Tuesday, December 30, 2008

All Growed Up

We visited the zoo today to get some fresh air since we've had sick kids for 9 days now. The weather was just too nice to not be outdoors. So we headed out with Uncle Andrew to the Memphis Zoo. While we were counting the elephants, Isabella looked at me with her serious face and said, "Those elephants are all growed up like Maddie Grace at my school. But Chloe is not all growed up like the elephants." I have no idea what train track her mind was on, but I thought this was too adorable. You never know what a 3 year old is thinking...but on some level, her friend and those elephants seem "all growed up" to her.

We had a great visit at the zoo until Ali Kate decided to kick it into high-gear-temper-tantrum mode. I tried James Dobson's advice to ignore the tantrum. That worked on the other girls, but Ali Kate actually ran away (far away) the three times I tried it. I tried diverting her attention and playing games with her, all to no avail. I do pray that this is not the beginning of a new chapter in her toddler years. She's been a bit difficult the past couple of days, but I do chalk it up to having been sick and off our normal routine with all the holiday partying and company in town. Let's keep our fingers crossed!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The prayers of little ones

Sunday when we were driving home from church, Isabella says, "Sarah* scratched me three times at church." (*Name changed to protect the identity of her actual little friend from Sunday School)
I said to Isabella, "Why did Sarah scratch you?"
Isabella said, " Because she wanted to be mean and make mean choices."
Trying to make the best of this, I suggested to Isabella that she pray for her friend. So Isabella prayed, "Dear God, please make Sarah not mean and not to scratch me anymore at church."
Don't the prayers of children demonstrate the childlike faith that we all should have? Isabella didn't wrap her thoughts in rhetoric or pretense. She just said exactly what she was concerned about to God, fully believing that He would make Sarah not mean. I love her straightforwardness and her belief.

Yesterday our friend Robby was supposed to go to a basketball game with Matt, but he had a horrible stomach virus. So at lunch the kids and I prayed that he would get well soon. After a few minutes, Abby said, "Mom, we should call Bellevue to tell them we have a prayer request." I started to explain that you usually call the church only for major ones like death or hospitalization, but I thought better of it. So I asked her what our request was. She said that we needed to ask Bellevue to pray for Mr. Robby so that he wouldn't be sick anymore. I love that! What would happen if we all rallied in prayer that urgently and that largely for every small request like that?

I just had to share what I've seen the Lord doing in my girls' lives. It's amazing to see His hand in their little lives as they grow in their knowledge of Him. And for anyone reading, please take some time to pray for my dear Isabella. She's been running a fever since Sunday afternoon....and she is awfully miserable. She just wants to be held 24/7. Poor baby...I hope this passes quickly.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Tour of Homes


Welcome to our home! I've never done this tour before, but I saw it on my friend Lauren's blog and thought it'd be fun to join. Come on in. On our front door is this beautiful teardrop that I purchased at one of my favorite home decor stores. I had a similar one for fall, and I just had to have a Christmas one.


Isn't this whimsical tree just oh so cute? I found this at Ms. Punkins, a new little store in Olive Branch that has great home decor and gift ideas. I love polka dots and fun, whimsical decor.


This picture frame I made myself. After seeing similar ones in shops, I tapped into my creative side to manufacture several of these for Christmas gifts. My little man makes this pic! The ones I gave as gifts had Scripture instead of photos.


We decided to go with bright, mixed colors on our tree and centerpiece this year. I looked high and low for a new, sophisticated centerpiece that I liked...and I never found one. So we got this fun, crazy one. And it fits our zany family!

Posted by Picasa

With four kids ages five and under, life is bright and lively. Our mantel with its bright colors reflects that too! I can't believe we have so many stockings. I remember when it was just two.


Isn't our tree gigantic? It makes Abby look tiny! We had so much fun decorating this tree....everyone except our little man who slept the entire time.


Here's the nativity that my mom bought for us a couple of years ago. I love its simplicity. The girls love to play with it and bring the wise men to baby Jesus. They also love to hide baby Jesus for some reason!


