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

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Two New Favorite Places

I found these blogs recently, and it looks like I'm a little late in finding them since they are both followed by a gazillion people already. Thought I'd share them anyway:

Making It Lovely - I love her style.

Pioneer Woman - She is a funny urban-professional-turned-farmer's wife with four homeschooled children out on a remote farm somewhere. Deep down, I'm a little envious of her. (More on that later).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Vacation!

BJ is on vacation for two weeks, and that can only mean one thing...vacation for me too! We are already enjoying this extended time together and I've enjoyed sleeping late while BJ takes care of kiddos bright and early. (In comparison to a normal work day, BJ is sleeping late too. It's all relative). And I've actually gotten to do a few things I normally don't attempt without backup support, such as bake, grocery shop, get my hair done, and get a massage...yes, I got a massage on BJ's first official day on vacation. Wow! I have an amazing husband. He actually called and made the appointment for me. I guess he knew it would get our two week vacation started on the right foot. He was right! In addition to the adventure we had on Monday, we have some more family excursions planned. And BJ has some plans to spend one-on-one time with Lily (probably hiking in the Smokies) and with Schaeffer (probably an Ice Bears hockey game or something similar). I love it when BJ takes vacation.

By the way, Happy-Merry Christmas everybody!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Say a Prayer...

Yesterday BJ was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. If you ask BJ, he is ok with the diagnosis because he had been expecting it. If you ask me, well, I'm not as ok. I don't like that my sweet husband will have to suffer, and has suffered for some time now, with pain in almost every joint in his body. I'm praying that God would take it away. If He does not, I pray that He will give BJ the endurance that he'll need to live with such a disease. Will you pray with us?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Side by Side

Here's a fun side-by-side comparison of all my babies at around 7-8 months (L to R: Lily, Griffin, Schaeffer). Who looks more alike? Who looks like their daddy? Who looks like their mommy? Who looks like the mail man (hahaha!)? One thing is for certain, these babies definitely swam out of the same gene pool!

Griffin is 7 Months

Griffin turned 7 months on Nov. 23. That was the week of Thanksgiving. We were busy enjoying a full week with BJ at home from work while he was on vacation. Griffin is a sweet little boy. He is doing so well. Growing. Developing. Playing. Communicating. Smiling. Laughing.

Griffin started sitting up without assistance about a week after he turned 7 months. Sometimes he forgets he is sitting up on his own and that's when he topples over. He's also making some new sounds like "da-da-da" and a funny growling sound. They both get him attention and I think he likes that.

Even though we've had some difficult spells with his nighttime sleeping, he is now doing really great getting up only once to eat, and then he goes back to sleep until about 9 a.m. I can live with that schedule! Solid foods, well, that's another story entirely. He doesn't appear to care for solids. In fact, solid foods evoke projectile vomitting. None of my other children have responded that way with the introduction of solids. Schaeffer loved food of any sort. Lily just turned her head and refused to let you put anything in her mouth. But Griffin, he lets you put it in his mouth. And then the gagging and eventual throwing up occurs. I'm lucky that I can breastfeed because until 12 months Griffin will need nothing more. Introducing solids is a good practice to get him ready, but if he refuses to eat them he is not missing any nutritional benefits.

The ladies at church who keep Griffin's class say he is so easy to care for. They've told me that he hardly ever cries and that he is content to play. Whenever he gets fussy they rock him and he goes right off to sleep. I would have to say that sounds just like my little Smiley Wiley.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Funny Kids Sayings

Funny things my kids have said lately:

Schaeff: "I wanna go to Donald-Mc!!"

Lily: "That's not how Daddy do's it!"

Schaeff: "Sssnowman" (The "s" sounded thru his nose). I loved it when he said "I sssmell sssmoke." There's no letter of the alpahabet to properly depict how he makes his "s" sound.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

One Giant Step for Lily-kind

Lily made one giant step this weekend. She spent the night with her Grandmama and Granddad at their house for the very first time. I was so proud of our little routine-adhering daughter. I was so proud of her when she decided - it was her idea - to spend the night with them. Because we weren't planning for her to stay overnight on Thanksgiving night, we did not come prepared with her sleeping accessories, which includes Kitty, Zebra, paci's, and a fleece pillow and blanket her Aunt Heather made for her. Also, she likes to sleep in an oversized T-shirt and "bedtime" socks that she pulls up almost to her knees. Not only did she decide to spend the night, but she did so knowing that she would not have any of these items with her. Luckily, I had already left to go home to get the boys down for a nap when she decided to stay. I may have gotten teary-eyed if I had to say "goodbye" to her for the night. We were prepared to get a call in the middle of the night asking us to come get her. We slept with the phone beside us. BJ called Grandmama Friday morning to check on them. I guess for her first time she did ok. She woke up around 2 a.m. complaining that she was hot - she was sleeping in between Grandmama and Granddad in their bed. When it appeared that Lily was not going back to sleep, Grandmama and Lily got up, ate snacks and watched Animal Planet. Lily crashed Friday afternoon shortly before we arrived to join them for dinner. Last night I asked Lily if she had a good time spending the night with Grandmama and Granddad. She said, "Yes, but I woke up and cried. I wanted to come home." I told her it was ok and then I asked her if she'd like to to stay overnight again. I didn't get a response. Perhaps she needs some time to think it over.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Crispy, But Not Crunchy

