Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Learning the Secret

Philippians 4:12 (New International Version)

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

The Message:

I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

Though I am way behind on posting (and there is much to post about!), I thought I'd leave 2008 with a topic that has been close to my heart all year long:

Contentment.

In this crazy stuff-obsessed world, it's hard to focus on what we have now, and be thankful for it. We always want more, think we need more, try to get more, when in actuality, we get along just fine with what we have.  

I freely admit that wanting more is a struggle for me.  And if it's not for you, then I'd love to talk to you and find out the secret you're keeping from the rest of us.  

The things that top my wants list are:

-a bigger, more beautiful house
-my own car
-more furniture (to put where? I do not know, yet I still want more!)
-more decorations (echo the above side note)
-new clothes
-new shoes
-new accessories (even though I do not accessorize much since having children)
-more time (not a tangible thing, but a want nonetheless)

I could keep listing things but you get the idea.  I want more.  Bigger, better, newer.  Gimme it all.

And yet, when I take a step back and really assess things, I find that I don't need any more than I've already got.

I have a beautiful house, and though it is small and needs updating, God Himself provided it for me and my budding family for this season of our lives.  Why should I want anything else?

I have a car when I need it, and for right now it's working out OK.

Since I have a small house, I have no room for more furniture or decorations.  I've got what I need here, and I get compliments all the time on how cozy my house feels.  I must be doing something right.

I am clothed daily, and if you notice otherwise, please quietly take me aside and get me some help.  :)  I may not have the latest wardrobe or the cutest new accessories, and my 3 pairs, yes you read that right, 3 pairs of shoes have been keeping my feet dry just fine for the past few years.  I'm doing OK.  And when I'm in the size I want to be (which is a whole 'nother contentment issue!) and my feet stop growing during pregnancies, then I'll go shopping.  And I'll tell you right now, I'm gonna love every minute of it.

For now, though, I'm OK.  I've got everything I need.  And, if I really have my game face on for the day, I'm quick to realize that having everything I want doesn't mean I'll be happier, wiser or even totally content.  It just means, frankly, that I'll have more stuff.

To sum up for 2008, I've got it all.  I really do.  A husband who adores me, 2 healthy, fun and stinkin' cute kids, friends who accept me at my best and worst, family who loves me, a warm house, food to eat, clothes to wear, and even some sparkly jewels are among my list of haves. But the best thing I could ever have, and am so undeserving of, is a Savior who loves me beyond what I deserve, and who walks with me every single day of my life.  He gives me what I need, what I want--in His timing, and hope for the future.  

In 2009, I want to rest in that.

Here's to a new year of learning the secret of being content, whatever the circumstances.

Philippians 4:8 (New International Version):

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8 (The Message):

Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

WFMW: Cheesy Vegetable Chicken Chowder

I got this recipe from a friend of mine while living in MD, and finally tried it the other day.  It was delicious and works for me because it's super easy and the ingredients are ones that I usually have on hand.  I will make this again and again, it was just so yummy.  Give it a try and enjoy!

1/2 c chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
celery salt or powder to taste
3/4 c sliced carrots
2 c chopped, peeled potatoes (I didn't peel mine)
5 c chicken broth*
1 17oz can whole kernel corn, drained
1/4 c melted butter
1/4 c flour
2 c warm milk
salt & pepper
1/8 t paprika
1 2oz jar pimento
8oz cheddar cheese
2 c chopped, cooked chicken

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large stock pot.  Simmer covered, until potaotes are tender.  Stir in corn.  

Blend butter and flour in a medium sauce pan.  Stir in warm milk (warm so it won't curdle) gradually.  Stirring constantly, cook over medium heat until thickened.  Add salt, pepper, paprika, pimento, cheese and chicken.  Cook until cheese melts, stirring constantly.  Stir into vegetable mixture.

My recipe says to serve with sweet vermouth and top with fresh parsley and cayenne pepper.  I didn't have any of those and it still tasted great.  Definately serve with fresh bread, though!  It's a real winner.

*(I didn't have 5 c of chicken broth on hand, but did have some chicken base "boullion".  It's called Better Than Boullion and it's made from chicken meat with natural juices.  I saw it at Wegmans and decided to give it a try.  So glad I did because I will use it all the time and not have to worry about ever having enough broth around.  This works great and is full of flavor, so much better than salty ol' boullion.  I definately recommend it.)





(I put the large orange next to the jar for size comparisons.  It's an 8oz jar and makes 9.5 qts of broth.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Shhh!

I have a little secret to tell.  And when I'm done, feel free to tell another tired Mommy all about it!  

I went out to shop a few Friday's ago, but not to buy anything in particular.  I just needed to get out.  Jeff got the boys fed and tucked in for the night while I was gone, and I was able to walk around stores aimlessly just to see what there was without any care in the world!

My first stop was Toys 'R Us/Babies 'R Us.  I had to get a bottle brush.  Yep, back to the old fashioned cleaning helpers since we live without a dishwasher.  Did you read that?  We live without a dishwasher.  Don't ask me how.  I do not recommend it.  And no, that's not the secret.

So, I quickly located the bottle brush and decided I'd check out some toys in preparation for Jak's birthday and the soon-to-follow Christmas holiday.  Who knew that a Friday night would mean madness in a toy store?  All I could think of was, "Is this where people go on a Friday night?  Is this what I've been missing out on for the past 3 years without a car???"

I mosey'd on down the aisles, becoming well acquainted with all things Little People.  Then I went over to the toy kitchens, trying to decide if Jak would actually play with one for more than a day.  I decided that he wouldn't.  I looked at Thomas stuff, wagons, blocks, puzzles, stuffed animals (like we need any more of those!) and blocks.  Made some mental notes and made it through the maze of people (again, is this what people do on Friday nights?!) to the register.

From there, I went to Starbucks to have a yummy chai, and popped into Old Navy and JoAnn's, just to look.  It has been so long since I've been able to just look at things.  I either have a time frame (nursing or sharing a car is not conducive to just looking), or a baby or toddler or husband just looking right alongside of me.  I looked at clothes.  I looked at Christmas ornaments.  I looked at wreaths and garlands and pretty topiaries.  I called each of my sisters to tell them I found garlands for their mantels (seperate garlands, each to match thier own style of decor).  I looked at picture frames, of which I need many.  I looked at stamping stuff and fun papers.  I just looked at everything!!!  

And friends, it was pure bliss.

