Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Today's agenda

Today's vacation agenda:
*Get up and have a light breakfast
*Rent a surrey and pedal down the boardwalk
* Eat THE BEST DONUTS I have ever tasted.  Cinnamon sugar dusted, hot out of the oven.
* Go to the arcade and take silly pictures in the photo booth, play skee ball, and try to keep Chloe from hurling the skee balls all over the place.
* Come back and eat lunch.
* Naps .... for me, out on the deck while reading. AAAHH!!
* Play a game of Sorry with the kids.  (Again, keep Chloe from throwing game pieces all over creation.)
* Go out to dinner with the kids.
* Walk down to Gillian's Wonderland Pier and ride all the rides.  Can I just say that my older children are pretty much done with the kiddie rides??  The older 2 love roller coasters and log flumes and things that go fast.  Then there's Chloe - we went on one kiddie ride ... it was a little too fast for her taste so she was DONE with rides.
* Come back and relax in front of the TV with my computer.
* Take a nice hot shower and go to bed!

A pretty good day, I would say.  Much better than this one!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Recognition, Part 2

I read this article called "Motherhood as a Mission Field" on another blog and I thought it expressed what I was trying to say in my other "Recognition" post ... only much more eloquently than I could say it!  (AND, the writer has 5 children ages 5 & under so props to her for writing so clearly when she should surely have massive brain fog!)


And no, I am not writing this from the shore ... I just had it post today!

Friday, June 24, 2011


Today's To-Do List (or as Audrey used to call it when she was little, a "Duh-Doo List"):
*Do everyone's laundry
*Pack everyone's bags (except Chad's)
*Make enchiladas to bring along as an evening meal
*Gather all necessary groceries
*Make sure we have all beach "stuff" ready including  toys, towels, umbrellas, coolers, etc.
*Gather everyone's loveys and security objects and sleeping paraphernalia, including CD player for white noise
*Pack up toiletries including sunscreen and medicines.
*Check weather forecasts and come up with a few Plan B's in case of rain.
*Decide which toys we should bring that are the smallest yet most entertaining.
*Speaking of entertainment, we better pack a bunch of DVD's for when we have downtime.
*Make last minute run to store for things I've forgotten (doesn't matter HOW much I plan, there is always something forgotten ... Argh!)
*Load up kindle with books to read... okay, I just made myself laugh out loud writing that one.  A girl can dream can't she??

All this while keeping 3 kids occupied and preventing them from killing each other...

Tomorrow's To-Do List:
*Head to Ocean City, NJ for a week's vacation.  Relax.   (If that's what taking 3 kids on a trip is called....ha!)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Recently at our church they began something called "You've Been Mugged."  Basically, the idea is that somebody (the pastor or elders, I assume) notices something that someone is doing that benefits the church and/or others, and that person gets a special "GVF" (Grace Valley Fellowship) mug.  And they print your name in the bulletin and they usually call you up to the front to accept your mug.  Pretty cool idea, huh?

Well, Audrey has kind of latched onto this.  Every week she asks me: "Mommy, when are you going to get a mug?" And I say "Audrey,  I don't really do anything much to merit a mug.... so probably never."   Basically - don't hold your breath, kid.

Now, yes, I do teach the toddler class once a month ... but there are at least 20-25 other people who teach as well.  Some more often, and more ably, than me.  And Chad and I lead a small group ... but really he is more the leader, and I mostly send a few emails and such.  Nothing big.  I try to help how I can.  But the truth of the matter is, I have 3 young kids and limited time, energy, and talent at this point.  Now, some people can have 10 kids and still manage to lead the women's ministry and teach Sunday School and host events for 100 people, no sweat.  But I am not one of those people.  So, I do the little bit I can, and I make room for my husband to do ministry at church, and I am in the background.

And I have to admit, that deep down, this sets off a whole series of {not so admirable} emotions inside of me.

