Tuesday, December 23, 2008

At War Against Myself

I suppose I set myself up for this dilemma when Aaron and I decided we would let our children believe in Santa.

The problem: Ashton has asked Santa for 1, and only 1, toy -- a "real" Dodge Ram with doors that open on the side and a tailgate that really lifts and lowers. Okay, it is a Fisher-Price type Power Wheels truck. =) But it is still $300!

One side of me wars: Ashton has no concept of money and cost; he is not trying to be greedy; this is an honest desire of his. It is his only request. He talked to the Santa at the mall and told him about this one request. Whenever people ask him what he "wants / what Santa is bringing," (as if they are one and the same) he consistently answers the same way. And of course, as Christmas day gets closer, each day Ashton asks if it is Christmas Eve because he's "really looking forward to the presents Santa will bring." This is the first year Ashton has grasped the idea of Santa bringing gifts and if Ashton doesn't receive his one request, he might resent Santa right from the start. Heaven forbid... ;)

The other side of me wars: We do not have the money. I don't want to go in debt over this toy, for pete's sake! $300 is a lot of money to spend on anybody (not to mention a 3 year-old! )something I've only done a few times.

As I write this post, I think I realize the obvious answer and how ridiculous this is. I suppose it is because I am Ashton's mother and I only want my child be happy that I have let myself get emotionally clouded. This dilemma/worry has really consumed too many of my thoughts during an otherwise peaceful and meaningful Christmas.

Does anybody else have any advice, opinion, or similar experiences from which I can learn?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Ashton often says, "I don't want Sadie in this house."
At really bad times, he says, "I don't want Sadie in this world."

And I don't blame him because all he is trying to do is play with his toys, but Sadie destroys whatever it is he is working on.

At other times, Sadie will beat up on Ashton and then he'll say, "Sadie doesn't want me in this world any more."

Ashton often asks, "when will God take us to heaven?" Even though I can't answer his question the way he wants, it makes my heart smile to know that he is looking forward to that day.

Lately Ashton's quickest way of getting both my attention and Aaron's is to call us Parents. "Parents, have you heard that before?" Or, "Parents, are you watching me?" Where's the respect in that?! We're working on it..

Ashton seems to have a facination with cracking heads open, blood, hospitals, and stitches. Any time we talk about somebody possibly getting hurt (even the smallest degree), he continues by saying, "and you might crack your head open, blood will spill out everywhere and you will have to go to the hospital and have stitches." One day, Aaron came home from work and asked Ashton what was his favorite part of the day. Without having to think about it, it was when Sadie did something to him and "he almost cracked his head open..."

Ashton is going through a phase right now where he loves him mommy. He implies that he doesn't love daddy. He wants only me to tuck him in to bed, he wants to sit on my lap when we eat (he used to always sit on Aaron's lap), he doesn't like Daddy-Ashy-Sadie days anymore, just Mommy-Ashy-Sadie days (which is highly out of the ordinary), he wants his pile of folded laundry to be next to mine because "I love my mommy. Sadie's clothes can be next daddy's because she loves her daddy." I know he really loves his daddy. And I know it is an honor that he wants only me to tuck him in to bed, but I'll admit -- there are some days I wish he would let Aaron tuck him in!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Our Stay-cation

(Haha. I love how it says August 29, 2008. That's when I started this post -- and it didn't get finished and published until November 25, 2008! But I DID IT! In fact, the reason there haven't been any posts recently is because I told myself that I couldn't add any until I finished recording what we did for our vacation, or else I would never finish!)
This year we found ourselves able to use two weeks of Aaron's vacation time (August 6-17, 2008) for something other than some sort of paternity leave. We dreamed big and small (Jacksonville FL, Chicago, Ogallala NE, Ft.Worth, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi TX, and Branson ) but found ourselves limited by money. Aaron really wanted to go to Texas to visit family, and I would have loved to too if it wouldn't have required half of our savings just to GET to Texas, not to mention the cost to getting around, sight-seeing, and playing, etc.! I convinced Aaron into letting us stay home during his vacation time by promising him that we would plan each day out ahead of time so that we wouldn't "get in stuck in the rut of doing the same old thing." Besides, there are some things that I REALLY want to do around here that we don't take the time to do. Plus, vacationing away from home is always hard on the kids' sleep patterns and habits (and mine too now that I think about it).

The first day we had together was Wednesday August 6, 2008. We took the kids to play at Gage Park, ride the carousel and mini-train, and have a picnic lunch. (It was hot and this picture of me is terrible.)
But the beauty of it was when we were ready to leave -- we were quickly able to come home to the beds we know and love and take much needed naps (and showers)! The next day, after I did a little garage sale-ing without the kids, we took the kids to the mall playland, ate lunch in the food court, and shopped Candyopolis as well as some clothing stores. Then, once again, we were able to go to the best napping attraction around -- the "brown house" (as Ashton has always called it). That evening Aaron, Ashton, and I camped out...in our own backyard! I'm telling you -- this was truly a "staycation"! Ashton couldn't have cared less; he was completely enthralled by the tent. Sadie slept inside in her crib of course (we took the baby monitor outside with us), and we all went outside for the night around 8pm. There was much talking until about 11:30pm when we came back inside to sleep because Ashton was too excited to sleep outdoors!! Now that's Aaron's kind of camping...

