Saturday, December 27, 2008

Made It

Moore, SC to Opelika, AL 4.5 hours
Opelika, AL to Ozark, AL 2.5 hours
Ozark,AL to Dothan, AL .5 hours
Dothan, AL to Montgomery, AL 2 hours
Montgomery, AL to Opelika, AL 1 hour
Opelika, AL to Moore, SC 4.5 hours
I'm not a mathematician but I am pretty sure (and my nerves will attest) that we just spent 15 hours in the car together. Wow. That's a lot when you have two children who are potty-training, two extroverts, two introverts, a compact car, and too much stuff.

I love my family and it was wonderful to get to see everyone. At the end of the holidays, I can say if I had to do it all over again for and with the same people I wouldn't hesitate.

Let me add one closing thought, though. This year, as I did last year, I resolve to continue to pray about a way to make it more about JESUS and less about eating, shopping, gifting, etc!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Up Too Late

This post is going to be rambly. Here's what's been on my mind:
1. I joined facebook tonight. Wow. It's fun and very overwhelming.
2. Everything is going in reverse at my house! Emily is now back in her room in her crib and no toddler bed. Daniel and I had to put a stop to some late night sister craziness. Emily was wandering around the room, playing in the curtains, and tearing down wallpaper and I had to end it. I guess I rushed her--at least that's what the advice I've found online says.
3. I am so thankful as I realize how much guessing is involved in my parenting that I have a heavenly father who only gives me what I can bear.
4. I have realized that being tired and being able to sleep are two different concepts! Hah!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Creating a Monster

Sorry I always sound a little corny on this blog but if I don't type the cute things my kids say here they evaporate!

I got Hannah all dressed this morning, mind you in a l/s t-shirt and sweat pants. She goes to the mirror (also known as our tv) and studies herself.

"Mommy, do I look beautiful?" she asks. Before I have a chance to answer she says, "Gorgeous. White shirt, black pants--that is gorgeous," and off she went to play with toys.

Later, we spilled milk twice on the white shirt and I promised to let her change. "But if I take off my white shirt, will I still be gorgeous?" she asks.

"Always," I said. :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Yesterday was my birthday and it was so fun to watch Hannah celebrate. Here are my two favorite conversations:

Me: Hannah, I saw your friend Casey (our babysitter) today. She's coming to play with you on Tuesday.
Hannah: First we have to eat our cake on Tuesday.
Me (smiling): Oh, are we eating cake on Tuesday?
Hannah: blank stare
Me (laughing): Did Daddy say we're going to have cake on Tuesday?
Hannah (softly): We're not supposed to talk about it.

Then, yesterday morning I woke up and Daniel said he and Hannah would go pick up breakfast. He threw on a sweatshirt and said it was okay for Hannah to wear her pajamas. As he was gathering a few things, Hannah came into my room and I put her coat on.

Me: Have fun with Daddy.
Hannah: It's okay if I have on just my 'jamas.
Me: Oh, yeah, that's fine if Daddy says it's okay.
Hannah: I'm just going to sit in the car while we get the doughnuts.
Daniel (from the other room): Hannah! Come in here and stop telling Mommy the secrets!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Teenage Treasure Box

I've decided to store some things away in a treasure box for later when Hannah and Emily are teenagers. This way, when they are whining for cell phones, in love with teenage boys, and completely disenchanted with me I can whip a few of these out for comfort. :)

Last week, we went to Publix and rode around in one of the big car-style grocery carts. (Let me just insert a shout-out to stores that have carts that accomodate more than one child). Emily was grumpy and tired so she just leaned her head over and laid on Hannah's shoulder for about fifteen minutes. Hannah LOVED it. And the whole time we were in the store, Hannah was singing, "I like my Mommy. I like my Mommy. I like my Mommy."

Yesterday we had a lounge around day so we could recover Hannah from sinus/allergy stuff. We were snuggling under the covers and watching PBS before Emily woke up. She looked over at me, smiled, and said, "Mommy, your my best friend. I could snuggle you all the days."


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Wedding

Thanks everyone for praying and asking about the wedding. Daniel's mom was married the day after Thanksgiving. It was a beautiful, sweet ceremony and a lot like a family reunion. Daniel's youngest sister (polka dots) lives in Hawaii and his middle sister lives in Nashville (turquoise). The oldest sister lives in Alabama, so it was wonderful to see them.

