Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Life as I know it

Life as I know it at the moment is busy and messy. We are living in a delicate balance of peace and chaos. We are experiencing joy and walking with our friends through some pain. There is so much happening, I think it will take a year to process it all. What I can process easily at the moment is that I have some pretty darn adorable children...even if they aren't sleeping all that great;)

Chloe is taking steps! She's a doll! She is getting playful and silly and appears to be just as outgoing as every other member of this family. Who knew you could have FIVE people that all like to be the center of attention in ONE home. We are FULL of life 'round here to be sure!

I tried to upload video of her first steps but it won't here is a picture of her first ice cream cone;)

Phin is in a run of mischieviousness. He is constantly getting himself into trouble doing the most hilarious things. I literally often have to step out of the room to collect myself before disciplining him. I find him so funny and his face is too precious. He also is starting to have nightmares; no longer do we have one child we can DEPEND on to sleep through the night. He has put himself in the rotation to ensure Marc and I don't get
a full nights sleep.
We thought Phin was in bed sleeping, but NO!, I found him in our shower, with his toys and a bunch of toilet paper. Why? I do not know...simply for mischief I would guess. He certainly though he was well hidden. Unfortunately he didn't take the clear glass shower door into consideration.

Ava is thriving at swimming. I've literally gotten teary watching her in swim lessons. I think we've found something she's naturally gifted at doing. It's such a blessing to watch her displaying such talent and joy in the water. She also is still enjoying her earrings and is all of a sudden looking very much like a young lady and sometimes looks so startlingly beautiful she stops me in my tracks. My baby is far from babyish now!

Ava Playing "chase" with her swimming instructor.

Sheboygan has a fabulous place called Bookworm Gardens. We had a lovely trip there yesterday;)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Anyone who's known me for a bit of time knows one the the highlights of my year is attending the Women of Faith conference. There has been a year here or there that I've had to miss due to things like childbirth;), but otherwise I make it a priority to attend. I have never been disappointed, but always left challenged and encouraged by the speakers. I am counting down the days until this years conference in Milwaukee- SEPT.30. (74 days, if you're at all curious;).

This year, I am especially thrilled to have been selected to blog about the conference. Not only did they give me a couple tickets- they'll get to hear my feedback. I certainly would have blogged about it anway. My goal is always to share the heart on here and that weekend I can guarantee that I will walk away with a full heart. COME JOIN ME! BE encourage, be challenged, grow in you faith!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Today must be the day of hilarious comments?!

It's a full moon, maybe that makes my kids say hilarious things? I feel like I have been laughing since I got up.

Today after meeting some moms at the park I got sidetracked by garage sales on the way home;) At one, Phin announces loudly, "We see lots of naked kids this morning!" I was mortified, had NO idea where he got this and said sternly, "Phineas! We did not." He replied very matter of factly, "Yep, we see lots of naked boys." I was thoroughly embarrassed and confused and sure that he heard something terrible from one of the older kids today at the park.
As I was driving home, my stomach in knots, thinking about what he possibly was exposed to today, he again says, "Ava, 'member all the naked kids today!?" I said, "Phin, stop it! We did not see naked kids." Again, he replied (totally unphased by my stern tone), "Yep, we did." So I said, "why are you saying that?" He said, "I see lots of naked boys like me by the water." (We were at a park that had a sprinkler playground.) So I said, of course, "Phin the boys weren't naked they were in swimsuits." He finished with, "Yep, they were naked though. I could see all their belly buttons."

Okay- so naked chests, naked bodies...blah, blah- my son doesn't differentiate. I only wish I'd clarified this while at the garage sale! I am sure those present for his exclamation think I am some whacked mother! I'll hopefully never see them again and I had quite a laugh in the car. (Maybe my abs will be sore tomorrow, that would be fantastic!)

Two Year old Flattery

Ava wanted to put in curlers after her bath last night so this morning after breakfast, we were taking them out of her hair. She was THRILLED. Ava said to Phin, "Look my hair is SOOO curly!" Phin replied just as full of excitement, "Ava! You look like a dog!"

