Monday, January 30, 2012

I want to be a Lover

I talk too much and I type too much.  I have difficulty keeping things short and sweet, let's just accept it and take my word for it when I assure you, my goal is to communicate my heart in this post in a somehow coherent manner.  Accept my apologies if it ends up being too verbose!

I am coming out on the other side of an amazing time with God.  He is the potter and I feel like he scoopped a big chunk of damage out of the pot he is making so that it is more useful, more beautiful in his hands.  It is so special, so sacred to me that it is hard to articulate, yet  it is too precious not to tell others of the wonderful things He has done.

We moved here almost two years ago.  I love Sheboygan and I love raising my family here, but recently I've hit a point of loneliness.  Certainly partly affected by S.A.D, but deeper.  A longing not just to serve, but to really be known, to really have a community that I am living life with.  A community where people know me and my whole family, where we go to each others kids games, have dinner spur of the moment, fold laundry together. Things I left behind in Chicago.  I have been mourning in a new way of what is behind.

I have also been struggling at our church- leaving service dissatisfied, wanting more- particularily in the area of worship.  Not surprising, in a sense since I was involved with worship at our old church and the culture there is night and day difference from here. It feels so different, we feel like a square peg in a round hole during worship...do we fit?

Discontent- it's not really biblical, is it?!  Precisely why God was not about to let me stay there.

We started a study in my women's bible study- Satisfy My Thirst Soul by Linda Dillow.  We are only through Chapter one....and my heart is overflowing with blessings.  A few things I've personally been impacted by:
Linda described her early years as a christian (she is in her 70s now;) as time spent making God known, yet neglecting to focus enough time KNOWING God.  She reversed the two greatest commandments; FIRST, Love the LORD with all your self, and NEXT love your neighbor.  She challenged us to be able to say, "I am a Lover who serves, not a servant who loves."  (Service comes easy for me, so I struggle to keep things in proper order and I was deeply convicted by this!)

The next challenge was what is the "one thing" David sought?  To dwell in the presence of God.  What is the "one thing" Mary sought?  to sit at Jesus feet.  What is the "one thing" Paul pressed on toward?  Jesus Christ.  Am I focusing on that ONE THING?

Her prayer was, "Lord I want to know you intimately whatever it takes, whatever the cost."  This is now my prayer, as well.  The journey she proposes is through worship.

I paused there- paralyzed.  "I feel thirsty, Lord.  I struggle to worship here.  I've had vibrant worship, I don't have that here!"  Gently, he reminded me of the journey we've already been on: 7 year ago, He took my voice completely through a severe laryngitis- for 10 weeks.  TEN WEEKS of sitting in church, unable to sing....he brought my heart into deep worship in those moments, by taking away my crutch.  Next, 3 1/2 years ago, He challenged me to CHOSE to worship.  I had found a last minute replacement to lead worship after my first miscarriage- reeling,  in pain, broken.  "Coincidentally" the second miscarriage a couple months later also happened before I was scheduled to lead worship.  I could have cancelled and no one would have blamed me, but he gently said, "will you still worship me?  Have I changed?  Will you worship me in your brokenness?"  I chose to lead, telling the congregation where I was and asking them also to come worship in their brokenness.  It was the only time I got letters in the mail after leading worship; people were touched, they wrote thanking me, they wrote of their brokenness.  God used me because of my brokenness and obedience.  Now he is asking me again.  "You feel thirsty?  Whose fault is that?  Do you still have my Spirit? yes!  Have I changed? No!  Am I still worthy of all your worship, even when you feel like you don't fit?  even if the style is different?"  I am humbled.

I am reminded he equates intimacy with Him to intimacy in marriage.  That makes me feel known and loved, but it also reminds me of total surrender and reminds me that I need to fight for intimacy.  Just as I need to fight distractions and exhaustion to make time for intimacy in marriage, I need to fight for intimacy with God.

We have been praying about what to do for community.  We have been attending a care group about to birth for the past two weeks.  They need leaders, we have much experience in leading groups.  We were invited to another care group.  Yet we both of us have asked, is this where God would have us?  The picture is blurry, but we have distinct impressions that he has something else in mind.  It may involves the first mentioned group, but we are pretty sure it isn't a complete fit.  So we are waiting- longing for community.  In prayer, I have a couple distinct couples on my mind, but they are busy, we can't force ourselves into people's lives.  If it's from you Lord, will you please let them initiate?

