I want to be a photographer.  Not so badly that I hire a babysitter to go out and practice… Not so much that I carry my camera every where so that I can practice taking amazing pictures…  But, since I wanted to take blow-up-able pictures of Ella (and other stuff), Jeff got me a Canon just over two years ago.  I love it.  And early on, I could take time to sit around and play with it.

Now, finding moments to “play” with it are much harder.  With two kids to keep alive I don’t get as many “good” shots as I’d like.

But, I’ve gotten a few that I’m extra proud of…

Like this one from November 27, 2011:

J.J. and Ella Jump

Sure, it isn’t totally in focus (taken on automatic), but at least I got them in action.  And do you see Ella’s curls?

Or this one taken the next day:

Ella blowing bubbles

Seriously – that might be one of my favorites. And I was manually focusing… blew my own mind.

Since having Joe…

Joe Chin
Joe’s dimple

How about this…

Kids Christmas
Christmas spit up

Seriously – I couldn’t have planned that if I tried.

This past Spring I nailed this shot thanks to an old lady squatting behind me…

Happy Spring!

And most recently this one:

Ella & Joe Close Up

It was on automatic, but I managed to get a fantastic picture of both of my kids – something that this blog post has proven since I have so few of both of them where they are in focus, not moving, looking at the camera, etc.

For Christmas this year, Jeff has given me lessons with my camera.  I need to sign up for the class… it is in February!

And then this popped up on my facebook page (thanks to Jen Jacobowitz):


So I’m participating.  I haven’t taken today’s photo, “A Space In Your House”… not sure what space to take a picture of and Jen has already posted one of her sofa.

Here is my “Fresh” (01/06/14):

A Fresh Bible Study

And here is my “Cold” (01/07/14):

Ice on the INSIDE of our kitchen window… waking up to 9 degree temperatures

I love taking pictures and hope that I get time to perfect my hobby this year.



One of us

If you know me, you won’t be surprised by the fact that I sing to my children at bedtime.  In the past six months, I’ve been using old hymns as well as our traditional family lullabies… In the Garden, Tell Me The Story of Jesus, and so on…

In the last month, I’ve used all traditional Christmas songs – Away in the Manger, Silent Night, The First Noel, O Come All Ye Faithful – and thanks to our music minister, Tracy Thomas, I’ve kept Tell Me The Story of Jesus in the mix… afterall, the first verse says, “Tell how the angels in chorus, Sang as they welcomed His birth, ‘Glory to God in the highest! Peace and good tidings to earth.'”

The last couple of nights, I’ve added a favorite from an old Christmas musical called “Forever Christmas” (copyright 1984) by Don Wyrtzen and Phil and Lynne Brower.  My mother directed this musical at Parham Hills when I was young and I have remembered this song since then.  If they did it the year it came out – 1984 – then I was only 6 years old and it burned itself into my young brain.  I also remembered the story the narrator (who I am sure was David Felts, though it could’ve been Lewis Southworth) read.  Here is the story:
One blustery Christmas Eve, a young father sat all alone in front of a roaring fire.  As was his usual custom, his wife and children had gone without him to the candlelight service at church.  It wasn’t that he was especially antagonistic about the whole thing, he just didn’t see any sense in it… and so there he sat!
All at one there was a commotion outside the big picture window.  A small flock of sparrows seeking shelter, and attracted by the light of the fire, were repeatedly flying against the glass.  Helplessly he watched as the exhausted little creatures began falling one by one into the new snow.  Suddenly he had an idea, and grabbing his coat he headed for the nearby barn.  Quickly, he flung open the doors, turned on the lights and started coaxing the birds to warmth and safety.  But, to his dismay, his efforts only frightened them further till finally, in defeat, he turned back to the house.  “If only I could make them understand!” he thought.  “If only I could become one of them I would gladly lead them to safety.”
Just then, in the distance, he heard the church bells as they began to ring in Christmas.  Each chime seemed to be echoing his words, “One of them… one of them… one of them.”  All of a sudden he understood.  There was reason in Christmas!  Christ has come to earth to become one of us to that He might lead us to eternity.  Dropping to his knees, there in the snow, he opened his heart to this One who loved him so.  And, for the first time in his whole life, it was Christmas!

