Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Why there was no christmas card this year...

Here is an explanation in pictures of why the Zavala's didn't send out their photo Christmas card this year:







Merry Christmas from the Zavala's.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another Day In the Life...

Random thoughts today - I don't think I can manage a coherent post right now, haha.

1. Here's Hayden:


Hayden is doing what Hayden does - play trains. He plays trains probably 75% of the time. What can I say? It's his passion. Unfortunately, his speech therapists/teachers get to deal with the consequence of that - his continual "Thomas" talk. They are working hard on getting him to talk about things other than Thomas. At home, we get all sorts of other conversation, but there, well...I think if Hayden doesn't know what to say or doesn't understand something he just starts listing all the names of the trains - Thomas, Percy, Gordon, etc.

Everyday I have to write down "news" in his notebook for him to talk about. This helps the teachers prompt him. It's a bit like show and tell, but not always showing something, they just tell something that happened the day before. To help Hayden, I usually try to have a prop to help him talk about it. So I've sent his toy dr. kit, a book, a gingerbread man we made, etc.
But having to do that really makes me think about our day - was there anything news worthy? If not, I better do something! So that's helped us to make crafts, play games, etc, just so he can have some news! HA!

2. This is Corbin and Daddy:



They are reading books - but that's a rarity with Corbin - he doesn't like books!! Crazy. He turns the pages really fast and then runs off. All Corbin likes to do is...

3. Dig out all my dishes:
4. A friend had asked for flying tips/advice and suggested it should be a blog post, haha. We are NOT flying anywhere this Christmas, and I am very happy about that. What can I say about flying? I shudder at the thought. That sounds horrible, but this age + 2 kids and me flying alone wasn't pleasant. Here were some of my mistakes/problems and things I've learned:

  • I flew when Hayden was 10 months old. Right before the plane was boarding he had an insane diaper. When I went to the bathroom to change him and laid him down, the poop ran all they way down his back and into his hair. Yuck! Moral of the story: Have an extra set of clothes and lots of wipes.

  • When Hayden was 2 and Corbin 1, I flew by myself with them both. I thought I was smart by downloading a kid's movie on my iPod for Hayden. What was not smart was not checking to see whether my headphones were working - which they weren't. Hayden was only mildly impressed with soundless Happy Feet. Moral of the story: Check that all pieces of your equipment are in working order! Don't rely on, "it should be fine".
  • Southwest no longer does family boarding first - it's in between groups A and B. So DO check in online early, even if you still have to get a boarding pass for a little one flying in your lap. Then you can just board in A with everyone else. There really is NO time between A and B, so you aren't getting any "extra time" by boarding then.
  • You can ask to have your husband/family walk down with you to the gate. I have done this several times when flying alone with kids. Just ask at the ticket counter and they are happy to give your spouse/family passes to get through security.
  • Take advantage of "check at the gate". It makes like so much easier to bring a stroller for those long airport waits, and you can easily check it at the gate.
  • Snacks. I say it again. Snacks. Bring lots of snacks. Individually wrapped. And ones they really like - not the healthy ones you wish they liked. Busy mouths = quiet mouths.
  • Leave your self-consciousness at home. Your kids WILL do something embarassing or noisy, or kid-like - cause, well, they are kids! Who cares what people think? This day is about survival, not pleasing others.
  • When Hayden was 5 months old, I had the luxery of nursing him on the plane. This kept him very happy and quiet. It also lulled him to sleep and he slept most of the flight. For little babies, this is definitely the way to go. Whip it out if you got it!
  • I've flown at all different times, and it's really hit or miss on how they do. I've taken REALLY early flights and had them sleep, and I've also had them NOT sleep. Same with late nights or naptime flights. One thing I have found is morning is better. They are in a better mood in the morning and there is less fussiness. The closer it gets to naptime the worse it is.
  • Be sure to check the list of what you can and can't get through security. They have rules you should be familar with concerning glass, food/drink, etc. You don't want to take the trouble to pack something you will have to throw away!! Plus you'll be missing something you probably needed.
Okay that's it for now. My mind shuts down at the thought of flying with them again.

5. We've been potty training. Ugh. Do I need to say anymore? I may write a whole post just on this experience - if I ever make it through.

6. Yesterday, was another steller example of why I hate potty training and other craziness. I had just taken a shower and gotten ready to go meet a friend, when the phone rings. Talking only for 1 minute - just enough to confirm the time we were meeting, Corbin decides to spill my drink I had absent-mindedly left on the table, next to my dinner, a salad. While I'm cleaning up that mess - which was a HUGE mess, the table is actually a trunk, so my juice leaked through the top and into my stacks of books! - Hayden comes up and says the dreaded words "Poo poo".

Yeah, he's in underwear. Ok, fine. Let's go clean up. I'm cleaning him up when I realize that his socks are wet, which means there's more than poo poo, there's pee pee somewhere too. Hmmm...please don't let it be on the carpet. It's not, thank goodness. A nice puddle on the tile awaiting me to clean up. Hayden is "finishing" on the potty, so while he's in there I go clean and mop the pee spill.

Then I see Hayden walking out and saying "Uh oh". Uh oh? Oh no. Little poop bombs are falling out as he walks towards me. ACK! What are you doing?? Go back to the potty. Luckily those fell on the tile too.

As I'm tackling that disaster, Corbin decides to take every piece of lettuce, carrot, whatever, out of my salad and put them ON the table. There goes my dinner.

I finally get all that cleaned up and then Corbin comes running to me - I think, to give me a hug. No, he takes his booger covered nose, digs it into my pants and wipes not one, not two, but THREE times. And so he displaced the enormous boogers onto my pants...

When Mark got home, I warned him as I walked out the door:

"Watch out for the poop bombs, I may not have gotten them all."

Friday, December 11, 2009

Imperfect Perfection

Every year, I have grand plans for Christmas. Or Christmas decor at least. I imagine I'll have a "theme" or I'll pick certain colors. I imagine I'll do an advent wreath or calendar. I'll have beautifully wrapped, homemade gifts. There will be decorated cookies and delicious smells coming from the kitchen. We'll read about Jesus birth and do family devotionals!

Then I wake up and realize it's December 10th and Christmas is a mere 14 days away. I also remember I have a three year old and a one year old. A husband who just started a new job. And we all have colds. Hmmm...

This Thursday night starts like any other one - with two tired parents. Two sick babies and one sick Mommy, make for a long day. But by evening, we look like we're all on the mend. This Thursday is different from other Thursdays because it's that time of year and the Zavala's don't have their tree up yet, the idea of still not having it up by the second weekend in December seems just, well wrong. It also doesn't fall into my plan of perfection.

Yet, somehow the task of digging out bins and boxes from the garage, sorting through tree limbs, and testing lights don't bring on that warm and fuzzy feeling. I know, what a scrooge right! :P


But it's not that easy. First, we must decide where the tree is going. We've amassed considerable more furniture and toys than previous years. We settle on moving the kids toy shelves/bins and putting the tree in it's usual spot - front and center in our living room. Then we argue - er I mean discuss - about where to relocate the kids stuff.

To get us all in the mood, I throw on How the Grinch Stole Christmas - the classic version of course! This is the first year Hayden has really been old enough to "get" Christmas in any kind of way. And it's the first year he's helped put up the tree. He actually was a very good helper, handing Daddy the branches - with some slight correction of course "No Hayden, not that pile, the other pile". I mean he got to help Daddy AND stand on a "ladder" - what could be better, right?


Corbin was "helping" too. By staying off the ladders and enthralled with the Grinch!



Of course, just those tasks alone (mixed in with the craziness of two little ones, insert lots of "No no"s and pulling kids off ladders and away from electrical sockets) took us most of the night. It was already 8pm before we even started pulling out the lights! And, as usual, most of the light strands weren't working! What is it with lights these days, they don't last more than one season for some reason (hehe that rhymed, ok I digress). Only one strand was even "sort of" working. But Hayden loved it so much he put it on the tree anyway.

