Sunday, January 31, 2010

Medieval Times

I love my kids being 3 1/2 years apart. It really has worked out so well for us. Clayton was potty trained and big enough to be a pretty good helper when Drew was born, which made the adjustment to 2 kids a little easier. They are close enough in age that I think that they will be buddies, but far enough apart that they {hopefully} won't fight like cats & dogs. It's been a great spacing so far.

The only problem is that Clayton is at a really fun age where he wants to go and go all of the time. We think of fun outings all of the time that Clayton would like, but Drew is just too little to enjoy. Drew still needs naps and can't sit through shows/movies. So... we try to do things with just Clayton every couple of months. Miss Catherine comes to watch Drew and Clayton gets both parents all to himself. :)

On Saturday night we had hired Catherine to watch Drew so that we could take Clayton to the rodeo. We were all really excited about it! Well... we were slackers and didn't call for tickets until the last minute. So, the rodeo was sold out. :( We remembered that we had a coupon for Medieval Times, though. We figured that Clayton would enjoy that, so we decided to go with that as our back up plan.

Clayton had a ball! He got so into cheering for our knight. He was growling and yelling, "GO BLUE!" He was scowling and shaking his glow stick through the whole thing. Pretty funny... Wade & I laughed so hard at his banter!

Aside from the knights dueling, Clayton enjoyed several other parts of the evening. 1. The waitress called him "Prince" which he though was totally awesome. 2. The only drink options were iced tea or Pepsi. So, our crazy kid (who never gets caffeine) got 2 Pepsis with his dinner. Yowsers! Yes, he was up way past his bedtime bouncing off of the walls. Never again... 3. He got to eat with his fingers without getting in trouble.

Our knight didn't emerge victorious, but we all had a lot of fun. :)

Clayton screamed at the knight, "Throw a rose to my Mama!!!"
He was really sad that I didn't get one. Ha!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Super Hero Day at Preschool

Thursday was Clayton's favorite theme day of the year at his preschool - Super Hero Day! This month in chapel they have been studying different super heroes of the Bible. They learned about Noah, Daniel, David, and Jonah. The finale of the unit was learning about the "ultimate super hero" - Jesus. The kids got to dress up as their favorite super hero for the day. From the wide array of super hero costumes that we have, Clayton chose Batman. He was pretty cute, if I do say so myself.

After the 2 smiling pictures, he said, "Wait! Take a picture of me doing my Batman pose!" Ha!

I love his little preschool. I'm sure gonna miss it when he goes to "real" school next year... sniff, sniff

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Drew is 15 months old

We had Drew's 15 month well check today, so I figured it was time for another developmental post. :)

At 15 months:

* Your measurements were: 33 inches long (Whoa! 90-95%), 26 pounds 6 ounces (50-75%), 18.5 inches head circumference (25-50%). Not too shabby!

* You still wear size 4 diapers and size 18-24 month clothes.

* You are proving to be a "strong silent type." :) You say Mama, Dada, Nana (Banana), Bye-Bye, Ni-Ni (Night, Night), and Buh-ba (what you call Clayton) in context. I was worried that you hadn't said any "real" words and voiced my concerns at your well check. The nurse practitioner said that she is not concerned with your verbal development. She seems to think that once you get tubes put in your ears, you will start speaking much more. I was still pretty nervous, though. Then we got home from your appointment and you said "ball" clear as day while holding a Nerf basketball. Ha! Thanks for easing your crazy worrier Mama's mind. ;)

* Speaking of ears.... yours looked worse today than they did last week. Arggg! I wasn't surprised - you're still grouchy and not sleeping well. :( The NP wanted us to finish out your antibiotic, but she didn't seem to think that it was going to help. Monday is your ENT appointment, and it can't come fast enough! I'm ready to have my happy baby back!

* You point to my eyes when you are asked and lift your shirt up when I say, "where's your belly?" Pretty cute...

* You LOVE hats! If you are in a bad mood, putting a hat on you instantly makes you happy.

Even Tupperware bins or buckets make good hats in your eyes!

* You are still a great eater. You eat anything that we give you. You've happily scarfed up broccoli, green bell peppers, asparagus, steak, butternut squash, and anything else on your plate. If only your brother would eat such a well rounded diet...

