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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: April 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What to write?

It seems I've been having a bit of blog block. I'm still here doing what I'm doing, but when it comes to sharing it with all of you... I'm blank. I was doing so well that last week or so before we left on our cruise. I had so many ideas of what to share... and really, things were just flowing. I'd sit down on a Monday (or whatever) afternoon, and blog 3-4 posts for the week. It was great. I felt great about it. And a few of you said you loved what I was sharing. Alas... my inspiration is nil these days. (I'd take suggestions if you have them. Any burning questions?)

So just what is it that I am doing? Well, not washing the floor (though I did finally sweep the other day), not scrubbing the bathtub (though I did scoop up most of the planter dirt we dumped all over the bathroom floor earlier this week), and not dusting (um... I really don't know what to say, I need to do that!).

What I have been doing is editing portraits of recent high school senior sessions, caring for sick kids (Tornado got that thing Sweet Pea had last week, throw up and fever and all!), dealing with a few pregnancy woes, cuddling up with stacks of library books (and a kid at each arm), reading a few new (to me) blogs (here, here, and here) on preschool and pre-preschool (I'm planning to share more about them in the future), deliberate play with my kids (as inspired by previously mentioned blogs), pre-schooling Tornado, lots of dishes, some cooking, and more laundry than ever before (we seem to be in a slump when it comes to waking up dry!).

I've been learning this week how to slow down and be more deliberate with my kids. I've known all a long that I wanted to, but have never been able to figure out how that worked or what that looked like. I'm starting to figure it out and I love it!

What are you up to???


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

If I Twittered...

Or is it Tweeted?

As you can tell, I don't. I don't even know the lingo. But I found myself tweeting to you all in my head yesterday as I was finishing up the "throw-up all over everything in the crib during naptime" part of my day.

Poor Sweet Pea was sick. I didn't know it until I heard uncharacteristic crying coming from the previously sleeping one an hour or so early. I find that she'll wake up dry from her nap (which is nice since she's in underwear), but only if I get her fast. If she's in there long, she most often wets or soils herself before she's completely awake. So yesterday, when I heard her fussing, I hurried right in there... hoping to save myself a bed full of laundry.

Upon my arrival, something just didn't seem right... then I spotted it (and I will spare you what "it" was... lets just say that it was just about everything she'd eaten thus far). My poor sweet girl. We got her cleaned up and they I found a silver lining to Tornado's annoying refusal to obey and take his nap... I didn't have to worry about waking him. I settled Sweet Pea into a corner on his bed and gave her (newly clothed I must add) the few stuffed animals/dolls that weren't soiled. Then I set to work on the tedious and yucky "mommy job".

It was as I was wrapping things up and getting everyone settled in the living room that I started tweeting to you all in my head. Something to the affect of... "Just finished cleaning up a crib full of throw up. Nap time woefully shortened. Kitchen way out of hand!"

It wasn't much later that I was tweeting to you in my head again with... "Doing dishes as I go, but not in the way you think. I keep washing the things I need so that I can use them."

That's pretty much how yesterday went.

Then, with kids quietly and contentedly sleeping that evening, we settled in to watch Blind Side... until Sweet Pea was crying again. This time with a 103 fever.

Praise the Lord she didn't keep it high long!

Let's just say that we're taking it easy today. How about you?

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Keeping busy

I never expected to be away for so long. And to tell you the truth, I don't have anything great for you today either... but I hate being away any longer. :) Things certainly are busy around here... and mostly just basic stuff. I'm perpetually behind in keeping up with the house, but I'm spending more time with my kids. We've been doing some schooling type stuff (mostly reading stories and learning verses and such), playing extra and just being together.

Then there is the expected retraining after being away. Grandma and Grandpa did a great job in expecting them to obey, etc, but no one expects of them what Mommy and Daddy do, so there has been some retraining and extra work on attitude and all that jazz. I'll tell you the truth, Tuesday and Wednesday I was wondering if we really had enough fun on our trip to make those days worth it... and I'm not sure we did. But we got through. We are still struggling through attitude and other issues, but I'm not sure we wouldn't have been dealing with these if we'd been here all along. Sweet Pea is definitely 2! And Tornado is learning through some things too. It all just takes more time!

In other news, our business is beginning to pick up for the summer. We shot our first high school senior of the season this past weekend and we're gearing up for a number of weekends in a row to come. From here on out, nothing will be slowing down until the baby comes (and you all know just how slow life will be then... but at least we will be making a point to stop and focus in on our little growing family for a few weeks before the demands of life and business will again resume).


Monday, April 12, 2010

Almost Home

We're sitting in the Miami Airport and will be for another half hour. This has been a very nice trip... though longer than we probably expected. My Beloved was sick for the first few days, but we were able to redeem the rest of the week and had a very enjoyable vacation together, just the two of us.

I will say though that I'm very excited to return home to my babies... and to my duties at home. I've missed everything it means to be a stay at home mommy this past week. In the next few days I am hoping to be able to focus that energy into renewed dedication to do my job better as we pick up the pieces of being away.

