Friday, July 29

friday fun

i love friday mornings. last summer, i started swapping kids with my friend, megan, each friday morning. and it has been wonderful. it means that every other friday, i have a morning to myself at no cost. which is pretty much awesome. and on the alternate fridays, i have three cute kiddos over at my house to entertain my children. i always joke with jason that really i'm having lydia and jenna over to babysit my kids. the kids play with each other enough that they know the rules of the house, the general schedule of the morning, what they like to play together, how to work out fights (well, most of the time....). so it's really great having them over.

the girls playing some sort of musical chairs/tag/ring around the rosie

the boys looking on, trying to figure it out....

....and giving up and playing their own game.

playing on the non-working jeep power wheels (we got it off of freecycle and it needs a new battery. which we will get in september for matthias' birthday. until then, it's sitting in our yard. yes - i know. we are white trash. at least it's not the front yard....)

matthias doing his own thing.

who needs power wheels when you have sticks? (maybe we should re-think the birthday idea....)

matthias riding his "bike" - another freecycle score. and still doing his own thing.

watching dora while i get lunch ready

mac and cheese! megan and i both started making this each week for them, just by coincidence, and i'm pretty sure that there would be a riot if we tried to serve anything else.

what a big boy - eating all by himself.

and now it's nap time. which is another perk of friday mornings - my kids sleep great after playing so hard all morning. and after having all those kiddos, i think i deserve a nap too.

Thursday, July 28

for the bible tells me so

some days i think it's time to start teaching hiba and matthias bible stories. this may come to a shock to some of you that our kids are 3 and almost 2 and don't know a lot of bible stories. we aren't bad parents. or heathens. i promise. but we just haven't ever put a lot of emphasis on teaching bible stories to them. we pray, we talk about Jesus, they know the Lord's prayer, but we don't really read Bible books. we also go to a rather non-traditional church that has a pretty non-traditional children's ministry idea, so they don't always get the basics there.

actually, they do get the basics there. they have learned that God is love. that we are to love the poor and help the needy. that actions speak louder than words. that evil will be defeated by good. that God is always with them, even when it doesn't feel like it and it doesn't make sense. they see people living lives that reflect Jesus in their everyday life.

but i don't think they know the story of noah and the ark.

which brings me to my current life dilemma. i love Jesus. i believe He is the Son of God. i believe the Bible is the word of God.

but i have a really hard time with a lot of the Bible. especially the old testament. which is where i feel like a lot of kids Bible stories come from. i know that the stories teach basic principles about the nature of God, his provision and love for His people. but i have a hard time with the stories.

take david and goliath. it's a great story about how trusting in God is the way to go, not relying on your own strength. great. that is something that i want hiba and matthias to know and to live by. it is a good lesson and i totally agree that it needs to be taught. but maybe by a different story. because here is the end of the story, from the NIV:

As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.

So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.

David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword.

When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath and to the gates of Ekron. Their dead were strewn along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron. When the Israelites returned from chasing the Philistines, they plundered their camp. (1 Sam 17:48 - 53)

um. ok. how do you make that into a veggietales movie? or a coloring page? or a cute little story book? you don't. because it is graphic. and horrible. and hard to read. and definitely hard to explain to little kids. and this is just one example. the Bible is full of stories like this. horrible, violent, graphic stories about thing that people did in the name of God, with God on their side. and i'm just not sure what to do with that.

i have a hard time with these being taught to kids, because they are all watered down. the bad parts are taken out, the heroic parts are left in, and the whole story is boiled down to a 25 minute cartoon with catchy songs or a colorful story-book. and that's not reality.

reality is that understanding God is hard. reality is that the israelites did some pretty horrible things. reality is that people still do pretty horrible things in the name of God. reality is that there seems to be a disconnect between the God of the old testament and the Jesus of the new testament. and reality is that even things in the new testament aren't as pretty and simple as we make them out to be.

but reality is also that God is love. God is good. faith is hard. Jesus is our example. following Him is difficult, confusing, messy. and it is not simple.

so maybe i'll hold off on the bible stories. maybe i'll keep trying to live a life that reflects Jesus and His love. maybe i'll keep surrounding my kids with people who love them and love Jesus. and i'll just have faith that it will be enough.

because i need more ways to waste time....

what are some of your favorite blogs (or websites) to read?

i figure reading is better than watching tv, right? so all i have to do is cut down on my tv-watching-time-wasting, and i can read as many blogs as i want.

Wednesday, July 27

loving and not so much

things i'm loving....