Christiane (in black sleeveless, Daniel's oldest sister) has one boy, Brent. He didn't get to toss petals, but he did get to kiss the beautiful bride.

The princesses did a great job. Sarah and Lizzie, the two oldest cousins were absolutely angelic. Hannah was a very big girl. Emily was the best her little nineteen month old self could be! I was in charge of them and had to go down the aisle so the petals would get tossed. They did great, though!

Enjoy the pictures!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A List

Okay, I know some of you are curious about the wedding and wanting to see pictures, but I haven't even unpacked! :) It was a great day and I will post about that soon, but I've had a post on my mind for days and I want to get started.

Let's make a list! I need helpful hints about what to do with a nineteen month old and a three year old when it's miserable outside! Suggestions? Condolences? Wisecracks? I'll take them.

Here's what I have so far:
1. Coloring/crafts/playdough
2. Library
3. Barnes and Noble and the train table (haven't tried it yet)
4. Monkey Joes (fun but pricey)
5. Pet store browsing (I have a feeling this one will end in an adoption)

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Keys to Decorating Your Tree

Let me preface this post by saying I have never been a pretty, planned, coordinated tree person. My tree growing up was artifical and full of homemade, random ornaments. The more disordered a tree is, the more it looks like home to me. This is the first year all 4 of us have been involved in decorating the tree. We have a few Sesame street ornaments from last year that I let the girls place on the tree. Emily got quite attached to Bert. Anyway, we were nearly done when I heard Daniel laugh out loud. Apparently, Emily ran out of ornaments and got creative. Isn't that cute?

The Amazing Emily

Well this post is a shout-out to baby girl. The youngest of our clan is proving to be a very resilient kid. About a month and a half ago our fabulous babysitter Casey came over. She brought Emily downstairs with her pacifier in and then forgot it on the kitchen counter at bedtime. Not realizing it was part of the bedtime routine, she put "Mimi" to sleep without it. By the time we got home, Emily was asleep. We never looked back. There were a few sad nights and a long afternoon or two or ten but she handled it well. We gave her about two weeks on that and then moved her into her toddler bed. Again, a little crying but within 3 days she was staying in it, start to finish, every time. Finally, on Saturday night we moved her toddler bed into Hannah's room. The first night was a bust but last night she did it! Both girls love it. Morning routine will be interesting as Hannah is an early-riser and Emily is a late sleeper but I am proud of my girls! There is nothing sweeter than hearing your oldest in the monitor saying, "It's okay, Mimi. I'm right here. It's time to go to sleep. Lay down in your bed." :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pop Tarts, Computers, and Laundry

As you can tell, today's post is a random collection of thoughts. Let me be real. Yes, I love my life and my husband and children but I do not have it all together. And is anyone in agreement that winter is THE hardest time to be a stay-at-home mom? Any other month, my fenced-in backyard is like an extra room, the room we prefer to all others. Yesterday we spent a good hour out there but today I won't even consider taking them out because it's so blustery.

Here's something real that I don't get. I was talking to a friend about breakfast. I just run out of ideas of exciting things to feed toddlers for breakfast. And they are no end of picky! She mentioned pop tarts. I promptly bought a box thinking I had a no-effort solution for this morning. (Mind you I split it between the two and supplemented with fruit and yogurt). You would have thought I was trying to serve them aspargus wrapped in brussel sprouts! It was an all out rebellion. Over pop tarts! Eh.

Computers--we got a laptop! It is great, though I secretly wonder if I have become a blogaholic and that is the real reason I wanted one?

Finally, it amazes me how much laundry four people can make. I do laundry every day. And as soon as I "finish" someone makes a biohazard mess on something and I have to start again anyway. Juxtapose this with the fact that I am preparing a Sunday school lesson on gratitude and you see the problem. Is laundry making me grouchy? So here's to a grateful gripe list...

5. I never have alone time--Thank you, Father that you promise I am never alone!
4. I am tired of cooking--Thank you for the four mouths that come to this table every day and eat their fill.
3. I am sick of laundry--Thank you for my washing machine! I would be one Grumpy Gus if I was slapping these shirts on a washboard every morning.
2. I am sick of laundry--Thank you for closets and drawers full of warm clothes.
1. I am tired--Thank you for my two little bosses and the joy that it is to work for them and for You.

