Sunday, March 30, 2008

there's only so much... can do for a bad hair day!

(Fortunately, a 4 1/2 month old doesn't know the difference and surely won't mind that Mommy and Daddy took her to church looking this way!)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Picky McPickerton

Please note: If you have an issue with scabs, or with people picking their scabs, I would suggest you skip this post and go on to the next! Consider this fair warning...

Tonight, as I'm downstairs playing with the girls, I noticed Britten standing in the middle of the room, zoned out, scratching at her chest. It took me a second to realize what she was doing. For about the past month, I noticed a re-occuring bloody scratch across Britten's chest. It looks something like a cat attacked her, but considering we don't own a cat (and never will), I knew it had to be something else. Every time I asked her about it, her response was the same:

"I ran into the wall, and the wall hurt my chest."

This didn't make sense to me. Every time I saw the scratch, it looked fresh, as though it just happened. How could she keep running into the wall and hurting herself, and why on earth was this scratch
always bleeding? Like I said before, she's had this scratch for darn near a month now!

Well, tonight, as Britten was zoned out in the middle of the family room, it finally occurred to me - Britten is picking at her scab! For someone who likes to
pick at stuff (because I am a picker!), I get queasy at the sight of people picking at their scabs. It literally makes my stomach turn! So, you can imagine my surprise when I noticed Britten, my own flesh and blood, my mini-me (so I've been told), my 2 year old, pulling her scab off!

Me: "BRITTEN, what are you doing?!?!"

Britten (classic Britten response): "I'm taking my chest off, Mommy."

Me: "WHAT?! You need to stop that right now! You're making yourself bleed. You're going to give yourself a big scar!"

Britten, being the stubborn 2-year old she is: "No, Mommy! I'm taking my chest off! I'm taking it off right now!" I tried to wrestle her hand away, but to no avail.

finally done: "There, now my chest feels better."

Great. I have a scab-picker. What am I to do?

let the games picnics begin!

One of our FAVORITE things to do when it's nice outside is have picnics on our deck. Now, I know it's not exactly "picnic weather" today, with it being quite windy and our thermometer only reading 42 degrees. But when my 4 and 2 year old daughters have their faces plastered against the patio door, begging me to "make a picnic," how can I resist? With all of the snow melted off the deck, and with the sun shining in the sky, I decided it couldn't be more perfect. I sent them outside in shorts and tank tops bundled in their winter coats and hats, but decided to let them wear their crocs (with socks, of course) as a tribute to the warmer weather to come. I laid a big, cozy blanket on the ground, just in case they needed to pull it over their little legs. What I found humorous, as you'll see in the picture above, is the fact that, despite all of the sitting room they had, they chose to practically sit on top of each other.

You may be wondering, where did I choose to eat my lunch today? Well, sitting in my warm dining room at my table, of course, in an adult-civilized fashion, watching my little troopers eat from afar. For as much as I love picnics, I decided I'm going to hold out for 60 degree weather.

Friday, March 28, 2008

these little piggies...

...have a story of their own.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

friends in all shapes and sizes

I Chloe had a fun little play date yesterday, inviting two of her closest friends over to play lay around for a while...
(Titus - Jan. 24th, Micah - Dec. 13th, Chloe - November 7th)

Can you believe we got all of them to smile at the same time? It takes talent, considering their ages range from 2 - 4 1/2 months old!
Chloe thinks: "Hmmmm....Now this looks like a fun little toy..."
"...It's just the right size!"
Micah thinks: "I don't think so, lady..." SMACK, with a back hand to the face! "Hands OFF!" And he might as well get the other guy while he's at it...Tough guy.

created for a purpose and brain freeze fix

Ella: "Jesus made my bones..."

Me: "Yes, He did."

Ella: "Jesus made my blood..."

Me: "Yes, He did."

Ella: "Jesus made my heart in my chest..."

Me: "Yes, He did."

Ella: "Jesus made my I could know how to drink juice."

Me: "OK...Well, Yes, He did"

Along those same lines, but a different story from today:

Me, trying to tell Britten that I need to put her shoes on: "Britten, come here, honey. I need to put your crackers on!"

Britten & Ella, both giggling: "Mommy said crackers!!! She was supposed to say shoes...but she said crackers!" Both still giggling.

Me: "I know, I know. I meant to say shoes but instead I said crackers. Mommy's brain is a little mushy. I think I need a brain replacement."

Fast forward a few hours...

Me, attempting to say something to Ella, but once again, struggling to find the words: "Ella, you need need need to..."

