Friday, December 19, 2014


I got exciting news a couple of weeks ago and sent the signed contract this week so I guess it's time to share. I got selected as an Oxford Scholar - it's similar to a fellowship. I get support for a Science & Humanities project that I'll be working on over the next two years. My project is focused on Science & Faith. The best thing is that I get to go study at Oxford for a month at a time over the next two summers. I get to take classes, go on field trips, and be assigned a tutor for my project. My biggest concern is being away from the family so long.
When I told Josh about the opportunity, he told me to apply. "We'll figure out the details." I will always be grateful for his support in my career. The first big test was when we were running the summer before our last undergraduate year, and I told him that I wanted to go to graduate school to pursue my PhD. That meant putting off having kids longer than originally planned. Then one of the reasons I survived graduate school was his constant   encouragement to finish. He's always been game for my career plans and encouraging me to do more.


I went to visit April and Bret in Kentucky this week for a few days. Both April and I had a restful, encouraging time after a long semester. It was good to catch up and laugh together. I also had a lot of time to myself. At one point yesterday afternoon, I was reading on the couch and she was working on her online class. True friendship right there - it was just nice to hang out and not have to talk. I felt revitalized after my four days away.
I sure missed Josh and the kids though. I flew back into town late last night. This morning I woke up first. I was like a kid on Christmas morning - when was the rest of the family going to get up? I made my coffee, and my noise successfully woke them. We've been busy today: Rubble the dinosaur's birthday party (another blog post to come), play-dough, and painting. It's been a joy. My homecoming after a short trip got me thinking about the big trip I'll take next summer. I sure will miss my babies, but I know my homecoming will be special when I see those smiling faces.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Snow Blessing

This little girl brings joy to my life.

And at least once a day, she goes into her room to read by herself.


If you join her, she insists that you read aloud while she reads her own book. Girl after my own heart.

And these boys. Oh, these boys.


They each got to buy something at Hobby Lobby. L Child picked a puzzle of course. 
C bought the Mouse King Nutcracker. He's a hit in the house with these two nuts. 
I'm surrounded by entertainment almost constantly.

Yet...It's been over 16 months that I've been a mom to three kids. 
I'm pretty sure I'm still adjusting.

Hmmm, I'm wondering why Padme is on the couch.
Button turned one and for the next few months, she wore me out daily. She had epic fits 
and screamed a lot.

About a month ago, the fits faded away. She will still have small ones, but her language is exploding - and her understanding. That has helped lessen her frustration.

Of course, she still wears me out. It's not tantrums anymore. She's just BUSY.


Anything her "brubas" do, she thinks she needs to do as well.

And man, this girl can be sassy.

The other day I told her to say please instead of screaming for something. 
She responded by signing "please" on her butt. 
Yes, her butt. 
And I know that's what she was doing because she also said, "Ease" while doing it. Then she laughed.
Help me now.

I've been trying to remember the last couple of days that it won't always be this hard. I'm trying to enjoy these moments because I know they are fleeting. I'm trying to be fully present and patient - even when one kid shatters a glass jar across the floor and Baby throws a fit because she can't walk on the floor.

And yesterday I got a blessing.
I love the first snow of the winter season.
It even came early this year.

A nasty stomach virus hit our house this past week. The kids and I stayed home today, almost-well, but also waiting another day before exposing people to our germs. L Child looked out the window and exclaimed, "It's snowing!" So we bundled up and went outside. Twice.

I got to share the first snow with three very excited kids.

This is the first year that Liam enjoyed the cold.

Casen has always liked the snow.

And Haddie is my little snow baby. She face planted into the snow. No crying or even yelling about it. I wiped her face, and she kept on crunching through the snow.


I realized today that maybe I'll never feel fully adjusted. Things will be easier sometimes and other times, it'll be harder. I'm just gonna try to soak up this ride.

It was a good day for this mama. 

Thursday, November 06, 2014

The Puzzle Master...

….instills his wisdom to his baby sister.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


I'm a planner. After about 15 years of knowing each other, Josh knows to always humor me by listening to my (our) plan is for the day or evening. I'm also probably raising little planners. Both the boys like to know the plan of the day.

Planner C happy about his latest bike ride without training wheels.
There's a lot of good things about being a planner. Planners get things done. Almost always on time, maybe even early.
But it's hard being a planner. Life doesn't always cooperate.

Button pulling out her pigtails 30 seconds after I got them done.
I was in desperate need of a Fall Break. This mama needed a break from the kiddos and have some quality time with the hubs. My mantra for the two weeks leading up to break time was, "Power through! Then you can sleep and relax!"

Never a dull moment with L Child around. Here he is pretending to be Daddy.
Imagine my horror when Josh got sick a couple of a days before my break, but I was hoping he would be his usual Strong-Immune-Self and be well by Friday. I cleaned out my car and packed it up, ready to drive the kids to JJ's.

Found a shank in the backseat of my car. Apparently, I need to start doing pat-downs before the boys get into the car.
It ended up it was some Josh-targeted-virus that lasted about seven days. He would be feeling okay for a bit, and then it would hit him hard again. It wasn't the Fall Break I had planned, but we still got to have some fun together.

And I'm pretty sure I found the best Mexican food in the area. It tasted like Laredo food - my ultimate standard for Mexican food.

