Sunday, March 30, 2008

My Girls

I know this blog is intended as a place to share stories about my kids, but I wanted to take a break from that for a moment to share about some other special people in my life. My girls! I thought particularly my family might enjoy seeing and hearing about them since they've known all these girls for so many years.
My dear friend Jodie got married this weekend (oh, happy day!) and all of my best college girlfriends (plus one more recent addition) were there to celebrate the occasion. It was the first time we've all been together in one place, as babies, long distances, and various circumstances have prevented one or another from making it to every get-together. It was so wonderful to re-connect with friends who we see less often because they live far away and to spend some time catching up on everyone's lives. I was just lamenting about the lack of intelligent conversation days ago, and our time together certainly fulfilled that need and then some!! I'm pretty sure that the topic of breastfeeding never came up.
I have been thinking about all we've been through since meeting (most of us) 15 years ago. Most of us met as freshman at college, and the others we've picked up along the way.

Here we are 14-15 years ago...

Interesting facts about this group of 9 friends...

-I lived with 6 of them (at different times)

-5 have master's degrees

-we have 10 children (and 2 more on the way!)

-6 have been (or are currently) working moms

-5 are or have been teachers (only 2 in the same field)

-some are single, married, and married with kids

-we live in the midwest, south and on the west coast

-6 of us live within 10-20 minutes of each other

-we've been on "The Price is Right"

-we've been in, sung at and videotaped each other's weddings

-we all know the Lord and we pray for and encourage each other

These are my girls, and I love them dearly!

March 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Shameless Plug

My friend Laura (Sophie's buddy Lydia's mom) is a fabulous designer and has created and published a Baby's Record Book that puts all others I've seen to shame. I'm not big on pastels and teddy bears, and Laura's book is none of the above. It's got all the pages I want in a baby book (family tree, places for photos, milestones, etc.) with lovely, clean, modern designs. It's really the best baby book I've seen, both in function and aesthetics (hard to get both, I've found!). And Laura's got two different books: one for boys, and one for girls.

Maybe some of you have struggled to find just the right baby book also, or maybe you need a great baby gift for someone. Check out my friend Laura's "Baby's Record Book" in my new "Check This Out!" section to the left.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Life before kids

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of reading People magazine. (I know, that's kind of lame, but it's something brainless that I enjoy doing once in a while. Don't judge me.) Two different articles about two new celebrity moms stood out in the pages of gossip and ritzy clothes. Both moms, in the very first weeks of motherhood, referred to it as a "magical time." (Is her epidural still turned on???) One even said she can't remember what life was like before having her baby. That sounded like a bunch of "hooey" to me! I have been a mother now for a few years (twice even!), and I STILL remember what it was like before having a baby.

I Remember when...

-my pants were 2 sizes smaller
-I wore clean shirts (no drool on the shoulders)
-I ate what I wanted when I wanted to, and it was hot when I ate it and I didn't have to share
-I slept until I chose to get up
-I shared my bed with only one other person (Greg!)
-my shoes were size 8 (now they're 8 1/2)
-running an errand took only 20 minutes
-I went to the bathroom alone, and with the door closed
-I didn't care if the phone rang in the middle of the afternoon (nap time!)
-I could watch a whole rented movie in one sitting and without falling asleep
-our other bedroom was an office
-I carried only a purse, a small purse
-eating out did not mean at a place with slides and tubes

It took me a while to find the "magic" in motherhood. I felt badly about that at first because every other mother around me seemed to think it was the best thing ever. I mourned the loss of independence, intelligent adult conversations (about things unrelated to babies/breastfeeding/poop, etc.), and a sense of purpose. I don't feel badly about that anymore. That's just the way it was for me. Being a mom is hard. Especially in the beginning. But, in time, it did become "magical." And though some days I still mourn the things I remember, I wouldn't trade this magical time for anything.

A Few Magical moments...
-Sophie saying, "Thank you for the juice, Mom," unprompted
-Owen wiggling and reaching out for me when anyone else is holding him
-Sophie needing me to kiss an owie, even though Daddy already did it
-Owen smiling up at me from his bed when I go to get him up in the morning
-Sophie asking to sit on my lap and snuggle
-being the one who can get Owen to sleep if he's struggling
-being the fluent interpreter of my toddler's language
-waking up to a tiny hand whapping me in the eye
-Sophie saying, "Can you make the music louder, please?" unprompted
-watching princess movies for the first time with Sophie
-an "Owen kiss" (a.k.a. a lick on the face)


We celebrated Easter at Great Grandma C's house this year. Sophie got to dye eggs for the first time, which she thought was great. I forgot to bring appropriate attire for such an activity, so she wore Great Grandma's apron (and not much else) to get the job done. We made eggs for everybody...Owen, Grandpa, Jared, Chuck Norris. Yeah. Chuck Norris. That was Greg's request.