We spent Saturday with dear friends down in Kenosha.  We prayed and cried together.  My friend got a few pictures as she prayed for me and they confirmed all of the above.  What is the "one thing" I will seek?  I don't need to search for answers in all these areas, I just need to seek God, worship him.  Spending a day feeling known, was so refreshing.  We also prayed for specific things- one of which was a certain family I have felt very drawn to in praying about caregroups, but who I "knew" weren't open because they said in the early fall they just need to pull back and take time for their family.  I asked God to lead them to initiate if it was HIS will and I even said, "I see us going to their kids games, their kids loving ours, etc., but we can't force ourselves into people's lives."

God in all his mercy, reminded me through my friend on Saturday that sometimes when we it feels most dark, when he feels farthest away because you can't "see him", he has tucked you in the cleft of his rock and covered you with the palm of his hand.  Sometimes if we are in the shadow of his wings, we can't see him , but he is so close.  God assured me, he hasn't gone anywhere.  He renewed me.  He reminded me to fight for intimacy with him, to pursue him, to CHOSE the ONE THING that matters.  To forget all else and focus on the center point- HIM.  He'll take care of the rest of the picture in his good time.

Yet, in his graciousness, they very next day, he gave us another piece of the picture.  He assured me the impressions I had in prayer, that were desires of my heart, WERE in line with where HE was leading. One of the couples we prayed about....the VERY NEXT day (yesterday) mentioned seeking a caregroup with us.  Amazing- they initiated, just as we prayed, but WAIT- that wasn't all.  Would you believe she invited us to her sons basketball game!!!  God didn't have to add that detail.  But he wanted to remind me, he heard ever bit of my prayer- even the part about going to their kids games.  She had no way of knowing that....but God did.  He handed me a little gift...my Lover gave me a gift that wouldn't matter to anyone else but because he knows me deeper than I could ever understand myself, he gave a gift that reminded me how very near he is.

Now, I am confident this is only a piece of the puzzle.  But I won't try to figure the rest out, I will wait for the rest of the picture, chosing the ONE THING that matters, I will sit at Jesus feet and serve where HE directs me out of the fullness of his love. I will worship, with all my heart, soul, and mind no matter how comfortable I am, no matter what circumstances I am in, because GOD is GOD.  I will be a Lover who serves and I will FIGHT for intimacy with the Lover of my Soul, whatever it takes, whatever the cost.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A morning conversation

Scene- Marc has just gone upstairs to retrieve Chloe from her crib so she'd get a little papa time before he leaves for work.  Ava has followed him, stating, "Oh!  I better go too- she'll need Ava time before I go to school!"  Mom and Phin remain in the kitchen.

Phin:  I don't like this sausage.
Mom:  Oh you seemed to eat quite a bit...hmmm, I think you are full of beans!;)
Phin:  No I am full of sausage.  I am done.
Mom:  Sure, you can be done, but make sure you're full cuz we aren't eating snacks all morning if we didn't finish our breakfast.
Phin:  I am done for sure. Can I watch a show?
Mom:  You'll have time for one show before mom's group, but we aren't going to watch a show until Ava leaves for school.
Phin: Why?
 Mom:  Because if a show is on Ava has trouble getting out the door and she feels sad to miss the end of the show.
Phin (taking off in a MAD DASH for the bottom of the stair case):  AVA!  AVA!  It's time for you to go to school.  You better hurry up.  You are late!

note- Ava still had twenty minutes before the time of her departure...but he's a clever little lad;

Thursday, January 26, 2012

S.A.D

My name is Kim and I have Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I am sure you have heard of it.  The acronym is so darn cute, isn't it- sad.  I mean how adorable that a disorder that makes you seem sad, can be abbreviated to S.A.D.  Living with it, however, is far from cute;)

I have to be honest, this year, the whole S.A.D thing caught me by surprise.  Last year, I was downright giddy throughout winter.  I even believe I posted about having a crush on winter.  My husband was delighted with this change in my seasonal demeanor and I thought a home with a garage and lots of sunlight was my blessed cure.

Truth be told, even though years past were nothing like last year.  I haven't even struggled greatly with S.A.D. for quite a few years.  Sure, I got a little grumpy and the season couldn't pass fast enough, but over all it was so mild it was barely noticeable.

This year, we returned from the holidays and I was exhausted emotionally and phsycially.  I lay on the couch for a week and attributed my behavior to be completely spent after traveling and a week with the in laws.  The next week, I felt pretty horrible too, but blamed this on the fact that my already pages long "to do" list was now another week behind and pages longer.  Surely, I was just overwhelmed.

