Monday, December 5, 2011

Jude prays tonight:
Thank you for all the fings. Thank you for da wunerful day. Thank you for da cross. Thank you for all da promises. In Jesus name, Amen!

Asher prays for "the whole United States of America, even Alabama."

Simeon looks blankly at me as I say a prayer for him to "repeat" until I mention Mamaw and Poppy, which causes him to start barking so I won't forget to give thanks for their dogs, too.

Sometimes their prayers are so precious, I think my heart might break right there. Sometimes, after the 8th or 9th train from the island of Sodor is mentioned, I want to shut it down and tell everyone to just go to sleep.

We got a Christmas tree this weekend. Today, we added lights, 24 plastic balls, and this little gem

It's my favorite.

I sold this toy. It has been a favorite around here for almost 4 years. I bought it off Craig's list for Asher's first birthday.

But it had to go. And I got my $20 back.

My kid can read almost all the words on the "100 Words to know by first grade" list. I'm thrilled!

This little thing just hit the 17 month mark. He's a curly-headed force to be reckoned with.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

We watched the parade and attempted to teach the boys how to play checkers.

We went to the park and challenged each other to feats of strength.

We ate a lunch consisting if salad, hot dogs, quinoa, leftover chili, and yogurt because of course I had not been to the grocery store.

The boys took naps. Kris worked on his sermon for Sunday. I watched the new Will Ferrell movie.

We got ready and went to Grammy's house in Friendswood. Jude ate nothing. Asher ate a little real food and a generous serving of pie. Simeon almost everything set before him. And pie.

On our way home, we gave the Hispanic Fran Drescher and her fraternal twin sister a ride to her in laws house after stopping to see if they needed help with their flat tire. She was on the phone the whole way and informed everyone she was in her way to her ( insert FCC-banned slur for black people here)'s house. I am thankful we could help them and also that we will be able to say to each other, "remember the thanksgiving that we have the Hispanic Fran Drescher and her fraternal twin sister a ride...?"

We watched the end of The Game and then about 10 more minutes of a movie we started at the beginning of the week. We keep falling asleep.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Grace Upon Grace

Yes, the blog as I knew it has been tweaked slightly, but I feel WYPW is a staple that should not be kicked to the curb along with my old header. And blog name. And dignity.

So, even though nobody reads my blog anyway, I will continue this tradition. Because I'm SO big on those.

Which, incidentally, leads me to my point, believe it or not. Didn't leave that question dangling out there for long, now did I?

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. President Washington held the first "official" one during his first year in office. A "Day of Publick Thanksgiving and Prayer" he called it, no less. It was a tradition celebrated by most colonies already but this was a first as a nation. And then President Lincoln made it an official holiday to be celebrated the fourth Thursday in November. And then President Roosevelt moved it to the third Thursday. Because that would extend the holiday shopping season. Publick Thanksgiving and Prayer indeed. His best to the Pilgrims, no doubt.

Of course John Piper, on Facebook, has to throw down the gauntlet with this reminder of the very words of Jesus,

"Whenever you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers, or your relatives or your rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and it be a repayment for you. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For it will be repaid to you in the resurrection of the just." (Luke 14:12–14)

Jesus really said those words. Why have I never put that in the context of our Thanksgiving meal before?

So if it's not a day of public thanksgiving and prayer (I've never publicly done either on this day) and it's not a feast to which I invite those that could never repay, what is it? My holiday angst. I don't get like this around Halloween. It's all so straightforward (unless you consider the slave labor chocolate issue.) But I struggle (no, not "struggle." That implies much more passion than is really involved.) I brood the issue (over pumpkin pie of course) from now until Easter.

I think I'm thankful. I say "thank you" a lot. Does that count? In prayers. In conversations. I try to express gratitude because I really do see that what I get to partake in are undeserved, yea, ill-deserved, blessings that I absolutely would be lost without. And I know God is the Giver. And I happen to really like a large portion of what he has given and the things I happen not to be so fond of really pale in comparison so thankfulness, while labored at times, is pretty easy to produce. Of course, I've never set sail for a foreign land, watched most of my co-Pilgrims die, struggle through brutal winters, and then come through it all with food and shelter and faith so it's hard to say, really.

We've been teaching the boys "For the Beauty of the Earth" and "We Gather Together." Because they are terribly Thanksgivingy hymns and it just seems appropriate. I really like them both but the words of "We Gather Together" are particularly encouraging.

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing;
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be;
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's Good For the Soul

That's what they say anyway. Ooohh...confessions as the first post under my new banner. This might just get interesting. (Probably not.)

I spend way too much time thinking about what I'm going to wear. I'm a 32 year old mom of 3 that drives a minivan for the love of God. But I do. And I'll tell you why. I felt out of place and out of style for a lot of my life. And now, I know what I like and I know what I don't and I lost a lot of baby weight. So getting dressed is kind of fun. But I wish I cared less. It can't be the best use of time. Or brain space. Or soul space. Damn that Ann Taylor and her loft.

I take lame self-portraits. I do. There I said it. I try to get that "I just happen to have this picture of just me where I look AMAZING that someone took without my knowledge and then emailed it to me" look. Then I crop and filter the heck out of it and it still doesn't look how I wish it did.

I hate most pictures of me. But I do love my new necklace. That thing is pure awesome.

I have sewn very few things in the sewing room that I just had to have. A shark costume, (Shark with cute ballerina Meadow)

a pair of pajama pants (ok, I didn't really sew those. I took them in because they were XL ones that I bought from Goodwill and I needed a better fit. See above.) I altered a dress that I've had in my closet for years but hardly ever wore because it hit my legs to low. In a flash of what can only be described as epiphinic, I hemmed it. Problem solved. We went through a lot to make this room possible. We have all of our children crammed into one room so that I can craft and Kris can record. Seems like I should have more to justify overhauling our whole lives. Alas.

It took me 3 months to finish Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Everyone told me it was the one that would seal the deal for me as a HP fan and there would be no looking back. Well. Let me tell you. It did drag on so. Because I have this thing in my head that compels me to have a different experience than the one I am expected to have--even when I would be perfectly fine having the expected experience. (It's not you, Laura, it's me. Assuming you are reading this. Probably not. No one does.) It's so irritating being me. I get on my own nerves most of the time. What are we talking about? Yes, Harry. I did finish and am planning on borrowing Book 5 from Cheryl when I see her tomorrow. I'm in this far so I might as well.

Tonight as we were finishing dinner, I told Jude that he must eat all his hamburger patty. Not because I am worried about his iron level or growth but because I buy our meat from a co-op and it's expensive. Jude told me, "I did eat it." "No," said I, "there is still meat on your plate." He picked the small uneaten piece up and held it in his fist. "No there isn't, " he said smugly. Jude comes up with these little retorts often which prompts Kris to cast his raised-eyebrow glance toward me and make some veiled accusation about exactly where this propensity Jude has for sass may or may not come from. It was funny. I try really hard (most of the time) to let their need for discipline take precedence over my desire to just laugh off the wrong, but occasionally humorous, behavior. Except this time I didn't. We'll hit that "no back talk" thing hard tomorrow.

Normally, I would be worried about being perceived as a vain, lazy, pitiful excuse for a parent after a post like this. But I'm not now. Nobody reads my blog anyway.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I'm a firm believer in stopping what you are doing immediately if you find that it is not working. In 2006, I opened up blogger at my computer at school when I probably should have been teaching students and decided to start a blog entitled "Grace Upon Grace." (In my defense, it was the week before school let out. My grades were turned in. I guess maybe some teachers cared enough to use every moment for instruction. I did not. To say the least.)

Here I have recorded our lives (more or less.) But I've struggled more and more to write consistently. I think because I felt like this blog had to be this or that type of blog. And I had to write about this. And I couldn't write about that.

But no more! Because nobody reads this blog anyway! I'm writing for myself. I like to write, yet I've neglected this outlet because of self-imposed restrictions. So with the exception of a few good friends and my mother (whom I mean no disrespect to, of course,) I am moving forward under the assumption that nobody reads this blog anyway. Goodbye stat counter and map. So long trying to make my mark on the blogosphere or trying to be a faithful family journaler. I'll still post about the kids and try to mention things that 80 year old Jamie will enjoy reading when 53 year old Asher, 52 year old Jude, and 51 year old Simeon never call or write. Hopefully 85 year old Kris will be next to me reminding me not to be too hard on them, because that's what he does. And I'll rant and observe and editorialize I'm sure. Who knows! It's just me, a computer, and my words now. I will write whatever I want.

