Sunday, October 31, 2010

Milestone!

Carson was inspired by watching a video of his buddy Nate riding a bike with no training wheels. So today when Sydney and I woke up from our afternoon nap, Carson had a huge smile on his face and said he had something to show me. The boys had been working on a surprise...

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Splashy flashback.

This summer my friend Jess graciously watched my kids for me for a few hours. It was late afternoon/evening on a warm day and my 2 played with her 2 out in the sprinklers. Jess took some amazing pictures and was kind enough to send me all the originals. I love all of these pics of Carson and Syd because it really captures their personalities. And thank you in advance for your permission to brag and love on my cuties.
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Hello, Ms. Thang! Check out that hip action. A woman's work is never done.
Don't let the sprinkler get you!
Are these next two pictures not the best things in the whole world?!
I can't decide which I love more: her huge smile or her fingers.
Speaking of fingers, this is a classic Carson hand motion:
See what I mean? He does that when he is excited or nervous. Or telling an especially dramatic story.
Oh my heavens, is he not so handsome? Look out, ladies. (Ironically, we were there playing with his good friend, Rachel, who is a total doll. She and Carson have been dear friends since toddlerhood.)

I love him!

Thanks, Jess!

Monday, October 25, 2010

On the off chance...

When Trent was gone this weekend I tackled the disaster that was the left side of our garage. It is full of summer fun, like strollers, bike trailers, bikes, tents, camping chairs, etc. We also have hung onto a few items that were donated to our garage sale, b/c I feel like they are good quality and am determined to sell them and put the profits into our adoption fund! So, I got them out and took photos and posted on craigslist. BUT, I figured I'd mention a couple here on the off chance that some local reader might be interested. I might even be willing to barter with a loyal blog reader! ;)
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The first item up for sale is a classic Singer sewing machine in good working order, conveniently stowed in a sewing machine cabinet. We're asking $75. This is the front view (a teeny bit of residue on the front left panel.)
With the machine open. You like my classy backdrop? Yeah, don't worry. I won't quit my day job to pursue photography.
It also comes with the original manual and some accessories.
The other thing I'm trying to sell is seriously a gem. We don't have a lot of big holiday dinners at our house, but I could have a China set, it would very likely look like this:
It is a full set of 12 dinner plates, 12 salad (or dessert?) plates, 12 cups/saucers, 2 serving bowls (one with lid), gravy bowl, sugar/creamer set, and (for some reason) 6 salad bowls.
It has 2 silver bands, one wide and one thin, and it is (in my humble opinion) simultaneously classic and modern.
The brand is Royalton China, and the same pattern in gold is being auctioned on eBay for $10/plate.
We're asking $150 for the set.
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So, just something to keep in mind if you or anyone you know is in the very specific market for an in-cabinet sewing machine or a great China set! Proceeds go to a good cause. ;) We also have cheap snowboards and snowboard boots--if you want to know more, leave me a comment.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Where's my blog mojo?

Seriously.

We've been ridiculously busy, and I'm juggling lots of fun but time consuming activities right now. That might have something to do with it.

I don't know why I have not felt like blogging. I've had plenty of blog ideas pop into my head. Maybe I'll get around to posting a blog about my love for Broadway shows, inspired by spontaneous and discounted tix to see In the Heights, which was, BTW, so very awesome. I know I will get around to posting about potty training the second time around, b/c we've dipped our toes in that water again. And that water? Is frigid and difficult and exhausting. Maybe I'll write my long-stewing post about the stereotypes of mommies that I meet around town, from The Bragger to The Organic. But that one is dangerous, because some of the stories are based on women that I love dearly, and I wouldn't want to offend them.

So, instead of one big, funny, thematic post, you get stream of consciousness from Brazenlilly. Random thoughts and events from this past week:

*The Bird loves to do THIS in the bathtub:She lays back all the way until the water fills in almost to her eyes, mouth and nose. It freaks me out a little because we RESPECT THE WATER in our house [aka: am totally paranoid of my children drowning], but I watch her closely and it keeps her still and quiet. WIN/WIN, people.

