Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hand Rhymes

I have this incredible book that has great action hand rhymes to do with your kids. Brianna LOVES this book and you can tell how often we read it - she has all of them memorized and the order they are in the book! Sometimes there are certain ones she doesn't want to do but most of the time we do the WHOLE book, which is about 60 or so rhymes. I decided to tape it the other night because she's so darn cute doing them. I'm sure you won't be able to understand some of the ones she does by herself:

"This is the way you blow a balloon. Blow (blow) blow (blow). This is the way you break a balloon. (Clap) Oh no!"

"Two fat sausages sizzling in a pan. One went Pop! The other went Bam!"

(at the end of the first video she is distracted by our power flickering and the lightning and then gets thirsty. The second video picks up after she's done drinking.)

The second video cuts off because I ran out of space on my memory card.

These are long (one is about 4 minutes and one is 2 1/2 minutes I think) but they are cute.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

#3 - Cook 50 new recipes

I was just looking at my recipe blog and realized I have long passed fifty new recipes... if you aren't keeping up with that blog you should go check it out!!

First Day of Preschool

Alright, everything's gone great so far today! Hunter woke up at 7:00 which gave me plenty of time to feed him and shower before Bri woke up at 7:45. She watched an episode of Mickey Mouse while I made waffles for breakfast. We left on time and got to the school on time, so A+ for all of that! When we got to school she took her poster right to her teacher and said, "Pictures!" When I left she was crying but fifteen minutes later my friend Allison texted me and said that she saw Brianna playing in her classroom and was totally happy. Yay! Hunter and I went straight to Food Lion and Harris Teeter to begin our shopping for Fed By Faith!

Now it's 10:30 and I have an hour at home to do whatever I want to do... think I will make another batch of waffles because we're down to one in the freezer. Not sure yet what else I can get done in this short amount of time, but I'm looking forward to it!

  • 1 batch of waffles made and frozen (enough for about 2 weeks)
  • laundry put away that dried overnight
Edit: I never finished this blog post... so I am posting it now before I keep forgetting about it. I just did random cleaning at home, and packing up tons of Fed By Faith boxes, very boring and nothing blogworthy, which is probably why I forgot to finish writing this post.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Preschool - Say Whaaa?

Seemingly overnight, Brianna has become this tiny little grownup. Within the last few weeks I have seen her language skills and social skills dramatically change, and while I was completely amazed by her a few months ago, I am even more so now. She speaks in these long sentences, she comes up with these hilarious quips by herself... she's just getting so BIG. Tonight we were driving to church and I suddenly gasped and said to myself, "I forgot y'all's diaper bag!" Before I could blink, Brianna was saying, "Mommy, it's right there." I mean, I could FEEL her eyes rolling. Sure enough, I had smushed it against her car door and couldn't see it in my mirror. Hunter will get really quiet in the house and I'll say, "Bri, can you go check on Hunter?" She will run out of the room and come back saying, "Hunter's fine." I do double check because I don't fully trust the word of a 2-year old but it's still really cute. When we're putting Hunter to bed she will usually look up at me, pleadingly, and say, "Hunter can play a little bit?" And I have to say, "Sorry baby, Hunter is wiped for the night. You're stuck with me!"

So tomorrow is her first day of preschool/MMO (Mom's Morning Out) and I have butterflies already. I'm sure I won't sleep tonight, although I never sleep much anyway so it won't be very different. I'm very nervous about forgetting something she's supposed to have, although all she needs for tomorrow is her book bag, an extra set of clothes, and her "All About Me" poster.

This is Brianna's "All About Brianna" poster. When the kids are upset, the teachers will take them to their poster and have them point out the things on their poster, which is supposed to distract them and make them happy again. We had a lovely time making this poster and Bri particularly liked the fact that I used spray-on glue. She thought that was hilarious. Anyway, after we made it she told Stephen everything on this poster, as he didn't see us make it. I wanted to make sure she could describe the items to her teachers. Her poster contains: a picture of bread (for when we bake bread together, which we're doing a lot lately!), cookies (which we love to make and eat together!), music notes (she says "song" when she sees this), a cat (because Kitty Cat is one of her best friends), books, flowers, hearts, Goldfish, a picture of her making muffins, three crosses and the words "Jesus loves Bri!", and it's all centered around a picture of our family. I had several pictures I wanted to put on this, like one of her and Claire and one of her and Hunter but this darn poster wasn't big enough.

I love her daily schedule at preschool.

