Ever had one of those days where you take one step forward only to take two steps back? That's what my days felt like this week... the good news is that my older two have been playing very well together, so well that I haven't felt the need to go to playgroup or find a play date to get us all out of the house. They've enjoyed playing their various pretend games in one section of the house, while I was able to work on something productive in a different part. My feeling of success was often short lived as I would later discover the mess involved in their pretend games...

One day I was able to clean the upstairs while they played nicely downstairs. Turns out they had invented a game they call "junk". Playing junk kept them occupied for a good 30-40 min while they took toys from the toy room and hid them under the table in our entry way. Seems innocent enough, till I go downstairs to take a look under that table. It took over an hour of my undivided attention to get them to clean up from junk as they took the toys one at a time back to the toy room.

During another afternoon, the kids were playing a game they called "monster truck" in which they were jumping off the toy box and crushing an empty water bottle. This too appeared harmless,so I went off to do other things. Then I heard, "OK you jump on the banana and I'll crush the bottle" I looked over just in time to see an already partially smashed banana on the floor which I prevented from being completely mashed into our carpet.

Yesterday I was putting away laundry (a rare accomplishment in my house) while the kids were playing in their room. Since I didn't hear any screaming, crying, or fighting, I assumed they were ok. Turns out they are playing "Shower" which is a new game that involves taking all the blankets, pillows and stuffed animals off of their beds and putting them on the floor while they stand half naked on their beds pretending to take a bath. Nice.

While we finally had some warm, spring like weather here this week, it wasn't exactly swim suit weather. No problem, they dived off of the toy box and went "swimming on our floor."

Today I let the kids float corks in a bowl of water on our deck. Needless to say this quickly turned into a splish splashy mess. I realized they were involving our baby in this mess, when I heard "Let's baptize her." I looked over to see them cupping their hands with water and pouring it over her head. I quickly put a stop to this. Meanwhile our baby was releaved that we are Presbyterian, thus saving her from having been dunked.

So, while I am grateful my kids have an active imagination and are learning to play well together, I now need to work on getting them to more quickly clean up the mess they leave behind.

Oh, and one more.....

Yes, that's milk that my daughter poured all over my couch. Nice, huh?

Have you or someone you know ever gone on a short term missions trip with the desire to make a difference in the world at large? Not sure exactly what you can do but hoping that the Lord will use you to help however He can?

Well, when I was 15 years old I went on a 2 week missions trip with MTW to Mexico City, Mexico. We were there to help with building a church addition. On my second day at the site, I had an accident. We had been working on the third story of the building. There were no stairs leading up to the third story yet. To get down you either had to go on a ladder or climb down to the adjacent building. I was afraid of heights so I opted out of the ladder. I had straddled over the wall and was standing on a ledge. I only had to jump about 6 inches to the next roof, but I was still a bit nervous. One of the guys I was walking down with jokingly suggested I jump on what we didn't realize at the time was a sky window and then down to the roof. (I am sure you see where this is going).

I didn't realize he was kidding. I also didn't realize it was a sky window. It was made of ceramic tiles not clear glass.

The poor guy in our group had walked on down when he heard the crash. I am sure he was thinking, "Oh no, she didn't!"

But, yes, I did!

I fell 15 feet into a bathroom of the neighbors home. As I fell, for whatever odd reason, I had this image of baby Jessica falling into that well in Texas and I thought, "I'm going to be here for 5 days." When I landed, I landed standing up. I truly believe it was a miracle from God that I didn't hit my head or anything. I broke my foot because of the impact of landing on my feet. I remember looking up and seeing one of our youth leaders and some of my friends peering down at me with concern. The first thing out of my mouth was, "I'm in a bathroom!"

No one was home when I crashed into the bathroom so they had to figure out how to get me out and if I was ok. All these people were staring down at me speaking Spanish (which I only knew un poco). I was still marveling at the fact that I wasn't in a well. My fearless youth leader jumped down with me and they lowered a ladder which I climbed up and they lifted me out.

I then had to go to the hospital. Imagine how difficult it was to follow directions for the X rays when I didn't understand any Spanish. The nurses would act out what position they wanted me in and then I would follow. Finally I was given a cast and sent back to my group. Don't I look lovely sitting with my feet up while me team dotes on me? I spent the rest of the trip as the group, "encourager" as there was very little I could then do on the work site with a crutches and a cast.

Being the good daughter that I was, I called home to let my parents know about the accident and that I was alright. However, they weren't home at the time so I left a message with my 12 year old brother. Being the stupid teenager that I was, I never called back to actually talk to my parents and reassure my poor mother that I was indeed fine. So, my parents got home and my brother told them, "Crystal called, she says she fell through a roof and broke her foot, but she is OK." My poor parents had no means of getting in touch with me for the next 10 days. I never called back because I thought it would be expensive to call from a foreign country and figured they knew I was OK. As a mother, I can only imagine how worried and frustrated my parents must have been. My mom said she spent lots of time praying and clinging to Scripture during those weeks. Incidentally, anytime I left home ever again, they always stressed that I could ALWAYS call home, no matter the cost, to check in and if I did get hurt, to please, please make sure I talked to them.