Have you heard the term crunchy? This is a new one on me. I don't get out much. My web surfing is pretty much limited to my friends and family blogs, or when I'm looking for something specific - like the hard to find Giddy Up and Go Pony so Lily can have a very merry Christmas. While I was researching cheap alternatives to beauty products last week I came across this whole community that calls themselves crunchy. I think that's funny. I've always called myself crispy, as in, "Wow! Emily is really crispy around the edges after going 7 months without sleep." Honestly though, I don't like labels like "crunchy." I only want to be associated with one label given to me by my Savior. Although, I am accepting of the following job titles: wife, mom, sister, and daughter (and occasionally crispy around the edges).

Monday, November 23, 2009

Naturally Healthy & Not-So-Beautiful

The no-poo method was a complete bust, for me at least. I gave up after 2.5 days, not even 3 full days. My hair felt crispy and oily all at the same time. I knew it was time for a good shampooing. Thank you sodium lauryl sulfates!

I just received some advice to try Tres Semme and White Rain. I cannot remember if I've ever used Tres Semme, but I know I've never tried White Rain. White Rain brings back horrible memories of my 1990's big hair since White Rain was the hair spray brand of choice. But I'm always willing to try something at least once. If White Rain works, compared to my salon products, I'll save about $18 a month. Or if Tres Semme works I'll save about $14 a month. I'll give it a whirl this week.

On the other hand, I LOVE the oil cleansing method. I'm sticking with this method unless my face just totally rejects it and has a complete breakout. My skin actually looks healthier, smoother and it's clean and not oily. The first time I used the oil cleansing method my skin said, "Ahhh! Thank you!" I didn't realize how much I was drying out and probably ruining my skin while trying to rid myself of oily skin. I've since learned that this is completely a wrong way to approach oily skin and I am repenting of my evil ways. Thank you Castor Oil and EVOO!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Naturally Healthy & Beautiful (and Cheap!)

Every single time, about once per month, I'm standing in the health/beauty aisles in the discount retail store feeling guilty for my desire to purchase the $29.99 shampoos and $16.99 facial cleansers that come in 2 oz bottles and not the $0.99 ones that come in gallon jugs. I've tried repeatedly to use the $0.99 products, and now I have a cabinet full of partially used jugs all because they don't work very well. So in the end I return to the store to buy the shampoo that costs $19.99 because it works relatively better than the $0.99 but cheaper than the $29.99 ones. My expectations for a shampoo that costs more than $20 is way too high. It should be a bottled miracle. I haven't found that yet. So, just for fun, I decided to try a technique called no-poo. It's going shampoo free and only uses all-natural ingredients (three to be exact and one of those is water). It's supposed to help retain your natural moisture and reduce hair washings. And while I was researching no-poo, I came across a blog that spoke about the oil cleansing method for facial cleansing. I was instantly intrigued. What?! Wash away oil and makeup with oil? That's ground-breaking!

So as soon as BJ returned home today from work, I whisked out the door to head to the grocer to obtain my beauty products: castor oil, safflower oil (they didn't have sunflower seed oil and sunflower and safflower sounded close enough), EV olive oil, coconut oil, baking soda, and apple cider vinegar. I'm sure the cashier thought I had some really unhealthy eating habits, and the castor oil was probably the clencher (castor oil is best known as a natural laxative).

Today has been my first day with these "new" products and I promise to report back on my findings after a trial period. I started with the following recipes, but I bet they'll need to be tweaked as I go.

No-poo recipe: 1 T baking soda mixed in 1 cup water. I cheated and just poured about 1 T baking soda into my palm, wet it in the shower and then massaged it onto my scalp and hair. I let it sit for the duration of my shower...don't know why but thought it couldn't hurt. Then, after I rinsed it out with water I did the recommended rinse with 1 T apple cider vinegar in 1 cup water. I followed these directions because I didn't want to end up smelling like a pickle. And then I went an additional step and conditioned with cocunut oil. If you don't know, cocunut oil comes in a solid form but turns to a liquid when it heats up. I let it sit under the running water while I showered and by the end of my shower it was liquified.

