Thursday, December 30, 2010

Something NEW in 2011

2011 seems to be promising of many new things!  New year, new babies (not for ME, crazies!  Did I have you wondering??).  New year, new picturesNew year, new goals (I have a few).  New year, new friendsNew year, new recipes (one of my faves!).  New year, new heart (literally, for a friend's baby).  New year, new tricks (as I'm watching my boy scoot across the living room floor).  New year, new clothes (yay, Christmas gift cards!). 

A big one for me in 2011 is new year, new blog "Greenhill, Party of 4" at will be no longer after 2010 passes.   We'll still be a circus-like party of four, but as our focus shifts and goals and dreams for the new year develop, my blog is going to change along with everything else- including its location!!  We'll start out with a few giveaways in the month of January, so you won't want to miss out.  Be sure to check here next week for the details so you'll know where to find the goods!

2011=new blog for me.   

What's new for YOU in 2011?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Great Santa Debate

"Are y'all going to do Santa?"  It's an awfully popular question when you have small children.  And it's been an ongoing conversation for the past 2 months or so.  But what does that mean, anyway?  "Do Santa."

Are you wondering if we're going to visit Santa at the mall?  Are you wondering if presents marked "From Santa" will be under our tree?  Perhaps you're curious to see if we'll put out cookies and milk for the jolly man or if we'll leave carrots out in the yard for his dreadful creatures reindeer.  (Do you know about my intense fear and hate of deer?  Stupid animals.)  Maybe you're asking if we'll utter his name in our house.  Some people don't, you know. Will we ban all songs about Santa in our house? 

A little bit of background for you:  I don't ever remember growing up with Santa.  Santa wasn't a big deal at my house.  Sure, we left cookies and milk for Santa.  We even had a handful of Santa decorations around the house.  We decorated Santa-shaped cookies with sugar sprinkles, red hots, and those microscopic candy balls that break your teeth.  We waved "Hello" to Santa as we passed him in the mall.  But we didn't go sit on his lap, we didn't write letters to him, and we didn't talk about him a whole lot.  We were never told that there WAS or WASN'T a Santa.  And I never ever felt like I was missing out on any part of my childhood. 

Fast forward to the present:  We have our own children.  So, what are we going to do?  We have lots of traditions in the Greenhill house.  You can check out some of them here and here.  However, Santa will not be one of our traditions.  To answer the questions above... No, we are not going to visit him at the mall.  I don't want to pay to have a picture of my two children shrieking in Santa's lap, and it's just not an important tradition to me.  There will be no presents "From Santa" under our tree.  Cookies and milk?  Perhaps.  I do like cookies an awful lot.  Carrots?  Nah.  Will we speak the man's name?  Sure!  St. Nicholas was a great guy with a great heart.  He's a great example to use as we teach our kids about giving.  We might ban certain Santa songs, but not for the reasons you'd think. 

So, why no Santa?  I could tell you it's because we don't want to lie to our kids.  It sounds terribly harsh, and it IS a reason, but it's not my main reason.  I mentioned a few weeks ago how I hate one particular phrase that has become a cliche in the "Christian world."  Goofy cliche, but true.  Santa is not the reason for the season.  My children are not the reason for the season.  Consumerism is not the reason for the season.  A friend shared a thought with me recently, and it has really stuck with me.  "Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  So, why in the world do we get a bunch of presents?"  Christmas is not a time to celebrate my kids.  It's not a time to celebrate my husband.  Is it a time to be so thankful for them that my heart wants to burst?  You bet.  But, I don't want Kate and Drew to grow up thinking that Christmas is all about them.  And I certainly don't want them thinking that they ought to be good so a fictitious fat man with a beard will bring them presents!  I don't want them missing out for even one second on the enormity of the gift of Jesus.

"But, how/what are you going to tell them?"  Beats me!  Really.  I don't know.  They can't talk yet, so they can't ask.  Ha!  ;)  We have a little bit of time to come up with a thoughtful and sensitive answer.  In the meantime, we are praying that our home will be a place of peace as "the weary world rejoices" because Christ our King is born!