It's nothing against recognizing people for their valuable efforts and service.  I'm all about that.  And the church doesn't only recognize "important" people -- they have recognized "behind the scenes" kind of people as well, which I think is especially wonderful.

I guess the problem is .... my natural inclination is to feel a bit like a nobody in comparison.

And here is the thing that irks me:  I KNOW that I am not a "nobody".  God has gifted me with a husband and children that are my primary ministry.  I feel that very strongly.  I know, I know, I know that this is what God has called me to do for now.  (Well, and forever in many ways ...)

So why the "feeling like a nobody"?

Because I am listening to the wrong voice.  When I "feel like a nobody" it is because I am believing a lie -- a lie that Satan wants me to believe.  The lie that what I do "in public" is what matters. 

The TRUTH is that God values everything you or I do that is for HIS glory - whether that is in public or in private.  Right now in my life, most of what I do is at home, just the kids and me, so it is very much "private".  But I know that God sees me.  He sees what I do (or don't do).  He knows what I am thinking about (good or bad).  And He recognizes every time I do what He has called me to do with a right attitude and thankful spirit.  In a sense, I need to think to myself that when I make the right choices and when I listen to His leading ....well then, I am receiving my very own "mug" of sorts in God's book, which is where it really matters, right? 

I say this because if you are like me, then you may also struggle at times with feeling like your "work", whether at home or church or otherwise, has value.  And I want to encourage you that YES!!  It does.  It has eternal value.  God knows our hearts and sees our deeds.  And for me that is encouraging - and convicting! - all at once. 

I read this quote YEARS ago and I had it hanging on my office wall for years as a reminder of this very thing.  My "calling" at that point was so very different.  There was no husband and there were no children at the time. But the message was and is still apropos, so I am leaving you with it today.  Here it is:

"The majority of us lead quiet, unheralded lives as we pass through this world. There will most likely be no ticker-tape parades for us, no monuments created in our honor. But that does not lessen our possible impact, for there are scores of people waiting for someone just like us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our unique talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have a potential to turn a life around. It’s overwhelming to consider the continuous opportunities there are to make our love felt."
Leo Buscaglia

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day et al.....

First of all - I want to thank all of you who commented on my last post.  I am glad to know that I am not alone in struggling with the "day-to-day" life of being a mom.  But I am even more thankful that something so awful (meaning Gabby's battle with cancer) can bring about a little bit of good in all of us (meaning giving us more grateful and loving hearts).

I had a really fun weekend.  On Saturday Chad and I took the kids over to the Y pool and just enjoyed splashing around with the kids.  Later on Audrey and I went on a little date with her friend Kaitlyn and her mom Kelly.  Kelly & I each got a deal through Living Social to take the girls to Sweet & Sassy (basically, a little girl salon).  So the girls got their hair done in updo's, their nails painted with sparkly nail polish, and their faces done up with "makeup"
 ... of course you can't be all dressed up with no place to go, right?  So we took them out to dinner at Cheeseburger in Paradise.  Our server even brought the girls drinks with little umbrellas and a parrot made out of fruit.  They kept saying they were in a "hawaiian" restaurant ... guess they are too young to know that Jimmy Buffett is actually more of a Floridian .... anyway they had a great time together.
So yesterday was Father's Day.  I admit ... there was no breakfast in bed.  BUT, that was mainly because today Chad spoke in church so he was doing a final review and went to church early.  He spoke about Science & the Bible, and he did a great job, if I may say so as the proud wife!  If you ever want to take a listen, it should be on the church website in the next few days: click  Grace Valley Fellowship and then click on "listen to messages online" and it should give you a list.  (In case you are wondering why Chad would be speaking on this subject - ie, you don't know him - he is a geologist and science is one of his true loves, right behind Jesus and his family!)

Anyhow, we did give Chad a gift:  a new wallet.  He had been carrying his money/cards in a money clip and it broke a few weeks ago.  So guess what he has been carrying his stuff in?  A plastic baggie.  Classy, huh?  :)  We certainly had to remedy that situation!!

