Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Random Updates/Pictures

Thought I'd write about a few random happenings in the last week and a half....

Parker has been doing much better. After about five days on Prevacid, her screaming fits during and after feeding time seemed much improved. We even made a road trip to Lufkin on Saturday, and she didn't cry much at all! That day was a huge turning point for her. I still would say she's a pretty fussy baby...a different kind of experience than we had with our first baby, for sure! But she's coming around. The crying is getting less and less, and once the medicine started taking effect, she began to smile a bunch. I'm starting to have hope for her temperament! =)

The road trip mentioned was for my cousin Cory's little girls, Kate and Reese, who turned 6 and 2 this week. The kids, my parents, and I made the trip while Joel stayed home to play golf with some friends for his Father's Day gift. Jonah had a blast, jumping in inflatable bounce house things that they rented for the party. I could barely keep up with him. Thankfully, I didn't have to because since I had taken my parents with me for back-up! I'm a girl who always loves spending time with my family - just wish we saw those guys more often!

Jonah and Parker with all their cousins there:

The birthday girls with their adorable personalized birthday shirts:
Kate holding Parker:
Jonah was given the Better Batter baseball toy for his birthday, and we've been pleasantly surprised by his skills. This child had yet to show us any signs of athletic ability, which would be just fine. But he really picked up this baseball thing...he has a great swing, and he even naturally turn his hips just right when swinging. Who knew?! Of course, as of now, there's not a competitive bone in his body, so we'll see.

He'd been playing in the sprinklers, one of his all-time favorite activities, although it looks a little like we don't feed him:
My brother's family is coming for a visit next week, and we are just so excited. They'll be here Tuesday through Saturday, so we'll be spending as much time at my parents' with them as we can. Everyone except for me and Amy and the two little babies are going camping for one night. They'll have a great time. But I am not jealous, no I am not. Not one bit. Amy and I have plans to hire a baby-sitter one afternoon so we can go to the pool and lay out...alone! How wonderful. I am blessed with a great sister-in-law, and as much as I love having all our kids together, it will be nice to just spend some time without them. That probably has never happened before! I will be a sad girl if the weather doesn't cooperate with our plans. (But don't worry, Amy, I have back-up plans!)

There is a man from Lowe's here right now, working on assembling a birthday present Jonah received from Joel's mom: a swingset/fort for the backyard. It will take a few days, but we are really excited! While we have a great big shady backyard, we have pretty much had nothing for kids to play with. So we're working on making it more kid-friendly.

Our family vacation (with Joel's side of the family) had been planned for two years and was supposed to take place in a few weeks, but it recently got canceled. Not everyone is details-oriented; therefore, misunderstandings happen. And a big one did this time. We all had different dates scheduled, and now things can't be rescheduled. So no Sea World this summer. I'm mostly sad for Jonah. We had been talking a lot about feeding the dolphins. I was extremely disappointed about this turn of events when I found out, but I've just had to choose trust. It's obviously not supposed to happen at this time. I think instead, the four of us are going to spend a four-day weekend in the Dallas Metroplex and do some fun things like the Aquarium, maybe a baseball game if the Rangers are in town, and spend some time hanging out with close friends there. This woman needs some kind of vacation-like thing to do this summer! Oh yes, and I have some serious shopping goals for while we are there. I need some new clothes!

Jonah has been really sweet. We had one rough week...the one when Parker was the most high-maintenance with the reflux. He certainly was demanding much more attention than was physically possible for me to give him. To say I felt stretched is quite an understatement. But the only way to deal with that was to turn to the Lord for some supernatural help! And He's been showing me a lot of things about my parenting. I'll write about that soon.

My girlfriend Kelli is coming this Friday to meet Miss Parker, and I can hardly wait. We have lots of catching up to do, so hopefully the playset will be finished so we can throw our older kids outside to allow for better conversation between us. =)

Another of Jonah's birthday presents was a goldfish. After thinking through lots of potential names for his new pet, mostly from the Nemo movie, like Swordfish, Starfish, etc., he finally settled on the perfect fish name: Selfish. Yes, SELFISH. Can you tell what we've been talking about a lot at our house lately??? This boy is so hilarious. He just doesn't really know it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ok, Ok...I'll do it!

