Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Moments Captured

Lately, I've been thinking how quickly time is flying by.  Um, Micah will be in Kindergarten at the end of August.  Crazy.  In treasuring the little moments, it has helped me to slow things down, and to capture the here and now.

Remember when Tristan was toothless? Within a week of that post, his mouth started exploding.  First tooth.   Captured.

Patrick was right when we bought this house.  The kids don't want a swing set they can get at a park.  They want to be boys and have space to run wild and find bugs and annihilate them.  Boys poking bugs with sticks.  Captured.

At Reston Bible, there are immediate real needs every week.  We get so excited when we can buy food or diapers, donate books or clothes.   Little children remembering the poor.  Captured.

Since the boys were little, we never told them about guns or how to use swords.  We knew very early that we would never have an issue with buying toy guns because they figured out how to build them, anyways!  Using sticks, play-doh, Legos....you name it.  Brother firing at will at unsuspecting little brothers.  Captured.

As I hold my baby in my arms, I am soberly reminded that this is my last child, and my last born is going to be this small for just a short time.   This little a little longer.  Captured.

Micah dressed himself without knowing that mommy put Tristan in similar pajamas.   When they are grown men, four years apart won't seem like very much between brothers, but I can show them this picture and they can see how baby brother is so much smaller than bigger brother.  Captured.

 And we can't forget to capture the most mischievous child.  He is infectious with his laughter, his enthusiasm and his one-volume-setting voice: loud.  He does, however, tests the limits-----often.  If he turns out naughty, it will be all my fault because I can't seem to discipline those dimples.  Mommy's weakness.  Captured.


These are the moments that I just store up in my heart.  Slow down, time.  Slow down!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Um.....One Piece

I had a physical today.  The first one, I'd say, in a decade.  I didn't get the memo that you are supposed to go every year.  The entire physical was rather a blur because I was still dumbfounded by the first few minutes where you have to get on that scale.  Vulnerable moment:  Um, I can't believe I weigh that much!

I had a baby 9 months ago so that's no excuse anymore.  I've run out of excuses.   I am openly declaring war on my aging body.  It is not fighting back like it used to, and so it's going to need some help.  I have decided to join a gym, splurge on good skincare products, drink water, go back to clean-eating and report back to you by summertime.  To keep myself accountable, I decided to keep a food log of everything I eat daily. 

The weight is not the motivation, it's the goal---- I just need to be healthier if I want to be keep up with my boys.  The adventure of raising three boys will no longer be fun if mommy has to take heaving breaks on the sidelines.  Alright.  I'm in it to win it.  Oh boy, oh boy, boy!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Young Family Retreat

This weekend our family headed to Sandy Cove, a beautiful retreat site in North East Maryland, right on the water.

When we heard there was a retreat for families with 5th graders and under, we were like this is either going to be fantastic or a disaster.  How are you going to retreat away together with 25 families and not have it be chaotic?

Well, the short answer: It was fantastic.

The whole weekend was very loosely structured.  The time started with Family Game Night on Friday.

Then after a pancake breakfast the next morning, we kicked off our morning with breakout sessions with childcare.   That was key!  First, Jason taught out of Deuteronomy for the couples break-out session.  Awesome stuff.  Then the ladies then had the next session, and then the men.  Bridget is giving a talk on jump-starting our days so that we can manage the home with the focus of having more time for teachable moments with our kids.  Her talk was really inspiring!

Patrick came away from his session in awe of his time with the men.  He was fired up after having met men who were so passionate about raising their children and the time investment they put into their kids.  I was excited to hear that he could learn from them.

Meals were great.  Buffet style and tables for eight.  The best part was we always met a new family, and oh yeah...I didn't have to clean up after every meal.   Now, that's a re-TREAT!

After lunch was Family Field Day activities.  We took over their huge gymnasium and families everywhere were playing balls, air hockey, ping pong and even organized parachute games.  During this time, the parents each had 30 minute mini-dates just to walk around together and reconnect.  We used our time wisely!  Then it was free time until dinner for the families.  Micah climbed rocks like he was born for it.

After dinner, it was Saturday Family Movie Night!  The parents chatted while the kids watched and ate popcorn.  After the kids were down, the staff would walk up and down the halls of our rooms and listen for crying children.  With walkie-talkies, they would let us know.  Oddly, the only parents that were called with crying children were guess who?  Ours!  Turns out Caelan was hacking up a lung and woke up Tristan who then woke up Micah.  The situation was diffused in minutes and all was back to bed.  We retired too, but many couples stayed up and chatted until midnight. 

