Friday, April 30, 2010

Bye Bye, Baby

This is the picture that has been on our desktop the past few weeks.  If you look closely, you can see Jaden's chunky thighs; I remember them clearly and miss them so much!  Believe it or not, Jaden was only about 5 months old here (he was a big boy), and Micah was about 2 1/2.


Jaden's pacifier is with him in so many pictures; he has loved it so much.


However, he is turning three on May 16th, and we know we need to wean him off of it.  On Wednesday afternoon we lost the pacifier and decided that we might as well use that as an opportunity to wean him.  But the binky has been my friend, the one thing I could depend on when Jaden was screaming or tired and cranky, or was sad to be away from me.  It always immediately made him calm and happy.

On Wednesday night he fell asleep without it, simply because he was so tired.  On Thursday he fell asleep on the way home from soccer practice (without it), so it wasn't an issue.  Last night he was again tired enough, but he did cry for it for about 10 minutes.  Today was the hardest.  He would not take his nap without it and ended up keeping Micah up as well.  Tonight I decided to give it back to him with the end snipped off of the tip.  I figured that way he could at least hold it for comfort.  He asked a lot of questions:

"What happened to my binky, mommy?  Why is there a hole in it?  Did the kitty do that?"   He just ran out of his room and threw it in the trash.  :(

I'm sad that this phase is over.  Almost as sad as when I gave up breastfeeding him, because it marks a new chapter. We are leaving the baby-phase behind altogether and my baby is turning 3!  Jaden's last official picture of him with his binky (on Tuesday):


Micah is also entering a new chapter in life; we went to his Kindergarten round-up last Monday.


He was a little apprehensive and scared at first but warmed up once all the other kids arrived.  He did great and is excited to start in the Fall.  We started a reading program with him at home that a friend recommended (Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons):


Micah has never let me teach him anything before and has resisted every effort I have made. Yet I tried something new this time; I downloaded a reward chart from Chuck E Cheese (his new favorite place), and we are giving him a sticker for each day he completes a lesson.  After 2 weeks, he gets to turn in his chart and they will give him 10 free tokens.  He is so excited.  I also allow him to play online video games for about 10 minutes when he's finished  (www.happymeal.com - can you tell where we've been frequenting lately?), and he looks forward to that all day.  (Chuck E Cheese also has a lot of other great reward charts as well):

My boys are leaving their baby days behind, but this new phase is fun too. Well, not so fun at bedtimes with no binky, but hopefully that will change soon!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Intuitive One

We'd been dreading this morning all week; the morning of Micah's 5 year doctor appointment - the one to get him "approved" for kindergarten and get caught up on all those shots.  We hadn't talked about it at all, except for once about 2 weeks ago, yet somehow he knew.  After brushing his teeth this morning, he said, "Is today my doctor's appointment?" Once we confirmed that today was the day (after looking at each other in disbelief), he cried and whined and refused to go to the car when it was time.  Once there, he refused to get out of the car, and Martin had to carry him into the office.  However, we have the BEST pediatrician, and she came in and made him feel right at home.   



She read a book with him, talked with him all about Lightning McQueen, and just totally impressed us.  He was very verbal with her and answered all her questions, so we knew he was feeling okay.  
 
Micah drawing a picture of himself:

Micah's picture of himself :)

Daddy & Jaden watching:

When the time for shots came, I took Jaden out of the room for fear that it would traumatize the whole family.  Yet I never heard one peep come out of him.  Martin got out his Ipod so Micah would be distracted by a cartoon, and Micah watched the nurse poke him twice and did not even cry!   We were in total shock! 

The minute it was over and the nurse walked out of the room, Micah looked at Martin and said, "Daddy, I want a big sister."  Martin paused and was about to say, "um, let's pray about that," when Micah went on to say, "I think we should pray and ask God for one."  Well then!  Little did he know that while at Catalyst, Kay Warren spoke on God's heart for adoption (and did she impress the crowd, let me tell you - you can read some of her message by clicking on her name).  Little did Micah know that last night in bed (around 11pm), Martin and I talked and prayed about that very thing.   (And we were very quiet and he was asleep, so we know he didn't hear us.)

