June 28, 2009

Loving every minute

I'm thankful for . . .

. . . a stress-free, problem-free drive down to Greenville on Friday. It literally seemed like we had been in the car for 2 or 3 hours when we got there.

. . . a few schedule changes on Friday that at first made it seem as if our vacation was being cut short, but actually made leaving more relaxed and enjoyable.

. . . friends with whom I can pick up where we left off even if we haven't seen each other in two years.

. . . a lovely baby boy coming in late July who made this trip and our reunion actually happen.

. . . a husband who likes my friends and their spouses and gets along well with them.

. . . the 110 degree heat index that made the air conditioning feel so lovely.

. . . the photo shoot in said heat that produced fantastic photos, even though everyone involved was dripping with sweat!

. . . a son who likes my friends and their children and enjoys playing with them. He's been so well behaved and has had such a good time.

. . . really meaningful quality time as a family.

. . . lunch today at Lotawata Creek. It had been too long. We did bypass Bobby's though, which was disappointing. Maybe we'll have to head to Ted Drewe's sometime to make up for it.

. . . 4 years on a campus, that still overwhelms me with good memories and sentiment every time I visit. I know that not all of my memories are good, but I can't seem to remember any of them when I'm here visiting.

. . . that I still have 4 1/2 days of friends and fun left!

I'll give details and share photos when I get home, but I'm feeling so grateful for this time away that we get!

June 27, 2009

Getting away . . .

We headed out on vacation today. Well, it's more of a reunion tour than a vacation.

Our first stop is Greenville, IL. We'll actually be there by the time this posts. Sarah's baby shower is Saturday and we're staying with she and Kevin until Sunday. I'd link to Sarah's blog, but it's private. Boo. It's supposed to be 100+ degrees there over the weekend. Two pregnant women + 100 degree heat = tons of fun . . . indoors. She's due with her baby boy next month and I'm so excited to see her and everyone else who will be there!

From there, we're headed to St. Louis for two nights at a hotel downtown. Jack is most excited about the pool at our hotel. We'll have some family time, but we're going to see more friends during the time we're in St. Louis and I'm so excited about this, too! Seriously, I'm smiling just typing this . . .

After St. Louis, we're headed to Springfield, IL for stop 3 of the reunion tour to see Heather and Ben.

From there, we head to Chicago for two nights with my sister. Maybe a little Taste of Chicago. Or maybe only things in air conditioned buildings . . . we'll see.

After Chicago, we head home to recover for a few days before the next camp starts on the 6th. I'm looking forward to it and I'm praying that Jack does well in the car and that we get some good quality time with him.

June 26, 2009

Small conversations, big blessings

We made a last minute trip to Target today to pick some things up for our trip (more on that later). I was half-listening to the broadcast from Crown Financial. I don't usually listen to talk radio, but my mind was wondering and I just didn't change the station.

Anyway, on the broadcast, they were talking about how God uses our money. They kept talking about God doing things with our money.

Jack had been pretty quiet and he asked, "What God do with money?"

I responded by saying, "Everything we have comes from God and belongs to him . . . we're just stewards of what he's given us." And then I realized that he has no idea what the word "steward" means.

So I told him that our money comes from God and our food comes from God and our house comes from God. Over the next minute or so, we named all kinds of things and talked about how they come from God . . . our clothes, our cars, etc.

I was so blessed by this conversation. When we stopped talking for a minute, I was a little teary and just thanked God for using my two-year-old to remind me of an important lesson that I needed to remember today. Everything we have comes from God and every success we gain is by his strength, not ours.

Jack had been quiet for a minute and then said, "God buy me popcorn combo at Target?"

I just laughed. I should have told him to start praying about it.

He giggled too when he realized he said something funny and said, "Mama love going Target with me?"

Yes. Yes, I do.

Catching up . . .

Ok, where to begin.

