Monday, September 28, 2009

Meeting "Larry"

So the end of last week was an exciting time for me. I was at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) convention with most of the rest of our steering team (and 4000 other women). Operation Christmas Child sponsors MOPS and VeggieTales' new Christmas DVD is about the joy of giving, so they're partnering with OCC too. Plus, Matthew West was scheduled to give a concert at one of the general sessions and he wrote (and sang) the song that goes over the closing credits for the new VeggieTales.

All of that combined together so that VeggieTales and OCC sponsored "VeggOut Nite" the first night of the MOPS convention at which they debuted their new DVD. Beforehand, a guy from OCC, Matthew West (Christian singer mentioned above), and Mike Nawrocki (co-creator of VeggieTales and the voice of "Larry the Cucumber") all got a chance to say a little something about their partnership and the new movie, then we watched the movie.

Afterwards, I got to "squee" a little bit as I asked Mike if I could get a picture:

I thanked him for making DVDs that don't make me crazy.

AJ, however is _FAR_ more impressed with THIS picture:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Creating a Memory

It's been one of those mornings where I _know_ I got stuff done, and I _know_ it was important, but somehow I still _feel_ like nothing got accomplished. My kids ate a relatively-healthy breakfast, I got all of the laundry folded and put away (every last bit - nothing's sitting waiting for a hanger or socks to be matched), I put away some of the dishes (some still needed some more drying time), the kids and I all got dressed and I even got a shower.

I also managed to pull out our cat carrier for a friend who needed to borrow it. "No problem," I said. "It's just in the top of the kids' closet," I said. "I'll pull it out and have it for you, no problem," I said. Little did I realize how well the top of the closet was packed. Inside the collapsed carrier were all of our small photo albums, a few other random things, and all of VNB's old Bibles - i.e., the sucker was HEAVY). In front of the cat carrier were all of our Christmas ornaments and random Christmas dancing and singing things (Santa who plays the sax, snowman who sings something, polar bear, and a couple of random "Christmas" stuffed animals). I hoped that I'd be able to pull the carrier out without having to move anything, but the geometry of the situation told me otherwise. Then I hoped that just by pulling the other stuff off of that shelf (i.e., the Christmas stuff), I'd be able to pull it out (at that point at least it would be in front of the closet door), but no dice there. So then I had to start moving the stuff that was stacked up (very neatly) _next_ to the shelf - VNB's collection of Christmas village, all in its original packaging for safe storage (plus my Christmas Veggie Tales snow globe). So I pulled all of _that_ down, managed to pull the 500-lb cat carrier across the shelf (over occasional bumps from shelf supports) and far enough into the opening to be able to get it down.

The whole time I was doing this, and becoming increasingly frustrated, AJ was finishing up on the potty. After finishing his business, he came in, pants still around his ankles to investigate what Momma was doing. After telling him calmly to go back into the bathroom and pull up his pants a couple of times (the idea being that he doesn't _leave_ the bathroom without pulling them up), he managed to get his underwear up, but not the pants (which are a smidge too long, so he was stepping on cuffs). About the time I got the cat carrier to the point where I could attempt to bring it down, he was crowding my space - with his pants still around his ankles. So not only was he not obeying by getting his pants pulled up, he also wasn't obeying as I was telling him repeatedly to back up (just in case I lost control of some or all of the cat carrier and/or its contents). And in my defense ("why didn't you just go help him?"), I was up on a chair with all the contents of the closet packed around me, trying to remember where it all went so that I could get it all to fit back in there.

So with only a few photo albums dive bombing me, I managed to get the cat carrier down and into Joanna's crib. Then I managed to get everything else back up into the closet. During which time AJ was still struggling with his pants and probably crying because I was yelling at him to pull up his pants and back up (is it bad that I don't even remember if he was or not?).

On the plus side, I found some pictures I'd promised to show some friends a long time ago! And I got the cat carrier down. And eventually we got AJ's pants pulled back up.

But that was my morning. And even though it just took me like fifteen pages to explain what I did this morning, it still feels like I didn't accomplish anything. (And now I'm at work and blogging instead of getting stuff done here...)

