Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Day Menu

I'm starting preparations today for our Thanksgiving Dinner. This year, I'm hosting dinner...again. I enjoy cooking Thanksgiving Dinner very much. I love my kitchen. I love cooking. I love making yummy food for family and friends to enjoy.

The thing is, I haven't cooked in like 4 weeks. I feel a little rusty, but I'm getting back in the swing. I've planned the menu and figured I'd share. Here we go...

Smoked Lemon Turkey (Patrick's undertaking, which was mucho delicious last year)
Good Eats Roasted Turkey (complete with brine including some homemade vegetable stock)
Best Gravy Ever
Mashed Potatoes
Sausage and Cornbread Dressing
Sweet Potato Casserole (my own recipe)
Green Beans with Toasted Almonds
Cranberry Sauce (...from a can)
Homemade dinner rolls
Perfect Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies
Apple Crumb Pie

My in-laws are coming in town, bringing some goods in toe (breakfast items) and we've also invited our neighbors over for Thanksgiving. They are Indian and will bringing an Indian rice dish to add to our traditional meal. We're thankful for the bounty that we'll be able to share with our friends and family.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The blogging respite will be extended until further notice...

I can't believe I haven't blogged since Evan's birthday. And so much has happened since then. I hate being behind, but I have no choice. Something HAS to be put by the wayside and for now, that is the computer. I'm rarely on it anymore...just to check email and Facebook, which is a huge source of communication for me now. I have load of pics to share and tales to tell, but I just don't have the time right now. Even with another set of hands (or more!!!) being around for the past 17 days since Evan's birth, I still haven't gotten into the swing of EVERYTHING yet. We still meals coming this week and through December (thank you, church family!) and I have lots of people extending me help with the kids. But, between breastfeeding, laundry, my children and husband's daily needs, and rest for my sanity, I have no time. None.

For those of you with multiple kids, encouragement that I will find a new normal will be greatly appreciated. I honestly hope that "normal"will be more than diapers, laundry and a milk production, but for now that's what it is. And I'm thankful. Really and truely.

More to come...eventually. :-)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Evan Jerome

Here's our little guy...born today about 3:15pm, weighing 7lbs 10oz. More details to come...

God is so gracious.

I feel very strange today, knowing that my baby will definitely be born yet I have not had one of those death-defying contractions or crazy water-breakage moments. I'm a planner and this whole “planning an induction” thing has had its up sides yet it's still very strange for me to have the birth of my child scheduled, since I'm a very “natural all the way” type of laborist. After talking to my doctor, he explained that the risks of babies passing meconium in utero increases after 41 weeks, which for me would be on Sunday. Mallory passed her meconium before delivery and she was 40w5d (I'm currently 40w4d). We've been there, done that...having a baby aspirate meconium and stay in the NICU for 4 days. More than anything, I want to avoid that for this baby. So, I'm succumbing to having what is usually natural for me be something a little more “medical”. Not that it's a bad thing, thanks to the advancement in medicine for L&D, it's just unusual for me.

So, like my other 2 labors, this one will be very different for us. The outcome, we pray, will be the same: the arrival of strapping Moss-child whom we'll love and cherish. The process of getting him out will just be different.

Both Patrick and I have woken up pretty early this morning in preparation for this day. He's spending time with God, praying for us and reading the Word to gather strength for this day. Me, I've been doing a lot of praying and reflecting, thanking God for bringing me to this point of great, intense joy in the arrival of this little guy. When I found out I was pregnant (I was only 4 weeks along), I was greatly depressed at knowing I was going to have another. We were at a very low point in our marriage, faith and family and I didn't know how we were going to do this. I was, shamefully confessing, hoping that somehow God would take this child from me to relieve us from wondering how we were going to piece together what was broken while raising yet another baby. I was not happy at all. Oh, but by God's great mercy, he did not grant my request. Instead, he took what was broken in our lives and made something very beautiful. God used this pregnancy to show us how much grace He had for us and out of his love, our hearts were changed from despair to hope. This baby, though still unborn for only a short while more, is a symbol of God's sacred blessing in our lives and we're thankful for this 3rd child. We love him so much and I can't wait to hold him, kiss him, nurse him...sacrificing of myself for his life and well being.

Pray for us today. Pray that this labor will go well. My fear that was once about this labor is gone now. The fear has been replace with peace and excitement. Yes, it will be different with lots of unknowns, but that's OK. I have a God who is gracious.

Can't wait to meet you, little one!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

40 weeks

Today, I'm officially "due". October 25, 2009.

