Saturday, September 17, 2011

Just Relax Daddy 6-12-06

Just Relax Daddy

Top Story of the Weekend:

Saturday was my sister's big graduation open house...SO we were in a big hurry to get out of the house and get there so that we could help prepare food and set up. Right before we left the house, Jonathan told Landon to go potty and lets just say that we were rushing him a bit. In the midst of Jonathan's prodding to hurry up and go potty, Landon says with the sassiest of tones, "Just relax Daddy...just relax!" Coming from a two year old who was sitting naked on the potty...it was hilarious!

That same night Jonathan and I were in the living room and Landon was in the tub playing (don't worry I can see the tub from my living room...I am not a negligent mother ). After awhile he starts calling, "Kristen...come wash me please...Kristen." So now in three months time we have gone from him calling me Mama to Mommy to now...Kristen. It was so cute and funny...but certainly not something I encouraged. We are back to Mommy again.

I am having a garage sale on Friday evening and Saturday. My mom has done one every year for my entire life. I have always joined hers...but now my neighborhood is having one, so it is time to step out on my own and have one in my own garage and do all of the work myself. I am a little unsure of how Landon is going to handle seeing some of his toys on a table with a For Sale sign on them...or worse, some other little kid walking off with his toys. Any clues on how to avoid a total meltdown? I don't think he is quite able to understand the art of selling and buying, nor the idea of having too many toys.

I wish I had something exciting to post about, but other than mopping the floor, vacuuming, going to the grocery store, watering my plants, and cooking a new burrito recipe that I got from my great friend faithchick (I would put a link to your site here, but I don't know how), my day is quite boring. In fact, I think I will go squeeze in a power nap...I am unbelievable tired today for some reason.


Nothing Better 6-8-06

Nothing Better

Life cannot get much better than an 80 degree, sunny June day with a beautiful breeze. My windows are open as well as our new screen door so the cross breeze is amazing. I just finished cutting up fresh strawberries for strawberry shortcake which we will have for dessert tonight. Landon is asleep after a fun morning of playing outside. I am just so content and I don't EVER want summer to end. It is kind of a shame that I wait all year for these short three months. Jonathan would love for us to move south where it is warmer more often throughout the year. Who knows...maybe one day I will give in because I sure do love this beautiful weather!

Landon has told me about ten times a day since I got home from Texas that he "loves me very much." Each time he does it, he usually pets my face as though I were a cat or hugs my legs. The actions and words together cannot help but melt my heart into a puddle. If only you could hear the way he says it...with such emotion! He is such a sensitive, loving little boy.

He is very into knowing "what happened?" He asks this question every time he sees, hears, or feels something out of sorts. The other day we were driving and he felt his hair (which was a little wet) and said, "Mommy, what happened to my hair?" And the other night Jonathan was in the basement and let out a loud, frustrated groan and Landon came RUNNING into the kitchen yelling, "Daddy, what happened?"

Our car is in the shop right now. Landon is obsessed with knowing why the car is broken, who broke it, when it will be fixed and who is fixing it. Seriously, if he asks me one more question about that thing I think I might lose my mind. I am so tired of repeating the whole matter, but he is just SO interested.

While we were gone to Texas and Landon was with his grandparents, he regressed a bit on the whole potty-training bit. Ok, a lot. But...after a few days of really pushing the issue I think we are on the rebound. It was really frustrating to have come so far only to go back so many steps...but thankfully, he is getting it much faster this time. I will say that I have had to resurrect some of my old tricks like, getting an animal so he can "show" it how to go potty, acting surprised and screaming loudly when potty comes out (this one works really well), dancing wildly around the house to any amount of poopy that should happen to make it into the toilet, and of course the m & m treat for poopy. He has become quite enamored with this whole process. Anytime any poop comes out he has to look at it, go more, look, go more, and finally say goodbye to it, waving all of the while as it disappear down the toilet. Kids are so funny.

One more...for those still reading this somewhat mundane post: Last night Jonathan took Landon out for pancakes. After eating a few bites of his pancakes and sausage, Landon took a big drink of milk and loudly exclaimed," Mmmmm, SO good!" Jonathan said that it was really cute. The other funny thing he is doing with food right now, is that he will try something that he says he doesn't like, chew it, make a decision and then loudly exclaim either "I DO like it or I DON'T like it." He somehow has a bit of a British accent when he talks. It really is adorable.

Finally Home 6-6-06

Finally Home For Awhile

I feel like the last two weeks have been such a blur. With my family here for about a week and all of the festivities involved with that, and then going to Texas for the past 4 days...life has been a bit busy. I am kind of glad that it might slow down for a little while now. We left for Texas on Friday morning. Landon stayed with my mom and had a BLAST. I knew he would, and I have to say that it is such a blessing to be able to leave him somewhere for that amount of time and know that he will be happy and well taken care of. We surprised one of my best friends from college for her birthday...and she was very surprised. It was really fun to ring the doorbell and have her answer it totally not expecting us. We went to an amazing mexican restaurant where Jason (Courtenay's husband) had reserved the wine cellar room just for us...very cool atmosphere. We even got serenaded by authentic Spanish singers. Saturday we went to the beach/pool. The community they live in has a WATERPARK and a BEACH all to themselves, so that was quite fun...and it made me want to live in a subdivision like that! Landon would have loved it... Anyway...Sunday was church and a wonderful meal and cake (which my dear husband made for Courtenay) and lots of talking and catching up. Then we flew home yesterday afternoon. It was a wonderful visit and we are so thankful that we could do it.

Now we are home...and I am just relaxing. I have my windows open and a beautiful breeze is blowing through the house. I had a wonderful lunch with Landon. We also washed the car together this morning and just played around. I know, I say it a million times...but I have to say it again...I love my life. I love my husband and my son...I love that I can be with Landon for every important milestone as well as the every-day stuff. I just love it.

So..here is the promised picture of my family. Even with all of the busyness we miss them terribly. It was so wonderful to have them here, but the hole that remains once they leave takes awhile to heal. With all of this travel and family stuff...I just have to say that I am so thankful for the blessings of my family and my friends. You all are priceless!


My Family 5-31-06

My Family

After twelve years of not all being together at the same time at the same place, all of my family was finally together this past weekend. The big occasion was my little sister's graduation. My two sisters from Florida came (and their husbands) along with my brother from California and of course all of us Michiganders. To say that it was a wonderful, perfect time together would be an understatement...it was too good to be true.

