Wednesday, March 31, 2010

78 and sunny

Today was another pretty day. I really can't think of a better way to end March, which started with some sun and then had some colder days between. And have I mentioned how much I love being about to walk to the park?

Some of our friends, including 5-month-old Davey, joined us at the park ...

After much squinting, I got Ben his hat ...

He likes to chew on his bib too. Then life must have gotten hard ...

If I had left him in there for two more minutes, I think he would have be out. In fact, he feel asleep during the 5-minute walk home ...

Both kids were warm and sleepy and quickly found themselves in their beds after a fun afternoon at the park with friends.

Worth Repeating Wednesday

I think my recent "Lost" posts distracted me from my usual Worth Repeating Wednesday. But no more! Here you go ...

Our task as parents is not just to teach our children about God, but to model for them, to the best of our ability, what God is like. The Bible teaches us that God is kind, slow to anger, merciful, gracious, righteous, abounding in lovingkindness, a stronghold, a shield, a protector, a defender of the weak, perfect, sure, pure, true, gracious, strong and good. ... By our uncontrolled anger, words, and actions, are we creating an image for our children of an out-of-control, impatient, and manipulative God?

That's from Julie Ann Barnhill's "She's Gonna Blow!" -- which I have mentioned before. I'm not sure if she intended to write "gracious" twice, but either way I think being doubly gracious toward my children, my spouse and myself would revolutionize some moments around my house.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What's in the LOST package?

Welcome to my third "Lost" post as we countdown to the bittersweet finale of what's the most intriguing show I've watched. And I've watched much TV ...

Alright, folks, six episodes until the finale. Island-speak translation: Eight hours to learn if Fake Locke/Smoke Monster/Man in Black finds a way off the island; if Jin and Sun are reunited; if Clarie and Aaron are united; if Charlie is going to make an appearance; if Kate is ever going to choose a love of her life; what Charles Widmore really is about and whose side he's really on; what's gotten into [literally?] Sayid; and ... well, lots more questions need answered in these coming eight hours.

Now, back to "The Package," which aired tonight. If you haven't watched, don't read anymore, unless plot talk won't bother you.

1. Jin and Sun aren't married in the flash-sideways? [And later in the episode...] Oh, so, they weren't supposed to be involved, according to her father. These flash-sideways are like a whole new show.

2. Sun tells Jin: "No one is watching us." Um, actually, Sun, I am not so sure that is true. One of you is a candidate. That must mean something. To someone.

3. I watched an episode of "Party of Five" earlier today from 1994. Matthew Fox is the "leader" of the family of five kids on that drama. In some ways, he seems the same now ... 16 years later. I am glad he managed a haircut in the last decade and a half.

4. Sun is running on the island from Locke and hopefully to Jin [although she just ends up back at the beach] and then in the flash-sideways she proposes running away with Jin.

5. Richard to the beach survivors: "Pack your bags; we're leaving." Right. Because decisions like that on the island are that simple.

6. The hotel bathroom. Room 23. The fridge. Poor Jin was locked [by emotional or physical force] in many small rooms. I did love Jin seeing his daughter for the first time ... on a camera while he was in a room with Widmore.

7. Jin shot Mikhail [who was supposedly dead in the island world] in the right eye. In the past, he wore a patch over his right eye. See, these flash-sideways seem to be the present but with the past included and sometimes changed.

8. I liked Widmore's description of the Smoke Monster, etc.: "That thing masquerading as John Locke." Oh, and a bonus for you, while thinking about Widmore: Desmond! I guess maybe he's his father-in-law's secret weapon.

It's your turn. What do you think? About tonight's episode? About the show in general?

65 and sunny

Ah, Spring. How I welcome you with open arms. I love so, so, so many things about you. I love how you can be cool in the mornings and evenings but oh-so sunny and warm in the afternoons. I like having my front door open to invite you in my house and having a great front porch for watching others enjoy you across the street at the park. I like how you making grilling a supper option. Your presence means baseball, flip flops and trips to the park.

Cate and her friend Emma enjoyed the sun today. Seriously, who doesn't like to accessorize for spring? See, Spring, what you bring out in the girls? And my boy Ben has enjoyed you too ...

That screaming smile by a 4-month-old boy obviously translates to, "Please, Spring, stay with us. At least for awhile before your dear friend Summer arrives." Yes, indeed. We like you both, Spring and Summer, but let's have a chance to enjoy Spring before Summer comes. Pretty please?

Friday, March 26, 2010

sittin' pretty

Walking back into the room after going to the bathroom to help my toddler, I noticed my baby looking like a big boy sitting in the glider. I mean, he's still a baby, but he's loving his new view of the world these days ...

Then, of course, Cate wanted to be in a picture with him ...

Because Ben sits up [with furniture support, of course ...] more often, he has many more chances to notice his sister. And he thinks Cate is highly entertaining.

And, yes, that's him spitting up a little while he laughs. But, hey, it's just a little, which is a good thing around our house.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

walking shoes

Unfortunately, I had to trade my walking shoes for rain boots today.

Let me back up, I wanted to join a gym a few weeks ago. Mostly because I'd like to lose a few pounds and have some motivation to stay active. I found what I thought was the perfect option in an aerobics class that met from 8 to 9 a.m. three days a week. Included in the family membership was childcare. Well, I got my hopes up too soon. Turns out the childcare is more for toddlers and not so much for infants. So, maybe next year.

But I was briefly discouraged.

I brainstormed other possibilities. I already walk with my best friend most weekdays, but between kids' routines, mommas' commitments and her pregnancy, I don't always walk as much or as often as I'd like ... well, more so, need.

