Monday, September 29, 2008

Consignment sales

I participated in my first (and probably last) consignment sale this weekend. I was pumped to get rid of some extra kid's clothes that we no longer had a need for. I spent several hours last week retrieving my "gently used" goods from the attic and the spare closet, putting the items on hangers and tagging the items for sale. Plus I made four trips over to the church where the consignment sale was located (about 10-15 minutes away one-way) to pick up my bar code labels, to drop off my consignment items, to shop the consignors pre-sale and to pick up my check and unsold items. All during a week when there was NO GAS in Nashville! So, when I made my fourth trip to the church to pick up my check, I was very disappointed to see that it was a whopping $62.30. That is not even enough to cover my gas for my 4 trips to and fro. Plus, I had to take about 2/3 of the items I brought to sale back home with me. IT WAS SO NOT WORTH IT! Not only did I not sale very much (or make much money), the consignors pre-sale was just not fun. I bought David a fleece jacket by Hartstrings for $10 (new) and a smocked Christmas outfit for $10. Plus, I bought Claire 5 large hairbow for $3 each which was steal.

There was so much stuff, without really having any shopping agenda, I was completely overwhelmed. Plus, Will kept calling me to see when I was coming home since I had to swing by there on my way home from work. Considering what I spent at the pre-sale, I made a net profit of $23.30. Again ... SO NOT WORTH IT. Now, I have to spend more time finding a place to put the stuff I had to bring back home until I can figure out what to do with it. Next time I participate in a consignment sale, I would like to suggest a few rules:

(1) No children under the age of 13 should be at the sale. They just get in the way.

(2) No strollers should be allowed at the sale. This place was packed already without people pushing around their empty strollers loaded with items to buy. Plus, the kids who should be in the stroller are now running loose.

(3) You should not be allowed to grab an armload of clothes from the rack in your child's size and sit over in a corner and sort through it to find what you want. You should have to shuffle through the racks and lose your arm circulation like everyone else.

Over all, I can't complain too much. This sale was expertly run and drop-off and pick-up were a breeze. Plus, all of their profits go to the youth group's summer mission projects. So ... maybe I made a little more money after all with my charitable contribution deduction.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fall Frenzy ... weekend update

This is going to be a long post. I apologize up front. But we have had a very busy weekend! I will break it down day by day.

FRIDAY: Old friends, a picnic and a travel swing. Friday was a CRAZY day. Two of my dear friends from high school that live in the area came over for a playdate of sorts. It has been TOO LONG since I saw them and I hope we can get together more often. I had a lot to do before they arrived-including getting a shower, making some muffins, getting the kids ready and straightening up the house. My "to do" list did not include washing changing sheets and bathing David. Apparently, he DID NOT get that memo. Needless to say, David has graduated to size 3 diapers (at night at least) so that we won't have any more leaky diapers episodes. I managed to get everything done before my friends and their kiddos arrived, but I was exhausted and the day had only just begun. After the girls left, the kids and I had a picnic lunch in the front yard. It was such a beautiful day and we have the perfect shady spot under the tree in our front yard. Claire modeled a bit for me while we were out there and I got some cute photos for the scrapbook.

David got to join the picnic too thanks to the bumbo seat. He just watched us eat and played with his toy since he had already eaten.

Model in the making? Perhaps not. She is always on the move.

Now to the travel swing. David naps in his swing. Every nap. Every day. I know, it is bad. But he will go to sleep without the tiniest fuss and I can focus on other things (e.g., my very busy toddler). Unfortunately, at about 5 a.m that morning, Will had moved David into the swing so he (and we) could sleep a little longer. Unfortunately, the leaky diaper leaked in the swing too. So, with the papasan swing cover in the washing machine, the travel swing came to my rescue. David took 2 good naps there on Friday. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful other than a very expensive trip to Costco with the whole family Friday night.

SATURDAY: First birthdays and Football. Saturday morning, will did some much needed yard work, and then we headed to my sister/brother-in-law's house in Murfreesboro for our nephew's first birthday. We had a WILD time. (It was a jungle theme party.) I got some cute photos below.

All the little party guests had an indoor picnic.

Our nephew Ian. The birthday boy. Time for some cake and little chorus of "Happy Birthday" singing.

Look at this cute cake Aunt Ashley made to go with the jungle theme. I do not decorate cakes. I buy them. Ashley scores one for creativity.

