Friday, February 29, 2008

Pinch Me...I Must Be Dreaming!

Lily just put herself down for nap. Yep, she did. I'm speechless. Maybe this isn't unusual for a 3 year old to do. Maybe I'm just behind. Maybe I'm a control freak over sleep. I don't know. What I do know is that I love it when my kids sleep, and I really enjoy the bedtime ritual too, but the nap ritual...not so much. It is the middle of the day, I usually have just gotten Jade down and I want to get Lily down quickly to maximize my child free time of the day...which usually turns out to be a whopping 45 minutes of them napping simultaneously.

So today after getting Jade down, it was time to do the same for Lily. My mind ran through the routine...pull-up on, read one book, sing a few songs, tuck in with a hug and kiss...doesn't sound bad, but Lily has a way of dragging it out at times. The delay takes many forms...taking forever to pick out a book...then changing her mind a few times...same deal with the songs, etc, etc, etc. I must have been feeling delirious, because as I approached her I said, "Lily, do you want to be a big girl and go to sleep all by yourself"? She looked up at me with pride and excitement and accepted my offer. I thought wow, this is either going to be really good or really bad! So I pulled down her shade (gotta love the room darkening shade!) and walked out.

I heard her talking about 15 minutes later, which isn't unusual, but I thought I'd go check to make sure she wasn't playing on the floor or something. I was delighted to find her in bed with covers on. She was asleep 5 minutes later. I may be onto something here! Hmm, should we put this in place at night too? Routine...warm milk (yes, I still warm my child's milk, pitiful I know!), brush teeth, into PJs, read 2 books, sing several songs, prayers, potty, tuck into bed, 1 more song and "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" prayer, check bed to make sure all necessary animals are in attendance...whew...I'm done. Although this routine is much longer, it would also be much harder to give up. In my busy stay-at-home/work-at-home, mommy-of-two life, as crazy as it sounds...there are often days that Lily and I don't "connect" much. On those days, connecting with her at bedtime is so crucial. Hearing what is on her little mind and praying with her before she drifts off is a special time. So I think I'll hang on to that one a bit longer!

Right now, it is almost 3:30 and I've enjoyed a near two hours of peace and quiet. Absolutely glorious! I'm waiting to be pinched! Maybe I'm not dreaming after all. Thank God they are.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Taking Advantage of the Awesome Weather--Zoo Style!

I have to be careful how far in advance I tell Lily of any planned zoo trip, it is her favorite place on earth, and I need to time out how many times I want to be asked of our exact departure.

But, as I was zipping up her coat over the weekend...I said something like zip, zip, zip...zipper starts with 'z'...which automatically started her on other 'z' words. Mama, zebra too! Yes, you're right Lily, and where do zebras live? The ZOO...she shouts! Well, I realize not all zebras live at zoos, but the only ones we know do and it helped the theme of our 'z' talk! So I thought I'd go ahead and let the cat out of the bag and tell her of our upcoming zoo trip. Immediately the questions start and the excitement builds.

Her: Today? Are we going today? Me: No, not til Monday.
Her: After my nap? Me: No. Not til tomorrow morning.
Her: Are we going tonight? Me: No, it's dark and the animals are sleeping.
As soon as she wakes up Monday morning...Her: Are the animals awake now? It is light outside! Me: Yes, they are awake! Let's get ready to go!

How many tries does it take to get a good pic of my girls at the zoo? I'm not sure...I quit after 6 attempts.

We met our other zoo loving friends, Amy and Sophie, there! Boy how Sophie had changed since our last zoo trip...I'm loving her long hair...maybe a little remorse that we just cut 4 inches off Lily's locks. Anyway, another thing that is new about Sophie is she is quite the talker now. Lily loved that about her! And I loved the fact that Lily had someone else to talk to for a couple of hours so Amy and I could catch up! Well, as much as we could while chasing two preschoolers!