And here is our tree (for now anyway), with one defunct light strand and no ornaments. And Hayden thinks it's the best tree in the world! His words were: "It's perfect."


Monday, December 7, 2009

What's Next?


That's been my question lately:

What's next?

We've had a whirlwind of craziness in this house. It seems like every week holds some new crisis to move through. Thankfully, I've been doing the Lord's Table course over this time, and it's been the most life-changing study I've ever done.

The study is for people who are struggling with weight or food issues, but the heart of the study is a renewing of your connection with Christ. It doesn't focus on food, counting anything, or the usual diet nonsense. Instead, it takes you back to where your head and heart should be - with Christ. The truth is that if you are really focused on Christ, it's impossible to be obsessed with anything else. And through deep relationship with Him, you can be freed of sin - food worship.

Food worship. It's a revolutionary idea. Food sin. Ouch. But the more I examined myself, the more I could see this was true. My life has either been obsessed over food or the restriction of it. Counting carbs, calories, fat grams. Thinking about what I would eat for lunch or dinner. Indulging cravings. Seeking pleasure, stress-relief, and emotional response from food.

But the fulfillment of my needs and desires is NOT found in food or any other "outlet" or I wouldn't keep coming back for more.

So here I am, going through this course, and we're hit with crisis after crisis. Hayden is hospitalized, my bio Dad dies, and the most recent findings, masses on my liver. Scary. Yet, through all of this, I was constantly reminded to come back to Him. No, my first reaction was not to pull out my bible and start singing praises like Paul. It was self pity. Yuck. And I'd stew in that pity for a few hours or days, not wanting to go to Him - because I knew He would give me peace. Isn't that nuts? Ha! I didn't want peace. I wanted my sadness, my bitterness. Thankfully, my heart knew that eventually I would have to go to Him. And I did. And He did give me peace.

I was given peace and strength for another hour, another day, and soon the crisis was over and I was ready for a new day.

I can't control what happens in this life, but I can control how I react to it. Will I react with bitterness and self-pity? Or will I go to His feet and accept His peace?

P.S. For those that aren't addicted to Facebook and haven't read the status updates, the masses were benign.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Will It Be A Normal Week?

As of right now, no one is sick or in the hospital, there are no more unexpected phones calls of untimely deaths, and this week has a shot of being normal.

I crave normal.

I'm tired of eating out and serving convenience food. I'm happy to have time this evening to make my menu plan for the week and head out to the store to fill our house with healthy food.

I'm hopeful that Monday will bring my normal routine of laundry and cleanup after a long weekend.

I'm longing to spend Tuesday evening spilling my innermost struggles with a friend over coffee.

I'm excited to enjoy the comfort of my Wednesday night community group.

I will enjoy the relaxing Thursday evening with my hubby after the kids are in bed.

I'm wishing to spend a fun Friday with my kids doing something out of the ordinary and special.

So I'm wishing and hoping to have just a normal week - no excitement, no troubles, just a simple, ordinary week at home.

What about you?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Saying Goodbye


I have his eyes.

I have his hands.

I have his freckles.

Biologically, it is unmistakable - I was his daughter.

And yet, he hasn't been my father for at least 20 years.

The why's and how's of who's to blame are a mute point now.

I remember him with little girl memories.

I remember loving him.

I remember missing him.

But I haven't been a little girl for a long, long, time.

So instead of the feeling, I have a memory of a feeling.

And that makes me sad.

I'm sad that we could never fix this chasm between absent father and abandoned daughter.

I'm sad that I didn't try harder.

I'm sad that you didn't either.

So this is goodbye from your little daughter.

I loved you daddy.



Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Heaven Stands...

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn’t there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That you would take my pain away
You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crooked lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking, heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave your hands

When you walked upon the earth
You healed the broken, lost and hurt
I know you hate to see me cry
One day you will set all things right
Yeah, one day you will set all things right

When my world is shaking, heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave your hands

Your hands that shaped the world
Are holding me
They hold me still

(JJ Heller: Your Hands)




My world was indeed shaking this weekend when Hayden was hospitalized for his asthma attack. I don't think I'm yet recovered from it. I smile and nod. I say, he's doing much better now. But part of me wants to curl up in a ball and sob. Just to release all the stress of it.

I had to be stronger than I've ever been. There was no time for crying. There was no room for pity. I was fighting. Fighting for the health of Hayden. I put on my game face and just "did it". I restrained him for breathing treatments, vital signs, shots, whatever needed to be done I did it. And when he begged for them to stop and cried out "No hurta me", I didn't break down and cry - I said (in my best firm Momma voice) "Hayden, you have to do it. If you fight it's going to be worse. It's ok baby".

I endured it. I came through it. A little stronger, a little weaker.

And when we came home from the hospital on Sunday night, I sucked it up and went back into Momma mode. 10 hours of sleep in 4 days + stress + intense physical restraining = exhausted. But someone's gotta be Momma on Monday.

And where did that "strength" come from? I think it came from Him. Somehow, despite the constant beeping of the STUPID pulse alarm that kept coming off, and the 24/7 screaming and crying of Hayden, and the exhaustion, and and and...despite all THAT, I felt this peace. And I felt a confidence, that I could endure it, even though it felt impossible.

And for that, I'm thankful.

Hayden is back home now after his 2 day stay, and doing much better. You'd never know he'd just spent his birthday in the hospital.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

How to Survive the Long Lonely Night

In every marriage, there will probably come a season where you will have to spend more time apart than you'd prefer. Maybe he's working nights, long hours, traveling, whatever the reason - it's no secret that it can wear on you and cause stress.

That's us right now. Mark's working at a new job and thus, has to put in the hours to learn the new products and get up to speed. In previous years, I've never handled this season well. This time, I've taken a new approach:

1. Set Your Expectations

My previous failures all had this in common - I'd have some expectation of when Mark should arrive home, and then when he missed the mark I'd flip out and a tidal wave of emotions ranging from disappointment to rage would appear.

Now, I set the expectation that the kids and I will be eating dinner alone. I will be putting the kids to bed by myself. I will be changing all the diapers, wiping the noses, reading the stories, and tucking them in. When I set myself up with that expectation, then I have nothing to be disappointed in. In fact, if Mark should make it home early - I'm pleasantly surprised! What a change from before.

For instance, 2 scenarios:

Scenario 1: I expect Mark to get home for dinner by 6:30. I prepare dinner and wait, fuming. I end up burning part of it because I'm caught up in my own grumbling. Kids and I eat cold, partial burnt dinner. Mark arrives home at 7:30. I sulk about his lateness, nag him to come home earlier and go to my room to read.

Scenario 2: I make dinner for the kids and I. We eat a pleasant dinner and clean up. We get ready for bed. Mark walks in right before I have to change diapers. I'm totally surprised he's home before kids are down. I hand diaper duties over to Daddy and get to relax while he talks about his day and puts kiddos to bed. We then enjoy a movie together.

Hmmm...which sounds better? And what was the difference? Only my attitude.

2. Plan your evening alone, but welcome a "guest"

I don't know when Mark will arrive home. It might be a late night and I may have 2 or 3 extra hours to myself after the kids go to bed. Then again, he might walk in the door early. I have learned to keep busy when I'm alone. And in all honesty, I enjoy my alone time - because I don't get much of it in the first place. What a perfect time to read a good book, watch a chick flick Mark doesn't want to see, or do my quiet time. I can work on a craft project, or just veg on the internet doing useless facebook status updates! Taking care of two children and a husband doesn't often afford "me time", so why not take advantage of it?

That being said, I may not have 2 or 3 hours to myself and I need to be ready to "switch gears" if Mark should come home. I enjoy spending time with Mark, and during this season when it's unpredictable when I'll have time with him, I don't want to waste a night by insisting - "I'm reading". I always try to have a movie ready or take a break from my "activities" to just hang out and talk. And sometimes we part our ways - he plays games, I finish my movie - but other times we do something together.

