Sunday, November 6, 2011

Operation Christmas Child

Our shoeboxes are all packed and ready for collection Sunday next week at church.  Next week is the National Collection of shoeboxes for Samaritian's Purse Operation Christmas Child, so get busy and pack yours!

We really wanted Twiggy to understand why she was filling a shoebox, so we first went to to watch videos of children receiving their shoeboxes.  You can also go to the site to find out more information about what to put in your box and the children that receive the gifts.
After watching the video, Twiggy and I talked about the things we saw the kids opening in the boxes.  Over the past year, I had been picking up little things I would find on sale for our shoebox gifts.  We looked at what we already had and made a list of what we still needed to buy.  Twiggy drew the items and asked me how to spell each item.

Twiggy and I went shopping and then we as a family packed the boxes and prayed for the kids who would be receiving them.  My dear friend made a video for our church starring Miss Twiggy.  I think it is adorable!

Making the video was a great experience and Twiggy thought she was a celebrity at church ;)  Thanks, Jamie!

We packed a box for a 2-4 year old boy.  We included: 2 sets of balls and mits, car stickers, teddy bear, toy zebra, crayons, coloring book, notepad, bowling game, silly bands, car, socks, tank top, toothbrush, toothpaste, bar of soap, candy, and a yo-yo.

We packed a box for a 2-4 year old girl.  We included: wind-up fishing game, 2 small baby dolls, stickers, crayons, coloring book, notepad, ball, socks, yo-yo, purse, jump-rope, candy, and a t-shirt.

One night after our shopping trip, Twiggy told me that we needed to get another box from church for another little girl.  We packed another box for a 10-14 year old girl.  I didn't take a picture of that one, but we included: hairbrush, hair ties, re-usable water bottle, t-shirt, soap, toothpaste, tooth-brush, silly-bands, markers, socks, notepads, and bracelets with beads to string.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Truth Always Comes Out

A few days ago I was picking up the toy room and found the following:

Twiggy's beloved Lee Middleton doll with pen marks all over the scalp! My heart sank.  I guess I should thank my lucky stars because as of right now no walls have been graced with crayon marks, no paint has left the easel, and no hair has been cut.  If it wasn't for the letter-like symbols, I would have instantly suspected my rambunctious 18 month old son. So I brought Twiggy in for a few questions.

Me: "What happened to the baby doll?"
Twiggy:  "I don't know."
Me:  "Who wrote on her with pen?"
Twiggy:  "Z must have."
Me: "Really? Z made the letter A on its head?"
Twiggy:  "No, it's not an A! I made a B!"

Hmmm....guilty!  I'm going to try a Magic Eraser to get the marks off.  Any suggestions?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Rolling for Pumpkins

Here's a very inexpensive way to work on the concept of one-to-one correspondence!  I adore the dollar section at Target!  I found these super cute tin pails and a bag of pumpkin erasers.  I already had an unfinished wooden cube that I used a Sharpie to make into a pumpkin dice. 

The activity can be as open-ended as you'd like.  Twiggy and I would take turns rolling the dice and putting the corresponding number of pumpkins into our pail.  We played until the pumpkins were all gone, and then counted our stash.  We talked about who had more and who had less. 

Other ideas:
* Use the dice to "take away" pumpkins.
* Use ice-cube trays as grids.  Whoever fills up their tray first wins.
* Get a second type of eraser (we also bought bats) and practice patterning.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Itsy Bitsy Spiders

I love this time of year!  The leaves are changing, the weather is perfect for go-cart rides, and all things fall are fun!
At a recent family bonfire, we made these adorable T-shirts! They were super simple!!!

First, I found T-shirts on clearance on Walmart.  I probably should have pre-washed them but I didn't.  I put newspaper and old magazines inside the shirts to keep the paint from seeping through to the other side.  I used black fabric paint, but you have to be super careful not to get it on your clothes.

I painted the kiddos palms and four fingers (do not paint the thumb).  My little suggestion: if you are painting a younger kids hands I would do just one hand at a time to minimize the mess. 
Stamp the child's painted hand onto the shirt with thumb down.  Place the other hand down on the shirt, so the palms touch.  I let the spiders dry before I used white puffy paint to add eyes.  I used a thin paintbrush to paint the spider webs.

The kids had a lot of fun making shirts and had even more fun wearing them later that week!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Being Challenged

On my way home from our trip to West Virginia, I was searching the web on my phone.  I came across the HOMEmaker's CHALLENGE (you can get to the site by clicking on the button on the sidebar) which is based off of Sarah Mae's ebook, 31 Days to Clean, Having a Martha House the Mary Way. Hmmm...joining this was not a bad idea for me.  I know for sure that my house could use a little order!

