Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Twenty Three Weeks, Three Days ...

Hi there Little Lady!

We came to see you two days ago- and by we, I mean there was a crowd accompanying me. All of your brothers, Daddy and YahYah tagged along at this visit to watch your ultrasound. At this visit Mrs. Lisa, your ultrasound tech, measured every last bit of you. 
From your spleen to your legs to your kidneys. 


And you are growing just perfectly. 


You stretched the entire time Mrs. Lisa was trying to catch some good pictures of you. You arched your back and stretched your legs over and over. In the midst of your Baby Yoga, she caught a great shot of all five fingers of one of your tiny hands. 

If you keep going at the rate you are, it looks like you are gonna be a long-legged beauty. Your legs measure at 24 weeks and the rest of you measures at 23 weeks. Your YahYah mentioned during the ultrasound how your Great Grandma and Great Aunt Linda had super long legs, so does your Poppie. I love, love to know you could carry some of their traits. Those ladies are phenomenal women and your Poppie? Well, he wants me to name you after him. He calls you Little Edwina. 

Here is another shot Mrs. Lisa caught of one of your little long legs while you were doing your morning aerobics. 


I love, love, love coming to see you and watching you grow. Your face has developed so much since the last time I saw you. Your cheeks are getting some fat on them and that makes me more and more ready to smother them in kisses. 


I love you Khloe Ruth.

Love, Mommy

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Y'all, He Called Me Queen Soldier ...

It's been five weeks since I said I'd had enough and put Kollin and Kolt on restriction. 

Five weeks

No DS.
No Wii.
No TV (other than an occasional Magic School Bus and when I gave in to watch Frozen).
No spending the night with YahYah, Poppie or MawMaw and PawPaw.

Five weeks.

The first week I was just simply fed up. I had those boys scrubbing base boards, cleaning the windows, washing the walls and wiping down all the doors in the house. What does that do you ask? Gets my house spit shine clean and allows the boys to think about their actions and behavior in the midst of their scrubbing. 

The second week was the week they really started lashing out and rebelling against anything and everything I said. I, in turn, went a little crazy too. I may or may not have yelled, "I am NOT your maidservant" and "I am NOT the only person who lives in this house" about 40 times over the course of this amazing week. At one point, Kolt very sarcastically called me "Queen Soldier" and another day Kollin threatened to run away in which I kindly escorted him to the door. I'm pretty sure the boys thought I had lost my mind when I went completely insane above having to clean up used flossers off the bathroom counter again. Let's just say it was a week I would not dub myself Mother of the Year. Or dub either of them Kid of the Year for that matter. 

The third week however, was heart changing. For me that is. Kollin posed a deep question one afternoon when I, for the 723rd time, reminded him that no he couldn't do such in such because he.was.on.restriction. "Am I that bad of a kid?" he asked me with such an honest heart.

 Cue a stab to the heart. 

Was this the message I had been portraying to my babies this whole time? That they're bad kids? I pretty much hate referring to any kid as being bad. I am a firm believer what you tell them they are is what they will become. I certainly did not want to fill their hearts with thoughts of their Mommy, their number one fan, thinking they were bad kids.  As he looked up at me, I tried to explain that both him and Kolt had developed some pretty bad habits.

Confession: Deep down, I blame myself (which I didn't confess in this conversation with him). During my first trimester with Khloe I got lazy in the parenting department - I mean, let's just say it. But when you are accomplishing something major by not barfing up crackers and getting off of the couch to pee, correcting a forgotten please or thank you is not on the list of things to do that day. I got lazy and in turn they got lazy - stomping up the stairs when they were asked to clean their room, slamming doors at nap time, rolling eyes, leaving shoes in the floor (and used flossers on the bathroom counter), smart mouths, ungratefulness - plain and simple, they had developed disrespectful attitudes. 

I explained to Kollin how his brother and himself were in fact, super good kids - super good kids who had obtained some bad habits over the last couple of months. And it wasn't about whether or not they could be really, really good for two days in order to get off of restriction. What I wanted from them was to see good habits happening: pleases and thank yous without being cued, making up their beds in the morning, having better self control, obeying the first time they're asked and for goodness sake, putting their gross, used flossers in the garbage can and not on the bathroom counter. 

So. The past two weeks have been the three of us working on making better habits. The pleases, thank yous and yes maams have been flowing naturally and they are such sweet words to my ears. I very rarely pick up their toys and shoes off the floor these days and haven't seen a used flosser out of the garbage can in days. The challenge has been self control. Why oh why is it so darn hard for them to just go to bed instead of throwing stuffed animals at each other? And why is it so hard for them to not huff at me when they don't get exactly what they want or when I ask them to bring down their laundry? Self control has been the struggle. And the main reason their restriction has lasted this long. Don't get me wrong, it is getting better, it's just not great yet. And that control freak in me was going crazy with the thought of letting them off restriction on a note of "good behavior". 

