Monday, August 31, 2009

What Do I Know of Holy?

My new favorite song...I could listen to it 100 times a day. (Scroll down to hear a live version.)

What Do I Know of Holy?
by Addison Road

I made You promises a thousand times
I tried to hear from Heaven
But I talked the whole time
I think I made You too small
I never feared You at all
If You touched my face would I know You?
Looked into my eyes could I behold You?

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

I guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How You were mighty to save
Those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of wounds that will heal my shame?
And a God who gave life "its" name?
What do I know of Holy?
Of the One who the angels praise?
All creation knows Your name
On earth and heaven above
What do I know of this love?

What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?

What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of Holy?

A live version:

A Beautiful Day for Maramec Spring Park!

Our family picnic...

Gabriel swinging...

Feeding the fishy...

A walk along the stock ponds...

Do you think we ever become so used to our surroundings that we don't appreciate them as much as we should? I know. Profound. I've gone to the Maramec Spring Park several times, starting as a child with my dad, and for some reason I realized yesterday that perhaps I hadn't appreciated its beauty as much as those who come to see it for the first time as adults. People travel from "the city" quite often to escape to the quietness of the surroundings.

So, as my kids played in the park area, and as they fed the fish, I finally realized how incredibly gorgeous this place is. And I love it. I love hearing the water roll quickly over the rocks in the stream. The kids giggling as they see the fish surface for the little pebbles they throw on the water is just the sweetest sound. The peacefulness of everyone who walk around the spring is so nice, as if we all just needed a short get-away from the business of everyday life. I found myself talking to God a lot...thanking Him for His creation. Thanking Him for the gorgeous day. And thanking Him for the wonderful time with my family.

It was a perfect day.

And I hope next time my local friends have a day at the springs, they will appreciate it just as much, too! :o)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Handwriting 101

It was somewhat difficult to get Caleb interested in coloring, drawing, and especially writing. I remember thinking before I had kids that my children would all want to sit down and have coloring time each day. They would want to draw nice pictures. And, of course, their handwriting would be perfect by the age of 5.

Not so much for my high-energy boy. Who wants to color or write when you can go outside and play in the dirt?

One day when Caleb came home from preschool last year, I went through his pack-back and pulled out his Scholastic book order. I always love looking through it even if I don't plan on buying anything. I always loved getting those books as a kid!

Then I saw it. Something I just had to have. It was a "Write and Wipe" board book, and I hoped that Caleb would find this to be a fun way to learn how to write his letters.

When it arrived, Caleb was instantly interested. I showed him each page and explained that he should trace the first letters and then try to write them on his own.

It has helped SO MUCH. For the longest time he would take it every where he went. He would show people his letters, even if we were at Wal-Mart. And while his handwriting still needs work, I would say for the most part, if I tell him how to spell something, he can do it. He recently wrote "Thank you" to some friends and mailed it to them. He also spelled both friends names on the paper. It looked great for a boy who was just not interested in writing a year ago!

So I would highly reccomend this type of book. The small size allows it to be taken anywhere! :o)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Quick Thank You

Or maybe not so quick. I'm not sure how long I'll write about this.

Thank you, fellow moms, for sharing your true feelings on your blogs. How great it is that we live in a generation where it is ok to say, "I don't really like my kids today," or "I really want to have time to myself and do what I want to do, " and other moms know that it has nothing to do with your ability to be a good mom.

Like this blogger (who I don't know, I just pop in on her site from time to time):

I may need to go to counseling because I seriously struggle with liking my middle child right now. He’s so very difficult. It’s just tricky. He’s so smart and full of energy, and I don’t want to suffocate that. However using his intelligence and enthusiasm to say as many bad words as possible and to beat up his baby brother is unacceptable. I feel like a failure with him, like none of my mothering techniques are working. sigh. He is just 3.5… it will get better (I hope).

Or this one from Bethany:

I cried to Husby, "I haven't done a thing for myself all day!". Really, a few pathetic tears rolled down my face. I was so tired though that I didn't want to go into a discussion of better ways for me to allocate time during the day. I didn't want to think about why I waited until after a disagreement to communicate my feelings. I didn't want to do anything but feel sorry for myself.

