Sunday, December 30, 2007

I'm No Fun..

Posted by Mandy at 2:14 PM 5 comments Links to this post

... at theme parks. Unless you need a sitter for your kids, then you'll LOVE taking me along. I realized that i never posted about our weekend trip we took to Hot Springs back in October and our visit to Magic Springs. (which was SO awesome... our first time going!) Here's Clayton, all alone on this ride that shoots you into the air and back down over and over again. Forget that! No way am I getting on something like that! Thankfully he couldn't try to beg or force me to since it was just the two of us and the three kids. Someone had to stay below with the children and I gladly accepted that challenge! I could barely take this picture of him I was so nervous. Yes, even watching him do the rides made me nearly throw up. I kept asking, "Are you sure you want to do this ride? Really? Why?!" He did everything.. all of the fast ones, big ones, loopty-loop ones, back and forth, here-there-and-everywhere ones... all of 'em. I watched in horror at them all. He even got Madison on a pretty scary ride that she was just big enough for. She got off saying how much she hated it and she was "never doing that again!" She is quite the daredevil though.. she did a lot of stuff I thought she'd be afraid on, with Daddy right by her side. Carter is more like me... he kept saying things were "too high" and "too fast" and "too scary." Yes my son, they are. I'm sure we'll go a few times this coming summer... we've yet to see the water park and all of the thrills and chills it holds. I'll be in the wading pool with my two boys in their life jackets while Clayton and Madison go down all of the slides and rides. Amazing how they scream with joy the entire way down, while I'd be screaming my head off just KNOWING I was falling to my demise. Maybe one day I'll understand how feeling your stomach in your throat and having no control over your own body falling and sliding is fun. Until that day comes... you can find me in the lazy river or with my hands over my face peeking through my fingers at the bottom of whatever ride my husband is climbing onto.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Divorce: Thumbs Down

Posted by Mandy at 5:23 PM 6 comments Links to this post
I'll preface this post by saying that I mean no judgement of any of you that have gotten divorced... this is just from the life of someone who grew up with parents divorced and is STILL dealing with life after it. Of all the reasons not to get divorced... as of this week my number one would be b/c it makes your ADULT children's lives INSANE. Instead of Clayton and I having two sets of parents to visit between us.. we have four. FOUR. Add to that that both of our siblings spouse's' parents are also divorced, and you're looking at a virtually impossible feat to get together with "your" family for any holiday all at the same time. We'll be having our fourth round of Christmas tomorrow here at our house with my Dad and stepmother and my sister and brother-in-law and nephews. I am DONE celebrating. I am DONE cooking and cleaning. I am DONE finding places to put the presents that everyone is so thoughtful to buy. I keep worrying that I'm forgetting some part of the family that we still have to find time to go visit or have over that's going to come out of the woodwork any minute now. Don't get me wrong.. I love my family. I love entertaining them and going to visit them. What I don't love is that all of that overshadows the joy that SHOULD be the holiday season. (any holiday season) Thankfully this year we put our foot (feet) down and had Clayton's mom and her family come here to see us and also my dad and his family. This is the first year we've refused to drive to see each of them individually. Thankfully they're very understanding and just want to do what's easiest for us... no big deal for them to drive to us this year. (new tradition in the making!) So, if you decide you just can't stand your spouse anymore... that you would rather stick hot pokers under your fingernails than hear them breathe... just think of all of the gas money you're saving your children in the future by sticking it out!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Posted by Mandy at 6:14 PM 4 comments Links to this post

Finally sat the kids down for some quick Christmas pics. They did really well! I was so happy to get some good ones.

This picture, Clayton and I decided, is so fitting for the three of them. There's Carter, the never-ending goofball. Then Princess Madison perfectly posed and smiling. Last, but not least, little Samuel, the cute and sweet baby. It will be interesting to see if these three posers change their poses as the years go by. Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happy Post

Posted by Mandy at 12:02 PM 8 comments Links to this post
I couldn't think of anything to blog about, but wanted to blog, so here's just a happy post. Some things that have made me happy lately.... because I know you all are dying to know what floats my boat!

* Samuel's 6 month checkup went well today. One shot (I delay vaccinations a bit), a clean bill of health, and confirmation that I'm not crazy, he really is that big. (90% still... no wonder he's outgrowing EVERYTHING.)

*Carter loves to read finally. He brings me books constantly. I was worried he'd never like to read!

* Christmas is right around the corner! We start celebrating this weekend with my mom and sister and family... yippie!

* I lost another pound... WOOT!

* My husband is back home!

* He did dishes, swept the kitchen, did laundry, and put away random things in our room while I was with Samuel at the doctor's this morning. Told ya he's the best!

* I have Parent Group tonight. It's like free therapy. My kids and husband have no idea how happy they should be that I've attended this all of these years.

* I got to see "silly me" and her kids for the first time in FOREVER last week. Makes me miss them more... got to get back there soon.

* Football season will be over soon... Praise the Lord I won't have to watch NFL anymore SOON!

* I met two other moms with three small children at the dr's office this morning and they seemed to love and enjoy their children.

* I feel like, for the first time in a long time, I might actually be almost to the place God wants me to be. I say "almost" b/c we can never really be "there"... but I'm trying and feeling good about life and myself again. I found the Joy again!

* Madison's Christmas party at school is this Thursday and she's so thrilled that I'm coming. Her friends all know me and seem to think we're all just neat. (some of the kids are always freaked out by Clayton.. if he shows up to eat lunch with her in uniform some of the kids look like they want to hide under the table) I love being able to go to all of her school stuff. Makes me feel so "mom-ish."

* I got to see a picture of Maury and her family hanging on 'silly me's' fridge while visiting and it was funny b/c it made me really realize that she's a real person... not just a name on the internet. (beautiful family those Drapers' are!)

* I'm letting go of all of my baby clothes. Okay, so I'm not necessarily happy about this, it down right breaks my heart, but i'm TRYING to get happy about it so here it is on the happy post!

*I gave a ton of Madison's clothes to a good friend and it made me happy to see how happy it made her. (and her kids! dress up time!)

* You people read my blog even though I don't know why. I don't think I'm interesting at all so thanks for always showing up to see what random rambling post I've put up. Your comments make my day. (and I don't know why that is either... lol)

Monday, December 17, 2007

More free advertising

Posted by Mandy at 2:24 PM 4 comments Links to this post

Here is Sam in the Ergo... now almost stable enough to ride on my back. He definitely likes being facing me tummy to tummy better (closer to the groceries) but I can see that this back hold is going to be great in the future! The one disadvantage to the back hold with an infant is they have total access to your hair... even if you pull it up those little hands grab it! This is something we'll work out when toddlerhood is here. All of you Ergo users, what age did you start using the back hold more than the front hold? And, does anyone like the hip hold? Samuel isn't quite big enough for that yet, but I tried it anyway and it wasn't all that comfortable.. maybe when he's bigger?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Look at me!

Posted by Mandy at 9:23 AM 3 comments Links to this post

My little Samuel is 6 months old today. He's starting to sit up with some help from the beloved Boppy and his favorite past time is eating. Eating ANYTHING.. milk, baby food, bits of my food... whatever he's allowed to put into his mouth basically. Amazingly he's just getting longer right now, not fatter. I think he's growing faster than his weight can keep up with! He's closing in on a size 9-12 month, which I don't own in winter clothes so that's what he's getting for Christmas. You really shouldn't have to buy new baby clothes your third time around!

He's such a talented baby... he says scooting forwards is for the birds.. he's all about pushing himself backwards, and then screaming at the toy that he's trying to get to, but keeps getting farther away from. Poor thing. Being a baby must be so stressful. No teeth yet... but with a ton of drool, biting, and crying here and there I'm guessing any day now he'll pop one or two out.

