Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Real Boy

You know how in Pinocchio, when he turns into a real boy, and Gepetto keeps saying, "A real boy! A real boy!" ? Well, that's how I've felt this week with Asher. I feel like he's turning into a real boy. Not a baby. A real boy. And there's nothing I can do to stop it or slow it down.

I think it started with the haircut. I had been putting it off for so long, just loving the way the curls hung around his neck. I know that those first curls don't always come back, and I wasn't quite ready to part with them. I also knew that cutting it, would be the start of a new big boy look, and he's just been my sweet baby boy. But as the cute curls turned into a mullet, it started to look less "babyish" and more unkempt. And then, it got so long that it started to look like a little girl. See...

The long eyelashes don't help that, either. So, I distracted him in the bathtub with some toys and brushed it down while it was wet. Then in one snip, I cut those long curls. Well, then, as soon as he heard the scissors, he would jerk away, so I had to think of a new distraction. I got him out of the tub, put a diaper on, and sat him on sissy's bed (his favorite spot) with his favorite book, and a handful of Pringles. Then, I tried to very quickly, snip some of the sides away, to match the back a little bit. It was fun to see such an immediate change in him. To really see him look more like a real boy. Or a little man in a diaper finishing his chips.

It's really amazing and fun to see the change from baby to little kid, but it's also hard to see it happening so fast. Last Tuesday at his 18 month old appointment, I told the doctor that he only really had about 5-10 words. This week I'd say it was about 15-20. And sentences starting to come out, too.

And then there's the climbing. Like pushing a chair over to the counter, and climbing up for what he wants. Or climbing out of the bathtub on his own. Or climbing onto the bed or table and getting off without any help at all.

He's probably my last. And he'll always be my baby, but he sure is changing fast. I like this picture of him. He's fake crying because he can't have more Pringles. But I also like it, because he looks a little bit more like a baby here. Poor thing, I'm sure he'll be in counseling for years.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Junk In The Trunk

Saturday morning necessities: coffee, sunglasses and/or hat, change in your pocket.

This Sat. I was so excited to go yard-saleing because my sweet friend Kelly came along with me! I need to make a couple additions to my principals, one of them being, it's always more fun to go with someone else! I don't think I've ever talked about my history with yard sales, but my friend since forever ago, Heather, and I started going when we were in high school. It was a new found love for me, since my family never really did much yard saleing. But Heather was a pro. And she taught me to love traveling down those Pitt County roads to find whatever treasure we could. So, I learned early, it's always better with two. That way, you can ask each other's opinions, and have fun together, and also...there's strength in numbers. Which brings me to my second addition...

Don't Let Price Tags Intimidate You.

So, you know, yesterday turned out to be really pretty in the afternoon, but not so much in the morning. It wasn't really "yard sale" weather. And, actually, many people moved their sales to Monday, since it's Memorial Day. (So if you missed it on Sat., you still have a chance to go on Monday!) But Kelly and I still went, and were having fun even in the sprinkles, and getting some pretty good deals (which you'll hear about in a minute).

It's not very often that you meet grumpy yard sale hosts that are stingy and unwilling to deal. I mean, if you're buying their old junk, usually their pretty cordial. Well, we met Stingy Man this weekend. We came to one house, and there were a lot of fun toys. And especially a lot of little girl toys. I start looking, and realize that there are Groovy Girl dolls and accessories, Littlest Pet Shop playhouse and accessories, Little Town toys....I could go on, but for those of you without children this age, you would probably lose interest in this post. I saw that the toy prices were high, with stickers noting that each "set" is $5 and then the accessories another $5. WHAT?! Ok, maybe for a couple of sets, I would pay $5. But not for just one set. Not at a yard the rain....on Memorial Day weekend. So, I start to gather a few things together, and make an offer for a couple of the sets, asking $10 for for a few sets plus a box set of puzzles. The stingy man looked like that was the worst offer ever, but he looked at his daughter allowing her to make the decision, since they were her old toys. She kind of reluctantly said yes.

SO THEN, I started to look through the books realizing that I had missed some fun ones. He had said paper backs were .25 each, and hard backs were $2 each. (OK, just fyi- $2 per book, at a yard sale is not a good deal.) So, I pick out 6 paper backs, thinking that I'll take a few off his hands, and I ask if he'll take $1 for the stack (instead of $1.50). Again, he acts all offended, and says "I'll take $2!" Dude, you just went more than the asking price. That's not whatcha do. If people take more than one, you make the deal a little better. Since they are taking your junk off your hands, and paying you for it. I said, "Well, if they're a quarter each, and I only have 6, that comes to $1.50. But I'll put one back, and give you $1.25." And that's what I did.

