Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Play~Doh Progress

Sometimes, although we can see our babies growing up before our very eyes, it can be easy to get lost in all the duties, responsibilities, disciplining, directing, and so on that you rarely take a step outside of the day to day and see how much you have grown as a Mom (and I am not referring to that extra baby weight). But I mean true growth - things that really matter - such as letting go of the things/standards/ideals that you once held tightly to with little to no reason. 

So I am going to do that now because just a few days ago, I had a realization. I have grown! I have grown in matters of Play-Doh! You see, some five or so years ago, when my life as a Mom ran into the fun activity of Play-Doh, I was, shall we say just a little OCD over mixing Play-Doh colors.  It was a big deal to me, because naturally, wouldn't anyone feel better about keeping all of the colors separated so that they stayed fresh, and clean and pretty - and in their original state? It was logical.  I let Reece play with Play-Doh, and Chase too when he came along - and as he (and later, they) played...I policed.  No - not only the potentially huge mess that stuff can make all over your house - but I also policed the color mixing.  It was not gonna happen under my watch!

Well, guess what folks!  Life happens and through it all, I have learned that I have much bigger fish to fry!  (talk about an understatement!)

Pierce got a Play-Doh set for his birthday and I think it might actually have been his first experience with the stuff.  And ya know what - we played - all of us together - and I didn't have a care in the world about whether they combined colors.  Okay, I'll be honest - I did simplysuggest that they might consider keeping them separate...but that was all.  I suggested only once and then let them have at it.  That's progress, I'd say.  No more policing, just a gentle suggestion.  :)

I know, this is just a silly illustration, but the truth is, I think we don't acknowledge our growth enough - as individuals, as Mom's, as wives, whatever it may be.  Growth is a big deal.  It's something to celebrate.  If I look back on how far I have come in nearly 7 years of being a Mom, I must say - I have grown.  I have grown in my confidence, in learning to trust my intuition, in prioritizing, in multi-tasking (ha!)  I have a long way to go but I have a little better of a grasp on what is a battle worth fighting over (and yet still fail often in this area!) I have several friends who are just beginning this motherhood journey and I try to be a voice of encouragement to them - that they are gonna grow so much and it (the intuition, the confidence, the knowledge) - it is all gonna come together.  

It is a fun journey to be on - a challenging and very serious one - but definitely a fun one ~ mixed colors or not! 

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Would you like to share something that you have "figured out" is not such a big deal as you once thought it was? :)

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King Popeye


Chase called me into Hudson's room the other day to show me who the new King is in our house! (as if Hudson needs a racetrack creatively turned into a crown to convince anyone of that!)

Chase was proud of his new creation.  I thought more Popeye than king, but hey... 

Cute either way!
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

And So Now He Understands...Just A Little Better

Picture a nest full of baby birds... mouths wide open... chirping uncontrollably... the momma bird enters the nest with a worm and the chirping goes up a notch higher.

That scene plays itself out in our home many times a day.  We have some hungry little mouths to feed.

Today, in a particularly insane moment (Hudson crying like he hadn't been fed in days and was not going to last a minute longer if he didn't get his milk... now! and the others all equally famished but expressing it in words) my sweet and oldest son came to the rescue.  Reece kindly offered to make a jelly sandwich for himself and his little brothers while I took care of Hudson.

I was so thankful.  Helped him open the jar of jelly and headed to the other room to save Hudson's life :)

Then I smiled as I listen to this scene unfold.  Reece begins to hear the "chirping" from both Pierce and Chase - who needed their sandwich first... how they wanted the jelly spread or not spread... don't cut it don't cut it (Piersen's famous line) ...mine on the blue plate...and so forth. Reece remained calm and began spreading Pierce's sandwich first (good choice I felt - start with the youngest and whiniest in the moment - good strategy).  Then as he moved on to Chase I hear Chase begin to express his concern for the amount of jelly that is lacking on the edge of the bread.  Reece - simply places the sandwich on the plate and confidently states, "please take what you are given"...smiles and moves on to his own sandwich without another thought.

