>> Monday, March 30, 2009

We knew it would happen. He would become mobile. And so he has. And with that has come a renewed mommy-vigilance. No more running quickly downstairs to let the dog out or switch the laundry. Caden is a man on the move and must be watched. And although he has yet to truly try the stairs, the boy is drawn like a magnet to all things that belong to the dog. Out of the millions of toys on the floor, he chooses the dog bone/ball/toys to put in his mouth. And as you can see in this video, the boy will not leave the dog food alone! He will crawl across the length of our townhouse just to get his fingers in it. Drawn to it... like a dog food magnet.

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Margin, What Margin?

Spring is coming, right? I think it was here for maybe a day or two but decided to hit the snooze button and hide for a few more weeks. We had SNOW this morning, people!!! What in the world!! It's the end of March!!!
While this brutal winter is getting in one last punch (hopefully only one), I have been busily getting ready for all that spring will hold. Birthdays, Easter, preschool applications, French Market preparations, etc... So although I haven't been present here much this week, but I have been a busy little bee. Nothing new around here. And although I talk a big talk about needing more margin, I am hard at work on a new project that I can't wait to announce. I'm just not quite ready yet....
But it is cool, oh so cool! At least I think so! :)

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No Nasty Chemicals

>> Friday, March 27, 2009

A few months ago, I attended a party sponsored by a popular cleaning products company. One of the perks of the party was that in exchange for our old cleaning products, we left there with a bag of party-swag: a variety of non-toxic cleansers and the such. Now, I am a girl who loves her freebies, but this particular swag was right up my alley. The nurse in me wants my house and clothes and boys clean and sanitized and as germ-free as possible. But the mom in me doesn't want to use anything around my family that might possibly do more harm than good. I had officially been bitten by the "green-cleanser bug."

So imagine my thrill to find another source for my eco/family-friendly products fix. Eco Store is this awesome website where you too can get your fill of chemical-free cleansers, soap, shampoo, detergents... You name it, they make it. And they make it with all natural ingredients that are actually good for you and your home.
So far I have tried their laundry whitener, baby shampoo and their dog shampoo. I can't think of a single thing I don't like about any of the three. We added a scoop of the laundry whitener to a load of whites and it made the clothes smell super-fresh. I think is was the citrus oil that they add. Per their instructions, I added a scoop to a bucket of water and let some of Caden's clothes soak. The baby-poop stains came remarkably clean.
Their baby bath as a lovely lavender scent and the puppy wash was really nice too. My pup never smelled so good! :)
But beyond the nice smell and good results, I know that I am not exposing my house or my family to any unneccesary toxic chemicals. And I can feel good about that. I have already ordered some other products to try.

Check out their website. They have a couple fun videos and a ton of information about why it is important to use "green" products in our home and on our skin.
With EcoStore, you know you are getting a reasonably priced, safe product that will not only work well but will also be good for the planet and your family. You gotta love it!

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Out of the Mouths of Babes

>> Thursday, March 26, 2009

Just before New Years, I read several posts about people doing annual interviews with their kids. There has also recently been something similar going around Facebook. When I initially saw this idea, I thought it would be a great thing to do with the boys on their birthdays and record their answers every year. These are Lucas' answers from this year. Each answer is exactly as he said it- whether it makes sense or not. Some are silly and nonsensical and some answers are tender and very sweet. I guess that is fitting for my goofy, imaginative and yet very loving little boy! Enjoy and I hope it makes you smile.


  • cereal- cheerios
  • vegetable- fruit
  • drink- apple juice
  • toy- Cars, the ones with eyes
  • TV Show- Cars Movie
  • game- Candy Land
  • book- Cars is my favorite book (are you seeing a theme around here?)
  • restaurant- McDonalds (uh-oh...)
  • holiday- getting groceries (umm, SO not a holiday, but that is what he said even after I explained what a holiday was)
  • animal- giraffes

If you could change your name, what would you choose? L-U-C-A-S

What do you love about each person in our family? Daddy-his work, Caden-he's so giggly, Hadley-he's a puppa puppa, Mommy- how you love me so much

Where would you like to go on vacation this year? Florida

What are some of your wishes for this year? a brush so I can brush a goat (We recently went to the zoo where he got to brush a goat and he thought that was super cool)

And here are his 3yr. old thoughts on Mommy.... oh, boy.....