*matthias talking. it is sooooo cute. he is starting to put small sentences together. like "hiba time out!".
*hiba at the pool. she is so fearless and it is so fun to watch her swim and jump and play. yesterday, she was doing belly-flops off the diving board because that's what the big kids were doing.
*yo gabba gabba. for real. so much better than dora. if my kids are going to be obsessed with a tv show, i'll take this one. at least for this week - i'll probably be tired of it soon.
*bargains. i got some great new clothes when i visited my parent's last week. everything was on super clearance. i've worn new clothes every day this week - something that has not happened in a loooooooong time.
*our church. it did take me a while to warm up to it (don't be offended, guys. i pretty much hated anything here for a good's not just you). but i really love it. i love the people. i love that my kids are seeing their lives. i love that they all love us.
*air conditioning. i don't know how i lived without it for 3 years. i am thankful every day that i have great ac in my house and car.
*watching hiba and matthias play together. they are finally to the age where she isn't too old and cool for him and he isn't to little for her. they play games, read books, make trouble. when they are sweet, they are so sweet.

and things i'm loving not as much....

*matthias and hiba fighting together. they are also to the age where they fight. matthias fights back. and starts fights. and has his own ideas on how their games should go, which are usually different than hiba's ideas. they fight all day. and then go back to being best buds. and then fighting.
*the heat and humidity. i really get unreasonably angry when i have to be outside these days. like actual anger builds inside of me when i step outside of our door. i can handle the pool and usually i can handle walking to and from the car, but that is about it. and yes, i do realize this is a ridiculous problem that probably need to work on.
*netflix. i know, old news. but i still have to decide what i want to do about it. keep the streaming so the kids can watch things? change to huluplus? amazon prime? get rid of it all because really who needs to be watching that much tv?
*matthias wanting to be potty trained. i know, i should love this. but i don't. i really don't want to deal with it. will it save me lots of money each month? will it make my life easier in a very short time? is he very ready, like asking "potty, please? potty, please?" every time i change his diaper? yes, yes, and yes. but do i want to deal with it? no.

so there you have it. some thoughts from my wednesday afternoon. what are you loving today? or not so much loving today?

Tuesday, July 26

hiba, the negotiator

this morning at breakfast.....

hiba: i'm done, i don't want to eat my eggs.
me: well, you have to eat some. you need the protein. if you eat two big bites, you can get down.
hiba: noooooooooo!! i want to eat FOUR bites.

um, ok. you win.

Monday, July 25

Yummy Pasta Sala

i love cooking. i especially love cooking easy meals that the whole family can enjoy. and it is an even more added bonus when said meals are semi-healthy. like the pasta salad that i made for dinner tonight.

i used to think of pasta salad as being a side dish. but, if you make enough of it, it makes a pretty great meal. especially if you load it up with fresh veggies, throw in some tuna - you have a well-rounded meal in one dish. one dish that you can make ahead of time, like when your kids are napping, thus avoiding the pre-dinner meltdown that happens anytime that you humungous, food loving child sees you preparing something. and i love the dressing. it's a good change from just mayo or italian dressing. it's got a nice mix of flavors, but it isn't too crazy, so kids will like it. at least mine do. and that's saying something.

so here you go. it's so simple. what you need is:

*one box of pasta (i use whole wheat, but you don't have to)
*raw veggies of your choice. tonight, i used broccoli, celery, carrots, orange peppers, grape tomatoes, and olives. and yes, i know olives are not a raw veggie. other veggies you could use would be red and green peppers, cauliflower, green onions, or red onions.

*1/2 cup of may
*1/4 cup of ranch dressing
*3 T of milk
*2 T red wine vinigar
*1 T minced dried onion
*1/2 t seasoned salt
*1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
*1/4 teaspoon black pepper
*1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
*1/4 teaspoon (or a little squirt) mustard

cook the pasta. while it is cooking, chop the veggies. i like them to be really small, but you could use big chunks that's how you like it. i use about equal parts veggies to cooked noodles. i know - this is a very precise, helpful recipe, huh?

when you're done chopping, mix up the dressing. just put all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix it up. pretty simple.

once the pasta is cooked, drain it and rinse it with cold water. you want to cool it down quite a bit before adding the veggies so that they don't cook at all. one of the best things about this dish is the contrast between the crunchy veggies and the soft noodles.

add the dressing to the noodles, mix it all around, until they are all nice and coated. at this point, i take some of the noodles out for my kids. i'm not that mom. you know, the one that makes two different dinners every night. but, i've tried giving them this before and they are not fans of the raw veggies and dinner was a disaster. which i understand. it's hard to chew, especially when you don't have all of your teeth. so whole wheat noodles with a little dressing and a few olives sprinkled it, with a side of cooked green beans isn't a bad meal. and it is a way that i can easily make them dinner that is still good for them without making a whole other meal. we still get to eat as a family and they still eat (sort of) what jason and i are eating.

so once i take out their noodles, i add all the veggies to the noodles and dressing and mix it all together. throw it in the fridge and wait for dinner time. i add some tuna to jason's, but not mine. and there you have a complete meal in one dish - veggies, grains, protein, and yumminess (which is definitely an essential ingredient to a well-balanced meal).