Disclaimer: I do not expect my kiddos to be perfect. And I know they are human. And I know they will make mistakes. In saying that, the Hubs and I do have a certain expectation in raising our boys. We want them to be Godly, respectful boys and by George, I don't think me asking them to bring me their laundry so I can clean it for them requires a huffing response. 

I really began to pray over Kollin and Kolt and their personal struggles with self control. I prayed for guidance in handling this season of Mommyhood. I found myself in their room during my devotion time so I could pray over the place they spend so much time. And in His time, the Lord answered my prayers. 

"God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."
2 Timothy 1:7

I realized today that not once had I told the boys how much God wants them to have self control and how much more they could be used to further His kingdom by having this trait. And not once had I directed them to God's Word on the matter. I decided to write down the verse on two index cards. At bedtime tonight as I tucked in Kollin and Kolt I asked each of them to read me the verse aloud. We talked about what it meant to each of them and also what I felt in my heart God wanted them to learn from this verse. We taped one card to Kollin's headboard and one to Kolt's. 



Needless to say, the boys are officially off of restriction. In the last five weeks, we've gone through tears, fights and breakdowns. We've also had lightbulbs go off and some major ah-ha moments. Most importantly though, we've had restitution and have gained a better understanding of one another. 

So. Here's to Mario, The Clone Wars on Netflix and sending them off to MawMaw's to spend the night very, very soon ... 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Gettin' Crafty - Instagram Photo Frame

I've had this mirror for for.ever. I'm pretty sure the Hubs and I picked it up at a yard sale for a pretty cheap price. This thing has had so many homes. Once it was placed on the mantel in our last home, it has been used as regular wall decor and even as the boys' bathroom mirror in this home. Eventually it was shoved under the couch and just recently I slid it back out and stuck it in the donation pile. 

Until yesterday that it is. 

I had this idea to make this thing into an Instagram Photo Frame. It was so super simple and super inexpensive. 

Here's what I did.

First thing I did was sand the frame down just a bit. Making it just a little rough helps the paint to stick better - at least that's what I've always been told. 


The mirror was held in by staples and a little wood glue. I used a screwdriver to lift up the staples and it took just a slight push to pop it out. 


I picked these colors up at Hobby Lobby, just $2.99 each. I also added a smidgen of gray and a drop of black to make the color I wanted. 


Here's the amount of white I used. 


I started out with this much orange because I really thought it would be strong. By the time it was said and done, I had added this much orange four times total. 


Here is my final color. It was exactly what I wanted!


I painted one coat on the frame last night and one this morning. I purchased my fabric (I bought 3/4 of a yard) from of course, Hobby Lobby. I cut the fabric about an inch and a half larger than the mirror. I also cut the burlap strings at this time too. I glued the first string 2 inches from the top of the opening and then the second string another 6 inches down from the first one. Once the glue for the strings was dry, I glued the fabric around the edges. 


I used craft sticks to press down the fabric around the edges. I ended up actually gluing the craft sticks around the edges over the fabric to provide more stability. 


Here is my final product! The metal clips came from Ikea. 



I am in love with this piece in my dining room. I take so many photos with Instagram and am proud to display them here. 


Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Week In Words - 03/31 ...

Life This Week - 

This week was wonderful! It was just enough of being out and finally getting a chance to be in some too. The weather has also been just plum gorgeous this week too. Just barely hitting the 80s is my kind of weather. I even got a little tan line. 


First thing Monday morning myself and three of the boys hit up Target for some groceries. Kruz got to cut a quick yard with Travis and I swear that boy is in heaven when he gets to work with his Daddy. Once we got home, the boys spent most of the day outside in the backyard racing cars down the slide. Over and over. 

We had a couple play dates with some friends and of course, those are always nice. Some friends came over Tuesday and Wednesday we spent lunch playing at Chick-Fil-A. 


Friday was good stuff. Daddy was home and we were all in heaven with that. We decided to make a day of it and took the boys to lunch and to play at Woody's Jump and Play - one of their most favorite places to go. 

I was even up before the sun some mornings to do my devotions. Just another reason why I love this time of year. Birds chirping, a slight breeze, trees rustling. 


With that short little summary, I'll say this week was pretty low key. And it was flippin' wonderful. Weeks like these are much, much needed for this Momma. And her babies. 

These two are the best of buddies and that second picture? I walked by the window and saw Kolt drinking from the spigot. Reminded me so much of my sweet childhood.


School This Week

As much as I'd love to say we jumped in full force and got a good start on catching back up, I just can't. We did do our basics, most of them outside on the porch. We have lots of crafts in store this week and I'm excited to have some new Springy decor made by my boys. 