And sleep. I wanted to do that too. However, I knew that the baby would wake me up in a few hours, which made me feel even more exhausted.

So, I confess this to you, dear readers, I am naturally a self absorbed person. I like to do things that I like to do. I like to do things I want to do. I like to do things alone and for myself. I like thinking about myself and having my own needs met.

Another mom (who's blog is private and she allows only friends or family) wrote:

(After having her second child) Instead I came home to a state of - almost depression, I think. I was resentful - of just about everyone. I was angry at those people with healthy babies, I was jealous of those who acted like things were easy with multiple kids...I was angry at [baby] (that's right I just admitted it - to the world) I wasn't mean or hateful or non-loving mommyish to him, but to be honest, deep down I was upset. Upset that his hospital stay and his constant need for attention had built a wall between me and [first born].

Or this entry from Ashley:

I'll be totally, brutally honest. I've been in some need of some major rejuvenation lately. I need some time to myself without kids hanging on my neck, back, or legs.

And this one from Kim:

I realize that I am not a good "stay at home" mom. This is very hard to admit. I just get bored staying at home.

Or another private blog:

I am very close to tears... I am not sure why? Today just isn't my day I guess. Maybe tomorrow will be better... Some days I am 100% confident in what I am doing - as a mother... other days I feel like a failure.

There are many more.

It is so good to be in this together!

So again, I thank you. My heart hurts with you when you struggle. But know is so good to know I am not alone. And as Ashley said...we need to be encouraged to fight The Good Fight!

Friday, August 28, 2009

I ♥ Fake Cappuccinos

What? You don't know what fake cappuccinos are? Well, I just consider it to be fake if it comes from a machine at a gas station or if it's in powdered form at a store. But...those are my favorites because they are so sweet and have little resemblance to coffee!

My favorite fake cappuccino is one that I stumbled upon at Aldi's a while back. It was not on my list, but I couldn't resist this particular find.

It has such a sweet, smooth taste, and it really hits the spot on a cool day. Like this afternoon (how amazing is it that it's cool enough at the end of August for me to be writing this)!

I should get paid for this infomercial.

The Scale

Have you ever stepped on your scale in the morning, looked at the number, and thought...

There is no way I could possibly be doing this well with my weight considering how much crap I've been stuffing in my face on a daily basis over the last few weeks. I really should check the batteries on this thing.

No? Just me? Oh.

Never mind, then.

Have a nice day! May your scales say nice numbers!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

There's No Such Thing As The Green Eyed Man

Have you seen the movie Bolt? It is just so cute. I had no idea I would love it so much, and we rented it SEVERAL times at Redbox this summer...before eventually buying a copy for the house!

What I didn't realize, however, is that Caleb would keep the concept of "The Green Eyed Man" so vivid in his mind. The end of the movie shows this character in a hospital, posing as a doctor, and it's the "bad guy" so to speak. The syringe in his hand is HUGE and it's filled with a green substance. Scary for a 5-year-old maybe. It gives a bad mental image of a doctor for sure!

Today was the day I scheduled for Caleb and Sarah to have their checkups. When I told Caleb about the doctor's appointment, he had a terrified look on his face. I just didn't understand why since he's never had any bad experiences or anything. Eventually - because moms are just so smart - I figured out The Green Eyed Man concept! I tried to reassure Caleb that the doctor on the movie was not real...that real doctors are here to help us and keep us healthy and safe!

Reluctantly, he said ok. We traveled to the pediatrician's office, and both of the kids did great! But...I did feel really bad when I found out that both of them DID have to have shots (because I told Caleb he wouldn't have to have any). It was difficult, but the nurse was AWESOME and did it very quickly.

If if you're interested, here are the stats:

Caleb is 46" tall (95th percentile) and 51 pounds (95th percentile).

Sarah is 38" tall (75th percentile) and 36 pounds (90th percentile).

Would you believe...when the nurse practitioner told me the percentile for Sarah...and I realized that her weight percentile was higher than her height percentile, I asked, "Does that mean she's..."