David and Claire in their matching outfits at the party. (The flower on Claire's dress is a pocket. I am scared to see what she has hidden in there.)

Time for play time outside. Here comes Claire down the slide.

Here comes Ian down the little slide.

In case you wondered. Yes. You can fit 2 children in a swing. If they are small enough. And if they will tolerate it. Evie and Claire did not swing like this for very long.

Claire snuck in one more cupcake before we left. How to eat a cupcake (from Claire): (1) Lick all the frosting off the top of the cupcake. That way, no one else will want to eat it. (2) Break the cake into pieces. (3) Cram all of the pieces into your mouth and make a really big mess. If you're really messy, Uncle Jon will get out the broom to clean up.

After that, we headed back home to get ready for the big football game. Alabama DID NOT disappoint. They blew the Georgia Bulldogs away 41-30. Uncle Jon and Evie came over and watched the game with us and ate some yummy chili (a football season fave). Evie got to ride in her daddy's new black corvette for the very first time. In the front seat. I made sure that Uncle Jon turned off the passenger-side airbag. It was such an exciting ride that she fell asleep on the way over. Children just don't appreciate a smokin' cool car.

Back to the football. We had a fun time cheering on the Tide. (Actually, Evie cheered "Go Raiders". She recently went to a MTSU game. At least she was getting in the football spirit even if she was cheering for the wrong team.) We put Big Al up in the yard to let all of our neighbors know what team we were pulling for. Claire loved it. Apparently she is scared of any character, unless is a big blow-up elephant. She kept saying that she wanted to see "Roll Tide" even though we continued to remind her that his name was Big Al. She even asked about him the next morning (after we had put him away for the week). Never fear, I have a feeling that Big Al will be making another appearance this coming Saturday for the Alabama/Kentucky game.

Claire and David show their team spirit! Roll Tide!

SUNDAY: A very busy day of rest. As usually on Sunday, we had a mad morning rush to make it to our 8 a.m. Sunday school class without a minute to spare. After we got home from church, had lunch, and got the kids down for naps, Will and I split up and did our chores to get ready for another work week. The highlight of the afternoon came when Will found out that Alabama had been ranked #2 in the AP college football poll after their stunning victory over UGA. We were PUMPED! (They were ranked #4 in the BCS poll.) We ended the day enjoying a nice fall afternoon/evening outside. We decided to grill out for dinner and eat outside (at Claire's request). What a beautiful and peaceful evening we had. And a great way to wrap up our fun fall weekend.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Thoughtful Thursday: Seizing Heaven

Okay. I wasn't feeling so "thoughtful" last night after a busy week at work. I actually did not get on the computer at all last night when I got home, which is rare. So ... here goes ... one day late.

This chapter talks about how raising children teaches us to listen to God. Listening is a constant refrain in the teachings of Jesus.
  • "Listen and understand." Matt. 15:10.
  • "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." Mark 4:9.
  • "My sheep listen to my voice." John 10:27.
While most Christians don't actively rebel against God, we do ignore him and that offends him just as much as refusing to obey. Humble people listen; prideful people never seem to have the time to wait on God.

How do we discern God's voice? God won't speak contrary to his Word. In the large majority of cases, God follows common sense. And, God has given us the church (i.e., other believers) to help us discern his words. That is why Christian fellowship is so important.

How does parenting teach us to listen to God? As parents, we constantly fail, fell overwhelmed, etc. By raising kids, we seek God on a daily, if not hourly basis. If we are constantly checking in with God on a daily basis, we get used to listening and don't panic when big decisions come along.

How does God speak to us? Through his word. Nature. Silence. Dreams. The ranting of a child. A great work of art. A majestic piece of music, or a particular circumstance in life. I love the current song on CCM radio by Mandisa entitled "God Speaking". It makes me want to become more aware of my surroundings. Pay attention to everything around me. God is everywhere and in everything that happens to us. There is no limit to what he will do to get our attention. I need to humble myself, realize my weaknesses, seek God and LISTEN.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sayonara Sassy

"Sassy" is what Claire calls her pacifier. Up until this past Sunday, she still used it naptime (at home, not a school) and bedtime. You will not be seeing my child looking like this (photo) any more.