I downloaded the book and began catching up on my ride home!  I was already 2 days behind.  So far I really like the book and enjoy reading the guest bloggers' comments on the HOMEmaker's website.

Day Two of Sarah Mae's ebook says that God made women to be "life-givers." The first way she says that women give life to others is through our words.  In Day Three, she gives 10 ways to give life to our homes.  The first step is to "give words that encourage, comfort, and edify others."  On the HOMEmaker's website, the guest blogger made reference to having to change her child's sheets in the night even though the child has been potty-trained for months.  The blog also referenced Proverbs 21:9, which I swear is my hubby's favorite verse.
“It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.”
Shoot, I just wanted to learn how to stay on top of my household chores!  I wasn't ready to take a look in the mirror!

Well, evidently God felt that I needed to take a deeper look at who I am and He decided to give me an opportunity to apply this knowledge.  The next morning, I pulled a brand new outfit for Twiggy from the back of her closet.  It was so cute!  Little black leggings (it was a cool 60 degrees out) with a black and white tunic.  The tunic had a sweet little 80's inspired necklace attached.  She loved it!  She kept modeling in front of her reflection in the fireplace.  While I was finishing up in the shower, my daughter came running into the bathroom.
Twiggy:  "Mommy...I broked my necklace. But don't worry, I picked up all the pieces so Z won't choke on them."
Me: "Okay.  Thanks for cleaning them up."
Twiggy: "Yep!" (A smile of relief crossed her face) "I put all the beads in my pudding cup and put them in the trash."
Me: "That was a good idea." (I may not have said this if I knew what she was going to ask next)
Twiggy: "Do you think you can fix it for me?"

Then I heard that still, small voice reminding me of all the things I had just read over the last couple of days. 
 I chose not to be angry when I heard how Twiggy broke the necklace (she hooked it around the bottom leg of her recliner and then stood on top of it). 

I chose not to snap when I saw all those beads drowning in the leftover pudding.

I chose to not grumble while I rinsed the offending pudding from those tiny beads.

I chose to honor my daughter's ideas when I saved those precious plastic beads.

I chose to speak life, instead of tear down.

I am embarrassed to say that this would not be my ordinary way of handling the situation.  I thank the sweet Lord for helping me remember to apply the lessons He is teaching me!

Let the challenge continue!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My Cup Overflows

Shame on me for trying to hurry through our nightly routine.  I know that these moments with the kids are precious, but I have to admit that sometimes I look forward to just vegging out on the couch.  I need tonight to be a reminder to me as to just how important these "mommy-duties" can be. 

After taking a bath, brushing her teeth, and one last stop at the potty; Twiggy's final bedtime gauntlet consists of being carried up the stairs a funny way.  Usually she wants her daddy to carry her by the arms and me to grab her legs.  We have to swing her 32 times before tossing her on the bed.  No joke, 32 times! Twiggy then picks out five books to take to bed.  We had to put a limit on this months ago, because the poor girl was running out of room in her bed!  I will read her one book and sometimes she will "read" one to me.  We say prayers and then I rub her back until she is almost asleep.

Tonight's routine was much the same.  The only difference seemed to be that she asked to be carried like a "princess in a parade," while giving her best pagent wave to her daddy.  We read the book, L is for Loving.  Then it was time for prayers.  I have been trying to go a little deeper with her prayers.  First we talk about what she is thankful for.  Her responses vary from "Daddy, Mommy, and Zaven" to "my new kittens." Recently, I have been asking, "Is there anything you want to ask God for?" To this she almost always gives me a blank stare. I model for her by saying, "God, please help Kinsley to have a great day at school tomorrow," or "Please help Zaven to feel better." Tonight when I told Twiggy it was time for prayers, I was totally blown away by her responses.

Me: What are you thankful for tonight?
Twiggy: That Jesus got dead so I can go to heaven.
Me: You are right! That is a wonderful thing to thank God and Jesus for. Is there anything you want to ask God for?
Twiggy: To fill up my heart.
Me: What did you say?
Twiggy: For Jesus to fill up my heart.

Tears filled my eyes. Twiggy said she wanted me to pray it for her, so we began:
Me: Thank you Lord for this day and thank you especially for my sweet little girl.  She wants to thank you for sending Jesus to die so that she can go to heaven. She also wants to ask you something...
I looked up at Twiggy and she looked right back at me with her bright, blue eager eyes. 
Twiggy: Fill up my heart, Jesus. Amen!

I gave her a huge hug and kissed her forehead.  We called her daddy up to tell him what she prayed tonight.

I am so very proud of my daughter and so blessed that we were able to slow down to share this moment with her!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Teachers Beware!