Ella: "Mommy, I'm going to take your brain out if you can't find the right word to say."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

finding a little (but grand!) piece of me

Standing in the entry way of a restaurant on Grand Avenue tonight, awaiting the arrival of my dearest cousin, Jess, I thought to myself, now this is me. This is who I am. I am a Grand Avenue kind of girl.

Although I enjoy going out downtown for an occasional dinner, I've never been (nor will I ever go) "clubbing" and the one-way streets give me an instantaneous migraine.

Uptown is funky, artsy and so much fun. I actually lived near Uptown the year before I married, enjoying the lakes on a daily basis, but I never really fit the uptown mold. If you know ME, you know I'm NOT funky, I'm NOT artsy, and though I like to THINK I'm fun, I'm probably not the "uptowny" kind of fun.

I always wondered where my personality fit into the city life. I've lived here for eight years and have always felt a little out of sorts. I grew up in a small town, a town situated between 1,000 lakes, and I never pegged myself as living in the cities. But here I am, raising my family with my husband in the city, and the outlook of moving back to my hometown does not look promising...

But quite honestly, I'm fine with that. Because tonight, I found a little peace in feeling like I belonged in the entry way of the restaurant on Grand Avenue. Ironically, in a weird twist of fate, I sort of began my life in the city on Grand Avenue. About a mile down the street from where I stood tonight, I bought my wedding dress...So yes, my life, as it is today, actually began (but let's hope it won't end, because that would be really ironic!) on Grand Avenue. No wonder I feel so comfortable and peaceful standing on that street. I love it there. I'm truly a Grand Avenue kind of girl!

the blossoming flower teeth

Ella, trying to take a gander at Chloe's teeth today, says:

"Chloe, let me look at your little teeth." Frustrated with not getting a good look, as Chloe kept sticking her tongue out every time Ella put her finger to her mouth, Ella says, "Ugh, Chloe. We need to add dirt and water to your teeth so they start to grow better."

kisses on demand

Monday, March 24, 2008

our easter weekend...a little delayed

While it was busy doing this outside on Saturday...
We were busy doing this inside...
Our annual Easter Egg Hunt!
Ella's favorite part of the "hunt" is eating the candy, she had to take a pit-stop to take a little taste before the hunt was even over!
I assure you that Britten enjoyed her candy more than she lets on...
My nephew, Jack, stayed at our house all weekend with his Daddy (my older brother) and was able to join in the Easter festivities! They made the trip, along with my parents, and we enjoyed a fun-filled busy weekend with my family.

my very first teeth

After a very difficult week of teething (with little to no sleep for ME, which partly explains my blogging hiatus), Chloe's two bottom teeth popped through within 3 days of each other. I understand that they're a little difficult to spot, but if you look closely, I promise you'll see them...

post bath

i am loved

Ella, "scribbling" a note to herself on her little magnadoodle went something like this (she was talking as she was "writing"):

"Mommy loves me, Daddy loves me, Britty loves me, Chloe loves me, Jesus loves me and...Santa loves me..."

"Hey Mommy, can we print this note out?"

"I wish we could, Ella, I really wish we could."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

spatula girl comes to life!

I found this creation sitting on our dining room table earlier today:
Ella found a latex glove (leftover from one of our many doctor's visits) and decided it would be fun to stretch it over my Pampered Chef spatula. She proceeded to grab a sharpie marker from our junk drawer and draw a face, complete with eyebrows and hair, arms, which are located on the sides of the face, and two legs, drawn at the very bottom of my spatula handle, which is also the index finger of the latex glove.

I've always known that Ella is a clever and creative little bug, but I found this to be one her most unique creations yet. When I told her how much I liked her "little person," she responded with:

"It's spatula girl! And now I'm going to have a puppet show with her!" She proceeded to drag Britten into the other room to perform her puppet show with "spatula girl."

I made pancakes tonight and realized I was short my only spatula. When I hunted it down, I realized I wasn't quite ready to let go of "spatula girl" yet. I'll let one pancake go to waste in order to save her from her demise. I'll let her sit on my counter so I can admire Ella's handiwork for one more day....

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

a hairy ordeal

I am not the kind of a woman that enjoys being pregnant. Although I absolutely love and adore the baby growing inside of me, I dread the 9 months of out of control hormones, ever-increasing weight, skin problems, vein issues, sore joints, crazy hair and the list literally goes on and on. By most standards, all three of my pregnancies were good. I never had any health concerns, with me or my babies, and that is something I'm very thankful for. I'm also proud (and a little hesitant) to admit that I never, ever had morning sickness...never, not even once. Oh alright, I'll stop rubbing it in! But, physically and emotionally, pregnancy was hard on me and my body, and it just took more of a toll on me each subsequent pregnancy.