I was 40w5d pregnant with Mallory when she was born. She liked where she was in my womb and took her blessed time to arrive. Today, Mallory is easily distracted and continually dawdles and daydreams, taking her time to do everything from going to the potty to eating her food to cleaning up her toys to falling asleep.

I was 39w3d pregnant with Ethan when he was born. He was ready and willing to come out in good time. Today, he wants his way quickly and immediately or he'll pitch a fit. He started running early, talking early, eating solids early, comprehending early...and so many more things...EARLY.

It makes me wonder what this little guy will be like. I guess that will depend on when I go into labor???? Time can only tell...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

From the mouths of Babes

Scene: Mommy and Daddy are getting ready for church in the bathroom.

While Daddy is putting in his contacts...
Mallory: Daddy's eye is broken.

While Daddy is shaving...
Mallory: Daddy's painting his mouth.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fall Photos

I haven't had much time to do anything these days except chase after my born children while extra large with my unborn child. I've been switching rooms, cleaning out closets, making burp clothes and blankets, *trying* to keep up with preschool, and all of my other duties as wife and mom. Needless to say, when I have a chance to sit or rest, I sit or rest. So, the blog has been on the back burner and it will probably be that way for a while...

I did have a brief photo shoot with the kids earlier this week before the rain came (we're supposed to have rain for the next several days...). Here are a few...

The Outtakes:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Oh, Ethan!!!

I just gave Ethan a piece of cheese to munch on and he looked at it and said "It's a trapezoid".

Oh, he makes me smile.

Monday, October 5, 2009

This time last year...

It's amazing how plans can VASTLY differ from one year to the next!

On October 5, 2008 we were sailing away from Tampa, FL for a 7 day vacation. On October 5, 2009 I'm 37w2d pregnant while caring for and cleaning up messes of 2 sick children.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fullness of Joy

While I was folding clothes this afternoon, sitting in front of the TV watching a Praise Baby video for the 100th time with Ethan, I had an epiphany.

So many little things in my life have added up to show me how much joy there exists way deep down in my heart; it's a joy that is only God-given and nothing that I've done is deserving of this joy.

I was folding one of Patrick's shirts and God showed me what a treasure I have in my husband. It's hard for me to believe that 6 months ago, I didn't like being in the same room with him...and him me. There was so much unspoken tension that we didn't know how to address, except through anger, aversion, and tears. After falling down into a lowest of low, God has slowly brought us through this muck and mire, transforming our hearts from ones of despair to hope. And there is fullness of joy in our marriage.

This morning, I woke up about 6:30, thinking that Patrick was downstairs doing some reading and I poured my coffee while starting on my never-ending list of to-dos. About 30 minutes later, I heard the garage door open and I was surprised to see Patrick walk in with a bag of cinnamon-chip scones and a pumpkin spice latte for me. I was speechless at this act of kindness, knowing that he thought of me first thing and went out to get me something I enjoy...just because he loves me. He's been asking me questions about what I like from here or there and I just didn't add it up, not even expecting such a gesture. We shared the pastries with the kids, spending a leisurely morning together in laughter and excitement of another adventure he was taking Mallory on this afternoon...a date to see her first movie in a theatre. He's been wanting to do something like this with Mal and I'm excited for both of them. Last weekend, he gave me time to myself while taking the kids to his parents for the weekend. And he's also been helping out a lot with other tasks that are normally mine, but with the greatness of my berth, it's been more physically challenging for me and he notices. I also found and re-read a note yesterday that he wrote to me a few months ago, expressing his love for me and desiring to show me the love I deserve as his wife.

I'm thankful for the lessons we're learning about love. We sacrifice precious sleep time for 20-30 minutes alone with each other in the mornings to have a brief devotion, pray, and talk about what's going on in our hearts. We had a few weeks of direction through counselling at church, but other than that, our commitment to this time has been under the leadership of Patrick and my willingness to follow. It's amazing what God will do when choosing to do things God's way. God can transform the ugliest of ugly to something very beautiful and new. I can't tell you how many ways our marriage has flourished...and it hasn't been because we talked to the right people or we've been held accountable by this person or that person or because we've delved into programs or what-not. Our marriage has flourished under the grace of God through Christ who is served by a faithful husband dedicated to love his wife and by a wife who chooses to submit to her husband.

Easy? No. This has not been a easy road.

But as the little things happen in life, like lattes, laundry, laughter and love notes, God will show Himself gracious to the undeserved sinner.

And He will give fullness of joy.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Our first unit study is finished!

We just wrapped up our Home and Family unit study. I can't believe this month has already passed and I'm just so excited about what we have ALL learned in this first month of "school".


