Thursday, February 28, 2008

Emergency Breakthrough Report

Ladies and Gentlemen, (in other words, Ladies and Chris & My Dad,)

May I have your attention, please? We interrupt this blog to bring you some breaking news from the house of Holding Little Hands.


In other news, he also scaled a shelf in his room to confiscate a tube of A&D ointment and sucked it down like there was no tomorrow. Evidently, using the potty makes you really thirsty for some good diaper cream. After completing the crime, he screamed out, "Mommy, I did a very bad thing!"

And judging from the giggles that followed that statement, his remorse was overwhelming.

But, excluding a tummy ache and awful breath there should be no other side effects, according to my new best friends at poison control.

And just in case you were wondering, when red sharpie is used to color an entire computer screen monitor, it can be removed with wet wipes, a lot of elbow grease, and much prayer. However, it did give new meaning to the term "seeing red."

So, after contemplating the appropriate punishment for the creatively displayed artwork, I grounded Chris from email for a week.

(*You may now return to your regularly scheduled programs, already in progress.)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Directionless No More

Realizing my reluctance to put him in a big boy bed, Park apparently decided to take matters into his own hands.


And I’m not even referring to his attempt to strong arm me into the decision by scaling the four walls of his crib for well over 6 months now, either. Regardless of my appreciation of the craft he has developed for artfully getting in and out, this mommy still had every intention of holding firm on her initial decision to keep the baby bed in tact until closer to his third birthday.

Need I say that the stubborn gene runs rampant in our family?

A few mornings ago, Park greeted us bedside with a look of sheer excitement in his eyes. “I broke my bed, but that’s OK. Now I have a little bunk bed!” he exclaimed proudly.

Wiping the sleep from my eyes, I shoved lovingly urged Chris out of bed to investigate what all the commotion was about. Turns out, Park had managed to remove the front rail of his crib.

Which might not have been so alarming if his crib was actually made to convert.

Now I’m not 100% sure how it happened, so I’d hate to point any fingers. But, I do seem to remember a certain someone re-assembling the crib when we moved here from our previous home, without so much as a glance toward the directions.

And after the crib was once again standing, that person’s wife might have pointed out that she did not remember the rail being quite so wobbly, to which she was immediately reassured by her husband that he had the situation under control.

Knowing all too well that I was not going to be excited about the dangling crib rail that inadvertently squashed my dreams of keeping up the illusion that my big boy was still a baby, Chris tried to be as inconspicuous as possible when reporting the results of his inspection.

“Babe, where might one look to locate directions for something they purchased, um... say, 2 years prior, perhaps? “

Well, my love, I’m so glad you asked.

I've established a binder where I house ALL directions to any items purchased that we may possibly need to refer to in the future. It is wonderful to be able to pull it out to find just about anything I wouldn’t ordinarily know how to locate. Ours is nothing fancy and is not overly organized, but it makes for an easy way to stay ahead of the “Where in the world did I put that?” game.

Unfortunately, I created that valuable little wealth of knowledge AFTER we purchased the crib. (Sure am glad I didn't point any fingers earlier, seeing as it is might be a tad bit difficult to consult directions that we no longer own, and all.)

Looks like our big boy will be sleeping in his "little bunk bed" indefinitely. Or at least until I have the heart to move him to his real bunk beds. Perhaps I'll wait until it is closer to his third birthday.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Waiting Patiently

Several mornings ago, I found myself getting frustrated with Park's lack of patience.

It seemed every request he made of me was something he wanted to see happen yesterday. From demanding more blueberries in his Cheerios to hounding me to read "jus wunnn moooore" book before nap time, he was not happy that I wasn't fulfilling requests on the timetable he had set. Or the fact that I had even answered some of them with a firm NO.

Engaged in a power struggle, the morning drug on as I worked fervently to instill patient obedience in my son.

I have come to see a direct correlation between frustrations I experience with Park and lessons God is trying to teach me. Anytime I am dealing with eliminating a behavior of his that quite frankly, just drains my energy, I know it is confirmation that God is at work. So ironically, in my attempt to lead Park, it is actually MY patience that He is in the process of developing.