As you probably know, I am an insulin-dependent diabetic. I was diagnosed as an adult, so I guess in some ways I'm still learning the effects this chronic disease has on my everyday life. One of the struggles for me has been insulin and how one of its side effects is complicating weight loss. So a vicious cycle can easily trap me. If I eat high-carb foods, I have to take more insulin. And I've realized lately I cope with stress by eating. Stress also causes blood sugar levels to rise. When my blood sugar is high, I have to take insulin. The more insulin I take, the harder it is to lose weight and, in fact, insulin can be blamed for some weigh gain. And then I have to take more insulin because I put on a few pounds ...

And, remember, I welcomed a new baby the week of Thanksgiving [when excessive eating is part of the celebration] and then had a couple overwhelming weeks adjusting to being a mother of two.

See where I'm going?

Exercise can interrupt the cycle because it helps lower blood sugar levels and relieve stress. So if I eat right AND exercise, I'm really interrupting the vicious cycle. And I feel better. Physically. And emotionally.

The emotion part is especially helpful as I care for a baby and a toddler and try to be a pleasant wife. And just ask Greg, he can tell you when my blood sugar is high. I get especially irritated and snippy. It's obvious when it's too low because I break out into a sweat and start talking in confused, broken sentences.

I'm in a much more peaceful place as a momma, so that alone is helping everything in my life. But I didn't want to stop there. I wanted to join a gym. I wanted to exercise with some accountability and have some affordable, convenient childcare. Well, my plan didn't work out, like I said. So I decided I was just going to walk more. I love walking with Jaclyn, but I'm capable of lacing up my tennis shoes, loading the kids in the stroller and walking.

That's what I've done this week. Well, that's what I've done on the two days the weather has been on my side. I've walked to Rite-Aid (twice ...), the pediatrician's office, the library and Quizno's. I figure if I can develop the habit now, then maybe, just maybe, when it's 90 degrees and humid, I won't think too much of the sweat pouring down my back.

And, no worries, I still plan to walk [and talk!] with Jaclyn. But I've realized this week that our house is strategically located in walking proximity of many, many places.

Now, if I could just do something about the rain ...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

LOST in the cork

In its second week, my commitment to blog about the final episodes of "Lost" continues. So, if you haven't watched last night's episode, STOP READING, unless you don't mind some plot talk.

Oh, Ricardo, you had much to tell us. And here we are, nine hours from the end [that's eight weeks, but who's counting ...], and we had no idea your story was going to go like that. Well, at least I had no idea!

1. 1867 in the Canary Islands was a long time ago. I guess that makes the episode's title, "Ab Aeterno" appropriate because it translates to mean "from eternity." [Thanks, Lostpedia!]

2. Richard came to the island on the Black Rock and he went to the remains of the Black Rock to die. But he couldn't die, thanks presumably to Jacob's touch.

3. Did you notice scruffy Ricardo looking like Jesus? I mean, if Jacob is supposed to symbolize God, does Richard fulfill the role of Jesus, the one who became man and has relationships with people on the behalf of his Father?

4. Jacob dunked Richard. And Richard admitted he wanted to live. Although it didn't start of his own choosing, it's like Richard committed his life through baptism.

5. Jacob told Richard about the statue: "No one cones in unless I invite them in." Reminds me of only the priests being allowed to enter the holy of holies in the tabernacle.

6. The only thing Jacob could offer Richard was eternal life.

7. The temptation to return to our old life is always there. Just ask Richard, who buried his wife's necklace. We can bury anything. But it is there to dig back up, if we change our minds. Ah, free will ...

8. On another note, how does Ilana know Jacob? It's clear when he visited up his bandaged friend in the hospital, they had some existing relationship.

9. Sun declared herself [not Jin] a candidate. How does she know this? And what happened to other candidates, leaving only the ones we befriended on the island?

Ben @ 4 months

Pardon the day-long delay in this post. I wanted to wait until we went to Ben's four-month check-up appointment [this morning] to update you. So, at 4 months [yeah, I know, seriously ...] Ben is a happy guy who ...

* Sleeps 9 hours nightly on a regular basis. He even slept 10 hours ... once.

* Weighs 13 pounds 13 ounces and is 25 1/2 inches. [Remember who he and Cate measured the same at their respective 2-month appointments? Well, the similarities continue ... She was 13 pounds 12.8 ounces and the same 25 1/2 inches.]

* Still spits up, although some days I think it's less than before. Some days involve more spit up than others. Today he started taking Prevacid. I hope this works better than the Zantac attempt when he was five weeks old.

* Giggles. Likes to watch his sister. Babbles.

Monday, March 22, 2010

babies + basketball

Eva and Ben apparently at things to say ...

... probably about the basketball games going on in the neighboring room. This moment, of course, was between the nerve-racking MSU game that ended in a two-point loss to Butler and Kentucky's stomping of Wake Forest.

The Express Lane

On at least a weekly basis, I enter Kroger armed with my diaper bag and reusable bag, which is filled with other reusable bags, hanging on my shoulder; Ben in his carrier on the bend of my right arm; and Cate, who usually has a purse, plastic cell phone or some other entertaining accessory, holding my left hand. Of course, all of this after I park next to the cart return thing.

And, strangely enough, I don't mind grocery shopping. I even take coupons and a list.

Cate doesn't mind Kroger because she gets to drive. And, thankfully, those car carts also accommodate my second child.

Today, my second child was crying. Really, I should probably say he was screaming. I only had a couple thoughts on the matter: "Maybe his gums are bothering him." [So I stopped near the meat department and applied some Orajel.] Or "I guess he's mad he's not swinging anymore."

Let me tell you. A crying/screaming baby sure attracts comments.

"Is that you making all that noise?" From someone I know who looked right at me when she said it. "Um, no, not me." Then I smiled.

"Oh, now, he's not happy." Um, you think?