And then the song begins…

Silent Night, Holy Night
All the World is calm, all the stars so bring –
Did it happen on a night like this?
Do you think the angels reminisce
seeing Mary as she gently kissed the newborn King?
One of us, the Holy Child was born,
He became one of us on Christmas morning;
The wonder of it all that in a manger stall
That night in Bethlehem God became a man!
One of us, the Holy Child was born,
He became one of us on Christmas morning;
He became one of us, one of us, On Christmas morning, morning.
One of us, the Holy Child was born,
He became one of us on Christmas morning;
The wonder of it all that in a manger stall
That night in Bethlehem God became a man!
One of us, the Holy Child was born,
He became one of us on Christmas morning;
He became one of us, one of us, On Christmas morning.
He became one of us!

Now… without the accompanying music, it loses a bit of the effect (but just a bit).  The timing and inflection is what made the song stick.  It is a simple song without much change in the lyrics and yet it is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard in my life.

But the story and the words are so applicable… even now, in 2013, nearly 30 years later.

It is because God’s Story is timeless.  The fact that Jesus become a man to save us never grows old.

I struggle with sharing this with unbelievers at times.  I want the music in a portable player so that I can just read the story and sing the song to everyone I know who doesn’t believe and follow God.  But, even with the story before the song, I’m not sure I can convince people of how much God loves them and wants them to be with Him eternally if they aren’t willing to open their hearts to the message.

But, oh, how I love The Message… and oh how I love the way this story and song presented it.  I need to remember not to reserve this story and song for Christmastime – even though that is when it resonates in my head the loudest.  (It was in a Christmas musical when I was 6.)

And I want to go back to Tracy using Tell Me The Story of Jesus in one of our Christmas worship services this December.

Here are the first & last verses of that hymn:
(And yes, I am sitting at the computer with an actual hymnal in my lap… I am a church music nerd and proud of it)

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels in chorus,
Sang as they welcomed His birth,
“Glory to God in the highest!
Peace and good tidings to earth.”
Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.

Tell of the cross where they nailed Him,
Writhing in anguish and pain;
Tell of the grave where they laid Him,
Tell how He liveth again.
Love in that story so tender,
Clearer than ever I see;
Stay, let me weep while you whisper,
“Love paid the ransom for me.”
Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.

The story I want to tell this Christmas – and every day of my life – is that Jesus came to earth, becoming ONE OF US to lead us to the safety that is Heaven.  I want my children, my extended family, my friends, and the strangers that I come in contact with to know this story.  I’m not good at witnessing, but God has laid it on my heart to be better.  Witnessing with my actions alone is no longer good enough – I must witness with words… because I am more than “a good person”.  I am a God person.

And what if it isn’t true?  Ah… that is an argument for the ages.
What if the Bible IS just a story?
What if Jesus WAS just a great teacher?
Well, my daddy once said that even if it turned out that all he believed, all that he lived for, turned out to be false- then he could still look back on his life with not one regret for living it as the truth.  Believing in God, in the Bible, in Jesus – and following in Jesus’ footprints will only lead us in a way of light…
But I believe it 100%.

Thank you, God, for becoming one of us…



On Monday, Joe slept until 8 and Ella slept until nearly 8:30.  This was amazing to me.

On Tuesday, Joe slept until 7:30 and Ella slept until 7:40.

On Wednesday, Joe slept until 7:15 and Ella slept until I woke her up at 7:30.
Both Joe and Ella took naps.

On Thursday (today), I slept until 7:45 and then spent the next hour pushing the kids through our morning routine to get out the door by 8:45 and get Ella to school.

Why are we sleeping so late?

Perhaps because Ella’s birthday party was this past weekend and not only did she have a ton of friends over for the party, but her Granny Mac and Pop came in town from the Outer Banks and her Uncle Warren and Aunt Rachel came in from Chattanooga, TN.  We had some late nights – I don’t make her go to bed on time when we’re with Warren and Rachel because those times are special… and precious… and just don’t get to happen often enough for her.

We’re actually recovering in a lot of ways… we each find ourselves looking for the dog, too.  Just today, Ella hopped out of the car and dashed to where she could see the backyard gate and called, “MAGGIE!”  It was odd for several reasons – mostly because we rarely left Maggie outside when we weren’t home and when we did it was because it was somewhere between 65-85 degrees and she was refusing to come in.

