Monday, December 29, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I have to admit that I had a few George Bailey moments this weekend. I haven't been close to jumping in a river, but I have thrown a few "pity party" temper fits because things aren't going my way. And I might have snapped at my kids a few more times than they deserved. So God decided to put It's a Wonderful Life on my TV today. I've never watched it as an adult, and I don't even think I've watched it from beginning to end. Here are some things I noticed:
- George's friends and family prayed for him at the beginning - maybe the last time that sincere prayers were included in a Hollywood movie.
- There were some risque innuendos - like the man who decided he needed to go home to see his wife after watching a blond bombshell walk down the street.
- The black housekeeper was treated like a precocious child - and sexually harassed by the younger brother.
- Young George's boss beat him, causing his ears to bleed, and still remained his boss - not sent to jail.
- Alcoholics were funny and smokers were cool.
- The teenagers looked more like 40 somethings, and their parents looked like they should be in a nursing home.
Okay, so I might have missed the intended point of the movie. I did take the hint, though, and decided to find ways to solve the problems that have really been eating at me. The main issue is the unorganized state of my house, which leads to maddening searches for keys, shoes, coats, etc. several times a day. So I started the quest for organization today by straightening my desk and hanging a key rack. That's not going to help me keep Carter from losing his shoes, but it's a start. Maybe by the new year I'll have the entire house and both cars organized from top to bottom - like that Kate chic with 8 kids. If she can do it with 8, surely I can do it with 2...right?
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Mason is quite the inventor. This is his telescope, made entirely of tape and construction paper. He eventually decided it didn't work and started using it to hit Carter. But it was clever while it lasted.
I'm not sure what Carter was thinking with this look. The fireman hat/pajama shirt/backwards underwear/high heels getup looks like something straight out of a parade in San Francisco. The fireman hat, by the way, is a permanent part of his wardrobe these days. He insists on wearing it to school, church, the store, etc. People around here don't recognize him without his hat.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Dear Friends and Family,
Hope this Christmas greeting finds you happy, healthy, and surviving the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. We’re enjoying a wild and crazy December with two little boys who are begging for every toy they see and waiting very impatiently for Christmas to come. With 2008 coming to an end, we thought we’d send our own version of the year in review.
2008 started with plans and preparations for Mason’s mitral valve repair surgery. It was scary and stressful for sure, but we had a ton of support from our loved ones. Thanks to your prayers, cards, and generous giving, we’ve never felt so loved or so blessed. By the time March 11, the date of the surgery, rolled around we had that “peace that transcends all understanding” that Philippians 4 talks about. The surgery was a huge success, and Mason is a much healthier kid now. Even his pulmonary problems, which had been diagnosed as asthma, have almost completely gone away.
Later in the spring, we decided to put our house up for sale, which is an adventure in itself. We spent the weekends painting and cleaning, trying to make it look like HGTV says a house should look when it’s on the market. Of course, they have a staff to make that possible – and no kids around to undo what’s been done. Thank goodness we sold the house fairly quickly. And, just for the record, the house was a total disaster the day we showed it to the people who ended up buying it. We had moved the furniture to paint, and the buyers showed up on our doorstep asking to look at the house. So much for HGTV and their “staging” theory.
In September, we closed on the house and moved three miles away. The moving process was just as busy and hectic as everyone says it is, especially with a two-year-old around. Carter was really good at unpacking boxes – while they were still at the old house waiting to be moved. Hopefully we won’t have a toddler the next time we move. It’s not good for a person’s sanity.
In the midst of all the selling and moving chaos, Mason started first grade, Carter started his class at the Jenks FBC Preschool three days a week, and I started working across the hall from him in the three-year-old class. I also started a freelance writing career from home, which keeps me busy when I’m not at the preschool. Jas finished German I and German II in the spring, officially fulfilling all of his degree requirements for his BA from OU. He’s also working on a “Jewish Roots” Christian ministry and should have a blog up and running soon.
In hind sight, 2008 has been a turning point for us in many ways. We look forward to discovering what God holds for our lives in 2009 and beyond. There’s never a dull moment around our house! We wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope you’ll drop us a line to let us know how you’re doing!
