Tales from a Christ-follower, wife, mommy, daughter, friend, runner, cook, reader, maid, volunteer, and seeker of the lost art of sleep.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

SURPRISE!!!

Well, for the first time since December 2006, for 22 whole hours I (thought I) was neither pregnant nor nursing. Then half-way through un-loading the dishwasher one Tuesday morning a few weeks ago, I decided to go take my routine monthly pregnancy test...and SURPRISE!!! The "+" appeared in approximately .37 seconds. After spending the better part of an hour and a half laughing uncontrollably (what else could I do?!), I took a deep breath and began to process what I had just discovered.

It has been a long month of keeping it quiet, but also a good chance for J and I to get excited and let the news sink in for us before sharing the news with our family. I have been exceptionally horrible with words lately, and have somewhat fumbled when talking with family and a few close friends about the pregnancy. My heart hurts and longs for my precious friends who are wanting little ones of their own so badly they can taste it, and I think part of what I have been feeling could almost be described as shame and hurt over having to tell them that I am expecting again. KNOWING their amazing hearts, I know that my feelings are certainly unbased, and I also know that the Lord is in control. And His timing is perfect. And I am trusting Him with this pregnancy...and those of my sweet friends, both those pregnant and those longing to be so.

So, for those I've totally stumbled over the words with, I'm sorry. For those of you who heard from text messages or emails (or, um, this blog post!), I'm also sorry for that. Again...I haven't exactly been the best with words lately and I have weakly (well, exhaustedly) taken the easy way out.

But I am SO excited to be going down this road (for the LAST time...3 homemade Chandler babies is all I'm going to carry!) and am so thankful to have you to go down this road with us. So, here's Baby Will, helping me share the big news! Mark us down for the first part of June. :)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Creatures of habit...

Every night for the past several decades (or so it seems...), our bedtime routine with Jack has been rather set in stone. And lest I forget the sweetness of it all, here it will be archived for my reading pleasure for years to come.

After bath, Jason helps Jack brush and floss before heading to his bed to get his blankie (with his favorite corner...and if you ever see it, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about - the nasty corner with the hole and ratty looking strings that he likes to chew on while rubbing his cheek with the rest of the corner) and his JK (his pacifier...we're not real clear on why he started calling it his JK, but that's been it's name for over a year now; I had written a "J" on a couple of new "pappies" right before he turned 2, and those were to just be used for bedtime since his others were deteriorating quickly. So, not sure if he deduced that since K comes after J, it just made since, or if it's because J and K are both in his name. Whatever.)

So, once in bed, he asks Daddy to read the Bible. We've got this fabulous little preschoolers' beginner bible that has stories that are just a few pages long and has big pictures. My intentions when buying it were for us to read a story a night...but Jack has gotten hung up on a couple of favorites that we're having a hard time working past. The first one that he loved was the story of Noah; the funny thing is, his favorite part was the first page that had a picture of 2 men fighting and the narration is something about people disobeying and forgetting God. Go figure.

However, our current favorite is the story of Jonah. He loves to be the one to "read" certain parts (that he has memorized), like when it's time to say "Ninevah," or the whale went "GULP" and swallowed Jonah, and when he "SPIT" Jonah out onto dry land. He loves to point out and read the first capitalized letter on each page and, for whatever reason, points out every lower-case "g" on each page, as well. He likes to talk about God forgiving the people of Ninevah for disobeying.

Once we put the bible away, he asks me (every night) to read "the mommy book." I'll be honest, I might have been the one to get him started on this one. I can't even look at the cover of "I'll Love You Forever" without tears coming to my eyes. So, every night I read it, every night he points out the capital letters and the g's on every page, and every night, when I read "My mommy you'll be," he'll exclaim right back, "my MOMMY you'll be?!". And every night I say, "Yep. No matter how old you are, you and Will will always be my babies and I will ALWAYS be your mommy."

The light goes off, and I ask, "Who's saying prayers?", KNOWING that he will, every night, say, "Daddy, YOU say 'em." And so he does. And then, as soon as J finishes, Jack then says, "Mommy, now YOU say 'em." And I do. And every night I finish my prayer with a hopeful, "and help us all get a great night's sleep so we can have a great day tomorrow. Amen."

And then Jack asks, "Mommy, can we sing a song?"

"Yes, Jack, what would you like to sing?"

"King of Wonders. You sing it, Mommy, and you sing it, Daddy."

"Okay, Jack, but you sing it, too."

"King of Wonders, we stand amazed. There's no other, other than you. King of wonders, you know the way to our hearts. And the more we see, the more we love you." Every night.

"Mommy, can you please sing 'O, be careful'?"

"Sure, Jack. O be careful little feet where you go; O be careful little feet where you go. For the Father up above is looking down with love; o be careful little feet where you go." And every night, it is the only acceptable verse of the song. But it sure is a good one...

"Night night, buddy. I love you so much." And sometimes, just like my Pud, I'll add, "Sleep big like a pig and large like a barge!".

It could all change without warning tomorrow night. But for now, it fits just right.




Sunday, September 12, 2010

SMALL GROUP(S)!!!

I LOVE our church for many, many reasons. However, one of the tip-top ones is how amazing (and effective) our small groups are...they truly are the way to make our GINORMOUS church feel smallish, and help people feel connected in an otherwise overwhelming crowd. And to top it off, life-change is truly happening there. We've seen friends experience community (and in some ways, family!) in ways they have never experienced it before, all while growing closer to God and each other...and improving marriage/parenting/exercise/hunting/biking/bible study/whatever topic of choice may be.

However, J and I were a little hesitant about getting involved at first...we have been a part of slightly less than effective small groups in the past (and a couple of really great ones!), but didn't want to rush into it. Well, 2 years later, not only are we a part of small groups, but we are also leading them! This semester we are co-leading "Experiencing God's Dream for Your Marriage" with a FABULOUS other couple we're just getting to know. There are 10 couples in our group and so far we are really having a great time together (even though technically Jason hasn't been there yet since he left for Africa the day before we started!). We co-led "Love and Respect" last Spring and God really did great things in our marriage; we're excited about what He has in store for us this Fall!