What kind of Santa traditions do/did you have in your family?  If your family didn't "do Santa," feel free to share the reasons for that!  *Please remember to be kind and sensitive, as some thoughts (including mine!) may differ from yours.* 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas with 2 under 2

Our Christmas decorating looks rather different this year, now that we have one walking and another trying with all of his might to figure out crawling.  Last year, Kate began crawling the week after Christmas (the day after cutting BOTH bottom teeth), so we didn't have to worry about our decorations.  She loved the tree and could have spent hours in this very position:

I cannot even believe that was just a year ago!!  This year, Drew does much of the same (imagine that!).  He's much more of a roller than Kate was, so he still gets around.  He's content just to sit and look at the tree, though.  NEXT YEAR will bring even more changes as far as decorating and traditions go.  We'll have a 1 1/2 year old and a 2 1/2 year old (I do like how simple this math is when it concerns my children!!) and that brings a new set of dynamics!
People often ask me what life is like with two so close together (362 days, remember).  A little like having twins, yet not quite.  Here is a glimpse into the Christmas season at the Greenhill home with two under two. 

Christmas cards:  Getting 3 of us to look at the camera for a decent family picture?  Yup, we did it.  Remember the Christmas card post a few weeks ago?  You can see last year's picture here.  How about 4 of us looking in the same direction and smiling?  Probably not.  My plan was to split up the pictures and include 3 on our card this year.  One of Kate, one of Drew, and one of Jon and me.  Amazingly, my mom and sister managed to capture a pretty good one of the entire Greenhill party of four this past weekend and it's a keeper!!

Christmas cookies:  I LOVE baking for Christmas.  My sister and I have started a fun tradition of taking a "Baking Day" before Christmas and we spend the entire day baking/prepping Christmas goodies.  Last year, it was on a Saturday and Jon was able to keep Kate occupied during her awake hours.  This year, it was on a Monday (therefore, no blog post yesterday!).  Let's just say that with two under two, Gretchen and I didn't have many moments alone for peaceful baking! 

Decorations:  Most of my favorite decorations are candles.  Or breakable things.  You know, toddler/baby appropriate items.  *sigh*  I pulled out many of them from the Christmas bins, stared longingly at them, and returned them to the bins.  We don't have much shelf/counter space in our home, so we don't have many places to put our decorations out of harm's way.  However, our house is not void of breakable Christmas decorations.  Call me crazy, but here's my plan.  Kate needs to learn that not everything is fair game.  We still have candles in the windows, ornaments on the entire tree, a tablecloth with a glass nativity on the dining room table, and a mini Christmas tree all within reach of little hands.  Reality: The world is not baby proof.  And Kate is learning what she can and can't touch/play with.  It's important for her to learn that our home will have some of Mom and Dad's things within her grasp and they are not toys.  And believe it or not, this has worked REALLY well!  She knows that she can look at the candles in the windows, but not touch.  She can peek up on the dining room table, but doesn't yank on the tablecloth.  She can touch some of the ornaments on the bottom part of the tree, but she knows not to pull them off.  (In case she does, they aren't breakable!)   

Tree watering:  I don't do it anymore.  HA!  Guess who does?? 

Yup!  I just gave her a container with ice cubes, and she got to work!  Those bad boys will melt in the stand, and our beautiful Fraser fir is watered until it's thirsty again!  Sorry about the bad lighting- you can only get but so many angles when you're under. the. tree.  :)

Those are a few ways our Christmas looks a little bit different this year.  We're also coming to some conclusions regarding "The Great Santa Debate."  Check back next week for more on that!

Did you/do you do anything differently in the Christmas season with young ones in the house?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Monday, December 06, 2010

Christmas traditions and Facebook

Nope, this blog is not about Christmas traditions using Facebook.  Those topics are totally unrelated, but I wasn't coming up with anything creative for a title today.

Facebook news:  For a very long time, I've had Facebook importing my blog posts.  This is where most of you comment on whatever I've written.  After this post, I'm disabling that feature.  SO... If you enjoy reading about our little family or you're entertained by my weirdness or you just like looking at pictures of my sweet babies (I do too, don't worry), go ahead and bookmark this blog!! will provide all of those goodies for you and you can (and should!) comment over there.  AND, an exciting blog change is going to take place in the New Year, so stay tuned for that!  We're working really hard to get it off the ground (ie: my husband is doing a TON of work for me)!