The kids seem to have done very well with Grandma and Grandpa. We were able to send some pictures and video clips home to them each evening so they could see what Mommy and Daddy were doing. And in return, My Beloved's parents sent us reports and some pictures of them. It was nice to be able to connect with them in this way. We also had a chance (via Skype) to talk to them on the phone a couple times from the ship. It was both nice and made me wish we were together.

We thought of the kids all week and especially noted anything we knew the kids would have enjoyed, or how they would have responded to various parts. Overall, though, we do think they were probably happier at home with Grandma and Grandpa, on their own schedule, in their own beds (and Grandma and Grandpa were certainly happier). As much as we would have enjoyed sharing this vacation with them, I think it worked out well the way we did it. And now My Beloved and I are looking that much more forward to our summer vacation, coming in a few months, WITH the kids!

I don't know how much time it will take to regroup from our time away, but I'll be back with you all as soon as I can with some fun images of our trip!


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Friday, April 9, 2010

Dying to Self

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds....
Ephesians 4:22-23

When I first revisited the idea of "dying to self" this past fall, I started wondering what the Biblical backing of this very "Christianese" saying was. I just couldn't remember which verse it was from. Turns out that it isn't a verse after all. So where did we get it. I knew it wasn't original to myself... I'd heard it somewhere and I'd heard teachings of the concept.

A number of years before marrying My Beloved I was part of a Bible Study that studied, among other things, the book of Colossians. In fact, we spent a lot of time studying Colossians, and the thing I remember parking on and have carried with me ever since is the whole idea of "putting off" and "putting on". It's this idea of putting away the old self. It's not enough to just change the way we do things as believers, or to start doing good. A number of places in the Bible talks about this whole idea (Romans 8:13, Ephesians 4:22, Colossians 3:5 [and others throughout Colossians] to name a few... I'm sure there are more) of putting off the old self, putting to death the deeds of the body and all in all "dying to self".

But what does this mean in daily life? Sure it means I shouldn't lie or steal or hate... but it occurred to me this past fall that it means something more than that. It creeps in to every facet of our daily lives... not just the moments we are "struggling with sin".

So what does it mean to me??? It means picking up and doing what needs to be done... even though I don't feel like doing it. Even though I didn't get enough sleep last night. Even though kids are sick. Even though I am sick. It means that no matter what, I need to Do It Enyway!

Did you catch that??? Do. It. Enyway. For me to "mortify the flesh" on a daily, moment by moment basis, I need to "put to death the deeds of the body"... for me, this is my very flesh. My desires, my laziness, "me time". When something comes up or needs to be done or a baby cries or needs to be disciplined or trained again, I need to just Do It Enyway... despite whatever I may be feeling.

When I want to sit at the computer, read a book, stare out at the street, talk to a friend on the phone... I need to die to my fleshly desires for self. These desires aren't sinful in themselves, but anything that takes me away from the purpose the Lord has given me in this life needs to be put off, so that I can put on the new and Do It Enyway!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go fold the laundry and do something about dinner! And it's not because I want to... it's my next step in DIE-ing to self!

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Getting it done

(We're cruising! This post has been written ahead and scheduled to post during our time away. Please feel free to leave comments. If I don't get around to moderating them while we are gone, I'll do it when we return next week. Blessings!)

The last 4ish years of my life (and especially the last 2-3 since children entered my world) have been an ongoing struggle for discipline in my life. There is so much to do... and so much I just don't want to do, don't have "time" to do, don't have energy to do.... It goes on and on and on! The house needs to be cleaned (and I mean really cleaned), not to mention de-cluttered and put away, laundry needs folding and ironing, beds need changing, lists need making, dishes need washing, things need organizing, calls need making, floors need sweeping. Again, the list goes on and on. The constant struggle is that I'm just not getting it done. And this says nothing for extra projects.

Understand, I'm not saying that I'm working hard night and day and can't keep up with it all. I know that is the case with a lot of us, and if I was really trying, it may still be the case with me one day. When I look at that whole idea, I'm more than happy to look at my season in life and adjust my standards. No, I'm just not getting to it. I'm looking at it and finding that I'm wasting my time instead of doing what needs doing. I find myself at the end of the day, looking back at all that I've done, and most of the time it's not much. Sure... I can find a few things that I did, but mostly I realize how much more I could have done if I hadn't wasted my time during the rest of the day.

I am grateful that I've seen some improvement in the last few months... though not every day by any means (today for instance was not a productive day). I find that the days I actually take these steps I am much more productive!!

