Monday, March 31, 2008

Breastfeeding Help?!

Okay, so Creighton is going to be 17 months in 3 short days and wow...that is crazy! I am still nursing her. I know that there are SOOOO many varying opinions on this topic, but I thought I'd put myself out there anyway....just to see what comes my way (I might regret this...)

I don't really have a desire to quit. I'll say that upfront. However, I will say that there are times when I wish she wasn't addicted so dependent on it. I really don't see an end in sight in her eyes. I feel as if it would completely ROCK.HER.WORLD. if I quit nursing her but certainly not because she needs it for nourishment. She needs it for emotional stability I feel. She is like white on rice when she sees me at times! I TRULY think that if I let her and produced like a cow she would nurse ALL day long and ALL night long too.

She sleeps through the night (generally) and wakes (generally) between 6-7a for a "good morning snack" and then (generally) falls back asleep till 8 or 9. This works for me. Like I said I am not wanting to quit that. I really don't even mind nursing her at nap time...not really at all...

The problem arises that when she isn't with me for nap time (ie. Mother's Day Out) she doesn't always take a bottle of breast milk. And when I was gone from her for an entire week over spring break, she did take 2-3 bottles a day (nap, nighttime, and IF she woke up at that 6-7 hour).

I used to have like some ungodly number of ounces of breast milk in our deep freezer (that we bought SOLELY for the purpose of storing my milk). **like close to 1800 ounces at one time** (insane I know) But now, I have MAYBE 4-5 bags of milk left because I had to throw most of it out because it was over a year old! That was heart breaking! Anyway, back to my story.

I don't think she needs to nurse, I just know she WANTS to. I don't mind the 2-3 times a day, but she wants to much much more than that, and so instead of weaning, I find myself either constantly saying "no, not now" and trying to refocus her attention, or just giving in because I am tired of doing the above after a million times a day. (or 10 or 20 whose counting :)?)
This is the look I get if I try the "not now"

And this is the sweet face I get to cuddle up with and see smile when I give can see it in her grin...she says "tank ewe mommy" (could you resist that sweet face?)

I guess my question is this: how do I wean her down to just 2-3 times? When should I wean her completely? How on earth do I do that? What do I say to all the people who give me crazy looks because I am still nursing a 17 month old? (only sometimes does it get to me)

And one for the fun of asking even though I know the answer...will "they" ever look the same again? Because, really, its so sad...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Random Photo Stop II

I wrote a list at church today of lots of topics I want to eventually blog about but tonight I am way unmotivated. So I will leave you with some pics instead.

Another together pic from Easter...he is so sweet to her

Here is our new slide we just bought from Lowe's. They LOVE it!

My little princess/diva :P

I love her eyes in this picture

He and his Daddy were doing something that was making him make the funniest faces!

I "taught" Creighton how to sing with heart and soul...pretty much makes me crack up!

The kids LOVE to swing!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Birthday Party and Blues *Updated

One of Jackson's little friends had a birthday party today and it was very fun. Vicki is so talented and creative! I am sure she'll probably put up some pics on her blog soon, so check here if you want to see them. She made everything there so cute! The theme was ladybugs and bees. She cut big holes and stripes in black bags and put red and yellow tissue paper, respectively, in each one and it was so cute! Those were the gift bags for the guests and they had cute little books, bubbles (ladybug of course) and a bumble bee toy and some candy. The cakes were precious little round cakes with the shape of bee and ladybug. The "pin the tail on the donkey" game was adjusted to put the ladybug (sticker) on the flower (she had drawn and katie had colored on big science fair project board) was cute. They did the blind fold but some of the kids didn't enjoy that, but still did it. She had cute pinwheels for gifts. Then she had pre-cut little bees and ladybugs to make magnets for crafts! The food was so great for preschoolers too. She had little sandwiches, bumble bee graham crackers, cheese cubes, lots of really great fruit and was great!

Jackson and Creighton are the opposite of shy. Like in EVERY way. There were some kids that were playing, but most of them were quiet and/or sitting in their parents' laps the.whole.time! Mine on the other hand were like a three (even though there is only two of them) ringed circus! I feel a bit absurd now because of HOW bad of a mood I am in, but my kids are trying to drive me crazy (I know this isn't true) but really...I feel that way.

They do not know how to sleep (in) anymore and that is so frustrating to me. They don't know how to take naps anymore and in the middle of days like today, that is like torturous for me. They need more sleep. I need more time away alone. So that makes for 3 unhappy people.

Creighton literally wakes up screaming and crying and just ridiculous from her naps. I know she isn't getting enough rest or she wouldn't be like that. I can't stand the fits and crying all the time. Then Jackson will be sweet, but only till Creighton wakes up and then whine whine whine is all I hear...its driving me berrying nuts! (if you read Jen you might know what that means)

There is not enough junk food to keep me sane for the next few days. I swear I am such a stress eater! If I was an alcoholic, today I might have died of extreme intoxication...good thing I am not. (maybe)

Sorry for my ranting...maybe one day my children will behave again...thanks to all of you who let me know at least I am not alone. Let's all pray for sunshine the next few days, if for no other reason, but I REALLY need some vitamin D and serotonin flowin'---really bad.

Vickie, thanks for the birthday party! That was way awesome!

