Monday, February 28, 2011

Finger Paints

Finger painting with Daddy ...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Picture of the Week - February 27

My most loathed nemesis ...

And don't worry that all the blue play-doh seems to be missing out of it's container. I found it the next morning while changing a certain someone's diaper ... ew.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


My triplets just recently went in for their 3 year old check up (I know, a little late). I really did try and get them in around their birthday, but since everything apparently shuts down for a month around Christmas it was hard to get them in until late January. I was excited that we had finally exited out of the "months" stage in determining their ages. When is that supposed to stop anyway? I feel kind of ridiculous saying "33 months" as an age. I actually just stopped using the whole months-as-an-age thing when they turned two. Can you imagine if that's how we always calculated age? I'd be ... well, let's not think about that. I want to have a high self esteem day today, okay?

Anyway, back to the doctor. My kids LOVE going. So much so that they have figured out that if they tell me they feel bad (or, specifically, that their ear hurts), they will most likely get a visit to the pediatrician. I think they must have blocked out the multitude of shots they received from birth to (ahem) 24 months. All they remember is going when they're sick and then getting a sticker or prize when they're done.

I thought things would be all hunky dory this time around as well. As far as I knew, they were just going to check them out, get weight and height, and we'd be on our way. Well, apparently they "discovered" at the last minute that all three of them needed one last dose of some vaccine (I am so bad at keeping track, they could be injecting them with smallpox for all I know). I guess they still needed to get this one in the thigh, so the nurse and I were forced to hold each of them down to give them the shot. I didn't have much trouble doing this when they were babies. Sure, it was sad to see them go from cooing and laughing at me to eyes welled up with tears and screaming, but the fact that they were unaware until the stick made it a bit easier. Giving them a shot when they are older is a whole 'nother ballgame. They all had this look of terror in their eyes when I lay them down on the table and they started to cry even before the nurse had uncapped the needle. Then they started to plead with me. "Please mommy, I don't want to hurt!" Super sad times.

In the end, they recovered, but the memory has been forever etched into their minds. Ever since the doctor visit they give each other "shots" constantly, always being sure to repeatedly remind the other that "it will only hurt a little bit" or "it will be over soon." They have also told me many times about how the doctor hurt them. I try to let them know that the doctor just wanted to give them medicine to make sure they didn't get sick and that it really only hurt for a little bit, but I'm losing the battle. I'm sure I will drag screaming children into the office the next time we need to go. I'm soooo looking forward to it.

That was a really long explanation for the classic quote below. Like I said, we play doctor now almost every day. Here's how a typical game goes.

Sam: "Mommy, can I take you blood crusher?"
Me: "My what?"
Sam: "Your blood crusher!"

Sam moves towards me with his Sesame Street blood pressure cuff. Kinda morbid for Big Bird to make one of these, don't you think?

Me: "Oh, my blood pressure. Got it. Sure go ahead."

Sam proceeds to put the cuff on my wrist since the cuff is a little small to accommodate my guns arm.

Sam (after taking the blood pressure): "Ok, you're all better now."
Me: "Great! Thanks Sam."
Sam: "Mommy!"
Me: "What?"
Sam: "You're supposed to say DOCTOR Sam!"
Me: "Right. Thanks Doctor Sam."
Sam: "You're Welcome!"

And end scene. I'm just glad Dr. Sam didn't give me a shot.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Check It Out

If you have a chance, check out Triad Moms on Main today by clicking HERE. I have the honor of being a guest blogger for them today. Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, February 21, 2011

His Canvas

Last weekend Matt and I had the opportunity to attend a marriage workshop right here in W-S. Now, I know what you're thinking when you hear the words, "marriage conference." Probably a bunch of middle-aged couples sitting around in a circle telling each other their marriage trials and tribulations. Or having to sit knee to knee with your partner, gazing into their eyes, while repeating back to him/her all the ways you have loved and hurt each other through the years. Y'all, this was so far from that. We are firm believers in growing and cultivating our marriage at ALL times. What's the point of waiting until things get bad before you decide to work on your marriage? Plus, there are always ways that we can be working to be better partners to each other and better parents to our children. So, needless to say, I was pretty psyched about attending.

