Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pool Time!

She doesn't say much in the video, but she had an awesome time! When she heard Sean call to David, she remembered that there was a much bigger pool, and started asking, "Play? Play?"

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

Most of our "days" this weekend were spent working in the yard, but we did have some fun activities during the evening. Saturday night, we spent time with about four other couples at one of our pastors' house. We played games, talked about new ministries, and ate delicious food! It was a great time of fellowship, and a wonderful time to talk with Trey and Whitney about their new ministry. Steve and I have been praying a lot about this transition and we really feel God is leading us to partner with Trey and Whitney in the work that they're doing.

Sunday night was a graduation party for one of our highschoolers, Andrew. (Our pastor's son) We love this kid like he was our own; he's trying to convince his parents to amend their will so that Steve and I would get to "keep" him if anything happens to them. I don't want anything to happen to our pastor, but it would be a blast to have Andrew in our home full-time!

Monday was definitely more relaxing for us. We finished up planting flowers, but didn't do too much else in the yard. We headed over to Trey and Whitney's after Bella woke up from her nap, and spent time in their neighborhood pool. We ended the night with grilling out, talking, and watching a movie - a wonderfully refreshing, long weekend!

Struttin' her stuff and ready to go!

Playing in the kiddie pool. Bella loved the water and really wanted to jump in the adult pool!

We're all looking at the camera!

(I'll post a video tomorrow of Bella playing in the kiddie pool.)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dirt And Flowers

We spent the weekend sweating, covered in dirt, and drinking from the hose. It is officially summer! We've had quite a few projects in the yard that we knew we wanted to do this weekend, and it all looks great! The two main projects we wanted to do in the front yard were building a flower bed around the mailbox and adding edging and mulch to our front flower bed.

We transferred stones from the side of our house where they were never seen and also transplanted a hosta plant. The hosta plant is struggling a little bit and we may have to tear it up after all, but we're going to keep watering it and see what happens.

We added a trellis and bougainvillea plant to the back. Hopefully it will climb up and grow around the mailbox. I love the color it adds!

Okay, on to the front flower bed. Our bed looked so parched and empty. This is what it was before...

We added red mulch last year, but it wasn't our favorite. It's a large bed and we've only been able to add a few plants, so the bed looked pretty desolate.

Steve worked SO HARD adding the edging to the bed.

"Slaving away" and hauling dirt

What's yardwork without a pitcher of unsweet tea?

We added dark brown mulch, edging, and a large hosta plant to the bed. It still needs some work and additional plants, but it looks so much cleaner!

And finally, some purple flowers called serenas were planted along both sides of the sidewalk leading up to the door.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Day At The Zoo

One of my friends has a season pass to the zoo, so she invited me to bring the kids and go for free today! It ended up having to be all three kids (Bella + the two others that I watch), and boy, was it a handful! Since so many of the animals are behind glass enclosures, I think Bella's favorite ended up being the flamingos! You could get pretty close to where they were standing, and it was all open-air. It was absolutely exhausting for the adults, but so worth it to see Bella and Rex enjoy the animals so much!

(Did I mention it was about 90 degrees and we got there at 11:00? We have great timing!)

Checking out the flamingos!

Don't you just love giraffes???

And here we have three, very distinct personalities: Bella is crying because we're forcing her to sit still and take a picture, Rex is in his own little world and climbing out of the nest, and Ella is happy and loving having her picture taken!

Bella had no fear! She absolutely LOVED the komodo dragon!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Journey To A Big Girl Bed

When we made the decision to switch to a big girl bed, we were a little nervous. Our wonderful little girl is not exactly mild-mannered and she doesn't do well with sudden change. I started the project this morning of converting the crib to a daybed. I don't know if it helped to see me working on it all morning, but I just laid her down in the new bed, and I haven't heard a peep! I'm praying that this is one of those transitions to "big girl-ness" that Bella miraculously adjusts quickly to. The big test will be if she stays asleep as long as usual and what happens when she wakes up. Everybody say a little prayer!

Here's our project...

