Friday, November 22, 2013

Patience

Patience is something I have always struggled with and there is nothing like having two children close in age to remind me of that struggle every day. 

It seems as though my kids are bent on beating my alarm. No matter how early I set it, they wander in just before it goes off. This does NOT bode well for my patience for the rest of the day. Momma needs to wake up SLOWLY!  The mornings are usually frantic trying to dress two kids whom only want to cuddle and watch cartoons. Well, Missy would also like to write and read and draw... But that's life with her, all day everyday.  We normally do good to get out the door to "beat the bus" (the elementary school bus picks up the neighborhood kids next door at 7:50) but that is rarely done smoothly nor without me nagging the kids to hurry up and move. 

There have been more than a few mornings when we did not beat the bus. :/ 

On a particular morning recently, it wasn't because we were moving slowly. We were actually doing great on time! 

Then Bub had to go to the bathroom. 




Whenever he has to go, he climbs up onto the toilet facing the tank and walks around in a circle to sit frontwards. He uses his hands on the seat or tank for balance. He has never fallen so this isn't much of a worry for me... Anymore. believe me, in the beginning it was very nerve wracking. My nephew climbed onto the toilet the same exact way. Is this normal? Or a genetic thing?

Anyway, this one morning... He REALLY had to go. He climbed up facing the tank (let's call this "12 o'clock") and began turning his circle. At 3 o'clock the sprinkler began. In his panicked state, he didn't think to just aim downwards. No... He thought it would be best to shriek and continue turning to 6 o'clock while continuing to "water" the bathroom cabinets... And Missy... And the step stool... And the floor... And the rug. 

I'd like to say I laughed it off right there. I didn't. I shouted his name trying to get him to sit while Missy yelled and whined "HE PEED ON ME!! HE PEED ON ME!!" 

He finally got to 6 o'clock and sat. And found that he had emptied his bladder... Everywhere EXCEPT the toilet. 

I removed him from the toilet and cleaned the bathroom and started the rug in the wash and changed two kids. And THEN we were able to head out the door. The bus had long gone and yet somehow, we weren't late!! 

As much as I think we NEED to be out the door before the bus everyday, we don't.  I needed that wake-up call. We still strive to beat the bus every morning. When we do, we do a little dance and celebrate. When we don't, we say, "Oh man!!" And shrug it off. No biggie! 

How are your patience levels lately?

Until next time!

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Monday, September 9, 2013

Life as I Knew It

A year ago today, there was a knock at my door and policemen told me about an accident that had happened earlier that day claiming the lives of my sister, her husband, and three sons. From that moment on, my life as I knew it changed. If you haven't been with me long enough to have read my first post on what is now known as "The Accident", you can read that here.

Being only a year apart, I do not remember life without Diana. I’ve heard stories of when she was a baby and I was a… well, a baby myself.  I know I was excited to have a baby sister from day 1.  Even though she was my BABY sister, it never felt like she was younger than me.  It always felt more like we were twins.  We loved matching our clothes, putting on dance and theatrical and musical productions, playing Batman and Robin, and pretending that our own room was actually an apartment our parents were other tenants and the van was actually a bus we caught to get around town.  We have one memory that is very fond.  We had guests staying at our house, and during the day, the air mattress was stored upright against our closet.  We had a bunk bed and had the amazing idea to lean the mattress at an angle against the bed with one of us standing underneath as support, and then we could take turns sliding down the mattress as a slide!  I’m guessing we were probably a little loud in our excitement because my dad came in as I was underneath and Diana was sitting on the top.  He asked what we were doing… and without hesitation, we both answered in unison, “We had to move the mattress to get into the closet.”  He stared at us for awhile… we stared back.  Then he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Oh ok!” as he walked out of the room.  We BURST into a fit of giggles.  As we grew older we continued to do a lot together and slowly our separate groups of friends became one group of friends.  When it came to competition and dividing into teams we always did our best to get on the same team because, as our friends can attest, it was almost an unfair advantage.  Sometimes we even split into teams: the B girls vs. everyone else.  