Jas, Angela, Mason, and Carter
Friday, December 12, 2008
- Christmas Pictures: My ever-so-kind friend Wanda helped me orchestrate a photo session for Mason and Carter. I was nervous because my kids and portrait studios do not go well together, but it was a huge success! I have the pictures ready to post, but I'm trying to decide if I should post them before or after we give the framed copies to the grandparents for Christmas (shhhh...don't tell).
- The Tree: We left our tiny, old tree in the attic of our old house (on purpose), so Wanda gave us one of the many trees that were hanging out in her attic waiting for a new home. The only problem is that she forgot to tell us it used to be one of the White House Christmas trees - it's HUGE! Luckily, this house has 20 foot ceilings (just an estimate - maybe an exaggeration) in the living room, so it fits perfectly. I'll post pictures once I get my camera working (Is anyone getting me a new camera for Christmas?).
- The Nativity Scene: I bought a book with daily family devotions that center around the birth of Jesus, and it suggested putting one piece of a nativity scene in the kids' stockings each night, starting December 1. So we've been doing that, talking about each person/animal/manger and stable as we put them in the scene. Mason and Carter loved it! There aren't anymore pieces left, but Carter still begs me to take "his" sheep down and put it in his stocking so he can pet it and place it lovingly in the stable - again.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Speaking of Fs, Mason announced yesterday that he was going outside to play the "f word."
Football. He went outside to play football. I encouraged him to call it by its name and not refer to it as the "f word" outside the house.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
On Christmas Shopping: Done. Thank you, Mr. Internet! Carter has been looking at the same fire truck bed tent in the Lillian Vernon catalog for weeks, so I ordered it for him. Mason has a hand-written Christmas list this year (with invented spellings - so cute!), and I ordered the first thing on his list - sort of. He wanted the John Madden football game for the Wii, but I ordered the Backyard Football instead. Somehow I don't think John Madden created his game for 6-year-olds. The grandparents took care of the other things on his list (Titanic and polar bear stuff - ??)
On Potty Training: If I only had to train for going #1 on the potty, I'd say the job is near completion. Carter climbs up on his stool and goes all by himself. He tells me he has to to potty, and then he says, "You stay here, Mama. I go myself." Going #2 on the potty, however, is another story. That one could take awhile.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
"Anxiety is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are."
Very true, very true! My favorite Bible verse is about anxiety, too (Phillippians 4:4-9). I wonder what that says about me.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
9The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Totally Unrelated Side Note: I'm intrigued by a new show I happened to run across today. It's called The Doctors, and it looks like it might be the best thing since WebMD. I'm an avid self-diagnostician, so I'll be recording this show to watch after the kids go to bed.
Boot Camp Update: No accidents! He even stayed dry when I put a pull-up on him to go to the mall (I'm not THAT brave). The only problem is that he's still waiting for his naptime pull-up to go poo. I even made up a cute little song - and he sang the song with me - but still no poo on the potty. Here's the song: (To the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It)
Going poo poo on the potty i-is fun,
Going poo poo on the potty i-is fun,
'Cause we get to wear our un-der-wear,
Going poo poo on the potty i-is fun!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Totally unrelated sidenote: I went shopping for jeans today (and decided I'm going to have to hire a tailor to design a pair of jeans for my body), and I heard the following conversation in the dressing room:
Little Boy: (very loudly) Eighteen!?! Mom, do you weigh eighteen pounds?
Mom: (very quietly) That's a size, not a weight.
Little Boy: (even louder than before) Is your body an eighteen?
Mom: Unfortunately, yes.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Before the message, though, (and after I muddled my way through a choir song I was supposed to know but didn't) six teenagers, who had given their lives to Christ at a youth gathering, were baptized. It was really neat to see that, but I had a sobering realization as I was watching. I realized that God gives me chances every day to join in his blessings and be a part of his plan. And even though it's such an invigorating experience when I obey and do His will, for some reason I still stubbornly disobey and miss out most of the time.