The oil cleansing recipe: Blend 30% Castor Oil with 70% Safflower Oil (Sunflower Seed Oil or EV Olive Oil is recommended) , massaged onto my face, and then placed a warm, wet washcloth across my face to let the steam and water remove the excess.

So far I have nothing exciting to report. The oil cleansing method was surprising in that my face didn't feel like an oil slick afterwards. It actually felt clean and moisturized. And for the hair, I will probably not condition with cocunut oil as it's not weightless and it just made my thick, limp hair seem even limper. Only time will tell if these products work in the long haul. I'm skeptical.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


God has led me to some awesome, much overlooked books of the Bible lately. I usually tend towards the writings of Paul in the NT, but lately I've been spending some time in the minor prophets - Malachi and Zechariah to be exact. The themes of these books are "'Return to me and I will return to you,' says the Lord Almighty" (Mal 3:6) Yesterday God gave me a very clear visual of what that looks like. Imagine a shelter with a strong roof and foundation - that's God's word. Everything under that shelter is protected from destructive elements. Outside of his shelter there are forces ready to destroy and kill. I shouldn't go wherever I want hoping that God's shelter will be with me, and I shouldn't get distracted and wonder outside of the shelter. No, his shelter does not move and it does not change. He says in Zechariah "Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices. But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the Lord" (Zec 1:4). Sometimes I wonder if we don't even know that our ways are evil or that we have evil practices in our lives. Maybe we've had well-meaning intentions or we've gotten caught up in a popular belief circulating in our culture. We've traded God's strong shelter for a weak umbrella. For too long we have not listened and paid attention to the Lord. We have aimlessly wondered outside the shelter making us vulnerable to the destructive forces of the storm.

Dear Lord, thank you for your shelter {your word} and providing safety under it. Please reveal to me where I am exposed to storms in all areas of my life - my marriage, motherhood, emotions, finances, and everywhere - and guide me back to your shelter. You have promised that once I return to you, you will return to me. Thank you for your promises and for fulfilling all your promises through your Word {Jesus Christ}.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Crazy Praise!

You wanna know why I've been praising God like crazy for the past 2 days? Check this out.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Little Man, Big Personality

Little Big Man's nickname has grown to fit him perfectly. Schaeffer is a little man with a big personality. At bedtime we read a few books together in his rocking chair. We squeeze into the chair side by side so we can both see the pages of the book. Last night when we finished reading, I got up to put the books away. I turned around and Schaeffer was lying across the chair with legs tossed over one arm of the chair and his head propped up on the other arm. He then said, "Ahh, much better." He cracks me up!

Schaeffer's language skills are quite quirky and funny. He says things like "oh, sure!" when asked to do something. And he copies his big sis all the time. My least favorite is how he has picked up from her the word "FINE!" when he's mad at us for telling him no. I love to listen to him do make-believe play and making his action figures talk to each other. Most of the time it sounds like a bunch of garble-de-goo, but it's so conversational I know he must be deep into meaningful communication.
Being the middle, sometimes he gets overlooked. But he is still my baby boy! I still rock him like a baby in my lap at naptime and bedtime. It's snuggle time and I think we both really love it. I sometimes imagine what it might look like when he's 18 and we are both trying to fit into the rocking chair.

Construction Zone - Unzoned

Earlier this week BJ and I pulled the plug on the new house venture. I'll just say this...things began to get complicated with the sellers and we decided to walk away. We felt it was God's way of leading us in a different direction. Until we know what direction we are to take next, we are happy to be staying in our current home.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

One Up for Lily

Today, Lily had been asking (more like begging) me to play with her and Schaeffer outside and push them on their swings. I explained that I needed to do laundry because if Mommy didn't do laundry today then none of us would have any clean clothes to wear. Her reply, "but if you don't come outside then none of us will be able to swing." So true...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Construction Zone (update)

We continue to be extremely busy working our plan to purchase our "get out of debt house," as we lovingly refer to it. We have met with three contractors and have collected their ideas. We will be gathering their project estimates next week. We pray they treat us gently considering the amount of work needed to update the house. Then we will have everything we need to get the construction loan to move forward with the project and be on target to close on Nov. 20.

We met with the owner of Wildwood Cabinets today to review our plans for the kitchen. I'm very impressed and very pleased with their work. He and his precious wife attend our church. They will be unveiling the proposed plan for the kitchen next week and I'm very excited to see it! We sat down with him and his wife to review our dreams for our kitchen. He showed us lots of samples and photos. I truly feel like he understands exactly what we are looking for and I can't wait to see what designs he presents next week. Until I have more concrete examples, here are some photos that have inspired our kitchen. I call it "cottage style meets sleek and modern."