Christmas traditions: I'm a tradition girl.  I love traditions and I love eagerly anticipating them.  In fact, my mom used to remind me that doing something once didn't make it a tradition.  Prime example: She bought us some special treats for a plane ride one time and we looooooved them.  One time, people.  Next plane ride?  "We ALWAYS have those on the plane, Mom!!!!!!!!!"  Anyway, traditions hold a special place in my heart, and Christmas brings out many of them.  I guarantee you'd quit reading this post if I listed them all, so here are just a few.

  •  Nativities: I love having a visual of Jesus' birth.  So much so, that I have just a "few" Nativity sets around our house.  One may or not be the Veggie Tales nativity.  And Kate may or may not have realized that the star (Laura's face with Junior's voice) will screech "O Little Town of Bethlehem" as many times as she might wish to press it.  Growing up, my sister and I loved to play with the nativity and even act out the story of Jesus' birth.
  • Advent calendars: You can find a million different Advent calendars out there.  Many of them have candy in them.  NOT exactly the point of Advent... but hey!  Some of the best Advent calendars include Scripture or activities that help remind us of the purpose of the days leading up to Christmas. 
  • Christmas lights: Don't think much of an explanation is needed for this one.  There are a ton of beautiful tacky fun lights around Richmond and we love to check them out!  If you're in the Raleigh-Durham area, you should scoot on by my sister-in-law's house.  It's quite a sight!! 
  • Pajamas: We always open one package on Christmas Eve: new pajamas to wear to bed!  And Jon got to join in on the fun when we started dating!  Even still, at 28 and 29, we look forward to our new jammies!  I'm especially looking forward to MINE this year, because for the first time since 2007, they will not be maternity pjs.  HA!  ;)
We have some other important traditions in our families related to giving and living lives of gratitude, but that's for another time.

What are some of YOUR favorite family Christmas traditions?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Our lives...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Decisions, decisions!

I. love. Christmas. cards.  A lot.  One of my favorite parts about the weeks leading up to Christmas is finding Christmas cards in my mailbox.  Extra points if they include a Christmas letter.  Even more extra points if they include a picture.  I pop those pictures up on our fridge and they become my reminders to pray for those families each day!  Last year, I had my parents and sister team up to take our family picture.  One person to position us, one to snap (quickly!), and one to make Kate smile.  It's a group effort.  We found a great deal on Shutterfly for our Christmas card last year.  I think it turned out pretty well! (Drew is in this picture too...!!)
 Shutterfly has some awesome options for gifts- and it doesn't even have to be the holiday season!  Their calendars can be hung on the wall, propped on a desk, or displayed in a poster.  This is a really great idea to incorporate more than one family.  Or, how about a birthday party?  You have the option of a photo card or a regular flat invitation.  I really like this one (don't be fooled- this is not my sweet Drew!).  Either way, they're really cute and creative designs with excellent prices!

This year, I'm not even attempting to get everyone smiling in one picture.  It will never ever happen.  Instead, we're going to use the great design options that Shutterfly offers and split into three pictures.  One of Jon and me, one of Kate, and one of Drew.  I think this will work!!  And the best part?  Shutterfly is offering 50 free Christmas cards to bloggers who might want to brag on them!  Luckily for them, I can honestly put together a blog post of praises!  Only problem?  There are an awful lot of choices.  I think I've narrowed it down to 8.  I guess that's not very narrow, is it? P.S.- These are NOT the pictures I'm going to use.  That would ruin the anticipation, y'all!





Which do you like the best?  Or should I just surprise you with one that I didn't include?  ;)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas sweaters and rocks

You've probably heard someone share an illustration using a jar, a pitcher of water, and a pile of rocks of varying size and shape.  "Try to fit all of the rocks and the water in this jar," the speaker says.  At first glance, it doesn't seem possible.  The lesson is learned quickly that this is only possible if the rocks are strategically placed into the jar.  The big ones have to go first.  What are the "big rocks?"  They're our biggest priorities.

Once our big priorities are settled and in place, the smaller things can settle around them.  And there's still room to pour a little "water."  I've heard this illustration more times than I can actually remember.  It's so familiar, yet easy for me to brush off.  "Yeah, yeah.  I've heard that.  I know, I know."  But it's come back to me in the past month.  And I'm particularly reminded of it as yesterday was the first day of Advent.  The beginning of 4 weeks when we wait in eager anticipation of the birth of the Messiah.  I'm trying to be more intentional about truly waiting for the birth of Christ this year.  I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in my struggles- I fall into the trap of busyness and the "hustle and bustle" (what a weird phrase) of the season.  Our family calendar does not have one free weekend in the month of December.  Ouch.  I see mugs and t shirts and bumper stickers with the Christian cliche "Jesus is the reason for the season!" and it makes me roll my eyes and possibly gag.  Just being honest.  Not that I disagree with the sentiment in any way, but for heaven's sake... But that's not my point.  Or maybe it is. 

