Tuesday, May 31, 2011

First Graduation

Brianna officially graduation from Kindermusik! Well, for the semester anyway. We'll go back in August to start a new semester but she will be too old for it once she turns three. But that's a long time from now... right? :)

If I Was In A Playhouse

Found another memorable paper that I know will be just as interesting to you as it is to me. /sarcasm

I just realized unless you know anything about Html, you won't get that joke. And now I feel really geeky.

This one actually has a date on it - April 16, 1997, so I was 14 years old. This must have been a school assignment about a book we were reading because it looks like I was answering questions that were supposed to be filled in at the end (i.e. "I would take... I would gain... I would miss...). Any guesses what "playhouse" I might be referring to? It is absolutely a possibility that I created a homework assignment for myself as to what I would take with me if I stayed in mine and Sally's playhouse for a year. Seriously, big dork over here. Anyway, here it is.

In staying in the playhouse for a year, I would need the following things:

I. Some books I would take are: comic books, such as Archie and the Gang, mysteries, such as The Westing Game (side note: I don't care how old you are, if you've never read this book you have to borrow it from me! So good!!), novels, such as the V.C. Andrews series, science fiction stories, such as Singularity, magazines, such as Mad and Cracked, and teenager magazines such as Seventeen, Teen, and YM, and encyclopedias.

II. Foods I would take are: meat, bread, milk, a thermos for water, lunchables, t.v. dinners, ABCs and 123s, and Dinosaurs.

III. I would just take about ten pairs of clothes, because I don't care about wearing dirty clothes. If they got too dirty, I would wash them in the sink.

IV. Other things I would take are: a camera, a Bible, a CD player or tape player, tapes or CDs, portable television, portable refrigerator, microwave, laundry detergent, deck of cards, VCR, movies, violin, clarinet, bass clarinet, keyboard, earphones, hair clips, comb or brush, towels, feminine products, makeup, jewelry, Game Boy with games (not exactly roughing it...)

V. I would exercise with the exercises in the old magazines such as sit-ups, chin-ups, push-ups, etc.

VI. I would miss my family, my friends, parties, little night sounds, things that usually scare me like weird sounds, the fights I get in with my family.

VII. I would gain a better spiritual life, a better understanding of myself, more knowledge, more self-control, and I would be stronger in mind and body.

You can't make this stuff up.

Monday, May 30, 2011

My Christmas List

Another worksheet I found in one of my boxes is from third grade. It's called "My Christmas List" and this is everything I was asking for for Christmas that year. You can tell by this list that I was also a bit of a kiss-up to my teachers...

1. trampoline
2. swimming pool
3. nintendo
4. nintendo (just in case you didn't catch it the first time)
5. nintendo games
6. surprises
7. mystery books
8. history books like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
9. Peace On Earth!
10. bathing suit
11. beanbags
12. nice teachers next year like I have this year
13. good friends like I have now
14. new clothes
15. a math book for math
16. my own phone
17. everyone to have a happy Christmas
18. there to be no wars ever again
19. presents
20. no one to die near Christmas time
21. no one to be sad
22. everyone to be HAPPY!
23. my own room (maybe)

Oh well, I did have good intentions with some of my requests anyway!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bri Reads To You

This is one of Bri's favorite books. It's all about being a big sister and welcoming the new addition into your house. Well, Hunter's not really new anymore, but she still loves this book! You may be able to make out some of the words without knowing the book, but the short version is "Hunter, baby, diaper, bottle, Bri (as in Bri helps with Hunter), and big (Bri is big)". It's still cute even though I have no idea what she's saying really.

Why Moore County?

I am in the process of cleaning out our attic, which means I also get to go through the multitudes of "memory boxes" that I have created. These are cards from people, old school papers, Bri and Hunter's doctor's stats, etc etc. As I find funny stuff I would love to blog about it just in case you think it's funny too.

One thing I found is called "Why Do People Choose Moore County to Live In?" by Amanda Loyd and Jennifer Loyd. This was in with my 2nd grade papers.

