Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

{always grateful for the service of our men and women in uniform}

I hope yours was as wonderful as ours!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lesson FAIL: For Mommies only

 My boys are boys' boys.  They like trucks, sports, Army men, and climbing trees.

But since their sister has come along, they have been introduced to a whole new world: pink, hair bows, accessories, and dolls.

Every once in a while, they will get on a kick where they play a game that I used to call "house" when I was a kid.  A few beautiful mornings ago, they went outside and did just that. They played very contently for quite some time.

All of a sudden, from my open kitchen window, I heard the beginning of a conversation that piqued my interest. I grabbed my camera, sure that something good was about to go down, and watched from the screened sliding glass door.

Ethan: "Cameron, baby is getting hungry!"
Cameron: "Well, you better feed her!"

Now, in all fairness, my boys NEVER saw Lola take a bottle. She simply refused. When it was time for Lola to eat, they watched her nurse. I was always very discreet, and they never saw anything that would probably scar them for life if they had, but we had a few conversations about what she was doing, and how God created Mommies to be able to feed their babies.

Ethan proceeded to ditch his shirt...

get comfortable....

and feed that hungry baby.

I'm thinking I didn't stress the "Mommies" part enough.  Oops.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Baseball season is here!

It's baseball season, we've been spending much of our time at the ballpark lately!

Colin played only one year of T-Ball, and this year went straight to baseball. What a difference! The players are bigger, the pitching machine is f-a-s-t, and the game is much more intense.  We've been having a great time together as a family, watching him play.

This past weekend, the boys were in a tournament. They lost a hard-fought first game (to the eventual first placed team), but then went on to win their second game on Saturday. Sunday, we won our first two games--which meant a third game to determine the third and fourth place teams!

The boys did well, but the game went into extra innings (shew!) and they were simply becoming exhausted.  We lost a player to injury and ended up losing the game by one run, ending in fourth place.

We are so proud of their accomplishments, attitudes, and effort this weekend!

Colin getting his medal

So proud of this little guy...he did SO well!!

Catlin Cubs
Front, L to R: Cameron B., Colin, Ethan, Sam
Middle: Cody, Brady, Jake, Mac, Eli
Back: Coaches Mark, Todd, Shane and Toby
(You may remember many of these faces from our amazing soccer season!)

Way to go Cubs--it's going to be a great season!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Happy 16 months . . . .

to my beautiful
who is seeming
not so much like

Friday, May 13, 2011

My best friend, Mr. Snake

And yet....


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

10 stress strategies every mom needs--part two

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the Hearts at Home national conference this year. This was by far my favorite workshop, given by Jill Savage herself. Over a small series of posts, I'm going to share the tips that impacted me the most.  You can catch part one here.  I mean, I didn't need these or anything--I'm just sharing in case any of you have those kind of days. M'kay?

3. Learn to say NO.

Doesn't that just conjure up an image of Nancy Reagan?

This is a concept I really, really struggle with. But I am learning that not being able to say NO to things leads to a Mommy who is spread much too thin--and that is good for no one.

Several weeks ago, we had a crazier-than-usual week: ball practice on Monday and Tuesday, church Wednesday, a church to clean on Thursday night (we have recently taken over our church's janitorial duties), a church activity on Saturday (which I attended with the children by myself because Shane was out of town working the entire weekend), church itself on Sunday morning and Sunday night.  (It really sounds like I am singling out church activities, but I promise--I mean all activities across the board!)

It was a lot of activity.

That same week, Colin had been invited to a Sunday afternoon birthday skating party. It was important to him, and I said YES to letting him go.

One of Jill's main points about learning to say NO was to "carefully consider the brain space {and the physical stamina!} that this YES will require." We should "step away from the peer pressure, evaluate, and then answer."

I failed to do that. Big time.

In reality, agreeing to simply 'let Colin go to a party' was actually agreeing to
1. load up everyone by myself
2. head to the skating rink straight after church
3. stay there from 1-4 p.m. and attempt to help three very unsteady boys skate while corralling their just-walking sister
4. fly home to grab some food for the kids and myself, and then fly back to church by 5 p.m. for choir practice and our evening service
all while already physically and emotionally drained by the events of the week, and all while being by. my. self.

I bet it would come as no surprise that I collapsed in a heap of tears that Sunday evening. I was stressed out and exhausted. Correction--I had allowed myself to become stressed out and exhausted.

And, I vowed right then to never say YES again on the spot. To never say YES because of peer pressure. To never say YES simply for fear of disappointing someone.

Jill said: "When you say NO, don't think you have to give a long list of excuses."

But don't we all do that?

"I can't .... I  have to ....  and we are going to be .... and I've got to do ..... fill in the blank."

We give excuses because we fear what people will think of us when we say NO.  I think a great answer, when you need to say NO, is to simply and kindly state the facts: "Thank you for thinking of me, but I can't at this time."

We have to remember that saying NO allows others an opportunity to say YES! There are people everywhere who are doing things--serving in schools and churches and many other places--because there was someone before them who couldn't, and they stepped up to the plate.