Our countdown calendar....Abby is the only one who notices this, but she is 100% committed to counting down the days until Christmas. She never misses a day.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Way to Go, Isabella

Yesterday Isabella received a special treat and thank you note for good behavior from her teacher at preschool. We were so excited for her. Mrs. Bettie said that Isabella had a wonderful day, and she took the time to recognize her good behavior. I appreciate her stopping to point out Isabella's improved behavior. Only the great teachers actually do that.

Isabella was proud of herself too. We've been talking about and praying about making better choices, and I think she saw her hard efforts pay off. Way to go, Bella!

Monday, December 15, 2008

You know you're addicted when...

You know you're addicted to Target when...

10. Your one year old screams out Crazy Bug every time you pass a Target because that's what she calls their special 3-seater buggy (This buggy is awesome, and I lay claim to this buggy. If anyone with less than four toddlers is using our buggy, I do think I may be liable to ask them to switch to a different buggy. In Olive Branch, this is the Stine's buggy...so please be kind to our buggy if you ever use it.)

9. Abby can tell you where the books are located in the new Target that only opened this summer.

8. The girls look forward to the Hot Spot as much as you do

7. You actually tell the cashier you're excited when you spend less than $100 on any given trip

6. You visit Target or say "I need to go to Target" AT LEAST twice each week

5. When the store personnel asks you if you need help finding anything, you reply, "Oh, no, I know where everyhing is in this store."

4. The cashiers asks where one or more of your children are when you have just a subset of the crew with you

3. You routinely visit items to see when they're going to get marked down

2. You spend at least half as much money as your mortgage at Target in a given month

1. Your five year old actually tells you that you go to Target too much

Confessions from a Target-a-holic named Wendy (In my defense, I can buy everything I need for all of our diaper, formula, baby food, party planning, birthday gifts, organization, snacks, cleaning, beauty, play clothes, and miscellaneous needs all at one place at reasonable prices. I'm saving both precious time and money. I do think Matt would love it if we lived at least 45 miles rather than about 4.5 miles from the nearest Target.

The Things They Say

So I have intended for quite some time to record some of my favorite Ali-isms and Bella-isms. It's late, and my brain is closer to mush than to functional....so I may have to add more later as they come to me.

Ali Kate:

Hongy- Hungry

Ketchup- Any sauce on the planet (can be actual ketchup, syrup, bbq sauce, whatever you use for dip)

Da- The (as in "I don't lika da bloomers" when Mommy put her bloomers on under her dress)

Apple Dumplin'- Ali Kate (She IS Apple Dumplin' from Strawberry Shortcake!)

Crazy Bug- Target (Ali Kate screames crazy bug every time we drive past a Target. We use the 3 seater buggy there, and we call it the crazy buggy. So now she just refers to all Target stores as the crazy bug.)


Grochure- Brochure

Mazaging- Magazine

Jellyfish Bubbles- Scrubbing Bubbles (the cleaning product)

Dizzy Libby- Dizzy Lizzy (This is a cute new store on Goodman. It drives Abby batty when Isabella mispronounces it which is why I think Isabella does it.)

Lemon Marain- Lemon Meringue (Yes another Strawberry Shortcake reference....Abby and Isabella argue about this one too. Neither says it right. I love that!)

Build-A-Patch Bear- Isabella's name for the huge bear mural on the Grizzlies house at St. Jude (That's their marker for knowing that we're close to Daddy's office)

One of my favorite Ali Kate quotes as of late: "There Abby school. There Bella school. When Ali get bigger, I go to school." She said this as we pulled into the parking lot of her big sisters' preschool to pick them up a couple of weeks ago.

A favorite Isabella quote: "I want a fancy dog with no dirt on it." I'm thinking this one was inspired by Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy.

A favorite Abby quote: "Dad, could you possibly spare me some more syrup for my waffle?" What preschooler asks if you could possibly spare anything? Her vocabulary and sentence structure is more like that of a 7 year old. And for those of you wondering, it was sugar free syrup (yucky, yucky stuff in my opinion).