I taught in a preschool classroom for five years.  In that amount of time, I have learned countless lessons about life.  Today I will share one with you:

Don't judge parents by the actions of their children!

I'm not even talking about the major things at center time or recess.  I am not bring up hitting, kicking, biting, or the other big no-no's in a school.  No, today is something far worse...something that I think all kids must do at one time or another. 

I used to sit in front of the class of 20 kids, holding a puppet in one hand, turning the pages of a big book with the other; all while keeping my eye out for the "unthinkable." I was always amazed that the most darling, prim and proper little girl would do the "unthinkable."  I remember thinking to my self, "Oh how gross!  How can a little girl be so cute, but have such poor manners?  Aren't her parents embarrassed?!"

Teachers, I know many of you have just started back into the classroom for the year.  The school supplies still have that new smell.  The kids are just learning the routines and rules of the classroom.  Please remember the life lesson above.  You never know when the tables will be turned.

Here's when the roles reversed for me.  I was sitting on the edge of Twiggy's bed while she perused the countless books in her nighttime routine.  I was gazing at her, admiring her sweet little features, and thinking about how blessed Kee and I were.  That's when Twiggy did the "unthinkable!"  What is the "unthinkable?" Oh, you have all seen it!  It makes your stomach turn!  She placed her bubblegum pink painted finger inside her nose...and you guessed it...then put her finger in her mouth!  I can hardly write it, because it upsets my stomach! 

Me: What are you doing?
Twiggy: Nothing....
Me: Don't pick your nose!  And definitely DO NOT eat it!
Twiggy: Why? (It had never occurred to her that this was not what you do)
Me: It is gross! And it will give you a belly ache! (I was pulling at strings...when in doubt threaten sickness)
Twiggy: Mom!  I didn't chew it!

I was so grossed out, but it made me laugh at the same time.  Never did I dream that it would be my sweet, sweet Twiggy who would partake in the "unthinkable."  I'm just hoping she doesn't take her hobby to story time! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lessons from Bob the Painter

In a hunt for ways to spruce up our new home, Kee asked his coworkers for names of painters that they'd recommend.  That night Kee came home with a scrap of paper that said, "Fat Bob the Painter...(XXX)-XXX-9468."
There are many lessons to be learned from the contractor that we have hired to paint our new house.  Many of these lessons can be applied to your own career or job hunt.

1. Create a Name for Yourself
Bob came highly recommended from several of Kee's coworkers.  Funny thing is that they all referred to him as "Fat Bob."  Strange, I thought, and kind of rude.  I called the number that was given to Kee and left a voicemail.  About 9:45 that same night during a tornado watch, Bob called me back.
"Hey! It's Bob...the fat, old painter."
So that's why they call him that.  Everytime Bob enters the house or calls me, he says that same tag line.
It's even to the point that one day in the car I heard Twiggy singing, "Bob the fat painter...he can paint it!"  I have had several conversations with both her and Kee pleading them to stop calling him "Fat Bob."

2. Be Prepared at the Interview
Bob came to give us an estimate on Thursday at 2:00.  By 4:00 he was back at the house with a gallon of my chosen color and a gallon of white ceiling paint.

3. Show them Something They Can't Live Without
Like I said, Bob wasn't even hired yet when he came back to my house with the paint. In a matter of a half hour he spread out drop cloths and painted half of my kitchen ceiling and one wall in my kitchen.  I stood in amazement at the ease in which he trimmed without painter's tape.  It looked great!  He was such a professional! 
He wiped the paint from his hands onto his plaid shorts and said, "You just call me tomorrow and tell me if I'm hired or fired."
Then it hit me...I had to hire this guy.  First off, he was such a great painter.  Second, I couldn't live with a half painted ceiling and one painted wall in my kitchen!

4. Dress the Part
Now be careful with this one.  I guess what I mean is that Bob dresses like a painter.  He is a 66 year old man with a very typical physique.  His "uniform" consists of paint splattered shorts and white wife-beater tanks.

5. Compliments are Always Appreciated
Bob pulled into the drive in his green SUV with a silver Jesus fish emblem on the back hatch.  Carrying a rusty old ladder, he stops to meet my kids.  He plays peek-a-boo for several minutes with Z.  Then he takes one look at Twiggy and says,  "S@&T, she's beautiful!" 
Now I would definitely suggest avoiding the expletive-strung speech, but truthfully it made me smile.  A compliment is always nice if it is good-hearted.

6. Keep Your Employer Engaged
Now Bob likes conversation.  I think he likes it almost as much as he likes painting.  Countless times he has asked me, "Have you figured me out yet? Have you figured out that I'm a character?"  After talking with all my house cleaning helpers, I realize I am not the only one that he has posed this question to.  Honestly, Bob, I knew you were a character from day one! 