I had heard a lot of great things about Jeff and Debby McElroy and we jumped at the chance to attend their marriage conference when we heard it was coming to town. They have been speaking for many years on subjects like marriage and parenting, and they are the founders of Forever Families. The conference met over the course of an evening and the next morning, and we learned a lot about communication, intimacy, and conflict. It really helped us talk about some things that we never would have broached ordinarily. Sometimes all you need is a little nudge from someone else to get you thinking about ways you can become a better partner to help create a better marriage.

Of all the sessions, my personal favorite was the final one. Each session focused on a section of the marital vows - To have and to hold, to love and to cherish, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, and, my favorite, in sickness and in health (or, in good times and bad). The verse that this section ultimately focused on was:

Ecclesiastes 7:14a
When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.

Basically, the focus of this verse is that God allows us to go through struggles that are bigger than ourselves to help us realize how much we really need Him and each other (our spouse). This concept really spoke to me. I always knew that God was with me during our battles with infertility, but I always wanted to know why. Why was He putting us through this? Was I being tested? Did I need to learn patience? Was I being punished? I know now that He simply puts struggles in everyone's lives in order to strengthen our reliance on Him and on those we have chosen to walk alongside us during this lifetime. Our struggle with infertility was one of the first times I was unable to get something I wanted no matter how hard I worked to get it. It was gut-wrenching. But God revealed so much of my vulnerability through the process that I had no choice but to trust Him and grow with both Him AND Matt. What a gift. (If you haven't read anything about our infertility struggles, HERE is a good place to start).

We also talked about what we actually promised on the day we stood at the altar to get married. We made a promise to God that we would love each other with Him as the center of that union. But why did we do that? Why did we make that promise in front of Him? The simple reason is that so God could paint the picture of the gospel on the canvas of our marriage. The gospel is a story, as is our marriage. And God wants to use the canvas of our marriage - our trials, our successes, our failures, our growth, our love, and our story as a couple - as a way to show others what the gospel of Jesus is all about. How incredible is that? And how honored should we be that our God would believe in the sanctity of marriage so much that he would use it as a template to tell the greatest story ever known to man? It is amazing and awe-inspiring that He loves us so much that He would choose to glorify our marriages in this way.

For me, this idea helped put so much of the marathon that is marriage into perspective. As we are painting the canvas of our married lives, God is also painting His story uniquely through the marriage. We will have hardships and trials and we will have joy and successes, things similarly found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And it is all bound up in the God-blessed union of marriage. I have only been married for a short time (coming up on seven years), but I have already seen how God can work in my marriage and through my husband. I have learned to trust both Him and him, and the knowledge of my need for both of them has been greatly magnified. My prayer is that my trust in both of them continues to grow and that my Father in heaven will continue to bless our marriage by vibrantly painting on our canvas until the end of my lifetime.

Ephesians 3:20
... He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine ...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Picture of the Week - February 20

I don't know why they even manufacture white clothes for boys.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Some Belated Valentine Love

The smallest member of our entourage has really started talking it up lately. I guess all the talk about love on Valentine's Day got to him because he started professing it to anyone who would listen. Enjoy a little belated love from the little man.

I'm glad he has his priorities in order at such a young age. He loves his family and cookies (and obviously lollipops).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gorgeous With a Capital "G"

Why is it that something is MORE anything if it is capitalized? Have you ever wondered this? Well, we've been having some Gorgeous weather here lately. I can almost see the light at he end of the dreary winter tunnel. It's supposed to be 70 degrees here on Friday ... 70! This means I can wear short sleeves without a jacket when I'm outside (and will probably get sunburned in the process ... but I don't care!). The kiddos have enjoyed the extended time outside. Last evening they blew bubbles (or tried to) for an hour before dinner. I wish I had that determination. I'm hoping for no more snow and then, before we know it, spring will finally be here!

The future Mia Hamm?

Hope the weather is great in your neck of the wood as well (didn't mean for that to come out so redneck, but what can you do?)!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Things I've Seen

I’m sneaking into the blog for a Valentine’s Day guest post, but Joanne doesn’t know it.  She really should change her password! Actually, I wrote the draft for this while she was putting building a new playlist on her iPhone. I know, I’m practically James Bond. Daniel Craig and I have often been mistaken for one another.