Grant's closer to 1

It hit Matt and me yesterday that Grant is closer to a year old than he is to a newborn. Where did the last seven months go? It seems that as soon as we celebrate a new month with him, it's time to celebrate the next. Our little man has been such a blessing this year. In a very dark time in our life, God granted us the gift of a fourth child. Matt and I never expected to have a large family, but we are so overjoyed that God planned one for us. Grant was a huge surprise for both of us, and we've been thrilled since we saw those two pink lines (well, I was thrilled... Matt took a couple of days to get thrilled after he recovered from the initial shock of it all). I'll never forget the look on his face when I came running and squealing across the house with the pregnancy test in hand. Oh, that was an unforgettable moment. Probably unlike any other moment in our marriage. The girls and Matt all looked at me like I'd lost my mind....and no one said a word. For several minutes.

Well, Matt has been thrilled beyond words since he knew he was having a son. A friend from MOMS had told me when I was pregnant that she thought that God was going to give me a son as His way of telling me that He was there during our dark year. For some reason, her words stayed with me as we went to have our ultrasound that day. When I saw that Grant was very definitely a boy, I knew that God had given us a love gift. That's why I wanted to name him Grant....because I felt that God had granted me this gift during a time of grieving.

Grant has added so much to our family in the last seven months. He has a vivacious personality and a smile second to none. He gives the best kisses (well, Ali Kate gives him a run for his money on this one) as he nuzzles up to you. When I hold him close, Grant will rub his hand on my face and grab little fistfuls of my hair. Holding him is such a special treat during our wild and harried days. We spend naptime every day cooing and laughing and peekabooing. While I'd love for him to nap with the girls so that I could get some work done, I treasure this window of time that I have with just him. That's when I get to know him.

Isabella's love for Grant rivals mine, I believe. She truly is enamored with him. He's the first thing she talks about when she rises each morning. She sings to him, brings him toys, talks to him, swings him, hugs him, and kisses him each and every day. He is her favorite person in the entire world. I am challenged to love her as unconditionally as she loves him. Her love for him knows no bounds. It's the kind of love that God has for us.

Having the privilege of loving four children has been one of the greatest gifts I've ever gotten. Grant has reminded me to slow down and cherish every day. Because they fly by.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Red Light for this Sweet Face?

Posted by Picasa

I experienced for the first time today what mothers have experienced for dozens of years. My sweet Isabella got her first red light at school today. When I picked her up, her teacher very kindly told me that she'd had some problems with Isabella screaming and making sounds during lesson time. She said that she corrected her several times and finally had to put my baby in time out. That is a new experience. I've never had a teacher put my children in time out before (at least I don't know about it if they have). She said that every time that Isabella started screaming the other kids followed suit. I can only imagine.

Mrs. Bettie tried to make me feel better by suggesting that it may be hard for Isabella since there are so many wild boys in her class. Let me just say that I'm sure that Isabella is the instigator. She usually starts these things. I then shared with her teacher how Isabella is very tender and sweet but definitely a handful. I'm actually surprised that this is her first red light....it probably won't be her last. I have been so surprised that Bella has been so well-behaved for so long. She was very upset about the red light though and talked about it for at least an hour today. She promised that she and her friend Chloe could get green lights together Wednesday. That a girl! Look on the bright side!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My latest creation


Here are the treat jars that I made for the girls' teachers for Thanksgiving. I had fun creating these at Archiver's one night. We filled them with those yummy muddy buddy chex mix (those chex mix with the mounds of powdered sugar that shoot your blood sugar to 800 in about 2 seconds...you know the ones!). Anyway, I had a blast making these. I wish I'd taken pictures of the cookie lollipops we made too. We made star shaped cookies and wrapped them up like lollipops with orange polka dot ribbon. They said "Happy Gobble Day" on the cellophane. They were adorable.
Posted by Picasa

Tree Pickin'


Yesterday was a family Christmas day. I spent all of Friday shopping and taking advantage of 50% off sales for our clothes, so we set aside yesterday to spend the entire day together. We started the day out with a trip to Target for a new tree stand and some fun Christmas tree decor. Then we headed off to get haircuts for all the girls (me included). We came home for lunch and then headed back out to grab two pairs of jeans for Mom and some more tree decor from a second Target. Finally we were off to pick our tree. We went to a church in Olive Branch that we'd bought from in the past. They had the prettiest trees this year. We had a hard time picking our favorite. We bought an 8 foot tree that was full and healthy. The girls weren't as interested as we thought they'd be, but we still had fun. We came home and rearranged our furniture to put the tree in the perfect spot. That tree is gigantic. It's about twice the size we thought it was in the lot. Matt and I were shocked....we said that it must have gained weight on the ride home!