Currently, I am in a season of waiting. Waiting for God to bring many hopes and dreams that He has laid on my heart to fruition. They involve many different areas of my life and some of them are probably similar to things you have waited on before, as well.

Spending some much needed quiet time in His word, I realized something new. Reading a passage in Philippians that I have read many times before, I was suddenly hit with a 2 x 4 upside the head. Our Lord is so creative! I love when he uses a familiar verse to teach me a completely different lesson.

The text really did not speak to me about the actual wait as much as it challenged me to evaluate HOW I am waiting.

Often times I focus on the situation at hand instead of the God I serve. When I shift my perspective to God's attributes, studying and learning more about all aspects of His character, I am able to trust Him with my circumstances.

Recently, I heard Bishop T.D. Jakes preach and I'd have to say it was life changing. One of the best statements I walked away with was, "Why are we willing to put a period where God only placed a comma?'

I have to remember that God is not done with me yet. Just because he is not answering on my timetable does not mean that He does not have me covered. He is mighty enough to make any dream happen and strong enough to change the desires of my heart if need be.

Either way, I want to honor Him in the waiting. It is easy for me to praise Him for things He has already given me, but what about those things that have not come to fruition yet? I want to make the choice to rejoice, finding contentment in His provision for today.

Patience is not something I can come to exhibit by being given everything I want at the precise time I desire it. It is through the pursuit of those dreams that God gives me the character that will sustain me when those same dreams are fulfilled. Because often times, when He turns my longings into reality, it is the beginning of a journey that will ultimately require much endurance.

Endurance that I can only learn through patiently waiting. (Is it just me or does there seem to be a divine pattern here?)

So, it looks like we'll be practicing together, as I join Park on the quest for patient obedience. I'm so thankful that God is willing to be our faithful teacher.

And if we aren't quick learners for some reason, at least we'll be developing the endurance to repeat the lesson if need be.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Heavenly Homecoming

Recently, my sweet friend Kelly was able to briefly reunite with her husband, Lee. Although he is now back in Iraq until late June, I felt her insights from his homecoming were such a blessing to me that I should also share them with those of you who have been praying for her family in this journey.

About two weeks ago I stood in the B terminal of DFW airport awaiting the arrival of my husband, home on leave from Iraq. I stood with my toddler son and infant daughter anxiously staring at the gate from which he would emerge. The stars-and-stripes music was playing over the intercom, the flags were waving, and the volunteers stood ready to meet and greet the soldiers as they came off the plane.

It had been months since I had laid eyes on my husband, and I was ready to see him!

The soldiers started turning the corner, one by one, and the knot in my stomach started to constrict. A fear welled up in my heart as my son pulled and squeezed on my hand; What if my little boy didn’t recognize his daddy?

It was on his second birthday when we traveled to Austin for Lee’s deployment in-processing. Now, only a few months from age three, would he know his father? Each soldier emerging from the gate looked fairly similar – same general age range, mostly male, all wearing the uniform of the U.S. Army. It would be most understandable if my little boy mistook one of those other Army men for his own.

But as I stood there, holding tight to my son’s little hand, praying that he would recognize my husband, he suddenly broke free and began to run toward the gate. My inclination as a mother was to quickly grab him back, but then I looked up to see my son jumping up onto a soldier.

My soldier. His dad.

I seemed to exhale a deep sigh of relief as I inhaled a breath of nervous excitement. As wonderful as it was to see my husband – and it was truly wonderful – it was even sweeter to me to see my son embrace his dad. I kept thinking “He recognizes him! He recognizes him!”

I watched our little boy jump into the arms of his father, and then hug him tightly, not letting go. After a long, tight hug, my son took his small hands and cupped them around my husband’s face, studying him intently. It was almost as if he was really, truly making sure that this soldier was his, not an imposter. After confirming his dad’s identity, my son once again hugged him tightly, bringing a big smile to his father’s face, and more than one tear to his mother’s eye.

Now that our brief visit is over, and our soldier is back on duty, I have spent some time thinking back over that homecoming. In reality, there was no reason to fear that my son wouldn’t recognize his dad. After all, we spend time each day looking at pictures of daddy and talking about him – about what he’s doing, where he is, and how much he loves us. Because of this, of course my son was able to pick his dad out of crowd and run to his open arms!