I thought I'd attempt some more sibling shots on the fun train ride. In this photo I had asked Lily to hug Jade...she decided to put her in a headlock instead!
Thankfully she recovered. Still no luck though. While one smiles and looks right at you, the other looks away. At least I got some cute pics of our friends!

Oh and let's not forget the animals. I liked this rhino.
The girls favorite was the white tiger.

Lily is thirsty and ready to go here.

We had to visit her favorite "mingos" before leaving though.

Then when asked if she was ready to go...this is the look I got accompanied by a loud "NO"!

So how does a mom get a tired, thirsty, cranky child to leave her beloved zoo? I'm thinking of the letter "m"... MCDONALDS! And off we went...without even one argument!

Monday, February 25, 2008

I've Been Participating in a New Competitive Sport a competitive sport? No way! Yes indeed! It is one that involves mental alertness and perfect timing! It is called How-To-Find-And-Then-Actually-Enroll-Your-Child-In-Preschool. You may think I'm kidding, but in this area, it actually is a competitive sport.

These are just a few of the questions that I've been trying to fit in during brief phone calls with area preschool directors: Is your program a MDO or a preschool? Do you use a curriculum? Which one? Is it a 2, 3 or 5 day program? What are the hours? Do you offer a stay-and-play option? Do you group older 3's together? Do parents provide the snacks? Do you have a carpool drop off? How does that work? Is there an aide in the class at all times or just a floating aide? What sort of "special" activities do you offer? Spanish? Music? Library? Do you have an outdoor play area?

Then I try to fit in a few more if I actually pay the school a visit in person: Do you have a "rest" time? Are the bathrooms in the room, or down the hall? What is your policy on potty accidents? Do you conduct chapel? How often? Do you have guest speakers come visit? Do the fire and police departments come visit? What are your fees? Registration? Supply? Monthly tuition?

Great! Sign us up! Oh, wait, what's that? There is a waiting list already for Fall of 2008? You're kidding! So the church members have dibs on the first open spots. Okay, and then the currently enrolled siblings get the next shot? So, does the general public really have a chance? No.....okay, NEXT!

Well, after having that ordeal play out a few times, I am thankful to announce that I have finally secured a spot for Lily next fall! I found a great school, with a long standing history that is near our house and whose fees are reasonable. Whew! I am glad to be done with that sport for a while. I can't believe how much it stressed me out. Hard to imagine what it will be like when she's ready to start checking out colleges!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I Just Won a Giveaway!!!

I am so excited! Jennifer, over at Lots of Scotts, offered a giveaway a few posts back...and although I hadn't commented on her blog before, I thought I'd give it a shot! Her blog is awesome! She is a mommy of triplets and a wonderful storyteller of all the adventures that title brings her! Be sure to stop by her blog.

She just announced that lucky number 63 won! So, what did I win? A CUSTOM BLOG HEADER DESIGN!!! Yippee! Can you tell I'm excited? Her friend, Keri, has just started a blog business and by looking at her recent posts, it looks like I am going to be in for a real treat!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Boy I Like These, But SHHH Don't Tell!

Why the secrecy? I work for a snack food distributor, and it isn't Frito Lay, who puts these delectable babies out! MMM...they are good. Haven't tried them? Get a coupon for a free bag here. They have some veggie flavors that I'm sure are good too! A half serving of fruits/veggies in every ounce! Good thing your kids don't know!

Monday, February 18, 2008

God is Great, God is Good...

Shouldn't all prayers start with these words?

God is great, God is good.
Thank you for Alex.
Thank you for learning.
Thank you for playing.

Lily uttered this, her first real prayer, and I melted...then cried.

She has said the prayer before meals for quite some time...she may think "God is great, God is good" is how every prayer starts. And at bedtime she helps us think of people to pray for, but to my knowledge this was her first prayer.

We had just finished a little activity that church sent home that involved a Compassion child that her class has adopted. They sent home an inflatable globe along with a picture of Alex. We marked on the globe where Lily lives and then circled Guatemala and wrote Alex's name there. After talking about Alex we decided we should pray for him...I said close your eyes and bow your head...and she interrupted saying she wanted to pray.

