Monthly Archives: November 2013

Lucy Lately

lucy lately

Me: “Hey, Lulu, what are you doing with all that hay?”
Lucy: “I’m celebrating.”
Me: “Okay. What are you celebrating?”
Lucy: “My birthday.”
Me: “So you want a hay birthday instead of an Angelina Ballerina birthday party?”
Lucy: “Um, no. This is my hay birthday. My pretend hay birthday. That’s all.”

Lucy: “Mom I made a dream last night and it wasn’t scary! It was about iPhones and they had games on them and you let me play them!” [Keep dreamin’, kid.]

[Right this minute]
Lucy: “Hey you wrote Lucy up there.”
Me: “Yes, I did.”
Lucy: “Did you also write water bottle?”
Me: “No.”
Lucy: “Are you writing something about me?”
Me: “Yes. Because you say funny things.”
Lucy: “Can I watch Handy Manny now? The one where he goes to the airport.”

We were at the playground last week and she introduced herself to a few girls her age. They were playing tag and when they switched to “Ring around the Rosie” Landon wanted to join in. But, you know, he doesn’t have any words and he’s a boy. As soon as she sees him standing outside the circle she yells, “Everybody stop! That’s my brudder and he wants to play too.” And then I cried. Seriously. Right there on the playground bench.

[Singing in the back of the van.]
Lucy: “Oh oh oh, you’re my mom. And you’re so big. Oh oh oh. And you keep getting bigger. And you’re my mom.”

Lucy: “Mom, how do you show my friends the pictures I ask you to take?”
Me: “Uh, I put them on the internet…”
Lucy: “Yeah, but how do they see them?”
Me: “Well, I usually put them on Facebook and their moms probably show them.”
Lucy: “Well, how do you take them?”
Me: “Um, there’s this app called Instagram.”
Lucy: “And it let’s you take pictures?”
Me: “Yes.”
Lucy: “Does it make a noise when you push the button?”
Me: “Actually, yes it does.”
Lucy: “And then you send them to the place to show Cassie’s mom?”
Me: “Yeees…”
Lucy: “Okay.”

[Standing on two HotWheels tracks, holding two more as poles.]
Lucy: “I’m trying to ski.”
Me: “Yeah, I see that.”
Lucy: “But I’m not going very fast.”
Me: “I’m sorry.”
Lucy: “I’m just gonna give up.”

[This one is still making me laugh so I’ll include it again.]
So Lucy threw up a few times last night. But the worst part was that she kept apologizing for it and breaking my heart. She seems totally fine otherwise, it’s sort of strange. But as she’s laying in my bed this morning she says, ” There’s no food in my belly [pat, pat] because last night I had a lot of mouth accidents.”

[Looking at the new tile floor Chuck laid in a brick pattern.]
Lucy: “Oooooooooh Mom, you guys made me a hopscotch board to dance on. Oh thank you, thank you, thank you.”

[Balancing pillows on top of each other of the floor.]
Lucy: “Buddy, back up! You’ll ruin my masterpiece!”

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Let’s “Do” Christmas!

Has anyone ever asked you, “How do you guys do Christmas?” Between family traditions, gift budgets, and the like Christmas looks a little different at everyone’s house. So I thought it would be fun to share how we’re celebrating the season at our house this year.

advent reading calendar | hey, beth baker!

Last year we tried one of those craft an ornament and read a Bible story a day advent calendars and failed at it. Lucy was a little too young and [honestly] the ornaments were a little too ugly for me to get excited about. I’d spent about $15 on the various craft supplies required so I was a bit annoyed to admit we were advent drop outs before mid-December.