1. What is something mom always says to you? "Come here"
2. What makes mom happy? Me cleaning up my toys
3. What makes mom sad? Hitting you, Mommy
4. How does mom make you laugh? Little giggles
5. What was your mom like as a child? I don't know, I wasn't born yet (He's got me there)
6. How old is your mom? 2years months
7. How tall is your mom? Big enough to carry a whole ark (Wow, that IS big!)
8. What is her favorite thing to do? Play with blocks
9. What does your mom do when you're not around? I don't know, I'm not here. (He's got me there too.)
10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? I don't know, mommy, you're not famous (So true...)
11. What is your mom really good at? trying shoes on (huh? I don't think have bought a new pair of shoes in a REALLY long time. Not for myself anyway)
12. What is your mom not very good at? getting things out of stuff- like play doh and rocket ships
13. What does your mom do for a job? Go help people at the hospital (I'm a nurse part-time :) )
14.What is your mom's favorite food? Sausage (only if found in gravy and served over biscuits)
15.What makes you proud of your mom? Helping me clean up my toys
16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be? A truck
17. What do you and your mom do together? play with cars (yup, in fact we are doing it right now!)
18. How are you and your mom the same? me and you are best friends
19. How are you and your mom different? trying on shoes (again, huh?)
20. How do you know your mom loves you? SO MUCH!! Same as me! (points back to mommy)
21. What does your mom like most about your dad? hugging each other
22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go? to the fairy place. Do you like to go to the fairy place, Mommy? You know, where all the fairies live and they sleep and they eat their oatmeal.
Is there anything else you want to say that I can write here? It is all about me, going on the potty. That is what it is all about. You can write that, Mommy.

Did you smile? I love seeing his perspective on his world. I think we'll try to do this every year and see how the answers evolve. My sweet little man!

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My Little Love

>> Sunday, March 22, 2009

Three years ago tonight, I sat at dinner with Hubby and my parents, a nervous wreck about what would happen the next day. I was terrified, anxious, and yet so very excited. I was about to meet my son!! And once we met, there was no parting us from there. :)
He is my Lucas, my little love. His smile melts through all the frustration and fatigue that he leaves in his wake. I love watching him read a book or do a puzzle, his little mind working at mach speed. I love hearing the elaborate stories he creates in his head, his imagination taking him to the moon and back with all kinds of adventure along the way.
I wish I could spend the whole day with him cuddled up next to me, reading stories or watching a movie. He is his mama's boy and I adore him too. I love to kiss his sweet head as he sleeps or sneak in a hug as he runs past. For months I have been telling him that he gives the greatest bear hugs (he really does!). Now, he will come up to me and say "Mommy, do you need a hug? I give really great bear hugs!"
We have come a long way from the day we first met. Long nights walking with him in the sling to get him back to sleep, early morning wake up calls 'cuz he just can't wait to be back on the go. Hours of playing trains and cars and making up distinct noises for each one. Adventures with dinos and pirates and animal parades. Exhausting days of role playing and book reading and art projects. But I really wouldn't have it any other way.
With every day that goes by, he is becoming less and less my little baby and more a little man. He has such a tender soul, imaginative mind, loving heart. He does all things full speed. He plays fully, argues fully, disobeys fully, and yet loves his mama fully too. But as big as he is, he still loves to crawl up in mama's lap or hold my hand as I sit by his bed helping him ease into sleep. Just today, he was laying on the couch watching Peter Pan. I came and sat near him and he grabbed my arm and said "Thanks for watching this with me, Mommy. You can rub my legs, if you want to." And I do.
My heart smiles when I hear him learning memory verses and talk about how much he loves God or that God healed the "boo-boo on his toe." He expresses love for each of his brothers and his friends and mama and daddy too. He is stubborn and strong-willed and at times precocious. And yet so tender and insightful and my heart on the outside.

