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A new journey...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tonight, we went to church. I wasn't in the mood to go, but I had said I would. Brad and the kids wanted to and I knew if I could make myself, I'd enjoy it. So, off we went. I wasn't in the mood to worship God. Don't get me wrong... God is great. He's blessed us with so many things. Yet, I had others on my mind... people who are struggling with things that I don't really understand. Sometimes life just isn't fair and it makes it harder for me to feel like showing God that I appreciate Him. That was my mood walking in the door. Now, the rest of this blog is going to be a little about my personal and spiritual experience, so please don't take it as me shoving my religion down your throat. As a matter of fact, if you think it will offend you, don't keep reading. This is just my experience...

It was a great night for me to go. I'm so thankful that my family wanted to be there. Typically, I am the driving force for us going to church... I'm the one saying, "We're going... period." But, tonight it was my family who knew that I needed to be there, even if they didn't realize it.

When we sat down and they began to read the Bible verses for the evening's service, I knew it was for me. They read about how the Israelites, after having been freed from slavery by the Egyptians, began to complain and "grumble" about their unsatisfactory lives. They spent years faithfully following God, and although they were free from the Egyptians, they were hungry, thirsty, and tired. They began to complain and to threaten to stone Moses and Aaron. The lesson that God taught them was that they should be grateful for their many blessings and pay it forward to bless others. (Obviously, this is all in my own words. If you want to read the scripture, it's Numbers chapter 14).

The lesson was the same for us... be grateful for our many blessings. Share those blessings to bless others.

So, on this evening, when I'm in a sour mood and feeling completely ungrateful, despite my own blessings, I'm struck with this feeling. This feeling that I need to realize how grateful I should be. We all get caught up in our daily problems... we all get caught up in the drama of life and jump on the bandwagon when someone begins the "grumbling." It's easy to get sucked into all of the negativity in the world, even when you have everything in the world to be positive about. So, I'm starting my journey tonight. It's a counting journey. One of the recommendations that the speaker shared tonight was that she and her husband started a blessings journal where they each would write down a few things that they were grateful for from that day. So... my new journey begins. Sometimes I'll blog about these and sometimes I'll just jot them down in a notebook, but it is one of those things that I'm hoping will help me realize how wonderful life is. And, maybe I'll feel more grateful and eager to go to church, even on a day when it seems like I keep hearing the negatives of the world. :)

Here's my starting point...

My blessings for today:

Blessing 1: I woke up to a screaming alarm clock, one kid on each arm, and no husband in sight. Blessing? Well, I remember my hubby giving me a kiss before he left. A minor daily gesture, but one that I miss every morning that it doesn't happen.

Blessing 2: We drove Bailey to school, dropped her off, and made our way back home. When we got here, Jake cuddled up in my arms on the couch. We sat here relaxing, watching a movie when he looked up and told me he loved me.

Blessing 3: I pulled up to Bailey's school to pick her up at the car line and she came bursting out the door, waving as big as she could. She was smiling ear to ear. It was wonderful to see her smiling... especially because I knew it was all for us.

Bad things happen to good people everyday. I'm sure that won't change because I'm remembering the good things in my life. I just hope that maybe it will make me cherish these things even more. Remind me of this when I'm grumbling. :)

Beautiful Day

Sunday, February 21, 2010
Today was beautiful... nice and warm after what seems like months of snow, ice, and cold winds. I have to say that it could go down as one of those perfect days. We slept in until about 9:30, got up and went to church. We came home, changed into grungy sweats and hoodies, ate leftover Chinese and went outside. No hats and gloves... no promises of hot chocolate... and no hurry to get in and get warm. It was great. The kids rode their bikes, scooters, battery-operated cars, and trikes throughout the day. Brad and I took turns working in the garage and cleaning out cars while the other helped the kids work on their pedaling skills or prevented Jake from eating the remainder of the snow, which was nearly all black at this point. It was just a good day.

I think sometimes what can make a day perfect is that everyone is content. No one was complaining about anything (including me!). Brad helped me with everything without being begged or harassed. The kids played wihtout having complaints about being bored or needing us to do something different. I was just happy to have everyone happy and to find half of our sippy cups that we've been missing when I cleaned out the car! :)

Now they all sleep... except me. And I'm torn... do I go to bed and rest or do I stay up and sew? Balance the checkbook? Write a few grants for the ballet? Watch some tv? Hmmm...
Friday, February 12, 2010
Taking cues from a good friend of mine and the blogger who got me started on this, I thought I'd post some photos of the kids' artwork, toys that they love to play with, and some cute pics of them as they are growing. She's great about blogging daily and I love to read what is going on with her life. I wish I was more dedicated to my blog and was as organized as she is. She often posts pictures from a couple of years before on the same day... I'm doing good to have my pictures categorized into years. :) So... my tribute to Cheryl... thanks for always giving me inspiration to blog, talk about the good and bad things that we deal with as parents, and for making me feel like I'm "normal." It seems like every time I think I might be losing my mind or going crazy, Cheryl will post just the right thing to help me realize that I am just a normal parent dealing with the craziness of playing Batman or Spiderman for the 100th time in a day or answering the same question about our plans for the week for the 1000th time. :) Love you, Cheryl... wish we were better about getting together, but glad we have this connecting us still.