One of the girls who was baptised was a girl that God put in my path months ago and very clearly told me to invite her and her little sister to church. They were at the park, and her little sister was playing with Mason because they know each other from school. As the older sister was talking to me, I knew without a doubt that God had brought them to the park so that I could invite them to church. I almost did, but for some reason I never got the words out. Two weeks later, I was greatly humbled when I saw the girls with their brother and sister in the balcony at church. They had walked. They reminded me of the Herdman family from The Best Christmas Pageant Ever - not exactly your typical "church kids." Anyway, I took the hint from God this time and offered them a ride home. Since then I've been their chauffeur on Sundays - except when the youngest one decided to "break up" with Mason (who probably didn't even know he was her boyfriend) and refused to ride with us for a few weeks. I've really enjoyed it and feel kind of disappointed when they don't need a ride. When the oldest girl got saved last week and baptised this Sunday, I was so proud of her. I couldn't help but feel ashamed of myself, though, for not joining in God's plan for her life sooner. It showed me that God's will is going to get done with or without me. He wants me to be a part of it, but I can choose to miss out if I want to. I don't think I want to miss out anymore.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
The principle use of the apron was to protect the dress underneath, but, along with that, it served in lots of other ways.
It could be used as a potholder to remove hot pans from the oven.
It was wonderful for drying children’s tears and on occasion for wiping a child’s dirty face or cleaning out dirty ears.
From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, baby chicks and sometimes half hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.
When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids. And when unexpected company came, you would be surprised at how much furniture it could dust in a matter of seconds.
And when the weather was cold, grandma could even wrap it around her arms.
Those old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over a hot stove.
Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.
From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.
In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.
When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men knew it was time to come in from the fields. Dinner meant the noon meal. We had breakfast, dinner and supper back in those days.
I’ve seen my Mother shoo flies out the back door by waving her apron. I’ve seen her wipe her floury hands on her apron after mixing up a batch of biscuits.
I’m sure that young women now a days would go crazy trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.
Reading this about the apron, I wondered if there were anything to compare to Grandma’s old apron. After thinking about it, I decided, that indeed, we could compare it to the Bible and our quiet time with the Lord.
As long as we read the Bible and spend time with the Lord, He can keep our heart clean underneath just like that old apron kept Grandma’s dress clean.
He can cool things down for us when things get too hot or help us to handle them just as Grandma would use the apron to take hot pans from the oven.
And just as Grandma used her apron to wipe a sweating brow, God will use His love to wipe our troubled brow.
Certainly, He can dry our tears and even teach us how to dry someone else’s tears. Nothing like spending time with Him to wipe away a dirty thought, just as Grandma wiped a dirty face.
Carrying eggs or baby chicks would have taken a light and caring hand just as God carries our burdens and troubles with a light and caring Hand if we let Him. He will help us follow through with those half hatched plans, too.
He’s a good place for us to hide behind when “company comes”. As a matter of fact, if we have on our “apron” we never have to worry about company coming. The old dust of the day will stay cleared away by His guidance.
Spending time with Him will warm our hearts just as that old apron was sometimes used to wrap around cold arms. We can feel his arms around us and warming us with his love.
Many needful things were carried in that apron. Kindling, wood chips, apples, vegetables, the daily needs of the time. If we spend time with the Lord, he will carry and give us those daily needs. He promised that He would. He told us to ask for it when he taught us how to pray. Give us this day our daily bread.
Just as a wave of the apron signaled “time to eat”, a good thing for hardworking men in the fields, a quiet time with the Lord can signal good things and times for us and it filters right down to our families.
And just as the apron could “shoo away” pesky flies, being read up and prayed up can shoo away undesirable things such as gossip, unkind thoughts, apathy.
As for trying to figure out how many germs there are on an old apron that was used everyday, I don’t remember ever getting sick from Mother’s old apron. Matter of fact, it may have made us resistant to certain germs. Just as staying close to the Lord will make us resistant to certain temptations.
Grandma’s old apron was able to do all these things for her because she used it EVERYDAY. The good things it helped her do, of course, filtered down to her family. That makes me think that if we use our quiet time with God EVERYDAY, it too, will filter down to our families.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Pic #1 - M & C at the pumpkin patch
Pic #2 - Mason and Jas roasting hot dogs at the Sunday School class get together
Pic #3 - Our family at the SS class hayride and "bonfire"
Pic #4 - The cutest little fireman
Pic #5 - M & C at the Boo Ha Ha on Brookside. They dressed up twice for pre-Halloween celebrations, so Mason decide he didn't want to trick-or-treat on the real Halloween night. We went to a football game instead.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
How do you spell Chattahoochee?
