Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Another Top Ten

I really didn't think that I would be joining this Top Ten thing as much as I am...but here I am again!

This time, my Top Ten is a list of first's that happened recently, mostly this weekend...well since I last wrote, which was last Thursday.  (Sorry about that, guys!  It's just it's been so busy around here and without m computer at home, it's a lot harder to keep up here!)

So, here I go!

1.  Elizabeth's soccer team won a game.  This is a first.  In like 5 years.  Or more.  Their team really isn't all that good.  But the girls have a lot of fun, and they get their exercise, so that's what really matters, right?

There's Delmi behind the girl on the left, Renee front and center and Elizabeth to the right.

No cleats in the car!  The synthetic field they play on fills their cleats with the little tires shavings and they get everywhere!

2.  Gabriel uses the potty regularly now.  He knows what it's for, so when you put him on it, he will do whatever it is that he has to do.  He's 14 months old and although I do want him to slow down growing quite so fast, I'm not complaining about this part!

3.  Jo finished her gymnastics class and loved it!  I had just put her in it because it was at her school and right after school, so it was convenient, but it turns out that it was great for her and she really took to it.  Maybe it's her thing like soccer is Liz's.

4.  It has gotten hot enough outside during the day that the house seats up enough that it is hotter inside than outside by the evening time. (This is not a good thing.  It is only the end of May.  We have a long way to go before it gets cool again!)

5.  My clothesline is slowly but surely getting put up!

6.  We planted an apple tree!  They were at 75% clearance at Lowe's so I got the tree for $5!!!!
Yes, we were one of those 'fruity' people with the tree sticking out the top of their car.  :)

7.  We worked our first full week at our new office location.  (YAY!!!!!)

8.  The kids got their first dip of the year in the pool outside.

9.  We had a 3 day weekend and cooked out on Monday and got our first harvest of beans out of the garden.
These are our beans...

...and this is Jo's 'harvest' of walnuts.

10.  Jimmy painted and...WE GOT A COUCH!!!!!  You can have no idea what this means!  This was the first time that Jimmy and I have EVER gone out and picked out a piece of furniture and bought it!  We got it at Corts, so it's not exactly new but it is a lot newer than anything else that we have ever gotten.  This is also the first time we have had a real couch in about 7 years, so this is really something big!!!!

Georgie likes it, too!
So, there you go!  That is what we have been up to around here since we last met here!

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Completely Random Stuff

I am taking the liberty of being completely random again.  It has been a while, and it's time again. 

Annie was here this weekend and we were talking about what the kids wanted to be when they grow up and she mentioned that she would like to be an actress.  Jimmy, ever the sensitive one, said that she should be a comedian.  Annie said that she wouldn't be good because she's not funny.  Jimmy, of course, chimed in with the opinion that if Annie were to even only appear on stage, then she would be funny enough.  Annie, being the type who can give it just as well as she can take it, said that all a comedy strip would need for fodder was to run a tape of our everyday household and the public in general would be entertained for days.

Sometimes I really feel like she's right.

Let me give you a case in point. 

Jimmy are I were in our new living room sitting on the floor when Elizabeth was getting ready for bed.  For some reason, her clock had lost power and was blinking.  She needed to set it for the right time so she could set her alarm and could get up in the morning.  She called down the stairs to get the time. Jimmy looked at the clock and hollered up to her 'It's 9:43' then he went off to the kitchen to get a snack. 

He reappeared shortly looking very smug.  He sat back down beside me and in a very confiding whisper told me 'I tricked Elizabeth.  The time I told her was 5 minutes different than the real time so she will always be early.'

Why, what time is it really? 

The same whisper now accompanied by a giggle said '9:47 heehee'

Umm...Jimmy...that's not going to make her early...

The next thing was from the lips of babes...Jo to be exact.

When we got home from church this evening, we were just all kind of playing around in our new living room, and I went and get a bowl of blueberries to share.  When they were all gone, the little dudes were taking turns putting the bowl on their heads.

When Gabriel put it on his, Elizabeth said, 'He looks Jewish'

Jo answers with 'And I'm strawish'


What is that Jo? 

Gabriel's Jewish and I'm strawish.

But what is strawish?  

It goes with Jewish. 

I felt like we were playing a game of MadGab (which is a really fun game, by the way).


Juice-ish.  It goes with straw-ish!

So Gabriel is juish and Jo is strawish!

Ahhh...is that tape rolling?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Top Ten Again- Grocery Trip

Last week when I joined Top Ten Tuesdays over at Oh Amanda, I thought that I would not be joining again.  I mean, it was fun and all, but really, I couldn't think of other top ten things that I would want to list.

But today, actually, this evening, actually about 30 minutes ago, I was inspired to make another top ten list.

So...here it is!

The Top Ten Reasons Why I Should NOT Have Taken the Little Dudes to the Store With Me Tonight

1.  Gabriel didn't take a nap this afternoon.

2.  Jo was full of it.  I'm not sure exactly what it was, but whatever it was, she was full of it.

3.  Jimmy will have tomorrow evening (and every Wednesday evening, for that matter) 'off' so he didn't really need time off but I have not had time off from the kids since about 1998.

4.  I am tired.

5.  When I got to the store, there were no carts in the parking lot.  I had Gabriel, Jo, Gabe's seat cover (those carts are so gross!  I know.  I used to work at Target), my coupons, and my re-usable bags, so I had to juggle all those things and try to get the seat cover in the cart with Gabe in my arms.

6.  There were no good in-store coupons.  (This had nothing to do with the kids, but I was disappointed all the same.)

7.  Gabriel kept turning around and taking the stuff that I put in the cart back out to inspect and toss it back in...only he missed the cart usually.