7. Share What You've Got
Bob is eager to share everything with you, whether it is his expertise or his lunch!  He started painting with his dad when he was six years old. He is quick to tell me why he is doing something a certain way or is offering me a free painting lesson.  Don't worry, I haven't taken him up on the lessons...I feel that would just ruin his beautiful work!  When he's not attempting to give painting lessons, he is trying to give away his food.  Everyday he brings a bunch of grapes in a plastic bag, a hunk of Longhorn cheese wrapped in plastic wrap, a bologna sandwich, and three Hershey's Chocolate Bars.  "Hey now, help yourself to some grapes or chocolate...seriously take some," Bob tells anyone walking by the room. 

7. Make Your Employer Feel Like They are Number One
Bob is sure to put our material bills and notebook paper bills in a hidden drawer in our house.  He cautions, "Now, I don't just do this for anyone."  When I'm contemplating painting a ceiling or tackling another room, he'll say, "Now you know I'm not coming back. H$#L I'm supposed to be retired."

Bob aced the interview.  He will get an excellent evaluation and will be missed when the job is done. And once again someone will be talking over lunch and asking about painters in the area.  We'll scribble a note on a piece of paper and hand it over in confidence.  It will read: "Fat Bob the Painter...(XXX)-XXX-9468"

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rocky Road?

We had a lovely Memorial Day weekend, even though it didn't go as planned.  We had high hopes of relaxing, purchasing things for our new home, and just getting out of town for a little bit.  Most of our plans came to fruition in one way or another...but there were definitely some speed bumps.

I had in my mind to go and do something decor shopping for our house.  I wanted to get up and go early Saturday.  When we realized we'd be stuck at Uncle's waiting for the sewer situation to be fixed for a second time, I had to come up with a plan B.  After a visit from a plumber and a county employee, we went to grab a bite to eat at our local Chinese buffet. 

 I have never been a big fan of buffets, and in particular this one has haunting memories.  If you are squeamish, don't worry this story has nothing to do with the cleanliness or the state of the food.  Instead, the name of the restaurant always conjurs up vivid memories of a tornadic temper tantrum my daughter had there when she was about 2 years old.  We were sitting in a booth when Twiggy refused to sit down.  After several "reminders", I took her out to the van for a time-out.  Boy-oh-boy did she howl.  After we both calmed down, I brought Twiggy back into the restaurant.  Immediately upon seeing the booth, she began screaming.  Kee was fed up! He jutted out his arms to remove Twiggy's flailing body from me.  And yes, about this time, we gained an audience of people who were enjoying their heaping plates of lo mein.  As Kee began to step back away from me, I grabbed his arms and told him, "!  Stop!"  I guess he thought I was protesting to his impending discipline, because he gave me a stern look and continued to pull Twiggy from me.  What he didn't realize is that Twiggy had wrapped her tiny fingers all through the underside of my thick hair!  She was pulling it out by the roots!

Well, this visit to the fine establishment was no different with the exception of a new character.  Z!  Our darling little boy is now almost 15 months old.  Let me just say he is giving us a run for our money these days!  Fifteen minutes into dinner, he forfeited the use of his fork as an eating utensil and began using it as a projectile.  I have never seen a children throw so much food in such a short amount of time!  The people within a five foot radius were all in the "splash zone" of my son's food storm mingled with metal dinnerware.  I'm not sure why Kee and I thought that after this spectacle, we'd try our hand at taking two small children to the movies.  Maybe we were a little light-headed from leaning under the table picking up all that rice!

Armed with a bag full of illegal snacks (Cheerios, strawberry wafers, twizzlers, fruit snacks) we got our tickets to see Rio!  Please do not comment about how cute the movie is or about the ending as I obviously was not able to see it!  Thinking we were smart, we sat in the back and began shoveling popcorn at our little man.  Twiggy was into the movie, she danced during the songs and giggled at the funny parts.  Kee and I juggled Z throughout the hour and fifteen minutes that we lasted (I'm pretty impressed that we made it that long).  He let out little yells and did his signature "get out of your arms" move.  Some kids go "boneless" where their little bodies go limp making it difficult for an adult to keep ahold of them.  Not Z, he throws his boulder of a head backward and arches his back while simultaneously kicking his legs.  It has to be experienced to be understood!  We called it quits when the beloved sippy cup was tossed and rolled all the way down to the bottom of the packed theater. 