Why Do People Choose Moore County to Live In?
1. Close to job
2. To get a job
3. Good farm land
4. Peace and quiet
5. Help your family
6. School and college
7. Born here
8. Hear about it
9. Factories and mills
10. Wants and needs
11. Safe, not much crime
12. Recreation
13. Weather
14. Hospital
15. To do what they like
16. Retirement homes

How many of these do you think are still reasons people live in Moore County? And how many were never a reason? I mean... hospital? I guess I didn't realize how many hospitals there are. And I'm not sure about the peace and quiet anymore! Well, I hope this made you chuckle a little bit. I'm not sure if this was an assignment that Jenn helped me on or if it was just for fun. I know I was always making up my own homework assignments because I was really cool, so this could be one of those.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Right Thing

The worst part of parenting is that you don't know if what you're doing is right until your kid grows up and either becomes a serial killer or doesn't.

Well, okay, maybe that's a little too broad of a spectrum, but you know what I mean.

Basically my discipline for Brianna consists of time out when she'll miss something fun (like Kindermusik), spanking immediately when she does something dangerous (like playing with the "hot" knob on the bathtub), and the "1... 2... 3... spank" method for outright disobedience after a warning.

Anyone who has been within 50 feet of a 2-year old knows the attitude they can have. The more kids I am around the more I realize it seriously is something that every kid goes through. Some kids may only have one tantrum their entire childhood (seriously??) and some may have one a day, but they all cop an attitude at some point, or do something out of direct defiance. It's always nice to see someone else's kid acting out because I can feel the tension go out of my shoulders a little bit. Hah!

All that to say, I usually don't have a problem with Bri. She is a really great, fantastic, smart, independent, creative, obedient child most of the time. But there have been times, I admit, when I felt like just grabbing her and saying, "TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT!!!" The only thing that has kept me from literally doing that is the fact that that will only make her scream and whine more. Seriously, am I the only parent who has ever been in that situation? Then, on our recent trip to Las Vegas, I read this book on the airplane, and in it the author admitted to having problems with yelling at her children, getting really frustrated with them, etc. And then she quoted James 1:20, which is a scripture that really stood out to her. It says, "For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." She realized that she would discipline her children out of anger, and it was really making them fearful of her and she was kind of out of control with the whole discipline thing. That verse really struck me because I wondered how many times I had given Brianna an evil eye or even growled at her when she was frustrating me!!

About two weeks before we went on that Vegas trip, I was driving the kids home from somewhere. They were both quiet, and I needed to call my mom about something, so I picked up the phone and dialed her number. The second she answered, Bri started screaming, very shrill screams, at the top of her lungs. For no apparent reason. She screamed constantly and I couldn't hear mom at all, so finally I yelled into the phone that I would call her back. I hung up the phone and immediately turned to the backseat and said, "BRIANNA! GOSH!" (more like "GooOOOooSSShhhh!!!" And she just sat and looked at me, her lower lip quivered, and she burst into tears. Well of course that made me feel like crap. Then, as soon as the words were out of my mouth, I had the awful feeling that I had not hung up the phone and my mom had heard me just yell at my 2-year old. I checked my phone and I had, in fact, hung up, but just knowing that I would have been ashamed for my mom to hear me speak to my daughter like that made me realize I had an issue that I need to watch out for.

Like I said, not long after that was our trip where I read James 1:20 and I was determined to never huff and puff at Bri again, never yell at her out of anger, never hit her out of anger (don't worry, I have never hit her or anything like that, I'm just saying hypothetically!!!).

Okay, so all of that is background.

Tonight I was working on a puzzle I've been doing. It's a small, 500-piece puzzle that I just work on about 15 minutes every night after the kids go to bed. It's something to force me to relax and not do housework or anything else that is manual labor. I love puzzles and I take them quite seriously.

I'm sure you can see where this is going.

I was in the living room handing Hunter a new toy. I walked into the dining room, and saw that Brianna had climbed into a chair at the dining room table and had pulled every piece of my puzzle apart. All the 200+ pieces I had put together were strewn across the table, the pieces I hadn't gone through yet were scattered across the table and floor.... my jaw just dropped. And this might sound crazy to some of you, but like I said, I take puzzles seriously! I had put several nights worth of work into that puzzle so far and to me, she had just ruined the whole thing in thirty seconds!! As I stood there with my mouth open (literally, my mouth just fell open), my mind started racing. I see that phrase all the time in books but it really was racing. So I just said, "Oh. My. Gosh. Brianna. Oh. My. Gosh." I didn't even say it in a mean way!! Honest!! But I think she knew she had done something wrong so she just - "WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!"