I decided I needed some more bliss so I went on to AC Moore.  Looked at a lot more stuff there, and I actually bought something!  My Secret Sister from MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) surprised me with an AC Moore gift card so I went and carefully chose a tart warmer to melt all of my Yankee Tarts in this winter.  I keep getting these awesome coupons for Yankee Candles but since we are monitoring every dime that comes and goes as we revise our family budget and accounting system, the coupons end up getting passed on to other lucky YC lovers and I am left with a non-scented house.  Well, a non-holiday scented house.  So, I was excited for my find after looking at the entire store wondering what I'd use my gift card on.

The clerk came on the intercom at approximately 9:25 to let us shoppers know they'd be closing in 5 mintues.  I made my way slowly up to the register, bought my tart warmer and cheerfully trekked back to my car.  

As I walked in the house with a smile on my face, I put my Wife and Mom hat back on and breathed a sigh of relief.  Who knew 3 hours of alone time, a warm drink and a $5 tart warmer could rejuvinate even the most tired of Mommies?  

There you have it.  Take it for what it's worth.  I'm passing my "secret" along to you and encouraging you to get out for a few hours...you know, just to look.  


Friday, November 21, 2008

You Know You're Doing OK When...

...you are preparing dinner in the kitchen while your two kids play in the living room and you hear the older one say, promptly after the baby sneezes, "Bless You, Gon-boy!"

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Sweet Boy of Mine

Dear Jak,

Since the moment I knew of your presence, you have captured my heart. I promise you'll have it always, until the end of time.

730 days have passed since I first laid my eyes upon yours, and in that instant, a dream came true: I became a Mother.

We have a lot of fun together, you and I. And my hope is that we will continue to, even as you grow older and the challenges become greater. I want you to always know how loved you are, how wanted you were and are and always will be, and how I cherish my moments with you each day.

I look forward to the sound of your voice calling out my name as you wake with the morning light. I savor the wide smile on your face as you charge at me, arms extended, ready to throw them around my neck and squeeze! I love your wet kisses, and your hearty giggle. I love to tuck you in at night and kiss your sweetly scented blond head while I whisper "I love you" into your ear.

Even in the tough times, the times where you cry on the outside and I cry on the inside for having to discipline you (because I know how hard it is to obey even when you don't want to), I cherish you. Because I know that I am helping to mold a heart that hopefully will one day follow hard after God, and obey Him--even when it's tough.

You are a little boy now, Jak. No longer my "Baby Jak" but now my "Jak-man". You sleep in a big boy bed, you now sit at the table with Daddy and I instead of a high chair, you have a new carseat that will last until you're 7(!) and you'll soon be using the potty all the time. You are a curious, playful, fun-loving little boy. And as I sit and write about all of the changes this birthday brings, I look back in wonder and awe at that day two years ago, when you blessed our life so abundantly.

And I cry tears of joy, just like I did that day.

Thank you for being mine, sweet baby of mine. Thank you for making me a Mommy.



Wednesday, November 12, 2008

WFMW--Holiday Traditions

My edition of Works for Me Wednesday is backwards for today.  

With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, I've been thinking constantly about traditions.  Jeff and I both bring different traditions to the table, and now that we have two little ones around, we want to be able to incorporate some of those into our family, as well as some new ones, too.  I love to hear about how others celebrate in/with their families, and am hoping to glean some ideas for things that we can incorporate into our own family as our boys grow.  We are anticipating a very exciting Christmas this year with Jak turning two, and being able to understand things a *bit* better, and although he won't fully understand much of it yet, nor will he remember it, we'd like to start to try to be intentional about how we do things for various holidays.
 
Some thoughts to get you started are:
 
-New Year's Eve/Day--any special things to do with your kids; ex:  a goal jar to be opened at the end of that new year, to see if any/all goals were accomplished
 
-Valentine's Day--is this a fun holiday for you or just a "Hallmark" holiday that passes by?  If it's fun, why?
 
St. Patrick's Day
 
Easter--Resurrection Eggs? Easter Bunny? Easter Baskets?  Easter Egg Hunt?
 
Memorial Day/Veteran's Day
 
4th of July
 
Mother's Day/Father's Day/Grandparent's Day
 
1st Day of School/Fall--Apple Picking?  Pumpkin Patch?  Harvest Party?
 
Halloween--do you do it?  Why or why not?
 
Thanksgiving--Soup Kitchen?  Giving an entire meal to a needy family? 
 
Christmas--the big one:  Santa or not, and WHY or WHY NOT (this is a big one for me!)?  Advent Calendar?  Advent Wreath?  Jesse Tree?  Stockings?  Cutting your own Tree?  Open presents on Christmas Eve or not?  Cookies?  Gingerbread Houses?  Driving to look at lights?  Caroling?  Trimming the Tree?  Soup Kitchen?  Angel Tree or Operation Shoebox at church?
 
Please feel free to add any other holidays or traditions that I might have missed or don’t know about!  And if it applies, please tell me how you incorporate your Faith into the tradition.
 
I am so eager to hear your responses.  I truly look forward to reading them all, and possibly incorporating them into our bag of traditions!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Baby Steps

I didn't think it would be so hard.

I didn't think my eyes would get wet.

I didn't think I'd take pictures to capture the sweet blonde head of hair sticking out from under the covers.

I didn't think I'd question our decision.

I didn't think it would be so hard...

...to let go.

My baby boy is now in a big boy bed.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

With each step forward out of babyhood and total dependency comes a furthering distance between a child and his parents. It's exciting to watch yet it's bittersweet. How much do we want our children to become intelligent, well-rounded, responsible people? Yet when they are fast on their way to becoming that, we watch from the sidelines, hoping they don't stumble, hoping they won't get hurt, holding our breath with every moment.

I feel like I've been doing that a lot lately. I am reliving all of Jak's early firsts through John, and it's wonderful. But as I bask in the memories of a happy baby boy growing up, I also realize that it's happening faster than I'd like it to.

I'm glad it doesn't all happen at once. Honestly, I don't think I could handle it. I just keep reminding myself....baby steps, Kel. Baby steps.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Firstborn

I got this survey in an email from my friend, Melissa, and thought it'd be fun to use to start a meme.  If you so desire, feel free to call yourself "tagged" and play along!  Answer the questions below about having your firstborn and tag others when you're done:

1. Were you married at the time? yes

2. What were your reactions when you found out you were pregnant?  I got teary and was so happy, but yet couldn't believe that it was actually happening to me even thought I thought that I probably was!