And this again made me think. How much time do I spend looking at the “picture” I have of my father, talking about him, learning about him, thinking about how much he loves me? Not my earthly father (although I do have many pictures of him, and I do know that he loves me!), but my other father, the Heavenly one.

Do I spend time getting to know God daily? Do I know Him well enough that on that last day when He comes back, I will be able to recognize Him? Will I run into His arms and put a smile on His face? Or will I search through a crowd of imposters – of people, things, and ideas that falsely claim to have saving power – and not be able to find the Truth?

In order to really know our Heavenly father, we must spend time getting to know him. We must study His Word, spend time in conversation with Him, and spend time in conversation with others about Him. We must teach our children about Him. Sing songs about Him. We must think about what He’s doing, where He is, and how much He loves us.

When we do, we will be able to recognize Him working in our lives, carrying us though the trials, and showering us with blessings. And most importantly, when the time comes, we will be able, like my precious little boy, to run and jump with full assurance into the saving arms of our loving Father.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Spit It Out

I need to be perfectly upfront with you by saying this post goes against everything Southern and lady-like that I've ever believed in. But, for the sake of stain free clothing, I have decided to throw social graces to the wind and let you in on this dirty little secret.

It was handed down to me by my precious friend and neighbor who is a resident expert on impossible stains, courtesy of her three little boys, spanning in ages from five to one.

We frequent one another's houses throughout the week to let our boys play for an hour or so, while we visit and break up the monotony of cold winter days. Her boys have taken Park in as their fourth brother and we typically find them dog piling each other in the playroom, while giggling uncontrollably.

On one particular occasion, Park had the unfortunate experience of face planting on someone's elbow, busting his mouth wide open. Although I've been known to be quite squeamish when it comes to gaping wounds in my pre-child days, I'd have to say that Park has done a stellar job of desensitizing me to such injuries. I can't even begin to tell you how much blood this sweet child has shed in the first two years of his young life, since he seems to live by the motto, "Go Hard or Go Home."

And lest you worry there was any crying involved, let me assure you that I had to chase him down and swoop him up against his will, in an attempt to stop him from continued play and further spreading his blood around her house.

In doing so, I managed to turn my white pullover into a lovely new shade of red. After we were able to stop the blood bath and clean up her carpet, I commented that I would be trashing my pullover if OxiClean didn't come through in the clutch.

I could see that she was conflicted in how to respond to this statement, as if she wanted to divulge some life altering advice, but wasn't exactly sure how to word such delicate information.

So, in an attempt to respect her privacy, I hounded her mercilessly until she dropped this bombshell.

"If you spit on it and then rub the saliva in before washing, the stain will totally come out."

Now, let's take a moment to let that soak in fully.

(I suddenly feel the need to clarify that the aforementioned pause was to allow the information to digest as opposed to the actual spit.)

Does anyone else find it concerning that human saliva contains so much acidity that it is able to remove stubborn substances more powerfully than chemicals found in the leading stain removers?

And, sadly, I'm not exactly sure what I find more disturbing; the above information or the fact that I've just encouraged a respectable group of dignified ladies to SPIT on their clothing.

Either way, I must say it totally worked. Granted, I still wanted to throw away the pullover just knowing the amount of bodily fluids it had been subjected to throughout the experience.

On that note, feel free to send your daughters to my house for etiquette training on any lady-like behaviors you would like to see them exhibit. Cross your fingers that my neighbor will be available for a guest speaking spot.

*Disclaimer: My humble neighbor wanted me to clarify that she cannot take credit for inventing such brilliance and is merely an information disseminator for other ladies who are being held captive by dirty laundry.

(Head on over to Rocks in My Dryer for more WFMW tips)

Mr. Independent

If you've read this blog much, you've probably heard me mention that God wired Park with a very independent spirit.

Even as an infant, I noticed his desire to explore on his own terms. From the moment he could crawl he often wondered into rooms alone, thrilled with the excitement of being able to discover the world without help.