* You are starting to show your independent side (wanting to walk instead of me carrying you), but you still love to snuggle, too. :)

* Bath time is still one of your favorite parts of the day. We stopped using your bath seat a few weeks ago because your legs wouldn't fit in it anymore. That was the last piece of "baby equipment" that we were using. It was a sad day for your Mama! But you love your new found independence and splash away. Whenever I say, "Where's the pretty baby?" You lean down and look at yourself in the drain thingy. (Cue the "You're So Vain" music!) ;)

We love you to pieces, Drew Boo! You are definitely at the age where you are exploring your world constantly. You are a great mix of mischievous, cuddly, rough & tumble, loving, charming, stubborn, and sweet. If only we could get your infected ears under control.... Hopefully soon, Sweet Boy, hopefully soon.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Lack of Posts...

Several people have asked me lately why I haven't been posting as much. I think the following pictures are pretty self explanatory...

Drew in the dishwasher
Drew "rolling" the bathroom :)

Drew has officially entered that super mischievous phase of toddlerhood that requires me to watch him at all times like a hawk. And, man, does that ever make for one exhausted Mama... Gone are the days of leaving him in the other room for 2 seconds while I switch the laundry over. Now all of my household chores have to be done during naptime, which leaves little time for blogging. I know that this is just a phase and that things will get easier in the next few months, but right now it seems like there is zero time for anything "extra."

In other Drew news, my poor love bug seems to have inherited his Mama's ear issues. I had multiple sets of tubes as a child and even had to get a tube put in my right ear just last year. Drew is following in his Mama's footsteps. :( He has had LOTS of ear infections. In the last 4 months he has had 4 infections and the fluid never seems to really clear. So... we have an appointment with an ENT on Feb. 1st and we are anticipating her recommending tubes. No fun!

I went to get Drew up from a nap yesterday and he was doing his new favorite trick. If one pacifier is good, two must be better, right? Silly boy!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sunday Best

Thank you all so much for your input on school options for next year! We truly do value all of your opinions and appreciate the wisdom that you have added. I feel like Wade & I are both leaning towards public school as of now. There have just been so many "God arrows" that seem to be pointing us in that direction. We are, of course, still exploring our options and praying about what is best for Clayton, though.

I am actually reading a book called Going Public right now. While I don't agree with all of the book, there is a lot of good information. It is written by Christian parents who have 8 children. They felt called to educate their children in public schools. At one point, they are discussing the fact that people automatically assume that, since they have such a large family, they homeschool their children. Kelli (the mom) responds with, "Yes! We definitely homeschool our children... and starting at age five, we also send them to public school to get more information." I think that is a great way to look at it! We plan to take full advantage of every teachable moment outside of school and to ground our children in our faith at home.

I realized on Sunday that it had been {GASP!} a full week since I had taken a single picture. Since the natives (a.k.a. the grandparents and great grandparents) get restless after a week of no pictures, I decided to remedy that! :) Here are a few pictures of the boys in their Sunday best before church.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Getting Schooled...

Warning: This post does not contain any pictures or funny stories. This is one of those "this is what's on my heart" type of posts. :)

Since I became a mother 4 years, 10 months, and 1 day ago (who's counting, right?), I have uttered the same prayer over and over and over again. It is a deeply theological prayer that is so profound that many pastors would marvel at it, I'm sure. It goes a little something like this:

"Lord, please don't let me mess them up."

I know, I know - I'm deep like the ocean.

Seriously, though, that is the prayer that I have said every single day. My biggest fear is "messing up" when it comes to my children. I don't want to look back in 20 years and wish that I had done things differently. I don't want to think, "Oh man, if only I had made a different decision way back when Clayton was 4 years old, things would have been so much better..." I can stomach failure in other areas of my life (career moves, financial choices, etc.), but I just can't bear the thought of failing when it comes to my kids.

Which brings me to the biggest struggle that I am dealing with right now. I have worried about it constantly, cried many a tear about it, talked my poor friends' ears off about it, and prayed about it multiple times a day for the last few months. Clayton will be going to kindergarten next year, and I don't know what method of schooling is best for him.

We have been debating homeschool vs. private school vs. public school ad nauseum at our house. I think that what has me the most baffled is that I don't feel passionately about any of them. Whenever I ask my friends about what they think, 99% of them have very strong opinions. And, that is what has me so confused - I don't feel strongly one way or the other. I see so many benefits with each method of schooling, that I don't want to choose. I'd love to do them all. One day I will feel certain that the Lord is leading us to public school. Then the next day, I wake up and think that private is the way to go. Then the following day I fervently searching for homeschooling curriculum. I'm so confused...