*I'm single-momming it for several days, and when that happens I get a little lax and a little creative. You want to take water paints into the bathtub? At 10 in the morning? You got it. Let me grab by Entertainment Weekly and let's spend the next 60 minutes in the bathroom while I catch up on the fall movie preview and you do this:

*I have to say (this might be another full post sometime soon) that FIVE YEARS OLD is shaping up quite nicely! Carson has been pretty stinkin' delightful lately. Well, you know, it's all relative. He still has meltdowns and fights with his sister and all that jazz, but overall he's doing splendidly. We've implemented a new reward system (popsicle sticks in a jar) where he can earn and lose sticks for good behavior or stinky behavior. When he gets 10 sticks in the jar, which has been taking about 10 days, he gets $3 at the Dollar Tree. WORTH EVERY PENNY to me. When a meltdown starts, I threaten stick loss, and often he shapes right up.
*Sydney, on the other hand, has stepped nicely into the roll of TWO YEARS OLD. Her personality is blossoming, and she is HILARIOUS! She has little facial expressions and body movements and sayings ("tickoo" for "thank you") in her squeaky voice that have us melting. HOWEVER, she is needy, needy, needy. She wants me to hold her every waking moment, and if I refuse for any reason, she promptly goes to her bro and annoys him to the breaking point so I must return and give her attention. Girl has seen some serious "quiet time" lately. But fortunately, that desire to be held and cuddled is very fun for us when we're not trying to, say, use the restroom.
*Carson is picking up more and more of our humor and mannerisms. The other day he said "Oh, that's PERFECT. (I'm being sarcastic, Mom.)" Yikes! I guess he can thank me for that one.
*Part of my lack of blogging is that I've been itching to be crafty. I have ADD when it comes to crafts (I can thank MY mom for that one), and when I see something cute or cool that someone has made, I often think: I could do that. And then sometimes I collect coupons and buy the materials, but never get around to making it. I have this mental block that the house needs to be clean and all my chores done before I can spend time and make more mess by crafting (I can thank my DAD for that one!). I've especially been wanting to make some fabric flowers for pins or barrettes. I've experimented with a few that were OK, and I think I found a pattern I like. Last night I finally just sat down and worked on it, even though the house was still messy. LIVING ON THE EDGE, I know. Here's the first few prototypes, soon to be seen in Birdie's hair:
So, that's part of what's been going on around here. I know soon we'll at least have a Halloween post, b/c the kids already have costumes that go perfectly together. (I was being sarcastic. One is a character from Star Wars and the other is a small whimsical insect.) Good times!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I was due for a good idea.


I think I've been pretty clear on this blog that I love being a mom to the Monkey and the Bird. I think I've also been pretty clear that this job is hard and sometimes I'm on my game, and sometimes I'm so very far OFF my game. Sometimes I fail miserably. But every once in a while...I totally score. Today? I was on my game, people. I turned a near meltdown into a really fun morning and have the documentation to prove it.
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It came about before lunch when Sydney and I wanted to take a walk (side note: how GORGEOUS is this sunny, chilly fall weather?!), but Carson was adamantly against it. Trent was gone serving his community at a carseat clinic, and I knew we needed to get out of the house. But Carson was pouting and refused to participate. So I announced,
"Change of plans. We are not going to take a walk."
"GOOD." Said pouty Carson.
"We are going on a Scavenger Hunt."
[reluctant, partial smile]
"It's a Picture Scavenger Hunt, so you'd better get your camera."
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In the interest of full disclosure, I read about the idea in a magazine months ago, but had never remembered to put it into practice. I made a list of things that we were looking for and Carson was the photographer. It was a total blast and we were gone for over an hour on our hunt. Here's some of the things on the list, in case you want to try it yourself.
Sidewalk chalk


A yellow leaf

A red or orange leaf
A man hole

A brown leaf
A rock

A fire hydrant
Someone else's pumpkin
A stick
A bug
A cat or dog
( We found both!)
Self portrait


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Quick Carsonism

Carson: Mom, there's this boy in my class [at church] and every time he says to me "Wanna be my friend?" Isn't that funny?!

Me: Well, he must just really want to be your friend! I hope you are kind to him. What do you say to him?

Carson: I say [exasperated with both palms up] "We've ALREADY TALKED about this!"