Topical Learning:
- Relationship between Mommy/Daddy, Child/Parents, Parents/Grandparents, Child/Child, etc.
- Other familial relationships
- We have another brother who's coming very soon!
- Jesus is God's Son. We can be children of God through believing in Jesus.
- Our address
- Details about our home
- Our heart is Jesus' home when we believe in Him
- Being good stewards of our home and things
- We need to be thankful and kind to our neighbors

Practical Learning:
- Sitting and listening
- Cutting (greatly improved Mal's Fine Motor Skills!)
- Gluing
- Following a pattern/instruction
- Following a schedule
- Creating art

Me (and Patrick)
- Patience!
- Schedules cannot always be adhered to, but are very, very useful
- Little things can make a BIG difference
- Persistence is key

There are definitely more things I can add to this list!!! This week, we're going over the days of the week, calendars, seasons, etc. in preparation in talking about our unit study in October of Fall and Harvest. We'll have lots of hands on activities this month, like looking at apples and pumpkins, disecting both, how things grow, how leaves change, etc. I'd like to do more nature stuff, but we'll see how much my overly-large-and-pregnant self can take. We're all having a great time and I'm thankful that God has given me the desire to do this...and Patrick the desire to support me and be interested in what we're doing. There's little else more beautful than watching the mind of a child learn.

Pictures from September:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

From the Mouths of Babes

A few recent discussions with Mallory:

Scene: After talking about that Jesus lives in our hearts when we believe in him...

Mommy: So Mallory, can you tell me where Jesus lives?
Mallory: In North Carolina.


Scene: Mommy is fixing her own hair in the bathroom when Mallory walks in holding her belly.

Mallory (in a very pitiful voice): Does your tummy hurt?
Mommy: Oh, your tummy hurts? How does it hurt, sweetheart?
Mallory: There's a baby in there. He needs to come out.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


For the last several weeks, we've enjoyed watching Mallory play stand on the soccer fields in her first-ever team sport adventure. We have her in a 3-5 year-old league through the city and for $20, she gets to play soccer twice a week for about 10 weeks. We have mainly 3 year-olds on our team and Mallory is definitely the littlest one out there. Some of the kids are really good, even at this young age, and some are VERY uninterested. Mallory falls to the latter end of the spectrum, though she at least stands on the field. Whether she chases the ball is another story.

It's been a lot of fun to head out there and watch her on the fields. Though she gets distracted VERY easily, she will sometimes run with the crowd after a ball and at one point, she actually dribbled it for a few feet before the other team stole the ball from her. You would have though she scored a goal the way I reacted!!! We're very proud of her stepping out of her comfort zone of letters and numbers and trying her, feet I should say...on the soccer fields. Her season lasts through the end of October, but I think we *may* have to stop a little early due to her little brother's arrival, which is expected about that time. :-)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Remembering Grandma...

It's hard to believe it's been a year since my grandma died. My mom is en route to FL to visit my grandpa today, who is recovering from having surgery a week ago to remove colon cancer. Grandpa's been a fighter and I'm glad this cancer was caught early enough to be removed. I know he'll enjoy seeing mom, especially today.

Last year's trip down to FL was such a whirlwind for me...and Ethan...and I'm so glad I was able to go. I have bitter sweet memories...I wish I could have seen her one more time, but I'm glad I was able to be at the funeral, surrounded by my family.

Recap here, here, here, and here.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Labor on Labor Day

I know, I know...silly pun, but I didn't come up with it. Here is a meme that I thought would be fun to anticipation of my upcoming L&D.

How long were your labors?
Kid #1 - 13 hours
Kid #2 - 6 hours

How did you know you were in labor?
Kid #1 - contractions
Kid #2 - my water broke

Where did you deliver?
Kid #1 - Presbyterian Hospital (the Taj Mahal of hospitals) in Charlotte, NC
Kid #2 - Johnson City Medical Center in Johnson City, TN

Kid #1 - Not during labor
Kid #2 - Not during labor

No epi for me...I'm actually scared of them. I'm afraid that I'll be one of the moms that has something wrong with the epi and cause long-term damage. Labor hurts like, well...hurts like hell, but there is an end to the torture. I did have some nice narco as my tearing was being repaired...for both children. I'm hoping for no tearing and, therefore, no drugs at all during this next labor. The nurse at the Med center (for E's birth) loved that I had a "natural" labor, since she said that 98% of the births were "assisted" by drugs. I'm glad that SOMEONE "loved" my labor...