I was TICKED. I mean, I was seriously mad! These are the types of thoughts that were all going through my head at one time:

  • I am going to have to do this entire puzzle all over again.
  • I just wasted time doing this puzzle. I never should have even started something like that.
  • I shouldn't have left it somewhere within Bri's reach.
  • I can't even yell at her because she doesn't understand what she just did. When we do her puzzles together, we always tear them apart when we're done.
  • Don't yell. Don't yell.
Finally, she was just standing there, looking at me, and I just looked at her, I was still so mad, and I just said, "Don't talk to me right now, okay? I don't feel like talking to you right now." She just looked at me like, I have no clue what you just said to me. It's kind of funny now, but I knew I needed to say something to her so I didn't keep ignoring her, but I was also so furious I didn't want to keep talking and say something mean to her.

Yes, I'm going to have to rework that whole darn puzzle. And I was just on a roll. But the great thing is, within 15 minutes of that fiasco, we were both on the living room floor playing with Hunter, and then we went out to eat and had a great time together. And the puzzle was forgotten. Because, it's just a puzzle. And now I have the task of putting it back together, but you know what? That's what puzzles are made for.

So I'm glad I have learned a little something along this parenting journey. I have learned not to yell at a child for something that they don't understand. She had no idea that that puzzle was so much work for me to do. All she knows about puzzles is that we put them together and rip them apart in just a few minutes. Why should this puzzle be any different? Not to discipline them for something they didn't know was wrong. That if I am angry I should not discipline in that moment. Now you may have a differing opinion, and that's fine. This is what is working for me right now for the age of my kids. I'm sure things will happen as they get older that I will have to play by ear.

I just have to thank God for putting me in situations like this, though, to show that I am able to have self-control. This whole story may seem silly to some of you, but you can probably imagine it in some other form. Your son drops an entire batch of cookies that you made for his Cub Scout group in a mud puddle. Your daughter spills red juice on the beautiful white shirt you just handmade for her, and you know it won't come out. Put it in perspective before you open your mouth. BREATHE, think, pray, and then react.

Do you think it was silly of me to get so upset? I can't believe now how angry I was, especially since I had forgotten about it within such a short time period. I guess we all get angry over silly things though. Er... I hope I'm not the only one!!


I recently reviewed a book for Thomas Nelson Publishers called "Unleashed" by Erwin McManus. I wanted to read this book because I was interested by the title which goes on to say "Release the untamed faith within". Well, what Christian doesn't want to learn how to have "untamed faith"?

In reading the book, though, I found that while McManus did have some great things to say, he wasn't really great at describing exactly how we are supposed to get untamed faith and then put it into action. He said several quotes about that - "The call of Jesus is one that demands action" (p. 5) and spoke about the "unleashing of a unique, original, extraordinary, wonderfully untamed faith." (p. 65) He spoke many times about the "barbarian way" that we are all supposed to travel as Christians. But he never answered the question - how do you mature into that type of faith as a Christian? Surely not everyone automatically becomes so brave when they get saved. He speaks of adventure and revolution, but these are things that I believe need to be taught, and also can come after a lot of prayer.

The book is an easy read. It's written very well, he tells many personal stories that are fun and interesting, and it's a short book. But it still left me with the question of "How do I get there?" I felt perhaps like this should be a sequel; that he needs to tell us how to be a "barbarian" while being in the modern church. It was still a good book, so I would recommend it when all is said and done.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Who Taught Her That?

Yesterday we had some pretty bad thunderstorms around home. We were working at Classy Paci so at least we were inside all day, but we definitely heard the thunder and saw the rain. Bri isn't bothered by thunder, lightning, or rain normally so we carried on as usual. But many times after a very loud thunderclap, she would look at me, say "Thunder", and shake her balled fists. At first I said, "Bri, are you doing Thumbkin?" thinking that perhaps she thought "thunder" and "thumb" were the same word. But she said no, she wasn't doing Thumbkin, so I just wondered where in the world she learned that.

This is what she was doing.

Did someone seriously teach her the sign for "thunder" or did she just make it up coincidentally? Isn't that funny?

I tried to video her doing it but she just held her fists there. She's still cute though.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Picture Update

I never have time to actually blog about what we do because we're too busy doing it! But I am trying to get better about taking pictures and videos, so that may be my new way of blogging. :)

Hunter doesn't stay still for very long but he does long enough for you to see his favorite baseball team!!

Pictures from Libba and Jorge's:

Whenever I go outside to work in the garden, Brianna brings me flowers. :)

All dressed up and no license :(


I'm reading a book right now called "Unleashed" and read something that really struck me, so I thought I'd share it with you guys.