Very shortly after feeding him solid foods, he began shoving our hands away and grabbing for the spoon on his own. And when learning to walk, putting my hands out to offer support to his wobbly legs was by and large a COMPLETE irritation and insult to the core of his being. Not to mention that telling that boy "NO" for any reason was equivalent to dropping the gauntlet.

You'd better brace yourself for the ensuing battle. Never mind if I was trying to spare his life by barring him from climbing into a hot stove.

And with his craving for independence came a strong desire to "do the next thing."

Sitting? That's for babies. I'll pull myself to standing and learn to crawl by 6 months, thank you very much. Baby food? Forget about it , Mom. I'll have whatever you're having and I'll do it myself. Baby toys? Don't insult me with such nonsense. The computer, Daddy's hammer, and your cell phone will entertain me just fine. Wait, I want that bat, too! No, not the plastic one. The REAL one. And by the way, don't worry about getting me a stool to help you cook when I turn 18 months. I can scale the cabinets with my eyes closed.

I remember the day we brought him home like it was yesterday. His sweet little newborn head was nuzzled up on my shoulder as I breathed in the precious smell of new life. After deciding that position wasn't working for him, without making a peep, he simply picked his own little head up, looked all around, and finally decided to flip it to the other side. In some ways, I feel like Park was never really a baby. He always seemed like such an old soul.

Well, minus that he slept comparable to that of an infant for well over the first year of his existence, but we'll skip over that since I've found a way to mention it in almost every other post I've ever written.

Clearly, I'm not one to dwell in the past.

Perhaps my current issue stems from the fact that his babyhood seemed so short-lived, because I'm finding myself resisting the changes that must take place to cross over into the next phase of life; namely, the transition away from sleeping with a pacifier and getting a big boy bed.

Despite the fact that Park has climbed in and out of his crib for the last six months as if he is the long lost brother to the Dukes of Hazzard.

I have no good reason for not already putting him in a big boy bed other than the fact I'm not ready for him to be a big boy just yet. And yes, I could have done away with the pacifier, but then I'd have to deprive myeslf of seeing this:

And truthfully, I'm not certain that is something my heart could bear just yet.

The obvious answer seems to be to have another baby. And although that is a desire of our hearts for the future, it is also only a temporary fix. That just gives me one more baby that will grow up, too.

The real solution is something I've known deep in my being for some time now.

I'm constantly having to learn how to embrace the truth of the job God called me into as a parent, which is to cherish the here and now, while growing and equipping Park to leave my care. The time I invest into the next 18 years of his life will be geared toward empowering him to make his own choices and decisions, further leading him down the path to independence. And if I do my job right, that independence from me will lead him into a greater dependence on God.

No, holding on to the symbolic things of childhood won't keep my boy from becoming a man. And when I get past the sentimental feelings of a Mommy in love with her young son, my gut says I don't really want to stop that growth, anyway.

Because I don't want anything to deprive me of seeing my efforts and God's plan come to fruition. Even if that means letting go of the crib and pacifier.

But, I think I'll start by trying to say goodbye to his diapers first. I'm a little less emotionally attached to those particular symbols and the items they typically hold.

Friday, February 15, 2008

My Funny Valentine

Yesterday morning when Park woke up, Chris reminded him that it was a special day, Valentine's Day.

Park and I have been reading books for the last month, learning about what this fun holiday entails. We even made hundreds of crafty cards to mail to his cousins and grandparents just like Clifford and Emily Elizabeth did. Ok, so it was closer to ten, but if you have ever used scissors and glue with your 2-year-old, you will believe me when I say it felt more like hundreds.

Sadly, after all the work to get them out on time, they were returned to us for "lack of sufficient postage due to fluffy content". Who knew that puffiness would cost an extra 17 cents? I should have let Park squish them all like he originally tried to do. We are re-sending them, but wanted to post a picture for all you family members who didn't get yours yet.

So, as he came flying out into the living room, beaming from ear to ear, I was impressed with his enthusiasm for the "day of love". But, without a moment's notice, that smile suddenly turned to confusion.

"Where is my tree and why'd Santa not leave me any presents? I not like Valentine's Day!"