I'm also co-leading "Running for Beginners." My friend and I are helping non-runners get introduced to the awesomeness of running by using the "Couch to 5k" program. Not only that, some of us are planning on sticking with the training through the winter and are running in a half-marathon (or 2!) in the spring. I am LOVING this group!! We've got 14 people training, and so far they are really getting into it. The program has 3 days/week training plan, and we are meeting on Sundays to do the day 3 regimen of each week together. Also, we've created an email list, so, for example, if you know you're planning on doing day 2's run on Thursday at 6 pm, you could email the group and see if anyone is interested in going, too...and so far, it's working great! I've yet to do a training run by myself; and I've already made a couple of new friends! SO fun!

Well, one of my sweet friends and group members asked me for my running playlist about 2 months ago. Being the wonderful procrastinator that I am, HERE IT IS!

Arise Highlands Worship
Rain Your Glory Highlands Worship
No Reason to Hide Hillsong
You Are Here/The Same Power (I skip this one if I'm on a hill!) Hillsong
General Dispatch
Our Love is Loud David Crowder
O Praise Him David Crowder
No One Like You David Crowder
Undignified David Crowder
I Saw the Light David Crowder
...neverending... David Crowder
Come Awake (also skippable!) David Crowder
You Are My Joy David Crowder
Happy Day Fee
Desire Phil Wickham - Singalong
True Love Phil Wickham - Singalong
Anytime Eve 6
We Shine Fee
Ants Marching Dave Matthews
So Much to Say Dave Matthews
Jessica Allman Bros
Blue Sky Allman Bros
Hangin Around Counting Crows
Highest and Greatest Eddie Kirkland
Statesboro Blues Allman Bros
Sing, Sing, Sing Chris Tomlin
Something Beautiful Need to Breathe
Our God is Love Hillsong Live
Your Name High Hillsong United
Say, Say Kristian Stanfill
Like a Lion David Crowder

Happy Running! :)


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

NEWSFLASH!


WE HAVE AN ALL-NIGHT SLEEPER. I REPEAT: AN ALL-NIGHT SLEEPER.

Actually, we have 2 of them. But last week, we decided it was time for sleep bootcamp for Will...and he passed with flying colors. I waited several nights to write this just to make sure it wasn't a fluke, but alas, I think there is rest once again in the Chandler household. Glory. I feel like a new person. Now, if I could just get Jason to go to bed before midnight...

And Will had a haircut shortly after this was taken...I promise that he doesn't look so much like a ragamuffin now.

Have a great week!

p.s. Jack turned THREE on Sunday! More on that to come. Jason's leaving town next month for a couple of weeks, so hopefully I can update on all the summer happenings in all that spare time I'll have. :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Signs of Life...


I have always been a list-maker, a planner, and an (occasionally OCD'ed) organizer of my time. It is how I survived high school and college. I gained satisfaction and perhaps an ounce of self-worth from seeing my neat lists and I am almost ashamed by the amount of joy I got by putting a perfect little check mark next to completed items (and an "x" next to things that got bumped to next week or needed crossing off the list all together...that's where the "OCD" might come in).

However, I learned very early on in this trip called motherhood that flexibility is the key to maintaining one's sanity (what's left of it after 4 years of running a youth ministry, anyway!). I can be cruising right through my day and "to do" list and then, out of no where, BAM...I might be headed out the door when a child "blaps" all down the front of me. And him. And his carseat. And somehow into his diaper bag. Or a bad night of baby's sleep totally throws off his nap schedule...and our fun day that I had planned for us the night before. Or he decides the car/grocery store/shirt/lunch/park/etc isn't the right temperature/store/texture/taste/location/etc. And while I am no push-over, his timing and decision to throw a tantrum can be less than, shall we say...optimal.

So, awhile back I was riding out in the county and saw this road sign. I feel that it sums up some of our days nicely...

Thank goodness for tomorrows. :) And I wouldn't trade this journey, complete with it's sinkholes, for anything else in the world.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

We live, we learn...

I took Jack and Will for haircuts this afternoon (mistake 1). By myself (mistake 2). Will went first (mistake 3) and was a perfect (wiggly) angel. Then, since Jack started pitching a fit, we let him pick where he wanted to sit for his haircut (mistake 4) - he chose the stroller. To keep Will content (and to hopefully let Jack see the reward of behaving), Will got a sucker (mistake 5) AND a popsicle (mistake 6). Jack screamed so loudly, I ended up holding him. To try to appease him so she could finish up his hair, the sweet lady gave HIM a sucker and popsicle (mistakes 7, 8 and 9). Now, the stroller, me, and 2 sticky boys are completely covered in hair and stickiness.

We got in the car to come home, and as we were leaving Jack stated, "Now, that wasn't so bad, was it?!".

I'm hoping to be able to laugh about this once my blood pressure returns to normal...and their haircuts DO look good, if I may say so myself.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My budding artist...

Jack just informed me that he is going to color a picture of "his Sarah."

All I've got to say is that this picture better be of a lovely young mom with short brown hair and 2 adorable little boys or there will be TROUBLE! Otherwise, who is this Sarah coming into my son's life, taking control of his creative mind and markers?!

I'll keep you posted.

OH WAIT. He just changed his mind and said he's going to draw a picture of a gun and a Wiggle (aka Wii) game. Random side note: is the idea of a gun just a part of the male DNA?! I have NO idea where he has learned about them.

I will post a picture of the outcome. Given the subject matter, it should be good.

Either way, my Gram would be proud of her great-grandson's commitment to quality artwork.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Note-worthy

In my attempt to keep my promise of never going a whole month without posting to the bloggity-blog, I feel that tonight, The Rocket offered the perfect opportunity to break my silence:

Jack, my precious, 2.82 year-old, 30-pound sweetheart of a picky little eater, out-ate his strapping, handsome (full-grown male) Daddy. Legitimately. I was not home to witness it, but allegedly Jack ate 4.5 pieces of pizza, to Jason's 3.5. Just for the record, that's over half of the pizza. The kid won't touch a happy meal, but if lasagna or pizza (or lettuce with caesar dressing!?) is in the room, WATCH out.