3. How did you find out you were pregnant?  a routine physical at the dr.'s office...I told her I was late and so they did a test and not 3 minutes after the dr. came in to do the physical the nurse knocked on the door, the dr. went out and came right back in with a smile on her face and said, "Kelly, you are pregnant!"
4. Who did you tell first?  since Jeff was getting a physical at the same time, he found out when I did.  So, then we told his sister Jennifer because we were meeting her for lunch and wanted her to know first!
5. Did you want to find out the sex?  I didn't want to but Jeff wanted to.
6. Due date?  November 8, 2006
7. Did you deliver early or late?  10 days "late"
8. Did you have morning sickness? no
9. What did you crave?  Ice cream 
10. Who irritated you the most!  No one, really.
11. What was your first child's sex?  Male
12. How many pounds did you gain throughout the pregnancy?  39
13. Did you have any complications during your pregnancy?  No, I was very blessed with healthy and easy pregnancies both times
14. Where did you give birth?  At home, on the bed
15. How many hours were you in labor?  almost 14
16. Who drove you to the hospital?  Ha!
17. Who watched?  Jeff, my Mom, my friend Kelly and our 2 midwives
18. Was it natural or c-section?  all natural
19. Did you take medicine to ease the pain?  no
20. How much did your child weigh?  7 pounds, 7 ounces
21. Did your child have any complications?  no
22. What did you name him/her?  Jeffery Alan Knapp, II  (nickname:  JAK)
23. How old is your first born today?  will be 2 years old in a few short weeks!  My how time flies.
24. Who does your child look like?  a great mix of both of us

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Toddlerspeak

Jak is in full talk mode these days so here are some things that he says in case you can't figure out what's coming out of his mouth if/when he talks to you (emphasis added where necessary):  

gICKin  (chicken)
peeee  (piggy)
peas  (please)
muah  (thank you--he still signs this word but now it has the added effect of blowing a kiss)
gonbooyy!!  (John-boy)
raous  (flowers)
buusch  (spoon--don't ask me where he got that one from!?)
beer  (bear)
beeps/beets--depending on the day  (bib)
helpee  (help)
godods  (donuts)
wawa  (water)
siy-siy  (outside)
puple!  (football)
key  (kitty)
budy  (birdy)
meets  (music)
pay  (pray)
gumPIN  (pumpkin)
peopo  (people)
anmals  (animals)

People:
Awss  (Alex, his cousin)
Teetci  (Tracy, his aunt)
Geff  (Jeff [Jak likes to mimic me!])
Kaiyee  (Kelly [he actually will call me that when addressing me!])
Soshine  (Sonja Lee from Fisher-Price Little People)
Nisan  (Nathan, his cousin)
Yeesha  (Lisa, his aunts)
Sera  (Sarah, his cousin)
Masshew  (Matthew, his cousin)
Eek  (Eric, his cousin)
Emee  (Emily, his aunt)
Gen  (Jenn, his aunt)
Sofie  (Grandma's dog Sofie, and his friend, Sofia)
Deba  (Grandpa & Grandma Dennis' dog, Reba)
Oui-Oui or Oui-Ouis  (Louise, our friend)
GAK!  (Jak, of course!)

This kid is so cute, we can't get enough of him!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween 2008

Jeff and I had so much fun this year, celebrating Halloween with our little kiddos.  John just smiled the day away, as always (so thankful for that boy--he is such a joy and so easy!), and Jak was really into the Trick-or-Treating once he understood that when you said it--or something that sounded somewhat like it--you got treats in your bucket!  

We went over to my sister's house early in the afternoon, to visit with Steve who is home on leave from Afghanistan.  Thier neighborhod held a party so that everyone could see him because my sister banished everyone from visiting or calling while he's home.  I don't blame her.  I mean, they have a lot of reconnecting to do, especially as he gets acquainted with his new daughter whom he met for the first time as he got off the airplane!  

So, we went and had a garbage can turkey (ever have one of those?  It's completely cooked in a metal garbage can--a clean one, of course!), which was delicious, and some other yummy goodies.  Then it was time to get the kids in their costumes and off we went!  John ended up falling asleep on my Mom's lap for a while, so we took Jak alone.  He was a bit confuesed at first, but it didn't take long for the concept to take hold.

After each house put a treat in his bucket, he'd shout, "Mo' teets!"  The treat givers got a real kick out of that.  :)  We ended up doing the entire street, minus the cul-de-sac.  That's around 25 houses for those little frog legs!  By the end, he was walking...real...slow...and once we got back to Tracy's he lost it.  We did what any normal parents would do in a situation like that.  We gave him some mo' teets!

He got a second wind shortly after and started wrestling a bit with Daddy.  When we finally packed up and got ready to leave, he was in a zombie-ish state, and we called it a night.  A really fun night.  


And The Winner Is...

Jak chose the Froggy as soon as I put it on, way back when!  He is a boy who knows what he wants!  And apparently he has good taste, since the majority of you voted for the Frog as well!  Thanks for your votes and comments, it was fun to see what everyone thought!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Technical Difficulties

I am having some trouble uploading pics from our Halloween festivities using our new Picasa program. Please check back tomorrow! They'll be worth it -- 2 cuties pies will be all over this blog!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Vote Is In!

There are just a few days left until Halloween is here!  We are all ready to head to my sisters to go Trick-or-Treating this year.  Both boys have their costumes ready and I can't wait to take pictures of them!  Last year, Jak was a teddy bear and he was barely walking!  I have pictures of him sitting in the grass looking at the big kids running around and this year he'll be one of the big kids!  Time flies when you're having fun, and that, we are.

We got pretzels and fruit snacks duty this year to hand out to the little ones; Tracy has candy duty for the big kids.  I'm gonna make sure we get lots of both!  For Jak, of course... 

As for the costume vote:  A whopping 80% voted on the Frog for Jak-man!  As I said before, he picked out which one he wanted to wear when I tried them on him, but I just wanted to see what you all thought.  Both were cute, weren't they?  Stay tuned to find out what he chose, and see the real live Halloween pics right here!

Happy Halloween to you all!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Big Vote 2008

Obama? McCain? Chicken? Frog? So many decisions this year.

Well, the Presidential one was quite easy for me, but I need a little bit of help with what Jak should be for Halloween.

Do you like the Funky Chicken?

Or do you like the Froggy Legs?


Vote now and may the best man, er, animal win!

Disclaimer: Jak will actually choose and I'm not telling which one he's leaning towards, but I thought it'd be fun to see what you all think! Leave me a note after you vote!

Warm Fuzzies, et al.

I am sitting here in my living room, enjoying the the beautiful sun shining through the picture window. It was quite chilly this morning, and I wondered if our Fall was already over and Old Man Winter was quickly approaching. But now, the sun is back out and it feels so good. I'm so cozy I could sit here all day and soak in the heat and brightness from the sun as it cascades over the room; it's so inviting right now. I've got my Fall decorations out and I'm feeling all homey. If you know me at all, you know that Fall is by far, my favorite season. So, I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy inside right now and could stay in this place all day long. Ahh, the house, the clean rooms, the quiet hum of the laundry machines, the candle burning, the--

--back to reality. The kids are sleeping and they'll soon be up! Blog fast! Blog fast!