Sorry, Cupid, but your holiday seemed to be a bit of a let down for the boy.

He perked up a bit when he saw that Mommy and Daddy had come through with some small presents, namely a book called Big Boys Use the Potty. The good thing about being two is you're not familiar with a little term called ulterior motive, so the present was still a hit.

And so was my Mother-in-Law who hosted art class, so Chris and I could meet up for a special lunch date. What a treat! We exchanged love letters, which is a tradition in our household, and spent some time enjoying the quiet of a restaurant when only adults are present.

Upon picking up Park, he proudly showed off the craft he had made for me. That Grandma is one creative lady, folks. Here was his gift:

She also gave Park (and his cousins) the cutest little Bible I've ever seen. She had marked the verse about how he was God's Valentine. (John 3:16)

We went home to cook a special dinner for Daddy and Park waited impatiently to give Daddy his own love letter, which basically was everything he told me to write down and my own translation of it. It said things like, "I not like when you go to work," and "You take me to the pond?" So, I wrote things next to the phrases like, I love when we get to spend special time together and I'm very sad when you aren't around."

My love letter from Park, via Chris, was actually pretty similar, except it said:
Park pulls at Mommy's hair = "I want to hug you"
Park licks Mommy's face from chin to forehead = "I love to kiss you"
and so on and so forth......

And just in case she is unsure how to interpret "boy love", I've saved it for his future wife someday.

Park was so proud of himself when Chris and I made a big deal over all the special things he had done for us that he had a little change of heart by the end of the day.

"I love Valentine's Day. It's so FUN!"

I'm certain both Cupid and Park's future wife both breathed a sigh of relief.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Digging a Hole

I seem to be in a holding pattern when it comes to embarrassing myself this week. And as if the first time around wasn't horrifying enough, I've decided to re-live it here on my blog, for all the world to share.

Because I'm nothing if not a private person.

Friday night, a new neighbor called to see if he could come by the next day to borrow a couple of tools. My hubby and this man had befriended one another throughout the building of our homes. And although I've been around his sweet wife several times, I've only actually met Chris (the neighbor, not my husband) once.

That being said, Saturday rolled around and hubby snuck off to the pond in our neighborhood while Park was napping. The pond tends do be a special place for father/son bonding, so if Chris ever wants to fish without his little buddy, it is imperative that we keep it top secret.

Mainly because tantrums give me a headache.

Unfortunately, Park woke up from his nap earlier than expected and I had to break the news that Daddy wasn't home. But, just shy of throwing himself on the floor, the ringing of the phone caught Park's attention. It was Chris, letting me know he was on his way back.

I headed off to my bedroom to put away some laundry when I heard the doorbell ring. Knowing Chris didn't have his keys with him, I hollered for Park to unlock the front door so hubby could open it. (Seeing as we've completely child proofed the door from being opened from the inside after finding Park playing in the front yard when I thought he was napping a few months back. Praise the Lord for alarm systems)

I vaguely heard Park shout repeatedly, "It's unlocked! Mommy said you will open it." Shortly thereafter, I heard the door open and shut and I laughed that Park wouldn't even let Chris in the door before hounding him to play out front.

I finished putting away the laundry, made the bed, and tidied up our bathroom before heading off to stick my head out front to see what they were doing. But considering I was still wearing my pj's (at 3 PM I might add), I only cracked the door slightly. When I didn't hear a single sound, I wondered why Park wasn't talking Chris' ear off or squealing in delight like they usually do when playing together outside.

"PARK?.... CHRIS?" I called out.

"We're standing over by the fence," a male voice answered.


That was NOT my Chris' voice!

"Chris?!" I shrieked, paralyzed with fear.

"Um, yes?" The voice answered, timidly.

By this point I was frantically running to the side of the house with a shovel poised over my shoulder, aimed and ready to take out the imposter trying to pose as my husband and kidnap my son. Mama Bear wasn't playing around.

Upon flying around the corner, we came face to face.

Me and my new neighbor, CHRIS, that is! And I must say that sweet relief flooded through my body from head to toe.