Friday the four of us went to The Legends shopping center in Kansas City, along with my mom and sister. Sadie desperately needed some quality new shoes (she had worn holes in the sandals she started the summer out with) and we like the quality and selection of kids shoes at the Stride Rite store. It was good to be outdoors AND do some shopping.

***Okay, this post is taking too long (as in months, so I'm goiong to pick up the pace!)***

Saturday we went to the Kansas Museum of History. I don't think I had been inside the museum since grade school field trips! Christina and Adriana came with us. That evening we had dinner at Aaron's parents' house.

Sunday must have been a lazy day of church, naps, etc.

Monday we walked the streets of downtown Lawrence and had lunch with Tiffany. Then we went back to Tiffany's apartment for a while so Aaron could help her assemble a few things. (Just a week earlier she moved to Lawrence to go to KU pharmacy school.)

Wednesday we spent the day in Emporia with Mike (and Jennifer after she got off work). Mike gave us a tour of the campus, including his office and inside Aaron & Mike's old dorm room (2000-2002). Now that Ashton is old enough to be interested in his parents lives when they were younger, it was fun for Ashton to comprehend that this is where his daddy stayed and went to school. The 6 of us went to Peter Pan Park for a while and then Mike and Jennifer introduced us to Casa Ramos Mexican restaurant. It was yummy and we've since discovered that Topeka has two locations! Yumm. Afterwards, we had good conversation, watched Michael Phelps win another gold medal, and the boys played video games way too late into the night. We spent the night at Mike & Jen's home that evening and went home the next day, after we had a chance to buy Ashton an ESU shirt.
Thursday was spent making sure the kids got good naps, unpacking, and then packing again to go to Wichita to visit Rodney and Betsy on Friday.

On Friday, in Wichita, Rodney & Betsy introduced us to McAlister's deli and took us to a park near their house. Ashton & Sadie really like their dog, Samson, a miniature chihuahua. That evening, we watched more Olympics, watched Michael Phelps win another gold medal, and spent the night at Rodney & Betsy's lovely home.

The next morning, they took us to a yummy local breakfast favorite -- Jimmie's Diner. Ashton still talks about that place... Betsy and I did some shopping with Ashton while the boys stayed home and played video games while Sadie napped. It was there I bought our notorious "boo-boo bear" ice pack (which comes in handy, seeing how many times Sadie bites Ashton)! That evening the six of us went to a children's museum, Exploration Place, before leaving town to come home.

All in all, it was very nice to get away to some friends' homes because we not only had a great time with friends we don't get to see enough, but we got to feel like we were "away" from home. Betsy taught Ashton the meaning of the word nocturnal (which has surprised several adults that that word is in his vocabulary!). And after being exposed to Jennifer and Betsy, Ashton still talks about how he wants to be a teacher when he grows up. Like seriously...he wants to be a teacher!
So yes, we saved money, AND I feel like we have lots of memories to talk with the kids about. Success. =)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What Could It Be?

**disclaimer: this post is less than un-exciting, and is sometimes gruesome; it is mostly for my recollection, and to answer the questions of inquiring minds.**

I couldn't tell you exactly when I first began wheezing, but it was about 8 weeks ago. I had a cold so it didn't surprise me that I was having asthma-type symptoms. But the cold eventually presented a sore throat too, and I was sure I had strep throat. I was prescribed antibiotics and even after the 10 days of amoxicillan were gone, I felt like I needed more -- like I wasn't over the wheezing and sore throat. However, I never went in to the doctor's office again because some days I didn't have a sore throat and the wheezing was never life-threatening.

But after 8 weeks of wheezing and coughing I finally went in to an allergy and asthma doctor. After a couple tests, I was told that my lung capacity was fine and it didn't appear that I was short of breath (funny -- I'm pretty sure I would know)! But I am very allergic to trees and grass (which they identified with the spring and summer seasons), weeds (especially ragweed), and cats. I'm also allergic to dogs (though not quite as badly as cats), dust (and dust mites), and mold (particularly outdoor mold). So I was prescribed Singulair for the asthma and allergies, and another antibiotic since it didn't sound like I am completely over the cold!

So I guess you could say I got a few answers, but they just bring up a ton more questions, like "is there _________ in my house that could be causing me to wheeze and cough"?

Interestingly enough, the timing couldn't be worse for us to suddenly have an atrocious smell permeating our bedroom! It is coming from our clothes and shoe closet area and at first it was a faint smell so I asked Aaron if he would pull all of my shoes out (there are so many shoes that the closet floor is covered and I was scared of what I might find!) and let me figure out if one of the newer pairs of shoes might be made of trees, grass, or weeds (...I'm slowly going organic) that I might be allergic to. Then I realized that I might not be able to smell the shoes (in hopes of recognizing "the smell") since my nose is stuffed up! I jokingly asked Aaron if he would smell them, and he replied with, "how about you get rid of all the shoes that you won't ever wear again and I'll sniff the rest"! I busted up laughing -- now that's true love -- being willing to sniff someone else's shoes!!