"I remember those days." Then she smiled, like she really wanted to tell me it was going to be OK. I smiled back, wanting to say I've had louder, more intense moments from one or both of my children.

Somewhere in there, I saw my friend Sarah, whose son, Davey, is 3 1/2 weeks older than Ben. She doesn't see me and I'm really pretty surprised she doesn't look up, recognizing the sound of an unhappy child. So I texted her, and we happily ran into each other in Aisle 5. "I don't know what's wrong with him," I told her. Then I realized she, of all people, doesn't need an explanation, even though at the moment her son was sitting quietly in his carrier in the cart, surrounded by packages food.

"He's a dude and doesn't want to shop," Sarah said.

Her humor encouraged me. And we talked about Cherry 7 Up because she's the second friend in less than a week to have this intriguing beverage. [Yes, later, in the carbonated beverage aisle I pick up a case of the diet version of this drink while apparently resembles a Sonic Cherry Limeade.]

Sarah's phone rang and Ben was still crying so we went separate ways. Ben only cried for a few more aisles. Then he gave into some sort of contentment for the last portion of the grocery shopping trip, which included Cate's request for a bathroom break.

And, yes, there are comments when you're carrying your baby in his carrier on one arm and holding your toddler's hand while walking into the store bathroom ...

"You'll miss these days. You don't think you will. But you will. My 16-year-old son just got glasses." Um, not sure how the glasses are related, but I do realize I will miss this. Probably not so much the group trip to the Kroger bathroom in the middle of the grocery shopping experience. But definitely the little people who need you and want you and think you're the best thing since the cheese cubes you let her pick out in the dairy section.

In front of us in the check-out line, which was at least six people deep, Cate struck up a conversation with a grandfatherly farmer, who has a granddaughter "about her age," he tell us. Turns out, the granddaughter is a year older, likes to wear pinks, has a special bond with his farm animals and likes to eat white beans, fried cornbread and cabbage. Somehow the grandfatherly farmer and I didn't manage to discuss why there were only two check-out lanes open, one of which was the express lane, for which he qualified with his 2-liter of cola, ice cream and cabbage, or why he chose to stand in the long line with his obviously less than 15 items.

I'm glad life doesn't have an express line. It may be chaotic and unpredictable, but life is these moments. These people. These words. This time. And I do realize it's not going to be like this forever.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Written this morning at church ...

Ben fusses most every time before he goes to sleep. It is usually brief, but at this point it is expected. People will ask what was wrong or try to rock his car seat or make suggestions on how to stop the crying. I am not sure exactly what he is saying, but he gets over it and sleeps.

Most every week at church I end up in the baby room that should be a sound-proof place. I sit in the glider and rock. He cries some, and everyone hears because, like I said, the room isn't sound proof. [I have memories of my mom sitting with my brother, my sister and I in the "cry room" in the back of my childhood Catholic church sanctuary. If my memory serves me right, it was a sound-proof room.] Anyway, at least Ben's crying is short lived.

Sometimes I can't even hear what the speaker or worship leader is saying/singing. But I can still hear God.

I am just like Ben. I fight God, even when I know something is good for me. Usually it is momentary. Other times I drag it out, thanks to my stubbornness that tells me I know what I am doing.

Despite His all-knowingness, God welcomes my questions and hesitations. And usually he teaches me through them. I eventually welcome the rest He us providing or the new perspective He is sharing. My life, thankfully, doesn't remain the same.

Life is much more peaceful when I get to this point. Just like Ben, who relaxed with his head on my shoulder. His breathing changed. His posture relaxed. His crying quieted. His eyes closed. He decided to trust my arms to take care of him while he sleeps.

I kept rocking him, though. Just to make sure he was really asleep this time. The speaker was talking about the trial of Jesus and Truth. But my mind was thinking how fussing about what God is doing just delays the inevitable, which is probably good for us in the long run. Yet somehow God still doesn't turn away from our cries.

Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God. And here's why: God is kind and merciful. He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot, this most patient God, extravagant in love ... Joel 2:13-14

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sunshiny Day

[taken with my iPhone]

Have I mentioned I like walking to the park from our "new" house? Well, I do. We've also been able to walk to the library the last couple of weeks.

So today we walked for exercise [well, actually, I walked and the kids rode, thanks to my pushing ...] and then we walked on over to the park for lunch and playtime with friends. When we got home, I sat on my porch swing and fed Ben while Cate played outside in our yard.

Even Ben enjoyed the sunshine.

R-A-C-E-R-S, Racers, Racers ... GO RACERS!

Murray State won its first NCAA Tournament game in 22 years and only its second ever yesterday, in case you haven't heard. It was like a national holiday at our house. And there was much rejoicing. [I have told you before what a fun season it has been.]

In fact, I made my almost-4-month-old son cry. The kids napped through most of the game, but they both were awake from the end, probably thanks to some of our cheering/screaming/yelling in the last 7 minutes of the back-and-forth game with Vanderbilt. So I was feeding Ben, updating my Facebook/Twitter status* and cheering. Talk about multi-tasking.

Then this happened ...

And I jumped up from my seat. Ben's bottle fell on the ground, so he started crying. I high-fived and jumped up and down, like I was part of the force that willed Danero's shot to go in, at the buzzer, for the win, against the higher-seeded team, in the NCAA Tournament. And Ben cried harder. My phone started alerting me of incoming texts. And Ben screamed. I tried to feed him again, but he was still screaming, expressing his displeasure with my neglecting to feed him and the enthusiastic atmosphere that shook him from his relaxation.

But, hey, the Racers won. On a last-second shot. On national television.