I don't know if it was the speed with which she said it or how tightly she had closed her little eyes or the actual words she chose, but I will never forget it.

Friday, February 15, 2008


We sing a lot in this house...I sing a good morning song to each of the girls as they wake and a few good night songs at bedtime as well. They love it! I guess I do this because my mom sang so much with us growing up. My best memories of it were on Sunday mornings as she curled our hair with the curling iron. In fact a few years ago she typed up the lyrics to all the "curling iron songs" for Kelly and I to have. A treasured list for sure! One song that I clearly remember her singing to us was Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah...maybe not on Sunday mornings, but probably on Saturday mornings as she was doing housework. I can still see her dancing around us and acting silly in our faces while singing aloud.

I know I've sung this song to Lily many times, but it isn't really a regular around here. However, yesterday when we were in the car, she sang it from start to finish almost perfectly. It was so sweet. A perfect valentine for me...brought me back to my childhood instantly.

Lily sings to herself throughout the day, and when trying to settle down to sleep, but also when she is feeling under pressure. Yesterday we were headed to the doctor and she really didn't want to go. We're having some GI issues with her and she knows the drill by now...a not very fun examination was waiting for her at the doc's office. I had dragged her to the car while she let the entire neighborhood know that she didn't want to go to the doctor! As she settled in though, she started singing...and chose Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah!

I was hoping for a Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah sort of appointment, but we ended up with a referral to a Pediatric Gastroenterologist instead. I think I'll just play this video a few more times and hope Mr. Bluebird comes to rest on my shoulder for a while!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Finger Painting with Poo Poo

Warning: Although I promise not to post any pictures, this post is not for the fainthearted!

All I needed were some wipes. We had run out in Jade's room so I proceeded to Lily's room to retreive the pack I had recently opened. It wasn't where I had left it. When I do find it and pick it up, it is completely empty. Hmmm....then I see a pile of used wipes next to Lily's bed. I decide to turn on the light for further investigation. They are truly used. I'm talking a full pack of 88 wipes! Most of them are covered with brown streaks. NO, Surely NOT, it COULDN'T be POO POO!!! Oh yuck. Then I start to smell it. I pull back her comforter and a TURD rolls out. OMGosh! LILY! LILY! Get yourself up here RIGHT NOW! For some reason she doesn't come very quickly so I start to look a little further. There are 3 pull-ups in various stages of use scattered on the floor. A stack of clean ones lay in her bed. Then I notice smears of poo...just like brown finger paint...all over her precious pink pillowcase. I've always loved the colors pink and brown together. A real favorite of mine actually...I'll never think of it the same. It didn't end there though. Apparently she was enjoying her artwork so much that she needed a fresh canvas...her white bedrails were her choice. Then to top it all off, a few more smears on her lime green bedside table. I have to hand it to her...I like green and brown together as well.

Lily arrived in her room. WHAT is this MESS? She tells me that she knows how to change her own pull-up now. After some pretty severe counseling on how she will not ever do that again, I start to think of how this even happened. I can count on one hand the number of times this child has even gotten out of bed without me being there...seriously...less than 5 times in the entirety of her 3 years, 4 months, 2 weeks and 5 days on this earth. But all of a sudden today she gets out of bed to change her own poopie? How didn't I hear it? I heard her doing her usual talking before falling asleep at naptime. I had heard a few songs and reenactments of her favorite parts of The Ariel Movie (known to others as The Little Mermaid), and then it got quiet. Which means she slept on that yucky pillowcase.....barf-ola! I honestly don't know how I missed all the poopie changing action over the monitor. What is even crazier is that her father didn't notice anything being amiss when he got her up after nap. How anyone could have missed all of that is just beyond me...I mean the smell alone...ugh.