8.  Jo kept yelling 'Everybody out of the cart!'

9.  The checker kept forgetting that I had re-usable bags and putting my stuff in plastic so then she stopped bagging all together and I had to bag and try to keep Gabriel from UN-bagging everything.  But she kept asking me if I needed help to my car.  No, ma'am, but I need you to do what you are SUPPOSED to do and bag my groceries, please!

AND....the number 10 reason I should not have taken the little dudes with me to the grocery store...Drumroll please....

10.  Eggs break when you grab the top of the carton and dump them all out.  Yes, Gabriel did a study on the laws of gravity and the effect of hard tiles on raw eggs.   And the outcome was as you would expect.  Broken eggs.  On the floor.

Some would call it bribery, some would call it bad parenting, but I call it an occasional necessity.  I got a pack of sandwich cookies and let Gabriel have one just to keep his hands busy and off the groceries, and I promised Jo one if she would stand by me and not run off to press the buttons on the machines that are at the front of the store.

And when I got home, Jimmy asked me 'Why is Gabriel all covered in goop?'

Well, I say...Just let me tell you....

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Monday, May 23, 2011

Youth Camping Trip as told by Annie

 I have, possibly against my better judgment, turned my blog over to the youth who ended up at my house after the camping trip.  Annie was the first to grab the keyboard, so she went first, and here is what she had to say about the camping trip that the Youth Group went on this weekend.  All the words are hers and hers alone, except for the picture and the caption, which IS her!

Camping by Annie(Arnold)

This is Annie...with a bread mustache.

I'm lucky to have gotten to go at all. I had to finish my 5 page history report before I could go. But, I did. About 15 people went. We had to take like 5 cars. We had to drive for like an hour and a half.
 When we got there we didn't know what to do and Mr Kevin(the youth minister) didn't get there until a half an hour. When he finally got there we had to unload my Mom's car so that she could leave, all of the other drivers were staying. When that was done we went to the rock hill. This would turn out to be my favorite place on the trip. It looked like someone had dropped a giant marble out of the sky and it broke into a million pieces. Then we had to drag all of our stuff from the cars, which were at the top of the hill, to the cabin, which was at the bottom of the hill. Now, you would think that it's easy to drag stuff down a hill, but the stuff was so heavy, and then we had to climb back up the steep hill. It was so annoying. I will never take a table for granted again, because they are very heavy. Then, when we were almost done Ms Amy arrived. She and Jordon had gotten lost and arrived late. And of course their car had the most stuff in it. All of the kitchen supplies, and the tents, and the gas, and the STOVE!!! And there was no bathroom, just an outhouse!! A stinky, disgusting outhouse! And the cabin was full of stinkbugs!! Tons of stinkbugs!! Before lunch, Katie shared the devotional that she had made. We ate lunch, hot-dogs, and settled in. Then Mr Kevin told us to go play games. So almost everyone went to the rocks and climbed around. It was so much fun, and we saw a lizard. Jonni, Jordon, and I climbed all the way to the bottom, well not quite all the way, after the woods started we just sat on a giant boulder. Then we had to head back to start cooking dinner. Mr. Kevin was in charge, but we all helped. Gilbert and Tim made a special rice dish. After a dinner of rice and soup we cleaned up and headed to the rocks. There Eileen did her devotional and Mr Kevin told us to find an isolated spot to watch the sunset and connect with God. I saw the GOD CLOUD!!!! the God cloud was like God in the form of a cloud looking down at us and watching over us. But I couldn't make out the face, I believe that this is because God has many faces. Afterwards  we headed to the field for the campfire. We roasted marshmallows to make smores and we sang songs. We also previewed Missa's testimony. Then we headed back to the cabin. There was a huge Luna Moth on the window right next to my cot, it was so big and beautiful, but Liz threw it off of the porch, so when I saw a beetle on my window I flicked it off, knowing that her bed was on the porch, right under the window. Hehehe...   anyway, the next morning we packed up and ate breakfast. After breakfast we headed up to the cars to load stuff up. If that stuff was heavy going down hill, then it was really heavy going up, we were all in excruciation pain, except for Jonni, he didn't do anything! After that we got to go to the rocks for a bit and I climbed to the bottom again, I know that it sounds weird, but I think that it's easier climbing up than down. Then we drove back to the church and went home.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A New Leaf

This past week has been very rough.  We have been working all day and late into the evening everyday moving our office out of our living room and into its new location while still keeping up with our everyday tasks and orders. 

So now we have come to a bittersweet moment.  The move has been made and now we must report to work at our new location, which is not really far down the street, but it is far enough to not be able to see the little guys playing in the front yard everyday and get them up from their naps for a little snuggle time before they run off to play with Gramma Uita.  But is it also far enough to not be disturbed when we are are the phone or trying to reach a deadline.  It is far enough for us to be able to concentrate on work and not be constantly distracted by laundry and diapers and snacks and lunches and...well, you know, everything!

This will be the first time since Jo was born that we will both be working outside of the house, and the first time since Elizabeth was in 3rd grade that  I have not been home when she gets out of school. 

But this is a necessary change.  What we will miss in being beside the kids all day, we will make up by actually having some space to ourselves and being able to separate our personal life from our work life.  And it has been a long time coming.

So, while we will miss the kids, it also means that we will be able to work more effectively, helping the business to grow, which means more income for us which means a little better life and the possibility that Jimmy can take over the income part of the family and I can stay at home or at least work part time. 

And, for those of you in France who have been long awaiting pictures of our house and the way that it is set up now, I will give you a 360 look at our 'new' living room!  Now, please keep in mind that we just moved the last boxes yesterday, so the room is still in need of things like a coat of paint and a couch and whatnot, but for the most part, except for some loose ends to be tied up on Jimmy's desk, which stayed, it's looking pretty good!

So, here's so pictures:

This is the view of the piano that you get when you come in the front door.  To the left is where you go through the dining room to get into the kitchen.  To the right, you can just see the door to the bathroom, which has to stay closed all the time or Gabe will play in the toilet.  (What's with little kids and toilet water?!?!?)

