Monday, March 2, 2009

Potty training adventures with Gwyn

I know it has been AWHILE since I blogged.  Life with kids and ministry and a job and homeschooling.  Life.  That is it.  I would rather play with my kids...or read a book...or watch a great TV show...than stare at the computer.  Anyway, I just could not, not share this with my blog girls.  This one is for you Aly and Annie.  I miss being able to share these stories with you at the park...
We recently dedicated our sweet Gwyn which basically means we prayed over her life with close family and friends (pictured here Aaron and Emily-friends so dear they seem like family) and committed to raising her in the knowledge of Christ and pouring His love and ours into her.  She is the most precious, soft little soul and she has completed our little family.  We love her, but life with a 21 month old is always a crazy mix of pure joy and pure...hmm read on.

Gwyn is potty training, and doing well as a preface.  She usually only has about one pee accident a day and never poos in her pants anymore.  She is even dry at Disneyland or on drives to LA.  I am impressed.  But, she has a milk intolerance that makes her gassy and constipated.  We are usually so careful, but this week a bit of cheese slipped through and she ate it.  The next day she was upset at her bowels and trying to poop.  We let her roam with no pants to allow easy access while we were cooking dinner after a long day.  She was kinda whining and we were kinda not paying much attention.  Not a good thing cause next thing I know she is calling Poop! from her room.  I go in and she is squatting in front of her dollhouse dropping the biggest log ever.  I look at her red face and see defeat.  She is mad at herself, so I don't make a big deal, grap a wippee and lysol, pick it up and we take it to the potty, talk about how it should go in there and NOT on the ground and flush it bye-bye.  I go back to dinner prep without dressing her.  I figure the danger is gone and a little naked time is always fun.  She comes in the kitchen and "cooks" at her play kitchen.  THEN, after a few minutes I hear the Poop! call and look over to see her STANDING in her own poo.  She didn't just drop one...she stepped in it!  Ahh!  Adam and I were SOO excited to have choosen parenthood at that moment.  Aggie held the dog back (Peyton the dog is famous for eating the poo-good times), while I held Gwyn in mid-air.  He went and got the wipees.  We wiped her down.  Sprayed HER feet with lysol.  Picked up the poo.  Wiped up the smashed poo.  Lysoled the ground and mopped with antibacterial soap.  THEN, back to dinner prep.  Good times, hey?  Adam and I joke that maybe we should have waited even longer (we waited 5 years) to have kids.  It surely is an adventure.  Especially the poop part.  

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tea with Gammy (and big girl Gwyneth)

We took my mom to her first tea house experience this last week for her Christmas present.  She loves tea, has a teacup collection from her mom, and has tea parties every time the girls go over for babysitting.  Our day at the tea house was a perfect day.  The weather was sunny and nice.  We weren't rushed.  The girls were all fancy and felt pretty.  We sat at a pretty table with pretty tea sets and yummy, girly food.  Agatha had impeccable etiquette and manners.  Gwyneth ate quietly and didn't break anything.  My mom got to enjoy her girls and a beautiful tea.  It was everything I dreamed.  I wish everyday of parenting was this shiny.  Today, on the other hand, was back to reality.  Homeschooling in PJs, messy house, tons of chores, busy outings with late arrivals, pee pee accidents, a minor burn on my 1 year old's hand, screaming for two and half hours afterward (yes, you read that right-she was inconsolable), late bedtimes and work on the couch late into the night instead of sleeping.  Each day brings its own color and my world is rainbow.
Side note:  Gwyn is not a baby anymore!  She does flips at her Little Gym class, goes pee and poo on the potty, communicates with ASL and verbal words, sleds down huge hills in the snow on her own inner-tube, makes valid jokes and knows she is funny, refuses high chairs and sits on a normal dining chairs and even has a preference toward purple everything (what to do with all the PINK hand-me-downs from her big sister-RIT dye here I come!).  I am excited for this next stage of toddler!  Gwyn is precious.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A dear man and friend...

