Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Second Best Friend

I have amazing friends!! Truly amazing friends. Friends that think of me often and go out of their way to find out how I'm doing and be there for me if I need them. They pray for me and they love me and they help me and they share their lives with me. I am truly blessed with wonderful friends.

My daughters are at that age where kids are doing the "I'll be your best friend if..." and "You're not my friend anymore..." type of things. UGH! It really annoys me and actually makes me angry... but that's a different post for a different day :-) The title of this post might lead you to believe that I am the same way... that of all my friends I pick a favorite and they are my "best" friend. That's not so... really, it's not.

Anyone who knows me well knows what I'm about to say already. My best friend is Jesus. Really. I'm not intending to sound super-spiritual here... really, I'm not. But there has been more than one time in my life that Jesus was all I had. He was truly my rock and carried me through some tough times.

My second best friend? Wild guess? My husband. Really and truly. He is my go to guy for advice and comfort and support. When I get good news or something bad happens, I think of telling him before anyone else. His love for me baffles me at times.

He's been out of town some lately. I miss him when he's gone... really miss him. The first day it's the fact that he is so helpful around the house (does dishes, bathes kids) that I miss (honesty!). But about the middle of the second day I miss HIM. I miss who he is... I miss having him come home at the end of the day and talking to him and sharing with him about my day and listening to him about his day. I miss his smile and, well, just his presence in the house.

So... he is and will always be my second best friend. LOVE HIM!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

What do I see?

Please don't laugh at me!!! :) Okay, you can laugh if you want... anyway, sometimes when something is on my heart I write it down in the form of a short story or poem. I wrote this a while back and thought I'd share :-)

What do I see?

Messy little cheeks

And hands playing with spaghetti

Little eyes looking with wonderment

At those slippery saucy noodles

Toys all strewn throughout the house

This and that are out of place

Imaginations running wild

Every moment a new discovery

Holes are dug out in the yard

The dirt is thrown about

Anticipation of the tree

That surely now will grow

Missing cushions from the couch

And blankets from who knows where

Their inspiring determination

To build a fort they love

Do I see the messy faces,

Or do I see the wonderment?

Are the toys a burden to pick up,

Or do I learn from the discoveries?

Do I see the holes in the grass,

Or does their anticipation make me smile?

Do I insist the cushions must go back,

Or does the determination inspire me?

Do I choose to see the burdens,

Or the moments that inspire?

Will I choose to enjoy my gifts,

Or will I choose to wish them away?

--Juliet Johnston

Friday, April 23, 2010

Terrible Twos??? Don't think so...

For as long as I can remember people have talked about the "terrible twos". So, when my first child turned two, I braced myself... surely this is going to be awful and terrible... well, it just wasn't. He did go through a "stage" of difficulty when he was three, though... and then again when he was 7.... and I hear there are difficult stages in the teen years...

But two was a breeze! I thought... maybe it was just him.. he hit it late... so, with the next one I braced myself again. She was a more difficult baby, so surely she would have the "terrible twos". Nope. Two was great... three was okay... four... harder. She is 6 right now and we are in one of "those" stages.

Third child... again, two was great... three was HARD... four is good.. she turns five soon, so I'll keep you posted :-)

My fourth is 2 right now. He is just the CUTEST... he is so funny! :-) He's sweet and says the most adorable things. Like when someone is crying he points at them and says "they wrong!"... if it's a baby it's "baby wrong!". He's trying to say "Something's wrong with the baby.", but it comes out so cute!! Of course, he isn't perfect.. but he is adorable!!

My 5th isn't there yet, so who knows?

So far I would have to call them the "fun, adorable twos" :-) Every child is going to go through transitional times and test the limits. But I guess we just can't put all kids in a box and say at what age that will happen... because it's been different for all of mine :)

Plus it kind of entertains me when people talk about the "terrible twos" or how difficult the teen years are... when they are seeming to be going through the "terrible thirties" or are difficult to deal with themselves... ha! ;-)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Summer Plans

There are less than 30 days of school left! Which leads me to start looking at summer :-) I absolutely love having all my kids home for the summer. Love, love, love it!

We aren't the type of family that takes a vacation every year (can't afford it!)... in fact, as far as family vacations go... it happens very rarely. But this summer we are going to the beach! My 9 year old son is actually the one responsible for us making it happen this year. The conversation went something like this:

9 year old: Mom, we got the sheet about our TAG trip for this year... it costs over $200!!!

Me: Yes, it does... it did last year too. (he went last year)

9 year old: It did?!? That's a lot!

Me: Yes, it is!

9 year old: Mom?

Me: Yes...

9 year old: How about I don't go on the TAG trip and we go to the beach instead?

Me: Uh... why do you want to go to the beach?

