Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Elizabeth!

Today is a "shout out" to my niece Elizabeth. She is 6 today - she is exactly 6 months to the day younger than N. And they were born in the same hospital - how crazy is that considering we live 4 hours apart and N was adopted? - I think it's super cool!

Elizabeth is a big sister. She has 2 little sisters and 1 little brother. She is very smart and excels greatly with her reading and math! N loves her and is very sad when we don't get to see them very often.

And most importantly of all, she has introduced my kids to the joy of playing......


Elizabeth, I hope you have a great day!

Love, Aunt Jennie

Monday, April 28, 2008

trip to urgent care

We woke up Sunday morning to sounds of little L. She came and climbed in our bed and spent 10 minutes relaxing before quietly saying she was hungry. While eating breakfast, she starts crying hysterically. Now, I know this could just mean that her milk is not the right temperature or her napkin is placed at the wrong angle, but this time it meant.....

She had a horrible sore on her foot - all puffy and gross and huge! I noticed when she got down from the table, she was only walking on her tip-toes on that foot. It was definitely hurting her.

So, we head on over to urgent care at Scott and White. Fortunately for us, there was only one other person waiting - unbelievable! They took us right back and the doctor was definitely concerned. He told us she would have to have an xray to see if he could tell what was causing this, but that regardless of the xray he would more than likely have to "dig around" in her foot. Okay, gross, but okay.

In about 20 minutes he came back and announced they didn't have any of the numbing cream that would make this bearable for our sweet little 3yo. AHHHH! Not sure why urgent care wouldn't have this! So we head to xray. When we get back we have the attention of all the staff on duty. Now, remember they don't have many other patients.

The dr. has in fact seen something on the xray, and big brother N is fascinated. He wants to see the xray too. So, the dr. prints out 2 copies for N and emails a copy to me as well. I can't believe a dr. is taking the time to do all of this, and then he reveals why.... he is putting off what he is going to have to do to L.

We go in the procedure room. I am sitting on the "operating table" holding L. Lance is holding her foot with a nurse holding her toes. Another nurse is holding her other leg while a 3rd nurse is blowing cold air on her foot. This cold air is the only thing numbing my sweet gal while the dr works. He take a scalpel (AH!) and starts digging around. It's amazing the strength of a little girl when she is in pain. It took all of us to hold her still during the process.

So, what was in her foot causing all this pain?.....a piece of glass. The only thing I could think of was that 2 weeks ago the kids were wrestling and knocked over a lamp. The lightbulb broke. Of course I vacuumed it up, but you are never sure you're getting it all. The dr thinks the glass has been in there 2 weeks and her body just now pushed it out.

L did great for all the trauma she had to undergo. She was so cute at dinner last night, reliving it. In her words...

"My foot was hurting." "The sharp pencil (scalpel) was trying to hurt me." "I didn't like the sharp pencil, it was mean." "Now my foot feels better"

She is on antibiotic for a few days and then hopefully all will be well.

N's take on the whole ordeal...."well, Mom, at least it didn't happen to me."

Friday, April 25, 2008


photo courtesy of Flickr - not mine!

N wants to have a sleepover. He is 6 yo and is full of energy (as most of you know!). In theory, this sounds like a great idea, but in reality....I'm not yet sure. I'm pondering the idea. N gets excited when one friend comes over, but more than one AND for ALL NIGHT?!? Will any sleep occur?

Have any of you braved this world yet? Any advice? How many boys would you recommend? If N had his way, he would invite 10-12. I'm thinking 1-2 would be perfect.

I want him to have fun experiences with his friends and I'm so glad that he makes friends so easily - I'm much more reserved than he and it takes me awhile to develop friendships - but a sleepover!?!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

To interfere or to not interfere, that is the question....

I have a problem. A BIG problem. I can't stand to watch children being mistreated, either verbally, physically, or thru neglect. I've gone thru some issues this past year with one of my neighbors whose parenting values are VERY different from mine. I had been able to turn my head the other way until one of her children hurt N - then I could no longer turn the other way. We have since made peace with the situation, but I will always be very cautious when her children are around.