Nope. And I hope I don't ever experience one.

Who delivered?
Doctors both times. I was disappointed with my Dr. in Charlotte. No referrals to that practice. My Dr. here in JC is AWESOME!!! I'm one of his "private patients", which means that he'll deliver my baby no matter if he's on call or not. He was a resident at E's delivery and now is an "official" OB/GYN. He's the best Dr. a girl could ask for. Seriously. Love him. Would recommend him to anyone. I loved that he had the audacity to joke with me while I was in labor - he lightened up the mood pretty well. He's so laid back yet encouraging. He's my fave.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Some preschool stuff.

I've really enjoyed doing some preschool work with the kids. It's really not that hard; it just takes a little forthought and planning. My plan is to do preschool 3 days a week and the other 2 are meant for errands, storytime (at library...or Barnes and Noble if the library doesn't start up soon!), and dr appts. So far, we've had 2 days and the kids really liked having my undivided attention, more than anything, I think.

I've broken our "schooling" into 3, 20-30 minute timeframes. The first is a lesson/book time, where we'll talk about things that we're learning and read stories to reiterate my point. Next is a video (30 minutes) and then we do a project that incorporates math, phonics that supports what we've learned. If I can, I'll add some FMS (fine motor skills) activities in the project to help Mallory, who I think has weak FMS. She's already greatly improved in cutting in the two days we've worked on it! The last 30 minutes will be a craft/activity that is more fun than anything...and doesn't require my assistance, like coloring, stickers, puzzles, additional FMS work, etc. The first day, our project lasted an hour, but the kids sat there and were GREAT! I was very impressed!

The first day, we read Col. 3:20 (one of our Sept theme verses), talked about who their parents are (mommy/daddy, mother/father, full names, etc) and that God called parents to be an authority over them. We read books about mommies and daddies. Our project included cutting, gluing, counting, color sorting, and reading. They also matched activities that mommy/daddy do to the appropriate role (Daddy - office, tractor, plays, bible, etc; Mommy - cooks, laundry, play, pray, etc). The second day, we read Col 3:20 again, talked about who children were (Mallory/Ethan, son/daughter, child/children, brother/sister) and that God called children to obey mommy and daddy in order to please Jesus. We read books about children and brothers/sisters. Our project was similar to day #1, but included matching roles to the appropriate child (Mallory - girl, sister, daughter, child, obey; Ethan - boy, brother, son, child, obey). Their projects are on our pantry door (for now) and they both look at them often and talk about what they've learned.

We're also reading out loud at the breakfast table each morning. After I read, I ask them what they hear (without prompting them to the WHAT) and it's so cool for me to hear what they glean. I'm reading each book/reading at least 2 days in a row. So far, we've read "The Little Engine that Could" and the Westminster Shorter Catechism for Children (Questions 1-20).

Anyway, that's a brief summary. We take Wed and Thurs off and start again on Fri. We'll be learning about the baby in mommy's belly, looking at ultrasound pics, and creating finger-paint art to hang in his room. Should be fun!


Sunday, August 30, 2009

1 day. 32 weeks. 6 years.

1 day
I'm embarking on a new journey tomorrow - formalized preschool for the kids, but not in the sense you may think. We're not "going" anywhere for preschool, except to the kitchen table, or maybe the basement, or maybe outside. We're having preschool here. I've spent hours over the last month researching, planning, and preparing lesson plans for me to follow for teaching the kids specific things on "themes" we'll be covering each month. I've learned a lot in my research and am very excited about seeing my kids minds open up to new concepts in our lessons. I'm starting off easy with our September theme being Family and Home. We'll be learning new songs and scriptures, doing crafts, and some phonics/mathematics they won't even realize they're learning. I'm also going to start doing some reading during breakfast to hone in on their listening skills - stories that will hopefully spawn curiosity in their minds and teach them to listen. I will share more as we progress. But as of now, all my Sept documentation is printing and I'll be adding the sheets to my notebook.

32 weeks
I'm 8 months pregnant today. Wow. I have a Dr appointment on Wednesday to check this little guy's heartbeat and measure my ever-growing belly. I have a long list of pregnancy woes, but all in all, I'm having a healthy pregnancy. I'm hungry all the time and I keep reminding myself that it's OK to watch the scale go up...

6 years
Today is the anniversary of my marriage to Patrick. I can't tell you how significant this anniversary is to us. We've learned so much in the last few months about our marriage, our faults, our failures, and our out-right sinful hearts that put the brakes on the happiness of "ever after" earlier this year. A marriage is so fragile without the commitment to love. And we've learned a lot about love this year. Love is learned. It doesn't come naturally and needs to be matured over time. We have learned how to love one another as God has called, not how we think we should love. And we're learning. And it is becoming beautiful.