The first two weeks of camp have been swell. Sweltering. Hot. Actually, last week wasn't too bad, but this week has been insane. We definitely had a girl pass out in line for breakfast this morning. Yikes! Don't worry . . . she's doing fine.

Baby boy #2 is kicking like he looking for a way out. He kept me up a lot last night because of how much he's moving. At my check-up this week, the doctor called him "fiesty." I took that as a compliment on his behalf. Speaking of my check-up, I gained as much weight in the last four weeks as I did in my first 24 weeks of pregnancy combined. Which is just fantastic. So I'm feeling a little, um, heavy right now.

Jack's bedtime routine is getting, well, better. Not great, but we've seen progress. And I'm sure that leaving for a week is going to throw it all off. Oh, well. We checked on him the other night and found him sleeping like this:

WHat a funny kid.

He's saying all kinds of funny things and I just can't keep track of them all. He refers to us as "you guys" most of the time. Yesterday, he looked at the doctor and said, "You have stefescope like me!" The doctor kind of laughed and said, "Yes, I do." Jack then proceeded to tell the doctor all about the rash on his bottom. I probably could have just dropped him off and picked him up when his appointment was over.

Potty training was going well . . . until camp started. He LOVED potty time and would sit on the potty at bathtime every night and sometimes even let us know when he had to go during the day. That all ended a few weeks ago.

We let him try on some underwear a few weeks ago as an incentive, and he's NEVER had an accident, but as soon as he has to go he says, "diaper, please" and throws a fit if we mention the toilet. Even when he takes his diaper off and falls asleep at naptime, he wakes himself up if he has to go and asks for a diaper. I just wish we could get him to sit on the potty again, like he used to.

June 25, 2009

I totally missed it . . .

This week, I've been taking Jack home for a bath after dinner and then bringing him back for chapel in his pajamas. Last night, he didn't really want to sit with us, so he pulled a chair up next to the bleachers to be closer to the "big kids."

At one point I looked over and he was dancing and clapping in his chair and it was hilarious. I only caught the tail end of the clapping . . . I totally missed the dancing and it's killing me!

Oh well . . .

Untitled from Sara on Vimeo.

P.S. I got a new video camera (I didn't use it to shoot this clip, though . . . I used the sony)! I got it for a little over $100 and I LOVE IT! The video quality isn't as great as the sony, but it's MUCH easier to keep with us . . . which means more video of Jack to share. You can thank me later.

June 24, 2009


Because he finally has enough hair for one . . . thanks to Emily, the lifeguards and the housekeeping staff for making this picture possible!

June 23, 2009

I made popsicles . . .

. . . two weeks ago. And they're still in the freezer. I don't know why I even consider making anything during this time of year. We're at camp all day and never eat anything at home! I should take some to camp because they would be awesome on these incredibly hot days we're having.

But, if we can't eat them, I can at least share pictures.

I made two batches. The first was using this recipe and I used my star pop molds. They are delicious and fairly healthy!

I made the second batch with this recipe, and used some more traditional molds. These are way less healthy. Way.

June 22, 2009


Consider this an IOU for the following, that I haven't had time to write about over the last week . . .

:: Funny quotes
:: Potty regression
:: More of the big boy bed saga
:: Our first week of camp
:: Our vacation next week
:: My 28 week check-up
:: Lots of photos
:: Great Jack stories

Life is insane right now. Maybe I'll get a chance to update tonight. Or maybe instead, I'll be able to read the 60 bajillion posts in my google reader.


June 17, 2009

Bedtime story

When I went to get Jack to take him to lunch today, he turned to me and yelled, "STOP TALKING TO ME! STAY AWAY FROM ME!" Heartwarming, no?

But he made up for it tonight.

After I read to Jack tonight, I laid my head down on his mattress and just sat with him for a few minutes. After it was quiet for a bit, he said, "Hey, kid!" I just kind of laughed and he giggled back. We never refer to him as "kid" and I don't recall him ever referring to me as "kid" before. I wonder if he's picking this stuff up from our young teen campers. In any case, it cracked me up.