This year we’re trying something a little different. I’ve been scouring the thrift stores and used book sales [as well as raiding our own bookshelves] and I found 24 [because we’ll be reading the story of Jesus’ birth on Christmas morning] books that are either Christmas related or have a lesson I’d like the kids to be reminded of this time of year. Each morning we’ll open a book and read it, then we’ll perform the “activity” listed on the tag. I was able to find some amazing book bargains at the thrift stores, so it took less than $5 to have enough books to wrap. Here’s our booklist:

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Where is Baby’s Christmas Present by Karen Katz
I Spy: Christmas by Jean Marzollo
A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz
Jingle The Christmas Clown by Tomie dePaola
Dream Big, Little Pig! by Kristi Yamaguchi
The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Wake Up Bear, It’s Christmas! by Stephen Gammell
Arthur’s Christmas by Marc Brown
Tiny the Snow Dog by Cari Meister
Corduroy’s Christmas Surprise by Don Freeman
Madeline’s Christmas by Ludwig Bemelmans
If You Take A Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff
A Very Mater Christmas by Frank Berrios
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Rick Bunsen
Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats
Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs
Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman
Corduroy by Don Freeman
The Berenstain Bears Get The Gimmes by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Little Shephard’s Christmas by Carol Heyer
Moosletoe by Margie Palatini
Christmas Time Is Here [Little People book] by Ellen Weiss
Muddypaws’ First Christmas by Moira Butterfield

I made some of the activities a little easier since I’ll be in the hospital having a baby [!!] and miss a few of them. Though, thankfully, Mimi has generously volunteered to keep the advent spirit going in my absence. Here’s our activity list [geared towards a 2 and 4 year old]:
Go ice skating.
Go see our neighborhood Santa.
Bake cookies.
Read the story of Jesus’ birth.
Help mama clean.
Make Christmas decorations.
Make a birthday cake for Jesus.
Sing Christmas songs [x2].
Make bookmarks for grandparents.
Take a nature walk.
Make a living wreath.
Watch a Christmas movie [x2].
Make coffee filter snowflakes.
Make a garland for Cohen.
Make hot chocolate.
Deliver cookies [and visit with] elderly neighbors.
Make ornaments.
Make cards for small group.
Lucy’s birthday party.
Church Christmas party.
Make decorations for little tree.
Color Christmas tags.

Handmade Christmas: Advent Calendar

We’ll be counting down the days with the handmade advent calendar we made last year [because those kiddos sure do need a visual representation of time passing!].

Another tradition we’re starting this year is the idea of three gifts for each kid. I got this idea from my friend Melonnie and I just think it’s so smart. And it’s totally going to work for our family. In the past I’ve filled the bottom of the tree with random presents bought on super sale throughout the year. There were a lot of presents. I mean, a lot. But they were less than meaningful. I felt like I was just seeking out a “deal”. This year, perhaps because the kids are a little older and actually requesting specific things, the three gift rule makes sense. To give you an idea of what I mean, Lucy’s getting a tub of Legos [1]. There are a couple different sets we’ll be giving her but I found the tub at a rummage sale over the summer and bought it knowing the kids would eventually want it. A few months ago, Lucy began specifically asking for them so I found a couple more sets on sale [like the princess starter set that’s geared towards 4-7 year olds] and scooped them up for a steal. So Christmas morning she’ll get a big tub of Lego building goodness, some of them well-loved and some of them new. She’s also getting a special doll [2]. Not an American Girl doll [again, she’ll be four] but the Target Our Generation version and a few outfits to dress her in. I’ve been holding on to this doll for a while. I bought it because it was on clearance, but waited to give it to her until I felt like she could appreciate it and take care of it [read: not immediately undress her and frizz up her hair]. I think she’s ready and I think she’s going to go nuts! And lastly, she picked out for herself the Melissa and Doug Felt Sandwich Set [3]. She’s really into taking orders for her play kitchen right now, so I can see the appeal of a set that gives her options for her “customers”. It’s a little funny to me that she requested it and went with me to pick it out but she’s a gal who knows what she wants. :) So it’s not that she’s getting three items exactly, but three sets I guess.

Knowing I wanted three gifts for each kid made it seem “fair” and a little bit easier to narrow down what to give them. Because, you know, Christmas is totally not about giving my kids gifts. :)

christmas | hey, beth baker!
[Oh my goodness, look at the mantle with the two lonely stockings. And, seriously how have I not taken a mantle picture more recently. Kids.Change.Everything. :)]

L&C’s Shared Boys’ Room

It didn’t take us long after Landon was born to realize sharing a room with Lucy just wouldn’t be an option. They were too close in age, and she was not ready to be flexible with someone else in her space. So over Chuck’s spring break, we took on the biggest home improvement project ever and set it up so they could have separate spaces. I shared his adventure room here.