This is the wall where the couch will eventually go.  We are looking for a sofabed, so if you know anyone getting rid of one...
 We moved the TV out of the little cubby in the dining room in anticipation of being able to watch movies while sitting on our sofa.  I think that we will keep Jimmy's desk in here for now.  It is a good place to do homework or whatever, and it has huge drawers, which if we take the desk down, I have no idea where I will put everything that is in the drawers!  There's my Liz going through her loose ends!
 This is just a really awesome picture that Elizabeth painted a few years ago.  I was so impressed at how she made the reflection of it in the reflecting pool, even if it doesn't really look like the Lincoln.  It's still cool.  I don't think I could paint like that.
Ok, back to the tour:
This is turning back toward the door.

 And this is the best part:

All the toys, organized.  I love they way it turned out.  They are not crowded nor jumbled, so the idea is that they will be easier to get out, play with and put away...at least that's the hope...and no one will have any reason to just throw them all in one bin and shove them somewhere.  Jo was so excited!  She loves organization, and I'll bet she is the toy police and helps keep them all straight.  And there's one bin for shoes and one for the ever illusive diaper bag.  That thing ALWAYS goes missing!  So many people grab it and take it somewhere and then since it never really had a home, we were always looking for it!

And that's it.  There you have it.  Our living room...a room in which we can live.  Right now Jimmy and I are sitting on the floor, but still, it is a floor with NO BOXES!!!!!  I can't believe it! 

I will post pictures of the new office space soon, and I'll keep you posted on how it goes with being apart from the kids. 

Right now, though, I am going to just lie on the floor...

because I can!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Five Minute Friday

I am doing this early today because I know that if I don't post right now, I don't know when I'll get another chance.  Our company has effectively moved out of the house with the exception of a few small pieces and parts, and with it goes this computer.  I do have a laptop, so I will keep up, but this weekend is going to full full full with getting everything organized in the new location!  I will post some pictures soon!

So, once again I am participating in Five Minute Friday from over at Gypsy Mama.

The rules?  Write for five minutes without stopping to edit or revise.

Today's topic?  When seasons change.




When seasons change I always feel like it is a time of renewal and starting over.  I get to start a new garden or mulch over one that didn't go well during the summer.  I get to get the kids out of school or I get to put them back in!  I get to open the windows and feel the fresh air or I get the urge to batten the hatches and bake some cookies to warm the house with sweet smells.  I get to hang out outside and roast marshmallows with the family or I get to snuggle on the bed and watch a movie.  There are so many things.  I used to teach and it was so great.  All year I would be in the classroom and right when I was so tired of being in there, it would be summer time and I would get to have my summer camp at my house.  Then, right when I was tired of trying to recover my destroyed house every night, it would be fall and time to hit the classroom again.  I love the rhythm of the changes.  Every spring when it starts to get a little warmer and I can open the windows, I hear the birds chirping outside the window and I remember when each of my kids were born and getting up wtih thim in the early hours to feed them and chage them.  I love the warmth of spring after the long hard winter but then I miss the cool of fall when the heat of summer bears down on us.  That was one things that I really missed when I lived in Hawaii..  There are no seasons; just the rainy hot season and the drier hot season.

I love the way the rhythm of the seasons wraps its way around our family and helps to create unique family memories that can be brought back by a breeze on the skin or a scent in the air.

BEEP!  That's it for today!  Let's see what happened!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

More About a Boy and Some Girls

I have been reading books about raising boys and girls and how they are different (well, duh!) and how the media and advertising greatly affects our kids and they way they think, grow and develop. 

Well, I must say that I pretty much must have the most non-conformist children there are.  (With the exception of Elizabeth and her desire to flatten her hair and plaster it to her head in a style that closely resembles a helmet).   Perhaps this is because we chose not to participate in watching TV or getting involved much with media and outside influences, or perhaps it is because at a young age when I take the kids to a store like Target we take time to deliberately look at the marketing schemes they use and debunk the myths that they portray.  Maybe that's it. Or maybe it's true that media shows our kids junk but that our kids are not quite as dumb as the marketers think and really DON'T fall for it all!

But my Elizabeth is 13 and she is not a shopping/sex/beauty/boy crazed child.  She is into sports.  She loves to watch professional soccer with her dad and will do so for hours on end if she is allowed.  If you asked her what she would most like to do on an evening, you would probably get one of a few answers:  1.  Play soccer with Dad.  2.  Build a fire outside.  3.  Go to the library. 

Yes, she loves to read.  Uh-oh, you say.  That is a traditional 'girl' thing to do!  But, as much as she likes to read, she loves math and science.  She can figure problems with multiple steps in her head with ease.  (For example, when we go out to eat, we usually go somewhere that we have a coupon for.  But, I believe that you should leave tip based on the amount BEFORE the coupon.  So, it is Elizabeth's job to see our total, add the coupon, figure tip on that amount, and then add the tip to the original amount after the coupon and tell me the total.  Confused yet?  Yeah, that why she does it and not me.  I used to do it, too, to check her math.  I don't so much anymore.  I just sit there looking like I'm thinking about it while really trying to figure out what Gabriel just shoved up his nose.  Don't tell Liz that, though!)

Now Jo,  on the other hand, who's 3.5 years old, is a little more 'girly' if you will.  But she still loves to play outside in the dirt and routinely comes home with her shoes filled with sand.  I mean filled.  It is a wonder they have any sand left in the sandbox!  Even though she is a little afraid of some bugs and worms, she still has a curiosity about them and once it is proven that they are not harmful she will sometimes get involved.  (I think that this has to do with my mother-in-law, though.  She squishes everything she sees.  She stepped on a mouse once.  In sandals.  Yeah, I know.  Gross.  But I think that by watching her, Jo has picked up on some bug hating.)  But where girls are 'supposed' to be all advanced in speech, Jo took FOREVER to talk!  And let me tell you, she can knarf some food!  Don't put a plate of macaroni and cheese or peas anywhere close to that girl or it will be gone!  Oh, and that's another thing.  All 3 of the kids love their veggies.  It is annoying to me to see commercials (in the rare instance that we watch TV) that show kids turning their noses up at veggies so that they can eat Frosted Flakes or whatever.  Anyway, I am excited to see how Jo will continue to develop and see if even though she is exposed to the same things as Elizabeth was, if she will turn out much more 'girly' than her older sis.

