Thursday, July 31, 2008

When the temps hit one hundred four...

...this family hits the door. And faster than a lark, you'll find us at the water park!

We are super spoiled to have 3 little water parks within 5 miles from home. Since Lily's cast has been off this is where we have been every Sunday afternoon. And, since it only seems to be getting hotter...I don't think we'll be making any changes to that plan.

How is your family staying cool?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

This one is for you, MOM.

Happy birthday to my mother dear.

Kelly and I enjoyed celebrating a day early with my mom. Yesterday we headed out to lunch with her closer to her stomping grounds in Historic Waxahachie. And there wasn't a sippy cup, diaper bag or kid's menu anywhere in sight.

Although I know my mom would have loved to see the grandgirls, the place where we were dining doesn't exactly encourage the presence of children. How do they do that, you ask? Well, for starters, they do not have high chairs. Not even one in the entire joint. I found that out the fun way a few years back when my buddy Rachelle and I made the trek there with Lily in tow. Only to discover that I would have to go back to the car and haul in her stroller that had a tray where she could eat from. I made sure she only threw a few food items on the floor and kept her screams to a low roar, because I am dignified like that. Melissa---I've run into you there before (w/kids, I think), did you have a different experience?

Lunching sans children also meant there was plenty of time for conversation. Uninterrupted conversation. Which apparently didn't matter because we barely breathed as we consumed our identical lunches and sipped away at our Orange Spice Iced Teas. What menu item would be so good that all three of us would order it? The apricot chicken salad of course. It is what made The Dove's Nest famous. Famous to us at least. Did I mention the apricots are sherried? Delish. We made sure to leave room for the blackberry bread pudding too. I guess you could say there were a few hiccups in the daily diet.

If you are ever near Waxahachie, or even within 200 miles of'd be silly not to visit The Dove's Nest, it is just that good. Be prepared to wait though. We got there at 10:50 and weren't the first in line. That is no problem though because you can roam their huge antique shop while you wait. Another place you'll be waiting there is for the ladies room. So, when the Orange Spice Iced Tea begins to hit, make your way to the restroom right away. There is only one potty and with a bunch of tea drinkin' women around...that is a problem. You could always slide into the men's room...not that I have ever done that. Nope, remember...I'm dignified. It's the first door on the left. Shh...

So, before this appears to be a review for The Dove's Nest or I need to rename this post, let's get back to my mom.

You know what meant more to her than the fine meal, gifts and perusing of antiques?

The fact that we went to the nursing home and visited with my stepdad.
I'm pretty sure that if you had asked my mom what this past year would have held for her, she wouldn't have imagined Charlie's stroke and the condition it has left him in. It was sobering just being there with him in the nursing home setting for that short half hour. What is so deceiving is that he looks really good. Though very emotional, he definitely recognized us and was eager to "chat". Within minutes we realized that he utters a few sounds, the same sounds, over and over and over again. You can sense his frustration because it is obvious that he is trying to tell you something, but he can't get his point across with his very limited speech. It is painful to watch. Writing really isn't an option at this point, but maybe in the future.

Previous posts regarding my stepdad's recent stroke situation:
The Tongue

Back to my mom.


I'm not going to focus on you being a year older, as I'm sure you feel like you've aged 10 just in the past few months.

Just know that we love you so much and pray for you daily as you bear this load, many unknowns, and decisions regarding the future.

I tell you often that I love you, but don't often mention some of the specific things about you that make me a better woman by being around you. Here goes the short list:

You are brilliant. Even dad would agree...any smarts we got...we got from you.

You are beautiful. How many times a day do you moisturize? I'm doing good to get some lotion on my face once a week.

You are not scared of hard work. You tend to run circles around me in any situation.

You are a great cook. Especially of the comfort food variety...and your homemade Old Fashioned Donuts.

You are good at biting your tongue. Can I just absorb that quality from you? Please? And fast?

You are a green thumb. Whether its veggies, flowers, shrubs, trees or grass...whatever question I have the answer.

You are the best nurse on call. Ever. Bet you wish I didn't have your cell phone number.

You are a handy woman. There isn't a home project...big or small...that you don't have some idea about and better yet, won't jump in and help with.

You are talented and crafty...and you love spoiling your grandkids with your handiwork.

You are musical. I could sit and listen to you play piano and sing for hours on end. You don't even know how many memories still dance in my head of me sitting next to you on that wooden bench while you played.