I would like to take a moment to offer a special thank you to Domino's pizza for taking the past 50 years to perfect your recipe to bring it to the perfect liking of The Rocket. And his Gigi will be buying stock in your company soon and attempting to master your recipe, I am sure, as she is convinced that her precious first-born grandson "just doesn't eat enough. [She]'s just concerned, that's all."


On a more serious note, we have had a rough couple of weeks and I am still processing a LOT. If the next few posts aren't exactly the entertainment that you've gotten accustomed to, please don't give up on us (As long as there is a Jack Chandler in my house, there will be more funny posts to come). Also, I started a post several weeks ago about Jack's near-drowning incident...and I promise I will finish it. At some point.

And lastly, I feel the need to summarize like I did for the month of May...

Another month in review:
Eh. Scratch it. Nothing new or too note-worthy to really report from the month of June...other than: I started a new job last week! Woohoo! We love our church and have since we first walked through the front doors a year and a half ago. At that time, I swore to myself that I would NOT ever consider going on staff there (or possibly, at any other church), as it had been made clear that being a stay-at-home-mom was IT for me. And here I am, so excited about being in ministry with SUCH incredible people that I can barely sleep (in luck on that one...Will must be so excited about it, too, that he apparently can't sleep either)! I have loved seeing God work ginormously in the lives of, well, everyone who comes to our church. I am honored, humbled and just flat-out excited to have been asked to be a part of the ministry team there. I love the "Dream Teamers" that I am so blessed to work with each week in Highlands Kids, people go above and beyond EVERY week to make each Sunday amazing for the kids that are entrusted to us while their parents attend worship. I look forward to being able to pour into them in the days and months to come and can't wait to see what God will do!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Perspectives


So, at church on Sunday I made a quick pit-stop in the ladies' room before heading into the service. As soon as I walked in, I immediately realized I was given a front-row seat for a conversation between 2 sweet grandmamas talking about their precious grandbabies (being in the restroom, I feel the need to clarify the "front-row seat" is figurative; don't worry, I had the door closed). Anyway, they were chatting away about the precious children learning how to share. One of them was going on and on about how her precious 2-year old grand-daughter would walk up to her younger sibling (presumably a baby), and announce that the baby wouldn't share, so she would snatch the toy out of the baby's hand and walk around continuing her announcement about the baby not sharing, all the while cradling the toy.
And the 2 grandmamas thought it was the funniest, cutest thing.

However, being the mom of a precious 2-year old myself, my blood pressure rose just picturing that situation in my house! OH! How hard we work at teaching Jack to share, and love on Bebe Will, and to find another toy and how he can have the one Will is playing with in just 5 minutes. And how snatching is WRONG. And it's infuriating when he just doesn't get it (or remember) and he makes another child howl. Maybe HIS sweet grandmamas are a bit more gracious than his mommy and find it cute and precious...I guess it's all about perspectives.

Another example: Anything that didn't happen in the past 30 minutes Jack refers to it as happening yesterday. I can try and try to explain, but at some point I have just learned to embrace it and say, "Yep. Yesterday. It snowed at Jack's house yesterday." (I WISH!)

And at my Beth Moore bible study group last night (that ROCKS, by the way - the incredible ladies and the material - I LOVE it!), we ended up talking some about conflict resolution...and how perspective can change everything. I think sometimes I'm really great at the whole empathy thing...imagining what it might be like for the other person and how they must feel. But at times, I truly suck at it (and what makes it worse, when I get to that point, I sometimes don't really even care!).

So my prayer has become this: Lord, give me YOUR vision for people. Let me view them as you do. Help me take off the part of me that can be an embarrassment to You and a hindrance to others. And show me how to LOVE.

It's all a matter of perspectives.

And oh, what I would give for 5 minutes of THIS right now... (by the way, this house can be yours! Just pay the $249,000 HOA dues for the awesome pool and we'll throw this house in for FREE!)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Quick Recap

Dear readers (all 3 of you...),

I am alive. And I promise not to take a month-long vacation again. It really has been a crazy month, but it's truly pathetic that I didn't even take 5 minutes to record SOMETHING to the bloggity blog. So, for memory's sake, here's a brief recap of the month...and as a heads' up, you might hear more about some of the stories in the next few posts.

May:
9 Mother's Day: I told J not to spend a dime due to the fact that I was about to get the next 2 weekends away...but he still surprised me with breakfast in bed, bottled Coke (otherwise known as amazingnessinaglassbottle), and Buffalo Wildwings...plus getting to spend it with my amazing husband, 2 precious babies AND at church. EXCELLENT day.

11 Jack's last day of Mrs. C's class! So sad! He had an incredible semester in her class and I'm SO thankful for the experience (and a few mornings of grocery store trips without a toddler). :)

12 - 16 BEACH!!!! With several friends...and not a single child in sight (between the group of us, there were 24 little ones left at home with daddies - and they all survived!). One of my favorite parts of this trip (besides the incredible company, awesome conversations, snow crab for every meal, and perfect weather) was that I got to sleep ALLLLL NIGHT LONG. 4 nights in a row....that's literally a first since I was pregnant with Jack (which was over 3 years ago, just for the record). Huge shout-out to J, my mom and J's mom for helping to make this getaway possible!

21 - 23 BEACH AGAIN!! This time, with the girls from my mom's side of the fam...my mom, sister, 2 aunts and 2 of my 3 cousins from that side of the family. Again, great company, lots of laughs, great food and perfect weather...but Will got to come on this trip (I just couldn't leave J with BOTH boys 2 weekends in a row). I tried very, very hard not to feel guilty about the beach time I got without J and the Rocket. But MAN, it sure was nice!