Because nobody reads my blog anyway.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Summer 2011

Just to ensure the gaps in my blogging are somewhat filled in, I thought I'd go through my phone pictures and post a few from the last few months. My life is both fascinating and amazing so not to include even the most mundane details seems unfair to you all. Please enjoy.

I fell in love with Pinterest and became determined to actually do some of the projects I pinned. Thank goodness for the filters on Instagram because they made these cake balls look way more vibrant than they were in real life. Incidentally, I found cake balls to be way more trouble than they're worth.

My Wimberly girls and I went to one of those painting places (at my suggestion, it must be noted.) Laura and Cheryl's turned out beautifully. My painting was disastrous. I call it "The coffee filter wore panties."

No more painting.

We saw The Civil Wars!

Favorite band ever. It was absolutely the best concert I've ever been to. The Mucky Duck was the perfect venue and I'm so glad we had the chance to see them (and be those nerds that hang around for a picture) because I'm sure next time they're in town, it will be in a huge venue and as much as it pains me to admit, John Paul and Joy will probably not remember me and make a special request for me to join them backstage.

Laura and I trying not to look too giddy about our night as cool urban concert goers.

Little did everyone around us know we were wiping bottoms and cutting up PB and J sandwiches mere hours before.

Simeon turned 1.

Thank goodness for a brother that does not force you to eat your cake alone.

Jude turned 3.

He had a shark party with a few of his little friends here and then a Thomas party (duh) with family at my parents' house. I intend to blog more fully about these special occasions but in case I don't, at least I mentioned it in passing, right?

I finally got all three boys pictures on the wall.

Two of these frames were purchased in 2006 with the express intention of hanging future children's pictures in them. By the time I got them on the wall, I had to go back for one more frame.

I ran a race. The look on my face says it all.

Actually, I look a little more joyful and relaxed here than I was. Ugh. That race. Moving on.

The boys spent a lot of time on Mamaw and Poppy's "sliding down pool" as it has been named by it's primary users.

I caved and let the boys use the face painting crayons at the children's museum.

Simmy got a haircut! No more George Washington, Patti. He's all business now.

Those spots on the carpet behind him are hair. I was so desperate to finish, I drug his high chair to the living room so he could see the tv. It actually required two more venue changes to complete the job. It was like giving a cat a bath. But less peaceful.

Wow. Ok, I've shocked even myself. I better stop before I pull something.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

This Will Be About Vomit

One thing having several small children has taught me is that when one gets sick, I should just go ahead and prepare myself mentally that they all will get sick.
And I probably will too. Particularly if it is of the stomach bug variety.

Asher and Simeon both got sick Wednesday night. It was Simmy's first official vomit. Very special. Simeon didn't ever act like he felt badly but Asher ran fever and was pretty out of it Thursday. Friday morning, Simeon had one final puke, Asher was feeling good, and I was just starting to think that Jude may slide by unscathed.

But that afternoon, I started feeling nauseous. Kris came home to me on the floor in the fetal position with the kids playing around me. We like to kick off Labor Day weekend right.

Kris took over as I dealt with my issues and a few hours later, Jude joined the ranks. Poor little fella had the worst go of it of all of us. He was vomiting all night long. Superdad Kris slept on the floor by him and carried him to the bathroom when he needed to throw up. I was so weak that I could barely stand.

But today, I am pleased to tell you, has been vomit-free. We all feel tremendously better and if we make it until tomorrow morning with no incidents, I am declaring September Sickfest over.

Kris is running sound tonight and in the morning and he is preaching tomorrow night. He feels fine so far but prayers for his health and strength would be much appreciated!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I Never Did Care for the Metric System

Kilometers. Ten of them.

Honestly, it wasn't that great. I was hot and tired. I hadn't eaten very much the day before which in retrospect was quite the unfortunate oversight. I felt oddly stressed out by the whole ordeal. Obviously, this was not a big deal. A local race. My first race at that. Why would I have any expectations other than just completing it.

But now that I have entered this whole running world, I have one more area to place unrealistic expectations on myself and then more evidence that I'm really not athletic.

See I told you so.

Jr. high volleyball was my first clue. High school tennis was another one. I could go on. Fighting the very genes that make you is exhausting. I'm "be just OK enough to participate but never quite rock it out" Girl.

Where's my cape?

Which then propels me to continue to embark on that challenge just to prove that I'm not as pathetic as I first thought. So the whole thing becomes, not about enjoying the run and being healthy, but about engaging in this weird inner-dialogue in which I simultaneously berate and encourage myself. I have these two needs that seem to be mutually exclusive, yet somehow cohabitate within my head. I need to beat myself down with jeering insults and then I need to prove to myself that I'm really not what I told myself I was. I think healthy people just deal with these things when they present themselves via other people. I just save other people the trouble.

All this to say, I have to run another dadgum 10K. I've entered in to this tolerate/hate realtionship with running and now I can't quit it. I should have seen this coming. I knew better.

On the upside, I did burn 1255 calories. So there's that.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

WYPW (Edition: Happy Thursday!)

Grace Upon Grace

I'm running my first race this weekend. I'm still not convinced this is my thing. There are things that I really do love about running. The challenge. The time alone. The fact that all you have to do is walk out your door and you're there. But I've realized that I do need some sort of goal to work towards. But that requires commitment which I do not generally enjoy (the Lord and Kris being the notable exceptions.) And if I commit to another race in a few months that means that the race will occur when it is cold. And the chances of me going outside for extended periods of time while it is cold to train are not good. I know, I know--you warm up quickly but (and this is the part where I realize I have officially become my mother) I HATE being cold. Even really-not-that-cold-compared-to-Maryland-or-Minnesota-cold cold. So that is my dilemma. But maybe I'll love the race experience and I'll be hooked and I won't care if I have to be cold for a little while. I'll let you know.

Let's hear it for school starting! This means that the library, zoo, children's museum, and Chick-fil-a are back to being either way less crowded or crowded with people all about the size of my own children. I like this. While we miss Kris terribly now that he is back at work, we are soothing that pain with outings that do not involve crowds.

I think we are going to begin a modified pre-K/K program here at The Rives School for Higher Learning. Asher, in true firstborn fashion, is ready. He reads pretty well, he writes his name and can figure out how to spell a lot of words, and he is getting a handle on number concepts so I really need to take advantage of his eagerness. I ordered a kindergarten curriculum set a while back that is based on the classical model and I think it will be fairly easy to adapt it for this year. He is only 4 so I don't feel like we need to have an overly structured school day just yet but there is nothing like that youthful zeal to learn!

Do you know about Noonday Collection? There is a very good chance that I will have the opportunity soon to be involved with this amazing organization, Lord willing. I am so supportive of this business-model which the Sseko founder refers to as "not(just)for profit." In this model, businesses are not forced to "pick a side"--either exist to help people and do good OR exist to make money and grow. Noonday Collection, and many businesses like it, embrace the idea that BOTH are possible and preferable! I love it. It's encouraging to see how it is growing and the opportunities it presents to women all over the world.

And now, I will go rescue the pterydactel that is screeching in the other room. Or it might just be Simeon letting me know he is not napping this morning. I'll report back and let you know.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Photo Sin Thesis

Nowadays, everything must be photographed. Did you hear me? Everything. Especially once you have children. And I don't just mean the milestones--birthdays, first haircuts, opening Christmas presents--I mean, everything. Or else it might as well have never happened at all.

And then (get this,) there are some people who not only do this but then they take those pictures and they EDIT them and make the moment even less like it really was, therefore much more worth remembering. And THEN (don't even get me to lying,) some people take these EDITED photos and glue them to fancy paper and arrange them just so and adhere sparkly stickers to the page and type some endearing quote in some cutesy font and place all this nonsense in a scrapbook.

And not a few of these pictures are taken with a camera that costs more than my car.

And let's not forget to put all these edited pictures on the bloody blog, k?