Turns out God did use me to make a difference. No, I didn't do much church building or witnessing, but I did provide MTW with a classic example with which to teach leaders about the kind of bizarre accidents they may encounter in the field. About 5 years later my Dad and brother went on a missions trip with a different church, in a different state, but the same organization. As they were going through their orientation in Moose Factory, Canada, someone asked about injuries on short term trips. The MTW worker said something about how they don't usually have a problem, but one time there was this girl who went to Mexico and she fell through a roof... My dad and brother just looked at each other, knowing who that girl was. Way to leave a mark on the world, huh?

For more pictures and stories from the past check out We are THAT Family's Sincerely Fro Me to You Carnival.

This weekend my girls demonstrated a newly acquired skill for our circus act...

Meet my Sword Swallowers

For more Wordless Wednesdays, visit 5 Minutes for Mom.

Click here to check out more of my Life Under the Big Top.

Today my son spontaneously came up to my 2 year old and gave her a kiss. Afterwards the following discussion took place.

Daughter: "No kiss, Only Daddy Kiss."

Mommy: "But he's your brother and he was being nice."

Daughter: "No, only Daddy kiss."

Mommy: "So, the only boy that can kiss you is Daddy?"

Daughter: "Yes"

Daddy was a happy man when I shared this anecdote.

With three children under 4, it isn't always easy to get out for a date night. Sometimes we do date nights at home. We feed the kids a simple dinner... chicken nuggets or hot dogs. While I am getting the kids ready for bed, my husband grills us steak for dinner. We light a candle and enjoy a leisurely dinner together. We get to talk, uninterrupted and enjoy our food while it is still warm. I have found that steaks typically go on sale at least once a month. We can do the entire steak dinner for two with under $15 which is way cheaper then anything but fast food out on the town. While we still enjoy going out for an occasional date night, our home date nights allow us to have a special evening together more often.

Sometimes we want to top the evening off with a movie, so we'll head to our local Red Box. If you haven't tried Red Box yet, I highly recommend it. It is basically a movie vending machine, most often they are in front of McDonald's (I have seen some area grocery stores with them as well). For one dollar, you can rent a New Release movie. To find your nearest Red Box, visit their website. You can even find out what movies are in stock and available. You have until 9pm the next night to return it to any Red Box. This typically isn't a problem for us, but if you're late, they just charge you another dollar for an additional night. You'd have to keep it for 4 nights to equal the cost of renting it at Blockbuster. And there are no membership fees either.

Time alone with my hubby without breaking the bank....that works for me, to find out what works of others check out Rocks in My Dryer.

Last night we were walking along the beach in our neighborhood and someone walked by with her two dogs. One big dog passed to our right, the other between my son and I to our left. As this was happening she asked if the kids were ok with dogs. It was then that I realized how I've taken this fact for granted.

I am not a dog person. When I go to other dog owners homes, you won't see me sitting on the floor playing with the dog or cuddling them on my lap. BUT, I am incredibly thankful that my kids are growing up in a house with a dog. When we are out at the park or taking a walk and someone walks by with a dog, my kids don't shriek with fear. They don't really even think twice of it.

Having a dog around the house, who is known to bark from time to time (ok every time someone walks their dog in front of our home), gets them used to a certain noise level. My kids don't frighten easily. They rarely flinch at loud noises (aka the Blue Angels air show, the Circus, motorcycles) and I attribute this to the fact that we don't live in a quiet house. Since they were in my womb, they've been accustomed to random loud barking from time to time.

So, while I don't appreciate the dog hair shed all over my house, and despise when she wakes the kids when people come during nap time, I am so grateful she's a part of our family. I appreciate her patience with my kids, her eager greeting when we come home, her eating the food that my kids drop on the floor (seriously - its amazing how messy our floor gets if she's not around when we eat), and the life experiences she offers to my kids. I am glad my kids are being raised in a home with a dog.

If you don't mind sub par grass in your backyard and a rug that looks like.....well...your back yard. I recommend you consider having a dog.
Driving home the other day my 2 year old, called from the back of the van, "Excuse me mom, where's baby?" I would have panicked had I not just heard her babbling moments before. Since, it was obvious she was there, I answered with something silly like, "Driving the car." She erupted in giggles and thus began our newest comedy routine.

This was our conversation all the way to church this morning, in the parking lot after church while we were waiting for Daddy to finish talking, on the way out to lunch, on the way home....

"Excuse me Mom, where's baby?"

"On the roof"


"Excuse me Mom, where's baby?"

"On the floor"


"Excuse me Mom, where's baby?"