He's still content and happy most of the time. He's the most social of all of my babies... loves anyone that will hold him, usually. He laughs, and laughs, and laughs all day long. Just saying the words "Peek-a-boo!" to him gets a laugh. No hiding required. Madison is sure to spoil him rotten as he grows up. She says to me more and more, "Samuel is such a cute baby! I don't want him to get any bigger!" *sigh* Yes, I know.. me either. I thought that about each of the kids. Good thing they've gotten to be so much fun in their older ages to make up for the other stuff that comes along with having an older child.
So here's the littlest Moss... half a year old already. Time goes too quickly.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ain't No Other Man

Posted by Mandy at 7:30 AM 5 comments Links to this post

For more reasons than I'll bore you with today, I just wanted to say how proud I am of my husband. He's always being recognized at his job for being outstanding, always being picked for "special assignments", and it seems like everyone he works with, and even arrests, just really respect him and think he's such a nice guy. (which he is) He's going to be gone on a special assignment this week.. and though I'm really going to miss him, I'm so excited for this oppertunity for him and so proud that he got chosen to do it. How did I get so lucky? How did I get to be the woman God chose to be with him? To have three beautiful children with him? I tell him all of the time that he needs to ask his parents what they did to raise him to be who he is today, and DO THAT with our boys! It seems all too rare to find boys and men today that are respectful, have good manners, hold their tongues, and actually enjoy being with their families. His little girl looks at him like he's the sun and the moon. He looks at her with fear of what's to come... a daddy's love can hardly handle knowing what the future might hold! Our boys look up to him and are hopefully learning how you can be both tough and loving. I look to him as my rock, my always consistent stability. If he says things are okay, I'm like a child believing that they really are. So, enough of the mushiness I guess... I'm just thinking of these things knowing I'm about to be without him for a while and knowing I'm going to miss him like crazy. Pray for my peace while he's away!
by the way, for you unhip folks, the title of my post comes from a newer Christina Aguilara (sp?) song with that title that I've labled "my song" for Clayton.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

So grown up

Posted by Mandy at 10:25 AM 4 comments Links to this post

When did my baby girl turn into a big girl? When did running and giggling with her girlfriends become more fun than running and giggling with me? When did the little boys in her class start to think she was just as beautiful as I do? More importantly, where did she learn to say "Not until I'm a teenager" when a boy tried to kiss her in school? (that's my girl!) She skips around totally unaware of what a stunningly beautiful child she is. She has no idea that she's one of the smartest kids on earth. She doesn't realize that when I see her with many of her friends from school, I just notice "something" amazingly different about her. She's still too young to understand why she gets in trouble for pouting in public, but she's old enough now to think it odd when she sees other children do the same. I get sad as I watch her grow, her sweet innocence slowly fading away. One day she'll understand things about boys, war, friends, and life that I never wanted to her understand. But, for now, I'm so happy to have my little girl just be little. I'm holding on to bedtime stories, drawing books together, having to tell her to put clothes on because she still lacks modesty most of the time, picking out her clothes, pulling up her hair, laughing at "that part" in her favorite kid movie, and her thinking that I am the best person on the planet. She still misses me when she's at school during the day, she still gets excited every single day when she sees me pulling up to get her. One day she'll drive herself and probably won't want to come home until she must... her friends will be the only thing on her mind. Her outfit that SHE picked out will be ruling her thoughts. She'll go through phases of thinking she hates me because I won't let her go "here" or wear "that".... but she'll grow up and realize, like we all do from time to time, that I was right. (one can hope) So, here's to my little girl.. that's slowly slipping into a realm of big girlness that I'm not sure I'm ready for. I'm just clinging to this phase of life with her as long as I can.
*Madison and two friends at her 6th bday party... madison on the left

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Yes, I am... still

Posted by Mandy at 5:15 PM 8 comments Links to this post
Doesn't it always happen right around the 6 month mark? The oh so dreaded, "Are you still nursing him?" Okay people... this isn't directed to ANYONE that reads my blog, so don't feel attacked lol.. but I'm getting this more and more from some family and even STRANGERS! Sheesh! Mind ya biz-nez! I just don't get it... the AAP says babies should be breastfed for one year... The WHO (World Health Organization) says TWO years is the minimum to shoot for... so what's up America?! And what am I supposed to do... wean him from the breast to buy formula for the next 6 and 1/2 months? Seriously? Why? (yes, this is what people think you are SUPPOSED to do.. weird) I found a shirt online that says in big bold print "Yes, I'm still nursing" for babies.. I'm so gonna buy it in the next few months! lol Just a heads up you all... don't be shocked if I'm still nursing a while from now. I shoot for about two years... yeah, I'm in serious "pervert" "weirdo" "sicko" land there aren't I? I figure it goes well with my cosleeping, organic buying, no spanking, baby wearing, no crying it out self... might as well throw as much 'weird' stuff together in my parenting bag as i can, right? I think my new responce to anyone who thinks it's strange that I'm still breastfeeding now is going to be, "wow, if you think it's weird now, you're really going to be freaked out to see this when he's 5!"

Monday, November 26, 2007


Posted by Mandy at 10:04 AM 8 comments Links to this post

Yesterday (november 25) was our 7 year anniversary. :) Clayton's grandmother called to wish us a happy one and asked "Did you celebrate?" Clayton's answer, "Yeah, we got each other cards and wished each other a Happy Anniversary." lol Oh yeah... we're SO romantic! We did have a really good day together just being home and relaxing. If we'd have been able to plan our perfect wedding, I'd have never done it right now... doing it right in the middle of the major holiday season makes the celebrating funds kinda low and you're so worn out from just doing Thanksgiving, and knowing Christmas is right around the corner, there's just no drive to go and do much. lol

This picture I posted is actually one of the few I have of us together! Usually he's in them or I am.. someone has to take them! This was literally the DAY before Samuel was born... so be forgiving when you look at it. lol I'd post an old one of us but I'd have to find one and scan it in and all of that... another day, another post!

So, 7 years married! (almost 10 together) Amazing how time flies! He's still the complete love of my life. I honestly wouldn't be me without him. He's such a fantastic man... I always feel so lucky to be married to him. I'm always proud to be on his arm and to walk into a room with him. And he still makes me feel like the most gorgeous woman in the world... he still looks at me like he did when we first met... somehow. lol (after 3 kids that's a sure sign of true love!) So, here's to my sweetie! The best guy in the world!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thank you!

Posted by Mandy at 6:56 AM 8 comments Links to this post

Thank you Hyland's Teething Tablets for making my baby boy smile again! Wow, these things are like a miracle sent directly to Earth from God's hand. I could hear the angels singing as my all day screaming baby drifted peacefully to sleep last night with no tears. My baby that as been biting me every single time I've nursed him for days on end, nursed with zero bites after the two itty bitty tablets. The baby boy that's only slept for about 45 minutes at a time, day and night, only woke twice between the hours of 9pm and 6am to eat and then go right back to sleep. Yes... a miracle indeed!! I will forever sing the praises of Hyland's Teething Tablets! Expect it in any baby shower gift bag I put together from now on.

Friday, November 16, 2007

It's in the air!

Posted by Mandy at 9:29 AM 2 comments Links to this post

No, not MRSA... CHRISTMAS! This is a picture of the kids and I at Clayton's mom's house last year during Christmas. I was a few months pregnant with Samuel and the kids were 5 and 2... my how the family has changed in a year!

This morning was so wonderful. We walked outside to find frost covering everything! Carter burst out of the front door shouting "It snowed! It snowed!" and Madison giggled and corrected him. It was so cold when we first went outside that we laughed about that.... until Carter started nearly crying about it. Mommy didn't think to warm the van up before we got into it this morning so we froze for a few minutes! Everything was so beautiful all glistening with frost that it just really put me in the Christmas spirit. I know, it's not even Thanksgiving yet.. but almost! We heard our first Christmas song on K-Love this morning (Rockin` around the Christmas Tree) and it got me so excited that I looked through my cd's and pulled out our own Christmas mix. We listened to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" first and then followed it with a Nutcracker mix... Madison LOVES that music since it was what their Christmas program in Kindergarten was about. (it was so cute!) I know I'll amazingly be sick of Christmas music by the time the day actually comes and goes, but for now it's so much fun to get in the mood for Christmas songs, trees, decorations, lights, hot chocolate, pumpkin and banana bread, and more turkey in the next two months than I can even think about right now. I've even just started buying gifts, which is early for me.. I do everything so last minute! I can't wait to see presents all wrapped and pretty under the tree. And, last year clayton surprised me with a bigger pre-lit tree (on major sale at WalMart!) and I can't wait to get that sucker up! Hooray! It's almost Christmas!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Parenting tips from the Bible

Posted by Mandy at 6:27 AM 1 comments Links to this post
It's amazing to me how I can hear/read a verse in the Bible that has nothing to do with parenting but at the same time I can so relate it to raising children.

The Journey Gals are doing a Beth Moore Bible study right now called Stepping Up. We're only on week two and all I can say is WOW! Sunday night we were watching the dvd of Beth M. and she was reading from Hosea and this verse struck me. In context it's about how Israel turned away from God and started worshipping pagan gods and believing that those gods had given them their vineyards and orchards and basically all that was good for them. So, of course God was displeased.... but this is what he says...

Hosea 2:14 - "Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her."

