And I always think it's really, really, neat when secular music includes religious overtones that I can confidently affirm. 

    Lastly, he's just an amazing performer.  Not in the over the top, Lady Gaga sense, but just like he's going to give you a good show.  Peyton said he read one reviewer who said he had been to hundreds of live shows and Springsteen's were always the best.  In addition to playing nice long sets, he plays his heart out.  This is the difference between seeing him and Tom Petty.  We love listening to Tom Petty's cds, but as far as seeing him live, there was something left to be desired.  There was NOTHING left to be desired with this concert.  I won't tell you what I told Peyton about the look on his face when he was singing at some points because it's kind of inappropriate, but let's just say it was a look of serious ecstasy and that expression is not one I'm used to seeing on a person's face publicly. [I said that as delicately as I could.]

    SO, now that I've spilled my music lover's heart, here are the pictures from the concert...

    The entrance to the concert

    I think outdoor festivals are so much fun.  It's just so relaxing and enjoyable.  Everyone was so friendly and polite ("Go ahead and step on my blanket, no big deal!", ect.) Crunchy mon Peyton was totally in his element ;)

    I was too!

    Peyton was kind of sad we didn't make our way over and take them up on this, though!

    I could have watched and listened all day! [As much as I love music, I usually get bored after a bit at concerts...not the case here.]

    The two big screens were a nice feature for us vertically challenged people! 

    Especially since I wasn't wanting to sit on Peyton's shoulders like these chicks!

    Just looking at this scene makes me want to go back.  I think Jazz Fest will be an annual  tradition regardless of who's playing!


    Peyton took this video and I think it turned out great.  We were super impressed with the video function on the Rebel.  Pause the playlist on the right hand.  It's worth, promise.
    "There's bodies floatin' on Canal
    And the levees gone to Hell 
    Them who's got, got out of town
    And them who ain't got left to drown
    Tell me how can a poor man
    Stand such times and live"
    [He wrote this song about Katrina and I think it's neat he sang it in the city he wrote the song about.]

    He knows how to work a crowd, yes?

    Funny story here: I put this picture on Facebook and said something about Bruce and Peyton commented "Um, that's not Bruce".  The worst part is that it wasn't like I was just in a hurry and didn't look carefully...I had noticed it when I uploaded the picture and though "hmm, that doesn't look like him at all and I don't think that's what he was wearing".  You'd think I'd recognize someone after the hours of YouTube footage I stayed up watching several nights after the concert. I'm such a ditz sometimes.  

    At one point, he got this kid on stage with him to sing along. Classic. 

    Like I said, he's an awesome performer.  The drum was a nice touch.

    This was our bus driver on the way back from the concert.  He pretty much acted as a tour guide, even though that was so not part of his job.  It was neat to hear all the details about the city like you would on a real bus/carriage tour. We loved him!

    We also saw this band playing on top of a bus on the way back.  The sights you see in this city!

    I'm having a hard time with the fact that I feel like I've done a pretty poor job of putting into words all this experience meant to me (not to brag, but I feel like I'm usually pretty good at documenting my memories and emotions in words).  I hope the pictures kind of captured some of the emotion where my words were lacking. It'll have to do.
    {happy girl in her happy place}

    Grab your ticket and your suitcase
    Thunder's rolling down the tracks
    You don't know where you're goin'
    But you know you won't be back
    Darlin' if you're weary
    Lay your head upon my chest
    We'll take what we can carry
    And we'll leave the rest

    Big Wheels rolling through fields

    Where sunlight streams
    Meet me in a land of hope and dreams

    I will provide for you

    And I'll stand by your side
    You'll need a good companion for
    This part of the ride
    Leave behind your sorrows
    Let this day be the last
    Tomorrow there'll be sunshine
    And all this darkness past

    Big wheels roll through fields

    Where sunlight streams
    Meet me in a land of hope and dreams

    This train

    Carries saints and sinners
    This train
    Carries losers and winners
    This Train
    Carries whores and gamblers
    This Train
    Carries lost souls
    This Train
    Dreams will not be thwarted
    This Train
    Faith will be rewarded
    This Train
    Hear the steel wheels singin'
    This Train
    Bells of freedom ringin'
    This Train
    Carries broken-hearted
    This Train
    Thieves and sweet souls departed
    This Train
    Carries fools and kings
    This Train
    All aboard

    This Train

    Dreams will not be thwarted
    This Train
    Faith will be rewarded
    This Train
    Hear the steel wheels singin'
    This Train
    Bells of freedom ringin'

    Monday, May 28, 2012

    Weekly Happenings Post #167 (May 21-27)-- Slowing Down


     [Yes, she's asleep.]

    This past week was SUCH a nice break.  Peyton did work an extra shift and I had two evenings where I had meetings and we went out to eat with my parents another night, but that was all pretty low key compared to the last few weeks. I really, really enjoyed it!  Graves is getting two new teeth and he was a bit of a grump, which was understandable :(

    Monday was such a nice, chilled out day, which was really good after the proceeding week.  I got up when Peyton left for work because Graves was already up.  I had asked Peyton to take care of him at around 4:30. [I know that seems unfair, but if I go in there he wants to nurse and we're trying to make sure that doesn't become a midnight habit or anything.]  I had figured he'd rock him and he'd fall right back asleep.  Um, no.  He was up for two hours.  I felt HORRIBLE.  Anyway, he's getting a tooth, so I gave him some medicine and fed him breakfast and then hopped in the tub.  AP still wasn't up and he was so tired, so I put him down for a nap.  I was still tired from the previous week, so I laid down myself.  I set an alarm, but then snoozed it and neither kid woke up until eleven!  [AP had gone to sleep pretty late the night before.]  I fed them lunch and did dishes and folded some laundry and then I got AP dressed.  She wanted to know where we were going, ha!  I decided to take them to the library.  It was getting late, but I knew if there was any chance for naps, they'd be late ones anyway.