"In the back"


"Excuse me Mom, where's baby?"

"At the fire station"'


Just for fun, I stuck in "in her car seat" or "right there" and she would still erupt into giggles. THIS makes me laugh. While the routine itself doesn't exactly make me laugh, I can't help but laugh at her hysterical giggles.

This is what is making us laugh this week, to read what's making other people laugh, check out...

This weekend we are celebrating my husband's 29th birthday. As I look back at some of his baby pictures, (isn't he such a cutie) I am so thankful for the man he is today and feel incredibly blessed to call him my husband.

There are many things I respect about him, but at the top of the list would be his integrity, his perseverance, and his wisdom. We've been married almost 7 years now and since I get to live with him day in and day out, I truly get to see all sides of him and I can honestly say that he is consistent and that he genuinely strives each day to glorify God in all he does. As the head of our household, he models love and devotion. He is also a ton of fun. He makes up songs about me and the kids and belts them out for us. He sword fights and plays hide and seek and makes us all laugh. He leaves us with no room to doubt his commitment and love for his family.

I am incredibly thankful to my in laws for raising such a man of honor. Being a parent now myself, I know the job isn't easy and I appreciate the godly home they raised him in. As I look at them, I see many of the traits in my husband that I love. Thank you for praying for him all these years and for setting before him a godly example. Thank you for praying for me since before I was born. I feel so blessed to be married to your son and a part of your family. It is my prayer that our son will grow up to be just like his dad and that our girls will someday marry men just like him too.

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 (NIV)

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."

Week End Thoughts:
My posts typically relate funny anecdotes about the happenings of a stay at home wife and mom with three kids. While my days are seldom “normal” enough to leave me without a “post worthy” moment (i.e. read here), I intend to take some time on the weekend to highlight something from my week that’s a little more “thoughtful” and significant. If you had a post from this week that was reflective in nature, please add a link in the comments section. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Last September we sadly and suddenly had to put our puppy Claire to sleep. She was only 2.5 yrs old, but she got really sick and after numerous tests and watching her health dramatically decline in a matter of a week, we were left with no other options.

My husband was heartbroken. He is an animal lover through and through. The kids took the news pretty well. The girls really didn't notice because we had two dogs and so it wasn't like suddenly they were left without a dog to play with. Our son took the news very matter of factly. He told everyone we saw that, "Claire died" (SS teachers, supermarket cashiers, librarians, anyone that came over for a visit). He'd just abruptly announce, "We used to have two dogs, but Claire died." Every time we pass by the Animal Hospital that we took her to he still says, "That's where Claire died," or "I miss Claire." He's gentile when talking with "daddy" about it because he could tell how sad Scott was but he didn't seem that upset over it himself. Just a little bummed.

Then, earlier this week (8 months later) he came out of his room after nap time and he looked really sad. I asked him what was wrong and he started to cry saying, "I miss Claire." He sat beside me on the couch and just wept. He said he wanted to "go to the hospital and dig her up." He wanted Claire. It was so sad. He did it again later that day. I held him and told him I was sorry he was so sad. I felt really awful. I have no idea where this grief has come from, but watching those tears pour down his face just broke my heart. We talked about how fun it was to take her on walks. He mentioned how she let him walk him (She was well behaved enough that our son could walk her when he was only 18 mths old, our other dog is too apt to run off at the sight of another dog). I told him maybe we could teach Maggie to be better about being on the leash. I then mentioned how I wished his Daddy was home because his Daddy really missed Claire too and they could talk about it. (I am not the animal lover in the family, that role belongs to my hubby). He then asked, "Why don't you miss Claire Mommy?" Talk about heart wrenching.

Today when we drove by the animal hospital on the way home from grocery shopping, my son said, "Goodbye Claire."

I guess he misses her more than I realized.
4 years ago today my sister in law got married. My son was exactly one month old. I went dress shopping so I could find something to hide the 50 pounds of baby fat I gained. Hard to find a dress flattering enough to do that, but somehow I managed to find one that I was happy with.

Until I got to the church.

I was a new mom and new at the whole nursing thing. I never thought about the difficulties of nursing with a dress on until we pulled into the church parking lot and I said, "Ok, I'll go feed the baby..." It was then that I realized a skirt and top would have been a better choice.