I think of the dog whenever I’m leaving the house.  I ask myself if I shut & locked the backdoor… I haven’t touched the back door in the two weeks since she died.  No need to.  I don’t even open the blinds on the door most days because she’s not going to be out there for me to keep an eye on and if I do I have to contend with the stupid squirrel who took a week to figure out she wasn’t coming out the back door any longer.  Stupid squirrel makes me want a puppy just to scare the living poop out of it!  …Anyway…  When I get home, I think to myself that I need to let her outside and then remember that I don’t.  It makes me sad and frustrated.  I also miss having her around over night.  She was going deaf and she never was a barker, but had someone gotten close to our door at night, we would’ve known it.  She was pretty good at barking when sounds were out of place.

I’m still recovering from the death of my grandpa.  That feels wrong to put into writing.  It has been years since he passed away, but I drive past Chestnut Grove at least 5 days a week (usually in two directions) and each time I think of how much I miss him.  How much I want him to know that Jeff and I got married… and had kids.  Oh, how he would LOVE these kids.  He loved all children.  He used to hand out dollars to the kids at church.  He also handed out dollars to random kids in restaurants and such.  I’m sure it freaked some parents out, but he just genuinely loved the look of joy that a kid gets when you hand them a dollar.  Grown ups don’t get that look for less than $50.

I’m still recovering from my first marriage.  Hopefully, that doesn’t hurt feelings, but it is the truth.  I made bad decisions going in and coming out of that relationship.  In five days we would’ve been married 14 years.  Don’t think that that doesn’t freak me out.  We were only married for one.  We’d known each other exactly three months and four days between our introduction and our “I do”s.  I’d call that a bit rushed.  We were miserable from the get-go.  I walked a mile in the snow several days of my honeymoon to get to the payphone in town to call my mama.  Who calls their mama from their honeymoon?  Granted, I did call home from  my honeymoon (and each Caribbean vacation) with Jeff – but that was to reassure my mother that we hadn’t died or gotten lost during our hike or snorkeling excursion that day.  The woman is a total worry-wort and it is funny to me.  I should never have told her that time we were going over to snorkel the bay where the nurse sharks come in to have their babies.  Nurse sharks, mom… not great whites.  Anyway – I’m still recovering from that bad decision and how cold and callous I became after I’d tried everything to save it and nothing worked.  I distanced myself and became snarky… a trait that rears its ugly head with Jeff every now and then immediately reminding me where I first started developing it.

Tomorrow, I’ll be recovering from a night out with friends – though I do have to thank whomever makes the decision when a premiere is going to happen.  A year and a half ago, I stood in line PREGNANT for the midnight showing of The Hunger Games.  Tonight – we’re going to the 8:00 premiere.  I may be in bed earlier than last night (when I stayed up to watch THG on dvd).

We’re all recovering, aren’t we?  From loss, from bad decisions, from a busy weekend… 

But that is where God’s grace and provision come in.  One of my favorite scriptures is Lamentations 3:19-24

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
    the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
    and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

God’s compassions are NEW EVERY MORNING.  Praise Him!  I do not have to live my life in regret and recovery.  I can turn my bad day, my bad year, my bad decision, my bad reaction, my yelling, my slamming doors, my tears, my heartbreak, my regret, my ache, my emptiness, my affliction, my wandering, my bitterness, my desperation, my searching, my hopelessness, my need – all of it over to him and he will pour his love, his grace, his mercy all over it and make us new.  EACH.AND.EVERY.DAY.

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know

There is a “thing” going around on Facebook currently where you list a specific number of things people may not know about you…

I’m not sure how it started, but if you comment on someone else’s list they’ll send you a number and that number is how many facts have to be on your list.

I don’t think I can do it… Most of my life is an open book.  My entire life, I have been a sermon illustration – sometimes with my permission, most of the time without.  I was/am used to it and it really doesn’t bother me.

Back in August of 2007 (scroll through all the blog posts that I shifted over here and you’ll find the entry), I wrote about hating being a preacher’s kid.  One of my reasons was because everyone knew everything about my life – or a least thought they had the right to.

I’ve gotten over the anger you’ll read in that post – though my dad’s “early retirement” to the beach area has helped that tremendously.

