Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pumpkin Patching

Going to the pumpkin patch is one of my favorite things about fall! 

Each year, we've gone to a different patch and it's been fun to explore and do the different activities at each one! Yesterday morning, we piled in the van with Grandma Linda, Grandpa Forrest, and Great Grandpa and drove out to Pleasant Hill. Thanks to the Groupon deal I scored earlier in the week, admission was cheaper for all six tickets than it would be for just three at other places around town (Belle is still free). We packed a lot of fun into budget friendly fun!! WARNING: There are A LOT of photos ahead! 

The kids enjoyed their first teeter-totter experience!

Jackson climbed the mountain of hay!

... and enjoyed jumping into a pile of more hay!

The corn box was Belle's favorite. 

The zip line was Jackson's favorite. He rode it at least a dozen times!

We checked out a few animals.

My family-- a bunch of turkeys!!

The drought of this year really affected the corn crop and subsequently, the quality of the corn maze... but we had fun anyway (and it was a little easier since we could see over the stalks!). Jackson led the way and successfully navigated us through the smaller maze!

Meanwhile... this girl cried the whole time because we left her stroller at the entrance because it was a nightmare to push through maze. Turns out, it was a nightmare listening to her whine and cry too, though it was honestly the lesser of two evils. 

See-- I was there too! :)

The kids enjoyed the barrel train ride.

And we all went for a hay ride!

These bouncy horses are a lot harder to race than it may look!

This photo of Belle and Derek is mid fall! :)

Jackson picked out a "just right" pumpkin and Belle picked out a cute little one. We visited all of the attractions, then ate a picnic lunch, and then let the kids go back to their favorites! Belle chose the corn and Jackson chose the zip line. The weather was perfect and we all just had a great time. And I know the grandparents had almost as much fun as the kiddos!

 Happy Fall!! What are your favorite fall traditions? 


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Imaginary baseball, among other things

We had a pretty fun week last week-- full of fun things I want to remember. Here's a quick recap!

On Monday, we took the kids bowling! This was Jackson's second time and Belle's first. It was a really nice family outing and it was buck night, so it cost us less than $10 for two games and shoes! Jackson is really into the game and of course we made a HUGE deal when he bowled an occasional strike or spare (with bumpers of course). After one frame as I was aiming for the remaining two pins, Jackson said, "But Mom, I'm not proud of you because you didn't knock down all of the pins like I did." As if losing to my son wasn't bad enough...

Belle "took score" during the first game!

After awhile, she was acting like she wanted to participate, so we payed for her to join in on the second game. She used this little contraption thingy; She giggled as it slid down and then when the pins would fall over she'd say, "uh oh!" That lasted about two frames. And then Jackson bowled the rest of the frames for her. He didn't mind.

On Wednesday evening, the kids and I walked to church! It was a nice walk. We stopped by the park on the way and as we passed the baseball fields, Jackson wanted to check it out. He really wanted to play even though we didn't have any equipment. So I suggested imaginary baseball and he loved it! We "played" for almost twenty minutes. I pitched, he hit and would run the bases. While this may go down as one of the most ridiculous things I've done as a parent, it easily makes my top ten favorite moments. It was just silly, impromptu, and fun!

He slid into home every time

His shirt says, "I make dirt look good." He sure was dirty!

One afternoon when I picked Belle up from her nap, she was in one of her "moods." Being the cruel mother that I am, I pulled out my phone to document all of the emotions that exist with this girl in the matter of mere five minutes. Whew! At least we ended on a positive note.

This photo isn't the greatest, but these two really began to play well together this weekend-- both parties were intentionally interested in playing along with the other. Normally, it's one-sided. It was so sweet to watch. Jackson and Belle are wrestling around here and Jackson is being so patient as Belle crawls all over him! And later that day, Jackson took Belle for a walk (in the driveway) while Derek and I worked on some yard work and we didn't even ask! I pray that these two will grow up to love, befriend, and take care of each other. Seeing them play well makes my heart happy. 

I hope your week/weekend was fabulous! And here's hoping for a great week to come! 

(Oh, and my fantasy football team completely blew Derek's team out of the water. I want to remember that too-- no photos. Just good memories.) :)


Friday, September 21, 2012

Sometimes I'm a crappy mom

First, I have to apologize to the members of my family who consider the word crap as a swear word. Maybe the use of the word only reinforces the statement, "Yes, sometimes I'm a crappy mom."

This post is a little bit different from my usual. I don't normally get involved in petty internet drama. I like to use my space for fun, positive family moments with an occasional soapbox post. This post falls in the latter category.