Then there is Gabriel.  I thought that boys were supposed to be slower in language.  Well, he's blowing THAT out of the water!  He is only 13 months old and he talks so much!  Here is a sampling of his vocabulary (and he uses all the words appropriately):

avion! = airplane (Spanish)
Buelo = what the kids call my father-in-law (Spanish)
Izzie = what the little dudes call Elizabeth
Stop it!
owie! = used when he falls down
pan = bread (Spanish)
agua = water (Spanish)

Every morning when he hears the front door open and close signaling that Elizabeth has left to catch the bus to go to school, he hollers out the window 'BYE IZZIE!' at the top of his lungs.  I didn't think that toddler this young, especially not boys were 'supposed' to have that many words!  I guess nobody told Gabe that.

Anyway, I just got to thinking about these things as I was reading the books.  They are good books, and they do make some very valid points, but I think that in the end, it really comes down to parenting and the child's personality, one of which can be controlled and the other not so much.  Not that I have all the answers, and there are definitely things that the kids should stay away from, but that's what parents are for, anyway.  To help their kids make good decisions until they learn from example how to do it on their own!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

More Beautiful You

{More Beautiful You}

The anger wells up and spills out of her as wet and slick as her freshly washed hair dripping down her back.

She does not see her beauty.  She only sees mistakes.  

Why am I this way?  Why did God make me this way?  Why won't you let me fix it?????

I want to paint my nails, use make-up, straighten and gel my hair.   Her mouth makes the words

But I hear her heart whisper:

I want to be someone different.  I do not like who I see in the mirror.  I am not comfortable in my skin.

I want to be like them.

But, My Love, you are this way.  God made you this way and He makes no errors.  You are one of His beautiful creations made in His image. 

I hear your cries, and I feel your hurt and the fight to fit in...the fight to not be the different one anymore.

But, My Love, you are the Different One.

Do not conform...

God has chosen you for a higher purpose.  You have been hand picked.  You show the signs already.

You set your sights high and you follow through.  You have a heart for other people.

Be ye transformed...

God is laying the poor, the weak, the young and the old one by one gently on your heart.  You feel it and strain against the bonds of your teen aged body and the peer pressure that screams at you and tells you that you are no good and that you must look-act-feel-be-talk like them to be ok.

Renew your mind...

And we sit - her mother,  her father, - at a loss for words.  How do you tell someone who stole your heart from the first cry, the first smile, that she is enough just the way she is when her eyes flash the hurt of the misunderstood.

I spread my fingers wide looking for an answer there, palms up in supplication and I want to say your face is my face, your body is my body your heart once beat in rhythm with my own.  You have been my labor of love.  I brushed and braided that hair.  I clipped those nails and gently washed that body as we spoke of things and missions and God's plan in our lives...the important stuff.  When did it stop being enough for you?  When did the outside become more important than the inside?

And I reach back into my mind and remember what it was like to stand in her shoes and to face the others every day.  The memories burn and hurt and I know that it is only through God's grace, love and forgiveness that I am who I am today. 

So all I can say to the oldest of the arrows in my quiver are the words of God Himself:

Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers (my daughter), in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship.  2.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will. 



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

I am linking to Top Ten Tuesday today.  I found it while reading one of most favorite blogs, and since I was just chatting with a teen aged friend of mine concerning a certain subject that will become clear to you as you read, I decided to make my list about that chat and post it here.  My post is nowhere near as fun and colorful as my friend's post, but I feel the need to say this, so here it is:

The Top Ten Reasons to NOT Have a Boy(Girl)friend When You Are A Teenager (or perhaps ever.  That is a touchy subject, but feel free to apply the points as they fit):

1.  You already have so much going on and changing in your body and life that you do not need to add stress to that by getting into a relationship.

2.  Almost no one marries their high school sweetheart, so the likely hood is that the relationship will end badly and someone (probably you) will get hurt.

3.  Dating and breaking up is like playing 'relationship' and practicing for divorce. 

4.  You need to concentrate on your schoolwork.

5.  God has one man/woman chosen for you.  He wants you to remain pure for that chosen person.  Having a boy/girl friend is an open door to NOT stay pure.

6.  You are not emotionally ready nor capable of being logical with your feelings nor communicating effectively in order to have a meaningful relationship.

7.  By concentrating on only one person, you miss out on opportunities to meet other people and do things that may be what lead you to the person that God has chosen for you.

8.  By dating someone and eventually most likely breaking up with them, you could end up losing a good friend in that person.

9.  You need more time to develop and establish yourself and your values before you are able to share yourself with someone else. 

10.  I firmly believe that God has someone out there for each and every person.  There is no need to chase that person down and try to find him/her yourself by 'trying out' different people.  God will provide him/her to you in His own time.

And those are my top 10 reasons why you should NOT have a relationship when you are a teen.  They are not necessarily in any particular order other than what came to my mind as I was typing them.  I encourage group activities, and I do not intend to keep my children in a box, but rather encourage them to participate with and get to know other young men/women (and not so young men and women from whom they can learn good relationship skills) who have their same set of values and beliefs so that they can be guided to the one that God has waiting for them.

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Monday, May 16, 2011

Boys Will Be

This is a continuation of a posting that I did a while ago.  I wanted to be sure that I got back to this while it was still fresh in my mind so that years down the road, if my kids find and read this, no one will think that they are less important nor less featured than the other.