9 year old: Because I've never been!!!

Me: Let me talk to your dad about it....

So, that's how it happened. My 9 year old has never been to the beach!! Yes, that's pretty pitiful... but in my defense, he has been to Chattanooga and to Disney and to Chicago and other places. Now, those trips were ones that someone else paid for... yay! Or they were trips we went on because someone was getting married or something like that. Anyway, that still doesn't change the fact that he's never been to the beach. So..... we're going to the beach :-)

Another reason that it has taken so long for us to plan a beach trip is that we (my husband and I) aren't really beach people. If I could choose a vacation spot, I would choose the mountains... not the beach. I don't like sand or sweat or bathing suits... so... that kinda hinders how I feel about the beach :-) And my husband likes the mountains too. He sunburns easily, so that's part of it. But we want our kids to experience the beach, so we are going :-)

We are spending three nights. We'll be cooking our own meals while we are there to keep costs down. Eating out with 5 kids gets pricey, so we'll be cutting costs where we can. Two will be in diapers, so that should be interesting :)

If I'm honest, I'm a little nervous! That sounds crazy, but I'm nervous about keeping up with everybody and the idea of getting all five kids and two adults lathered with sunscreen often enough and two diapered kids in clean diapers on the beach is a little overwhelming. And then there is the dilemma of how to carry towels, drinks, sunscreen, swim diapers, wipes, books, etc from our room to the beach... especially when we will have one child that isn't walking yet (or just starting to walk) and a two year old that may have his own ideas about where to go. The older kids will help carry stuff and hold hands of little ones, but it's still an overwhelming thought.

But... even though I'm nervous, I'm also excited :-) My kids will LOVE it, I'm sure! And my husband and I are already planning on doing some special things with the older ones while the babies are napping. My husband is planning on taking our oldest son to play tennis while I stay with the younger ones while they nap one day... and on another day I will take the girls to do something special while he stays with the nappers. So, it will be fun :-)

So that's how three nights of our summer will be spent (pray for no hurricane!!!) :-) I'll fill in on our other summer plans later :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Sometimes I have bad days... yep, really :-) And sometimes I have problems and "issues". Everyone does. And each of us feels like our problems are a big deal in the moment. Some problems are a VERY big deal and some problems, in the grand scheme, are issues that we won't even remember happened a few years from now.

There have been a couple things going on in my life recently that I'd consider problems. Not big problems, but problems that are important to me right now.

But it's all about perspective. The issues I'm having are not issues that are insurmountable and certainly aren't issues that 10 years from now will be anything that stand out in my past as major.

Today I visited a dear couple that I go to church with whose baby boy just died. They went in for a regular check-up at 28 weeks pregnant and there was no heartbeat. They delivered the baby the next day via c-section. Apparently the umbilical cord had a kink in it and he died. How sad!! This sweet couple loves the Lord with all that they are and are amazing people. I am so sad for them that they are going through such a hard time.

This is definitely something in this couple's life that they will always look back on as a major event in their lives, and rightly so.

It just gave me some perspective.

Not that what I'm dealing with isn't important or relevant in my life... just that I need to keep it in perspective.

Thought I'd share :-)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Taxes, taxes.... and a party!

It's that time.... have you done your taxes yet?

I do our taxes myself. Fun :) *sarcasm implied there* ;-) I did my federal taxes a long time ago because we get a decent refund. I sure hope the child tax credit stays in tact... that helps us a lot! :)

But I just did my state taxes today. I procrastinate on my state taxes. They are more complicated for us because my hubby works in AL and we live in MS. It's really not hard... just time consuming and we usually end up pretty much breaking even so it seems pointless.

Oh, well... they are done :) And by the deadline :) It's really not like me to procrastinate... I usually do things way ahead of time... but I avoid this one every year. Yikes!

One of my daughters turns 5 this month!!! She's growing up way too fast :) She finally talked me into having a carousel party, so we'll be having a "butterfly" theme birthday party at the carousel this year. Should be fun!

When I went by to pay at the park office, my 2 year old son looked at a man that was there, smiled and said "bye bye Daddy!!!" Hahahaha!! The look on the man's face was priceless! It was pretty funny :) He does that, though... calls people Daddy randomly... my oldest daughter used to call any man with facial hair Jesus. That was funny too!

Sorry this post was very random... but my brain is fried from doing my taxes! ;-)

Monday, April 12, 2010

As Promised....

Well, I said I'd keep y'all posted as to my progress with being healthier, so here I am...

I have good days and bad days. Overall I'd have to say I'm not doing terribly well with it. For a couple weeks I did really well with exercise, but that has dwindled. My eating habits are terrible... just being honest.