Owen got a new toy from Grandma & Grandpa--a Johnny Jump-Up. Sophie had loved hers as a baby, and Owen likes to bounce, so we thought he'd love one too. He's not loving it just yet, but we're hoping that with more practice, it'll be our new favorite toy.

Tracy taught Owen how to give a high-five. Good job, Owen! I mean, Tracy!

Uncle Bill is working hard to make sure that at least one of our children likes him.

Sophie was so excited that the Easter Bunny was going to visit Grandma's house and leave eggs for her to find. She ran all over the house collecting the eggs he'd left out for her.

We tried to talk with Sophie about the true meaning of Easter in preparation for celebrating (so she knows the reason we celebrate is not for the baskets and bunnies!). She and I were reading the story in her Bible one day and she asked about what the soldiers were doing to Jesus. I explained that they were being mean to Him and that He died. But, I explained, He came alive again. He's in heaven. Because He died and came alive and is in heaven, we can be in heaven with Him someday too. Sophie was serious for a moment and then asked," In how many sleeps?" I told her that I hoped it would be a lot of sleeps until then. Very seriously, she said, "Ohhh....I like princesses and ponies. And my favorite color is pink." Theology lesson over!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Princessy fun

We went to the big mall today to participate in a toddler event that was touted as a "Princess Party" with makeovers and "magical prizes." Sophie had a good-enough time, but I have to say I was disappointed in the event, as I have been with pretty much all other such events this mall has hosted. You would think that such a major location would have major events that are well planned and, well, major fun! There were two ladies putting nail polish and dusting hair sparkles onto the many little girls. Two! There were no prizes, magical or otherwise. And there wasn't even a princess, except for the many tiny ones who came for the big princess party. They did show the movie "Enchanted" on the big screen, the release day of which this party was advertising. Sophie would not allow the makeover ladies to touch her, and she wouldn't wear her paper crown, but she did love the movie! She sat on a carpet mat with other little friends to watch it.

Later, when I could peel Sophie away from the movie, we visited the Lego play area for a while, where Sophie climbed the Lego area more than she played with the Legos. Then we headed to a sit-down lunch, which I picked because kids eat free there today and being served sounded appealing. There were 7 kids/infants and 3 moms, so I don't really know how much eating got accomplished, either by the kids or the moms. The kids porked out on crackers that were on the table while waiting for their food, so by the time the food came, the kids were ready to play. We moms were in full-on crowd control mode most of the time, so we were hardly able to eat an uninterrupted bite and were too exhausted to finish anything ourselves.

All in all, I believe the kids had some fun today, and we moms got to get out of the house. But I think next time we'll leave the kids home with the dads and go to the mall on our own!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

My lovely family

Let's try that again...

One more time...

Oh, forget it!

First Big Bath

Owen took his first bath in the big bathtub this weekend with Sophie. Sophie was dragging her feet about taking her own bath until I suggested Owen get in with her. Then she was all for it! Owen stood on the sidelines with anticipation for a few minutes, and when he finally got to get in, he loved it! Sophie was excited too, and kept making exclamations like, "Look at his cracks!" Owen loved splashing the water with both hands and got pretty into it. At which point, Sophie, not so into it, started yelling, "Make him stop!" while water dripped down her face. We explained Owen was just learning about the water and having fun and that he didn't mind that his face was wet. "Get...him...out!" was her reply.
I got to go away for an overnight scrapbooking event with some church friends Friday night. I didn't actually do scrapbooking (blogging is as close as I get to that!), but a few other non-crafters and I had a good time anyway. While I was away, Greg and the kids were on their own! Greg took the kids to a nearby sporting goods store to hang out on Saturday morning. They invited Lydia and her dad and little brother to go along (you're welcome Laura!). The following pictures show what you do in a sporting goods store with 3-year olds...and dads.