22 Jack almost drowned. Seriously. I will definitely be blogging on this later. Let me just summarize with this: God is faithful. And sovereign. And definitely still working on J and me over the whole ordeal.

So, those were just a few of the things that stand out. There were so many funny stories, laughs, things learned and messages that I felt God was shouting at me all month...sorry I'm too sleep-deprived to remember most of them. For the things that are still running through my mind, I PROMISE to not wait another month to write about them.

Love,
Me.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

When it rains...


It pours.

I feel that I should be getting a frequent visitor reward at Dr. Greer's office. Or at least have a revolving door with my name gold-plated over it. Seriously. As we walked in yesterday, I told the receptionist that we were there for our weekly check-in. I know that having 2 precious little ones in "school" at least once a week is asking for germs to latch right on and wreck havoc in our house (Jack goes to Ms. C's class on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I take them both to Children's Day Out on Wednesdays so I can go to Bible study, plus of course church on Sundays). But this is getting old!

Four weeks ago Jason took Jack to the doctor (of course, I was convinced it was an ear infection). Turns out that both J AND Jack actually had strep. Thankfully Will and I were clear. However, since Will is so young, Dr. Greer put him on antibiotics as a preemptive strike. Thanks to the meds, Will ended up at Dr. Greer's office a couple of weeks ago with thrush (again, I was SURE it was an ear infection...somehow I had TOTALLY missed the funkiness in his mouth).

Well, last week the runny noses started back up. Will and Jack seem to be passing it back and forth, but in typical Jack fashion, his came with an extra dose of fussiness...and you guessed it! I immediately blame his ears. However, we took a HUGE step towards big-boyhood: he woke up crying Tuesday morning (at 5 am - ugh) and said, "Mommy, this ear hurts." Not only was I right, but he can finally pinpoint and name the problem! Life just got a little easier.

I was able to get him in to see Dr. Greer that afternoon. SO very thankfully, his buddy JP's mom, Mrs. D, lent us their portable dvd player to take with us...typically I'm not a fan of those, but 2 fussy babies in a waiting room has a way of shifting perspectives. :) Jack used to do fine going to see the doctor, but he was slightly less than thrilled to be there on Tuesday. We barely had to wait at all (another blessing!) and they took us right back. Jack was verrrrrrrry whiny (I guess waking up at 5 am and having an ear ache will do that to a 2-year old!), but I was thankful for the distraction of the movie.

However, when Dr. Greer came in, Jack was too aware of what was probably about to happen, so the movie lost his attention. Dr. Greer, in an attempt to win Jack over, pulled out his iphone...complete with the iFart app. Jack was (THANKFULLY) unfazed by the completely inappropriate noises and continued to cry. We decided to go ahead with me just holding him tightly while Dr. Greer checked him out and confirmed the TERRIBLE ear infection. As soon as Dr. Greer got his instruments put away, Jack calmed down and even smiled a little before we left. The whole way to the pharmacy, he and I talked about how God gave us Dr. Greer to help him feel better and that he was going to get us some medicine to fix that ear ache.

Fast forward to tonight: J and I were saying bedtime prayers with Jack, and we've started this new thing where Jack asks us to "help" him say them (we say a line and he repeats it). Once we finished, Jack said he wanted to thank "Our God" (compliments of the Chris Tomlin song) for Dr. Greer. I said, "That's right! He looks at your ears and God told him how to make you feel all better and what kind of medicine you need!". Jack paused for a minute and then stated, "And he taked out his phone. And he pooped."

J and I burst out laughing at the randomness...and then I remembered the iphone and Dr. Greer's app.

That was about 20 minutes ago, and I can hear Jack back in his room still repeating that conversation and laughing. While I thoroughly am enjoying the ability to share a great laugh with my child, I pray that the topic might get a bit more, ahem, civilized in the years to come.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

ALIVE

I did some quick calculations the other day (no small feat for one who hasn't slept in several years), and realized that I've had a parasite for 3.5 years. Between being pregnant and nursing, my body hasn't been my own since December 2006...and in case you're wondering, that was a LOOOONG time ago. Now, add to the exhaustion of having another person literally depend on you for their livelihood the fact that the precious parasites seem to have an aversion to (night-time) sleeping and that one of them is a VERY busy 2 year old = I am BEYOND exhausted. Everyday. I gave up on my attempts of coherent thoughts about 2 years ago, but also know that this, too, shall pass...and have even somewhat embraced the fact that I will, at some point every night, unconsciously stumble into the nursery, pick up a screaming baby, and fall back into deep slumber in a glider/rocker/recliner/tasteofheaven for at least 1-2 hours, resulting in an even more tired state the next morning. It's actually quite a nasty cycle of sleep deprivation.

But thanks to my fabulous, thoughtful, self-sacrificing Momma, I got glorious sleep last night: 8 hours uninterrupted! And not only did J and I have a great time with our small group, but I also got to do something this morning that I rarely get to enjoy: ride alone in my car! And while I confess that having a minivan all to myself seems a bit superfluous (a nice little convertible would suit me MUCH better), I love being able to crank up the music, roll down a window or two...and worship. With all I've got. Hillsong United, Highlands worship, the new Passion recording. LOVE it. I had 45 perfect minutes in the car alone on my way to get the babies, and I enjoyed it for all that it was worth.

However, there are 2 fun little aspects of having Jack in the car that I miss when he's not there. Everyday, I play "Name That Tune" and lose. That's right; every time Jack hears a new song, he'll ask about 14 times what the name of the song is while it's playing...and I willingly oblige him, knowing that he will remember it well enough that he'll NEVER have to ask again. And not only that, within hearing about 3 seconds of a learned song, he can tell you not only the title of it, but also what song comes next on the album. It's awesome...and fantastically he does NOT ask for children's music, but is happy with my favorites. Win-win.