(I have a big thing about that.  I am the 3rd of 3, and I have very few pictures of me, no home videos, and my shoes were never bronzed.  I know that it doesn't really mean any thing (does it?), but still, I really do try my best to be sure that all is as even for the kids that I can make it...in their representation, I mean.  Life's NEVER fair when you're little!)

So, I wanted to say a few words about my Gabriel.

When I was pregnant with him, I decided not to find out if the baby was a boy or girl.  I say I decided because Jimmy really wanted to know, but I really didn't, and since it was my big belly, I figured I could call the shots on this one. 

But I thought that he was a boy.  I felt different with him than I did with the girls.  I was tired a lot more and he just felt so big and heavy.  When I went into labor and went to the hospital, they wanted to send me home because they thought that I was not dilated enough and the contractions were too far apart, but I know me, and I know that my contractions never get as close together as they want, they just get extremely hard and long and I knew that as soon as I went home, the baby would come, so I hung out in the hospital.  Which was a good thing.

Gabriel came a few hours later.

He was actually a few days early, but, as always, God had His hand in this birth.  Gabriel's cord was wrapped tightly around his neck such that had he not come out when he did, he may not have made it out alive.  As it was, when he started to come out, they had to push him back in (yeah, I know!) and cut the cord from inside because it was so tight on his neck that it was strangling him.  as soon as he was out, they tossed him up on my chest, as they do in hospitals, and he was on my chest, feet first.  I knew then that he was definitely a boy!  Then they immediately whisked him off because he was blue and not breathing unless they were physically rubbing him and stimulating him.  But, it didn't take long and he was breathing fine and the only sign of the whole ordeal was a long bruise on his face from where they had to stick the scissors up by his face to cut the cord.

There are a few things that I remember about that hospital stay.

The first one was that I often checked his diaper and went to change it because I saw that there was something in there only to realize that the something that was in there was attached to Gabriel!  I was not used to seeing 'extra appendages' in the diaper area! 

Another thing that I remember was that I thought 'How am I ever going to do this?  I have no idea how to raise a son!' (Any suggestions are welcome!)

And the last thing that I remember was how the propaganda all pushed me toward circumcision.  Everything on the newborn channel that discussed the issue was for circumcision.  Even to the point of one clip with a mother saying 'I finally decided to do what was right for my boys to have a normal life.  I decided to circumcise.'

Poor Gabriel.  I guess he'll never have a normal life.

Anyway, since then, Gabriel has been his own kid.  He is vibrant and loves to get into anything.  He faces the day head on.  First thing when he wakes up, he wants to go outside, and he will stay there all day kicking and screaming when he needs to be hauled in to change his diaper or eat lunch.

And let's just say that in Gabe's mind, naps are for sissies.  None of that sleeping in the middle of the day nonsense for him!  No siree!  It doesn't matter if he is so tired that he can barely see straight.  He will NOT sleep!  We finally got a noise machine that will make rain noises or waves or birds or whatever and when we put that on, we can sometimes get him to sleep more than 20 minutes...but not always.

He started walking at 9 months.  And climbing.  Anything and everything.  He fearlessly just walks off the edge of steps, or beds, or chairs or anything that he has managed to climb up.  He's got a great smile that he likes to share with everyone and a rapidly expanding vocabulary in both English and Spanish. 

It feels very different to have a boy.  His boyishness has helped me to let go a little and let the girls lean toward girlishness...a little bit.  And I am excited to see him grow and watch him interact with his sisters.  Every morning when Elizabeth goes to the bus stop, he yells out the window 'BYE IZZIE!'  and when she returns, he is genuinely happy to see her. 

He also plays with Jo and tolerates her hugs very well...to a point.  Then he asks for his space with a squirm and a yell.  But he loves to follow her and copy her, and she loves to smother mother him.  I think that it has been hard for Jo to accept a new brother into the family, but she is getting better and more peaceful, especially since I have dedicated every Friday morning just to her. 

All in all, our kids are wonderful and exciting.  It is wonderful to see them growing and beginning to fit into the plan that God has for their lives, and it is exciting to see His teachings begin to come out in their words and actions.  And I can't wait to see what God has in store for them and our family as we walk with Him!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Five Minute Friday

I know it's not Friday...again.  I missed it last week, too.

Thing is, this week, when I tried to post, I couldn't log on to my blog.  There was some kind of maintenance thing happening and then Friday rolled around and Jimmy and I went out for his birthday, then yesterday we worked all day getting an order out for National Police Week, and I had a Pampered Chef show today after church, then we went over to see the place where our business is moving (it's actually going to happen!!!!) so this is the first time that I have actually sat down at the computer in an attempt to catch up.

But I want to participate in Five Minute Friday from over at Gypsy Mama anyway.

So, here goes.

The rules?  Write for Five Minutes without stopping to correct or edit.

The topic?  Deep Breath



Deep breath.  That is what I feel like I am taking right now.  The cleansing time.  The diaphragm contracting to expand the lungs to fill them to capacity of life giving air.  The rising of the chest and the streching of the insides is invigorating.  The release of that air into the atmosphere is cleansing.

But sometimes a deep breath is for holding your breath to prepare for the struggle.  To fill you up in an effort to get enough in there to make it through to the other side.

I feel like motherhood is like that sometimes.  When you just really don't know what is going on nor how you are going to make it to the other side.

Like tonight when Gabriel suddenly spikes a fever.  Little kids do that, but it is deep breath.  What is coming?  He has been ill so many times this year...his only year!

Then to stand here and look into the week at all that is coming...deep breath.  Love on the kids, hugs your husband respect your in-laws and feed the cats.  Deep breath.  We can do it.  We WANT to do it, and we will thrive while doing it..

We were MADE to do it...just like a deep breath.

STOP!  Wow that was fast...let's see what splattered out today!