My parents are divorced, so I have one real brother. My mom remarried when I was 6 and then came Jen and Kelly (my step-dad's daughters)...so there were four of us...all two years apart (a completely blended family). Jen and Kelly's mom moved them down to Florida so we would all be together only for the summer and for two weeks during the winter time. Brennigan came along in 1988, making her the only child of both my mom and Ernie. So then there were 5 of us kids . I have heard horror stories of blended families gone wrong. I am so blessed to be able to say that my step-dad is one in a million...could never be any better...and all of us kids were instantly bonded. Summers were so blissful as Kelly and I would play all day every day and Jen and Jason would do the same. The trip back to the airport at the end of the summer was one of the worst days of the year for our family...it was silent and sad. We hated to be apart and loved to be together...but such is the life of blended families...right?

Well, obviously we all grew up and went our own ways. All of us are married except my older brother and obviously my younger sister. We all have jobs and responsibilities and houses to pay for...so we don't get away very much. Maybe that is why this trip was so special...because we all knew that it would be awhile before it happened again...so we made the very best of it. And I would not trade a moment of it for anything.

Landon LOVED his aunts...but I think his uncles scored the most points. He still wanders around our house looking for Uncle Roy or Uncle Jason to play blocks or water with. Every time he asks me where they are my eyes fill up with tears because they are gone and the next time Landon sees them he will probably be out of wanting to play blocks or water and into video games or some other bigger boy interest. The day my brother left he had told Landon he would play water with him (sprinkler) when Landon woke up from his nap...but Landon took a really long nap and Jason had to leave for the airport. So when Landon woke up he went room to room looking for Jason and it absolutely broke my heart to have to tell him that he was gone. I wish so badly that my siblings lived close by so that our children could grow up together and we could be a bigger part of each others lives. But this is how it is, and yet, we have so much to be thankful for.

Being together these past days was just like being kids again. It is so amazing to me the bond that we all developed despite only seeing each other a few times a year and despite not having the same parents, and sharing one. Divorce is such a complicated, terrible mess...but in the end, I received two of the best step-sisters a girl could ever ask for, a brother whom I may not have liked much growing up...but love greatly now , a little sister who is the most like a real sibling to me, childhood memories that are as wonderful as they come, and the best step dad in the world who has always been and still is much more like a father to me than my own. I guess this is just evidence of God's amazing grace.

For our parents 20th anniversary we surprised them by taking some photos of all of us kids and framing one of them in a 16 by 24 frame for above their mantle. We knew they would love it...and they certainly did. My mom said that it was the best gift they had ever received. All of us kids are so different...but yet bonded together by so much. Families truly are forever and I am so thankful for mine.

(I have a picture to end this post of my whole family..mom, dad, etc...but I have reached my dumb limit...so I guess that will have to come later )

The Difference Between You and Me 5-23-06

The Difference Between You and Me

Landon thinks he is "You." Allow me to explain....whenever I ask him anything I refer to him as you, "Do you want me to wash you?" Do you want me to hold you?" Etc.... As a result, he thinks that he is "you" and anyone else is "me". Thus, when he wants us to do something he will say, "Mommy...come wash you!" Mommy, please hold you!" I have tried numerous times to explain to him that he should refer to himself as "me" and anyone else as "you", but everytime I try to explain, I end up confused so I am quite sure he is totally lost. Any ideas how to teach him that he is "me" and anyone else is "you" would be greatly appreciated!

In other news...one of my sisters has arrived from Florida. My brother comes in on Thursday and my other sister and her husband come in Friday morning. It will be a fun weekend!!! Landon came down with cold number 1, 900 today...so we shall see how that affects the events, but I am hopeful.

My little sister is graduating from high school on Saturday. I cannot believe that she is that old already. It seems like yesterday that she was my bratty little three year old sister begging to play with my barbies or my karaoke machine (I say bratty with lots of love and nostalgia). I am so excited for her and all that she has ahead of her in the years to come. High school was fun and I have wonderful friends from that era of my life, but college was the BEST and then came marriage and babies...and yeah, she has a lot of fun ahead of her.

We went to my husband's sisters house this past weekend. She is an extremely talented artist AND photographer. Her work is absolutely amazing...her pictures capture so much more than the physical. Anyway, I left there somewhat envious. I wish so badly that I had a talent...something I could say that I am really good at. I can't sing, I can't draw...I am average at almost everything. I have some talents but they seem pale in comparison. I know that I should not compare in the first place...but sometimes a girl wishes that she had something that made her stand out from the crowd. But I guess that is somewhat prideful...its not praise that I want...it is self-worth I guess...something to call my own. Yes, I know I should not be seeking self-worth through things on earth...but sometimes these things come up in life and you just have to battle through them. That is what I am doing now.

Landon loves Music 5-20-06

Landon Loves Music

A few mornings ago I was getting ready in our bathroom and Landon had been quiet for about 10 minutes (which automatically means trouble). I went through the house searching for him, and after a little while found him on the back deck. He had gotten a beach towel out, laid it on the deck, absconded his dad's i-pod (which he is not allowed to play with), figured out how to turn it on and stick the ear things in...and was laying there listening to the music. I thought it was so cute, I could not help but let him listen for a little bit longer!

He really is quite the music lover! When he was about 18 months old he started singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. We thought that was great...now he can sing with just about any song that comes on (ours or his) and randomly breaks out in his own songs (usually Deep and Wide or Zaccheus was a Wee Little Man) quite often. He certainly does not get this musical talent from me. I am as far as one can get from having any musical ability. My husband on the other hand is quite musical and finds great satisfaction in the fact that it appears Landon will follow in his footsteps...at least in this area.

Yesterday we were driving home and Jon asked Landon where Jesus lived. Landon replied, "Up high , in the sky...in the sun!" He was so sure and so excited! I have no idea how he got this idea. We have talked to him a little bit about Heaven, but not really alluded to where it was or where Jesus lived. I have talked to him about Jesus living in our hearts...but somehow the idea of Jesus living in the sun got into his little brain. I thought it was somewhat allegorical though and led to a great opportunity to talk to him about all of those things...none of which he seems to really understand quite yet.

Potty training is taking a BIG turn UP! Ever since I left for Ohio he has been going potty by himself with no prompting...he will just disappear and be on the potty. He has even pooped a few times! I am really excited and hoping that this is it...I would love for it to be totally done before we get pregnant again!