The other fun (and occasionally annoying) thing about having Jack in the car is that he has an impeccable sense of direction. Example: last Sunday evening, we went out S. College Street to have dinner at a friend's house who have a little boy named Finn. Everyday since, every time we've gotten on any part of College Street (it's about 10 miles long, and we live at the far North end of it), Jack has accurately pointed in the right direction and said, "Finn's house that way." He can correctly guide us towards the football stadium, church, Pop's house, Gigi's house, school, Winn-Dixie, the lake (Lake Martin!), James' house (280 West to Bham), Tiger Town and TCBY. He can direct you to the neighborhood pool, his buddy JP's house and to Chick-fil-a. One smart cookie.

In conclusion, if I could get at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night, I think I could take over the world with my productivity...or at least conquer my seemingly unending "to do" list. With a little sleep, I feel productive, sociable, motivated and, well, smarter. Maybe one day...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Beach highlights/camping edict

A couple of weeks ago, we decided rather last-minute-ish to head to Orange Beach for a few nights. J had a conference Sunday - Wednesday, so we thought it would be "fun" to take the boys down on Saturday to spend the day on the beach, camp out that night and then head to the resort on Sunday to spend the night, and then the boys and I would come home on Monday. In the heat of the moment, I seem to have forgotten one VERY important thing we learned at our marriage conference a few months ago: go ahead and call family camping trips what they are: planned disasters that you'll enjoy laughing at (later) for years to come.

I think this trip qualifies.

We weren't even out of town yet, and we realized several things:
1. Two year olds can take Zyrtec (allergies show no mercy).
2. The DMV does NOT send reminders about licenses expiring (don't worry, I discovered Jason's September - LAST September, 8th to be exact - expiration date before the law could get involved.) Jason was the proud winner of a weekend chauffeur (which is code for, "I had to drive all weekend").
3. While Dramamine can be dissolved in juice, you canNOT make a 2-year old drink said juice.
4. It's possible to squeeze a 4-hour car ride into 6.

And a few other highlights:
1. Will hates camping. Either that, or he hates having thrush, which, unbeknownst to me, he had. As the old adage goes, "hindsight is 20/20." Usually to keep him from crying in the night, I just have to nurse him...and every time I tried while camping, he just screamed louder. I took him to the doctor the following Tuesday (I was sure the screaming was due to an ear infection) and was enlightened to the truth...which, of course, explained everything.
2. Be nice to everyone. In one 1-hour period, we helped jump-start a car, lent a diaper, had someone get Jack's fishing pole cut out of the wrapping, and ran into my old supervisor from Surfside Water Park...who lives in California now but happened to be parking at the same public beach access as us - he was there for pictures for his sister's wedding. What are the odds?! Oh, and to make the story even better, his name is Chuck Berry. Seriously. Awesome.
3. Two year olds might refuse to carry their own shoes and sippy cups, but when sand toys and fishing poles are involved, their arms are more than capable and willing.
4. Restaurants serve you faster when you have 2 fussy babies along.
5. Sippy cups dropped from the 5th floor balcony that land in the top of a palm tree CAN be retrieved, provided that you have the proper pool equipment.
6. Given a determined (and exhausted) mommy (and a 2-year old who drank the juice with dramamine), a car ride that took 6 hours 2 days previous can, indeed, be done in 4 hours.

And lessons learned from 2 camping attempts:
I will NOT go camping with my children until they are all over the age of 2, sleeping soundly through the night for at least 1 year, and all in good health. The outside evening temperature must above 55 but below 73, with less than a 40% chance of rain. Having friends along and a cool breeze would be nice, but are negotiable. Neighboring tents (and their dogs) must be a minimum of 50 yards away, and there must be a nearby hotel that is reasonably priced and not at 100% capacity at time of camping attempt.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Shoes

Those of you who know me well know that I have more running shoes in my closet than I have dress shoes/heels/girly shoes...and there's a pretty good chance my number of flip-flops beats out the number of running shoes. And while I am learning (just a few years late) how to be fashionable from head to toe, I've just always preferred function over form. So, to say that Jack comes by it honestly is an understatement! Which explains the following...

The other day, Gigi took our little family out to lunch. While there, she mentioned that she just bought some new tennis shoes. Jack thought about it for a minute, and then informed us that HE needs some new tennis shoes. Knowing that we had just gotten Jack some New Balances a couple of weeks ago, Gigi informed him that he doesn't need new tennis shoes; he has some! Very quickly Jack replied, "These aren't TENNIS shoes, Gigi. They are RUNNIN' shoes. I need tennis shoes." Smart kid...he knows the right tree to bark up to get new things. Ha!

Jack currently has 2 pairs of shoes: his "campin' shoes" (Keen sandals) and his runnin' shoes. If anyone is getting married anytime soon, don't worry - we'll go with the New Balances (they are MUCH nicer). :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

bears repeating (and recording)

So, I posted this on Facebook, but I want it in this reliable keeping place. :)

Saturday morning, Jack pointed and said, "What's that, Mommy?" I responded,"That's called an ottoman, Jack. It's where you can prop your feet up." Jack's response? "Oh, just like a friend."

Dear Jack's friends,
I'm sorry.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Sunday. (not for the weak of stomach)

Jack throws up. A lot. I'd say at least once a month, he's tossing his cookies...no warning, no hints, just all of the sudden here it is. If we're lucky, he's outside or on the hardwood floors. We've learned how to quickly disassemble his carseat, how to get the stink out of the couch, and even been given the tip of having a couple of layers of bottom sheets and mattress protectors to make bedtime hurls easier to clean up. However, I'd say the biggest inconvenience of it all is the "waiting game" for the few hours after each episode to ensure it's just Jack being Jack and not a stomach bug...like the one passing through Auburn the past few weeks.