I've been tagged. And you know me - I love to write! So I pretty much answered each question in what should be their own separate blog entries. Sorry about the length. I wouldn't blame you for not reading it all. Really.

The inquisition...

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves
3. At the end of the post, the player tags 5-6 people, posts their names, then leaves a comment in their respective blogs to let them know they've been tagged.
4. Let the person who tagged you know that you posted your answers.


1. What were you doing 10 years ago? It was the summer before my senior year in h.s., and I was working part-time at a daycare and spending the rest of my time at the pool or baby-sitting. I had a great summer camp experience with my youth group in Mobile, Alabama. (I had a crush on the camp pastor and somehow ended up being the victim of relentless teasing about that from some of the adults that worked with our youth. That went on for years. The teasing, not the crush. Incidentally, I had crushes on several members of the camp staff the next year too. Guess it's not so weird that I ended up marrying a minister.) Between that camp and a leadership-oriented camp that I attended at Dallas Baptist University, I started to sense a passion to be involved in ministry. As a career, I mean. I'm still waiting to see how God unfolds that part of the plan. My family had a wonderful vacation in Destin that summer, I highlighted my hair for the first time and ended up doing the blond thing for quite a few years, I was a bridesmaid for the first time (in my cousin's wedding), and I had a horrible sense of style. My clothes were terrible. Just terrible.

2. What are 5 things on your to-do list today? 1.)Pick up stuff around the house. 2.) Laundry 3.) Call a friend to see if she's still interested in teaching a Bible study for us in the fall (I'm a co-coordinator for the women's Bible studies at our church) Realistically, I know nothing else will get done between breastfeeding and meeting other immediate needs of my children, so I'm not even putting any more on the list. I figure if my to-do list is shorter, I'll feel more productive. Even if I'm not doing anything. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

3. What are some snacks you enjoy? I love sweets too much. Passionate about snow cones. Chips and salsa are always a favorite, as are guacamole and spinach-artichoke dip. I eat a lot of Luna bars as well. Let's see...I can't think of anything else, mainly because I currently am putting into my mouth whatever edible thing I see. Nothing like nursing to make you want to eat all day long!

4. What would you do if you were a billionaire? Well, I hope that I would live in such a way that no one would even know I'd become a billionaire. But since I am not a billionaire and this is hypothetical, I'll go ahead and have my hypothetical "reward on earth" and tell you all of the good and noble things I'd do with my hypothetical money. =) There's always the paying off debt, tithing big, etc. stuff that everyone says. I'd do that. Then there are several causes that I've always wanted to be able to support financially in a much bigger way. One of those is Living Alternatives (a crisis-pregnancy center/maternity home for unwed mothers/adoption agency that I just LOVE) and other crisis pregnancy centers around the country. I'd give specifically to a lot of CPCs' need for more ultrasound equipment because I know that that is making a huge difference in a lot of places, enabling pregnant moms to see their yet-to-be-born child and helping them choose life for him/her instead of abortion. And there's so much great ministry happening at Living Alternatives in terms of heart and life change in the young unwed expecting mothers, helping them encounter Jesus rather than solely make a moral choice. I'd also want to give more to needy, starving, and AIDS-stricken people in Africa, and I'd like to be able to help support church plants in various locations that desperately need churches. As far as changes in our own family, I'd want to buy a cottage on the lake and move into that. My opinion is that with houses, bigger isn't better. But having a boat probably is. =) We'd want to have people over all the time, seeking to meet people's needs through various forms of hospitality. I think it would be great to have a vacation home too (in the mountains or on a beach) that we could offer to people in ministry to use for free as a retreat/time to get away with their families or spouses. I've heard of people doing that. I sure wish I knew some of those people. =) We'd take lots of great family vacations and travel all over the world. I'd adopt a child or two - IF my husband was in agreement with that one. (Please, Lord!!) I can't imagine what my Amazon bill would be because I know I'd buy a lot of books. Oh, and you need to know that with a bigger decorating budget, my cottage would be super cute! You'd want to come over and hang out!

