Recently, Jack began acting like a 3 year-old. What makes him "act" like a 3 year-old? The WHY question that comes from his mouth at least nineteen times every day!
"Why is it not Christmas anymore? Why are the Christmas lights gone? Why is Daddy at work today? Why do I need to brush my teeth? Why is your hair brown, Mommy? Why, why, why?"
Questions like that exude from his mouth nearly every waking moment these days.
One night last week, he had worn Daddy and I out with his questioning, so instead of answering him, we remained silent after he rattled off three or four more questions. As the silence made him nervous, he laughed and said, "I ask a lot of 'whys'."
Yes, you certainly do, Double J!
And as I look over the year 2007, I feel blessed that I have not felt the need to ask God too many 'whys'. Perhaps we all ask him 'why' every once in a while, especially when life seems particularly difficult.
But 2007 was pretty uneventful for us, and for that I am grateful. No major illnesses or injuries. No major scares. Rick's job has been strong and steady, and so has our marriage. Our boys have grown and developed as they should.
I hope that we can all go into 2008 with hopes of a year filled with love and laughter. But life will throw us some curves. I pray that I can face my life with the grace that my boys need to see coming from their mama. I pray that your new year is happy. But when it's not, trust in the Lord.
"Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you." Psalm 9:10
Recently, Jack began acting like a 3 year-old. What makes him "act" like a 3 year-old? The WHY question that comes from his mouth at least nineteen times every day!
The boys and I ran into WalMart to pick up our 2008 photo calendar this morning. As I pulled the boys out of the car, my instructions were, "We are going in for one thing. And then we are going home. Let's see how fast we can get this done."
We charged hand-in-hand down an aisle that would take us to the photo center in the back of the store. We were walking at mach speed. Well, we were walking as fast as their little legs would take them, while I tried to resist the urge to pull them along.
But we came to a screeching halt when I noticed Valentine's gifts on display. Valentine's gifts!
Am I the only one disturbed by this?! Could we please get through 2007 first?!
We received this interactive nativity set as an early gift this year. For seven days, we sit down as a family to a short excerpt from the story of Jesus' birth, and the boys are able to open a small gift box each day which contains one character from the nativity scene.
For example, day 1 explains that God sent Gabriel to Nazareth. The children open a box containing Gabriel and place him within the nativity scene. Day 2 is Mary. And so on.
Days 1-6 hint at day 7. This is what I really enjoy...day 7 explains that what God wants for Christmas is us!
We are enjoying this nativity set, and I highly recommend it to young families. My boys seem to be grasping a little something with each day. Our goal is for our boys to understand that Christmas is about Jesus' birth.
And on that note, I'm closing up shop until sometime after Christmas. I want to be sure to enjoy these next few days to their fullest.
I wish you and yours a merry Christmas! I pray that you understand that what God wants for Christmas is you!
I spared you all the details yesterday, but it was a really, really, really bad day. The wise man losing his head was only a minor detail.
But today is a new day, and my spirits are as bright as the sun is shining.
Although I love cold weather, and I miss Colorado winters, there are days like today that I enjoy a balmy Texas winter day. The boys and I took their bikes out for a spin around our neighborhood pool parking lot. They love to go to this empty parking lot and drive as fast as they can. (I sit at the only entrance/exit, so don't worry that they might be in danger.)
Garrett: "Mommy, I pedal like a big boy!" Yes, Baby Boy, you are.
He decided to chase our dog with the camera.
Wait, Winston, come back!
Still working on Photography 101.
How do you like our chords?
In the meantime, I've called Liam's name one time or ten, so he decided to return to the kitchen. And he thought a shot of my Crocs would be good for all to view.
You know how you hear yourself through your kids' voices every once in a while? Sometimes it's the twang that Liam puts on one-syllable words, such as 'nap' which becomes 'na-yap'. Or when Jack says "Bummer" upon hearing something disappointing.
