Friday, March 21, 2014

Happy birthday to me!

I had a great day of celebrating yesterday. My day began with this:
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And ended with this:
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In between breakfast in bed and chocolate cake was a morning with my little ones, a lunch date with the Gent, and then three hours of alone time (thank you, Honey!). I had a long, uninterrupted phone conversation with a dear friend and did a bit of shopping. We went out for a family dinner at our favorite Mexican place and finished off the evening with homemade chocolate cake (good job, Gent!).

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It really is okay to teach your own kid

I recently heard two stories that made me incredulous. First, a friend told me her neighbor's son just started kindergarten and was amazed to find he didn't know concepts like the alphabet and counting. He hadn't learned them in the expensive preschool program he had attended for three years and his mom never bothered to find out if he was learning anything! Second, a mother took her four year old to take a KSAT test so she could apply for a pricey private school 30 minutes away (when they live in an excellent public school district). Her daughter was so nervous about taking the test she threw up as soon as they arrived at school.

We live in a city where almost every stay at home mom (off the top of my head, I can think of one friend who doesn't send her kids to "school") I know sends their young children to preschool or a Mother's Day Out program (usually at least two days a week). While every family should make their own decision about what is best for them, don't start with the assumption that your child will fail in life if you don't send them to "school" as a baby, toddler, or preschooler.

A few of my thoughts, take them or leave them:
They are your children. You are fully capable of parenting them. All of them. The moms at Annie's dance class were shocked (I mean, really, really shocked. There were a few jaws on the floor. For real.) last week when I said I take my three munchkins grocery shopping with me. Every week. I think to myself, "that's just what I do!" I am not super mom and my kids are not one hundred percent perfectly behaved, but we do pretty well. Life is made up of teaching moments and that's what we do as we do what needs to be done. Some days are for fun at the zoo, some days are for grocery shopping and taking the dog to the vet. That's life. They might as well learn it now. :)

If you are a stay at home mom, it is your job is to take care of the kids and household. Now, I am thankful to get a lot of help from my mom. She usually babysits for a couple of hours one afternoon a week. If she wasn't able to do that, I would probably consider a MDO program one morning a week. You've got to get your hair cut sometime! But you aren't entitled to time off from being a mom. Being a mom is a selfless business. It's hard sometimes, I know. But it's your job. And it can be lots of fun, too. My kids miss me so much when I do leave them for a few hours. They really do love having me around!

You can teach your own child all the concepts and life skills they need. What better place to learn than in the family, the structure God created for the growth of children? Annie and JJ know their letters, numbers, colors, etc. We incorporate those topics throughout our day. At the grocery store, what color are the bananas? At dinner, how many napkins do we need to set the table? In the car, they find letters on signs as we drive around town. More importantly, they learn to play cooperatively together. They are learning to solve their own squabbles and share their toys, and find joy in helping their siblings.

That's all I've got for now. Nap time will be over soon and I've got a kitchen to clean and dogs to groom. If MDO works well for you, great. I really mean that. Just don't assume you can't do it yourself, you are stronger than you think!

Friday, March 14, 2014


I know I've written about Compassion and the incredible work they do before, but I wanted to take a few words and do it again. We recently hosted a Compassion Sunday at our church and had the opportunity to hear from a Compassion graduate. To hear firsthand what it meant to this man to have a sponsor and be part of Compassion's program was amazing. I started sponsoring a child through Compassion when I was in high school and have been doing so every since. The Gent and I currently sponsor a little girl in Ethiopia and a little boy in India. Actually, they aren't so little anymore! Feven is a teenager and Saurum will be soon. Compassion's motto is "releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name." One (of many) thing I love about Compassion is that they work through the local church. The church knows the true needs of their community and is in the best place to help. Compassion comes alongside the church with the resources that are needed to transform the lives of needy children and their families. Compassion provides for the needs of the whole child--physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. They help with education, food, hygiene, job training, medical care. And so much more. Compassion gives a child hope. They tell them, "you matter, to us and to God." You are not worthless, you are of infinite value. Each child is connected with a sponsor who loves them and prays for them and writes letters of encouragement. Why not take a few minutes this weekend to check out Compassion's website (here's a link for you) and sponsor a child today?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Linky Wednesday