Chris was a part of our joint group of close friends.  He has been apart of my life for nearly half of it!  We started out as close friends: talking on the phone a few times and exchanging letters while he was in Korea, and then speaking on the phone weekly while he was in Iraq.  Though we did have a rough patch, I can say that we had forgiven and moved on and we were family at the end.  I am so glad that whatever it was we were at odds about was resolved before "The Accident"... I can't imagine having that anger towards him and not being able to talk to him and make amends.  He was my brother.  My favorite memories are watching him interact with Missy.  If she wanted him to take her potty, he took her.  If she wanted him to tie her shoes, he tied them.  I can still see them hand in hand, walking through the National Air and Space Museum.  She loved her Uncle Chris and he loved and doted on her too.  The last text conversation we had was right after they found out they were pregnant with Ethan.  I asked him how he was doing and if he was excited.  From the family provider’s perspective, he was nervous but knew it would all work itself out.  But he also said that he was excited for Diana because she was SO excited.  He loved her so much and just wanted her to be happy!  He soon became just as excited as she was to welcome a new son into their family.  




Diana and I were close in age and we loved it growing up, so we decided that we, too, would have children close in age.  Being that we reached child-bearing age at the same time, we were pregnant together, having babies together, and raising our families… together.




Sam was like Diana.  He was sweet and quiet and nurturing.  He even wanted to be an animal doctor “just like Mommy.”  The first time he saw Missy, he was so excited and loved her.  They were best friends.  When Missy saw something she knew he likes, like the iron man mask in Target or the life sized Power Ranger at Hollywood Studios, she would ask to take a picture and show Sam.  And he always did the same thing for her.  When she filled her pee-pee and poo-poo sticker charts, he sent her a video congratulating her.  Whenever they would FaceTime or Skype, they would spend much of the time just sitting with huge silly grins on their faces, just staring at each other.  




Connor was vivacious and goofy and loud.  The dynamic and noise level in their home definitely changed when Connor came along.  He and Bub were closer in age than Sam and Missy, and it seemed like their goal in life was to make the other cry first.  They never tried to hurt each other, but they sure knew how to push each other’s buttons.  Those two would have been trouble together as they got older, scheming against the rest of us.  I’m sad that Bub will never get the chance to be as close to Connor as Missy was with Sam.  




None of us got the immense pleasure of meeting Ethan in person.  All I know is that Squishy liked to bounce.  




Psalm 139:13-16 now sounds to me as if Ethan spoke it himself, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvelous and how well I know it.  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.  You saw me before I was born.  Every day of my life was recorded in your book.  Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”  I can’t wait to meet him one day.  I also can’t wait to see Diana again.  We have this connection… our own language… we just get each other.  I will forever miss her.  A part of me went with her.



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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Legacy

Over the past year, the word "legacy" has been on my mind a lot.  Earlier this summer, I was at a farewell luncheon for a family that was moving on to a new state and job. We were guests at the church for VBS Sunday and although we had only just met the family, it was obvious that they were leaving behind an amazing legacy at the church as well as in the community in which we live. The couple had begun a preschool and the county's mom's club, as well as many programs within the church. They have a huge passion for family and community and it's contagious!





My sister has also left behind a huge legacy around the country with her kind, gentle-hearted spirit and her carseat advocacy. I am still meeting people online that knew of her and were touched by her.  One of her friends recently wrote an amazing blog post about child passenger safety.  If you have children or transport children, you should definitely check out this post.  Diana's friend, Bree, is very knowledgeable and communicated wonderfully the ins and outs and importance of following more than just the law (which is extremely outdated) but also the recommendations made by the people and organizations who know their stuff.  Diana's passion about safety of all children was contagious!  You couldn't listen to her talk about it and walk away and not wonder if you were doing everything in your power to make sure your children are as safe as they can be.  If there is one thing we can learn about "The Accident" it is that no matter how safe YOU are as a driver, you can't predict how OTHERS are going to drive, so we need to take any necessary precaution we can.