    We had a good (short) visit to the library.  At one point, a little girl asked AP to play hide-and-seek.  I told her no and when the little girl asked again I overheard her say "My momma told me not to do that".  I was so proud!  Graves fell asleep before we even left the parking lot, so I made a little snack run to Sonic and then came home.  Graves transferred and I put Annie down..  She didn't sleep, of course, but she did pretty good and didn't come get me very much.  I folded laundry, worked on last week's Weekly Happenings Post, and did a few other things on the computer.  I had lunch myself and straightened up a little.
    [I realized I hadn't seen MonkMonk in a good while and I asked AP about him.  She told me "he had a good time in New Orleans, but he's going to come back." I kind of panicked, thinking we had left him.  Fortunately, he turned up in Peyton's car.]

    Peyton got home and I got ready because I had a Junior League meeting with the committee for the big project I chose this year.  The meeting was quick, but when I got home Graves was very fussy.  Peyton had fed the kids so he took AP to the park and to run an errand and I got Graves to sleep.  I ate my supper and started picking up the house, which was a total wreck.  Peyton got home and we got AP to bed and I cleaned up the kitchen and got on the computer.  I read some in 7 and started the first phase of my closet changeover.

    Tuesday was just rough.  It was one of the hardest days for both kids (and myself) that we've had in a while.  Ann Peyton was constantly needing to be disciplined and Graves was just a fitful mess.  He woke up earlier than usual and I got a bath and fed him breakfast and we played a little bit.  About the time AP woke up I was getting ready to put him down for a nap.  Her sheets were wet, so I striped her bed and put them both in the tub.  She was not interested in a bath and that was a nightmare.  She definitely took a trip to timeout.  After I got Graves to bed, we watched Elmo and snuggled and she was very sweet for about an hour, but once he woke up she was a terror again.

    She got so mad at him for touching her toy and I put her in timeout and y'all she bit me! That's never happened before and I was beside myself.  I even called Peyton.  Usually I'm pretty confident in our discipline choices, but I was doubting myself big time.  She finally settled down and the kids ate lunch while I folded some laundry. Things got better after that.  We went outside and played for half an hour and then came in for naps.  Graves's morning nap kind of threw him off and it took him an hour and a half to go to sleep.  I'm not sure if Annie was keeping him up distracting him from her bed or if she was the only reason he wasn't loosing his mind being in the crib awake by himself.  Anyway, he finally fell asleep and napped for about thirty minutes.  Ann Peyton, surprisingly, was SUPER good during rest time and stayed in her room for two hours without complaining.  I was kind of shocked she didn't fall asleep. I ironed a pile of stuff, including two crib duvets from the kids' room and then ate lunch and got on the computer for a minute.  I also put up several loads of laundry while they were resting.  I really need to have more productive nap times, like that!

     When Graves woke up he was a mess, I think he didn't nap long enough and something was bothering him.  We stayed outside for about an hour because it was the only thing that was making him happy.   

    Cock of the Walk to celebrate since my birthday was the week before. We had a good time and the kids acted GREAT, which, to be frank, was again, a shocker.
     
    Peyton accidentally coordinated with the babies.  Love.

    Ann Peyton did throw a little tantrum about not wanting to leave.  We stopped by Peyton's parents' house of the way home to drop off something and Peyton took AP in to teetee since we figured she'd fall asleep on the way home.  Both kids did and I was so happy because Peyton was working an overnight  He helped me get another box out of the attic and got ready and left.  I put pictures on Flikr, finished a post and read some blogs and then I started my Christian Believer readings.  I guess starting the day before is better than the day of!  Right as my head hit the pillow, both kids woke up.  Graves had actually been waking up and stirring but going back to sleep, so I snuck in AP's bed and told her to whisper.  I laid down with her and we both fell asleep really fast.  Peyton called after minute and I got in our bed and went to sleep.

    Graves woke up before six on Wednesday and at first I was frustrated, but then I fed him and put him back in bed and he went right back to sleep.  Both kids slept until after eight!  I got up and took a bath when he got up the second time and then AP woke up and we all had breakfast.  I got dishes going and did some stuff on the computer while they were eating and then got them dressed.  I was planning on going to the grocery store, but I decided we'd work on my closet first.  Well, AP got into the Madaline movie she was watching and Graves was relatively chill, so I just kept going.  Peyton got home around one and I was planning to run to the store, but Graves was ready for a nap.  I put him to bed and got AP lunch and then put her down.  Graves didn't sleep long, but he played for a bit in his crib.  I had to keep going in the room to get his paci and rock him or whatever and I was really hoping he'd just fall back asleep.  Um, no.  I worked on Christian Believer some more and then got the kids up.  I fed them a snack and then Peyton got up.  He helped me bath them and I picked up some around the house and then we headed to church.
    [Her capris that match this top got Nutella on them, but she loved the fishies and did not want to change, so I pulled out the bloomers that went with the dress she wore the night before.  They were the exact same aqua gingham!]

     [Also? Aqua is our family's signature color, apparently.]

    We picked up a pie at Primos because were were doing a potluck dinner and I never made it to the grocery store, much less cooked anything.
     
    Always a dad....

    The last lesson of Christian Believer was great and Peyton and our associate pastor had a small worship service planned for it.  Peyton hadn't even told me and it was a neat surprise!  We went by the grocery store on the way home and AP ate supper and I nursed Graves and we got the kids to bed.
     

     I put up groceries, cleaned out the fridge, and straightened the house.  I got some laundry going and unloaded and loaded dishes and cleaned out my car.  Whew.  I got on the computer and went to bed.  I got super panicked when I went in to check on the kids and AP was nowhere to be found.  She's figured out how to get out the kitty door, so I was a tiny bit worried she had escaped.  I looked in every room and then woke up Peyton.  This is how I finally found her in her room:


    Peyton was off Thursday morning and that was nice because the kids had both woken up again the night before.  We got up and he cooked cinnamon rolls and we all hung out outside.  We discussed some Summer plans for homeschooling Ann Peyton and then I put Graves down for a short nap and took a bath and got ready because I was going to lunch with the ladies I work with at Mother's Day Out.
     