I am the absolute worst when it comes to taking pictures. I comfort myself often with the thought that we will not take our photos with us to heaven so even if I regret not being a more diligent pictorial historian, at least my sorrow will be not longer than my life. I may or may not have issues.

Thankfully, many people in my life DO have awesome cameras and the desire to use them. So photos of my children's important events do have a good chance of being captured. For example, two of my sisters-in-law have fancypants cameras and Simeon's first birthday pictures are currently on one of their memory cards. This makes me feel better but it has kept me from blogging since then because who blogs about other stuff before blogging about their baby's first birthday? The better option seemed to be to allow the blog to lay dormant for lo, these many months while countless other details of our daily lives go undocumented. My mind is like a silo for logic.

Go and sin no more? I wish. I doubt I'll change. You'll see me (sometimes) get a pic or two on the ol' iPhone, maybe the point-and-shoot if I'm have an exceptional day. I just can't take the pressure of more. My photography skills are sorely lacking. My uploading, editing, and posting skills even more so. So I'm just letting it go. I can't deal with anymore. I gotta be me.

Now that we've gotten that straight, let the blogging resume.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pinterest Help

I mentioned in my last post that my newest obsession is a very fun site called Pinterest. It is basically a set of virtual bulletin board that you "pin" images to that you run across online or while perusing other people's boards. It's a really easy way to keep track of fun ideas you want to try to make, wear, see, do, read, photograph, etc.

But it is a little overwhelming to figure out. I found this post very helpful. I think because it is fairly new, there are still several kinks to be worked out, but once you get the hang of it, you will be hooked!

Let me know if you join so I can follow you!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

WYPW (edition: head start)

Grace Upon Grace
Let's be honest--major slackage going on here. The latest blogging sensation, our very own WYPW, seems to catch me off guard each week. You want Wednesdays to come and go at the speed of light? Launch what may very well be the biggest thing to hit the blog world and watch them zoom past you. So I'm outsmarting Wednesday and posting on Tuesday. How ya like them apples?

The big boys are at Mamaw and Poppy's house for a few days. Asher says he wants to stay 4 days and Jude says he wants to stay 2 minutes. We'll probably meet somewhere in the middle. I miss my little guys and I'd like to think the feeling is mutual. But Mamaw and Poppy purchased a very large inflatable waterslide and provide ice cream sandwiches for dessert so it's not likely.

I'm meeting some friends in the morning to do a Dirt Bag-inspired workout. Since I've tentatively ventured into the world of running, I've realized how important it is to balance your strength, flexibility, and cardio training. Fauxga was helpful in developing the first two, but I started from scratch building up some cardio endurance. I'm definitely enjoying running more than I thought I would but I still have quite a way to go before I'm where I'd like to be. But using the heart rate monitor strapped to my chest, the ipod strapped to my arm, and the Nike+ chip embedded in my shoe, I think I may just get there one day.

Speaking of Dirt Bag, you know something's legit when you walk away with a t-shirt!

I realize the sling obscures the t-shirt but I had to put Simeon in that sling today. We have been sorting and packing up baby items that we don't plan on using in the near future. Space is at a premium in our home so if it's not being used and it's not a huge pain to borrow or replace should we need it again, it's going to someone who can use it. So my heart has been in a very fragile state realizing that diaper bags and changing tables are not, for the first time in over four years, a part of my life right now. Even my baby is becoming not so much a baby. So, you see, in order to not fall completely apart emotionally, I needed to put him in that sling.

He was not a fan.

And I did not care.

He would give me a little snuggle for a few seconds now and then, but most of our trip to Home Depot involved him throwing himself back in effort to break free. From his mama. Who loves him. Have you ever heard of such a thing?

We were at Home Depot buying paint for our new home office/recording studio/craft room. I'm very excited! The boys are doing well in their room together so it is full steam ahead on reclaiming some space around here for the ones that pay for it in the first place. My living room is a wreck right now with all the stuff that is in transition from one room to another. But soon it will all be organized and all will be well.

I'd like to write a little about Pinterest right now but I HAVE to go to bed since the 5 am wake up call is right around the corner, so I'll save that for another day, but if you are not on it yet, you simply must sign up. Addicting. So addicting.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Today is the anniversary of the day when Mr. Rives and I stood before God and spoke holy vows. We covenanted with Him and with one another. We promised to love each other. We promised that the only way we would separate would be if God Himself took one of us away. We promised to walk through life together, holding fast in all sorts of situations implicit in the word "life." We walked in that building two, we left as one.

So how do you commemorate such a sacred day?

You go eat cupcakes. Duh.

Asher was a big fan.

As was Jude.

Simeon really, really enjoyed his as well.

I won't lie. I really, really enjoyed mine, too.

Speaking of cupcakes...does it get any sweeter than that little cupcake right there?

And Simmy's pretty cute, too, isn't he?

Happy anniversary, Kristopher! I wouldn't trade you for all the cupcakes at Sprinkles!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Too much self-editing makes for a quiet blog

There are a lot of bugs in our yard. We are constantly waging war against these creatures that we tower over by a good million percent. They are our sworn enemies and what they lack in size, they make up for in reputation. The wasps enjoy the curtain portion of our canopy. The mosquitoes, who would have not batted an eye at Jesus' words I'm guessing, feast daily on our blood. And the ants. Oh my word the ants. We are forever spraying down and covering in various substances and squishing and squashing in effort to communicate, in no uncertain terms I feel, that they are not welcome here. Honestly, if I could, I would deliver a speech declaring my utmost respect for their labor and accomplishments. It really is extraordinary. I've read Proverbs. There is a sermon in that ant bed. But you bit my babies. So your ass is out of here.

Yes, I say "ass" sometimes. "Butt" is sort of on my nerves and "behind" doesn't really deliver the punch that I'm going for. I realize some people don't think a nice Christian girl ought to use such language, but for me, it gets the job done. Words really are neutral. You should hear what you can get away with saying in other cultures, even English speaking ones. For something to be sinful, it has to be wrong all the time and for everyone. It is not sin for me to say "ass." But it might be sin for me to call you an ass. Unless you are really being one and then it might be a great kindness on my part. Maybe your assness has been tolerated too long and it's just dragging you down? Maybe you need to snap out of it and enjoy God and life and ice cream again? Search your heart.

Cotton candy ice cream with "m's and m's." That was Jude's choice at Friday night's "boys' night out." Blue #40 running out his ears. I try to strike a balance when dealing with what my kids eat. But I also try to make it a non-issue. I don't want food to be this big thing that they connect their identity to. "I'm a health nut." "I'm a big fat slob." "I'm a crunchy organic monstrosity of a human." "I only eat crap but I give all the extra money I save to orphans." I just want them to eat when they're hungry. And to realize what feels good to eat a lot of and what feels good to eat a little bit of and that those that approach it differently may very well be lovely people that don't need any lip from them.

Well, I did blog. Be careful what you ask for.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What's Your Point? Wednesday (edition: has it been a week already?)

Grace Upon Grace
Of note this past week:

--Dirt Bag Boot Camp continues. Wendy is a fabulous trainer. I get the sense that she is deriving a certain amount of pleasure from seeing our contorted faces as we struggle to complete the exercises, but I guess these boot camps can get rather monotonous for her and she has to throw a few things at us purely for her own amusement.

--Tragic announcement (please sit if you are not already): My iPhone is gone. It apparently fell out of the car in the parking lot as I was getting out Monday evening and surprisingly enough, no one has attempted to return it to its rightful owner. It's frustrating on several levels, but it is, after all, just a phone. A phone that I really, really liked. Perhaps a little too much, so I'm processing that and making sure I "Don't Waste Losing My iPhone." But enough about the phone. Farewell, old friend. May you enjoy your stay on the black market and your new owner.

--Simeon is pulling up on everything now. He tries to stand up on his own by doing a challenging, downward-dogesque move but so far has been unsuccessful.

--Asher is very into sounding out words now. It really surprises me how well he can read most CVC words. Today he told me how to spell Jim, which is his Poppy's name. Then he said, "The place you go to work out is J-I-M, too?" I began to explain how G sometimes makes the same sound as a J, and Y is sometimes used as a vowel and that English is a really frustrating language to master, so that word is really G-Y-M. He said, "Oh, the gym we go to is G-Y-M and the Jim we love is J-I-M!" Exactly.