But my "Sanctuary's In the Small Things" task for the day is to create a memory. This morning isn't something I want to remember, but last night was. So _technically_, I didn't perform the _task_ on the right day, but I'm recording it for posterity so that I actually _remember_ it today, so I think I should still get my 40 points. :)

So last night I sent AJ to bed instead of going in with him, singing to him, and "saying Amen" (i.e., praying). An hour later when VNB and I were going to bed, he was still awake, so I went in and did our usual routine. Except that I told him to sing with me. We have a repertoire of all of three songs for bedtime (all three of which we usually sing at least once each night), so he's heard them all a "few" times now. It was the most adorable thing (and I know that it's true because VNB took like five trips to and from the bathroom during that song just so he'd have the excuse to walk past the door and listen). He wasn't on pitch, and usually he'd sing an intelligible word a phrase or two after I'd already sung it...but he was singing _with_ me. All the way down to the "yeah" at the end of "God is Bigger than the Boogy Man" (a recent addition to our repertoire, due to our first "I'm scared of the monsters" pre-bedtime event). Probably the best part about it too is that he really seemed to enjoy it and was definitely focusing on singing. You could see the wheels turning as he thought about what words came "next."

I did better in my description of the cat carrier incident, but this memory is one of the sweetest yet since I've been a mommy. My boy, singing. Knowing by heart that "God is bigger than the boogy man," that "there is nothing I can't do when God is at my side," and that "a thankful heart is a happy heart!" Sweet.

So even if I accomplish nothing else today (which would be bad since the kids and I are flying to Nashville tomorrow and haven't even started packing yet!), I've recorded a memory that I want to cherish forever. It's a good day.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Thanks to UncleR, here are some recent pics of the littles, taken at a family reunion a few weeks ago. If we could find our camera, there would have been another shot of Joanna sleeping this morning. She didn't quite go down for her nap as easily as she usually does, but I let her cry for a little while hoping that eventually she'd settle herself down. About the time I was going to go in and comfort her, the crying abruptly stopped. I peeked in and she was sitting up with her head leaning against the bars of her crib, fast asleep. I eventually laid her down, but man was that cute!

Also, one of her top teeth decided to poke its way through yesterday. That makes three now!
And AJ has had a few successes with the potty! Now if only we managed to have a couple days in a row at home, we might be able to actually get this done!

Anyway, pics:


And Joanna

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Are you sure it isn't Monday?

So this morning I did something I only rarely do - I set the alarm. You see, my kids' internal clocks are magical. They wake up between 7:15 and 7:30 on days that we have no where to go and mama is super tired ( there a day when I'm _not_ super tired? I don't remember one...), but on days that I need them to wake up exactly at 8 so that we can get to were we need to be, they sleep until 9:30...and so do I because they're my usual alarm clock...and what I said about always being tired? Yeah, very true. Joanna's "only" waking up 2-3 times per night now...

So this morning I set the alarm for 7. You see, we had to be at our first MOPS meeting of the year at 9, which means we had to leave the house at 8:30-ish, which means that they needed to have breakfast the moment they woke up (at 8, theoretically) so that I could get them dressed and out the door on time. But since I was going to work straight from MOPS, and then our small group was coming over, I also had to have the house "company ready" before I left. Fortunately, it was already relatively close and these are people who come over on a weekly basis, so as the weeks go on, my standards slip bit-by-bit. Anyway, so I got up a "few" minutes after the alarm went off the first time (or was it the 5th?), gathered up the non-toy clutter, ran a load of dishes, then fed the baby breakfast.

As I was putting something or other away in his room, AJ woke up, saw me, and immediately stretched his arms wide, indicating that he wanted a great big hug. Melt my heart...

Anyway, so Joanna tried "mixed cereal" for the first time this morning. She had her 4-oz jar of applesauce with pomegranate juice (yum! Why don't they make flavors like that for adults?!), then most of another 4-oz jar of "mixed cereal" with applesauce and bananas. I gathered up everything I needed, got everyone dressed, brought all the stuff out to the car, came back, turned out lights, grabbed babies, and then got all of the people out the door.

As AJ was mosey-ing up the steps, I started strapping Joanna (adorably dressed in a "we're seeing Mama's 'mommy friends'" outfit) into her car seat when she proceeded to add another "first" to things that she's done - empty the entire contents of her stomach full of "solid" food (almost two 4-oz jars!). All over her cute outfit. All over the car seat. Completely freaked her out.