Jill pointed out something I'd never thought of before: that we may be 'capable', but we may not be 'called'.

I know that that is exactly my problem.  I see a need somewhere; I know that I could do a pretty good job of filling that need; and then I jump in without weighing the ramifications on myself and my family.  But just because I can do something doesn't mean I should.

Isn't it better to do a few things really well than to do too many things poorly, simply because you are spread too thin from trying to do too much?

Learn to say "NO".  How are you at this? What tips can you give on how you handle saying "NO" in your life?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The reason this day is so special


Colin Matthew
Born October 31, 2003

Cameron Douglas

Ethan Ryan

Lola Claire Fransisca


 Such wonderful gifts
sent from God Himself

and I am so immensely thankful.

Friday, May 6, 2011


I have a new friend. Her name is Wendy, and should run, not walk, over to her blog. If you, like myself, feel like a "Totally Desperate Mom" will love this girl. She is the real thing, and she pulls no punches when she writes. Also--it does not hurt that she knows Paul Walker

She inspired the idea behind this post--I hope you'll enjoy it, but really, it was only meant to be truly meaningful to one person in my life.

{I love you Mom/Momma/Mommy/MJ/Grandma Jane/and the lady "who is my mother not my sister", thankyouverymuch.)

1. What is your best childhood memory with your mom?

There are so many that this one is truly difficult to answer--but I remember loving the times when my mom would pick me up at the airport. 

When I was two years old, my mom and dad divorced.  My dad remarried when I was almost four (a wonderful lady who has been the greatest stepmom I could have asked for, truly.)  From the time I was almost 6, I began flying out to New Jersey to visit my dad and Amy.  I remember loving being out there with them--the people talked funny, there were cool stores and an ocean there, and I got to see family that I didn't see but a month or two out of the whole year--but there was nothing like that feeling of flying home, stepping off the plane, and seeing my mom waiting for me.  I remember her being prettier than I remember every time! 

2. Did you ever make your mom cry because you were so unruly or disobedient?

Though I can't remember a lot of times when my mom would sit and cry because I was being so bad (I'm sure she probably did it a lot in private, LOL), I do specifically remember that, when things got really tense (mostly in my teenage angst-filled years), I would say things along the lines of "I want to go and live with my Dad." That, looking back, was really hurtful to her, I know...I regret it and I'm terribly ashamed of it.  *boo*

Sorry for that, Mom. You didn't deserve to be treated that way.

However, on the flip side--I do remember her telling me (when I was being especially disobedient) that she was going to call my father, and he would "shake a knot in your tail!" Now, I had no idea what it meant to have a knot shaken in my tail--but it sounded painful, and I knew I'd better cool it when it reached that point.  (Luckily, I never had to find out.....)

3. Do you remember any of the special things your mom did for you?

This is going to sound like a really silly answer--because my mom did so many special things that it would take a novel to fill them all and I am picking this one--but, I remember as a little girl my mom would take me shopping with her to K-Mart, our big store in town at the time. 

Now, K-Mart had an Icee machine.  My mom, who had very little money to go around, would always stop first thing and allow me to get a small cherry Icee.  I remember the special rounded lid they put on so the cup could fill up more, how the machine squirted funny when they would pull the lever do get the drink out, and how I used to sip really slowly (to hopefully make it last longer....) 

Those crazy red Icee's made a very big impact on this little girl.  I believe, truthfully, the reason it did had to do with a form of sacrifice.  It may have only been a dollar, but I knew we didn't have a lot--and for her to get me that Icee, spending some of what little money she had on something that was not a necessity--impacted me as to how unselfish she was.  Even from the time I was 5 or 6 years old, I got that.

4. Did she teach you anything really significant?

Selflessness.  If there is a person in the world who is less selfless when it comes to her children and grandbabies, I think it would be an outstanding feat to find her.  We still joke that she didn't do a very good job teaching me--that I am, to this day, way more selfish than she is--but she couldn't have modeled it any better.

I love you mostest,
I love you bestest,

Happy Mother's Day from your not-always-showing-it-but-always-in-my-heart-beyond-grateful daughter,

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Accesorize, baby!!

I am convinced that girls are born with an ingrained desire to accessorize.

I never, ever saw it with my boys.

A love of shoes, purses, hairbows, hats, earrings....

....and necklaces.

Some girls wear many different pieces. 
Casual pieces daily, silver once in awhile, gold or pearls on special occasions.

And others like to stick with one solid piece that
just has the ability to go with everything she puts on.

"Oh mother.  Pish posh!!  It's not necklaces.  It's necklace."

And that one piece has to be able to transfer from one event to another.

From tea parties.... evening wear,

it must be appropriate day and night.

No matter if you are at play....

....on the run....

...or venturing out somewhere you aren't normally used to going,
a good foundational piece of jewelry can give you all the confidence you need.

One condition: It must be able to be put on with ease.

Slip it on, and you're good to go.

Jewelry--it just makes a girl happy, man.