Griffin is 6 Months

Griffin has made it to his half birthday - he is now 6 months old! He is still as happy, squirmy, lovable, and kissable as ever. My new favorite thing that he does is when he tries to give hugs and kisses. He gets all excited when I pick him up from his crib after a good long nap and he wraps his arms around my neck, squeezes me tight, and pulls me close to his face while he tries to give me a big sloppy open mouth kiss. None of my other children ever did that and it is totally melting my heart. And because he is so chunky and squishy I just wanna squeeze him all the time!

He is getting very close to crawling. I've seen him try lots of times to get up on his knees. He pushes up on his arms and tries so hard to rock back on his knees. It's only a matter of time.

Griffin's hair is still a shade of red. It seems to be darkening but it's still red. His eyes are still an interesting shade of not quite brown and not quite blue. I've never seen that shade of eye color before.

He had his first taste of solids about 2 weeks ago. It didn't go over real well. He gagged and shivered with each bite, but it's funny because he never did refuse a single bite. I'll try solids again with him in the next few days. For now he's only had about 5 bites of rice cereal. He is still exclusively breastfed - the little guy won't take a bottle. He's not my first to refuse a bottle so no biggey. I hope to continue breastfeeding until at least 12 months like I've done with my other two.

Griffin is such a blessing and a joy in my life. I love every soft and chunky part on his little body.

Happily Ever Before-and-After

Like I said in an earlier post, Better After got me majorly inspired. The desk I used when I was a little student got lots of use over the years, especially when my "Chinese sister" (Aileen) used the desk for 4 years while attending UT and living with my parents. The desk returned to me with a very scratched top and a missing nob. So I knew it needed to be spiffed up before finding it's new home in Lily's room. I found the solid wood chair at a junk furniture store for $10. And now for the big reveal...drum roll please...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm Addicted

I found a blog linked from Staci's blog (thanks, girlfriend) and now I'm addicted and deeply in love with this blog. It has gotten me majorly inspired and I will never look at ugly, worn-out furniture quite the same. Check out Better After, but beware, you'll get sucked in and you'll have to spend an entire afternoon looking at every single post.

I have my very own before-and-after project that I've been working on. As soon as I get it done I'll post some photos.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Foot Loose and Paci Free!

Well she did it! Lily went 4 weeks without using her pacifiers (exception: bedtime). She is such a big girl. She worked so hard to earn Spike the Ultra Dinosaur. And now that she's not using her paci during the day, Lily has grown up in so many ways the past 4 weeks. It's difficult to explain, but it's almost like when she moved past her paci addiction she has acted more free and she no longer hides behind them for comfort. She has come out of her paci shell in a sense. And she has even given up carrying "Kitty" around every where she goes. I guess paci and Kitty go hand-in-hand. Of course, paci and Kitty are both still in her bed and will probably be there until she moves away to college. Only kidding...I hope...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Construction Zone Ahead

Looks like our family will soon be the proud owners of a cedar shake cottage in the woods! Yesterday we signed a contract with the sellers. Now we will begin a series of steps before we can complete the deal and move in:

1. Home inspection.

2. Collect detailed quotes from contractors for the renovation project.

3. Close the sale on Nov. 20.

4. Begin work on renovations.

5. Move in and list our current home on the market (not sure what order those 2 things will occur but we'd like a majority of the renovations to be complete before moving our family out of here).

It all began when BJ and I had prayed about purchasing a new home ~ something a bit smaller and less expensive that will get us closer to our dream of being 100% debt free in the next few years. It's exciting just being able to express that into written word! Initially we were going to wait until after the holiday season before searching for a property. But then one day as we were driving through one of our favorite neighborhoods we spotted this fixer-upper. The size of this house is perfect for our family - it's a 1-1/2 story, somewhere between 2200 and 2800 square feet, with the children's bedrooms upstairs, master suite downstairs, a large eat-in kitchen, living room, family room, office, mudroom/breezeway, 3 full bathrooms, hardwood floors, pretty fireplace, tons of storage, huge windows in the front, large wooded lot filled with hickory, shag barks, and dogwood trees, and its on one of the dogwood trails in celebration of Knoxville's annual Dogwood Arts Festival which means in the spring the street will come alive with blooming color. We are very excited about all the potential this holds for our family! And at the same time we are a little nervous about the huge renovation project we are about to undertake, and a bit nastalgic about our current home. BJ pointed out yesterday that our current home is the only one Schaeffer and Griffin have ever known and Lily was not even 1-year-old when we moved where are now. But there's no time to look back and be sad - full speed ahead!

