Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Inquiring minds will ask

My funny girl, age 4, is on a role today. She has made me laugh with her funny comments on 3 separate occasions in the last 6 hours. These are too good not to share...

First, we were driving on the interstate in our van. She and D are quiet in the back seat (yes, quiet). Completely randomly, she says,
"We have a goat too!"
What on earth is she talking about? I guess she can sense my thoughts because then she adds:
"Look on the steering wheel!!"
Its then that I noticed the Dodge "Ram" emblem on my steering wheel and look up and see the DodgeRam pick-up that just passed us. She was simply realizing that we had the same kind of car...a Goat.

This afternoon, we're driving again. In this area public transportation is really popular so you see a lot of people walking and waiting at bus stops all over the place. Its fun to people watch as we drive. Well, it must have got her to thinking because out of nowhere she asked me:
"Why does everyone have a head?"
I then tried to explain about brains and stuff, but still, what kind of funny question is that? Who really wonders that?

Lastly, we are driving home from the last errand and sitting in traffic. Its stop and go through lights. As we were sitting at one light, she asks me,
"what is that foggy thing?"
I look all around and don't see anything "foggy" so I ask her where she sees it. Its then that she directs my attention to the arm hanging out of the compact car next to us...holding a cigarette. I laughed and told her, "oh, thats a cigarette." She replies (her exact words),
"where exactly do you put it?....on your face?"
Haha, I scooted up a bit so she could watch the man take a few puffs. It makes me realize how sheltered she is. I had no idea she had never seen a cigarette before!!!

Monday, August 30, 2010


I am not very organized. I am "clean" but not all that organized. In fact, each time my mom comes to my house, she reorganizes my pantry and linen closet - because it needs it. Come to think of it, my awesome friend from TN organized my pantry when she visited me last time too. When you open my tupperware cabinet, hold out one hand because it is inevitable that things will topple out on you...this is also true of my pots and pans.

My mom says when you have a the third child (I was one of 3), that THAT is when you HAVE to get organized. Well, I only have two kids, so I guess I still have some time :-)

With all that being said, LOOK AT MY LAUNDRY ROOM!!!
(I am not sure why they are all a little blurry. I guess my camera was acting up.)
The 3 drawer bins are mostly filled with school things for C. Things like coloring books, markers and finger paint, workbooks, crafts, Level One reading books, etc. The white wooden cabinet houses all her Sonlight curriculum books.

This is the first time I have ever had a real laundry room. And what a laundry room it is! It's huge! And oh so useful right off my kitchen! Praise God for this floor plan that gives me a space for all of my things :-)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Reminder to Mom

Being a mom is hard. Being a stay at home mom is hard. I can't say its "harder" than being a working mom since I've never worked more than part-time since being a mom. Some days I wish I had that awesome part time job as a Family Advocate again. Of course, I dreaded leaving my sweet baby girl each afternoon, but each day I showed up at the hospital, I felt needed and important. I helped people in ways that I can't now. Each day that I worked, I was able to get away from my home life for 9 hours, and focus on me as a working woman - which revolved around helping families in times of crisis.

The whole time I worked, B and I were trying to find a way for me to stay home. We both wanted me home with our new baby, but unless we moved and did some job switching, it wasn't going to happen. After selling our house and moving back to Atlanta though, I was finally able to "live my dream" and be a stay-at-home mom....just like my own mom.

Fast forward 3 and a half years and here I am today - ready to pull my hair out. I need to go to work. I need respite from these crazy kids! Haha, I say that with a joking smile in my mind, but there is some very serious truthfulness in those words. How many times in one day did I ever think I would instruct, correct, and discipline? Even my 22 month old puts himself in time out when he's done something bad. Clearly he spends too much time there!

Most days it seems like I spend more hours in the day correcting and explaining (okay, and begging and nagging), that I don't get to do all the things I'd like to do with my kids. I would LOVE to sit on the couch and read to my little blessings. But the youngest blessing won't sit still. At all. Friday we tried to "snuggle up" and read a story. Well, he ended up off the couch, on the couch, off the couch, on the couch (needing me to help him back up each time...and screaming at me if I refused to help), standing on the couch and lastly - sitting ON THE BOOK that we were trying to read. "Sweet D, I can't read through your body :-)."