* Updated I added pictures of what Creighton was dressed like because it is one of her new outfits and I love it! And I figure with such a whine of a post, I needed to add something worth looking at :) (well I guess the party information was good) :)

Anyway, I am getting out of my funk slowly, but I sure was in one! Everything was going wrong (so it seemed) and I was whining just as much as they were and acting like a two year old too! I think they were rubbing off on me...thanks for enduring, that is if you made it this far down the post.

Friday, March 28, 2008

What a day

I am not certain why today was such a difficult day with the kids, but man, was it a doozy. There wasn't so much one particular thing that happened, it was the every second on the second occurrence of outlandish behavior by BOTH of my children. We also had invited 3 different moms and their kids over for play today at our house. It was a little crazy but not too bad. There were 4 mommies and 8 kids. All of the other kids seemed to play so happily and fine, but mine were little heathens the entire time almost. Its so frustrating! I felt like a horrible mother during and after everyone was here. Lunch went relatively smoothly (I think they were starving--probably had a lot to do with it). Needless to say, I was wiped out by nap time and took one myself!

After nap, it was a little bit better for about an hour or so while we danced and sang and had lots of fun, and then out of nowhere the craziness began again. So I decided we were leaving the house and going to the pet store. I have no earthly idea what enticed this notion in my head, but at the time I thought it sounded better than going insane at home. I am happy to report that nothing was broken (well there is a dead fish on the floor of the pet store, but it was already dead in the net on the tank and one little girl whom will remain nameless (not Creighton) helped it onto the floor and Jackson then accidentally stepped on it--not his fault) and we left there unscathed.

Creighton threw a horrid temper tantrum as we were leaving...causing a huge scene though! She LOVES LOVES LOVES LOVES dogs---well any and all animals and they are all dogs to her. She is so funny about it but it is getting very old. She loves to go see Molly and Hershey, the dogs next door, but they aren't always out and the neighbors don't care for us to be over there unless they are there because they bark so much. Anyway, needless to say it is a battle every day for her desire to go see the dogs and my stance on "no". It is awful (which may be why I decided to go see the dogs at the pet store today).

Anyway, tonight thankfully was parents night out. I desperately needed that! We had a nice dinner with Kara and Mike and then went to the Power Team thing for a little bit and the Josh McDowell thing for a little bit (not too exciting either of them in my opinion) and then we came home and relaxed a little bit before having to go get them at 10. We were the last ones to get them. :) Oh well. We weren't late though! Now they are both in bed and that is a good thing! I am going to bed soon...very soon.

Glad today is coming to an end. Not ecstatic at all that Jeff is leaving us for a "business trip" till Tuesday night late though! :( Very sad about that...very very sad.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Funeral

Sorry I haven't written in quite some time. I just haven't either, had the time, or the desire. I really want to write about the funeral, but yet, I didn't at the same time. I think it will be good for me to write about it though. It was, overall, a really really great funeral (if they can be).

Over 500 people showed up for my Uncle's funeral. That was awesome. We got there incredibly early and I was with my family in the front row and so I didn't even notice that there were SO many people behind us until we all stood up to go out with the casket. It was nice that so many people were able to come. It was held on Good Friday. I think that was a good thing, symbolically...and because lots of people were already off from work. Being that he was in the wrecker service for as long as I can remember (at least 20 years, I think 28 if I remember correctly) he pretty much knew every wrecker in Houston. They all knew and respected (and maybe even loved) him and they all showed up!

One of the coolest parts of his funeral was his testimony. The pastor shared a little bit of it, but it seemed that the crowd spoke it without saying a word. Hearts were mourning, but also rejoicing. That was evident.

The music was fantastic (well, maybe with the exception of one song--however, because of its placement after a letter from my aunt (his wife), the song did well to hold us all together, instead of making the place continue to cry the river from the sweet letter). They sang Amazing Grace at the very beginning and I cried and cried throughout the whole thing...then at the end they sang 3 of his favorite praise and worship songs, and that was neat.

The actual service part was very cool, because along with his testimony, they shared the gospel and made it very apparent that it is exactly the way he would have wanted it. One thing that will always stick with me is he told the pastor that he "almost waited too long" to come to know Jesus and he is so thankful that he didn't. As much as anyone with 2 feet still standing on this earth can attest to it, the pastor said that he was certain of Bubba's eternal future and that he knew he knew the Savior. That was so neat!

With all the wrecker drivers there, you have to know that they ALL brought their own wreckers to the funeral and the procession to the grave site. That was by and large the neatest (and longest) processional I have ever seen for anyone. There were about 200 cars in the line and about 70-80 of them were wreckers---with LOTS of flashing lights. My uncle (and FBI agent) worked out his friends in the bureau to come and work the lights/intersections for us. There were about 20 or so of them and they did a really great job. They were on every corner and even every apartment entrance and such. They held off everyone from going or coming while we passed by. Thankfully we were only about a 5 minute drive to the cemetery.

The burial service was short and sweet. We let 47 balloons go (the age of my uncle when he died). That was a really cool sight to see. Because there was an airport close by my uncle said that he got word we had effected the tower/security --oops! Oh well. It was funny because 3 of the balloons stayed behind (got stuck in the trees) and everyone laughed because they said that was very typical of Bubba to try and stay around, and/or make everyone laugh one more time.

The funeral was really great. It was hard but it was good. I think I was pretty okay until I (every few minutes) stopped to put myself in the girls' shoes or thought of what it'd be like if it were my dad. Then I lost it, then I'd get myself composed and then that cycle would repeat. I tried my best to be comforting and encouraging to my mom, my grandma, and my aunts and uncle. Maybe that was more out of my need to do so than their need to receive it, but either way I hope they all felt loved.