3. Get plenty of rest

This is so important. Taking care of two children and a house ALL day and evening alone IS tiring. This is a season where it's OK to take a nap, go to bed early, or take breaks during the day to relax. We are not machines and our minds and bodies do need to replenish. Going to bed at a reasonable time, and learning not to overdo it during the day has helped me push through what ends up being a really long week. This is not the time for me to do large scale projects or cleaning. In the past, I've worn myself out during the day, which turned me into a grumpy beast the next day for kids and husband.

4. Don't nag

This was a big one for me, and still is. I mean, I'm a woman, and I've got an opinion. In fact, I don't think it's just an opinion - it is THE right thing to do. Look here hubby, if you would just do X, then this wouldn't be a problem. Or if you wouldn't do Y then things would be sooooo much better. Why can't you just do....

Yeah. It's annoying just typing it and it's annoying to him.

And it doesn't make anything better.

It just makes everyone miserable.

Him - cause your nagging him and no one likes to be nagged.

You - cause your nagging is creating negative feelings in you that will affect your attitude, perspective, and behavior.

Just don't nag.

So what do you do instead?

4. Feast in Him

So how do you find that extra strength?

How do you get through another hour? 5 minutes?

How do you not scream in frustrations?

How do you not run screaming out the door when he comes home?

How do you keep from going to that negative, complaining, whining place?

How do you stop from setting all your needs and expectations on your husband?

Each day I have to wake up and make a choice. I can live for me - with my needs, wants, desires, frustrations, complaints, etc. Or...

I can live for Him. I can focus my heart on Him first. I can spend precious minutes (and I mean minutes...we're moms here not nuns) feasting on His Word and spending intimate time at His feet. I can follow hard after Him. Applying His truths to my life, being a servant to my family - not for their sakes, but for Him. How much more noble does life become if we are serving Christ, not man? It's easier to change that diaper, wipe up that spilled milk, and give loving (not exasperated) discipline if I'm doing it all in the heart of serving Christ. Now there's a boss!!!

But I don't always choose Him, because it is a daily choice and I'm a forgetful woman. Some days I wake up and choose Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! And those are the days I yell at my kids, nag my husband and complain ALLLLLLL day (that was probably yesterday or the day before).

So to remind me, I posted the fruits of the spirit in my kitchen:

Love
Joy
Peace
Long suffering (Patience)
Kindness
Goodness
Faithfulness
Gentleness
Self-control

I read these and then I am reminded - am I seeing these things in myself today? And if not - ewww, I better run back to His feet and reconnect. Because when I see these things in my day, I know it's a day lived for Him.

So that's it. That's how I cope. Nights are long and lonely without my hubby, but it's only for a season. I could choose to suffer through this time, but I choose peace and contentment.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bedroom Cleanout of '09: Book Edition

So, maybe I'm the only one - but my bedroom is like the graveyard of unwanted/unplaced items in our house.

Company coming over? - throw the extra stuff in our room.
Suitcases? - Scoot them under the bed
Clothing that doesn't fit? - Make a thousand different size/season piles around the room
Kid's toys? - Randomly left in a trail from the door to the bathroom
Dirty clothes? Start out in the hamper, then begin flooding into the room
Duvet cover? - On the floor because the darn thing kept getting twisted around
Blankets? - On the floor because it goes from 50 degrees to NINETY in 24 hours
Pillows? - My body pillow from PREGNANCY is still hanging around the bed
Water bottles/cups? - Apparently I must think I'm really thirsty

And then there are the magazines and books...

Let's just say, I'm a reader. And now let's also say, I'm the mother of two children under 3. Hmmm... My reading time these days is limited, but my desire is HUGE!! There exists an insurmountable pile of books around my bed. Books that I have started reading, am reading, or want to read.

I pulled all of these books out tonight and started categorizing them...parenting, spiritual, homemaking, nutrition, etc. And then I got a grand idea. I still LOVE being able to read multiple books at once - I get easily bored with a subject. But having mountains of books drowning me in my bedroom is not working. So I chose one book from each of the categories I had stacked around me. This narrowed down my book pile to 6 books (from about 40). Then I put the rest of the books in my huge book trunk (what? you don't have a book trunk? you need one!) and made a new rule for myself. I can pull a new book out when I finish one from that category. No more insane book piles. And when I finish, I can either keep the book for reference/re-read if it's good, or sell it, give away, whatever. But I have to make a choice.

I might even start posting my finished books up here in case anyone wants to add to their reading list. I'm all for book borrowing, or even keeping if it's not one I want to keep.

The latest book finished was The Disappearance of God. Not typically a book I would pick out, but it was left here by my Mom when she visited. If anyone wants it, it's yours.

So that's one bedroom task down...only a million more to go.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween

Okay, so Halloween is tomorrow, but I will not be posting on a Saturday - so Happy Halloween!!!!

This year Mark and I are enjoying Halloween alone without the kiddos. We're heading to San Antonio to watch the Notre Dame game and enjoying all the friends and festivities that go along with that!

Hubby has been working extra hard this week at his new job and I have been feeling lonely without him here.

But last night he walked in the door with this:



It's a Halloween bouquet. Isn't it awesome?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Starting Fresh

It's fitting that it's raining today, since today is the first day of our "new life". The rain is washing away the stress of the last three months and starting us fresh.

I now have the house to myself again. Just me and my boys. Each day during the week is now under my control and is ready to be structured! We've lived in limbo for awhile, just waiting for the next interview or phone call. Trying to stay quiet so Daddy can do a phone interview or work on his resume.

There are definite skills the boys need to work on, so today I'm working on a plan for them.

Heart training: Most behavioral issues boil down to a heart issue, so we've identified the heart issue around the behaviors and are working from that direction.

With Hayden we've identified obedience, defiance, anger, and self-control has his areas of weakness. Obedience, such as coming when called, and listening to directions (like don't run into the street!). Defiance, such as talking back to us (Noooo Mama). Anger, such as hitting or throwing tantrums when angry. And self-control, such as being able to sit still for short periods of time. We are currently working on all of these.

With Corbin, we've begun working on self-control and obedience. Self control, such as sitting still for diaper changes and not fighting, as well as listening when we say "No". Obedience, such as learning to come to us when asked.

Skills training: Obviously, only a small part of my job as a mother is discipline! I mostly should be training them the skills they will need in the future - or even now.

Most of our work with Hayden is on communication and speech development. All of our "conversations" and day are built around teaching him new vocabulary. Today we worked on shapes and colors, as well as weather words (since it's raining). But I have other goals for him as well. We're continuing potty training which we've not been able to concentrate on much yet. As well as independent skills like dressing himself.

With Corbin, we are working on speech and independent play. We are starting our limited "alone" play this week in hopes to reduce a bit of his need for constant holding and interaction. We also are working on sign language and verbal communication. This week all of his toys have been rotated to farm animals, I'm hoping that he will pick up some words or animal sounds.

God Training: All of the other goals are "good", but I think the most important training I'll do is to show them about God and His love!!

With Hayden, we are going through Read Aloud/The Tell-Me Stories. We have Volume 1 as well as the Jesus Parables. Hayden is loving them! These books have wonderful full page pictures with simple, concise stories that are easy to understand, yet don't lose the meaning of the story. My frustration with most bible story books are that they have been either too wordy or they "dumb down" the story SO much that it doesn't even have the message left in it!!!

We are also teaching Hayden the three basic truths from the church curriculum. God made me, God loves me, and Jesus wants to be my friend forever. At this point, if you ask Hayden "Who made you?" he will answer "God!".

Now that Corbin is learning signs, I want to start teaching him simple bible songs that he can do the hand motions with. He really enjoys that. He's still a bit young for the bible stories. Both my kids have never been able to sit still for a story! Hayden just now (at almost three) is interested in listening to stories. Most of my story/book reading with Corbin is him flipping the pages until he get's to the end and running off!

And that's it! I just pick a few needed goals for each child and work hard on those. Yes, there are lots of other things I'd love them to learn or do, but you can only do so much at a time!!

For my own goals, I've set mostly home related ones. I want to be consistent in a daily quiet time - I don't function well without it! As for the home, I am devoting afternoons to general cleaning and house-pickup in order to get ready for Mark's arrival. The mornings will be for activities with the kids and errands. And that's it. With two little ones, I can't have lofty goals at this season in my life. HA!