--Jude was sick last weekend and as I was trying to be really nurturing and comforting by rubbing his back as he was lying in bed, he looked at me and said, "I want you to go." Touching. But I can't blame him. Just leave me alone and let me sleep. Jude and I are cut from the same cloth indeed.

--Asher had his last soccer game on Saturday. It was quite a season for the Yellow Lightening. He was on a team with a bunch of his friends and he had a great coach, so it was a really good experience for him. We aren't playing any sports this summer but this fall, Jude will have turned 3 so they will be able to play on a team together. And he has already informed us that we will watch him play and we will (oh yes we will) yell, "YAY JUDE!!!!!!" when he is on the field. My inner-crazy-sideline-yelling-mom-self started to emerge this season so little does he know, he has nothing to worry about.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

WYPW (Edition: Jude)

Life as we know it continues. This is no small gift, I realize, but it doesn't make for a very active blog. So here we are again at another WYPW, also known as the one day each week I post.

Jude is in the bathroom right now taking full advantage of being in the bathroom by repeating "poo-poo!" over and over again because the bathroom is the one place that, as he is reminded constantly, potty-talk is acceptable. If you are, in fact, poo-pooing on the potty, you may talk about it as much as you please. And so he does.

He is most definitely a "seize the moment" kind of guy. When he sees opportunity, he goes for it. Asher and I were at the gym the other night, Simeon was taking a catnap, Kris was in another room, and Jude was, supposedly, watching Thomas in the living room. Except he wasn't. He got a stool from the bathroom and brought it to the kitchen and proceeded to help himself to my freshly-baked zucchini bread I made for our bible study the next day. He ate the entire top layer, which, incidentally, is my favorite part, too. He did get a spanking for getting a stool and using it to take something off of the oven, but we secretly laughed because that is quintessential Jude.

We have recently convinced him that his name is not Judah-cuda Kristobear Rives. He has several nicknames which have only served to confuse him. Judah Barracuda and Judah Bear mingled with his given name resulted in the hilariously inaccurate moniker above. We think he is clear about it now though.

Yesterday Asher helped him with something and he said, "Thank you, Asher! You're the best big brother in the whole wide world." He also spilled some milk and went right to the towel drawer, got out a towel, and cleaned up his mess. Moments like those are so comforting. He CAN be taught!

My point? I find Jude to be a delightful combination of frustrating and endearing.

Kris might tell you the exact same thing about someone else we all know and love.

So what's YOUR point?

Grace Upon Grace
Please do share!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Grace Upon Grace

Well I'll just go ahead and tell you right now what my point is. My point is I. AM. SORE.

For reasons still unclear to me, I accepted an invitation from my friend, Wendy, to attend Dirt Bag Boot Camp, which she runs. It was on a total whim that I made this decision. I've never wanted to go boot camp. I've never even thought about going to boot camp. And yet, I find myself at boot camp. At 5 o'clock. In the morning. Cheryl accepted the challenge, too. And now we can't quit because we both have this intense need to show the other mean, finish what we start. Yeah...that's it.

In all honesty, as painful as these past 3 days have been (only 17 more to go!) it has felt good to try to do something challenging. I have run more in the past three days than in the past three years. I told Cheryl I sort of bragged a little to various people that I lost all my baby weight without doing any cardio (just strength and flexibility training) but I was wishing that first day I would have hit the treadmill a time or two. I wished it the second day, too. And about my fourth time up the 6 story parking garage this morning, I wished it again. It's good to regain a little lung capacity. And all the other stuff besides the cardio--I can't even talk about it right now. It's too soon. I might cry. (My point: I already told you. I'm sore.)

I had a conversation with Asher that went something like this this morning:

A--Mom! There's something BAD happening outside right now!
Me--Oh no! What! (said in my best fake-concerned voice as I could hear Jude playing nicely and as long as that is happening, how bad could whatever it is really be?)
A--There is a FLY on our LETTUCE! And I sang this song to it: "Shoo, fly! Don't bother our lettuce." and it would not go away.
Me--Well maybe it's not familiar with that song. Maybe you need to actually shoo it away. Not all flies pick up on subtle hints in the form of folk songs.
A--I did! And it just went more into the lettuce.

(My point: Four year olds are pretty funny.)

Simeon pulled up on the coffee table today for the first time today! He smiled at me with a "well this is a skill that's going to come in handy" look on his face. (My point: Where did my baby go?)

I'd write more, but I am conserving the rest of my energy for tomorrow. When I will wake up at 5 o'clock. In the morning.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Simeon James the 10 Month Old

Simeon is 10 months old today! I have yet to do an actual post on him since his birth. This does not surprise me nor does it induce feelings of guilt. I've just decided to not do that whole thing where I bemoan all the documenting I ought to do but don't. I love Simmy and I could not be more thrilled that he is mine. So put that in your scrapbook and smoke it.

I love this picture of Simeon because he is shoving food in his mouth. At Jason's Deli no less. He eats basically whatever we eat now. Occasionally, if he is eating before we do, I'll give him some baby food but it really surprises me that he will still eat it. It's nice to be at the point where we can all eat the same meal.

Simeon stated crawling at about 8.5 months. He is by far the earliest crawler but that's not surprising since he had great motivation to become mobile. Asher and Jude were having way too much fun to just continue to sit there and watch. He hasn't started pulling up to standing yet though. I think because it looks a lot like work and he's not really into that kind of thing.

He just recently dropped his little 3rd cat nap so he's down to just a morning (when we are home) and a good solid 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon. He has 3 bottles a day but barely drinks 6 oz. each time. This may have something to do with all the face-stuffing that goes on during meals. (See picture above.)

I'm not sure how much he weighs (probably in the 23-24 lb. range.) Or how long he is. Or how big his head is. These are important statistics, I'm sure, but I don't really buy that whole "well check-up" thing so it's been...let's just say "a while"...since he has visited the doctor.

He has a lovey. It is a beautiful, knitted baby blanket that was actually made for Asher and since he was 3 or 4 months old, it has been his favorite. I initially used it to cover him because it has spaces between the stitiches so I was never worried about it obstructing his breathing. And now he is obsessed with it. I'm trying to avoid a Jude situation where the lovey is his best friend on the planet so we try to leave it in his bed unless we are going to be gone during nap time or overnight.

Simeon is still such a sweet, sweet baby with a way of looking at you that is sort of entrancing. Even when he was a newborn, he would look intently into my eyes. People often comment about the way he looks at them, too. He really seems to be focusing on you and paying attention to what you say. It is clear already that he has a special quality about him--he draws people in and wins them over so easily. But I'm just his mother--what do I know?

Of course, I must make note of ALL the things he is up to. He is a little doll...most of the time. But he has his moments. Usually when I am trying to change his diaper. And he likes to screech. And growl. It's pretty funny actually but he can get really rough. We call him the little warrior because he will attack. Good thing he has big brothers to keep him in check.

He needs a haircut. My friend Patti refers to his 'do as the "George Washington look." Admittedly, the hair is a little unruly, but you give a baby that first big boy haircut and the next thing you know they are 4 and calling you "mom." I'm not falling for that one again.

I can't believe we are approaching his first birthday! He has been such a welcomed addition to our family and, more importantly, to Asher and Jude's band. We all are quite smitten with this little guy and love getting to spend our days with him.

Sweet Simmy--you are one loved 10 month old.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

WYPW (Edition: On Wednesday! Hurray!)

Grace Upon Grace

Oh yes. I'm doing a WYPW post on Wednesday. It's because I've had it on my calendar ALL week and could hardly wait for this day to roll around! (My Point: It's really because Cheryl, in the midst of a text-conversation tonight, asked if I was working on my WYPW post yet.)

Well my Easter post was fun, wasn't it? I hope everyone understands that any comments left that questioned my position were received in the best possible way. I enjoy spirited discussion and realize that my outlook on certain topics needs a little challenging from time to time. I'll either become aware of error in my thinking and make the necessary adjustments or I will receive great satisfaction from realizing just how right I am. It's a win/win. (My Point: I like arguing. Virtue or Vice? Yes.)

Congratulations to Robin, the big winner in my giveaway! I hope she read the fine print, which indicates that, once she receives her loot, she must bombard family, friends, and distant acquaintances with constant praise of Scentsy and unceasing appeals to buy product from me. (My Point: You should really buy something, too.)