I need to stop right here for a moment...I can't go on without mentioning my (late) Grandma Inez, my mother's mom. If I ever complain about pregnancy (which I'm not really trying to do right now, but I know it's coming across that way!), I think about her...and I remember this: My Grandma had 13 children. That number alone is amazing, but what's even more amazing than having 13 children, is having 3 sets of full-term twins! That's right...My Grandma had 3 sets of twins (my own mother is one of the identical twins) and I never, ever (not even once!) heard her complain about her pregnancies. In fact, she never had a negative word to say about anything or anyone. She was (and still is) my hero. Even as a little girl, I adored my Grandma, but now that I'm a mother, I can appreciate her in a different light. (SIGH) I miss her so...

So, I go through 9 months of bliss physical hardships and emotional ups and downs, only to be faced with another 9-12 months of bliss physical hardships and emotional ups and downs. After I had my first baby, I was naive to think that I'd feel (and look) like myself within the first couple of weeks, but after having three, I've learned my lesson. For as much as I dislike being pregnant, I dislike postpartum even more. I don't know, maybe I'm emotionally more affected than the average woman, but I AM NOT MYSELF! If I can perfectly honest, I'm a total mess! I catch glimpses of myself, between pregnancies and nursing, but having 3 babies in 4 years has played nasty games with my hormones. Believe me, my husband firmly agrees! For as much as I'm saddened by the thought of not having more babies (because we are done now), I'm relieved to know that I'll find myself again...soon, I hope.

I'm about 4 1/2 months postpartum, and believe me, I'm doing my best to roll with the postpartum punches, knowing this is the final round. It certainly throws some interesting right hair loss, for example. Who would of thought that losing handfuls and handfuls of hair for weeks on end was normal? You know it's bad when your 4-year old comes up to you and says:

"Mommy, your hair is EVERYWHERE! It's on Britten's nuk, it's on the living room floor, it's on our Candyland game!" What? How on earth did it end up there???

So, alas, I will press on, even if it means ending these postpartum days with half as much hair on my head!

So, what about YOU? What are your thoughts on pregnancy and postpartum? Men (you know who you are!), feel free to answer this question from a husband's perspective. It'd be very interesting to hear from you!

* As a side note, this was merely a venting session. I need to say that my feelings on pregnancy and postpartum have no influence on how I feel about my babies. I LOVE babies and especially love every stage of their 1st year of life. It's an absolute miracle and worth every moment of pain and emotional craziness I've endured!

Monday, March 17, 2008

my old man river

Last Thursday, my husband transitioned into a new decade of his life. He officially closed the doors on his 20s (which I hear is harder than it sounds) and turned the big 3-0. We celebrated his 30th birthday by going out for a night (well, a few hours anyway) on the town. I had these grandiose plans of throwing him a huge surprise party, but considering he's not much a crowd person (which is ironic, considering his profession), I figured he'd feel a little out of sorts. I played around with the idea of going out by ourselves, but what 's a celebration without friends? Instead, I had him compile a small list of his closest friends who we invited to meet us at a steakhouse downtown. It was a wonderful night, drinking good wine, eating incredible food (I even tried raw tuna, and if you know me at all - a small town girl growing up on venison meat and game bird - eating raw tuna was a pretty huge step!) and fellowshipping with a great group of people:

Thank you, to all of our wonderful friends, for making this a night that my husband will always remember! Although I was feeling under the weather (Chloe and I are both sick with the flu that has been circulating through our house for 3 weeks!), we had so much fun and appreciate all of you (even those of you who show up 45 minutes know who you are! ;)...wink!). I even found out that I have quite the following on my blog (some who even check it daily???), so I'm EXPECTING to hear from all of you! :)

As a side note, not only was this a birthday celebration, but this was the first time we've left Chloe with a sitter since she was born. I'm happy to say she did very well and drank two FULL bottles (did I mention we were only gone for 3 hours?).

Friday, March 14, 2008

my new toy

Look at me! All big and standing in my new favorite spot! I know I'm barely bigger than the toys themselves...

...but boy, I'm really enjoying myself !

a little anatomy lesson

Lying awake next to Ella in the middle of the night, tickling her belly as a way to get her back to sleep, she asks:

"Mommy, are these my kidneys?"