We had a nice, quiet evening decorating the tree with ornaments new and old. We enjoyed some Christmas cookies and music while we decorated. The girls gave out about 8:00, so Matt and I stayed up late to finish the rest of the decorations. Everything looks great. Ali Kate is really getting into Christmas this year...it's too cute. She took her Rudolph to church today and played with it all day long. She was thrilled to wear her reindeer pjs last night for the first time. Isabella is still holding out for us to get some outdoor decorations...that's what floats her boat. Abby is all about the gifts and making sure that we celebrate Jesus' birthday....and Grant of course has no clue about any of it.
Posted by Picasa

Christmas Cutie Pie


Doesn't this make your heart melt? Grant is so incredibly handsome in his Christmas longall. I captured this awesome picture of my little man during our Christmas card photo session yesterday. The girls all had matching outfits, and baby brother wore this sweet number. He was cutting up for the camera. I hope I never forget this smile!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 24, 2008

Clowns and Snowflakes

Tonight I took the girls for their Nutcracker pictures. We had a very rough afternoon with crying babies, fussy toddlers, and just bad attitudes all around (including mine)....I did apologize to the kids for being a mean mommy this afternoon. Anyway, we managed to get hair done and ballet clothes on to go the studio. I asked the girls to grab their ballet shoes, and I guess I assumed they had them. Needless to say, we were in the studio before I realized that we didn't have any ballet shoes. Thankfully, Jill said it was no problem and just re-arranged their shot to hide their feet.

Isabella is a clown this year, and boy does she fit the part! She was too hilarious in her unitard and accessories. They really make these clowns over the top! It's so cute! Abby is a sophisticated snowflake with a light blue tutu,an adorable headband, and a "Miss America style" snowflake sash. She was delighted at her appearance when she got dressed up. They took their photo together to save us money (I'm so frugal on some things), and it'll be a hoot to see.

The performance is coming soon, and Abby is getting nervous. She asks lots of questions about what I did when I was in performances and about what will happen if she makes a mistake. She keeps saying that she needs to practice, but she always says she can't remember the moves to practice. She does them well in class....maybe she needs the music to help her along. It's so sweet watching her grow up and start to think about things like that. I got great seats for both peformances, so I'll be cheering them on! I can't wait.

Official Notice!

Isabella officially declared this week that she is no longer Fancy Nancy, and that she is to be called Isabella Grace. We were riding in the car the other day, and she said, "I'm not Fancy Nancy anymore. I'm a regular girl, and you can call me Isabella Grace." I thought we were going to explode in laughter. Can our Fancy Nancy days be over as quickly as they began? I thought for sure we were going to have to be Fancy Nancy for the Fall Festival, but we're going as a butterfly this year. I'm still not sure where that idea came from, but we had to hunt for a butterfly costume for our little Isabella.

I'm thinking that Ali Kate may go as a football player. She was doing this head-nodding thing the other day that was so adorable. We'd ask her questions, and she'd nod very exaggeratively. We asked her if she was a girl. Nod no. We asked her if she was a football player. Enthusiastic yes. We laughed so hard. She had no clue what she was answering. I love her age (minus the public outbursts and temper tantrums).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

First Day of Preschool

Posted by Picasa

Abby started preschool last Wednesday at Getwell Road. She was so excited and a little nervous to leave her mommy I think. Of course I was a wreck since she hasn't gone anywhere like that since her diagnosis. This was a HUGE step in faith that God would stand guard over her while she's away from me. We trained the teachers on how to care for her, and I am trusting that they will do a great job.

Abby has Ms. Leslie who is a mommy and teacher herself. She has two small children. Abby is in a class with five boys and four girls, and she made quick friends. Ms. Leslie told me that she introduced herself to kids as she played and made two friends very quickly. She said that Abby had a wonderful day. They worked on the letter E and the number 3. They are using the ABeca curriculum which I love. The former teacher in me loves its structure. Abby made an egghead that'll grow hair. She got a green light on her first day, of course.