My sister came up and we chipped away at "to do"s.  My laundry was caught up, my house clean and even, thanks to my OCD sister, organized.  I still felt exhausted, sad, overwhelmed, and paralyzed.  I kept MAKING myself doing more...surely I could fix this.  I felt worse.  I couldn't get enough done.  I couldn't get enough sleep.  I was a bear to live with.  Then I hit an all out panic that I surely must be pregnant.  When else have I fallen asleep at 7pm and just wanted to be alone.  I was in such a panic, it took me three days to get up the nerve to take a test....negative.  Hmmm...what next?

A nurse, like myself, should have been on this bad boy sooner.  Instead, my hubby clued me in.


In case you are unfamiliar.  Seasonal Affective Disorder is basically fall/winter onset depression.  I've had it for a long time, but haven't struggled with it to this degree for quite a few years.  Why?  pregnancy and nursing!   Hormones actually affect it.

Here are the symptoms of S.A.D:
-increased appetite with weight gain, especially an increase in intake of carbohydrates
-increased sleep and daytime sleepiness
-less energy and ability to concentrate in the afternoon
-loss of interest in work or other activities
-slow, sluggish, lethargic movement
-social withdrawal
-unhappiness and irritability

I have every single symptom this year.  I have gained 6 lbs. since my 12/24 weigh in.  I know in my head I need to eat healthier but literally nothing tastes good.  I have been consuming mostly chocolate and diet coke.  I have been unable to track on weight watchers- usally something motivating for me.  I have had great difficulty even concentrating to read a book.  I feel exhausted most of the time.  I have tried sleeping more or being more active and still just feel exhausted.  I have been going to bed on time or early and still finding great difficulty getting out of bed in the morning.  I have been going to social functions, but often feel like I'm acting when there (not that I am acting, mind you, just because it takes such effort to interact normally) and it literally takes great effort to make myself get out of the house.  I feel sad much of time time.  Irritable?  well, lets just say I've felt like I have had a terrible case of PMS for weeks now.

I started Light Therapy a week ago and forced myself to eat healthy...forced as in literally choked down veggies and fruit.  Thank the Lord, I am starting to feel normal again.  Who knew a little happy lamp could do so much good!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Serious FUN!

We love to have family dance time.  It is a frequent occurrence in our home.  Over New Years, we were exposed to Wii's Just Dance 3.  We made complete fools of our selves with the in-laws, but loved every clumsy minute.  Our children surprised us by following along quite well for 3 and 5.  They talked about it for days afterwards.  We decided to buy the game.  Our kids never play our Wii, we don't own any children's games; Marc and I rarely play anymore.  Why waste it sitting in our drawer when family fun could be had?

Imagine my delight when I went to purchase the game and realized they have a children's version.  I don't have to worry about what songs to select for them.  They have two kids versions, actually.  I settled on Just Dance Kids 2, only cuz the sales guy at Walmart said, as I asked his opinion, "well, I have no idea, but it would help me out if you picked the second one cuz we have one two many for the case."  I am sure the first is just as good- but chose to help the guy out.  We are jammin' to songs from Tangled, the Wiggles, Laurie Berkner band, etc.  Songs my kids know and love.  It is a blast...oh and I am actually good at the kids version.  No one in the family has beaten me yet;)  It's just my speed....that and I actually know all these songs too:)

If you have Wii, I highly recommend.  You'll get a great work out and have lots of laughs with your family;)  (And a little competition with the hubby is always good---especially when you are the winner;)


I wasn't given anything in exchange for this honest review, but if anyone from Wii sees this- you are welcome.;)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Silly Supper- Game Night

I had plans for a silly supper tonight.  Marc had plans for a family game night.  We realized on the way to church we both had the evening planned in our heads and yet hadn't communicated with one another.  No problem, I used his plans as inspiration for our silly supper.  A little thinking during the kids afternoon nap and our communication conflict turned into well coordinated genius.  Okay, maybe genius is a strong word, but I am totally patting myself on the back tonight.  I felt brilliant coming up with these ideas on the fly and we had SO much fun!
Chloe gets a little fussy and wants to be on mommy's hip when it's time to prepare dinner.  Recently, she has just gotten too heavy, so I've had her help.  It's always messy...today I gave her a plastic knife, jelly, and bread.  She is adorable when she "helps";) 

Let the games begin!  Our inspiration was some of our favorite games:  Apples to Apples (we ate apples), Smashed Potatoes (we ate shoe string french fries), and.....