So then, when Kelly went up with her pile, it was supposed to add up to $10 at their price, but she got it for $5. A much more reasonable price. I think I wore him down.

I tell you this story to let you know that sometimes you have to be on your game. Now I realize for the more timid ones, this is hard to do. But you do not want to be taken advantage and pay way more than you need to or want to. If they won't come to your price, than they probably won't end up getting rid of it, and it will be their loss. Most of the time, you can tell them what you are wanting to pay, and usually if it's reasonable, they'll be happy to take it. Unless they're stingy man. I think this may have been his first yard sale. (When I told Randy about it, he said, "It's probably because he remembers how much he paid for all of it." I laughed.)

So, yes, there is strength in numbers, but also just remain confident about what you feel comfortable with price wise. It's your game - you're the buyer!

So I ended up doing pretty well getting some fun new things for the house. Here are my favs...

River loving her new pet shop toy - yay!

big old decor things for anywhere (I paid $10 for both!)

Yes that is Calphalon - like new, and only $15!!!

pretty new candelabra to put up

fancy finials ($10 for all of these!) ( these are the things you put on the end of curtain rods)
i love these fun big lanterns that can go anywhere - inside or out! $2

We piled it all in, and loved every minute of it. I meant to get a picture of my trunk, with all the junk in there, but maybe that will be next week. Hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Pickin' Time

We had a great time picking strawberries this week. It's so fun to see the different personalities of my kids come out in whatever we do. Even picking strawberries. And you might think, what's there to be different about. You go. You pick. You eat. You go home.

Well, let me tell you how my daughter River picks strawberries. She starts by being well prepared with her basket. Then after listening intently to the instructions given to her, she developed her strategy. "Twist and pull." And then she very seriously picks the biggest, reddest, and "BEST strawberries ever!"

(notice Asher waaay down the row behind River)

Then, she fills her basket until she can no longer carry it, and runs with all her might down to where we pay for them. Then, she likes to sit in her seat with "her basket" and eat them all the way home. I don't think she ate one while she was picking, but by her basket was probably 1/4 of the way gone by the time we got home.

My son on the other hand, enjoyed seeing the strawberries at the first plant we came to. He picked one, maybe two, and then ate one or two. Then proceeded to run up and down the aisles, crawl over the rows, go down to the end of the row, and then all the way back to the parking lot. He liked standing up on the covered rows, and then jump off, or roll off, or whatever active movement he was enjoying at the time.

It's so fun to see who they are develop a little more with each season.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Good Finds!

(Sorry it's Wed. already, but hey, half way to this weekends finds!)

So...two words.... rocking chairs!

Friday night, I was writing down the things that I would love to find yard saleing, to kind of be thinking of when I'm looking around. I named my list "Yard Sale Prayer List" and kind of laughed at myself for it. Because I love lists, and of course it needed to be a list. The top thing on my list was rocking chairs. I've been wanting some for a while, just because I love them on front porches, and have always wanted them for ours.

On the way to get cash out Sat. morning, we drove by a sign in our neighborhood, and said to Randy let's just go check it out real fast, and then we can go to the bank. We drove up, and both looked at each other and laughed. There they were. Rugged, unfinished, but in good condition, and just needing a coat of paint. We were very excited and later (after going and getting money, and taking it back to them) stuffed the car full with them for $15 for the pair. I'm going to save the pics for before and after pictures.

Among the other goods, were fun new (like tags still on new) board shorts for my little boy, along with a pair of cute pants and a fall fleece for him, and Littlest pet shop toys for my little girlie girl, a play hospital, a couple new books, and a pack of 800 Kodak film for $1 - and yes it's still good.

I also found one of these, which I've been wanting one for a while.

And this

And a great dresser that my husband is fixing up a little. Another great furniture find, but just needed a few touch ups - we don't mind, since it was only $5.

And I think my other favorite thing from the weekend was this all in one joystick atari game that we got. Some of our friends enjoyed watching Randy beat the computer on this one. Can't you see the joy?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

To Know Comfort

When I was a little girl, whenever I was sick, we had special things that we got to do, to make being sick not seem so bad. My mom would give me a bell to use, in case I needed to call her for something, but didn't have the "strength" to walk down and find her. (Remember this was before there were cell phones.) And she would make me crushed ice in Karo syrup, so I could have something on my stomach to take in little by little. It was delicious. And being sick - a.k.a. resting in my bed, and having books read to me, and watching movies - wasn't so bad.