So, here are the pros for each, that I have come up with:


  • Wade & I would get to pick the curriculum and would be in control of what he was learning. We could focus on the material that we feel is most important.
  • The schedule would be more flexible. I would, of course, follow the school district's calendar and set a daily schedule that works for our family. The benefit would be that we could start school a little later in the day (like at 9am instead of 8am), if we chose to.
  • I would get to spend all day with Clayton and wouldn't feel like I was missing anything while he was at school.
  • On a totally selfish note, I think that homeschooling would be fun. The geeky part of me would love to re-learn all of the basic stuff from school that is hidden under cobwebs in my brain. I know that making out lesson plans and searching for learning opportunities would be A LOT of work, but that's the kind of thing that I enjoy. :)
Private School:
  • Clayton would be taught by teachers that profess to be Christians and have signed a statement of faith upon being hired.
  • The curriculum would be faith based. This was my favorite part of going to a Christian high school. I loved learning history especially from a biblical perspective. Our senior Bible teacher was also our history teacher. I loved how she would connect the historical events that I had been taught in history throughout my life with what Biblical events were taking place at that time. I never cared much for history, but I found Mrs. F.'s class fascinating for that reason alone.
  • Uniforms - Okay, so I know that this may seem like a silly pro for private school, but it is was a big deal to me. I loved wearing uniforms! I felt like it put us all on the same playing field as far as clothing was concerned. There weren't brand names or fashion trends to worry with. We all looked the same. And, when you are a teenage girl who never feels like you have the "right" clothes, uniforms are a blessing. Uniforms also required girls to dress modestly. Your skirt and shorts had to be a certain length and the tops were not fitted at all. If you were, in any way, breaking the dress code, you were sent home. Period. End of story.
  • Clayton would be going to Bible and Chapel. While Wade & I feel strongly that we are the ones who are responsible for nurturing our children's spiritual growth, it would be nice to know that our values are being reinforced in a school setting.
Public School:
  • We live in a really great school district. One of the main reasons that we chose this area was because of the schools. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that our kids would get an academically strong education from our public schools.
  • These formative years are a great chance for our kids to "learn to discern" (thanks for that key phrase, T!). I feel like public school will give us lots of opportunities to discuss moral topics with our kids. I want to be able to tell them why our family believes what we do and why certain things are biblically wrong.
  • I feel like there are TONS of opportunities for "extra" activities in public schools. Choir, band, orchestra, LOTS of sports, debate team, art, drama, student government, etc. are all activities that are offered in public schools. These enrichment activities help kids find their niche and make them well rounded.
  • The biggest pro that I have come up with for public school is that our kids would be around kids that don't come from Christian homes. While I know that most Christians view this as a negative, I think it is a huge benefit. Public schools are our nearest mission field. What if God uses Clayton or Drew to witness to another child? How awesome would that be! I feel strongly that we, as Christians, are called to be the salt & the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). If all of the Christian parents in the world pull their kids out of public schools, then who will be the salt & the light to the precious children right here in our own neighborhoods.
After rereading what this post, I am more confused than ever! I have gotten so much wisdom from my smart hubby and sweet pals on this topic. But, I'd love to hear from others. What do you think? What do you see as strengths for each method? I'd love your input!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dinner Conversation

This was our dinner conversation last night...

Wade: Clayton, I want for you to eat all of your roast and vegetables without complaining. I'm not going to argue with you tonight about dinner.
Clayton: Do you know what pugnacious means?
{Wade & I look at each other dumbfounded.}
Wade: Um, no.
Clayton: It means one who enjoys a battle.
Wade: Well, I'm not feeling pugnacious. Eat your dinner.

Which begs the question: Why did I spend so much time in SAT prep courses trying to raise my verbal score when I could have just been watching WordGirl??? :)

Friday, January 08, 2010

Boredom Buster #5

With all of our freezing cold weather (14 degrees in Texas - what's that about???), we were in serious need of some good indoor fun! I remembered Hannah commenting on "Ooobleck," so I did some research...

Apparently, the idea of Oobleck originates from the Dr. Suess book "Bartholomew and the Ooobleck". If it wasn't so stinkin' cold, we would have made a trek to the library to check that book out. However, that would have defeated the purpose of creating "indoor" fun. ;)

So, we made oobleck. It was cool! "Oobleck is a non-newtonian fluid. That is, it acts like a liquid when being poured, but like a solid when a force is acting on it." (SOURCE) It was a pretty cool science experiment (if your a dork, like me :) ).

1 1/2 - 2 cups of cornstarch
1 cup of water
food coloring

First, we tinted our water by mixing in a few drops of food coloring. Clayton chose orange.

Let's have a moment of silence for all those Texas fans.

Alright, at the risk of upsetting my t.u. loving husband, that's all that I'll say about that.