Now, God had already reprimanded them, but here he is, being merciful and even tender to the people that had basically forgotten him. After all of the sin and wrong they had done, he still was tender with them. What a lesson for me! I do try to be tender with my children... but how hard is that when they've REALLY got you peeved? When the back talking is getting to be more than you can handle, when you feel like you've said "no" a million times that day and are talking to yourself, when you're just having one of those days? If God can speak "tenderly" to Israel when they've basically completely turned away from him, then surely I can speak tenderly to my children in the midst of a bad day. I caught myself a few times yesterday wanting to raise my voice and be more of a dictator to my 3 year old (he is SO 3 right now!) and instead, I stopped, took a few deep breaths, and spoke to him in a soft and tender way. I still held the consequences that I put into place with him for rules broken... but it seemed so much more effective since I was still having mercy on his little heart. This goes hand in hand with what we've been talking about in Parenting Group. Using "I" statements instead of "You" statements. (I feel *** when you *** because ***) instead of (You don't ***!!) It's a hard thing to do in the heat of the moment.. but it's my goal! I think I need to write this verse down and hang it all over my house!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What's with the attitude?

Posted by Mandy at 6:47 AM 6 comments Links to this post
I was walking through WalMart, boys in tow, yesterday morning after dropping off Madison at school. We were having a really great time! We went to the "Christmas Shop" section and literally looked at every single thing in there. Isn't that the best?! We finished up there and headed to grab diapers... passing the women's clothing section to get there. They had several shirts hanging up with frowny or mad or frustrated looking faces on them. One said, "I think it's cute that you think I'm listening" and another said, "When I said I liked you I was lion." (a lion pictures on the front.. ha ha) Does anyone else ever get really tired of seeing this stuff? I mean, seriously.. if you're attitude is SO negative that you feel the need to display it across your chest perhaps you should seek counseling or a more positive way to get those feelings out! It's like people are just totally accepting and satisfied with having a chip on their shoulder and have no problem telling everyone around them to "watch out." What's the message you're trying to get across? "Don't approach me." "I hate people" "I'm mean" "I'm in a bad mood.. permanently"?? If you just like the shirts with sayings and pictures on them.. why not pick the ones with the big yellow smiley faces on them that say "SMILE" on them? One with a picture of the cross and an uplifting Bible verse on it? Or the infamous "Peace" shirts with the oh so groovy peace signs across them? I just wish we as a society would think more about what we put out there for the public to see. No wonder Americans can be so depressing and rude and unhappy! Sometimes I wonder if people think that smiling at a stranger is just something old fashioned or "fake" people do. So, my good people, let's all try to think about what kind of person we're presenting to the world when we walk outside of the four walls we're in right now. And, trust me, I'm aware that I can sometimes have an attitude.. but I do genuinely TRY to be humorous about it. Laughing about things is my way of trying to get over it, or lessen my negative feelings about it. That's why I tend to call my friend "Silly Me" (sorry, I don't know how to link you!) when I'm frazzled over something... she tends to do the same thing. I called her just yesterday to vent a bit about my wonderful hubby and we ended up laughing quite a bit about our men in general... THAT'S what we all need. A friend that helps pull you out of your slump instead of joining in the gripe fest with you, telling you how RIGHT you are, how awful your husband is. That, to me, is a sign of a good christian friend. One with a good attitude, that you know you can call to vent about your husband to and you KNOW they know you still love and adore your man and they think nothing less of him and can help you laugh yourself over it. That's what we all need, a good laugh. Every single day. At least a real smile everyday. lol So, as you step out into this big grand world, double check what message you have, literally and figuratively, written across your chest and what impact it might make on the people around you. And ask yourself what impact it is you're on this earth to make. Thank you and goodnight. ;)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Belated Halloween

Posted by Mandy at 5:51 PM 3 comments Links to this post

So I'm a bit behind but still wanted to share a bit of our Halloween with you all. Here's a picture that just makes me laugh! It's so "us' right now. Carter loved digging the "seaweed" (yeah, that's what he called it) out of the pumpkin and then playing with it in the garbage bowl. Notice his almost evil laugh going on? Samuel is licking and biting my arm because he thinks that if it's Mommy's skin.. there's a chance milk just might seep out. And I'm acting like I'm not getting slobbered on and I'm not quite afraid that pumpkin "seaweed" is about to be flung all over me. I think I pulled it off okay. Madison was dying to carve pumpkins and then got really bored with it really fast... hence why she's not pictured here. Clayton did ALL of the work yet was nice enough to snap this picture like I had anything to do with it. (well, I did hold the baby)

Here are the kids in their costumes. Madison was a fairy (she didn't have her wings on here though.. phewy!) and Carter was Bobba Fett from Star Wars. He didn't like the helmet so it's also not pictured. Samuel didn't wear a costume... he wore a "Baby's First Halloween" shirt that was covered up by the Ergo the entire night. (so I'm glad I didn't spend any money on another costume!) He's the first Moss baby to not have a costume.. I just knew I'd be carrying him all night and wanted us both to be comfy.

Pardon this pic of Samuel.. I was a busy mommy and didn't take one of him before we got home from trick or treating and he'd smeared carrots all over his outfit and face. You get the idea though. He's cute enough to pull off the messy look. I love my boys!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Sleeping In

Posted by Mandy at 3:32 PM 3 comments Links to this post
Since Clayton is still on nights I've been taking full advantage of him being home in the mornings. This morning he got up with all of the kids around 7:30am and I got to "sleep in" until around 9am. (yeah.. seriously!) My question is.. is it really "sleeping in" if you're up every hour from 4am until 9am and you finally decide to just get up at 9am rather than try to sleep? And, you didn't go to bed until around midnight that night? (Samuel was SO much fun last night... ) Just wondering... because when I crawled into the living room this morning, Clayton asked if it felt good to "sleep in" this morning... and I wasn't sure if I wanted to laugh or cry. It's amazing how even being in bed for that long... you can still sleep so little! Thankfully we've had a GREAT day today. Samuel and Carter spent around 5 minutes straight just laughing hysterically back and forth at each other... it was so sweet!! That's the first time that's happened... there's that "brotherly love" I guess! Sam's not been napping well today... so I'm praying he's saving it up to sleep many many hours tonight... wish me luck!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Brotherly Love

Posted by Mandy at 7:52 AM 4 comments Links to this post

This is a picture of Carter and Samuel when Sam was about 3 weeks old. I was just talking to Leeann the other day about how when I was pregnant I was SO worried about how Carter would do with no longer being the baby of the family... that he'd hate the baby, or be angry with me, or just sad that he was "pushed aside" for this new little bundle. What a shock that he's stepped right into the big brother role with flying colors! He LOVES his baby... that's what he calls Sam.. "his" baby. Just lately he calls him his "brudder" which melts me. It has occured to me that I really don't know what to expect out of two brothers. I had two step brothers that I grew to love over the years, but I know it's very different from the way I felt/feel about my biological sister that I can't remember my life without. I know what sisterly love is like... but brotherly love? What does that look like? What will they be like together in the future? I can just imagine them wrestling and giggling together in the living room, playing dump trucks in the dirt outside, playing swords and guns, riding bikes, jumping in mud puddles, and of course, pestering their sister. I know that my sister and I still hug each other and give kisses on the cheek.. and always have. Will my boys be this way together? Will they show affection the way we did or will two brothers' love for each other be much different? I can't wait to find out! I'm so excited to see them grow up together. Siblings are such a blessing... even though they can sometimes seem like such the opposite.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sammy Sam at 4 months

Posted by Mandy at 1:04 PM 4 comments Links to this post

My big man is 4 months old now. He had his checkup today and it went great. He's 14 pounds, 13oz (50%) and I can't remember how long he was in inches but he was in the 90% for height. He's in the midst of a growth spurt right now too... all he's done for 48 hours is eat, sleep, and fuss... so I'll be curious to see what his weight is a week or two from now. He got two shots... he was due for 3 but I've got a two at a time rule so I'll take him back in a few weeks to get that other one. He's doing fine after his shots.. much better than last time when I let them talk me into getting all four of them! He's just been happy as he can be! He's doing everything a 4 month old should be doing and is in perfect health. I couldn't be happier! He's started rolling over now! He can roll from his back to his stomach on purpose.. and has twice accidentally kicked himself over from his tummy to his back. He almost looked scared when that happened. lol He is just so playful right now... he's such a joy! Now, if he'll start sleeping for me again after this growth spurt I'll be truly satisfied!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Race for the Cure