Game 1- Memory.  We played Memory with sandwich quarters.  They had to match up identical insides.  We had nutella, peanut butter, jelly, cheese, ham, and turkey.  

 Once the got their matches, they could "mix and match"...Phin was THRILLED to match jelly and peanut butter and make "peanut butter and jelly all by myself!"

This worked really well.  Memory is a favorite game of ours and to say this was a hit is an understatement!

 Game 2- Cheese Stick Jenga.  This also works if the cheese sticks are cold.  I bought the square cheese sticks from Sargento and cut them in half.  

Game 3- Oreo Checkers;)  Phin and Mommy against Ava and Papa.  GAME ON!!

We got the first jump and we were PUMPED... 

OH NO!  Until Ava and Papa got a double jump!!!! 

the excitement was palpable;)

Another successful silly supper...who says you can't play with food?!!!;)

Friday, January 20, 2012

"I simply remember my favorite things...and then I don't feel so bad..."

My friend Christina, aka Mommy by Day posted about her favorite things today.  It really got me a thinking and I cannot resist following suit;)  I've done this before, but I have no idea how to tag posts so mine are unorganized and I have no recollection of what is on it;)

1) The smell of Lavendar
2) My habit of tea and chocolate (and my new red electric kettle that Marc got me for Christmas;)
3) Survivor...haven't missed a season.  Have tried out twice.  Love this show/game.
4)  My Kindle (why did I wait so long to get one!!!???)

5)  Pizza, especially Home Run Inn Frozen Pizza....mmmmm
6)  My leopard print high heels
7)  Target;)
8)  Drive Thru's
9)  Coke
10)  Beth Moore's bible studies-(I am currently doing Jesus- 90 days with the One and Only)

11)  Having a Garage...this is the first house we've owned with a garage and it is still luxurious to me!
12)  jammin' to worship music while I work....via my iphone and speaker dock
13) My man
14) Fitting back into my prebaby clothes;)
15) Covenant Friendships

Dearest Ava-

If you are going to write on the couch (something you know without a doubt is not okay), don't sign your name!

(Thankfully I found this during nap time cuz I am still laughing hysterically over this.  I would have attributed any scribbles to 18 mo. old Chloe and scrubbed it myself...but when you SIGN your NAME, Sweetie, guess whose going to scrub it off?)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Somethings are too good NOT to share;)

Chill Mama is having a give away for American Girls 2012 Girl of the Year doll, McKenna.  She's an adorable gymnist.  Who wouldn't want to have thisdoll?....for free?;)  Head on over and enter to win...someone has to win.  I hope it's me, but I'll be equally as happy if one of you grabs the prize;)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Feeling rather sorry for myself...

Today is almost over...almost.  I have under an hour until my kiddos go to bed and the two littles are making beautiful mischief in my cupboards at the moment. I actually love watching them play together...they are so cute.   Phin talks and Chloe complies or loudly proclaims, "NO!  Mine!"  Hilarious.  Logically, I know life is good.  Even as I write, I realize the drama I am chosing internally is not really necessary;)

I just finished off an entire Toblerone bar.  It was delicious, but usually I don't fall prey to finishing entire packages of things...today I drowned my "sorrows" in chocolate.  I am tired and hormonal, so anything could seem abit dismal, but today I have good ammunition for my dramatic internal pity party!  First, I had a Gyne appt. this morning.  I don't know why I am not more used to pap smears by now, but I just don't like them.  I always feel like I accomplished something great when I leave the gyne.  As soon as I saunter out into the hall post appointment, every muscle in my body relaxes and I realize I was probably tense all morning.  I just don't like someone pokin' around in my goods, while chatting about the book I am currently reading.  It's just weird to talk about a movement to end China's one child policy while someone is completely invading my personal space.  Call me crazy- but it makes me anxious and more than a little uncomfortable.

To top it off, I spent the afternoon at the dentist.  I had 4 cavities filled and am now beginning a treatment program aimed at increasing the strength of my teeth and descreasing susceptibility to tooth decay.  I have very weak teeth.  I hate the dentist.  I mean, not her personally- I actually really like her, but I cannot stand vibration in my mouth.  I find the polishing after cleaning (which occured last week) sheer torture.  Literally, I have to pray my entire way through it.  Today?  Well, today was 10x worse because the vibration is drilling and drilling means there is sound on top of the feeling; it makes me feel physically ill.  Let's not talk about how I feel about getting shots in my mouth.  I spent an hour fighting back tears that spilled forth as soon as I got into my car to head home.  Almost all my teeth are filled and I have 4 crowns, you'd think I'd be a pro at all this, but it causes great anxiety.  It doesn't seem to get easier....and does anyone else hate when dentists ask them questions they couldn't possible answer because they have three hands and a bunch of other stuff in their mouth.  I feel like I can't breath, am about to choke, and find it extremely frustrating to not be able to answer or really participate in conversation.  I mean REALLY for a girl who talks to much- that fact alone is kind of tortuous to her emotional well being.