Sunday was a hopeful new day.  We woke early in hopes to travel an hour away to shop in some home stores. At Target, Z once again decided to display his true colors.  He refused to sit in the cart....but also refused to be held. We made it to one more store, but Kee and I were wore out.  We felt like  rodeo clowns trying to distract a raging bull.  We cut our trip short, thinking naps at home would do the trick.  After everyone was well-rested (meaning our rambunctious toddler now had even more energy), we decided to meet some friends at the park.  Z and Twiggy laughed and had a great time.  I got my exercise chasing Z up and down the play equipment.  We all needed rewarded with a little ice cream.

We all piled out of our vehicles, mouths watering at the ice-cream stand.  My friend and I gave our orders to our husbands as we made our way with our children to the picnic tables.  My friend has four children...the best behaved children in the world.  I am not just comparing them to mine...I mean every child in the world!  Her husband brought over all the melting cones.  Their children dutifully began eating their dripping icecream, sure to seek napkins when needed.  Even the tiniest, 13 months old, sat in front of her mommy and awaited bites of the cold treat.  Now enter my husband.  Two dripping cones and one bowl of icecream for Z.  Immediately Twiggy protested that she wanted hers in a bowl.  I swap her the bowl for the kiddie cone.  I chase Z down and offer him a bite, but his mouth is already full.  Full of what you might!  Surely after a quick finger-sweep, he'd want to eat the ice-cream. fast as he could he found more rocks to shove in his mouth.  Repeat...repeat...repeat.  I threw the cone away and resorted to managing the situation.  Kee later told me that everyone around us was pointing and laughing. 

Sometimes I think back at how life was simpler when it was just Kee and I.  We could go to the movies, eat dinner out, and actually eat our ice-cream.  Would I change it?  Never!  Sometimes even though life with kids is a Rocky Road ;), it is definitely more fulfilling than our previously vanilla life!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gypsy Children

Sunday before church we realized there was a major problem at Uncle's house.  None of the drains in his house were draining.  In fact, the bath tubs were filling up with water from different drains!  This is never a good sign.  A plumber came to the house that afternoon, but said that a specialist would need to come out.  At that point, knowing nothing could be done on a Sunday evening, Kee and I decided that I'd need to find a place for the kids and I to stay for a few nights.

Hastily we packed up the van with various suitcases, the pack n' play, diapers, and the kids.  Off I went to my mom's house an hour away.  She wasn't going to be home for the next few days, but luckily I tracked down a key.  The kids were pretty sad that their "Go-Go" wasn't home to visit with, but it made me feel a little less guilty about the take-over we were about to perform.  Along with the kids, I also brought a week's worth of laundry.  I felt like a college student lugging home our dirty duds to mommy.

I took the kids to Wal-mart to buy a little food for the few nights that we'd be spending at my mom's.  Twiggy and I watched VCR tapes that my sister and I had as kids.  Kinsley got all dolled up in the dress-up clothes and Z ran around like a wild man. We actually enjoyed our time away, aside from living out of suitcases (which we are getting quite used to doing).

During our second evening, the kids and I went to a park to burn off some energy on the playground.  Once the kids were sweaty and dirty, we made our way back to Go-Go's house.  From the backseat a very quiet, yet concerned voice asked, "Mommy, where are we gonna sleep tonight?"

Poor kid!  Even I was getting confused!  Soon, my dear Twiggy, we will have our own house to go home to!  No longer will we be gypsies!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rompin' and Wrastlin'

People often ask Kee and I if it is awkward living with our friend.  Or they ask, "So how's the month going there?"  I have to say that our answer may be different than Uncle's.  Truth be told, we don't get to see much of our friend.  We may see him for fifteen minutes in the mornings before work and then an evening a week or so.  It's no secret, I think he's avoiding us!

Actually, he says that he'll get home around 10:00 in the evening and is shocked when we are all in bed.  Believe me, if both my kids are sleeping then I try to be too! It has gotten to the point that Uncle and his girlfriend "T" have to schedule times to come visit with us and the kids to avoid our strict bedtimes.

My kids love playing and rough-housing with Uncle and T.  Twiggy especially has taken a liking to T and will overwhelmingly be glued to her side from the minute she walks in the door until we have to peel her off of T at bedtime. 

This is what a typical visit with my kids looks like:
Uncle and T will greet both Twiggy and Z.  Twiggy will not even say hello but instead will immediately ask, "Hey T, want to play Duck, Duck, Goose?" (Tell me what adult likes to play this game?)  T will always graciously comply.  Twiggy will tell her where to sit and who to tag.  Next will be a game of I Spy, then maybe a few coloring pages at all the adults request for a respite of peace.  And then usually Twiggy wants to play Duck, Duck, Goose again.  Poor T!