First try: November 2007. Age: 19 months. Method: cold turkey. Our pediatrician said it would take 4 nights to get rid of it and she should get better each night. Wrong! She got progressively worse each night and we were EXHAUSTED. On the fourth night when she was still awake crying 2 hours after we put her in bed and I was ready to go to bed because I had gotten very little sleep the previous 3 nights, we decided to throw in the towel. At that point, we did limit her pacifier use to naptime and bedtime only.

Second try: May 2008. Age: 2 years. Method: cutting the tip. My niece's pediatrician recommended this method. Shortly after David was born, Will cut the tips off of one of her pacifiers and Claire burst into tears like he had done the most horrible thing ever. I honestly think he hurt her feelings.

Third try: September 2008. Age: 2-1/2 years. Method: leaving the sassy somewhere else (not a home). Now that she is almost 2-1/2 and David has arrived and gotten settled in with our family, we decided that this was it. No more excuses. Sassy was going bye-bye. We meant to leave sassy with Mickey Mouse when we went to Disneyworld, but we honestly forgot about it and who wants to spend 12 hours in the car with a very unhappy toddler? Not me. Plus, we really needed her to nap in the car since we drove pretty much non-stop on the way home. Then we told her that we should take her sassy to the babies at church (which is what my niece Evie did with her pacifiers) and she seemed okay with that. Anyway, this time has been much easier. We have still had a few crying sessions, and last night she woke up several times crying. Hopefully, that was a one time thing. You will have to ask Will more about it because I did not get up. Not once. I am sure he will give you an ear-full about that! Claire still asks about her sassy, but the tears are becoming fewer and farther between. She did find one of David's pacifiers in a kitchen drawer and asks for "David's sassy" often. I need to send all of David's pacifiers to the garbage because she will find them and he does not take a pacifier (Hooray!). At least I got something right with the second child.

My first Mother's Day Out

As you know from my previous posts, Claire started mother's day out at the beginning of the month. My nanny has the kids on one of those days and does drop-off and pick-up. However, the other day is supposed to be MY day with David (and my time to do chores around the house while David naps). However, the first 2 times in September, I worked to make up for the time I was going to be out on vacation and the 3rd time, I was on vacation. This week was actually the first time I got to enjoy mother's day out for me! Most of my day was spent tagging items to take to a consignment sale and loading up bags of stuff to take to Goodwill that we cleaned out of our closet when we had our closest leak repaired last month. I also finished unpacking from our trip and tidied up the house so my cleaning lady could actually CLEAN today. There was also some bottle feedings, diaper changes and tummy time with David scattered throughout the day. As you can see from my lack of vacation posting, I DID NOT get our vacation pictures downloaded from my camera. Hopefully, that will get done soon. Oh yeah, I also spent a whole lot of time cleaning up a ginormous coffee spill that happened right before I went to pick up Claire. I don't feel like I was very productive overall, but at least I got a few things checked off my to do list and Will is very excited that I finally got the piles of clothes for Goodwill off our bedroom floor.

Monday, September 22, 2008


A lot of people don't know this, but Will and I are both adopted (as are both of our siblings). We have both always known that we were adopted and don't have any resulting psychological scars. We don't need therapy to deal with this reality. How could we have any problems when we grew up knowing that we were living with parents who prayed for us long before we were conceived and loved us and cared for us as if we were their own flesh and blood. The topic of this post is not really about my own personal experience with adoption, just a little venting about the current system for domestic adoptions. This actually came up in my book club group tonight as we were discussing the book "Gone Baby Gone" by Dennis Lehane. (I use "discussing" in the loosest of terms.) In this book, a child is actually "kidnapped" from her neglectful, drug-addict mother by another relative and given to a loving, caring family. Once this is discovered and the relative is confronted, he says he knew of no other way to intervene on the child's behalf because the system always favors the mother of the child. He said it would be virtually impossible to remove the child from her mother's home. And he is right. Isn't that sad?

Our conversation came around to why our legal system makes it so difficult to adopt a child? I mean, there are a lots of kids out there who need a loving home. But not just anyone can do it. They have to jump through a lot of hoops to qualify and wade through a bunch of red tape. On the other hand, anybody can have a baby without so much of the tiniest of qualifications to be a parent. (I'm talking bare necessities here ... a job, emotional maturity, etc. I certainly don't know if I was qualified to become a parent, but I was able to feed, clothe, shelter and love my child.) I read an article recently about a malpractice suit against an attorney for an adoption gone wrong and the child was actually placed with one family, then placed with another because the attorney of the first family did not handle all the legal aspects of the adoption correctly. This was clearly the attorney's fault in this case (or so it is claimed), but the child was taken from the adoptive parents anyway.