He said it again, "Hey, kid!"


"God! Loves! You! So! Much!" he yelled.

"I know he does. It's bedtime though. It's time to whisper.

A few seconds later he whispered, "Guess who?" Which is what he usually says when he means to ask, "Guess what?"

"What?" I responded.

"I love you." He said it in a high pitched voice mimicking the style in which I often tell him that I love him.

"I love you, too, Jack."

I love that kid.

June 16, 2009

No date, just breakfast . . .

This kid says the funniest things.

Last Friday, Jack woke up and I asked him if he wanted to go on a breakfast date with mama. He said, "No date. Just breakfast." I guess he thought we were moving our relationship a little too fast . . .

So we went to breakfast and to shop for Father's Day gifts. I thought Father's Day was last weekend, so I didn't realize I had another week! On our way into town, Jack said, "Mama, where did Jesus go?" He says a lot of things like this, including telling me often that he's "going to heaven to live with Jesus." To which I respond, "Yes, but that might be a long time from now." And then I pray and pray and pray that I'm right.

Anyway, I answered him and said, "Where do you think Jesus went?" He responded, "Jesus lives in my heart." I hadn't ever heard that from him before, but figured Kyle or one of his babysitters had talked to him about it or read about it to him in one of his books. I said, "Yes, you're right, Jesus wants to live in our hearts."

Later, I wanted him to repeat it for his dad and I said, "Jack, tell dad where Jesus lives?" And he replied, "In Chicago." Hmmmm . . .

When we were out, I let him play with my (locked) phone for a while to keep him occupied. At one point, he put it up to his ear and said, "Hi dad . . . we be home soon . . ." Later, I asked him if he called daddy and he said, "No, just textin' him."

Bedtime is slowly getting more manageable now that he has his new bed mattress on the floor. It does allow for me to lay with him for a little while before bed. He always asks, "Is mama gonna cuddle with me?" When I do, he wraps his arm around me and says, "It's ok, mama, it's ok." I don't usually say that to him, so it always cracks me up! Where does he get this stuff? He also give me unprompted "I loooove yous" in the same tone of voice that I say it to him at night. While it still takes a LONG time and a LOT of effort to get him down, I sure do love our cuddle times.

On the way to camp this morning (we drive separately), Kyle called me to let me know that Jack was in the back seat crying, "I want my Sara!"

What a funny kid.

Loving being a staff kid . . .

Jack is taking full advantage of the camp cooking class' generosity. I have a feeling that I'll be washing stains from that shirt tonight . . .

Totally worth it, though.

June 15, 2009

From the archives

Back when we were young . . . long, long ago . . . Kyle and I took a trip with a group of friends to St. Louis. While we were there, we visited the Spaghetti Factory. We had to wait about 2 hours for a table that could fit all of us, so we definitely had to come up with a few games to keep us entertained.

I remember that we had a scavenger hunt which included random things that we had to ask for (nothing could be taken without permission) and resulted in an ash tray which sat on my desk at camp for years. I don't smoke, but it did make for interesting conversation . . . that's for sure.

Anyway, another game was to get people to get people to make the shape of the arch with their arms without directly asking them to . . . which seems kind of dumb, but we were amused. Our friend, Ben (who is in the top 5 funniest people I know), did all of the asking and we did all of the standing back and laughing. He kept asking people for directions (which was funny, given the fact that you could see it from where we were standing) and asking how he'd know it when he saw it.

I had NO IDEA that I had taken pictures of him doing this and I was stunned when I found them on my camp computer today. Yes, we were lame, but looking at these pictures brings back fond memories . . . and they still make me laugh a little bit.

June 14, 2009

27 weeks? I honestly don't know.