I hope some of the 88 wipes had been used to clean her hands. It was those same hands that later helped me prepare dinner and also caressed her baby sister's face. I did have her wash her hands before she helped me with dinner, but it wasn't the sort of boiling hot, skin removing, scrub down that I would have done if I had known they had been covered in poopie just moments before!

Please excuse me. I am headed to Costco to get the largest size of industrial full strength BLEACH they offer. If you don't see me for a while, it is because I am still scouring my house. When you do see me, you'll at least know why I will be omitting brown color combos from my wardrobe.

Lily's tenderhearted father just read this post and wanted me to make certain that everyone knew our daughter isn't the type to 'play' with poo, that she was clearly just trying to clean off her fingers on the previously mentioned 'canvases'...apparently 88 wipes were not enough!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Weekend Getaway

This past weekend Jerry and I got away...just the two of us...for a little bit of downtime. I can say for sure that long uninterrupted conversations were probably my favorite part! Tied for second place would be not having to be on anyone else's wake schedule, nap schedule, feeding schedule, potty schedule or bedtime schedule! It was really nice!! It definitely helped to know that the girls were being well taken care of, just a few miles from us, at their grandparents. Thanks Memmy and Paw!!

Here is how we spent most of our time (with no diaper bags in tow)! After dropping off the girls, we went shopping! Then we had a late dessert/coffee at Cantina Laredo...can you say Mexican Brownie?!? We love it! We slept in and visited our favorite part of Dallas, historic Oak Cliff, where we ate lunch at Hattie's in the Bishop Arts District. We also drove by our old house...a 1922 bungalow that we renovated what seems like a lifetime ago, but actually everything pre-kid seems that way!

We then headed out to another historic place, Winnsboro, in East Texas! Winnsboro proved to be a really enjoyable town. We stayed at Thee Hubbell House, a beautiful Bed & Breakfast. We love staying at B & B's and have stayed at least a dozen of them over the years. In our book, B & B's get ranked in two categories...they are either repeaters or non-repeaters...and unfortunately this was a non-repeater. I won't go into all the details, but they include a LOUD barking dog (somewhere nearby) and a train whose tracks must have brought it right through the house at dawn!! The B & B didn't ruin our experience though...fortunately Winnsboro had much more to offer...including some great shops and restaurants. I love that Jerry enjoys a great antique store as much as I do! He is the best antiquing partner a gal could ask for. Besides wandering in and out of countless antique and junk shops, we also visited Ladles to Linens which is a small town's version of Williams-Sonoma as far as we could tell. It was there that I found these two fun breakfast making gadgets! How could our life be complete without the ability to make girly shaped pancakes and eggs?!? You can tell the girls weren't far from my mind. After all our shopping we returned for a 6PM nap...glorious! Later we dined at LouViney Winery and Bistro (they served Wijitos...think Mojito but with white wine...yummy!), enjoyed dessert and coffee at a local bakery and even listened to a bit of live music. We really decided to push the envelope and go to a 9:20 movie...gasp...way past our bedtime! Jerry said we'd just hop on over to Sulphur Springs for the show...he knows E. Texas like the back of his I thought great, we'll be there in no time. Then I see a road sign that says...Sulphur Springs...23 miles! 23 miles to the nearest movie theatre...not a cruel joke...just a sad reality. Getting home at midnight is unheard of for us these days! Then the barking dog...that beast of an animal is just lucky its still alive! So you may be wondering what movie is worth driving 23 miles to see. Untraceable was our pick of the night. Scary stuff people! It was made scarier by the fact that we returned to this huge old house where we were the only guests (others must have heard about the dog and freight train), only to find every door (all four) completely unlocked. Jerry laughed at me as I quickly locked them all and checked every room, bathroom, and closet in the place to make sure we really were alone! I'm not really sure what I'd have done if I'd found someone! Glad I didn't find anybody! I guess it was about 2 AM when Jerry turned the space heater fan on HIGH to drain out the loud dog who by this point and encouraged other neighborhood dogs to chime in...that allowed us to sleep until 7AM when the freight train with horns ablazing barrelled through the house!