Is this really what the world has come too? That blood is thicker than water so to speak regardless of the well being of the child? I know the court tries to look at what is in the best interest of the child, but it is clearly not in the best interest of some children to remain in their parents' care if that parent is ill-equipped or not committed to parenting. (Another very interesting book on the topic of neglectful parenting is "The Glass Castle" by Jeanette Wells, which is a true story.) However, the system seems to give them chance after chance to get the parenting thing right, many times, I think, losing the child in the process. I don't really know what the solution is because I certainly don't want the government intruding on or monitoring my method of parenting, but there has to be some middle ground here. Any thoughts or opinions on the topic?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

David: 5 months old

David was 5 months old last week (9/16). We were on vacation and I didn't have Internet access to post on the actual day. He is growing so fast and is such a big boy. I don't know the exact stats because he doesn't go back to the doctor until next month, but he is filling out 6-9 months size clothing easily. He is all smiles and my little cuddler. This month, our big accomplishment is playing with toys. He actually picks things up and plays with them (mainly he tries to put them in his mouth). His new toy is the jumper that hangs from the door frame in our kitchen. He is still honing his jumping skills, but is starting to get the hang of it. He is becoming more active in the exersaucer as well. He is now eating 6 oz. formula every 3-4 hours, oatmeal and fruit (so far ... apples, bananas, peaches and pears) for breakfast and oatmeal and a veggie (so far ... squash, sweet potatoes, carrots and green beans) for dinner. Maybe next month, we will add lunch! He is rolling over much more frequently than last month and sleeps at night for 12 hours! Yeah!! (I saved the best news for last.) Here are some photos from the past month.

On the floor for some much needed tummy time.

We love our bumbo seat. Thanks Mel for letting us borrow it! Claire likes it too and thought it was a potty the first time she saw it. Fortunately, we caught her before she actually used it as a potty.

Look at my sweet angel sleeping.

The jumper. Not his favorite toy ... yet. Claire would still play in this thing if she didn't exceed the weight limit. She LOVED this thing.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The vacation is over.

We just got back from a week-long vacation in Orlando ... Disneyworld to be specific. I'll post more details and photos later. I have been in the car for 12 hours today, only to return home and find people lined up for gas (with police setting up road-blocks to direct the traffic). Fortunately, some friends forewarned us about the gas situation and we topped off before we left Georgia. Finding gas was not a problem in Georgia and Florida. Here are a few "nuggets" of info I gathered on our trip:

(1) A DVD player is an absolute necessity when traveling with a toddler for more than a few hours. Beware: you will watch a lot of Barney. You will also sing a lot of Barney songs for your entire trip.

(2) Make sure that your hotel pool has a kids waterslide. This kept Claire entertained for hours!

(3) Make sure your children actually like characters before you take them to a character meal. Otherwise, there will be a lot of screaming and crying, and not a lot of eating.

(4) It only took one ride on "Its a Small World" for my toddler to learn the song ... and sing it the entire rest of our vacation. I guess that is better than singing Barney.

(5) Disney's 2008 dining plan is no longer a really good deal. It was a good deal last year. Gratuity is no longer included so it is not as good of a deal now.

(6) When you spend 7 days with 2 kids at Disney, $21/hour babysitting is WORTH EVERY PENNY! We used Disney's babysitting service one night so we could have a "date night". We enjoyed a nice meal and got to ride one of my favorite Disney rides: Soarin'.

(7) It is still really hot and humid in Orlando in September. I went to Orlando with my parents this time last year. I guess I had forgotten.

(8) "Free Internet" at Disney means free access to Disney-owned websites only (e.g., ABC, ESPN). There was no email, blogging or facebook for me this week.

(9) Listening to golf on the radio is just as exciting as watching golf on television. Again, my other option was to watch Barney (or some other annoying kids' show) on DVD, so I listened to the Ryder Cup coverage on XM radio. Go team USA. Will said it was like watching the Olympics. I disagree.