But today is a new day :) I did an exercise video this morning (most of it... I was interrupted twice to change diapers), and I have done well with eating today... so far.

A couple things that are SO true and helpful to me that I have heard in the past couple days....

Paraphrased from my pastor to apply it to my situation: I shouldn't wait until I "feel" like exercising and eating right before I do it. It seems I keep waiting to magically want to get up and exercise and no longer want to eat junk food. Not gonna happen! I need to do what I know is right whether I feel like it or not. Easier said than done :-) But very true and something I needed to hear :)

And a friend shared with me that she struggles with motives in the area of food and exercise.. me too!! If I'm honest, my motives have more to do with wanting to look better rather than being healthy and honoring God. I don't think that wanting to look good is a bad thing.... it just shouldn't be "the" thing. And looking better is obviously NOT working for me as a motivator. If it were, I'd have lost weight by now.

So, today is a new day :-) Didn't I say that already? :) A verse spoke to me this morning... that's the only place I know to start with this area of my life... the Bible... Psalm 119:37 - "Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, and revive me in your ways"

My prayer is that God would give me strength, correct motives, wisdom, endurance, and success in this area of my life. Most of all I pray that my life and efforts in this area of my life will bring glory to Him.

So, there's an update :) Hoping to report better news next time.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Commercials cause funny moments....

My kids are pretty hilarious :-) My son recently told me he thought he looked like a sock puppet in a picture we took while he was playing in the snow... my daughter told me that she no longer wanted to get married when she is 20, she'd rather wait till she is 25 because having babies hurts... and so it goes... life in my home ;-) Love it!!!

But the other day, my 6 year old daughter had me ROLLING on the floor laughing... literally... I could not stop laughing and tears were streaming down my face... and it was even funnier that she had NO IDEA why I thought she was being hilarious!! If you're a boy you may not want to read any further... just saying.....

To set the scene....

Our TV was on... can't remember exactly when or why... but it was on, and my daughter sat down and was watching a few minutes. Commercials were on and this new commercial where "mother nature" is handing out the "monthly gift" came on. Have you seen it? Anyway, the conversation went as follows....

6 year old: Mom! What monthly gift is she talking about? Why don't I get one?

Me: You aren't old enough.

6 year old: Do you get a monthly gift?

Me: Yes.

6 year old: How??? Is it wrapped??? That's not fair! What do you get???

Me: Well.... it just kind of happens on it's own... God made ladies that way. No, it's not wrapped.

6 year old: So, why can't I have one... I'm not too young. Mooooommmm!! It's not fair! It said it was pearls! I'm old enough for pearls!

Me: Sweetie it's not pearls... I promise... and you really are too young.

6 year old: Why is it funny that I want my monthly gift!?! You are trying to trick me!! There isn't really a monthly gift is there? It's like the tooth fairy... it's not real! You are tricking me, aren't you?!?!

Me: Sweetie, I promise I'm not tricking you. There really is a monthly gift, but it's not a fun gift... you wouldn't like it anyway. I wouldn't lie to you... I promise.

6 year old: I want to see it. Will you show it to me? Next time you get one I want to look at it and see what it is. And I'm going to tell my brother... is he getting a monthly gift yet?? Is he old enough (he's 9)????? Is he hiding his monthly gifts from me??

Me: No, your brother isn't getting a monthly gift because it's only for girls... when they get older. And, no, I'm not going to show you my gift.

6 year old: Well, then when I start getting my monthly gifts I'm not going to show them to you since you won't show me yours!

Me: That's fine, sweetie... it's only fair :-)

OH MY GOODNESS!!! I'm laughing now just thinking about it!! I almost didn't post it because of the topic, but then I thought.... it's on national TV!! Way more people see that! So... here it is :-)

Love my babies! :-)

Monday, April 5, 2010

How I get my babies to sleep through the night...

I get asked about this a lot so I thought I'd share. I have five kids and they have all slept through the night pretty consistently by about 3 months old. Some were earlier (around 8 weeks) and some were closer to the 3 month mark.

Every family is different and the way I do it is not for everyone... it's just the way I do it :-)

I breastfeed exclusively... none of my babies has ever had a bottle. But I do use a pacifier for my babies who will take one (my boys did, my girls wouldn't). Our babies don't sleep in our bedroom even at the beginning mostly because my husband is the lightest sleeper I've ever met or talked to. The times we've tried it he has woken up at every wiggle, snort, and movement.