OK, so if you scroll down a bit you'll notice that Jak spoke his first 3 word sentence just a few hours ago. This is a big deal for us! He is talking all the time and we've heard 2 word sentences like, "Bye, Daddy.", "Help, Mommy.", "Hug Baby.", and my favorite, "All Done!". But we are in all new territory today! As much as I love all the baby stages, I am looking forward to being able to have conversations with my little buddy!

Jak also has a daily routine of bringing out every single stuffed animal that he owns, along with ones that he doesn't own (his brother's), and putting them in the living room. One by one, he brings them out, and throws them into a pile. I don't much mind this daily occurrence because it he enjoys it (read: frees up Mommy to quick do something around the house!). Yesterday, as we were getting ready for lunch and naps, I told him to put his animals away. He refused. I told him again. "No." Then I told him that his animals had to take a nap so he needed to put them away. Eagerly, one by one, the animals went back to his room and settled in for their nap.

Who knew a simple spin on words would work wonders and avoid an all out meltdown?

As for John-boy, he went to the Dr. yesterday for his 4 month check--up. 4 months, people! Where does the time go???

The report was good, just as I figured. He is weighing in at 19.12 pounds! Yep, you read that right, almost 20 pounds. The Dr. said I have amazing breast milk. Well, what can I say? Pretty soon I'm gonna have amazing biceps too! This kid is h-e-a-v-y! He's 27 inches long, too. So, he's in the 98.97 percentile for weight and 94 percentile for height. I'm going to have to start pushing the recruiters away from our house soon if he keeps this up!

I also have some exciting-to-me news that I will share with you, but not for about 8-10 weeks yet. Since a previous post I wrote caused quite the stir among some family folks, I will spare you some suspense and let you know that no, I'm not pregnant. At least not that I know of. And if I am and don't know it yet, then forget the exciting news in 8-10 weeks because it'll be put to the back-burner until God knows when.

That's it for now. I'm off to wash the floor. More on that later.

What's It Gonna Take? The 'Me vs. We' War

I thought I'd share a BreakPoint Commentary that I heard today, from Chuck Colson. I like to listen to him because many of his commentaries encourage me to think beyond the surface of current issues and look deeper at the impact that these issues have on people all over the world.

"On Monday, the House of Representatives surprised its leaders, the administration, and, most of all, the financial community by rejecting the agreed-upon financial rescue plan. The bill will be debated again tomorrow.

Two-thirds of all Republicans and two-fifths of all Democrats voted against the plan, with predictable results. The markets tanked around the world. We saw a record 777-point drop in the Dow Jones and the worst one-day loss in the S&P 500 since the 1930s. The market recovered somewhat yesterday, but the credit crisis remains.

The explanation of why 228 representatives risked a meltdown in financial markets could be expressed in another set of numbers: Phone calls and emails from their constituents opposed the measure by a 100-to-1 margin.

Now to be sure, some, like my friend Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana, opposed the rescue measure on principle. But many who voted against the bill merely reflected the will of their constituents, who wondered why their money should be used to take other people off the hook.

A very telling poll revealed that 25 percent of those polled favored the measure, 25 percent had no opinion, and the rest opposed it, largely on the grounds that it didn’t affect them or wasn’t their fault. And given what we saw on the television news, for once I believe the polls. The typical man-on-the-street interview went something like this: “The bailout won’t help me! You bet I’m against it.”

Frankly, I was appalled. I can’t help but think that these results illustrate how far we’ve gone down the path of viewing all politics and all of life as “what’s in it for me.”

As many have tried to explain, what is happening on Wall Street affects what happens on Main Street. As I record this, millions of Americans, living far from Manhattan, are measurably poorer as a result of what has been happening in financial markets.

So instead of asking “how is the common good best served?” we look to our own interest, even at the risk of a “decade of little or no economic growth” and a meltdown of the global financial system.

It isn’t only our lack of concern of the common good that disturbs me. It’s also our lack of accountability. I spoke with a very intelligent young banker recently who told me that he encounters it all the time. During his time in risk management, he never heard anybody in foreclosure say, “I made a mistake taking that mortgage. It was too big.”

Instead of acknowledging their accountability—their responsibility to pay the debt—they just shrugged it off, merely mailing the key back to the mortgage holder. Contrast that with a biblical sense of responsibility, of paying your debts.

But this isn’t just about finances. No great civilization has ever been built, or maintained, on the basis “what’s in it for me?” That idea cannot demand, much less inspire, the necessary sacrifices to keep a civilization great, or even healthy—there’s nothing to aspire to apart from fleeting self-satisfaction.

As I said, I respect the principled opposition to the rescue plan by some members. But the fate of the economy is hanging in the balance. If the American people can’t look beyond the “me” and see the “we” with this much at stake, then much more than our retirement funds and our bank accounts are at risk."

WOW!

Jak just said his first 3 word sentence: "Mommy eat cake!"

Hmm...is it that obvious that I like cake?! Don't answer that.

Actually, it was he who was eating the cake, not me. He was just offering to share. 'Atta boy!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"Trust Me."

7ish in the morning, I wake with a sense of purpose for the day. I have a dentist appointment and some other errands to run, so I'm up and at 'em early so that I can get on the road on time.

Jeff lay sprawled out on our bed, breathing deeply and soundly. Jak is in his room, and I tiptoe around the bedroom into the hallway so as not to wake him.

My heart beats fast because I don't know what the next few minutes will bring.

I am nervous. Excited. Impatient.

My cycles were normal up to this point. Now I'm late. I have to take this test, this test that I've put out of my mind for over a week because I couldn't believe that we could be at this point already. I scramble around for it in the drawer, again trying not to wake my boys. I do not want Jeff to know until I know. I can't believe I've even kept it from him thus far.

I pee. I sit. I wait. I watch.

Two lines.

TWO LINES.

Oh my gosh, what are we going to do?! I smile at the wall, now knowing that there is another life inside of me, knowing that my inkling has become a reality, knowing that God has blessed us again without us even asking. Then, the tears come.

Am I really doing this? I am crying because I'm pregnant? What is wrong with me? I have dreamed all my life for these moments, moments in the stillness knowing that I am going to be a Mother. I can't believe I am crying!

These are not tears of joy. They are tears of fear.