I paused...

Ok, Chrissy. Don't sound like a bad mom for goodness sake. Don't say FAT. Should I say chubby? How do I ask this?

And then I quickly pulled myself together and continued...


I was assured that no, she is not overweight. Good thing because that child is such a picky eater. I was told that some kids are just different in stature. DUH. So she's still perfect. :o)

There's the scoop on my morning! I hope Caleb gets over The Green Eyed Man image. We have to do follow-up shots in six months.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Gravel Road

It was December of 1993, and our family spent Christmas in our brand new house. It was so exciting. It was built on 80 acres outside of Owensville. It was the piece of land my dad always wanted.

Just perfect.

As the years went by, and as I began to drive a car of my own, I remember saying MANY times to my dad, "I will NEVER live on a gravel road! NEVER! I just can't stand how dusty my car is. Never, never, never." If you wanted to find our house, you would travel on Hwy EE for about 5 miles and then drive on 3 miles of gravel. I really hated it. My car always had layers of dust on it. What was the point of washing it? It would just get dirty again when I traveled home!

He would always just smile and say, "I used to think the same thing. You might change your mind someday."

Guess what, were right.

I dream of the day when I might live down a road just like the one I used to see every day on my way home (pictured above). I want to step outside of my front door and see nothing but trees or a field of grass. I want to hear nothing but birds and crickets. I wouldn't mind being awakened at 5:30 am by a's true.

I am not an outdoorsy kind of girl, but I do know this: I simply love visiting my parents' house if for no other reason than to take a walk down their lane and see the tall pine trees; to skip a rock on their pond that sits not far from their back yard; to sit out on their deck and hear their wind chimes.

No interstate. No train.

I love it.

Perhaps someday we will live in such a place. And if my vehicle is dusty, I won't mind. I know it's a small price to pay.

Dad...I now understand.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'll take WASTING TIME for 600, Alex.

I confess. As if you didn't know. Facebook takes up hours upon hours of my time.

Well. It used to.

I have been facebook-free since Saturday at 2:00 pm.

That's right. I deactivated.

I was having one of those "cry in the shower" moments that afternoon, and for some reason it just hit me. What wastes my time and keeps me from God? From His word? From my kids? From my husband? It's sad, but true. It's facebook. So I literally stepped out of the shower, covered in a towel, and sat at my computer and deactivated facebook.

Just like that.

I didn't give a "warning status" of any kind. I did not tell my friends. I didn't even mention it to Josh. Later that evening he said, "Did you change your settings or something? I can't find you!" So then I told him. I was no longer a part of that world.

Now, I'm not saying that other people can't use it in moderation. I'm sure there are people out there who check it once a day. See a few pictures. Leave a few comments. And that's it. I know some of those people. But that wasn't me.

And it's been three days. You know...I've only had one email asking me about it. There has only been two people ask Josh about it. And just today my best friend said, "I couldn't find you. Where did you go?"

Four people out of 575 of my "friends".

Could it be that the facebook world is still thriving without me? Amazing. It didn't fall apart.

And it's proven to be a productive move on my part. The kitchen is clean. Our two bathrooms are clean. The kids' rooms are clean. I'm almost caught up on laundry.

Yes, it WASTED TIME in my life. I hope to go back someday. But if I find that I am neglecting time with my kids, my husband, or my Lord and Savior, I will have to give it the boot again.

Life is too short to waste that much time.

This blog entry by Joshua Harris was what first got me to thinking about my habits. The 6th paragraph that starts, "The other reason I feel right about making my time with Facebook just a visit is a little harder to explain," really hit home for me.

My Sweet Sarah

Today Sarah turns three-years-old.

Her delivery day marked a new beginning for me. About three months before she was due, Josh finally agreed that we could make it with me being a stay-at-home mom. It was an answer to prayer, that's for sure. And while crunching the numbers often led to discouragement, I just had to trust that we would make it because I knew it was what I was supposed to do.