5. What are 3 of your bad habits? My husband would say (And does. Often.) the biggest is my over-usage of the phrase "you know?" when in conversation. I guess it's annoying, but I say what's more annoying is needing to ask for affirmation when talking to someone instead of them just acknowledging on their own what you're saying to them. Not that I'm talking about us or anything. Another bad habit is that while I really enjoy for my house to be in order, my car is always a complete mess. I just can't seem to get it together there. In fact, every few months, either my husband or mom gets disgusted enough by it that they offer to clean it for me. And it's one of the most humbling things for someone to see inside my trashed out car and especially to let them clean it. Another one is that I'll start a project or task very enthusiastically and my passion will fade so quickly that I never quite complete it. I'm not a good finisher. And I talk too much. Um, can you tell??

6. What are 5 places you have lived? Tyler, TX; a bunch of places within the Dallas/Ft Worth Metroplex (but that just counts as one, I think); Bartlesville, OK. I spent an entire summer in England when I was 16, and I spent one month in Korea when I was 19. Technically didn't live there, but since I haven't lived in more than three places, I thought I'd include them (mission trips) just for fun.

7. What are 5 jobs you've had? in no particular order...Nanny/several childcare-related jobs; Administrative Assistant to the president of a Bank of America tax processing center (my LEAST favorite); Coordinator of Media Relations and Volunteer Activities for the Dallas County Republican Party (oh yes, I thought my world would be politics. But then I married Joel Lee. And that changed a few things. I'm glad it did.); Administrative Assistant to the Athletic Director at Dallas Baptist University (a very fun job that had great perks during baseball season); and my favorite so far (and I'm not just saying that)....stay-at-home mom. Or should I say "work-at-home"?

8. What is currently playing on your IPOD? This is going to make me sound real nerdy. Currently, I've replaced the music with some sermons from favorite pastors so that when I'm up during the night feeding Parker, something engages my brain enough for me to stay awake. And opportunities for learning are hard to come by during this season of life with a newborn, so I'm trying to get it wherever I can! At the moment, there's ones from Matt Chandler, Mark Driscoll, Rod MacIlvaine, and one is supposed to be from Thomas Thompson but it turned out to be a sermon preached by someone else at his church. Typically, the IPOD has music like Coldplay, Five for Fighting, and Nickelback.

9. What are the last 5-6 books you've read? See my sidebar for what I'm currently (still) reading. I've started so many at once that I can't remember the last ones I actually completed. Hmm...let's see...Keeping the Secrets of Jesus by David and Denise Glenn, Beyond the Masquerade by Julianna Slattery, Girl Talk by Jennifer Hatmaker, Living with Eeyore by Elizabeth Baker, Shepherding a Child's Heart (a re-read). I wouldn't recommend all of these. I'm sure missing's been a while. I think there's more but I can't think of anything right now.

10. Who do you want to tag? Kate, Christa, Shelly, Mary Lynne, Adrianne, Melody

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A True "Mom Moment"

There are experiences of motherhood in which you just cannot fake that it's glamorous. I had one of those experiences this morning. I feel compelled to share what may be a funny story one day. Just not today!

The day started off well. Any of you ministers' wives know what I'm talking about when I use the phrase "Sunday morning widow"; it can be quite tricky being responsible for you and your kids getting to church on time and alive, all by yourself. I don't know why it's harder on Sunday mornings when I do it almost every other day of the week by myself. Maybe it's because I attempt to have us look somewhat presentable for church, and that's a goal we don't even strive for anymore on other days. But on Sundays, we usually try a tad harder. Since I'm still well within the trial period of having two kids instead of one, my Sunday morning routine is still in an experimental phase. Haven't figured it out just yet. And we have yet to make it on time to church. Except for one Sunday. But that doesn't count because I wasn't showered. Mission remains unaccomplished. But today, we made it very close to start time, and things went remarkably well during the first hour at church. Parker was amazingly sweet during the church service, and we were able to stay in there the entire time. A whole service! She was either happily awake or she was asleep in my arms. It went perfectly smooth. I also decided to take a bottle for her at church today so that I could attempt to be present for more of church. If you know me at all, then you know being engaged in church is very important to me, and when I am unable to fully participate in it for weeks at a time, it really starts to wear me down. I just don't believe you can have abundant life without an abundant church life. But that's an entirely different soapbox that I'll refrain from getting on. Hopefully ever again. But you can imagine my delight in being able to soak up an entire hour of corporate worship, there with my precious baby girl in my arms and my husband by my side. It just does wonders for my outlook on life. After first service, I headed upstairs to our Bible study class, excited that I would be able to stay longer in class, thanks to the bottle I brought, and not have to leave to go nurse her. I was practically floating up the stairs. I felt so energized by the smoothness of the morning thus far. Surprised by it. But feeling pretty blessed. And quite confident actually.