For all of you who had flattering things to say about my picture from a couple of weeks ago . . . feast your eyes on my 24/25 week picture (please remember, I was on a camping trip and I hadn't had a shower in three days):

I guess in my defense, the shirt I'm wearing is not a maternity shirt, which I think makes me look bigger. But still . . . here's what I looked like at 25 weeks with Jack.

And here was my attempt to get a picture today . . . however far along I am (26/27 weeks?):

The lady in the post office asked when I was due. When I told her September, she gave me the standard, "Woah! Are you having twins?!" I feel huge but don't think I look big enough to be having multiples. I love it when people say that. Almost as much as I love it when they ask if I know what I'm having and they give me a sympathetic look when I tell them I'm having another boy. People are awesome.

I've said quite a bit that this baby doesn't move nearly as much as Jack did, but Wednesday night and Thursday proved that wrong! He was going crazy. Watching my belly move has, again, become one of my favorite things to do. And yes, I do make other people stop and watch, too.

He's definitely filling out the little space that he has more because I'm feeling him push himself into all kinds of fun places in my abdomen. While the movement is painful and annoying sometimes, I wouldn't trade for anything. I feel like I'm bonding with this little guy more and more every day, and though I have a lot to do before September, I honestly can't wait until he's here!

June 13, 2009

Big boy bed update

Yep, I was right. He's sleeping. On the floor. Without a diaper on.

But wasn't it kind of him to nicely place his diaper on the dresser instead of leaving it on the floor?

Sleepy time

There is no noise coming through the monitor, which might mean that Jack is finally asleep! It's his first naptime in his new room on his "new" bed. We've been pushed to our limit with crib climbing and 2 1/2 hour bedtime routines this week. I was feeling the effects emotionally and physically and we knew something had to change, especially since I'll be doing most bedtimes on my own for the next month or two.

Last night, we moved everything out of his new room and brought up the twin size mattress from the bed that my parents gave us. The mattress and a dresser with the drawers facing the wall are the only things in there so there's nothing for him to play with or be distracted by. It still took him 45 minutes to quiet down from yelling things like, "Mama, I have tears! Come get my tears!" Next thing you know, he'll be yelling things like, "DON'T YOU LOVE ME ANYMORE?!"

Last night as we were pulling our hair out trying to get him to bed, we explained to him that it would be his last night int he crib and that he would sleep in a big boy bed the next night. I was oddly unaffected by the whole thing. I've been crying over everything lately, but the stress of bedtime made me largely un-sentimental about the whole transition.

Until . . .

Last night he woke up crying at about 2 AM. I rarely get up when he cries because it takes me forever to get back to sleep. But I was dreaming about Jack at the time, so I popped up and headed to his room. All he needed was a hug (nothing he was saying was making any sense . . . I think he had a bad dream) and he laid right back down. I sat there for a minute just to be sure he was ok and the sentiment just overwhelmed me. This was the LAST TIME my baby would be sleeping in a crib. I sat there and just took it all in for a while before heading back to our bed (where I proceeded to lay awake for the rest of the night).

Totally unaware of his surroundings on his first night home:

Showing a little baby cleavage at 5 months:

Causing trouble at ten months:

Jumping at 13 months:

Ready for bed at 14 months:

I guess it's time to get it ready for our next little guy . . .

June 10, 2009

Because I felt like my schedule was missing something . . .

Since last June, when business really picked up, I've been approached by a dozen or so stationery companies about designing for them. A wide range of companies . . . some of them you've probably heard of, while others you probably haven't.

While I've been honored that they've been interested, none of them were really a good fit. Most of them want you to sell them your templates . . . and while you earn a hefty commission, you have little creative say in how the final product comes out when a consumer buys your card. Selling my templates scares me a little. Others allowed me creative freedom, but the style of their cards was different than what I consider to be my style. And a couple were my style and allowed me a voice in final product, but the companies were a little too big for my taste.