We did get some photos of just Abby, but I think this one with Ali Kate in the corner is just too cute. It felt like the first day of preschool for all of us as we got packed and made our way to the classroom. Note: I am the only one I saw with more than three children. We got plenty of looks and comments (as usual). It's lots of work to get her there since I have to get four kids ready, but it's worth it. I know she needed the time with big kids and away from us. More posts to come on preschool, I'm sure.
Posted by Picasa

Fall at the Stine House





So I was on Lauren Busbee's blog for a few minutes the other day, and I loved the way she showed off her adorable fall decor. So since I've actually done some fall decorating this year, I decided to post mine too. I know this entry has nothing to do with being a mommy of four....but I wanted to post this anyway. It's okay to be a little off-topic.
Posted by Picasa

My new artwork


Posted by Picasa

I just had to post these pictures of what I did after the kids (and Matt) went to sleep last night. I made this adorable bow holder for Ali Kate. We always need more storage for bows! Now we just need Matt to get time to paint her room!
This fall picture I just had to make. I've been on a fall decorating spree lately, and I wanted to add my personal touch.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pirates and Princesses...and a gold star for Daddy

Today Matt asked me to pick up some treasure chest goodies when I went on my massive Target run ($200 for necessities....I almost croaked...that's what diapers, pullups, a car seat, formula, and a few other odds and ends adds up to really fast!)....I digress. Anyway, Matt drew a treasure map of our backyard. He hid the treasure in 3spots, one for each girl. Abby led the crew of pirates as they deciphered the map to find their hidden treasure. She actually understood his map very quickly, and let me say that it was not a preschool-level map. It took them about 10 minutes to find all of the treasures. Abby's was hanging from the roof of their clubhouse, so she had a hard time spotting it. The other two were easier. The girls loved the hunt and of course the treasure of jewels. Their treasure hunt then got their creative juices flowing. They came back inside, and we did princess makeovers to go with their new jewels. Everyone including Ali Kate got makeup and a new hairdo. They of course wore their royal gowns. I announced them all as they made their grand entrances into the living room. We played classical music for their royal ball. Such a fun afternoon. I wish I had pictures, but I was so caught up in participating that I didn't get a chance to grab my camera.

Things They Say

Some of the memorable things my kiddos have said in recent days....


While I'm driving the other day, Abby and Isabella were fighting the entire time. With them being on the third row, there isn't much I can do besides offer instruction and encouragement. At some point, I'd just stopped talking because it wasn't helping. Before I knew it, I heard Abby say, "Isabella, you were born in a stable." Trying to make this a positive moment, I said, "Do you mean like Baby Jesus was born in a stable?" Abby retorted back quickly, "No, I mean like animals are born in a stable."

Another day within the last two weeks we were in the car and Isabella was singing "She comes from Alabama with a banjo on her knee" over and over and over and over. You get the point. That was all she knew...and she was singing so loudly! Abby looks over at her and says, " I wish I had some earmuffs so that I didn't have to hear you." I could barely contain my laughter. Isabella....well, she just sang louder.

Ali Kate:

"I hongey"---I'm hungry
"I no lika da bloomers"--I don't like the bloomers (She said this when I was dressing her the other day and told her she was going to wear a dress....I didn't even mention the bloomers. She just knew.)
"No like that"
"Strawberry Cupcake"---Strawberry Shortcake
"Woo hoo"- She shouts this when I tell her it's time to eat! She's an eater if you can't tell.

Top Ten Things to Remember About Destin Trip 08

1. The M&M truck that we were beside in Mobile (Giant M&Ms rode beside us)
2. A-10 at Crystal Villas...They had just renovated the entire unit, and it was beautiful. We had the best view imaginable, and we loved the colors, decor, tvs, etc.
3. Isabella chased the sea gulls way down the shore...never looking back to check
on how far she'd gone. Several times. But to her credit, she only took off into the water once without an adult!
4. The teeny,tiny washer and dryer that drove Wendy crazy....I actually appreciate my standard size washer/dryer set after that experience.
5. Playing frisbee with Matt....I totally stink at it, but I had a blast just playing with him and not being Mom for a few minutes
6. Matt actually built a sandcastle with a moat by himself and had more fun than the girls did making theirs.
7. Our jellyfish friends that kept me scared to death while in the water
8. Isabella saying that every door we passed was not our hotel
9. Isabella asking what would happen if we slid down the roof (we'd have to explain this one with a picture....wish I had a picture)
10. Abby laying on the float in the ocean saying, "This is the life....oh yeah...this is the life."