Speaking of friends that I met about 6 years ago, Kathy is back in the blogging world! (My Point: It's about time.)

It was one of those days today. Well, one of those afternoon and evenings I should say. The morning was spent playing with friends. Other than the tremendous sink-envy I'm now experiencing from my friend's gorgeous farmhouse sink, the first half of the day was great.

Ok, this isn't her house, but it's darn close. Anyway, fun time with good friends. That part of the day was good.

But then we came home and the realization that it was time to do it all. over. again. kind of got to me. Make lunch. Feed boys. Pray for an uninterrupted hour while they have "rest (in the loosest sense of the word) time." The straightening up of the living room before Kris gets home so it looks like I've done something all day. The cleaning up of the breakfast dishes. And the lunch dishes. At 2 in the afternoon. The laundry baskets that still need to be folded. Not to mention the three young boys that really have no respect for my inner turmoil and still required my attention. Sometimes I feel so energized by restoring order to my house and sometimes it completely frustrates me.

I don't mean I'm not thankful for it or that I don't want to take care of what God has given. But the repetition can be overwhelming at times--I think, "seriously? This is already dirty?" or "Didn't I just get all this picked up?" But the fact is that not every day is going to flow seamlessly. Some days will be more of a struggle. I have 3 kids 4 and under. Nothing about that screams "efficient." So I do what needs to be done and I quit letting how I feel dictate what I do. (My Point: These are the moments I really want to get better at talking to myself instead of listening to myself. )

Need an excuse to have absolutely no overarching theme to your post? Then link up!

Monday, April 25, 2011

And the Scentsy Goes To...


There's a cute video documenting the drawing. But my netbook is not recognizing the QuickTime file. But everything is on the up and up and Asher can vouch for me that he did in fact draw Robin's name.

Robin, I think I have your current address but will you email it to me just in case. Congrats!

Localish (Houston/Beaumont) friends--I'm placing an order this weekend so if there is anything you would like, email me and I can include it in that order and save you the shipping fee.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Less Controversial Post (unless you have a problem with blatent self-promotion)

Just wanted to remind you that my giveaway ends tomorrow! If you would like the opportunity to win a little Scentsy swag, please leave me a comment on this post!

I know there are a few guys that read this blog and I would like to point out that women love this stuff! So enter and win some for your wife, mother, or girlfriend. I'm not kidding. Major points to be had here. Am I right, ladies?

As with all giveaways, not all who enter will win. Do not let that get you down! Just order some anyway.

And if you have no clue what the heck Scenty is, go here.

And if you do not care what Scentsy is, go here.

Winner announced tomorrow!

Friday, April 22, 2011

How I Spent My Easter Vacation

I would love for this to be a really cohesive, articulate post on my thoughts on Easter, the church calendar, hatching chicks, the Resurrection of Christ, and chocolate bunnies. Because my head may be visibly bulging as these thoughts bounce around in there, it will unfortunately fall quite short of that. I can't get a firm enough hold on any of my thoughts long enough to know what category to put them in. I'm hoping that writing some of this down will help me, I guess? I want to dwell richly on all that Christ came near to accomplish. I want to enjoy fun traditions with my children, too. And Lord knows I want any excuse to buy matching seersucker outfits for the little guys. But I don't feel right about doing any of this.

"Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again." This is our assurance as believers. This is huge. If any part of that confession were not true, then the whole thing would be worthless. But it is true. And it is glorious! And it is a precious doctrine that we should immerse ourselves in because within it lies immeasurable comfort and hope and security and joy. So if "celebrating Easter" means doing just that, then I'm in.

But in our culture, "celebrating Easter" may include, but is definitely not limited to, those things. There are countless other symbols and ideas that accompany Easter that have nothing to do with the life and death of Jesus. (Not that clever marketers haven't done their level best to change that--Resurrection eggs anyone? Kill me now.) Easter means we get to do LOTS of things...wear pretty new dresses and get candy in our baskets AND meditate on Christ's substitutionary death on the cross and his subsequent victory over death, hell and the grave. Whew! Now that's a lot for one Sunday afternoon.

If it was purely a time where we donned our pastels, hunted for some eggs that a large rabbit hid, and made ourselves sick on Peeps in honor of the coming of Spring or our taxes being filed or some other agreed upon happy occasion, then I'm good. Toss me the ears from your chocolate bunny. But we try to do both. Well, not really try--we do both. We do all of these things that have nothing to do with what we claim to be celebrating and this is why I struggle. Because it creates anomalies like Resurrection eggs. We want to take part in the cultural celebrations but we also want to honor Christ. So we have this weird bastard child of a holiday that combines crosses and Cadbury creme eggs. Shouldn't we pick a focus?

This is all magnified even more to me now that I am a parent. Kris and I are constantly explaining new concepts to these little people who live in our house and that have very limited prior knowledge, vocabulary skills, and attention spans. Weekends like this present particular challenges because there are so many ideas floating around. My inclination is to let it all pass by. Not discuss the resurrection this Sunday nor the cultural traditions that take place. Because one clearly has nothing to do with the other but they are happening together prompting our young pupils to connect the two.

They know God made them. They know this one God exists in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They know that God the Son became man and came to this earth. We have told them about Jesus dying in our place--receiving God's wrath on our behalf. We have told them He did not stay dead, but was made alive again. We aren't expecting perfect comprehension and internalization at this point. We are discipling, which is a life-long process. But on a weekend where the church turns its particular attention to this aspect of theology, I find all the other crap on sale at Target right now incredibly confusing for them and irritating for me.

It's Easter weekend, so says the church calendar. I guess the thing about the Church calendar is that it is a tool. And tools can be useful for some jobs, but not for others. According to the church calendar, this weekend we are to think on the crucifixion of Christ (Good Friday) and the resurrection of Christ (Easter Sunday.) But I find it more helpful, in light of where we are at this point in our culture and history, to think of each Sunday, when believers gather, to celebrate Christ's tremendous work on behalf of his Church.

So where am at right now? Well, we're going to gather with other believers tonight and spend time thinking about and praising God for the cross and all that that entails. But I'm not going because it's Good Friday. I'm going because I want to be with other believers whom I love dearly and I want to worship with them and I want to corporately confess to God our gratitude and praise. I would want to do this any Friday night.

On Saturday, we are getting together with our family. We'll share a meal. There will probably not be a lot of discussion of the crucifixion or the resurrection or what went on the day in between (wouldn't that be fun to talk about over deviled eggs?) So I'm not sure what our point in gathering is exactly other than we love them and like spending time with them. I would want to do this any Saturday afternoon.

But then there's the egg thing. Nothing sinful at all about searching for plastic eggs (although I refuse to tell them a magical bunny hides them. Despite all my uncertainty and angst about many things, I feel I can safely declare that LYING to your kids should be avoided.) I guess I can look at it as this is the game we're playing this time. Sometimes we get a bouncy house. Sometimes we play at the park. This Saturday, the game de jour is egg-hunting. Ok. I guess there's no need to have a theological sit-down over that anymore than I would if they were about to play kickball with their cousins.

Then Sunday morning, we are going to my parent's church. We don't normally do this so I guess I will have to concede that we are doing this because it's Easter. But I love the believers at Reformed Presbyterian Church and would be beyond thrilled to gather with them any Sunday of the year. We'll sing, pray, confess, and hear God's word. I'll hug some necks (one of my very favorite Southern expressions) and introduce Simeon to them. I would want to do this any Sunday morning.

We are gathering Sunday--this Sunday, next Sunday, every Sunday--because Jesus did not stay dead. So I could think about it more this week. Or I could think about it a lot next week. Or I could think about it some every week. It's the air we breathe. I am dependent on it regardless.

Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again. This much, I am sure of.

(I welcome your feedback, questions, and criticisms as I continue to work through all of this.)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What's Your Point? Wednesday (Edition: Missed it AGAIN!)

Well this is no way to start a blog revolution. No way at all. I'm not sure, but I suppose that Sparking Latest Blog Sensation 101 includes remembering to blog. I do appreciate those that have participated, veiled reference to my own glory-seeking notwithstanding.

