Saturday, April 30, 2011

It finally came!

So, how about the wedding of the century? Not too shabby I say. :) I loved the trees, but am perplexed by the price tag (estimated at 85k) and think it would have been most unfortunate to actually get an invite and then have the view blocked by a tree. Just sayin'. I thought the bride was gorgeous. I mean, truly beautiful. Wills is a lucky guy I'd say. I thought Camilla's pleats in her khaki coat looked like a school uniform skirt, but loved her hat. And, Oh, the hats! Such fun. Why o why can't we wear hats? To be fair, I'm not sure I could rock a fascinator, but wouldn't it be fun? Anywho.

For months, Anna-Kate has asked, almost daily, when Princess Kate is getting married. I was relieved {and excited myself} that the day finally came! We set the tivo and invited Leigh-Ann over for a girls night viewing. We sipped our fancy drinks {err, Chick-fil-a banana pudding milkshakes...} and watched the wedding.

Here is my girl, "all fancy" for the viewing (yes, she's wearing a tiara, has a scepter, large ring and a purse with her nightgown).

I am so thankful for my daughter! It was so fun to see her excitement and let her stay up late (9:50, to be exact!!!) for a special treat. She was precious.

A few of Anna-Kate's observations..."Why is Prince William such a copy-cat?" (as he repeated after the minister during the vows. I may or may not have laughed really hard). We had a great time looking at the various hats, but at the royal blue one that came to a point between the girls' eyes she said, "Oh gracious, that is just horrible isn't it?"

A few thoughts of my own...

1. The new Duchess' name is Kate, yet Catherine. This makes no sense in my head.

2. William is Wills? Why not Will?

3. Those giving the play-by-play seemed sure they were going to make it because they had lived together so long. While I too hope their marriage stands the test of time, I was troubled that they laughed off "living in sin" {their words}as old-fashioned negativity and being the obvious more practical option for establishing durability in a relationship. Sigh.

O well, it was a true fairytale to watch and I loved every second! :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I give that a Cathy "ACK"!

{A la the comic strip. SNL, anyone?}

A whole week with no blogging? Dang. Sure isn't for lack of content. So, here we go.

Anna-Kate and I dyed eggs (with the insides taken out and cleaned) to make cascarones {confetti filled eggs that one can crack over someones head. I grew up in south Texas. It is completely nostalgic for me). She really got in to it!

Ryan had his party at school on Thursday. They had an egg hunt (I believe he will be my competitive one. All of the kids ran towards the playground part looking for eggs while Ryan ran around the edge of the playground, opposite to the other kids, and scooped up tons of eggs!). The kids went inside to a yummy pizza lunch with carrots, strawberries, cookies and peeps. Guess what my son ate first. Yep, blue peep. It was fun to have my mom in town and Ryan loved having his Nana at his party (Mom and I attended a history (founding fathers) of gardening seminar the night before. Here's the history dork in me, I actually enjoyed it--but for different reasons than the rest of the gardening people there loved it).

Serious egg hunting

Excited and surprised to see Nana!

With my sweet boy!

Blue peep

Happy kids after party # 1. :)

The following day was Anna-Kate's party. I was late getting to school {for once, through no fault of my own} and missed her egg hunt, I was sad, but she seemed pretty un-phased. Not sure if that is good or not. :) We had almost the exact lunch from the day before then went home for naps before heading to church for a Good Friday service.

Ryan and Lydia praying {love his effort to keep his eyes closed}

Anna-Kate with her "buddy team", (aka best friend} Campbell.

My sweet girl.

Anna-Kate with her teacher, Ms. Mandy

Saturday morning we woke up and headed back across town for our church preschool egg hunt. We had such a great time! This is me relaxing in my old age. We've never been to the picnic because it is far away and butts up to naptime, but we did it this year and enjoyed seeing our church family in a casual atmosphere--a new annual thing for our family that won't be missed! Here's my attempt at a kid shot. Epic fail on my part...this is picture attempt number fourteen. This was also as we were leaving. Sugar high was waning and sleepiness was setting in. O well. :)

That afternoon was our neighborhood egg hunt. The kids had a great time, as always. This is Jack's first egg hunt (Chris and I had a misunderstanding so Jack missed his age group that morning. I may or may not have over-reacted over that issue. I suppose Chris was right. He wasn't forever scarred and was able to have an egg hunt experience. :) ).