It was an early morning since I was scheduled to be induced. I wasn't sure what to expect since I went into labor naturally with Caleb, but I actually liked the idea of knowing when she would arrive! Plus, I was able to wake up, take a shower, put on make-up, fix my hair, and look cute for the after delivery pictures...ha! Who thinks of that anyway? :o)

All went well, and I had my sweet baby girl almost right at noon. She weighed 8 pounds 14 ounces, and had a little round face.

Caleb meeting Sarah...

Her first birthday...

And her second birthday...

And her third...

Really, who has surgery the day before their birthday?

And every time I hear this song, I think of her and cry. Which doesn't surprise you I'm sure - the crying thing! :o)

Though she'll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
When I'm gone I hope you see
How happy she made me
For I'll be there

In my daughter's eyes

Happy birthday sweet girl! I love you!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Surgery Day

Perhaps you recall this post where I explained that Sarah would have a surgical procedure on August 24th. Well, this morning came and went, and all is well!

We had to leave super early - 4:30 am - and the nurse who called and confirmed all the information this week told me to just bring her in her PJ's.

So I did.

We arrived at the Mason Ridge Surgical Center at 6:30 am, and while it was not Children's Hospital or Cardinal Glennon, the physician was a pediatric ophthalmologist, so it was very kid friendly in the waiting room. The receptionist even turned on Blue's Clues for Sarah! And we sure love that show!

The nurses were so very sweet, they asked Sarah all kinds of fun questions and spent time getting to know her before she had to be taken away for surgery. They gave her two books, one being a picture book, and she told them every animal she saw!

When it was time to be wheeled away they told her to say good bye to Mommy and Daddy. "Bye bye!" she said with a smile on her face! We both gave her a kiss and watched her roll down the hallway in her little bed. Both nurses and both anesthesiologist said to us, "We will take good care of her!" And I believed them. I was very calm and not upset at all. I could feel God giving me a peaceful spirit about it all.

I didn't have the heart to take a picture after the procedure. As good as she was beforehand, she was not so happy afterwards. Once the anesthesia wore off, she cried and cried. They told us it was because she was disoriented and still didn't have full control of her body - not exactly the type of thing that an almost 3-year-old can understand. Josh and I took turns holding her (because she kept going back and forth) and did our best to calm her.

She slept the entire way back to Mama and Papa Vogt's house. When we got there, she woke up and was bright-eyed!

Thank you for your prayers.

Thank you, Kim, for the cookies!

And thank you SO MUCH Mom and Dad for watching Caleb and Gabriel this morning while we were gone!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I am a Fantasy Football Wife

Hi. My name is Chrissy. And I am a Fantasy Football wife.

Hi, Chrissy.

As if being a coaches wife wasn't hard enough, I also endure several months of the ins and outs of pro football. I am kicked out of the house for 4 hours during one evening of the draft. I get to hear about the trades and keepers. I'm sure it's all fun for them, and I'm sure it's quite difficult to keep track of which athlete has been arrested or thrown into prison each year for whatever reason.

Oh, wait. They have to keep track of injuries. Sorry. It's the injuries that they keep track of.

I'm sure if there was a Fantasy Kid's Show league, I'd rock.

And I've learned that my husband selected his team name last night. You know, intimidation is quite important in any competition. It's important to keep your opponent on their toes. I'm confident that during the weeks when the other guys have to play against Josh, they will be shaking in their boots when they think of this team.

Ready for it?

Team name: SpongeBob ScorePants.

Good luck, honey! I know you want that trophy sitting on our entertainment center. And, boy, I sure hope you get it. I can't think of anything I'd rather have on top of our TV ;o)

For now, I think I'll order these.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My Favorite

I've been meaning to tell you that my very favorite "Must Read" blog is My Charming Kids. I do not go a day without "checking in on her" so-to-speak! I love her writings, her info, her tips, and most of all, I love her faith and her willingness to share her struggles and victories as a mom.

If you've been to her site, great! If you haven't, head on over there! And you might want to bookmark this post on discipline. It's been one of my favorites.

My other favorite is this one.


