bear and the doctor

You may have noticed that one of the tools I use to amuse my kids in situations that require patience is to take pictures of them. Oh wait, maybe that’s more to amuse me. Either way. I took what some may consider an inordinate amount of photos at Bear’s 1-year well visit, but those some obviously don’t understand just how adorable my kids are. Need proof? Check it out:

I love that this pediatrician’s offices are well stocked with toys, puzzles, and books. It not only makes the waiting less painful, it also provides a distraction when I’m trying to focus on what the doctor is saying! 

Bear has invented a fun new game that never fails to make me smile. First of all, we take off his shirt. With a mischevious smile, he wraps the shirt around the back of his neck:

Then he makes silly faces:

Then he frantically waves the shirt in the air and does a cute little giggle/dance:

Then he puts the shirt around his neck again:

Then he puts it on top of his head. He keeps up this routine until he’s ready to move onto something else, and it’s really stinkin’ adorable:

In the last few moments before the doctor arrived, I was actually using the camera as a way to distract Bear from his growing impatience and happened to capture some cuteness. I need to make you aware that I’m barely restraining myself from nibbling on his cheeks through the computer monitor right now.

And then he decided he’d had enough of the toy playing, shirt waving, and photo taking. Thankfully the doctor came in soon afterwards:

And cutie pie Bear who refuses to keep his shoes on as we waited for Daddy to come pick us up:


take me out to the ball game. but not for too long.

Just about a month ago we were given tickets to a local minor league baseball game. It seemed like the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon in August. Until we remembered that we were in Texas in August. And it’s hot. We stayed for probably a total of an hour – including the half hour that we spent in the air conditioned Captain’s Lounge – before we realized that it was just too dang hot for our kiddos.

I was able to teach Bug to say, “Hey batter, batter, batter batter! Swing batter!” Have I mentioned how much I love being a Mom of boys?

Behind Bear in this picture is Matt – our church’s high school minister – and his daughter who is Bug’s age. They’re actually in the same preschool class and may or may not have a pre-arranged marriage to one another. You’ll notice a theme in most of these photos, which would by my boys’ sweaty hair. In case you missed it – Texas in August is hot. 

Bear was very encouraging and clapped every time the batter hit the ball, regardless of which team it was. 

Because no family experience would be complete without photos of Bug playing on our phones. After the iPhone dunked in my coffee incident, I actually didn’t re-download any kids’ apps. Bug still asks to play with my phone, but is quickly bored because there aren’t any games on it. I’m sure I’ll get some of those apps back at some point, but for now I’m happy to find other ways to amuse him. 

[Next to Shawn and Bug are Matt and his son who is about Bear’s age. Next to Matt is one of our high school students who leads worship for the Jr. High students occasionally]

“Mommy, what were you thinking? It’s hot. Take me home.”

And shortly after this photo we did indeed head home. Not before grabbing some drive through snow cones as a reward for sitting out in the Texas heat for an entire half hour. That’s just how we roll.

kitchen bonding

I don’t know about you, but some of the best conversations I’ve ever had happen in the kitchen. I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere about nurturing and sustaining life, but I’m a little too wiped out tonight to think on that deep of a level. Our girls’ weekend was no exception to the “kitchen conversation” rule.

No, that’s not actually a rule. I just made that up. See? I get tired and get all willy nilly about making up my own rules and such.

Some of the girls (which would not include me) really enjoyed cooking without the chaos of kids and pressure of time. Some of us enjoyed being able to bake without little ones asking us if they can stir or having to stop midway for a diaper change. We all enjoyed eating. Quite a bit, in fact. Even more, we all enjoyed cooking, chatting, and catching up.

