Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Our Little Fish*

Our February weather has been fluctuating from 5-40 degrees so we decided it was the perfect time of year for Reese to start Swimming Lessons! One of many "firsts" to come, I'm sure. I was a tad nervous because our confirmation letter said "parents must leave the pool area during the lesson". Leave the pool area? Leave my baby, who's water exposure has mainly been limited to our bathtub thus far, with a complete stranger, in a class full of other kids, in an olympic size drowning hazard?!?!

Again, I'm sure these types of things will come easier with time. When I take Drue to swimming lessons down the line, I'll be more comfortable as I drop her off with her teacher then confidently march back by all the other parents, dropping their kids off for the first time with a look of uncertainty on their faces. And by the time Tate takes lessons, I'll probably just toss him out my car window right into the deep end, as I smile and wave yelling, "I'll be back in a bit sweetheart".

It did feel a little strange taking Reese swimsuit shopping in sub zero weather. And this is the first year she and Drue won't have matching little swimsuits. That was a hard practice to let go of. I was hoping I could keep them in matching outfits at least until it was time for them to start picking out Prom dresses. The only reason Reese picked the suit she did, was because it had a cute little matching cover up that, as you can see, is a DRESS! She wore her suit a whopping 30 minutes one evening right after we bought it and promptly lost the top part when she took it off! I refused to rush right out and buy a new one because I was sure the old one would turn up. Days came and suit. So I ended up having to rush out the night before lessons and buy a new one! I halfheartedly warned her, "This is coming out of your allowance" to which she nonchalantly shrugged her shoulders and replied, "Ok". (She doesn't even get an allowance yet). Incidentally, she was quite disappointed that she had to wear sweats over her suit and dress to go to her lesson.

From what I could see, fighting my way through the other parents pressed up against the 3 inch wide window, she did fine. There were 2 teachers keeping track of about 10 kids, so I was able to breathe a small sigh of relief.

David practically grew up in the water and won ribbons for swim team. So he was pretty excited to hear all about it when we got home. He bombarded Reese with question after question and was a bit surprised when she exclaimed, "Daddy...I dived!". Of course, he was picturing a head first plummet into the water, however, her version of a "dive" was holding on to the side of the pool and dipping her little blond ponytails just under the surface when her teacher said, "1---2---3---DIVE!".

*Whenever we would visit our Grandparents growing up and would return from the pool, my Granddad would say, "Well, did you swim like a fish?". Now I have my very own little fish and I think he'd be pretty proud of her.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

You Had Me at "Hey"

Twelve years ago today I was sitting in church when the guy I'd had a crush on, most of my first semester at college, plopped down next to me. My heart started racing, my palms got sweaty, and I almost melted right into the pew. I wasn't one of those flirty young coeds who tossed her hair and giggled incessantly at every word their prospective suitor said. But I didn't want him thinking I was a complete reject, so I'm sure I turned and managed to mumble a "Good Morning" or something equally appropriate.

Who really knows what I said. Heck, I couldn't tell you what the sermon was about, what hymns we sang, or anything else that occurred that morning. Billy Graham himself could have been a guest speaker that day for all I know. I was just concentrating on taking everything in about this young man who was sitting just inches from me, because I figured it was just a fluke that he had picked my pew to sit on, and I didn't expect to have another encounter with him ever again.

We made it through the benediction and as I quickly thanked God for not letting me faint dead away during the choruses, and asked forgiveness for not taking in anything from the message, I turned to say a casual "See ya" to the man of my dreams. Before I could get it out he said, "Hey, do you have any plans for lunch?". Oh great, my heartrate had just returned to normal and this one simple question sent it back to warp speed.

My excitement quickly began to fade as I remembered one of my friends had hitched a ride to church with me that morning and I didn't know what I was going to do with her now. I couldn't just ditch her. However, if this guy did ask me to lunch, I couldn't very well ask her to come with us because she was gorgeous, popular, super sweet, and very at ease around the menfolk. About that same time she said, "So, Kristen, are you heading over to the cafeteria for lunch?"....."Ummmm, I'm not sure", I said. She looked at me oddly and I think I whispered something about the proposal I'd just received. Bless her little heart, a complete look of understanding flooded her face and she assured me to go ahead and go on, she'd just walk back to the cafeteria. (It was only across the street, so I wasn't being completely heartless).

We then headed to the most romantic restaurant in Bolivar, MO . You could just feel the love in the air and miracle of miracles, I was inhabited by a calm, relaxed, witty personality as I slid into the vinyl booth and we ordered a hand tossed pepperoni and mushroom delicacy. We finished lunch and returned to our separate dorms. I floated on a cloud the rest of the afternoon, again, not really expecting anything to blossom from our lunch outing, but just being thankful I'd had the opportunity to spend an hour or so with him all to myself.

A little while later, the phone rang, and he asked if he could pick me up for the evening service. He dropped me off at my dorm again afterwards, and less than 30 minutes later, he called to see if I wanted to go out for ice cream. What a memorable day!!

I hope that young man knows just how special he made me feel that day. I think of it fondly every February 26th, and I hope he does too, wherever he may be....