Anyway, the shoes weren't the culprit and the smell is worse every day. I seriously think it is the smell of a dead animal. Aaron has looked in all the mouse traps, under our bed, in the garage (which is behind our room), in the storm shelter under the garage, and he peeked into the attic, and we still haven't found the source of the smell! Unless the smell mysteriously goes away, I think the next step is to investigate the air vents leading into our bedroom. About 3-4 weeks ago I swore to Aaron that I heard an animal in the vents, but he convinced me that it was just the sound of the ceiling fan making papers rattle, etc. Other than the vents, the only place left to look is behind the drywall!

So that where we're at now. Maybe there's a dead cat somewhere and as soon as it is taken care of, the smell will be gone AND I'll stop coughing and wheezing! Or something like that...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My Life Right Now: A Photo Story

Ashton has gotten really excited by the ABC television show "Wipeout." All day Tuesday he waits in eager anticipation for the 7:00pm show. (In case you haven't seen the show, it's an obstical course which requires the contestants to wear helmets and lifejackets.) Here is my family living it out...every Tuesday evening, and then some. He he.
Ashton greeting Sadie in the morning. If only this is how things were all day... Yeah, right.
Aaron and Ashton tubing this last weekend...
...and Sadie and I.

Here's Sadie after first waking up in the morning. (She's a book lover.)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Our Life Lately

It seems as though either Sadie, Ashton or I (or all of us) have been sick at some point for the last month! I guess it's a good thing I never got around to putting away Ashton's medicine because we're back to needing it again -- he has an ear infection. Right now all three of us are on antibiotics, which is RARE around this house! But we're all alive and otherwise well, so I'm not complaining. =)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sometimes I Scare Myself...

A couple days ago I was in Aldi grocery store, just me and the two kiddos. We had just walked in when Ashton informed me that he needed to go to the bathroom. As you know, the store isn't that big, but the bathroom was in the furthest corner from where we were. So instead of dodging the after-work dinner rush with my cart in tow, I decided to park the cart in a less-populated corner so I could get Ashton to the bathroom before an accident happened! On the way to the bathroom I began to picture how I was going to go in with/help Ashton while also holding Sadie. Then it dawned on me -- where's Sadie? I turned around completely baffled as to where she had gone! There she was -- sitting in the top portion of the neatly-parked shopping cart, with her neck craned to see where we were going! I was embarrassed and horrified as I backtracked to retreive my other child. :)

What could be worse?

I'll tell you -- doing it a second time. Today we were in JCPenney's when Ashton again let me know he needed to use the restroom. Once again, I parked the Sadie-bearing-stroller in a remote corner outside the women's restroom and was on my way inside (after all I have not had to deal with an Ashton-accident in public and I want it to stay that way!) when Ashton asked, "Sadie come in too?" Without missing a beat I made a U-turn and shook my head in disbelief over my terrible parenting, thankful that Ashton was on top of things!

And to think: I'd just decided I was willing to have more kids...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

As For Me and My House...

I started reading Desperate Households by Kathy Peel after seeing it suggested in my Marriage Partnership magazine. It touches different sometimes-chaotic subjects that often cause women stress (i.e. cleaning, organizing, morning-time frenzy, dinner-time, etc.). In the process it helps you prioritize your life and find a balance. Since I had already re-checked the book out from the library two times other than the original checkout, and since I don't foresee any extra leisure-reading time in the near future (the Bible study by Beth Moore is doing a good job of keeping me busy), I returned the book to the library even though I wasn't finished.

So here I am jotting down the few notes I took from the book.

The following activities invigorate me:
  • Decorating
  • Landscaping
  • Finances/Accounting
  • Helping out behind the scenes
  • Cleaning others' areas
  • Organizing spaces

Important to me, in descending order (but all still important enough to make it on the list):

  • Spiritual growth
  • Fulfilling marriage
  • Loving relationship with my children
  • Good friends
  • Travel
  • Fun and recreation
  • Financial security
  • A loving extended family
  • Clean and organized home

"Kids won't remember if their home was always perfectly clean, but they will remember if Mom was a fun person." How do I want my children to remember me and the atmosphere of our home? This challenges me because I often find myself cutting coupons, picking up, cleaning, etc. before I play...and this can be a never-ending job! I want balance.

Aaron is the CEO of our family, and I am the family manager. I've created a mission statement for myself, to remind me of my priorities and help me make decisions. My mission statement:

To create a home that nurtures relationships, provides a safe, welcoming retreat from the outside, and is pleasantly orderly and under control.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

3: The Age of Questions

I realize Ashton has a lot to learn at the ripe young age of 3, but all the "whys" are almost enough to make me lose my mind. Yesterday I answered one of his questions with, "I don't know." (Sometimes I really don't know; sometimes I want to nip the conversation in the bud.) Ashton followed up in his whining voice with, "Why don't you know, Mommy?" Aghh!!!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sadie Walks!

I feel as though the first day Sadie "walked" was Wednesday May 28th. One week shy of being 11 months old, she actually walked away from me, instead of her couple steps toward me she had been doing (with great coaxing) for about a week. It caught me off guard and surprised me when on her own initiative she turn around and went away from me without trying to grab my finger and pull me along! Every day she gets a little better at walking, now going up to 5 feet at a time.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I'm Feeling a Bit Guilty

"As you should be," I imagine Aaron would say.