Cold Rainy Days

Cold, rainy days are for...

  • Doing laundry - is there anything better than nice warm clothes from the dryer?
  • Enjoying a homemade cappuccino - who wants to go out in the rain for one?
  • Watching Dinosaur Train! - or so says Hayden.
  • Catching up on some reading.
  • Soup
  • Cozy socks
  • Naps!
  • Scented candles
  • Relaxing at home
What do you enjoy on cold raining days?




Saturday, October 24, 2009

Reader Recommendations!!

So Hayden is finally getting to an age where he will sit and listen to me read stories (of course lots of pictures is still necessary).

As you probably know there are TONS of children's books out there - and a lot of them are just horrible!! They throw in a few pictures and some simple words and call it a children's book.

I'm looking for some recommendations for good children's books!!

Please leave me a comment with a few of your favorites, I'd love to hear your ideas.

Oh and keep in mind that I have 2 boys, so they might not be as interested in fairies or princesses - although Hayden does love Cinderella, but I think it's the mice he likes, HA!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Zavalas Go Camping! (Part 1)


The Zavala family enjoyed an outing to Bastrop State Park in the middle of the week!


While Hayden snoozed in the car, Corbin assisted Daddy in the campsite setup.

Then he got in a little exercise by doing laps around the tent.


Rawr! Time to chase mommy.


Pine needles are yummy.


Come back later for more camping photos!!
We enjoyed our mid-week excursion.
Sadly, (or happily) it will be our last for awhile, because Hubby got a new job!
Yay!
Isn't he awesome?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Enough

Very often, I struggle. I struggle with feelings of desire, envy, wanting.

If I could only have this...

If only this was more or better or bigger...

We have a very nice 3 bedroom home that we've called our own for over 8 years now. In all honesty, I wish it was more.

Even after the kitchen remodel of '09 (which is still going on by the way), our space is still so small. It actually made our meager dining room EVEN smaller. We've got one family room, you might call the living room, but sometimes looks like the playroom.

Hayden has a room, we have a room, and Corbin - well he's living in the "man cave" and sharing space with a pool table and poker chips. Poor baby gets kicked out when company comes over and then we turn that space into a "bed" with our air mattress.

I often find myself thinking...

If we had a bigger house, then I could invite people over more. I could entertain. I could have children's ministry meetings here. We could even do fun events.

But here's the truth that's been recently revealed to me:

God has given me everything I have. What am I doing with what I have?

Why would He give me a bigger house if I'm not even using the one I have right now? If I can't be a good caretaker of what I currently have, why would I ever deserve greater responsibility?

I should be using up every opportunity to share what I've been given with others.

And that's how I am living now.

No, my space is not ideal for hosting 9 children's ministry team members for a lunch and get together, but God gave me this house, and put me in this ministry and I will use what I have for His purposes.

I will never again pass an opportunity for hospitality because of what I don't have.

What I do have is enough.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What's for lunch?


I have a hunch


That Hayden and Corbin....



Really, really love yogurt.

Monday, October 12, 2009

One of those days

Today was just one of those days. Mark was gone half the day (or more than half) interviewing and Hayden deciding napping was for sissies.

So we played lots of trains.

And watched Veggie Tales.

And made yummy butternut squash soup.

And I crocheted a block for a blanket I'm working on.

And I read old posts from one of my favorite blogs to make me feel more inspired to be a mommy.

And then Hayden decided to eat Styrofoam - fortunately he thought it was "yucky" and spit it out...phew.

And then my brand new blender stopped working because I dared to blend cooked, softened squash in it.

But good news...tonight Heroes is on. Which means hubby and I will cuddle on the couch watching our favorite show, while Hayden indulges in Thomas the Train on the laptop.

There may even be popcorn involved...only because Hayden has been asking for it...all...day...long.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Margo Moooooo

Say hello to Margo Moo - Hayden's constant companion for at least the next week or so. It's kind of cute that they can make a REALLY LOUD nebulizer look like a cow, but it's still really stinkin loud.

Actually, this is Margo Moo #2. Margo Moo #1 started making really strange noises about a year into use, so I replaced her. Ouch - sorry Margo #1.

Hayden is getting to be such a big boy, that he holds his own mask and everything.

Well...he'll hold it for awhile. Then he demands that "Momma do it". That's usually for the night or morning treatments which take FOREVER - or in reality 30-40 minutes, which seems like forever to a 2 year old.

Today was the first day we all weren't sick with the flu, so we treated ourselves to a lunch at Red Lobster. After we got the bill, I remember why we don't eat at Red Lobster much. I also don't think it's a wise idea to get "All you can eat" shrimp when you have two small children with you. There really just isn't time to eat "all you can eat". Once the fries are gone, it's really time TO GO.

And for those keeping tabs on my "fitness", no I did not get the all you can eat shrimp. But it sure looked good.

I got the worlds smallest serving of pasta with shrimp, and lobster in a white sauce. I loved all 3 shrimps and 2 lobster pieces. And the kids really liked my pasta. Sheesh. Then they tried to charge me 4 extra dollars for that...and I said - I don't think so, recalculate that check dude. If I wanted a 15 dollar meal, I'd have gotten the "all you can eat" shrimp.

Now my babies are down for the night (oh thank you Lord) and I have massive cleaning to do and hopefully a run if hubby comes home early enough. Nothing like a week of sickness to get your house really crazy. I'm almost caught up with the dishes, and would be so happy if I could muster enough energy to get all the goldfish, crackers, and cheerios off the floor.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Night


It's time to celebrate, because Corbin has finally started walking. He's walking from one piece of furniture to another and averaging about 8 steps, so I'm gonna call that walking. 15 months and now he walks.

In other news the whole family is down with what may be the flu. But the flu pales in comparison to last weeks food poisoning - I guess it's all relative.

Anyone who has kids knows about the long nights during sick periods. That's our reality right now. Hayden waking up every 5 minutes (no I'm not exaggerating) and exclaiming "Boogers! Boogers! Aaaaah". To which I softly soothe, "I know, I'm sorry, boogers".

The baby unable to sleep because his nose is stuffy and his primary soothing method is unusable - sucking his fingers to fall asleep. Oh the travesty!

And through all this, all I can do is pray. Pray that I have the strength and patience to get through the night. Setting myself with the expectation that sleep (at least for myself) is probably not going to happen.

And then suddenly, I find myself sleeping next to Hayden after he's finally recovered from the horror of "boogers" and waking up to sneak back to bed. I've made it through another night, and there just might be a few hours of sleep waiting for me.

Even now I hear "Momma, momma" from Hayden's room, time to go soothe.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Death of an iPod

Back in the olden days when I was a wee lad in Tijuana (say it Tee-a-juh-WANNA, it sounds better),

er wait, I mean back when I was in college there was this new way of listening to music - MP3s....ooooooh aaaaah

(and before you start lecturing me on iTunes format is not MP3, I know that...just wait for the story jeez).

We copied and downloaded music free with reckless abandon - THIEVES - at the time, I never really thought of it, hehe. I don't think anyone did - it was the 90s for goodness sakes, we were all just glad we had computers at that point.

And MP3 players at that time were like, unheard of or really expensive, which for a college student means - UNHEARD OF. So we walked around with CD players (which I sometimes referred to as a walkman, dang I'm old). And how pysched I was that I could make a CD of any songs I wanted - FOR FREE. Then again, some CD players wouldn't even play them, which sucked...but I digress, for the 100th time.

So years fly by and poof I'm a grown up or something. And then I go back to church. And God said I needed to get rid of my "stealing" habits...otherwise known as enjoying copious amounts of really good music. And I repent of my ways and turn to iTunes (now referred to as THE DEVIL).

And as I paid my 99 cents to THE DEVIL, I felt purged of this dreadful dark secret. I spent over the last 5 years or so racking up hundreds (maybe a thousand ACK I hate to think of that) of dollars in music on THE DEVIL.