You are forgiving. Ahem...I need that forgiveness for each time I moved the kitchen timer ahead to end my piano practice a little sooner.

You are a walking encyclopedia. You never cease to amaze me at the topics you know and things that you remember. Sometimes even in German or Spanish.

You are proper. Our family's Emily Post for sure.

You are a woman of prayer. And God honors your prayers. I've always known, even as a little girl, that you prayed...fervently...for me.

You are a disciple. A disciple of the One True God.

That One True God has, is, and will continue to carry you through this difficult time.

Here is a little song for you on a birthday that might not have felt very happy.

"Bring the Rain" by Mercy Me---Lyrics follow the video.

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You

Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am yours regardless of
the clouds that may loom above
because you are much greater than my pain
you who made a way for me
suffering your destiny
so tell me whats a little rain
We love you, Mom. Hang in there, we're here for you every step of the every decision the Lord leads you to.

And for anyone else who stayed with me until the end of this post...thanks for letting me pour out to my mom for a bit.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Still Enjoying July!

I just had to show you the one of the few Christmas presents that Lily is still enjoying on a regular basis...even on July 25th.

She likes to dress up in it and wear it to bed too. Isn't it the cutest nightgown? Ever?
I wish I could drop you a link so you could get your own. It was handmade by my Aunt Janeen though and I don't think she's taking orders. (Ahem...Janeen, are you?)

Let me give you a little history. My dad is the oldest of six kids. Out of those 6 kids came 10 grand kids. The majority of them live in WI, but some are in MI and we of course are in TX. Needless to say, we don't ALL get together very often, so when we do it is very special.

It became even more special as we (the cousins) started having kids. As of Christmas of 2004, we had given my grandparents 5 great granddaughters. The TX and MI crews made it to WI for Christmas and guess want fun idea Aunt Janeen came up with?

Here you see the FIVE LITTLE MONKEYS...all in handmade matching PJs! Lily is the 3 month old on the far right. My niece Avery is the 15 month old in the center.

Fast forward to this past Christmas 2007. The number of great-grandkids had doubled to 10...and finally there was a boy. ONE BOY...out of 10. Yeah, I'm pretty much thinking we should just go ahead and stop after 2 girls. My cousin Allison has FOUR girls.
Anyways, we joked about doing a 10 Little Indian theme and having Nolan (the little boy pictured above at the far bottom left), be the chief, but the monkey theme was too cute to resist doing again.

Above: lining them up. Below: parading out to their great-grandma. (sadly, my grandpa had passed away just two weeks before)

They each got their own classic sock monkey from great-grandma.

Here is the whole the girl scout center in Beaver Dam, WI where we had the event. Did you notice their little monkey slippers too? Those came from from Aunt Cathy.
Lily and Jade are at the bottom left. Avery is at the top right.

It was very memorable, and I've been meaning to post about it for...well, seven months why not Christmas in July?

I'm not sure when we will all be able to get together again. There are two more babies due this fall...and you guessed it...BOTH there will be at least 12 next go round...any theme ideas?

Honestly, it has taken me these 7 months to even have the desire to go back. We had quite an eventful trip there this last time. Not only did it include the usual vacation disasters like delayed flights and lost luggage, but also things like:

the Milwaukee airport closing while we were in route due to heavy snow fall, being on the same stinking plane 4 x longer than the scheduled flight time of two hours, and a fun stomach virus that went through the whole family like wildfire. We were just hoping it would make it to Bret Favre before the Super Bowl.

If you're interested, here is the original post:

Wisconsin Trip: The Good, The Bad, and The Downright Ugly

I don't recommend reading it if you are about to go on vacation with little ones...speaking of little ones, my monkeys are waking up from to ya later.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

And the Award Goes to...

Kerry @ Colored With Memories.

That is what my eyes read a while back when reading Taking My Time.

After which I experienced much shock, awe, and most of all...disbelief.

An award? A blog award? For me?

Wow, thanks Jennifer!

It is intended to be passed on to 5 other bloggers. This is the fun, yet difficult part. Here are my no particular order.

With One Step, the blog of my best friend, Rachelle. Her blog is filled with stories of humor, adoption craziness, and spiritual encouragement. She is a Texan at heart who was transplanted to PA where her husband is from. So you can also catch some pretty funny Amish stories from her. Like the one where a horse and buggy came through the drive-thru at her bank. Rachelle was the first friend I thought of when I read/watched this post today on Whittaker Woman.