There is a popular movement amongst moms (and just people in general) to be so judgmental towards others. I suppose this tendency isn't new, by any means. Let's take a look for example about two women on the campaign trail with their presidential candidate husbands. Back in the 90s when Clinton was first campaigning, Hillary was criticized for working too hard not and being a stay-at-home-mom. Fast forward to 2012 and here Ann Romney is criticized for "not working" to be a stay-at-home-mom. Both of these women have been/are claimed to be out of touch with a majority of the women population in our country. What is it with some women that they need to cut down and criticize other women all the time?! And then, thanks to the internet these days-- it's so easy for individuals to say mean and hateful things to people in anonymity and to criticize everything from food choices to discipline styles.

Here on my blog, I strive to be open and honest-- I won't hide behind an anonymus comment to say what I what to say.

First, some back story. This photo stirred up drama and criticism the other day when a fellow blogger posted it on facebook because some moms {and other care-givers} seem to think that their way of parenting is the ONLY way to be a good mother. The conversation has since been deleted, but all you really need to know is that it got kind of ugly {and how this photo stirred up controversy is beyond me--- the whole point is to celebrate the different types of mothering, but whatevs}

The above photo does instill a bit of confidence in me. Just like these moms who all do parenting differently, I too, AM a good mom. 

But you know, I can also sit here and say, also in confidence, that sometimes I'm a crappy mom too. 

Sometimes, I let my kids watch too much tv.  I don't buy organic and my kids aren't gluten-free. Sometimes, I look forward to going to school to get a break. I don't wash their sheets every week and there are some weeks that they only get one bath. Sometimes, I cave in because it's easier than discipline. I let Belle go to bed with a sippy cup of milk and I don't always brush teeth at nighttime. Sometimes, I lose my patience and I yell for no reason. 

The truth is, is that there are some times when I'm just not a good mommy. But I know that I am a good enough mommy and that all of my inadequacies are covered under the good grace of God. 
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.                         2 Corinthians 12: 9

"My Grace is sufficient for you, Amy. Even when you'll experience those times of post-partum depression and you'll cry consistently for two weeks. YOU are his Mommy and you'll both make it through.  My grace is sufficient in all your inadequacies; I am there to fill in the gaps. My power is made perfect in your weakness, Amy. On those days when Derek was gone on active duty, I gave you that strength to comfort your son who didn't understand. You all made it! My power is strong enough to protect your children even when you cannot. For I love your babies even more than you can even fathom. My grace and My power are all you will ever need on this journey of motherhood."

By God's grace am I the mommy that I am! It's through Him that have learned about unconditional love and his plan for my life! Through Him I have learned how I should love my husband and how to parent. Through Him do I have any ounce of patience to even begin with. Through him I find my purpose and satisfaction in being a mom!

By God's grace-- my kids are alive and safe with me now. I once drove 30  minutes home to realize that Jackson was in his baby carrier, but NOT BUCKLED! I have left Belle unattended in the bath tub for a short minute and even sitting on the counter when I step out of the kitchen. My son walked around the block, on the street, ALONE when he was 2 years old. I could go on and on. There are times when I outright failed, but by God's sufficient grace I am still blessed to be parenting my great kids.

When I was a brand new mommy, feeling overwhelmed and insecure, my pastor's wife said to me, "Amy, God chose YOU to be Jackson's Mommy. You are exactly the Mom that He wants Jackson to have." Never have more encouraging words been spoken to me about motherhood.

I am not a perfect mom and I don't do everything right. There are times that I genuinely fill that I'm not qualified for this job and there are times that those feelings get me down. But fortunately, I know my God continues to do a good work despite of my imperfections. My confidence lies in the Lord. I am doing my best and through His grace, it's good enough.

Every good thing I have ever done for my children has been though God's grace and power. I hope that you rest in that hope and peace, too. If don't already, you certainly can!

Even though sometimes I'm a crappy mom, I know that I am THE PERFECT MOM for my kids.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Nineteen months

Dearest Belle,

I just can't believe you've grown into a full blown toddler. You're nineteen months now. I've decided it's time to now tell people your age in years instead of months. But somehow, the age 1 1/2 sounds so much older! I guess I just better get used to it. But one of these days if I feel like you're growing too fast, I'll revert back to aging you in months. Like, maybe we'll have a Sweet 192 Month party. ;)

{you were too busy saying, "truck, truck" to smile!}

Sweet girl, Mommy loves you too the moon and back. You are absolutely adorable and your cheeks are just so kissable! Your eyes are still completely stunning and you're little lips are just so sweet. You have the cutest little button nose. And your giggles-- they just melt my heart. 