Then THE DEVIL went and had a baby and named it iPod. iPod or THE SPAWN OF THE DEVIL made THE DEVIL mobile!!! So of course I had to get one. I got a nice video version of THE SPAWN OF THE DEVIL and was quite pleased with myself.

It kind of then sat in a drawer for awhile so I could have two kids, and there's really not a lot of iPodding to be done when you're chasing after two kids. So maybe it's my fault because I ignored it and no one puts THE SPAWN OF THE DEVIL in the corner. When I finally break it out, so I can shamelessly make my 2 year old sit still on the airplaine by watching Happy Feet a thousand times, what do I see - AN UGLY DARK PIXEL DEATH ACROSS THE SCREEN.

Oh you've got to be kidding me!! I've barely used this thing, rarely drop kicked it down the stairs - there is no way this can be happening. But I suck it up and use it anyway, cause it's only a few pixels right? There are still hundreds (thousands?) left to go around. And plus, it still plays my darling iTunes - WHICH WILL PLAY NO WHERE ELSE RIGHT NOW BECAUSE APPLE IS TRYING TO RUIN MY LIFE.

And then it happened, the finally straw breaking moment - I wanted to change up my running playlist and so I plug THE SPAWN OF THE DEVIL into my computer so THE DEVIL can add a few playlists to it, and nothing. No worky. I went through the Apple steps of troubleshooting, there final piece of wisdom - it must be hardware. Well no &#$# sherlock.

I bought (or should I say bit) into the Apple world and have gotten a bitter taste. Now my thousands of dollars in music is hijacked on my computer. Oh I can make CDs - if I want to haul around my old CD player like I did in the 90s.

But, being the crafty gal I know I am, I BEAT YOU DEVIL. Cause guess what, I've been cheating on you with Rio. Who's Rio? My cheapie MP3 player I bought 7 years ago before I got you SPAWN OF THE DEVIL. So I burned my CD (but oh noes can't burn an mp3 cd of iTunes bought stuff) and then my Rio software converted it for me. THANKS FOR NOTHING. And although it may have taken me an HOUR of messing with you, then giving up, burning cds, and dusting off Rio - I still got to do my run - AT 11:00PM!!

So I'm breaking up with you SPAWN OF THE DEVIL. I will not be sucked into wasting hundreds of more dollars to fix or replace you. SO THERE!

P.S. Anyone know where i can find a good deal on an iPod?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Week Wrap Up

First off, Fall Fitness has officially launched! We have 7 bloggers signed up so far and I'm excited to hear everyone's stories! Go check it out!! It's never too late to join the community and start blogging - just leave a comment over there and I'll get you your invite.

Now back to my regular blogging. I'm trying to figure out how "things should work around here" with Mark being at home. We've gone the past two months on survival mode, but now I think it's time to get back to our structured days. To keep Mark's sanity (and my own), we've instituted a new schedule for both of us.

The design of our house is not exactly conducive to private or quiet times. This becomes most apparent when Mark needs to work on his resume, fill out applications, or reply to emails. Our "office" is a loft above the family room, and the family room is, well, the family room - the noisiest environment you can imagine. Throw in the fact that Hayden takes about 1-2 naps a week, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Our new plan is that Mark can throw on his headphones and work on whatever during the day, as long as he's completely available between 6-10pm for the family. This gives me back my "reign" of the house, and keeps him from getting constantly interrupted and frustrated. That's our plan anyway, we'll see how it goes.

I need to enforce a little more self-discipline when in comes to my bed time so I can have more energy during the day. I have definitely noticed an improvement now that I'm going to bed at 10:30pm. Unfortunately, I've been scooting that time back a little farther each night and I can feel it. Back to 10:30 bedtime for me!! I really do feel much better sleeping from 10:30-6:30. I just don't like admitting it to myself, I prefer to be known as a night owl - instead I'm the old lady. BAH!

This week Mark held a Chili's night to fund raise for the upcoming MS Walk. I was so disappointed not to be there, although I heard many of you were!! Food poisoning kept me praying to the porcelain god. Believe me, I'd have much rather been at Chili's!! Now I'm recovering from the dehydration of that day. I think I'm to about 80%, but I'm sure I'll be fully recovered soon. Now I'm even more anti-processed food!!!! HA! Sliced lunch meat no more!

Corbin has begun to take steps - 2-3 at a time, so I'm sure he'll be running around here in no time. He's still such a little guy, I have to keep reminding myself he's actually 15 months (today). Wow. Is it time for another munchkin? Soon I hope - but until we sort out Mark's job that isn't even a topic of discussion! I think Mark would currently pass out at the idea of Zavala 3 - these two keep us on our toes with all their shenanigans.

Here are a few pics of life in the Zavala household to send you into the weekend:






Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fall Fitness

I'm interested in starting another blog - but this one would be authored by multiple bloggers with a common theme - achieving fitness and health goals this fall.

With the insanely hot weather this summer, I've done nothing in this area of my life. I've pretty much eaten whatever I felt like, and exercise was limited mostly to finding the TV remote under the couch.

So, I'm looking for interested parties who want to contribute. Whether your goals are losing weight, eating healthier, or getting in shape - everyone's welcome. There's no minimum/maximum posting requirements, just write when you need encouragement or want to celebrate or whatever.

My hope is that it would be a blog to inspire, motivate, and encourage each other. For me, it's also an accountability. If I write it down, then I'm more likely to persevere when that chocolate doughnut looks longingly at me, and whispers sweetly "EAT ME!".

There are lots of other wonderful blogs out there that have the same concept, but what's different for me, is that you all are my friends. Not to say that it's limited to only my friends, but there's something beautiful about sharing and motivating with friends.

I'll flip comments on for interested folks. Just leave a comment if you'd like to participate.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Date Afternoon

The hubby and I are going out this afternoon - yippee!! Not sure what we're doing yet, as there are no movies playing during the time we have a sitter - and that nix's our original idea. I always think back to the date night we actually considered going toilet shopping...I'm hoping it won't come to something like that. Surely we can coming up with something fun to do between the hours of 1-3:30pm. HA!

Weather is nice, so that helps.

We have gift cards for Main Event, so maybe bowling?

Either way, we'll enjoy the silence. I think that's one of the things I miss getting a little of. With a 2 year old and a 1 year old, there's not a lot of it. I also like being able to have a conversation with my hubby uninterrupted. Yesterday we were practically yelling over them trying to talk about our days.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Off

Today I just feel off. Not really sure why. The piles of stress seem heavier today, and my confidence is lower. I feel like I'm second-guessing myself all the time. I feel like I, well, suck, at everything today.

I could list out my burdens, but that would be just whiny. Let's just say I have one or two.

Most of the time I churn along just fine in spite of it all. Today is today. I only need to get through today. Occasionally, my mind rests in a darker spot. I hate that.

I know I should be praying, but my mind prefers to just wallow in it - not really ready to let it all go.

Sleep should help. It generally does.

Getting out helps. Sometimes a girl just needs a break. Today after nap time, I just wasn't fully functional to cope with the needs of two kids. Corbin crying. He didn't want to be put down, but he didn't want me to sit down with him in my arms. Oh, no. He wanted me to hold him and stand. Hayden waking up in one of his moods.

Do you want to sit down? No.

Do you want to lay down? No.

Do you want to stand up? No.

Do you want a banana? No.

Okay, no banana? Banana!

So you do want a banana? No.

ARGH!

Corbin angry at his sippy cup - why isn't it a bottle? What the heck? Kid hasn't had a bottle in two weeks. Doesn't want the cup, doesn't want me to put the cup away. Just wants me to hold it AND him.

Hahahaha. And so goes the 5 o' clock hour as we're waiting for Daddy to get home from wherever he was that day. Some days I handle this better than others.

Today I handled it by demanding we all GO FOR A WALK. Oh how I love walks. Mostly because they mean a little peace for me. Minus the numerous stops for squabbles, pretzel fights, stick retrieval, and nose wiping.