But, I also have trouble seeing total strangers mistreat their children. I feel like God places me in situations where I need to be used to help an innocent child. Last night was one of those times. I took my kiddos to the local "water" park. This is a city park that has water features - awesome in the HOT Texas Spring/Summer/Fall. When we were getting ready to leave, a family drove up and proceeded to get out of the car - 3 adults and a newborn. They all walked over to the picnic pavillion. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a little girl about L's age still sitting in the car. No carseat in the car, no seatbelt, and in a car alone over 100 yds from these adults. If I had been a child abductor, I could have easily pulled her out of her car and thrown her in my SUV. By the time I had buckled my kids in, the "mom" had come back to the car to get her cellphone and then went back to the pavillion. Not a word to the child. While she was still getting her phone, the "dad" came over and said "what's going on?" The mom said, "She doesn't want to get out." I hadn't heard her ask the girl anything. They both left again. I decided to write down the car's license plate and description. I pulled away but parked just a bit down the street where I could watch for a minute. (I told you I have a problem!) I got my kids back out and we played at the regular park adjacent to the water park. That little girl sat in that hot car for over 45 minutes. I ended up calling the police. It was bothering me too much. Why did they come to the park? The newborn certainly wasn't playing. The 3 adults sat at the picnic tables and talked - couldn't they have done this at home? Or in the car with the little girl?

I don't know their story, I don't know their struggles, and yet, I felt compelled to speak for the little girl. The police took over 30 minutes to get to the park after I called. By this time, the family had been gone for 5 minutes. No carseat, no seatbelt. I was sad.

Also, at this same park, there was a mom yelling at her 3 or 4 yo son. She was cursing at him and yelling, "What is wrong with you?" "Why are you so stupid?" It breaks my heart. I'm sure she doesn't know any better, I'm sure she doesn't know what that is doing to his poor little soul.

Why do I do this to myself? Why do I involve myself in things that aren't any of my business? It's a do you find the balance between meddling and really having concern for others?

Why don't I focus instead on being the best mom I can be? To do my job to the best of my ability? To have the perfect blend of discipline and fun? Why, because I'm not perfect, just like these other moms aren't perfect either. Oh, to be a parent, it's the hardest job ever. The most important job and the one with the best benefits ever!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

End of Year Activities

It's that time of year! Things are coming to a close on this school year and that means lots of parties, concerts, etc!

This is our first year to be completely involved in the end-of-year rush.

We've always been keyed into the high school graduation and all that it brings for our students. I cry along with the parents every year during the video that Lance makes for our church. It gets more emotional each year since we've known these students 7 1/2 years now. We've seen them transformed from 5th grade children to 18 year old adults! I enjoy helping Lance select songs for the video - things that touch me as a mom and I haven't even gone thru 1/3 of what these parents have!

So, for this year, our end of the year commitments are:

the 50's day song/dance at N's school - this should be super cute - he's already been practicing his Elvis dance. He really wants to buy an Elvis CD now - so cute!

the church choir program - he's been quite the little entertainer each year - although, he has matured greatly since the great debacle when he was 4. He was literally screaming the words at the top of his lungs and the entire church was dying of laughter. Lance and I were also laughing, but also a little embarrassed at how comfortable he seemed in front of everyone.

finishing out the soccer season and the resulting team party complete with trophy.

Mommy Makeover Day at N's school....this is going to be hilarious I can just tell - I received the invitation from N on Monday - the instructions are to come to school with a towel, makeup, brush, fingernail polish, and mirror. N tells me, "you are going to get a massage!!" I can't wait - what a precious time with N this will be - I'm sure much laughter will be occuring!

We are looking forward to our summer activities as well - swimming lessons for both N and L and some library time to keep up with our reading over the summer.