Death certainly makes you think. It has affected me so much, and I think that is why I didn't want to type this up. I don't want to forget. I don't want to move on and not remember. I want to be different. I want to "live like I am dying." They of course played this song to a montage of photos and I heard it over and over and over again. He did it. He knew his time was coming a little more clearly than most of do (if we're to die of an accident or something) and yet, I don't think that is an excuse. He showed everyone he met the love of Christ. I want to do that, to be the hands and feet of Christ... In his death, his life was evident, his love was evident.

I don't even know if I know 500 people, but would all those I do come because I impacted their life, like he did all of south Houston? Thanks Uncle Bubba for showing us (me) how it is done.

Thanks for coming to know God, thanks for making sure, once you did, others did as well! See you someday, and yes, the work that you have done spoke for you! (his casket was stitched saying, "may the works that I have done speak for me")


A giveaway! I love giveaways. Go here to get the information on this one!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

This was the best there was, and I know it isn't good, but you can see us all in PINK! :) I normally don't wear pink, but Jeff said since he had to, so did I, and that because it was pink for him, it had to be a dress for me too :)...oh well. *don't you just love the name tag ;/
This isn't the greatest family pic, but it is the one that shows the "cool" new walls of our children's ministry hallway. I liked the green and the orange was new today along with the furry-ness behind us. Not sure what I think of the yellow furry, but oh well.
This picture of Jeff and Jackson is SO cute! I love it! They matched down to the brown shoes :) I LOVE IT! They crack me up...
We had just gotten out of the shower and so their hair is still wet...oh well. We were rushing a bit this morning.
Then after church we went to my Uncle Les' family Easter celebration. It was at my cousin Jenni's house and it was a lot of fun. My parents are still in Houston with my grandma and the rest of the family. So, instead of being alone we trekked down there and crashed their party. Lunch was really good and it was so good to see my cousins that I hardly ever get to see (one lives in Chicago and one lives in Tennessee).
We had an Easter egg hunt in the backyard and this is how my kids spent it. Jackson set his basket down and went to look for eggs (sans basket). He found one and it went like this: [open egg up] "No jerry beeens" [drop egg] and runs to the swing...not caring ONE bit about the rest of the hunt or the eggs or anything else but the swing.
Creighton never even pretended to care about the hunt, but rather, only the baby in her arms and the dogs behind the fence. She cried and cried when I told her it was time to go inside...of course after the other kids had been in for like 10 minutes already with baskets full of eggs, and she had none!...but really didn't even notice either.

I am not really sad about that though. I think it is funny. They opened 3, yes THREE, Easter baskets full of stuff last night. (Thanks to all of our Grammies and Papaws)...They got eggs and books and stickers and pails and shovels and bath accessories and swimsuits and fruit snacks and candy, and lots of other random things :)...they LOVED it all!

Happy Easter everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful time with family! I have more to post of my weekend in Houston, but figured today is about LIFE and not death and so I will save those for another time. But I am back home now and everything is as good as it can be :)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Viewing

My brother and I made it down to Texas this afternoon. It was a great opportunity to spend time with on one, uninterrupted, face to face, heart to heart!

Today was the viewing of my uncle. It was so very hard for me to see his body...still, lifeless, breathless, skinny and frail, so pale, so very unlike the picture I posted with his other post. It wasn't my Uncle Bubba at all...I could tell he wasn't there, not in that body. My aunt said he looked so much better (that they had done a wonderful wonderful job of preparing his body) than he did on Tuesday night. Everyone that was there on Tuesday as he passed said the same thing, that they made him look so much better. That was hard to hear because, man, it was just NOT what I expected. Death isn't pretty. It is hard. The body without the soul, its so...I don't know what the word is I want to put there...but its just hard.

All the tears and crying and hugging and crying and tears and ALL the emotions flowing were difficult, but good. It was truly amazing to see how many people showed up for his viewing, and I think tomorrow it will be packed. He touched so many lives. That is something I left out of the previous post about him. Even though he didn't know Christ in such a way till recently, he ALWAYS welcomed everyone with love and took everyone and anyone in to his home. They were so good about this. That is one thing I did remember and always know. They always brought "random" people to family events...I wish I would have learned sooner about that kind of hospitality and love...a love that I am not sure even he knew he knew how to do...until recently. That is one thing he is very good at! And so is his family still!

There were hundreds of people there and it lasted for over 3 hours. Then we all went to eat. It was good to see family and friends that we don't get the opportunity to see very often if ever. I saw some people I hadn't seen since I was very little and some I had never met before, but all blood in some way or another...that was neat. It was tiring, but very cool.

I heard lots of stories about me as a child which I find fascinating! I met my Papaw's siblings and they were a riot! I adore the elderly people...and I love hearing stories...especially when i am the subject! Some of these things I had heard and some of them not...I will cherish that!

Tomorrow is the funeral and it will be interesting. I will have to prepare myself for that. I know it will be very hard for so many people to say their final goodbyes. Seeing him, his body, is just very difficult for me...