The "before" picture

The destruction: removing the side rail, attempting to raise the mattress height to accommodate the guard rail, stripping the threads off one of the screws...it was a great time!

Bella kind of likes the new, bare look.

My view from the sewing machine. We found a guard rail at a garage sale this past weekend for $2.00, but it was extremely plain, so I sewed a slipcover for it. Mel had some super-soft, pale blue material from another project, and it worked perfectly!

I sewed in Bella's name with some scrap material. You can't see them very well, but I just wanted a little pink and yellow in there to offset the blue.

The completed project (minus the "BELLA" letters; I added those after I took the picture)

Snug as a bug in a rug! It's a Christmas miracle!

Friday, May 20, 2011

She Jumps Like A Little Leprechaun

This video clip doesn't do her jumping skills justice, but I had to post it. It's one of those moments that parents think is much cuter than anyone else does. We took a video of her jumping last night - it was 10:30 PM, we had just gotten home, and we were amazed that she was this awake!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Truth

There is something that I have to get out: I feel called to missions. I don't know exactly when it started, and I don't know what it means for me or my family, but it is a deep, pulling desire inside of me. And I struggle with it. I struggle because I'm comfortable here. I love my life. I love my beautiful home, my social calendar, and my safe, practical budget. I am a girl who likes knowing what's ahead. I like already knowing that I want to get Bella a tricycle for her 3rd birthday. I like knowing that I already have a name picked out for Baby #2, who hasn't even been conceived yet.

But deep inside of my soul, there is a feeling that I have pushed down so many times I have lost count. It is the feeling that living in this predictable, comfortable suburb is wrong. I just feel like I'm not doing anything here. Like all of my "ministry" efforts are worthless. I'm terrified of getting to the end of my life and thinking, "I could have given so much more!" This is in no way a pat on my own back. There are hundreds of women who are called to be Salt and Light in there own neighborhoods. In fact, I know that I am called to be Salt and Light in my own neighborhood. But I also can't deny the feeling, the belief, that I have been called to something different.

I want to challenge God and see Him deliver a hundred times over. Do I really need God now? I mean, in my head, I know I do, but would my life really look any different if I didn't believe in Him? I'd like to think it would. I'd like to think that all of the time spent in my church building has been for His kingdom, but sometimes I wonder if it has been for His kingdom or my own social network. My friends are at church. Would I love it as much if they weren't there?

I'm not looking to missions to make me feel better about myself. And my honest confession is that I fail miserably at telling people about God right where I'm at. I am naturally cynical and judgmental , and struggle to view people as "lost". But I know that's wrong, and I'm striving to grow, and change. I'm striving to spend more time in God's word; to learn to look at other people like He does. I don't think moving to a foreign mission field would suddenly make me bolder to the gospel. But I can't shake this longing to be more active in my faith. I have long believed that Christians hide behind the idea of being "called" to missions. I think it is very simple: if you're a Christian, you've been called. Some people are called to do it right here; some are called to go other places. I believe I've been called to go.

I just don't know what that means. Being married, I believe you can never go wrong as a wife if you are submitting to your husband. And please don't misunderstand me, I don't believe in any way that my husband is holding me back. But ministry can only work if you're united in ministry and I wouldn't be doing anyone any favors if I skipped that whole "submit" thing and dragged my husband to another country because of what "I wanted to do." I don't believe that God would send one of us and not the other. Maybe this desire is a test from God to teach me to be patient and calm my spirit and trust in the heart of my husband.

I don't know where the middle ground is. I feel caught between the comfortable feelings of loving mommy groups and playdates and Chick-fil-A; the self-righteous ego that chaffs and scoffs at volunteering in ministries that I feel are pointless; and a true desire to serve God in a bigger way and tell others about Him.

Honestly, I'm scared. I'm scared that God will one day give me exactly what I desire and lay it on my husband's heart to go. I'm scared to leave family and friends for a strange place. I'm scared at what that would mean for financial security, retirement, and putting kids through college. But I'm also scared to do nothing. To just sit and wait and hope that everything turns out all right. I really know so little about the suffering of other people in the world; about the true lostness of other countries. I can only pray and trust that God has me here for exactly the right "season." That when God lays a ministry on both Steve's and my heart that we'll have the courage to say "yes" and go. And also, that God will give me that same courage when I see a person hurting in WalMart who needs His love right now.

