Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A different sort of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving for us this year was different from any holiday we've experienced as a family.  We planned to be with my family the next weekend for my cousins wedding so we didn't travel for Thanksgiving and RRL's family was in South America visiting his sister.  So it was just the five of us.  A couple of months beforehand- when I knew this was how it was shaping up to be- I really had to start working on my attitude.  Thanksgiving is typically one of my very favorite holidays for one reason- so much family time.  I wasn't sure how I could possibly enjoy it without my family! 

(Insert here speech to self about the Lord's constant provision, amazing ability to know exactly what we need, and perfect timing with all of His good gifts- and consequently a conscious decision to have  good attitude no matter how much I HATED THE IDEA.)

It turns out, though, that this will be a Thanksgiving I will always treasure. 

We had such a fun morning doing the neighborhood Turkey Trot- and at the last minute got the amazing NEALS to make "Team L" shirts for us.  So.Fun. (and a little cheesy- but that's the way we roll).  That morning when we got up it was bitter cold thanks to gusty wind and drizzles.  But our team is fierce (and a little ignorant for not checking the weather better) and decided to brave the weather.  The picture below, shows quite well what KJ thought of the whole thing and Cbug cried nearly the whole race despite his layers of clothing, blanket and cozy stroller ride.  We survived.  And got the metals to show for it- even the stroller-riding members of our team got medals, so I think that changed their perspective on the morning (a little).
Not only did we get finisher medals, I actually got a third place medal, too...for my age division...in which there were apparently about 4 people.  But hey, I EARNED it!

Then we spent the whole rest of the day with some amazing friends from our Small Group, also "geographically orphaned" for the holiday.  I sadly have approx ZERO pictures of that, but take my word for it- the food was AMAZING, the friends were the sweetest, the games and conversations were super fun, and the children played so well it was like a Thanksgiving miracle!  I loved every minute of it.  It was a wonderful surprise blessing to just be able to enjoy relaxing and being with people we love.

We came home and finished our Thanksgiving tree before bed, adding the last of nearly 100 leaves on which we wrote all that we are thankful for during the month of November.  We are truly so very blessed.



The day after Thanksgiving, KJ asked to do his "Thankful Leaf" we tactfully explained to him that Thanksgiving was over...of course we were always thankful and so very blessed, we just weren't going to write it on leaves anymore.  He was NOT THRILLED.  And how do you argue with your four-year-old that "No, absolutely not, we are not going to continue writing down what we are thankful for" so we've moved on to a Thankful Journal.  KJ actually brought the little book home from bible class and we've been writing in it together.  We don't do it every night now, but I love that we have gotten in the habit of taking time to remember all of the ways we are blessed. 

And I love how much we are learning from our children!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Apparently the boys' school thought I needed proof that these two are absolutely adorable, have the sweetest dimples, can show off melt-me-whydontcha smiles and are growing up way too quickly.

I didn't really NEED proof (I knew it already),
but the proof came home with them today anyway.

I might be slightly biased but I'd say the proof they brought home pretty well seals the case.
These two could steal your heart without even trying.

Do you need to see some proof?
Told ya so!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The imagination of a 4-year-old

KJ has quite an imagination these days.  So good, it sometimes gets a little creepy, especially when he talks about imaginary friends.

Most of the time when he talks about pretend people it is in reference to his "soccer team".  All of the players on the team are named for some of his favorite real-life-friends...and my brother's dog sneezy.  The unfortunate part about the soccer team is that they never get to play any games because they forgot (or lost or broke- depending on the day) their soccer ball.  But coach KJ is making sure that, in the meantime, the teams has lots of fun and gets lots of exercise.  I guess the team is hanging out at our house until they find a ball because KJ sometimes interacts with them or tells me things they are doing.  Its not real, I know that, but its still a little creepy.