Two anxiety ladden experiences in one day is all the reason I need to feel weepy and drown my sorrows in chocolate.  My poor husband.  I have no energy left after keeping much of my body tense for much of the day and I am emotional...for no logical reason.  But see...blogging about it actually helps me laugh at myself.  I know I am just ridiculous sometimes....hopefully some of you readers are too.  Thank God I only bought ONE Toblerone bar...though the jar of nutella in the pantry has been calling my name as I type.  Does ayone know if "anxiety" counts as a workout in Weight Watchers?  I could use a few extra points...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Have a good laugh at my expense....

Shortly after I arrived at bible study this morning, my friend Kim asked if Ava could come home with them from school this afternoon.  I was totally on board, of course, her daughter is a dear and I love the girls playing together.  My responsibility was just to call the school and let them know Kim would be picking up Ava with Lily and had my permission to do so.

Immediately after bible study, I grabbed my phone so I wouldn't forget to call.  I looked in my contacts and quickly selected the school.  The secretary answered and I said, "My daughter Ava is in kindergarten.  Could you let Mrs. V know that she'll be going home with the W's today?"  The receptionist replied, "um, there are no students here today?"  I said, "what?!"  As she replied, "There is no school today."  I realized I selected Ava's OLD school (from Chicago area) in my contacts instead of her current school.  Mortified, I said, "okay, thanks."

It was only later I realized this poor receptionist was probably traumatized by my call.  I didn't even explain that I called the wrong school.  WHO DOES THAT?!  (She was at that school literally three years ago for preschool;).  I removed the school from my contacts and I wonder if the poor lady looked around CHA for stray students.  Aye.  Perhaps I should have called back and explained.  I am a nut job;)  I thought I was caught up on sleep.  Will my brain EVER return?!

Though I stumble through Motherhood, God is faithful in providing people to help me see the path

Some days in motherhood are filled with struggle and I wonder how I'll make it to bed time.  Other days are so fun, so amazing that I step back and find myself in AWE of the fact that THIS is MY life, these amazing kids are MINE.  Recently, Ava's been having trouble with a friend at school.  It's been heart breaking for me at times.  I hate seeing her hurt and find myself struggling with wanting to pull her from school to take away any chance of pain.  I find myself struggling with fear about the future and how much hurt she may experience through friendships, boys, and even her own failings.  As I've prayed, God has really just kind of gently said, "Chill out!"  We prayed about what to do for school and are confident God pointed us to Sheboygan Christian.  Her teacher has been AMAZING through this ordeal and God has gently reminded me that He is working in Ava's heart.  I know, of course, that almost all of my most valued lessons learned came through pain or failure.  God used them profoundly to teach me about Himself and myself.  He still uses them.  Why would I want Ava to miss learning what God has for her.

I have been given the gift in Sheboygan of amazing mothers who are not far from me in age, but a large step ahead in parenting.  I cannot tell you what a blessing it is to have mothers remind me that each day with my children is a gift.  I appreciate being reminded that life is passing quickly; I need to cherish the day and seize the opportunties God gives me.  I also need to trust him with the future and remember he is in complete control.  One of these amazing women is my Pastor's wife, Nikki.  She is a blogger and just finished blogging a series on loving our children, based on a talk that she gave to our mom's group.  Nikki radiates peace and an inner beauty that somehow exceeds her stunning outer beauty.  She is a mom to her boys and so many others.  Her gently spirit is a balm to my soul.  I realized today as I finished reading the last post from her series that I have the opportunity to share the gift of Nikki's wisdom with all of you.  I promise, you won't regret reading.  ENJOY!  (and if you're that jealous that I actually KNOW her- we'd love to have you in Sheboygan;)