Is there a hyphen between high-maintenance? low-income? fast-paced?
These are the kinds of questions I run into every five minutes when I'm writing....which is why it takes me so darn long...because I have to Google everything...and then I have to blog about it to relieve my frustration...okay, back to writing.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Pic #1 - This ferris wheel was scary! I had a curious 6-year-old and a wiggly 2-year-old in an open bucket with no straps, handles, or safety bars AT ALL. The metal gate in the front didn't even close all the way. A mom's worst nightmare!
Pic #2 - The petting zoo was a big hit!
Pic #3 - Mason rode all of the kids' rides over and over, but this airplane was the only one I could convince Carter to ride. He whimpered and clutched my arm the whole time. That was the last ride of the day for him (except for the deadly ferris wheel)
Pic #4 - The Just for Kids building kept them busy for hours. Carter rode little cars in the Little Tykes Land, and Mason built this tower all by himself from the ground up. Of course, he had more fun knocking it down.
Pic #5 - M and C got to milk a pretend cow, gather plastic eggs, and pick plastic fruit to earn money for the Country Store. These little farmers bought bags of chips with their earnings - the only free food at the fair!
Friday, October 24, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
The little goof is also reading food labels to see how much fat and sodium it has. I didn't teach him that...must have been something they did at school. Here's how it goes:
Mason: Carter, let me see those Cheez Its to see if you can have some.
Carter: Okay. (hands him the box)
Mason: Oh...nope...they have too much trans fat and sodium. Sorry. (puts the box back in the pantry)
Carter: (breaks into screaming fit and tries to climb the pantry shelves)
Of course, Mason never lets the amount of trans fats or sodium in his snacks stop him from eating them. He just likes to be the nutrition police for everyone else.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Despite their stubbornness, I still plan to keep adding veggies to their food. They're bound to get used to it one of these days. Here are some of the super easy "recipes" I can usually get away with:
Ramen Noodles - Add squash baby food, small bits of chicken or frozen shrimp, and finely chopped, frozen carrots. The frozen shrimp cools off the soup and adds protein. I do usually thaw the shrimp and carrots slightly. Carter LOVES this and drinks the broth (with the squash) through the straw in his special "straw bowl." I need to find a lower fat low sodium version of Ramen noodles at some point.
Mac-n-Cheese - Add squash baby food to boxed macaroni and cheese. I think I went overboard on how much squash I added a few times, and the boys wouldn't eat it. The key is to start slow and gradually add more over several months- something I'm not very good at because it requires patience.
Hamburger Helper - Add sweet potato or carrot baby food to lasagna and other tomato-based Hamburger Helper mixes. Add squash to the others, like the ranch one that is Mason's favorite. Once again, I have to be careful not to add too much.
Canned Spaghettio's and Raviolis - Add carrots or sweet potatoes. I need to see if Wild Oats has a healthier version of these fattening favorites.
Grilled Cheese - Add a little bit of squash baby food to shredded cheese and mix with a pat of butter. This works with grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, too.
Monday, October 13, 2008
"Because, Ricardo. Because I am your girlfriend. And you are my boyfriend. And boyfriends and girlfriends are only allowed to chase each other. That's how come."
Ricardo's face turned very glum. "But I like chasing new Thelma," he said kind of whiny. "It's fun."
I patted his arm very understanding. "Yes, well, I don't make the rules, Rick, I just enforce them," I said.
Ricardo didn't talk for a long time. Then finally he stood up. And he shook my hand real nice. "Junie B., it's been fun being your boyfriend," he said. "But I think it's time we started chasing other people." After that, he waved good bye. And he ran off to chase new Thelma again.