Really- I rarely hide anything about myself.  Ask Amy, Ashley, or Crystal – they’ll tell you it is true.  It is one of the things that I *think* drew Jeff to me – that I’m just me and I’m pretty outgoing with it – but it is also something that we argue over from time to time.  Did you know that my husband is a very, very private individual?  Do you think he was on drugs when he decided to marry me?

As I sit here typing that I am an open book, I can think of just a few things people don’t know.

1. I cuss in my head.  It was one of the things I rebelled well in – my language.  Now, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve risked taking God’s name in vain.  That is not a commandment I have broken lightly and I feel guilty for the few times I’ve done it.  BUT, there are a couple words that flow through my brain in moments of stress that I have to fight hard to keep inside.  They slip out every now and then (I fear that one of my children will say “damn” in front of my grandmother and it will be all my fault), but it is a fight that I will keep fighting until I finally get those words tamed.

2. I’ve been married before… Now most everyone who will read this post knows this already.  But, I’ve made some new friends in the last couple years that may not know it.  I was young.  We barely knew each other.  It was the worst year of my life.  I was so depressed and so unwilling to share what I was going through.  I was the Youth Director at the church I was a member of.  I was in charge of the middle & high school kids and what on earth kind of example would it be to tell them that the marriage I rushed into was a mistake.  I went to counseling.  I got on antidepressants.  I stuck it out until he finally cleaned out our bank account and moved out.  I was broken, but I had been broken for so long that the actual end came as such a relief.

3. I started dating Jeff RIGHT.AWAY.  Again, if you’ve known me a while, you know this.  My mother was… angry is not the right word… She didn’t really speak to me for months and I was living in her house.  She wanted me to take time for myself and I just wanted to move on.  If you didn’t know the situation, you might have thought that my 1st husband and I split up because of Jeff, but that is not remotely the case.  I didn’t know Jeff knew who I was – or that he assigned any type of importance to me – until after I had announced my separation to my church.  We dated for almost 5 years before we got engaged and we got married about 5.5 years after we started dating.  Someday I’m going to post more about this – perhaps telling you more about me that you don’t know.

Well, I’m sure I might have been able to get to five, but that precious baby boy is waking up from his nap and he’s not really happy.  He rarely wakes up in a good mood.  I may come back and edit this to add more, but for now –

Are you keeping secrets?  I find that secrets make me edgy… but at least I’m not a sermon illustration on a regular basis anymore, right?

How Deep The Father’s Love For Us…

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

I feel like I should sing myself this song every time that Ella frustrates me… though it doesn’t cross my mind at that moment.  I know, I know, “I’m a good mom”, “I’m doing my best”, etc… But if we’re honest – sometimes we’re not.

Sometimes we just want our kids to be quiet, behave, and let us do what we’re trying to do.

Growing up, I dreamed of being a mother.  I knew I’d rock at it because I adored kids and babysitting was so easy-peasy.  I even worked in childcare for several years – working my way up to being an assistant director in a pre-school setting. 

So why on earth is being a mother so difficult? 

Where is my creativity when it is time to decorate a turkey feather?  (Seriously – we did this tonight because it is DUE tomorrow and I’d forgotten.  I even allowed her to use – gasp – GLITTER)

Where is my excitement for I-Spy?  (Seriously – that is the worst game ever on 295 and we are forever on 295)

Where is my sense of “Who cares that all the puzzle pieces are on the floor?  Let’s play a game to find them!”  Just kidding – that chick has NEVER existed.  I hate puzzles.  I hate losing pieces or having to find pieces.  I had stepping on the pieces that have the little red knobs that make it easier for a kid to pick up the piece.

I really do love my kids, but some days I honestly do feel like running away.  Not that I would, because I’d never let their little lives leave my control.  I barely trust Jeff to watch them and do things “my way”… GREAT story on that…

A few weeks ago, Jeff and I had made plans with another couple to double date.  It didn’t work out with their sitter, but we kept Katie lined up and decided to go out to dinner ourselves.  When we got home, Katie had WONDERFULLY gotten both kids ready for bed.  I said, “Where did you find those pajamas for Joe?  I didn’t even know we had those?”They were in a drawer… who cares?  When she left, Jeff said, “So those are the wrong pajamas, right?”
They were.  But not because of any valid reason.  I really had forgotten that they existed and probably would never have found them.  Katie did a wonderful job, but I always have this odd tone to things I don’t expect with my kids. 
(I’m sorry if I offended you that night, Katie)