Jake has grown to love the snow this year... last year, not so much. He's enjoyed eating it more than anything (and yes, I have warned him about yellow snow). :)

One of my favorite memories of Bailey as a two-year old is that she would lay in our bedroom floor and "make snow angels." This was before she'd really ever made a real snow angel and she loved the idea. Now, she loves doing the real thing. So free and innocent.

If preschool has done anything, it has created a monster in my creative daughter. If I would let her, the entire house would be covered with drawings, glued up construction paper, and makeshift people. Thankfully, she is able to express her creative side effectively. Here is her Valentine's Day bag, complete with her "tons" of Valentine's. She was so excited about her party and proud that she had SO many Valentine's at school. Everyone loves her, she says (she does realize that everyone got the same amount, but it does not impact her confidence that she is well-loved). :)

Her snowman... she is happy with it since we have not had the right kind of snow to make a real one.

And, Jake's artwork. :) I drew the sun or circle at the top. Jake's artwork is more of an attempt to get the finger paint off of his hand. He's definitely less interested in art than his creative sister.

And, our most beloved toys... or at least Jake's. He's so in love with these three that we take them nearly everywhere we go. I love that he has favorites, but I do admit to being sick of them. I've contemplated hiding them, but he can remember when he gets up in the morning exactly where they were when he went to bed. How do I know? Well, if I clean while he's asleep and they are moved, I get questioned about playing with them. Yes, son, I really play with them when you sleep (insert sarcasm). lol. I will also admit how funny or not so funny it is that Jake can tell me lines that the characters say and can even pronounce Dr. Octavius (which was completely done so on his own, without encouragement), but cannot remember that a cow says moo instead of yee-haw (cowBOYS say that). We will learn these things, too, eventually. :)

More to follow... I promise.

Mommy's Little Big Boy

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Jake has become such a big boy recently. I can remember seeing Bailey go from being a toddler to a preschooler in what seemed like a few days. And, I see it with Jake, too. He still loves to be the baby, which makes it nice for us since we like having him as our little baby, but he's truly becoming that full-blown preschooler. Beyond the physical traits, he's finally developing his language skills. We understand most of what he wants and needs through verbal communication, even though he still has trouble speaking a lot of words clearly. He definitely knows Batman, Spiderman, Joker, Venom, Mary Jane, and princess. Those words are his favorites. :) He also loves to say, "Why so serious?" If any of you have seen Dark Knight, you'll understand why it's so adorable. Most recently, his favorite phrase, unrelated to his superhero friends, is "Yanowhat? (You know what?)" It is usually followed by I love you or I'm hungry.

He is also a big pretender. We pretend to be super heroes most of the day. What strikes me as the most adorable aspect of this, is how we play with particular toys together. For instance, if we are playing with his Spiderman toy, we will also play with Venom, Sandman, and the Green Goblin, all at his insistence. Since we do not have a Mary Jane doll, Jake finds one of Bailey's red-headed Barbies to play the role of Mary Jane. Similarly, we do the same with Batman, Joker, Penguin, etc. And, we can't play with just any Barbie doll... we play with Snow White. You see, she has black hair, like Batman's woman on Dark Knight. The only Barbie doll with black hair. Details, people... they are important. :)

Physically, Jake is growing taller and taller and thinner and thinner. He weighs about 30 pounds, but I can't figure out where it is. He's a skinny little guy... guess he's going to take after his Daddy. He loves to play fight, which presents problems sometimes since he likes to fight with us when we are seriously trying to discipline him. We're making it through though. I am really eager for the weather to be nice enough to go outside with Jake. He loves to play ball and dig in the dirt... and it will make my life much easier (less Spiderman games for mommy!). :) We attempt playing ball in the house, but it does present some problems. He does really well with his toy basketball set... I was showboating the other day and shooting the ball backwards (you know, with my back facing the goal), and Jake turned around and did it, too. Amazingly, he made it... he actually shoots the ball quite well. Daddy is pleased.

A close up of the baby, er... big boy:

And, playing at Christmas with his favorites - Batman (not in this photo), Joker, and Snow White (which was Bailey's, but Jake enjoys her much more than she does). :)