My husband detests every single blogosphere illustration in which people steal on Walgreens. I suppose he has every right to be angry since his livelihood depends on Walgreens' success. He wants to "bring them all down."

However, he has given me permission -- I am the one exception. =)

I got the above this evening for $1.34 (after sales, employee discount, coupons, Register Rewards, AND tax)! I have never done anything like this before and I am surprised how easily it happened. Again, I feel a bit guilty because I know Walgreens paid more than $1.34 for the above items, and so I don't usually get too excited about these ploys (especially when people buy things they don't need --I'm thinking of the 60 eye shadow applicators and 18 sponge makeup applicators I recently saw on a stranger's blog). But I will use everything pictured and would have purchased it all eventually -- I'll just have to be flexible about not using Listerine toothpaste.

Hmmm, I wonder if this will become more routine...

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Presenting the Gospel to a Child

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm beginning to feel like I need to be as prepared as I can to answer Ashton's questions, especially when it comes to explaining the gospel. In addition, I myself have always been left unsatisfied by the idea and the picture of "asking Jesus into my heart." Below is an article I stumbled upon as I googled the words "come into my heart Lord Jesus." I really appreciate how it clears things up -- when we understand the gospel and receive it's gift, THEN Christ liveth in me. But asking Christ to "live in your heart" is not the gospel! Read on...

The language of “asking Jesus into one’s heart” is part of a soul winner’s basic vocabulary, at least in my experience. It is firmly entrenched, it seems, especially in children’s ministries today. Consider this recommended prayer for children given by one church:

Dear God, Thank you for making a way for us to turn from the wrong things that we have done. I know I have done wrong things, but right now I want to look upon Jesus so that you will forgive me for the things I have done. Please let Jesus come into my heart, to live forever there. I want to live forever with God. Thank you for loving me. In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen

Now, to be fair, this prayer does deal with forgiveness of sin. It acknowledges the love of God. But what it fails to do is to lead a child to verbalize trust in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Isn’t that what the Gospel is all about?

Before I try to persuade you to stop using this terminology in your personal evangelism, let me assure you of two things:

1. Some people are genuinely saved when asking Jesus into their hearts.

2. There are many wonderful Christians who take the time to explain salvation clearly to children even if they use the “into my heart” phrasing.

Now, I know some of you are thinking right off the bat: this is just semantics. But is it? I was talking with a father in our church just last week, and he related to me how his young, preschool son firmly believes that Jesus lives in his real, physical heart. Just semantics? I don’t think so.

There are some legitimate concerns I have about the concept of “asking Jesus into our hearts.” Let me share them with you in the hope that, if nothing else, you will become even more committed to the precision we must have in communicating the Word of God.


There are Christians who are more interested in acquiring decisions for Christ than they are in making disciples of Christ. Often, “asking Jesus into your heart” becomes the magic formula for easy spiritual decision-making. Unfortunately, much of the time, these witnesses give an unclear and incomplete Gospel presentation. Consequently, many of the “decisions” made fall away in short order and were likely never genuine.


Search the Scriptures. You will not find a passage through either precept or pattern where “asking Jesus into your heart” is employed in evangelism. Not once. Surely that must account for something. How can we be comfortable in using so consistently an expression that lacks ANY Scriptural support?

Some will ignore context and appeal to a passage like Revelation 3:20.

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Although this verse is used heavily in evangelistic methodology, it is often taken out-of-context. In context, the Christian will find that Jesus is speaking to a church, a lukewarm church that has lost its fellowship with Christ. In John’s vision, Jesus tells this church He is knocking on their door and pleads with them to open the door and resume fellowship. It’s not about salvation.

Sometimes, instead of taking things out-of-context, we simply take them out-of-order. Such is the case for other New Testament verses where the result of salvation is turned to become the means of salvation. What about these verses?

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God,even to them that believe on his name. (John 1:12)

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col. 1:27)

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)

Another popular Gospel song exclaims: “What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought since Jesus came into my heart!” Does Jesus really come in? The short answer is “Yes, He does.” We can’t dispute the clear teaching of these verses. But while Jesus’ indwelling is certainly a result of salvation, there is simply no biblical evidence that His spiritual entrance into our lives is part of the means of salvation.


Easy-believism angers me. Careless Bible study frustrates me. But taking the most important message in the entire world and making it confusing for little ones both angers and frustrates me.

Bob Wilkin in his book Don’t Ask testifies of the confusion this inaccuracy has wrought among children when he writes,

Years later I was teaching an evangelism course at a Bible College in East Texas. I had my students write out their testimonies after I had explained what I have recounted above. I found that quite a few of the students went through years of confusion because someone told them as children that if they asked Jesus into their hearts they would be saved. They wondered if they had done it right. They wondered if they had been sincere enough. So they asked Him in over and over again for years. They couldn’t gain assurance. Finally someone shared with them that to be saved they had to trust in Christ alone. Only then, by their own testimony, did they come to faith in Christ. Years of inviting Him into their lives had only confused and frustrated them.