Me, half asleep: "What are you pointing at, honey?"

Ella: "These bumps," as she rubs her fingers along her rib cage, "These bumps...are these my kidneys?" (Where's she's even heard of a kidney before is beyond me!)

Me: "No, honey, those are your ribs. It's called a ribcage."

Ella: "Oh. My ribcage."

and so it begins...

(First of all, let me begin this post by apologizing to all of my avid readers, all 4 of you, for my absence this past week. This must've been so frustrating for you, knowing how much you appreciate reading about our family drama. :) It's been a busy week, to say the least, and to top it off, I didn't have a functional computer for the first half of it. With that said, I will make it up to you today as I have A LOT to tell you about! So, sit back, relax and enjoy the post!)

As a mother of three girls, I knew I could anticipate many, many sleepless-overs. Knowing how much I enjoyed this as a young girl, I've been very excited for my daughters to embark on these fun and memorable experiences. Well, last night, at 4 years old, Ella had her very first sleep-over...and I had my first taste of what it's like to be the parent in this situation.

Due to having influenza, Ella had to miss her best friend, Courtney's, birthday party last week. We felt terrible. We wanted to make it up to Courtney by throwing her a little party with Ella and decided to make it a sleep-over...Why not? We gotta start some time! We began the festivities by taking the girls (girls being Ella, Courtney, Britten & Chloe) to a local indoor park - Ella's favorite place in the world!

...And they're off!

From the moment we arrived, it was non-stop...

They were going and going and going...

"Hi, Courtney!"
Only willing to stop for a water/juice break...

They really had a blast playing together in the park! At one point, Courtney made a pit stop to exclaim, "I'm having SO much fun!" Britten, on the other hand, not so much...


At one point, my husband found Britten sitting in the tree ladder, sobbing. A little Mexican girl (no older than 6) had her arms wrapped around Britten, trying to comfort her. The little girl looked up at my husband and said, in an incredibly cute Mexican accent:

"I don't know what happened...I found her in here really sad..."

My husband, very moved by the little girl's tenderness: "Well, thank you for helping her."

Little girl: "You're welcome." She starts to crawl up the ladder, but not before turning around to say, "She's very cute, though."

My husband: "Well, thank you!"

Aside from the fact that Britten didn't enjoy herself (what do you expect from a 2 year old at 7:30pm?), the trip to the park was a success.

The older girls had a great time at the park...But our night didn't end there! After we left, we took the girls to Target so each of them could pick out their very own princess dress. Needless to say, it was a tough decision (like a kid in a candy store), but I think the girls were pleased with their selections.

Well, Britten was a little upset, but not by her dress selection. She really did enjoy the evening much more the pictures portray.

Ella and Courtney pranced around the house in their dresses, but only for about 10 minutes, as my husband and I they were extremely tired and ready for bed! Bedtime was not as successful as the rest of night, but what do you expect from a 4 and 5 year old? We started the night with Ella and Courtney sharing a room but ended up moving Ella to the basement (where Daddy joined her later). Courtney did great for sleeping at someone else's house, briefly waking up twice around 5:00am.

The sleep-over officially ended at 9:00am, when Courtney's mom picked her up. Overall, it was a success and we all had a wonderful time. But, the true question remains: Will we do it again? Probably not for another 6 least! :)

Friday, March 7, 2008

just for kicks

This picture has no meaning, except that I thought it was hilarious. This was taken on a night that Andy was watching the girls for a couple hours. As you can see, the older girls were enjoying themselves by going crazy in the crib. I don't mind that so much. The crib is falling apart as it is; they may as well use it as their wrestling cage. What I mind, and find quite hilarious, is what you see in the far left corner of the picture...Do you see it? What looks to be a little doll about ready to tumble off the chair?!? That little doll just happens to be Chloe, who is not a doll, in the literal sense anyway, but my BABY! Yikes!!!!

Thank goodness the picture makes it look worse than it was really was. Chloe was, in fact, sitting contentedly, watching her older sisters jump around. She just happened to tip a little bit as my husband took this photo. It just looked so funny I had to post it!

happy 4 months... our little "Hair Bear!" We love you!

sleeping beauty

Britten is finally recovering from having influenza, but the last couple of days, it had hit her pretty hard. On a few separate occasions, I found her sleeping in random places around the house. This was one of them...

She put her Elmo chair on top of her Tigger couch, turned on a movie (by herself), and 15 minutes later, I found her like this.