Beach 2008


A total blast! That's the only way to describe our beach vacation that we took two weeks ago. We've never vacationed at the beach at the beginning of fall, and we've decided that this is the way we'll do it from now on. We had the most fabulous time. We drove down on a Wednesday and spent the night with my dad. He and Betty kept Grant and Ali Kate while we vacationed. Major thanks to them. It would not have been a vacation if we had taken the two babies with us. That was the first time in almost five years that I didn't have a baby with me for a few days. Wow...that's a vacation in and of itself.

The girls had never been to the beach before, and they loved it all. They were taken with the sand more than anything else. We arrived late afternoon Thursday since we took our time enjoying the trip there. We ate Mexican at a place near Mobile where the lovebugs were in mating season. Hundreds on our bumper by the time we arrived in Florida. Gross!
Anyway, we put the essentials in the condo and checked it out before we headed in our travel clothes down to the shore. Abby and Isabella were so excited. I may have actually been more excited than they were. I love the beach, and it's been a while since we've been. Every summer I've either been pregnant or delivering a baby it seems...so we haven't been since 2004.

We spent our trip soaking up the sun in nice 80 degree weather. We splashed in the pool plenty too. Abby and I actually raced one another and swam laps in the pool together. So much fun. We were diverted out of the water for two days due to a large population of jellyfish that wanted to hang out by the shore. We saw several gigantic (at least gigantic to me) jellyfish. After about the fifth one, I decided to exit the water for the rest of the day. We just enjoyed looking at it until we got green flags on Sunday. The beach was busiest that day I think since people could get in the water.

We ate twice at Mellow Mushroom Pizza Co., one of our Destin favorites. We also dined at Fudpuckers, and I was thoroughly disappointed. Overpriced and not very good this go round. We cooked alot in the condo which was fun, and we rented movies one night. The condo had some very nice flat screen TVs, so the girls watched their movie in the bedroom while we watched ours in the living room. We never do that. We had pajamas and popcorn, a Stine family favorite. Everyone in our house loves that! We played LeapFrog games as a family, and we did a little outlet shopping too.

Matt and I really wanted to stay for so many more days, but I was dying to get back to Grant and Ali Kate. I knew they were in good hands, but I wanted them back for myself. I missed them so much! We did go back refreshed and recharged, ready to greet real world life again! Now we're recruiting volunteers to keep the babies next year so that we can do it again!
Posted by Picasa

The Picture I mentioned


Here's my failed attempt to get a shot of my cuties in their Ole Miss outfits. Matt was a good sport as he tried to get everyone to pose together, but it was a lost cause. They were still adorable though.
Posted by Picasa

Are You Ready For Some Football?


Itty Bitty and Co. had the most adorable little Ole Miss Rebel dresses that I just had to get for the girls. And of course, Grant had to have a coordinating little shortall to go with it. I attempted to get a picture of everyone together, and I'll post the results. Let's just say I didn't get a good shot by a long shot. Anyway, I loved this picture of Matt and Grant. Matt is so taken to him, and I just keep trying to tell him that Grant is going to be a mama's boy. I love my little man in such a special way that I can't even describe. Matt does too. He's so proud to show his son off to everyone. Matt actually approved of this football outfit to my surprise. He even let Grant "watch" a few minutes of football the other day. He said they were having their "man time." Too cute!
Posted by Picasa

Our entire crew!

Posted by Picasa

We rarely get a shot of all of us. In fact, this may be the first shot taken of all six of us together at once. We usually have a subset of our crew. I love this picture. To get 5 out of 6 looking at the camera is a major accomplishment! Aren't they so adorable?