N really wants to take gymnastics in the fall. Lance and I really want him to continue with soccer, but I think we've about agreed to let him try the gymnastics and then see what he prefers. My rule is only one activity at a time per child. I want them to both have mostly unstructured play time in the evenings/weekends. They have plenty of time for busyness later in their lives - childhood is for play and creativity. L is going to take dance in the fall - we are trying to coordinate times with a friend of mine so that her daughter and L can take together - should be very interesting indeed!

Hope the end of the school year is a great time of celebration at your house! Enjoy the memories! Don't stress out! That's my motto!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Strong Willed Child

I have one of these. A strong willed child. She is beautiful, she is sweet, she is adventerous, and she wants what she wants when she wants it.

L has an opinion about everything and her opinion is ALWAYS RIGHT. She likes certain cups to drink out of, she likes just the right amount of milk in her cereal. She doesn't like to brush her hair (except today when she wanted ponytails!), she doesn't like to wear socks with her tennis shoes. Oh, and she still wants her cassie (pacifier)! This, at 3 years old.

Lance and I have struggled a bit with our strong-willed child. We are both first-born types who always wanted parental approval and tried our best to behave. I think Lance succeeded better than I! N, our eldest child, has always been a pretty happy-go-lucky type kid. He might get mad about something, but it doesn't last long and he's pretty easy to redirect. Not L! She is our challenge!

She always wants to eat the minute we walk in our house - no matter the time! She loves to take bubble baths in our master bathroom with the water right up to the edge of the tub. She likes to tattoo herself with chalk and water everyday! And you know what?!?!? We love her. I love her to pieces - she is my darling gal even when she is driving me crazy, b/c you know sometimes she just does. I know, I know, a mother should never admit this, but I will. Sometimes I just don't know what to do for L. I want to make her life easier and happier, and I just can't sometimes. When she gets her mind stuck on something, she won't let it go!

So, I'm choosing to think, this could be a very powerful and great attribute to possess in her teenage years. Boys - no! Drugs - no! At least this is my prayer for her. That she would be strong-willed in all the "right" areas. Her momma is pretty "strong-willed" too and it has kept me out of alot of trouble, although I do think it has brought me some trouble as well. But, all in all, I'd rather have a daughter that is strong-willed and won't let people push her around than one that is easily influenced and convinced to do things that aren't right.

So, if you see Lance and I looking a little ragged, a little stressed, or with a few more wrinkles or gray hair, it's probably because we're wrangling with our "strong-willed" darling! We wouldn't trade it for the world. And, plus we're probably learning something, right?!?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Date Night Recap

Friday night was date night! The kids were at the church for Parent's Night Out and Lance and I had a few hours to ourselves. The question was....what are we going to do? Usually, I've had these evenings planned way ahead of time - that's just how I am - a planner. But, this time I was feeling a little puny and not completely in the mood. It seems we weren't the only parents feeling this way. A quick survey in the church hallway was that no one had a clue what they were going to do!

So, Lance and I went and had a pedicure together. I LOVE pedicures. Lance had never had one. I wasn't sure if he'd be up for it, but he was! The massage chairs are great. We got to have an hour long conversation with no interruptions - it was awesome! Now, some guys have been making fun of Lance, but I think they are the ones missing out!

After our relaxing pedicures, we went and had dinner and then headed to Hastings to pick out a movie for the next evening. We rented Juno. Very quirky, but very well done! Has a little of the Napoleon Dynamite vibe to it, if you know what I mean.

All in all, a great date night. No movie (which is normally our favorite thing to do) and yet we had great conversation. The type of conversation that is very hard to have around our house until 10pm and I'm a zombie. It was great to have conversation when I'm still awake and can piece thoughts together!

Yeah for date nights!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Clutter or Treasure?!?

Children's artwork and homework. What do you keep and what do you throw away?