So what's the point of this rambling? I have no idea. Like I said, I'm off.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Today, and Nothing More

First off, thanks for all the comments on the mama drama. It's good to hear many of you have healthy or healthier relationships with your Mamas. It's also good to hear I'm not the only one too. Actually, it was really good cause I was starting to think there was something wrong with me - I'm perfect right? Haha. I'm sure there's issues on both ends, but I'd like to think it wasn't just on my side.

I liked the idea of turning on the comments once in awhile to get the advice and thoughts flowing. For now, I'm going back to no comments, but I'll flip them back on for another post I'm sure. You can always email me if you really need to give me a piece of your mind - or just tell me something nice, cause I love hearing nice things!

Tonight, I got to hear about the recent mission trip to India that four of our wonderful church family members took. It really gives you something to think about and brings home the statement "It's all relative". Times may seem tough for us now, but honestly, we're in luxury compared to most of the world's standards.

And in light of that, on my drive home, I really got to thinking about my attitude during this season of our lives. Basically, that attitude has been one of pure "wanting". I "want" Mark to find a job. I "want" it to be soon. I "want" things to go back to normal. Ugh. How easy it is to forget, that each day of our life is orchestrated by God. He knew that I would be in this moment. He knows how the events of my life will unfold. Why worry a single second about what tomorrow will bring? He already knows.

As I read through the bible stories of the lives of those who came before me, it's so glaringly obvious that each season of our life serves His purpose. It may be unknown why some are in jail, why some suffer, why some have no jobs, why some have no money - but only to us - God has a plan and purpose in all of this.

So I will not walk in the attitude of "wanting" or desperation. I will walk in the attitude of anticipation - anticipation of God's glory in our lives, and thankfulness - thankfulness for all He has provided today.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Release

We're finally company-free tonight. And it feels really good. I feel like my true purpose and duties always get clouded when I'm trying to please someone else. And I suppose they do.

Now I need to pick up the pieces of my real life and put everything back in order. What does Mark need? Have I been supporting him? I haven't gotten to talk to him. What does he need me to do?

Time to get the kids off the TV and back into the family world.

Time to get back to the running of the house.

I used to feel overwhelmed by the duties that can back up while you're entertaining, now I'm energized by them. I feel out of sorts if I'm not doing them, and happy to get back to my own life.

I'm a "pleaser" personality, and it's draining for me when I am unable to "please" someone even when I'm trying so hard. I always feel like I fail at that with my mom. I just need to realize that there is nothing I can do to please her. My duties are to my husband and children, not to her. My worth comes from my relationship with God, not my relationship with her. And that's ok.

So I feel a release when the visit is over. I can go back to being myself. Let my guard down. Put my focuses back where they should be, and never should have left.

I love my mother. All I want is for her to be happy with me. I've been striving for it my whole life. And that's the problem.

But I guess that's the mother/daughter drama eh? I may open up comments on this one for some discussion. Do you have a good relationship with your mother? How have you worked through your conflicts? What attitudes/perspective have you achieved?

Friday, September 11, 2009


Today it rained buckets...and I loved it! It's been such a long, dry summer that our grass is completely brown, my tomatoes still haven't produced a thing, and I've gone into hibernation mode to stay out of the heat.

I'm looking forward to the days when I can dust off my jogging stroller and head to the trails at our park. Get out my iPod and run away my stress - and extra pounds! But that's not going to happen with temperatures above 90, and especially above 100. I'm hoping this rain is a sign of things to come - you know, fall.

I'm so ready for fall. We live in Texas, so I wouldn't exactly say that we had a real fall - but any change, even the slightest, is good.

I'm also looking forward to Corbin getting his room back. He's been sleeping in our room this week since we have company - and damn that boy is a light sleeper. Every rustle of the covers on my part evokes a whimper. And then the random wake ups. I'm way too in tune with him to ignore even the slightest noise. Comes with mommyhood I guess - Mark would never hear it. Of course, he's chosen the couch over sleep interruptions - loser.

Monday night I will have my sleep restored. And that's a good, good thing.

I feel like my calendar is filling up rapidly for the coming months. But isn't it always like that this time of year? Fall brings with it a collection of holidays and the events that correspond - but even more than that. Ladies bible study begins, Hayden gets evaluated for his speech, football season and Saturday game watches, MS Walk, boat party, parenting seminar...ok the list is quite long.

By the way, I really need to rsvp for the parenting thingy. I've been trying to work it out, but no luck so far on the babysitting front. I think I may do this one solo and leave Mark alone with the kiddos.

Kiddos got their first colds last week. Luckily, they weren't too bad. No doctor visits needed. I'm sure there are many more of those to come. I'm trying to just look at it as "normal" mode and not get hyper about it. It is a bummer when it interrupts plans though. We're pretty active as far as having the kids out with us, so when we can't bring them along, we end up canceling a lot of stuff.

Well it's after 10:30pm and I've given myself a new bedtime. I know, like Mark says - what are you? an old lady? But, I feel 100% better now that I'm not staying up late. Even though technically I'm averaging the same amount of sleep. I get up earlier between 6:30am-7am, but I don't feel like complete crap when I do. Yeah, yeah, I guess I'm getting old. Can't do what I used to and all that jazz. Old at 28? Sheesh, I gotta long way to go. Somebody get the duct tape, I'm breakin down.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Totally Tuesday

Whenever I don't have an actual post topic I just use the day of the week with some cheesy same letter word. Whatever. So yay, it's random post day! Okay, so they are all random - but you still love me right, right? Oh that's right, I turned off comments. Boo.

So my latest achievement is getting rid of the bottle!!! Oh it's a glorious thing. No more bottles, no more formula. Guess it's time to have another baby - or er, no. I think I'm going to enjoy this time for a little bit longer before I start thinking about that.

Of course, for all other things I'm failing miserably. No luck on potty training with Hayden. Mostly due to my own laziness. It's quite a bit of work and I just need to suck it up and do it. Hayden's potty skills are limited to cheering me on when I'm in the bathroom - which is really quite weird. I've never had an audience, let alone a cheering one. "Yay mommy!" I guess I can find success in the little things - like going to the bathroom!!

My mom's coming into town today, so I'm sure my "online" time will be even more limited. So blogging might take a back seat to visiting.

But I'm most excited these days about my new desk! We have an office in our upstairs loft, but it's not really accessible to me during the daytime. Corbin is now able to climb stairs but still has no concept of gravity, so me being upstairs isn't an option. I've been confined to the laptop on the counter and my piles of books/journals/calendar just floats around wherever I go - which has been getting annoying. So I asked Mark to get me a desk for the utility room downstairs where I can keep my stuff and laptop. Utility room has a view not only of the whole living area downstairs, but a window so I can keep an eye on Hayden's shenanigans in the back yard.

I'll have to take a pic of it when I get a chance. It will also be nice to have the camera docking station permanently placed so I don't have to keep setting it up every time I want to upload a picture. Which means more pictures for you bloggy friends!! Yay!

Okay, I think I have to stop writing now because Hayden just passed me a toy, and yeah it's covered in jelly. STICKINESS ACK!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Going All In

You starting walking down this path, and suddenly you can't see where you came from. That's kind of what I feel like right now.

Stepping out of everything I once clung to desperately. Wrapping my head around realizing the ultimate lie. It's so ingrained that you don't even question it. And when you do start to question it, it's kind of like you move away from every thing and everyone. No longer chasing it, yet fighting it at the same time.

Wanting to shout it to the world, but almost not believing it myself. Watching everything I valued turn worthless. That's the scary part. Your system of value and worth are pulverized - but only to you, the world keeps spinning its web.

Seeing the things your once cherished and obsessed over become vanity, distractions. I love writing this blog. But it became clear to me that I need to protect myself from the inherent narcissism that can attach itself to blogging. Living for the readers, comments and approval. Hence, I've turned off comments. Not like anyone was commenting as of late anyway, so no loss there. But it one less distraction in my life.

Like the title says, it's just me right now.