With my precious "baby". {boo to growing up too fast!}

He follows directions well. Even though he doesn't speak much, if I tell him to do something, (ie, go get the egg and put it in your basket) he will.

Anna-Kate with her friend Annie.

Sunday morning we woke up and headed to church early. Chris was ushering that week so we had to get there about 8:45. The worship service was beautiful and the kids behaved well (it was a "family" service--aka, no Sunday school for kids so they were in there with me...and Chris was ushering and not there, goodie. :) ). After church we headed down to my parents' house for a big family lunch.

Family picture (clearly, Ryan doesn't perform under less than ideal circumstances. Ideal circumstances defined as: him not hot.)

I bought a football cake pan a while back and decided to be "fun mom" and make an egg cake for Easter. Unfortunately, I was extremely tired Saturday night (or at least I will chose to blame tiredness) and put peppermint extract instead of {clear} vanilla extract into my icing. In Chris' words, "wow, it tastes like Crest". So, threw it away and had to make new icing and decorate the thing at my parents' house day of. Not how I like to roll, but the kids' appreciated it and I thought it turned out cute.

Ready for an egg hunt!

I told the big kids to leave all of the yellow eggs for Jack. I filled his with goldfish and he couldn't have been happier as he sat there eating his treats as the big kids ran around gathering all 1 million eggs (I totally "re-gifted" the eggs from egg hunts from the past few days. I mean seriously, how much candy does a kid need?).

She is great at finding the "hard" to find eggs.

Ryan was only interested in blue and orange eggs (not "girl" ones) until he saw Anna-Kate had twice as many as him. :)

I could positively eat him up!

I admit to slight bias, but I don't know that I have seen a more beautiful baby--I am crazy about this boy! :)

My cousin, Philip, is a senior and plays baseball. My parents' took the kids to one of his games when they had them a couple of weeks ago and Ryan has been obsessed with baseball ever since. Here they are looking through baseball pictures with him--this is HUGE for Anna-Kate as she usually has nothing to do with boys/men! And, in fact, they both requested to sit next to Philip at dinner...lucky guy, had a kid on each side. I'm not sure he was impressed with his honored status. :) ha!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Soakin' it up!

These warmer days and absolutely perfect nights that we've been blessed with lately have been wonderful! We have been spending hours outside on walks, playing in the backyard, coloring with chalk on the sidewalk, and pitching the baseball to Ryan (he refuses to use a "T"--only live pitch for him, and he's good!). I could sit outside on the patio and watch my kids enjoying each other, creation and simple imaginative play for hours--it's been such a blessing and a joy!

I got the camera out on Sunday evening. Ryan would hit the ball and run around the playground, clockwise. I finally stopped him mid-run and told him to run the other way (call me a sucker for the details...) and he looked right at me and said, "On it. Winning." Chris and I both lost it--we were laughing so hard. He gets a big kick out of counting his strikes, noting "taps", does his arms like an ump for safe and giggles when I say in a loud deep voice, "you're ooooout!"

Swing, batter!

Gracious! How handsome is he?? I could just eat him up!

Ryan's biggest fan. {Her words: "I'm a cheerleader-go team, go, go team!"}

I said smile as she was watching Ryan play, and in one swift movement she turned to face me, tilted her head and smiled. I guess I've trained her well... :) So much for an un-posed picture...

Daddy lovin's!

I sure love these boys!

So happy...especially when he's walking/climbing exploring. He thinks he is such big stuff when he does things the big kids do. :)

I love how my kids play together so well--we really try to emphasize their relationships as "best friends" with high importance. Clearly, Anna-Kate is loving carrying Jack around like a {live} baby doll, and he enjoys it. Bliss.

I've got another "all boy". He loves trains, cars, and sports--but especially baseball and basketball!

Yep, still smiling as he high-tails it across the yard!

Thank you, Jesus, for these days. These are glimpses of heaven and I pray I never forget or lose sight of these simple little things. These truly are the sweet and interesting moments of my life.

Friday, April 15, 2011

How do I KNOW?