      I had the BEST time at lunch and was sad I had to leave early to get home to the kiddos.  Peyton hopped in the shower and I made him a lunch and started cleaning up the kitchen.  He left while the kids were finishing their lunches and I loaded dishes, wiped down all the counters, and changed over laundry.  I gave both the kids baths (they were eating some super messy peaches!) and then cleaned up Graves's highchair and vacuumed the whole kitchen. I've gotten to where I feel like I need to mop if I vacuum, but it's so much better if I just vacuum every couple of days.  Anyway, after I finished, we headed outside for a bit and then I put the kids down for naps.  Graves took an hour to fall asleep, but then slept for about an hour.  AP just hung out in her bed.  I got on the computer and FINALLY got my slideshow post finished and published.  AP got up and we played.  I got Graves up and fed them a snack and then we got ready because we had a meeting to choose Sunday school curriculum at the church.
    [We've been giving him PediaSure for the extra calories and he LOVES strawberry the best, just like his momma and sister!]

     It's just me and two other girls on the committee, so we met in the nursery and let the kids play.  It was a quick meeting and Annie fell asleep on the way home.  I transferred her and fed Graves and got him to bed.  They were both asleep before nine and I was so thrilled.  I got on the computer and uploaded some pictures to Flikr and sent some emails about Sunday school and Junior League stuff.  I cooked a veggie dinner (squash, butter beans, okra, and cornbread) and we ate when Peyton got home.  We talked and fell asleep on the couch.

    Graves slept really well and both kids actually didn't wake up until after eight on Friday.  I took a bath and we had breakfast and I unloaded and reloaded dishes.  I started typing up a post while the kids played.  Um, there's a reason I try not to get on the computer when they're awake. Both were so clingy and cranky and did not want me do that, but I needed to write.  I got my feelings out and made it to a stopping point and then I gave them both baths and got them dressed.  We straightened the house and were about to leave to meet my mom and her friends for lunch, but Graves dumped some detergent out of a box and AP's car seat straps got tangled up and we got a late start.  It was still fun, though! We got yogurt and the kids did really well.  Graves fell asleep on the way there, so my hopes for naps weren't high but he fell asleep on the way home, too and I transferred him.  Not ten minutes in Ann Peyton was hanging on his crib and woke him up.  She went straight to time out.  They stayed in bed a bit longer and then Peyton got home.  He got them both up and played with them while I relaxed a little and then we headed to my parents.  We went by the Mediterranean Cafe and Great Harvest on the way.  We had fun at my parents and of course, the beans were great. Graves ate two big bowls.  We got home and put Graves to bed, but AP had a hard time falling asleep because she had napped in the car.  I finished up my post and Peyton and I chatted and then went to bed.

    Graves woke up twice and AP once during the night, but then they both slept until ten on Saturday.  Um, I'll take that any day!  When we got up, I was still tired and felt so sick, but I figured out what the deal was.  Hint: I love being a girl.  Peyton finally had a Saturday off where we had no plans and so we got ready and I did a quick pick up of laundry and then we all went back to Great Harvest to get some bread they didn't have the night before.  We had "brunch" there and surprisingly, Graves fell back asleep on the way home.  It was around noon so we just put both kids down for naps.  AP wasn't really ready to rest, so Peyton took her in our room while I got on the computer.  I went in there with them and we all rested/read.  It was nice.  When Graves got up, we got ready and headed to the Y to swim. We had a fun time and Graves LOVED it.
     

    We went and got gas for the lawn mower and got some fertilizer and came home to do yard work.  I fed the kids a snack while Peyton mowed and then we went outside and played and made flower beds. I even mowed half the backyard with the push mower- pretty good exercise! We stayed outside for a couple of hours and then I came in and gave Graves a bath.  I had to scrub his dirty little fingernails and since we weren't trying to rush anywhere and AP was outside, I decided to cut them and clean out his ears, too.  She came in, so I cut her nails and cleaned out her ears, too and then they had dinner.  Peyton came in and took a quick shower and then he played with them while I vacuumed the living room and bedrooms.  I put Graves to bed and then he went to the grocery store while I played with AP and folded laundry.  We ate leftovers after we got Annie to bed and I took a bath and went to sleep way earlier than usual.  Graves woke up around three and I collected our supper dishes and tidied up the living room after I got him back to bed.  At three in the morning.  I'm so weird. 

    I overslept Sunday morning, but I got ready in record time, especially considering I had to go to the attic to get my dress and I had to iron mine and the kids' clothes.  Peyton was a big help with them and fortunately, neither had to have a bath.
     
     
    [I'll be so sad when he gets to big for "pretty" things.]

    Church went well (it was Pentecost Sunday) and Peyton taught Sunday school and did a really great job.  We came home and Graves took a short nap and AP rested while I started dishes and laundry and got to work on a chair from AP's room that she had had a little accident on.  I got on the computer for a few minutes and then we got the kids up and got ready and headed to my parents' house because they were cooking out for Memorial Day weekend.
    We had a nice visit and then we headed straight to the Deckards' house.  Karissa and I were going to watch the kids there and while the group went to StewPot.  The kids swam, had hotdogs, and played outside and we had a great time, but I was pretty tired by the time Peyton and the rest of the gang got back.  We drove around a bit and both kids fell asleep.  I insisted on a family picture and it didn't come out right so we got the kids up a second time.  Fortuantly, Annie pretty much slept through it and Graves went right back to sleep.

     [outtake]

      I got on the computer and then had a snack and read my Bible and some in 7 and went to bed.