I'm picking apart the ultimate lie - that living for your own desires and needs bring satisfaction, happiness, or even contentment - and replacing it with the truth - Glorifying God is the only thing that will bring me satisfaction. I never "got" this. It was always church-speak to me. Yeah, yeah, glorify God, whatever that means. Won't I be satisfied with a nice house, some money in the savings and the well-behaved kids and thoughtful husband? No? Why not? It's everything I WANT.

What? What I want won't bring me satisfaction? I don't get it.

It's kind of like a law...no it is a law. God's law. Kind of like gravity. I may want to fly, but gravity keeps me firmly planted on the ground. But every year I seem to get closer to my "perfect" picture of life, and guess what I'm finding? I'm still not satisfied. Uh. Oops. Maybe there's something to this glorifying God stuff. Yeah, maybe.

So I guess this is the point where I go "all in" or keep chasing my tail in circles. Almost content. Almost satisfied. If we could just have this, or do this, or be this...

I go all in. I refuse to live a purposeless life. I refuse to make the goal of my life having a pile of junk that someone else has to toss when I die or a collection of pleasure seeking memories or a never-ending quest for that last desire to fulfill my satisfaction. There's something more out there.

Sunday Evening Walks


Sun is setting. Dinner is done. Kids are restless. Temperature is cooling.

Time for a walk.

Kids ride. Hubby and I talk.

Collection of sticks develop. Several stops for stick retrieval ensue.

Walk ends. Babies to bed. Hubby and I enjoy some movies and TV. It's a sweet life.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Game Day!!!


First Saturday of ND Football season - the boys are ready to cheer for Daddy's team!!!

I'm thinking Saturday's in Fall are going to take on a certain tradition - wearing their ND jerseys will be one constant (considering we bought all sizes from 12m-4T). I'm sure other traditions will evolve over time.

I'm sure a little "football practice" out in the backyard will soon be added. HA! It's kind of exciting to know that Mark and I are setting the foundations for the memories and traditions the boys will have from childhood. Give me a little more energy on a Saturday morning for doing things like making some good game day foods.



Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Off to Rehab

That title got your attention didn't it?

Okay, no I don't have some secret addiction, maybe the term physical therapy might sound better.

Today I finally headed to the doctor about my back issue since my stash of muscle relaxers and pain meds from my ER visit was starting to run low. I squeezed every last drop out of them, making a 3 day supply last over 4 months, but alas the supply was gone.

Knowing full well I couldn't handle another episode without relief, I HAD to head to the doctor. I thankfully got more meds, BUT with the order to head to the sports injury rehab clinic next door. I guess you could call motherhood a sport.

My first appointment is tomorrow - we'll see how it goes.

A Mother's "Quiet" Time

Out on the patio.

Children at my feet.

Corbin chewing on the corner of my bible.

That pretty much sums it up.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Just Another Monday

Delete. Delete. Delete. I had started this post off with some ramblings on my back spasm issue which has reappeared after a 6 week hiatus. But it sounded kind of whiny, so I will just say that I'm grateful for the 6 weeks of pain-free days I had and hope that they return soon! I'm also grateful for muscle relaxers and all pain killers - I hope they always do the job. I will now work hard not do do anything too strenuous or just plain dumb and just let the healing begin.

I think part of that regimen should be working on stress relief - I know for a fact I tense my back muscles when I'm irritated or stressed and I should learn how to release and relax.

So a few tidbits from our life right now:

The boys are fighting colds - but actually winning (should I say that out loud? I might jinx them). Hayden had a running nose for about a day, Corbin's is still a little runny but seems better today. We'll see if they are ok for taking to community group babysitting on Wednesday. Two days can make quite the difference.

I'm gritting my teeth for the season to come - seems like the boys were sick every couple of weeks from September to April. With two it seemed like that season was 4x as bad. They both got their own colds (x2) and then gave them to each other (x2 again)! If we ever decide to add three to the mix, I think sickness will be the norm not the exception.

We are officially done with formula!! Even though we bought the cheaper Costco brand, it was still costing us about $60 a month. That's $60 I could really use right now. Especially, since the raw milk we buy has gone up $2 because of the extreme drought we're experiencing. I can definitely understand their position, my parents felt the same crunch at their farm last year when KY was in such a drought. Everyone needed to supplement their feed for the cattle and prices were high!

But an extra $12 bucks a month vs. $60 is still pretty good!

We may also be done with the bottle!! So far, Corbin has been pretty adamant about getting a bottle, not a sippy cup, when he wakes up. But this evening he drank his milk from a sippy cup - so this may be the end!!! I certainly won't miss washing all those bottle parts!! Sippy cups are so much easier to clean and keep track of.

The brothers are becoming fast friends and at times enemies. Corbin has learned the fine art of swatting at his brother when he does something he doesn't approve of. But they have their own "games" and keep each other quite entertained. Poor Corbin doesn't know what to do with himself when Hayden is napping - he kind of just mopes around the living room, constantly going towards Hayden's door when he thinks I'm not looking. He's never been the "only" child so all he knows is having his brother around.

There is definitely a preggo epidemic going on at our church! I could name at least half a dozen who are pregnant or just had babies. I'm trying hard not to catch baby-itis! Yet somehow it feels like I'm missing something. Like I'm not in the secret society or something - HA! It feels a lot like last year when Corbin was born - I think there were 8 of us pregnant at one time. But I know I have my hands full right now with just two!! I don't think I want them spaced as closely as Corbin and Hayden were - that was a handful. But I definitely want to go for three as soon as we're ready.

Speaking of babies, I have TONS of boys baby clothes just taking up valuable closet space. Corbin has grown out of most of the 6 months and smaller size. If anyone would like to borrow some and then return them when they grew out of them, let me know - I'd love to save some space and help a friend out. As Hayden grows, our clothing stash just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I really need to figure out a way to store all this. And I'm NOT getting rid of them - with my luck we'll have another boy! P.S. I also have an excersaucer and a glider thingy that are taking up a lot of room as well. And one of those infant activity mats - actually two! I'm sure a bunch more, just come over - HA!

My mommy duties have just about wrapped up for the day (minus any midnight wakings), the dishwasher and dryer are humming, the leftovers are put away, and a good book is calling me.

'Night.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Menu


August 31st - September 6th Menu

Breakfasts:
Monday: Oatmeal & peaches, english muffin
Tuesday: Steel cut oats & plums, bagel
Wednesday: Omelets, bagel
Thursday: Oatmeal & granola, english muffin
Friday: Oatmeal & granola, bagel

Lunches:
Monday: Grilled cheese, grapes
Tuesday: Chicken Nuggets, apples - Ramen noodles for adults!
Wednesday: Jelly sandwiches, cheese sticks- leftovers for adults
Thursday: Quesadillas, rice and beans
Friday: Bagels w/ egg & cheese
Saturday: Shredded chicken tacos
Sunday: Eat Out

Dinners:

Monday: Grilled seasoned chicken quarters, quinoa, asparagus, homemade bread
Tuesday: Chicken fajitas, rice and beans
Wednesday: Leftovers + community group snacks
Thursday: Spaghetti
Friday: Layered mexican casserole
Saturday: BBQ Chicken & artichoke heart pizza
Sunday: Chicken & potatoes

Snacks: Grapes, graham crackers, saltines, cheese sticks, apples

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Letting Go


It rained tonight. Rain we've desperately needed. Well, I don't think it rained much at our house - but it was storming over near our community group, which is where we were at the time.

Tonight I hurried to the car because I had my baby in my arms, but it brought back another memory...

I was still in college, and had just gotten out of class. It was pouring and didn't seem like it would let up anytime soon. I didn't have anymore classes that day, so all that was left was to make the 45 minute drive home. The sooner I got going, the sooner I'd be home.

There was only one problem - that morning I had to park insanely far away from my classes. My truck was a good 15 minute walk from where I was. Fifteen minutes of torrential downpour away...

I had no choice but to just do it. I started walking. At first, it was uncomfortable - cold, wet, stinging sprays. I dodged the puddles and walked quickly. But, soon it became clear that there was no way I was going to be able to come out of this anywhere near dry. My jeans soon became soaked from the bottoms all the way up to my calves. My clothes were completely soaked through. And I still had 10 more minutes of walking.