As much as I love you, Daddy nailed it when he diagnosed you with a bit of "princess syndrome." Oh girl, you have come equipped with a teenage amount of attitude in your tiny little body. Some days I don't even know what to do with you!! This drama is unprecedented! One moment you are the sweetest little angel and then the next moment you've brought out the furrowed brow, angry eyes, and pursed lips. Good thing it's cute and we can normally just chuckle about it. This attitude won't be so cute at 16, so let's work on toning it down a bit, K? 

Let's talk about Jackson. You idolize that boy. You follow his every move and your feelings are so hurt when he closes his door so you can't play with him. I love when you guys make each other laugh, though it probably means that one (or both) of you is doing something naughty. Sometimes I just let it happen because I love the relationship you guys have. You love to say the word, "no" over and over much to Jackson's annoyance and eventually, you'll guys get into a little argument and I say almost daily, "Kids, quit saying NO to each other!" 

You are an EXCELLENT sleeper. Oh my. You've been sleeping through the night for who knows how long and I don't think you've woken up through the night since November. At home, that is. When we're sleeping somewhere else, you're a terrible sleeper. Co-sleeping is a nightmare. I swear to never leave the house without a pack and play ever again. Sometimes you like to pretend you're not tired for nap, but you don't hide it well. It's evident when you start "playing" nap and putting your head on a pillow or saying "night, night" that you're ready for sleep. Even though I'll try to cuddle and rock you before nap or bed, you're just not interested at all. Not counting your newborn stage, you've only fallen asleep in my arms once (at 4 months when you were sick). You just can't help but wiggle and chat if I'm holding you! 

You're a very good eater. Well, I mean, you'll eat just about anything. Now, your moods come and go. Sometimes you'll eat everything on your plate and other times you'll throw the same foods on the floor. Most of the time, you're very easy to please. But you do insist on using a fork. And you do insist on feeding yourself. But you aren't very good at getting the food on the fork, so often times at dinner, I have to get the food on the fork and hand it to you for every bite. 

At your doctor appointment last week, you earned a clean bill of health. And the doctor even said you were smart enough to start implementing time-out. Lucky you! :) You are a sharp little girl. You can sing along to the ABCs and you can count to ten when you want to. You know a bazillion words (probably 70+) and lots of animal sounds. You're in the stage when you say a word, you'll say it over and over (and over and over) until we say it back to you. It's cute. You've recently started to say, "I love you" which is pronounced "E-oh-oo"... which then reminds you of "E-I-E-I-O" and so once you say "I love you" you progress into sining Old MacDonald. 

You love having your fingernails painted and you quazi-sit still for me to paint them. After they are painted, you'll show everyone your "pre-ee" (pretty) nails. You also say, "pre-ee" every day after I get you dressed for the day. You do love having a bow in your hair, but you'll also rip it out just a few minutes after I do your hair. And you're a shoe girl for sure. It was one of your first words, and you love to pick out shoes to wear. My little girly-girl. 

This has gotten so long! But I could just go on and on!! You're our little princess, even if you do have a case of princess syndrome from time to time. We'll keep you. And Daddy is working to make sure you're treated like a princess so you'll never settle for less. 
  • One notable time at dinner, you bawled your eyes out over dinner, sobbing "pizza, pizza" instead of eating your plateful of whatever we were having that night. I eventually took you to your bed and let you cry in your crib so we could have a somewhat peaceful meal. (and eventually you were hungry enough to settle for our non-pizza meal)
  • On a long drive, we often let you and Jackson watch a movie. Daddy and I were wanting to have some conversation, so we let Jackson have the headphones so we wouldn't have to listen to Toy Story through the radio. However, you narrated the whole movie using words I never, ever even knew you knew. "Bzzz, Bzzz" "Sheriff" "Jackson" (for Andy or Sid), "pig", "Drink."
  • Your ideal play set-up would be having an adult (mostly me) give you 100% undivided attention to watch you play by yourself. However, once the attention isn't on you, then you become 100% clingy.
Grammy and Papa say that you remind them exactly of me-- your looks (besides your blue eyes-- those are from Daddy), your combination of sweet and ornery. So who knows if that's a blessing or curse, but one thing is for sure, you are loved to pieces. Strangers stop to tell me how cute you are and at MOPS this morning, I had no less than five people comment on just how adorable you are! It never gets old. 

We love you lots and lots, Baby Girl, but remember always-- Jesus loves you more. :)

Love, Mommy and Daddy

This is a normal case of bed head in the morning.

And this is a normal case of obnoxiousness-- when I try to take a picture, she immediately puts her head to the side so I have to do a circus act just to get a normal picture!

This is Belle "counting" Grandma's fingers, just like her big brother was doing.

This is "peek-a-boo"

And this is at the doc appointment. Such an ornery smile. 

And I knew I was planning on doing this post today, so I made sure to snap a shot of you. Nineteen months plus one day! Those curls-- oh you're just so cute!! 



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