Gotcha! Honestly, what kind of love story ends like that? I know EXACTLY where he is right now, he kissed me on the forehead this morning before heading to work.


Saturday, February 17, 2007


We are already trying to instill in the girls that when they misbehave, it's not only that they are being disobedient to mommy and daddy, but it also makes Jesus sad. Some days Reese could really care less if her tantrums upset me or not, but when I ask her how she thinks they make Jesus feel, she shapes up pretty quickly a lot of the time.

We are also teaching them to not only say they are sorry for their behavior to us, but also say a little prayer that they are sorry to God. One of Reese's favorite games is when she and I take turns coming up with different scenarios then saying, "Hmmmmm......would Jesus want me to do that?". For instance, I might say, "I sure am tired, I think instead of taking a nap, I'll run crazy thru the house and scream and yell....hmmmm....would Jesus want me to do that?"---to which Reese is already shaking her head and saying "Noooooo". (She comes up with some real doozies). Of course, we also include good scenarios like, "My Sunday School teacher dropped her books on the floor, I will help her pick them up....hmmmm.....would Jesus want me to do that?".

We are also teaching them that when mommy and daddy do something we shouldn't, we need to say sorry to Jesus ourselves. I think that actually helps Reese knowing that we have someone to answer to for our behavior just like she does.

Drue is a little bully, plain and simple. While Reese is already using mind games and reverse psychology on Drue to get what she wants (i.e. the baby Drue is playing with), Drue just resorts to scratching the daylights out of Reese's face or body slamming her to the floor. Then she'll pop up and say a very insincere, off the cuff "sorry" and be on her merry way.

So, we felt it was time to really focus on the fact that she makes Jesus sad with that kind of behavior. And we want her to realize what behavior is unacceptable instead of just saying a blanket "sorry" and going on with life.

After these little escapades of Drue flippantly saying "sorry", we'll ask...."What are you sorry for Drue?" which she usually responds....."For Jesus".

I think we have a long road ahead of us.....

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Funny Valentines


Tate had a 102 degree fever the day this picture was taken. He was supposed to wear a hat made out of tin foil and be a little Hershey's kiss but he just didn't feel like cooperating, poor guy. All he wanted was a blanky and his thumb...after I confiscated the tin foil he was chewing on.
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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Marriage Tip #47

Here's a fun way to get back at your husband for being in New Jersey on business the week of Valentine's Day....

...Eat every last piece of candy you bought him!!
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Monday, February 12, 2007

PREschool, PRE-K, PRE Bachelor's Degree....

The educational future of our firstborn is secure...she is officially enrolled in preschool for the Fall!A huge weight has been lifted off my neverending worrisome shoulders. A friend tipped me off a few years ago that many area preschools begin enrolling in Jan/Feb prior to the next school year. I was extremely proud of myself for not only tucking this little tidbit of information away, but for also being able to retrieve it at the right moment.

David e-mailed our first choice of preschools a few weeks ago just in time to get a reply saying an informational parents meeting/tour was the next day! Whew, what a coincidence. So, I headed off on my merry way, complete with a notebook portfolio tucked under my arm to give the illusion that I was an organized, well-prepared mom. (I purposefully left David and the kids at home so I could sit quietly and nod my head accordingly at all the important information I was about to receive on my child's education and enrichment, rather than breaking up fights between the girls and dodging Tate's grasp as he gleefully grabbed fistfuls of my hair whilst squealing in delight.)

The director of the program showed slides of happy, well-rounded, cherubic children engaged in various sensory activities to develop their little minds. I easily began to picture little Reese up there sorting shapes, finger painting, and working pre-algebra equations. The director then opened it up for questions from the floor. She had covered all the pertinent who, what, when, where's, and why's of preschool so I began gathering up my things, convinced there couldn't be too many questions.

Hand after hand went up with moms and dads shooting out questions/concerns left and right. What are some of your discipline tactics? How are restroom breaks handled? How often are muscial activities incorporated into the weekly itinerary? Expand upon the various group activities that will take place each day. What in the world? I was starting to feel left behind. I couldn't think of one single intelligent question to ask. I wracked my brain. What was wrong with me? Obviously, I hadn't thought through this whole ordeal and wasn't in tune with what my child would be encountering in the outside world. I began scoping out the nearest exit so I could bolt outta there, jump in my van, and homeschool my little angel.

Then it hit me. I wasn't a bad mom for not coming equipped with a slew of questions to drill the preschool director with. I began to read between the lines of the other parents' questions:

What are some of your discipline tactics...could be translated...Little Johnny is a handful at home, how will you handle his disruptive behavior here without damaging his little psyche and self-esteem?

How are restroom breaks handled...could be restated...Even though Sally is 4 years old, she isn't adequately potty trained and oftentimes pees her pants when engaged in other activities.

How often are musical activities incorporated into the weekly itinerary...might actually mean... Felix isn't too bright and may become easily discouraged when all the other kids can recite their abc's but he sure likes to sing Itsy Bitsy Spider.