A little over a month ago, I received an e-mail from Heather of Peapod Announcements. I e-mailed her back (like I always do) and asked for more information, but figured it probably wouldn't be anything I was interested in.

But it was different this time.

This is a smaller (comparatively speaking), newer, mom-owned business. I definitely like the style of cards and of the site. Heather communicated that it was a friendly "work environment" and she even indicated from the start that she saw from my blog that I'm pregnant and knew I might need some time when the baby comes. There was a great combination of friendliness and professionalism in all of our communication. I felt comfortable with it right from the beginning.

So, while my etsy shop will stay open, I'll also be designing for Peapod. Along with my main job working full time at camp. And my other main job of taking care of Jack. And baby #2. And the whole photography thing on the side. I know it sounds like a lot . . . and it is. But if you know me at all, you know that I wouldn't have it any other way.

P.S. Just to be clear: If you see one of my designs on peapod and want it, you'll have to go through the peapod site. My designs there are exclusive to that site and I won't sell them anywhere else . . . including on etsy or individually.

June 9, 2009

We honestly don't know . . .

. . . where our two year old learned this stuff.

But it sure is cute.
  • Last night, when he was standing at the gate we've put at his bedroom door (we can't keep him in his crib, but we can keep him in his bedroom) he yelled, "Come on boys, help me out of here!" I wonder what "boys" he was referring to.

  • When I was getting him out of the car yesterday, Jack said, "Yay! You shirt covers you belly, Mama!" For those of you who don't know me . . . I don't wear shirts that bear my midriff ever. Much less, when I'm pregnant.

  • Speaking of my belly, last night at dinner, I got pizza on my belly and didn't notice. Kyle pointed it out to me and Jack said, "Baby brother can eat it!"

  • Tonight, we were leaving Jack's room at bedtime and he said, "I love you guys. Adios." Cute, right? He then climbed out of his crib 55 times. Not so cute.
As frustrating as his current stage is . . . especially at this time of year . . . I really do love this kid more than I can explain.

June 7, 2009

There is a reason . . .

. . . for my blog silence.

I'm dealing with the aftermath of being away from Jack for two nights. Overdramatic? Perhaps.

But it's like we're starting over with all things discipline. Don't get me wrong . . . he did great with my in-laws and they did great with him. He's just in a stage that made it hard on him for us to be away, no matter who he was with. I just ignored my maternal instinct that was telling me to stay . . . I thought it was pregnancy hormones and anxiety. But in retrospect, I'm pretty sure it was instinct. And we're paying for it.

I have lots of stories from the campout with our staff and from our weekend with Jack that like to share (including the fact that he was reading signs to us when we were out on Saturday . . . and I'd be lying if I didn't say it freaked us out a little). I'll tell you about those things later this week.

For now, I'm investing most of my free time (of which there is little) into my cute little monster Jack.

June 3, 2009

And we're off . . .

We headed out for our campout this morning. Actually, by the time this posts, we'll probably be there. I really am looking forward to it, but I have a feeling being away from Jack is going to be harder now than it was back in December. My pregnancy hormones are FULL SWING.

Just sitting here I'm worried about all of the things that could happen to us while we're gone. At the same time, I'm worried that something will happen to him and that we won't be reachable. I just can't stop praying that God will keep all three of us (well, four of us, I guess) safe.

I've been crying over everything. We celebrated Jack's actual birthday at camp yesterday. I picked up a store-bought cake from Sam's Club (which was good, but kind of a let down if you're used to dining on Maria's cupcakes). I got it all the way back to camp and the girls from the kitchen and I were discussing how big the pieces should be in order to feed the whole staff and I noticed they were all kind of looking at the cake in a strange way.

I didn't request any special decoration on the cake. THe baloons, zig zags, swirls, etc. aren't really my thing, so I just asked for it to have a blue border with "Happy Birthday Jack" written on it.

So when I noticed them studying the cake, I looked at it carefully and realized that the cake said, "Happy Birthday JAKE." Yep, I lost it.