Since I had no other clothes with me and my husband was an usher and thus had to go and get ready, I was in a real bind. I couldn't leave and go back to the hotel (not enough time) so I had to find a place to discreetly sit with my dress off and nurse the baby. Hmmm, how many places like that are there in the world? The church was not very big and I couldn't find any small classrooms or offices to hide in. I am sure their were bathrooms and looking back now I should have just sat in a stall on the toilet, but that idea never entered my mind. Instead we went down to the basement where we found a big multipurpose room, with a kitchen in one corner and what looked like a nursery area in the other. The only place with walls was the kitchen so my husband pulled a rocking chair in. My husband had to leave me for his usher duties. I remember there was a door to the outside that led into the kitchen as well as a door from the big open room in the basement. Neither locked. I had to sit on the rocking chair with my dress off and nurse my baby - EXPOSED - in the middle of what felt like an enormous room praying that no one would come into the kitchen. I was alone. Being new at the whole nursing thing, it took FOREVER and since I was sitting their half naked, it felt like forever and a half. I don't recall ever feeling as vulnerable as I did that afternoon. After about 15 minutes I heard footsteps. TERROR - "Don't come in!". Thankfully it was my mom who lovingly stood guard while I finished nursing my son.

Happy Anniversary Sis! I am sure that is one anecdote we won't find in your wedding scrapbook!! (For more stories and pictures that will never see the inside of a scrapbook, check out We Are THAT Family )

Finally, our baby can get in on the fun at the playground.

For more Wordless Wednesdays, check out 5 Minutes for Mom.

The other day I discovered a way to occupy my kids for a good 15-20 min, which many of you know is an eternity in Mommy time.

Wanna know the secret?

I let them play with my clock radio. I plugged it in and placed it on the floor in the living room. They had a blast taking turns turning it off and on and changing radio stations. It was more fun then Mommy turning on the stereo, because they had control of turning it on and off as well the fun of switching the music from station to station.

While they danced, I was able to clean the kitchen and pack our clothes (I could have done more, but I got distracted watching them and had to get it on video). Check out the music video below from my productive morning. I know everyone thinks their own home movies are funny, but since I peed my pants when I saw son do his fancy footwork in front of the TV, I knew I had to share. I think you'll enjoy it too.

Let me just answer a few questions now.

  • Yes, it is noon and my son is still in his PJ's

  • No, my husband and I don't dance like that (we don't think)

  • The leg lift move is new to us too

  • We aren't charismatic though it appears my daughter wants us to be

The clock radio Worked For Me. Check out Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer for other helpful tips.

Last week my two year old wanted desperatly to hold my 9 month old. This is a practice I don't generally encourage, unless I am trying to take a picture of the kids together, then it's used as a bribe. Let Mommy take your picture and you can hold your sister! This time however, it went the other way around...Mommy you can take a picture if you let me hold my sister.

Don't they look so cute all lined up in a row? Do you see the look of pride in big sister's face?

Since Christmas my 4 year old son has built up quite a weapons arsenal.

A few days before Christmas my sister in law called to ask if it was OK for our son to have a toy gun for Christmas. Since we had just been to the store looking for one, I think our answer was pretty obvious.

In January my husband built wooden swords for him and my son to practice sword fighting. Since they were made of wood, they had to stay out of reach and could only be brought down when he was playing with Daddy. From day one my husband has taught him that swords are not for hitting together, the goal is to go for the body. Not quite the approach I would have taken but I must admit that he's gotten pretty good.

My husband and I purchased soft swords to replace the wooden swords as his birthday gift. These ones are safe enough for everyone to play with (important when aiming for the torso).

A few days before my sons birthday, a friend called to see what if it was OK for our son to have a Nerf gun. Hmmm.... what do you think we said?

Only four months after his fist gun we had entered the world of projectile weapons. It started with nerf but last week my son decided to add to his collection yet again. He was using a coat hanger as a pretend bow when he asked my husband if they could make it a real one (came up with the idea all by himself). He and Daddy went down to the work room and made it happen. Took him a full day master the loading and aiming but he got it down.

Then he turned his plastic bowling ball into a cannon. For days he's had us count down to 5, scream "Fire Away" and then he leaps from the chair and throws the ball across the room at the pirate ship (aka couch).

6 weapon systems in 5 months. Bad guys beware, this is one well defended house!

Last night the power went out for 3 hours. My 2 year old woke up in pitch darkness and obviously was scared. I fumbled my way to her room using the glow from our glow in the dark stars to guide my way. I then slept on her floor to help her fall back asleep. Occasionally she'd wake up scared and I would reach my hand up to let her know I was still there. When the power came back on, I went back to my bed.

When my husband got up later he found her asleep in our doorway. I guess she followed me back. First I slept on her floor, then she came and slept on ours. I guess the reassurance that we were nearby gave her comfort.

How cool is it that God has chosen to use a parental analogy, "Our Heavenly Father" when describing his relationship with us. Through the work of his Son I can call out to Him anytime, anywhere and He is always there. His presence alone can bring comfort just as being my our side comforted my daughter last night. How often during scary nights do I reach out just to make sure He is still there? May I always seek Him out as my daughter did when she needed reassurance. Thankfully, He doesn't make me stumble through the dark.

""Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?." Matthew 6:25-27

Week End Thoughts:
My posts typically relate funny anecdotes about the happenings of a stay at home wife and mom with three kids. While my days are seldom “normal” enough to leave me without a “post worthy” moment (i.e. read here), I intend to take some time on the weekend to highlight something from my week that’s a little more “thoughtful” and significant. If you had a post from this week that was reflective in nature, please feel free to add a link in the comments section. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
The other day our two year old had a really bad diaper rash. Her poor bottom was BRIGHT RED and she screamed out in pain when we had to change her diaper. My son looked at her bottom and exclaimed, "Diaper rash is my favorite color!"

That boy makes me laugh.

Looking at this picture one would assume I was preparing to dive into the swimming pool. Don't be fooled. Despite being on the swim team for 5 summers and having literally every adult I knew work with me one on one, I never learned to dive. This is me looking the part before I belly flopped into the swimming pool.

Starting in about 3rd grade and going through the end of middle school, I spent every summer on the swim team. I actually enjoyed it even though I was not very good. I could swim all of the strokes and I loved practice because you really only had to get in the pool once, then you just swam lap after lap. Swimming laps I could handle. Diving and doing the flip turns was another story. My flip turns were more like flip half turns. I really liked the back stroke because I could start in the water. My first year I was great at back stroke because you only had to do one lap of the pool. I never really excelled in swimming because despite how fast I could go down the lane, the late start from the dive-flop and the delay from the half-flippy-turn around slowed me down. Sometimes I got to go to the Divisional Championships. This wasn't because I was "SO GOOD" but more because their were few enough swimmers in the category that I "qualified." I distinctly remember looking up my standing at the Divisional Swim Meet and seeing they ranked me 18 of 18 going into the meet. All I had to do was show up and I could attain the goal set for me by my coach, if I beat ANYone then I exceeded expectations. Nice to have no pressure!! (I never exceeded these expectations)

I can remember every coach I had pulling me aside to work on diving, life guards during free swim, my mom, my parents friends, LITERALLY every grown up I knew that knew how to swim spent time working with me on diving. Eventually I learned a sort of dive flop... not a full out belly flop, but still not a complete dive.

I am thankful I did learn to swim and I do enjoy swimming. To this day I prefer to just get in and do laps and I stay away from the diving board. I would be happy to teach my kids to swim, but they'll have to learn to dive from their father.

Visit We are THAT Family for more pictures and anecdotes from the past that will never make it into a scrapbook. Embarrassing moments are worthless if we can't laugh about them later! I would know, it was just yesterday I posted a more recent bit of self deprecating humor. Check it out here.
Last weekend my husband picked my daughter up and noticed she was incredibly wet. He commented that someone must have put her diaper on wrong (Since I was the grownup home at last diaper change, the blame obviously fell to me). I muttered something about those stupid diapers not absorbing properly.

Check out her look of disappointment. (MOM, you let me down)!

My husband called me in to check out what went wrong with the diaper...

It was then that I remembered the two older kids fighting and one screaming bloody murder while I was changing the diaper. I grabbed the baby and ran to check on the situation. Guess I neglected to finish... the odd thing is I did go back and button all 12 buttons on her pants, never noticing the fact that the diaper wasn't on.

So, this one wasn't exactly Wordless but it does verify that, generally speaking, diapers Work for Me. Not that it was intentional but if you were contemplating potty training at 9 months - that didn't work work for me. Truth is my 27 month old daughter is old enough to potty train but we are being lax because its just easier that way. Slapping a diaper on gives you timing flexibility (just remember to slap the diaper on).

Yesterday I posted about how similar our life is to the real circus we visited last week. I would now like to point out two unfortunate differences.

At the circus they have these men dressed in all black that come into the ring between acts and clean up. They remove equipment, clean up poop, and set up for the next act. I need these men at my house. Imagine if after the meal (act 1) these men just instantly appeared and quietly, miraculously, cleaned up the mess when we move on to playtime (act 2). Then, when suddenly it is time for act 3 (get out the door to go to wherever we're going) these men appear again to clean up the mess we left in our wake (ie, the pjs, toys, oh and don't forget the poop)!! I want that.

The other unfortunate difference has to do with safety. I pointed out yesterday that we have acrobats and tumblers at our house, just like at the circus. Their performers enjoyed a network of safety nets (assembled by the men in black) which insure their shenanigans are performed safely. We lack the safety net. If only our house was draped with nets so that when the kids lunged off of the couch, I'd know they wouldn't bump their head on the coffee table. I'd breath a lot easier at the park if I could just tie a safety line to my daughter when she went on the playground equipment. Then I'd know she was safe if she decided to just walk off of one of those random openings at the very top of the playground.

I guess our life is not exactly like the circus after all. My son pointed out another difference when we were watching one of the trapeze artists hang from a bar from her legs while juggling. He leaned over and said to me, "Mom you couldn't do that!" He is so right, I couldn't even manage to climb up onto the trapeze. I still consider myself to be a juggler though!