I cannot tell you which one of my "Friends" blogs is my favorite. That might cause some discord among you all.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Yes, I Have Gray Hair

I'm pretty sure I've had one gray hair since I was 17 or so. It's on the right side. It hides itself under other hair so that no one realized I had it.

But since having children (maybe Caleb specifically...ha!) I have found many more. I often joke with whomever cuts my hair that I will undoubtedly have to start coloring it eventually. I always ask if she sees any new gray hairs.

My friends always say they can't see them. For the longest time I did not believe them. I thought for sure they were just being nice.

So to prove that I really have many gray hairs, I took a picture of myself this morning.

This one was taken right after the blow dryer made my hair all fluffy. I see several on the right side of my hair, left side of the picture - if you click on the picture you can probably see it more clearly.

This one was taken after I straightened it.

All I have to say is, the magic of a hair straightener and the magic of parting my hair on the other side is quite amazing. I didn't realize until after I looked at these pictures how much darker my hair looks after it's straightened. And now I also can tell that my grays really do lay down and hide after I've fixed my hair.

So for now, I will put off coloring my hair. I'm sure it's inevitable, though.

Right, Mom? ;o)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What I Miss

It never fails. It happens this time every year. It started in the fall of 1998, and I've struggled every fall (into winter) each year since.

The first time I remember feeling this way was on an autumn day as I stepped outside of Leslie Hall at SBU my first year. The local high school band traveled over to the college football field to practice, and as I heard the percussion, the brass, the woodwinds...and as I saw the color of the flags on the field, I felt like I couldn't breathe. I stopped. I realized that I was not taking part in something that had been such a huge part of my life entire life...that was very difficult to grasp for me for some reason.

As you may or may not know, my dad is a retired band director. So basically since birth, I had been a part of his program. Every summer, whether I liked it or not, I attended boot camp. When it was finally my turn as a freshman to actually be a part of it all, it was just so amazing. It didn't matter if it was 93 degrees every day, I LOVED IT. It didn't matter if he was hard on us, it's what we needed. It's what it took to be award-winning.

That morning at SBU solidified to me that I was no longer a part of something that was my life for so long. It was more than just missing the good ol' days of high school. It was missing my family. It was missing the early morning rides to school with dad. It was missing his sound system that cut out every few minutes so the trumpet section didn't hear what he said. It was missing his sayings like, "Well, I could drive a Mack truck through that interval!" It was missing his no-nonsense approach to teaching. The approach that has made so many of his students tell me that they learned more from him about real life than from anyone else.

So many things I missed.

And sadly...even though it's now been 12 years this fall since I stepped on the practice field, I still struggle with missing it. If the air is cool in the mornings as I go for a walk with the kids, I often will tear up. If I go to a local football game and hear the band perform the Star Spangled Banner, I might tear up. If I drive by the practice field here in town and see the color of the flags, it's guessed it...that I might tear up.

As I sit here typing this...I'm tearing up.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for so many memories. Even though I'm sad that it's gone, I'm so thankful it was a part of my life.

picture - Bronwen and I with our first place trophy at the Greater St. Louis Marching Festival. Second picture - the seniors at Washington Band Day. Last picture - Owensville High School "Band of the 90's" in the fall of 1997.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Measure Me Monday

This week: Nothing gained. Nothing lost.

At around 1:20 pm today, I loaded the kids into the van and was going to take a trip to Sonic. This was not emotional eating. This was just lazy, convenient, I just cleaned my kitchen and don't want to get anything out eating. Everyone was in their seat, and I climbed into the vehicle and buckled my seat belt.

Then I heard a text message alert.

"Measure Me Monday blog...where is it?" was the message.

I just laughed.

"Umm...darn you pesky friend! :o)" I replied to her.

"I'm just trying to encourage you. I want you to win."

I felt tears begin to fill my eyes. I couldn't believe that someone thought about me and cared enough to send me a text like that. And to top it all off, that it came to me right as I was about to order a Chicken Club Toaster, Large Cheese Fries, and a Rt. 44 Coke at Sonic.

Guess what, Kim. I didn't order it. I didn't get anything. I bought two small slushes for the kids since I already had them in the van and promised it to them.