Posted by Mandy at 6:33 AM 4 comments Links to this post

This isn't the best quality picture (it's a scan of one my mom printed out for me) but this is my sister, samuel, and me after we had finished Race for the Cure standing in front of the infamous big pink ribbon. It's such a bitter sweet experience each year. Seeing all of the "in celebration of" tags on every one's shirts is a great feeling... but it always makes me cry at least once to read the hundreds and probably thousands of "in memory of" tags others are wearing. Seeing young children walking with their fathers in memory of their mothers... that is just almost too heartbreaking to witness. But, besides that... it really is always a good time. Sam was nice and slept comfortably in the Ergo the entire time.. and I was so thankful for the hood it has on it since it was quite chilly while we were out there! He was nice and toasty up against me! My legs were really burning by the time we finished! That boy got quite heavy after the first mile.. and the second bridge. My sister kept asking if I wanted her to hold Samuel for a while but I was afraid if I woke him up taking him out I'd have to find a spot on the interstate somewhere amongst 45,000 women and try to feed him... so I opted to just endure it and consider it my exercise for the entire weekend. I love all of the free stuff we get each year too. We were a little late so we didn't get the great Ford scarfs that we always seek out... and they were so cute this year... but we did get free ice cream that was super yummy, free drinks, bracelets, necklaces, etc. And... the show the firemen always put on towards the middle of the race is always worth going to see. The entire crowd just came to a dead stop in front of the fire truck they were dancing on top of! I was pushing past trying to keep moving.. if I stopped in that crowd of screaming women I knew my lil` guy was going to stir! So... we did finish the race and enjoyed it! I look forward to it every year. I looked for the Journey girls but didn't see a one of 'em. I tried my best to get on tv.. did anyone see me? ;) My mom said I should have stopped in front of the cameras to breastfeed and then say something like, "I'm reducing my chance of breast cancer every time I feed my baby!" ... probably would've worked...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Joyful things

Posted by Mandy at 10:58 AM 6 comments Links to this post

We all know the big things in life that give us joy. Things like our kids, our health, our family and friends... this silly face Carter always makes... But what about the smaller, seemingly insignificant things in our lives that make us happy? I always wonder what everyday things bring joy to others... here are some that bring joy to me:

* When there is a sink full of dirty dishes, and I open the dishwasher to find that it's empty or it's already partially loaded with other dirty dishes.... what joy to not have to empty the dishwasher first!

* A car pulls out of a close parking spot right as I pull up... "Thank you Lord for giving me this parking space!"

* Clayton tells me I look nice, and I know he really means it and isn't just saying it b/c he isn't sure if he's told me recently.

* Someone notices something I've done to the house... even just "wow, your sink sure is clean!" (by the way, Leeann is the BEST at this.. she notices everything and is so quick to dish out compliments!)

* Samuel doesn't spit up after nursing

* Someone doesn't look at me weird because I'm breastfeeding

* Someone says, "Oh, my kid does that same thing.." right when I'm needing to hear it.

* I'm able to give someone advice and they really take it to heart... and it helps them.

* I tell my kids that it's clean up time and they hop right to it

* Clayton takes his shoes off before walking on our light colored carpet

* The teachers don't tell Madison to "hurry up" as soon as she steps into the van when I pick her up after school.. instead they tell her they hoped she had a great day and they can't wait to see her tomorrow.

* I cook and everyone eats without complaint

* Clayton's home to help with bedtime

* The kitchen floor isn't sticky

* I take the booster seat off of the kitchen chair and there isn't random and old food underneath it

* The sippy cup I found under the couch had water or juice in it... not milk

* Clayton washes clothes and doesn't ruin my "dry clean only" clothes

* Madison wears her "dry clean only " clothes and doesn't ruin them

* The hangers don't get hung up together when I'm trying to get them out of the closet. (THAT can make me yell...)

Okay, so this is a simple, ordinary list. But.. if these things don't happen, it can really sometimes change my day! So, what's your ordinary list look like?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pumpkin Patch

Posted by Mandy at 2:28 PM 6 comments Links to this post

We took the kids to Grady to Hardin Farm's pumpkin patch Saturday and had so much fun! None of us have ever been to that one before.. wow, GO if you haven't! There was almost too much to do! The kids just loved it, and so did Clayton and I. We did the hay maze, looked at all of the Native American exhibits, played on the playground, climbed the big hay "mountains", went through the hay tunnels, went down the huge slide, looked at the livestock, etc... it was a big big time for all. I even ran into an old friend that I haven't seen since high school and her two kids... now that was neat! (I didn't even know she was married and had children!) Of course the hayride to the pumpkin patch was lots of fun.. the kids really enjoyed that. (I liked it minus the dirt the tractor pulling us was kicking up and the hay pieces that were flying around...) After an intense search, the kids both found their own perfect pumpkin. We've yet to make jack-o-lanterns out of them... but we don't want them to rot before Halloween so we're trying to wait a few more days. We even bought a cool strobe light that's made to sit inside pumpkins... easier than candles! I can't wait to see how that looks at night... hopefully the neighbors will appreciate it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Birth Order

Posted by Mandy at 3:07 PM 3 comments Links to this post
In our parenting group we've been watching one of Kevin Leeman's video series. Last night the topic was birth order... how interesting! I've heard plenty about it over the years but he really layed it out well and talked about how it impacts you as a parent (YOUR birth order) and how knowing about it can help you with your children. So, I thought I'd share some info with you all since I found it so enlightening. Today I'll talk about first borns. I'm considered a first born since my older sister is 6yrs older than I am and we were raised in different homes. I could literally check each of these traits off of this list of typical first born traits. I can also really see all of them in my first born... Miss Priss Madison. Here's the list for you all:

Take Charge, know what to do;Command respect; others want to follow their unflinching leadership;Cooperative, easy to work with, good team player; Always do things right and leave no stone unturned to do a thorough job; Have everything under control; always on top of things; tend to be on time and on schedule;Ambitious, enterprising, energetic, willing to sacrifice to be a success; Set goals and reach them; tend to get more done in a day than others, planning the day is a must;Known as straight thinkers;can be counted on not to be compulsive or to go off half-
cocked; Tend to be voracious readers and accumulators of information and facts; good problem solvers who think things through.
May undermine the initiative of those who lean on them too much or may come off as too overbearing or aggressive; Can run roughshod over others; may be insensitive and tend to be selfish; too focused on the goal and not enough on the feelings of others; Can be taken advantage of, bullies, bluffed; Tend to criticize themselves and/or others too much; never satisfied; may procrastinate because they fear they cannot do a "good enough job"; May worry too much about order, process, and rules and not be flexible when it's needed; may show real impatience with anyone who is "disorganized" or not as meticulous; can be upset by surprises; Put themeslves or those they work with u nder too much stress and pressure; May become boxed in, too busy with the to-do list to see the big picture and what needs to be done right now; May believe they're always right and fail to pay attention to the more intuitive opinions of others; May spend too much time gathering facts when there are other things that need to be done; may be so serious they fail to see the humor in situations when humor is desperately needed
So, you first borns out there... did you see yourself here? Of course not all of it will fit everyone, but in general it usually does. If you're not a first born.. does this describe your first born child? Your spouce that's as first born? Knowing things like this can really help you relate to that first born person in your life better. I think the reason I can handle Madison often times better than Clayton is b/c I share in her personality... Clayton's the relaxed la-ti-da middle child.. which I'll get to in a few days. He can't understand the things she and I do... like why does it matter if we're a few minutes late? Why does the floor NEED to be vacuumed every single day? Why does it matter if there's one book out of place on the shelf? Can't I just relax about things? I do think being married to a middle child has helped me relax IMMENSLY... but I still am much more uptight about a lot of things compared to him. Madison is the same way... I'm trying to help her chill out a bit too... we'll see if I can do that successfully as the years go by!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Sick house

Posted by Mandy at 4:31 PM 3 comments Links to this post

Oh man... we've been so sick the past week! First we battled Strep... conquered it after many days on antibiotics. Now Samuel and I are sick with something totally different. I'm guessing just a cold or something but I feel horrible! Fever, body aches.. you know the drill. I don't know how little man feels but all of his screaming today tells me that he's not doing so hot either. So we've been eating Tylenol like crazy and getting some relief right before it wears off, yet we have another hour or so to go before we can have another dose. (don't you love how that always works out?) Ya know, we spend a lot of time on our blogs talking about how much we love our kids, how much fun they are, yada yada yada... well I'm going to be totally honest and say that I don't think my children have EVER been on my nerves as much as they've been today. Even hearing them giggle has me on edge. Clayton's working so I have zero help.. and I know that's why I'm so short tonight. If I could hire a nanny, just for one night, tonight would be it. Even nursing has me frustrated. Sam acts like he wants to nurse, but then screams at me for about 5 minutes before he'll actually eat. In that 5 minutes I'm frantically trying to make 'it' better. "Want to lay in Carter's bed and nurse?"
"How about Mommy's bed?"
"Sitting on the couch?"
"hmmm... hmm... WAHHHHH!" (man.. almost had it that time...) Nursing with full body aches is fun enough on its own.. much less getting fussed at the entire time. So, there ya go. My serious gripe fest for this Saturday night. And, to make matters even more crummy, if we're still sick tomorrow it'll be the third Sunday in a row we haven't made it to church b/c of sickness. We finally find a church we love and we can't make it 3 weeks straight! sheesh!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

My boys

Posted by Mandy at 1:07 PM 6 comments Links to this post

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Can I have your attention please?