Joanne and I have been married for going on seven years. That’s at the same time nothing to write home about and something amazing! Seven years of marriage usually means the seven-year itch, right (full-on Marilyn Monroe style)? For us, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Recently, we’ve been reflecting a lot on our marriage, and I’ve come to one very clear conclusion – Joanne is not the same woman I married seven years ago. That’s right, she’s just not the same 24-year-old girl I stood at the altar with in sunny Jacksonville. She’s better. I can’t believe that’s even possible, but it’s true – she’s better in every way. When we got married, I knew it was right because we knew so much about each other. But I was wrong – she’s better now because I see her better now that I did seven years ago.
  • I’ve seen her holding a fluffy golden retriever as we tried to figure out a name.
  • I’ve seen her set up our first home.
  • I’ve seen her move out of that home (and again, and again, and again).
  • I’ve seen her train for the River Run.
  • I’ve seen her worship God.
  • I’ve seen her laugh.
  • I’ve seen her cry.
  • I’ve seen her disappointed.
  • I’ve seen her go through an unthinkable hurt.
  • I’ve seen her pick up the pieces.
  • I’ve seen her believe.
  • I’ve seen her joyful.
  • I’ve seen her in pain.
  • I’ve seen her scared.
  • I’ve seen her hold her first child (and second, and third, and fourth).
  • I’ve seen her become a mother.
  • I’ve seen her trust me.
  • I’ve seen her love me.
I remember when I proposed to Joanne. I thought she was perfect in every way, and I couldn’t wait for it to start, so I gave her that ring as soon as I got a hold of it. Our relationship was blissful and so effortless. Seven years later, my wife is more perfect than ever, and although our relationship has required some effort here and there, it’s more blissful than it ever was. I thank God for giving me my complement, my best friend, my wife.

Valentine's Day

Happy V Day everyone! I thought I'd take a trip down memory lane and show you a snapshot of two young whippersnappers I kind of know. This was taken on our first Valentine's Day together (before we were even married) and today is V Day #9 with my sweetie.

We look slightly (ok, a lot) younger then than we do now. Who knew that nine years later we'd be living in North Carolina with a family that tripled in size! Gotta love what life throws at you in such short amounts of time!

Hope everyone has a a great with their own sweeties!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Picture of the Week - February 13

I was being told (very emphatically, as you can see) that I was TOO BIG to go and hang out in the tree house with them. No girl likes to hear those words directed at her. I'm going to have to work on their empathy.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The End of Naps

It's coming.

I can feel it in my bones. I can see it slipping out the door - my last bit of sanity. I have been dreading this day for the last couple years and, truthfully, I hoped it would never come. I knew it would though. I was just kidding myself into thinking it wouldn't be here some day. It just happened so fast. But it's finally here. They are coming to an end.


Why is it something as simple as a nap - a small, sleepy respite in the middle of the day - can bring so much joy? Babies and toddlers are instantly revived by one and we spend most of our adult lives trying to find time to fit one in. There is, however, a small time span in our lives when naps are totally ignored and mostly unneeded. From age 3 or 4 to age 12, we suddenly decide we are too cool for naps. Older preschoolers spurn them with disdain and elementary kids laugh at them in defiance. And while this is all fine and dandy for the ones deciding not to nap, there is another, highly affected group that suffers.

ME! (Well, all parents, to avoid sounding so narcissistic).

What am I going to do when my little rowdies completely stop sleeping every afternoon? Although I love spending time with them each day, I use that afternoon nap as a time to unwind and recharge my batteries. As a result, they wake up to a rejuvenated and energy-filled mom to take them through the rest of the afternoon. I'm envisioning becoming a melted pile of run-down muck by the end of each day if I'm not able to take this timeout I have become so accustomed to. But it's coming folks. Oh is it ever coming.

This wek the girls both skipped two naps each. They are actually pretty good about laying in their beds for a while and being quiet. In fact, I usually don't even notice that they are up until they have been in there about an hour. Then I will start to hear little sounds of movement - a laugh, soft singing, or the more obstinate beating of feet on the wall - to alert me that they are actually awake. At this point in time, it's not bad at all. I make them stay in bed a little bit longer to make sure they really won't nap and then I let them get up and play quietly in the playroom (which they actually do very well. I think they like having all the toys to themselves).