Thank you. You have no idea how much that simple text message meant to me.

Pictures - that's 179 pictures to be exact

Over the last month, I have posted 179 pictures to my facebook. That's right. It's been a busy month. So I thought I'd share them with you. Well...for those of you not on facebook or those who aren't "friends" with me on facebook (and it's ok...we can still be blog friends).


Click here for our trip to Michigan.

Click here for our trip to Chuck E. Cheese.

Click here for our Waterslide Party.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Attn: Neat Freak OCD Friend

I would be lying if I said I didn't wish I was more like you. Wait. More like you? How about just like you at all when it comes to organization and the ability to keep up with your house on a daily basis. Wait. On an hourly basis. Wait. It must be a minute by minute basis.

So I was concerned with your mental health when you posted a picture a while back and said your living room was messy. Your son had a few toys out, but each one was perfectly set up, each character that went along with it was nicely set in its place according to where it was supposed to be in the play set.

I felt that perhaps you weren't sure what messy looked like, so I thought I'd better help you out and show you.

This is probably only a day's worth of messiness and me not paying attention to EVERYTHING that they were getting out.

But I knew that picture might make you hyperventilate, so rest assured, it was picked up.

I'm not sure how long it will last, though. Be sure to call before you come over.


Friday, August 14, 2009

The Cool Shoes

It was the Sunday evening of tax-free weekend, and somehow I managed to get out of the house on my own and travel to Wal-Mart to see if I could pick up Caleb's preschool supplies and perhaps a clothing item or two (if the price was right). I did have a pair of shoes in mind for Caleb after seeing them at the Wal-Mart in Kalamazoo (yes, I went to Wal-Mart several times on my vacation)! :o)

As I walked through the kids shoe aisle, I noticed a young mom with her son, trying on a pair or two. I looked to see which ones they were looking at, and I'm pretty sure they were the same kind that I wanted to buy for Caleb. Since the aisle was full, I pushed my cart to the next one where the girl shoes were located. But I was close enough to overhear what the mom said to the boy.

"Now we're going to keep these shoes in a box in your closet, and if I hear you complaining about [such and such...I don't remember what she specifically said] we are going to take your COOL PUMA SHOES away and you will have to wear these not-so-cool shoes."

For a moment, I think my heart skipped a beat. I'm not sure if I was mad, frustrated, embarrased, who knows. I do know that I felt something.

I thought to myself, "So if my children were around her children, they would know for sure that my kids had not-so-cool shoes on. Not because THEY would have thought it on their own, but they were TOLD so."


I did not buy those shoes that night. That comment did not keep me from buying them, but I have to admit, it was really hard to hear for some reason. It was upsetting that a child was already being taught that something was cool or not as determinded by the name brand or where it was purchased. As I've shared before, my kids have lived in hand-me-downs their entire lives. When I do find something new, it's like these shoes I'm writing about for only $10.

So I'm still trying to digest that experience. It makes school uniforms (no name brand allowed) at a priavate, Christian school all that much more appealing.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Being a "Girl Mom"

I remember the day Sarah was born, the nurses put me in a pink hospital gown. I just knew that would be the beginning of all the "cuteness" that comes with being a girl mom.

As a senior in high school, I remember one of my closest girlfriends signing my senior scrapbook and saying something like, "I know you'll be a great mother someday with lots of babies ♀" and she actually put the little female symbol! She knew all I wanted was girls.

It's interesting to me that I am not the kind of girl mom I thought I would be. Not at all. I thought for sure that I would have the most frilly
dresses for my daughter. I thought for sure that I would have every bow available, every doll there was, all the pink and purple anyone could imagine. I thought doll houses would stand along the walls of her room, her hair would be in ribbons each day.

But that's not the case. She did not have any hair to speak of until she was almost two. Instead of those cute headbands that I could have put on her head, I opted for...umm...nothing. She has only been to a hair salon once in her 3 years of life.