She never flinched when I took the picture (and 10 others)...

i've been tagged...

...By my blogging friend, Jenny! What a fun little game! Known in the blogging world as a meme, this is a helpful little tool to help my readers, YOU, get to know me a little better. Once I've completed the task of answering the questions, I must tag one of my own blogging friends in hopes of continuing the "tagging." So, let the games begin!

10 years ago:

I had just turned 18 years old and was anxiously awaiting my high school graduation. I just got accepted to my college of choice and was itching to get out of my hometown. Funny how things change...Now, if I had it my way, I'd be living there again! Being 18, I thought I knew it all. I was an adult, for crying out loud, and deserved to be treated like one! I was rebellious, never wanting to conform to rules, and I couldn't care less about school. Looking back, I have a lot of regrets, particularly about my attitude, and I wish I could change that. But I can't. It was a learning experience and something I can hopefully make right in parenting my own children.

Things on my To-Do List Today:
  • Disinfect the downstairs bedroom (aka influenza chamber) and clean the bedding
  • Go grocery shopping
  • Work on conquering Mt.Everest (my laundry pile)
  • Go to the gym (With my husband traveling for work and then coming down with the flu, I haven't been out of my house all week!)
Three of my BAD habits:
  1. Biting my nails: I don't remember a time when I didn't bite my nails, and neither does my mom. It started when I was very young and no matter what I do, I can't seem to stop. Believe me, I've tried everything.
  2. Burping at the dinner table. This is an etiquette I learned from my own dad, so you almost can't blame me. I was known in high school for my burps as they're quite loud and disturbing..not something you'd expect to come out of a lady. I was happy to have met a man who can out-burp me any day of the week. :)
  3. Cracking my back, knuckles, neck and any other bone in my body I can make crack! I also LOVE cracking other people's backs and knuckles, but don't get that opportunity as often as I'd like. My husband hates getting his back cracked, so I'm limited to family get-togethers. Fortunately, for me, my siblings and my niece and nephews LOVE it almost as much as me! :)
If I suddenly became a Billionaire...

I'd like to think that if I had a billion dollars, I wouldn't NEED a bigger home, but why not? I have a billion dollars, and that it A LOT of money. I would pay off my own debts, along with helping my family pay off theirs. I would give a lot of money away, to church, charities and other missions I'm passionate about. I would travel with my family, all over the world. With a billion dollars, we'd have no boundaries! My husband could FINALLY have his garage full of his dream cars, motorcycles and tools. As for me, I could go shopping whenever I wanted and wouldn't have to worry about the amount of money I spend on organic food.

Five Jobs I've Had:
  1. A berry picker at my Grandpa's berry farm. My best friend, Bobbie Jo, and I picked strawberries and raspberries and we had WAY too much fun doing this. I did this for 3 summers, ages 12 - 14, getting up at 6:30am, working from 7:00am until 12:00 or 1:00pm, which is when the sun usually got too hot. I was stung by countless bees, picking wood ticks off me in the shower every day, constantly stepping on snakes and my arms looked like they were attacked by a pack of cats. But my Grandpa paid me $15.00/day - cash - and at the time, I thought it was good money...and, hey, I had a good tan!
  2. A cashier at Hardee's (age 15) - I hated this job, always leaving smelling like a french fry!
  3. The Pine's Gift Shop (ages 15-18) - I loved this job, always leaving smelling like a candle!
  4. Administrative Assistant for a financial planner (ages 20-22)
  5. Realtor (ages 21 - some overlap with my job as an asst. - to present)
Five Things People Don't Know About Me:
  1. I LOVE marshmallows. I was Grandma's "marshmallow girl" and she always had a bag of marshmallows waiting for me. The amount of sugar I must've consumed eating marshmallows as a little girl is scary! To this day, I can literally smell marshmallows when I walk into a grocery store. If I walk through the baking aisle, I can't resist...I grab a bag of mini and regular marshmallows, take a nice big whiff, and throw them both in my cart.
  2. I had my belly button pierced up until I started having babies.
  3. I HATE peas. I can't put them in my mouth without gagging a little.
  4. I had a major crush on the Beast in Disney's Beauty and the Beast when I was little.
  5. I'm obsessed with Christmas music (particularly piano Christmas music) and would listen to it all year round if I could. I even exercise to Christmas music on my Ipod. One of my favorite Christmas CD's is the Elvis Christmas Classics.
Well, that about does it. Now it's my turn. I tag Angela.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

wishful thinking

For all of the nasty viruses and infections going around right now, our family had been healthy for over a month. I thought if I was diligent about washing hands, disinfecting the house and temporarily staying away from germ-infested play lands, maybe we'd be in the clear until spring. Well, I guess it was wishful thinking.

