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!