LOVING OUR CHILDREN BLOG SERIES by Nikki

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Silly Supper- Fondue Night

Time to get silly suppers back up and runnin' after all our holiday fun.  The kids were excited all day knowing dinner held a silly supper and kept trying to guess what it could be;)  This time, I didn't have to keep it a secret.  I told them "Fondue" all day long...they just had no idea what it was;)
Course number 1- cheese.  I mixed half Cheddar, half Gruyere hoping to make it more kid friendly...Ava (our very UNpicky child) RAN to the garbage to spit it out;)  Phin, then barely licked it before declaring "I think I hate this kind of cheese".  Ah well- it was amazing and Marc and I thoroughly enjoyed it!  The kids did their own improvisation by grabbin' Kraft singles from the fridge to eat with their bread chunks.  They were shocked at the thought of cheese on apples....all the more for us;)

 They loved cooking themselves, but were surprised how long it took;)  It was the first time I have served Ketchup as a sauce with fondue and it's dish was competely emptied;)


It proved WAY to slow for Miss Active and she was "all done, all done!, ALL DONE!" very quickly 

No surprise, bringing the final course brought excitement of the maximum magnitude. 

They happily dipped away and had a few "search and rescue missions" for bananas lost in the chocolate Abyss 

 It doesn't matter if you start a meal with "gross" cheese, when it sends with chocolate......

it is a success!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Noon Years Celebrations

 Let us not discuss the fact that it has taken me 14 days to get these pictures on the internet;)  Then again, I have trouble not discussing things so....

New Years is supposed to be a fresh start, an energized beginning filled with resolutions about how you'll do things right.  The problem when you travel between Christmas and New Years is that you start your "fresh start" way behind.  Forget about the new beginning and getting ahead, I've been trying to crawl out from under my pile of "to dos" just to catch up;)  Last week I was so overwhelmed, I didn't know where to start, it was almost paralyzing.  I just don't function well in disorder!  I am so thankful my overwhelming stall happened to occur right before my sister's schedule visit.  She was just the shot of energy I needed, not to mention the girl is an organizing guru.  She gave me an amazing head start on catching up;)  Today I am finishing.  There is light at the end of the tunnel.  For me, Monday is my personal "fresh start";)

Back to the post topic and away from the tangents I am sure to become famous for....

We were still in Philadelphia area for New Years.  On New Year's Eve, we planned an alternate celebration with the kids, stealing an idea from the Children's Ministry Director at our old church.  Instead of counting down until midnight, we counted down until 12 noon.

We sat down and celebrated things we are thankful for or proud of from 2011.  Then we set "goals" for 2012.  We wrote them in tiny cards that I have saved.  We will reread them on New Years Eve next year and celebrate those goals we have achieved.  All are written in persons own words, parenthesis are my explanation;)

2011
Marc
- Very proud of celebrating 11 years of marriage
-Came back to Center on Christ with a TOUGH year at work with successful work across multiple areas
-Became the Awana Commander
-Built strong people relationships at Johnsonville
-(financially related)
-Finished the year strong with work, family, and ministry

Kim
-started Thrive officially at church
-got the opportunity to get involved with Community Health Nursing at Church
-stuck with Trainer and Weight Watchers and lost over 15 lbs., hit size goal
-completed purpose statement for self and marriage
-started silly suppers
-succeeded in making Easter and Advent, stress free and focused on Christ

Ava
-learned how to hula hoop
-started kindergarten
-learning to play nice with my friends
-started girl scouts
-learning a lot about God and memorizing lots of verses
-got ears pierced and didn't even cry!
-had a good ballet recital
-learned to do the trapeze at Club Med
-Passed level 2 swimming

Phin
-complete potty training!
-have lots of new toys and little cars
-can change clothes by himself
-wears underwear
-plays with Papa's iPhone all by himself and knows how to take pictures on it (he knows how to do everything one it- it's rather frightening;)
-knows letter and numbers (this is a stretch, but it is what he says.  He cans say them all for sure, but only recognizes some by sight;)

Chloe (our best guesses- she did not say any of this;)
-learned to walk and run
-got tubes in hear ears and has had no more problems since!!!
-feeds herself
-learned to sleep through the night
-grew nice curly blond hair that is
-has many words and gestures!
-starting to sing (on tune!) and loves to dance

2012
Marc
-Do a wisdom/proverbs study
-Hit and maintain ____ lbs. (I think the exact number is probably not something he'd appreciate me writing;)
-Fast at least monthly
-Develop the "inheritance list"- a timeline of things I want to accomplish with or pass on to my children
-Develop and execute one weekend away with Kim and four dates (I am usually the planner, so he is basically saying he is going to step up and help with the date thing...we'll go out more than 4 times, don't worry- this is just what HE will be responsible for;)
-Finish reading Bringing Up Girls
-Build a disciplined operational plan for my team/dept.
-Read and finish 2 key business books