Where I am going with all of this is that it is so often hard to see the true blessings that my children really are. There are moments that I seem to almost resent my kids. When we "try" and go out to a restaurant and we deal with the squirming, screaming, throwing of silverware and crayons, screaming, crumpling of menus, and screaming and I look to the table across the aisle at the childless couple enjoying their dinner and actually getting to chat and eat in more than 7 minutes, I tend to have a little resentment. Sure, we usually do everything as "family friendly" as possible - like eating before 5pm, only going to "loud" places, ordering food IMMEDIATELY, and bringing a diaper bag full of goodies, but it never works. Every meal is a serious battle. (We need a babysitter. If you know anyone in the Northern VA area, please let me know!)

I try to remind myself that maybe that couple is struggling with infertility and would give anything to be in my shoes. Or maybe their kids are at home with Grandma. Either way, I wish in that moment, that I were them. Eating slowly and peacefully.

I am beginning to feel as though I am rambling. Sorry about that. I do have a point.

My kids seem to eat at me all day long. They do the same things and I correct in the same ways. They never stop running, never stop chasing the dog, never stop dumping all the bins of toys, and never stop asking for juice and snacks (though since D doesn't talk, he just screams and points most of the time). This evening, I lost my temper with C. She wouldn't quit talking and I was trying to watch something on the news. My requests for her to "hush for just a second, I want to hear this," only encouraged her to talk OVER me, and I yelled (screamed rather...to be overheard from her own yelling) at her. She cried and ran to her room and I felt bad. I apologized and asked for forgiveness, but I still feel bad.

It is never my intention to scare my children into obeying me. It is never God's design to put fear into us so that we will obey Him. We obey out of love. C will obey out of love as well, not because I scream back.

This instance reminded me that she is still little. She is still precious and innocent. She doesn't annoy me on purpose. She just wants my attention. In this example, she wanted to serve me some pretend food on a plate.

This week I will focus on "letting them be little" and allowing my floor to look like this:
...without feeling my chest tighten and my breaths quicken.

Because at the end of the mess and loudness are two beautiful blessings from the Lord. They are His...only loaned to me for a little while.

Lord, thank you for trusting them to me even though I am so far from perfect and worthy of being their mother.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


After a few weeks of getting settled here, I have decided that the kids and I are ready for a schedule. B leaves for work right after the kids wake up and comes home shortly after D's afternoon nap. I think I have officially finished all errands to get things for the house (baby gates, lamps, pillows, etc), so now I am looking for things to do durning the day to, um, basically...fill the time until B gets home.

MOPS starts next Wednesday and PWOC starts the following week. That will fill at least 1-2 days a week, but for the rest of the days, I decided it is time to begin C's homeschool curriculum. My plan is to use this Sonlight PreK ages 4-5 curriculum each day to assure myself that she is learning what she needs to know in preparation for Kindergarden next year. Which we may or may not homeschool. We will see how this goes.

I will admit that although this program is set up for moms like me (read that as, "have no idea how to teach a child school things"), I was and still am nervous about it. The "parent guide book" is a step by step instruction on which book to use, which page to read, which activity to do, etc. Its pretty dummy proof. But, I can't help to think about how "real" preschool does so many fun activities to go along with the topics. So, I am now trying to think of ways to make each lesson more thorough and more fun.

We started yesterday while D was taking his nap. First we read our weekly bible verse and then read a story and a poem. We also had a brief science story about the seasons. We started learning about Winter. See, here is where I need an activity - about Winter. Maybe make a craft with cotton balls (snowballs) on construction paper? Sounds like a plan for tomorrow. :-)

She then did a few workbook pages learning about things that are "the same" and things that are "different." She was very good at this! To make the end of the day fun, we played a game of Alphabet Bingo which she LOVED! You would have thought it was as exciting as Cranium or something!