I don't want to forget about Jesus.  I don't want to make him secondary in my holiday preparations.  Author Joanna Weaver put it so simply when she writes about this from God's perspective, "Take care of My business, and I'll take care of yours.  Make room in your heart for me, and I'll make room for everything else."  Step back, Mollie.  Lights and wreaths and trees and music make my heart smile.  But they aren't top priority.  Presents and wrapping paper and parties and tacky Christmas sweaters chocolate and red Starbucks cups are tons of fun.  But they aren't number one.  And I let them steal the number one spot sometimes really often, rather than letting them fall in place further down the list.   

There wasn't any room for Jesus when He was born.  I'm challenging myself to make room for Him in my Christmas this year.

What do you do to keep your focus steady during the hectic holiday season?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Some old words

Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.
-Henry Alford, 1844

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Our lives...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"I'm tired! My knee hurts!"

We love the movie "Up" at our house.  Jon and I went to see it on our 5th anniversary (our first time leaving Kate!) and it is a sentimental movie for us both, Kate loves the balloons, and Drew just likes everything.  The other night as I was making dinner, Jon skipped through different parts of "Up" to keep the kids entertained during the bewitching hour.  You know that time, moms.  Typically about 4-6 pm.  And it's usually really ugly.

Dinner was strewn across the table and floor eaten, kids were bathed and in bed, and Jon and I watched more of the movie.  At one point, Russell says to Mr. Fredrickson (How do you spell his name, anyway?  IMDB has three different spellings listed!), "That might sound boring, but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember the most."  And that got me thinking... about my childhood and about parenting my own children.

When I was a little girl, I frequently tagged along with my dad on Saturday evenings when he went to church to prepare communion.  He taught me exactly how the bread needed to be cut and how to pour the juice into those tiny cups.  With no air bubbles floating on the top.  We sliced the bread from the bottom so it would flawlessly break in half on Sunday morning when the pastor introduced the sacrament.  We listened to oldies in the car and talked about absolutely nothing in particular.  These were not events of epic proportions.  It might sound boring.  But, it's the boring stuff that I remember the most.  Time with my dad.  I was just happy to be by his side.  I have really special memories of "boring" things with my mom, sister, and brother, too. 

I sat on the floor the other day, talking to two children who cannot talk back to me.  And that's what I do for most of my day.  Well, one's vocabulary is rapidly increasing these days... Anyway, we put together a puzzle and we were counting animals and naming them and making animal sounds.  We sang songs about animals and we pulled the puzzle apart.  And then we rolled around on the floor and giggled a lot.  And then we had a dance party.  Yup, a 6 month old, an 18 month old, and a 28 year old.  BO-RING.  Right?  Maybe.  But those times are most precious to my heart.  They won't remember them.  But I do and I will.  Perhaps the "level of boring" is simply in the eye of the beholder.

In my efforts to be a mom who doesn't conform to the standards of this world and the parenting pressures around me, I've learned to soak in in the "boring" times.  Not everything has to be a grandiose planned event for entertainment purposes.  Sometimes it's special to just be boring.  It IS the stuff that we often remember most.

What "boring" things do you remember most from your childhood or from raising your own kids?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Eat 'em up!

Eat 'em up!  Because that's exactly what Jon's family does when we get together- especially since we don't see them super often!  Here are a few awesome pictures that my precious sister-in-law, Ashley, snapped when we were in Boone this past weekend...

Meeting Aunt Ashley for the first time.  She's happy and he's ready to snuggle and snooze!
This just makes my heart happy!
You know what she's saying.  "Ehhhh?"  Her trademark.
Kisses for Mom
He doesn't go hungry...

My snugglin' boy and his Gaga
Two happy campers
Kate LOVES Cousin Taylor.  LOVES.
No caption necessary.  Like father, like son.  THIS is where my man gets it!