Consider as well this personal testimony from Dr. John MacArthur:

And every time, as a little kid, that somebody said, “Ask Jesus in your heart,” I can remember saying, “Jesus, please come in my heart.” I can remember that over and over: “In case you’re not there, please come in today.” You know? I mean, I did that as a kid. I’d go to camp, the guy would give a message, and just to be sure, you know, I’d say, “Lord, if you’re not in my life, please…”

Then, of course, there is the problem that children are not generally able to think in the abstract until about age seven. So, we should not be surprised when children take “asking Jesus into their heart” in a literal way. We must be absolutely clear when dealing with children about their eternal souls. Remember, the Bible tells us that child-like faith is essential, but it does not say the same about child-like intellect. While many children are saved at a young age, they must understand the essential truths of salvation in order to properly direct that precious faith in trusting Christ.


I would like to show you an excellent model for explaining salvation to children. It’s posted on the website of Kids4Truth. Bob Roberts and the other magnificent people who run this ministry have dedicated their lives to making sure children learn the doctrine of God’s Word. Allow me to condense his article to just the main points. You can read it in full at http://www.k4t.com/Questions/question13.htm.

1. God wants you to honor and serve Him.
2. Your sin (breaking God's rules) keeps you from pleasing God.
3. Sin is paid for by death and separation from God.
4. You cannot get to heaven by being good or doing lots of good works.
5. Here's the best part. Christ paid for your sins.
6. Accept Christ's payment for your sin.
7. Turn from your sin. Want something completely different than your sin.
8. God has made you a promise–eternal life.

Becoming a Christian is much like joining an army. It costs nothing to join but the good soldier is willing to obey and even lay down his life for the general. When somebody does join the army, their life is no longer their own. When somebody joins the army, they surrender their rights to their leader. That's what God expects of us. Look at what Jesus said about becoming a Christian (follower of Christ):

Matthew 16:24-25, "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."

In order to become a Christian your will must be broken because it is naturally at war with God! In fact, the Bible says that our condition is pretty miserable, for we are born into this world:

1. An enemy of God — our will is against His will (Rom. 5:10)
2. Dead in sins (unable to anything that pleases God — Eph. 2:1)
3. Held captive by a foreign power greater than ourselves (Eph. 2:2)
4. A child of wrath (someone destined for eternal judgment — Eph. 2:3)

Have you ever seen a football game? There are two teams, each with different wills. One team desperately wants to run one way, and the other team wants to go the other way. They have opposing wills. We are born with a will that wants to do anything except turn from our sin and trust Christ for forgiveness! That's why becoming a Christian is primarily a surrender of your will.

This is an excellent example of communicating to children the truth about salvation. I truly believe that if we are more careful and clear in communicating these truths to the minds of children, we will be able to avoid long periods of time in people’s lives when they aren’t sure of their salvation or have to keep making professions of faith to be sure. Now, I do think it’s important that if a child wants to express faith in Christ, we should encourage it—each and every time that desire occurs. At some point along the way, true faith will likely be expressed and assurance will come. We cannot see their hearts and must not put any stumbling blocks in their spiritual journey.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

My "Little" Boy

My little guy is growing up. And he's so very cute.

Last Sunday after church Ashton heard Aaron and I talking to each other about how good Sadie did in nursery (for the first time; third time is a charm). I guess this was news to Ashton that Sadie didn't stay with us in "big church." He got excited about Sadie going to "baby church all by herself," and volunteered, "me go to my Sunday school class all by MYself -- no Grandpa go." (Up to this point, Ashton only goes to Sunday school on days that my dad volunteers in Ashton's class.)

So today I informed Ashton that tomorrow is Sunday and that Grandpa wasn't going to be at Sunday school. Lo and behold, Ashton was still excited, yes, excited about going! He brought it up again, so it must have something to do about Sadie going to her class all by herself that makes him feel as though he can do it too. This is monumental!

This evening as we were reading books before bed, I asked Ashton if he remembered his verse from Sunday school last week. After I gave him the first word, he was able to finish. "Hear the Word of God and obey it." He takes his sweet time with the first half of the verse, obviously trying to recite the words, but when he gets to "obey it," he says it with such enthusiasm -- "ooooooooobeyit." I can just hear the teachers helping the kids memorize it! I don't know which is more cute -- the way he says the verse or the fact that my little boy is memorizing Scripture.

Finally, as he was going to the bathroom one last time before bed, I asked Ashton if they had an offering in his Sunday school class. He just looked at me and said, "ouring"? Evidently I wasn't ringing any bells. Realizing that a preschool Sunday school class obviously doesn't have an offering similar to the one I am used to, I asked, "is there somewhere where you can put money to give to Jesus"? A light bulb went off in Ashton's head as he explained to me that the way it works is you "take money out of the bowl and put it in a bag to give to Jesus." I have no idea how accurate of a description that was, or if there is more to the story, but at least I knew the answer to my question. Ashton has always been free with his money, offering to buy the candy he wants from Canyopolis, etc., so I knew he would be excited when I suggested that he could take some of his money to Sunday school with him to give to Jesus. Sure enough, he ran to his wallet to get some coins out. I was in the kitchen and he came out and said, "Jesus in the Bible? Jesus in heaven?" Obviously there was a disconnect as to how the money he was giving to Jesus was going to get to Jesus! My heart already melting, I sat down right there on the kitchen tile. "Come here, let me tell you how it works." He jumped into my lap, "okay," grinning, eager to learn as always. "Yes, Jesus is in heaven. The reason we give money to Jesus is because He has given us everything we have (toys, clothes, food, house, etc.) and it is kind of us to share something with Jesus in return -- to tell him thank you. And Jesus will take the money you give and will use it to help poor people who don't have very much." Ashton let out an "oooooooohhhh," (as he does so often these days whenever I answer his "whys...?"), kind of like a high school student finally understanding an algebraic equation after much perplexity. He then got up off of my lap and ran to his wallet saying, "me go get one more money to give to Jesus." I felt the great big smile on my face and my heart going pitter-patter, as I thought "this is what it's all about."