Grant's Baby Dedication

Posted by Picasa

Three weeks ago we dedicated Grant to the Lord. We've done this with each of our children, and it's a very special time for us to proclaim our commitment to our son that we will train him in the way that he should go. Matt and I take the responsibility of raising Grant in the admonition of the Lord very seriously. God has blessed us tremendously with these four children, and it is our intention each day to point them toward our Lord and Savior. We oftentimes miss the mark, but we're always striving. Parenting means something different to each person on this planet because there are so many dimensions to this job. For us, leading our children to Christ is the most important aspect of this calling. Grant, we love you with all of our hearts. We entrust your salvation to God, and we pray for you constantly. We intend to please God in our words and actions as we train you in His ways.

We had a wonderful time after the dedication taking some family photos in the courtyard at church. We captured some sweet shots of our family including Matt's parents. Our girls did as well as could be expected during the ceremony. Ali Kate and Isabella ended up making quick exits toward the end to sit with Matt's parents. (Standing there quietly for that long in front of the entire church is a very tall order for toddlers and preschoolers. I was way too nervous about how they would behave, but they did well considering their ages.) Grant was quietly observing everything as he oftentimes does. After the pictures, we came back to the house and spent some time visiting with Granny and Pawpaw. The girls really enjoyed that.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Stine Lizards!

Posted by Picasa

Look at Abby control the ball at her very first soccer game. This fall we signed Isabella and Abby up for soccer at First Baptist Church in Nesbit. They get to sport these cute lime green jerseys because they are the Lizards! The games are an absolute hoot because everyone is figuring out what they're doing. Isabella spent the entire first game picking grass and flowers while kids ran past her. Abby quickly got the hang of things, and she really rocks. She plays hard and holds her own with the boys who are more aggressive. We've had a good time watching them play.

At the second game, Ali Kate was playing nicely by the sidelines while I was feeding Grant. Somewhere in the mix, Matt had to check Abby's blood sugar because she thought she was low. In the craziness of the moment, Ali Kate wandered onto the field. When I tried to get her off, she pulled one of those toddler stunts where they sit and refuse to get up. Both teams nearly bulldozed her as the action came her way. The referee blew the whistle and screamed out "Fan interference on the field." It was hilarious. Thanks to another mom who gave me her free hand to pull Big Al off the field! Oh, if only I had eight arms!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Our Nature Lovers!

Today for physical therapy, we went to the park with Ms. Karen. We played some on the playground, and then I suggested a walk on the nature trail. Yes, I am out of my mind! Karen and I took all four of them on the nature trail, and they loved it! Isabella had fistfuls of rocks, leaves, and straw that she gave me as gifts. Abby used old logs as gymnastics balance beams. Ali Kate loved pointing at all the leaves and trees. We did have to avoid a little poison ivy. The girls had a blast. I was so proud of Ali Kate as she went up and down gravel hills with ease. We really worked her hard, and she did it. I was impressed. We did have some attitude meltdowns from the oldest royal highness, and at one point I was so embarrased. When Abby isn't happy, she's extreme.

Anyway, note to self: More nature walks in the future. Just make sure you have another adult on hand.

Grant's crying. Gotta go.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Today was one of the worst days ever in my entire mothering career! Nothing especially bad happened. I just for some reason gave up around noon. I had at least two people crying for the first four hours of the day. The girls went crazy in the monogram store, dressing up in the hats, clothes, and handbags while I paid for a ballet bag. Then the paint store. I've come to dread the paint store because they always act up. Usually they take about 100 of those color cards. Today they fought over the one customer stool that they had. Now I went in and told the man exactly what I wanted. I was ready...cash in hand...and details blurted out the minute I walked in. But Abby and Isabella managed to totally breakdown in the four or five minutes we were in there. We've started rotating which Sherwin Williams store we go in so that they won't remember our meltdowns so much. Maybe we should just give up painting altogether! Maybe God is sending me a message here! :)

Anyway, I did regroup later in the afternoon, and we had a great afternoon. We had a Build a Bear dress up party. Then we had a secret book club in the puppet theater upstairs. I had to hold Grant during all of it because he was totally inconsolable all afternoon. Thankfully, he went down to bed easily tonight. Poor guy. He's had a hard two days. I just pray that tomorrow will be easier on him.