So, I unstrapped her from her carseat, and held her at arms' length (I was dressed in "work" clothes) while I found the keys, yelled for AJ to come back inside, unlocked the door, and got her de-stickied, re-dressed, and somewhat calmed down. We went back outside (where AJ was still mosey-ing, not having apparently received the message that I yelled for him to come back inside - but at least he was still on the side walk and not playing in the parking lot or something), mostly cleaned up the car seat, strapped her back down (she isn't a huge fan of that at any time, but certainly not shortly after such a traumatic event in said carseat), strapped AJ in, and got to MOPS before the meeting started, if not quite when the leadership team was supposed to be there.

It was quite the morning. And they tell me it's Thursday. Feels more like a Monday to me!

Thursday, September 03, 2009


Our small group has gone home, the kids are in bed, VNB's gone to bed, the TV is off and all is quiet.

I've got piles of dishes in (and around) the sink, puffed rice cereal all over the floor, books and toys scattered about, a dining room table that's practically in my lap right now (it's so big with all the leaves in for the small group that came tonight and our house is so small)...but it's quiet. And there's no one using me for a jungle gym.

Back 10,000 years ago, before I went overseas, this was what it was like all the time (well, the TV was on occasionally). Then it was _too_ quiet. Now it's a welcome respite from the noise...but at the same time, the noise is a welcome respite from the world.

Even with all its flaws, this house is home because the people who sleep under its roof are my family - people (some smaller than others) for whom I am ceaselessly grateful and absolutely amazed to be able to call "mine."

Someday (in sha'allah), the kids will grow up, move out into the big, wide world, meet people, get married, and start families of their own. But even then, they will still be "mine" (and VNB's pretty much stuck with me "till death do us part").

And in these rare moments of quiet, I can dream dreams for them (and for us). I can pray that they will be successful in every way that the world calls "success." I can pray that they never want for anything important. I can pray that they have strong marriages and healthy families.

But mostly...mostly what I want for them is that they follow God's will for their lives, no matter where that takes them. And now that I'm a parent myself, I understand the terror that statement invokes (so, um, thanks Mommy and Daddy for supporting me in the whole "I'm going to Iraq" thing!)...but alongside the terror comes peace. Peace that God's in control and will continue to be whenever they are called to do whatever it is they will do.

But mostly peace that I don't need to worry about that today. Today I get to worry about laundry and potty training and random things they put in their mouths. Today there is noise. And every now and again, there is quiet.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Have We Got A Show For You!

So AJ's new potty rewards system is that before he can watch a DVD, he has to sit on the potty for 5 minutes. I sit there with him and we read a book, but it has to be done before any new DVD can go in the DVD player.

First up this morning was "A Snoodle's Tale" from VeggieTales. I was feeding Joanna her breakfast as it was playing and she got her first bite right around the time the opening song was starting. Bob the Tomato was singing the words "if a squash can make you smile" just as her first bite was approaching her mouth and she was therefore rejoicing by smiling a big ol' smile and kicking her feet.

On the spoon approaching her mouth? Squash. I guess that means VeggieTales is the show for her. There are worse things.

Not at all related to that is the fact that I'd like to record for posterity that Joanna has been successfully pulling up for over a week now and has almost mastered the art of getting back down without hurting herself (almost). She can also occasionally move a step or so, but mostly she's stuck in a single spot once she's standing. Similarly, for the last week or so, AJ has actually been hopping (two feet off the ground). He can even jump off of things. Fortunately, he's not brave enough to jump off of much (yet). Mostly just curbs.

And not at all related to that is the fact that it's always amusing to look at my site counter stats because the visiting IPs usually fall into one of two categories: 1) friends/family - I can tell who you are for the most part by where your IP is located (hi new grad student in Wheaton, IL!) and 2) people who get to my site by searching for the combination of unisom and vitamin B-6 (anti-nausea OTC meds that I took while pregnant with Joanna).

Anyway, have any of you noticed (as I have, although I haven't checked to see exactly how accurate this is) that I always seem to start my posts with the word "So...?" I'm not sure what that means.