Full House

Wow! It's been almost a week since I've posted...is it weird to feel really busy, but only with boring, normal things? Last weekend was really fun! We spent Friday babysitting for friends, but took Bella to their house since they have four kids...it was just easier. Once our friends got home, we sat on the couch and caught up on the Narnia films. Five and a half hours is A LOT of Narnia!

Saturday we went to a "Baby Reveal Party" for our friends, Ben and Carolyn who found out the gender of their baby. We had a great time! We could have found out the same information through a text message, but it was a fun excuse to get together. P.S. It's a boy!

Sunday was soooooo busy! After church was a VBS meeting, a birthday party for one of Bella's friends, and our marriage Bible study. A good day, but we were glad to be home!

This weekend is a Parents Night Out that my 10th Grade Sunday School girls are hosting for the church, and Saturday is a Deacons BBQ!

Had to include this picture. Yesterday, I watched my friend, Jessica's baby Jake for a few hours. What a chubby, wonderful, chill little cutie!

Oh okay, if you insist...here's a cute picture of Bella! Steve took her on the playground during my VBS meeting last Sunday.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Me + Martha Stewart = BFF

Okay, so I only dream of being able to keep up with her abilities (minus that whole insider trading and jail experience), but I'm convinced that if given the time and resources (and assistants!), I could be just as "crafty" as Martha.

One of my friends posted an idea on FB of turning a picture frame into a menu board, and I got giddy just looking at it! The original instructions suggested using a blank frame with scrapbooking paper as your background, but I've had a picture sitting in my kitchen that I love, so I decided to use that. I'm running out of wall space in my house, so this picture had been propped up on the counter in my kitchen. Not a very "finished" look, but at least I get to see it.

Using some scrapbooking letters and a frame from Goodwill that I found for $1.50, I created my menu board! And I love it! I think my family could care less what the weekly menu is, but it keeps me sane if i can glance quickly and remember that I have all of my supplies already purchased. I usually keep a list taped to the fridge every week, but this is a much prettier option!

This is my first attempt...the plan was to include Saturday and Sunday, too, but my scrapbooking letters were too large, so I initially left the bottom blank. Looks out of balance, right?

I tried to think of other phrases to put on the bottom. I wanted to add "daddy cooks on weekends" to the bottom to even it out, but once again, my big letters made that difficult. I ended up writing "daddy cooks..."and hoped the "on weekends" would be implied. Of course, daddy doesn't officially cook on weekends, but it's cute anyway, and he IS a huge help around the house, so he deserves some credit!

The menu board in its corner. It's out of the way and adds a fun pizazz to an otherwise "pointless" picture! I hope that my desire to be "crafty" comes from a God-honoring desire to "keep my home". That's how I feel about it, so I'm trusting that God gave me those abilities!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Little Human Has New Words

The little human has really gotten better at learning (and saying) new words! We were at the park yesterday and she started saying "water." This was AFTER I had taken off her shoes, and mine, and let us both walk in the very cold water. Apparently, she's a kinesthetic learner. Of course, convincing her to leave the water without freaking out was a little challenging, but she's getting so much better at listening, comprehending, and obeying.

Our favorite thing that she does is answer the question, "Bella, how old are you?" She holds up both of her pointer fingers and says, "two." It sounds like a gorilla is grunting out the word "toe," and it's really cute!

She's also getting better at saying "please", "banana", "drink", "open", "movie", and "car". Most of these are words she knew before, but didn't really use consistently. Next up is counting! She can say "one" and "two" in the right order, but rarely moves on to "ree". I'm trying to count to five whenever I can.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Enjoying Mother's Day

I am so thankful for my own Mama and grandmas, and for the wonderful moms in Steve's family - his Mom, Grandmas, and Sisters...you have taught me so much and inspired me to be a better Mama!

My first, official moments as a "Mommy"!