I remember "making" myself sick a few times so I wouldn't have to go to school. Like doing the throw up sounds in the bathroom, or fake coughing a ton, or even using a hair dryer to make the thermometer rise really high. I think it's really funny now, looking back, thinking that I was so sneaky. Did anyone else do this, too? Or did I just have serious psychological issues from early on?

Well, anyway, today my daughter told me her throat "really" hurt. But if her panties are crumpled up too much, they "really" hurt. Or if she barely bumps her arm on something, it "REALLY" hurts. So, I didn't really take it too seriously. And we went on to preschool. In the middle of my coffee date with a fun new friend, I got a call from her teacher. "River's sick. She has a fever of 101.6."

So, feeling extremely guilty, I rushed over and picked her up. And held her tight for a while. I heard that someone else in her school had had strep, so I figured with her sore throat and high fever, I better go get her checked. The test came back negative, but we still waiting for the second one. It just seems like she's been sick a lot this year. Cold after cold. Virus after virus. And the next season comes, and you hope that it's done. At least for a month. But it's only been about 2 weeks, and here we go again.

At the doctor's office her fever was up to 103, and she was very pitiful. Just laying on me, while I held her and read books while we waited. She would barely answer questions, and was totally lethargic. I asked her if a nice cold milkshake from Chick-Fil-A would help her feel better, and of course it did.

I felt sad for her, and enjoyed being able to comfort her. I can't imagine just not comforting her. Not holding her. Not helping her. It just reminded me of how my mom used to take care of me on those rough days. I thought how it really doesn't matter what we do to help them. We just love to help them. And we want to comfort them, and be with them in the midst of the sickness. (Even though I was anti-bacing my hands like crazy all the while).

But it makes me think of our Heavenly Father, too. I know that He loves us with that deep, deep love of a father. That in the midst of strife and the suffering of this world, He truly longs to comfort us. To help us. To be with us throughout the hard days. You know, it's not like he likes us having hard times. No more than I like seeing my precious girl sick. I think that we sometimes get tricked into thinking that He's the one who is doing all this stuff to us. But that's just not who He is. It's not His Father's heart to hurt us. He says, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

To think that we would go through this life with no hardship or struggle is kind of like hoping that our children would never get sick. And we know how ridiculous that sounds. Of course they're gonna get sick. But when struggles come to us, sometimes we think, "How could He let this happen?" or "Why would God do this to me?" I remember someone saying to me onetime, when I was pondering this same thing, "Why do you think God has done this to you?" And I remember thinking, "Huh. I don't know." But we so easily blame Him and keep our distance when the trials come. Like He'll only hurt us more if we let Him comfort us. It's so sad that we believe the lie that He doesn't want to care for us. That He doesn't care about us.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.

"My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life." Ps. 119:50

"May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant." Ps. 119:76

"Comfort, comfort my people, says your God." Isaiah 40:1

"For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones." Isaiah 49:13

"I, even I, am He who comforts you." Isaiah 51:12

" comfort all who mourn..." Isaiah 61:2

"As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you." Isaiah 66:13

"O, my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me." Jeremiah 8:18

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." 2 Corinthians 1:3

I'm thankful that He truly is the God of all comfort, and longs to come to us in the midst of strife and struggle. I long to know that so deeply that I would let Him come. Let Him be the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts me in all my troubles.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Goods from the Weekend

So you know how when you love something in one area, you like to try it in another place.  Like, if you love Bar-B-Que, you like to try it anywhere, and all over.    You become a BBQ connoisseur, and you probably try it wherever you go.    

That's how I was this weekend at the beach.   We went down with my husbands family, and had a great time.   On Saturday morning, Randy and I were going to go on a coffee date, and maybe stop at a sale or two if we saw any.    Of course I wanted to.  =)     Whenever we're down there on the weekends, I always see yard sale signs, and usually I don't go.    And it's not like you want to spend time away from the beach to go yard saleing, but it was still fun to experience Brunswick County yard sales at their finest.

I was glad that I kept to principal No. 5 and checked to see what was up on the crowded table of clothes.   I wouldn't have found cute fall clothes for my sweet little boy, all for $2!   Or this awesome new Beatles T-shirt for myself.