And then in two seconds, everything changed.

(Now let me just say that I really don't embarrass easily. I guess when you do and say as many dumb things I do, you really get quite used to it and you tend to just be amused by your own wackiness. Embarrassment is just an emotion I rarely experience. But was different. What happened in class mortified me!!! Don't continue reading if talk of baby bodily functions grosses you out.)

As I was feeding Parker her bottle, she raised up and projectile spit-up like nothing you've ever seen. The class just stopped. Everyone stared. No one knew what to do. It was like time stood still. She has barely spit up at all in her life, so this was new. I wish I could describe to you how much it was. The sheer volume of spit-up and the distance it flew was both mesmerizing and completely disgusting. Within seconds of this, I looked down and saw yellow all over my black pants. Oh yes, she simultaneously had vomited like a crazy woman and graced me with a leaky poopy diaper. In my lap. My shirt was completely soaked with spit-up and my pants completely covered in poop. I am not exaggerating in the least. It was unbelievable.

The worst part was the reaction I sensed from most in the room. I could tell they were completely disgusted by it. It's not like this happened in a room full of other young moms. Oh, no. This class is mostly middle-aged and older, with just a few young families. Even if you're a parent or grandparent, you really don't enjoy seeing other babies' poop. I really thought a few people were going to throw up. A bunch of people had to look away. Sadly, Joel had not made it up to class yet, so I didn't have him to help right then. It was the most awkward moment ever. And I completely froze. I couldn't think of what I was supposed to do. I felt like if I moved, the puddles of my daughter's fluids would slide off my body and onto the floor, creating an even bigger mess. I don't know what happened. I tend to think of myself as a fairly competent mom in moments of chaos like that. But all that confidence has gone out the window this morning. Thank God for two men who jumped into action (after the initial shock and moment of silence that seemed to drag on forever) and grabbed some things to help me clean Parker and myself. If not for them, I think I might still be sitting there, paralyzed in my shock and sense of incapability. But thankfully, with help, I figured out how to pick her up, get our stuff, and quickly get out of there! I am pretty sure I won't be attending that class until she is old enough to go to the nursery (one more month!) for fear that our presence together in that class will only serve to remind people of an image that I'm pretty sure they are desperate to forget. Some of them couldn't even look me in the eye. And I'm not sure I can look them in theirs either for a while!

Joel saw us after we left the class and helped me change her....there was seriously poop all over her back, all the way up to the base of her neck. Changing her was quite the task. I finished feeding her, and she and I headed home as quickly as we could. I was starting to be able to smell the stink on myself.

(Side note: I also realized as we were leaving that my legs were woefully unshaven. And I was wearing cropped pants. Disgusting. Oh, to have a complete shower again one day!)

Ok, Lord....I get that this morning has been one big lesson on humility. Can we stop now??

Oh, this little girl and I have bonded. We've been through a lot together today. I'm still immensely thankful for the one hour we did get at church today without making a scene! I just love her so much.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Jonah's Three Now!

We had a fun time celebrating Jonah's birthday, full of thanks for the blessing of the past three years and his sweet little life thus far. I finally followed through with the intention I've had since he turned one to write a birthday letter to him every year on his birthday and put in a special journal for him to have one day. Sadly, his journal won't include his first two birthdays, no thanks to his procrastinating mom. But I finally did it this year, and boy did I have lots to say! I was going to post it on here, but I think I'll just save it for him. It was good to sit and purposefully reflect on the age Jonah is right now, what his strengths, personality, character, and quirks are and the glimpses I get to see of how God may use them. There were definitely some tears flowing as I wrote it. He's an amazing little guy; I can't believe I get to be his mommy.