One evening I think Kee was feeling a bit guilty at how bossy our daughter was being, so he tried to play with her to give T a break. Kee and Twiggy romped and rolled on the carpet the way that only daddies can play.  Squeals and laughter filled the room.  Z tried climbing on top of the moving pile.  We thought we found a solution that would maybe give T a chance to actually sit on the couch and breathe for a minute.

As Twiggy rolls over Kee she yells, "T!  T!  Come wrastle this guy!"

T couldn't answer because she was laughing.

Twiggy coaxes,"Come on...come touch him!"

I think T's better judgement told her that if she participated in this wrestling match there would be some awkward lunches at work the next week, so she refrained from "putting the smack down" on my husband (her words :) ))

That evening as T gathered her things so Uncle could drive her home, Kee told both of them, "Thanks for coming over.  Come back soon!"  I'm sure Uncle appreciates those little comments, like we own the place. 

Surprisingly they keep coming back!  Uncle did say that he and T now realize why Kee and I are exhausted and are in bed by 10 every night!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Leaving our Mark

As most of you know, we are spending the month of May living with our friend until our house is ready. Our friend, who we'll call "Uncle" (that is what Twiggy calls him), has a beautiful home. He has been gracious enough to allow our family of four to pretty much overtake his quiet quarters.

In just a few hours of moving in, our furniture and toys overtook almost every room of his house.  Uncle's refrigerator was quickly filled with gallons of whole milk, apple juice, and baby yogurts.  His pantry was stuffed with graham crackers, Cheerios, Pop-tarts, and fruit snacks.  Kee's shoes littered his mudroom creating an obstacle course for anyone traveling through it.

Kee and I were so nervous that our two lovely children would destroy Uncle's pristine home.  During our first meal, Twiggy was eating pizza and jumped up, grabbed one of the white columns in the dining room, and spun around.  My heart sank as I could just envision red pizza sauce smeared perfectly around the crisp white architecture.  Luckily, her hands were clean!

Z has left countless finger and nose prints on the windows.  Umm...he may even have licked one or two.

But in the end it wasn't Twiggy....or Z....or even me that made their mark on Uncle's life as he knew it.  It was Kee.  It was day four of our stay when we made pasta for dinner.  Kee thought he'd help me out, so he served up the noodles on paper plates.  Hindsight would suggest that washing the dishes would have caused less heartache.  When it was time to clear the table, we noticed these awful white marks.  The hazy marks didn't wipe clean!  We burned the table! 

After fessing up to Uncle, we did the only thing we could think of...we Googled solutions.  We first tried Pledge and Old English.  Nope...nothing!  We (Uncle and I, not Kee) smeared Miracle Whip over the white spots.  Still no luck!  There was only one last internet suggestion that everyone swore by.  They suggested taking an iron set to the steam setting and placing it on a white cloth over the burn.  As you can see from the photo below, this was a no go for us.
Perfect iron mark
Uncle laughed about the whole situation.  He said,"If this is the worse thing that happens this month, then we'll be good.  Unfortunately I had to remind him that we weren't even a week into our stay!  

Saturday, May 14, 2011

It's All Relative

Since my children's first few pediatrician appointments, I've been banking on the fact that they just have to have lots of brains!  Twiggy was never on the charts for weight, made it to the tenth percentile for height, and 80th percentile for head circumference!  While Z eats like a horse, he has pretty much followed in his big sister's footsteps. At his last check-up, he was in the 17th percentile for weight, 22nd percentile for height, and brace yourself...the 92nd percentile for head circumference!  He was only a few inches taller than his head circumference! 

Day to day, I don't really notice my children's large noggins compared to their itty bitty bodies.  Sometimes though, circumstances draw attention to this detail.

Take a look at this photo of my friends darling babies with my son.  Z is on the far right.  Just compare his head size with the boy on the left.  Z is only a week older than him!  It almost looks like Z was super-imposed in the picture...but trust Photoshopping here!

For a solid two weeks, Z would daily manage to get his head stuck when hiding under our bar stools. 

I came upon Twiggy a few weeks ago like this. 
Me: "Honey, what are you doing?"
Twiggy: "Trying to get dressed."
Me: "Why did you step into your shirt?"
Twiggy: "I couldn't get it to fit over my head."
Sometimes I too get a panicked feeling when dressing and undressing the kids when it comes time to get those snug collars over their heads.

Well, today was another moment when attention is called to those high percentile heads.  We were lunching at Wendy's when a mother and her son sat at the table next to us.  The baby was probably a month or two younger than Z.  Twiggy kept staring at the baby. 
She very loudly and matter-of-factly stated: "That baby has a wittle head!"

A little embarrassing.  The child had a very proportionate head to his body.  I guess it is all relative!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Everyday is Father's Day!