Last night, KJ told me about another "pretend world" that I hadn't heard him mention before.  Apparently, sometimes when he is in bed he has to teach class.  He is the teacher and I've been finding out a little bit about his students.  His favorite student is a little girl named "Kribagayle"...that is my best effort at spelling it based on his pronounciation.  When I asked him how it was spelled there were lots of Ws and Ys and Cs and of course it starts with K.  I also asked what he teaches them, and we had this interesting conversation:

Me: "So, what do you teach your students?  Good manners?"  (he nods, yes) "Being kind to others?" (nods, yes) "Being respectful?" (nods)
KJ: "Yeah, I teach them all of that stuff.  But sometimes, if I ask their moms and dads first, I teach them how to paint their hair.  Like if they want Purple or Pink or Blue hair, I can teach them how to paint it."
Me: "Oh, but you make sure to ask their parents FIRST, right?" (I couldn't think of any other way to communicate that if he decided to paint Cbug or Lous hair in real-life he should definitely ask an adult first)
KJ:  "Right.  But if their parents say it is ok, I have to help them paint it because their hands are so short they can't even reach their hair"
Me:  "Ummmmmmmmmmmmmm, Ok.  Goodnight sweetie.  I love you!" (I mean, what was I supposed to say to that?)

So, yeah, its pretty interesting to hear the things that are going on in that little imagination. 

I do love this age and I'm so thankful for our 4-year-old.  Now I just need to find a way to convince him to stop growing up and stay home to play imaginary games with me forever...


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pictures of Joy!

I love moments like we experienced last weekend.  Moments where we get to see our children experience pure innocent joy.  I couldn't help but smile as I experienced JOY with my family.

JOY as we cooked our dinner and s'mores by the fire!

JOY while fishing

JOY in the "princess carriage"

JOY while they got undivided attention from parents and friends!

 MUCH JOY over rides in the Rangers (big and small)!

JOY during their own private hayride!

JOY over getting to feed the cows!

JOY while just getting to be a BOY!

So much JOY, there was nothing left to do except dream about it...

After several weeks of craziness around here, it was great to kick-back and just experience JOY!
Thanks, friends, for sharing your farm. We sure love spending time with you guys and it was a much needed get-a-way for our family!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

MMM: The one where I decided to make a tree...

So, Makeover My Monday hasn't died.  Don't worry (I know you were).  I just haven't been blogging much.  This Monday, though...the one where I thought it would be a good idea to make a tree...this one needed to be documented.

For two reasons.
1) For the record: I could fit all of my craftiness in my pinky.
2) The end result really has been a blessing for our family.

As for #1- There is sort of a running joke in my family that my brothers and I were probably the only kids to EVER get kicked out of the craft cabin at Church Camp.  You have to know that the "Craft Ladies" at camp were some of the sweetest, most patient, creative ladies ever, and ladies who we dearly loved.  But they had to cringe when they saw a member of the B-family heading to the cabin during free time.  They'd never admit it.  But we knew.  You know the projects that "everyone can do".  We couldn't.  None of the three of us.  Ever.  Well, there was the one flower pot that was stinkin' amazing...and I actually still have sitting in my kitchen window.  But I digress.  The point is, and I think I may have mentioned this once (or a thousand times) before...I am an accountant.  I don't mean just by occupation.  I mean by heart.  I love rules, order, formulas, answers.  Not art.  Unless there is a pattern, or a website, or a formula.  That I can do.  (case in point- to make the batman symbol on the top of my birthday cake...which no one was going to see... I actually printed and cut out a pattern).  SOOOOOO- when I decided that Monday's project should be to make a tree for our Thanksgiving leaves, I should have known we were all in trouble. 

After some cutting and more cutting (and RRL begging me to stop the cutting before I made it worse)...

and then some painting, painting (a trip to the store for more paint) and more painting...

here is our tree.

As for #2- We've been going through the Greater Things Prayer Journal with our kids, and talking about being grateful, and sharing our blessings pretty constantly over the last 40 days.  That fed perfectly into the beginning of November and really wanting to spend some intentional time during the Thanksgiving season talking about all the ways we have been blessed.  I remembered that a couple of years ago, the Tallons posted an AWESOME idea on their blog about doing leaves- one each day per family member- with things they are thankful for.  We adopted the idea this year (thus the necessity of the tree) and it has been an amazing blessing.  I love hearing the things the boys come up with each day- so far we have everything from angels to quesadillas- and I love getting to hear my husband share the things on his heart, too.  It has me looking forward to dinner time in a new way. 

So, although the tree is not cut from a perfect pattern,  and although it is sort of a hybrid tree with several different leaf types and although it is actually a bit bush-like and although Cbug thinks it really needs a door...
it is perfect. 