The day began with Jonah blowing out candles on his waffles (yes, his waffles) and opening one of his presents from us. He was excited! He told me he wanted to tell someone he was three. Thankfully, several family members called him during the morning so he had someone to tell! It was so hard for him to wait until the evening for his party, which, by the way, included just us, my parents, and a couple of buddies. We kept it very small and low-key this year, mainly due to the timing of Parker's arrival, and it was so very perfect. I'm really happy we did it this way! It was so laid-back that I felt like we could enjoy our time and I wasn't consumed with "hosting" duties this time. I so loved that. We ate pizza and played at Chuck E. Cheese's, and he had a great time. We so appreciated the love shown to him by friends and family on his birthday!

There was such a large amount of enthusiasm among these three right at this moment, making a good photo where everyone was looking at the same time an impossibility:

Blake really enjoyed his cake:

Having lots of fun playing:

Brantley having a good time:

Don't exactly know why Jonah had his hands behind his head like that. So funny! He was relaxing on the ride:

Jonah with Gigi and Papa and the robotic Chuck E. that none of the kids cared for AT ALL. (Why did they pick such a creepy character to be the face of their restaurant??)

Aw, the family of four! (So sad. Left her bow at home that night.)

And yes, little sister has reflux. It's been hard to watch her in pain. Pray that this medicine helps her soon! It's been interesting....

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Our Life, this past week

This weekend, we enjoyed a visit from Joel's mom, sister, her husband, and our niece. Uncle Eric and Aunt Jen met Parker for the first time, although Jonah pretty much occupied them with "playing zoo" and reading books. It was a great visit that involved Dunkin Donuts, playing Spades, and opening birthday presents. Thanks, y'all! Parker graced them with her fussy presence for a lot of the time...she's showed symptoms this past weekend that have led us to think she may have reflux. It's been hard to wait all weekend to call the doctor. It's on the list for first thing in the morning. In the meantime, I'm sad watching her struggle through feedings, feeling obviously uncomfortable during and after. She's been much more relaxed today, and I think it's due to God answering prayers to help her until we can get to the doctor.

Parker Jane enjoyed her first "real" bath earlier in the week, and she decided she liked it. All of it except the getting out of the tub and drying off part. But what a cutie!

Earlier in the week, my cousin Lacey ("Aunt Lacey" to my kids) came for a visit and to meet Parker. Here they are:

Lacey just got engaged a few weeks ago, and she spent a couple days in town doing wedding planning stuff. And as her very NON-MATRONLY, MAID of Honor, I joined her for wedding dress shopping, and she found the dress that's the one. It's gorgeous. I'm resisting posting a picture. Of course, Lacey would be a pretty bride if she wore dirt, so it doesn't really matter what it looks like. But for the record, it's absolutely beautiful. She's the last of my cousins to get married, so this is the last big wedding in the family until all of the little ones grow up. So I'm having lots of fun with that. As a little girl, I obsessed over all things wedding-related. Seriously, I collected brides magazines for years and years. Back then, I thought it was such a treat to go to JCPenney and get their brides-specific catalog, so my mom would take me whenever a new one would come out. And I would pour over them for hours and hours. As a little girl, attending a wedding was always the highlight of the year. I think I had caught three bouquets before the age of 14. So you know I'm not exagerrating when I say obsessed. And I was blessed to have a girl cousin that I could bring into my wedding world too. As children, Lacey and I spent who knows how many hours discussing our future weddings. (Actually, when I visited her last January, we talked weddings. Mostly about others' weddings. And a little about the wedding she would likely have one day. So we have never really grown out of it.) And here we are...she's really getting married. I loved planning my wedding, but when it's your own, you're pretty much just ready to get married! Some of the obsessing took a backseat, with my own wedding. So this is fun, experiencing this with her. I'm sure you'll get lots of wedding-related posts during the next year. The date is March 2009.

While we were at David's Bridal on Tuesday, for some reason I had this strong urge to try tiaras on my daughter's head. Don't ask me why. Needless to say, she wasn't in a very princess-y kind of mood:

I just said good-night to my son, and I'm a little sad that it's the last time I'll see his sweet two-year old face. Tomorrow, he's three! I'm sure I'll be an emotional basketcase this week!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Parker Love