Swim lessons went great today! I talked to him before class about following the teachers schedule and listening to her instructions and he did a lot better! I admit, I did bribe him a little with Nemo snacks...but hey, it was a great swim class....he even went UNDER!!! Unfortunately, he was not too fond of the experience, so I think that going under will not be a regular occurrence for quite some time.

Well...he is still in his bed talking to his monkey and duck...and it is way past when he should be asleep...so I had better get off of here and tell him it is time to put his animals to bed. Have a great day everyone!

A Weekend to Remember 5-16-06

A Weekend To Remember

It has been two years this month since I last saw Megan, one of my best friends from college and my Maid of Honor in my wedding. Despite the amount of time that had passed since last seeing her, I was quite sure that when I saw her again...it would be as if no time had passed at all. I was absolutely right.

I went down to Ohio on Friday afternoon. It is a five hour drive from my house, and I was doing it alone since my dear husband had offered to stay home with Landon for the weekend so that I could better enjoy myself and have no restrictions (naps to work around, feedings, bedtimes...etc). So at 4pm I left Michigan and started my trek. The drive went great...I called a few friends and chatted a lot of the way...the rest of the way I put on whatever music I wanted and played it really loud (something I rarely get to do considering that I am usually listening to Bob and Larry sing Deep and Wide or the B-I-B-L-E. I got to my friend Amanda's house around 9. In college Manda and Meg and I along with two other good friends (Andrea and Sara) all hung out together ALL OF THE TIME. Many of my college memories include these two girls...my most fun memories definitely include them! We did so many fun things together...things I never would have thought I would do. We were extremely close...sharing breadsticks from Colonial's at 2 in the morning while we poured our hearts out about all of the big and small things in life. After two very fun years together, Manda graduated leaving Meg and I there for two more years. Even after that, we still all stayed close, but it was, of course, never quite the same. Considering that Meg and I were still at Cedarville and in the same major, we stayed extremely close. We went on to RA in different dorms and expanded our network of friends, but when it came down to it, we were still foundational friends. In fact, these girls were probably two of the best friends I have ever had in my entire life.

So when I got to Manda's at 9 we stayed up until close to midnight talking. She has two miracle babies...beautiful baby girls who fought to get here (one was a 28 week preemie and the other born 5 weeks early after Manda was on bedrest from week 23 on). So we talked about mothering and being wives and our goals and aspirations in life. We talked about churches and lots of other girlie stuff. It was wonderful to be able to talk so freely and openly after seeing eachother so few times these past years.

Saturday we got ready and went to the wedding...which was so beautiful! Lori has waited for so long to find the man she would marry and it was priceless to get to be there to witness the big day...and I must say she was GORGEOUS! I am so thankful to have gotten a chance to partake in her big day! During the reception I got to see so many friends that I have not seen in a long while. Two friends I had not seen since I left Cedarville, Tyson and Shellie, were there and we got to catch up a lot, sharing a table. It was just so refreshing to see people again and to see where life has taken them and how God has blessed them. So many friends are married and pregnant or have children already...it was so neat to see them!

After the wedding Manda and Meg and I went out to dinner. It was as if the pages of time folded back and we were 19 again. Seriously, we talked and shared and laughed and cried just like the old days...just like nothing had ever changed. Distance, life circumstances, marriage, kids, schooling, new friends...none of it made a bit of difference. We were best friends again...having a night on the town. After dinner, we went to another friends house and hung out until about 1am. The night was really something I cannot adequately describe. My heart needed that girl time...I guess I needed those girls and missed those girls more than I even knew I did. To be with them, even for those few hours felt like I had come home. I was with kindred spirits and I was home.

Megan is beautiful. She always has been, but she radiates such peace and grace. She is finishing up her Masters in Dallas living a fun life down there with friends. She has always been such an encourager and such an inspiration...and she still is.

Manda is a such an example to me...in her mothering and in the way she sacrifices for her family. Her faith and strength are so deep that I can only describe them as a gift of God. She has endured so many trials, and received such beautiful blessings.

I had the time of my life this weekend. I love my life here with my husband and my son. I would not trade it for anything in the entire world. Insomuch, the hours I spent away this weekend, with two girls who knew, and in so many ways still know, me so well, added some much needed life back into my soul. It is so easy for me to forget what it was like to be free of responsibility...sometimes the responsibilities of being a wife and a mother and going for so many years without any really close friends nearby, makes me forget all that I remembered this weekend. So thank you to my husband for giving me the best Mothers Day gift he could ever have given me...a weekend away with two of my closest friends. And thank you to Manda and Meg...for the memories and for your kindred spirits and for the moments we could share this weekend that I will live off of until the next time...

Cedarville really is an amazing place. Granted no one I know is really left there, but the memories live forever, and the people still do exist just in different places. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to go to this school and to meet all of you dear ones. We shared four years of our lives together, and in so many ways, we are bonded together by our common experiences. When we see each other again...the time seems to melt away and we suddenly go right back to being college students. That reminder this weekend really did my heart a world of good.

A Little of Everything 5-10-06

A Little of Everything

Yesterday was a wonderful day! Landon had swim class in the morning, and in the three classes that he has had, he has become much more comfortable in the water. Yesterday he allowed me hold him out in the water and he kicked and moved his arms...it was great. He also was an expert bubble blower in the water! He did REALLY well! After swim class we had a picnic with my neighbor and her two children and then played outside for awhile and enjoyed the beautiful weather! Last night we had grilled chicken and vegetables and rice. At the culmination of the dinner, it hit me just how far Landon has come this past year. A year ago, he would not eat much of anything...seriously. But we pushed and pushed and pushed...and after a lot of perseverance he is finally eating almost everything we eat. All along, I committed to his eating whatever I made for us for dinner...I did not want to get into the whole, "let's make a meal for each kid bc they are so picky" mentality. So...that is what we did...but it was not easy....not by a long shot. Now all of the perseverance is finally paying off. Last night Landon asked for MORE vegetables...he wanted a third serving! and that was after finishing all of his chicken and trying the potatoes and eating his rice! I just cannot believe it...but I am so thankful and so happy that the trials involved in getting him to eat are over. I cannot even begin to express how much less stressful our lives have become since he began eating like a normal human

I miss this. Landon sleeping on my shoulder. It has not happened in forever. I honestly cannot even remember the last time he slept on me or in my arms. It is funny...we document all of the firsts...first words, first movements...but we don't even realize the "lasts." The last day it was just you and your husband, the last day you were pregnant, the last time they fit perfectly in the cruck of your arm, the last day they used a bottle or the last time they nursed, the last time they call you Mama instead of Mommy or Mom, the last time they actually needed your hand to help them walk. Firsts are so much more exciting...but when looking back, the last times are just as special and precious...if not more so.