I bet there are lots of times when God looks down at us and sees our rebellion and our scrunched up “I don’t want to obey you” facial expressions; our disobedience and our choosing things for ourselves (his children) that he wouldn’t choose for us.  And yet – HOW DEEP THE FATHER’S LOVE FOR US…

I can’t count for you the number of times my father has referenced God’s love for us and sacrificing Jesus in his sermons… how often he’s looked a parent sitting in the congregation and asked if they would sacrifice their child for the people around them – or for a stranger.  I’ve even heard those references since becoming a parent and let me tell you – NOT A CHANCE would I allow my kids to go through what Jesus did.  And yet – HOW DEEP THE FATHER’S LOVE FOR US…

My youth minister from middle school sang this song on his CD.  I got our praise team at United to listen to it, and we added it to our list of songs we used.  Every time I have ever sung these words, I have been moved…so deeply.

“Behold the man upon the cross, my sin upon his shoulder; Ashamed I hear my searing voice call out among the scoffers”
How often do we hear someone say (or perhaps we’ve said it ourselves) that if we’d lived back then, we wouldn’t have yelled “CRUCIFY HIM!”  Yet I guarantee we would – Peter denied him, John ran and hid – and they were the big dogs.

I am totally unworthy of God’s grace.  And yet, I am his child and HOW DEEP THE FATHER’S LOVE FOR ME.
How deep MY love for Ella…  How deep MY love for Joe…
My love can’t compare to God’s, but I can try harder.  I can pray that God brings this tune to my brain every moment I am tempted to yell, to shame, to hurt with words.

This past Monday, the Bible Study that I am a part of started Priscilla Shirer’s study on Gideon.  In our first video from her she talked about her shortcomings in doing Bible Study with her children.  It was funny when she told the solution, but I am seriously going to take it to heart.  She said that before her children left the confines of her van to face the day she prayed over them.
Here is a quote from her blog (dated Oct 30, 2011):

You are a man of integrity and character. You will love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your strength. You will be a blessing to your teachers and a blessing to your friends. You are the head and not the tail. You are above and not beneath. You are a leader and not a follower.

Normally, I say only a few more things before sending them out the door, backpacks securely in place, to school.

You are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

You are a man of valor.

You have the whole armour of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil.

You will bless the Lord at all times and His praises shall continually be in your mouth.

Oh, that I can pray this prayer over my children every day… but I want to add “HOW DEEP IS GOD’S LOVE FOR YOU, CHILD” and then hope that it all sinks in…

P.S.  Here’s a video of the song… it isn’t Scot singing, but it is close:

Here We Go Again

Well, here we go again… reminds me of a Music & Drama song (anyone?).

I’m going to blog.  I know, I know – I’ve said this in the past and haven’t made the time.  BUT, I figure that if I have time to check facebook and email, then I have time to blog.

Come back soon… there is more to come.

I know, I know… but I PROMISE this time!

Neglecting the second child already…

Ella was a complete surprise. 

In March 2008, I had “puffed” up a little and Jeff had started jokingly talking to my belly.  BUT I was on birth control, so I wasn’t worried about his insinuations.  On Monday, March 17, 2008 we went to California Pizza Kitchen with friends for a not-crowded St. Patty’s Day dinner.  I had a couple margaritas (the only drink they serve that is green)… no worries.

On Wednesday, March 19, I knew something was up.  There are things that happen in a normal cycle that weren’t happening… I was WAY off so I knew something was shady.  That night we had a mission dinner at our church and I was the person designated to talk about the mission we were supporting.  Everyone was shocked to “see” that I was so nervous… I wasn’t socializing, I was visibly sweating, my voice was shaky…
HA!  They had no clue that I would be making a run to CVS following the dinner.

At CVS I picked up a two-test box of the digital tests (I ain’t into reading the lines) and a 6-pack of beer for Jeff… I figured that if the answer was what I thought it would be, he’d need at least one of those.