Posted by Mandy at 8:01 PM 4 comments Links to this post

I finally weighed myself today and I have lost, drum roll please.....
4 POUNDS! Hip, hip, HOORAY! Hip, hip, HOORAY! Four down, 12ish to go. I've been working out, and boy do I feel like this guy! I don't know how I managed to get this weak, but I know I'll never do this to myself again! I've been trying to jog a little... HA! I'm not sure if 20 seconds of jogging per every 2 minutes of walking actually can be called "going jogging" but that's where I'm starting. (can your lungs actually burst?) I've pulled out some of my old favorite workout videos and dvd's. The first one I did I loved... oldie and goodie. The second one, I got a little too self confident when I decided to tackle it. The first 10 minutes were pretty tough on me, and I got a shock when the instructor said, "great warm-up!" Warm-up? Seriously? Yeah... the first real cardio segment almost killed me and the first weight section left me so sore the next day that my armpits even hurt. Yeah... seriously... didn't even know you had muscles in your armpits but apparently you do. Notice I only mentioned the first two segments of that workout.. because that's all I could manage. I did try it again the other day and made it about 5 minutes farther.. baby steps. So, I'm working really hard at just trying to workout. At least my efforts are paying off. I'm allowing myself one or two times a week to really 'cheat' on my healthier eating. Typically Wednesday nights (small group.. always lots of good food!) and Saturday. I have to have some fun here! (at least until my weight loss stalls.. then I'll have to get more strict. Not now though!) Am I the only one that is realizing how much they totally suck fitness wise right now? I feel like I've got such a long way to go before I get to where I want to be. I'm glad I started when I did... it sure wasn't going to get any better on its own!

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Pick Up Artist

Posted by Mandy at 8:09 AM 5 comments Links to this post
Has anyone, besides me, seen this new show on VH1? I watched it the first time planning to just sit, laugh, and make fun of how silly it was. Well, it was kind of silly, but I got hooked! The basic idea of the show is they took some guys that were really really horrible at picking up women and put them in a house together where they got "lessons" from this completely odd looking guy that calls himself 'Mystery' about how to be the ultimate pick up artist. Now, "Mystery" doesn't look like a guy (to me) that would pick up ANYONE... so it was amazing to hear him talk and his 'lessons' and watch them work! Clayton asked me at one point, "would that work on you?" and was shocked when I said, "yeah, probably!" (well, not now that I'm married of course!) This whole show got me thinking though... are we women REALLY that difficult to figure out? I mean, come on! If you act like a human and have basic manners and at least some confidence... it shouldn't be 'that' difficult to find someone. These guys were just horrible! They put them in clubs so there were plenty of women to torture.. I mean... talk to... and it was just amazing how truly bad they were at talking to the opposite sex! There's the guy that doesn't take the "I'm not into you" cues so he appears stalker-ish b/c he won't stop following the women, there's the guy that totally lacks confidence and spends the entire conversation trying to ask questions to see if the girl is into him at all from the first 5 seconds on, there's the guy that swears he's straight but seriously acts gay (no lady wants to date a gay man... FYI); you get the idea. I guess being a woman I just found it laughable that some men just don't get it... AT ALL!
Here's some pointers!
* Don't be weird! Don't say weird things... don't talk about super heroes, video games, electronics, race cars, or anything else 'weird' or too guy-ish. We don't care about those things... we will pretend to care IF we decide we like you and you can feel free to talk A LITTLE about these things later on... but not when we first meet you.
*On the flip side don't try to talk about too much girly stuff either... if I find out you get your nails done and you go to the tanning bed... I'll find you prissy and possibly think you're gay... and I already touched on the not acting gay part so I'll stop there.
*Shut up! If all you do is talk and never listen... you'll seem either really nervous or really full of yourself... neither is a turn on.
* Be confident. There's nothing that makes women run away from a man faster than a man that slumps his shoulders, looks down at the ground, won't make eye contact, and seems at the bottom of his social status pole. If you act like you're important... we'll probably think you are. Like it or not, status is a big deal. Not money status necessarily, but how you are in a group. If others flock to you, we'll figure they're all right about you and flock to you as well.
* Get over your own physical appearance. Sure, it can immediately attract a woman, but in the first few minutes of conversation, what comes out of your mouth and how you carry yourself goes a lot farther than muscles. I, personally, always go for a witty and funny guy... if he can make me laugh he can keep my company. (so clayton better stay funny....)
* I don't want to hear about your mother or sister on a first date. Unless I ask.. don't bring them up. Immediate competition and you might seem like a serious mamma's boy.. which some women may like... but I can only speak for myself.. I hate that! (a 'sissy' mamma's boy I mean... as in mom still irons my clothes and bakes me cookies when I go cry to her about bad day... twice a week..)
* Don't bad mouth other women. Nothing is a redder red flag to me than how a man talks about his past girlfriends, or in general, women in his life. (moms and sisters included in this category too... love them, but don't be obsessed with them)
*Think before you open your mouth... seriously.. this can go a long way
*If I seem annoyed, or am making excuses to leave or stop talking to you, PAHLEEZE take the hint. Don't follow women around like a puppy... it's creepy and it makes us have to be rude to you to make you stop. Sucky all around.
*play hard to get! Yes... if you start a conversation, get us interested, and then have to jet off before we can decide we don't like you.. we'll probably chase you. It's true... I don't care what ANYONE says.. playing hard to get WORKS if there's an initial attraction.

So, there ya go. Other ladies can weigh in on what would work for them.. but this is my general list of guidelines. Please, pass this, and any other lists that follow in the comments, to your single friends that you know need some help. It could change their life... or at least help the women around them be less annoyed...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Alright.. I finally did it

Posted by Mandy at 5:23 PM 7 comments Links to this post
I always hold out to change anything! I FINALLY upgraded my blog like most of you did many moons ago. When it said "many of your recent changes to your blog will not be saved" I just avoided doing it. I like blogging but I'm not one of these folks that ENJOYS working on my blog's features and colors and headings and so on. It aggrivates me. I was pleasantly surprised to see how easy the new setup is and I'm kicking myself for holding out for so long. I plan to add pics and stuff... eventually. You know.. slow to change...

Now, if any of you that aren't linked, and wanna be, would do me a favor, I'd appreciate it! Just leave me your URL in a comment so I don't have to search you all out! If I come to your blog, or you come to mine, please.. leave me an address so I can link you. I just don't have the drive to run all around blog world looking for you all... and some of you are hard to find b/c you don't have your profiles public or "shared" so I can't get your addresses when you comment here. So, there ya go. Here's your chance to be featured on my blog. Don't you feel so special?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Posted by Mandy at 9:04 AM 5 comments Links to this post
Madison is doing great in school. She's 4 levels higher in reading than the average 1st grader, and above average on everything else as well. So, imagine my shock when we get her nine weeks progress report and find that she has 99's in everything.... except writing. In writing she has an 85B. It's an okay grade, but I know she's above average in writing.. so why the lower grade? SHE'S BORED!! She's rushing through her worksheets and getting points taken off b/c the letters aren't formed perfectly. When I ask her about it she says, "Why do I have to do a letter B worksheet? That's BABY work!" *sigh* Yes.. to her that's "baby work" and she's frustrated with having to do it. (I'd be frustrated about having to write the letter 'b' 20 times when I already knew how to do it as well) So... what's a mom to do?! I am understanding more and more why people homeschool. I like that she's in school.... but I don't like several things about school. Like that it's too long, there's not enough "free play" or creative time, and their ability to work with students at THEIR level is just extremely limited. Why can't we have a Montisorri (sp?) School here?! That is my dream... I think we need to move to Little Rock.. I 'think' there's one there. Ugh... I just feel like there isn't an option that really suits us. Clayton would never let me homeschool... but I'm feeling less and less satisfied with the public school system. We can't afford to send 3 kids to private school.. and the one here only goes to 6th grade anyway. (why is that?) This must be why people get together to form Charter Schools... Sorry for the rant.. just really frustrated right now!