If you have not been following the Mark Lamberth story go here...  He was a great guy and friend.  I love his wife and my heart breaks for her as her husband has gone to be with Jesus tonight.  A rough story.  Read it and pray with us.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hollywood...Here comes Agatha!

My daughter Agatha has always liked to perform.  She sang Silent Night in front of crowds of 800+ at Age 3 and has not looked back.  For a year or so now she has been asking to be a star in movies.  We were hesitant at first, thinking she didn't know what she was really asking for and that we couldn't make it happen anyway.  But, out of the blue a talent scout approached us in the mall.  We had meetings.  She took classes so we could see her commitment.  She thrived.  She performed more locally in live stuff, but still wanted to go to Hollywood.  I didn't want to do the thing where we send out head shots and pursue it so strongly on our end at this age so we just waited.  We decided to home school for other reasons (like having a family day since Adam works full days on Saturday AND Sunday), but because of that decision we have the flexibility we need.  We were chatting with a home school friend at the pumpkin patch and she had a manager who was great for kids.  I said casually that I would like to get in contact with her because Aggie wanted to pursue that.  She emailed me and we sent the head shot in and wa-la! we had a meeting in Hollywood.  We got signed with a manager after the first meeting, but still needed an agent.  We went down and met with a coach in the Hollywood Hills in a fancy house under the Hollywood sign.  It was surreal.  The manager linked us up with a big name agency to start, cause why not?  I'll leave the name off since I'm not sure claiming that on the Internet is a good idea, but let's just say reputable!  Oh my gracious, big!  And they want my Agatha.  It was her first big audition and I was half preparing her for the disappointments that are inevitable...but, she got it!  I am sure there are bumps ahead and we are keeping it real for her.  But, wow!  Today is a celebrate day!  I am proud of her for having a dream and being willing to work to get it.  She has already given up things to make trips to Hollywood and knows what it takes.  She wants it.  And here it is for her.  I pray for her everyday that the right roles will come along to allow her to shine and still stay true to her good nature and beliefs.  I pray she will be strong and beautiful and not caught up in it all.  I pray people don't judge her or us too harshly because she is a pastor's kid.  I pray for her.  But, Aggie is amazing.  Anyone who knows her, knows that.  I know she can do anything.  I pray provision and protection.  Pray with me, please.
Update:  After one week of auditions she got a callback and a commercial.  It was a personal injury lawyer out of Baltimore and not a high paying job, but more than enough.  It was very fun and professionally done.  We were shuttled from various locations for shoots, had wardrobe and full make-up and hair in a trailer, ate yummy fish and chicken prepared for us, met with a on set tutor, ate too much craft services and shot in a set hospital.  She had lines and had to act "sad".  She did beautifully, focused, didn't wiggle, didn't overact and had a great time.  There was a huge, professional crew and they all clapped and cheered when she wrapped.  It was a great first experience.  Adam and I really want to instill in her that acting in an artform and she is an artist.  We don't want her to do this to be famous and end up some annoying mainstream pop star, but to become an artist.  Even if she doesn't choose this artform long term, at least to walk away undertanding the beauty and strength of conveying emotions through acting.  I think she tasted this with this first heavier piece...and she is gorgeous on film.  The producer could not get over how great she looked and I was taken aback.  She is cute in real life, but the camera makes her breathtaking.  I am proud-she did well. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Oh Candy Cane, O Candy Cane

I organized a recent trip to Logan's Candy Cane making Store in Ontario for our Homeschool Group.  It was so fun!  We saw the candy canes made from start to finish, got to eat hot pieces of candy cane and they were just great, real people.  I am not one for big cheesy symbolism as many do with candy canes.  But in his candy cane making presentation he did the stripes for the blood of Christ and the white for his purity and the J for Jesus along with the history of Candy canes as candy invented to keep the kids quiet during the big Christmas pageant at the cathedral.  He was just so fun and honest about his faith and love for the process of making this traditional Christmas Candy that it made it beautiful.  I guess the cheesiness can be broken by being transparent.  I gotta remember that.  Watch the video for yourself here and read an articlehere and here .  Aggie is writing the process out for schooling today...ah unschooling!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Buenos Dia de los Muertos!!!