First of all--have you entered my Scentsy Giveaway? Your odds of winning are quite favorable at this point so please go check it out! (My Point: I really, really want you to check out my website and then buy things from me.)

Yesterday, as we were finishing up lunch with Becca and her little girl at a local BBQ place, Jude found some boys who spoke his language (Read: wild with a side of mischeif.) These boys were dumping out salt and pepper shakers and throwing paper napkins on the ground. Jude (whose "Go big or go home" attitude towards life will serve him well as soon as we teach him to use his powers for good) decided to one up them all and got the bottle of ketchup and squirted it on one of the little boys shorts. I was horrified. Who actually does that? I mean, we've all wanted to, but my kid DID it. He was scolded and made to apologize. And I apologized to the mother (who was very gracious.) And we left right after that, to Jude's great dismay. Remember my status a few days ago about that middle child? (My Point: While I in no way condone such behavior and gave no indication to Jude that I was amused, I totally was.)

I did in fact find a mustard cardigan. My friend Krista gave me a great recommendation and I found it on sale. (My Point: The color mustard will pretty much change your life. You mark my words.)

I think I may open up my own "fauxga" studio one day. For now, I will be leading hot fauxga classes in my garage. I just back the magical minivan out and voila! 115 degrees of pure bikram bliss. (My Point: I should probably stop paying a gym for what I could get for free.)

p.s. Enter my giveaway!

Monday, April 18, 2011

In Which I Solve One of Your Problems (a GIVEAWAY!)

You've been here, right? You're driving along, rocking out to The Civil Wars, and the thought hits you, "Did I blow out that candle? Surely I did, right? Wait, no I didn't! No, I think I remember blowing it out. But maybe I didn't..." So annoying. And potentially life-altering.

Candles are dangerous. I know of several women whose firefighter husbands do not allow them to burn candles in their homes at all because of the number of house fires they are called to that begin with a candle left burning.

And we've all heard the horror stories. Lives lost from something as seemingly benign as wanting a nice smelling home.

Some families have ditched candles altogether in favor of those gel-packet plug-in warmers but the truth is they are not much safer. Not only are they usually plugged in at eye-level for a crawling child, but the fragrance is warmed directly by the electricity from the socket. So it gets really hot and the potential for fire is almost equal to that of a candle.

So have a stinky house or have a fire waiting to happen...not great options for those of us that enjoy a fresh, inviting, lovely scented environment. What's a girl to do?

Fret no longer, dear ones. I have just the thing.

Hello, Scentsy!

Scentsy is a fabulous company that makes safe, wickless, flameless warmers and scents that provide all of the fragrance of a high end candle (like ones that shall remain nameless but may possibly rhyme with "Smankee") but without the danger that comes with unattended, open flames.

Pictured above is a full size warmer which stands about 5.5 inches tall. You place up to 3 cubes of scented, food-grade wax into the warmer and a low wattage light bulb gently melts the wax and releases the scent into the air. One bar (which only costs $5!) is comprised of 8 cubes, each which have a 50-80 hour scent life depending on environmental factors. And there are over 80 scents to choose so there is definitely something for everyone!

The warmer itself acts as a small lamp and the wax is melted in the removable upper tray. It never gets hot enough to burn and if you accidentally forget to turn it off before you leave, it presents no more danger than forgetting to turn off a lamp.

The warmers also come in a mid size, which is about 4.5 inches tall, and a plug-in size. Which brings me to my point (yay.)

I am giving away this plug in and one scent bar to one of my readers!

To enter, visit my website and browse the selection and leave me a comment telling me what your favorite warmers and scents are. I know scents are something that you really have to smell for yourself to determine what you like, but read over the descriptions and tell me what sounds most appealing to you!

I will randomly choose one winner next Monday. If you aren't local, I will gladly mail it anywhere within the continental United States.

Now for those of you that are saying to yourselves, "Say no more! I MUST own one, possibly three, of these amazing warmers!" then by all means, head right over here and place your order! Think Mother's Day! Think graduations! Think end-of-year teacher gifts. Think of yourself! Scentsy for everybody! Hurray!

Email me at jamierives at gmail dot com if you have any questions. Oh and p.s.--Prizes, incentives, free stuff, and my undying affection if you book a party with me!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What's Your Point? Wednesday (except it's Thursday)

I want to make my mark on the world. Everyone does I assume. A legacy of some sort. I have big plans for this actually that I am not at liberty to disclose at this time, but in case those fall through I need something else to rely on. A "Plan B" seems wise to secure in a situation such as this. And I really think the newest blog sensation, "What's Your Point? Wednesday" may very well be just that. But as you must know, today is in fact Thursday. A minor detail that I will not allow to deter me.

I finished off the rest of my Skinnygirl margarita bottle at lunch today. I don't make a habit of this, but I had just a little left and I made some delicious guacamole for myself and really, what goes better with guacamole? I submit to you--NOTHING. And since the next item on the to-do list was to clean the playroom, it was just the thing to get me through. Say what you may about me, but my disposition during that normally maddening activity was considerably more pleasant.

I made cookies using spelt flour yesterday. It was a mistake. It reaffirmed my belief that if you are going to make chocolate chip cookies and derive any sort of satisfaction from eating one (some, a dozen, whatever) you have to use as many refined and/or processed ingredients as you need to. White flour. White sugar. Crisco. Just go for it. Because anything less just doesn't get the job done. There is a time and a place for whole foods and I now firmly believe that chocolate chip cookies are decidedly not it.

I bought a huge, I mean HUGE, bag of pinto beans at the grocery store yesterday. I poured it into a shallow rubbermaid bin and gave the boys come cups, bowls, and spoons and they played with those for a nice long while. Sensory learning, cooperative play, understanding the concept of conservation, blah, blah, blah. They were occupied. If they grew intellectually, then yay. Bonus.

The Civil Wars have still not rescheduled their Houston show. I do not have a good feeling about this.

Lastly, at the suggestion of the new queen of blogging, I will be doing a Scentsy giveaway next week! I sell this stuff because I love this stuff! Check out my website and the enter next week to win some serious Scentsy goodies.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

He. Not "it."

It is legitimate to speak of "receiving grace," and sometimes (although I am somewhat cautious about the possibility of misuing this langauge) we speak of the preaching of the Word, prayer, baptism, and the Lord's Supper as "means of grace."

That is fine, so long as we remember that there isn't a thing, a substance, or a "quasi-substance" called "grace." All there is is the person of the Lord Jesus — "Christ clothed in the gospel," as John Calvin loved to put it.

Grace is the grace of Jesus. --Sinclair Ferguson

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What's Your Point? Wednesday

I really love practicing yoga. Practicing. This is how the cool yoga kids put it. I started about 8 months ago and I'm hooked. Of course, as many of you know, in honor of Dr. Al Mohler, I refer to it as "fauxga" most of the time. There are many who maintain that the spiritual and the physical aspects of yoga should not, nay, CANNOT be divorced. I have not found this to be the case at all. Maybe some of my fellow classmates are thinking about transcending to the next level of inward awareness while breathing in the knowledge of enlightened bliss, but I am thinking "Yay. My thrice c-sectioned stomach pooch looks smaller." I'm sure that would offend the yoga sensibilities of some dedicated students, but I can button my jeans now. So what do I care.

I've been trying out a new smile. I have this gum issue with my original smile. As in, there is way too much of it showing. I feel like a horse that was fed peanut butter. (what?) So here a few pictures of me test-driving the new "cheeeeese."

My pretty friends look great, as usual. Knock that off, Laura and Cheryl. It's getting old.

Or this:

Weird and awkward. Which is actually not what I was going for. So less gums, more teeth. I'm on it.

I took all three kids to the gym this morning for the first time. I wanted to wait until Simeon was older and flu season was behind us. (We did all have the flu, did you hear?) At our gym, there is a big kid area consisting of lots of computers for playing games, a mini basketball court, a toy area, and a large climbing structure, which overlooks the toddler area. Where a certain two year old who daily bemoans the fact that he is not yet three, has to stay while his big brother gets to, as usual, do all the fun, cool stuff.