Whittaker Woman is the second blog I'm choosing to award. Heather is one of my favorite reads, along with her husband Carlos at Ragamuffin Soul. She is a super creative mother and is nothing but in your face honest. I'm amazed at her ability to post multiple times daily while being mommy to three. Her thematic family night posts are not to be missed!

JMom who writes Lots of Scotts is a daily read for sure. Her story of bringing triplets into this world is amazing. I'm giving her this award because, day in and day out, she manages to post the most relevant stories from her life from a creative biblical perspective. It's almost like getting a little devotion in every time I visit her site. I also won my custom header from her during a giveaway, so for that I'll always be thankful to her!

Speaking of blog headers, Mommy Esquire had hers created by the same girl who did mine...and that is how I found her. I have been laughing ever since. Julie is such a joy to read while she is on leave from her law career and raising three kiddos. Her header design is precious, so if for nothing else, go check it out.

Last, but not least, I'm picking Life with the Wisners. I found Janet's blog from Big Mama's that should tell you a lot. Soon after I began reading her though, I realized that we have two mutual friends in real life. That wasn't what hooked me though...she is so funny and has the cutest kids...Big H and Goo. I know "Goo" may not sound cute, but just click over and you'll be smitten with her blue eyes and curls. Can you tell I have a blog crush?

You don't have to worry about having a crush on the award though. Not the prettiest thing floating around blogland these days. Nonetheless, I present to the above, the Arte Y Pico Blog Award.

Now, the fine print:

1. Pick five (5) blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language.

2. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself. Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of “Arte y Pico blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.

Thanks again, Jennifer!

It may be a long night...

or actually a short one. Just when I could use some interval training, it looks like I'll be getting my shot at interval sleeping instead. Jade has already been up once with a blazing fever. Poor thing. No other symptoms though...which makes it hard to decide about dragging her to the doc tomorrow or not.

I was so glad I went to check on her...she immediately startled which is rare and I could tell that she was feverish. Sounds like a good reason to turn the air down another notch and hope the Tylenol kicks in soon.

My husband just posted a little snippet of John Piper on his blog. I get chills when watching this short clip. I could post it here too, but that would take effort. And I'm just not in the mood for exerting effort. Boy, am I a joy tonight or what?

Anyways, head on over there to check it out.

I'm off to take a nap or two. And in this instance, the fewer naps, the better. One long one would do me well.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Most Expensive Nap. Ever.

My gas light came on the other day. Not a huge surprise. Jerry and I routinely fill up when, and only when, the gas light comes on.

I know some of you are cringing. My father-in-law is probably not only cringing, but about to pick up the phone to call me. I will hear a list of scenarios about why I should fill up way before the light comes he does. I'm pretty sure he fills up when it gets down to 1/2 a tank. That should pretty much cover EVERY scenario...except the issue of driving to the gas station way too often.

So, back to my gas light. It came on a little too soon. Hadn't I just filled up? I can usually make it a full week before having to stuff 4 twenties into the minivan's tank. But it had only been a couple of days...where had all the gas gone?

Then I remembered. The most expensive nap. Ever.

You see, my Lily used to be such a good napper...until about three months ago. She currently only naps once or twice...each MONTH. She is actually handling it pretty well. Me? Not so well. I say she is handling it pretty well...that is until around 5PM. That's when our princess transforms from Cinderella into one of the step-sisters, or even worse, the wicked step-mother.

On those days, about 29 of them each month, she goes down around 7:30 without a fight and wakes up 12 hours later with her crown on again.

On many of those days, I will purposefully run errands late in the afternoon and hope she catches a little rest in the car.

I didn't drain the tank running errands in this instance though.

We had some special visitors coming in town and I knew it was going to be a late night. I hoped, crossed fingers, said a prayer and did a dance thinking that Lily would nap that afternoon. Going to bed at dusk wasn't going to be an option this evening and I surely didn't want do be dealing with Anastasia all night.

I put her down for "rest/quiet/nap" time as usual, but when her "talking" got so loud that it might wake Jade, I decided to get her up.

I had a trip planned to Wal-Mart, so I loaded her in the minivan and off we went. She was snoozing before I even reached the end of our street. I was elated. I must have forgotten that gas was $4.00/gal and that driving in the heat of the day with the A/C on full blast really drains the tank.