Happy 3rd Birthday, my Precious Lucas, my Little Love!! You are the evidence of God's mercy and love to me.

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It can only go up from here (AKA- my pseudo-Lenten reflection)

>> Friday, March 20, 2009

We are going on hour 19 of 24 of Hubby's crazy work day which started at noon yesterday and will end around noon today. But this is really hour 24 of 34 that I am playing single mom starting with Lucas' early wake up yesterday (Hubby slept in to gear up for his crazy day/night). My relief will come when Hubby wakes up around 5ish from the power nap he will need when he finally comes home. Yesterday was fine, even good. We had a fun morning, good naps, an outing and dinner with some friends. Lucas even went to bed with little drama. Some friends came over to hang out and have some wine/chocolate therapy. I felt pretty good about my energy level and patience. Honestly, I think I do better with my parenting sometimes when Hubby is gone because I have no expectation of having help. So I set more manageable goals and just take things in stride. I was actually having a lot of fun with my boys.

Was. Until around 11pm. Caden woke up, snotty and more clingy than ever. I got him back to sleep around midnight in time to see Hubby for a few minutes when he came home to shower and then turn right back around and leave. I laid down and got about 20min. of sleep before my snotty baby woke up. From there it was an endless cycle of "I want to nurse-but I can't breathe-so I'll just cry- which makes me want to nurse-..." I'm sure you've been there. We tried the steamy shower, sitting up, all the old tricks. I think we both got some sleep, but not enough as we both woke up cranky and very tired. Top that off with some old-fashioned toddler defiance and disobedience at 6:30am and you have a mama who is nearing the end of her limits. Anytime you have both a spanking for direct defiance and a timeout for general disobedience and excessive whining before 7am after a sleepless night with a sick baby, the day can't go anywhere but up. Right? At least Lucas is acting better after our mother-son heart-to-heart. I just told him that neither of us would survive a day that continued to look this way. He could probably see in my face that I really wasn't kidding.

After that, I picked up my hysterical 7month old and turned on some music on Comcast to change the mood. The second song to play was this one , then this one (neither of which I hadn't heard since high school). But it was just what I needed to get my head back in the game, get my eyes off myself and my seemingly-rough morning.

"We believe in God, and we all need Jesus. 'Cuz life is hard, and it might not get easier..."

"Make my life a prayer to you, I want to do what you want me to."

"I want to thank you now, for being patient with me. Oh, it's so hard to see when my eyes are on me."

I have been meaning to sit down and write an intentional post about my Lenten reflections. But this pretty well sums it up. After reading a post from a friend about proper perspective and then hearing these songs, I am realizing that this is truly how my heart feels. The fatigue and frustration with the clinginess and naughtiness and ridiculous whining are NOT the true state of my heart. At least I hope not. The emotion that pours out when I hear such songs and let those words roll off my tongue and out of my heart- that indicates to me that that is what is true.

It is so easy for me to get caught up in the "hard-ness" of the moment or the day. And then moments like this hit when I can brush away the fog and see things clearly, even if it is just for this moment. I do believe in God, and I do need Jesus. Because life really is hard and I really do want to do what He wants me to. And sometimes it takes being at the edge of my limits to force me to take my eyes off me. This is exactly what Lent is supposed to be- a time to strip away those things that we lean on, depend on, crave and replace them with the truth that we all need Jesus.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about which preschool to send Lucas to in order to shape his little soul and what activities I should put together to teach him about the truth of Lent and Easter. But in this moment I would really just like to teach him the truth I can see and feel right now- that we all strive for perfection and to be able to do things well. But in the end, all that we need to know is that "we believe in God and we ALL need Jesus." You may think that is over-simplifying it. But if I can teach my boys that, than even if I choose the wrong preschool or slack on cutting felt symbols or lose my cool before 7am, than I might still be doing ok. If I can teach myself that...

Today has not started well and I have a long way to go before help comes, and yet He is here. And I am tired and the boys are both a bit cranky, but He is here.