Until I suddenly realized I was standing pajama clad in my front yard with a tiny gardening shovel positioned to whack my new neighbor, bless his heart, who just needed to borrow a few tools from the crazy lady that encourages her two-year-old to open the door to strangers.

Truly amazing how big of a hole that small shovel was able to dig for me.

To make matters worse, it was at this opportune moment that my sweet husband came strolling up the driveway, fishing pole in hand.

Well, what can I say besides welcome to the neighborhood, Chris and Elizabeth? Hopefully we'll get to be good enough friends that we can all laugh about this one day. (I'm pretty sure that is a strong possibility since both men named Chris already have.)

And along with hubby's nail gun and jigsaw, it goes without saying that we also have a shovel if y'all ever need to borrow it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

One Belly Band, Please

Have you ever noticed how the bulging belly of pregnancy, especially that of a woman expecting her first child, seems to act as a magnet for unsolicited advice and/or labor horror stories?

It would seem that the trendy belly band, created to help woman wear their pre-pregnancy clothes longer, might be put to even better use as a muzzle for some of those well-meaning, loose lipped information disseminators. I'm not exactly sure why, but something about a prego tummy screams out to strangers, "Please vomit some nuggets of wacky parental wisdom on me!"

And judging from my own experience in this area, there is a reason I chose the word STRANGE-rs. Perhaps my favorite memory of this odd behavior came from a lady in the grocery store when I was in my 8th month.

"So, I see that you are pregnant. Hopefully you have already started the screening process for preschools. There is nothing worse than an unprepared parent."

Had I somehow moved to the Upper East Side of New York and become a character in the Nanny Diaries without realizing it? I stifled a giggle, thanked her for her advice and told her I'd keep that in mind when my child was turning 3 or 4. (The last part may have been under my breath due to a little aversion I have to confrontation.)

And then I never thought another thing about it until last weekend.

Somehow I unintentionally joined the ranks of the unsolicited advice givers by sharing my labor horror story with a sweet friend in her final days of pregnancy. (Although, in my defense, she does look more like she is in her first trimester.)

What started out as innocent discussion among girlfriends in the car together on the way to a baby shower, ended with me sharing I had feared labor would be equivilant to being repeatedly stabbed with a knife. In an attempt to back pedal after seeing the very wide eyes of a very pregnant friend in my rearview mirror, I assured her that I had definitely been wrong in that assumption.

"It was much more like stab...STAB-STAB stab, and so on and so forth," I heard myself saying. Realizing things were going downhill fast, I attempted one last rescue mission of my "open mouth, insert foot" conversation.

"But-t-t," I stammered, "I'm-I'm-I'm sure that was only because I pushed for 5 and 1/2 hours. I feel certain the average labor is much more enjoyable. Take yours, for instance. Stabbing probably won't even be an issue for you."

The other gals in the car must have felt like they were watching a bad train wreck in slow motion.

Oh, sweet Holly. Please forgive me. It seems that even though I'm not a stranger to you, I have somehow become every bit as strange as those folks I previously made fun of.

Do you happen to have an extra belly band I could borrow?

Or, maybe you should break out the burp rags early, to clean up any lingering images I may have vomited into your brain.

Of course, to take your mind off the pending labor, you could always start looking into some good preschools for Colt. Because rumor has it that there is nothing worse than an unprepared parent.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Having a Pitty Potty

Are you up for a little potty talk?

This past May, Park started showing a lot of interest in, well, bathroom usages is the nicest way I know how to put it. We bought him a small potty and Chris discussed with him the basics, but being that he was about 21 months old and a boy, I really didn't foresee potty training in our near future. So, we were shocked to discover that from that day on, if his diaper was ever off when he "felt the urge" he took himself to the potty and produced.

Now, I have to admit I felt a little smug at that point. All my girlfriends had told me potty training would be a beating and to put it off until the child was either MORE than ready or needing to go to kindergarten, whichever came first. And yet, it appeared as if my sweet son had simply trained himself, at least in the urination department. Appeared being the opperative word.

Rookie Mom.

Panicking that my little baby was getting to be all grown up, I decided to hold off for a while before pursuing anything further. I was in no hurry to see him rush past another milestone and perhaps equally as important, force us to stop during long car trips. And since he only used the potty when his diaper was off, those occasions were few and far between.