We put the water in the bowl and then mixed in the cornstarch gradually until I was happy with the consistency. This was the hardest part for me, because the cornstarch felt just like chalk.

Extremely Random Sidenote: At the risk of exposing all of my issues... I have issues with chalk. I cannot stand the feel of chalk. It has plagued me my whole life. I remember being in early elementary school and praying that the teacher wouldn't call on me to go and write on the chalkboard. That would require touching chalk. And, I may throw up. Then, in 2nd grade, Mrs. Thompson got one of those nifty metal chalk holders. I was thrilled that I could write on the board without touching the chalk! That truly is one of my most vivid elementary school memories. Issues, people... issues.

I still blame my dislike for chalk as the reason that I was never an Olympic gymnast. I progressed in gymnastics until I was to the phase where we did a routine on the uneven bars. This, of course, required me to chalk up my hands before doing my routine. YUCK! I would put the tiniest bit on my hands, and my coach was always scolding me for not using enough. And, thus, my gymnastics career was cut short.

So sad.

I'm certain that I would have been a gold medalist, if it weren't for my chalky texture issues. Surely, my hips and love of chocolate had nothing to do with my departure from gymnastics... It was the chalk. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!

Back to the Ooobleck....

After adding almost the full 2 cups of cornstarch, we had the right consistency. It was liquidy when poured, but solid when you pounded your fist into it.

Cool, huh?

We talked about secondary colors (mixing red & yellow to make orange), stages of matter (solid, liquid, and gas), sounded out words (cornstarch, food coloring), and worked on measurements. And.... Clayton didn't even know that he was learning.

He just knew that we were making something that was ooey-gooey. And that his Mama was getting the heebie jeebies from the cornstarch. :)

Thursday, January 07, 2010

First Naughty Chair Infraction

Since this blog is our family scrapbook/photo album/baby books/etc. all rolled into one. I feel that I must document Drew's first experience with the naughty chair...

While I was fixing dinner, Drew got into the fireplace and got ashes everywhere (face, hands, clothes, floor). He has been told multiple, multiple times "No touch!" when he gets near the fireplace. So, today he got to spend some time in the naughty chair for the offense. :(

I remember distinctly the first time that I put Clayton in this very same naughty chair. (Yes, I took pictures of him the first time, too.) He was about the same age and he couldn't have cared less. He just sat there with his feet crossed and looked around until I got him up. It didn't really seem to bother him.

Well, Drew is our sensitive child.

It hurt his heart to have to sit in the naughty chair. You could just tell. He cried and cried - big, huge crocodile tears.

Poor little bug! It made me so sad to punish him, but I know that is what I am called to do as his mother. It still stinks, though. :(

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Hi, there! Have we met???

Drew looked so old yesterday in his jeans and a hoodie. Where did my baby go???

I loved Drew being a baby, but it sure is fun watching him grow, too. :)

Monday, January 04, 2010

Fondue Rendezvous 2010

I was blessed to live with the sweetest 4 roommates EVER (excluding my current "roommate", of course!) during my last year at A&M. We had a blast together that year! We are all totally different, but meshed really well together. I wouldn't trade that year at 2521 Ashford for all of the money in the world!

When I moved out, Laura, moved into my room. She is such a neat girl! I only wish that I could have lived with her also. That was during the 2000-2001 school year. That Christmas Katie invited us all to do fondue at her parents' house. Y'all, I have never been the same since. :) It was sooo yummy!

The tradition stuck and we have gotten together every year since then for our annual Fondue Rendezvous. I think that, after 9 years, we have all of the recipes down to a fine science. It is definitely my favorite meal of the year!

We start with cheese fondue with apples and french bread. Then we eat a super yummy salad. Next is the meat & veggie fondue. And, for the grand finale, we have chocolate fondue with strawberries, pineapple, pound cake, marshmallows, and pretzels. We eat for like 4 hours - no lie. I've learned to eat a light breakfast and skip lunch to save up for the evening. I'm telling you, it's a fine science...

This year we were able to host at our house. It was so fun! We missed Cindy (who is just days away from having Baby Andrew and couldn't travel) and Laura (who is preparing to move her family across the country as we speak). It wasn't complete without those two, for sure! But... we made do... ;)

Top Row (L to R): Halie, Moi, Katie, Traci
Bottom Row (L to R): Steve, Wade, Wes, CJ
Halie, Me, Katie, Traci
I am so thankful for my 2521 girls! We had so much fun together in college, and, even though we don't get to see each other very often nowadays, we can always pick up right where we left off. That's the mark of a really good friend, I'd say. Here's to many, many more years of friendship & fondue!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Conversations with Clayton

Clayton and I had read the story of Abraham in his Children's Bible one morning. At lunch, Clayton was telling Wade about the story. Wade taught him the Father Abraham song (remember that one?). We all did the motions and Clayton thought it was great fun.