That was okay that point we had really enjoyed ourselves and were more than ready to squeeze the other loves of our lives...Miss Lily Grace and Jade Amelia. We returned to our most important job, that of parenting, with renewed vigor for the task. I am convinced though that we are better parents when we take care of our marriage relationship. Taking time for "us" and being reminded of why we loved each other in the first place...before the pitter patter of little feet entered our house! It only takes a few hours of being away to miss and appreciate their little voices, laughs, and coos...and therefore squeeze them a little tighter when we return.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Recent Pictures of Lily and Jade (Professional Ones Anyway)

I took Jade to get her 6 month pictures yesterday...a month and a day late. Seeing that I had her "3 month" pictures taken at 4 months I guess it doesn't matter. Wow, and to think I was so on top of these sort of things with Lily! Big sigh.

Following are some of the better ones and I'm also including Lily's dance recital photo from December at the end.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Fortune Cookie Obedience

Lily and I were sharing fortune cookies after lunch today. She cracked hers open and asked me to read the message for her. I read it to myself and decided it wasn't appropriate for her. She had really been testing me, so I instead read, "Happily obey your mommy at all times". She smiled really big and said, "Okay". Then she added that she was sorry for disobeying me earlier. I thought, wow, this is going better than expected. She actually obeyed me pretty quickly following this fortune. Then she asked me what my fortune said. So I told her it said, "Treat your baby sister with love and kindness." She immediately went to find Jade a toy and brought it to her! This is usually the child that takes toys away from Jade, leaving her crying! I was really enjoying this new found obedience. Fortune cookies may become a staple in our home! I'm hoping it will continue after nap time. I wonder why this strategy wasn't ever mentioned in my favorite parenting book, Shepherding a Child's Heart!?!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


My dear friend Rachelle and her husband have been waiting. Waiting for a long time actually. And they wait not knowing when the end to all of this waiting will come. They are waiting on their precious daughter, Lizzie Rose, to come home from China. They spent months and months doing all of the adoption paperwork and got it all logged in officially in November of 2006. At that point the wait for little Lizzie was estimated at 1 year. Well, the wait has increased and continues to increase. Why am I blogging about this? Because seeing them go through this process has encouraged me. Rachelle and Phil go through it with great faith. Great faith and even humor! Last fall they had a "12 Months Down to China Town" party to celebrate the anniversary of their log in date! Only Rachelle could have come up with that idea!!! So fun! If I read her latest blog entry correctly, I think their wait could extend to nearly 4 years! I don't know how she does it! By the grace of the Lord...only by the grace of the Lord. Hang in there dear will be blessed by some amazing parents when you FINALLY get here!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Texas Winter Playdates

Lily had her little friend Mia over today for a playdate. Mia has been quite the buddy...she and Lily are just 4 days apart and alike in so many ways! They cannot get enough of princesses and they both talk non-stop in pretty loud voices! Lily has met her match in Mia!

As they were playing in the backyard, I was feeding Jade and enjoying the warm weather...81 degrees today in the metroplex...on February 4th...81 degrees!! I started to think of her last playdate...just two weeks ago when I think the high was just 40 or maybe 50 degrees! It's funny how Texas winter playdate pictures can contrast each other so much! Two weeks ago I had Emma and Lily all bundled up and today the girls were barefoot!

There is another little buddy in the cul-de-sac...also named Emma...who is just 3 months younger than Lily. Funny that Lily has two friends named Emma and two friends named Sophie!!! I won't even tell you how many of them share the same middle name...GRACE!! I think I've lost track! are some pictures from Emma's birthday party the first weekend in can see I had Lily dressed way too warm and later she changed clothes. TEXAS weather!!
I am so thankful for Lily to have such precious friends at this fun young age. And to think that two of them are just a stone's throw from our house! And what is even more amazing is that they come from strong Christian families who are such an encouragement to us!
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