Good reminders in this article. Enjoy!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Now that You are Six

Happy birthday, Huck (lberry-hound dog). Thanks for being our resident cuddle-bug and equal-opportunity lover. You've never met an enemy and are so happy to greet everyone who comes along! The children love you, Nick is your best brother, and Zeke tolerates you (that's high praise coming from him). Glad you are our sweet, furry red-head!

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Weekend Odd Jobs

In between keeping up with three fur babies and three human ones, trips to the park and Chik Fil A, and church, here's what we did this weekend.

Fix vents in entry way
Touch up paint in Annie's room
Touch up paint in playroom
Stain stick
Touch up paint in dining room
Install and paint cord cover in master bedroom
Fix the Gent's dresser knob
Weatherstrip ac unit in playroom
Remove shim on gate
Rake play yard
Measure and order new bathroom cabinet
Paint basement window boards and hose outlet
Clean out basement
Sewer line support
Finish repairing Annie's chair
Touch up paint on doll cradle
Caulk bath window
Repair office shelf
Order porch furniture
Email dogsitter travel dates
Call handyman
Shim outlets
Glue pegs in kitchen
Clean kitchen (this was a four+ hour process, but my kitchen has never been so clean!)
Re-pot peace lily

In addition to this, I did a very thorough spring cleaning last week (blinds, baseboards, scrubbing grout, light fixtures, etc). All I have left is to mop the downstairs floors, deep clean the sun room, and dust the bookcases. Yay for an (almost) clean house and annoying projects marked off our list!

The sense of accomplishment is almost overwhelming. I need m&m's.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Sophie: Nine Months

Eek! Nine months old! Sophie is crawling and loves to play with her big brother and sister's puzzles. She thinks toys are so much fun, especially her Sophie giraffe and cloth books. Some new favorite foods are cheese and chicken. Sophie weighs 14 lbs 5 oz and is 26 1/2 inches long. That's the same length Annie was at nine months, and a pound less. Sophie is finally going (mostly successfully--I only get paged occasionally instead of every week) to the nursery at church. She loves to be outside and we are all ready for spring! She is wearing 6-9 month clothes and size 2 diapers.

Sophie's schedule looks something like this: Wake either around 5am to nurse and then go back to sleep or every now and then skip that feeding and sleep till 7:30am or so. Nurse, have breakfast (usually cereal, dairy, and fruit). Get dressed, play, morning outing. Nurse, lunch (usually fruit, veggie, maybe a few puffs). Nap from 1-4ish. Nurse. Play! 6:15pm dinner (veggie, protein, cereal), then playtime with Daddy and the big kids. Bath (she is not a fan of baths right now), nurse, and bed about 8pm. We have finally dropped the 10pm nursing. Sophie is finger feeding except for cereal and yogurt. And she's so cute and sweet we can hardly stand it. :)

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sleeping Babies

Annie and Sophie...can you tell who is who?

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Butterfly Birthday, Part 2

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A special gift: Bitty Baby
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A hug for Bitty Baby, aka Frances
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A hug for Poppa
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Sophie and her Bebe
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And the fish face
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Sophie and her buddy Hampton
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Dillon and his mama
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Party time!
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The cheese smile made several appearances
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She blew those candles out in a hurry
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Daddy taught her to lick the icing
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Annie's plate of deliciousness--no, she couldn't eat it all!
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Our three year old
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Here's the smile again
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Sophie and Honey
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Opening a few more gifts with help from Honey
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Daddy, I want a bite! (No, she didn't get any)
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Mama Rita and Papa Gene
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Bebe and Papa Rick
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Aunt Tessie and Uncle Dwight
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Uncle Tyler and Aunt Kayla
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Nana and Papaw
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Honey and Poppa
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