The whole "school day" lasted right at an hour long which is very doable for us. We did it again today beginning with the Pledge of Allegiance, a prayer, and a bible story on creation. We read The Pokey Little Puppy and 2 poems and then did an activity to differentiate between sounds that were "the same" and sounds that were "different." She loved today as well as we finished with a Backyardigans game of Memory.

Mostly, I think she loves the one on one time with me :-) She thrives when I sit down with her and spend uninterrupted (well today D was awake and it WAS interrupted many times) time teaching her and reading to her. Really, how many kids get to sit on the teacher's lap when they read the books?

Tomorrow, we will continue in our lessons. I think we will focus some more on writing some letters properly. She can't wait for tomorrow since I told her our activity to conclude school will be finger painting. Oy! We've never attempted that before :-)

On a side note, how do you like the new color scheme? B and I decided to make it look a little more "Fall like." It will take some getting used to, but overall, I think I like it! Thanks, Honey!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Ups and Downs of a move

Some of you have moved a lot. Some of you haven't moved in over 20 years. I moved once when I was 3 years old and then thankfully didn't move again until I moved out and went to college. Even then, I moved only an hour down the road and I roomed with my best friend. After dorm/apartment hopping for the next 3 years, I got married to my lovely husband...and thus began years of moving and house hopping.

When I sit down to count all the "homes" we've had in our 7 year marriage, it seems like I would be better at moving than I am. After 8 moves, I should have this down to a science. For some reason (okay really, the reason is that I am just not a very organized person...) things still get lost and some things still never get unpacked. Junk keeps following me even though each time before we move, I purge and take bag after bag to goodwill.

Our current home is the largest home we've ever lived in. Its a whole 1800 square feet! To some of you, that may seem tiny and "cozy" and to others, you know what I mean when I say that we finally feel like we can spread out a bit. Our home itself is a huge upside to this move.

Moving however brings a lot of downsides too. I've learned that moves within the same city don't bring as many down sides as moving to a whole new city. For instance, when we moved from our apartment in East Tennessee to the home we bought 20 minutes down the road, it wasn't a huge adjustment. Same jobs, same friends, same restaurants, same roads. But moving from Atlanta to Fort Bragg, NC was a huge adjustment. And likewise, moving from Fort Bragg to the Northern Virginia area has been a huge change.

I have discovered the most challenging part of a move is not knowing anyone. For me, thats way harder than not knowing my way around. If I just had a friend - just one - it would make things so much better. I know that I will meet people in time. But initially, I don't and its very hard.

Clearly another hard point is not knowing your way around town. Having to take the interstate (here it is I-95) to go to Kohls or Chick-fil-a is pretty annoying and undesirable. Are there back roads? Sure. Do I know them yet? No. I will figure out back roads with time and my dumb Insignia GPS (in hind sight...pay the extra $70 and get a Garmin! Ours is horribly slow!) but for now, I will take I-95 to run my errands.

Moving in August has proven to be a problem because it ended up being too late in the year to register C for Pre-K. Apparently we were 6 weeks too late and she is now on a waiting list that is 6 weeks deep worth of kids. Hopefully she will get a spot sometime this Fall. I am thankful that I purchased a home school curriculum to begin in the meantime. We will begin on Monday the 23rd :-)

Now for some of the upsides to moving - meeting new people, finding new stores to shop at, and seeing cool sights. Certainly a huge plus is being able to build new relationships and make new friends. Because we moved here just at the start is the Fall, I will get to join MOPS and PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) right as their "year" is beginning. I can't wait to get started with both these groups in September!

Visiting a new church is always fun for me. Churches love visitors. Its fun to feel wanted and desired as a guest at a church. Most churches even have special "visitor parking" way up front! The church that we have visited for the past 2 weeks is the smallest church we've ever been to - with only about 80-90 people in the worship service on any given week. The pastor is awesome and the people all recognize us as guests...meaning that they all come to meet us, shake our hand, introduce themselves, and invite us back next week. Its so nice to be so welcomed!