On Monday, my husband got on a plane for a 2 day business trip feeling perfectly healthy. 4 hours later, he got off the plane feeling miserable... It hit him fast and it hit him hard. Over the course of the next two days, his health began to deteriorate. Fever, achy joints, cough, sore throat...Need I say more? I'm sure you can guess, just by the symptoms, that he has Influenza. Once his flight got in yesterday morning, he went straight to urgent care and got the official diagnosis. Now home, I've confined him to the downstairs bedroom where we communicate via text messaging and I secretly bring him meals. We do this to avoid letting the girls see or hear their Daddy, because once they do, there's no turning back. You know how it goes for kids...Out of sight, out of mind.

I thought the rest of us were in the clear until Britten started getting really sick yesterday. She hasn't been herself for a couple of days, but I didn't think much of it. By the time she went to bed last night, her fever was around 104 and she could barely move. Ella, too, hasn't been herself, and woke up around 2am last night with a low-grade temperature, a cough and sore throat. Between caring for Ella and Britten, and nursing Chloe, as I normally do, I think I got about 1 hour sleep. I'm not complaining, though, as I'd rather be tired than sick. Chloe seems to be holding her own and I'm praying it stays that way!

So, that's what going on around here. Just boring, plain-old, influenza.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

sometimes the truth stinks

We dared to take the girls out for lunch after church today and actually had a very nice time together. I was snuggling Britten in my arms, after putting on her coat, whispering secrets in her ear. She turned towards my face, put both hands on my cheeks and said:

"I really like you, Mommy, but I DON'T want to smell your breath. It stinks!"

Ouch! I had just eaten lettuce wraps, so I guess it's to be expected. Good thing they had mints to grab on the way out of the restaurant...I took two!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

monkey see, monkey do

Last night was the third night in a row that Ella and Britten SUCCESSFULLY slept in the same bedroom. We tried it a couple of months ago, and after 2 sleepless nights and very early mornings, we determined that my husband and I the girls weren't quite ready for the transition. I'm amazed at how much children can mature in such a short time, and how this time around, sharing a room just seems a natural progression. It hasn't been without bumps in the road, like any major change, and each night it's taken them over an hour to actually fall asleep. I'm not too worried though, as I know they'll eventually get used to the "newness" of sleeping in the same room and we'll become more efficient with their bedroom routine.

Last night, on one of my countless trips to the bedroom to tell the girls to stop talking, I found Britten sitting Indian-style in Ella's bed, while Ella sat with her sheets pulled up under her chin.

Me: "Ella, what are you doing?"

Ella: "Mommy, you need to leave now. I'm feeding my baby and I need privacy."

Me: "What do you mean, you're feeding your baby?"

Out, from under the covers, pops Julie, Ella's baby doll. "Well, now she's done eating and I need to burp her before we go to sleep." She props her up in her lap and gently starts to pat her back. "Okay," as she lays Julie down beside her, "Now I need to feed my other babies." Even though she had 3 more babies in her bed to feed, I decided to let her to finish her "feedings" before proceeding with bedtime again.

As I walked out the bedroom, I couldn't help but smile to myself. Even though Ella was technically disobeying me by playing with (or feeding) her dolls, she was sitting in bed, with her dolls, following my example. It struck me, as it occasionally does, how much of an impact we have on our children and how they watch our every move. I know I'm far from perfect and make mistakes every single day. What I tend to forget is that my children SEE me make these mistakes. God has given us incredible power as parents:

Deuteronomy 4:9 "Be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after that, so that they can live an abundant life."

Most days, I feel so unworthy of being a mom to Ella, Britten & Chloe. I get overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated and short-tempered, leaving me feeling guilty by the end of the day, and scared that I'm not becoming the mom that God intended for me to be. In talking to other moms, I am encouraged to know that I am not the only one burdened by this vicious cycle. Where would I be without His grace, His mercy and His unending faithfulness? Falling short, I'm sure. He carries me through each hour, each day, each transition in my life, molding me into the mother that I need to be.

Tonight, as my husband was tucking the girls into their beds, I overheard Ella say, "But Daddy, before I go to bed, I need to feed my babies first." I smiled. I guess this will become a nightly ritual, along with our prayers and our songs to Jesus.