Can't wait to show you the finished product after we get all of the leaves up over the next couple of weeks. Maybe I'll post the list or something of what each leaf says. But I wanted to go ahead and post the idea because it has been such a blessing to us and I thought other families might enjoy it, too. Thanks, Tallons, for sharing it with us!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Our little Copperfield

alternatively titled: Why I can't go back to Kroger

Today I nominate myself for "Mother-of-the-Year". 

You know the days...

The days when it is you against them.  The days when you can't believe YOUR children would act that way.  The days when you can't believe the things that come out of your own mouth in response to their actions.  Please tell me you know those days.  I had several amazing parenting moments today, but the one that steals the show (and this post) was the one where I {temporarily} misplaced my child.

Let me preface this story by saying that when Cbug really wants to hide from you (usually because he is in trouble or doing something he shouldn't), he is AMAZING at disappearing.  I mean, Copperfield-style-disappearing-acts.  Several months ago we were all at home and C went missing IN OUR HOUSE.  RRL, KJ and I searched everywhere.  We bribed, we threatened, we played games, sang songs, ANYTHING we could think of to make him come out.  This was during a season that he was really struggling with his asthma so I was convinced the reason he wasn't answering was because he couldn't breathe.  I was on the verge of calling 911 (seriously, had the phone in my hand) when KJ found him hiding in the back/bottom section of our little closet pantry with a bowl of candy.  Unwrapping them one at a time.  Hiding until he'd had his fill.  SERIOUSLY.

So when he disappeared today at the grocery store, I knew we were in trouble.  I looked around a little, checked by the toystory 3 movie display, down the cereal isle, called and called his name.  Nothing.  Trying to stay calm, I went to the customer service desk and asked for some help.  The manager came out of his office (awesome) and went over the loud speaker asking everyone to look for a 2yearold blond boy, green jacket, brown pants.  It was one of those moments when you can feel everyone stop what they are doing, swivel towards you and STARE at mom-of-the-year.  best feeling in the world.  A few seconds later, a very nice man from the bakery, came walking my way carrying my son...and the toystory3 cupcake with red icing that he had managed to steal.  He'd been hiding, trying to get the cupcake open.  The nice man, who I thanked profusely, handed Cbug to me and I could smell him.  Apparently he'd also been, um...taking care of some business.  I didn't know whether to cry, laugh, discipline, hug, or just dig a hole and crawl in it...in the end I did a little bit of all of the above.

So, yeah, its been one of those days.  Obviously it wasn't entirely Cbug's fault that he did a little disappearing act.  I let him out of the cart, I was busy reviewing my list, and it was actually KJ who noticed first that Cbug had walked away.  Someday he'll hate me for this post.  But in the mean-time I just thought you might need to know the amazingness that occasionally enters my world of parenting. 

Just in case, you know...you happen to have one of those days, too.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Buzz and Woody...to the rescue!

KJ and Cbug's costume choices for their costume parade at school this fall were pretty simple- they would be Buzz and Woody, of course.  The tricky party was who would be each.  On any given day, one or the other is the current favorite- it changes faster than I can keep track, but of course almost always they both want the same one.  I, being the amazing mother that I am, anticipted this possible problem, so I made them decide who would be which character the night before school- Brilliant.  In theory.  They both chose- no problems at all.  KJ wanted Woody.  Cbug wanted Buzz.  Super easy.  Or so they lead me to believe- should have known better.  The next morning KJ pitched a WHOPPER of a fit.  I mean a real DOOZY.  Because Cbug had on the Buzz costume.  We went round the circle and back or him wearing Woody or nothing- totally his choice and we just left him alone with it.  Then, approximately 2 minutes before he would have been late for school, he suddenly completely changed his whole demeaner, requested a different hat than the one that actually came with the Woody costume and that fixed everything.  Four-Year-Olds.  Sheesh.
Cbug's precious class of three-year-olds on the left and KJ's amazing class of pre-Kers on the right.  Such fun!

We went to the stockyards that night for a failed attempt at some trick-or-treating.  But at least the kids looked cute.  Note that for this event, Buzz and Woody swaped costumes.  No problem.  Again.  Sheesh.

To stick with the TS3 motif, we added a little cheerleader from the toddler room at the Sunnyside Daycare.  Herself an adorable mence, who often wreaks havock on her brothers toys- this was not a difficult costume for Lou to pull off. 

Oh how I love them!  Tantrums, mischeif, costumes and all.