What are we going to do? We aren't even sure where we are going to live, what Jeff is going to do with his job, what our goals are for next year! I haven't lost weight yet, I still want to get healthier before another baby.

And yet, I am excited in the midst of the fear tears.

I hear Jak stirring in the next room. Still in shock, I glance at the test and hide it away before Jeff sees it. I have to figure out how I'm going to tell him.

Jak is up, talking away, ready for me to greet him.

I leave the shade closed, the light off. I pick him up, my sweet, smiling boy. Mmm, you smell so good. Ok, I can do this again. He smiles at me. I whisper to him that he is going to be a big brother. The first to know after me. He smiles again. I hold him tight. My sweet baby boy.

We begin our routine: down the stairs and into the kitchen for milk, then into his seat for breakfast. I wander around aimlessly. It is over half an hour before I actually get him something to eat. I'm pregnant. I'm pregnant. I'm pregnant. This thought consumes me.

7:36 am I call my friend. I tell her through the fear tears, and she reassures me that God has ordained this moment, and He is in control. All I need to know is that there is a baby being created in my womb. He'll work out the details of all of my questions.

Jeff comes downstairs, greets us and sits for breakfast. I am quiet. Too quiet, I think, but he doesn't notice. Maybe he just thinks that I'm tired.

Still uncertain of how I will tell him, I decide that I will wait until Sunday to tell him, once he is back from his trip. That will give me a few days to let it sink in, and come up with a thoughtful way to share the news. I can do this. I can wait. And if I wait, then I can also pray that he'll be delighted and not scared like me. I can pray for God to prepare his heart in these next few days.

10ish am I am pregnant. I am pregnant. I am pregnant. It's the only thought running through my head. I smile and nod when spoken to, and I offer Jak some toys so that I don't look completely out of it in front of Jeff. I must not tell him yet. What if he's upset? Not ready? Afraid of the uncertainty surrounding us, like I am?

He speaks of his upcoming trip and asks me a question. Silence. He asks again. "What, honey?, I say." He asks again. "I'm pregnant."

I stand and wait. He looks at me from his seat, glances at my belly, looks up at me again and smiles one of the biggest smiles I've ever seen. He jumps from his seat, takes 2 steps to where I am, and says, "Really?!" "Yes."

I wait.

He takes me quickly in his arms and gives me a tight hug. I cry. I am relieved. I am overwhelmed. I am elated. The fear tears are gone and have been replaced with tears of pure joy, because we are having another child, because my husband is exactly the man that I need, exactly the man that I want. We are blessed. I am blessed.

I ask him my questions. I tell him my fears. He assures me that everything will be fine, it will all work out. I believe him. I trust him. I am so happy that I couldn't hold it in, because his reaction was exactly what I needed, and God knew that. He had prepared Jeff's heart before I could even pray about it, but He also prepared mine, if only I'd have stopped fretting.

"Trust Me, Kelly. Trust Me.", He echoed in my soul.

******************************************************************************
My sweet baby boy is 4 months old today. It was 1 year ago today that I found out he was coming.


"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song." -Psalm 28:7

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

WFMW

This week's tip is sure to help when you've got yucky, stuck-on food all over your microwave and you have finally made up your mind to clean it up no matter how long it takes.

Lucky for you, it'll only take a few minutes if you follow my instructions:

Fill a small to medium sized glass bowl with water and add some fresh cut lemon (a half or less will do). If you want to be sassy, you can even squeeze it into the water first, but it's not necessary. If you're out of fresh lemons, then just add some lemon juice, but it might not be as fragrant as the fresh one.

Put prepared bowl into the microwave and run it for about 5 minutes.

Once finished, carefully remove the very hot bowl and wipe down the microwave with paper towels or a washcloth to remove all the gunk. The steam softens the mess and removal is super easy! No scrubbing, scraping or screaming need be involved!

That always works for me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

My "Hometown Hero"

I had planned on posting this first thing this morning but our day was terribly chaotic. Though no longer the 19th of September over in Afghanistan, the sentiments are still the same.
**********************************************************************************
We met Steve when we moved into the house across the street from where he lived. It was a new neighborhood for us, and we were certain to make friends with the many kids our age there. Little did we know, moving onto that street was just a tiny piece of the puzzle that was to become our lives.

Stephen was the redheaded kid on the block. The middle child of a family of six, Steve was friendly, polite, and even somewhat shy when he was in my sister's presence. He was a typical boy, outside doing chores or playing whatever game of the day in the street, not to mention teasing people (me!) constantly. Yet, he'd be the first to stand up to a bully if there happened to be one around. Even though I knew that the tables could turn on me and I could soon be his object of torture, I felt safe when he was around.

I'm not sure exactly when it all happened, but he fast fell in love with my sister. He was 13.

I remember him bringing her flowers all the time, and the beautiful jewelry gifts she'd get for birthdays and holidays. Precious Moments were "in" back then and Tracy had at least 20 from him alone, all cutely displayed in her room as a testament of his love for her. While they dated, I learned a lot about the kind of man that I wanted to find by the way Stephen treated my sister: one that would fight for me, romance me, love me with total and utter abandon.

We all knew they'd get married, it was just a matter of time. It took almost 2 years to plan the wedding and in May of 1996, Tracy and Steve said their vows to love, honor and cherish one another no matter what.

12 years of marriage, 5 houses, 4 kids and 2 dogs later, they are still going strong.

This picture was taken 3 years ago at our wedding.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here are a few stories about Steve that I cherish.

While nannying in CT, I decided to take a trip to visit he and my sister where they were stationed in MD. After the funniest of travel stories (of which I will spare you during this post), Steve picked me up at the Baltimore train station. It was around 6am and he took a wrong turn. So, here we are, driving around in the purple minivan dubbed the "Plumvee" (Humvee, get it?) in the middle of the ghetto. And I mean the ghett-0. I could sense Steve was a bit lost--and nervous, when I spotted him out of the corner of my eye looking frantically around for some familiar route. I asked him, "Do you know where you're going?" "Kel, we're lost. We're in the ghetto. We gotta get out NOW." Did I feel safe then? Not so much. But, the the feeling returned once we arrived safely home.