9:00 - 9:30 is Free Choice
9:30 - 9:40 is Morning Exercises and Mr. Bear's Weather Watch (except on Fridays when they'll go to chapel)
9:40 - 9:55 is Jesus Time
9:55 - 10:10 is Small Group 1/Art Experience
10:10 - 10:20 is clean up and bathroom break
10:20 - 10:50 is Outside Play
10:50 - 11:10 is Snack
11:10 - 11:30 is Small Group II/Art Experience
11:30 - 11:45 is Story Time (except on Mondays which is Special Treasure time - like Show and Tell)
11:45 - 12:00 is Free Choice until parent pick up

The only thing that concerns me is... no snack until 10:50! Yikes! Bri's snack is usually at 10:30 but she's normally starving by then. We'll see. I'll try to feed her a very large breakfast! Probably she'll be so busy she won't even notice though!

Okay, so this is it. before I know it she'll be, as our preacher said today, big, hairy, and pimply, because time is flying! I think she'll do okay because it didn't take very long for her to grow to love going to the gym daycare. She is really starting to blossom socially, although primarily towards adults, not so much toward other kids. I think it's just because all kids who are two have the same mindset of, "What's mine is mine, what's yours is mine." I see this happen in basically every situation Bri is ever in - nursery at church, nursery at the gym, hanging out with Claire and Riley, playing with Hunter, so I assume it will also happen at MMO. The great thing is that one day she will outgrow it. Oh, GOSH, I pray she will outgrow it! :)

Now if I can just remember to pack everything she needs and take a quick picture of her before we leave the house in the morning we will be all set.

Also, let's just pray we all wake up on time. I'm so used to waking up at the crack of dawn lately I'm terrified we'll all sleep in the one time we're not supposed to. I worry about the strangest things.

I do realize I could set an alarm. Thanks.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Brown Bear Reading

I know I just posted a video earlier, but tonight we were lounging around and suddenly I heard Bri reading the "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" book. She's read several books in the past (I mean, from memory of course) but I very rarely get them on video. So after she read it the whole way through I got the camera and begged and pleaded for her to read it again for the camera. She did, but it's much more slurred and rushed than the first time. Oh well, it's still fun to watch. In case you don't know this book, let me translate:

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? I see a red bird looking at me.
Red Bird.... I see a yellow duck...
Yellow duck... blue horse
Blue horse... green frog
Green Frog... purple cat
Purple Cat... white dog
White Dog... black sheep
Black Sheep... goldfish
Goldfish... teacher
Teacher... children
Children... (goes on to list all of the above again)

Speaks For Itself

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Gift of Belonging

I am reading another John Ortberg book right now called "The Me I Want to Be: Becoming God's Best Version of You" (did I mention how much I LOVE John Ortberg!?) and I just had to type up this story for you. Ortberg is one of those authors who is very sarcastic and humorous, so see if you can spot the macho quip he throws into this story. :)

One day God says to the angels, "I have an idea. I am going to create the family."
An angel asks, "What is it?"
"I am very excited about this idea," God says. "Of course, I am excited about all my ideas. One of the great things about being God is you just never have a bad idea - but this one is special. Family is going to be the way I connect people in love. It will work like this. Adult people will sign up to take care of a tiny little stranger."
"Are they going to get paid?" the angel asks.
"No, that little stranger is actually going to cost them a lot of money. Not only that, but the little stranger won't even be able to talk at first. It will just cry and scream, and you will have to guess why. It will make you lose sleep. It will make messes all the time that you have to clean up. It will be utterly vulnerable. You have to watch that kid twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Then when it's two, that little stranger will be able to say words like "no" and "mine", and it will throw tantrums. And then I am thinking about inventing puberty. I am not too sure about that one yet, but if I do, they will get these strange things called hormones that will go crazy. Odd things will happen to their bodies. They will get pimples, their voices will crack, and their limbic systems will melt down. Then they will grow up, and just when they are mature and beautiful and interesting and able to contribute, they will move away. That's the idea. What do you all think?"
The angels shuffle around and look at their feet. Who's going to tell him? they think. Lord, who would sign up for that? Why would they do it?
Here is where God gets really excited. "They won't even know why. They will just look at that little body, those little hands and feet, and they will think that this tiny little stranger is beautiful, even though he looks like every other baby and all babies look like Winston Churchill. Then one day that little stranger will smile at them, and they will think they have won the lottery. That little stranger will say "Dada" and "Mama", but it will say "Dada" first because daddies are just so self-sacrificial and noble and... how I love them. But moms are good too. So it will say "Dada" and "Mama" and then those little arms and hands will open up and reach out and wrap around that neck, and it is going to feel to that grown up that for the first time now they understand why arms and hands were created.
What it's really all about it just grace.
Children, the new generation, will learn that they are prized and belong before they have ever done a single thing to earn it. The old generation will learn that when they give, they will receive. When they give the most, they receive the most.
And then one day I will tell them, Human race, I am your Father. You are my daughter, you are my son.
They will get it and they will be undone."