But I still cringe when I see the near future of three little 3 year olds who no longer nap and are awake for an uninterrupted twelve hours every day. I keep telling myself to take a deep breath, put my faith in instilling a required "quiet time" once the naps have been kicked to the curb, and just enjoy this next stage of our life. Everyone else with children has survived the nap revolution, so I guess I will as well. But if anyone has any extra cases of Red Bull, please send them my way ASAP.

If I could only turn back time. A year ago they were all still in cribs (way easier, big kid beds are overrated) and still taking three hour afternoon naps. Ahhh ... pure bliss.

Happy Napping!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Setting: In the bathroom. Something has gone amiss. The faucet is turned on and there is water all over the floor. Sam is standing on the stool in front of the sink in a drenched shirt. Dad enters the room and stops when he sees the mess.

Dad: "Sam, did you get all this water on the floor?"
Sam: "Ummmm, nope."
Dad: "Oh really? Well then who did it?"
Sam: "Ummmm, I think it was Peyton."

Dad takes a step back and realizes that this might be time for a good old fashioned life lesson about lying. 

Dad: "Sam, I think you may be telling a lie. Do you know what a lie is?"

Sam gives a blank stare in return.

Dad: "A lie is when you don't tell the truth to someone. Like if you said that Peyton made this mess on the floor when you really were the one who made the mess. We don't like lies , Sam. It's not nice to lie to Mommy or Daddy or anyone else. Do you understand?"

Sam still stares.

Dad: "Sam, are you listening? Did you hear what I was saying? What is a lie, Sam?"
Sam: "Ummm .... poop?"

Monday, February 7, 2011

Just Call Him Ben Franklin

When I was in elementary school I remember every year we had the Invention Convention for everyone to participate in. It was a school-wide competition where each kid came up with an idea for an invention, made the actual invention, and then showed it off in front of judges to see who won. Kinda like a science fair, but way cooler. I lived for the Invention Convention (insert mockery here). Yes, I know I'm a dweeb. I would start planning my invention months in advance, forcing my mom to take me to all types of place to get my "supplies" for my new, prize-winning (at least in my opinion) idea.

I never won the Invention Convention at my school. Sad, I know. I remember one year that my Compact Card Holder (which consisted of a coffee can, yarn, tape ... I guess it doesn't sound as mind blowing now that I describe the materials) won second place. Great, first loser. I lost out to Lindsay Conner (who was coincidentally my best friend and master inventor herself) and her Chatter Lunch Box ... a clever invention where she mounted a small tape recorder inside a lunch box so parents could record a message for their kids instead of having to do the old write-a-note-on-a-napkin trick. How could I compete with that?

Well, it seems a bit of the inventive gene has rubbed off on my husband of late. I could claim to have come up with this idea myself, but I know I would hear about it for weeks so I'll just go ahead and give credit where credit is due. I'm thinking we could make bug bucks on this people, so please hold your oohs and aahs until the end of the display so everyone can get a good look at the next biggest thing to hit toddler eating accessories.

The commercial opens with a young toddler sitting at the table, ready to eat his meal.
He squeals in delight as a plate with a big pile of spaghetti is placed in front of him. In the background, Mom and Dad groan in exasperation as they realize that a toddler plus spaghetti equals one messy outfit they'll have to clean after dinner. Toddler smiles in anticipation of mess he will surely make.
Suddenly, camera cuts to Dad, who gets ones of those idea exclamation points over his head. Camera shows dad rummaging through a drawer until he finally pulls out ... the Catch All Bib (don't be fooled by its uncanny resemblance to an old man's undershirt)! 
Yes, folks, this bib covers ALL of your child as well as the chair! No more stubborn stains in your child's clothing when he eats messy foods. No more food to clean out of the high chair or booster seat. Simply put on the Catch All Bib before feeding your child and you will have a guaranteed mess-free child upon completion (well, at least everything but his hands and face)!
Get yours today at Babies R Us for just $19.99!
Where's that Invention Convention now, huh?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Chocolate Toast

Being that most of the country is dealing with things like blizzards, snow drifts and power outages, we are very thankful to be sitting at home with sunny skies and no white stuff on the ground. Out of respect for those dealing with all of these troubles, we had a hot chocolate toast in their honor. We figured it was the polite (and yummy) thing to do.