Well, like I said, I hope to post some more details and photos about our vacation over the next week or so and catch up on my Thoughtful Thursday post, but I have a very busy week of "catching up" to do at home and work. Work is going to be especially hectic this week as I have a case set for trial on Oct. 1 (I will not be trying this case ... I will just be doing all the leg work to get ready).

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I recently discovered this song by Selah. Many of you bloggers follow the blog "Bring the Rain" written by Selah member Todd Smith's wife, Angie. I went to Belmont with Todd (he was a senior my freshman year) and we shared a dance together to Amy Grant/Vince Gill's song "House of Love". I haven't thought about him in years and I doubt he would even recognize me if we passed on the street. I didn't realize until just recently that he was in Selah. Anyway, I love, love, love this song and think its message is particularly appropriate on the anniversary of 9/11. How amazing to think that one day we will see His glory!

Thoughtful Thursday: The Gold Behind the Guilt

Wow! Is it Thursday again already? It seems like I just wrote this post for last week. This week has gone by quickly. I will be brief tonight because there aren't too many coherent thoughts in my head right now.
This chapter is about how raising children teaches us to deal with guilt.
"Repentance, contrary to popular misconception, is not a heroic first step I make toward Christ, nor is it a feeling-sorry-for my sins. It is the divine gift of being turned toward truth. -William Willomon.
Here are some highlights from this chapter:
(1) We are human. Parenting puts the spotlight on our MANY imperfections. As my children grow older, they will realize that in some areas, I fall short.
(2) Parenting demands skills of me that I do not possess. It requires an understanding and wisdom that I lack. Sometimes, I don't even live up to my own capabilities (I am less than my best, which already isn't good enough).
(3) We are not raising robots; we are raising humans who live with freedom of choice, their own wills and a personal responsibility of their own. This is my FAVORITE part: none of us can be such good parents that God becomes obligated to save our children's souls and none of us can mess up so badly that our children somehow extend beyond the reach of God's mercy. Simply put, perfect parenting does not guarantee that my children will always choose wisely. That is where God comes in.
(4) God will use my own failings and inadequacies as a parent to compel my children to find refuge in him. I should focus my efforts on introducing my children to God not trying to be the "best" parent.
(5) Guilt can play positive roles in our lives:
-Guilt can point us to God: "I can't be God to my kids, but I can model my need for God."
-Guilt can motivate us to do better: use our failings as teachable moments.
-Guilt can remind us of God's providence: God knew our limitations when he made our children and still placed them in our care. Christ promises to make up for what we lack.
-Guilt can teach us to love mercy: without guilt, there could be no mercy.
-Guilt has a positive "hidden agenda": God loves me just as much as he loves my children. God wants the process of parenting to change all of us.
(6) God has a remedy for guilt: Forgiveness!
Practical application: I am going to fail as a parent. Do not let the guilt I feel when I fail discourage, weaken and frustrate me. Instead, use my failures and resulting guilt as motivation and encouragement to stay focused on God.

Today ...

While driving to work this morning, I was given a gentle reminder by God from something I heard on the radio. Our local christian radio station was talking to the pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church (home of the famous Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir). He said that we are only guaranteed today, this moment. He said we should live each day based upon the premise that TODAY is the ONLY day we can share our faith with an unbeliever ... the ONLY day we can do something nice for someone ... the ONLY day we can spend with our family ... the ONLY day we can tell someone that we love them. This really puts everything in perspective for me. If I really believed this, would I have rushed out of the house them morning without telling my children a proper goodbye? Would I have watched the Today Show while I was getting ready instead of talking to my husband or talking to God in prayer? Would I have slept so late? Would I be spending the day at work? I know that in all practicality, I cannot use this as an excuse to forego all of my daily responsibilities at work and at home. However, it does remind me that I should realign my priorities and not get so hung up on the little things that suck away my time from what really matters in life.
On a less serious note: I got the mildew stain out of David's outfit. I think the Oxy-clean spray is what really finally did the trick. Of course, maybe the spray was able to work its magic because of the three previous soaks in Oxy-clean, the ammonia soak and the lemon juice/salt solution soak. I mean, is this thing still safe for my child to wear? Is it toxic now? In light of my statements above, I probably should have tossed the outfit, and spent the time it took to work this stain out to do something more Kingdom-worthy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Three is the magic number