Secretly I think every mother looks forward to Mother's Day with just a few wishes: more sleep, a little extra special attention, and maybe even something homemade by the darlings in your life.  At least that is what I have anxiously anticipated over the last four years. 

My morning started off at an early 5 AM.  Mr. Z was up and was as cranky as ever.  He and I tried rocking, laying on the couch, eating some Fruit Loops (don't judge me...his daddy gave him a Pop-Tart later).  He was just not a happy camper.  My husband and Twiggy came out of our room about 6:30. Kee took him from my weary arms and told me to lay back down.  Lay back down? I didn't even think twice about it...I practically dove back into bed.  It was Mother's Day after all, and I was taking full advantage!

I woke up an hour and a half later to scrambled eggs, biscuits, and bacon.  How sweet, I love when Kee makes breakfast!  On the table were my two Mother's Day cards and a beautiful vase!

(I guess I should stop the story and fill everyone in.  We are in housing limbo at the moment.  Last week we moved from our first home into our dear friend's house. We'll call him Uncle, because that is what our daughter calls him.  He and Kee met in college and the three of us have been close friends ever since.  Our plan is to live here until June when we are able to take possession of our new house.  Bless our friend!  I am sure there will be more stories about these escapades to come!)

First I opened my kids' card.  So sweet.  My daughter "wrote" her name and drew a picture of her and her brother.

Then I opened my husband's card.  Evidently Twiggy instructed him to also draw our family on the inside.  Take a closer look.  I'm sure you can pick out the kids, my husband, and myself.  When my husband thought he was finished, Twiggy demanded that he also include Uncle in the picture. 

Our family of four...wait 5!

We all began getting ready for church.  My husband unloaded the dishwasher while I jumped in the shower.  Every mom knows that sometimes the only escape we have is to get yourself into the bathroom and lock the door.  The entire time I was shampooing my hair, I heard tiny hands pounding and smacking the door.  Well, that is the closest thing I'll get to a spa ;)

Here's the picture I demanded we take before we left for church.

This was the best of 5 tries!
After church, Kee and Uncle grilled out.  We ate lunch and then my husband uttered those beautiful words, "Go take a nap."  Well, it is Mother's once again I bee-lined for the bed where I slumbered for the next hour. 

I continued to use the Mother's Day validation as the day went on.  We went for a walk, went to Wal-mart, and even stopped to get ice-cream.  When it was time for the kids' baths, my husband wasn't about to buy the Mother's Day ploy easily.  With a little hand-holding he tried man-handling Z in the tub as if he were a washed up fish writhing and twisting.  He yelled from the bathroom, "I could use a little help in here!"  This made me chuckle because somehow I manage to bathe the kids everynight single-handedly.  I didn't come to his rescue immediately because I was chasing down Twiggy who was adamant that she wasn't taking a bath if Daddy was doing it.  Finally I got her in the tub for him and got everyone's jammies, diapers, and pull-ups laid out.  Twiggy began screaming and shrieking.  I wish I could have snapped a picture of Uncle's face as he walked in the backdoor.  He was alarmed by the sounds that were echoing through his house.  Welcome family of four!  I had to rescue Kee and get the kids out of the tub.

As we sat and visited with our friends this evening, Kee made the comment of how it must be nice that I took two naps today.  I quickly pointed out, "It isn't a nap if it is at 6:30 in the morning! Plus it was Mother's Day!" 

Just a few minutes ago, I reminded Kee to do one more favor for me before he went to bed.  "I can't wait until it is Father's Day!" he grumbled, annoyed with all the extra work he did for the day.  To which I replied, "Everyday is Father's Day for you!" 

I'm not man-bashing at all.  But I bet that this is true in many of your homes, too. On Mother's Day, moms just want someone to lighten their load for the day.  Nothing special...just so someone else knows how hard we work!  Which I think Kee knows, but it never hurts for a little reminder ;)

My husband and my kids blessed me today and I got my three wishes.  Extra sleep....if you ask my husband, I got two naps.  Extra special attention...check!  Something homemade....look at my cute cards!

I will start planning my husband's extra special Father's Day tomorrow, but not tonight...I can still milk this Mother's Day for another couple hours!

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Branch Who Loves His Trees

Today was very bittersweet as I turned in the keys to our very first home.  Kee and I have been very blessed to have been able to put our house on the market and in just four days have a buyer.  We have also been blessed that when we were ready to give up hope in finding the perfect home, the house we had always had in mind came on the market.  Even so, it is hard to leave this little ranch of ours.

I will miss the many memories that fill each of the rooms of our home, but I know that many more memories will overflow from the rooms in our new home. 
I will miss the safari decorated room that I brought both my beautiful babies home to and rocked them in for endless midnight hours. 