Fast forward a few years. I'm living back in NY in my own home, pre-marriage days. I just cooked a scrumptious meal and had leftovers to take care of. Wait, did I say scrumptious? OK, not this story. This story's meal consisted of meat that was eaten (because, perhaps it was scrumptious),and a side dish of cabbage completely raw after hours of cooking. I'm not quite sure what I did wrong, but it doesn't matter. I put the cabbage, raw cabbage, down the toilet, because I remember my Mom sending us to the toilet with leftovers to flush down when I was young. Don't ask me why we did this, because it's not a practice that I'd recommend. Ah, I digress... So I flushed down my lousy meal's leftovers and ended up clogging the toilet. I mean, really clogging the toilet. Jeff and I both tried to fix it and it. wouldn't. budge. I called Steve, the master fixer upper of all things screwy, and he reluctantly came over after about 10 minutes of phone coaching to get the darn cabbage down! I can't quite put into words the looks that I got when he arrived--or when he left, but I can say that he and Jeff were able to help the cabbage along and the toilet was in working order again, less a few scratches from the 30 minute snaking. I am laughing just writing this.

Then there are the countless times he threw me into the swimming pool, fully clothed from my nicely styled hair down to my shoes...

But my favorite memory of my brother-in-law is this one:

After quite possibly the most crushing time in my family's life, Stephen offered me a sense of protection that still lingers to this day. I was sitting in my brother's living room, and the day was nearing an end. My Mom and siblings were present and red-eyed from crying, and Stephen walked into the room. He walked right up to me, whose head was down because I was afraid and embarrassed and stunned, and gave me the biggest bear hug ever. He cried and told me that he was sorry for what had happened, and that it would never, ever happen again. I believed him. I felt safe again. I felt as if my fears were gone because there was this man holding on to me so tightly, who loved my sister more than life and loved me just by association, and he wouldn't let anything happen to us ever again. By his simple gesture of a strong embrace, I felt so loved and cared for despite the turmoil surrounding us.

And today, I can say that I continue to feel loved and cared for by him despite the turmoil surrounding us all.


Steve is at war, in Afghanistan, right now. Today is his 35th birthday. And though I'd rather he be here in the states enjoying normalcy with his wife, boys and newborn daughter, I know that he is over there serving his country with honor and pride.

I look forward to seeing him soon, to introducing his namesake and my son, John Stephen, and to knowing that he is far from battle in the Middle East. But until then, I pray that God will keep him safe and keep him strong.

Happy Birthday, Steve. We miss you and we love you. Jeff reminds you to "Keep it between the ditches!"

Monday, September 15, 2008

The State of Maryland

So what began as a quick trip to MD to visit while Jeff headed on to NC has been a wonderful reuniting with family and friends.

We are into our third day and although we are busy, things are going very smoothly, especially with the two little ones.

We arrived late Friday evening/very early Saturday morning. We didn't exactly intend on leaving so late but it actually worked out much better that way because the boys slept most of the way. There was some fog along the way but I chose to shut my eyes and trust Jeff to get us through it intact. (I hate fog while driving at night. Or maybe I just hate that when there is fog at night, my husband just plows right through it. Eek!) Good choice for me because instead of getting a stomach full of knots, I was able to catch some zzz's.

On Saturday we played with Grandma (Grandpa has been in LA) and got settled in before heading out at night to visit our dear friends, the Phipp's. We went to their house for dinner, and as usual, Belle made us feel like Royalty with her spread. Who knew that 7 layer salad and rigatoni could be so fancy? Love that girl. We share the same affection for hospitality and all things pretty, monogrammed and matching so we became fast friends. :) She was actually one of my only friends here in MD. I often talk about "my 3 friends" when I reference living in MD and she is one of them. In fact, I believe she may have been the first!

Sunday was a full day spent greeting acquaintances at our old church, and then heading out to Queenstown to see our old neighbors. That was fun! We hung out with neighbors Vance and Gina, and the kids played together. I met Gina shortly after she found out she was pregnant with her second child, Emma. Three short months later, I was telling her that I was pregnant with my second child! Since our boys are only 3 weeks apart it was very easy for us to become friends and relate to life with a baby-turned-toddler while being pregnant. Gina was also wonderful in helping me to get out for a bit here and there by lending me her sweet new Honda minivan and taking Jak for a few hours here and there. I am still so thankful to her for her willingness to ease the burden of loneliness while we lived here. I really believe the second year spent here was so much better in part by having a friend in such close proximity. You can't get too much closer than 3 houses down!

It was neat to go over the bridge (without summer traffic!) and to see all the sailboats in the Bay. The scenery is so beautiful and though I always thought it was beautiful when we lived here, knowing that we are where we belong, I now was able to see the beauty and enjoy it rather than wishing ourselves to be somewhere else. I have a lot to process about this trip and we're only a few days in!

Today we met up with another couple that is very special to us, the Lumley's. We cared for Abigayle quite a bit last year and she and Jak got to be good toddler friends. ;) We affectionately call them each others' boyfriend and girlfriend. The now 7 of us met at The Breakfast Shoppe and enjoyed some mostly adult conversation while the little ones played with their food. Alysia became my 3rd friend here in MD and I'm happy to say that although I had few friendships here, the ones that I was blessed with are ones that I believe will follow me for many years.

The rest of the day was spent playing with Grandma and napping. Yes, napping! I actually got a 2 hour nap! Have I mentioned how wonderful it is to have live in help? JoAnn has been wonderful with the kiddos. It's great to have a constant set of hands that aren't yours! Don't get me wrong, Jeff does his share, but it is quite different with a woman, another mother. Quite wonderful!

The rest of our days here will be spent with Belle, Alysia, and Gina, and spending time with Aunt Jenn before she leaves for CA. Grandma and Grandpa get first dibs on everything, of course, but luckily for me they go to work so I'm able to see some people while they are busy. We'll also be getting Jak out to play. I think we're going to the zoo once Daddy gets back! If so, I'll be sure to post some good pics. I do hope to stop in and surprise my awesome friend and midwife, Evelyn, so that she can see Jak and now little John-boy. I suppose it's not going to be much of a surprise if she happens to read this. Oh well.

As you can see, I'm not much in the mood for story telling tonight, and this post is more of an update on our trip than anything, but I am pondering a lot and hope to post about it as I am able to process it more.

Until then, life is good. It's good to be back. It's good to know that we aren't staying. It's good to have healing. Life is good.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jeff!


We love you more than life and are so thankful for you!

Love,
Kelly, Tiny 1 and Tiny 2


(Four generations of Knapp men: Jak, Jeff, Bruce (Jeff's Dad) and Floyd (Jeff's Grandfather; February 2007).

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Happy Anniversary, My Love!


Three years ago today I spoke these words before God and our loved ones:

"I Kelly, take thee Jeffery, to be my lawfully wedded husband. To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, until death do us part. This is my solemn vow."

And it still is.