We had such a great day today! We learned about the Day of the Dead and had the most wonderful party! We remembered Grandpa Ron Lugg, Grandma Verna Irwin, Gammy Betty McIntyre and our friend Karissa Ashley. Everything just seemed to fall into place for learning.
We colored sugar skull designs like they sell in Mexico and talked about Mexican use of color in art.
We made this family memory tree with traditional marigolds and skulls for our table. At dinner we all told memory stories about our loved ones.
We dressed skeletons in bright, fun colors as they do they for the celebration to remember the happy memories of loved ones.
I found these authentic papel picado at a local shop and they looked beautiful. Aggie pulled out her pink sombero from our Mexican vacation.
We went shopping at a local Mexican Supermarket and bought a full dinner with Carne Asada, tortillas, black beans, Mexican sodas, sweet bread and Mexican candy. It was so yummy!
Over Mexican coco we played Loteria (Mexican Bingo) with our bottle cap collection as the place covers. Aggie won and shouted out Loteria!
We also made traditional Pan de los Muertos in the shape of Skulls. We each made our own-Gwyn, Agatha, Adam and mine. We found the recipe online and a Mexican Neighbor stopped by and was so excited we were making it.
We had an amazing day remembering, praying, learning, and just having fun with The Day of the Dead! And we have a whole other day-tomorrow we are attending a learning day sponsored by the city on this holiday and a celebration tomorrow night sponsored by a local museum. So fun!

The History of the Jack-o-lantern

I love to play dress up and I love to dress up on Halloween. Can you tell? We had a great, quiet night at home eating chili, trick or treating the neighborhood, visiting with family, friends and neighbors. Gwyn was so fun when she caught on that people wer giving candy away!

I also love Jack-o-lanterns. We have a pumpkin party every year to carve with friends and today Aggie counted 72 jack-o-lantern decorations as we cleaned them up! For a homeschool project this year Aggie learned the history of the Jack-o-lantern and lo and behold it is Irish-yea McIntyre! Here is her report:
The Irish used to carry turnips carved out with faces on them on All Hallows Eve as lanterns. They went out on this night to beg for money and food because the next day was All Saints Day. People would give money because they were remembering their family who died. The Irish people came to America because of the potato famine and we changed turnips to pumpkins because America had alot of pumpkins at Harvest. The Irish told a story about a mean, mean man named Jack who did not share. He didn't love Jesus so he couldn't go to Heaven. The Devil felt sorry for him and gave him a hot coal that he put it in his pumpkin lantern to light up his way. Now we call then Jack-o-lanterns because of the story of Jack and the Irish!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fall Fun

Fall is a fun time to be a kindergartner-or maybe a kindergarten teacher! There are so many fun themes to teach on and since we are homeschoolers-so many fun field trips. We have gone on sooo many but these two were really fun and Fall picturesque.
We went to Tanaka Farms pumpkin patch and I love the big black wheelbarrows you get to take through the patch. We all got the perfect pumpkin and are going to carve them tomorrow night at our annual pumpkin party while sporting out tye dyed jack-o-lantern tees from Family Fun.
We also went to an educational farm called Centennial Farms on the OC Fair grounds. They had all the traditional animals, crops and red barns. We saw a cow get milked and pet chicks. It was GREAT!
I hope you are getting out there in the community this season. As much as the short days and change of weather bring on my seasonal sadness, I do love the outings and colors and walks of autumn. Having a 5 and 1 year old are a fun time to be a mommy. I will cherish these memories forever.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I know...where have I been?

I really hate that my blog has said "I have so much to do!" since August 16th! It is just that with homeschooling a 5year old and taking care of a 1 year old I have little time to sit like an adult at the computer. And what time I do have I am working...for River Springs. I barely get my personal email checked or glance at facebook. But, I love blogging and reading so here I am.