I'm an anti-clutter fanatic (at least according to Lance!!!!) I don't like clutter (except in my office) I can only look at things a couple of days without it driving me crazy. plan for all the kids' projects? I go thru them and keep my absolute favorites. You know the ones that show what a genius they were that they could draw a floorplan of our house at age 5 (N actually did this!) or that they could do fingerpainting that should hang on the walls at MOMA. I only keep a select few - it's the only way to keep my sanity. But...if you choose this way of living, you must be very, very careful. If said geniuses discover their masterpieces in the trashcan, it's not good. Not good at all. So, in the middle of the night, I carefully sneak out to the garbage can and carefully place the "rejects" at the bottom of the trash, so that I'm not discovered. Does this make me a terrible mom?!?

I bring this up because I recently had lunch with a friend who is in the process of cleaning out 20 years of her children's stuff. She has an entire room filled with their stuff and is really struggling with the enormity of the task. I feel for her - it would depress me greatly. And I don't want to be in her place in a few years. I have other issues to deal with.

Anyone out there have a great solution for keeping memorable items without having to rent a storage unit to keep them in?!?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Exercise update

So, since my post last week about the need to incorporate more exercise into my life, I've done the following....

Well, sort of....I've chased 2 children who were doing this to the park and back - 2.2 miles x 2 times last week!

I've played around on this....

With two kiddos - total of 5 hours during the week! And in case you are wondering....I am one of the "cool moms" who slides, swings, climbs with her kids on the playground - no bench sitting for me!

And walked thru these in Independence,TX (home of the original Baylor campus)....

with two kiddos for 1 1/2 hours! L's favorite part was the tire swing in the old tree. N's favorite part was the climbing in trees - the live oaks in Independence are awesomely huge. As soon as Lance gets the photos off our camera, I'll share! And L came up with a new song, "Old Baylor, Old Baylor, I love you" It was cute. Of course Lance and I would love to see our kids go to Baylor, but seeing as how tuition is now $40,000/yr it is EXTREMELY unlikely. Especially since they won't be going to college until 2020 and 2023.

And I also cleaned house (at warp speed) for 2 hours!

So, even though there was one day (Sunday) which I did not exercise, all in all, it was a pretty productive week. Yesterday, I began my playground/walking regime but L took a bad fall and skinned her knees and elbows - we had to quit early. She has been suffering terrible allergies the last few days and it doesn't take much to push her over the edge!

Tonight will be my night off from exercise since I have Bunco - yippee!!

Thanks for the encouraging posts and emails regarding my exercise goals. It's great to have friends who care and want the best for me! I know some of you don't like to post comments or haven't figured out how to yet (took me forever!) so thanks for taking the time to email!

Friday, April 11, 2008

We are in the garage!

It's unbelievable, it's amazing, it's true!

One year and one month after moving into our house, we can now park one car in the garage. And you can almost get out of the car, too. You have to suck in, turn sideways and brush up against the car and storage cabinet, but we're in!

Thanks Lance for getting it cleaned up. I'm so excited that my black truck will be parked inside this summer instead of out! I'm go excited that I'll be able to get my car washed and it will last longer than 10 minutes. It's big news around here, folks!!!

We went from this.....

To this.....

As total disclaimer, neither of these is actually our garage, but you get the point. I'm so excited. Does this mean I'm officially grown up? A clean garage is cause for celebration!?! Oh yeah!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

On my heart

Anyone who has been alive the last few days has seen the story about the "religous" compound in West Texas. This is a sect that broke off from the Mormon church. They believe in polygamy and marrying their daughters off to much older men. The girls are expected to have lots of babies. Our country is one that believes in freedom of religion and I am so thankful. As much as I disagree with what these people believe (and many other religions) they have a right to worship or not as they see fit.


This breaks my heart on many levels. First, that this exists. These men have used power and intimidation to control women and keep them fearful of the outside world. They have in the name of "religion" bound people's lives. Secondly, even though they are now "free", these children have left the only life they know for foster care. Will these children ever recover from the things they have seen/done. How do you help them live in a world outside the "compound"? I hope and pray they receive counseling. Third, how will Texas be able to find homes for all of these children. This is a crisis for a system that already has too many children and not enough money or workers.