Our marriage was a pile of fragments earlier this year and we didn't know how it was ever going to be put back together. If I have the courage, I'll write more about how fragmented we were and how close we came to turning away from the mess. But God has grace. And He has led us up to this Happy 6th Anniversary.

May God be praised for these.

Friday, August 28, 2009


Am I seriously almost 32 weeks along with this -my third - pregnancy? I'm astounded. I just can't believe that I'm:
1. Pregnant again
2. Almost done being pregnant this time
3. About to experience the hardest, most excrutiating physical act known to man (giving birth, people)
4. Going to sacrifice every part of my body to meet the very-different-needs of 3 very different children

And it's all a blessing. It really is. It's just taken me a while to see it all as a blessing.

No, I still have not taken any "belly" pictures. I have a hard time with that. Why would I want to take a picture of myself looking like a whale? I will though...eventually. And no, we still haven't chosen his name.

Here is a picture of me pregnant with Ethan at 31.5 weeks (which is where I'm at now...). You get the idea of what I look like...just with slightly shorter hair.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Summer Fun - Part 4

My kids have grown to LOVE water parks. Love them. We've gone to Wetlands three times this summer, once with Daddy, once with Aunt Amanda, and once with Kara and her crew. Mallory and Ethan are both doing really well in the water. They both run around without floaties and are doing a good job of keeping their head above water. They're figuring out to 1. Keep their mouths shut under water and 2. Blow bubbles when their heads go under water. They both still need lots of monitoring, but I love watching them love water.

Being a native Floridian, I was around water A LOT growing up. I hope the kids will get the chance to spend lots of time at pools and lakes. Maybe one day we'll get closer to the ocean, but for now, waterparks and such will suffice.

Summer Fun - Part 3

Back in July, we were having unseasonably cool temps, most days barely getting out of the 70's and sometimes hitting low 80s. We've only had a couple of days that have reached 90, but other than that, it's been a very mild summer (great for a greatly pregnant woman, I must add).

In the middle of July, we went to a Battel backyard bash in honor of Fisher's birthday. Kara usually goes all out with her parties and, as expected, was a blast. The only thing was that she had a water bounce house (just like last year), but it was like 72 degrees out and dropping. All the kids were pretty cold, but had fun none-the-less. We had to get them into long-sleeves after their lips turned blue and teeth started chattering, but it was all worth it. Ethan tasted Capri-Sun and Doritoes for the first time and scarfed them up (like he does most other things). Fisher had a great time, got lots of loot, and even shared his new trucks with E. I'm glad E has a good buddy like Fisher.

Anyway, here are a few pics of the b-day bash! (see more here)

Friday, August 21, 2009

My Goodness!

I have had a bear of a time with our computer(s) lately. The "new" computer I got back in April fried up on me last week while at my parents. I'm not positive why, but I have some theories. We were still able to exchange it (rather than fix it since it was brand-new), so we upgraded a little and got another one. Well, it's taken me FOREVER to get this sucker ready with updates, antivirus and downloads. We still have lots to do, but at least I can get on the Internet.

Anyway, if I'm offline more than usual, it's because I'm trying to get my computer straight as well as chase after my 2 kids and am an exhausted pregnant lady. Anyway, I just wanted to check in with my blog-followers...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Summer Fun - Part 2

Our kids like the water. Ever since we took them to a waterpark earlier this year (I haven't posted on that...but I will eventually), they both talk a lot about going to waterparks. Mallory will play in her toy car, telling me she's taking Doggie bye-bye to the waterpark. She loves it.
Since it's 20 minutes or so away and is only open until 6, it's hard to get there by the heat of the day during after-nap timeframe. We've known that we live VERY close to a lake beach, but it's one of those places that's not the best place to take the kids by myself, so we really only go if I have someone with me. Well, a few weeks ago, we were trying to figure out what to do with the kids when we remembered Boone Lake. We ate an early dinner, packed up the kids and drove the 5 minutes to the Lake. The kids LOVED it.

They both like playing in the sand. I had found some sand toys that I had purchased for Mallory's 1st birthday and brought them along. Mallory was content to stay on the beach and venture into the water when she was curious about Ethan's antics while Ethan pretty much ran around, unafraid of where he was going or how deep he was going. The boy just loved the water. He loved the sand, too, but he didn't which one he liked best. All in all, it was a HUGE hit, it was free, and I'm hoping we can do it again before the heat of the summer goes away.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Summer Fun - Part 1

I've decided to break up some of our fun summer activities down in to segments, mainly because I have so many pictures in my "vault" that it will take me time to sift through them and write posts. Our summer has been crazy busy, yet I look back and wonder what we've done these past few months. From looking at my calendar and all of the events we've attended, we have had lots of fun and some good memories.