One thing that has come across my mind time and time again is 'What kind of legacy am I leaving?'  If I am taken from this world tomorrow, would people even notice?  If you were to leave this world, what kind of legacy would you leave behind?  Would you be remembered as a kind, caring, loving individual? Or would you be remembered as a selfish individual who couldn't be troubled to take the time to help someone else?  What are you doing for the greater good? What are you passionate about and are you sharing that passion? 

What kind of legacy are you creating? 

Until next time,

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Been Awhile

The last few months have been crazy over here at our abode.  We've had birthday parties, doctor appointments, first day of school, lots of family and friend visits, and potty training!

Part of the "getting back into routine" of a new school year means back into the blogging routine for me. :) In the upcoming weeks I hope to detail some of the happenings that have occurred over the summer.  

This is the first real school year for us.  I have done homeschool preschool with Missy for the last year and a half, but not as structured as I had hoped.  Well... not as often as I had hoped... I didn't want to be TOO structured for preschool.  And I don't want that to sound like homeschool is not real school.  It is!!  *I* just didn't commit as fully.  

I can't believe that Missy is old enough to be in Pre-Kindergarten!! I still kinda remember like it was yesterday when she was thrusted into my arms and my dad was yelling "WHAT IS IT?! WHAT IS IT?!" and the doctor yelling excitedly, "IT'S A GIRL!!!"  Now she is four!  I realize that it isn't college or anything, but it is still full day!!  She is still out of the house from 8am until 3pm, Monday through Friday!  Being a stay-at-home mom has given me the luxury of being with my children all the time.  Seeing them through everything!  I admit... I'm kind of a helicopter parent.  Sure, I let them fall and get bumps and bruises.  And I'd let them get dirty if they were into that sort of thing (they totally are NOT into that sort of thing and are CONSTANTLY asking me for a baby wipe to clean their hands, faces, arms, feet, etc).  But I am not that parent who can sit on a bench and watch them play from afar.  THEY don't LET me sit on a bench and watch from afar.  Believe me, I sometimes wish I could.  So having her gone all day is... well... weird! 





She is LOVING it!!  She loves her teachers.  She loves her classroom.  She loves that she can do art everyday because she can pick her own center during center time.  She loves that she gets Ms. M to herself during rest time because she is just about the only student who does not sleep.  She loves that her future husband is in her class (her words - not mine).  She was even ecstatic that she got a homework assignment!  She has even decided that she will hang out with a different classmate everyday so that she can get to know all of them!  My little includer! :)





Her teacher is awesome!  She saw us at church after the first week of school and came over to say hello.  If it was possible to love her teacher even more, she does now that we all go to the same church.  Missy is often afraid to go to sleep because of bad dreams... so she asked Ms. M to pray with her before rest time.  Ms. M, being the awesome person that she is, did not hesitate.  She told me that she is more than okay especially knowing that we have the same faith to do that with Missy if she requested it.  I understand that she can not initiate it and that it can't be on a whole classroom level, but I'm very pleased that she is allowing and helping Missy to practice her faith in the classroom.  Ms. M is enjoying Missy's desires to have "deep conversations on pickles", her sweet way of keeping all her classmates accountable to their actions, her attention to detail, and the fact that she WILL call her out if she doesn't see her at church.  :)




Thank you for sticking by me through this long hiatus! I'm looking forward to spending time with you all again soon!


Until next time,

-Monica

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Home... New Wreath!

I'm BAA-AACK!!

I've missed you!  We are in our new home.  And all the boxes are unpacked!  I told myself that I would not take my computer out of its bag until everything was unpacked.  :)  DONE!

We live in a cute little home with four rooms.  That means we can have a playroom that can convert into a guest room when needed!  YAY!!!  Guests no longer have to feel like they are in the way as they sleep in a room filled with action figures and cars and little boy stuff.  Actually, I guess they are sleeping in the playroom... so still surrounded by toys and therefore they still may feel like that... but they can KNOW that they aren't.  :)  Both kids will be sleeping in their own beds rather than one sleeping on the floor somewhere.  And that makes for a perfect compromise to me!  