    This week should be pretty uneventful, too.  I'm enjoying these lazy Summer days!

    Friday, May 25, 2012

    The End of An Era


    If you saw the title and were thinking this was going to be a post about weaning Baby Graves or AP finally being potty trained fully....uh, sorry.  Those posts will come, and they're probably not too far off, to my shock and dismay.  However, this post is about another equally bittersweet milestone.  

    A couple of months ago, I started really thinking about what I wanted next year to look like for our family.  Even though it would be bending the rules a bit as she'd already be three, I had gotten the okay to keep AP in the Mother's Day Out program she's been in for the past three years since I work at it (I didn't really think we'd send her to our church's preschool because we're planning on homeschooling).  I kept thinking and praying and I went back and forth.  We put in an application for a two day a week homeschool program, but she ended up on the waiting list.  I felt really torn and just prayed about it.  I got to the point where I was really stressed and pretty much agonizing over it.  I wanted to keep doing MDO, but at the same time a lot of things seemed to be pointing toward that door starting to close for us.  The biggest issue is that as Peyton's schedule has become increasingly busy, I have become increasingly protective over our time together as a family.  On the Tuesday and Thursday mornings when he worked the late shift it meant the kids hardly saw him at all since he gets home after they're in bed.  Some days, he ended up keeping Annie at home, but I really wanted to be there with them myself.  It's not just Peyton either- we've both committed to things (Junior League, church stuff, ect.) that will pull us away from home and I knew something had to give.  I finally came to grips with it and made the decision that this season was ending for us.

     Last week was the last week of Mother's Day Out for the three of us and then yesterday I had lunch with the ladies I spent the past year working with.  I was surprisingly unemotional both days, but today I am a mess.  I wanted to write about my feelings and my friendships while it was still so very fresh.  

    I have been so blessed because the two long term (over a year) jobs I have had have been so significant in the relationships they have provided and the fullness they have brought to my life.  The first was the pool and even apart from my relationship with Peyton, that job taught me millions of lessons and I gained so much from it.  The most important thing that job brought into my life, though, of course, was my husband.  I can't even put into words my feelings about that place and that time in my life.  In a similar way, it's going to be hard to articulate my feelings now.  

    I thought and thought about it and the best way I can do it is to tell you about the women I worked with.  NOW, the kids were a huge part of what made this job fun.  I love children and obviously if I didn't this job wouldn't have been a fit for me.  They kept me laughing and smiling and were just such a joy.  But, what made the job so special were the ladies I got to see twice a week and I wanted to share them with y'all for just a few minutes....

    Darlene is the director of the program and I really don't even know where to start.  It speaks so much to her character that many a mom has told us how confident they are leaving their child at our program and how it has such a family feel.  On a (much) more personal note, Darlene has really become like my second mom.  I know most young moms today don't have a mentor or anyone they'd be comfortable asking to fill this role and I am so thankful that I have this in my life.  She's so encouraging and really helps me work through things.  I actually talked to her this morning and she told me that the best thing to do with my feelings was to go ahead and grieve the change.  I would have thought that was such a strong word, but it's exactly the way I feel.  So often, the best thing Darlene does for me is that she validates my feelings.  She left a career in medicine to stay home full time, so when I feel "less than" she reminds me of the importance found in the work I'm doing.  Since she goes to our church and is very active, she's also someone I look to for spiritual advice. Finally, she helps me protect our family.  As y'all know I'm not always great with boundaries, and she tells me if she things I've blogged about something I maybe shouldn't have or tweeted a compromising diaper picture of one of the kids.  It's so nice to have someone who can be so honest with me. And it's amazing how God has provided one person to sufficiently fill so many roles in my life.

    Kellie and I have been in the same room for the past two years and over the past two years I've watched a beautiful friendship grow and bloom.  This was Kellie's last year too and we've joked that when she told me she was leaving that was the final straw that made my decision.  If I'm completely honest, though, it's not such a big joke.  When she told me she wasn't coming back, I realized immediately that there would be no way to recreate the atmosphere I so loved and it would never be exactly the same.  I truly believe that God was gracious to me and used this to bring clarity to my decision making process.  Because we've spent eight or so hours a week together, Kellie has been privilege to the details of my marriage, my parenting struggles, and a whole host of other things.  I've probably told her things I haven't shared with my closest friends.  She's seen dark places of despair and I haven't tried to hide the heights of my momma pride, either, when my children did something I thought was amazing.  We've hashed out plenty of fears, decisions, and issues related to mothering and I trust her so much because she has a whole gaggle of kids who are all relatively well adjusted, functional citizens of the planet.  I'm always especially interested in her relationship with her seventh grader. While she definitely is the parent, the "friendship" they have is beautiful and similar to what my sister and I had/have with my mom.  I didn't know until we become friends that that level of transparency was possible with a son and I hope to cultivate the same thing in my relationship with Graves. I adore Kellie so much and will miss our mornings together something fierce.

    Julie is just a wonderful friend.  She's a tell-it-like-she-sees-it kinda girl and I truly respect that.  She's a grandmother and a former public school teacher for many years and she has some high standards.  I love that my girl was held to those standards this year.  She's also the kindest person in the world underneath that tough exterior.  She's the type that checks on you every time you are sick.  Every. Single. Time.  Like on a given day, she has parents who are seriously ill, a son deployed to a war zone, and a husband about to undergo surgery and she wants to make sure your tummy isn't still upset.  She'll also just whip up an extra casserole if she's cooking one and drop it by like it's NBD if you happen to be sick or having a family issue.  She goes to our church and keeps the nursery a lot, so I know we'll keep up.