There was a pause and I was sure tears were to follow, but then she said, "Oh, you mean a poodle dog. Yep, Phin my hair is just as curly as a poodle.";)

He made them male and female....

A conversation from our kitchen this morning:

Me: Mornin' babe. Oh, You are wearing your new shoes. Very cool.
Marc: Thanks I figured if we were havin' a date tonight I'd pull out all the stops.
Ava: Why?
Marc: I want Mommy to think I am handsome, so I put on my favorite jeans, the shirt she bought me and my cool new shoes. Don't I look handsome? (Picks Ava up onto his lap while speaking.)
Ava (fiddling with his hair): You need a haircut
Marc: But Don't I look handsome?
Ava: You need to cut this hair back here.
Marc: I will take that as a yes.
Me (laughing): That is the difference between men and women; a woman would have freaked out and examined everything about her determined that Ava was saying "no, you don't look handsome."
Marc laughs.
Ava: That IS what is was saying! Papa needs a haircut.

:) Don't worry, Marc found this hysterical AND because he is a man, still strutted through the kitchen in his cool outfit. He let it go in one ear and out the other. (I must add, his hair is totally fine and he IS handsome;)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Book Review- When God Created My Toes

When God Created My Toes by Dandi Daley Mackall is a children's book based off Psalm 139:13-16, which reads, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

It is a light hearted read, with a series of questions set to rhyme. They are cute musings that I could easily imagine my children asking or coming up with on their own. They are sweet inquiries into what God knew when he created each of us. That being said, I couldn't get away from the fact that not a single question is answered with the book. Certainly, they leave room for good discussion between parent and child, but what about the child reading on their own or the child who doesn't have a parent familiar with the truth of scripture. A few questions seem to be thrown in more for rhyming sake than common sense, such as "Did we sing our ABC's when God created my knees?" (what!?) and some are frankly theologically off base, such as "Did we cheer for Angel bands when God created my hands?" It almost reads at times as if the child was created in heaven before being placed in the mother's womb. Quite frankly, it's a bit weird if you don't treat the questions as silly.

The illustrations (by David Hohn) in the book are AMAZING. They are charming and full of joy and wonder. They are filled with color and expression. I couldn't say enough about how lovely they are!

I probably wouldn't recommend this book, nor will I keep it myself. In my opinion, it's one thing for my children to ask silly or innocent questions, it's another to read them to my kids. They put stock and trust in books. I just find it too off based to keep reading to them, though it did lead to a lovely discussion on God's great care in creating them during our initial read. I also am bothered that the book doesn't answer any of the questions posed, but particularly that it ends with a question- a major question "Was he pleased as he could be when God created me?" I personally would have made that a stated fact. "He WAS pleased as he could be when God created me?" Despite my reservations, however, the decision to fore go keeping this book is not easy because of the insanely good illustrations:) For me, I'll pass on this book, but definitely look for more books illustrated by David Hohn.

*I have recieved this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Very Special Mommy Date

Periodically, I like to take the kids on a Mommy Date. One on one time with me is very special to them. Traditionally, they are very simple- out for ice cream, for example. They get thrilled to have my attention all the themselves. It honestly doesn't matter what we do!

Today, I really felt Ava needed one of these dates. She is at a very special age. She gets really emotional and I just sensed she needed to feel encouraged today. She needed a reminder of how very special she is to me. It was especially easy to get excited about, because she's been a very easy kid, compliant and helpful the last few days- not that my love is conditional, it's just been a great couple days. I was thrilled for a chance to just have fun with her and not be giving her chores ;0)

I spoke with Marc this morning about taking her to get her ears pierced. When she originally asked me (at age 4) she caught me off guard. I told her she had to wait until she was 6. Now there is nothing wrong with waiting, I just had no good reason for picking 6. I thought I was 6 when I did my own, turns out I was 8, my little sister was 6. I'd noticed most of her friends have theirs ears pierced and though there are plenty of times her friends will all be doing something we won't let her do, this seemed like a relatively innocent thing. Marc and I talked about it and decided it would be a great surprise for her.