I have never painted her fingernails or toenails. I hardly ever buy her t
he latest outfit because I use all the hand-me-downs I receive from a friend. She does not have a pink or purple room because she shares one with her brother. She doesn't have that many "girl" toys because she tends to play with whatever Caleb has, so I usually just find gender neutral toys like the "Wonder Pets" or the "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse."

Her hair is always in pigtails because that's about the only way I've found her hair will stay without getting in her eyes or becoming frizzy. And even with pigtails, I often forget to put bows in it.

But I do know this...she is full of energy and love. She gives the best hugs. She tells me she loves me with the most sincere tone. She's very smart.

I tell her she's beautiful each and every day.

And I love her so very much, even without the ribbons and curls.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Power of a Song

Music has the ability to bring me to tears. A song that reminds me of a past event or happening can take me back to the exact time in my life when I first heard it. It's just the weirdest thing. Well, maybe not weird...but it's something I'm learning about myself.

Case in point...

We were having a nice Saturday morning this past weekend. The night before, we had spent the evening and slept over at my sister's new house, and we woke up and began getting ready for our big day! It was Chuck E. Cheese day for the kids, and they were so excited to see their friends Alli and Payton who were to meet us there. We loaded up in the van, all the kids were buckled, and we set out for the fun and games!

As we were driving down Battlefield, a song that I had not heard in probably 10 - 15 years came on the radio. I've been on a country music kick these days, and I haven't listened to that sort of thing in quite a while. But as the melody the lyrics were sung...tears began to well up in my eyes. I had to work hard at not bursting into full fledged crying. Josh looked over at me (having no idea what the significance the song had to me) and just put his hand on my leg to try and comfort me.

It was How Can I Help You to Say Goodbye by Patty Loveless.

The significance? This song was released in the spring of 1993 and played A LOT in the year following. My grandma was sick during that time, and passed away in May of 1994. I remember crying so much every time I would hear that song.

I did not expect such emotion when I heard it on Saturday, but when I think about it, it shouldn't surprise me. Music (and certain forms of music or certain lyrics) have always moved me in powerful ways.

The same is true when it comes to different worship styles.

(Allow me to bunny trail for a moment.)

When I was a teen, our youth group would attend "Super Summer" each June. It was a week-long, youth evangelism camp, filled with daily, Christ-centered teachings, amazing leaders, evening speakers that were just so spirit-filled, and the music during worship throughout the day and each night made me feel like I was face to face with the Lord. Contemporary worship has always moved me this way. Repeating a familiar lyric that allows me to close my eyes and focus on Him has always been more powerful TO ME than reciting five stanzas of a hymn. It can bring me to tears when I'm completely focused on Him and can close my eyes and not wonder what the next line is.

That's just me.

It really upsets me when someone tells me, "But it's not about's about praising the Lord. It shouldn't matter what kind of music it is."

I understand that. But why can I not have a preference? Why can I not state that I feel closer to God with certain songs? Would you tell an 80-year-old woman the same thing, that she just needed to jam out to Skillet because it shouldn't matter?


Music is powerful to me.

Certain songs are powerful to me.

I prefer a certain kind of worship.

And I'm confident that God loves me even if I'd rather sing God of the City than Old Rugged Cross...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Measure Schmeasure

If it wasn't for my friend Kassie and this so-called contest and my RIDICULOUS idea to post my progress on my blog, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be giving my weight much thought these days. I would have given up after the beginning of July. According to my excel sheet, I've been at the exact same weight since 6/29.

Not gained. That's a plus I suppose.

So how do I keep going?

It's interesting that I didn't realize I was an emotional eater until recently. I think it was last year sometime when I finally admitted to myself that I do, in fact, eat when I'm upset. My earliest memory of this comes from my teen years. When my mom and I would go shopping, I would often become VERY upset with the size I would have to wear (looking back, it was SO DUMB because I was a size 9/10 when I was 16). After our shopping trip, we would always eat "something fun" like Baskin Robbins or the cookies at the mall. Sure, part of it was just a treat since we were having mother/daughter bonding/shopping time. But really...I started WANTING to eat something as soon as I didn't like the sizes.