Jeffery,
You are my rock.
You are my lover.
You are silent strength.
You are my dreaming partner.
You are my moving buddy. ;)
You are my secret keeper.
You are my strongest supporter.
You are my happiness sharer.
You are my devoted and prayerful husband.
You are the knowing glance from across the room.
You are the king of the grill.
You are the scrubber of the pots.
You are the rubber of my shoulders.
You are the kiss on my forehead.
You are the fingers intertwined with mine.
You are the strong arms around me.
You are the soft touch that caresses me.
You are the voice that cheers me on.
You are the mind that believes in me.
You are the stability that I crave.
You are the silliness when no one else is around.
You are the daddy who snuggles.
You are the laughter in our home.
You are the thrower of the ball.
You are the hero of my sons.
You are the provider for our family.
You are the whisper in my ear.
You are the chills down my back.
You are the warmth on a cold day.
You are the knowledge that I seek.
You are the comfort I love coming home to.
You are the shoulder that I cry on.
You are the unconditional love that I cherish.
You are the man of my dreams.
You are the knight of my heart.

You are the love of my life.
You are God's gift to me.

Jeffery, there is no one else I'd rather be with on this adventure. Thank you for your steadfast patience and unconditional love.
I Love You and am ever Thankful that God knew exactly what I needed when He gave me you.
Proverbs 3:3

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

WFMW #1

Today's WFMW is backwards style. Instead of me posting a tip that works for me, I want to hear from you on how to put together (and execute!) a family budget!  

Do you do weekly or monthly budgeting?  Do you balance the budget and accounts alone, does your husband do it all, or do you do it with your husband as a team?  Do you do paper or online statements?  What works for you

If you need some background, we are a budding family of 4:  my husband--the breadwinner, myself--the homemaker and our two little boys.  Modest house, one car (soon to be two), no pets. We try to live debt free and don't really spend a lot on outside entertainment except outings with the kids or the occasional splurge for us.

Have at it, Ladies!

WFMW #2

Here's another one:  Meal Planning.

Weekly?
Monthly?
Farmer's Market?
Small grocery stores?
Club stores like BJ's, Costo, Sam's?
All of the above or wherever the price is right?
Do you have a chart or list that you write it all on?

What works for you?

Monday, September 1, 2008

*Labor* Day

Playing along with Shannon and sharing the hardest work I've ever done! Here's a meme about the kind of labor you don't get a day off for!


How long were your labors?

Kid #1 about 14 hours
Kid #2 about 4 hours (I get satisfaction just writing that)

How did you know you were in labor?

Kid #1 mild contractions (textbook labor)
Kid #2 I thought maybe I could be starting labor when I woke up with very mild contractions, but then they came and went throughout the day. They came a bit more forcefully around 4pm but were still quite infrequent, sometimes spaced out a few hours. I figured the real deal would start at night when the barometric pressure dropped, and I was right. At around 8pm, they were quite strong although still sporadic. They became regular at around10pm. My Mom, who came over for dinner with her dog, kept telling me to call my midwife but I insisted on waiting a bit longer just to make sure. I finally called at 11ish. And yes, my Mom ended up staying and the dog watched the entire thing from the couch.

Where did you deliver?

Kid #1 at home in Maryland, on the bed
Kid #2 at home in New York, in the birthing pool

(I had always hoped to be able to deliver my babies in the peace and intimacy of my home, and am so blessed to be able to say that I did and each experience was more than I ever dreamed of!)

Drugs?

No, drugs scare me.

C-section?

No

Who delivered?

I delivered my babies!!! My midwife in MD caught Jak, and I caught John here in NY with my midwife verbally coaching me. John's entire birth was unassisted and it was amazing!







These are quite possibly the worst pictures of me and my hubby ever (and I cannot believe I am posting them!!), but the feeling I get from looking at them makes my heart surge. Aren't our boys precious? I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.

I hope to write thier entire birth stories soon, so check back!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

WDWFMS

I though in addition to my last WFMW post, I could add another one, except it would involve two more additions. First off, it's What Doesn't Work For Me, and secondly, it's Saturday instead of Wednesday.

Here you go:

Scott's toilet paper does NOT work for me.

During our last run to BJ's, Jeff and I decided to try out a new type of toilet paper. Well, let me rephrase that, Jeff decided to try out a new type of toilet paper. I wasn't too keen on the idea but thought that maybe it could work. Who knows, maybe I'd be pleasantly surprised!

We typically buy Charmin--the real cushy kind--but thought since the cost was almost cut in half by choosing Scott's, we'd give it a shot. Perhaps we could stop being toilet paper snobs and convert to the cheap stuff all while saving $5 bucks.

Not.gonna.happen.again. Ever.

This "stuff", I can hardly call it toilet paper without wincing, is like a type of grit that has absolutely no absorbency to it whatsoever. Not only does it feel scratchy in your hand but it doesn't feel so good down in your nether regions, either! Now, if you're a guy and don't really need it all that often, I'm sure it can be OK. But, women use this stuff every time they go, so it's imperative that the stuff work!

At this rate, if I want to save money on toilet paper, I should go out and cut some leaves, put them in a pretty little basket in the bathroom, and call it a day.

Did I mention that Scott's doesn't work for me? Does anyone need any? Because we have about 17 more rolls left...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

WFMW--Continued

Well, I posted my Works For Me Wednesdays post and have gotten a lot of excited reviews about people trying my baking soda idea. I hope I don't disappoint!

I just want to clarify (because I'm afraid that if the bloggers try my tip and their laundry isn't stain free I may be kicked off of WFMW forever!!) that the baking soda tip doesn't always remove all stains. In my experience, it's removed blood, breastfed baby poop (you can't even tell the baby leaked all the way up his back kind of poop!), spit up, food stains, etc.

I have found it lightens the armpit yellow caused by the chemical reaction between the deodorant and the laundry detergent, and makes that armpit area softer, if it's been hardened. {Gross, I know.} I can deal with the armpit yellow as long as its light and isn't stiff as a board. Otherwise, the t-shirt goes into the rag bin!

As for how much to use, about a 1/2 cup will do the trick. You can use a measuring cup or just any old cup or scooper laying around. Once you do a load or two, you'll get the gist and figure out how much works for you (pun intended). I have an HE washer so I know that the water isn't always the same for each load, depending on the size. I tailor the useage to fit the load size.

And if by chance I do see that the stain I'm trying to get out is still there, even if it is lighter, then I rewash it next load around but this time, in addtion to the baking soda, I add a scoop of OxiClean. After that, it's a pretty safe bet to say that my clothes will be stain free, and still not faded!