Last week we took our kids to the circus. We couldn't help but notice the many similarities between life at our house and life under the big top.

At the circus, they had people who could stand on their hands. We've got that.

There were wild animals which had been tamed. Yup, we've got that too.

There were also people hanging upside down from their legs. We've got that too.

And let's not forget those darling clowns...

The circus was incredibly loud. We sat by the entrance where the performers came into the ring. Three motor cycles raced right beside us and into a cage where they raced around in circles. My husband and I were prepared for the kids to scream and cry at the loud noises... to startle... to react in some way.

Instead, here is a picture of our baby in her classic "putting herself to sleep pose" (sucking her left two fingers while stroking her right ear) while the action is taking place only feet in front of us. Hmm... do you think she's accustomed to a little bit of noise at our house?

Guess that's why we call it Life At The Circus!!

It's Monday again and time to post this weeks meal plan. Be sure to click on the link above if you want to see what other people are serving their families this week. I have discovered many fun new recipes from participating in this carnival.

  • Monday: Tonight is my last MOPS meeting of the year. Since I arrive early for set up, I skip dinner and eat at the meeting. Daddy will be serving fish to the kids tonight. (Perfect plan for me b/c I hate fish (the smell, sight, and taste) so I don't have to cook it, eat it or clean up after it, BUT my hubby and the kids get to enjoy the healthy change of pace. I got frozen cod fillets for them. They liked them last week, so here it goes again!!

  • Tuesday: I didn't have all the ingredients on hand last week to make the Mexican Tortilla Soup, so I plan to get the necessary cans of Cream of Chicken Soup and serve it up tonight. The kids aren't big soup fans, so I'll just serve them the corn bread and save out the beans and a few pieces of chicken.

  • Wednesday: My husband has a Wednesday Night Sailing Race again tonight, since it's just the kids and I we'll keep it simple... I'm thinking grilled cheese for dinner.

  • Thursday: A nice, hearty lasagna sounds yummy for tonight.

  • Friday: We're heading out, so I'll pack pepperoni bread for us to eat in the van on the road.

Two months ago, my mom came across some of my old school papers and she passed this one along to me. I wrote it in first grade. I have no recollection of writing this, but I have to think that God smiled as I wrote it, thinking, "You have no idea Crystal that your dream will come true exactly as you wish for." Today I thank God for allowing me to be the mom to 3 wonderful children, one son and two daughters.

Is that cool or what? I really am living my dream!

Since Mother's Day is this weekend, I thought I'd make my thoughtful post about my mother. Growing up my mom was my best friend. She was approachable and always willing to listen. I could ask her about anything and she never made me feel awkward or silly. Mom knew how to make things special. She decorated the house for the seasons and holidays and made our birthdays into something we looked forward to all year. I try to do the same at my home with my family. She is an excellent cook and would make many things from scratch. Some of my favorites are her potato salad, zucchini bread, nut rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy (I still haven't learned how to make gravy), apple pie, and her strawberry jam. I loved helping her in the kitchen. Every year when I bake Christmas cookies I think of her. I remember we'd spend the whole day baking cookies, all kinds of cookies, and listening to Christmas carols.

Mom is a talented seamstress. She made all of my costumes for school plays and assignments as well as my prom dresses, a memory quilt, and most specially my wedding dress. I know I put a lot of pressure on her when I asked her to do that. They always turned out even better than I hoped for and meant all the more to me because they were, "made with love by Mother." I have fond memories of mother/daughter shopping trips trying on dresses and then searching for the right pattern (often she had to combine more than one pattern into one dress) and the perfect material.

Mom loves my Dad. They've been married for 30 years. I always admired the priority they placed on their marriage. While they loved my brother and I deeply, they made sure to make time for the two of them a priority. One thing mom taught me before I got married that I really took to heart was the importance of not tearing down ones husband. She'd tell me how woman tend to put down their husbands both behind their backs and to their faces and how destructive that was. Mom made it point to never put down my Dad to her kids, her friends, or her coworkers. I have applied this wisdom in my own life.

My mom worked as a pediatric nurse growing up. This had its advantages (because she always knew how to take care of us when we hurt or sick) and also its disadvantages. Since she was used to seeing kids that were REALLY sick, there was no staying home from school for simply a cold. :-) Now that I am a mother I appreciate having nurse Grandma only a phone call away when I need to ask her a medical question about the kids. As a stay at home mom, I am truly amazed at how my mom managed to juggle all of her roles. She worked odd shifts (sometimes nights, sometimes evenings) and long hours but yet she always made time to be there ANYTIME we needed her. I never felt like she was too tired or too busy. I just remember her always being there. Looking back on it now, I realize how much she sacrificed of herself. She always put us first. I think I am tired at the end of the day, but my mom must have been even more tired. I have so much respect and admiration for her.