This is the downside to having kids really close together. In most situations, Asher and Jude are treated like they are the same age. They play with the same toys, have the same friends, and even share the same clothes. But then soccer starts or they go to the gym, and it becomes painfully obvious to Jude that he is the little brother and has to be left behind by his best friend who gets to experience everything sooner than he does. He tries to convince me he has aged by saying, "Mama! I 'free' now!" No Jude, you not three. Not until July. The bloody end of July of course.

But he handled it fairly well. There was, to be sure, bribery involved. Bribery is like blue eye shadow--a little goes a long way and it should only be used on very rare occasions. It definitely should not be the default parenting strategy, but there are times when the promise of a kids meal at Chick-fil-a can be just enough of a balm to take away the sting of being put in with the babies when you are decidedly NOT a baby. And I got to go to my level 3 vinyasa class where I did rock out a headstand for 20 full breaths.

I'm making my own tortillas tonight. I have neither the pedigree nor the lard to do the job properly, but we shall see what I can manage as a gringa with whole wheat flour and organic butter. I also have a chicken cooking in the crockpot that I am going to shred for tacos. But seeing as how I am the sole person in the history of crockpottery that dries out meat as it is cooking in LIQUID, my hopes are not high. But maybe it will all come out splendidly and then Kris will have to go find a gate at which to praise me. It's a toss-up at this point.

I want some mustard color sandals. Is it just me, or does mustard (again, the color, not the condiment) make everything look more trendy? I am absolutely obsessed with that color. I looked, in vain, for a mustard cardigan. They must have all been bought up as the mustard memo circulates. It makes you cool. I don't know why. But it does. Am I right? (Rhetorical question. Of course I am.)

Back to the title. The answer: there isn't one. I just have this hang up about needing a really great title. And when I can't thing of one, then I pretend like there is a real thing that other bloggers do called "What's the Point? Wednesday" so I seem less inept. But there isn't. But I guess there is now. So feel free to use my formerly non-existent but now real thing Wednesday post topic on any Wednesday you like.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oops I Did It Again

We were somewhere over Arkansas when I made the discovery. My first thought was that less-than-courteous TSA guy. I bet he did it. He was upset that I was traveling with multiple small bottles of premixed formula, which he had to individually test for bomb ingredients because those Al-Queda guys are notorious for their devious uses of Similac. He must have taken them out in his fury and "accidentally" forgot to put them back.

But then the thought that sometimes even I make mistakes crossed my mind. Could it be? Is it possible?

Did I really just embark on a cross-regional journey and neglect to...pack diapers and wipes? No...surely not.

I check my diaper bag again. Yogurt bites, formula, puffs, hand sanitizer, rubber mat that goes on the table, various other baby items that don't rank nearly as highly in importance as diapers and wipes do? Yes, all there. But no diapers. This could get messy.

Thankfully, Simeon was able to wear the diaper I put on him THAT MORNING until we were able to get to a Target. Let's just say we got our money's worth out of it.

So lesson learned right? Check the diaper bag before you leave and make sure that, even though you put diapers in there 3 days ago, it is not unreasonable to think you might need to restock. Granted, I've been packing a diaper bag for the better part of four years so you'd think I would have mastered this particular skill, but we all have our weaknesses. Remembering crucial details happens to be mine.

Later that night, we were in the car on the way to my cousin's rehearsal dinner. We were almost there and I open the diaper bag to pull out a snack for Simeon. Guess what's not in there. Are you kidding me? Am I the world's most idiotic mother or what? How do you have such a close call mere hours earlier and then not learn your lesson? Not my best day.

But once again, no major crisis ensued. Thank God for the absorbency of the modern-day diaper. And we avoided the situation ,both times, that would make needing a new diaper absolutely essential.

And wouldn't it be great if that were the end of this post.

Kris, the boys, and I went to The Woodlands mall yesterday to exchange my phone after the previous days unfortunate events. I dropped Kris off at the door because we were running late and I parked and was supposed to meet him up at the food court to feed our children a nutritious dinner. I was getting Simeon out of his car seat when I caught a faint whiff of something not-so-fresh. So I begin to change this diaper and I open my bag and I dig around for a replacement.

Well, the good news was I did have wipes.

So in the parking lot of the mall with Thing 1 and Thing 2 as my assistants, and all the efficiency that that implies, I manage to make the diaper "wearable." I decide I just need to clean it as best as I can, line it with wipes, and then get inside and give the big boys to Kris so I can find another diaper. We find Kris. Incidentally, he is receiving excellent customer service at the Apple store and a new iPhone, so at least there was that. I tell him I am going to walk down to Gymboree because I had no clue what to do and a children's store seemed like the right place to start.

I walked towards the store, keeping my eye out for someone I could approach. I spot a mom with a child in a stroller that appeared to be about the same size as Simeon. And I swallowed my pride and asked her if I could have a diaper. Because this is my first baby and I'm still getting the hang of it. I didn't really say that but that's the tone of voice I was going for. She graciously gives me one and we share a laugh about what a moron I am and then I slip into Gymboree and change my poor child's diaper on the floor in the back of the store. And then I fed him a grilled cheese from Sonic for dinner. And then I kept him up way past his bedtime.

And this morning, the sun still came up and Simeon still greeted me with a huge smile. He definitely does not have a mom that has it all together. But he doesn't seem to mind.

But he has requested that I remember diapers from now on.

Monday, March 28, 2011

iCant Believe iDid That

Simeon and I just got back from a quick trip to Memphis for my cousin Matt's wedding. He married a beautiful girl named Cecily and I was so happy I got to be there. Simmy did great on his first flight (well, he did fly to Oregan when he was about the size of a lemon but I doubt he remembers.) My parents and brother went as well so it was nice to be able to pass him around on the plane. He was his charming self for the majority of the trip. There was one moment on the flight back when he was about to lose it but I asked him if he really wanted to be "that" baby. He said no and went to sleep. True story.

My day started off great today. I was wiped out from the weekend and Asher and Jude slept until 7 and then asked me if they could turn on Sprout. Duh, winning. So I slept a little longer and then got up, made coffee, drank coffee, and then Simeon woke up. He was wiped out too! I had big plans for accomplishing a lot today. We were about to leave to run some errands but Simeon was acting sleepy so I decided to let him have his nap since his schedule had been non-existent the past few days. So the boys went outside to play and I worked on a Scentsy order.

A few minutes later, Asher comes in with a scraped knee and then Jude trips on the back stoop walking inside. So two little boys in URGENT need of medical care (that is, Neosporin and a Toy Story bandaid.) So I take them to the bathroom, apparently with my phone in my hand, and I set it down on a towel that is on the little potty, that is on the counter (why it is there I know not) and proceed to administer first aid to the wounded. I walked out to get a washcloth and I hear this crash.

Asher knocked the little potty off. It fell to the ground and the towel that was on it fell into the toilet. I picked up the towel and spotted something black and glowing in the bowl. Oh yes. My IPHONE!!! I didn't even realize I brought it with me into the bathroom.

A sign of holding it a little to often? Perhaps.

I snatched it out of the mercifully pre-flushed toilet and promptly redirected my first-aid efforts. I poured rice in a bowl and buried the phone. Then I googled "dropped iphone in toilet." (Meanwhile, in the bathroom, 2 confused boys sit waiting for their bandaids. I got them down and told them I would bandage them later.)

I emailed Kris and delivered the news. He, of course, was gracious and loving and told me he would check it out when he got home. It is currently disassembled and drying out. We will turn it on tomorrow and hope for the best. Apple will give us a refurbished one but I'm really hoping this one will be revived because the only pictures I've taken in the last few months are on there. And music I've downloaded and apps I've bought. And basically the entire contents of my brain. We'll find out in the morning if Kris' noble efforts will pay off.

So the take away from all this, kids: back up your phone, put your phone down before dealing with your children, especially if dealing with your children will require a trip to the bathroom, and (for the single ladies out there) marry a man that happily tries to help you rectify really frustrating, potentially expensive mistakes without making you feel badly about it. I have given Kris mulitple opportunities to grow in this particular area and I am pleased to tell you that he handles these situations quite well.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Life is Messy

I just can't make myself put a bib on my baby. I know I should. I know it would make him look considerably less pitiful not to have dried sweet potato on his collar and yogurt on the front of his shirt, yet I never use them. Occasionally I would stick one on Asher. And then I got lazy. Which caused me to set an intention of using one with Jude. But I didn't. Which led to me vowing I would use one with Simeon. But I don't. One step too many? Ambivalence toward stains? Bucking the trend? IF I could answer these questions, it would probably unlock the answers to many more.