Ben will forgive me. Like a friend said on Facebook, it's training for the future. That's right. A Racer in the making. Good thing he doesn't yet understand that the Racers play again on Saturday afternoon [game time: 2:20 p.m. central]. And we're hoping for more reasons to jump up from our seats.

* So I've joined the Twitter world. I didn't expect to like it, but it's fun following people. I've linked my Facebook and Twitter accounts, thanks to the TweetDeck app for the iPhone, so it's fun to update during the game. [Typing this out makes me feel like a nerd ...] Anyway, you can follow me @kristinhtaylor, if you're interested. Or become my Facebook friend, if you're not already.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Everyday Fun

We have a fun time around here. And sometimes it's even productive. While I cleaned out and organized some toys and clothes yesterday afternoon in Ben's room, Cate showed Ben how to play with some of his toys.

St. Patrick

My grandpa is half Irish, so maybe I should care more about St. Patrick's Day. I just don't get it. I did a little reading on St. Patrick today and learned some things. Apparently, he wasn't even Irish. Or Catholic. I assumed both, and really hadn't thought anything about him beyond that. He was a missionary and honored as a saint in several denominations, including the Catholic church. OK, well, that's a nice testimony to unity.

So, yeah, my kids wore green today. But only because they had it. Beyond that, I'm not really sure I get it. How can St. Patrick be one of a few patron saints of Ireland if that's not even his native land? Anyway ... I think I'll just eat some candy with pastel-colored wrappers and think about Jesus rising from the grave. Now, there is a holiday I understand.

I'm Lost ...

When Cate was born, we watched the first few seasons of "Lost" on DVD, and we were hooked. Well, really, we were hooked after about the fourth episode. We have since watched the last half of the series as it airs on Tuesdays. [Although it used to be Wednesdays and one season it was Thursdays. See, what I mean, "Lost" has the kind of audience that will jump to whatever day ABC says.]

I've mentioned "Lost" in posts before, but I've never really blogged about "Lost." Are you lost yet?

Anyway, ABC keeps telling me how many episodes there are until the finale, which is really two epsidoes. Yeah, seriously, only the creators of "Lost" can be confusing about just how many episodes are left. Let me clarify. After last night's episode, there are 10 hours of "Lost" left. In other words, that's eight episodes until the finale, which is two hours.

In honor of this bittersweet countdown, I thought I would share 10 things I noticed or thought about last night's Sawyer-centric episode, appropriately titled "Recon." I should add that I don't read a lot of "Lost" stuff online. I used to read Doc Jensen's recap on, but it started hurting my head more than the actual show, so I stopped reading. A blogger I happened upon through a parenting Web site likes to write about "Lost," so I do read her stuff regularly. When my "Lost"-obsessed friend Jodi e-mails me something, I read it as long as she keeps the spoilers away. And I often skim "Lostpedia."

On that note, if you haven't watched Sawyer with his shirt off lately [Yes, that's a reference to "Recon," the most recent episode.], then I advise you to stop reading. Consider that your warning.

In no particularly order ...

1. Sawyer must not like wearing shirts.

2. Being a cop seems to fit Jim. [Even though the name doesn't ...] And Miles is the perfect sidekick.

3. Claire is a great name. But she's nuts. Although if someone took my kid, I think I'd go nuts too. But she seems a little brain-washed crazy.

4. Isn't it a little late in the season to introduce new characters? Welcome, Zoe. Although, I don't really think you and the rest of Widmore's gang are really welcome.

5. Ah, wisdom from "Little House on the Praire," which Sawyer watches while eating a TV dinner, the only thing in his fridge. "If you live you life based on what's going to happen, before you know it your life is over. ... It's hard not being afraid, Pa."

6. Sawyer left the sunflower for Charlotte outside her door when she wouldn't take him back, but he took the beer with him.

7. Fate. Destiny. Predestination. I get that theme. But, really, how are the island timeline and the flash-sideways going to work together?

8. Liam Pace wasn't who I expected to see. Apparently he's looking for her brother Charlie just like I am.

9. It made me sad that Sayid [one of my favorite characters] just watched Claire attack Kate. Further proof he's not himself. So, then, who is he?

10. So, back to Sawyer being a cop. Given his profession, why did he let Kate, who was in handcuffs, go free when he saw her at LAX?

Thoughts? Theories? What are you most wanting to know? How do you think this is all going to work out?

Worth Repeating Wednesday:

If the old fairy-tale ending 'They lived happily ever after' is taken to mean 'They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,' then it says what probably was never was or ever could be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be 'in love' need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense — love as distinct from 'being in love' is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both parents ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be 'in love' with someone else. 'Being in love' first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.

--From "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

'This Is My Life'

Sitting around a table at Culver's, my best friend said those words to me as her two toddler-aged kids were anxious for their food and my almost-3-year-old daughter was tempted to out of her chair, something I just don't allow at restaurants, even though she had her burger, fries and chocolate milk.

Meanwhile, my almost-4-month-old son was finally content, despite the fact he had already spit up on the onesie I had just put on him before we went into the restaurant. He had drenched the original onesie and sweatshirt jacket with multiple spitting-up episodes during our earlier 25-minute walk that was going to have to be my day's exercise. My diaper bag, of course, was void of any more clothes for my messy boy, bibs to catch some of this inevitable spit-up, gas drops [Maybe his stomach was bothering him, right?] and Tylenol [I just noticed it was missing when I was looking for the gas drops.] But, hey, I did have bendy straws for the toddlers drinking chocolate milk.

Yes, this is my life.

I don't care that Cate wanted a burger, fries and chocolate milk because when we're at home she chooses to eat tomatoes, black olives, cheese, blueberries, strawberries, granola bars and salad with "sauce." She'll try whatever we're eating because that's what she's eating too.