Too bad we didn't have any marshmallows on hand, but the kiddos didn't seem to mind. I did put some chocolate chips in the bottom of their cups and they got a kick out of that.

They also didn't seem to notice that they had ice in their "hot" chocolate because I boiled the water a little too long ... oops! Isn't frozen hot chocolate all the rage at Dairy Queen these days?

Hope everyone digs out from this mess soon! We'll keep having something hot and chocolatey every day until you do!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Or Charleston ... what the commoners call it. We spent last weekend in this great South Carolina town and had a grand time (I feel like "grand" is a very Charleston-esque adjective, don't you agree?). My sister is getting married in April and she was having an engagement party in Charleston to kick off the few months of festivities. We're fairly familiar with the city since my husband grew up vacationing there, so when we got the invite for the party we were all about heading to one of our favorite towns to celebrate.

We left Friday afternoon and had a pretty easy drive. Anything feels easy when compared to the 8 hour drive we take every few months to Florida. The ease of the drive was enhanced by the fact that everyone did a little bit of this ...

Once we got into town, we had to stop by one of our favorite haunts for a little nourishment.

The name does not lie, folks. Jack's Cosmic Dogs really specializes in hot dogs for both its youngest and oldest diners. This is a win-win situation for our family since we have a quartet of avid hot dog connoisseurs. We all chowed down and had full bellies in no time.

And the pièce de résistance, the coveted Cosmic Dog. Blue cheese slaw, sweet potato mustard, and you have a little slice of heaven in a red plastic basket.

It took all I had to keep from ordering seconds ... and thirds (I did cave in to the chocolate shake though. My will power is zero when it comes to chocolate).

After dinner, we stopped by the Banana Cabana to visit with Matt's uncle, Rick, who works there. The kids had fun running around, looking at the aquarium, and trying to confiscate (probably 5 year old) candy from the quarter candy machines. All in all, fun times. We then got home and to sleep since we had a long day ahead of us on Saturday.

Fortunately, we had great weather all weekend. Sunny and a high of 65 degrees is great to wake up to at the end of January. The sunrise wasn't too shabby either.

We spent Saturday morning at the South Carolina Aquarium. We all enjoyed seeing the otters ...

fish ...

working the docks ...

and sending out distress signals.

"Mayday, Mayday, please clear the decks for for fear we are about to be swarmed by an uncontrollable wave of crazed children with too much energy!"

I think their favorite part was the touch tank. The kiddos tend to like anything that is hands on (including how they play with others ... not good), so this was more fun for them than looking at fish behind a big plate of glass. They were pretty soaked and smelled like the underside of a fishing boat when they were through, but they enjoyed themselves thoroughly.

And then ... my camera battery died. Why does this ALWAYS happen to me? I even said to Matt about two minutes before it died, "Watch my camera battery die since I'm somewhere I want to use it a lot and I can't remember the last time I charged it." The camera gods have it out for me I guess. At least I got pictures of a lot of the fun stuff.

After the aquarium we headed home and relaxed before Matt and I had to head to the party. We went down to the beach and managed to keep the kids out of the waves and the pool (they really wanted to get into both). I think they're really going to enjoy the beach this summer, they are at a great age for it now.

The party was fabulous, the company, marvelous, and the night was a whole lot of fun. My sister and her fiancé looked great and we are so excited for their big day in a few months.

We spent Sunday being lazy, packing up, and headed home to Winston. We were gone and back again in 48 hours, but it was such a fun time that it was worth it. The kiddos are pretty good travelers (read: we have learned what CDs and DVDs keep them happy the longest), so taking trips with them is really not that stressful. I don't think we'll be road trippin' it every week, but it's nice to know we can go somewhere for a weekend and the kiddos will do fine.

Again, sorry about the pictures ... for some reason I am against charging batteries and/or carrying an extra one in my bag. I'll try to improve, I promise!