Speaking of "Last Times" I am going down to the ville this weekend for a wedding. I am excited for the wedding, but I am ecstatic to see my friends! In college I had three super close friends. I am going to see two of them this weekend...one of whom I have not seen in 2 years! I am so excited to be together again...just like old times. But I know it won't be quite the same as old times...we have all changed so much...two of us have gotten married...one of us has two kids...I have one. The other has gone on to grad school and traveled around...had so much fun! But yet, I am confident that time and distance will melt away in the few hours we will spend together...and it will be just like the old days...an endless girl party with lots of food and fun. We will pour out our hearts and encourage one another and revel in the friendship for just a few hours until time slips away and we eagerly anticipate the next time...whenever that may be. In the short years I had with these girls my life changed radically. They helped to teach me so much about life, love, friendship, the Lord...everything really. They opened my tiny world up into a great big opportunity waiting to happen...and we had the times of our lives. I really hope to capture that back in a small way this weekend...if for only a moment.


Tulip Time 5-6-06

Tulip Time

The second week of May is a BIG week around here. My town is known for our Tulip festival which is held every year at this time. The city was founded by the Dutch, and, thus, the festival celebrates the heritage as well as the beauty of tulips. Other than the summer (this is a big summer getaway town bc of the beach and Lake Michigan) this is the time to come visit. I love living here. I realized that anew this weekend.

As it happened, our good friends Krista and Lyndon came to visit this weekend. We got to do lots of fun things, and also partake in the festivities going on around us. We showed them the beach (although it was freezing!) and we went downtown to see the tulips and walk the streets and of course, stop for ice cream. Saturday morning Jonathan made his pancakes for us all and that night we had a steak grill-out. It was a fun weekend!

Here are a few pictures of Landon. The one of the left was taken exactly a year ago at this time. He has changed considerably...in every way possible. I love my big boy so much...but seeing how tiny he was a year ago makes me miss him that size. Every mother says it...but they grow up too fast!

Landon is very into doing EVERYTHING himself lately. He has to wash his own face and hands, put his own clothes on, buckle his own carseat...everything is "I Do It!" It is kind of liberating for us, but at other times his independence causes everything to take too much time. The other day in a struggle with him, Jonathan said, "Landon, you are ..." and before he could even finish his sentence (which probably would have been...something else or a rascal or something like that) Landon says, "So Nice!" He is saying the darndest things right now and every day he has us cracking up over something new he is saying. What a fun kid!

My neighbor called this morning to tell me about her family drama. She has three sisters and between them and her mom there is always something interesting going on. When I first met her, I thought she had the perfect family. Isn't that how it goes though? On the outside families usually do look quite perfect, but I think that inside, every family has some form of dysfunction. Maybe that is a harsh word, but when your dealing with family you are dealing with people and I think due to our sin nature and inability to put others before ourselves, problems naturally arise. Some families have the big problems...divorce, abuse, etc...others just the ins and outs of socialization...but naturally problems do occasionally arise. I wish I could shield my kids from it...but alas, I know we are not perfect and will make some mistakes. To some degree though, I think our children learn from our mistakes and also gain strength through family struggles. I just pray that in the end, my kids think of home as a warm, welcoming place where they are safe and always loved.

A May Day 5-4-06

A May Day

I have decided that May is one of the most beautiful months here in the grand state of Michigan. June is gorgeous too...the weather is a bit nicer, but May has the feeling of new life. Everything comes alive and the trees and grass are a hue of green that, in the right light, almost takes your breath away. This is a picture of our backyard off of our deck. It was yesterday morning...I love morning in our new house because the sun streams into the kitchen so we get to eat breakfast while bathed in sunlight. It also streams into our bedroom so we can't sleep late, but who would want to sleep late and waste a beautiful morning like this? Plus, Landon's room is on the other side of the house so his room stays dark (meaning, he usually sleeps longer!) How much better could we have it?

Tuesday was Landon's first swim lesson. He had another today. It is a class for 1-3 year olds, so he is definitely one of the older kids. He did pretty well the first day although I think he would rather just swim around and not have the structure of the teacher. Today he learned to blow bubbles in the water and also learned to climb out of the pool using a ladder. That was his favorite part...he loves to climb! As far as the real swimming goes, however, he is not very interested (surprising since Jon and I both LOVE to swim!). I noticed something about myself while at swim class today. I noticed that while I always said I would not be a competitive mom...I am. I saw all of those other kid kicking and waving their arms and getting praise for it and I wanted Landon to do it too! I wanted him to be the best swimmer in there. As the half hour ticked by I kept having to remind myself that he is is 2 and while maybe one day he will be an expert swimmer or maybe he won't like it at all...it doesn't matter. Each child is better at some things than others (as are adults). It is my perfectionism again...and it scares me. The last thing I want to do is let that leak over onto my children. Obviously this will need to be a great area of prayer and constant monitoring, because I don't ever want my kids to say that their mom ever thought something wasn't good enough. Everything Landon tries will be an adventure...some he will do well at, others he will not. So we have swim lessons twice a week for the next three weeks. I am sure he will progress...and I pray I do as well .

Last night at dinner Jonathan and I were talking and he said, "A penny saved is a penny earned." Just after that, Landon piped up, "That's right Daddy!" We were laughing so hard...and he was pretty proud of himself for saying something so funny. I love the proud little smile he puts on.

Landon loves birds. He stands at the window numerous times a day watching them. The other day he told me that the birds were eating. I asked him what they were eating and he said, "Flowers and grass." I decided to tell him that only birds eat grass and flowers...Mama and Landon don't (I didn't want him to copy the birds and start eating my flowers!). He then said, "Not Daddy eat flowers either....only birds." I think he got the point...although from his sentence structure he may have this weird idea that his daddy eats birds...I am not sure.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Landon's Favorite Things 5-1-06

Landon's Favorite Things...