But I do care if she whines about finishing her burger because she suddenly decides she doesn't like ketchup, which she was dipping her fries in two minutes before. I do care if she whines about wanting ice cream [Hey, it is Culver's ...] and then adamantly tells me "No!" to my request for her to finish at least the meat of her burger.

And then I caught myself doing something I told myself I wasn't going to do. "Eat this much, and then you can have some ice cream." And then I said it like eight more times. Like I was begging and negotiating.

I've never been a fan of "Eat two more bites and you can have a treat." And it's not the bribery that bothers me. I just think if there is a hamburger sitting on the plate, then finishing that should come before any ice cream. And, really, if there is room for ice cream, there is room to finish that burger.

Oh, and the negotiating ... with a 34-month-old. That's just counter-productive. And it stresses me out. And it gives the child control over a situation that isn't hers to control.

And not so much because I'm the mom and I'm in control.

But rather because of who God has called me to be. I'm an example to Cate. I'm her care-giver. I'm responsible for teaching her to trust in the Lord her God with all her heart, mind and soul. To teach her those things, I need to do those things.

So she ate a couple bites of her burger, but then she whined about having to hold my hand while we walked through Culver's, first to refill my cup with Diet Dr Pepper and then one to order her ice cream. I told her if she continued to whine, we were going home so she could take a nap. She whined again before I got my refill. So we walked on past the counter and straight to the car.

I have expectations for her good and the good of this family. I communicated them. She chose not to obey them. I'm sure another day will be different. In fact, the car ride home was different. She told me something that made herself laugh. She gave me kisses. I'm sure next time she'll get her Culver's ice cream.

Last night I started a book called "She's Gonna Blow!" by Julie Ann Barnhill. It's supposed to be a practical book for helping moms deal with anger. I don't consider myself an angry person, but I do allow frustrations and stresses to determine my tone and reactions. I don't want to be like that, especially to Cate, and later Ben.

After I got past the fact the title includes "gonna," a pet peeve of mine, I started reading the book. Some of it is silly to me, but I found some good points worth writing down in a notebook. I'm only a couple chapters in, but I'm hoping Barnhill's words can encourage me in a change God has already started in my heart.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness ... --Psalm 103:8

God is encouarging me to be more like him. I want to be less snippy. I want to be clear about expectations and stand by them. I want to discipline in love and teach these [and other] truths because I believe them with my whole heart.

I naturally deal with frustration by snipping, demanding different behaviors and trying to regain control over the situation. I want to replace those reactions with being more like God. Gracious. Slow to anger. Abounding in lovingkindness.

Toward Greg.

Toward Cate.

Toward the people I know.

Toward strangers who may not prompt a verbal reaction but who bring out these same internal reactions.

A volcano, in essense, is a natural thing that explodes under pressure. And that's exactly what can happen to us when motherhood gets to be just too much for us. In an instant we can change from the peaceful, nourishing women we want to be into Mount Momma -- spitting fire and brimstone at all who cross our path. --From "She's Gonna Blow!"

Oh, yes, I know about that quick change in demeanor, tone and attitude. And that's what I'm hoping God can change as I learn about healthier, more productive ways to deal with toddler disobedience, changing circumstances that are out of my control and small inconveiences that may ruin the moment but certainly shouldn't ruin my day.

Because this day is my life.

It's Cate's life too. And Ben's, although he has less to say about it right now.

This is my life. And I want God's grace, peace and lovingkindness to abound even more than it already does.

This is my life. And I don't want to live it in the confines of my house, where eating lunch may slightly less complicated.

This is my life. And I want to proud of how I live it. For myself. For my family. And for my God.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Here. Now.

I feel like we have arrived.

He smiles more and spits up less. He has reached a place of contentment I wasn't sure was going to be a reality when he was weeks old. The last several weeks have been more what I hoped for. Really, sleep probably cures woes of many kinds, in both momma and baby. [He sleeps about 9 hours each night. Naps are still sporadic, but they happen.]

I'm glad to be at this place with this boy.

Although now I hear him crying, so I better go.

M-O-U-S-E ...

... and his and friends came to Murray yesterday. And I took Cate to see the show. Admittedly, I was really excited to take her. Is that weird? [Probably no weirder than me saying 2 as been my favorite age ... so far.]

When I bought the tickets last fall, she was just getting into the Playhouse Disney shows. Since then, she has learned "Imagination Movers" come on after "Handy Manny." Say what you will about kids watching TV, but I am proud to say I have showered every morning since Ben has been born, thanks to Mickey Mouse and his friends.

Yes, she's a fan of Handy Manny. She chose this light as her one toy. The light-up toys sure have become more sophisticated since I was a kid going to the circus ...

Handy Manny, yet again. The cotton candy [her one food treat] came with this hat. And don't forget the self-portrait to document Cate's first live performance ...

The transition to two kids was much harder on me than Cate. [I'm telling you, though, once we got to 3 months, I felt like I entered a whole new life.] I'm thankful for that and all the ways she has just gone with the flow of sharing her parents and her house with Benjamin. [She almost always calls him Benjamin.] All of this to say, I was happy to have a couple hours to give Cate my undivided attention in an environment I knew she'd love.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Unchanging Faithfulness

... to praise the Holy One, who was and is and is to come ...

Last night we sang "Unchanging" [by Chris Tomlin, but played by Greg last night] and I started writing on a scrap piece of paper as I thought about God's faithfulness ...

He has been faithful. And he will be in days to come. I look at my son who is sleeping near me and think of my daughter who is playing outside with her friends. I know God's faithfulness. He created our family in a way I hadn't expected. And yet it is perfect.

We aren't perfect individuals, but God is and he joined us together perfectly. Together we are testament of the peace that passes all understanding and the way God knows the desires of our hearts. And for all these things I'm thankful.