For now, I'll continue to pray that Ashton's request to see the empty tomb isn't a sign of future scepticism! Oh how I look forward to the day that Ashton understands his sinfulness and accepts Jesus' gift of eternal life...I pray.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Who Couldn't Use Another Pair?

In case you haven't already heard, here is a coupon for a free Jockey panty at Macy's.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I'm Struggling

As I sat in the recliner in Sadie's room last night rocking her asleep, I felt her tiny cool breath on me as she exhaled. She was asleep and the only light in the room was the moon shining through the blinds. Yet it was just enough for me to see her silhouette. I was saddened at the realization that Sadie is getting big. She's not my "little baby" any more. She talks (okay hollers), laughs at jokes, is smart (understands no and pushes the limits anyway), and is getting tall! Especially now that I can compare how far Ashton has come since the day he was born, I can see how Sadie is quickly on the road to being as big as Ashton. It makes me sad that soon I will not be rocking her, holding her as she sleeps. Aaron often jokes around with Ashton asking him if he will still (fill in the blank) when he's in high school; I suppose Aaron talking like that doesn't help me.

Plus I wish I had more time alone with Ashton.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Oh dear God...

Today I don't know whether I want to scream or cry.

The Kansas Gas Service bill arrived in the mail today: $414.70. I could explain, but it won't make any difference now. The bottom line is $414.70.

God help us...

Friday, March 14, 2008


I just want to scream!

It is 11:30pm and I still need to shower before bed, but I can't help but vent.

Background: Last year the case of Hanna Polling vs. The U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, in which the plaintiff’s parents claimed that vaccines contributed to their child’s autism, was settled in favor of the plaintiff. March 6, 2008, Larry King interviewed the parents of the nine-year-old child who developed symptoms of autism shortly after receiving nine vaccines at her 19-month checkup.

Today: The AAP released a statement to address the recent controversy on vaccines and autism. It began with a discussion on what autism is and what the theoretical causes may be, along with reassurance that there is no evidence of any connection between vaccines and autism. The policy went on to explain what mitochondrial disease is and how this may have played a role in the Hannah Polling case. It concluded with a discussion on the overall safety and benefits of vaccines and urged parents to continue to vaccinate as usual.

I understand the risks associated with the diseases, and I understand that the rate of the diseases being manifest has gone down since the introduction of vaccines, but what I don't understand is the research that shows vaccines have some very rare but potentially serious side effects (because there are some). And there is a bit of research that shows there may be a link between autism and vaccines in some children, as the Hannah Polling case reflects.

Or perhaps what I should say is I don't understand how the AAP expects me to go along with them and stick my head in the sand. I mean, at least acknowledge the above mentioned research. Preferably, disprove the disturbing research or come up with an explaination. But don't demean me for having questions that no one has answered (especially when it comes to the welfare of my children)! When the AAP discredits or ignores all the real true-to-life stories like Hanna's instead of acknowledging the repeated correlation of vaccines and autism, I feel as though I can't believe a word that comes from their mouths!

Aghh, the same goes for the the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. After the release of "The Business of Being Born," (a new documentary by former talk show host Ricki Lake that explores various methods of childbirth) and a national campaign to license more midwives to preside over births at home in an effort to lower the chances of unneeded surgery, ACOG reiterated "its long-standing opposition to home births...ACOG acknowledges a woman's right to make informed decisions regarding her delivery and to have a choice in choosing her health care provider, but ACOG does not support programs that advocate for, or individuals who provide, home births...Childbirth decisions should not be dictated or influenced by what's fashionable, trendy, or the latest cause célèbre."

I understand the risks and complications that can suddenly arise during pregnancy and labor. And I understand that hospitals are more prepared for emergencies. But I also understand that there are risks for choosing to deliver in a hospital as opposed to at a freestanding birth center or at home (i.e. germs and the like, unnecessary surgery, complications of surgery)! Does ACOG really expect me to stick my head in the sand? How dare they disgrace me for taking all things into consideration. I want to be the one to make the best decision for me (which isn't the same for everyone), and I can't do that if they go and make statements like that. (When ACOG says it does not "support programs that advocate for home births" they are essentially disallowing an MD to collaborate with a homebirth midwife. I might as well say goodbye all homebirth CNM's. Not to mention obstetricians and gynecologists have a personal interest in their "position statement" -- more business for themselves; hardly objective.)