For Christmas Landon got a Play-Do set for making monsters. I have saved it since then, waiting for him to be old enough to enjoy it. I got it out recently and now it is his favorite thing in the world. Here is just one of many monsters that he has proudly made. It is so cute how he spends so much time molding his monsters and then proudly shows them to us, even asking us to take a picture for him . He has also recently become very interested in coloring. Crayola has Color Wonder books and markers that only color on the paper...so he can color with markers on the couch or floor or wherever. He LOVES them. So the three of us have gone through an entire 25 page coloring book in the last week. Guess I need a new one. These new found hobbies of his seem very grown-up to me. I cannot believe that he is old enough to mold monsters and know where to put eyes and ears and feet. Neither can I believe that he already tries to color inside of the lines and can name all of the animals and colors with which he is coloring. Time just seems to be going so fast and he is growing up before my very eyes.

This morning was very low-key. Landon slept in (until almost 10am!!!...he goes to bed at 9 and usually gets up bt 8 and 9...I have a great sleeper!) so I decided that we would not go anywhere today. So we spent the morning with the doors open and music playing while we did laundry (I say we, because he has to help put the clothes in, transfer them to the dryer, and fold!) and picked up the house. During those mundane tasks I just thought to myself how much I love my life. I am so thankful that I am able to stay home with Landon, and while it is difficult somedays, most days it is just such a blessing...like today.

I am just finishing the Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. I have to say that the words in the book have been a balm to my soul. For my entire life I have feared failure. In so much, I am a perfectionist and think that anything less than perfect is not good enough. Unfortunately that trait has run over into my relationship with Christ, and as I obviously cannot be perfect, I often struggle with feeling worthy of God's love, grace, blessing. Manning explains that God's love is folly. It does not make sense. Many would call it crazy. In the parable of prodigal son, the father took the son back BEFORE THE SON COULD EVEN APOLOGIZE. In many ways it almost appears that the father wanted the son back more than the son even wanted to be back.The son just had to show up...not promise he would never fail again. God accepts us exactly as we are. But I hate the up and down's of the Christian life. Often I find myself staying down simply bc I don't want to ride the roller coaster any longer. But I am coming to realize that the Lord knows I am not perfect...He made me. Thus, in many ways, He expects failure out of me...but accepts and loves me unconditionally. Jesus knew Peter would betray Him three times on the night of his death, but He also knew that experience would change Peter for the rest of his life...and ultimately Peter was used in amazing ways for God's glory...despite his failings. As Manning says, our darkness is a prized possession because it drives us into the arms of God.

I really hope as I progress on this road to understanding grace and love that my heart can USE the knowledge I glean and not just take it all in. Near the end of the book Manning used these verses from Hosea 11. In place of Israel, he asked the reader to place his or her name. This is what it says:

Kristen, how could I give you up, my heart turns against it.

When you were a child I loved you. I taught you how to walk and took you in my arms.

Yet you have not understood that I was the one looking after you.

I lead you with reigns of kindness, with leading-strings of love.

I was like someone who lifts an infant close, stooping down to you I gave you food.

We serve a personal, loving God. One who does not desire to condemn us for our failures, but yearns for us to accept His forgiveness and allow His love to change us. Slowly, I am learning.

Random Musings 4-26-06

Random Musings

Landon likes to be close to me. Normally while I am getting ready in the bathroom, Landon plays in the cupboard. Today, he was "cooking" in one of my pans with his Easter eggs in the living room while I was getting ready. After about one minute he came sauntering into the bathroom with his pan, eggs and spoon, sat down at my feet and "cooked" there just to be close to me.

I plan my laundry. Isn't that insane. I do laundry once a week and I try to conserve because I hate spending money on non-fun items like diapers and laundry detergent. So, I did sheets on Monday and in my mind was thinking...good I don't have to do Landon's sheets for 2 more weeks (he is tiny and is in a full bed and I just don't think they need to be done any earlier than that). Today I let him lay in his bed and look at books, I TOLD him not to go potty in his bed. He did. There goes my plan of not washing the sheets...into the laundry they went. You would think after having been a parent for two years that I would have given up on my dumb schedules...but I haven't.

I do not like weeks in which there is nothing to do. This is one of those weeks. The events of my week include grocery shopping, going to the bank, trying to find Landon tennis shoes (a task I have almost given up on!), and going to BedBathand Beyond and getting a credit bc I found the vacuum we bought there for a lower price at Kohls. Sounds like a fun week, huh?! Next week Landon starts swimming lessons. They are twice a week for a month. He is doing it with his little friend, Max. I am so excited...I think it will be so much fun! WAIT...two fun things just happened. Tomorrow I am going to go down to my mom's and get my haircut...that always makes me feel better. Friday a WONDERFUL friend that I met my first year at Cedarville and haven't seen since (she transferred out during spring semester) is going to come up for the day. It will be so much fun reconnecting after these past six years!!!!

At the end of May all of my siblings will be together for about four days. Other than my wedding (which I was obviously very busy with) this has not happened in probably 10 to 12 years. So in many ways, all of us have changed and grown up and really become who we are today during that time. Despite all of the change, I really imagine that we will pick up just like old times when we were kids. I am so excited to see them...probably more excited than I have been about anything since Landon's birth.

Tip of the day: Beware of pull-ups. They cost more than diapers (I know...hard to believe anything could be more expensive!). They fall off of skinny kids (like my son who has no back side....certainly doesn't get that from me!). And...if a kid poops in them and they are already falling down (as was the case today for us) the poop falls with them...all the way down the legs and they are IMPOSSIBLE to get off. Obviously, today was not a very good day with the whole potty issue. He had been doing so well....

I love springtime. I love the vibrant green hue of the leaves that signal the very beginning of new life. I love hearing the birds chirping. I love the sun. Now only if it were warm enough to open the windows a bit...

A Busy Week 4-21-06

A Busy Week

I am not even sure where to begin updating our lives this past week! We have done so much and time has gone by so quickly! Early last week was spent weeding and mulching our entire landscaped area...which included a large section in the front , both sides of the house and all along the back of the house, and a separate tree area. We worked from sun up to sun down from Monday through Wednesday when it was finally done. It really felt good to work so hard and to see such progress. Landon was so good...he is finally to the age where we don't have to watch him every second. We worked and he played and we all had fun. Many hours were spent together as a family working away, but it really gave us a great sense of accomplishment to work on our own yard together as a family.