We do have our fair share of negative words around here. When Liam was about three, he went through a phase of saying an ugly word on a daily basis, and it was rather humbling to realize that he had learned most of them from my mouth.
But every once in a while, my kids will say something that makes me feel as if I must be doing something right as a mother. This happened the other day, as I went to get Garrett up from his nap.
He's always Mr. Sunshine when it's time to wake up, so I enjoy getting him up and snuggling with him for a few minutes before getting the other two. As I lifted him from his bed and snuck a kiss from his cheek, he said, "Mommy, I love you more and more."
Ahhh! My heart melted.
(The older child looking over my shoulder is Rick's cousin. I didn't want you to think there's an older son that I've never told you about. And, yes, I'm wiping my nose. I was holding my very own baby for the first time ever! If you can get past all of that, then you'll see that Liam is sucking his fingers.)
The moment I first laid my eyes on Liam, he was sucking his fingers. He has sucked the middle and ring fingers on his right hand ever since. While he was a baby, it was cute and convenient.
Knowing that it wouldn't be such a cute habit forever, I only allowed him to suck his fingers at bedtime, once he was about a year old.
Now that he's 4 1/2, the dentist wants this habit to stop altogether. Liam's future orthodontist might as well begin building his beach home in Tahiti. You're welcome, sir.
The large space between Liam's front teeth were inherited from his birth mom. But his cross bite and under bite are thanks to his fingers.
We have been talking to Liam about stopping this habit since October, and he really wants to quit. Recently, he has done well with falling asleep without his beloved fingers, but we still find them in his mouth during his deeper sleep.
Following the dentist's orders, we'll begin using this tonight:
I'm expecting some tears and some bad dreams. I don't think this will be a good week to drop my morning Diet Coke. Wish us well!
Do you ever have a moment with your kids that takes you back to their younger years? Like a deja vu?
Liam and I took a break from school one afternoon last week to enjoy the mild weather. We played a game of one-on-one soccer. As I was chasing him around our yard, he let out a giggle that took me right back to his toddler days.
Although he's only four, his laugh has matured since he was a toddler. The 4 year-old laugh still holds all the joy and delight that it should, but his toddler laugh was too cute. It was a squeal as much as anything.
As he let out a squealy giggle during our soccer game, I had a flashback of the time he discovered the horn in Rick's car at the age of 15 months. Each time he honked the horn, he squealed out of pure delight and grinned from ear to ear.
Although I look forward to Liam's future, I do miss his younger days. I guess that's the point of motherhood.
At the end of our game, we plopped down on the porch and hugged. It was a Kodak moment, but I didn't interrupt the lovin' to fetch the camera.
Liam quickly brought me back to the present with this question: "Mommy, will you cry when I turn 5?"
Yes, I imagine I will.
We've never made a big deal out of Santa. We stop to get our picture taken with the bearded man nearly every year. But we've never said, "Go tell Santa what you want." We've always told the boys that their gifts come from us instead of the man in the red suit.
Partly because we want them to remember the real reason for the season. But mostly because we want all the credit for the gifts. I'm kidding. Sort of.
Early in our parenting, we decided that we would never make a big deal out of Santa, because we felt silly telling our kids to believe in something that isn't true. For those families that present Santa as real, that's fine and dandy. No harsh feelings from me.
But just a couple of weeks ago, Jack was squealing, "Santa is coming and bringing me presents!" I looked at him in utter confusion, wondering how in the world he conjured up this idea, when we've always said the gifts come from us.
As he jumped up and down announcing Santa's upcoming arrival, I simply said, "Jack, Santa is not real." He quickly came down from cloud nine and said, "OH!"
Since that day, every Santa he sees in the neighbors' yards or in the stores, he proudly proclaims, "Santa's not real!" It's as if he feels privileged to be aware of something that most two year-olds don't know.
I know that the day is coming when a parent will slug me in the middle of Target as a result of my boys ruining their kids' Christmas. But I'm all about the truth.
Today was a close call on this topic. The boys and I went to see "Frosty" at Casa Manana this morning. A fun time was had by all.