    Jennifer is the sweetest soul.  She's basically the person I picture when I read Proverbs 31.  And if I told her that her face would turn fire truck red.  The relationship her and her husband have is just the picture of a Godly marriage and she has a teenager and preteen daughters that I can honestly say I would love for Ann Peyton to emulate.  One of the little boys at MDO took to calling her "Momma" because she's just so maternal.  I know can be a working (or any) mother's greatest fear, but if it was Jen, I honestly don't think I'd mind. Recently when I got into a disagreement of my own making with a close friend, Jennifer held my hand and told me exactly how to make it better.  She's such a special person.

    Margaret is so down to earth and so laid back- in other words, the exact opposite of me.  Her kids really aren't that much older than mine, but the way she mothers in such a chill way has really taught me a lot. She can instantly tell me what is and isn't a big deal. She's  the quintessential "boy mom" and I love that about her, because again, I'm so not.  So when I fah-reak about crud in Baby Graves's neck rolls or how I CAN'T! EVER! GET! HIM! CLEAN! she gently reminds me that it's a season and he won't be a disgusting sloth when he's thirty.

    Sherra left at Christmas and here's why- she realized that she wasn't serving her family as well as she could and that the job was taking her away from them needlessly.  So she quit.  It wasn't a question.  I love that about her- she juggles SO many things, but never to the detriment of her children.  Or her husband.  Her selflessness speaks volumes and inspires me.  She is also one of the people outside of our family that Baby Graves loves most in the world and she loves him right back.  They had a semester of cuddles and loves and they built a pretty sweet bond. There's nothing better than watching someone love my child.

    When Sherra left, Donna started and whoa!  I make jokes because she's basically SuperMom/SuperWorker.  She knows a million songs, games, and hand jives to keep kid happy and entertained for hours. And she has redic energy. She kinda put us all to shame.  After I got over my covetous heart, I realized I had a lot to learn from her to.  Mostly about being present.  I asked her once if she did all that with h\er own kids and she didn't deny it; she just said that now that they're older it kinda annoys them.  Again, Donna has no few commitments- she's the PTO president, for one thing- but her kids are clearly priority one.  You can tell she's not one who's parenting from behind a screen or a steering wheel all day long. Like I said, she has inspired me in a lot of ways, too, in the few months we've been friends.

    Yesterday, Kellie put this on Facebook after our lunch and said it made her think of us.

    And that's the thing.  It may be the end of an era, but it's not the end of any friendships.  Praise Him for that!

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Three Years in Thirty Minutes

    Well, here's the kids' birthday slideshow...in all its thirty minute glory.  I seriously don't expect anyone (except maybe my sister, who I promised to mail a copy to and have yet to do so) to watch this.  It wasn't the kind of thing we had people sit and watch at the party; we just had it looping in the background.  But since I spent so much time on it , I wanted it here.  Mostly for me. I seriously went through every single picture from our old point and shoot and our Rebel from the last three years to pick the winners.And then I had some trouble using Peyton's Mac; I know they're super easy, but for me there was an Apple learning curve. I really wish I had given myself more time to think over the songs- I chose them in about fifteen minutes and about half of them are super cliche.  The other half came from other slideshows I've seen- one on a bigger blog I follow, one a friend did, and one from the slideshow my sister had made for our wedding reception. I'm definitely a music lover, so it made me sad it was less original than I would have liked.

    I obviously had to split it up when I uploaded it to Vimeo because I couldn't find a site that would host a video longer than ten minutes.  Even with that, some of the pictures ended up looking fuzzy and awful, which they don't in the actual slideshow on the DVD.  Some look okay, so I don't know what the deal was.  Like I said, though, I want it here for me.  So, it's here.







    Wednesday, May 23, 2012

    Tribute to the Maker of Monsters


     [I love the big tear across the front of my childhood copy of this classic]

    I don't know if y'all saw the news recently that Maurice Sendack passed away, but as someone who is a huge lover of children's books I wanted to honor him a little bit.  I had my first Where the Wild Things Are experience in Kindergarten and read/had it read to me on many different occasions.  For some reason, it was one of many immensely popular books at my elementary school.  I enjoyed it at the time, but I've loved it more as an adult.

    Ann Peyton goes through stages where she enjoys it and other stages where it scares her.  It's not one of her favorites, typically, but she enjoys it from time to time. 

    Truth be told, I can't wait to introduce this book to my boy.  It's just such a quintessential boy book. I have visions of it playing the role in Graves's life that Madeline fills in Ann Peyton's.

    Thank you, Mr. Sendack, for that opportunity.

    Tuesday, May 22, 2012

    Enough for Them

    So.....I'm going to follow suit with so many other mommy blogger and give my opinion on the recent TIME piece, even though I am a little late to the game.

    Obviously, it's divisive.  TIME wants to tell magazines and this is best achieved by picking a controversy and one that pits moms against each other is, of course, a win in their book.  Nish wrote about it here.  She said she doesn't expect anything else, and truthfully, I don't either. But it still saddens and sickens me.  If we're operating under the assumption that this is correct, then TIME hit this one out of the park because they managed to effectively insult and offend moms on both sides of the breastfeeding spectrum all with the cover photo and caption.

    The caption is needlessly polarizing when it asks women if they are "mom enough" (to breastfeed for an extended amount of time).  As someone who is breastfeeding a (very young) toddler, I feel like I should make something clear: I would have been MomEnough had I never nursed him a day in his life.  I really believe in the importance of breastfeeding; I'd even say it's something I'm passionate about, but if you think for one hot second I would base my own or someone else's worth as a mother on their decision regarding it, you're dead wrong. I am enough for my children not because of the way I nourish their bodies, but because of the way I nurture their souls.

    On the opposite side of things, the picture seems to be a terribly poor portrayal of most women who practice attachment parenting.  I can't speak for this group because I'm not really a part of it, but I do know from experience with the one dear friend I have who nurses an older toddler that it has never looked like that picture.  One comment I read on the article (specifically the cover shot) said that it really was a terrible presentation of attachment parenting, if for no other reason than because the child doesn't look particularly attached.  She said that even as an older child, her little one would be snuggled up with her, not standing on a chair, staring at a camera.  The child was a three year old, but things were done, I feel, to make him appear older.  And, of course, the mom is a babe- very representative of frazzled moms everywhere (sarcasm font).  The picture was purposefully provocative in my opinion and again, I'm confident this was done to sell magazines. Also, to be honest, I think it was really unfair to the little boy.