Test out the equipment...and safety gear. Take rides on the escalator (or alligator, if you're Sophie).
And have sword fights with swimming noodles! Evidently the dads even got into the fun by receiving a few good "Dumb & Dumber" whacks to the back of the knees.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Latest Fun

We had Lydia, her mom and "Grew" (a.k.a. Drew) over to play today. The girls had fun blowing bubbles into the bathtub and playing dress up.
Owen had fun riding our little toy car yesterday. He could even hold on by himself. He thought it was especially fun when Sophie was helping to give him a ride. Until, while mommy was busy trying to take a picture, he fell off onto his head. Then the fun was over.

Sophie and I had to dash out of her room for a bathroom run, so we left Owen for a moment. When we returned, we found him eating her dress!
Owen has graduated into the crib in Sophie's room. Sophie has been so excited at bedtime that she won't let us close her door when we put her to bed. She stays awake waiting for Owen to be put to bed too.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Son of a Preacher-Man

Or daughter, as the case may be…

I have been studying the Old Testament book of First Samuel in a women’s Bible study at church each week, and I have been mulling over something that I learned and wanted to share…

Hannah was barren for years, and according to I Sam. 1: 5, “The Lord had closed her womb.” She cried out to God to give her a child, and ultimately she gave birth to Samuel, who became a great judge/leader of Isreal. In this study, we also looked into the stories of several other women in the Bible who were also barren and crying out to God to give them children. In one story, Genesis 30:22, it says, “God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb.”

(Now, all this is not to say that women struggling with infertility have only to pray to God for a child and that wish will be granted. Infertility is something I cannot understand or explain, and it hurts my heart for my dear friends who have this struggle. God, in His infinite wisdom, has purpose in that somehow. However, I brought these verses up to explain something else that is on my heart.)

Each woman that we studied had been infertile for years, yearning for a child. When they finally did give birth, according to the Lord’s purpose, timing and plan for their lives, they gave birth to majorly important children who had huge impacts on the history of Israel and Christianity in general. The births of those specific children were purposeful, not accidents, and certainly not just God giving in finally. There was a specific reason that each of those children was born at that time and not any sooner or later in history.

Another scripture we studied was Psalm 139:13-16: “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”

All this to say, I was awed by the lives of my own two beautiful children. Though Greg and I are planners and did our best to “plan” the approximate timing of Sophie and Owen’s births, God was ultimately responsible for their birthdays. He ordained when they would come into the world, and if, really. In His book are written the days that are ordained for them, when there weren’t any days to count yet. And God didn’t just randomly pick a day or a child; He chose a specific time in history specifically for Sophie and Owen to be, for some specific purpose that He has in mind. Amazing!

No child is an accident, even if we “weren’t being careful.” No child is disposable because it is unwanted or unplanned. God has a purpose for every life He weaves in a mother's womb. And the same goes for yours!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Copy Cat

I have started to notice Sophie repeating things that I evidently say quite often to her. Thank goodness I don't have a habit of saying "naughty" words! After announcing that she needs to go potty, she runs to the toilet saying, "Hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry!" and stands there dramatically breathing heavily until Greg or I help her. And as we've been putting her gloves on lately she's been telling me, "We've got to get going here," in an all too familiar tone. One other funny thing she's saying, and I don't know where it came from, is when she sits on the potty, she says she's going to go "petey." She also asked today if Owen could make a "push face" (something we were coaching her to do when she was having trouble pushing "it" out!).

Monday, March 3, 2008

Owen Gregory

Owen is getting so big! Today he weighed in at 17 pounds. He's loving his vegetables--green beans didn't faze him at all. He's gotten quite good at sitting up on his own in the last few days. I can set him down with a pile of toys and walk away for a few minutes; although I do still find him tipped over onto his back with his feet in the air periodically. Owen's new favorite pasttime is holding onto our fingers to stand up to bounce and wobble. He thinks he's pretty hot stuff. He's chewing anything he can get into his mouth, including a little "tag blanket" that Great Grandma C gave to Sophie when she was Owen's age. He likes to chew the tag ribbons, but sometimes he sucks them in a little to far and gags himself on them. Sophie is still his favorite person (besides his mother!), and he cracks up at her antics frequently. He's started to sleep consistently in his own bed without crying in the night now, making it until 5:30 or later before needing to eat (6:45 one morning! Woohoo!!). Then he goes back down again until about 8. So, we're thinking he'll soon be graduating to sleeping in a crib in Sophie's room. She's been asking when he can sleep with her, so we're hoping that transition, when it becomes a reality, will still be as fun as she thinks! Greg and I are certainly looking forward to it!