Life's in the Little Things

Coherent trains of thought have never been my forte.  (You're probably thinking, "Duh, Jennie.")  Anyway, today's post is short and sweet (neither of which apply to me, ha!). 

I keep having those little moments that make me smile, so I'm sharing a few of them with you. 

 She's covering up with my comforter...which she has threaded between the foot of the bed and the mattress to reach the floor. 

Those are some holes in my most-favorite-ever sheets.  They're so comfy because they're thread-bare. This makes me smile for the same reason as raggedy towels.
 Ben's art project from Sunday School a few weeks ago.  Long story short, I hope people say I am "Awesome" too.

 I heard some serious squeals while the girlies were outside playing.  They got some big air on the teeter-totter.  Got out there just fast enough to snap this shot of Sarah mid-air riding with no hands.  Nice.

 Look at that smile though...

 This outfit was a Sarah original.  Bathing suit cover-up for a shirt in January?  Sure.

 Again with that smile...and the flyaway hair.

Just Abby.  I mean what is she doing?

That's it.  At least eight reasons to smile today.  I promise there were dozens more.  Dare you to find some of your own.


Zero Zero Niner

Did you know that January is the least popular month to get married?  December is popular because people get to double-dip on already-decorated-for-Christmas venues to save on flowers (among other reasons) and February is popular because of an alleged romantic holiday that actually began as an homage to a couple of martyred saints bearing the name Valentine.

January is cold and anti-climactic.  So, in my opinion, what better time to celebrate a wedding...and subsequent anniversaries?  It's kind of like having a birthday in August - where there are no other recognizable holidays.  Yep.  I do that too.

Today Sam and I celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary.  Nine years of wedded bliss (and all of the realities that come with it).

(Because I can't post an anniversary blog post without one of these skinny teen pictures.)

He stuck with me as I went from single teen to teen wife.  From teen wife to young mom.  He's watched me try on so many hats as I went from college student to part-time college student/part-time engineer to full-time engineer while he finished his Masters degree.  We've witnessed the birth of three beautiful and unique children and anxiously await the arrival of our fourth.  He has tolerated the mood swings, the tears, the emotional roller coasters that accompany pregnancy, postpartum adjustments, and an unexpected job loss.  I can count on one hand, at worst, the number of times I have heard him raise his voice and lose his patience.  Some day, I have no doubts, that people will look back on his life and dub him Saint Sam - whether for putting up with me or not, that's up for deliberation.  He is supportive, encouraging, and gentle.  The kind of husband and father every man should be.

When we first got married, I was a big movie buff.  I saw tons of movies in the theater and if I didn't, I saw them as soon as they were released on DVD.  As time grew more precious, I stopped watching movies as much (and flushing movie ticket money down the toilet too), but I haven't stopped remembering some of the quotes from the countless movies I watched back then.  Maybe it's cheating, but here's a mostly pre-2000's tribute via movie quotes to my awesome husband.  (In the form of a quiz - answers at the bottom...because I'm just that big of a nerd.) 

Name that Movie:
1.  You make me want to be a better [wo]man.
2.  In my opinion the best thing you can you do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person will still think the sun shines out of your ass hiney (This is a PG kind of blog). That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with. 
3.  Look, I guarantee there’ll be tough times. I guarantee that at some time, one or both of us is gonna want to get out of this thing. But I also guarantee that if I don’t ask you to be mine, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life, because I know, in my heart, you’re the only one for me.
4.  Well, it was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were suppose to be together… and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched [him]. It was like coming home… only to no home I’d ever known… I was just taking [his] hand to help [me] out of a car and I knew. It was like… magic.
5.  When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible. 
And as for "Love means never having to say you're sorry" - let me just make one comment:  That's wrong.  Love means saying you're sorry on a daily basis, if necessary.  And that's all I have to say about that. 

Sam, Happy Anniversary!  When we were newlyweds, I learned how to make sweet tea for you.  Today, I finally learned to make Chocolate Delight.  It only took nine years.  (And it's not even hard.)  Here's to nine times nine more years together.  (Hey, it could happen!)

The Answers
1.  As Good as it Gets
2.  Juno
3.  Runaway Bride
4.  Sleepless in Seattle
5.  When Harry Met Sally

State of the Mom-ion

You absolutely love seeing your precious girls walk side-by-side to their room with their arms around each others' waists when Abby gets home from school, as if they waited all day long just to play together.

One of their favorite games is for Sarah to be the puppy and Abby to be the "master".   When Abby tells the puppy to "Go to your cave", she listens.  If only I wielded that kind of power over the little pup.