Well, after lunch Wade took Clayton up to his room for a rest. He said that he stood at the door listening to him talk to his stuffed animals for a little while. He was talking about Abraham and singing Father Abraham song to them. All of the sudden, he said to himself (as if he had had a great epiphany), "Hey! Father Abraham is Abraham Lincoln!!!"
Wade was telling Clayton the Christmas story one night before bed. Wade told him that Jesus' father was a carpenter. Clayton stopped him mid-sentence and said, "So, Jesus was a Carpenter like us?!?!?"
Clayton has been getting into trouble lately for being too rough with Drew. Yes, I know that they are brothers and that wrestling in the floor is just going to be the way of life around our house. But, tackling our 1 year old and knocking him to the ground seems a little extreme.

Anyway, one afternoon we were driving in the car and I heard Clayton say, "I just love Drew soooo much!" I looked back and they were holding hands. It was a sweet moment.

I thought this would be a good teaching moment to point out that we should be kind to our loved ones. So, I asked Clayton, "If you love Drew so much, why were you so rough with him this morning." He thought for a minute and then answered very matter-of-factly, "Well, Mommy, we all sin sometimes."
Drew loves to knock block towers over. It is one of his greatest joys in life. He got a set of cardboard blocks for Christmas from his Grammie & Papaw for the sole purpose of us building him towers to knock over.

Last week Clayton was building with them. He saw Drew coming towards his block creation and stopped him immediately, "Drew! Don't knock it over! I'm building the wall of Jericho!" He reached down on the floor and grabbed his Little Einstein trumpet and handed it to Drew. He said, "Here's your horn."

Now you know why my laugh lines are getting deeper and deeper. That crazy boy keeps us in stitches around here. ;)

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

2010 - Doesn't that just sound like it's going to be a great year???

It's the beginning of a whole new decade. Isn't that exciting?!?! I can't help but to think back to the last time that the New Year brought a new decade. It was the year 2000. A new millennium. Y2K. There was a lot of hoopla about the '00 crashing computer networks resulting in mass chaos. Thankfully, that didn't happen. There were minor glitches, I'm sure, but nothing earth shattering.

A lot has happened since then. On January 1,2000 I was a Junior at A&M, and engaged to the love of my life. We were looking forward to our June nuptials and starting our life together. I had finally decided what I wanted to be "when I grew up." I had enrolled to begin nursing school in the fall and was thrilled with the prospect of a new career. We knew that we would have children eventually, but wanted to be married for several years before we even entertained the thought of kids. September 11th was just another day on the calendar. I didn't really have any concept of the word "terrorist." I drove a 1996 Honda Civic that was affectionately known as "Rhonda the Honda." Computers were big, bulky, and slow - mostly used for Microsoft Word or Excel spreadsheets. AOL instant messenger completely baffled me. It was amazing to be able to "talk" to someone in real time through a computer screen. I was in Aggie Sisters for Christ and loved my small group. I went to Central Baptist Church in Bryan, but didn't really consider it my church home.

What a difference that a decade makes...

Wade & I were the happiest little poor newlyweds that have ever lived, I'm sure of that. We lived in our teeny tiny apartment and barely scraped by. We were active members of the Nearly Wed/Newly Wed class at our church. We were determined to finish school, and by May 2002 we were both college graduates. Wade started his career in aerospace, and I was a nurse in the PICU. We bought our first house, had our first child, changed church homes, sold our first house, I quit my job as a nurse to become a stay at home mom, we bought our current house, had our second child, moved our church membership again, and Wade made a few career moves in there as well. We have lost loved ones and welcomed new relatives into the world. September 11th will forever be etched in my heart and mind as a day when the world changed. Terrorist became real to me and I felt a sense of insecurity that I hadn't felt before. I drive a Suburban now, affectionately known as "Mommy's bus." I tote my little laptop all over the house with it's wireless internet connection. We have a blog, Skype, and can access the internet from our cell phones. I spend my days with my 2 boys in full blown Mommy-mode.

And, I wouldn't have it any other way.

What a difference a decade makes, indeed.

I can't wait to see what the Lord has for us all in the coming decade. I am overcome with gratitude at the way that He has provided for us and guided us through the last 10 years. I trust in His faithfulness for the coming years as well.

So long, 2009. Hello, 2010!