We start MOMS tomorrow, and I can't wait. That is the most meaningful Bible study I do all week. I look forward to the teaching and the fellowship every week. I hope the morning routine goes smoothly!

Oh...I named this post Abby because Abby really comforted me during my meltdowns today. She is the most tender, loving child on the planet. She held me and just loved on me. She forgives so easily, and I thank her for that. I was a very less than ideal mommy today, but she made me feel like a million bucks! What a gift from God. She even told me that I was a gift from God today. Made my heart melt!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Park Playdate


Isabella and Gabe posed for a quick photo at the girls' favorite park in Jackson. Saturday morning we decided to suprise Matt's parents with an unannounced, impromptu visit. (We did actually try to call that morning to give them fair warning, but they never answered.) We had a great visit and got to spend some good time chatting and catching up. The girls loved playing with their cousin Gabe. It was nice to just relax and enjoy family rather than work on the next home project for once. We've been hanging pictures, sorting stuff, painting rooms, etc. like every weekend since we moved. We needed a break!
Posted by Picasa

Fairy Tale Ball


Posted by Picasa

At Stars in Motion, they have a Fairy Tale Ball each year to welcome the girls to dance class. The fairy godmother appears, and the girls do lots of fairy activities. Abby and Isabella had their hair done professionally by Queen Mommy, and Queen Mommy also did their makeup. Yes, I let them wear my makeup for the ball: blush, lip gloss, and eyeshadow. They loved it! I sprayed their hair up to keep the hairdo. Matt thought I'd gone nuts! But hey...it's not everyday that you go to a royal ball.

The girls were so excited about this event. Once there, they made crowns and wands to complete their look. They read stories and pranced around the room.

Last Tuesday they started dance class. Abby is super pumped about it. She will be a snowflake in the Nutcracker, and she showed me some of her routine as soon as they got home from class. Isabella has no idea what she'll be. She didn't show me anything at all from dance. Who knows what she learned? I can't wait to see them perform. Abby is a natural performer. She loves to be in the spotlight, and she cherishes attention. She'll be great! Isabella doesn't want large groups to notice her, so she'll probably be in for a huge shock. We'll see. I'll have to post some ballerina photos soon.

Rainy Day Fun

Two weeks ago we thought soccer practice would be rained out, so we decided to let the girls play in the rain. They had a blast. Can't you tell? Abby was the most enthused about her license to get wet and dirty. Ali Kate was wary. Isabella had fun copying everything Abby did. We let them play in the driveway for a good 15 minutes before the thunder sent everyone scurrying into the house! Then we got a call that we were indeed still having soccer practice. So we got everyone dressed and into dry clothes in neck-breaking speed! Our household never has a dull moment. Never. Maybe I should rename this blog: Never a Dull Moment. That's food for thought.
Posted by Picasa

Ali Kate's First Haircut

Ali Kate went with the girls to get her very first haircut last Saturday. This image captures exactly how she felt during the entire haircut experience. Abby and Isabella love going to the salon to see Miss Kelly, but Ali Kate...not so much. She didn't make a peep but her face showed pure unhappiness the whole time. We didn't cut much off. We just cleaned up her look a little. She still has so many different lengths, but at least it looks somewhat neat now. Poor thing has barely any hair, and it's so thin and fine. Ali Kate looks so cute now with her shorter hair. Thanks to Matt too for enduring all 3 girls' haircuts before taking all 4 kids home so that I could get my haircut. Our stylist is awesome for handling all of our haircuts in a row. I do have to say that all 3 girls did a great job at being quiet and well-behaved during our salon visit. After their haircuts, they were rewarded with lollipops and makeovers (lip gloss and eyeshadow for the older two) compliments of Miss Kelly. Ali Kate just wanted the candy, no makeup for her.

And sadly we don't have the lock of hair for her baby book. Kelly accidentally knocked the saved lock off her counter, and the sweeper girl swept it up before we realized it was missing. She cleans up fast! So we'll have to steal a lock of hair from her 2nd haircut. Oh, well.
Posted by Picasa