The truly amazing thing is He's not done. He will still do beautiful things with us and for us. Because we are His and He is ours.

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." --Zephaniah 3:17

He delights in us. He quiets us ... and our fears, anxieties and worries. He rejoices over us. And not because we're perfect or even worthy. He doesn't stop doing these things. He continually delights, quiets and rejoices with us, in us and over us.

Then we sang another song that allowed us to praise God for another promise ...

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning ... Great is Your faithfulness ...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Worth Repeating Wednesday

Relax. Slow down. Quit having a purpose for everything. Eat more slowly and enjoy it more. Ask people how they are doing – and mean it. Take more walks. You will get more done anyway.

--Rob Bell in "Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith"

Ben had a hair cut. Seriously.

I don't mind the sticking up hair, but, goodness, it was getting out of control. [In case you haven't seen us lately, the wanna-be mohawk when we were at the park the other day was enough to prompt me to get out of the scissors.] See, I just trimmed it.

But, still, his first trim came two weeks shy of him being four months old. Meanwhile, he's gradually losing hair on the sides, especially his favored right side. And, you know, there's nothing like a baby with a receding hairline.

I'm fairly certain that when he's a teenager he'll want his hair to be sticking up in some stylish way that requires gel but his cowlicks [yes, multiple ...] won't cooperate. His hair seems to have a personality of its own, which I'm guessing will be either highly entertaining or incredibly frustrating.

For now, who can resist this sweet face and the hair that complements it?

Monday, March 8, 2010


When I was taking pictures of my kids swinging today at the park, I instantly remembered doing the same thing more than two years ago ...

[That picture is from a post dated Sept. 27, 2007, which means Cate was a week shy of five months. That's about a month older than Ben is in the following pictures ...]

Of course, Cate is much bigger now. In fact, she is too big for those "baby" swings, but she doesn't believe me.

Then there is Ben, who, really, is a little too little for the swing. But, hey, momma had to document his first trip to the park ...

Thanks to Courtney, I made it in a picture.

March Madness [The Beginning]

For us Racers fans, March Madness got off to a good start. Having lost just one conference game, Murray State played its ugliest basketball of the season and managed to win the Ohio Valley Conference, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. [Yes, yes, we all have hopes of being the 12-seeded Cinderella in the tournament this year ...]

Yes, we took our two kids to the tournament. And everybody had a good time.

[Ben slept through portions of each of the two games we watched. This was just before he drifted off to sleep on my shoulder one of the times.]

[Cate didn't want to be in our family picture, during Ben was still napping. Oh, to be 2 and have a head full of plans ...]

[And this is my favorite snapshot from the weekend. Ben had something to tell Daddy.]

In addition to watching basketball, we also ate at Rainforest Cafe, shopped at Opry Mills and ate at Caney Fork Fish Camp, which I highly recommend. Ben and I also squeezed in a trip to Target while Cate napped in preparation for the OVC Championship.

Want to see more of our weekend? Well, then, go look at the pictures I posted on Facebook.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

a new view

Ben had a new view of his world today ...

... from a little higher up ...

... with new sites and noises.

No, his feet do not touch the ground ...

... but he liked it anyway.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

This is why I love Facebook ...

This was my Facebook status yesterday afternoon:

Kristin Hill Taylor wonders why Ben doesn't nap well in his crib, a place he sleeps well for seven to nine hours nightly.

Then the discussion began ...

Courtney Kindle French: Both of my kids did the same thing. So they started taking naps on my bed where the slept much better, and at night slept in their crib. Weird.

Leanne Clark Trumper: Anna is the same. She naps in the nursing pillow on the bed.

Kristin Hill Taylor: Courtney, did you have a hard time getting them to transition back to their beds for naps when they got older?

Courtney Kindle French: No, I guess because they switched to a "big" bed so early, that it really wasn't a big deal. Actually a few times they would lay on a pallet (sp?) in the floor at nap time. Weird, I know! :)

Kristin Hill Taylor: Well, you girls inspired me to try. He's currently laying on the guest bed. And because of the guys working, Cate's in my bed. I feel like it's musical beds today. :)

I just remember with Cate, there was a brief phase of when she needed to be in a crib because she'd play around and roll around and not be able to really sleep on a bed that wasn't enclosed.

When did your kids switch to a big bed, Courtney?

Angela Taylor: All of my kids have done the same thing. For some reason they napped better on my bed (surrounded by pillows) and then they happily slept throughout the night in their own beds. As we speak (or type) Evelyn is napping in my bed. Come bedtime, she'll be in her crib. Weird, but whatever works! Oh, the contractor dude came out today and he might be able to start on closing in our garage on MONDAY!!!! WooHoo!

Courtney Kindle French: Noah was a little over a year...maybe 14-15 mos? Emma was about 18 mos. Pretty early, but they slept SO much better in a big bed than in the crib.

Yes, it was tricky when they started crawling, but I put a monitor in my bedroom and the big pillows (king size pillows) around them when they were those ages.

Courtney Kindle French: And, I know, sometimes it seemed like musical beds...sometimes Noah would be asleep on my bed and Emma on his bed...but whatever...I was just happy it worked for them to get a good nap!!!

Kristin Hill Taylor: Part of me agrees with "do what works," but I also think that's how hard-to-break habits are formed. I'm torn with how to handle it, but we're seeing how this guest bed thing works for him this afternoon. I'm thankful he sleeps through the night in his crib. Those of you who know me, know I wouldn't have it any other way. :)

And has he gets older, he's more likely to take longer naps anyway, but he sleeps so much longer in his swing than his crib. And he doesn't even take that many naps in his swing. Cate switched to a big bed when she was a couple months shy of 2. And really that was just a toddler bed that had been her crib. She didn't move to an actual big bed until we moved in here Oct. 31. So she was 2 1/2.