We have no immediate plans to go and do this; we just feel right now like God is preparing our hearts for something.  But ALL day that is all Micah wanted to talk about.  Tonight the conversation went something like this:

"Mommy, when we get my big sister, we are going to need to get her a bed.  A pink Lightning McQueen bed. And some pink sheets.  We will need to get her some clothes too, because she'll need clothes. And she'll need underwear. Pink underwear.  I will be really, really nice to her and share all my toys.  And we can get some games and play them together."  

Me: "Where are we going to find this big sister, Micah?"

Micah:  "We need to pray to God and ask him, and then he's going to ring the front doorbell and she will be there." And then, "She will be the girl at the park that we saw the other day riding the pink bicycle."

Me:  "How old will she be, Micah?"

Micah: "Um, I think her birthday will be in June, and she'll be 20."  :)

The conversation went on and on, and I don't remember all of it.  But I do know that I have rarely seen him so excited about something (or someone).  He lights up when he talks about this girl.  I know that many kids his age talk of wanting a sibling, and it is really common.  But we also know that Micah is a very intuitive child; not just about the doctor's appointment, but about many things in general.  (When we took him to his kindergarten, he said, "this is not my kindergarten."  Haven't figured that one out yet, but he was pretty insistent.)

So for now, we will talk and dream and pray for this "big sister," and if God chooses to bring her into our lives sooner than later, then I'm sure this is a funny way of preparing our hearts!

(McDonalds reward after shots today):


Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Giving Project: March & April

For two months now I have seen that button.  You know - the one on the top right of my blog - that says "The Giving Project" - and I have neglected to write a new post with a new encouragement to give in a new way.  Sorry about that; I have had ideas in my head but have not taken the time to write them out.

Since there is only about 1 week left of April, I thought it was finally time to do a little catch-up;  something that is easy enough to accomplish in one week.  In May, we'll be back on track and I'll post a new challenge for us.

The Giving Project for March and April is this:  Give a compliment to a stranger.

Sounds easy enough, right?  Maybe if you're an extrovert!  :)  I am one, however, who tries to get through my day without talking to anyone I don't know.  Sad, I know.  (really, I jest. A little).  In my own life, when a stranger has given me a compliment, I remember it.  It makes a huge difference in my day.  They are not saying it because they are my friend or because they have to, but because they want to!  And for some reason that means so much!

Therefore, the challenge is to give a compliment to a stranger. But not just any compliment, like "I like your blouse," or "cute purse."  Let's make it meaningful. Something to the effect of, "you are doing a really great job," or "you're the best worker at Target I have ever met!" or "you seem like a really great mother."  (What mother doesn't need to hear that?  That would probably make her whole MONTH!)  How about, "you have such a beautiful smile," or "thank you for all that you do; I really appreciate how you make my life easier."

If a stranger ever said something to you that made a difference, please leave a comment and let us all know. Let's make a difference with our words this week!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wish List

I found this awesome new blog recently (which gives you tons of ideas for decorating your home) and the writer (Beth) wrote a post with her "Mother's Day Wish List."  She has such cute ideas on there that I started making my own wish list in my head of things I would like to get soon.  So here goes....

A new camera strap cover (I admit, I already have one of these, but I have two cameras so I need another one!)  P.S. Don't be surprised if most of these items are from Etsy - I have found that if I search for what I want and then sort by price: low to high, I find the best deals and things on sale!


A new camera bag (one that would hold both of my cameras and 4 lenses - whew!)



Can you tell I like this fabric?  I need something that will match my photography wardrobe (okay, it's really just all black), and look semi-professional.
Oh, or this one!!  


A Lisa Leonard necklace - love this "Captured Hearts" necklace:


Lollia perfume from Anthropologie - I've been living on one scent now for 2 years, and love all the Lollia scents, so if I have a chance to switch, it will probably be to this one:


A kit of Pur Minerals Makeup:

I would also love some new earrings and necklaces, scarves and purses, and a cute backpack for when we go to Disneyland.

Oh, and while we're dreaming, a Toyota Highlander would be nice, too.