While unloading the dishwasher with her little sister your five year old started chanting "Unc-uh-see-us", as if it meant something.  When I inquired as to the meaning she said, "It means I'm doing all of the work by Spanish."

When your eight year old checked out seven ginormous non-fiction books from the library you were filled with mixed emotions.  It's awesome, but at the same time, this means you are subject to an endless stream of facts from books like Science Year by Year and Weird but True.

Your two year old got the ball rolling as the carrier of the winter cough this year.  As soon as she got over it, the other two kids contracted it.  The problem is, she still wants in on the medicine action.  You're praying she just likes the flavor and this is not indicative of any future drug problems.

As your eight year old watched your husband masterfully jump, slide, and fly Mario through one of the Super Mario Wii worlds, he commented at the end, "Wow.  That was lucky."  Completely diminishing any and all skill involved.  Hahahahaha.

When you look at this picture, you see lots of things:  the love between two hands-on sisters, the dresses that they procured from the top bar of the closet (how they accomplished that, you don't even want to know), the toys scattered haphazardly about the playroom floor in a show of unbridled kid-joy, and the remote for your bedroom tv on the princess chair.  So that's where that's been.

You hear some cabinets in the kitchen and, of course, this is what you find.  Two sisters, hand-in-hand, standing on the kitchen counter.

Just look at that guilty, backwards look by the little one -

(Oh yeah, I'm "celebrating" their independence and the fact that they now have no excuse for not helping me put the dishes up.)


"Cheddar Bay Biscuits"

Yeah, that's right.  I used quotes in the title.  To insinuate sarcasm.

Remember the list?  I took some liberties on #69:  Duplicate a restaurant favorite at home using

You see, since I composed the list in 2009 (dang that seems like a long time ago), has undergone some changes.  And then there was the advent of Pinterest, which I confess, I still find overwhelming.  But thanks to everyone else's Pinterest obsession coupled with my apparent Facebook obsession, I have come across some pretty cool ideas when they share their pins on my Facebook News Feed.  (Life wasn't this complicated in 2009.) 

So with everyone else doing the work for me, I don't have to waste spend hours wading through everyone else's ideas on Pinterest.  Sometimes things just fall into my lap. 

Like this little recipe for a knock-off of Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuits.  Ta da!  Blog readers, please meet the recipe I used for #69.

I'm not a real cook as evidenced by the fact that I waited over two years for a recipe that included items I keep in my pantry and that could be baked.  And also by the fact that I use dry measuring cups to measure wet ingredients.  (Oops.)

Tonight, we had these biscuits with our chicken & dumplings.  They might not have been exactly like Cheddar Bay Biscuits, but they were pretty good.  

Clearly someone liked them since one was missing a bite before they made it to the table.

And since I'm running out of time, I'm pregnant and grumpy, by golly, I'm checking this off the list.

#69 - You have been checked!


Somebody's Prayin'

On Wednesday nights, for the past year, our pastor has been plugging away teaching through the Bible - we've gotten to Genesis 18.  It's pretty in depth, in case that's not obvious.  Last Wednesday, we had a sermon on intercessory prayer based on Abraham's conversation with God where he pled for the lives of any righteous people living in Sodom and Gomorrah.

Intercessory prayer is a huge deal in the life of Christians and should be a huge deal in the life of the Church.  I think what got to me most was the prayer at the end.  Our talented and tenderhearted pastor sang this song, acapella, during the prayer:

Earlier last week, I came face to face with a monumental life decision.  I haven't had to make it yet, and I'm still in the process of...well...processing it.  Let's just say, before I went to last Wednesday night's service, I felt my heart changing in a big way on something that all of my life I've been dead-set against.  After Wednesday night's service, I came to understand...

Someone's been praying for me.  I can feel it.

Now I've become one of those people who posts a vague status update on Facebook blog post and expects no one to ask me questions. 

I'm sorry about that.  I'm just not ready.  But I will solicit some more prayers, if you can find time to pray for little big ol' [pregnant] me and my big ol' decision.

Still I went on 'cause there was someone
Who was down on their knees
And Lord. I thank you for those people
Prayin' all this time for me.

I suspect one day, in the not-too-distant future, I'll have a testimony similar to Paul's.  I was once a persecutor, only to become persecuted.  At least, this is my hope.  God is making the way.  I think He loves making transformations just like that.  Expect the unexpected.  He's keeping us on our toes.
Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass … Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. ~Psalm 37:4,7

Laughter in Retrospect

I try not to complain too much.  Although, if you ask Sam, I'm not very successful.  I can already tell that there is truth to the wisdom that so many people tell me day in and day out - that these times with the kids go by too quickly, to cherish them, to enjoy them while I can, that I'm going to miss them when they're gone.

