PHANEROO \fan-er-o-oo\Greek: to manifest in word or deed.

Friday, May 30, 2008

This Too is Meaningless!

In exactly 2 months, 2 weeks and 6 days, Lily will (or should) begin preschool at our church. The caveat: she must be fully potty trained at age 3 in order to attend. After employing a variety of tried-and-true potty-training techniques, I've decided to take the no-pressure approach. As King Solomon said, "For whom am I toiling...and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment? This too is meaningless - a miserable business!" (Ecclesiastes 4:8). Lily is 3 years old (40 months to be exact). I could spend hours, days, weeks, months, and even years (Oh help me, Lord!) worrying, fretting, pressuring, pleading, and nagging to get Lily to try and use the potty. It's all meaningless! Until she is good and ready to take the steps toward potty training, I'm basically toiling for nothing. A wise friend with three children told me, "If Lily is not potty trained by August, then you know it is not God's timing for her to go to preschool." So true. In God's timing she will be ready and His timing is perfect. Even though I'm feverishly praying that His timing be before August!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I Love Weddings

I love weddings and all that they mean: God joining together one man and one woman to become one flesh. It may seem like a ceremonial ritual to a lot of people (or a binding legal contract). But before God it is a lasting promise. It points to the covenant He has set between Himself and mankind. Even though people may separate and divorce here on earth, a marriage remains binding in the sight of the Lord ("Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." Matt 19:6) . It points to a wonderful promise. Even when life's circumstances may pull us in many directions and greatly influence our emotions and desires, we can still trust that the Lord will never leave us nor separate from us. We are His and He is ours forever. When we accept Him into our lives, we become one.
Next month my friend Lori will be marrying the man whom she loves (Lori pictured to the right trying on wedding gowns - isn't she beautiful?!). I am very excited for her. Marriage brings about so many new revelations in life. In my marriage I have come to understand more about myself and others. I've come face-to-face with compromise, submission, and love under all circumstances. Marriage has a way of harvesting the fruits of the Spirit. Without the fruits of the Spirit in marriage it becomes nothing more than two people living together, like roommates who cross paths in the living room and who happen to sleep in the same bedroom.

And then when God blesses a married couple with children, joy and love only grows deeper. It was not until the moment when I first laid eyes upon my newborn baby girl did I experience just a fraction of what God the Father must feel for us every day. It has become such a strong awareness that I would lay my life down for my little ones if it meant saving theirs. And to think that God allowed His son to die for all of us who are severely undeserving of such grace.
I am proud to say that BJ and I will be celebrating 10 years of marriage on July 11. Marriage has been such a wonderful thing -- an amazing picture of our relationship with our Savior and our Maker. I pray that the Lord bestows blessings upon Lori and her fiance and that their home and marriage be a reflection of His love for others to see.

"Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death" (Song of Solomon 8:6).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Our Little Artist

I finally finished framing and hanging Lily's artwork. It looks terrific in our bonus room -- really livens up the place. Lily has such a great eye for color and balance. I'm always amazed at how she fills up a page with color while maintaining a sense of balance in each piece. I know she doesn't understand what she is doing yet but she sure does act like it! It just goes to show you how wonderfully creative children can be.

Sometimes when she gets a painting started and then pushes it aside to discard, I sneak it away and begin to add my own paint to it. It's my way of sharing in some of her creative flow. One example is pictured below (top). She painted the red, yellow, and blue circle in the middle and added some radiating lines and some other shapes. When she was done and had pushed it aside, I added more color in the same style that she had started. It's our very first mother-daughter painting. It happens to be BJ's favorite.

Lily began finger painting about six months ago as a form of tactile sensory therapy. She hates (and I really mean absolutely cannot stand) to have stuff on her hands. Finger painting is helping to desensitize her from tactile defensiveness. She may finger paint for a few minutes before asking to wash it off, but then I offer her a paint brush so that she can continue. Some of her paintings below are done by finger and some are done by brush. The hand print painting was a huge accomplishment because she actually put paint in the palm of her hand -- that's supposedly one of the more difficult areas for kids with sensory problems.

I'm a very proud Mommy! I'm excited about starting Mommy and Me painting classes together in the near future. We will have such a blast!