I just don't get it.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Bad Day

I had a bad day. Okay, a bad half-of-a-day. But it was a BAD half-of-a-day. Both of the kids are half well / half sick. Sadie is strong willed, I tell you -- she gets cranky and more determined when I tell her "no." And she's only 8 months old! I can't believe it -- the 8-month-old was more testing than the 3-year-old. So between her being half sick and challenging, I spent my entire afternoon changing poopy diapers, scrubbing poopy clothes, telling Sadie she couldn't pull my hair only for her to try harder, distracting a strong-willed Sadie from pulling my hair, only to do it over and over and over again. Aaron also got home late from work (I knew he would be 1.5 hours late, but not 2.5 hours). At one point, Sadie was crying, Ashton was crying (because he was being disciplined for hurting Sadie), and I was crying. I so desperately wanted to get out of the house and be by myself. I don't know if I'm cut out for this Mommy business (a little late now, hunh?). Do I REALLY want more kids??

I had a whole other post I have been wanting to write, but haven't gotten around to. And I am still not going to discuss it in great detail right now, but it HAS TO BE related to my day today -- I am so out of touch with God and our relationship is mostly historical. Therefore, I am unintentionally depending on Aaron to make me happy and/or complete, instead of getting that from God. And this has to do with my day today because when I am not in communion with God I am able to see the devastating consequences. I am disappointed in myself for the way I acted today, for the way I lost my calm, and for the things I said. I am sorry and need to ask for forgiveness. And I am convinced again that I can not do "it" on my own -- I am in need of my Savior.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Is It Spring Yet?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My Superstar

Just for fun!!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Those Two...

Today was a like a warm summer breeze -- something I only long for. Notice I said like -- there certainly was no warm summer breeze, but something else I usually only long for happened! Today the kids played pleasantly for nearly 30 minutes straight. The toys that we've accumulated over the last three years finally entertained the kids (rather than me being their source of entertainment), nobody got hurt (thus allowing me to remain seated for such an "extened" period of time), and nobody picked on anybody else or whined or complained about anybody else. Halleluiah!!!

However, it did amuse me that what kept Ashton enertained were Sadie's toys.
And what kept Sadie happy were Ashton's toys.
Don't ask me what I did during those 30 minutes; it's disappointing how I savored the time as my own. (I applied shoe polish to my hubby's shoes.) But that's not the point -- the 30 minutes is what's noteworthy.
That Sadie girl -- I swear -- every day she does a little bit more than she did the day before. She's been climbing anything and everything in order to stand up. Then, she's refined a little more the getting/falling down process. Yesterday, I found her literally going through and emptying out her toy box! Now today, she's actually (slowly and wobbly) moving along the object that's holding her up (i.e. coffe table), and going back and forth between it and whatever is nearby it (i.e. walking toy), always holding on to one or the other. This evening she went up 5 or 6 stairs before tiring out! Now if only I could get her to advance in the eating department! We did the rice cereal for a while, moved on to oatmeal (which I personally would much rather have), but because it gave her terrible diaper rash, we are now back to the rice cereal (1-2 T once a day). Now that the diaper rash is gone, I am afraid to present anything new! Perhaps I should give her cereal more often so she 1. can grow and get the nutrients she needs and 2. get better at this eating from a spoon thing! Duh.

And Ashton. Let's just say that his memory verse from Sunday school sums up our latest challenge. 2 Timothy 2:24 "Be kind to everyone." Yesterday Ashton bit his sister's ear. I was so mad at him -- perhaps the maddest ever. Had he bitten her ear any harder, we would have been in the ER. Fortunately, it only left teeth marks and varying shades of purple, pink, and red. And I'm trying to get him to not be so bossy and demanding. I've let it go on for a while now, because at first I was just happy to be able to understand him and communicate with him. Now we're practicing asking for things by saying, "May I ... please?" Lord help us. The other day we were at the library when Ashton saw Kyler. You know -- the Kyler -- the one who reads books and plays his guitar for children all over town, i.e. the library, the Toy Store, my father-in-law's church, etc. (Come to think of it, hiring Kyler to headline a child's birthday party might not be a bad idea.) Anyway, either Ashton was starstruck or else he's more like his mom than I knew. He was shy and bashful. I could identify with Ashton. While other kids were running up to Kyler, Ashton followed my all-too-common mantra "only speak when spoken too." That was my observation...

I've found myself rejoicing today at a new sister in Christ. A 12 year-old girl who is a family friend of ours, has a softball size cancerous tumor in her inner ear. God is using the Christian girl's family to draw others to Himself. Check it out. So anyway, it's reminded me: measly little me is rejoicing; imagine how much more our Lord and the angels are rejoicing!!! Ahh...I love it!!!