A girl can dream, right? What's on your wish list??


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Defining our Passions



On Saturday I was able to go to the annual MOPS Summit, where MOPS leaders converge from all over the US into churches and connect through a live simulcast. We were able to hear from Liz Selzer and Margaret Feinberg, both amazing communicators who challenged and inspired us. Out of the entire event, one statement stuck out to me the most. A mom asked the question, "if God has given us as mothers SO many different passions, how do we narrow it down and focus?"

What a great question! If you are like me, you are passionate about many things- our families (including our children and husbands), education, reaching the many needs of others, working, pursuing our hobbies, etc... How do we narrow it down and at the same time not neglect the needs of our families?

One panelist on the stage took the mic and answered the question. She said that we just need to pray that in the "great melting pot" of our passions, God would raise to the top the one or two that He really wants us to focus on. That really spoke to me, because I seem to have a LOT of passions: mothering, photography, MOPS, ministry, lactation counseling, orphans, education, being a godly wife and mother, teaching the Word of God, and more. I often feel torn because if I pursue these things, am I taking time away from my kids or my husband? Yet at the same time, having an outside passion often gives me more energy and motivation to be a better wife and mother. I come home energized and more able to focus.

What are your passions? Make a list and see if one or two of them comes to the top. When I did this, one of them came to the top more than others: ministering to mothers. This would not have been my passion 5 years ago, but God leads us through different stages in life. This might not be my passion 5 years from now, but this is the season I am in. I want to reach out to mothers so that "no mom feels alone." (That is the mission statement of MOPS, by the way). Maybe that's why I have such a heart for MOPS and love being involved! Another avenue of my passion to reach out to moms comes in the form of lactation counseling. I love helping moms who feel hopeless and seeing them then succeed.

If you could name your top two passions in life, what would they be? Did you expect me to say photography? Because although I do enjoy photography, it is not one of my top two passions (I do it mostly for the money, I admit). But for others, photography is a HUGE passion for them!

Once we narrow down our top two passions, what can we do to incorporate them more into our lives? How do we combine them with love and care for our children? For me, when I go to MOPS, I can bring my children and know that they will be cared for and taught while I am with the other moms, and they will have fun with the other kids. When I do lactation counseling, I often have to leave the kids with Martin so that I can pursue that (same with photography). I don't want to spend too much time doing things away from my kids or I will not be able to enjoy it as much.  But at the same time, it is good to be able to pursue a passion just for yourself that gives you a break from the constant busyness of taking care of the kids.  It is a balance that I have not fully figured out yet, but I'm trying.

All I know is, when we are not pursuing our passions, we become discouraged, lonely, and bored.  What are your passions, and are you pursuing at least one of them?  Make it a priority; it may even make you a better mommy!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Learning About God From The Mouths of Babes...

Today I went on a walk with Jaden.  He stops to notice every single flower, hole in the dirt, and crack in the sidewalk.  He finds such joy in these things!  Everything on the walk is so exciting to him.  When I walk, I pass by these things without a second glance. Some of them even annoy me.  I get bored easily. But not him; he appreciates the little things in life.   We heard an exceptionally vocal bird singing in the tree above us.  It sounded so beautiful.  Jaden said, "Mommy!  He's singing 'Get on Your Boots'!!!"  (from a U2 song)  I crack up every time I think about it.  Yes, Jaden, maybe he was singing "Get on Your Boots!"

Later on in the day I decided to take Micah to Disneyland.  He's obsessed with Lighting McQueen and we've had passes for about 9 months but he's never seen the parade where McQueen actually drives around.  Martin took Jaden for the afternoon, and I took Micah to the Happiest Place on Earth.  The thing about Micah is that he is afraid of nearly everything.  He was born this way.  He is a melancholy child.  Children with melancholy temperaments are described as moody, introverted, perfectionistic, and usually have many fears and anxieties.  (These are some of the best books on temperaments out there).