Continue to pray for the family please because the time tomorrow will be especially hard for them. The littlest one is struggling. There are also some health concerns with my Aunt Trish which at a time like this is the worst thing everyone wants to hear. Hopefully it isn't too big a deal and is just stress related.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Uncle Bubba

My mom is the oldest of 4 children. Her brother, whom I have only ever known as (Uncle) Bubba, passed away tonight. I have sat down and started several posts over the last few months about him, but for some reason I never was able to post them. I never even saved them. I just couldn't. I don't know why, but it just didn't feel right.

But, now, as I sit and (while listening to Monk and Neagle) write, my heart is still so heavy and I just really don't know what to write, but yet, know I must.

Tonight was Ladies Night Out. I got a phone call right before I was suppose to leave saying that the nurse didn't think he'd make it through the night. So, when I got a call from my dad in the middle of dinner, I was quite certain I knew the words he was about to say. As my eyes, for one of the first times in this whole crazy mess, welled with tears and they began to fall...I felt a lot pain, heartache, uneasy stomach, lost.

Let me give you some background: the story I have tried numerous times to write already. My uncle has (to be put nicely) not had the greatest life. Growing up he was in lots of trouble and didn't know, nor care to know, the Lord at all. He was nice, but really rough around the edges, if you will. He was a drinker, a smoker, a drug addict, a rebel, and for a living he was a wrecker-driver. If you know much about that profession, it can get a little crazy and wild...he fit right in! He was my family though and so, while we were very different, I've always loved him, but yet, been distant from him and his wife and daughters. We did the family things, but never spoke outside of that really (my mom did though).

Anyway, about a year and a half ago, he was diagnosed with lymphoma and wasn't given a good prognosis on life expectancy at all. He, however, proved to be a a lot of ways. His wife (my aunt, Trish) was diagnosed with cancer of the liver within a few months of his diagnosis. Their lives were forever changed from that moment forward. Within in a few months, they were both given less than a year to live and in and out of treatments and the hospital constantly.

Somehow in all of that mess, they heard the sweet and tender voice of Christ. It is such a sweet miracle to our family that they have come to know the Lord, Savior, Healer and Comforter. His life was eternally changed from this point forward! That is the only thing I am clinging to right now. It makes it "okay," not less painful or sorrowful for anyone, but it helps me. His life has definitely affected others since his salvation. He began going to church regularly, he brought his family and they came to know Christ. (isn't that awesome?) I know that his story has been told and re-told. He did it. He lived and breathed the joy of the Lord even in the midst of his severe pain and trials. You could see it on his face. You could see how much "lighter" he was... That brought me to tears when I was visiting last...

It wasn't that long ago that we were joking and laughing and praising the Lord together in church. It wasn't that long all. Now, of course, I feel as if I missed my opportunity to finally get to know my uncle. I have been sheltered for so long from knowing anything really about them, and now I want to and can't. I have so many questions I would LOVE to ask him...all unanswered, unasked.

I have said all along that if he got cancer to meet Jesus then it was worth it...that is so easy to say from my healthy non-cancerous body I know, but man, in my selfishness, my immaturity, I wish that God would have just healed him then...not taken him. But what a better place to be than at the feet of Jesus and in no pain and no discomfort. I know that he wouldn't want to be back with us---because I know heaven is THAT wonderful. But that is still hard...and I know that has to be harder for those that are much closer to him than I was: his wife, my daughters, his granddaughter, my grandma, his siblings...and the list goes on!

Death is hard. It isn't ever easy for those of us left here.

I love my Uncle Bubba and I care so much about his hurting family. I hate it that they are much! I hate it even more that only God and time can heal that and I can't--I am so a fixer...and I can't do anything about it, and that is hard.

I am not sure what the next few days hold, but I know at some point I am going to Houston to be there to support my mom and grandma and aunt and cousins...and of course all the other lives he touched. I am proud to call him brother in Christ...that alone at this moment brings the tears of joy.

Busy Few Days...and now very Tired

Man I am so exhausted. You would think I wouldn't be since I haven't had my sweet babies since Saturday afternoon, but I am...completely. Saturday night Jeff and I didn't go to sleep till like almost 2am. Why do we do this? What were we thinking? I don't know...I wasn't feeling well all day Saturday so we were low key: we played games and had dinner and then I was on the computer forever and he played video games FOR.EV.ER....I read for a little bit and finally went to be bed without him...
Then Sunday I wasn't feeling well at all. So I stayed home from church...but then I went to the mission project at Vision Onward which went amazing. Sunday, there were several groups: one group did demolition at house to repair it and make it livable for someone, one group cleaned up a west side park/community center (and planted a flower bed), one group cleaned up the outside of the Vision Onward building, and one group cleaned up a different park by the pool. That was like 6 or so hours.
It was so neat the wide range of people we had there. Youth, little kids, was neat!