I decided to go out to the highway and drive back and forth, back and forth, back and forth...carefully planning for the exits that had "texas turn-arounds" (does everyone call them that?) where I wouldn't get stopped at any lights.

It worked. She had a glorious 40-45 minute nap. Good thing too, because she played in the fountains with her cousin until 10:30 that night. And Drizella didn't even make an appearance.

Not so good on the gas bill, but money well spent as far as I'm concerned.

It wouldn't have been a big deal back in 2006, when the gas price was almost 1/2 as much. I just found this old receipt when thumbing through a book I had sold on Amazon.

Back then I would have had to name this post The Longest Car Ride to Wal-Mart. Ever.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Dodi, is that you?

Imaginary friends. Did you ever have one?

I can't remember having an imaginary friend. Although there was a time in elementary school that I had an imaginary dog. Remember taking the metal spiral from your Mead notebook and forming it into a leash and collar to walk your pup?

No? Just me? Oh.

Are you sure? Come you'll be denying that you wore JAMS and parachute pants.

A while back, Lily was completely engrossed in her first imaginary friend. Dodi. Yes, you read that right...Dodi. I know. I was confused as well. The only Dodi I could ever think of was Princess Diana's Dodi.

It was troubling to me to be reminded of that tragic event in Paris over 10 years ago with each playdate that Dodi and Lily had...but, like any good mom, I got over it.

I promise I don't have any tribute set up to the couple in my home. I honestly don't know how she came up with this name for her friend, but nonetheless, Dodi was a presence in our home on a daily basis.

Dodi and Lily played school, grocery store, and even ate meals together. He often rode in our car as well. I buckled him up though...I didn't want any tragic repeats.

During this time of infatuation with Dodi, we attended a birthday party at a busy venue. It was noisy and chaotic to say the least. You could barely hear yourself talk.

Out of all of this noise...plain as day...we heard a mother calling for her son. "Dodi. Dodi! Dodi, it is time to go!"

Jerry and I looked at each other. Then we both looked at Lily. I wish I could have captured the expression on her face. Her imaginary friend...right real life.

Dodi walked out with his parents...and out of her life. We haven't heard of him again.

In fact, she hasn't had an imaginary friend since then. I'm guessing "meeting" Dodi in real life freaked her out a bit.

I guess if my spiral leashed puppy had suddenly appeared, I might have given up the game as well.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Girl After My Own Heart

I've mentioned before that I routinely check on Jade late at night.

I started seeing a trend and began photographing it.

Do you notice anything?

One foot out from under the blanket. Like mother like daughter.

And just like me, it doesn't matter which foot, but one of them has to stick out. At all times. No matter the season or the temperature.

It sort of serves as some sort of regulator so you don't get too hot. And socks? Out of the question. You'll never ever find me wearing socks while I'm trying to sleep.

And now that I've seen Jade take on mommy's little foot ritual, I won't be putting any on her either. Not even when winter comes.

I'm sure Jade will be thankful for no more flashes in her room at random hours of the night. Oh to be a mommy blogger's child. I need to add "set up therapy fund for children" to my to-do list.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cardboard Testimonies

I just stole this off Lots of Scotts. You may have seen it already. I'll admit that when I clicked the play button and saw the length, I started to back silly that would have been. I was hooked within the first 10 seconds.

Praise be to God for the works He does in us!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Good-bye, Formula. Hello, 100 Dollars.

I'm thankful to not be buying this anymore. It's like getting a pay raise of $100 a month.

Sayonara Similac!

Lest I be judged, I did nurse Jade. Just not for very long.

And without going into a bunch of details about consults with my OB, a lactation consultant or three, and her using words like milk ducts, mastitis and Medela pumps...let's just say I had issues. A bum b**b as it lovingly became referred to in our family. You know, the one that only produced 1/6 of the milk that the other one would. Yeah. Real fun.

So, we started shelling out the dinero for Similac and although I'm glad that formula was able to step up to the plate when this mommy failed, I'm really glad that milk...even organic milk...isn't $25 a pop.

The whole breastfeeding experience that I had with Jade really helped to explain some things about Lily's infancy too. Lily was so small...6 lbs 3 oz at birth...I can't remember what percentile that was, but I exclusively nursed her and she nearly fell of the growth chart. At almost 7 months when she was around 5th percentile, I decided to throw in the towel. By her 9 month appointment...after 2 months of miracle grow (Similac)...she was up to 55th.