I began to laugh and gave Reece a hard time about how he can now understand that my job isn't always an easy one.  In the next and soon to happen crazy meal or snack time scene, I just may do well to adopt his example and very own words: "please take what you are given"

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Confessions of a Not So SuperMom

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***note: this picture was taken, kind of as a joke, at Chase's superhero birthday party...
Let's set the record straight: although I have heard it said to me, about me, and around me as of late, truth be told: I am NOT a SuperMom. I think people say this mainly because I have four little ones in a culture where more than one child means you have a big family. Also because those four little ones are all under the age of 7. When I walked around with my pregnant belly just a few months ago and then as we welcomed the arrival of Hudson, I felt like I could hear the whispers as I passed. We can almost visually see people's heads bobbing as they count the blonde heads in the shopping cart (my favorite is when they notice the two little ones and while they are oooohhhing and awwwwing over them, the older two pop out from behind us - now that can create a memorable reaction!  "yes. four. yes. all boys.")  Yes, in many ways - we are crazy! Our life is full of noise and action: if not crying there is almost always a small voice pleading for help or requesting a snack or demanding a toy from one of their brothers. There is lots of rough play, lots of commands being repeated, and always activity around us... It is a really "unique" stage of life, shall we say. Although there is much craziness, I like to refer to it as "sweet craziness". I am happy. I am exhausted, yes, but my heart is oh so full!
I have heard several women say to me that they just can't imagine how I have the time to bake a cake or to watch my kids at soccer practice.  Like seriously people?  I will confess I am not the definition of "organization" and having four kids has definitely been an adjustment, but we haven't stopped living life, we just live it a little crazier :)  Oh, I have heard it all...
"How do you do it?" 
"I admire you."  
"If I were you I would be laid up in my home and wouldn't ever venture out."  
"You are always so calm and patient."
"There is always a smile on your face" 
OOPS! I only wish my patience lasted longer, my voice was always calm and encouraging, that my directions were always clear and concise and consistent, and that the punishment always fit the crime. I wish that when I start out my day, praying for the right heart and attitude towards all the day has to offer, that I could remain in good standing at least through the breakfast hour. I wish my kids always obeyed "the first time" and that harshness never escaped my lips. I am confessing the obvious here: there is an incongruence between what I want people to see and how I can be behind closed doors. I wish it weren't so, and I have been reflecting on this truth lately. How great would it be if I always lived up to the positive image I want others to see in me as a Mom. Don't my kids always deserve the calm and patience-filled treatment that they most regularly get if we have company or if we are out in public. 
If I truly was a SuperMom, here are some things that wouldn't need to be confessed:
~ loud noise absolutely rattles me - I don't know why but I just can't hack it - the tv too loud, the banging of plates or forks at the table (apparently a prerequisite to being a boy!), shaking the stool in rhythm to brushing your teeth, ....ya - you get it?
~ I don't get down on their eye level enough and gently explain my expectation...sadly, it seems way too easy to raise my voice from the other room.
~ I am not the greatest at using my limited but available time well...which leaves me scrambling when things really do need to get done...for example: why don't I pack up the diaper bag the night before? why don't I put the folded laundry away before the big boys get home from school? why don't I sleep when the baby sleeps (ha,ha,ha! - that one is stated with tongue in cheek)
~ I am a horrible judge of time - often thinking I can bake a cake or get something else done before we are supposed to be heading out the door, which then leaves all the other things - like finding Pierce's missing shoe (for the umpteenth time), making sure Hudson's tummy is topped off since we will for sure get stuck in traffic, or putting a few snacks together for the kids - unfinished ahead of time, simply adding to the already existent chaos of getting 4 kids in their car seats :)
~ I can lose my sense of perspective, forget how to "pick my battles" and I can be a little reactionary to the wrong battles - until I step back and wonder who can throw the bigger tantrum in the moment - me or the kid?  I mean, in the big scheme of things, is it that big of a deal that they are brushing their teeth walking down the hall instead of in front of the sink?or that they have "forgotten" again to stay at the table when eating a snack? Perspective, Care, perspective!
~ I don't always model very well the behavior I am trying to instill in my kids - especially regarding neatness - as gently pointed out to me by my oldest ("so why do we need to have our clothes picked up off of the floor if there are clothes on the floor in your bedroom?" ouch.)
~ I can be a little rigid on certain rules (how much tv per day, Wii only on the wiikends, etc..) and sometimes forget that breaking free every once and a while is not going to doom them to bad habits forever. Grace, Care, grace :)
~ I can be short on patience in hearing "tattling" from my boys and encourage them to "work it out" (but sometimes I wonder if that is a pretty way of making it seem like they need to solve their own problems when really it is just an excuse for me to shoo them away)
~ I.....okay, okay - enough already -  I think I am making my case here, right?!?!
And let me clarify, I am not sitting here looking for a bunch of complimentary comments - I am simply being real.  I know I am a good Mom.  Sometimes even a great one.  I try to be intentional, creative, fun, loving, graceful, and supportive. But I also can be pretty rotten and that's just the truth. Someone joked with me once about how I portray our household on this blog...that we must be so perfect that we don't ever even lose our keys around here. HA!  It was said in jest, but I thought it was ironic that that was the chosen example as we are known to actually lose a lot of things.
So bottom line: nope, no SuperMom here.  No cape in public.  No cape at home (heck, I count it a blessing if I can be showered and dressed by noon these days). Just me reflecting on how far I have to go. Thank God that each day holds new beginnings.  Thank God that kids are forgiving.  Thank God that we are all on this journey together.  And in all honesty, I will confess this too: I don't even want to be a SuperMom.  To me, that is the wrong picture.  And more than likely, I wouldn't ever remember where I last put my cape.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