Then Monday was 8-8. It was a long day for those that were there the entire time! But SO much was accomplished. It was so great. I am sad we don't' have before and after pics, only after pictures. But for those of us that were there, it was amazing how much work was accomplished. The building that they are using was a disaster, and now it looks great. I bet we packed over a hundred bags of clothes, shoes, kitchenware, toys, children's things, books, music, random things, hangers, etc... It was unbelievable how much stuff there was. Then there were clean up groups too and electric/plumbing people, carpet people, organizing merchandise, sheet rocking, spackling, hauling off and dropping off at other local ministries, etc etc was insane, but so neat to see so many people working hard and serving during their Spring Break.
This room had SO much stuff in it...this is where we bagged ALL those bags and hauled them off. Now you can actually see the floor its unbelievable that this is the same facility it was on Sunday.
Okay, so you can kind of see some of the room (and all the stuff) behind sweet Kayla (the Vision Onward's founder's daughter) who worked SO hard all weekend! (sorry not the best picture Kayla, but I needed to show the room and it was the best I had) :)

You could NOT even walk in this room before we started! There were tools, sawdust, sheet rock, wood, merchandise, trash, lots of stuff, I am so proud :)

I left early on Monday to go home and get ready for my small group adventure to Tulsa/sleepover. A few of the girls came over early to help me with my makeup (she did SUCH a good job). Then we picked up one more girl and four of us went down early to go shopping. It was insane how much shopping was accomplished in 2.5 hours. I did buy a really cute shirt that I am excited to wear. Then we met up with 2 other girls that drove down for dinner at Olive Garden...and it was SOOOOOO good. I love OG. I got manicotti that I have never had before and it was FABULOUS. Then we went to Freckles for custard and that was good too. Then headed back here and 3 more girls came over at 10:30 to hang out.
We stayed up way too late and had lots of fun. We slept in and the last girl left about 1p this was so much fun but my eyes are barely staying open. We made blueberry pancakes and bacon this morning and played Guitar Hero III on the Wii. It was a blast.

It's been a wild last few days--non stop, action packed, no sleeping fun. I have Ladies Night Out tonight and I hope I make it to the end :) But my plan is to sleep ALL day tomorrow, (not really) because the kids are coming back home Thursday :) They have been doing really well at John and Debbie's and last night they went to Terrie and Philips. I hope they are as good! :)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

My love of Apple Dumplings and Cooking

Okay so last night I made the Oven Fried Chicken that my whole family loves and I made the Apple Dumplings that are TO.DIE.FOR from The Pioneer Woman or The Pioneer Woman Cooks to be more specific.

I can't say enough about the Apple Dumplings...they have got to be my new favorite dessert...they are SO easy to make and words simply do not describe their goodness. Really! Really, really...

They only have about a million fat grams and caloric content, but hey, what is dessert if it doesn't?

You seriously HAVE to try them. If I can't mess them up, then surely you can't...and with Ree's easy to see and fun pictures of EVERY step then you should be fine.

I think I really really enjoy cooking....this is a new thing for me. But I love following recipes...and I have really enjoyed finding new ones. I am not too brave yet in that I try mostly chicken and with basic instructions, ingredients, etc, but my recipe box has doubled in size over the last 2 months and we have found things that are REALLY good.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Zoo!

I am sad we didn't get a pic like last years' family monkey faces picture. But we bought a year family membership so we'll have plenty of opportunity (hopefully) to get those throughout the is a brief flash back pic from last year's trip and then a recap in photos of some of our day. It was really great! We were all exhausted after a long day by the time it was over. My dad got to join us and that was a real treat!
Ready to start the day! I was so proud of myself for putting glasses, hats AND sunscreen on them. They did okay about wearing the hats most of the day, but the shades didn't last at all...oh well! Neither really did the stroller...but I guess they were in and out throughout the day...
A fun re-enactment of last year (well, kind of)
Last year....Creighton was only 7 months old! My, my, my how they change so fast!
Jeff took some really great shots of some of the animals...
The flamingos were really stunning...its amazing the way they balance...
The tiger was growling and roaring continuously and you could hear him throughout the park!
Um...yeah...he was yawning, but lets talk about scary. He was so funny just relaxing there with his leg crossed over and just playing with the rope...until he yawned and we quickly snapped it...I didn't get out of the way fast enough though and you can see my reflection...sorry. The monkeys are ALWAYS my favorite at the zoo.

Apparently Jackson agrees with me. He really enjoyed them too!
This little guy was SO cute. He was only a year old. It was the second of two babies born within a few months of one another (2 different moms) but the first monkey babies born in like 16 years at the zoo. They were precious. A.dor.a.ble! (not a great picture...the windows were so thick and very dirty and lots of finger prints)

Aren't they SOOOOO cute in their matching shirts!?!?! Love it.

I think Jackson's favorite part of the Zoo every time we go is the park...which we can go to lots of parks for free (I keep thinking this might change, but so I had a lot of fun with him though

She really liked the giraffes a lot. She kept pacing up and down the rails and would stop and stare and then move on again to another stopping spot.
This is over by the Giraffes. I like this picture....a lot!

We, of course, did the traditional ending pose on the tigers out front! They would NOT look at us at the same time for anything. This was the best one...
I don't know why I think its fun to have him kiss the tiger and then ROAR really loud while he does that sick? Oh entertainment for mom and he laughs (after he jumps)....well and I knew I wanted to get it again this year!
Isn't he so sweet, precious...kissable?! :)

I can't believe he didn't fall asleep the WHOLE way home. His eyes were rolling back in his head the whole time but he never gave it up. He did sleep for over 2 hours when we got home though!
Creighton was out before we got past the gas station around the corner! She woke up when we pulled in the garage and then I nursed her back to sleep and she slept for about another hour! So that is a good nap for her.
We took naps when we got home (Jeff played Nintendo) and then I made eating well fish sticks and twice baked potatoes...they were really yummy! Even Jackson loved them...I recommend them both! (I added bacon to my potatoes and a little more cheese to the middle, not just the top)