He has a name!

It sounds like "We-ooooo!!!" and it is translated "Drew!!"  Someone loves her brother and is so proud to call him by name (and help him learn how to drink from a sippy).  Love this girl!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Size 4 and Number One. Or Two.

The conversation that could be heard in the Swagger Wagon yesterday evening, on our way home from an amazing weekend in Boone.  We're processing through some things we've been learning lately:

Jon: What's something big that you've learned this week about being a mom?
Me: That size 4 Target brand diapers are absolutely not the same fit as a size 4 of any name brand.
Jon: Okay... So, number one.  Diapers.
Me: No, it was actually number two that cause me to have this realization.

GROSS.  But, such is the life of having an 18 month old and a 6 month old.  Diapers, diapers, and more diapers.  One of the hardest things about preparing for a baby is registering somewhere.  Have you ever walked into Babies R Us?  Anyone can feel totally lost in that place!  It's not just like a man in Michael's or a woman in Lowe's or Home Depot (Right, Kristen??)  Anyone can feel lost!  Too. Many. Choices.

And diaper options are as numerous as the stars, I think.  Luvs? Pampers? Huggies? Sam's brand? Costco brand? Target brand? CLOTH? Think about the options and accoutrements that get added if you go cloth!  I remember bringing Kate home from the hospital and using up the remainder of our "free" diapers (you know, the ones you snag off the bassinet cart).  I loved how they smelled (before being filled, that is).  Pampers Swaddlers sealed the deal for me.  She was so cozy and I never ever wanted her to lose that newborn smell.

Then I read somewhere that Pampers are good for long and lean babies and Huggies are good for the rounder ones.  Uhhhh... really?  Maybe it's legit.  I don't know.

I do know that all of our gift cards have now run out and it's time to start purchasing diapers with real money now.  So I busted into Target last week, grabbed a box of size 4 diapers (such a deal for this frugal mama) and headed home.  I now know why my dear friend Dawn was so surprised when I told her that Kate is in a 4.  Because Target size 4 apparently does not equal Pampers size 4.  Which, in turn, means that they don't contain deposits quite as well.  That was our lesson learned this weekend.  Poor Kate and her saggy britches.  It was like putting a newborn in size 2 diapers.

Most moms I know didn't HAVE these options when they were raising their children.  And while many things are much easier now in 2010 than "back then," I sure wouldn't mind a smaller number of options when it comes to baby stuff.

Lest you lose all faith in me entirely, I have been learning other things lately about being a mom.  Check back over the next few weeks to see what I've been learning about discipline, time management, ear plugs, faith, marriage, and a few other things! 

In the meantime, what brand of diapers do/did you use for your children and how do/did you choose them?

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Ready or not...

Who needs Mom?  I mean, really...

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Behind the times

When one reaches the 100th blog post, it's a pretty big milestone.  And it's celebrated!  Not here.  I didn't even realize it until I went to write today's, and saw that this is #101.  Oops.  It's all good, though, because I have some big and exciting things coming in the near future on my blog- including a MAJOR change!  So, stay tuned in the next few weeks so you don't miss out!  Soon, will be no longer!!  I am so excited, y'all!

On to the current important things... A pediatrician appointment with two children at. the. same. time.  I conveniently scheduled this particular appointment on my husband's day off, and then entered it into his phone as one of his appointments.  I'm sneaky like that.  Seriously, though.  He is amazing and there is nooooo way I could have done that trip without him!  Plus, he has this incredible ability to see things in a totally different way than I can.  I keep the stats and hold the children while they are screaming.  He has a really unique way of looking at the situation, so head over to his blog and check out this most recent post on growing through pain.

And now for the goods (I know my MIL and SIL are anxiously awaiting):

Kate at 18 months:

Weight: 23 pounds
Height: 31 1/2 inches

Drew at 6 months:

Weight: 17 pounds, 1 ounce
Height: 25 1/2 inches (The dr. said that the nurse didn't stretch him out as far as he could go, so this is our best adjusted guess about his height.  It's pretty accurate, I think.)