I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home by parents who loved the Lord and had a personal relationship with Jesus. I don't remember the exact moment when I became a Christian. I do remember going through a stage of doubt and worry when I was in third grade. I carried around weird guilt and fear and I remember talking to my mom about it and her telling me about the peace of Christ and comforting me with the truths of Scripture. When I was in Middle School my mom and I did a mother/daughter Bible study at home. This was huge for me. My mom modeled to me her true reliance on the Lord and I learned that she wasn't perfect. It always further opened the bonds of communication between the two of us. In High School she lead a girls Bible study at my church for my friends and I. She was an excellent teacher and listener. In college we started a tradition of attending a spiritual retreat together. We've been to Women of Faith Conferences, Beth Moore Conference, and church retreats. It has been a special time of growth in both of our walks.

Happy Mothers Day Mom! I hope you know how very much I love you and how thankful I am that the Lord made you my mom!

Week End Thoughts:
My posts typically relate funny anecdotes about the happenings of a stay at home wife and mom with three kids. While my days are seldom “normal” enough to leave me without a “post worthy” moment (i.e. read here), I intend to take some time on the weekend to highlight something from my week that’s a little more “thoughtful” and significant. If you had a post from this week that was reflective in nature, please feel free to add a link in the comments section. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

My kids and I have truly enjoyed our local library. We go to to story time, baby story time, special events, and we go just to check out books. The kids LOVE it! It's a happy place, a fun place, a place where a kid can be a kid... until today.

I took the kids to the library earlier this week to pick out books. I know my kids can be loud. Sometimes my sons talks at a volume level that is literally shouting. My baby has a cry so shrill sometimes I look for shattered glass... but I promise, this time we weren't being that loud... really. I was sitting on the floor with the baby while my older two were picking books off the shelf. The library was pretty empty. I think mine were the only kids there. It was a beautiful sunny morning. Only 2 or 3 adults were there perusing the shelves. We weren't whispering. I didn't think it was necessary b/c we weren't that loud and I didn't see anyone we were interrupting. A librarian was in the aisle behind ours. She came around. At first she seemed nice... asking if we needed any help, commenting on their negotiation attempts (I said they could get one book each, they pleaded for two). I was polite. Then she said in this annoyingly nice and patronizing tone, "You know they are the right age to teach them to use inside voices." (UGH! As I type this I am still filled with annoyance. I don't know why... perhaps it was the way she said it... if she had just said, "Could you have them be quieter," I wouldn't have had a problem). I responded with a "OK sorry about that." And then she said, "We have tissues at the counter." (The baby had a slight runny nose, it wasn't running all over the place, I promise)! Again, it was the patronizing voice that was so utterly annoying.

While the kids didn't seem to notice a problem, the library had been ruined for me. I used to feel comfortable here. It was a fun, easy, place where I could take the kids, plop on the floor read a book or two and we all left happy. I didn't let the kids run helter skelter throughout the building tossing books onto the floor. But I didn't shush them when they excitedly called out, "Hey Mom, can we get this book?" Now it will be one of those places were I feel like we have to be on our BEST behavior... noses wiped, shoes on, voices whispering...
Week End Thoughts...

I decided to move my Thoughtful Thursday since I am participating in We Are THAT Family's Sincerely Fro' Me to You carnival on Thursdays. Since "Thoughtful Thursday" is something I made up, it seems trivial to move the day... same theme, only we'll call it Week End Thoughts...

Week End Thoughts:
My posts typically relate funny anecdotes about the happenings of a stay at home wife and mom with three kids. While my days are seldom “normal” enough to leave me without a “post worthy” moment (i.e. read here), I intend to take some time on Fridays to highlight something from my week that’s a little more “thoughtful” and significant. If you had a post from this week that was reflective in nature, please feel free to add a link in the comments section. I’d love to hear what others are learning.

As I mentioned last Thursday, I attended a small Christian High School with only 44 students in my graduating class. The school was small enough that you could play a Varsity sport without actually being good at the sport (granted I sat the bench, but still I earned a letter warming that bench) and the majority of the school was in the marching band. Seriously, you were cool if you were in the marching band. I know what you're thinking... I was not a band geek and I am not in denial... believe me the cool place to be on a Saturday night was at a band competition (We didn't have a football team so we played in band competitions each Sat from the end of Sept until early Nov). That's me with my Flugal horn (it was like a marching French Horn) to the left of the girl in all white (our drum major). Come on, just look at that hat, can't you tell we were all the rage? When I tell people today about my days in the marching band, no one believes me. At their school it was the athletes and the cheerleaders. I guess the difference at my school was that we were so small the athletes and cheerleaders could still be in the band...Hmmm since I wasn't an athlete or a cheerleader does that mean I really was just a band geek?

For more moments head over to We Are THAT Family with the Sincerely 'Fro Me To You Carnival.

Thanks for visiting! Since you're here, stay awhile... Might I suggest this post or this one?!