The night we finished unpacking, I ran to Hobby Lobby (I am so excited to live near a Hobby Lobby!!) and purchased materials to make a new wreath for the front door.  I was itching to do something crafty, but like blogging, was waiting until everything was unpacked first.   I had a coffee filter wreath at our last home, but I was having issues with how I was going to transport it safely to the new home.  Then, the night before we left, a friend was dropping me off after a farewell dinner and inquired about it.  So... I gave it to her!  Problem solved!  

At Hobby Lobby, I purchased a foam round wreath, aqua colored yarn, 4 different colors of felt (red, pink, ivory, and white), and a large chipboard letter.  It wasn't much, but I spent about an hour slowly walking around the store looking at all the goodies!  Missy would absolutely love this store!!  :)

Anyway, that night while catching up on Grey's Anatomy, I wrapped the wreath with the yarn.  It took FOR-EVER!!  It was glued on one side with tacky glue so that it stayed put.


This is what it looked like about 2 hours in.  See!  F. O. R. E. V. E. R.  The next two nights, I worked with the felt.  I found this tutorial on Pinterest.  It was super easy, but also a little time consuming.  I measured and cut mutiple squares in different sizes in the colors I chose.  Then each square was rounded on the corners, then cut into a spiral.  Then the spiral was rolled from the outside in, and then glued with tacky glue.  I hope I'm explaining it well.  If not, the tutorial contained more pictures than I thought to take.  :)


Once all the rosettes were made, I painted the letter.  


As I was putting the wreath together and playing with placements, I changed my mind on having a plain solid black letter and added polka dots. :)  Then I hot glued it all together, added a weight to the back of one side (anything small and heavy will do) so that it hung more evenly.  As you can see in the pics, it still doesn't hang perfectly straight... I have to find another thing to add a little more weight.  Finally, I added some ribbon to hang it from! 


I love it!  Its bright and cute.  :)  And easy!!  Although very time consuming.  :)  


Until next time!

~Monica

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Movement

It has been 6 months since "The Accident."

Sometimes it seems as though it hasn't been that long. There is still an emptiness inside, but the pain is dulling. I catch myself often, not knowing whether to say "my sis has" or rather "my sis had." Sometimes I feel that it does a disservice to speak about them in the past because it feels as if they are still very much all around me. But at the same time, they aren't presently with us.

I have to remind myself everyday to just keep going. It would be so easy to just mourn the passing of my sister and her family everyday; to sit there and look at all the pictures that are out there; to reminisce on all the memories. But is that healthy? I don't know. I feel that I have an obligation and a responsibility to keep going. I am not forgetting about her or the memories I have. But I am not standing still either. God did not take me from this earth. I still have a purpose here, and I need to remember that and keep moving forward.

Forward. Moving forward is hard when one holds on to what is behind. But in order to grow and to be productive, movement is necessary. Moving forward can be scary when devastation has happened. But God calls us to be strong and courageous.

"Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7-9 NLT)

God spoke those words to Joshua right after He told him that Moses had died. Joshua did not see Moses die nor did he get to say his good-byes. He simply heard from God that his leader, his friend, his mentor had died. After a period of mourning, Joshua had to move forward. He had to lead people. He had to move so that God could use him.

I am trying to do the same without forgetting the legacy they left behind.  I have to move forward so that I may leave behind my own legacy.

Are you creating a legacy?

Until next time!
~Monica

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Something Slept in Our Beds!

Early one morning a few days ago, while I was trying to wake up, Missy came in to my room and started jumping on my bed. I reminded her that we do not jump on beds because she may fall off and bump her head. I then proceeded to tell her the story of the 5 little monkeys that were jumping on the bed.

"But I NEED to jump on the bed!" she explained.

"Why do you NEED to?" I asked with a sigh.