(I'll share more photos as soon as I get them downloaded and edited.)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Grandchildren Photo Session: Take 26

I don't know exactly how many times Grandmama attempted to capture a photo of all 6 grandchildren together, but this is one of the better attempts in that you can see all of their faces. Hilarious!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Paci-Free in 4 Weeks or Less - Week 3

What a huge change I've seen in Lily this week without her pacifiers. She hasn't even asked for them. She still has them in her bed for nighttime, but maybe we'll get past that in the very near future. She even seems to be exploring her world a little more - maybe because her hands are free and not holding onto her "paci bouquet" (when she holds 4-5 of them in one hand it reminds me of a wedding bouquet). I had even joked that one day we could make her a paci bouquet when she grows up and gets married. She's well on her way to earning Spike the Ultra Dinosaur!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ride of the Valkyr...uh...Valco

I keep hearing that classical song in my head, Ride of the Valkyries by Wagner (prounounced Vaaahg-ner). Go here if you need a refresher in classical German composers of the 1850s. We just added the third seat to the Valco Baby stroller. It is WAY cool, although, it's probably easier to push a loaded grocery cart down the crowded aisles of Walmart than jogging behind this monster of a machine when loaded down. I tallied it up and I'm probably pushing no less than 140 lbs. But I feel good about being able to get back into my running routine now that all 3 children can ride along. On the bright side, I'll be getting a more intense workout each time we head out the door for a jog. The Valco rides again...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Paci-Free in 4 Weeks - Week 2

Lily is doing great with giving up her pacifiers during the day. She has even stopped asking for them. However, she has replaced the paci habit with a new habit: nail biting. I'm not sure which habit is worse. She has chewed almost all of her nails down to the skin. Today she chewed them so much her finger started bleeding. When Lily sees blood she has a complete meltdown which involves screaming, crying, and body shakes. I think it sends her into a full-fledged panic attack. I've been reassured by the doctor that no one has died from a panic attack so it's not detrimental to her health if she goes hysterical - that's good to know. I guess the reward chart is working and helping us toward our ultimate goal, but I'm not exactly sure how to handle the nail biting now. Check back next week on our progress and hopefully I will have found a solution for stopping the nail biting.

Griffin is 5 Months

Happy, smiley, talkey, and squirmy - that's my little Griffin! He is so full of life. His personality is vibrant and it shines through more each day. He is laid back, yet, energetic. He is getting a little more mobile the way he squirms and rolls his way around a room. He enjoys looking at toys and exploring them with his mouth. It's like he's trying to absorb everything in his environment. Just the other day I saw him roll over and stare intently out the back door window for what seemed like 10 minutes - maybe he'll be the contemplator in the family. Ha ha!!

He still enjoys watching Lily and Schaeffer as they play around him. I can tell that he's eager to get in the middle of the action. In about 2 more months I bet he will have it figured out. Watch out Lily and Schaeffer!

Just recently, Griffin has been sleeping in his crib in his own room. That transition hasn't gone so great. He has not been a terrific sleeper since birth so the transition from our room to his room just disturbed the little bit of sleep rhythm that we established. But he has outgrown his Moses basket that he loves so much. It was really cute watching him try to get comfortable in his basket because sometimes he'd throw his leg up over the side just to stretch out. I knew it was time to move to the crib.

Griffin is also a little communicator. He will make lots of noise and wave his arms up and down to get my attention. As soon as I turn to look at him, he grins really big as if to say "I got your attention, Mommy! Now talk to me and tell me how much you love me!" He's successfully mastering communication skills.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Great Knoxville Park Tour

Okay, so maybe we aren't touring all the great parks across the nation, but we are trying to visit one park per week in and around Knoxville. Since the weather has gotten cooler, and we are still experiencing longer daylight, we've decided to do a picnic dinner in local parks once per week. This is week 3 of our tour, and we hope to visit either the new playground at the World's Fair Park or Island Home park on the river. We have visited Whitlow Park in Sequoyah Hills and West Hills Park. Whitlow is a tiny, quaint park in the heart of Sequoyah Hills tucked in between some cute "little" houses (little for Sequoyah Hills standards). And West Hills is a large, busy park surrounded by West Hills neighborhood, I-40, YMCA, West Towne Mall and some schools and churches.

Since adding Griffin to our family things are busier around the house, but other parts of our lives have slowed down. It's more challenging to leave the house with 3 kids aged 4 and under. And it has definitely gotten more difficult to eat out in restaurants. We've learned to take our time and be patient in everything we do - we really don't have a choice otherwise. The kids dance to the beat of their own drums and each one has a different rhythm. Our picnic in the park fits perfectly into our new lifestyle. The kids have the chance to run, climb, jump and explore. And BJ and I (and Griffin) have the chance to relax on a big quilt spread out on the grass.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Paci-free in 4 Weeks or Less! - Week 1