From Laundry to Laughter

I was kinda planning on focusing on laundry today...

And I have been...

Sort of.

I am a little distracted by better offers...

Such as making this little man happy with laughter...

Check it out:

*** (please excuse my crazy this point in my life I am less 
concerned about how I look or sound if it means I can get a good 
memory captured :)  )

Wouldn't you agree that laundry can wait just a bit for that???

I'll confess that sometimes I let things get a little toooooo messy around here, but happy boys are more important than a clean house! Right?!

Monday, March 22, 2010

My Favorite Four Month Old!

Look at that face ~ don't you just have to smile when you see it?!

Hudson is now 4 months old!!!

The Hudster likes his bathtime (but being the 4th kid means he doesn't get it as many times as he might like - ha,ha).  Now that he is a little older and can hold himself a lot stronger...

we decided to answer this request of Pierce's.... to let them bath together!  Although there wasn't a whole lot of room left to actually get clean, it sure was fun! (even tho here, Huds looks a little scared, he really wasn't)


As this face shows - we have a happy and healthy boy who we are so thankful for!! Happy 4 months baby boy!

Saturday, March 20, 2010


No friends, I am not announcing a new baby...

But it does involve a major life change for our family...

As you may have heard by now, we are making plans to begin our transition out of Mexico City.  Our partnering congregation, the Westport Road Church of Christ in Louisville, Kentucky, has invited us to spend one year with them in Louisville. During this time, we will closely evaluate our 7 year mission in Mexico City - looking at various aspects such as its' strengths, weaknesses, the success of the partnership between missionary and supporting church, and so on. We will also use this time to make decisions about our next life steps - whether we remain in ministry/missions or whether we will shift into secular work.  We believe that this upcoming transition will be an important and exciting time in our lives - most certainly bringing blessing and new opportunities.  Naturally, since Mexico has been our home for seven years, we do have many mixed emotions about saying good-bye.  We have learned, experienced and enjoyed so much about this place.  We definitely thank God for how He has walked with us and how He continues to walk ahead of us.