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Baby A Update

Today Baby A is 2 weeks and one day old. Today is also her Mama's A is struggling. Please pray for her and for the family. Not that any time is a good time for Baby A to go, just not today Lord, please! But we know you have your perfect will and plan in mind...give her strength and give them all strength. Give them all peace and comfort and please help Baby A not to be in pain. Thank you Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spring weather is so wonderful

Umm...hello! Today was A-mazing! The weather was gorgeous! I loved every second of it. It is still nice out...not too chilly...but perfect! Jeff took a few hours off this morning to hang out with me and look for a new Bible

***side story***
On Friday my parents were coming up for lunch and to hang out with the kids...and while I was cleaning up Jackson's room and getting Creighton dressed, Jackson was in the kitchen destroying my Bible! I cried...It was the Bible I was planning to give Creighton on her 18th birthday. I was distraught. I was livid. I was sad. I was furious. I felt like I might hurt Jackson for doing this, so I smacked his hand 3 times and put him in his room and shut the door (as I was shaking). I went back to the kitchen to pick up the pieces praying it wasn't as bad as it looked. It was awful and worse than I thought. I am missing Genesis, Exodus, portions of several minor prophets (as in half pages), all of Philippians, Colossians, some of Ephesians, all of the Johns and Revelation and all of my concordance/reference/dictionary stuff in the back...not to mention ALL of my little notes and pictures and handouts, etc. from within the pages...destroyed...

He has NEVER really torn up a book in all of his life, and he choose MY BIBLE of all books to be his "masterpiece" was all I could do! My mom scolded him when she got here, I scolded him, Jeff scolded him, my dad scolded him...I am sure that he has gotten the picture. I just hope he gets that is important and special to me, not that he should be afraid of ever touching any bible again

***back to my original story...I just hadn't posted about it (I was too upset about it then)***

and so we went to the mall and went to Dillard's after not finding the perfect new Bible. Jeff was in need of some new nice clothes and since Dillard's is STILL having the awesome 75% off sale, we got some sweet Ralph Lauren pants and a dress shirt and a jacket. He was in a good mood and decided we needed to go try on another dress for me and I got a shirt and 2 dresses. (although one of them I am not sold on yet and might return). Anyway, we got all of this for really cheap and that is awesome. Then we went to lunch at Outlaws...which I love...and better than that, you all know my love for free food..which it was because his parents gave us a 50$ gift card there for Christmas! (we only still have it because we just got it this week...:))

Then he went to work and I went to get the kids and we went to the park for like an hour and a half and it was beautiful (a tad windy at this particular park because no trees, but awesome anyway)....the kids ate a chocolate bunny (lovely school candy sent home) and got it everywhere (and I didn't care one bit) and then ran and played and swung and slid and had a great time. Then we left and went to the duck park (I had a ton of leftover bread from the Ordination party) and they really enjoyed running around there and feeding the ducks and playing by the water and with the sticks. We left there at nearly 5pm (maybe later I don't remember).

Thankfully I convinced them we needed to shower (because I needed to look decent tonight and they were pretty dirty too). Got us all dressed and raced out the door to meet one of my small group girls at the church at 6...although I was a little late :( Then I had my regular small group and we had a new girl (a girl that we've been trying to get to come for awhile). :) It went mostly REALLY well and I hope she comes back. They all seemed really excited about the trip to Tulsa and sleepover we have planned over Spring Break...awesome! I am so so so excited. My heart was so filled with joy afterwards tonight I could barely contain it!

God is so good! I love the weather and HOPE it stays around forever!...

Tomorrow we are going to the Zoo as a family and I am way excited about dad is coming too! Should be lots of fun and I will get pics I didn't think to bring my camera and I was by myself. I got some (not so great) pics on my phone, but I have NO idea how to do anything but look at them on my phone...

Monday, March 10, 2008

A few Ordination Day Pictures

Jeff's Ordination Sunday Pictures
Sweet family picture! Love it. Everyone was so cute that day! :) (And I really like my self tanning lotion...although my face does look really dark...hope I didn't look orange)

I am not sure if you can see what the cake says, Joshua 24:15 (just the latter part of the verse)
These are a few of his guys that waited around at the reception! They are all so close, it's awesome!

Brittany was invited as a guest to the lunch with our family and she ended up being the babysitter for a little while, self-imposed, but at the kid table nonetheless...I really appreciated that...and I love the look on Jackson's face--and Rae's too :)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Green, Rashes, Little Sleep, Fire in the Kitchen, Friends, and Chili

I changed my color to white with green because Jeff said it was hard to read and then if you read most of the comments on Jen's new site (which is lime green) it is evident that green is NOT a favorite of many readers. Since I am not nearly as talented of a writer and she, and certainly not as entertaining, I decided if I ever wanted people to read my blog again, I should change it immediately :). I do like doing a "theme of the month" color scheme which is why it is still St. Patrick's Day Green :)

Anyway, I am totally exhausted today. Yesterday was quite the day...Rae Rae's bumper (that's what we call the butt around here) has an absolutely positively horrible rash from the new antibiotic we are on (2nd in a row). Her little legs were trembling yesterday from the pain. She cried pretty much all day it felt like. The ONLY time I was able to comfort her was with DOMEBORO which I highly recommend if you or any of your kids EVER have any kind of rash (although it is pricey, its worth it). It is a miracle "drug"---literally within 2 seconds of her screaming her head off I applied a compress to her bumper area and she was calm. It was amazing. Anyway, as soon as that was over it was back to the screaming. I bet her little legs were so tired from not sitting down EVER all day. She couldn't. I couldn't even hold her like normal. I had to hold her back with one arm and her feet in my cupped hand with the other and her head on my shoulder to bear some weight...and that is how we looked most of the day. She didn't want to do anything. Every time I would change her diaper it was just torture for us both. was heart breaking but I knew I couldn't let it wet/dirty or it'd make it worse.