(Ok I just re-read that.  I'm not sure it makes any sense, but I'm not allowed to edit, so there it is!)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A World of Difference

When I was pregnant with Elizabeth, my first, we decided that we would not find out the sex of the baby until the baby was born.  For some reason, though, in my heart, I knew that she was a girl.  Or maybe I just never gave in to the possibility that I would have a boy baby. 

I had a girl's name all picked out and even though everything was pretty much green and yellow with a little blue thrown in, that is what I would have picked for either a boy or a girl.  I am not a pink person...at all.

So, when Elizabeth was born, and she turned out to be a girl, everything worked out just great.  I knew how to raise a girl.  I mean, I AM a girl, so of course I knew how to raise one.  (Yeah, right!) But really, it was more that I knew what I wouldn't do with a girl baby rather than what I would do. 

For example, I knew right off that my girl child would not be hemmed in by a pink fluffy wardrobe, and that there was no way that I was going to put one of those uncomfortable ribbon things around her head just so people would know that she was a girl.  I was going to raise a girl who was as comfortable in flowers as she was in trucks and dinosaurs. 

And she was...and still is. 

You will find my Elizabeth dressed in a skirt for church (sometimes) but as soon as she gets home, the fancy duds are shed and traded for sneakers or cleats with shorts and a t-shirt.  She slips easily into the kitchen to make dinner and clean up afterward (kind of) and then out the door to wrestle with Jimmy in the front yard or to kick the ball around at the park behind our house.

When I was pregnant with Jo, our second, we decided to find out the sex because Elizabeth was sold on the fact that this baby would be a boy, and I was afraid that have her thinking that the baby would be one sex for a whole 9 months and then suddenly (maybe) have a big surprise.  She was already going to have enough to adjust to, having her first sibling being born when she was already 9 years old, so I wanted to make it easier for her by at least having her know what was coming. 

She swore up and down that this baby was going to be a boy and that she was going to play soccer with him (although since she was a soccer playing girl, I am not sure why she thought that she needed a brother to play soccer with).  She even argued with the technician who did the sonogram that told us that Jo was a girl.  When she finally accepted that the baby was going to be a girl, I think she resented it, maybe because she didn't want anyone else in the family to be like her.  Every time we asked her for input about the name of the new baby, the only answer we would get was 'Bucket-head'.  This, of course, was not an option, so we chose Joselin, or Jo for short.

I treated Jo pretty much the same as Elizabeth when it came to the clothes and toys thing (having an equal and non-distinguishing attitude about 'boy' and 'girl' stuff) except that when Elizabeth was little, she had a lot more toys since I had a daycare in my house, and even had Barbies, which we no longer participate in, and a lot more Disney stuff around too, which we also no longer buy into.  But Jo is still very much her own person. 

Jo dresses herself everyday and some days it's a skort with a pink t-shirt, and some days it's her favorite yellow shorts with a frog t-shirt (all of which are hand-me-downs from Elizabeth).  But Jo is definitely not made of the same stuff as Elizabeth.  The stuff she's made of it perfectly fine, and just as good as Elizabeth's, but just very different.  She much prefers to play inside or to help me hang out the laundry or pick flowers in the grass outside. 

And Jo is her sister's keeper.  You would think that it would be the other way around...that Elizabeth would take care of Jo, but it is not so.  Here's an example:

I was hanging the laundry out to dry with Jo looking on and passing me clothespins, when something happened to pull me away from my line.  When I came back, this is what I saw.  That is Elizabeth's soccer jersey and her 2 black soccer socks (one on each side with multiple pins in one of them) hanging out to dry.  Jo told me that she hung them there because she knew that Izzie would need them to be dry to play her game.  And, if you notice, she did a very good job of it.  Try as I may, I still can not seem to get Elizabeth to understand that if you hang a shirt up doubled completely over with one pin in the middle, it will leave a 'belly button' mark that is not at all desirable.  But Jo took the time to put the pins on the edge and hung the shirt spread out so it could dry quickly and well.

This happens often.  Elizabeth is looking for something in her room and then she finally asks Jo where it is and Jo will have put it away for her.  She loves to have a clean, neat space, so she is always picking up behind Elizabeth and putting her stuff away for her.  Which, of course, drives Elizabeth crazy, but this is one thing that I will not reprimand Jo for!  If Elizabeth would put it away herself in the first place, we wouldn't have this problem!!!!

Every morning, Jo wakes up and folds her pj's and puts them in her drawer (Elizabeth either throws them on the floor or shoves them under the piano on the piano bench).  We have arranged Jo's drawers so she can reach the stuff she uses often, and we put the words in English and Spanish and also drew pictures of the items that belong in each drawer, and she will put her own laundry away.  But not just away.  The socks will be in the middle of the drawer, the undies on one side, pj's on the other...everything organized. 

I am considering doing the same thing for Elizabeth.  That way, either she will know really well where her stuff belongs, or Jo can do it for her! 

I love both of my girls (of course!) and I love the way they are so different.  It is fun to see how they are each growing and following their own paths.  I have some thoughts that I wanted to share about my Gabriel, too, but I think that this post is altogether too long already, so they will have to wait until another day!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Five Minute Friday

So, I know that this is not Friday, nor really even close to it, but I wanted to participate, and since I have not had time to do anything til now, I'm just going to toss my five minutes in now...especially since that is about all I have to spare right now!

I am going to link up to Gypsy Mama's Five Minute Friday.

The rules?  Write for 5 minutes without stopping or editing.

The topic?  Motherhood Should Come With...



Hmmm...what  motherhood should come with.  I have not read any of the other blogs on this yet, I try not to so that they don't change what I may have been thinking on my own, but I can imagine that perhaps people would say that they think that motherhood should come with a manual.  You know, a rule book of sorts that would tell you what to do and what not to do with your kids so that they all turn out alright.

I don't know, maybe nobody else said that, but I know that I have heard it before.