That afternoon my parents and brother came over and we grilled out and sat around on the deck till it was dark out.  I like to try to get a picture each Father's Day of the kids with their Daddy.  As usual this was not an easy process.  What is it with my kids and cooperating with pictures??  It seems like every family I know says "Let's get a picture" and the kids all line up and smile sweetly and it is over in a minute.   I guess I was "blessed" with the camera shy/strong-willed types, because family pictures for us usually involve me getting stressed and sweating and starting to make all kinds of threats and then someone always ends up crying or yelling or something.  Lovely, huh?  :)

I will say - this does make for some hilarious outtakes (and I will also say, thank God we no longer are using film cameras or I would have rolls of this kind of stuff....)
 Carter & Chloe refused to take part initially ... so I told them they were not allowed in the picture and started snapping away.
 HA!  Reverse psychology worked!  But Carter would only stand a distance away.
(at least he smiled I suppose)
 Come on Carter!  Come over here!
 Chloe can charm the pants off anyone... including her big brother. :)
 Okay, it has now devolved into a crazy group hug ...
This was the best we could do.  
Not too shabby.  
At least everyone looks like they are enjoying themselves! 

A super special Happy Father's Day to Chad, my Dad, and my Dad-in-law!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thinking, thinking

Thinking about a lot of things these days.  (This probably also explains my lack of blogging.  Too much churning around.)

My neighbor Gabby is on my mind each day.  She has just begun chemo and radiation 2 days ago, and is already dealing with side effects.  Her parents are by her side constantly.  I just can't imagine how hard this must be for them all.  It breaks my heart, and I pray for them all the time.

Then I look in my own children's faces.  I think about how it could just as easily be one of them down at CHOP.

And then I think about how often I am not really listening to them.  I think about how often I lose my patience.  I think about how I make too big a deal about things that really don't matter in the scheme of things.  I think about how I take for granted that they will grow up and go to college and get married and give me grandbabies and do great things for God. 

Then I also think about how quickly they are growing and changing.  And how I need to just soak up the kids' every last little smile, giggle, spoken word, and yes, even the not-so-shining moments of their lives.  Because we never do know how much time we will have with them.

A month ago I was hoping summer break would go quickly and wishing that Chloe would grow up a little faster.  Now - if there is one little positive thing that I can take from Gabby's situation - I have such a different viewpoint.

Yes, the days are long and tiring and filled with negotiations and cooking and cleaning up and settling squabbles and running errands and cleaning up some more .... but now my perspective is less "grin and bear it" and more "grin and just enjoy it all." 

This evening we put the kids to bed, and as I kissed Audrey good night she wanted me to lay down with her for a few minutes.  My usual response is - No, I need to go finish the dishes/fold laundry/etc.  But tonight, I said okay and climbed up into her bunk bed and laid down.  We ended up having a long conversation about something that was on her mind and I was able to pray for her, that she would trust God and not be afraid.

I wonder how many times I have missed out on these kind of moments because I am too busy or preoccupied.  Or even more embarrassingly - because I have a TV show I want to watch.

Now realistically, as parents, we have limited time and resources to offer our children.  It would not be wise or even healthy for me to drop everything every last time the kids wanted my attention (because the desire for attention can be bottomless sometimes, and they do need to learn that the world does not revolve around them alone.)

BUT.  I can slow down and take the time to listen more.  I can enjoy playing with them.  I can discipline them in a way that teaches them and doesn't put them down.

Father God ....thank you for my beautiful family... and help me to love them well and be grateful for however long you give us together on this earth.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New & Improved Spaghetti Face

Remember this guy?  
(Yeah, I know, I hardly remember Carter looking this little either.)
He really liked spaghetti.  Can you tell?
(And apparently he really liked to eat in general - WOWZERS are those cheeks pudgy!)
Someone STILL likes his spaghetti.
Only now the mess makes it all over his ENTIRE FACE.