Mother's Day Bouquet

BJ's aunt made me a beautiful bouquet for Mother's Day from her own garden. I can only imagine what her yard must look like this time of year. We need to make the hour drive to see it and pay her a visit sometime soon. Sometimes I wish I had a yard large enough for gardening, but then I think of all the other responsibilities I have right now. My garden would quickly turn into a weed bed. At least I can enjoy a small portion of Aunt Faye's garden right in my home.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Photo Collage

Some time ago, BJ started collecting photos of churches around town (and from others on their travels). This is the beginning of his photo collection. I made time today to get them printed and picked out some frames for them. We are putting together a photo collage on one of our big empty walls in our bonus room. I also found some wrought iron crosses to add to the collage. I can't wait to see how it turns out. This was all BJ's idea and I really love it. If you have any photos of unique churches, please feel free to email them to me. I'd love to add them to BJ's collection.

And for another post, I'll put together some photos of Lily's paintings. While I was picking out frames today, I went ahead and purchased some frames for her watercolor masterpieces. They will be absolutely beautiful in the kid area of the bonus room.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Update: "Good to Go!"

Just a quick update on Schaeffer's speech evaluation today. It went very well! The speech-language pathologist, her name is Dee who also worked with Lily on speech, said Schaeffer is on the verge of some great vocalizations. Right now he is in the beginnings of babbling (she heard ma, ba, ga and possibly na). She isn't expecting any distinct words right now like mama or dada. Just making those consonant sounds are all good for 11 mos. He used different inflection and variations in pitch and he was able to make some gestures to get his needs met. Those are all in line with his age right now. She said Dr. Feld was probably concerned about some repetitive sounds that she had heard during the first 5 or 10 minutes of the appointment, which was only one repetitive sound that he made in his throat. But once he started playing and exploring, his vocalizations really picked up. She said he may just need to get warmed up first, but he is "good to go." Big sigh of relief...ahhhhh. No more worries and thankfully not another kid going to therapy.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Here We Go Again!

Wednesday of this week Schaeffer has an appointment to see a speech pathologist to possibly find out why he isn't babbling with more sounds and why he hasn't said any words yet. Still no mama, dada, baba, or bye-bye. Our pediatrician, Dr. Feld, wanted to play it safe and get him evaluated. I'm glad he takes a more proactive, cautious approach instead of playing the "wait-and-see" game. Nothing is more stressful for a mom than to wait and see. My heart tells me that Schaeffer might just be a late talker since his sister keeps our house full of noise and constant chatter. He is right on target with other developmental milestones, and he is not showing any sensitivities to noise, lights, textures, movement, and so on like Lily did at this age.

As suggested by Dr. Feld, we've already begun sign language with a few words to help promote better communication. We use sign for the words more, finished/all done, Mommy, Daddy, eat, drink and bath. Schaeffer has seemed to pick up on the sign for more even though it looks like he is just clapping his hands. It's neat to see him picking up on sign language as a meaningful way of communicating. Lily used the sign for more all the time. In fact, she would use it for almost anything that she wanted. One day when she was a little over a year old, we were all in the car together. Suddenly she became very frustrated and started yelling out at us. We looked back at her in her car seat and she was frantically signing more. Unfortunately it was our duty to figure out what she wanted more of. But at least she could communicate her needs at such a young age without all the crying, grunting, and screaming that usually comes out the mouths of frustrated 1-year-olds.

Regardless of the outcome at Wednesday's appointment, Schaeffer is our sweet little boy. I could not love him any more or any less. I just want the best start in life for him and whatever that might mean for all of us.

Friday, May 9, 2008

My Little Brother is now a Doctor of Philosophy

I can hardly believe that my little brother is now a doctor with his PhD in Nuclear Engineering from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. We are so proud of Matthew and all his accomplishments, especially at such a young age (only 25 years old!). Last night we attended his hooding ceremony at Thompson-Boling Arena on UT campus. You can read more about Matthew's accomphlishments by visiting this link.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Strong-Willed Child

Today I was told by Lily's occupational therapist that I needed to read the book The Strong-Willed Child. What?! Not my way! BJ picked up two copies if that tells you anything.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Dear Schaeffer,

Today you turn 11 months old. It is hard to believe that only a short while ago you were so tiny and so fragile. Now look at you! You are such a growing boy full of life and energy. I didn't even know my heart was capable of so much love. First it was just your Daddy, big sissy and me. And my heart was already filled to over-flowing. Then you came along and my heart must have grown ten fold!