To view other peoples, check out 5 Minutes for Mom or visit Wordless Wednesday.

Last fall my husband and I took our three kids on a plane ride to CA to visit my husband's grandparents and to take in some National Parks. The trip itself is worthy of a post, someday, but for now I'll just share about our flight out there....

It seems obvious that when flying with three kids under 3 you bring a lot of stuff. We knew we would have to change flights half way so we tried to keep things to a minimum. The hardest part was maneuvering through the airports with our hands full of kids, toys, car seats, food.... We got quite a few stares as we were standing in line at security. I am sure people were thinking, "Please let them not be on my flight!!" Going through security was a bit stressful (had to wake the sleeping baby) and I was really glad we had not brought any more junk.

Getting onto the flight wasn't too bad. The flight itself, really wasn't that bad either. The kids were pretty well behaved. Except...

About an hour into our 5 hr flight the baby pooped. Let me tell you, it was the mother load. Picture my husband squatting in the aisle as he changes her diaper which has exploded all over her onesie, all the way up her back. There is no good place on a plane to change a diaper. She pretty much got a sponge bath right there in the isle and the poor lady next to my husband was kind enough to hand him wipe after wipe from the dispenser. I really don't know what we would have done if she were not so understanding. Poop was everywhere!

Remember how I said we had packed light? I didn't pack a spare onesie in the diaper bag (rookie mistake... I know). My poor baby spent the rest of the day topless with just a diaper and pants. We wrapped her in a blanket to try to keep her warm, it was no way to travel with a baby. I was feeling pretty self conscious in the airport about the fact that I was walking around with a half naked baby. I kept saying really loudly, "You poor baby, it stinks that you pooped in your clothes." I thought this would show those in earshot that I didn't intentionally dress her this way and perhaps it would persuade them that I am not TOO HORRIBLE of a mother.

In Sacramento, we had to spend a good amount of time in the baggage claim area working out issues with the airline because they had lost our infant seat. During this time we changed ANOTHER exploded diaper.. bye bye pants, our poor baby was down to just a diaper... thankfully we could just open up our suitcase and change her in the baggage claim office while filling out paper work. What a great picture, huh?

Packing minimally is WHAT DIDN'T WORK FOR ME... when flying with an infant, no matter how much stuff you're already lugging onto the plane, PACK THE EXTRA SET OF CLOTHES in your carry on.

For more lessons learned from others, check out Rocks in My Dryer this week for What Doesn't Work For Me.

My son is very smart (every mother says this about her children so I might as well enjoy my entitlement). He is only 4 but he has always had a knack for asking good questions and is satisfied by only believable answers. We pride ourselves on honesty so that "believable answer" always contains the truth but not necessarily more truth then is absolutely required. Case in point: For a year we got away with calling a certain, frequent and noticeable neighborhood visitor, "the music truck". It's pretty incredible how long this worked... Until, late last season when our then three year old son said, "Hey mom, did you know the music truck sells ice cream?" The secret was out.

It is the start of the new season and this weekend we bought our kids their first ice cream from the ice cream man. We had wanted to get it on our son's birthday, but that was the one day the ice cream man didn't appear. The next day he came, but Daddy wasn't home and I thought Daddy and Mommy should both be present for such a momentous occasion. I told my son and he said, "Well, can we call him and have him come back later?" As I tried to explain that you can't call the ice cream man, he just comes when he wants to and you get it then... I realized how bizarre of a custom this is. How is it that parents have let them get away with this? This truck comes into our neighborhood playing really loud, annoyingly catchy tunes, and sells sugar to our kids at exorbitant prices ($2.00 for a fudge bar when I could buy a box for a little more than that)?! And it does this at the time of it's choosing. Nap time, no problem. During dinner, you bet. Last year the music truck could frequently be heard while we were getting the kids ready for bed (it was the timing thing that caused us to keep them in the dark for so long). It's really quite odd we let this go on at all. How would we react if the mail truck drove around with his stereo blaring?

While I do find it odd you definitaly won't see me leading any neighborhood movements. There is something about hearing the tune of "Pop Goes the Weasel" when your not expecting it, and the promise of a yummy cold treat, that just makes you giddy. The feeling of nostalgia you get when you head to the truck to pick out your treat sometimes makes it taste better than when it comes out of your freezer. It's fun to treat your kids and the smiles on their faces are worth the 2.00 price of admission...even if you don't get to pick when the show starts.

I thought I'd share my 4 year olds favorite lunch sandwich with you all this week. Those of you feeling a bit adventurous might want to give it a try. You put peanut butter on one slice of bread, grape jelly on the other (nothing new here) and in the middle you place a slice of cheese and a few slices of ham. He invented it, he LOVES it and has eaten it every day for lunch for the past few weeks. If any of you give it a try, please comment and let me know what you think! As for myself, I think I will pass.

For those less daring, here's our dinner plan for the week...