Kim
-Get up before children for quite time...
-exercise at least 3 times a week
-quit drinking Diet Coke
-Finish Parrish Nursing Course
-Be intentional about keeping our schedule simple and saying, "no" when needed
-Getting home organized and back in order
-getting back on regular menu planning and cooking
-Taking more time to do hair and make up and care for self
-Limiting time on computer and TV in evenings and getting to bed ON TIME

Ava
-sleep better (she's had trouble going to bed, we often find her hiding in her closet playing, etc.)
-Ride a two wheeler
-Learn to read (she technically can read, but it doesn't come quickly yet- still a lot of phonetically sounding it out)
-Drink out of glass cups more often (this one was my favorite;)

Phin
-Play Soccer
-Go to school
-Wear grown up clothes and be more like a grown up
-Bike pedal with training wheels (he doesn't know how to pedal a bike.  As coordinated as this kid is, he just either can't do it or is lazy- we aren't sure.  Hopefully this goal setting will help eliminate the lazy thing;)

Chloe (or rather "mama's best guess)
-decrease number of temper tantrums;)
-get rid of pacifier
-potty train if ready
-talk in sentences (she'll probably hit this one by March, she's a little chatter box!)




 Hats, blowers, and lei's for all!

 Then I set up our Countdown activity.  I wrote 2012 on large piece's of bubble wrap, one for each person, and placed them in a large circle.

 With blowers in hand....
  
  We stood outside the bubble wrap circle and counted down until noon....
 
  Then we "jumped into the new year", by jumping onto our bubble wrap and went to town poppin' bubbles.

  You can never go wrong with bubble wrap;)
  
 I wouldn't want to spend New Years with anyone else;)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Why I am not a Supermom...

I have had a few comments on here, facebook, or in person about how "amazing" I am because of some of the activities I do with my kids.  Everytime someone says, "You are amazing" or "You really ARE a Supermom!".  I feel like an impostor.  I think it is good to celebrate our strengths so I have no problem admitting that I am really good at planning fun things.  As I've mentioned before, it's my favorite part of motherhood.  I put an obscene amount of time and effort into my children's birthday parties.  I don't do it because I think it's expected.  I know they actually don't appreciate it quite yet.  I do it because I LOVE it.  Sure, it gives them a fun day, but there is also a self motivation in there.  I get to craft and create and I love that sort of thing.  It gives me an "excuse" to push other things aside in the name of a good celebration.

The problem with this being what people SEE is that they automatically assume I am a good mother.  Why does this make me a good mother?  If I fail in all other areas, I am guessing my kids would actually resent the parties and silly suppers.  Those are such a small piece of what makes a successful mom.  I am still learning and failing and growing in most areas of motherhood.  I do take great pride in the things I am good at; it helps balance the feelings of failure I struggle with on a daily basis.

After completing my mission statement, the thing that stuck out to me was the need to be INTENTIONAL about achieving what I want to achieve as a christian, wife, and mom.  The silly suppers and holiday celebrations are easy for me to be intentional about.  It's much harder for me to be intentional about pursuing godly interactions with my kids.  I struggle with selfishness and hate that many days I count down precious minutes until bedtime.  I hate that sometimes I'd rather be blogging or on facebook that seizing these precious days with my Itty Bittys!  It's harder to make sure I am pointing them to scripture and taking time to help them understand their hearts motivation.  I struggle with finding myself just focusing on behavior.  Often, when I go before God and let him examine my heart, I have to confess before him and to myself that my motivation for behavior correction is often selfish.  I am strict and that is fine- but when I am motivated by my own convenience or embarrassment, it's wrong.  I struggle with caring more about my children's behavior than their hearts.  I easily lose perspective and need to refocus.  Motherhood for the most part is difficult for me.  I do find it easier over time, I do find myself delighting in it more now than ever, but I have so far to go, such room to grow!