Friday, September 14, 2007

My 3 month old

Posted by Mandy at 9:13 AM 5 comments Links to this post

How has it been 3 months already?! Samuel is growing like crazy, eating like crazy, and his sleep patterns have also turned crazy lately. I'm hoping that's just b/c he's in period of such rapid growth and that it'll settle soon. *yawn* He wants to stand up in our laps or be held so he can sit up most of the time now. He's still super cuddly too, though. (ask LeeAnn... for some reason she always has the knack for getting that boy to sleep! What a life savor when your arms are exhausted!) He laughs every single day now... and the laughs are growing bigger and louder! I LOVE the baby laughs... I have been waiting and waiting for him to finally give me one. When he laughs, EVERYONE in the house laughs. Madison and Carter think his giggle is just hilarious. Madison was literally crying from laughing at his laugh last night.... that's what life's supposed to be like, isn't it? A happy home full of laughing kids. Too bad the kids don't know that... why didn't someone send them a copy of the fairy tail we parents have in our heads when we decide we want them? Laughing and playing sweet - part of the story; fighting, whining, hitting, biting, screaming - not part of the story. Ah well, you take the good with the not so good. I'm sure we as parents far too often also don't know the stories they have in their little heads of how parents are supposed to be. (cookies before bed, always time to play, never angry, never tired... HA!) I must say that I feel so good about life right now. I feel good about my marriage, my kids, our friends.... just everything! Everyone is healthy and happy... there's really nothing else I need than that. (though extra shopping cash is always a nice bonus!)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Thanks for making me cry!

Posted by Mandy at 10:45 AM 5 comments Links to this post
Church at Journey left at least half of the congregation in tears. Jeff preached from Samuel all about Hannah and her longing for a child and her vow to God if he'd give her a son. He did give her a son, she named him Samuel. (the extremely short version of the story) Of course, all I could think of is our struggle to get pregnant, my many talks with God (pleading, begging, screaming, apologizing, loving, hating... lots of things going on with me and God that year) and how he answered my prayer with a son, and how we named him Samuel. I was holding my little guy as he slept during the sermon which made it all the more emotional. I couldn't look at him without crying. Even later that day when I started thinking about all that was said again, I'd tear up. I thought about how extremely blessed I am. Three great healthy kids! When we found out I was pregnant with Madison it was such a crazy time. I was only 17, Clayton 19. Even then I knew she was God's precious gift to us and I also knew I did not deserve her. We were pleasantly surprised years later with Carter. Again, I felt so undeserving. I wasn't even asking for children, yet God provided two perfect babies to me (us). Clayton and I often talked about the shock of finding out Madison was coming... and how we wondered if God gave her to us so young because maybe something in the future would mess up our having children. Boy, was that ever the case! At the ripe old age of 23 I was unable to become pregnant. Surgery, meds, prayers... I never would have thought I'd have a fertility struggle.. much less at such a young age. My ovaries went Ka-Put.. just like my Mom's had done her when she was young. (she had my sister when she was 17 and me when she was 23) It made me so thankful when God did finally allow a baby to come into our lives again. I had started to give up. Then it happened. I will NEVER forget how I felt when those two lines finally appeared on my once dreaded pregnancy test. I was shaking, my heart was pounding, and I literally almost threw up. I cried so much that I could barely call to tell Clayton the news. (he was away for training.. of course lol) Now I look at our fab family. Three little ones... all healthy, all created for our family. My God is so great... his love is so overwhelming... and his power is something we should always have both fear and joy about. Why he's blessed me so I'll never know. My goal is to keep those blessings counted daily. He gives, and he takes away... we should be thankful for whatever we have today, every single day. Especially those we love.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Repeat after me...

Posted by Mandy at 9:07 PM 7 comments Links to this post
"This doesn't taste as good as being thin feels."
"This doesn't taste as good as being thin feels."
"This doesn't taste as good...."

Dear Body,
I hate to do this to you. I hate to make you go to bed hungry for the third night in a row. I hate that all you can think about it how good it would feel to inhale a bagel slathered in butter right now. I hate that I am so motivated that I am forced to deny you things of this nature. I promise, in a week when you're another pound lighter, and feeling healthier, you will thank me. You might even jump on the bandwagon and stop sabotaging my efforts with your cravings and constant desire to eat. You might even feel like exercising instead of making me make you do it... again. Body, you may not think so right now, but I'm doing this because I love you. This is hard for me too... it's not comfortable to say no to the things I want... but I'm doing it for you.. for us! For some reason you think you should hold onto these extra pounds, but I promise you don't need them. I promise there won't be a famine that you'll need the extra in storage. And if there is.. you can say "I told you so!" and I won't be angry. But, from now on you're just going to have to realize this is how things are going to be. Like they used to be before I let you take over. I'm the rational one, and I'm going to be making the decisions from now on.. I hope we can live together in harmony like we used to. I promise, things will get easier.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

My big boy

Posted by Mandy at 8:09 AM 2 comments Links to this post

This really isn't even a great picture of Carter, but it always makes me laugh because it's just SO "him." He's so goofy! I had to make a complete brag post about him today. Last night he went to Cubbies (Awanas) for the first time and he did wonderfully! He sat and did everything the teacher asked, minded his manners (like a 3yr old can mind their manners anyway...), did his little worksheet, and participated in all of the fun activities! I wasn't sure how he'd handle structure like that, but he did fantastic! He's talked all about it since.. I'm so happy for him. I've been doing "school" at home with him for the past week and he's doing awesome. This week we're just starting from the beginning.. letter 'A', a nursery rhyme, and we're working on counting to 14. He can "count" to about 30 but he gets 13-19 pretty scrambled lol. I know a lot of ppl wouldn't worry about letters and such at just 3yrs old, but what can I say, I'm a stickler I guess. I was the same with madison and she's sailed through school, so I'm hoping it will give him a good head start as well so he won't be frustrated when he gets there. He's really enjoying the one on one time with me, that's for sure! He's even working really hard now to stay in the lines when he colors! I'm just so proud of him and all of his progress in the past few months. He'll always be my silly, and probably slightly wild, child.... I'd never want to change that about him... but now I'm feeling a bit more at ease that he WILL be able to make it in the real world as well. lol

Monday, August 27, 2007

Thanks Journey!

Posted by Mandy at 11:01 AM 9 comments Links to this post
The kids and I visited Journey for the first time this Sunday. Everyone was SO welcoming and friendly... it was truly wonderful! I enjoyed everything about it to be honest. The people were great, the service was laid back (as the entire day in general!), there were kids bouncing around everywhere (which is my kind of atmosphere!), and everyone seemed genuinely excited that we were there. I didn't realize how many ppl I knew that went there! wow! Madison knew many of the children already, and Carter was so happy that Ashton was there. (and that's all he's talked about since lol) Samuel got passed around and loved on by everyone, something he's always happy to participate in. :) The sermon was so powerful to me that it actually left me feeling exhausted. I haven't been touched like that in a very long time.

So now the hard part starts. Our search for a new church home. We loved Pauline, and we loved Journey. Hmm... decisions decisions. One of the big things that might lead us to Journey is they don't have the same rules and regulations as many other churches. Since we've gone to the Presbyterian church, we'd all have to be baptised AGAIN just to become members of Pauline... and as a wise friend of mine said recentely (you may give yourself credit lol) "Baptism wasn't meant to be a membership fee..." That's exactly my feelings on the topic as well. I also don't agree with "closed communion" and see it as the complete opposite as the way Jesus would want it. Could I join a church that had these rules and upheld them? I'm thinking no... in the long term I know I'd be unhappy with all of the disagreements. But, I'm trying to keep my heart and head open to where God leads us. (he seems to be doing a great job of leading us already)

So, thank you Journey folks! You made a fantastic first impression. :)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

On my way!