And now that I'm a grown up (sigh) I recognize that I do the same thing only with bigger issues. If I'm upset with Josh...I want to go to McDonald's. Having a rough day with the kids...I want to go to McDonald's.

If I'm trying to lose weight, it's nearly impossible for me to suppress this emotional eating, so unless my life is PERFECT, I'm just not sure how I'm going to do this.

I apologize if this sounds over-dramatic. It's just the truth, and I thought I'd put it out there for my Measure Me Monday fans.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Bright White Dress

There is a story my mom used to tell about taking me to the babysitter in a bright white dress.

While my babysitter was quite prim and proper in her own right, she evidently would always ask, "Do you expect her to come home with a white dress, too?" Probably half kidding. My mom would always respond, "Well, yes!" Probably also half kidding. But the reality is, I did come home completely clean. I did not make messes. I used to wonder when she would tell this story if it was my genetic predisposition or if my mom just instilled it in me.

I never gave this story much thought until yesterday.

As you may know, my parents kept Caleb and Sarah for us while we were in Michigan. We have been home for a week now, and just last night I finally did their laundry! Evidently they had enough clothes to last through this week so I could be lazy and not do a load of their stuff. Before I started it I thought to myself, "I wonder how many shirts I should have put 'Shout' on instead of letting them sit for over a week in a Wal-Mart bag."

But as I pulled out each shirt...each pair of shorts...I just couldn't believe my eyes. NOTHING HAD ANYTHING ON IT! It just looked worn, a bit wrinkled, and of course, did not smell fresh. But other than that, it did not look like my kids' dirty clothes. Even Caleb's socks (which happened to be brand new) hardly looked worn.

And then the story of my bright white dress at the babysitter came to mind.

I just wonder if my mom has the ability to teach a child how to do this? If it's expected, it just happens?

Thanks, Mom, for keeping my kids. And keeping them clean! :o)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

You're Gonna Miss This

Seriously...every time I hear this song (and especially if I watch the video) I get teary-eyed. It's almost like someone asked me 25 years from now to write a song about myself. Even the tiny details in the lyrics. It's just so me. (The apartment in the video even reminds me of our first place!)

And I try to remind myself of it when the days are long and the kids are difficult.

Watch it. Listen to it. I love it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Caleb is 5 today!

It was 5:15 in the morning when I started timing contractions on August 5, 2004. After an hour, I told Josh I knew it was the real deal, so we got ourselves ready and headed out to PCRMC. I remember walking to the entrance and thinking, "This is a beautiful day to have a baby!"

And it was.

We called our parents first, of course, and they were so excited.

One of my most vivid memories of the morning was being wheeled up to the OB floor and passing by a room of a delivering mother. She was SCREAMING LOUDLY, and I thought to myself, "Well, that's just great! That's not exactly what a first-time mom wants to hear as she's being taken to her room!"

I remember asking Josh to call my director at 7:30 because I knew she'd be in her office by then. I actually worked in the IT Department at the hospital, and my office was only a floor below where I was delivering. I told Josh to tell her I wouldn't be in that morning. And I probably wouldn't make the 2:00 pm meeting either! :o)

By 3:04 pm, we had our beautiful baby boy! He was just perfect.

And today we celebrate his 5th birthday! These years are flying by so fast. And while it's hard to believe that time is going by so quickly, I'm not really one who is "sad" that he's growing up. I just love each new adventure. I love each new milestone. This past year, for example, he started preschool. He learned how to write his name and can write most letters. He recognizes some small words. The list could go on and on, but what I'm saying is...I just love the journey of having him!

Happy birthday, Caleb! You are so precious to me. I love you.

Caleb's first birthday.

Caleb's 2nd birthday.

Caleb's 3rd birthday (this was at Hannah's birthday party...they have the same birthday!)

Photo shoot for his 4th birthday!

I don't have a picture from today, his 5th birthday, yet. Posting all of these and seeing how he's changed is quite amazing. I need to go give him a hug now!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Can You Believe It?

I've seen this picture before, but seeing it again just made my mouth drop open. Does this ring bearer look like anyone to you?

No, it's not Caleb. So look again! :o)