I began to breathe a little easier. Reese is an easy child. Sure, she does her share of pouting, disobeying, and establishing her independence at home, but all her teachers at church dote on her and says she is just the sweetest, most well-behaved lil' thing. And my mom, who's a retired teacher, already has been working with her on preschool activities such as writing her name, learning her numbers, sorting, patterns, etc. so she has a little bit of a jumpstart that way.

So maybe the reason I wasn't able to come up with any questions to ask was because I'm just a relaxed, go-with-the-flow kinda mom, who trusts that an accredited church run preschool program would be a safe environment for Reese to go and foster some of her social skills in a classroom of her peers while creating playdough shapes with cookie cutters. And I felt confident that she would be able to respect the authority of her teachers enough not to need to be sent to "the special place" set aside for hyperactive children to get a grip.

To make a long post a little shorter, the parents informational night ended with me finding out that the pre-k class I wanted to enroll Reese in was full and had a rather lengthy waiting list! Not to be defeated, I contacted our second choice only to discover that they, too, were full and already had a waiting list! It was then that I started to panic. We had been talking with Reese about attending preschool next year and gotten her excited about it, only come to find out, she might not get in anywhere because, evidently, we should have begun the whole enrollment process prior to her conception.

Thankfully, a lady in my Sunday School class recommended the preschool she used and we swung by last week to draw out our lottery number for enrollment, then held our breath to see if she got in or not. I ventured out to get the mail on Saturday and with shaking fingers opened the thin envelope from the preschool. SHE GOT IN! I was elated! I felt as though I had just opened her acceptance letter to Harvard! And I am already in love with the place. It is also at a nearby church, but inside, it is bright and sunny and the hallway looks like something out of a real school!!

I ran inside the house waving her acceptance letter and excitedly sharing the news with David, "Our baby's going to PRESCHOOL!!". However, my excitement quickly abated as I realized what had just come out of my mouth and I became instantly sad as I repeated with a different word emphasis, "Our BABY's going to preschool.....".

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Silly New Duds

Tate: Ladies Man

Drue: Trouble is Spelled B-R-O-T-H-E-R

Reese: I Get my Good Looks From my Dad

All very appropriate for them I thought...
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Monday, February 05, 2007

Birthday Wishes

Today is David's birthday! I dug through some pictures of him as a young lad and found these two cute ones. During a Bible Study my first semester at college, we were told to write out a list of traits/qualities we wanted to look for in our future spouse. David and I started dating during my second semester there and years later, when I stumbled across that list I made....he fit every single characteristic on my paper! (Maybe by the time our wedding anniversary rolls around this summer, I will have found the list again, and will post it).

8 1/2 years of marriage and 3 kids later, he's the love of my life and the man I want to spend the next 50 or 60 birthdays with! You are a wonderful, supportive husband, and an involved, hands-on, patient father.

Warning: Corny captions to follow....(but the pictures are adorable)

You're a great "catch" David! (You can easily see where Reese gets her head full of blond curls from!)

I love you in the good times and the "baaaaaaad" times (although, knock on wood, we really haven't had too many "baaaaaaaaad" times)!

Happy Birthday David! WE LOVE YOU!! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 04, 2007

May I Take Your Order Please?

One of my "pre-kid" thoughts that began..."When I have kids, I'll never (fill in the blank)" was that I didn't want going out for fast food to be a common occurrence. I wanted their Happy Meal trips to be few and far between so it would always be a special treat/occasion for them.

As with 80% of these "pre-kid" thoughts, this, too, went out the window once the little dears actually arrived on the scene. However, even with how often we get our lunch/supper from a drive-thru, they still get excited each and every time.

Once a month David and I volunteer in Reese's morning class at church and today was our day. There were only 3 little girls in there so we went ahead and took Drue out of her little class and brought her in with us.

In addition to a plastic kitchen and tool bench, there is also a little plastic drive-thru window for them to play with. Drue felt right at home and promptly went over and stuck her head out the window and said, "Mommy, it's time for McSonic."

Perhaps we should cut back on our fast food outings after all.....

Saturday, February 03, 2007


Is everyone else's household as giddy with anticipation over the release of Cinderella III this Tuesday as ours?!?

No matter what our girls are doing, when they hear that commercial come on they come running. (Which, thanks to Disney, is about every 7 minutes or so). The first time the commercial came on Reese exclaimed, "Look Mommy! Cinderella III! I can't wait to tell Daddy!".

The next time the commercial came on Reese said, "Mommy, can you buy me that for my birthday?". I prided myself on the fact that she didn't just expect it to be handed to her on a silver platter....she would patiently await for a gift giving occasion.

She must have realized her birthday was a long way off, because the next time the ad flashed across our TV her request changed slightly, "Mommy, I have decided to throw a party for you. A celebration. Where you bring me gifts." Hmmmm.....sounds suspicious to me.

Drue brought me crashing down from my pedestal of thinking we haven't spoiled our kids too badly when, the next time the familiar castle came on the screen, she ran across the living room and shouted, "MOMMY! CINDERELLA! I NEED THAT!".

And of course, they will be getting it for Valentine's Day.......

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