Wednesday, July 20


the second half our our little trip was spent in tulsa. it was so much fun. first, we went to see by bff, christa. the last time we got to hang out was in the bahamas, so it was a little more stressful this time around, as we also got to hang out with 4 kids under 4. but it really was fun to see christa and so much fun to see our kids play together. at one point as all the kids were walking together, christa looked at me and said "when did this happen?!?". it is so crazy that we have two kids each (well, she has 2 1/2).

we spent the afternoon at their house, playing with toys, splashing in the pool. then we loaded up the kiddos and went to taco bell for dinner and then to the dollar movie theater. we saw "rio", which was a huge hit. it was hiba and matthias' first movie in the theater and they did great. hiba loved it and matthias did really well for the first half and even when he was "all dum", he was ok. by the time we got home, everyone was exhausted and we heard zero peeps out of the kids.

this morning, we said good-bye to the clarks and headed over to kristina's house to hang out with her and eleri. kristina is a friend from jbu who we haven't seen in a really long time. she and her husband just moved back to the US from london and whales. it was great to catch up with her. i hope we will get to see them a lot more often now that they are on this side of the world.

so now we are back home. hiba and matthias are exhausted - we didn't exactly follow a real nap and bedtime schedule over the last few days. i have high hopes for their sleeping tonight. unfortunately, jason is not home. he and john are stuck in charlotte, north carolina due to weather delays. bummer.

Tuesday, July 19

grammy and oscar's

hiba, matthias, and i have enjoyed a couple days at grammy and oscar's. lots of books, playdough, and fun toys for hiba and matthias. lots of sleeping, adult conversation, and resting for me. rachel is here and didn't have to work so we enjoyed lunch at the best restaurant in town and a shopping trip.

tickles from aunt rachel

reading with oscar

bubble bath!

books with grammy

jones soda!

we also had a birthday party for grammy, whose birthday is on saturday. hiba helped make cupcakes - because no birthday party is complete without cupcakes.

now we're off to tulsa to see friends. yay for mini-vacations!

Saturday, July 16

Friday, July 15

i'm way too old for this shiz....


6 a.m. - woken up by hiba. laid in bed with her till about 7, but sure didn't sleep at all.
7 a.m. - matthias gets up. drag myself out of bed (and yes, i realize this isn't super early. but i hate mornings. any mornings. so every day i drag myself out of bed. even if it's at 10 a.m.)
8 a.m. - breakfast with the kiddos, make a grocery list, meal plan, plan for the day
9 a.m. - head to walmart. the "mommy's helper" novelty has totally worn off.
10:30 - go to the gym. regretting not drinking more than one cup of coffee.
12 - make it home without a complete meltdown by hiba or myself. all endorphins created during my workout are immediately sucked out of me.
1 - naptime for the kiddos! but instead of napping, i decide to watch tv. i immediately regret this decision.
3 - kids up, time to clean up the house and get dinner going.
5:30 - friends from out of town get here. yay!
6 - i leave to go to a teen mops bbq, which is fun, but always really emotionally exhausting
9 p.m. - get home, hang out with friends, catch up on life
11 p.m. - leave to go to the movie theater for the premier of the final harry potter. wondering why the heck i thought this was a good idea a week ago.
12:01 - not watching harry potter yet. stupid movie theater.
12:10 - movie starts. somehow i am still awake. yay for coke!
2:30 A.M. (i guess this should technically be under "friday") - get home, stumble into bed, and sleep


6:30 a.m. - wake up to the sounds of hiba and matthias jumping in matthias' crib. drag myself out of bed, turn on "yo gabba gabba", give the kiddos milk and bananas, and go back to sleep on the playroom floor
7:45 - doorbell rings. open it to find a policeman. not quite awake for this. it was actually nothing, our friends had bikes on the back of their car and a bike was found down the street, so he wanted to make sure it wasn't theirs. at this point, i decided it was time for coffee.
8 a.m. - breakfast, coffee, enjoying time with friends, glad jason got to go into work late. more coffee.
9:30 a.m. - three little friends join us for the rest of the morning. more coffee. it really was great they were here, because they play great with hiba and matthias so i could do things like space out on the couch, drink more coffee, and write important blog posts.
1 p.m. - naptime! this time for everyone. although i did have to stay awake long enough to run a load of hiba's clothes through the washer and move them on to the drier, so she could put them away and get a sticker.
4:30 - wake up from my nap. wishing i didn't have to. head out to the store to pick up stuff for dinner and then head to the jason's parents house. we had dinner there, then put the kids to bed (which apparently was an epic failure after we left....).
8 - get to some friends' house to teach them how to play "settlers of catan". yay! new dorky game friends! jason crushed us both games.
11:30 - leave their house, back to jason's parents to pick up our kids and take them home.
12:26 - finally home, hiba and matthias back to bed, stumble into bed and pass out.

and it doesn't really slow down here. we've got a full day today and then jason leaves for atlanta on sunday and i leave for nwa/tulsa for a few days. thank God for coffee. i'm sooooooo too old for this.