    I've heard that the actual article was informative and well written.  But the cover was pure sensationalism.  I don't expect anything else.  But I wish I could.

    **I really debated about putting a nursing picture [here], but I chickened out.  There are just too many sweet older ladies at our church that read my blog from time to time and I can't stand the thought of offending them (though, I'm sure I have before in my writings) (and though I know there's nothing offensive in the least about the picture I had selected).**

    Monday, May 21, 2012

    Weekly Smorgasbord

    Last week's links:




      Posted: 21 May 2012 06:30 PM PDT
      " I listened to you tell me of the reasons why you were here, sterilizing bottles, and even cried with you when you cried over guilt and helplessness and pain, sympathetically reassuring you, I understood, I said.But I lied. I didn't understand." "But some part of me thought you hadn't tried hard enough. That you gave up too easily. I was blaming you." Well, that was a punch in the gut. I have been the momma the author describes herself as in the beginning of this letter too many times.
      Posted: 21 May 2012 06:27 PM PDT
      I thought this was interesting and I might do it, too!
      Posted: 21 May 2012 06:27 PM PDT
      Interesting post by our friend Meg Rambo.
      Posted: 21 May 2012 06:26 PM PDT
      "By elementary school, we've discovered that girls with long blonde hair and trendy, sparkly tops are treated differently than the ones sporting tangled locks and stained sweats. By middle school, we've seen enough movies to understand that living happily ever after involves being skinny, beautiful, and having a lot of sex, and by high school fashion magazines have taught us that it's not so much about being pretty as it is about being sexually attractive to a certain sort of man—by leaning forward and parting your lips slightly when you're flirting with him at work, by dousing yourself in pheromone-laced perfume available for only $120 at Nordstroms, by learning the Ten Naughty Tricks That Will Drive Him Wild In Bed, dished by a Parisian madame."
      Posted: 21 May 2012 06:25 PM PDT
      "What it comes down to is that in many ways, society ascribes value to women based on how attractive they are to men."
      Posted: 21 May 2012 06:24 PM PDT
      Hilarious.
      Posted: 21 May 2012 06:23 PM PDT
      This is a really good post. While issues like breastfeeding and natural birth are important to me, they don't hold a candle to our responsibility for caring for "the least of these".
      Enjoy!

      Weekly Happenings #166 (May 14-20)-- In Which We Practice Being a Family of Seven for Two Days (and One Night)

       

      Last week was busy, busy, busy.  In this case, though, there was no argument from Peyton.  We knew ahead of time that it would be a taxing week in some ways, but we were excited and ready for it.  To me that makes all the difference.  I will say that by Sunday, Peyton was the one saying "gosh, that was so busy" and I was pretty secure in saying "Yeah, but we expected it" and "It really wasn't as rough as I thought it would be".  Role reversal, for sure!  Just in case you maybe don't want your eyes to bleed from all the minute details, here's the Cliff Notes:

      - Tuesday I had my last day of Mother's Day Out and then a Junior League luncheon, which I had to leave early to get to and then that night I had a meeting at church that I felt obligated to attend since Peyton is the president of the group and couldn't make it.
      - On Wednesday, Peyton worked, taught his lesson at church, and then worked an overnight.
      - Then all day Thursday and Friday we kept our friends' three children.  They are sweet girls, but five kids is a lot and they were full of energy!  Fortuantly, Peyton had Thursday off and took Friday off, as well, to help me.
      - Saturday and Sunday, however, he was back at work.

      Whew!  Now the details for the two people that probably care:


      Monday was my birthday and Peyton did everything he could to make the morning super chill and laid back.  I think he knew that was the best gift he could give me!  I slept late and then got a lazy start.  We had a plumber come fix a leaky tub and sink and then Peyton took the kids to run some errands and go to the park.  I took a bath and ate lunch and they got home.  He watched them and I went through and organized some stuff and then made a trip to the attic.  I brought the last of the kids' Winter stuff up there and got it organized.  I was drenched in sweat when I got back down, so I took another quick bath and Peyton left for work.  I cleaned up the kitchen and unloaded and loaded dishes and then put the kids down for naps.  It was a big struggle- AP didn't really want to stay in her bed and Graves just couldn't settle.  He probably slept all of thirty minutes.  I worked on my Weekly Happenings Post from last week and got on Twitter and Facebook and straightened up a little.  I let AP get up and she played while I finished putting some pictures on Flikr.  Graves finally went to sleep, but it was so late, I only let him sleep for about half an hour.  I woke him up and I folded and put up some laundry really quickly and then we headed to my parents' house.  I dropped the kids off and ran to Subway since I was craving it. I actually had to go to a second location because they didn't have meatballs at the first one! We visited a little and then Graves got sleepy, so we headed home.
       
       I LOVE their house this time of year!

       I put him down and got AP ready and then she told me there was teetee in her bed.  Sure enough, there was.  Who knows when that happened? I changed her bed and she finally fell asleep pretty late.
       

        I got on the computer and then Peyton got home.  We chatted and went to bed.


      Tuesday was our last day of Mother's Day Out.  Peyton was subbing, but we took separate cars because I had to leave early for a Junior League luncheon.  The day at school was good and I was surprised I didn't get to emotional about it being the last.  I met my mom at the luncheon and we had a good time visiting with some old friends.  I had to scoot out right before it ended so I could get home so Peyton could get to work.  He left and I put Graves down and picked up laundry, made up the bed and straightened.  I put AP down and got on the computer and then I just laid on the couch.  I felt tired and weird.  Annie never fell asleep, so I let her watch a movie.  Graves woke up and I fed him an early dinner and made some cookies and then we left for our Ultreya meeting.  Peyton wasn't there (he's the president), so I had to make some announcements for him.  We got home and Graves went right to bed and then I got AP ready and put her down.  I got on the computer and put pictures on Flikr and Facebook and worked on a post and then Peyton got home and he ate some leftovers and then we went to bed.