We went to a friend's high school soccer game tonight. Since Asher plays on a real, live soccer team now, we thought it would be fun for him to watch some big boys play. And it was. For about 2 minutes. But what was infinitely more fun was running up and down the bleachers. Asher and Jude thoroughly enjoyed climbing them, swinging from them, and stomping on them. Jude was hanging like a monkey from the handrail at one point and a lady sitting next to it commented on what a big boy he was to do that and asked how old he was. "I two and you spell my name J-U-D-E." The lady was impressed. So was I. But I smiled confidently as if I knew he could do that and had in fact taught him that right after we parsed a few Latin verbs this morning.

Potty training is going well. A few accidents here and there but he has embraced this new phase of life and makes progress each day. What seems to help is a little prune/apple juice cocktail in the morning, limiting liquid intake after dinner, and marshmallows. Lots of marshmallows. Will pee for marshmallows. He seems to have a little timing issue as many accidents happen thisclose to the toilet, but we're heading the right direction. I'm sure these would be avoided more easily if I didn't have an 8 month old and a 4 year old that only require my immediate attention during times when nature calls him. Three kids--it's tricky sometimes.

Cheryl was over yesterday and we talked about what a gift Charlie Sheen has given us. As a nation, we needed something to unify us. We can't agree on politics, religion, or border safety, but we all concur Charlie Sheen is cray-cray. So I guess we can lay off him for a while. But when I sent a text message to Cheryl and asked her if I should make more coffee for us and she responded, "Does Charlie Sheen have tiger blood?" I feel safe in saying we have found the redeeming quality of this whole drama.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Potty Like It's 1999

Today is the day. Jude Rives has broken off his relationship with diapers. He has been ready for a while I would say, but I had to wait until I was ready. That probably sounds a little self-centered, but I think my penchant for putting my needs above those of my children is not a big secret. But we go cold turkey with potty-training over here. Once the day comes, no more diapers at all. So it is of utmost importance to make sure all parties involved are ready.

Jude has a big advantage in that he has been watching Asher use the potty for quite a while now. Where Asher was a little overwhelmed and intimidated by the whole prospect, Jude has been asking for some time to use the big potty. I can remember physically restraining Asher on the little potty just so he would use it and realize the earth below him would not open up and swallow him. But Jude gets it and has no problem with the process. In fact, Jude was not interested in the little potty at all.

So while there was an elaborate production involving a potty chair, a doll that wets, a potty chair for the doll that wets, special salty snacks, special juice, and special treats for rewards when Asher was potty-trained, Jude, in true second child fashion, quite that. His production consisted of a little shot of prune juice in his apple juice this morning and a stern warning not to tee-tee in his Thomas underwear.

And so far so good. We had one accident this morning, but many successful trips to the potty involving ALL desirable potty deeds so I am happy. And Jude is happy because he has secured a trip to Coldstone for ice cream with sprinkles when Daddy gets home. Some may call that bribery. I call it speaking his love language.

I'm not popping the champagne just yet, but we are post-nap with still-dry "Thomas unnerwears." But I will check off Day One as a success.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Changing of the (Shin) Guards

I am back, baby. Our house has been fever-free for days now and it feels amazing. See, we were all sick with the flu. Sometimes I leave out important details like that and then my readers are left to fill in the blanks as to what exactly has been going on in our lives. I hate it when I do that. So just to make sure there is no ambiguity, we did, in fact, fall victim to the flu. I hate to even bring it up, but it seems like I should at least mention it.

Soccer starts tomorrow (assuming the rain holds off.) Kris took Asher to buy cleats tonight. We have had shin guards for months now in anticipation of the advent of this glorious day but he needed some shorts and shoes so that he can look legit as he and all the other clueless 3 and 4 year olds run around the field aimlessly. He is on a team with four of his buddies, so it should be a lot of fun! More importantly, I think I'm going to make a fabulous soccer mom. I was made for this role. I will shine.

I went to the gym tonight to lift weights for the the first time in over 3 weeks. Ouch. It looks like this whole "soccer" thing may cut into my Saturday morning Ashtanga yoga so I decided to get a workout in tonight. But my kitchen is still a wreck from dinner and I used all my energy doing squats and step-ups. It'll still be there in the morning. Or it won't be and then I'll be glad I didn't waste time tonight cleaning it.

Simeon James is the proud owner of 4 teeth, 2 of which are his top front and have just broken through. He earned those teeth. We all earned those teeth. So I'm hoping this means he will start wanting more of his bottle than he has been. He currently refuses to drink more than 3-4 ounces at a feeding. This has gone on for a while. He weighs 22 pounds and has enough fat for him and a friend stored in his thighs so I'm not concerned about him wasting away. But still it seems as though a baby his size and age would want more. Thoughts?

The other day, I was changing Simeon's diaper and he was being most uncooperative. I turned him back towards me and firmly told him "no, no, Simeon." Jude was sitting next to me and proceeded to inform his little brother, "That not honor God, cheeky Simmy." Cheeky is Jude's favorite adjective (thank you, Thomas the Train.) So he refers to him as that pretty regularly. I had to laugh because even two year olds have that uncanny ability to deal with the speck in their brother's eye without feeling the need to remove their own log.

So Charlie Sheen? Not only is he an incredibly accurate picture of what the Fool in Proverbs is like, but he is also the source of some of my favorite one-liners now. That darn Adonis DNA--it'll get you everytime.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

No Retreat, No Surrender

Last weekend, the women of our church held the first (of many I hope) retreats in beautiful Wimberley, Texas. But as I think I might have possibly mentioned, we have been a little under the weather around here. So when Jude succumbed to the flu the day before I was supposed to leave, I knew I wouldn't get to attend.

But Kris knew how much I wanted to be able to go. Almost every woman in our church would be there and it was a rare chance to spend some time with them in a fun, relaxed environment. So my mom agreed to come over and help Kris so that I could go on the retreat.

I know what you're thinking...Super Mom! Way to leave your kids when they are sick and weak and really need you. Who does that?

Me, apparently. And I'm actually really glad that I did.

Of course, I struggled with the decision. Even though Kris encouraged me to go and even though my mom graciously offered to come stay and help while I was gone, it went against every inclination I had as a mom.

But I was exhausted. After having the flu, (I did mention that already right? I had the flu. Just making sure you got that) I was exhausted. Like "just brought home a newborn" exhausted. I slept in 2 hour increments while I was running fever and then the kids got sick and Simeon was teething so we were up all night with them. I was drained and this was my big chance to rest up, recover, and come back ready to be a fully present wife and mother.

So I went. I knew the kids would be fine. They adore their Mamaw and their Daddy and the two of them are more than capable of doing what needs to be done. It was a sacrifice on their part for sure. Sick kids are whiny and clingy and sleepless and just all round pitiful. But they were willing and I'm so glad they were.

I left Friday afternoon and came back Sunday afternoon rested and refreshed. It was such a joy to get to know the women in my church better and to spend some time alone. And to sleep. I won't lie--that was probably the best part given my stage of life.

I know this was a rare gift. Usually, life doesn't work out that way. The challenging, tiring portions don't normally come with a break in the middle so you can recharge and gather steam to finish well. The next time we are plagued with illnesses, I can't expect a little getaway. So I'm so thankful for the opportunity this time and especially to my husband and mom for making it possible. There were no guilt trips or desperate phone calls. They didn't make me feel like I was abandoning them. They were genuinely supportive and that in itself was such a gift to me.

As I was there reflecting on this opportunity, it struck me what a picture it all was of the gospel in my life. I saw it all as a physical picture of what God has done for me spiritually. I was brought out from a place of despair and weariness to a place of quiet rest. I didn't deserve it. I didn't even ask for it. It was just provided. I did none of the work but received all of the benefit.

The weekend was wonderful. I love the women in my church. We are a diverse group of ladies that have learned a lot about being the body of Christ to one another. So I'm so grateful I was able to go.

I reentered my life with a rested body, a refreshed spirit, and a renewed gratitude for my family.

So basically I'm saying abandoning my children was the best thing I ever did. Nominate me for Mother of the Year, ok?

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