Last night at dinner, Claire wanted three sippy cups-one with water, one with milk and one with apple juice. I thought it was so cute, I took her picture. (She is counting the cups for me in the picture.) Then she told me to take David's picture too, so I complied. He wasn't really doing anything very interesting. He was happy, so we were happy. Oh yeah ... three is the magic number because that is how many days left until our vacation. Claire has been counting down on the fridge calendar and marking off the days. Tonight, we asked her how many days were left. She said 3 and she was right. Her memory at this age amazes me.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sew What?: September

Here are some outfits I made the kiddos over the summer. I know the point of this post is to motivate me to finish up some of my sewing projects and not post photos of things I have done in the past, but we are getting ready for vacation and I just can't seem to get upstairs to my sewing nook. I have 2 short rompers for David that are only lacking buttons and snaps so look for them in next month's post.

This is the first smocked dress I made Claire. I did the smocking last summer. I finally constructed and finished the dress this summer. This will probably be the last dress I ever smock for Claire too. You will see her wear it a lot!

Matching July 4th dresses for Evie and Claire. I knotted the shoulder straps to pull through the button holes instead of sewing on a button (I also extended the shoulder strap so it would be long enough to do that).

David got a bubble out of the extra July 4th fabric from the girls' dresses. I love this bubble pattern and this will probably be the last one I make unless I have another baby. Claire cannot wear bubbles anymore since she is potty trained and David will not wear bubbles next summer since he will be walking and I think they kind of look silly on little boys after the start walking.

This is the Children's Corner Johnny pattern and it is my FAVORITE little boy pattern. You can make a short or long romper. I love the duck applique! Too bad he has already outgrown this outfit.

This outfit was my mom's idea, but she never got around to making it so I made it since she had already purchased the fabric. The top is a shortened version of my favorite a-line dress that was quartered for a checkerboard effect. The shorts are from the CC Lettie pattern. I use this pattern a lot to make pants for Claire. You will see them a lot in my fall posts.

Weekend update

This past weekend, we headed to the Will's hometown where we spent the evening with Will's family. Saturday morning, Will and I headed to Tuscaloosa to watch Bama play Tulane and the kiddos stayed with RiRi and DiDi (Will's parents). Sunday morning, we went to Will's Dad's church, ate a yummy lunch prepared by Will's mom and headed back home. Enjoy the photos below!
RiRi with her girls! Does anyone know how to photoshop drool out of a photo? Claire is a drool factory right now with her 2-year molars coming in.

Claire reading a story to RiRi. What a cute face! Again with the drool!

Davis really reads a story to everyone. Claire's story was more jibber jabber.

The Crimson Tide takes the field against Tulane. I felt like I was back in the Mike Shula era playing down to our opponent. However, Shula never would have pulled out a victory and Saban did. Although it was certainly not a pretty one, mark another win for the Tide!

Will and I at the stadium. We have this great group of christian guys sitting around us this year. During half time, they were taking a bunch of photos together like a bunch of girls. I thought, finally, these are my kind of people. Will usually gets mad at me when I try to take photos at the football games.

The Million Dollar Band at halftime. This year, the show is made up of all Queen songs-oldies but goodies. This doesn't show up very well in the photo, but the show closes with the band playing "We are the Champions" and the color guard has 12 flags with all of Bama's national championship years printed on them and the majorettes all have on different football jerseys.

(Left) Cousins Sunday morning at church. I am not real sure why Claire has her hand in David's mouth. All I know is that she was standing still and looking at the camera. I guess 2 out of 3 is not bad.
(Right) DiDi is tired after preaching the Sunday morning service and eating a big lunch. David is just tired. Look at his sweet little hand up by his face. I love it when babies do that.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Grandparents make life GRAND!

Today is Grandparents' Day. I am sure that this is a holiday that was manufactured by Hallmark to give us another reason to buy greetings cards, but I do think it is noteworthy. Will and I do not have any living grandparents. I recently read somewhere that our legacy will be that we lived, we reproduced and we died. People won't remember the little details about us or our many accomplishments. While this is a morbid thought and somewhat inaccurate, it did get me thinking ... what are the little things I want to remember about my grandparents? What can I tell my children about their great-grandparents who have gone on before them? What made them tick? What was their life like from day-to-day. Will and I spent a lot of time in the car this weekend, so we brainstormed a few ideas about each of our grandparents. (I hope to add photos to this post as soon as I can find them and scan them into the computer.)