      Graves woke up several times in the early morning on Wednesday, but then ended up sleeping past eight.  When he woke up, I took a bath and got ready and then AP woke up.  We had breakfast and I cleaned the bathrooms and Windexed the mirrors.  I started dishes and laundry and finished getting ready and then AP watched Elmo while I straightened up and organized some piles.  The Howies were coming over, but they were running late, so we just played for a bit and then I unloaded dishes.  We had a great visit and the kids did really well this time.  After they left, I cleaned up the kitchen and picked up some in the kids' room and then put them down for naps.  I got on the computer for a few minutes and then got to work reading for Christian Believer
       

      We stopped by Newks on the way home and then Peyton left for his shift.  I got Graves to sleep and put AP down.  She took FOREVER to go to sleep because she had fallen asleep on the way to church in the car. I worked on some stuff of on the computer- I was trying so hard to figure out how to compress a video we took on our Rebel recently.  It was at a high resolution, so it was too big of a file to upload to Vimeo.  I couldn't just compress it in the program I wanted to use because of the file type, so I was going to have to send it to another program to change the file type.  I finally decided to just clip the video and make it shorter.  I got that done and was on my way to bed and Graves woke up.  He took forever to go back to sleep and was up several times after that.  Annie woke up scared, too.  Not the best night.  Not the best night to be solo parenting.

      Thursday morning our friends from church were dropping their younger two kids (four year old twins) off at our house (their older daughter- who is six- was already at school). I got up around seven and got ready and then our friends got here and dropped the twins off.  Graves woke up and then AP woke up. Peyton got home and went to bed.  The kids had breakfast (they had brought donuts for all of us) and I started the dishwasher and cleaned up the kitchen.  We picked up toys and then all went outside for a bit but we didn't last long because it was so hot.  The kids played inside and I folded laundry.  We cleaned up the mess they had made and then went back outside to play with some bubbles and then the girls decided to take turns pushing Graves in a stroller.  He loved the attention!
       

      We came in and I heated up some soup that Karissa (the girls' momma) had sent.  We all ate and then I woke up Peyton.  He gave Graves a bath and I got the three girls down for naps while he went to pick up Emma from school.  The morning had gone SO much smoother than I could have imagined. We had a nice afternoon- more playing outside, snacks, and dressing up.
       

       I got ready and headed to a church thing. Peyton called to say that the kids were hungry and kinda loosing their minds- I guess they eat earlier than our kids (typically ours eat around six). I picked up some groceries on the way home and we cooked a frozen pizza for supper.  We gave all five kids baths and got them to bed and then I got on the computer and worked on a few posts.  I went to sleep at a reasonable time, but Graves was up several times.

      I had to get up early on Friday to help Emma get ready for school.  Someone with a child at her school picked her up, so I just got her dressed and fed her breakfast.  The twins woke up and ate, too, and I got the dishes unloaded and reloaded.  Peyton got up when our kids did and I went back to sleep for half an hour.  I got up and we put Graves down for a nap and the girls went outside.  When Graves woke up, we packed up the girls in a wagon and popped Graves in the stroller and headed to the park. It was hot, but we had a good time.  Graves fell asleep and we fed the kids lunch and let him keep sleeping in the stroller.  Everyone took good naps and we just chilled out.  When the kids woke up, we all got ready and piled into the big SUV the girls' parents had loaned us and we all went to pick up Emma since the twins had been begging to go.  We ran a couple of errands- we got Peyton a new bike tire and picked up some bread at Great Harvest.  I guess it's not just our kids who like riding around in the car- everyone really enjoyed it. We got home and I packed up all the girls' stuff and straightened up the house while Peyton watched the kids.  I put fresh sheets on AP's bed and in the crib and tidied up the nursery and then I did some dishes.  We loaded up and I followed Peyton to the girls' house to meet the friend that was taking care of them for the rest of the weekend.  We stopped by Cokesbury after that and then went to my parents' for beans and rice.  We had a good time and got home pretty early.  Everyone went to sleep easily and I got on the computer!  I went to sleep earlier than usual.

      I was still so tired on Saturday, though.  Peyton had to work and I got up and got Graves eating breakfast and then took a bath put Graves back down since it was too early and we chatted a little.  Peyton left and I unloaded and reloaded dishes and straightened up the house and got laundry going.  AP woke up and we had breakfast and then I tried on a few dresses from last Summer and some swimsuits on her. I put Graves down for a nap because we had a party during his regular nap time.  I was SO tired, so I took a nap while AP watched some Elmo and Kipper on the sofa.  We all had lunch and got ready for one of AP's little church friend's birthday party.  It was at the Splash Pad and Annie had the best time.  We got home and attempted naps, but neither child slept.  They did both stay in bed for a full hour without screaming, which impressed me with Graves.  I took a bath and got on the computer and then I got them up and fixed their dinner and got ready because we had a Cursillo thing that night. Our precious babysitter, Claire, got here and I left to meet Peyton at work.  We rode to the thing together.  It was fun and when we got home, we put Annie to bed and just chilled out and talked.  I got on the computer and went to bed.