After the yard was finished I began to shop and prepare the INSIDE of my house for the baby shower I was to hold on Saturday for my sister-in-law. Thankfully everything got done and the shower went off beautifully. I think she really enjoyed herself and had a wonderful time. The most amazing part of the entire experience was that twenty-five women actually fit into my living room, and the sun was shining, so we could use the deck as well. Praise the Lord!

Sunday was spent going to church, having lunch at my parents and buying a new vacuum cleaner. First of all, I have to say that I am by nature a very clean person. I just like a clean house. So, last week when my neighbor bought over her new vacuum to show me and we swept my living room and I got to see inside of the chamber what was sucked up, I was mortified and greatly disturbed. I vacuum all of the time...but obviously my cheap-o vacuum was not doing the job. So I told Jonathan (who gets extremely grossed out by such creatures as dust-mites that like to live in carpets). I think I knew telling him all about what her vacuum sucked up would get me a new vacuum. And it did (in fact he was more in favor of buying it than I was!)...we went and bought a http://www.dyson.com/homepage.aspDyson and I just want to put a plug in and say that the vacuum is amazing. We used a BedBathandBeyond coupon and saved a hundred dollars! And my carpets are not only cleaner, but they actually feel better. It is quite amazing.

Jonathan and I have been church-hunting for about a year. We have visited more churches than I can count...seriously. We stayed at one for three months and another for four, before deciding they just were not a good fit. We are just about out of options. I don't think that it should be this difficult. Maybe it is because we were so spoiled by the preaching at Cedarville, but so many pastors seem to be teaching Christian Life 101 and we just really do not feel inspired, lead or encouraged or anything positive from what we hear. I understand that many lay-people do not have much Bible knowledge, but I also know that sometimes Bible study needs to be deep and not so fluffy and meaningless. One church we visited recently did a message on the B-I-B-L-E children's song...not on scripture, on the SONG!!!! Also in most churches we visit, if you look around during worship, the people look much more dead than alive. So often I feel like the lip service of singing about God's amazing love is really a slap in His face bc while people sing that His love is amazing or his grace all sufficient, they look and act like the opposite is true. We are just really discouraged. We are not trying to be too picky, we just genuinely feel like so many of these churches are not how God intended the church to be. So we are searching for what He did intend it to be, and hoping that eventually we can find a home.

Landon's friend that he played with ALL day Friday is sick with a really bad cold and ear infection. I am praying FERVENTLY that Landon can avoid it. He has been sick so much this winter and I really hope that he doesn't catch this too. He stayed with Grandma and Grandpa for the entire weekend bc of the baby shower. (Notice the chocolate around his mouth...Grandma thinks it is a major food group just like Landon!) I was sad to see him go. He is my little buddy, my helper, my entertainer...! I missed him a lot, and last night it was so wonderful to get to tuck him into his bed and then later to know that he was asleep just a few steps down the hall. I sure do love that kid!

Adventures of Parenting 4-17-06


Adventures of Parenting

All week last week I had been so excited about the weekend. Friday night Jonathan and I had a list of about 30 things that we were going to start doing. Saturday was designated as a work day and Saturday night we were going to go to my parents for a sish-ka-bob cook out. Sunday was a cantata at church that I was so excited to see and then of course dinner with the family and an egg hunt for Landon. Great plans...but it did not turn out that way!

All day Friday Landon had been acting normal. However, that evening he wet his pants around 7 so we put him in the bath early and while in the bath, he developed a fever...almost instantly. I was so disappointed!!! I ended up sleeping near him that night bc his fever was so high and he was seriously waking every few minutes and crying. Eventually he started saying that he had an owie in his mouth...I assumed that meant his throat hurt. Saturday he had a 104.6 fever and kept crying about his mouth and I just really thought it was strep throat bc the one time I had it...it came on all of a sudden just like his did. By Saturday night his face and ears were beat red and he was so sick...he was breathing fast and his heart was pounding and I just decided he really needed to be seen. So we took him to urgent care at 8 pm. The doctor looked at his throat (which by then was BLEEDING!) and said she thought it was strep...so she took a strep test. I was so relieved bc they would give him an antibiotic and maybe he would be better the next day...but the test came back negative. I was SO disappointed bc she said it was a virus then and there was nothing they could do but let it run its course. So, I had kept my son out past 10 when he was sick, took him to urgent care (paid too much money), exposed him to various other sicknesses in the waiting room (one little boy was throwing up all of the time....poor kid...which if you know me at all you know I do not handle puke well AT ALL!), and gotten my hopes up for an antibiotic all to take my little boy home empty handed...just as sick as when we had gotten there. But I guess it is a gamble and I would rather be safe than sorry. Oh, yeah, and by the way...I am really tired of what seems like continuous sickness! He has been sick so many times this winter! We are praying for a long time of health...a lifetime would be great. I hate it when he is sick!

Yesterday his fever was much lower...only about 101. So...no nursery or church for him...but we did take him to my moms for lunch and an egg hunt. He thoroughly enjoyed both! And I did get to make use of the tie I had bought him a few weeks ago :) It is quite a bit cheaper to dress a boy than a girl. Anyway, I thought he looked like a very cute little man :)

So the weekend ended up quite different than I had anticipated. We got very little done, had no cook out and did not even get to go to church, but when we said prayers last night Landon thanked Jesus for making a way to go to Heaven and we got to talk to him about Heaven and how wonderful it will be there. I don't think he understands, but it was still really sweet that he could thank Jesus for raising from the dead

On a side note: this morning a Victoria Secret commercial came on. Landon started screaming and saying...Monster, Monster, on TV. I thought it was really funny that he thought the Victoria Secret models were monsters...obviously the commercial was quite dark in nature if it made a two year old think of monsters :)

Landon Loves Mama Too 4-10-06

Landon luvs Mama Too...

  • There are numerous things that Landon has been saying that either melt our hearts into a puddle or send us into side-splitting laughter. Here are are few of his latest antics:

    Last Thursday my mom asked Landon where Dada was. Landon replied, "Work." She then asked him why he worked. Landon replied, "To make money." My mom, curious to know what Landon thought, then asked him why Dada has to make money. Landon answered with a big smile on his face, "So Mama and Landon can buy things!" Needless to say, everyone thought that was quite funny!