Fast-forward 9 months.

A clue that it may be time to get serious about this potty training thing is my son now tells me, "I'm going to pooh-pooh. I'll be right back", as he heads off for some privacy in the closet.

Obviously, I am the pillar of perception.

But, try as I may to persuade him to take care of business on the potty, his answer always reflects something similar to that of thanks for the suggestion, Mom, but my diaper has worked well for the last 2 and 1/2 years of life, so why change up a good thing?

And although we still have "number 1" working for us when sporting the birthday suit, getting "number two" in the potty appears to be a distant dream. Which equals a slight problem when wearing the aformentioned suit around the house.

Hello Mr. Pull-Up.

While at Wal-mart buying the usual groceries and diaper supply, Park spied some Buzz Light Year pull-ups and found them to be irresistible. I agreed to buy them in lieu of the diapers, on the condition that he would keep them clean and dry. To both of which he agreed to try wholeheartedly.

He could hardly wait until we made it home to slip into his newfound undergarments and even used the potty before putting them on. While helping him get into them I began to tell him that these were special underwear made just for big boys. I explained that he wanted to keep his friend Buzz from getting wet or dirty by using the potty. I went on to tell him if he kept Buzz clean for an hour, we would get a special prize. My plan was to set the timer and ask him if he needed to potty around the thirty-minute mark.

He listened intently, with his little gaze locked on mine. At the end of my spiel he said, "OK, Mommy. I will take good care of Buzz!", and off he went to play. At the thirty minute mark I took him to the bathroom to no avail. I praised him for trying and reminded him to tell me if he needed to potty.

About 10 minutes shy of the hour marker, we were building blocks in his room when he jumped up and shouted, "OH, NO!!!"

I realized he was wet and tried to assure him that he was still learning, and we could get a new pull up and try again if he wanted.

Sadly, he shook his head no and stated very matter-of-factly, "It's too late. I drown Buzz in a fwud (flood)."

But before I could stop laughing comfort him , a huge smile replaced the formerly grim expression on his precious face.

"I know what to do!!!", he squealed with delight, "Let's build him an arc like Noah."

Judging from the fullness of that pull-up and the nastiness of the poopie that filled the one after that, Buzz may very well need a miracle to survive potty training.

And from the looks of it so far, so might I.

Perhaps we'll be taking the "more than ready or entering kindergarten" approach, after all.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

How Much Wood Could a Woodchuck Chuck...

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

...If a Woodchuck Could Chuck Wood?

Park loves trying to repeat that silly riddle and it makes me laugh just hearing his attempts. I especially like that each time after we do it, he finishes by saying, "Me and my Daddy chuck wood togever."

And, apparently if his Daddy is the aformentioned woodchuck, the answer to that question is...TONS!

For relaxation purposes some folks like to read or catch up on their favorite episodes of must see television. Others like to take long bubble baths while basking in candlelight and soft music.

And then there is hubby.

Nothing relaxes him more than the screeching sound of power tools. When he wants to unwind, he retreats to the workbench that he created in our garage. Sometimes disappearing for hours on end in the company of his sidekick apprentice (AKA Park), they eventually both resurface while sporting some type of new woodworking creation.

Now I have to admit that I feel like a bit of a cheater, linking this post to Tackle it Tuesday. After all, the only thing I seem to have accomplished is having good taste in husband selection. And technically even that was God's deal and not mine. But, since Chris doesn't have a blog of his own (which is a good thing considering how much he struggles just to read mine), I feel the need to give him some props for all the things he created this last week.

First up is a matching bench for our kitchen table:

Next, is a piece for our living room. He already made a simlar built-in bookshelf for a nook in this room previously (see below), so this is a different take on the same idea:
While we are in the kitchen, I'll throw in a pic of the under cabinet lighting that he installed last week. Keep in mind it was nearly impossible to get a clear shot of it. And last (but not least) is a magazine rack built in to the master bath wall.
Now, even though the rest of these projects were not constructed this week, I still wanted to share picures of some of my favorite things he has previously created. I mean since I'm already outside the boundaries of Tackle It Tuesday and all, I might as well just make up my own rules, too, right?