The best part was when Santa entered the last scene. Most children were screaming, "Santa! Hi, Santa! Santa!"
My children screamed, "Santa's not real!"
I teach them well.
What about you? Will you be the parent who slaps me for instilling the truth so early? Or do you downplay the whole ordeal, as well? Or do you go all out while your kids are young?
I took Jack (2 1/2) grocery shopping with me the other night. Daddy is convinced that grocery shopping is great one-on-one time for the boys to enjoy with me. I am not so convinced after I hear, "Mommy will you buy this for me?" two hundred fifty-nine times, all the while pushing a two-ton cart.
Here is the conversation that took place on our way home with the groceries:
Jack: Mommy, I am bigger than Liam and Lucy (his 7 year-old cousin)?
Me: No, baby, you're smaller.
J: No, I am not a baby anymore. I'm a big boy! I'm getting bigger and bigger.
M: Yes, you're getting bigger, but Liam and Lucy are still older and bigger.
J: No, I'm bigger. I'm a GIANT! [enter evil laugh]
M: You're funny!
J: [still laughing] You will tell Daddy that one? I'm funny!
M: Yep, I'll tell Daddy that funny one.
The Little Giant could use some prayers. I took him to the doctor this morning, after he woke up with colorful congestion and a slight fever. He was diagnosed with an ear infection, sinus infection, and strep throat. Poor kid!
When Liam is excited about something, he often lavishes his love on me. It's not at all uncommon for him to stop an exciting activity to kiss me and say "I do love you." He's a very affectionate boy at all times, and I'm quite blessed by it.
As we were working on his handwriting curriculum today, he stopped to give me some love. He then said, "I like this book. Where did you buy it?" I'm sure he was thinking I'd say it came from Wal Mart, Target or Kroger, the only stores in his four year-old mind. In trying to keep my answer simple, I said, "I bought it on the computer."
He looked at me with shock and utter amazement. "You buyed that on the computer?!"
But really, that wasn't the simple answer. Because that statement took something from me. The innocence of my four year-old child was lost to the wisdom of the wide world web in that very instant. There was a literal transformation that took place. He went from a child who thought everything comes from super stores to a young man who understands that anything can be bought by the click of the computer.
I may be in trouble. I will be sure to not inform him of those nasty things called "credit cards".
Big Daddy (my dad) picked Jack up on Saturday for a few hours of one-on-one time. I knew that the plan was to shop for Didi (my mom) and to eat lunch.
When Jack came home, he was carrying this:
This pig's nose lights up and makes a wicked snorting sound.
(Incidentally, I did not take the time to take a picture of this little piggy. I merely typed "pig + key chain" in my Yahoo search engine, and it was #3 out of thousands of such hits. Thousands! People, really, there are better hobbies in this world besides that of collecting pig key chains.)
But I digress.
Jack carried this pig around all weekend. The only time he put it down was to use the restroom, and that is because I have this rule of no toys allowed in the bathroom. I may be a mean mama, but I really don't want to fish for toys out of a murky toilet. Shutter.
When he dropped the piggy to go potty, someone else picked it up. This poor pig is mighty tired after all the oinks and lights required of him by three little boys. I wish he would hitch a ride to market or someone's home. Any takers?
On our way home from church yesterday, Rick and I began asking Jack where he and Big Daddy shopped. He said, "Wal Mart and Cabela's." Okay, that doesn't help me. Those two stores allow a shopper to buy a sundry of items...kitchen appliances, electronics, ugly clothing, fishing gear, pig key chains, etc. We pushed him a little further, and he finally agreed to tell us what my mom will be getting for Christmas..."a blue boat in a white box."
That really doesn't help me. A gravy boat? Dad, please tell me you were a little more creative than that. A ski boat? That would be a great family gift, but I'm certain my dad wasn't shopping for anything that large this year.
I pushed Jack a little further at breakfast this morning. And he really cleared it up with this: "It's a secwet."