My Grandparents:

Evie Lou Taylor Brian (Meme)
-made the best chicken-n-dumplings and strawberry shortcake
-had a flour drawer in her kitchen (literally a drawer full of flour that she used to cook with; my sister and I played in it, which wasn't very sanitary now that I think about it)
-loved to watch her soaps-"One Life to Live" was her favorite
-called her sister (my great-Aunt Flora) "sis" which I thought was very cute and endearing
-liked to quilt
-sang in the church choir
-worked in the school cafeteria (that is why she was such a great cook)

Hubert Murrell Brian, Sr. (Paw Paw)
-let me drive the tractor in the garden
-had a huge bucket of earthworms in the shed (for fishing)
-always slipped my sister $5, $10 and $20 bills
-led the music at church
-always had a garden
-was a postman (or "carried the mail" as he called it)

Mildred Inez Scott (Granny)
-drove a white Nova
-ate Cream of Wheat for breakfast
-sold Avon
-played the piano
-"antiqued" all of her furniture
-had a strong dislike for Ned McWherter (TN Governor from 1987-1995)
-had cats

Will's Grandparents:
Mr. & Mrs. Gossett are in the center with all of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren (taken June 2006).
Agnes Gossett (Grandmom)
-always slipped cash in your pocket when you came to visit
-had walls of her house covered with pictures of family
-loved to read romance novels
-always made big breakfasts
-always carried candy in her purse for the kids at church
-loved to eat Popsicles

Douglas Baxter Gossett (Granddad)
-"gummed" all his food (he didn't have teeth)
-loved to eat breakfast at Hardee's
-sold tractors
-fought in WWII
-loved to watch old Westerns

Charlotte VanDyke (Mono)
-she loved to shop
-she always went to Chick-Fil-A for lunch when she went shopping
-ate "Kroger bread" for breakfast
-kept everything in boxes/containers in the kitchen
-always made Will Kraft Mac-n-cheese
-loved to play Rook (thought that 70-80 was a big bid)

Joe Cooke VanDyke, Sr. (Little Grandad)
-he wasn't little per se, just much smaller than Will's other granddad so that is how he distinguished between the two
-a preacher
-a pack rat (he never ever threw anything away)
-drank powdered milk
-always cleaned his plate (even ate the corn cob)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thoughtful Thursday: The Hardest Hurt of All

The theme of this chapter is that raising children teaches us to value character and service over comfort. I think this chapter is particularly applicable is today's world where parents frantically work to spare their children any stress or pain. I love this excerpt from a letter Abigail Adams wrote to her nine-year-old son when he was having second thoughts about going on an overseas trip with his father. She wrote:

It is not in the still calm of life ... that great characters are formed. The
habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great
necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by
scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay
dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman.

Abigail's son, John Quincy Adams, later became president of the United States.
It is natural for us to want to make life as easy as possible for our children. In doing so, we oftentimes cause them to miss character-building experiences. The main goal of our parenting is praying, working and striving for our children's salvation and that they will become servants of God. If our children never experience emptiness, they will never appreciate their need for God and salvation through Jesus Christ. If our children never hurt, sin or fail, they will never sense their need for a savior and ultimately, they may face God's wrath because of it. See I Samuel 2:25. As parent's, we must accept this important truth: God's kingdom far outweighs the personal comfort of my children.
The honest truth is that by seeking to spare our children from suffering, we are ultimately trying to spare ourselves the hurt of seeing them hurt. With God as our model parent, who allowed his own son to suffer death on the cross, we can certainly expect times when we will have to watch our own children suffer for the greater good. But, God in his goodness promises that suffering is not the end of the story. By suffering and facing hardships, our children will become strong individuals who can make a difference in the world.
Practical application:
(1) I need to develop the courage to allow my children to face some difficulties and even suffering.
(2) Do my kids see me and my husband spending our time and effort focusing on something bigger than ourselves, even bigger than our family?
(3) I need to teach my kids to use challenges, failure, rejection and pain to fuel their sense of mission and to foster their dependence on God.
A parting Word: "We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5:3.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

An Apple a Day ...

Here are some photos of Claire's first day of school. I didn't actually get any of her at school as her mood was a little touch-and-go at drop-off. I had to high-tail it out of there before the tear-fest started. Something about school makes me think of apples and coincidentally, that is the theme of Claire's MDO class for September. So, I thought the title was appropriate.