In that moment, I let go. I let go of my need to keep dry, to play things my way. I took my flip flops off - which brought me another inch down in the puddles. I felt the water rushing around my feet. I pushed my hood back and felt the water dripping down my face and hair. I smiled. I felt the freshness of the cool rain, and it was almost cleansing.

I just let go.

I think there are a lot of times in my life where I could apply that same lesson. Letting go of what's behind. Letting go of what's ahead. Letting go of my incessant need for a plan. Letting go of my expectations.

The present is all I have. Right now. This moment. And I need to be present while it's here.

Photo credit: [jeremy]

Monday, August 24, 2009

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

Yesterday, Mark and I dared to take the kids to a Round Rock Express game. We had scored 10 free tickets so we took the kids and invited some friends along for the fun.

At this season in our life, it's either you brave the inevitable craziness that accompanies outings with the kids or become hermits. I choose craziness!

It was kids night and they were giving out free lunchboxes with the RR Express Team on them. Hayden was very excited to get his own "munchbox" and he's still playing with it this morning. I have a feeling I will eventually find it outside filled with dirt - as that is his favorite activity now, playing with dirt.

Corbin got his first taste of corndogs!!! He loved them and slobbered all over my corndog. I then got to eat slobbery corndog...uh yum. He also snagged a few sips of my Dr. Pepper when I wasn't looking.

We had tickets for the stands, but if we go again I'm definitely getting tickets for the grass. I saw lots of families there and the little ones were just running around having a great time.

Hayden really enjoyed the playground there - we stayed there for at least 3 innings I think.

Of course, there were tantrums...

Hayden decided not to take a nap after church and the game was at 6:05 - not a great combination. Add the heat and you have a recipe for tantrums.

We dressed the kids in cute baseball shirts/outfits they were adorable - I was so tempted to buy a T-shirt there for Hayden, but I resisted this time.

Hayden enjoyed popcorn and ice cream - and went through about 3 bottles of water. We spent way too much money on concessions, next time I'll bring more snacks.

By the eight inning the kids were at their limits as it was past 8pm, so we packed up and headed home.

Overall, it went ok and I'm glad we went.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Don't Grow Up Too Fast

Tonight, my baby is sick. He has a fever and is having a restless night. I can look at this two ways:

1. He's interfering with my "me" time. I'm not going to get good sleep tonight. I'm tired.

Or...

2. My baby needs, no, wants me. One day he won't need the comfort of his Momma's warm arms. He won't fit neatly on my chest, with his little arms curled close. One day his little chubby baby legs will turn into long lanky little boy legs. Instead of curling those little legs around my belly, they'll be dangling down by my knees.

His troubles will be bigger than the soft, soothing touch of his mother. His desires will surpass the offerings of what I can give him.

Right now he wants Momma. Momma to hold him. Momma to love him.

And that sounds pretty good to me.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Role Models? Please Step Forward.

This womanhood gig...where's the manual? Did I miss the hand outs? Can I get a bulleted list please?

Is there anyone doing it right? Or at least honorably?

Honestly, on a day to day basis - I don't know what the heck I'm doing. I just make it up from TV, books or maybe what I heard once at some women's church conference or study.

I know I mess it up completely on a day to day basis. I yell at my kids, push my husband away (cause dude, I'm busy and tired), and I just don't know where people find time to connect with others.

Sometimes I end my day with the mommy cocktail if it was really bad, which I usually regret - I'm just not a drinker, never have been. I generally can't get through my beer or wine - somewhere past half the glass it starts tasting like crap, sorry.

And this motherhood gig is SO not what I thought it was. Of course, I seriously had some messed up perspectives - somewhere between Cabbage Patch dolls and Barbies Dreamhouse - who wouldn't want that! Dude.

Today my kid threw up and I caught it in my hand (on purpose) so it wouldn't get on his shirt. Ewww! Who am I? Barbie would never have done that. And I still don't see a doll on the market with "puke" mode. The worst I ever had was when I fed my peeing doll chocolate milk - and I threw that baby away in disgust.

And connecting with God? I'm somewhere around Magic Genie and "Make a Deal" - grant my wishes! HA. I'll say that again - ha. Even if I "reword" them by adding "if it's your will" at the end, I think I'm not fooling anyone. Accepting His will? Yeah right. First, I throw a mini tantrum, stamp my foot, and complain about why He didn't do it MY way. Then, once I've had my rant, I move on to - Your will be done, not mine. Why can't my first reaction be - Your will, not mine?

Even today, when a job for Mark didn't come through - my first reaction was - it's not fair, why us God? Even though Friday I wasn't sold on the job, but Mark and I sat down and said - we'll leave it in God's hands. We'll pray. If this is not His will, then the opportunity will close and others will arise. And it looked pretty solid that this was it, and then poof! Suddenly, it dissolved before my eyes. God literally closed the door in multiple ways, and then opened another. And my reaction? No God! You can't do that. I thought this was it, I don't want to accept your plan. I had already started making my plans.

I know this can be so much more than we make it. Homemaking is NOT about wiping noses and changing diapers. There is so much more here. And yet, so many people look at it with a mixture of contempt and envy. As if not getting a paycheck and validation for our efforts and work means we are worthless and lazy. And the sad thing is, sometimes we believe them. Comments like we should just get a job if being at home is so hard. So that's the answer? If it's hard, just run away. Give the job to someone else. Some of us are called outside the home, but if I am called to be home, running away to another job is not the answer. But that's the negativity we get. Our importance in the home is trivial. The work we do there can be done by anyone...NO. It can't. Our children. Our families. Our homes.

And if you're at home, we're told that we're bored and have no mental stimulation. I say, crap to that! I know less about running a home than about networking theory. Seriously. I've got LOTS to learn. You could spend a lifetime studying and practicing skills needed to run a home and care for children. I've got books piled to the ceiling with amazingly useful information I need to read as time allows. Sitting around watching the Lifetime network (which I don't even get, but whateva') is not how I want to spend my time or brain. I can continue learning and growing as a person, even if I have days where a little 3 footer is ordering me around.

So what am I saying here? Heck, I don't know. I got kind of stirred up by some comments I read somewhere about mommy hood and such. I don't know the answers and I don't claim to. I'll probably never know how to do any of this right. I hope I don't ever put myself into another persons shoes and give them a judgment. God help me if I do. Just like I don't know squat about what it's like to be a single person, or a man, or a working mom, or whatever - if you haven't been a mother there's really nothing to say. About every idea I've ever had prior to having these two babies has been completely rewritten or erased. I just didn't know.

We're all at these different stages.

Like:

"Baby is an accessory I wear under my shirt" stage
"Baby will go well with this cute Pottery Barn crib set"
"I love baby stuff"
"Wait, where does it come out?"
"I changed my mind, I don't think labor sounds that fun"
"That hurts, I'm never doing that again"
"I don't know what I'm doing"
"What if I break it?"
"He's hungry again?"
"Sleep, please just sleep"
"Don't leave me alone with this thing"
"I could totally have another"
"What was I smoking, I should have stuck with one"
"Mommy needs relief"
"Where's the wine bottle"
"Ack! There's two of them now"
"Where did nap time go?"
"So if I put one in the grocery cart, the other one goes where exactly?"
"Okay, so REALLY LOUD can be a tolerable noise level - or I'm going deaf"

Well, those were my stages at least - and of course those are up till now - I'm sure there's a million more. The point is, we don't stay in those stages. So one person's reality may not be mine. I may have gotten past the "Wine bottle" stage, but big deal. So I'm a few feet down the road. That doesn't make me the great wise one. Passing judgment on someone still struggling in a stage you passed or even skipped is just wrong.

Okay this post is all over the place. Back to my original thought. There are role models out there that do "it" with grace. My sidebar is filled with blogs from real women who have perspective on what it means to be both a mother and a woman. And if you have more you go to for inspiration and a little "uplifting" I'd love to know those too. Start with TamraGirl and Nie, my personal favs.