I watched t.v. for a bit and then took a commercial break to pee on the stick.  It said “pregnant”.  I slowly went to where Jeff was lifting weights and waited for him to notice that I was there.  When I told him, he had NO REACTION AT ALL…  He just went back to lifting.
I took the phone to the computer and called my mama… here is how that conversation went:
Sandy: “Hello”
Evelyn: “Hi” the sobs start here
Sandy: “Evelyn?  What’s wrong?”
Evelyn: between sobs “I don’t think anything is wrong”
Sandy: “Then why are you crying?”
Evelyn: “Because I peed on a stick…”
Sandy: bursting out laughing “And it said?”
Evelyn: said in heaving sobs “That I’m pregnant”
Sandy: hysterical laughter

Yep – there you go folks, the most compassionate mother ever…

The next day I called a friend’s ob/gyn (I didn’t have one) and requested an appointment.  When the nurse told me that their next “new mom” orientation day was in three-four weeks I yelled at her, “BUT I’M PREGNANT NOW!!!”
They scheduled me to see a nurse practitioner the next day.
On March 21, 2008 it was confirmed that I was indeed pregnant…

From the doctors office I immediately went to Barnes & Noble and bought a pregnancy journal.  I wrote in it faithfully – every question I had, every insane thought in my head.  I saw the same nurse practitioner quite often and she informed me that I was the most hilarious mom-to-be she had ever worked with.  Not because I’m really all that funny, but because I KNOW when I’m being ridiculous and I often started my questions with, “I know I’m not supposed to believe everything I read online, but…”

I posted ultrasound photos and belly pictures on my blog and updated everyone I knew every time I spoke to them…  We still have her first ultrasound photo in a frame (thanks, Kris).  I was the ultimate mama – just look at my facebook photos.  I am up to EIGHT albums dedicated just to Ella!!!  I took so many pictures of her in our 10 days in California last year that she started saying, “No pictures, mama” and still shies away from the camera.

Now – THIS BABY?  The speck, as we’re calling “it”…
Well, I have some ultrasound photos.  They are tucked into my agenda and have yet to be scanned…
I went to price pregnancy journals last week.  The same one I used for Ella is actually the cheapest, but I deemed the $13 to be “too much” figuring that I’ll just find Ella’s and write in a different color ink.
Um… I’m almost 17 weeks and have yet to do that.

Back to that wonderfully compassionate mama…
When I was in high school we ran across a bunch of 110 film.  For those of you too young to know what that is:

Hannafords (a grocery store that used to exist in Richmond) was running a special on developing film – $3 a roll!  We took a huge bag in.  You’d be surprised to find out that there were BABY PICTURES OF WARREN in the developed pictures.  Poor second kid…

I’m having a feeling that I become like my wonderful mama every day.

Despite her laughing at my tears and never developing baby pictures of Warren, we knew we were the two most loved kids in the world.  We still know that.

Man, I hope I’m like my mama…

As for the speck… here’s the most recent ultrasound photo taken in the emergency room while they were supposed to be checking my kidneys (they did, but then they took pictures of the baby for me…)

January 31, 2012
I really do need to dig out my pregnancy journal from Ella and check somethings… for example, I *think* I felt the baby move yesterday and they were surprised at my 16 week check up that I hadn’t… but I can’t remember how far along I was when I felt Ella’s flutters.  Yesterday wasn’t flutters, it was like a tiny elbow or foot (so it very well might have been gas…).
Mark your calendars, people, April 2 we find out if Speck is a Joe or an ***** 
(not telling our girl name yet!).  
I am super excited about that!!!! 


My status on Facebook today:
November 30, 2011 – Today I am thankful that I have such an incredibly “comfortable” life. Leaving the gas station today, there was a woman (pretty young) with her very beautiful dog sitting at the corner with a cardboard scrap that said, “Trying to get home for Christmas”. I gave her $20. I know, I’m not supposed to give cash out of my window, but it was what I had and I had it to spare. We’ve also been able to donate a toy to Toys For Tots (Ella picked one she has and loves), money to the red kettle for the Salvation Army, and the donation for a meal at the Martin’s checkout. If my life weren’t so comfortable, these little things wouldn’t be possible. Thank you God for more blessings than 30 days worth of posts.
We are blessed beyond measure, aren’t we? 
I went back and read my post about being content.  I’m almost there and have an addendum to post next week… but today, I am fully focused on all that I have.  
Today was Ella’s 3-year-old check up.  While I may not have those five kids that I had once planned to have… I have one incredibly healthy little girl.