The day you entered my world was amazing and terrifying. You looked so strong and healthy. And then the news came that you would need extra care because your lungs were still too immature. For only a brief moment we were able to introduce ourselves to you before you were rushed away to intensive care. For six days I visited you every three hours. As I think back about that moment, I remember how it felt. I explained it to your Daddy like this: For those six days every three hours felt like a first date. I watched the clock and counted down every minute before I could see you again. And as I rushed to be by your side I was relieved and overjoyed to see your big dark eyes staring back at me. You recognized me from the very beginning and I loved you from the moment I saw you. I have grown to love you even more today.

In just one month you will be celebrating your first birthday. We have already shared many firsts with you. Every moment since your birth until now has been precious and special to me. You are so sweet and so loving. Your personality blossoms more every day. It makes me eager to see the work God does in you and through you. I know He has a very special plan for you. I am proud that He chose me to be your Mommy. I'm glad that I have front-row seats to your life.

I love you, son!


Saturday, May 3, 2008


I call this my "Mommy of Two Turbo Boost." This recipe came out of the Runner's World magazine months and months ago (they call it Granita). But I just now got around to trying it, and I must say, it is quite yum-diliacious! I've changed it up a bit just because I didn't have all the correct ingredients, and my modifications work just fine. Here goes:

2 oz espresso or strong coffee (Okay, if you have kids you'll definitely want to bump up the caffeine factor and go ahead and do 3-4 oz espresso or strong coffee).

3 oz low fat milk

1 oz half-and-half (Or, if you are like me and trying to squeeze back into pre-preg jeans, you may want to consider skipping the half-and-half and going all low fat milk. Why add the additional guilt, right?)

2 cups standard-size ice cubes

1 oz chocolate syrup or cocoa powder (If you go the guilt-free route suggested above, you won't feel so guilty about adding a bit more chocolate here. The payoff is magnifique!)

Mix all ingredients in a blender for 25 seconds or until smooth. Serve immediately. Makes two 8-oz servings...or one 16-oz "Mother of Two Turbo Boost."

Calories (with chocolate syrup): 90; Fat: 2 g; Carbs: 15 g; Protein: 2 g. (Not bad, ey?)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Rainbow Day!

We've been looking forward to Rainbow day for 35 long days. That's how many days ago we placed the order for the Rainbow Sunshine Castle. And today they delivered the swingset and installed it. Lily loves it! We spent the entire day, with the exception of two hours for naptime, to swing, slide, climb, and jump.

As soon as Lily woke up this morning, I showed her the construction out her bedroom window. She immediately wanted her clothes on to go outside to check it out. It was a very windy day today, so Lily insisted on wearing her winter coat most of the day. I was sweating well before noon so I'm not sure how she could stand it.

As soon as the construction was done, Lily jumped on the swing and hardly took any breaks. I think that girl could swing for hours and hours. And when a few of her friends stopped by she allowed them to swing, but only on the blue one because the red one was hers and she was not giving it up. I hope her enthusiasm for the swingset remains for many years, and I hope Schaeffer grows to love it as well. He really enjoyed the baby swing that I attached to the swingset later in the day.

I can only imagine the hours we will spend this summer outside playing on the Rainbow.

(The path behind the swingset is our neighborhood walking trail that's right behind our house. What a great park setting for the new swingset.)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Girl Night with a Sister

I don't get girl nights that often so when they occur I'm as happy as can be. My friend Lori and I went out last night for a pedi, mani and dinner.

I'm so proud of my friend Lori. I knew her when she was a hard-working college student. I had just become a stay at home wife (no kids). We ran the roads all the time. Meeting for lunch a couple of times per week, going to the pool, shopping, hiking and going to concerts. Now we are both more "grown up." I have two children and she has a regular job and a soon-to-be fiance. Now we can barely find the time to get together once per month as we are both juggling more responsibilities.

I have watched Lori grow up over the past few years. She graduated with an engineering degree from The University of Tennessee while working full-time as a successful real estate agent. Just about 2 years ago she started a new real estate company with a business partner. She owns rental properties and manages them. And soon she will be taking on the responsibilties and joys of being a wife, step mom and new mom one day.

I love Lori and I'm so proud of her. I don't have a sister of my own, and she's an only child. I guess I sort of see her as my baby sister. Best of luck, Lori! I'm thinking about you and praying for you on this special weekend.