Adding baby #3 to the mix, thankfully, doesn’t feel like as much of a logistical challenge. In fact, setting up Landon’s room to be a shared room felt nearly effortless. Like there’s supposed to be two little boys in there. And that is a wonderful feeling.

We didn’t have a budget for this room. Unless “try not to spend anything” is a budget. All told we spent $28. $12 for shelves and brackets at IKEA, $15 for the book sling supplies, and $1 for the green bookcase at a rummage sale.

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The room has a green, brown, and grey colored theme. It is separated into a big guy and little guy space with a table in the middle for building, creating, stacking, and general little boy mischief. We bought the shelves and brackets at IKEA last time we were visiting my family. We spray painted the brackets a grey to mute them a bit and make the maps I mod podged on the bottom of the shelves stand out more. I love how the shelves turned out. I didn’t put any maps on the top of the shelves since they’re high enough up that you can’t really see them. I cut out 5×7 pieces from the maps and folded them to make the airplane pennant and the other planes are held to the wall by that magic blue tape.

The book sling was inspired by this tutorial and some friends who have already made them. Things got a little hairy when Chuck went to hang it because there was no way to get the brackets on studs and centered under the shelves. The solution was to go for the studs [because it’s a little boys’ room…] and I sewed the sling to try to hide the fact that there’s 6.5 inches of dowel on one side and 9 on the other. I think it worked out. That fabric is actually the last I have from the single panel I used to make my kitchen curtains. It’s from the Threshold line at Target and  I am a big, big fan.

I picked up that green bookcase at the end of the bed at a rummage sale this summer. I had planned on using it the way it was intended [three cubes stacked high] but had some kind of stroke of luck to realize it was super solid and could be put on it’s side. That way nobody’s pulling a super heavy bookshelf on top of themselves [Do other people worry about that or do I just have super strength monkeys?]. I didn’t even repaint the shelf. It just sort of was magically a color that totally worked in the room. Crazy.

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Over the toddler bed we kept the dino art we had and made it into a grouping. There used to be a desk on that wall and when we put the bed there it was weird that the art wasn’t centered over the bed. To make the map I just used some mod podge to seal it over some foam core. Not something I would recommend. The foam core seemed to shrink a little when everything was dry so the edges don’t like to stay close to the wall. I used some picture hanging wire to hang the plane over the front of the map so in the summer when the ceiling fan is running it bounces up and down. The little clipboard was something we’d bought at Dollar Tree a while back. We picked the ivy leaf from our front yard and I sealed it with mod podge [yeah, I use a lot of mod podge]. When it was dry I let it hang out in a thick book [Harry Potter 7, if you were wondering] until I remembered it a few weeks later.

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This little guy has actually stayed the same. I’m not sure how it will work for the folded clothes of two boys but I’m going to go the “not something to worry about right now” route with that one.

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The closet got a nice overhaul to try to make it more organized for two boys. It’s nice because it extends beyond where you can see for a foot or so. I love the idea of having shelves or furniture in the room.

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Here’s the little guy side. The side of the crib has an organizer full of our musical instruments. I made the crib skirt to keep all of our trucks and cars hidden. The leaf art was from Michael’s when we were setting up Landon’s room. I took a canvas the kids had used a few times and spraypainted it green. I wrapped it in twine and then printed the scripture from Joshua 1:9 on the manilla paper [I just cut it down to the size of printer paper and sent it through]. I love how it turned out and the verse has some special meaning to Chuck so I love that it’s hanging up over the heads of his boys.