Lord, help me to strip away my pride and self-reliance and narrow focus and fix my eyes upward on You. Life may seem hard, but You are here.

I believe in God, and I need Jesus. Simple. True. Things are looking up already.

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It's Just Preschool... Right?

>> Thursday, March 19, 2009

We have been on a journey around here lately... o.k., more than one. But the one I am stressing about right now is the preschool journey. Which one? Which type? How much can we afford? What is important? How do I judge them against each other? Blah, blah, blah.... My mind is officially muddled and I seem to be incapable of making any decision much less the right one. I have made charts, talked it over with hubby and my parents and my friends,... We are getting closer to a decision, I think. Who would have thought this decision would be SO TOUGH?!?!

I am talking more about this journey over here today. Any words of wisdom/encouragement are much appreciated. Maybe you can help me clear the fog so that the perfect preschool path becomes clear... 'cuz right now it is clear as mud!

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>> Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My days are full. Work, laundry, dishes, cooking, playdates, planning, stories, puzzles, errands, sewing...

My mind is full. Marriage, motherhood, should I work more, what preschool, am I doing enough, am I doing too much, ...
My arms are full. Lucas, Caden, Hadley, Hubby. My loves, my heart.
My heart is full.
My life is full.

And yet, I sometimes feel so lonely and even a bit empty. Am I the only one?

I am entering a hard season. Reflective. Longing.
I am trying to make life the best possible for all my boys, and myself too.
I am trying to love fully, making that the task that truly fills my days.

Yes, life is full and sometimes really hard. But also really great. And full.

P.S.~ I am sorry for my bloggy-slackerness of late. I will try to get better. I am trying to keep my priorities straight, and keep sleep as one of my priorities. :)

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Lucky Number Seven

>> Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My baby is seven months old today!! And becoming less and less "baby" by the day. He is starting to crawl and pull up and demand his way. How did that happen?! And although I am by NO means wishing the days away (this is probably my last baby so I want the cherish each moment and each stage), I am hoping that month seven will be the lucky one. Lucky... as in, the month we learn to fall asleep without nursing, sleep through most of the night, be content away from mom for more than 5min... You get the idea. :) I do LOVE the cuddles and tender moments. I love that he tries to chew on my cheeks and my chin and pulls me close to him as if he never wants us to part. I may want a few moments to myself, but mostly the feeling is mutual! I don't want the spirit of these days to end. I am cherishing these moments where Caden is never happier than cuddled up with Mama. I know this won't last forever.
So, my little CLB, my "chubber-chubs," "muncher-munch," "little monkey"... I LOVE YOU! I will sacrifice time alone to have you close anyday! I am one lucky mom!
Day 2- Aug '08
1 month- Sept. '08
2 months- Oct. '08
3 months- Nov. '08
4 months- Dec. '08
5 months- Jan. '09
6 months- Feb. '09
7 months- Mar. '09and one to grow on... (isn't he just so stinkin' cute!!)

For more Wordful Wednesday, visit Angie @ Seven Clown Circus

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Soak in the Sun

>> Monday, March 9, 2009

We just got home from Florida tonight, and after another long day of traveling (not nearly as chaotic as last time) this Mama is ready for bed! But, I did want to share a few of my favorite shots from our week in the sun. I would love to share more about our trip soon, but for now I gotta get some sleep. I have to work in the morning! :) I hope you enjoy the pics. Try to feel the warm rays of sunshine and the 60degree temps... I know I am!

Lucas playing in the sand with Mimi (my mom)- that is one sand-lovin' boy (just like his Mama!) Caden actually loved the sand too. He just sat in it and let it run through his hands.
A walk on the beach with Pa (my dad)- my boys adore their Pa, and the feeling is quite mutual!
Me and the boys at the AirForce Armament Museum- Lucas loved seeing all the different airplanes, especially the ones his Pa used to fly.
Lucas pulling Caden in the wagon- Caden LOVED the wagon and didn't want to get out. And Lucas thought he was the coolest, pulling his little brother around the yard- SUPER CUTE!!
I buried both boys in the sand, and as you can see, they both loved it!! That's my boys!!A sunset walk- precious time with Pa!Looking for shells with Mimi- a beach tradition

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Limits, positive thoughts and a gay intervention

>> Thursday, March 5, 2009

What are "the things Farrah needs according to Google"?