We have been up to so much fun stuff with homeschooling! I figured it out and we are doing like 8 field trips a month! And with regular outings we are out in the community alot. We have gone to Disneyland with cousins, gone to football game fore Adam's cousin at which Agatha was invited on the field to cheer with the cheerleaders (so cute), Legoland with the Foors (we sorted over 1000 legos and graphed them by color and type for a follow up to that one-whew!), a Family village festival on cultures, the San Bernandino Museum with the Foors, the Huntington Library/Art Galleries/Gardens with the Speirs, a pumpkin patch trip with The Grove Homeschool Group, the Riverside Museum for dissecting owl pellet and making clay scat (poop-yes it was fake) of types of animals, Riley's Farm for apples and colonial farm life tour with The Grove group again, the Chinese Moon Festival and Chinese Food (the pic), and on and on. We are having so much fun.
Aggie is really learning to read and write and I am so proud. She reads to Gwyn all the time and Gwyn can't get enough of books. Aggie is doing great things at Gymnastics and did a flip on the uneven bars that even I was impressed by! She is so curious and really becoming a lifelong self lead learner which is a big objective with me for homeschooling. She and Adam especially dive into subjects with such fervor and have done projects on pee and volcanoes and other fun ideas.
Gwyn loves Farm animals and says more sounds than words at this point. She is a non verbal communicator and has no problem getting what she needs with grunts and facial expressions! She starting using the sign for thank you and it is so cute. She is kinda potty training and is so proud when she is successful. She has starting smiling like this picture when we say "say cheese" and is really becoming a little person. I love to watch her bouncy little trot as she pokes curiously around the house. She is very meticulous about art and already draws her version of the family and dogs (which she loves).
Life is good-but I am really trying to find a balance. I have so many hats at this point. I know I should get rid of one-but which? I like each one in its own way. I just wish I was slower. I wish I had more time-but don't we all?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

SOOO much to do...

So I work for this school and we start attendance days on Tuesday the 19th. My daughter starts schooling at home for K through them that day as well. I have spend 4 of the last eight workdays (I work 4 days a week from home usually) in meetings away from home. And I still have SO MUCH TO DO for my first meetings with my families on Thursday and Friday next week. I know it will even out...but man, if only I could just be mommy right now. I know I like (and need) the money. I know I don't want to be dirt poor. I know I paid all that money for a credential that we are still paying off. I know I want to do this so we can stay in ministry and my husband can be the Pastor he his extremely called to be. I know I kinda secretly like having some adult thoughts to think and a career to develop. But, I look at my cute, precious kids and just wish I were playing games on the floor and creating this euphoric childhood of memories. I wish my house were cleaner and I was doing chores instead of work during nap. I wish it were less hectic. I hope I am making the right choices. I hope their memories of me are not of stress, but of love. Don't we all hope that? I mean look at them. Who would ever want to stare at an email computer screen rather than these two?

(Don't you love their matching shoes? Gwyn is so excited when she is like Aggie-and she LOVES shoes right now. That's my girl!)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

BJs and Old Navy

I went out with the girls tonight for my birthday. Cristi, Nicolle, Shannon, Christina, Holly, and Ashley came out for the festivities and I had such a wonderful time. I miss Annette, Alyssa and Emily though. We always did the BJs and Old Navy thing together and though my evening was supreme with such great girls around me, I missed these girls. Two babies came along (KJ Hughes and Audrey Rodrigo) and I commented that it was so appropriate that babies were at MY birthday. I love babies (I am finally going to start my doula training in March 09) and I got to hold them both for quite a while since Gwyn was not there to be jealous! All my girls seem to be starting their families and I am finishing. I feel so old and mentorly. It is weird, but good. I love my girls and their babies!!!
BTW: I started work again for the year and man, am I overwhelmed. Did you ever get stressed in college on syllabus day? I always went back to my dorm and had a panic attack about how I was going to possibly going to get it all done. That is how I feel right now! Syllabus day as an adult! How can I balance the crazy work expectations this year with mommying, homeschooling, ministry, art, housekeeping and marriage? Hmmm...I am sure it will balance out cause it always does but I have had more than one outburst of emotion at the girls and Adam about it and I don't want to be that way to the ones I love! Pray for me. I have tightness in my chest just writing about it.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Boating with Dad