Angela - That's exciting about your garage. I'm glad you all are able to move forward with that project.

Angela Taylor: Hey, a good thing to remember with kiddos is that "whatever works" usually doesn't work for long and "habits" change quickly too. That's why I was willing to change things as needed or try different stuff. As soon as we got into a routine, they would hit a growth spurt, start teething, we moved, or whatever. So, I just tried to do the best I could. I know that you are too. You know your family best and what's best for them. It'll be OK. As Mrs. Reinhardt says (and I'm paraphrasing), our kids will turn out fine despite our parenting skills.

Courtney Kindle French: Yeah, well I know our sleeping habit ideas are a little different, so you just have to do what you're comfortable with. I personally didn't like for the kids to sleep in their swing for some reason, so we started trying my bed and it worked okay. And amazingly enough, they slept okay in their crib until they got around a year old or somewhere close to that. Anyway, I hope you get it figured out! I'm sure you will. :)

Kristin Hill Taylor: Oh, I agree, Angela. I think I'm just a little obsessive about sleep and training kids to sleep. :) So, needless to say, I've spent a lot of time thinking about how to best foster good sleep habits. Ben has definitely been the child that has kept me on my toes ... rashes, teething early, prompting me to take the pacifier away after three weeks of using it, spitting up ...

Kristin Hill Taylor: I usually don't let Ben take more than one nap a day in his swing. And usually that's his early morning nap while I'm showering and getting Cate ready for the day.

Angela Taylor
: How's his puking? Has he been improving? I know we talked about his formula stuff and that the meds they gave you didn't help. But, has anything helped? I know it's had to have been such a frustrating thing to deal with.

Angela Taylor: Evelyn would only nap in her swing when she was first born. I guess it felt more like floating in my womb or something (or maybe she just liked it). I don't remember how we got her in a bed instead. Somedays, the swing was the only way I got a shower!

Kristin Hill Taylor: The formula has helped compared to the regular formula. The spitting up had eased up some, and now lately it seems to be increasing again. The medicine (Zantac) seemed to make him irritable and didn't really stop him from spitting up. So, some days are better than others. More than anything, I just have learned to carry extra outfits and do his wash more than once a week. :)

Kristin Hill Taylor: The swing is a must-have baby accessory in my world. :) Both Cate and Ben have LOVED it.

Courtney Kindle French: I'm not criticizing YOU about the swing, I just personally didn't like them sleeping in it :) Sometimes they slept in the bouncy seat in the morning...I would put it right by the bathroom so they would be close to me...especially Emma when I couldn't guarantee that Noah would not touch her while I was showering. :)

Kristin Hill Taylor: Oh, I didn't think you were criticizing me. I was just saying, I'm obsessive about sleep, but I can't just throw him in the swing either. :) I am thankful Cate and I have built up trust with the showering routine. I was thinking this morning, I have showered EVERY MORNING since Ben has been born. [Yes, I wondered if that would happen ...]

Angela Taylor: I'm ashamed to say that I have not showered everyday since Evelyn was born. Yes, I am a gross person! LOL!

Kristin Hill Taylor: I don't think it's gross. Like I said, I had my doubts it would happen here. :)

Courtney Kindle Frenchh: Angela: No, you're not gross!! You're just BUSY!!

Yes, it's good to build up the trust with the showering thing! I'm glad Cate is so good about that. I also think it's different when the oldest is a boy, too. Noah wanted to touch, squeeze, whatever CONSTANTLY to Emma. I felt like she was attached to me for the first several months! So the bouncy seat was out, unless it was near me...the swing was out, because he kept wanting to push it if I wasn't around, the crib was even out, because he would climb in it with her if I wasn't around. Needless to say it was a little crazy around here for awhile!

Kristin Hill Taylor: I have thanked God many, many times for Cate and the way she treats Ben. It helps that she thrives on routine, so we pretty much do the same things every morning.

Courtney Kindle French: Noah had such a hard time adjusting...even with routine, or whatever we tried. It was really hard for awhile. I didn't even go to Wal-mart with both of them until Emma was around 4-5 months old! I'm thankful that we finally got past that...some days I didn't know if we would make it or not!

Kristin Hill Taylor: Proof that every kid is indeed, different. I'm surprised in some ways how well Cate has done. She notices when I move something in the kitchen to a different place or anything like that. And she usually wants it back to where it "belongs." Now, it might be a whole 'nother story when Ben is crawling around wanting to play with her toys. :)

Audrey Grey Denney
: Neither of my kids napped well in the crib as babies, and the both slept 7-8 hrs a night at 5 and 6 wks old. About drove me insane with Annika but with Asher I have relaxed and am just happy for him to nap wherever that may be. We actually don't have a swing either. Babies just seem so much more wakeful during the day but once Annika went down to one nap a day she started napping like a champ, even in her crib.

Kristin Hill Taylor: Good to hear, Audrey! Having a second baby has taught me how spoiled I was with Cate being such an easy, by-the-book baby. But, hey, life would be boring if it was all scripted like we expected.

Alyssa Brown: Phew! Well upon reading all that, I wanted to tell Kristin that Emaline mostly stopped spitting up around 4 months! So hopefully Ben only has a couple weeks to go. AND Emaline is the opposite, she's good about napping in her crib during the day but has never slept in it at night. She's always seemed sensitive to it being nightime...

Angela Collins: After all that, I thank God my kids are grown. I will tell you this, Kristin, all three of my kids were toilet-trained, slept all night and had given up their pacifiers by the time they went off to college. . . so stop worrying!