Wednesday, July 13

it's coming...

i am not a huge fan of having toddlers. i mean, they are funny and cute and fun to watch. but they also need EVERYTHING done for them. and they make a lot of messes. and need a lot of help. so i don't think it's my favorite stage of life (mine or theirs).

but the end is in sight. very faint sight, but in sight none the less. this week we implemented the first "job" for hiba. she is now in charge of putting away her clothes and matthias' clothes after i wash and fold them. and she is so excited about it.

i made her a little sticker chart to make it a little more exciting, which has only enhanced her desire to put clothes away. it's also enhanced her desire for me to do laundry. pretty much every day, she asks me if i will wash her clothes so that she can put them away and get a sticker.

Wednesday, July 6

mommy's little helper

one thing that i think i'm pretty good at is grocery shopping with both kids. or at least grocery shopping at our kroger with both kids. i have it down to an art. meal planning and grocery list ahead of time, car carts for the kids, i know where to find everything, cookies are in the middle which serve as a bribe till we get to them and a treat till the end, self check-out. it's pretty great.

but now, i think i'm switching to wal-mart. not because i really want to, but because it will save us money. i really don't like shopping at wal-mart. it is just so big and takes forever and the kids' carts are so huge and i always hit stuff with them and my kids (and i, for that matter) are on the verge of a meltdown by the time we get to the check-out.

so last week, i tried a new approach. i told hiba that if we could just get a regular cart for only matthias to ride in that she could help me shop. she loved this idea way more than i anticipated. she was so excited about being my helper. especially since matthias was not. she told him that, once or twice.

and it really worked well. it took a little longer, because hiba got to "pick out" the things and put them in the cart, but she didn't run away, she and matthias weren't fighting the whole time, it didn't take nearly as long as i thought it would, and no one melted down in front of our cashier. pretty successful trip if you ask me.

so now anytime that we run errands, hiba asks if she can help me and i'll help her and matthias will just ride in the cart and not be a helper.

Monday, July 4


back to blogging. as a little catch-up, here is what has happened since you last saw us.

-i had a wonderful vacation in the bahamas with my bff. i highly recommend trips like that. we have four days to do nothing. and when you are a full-time mom (or even a part-time mom, or a babysitter, or whatever), that is invaluable. we talked, laughed, read books, slept, ate, drank, didn't do dishes, didn't change diapers, didn't do anything we didn't want to do. when i came back, i was disappointed at how quickly all of my relaxed feelings were sucked away, but jason pointed out that the trip was mostly about anticipating, not so much being relaxed afterwards. so i'm anticipating our next trip in five years already. let the countdown begin.

-summer is in full swing. it is hot and muggy and i remember why i hate the south. but, the pool is open, so that makes it a little better. hiba knows no fear when it comes to the pool and matthias is slowly warming up to it. i bought them both puddle jumpers, which was one of the best decisions that i have made recently.

-i finally got everything worked out for school and i really am going back to school in the fall. i'll just be part-time for the first year, which i think will be a good way to ease into this whole student/mom thing.

-we spent a weekend with my family in branson and had a great time. it was great to all be together and hiba and matthias love seeing grammy and oscar and all their aunts and uncles.

-matthias has learned to talk. i used to think that he would be less verbal than hiba, because it took him longer to start talking. which is not to say that he was a late talker, since hiba started talking when she was like eight months. but i was wrong. he loves to talk. all. the. time. and he is at that oh-so-delightful stage where he wants me to repeat back whatever he is saying, so he knows i know what he is saying. all. the. time. he's started putting two or three words together, but pauses between words. it's so cute. and it amazing how fast he is learning new words or phrases. i guess that's what happens when he has an older sister who talks like an adult.

-jason and i got to spend a weekend in nashville with two of our best friends and see U2 and florence + the machine. in concert. our friend, matt, scored some really great tickets, so we were on the floor, about 40 yards from the stage. it was pretty amazing. florence was a great opening act. and then there was U2. i adore U2. i love their music and i love bono, so really "pretty amazing" doesn't even begin to describe how i felt about it. epic. and the weekend was so fun. i love my new friends, but there is something so great about hanging out with old friends. and it was a fun to road-trip with just me and jason, something we haven't gotten to do in a while.