    The other night after Landons story was done and prayers said, I told him I love him like I do every night. Usually he responds with a simply one word answer, "Love!"However, this particular night (and everyone thereafter), he very sweetly said, "Landon loves Mama too." I was on the verge of tears hearing him say this. I knew he kind of understood the concept of love, but that night he clinched it. Wow, after two and a half years he finally told me he loved me and meant it...there is something extremely precious and pure and lovely about a child learning to love his parents and then extending that concept to other family members, friends and eventually to the Lord.

    Two nights ago Landon started saying his own prayers. This is what the first prayer consisted of: Dear Jesus, thank you for Grandma, Gigi, Brenn, Papa, Mama, Dada, Landon, and please bless the fishy movie (Finding Nemo) that Dada bought for Landon. I love you Jesus. Amen. I found it extremely adorable that he randomly remembered that Daddy bought him Finding Nemo, and then asked Jesus to bless it (guess we need to work on that concept ).

    Whenever we drive ANYWHERE now, Landon is a constant running commentary. This is what a drive with him sounds like: Mama, I saw a bird! Mama I saw water! Mama, I saw ducks! Mama, I saw a bus...a truck...a tractor...an airplane...continuously. He literally, never stops. And, you cannot just acknowledge him with a simple, Yeah! You have to repeat what he says so that he knows you were really listening. It was adorable at first...now, sometimes, I wish I could just tell him to sit quietly and stop talking, but I think there is some rule against that .

    This is what Landon sounds like when he counts (I really wish I knew how to put sound on here bc it is really cute how he says the numbers): non, two, threes, fours, fives, six, neven, eight, nine, ten, sixteen, eight, ten. He counts everything...and names the color of everything, even if his world is currently limited to only three colors: red, blue and green. Although, he surprised us the other day and correctly labeled something as brown as well. We are still working on white and black and yellow....

    In other news:

    I officially hate potty training. We have been at it for 7 weeks now...and accidents still occur somewhat often. I am still petrified of taking him out of the house in underwear (I did it yesterday and all three times he had accidents (although once was totally Jon's fault ). I really want to be done with this. I don't like it.

    For my birthday Jonathan finally let us get rid of the space station. The space station was our TV stand. He bought it when we first got married to surprise me with...I hated it from day one . So for our joint birthday gifts this year we bought a new one from Target (I LOVE THAT STORE!). It was quite affordable for how beautiful it is! I cannot tell you enough how much of a difference it has made in our home...our house finally feels like a real home and not an apartment. I love my husband! He spent four hours putting it together and did a wonderful job. Jonathan has always been so good at making my birthday special...even if we can't do anything big, he never fails to make it special.

    Well, I am off to do some much needed weeding around my house. We just moved in September so I am totally unsure of what is a plant and what is a weed and what can be cut back. Does anyone out there know if Russian Sage can be cut back?


Quarter Century 4-7-06

Twenty-five Years of Time

Time...we all have our share of it. From the time we are born until the time we die. We are each allotted a certain amount of it. Today, I am reminded of how fast it goes. I am to the point in my life where I can remember ten years ago very well. For example, when you are 22 you can't remember 12 real well...but when you turn 25, well, I can remember being 15 VERY well. These past ten years went by....very fast. When you are young, all of the old people always tell you not to wish your life away and that every year goes faster. Well, somehow I have now joined their ranks and I find myself saying those same things to my younger sister. I guess somehow I just thought that I would have accomplished more by 25. What, I have no idea...and why it would matter, I don't really know that either. I think it is my perfectionistic tendencies or maybe my need for affirmation, but most of the time I don't feel accomplished at all. Yes I have a diploma and a bachelor degree, and a wonderful husband and beautiful son...all things that matter to me, but in the eyes of society and many people, don't amount to much. In fact, a very inconsiderate person had the audacity to recently tell me, a stay-at-home mom, not to finish my masters degree bc I will just get pregnant again and not use it...like I did my bachelors. Maybe this person meant it in a fatherly way in an effort to help us financially, but no matter how he/she meant it, the words still say the same...some people look at stay-at-home moms as lazy, unproductive, unmotivated people and it makes me sick. I don't feel any of those things and I don't consider myself any of those things. In fact, staying at home chasing children requires the opposite of laziness...and to nurture children requires motivation to keep thinking of new ways to help our children learn. Stay at home moms have enough to deal with, I really don't think we need people making us feel badly because we don't contribute three thousand dollars a month to the family budget. I am grateful that Jonathan appreciates and allows me to stay home with Landon. I wouldn't want it any other way. And maybe now it does not feel productive to wipe bottoms and make peanut butter sandwiches all day, but someday when Landon is thirty and I hear him telling his children about how his mommy used to turn the music up really loud and dance crazy with him for hours to Deep and Wide and cut duck shapes out of play-doh and crawl around the house playing trucks and monster, it will feel extremely productive. Landon will have memories of his time with me...our daily routines and our daily outings. I hope he treasures them bc I know that I certainly will.

Speaking of time...my mom brought my grandparents up to see our house yesterday. I made a lovely lunch for them and we had a wonderful time together. When I was young, my parents were divorced and my mom was forced to work, so my grandma was my second mom. I love her so dearly and I treasure her wisdom and the wonderful memories that she has given me. I am so thankful that Landon has gotten to know Gigi (Great-Grandma) and Great-Grandpa. It is yet another gift from the Lord that I don't want to take for granted.

Brennigan, one of my younger sisters, came up with my Grandparents and spent the night last night. Jonathan ended up having to work really late, so we had a great girls-night (plus Landon ). We shopped, ate comfort food (Cracker Barrel french toast...yumm!), watched a movie, I dyed her hair for her, did the whole green face-mask thing, and talked about teenage drama in her life. It was great. Thanks for coming Brenn...and Landon already has his request in for another round of playing Crucks (trucks) with you!