I was so sad last night as I was praying for her because I was praying specifically for her rash and as I was nursing her she was just like have mini convulsions/spasms in her lower body because of the made me so sad and part of me was getting frustrated with God for not fixing it right away...a much needed reminder that there are so many people praying the same "heal her now" prayers for MUCH worse issues...but yet, the morning, although still not great, she looks and is acting MUCH better. Thank you, Lord!

Anyway, I stayed out with my small group girls till 2 in the morning, which because of silly time change (that I hate) it was really 3. Creighton then proceeded to get up 3 or 4 times between then and 8:45 (7:45) this needless to say I didn't get much sleep last night. And this morning I got Jackson up and dressed and then got showered and dressed myself and then fixed lunch minus the baking part and then got Creighton up and dressed and almost on time to church. I worked the desk and then went to a meeting after service and then rushed home to finish preparing lunch with both kids while Jeff was in another meeting and I had two kampers on their way to my home in minutes. Besides totally catching the oven on fire :0 and Jeff being 30 minutes late (making our food cold) it was a REALLY great visit with my girls and a nice lunch...I was impressed with myself as I made Chicken Cordon Bleu for the first time and Tortellini with Basil/Pesto sauce that was ALL fabulous...:)

I got the kids down for naps and chatted away with the girls until Creighton woke up and they had to leave. I have been on and off working on this post for 3 hours now :) So it might be really long...

Hopefully my exhaustion will carry into a great night's sleep for me as the night is hardly to church again for a Chili cook-off/Talent show

Friday, March 7, 2008

Life Lessons from A Chicken...

Tonight as I was preparing Peanut Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables the Lord showed me something neat. ANYtime I cook chicken--ever--I ALWAYS cut all the "yuck" off of it. Jeff always complains that I waste so much chicken, because I am very thorough and make sure that there is NO room for any gristle or fat or skin or anything but WHITE meat nice and neat chicken ends up in our food.

As I was doing this again tonight I realized I am hypocritical, that most of us are, when it comes to things like me with chicken (maybe in your life it is something else) and me with sin. The Lord tells us to flee from sin, remove it all, to hate sin...however, I don't know about you, but I am usually trying to see how close I can get to the line without having to actually be "sinning" in that area. Like some of my youth are constantly asking "how far is too far" or questions similar--always wanting to push the limit, push the envelope.

I think God wishes I was like my cooking-chicken -self when it comes to my sin in my life. I certainly will go to all measures to get rid of all of the yucky on the chicken, even if it means giving up some of the good chicken...but how often do I do this in my personal life? Why do I just scrape the surface if at all instead of getting rid of it all, and being confident in that?

So, tonight as we were eating the dinner, and I had no worries of any yucky chicken, I was challenged to do the same in my spiritual life. To really do a heart check, a sin check, and evaluate where I need to cut deeper and really flee from the sin, instead of just letting it keep me in bondage.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Re-Spark: Relational Ministry

Several years ago before I had kids I really enjoyed spending one-on-one time with of my passions! Which is why I spent four summers at Kanakuk as a counselor, why I went into youth ministry, why I applied and was accepted into the Kanakuk Institute, why I lead small groups, and why marrying a youth minister is awesome! :)

However, since I have had kids, this passion of mine was sort of smothered out by the demands of motherhood. My flame has has been re-sparked if you will! I have within the last 36 hours spent awesome quality time of no less than 8 face-to-face hours (and multiple phone/text/email/facebook) with 4 different girls on SEVERAL different occasions for very different reasons. It has been amazing!

It just so happened that one of my small group girls had surgery this week and is at home all week, one of my girls' boyfriends broke up with her (after a long time exclusive relationship), one of them has finally decided she'd like to spend time with me (after a long time of trying to convince her and having given up she called me out of the blue).

I hate that bad things had to happen to my sweet girls in order for these opportunities to arise to a) allow them to see me in this role in their lives, b) allow me the opportunity (and to jump on it), c) re-spark in me this undeniable calling in my life

God is good. I have slowly been sinking back out of my faithfulness to do my quiet time each day, to be on my knees in prayer in general (but especially for them), and just to have a deep soul relationship with my Father... He wasn't gonna let that happen this time...oh, He's been whispering, and I have heard and have chosen to ignore or half-heartedly approach the throne, but this time, I just couldn't say no...couldn't pass it up...and I am so thankful I listened, so thankful that He chose me in this moment in time to love on these girls. So thankful for my past hurts and hang-ups that I can share with them during their hurting so that maybe, just maybe, they won't have to walk the same roads I've walked to get to where I am today (which really, folks, it isn't that far, but I do know that I am changed and renewed and freed!)