It's just a cake. And even if Jack could read his name in cursive, the chances of him or anyone else noticing were zero. Shoot, I didn't even notice when I looked at it the first few times.

Nonetheless, the floodgates that I had been trying to keep closed all day can bursting open. The poor kitchen staff had to witness the "ugly cry." So Sherrie did her best to fix it and I appreciated her effort.

Later in the evening, Jack was playing with a helium filled balloon that his grandma got for him and the balloon floated up to the unreachable rafters of the A-Frame building. I could tell that he was doing his best to hold it together and I was on the verge of losing it just watching him. All the way home he kept saying, "Mommy, I want my birthday back please" and I kept choking up. Over a balloon.

I have a feeling that when we leave (or left) today, I'm going to be weepy. If you think of us over the next few days, just pray that our time away with our staff will be beneficial, that I'll be able to think clearly and not worry about all of the things that could happen to any of us while we're apart and that Jack will have a great time with his grandparents.

June 2, 2009

Dear Jack, Month 24

Dear Jack,

"New things that you do" have been plentiful this month. Moreso, new things that you say. With the exception of a few grammatical errors here and there, you carry on conversations like a regular person now. We have conversations about things you've done that day. We talk about Jesus. You sing songs. You ask questions. You make sure that everyone in the room knows what you're going to go do before you leave to do it. You're beginning to ask for things by saying, "May I please . . . " You're a little man.

We're starting to see the kind of person you're becoming, Jack. I don't think there's any two year old out there that is as encouraging as you are. When I'm taking "my turn" brushing your teeth you gag until I take the toothbrush out of your mouth just so you can say, "Good brushing, mommy!" When I sing to you at night, you say, "Good singing, mommy." There was a song on the radio on our way home last night that came to an end and you started clapping saying, "Good job, song! Good job!" I think that this tendency to encourage is something innate. I don't think we've taught you to be that way as much as it is just a part of who you are. In all of the orneriness and trouble you give us sometimes, this is a sweet part of your heart that I hope stays in some way, shape or form

During my freshman year in college, I was trying to offer words of encouragement to an acquaintance/friend who was having a rough day. She looked at me and said, "You don't have to be the encouragement queen, you know." I wasn't exactly sure what she meant, but I took that to heart and worried that if I encouraged people too much, I'd be considered fake. I worried that no one would take me seriously. To this day, I still think about that comment and hesitate before offering words of encouragement. Don't let anyone discourage you from encouraging others. Don't let anyone discourage you from using a tendency that is so obviously God-given.

Two years ago around now, I was holding you and kissing you and staring at you in amazement. I couldn't believe that you were here. I couldn't believe that I was your mom.

We don't deserve you Jack. There is nothing we have ever done to deserve a kid as great as you are. Every day, even the rough days, you're a constant reminder of God's grace and the undeserved blessings He bestows on us.

Shortly before we put you to bed tonight, I held you for a while and smothered you with kisses (to which you responded by saying, "I got snot on you!") and stared at you for a brief moment in amazement. I still can't believe that we're lucky enough to have you here. And I still can't believe that I get to be your mom.

I love you so much,


Take a deep breath . . .

By now, everyone's heard about the GM bankruptcy and the issues that accompany that whole mess. The ramifications for the area in which we live are tremendous . . . for lack of a more accurate word to describe it. We know too many employees (and retirees) who are at risk of losing jobs (and pensions). And the number businesses and suppliers that are also being forced into bankruptcy because of money lost from bad GM debts is unreal. With the number of those employees and retirees living in our state, the expected trickle down effect in this area is phenomenal. Overwhelming, actually.

I had a post that I started last week about this tragedy for our area . . . is that too melodramatic? To call it a tragedy? It feels like it's appropriate. But today, Phil had a post that I really appreciated. So, I deleted what I wrote and I'll just point you over that way.