Well, Easter Sunday rolled around and our church had five identical services for Easter. Adopting the motto, "Attend one, serve one," J and I decided to attend the 8 am and serve the 9:30. We weren't sure exactly what areas we would serve in (SOOO thankful J wasn't in the band all day!), but decided we would just show up, knowing there would probably be holes to fill.
To get to church by 8:00, we knew we had to shoot for leaving the house by 7:30 to hopefully be out by 7:40. Wellllllll, I was feeding Bebe quickly before putting him in his carseat when I heard "the sound" coming from the kitchen. Within 7 seconds, I had thought through the morning and knew J was ready to walk out the door, Bebe was ready to be loaded up, and Jack and I were going to be going NO WHERE, at least for a few hours. J and Will went to the 8 am service and I got to attend the 11:15 with my friend A...we decided not to risk it with Jack, especially since we knew the nursery would be crowded.
We had a wonderful afternoon outside in the back yard as a family - I'm SO thankful for the temperature being in the upper 70s this early in the Spring! Our dog Maddie has been TERRIBLY neglected since we had children, so I know she was happy to have us back there with her.

At 4 pm, there was a baptism service at the church. An incredible guy from our small group had made the decision to be baptized...and what's even more awesomer* is that Brandon, our co-leader of our small group, was the one who got to baptize him! J and I were so excited about being a part of the special service. We knew there wouldn't be nursery provided for it, but also figured it wouldn't be a big deal to keep the kids with us. After that, I was supposed to help with Highland Kids at the 7 pm service, but they had WAY over-staffed that area, so I got to end my day grabbing snowbiz with 2 of the coolest chicks I know - love me some Thomas girls! :)

All in all, I say it was a great day! I wish Jack could keep his food in his tummy, that Will's collar would have laid down better and that J and I could have attended worship together. But I LOVE Jesus. And that even though our church does an incredible job of weekly acknowledging the hugeness of the cross, I love that the world takes a few hours to do so, as well. As my friend Taylor's husband sings, "My God's not dead. He's surely alive! And He's living on the inside, roaring like a lion." So thankful.

*My post = my grammar. :)

EASTER!!

With Christmas, we were SO intentional about talking to Jack about why we were celebrating ...you know, keeping the "Main Thing" the main thing. After talking about it for awhile and conferring with friends who also have young children, we decided it was good to help our kids realize that Christmas is actually one time of the year that's NOT about them. And as a part of that, J and I have decided to be upfront with our children about Santa (Easter Bunny, etc.) not being real, but how it's fun to pretend that they are (my apologies to anyone who is just finding out this truth). :) Following the example of Christ, we want Christmas to be about us giving as a family, and hopefully maybe even be able to do mission trips some during Christmas when the children are a little older.

Anyway, I realized the Tuesday before Easter that we had done NOTHING to introduce Jack to the idea of Easter - which isn't a small task. How do you explain life, death, resurrection and eternal life to a 2-year old? Short answer: for the most part, you don't. However, I also realized that he HAD learned about Easter eggs at school since they were going to have an Easter egg hunt the following Thursday...and we definitely wanted him to know that there was more to it than just eggs and candy! After heading to the local Christian bookstore, I found a couple of little books to help explain it all.

After reading one of them (over and over and over...), Jack is now walking around saying,"What the angel say? Angel say, 'Don't be afraind! (Jack's version of "afraid") Don't cry! Jesus IS ALIVE!'" And he wraps up his monologue with a,"And what Jesus say? Jesus say, 'I LOVE you! Tell E'erbody!'".

Not a bad start to Jack "getting" it, I reckon.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Just needs recording...

There's a chance that no one cares about the following notes except my mom and me, so please feel free to totally skip this post...again, this blog was created so that in 20 years I can remember the (occasionally not-so-)cuteness. :)

Cute:
When Jack started preschool, I'm pretty sure they spent the first day teaching him how to pull his sleeves up (with a possible side-lesson of handwashing). All I know is that since January, all of his long-sleeve shirts have cuffs with ruined elastic in them. Well, shortly after all that started, his Gigi got him some jammies that have a short-sleeved shirt - he LOOOOVES them. And now that it is short-sleeved shirt weather, getting him dressed every morning is going MUCH more smoothly. I guess with all the jumping and running that he does in a 24-hour period, he was probably getting pretty toasty. On a side note, I've decided that I'm going to follow Jack with a video camera for a couple of days and then sell it as a work-out video...I could make millions and rid America of its obesity problem.

Cute:
Speaking of Jack running and jumping, I can tell that Will THINKS he is big like his brother. Today, Jack was playing his drum (thanks SOOO much for the drumsticks, Gigi*) and dancing and singing. Every time he would start singing, Will would start bouncing in my lap and trying to wiggle to get down. And every time Jack stopped (presumably to breathe occasionally?), Will stopped, too. I think it's just a matter of time before Will joins the band, though - he is officially an independent sitter now!
To top it off, we're figuring out that Will can't sit in our lap while we are eating or drinking ANYthing due to his desire to take ownership of our food/drinks...I just don't remember Jack ever doing that. However, I think we are being MUCH more lenient with what we're willing to let him try than we ever were with Jack (example: Will apparently loves Mellow Mushroom...at least their crust!).

(*Anyone interested in a pair of drumsticks with a little bit of life left in them? They are free and available to a good, loving, too-quiet home!)

NOT Cute:
Jack likes to suck on food. Or at least that's the only reason that I can come up with for him NOT swallowing his food. The other night, he chewed (that's not accurate; he stuck inside his lip like it was chewing tobacco!) the same bite of chicken for THREE HOURS.

GROSS. I told him that by that point, he wouldn't even have to chew it to get it to go down! Last night, it started out being a piece of pork chop that sat in his mouth for awhile, but we enticed him into swallowing that by offering him some "salad" (code for Jack getting to dip lettuce in a little dressing, only to have him suck the dressing off and dip the same piece of lettuce back in the dressing). I give up. Thanks to some wise advice from some friends that have gone down this path before us, from now on he WILL be spitting out the food if it stays in his mouth for more than a couple of minutes...control has to be maintained somehow! :) I'm just thankful that he is willing to eat lettuce at all.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tales from the Schoolyard...