So...time...twenty-five years...half a century (yikes!)...wonder what the next twenty-five will hold? Well, maybe I am getting away with myself...wonder what today will hold, and tomorrow and next week. Maybe I should stop looking so far into the future...trying to achieve whatever for whoever...and just really treasure today. Because in the end, it is all we really have for now...if and until tomorrow

Then and Now 4-6-06

Then and Now

I realize that I am, by nature, quite nastalgic. So, going back to Cedarville, where I have so many wonderful memories, was quite the experience. Walking the halls and the common areas in the SSC was by far the most haunting experience. Everything there is exactly the same...Elliv awards are coming up and SGA has posters everywhere. The students all get to Chucks in droves at 10:58am after chapel gets out. There is still the mischallaneous couple that "hides" to get some private time and the girls who are clearly out "looking." I saw the regulars down at the game room and the food in the Hive still smells exactly as it did three years ago. But despite everything being the same, no PERSON is the same. I kept waiting to see someone I knew so we could stop and chat on the stairs or in front of Chucks. When I was a student I could not go more than five steps without saying hi...this time...there was no one. They are all in a club, and I do not belong anymore. I actually felt old being there. Seriously...I know that sounds stupid, but I felt like I looked like a mother, not a college student. Granted, I am a mom, not a college student...but most of the time I still don't really feel like I belong to the "mommy club." Anyway, it was great to be back, but it was sad too becuase it made me miss my friends in a fierce way. Jon and I have to go back in May for a wedding and there should be some of our friends there then...so that will be a better experience becuase it was my friends that made my time at Cedarville so memorable and so wonderful. I think I will always tout college as the most fun three years of my life. I did things I had never done before, met my best friends and husband, and had the time of my life.

Ok, I have to say that being there with my parents also gave the trip a different type of feel It actually went very well. Landon did wonderfully in the car and had a wonderful time at the hotel. The only thing he really whined about was going swimming, which was fine becuase what kid is not excited about swimming at the hotel?! He sure loved it! I can report that on the car ride there and back and in between Landon exclaimed, "Mama, I saw a bird!" about thrity-nine times and eight times I heard, "Mama, I saw a bus!" Both of which he was very animated and excited about EACH time one was spotted. Other than the buses and birds we saw a lot of farm land :) and even got to experience yet another Cedarville tornado watch and storm. I felt right at home.

I know that Landon had a wonderful time. He is still saying how much he wants to go wimming (swimming) and he obsessively talks about wanting to see Ma and Papa again. Thankfully, they are coming up on Thursday so at least I can tell him every three minutes when he asks that they are indeed coming in two days :) Thanks for letting us come on your road trip Aunt Brenn, Grandma and Papa. We had a great time!

Back to the Ville 3-31-06

Back to the Ville

Back to where, in many ways, my life as I know it now began. My parents are taking my little sister down to Cedarville for the weekend, and having nothing better to do, I am hopping a ride. Jonathan is staying home to get some much needed work done on the house and also bc we won't be back until Monday and he doesn't want to take a vacation day. But it is always kind of weird for me to go back there without him. I have already done it twice since we graduated. It is where we met, fell in love and had our first year of marriage. It is a place of such drama for me that going back there without him almost seems painful. Do you ever wish, that for just a day you could go back in time and experience life as it used to be?

Life now is so much more predictable and stable. Every day looks almost like the one before with slight variations. I love my life today. I love spending all day with Landon and all evening doing fun things as a family...the three of us. But sometimes I long for the unpredictability and the uncertainty that spawned such passion back in the days of college life. I would not trade my life now for that life, but I yearn with so much in me to live just a day or a week from college life. I miss being surrounded by so many different and wonderful friends. I miss walking everywhere and even, to some extent the busyness that was so characteristic of that time period. I miss girly talks and roommate chat sessions. I miss dating Jonathan...probably bc back in those days we could somehow (probably to out future detriment) afford to go on really cool dates to Mt. Adams and the Oregon District and various other places that hold such sentimentality for me. Now when we have a chance to go on a date, which is not often at all, we decide to be wise and make it cheap. Not that cheap is not good...it is and we still can have so much fun...but I miss the not knowing...not knowing all there is to know about how he was feeling and where we were going with our lives. I think that uncertainty painted a backdrop for lots of drama, and passion and excitement. I am not trying to say those things do not exist now. They do...but in a different way. The love we share now is in so many ways a deeper and more mature love. So much more stable and enduring. I think it is human nature to glorify the past and forget about the hurtful or difficult times. Who knows, one day, I am quite sure I will long to live this day once more...and have all of the treasures that I have today...our love, our 2 year-old, our life.

The Influenza Virus 3-26-06

The Influenza Virus

Thursday evening I laid beside my poor baby as his little body was ravaged by a 105.6 temperature (the doctor said not to call until 106 ). The pads of his little feet were like hot coals that were perpetually being thrust into my back as his body thrashed about all night long. I took his temperature about every hour and as soon as the IB Profen wore off, the Tylenol would go in. Throughout the night his little body went from sweating to shivering and back again. All through the night. I had that feeling that I am sure every mother experiences...the feeling of helplessness, knowing that there is nothing I can do to help him feel any better, but wishing so badly that I could take all of his pain and make it my own.

Before this whole episode, I thought Landon and I were going to come through unscathed. Jonathan had come down with it on Sunday evening, so by Wednesday I thought we were good...but Thursday morning Landon woke up with it. By Friday evening I knew I was coming down with it too...the body aches, chills, cough. I prayed so hard that night that God would heal Landon because I knew that I would not be able to care for him as well if I was sick too . I prayed that God would give me the faith to believe that He would heal him. I kid you not, forty-five minutes later, I took his temperature and his body was 98.6 degrees. Temperature gone. He slept peacefully through the night and awoke a healthy boy the next morning. I, however, was very much sick. But I would much rather be sick than Landon. And I praise God for His direct intervention in such a small detail of our lives.

Sunday, Landons temperature came back. It was low-grade and remained so today. So I took him to the doctor and ends up, his congestion lead to an ear infection. This means that he gets an antibiotic . It is so crazy to me that bc the flu is a virus they can do nothing for you when your body is ravaged by high fevers and terrible body aches and deep coughs, but if you get fluid in your ear...then, they can give you something for it. Oh the complexity of virus versus bacteria . So, now Landon is on the mend, I am feeling better, and Jonathan is back at work. Thank God for health. It really is priceless.

On a much cuter note, Wednesday night we had a get together with some family friends. As we were driving there, Landon piped up, out of the blue, from his car seat, "Momma, you look cute." There is something about your son telling you that you look pretty that just melts your heart!

This morning I was coughing really hard and Landon came up and got in my face (he does that when he wants your attention) and he said in a very concerned voice, "Are you ok Mama?" After which he reached up with his little hand and felt my forehead like I do his to check for fevers. Again, there is something about your baby asking if YOU are ok that just really grabs your heart and fills it with more love and pride than you ever thought possible. He continuously amazes me.