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.

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