Whose problem is this? The state? The federal government? The community? The church? I believe this "problem" belongs to all of us. We all have a responsibility to love others and provide help to others. We each have different ways that we are able to help. Some financially, some with time, some with counsel, friendship, adoption, etc.

God has been speaking to me for the last 2 weeks very clearly about my role in this world. What is my role beyond wife, mom, employee, church member? How does God want me to contribute to "the least of these" in our world? The answer....I don't know yet, but there are some areas God has laid on my heart. I believe God has placed a call on all of us who are His children. I don't want to live my life selfishly, I want a higher calling.

I'm on the lookout for mine, do you know yours? I'll share more later as God reveals Himself to me more clearly.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Reading, Reading,Reading

Dear N is reading so well now - it's unbelievable that he started out Kindergarten in August not being able to read anything beyond his name. It's awesome - he is reading everything in sight.

Last night, he was laughing hysterically because the book I had chosen to read to him was in fact read by him and not me! It was a great feeling. Lance and I both LOVE to read and definitely want our kids to have this same love of books!

Every night N has to read books at his level - our aim is for him to read 20 minutes. Some nights it is more, some less. Whichever one of us is tucking him in that night will also read to him. Usually Lance will pick a series, lately it's been The Chronicles of Narnia - this is something they love doing together. I usually either let N pick the book or we'll read something from the Bible or about animals.

He is gaining so much confidence in his reading ability and I love it - we are planning some reading activities and games for this summer to keep up with the skills. N, I'm so proud of you!

Monday, April 7, 2008

WW update

This is more for my accountability than anything else. I'm struggling with WW this time around. Maybe it's that I've grown too familiar with the program, maybe it's because I had success pretty easily the first time around, or can we be honest here? Maybe just maybe, it's because I'm not as dedicated to exercise as I was the first time around!?! Yes, I think that's it!

So, today at weigh in....I lost .4 pounds - yep, that's right less than 1/2 pound. Now, don't get me wrong, it's better this way than gaining .4 pounds, but still less than the stellar results I'm after! new resolve this week...exercise EVERY day this week. Even when I'm not in the mood, even when the weather is bad (hello, Tae Bo video), no matter what!!! So check in next week to see if I fulfilled my promise here.

Other news from the weekend...

We had a playdate Friday afternoon with my friend, Jennifer and her 2yo daughter, S. It was fun. S loved watching my two crazy kiddos do their thing. It was cute to hear her little 2 yo voice, saying, "N come here." "L come here." She's a sweet girl and hopefully we didn't scare Jennifer away from having another baby!! :)

Saturday morning - soccer and team pictures for N - Lance said the pics will probably come out lots better than last season - yippee! N scored a goal and evidently looked super cute doing so - he was very proud of himself. I say evidently because L and I missed the first half of the game. We were busy trying to have her picture made. I say trying, because she wasn't really in the mood. I had to resort to bribery...McDonald's chocolate shake was well worth the $1.79 I paid for it. Normally, if a child's not in the mood on pic day, I pack them up and we get out of there. No biggee....this time however, we had paid in advance and it was a one-shot, bribery reared it's ugly head...not my proudest parenting moment, but what can you do?

Saturday afternoon was a wonderfully relaxing time of doing laundry and playing with the kiddos and neighbor kids -

Saturday evening we headed to our local amphitheater for a free concert. It was a Canadian band who performs only music by The Eagles. It was a total flashback to childhood songs and was great. L and N completely entertained everyone around us with their crazy dancing and air guitar skills! Lance and I had a great time watching them go! A little kindergarten friend, M joined in the fun as well. He and N had a great time wrastlin' and L was not about to miss out so she pulled her bubba to the ground several times. And one of the best parts....they both fell asleep in our arms under the stars and blankies. That doesn't happen too much anymore - I loved it! Thanks Lance and kiddos for going with me to the concert!