We've started another reward chart with Lily. This time the reward is Spike the Ultra Dinosaur and it's to motivate her to give up her pacifiers during the day. She is still allowed to use them at nighttime. She's not allowed to bring the pacifiers out of her room. If she needs a "fix" during the day she can get on her bed and use her paci's. But I've even tried to help her from using them at all during the day. She will tell me that she really needs them so I try to find a good substitute. Yesterday she chewed two pieces of bubble gum and chomped on a raw carrot. So far today she has only asked for them once and I gave her a sliced apple. The crunchy stuff seems to work really great to get her past her craving. I sort of feel like I'm trying to break her from an addiction or something. BJ asked me yesterday if there was a Paci Patch. Sheesh! I wish! That would be way easier. My hope has been all along that she would be willing to give up her paci's before age 5. And so far we are on the right track. This is the first time she has been willing to consider giving them up for a reward. Spike is something she has wanted and begged for for a long time and it seems to be doing the trick, well at least for the first 2 days. But I think if she can stick with it the paci's could be 100% gone in 4 weeks or less.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Homemade Baby Wipes

I wish I would've discovered homemade baby wipes a long time ago! It would've saved me big bucks now that I'm diapering baby number 3. The recipe is readily available online when you Google "making your own baby wipes." After two batches I've come up with the recipe that I prefer. Here it is...

You will need:
Bounty Extra Soft paper towels (or regular Bounty)
2 cups water
1 Tablespoon baby bath wash (up to 2 Tbls)
1 teaspoon Baby oil (up to 1 Tbls)
7- or 8-cup storage container (such as Ziploc disposable container, a left over gallon ice cream tub, or something similar with an air tight lid)

Using a sharp serated knife, cut the roll of Bounty paper towels in half. Bounty works the best because they don't fall apart when they soak up the solution, and I think Bounty Extra Soft is just a lot softer on sensitive baby bottoms. Place half the roll, cut side down, into the container. Boil 2 cups water, remove from heat, then add your baby bath wash and baby oil. Stir. Then pour the solution over the paper towels in the container. Put the lid on. After about 5 minutes, flip the container over and let it sit for about 10 minutes to let the solution thoroughly soak into the paper towels evenly. After the paper towels are good and saturated the cardboard roll should slide right out of the paper towels and it will pull the first towel up from the center. It's ready to use!

These wipes work great because the paper towels are thick, strong, and are nice and wet with the solution. You could even use all natural baby wash and something like safflower oil or coconut oil if you wanted a natural baby wipe. And some recipes say you can use 1 tsp alcohol, but I'm not sure why since it could burn if baby has a bit of a diaper rash. I figure the savings will be huge since a pack of generic wipes is about $1.44 and the homemade wipes cost no more than $0.50 per container if you use inexpensive wash and oil.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Mother of Three Guarantees

You can guarantee that you will never get to sit down for more than 10 minutes at a time during the day.

You can guarantee that you will be needed as soon as you get on the phone.

You can guarantee that the bathroom door will fly open as soon as you get seated with pants around ankles.

You can guarantee that at least one little person will not be happy about an outing and will cry and whine the whole trip.

You can guarantee that you will never complete a meal without getting up from the table at least once (usually more) - and at least one of those times will be to wipe someone's bottom.

You can guarantee that spankings will come in groups of two - the perpetrator and the retaliator.

You can guarantee that everyone will cry or throw a tantrum at the exact same time, which will make you realize why God made women multi-taskers.

You can guarantee that by the time you get all three children down for naps, the first one down will wake up as soon as the last one goes to sleep.

You can guarantee that if one gets sick they will all be sick within 24 hours.

You can guarantee that you will get lots of hugs, kisses, smiles, and special moments that you will cherish for a lifetime.

If you know of more "guarantees" that I've missed please feel free to leave them in the comments section.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Griffin is 4 Months Old!