{And here I go being all transparent again. And long-winded, very long-winded.}

I think one of the hardest things is trying to figure out what the right decision is. When we're younger, the decisions are relatively harmless, (where to go to college) but the stakes get higher as we age.

I had my heart broken years ago, so when I decided to start dating Chris, it was with much prayer and after years of friendship. For those who don't know, Chris broke up with me for a time (not a "we're on a break" but "we're done, forever" kinda thing). I was devastated. Prior to the breakup I just knew I was going to marry him. When we broke up I started questioning how I would ever really know anything again. I had so strongly felt the Lord leading me into this relationship that I was blindsided by the break up and left reeling. That 10 months that we were broken up ended up being a really sweet time in my life. I threw myself into my school work, {college} invested in relationships with my dearest girlfriends, went on a few dates, but mostly I desperately sought the face of God. I was floundering and that year the Lord showed me that He loves me and will always care for me and my needs. Clearly, we got back together, and our relationship is that much stronger and sweeter because of the time apart. God grew us so much as individuals and showed us His will so very clearly. It was as if I appreciated Chris even more knowing that I almost didn't get to marry him and knew how much I would be missing out on.

As a Christian it is often something I pray, "Your will be done". When the rubber meets the road, however, I am a type-A who likes to be in control of life (both mine and those around me). It's been a while since we've gone through something where we have struggled so intensely to find the will of the Lord. We have had the opportunity to, once again, earnestly seek the will of the Lord and be tested as we have waited for Him to show us His plan for our family.

Last October began the investigation into kindergarten. Honestly, I had heard parents talking about how stressful it was and I thought it was a little crazy to let yourself get so stressed over "silly little kindergarten". For the past few years we had planned to send Anna-Kate to the kindergarten at her current preschool; it is half-day (which I love) and cheap (and I also love that). I felt that to do my due diligence, I should look around at other schools for a 1st grade plan. Leigh-Ann and I toured school after school (after school...) and each one felt not quite right, including her current school. I just didn't have a peace in my heart. Homeschooling was also an option for us, and something I have been praying about for quite some time, but I still continued to search. I had heard wonderful things about a school that is just a few miles from our house, but honestly didn't think we could afford it. I found out they actually offer money to families they think are a good fit for their school. Chris and I prayed about it and priced it out before we stepped foot on campus (assuming it would be beautiful and wonderful and not wanting to do that to ourselves if it couldn't work for us). We prayed about it and decided to take a tour. I left in tears, it was perfect, everything I had (very specifically) prayed for, and more. I felt the Lord pulling my heart to entrust our precious girl to this school for kindergarten. We went through the entire application process, (which included IQ testing, a long application for us and an observation/interview of Anna-Kate) financial aid process, and eagerly awaited the day the letter was to arrive. We prayed, a lot, and truly felt like we were on the path that the Lord had for our family. I truly wasn't worried about getting in, despite the fact that there were 55 applicants trying to get in to the one new class they were opening, I was concerned with the money situation, but ultimately felt like we were following the Lords will and that it would be taken care of.

I opened the acceptance letter and read that we would not be getting any money. I think I stopped breathing, knowing that we just couldn't do it with two more kids and me staying at home. I was crushed, and once again I cried out to the Lord, "why, Lord? Why would you let me go through this process and get my hopes up? Why did you let me believe this was Your will for us? How will I know Your will? We so strongly felt You as we made this decision, why?". I spent the Saturday (day I received the paperwork) and Sunday physically sick. I was worried about the future, I felt so not connected to the Lord, like I had missed something big time.

It turns out that we had made a mistake. I called and talked with the school, honestly expecting nothing--it just felt better to know there was a mistake (can't explain that one, it just did). The lady told me she was sorry about the mistake and that she would look at it, but that they had already over promised money and there just wasn't any money left. The same lady called back the next morning and said that she had spoken to the "higher powers" and they had some money to offer our family.

Upon reflection, it was a similar set of emotions as what I had experienced after the break up. The Lord again revealed Himself to us--showed us His love and provision. We just had to wait. I will tell you, the waiting made the end result a little bit sweeter. I dropped off our contract and had such a joyful peace in my heart. I am so thankful for a Father who looks after me and continually shows Himself, and His love, to His children.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bees, beware!

Defender of fair damsel in distress (Anna-Kate, quite fearful of bees).