I want to be authentic.  I don't want to over correct and give you the impression that I am a horrible mother.  I know I am not.  I am just a real person- with plenty of faults mixed in with my strengths.  I am on a journey folks and I fall in pot holes on a regular basis.  I honestly sometimes think I am completely unable to raise these children.  I find myself saddened with the reality that no matter how hard I try, I will be imperfect.  I wonder what baggage my imperfections will be for my kids; how will imperfections in our family carry over into their own?  The task can be daunting and if I focus on the task, I can find myself paralyzed.    I am learning daily that the key is not to focus on the task but on the One who has assigned it to me.  If I can keep my eyes on Christ, he gives me just what I need.  He gives me wisdom to speak life giving words, to point my kids toward him, to examine my own motives and behavior.  I am so flawed it's ridiculous...any good that comes out of this home is solely due to Christ's gracious work in my life.  I am no supermom.  I wish I didn't even WANT to be....see the very struggle with being a wannabe is struggling with wanting YOU to think that of me.  I refuse to struggle with that- it's the whole purpose of my title.  I want to authentically tell you I am so far from the supermom.  I am completely unable to be.  Whenever I try to achieve supermom status, I end up failing and even damaging my family in the process.

The prayer of my heart is that you can rejoice with me in my strengths but not compare them to your weaknesses...cuz then you'll find me comparing your strengths to MY weaknesses.  That only results in us all feeling insignificant and inferior.  Instead let's journey and learn from one another and just be honest...we are all flawed beings desperately in need of grace.  Let's rejoice in one another successes and support one another in our weakness.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sesame Place

Who would of thunk it?  Our week spent in Philly from 12/12 to 1/2 was warm as could be.  The kids were able to feed ducks, ride around in my Father-in-law's golf cart, and enjoy the 50 degree bliss.  The highlight of the week for the kids by far was the ability to visit Sesame Place!  Sesame Place is typically a summer theme park- bursting with water rides.  This year, however, they were opened from December to 1/3.  They had plenty of rides geared towards little kids and shows...and of course, live meet ups with the characters.  We never go to Philly in the summer, so this was a first experience for my kids.  It is the "off season"...so lines were short, but fun was long;)  The visit happened to occur on our 11 year wedding anniversary and I couldn't help but think how blessed we are- we are still crazy in love with one another, but have three itty bitty's we're crazy about too.  Life is amazing.

 11 years and 3 kids later....


 BERT and ERNIE!!!

 The Carousel

 Sesame Street Christmas- onstage

 Phin, Ava, Grandpa Babb, and myself on the swings (Can I just take a minute to say I was internally FREAKED out that Phin was tall enough for these things?  I was sure he'd get scared and try to climb out, but no such occurence- he showed me he truly is a big boy.)

 Babb, Marc, Phin and Ava climbing to the top of the ropes course.  Phin is so small and agile, his only disappointment was "everyone kept calling my name and making me wait for them."

 Grammy, Babb, Me and kiddos with ELMO and MURRAY!!!!

I thought the swings were bad...turns out he was tall enough for the roller coaster too.  He loved every minute of it and wanted to ride again.  Ava thought it was amazing too...and seriously, how many children get to ride a coaster with their 71 year old grandfather...three cheers for Babb!


Good Bye perfect day....

Birthday Party for Jesus

If you read my previous posts, you know we moved Christmas up a day due to Christmas travel plans.  On the "actual" Christmas Eve, we spent the night with my parents before flying to Philly on Christmas day for visits with Marc's family.  It was celebration, after celebration, after celebration;)

On Christmas Eve (the actual one) we had a Birthday Pary for Jesus with my parents and my niece Jordan.  I couldn't find the words to express how special it was- my kids had a blast.  My parents and Jordan were amazing at making it perfectly geared towards my children.  It completely felt like a birthday celebration.  It was just plain fun.  My heart is still gushing just thinking about it...

 Ava and Jordan Decorating the Cake
 "Happy Birthday Jesus" written by Ava (can I just tell you how much I LOVE the backwards J and S....and I am pretty sure Jesus smiled at it too!)
 The writing wasn't sufficient so they kept decorating....


 Thank God I took a picture of the writing right away, by the time Ava finished sprinkling...the writing was completely obscured;)


 
My mom actually does decorate cakes and since I was itty bitty, every time she was decorating cakes, she'd call us into the kitchen and decorate a "rose" on our finger tips purely for our delight and consumption.
The rose on my pointer finger (yes, she still decorates my finger- somethings you just never out grow;)

 Chloe had her first rose bud experience...and no surprise it didn't stay on her finger tip very long;)  Yummy


Before blowing out candles, the kids opened a gift.  We had wrapped up their musical instuments (meaning ones we already owned) and they opened them up.  We used them to sing "Happy Birthday" and a slew of other sings glorifying the Guest of Honor. 


video
A sample...sorry I am singing RIGHT into the camera...oops:)  (Still you get a taste of our joy;)

 We had blowers

balloons

a banner;)

We all blew out the candles together.

Could there be any birthday more precious than that of our precious Jesus?