One thing I've been trying to do this summer season (and an unseasonably cooler summer season) is spend a lot of time outdoors. Being a native Floridian, I'm an indoor girl most of the time. And though I think FL is absolutely beautiful and would love to find myself there again sometime in the future, I am not a fan of 90+ degree weather. I'd rather be inside. But, I digress...

Local businesses have been sponsoring free concerts at one of our favorite local parks down by Boone Lake and we've made it to 2 of them. The first one, we brought our chairs, let the kids run, and listen to the duo who sang songs from the 80s and 90s. The second one, we were a little more ambitious and brought our portable grill, invited some friends and enjoyed a cookout. Both times we went, Mallory asked to "go to music time one more time". The kids have a good time, the adults get a little culture, and it's all around very fun. There are at least 2 more concerts I'd like to go to before the season lets up. I'm hoping they'll be on our agenda.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ethan's First Prayer

Mallory has been our lead pray-er before our meals and she's had this role for a while now. Ethan usually has his hand out ready to pray before meals, exclaiming "Pay!", since he's almost always ready to eat, and finishes Mallory's prayer sometimes with a hearty "Amee" (followed by a hand clap).

This morning at breakfast, we held hands I asked Ethan if he'd like to say the prayer. He looked at me with his big blue eyes and said:

"Bless Daddy. Amee"

I smiled at his sweet innocence and prompted him to bless the food, though I did praise him for saying such a great prayer. I know full well that he has a big heart for his Daddy. He's awfully clingy to me these days, which gives the sense that he favors me, but I think I'm his comfort. Yes, I know he loves me too, but his love for his Daddy is there...way down deep in his heart that comes out at the sweetest times imaginable.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Gearing up for the Fall

While I was in Charlotte last weekend, I was able to visit with two home-school mom extraordinares (#1 and #2). I was greatly encouraged and gleaned ideas from both of them as to how to go about this "teaching your kids" stuff and that it can be done successfully. I mean, both of these lovely moms have 5 kids each...and if they can do it, I can do it! There's nothing that balms the, at least MY soul, than visiting with someone who encourages me. I get a new fire - an invigoration of my self-esteem as a mom, a wife, a homemaker, and all the other titles that are running through my mind (house cleaner, cook, dishwasher, launderer, etc).

Last week, I've spent several hours making some plans for what me and the kids will be learning over the Fall months (pre- and post- baby's birth) and I'm very excited about the research I've done and what I've drawn up in my precious plans.

Today, we're heading out for tax-free shopping to pick up needed supplies and crafts for what's in store in the coming months in addition to tackling the fall clothes shopping for my oldest two, whose wardrobe right now consists of 2 pairs of jeans each. Fall will be upon us soon, which brings a new addition to our family and little time for else. I've got to be prepared. So, I've got my list and my two charges and we're off to the races!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Not as what I thought it was going to be, but good nonetheless

Well, this week/weekend isn't ANYTHING like it was planned to be as of last week. This past week and it's happenings have taught me a lot about how "my ways are not God's ways". And I still don't know why everything worked out they way it did, but it's all for a reason.

Since May, this week was supposed to be slotted to have the kids at their Gommy and Poppy's house while I stayed at home, cleaned, organized, sewed, and prepared for Mossling #3. This past Sunday, I was supposed to drop off the kids and have Mon, Tues, Wed and Thurs at home. Patrick and I booked a hotel room in Asheville to have one last hoorah before our family of 4 graduated to be a family of 5.

Until my ambitious mother broke her wrist last Friday.

My poor mom. Not only was she (er...IS she) in a lot of pain, she's emotionally spent from having an empty home instead of a full one. She has one arm in a cast, the other wrist tender from a sprain, and a knee with a big ol' strawberry. Both of our plans were hung out to dry, and we're still not sure why, but we both keep telling ourselves it's for a reason. And it is, but the reason is still unknown.