Lindsey is apparently a captivating story teller:

And downright beautiful, too:

Patrice found a dessert that called for lots of peanut butter and lots of chocolate. I was more than happy to volunteer to make that particular dish:

I think this is one of my favorite photos of Aletha. She and I didn’t know each other very well when we lived in Winston-Salem, but I am so glad she came to the retreat and that I got to spend time getting to know her. She has such a sweet spirit and a humble love for God:

Patrice insisted I feed her a Reese’s Pieces while she mashed the chicken with that masher thingie (do you see now why I stick to baking?). If I could train the boys to feed me chocolate while I cook dinner, I’m thinking I might enjoy it a whole lot more:
So many things in a mother’s life are complicated. Being a Mom is a life long struggle for selflessness and learning to put others’ needs before yours, and it can easily get overwhelming. Our weekend goal was to rest, recharge, and go back to our homes as better wives and mothers. In a word – simplify.

a thousand words

I have SO much to say about my girls’ weekend, but have no idea where to even start. I can’t imagine a better way to spend time away from my boys, and everything about our trip was absolutely perfect. I didn’t take very many photos (mostly because all the other girls had fancy schmancy cameras and were all about photography), so I’m unashamedly stealing the other girls’ photos. I have approximately 53,000 pictures to share of the weekend, so I’ll have a hard time figuring out which ones to share and what stories to tell. Until then, here are just a few random favorites:

summ-ah goal wrap up

So Bear and I went outside this morning to bring in the last of the cloth diapers I was air drying. I went out in basketball shorts and a tank top. Guess what? GUESS WHAT! I had to go back inside to get a long sleeve shirt because it was too cold. TOO COLD! We’re still getting up to the mid-90’s during the day, but I can feel it in my bones. Fall is on its way. My jeans, boots, scarves, and jackets are calling out to me from my closet- begging to be worn.

And when your boots start talking to you, that’s when you know you’ve been trapped in Texas summer for just a little too long.

You might remember that I have a passionate love affair with lists, and decided it would be a good idea to have a list of goals I wanted to accomplish during the summer of 2011.I promised y’all a wrap up post to let you know if I failed miserably or actually achieved any of those goals, so here goes….


1. Finish Beth Moore study.

Done and done. 🙂 I did the updated study about the tabernacle, which thrilled this little nerd’s heart. This was also my first time doing a Beth Moore study, and I always felt a little less Christian when someone asked me if I’d ever done a Beth Moore study and I answered with a, “no.”

2. Devote time 2-3 times a week to study and pray.

This is obviously an ongoing discipline, but I was able to accomplish this during the boys’ nap time. Even though it took a lot of work to carve out that time on a regular basis, God always blessed me tenfold for doing so. I plan on continuing this habit through the fall and winter months and am so grateful I finally took steps to make this time with God a real priority.

3.  Teach Bug all of his letter sounds and begin teaching phonics.

Besides those pesky vowel sounds he has trouble with, I’d say this goal was accomplished! In fact, he was watching Super Why yesterday and actually read the word “hat.” I’m waiting to see if it was a fluke or a lucky guess, but we’ll be working on sounding out words in the meantime.

4. Teach Bear to walk.

Check-a-rooni. 🙂 He still crawls if he wants to get somewhere quickly, but he’s walking up a storm lately. It’s a cute little robot-looking walk, and he still gets tickled with himself when he walks a long distance. Cutie patootie.

5. Save X-amount towards a house downpayment.

We were able to save about 75% of my summer goal, which isn’t too shabby. That puts us at about 30% towards reaching our entire downpayment goal. We’ll be working hard at saving every penny we can through the fall and winter to hopefully get to our downpayment goal!

6. Lose 30 lbs.

Done and done. 🙂

7. Get Serwa Chic products stocked in a local store.

This is the only goal on which I wasn’t able to make much progress, but it’s also the goal at which I worked the least. I guess that’s fair. I’ll keep working at this and prayerfully looking at what steps I need to take next in order to grow my business in God’s timing.