We went boating down San Diego way with my Dad today. He has owned his boat for almost two years and this is the first I have been on it! With babies and the drive to Chula Vista is has been a chore to get there. But is was a wonderful day once it came.
Though Gwyn hatted the drive there and really hated the lifejacket we had some wonderful moments. We swam in the ocean (Adam said I would be the cool mom who jumped in when I compained about the freezing water and that it would mess my hair-I had a homeschool mom meeting afterward really), sunned on the front deck (Gwyn was annoyed that she could not roam free), had a picnic lunch and cruised the harbor with the sea breeze in our hair (or knotting your hair-take your pick).
It was nice to spend time with my dad in his element-I miss him.
Plus, my baby brother (almost 21 so not so baby anymore) came down to boot. He and my dad are peas in a pod (in a good way), so it made for a fun day.
My favorite moment was when my baby fell asleep sitting up against me and my normally wiggly five year old snuggled in for a 10 minute cuddle while we cruised the harbor. The boys were distracted with driving the big toy-I mean boat. The wind was wipping. The sea mist off the back was misting my face. The engine was roaring so I didn't have to talk to anyone. It was such a peaceful mommy moment. All I had to do was hold them close and kiss my girls heads.

My beautiful friend Adrianne

This is Adrianne and Sunshine. Sunshine is a new addition to the Ashley family and is helping them heal a bit from their recent loss of their lovely three year old daughter Karissa. Karrissa suffered from epilepsy and went home to be with Jesus about a month ago. Crazy hard. Crazy grief for this mama. But this couple, Mark and Adrianne, have shown incredible beauty and grace and faith beyond what most would even dream possible in this situation. They aren't afraid to cry and let it out and scream that this sucks, but they don't stay there. They have a hope in their future and what God has for them. They are finding ways to move through this. They are amazing. Adam and I really feel called to help people through this time of grieving as pastor and pastor wife. Adam calls it his sweet spot. We feel most comfortable supporting and listening and just being with them. We love them as dear friends and I have learned so much from these classy people on how to deal with loss and trust in a future. They are true beauty in Christ.

VBS fun with the Spiers

We attended a VBS at a different church than our own this week and had a wonderful time (not that our week at the Grove wasn't fabulous). Aggie was able to sing in their church service with the VBS kids and (my little performer) was so excited. We had fun at the service and BBQ. Though I must say it was strange attending such a traditional methodist church after my years in a non-denominational. They were so loving and open, but the robes and readings and hyms and kneeling at the front for communion were a wierd flashback to my presperterian childhood. Aggie didn't know what to do with it all and actually climbed over a pew during the closing hymn!Other than some great preschool friends that Agatha was able to reconnect with we hung with this lovely family. (though the younges Matthew is not pictured)

They are homeschool friends and just wonderful to be with. Despite age differences we always have a enjoyable time when they are around.

And I think I have found my nanny to play with Gwyn while I work. She doesn't warm up to anyone like she does Emma.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I love Pomplamoose

I just found this fun little indie rock band that started this summer. They are great aren't they? I can't wait till they have an entire CD!

My friends the Foors

This is an old picture because I have not blogged for months, but I figure I will catch you all up. We try to see the Foors at least once or twice a month and our families love each other. We just mesh. Have you ever met a match like that? The husbands have been best friends for years. The wives became best friends when they were married in and the kids just get along (or not) like siblings. We parent in similar fashions. We have like childhood experiences. We both work in ministry and understand those pressures. We both love music and the arts. We have like values for marriage, finances, feminity, masculinity, everything. We just click. I feel so relaxed in their presence. We can vacation with them and feel refreshed. I can talk to Aaron and Adam can talk to Em. I have that feeling of being home when I am with them. They are truly our garden friends and I cherish days like this one when our busy lives and schedules come together for a day of fun at Disneyland or some other activity. We recently got to see them twice in one week and I pined for the days when we were all in Riverside together. I am glad they are only and hour and half away, but I wish they were closer. I am so thankful God has provided such friendships for me to lean on. Words just can't express. (too bad they don't read blogs-this got kinda sappy!)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Gwyn is 14 months!