We are very thankful for a partnering church that loves and cares for us as much as they do.  They have been so very good to us over these past years and continue to show their love to us during this big change.  It is such a blessing to us to be surrounded by so many loving and caring people as we re-adjust and introduce our children to living in an American culture for the first time.  Thank you WRCC!

For all of you out there who read this blog, I would ask for your prayers as we face this change. We are making plans to leave towards the end of June or early July.  Obviously, we have lots of details to take care of - packing, shipping stuff, finding housing and new schools, finishing ministries and saying good-bye to relationships here.  This is our first time to do this as a family - and if anyone out there has any advice - I am all ears!  I would especially appreciate any tips on how to help make this a special time for my kids.

Thanks friends!


Chess is a difficult game to learn.  

Perhaps trying to learn in a different format can be inspiring?!

Pierce seems to think so. 

Maybe you oughta try... but no pictures please :)

* I thoughtfully blurred out the 
inappropriate aspects of 
this photo.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Toothless Grin!

Reece lost another tooth! This time the top one. It had been very loose and hanging crooked for days...he had a hard time leaving it alone but he just couldn't wiggle it free. Chase did the honors by elbowing him in the mouth when they were playing on Saturday. I am certain Reece would have retaliated had he not realized that he now had a free tooth... finally! Instead, he said "thanks Chase" All of this happened on the day of Pierce's birthday party, and with all of the chaos, as the day begin to wind down, Reece remembered his tooth. Although it had been set aside earlier in the day, we now realized it had been washed down the drain. No prob! We suggested he write a simple note and off he went to write one all on his own! (personally, I would have been a little more elaborate, but hey - it worked!)   I believe I had written on here before that in Mexico the tooth fairy role is filled by the "ratoncito"....and this little mouse is quite gracious. Amazingly, even though there was no tooth under the pillow, the note below was replaced with a little reward - found by a happy boy!

The note translated: "sorry that I lost 
the tooth" ~ I guess sometimes you just gotta 
tell it like it is!

I love, love, love this picture - captures this 
age of his life so beautifully - what a smile! 
What a handsome boy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In What Seems Like A "Snap"....Pierce Turns 3