And the kids like a good alarm clock, would wake up in their make-shift beds ready to have pancake breakfast.  The last session on Sunday was a Family Worship Service filled with songs and skits.

It was an answered prayer for us to connect with other young families.  We were so impressed that a church would emphasize the importance of family by setting up a way for parents to be encouraged and poured into.  We walked away excited to raise our kids!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Be Mine, Valentine!

The kids were excited to make their Valentine's craft this year.  Boys and robots and candy.  This is the only time I get:  Mom, you're the best mom in the world. Hey, I'll take it when I can get it.

This craft is for Patrick.

Not like other past Valentines, I am not stressed out how we're going to celebrate it.  That's new for me.  Although it may seem silly, in our effort to raise three young boys, we don't often stop enough to celebrate love, so when these opportunities come around, it's important to me to be intentional and make these celebrations count.

Oddly this year, we're not doing anything.  (Well, we're doing the box above, but instead of carry-out, we're having hot pot fondue with fresh steamed veggies and jumbo shrimp.  Yippee!)  But the difference is... it's not the doing that is the celebration, it's just in the joy of being this year.   Maybe our marriage has improved, or maybe I'm learning contentment---but I celebrate this Valentines because--- wow, I get to be with Patrick.  I know many folks roll their eye balls at me or stick their hands in their mouth (mocking a gag reaction) when I say this--but I don't care---I'm not here to please men, I'm here to please God and He calls me to be the best wife I can be to my husband.  I want my husband to be the most LOVED man in the world. 

Not necessarily because he deserves it, but because I am called to be that wife.   Fortunately, I am married to the most bravest, honest, and God-seeking man.  I get to wake up every morning to the best man in the world.   I wish everyone could have this kind of marriage, truly I do.  I tell you what though, God knows what He is talking about in the law of sowing and reaping.  We reap what we sow. (Galatians 6:7) Patrick and I have been working on and sowing, and sowing, into our marriage and we are really reaping a harvest of righteousness.  Just feel so grateful that he is mine. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Potty Training Caelan

I was a little gun shy of potty training Caelan.  You can say that we were a bit scarred from Micah as his potty training resulted in him holding in his bowel movement for days until we had to force laxatives into him.  To this day, I can't figure out who was more traumatized by this--him or us.  


With firstborns, you read the books and get the best counsel you can:  Wait until he's ready.  He'll tell you.  Well, Micah could sit in his poop for hours and never be bothered by it.  So, we waited.  Well,  a little too late.  He was about a couple months away from his fourth birthday and he got very used to his diaper and was deathly scared of sitting on that potty.  We tried everything!

So, when Caelan turned 3 in October, we started talking about it.  And about a month ago, we implemented.  The kid did great.  We basically ran around the house diaperless (praise God for hard wood floors) so he could feel when it was time.  First, we started by putting a timer on every half hour and he would go and sit on the potty.  He did really well with that.  Than  we eased off the timer and tried to do it on his own.  Sometimes he made it to the bathroom, sometimes he didn't.  When he did, we used a sticker chart and some candy as reward.  When we were out, I had him put on a pull up, and at times he forgot and went again in his pull up.  When he asked me to clean his diaper, I just told him I'd do it in five minutes so that he could remember the awful feeling of yuck and not do that again.  He noticed many of his little friends, especially Micah's buddies--- commented that it stunk.

Well, it worked.  He is pooping like a champ.  In fact, most days you'll hear a flush and a scream from some level in the house, and he yells "Buh bye poopie!!! Hello flushing!"  And he'll tell me how big it was or what shape it's in.  The other day, he said it was long windy rope.  Great visual.

Very stress-free.  This is a HUGE relief for us that our little man can go in any bathroom now, and is dry through the night.  Thank God because we might still be in post-traumatic stress from the last go-around, not sure we would have survived this one.  

Monday, February 6, 2012

Looks Who's Crawling....

I know it may not seem like a big deal to you, but it's such a big deal to us.  Micah and Caelan started crawling around 6 months, so we just waited patiently for our last little guy to come around.  And here's his big debut....(it's on youtube and you need to click on the right to have the highest quality.)

You can click here to view!

As soon as I posted that he wasn't crawling, he crawled.  And that he didn't sleep through the night, well...he is!  Six nights straight.  Patrick and I don't know what to do with this much consecutive hours of sleep!!!  Praise be to God!