When I picked Jack up from school on Tuesday, Ms. C wanted to know where Jack learned to sucker-punch...turns out he had punched a kid named Drew in his class. And not just an, "oops, my fist must of slipped," but she said he even had his fists up like Rocky, looking for a fight. She assured me that it wasn't out of frustration or anger, but he was having a great time looking for a rousing game of punch-you-in-the-face. I am STILL trying to figure out where he learned to do that; I do not want to be the parent of "THAT kid" in school. We have been teaching him that he is a warrior (for Jesus!) and he and J wrestle every now and then, but never with fists up in the air like that, and we tell him over and over that he ONLY hits daddy. Should I be concerned?!

Oh! And to make the story even worse, turns out the kid he punched was a GIRL (who names a little girl DREW?). Ay carumba.

On a lighter note...all during Spring Break, Jack kept talking about Taylor from school. Wanting to know more about this new bff, I started asking questions (and then remembered that Jack is 2, which means he only asks questions, not answers them). However, I ran across a picture of his class that I took a couple of weeks ago and I asked him to point Taylor out. Without hesitation, he pointed to a precious little girl. Hmm. I decided to ask the obvious. "Jack, is Taylor a girl?" His response (mingled with TONS of giggles): "NO, Mommy! Taylor's a BOY!" After asking several times and getting the same response, I had no choice but to laugh and move on.
Well, when I told Jason about it later, he assured me that Jack's just too young to know the difference between boys and girls...so, I tested him. Jack definitely knows what gender family members belong to (Jason's defense was that he has seen us all naked - ha!). I decided I just had to wait to ask Ms. C when Jack went back to school the next week. Turns out, Jack definitely had been pointing to the right kid in the picture and Taylor IS a girl. Poor Jack. He is standing by his claim that little Miss Taylor is a boy, though. But I can see why he likes her! This morning at his class's little Easter chapel/egg hunt/party, she came right up to him in the sand box, handed him a shovel and scoop and helped him (wordlessly) fill up a dump truck. Jack's kind of girl.



Sunday, March 28, 2010

Where does the time go?!


It is UNREAL how fast time seems to fly by sometimes. Growing up, a week seemed like an ETERNITY...and a year, well, no point in even trying to comprehend that. And it's one of those things I guess I've always heard, that time flies by faster the older you get, which makes sense. But I can hear cute little old ladies now, "My, how fast you are growing up!" and it always, and I mean ALWAYS got on my nerves; I dreamed of - but never dared to - responding with a, "What did you expect me to do?".
But here I am. Call me an old lady. But my boys are growing up SO fast! Will turned 6 months old on Wednesday. And I feel like I've totally missed all 6 months of it, even though I've had a front row seat for it. It feels like it was just yesterday he looked like that precious baby to the left. So, I am vowing now to be more intentional every day to soak up his precious little personality, to remember (and take more pictures!) of his perfect little round cheeks and sparkly eyes that are a part of his continuous smile, and to savor his sweet, easy laugh; to not wish away those wee morning hours of falling
asleep with him in my arms in the rocking chair (again); and to perhaps dream less of his independence and mobility (this whole "put-him-down-and-he-stays-where-you-put-him" thing definitely has its benefits). Before I know it, he, too, will be asking if it's Thursday yet(because in Jack's mind, that's the one day that he goes to school), saying, "Let ME do it," and taking off with his besties Leland and Livi (his 2 best new friends who were born this past month!) as soon as we hit the church door, like Jack loves to do with Cameran and Jaylen.

And while he's a *little* irritable with teething (still waiting on the first one, but we're hopeful), and frustrated when he's sitting up but has a hard time remembering how to stay that
way, I remind myself that this, too, shall pass. And quite honestly, I wouldn't trade a day of it for anything.









Wednesday, March 24, 2010

For the records...and a confession of sorts

When Will was a newborn, he sounded like a pterodactyl (according to J, anyway...I personally have no history of hearing or knowing what one sounds like). Anyway, I called him my "squeaky Will" because, well, he was squeaky. He never cried(still doesn't much), but just made precious little noises all the time. So much so, in fact, he squeaked his way out of the bassinet in our room into his nursery within just a couple of weeks of moving in.

Around the same time, I noticed that at night I could hear Jack on the baby monitor in his room making an awful, shrill noise. However, (like at the end of most days) I was just glad he was in his bed, in his room and not causing too big of a disruption, so I didn't stop him. Also at the same time, we were starting our "Growing Kids God's Way" small group and were learning about getting obedience "right away, all the way, happy way"...zero tolerance for the breaking of established rules, with the immediate consequence of a spanking. One of our said established rules was NO loud noises in the car (we had gone so far as to talk about how it could make mommy and/or daddy hurt us in the car and maybe even hurt other cars if Jack scared us while we were driving). Well, about a week after the shrill bedtime noises had started, Jack let one rip while we were flying down 280 from TigerTown. It scared the mess out of me, and since it was definitely a violation of our rules, I pulled over as fast as I could to spank his little leg and talk to him about why we don't make noises like that in the car (and preferably not anywhere!). As soon as I finished my diatribe, I pulled back on the road, satisfied that I had brought Jack into submission and that he had hopefully learned his lesson...and I also noticed that he was very quiet in the backseat. Then after a couple of minutes I heard a soft whisper coming from the backseat, and my precious toddler offered up this explanation in his sweet little voice for his misbehavior, "Squeaky Jack."

And that's how this unperceptive mommy lost her nomination for Mom of the Year, and "Jumpin' Jack" got HIS edifying nickname (that, and the fact that 97.7% of the time he's jumping).
video

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What next...or for that matter, what now?