I couldn't WAIT to tell her. I thought she'd be over the moon. We called her to the kitchen (she was in her room for 'rest' time). I tried to act like she was in trouble, but she didn't buy it. (I guess she has no hidden sins we have to worry about at the moment;) I told her we were going on a mommy date. Her reaction? Pure excitement. Then I told her I was taking her to get her ears pierced. Her reaction? Pure terror. :) Needless to say, it wasn't what I was expecting. She actually got a bit emotional saying she really wanted to get them pierced but she wasn't ready; she was too afraid. We let her make the decision, of course, and she decided to wait. I decided we'd go get magnetic earrings instead; an idea that thrilled her.

We went ahead to Claire's and on the way she talked quite a bit about wanting to get them pierced "someday". It was obvious, she was really struggling with her decision. I reassured her that we would go. She could look at the magnetic earrings and buy them, but it also was not too late to change her mind. I told her she could see the store and look and if she thought she felt comfortable she could still chose to get her ears pierced.

(Before entering, she obviously is a bit nervous about what she'll decide)

We walked into Claire's and she looked at the magnetic earrings for about 3 seconds before saying, "I think I can do it, mom. I want to get my ears pierced today!"

She got a bit nervous as she actually sat in the chair, but the woman working was great and at that point I could see her resolve to "do it". I took on the role of encouraging mama.

She was very fortunate to find they had Hello Kitty earrings in their piercing selection AND there were two women working so they each grabbed a gun and pierced both ears simultaneously.

Ava couldn't believe it was over so fast. Here is her description: "They put the earrings in guns and they go right in your ears at the same time they make a hole. It feels kind of like a shot, but not so bad and when my mom wiped them with the cleaner, it felt all better. I didn't even cry OR say ouch." She was REALLY proud of herself and I was proud too! An unexpected benefit? It led to a great conversation about not letting fear keep us from what we really want to do.

(Ava saying, "Yay! I did it!)

We finished off our date with a few stops in the mall. She wanted to "just look" at Kohl's and Hallmark. It was simple, but gave me such vision for our future as mom and daughter. She really enjoyed looking at the gift section at Hallmark and commenting on pretty things or picking out who they'd be perfect for. It was SO fun!

We then took a little trip to "Herkin Perkins". Ava's favorite restaurant (which is really just Perkins, but for some reason she has adapted her own name for it).

Then she got to choose our final stop. She chose target. She said she wanted to look at toys without having to be quick or worry about Chloe and Phin;) While there, she also picked out a little something for each of them from the dollar spot. It was a lovely date with an even lovelier little lady!


Boys are different than doubt about that! Phin is a boys boy. He continually makes me shake my head and can get me laughing at the most inappropriate things. He is just so darn cute. His biggest area of discipline lately has been due to his discovery of potty humor. He just can't get enough! He has a relatively limited "dirty" vocabulary, but he loves to use it to irritate his sister or make older kids snicker. He randomly will say, "Toot from your bum." or "Poopy" or "Poopy bum" and finds it hilarious. He shows no sign thus far of conforming to my regulations of keeping such talk in the bathroom, but we'll keep working on it.

Apparently, I discovered this morning, he is also dreaming of this nonsense. For the first time, he articulated one of his dreams to me. It started with "The black monkey from Toy Story Three" and then I couldn't understand what he said because of his laughing. I wasn't sure what he was trying to say. My kids are scared of Toy Story 3, soley because of the black monkey that uses his cymbals and says "EEE, EEE, EEE" when toys try to escape Sunnyside Daycare. Scared may even be too light a word- they are terrified and if Phin hears anyone mention or ask about Toy Story 3, he is quick to demonstrate what the monkey does (hilarious actually) and say he only likes Toy Story 2.