Monday, August 22, 2011

Building Towers and Distraction

This is another video from several weeks ago. We play with blocks A LOT around here, so I try to make up games so it's not just tower after tower being built. Finally I had the idea that we would build a tower as usual but make each row different (one row of animals, one row of foods, one row of numbers, etc etc.) We only made it through three blocks due to Brianna's ADD...

  • Zebra eats grass
  • I love when she says, "". What happened is she picked up the block with a rhino on it but when I said, "What is it?" my finger was on the rocket. So she was answering "airplane" and switched her answer to "rhino". Haha!
  • Horns on his nose - "Honk Honk"
  • Breaks into song when she sees the bumblebee. As you can tell she gets really into it and I think she zones out doing the motions and it's very hard to understand her slurred words. But still cute!
  • Suddenly remembers one of her favorite songs from Kindermusik so she has to run and get the music for it - "Fly and Bumblebee"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"One More"

Bri's favorite phrase now is "One More", or rather, "One more, otaaaay?" In this video she kept saying something really funny so I was videotaping her, telling her to stop repeatedly ("That's enough") so that she would say the funny phrase... this video was taken so long ago I can't remember what I was trying to get her to say. But it's still cute and still relevant. Sorry it's so dark.

This is a continuation of sorts - This one she says, "Okay, that's enough! No, one more!" At the end she suddenly breaks into song (one of her Kindermusik songs) which is cute too.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

#1 and #2 - Fix my bread machine and make bread

Other title for this post could be... this is what heaven would taste like.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Blogging has been bumped way to the end of my "to do" list but I want to make sure I post about these milestones so I don't forget them.

On Monday, we were working at Classy Paci and Hunter stood for the first time! I set him down to handle a customer and he just stood there. I said, "Hunter, you're standing! Bri, Hunter's standing!" Bri applauded like the proud sister she is and then said, "Look Mommy, Bri's standing!" Yeah, yeah, whatever kid.

On Wednesday, Hunter waved for the first time! We were leaving Mom and Dad's house and they waved to him and he lifted his hand and waved! I kind of went a little crazy and that's when they realized it was his first time. It is so cute I am always just catching his eye and waving now just to see him wave back. What a cutie!!

Last Wednesday I joined our local gym, in a last-ditch effort to begin exercising, which I have threatened to do basically all my life but never done consistently. I am blessed in that right now I have great metabolism thanks to my parents and somehow I am always able to get right back into exercising (especially cardio) but I know that is not always going to be the case. I figured I should get ready for when I hit my mid-30's and my body starts falling apart.

Anyway, they have this awesome daycare at the gym, but unfortunately Bri hates it. Rather, she loves the daycare, she hates that I leave her there and don't stay and watch her play. Since joining last Wednesday we went Friday (got in an 8-minute workout before they came and got me because of her crying), Saturday (got in an 11-minute workout before they came and got me), Tuesday (got in a 12-minute workout before they came and got me), Wednesday I worked out before going to work while my parents had the kids so I worked out my full time, and then today... made it my full hour! Yes! Go Bri! Kids that are Hunter's age can only stay for one hour or else you can believe I would have milked it and stuck around. But alas. We'll be back Saturday and hopefully it will continue to go smoothly.

Okay, those are the major things I didn't want to forget to update about. That's all I have time for right now!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ragged God

Background on this post - I just finished an awesome book (Love Beyond Reason) by an awesome author (John Ortberg) and I wish I could just post the entire book here for you to read it... but you may as well buy it, borrow it from me, or get it from the library rather than read it here. But I loved this one story in the book so much that I want to put it on here in case there is someone that will read my blog instead of picking up the book. :)

Just so you know, the whole book is about how we as humans are rag dolls. God doesn't love us because we're flawless. He doesn't love us because we're perfect. He loves us just because we're the way we are. So when Ortberg calls God "ragged" it's not blasphemy, it's going to show the enormity of God's love for us.

Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard told a parable about why God communicated his love the way he did (Note: Why did God become like us? Why did God become man in the flesh? Etc..)

Imagine there was a king that loved a humble maiden. She had no royal pedigree, no education, no standing in the court. She dressed in rags. She lived in a hovel. She led the ragged life of a peasant. But for reasons no one could ever quite figure out, the king fell in love with this girl, in the way kings sometimes do. Why he should love her is beyond explaining, but love her he did. And he could not stop loving her.