Well, I just heard the dryer stop so I better go!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Princess dresses

So the big excitement in our family this holiday season is my mother-in-law's upcoming wedding. She will be married the day after Thanksgiving and that has created some excitement and energy around our house. Grandma has been kind enough to want to involve all of her grand-daughters in the ceremony. She has (with graciously low expectations for how well we will cooperate that day) asked all the girl cousins to hold hands and sprinkle petals. Sarah is 6, Lizzie is almost 4, Hannah 3, and Emily 18 months. She bought matching "Cinderella" dresses for all the big girls. There wasn't one in Emily's size so we were scrambling to find something that would work. Enter ebay. Found the exact dress in Emily's size and won it at a great price! So, I am posting the picture here of the little princess who will probably spoil the plans on the big day much to everyone's amusement. To add to the joy of dressing like a princess, each dress came with a matching doll dress. Hannah decided today that tiger could be a girl and wear it so I am posting his misery here, too!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Why CJ?

If you're just joining me, you might wonder at the title of the blog. Let's just say that if I'd written a five-year plan five years ago, I would have never predicted my current lifestyle and status. Stay-at-home mother of two would not have made the list. There are days when I stand in the shower and think, "How long can I stay in here before the girls come looking for me?" :)

Four years ago, we had cable. We had long, uninterrupted dinners. We slept in on Saturdays and occasionally spent the entire day on the couch. We went on dates all the time. Then came Hannah! And Emily came tumbling after. And now I've lost two cell phones in one month. The last manicure I had was with a pair of Safety First childs clippers. I have eaten more hot dogs than I would care to count. And something in this house smells. Always. :)

So I find myself on this journey, sometimes toward contentment, sometimes away from contentment. But always the Father is there writing me this amazing loveletter. Today--this is how he did it: the firstborn is always the first to wake in this house. I brought her downstairs all rosycheeked and warm like she is when she wakes up. We talked about the letter of the day and how she slept and then we turned on PBS. She snuggled up on my chest, in my arms, and watched Curious George with me. The whole time I was living the moment, drowsy but thinking, "Thank you God! I wouldn't want to be anywhere else!" The same feeling hit me as the three of us took an impromptu picnic in the backyard today and attacked several piles of leaves.

Don't get me wrong--there was a lot of laundry, too many spankings, ironing, stressing, and always too much nose wiping, but I look to my Savior today and I hope every day and say without a doubt, "I am satisfied in You!" He is good.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ready to invite people in

It's time. I have been blogging in the dark for the past few days with no one knowing about it! I am excited to invite people in so I think I'll start with a picture taken before we left for Trunk or Treat.

Emily was a bumblebee (thanks Hannah for that hand-me-down) and Hannah was a Backyardigan. (Pablo I'm told). We don't have cable so she's not too familiar with the show but loved the hand-me-down costume. Hey, the only thing better than free candy at Halloween is getting that free candy while wearing a free costume! I think seeing all the princesses and ballerinas gave her pause, though. Don't expect I'll get away so cheaply next year.

And, anyone else loving this AWESOME weather? We've taken full advantage as you'll see. I just know in heaven we'll go straight from spring to fall. :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting and waiting...

I voted today! I took NBC's wonderful advice about the best times to try the polls and showed up at 9:15. I still had a one hour and 15 minute wait; however, Emily and Hannah were absolutely wonderful. Emily was umbrella-strollered and Hannah mostly stood with one hand resting on the stroller and both eyes on the fire truck. Yes, friends, we voted in a fire department and the local firefighters were fully involved in exercising the giant ladder truck. That was good for at least fifteen minutes worth of distraction. That, some sweet elderly ladies behind us in line, and two bags of cheerios carried us thre the entire experience. So we voted, and now we wait!

Finding My Spot on The Blogwagon

So, lately I have become interested/obsessed with my friends' blogs. That may seem a little off-kilter, but I am going to let myself off the hook and attribute this desire to a serious lack of adult conversation in my life! I never imagined myself having a blog, but here I am.

My top 5 reasons for starting this blog:

1. I have two really cute girls I enjoy showing off

2. I live at least a state away from family and most long-time friends

3. I love to write

4. We have a new digital camera that actually works

5. Did I mention the girls?

So, wish me luck and I hope this is a blog that encourages you and makes you laugh! Thanks for reading! :)