On Aug. 23 Griffin turned 4 months old. He is such a sweet, precious blessing to our family. I'm trying to savor every minute of his infancy since I know before too long he'll be acting just like little Mr. Temper-Tantrum and Miss. Sassy-Mouth. Griffin is smiling and laughing constantly. He loves to watch his big brother and sister. I know before long he'll be right in the middle of the action. He rolls from back to front and front to back very easily. He worms and wiggles his way around to get different places in the living room floor. No more can I leave him on the couch or bed to watch the action from up high. He enjoys sitting in his high chair (which reclines for his comfort) while we eat dinner. I think he likes being a part of the family and seeing what everyone is doing. When I hold him he cranes his neck around to see everything he can. This has caused me to be more careful when I carry him for fear he'll squirm right out of my arms. He is sleeping so-so. He doesn't nap very well during the day, but he sleeps 5-7 hours at night. I can't complain even though I'm very ready for him - and me - to sleep more like 8-10 hours at night. Griffin is a good eater. He still nurses like a champ every 3-4 hours. As of last Monday, he weighed 15 lbs 5 oz (75th percentile). His cheeks are out-of-control chubby! I LOVE them and can't help but kiss them a million times a day. His eyes are a very groovy brown and blue color, which sort of looks greenish at times. It's still hard to decide if they will be brown, blue or some shade in between. If someone were to ask me what color his eyes are, I'd have to say I really don't know. His favorite places to hang out are in the Bumbo seat, the bouncy seats, and he's loving his exer-saucer now that he's big enough. Griffin enjoys all the different toys we hand to him, and they all go straight into his mouth. But I honestly think his all time favorite thing is for his big sister to talk to him. He belly laughs whenever she comes near and his eyes follow her every move when she's within sight. Lily is doing great with him and loves to make him laugh. Such a precious sight! Schaeffer is doing great with Griffin, too. But he's still more interested in his trucks to pay much attention to baby brother. Both Lily and Schaeffer are very gentle and loving with Griffin. I'm a very lucky and blessed mommy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Post for My New Laptop

BJ surprised me today with a brand new laptop. I'm not braggin' or anything. My old one had been acting funny: screen going black, shutting off/on by itself, freezing up, etc. (I guess just PC sort of stuff). BJ said my laptop was old - circa 1994. I guess that's old in laptop years. I was just now getting used to it and having a new found love for it. I've started using my laptop on the kitchen counter as opposed to going into the office to get on the new mega-machine that BJ ordered a few weeks ago. The new mega-machine is nice - 2 wide panel flatscreens and lots of memory (so I'm told). But, whenever I go in the office the little tykes follow me in and then they get into lots of trouble with all the books, paper, pens, drawers full of stuff they've never seen before, computer, outlets, paper shredder, etc. So its best that I stay out of the office unless everyone is sleeping. Simultaneous sleep in this house is rare so I was on the mega-machine after 9:30 p.m. Until I realized I could leave my laptop on the kitchen counter and use it whenever I needed. I actually pulled up recipes yesterday and had fast access to them right there in the kitchen. I know this is sort of a no-brainer for most of you, but I hated to waste valuable counter space for a laptop. But it works out great and now I'm spoiled and can't go without it on my counter. And then it started acting up and I got totally frustrated. So BJ came home today with a new, pretty HP box with my new, pretty HP laptop in it. I like it and wanted to break it in with a new blog post. So here it is!

Friday, August 21, 2009


Here are two church plants started by friends of ours: Arrowhead Church and Ridge Church. Take a minute to check out the exciting things they are doing and the people they are reaching. It's awesome to see God working in so many interesting ways.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Homeschool...Here we Come!

"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)

"And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." (Deut. 6:7)

A few months ago we made the decision to homeschool Lily when she starts Kindergarten next year. It was a decision that weighed heavy on my heart until I finally gave in and told God I was up for the challenge. And since I'm a type-A personality (God made me that way quite possibly for a time like this) I've already begun planning and preparing. The first step in the process was to ensure I had a good handle on our household chores so that I can be sure to keep up with the added work load of homeschooling. I created a Family Chore Chart that lists chores for each day so that by the end of the week every thing gets done: laundry, kitchen, floors, bathrooms, bedding & towels, dusting, sorting, groceries, and picking up. Of course there are always extra projects and we just squeeze those in when needed.

I've also sorted out all of the kids toys and put most of them away (I stole this idea from Michelle Duggar, the mother of 18 and counting). The idea behind this is to help children focus on just one or two toys at a time, and then they learn to clean up before getting out other toys. This has already helped me out tremendously since there aren't tons of toys scattered across the house all day long creating more work for me. I've sorted toys and put them in labeled totes: trains, cars, Barbies, blocks, crayons, play food & kitchen stuff, etc. And then the totes are kept in a location out of reach from the kids. If they want to play with them they simply ask me and I will get them out for them after they clean up their prior mess. Although, they have instant access to their few favorites in the toy boxes (Lily's dinosaurs and Schaeffer's cars). I've already noticed that Lily will stay focused longer on a set of toys when other things are out of view and not creating a distraction for her. She has a tendency to bounce around between toys and never complete a thought or series of events, and she even gets overwhelmed by the clutter (this is typical of children with sensory processing disorder). So this type of organization is important to help her learn focus and concentration.

One of my favorite recent projects, BJ helped me turn a coat closet into a supply closet where I can organize and stack all of our coloring books, paper, craft supplies, games, puzzles, etc. I love this closet! It's like my sanctuary. When we want to do a fun crafty project I just reach for the labeled boxes, get out the supplies and then return them once we are done. This closet has simplified my life so much!