For the first 4 weeks or so, I sleep in the baby's room and I nurse pretty much constantly. At around 6 weeks I start putting the baby down in his/her bed in their room and going to my own bed. When they wake in the night I go into their room and spend the rest of the night in their room. Over the next few weeks the time I'm in my own bed gets longer until they sleep through the night on their own a couple times. After they do that, if they wake in the night, my husband (yes, he's wonderful!) goes into their room and makes sure their diaper hasn't leaked, changes them if they need it, and gives them their pacifier. He's the one that goes in there because if they see me they want to nurse. Once he comes back to bed, if they continue to fuss I go to them and will nurse them... you never know when they've hit a growth spurt after all :)

Now, in order for this to work, I have to be diligent to get all their feedings in during the day. There is no letting them sleep for a five or six hour stretch during the day. Sometimes it's hard to be diligent about this because it's easier to let them keep sleeping, but I've learned the hard way it's better to wake them :) I wake them up to feed them every 2 - 3 hours all day long. The sleeping through the night won't happen if I don't do this consistently.

I don't do rice cereal at all during this time. I don't give my babies solids until they are 5 or 6 months old. I do use their sleeping patterns as cues for when they are ready for solids. If they have been sleeping all night consistently for over a month and then all of a sudden start waking, I think it may be time to try solids, so I do.

My kids go to bed at 7:00 (I let the 9 year old stay up a little later than this reading in the living room), so I put my babies to bed at 7:00 and then get them up to feed them right before I plan to go to bed. Right now my 8 month old goes to bed at 7:00, eats one more time at 10 and goes right back down, and then wakes up at 6:30 when the rest of the kids get up. He's been doing that for several months now. I eliminate the 10 feeding around 10 months or so usually. Then they sleep straight through from 7 till 6:30. I could eliminate the 10:00 feeding earlier probably, but I usually don't want to risk them waking up in the middle of the night so I hold on to it a while :)

I don't let my babies cry for long periods of time, but I do let them cry a little. My 8 month old from the beginning did not want to be cuddled or held while he fell asleep... he wanted me to put him down. He'd fuss for less than 5 minutes or so and then be sound asleep. If I tried to get him to sleep by rocking or cuddling I'd have to fight with him for 30 minutes or more. I was glad to figure that one out :) Every baby is different, though, and some of mine did like to be cuddled.

The other important thing that helped me was that I didn't nurse my babies to sleep (after the first 4 weeks or so). I would lay them down awake, they would fall asleep, then I would feed them, then they'd be awake a while. This was important so they didn't expect to be nursed (or fed) to sleep.

I realize that my methods will not work for everyone... some parents like to co-sleep... some moms don't have a husband willing to go into the babies in the night.. some moms won't want to sleep in their babies rooms for a month. But this is what works for us... hopefully someone can take what will work for them and it will help :-)

Friday, April 2, 2010

He Changed Me!! My Story.

The Easter season is one that makes a lot of us reflect on what Christ has done for us. I know I do. How amazing it is that Jesus (God made flesh) would choose to humble Himself, come to earth as man, die to save us from our sins, and then defeat death and the grave.... HOW AMAZING!!!

I know there are a lot of people who think that Christians are ignorant or uneducated for believing what we do. And to be honest, I don't blame them. Before I was a Christian I thought it sounded a little nutty and certainly didn't believe it was true.

My testimony... my story... is very long and involved. But I'll give a short version for any who are interested...

You know... I was in the middle of typing up a bunch of details but I stopped and deleted it. My life story is kind of sad. It's one that causes people to walk away from feeling sorry for me... and that isn't what I want... I LOVE MY LIFE!!!

So, how can I say this without getting bogged down in all the negative details? I will say that I went from a life that was overshadowed by shame and depression to a life that is full of love and joy :-) Knowing Christ has changed me from a girl who felt I didn't deserve love from anyone to
a woman who is overwhelmed by love from family and friends and my church family.

Please don't get me wrong... I am not trying to pretend that life is perfect. It's not. There are people in my life that disappoint me and hurt me and fail me sometimes. There have been hard things and sad things in my life. It's not all hunky dory by any means. BUT in the midst of the bad and the negative things... I still have joy. I still love my life and I still trust God. And that love and trust could only come from God Himself.

If you knew me before I became a Christian you know how drastic the change has been. There is still a lot to be changed :) But the change God has made in me is awesome and overwhelming and I am SO very blessed.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Jesus... for what you did for me. Words are not enough... I pray my actions and my life glorify You daily.

If you are reading this and don't know Christ, you probably think I've lost my mind. I pray you will experience the peace and comfort knowing Christ brings to your life. There are many Bible believing churches and pastors that would be happy to talk with you. Just leave me a comment if you want some info.

Today my husband and I will be making Resurrection Rolls (really cool!!) with the kids and tomorrow we will dye Easter eggs... and we will share the story of Christ with them and we will play and have fun... and we will do our best to remember our blessings and be thankful. We are so very, very blessed. Thank you, Jesus!!!!