She amazes me (and frustrates me) with something new every day.  If I never have another child, I’ll consider myself beyond blessed to have this one.
I have a car that is nearly paid off…
I have a house that is “ours” and is as much room as we really need…
I have a family who loves me and supports me in anything and everything I do…
I have everything I need and most everything I could ever want.
Aren’t you blessed too?

If I’d Only Known…

My beautiful sister-in-law Kristen suggested that I blog about Ella being two so that she’d know what to expect with J.J. (he turns 2 at the end of this month).  I’ve spent several days mulling this over…

Let me start with this… I worked in a Private Preschool for a couple of years about 10 years ago.  For about a year, I was the lead teacher in a classroom with kids ages 12 months – 24 months.  I loved that room.  I loved those kids.  Then, after we had two teachers leave for lunch one day and not return (shouldn’t the fact that they were carrying boxes out been a clue?), I got popped up into the 3-year-old classroom.  I worked in the 3’s class for about four months until an Assistant Director position came open at another location under the same company.  I interviewed and with amazing references from one of two bosses in my lifetime that I have adored, I got the job – meaning I left my boss I loved and went to work for the worst boss I have ever had.  Seriously.
In my six months as an Assistant Director I was consistently left “out of ratio” – however I always worked it out to be watching the school age kids in the front room while toting a baby from the nursery (keeping all the other rooms “in ratio”).  It was incredibly stressful.

That said… do you notice which age group I NEVER EVER worked with?

Yep – the two-year-olds…

I was completely unprepared to be the mother of a two-year-old.  C.o.m.p.l.e.t.e.l.y. U.n.p.r.e.p.a.r.e.d.
I’m just now finding my bearings for this year and we’re less than two months away from her 3rd birthday.

What do I wish I’d known… I’d heard that three is worse than two and from that time in the 3s class, I can tell you that (in my opinion) – it is true.  She has not nearly been as bad as several kids who still haunt me…

Things we’ve accomplished at two: 
That catching snowflakes is one of the best parts of winter

That it is fun to save money

That heartbreak comes at any age… (giving up Nuks will always be her first)

Learning how to walk the dog (though that job doesn’t last all they way through the neighborhood yet)
*can’t find the picture!

How to garden with her daddy…
How to walk on a balance beam
That road trips to visit family is worth the car ride
How to properly hold a guitar 
(can’t wait for her to be big enough to hold one that will play & take lessons)
 That vacations with family are the best!
To climb stairs without giving her mom a heart attack
That carousels are fun and not torture

How to “fall” into a pool, turn around and find the side without drowning 
(still with supervision, though)

A bit about the family tree – Mommy is mommy, Mac is mommy’s mommy, GG is Mac’s mommy
(and that EE counts as an extra grandmother)

That costumed creatures are still REALLY freaky- Cmor, Barney, Cat in the Hat, George…
all good from a distance and with Amy & Jackson in the middle

Being able to do crafts… with glue… and only make a minimal mess

Walking through the Zoo or Maymont without a stroller and without having to be carried 
(just did this).

That babies live in tummies first…
(though actually being pregnant is not required – Ella often has a baby in hers)
And that holding babies requires one to be very, very careful…

That we live in a neighborhood (and that we are in OUR neighborhood when we get here)

Learning how to take our diaper off in bed-with or without poop in it 
(she did this again last night – no poop)

Do you know what my Pre-school program did with the two year olds?
They potty trained them.
By the time those kids got to the 3’s room, they were already using the potty.

Things we have NOT accomplished at two:

I’m pretty sure that this will get accomplished at 3.

Kristen, I really wish I had known how cool it would be to watch my own child (not someone I’m paid to watch) learn new things.  There are days when I hand her to Jeff as he walks in the door and take time for me.  There are days when if someone touches me or pulls on me one more time, I’m going to scream.  
I wish I had known just how whiny a two-year-old can be.  
And that “whiny” is a tone… not just an action.

That said, every day that she says something incredibly smart or does something she has never done before (like putting her pants back on after she takes her diaper off in bed… pretty impressive) I am glad that she’s two and able to tell me what she wants and verbalize her thoughts.

I’m sure there is more to share… but it about time for her to get up from her (no longer every day) nap.  Two has been difficult, but I’m afraid of three.
Ask me again in a year and I’ll let you know…