Anyway, back to Micah.  We have learned to ease Micah into anything new, as he is very sensitive and afraid to try new things.  Take any ride at Disneyland, for instance.  We usually have to cajole and bribe him into going on a ride, and he fights us the whole way in line, but then after it is over it is his favorite ride.  I'm not talking about Pirates of the Caribbean here, people.  I'm talking about any ride that is inside of a building that he can't see for himself, or anything that flies or goes fast.  Except for the rocket ride and the Toy Story ride, which he has now been acclimated to.  That means that for every Disneyland trip, there are only about 5 rides we can go on.



Today I wanted to take Micah on a new ride, but he would have none of it.  I also wanted to take him to the Jedi Training Academy (which is outside, and they just have kids come up and teach them to use lightsabers).  I thought to myself, "Micah, you are going to love this!  Why can't you just trust me?  Would I do anything to harm you?  I know what you like, and you WILL like this, I promise!"  I also thought, "You don't have to be afraid!  I am your mother, and I love you!"  After he fought me for a long time on going to the show, I finally dropped it and then just "took a walk" with him later and ended up right where the show was being held ;)  I held him on my lap and we watched it, and he was mesmerized.  For the next 2 hours, all he talked about was getting his own lightsaber (which I finally gave in and bought him, by the way.  It was $10 that made him so happy!)  :)

On the way home I thought about how often I learn lessons about God from my boys.  Usually I learn lessons about faith and trust.  I am often afraid of what is unseen - afraid of the future.  I worry - I admit it.  I worry that God might not have my best interest in mind, and He will make me do something I don't want to do.  Many times He does make me do something I don't want to do, and I kick and scream inside.  But He has never harmed me or hurt me.  He knows what is best for me and my life, and He sees the big picture.  All I can see is the "scary ride" that I don't want to go on.  He sees the end of the ride - the part where the reward comes.  God knows that sometimes I don't need to know where I am going, because I won't understand and I will fight it.  So he leads me in what feels like "the dark."  Yet if I knew where I was going, I would plan my way right out of it.  He takes me to the beginning of the ride, and I get so scared.  I worry that I can't trust him, that He will let me fall.

Yet my indication is that if I care so much about my children on earth (that HE has given me), and if all I want to do is love and protect them and have them just trust me, then HOW MUCH MORE does He loves us and care for us?  He is not going to harm us, friends.

Luke 12: 6-7
"Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?  Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

Over the course of Micah's life, I hope he will learn to trust us.  For we only want what is best for him, and sometimes the scary things in life are what is best for him.  It hurts us to see him afraid. If only he would trust us.  Hopefully that will come, and hopefully it will come for all of us too!


Friday, April 9, 2010

Blog Party!

Ultimate Blog Party 2010

5 Minutes for Mom is hosting a blog party for the next week, and I am excited to participate!  A blog party is an online party where a host (5 Minutes for Mom) site lets all of us bloggers link up to each other.  They are offering over 200 prizes this year, which you are eligible to win by entering even if you are not a blogger.  All of the instructions can be found on their site.

SO, for all of you who came over from 5 Minutes for Mom, WELCOME!   My name is Jaimie, and I am 33 years old and a mother to two beautiful little boys.  My husband Martin and I have been married for over 10 years and live in Southern California (the LA area).  We are very involved in our church (my husband is the worship and youth pastor), and I am the women's pastor.  I am also a photographer who works from home, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor.  I love my MOPS group and encourage every mommy to join one near you!  I love blogging and hope my blog is used by God to bless and encourage everyone who stops by.  Please leave me a comment if you came by to visit; I would love to get to know you.

One of the things that 5 Minutes for Mom asked us to do was to make a list of the prizes we would want to win, in the order we would want to win them.  Since there are about 200 to choose from, and more being added daily, this list may change over the next week. But here's where I would start:


USC 17 – With the upcoming release of their iphone app in the next few weeks, CmomGo is offering up a $200 Apple Gift certificate. For moms that do not currently have an AT&T contract and have wanted that Iphone this will cover the cost of a 16Gig 3GS iphone with the signup of a 2 year contract with AT&T. For our moms that already have an AT&T contract with a different phone this can be used towards the purchase of a new iphone or it can be used for anything else at the Apple store! Our friends from CmomGo sure hope you use it for an iphone though! Provided by: CmomGo