It's hard to fathom....

That I'm going to miss a bathroom rug covered in green kids' toothpaste just hours after putting it back down on the floor - because I felt industrious enough one day to wash and then hang dry them for the week it takes to get them completely dried.

That I'm going to miss finding piles and piles of crumpled up clothing that may or may not be clean on the floor of both of my girls' closets because they elect to change no less than a dozen times each per day.

That I'm going to miss perfect handprints left by pizza goldfish powder on my clean sheets, that once again, I finally washed, only to be soiled within literal minutes of putting them back on the bed.

That I'm going to miss the incessant inquiries for lollipops, sodas, chips, and "One more show" only to feel like a broken record when 19 times out of 20 the answer is a resounding "No."

That I'm going to miss the rapid deterioration of my body over the course of the day in my 8th month of pregnancy.  Though I may wake up feeling like a new woman, by the afternoon I can feel my back starting to hurt, and by night time I'm so achy and sore that I might as well declare it rigor mortis. 

Then I think back to that article I read "All Joy and No Fun:  Why Parents Hate Parenting" and my subsquent response via blog post about parenting ages ago.  The writers contended that studies show parents are inherently less "happy" than their childless peers.  You can read how I feel about that if you're so inclined.  I won't rehash for you again. 

But apparently, at this point, I'm grumpy and dwelling on the temporary unpleasantries of the day-to-day in parenting.  And now is when I need to recall the powerful conclusion to the original article.  When a psychologist (and also a parent) posed the question:

"I think this boils down to a philosophical question, rather than a psychological one,” says Gilovich. “Should you value moment-to-moment happiness more than retrospective evaluations of your life?”

The awesome thing is that when I think back to the green toothpaste and the goldfish powder and the ripping, aching, uncomfortableness of late pregnancy, the memories will be painted with a different paintbrush than the one I'm holding now.  I may or not "miss" these things, but I'll remember them with a fondness that God gifts only to parents in retrospect. 

For right now, it's hard to appreciate the retrospective view, since I am in the throes of all of the stages I hope some day to appreciate more.  I can think back to Ben's infancy and toddlerhood, but I'm living it with Sarah, and going through pregnancy at the same time, so it's slightly less glamorous than it one day will be.  I know this for sure.  One day, as I wave through teary eyes to my college-bound child and as I watch my husband walk one of our little girls down the aisle, I'll experience my "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone" moment, and I'll give anything to have those cheesy handprints back.

I'm reminding myself of this today.

And, of course, all of the moments aren't ones I wish I could forget or hope to remember fondly someday.

We do plenty of laughing "in the present".

Mirth is God's medicine.  Everybody ought to bathe in it.  ~Henry Ward Beecher


Just another day in Momadise.

Your eight year old turns his room into a veritable pantheon of projects after Christmas.  And it's occupying his time so well, you can't even bear to tell him to clean it up.

Your two year old repeatedly calls you "Jesuit".  Maybe not exactly, but it sure sounded like it.  All you can think is this a slightly more sophisticated racial slur referring to your excessive frugality.  Even your two year old makes fun of you for being cheap.

You didn't think about the implications of washing a Cinderella princess dress in the regular laundry.  And then, your whole family's wardrobe was glitter-fied.

It's a bit of an understatement to say that your kids are not "morning people".  (Yes, they really are asleep like that on the couch.)

An hour after you put your two year old down for bed, she emerged from her room, footies in disarray with a pronouncement, "I need go potty."  Pretty awesome considering you haven't even touched night-time training.

Your two year old spends the better part of her day in her older sister's closet assembling new outfits.  Her fashion sense is other-worldly.  (Although, her ensembles are still probably better than her mom's full-body-red maternity outfits....even with the socks and sandals on the wrong feet.)

And let's not overlook the "extremely safe" idea the middle child had to sit on the fireplace in a stroller meant for baby dolls. Don't think for a second the two year old didn't try at least twice to push her down during the taking of this snapshot.

When the two year old emerged after breakfast this morning wearing this get-up, your five year old took one look at her, gasped, and said, "Sarah!  You looked wonderful!!!"  I guess this is all the encouragement she needs to change outfits 482 times daily.

You cannot say it enough, but the friendship between your girls has made every frustration of parenting completely worth it.

Once again, you "relish" your two year old's independence when she brings a gallon of milk off the top shelf of the fridge to you in the living room for a refill.

You told your five year old after school that she could either clean her room or take a nap, knowing full well she wouldn't choose the nap.  Five minutes later, you checked on her because you heard some serious snoring from down the hall...  Next time you tell her to clean her room at 4:30pm, you'll consider a different alternative choice.