The birthday boy!
 Working on those 3 fingers!
This weekend we celebrated Piersen Benjamin's third birthday!  How can it be?!?  We had so much fun and although this little guy is a really happy kid all the time - I honestly felt like time kind of stood still for me at his party and I wondered if I had ever seen him so absolutely full of life and joy.  His smile was huge and constant.  His laughter precious and from deep within. Running around in the grass - bare footed and free - almost standing with one foot still in toddlerhood and the other boldly planted in being "big" and independent.
The birthday theme???  Crocodiles!!!  How did we get to that?  Well, Pierce likes crocodiles.  He has several toys of them and likes that they snap and eat things.  He loves the book Five Little Monkeys (...sitting in a tree, teasing Mr. Crocodile, can't catch me...along comes Mr. Crocodile....snap! oh no, where is he?!)  
Months ago, when we celebrated Chase's birthday with a batman theme, Pierce was on a big kick to have the same party.  That was not gonna happen :)  And then, recently, we went to the zoo and he became quite interested in the.... camel.  I think mainly because we talked about how they spit.  So....he asked for a spitting camel cake.  Ummmm.  Sometimes little boys need just a touch of direction. Ha,ha.  So - knowing he also likes crocodiles I introduced that idea and he was pleased. Up to and during the party planning,  Pierce would talk about his "sock-a-dile" party and cake.  And although we gently corrected his cute mispronunciation many times, he continued on until the day of his party - then it all came together and now there is no turning back.  It is a "crocodile" not a "sockadile"! 
Here are some party pictures!
The cake, the jel-lo and their very  proud owner :) 
Around here - we celebrate with the theme in every way possible! Even to the extent of having baby Hudson play with guessed it...crocodile toy as he patiently waits for his Mommy!
 Not sure who is attacking who here!
 And we try to celebrate the things that the birthday boy likes....
So, we've got friends, of course...
We've got face painting...
(surprise, surprise - a crocodile!!)
We've got a nest of crocodile eggs for a water balloon fight...
We've got live music because our boy loves to sing (we invited the very cool music teacher, Alex, from the kids' school) - it was a HUGE hit and all of the kids had so much fun....
We've got games like: the snappy crocodile (remake of hot potato!)...
We've got big brothers! (here they are all three listening intently to the story/song)...
And we've got cake!
 Blowing out the candle and the "mordida" (Chase got him good - as you can tell by Chase's excited expression!)
Like I said...we like to celebrate with "themes" so imagine my excitement when we went to get a soccer ball for Pierce's birthday gift and we found one....with a crocodile skin pattern. Whoooo hoooo! Sometimes things just work out so nicely!
On Sunday, the birthday theme continued as we went with our house church to a park, rode some boats through the swampy water...
...and the kids searched the waters....
.... we found a crocodile on the land! 
Although it is hard to believe that Pierce is now sure is fun to watch him grow and develop his personality. And what a personality he has!  I must say, this kid is funny.  He says often to me, "stop yaffing at me Mom" because I often am!  He is a lot like his Daddy - just a natural at making people laugh and smile.  He wants to be like his big brothers in so many ways...and although he is small in stature, he doesn't let that stop him.  He can be and is feisty in spite of his small body frame.  And he can also be a pretty good tease!  He knows how to get his brothers irritated (especially Chase!) and seems to take pleasure in getting everything stirred up.  Pierce can be more than persistent when he wants something....he loves to eat and can do so many times a day.  He rarely tires of asking for something to snack on and the funny thing is that he almost always eats it....even though he eats rather slowly - choosing to nibble and watch the crazy dynamic around the table instead of focusing on his plate.  He knows there will be time to request and graze some more in just a little while - he would hate to miss a chance to be silly after all.  His most requested thing is see-weee-el (cereal) or pizza.  He thinks he is too big for a nap, but if I paraphrase things to "just a rest" and spend some time reading books with him, he almost always crashes into a sweet sleep.  Pierce is great at playing by himself and loves to draw or color....or as he puts it "do his homework" with the big boys.  He colors well and stays in the lines and uses every crayon in the box!  He is a great singer and has an amazing memory - he can learn the words to a song or Bible verse or book quickly. When the boys come home from school our quiet natured little boy changes into a loud and roaring lion - keeping up with the pack.  It really is a crazy thing to see.  He loves soccer, he loves spiderman and animals.  He is already starting to wipe off kisses and laughs really hard when we act disappointed that he does it.  He loves his baby brother and tries so hard to be gentle while he teaches him to wrestle and catch a ball :)  He is a expert at drawing out bedtime.  He wakes up happy.  He is a great snuggler and overall just a sweet sweet boy.  When he was born we sang to him "his" song and it is still true to this day.  It goes like this:"Piersen Benjamin, such a special boy, such a special boy, such a special bo-oy...Piersen Benjamin, such a special boy...such a spec-ial boy - whoooo hoooo!"
Happy birthday little Pierce.  We love you to the moon, to the stars, and back-pack :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

These Days: Coloring & Singing

This is a common scene just outside my front window. A little boy who loves to be outside. A little boy who loves to color and draw. And a little boy who loves to sing. I am so blessed to be able to share these moments with my third and very special boy. We celebrate him today - on his 3rd birthday - and thank God for putting him in our family. Happy birthday Pierce! More birthday stuff to come soon...



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Check out this sweet video that captures him doing all three together. His voice is so sweet, I love it! And take note of the ease with which he switches coloring hands from left to right, right to left...and the tongue action :) it is often found keeping rhythm to the flow of his coloring hand. Oh I love this kid!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Tummy Time!

When tummy time gets a little wild and crazy due to the total participation of the troops.... (wouldn't this scene scare even you?!?)


We just all roll over and make a cute picture! :)