USC 11 – Win a $50 gift certificate good towards any purchase in my Etsy shop or my website. Provided by: Priddy Creations Custom Designs
Follow here: Priddy Creationsor Visit Our Fan Page: Priddy Creations Custom Designs



76 – One Sentimental Silver personalized “Silver Sweethearts” necklace. Necklace will be customized with two names or words to be selected by the winner. Provided by: Sentimental Silver Jewelry
Visit Our Fan Page: Sentimental Silver



6 – Hand Stamped Personalized Necklace valued at $48 The Double Stacked A Lot Of Love. Provided by: Kristen’s Custom Creations
Follow here: KLA Custom or Visit Our Fan Page: Kristen’s Custom Creations



USC 15 – $50 Target gift card to one winner. Provided by: Haley Quarles of Love, Life, Family…and then some
Follow here: princesshaley or Visit Our Fan Page: Love, Life, Family…and then some



USC 3 – A $50.00 Target Gift Card. Provided by: Peggy Gorman
Follow here: velvet1116 or Visit Our Fan Page: Peggy Gorman



INTL 11 – Custom Blogger Design- valued at $100 Provided by: Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates
Follow here: simplyfabblog or Visit Our Fan Page: Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates



INTL 3 – The Girl Creative will giveaway one Deluxe Blog Design ($50 value) to one person. Provided by: The Girl Creative


USC 8 – $55 E-Gift Card for Amazon.com Gift code will be emailed to the winner and can be used for purchases from Amazon.com. Provided by: Kelly’s Lucky You
Follow here: Kelly’s Lucky You or Visit Our Fan Page: Kelly’s Lucky You



USC 37 – One winner will receive a $50 gift card to Amazon.com on here but that’s not it! There will be many other giveaways listed on my party post that you’ll want to check out!!! Provided by: Shasher’s Life
Follow here: shasherslife or Visit Our Fan Page: Shasher’s Life



104 – Shoot Me Now is giving away one $50 Visa Vanilla Gift Card. Provided by: Shoot Me Now!
Follow here: shootmenowblog



95 – $100 Gift Certificate to Restaurant.com – Choose from over 13,000 restaurants nationwide – redeem online and print your gift certificate(s). Provided by: Thrifty Jinxy
Follow here: ThriftyJinxy or Visit Our Fan Page: Thrifty Jinxy



106 – Two winners will receive a free copy of the Letter of the Week preschool curriculum. Winner may choose curriculum via download or CD. Provided by: Confessions of a Homeschooler
Follow here: ericahomeschool



69 – The Itty-Bitty Bookworm is a literature-based preschool curriculum. One winner will receive a year of our Bo Curriculum for 3-5 year olds. One winner will receive a year of our Bailey Curriculum for 18-36 month olds. Provided by: The Itty-Bitty Bookworm
Follow here: BittyBookworm



56 – 12″ x 24″ Custom, hand~painted gallery style canvas for baby nursery or kid’s room {to be coordinated with winner’s bedding/decor} for one winner, see samples here! Provided by: October Belle Designs LLC
Follow here: OctBelleDesigns or Visit Our Fan Page: October Belle Designs, LLC



39 -Be My Guest certificate ($250 value) for one lucky winner, (2 night stay for a family of four) at any Hilton Garden Inn. Provided by: Hilton Garden Inn
Follow here: bloggin2noggin

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Week!

I think Easter week has to be my favorite week of the year.  There are just so many fun things to do!  It is a beautiful time of year, the weather is perfect, and we get an opportunity to rejoice that our Savior was risen!  It is also Spring Break for Micah, and so we've been trying to keep busy and have fun.  Here is our week in pictures (and there are a LOT of them!)

We died Easter eggs (Spiderman theme - what will they think of next?!)



We had 3 Easter egg hunts (Two were through churches and one was at home):




The boys got 6 Easter baskets total (3 each, from family members) Overkill, I know!



We went to Chuck E Cheese twice in two days (do I get an award for that?!):




We had an Easter service at church! (Wherewecombinedwithtwootherchurchesandeverythingthatcouldgowrongwentwronganditwasprettystressfulandwehadtoendupsharingmics,butwehadagreattimeanywayandtheentireservicewasoutsideandwewerecold.  Whydidiwriteallthattogether?  Becauseitwasaprettystressfulday.  But fun.)