      Peyton had to be at church a little early on Sunday, so I rushed and got Graves ready and they left (it's so much easier to haul one kid in by myself).  I finished getting ready myself and gave AP a quick bath and got her ready and then we left, after she had a huge meltdown about me taking over her chipped toenail polish.  Church was really good, but Peyton had left me a list of some business things he needed me to take care of during Sunday school (he does so much at church!).  After Sunday school, we came home and Graves fell asleep in the car.  I didn't think it would work, but he transferred well!  AP had eaten a big bowl of Cheerios that she was too upset to eat on the way there, so (after I repainted her toes) I went ahead and put her down for a nap.  I put some pictures on Facebook and ate lunch and just relaxed.  I did straighten up a little bit.  When the kids got up, I played with them and folded a bunch of laundry.  We got ready to go back to night church. AP fell asleep in the car and that was another big meltdown.  I had a meeting and both kids did well in the nursery.  When we got home, Peyton was there, so we went for a little walk (after AP sat in time out for "spanking" Baby Graves- girlfriend was giving me fits that day).  We got home and I started some more laundry and fixed tacos for supper.  Peyton finished up cooking supper and I put Graves to bed.  We ate with Annie and then it was her bedtime.
       
       
       These pictures are very reminiscent of my own childhood.  We have a video where I dressed up in literally like seventeen layers- from a sweater and a coat down to multiple swimsuits- and described each item vividly as I removed layers!

       I cleaned up the kitchen and read blogs and uploaded pictures.

      I'm excited that this week seems super chill.  We're actually less busy than we have been in a while and that will be nice!

      Friday, May 18, 2012

      An Experimental Mutiny: Part Three (Clothes)

       
       [my "uniform" for a lot of April]

      If you missed my first post on the subject, Peyton and I are reading this book.  The basic premise is that over the course of seven months you tackle seven different areas of excess in your life.

      I mentioned in my previous 7 post that we didn't go in order with the chapters.  Anyway, we decided to do clothes in April.  Once I agreed to involve the kids, I knew April would be the time to do it. Per usual, my rationale was decidedly shallow- they have *so* much Summer stuff and I didn't want to do it in the middle of Summer and "waste" it all and since I'm (for the most part) a traditionalist, I wouldn't be breaking out the seersucker and sailboat motifs before Easter anyway.

      So, here's how it played out.  I'll do myself first.  I picked seven items of clothing.
      1. Gap white jersey cotton blouse
      2. Old Navy pink v-neck tee (I think the rouching makes it a bit more dressy than a standard tee)
      3. black and white jersey dress from TJ Maxx
      4. Lucky jeans (not my dressiest, but not my grubs, either)
      5. Lucky khaki shorts
      6.  royal blue gym shorts
      7. sister's prom t-shirt circa 2006 (yes, it's a favorite)

      Here are my honest disclosures:
      - Underwear, socks, and bras were "free" items.  They didn't count.  Period.
      - As far as outerwear, I stuck to one white hoodie for casual and a black cardi for church.  Jen was much more hardcore, but she admits she's not cold natured.  I also stuck to three pairs of shoes- a dressy pair for church, leather flops, and tennis shoes.
      - I chose two additional tshirts, another pair of shorts, and one pair of pajama pants to serve as sleepwear.  Being as my job sometimes allows for it, I may or may not have changed into my sleepwear upon returning home from something at say, 3 PM.
      - Lastly, I picked a few occasions at the beginning of the month that would be exceptions.  These included: one Junior League function, the kids' birthday party, Easter Sunday, and our NOLA trip.  Again, I could have done this way more hardcore, but I decided that as long as I didn't add any additional events, I would allow myself these frivolous allowances.

      Overall, it went really well.  For one thing, I was impressed with how it simplified my life.  Although, I obviously was washing the same things more often, my laundry load clearly cut down.  Additionally, I didn't have the worry or stress of freaking out over OH.MY.GOSH.WHAT.TO.WEAR?

      Related to that, it also made me aware of how shallow I am in my judgement of other people and their attire, but mostly of myself.  I want to look cute, and of course, that's not evil, but there's a point at which I do not need to be wasting so much mental energy on it. Which brings me to....

      The kids.  Whoa.  That was harder.  Like a million times.  I actually came up with the idea to include them myself, but Peyton was very encouraging and so supportive of what was probably a much harder sacrifice than it should have been.

      The details in case you're interested: I chose five outfits for each of them, meaning full outfits (some were bubbles, some were two piece outfits, ect.).  I just thought for them it would be easier than trying to pick an arbitrary number of things to piece together. I chose five because I really thought any less than that would mandate a whole lot of washing....because little kids are messy.  Also, I chose one Sunday outfit for each of them.  We ended up missing a couple of Sundays due to sickness and traveling and a part of me was (ashamedly) glad to not have to bring my kids to the nursery in the same little outfits four weeks in a row. Another honest disclosure: Peyton and I agreed that if AP requested to wear a certain outfit, we'd oblige since she's really too little to understand this and we didn't want to "punish" her for our project.  This happened a few times, but really wasn't that frequent.  It probably helped that she liked most of the things I picked.  Also, I made a couple of exceptions for a few occasions with them, too.  The only one I can remember is their birthday party, though.

      To be fair to myself, there was a part of me that did enjoy the decreased laundry load with them, too and as they were wearing my most favorite things, I felt like they looked sparkling most every day.  But...

      I was sad I didn't have thirty options to choose from.

      It was revealing.  Humbling. Convicting.

      I'm glad I did it.  So glad.

      Peyton's wardrobe was what you'd expect- a pair of jeans, a "nicer" tshirt, some shorts, and then work clothes.  He did decide that he'd just wear a white shirt and khakis to work, but so as not to completely stress me with laundry, the commitment wouldn't necessitate they be the exact same shirt and slacks each day.

      Whew! I think that's it.  As I said, the month was pretty humbling, especially in regards to the kiddos.  It was really enlightening. 

      We actually didn't do anything 7 related for May.  We had a lot going on and are behind in actually reading the book and just didn't want to rush committing to anything.  I've already decided June is going to be "media month" and Twitter is on the top of the hack list.  I'm unsure what all the month will bring, but I think it will be at least as much, if not more, beneficial.