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, jonandmollie.blogspot.com 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?