His comment after lots of sound effects and running around the backyard swinging his bat: "AHA! Those bees ran away from me with their wings!"

Love this boy!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Thoughts on the weekend

California pictures coming...along with my parents' pictures of their time with the kids. However, I've been thinking. {So, here goes stream of consciousness.}

Chris and I visited a winery/vinyards on Saturday. We ran in to so many couples who went wine tasting most weekends. Don't get me wrong, we had a lovely time, but I left a little sad. As we talked, Chris pointed out that how you spend "free" or weekend time, is where your passion is. We had a lovely, casual brunch with multiple refills of coffee, walked around Carmel and then saw a couple of wineries. But by early afternoon we were wishing we had an earlier flight home since we missed our kids and felt like we were missing out on our family day (that we typically jealously guard).

How often is the way we spend our time used in such a way that it truly counts? I am not arguing that time away with a spouse, visiting a winery, yard work or any of the other ways we spend our Saturdays are bad, but it made us both more aware of fleeting time and that relationships are the most important thing--they won't wait.

That's all. Pictures soon. :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Airport Woes

Traveling on Wednesday should have been seamless. I mean, really, the last time I flew it was with two young kids and no Chris. This was cake (especially since I packed most of my stuff in Chris' suitcase so I just had one carry-on!).

Anyway, I got to the airport early (thinking that I would have to wait forever since I didn't have my stroller {which is a magic "ticket to the front of the line", fyi}. I breezed through relatively quickly and was making mental plans to have a burger at Chilis while I passed the time. I got the lady who had been at work too long and asked me to take off my cardigan. I looked at her and told her I wasn't interested in wearing a lacy cami without my cardigan on top. So she gave me a full body pat down...and was quite thorough. After, she said, "pull your sleeves down". After the frisking I had just received I decided to throw in the towel and take my cardigan off, and she said, "NO, I said your sleeves not your shirt. Am I not speaking English today or what?" I looked at her with wide eyes and she said, "no really, not sarcastic, am I not speaking English because clearly I am not communicating with you." Wow. Finally got past her and then was pulled out of the line as my purse had to be more closely inspected. I wasn't worried, I am always the random search. Always. Unfortunately for me, I forgot to take my swiss army knife off my keychain. {this would be the one I bought in Switzerland after my junior year of highschool with my friends, right before I moved across the country for my senior year. I was really sad as it's been a staple on my keychain for lo these many years.} She then pulled out my bottle that Leigh-Ann gave me when I had Jack. She had his name put on it and there was purell in there. She said that it was 6 oz and would need to be thrown away. At that point, I started crying. I'm really not proud of that fact, but I did. She asked if there was sentimental significance and I told her the whole story about moving before my senior year and that knife that I bought etc and that my friend gave me that purell when my baby was born. Then, my voice cracked. I am mortified just writing this down. She looked at me like I was completely an emotional liability. Since she found the knife she had to throw it away but she told me I could go find someone who dropped me off to give my bottle to. I just shook my head that no one was there. Poor woman, took my bottle, dumped the purell out, washed it out, then refilled it with her own purell as I sat there trying to pull myself together. As she handed it back and smiled, her kindness brought tears to my eyes...I said, "I know you see all kinds, I just didn't think I would be one of them." She gave me a nervous laugh and a pat on the back.

Geesh. Clearly, I needed some sleep.

The trip wasn't amazing. I was seated next to a woman with no concept of personal space (nor did she possess the ability to not rip 'em every two seconds...). It was a looong flight, that left an hour late. But, I was thankful that the kids weren't there. It was a problem free trip and I am OK a few hours short on sleep, the kids would have had a lot harder time with that. :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Renewed energy

I try really hard to never wish away even one moment, because I know that I will look back one day {probably not too far in the future} and long for the "simple" days when my kids were young and constantly wanted my attention. It's very hard sometimes. If you know me (or casually read this blog) you know that March was a loooong month for us. Between sickness, school stuff, {planning for, waiting on decisions, and all of the emotions that come with that plus thinking about my first baby being big enough for kindergarten--but that is for a future blog post. Intriqued?} and Chris' business travel, I was happy to see March end and a new month begin. Just call me a sucker for a clean slate {or calendar, as the case may be}.