This is for all the distant friends and families. Gwyn is beautiful. She is walking now and making jokes and laughing and talking (a little-though she understands everything we say) and doing fingerplays and doing tricks like answering "How old are you?" and rock on and high five and pound. We love her.

I know it has been months-but here I am. I am 31 today! This is me on my fancy art date with my husband. We went to an art opening at the Riverside Art Museum for the Monothon. I am standing with my Monotype print that was selected for the show and silent auction. We also ate a an upscale resturant called Saffron. Totally out of our price range-but it was my birthday. At check time a member of our church and art patron had picked up the check! Happy Birthday to me! At the risk of sounding like a pastor's wife-God really provides for us! We are blessed.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Saw the...

We stopped by the Rodrigos today. I miss having Holly in our extra room...or even them just down the street. I miss our more frequent chats. It was lovely to see them for the few minutes we had together. They seem to be adjusting to parenthood well and Audrey is getting so big and aware. Babies are one of my favorite things I think.
My mom and brother dropped by and Gwyn had such a good time playing with them. She was all smiles! She showed off all of her tricks like patty cake and standing up on furniture. And I registered my little brother to vote-my good deed for the day. I was just trying to get another Obama voter out there!!!

Roadtrip to Monterey

Oh my goodness...Gwyn does not like the car! As we were sitting on the grass of a Shell station half way up the state I thought "What have we gotten ourselves into?" The 5 hour drive took us 9 because of the screamer. But it was well worth it.

We saw the beloved Risingers. They have taught us amazing things about life, and marriage, and ministry over the years. It was so nice to be in there company again. They took us to wonderful places, but my favorite times were just sitting at their house catching up with them. They seem peaceful. I miss them and this time with them was refreshing. I couldn't figure out who Aggie enjoyed more-Bill or the dog!

They also got us free Aquarium passes! It was so nice not to have to pay that bill and we had a wonderful time in Monterey playing at the Dennis the Menace park, seeing the fishes, going through shops, eating ice cream and visiting a quirky little interactive children's museum. My favorite part was climbing out on the rocks with Aggie one afternoon and tide pooling. It was just the two if us and she was so brave! We climbed way out and touched all kinds of green anemones (Adam is afraid of them!!!), learned about barnacles and muscles, saw hermit crabs and whelks and even saw big sea stars. It was such a great moment together.

We also met Megan, my lovely sister, for dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp on Cannery Row. She drove 2 hours each way just to see us. I love her and it was great to talk face to face and catch up. She is so beautiful and relaxed and interesting. I love every moment we have together. I am so glad she found me and is in my and my girls lives.

We rounded out the trip with the grand finale...a visit with some of our closest friends-the Osbornes. We figured everyone else has gotten there we better get there too!!! They have been gone for over a year now! This was such a restful stop! I love, love Annie and miss her being in my daily life. We had such good, honest talks that I think we both ended up facing life decisions and changes we have been going through. We had time to cruise the streets of Santa Cruz shopping like young, free girls (no kids!!!...or husbands!!!) I love Santa Cruz. Everyone is as green as me and they have whole shops devoted to it. They didn't even offer me plastic bags for me to turn down. Everything was so organic and earthy-it is my new favorite vacation spot. Good friends and good earth. I will be back! Payton and Aggie were so bonded I felt like I didn't really interact with Aggie the entire time we were there. No one can make me laugh like Trav. Jonah and I had some good talks and he even warmed up enough toward me to tell me I was funny and hold my hand. Davy is quite the little man now and he was so sweet with Gwyn. It was a wonderful visit...I wish I could have packed them up and brought them home in my suitcase.

Our road trip was a wonderful one of friends and relationships. I wish it could have been longer...and I wish they could have slept this peacefully for the whole trip. Isn't Gwyn cute when she is sleeping rather than screaming?