"Because there is glue all over me and jumping gets it off!"

"There is glue on you?"

"YES! Last night when I was sleeping a pumpkin came into the house and slept on all our beds and now there is glue all over us and I need to jump to get it off of me!!"

There you have it folks! Missy found a cure to get the pumpkin glue off of you!! Now if only I can find a way to keep pumpkins from coming into my house in the middle of the night! :)

Do any of you have any ideas? :)


Until next time!
~Monica

Monday, February 11, 2013

Just Checking In!

I've been on a little blogging hiatus recently. Taking time to recover and rest. I've also been gearing up for the move! It's right around the corner and I've been organizing and labeling (have I mentioned that the Hubs got me a label maker?! LOVE!). The end of the month is approaching and my list of projects is dwindling!

We have a little over a week left in this home and then we will be off on a new adventure!

I'll try to post little updates on Facebook if I don't get to actual blogging. :)

Until next time!

~Monica

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

On the Mend

Ever have those weeks where things just don't go as planned?  Well, I have definitely been having those weeks. We've been busy and the kids have been... well... challenging.   And to top it all off, my health acted up in a way very unbecoming of itself.

So, I'm now in recovery mode. :).  Which means lots of rest and the household responsibilities have gone by the wayside.  The Hubs has been great and is helping in anyway he can.  As have some friends. :)  My mom arrives tonight and will be staying for two weeks so that she can help and so that I don't backslide at all.  

The Hubs had the amazing opportunity to attend the NFC Championship game with his brother!   Go Niners!  They made the drive to Atlanta the morning of the game and had a blast as well as a lot of brother bonding time!  Of course, the 49ers won and are headed to the Super Bowl!!

The kiddos also thoroughly enjoyed having their uncle in town and celebrating his birthday with cupcakes and handmade cards and pictures!

I love watching the kids having joy in celebrating their friends' and relatives' birthdays.  They know it is a special day and love on them in any way that they know how.  They are both givers and nurturers and I love that about them.  Sure, they have the selfish tendencies that come with the toddler years, but I know they will outgrow that.  I hope they never outgrow their giving spirits. 


Until next time!

~Monica

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I Felt Like Being Crafty

I think we had a moment of insanity back in the fall when we asked different family members all to come to visit us for the holidays.  His mom and her husband came to visit from December 22nd until 26th.  His brother came to visit from the 24th through the 29th.  Our family from North Carolina came for the night of the 23rd.  And finally, my mom, dad, and two brothers came from the 29th until January 3rd.  Crazy, right?  

It was all fun and although hectic at times, it was less stressful than we thought it was going to be.  Plus, everyone survived!  Always a good thing.

Before everyone came, though, I felt it a good idea to destress as much as possible.  So I got a little crafty.  :)  

While making a Michael's run for black frosting dye for Bub's Mickey Mouse cupcakes, I checked out the canvas prices.  I really wanted to do a Mistletoes canvas that I had seen on Pinterest here and it looked easy enough.  Then I saw the sale!  4-5 canvases (depending on size) for $19.99!!  I didn't even have to ask the Hubs.  He saw my face and said yes!  So I threw in the pack of 5 16x20 canvases!  

Ok, so I just lied a little.  I didn't exactly grab the 16x20 canvas pack quickly.  I actually stood there at the rack of canvases for quite some time.  Remember back on my Liebster Award post?  I'm indecisive!  I hemmed and hawed over the 12x12, the 9x12, the 16x20, and some much larger... well... let's just say ALL of the size offerings.  The Hubs had time to go back to where the other single canvas options were and picked out a 12x12 just for the Mistletoes piece and left me to my thoughts and lack of decision making skills.  In the end, I knew in my head the art piece I wanted to create... so I laid them all out.  Yes... I made different sized groupings of 4 so I could see how big or how small my final product would be.  All in an aisle.  A few employees were nearby and kept staring at me.  What can I say?  I have to make a decision somehow!  In the end, the grouping of 16x20s won.  :)  And THEN I threw them in the cart... while the Hubs rolled his eyes at me.  