We were still planning on going to Elberton to visit mom and dad this weekend, but my mom was still feeling very poorly after her fall that she asked us to postpone our trip for a time where she can at least hold the kid's hands (something she felt she couldn't even do). SO, on Wednesday, we decided to come to Charlotte instead of Elberton. And since we already purchased our hotel room in Asheville, the kids came with (again, not what I had envisioned happening!). Our last hotel stay with them was...well, it was not fun. BUT, I had a different perspective this time: have fun, no matter what time bedtime is. So, instead of heading to bed at 8:30, we headed to the pool. We swam for about an hour, showered, and enjoyed each other for a few hours before our 10:30pm bedtime. At least they fell asleep peacefully.

Now, we're in Charlotte. I'm exhausted and have no clue when the kids will be in bed, but that's OK. We have no plans while we're here, which is unusual, but I didn't have any time to make plans! So, we don't know what's on the docket for tomorrow or Sunday, but we're here and we're together. I don't know when we'll be able to go to Gommy and Poppy's, but hopefully before this little guy arrives in late Oct. If not, then again, there is a reason.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Out with the old, in with the new.

We said "bye bye" to our faithful Ford today.

We weren't really in the market to buy a new car, really. We put tires on the Explorer about 3 weeks ago, realizing that the routers needed to be changed pretty soon. A few days later, a dreaded "noise" began. It started vibrating and humming whenever it accelerated and it just got worse. We talked about getting another vehicle eventually, after the Explorer died (it had 155,000 miles on it), but really no sooner.

Until last week.
My mom was telling me that my Dad heard about a way to get some of that "Obama Money" that is apparently floating around by getting rid of your car. There was some new legislation that was passed today called "Cash for Clunkers", where the government is giving 3500-4500 for cars that meet certain "clunker" requirements. We never considered our vehicle a clunker, but after some research, we determined that our beloved Explorer was eligible. After comparing the Kelley Blue Book value of the Explorer to the 4500 it could potentially rake in from Uncle Sam, we decided to look at purchasing a new vehicle more closely.

It's amazing how comparable new cars are with used cars (Cash for Clunkers is only eligible for trade-in towards a purchase of a new car). Patrick did the dealership legwork while I worked the computer keyboard, searching sites such as,, and We learned the ins and outs of Cars for Clunkers and were prepared for how to get what we wanted for a new vehicle. We decided to shop for an American car and Patrick test drove a Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu and Saturn Aura. After looking at the cars (and some imports and small SUVs), we figured we could be the best deal for what we wanted with Saturn.

We've been looking and dealing with this decision for over a week - should we/should we not get a new car; should we/should we not fix the Explorer, etc. We finally made a decision and were able to close the deal today because the Cash for Clunkers legislation passed and we were able to get what we wanted. Not only did we get $4500 for a car worth $2500, we also got an additional $200 for the scrap metal, since our Explorer will be crushed and recycled to be made into something a little more friendly to our environment. We also got an additional $2750 cash back from Saturn for a model that was listed below invoice (and Saturns usually sell for MSRP, not invoice). SO, we got a really great deal on a new car - a 2009 Saturn Aura.

There's not much info on Auras out there, since it was introduced in '07, but it has really cool features, such as standard On Star, automatic and manual transmission, bluetooth capability, MP3 outputs, etc. We found a model with a few bells and whistles that we weren't expecting to be able to afford, so it's been pretty exciting.

Patrick and I have learned a lot about appreciating the other person's strengths during this whole process. He wanted to make sure he got the car he wanted by working the dealerships, testing the cars, and figuring out color/interior and other things. I wanted to make sure we got the price right, crunching the numbers and making sure we were getting the money we desered from the government AND the dealership. I didn't want to do what he did. And he didn't want to do what I did. Therefore, we made a great team in this whole process.

The kids like Daddy's "New Gold Car". Ethan calls it a sports car and could spend all day in it. Never in my life have I EVER had a brand new car and it feels a little weird. I have to say, though, that it was a great deal. Neither of us are feeling "buyers remorse" and are very glad to have a new addition to our vehicle family. So, if you're in the market for a car and are interested in knowing any info on the clunker bill, let me know. I'm pretty well versed :-).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Squirelliest of all Squirelly Girls

Mallory is a gem of a little girl - not too girly yet not a tom-boy either - just a little bit of both. She's a smart little cookie when it comes to letters, numbers, and reading. One of her favorite activities is reading words, forming sentences from the word that she read or finding an object that the word is or the word describes. She loves to read books that have to do with letters.

Her favorite toys are letter toys. Let me tell you a funny story about one of her letter toys. The toy I'm referring to is called "Red Toy", she calls it red toy. Anyway, the letter "M" on red toy stands for "Museum". There are several settings on the toy where you can learn about where the "museum" is (next to the place on the toy that begins with "N" and "L"), what you see in a museum, what time we go to the museum and how to spell museum. Well, one day, my mom and I were talking about what I was going to do with the kids and I said "Well, I'm thinking about taking them to the m-u-s-u-e-m today" to which Mallory responded "Go to the museum!". I was dumbfounded.