Then there awoke in the heart of the king an anxious thought. How was he to reveal his love to the girl? How could he bridge the chasm of station and position that separated them? His advisers, of course, would tell him to simply command her to be his queen. For he was a man of immense power - every statesman feared his wrath, every foreign power trembled before him , every courtier groveled in the dust at the king's voice. She would have no power to resist; she would owe him an eternal debt of gratitude.

But power - even unlimited power - cannot command love. He could force her body to be present in his palace; he could not force love for him to be present in her heart. He might be able to gain her obedience this way, but coerced submission is not what he wanted. He longed for intimacy of heart and oneness of spirit. All the power in the world cannot unlock the door to the human heart. It must be opened from the inside.

His advisers might suggest that the king give up this love, give his heart to a more worthy woman. But this the king will not do, cannot do. And so his love is also his pain. Kierkegaard writes, "What a depth of grief lies in this unhappy love... No human being is destined to suffer such grief... God has reserved it to himself, this unfathomable grief... For the divine love is that unfathomable love which cannot rest content."

The king could try to bridge the chasm between them by elevating her to his position. He could shower her with gifts, dress her in purple and silk, have her crowned queen. But if he brought her to his palace, if he radiated the sun of his magnificence over her, if she saw all the wealth and power and pomp of his greatness, then she would be overwhelmed. How would he know (or she either, for that matter) if she loved him for himself or for all that he gave her? How could she know that he loved her and would love her still even if she had remained only a humble peasant? "Would she be able to summon confidence enough never to remember what the king wished only to forget, that he was king and she had been a humble maiden?"

Every other alternative came to nothing. There was only one way. So one day the king rose, left his throne, removed his crown, relinquished his scepter, and laid aside his royal robes. He took upon himself the life of a peasant. He dressed in rags, scratched out a living in the dirt, groveled for food, dwelt in a hovel. He did not just take on the outward appearance of a servant, it became his actual life, his nature, his burden.

He became as ragged as the one he loved, so that she could be united to him forever. It was the only way.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Market Place

The other night our ladies group at church met at a local restaurant for dinner. The owner opened specifically for us to be there, and the experience there was so good I just had to tell you about it.

The Market Place has been here for 31 years so I'm not sure why I've never been there in my whole life. Bonnie, the owner, let us eat anything we wanted off the menu but also had some specials for us. I got the ham and cheese quiche, a salad, cheesecake, and a chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream sandwich. I'm telling you - it was GOOD. You can check out their menu here.

They are open Monday through Saturday from 10:30am to 2:30pm (I think the website says 8:00am but she's just changed hours).

The Market Place
2160 Midland Road
Southern Pines, NC

I will DEFINITELY be going back. It was very hard for me to choose just one meal option and as you can see I had two desserts, so I have to go back to try out some more of the food! Bonnie was incredibly friendly and the staff was awesome as well. I highly recommend checking this place out. Support local businesses... especially the ones who obviously know what they're doing!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

From the Attic

I think I'm pretty much done going through my boxes that were in storage, so I may leave you with these images...

First up is the Declaration of Independence. Oh, it may not be the real Declaration of Independence, but still very very important! Dad can explain it much better than I. He created this event in his class where your goal was to be allowed to sign the Declaration of Independence. Basically you had to prove yourself in actions, that you were ready to sign this paper, and you had to write a letter explaining yourself to Dad, and then he would either approve you or explain why he felt you needed to wait to sign it. It was a MUCH bigger deal than I am making it sound but my brain is totally fried at this point in my life and I can't get my thoughts together.

BUT. I just so happen to have the original document from the year I was in his class. As you can see Dad was a complete failure at nepotism, as I was the fifth person to sign instead of the first. Sorry but these pictures would not rotate. You will have to rotate your head instead to read them.

My certificate of signing! I was 7 years old.

This wouldn't rotate either. If you knew me at all when I was 5-7 years old this will make complete sense to you. It says, "I am going on a date! I will never talk in "shcool". I will never talk to my sister. She took my date. I don't like her anymore. My date is gone. Kenneth was my date. Boo hoo!"

Please note: I am not sure if this is a historically accurate document but I am pretty sure Kenneth would never date me at that point in my life.

Growing up, I can remember my parents being very in love. I have tons of memories of them holding hands, hugging, kissing, and other little things, I was never really grossed out like most people were when their parents were affectionate. In my opinion, I'd rather them be kissing than yelling at each other!