I'll push a little further, Mom, to see if we can clear this up. In the meantime, don't be surprised if you find a little pig key chain in your stocking.
Did you watch the Cowboys beat the Packers last night? The Cowboys are now 11-1, woo hoo!
Honestly, I'm a fair-weather fan with the Cowboys. If they're winning, I'm proud. If they're not, then who cares?
As I watched Brett Favre get sidelined with an injury last night, I thought of an incident in my home earlier in the week.
I noticed that Jackson had been in the bathroom a little longer than necessary to take care of his business, so I snuck up on him to find him admiring his elbow in the mirror. Upon his elbow is a week-old scab received after taking a nasty spill at the park.
Incidentally, he had no problem holding this pose while I ran for the camera.
After I took the pictures, I said, "Okay, wash your hands, and join us in the living room for book time." To which he replied, "No, I can't read books with my 'nelbow'. It hurts."
I guess he and Brett can watch life from the sidelines while they heal.
I was recently sent a copy of Laura Duksta's "I Love You More" for review. It is the story of a mama telling her son how deeply she loves him. Halfway through the story, the reader flips the book to hear the child's love for mama.
The story itself is very touching, and my boys enjoyed cuddling up to read it with me. Periodically, they would sign "I love you" to me, which made my heart flutter!
Karen Keesler's illustrations are brightly detailed. I found my boys reaching out to touch an object on every page.
If you're having a particularly hormonal day, then you might want to grab a tissue before reading this story to your little ones. Not that I could speak on that topic personally or anything. Ahem.
..."I will not buy this book for my children!"
It might look very cute in the book store. I agree that each pop-up filled page is quite cute.
But the last page makes me want to call Christmas off, and it's not even December 1! That page has a little tab that can be pulled to play the most annoying version of "Jingle Bells" ever known to man.
And your children will not be satisfied to play it once. They'll want to hear it over and over again, until you are ready to either hide the book or run away until January 1.
I'm currently happy with the former. But if this blog takes a six-week hiatus, then you'll know that my children have found "Jingle Bugs" and I have flown the coop.
Consider yourself forewarned. You're welcome.
Fellow bloggers using Blogspot, when I post pictures, it never fails that spacing between paragraphs becomes a problem. While composing, I am careful to make certain that my spacing is correct. But as soon as I publish, Blogspot either adds extra spaces between paragraphs so that it looks like I've hit "enter" fifty times too many, or it takes my properly-spaced paragraphs and runs them together.
Take, for instance, my Thanksgiving post. Everything was fine and dandy until I posted the picture of my mom and me. Every paragraph thereafter runs together.
This happens every single time I post pictures. I usually dabble with the HTML and repair some of the issues. But I'm quite tired of posting what looks correct, only to find more problems. It's as if I fix one problem, only to find 2 more.
My Type-A personality can take it no longer! Every good post should have its proper spacing!
Anyone out there have some suggestions for me?
So here's the obligatory run-down of our Thanksgiving.
We woke up to some cold weather, finally! I was thrilled to open the back door to cold air that took my breath away for 0.5 seconds. After 0.5 seconds, I shouted to anyone listening, "It's finally cold outside! Now it can be the holiday season!" The boys came running to see for themselves, and they were also thrilled. I'm raising them correctly...love the cold, hate the heat.
But because Liam had been up three times during the night for breathing treatments and Jack had a fever, I decided to shut the door and turn up the heater. I'm such a wise mama.
By late morning, we loaded up and made the three-hour trek to my parents' house. Because we drove through six-foot deep snow drifts, we were lucky to make it by lunch. I'm kidding. It takes 3 minutes to drive 1.3 miles to my parents' house. And there was no snow. This is Texas, after all. But I can dream.
And we did see a few snowflakes later in the day, but I digress.
After wishing my parents a Happy Thanksgiving, Jack found the toy ads and made himself comfortable on the couch making his Christmas list. He pointed to several items that he wanted and insisted that I acknowledge each and every one of them. Oh, JackJack, you may be disappointed on December 25th, because I've already bought your gifts and not one of your choices made my list. There's this thing called budget that you'll learn about one day.