Try it, and get back to me to let me know how it works!

p.s. Memarie Lane--I have never cut down on the detergent itself, but it's probably not a bad idea. Try it and see if you notice a difference. I also use A & H laundry detergent (I like that it's biodegradable, plus it whitens and smells good) and I find that it works just as well as regular detergent with adding the baking soda. If I've got a particularly dirty load, then I just add the soda anyways and I'm pleased with the end results.

Whoopsie!

I was excited to be getting a bit ahead in my blogging and forgot to change the time and date stamp on one of my posts, so my Wednesday post ended up being shown posted on Monday (the day I wrote it). Scroll down to read all about baking soda at the Works For Me Wednesday blog carnival!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Frequent Phrases Heard at Our House

"Jak, come here please."
"Hi, Baby!"
"What's for dinner?"
"Poop?"
"He's hungry."
"I'm hungry."
"Can you take him?"
"Phone!"
"Ball? Ball? Ball?" (can you guess who says that one?!)
"Weet, weet" (Jak telling me there's birdies outside)
"Wahhhhhh."
"He needs new pants, he stinks."
"Could you get me some water/ice cream/a tissue, please?"
"I love you."
"Huggers for Daddy."
"Where's Jak?"
"Where's John?"
"Let's go outside!"
"Time for a nap!!!" (spoken by the excited parent in charge)
"Who's here, Jak?"
"Woof woof!"
"HONEY! Could you c'mere please?"
"Baby!"
"Where's the phone?"
"Be careful."
"Could you please rotate the laundry for me?"
"I could go for a steak right about now."
"I need a nap."
"What do you want to do today?"
"You are so beautiful."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Works For Me Wednesdays

**I just updated the original post with some answered questions, so go to my archives and look for "WFMW--Continued" to continue reading about using baking soda in your laundry.

Here in the mommy-blog world, there is a weekly event (among several) called Works For Me Wednesdays. Basically, the idea is that on Wednesday you post a little tip you've learned on any (G-rated) topic--anything that has "worked for you" in making your life easier.

Well, I am finally going to participate in this!

My WFMW topic is baking soda. We all have baking soda to satisfy various needs like baking, cleaning out drains with vinegar, neutralizing our refrigerator or freezers, etc. Well, my favorite use for baking soda, apart from the goodies that I end up with after using it to bake with, is using it in my laundry.

That's right friends, I put it in my laundry loads! With each wash, I take a scoop of baking soda from my huge $5.99 bag from BJ's and throw it into our trusty new Whirlpool Duet washer. (I really enjoy my new washer and dryer:))

Anyways, I throw it into the wash bin and let it help clean our clothes along with the regular detergent that I put into the little detergent drawer up top. I am not exactly sure how it works but all I can say is that it does wonders!

*Ever get that lovely mustard-like infant poop on clothes/towels/sheets? Sure you have! Baking soda takes it all out without so much as having to scrub it.

*Ever have that awful musty smell in your dishtowels/rags or even worse--your bath towels--that once you use said towel, you end up smelling just like that musty stink? Baking soda and hot water will neutralize that odor causing bacteria and wash it right out. Fresh towels can be enjoyed again!

*Ever have a husband around who likes to wear undershirts every day? Of course you do! And I'm sure your husband, like 99% of other husbands in the world, sweats like crazy. So, not only does the deodorant leave a nice yellow stain on the armpit of the shirt, but the sweat leaves something for you, too. Once again, baking soda in the load of whites does the trick. It helps take the stains out while making your whites brighter and your laundry smelling fresher.

Love baking soda. And, it works for me!

For more WFMW, go to Rocks In My Dryer.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Coming Out

August is here and I feel like summer still has yet to come! Not for lack of sun here in Buffalo, but just because I feel like I'm starting to come out from under my rock.

When you have a baby, there is this thing called "transition". Well, for some reason, I figured this transition wouldn't be quite as difficult because we were in a familiar zone. We already did this baby thing, how hard could it be to do it again?

Haha.

Having John wasn't hard, but I didn't transition seamlessly like I thought I would. And why, you ask, did I think I'd go seamlessly into Motherhood x2? Not sure, really. Teaching, varied professional nanny jobs, having 10--count 'em, 10--nieces and nephews before I was pregnant with my first child all were pretty good reasons of why I thought I could do this with more than one child with my eyes closed.

I wasn't arrogant, but I think I was just sure of myself in my mothering capabilities. Well, there is nothing like having one child crying because he wants you to hold him and the other child crying because he wants you to let go of him, all at the same time, to make you think twice about your limits.

There have been times where I've sat on the floor holding the one son while playing with the other. I've sat on the floor nursing one son while eating fishies with the other. And, I'm happy to report that there have been times where I sat on the floor holding a crying baby while corraling the other baby who is crying, all while having a good little cry myself.

I'm happy to report that fact because it means that I am normal. Ahh...having bad days where there is spit up on your shirt and on the floor that you just mopped is normal. Crying babies (plural) is normal. Messy houses, pb&j dinners, staying in your pj's all day long until you get the chance to shower at 10pm, your husband handing you the breast pad you've been frantically searching for, this is all normal.

Having kids grows you. It stretches you. It refines you. It tears apart every notion and belief you thought you were sure of, so that you either stand firm in that belief because now you are sure of it beyond the shadow of a doubt, or you rid yourself of it because it just doesn't make sense anymore.

Having kids gives you moments where you realize that the earth will still spin if you do not have it all together. Because in those moments, you realize that your husband still thinks you are beautiful even though the spit up is still on your shirt, your precious children think you are Super Woman because you make the best pb&j's around, and your pj's are kinda sexy even if you do wear them all day long. I am having alot of those moments lately. And I'm loving the freedom I find in them.

Whether you are under a rock, under a pile of laundry, or under the weight of the pressure you put upon yourself for being x, y or z, get out! I am.

My Sweet 3 Month Old





Friday, August 22, 2008

Not Gone

Uggh. I am so bad at posting frequently. Every day, my friends, every day I have a new post idea. Can someone please give me more hours in the day? I'd really appreciate it.

Hang in there. I'm coming back.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Boys, Oh Boy

I am in for it. Any Mother of two boys is.

This morning, I walked into the living room to see Jak hugging (read: grabbing and squeezing tightly) the baby, who was resting comfortably in the swing. We have the Fisher-Price Cradle Swing, which hangs from one pole and the weight limit is 25 pounds. Considering that John now weighs 16 (yes, 16!!) pounds and Jak is certainly more than the extra 10 needed to exceed the limit, my heart sinks every time I hear the swing creak, for I know that Jak is 'loving' on his brother.

Such was the case this morning, and as I walked over to remove him, I saw the baby smiling as Jak gave me this devilish grin. It's like they were saying, "Just wait, Mom. We've got big plans."