Posted by Mandy at 8:39 PM 0 comments Links to this post
Okay, I posted a while ago about wanting to get back into a healthier lifestyle.. and I have! I immediately started cutting my portions back and grabbing fruits and veggies for snacks instead of chips or sugar filled cereal bars like I was. It's amazing how those small changes can make you feel so different. Within 2 days I had more energy and my general attitude was better! (possibly just from knowing I was focusing on taking care of myself all day long... we mommies can be really bad at that!) I've been exercising too... I've rediscovered Pilates. Oh my.. how I love pilates! I did 40 minutes Friday evening, and 40 minutes tonight. (had to break it up into two 20 minute segments due to Samuel's appetite..but oh how proud I am that I started the tape back up when he was content again!) and yes, it's a video tape.. I got it pre-DVD player. I'm starting to feel more like "me" again already. Just to make myself exercise when it's the LAST thing I feel like doing, and to drink a glass of water when I think I need to eat at night instead of eating a bowl of cereal... it just feels darn good! I've discoverd some new things in the past week that I wanted to share with you all!
- Coke Zero - For anyone out there, like me, that is addicted to Coca~Cola.. this really is a great alternative. It doesn't taste "exactly" the same, but the more you sip on it the more like regular Coke it becomes! (and it's a heck of a lot better than diet.. but still NO SUGAR OR CALORIES!) My only problem with it is the caffeine that makes little Sam irritable.. maybe they have a caff. free version out there.. I'll check!

- Sam's Choice Clear American flavored water - I just bought this today... again, zero calories, no sugar. I'm drinking the strawberry flavored kind now and I LOVE it! Oh my... it will be a new staple in this house!

- Garden Harvest Toasted Chips - okay.. LOVE THESE. They're not really "diet" food.. but they're much healthier than chips! The 'fruit' ones have 1/2 a serving of fruit in each serving and they're 100% whole grain. (two thumbs up!) There are 120 calories for 16 chips (about that) My favorite are the apple cinnamon.. but the banana are great too. I HATE their veggie chips! GAG!

- Flat Earth Baked Chips - basically the same as the ones above. Apple Cinnamon one ROCK (haven't yet tried the other fruit flavors) and I really really like one of the veggie kind (1/2 a serving of veggies in each serving!) it's "Garlic and Herb Fields" yum!

I realize this might be an INCREDIBLY boring post for some of you that aren't interested in this stuff.. but this gets me excited! I'm so happy to be back into eating healthy and exericising. I just hope the scale and my clothes give me the payoff I'm looking for! (I have actually lost one pound... 14 to go!)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Just what I need... (edited)

Posted by Mandy at 6:28 PM 4 comments Links to this post
... to knock me down a peg or two. The perfect follow up to the mushy "I love my kids" post I just made. I decided two days ago it was time to alternate toys so I brought in two old toy bins from the shed to switch out with two from Carter's room. I always make sure to keep any of his favorites in the house.. and I finally got everything all organized and arranged this morning. All of the little "sets" put together, everything bagged up in ziplocks that needed to be, you know the drill. Samuel decided it was feeding time before I could put the lids on the bins and carry them to the shed and I, of course, never got around to that part later in the day. So, I walk in to say something to the kids this evening about supper almost being ready to discover they had almost COMPLETELY covered Carter's room in toys. I swear smoke was possibly visibly coming out of my ears. All of my hard work... gone! They NEVER make messes like that. I told them they couldn't leave that room until it was TOTALLY cleaned up. (which means I will have to do all of my sorting and organizing AGAIN later.. but the lesson had to be learned for them) It took them about 45 minutes and, as shocking as it is, had to seriously talk myself out of spanking both of them because I was so fed up with the mouthing about it. (especially madison) The rest of the evening has been spent shooing them back to the bedrooms because they have seemingly lost the ability to speak in a normal voice and instead think yelling and screaming and running crazy are the appropriate things to do in the living room as Sam TRIES to finally take a nap in the swing.. in the living room. AAARRRGGGHH! It makes me feel like a really crummy mother to feel this way about my kids. I hate not liking them, but right now I'd rather be almost anywhere else than in this house alone with them! I know it being the weekend is making me stressed... I'm basically solo on the parenting all weekend long.. Friday-Monday night. Clayton is working or sleeping or getting ready for work the rest of the time... ugh... fun fun! Well, to make the night complete my sweet little man is about to start wailing from the swing, because my two (usually sweet) bigger kids have run in here AGAIN and woken him up. Oh man... let the battle rage on! (where's Supper Nanny when you need her?)

**Edited to add...
Little Samuel must have known that mommy needed some serious calm down time. I got Madison and Carter off to bed finally (feeling like my head might actually start spin around) and Samuel started fussing. I figured he was hungry so I picked him up and started walking to our favorite nursing chair. He usually lifts his head up now and roots around or at least pushes away to look around... but this time he just layed his sweet head down on my chest. I sat down and expected him to get upset that I wasn't offering up the goods... but he just kept laying there for the longest time! It was wonderful to just sit in silence and hold him like that... so my night did end on a good note... so you can all stop feeling sorry for me. ;) (thanks for the sympathy though... sometimes I need it lol)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Kids update

Posted by Mandy at 8:01 AM 6 comments Links to this post

Do you ever have one of those days that you're just feeling all emotional about how much your kids are growing and changing? I'm having one! I'm sure that my baby girl being a big first grader now is fueling this. Here's a picture of her first day of school... how on earth did she get this old so quickly? When did I blink?! After I got her hair done this morning I had to make her stop before she left for school so I could snap another picture. She just is looking so grown up all of a sudden. I don't want to miss anything! Thankfully she's really enjoying school this year. She says the kids in her class are all nice and she comes home talking about all of the "cool" projects they're already doing. She also has Art this year (which is just what she needs.. she is the craftiest kid!) so that's something she's really looking forward to. She and Carter are so excited to see each other when we go pick her up... can I tell you what a relief THAT is after the summer we had? Last night they played perfectly together. It was wonderful!

Then there's my bigger baby boy. He is just plain SILLY right now. He is sooo going to be the class clown.. no doubt about it! He does everything in his power to either pester someone in the house or get them to crack up. He's really into playing pretend all of a sudden. Clayton let him put on the "big hat" the other day and boy was he in heaven! He started spouting off phrases like, "Get out of the car!" and "I'm gonna shoot you!" (no... I don't believe this is a typical phrase Clayton would say out on the highway but it was disturbingly funny to hear Carter saying it) He sings all of the time now which surprises me! Some of you will remember me saying that he would NEVER learn his ABC's because he would always say "no! Quiet mommy!" when I'd try to sing them to him... that or any other song. (am I that bad of a singer?) Now he asks me all day long to sing all kinds of songs with him and he's actually singing to himself right now as he plays behind me. Oh the changes he's making!

Then there's my smallest baby boy. I could just gush and gush about that lil` fella! I know every mom thinks her baby is the most beautiful... but in this case.. I think it might be the truth. ;) He's just the sweetest guy ever! My favorite thing right now is that he's started to get SO excited when he knows it's feeding time. He'll fuss that he's hungry and when I get ready to feed him he just starts grinning and squeeling so much that he won't really even latch on for a minute! lol He's really got that look of awareness now. When he sees any of us he just lights up! He's learned to coo or squeel to get a big reaction and he uses it a lot! I love it! He's so content and seems just plain alright in this world. I've heard people refer to infants as having "old souls" and if that could ever be true, it would have to be true of him. He seems to just be fine with life, like he knows exactly what's going on. I can imagine him being a later crawler and walker because he's almost too content to just lay still looking around and smiling. Tummy time for him is supposed to be to help strengthen his little back and neck, but he's just as happy to lay his head down as he is to try to look around. I figure all in good time... it's so nice to be on #3 and not really worry about much. Not push him too much to do things and just enjoy every single thing about him RIGHT NOW. Not constantly be wanting him to do something, waiting for the next stage. I almost want to freeze time and stay just like we are. I don't want my 'babies' to get any bigger... and I worry how I'll feel when Samuel DOES get bigger. I know we're done having babies, unless God sends a miracle lol, but my mind wonders what's in store for our family years down the road. Adoption has ALWAYS been in my heart... will God send us down that path? So much to wait to see! It's so exciting... just living.. it's so amazing!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Big bad shots

Posted by Mandy at 12:54 PM 4 comments Links to this post
My poor sweet boy went for his 2 month checkup today... which ended with 4 shots. He cried, and I cried. I think the nurse almost even cried! Of course, he was smiling and cooing at both of us right up until we both held his little legs down and started the torture. Gosh.. does anything make you feel worse than getting them immunized? It's such a long and drawn out process... I'm already dreading the 4 month ones. He's been really fussy since we got them. No fever yet, but I can tell his legs hurt. I have to be quite acrobatic to nurse him right now since I can't really let him rest on his sides. I'll just keep the Tylenol in his system and pray he's back to his normal self really soon.