Thank you Jesus for this time that you have allowed for me to set aside in my life to pour out my life into these girls. I thank you for all of them. I thank you for their struggles now, knowing later they will be more like you because of them. I thank you for my struggles so that I might be able to help them with theirs. I thank you for not letting me slip through the cracks. Thank you for pursing me, when I didn't care to be pursued...thank you for teaching me I can in turn not give up on my girls. Thank you for who you are and that you are my Savior, my friend, my Father, my helper, my Redeemer, my Creator, my all in all. Thank you Lord. Please give me wisdom, please give them healing, comfort, and peace. Be their all-in-all tonight and forever Lord. Use me Lord. Use me to make an everlasting difference in their world, and for Your Kingdom.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Of Course...

You know when I went to bed after my "He's listening" post below I could have told you I was doomed....and I was.

I saw EVERY single cotton-picking hour on the clock that night/morning from 9p-9a. It was awful. Neither of them slept, so of course I didn't...but my sweet and darling husband managed to sleep through it ALL! :/

Needless to say I was VERY grouchy yesterday and last night wasn't much better, but at least Jackson didn't wake up till 5a this morning but thankfully went back to sleep (with us of course) till 8:45. Today, I am still rather grouchy but a little less because they are at least at school.

I took Creighton to the doctor last Tuesday to find out she had a really bad ear infection and not so bad ear infection AND a sinus infection. She's been on antibiotics TWICE A DAY religiously since and yet last night she was so so so upset about her ears...she was pulling like mad and screaming like crazy...from 11-12:15 and then from 3-4 until I finally just brought her to bed with me, which happened to be the miracle cure...or maybe it was all the Tylenol I gave her...because she slept great till 7:15 and then I nursed her and she went back to sleep till 9.

Jackson has been talking a lot about monsters lately...and it absolutely breaks my heart because I can be immobilized at times by my fears at night and I hate it that he might have that too. He was talking with Jeff in the shower last night about his previous night's sleeplessness and he was saying there was a monster and he began describing him and says he is on his wall. I hate that for him SO much. Any advice on how to get past this with him? He has a night light on already and a fan for noise so he doesn't hear outside noises and/or Creighton's cries. It just breaks me really to think of his fears!

Anyway, I desperately need to get some rest...I decided that I absolutely could NOT get pregnant again just for the sole reason of I wouldn't make it another year without sleep...really, I wouldn't! My depths of my being just canNOT function without it. I heard a commercial that man can survive 12 days without sleep...that is a load of bull! I wouldn't make it past the 2nd day...

Sorry for my complaining...I am just severely in a funk!

I am going to have lunch with one of my small group girls though and I visited one of my other ones this morning who had surgery yesterday and so that helped and I hope my lunch helps lift my mood (and helps me feel I have purpose again)...

Good day y'all...and Baby A is a whole week old today!!! :)---when I think of this I hate that I typed any of the above with any complain in my voice because I do have healthy babies...and I do know that I am so blessed! Forgive my complaining

Monday, March 3, 2008

He's listening...

Oh praise the Lord! Jackson is finally catching on...and so quickly. His vocabulary and comprehension has grown exponentially on a minute to minute basis over the last few weeks. He is so aware of just about everything that comes out of Jeff and I's mouths--and everyone else's for that matter. He watches everything and hardly misses a thing. He listens to everything and definitely doesn't miss a thing! Its amazing how far he's come in so little time.

He has gotten SOO much better with his colors and uses them daily now and about 95% correct...there are a few he doesn't get right at times, but its usually when it isn't the BRIGHT BRILLIANT shade of that color that we use to teach with....and/or when they are alike...his grandfather and his father both are very color blind and I am a little worried about this with him, but we'll see. He is singing his ABC's and other songs now and doing so well with them. His counting is still off: won, too, for, fife, seven, for, ate, too, tin :)

I have been pretty consistent with him about his manners and wowwhee it is paying off. Today on several occasions he said with the sweetest tone please and thank you and sorry and excuse me and I love you and it just about makes me melt...because I don't have to prompt him anymore...he just does it! It is a glorious and beautiful thing! Last night we went to dinner at Luigi's and it was really good by the way, but when the waitress brought Jackson his food he looked up with hesitation and said, "thanks so much" then shined his amazing smile and I couldn't have been more proud of him and grateful for such a sweet boy!

He is a lover and a cuddler (when he slows down enough to be, because he is certainly still ALL boy)...but I love this about him. He is so sweet...with words, with actions, with thoughts...its amazing how someone so small and so young can understand enough to be this way...I love his innocence!

He is cracking us up these days with lots of funny phrases and sayings. He tells me I am pretty almost everyday and he always says "mommy pretty like _____" (ariel, belle, cinderella, etc) He loves his princesses right now and Aidan asked why he liked princesses so much and I just said because he thinks they are pretty...:)

He is incredibly helpful around the house now and for the most part will do what we say (even though sometimes we have to begin to count to three...) He is thoughtful in that on occasion he'll go get diapers for both of the kids (in separate locations) at night time without being asked...that is awesome. He hasn't mastered it yet, but he is getting decent about putting his plate and stuff in the sink and he likes to help with laundry (as does Rae Rae).

He constantly is telling me as we open the garage that "I make shooa Rae Rae no go en da stweet" Then he tells me when I forget to shut the garage door: "Mommy, sshuut the doewer!"

His smile lights up the room anywhere he goes. People are drawn to him. Those blue eyes and that light light hair and that little grin....they just can't resist him and neither can I! I am so in love with my littlest man. He makes my heart jump for joy (at least when I don't have the desire to kill him :)) and I couldn't be a happier mommy!

ps. I edited my photos on my post here and I am quite proud of my little creation