"How is it possible that, for many of us, being a good Christian is really nothing more than being a good person? The entire focus of our faith has been the elimination of sin, which is important but inadequate, rather than the unleashing of a unique, original, extraordinary, wonderfully untamed faith."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


The other weekend, the K.'s invited us to go to Charlotte to see the Armentas. Of course I jumped at the chance! Libba and Jorge have a girl and a boy also, so it was really interesting to see six kids from ages 6 months to 29 months playing together!! The girls were Ruthie, 29 months, Brianna, 25 months, and Claire, 22 months, and the boys were Wright, 10 months, Hunter, 7 months, and Evan, 6 months. So we were just having a ball! The girls played outside in the water a lot because it was so hot, while the adults tried to just sit around and take it easy. Libba and Jorge made us an incredible lunch and it was just so much fun to spend the afternoon there!

As I was typing this, I felt like I had already blogged about it. So if I did, so sorry. It's all leading up to this video. Leading up to the trip, I was trying to teach Bri the names of Libba, Jorge, Ruthie, and Wright. She didn't really say their names while we were in their presence, but boy has she talked about them a LOT since then!! I finally got it on video. Ruthie is the hardest name to say, haha! But we definitely love that family and I hope we get to see them again soon!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Smart Kid

The book that Bri goes and gets when I say, "Okay, we'll read one more book and then it's bedtime."

500 words. That is one smart kid.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

One Quick Video

I have found the way to lose those last couple of baby pounds, ladies. But I don't really recommend it, as it involves you laying around helplessly; well, either that or running to make it to a trash can in time. Too much information? Sorry. I've been out of commission all week due to some virus and all I can say is thank goodness for family who lives in town! I don't know what I would have done with the kids otherwise. I've been meaning to load this video forever because Brianna loves it. One day when we were at my parents' house, my dad scared my mom and it really tickled Bri and made an impression on her. So this is her telling you what happened - Grandpa said, "Boo!", Grandma said, "Ahhhh!", Kitty Cat just meowed, and me and Brianna laughed about it. :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Who's Da Mama?

So... I'm starting to think I should have wished Brianna an honorary "Happy Mother's Day" yesterday. She is always so, so, so good with Hunter, but I noticed two things she did today that were so motherly I just don't want to forget them.

Her and Hunter were playing in the kitchen while I was washing dishes. Suddenly she ran over to the pack 'n' play and started frantically saying something that I didn't understand. I was naming everything in there - lotion? NO! Diaper? NO! Finally I got it - baby wipe. I got her a baby wipe and said, "Do you need a baby wipe?" She said, "No! Hunter!" and ran off. I went over to watch what she was doing. I so regret that I did not have a video camera. Hunter was drooling, as usual, but it had dripped onto his hand. She so tenderly took his chin in her hand and wiped it with the baby wipe, then gently took his hand and wiped it. She then proceeded to wipe the entire floor area around him. She threw away the baby wipe and then finally she just looked at me and grinned. She looked so proud of herself, and of course I praised her for what she had just done!!

Just a few minutes later he turned toward the fridge. The next thing I knew, I heard Bri's little feet just a-going, and I heard, "Oh no Hunter! No, no, no!" (which I hear pretty frequently actually) but it turned out he had taken out the water filter from our refrigerator! (It falls out because it's not attached to anything, so this is not exactly a crisis.) But she very gently took the filter from his hand and replaced it with one of her toy magnets so he'd have something else to play with. Then she put the filter back in the right place! And
then, she gave him the sweetest little pat on the back.

While I was typing this he started screaming. By the time I looked, Brianna had solved the problem - he was stuck in between the chair and the toy lawnmower. She quickly moved the lawnmower and then started singing to him to quiet him down.

What a great little helper.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

I'm not even going to try to give shout-outs to all the amazing moms I know, because this blog would last forever. I've been really blessed to know some strong moms and have incredible moms in my life ever since I was brought into this world. And now? I want to follow their lead!

Brianna Mae, born April 18, 2009 at 9:18pm. 6 lbs, 14 oz and 19 1/2 inches long. And our lives haven't been the same since! (And by that, I mean we haven't sat down for more than 10 minutes at a time since she's been born!)

Hunter Grayson, born September 28, 2010. 7 lbs, 8 oz and 20 inches long. Life is more fun with him around too!

We've basically decided at this point we're going to keep both of them. :) I love being a mom more than any other job I've ever been paid for, and probably I owe that to my own mom. So she's getting the only shout-out today - Happy Mother's Day Mom!! I love you so much!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

6 Clutter Excuses

Go to my frugal blog to see a post about getting rid of clutter.