Our most common nickname for Mallory is "Squirrely Girl". It's appropriate for her, since she darts from here to there and everywhere with mind-blowing speed. She crawls, jumps, climbs and cavorts all over house and the objects therein. She has no fear of playgrounds and the vast climbing structures that are usually around. She has climbed a rock wall (with ease), has excellent hand/eye coordination, and has all the energy of a few 3-year-olds when it comes to playing outside. She's an atheltic little mite.

She is still very non-social, though. She clings to mommy or daddy whenever a stranger is around, screams at other little kids if they even LOOK at her, and is not very pleasant with an unsuspecting stranger who tells her how beautiful she looks. We're still working on her social skills...

Our daughter loves compliments, though. She'll pick up her books, run into the living room, and say "You did a GREAT job cleaning up your books!". Or, she'll put her clothes on for the day, run into the living room and say "You look SO BEAUTIFUL in your _________ (pink shirt, stripped shirt, white shirt, etc)" or she'll say something to the effect of "You did a GREAT job putting your clothes not on backwards!". Patrick says we need to teach her some humility, but she does share compliments with her brother, telling him how beautiful he looks in his clothes or doing a great job eating all his dinner or something to that effect.

Patrick is getting a little choked up seeing his baby girl growing so quickly. When we check on her at night, she's usually sleeping in the same position that she used to sleep in as a baby. She'll want to cuddle in the mornings or snuggle up while watching a video, only lasting a few minutes before she's...well, being squirelly. We wonder how long she'll want to do those things. Though we are excited about baby #3 being a boy, I know that Patrick will be wanting another little girl down the road because he'll miss his baby girl. BUT, Mal will always be his baby girl.

She'll be the squirreliest.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A little bit o' Ethan

My boy is so smart. Seriously. When I compare what Mallory was like when she was almost 20 months old to what Ethan is like, he's STRIDES farther along than she was. I don't think I had a conversation with Mallory until...well, until just a few short months ago (just before she turned 3), not that I don't think Mallory is smart, it just took her a lot longer to communicate with us. I had my first conversation with Ethan the other morning:

Scene - Ethan has woken up from his evening sleep and is happily talking to himself in his crib. Mommy goes in to get Ethan out of bed.

Mommy: Hey Buddy! Did you have a good sleep?
Ethan: See Daddy?
Mommy: No Buddy, Daddy went bye-bye.
Ethan: Daddy bye-bye blue car?
Mommy: Yeah, Buddy. Daddy went to work in his blue car.
Ethan: See Gommy?
Mommy: No Buddy, Gommy isn't here today.
Ethan: Gommy bye-bye silver car?
Mommy (chuckling): Yeah, buddy. Gommy is bye-bye in her silver car.
Ethan: See Mommy!

He's by precious boy. He loves his Daddy and has a special place in his heart for his Gommy, though he loves seeing his Poppy, Grams and Pops, too. The other day, he pointed to the dining room chair his Pops usually sits in when he comes to visit and said "Pops chair". Whenever he sees me on the computer or cell phone, he says "Talk to Poppy". When he sees a picture of his Grams, he points to it and says "Eems! Eems!". He knows them all and loves them.

Ethan talks up a storm and is already starting to recite some of his ABC's and pick up lyrics from songs. He says please and thank you with being prompted and kindly gives Mallory her Doggie if he ever finds it laying around (it's rare the Doggie is laying around, but it happens...). When we're around town, he points out circles, rectangles, squares and triangles in things that he sees; it's just unfortunate for my germ-o-phobia that he likes to point out the square tiles in bathroom floors of every restroom we frequent while out (and we frequent a lot of them...). He also loves trucks. While we're out, he can spot the difference between a car, truck, Hummer, Jeep, big rig, tractor, dump truck, motorcycle, police car, fire truck, and ambulance. He knows his vehicles!

Though he has MANY sweet qualities, he knows how to throw a tantrum. The boy will run mindlessly in any given direction if he doesn't get his way, sometimes into walls, chairs and tables which makes his excessive screaming more screech-like. He can cry and scream with the best of them, but once his big blue eyes (albeit, red-rimmed) turn to me and he confirms he's "'kay, I sowwy" (and I repeat it to him...), his crying usually subsides and he's good to go.

He's our sweet buddy and keeps us laughing and guessing all the time.