Anyway, you can see even at 7 or 8 years old I knew how much they loved each other. Here is a picture I drew. It is supposed to be Mom and she is saying, "Hi big boy!" Then at the bottom it says, "Mom saying that to Dad." Haha!

By the way, they are getting ready to have their 35-year anniversary (if I'm doing the math right), so obviously they are doing something right!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

From the Attic

That's right, more stuff from the attic! I'm pretty sure I'm about to run out of these old papers and stuff....

How to Keep Warm at the North Pole (2nd grade, 8 years old - Dad was my teacher!)

1. Get 50 warm blankets and cover yourself and sit in the oven.

2. Sit in a frying pan that's still on the stove and the stove being turned on.

3. Eat a steak that's red hot and eat it sitting on the grill.

4. Get hothothothot water and turn on the shower and bath water.

5. Eat a piece of toast burning up, red hot and EAT IT!

6. Make a wax stove. Then make a big fire in the fire so it almost burns down the house and then close the door and stand by it and kill yourself.

I am thinking after reading this that I may have had issues.

I also found a drawing I did for mom and dad that says, "I love you Mom and Dad! Even if you are 34 and 36 years old!"

Oh my Lord.


For some reason this picture struck me as really beautiful and amazing.

When Pakistan flooded last year, millions of spiders were displaced into the trees, which is very rare for spiders. The flooding was so prolonged they were forced to nest in the trees, or drown, basically. Many of the spiders nesting were building new webs every day, and so thousands of trees and bushes were just covered in webs.

I mean, you still wouldn't find me walking under these trees... but I love how nature works itself out. I do think this is oddly beautiful.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

How We Roll

I just posted this on my frugal blog but since many of you don't check that blog, I'm posting it here as well. This was an activity that Brianna really enjoyed doing!

If it were up to Brianna (27 months old) these are the things we would do all. day. long. Read, eat, play with blocks, watch Dora, take pictures of ourselves/look at the pictures/laugh at the pictures, wrestle, and hide things that aren't supposed to be hidden (the remote control was gone for 5 days a couple of weeks ago and the cordless phone has been gone for 6 days as this post is being composed). So I am always trying to come up with things to do so we aren't constantly doing the same things over and over. One thing I saw on the internet and thought Bri would enjoy was finger painting. It was incredibly easy to do and we easily painted for an hour. Then, about 20 minutes after I had finished cleaning up she asked if we could do it again. Uh... not twice in the same day, hah! Anyway, this is a great thing to do with your child. Hunter would eat the paint so I waited until he was asleep to do it so use your discretion with your children.

2 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 cups cold water
1/4 cup liquid dish soap
Food coloring

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Whisk to combine. Gradually pour in the cold water and whisk. Set heat to medium and stir occasionally. Once the mixture begins to bubble, turn heat to low and whisk constantly until mixture is thickened and gel-like. Remove from heat and let cool completely, whisking occasionally.

Once cooled, stir in dish soap. Divide mixture into small airtight containers, one for each color you want to have. Add food coloring into each container and mix well. Use immediately or cover and use later.

I just did red and blue because I was making it pretty spontaneously, and I wasn't sure how crazy it was going to get.

Okay, I set a couple of her pages outside to dry to see what they'd look like. I don't recommend it, because as you can see, they're not very pretty when they dry!

Bri takes my picture to prove I am painting as well:

I'm sure you can tell this is a GREAT project for days that are too hot or cold to be outside. If we could have gone outside that would have been great too. Especially since someone in our house may be getting an art easel that I bought for a steal in Georgia for Christmas... I can hang up a blank canvas and really let her get into the painting that way!

Obviously the paint is not professional-grade or anything like that, but hey, consider this - you don't have to get worked up over paint spilled on your floor or anyone's clothes, and it's REALLY easy to clean up. Well worth it, I'd say!

I got my information for this craft idea from this website.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Pictures Galore

She really is on the phone here. I think she was talking to Stephen when he called from work one day.

Her "cheese" is the biggest cheese ever.

Bri is dangerous now... she has really learned how to take pictures!

In this picture, you can see we are playing with blocks. The block I just set down was a "whale". She randomly took off running to the living room and came back with this book. Why???

Oh, to show me the picture of the whale that is in this animal book. I was wondering why she just ran away from me like that!

Hunter is starting early... Gail will appreciate this picture!

Picking blueberries from our bushes:

That's not sweat - we got a little crazy with the hose when we were watering the garden!!

This is what happens when you have a big sister.

And this is what happens when you have a 2-year old.

This is from several weeks back when Mom and Dad found a box turtle in their yard and we went to visit him!