Meantime, I've been praying over my homeschool goals. I had read that it's wise to create some goals so that everything you do can be filtered through them. And since I just began researching curriculum options I now see why having written goals is important ~ there are a million options and it can get overwhelming fast! Having my goals helps me see if the curriculum and the tons of ideas out there are going to stack up against my goals. All my goals come from a Biblical worldview, which is very important to me. So I included the verses that support them. I hope to memorize these scriptures over time and teach them to my kids.

My homeschool goals are to lead my children to:

1. Have a vibrant, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
· I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
· For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
· For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

2. Love the Lord their God with all their hearts, soul, minds, and strength.
· And he [Jesus] said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37)
· But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul. (Joshua 22:5)

3. Love others.
· You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:39)
· Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:12-14)

4. Enthusiastically embrace the Truth; love righteousness and hate evil.
· I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. (Romans 16:19)
· Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)

5. Be wise in the LORD and to be trained in the Truth of God’s Word as it relates to every academic discipline.
· The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. (Proverbs 1:7)
· Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24)
· And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

6. Connect the Bible to real world so that they have a proper foundation for understanding this world in which we live, and therefore, making them able to answer many challenges they will face in our culture.
· For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:11)
· So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.” (Isaiah 28:16)

7. Persevere and find joy in learning and growing into the people God desires us to be.
· For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete. (Deuteronomy 16:15)
· Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:12)
· Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)

There's so much more to do, but I'm grateful that I have a full year to research, plan, and pray. I'm really excited about all the ideas and boundless opportunities in educating my children.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ring Sling

This post is mainly for my friend Staci who inspired me to get a ring sling. After some research, and discovering that ring slings can cost anywhere from $35 to $60, I decided to make my own. I found directions on how to make a no-sew sling (but actually my mom hemmed the fabric so that it was reversible and no selvage ends). I've enjoyed using my new sling and I have a black one and a brown one (pictured) that I simply change out when I want a different color. For the price of one $35 sling I could have half a dozen different fabrics. Instead of purchasing the more expensive and lightweight aluminum rings at I purchased my steel ones at Lowe's. They are heavier and they are only available in 2 inch, whereas, 3 inch is more recommended especially if you are using heavier weight fabric. But, my $1.00 rings work just fine (and they are rated for use up to 200 lbs - I could carry BJ in the my sling if I wanted...if only I were that strong!).

Fruit Tray

One of my kids favorite things is when I make them a fruit/veggie tray. They can clear out an entire tray in less than 2 hours. I guess they enjoy the presentation of all the colors and getting to pick whatever fruit and veggies they want off the tray. It has definitely been the easiest way to get them to eat fruits and veggies and its a lot easier for me to slice them all at once.

Some Favorite Photos (May-July 2009)

Lily's 1st Race (July 3, 2009)

Lily loves to run! And what better outlet for her need to run than a kids' race. Before I ran in the Fireball Classic 5k, a fun nighttime race commemorating the 4th of July, they held a fun run for kids. Lily was so excited when we told her she was going to run in a race. She even gave herself pep-talks before we left the house. "You have to run fast. Fast Lily. You can do it!" is what Lily chanted as she practiced her running skills around the house as we got ready to leave. Indeed, she was very fast (well, for a 4 year old). She was so focused and stayed with the pack as they raced down the trail, and she even had to swerve to miss a 3-kid pile-up at the start. This will be another annual event for our family.

Schaeffer's 2nd Birthday Party (June 5, 2009)

It was a little bit of a whirlwind getting Schaeffer's 2nd birthday party planned just 6 weeks after having Griffin. But I would not in a million years skip out on celebrating such a momentous occasion in the life of my Little Big Man! Schaeffer loves cars and trucks and really anything with wheels on it. Our good friend Casey made Schaeffer's cake with all his favorite things: TRUCKS and edible dirt (cocoa)! Schaeff took the opportunity to drive the trucks around on Birthday Cake Lane, and I didn't have the heart to stop him. After all, it was his birthday!

Children's Reading Festival (May 30, 2009)

Our local library system hosts an annual Children's Reading Festival at the World's Fair Park. This was our first year attending and the kids really enjoyed themselves. It was cool to meet the author of Llama Llama Red Pajama, Anna Dewdney. This has been one of Lily's and Schaeffer's favorite books. On the park grounds were lots of kids activities and even book signing by Anna Dewdney and other authors of childrens books. We will definitely do this again next year!

5 Generations (May 10, 2009)

This is a photo of 5 generations on BJ's mother's side of the family (L to R: BJ and Griffin, Nana Kaye, Granny Lula Belle, Mamaw {great-grandmother} Eva Pearl).

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Oh, what's that you're holding in my face, Momma?

A camera? What am I supposed to do with a camera?

You want me to smile? Sort of like this?

...oh, I got it now! This is fun!