Claire with Daddy & Mommy at home before we left for school.

Claire's bag and art project (in the center) waiting outside her room for pick-up.

Welcome to school. The teachers had posted photos of each child on the first day outside the room when the parents came for pick-up.

Claire and I went for a special ice cream treat on our way home from school since David was at home with the nanny. Claire loves have her mommy all to herself!

Blog beautification project

Pardon the daily changes around here, but I am trying to update my blog and make it a little easier on the eye. I am still not completely happy with my header, but I have spent too much time on this for now and additional improvements will have to wait for another day. Thanks to my friend Lindsey Lou who tipped me off to a great website with instructions on how to make my blog look pretty. Check out these sites below (the last one also has some great freebies for digital scrapbooking):
Happy blogging!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Where does she come up with this stuff?

I just had to post this photo of Claire on the potty from earlier this week. On this particular day, Claire told me she needed to go "poo poo" so we hurried to the potty and got situated on her "airplane potty". (That is what she calls the little potty seat that goes over the big potty so she won't fall in. My niece Evie came up with this name because it does sort of look like an airplane with the handles as wings and the raised part in the back as the tail.) She then pointed behind me and told me that she wanted a book from the magazine basket in the bathroom.

I am just wondering where she got the idea to read a book on the potty. I mean, I have never ever done this before (chuckle, chuckle). It amazes me daily, the little things that she picks up on. The good, the bad and the ugly. In mean, everyone needs their daily dose of Sudoku.

(My mom has an equally embarrassing photo of me reading a book to my big stuffed snoopy dog who I had sat on the potty when I was about 3-4 years old. This will be a good photo to use on her high school graduation or wedding rehearsal dinner video.)

Just call me Ms. Cheap

For those of you who do not live in the area, "Ms. Cheap" writes a bi-weekly column in the Life section of our newspaper sharing local freebies and other tips to save money. She even has a contest every year to proclaim the cheapest of cheapos. Now some of the people that enter this annual contest are pretty extreme in their cheapness and I would never come close to comparison, but I love a good deal just as much as the next gal. (The person who won first prize this year got the flowers for her wedding by collecting live flowers that were thrown out by a local funeral home the day before her wedding. That is just a little too morbid for me.)
Here is the tale of my most recent cheap adventure. We started our shopping trip at Off Broadway (an awesome shoe warehouse) where I had $175 in gift certificates from last Christmas that I still had not used (who wants to buy shoes when they are pregnant?). Anyway, I also had a 20% off one item coupon from my handy Citipass book. All in all, I got 5 pairs of shoes with my gift certificates + $15. Three of the pair of shoes were summer shoes that had been marked down. The other two pairs were full price, but I used the coupon on one pair to save an additional $12.
While I was shoe shopping, Will strolled the kiddos down to Auntie Annie's for a buy-one-get-one free pretzel snack. In the meantime, I stopped at the Disney store where I bought several items for Claire when we go to Disneyworld in a few weeks. That will definitely cut down on our spending while we are at Disneyworld (I hope). They had t-shirts for $5 and stuffed animals 2/$20, which is a steal compared to the prices of similar items at Disneyworld. We finished off our visit with a stop at the Gap Outlet where I got Claire a pair of jeans and David a pair of pajamas (on sale for $8.99) with a $25 gift card I had. We grabbed lunch on the way home at McDonald's with buy-one-get-one free sandwich coupons that we got out of the newspaper a couple of weeks ago.
Sorry to bore you with my shopping saga, but I get pumped up about a great day of savings. I won't bore you further with photos of my loot. Stay cheap!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Sidewalk chalk

Here are few photos of this past Friday when my sister and her kids came to play. Claire was very excited to have them over to play for the morning.

"Eggs" as the girls kept calling them. Evie wanted to hide them after we finished drawing on the sidewalk. These were in Claire's Easter basket in 2007. I guess it is about time we finally got them out to play with them!

Of course, chalk got all over the girls. Evie was showing me her dirty hands.
Claire tried out some body art. See her blue arm. By the time all was said and done, she had colored all 4 limbs.
My little artist!
Claire had lost interest at this point and Evie had collected all the chalk to draw her masterpiece.
The boys, still easily contained, sit and watch.