Enjoying the sunshine (and being a mom) today!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Tea Party At Chick-Fil-A

Today was a busy day, but a fun one, too! This afternoon, Mel and I took Bella to a Mother/Daughter Tea Party at the CFA down the street. I love our Chick-Fil-A! I got to be on a first name basis with them when I was on maternity leave - I ate a chicken salad sandwich and unsweet tea every single day for three weeks straight! They do a lot of fun events in the community, and the tea party was wonderful! We walked in and were shown to a table with a tablecloth and tea cups already set up. They offered us hot tea or cold tea and then brought out a wonderful plate of food! Mel and I wore hats and the three of us were dressed up in pretty dresses; I don't know how much Bella understood, but Mel and I loved it!

All dressed up and ready to go! I let Bella carry one of my purses. She was pretty excited; I don't think I even remembered to put anything in it!

How can you go wrong with a hat that cost $5.99?

Our yummy plate of food! Notice the little pastries in the center that have the CFA logo on them!

Sipping her tea in a real teacup! These pictures were all on Mel's phone, so they're a little fuzzy.

Waiting for our food to arrive...the only rough point of the experience. Next year will be even better!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bella's First Trampoline Experience

We spent yesterday at Whitney and Trey's house; I didn't watch Camryn, so I packed up Bella and Rex around 9:00 and didn't get home until 5:00! They have a big trampoline in their backyard, and Madeline (7) and Sean (4) helped her experience the joys of bouncing. They were very gentle with her - I'm sure Bella would've loved to bounce higher, but that was definitely a "first-time mom" moment for me where I could just see us heading back to urgent care. No injuries, though, and she had an absolute blast!

She's all thugged out in David's clothes after trying to bathe in her yogurt at lunchtime.

It took some serious coaxing on my part to get her off the trampoline without me having to climb on to get her!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Our Goodies From Goodwill

Mel was home today, so we decided to take Rex and Bella to Goodwill this morning. Our original goal was to look for big hats and pretty gloves to wear to a tea party this weekend that we're taking Bella to, but there was only one hat and it was just too hideous...even for Goodwill.

I love wreaths! Love them! I am a total sucker for "seasonal" wreaths that I can put on my door at the appropriate time of year. One of my finds at Goodwill today was a "Summer" wreath. I don't have one yet and I've been drooling over one at Target, but I actually like my Goodwill wreath MUCH better! And it cost me less than $2.00!

I found these two old, wooden placemats with Colonial scenes on them. I don't think they're actually antiques, but I love the old pictures! I'm going to try and find some frames for them at WalMart.

Another item I'm a complete sucker for...baskets! I love things organized and in their place, and baskets make me very happy! I found this at Goodwill for $2.50 - such a bargain! There's something so cozy about a basket of books sitting near the fireplace.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Getting Ready...

We have some fun activities coming up this weekend, so yesterday and today were our "get ready" days. Sunday is Mother's Day and we've been making aprons for the ladies in our family. They turned out really cute!

I made an apron for myself, too. If it includes Bella's handprints, I couldn't resist! I do not find cooking effortless, so I thought it'd be cute to put a food on there that doesn't require a lot of skill.

Mel LOVES to cook and spent a year in Italy, so this apron is perfect for her! She spends enough time with Bella that she deserves a "Mother's Day" gift.

I haven't added the handprints to this one yet, but it's for my mom - Bella's Gramma Meyer. It will include Bella's handprints and handprints of the three sisters. We have a special surprise for Bella's Grandma Wires, but she reads this blog frequently, so I won't put pictures up until after Mother's Day.

We weren't getting ready for anything in this picture...except getting ready to swing on the swings! I don't know who she gets her big bottom lip from, but I like it!

I'm going to a girlfriend's baby shower this weekend and couldn't resist this adorable set of pacifiers! Aren't they cute? I love the little dragon and the bottom one is a knight in armor!
Steve and I would love to have a boy next and I can't help but wander by the "boy" items when I'm in the store to get something for Bella.

(I'll have to go back and edit this post if we have a girl next!) :)