  • Plan! I do this the night before when I can. I keep a journal like book nearby and make a new list for each day. I think through all that could be done and decide what I want or need to do tomorrow. I make this list as it comes to me, not necessarily in priority order. Then I may number the first few things I want to do (not all of them, but the next 2-3 on my list) and tackle those. When I've done and crossed off those things (I love crossing off), I'll re-number the next few. This way I can re-prioritize if things don't go according to plan (and when do they ever???)
  • Get up early! I'm working to get better at this. At least I was. I fell off the band wagon recently and am excited to return from our cruise so I can get back to it. I get so much more done when I get up early. Because this isn't something I'm used to, I'm doing it in steps. First I moved our 8am alarm to 7:30 for me... then 7:15... then 7. I only did the 7am one a couple times before things got crazy and late nights seemed the norm again. The plan is to get up as early as 6:30 or earlier someday. When I can get up before the kids I have time for reading God's Word (no guarantee it will happen otherwise), pray, put away dishes, straighten anything out of place, blog and computer time (allowing for me to turn off the computer the rest of the day till nap time), etc. Someday I may even get up early enough to include a shower in the morning. I can't even imagine what that must be like!
  • Clean up the kitchen before bed! This one is huge. If I can have the dishes done, counters wiped down, and the kitchen table cleared and cleaned before we go to bed, it does more than just save me time in the morning needing to do these things. It affects my outlook on the whole day. It makes me smile! When I forget or forgo this step in the evenings, I tend to spend my morning putting off the job as long as possible. There is much more lolly-gagging and procrastination. When I do them, I'm much more excited to see what else I can accomplish with my day.
  • Get it done before lunch! As far as all those items on my to do list... I need to get them done before lunch. Once we're done with lunch and I get the kids down for their naps, I'm about out of energy. Especially during pregnancy! If I can get it done before that time, then I don't have to worry about. Anything else I do is just extra... like those projects I never get to!

This is what's been working for me. Like I said, I'm looking forward to coming home from this vacation with my husband to renewed energy and resolve to stick to this and see things happen around here. What works for you???

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Monday, April 5, 2010

"I readit mommy!"

(We're cruising! This post has been written ahead and scheduled to post during our time away. Please feel free to leave comments. If I don't get around to moderating them while we are gone, I'll do it when we return next week. Blessings!)

I love toddler speak! I almost called it "baby talk", but my baby waited so long to start talking that she's really not a baby anymore... she's a toddler. I still have to remind myself. I think that if I wasn't expecting another, I would be a little sad about it.

I just love hearing her little high pitched voice say things like:
  • I swingin mommy!
  • I jumpin mommy!
  • I get it mommy!
  • I did it!
Make sure you picture the emphasis in each of these phrases on the first part of the second word... and it's a shrill emphasis too! I love it.

Today I heard a new one: "I readit mommy! I readit mommy!" I turned around to see this...
And the shoes were self put on!

Other phrases these days include "I do it." and "[Sweet Pea] do it." What will I do when they are gone??? I'm so grateful I get to do it all again!

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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Caring for my family's teeth

I am not great at doing those things that need to be done everyday. I really never have been. You'd think I could get into a routine, build a habit and then it would just happen... automatically. Not so far. Or perhaps it's just that I've never been able to manage to get into the habit.

One of the worst to admit to is oral care. It's not that I hate taking care of my teeth, it's just that I don't think about it. And if I don't think about it... I don't do it. I know it should be a priority, but somehow, it's not.

It was easier when I worked outside the home... or at least had some place to be. I'd wake up and get ready... I'd note that I had unpleasant morning breath, so I'd brush. Even then, I've always been one to brush my teeth before eating breakfast. Seems silly I know, but if I wait I no longer have that yucky taste in my mouth telling me to brush. And then I'd leave the house without brushing. Yuck. Even I know that part!

As a stay at home mommy, I've found that there are many days that I never really do "get ready". Oh sure, I get dressed... eventually. Sometime after the kids are up and eating their breakfast I'll slink away to throw on something I wouldn't be embarrassed to be seen in if the landlord stopped by or the mail lady showed up (though I've been known to collect the mail in my bathrobe a time or two over the years). But as far as the actual brushing my teeth and hair part of getting ready... it's known (regularly) to fall by the wayside. I do have some plans for rectifying that situation in the near future, but in the mean time, oral care is getting missed.

I've never been so keenly reminded of this as I am today... sitting in the painful wake of a dentist visit! Ouch! Praise the Lord there are no cavities, but between my lack of care, my pregnancy hormones (which always make my mouth so much more sensitive) and a less than gentle hygienist, my mouth hurts! And, as always, I left the office determined to see change.

Sadly, this lack of care doesn't stop at me. And I am ever feeling guilty over the need to take better care of my children's teeth. The worst of it is that they love to brush! It's me that doesn't. Well, with a new month dawning, I've determined to get the better of this habit (with God's help). And I'm starting with a chart to help us keep track. This is what ours looks like... fun clipart and all!It is my hope that we'll see more boxes filled in at the end of April than are empty. Maybe I'll even get around to sharing the results with you! I'll hang this paper on the inside of the medicine cabinet door for us to keep track and then color in each box as we do them. Hopefully this will get the kids and I excited... Daddy too. He said he wanted to be on the chart with us. Maybe we can even have a special treat at the end if we see improvement.

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