It won't be long before Mason realizes boys don't read these kind of stories - I'm just enjoying it while it lasts.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
- Getting Mason to school on time despite a crazy morning
- Carter wearing his fireman's helmet to take Mason to school
- Getting my calendar, bills, writing schedule, and bookmarks organized
- Having fun at a baby shower that I dreaded all day
- Bedtime hugs from chubby little arms
"Not so best" moments of the day:
- Running late again with my morning routine
- Carter throwing his shoes and fireman's helmet at me on the way home from school (luckily he has really bad aim)
- Getting behind on my writing by spending too much time organizing
- Cleaning pencil marks off the wall (Carter) and attempting to tape my broken glasses back together (Carter)
- Mason's drama/complaining/whining about being sent to his room (for throwing slices of bread at the top of the refrigerator, trying to knock down a toy that I had taken from him, for throwing it across the room, after I told him not to....there's more to the story, but my blog space is limited)
Friday, September 26, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
New York Dog Tours - I felt like I was a New Yorker for a week, researching and writing about Manhattan.
Childcare E-Book - You have to pay to read the whole book, but some of the paragraphs are on this intro page. I probably won't do another e-book. This was a TON of work, even with my own home daycare experience and a file box full of childcare manuals and state documents at my fingertips.
Art Pottery - I'm learning to love the history and culture of art pottery as I write for this blog.
Womb to Bloom - This site hasn't launched yet, but I loved writing "girlfriend to girlfriend" articles about maternity and newborn topics.
Real Estate - I now know more than I ever wanted to know about Alabama, Connecticut, Minnesota, and 21 other states, thanks to this project.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Highlights of Mason's night: "Driving" the ski boat and getting M&Ms from the ambulance.
Highlights of Carter's night: Getting up in the fire truck 15 times and "riding"the school bus.
Highlight of my night: Talking to Mason's teacher about how sweet he is in class. You never know how your kids act when they're away, so I was thrilled to hear her gush about him. She also told me that he started a small prayer group in the library the other day. He was waiting with a few other kids in the library while the rest of the class went to the restroom. One of the kids said, "Well, what do we do now?" and Mason answered, "We could pray." So they all bowed their heads and prayed for their friends and family. We may have to change his name to Mason Graham :)
OH...and I got roped into attending my first PTA meeting after the Big Truck Event. It was a little scary, but I survived. I thought I might get trampled by the parents of the kindergartners when the kids sang at the end. People rushed to the front, some even standing on chairs and tables, to get their cameras and video recorders in a prime location for the perfect shot. I'll find out if kids are performing before I attend another meeting!
Monday, September 22, 2008
Case in point: I saw a local news story last week about the old Lucent building in OKC that was "being prepared" for hurricane evacuees. I didn't know until this weekend that it was the Oklahoma Baptist volunteers running the operation - giving their time, energy, and money to fill a need in people's lives. There are Southern Baptist groups that are first responders to major emergencies across the country, but you never hear their names in the news. One name in this story I recognized - Chris Wall - the husband of a friend from OBU. It's so good to see familiar faces, as well as faces I don't recognize, of faithful people who just want to share God's love with people who need it. They inspire me to look for ways that I can do that on a daily basis.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
On another note, Mason is doing great in the 1st grade. He seems to really like school this year, although he complains about getting up and going some mornings. The other day, he was getting out of the van in the school parking lot when he looked at me and said, "Mom, I've been going to school for three whole weeks now. I think that's enough, don't you?" This is also the first year that he's been interested in playing sports. He plays football everyday at recess, and every conversation we have usually ends up being about football. When I ask him how his day was, he answers "good" or "bad" based on how many touchdowns he made...or didn't make. I was hoping to make it a few more years without joining the dreaded little league routine that every other family on the planet seems to be a part of. But Mason is already begging to join a football team next year. I'd better enjoy my free weekends while I still can.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Anyway, I decided to look for laminated fabric or oilcloth on the internet and just make a tablecloth (because I'm such an accomplished seamstress :0). Instead, I found the cutest oilcloth products sold by two different stores on Etsy, Chalkydoodles and Modern June. I didn't really want to spend $69 on a tablecloth, but Chalkydoodles lets you choose your own design by mixing and matching their fabrics. I may have to break my out of my cheapo-depot shell for once and get one of these.