Here is the previously mentioned living room bookshelf:

Storage for the playroom:
An end table:
Storage for Park's current room:

If you're a single gal reading this blog, may I suggest to you that God can bring a HANDY hot Christian man into your life just as easily as he can bring a tool challenged one? Keeping in mind that God tells us to pray specifically, and all.

I think I just heard an AMEN from all the married woman out there who forgot to petition for that seemingly minor detail.

And if that's not enough to inspire you to go out and build something, or at the very least force your husband to do so, I should also mention that he is currently in the middle of some ongoing projects, as well. They include building bunk beds and a desk/cubby storage for Park's future big boy room, rebuilding a swing set, creating more storage in the garage, built-in surround sound speakers throughout the house, custom storage design system for the master closets and staining our fence.

It makes me tired just thinking about it.

As for me, I'm heading off for a relaxing bubble bath. I've come to accept that my soft music will inevitably be drowned out by the various sounds of power tools that are being operated by my little woodchucks.

Who knows, though? Gaining momentum from all the productivity seeping from my better half, I may even get crazy and clean the tub before soaking.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Having the Gift of Thrift

This last week was a bit of a whirlwind.

My parents came to visit and picked up my sis and her two boys on the way. When they usually head this direction, we spend our time visiting and taking the kids to do all sorts of fun stuff. But, for this specific trip I had another mission in mind.

My parents are in the process of having their house redecorated and some renovations done, but because they live in a small town where comparative shopping is not really an option, I felt the need to intervene. My plan was to hit up some large fabric wholesale stores, while hunting down mass amounts of accessories in a short amount of time. And I knew Challi would benefit since she is also redoing some rooms in her house, as well.

The tightwad in me just refused to let them all pay top dollar prices for things I knew we could find much cheaper here in "the city". Seeing as I am "Queen of the Bargain Hunt", a little elbow grease and a lot of pavement pounding is no obstacle for me.

The real challenge was keeping my family on task. Mom's focus tended to gravitate toward the grandkids, therefore forgetting the vast amount of swatches placed before us. Enter exhibit A:

Dad, on the other hand, seemed to agree to just about anything, simply to forgo the whole shopping experience. As for the little boys, they only wanted to participate if it included climbing on everything and running laps throughout each store. And Challi was simply oblivious to price tags, as long as the item fell in the general vicinity of being something she may or may not someday want. It seemed to be difficult for her to grasp the concept that we could find something equally as beautiful as it was monetarily appealing.

In her defense, having two young boys only 20 months apart, I think she just wanted to get her projects done while she had the chance to actually leave her house with assistance.

But, regardless, I began to lose heart when I realized that the only person not willing to shell out the cash for such overpriced items was the one person who was not actually shopping for anything herself. But I pressed on because I had made up my mind that whether they liked it or not, I was going to save them money.

We just needed a new plan of action.

Step 1:
With the exception of the bre*st-feeding baby, banish all children from coming with us, thus eliminating whining, staining of materials, breakage of valuables and an unfocussed Lolli. Step 2: Use Pops as the babysitter to keep him away from anything remotely resembling shopping. Step 3: Only take remaining family members to stores with very good prices to counter "overly willing to spend" sister. (Your welcome brother-in law)

And with that, we made some real progress. We shopped 'til we dropped or at least until Pops couldn't manage another episode of Barney.

Not only did we have so much fun together, but we successfully found designer quality for minimal prices. Mom, Dad, sis, and nephews left here Friday with enough fabric to sew a new living room and accessories to dramatically change up any remaining areas. We even threw in a trip to the Christmas warehouse that has now become one of my favorite places, where they all purchased face lifts for their holiday decor at 40% off.

Feeling pretty good about my penny-pinching gift, I was ready to declare that, "My work here is done."

Until I remembered my parents will be back in a few weeks to find more fabric for their kitchen. And Challi will be with them, ready to overspend on some new furniture for Krew's big boy room. It seems my work here has actually just begun.

Good thing this thrifty gal thrives on a challenge.