Now I know why. Let's just say...I wasn't producin'.

Fast forward to Jade. This child wasn't going to be satisfied quite so easily. So the miracle grow started sooner.

Giant Jade's stats @ 12 months:
head circumference 90th
weight 95th (24 lbs 14 oz)
height OFF THE CHART (31 3/4 inches!) or as the doctor said...Nope, you don't really have to worry about her weight, because out of 100 12 month old girls, she'd be the tallest.

My back and neck are telling me that she better start carrying her own weight with her own two feet pretty soon though.

Lily has noticed that she is big too, and not just in stature.

Lily has been particularly interested in b**bies lately. I know the trend is to call all the body parts by the anatomically correct names, but we just haven't gotten around to that in this house. So, to Lily, they are simply "b**bies". (I'm typing it like that to prevent any weirdos from landing on my blog through a per*ver*ted Google search)

The other day I was searching for the garment to hold said body parts, and Lily was on one of her "why?", "why?", "why?" rampades. I thought being questioned to death by a 3 year old was only annoying when it was someone else's child. Turns out I was incorrect.

I can't really remember exactly how it went down, but towards the end she matter of factly told me, "well, I don't have those yet, so I don't need to wear a bra"...and she stomped out of my room. I'm sure I missed some great opportunity for an anatomy lesson, but at that point I was just thankful the interrogation was over.

A couple of days later, someone else's b**bies were under investigation.

I had Jade and Lily in the bath together when I heard Lily say, "Someday when I grow up, I'm going to have b**bies just like Jade's."

Poor thing. I think we are in the market for an infant brassiere.

They say size doesn't matter when it comes to lactation, but something tells me that Jade won't be shelling out hundreds of dollars a month for formula in her day.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Tardy Party Post

I'm actually excited to take this one off my to-do list. It's been a week since Jader-Tater's Potato Head Party, and I didn't want to put this off any longer.

I'm going to let the slide show do most of the talking, but of course I'll have to make a few comments.

First, I'm an idiot. That is a word I can only type, not say, around here. Lily picked it up from 101 Dalmatians(thanks Cruella DeVille!), and now likes to interject it whenever possible.

Why am I an idiot? Well, lets just say that Jade was not feeling super well on the big day. No fever, she was just miss-fussy-i'm-only-happy-on-mommy's-hip girl. At first I wasn't sure if it was allergies, sinus issues, her ears, or teething. By the end of the day, I was determined it was all of the above.

We had been to the pediatrician's office earlier in the week for an ear recheck, and we both had a sneaky suspicion that Jade may not stay well through the weekend. Seeing that it was a long holiday weekend that involved out-of-town guests and a first birthday party...and the fact that our doctor is a mommy of three and totally awesome, she wrote me a "just-in-case" Rx.

Did I get it filled? Not this idiot. And she did great, until the day of the party.

You'll notice there aren't any smiley pictures of Jade on this fine day. Which meant there weren't very many smiles on this mama's face either.

At the end of the night when I started reviewing the pictures, I was totally bummed. I hadn't gotten any good pictures of her with Lily, with us, with any of the grandparents...not even with my mom who had crocheted an amazing blanket for her.

So, what did I do? Two days later I pulled some clothes out of the hamper and totally staged some pictures. Any pictures you see of me with Jade...yeah...totally not on the "real" day. And if my mom or any of the other g-parents lived any closer I might have just had them sort through their dirty clothes for some reenactments as well.

You also won't see my sis and precious niece pictured either. That wasn't by mistake though. Avery came down with high fever and stomach issues right before the party. Poor thing. Kelly said she had her party dress on and was ready to come regardless.

I know this is overkill with video, but I had to throw this in for my northern relatives. (Thanks goes to Jerry's sister for doing the video!)

Serenading Jade:

What is cake for anyway? Highlights--elastic strap on face, painting her spectators with frosting, a grandma trying to put some in her mouth)

From Hmm?? to Mmm! (and a little poke in the face from Big Sis...caught you, Lily!)

A spoon enters the picture...which she uses to paint her arm with frosting.

She has had enough! (I love the kid in the background who knows what to do!)

Happy ONE year and ONE week, Jade! We love you!
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