Me: Well maybe he feels that you are not really his friend yet. What's his name?

Carson: I don't know.

Me: Next time, find out his name, then you can make sure he knows you ARE his friend, and say, "Bobby, I AM your friend!"

Carson: [completely distracted into a fit of giggles] BOBBY!?!?! Nobody is named "BOBBY"!!! That's such a funny name!!!! Hahahahahahaha!

Aaaaaand, teachable moment gone.

Friday, October 08, 2010

"My mommy says I'm good at that."

When I heard Carson say this from the other room, I had a flash-forward to American Idol 2024, when a handsome blond kid comes in the room and sings confidently and oh-so-off-key. He'll proudly look at the judges and then drop his jaw in shock and horror when they tell him he's no good. "WELL! My MOM told me I was a good singer!"

Actually, what I said was "I like your singing." There's a difference.

But this particular comment in the title of this post was referring to math. And, in fairness, I think he's pretty sharp with numbers! He counted to 300 the other day and told me 10 plus 8 is 18, 10 plus 10 is 20, and 10 minus 10 is 0. I feel like that is impressive? At least he was only bragging to his auntie about his brains, and she'd probably echo my praises, even if they were a blatant lie. But what if he starts chanting it on the playground at school?! Annoying kid alert! Stay away! Stay away!

Oh, elusive balance, help me find you! I'm always striving to develop "the perfect child." I want each of them to be confident, but not arrogant. Health conscious, but not weight-obsessed. Well provided for, but not spoiled. Funny, but not distracting. Kind, but not a door-mat. Entertained, but not mind-numb. But I'm especially mindful of trying to build up their self-esteem in meaningful ways without inflating their little egos to monstrous proportions!

I read an article when Carson was a baby about how narcissistic young people have become. Kindergarten teachers said they were shocked that these little self-absorbed creatures were walking into class having never lost a game of Candyland or Shutes & Ladders. The quote that stuck with me was: Give your kids the gift of disappointment.

We try to make a pointed effort to praise, well, EFFORT, moreso than results. Instead of saying "You're a great ball player!" or "You WON!" we try for "I love how you figured that out all on your own!" Instead of "Good boy!" we say "I saw how you were so gentle with your sister just then and it made me proud and it made her happy." We try to limit our compliments about physical features and athletic prowess and focus on character traits and fruits of the Spirit.

But you know what? They're my babies and I'm their mommy and sometimes I just can't help myself! "Little man! You are so smart!" Yep, I've said that. "You are my pretty girl!" Yep, that one too. I'm playing the Mom card here and saying it's my right to GUSH.

And I think they'll be OK. Carson loses at Candyland all the time. And Sydney has a little puppy-dog pout that she tries and it does NOT get her out of discipline. They deal with disappointment in varying degrees on a daily basis. (So do I, but that's another blog post.)

So we'll just keep on striving for balance. They will never be the perfect children! And I sure as HECK will never be the perfect mother. But you know what?

MY MOM says I'm good at it. :)

Yep. I love 'em.

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Monday, October 04, 2010

One Less

One Less by Matthew West (The Story Behind The Song) from emicmg on Vimeo.


I loved this clip and I love Matthew West's song called One Less. I had heard of the song but only heard THE song recently, and knowing the story behind it makes it even more powerful. I always appreciate when adoption advocates articulate that they are not proposing that every family in the world should adopt, because they shouldn't. I believe it's something a family should feel called and prepared to do. BUT, every Christian has been called to care for widows and orphans, and there are so many ways to do that!

The emotions that I get when I hear this song are peace and excitement. Excitement that songs like this are being written, that discussions of adoption and orphan care are happening. Peace because I'm so convinced that we are on the path that God laid for us. I don't feel proud of myself, I feel grateful. Grateful that a friend emailed me out of the blue and said God was laying on her heart to ask me if we had considered adoption. Grateful that another friend looked me in the eye and said "Money [meaning the lack thereof] is not a good enough reason to NOT do this." Grateful that my husband was on the same page, being led in the same way by our God. Grateful that He has blessed our path each step of the way. Grateful that our home will soon be blessed with a child who needs a home, and that we are being used in His grand design.

Now go download this song. ;)