And a little later, I found him asleep on the floor. At this point, his fever was 103.6, so that toy shopping wore him out. He woke up as I crawled towards him to snap this shot. Notice the orange sunglasses in his hand...who knew that 30-cent Hobby Lobby treats could become your child's favorite toy?! Maybe budgeting won't be so hard for Jack.
It is now Friday afternoon. The boys are napping, and my laptop and I are on the couch with the Aggie game on tv. I felt guilty leaving two sick boys behind, so I stayed home instead of attending the game. But I'm terribly jealous of Rick right now, who is whoopin' it up in Aggieland. Wow, the video of Kyle field is showing a lot of fired up players and fans. Good times!
The boys and I were sad to see Daddy leave this morning. We are supporting our team from home, though. Below, Liam is sporting his 12th Man towel, and Garrett and Jack are wearing their Aggie shirts. If you're not an Aggie, then you just may not understand.
I'm thankful to each of you for reading my blog. It is a fun hobby, and it's made more fun when I hear from you. That's not a guilt trip to leave a comment...today, at least. How about next week, since I know you're busy?
We'll be spending tomorrow with my parents. I'm looking forward to a day filled with food, family and football. And I'm really hoping for a nap!
Rick and I will travel to College Station on Friday for the Aggie game. They play the University of Texas every Black Friday. I think this year will give new meaning to Black Friday, as we've had a rotten season, thanks to our coach that will be leaving us soon. May the best team win, but I fear that isn't us this year.
Happy thanksgiving, wherever you are. Enjoy yourselves!
As I got out of bed this morning, my thoughts turned to my blog, as they usually do. I knew immediately what I wanted to give thanks for today.
God's sovereignty...although I don't fully understand it, I am glad He is.
God's sovereignty led me to break off my first engagement and to wait for the "right one", who ultimately was Rick.
His sovereignty caused me to be infertile and to wait for my boys. He knew that becoming a mother was what I desired, but He also knew that there would be children in this world that would need me.
Without those four men in my life, I would not be who I am today. God knew that my life would be better with each one of them.
"[S]ome...may say 'I hear all of the promises, but I don't see any glory.' That's because there's a valley between them which might last a week, a month, a decade, a lifetime. But God's plan is being unfolded, nonetheless, for glory always follows suffering. Always." (Jon Courson's A Day's Journey)
To God be the glory.
In thinking of Thanksgiving, I want to post my thanks each day from now until next Thursday. I have so much to be thankful for that I wasn't sure where to start today.
But then Jack pulled my top nightstand drawer off its sliding mechanism this afternoon, and everything tumbled to the floor. I stumbled upon this gem as I was restocking the drawer.
It's a note from Rick back during our most trying time of failed infertility treatments. It reads, "Garni, You are my beautiful wife for whom I'm so thankful. God is going to continue to bless us. I know this. He has been generous and we have been faithful. The day will come when the children will run all over the house. I love you. R"
Indeed this note has come to full fruition, and for this I am thankful. I have a loving husband and three awesome boys who run amuck. I deserve none of them. Thank you, God!
And for any of you that might be stuck on the nickname "Garni", I'll get to that...someday.
What are you thankful for?
Can I just tell you how wonderful it is to have three potty-trained boys? Every day I thank God that I am no longer changing diapers!
I still have to wipe rear ends and check for hand washing, but all of that is like a vacation compared to changing diapers for "twins".
I only have one complaint in this area...I wish that one of our bathrooms had a ur*nal. If I am ever able to design my own house, I will seriously design the boys a bathroom with a ur*nal and all tile floors and walls.
If you have a boy, then you understand.
*UPDATED* My brother left this comment: floor drain. problem solved.
First of all, hi Ben! I didn't know that my brother read my blog. Anyway, yes the bathroom that I will design will certainly have a floor drain and a hose, so that I can teach them to hose it all down daily.