For a couple of weeks now I’ve been thinking about what goals and plans I’d like to make for the fall and early winter season. I loved feeling like I had direction and purpose this summer, and I loved being able to easily focus my time and energy on my family’s (and my) needs. I’m certain you’re completely bored by my OCD-like list making, but I am planning on posting my fall goal list soon. If you ARE bored with my obsessive list making, you really should be glad you’re not in my house right now. I can see at least three different lists I’ve made – scratch that…four – just from where I’m sitting. I know it seems a bit much, but if you knew the chaos that swirls in my head, you’d understand how important it is that I have SOME kind of organizational system for said chaos.

Ha – I just found a fifth list. I’m thinking of making a list of all the lists I have going right now. Too much? Hmph.

goin’ to carolina in my mind

You know how sometimes you agree to something, but don’t actually ever think that “something” will materialize? And even though you’re taking steps to make that “something” happen, it kind of doesn’t hit you that it’s actually happening until you’re on the plane reading Marie Claire and realizing you’re going to see and hug people you haven’t seen or hugged in ten months in just a matter of hours?

No? Guess it’s just me then.

When our family first made the decision to move to Texas, one of the groups of people I was dreading telling most was my “Girls’ Night” girls. Five of us from Sunday School took one Tuesday evening a month to get together and have dinner – without the kids or husbands. For some of us, it was literally the only time we went out without children attached, and for all of us it helped provide some sanity to our week. And if you knew these girls, you’d know that me saying they gave me sanity is more than a little ironic.

In the moments, days, and even months after I told them we were moving we all talked around the idea of doing a Girls’ Weekend – a sort of retreat. “Definitely,” I said – pretty certain it would never actually happen.

But then we found ourselves deciding on dates and putting down a deposit on a cabin in the mountains. I found myself buying plane tickets, planning meet-ups, and writing up devotions. Without entirely realizing how I got there, I was shocked to look outside my plane window and realize that it was really happening.

I was traveling for the first time by myself since we’ve had kids, and I was away from my boys overnight for the first time since I’d given birth to Bear. I’m not sure if you realize this, but traveling without kids is a lot more restful than traveling with them. I didn’t pack any sippy cups, I didn’t pack any graham crackers, I didn’t have to get to the airport two hours early, and nobody shot me dirty looks because my child wouldn’t stop crying as we flew. Instead, I got through security easily, sat down at my gate, and read a magazine. From cover to cover. If you’re wondering what the latest fashion in eyebrows are this fall or how to look slimmer in photographs, I gotcha covered. I got up to use the restroom when I needed to, and I felt no need to change any last minute diapers or get any last minute sillies out.

Once the plane landed, I got to see the lovely sight of one of my small group girls (Brittany) picking me up. We hugged, cried a little, hugged some more, and chatted up a storm on our way back to Winston-Salem. She surprised me by driving me straight to Kernel Kustard – one of my favorite things to do in Winston ever! KK’s holds a lot of memories for me – even deciding on Bug’s name while listening to the music one summer. Several friends had gathered at Kernel Kustard’s to surprise me, and I was so excited to see not only several of my small group girls, but some good friends as well.

My girls decided they needed to be body guards and not allow me to go back to Texas:

Brittany, Sara, Me, Kayla, and Elizabeth:

After horking down an incredible cheeseburger and fries, the girls took me to a new frozen yogurt place I wanted to try. They have an insane amount of toppings, and if it included the word “chocolate,” I heaped it on. Yummm. Y. Once I was sufficiently stuffed to the gills, a few of my girls met me for a sleepover and we stayed up entirely too late talking – especially considering most of them had to get up before 6:30 for school. I can’t lie – I wouldn’t trade a moment of that time for anything in the world.

Since I knew I’d be available to hang out once I got back from the mountains, we didn’t do any emotional good-byes, and I set out with my friend Katie to get some coffee and good conversation. I actually stayed at Katie’s house while I was in Winston, but I knew I’d be hopping about trying to see everyone. I’m so glad we got that time to actually sit down and catch up before Lindsey picked me up to head to the mountains.

I have so much more I want to write about and photos I want to share, but it looks like Bear is waking up. Stay tuned to find out how the rest of my ‘going to carolina in my mind’ trip went!