And to think that one day this boy will go out on a date.
I think we have a ways to go on eating neatly and table manners before that's gonna happen! :)

Hey, I'm just happy that he ate his whole dinner without an argument!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Playing catch up

It has been waaaaaay busy the past few weeks.  So I apologize to all my 10 readers that I have not had the chance to update the blog for awhile.  SO, without further ado, here is my attempt to catch up for the last couple weeks.

It's been a few weeks ago now, but I went over to Audrey's school for Field Day.  She was thrilled that we showed up, and I was thrilled that she was thrilled that we showed up.  (Now, give it a few years and the story will probably change....)  I was also thrilled that I could go to a school event WITH the other 2 kids.  One of my frustrations as a mom this year has been that it is just very hard for me to help with Audrey's class and school activities - the issue is always what to do with the other 2 kids.  Gotta love Mommy Guilt.

  I am so happy with how Audrey's school year ended up.  Early on in the year she had some anxiety here and there and it was a little rough changing teachers midstream, but she ended the year on such a good note.  She loved her teacher (once she finally came back from maternity leave in February...), she did really well academically, and she made some really good friends.  She even went on her first sleepover with 3 of her best school girlfriends right after school ended.
 Last day of school at the bus stop with Daddy.  (Thank you Kelly for snapping this picture and sending it to me!)
On Audrey's last day of school, everyone wore red in honor of our neighbor Gabby who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer.  The school also collected donations to help the family and over $4000 was raised!  Here is Audrey with the bus stop crew.  Gabby's sisters are in the front row (2nd and 4th from the left). 
See that flash of red on the far left?   I think she was excited to start the summer!
In other news, this past week Carter finished up his t-ball season!
  He LOOOOOVED T-ball.  When we signed Carter up for t-ball, we were a little worried - what if he didn't really like it?  What if we had to drag him to practice? etc.  But he jumped right in and enjoyed it from the get-go.  

 In t-ball, there are no outs, everyone gets to bat, and no one keeps score.  But guess what?  You still get a trophy when the season is over.  I'm not anti-trophies ... but a trophy for what exactly?  Showing up?  :)

There was a little pizza party after their game .... so I made these little baseball cupcakes for an after pizza treat. :)

Chloe really liked the cupcakes.  (Sorry, had to throw in a photo of her too!)

Okay, two pictures. :)

we are now onto summer break.

We have already visited the Y pool once and Audrey got her orange wristband.
This morning Audrey & Carter started summer swim lessons, which will keep them (and the rest of us) busy during the morning for the next couple weeks.  They both had a great time at lessons today and are making great progress!

Other than that ...
 Carter & Chloe are practicing for our trip to the beach in a few weeks ....

 Carter is practicing his reading with his sis

 And Audrey & Carter are making bridges on the couch.  The only reason I took a picture of this is that I remember doing this with my brother when I was a kid!!

Oh, and now that it's summer it seems like the kids don't go to bed until shortly before I'm ready to drop over from exhaustion every night!!   Makes it hard to blog....

Friday, June 3, 2011

Prayer, Part 2

Tonight I am asking that you PRAY with me.

My little 5 year old neighbor, Gabriella, was just diagnosed with cancer in her brain.  They have found it in and around her brain stem.  It is not all in one mass, so they cannot operate and remove it.  They have just biopsied the cancer to figure out the best course of treatment.  She will be in the ICU at CHOP for a few days now and then the wait begins for the pathology report ... they are told they will have to wait a whole week.  The reality is that -- as her Nana told me today "We need a miracle." 

It all is so hard to take in ... I feel like I am still in shock.  She was just outside playing last week.

So, please, please pray for Gabby.  My heart is just breaking for her, her family and especially for her parents.  Pray for that miracle! 

Thanks so much for joining me in praying for  her.