Conversation of the Week

Kollin: Mommy, do you know how much money I have now?
Me: Nope, let's see. 
(Kollin gets out his wallet)
Kollin: One, two, three, four plus this five dollar bill means I have nine dollars. 
Me: That's great bud.
Kolt: Well, I gave one of my dollars back to the Lord this morning in Sunday School. Yep, so he's gonna bless me. Not you. 


Favorite Snap


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Windows, Swings And Scripture ...

I have some major posts going on in my mind and in my heart, but I'm just not quite there yet with exactly what to write, so I'll just ramble here a little bit before I head to bed. 

Yesterday was the first day I stayed home all.day.long in nearly 3 weeks. Imagine the bliss

No grocery store. 
No karate. 
No errands.

 It was wonderful and joyous and nothing short of amazing

And this weather. This weather. It's getting to me y'all. My giddiness is getting worse with each passing day that the temperature rises just a little more. I love having the windows open and watching the curtains blow around. And I love the smell of the freshly cut yards and the flowers in bloom. And the squeaky swings. I love the sounds of squeaky swings. With the squeaky swings comes laughter and so many "Bet you can't go higher than me"s.

The boys stayed in play clothes all day and I in my beloved yoga pants. All four of them got so dirty it took at least 15 minutes of straight scrubbing in the shower to get their feet somewhat clean. I love it.

Flowers from Kruz. Not too shabby huh? 

My morning devotion time has moved outside too and talk about magnification. There is nothing quite like reading His Word in the midst of His work. This morning I read Psalms 25:4-5 over and over and over again:

"Lord, tell me your ways.
    Show me how to live.
Guide me in your truth,
    and teach me, my God, my Savior.
    I trust you all day long."

I just love that. The words tell, show, guide, teach - and then the word trust. I guess it hit me right smack in the heart this morning. I ask for these things from the Lord day in and day out.

"Lord, tell me the words to say to my children."
"Lord, guide me as a mother and wife."
"Lord, teach me how to handle my struggles."

Do I do my part though? Am I trusting in Him for these things? Or merely just asking? Just a thought I guess for me. Something I need to work on and pray on - He does His part, am I doing mine? Am I trusting Him? 

So yea. This post was totally random. From windows to swings to scripture.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Week In Words - 03/24 ...

Life This Week - 

As I sat down to recapture this week in words, I was at a complete loss. Seems like this week was like a whirlwind. What the heck did we do all week? That was my first thought. I went back to the 'ole trusty iPhone and looked at pictures - then I'm like Good Lord, we did all that?

Monday was such a wonderful way to start the week. I dropped off the two littlest guys with MawMaw and PawPaw and took Kollin and Kolt to lunch and to check up on Miss Khloe. I love to see them so eager to know more about her and to see her in ultrasounds. This Momma was craving Gezzo's, so the boys were given no other choice in the food department. For the first time, they made their own burritos. Such liberation! I laughed because in the end even though they made their burritos separately, they both picked the same.exact.thing to put on their own burritos. Like Big Brother, like Little Brother I reckon. You can see pictures from Khloe's doctor visit in this post from earlier this week.


 I curled up in the bed Monday night at 7:30 thinking how the rest of the week would be a "we're staying in every day" kind of week. Who was I kidding?

Tuesday morning we were up and headed to the grocery store bright and early. Travis had about an hour between school, having to cut a yard and heading to work at Costco, so we met him for an early lunch. I love when little time slots like this happen and we can see him during the week. Normally he is gone when I wake up and still working at Costco when I go to bed, so even if it's just an hour, I'll take it. The rest of Tuesday was laundry, school and play. 


Oh Wednesday. What a day you were. Absurd amounts of cleaning, a bloody mess and a new couch - I should probably go into some detail there. Ever since we moved Kruz and Kohen in together, the rest of the house has had a bomb go off in it. Because what was the School Room was right across the hall from mine and the Hub's room, everything was dumped in there. Literally, dumped. So that's just what I did the majority of the day Wednesday. Clean, stack, organize, toss, repeat. We had a new couch delivered that afternoon, eeeek! So exciting! Not five minutes into me resting my rump on this new piece of furniture, Kolt screamed upstairs. Not like a "he took my toy" or "I stubbed my little toe" scream, but like a ... and here comes Kolt down the stairs, freaking out with blood ev.er.y.where. I'm certain I had a mini heart attack and those don't happen often. There was so much blood all over his face, in his mouth and in his hands that I couldn't tell what had happened. How horrible is it that I checked his teeth first to make sure they were all still there? Needless to say, Kruz had something "sharp" and "dangerous" (words from Kollin) and after Kollin "saved his and Kolt's life" (more words from Kollin), the metal toy was thrown to Kolt and voila! his top lip was sliced wide open. So here is me throwing the poor, screaming kid into the sink as to save his clothes and my carpet and thinking what the heck would Travis do right now? Pressure and an ice pack. I swear to you that thing bled for what seemed like hours. This was all right before lunch too, so every time I thought it had stopped bleeding, Kolt would open his mouth too wide and POP - blood would start spewing again ev.er.y.where. Kolt was summoned to his bean bag (the new couch was off limits) with a blanket and Turbo - no talking or moving of his lips were allowed. I called in reinforcements, my Momma, to help in the madness of the "bomb" since my efforts were obviously slowed down by a big, fat bloody lip. It's amazing how much we can get done and how much we laugh in the matter of a couple hours. 