I have 2 thoughts on that.

One is that we DO have a manual.  It is the Bible; God's Word.  All the little things that we should be teaching our children are right between the pages.

The second is that if someone somewhere wrote a guide book for us to raise our children, how boring would THAT be!?!?!  All of us have our own ways to teach our own children.  And, if we treat our children with the same love that our havenly Father treats us, they will turn out OK, but each in his or her own way.  Not some textbook child.

Who really wants to be told by someone else how to raise their child?  I mean, really.  You have your own ideas about education and discipline and everything else, and even though they may be different than mine, they are prolly just as good, if not better!

But the things that motherhood DOES come with...now that is a list that would go on for days.

Just think of all the unlimited hugs and smiles and sticky hands to hold.

Think of all the unconditional love (til they are teenagers and realize that you really don't know everything)!

But one of the most interesting things that I have seen as I watched little kids with their parents at the amusement park this weekend is that they see you for just exactly the best of who you are.  They don't care how you look..if you are blind or can't hear or are in a wheelchair.  They couldn't care less if you are overweight or bald or have 'weird' skin or one arm.  The things that we as adults may shy away from out of knowing too much and 'knowing' what's 'right' and what's 'not right', little kids don't see.  They each see the one they love for exactly who they are - the one who loves them.

And in the end, that's all that really matters, and motherhood comes with that...for free!

Wow!  Times up!  Let's see what we got this time!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Picture of Me

There are not many pictures of me in this blog.  That is because I am usually the one behind the camera...the one who runs to get the camera when my Elizabeth says, Hey, Mom, put this in your blog!

But I have a picture of myself to share with you here. 

You see, that is me right there.  I am that pumpkin plant that is coming up all fresh and shiny but just won't let go of its old seed pod.   It is necessary for this seedling to let go so that it can spread its leaves and be fruitful.  But it won't let go.  I've been watching it for the last couple of days, and come rain, wind or shine, it is still clinging onto its old skin; its old life.

This past Wednesday, Pastor Dan spoke to us about what we need to shed, what we need to leave at the altar in order to lead the 'quiet life' that Paul talks about in 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life...so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders

This was a hard one for me.  Not only are the words 'ambition' and 'quiet' not often found in the same sentence -in the same breath- for me, but it was the shedding that Pastor Dan was speaking about that really got me.

What do I need to shed in order to lead a quiet life? 

I have a hard time shedding.  I am like that seedling that just won't let go.  My past and the mistakes that I have made in my life are like that seed pod that is hanging on the tips of the new leaves of that pumpkin plant.  They are ugly and useless.  They were necessary trials that I went through in order to learn and to become who I am now, but they are no longer needed.  They need to be shed and dropped to the side.  They need to be left to decompose so that they can feed my spiritual life by their death. 

But I cling on to my mistakes and I let them dangle from the fringes of my life preventing me from completely unfurling and reaching my full potential.  My mind is always crowded with the what if's and the if only's.  If only I hadn't done this or that.  What if I can't do this or be that because of the weaknesses that have repeatedly exposed to me through my failures. 

And then my husband, through the words of the Shepherd, reminds me that I am who I am right now.  I am not defined by my past.  I am who I decide to be every morning that I wake up and dedicate my day to God, every new day that I decide to love my husband and love my children and walk through my day looking to my Father for guidance, (because these are decisions that are made anew daily lest we become complacent in our relationships with God and with each other.)

One day soon now, that little pumpkin plant will strain towards the sun and break free from its rotting shell,

Every day I, too, strain towards the Son in an attempt to break free from my rotting flesh in order to let my mind live the quiet life that I was intended to live so that my daily life will 'win the respect of outsiders' and point to the glory of God.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


It has been brought to my attention that there some issues with my blog.  There are 2 specific complaints that I will deal with here. 

These are very serious issues that have been lovingly brought to my attention in an effort to correct me and allow my blog to be more effective and reach a greater audience.

The first issue is that there appears to be quite a few typos in my work.  I do sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and inconsistency that these typos cause in your reading, and I do hope that they do not too greatly interfere with your enjoyment of my prose.  I must, however, tell you who brought this issue to my attention.


Yes, you heard right. 


Now, I must say that Elizabeth is a horrible speller.  It's sad, but it's true.  She can not spell her way out of a paper bag.  In fact, when she was writing her essay for her application for the National Junior Honor Society, she was honestly going to type it in Word so that she could then hand write it on the form provided just so she could use the spell check on the computer.  I'm not kidding.

I often start to read something that she has written and have to just stop and walk away and tell her to re-read what she has written because I can't make heads nor tails of it for all the spelling and grammar mistakes.  I tell her to use her finger and put it under each word as she reads it out loud to be sure that she is reading it word for word and not just reciting it from her own thoughts of what she wanted to say.

So, needless to say, when Elizabeth complained about the typos in my work, I was a little taken aback.  I mean, really.  Who is she to be able to complain about my work when she is so sloppy on her own work sometimes?

But then I stopped and realized that this is what we do all the time...from both sides.  We often act like Elizabeth and see the splinter in another person's eye when we have a whole plank in our own.  She can so easily see my mistakes, but can't for the life of her find her own.

And we (well at least I do!) act like me and when our error is pointed out, we like to say, 'But you're no better!  Who are you to call me out?'  when instead we should hand-in-hand look for and correct both our own errors and each others. 

But beyond all that, I must say that I write these entries usually pretty late at night and I am usually a bit bleary by the time I get a chance to sit down here, so I'm sorry, Liz, but you're just going to have to live with my blog typos...unless of course, you want to proofread for me!  ;-)

The second glaring error that was pointed out to me by one of my faithful friends was that Peter had not yet appeared in my blog.  What a glaring offense!!!!!

Shall I tell you who pointed that one out to me?

Yes, it was Peter himself.