Sunday - lazy, lazy, lazy - I've been feeling down the last few days and yesterday was a big lazyfest for me all day - Lance was kind enough to let me nap for a couple of hours and it was much appreciated. So, I'm thinking with my new resolve to exercise everyday, I won't be feeling down anymore - can we hope?

Hope you all had a restful weekend and will have a great week!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Bad Momma?!?

Today is one of those days you dread as a parent. After having received only stickers and smiley faces on his behavior folder for over 6 weeks, N came home with not one, but two "reminders" on his folder. I know most kids are going to have behavior issues from time to time. But, the two that were in his folder were depressing for me...

#1 - N was choking a student at the lunchtable

#2 - N grabbed a child by the shirt and threw him down at recess

UGH - if it was simply, N was talking while the teacher was talking or N wasn't paying attention, I wouldn't have been happy, but I wouldn't have worried about him harming someone else. Lance told me not to worry about these, that kids all have bad days and I agree, but.... I just want N to be a nice kid; not a bully....I want him to love his friends and treat them well...So, last night, N wrote a letter of apology to his teacher and to the two students who he mistreated. I hope today will be a better day for him and he can remember to love others.

L also had a rough day at school. She was bitten by a little boy who bites her about once a week - it's almost always over a book. L is very strong-willed and especially when it comes to her books - she is a book-lover and usually has 10-15 in bed with her everynight. L also decided to scream at the top of her lungs several times yesterday to her teacher. The note on L's paper said, "Please talk to L about her screaming. It hurt her teacher's ears." Now, you have to understand, L's teacher is the sweetest little lady, Ms. Afsana, who is not from the United States - she has learned English as an adult. She loves L, but I'm sure she had quite a headache yesterday.

So, after the kids were in bed last night, I had a little cry about my kids. I so want the best for them. Today will be better!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Kindergarten is awesome!

"Mom, we are learning about amphibians." "Frogs are amphibians." "Amphibians live on water and land." WOW, I don't remember learning about amphibians in kindergarten. I remember learning the "letters" - my kids have known their letters since they were 18 months old.

It's crazy what all they are teaching and what all is being soaked in by N. He is a very curious fella. He's still asking all the "why" questions - he has a thirst for knowledge and I'm so glad he is learning so many different things. I just hope he doesn't ask Mrs. Marshall as many "why" questions as he does at home!!! Can you imagine 19 students asking "why" all day long?!? Kindergarten teachers are super special - I could definitely never be one!

Another thing they work on at school are social values. For example, last week was "Taking no for an answer" - what a great concept - they've had this one a couple of times this year. Now, if we could just take no for an answer at home! This weeks lesson is "accepting criticism". Again, wow! I think these social values could be valuable among adults as well!

Two days in a row now, N has made his own lunch. He did great even spreading out the PB &J - the only thing I did was veto one of his choices. I'm sorry, but I'm just not allowing Pop-Tarts to go in the lunchbox!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Back to our regularly scheduled blog

Today, I'm back with kid stories and updates!

Little L - funnies from the last week:

Near our neighborhood, we seem to always encounter a smell from a little black and white animal friend. L says, "Go away Mr. Stunk" - it works! It combines the skunk and the stink in one succinct word! Plus it's cute!

Given that our entire family has very fair complexion, sunscreen is a necessity for our outdoor activities. L, in particular, LOVES applying it herself. She calls it "scrumscreen" - it's so cute, that we correct her, but don't mind when she says it wrong!

N - woke up this morning telling April Fool's jokes. These are all of the kindergarten variety, such as "Momma, the whole world just fell on top of your car. April Fools" OR "Nana's in the suitcase. April Fools!" I love his little sense of humor - it's so sweet and innocent.

On Sunday afternoon, we had a great thing happen in our neighborhood...the gang of boys were all playing kickball when one of them got out of control with his language. The other boys told him they didn't want him playing with them anymore and sent him home. I'm so proud - especially of the older boys - that took courage to tell one of their peers that he was wrong.