Randy was excited about this old edition (but unopened, mind you) of Risk.

The other sale that was good to me this weekend, I actually got to go early to.    I knew we were going out of town, and was so sad that my little girls preschool had their big yard sale the same weekend.   Well, I saw the people starting to set stuff up on Thursday, and I walked through, explaining that I was legit - as I did teach music and chapel to the preschoolers.   I was so excited, that I could at least just see a little of what was going to be there.    I walked away from this early bird special with these fun things.

My parents have a barn like this for their nativity, and I've always wanted one for our nativity scenes.   It was fun to think about Christmas, too.

I couldn't wait to show my 4 year old what surprise I had for her for our trip....

Those things are like $40!!!   Not mine - mine was only $3!!

And this will be perfect for lemonade on a cold day this summer!   And just in time - I can't find my other clear pitcher anywhere!!    It was the big price of a quarter. 

That's all folks.     I'm looking forward to hearing about your fun finds, too!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Holding Back

I felt myself start to cry today.   It was at a bad time, and it wouldn't have made sense at all to anyone around me, and so I didn't let myself think about the sad thing, and just distracted myself to what I "had" to do.   It was just a bad time to fall apart.  

But that's the thing, there's never a good time to fall apart.   There's never a good time to feel sad about something.   It's never fun.   It's never a good feeling.    And usually, in my life, I don't welcome it, even when I feel it coming.    And then, the moment has passed, and you've "made it through" without crying.  Like it's a victory or something.   

But what makes me sad, is that my soul doesn't need another victory of stoicism and strength.  I need to be weak, so He can be strong.   I need to be broken so that He can mend.   And I need to be down in the ashes so that He can make me, all of me, beautifully whole.    It's been my nature for so long now to conquer those emotions, that it's a whole new lesson.  And it's hard to learn.  
When I used to play piano, I would learn the song mainly by ear, because I was really bad at sight-reading.   It was so much easier to hear my teacher play it, and then to duplicate that.   However, almost always, I would teach myself a mistake, and because I wasn't reading from the notes, I wouldn't catch it.   And usually, it would be hard for the teacher to catch it because it would sound almost perfect.   But, it wasn't.    It was wrong.  And I had learned it the wrong way.   It would take twice as long to go back and re-teach myself, and my hand to go the right way; to play it the right way.   And I would have to read the music, to make sure it was right.  Because every time, my finger would reach for that one note that I had learned the first way.

So I'm trying to relearn how I feel things.   And how I think about emotions.  To know that it's not weak to cry.  Or wrong to let them show.   Even typing that sounds so sissy.     But I know that the Lord will continue to give me grace, and will continue working to bring this good work to completion.    

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."    Psalm 51:17

Monday, May 05, 2008

Better Than A Yard Sale

I know you're all dying to know about yard saleing on Sat. (haha) but I didn't get to go this weekend.  Instead, I was able to see some of the most precious kids in the world get the chance to live out some of their dreams.   It wasn't the olympics, but it might as well been for how amazing some of them did.   

I have the privilege of working with children from our neighborhood in an afterschool program.   These kids don't get a lot of opportunities to do the things that you and I were privey to as kids.   They don't have private art or dance lessons, annual trips to the mountains and/or beach, fun outings to get ice cream, or even to go to an occasional baseball game.   So you can imagine how neat it was for them to be able to participate in the Children's Race at the marathon on Saturday.

We were blessed to have one of our tutors offer to sponsor any of the children that wanted to participate in the race.   So we got them signed up, and they were picked up by their tutor by 7:45 on Sat. morning, and brought them to race.   You know, we should have trained them, and bought them all running shorts, and had them all prepared.   However, much like the apple pie incident, we were the last minute contestants, who hadn't really well prepared, and our poor kids were running in their baggy, saggy, jeans, and their worn out sneakers.     But they couldn't wait.   And run, they did.

Here are a couple pictures of some of our cuties.

The most amazing part, was not seeing our kids place first, second, and third in almost every age category, though that was pretty great.   The greatest part to me, was seeing our tutors give one of their Saturday mornings, to make something wonderful happen for these little ones.    To show these children that they do deserve a chance to run.   That they are special enough to get up early and spend a morning with.   And that they are talented enough to be a part of (and even win) an extraordinary event.   It blessed my heart more than a hundred yard sales.