Thursday I am certain I scared the two nice AT&T guys that were here to hook up cable (a surprise appointment courtesy of the Hubs at 10am). On top of that I had my friend Samantha over and her three little ones and David (the adopted father-in-law) over to help paint Khloe's room. So imagine this: the two nice AT&T guys trying to quietly hook up cable while some of the children are trying to play in the water faucet on the deck and we adults are trying to shimmy furniture out of what was Kohen's room over the railing in the foyer. Yes I'm pregnant. Yes I lift things I shouldn't. There. I said it. Sue me. The room went from yellow to pink in a matter of hours and Kohen had officially had his last night in what was his crib. Please don't make me go there, I'm liable to have a breakdown. 


Friday was rainy and gross and of course, the perfect day to drag the kids out to go mattress shopping. I mean, what else do you do on a rainy day? Certainly not stay in, stay in your jammies all day and watch movies. That's for non-courageous people. At the end of the day, a mattress was bought and we had a once-again happy 7 year old who was no longer sleeping on the floor - which he only did for a couple nights - which seemed like eternity to him. 


School This Week - 

School this week was what I call "easing back in". We did a little here and there - some reviewing in math, their spelling words and a few little things just to get their brains moving again. Starting tomorrow is our full work load ...



Outings

Um. Does mattress shopping in the rain count?



Conversation of the Week - 

Kollin: Mommy, I know why I'm bad sometimes. 
Me: Mmmmkay. Why is that?
Kollin: Well, it's just ... It's because Daddy's not home often to tell me all the right answers. 
Me: (feeling oh-so-sympathetic) Awe baby. I know it's hard right now. But you can always come to me and I'll give you the right answers.
Kollin: Well, not really. Because every time I ask you something you say, I don't know - go ask your Father. 
Kolt: Yea. 
Me: Well. I'm sure sometimes Daddy says to you, go ask your Mother.
Kolt: No. Not really. Daddy knows it all. 
Kollin: Yea. He really does.


Favorite Snap - 

These two love some bath time ...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Purple Belted Ninja ...

Kollin had his umpteenth graduation this past Saturday and moved up to a Solid Purple Belt.

Kollin started just after he turned 5 in December 2011. He tried baseball and that just didn't get his mojo going. All he talked about was being a Ninja and doing karate. Travis and I had no experience with this department at all, but for Kollin we jumped right in. Right away we loved the purpose of karate, the motivation behind it and we loved the instructors. I have no clue what other studios are like, but Championship Martial Arts is very strict, but loads of fun. Children are taught to have "Black Belt" mentality at home, at school and in the studio. Without respect, self-control, motivation, determination and good behavior demonstrated everywhere, they are not allowed to move up to the next belt. Behavior reports are turned in to the instructors quarterly and are signed by the parent and the teacher (lucky for Kollin, I'm both). 

All of that to say, moving up to another belt is not just knowing forms, new kicks and new punches. It's much, much more. Travis and I are so proud of Kollin for all of his determination in continuing to move up each time. He has had his ups and downs and ins and outs, but overall he has kept going and plans to earn his Black Belt.

Here are some oldies from when he first started and some new ones from this past weekend. 

Y'all - he seriously needs to stop growing up so fast ...

His first graduation and this last graduation. Excuse the poor picture quality on the most recent one. It was an-iPhone-for-a-camera kind of day. Hopefully you can spot him. 




At graduation, each belt group is able to perform the new skills they have learned. The top one is Kollin as a White Belt and the second one is Kollin as a Green/Purple Belt. They officially graduate to their newest belt at the end of the ceremony. Can you spot him?




And you know - the traditional, good ole family shots at the end of each one. And yes, I was pregnant at the first graduation too. Don't judge.




Way to go Kollin! Mommy, Daddy, YahYah and your brothers are so proud of you! Keep focused, stay confident in yourself and determined and you will surely be a Black Belt in the future. 

We love you!