So, Peter, this one is about you.  This is your chance to shine.

Yes, there is Peter...right in the middle between Jonni and Elizabeth.  He came over for Elizabeth's birthday.

Peter is an interesting guy.  He lives down the street from us and we met him about 4 years ago, around the time that Jo was born, maybe a little before. 

I remember that Elizabeth and I were walking back from the post office when we saw this little kid riding around on his bicycle in front of his house.  The kid's dad was outside with him, too, and when he saw us passing, he called to his son and more or less told his son that he would now be friends with Elizabeth. 

It was an interesting start to the friendship, but I am glad that it happened because as Peter got older, he turned out to be a pretty cool guy. 

He has gone with us to church and to various other activities, and often makes a welcome appearance on our doorstep (although he does curiously often seem to arrive around dinner time...)  He is in 9th grade now, but still makes time for us and his younger friends here like Elizabeth, Annie and Jonni.  He also has a good relationship with Jo, and although he calls Gabriel a frog, I think the little guy is growing on him.  (I think he still can't get over how little and folded up the babies are when they first come out!)

I am very proud of Peter and what he has done with himself.  He is in challenging classes and gets good grades.  He has also enlisted in the Coast Guard ROTC program (I'm sure that is not what it is called, but whatever it is called, he does it well and often).  He is always polite, respectful and well spoken.  He can get along with the little kids just as easily and well as he can sit and watch a soccer game with Jimmy or chat with me while I'm getting dinner ready, and he always offers to pitch in and help.  His mother is as wonderful as his father is interesting and he is a credit to them both and to the time that they have taken to bring him up well. 

I pray for Peter and hope that God will be able to work in his heart to bring him closer to Himself.  I pray that he will develop relationship with his Heavenly Father and accept Him as his personal Savior.  He is a good man in the making, and with God's help, I am sure that he will be able to reach his full God-given potential. 

That being said, I do hope that I have taken care of the issues that have may have been causing my blog to falter. 

If any of you other dear readers have any issues, please be aware that today is not your day. 

Tomorrow doesn't look so good, either. 

(I didn't make that up.  I saw that on a t-shirt somewhere or something, but for some reason it just really hits a chord with me and makes me snicker!)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Another Happy Birthday!

If any of you read my last Five Minute Friday you would know that last Friday was Elizabeth's birthday and also that we went out to dinner for her birthday and it didn't go so well.

However, lest you think that our dearest oldest child was forgotten and ill treated on this, her turning-into-a-teenager birthday, I will fill you in with the activities from earlier in the day.

It was all a covert operation.

In the past, I have taken Elizabeth out of school at least for a half a day and we have done something fun or interesting like go to the zoo or the aquarium or something like that.  I told her this year, though, that I was not going to take her out of school because now that she is in middle school, it is much more serious and she can't be missing days and classes just because.

So, she knew that she was not going be leaving school early.

I only thought it was fair to let her know ahead of time so she was not sitting all day watching the clock expecting to be freed from her prison.

But, what to do?  What to do?  I had to think of something different and fun for her birthday!

Well, it just so happened that I found out that one of her friends from church went to a different school that was going to be out of school for spring break on Elizabeth's birthday.  So, I cornered him and asked him if he would like to come over in the morning and help us make some cupcakes and decorate them to take them to Elizabeth's school during her lunch period.  He agreed, and so the plan was born.

Then I got to thinking that we really needed to make the cupcakes the night before so that they would be cool enough to decorate the next day because Elizabeth has lunch very early...at 11:40.

So, how do we make millions of cupcakes the night before without her getting curious.

We can't.

But, my mother-in-law said that she wanted to make cupcakes and asked Elizabeth to help her, so together they made 48 of the little guys!  Elizabeth probably figured they were for her, but she didn't guess that we were going to come to school with them!

So, the next morning, Jonni arrived at our house at about 8AM and after playing with Jo for a while, he was put to mix the color into the icing (and get it on his shirt!)

(It was Jo's bright idea to lick it to get it out of his shirt.  He did and it did come out, at least mostly.)

Then, we set up the design...

And used double sided tape to stick the cupcakes down so they wouldn't move and slide around during transportation. (I don't know why I never thought of doing that before!  They always just slid around and then I had to arrange them again when we got where we were going, but this time, I had a light-bulb moment and a solution was born!)

Next came the icing....
Followed by the decorating...
And then the final product!!!

For those of you who do not know, Elizabeth is a big Real Madrid fan (for those of you who really don't know, that is a professional men's soccer team) and this is the jersey for her favorite player, #7, Cristiano Ronaldo

(for his athletic prowess, of course!  No other reason, I'm sure.)
 (And for those of you who were wondering where Jonni was during this time, I will tell you:  He was supervising.  Just ask him.  He'll tell you.  It would have been mayhem without his watchful eye...or maybe it was mayhem anyway...on second thought, don't ask him...and don't ask about the cupcakes nor how many times Jo had to go and wash her hands or why...)

When it was time, we loaded into the car and thanked our lucky stars many times that those cupcakes were stuck down and not flying around the car nor out the window...
 (and no, that is not the grass in my yard.  Yes, it has been that tall before, but never this early in the season!)

and we finally made it in one piece to Elizabeth's school and made the teachers and office staff drool both for 'our' cuteness...
 and for our cupcakes.
Finally, the bell rang and it was off the cafeteria...

where we were descended upon by both people we know...

(and there were also some pretty weird ones we didn't know!  One kid came up and Elizabeth was like...ummm...I don't know you.)

And then the cupcakes were gone!  (I would have taken another picture, but I think they ate the board, too...some of those middle schoolers are pretty monstrous!)

And that was the story of Elizabeth's birthday.  We sang, we caked, we friended, and we didn't barf!  Well, not until later, at least. 

See, it wasn't all bad.    :-)

Happy birthday, Little Lizzie!  I can't believe how the time has flown!  We love you!