Random news. My left wrist hurts again from shoveling. I'm reminded that this is the wrist I fell on last year and sprained. No wonder. Walgreens went to uniforms...cracks me up seeing Aaron wearing the same royal blue dress shirt with Walgreens embroidery and matching neck tie (with the W emblem) every day. Ha ha ha. Sorry honey. I just don't get it -- a uniform dress shirt and tie?!?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Around Our House

We are going through another phase at the Belland house, or should I say zoo. One day Ashton wanted in baby Sadie's (there I go again -- calling her Baby Sadie, as if that was her proper name) crib. He climbed in and somebody brought it up that the crib is like a cage. Next thing I know, Ashton is pretending he's a caged giraffe. Well, that was at least a month ago and now here we are. Ashton no longer calls Sadie by her name like he used to; now she is "baby giraffe." Aaron and I are "zookeepers," and not just when "big brother giraffe" is in his cage; sometimes when big brother giraffe needs help on the toilet, even then he'll yell for one of his zookeepers. Ashton loves being a giraffe in Sadie's crib -- he takes naps, eats hay (megablocks), and does tricks for the zookeepers. Well, for the longest time, whenever both Aaron and I are off work, we refer to those days as "MommyDaddyAshyBabySadie" days. But as I was tucking Ashton into bed tonight and informing him of another MommyDaddyAshyBabySadie day to come tomorrow, he corrected me. It's a "BabyGiraffeBigBrotherGiraffeZookeeperOtherZookeeper day" tomorrow!

Another Ashton quirk: Ashton is a very neat, tidy, organized boy. He's always been bothered by drawers and cupboard doors not being completely closed. He takes a garment off and puts it in the hamper before he takes another piece off. He carries the tissue paper from his gift bag to the trash can before pulling out the actual gift. So I knew he was orderly, but I was reminded just how observant and organized he is when I went to reach in the refrigerator for the Velveeta cheese and instead grabbed the Glad Press'n Seal!? I guess because the Press'n Seal box looks so much like the Velveeta box, he thought the Press'n Seal was mistakenly placed in the aluminum foil drawer when it should be in the refrigerator right next to the other Velveeta cheese box!

Well it is Valentine's Day (thanks hun for the beautiful roses and calla lillies) and here I am sitting in my sweats and a t-shirt. But Aaron will be home from work any minute now so I think I will go change into something a little *sweeter*.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Sadie's second tooth came in Monday, February 4. She's a fast crawler now and she really likes those floor registers -- AGGHHH! She can almost climb up to a standing position, but sometimes only to her shins (if that make any sense). We definitely need to lower her bed again tomorrow. Anyway, she wants to be in these tedious positions so badly, but once she gets there, she can't quite hold her own, and often ends up falling. It doesn't make sense to me why she so badly wants to do that over and over again!

I ordered some new reusable grocery sacks online. I'm really digging them; they are fun. However, I was surprised by the material. It's like windbreaker material. Now I'll just wait and see how they actually work! I'm excited.

I've figured out how to remotely access my office computer from home, but I haven't worked out the kinks of getting the software programs I need. I'm tired of thinking about it.

Tonight Aaron and I went out for dinner while Aaron's family kept the kiddos. What a nice change! About 70% of the time Ashton likes to sit on Aaron's lap while we eat (as I type that I realize how ridiculous that is), so Aaron got to eat without Ashton on his lap, without Ashton climbing on him (he often stands while eating too), without wiping Ashton's fingers constantly in order to keep the two of them clean. I got to eat without having to constantly scoot stuff out of Sadie's grabby reach, without removing napkins from her mouth (yes, you read that correctly), and without shoveling my food in before Sadie's next impatient outburst. We got to eat at our own leisure and have adult conversation. Halleluia! Then we went and watched Fool's Gold -- a good movie. We picked Sadie up and now Ashton is having a sleepover at Oma & Opa's.

Yesterday Aaron asked me when we're going to have our next child. I had kind of assumed we'd space all our kids out like we did Ashton & Sadie -- aproximately 2 years apart. And I liked having a summer baby. But as I have been thinking about it more today, I've been thinking that it might be kind of nice to have the kids closer together so that we don't drag out the number of years before the last child leaves the house. If we got pregnant now, we'd have a November baby (not digging that), but Sadie would be nearly one and a half. PLUS, I've been persuaded that birth control pills aren't for me... All that to say, who knows when the next baby will be! My dear friend Angie, and her husband, are going to start trying to become pregnant here in the next few months...it would be fun to be pregnant with her. AHHH! I can't believe I'm talking about this. It does NOT feel like Sadie is 7 months old! It feels like she was born only 2 or 3 months ago.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Forgive the impersonal nature of this blog -- it is more just for my benefit.

Sometime during the first week of January Ashton started wearing "boxers" instead of diapers. All the time. He figured out a way to get up on the toilet all by himself and took the initiative to keep his stepstool right next to the toilet. Off and on over the past year we've asked Ashton if he wanted to go potty on the potty chair and he would say "no" and we would leave it at that. Then January came and he decided it was time! It really happened "just like that." Two weeks later, I finally bought a waterproof mattress pad, and now I'm letting him wear his "boxers" to bed. Potty trained: one month before turning 3.

We finally bought some area rugs for our house, so now we're more inclined to let Sadie spend time on the floor. On January 14th I realized Sadie should be sitting up by now and so I set her up for the first time. Sure enough -- she can sit!
Sitting up on own: 6 months old.

December 11th Sadie got up on all fours for the first time. And for about 5 weeks, she would just shake forward and backward, and maybe fall forward. But this week she actually crawls! Don't get me wrong, she's not fast or anything...yet.
Crawling: 6 months old.

January 24th we woke up and Sadie's first tooth had finally broken through the surface of her gums.
First tooth: 6 months old.