Friday, May 28, 2010

Life in Pictures

Pictures are worth 1,000 words, right? Here's what we've been up to lately:

Clara eats dinner for breakfast (this happens a lot):

Meredith and her free craft time--she is never bored when she has access to scissors, paper, and glue. Here she is making an Indian village, all her own idea:

Momma and baby:

Clara has recently learned how to use the mouse:

The iPhone is quite the hit at our house:

Sophia shares smiles generously:

The girls love putting on a show:

This has got to be a record in our house:

Clara LOVES to grab her helmet and peddle her bike furiously to take herself to faraway places. We've had many lectures about asking before she takes off for an adventure of her own. She is SO independent!

Sophia continues to grow and grow. Last count, 17 pounds.

Chilling out, which is what Sophia does best lately.

We've had some awesome spring-oriented library classes this last semester.

Colin graduated from law school--hooray!! Here is the graduate with his proud nieces:

So Blessed

Being mommy to these three little girls is the greatest privilege I could know. No amount of "free time," no pleasure, no career--nothing could be better than being these girls' mom. I love them so much!!



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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nothing Like a Good Thumb

Sophia is our first baby to refuse to take a pacifier. It didn't take her long to realize she has something built-in that works just as well, if not better!

It's really adorable.
It's really convenient.
She's great at self-soothing and putting herself to sleep wherever we are.

I can already see the future orthodontic bills piling up.




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Monday, May 24, 2010


I recently signed up Meredith and myself to help out with a food packaging event for the Haiti disaster relief. Meredith has expressed a desire to help others after reading some newspaper articles together about various needs in our community and world. I wanted to capitalize on this, so I’ve been looking for opportunities.

I don’t know what I expected, but I was truly blown away by what I saw.

After watching a slide show of people in a Haitian community, affected by the recent earthquake, we were told that our group of volunteers would package 50,000 meals that day. Most people over there are only getting one meal per day, if they are lucky.

At first I was a little bit skeptical. I wondered if this would simply be an opportunity to pat ourselves on the back, do our “good deed for the day,” and then move on. But I was truly impressed by the leaders of this local church (where the food packaging took place) and their sincere desire to help meet the true needs of these people who are hungry and desperate. This church has an ongoing ministry in Haiti, and currently feeds 700 people a day and gives financial support to two local churches over there.

We then proceeded into a huge gymnasium and lined up at our stations to start the food packaging. I must have been thinking in terms of the food that we see at our local grocery store—canned vegetables, macaroni and cheese, Cheerios, etc.

But, no. It was the most basic of basic. It was about survival, not taste buds.

We took a scoop of rice, a scoop of dried soy, a tablespoon of dried vegetables, and a packet of vitamin powder, and sealed it in a bag. This was to feed a family of four. It would meet 80 percent of their daily nutritional needs.

Meredith’s first job (which I helped her with), was to put packets of vitamin powder in each bag. I held open the bag and she put the packets in. We worked in an assembly line. Then she took a turn scooping a tablespoon of dried vegetables into a funnel that filled each bag.

We had several good conversations about what life is like for other children who are not as fortunate as us. We also talked about how you don’t have to be all grown up to help others. You can give of yourself to bless others, starting from a very early age. I asked her what she learned and she said, “I don’t even have to be 12 to help other people!”

I was humbled by this whole experience. I went hoping to help Meredith learn about giving of herself, gratefulness, community service, and understanding her world better. But I came home learning some big lessons too.

This is a busy phase of life for me, trying to raise three small children. I may not be able to do as much as I want to do to help others right now. (Unless you count my kids and husband!) But I was encouraged to try to do more. I have an easy and comfortable life. We are on a budget, like most Americans, but we are wealthy beyond measure. I need to do more.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Good Company, Unruly Children, and Metamorphosis

We just had some overnight guests from Maryland leave. These dear friends knew Kevin and I before we married. When they were here, they said, “It’s so fun to see you all grown up now!” This made me laugh. I guess we do have a lot of responsibility now, compared to then. We’ve added three kids, a mortgage, disability insurance, etc., etc. Whew!

We had a great time visiting. Maybe it’s just the history that we share, or the personalities involved, or both, but you know you have true friends when you have both good conversation and comfortable silences. When no one is talking and that’s okay, it’s a great feeling.

I also appreciate how my friend Natalie encouraged me in several areas I’m struggling with—the two biggest ones are: 1) the overwhelming feelings of taking my children’s education upon my own shoulders (wanting to get it right, also wanting some me-time and not foreseeing that happening very often) and 2) having a husband who works many long hours, and trying to manage everything in the midst of that. Her encouragement came in the form of passing comments, and brief conversations, but it was medicine that I needed for the moment. I love how God’s grace often works that way.

Here is an e-mail I sent to my mom last week, just to let you know what I was dealing with while Kevin was away at a trial in Denver:

“We’re doing pretty good, except that I’ve been really discouraged about Clara. She has been over-the-top disobedient since Kevin left. She has always enjoyed crossing the line, but this week it’s been especially bad. Last night I was praying that she would pleeeeeeeeeze just go to bed so wouldn’t have to discipline her yet again. It was 10:30 p.m. at this point. I had planned all these fun things to do with them this week but we have done ZERO of those things because instead the kids have been having to take a nap every day—since they have been staying up to 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. and getting up between 6:30-7:00. They are extra whiny because they are tired. I put them to bed at 8:30 but they are STILL up that late because Clara is always screwing around and antagonizing poor Meredith. Ugh!!!

“Hopefully when Kevin gets home she will be back to her normal level of rebellion and it won’t be this bad. I don’t know what to do with her. I’ve tried to give her positive attention this week and be consistent in disciplining her, all to no avail.”

Sometimes I just feel at the end of my rope. Fortunately Kevin’s parents really helped out when he was gone last week and Kevin’s mom gave me a break at the end of the week so I could run errands by myself. Again, God’s grace to me!!

Thankfully, as soon as Kevin got home, Clara’s overall attitude changed. She has since then prayed sweet little prayers, with each one ending, “Thank you for bringing daddy home safe. Amen.”

And mom heartily seconds that Amen!

And in other, exciting news, the metamorphosis is complete and we now have five butterflies sitting in our kitchen, eating orange slices!

I had purchased a butterfly garden online so the kids could experience watching caterpillars make their cocoons and turn into butterflies. I thought they would enjoy it but I think I got an even bigger kick out of it. It was truly awesome. These skinny little caterpillars got so HUGE and then they all crawled up to the top of their container at the same time and started spinning their cocoons. After a week, we watched all the butterflies hatch within about 24 hours of each other. One of them we saw immediately after it hatched, and watched him stretch out his crumpled wings.

The kids were jumping up and down with excitement during each phase. I will definitely be ordering more caterpillars in the future. So fun!