 I will miss the many family meals (even if I did not cook all of them) shared in our dining room.

It is with fond memories that I took the photo of Twiggy’s purple princess big girl bedroom.

Kee made fun of me Saturday as I awoke and immediately began crying.  I was so sad that it was the last morning I would spend in my home.  He tried to add insult to injury by saying, "Just think Jess, this is where we brought home all our babies." Not missing a beat I replied, "Just think  Kee, you won't get to see your trees mature."  Silence followed. And if it hadn't still been dark in the room, I am pretty sure I would have saw tears!
Our big tree in the front yard.
You see, there have been many afternoons and evenings when Twiggy and I have had to hunt for Kee.  She knew her daddy well and would inform me, "Hims looking at his trees."  She was usually right.  He would be pacing the yard and checking on his shrubs and beloved trees' progress.  He spent countless afternoons consulting his The National Arbor Foundation's Field Guide to North American Trees book in order to identify every possible tree in a five mile radius to our house. You know the love of your life has taken tree identification too far when he spots a cluster of trees from afar and nonchalantly informs, "That's classic American Basswood."  I guess I asked for that when I bought that book for him for Father's Day!

Kee's prized Black Stella Cherry Tree
The summer just will not be the same without the ability to fight off the birds to harvest 20 of our very own cherries from the tree Kee planted when we moved in.

Believe me...I know this is hard to see.  But there really is a three-year old White Oak sapling that Kee grew from an acorn.
Just how will our lives be complete if we don't see this little sapling grow?!  Kee asked if I thought he could dig it up...of course I said no.  Hopefully the new owners do not simply mow over it!

For all you nature lovers who are feeling sorry for my husband...there is a happy ending to this story.  On the very day that we closed on the sale of our first home, Kee was given these two tiny pine trees.  He dropped off Twiggy and Z to daycare and the teacher said she had these two trees left over from Arbor Day the day before.  Believe me, I got a phone call that morning from a very excited husband!  In our hectic few days of moving, Kee was sure to carefully transport these promising saplings to our temporary home.  And hopefully they will survive until June to be planted in our new house!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Heart Trimmings

Our search for a house has left us a little doubtful that we will find the perfect compromise for both Kee and I.  If you haven't read the "Home Sweet Home" post should..

Last week we decided to explore the possibility of building a home.  Kee went and talked with a builder.  He came home very excited with lots of brochures.  He explained to me how we could make as many upgrades as we'd like to the bathroom fixtures, kitchen cabinets, trim, etc.

These decisions must have been weighing heavily on his mind, because when I returned to bed after a late-night waking with Z he was "sleep-talking" about it. I pulled the covers over me only to be greeted by a fretting husband. 

Kee: "I just don't know what trim package to pick!!!"

Knowing how difficult it is for my husband to make any type of decision (what grocery store we'll stop at, where we go to eat, what shoes to wear with his outfit) I thought I would humor him and help him come to a conclusion.  I thought in my sleep-deprived reasoning that if I could uncover what trim package my sleeping husband desired, my waking husband would surely appreciate the information.

So I asked, "What is your heart telling you?"

Kee replied: ""

Well, I guess my waking husband will have to make this decision on his own!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Home Sweet Home

It has been a long time since I have written a post, but we have been busy hunting for a house.  We close on our current house next week, and have yet to find the perfect house to call our next home.  Part of the problem is that Kee and I want different things in a home.  His back-woods roots are starting to show and he wants some land, while I want a house that feels just right.

For those of you who know us, you can imagine how different my husband's taste is from mine. If you don't know us, let me try to explain.  I am a list-maker and visuals are my friend.  So tonight I created two charts. 

This first chart shows some of the things I want in a house.  The houses in both charts are numbered in the order that we viewed them.

# of bedrooms that we want
Good Layout    
Toy Room?
Good School District
Nice Bathroom Fixtures
Nice countertops
House #1
House #2
House #3
House #4

I think it is kind of nice to step back and look at the "facts" of the search.  Of course there are a few more details that I didn't include in my chart...but these are the biggies. 
Well, let's muddy up this mess a bit more.  After viewing lots of houses and looking at many real estate pages online with my husband, I have gathered that these are his big deciding factors.  Check out his chart!

Fly Kites
Play Banjo on back porch
Shoot guns
Ride go-carts that we do not own
Pee off the back porch @ night
Man cave
Ride Bikes
House #1
House #2
House #3
House #4

Please don't judge my husband!  I still love him, but now you can feel my pain.  I know we will eventually find a home that we can both be excited about, but until then it IS entertaining!