Picture Update

I figured I may as well empty my camera of pictures in lieu of actually writing something about our incredibly busy lives! Too much to remember to write about - this way I can sort of document what we do in picture form.

Bri got this really cool tent and tunnel for her birthday. Thanks Granny! The best thing is, Hunter loves it too! He will climb through the tunnel and Bri will race around inside the tent to scare him. Then they chase each other inside the tunnel. They spend a lot of time doing this!

Uh oh! Camera spotted!

Bri doing "The Monster" and getting Hunter! He loves this although I don't know how he doesn't puke when she does it. She's pretty rough but they both cackle the whole time so I never stop her from doing it.

I allowed Brianna to put her own eyeshadow on the other day. End result? David Bowie.

Coolest thing ever? Sitting with Daddy on the beanbag chair eating popcorn in your jammies.

Oh wait, THIS is the coolest thing ever. Sitting with Daddy on the beanbag chair eating popcorn in your jammies watching UFC!!

The only picture we took the entire time we were at Springfest last weekend.

Bri loves to wear her Daddy's hats!

Hunter crawls up on everything - mainly the slide because usually Brianna's sitting at the top urging him to climb up. He is very balanced and stable!!

Talking on the phone (really, she is), doing a puzzle and reading her birthday card. Major multi-tasking!

Hunter would rather eat the spoon than the sweet potatoes.

A strawberry murderer:

Friday, May 6, 2011

Translators Apply Within

In just the past few days, Hunter has gotten so talkative. I loved this video and was especially excited that he didn't stop talking just because I got out the camera. Any interpretations??

Thursday, May 5, 2011

31 Days of Power

I am always looking for new book studies to do, so when I got the chance to review "31 Days of Power" by Ruth Myers I was really excited. I thought it would be a great book to add to my daily devotions.

This book was written to help you empower your spiritual life. It talks about the spiritual warfare that we go through every day, and talks about the steps to take such as overcoming the world, putting on the armor of God, and being anointed with power, just as a few examples. What I did not expect when I opened this book were Bible verses paraphrased. I felt like I would get more by simply reading the scripture that was laid out. For example, in day 4, when I should have been reading about the power of goodness, I would rather have actually read Psalm 89:11-14, Deuteronomy 32:4 and Jeremiah 29:11 rather than reading the author's version of these scriptures.

I can see how this book would be really good for people who don't understand scripture easily, or for those who like reading many different translations of the Bible. I personally would rather interpret scripture for myself rather than have someone interpret it for me. The best part of the book to me was the end, where Myers quit quoting scripture and laid out the dynamics of spiritual warfare and how we as Christians can fight every day. That was more helpful to me than any of the other chapters throughout the book.

Was the book well-written? Yes. Was it easy to understand and easy to read? Yes. I would recommend this book if you like this style of devotion.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Local Business

I have a pretty hard and fast rule about discussing the cool presents my kids get on my blog. You see, if you point out one cool present they get, then the other person wonders, "Why didn't she blog about my gift?" when in actuality that gift was totally awesome too! It's just too much to keep up with to play favorites with presents. Especially when my kids have gotten aMAZing presents from my aMAZing family and friends.

But I have to uphold my integrity as a local-business shouter-outer and blog about this one gift from a really cool family.

If you ever go to Broad Street in Southern Pines you'll see a multitude of local businesses that are so unique and incredible to walk through. Don't miss out. But there is one store tucked away in there that you don't want to miss. It's called Sweet Charity.

There was a lot more candy but I didn't get to the camera before my mouth got to the chocolate.

Sweet Charity is a local, family-owned candy store that has everything from caramels to chocolate to fruits to brittles! Even better, a portion of all of their profits benefits Mercy Ships, which is a great organization as well.

I have never had a bad piece of candy from here. I am telling you, the candy is more expensive than if you buy a Hershey bar from the grocery store, but it is so much better.

If you go to their website you can see all their candy on there.

Sweet Charity
171 NE Broad Street
Southern Pines, NC 28387

Seriously, you have got to check this place out. They also have some store candy, like Razzles and rock candy, so you can pig out on that kind of stuff too! Let me know when you go what you get - I am always up for trying a new candy and there are a few kinds there I haven't had yet!

Thank you Lauren for introducing us to this store; thank you Jennifer for bringing us back to it!