Today, because I was confused. I asked him to elaborate. I thought he had some weird nightmare and was laughing not to cry. nightmare. He calmed down and told me, "I had a dream about the black monkey from Toy Story 3. He pooped in his underwear." I said, "He pooped his pants in your dream?" He said, "NO! He pooped in his UNDERWEAR!" and then laughed hysterically.

Well, okay then. I can't say I ever dreamed of my "monster" poopin' his underwear but if it makes his brain less scared of said monkey, I'll take it. I'll also take a few deep breaths. I have a feeling his obsession with poop, farts, and butts may only be beginning!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

This too shall pass...all too quickly, I might add

I talked with my sister, Karla, this morning. As always, we had a good chat. She is relatively new to this motherhood thing (7mo. old) and having some realizations and struggles that I have also have had as a mom and some I still have.

Time is no longer our own and motherhood can feel very isolating. Like me, Karla has a little one that can't do without her naps. When your kid naps two or three times a day, it's hard to leave your house long enough to get anything done or to see anyone. That can feel isolating. It's easy to look at someone else and see them out and about with their kid all the time and start to wonder if your missing something. Did you inadvertently become the mom who let's her child dictate too much? Are you too uptight? Do you need to loosen up? Someone can say they miss you or ask you where you've been and send you into "defensive" mode and an internal struggle to somehow make logic of the craziness that has taken over your life.

We are so critical of ourselves! What if the other mom needs to tighten up? What if her kid is actually severely overtired and she selfishly would rather be out having fun than giving her kid a nap? What if children are actually all different and some need more sleep than others?! What if her kid actually IS fine without a nap?

Some of these questions get a bit easier when you have child two or three. You realize that indeed children are all different and some do better missing there nap than others. You also realize, however, that moms are all different too. Some do better sticking to their routine. Some, like me, like their children on dependable schedules so they can predict (to some extent) the day and evening. Marc and I put all our kids in bed at 7 so we have the evening to ourselves. We have friends whose kids stay up much later. Guess what? Surprisingly, they are all alive and well;) In truth, sometimes I need to relax and sometimes others need to establish a bit more order in life. We are all learning and making mistakes...but we also all have successes!!

The truth is a) we need to give ourselves credit and permission to be the mom's we feel called to be and b)we need to just realize sometimes motherhood IS isolating. Right now, I have a one year old dealing with severe ear infections. I can hardly put her down in a day. It's exhausting and yes, isolating. If she's running a fever or sick at all, I have to keep her away from other kids. When she is crying nonstop it's hard for me to leave her or have a conversation, even on the phone. I've missed many a play date or date to stay home with her. That's motherhood. I can't control it. I talked to another friend potty training. That is yet another time where you are kind of stuck at home more than usual in order to give your kid success at mastering this very important skill. Motherhood is filled with sacrifices. Sometimes they can feel overwhelming. Sometimes you sacrifice so much you hardly recognize your life. But with each passing year, you realize time is flying by and those hard moments get fewer and farther between. Sometimes old struggles are simply replaced with new ones. In the end, we just have to hold our arms and hearts open and surrender to this crazy path of motherhood and trust God as he refines us in the process.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Book Review- This Little Prayer of Mine

This Little Prayer of Mine is my first experience with Anthony DeStefano's writing, it won't be my last. This is a very sweet book, BEAUTIFULLY illustrated by Mark Elliott. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this to my children and have already reread it multiple times. I appreciated the fact that both my two year old and five year old could appreciate this book, both enjoy it. I really felt it spoke to their hearts. The author covers fear, loneliness, selfishness, thankfulness, God caring about the details of our lives, but my favorite part is probably that he ends with the simple truth that ultimately God's love is enough.

The book has a nice rhyming flow about it and is easy to read. Each time we read it, I notice new details in the illustratons that so wonderfully enhance the words. I would definitely recommend this book to others and will certainly be buying other copies for gifts.

*I recieved this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.