A few years ago (actually, since it was pre-kids, it feels more like a lifetime ago), Jason and I had the opportunity to go to the Passion C0nference. For all of you traditionalists and/or non-church-goers out there, it is an INCREDIBLE 4-day worship experience for college students, their leaders (or, in our case, 20-somethings) desperately seeking an awesome encounter with our Creator. The country's (well, actually, the world's) top Christian musicians and speakers come together to help shape the next generation of believers into people who are passionately desiring to follow God in ALL that they (we) do.
Since at that time I was a youth minister, we were put into the small group for youth and college leaders (and by "small" group, I mean the 1000+ "grown-ups" who were there). Our leader was a short little Asian man named Francis Chan; not gonna lie, I was a little disappointed that we didn't have Louie Giglio or Chris Tomlin or one of the other "big" names leading us. However, within just a few minutes of Chan speaking, I couldn't have been more thankful for his leadership. He is a man who has been challenged (and is thus challenging) people to take God and His Word literally.
Well, since then, he's written 2 books...do yourself a favor and pick at least one of them up. I read "Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a relentless God" when it came out a couple of years ago and had just started re-reading it when Jason gave me his newest book, "Forgotten God: Reversing our tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit." I just finished it a couple of days ago, and let me tell you, I can't get past it. There are a couple of paragraphs that are haunting me, and I'm still trying to figure out what to do with them. Here they are...

"I don't want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit. I want people to look at my life and know that I couldn't be doing this by my own power. I want to live in such a way that I am desperate for Him to come through. That if He doesn't come through, I am screwed. (I probably shouldn't write that word here, but it's how I truly feel about this." (p. 142)
[I love his apology there at the end...that's for you, Mom and Pud. :)]

And the other is this:
"No matter where you live and what your days look like, you have the choice each day to depend on yourself, to live safely, and to try to control your life. Or you can live as you were created to live - as a temple of the Holy Spirit of God, as a person dependent on Him, desperate for God the Spirit to show up and make a difference. When you begin living a life characterized by walking with the Spirit, that is when people will begin to look not to you but to our Father in heaven and give Him the praise." (p. 156)

So there. I'm definitely still unpacking all this. I mean, bottom line, I'm still just a mom at home with 2 babies everyday. But the more I think and pray on this, I think there is so much more to LIFE than my perspective is able to allow me to grasp. However, I know that I am right where I need to be right now. I know that God has put certain people in my life that are needing Him, and therefore needing me in order to get them to Him. The verse Matthew 25:23 has been coming to mind a lot lately..."Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master's happiness." I might not be called to lead large groups of people (i.e. a youth group) right now, but I know that by making a difference NOW with the few that I have around me, God is being honored...but I'm almost scared to ask Him what more I/we can be doing.
Another thing learned from Chan's book: it is worthless to try to figure out what it might be/supposed to be like 5 years down the road, but I'm trusting Him to get me/us right to where we're needed most. And I'm so thankful for my church family, friends and family that are here to help shape and guide us on the journey. My prayer is that J and I are walking so closely with God that we will KNOW when we are being directed as He wills it.

And in separate news, Jack saw his swimsuit out and said, "Hey! That's Jack's swimmin' poot." I'm still debating whether or not to correct him...it's pretty stinkin' cute.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

BREAK!

So, HUUUUGE shout-out to Mom and Poppa J for allowing me (and I guess Jason - but I think he sleep most nights anyway) to catch up on some MUCH needed sleep last night...with an added bonus of getting to go to small group last night without having to rush home to pay a sitter. And not only did we have a great time hanging out with everybody last night until after 11, but I got to spend my afternoon doing very grown-up, single lady-type stuff like getting a pedicure and going shopping. All that, thrown in with a jog with J this morning + breakfast at Byron's before going to get the boys = new lease on life. I might even finish about 7 curtain panels today! (14 down, "only" 37 to go! But I promise, I'm getting my system down and it's going MUCH faster. I should have them done by Christmas. Just kidding. Easter.)

So, a couple of days ago Jack came up with a new nickname for Will. Not only am I at a loss as to where he learned the word, but I am not very fond of it and I find that it is somewhat offensive. Actually, I can practically hear my Mom saying now, "What would Pud say?!" (Pud, being my grandmother who is the epitome of Southern grace and style, is and will eternally be our family's gold standard for decency). So anyway, the other day in the car, Will started fussing a little bit. Jack, being the doting big brother that he is, attempted to soothe him by saying, "It's okay, Boogers. It's going to be okay. Awww, Boogers, don't cry." WHAT?! Boogers? Seriously?! I've even been afraid to use the word when I'm "getting something out of his nose," for fear that it would appear in just such contexts! I'm hoping this, too, shall pass. It reminds me of when Jason was watching "Tommy Boy" several months ago. He laughed out loud and quoted the old lady in the movie by saying, "That's when the whores come in!". Well, Jack loved it...and walked around several days saying, "Horse comes in!!!". After several days of me saying, "We do NOT say that word in our house" did I finally understand his look of bewilderment. Glad 2-year olds forget things quickly.

On our way for me to take the boys to meet mom yesterday afternoon, Jack got in a battle with an old cell phone that my mom had given him. It's a flip phone that he occasionally asks to have charged. After he played with it for a few minutes, he had pushed all the right buttons to make it start saying, "Say a command." Jack, being the obedient little boy that he is (which is said a bit "tongue in cheek"), tells the phone, "A command." However, it didn't seem to satisfy the recording of the nice lady in the phone who was placing the request, so she says it again. So, again Jack replies, "A command." It turned into a yelling match. Jack lost.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Blog, take 2

Confession:
About 4 years ago, I tried blogging. And to spare myself the humility, I will not be sharing the link to it...I thought I knew what I wanted to "sound like," and in doing so, rambled incoherently for a few weeks before giving up on the thing all together (posing sure is exhausting).

But there are so many days that I realize that I have 2 precious, hilarious kids - and NO record with which to remind myself of the cuteness on the days that they are acting, well, slightly less than precious. And since Jason promised me that 20 years from now of COURSE blogs will still be available for our viewing pleasure, I decided this is a "safe" place to put it all.

And I have also realized that sometimes I have deeper thoughts that just need sharing (or venting)...and because Jack doesn't always have the proper responses to my theologizing and philosophizing, this seems like a good fit. So, in all my spare time as a SAHM(between bon-bons and sips of my martini, of course), I'll try to figure out how to put some of my musings and revelations into the bloggityblog for your entertainment.

However, right now two 2-year olds are trying their absolute hardest to fit a toy into every corner of living space in my house. Guess I better go help.