This was a rough trip to the pediatrician.  Kate has entered the stage where she doesn't want anyone touching her unless she knows them very well.  So, the screaming commenced well before the shots came!  Drew watched her intently and his face said, "Uhhhh, what exactly am I missing?"  Once his exam began (and Kate and Dad were back in the waiting room checking out the fish), he was awfully upset too.  You've got to understand that this child does not cry.  Really.  He has to be totally incensed to start crying, and I was amazed at what came out of his little mouth and the monstrous alligator tears that poured from his eyes.  I can honestly say that he cried more at yesterday's appointment than he has cried in his entire life.  Truly.  It was a sad day morning  hour. 

Back to the stats: My dear friend, Kristen, suggested that I start a pool for people to guess when Drew will be taller than Kate.  The time is not far away when they will look like twins!  Especially since Drew hovers around the 50th percentile for his height and weight and Kate has stuck around the 30th.  Girl, your brother is rapidly approaching!!

So, Drew is 6 months and Kate is 18 months.  How much longer before they look like twins?  When will Drew look like the big brother?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What I'm praying for today

Crystal, over at Little Bit Funky, is a jack of all trades!  She blogs about family and faith, crafts and fun kids' activities.  She's so totally down to earth and honest, and she's just begun a new series called "What I Wish I Could Tell You."  It's exactly what it sounds like.  Ever wish you could tell someone what you were thinking or feeling- but you CAN'T?  Crystal is offering a chance for people to anonymously get some things out in the open and maybe even receive some encouragement.
I can't always identify with people's struggles (and often feel pretty lame because of that), but today's post struck a chord.  After attending countless ministry seminars and conferences as a pastor's wife, I've heard this story over and over.  And over and over.  The details differ ever so slightly from story to story, but much of the same heartache is there.  I'm praying for this sweet woman today.  I don't know her, but I feel like I do.  And she's heavy on my heart today.   
Who are YOU praying for? (to think about, not necessarily to share for all to see)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Do you want to be great?

Lately, our pastor has been preaching some pretty awesome sermons.  You know, the kind that make my husband come home and say, "Man.  He BROUGHT IT!"  Stepping on people's toes, saying things to challenge people's thinking.  Not making it all sweet and sugary and wrapped with a beautiful bow.  Making some people mad, probably.  "Oh, that's not very good for church," you might think.  "Saying controversial things?  That's not a very good idea.  We shouldn't upset people."  Welllll.... Jesus did.  He was controversial.  He upset people.  And He most definitely stepped on people's toes.  He wasn't super popular because of the things he had to say.

Back to a recent sermon... The title was "Let the Children Come."  You can guess where that came from (Luke 18:15-17).  And in this particular sermon, he BROUGHT IT.  As a youth ministry volunteer for over 10 years now, and as a youth pastor's wife for 6 1/2, one particular statement made me laugh out loud.  I had to force myself to remain seated and not cheer and wave my arms in the air.  And if you are in ministry (or are married to someone who is), you will totally get it.  Bert said, "It is not our job to fix your children.  If you messed them up the rest of the week, don't bring them to us expecting us to fix them."  I can't tell you how many parents have actually requested that we "fix their children."  As hilarious and painfully true as that statement is, Bert's challenge was such a great reminder for parents that day and it has really resonated in my soul.

My moms' group is currently reading a book called Raising Kids for True Greatness.  It's a very counter-cultural book, but is challenging us to take a close look at how we are raising our kids.  Are we raising them to be successful or are we raising them to be truly great?  It's our job to discipline, love, and raise our children.  The work HAS to occur at home.  Church is a great place for them to grow, but it's just an extra measure of support.  It's up to parents to teach their children to be like Jesus.  One of the unpopular things that Jesus had to say dealt with this very situation of being "great."  He said that if we want to be great, we must be servants of one another.  Pardon me?  In this culture where everything is about me?  Yup.  Serve one another.  That's just one step in raising kids for true greatness.

This is a pretty major theme in my life right now, so expect more posts on this topic as we work through the book and I wrestle with how to make it a reality in my life and in my children's lives.  Serving others isn't so popular in our culture.  We say that it is, but mostly we want to look out for ourselves.  Can you think of any practical ways to work on this?

How are you teaching your children to be truly great?  Or how are YOU trying to be truly great?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I should be patient...

... I don't always want to nap in MY bed, either!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A letter to my children

Dear Greenhill babies,

Should you choose not to nap (for long or at all) on any given afternoon, please be advised that you may be subjected to a photo shoot as a result of your decision.  You're the lucky winner today, son!  I could stare at you all day.  For real. 