A few days later, I wandered to the acrylic paint section and laid out different groupings of paint colors... because again... I could not make a decision.  I knew the color yellow I wanted... and the color red.  But did I want a greenish aqua color?  Or maybe a more bluish aqua color?  I even texted my mom some pics of the groupings... but she was busy and didn't respond.  After 5-10 minutes of standing in the aisle surrounded by little groupings of paint, I made my decision and purchased the paint.  

NOW... I was ready!!  So the next day during nap/quiet time, I laid out my painting sheet on the floor in my living room and got to work.  It had been a LONG time since I had painted anything... so I can't really give a good tutorial.  I'm not even sure any of you would look at my finished work and would say, "I MUST make that!!"  So I'm not going to go into a lot of details.  

First, I covered all 4 canvases in two different tones of yellow, one more gold and one more mustard.  I didn't want one flat color, so I made sure not to mix the colors completely.  




Once they had dried, I put some of the aqua on my palette and began the lettering.  I free-handed an "L," a "V," and an "E" each on their own canvas.  I added a little charcoal grey to the aqua paint and added some shading along the edge of the letters to give them a little dimension.




After the letters, I painted a heart on the 4th canvas.  I had the same charcoal grey paint and some white so that I could add some dimension to the heart.  Then I let them dry!




Being this was the first large art piece I have made, I was super excited!!  I even ran into our room to wake the Hubs up to tell him I was excited!  He was not as excited as I was.  :)  Once they were completely dry... and the Hubs was completely awake... we he hung them up on the wall!!




In real life, they are straighter than they appear... they move every time Bub shuts our bedroom door.




I really love how it turned out.  I think it fills the wall nicely!! 


Until next time!

~Monica

Monday, January 7, 2013

A New Year

We had a busy year in 2012!  

-We welcomed 3 new pets into our home (2 hermit crabs and a cat).  
-We visited my sister and her family and explored Washington DC.  
-We went to Disney World with a 2-year-old and a 1-year-old (we brought an extra adult so that we outnumbered the toddlers).  
-We helped family move from Atlanta to North Carolina and visited them a few times in both places.  
-We had that same family visit us on numerous occasions throughout the year.  
-Bub was diagnosed with a milk protein allergy and we learned just how many things contained dairy in some form.  
-We traveled from Georgia to California to visit family.  
-We had a small birthday tea turn into a party for 30 when Missy turned 3!  
-We mourned the passing of my sister and her family (and flew back to California for a month for the services and to take some time).  
-Missy got her ears pierced.  
-We went on our first family vacation to Myrtle Beach, SC.  
-We held Bub's birthday party just 2 days before Christmas.  
-We hosted both Christmas and New Years and had 10 family members come during a two week stretch of time (although not all 10 were here at the same time).  

And that list is just the big stuff!  

But... all things must come to an end, right?  2013 has begun.  358 days of uncharted territory to explore and make the most of!

We have a few goals this year:
-Slow down
-Simplify
-Be more "green"

Life can get so hectic for us, but one thing we have learned from this past year is that you never know what can happen and we need to really enjoy the moments we have.  In order to slow down, we are trying to simplify our lives.  This means less clutter, less stuff... just... less!  We don't need every gadget or every toy out there.  Less can be more, right?  We also want to become "greener."  When Missy was born, I began making my own all-purpose cleaner, but I want to expand that to laundry detergent and candles and other household products.  We also want to look at the way we live and see if little adjustments can be made to better use our resources.

All in all, we want to create a more healthy environment for our family, both emotionally and physically.

I mean, just look at these lovelies!!


  
How could you not want them to have the best life?  

I'm not saying that everyone should make the same changes in their own lives that we are making.  I think that what we are planning and dreaming for this year is what is best for OUR family.  Every family is different and has different goals... so what works for us may not work for you and vice versa.

I'm looking forward to sharing with you what the new year brings us!!


Until next time!

~Monica