Anyway, I feel very blessed. The Lord promises not to give us more than we can handle, and I definately was feeling pushed to the breaking point last weekend. Thankfully, Chris had another business trip to Monterey, {CA} but since it was a conference, {ie no late nights working for a client} we decided to use skymiles for me to fly out for the last half of his trip. My parents graciously offered to keep the kids so I could come and the kids would get to have a fun spring break with their Nana and Poppy. I woke up a few minutes before 8 this morning, but really 11 eastern time. I wasn't sure if I should relish the rested feeling or feel like a slacker. I went with the former. :) Chris headed off to his meetings and I watched GMA in bed, then moved to the comfy chair by the window overlooking the pool as I sipped my starbucks {feel free to hate, but just for a minute}. The forcast called for rain in the morning and storms in the afternoon {of course, I always bring the rain!} so I headed out to Carmel for a morning of window shopping, walking on the beach and searching for the perfect place to eat lunch. Rough life, I know. :) I walked down to the beach {which, Pacific coast beaches are eerily near hiking for me. The fact that I walked 1 mile each way almost took away from my enjoyment, but it was so beautiful, despite the fact that I was freezing). I enjoyed walking in the stores in the area and found a yummy place to eat lunch (and love the "California" aspect of a sandwich here...these people seem to like avacado as much as I do!). After lunch the temperature dropped enough that I got a coffee to stay warm and still couldn't stop shivering. So, I've come full circle and am sitting in the big comfy chair overlooking the pool with a coffee. Bliss. Thinking about hitting the hot tub. Or maybe a trip to Target to get something warm to wear tomorrow.

Friday, April 1, 2011


I have a lot of {possibly random, unrelated} thoughts in my head these days.

For starters, I really should look into cross stitching a pillow with the words, "I am the Mommy. I have to win. I will be consistent" onto a pillow for a little daily {err, minutely} reminder.

It's funny {in the ironic, not 'haha' kinda way} how God provides such immediate opportunities to try out what He teaches. We have always told our children that obedience is "first time, quickly and with a joyful heart" but felt that we really needed to drive home the quickly aspect. So for the last week we've really been harping on the fact that if all three components of obedience are not there, it is in effect, disobedience--and disciplining as such {Did I mention Chris was out of town this week. Ya, it's been a long week. Lucky dog also missed out on the good times of putting eye drops in Ryans' eyes. Oh itissogoodtoseeyouFriday!}. Anyway, we were talking with our friends last night about our renewed vigor in this arena and, wouldn't you know it, Ryan gave me the opportunity to follow through this very morning. Let's just say, it took me 45 minutes to put Ryan's clothes on and get to school. An endeavor that generally takes about 12-15 total {Did I mention I was exhausted?}. I welcome all prayers for patience and grace {for me} and a break through to my precious strong willed sons' heart. As I drove Anna-Kate to school, I was seething. We were late, I was forced to do the preschool "walk of shame" (walk her in after missing carpool) and I was physically, emotionally and Spiritually depleted. I was angry with Ryan. In fact, I told him to sit in his carseat and think about the discipline he had coming to him {because I couldn't discipline him in love at that moment}. I didn't want to listen to the traffic report so I put Anna-Kate's church Easter {choir} music in. I heard these lyrics and just cried.

"...Cause when we see You we find strength to face the day, in Your presence all our fears are washed away... Hosanna! You are the God who saves us...worthy of all our praises..."

I need the Lords daily renewing mercies, grace and strength to face each day. Motherhood simply makes me more tangibly aware of that fact.


Last week the women leadership in our church sponsored a dinner for the ladies to bring unbelieving friends that we have been praying for. It was a great dinner, fun fellowship and a fantastic speaker. The speaker shared her testimony and as she was sharing the first Bible verse she ever heard to a silent room, the wait staff turned up rap music (in the kitchen in the back) so loud that I literally couldn't hear a word she was saying. A few minutes later she was sharing a different Scripture and someones phone rang, sending almost everyone diving for their purses to turn it off. Finally, moments before she prayed for those who didn't yet know and love the Lord a girl left {and all eyes followed her} and she *happened* to walk back in during the crux of the prayer. It was jaw dropping, the spiritual warfare that took place that night. Clearly, the Lord was moving and doing big things! Very exciting!