Another huge plus is having memories of our previous homes. Each picture that I hang on our new walls reminds me of where I had it hung in our old house. Each friends' name popping up on my cell phone reminds me of the time I use to be able to spend in-person with them at a previous home. Truthfully, sometimes its hard to talk on the phone to them because just hearing their voice makes me choke back tears. To my dear friends from Fort Bragg, I am still getting used to not ending our phone calls with, "okay, see you later!" Its hard because I can picture you in your house or apartment when you're talking to me. And I wish I was there. Or at least that I could be there if I wanted to.

This evening, I made on of my favorite recipes - pumpkin brownies. They always make me think of my friend from Fort Bragg (you know who you are...you gave me the recipe). Just stirring the batter and then smelling them in the oven made me think of making them in my old house. In my old kitchen.

Call me sentimental, but everything brings back memories. I have 2 pages of a Southern Living Magazine framed hanging above my desk (where I blog) that feature Jonesborough, TN...where we used to live and hang out. Seeing the pictures on the pages brings me back to those days 3 and half years ago. I could stare at them and get lost in the pictures for a few minutes every time I glance up.

I love all the memories I have from all my different homes from our first apartment - all 800 square feet up until now. Our family is constantly changing and growing, but above all else, we are together. Friends or no friends, the 4 of us are together. And thats all that truly matters :-)

One of the HUGE upsides to this move is gaining a playroom for the first time ever! Its an awesome space for the kids to spread out, watch TV, play, and learn!
My little man is all smiles before heading out to church...I think he hasn't been phased by the move, haha.

My 4 year old girl chatting with her girlfriend from her pervious preschool for 40 minutes...yes 40 minutes!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Move

I cannot believe its been over a month since I've blogged my last entry. I have thought about blogging a few times over the past month, but truly, I just didn't have the time or energy to sit down and figure out exactly what to write. Since I wrote last, so many things have finally fallen into place... All the things that I have worried/day dreamed about have finally happened.

Since our trip to Williamsburg back in early July, we have:

-Finished getting our old house organized and ready for the movers.
-Survived the two days of packers in our house boxing up all of our household goods.
-Laughed at B as he ran into a wall and cracked his forehead open just 5 days before he had to report to work in DC for his first day :-)
-Watched as the movers loaded our boxes and furniture onto the big moving truck. It was odd to see our house so empty.
-Said good bye to our friends...lots of tears - lots.
-Slept on air mattresses for a few nights.
-Spent about 10 days in Atlanta visiting friends and family. (This included an awesome trip to the Georgia Aquarium!). B in-processed to the White House Communications Agency for a few days before he was able to take leave and fly down to Atlanta to pick us up and drive back up to our new home with us.
-Drove 10 hours to Fredricksburg, VA to spend one night in my Aunt and Uncle's house before we received the keys to our new house the following day in our new town a little north.
-Celebrated our 7th Anniversary (and realized this is our 8th move in 7 years.)
-Slept on air mattresses again for a few days.
-Watched as our furniture/boxes came back to us in our new home.
-Began the incredibly long process of unpacking and setting up the new house.
-Flushed D's eye out when he got a hold of the Tilex Mold and Mildew - note to self, NEVER forget to put it away and leave it out within his reach...
-Shopped like we've never shopped before :-) Ikea, Lowes, and Target probably know us by name now.
-Put C's name on the pre K waiting list here on post.
-Survived without the internet or TV for almost 2 weeks once we got here (which may be why we did so much shopping).

And just today, we bough ourselves a housewarming gift... A beautiful framed print for our living room. Its a limited edition numbered painting of one of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. B and I both fell in love with the solitude and serenity of the painting and the suede double mat and deep cherry frame make it look amazing. We knew we had to have it :-)

Now that we are officially here and back in business, I can get back into blogging. Please forgive me for my hiatus. I am back and will continue writing more regularly once again :-)

In the meantime, please pray that C and I can make some friends soon. She is so lonely. She even told me the other day, "I am just a lonely kid..." (in those exact words). She is very excited about doing ballet and soccer - but they don't start until October. Unfortunately, Pre-K is full here so she isn't starting school anytime soon. Pray that a spot opens up for her in the next couple months. Hopefully, she and I will both make friends as we begin to get to know our neighbors and start visiting a church. :-)