I also made a late run into Wally World for some Gatorade for sick Josh. You might think that at 11 PM there would either be nobody shopping or maybe two lanes open. No such luck. One long line of suckers like me too lazy to hold the Gatorade so I just kicked it across the floor while I waited in line.

Not my proudest moment.
Neither was my king size Nutrageous purchase.
Back to work on Monday, and it was a rough week for Button. It's hard being 15 months, but sometimes I think it might be harder being a parent to a 15-month-old.

I came home from a late-night run to find this girlie wide awake and doing her own run around the house. 
Warning: She's not always this cute at 4:45 AM.
After a week of too short of nights, lots of time-outs (for both Button and I), and energy spent with two energized boys ready for their school to start back up, I keep reminding myself that this stage won't last forever. It made me feel better when Mr. Brightside Josh referred to children as "epic plan destroyers." I'm learning that it's okay that we can't always follow a plan. I think that's one reason God gave us children. He's reminding me constantly to let go and trust Him. Adub sent me this devotional thought this past week:

" Even while interacting on that cluttered plain of life, you yearn for a simplified lifestyle. So that your communication with Me can be uninterrupted. But I challenge you to relinquish the fantasy of an uncluttered world. Accept each day just as it comes. And find Me in the midst of it all. Talk with Me about every aspect of your day...Remember your ultimate goal is not to control or fix everything around you. It is to keep communing with Me. A successful day is one in which you have stayed in touch with Me. Even if many things remain undone at the end of the day..."


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Growing Up Too Fast

It seems like Button is doing things quicker than her brothers did. She's almost got a mouth full of teeth.  She also thinks she should eat at the kid table with a fork.

Or at least hold the fork while she eats.

The roughest age for the boys was around 18 months. It was worse than the terrible two's and the more terrible three's. I think it boiled down to communication skills, or the lack thereof. They knew what they wanted but couldn't tell us via signs or words. I can imagine it's very frustrating.
It got easier once they could talk more and understand why screaming wasn't an acceptable response to not getting your way.

H's behavior lately reminds me of when the boys were 18 months (she's 15 months now). She's learning that she has to sign "please" for things, and Mama (and everybody else) can't carry her around all day. She recently got two molars in, another one cut through in the last couple days, and I'm assuming another one is cutting now. Between the frustration of not being to effectively communicate yet and that awful teething, she was having a rough evening yesterday. Throw in a little dramatic flair, at one point, in response to me telling her that she had to sign please, she threw her little arm across her face and whimpered, much like Scarlett O'Hara:

Despite the fits and screams of frustration, we think she's still pretty cute.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Exciting Night

The other night, Josh took C to his baseball game while I stayed home with the other two. It was a nice evening. L Child and I cleaned the toy room and played kickball with a football (impossible you say? one would think). The three of us also managed to squeeze in a dance party. It made this Mama proud when L really liked some Foster the People and The Avett Brothers. Button enjoyed the fun, too. I guess we didn't have enough excitement because Liam ended the evening slipping on water on the kitchen tile and hitting his head.
Rest, an icepack, Tylenol, and periodic checking of the head bump and his eyes for dilation. 
Thankfully, he was okay, and quite the cutie laying on the couch with ice on his head.

PSA Brought To You By L Child

Liam, Josh, and I  were playing school this morning; Liam was the teacher.
Here are his four safety tips:

1. Be calmer.

2. Eat food.

3. Don't fall off a train.
But if you do, your Mama will catch you.

4. Don't crack your head.
But if you fall, your Mama will catch you.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Absent-Minded Professor (Mama)

One day a week, I pick the boys up from school and we always head back to my school. Sometimes they work on homework (or do puzzles if your name is Liam). If I planned ahead, they can help me set up for my class or do an experiment. They saw this experiment in one of their nerdy books I got them about how you can test the pH of substances using red cabbage.  I told them I was doing that for my class this semester so they could help me try it out.
Yesterday was the day.
I didn't get to the store before I picked them up at school so we ran to Wal-Mart, returned a Halloween costume for H (it was too small), grabbed some red cabbage, milk, and 4 lunchables. I was proud of my lunch planning for the remaining two days of school this week.
Then we got back to my school and started boiling the red cabbage.

Then the boys had a big fight about the pretend baseball game they were playing with the meter stick and an imaginary ball. 

Funny how Liam got out every time he hit while Casen got a home run every time he got a hit. Guess who was also umpiring?

Finally, the red cabbage indicator was ready and we set to work.

We had great fun. Lots of color changes. Easy experiment but can be applied to all ages. This time we just introduced the two new words: acid and base.

We were having so much fun testing all kinds of substances and then while I was taking this picture:

I suddenly remembered I had a daughter to pick up. 
Hence, I have no idea what this picture was supposed to be.

I made the boys run to the car all the while yelling, "Hurry, hurry! We will be late!" It was already past time when I usually pick her up, but I still had a small window before the deadline. If you have ever had a kid in daycare, you never, ever want to start passing that deadline time. It will cost you some cash.

Thankfully, we made it in time. H came back to the classroom with us and proceeded to fun-scream while we finished up. She LOVES echoing rooms. After she sat in time-out, she stopped. It only took one time-out this time. (small victories, folks)

Then H had a melt down when I wouldn't let her have some of the yummy substances on the table to drink. She saw the Coca Cola bottle on the table and went into crazy coke mindset. 

Did I mention that H doesn't usually do science experiments with us? 
I remember why now.