After 2+ hours of "TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP" on our tile floors, you're absolutely certain the gift of the princess shoe collection was a mistake.

You make garlic toast with your five year old.  You made a deal - she buttered, you sprinkled the garlic powder.  On the last piece, as you waited for her to finish buttering you turned away to do....something.  And when you turned back, she had taken garlic powder-ing into her own hands.  First item on the next shopping list?  Garlic Powder.

I'm Skilled in the Art of Eating Crow

Of all of the contemptible traits I see in other people, arrogance ranks among the highest, in my opinion.  I've always secretly delighted in seeing prideful people get a big dose of humility.  That's wrong, isn't it?  (Yes.)  As I get older, and allegedly wiser, something has occurred to me...

I'm one of them.

I've tried compensating for my pride with overt self-deprecation.  That doesn't work.  I've channeled my energies into finding things about which I should and can feel insecure, but deep within me, there's just a big belly (literally) full of self-righteousness.  It's a self-love that's the exact polar opposite of humility.  It's the belief that I have anything to do with my successes at all in the first place.  (Wrong.)

On thinking back to my high school, teenaged, naive self, I remember a ridiculous air of haughtiness and the presence of an outward holier-than-thou syndrome.  Over time, I learned to temper the forthrightness, and I feel that I've been moderately successful in developing some tact.  Tact is important to me.
Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy. ~Howard Newton
That aside, as I've grown older, I've also learned that life is one big lesson in humility.  I have been "100% sure" about a lot of things, only to eat crow later in life.  And not necessarily even a lot later.  I've scoffed at a lot of things that now apply to myself - like having a large family, breastfeeding, being a stay-at-home mom, making your own baby food, "wasting" one's college education, using Pilates and Yoga as a legitimate workout, and the list goes on...

I am confident that 2012 will afford me some more opportunities to Eat Crow.  Maybe even a big, fat, in-your-face opportunity that's on my heart at this moment.  This year, though, I'm going to do it with grace and humility.  I will accept that I was wrong, and move on.  I will not label myself "hypocrite".  I hope others will follow suit.  I don't like being called names.  Not by myself or anyone else.
In light of the sermon on Wednesday night by our teaching pastor, I will welcome these obstacles as an opportunity for God to move.
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." ~1 Peter 5:5
And piggybacking on teen-sensation, Justin Bieber's hit movie/song:
I will never say never.

Adventures of a Road-tripping Preggo

I will admit that journeying 12 hours in each direction up and back down the east coast is less than ideal at any given time.  Believe me when I tell you it's worse when you're 31 weeks pregnant.  If you care to indulge me, I'll include you in some of the all-too-true experiences I've had as a road-tripping, 3rd-trimester pregnant woman.   Most of these things occurred somewhere between miles and miles of pine trees on I-95 between Georgia and Maryland (I don't know why I shared that part, maybe that fact might be important to someone).

With less than an hour to go on the trip, I figured it might help if I took my pants off to buy some time before having to stop to use the restroom.  After all, that big thick elastic waistband pressing directly on the bladder doesn't help the situation.

I've found that there's simply no way to get comfy sitting in the passenger seat.  It's worse in the driver's seat - exponentially even. 

By some strange coincidence, I developed ragin' heartburn complete with a pain that shot through my ribs every time I got behind the wheel.  And bless Sam's heart, he didn't even think I was faking it.  Even I thought I was faking it (but I really wasn't, I promise).

When I was pregnant with Sarah, I went in the back seat to do some work during the 12 hour drive because it seemed like the perfect way to pass the time and clock some hours.  Less than 30 minutes into it, I ended up falling asleep. 

Hours before we leave, I have to start rationing drinks even more so than usual - knowing that a single sip of water will result in 3 subsequent bathroom breaks less than 30 minutes into the trip.

I stared longingly at the 24-hour restaurant signs on I-95 because, no surprise, I'm hungry at all hours of the night. 

Tasks that used to be simple, like reaching a dropped toy or finding some Tums in the toiletry bag right behind my seat, are suddenly acts of congress thanks to my giant bulging belly.

I realize after I get to our destination that I really could have left all of those dressier maternity pants at home because I couldn't possibly care less if the relatives I see twice annually see me in my red yoga pants that, in my opinion, match every shirt I own.

I cried real tears when Sam packed every cubic inch of our van with Christmas goodies, suitcases, clothes, and every other thing under the sun for the final 2.5 hour leg of our trip home.  And I couldn't even explain why.

The moral of this story?  Pregnant women are crazy.  And crazy uncomfortable.

But you know what?  The trip was still worth it.

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