I saw this fun meme on my friend Kim's blog and my curiosity got the better of me. I just had to try it. The results are freakin' hilarious!!
Google your name and "needs" in quotes and see what comes up. I am not making these up, y'all. This is truly what the Google-gods have spoken. You gotta try it for yourself. Here are mine:

1. Farrah needs life saving surgery (Farrah Fawcet did, but I don't. Not that I know of....)
2. Farrah needs to pick up and run far away. (oh, so true some days...)
3. Farrah needs money to keep her piece going on. (I don't know what my "piece" is, but some money to help me go on would be nice!)
4. Farrah needs to cowboy up and set some damn limits. (I swear that is what Google said... how does Google know about my margin issues?)
5. Farrah needs positive thoughts and words, not negative nonsense. (Amen!!)
6. Farrah needs a real man that's going to treat her with respect and honor. (I think Hubby does pretty well at this already, most of the time! :) )
7. Farrah needs to grow a backbone. (Probably true...)
8. Farrah needs to distance herself from these losers. (Not any of you of course... I am not sure what losers I need distance from but I'm sure there are some out there.)
9. Farrah needs to find a bathroom. (Actually, I'm good for the moment.)
10. Farrah needs a gay intervention. ( Again, I swear it said that!! LOL!! I didn't think my fashion choices were that bad!)

If you succumb to the curiosity, comment here and let me know what your results were. I am off to try it with Hubby's name. Maybe his results will be equally enlightening! :)

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Puppy Love Slings

>> Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Here's proof that sling lovin' is not just for babies... puppies love it too! Lucas has always loved to carry his little puppy or his truck or whatever in his little doll sling. I love that he thinks wearing someone/something in the sling is a sign of affection- that it is the natural outflow of a desire to have that thing close and to nurture it. He's right! And I love that he "gets" that.

My Beagle pup Hadley has always loved to be held. It could be because I truly babied him when he was a puppy. It was healing for me to have something to nurture after my first son died. But that has left me with a very mommy-lovin' pup. I don't really wear him in the sling. But every now and then, I like to put him in just for fun. Believe it or not I have sold a few for people to use for their dogs. I can't say that I blame them... it is cozy! :)

So here you have it.... puppies in slings!! Gotta love it!!

Happy Wordful Wednesday!
For more WW fun, visit Angie at Seven Clown Circus.

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Weary Travelers

>> Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My boys and I are in Florida!! Hooray!! It is nice to be here with my parents and my sister and have a little respite from the brutal Chicago winter weather. And while I am super glad to be here, the getting here was a bit rough. Maybe it was the delayed flights or missed connections or the lost bags that made the day so long and exhausting. Or it was the MAJOR poop blowout at 30,000ft and turbulent flight with a frightened toddler (and Mama) and sitting in the bulkhead seats so we couldn't have our bags with snacks and entertainment and diapers/change of clothes to deal with the poop now covering EVERYTHING!! It could have been trying to get my bag out of the overhead to deal with said poop with Caden in the sling and Lucas crying that it is too loud and he just wants to land and dropping my bag on the head of the unfortunate man sitting next to us. Maybe the exhausting part was running with boys and stroller and bags through Dallas airport to try and make our connection and Lucas almost getting left on the train to the next terminal because he was not holding onto the stroller like I asked him and the doors closed crazy-fast! (Had a kind lady not held the door open with her foot and gently shoved Lucas out the door, he would have been well on his was to Terminal D without me.) Oh, well.... put it all together and you have one exhausted mama and two exhausted boys. Lucas even fell asleep watching a DVD on our second flight (which was turbulance and poop-free, thank heavens!!) . That is just how tired we all were.

But now we are here... and ready to soak in the sun!! This mama needs a little beach therapy.

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