Kristin Hill Taylor: Well, Angela, it isn't a worry as much as trying to figure out how I can get some down time in the afternoon while not messing up his sleeping through the night! :) And, thanks for the encouragement, Alyssa. I would love for him to stop spitting up, but I can live with it, especially if he is sleeping ...

JacknMisty Lindsey: hey girl. wow lots of info. i didn't read it all but wanted to mention something. we have also moved our kids around..whatever to get them to sleep better. ...especially since they've all had reflux & trouble sleeping. glad he is sleeping through the night already. THAT'S AMAZING!! & such a blessing. Praise GOD!! we have let our kiddos nap ... See Morein different places...but one time at a friends house...when sophia was about 3 mths, we put her on our friends bed...surrounded by pillows. Somehow she pushed herself UNDER the pillow. When we found her she was SCREAMING & so hot. She was fine...but we were really scared. ...definitely don't want to scare you...but just wanted to pass that on. we didn't think she could scoot herself...but she probably could have scooted off the bed. maybe put him in a positioner in the bed or something. love ya!! :) Misty

Kristin Hill Taylor:
You know, I love this. I love talking about this and hearing people's experiences. I wasn't really expecting all this dialogue, but I will take it. And to think I was just airing my wish for a longer afternoon nap. :)

Feel free to continue with the comments here. As moms, we definitely have ideas of how we want to do things. And we think what we are doing is right (or at least working ...) or we wouldn't be doing it. But, you never know, someone might just say something that fits with your philosophy or seems to be a good idea.

Worth Repeating Wednesday:
Mirroring Me

Greg shared with me this sermon from Richard A. Jordan he read online this morning. It's worth sharing with you, and, more importantly, digesting deep into my heart, especially as a mother.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him." --Lamentations 3:22-24

Children are mirrors of ourselves, if we have the eyes to see it, and the ears to hear it. What a child when they are angry, and you may catch a glimpse at a parent. You see, children don’t know how to be angry by themselves, they learn it. Do you stamp your foot, do you put your hand on your hips, do you shake your finger, do you reason softly? Children are taught many things, some things we may have to teach them, like tying their shoes, but many things are learned as they watch what we do, and hear what we say.

And while in some ways children are a lot like us, there are other ways in which they are completely different. Children have a faith which is different than ours. Children trust in a way which is different than us. And children forgive in a way which is different that we do. For example, two children are fighting, and are stopped, 10 minutes pass, and they forget that they were fighting, and are friends again playing nicely. How can this be? It seems that children are taught to remember, and are taught what they should remember. They are taught about revenge and getting even. Who would teach such things?

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. --Matthew 18:2-3

For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. --Matthew 17:20

Why is this important? Well, I keep people saying we are too old to change. Yet this is exactly what God works in us in Baptism, he works change, it is a new beginning, we are born again … so that by the power of God we can become the children of God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. What we cannot do, God does for us. And so it is, that by the grace of God, every morning is a new beginning. It is possible because God forgives and forgets.

The only thing that keeps us from the steadfast love of the lord and his mercy, is us. Sometimes we are unwilling to let go of our sins, or our guilt. Holding on to the past, we find ourselves more and more burdened with all sort of things we should and ought do, and never enough time to get it done, and it paralyzes us, preventing us from doing anything. And then we feel sorry for ourselves, forgetting that we were the ones who held up the umbrella to prevent the mercy and grace of God from raining into our lives. It wasn’t the devil who did it to us, not that he didn’t encourage us, but we are the ones who are blocking the grace of God from entering our lives.

And without the grace of God, and his mercy new every day, we loose hope, and are discouraged. So perhaps we ought put away the umbrella, and invite God into our life, and allow his grace, mercy and love to fill our hearts and lives. For our faithful God who loves us greatly has given us an everlasting hope, and each day, a new beginning.

Now if this is good for us, why would we try to pull other back to a life of slavery? For it is one thing, when we hold the grace of God from us alone. It is another thing when we with old the grace of God from others, reminding them of the past, and bringing up the burdens that were cast on the Lord, telling them that they should carry their own load. And not only do we do this to others intentionally, but by our example we teach others to remember sins and to forget about God and his mercy.

Seems like we’ve got it backwards. We bring our sins to God, so that he can help us overcome them, and that they may be forgiven and forgotten, according to God’s plan the only thing we are to remember is the forgiveness that is ours in Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the grace and mercy which are new every morning. This is what we have hope, and this is the faith that leads us to life everlasting in Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Today ...

... energy has abounded in my house. This is [mostly] a good thing, although I felt like Cate was having some regression moments with her curiosity and getting into things she usually completely ignores.

... started with an electrician coming to install a ceiling fan in our bedroom. He rang the doorbell at 7:30 a.m., and while I was glad for him to be here to help us, I wish there was a universal rule about ringing the doorbell before 8 a.m. Thankfully, Cate slept through the ringing. And I'll likely sleep better tonight with air flow on my face.

... Ben must have needed to block out some of the energy that was abounding around him. The picture above is how I found him sleeping. Speaking Ben and his sleeping ... I wonder why he doesn't nap well in his crib, but he'll nap for hours in his swing. The weird part is that he sleeps well (7-9 hours) at night in his crib. Hey, at least he sleeps through the night, right?

... I was reminded how thankful I am to have two close friends here who have kids who have become Cate's friends. It's so worth the extra noise and commotion.

... I woke up with lots of unrelated things [ideas, projects, chores ...] on my mind. I've accomplished some and written down others so they don't escape my momma-mushy mind.

... I'm noticing Ben likes to hold toys [near his mouth so he can chew] and reach for toys even more. These early months are interesting because babies are always noticing something new and keeping their mommas on their toes with their ever-changing little lives.

So, now, enjoy another small snapshot of one of the little people who makes today what it is for me ... every day.