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Speaking of that awesome husband of mine, he’s also responsible for this amazing table. The top was wood we had leftover from the bench we built into the kitchen and the “legs” are actually wood and steel frames he rescued from a dumpster. We already had the stain so this project cost us $0. I put rubber shelf liner on the bottoms of the frames so they wouldn’t scratch the floor if someone happened to move the table. I love the window over the table. I think it might be my favorite view. Especially right now with every color of fall adorning the leaves of our great, big gumball tree. That Lego Duplo storage fire truck was a steal at a thrift store for $8! And it was filled with Duplo blocks! I know! They play with those every day so we keep them handy.

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Thanks for letting me share the boys’ room! It’s honestly one of my favorite rooms in the house and you’ll catch up hanging out in there most afternoons. And maybe one day I’ll stop smiling when I say “boys'”… but come on, how great are brothers!?

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Sticky Applesauce and Beer Froth

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Today I was sitting at the table while the kids enjoyed their mid-morning snack. Landon had occupational therapy this morning and he’d shown his “iron will” as the therapist put it. His perfect little face was still puffy from the tears he’d shed in his stubbornness. And it just reminded me of growth in my own life. That when I fight it and try to push against it with my stubborn will, I’m the one left with the scars. It’s a sweet relief to let go and surrender my will to God’s. To give up not only the things of this world but my pursuit of them. To trust that He knows my abilities and limitations and will not push me beyond what I can do [through His strength]. Landon’s therapist actually said, “It’s not about breaking his will, it’s about him acknowledging that you have expectations for him.”

It was hard for Lucy to watch Landon work with his therapist. He was upset and she wanted to “fix” it. She tried to give him her water bottle [“Buddy, I’ll even let you drink out of my pink cup!”]. She tried to cover him with a blanket. She sang songs from High School Musical to him [can’t make that up]. It’s not in us to see someone we love suffering and not want to fix it, even if our fixes are temporary or superficial.

So as we sat together and ate a little snack, everyone also breathed a sigh of relief. Lucy looked at me and said, “Mom, you’re my best pal. Is that the right word? Pal?” And my heart smiled. And joy was just the medicine to make my shoulders relax a little. And then she spilled her cup of applesauce into the heating vent. She felt just awful. And that’s what it’s like, too. To be perfectly imperfect. To feel like you’ve got a good handle on things one second and a hot, sticky mess the next.

Thoughts tumble through my head all day comparing the parental relationship I have with the kids to the one Christ privileges me with. And my heart feels unworthy and I’m drawn to humbleness. But I think that’s what we’re supposed to do. To live our lives below the surface. To look for lessons in the mundane. To open ourselves up to each other so that we are sharing our guts. The real stuff, even if it’s not pretty.

“Like a beer on tap. You spend your life chasing froth and bubbles. I used to think it satisfied, that it could fill me up and make me happy. But froth is froth. Empty. What I needed was underneath, at the root, the soul. Can’t find happiness in froth, at least not for long.” [Dogwood by Chris Fabry]

 

Here and There

Woah, life. Hold on just a minute there! It seems like time is passing in weeks instead of days.

Like celebrating seven years in this wonderful home I am so thankful for.
Realizing I’ve been married to my best friend for more than a quarter of my life.
Answering the “How much longer?” question with “A little over a month.”
Preparing a birthday party for a four-year-old [I mean that is officially into little girl territory].

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Summer ended with frequent early morning trips to the zoo to ride the carousel as many times in a row as possible.

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There was a much enjoyed hayride [and the declaration that Saturday is “Tiger Day”].

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They’re the cutest apple pickers I’ve ever seen…

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Selfies are only going to get harder as a party of five!

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This boy and this face.

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Look at mama. At the same time. Lots of park playing.

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Sneaking to The Lake with Daddy for a conference he was presenting at.

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They were big, big fans of the indoor pool.

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Even if it wore them out.

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Trick-or-treating at the zoo. Lucy said, “Trick-or-treat. Thank you. I hope this candy doesn’t make me sick.” and Landon refused to wear his plane or ask for candy. Maybe next year. Hehe.

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This goes: “Who wants to ride the carousel?” [Landon raises hand.]

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It’s really one of his favorite things.

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And here’s one of my favorite things.

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And another.

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And definitely this.

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And sort of surprisingly this.

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Capturing moments that try to pass too quickly.

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And a very “real” Halloween picture.