The boys visited the Easter bunny.  At church.  (Yes, the Easter bunny visits our church.)  Micah wanted to know where the Easter bunny went and I told him that he went home and he replied, "He went home to become a man again, mommy?" I laughed and he said "He was wearing sandals!!")


After Easter Sunday was over, we rested and all took LONG naps for the next two days.  Then we went to visit my parents!  We also took the boys miniature golfing for the first time. They loved it!  We didn't keep score, though.



And they got prizes after playing the games inside, which Jaden popped about 2 seconds after taking this picture.

We took a walk around the lake:
(Here Micah is wondering why the statues have no heads)

And here is Jaden excited that he is touching a gun:



and we had a nice dinner with my family (my favorite picture of all) :)


We have about 4 days left of Spring Break, but I'm pretty tired now so I think we may just rest!  (and now you may need to rest too if you survived looking at all of those!!) :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Good Friday

"Most Americans consider Easter to be a religious holiday, but fewer identify the resurrection of Jesus as the underlying meaning." (The Barna Group, March 15 2010)

Today is Good Friday.  Seems kindof ironic that it is called "Good" when it is a day we remember that Christ suffered and died.  Today I went to Chuck E Cheese with some friends.  Parents and their children milled about, having fun and playing games.  Most of the world treats this just as any other day.  For many, it is finally Spring Break - a day for celebration!  And part of me wonders: is this okay?  Is it okay to be happy on the day we are remembering that Jesus suffered and died?

I don't know about you, but I tend to skip over Good Friday and go straight to Easter.  I also don't like to rent sad movies.  I always go for comedies.  So maybe this is a personality thing.  But Good Friday seems like such a sad day, a day of mourning.  Would I go to Chuck E Cheese if a family member had just died today?  Um, probably not.  But I'll get back to that later.

At MOPS last week, our speaker shared about this subject. She said that some people look forward to Good Friday, and some people look forward to Easter.  She said that she loved Good Friday - going to a church service and sitting in silent meditation, with candles lit, remembering what Christ did.  Me?  I have dreaded those services!  They seem so sad!! I want to get to the Easter celebration and the cupcakes, you know?!


But here is why Good Friday really is GOOD:

-It is the beginning of the story, not the end.  This one has a happy ending.
-The sadness was turned to joy.
-If it weren't for the sacrifice He made, we would have no hope.  We would have no purpose for living.
-We would constantly be living in fear of making a mistake, knowing that we had to atone for our own sin.
-He did die, but He also rose from the dead!  

Whereas the believers around Him didn't know the end of the story (but by faith), they only experienced the grief on Good Friday.  They suffered and cried and heaved sobs and held each other and mourned, because He was gone.  But we know the rest of the story; that three days later He rose from the grave.  So we can indeed, remember and celebrate on Good Friday.

I think it's important that we take time to remember what happened.  That we take the time to sit and process it, to think about it, because we can too easily take it for granted.  We can too easily overlook the price that He paid so that YOU and I could be free and have hope and eternal life.  If we just skip straight to Easter and cupcakes, we're missing half of the story.  

Here's where I hope you can be encouraged today.  Our speaker shared with us that in the Bible, so often the words "mourning and dancing" or "sorrow and joy" are tied together. 

Psalm 126:5
Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.


Psalm 126:6
He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.

Psalm 30:5
For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.


Psalm 30:11
You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy

Jeremiah 31:13
Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well.  I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.

On days like today, Good Friday, we need to mourn and recognize the sacrifice Jesus made for us.  But over and over we see that He will turn our mourning into dancing and joy.  "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." (Ps. 30:5)

What are you mourning right now?  Are you in a season of grieving?  Just remember that before the joy can come, often the pain and sorrow exist.  Hang on, because joy is coming!

So, Chuck E Cheese?  Well, we know the end of the story.  So I think Jesus is okay with Chuck E Cheese too :)

(If you'd like to know more about the meaning of Easter, here are some great podcasts!)