Much love,

September 30, 2010

Happy 17 month Birthday, my sweet girl!  I can't get enough of you! 

Monday, September 27, 2010

What do you want?

I often get two words confused in my mind: need and want.  Their definitions are so very different and it shouldn't be difficult to distinguish between the two, but I am so very human.  They frequently seem to be the same thing to me.  Sometimes, I'm like a little kid in the toy aisle at the store.  Lots of things that I want and those wants morphs into needs.  Ever heard a child say, "But I neeeeeeeed it!"  Yeah, that's me.

We have 2 children now, and that means that we don't have a guest room anymore.  You know, we really need a bigger house.  Wrong.  We don't have an entire room dedicated to toys for our children.  In general, they don't have tons of stuff.  Will there be enough to make everyone happy when a friend comes to play?  We need more toys.  Wrong.  I'm a little tired of the wardrobe I have.  I'm finally not pregnant and I'd like some cute (machine washable) clothes for this fall and winter.  I need more clothes.  Wrong.  Am I alone in this?  Or do you get it?

My God will supply all my needs, according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  Phil. 4:19 (NASB)

My needs.  Not my wants.  My needs.  And He does.  Without fail.  Don't believe me?  Here are a few ways that I have been completely humbled in the past 2 months.
  • Applied for financial aid after Baby #2 was born.  Lots of money forked over for bills before he was born. Another $12,000 due to the hospital after his birth.  Precious lady on the phone says, "You've been approved for 100% of your bill."  God knew what we needed at. that. time. And He made it possible.
  • Baby # 2 also means that we have physically run out of room in our car.  Some baby things are for fun.  Many of the accoutrements are vital and there simply was not room!  We purchased a car yesterday afternoon at a ridiculously awesome price.  Did our savings account take a hit?  Sure.  But God knew what we needed at. that. time.  And He made it possible.  
  • Those are all big ticket items.  Would you believe me if I told you that they weren't my most treasured provision?  Oh trust me, I am eternally grateful for those things.  But the provision that is dearest to my heart came in an envelope one day.  In a greeting card.  I was so excited to see who had sent us a card!  I love cards.  Love, love, love them.  Well, I mostly love the sweet notes that are typically inside of them.  But, I digress.  I tore open this particular card and read the outside, "Time for a 'God loves you' break in your day."  I sure do like those breaks, so I opened it quickly to keep reading.  "You're loved, valued, honored, and special- today and always."  No signature.  A gift card to a nearby grocery store (the one I frequent, actually).  Enough to cover one week's worth of groceries.  (Plus a cup of coffee if I can work my coupons just right).  I am humbled and we are blessed.  God placed our little family on someone's heart.  And they listened to Him.  Thank you for being used by God, dear anonymous friend.  God knew what we needed at. that. time.  And He made it possible.
Do you confuse needs and wants in your life, too?  How has God provided for you and your family (not necessarily financially)?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Grammar, anyone?

I am a grammar nerd.  I admit it.  If I could have gotten away with it, I would have taught grammar all year long to my 10th graders.  My eyes are trained and my ears are ultra sensitive.  Grammar mistakes scream at me everywhere I go.  It's no wonder that this picture, posted on Katie's blog, made me shudder and laugh.  Katie found the picture here, along with a quick apostrophe tutorial.  It's not that difficult, people!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Happiness is...

  • still feeling giddy inside when my man gets home from work every day
  • having a sister who doesn't live 7 hours away anymore
  • claiming a brother who does this on the weekends
  • movie on the couch date night with my love after kids are in bed- free and totally worth it
  • sweet kisses from Ladybug (with no prompting)
  • smiles and giggles from Lovebug (who is totally in love with his mama, if I do say so myself)
  • a dad who knows how to fix anything in the entire world
  • hugs in the kitchen from my man that make all the problems in the world disappear
  • generosity of a stranger who gave us millions of baby clothes for my little girl
  • an adorable tennis dress in the pile of millions of baby clothes
  • my little lady in the aforementioned tennis dress watching Gram play tennis
  • my little man playing with his links and enjoying the breeze
  • a picnic in the shade with two perfectly behaved children watching Gram crush her opponents
  • a sleeping boy upstairs and a sweet girl off at Gram's house for the afternoon
  • this face
  • this face
  • these faces