I'm finding myself a bit grumpy, and I can't quite put my finger on it...oh wait, could it be because it's 80 degrees on November 12, only 10 days away from Thanksgiving?! Yep, that could definitely be it! Really, if I wanted it to be in the 80s for the holiday season, I could move to Florida.
But I realize that I have very little to be complaining about. I do have a house with air conditioning after all.
And I have my freedom, thanks to the veterans of this free country I call home.
Happy Veteran's Day!
Daddy was explaining to the boys that God has a plan for each of their lives. Jack (2 1/2) said, "I want to see it!" [I think we've all said that a time or two about our own lives.]
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It was a beautiful weekend in this neck of the woods. The boys spent a lot of time outdoors. In this photo, they are enjoying a juice break in their mini chairs.
Notice they are sporting their Aggie shirts. The boys have learned the correct attire for Saturdays. Even when our Aggies can't play a decent game, we still Maroon Out around here.
But we Aggies are smiling today, when we read that Coach Fran may be leaving before the end of the season! I do hope it's true!
Being that tomorrow is October 31, let's have a discussion about Halloween. Let me just say that I hate Halloween. Even as a kid, I hated it. I wasn't stupid; I loved the candy.
But I was never into the costume thing. I was never creative enough to think of some grandiose costume, so I always dressed as a baby or a cheerleader.
Come on, girls, raise your hand if you ever dressed as a baby or cheerleader for Halloween! I know there were many of us!
As a parent, I hate Halloween because of the confusion that surrounds it. I hate how so many people choose to make it scary. Why can't it just be an innocent evening of fun?
Because the world tends to make Halloween all about ghosts, witches, and jack-o-lanterns, Rick and I have decided to not celebrate Halloween with trick-or-treating. Yes, we want our kids to have an evening of fun and bring home lots of candy for me to eat, I mean for them to eat.
But we feel convicted to glorify God in all that we do. Not that we'll achieve that perfectly on this side of heaven, but we strive to do the best we can. Halloween, at its core, does not glorify God. Because of that, we have chosen to take our boys to our church's festival every year. They always have a great time.
Two Sundays ago, our church announced that they want the kids to dress up as a Biblical character or creature. Upon reading that announcement in the bulletin, I began to hyperventilate.
Rick and I discussed it later that day. Basically, it boiled down to three choices:
1) Avoid the the festival, and stay home to watch the boys' disappointment while the neighborhood kids trick-or-treat. We would be parents of the year, I'm sure.
2) Attend the festival without costumes of any kind. Really, this option pleased me just fine. Until I realized that this option would also reward me the mother of the year award.
3) Suck it up, get creative, and make costumes.
We settled on option 3. Rick had the idea of dressing them as the three wise men. Bravo, Daddy! He wins daddy of the year award!
And my mom wins grandmother of the year for making the costumes. Did you think I would sew them?! Oh, no, honey, the boys would wouldn't have costumes until Easter, if we left it to my doing.
Here is a photo of our dress rehearsal today. I may be a bit biased, but I believe they are some good-lookin' wise men!
Some conversations that took place during the dress rehearsal:
Liam: We need swords!
Me: No, you don't need swords. The wise men took gifts to baby Jesus, and I'm pretty sure they didn't fight in front of him.
Jack: Garrett, I like your crown. It's pretty.
Me: Jack, your crown looks just like Garrett's.
Jack: Oh! [Ran to the mirror to check it out.]
Garrett: I'm ALL excited!
Here he and I are before the game began. I know this was before the game, because a) the sun is shining and b) so are our faces.
Here he is in Daddy's arms. Liam is screaming so loud he had to cover his own ears.
And here he's convinced Daddy to hold him up on his back.
But I can still thank Coach Fran, because this loss seals the deal. Bye bye, Fran. Don't let the door hit you on your way out next month.
Liam, we'll take you to another game some day, but let's wait til you can witness a winning game.
The Boys' Adoption Stories
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