On a good note about his checkup, he's quite perfect! :) He was 12 pounds 1 ounce (75%), 24.5 inches (95%) and his head was 17cm (90%) So he's still a 'big' boy but he's big all over so he is proportional. When I look at him i think he's so tiny... I told the doctor that and she laughed and said, "Well, I see 2 month olds all day long and when I walked in I almost asked if he was already 4 months!" lol He's not THAT big! ;) (by 4 months he probably will be though.. he's just starting to get little fat rolls all over... love that baby squish!)

So, thankfully he's quite healthy and doing all he should be. I just feel like a big ole monster for holding him down so the nurse could stick him FOUR TIMES. Ugh... you'd think with all of the medical advances we have there would be a better way to vaccinate by now!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Two months old

Posted by Mandy at 7:38 AM 9 comments Links to this post

Little Sam is two months old now.. my how the time is already flying! He's changed so dramatically since we brought him home as a wiggly newborn. Now he loves to be awake and playing. He's starting to really get anamated when he talks and I think we're really close to his first giggle. (I can't wait for that! baby laughs are the best!) He lights up when Madison and Carter both crowd all around his fragile little head... poor thing's been fallen on top of numerous times already. I guess God knows to make them strong little guys. He's still the sweetest baby I've ever had the pleasure of being around. He's so patient, so easy going and laid back, and so very happy. He still almost never cries. Never is really just fussy. It's the most amazing thing I've ever seen. I joke that God gave us the easiest baby ever as a way of making up for having us wait so long for him. My goodness... was he EVER worth the wait! I can't help but kiss those soft little cheeks all day long. I was nursing and rocking him last night after his bath, when Madison and Carter were playing in the floor along side of us with blocks, and all I could think of was that sweet baby smell coming from him. Dreft on his clothes mixed with fresh out of the bath baby wash and lotion... nothing is more yummy than that! Boy am I going to miss it when this short and sweet part of life is over. I'm trying to soak it all up!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A weighty issue

Posted by Mandy at 4:37 PM 3 comments Links to this post
My weight that is. Samuel will be 2 months old tomorrow... it's really time I started doing a bit more to drop these pounds. I'd call it my "baby weight" except I'm already down to my prepregnancy weight... this is my "trying to get baby" weight. I finally forced myself to REALLY look at myself in the mirror the other day. Yikes! Who is this lady? When did my face get so full? When did I lose all definition in my arms and legs? And... I know my rear used to be up a few inches. Then again, I used to earn all of those things with healthy eating and working out almost every single day. Looking good was just a side effect of my longing to be as healthy as I could be. To run for just 5 more minutes each time, to lift just 5 more pounds today, to say no to the junk food because I knew it was toxic to my body. I used to really care what I ate and how much I moved. Now, my life seems to revolve around my children's health. I would never allow them to eat the way I allow myself to. I actually hide the junk I eat from them... I don't want them to see me eating that way and grow up thinking it's just the normal way to live. Sad isn't it? So, I write this because I hope that putting it out there for the blog world to see will help me make it. Each day I wake up feeling so confident that TODAY I'm starting over. TODAY I'm back to my old healthy and fit (and 15 pounds lighter) self. Then what happens? What are my excuses you might wonder? Well, I say them to myself enough... I'll just let you know them too!
1) I'm nursing.. I'm starving... and besides... eventually he'll eat enough that I'll lose weight anyway.
***reasons this is a bad excuse - the junk is still junk.. and I shouldn't be feeding it to Samuel through my breast milk anyway.. it's still unhealthy even if I lose weight while eating it.

2) I'm so tired... it's just too hard to exercise.
***bad excuse because - if I'd make myself exercise, I wouldn't be so tired all of the time!

3) It's too hard to find time to exercise with all of these kids.
***the kids love to exercise with me, and if I'd put housework aside just 30 minutes each day instead of MYSELF, I'd have time.

4) But the PopTarts, Cokes, chocolate (of any kind...), and cookies are just too good!
***when you get diabetes like the rest of your family you won't be able to have them anyway.... stop now before you kill yourself!
*** and as Oprah has said, "This doesn't taste as good as being thin (fit) feels!" So true.. so true

So, my peeps, TONIGHT is the start of a better way of living for me. I refuse to not like my body because of the things I do to it, and I refuse to eat crap that's slowly going to either kill me (diabetes, heart attack, stroke) or seriously diminish the quality of my life just because it tastes good. I'm sure smoking and doing drugs feels great to a lot of people... but it just isn't worth it. Eating is the same thing... only more acceptable. Now, if someone would PLEASE help me convince my husband that I really can't "just not eat it" when he brings treats into the house? If I could keep him away from WalMart... I'd be 20 pounds lighter I think... (excuse #5?)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

For all who lacked faith...

Posted by Mandy at 10:26 AM 5 comments Links to this post

... that my husband would ever get this little project done... he FINALLY did! It's been an ongoing joke for several weeks now that Clayton can basically tear down and rebuild an entire house in one month.. but he just can't bring himself to hang 6 letters in the boys' room. I got these letters totally ready to hang up 3 WEEKS before Samuel was born.. and it took him until 6 weeks AFTER he got here to get them on the walls. Ah well.. I love them and am glad he did it for me! I have a few more things to put together to hang up... and hopefully sometime before Christmas that task will be completed. ;)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The proof

Posted by Mandy at 10:34 AM 6 comments Links to this post

We did make it to church Sunday (the kids and I anyway.. Clayton had just gotten home from work at 4:30am) and here's a pic to prove it. ;) Well.. I guess I could've just dressed them up for a picture, but no... this is when we came home. I actually got up and got everyone ready and to church 10 minutes early! Go me! :) It was tough though... and I was worn out by the time we got home. I know it'll get easier and easier as I keep doing it though.. just gotta keep trying!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Taking on church

Posted by Mandy at 5:43 PM 5 comments Links to this post
We haven't been to church since Sam's been born.. yeah... I know, I don't need a lecture. lol I've decided that tomorrow I'm up for seeing how getting up and going on Sunday morning goes for us. Clayton's out working overtime right now so I bet he doesn't come home until around 4am or later... and he has to be at work at 2pm tomorrow.. so looks like it will be me and the kids alone. I swear I've told God, "If you want me to go to church.. you really need to bless us tomorrow!" Probably not the best of my talks with the Big Man... but he knows what I mean. One thing I don't like about going to church right now is that I, for some reason, feel really uncomfortable nursing there. Why? I breastfeed EVERYWHERE... why does church make me clam up so? I've got milk stored in the freezer just for times like these... but I really wish I didn't have that feeling of not being able to feed Samuel the way God intended in HIS house. I think it's probably b/c we're one of the only young families that regularly goes to church and I'm thinking the older generation is a lot less educated on the benefits of breastfeeding.. since back "in the day" people were told formula was the BEST way to feed a baby. (though I have had one of my favorite ladies at the church say how beautiful she thought breastfeeding was when she asked me if I was nursing Samuel... that's always nice to hear!) anyway.. enough booby talk!

Clayton starts back on nights in one week... part of me likes nights b/c he's home in the mornings so I can hand Samuel off (and the big kids!) and catch another hour or two of sleep. The other part of me hates the lonely nights. Now, don't get me wrong.. once we get reused to the night shift the nights aren't even lonely to me. But, when we get that once every several months day shift (that he's on this month) and then have to switch back to the several months of nights... it's just plain tough of me for about a week or so. Amazingly the kids seem to be completely indifferent to his schedule. I guess it's all they've ever known... and as long as Mommy is here the world is right! (b/c... let's face it.. mommies are the best!) I'm not sure which is harder.. getting used to being alone at night or having to get used to him being home at night complaining about the shows I've been watching for the past 4 months. lol I get sooo behind when he's here!

Friday, July 20, 2007

"You're Mean!"

Posted by Mandy at 9:17 AM 3 comments Links to this post

Could I hear this phrase more often please? lol It usually starts out like this: Carter tries to hit Madison.. not because he 'wants' to hit her.. but because he knows it will make her scream at him. (and this is fun why?) Madison, right on cue, screams, "Carter, you're the meanest!!" To which Carter puts on his newly learned 'mean face' (see picture) and screams back, "No, You mean Ma-son!" Madison: "No, you are!" Carter: "No, YOU!" Then me.. from the living room into Madison's room: "YOU GUYS STOP YELLING!!!" Ahh... another good mommy moment from the Moss house... ;)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

For Allison

Posted by Mandy at 12:28 PM 3 comments Links to this post
You said I should blog my baby recommendations.. so here ya go!

You mentioned getting a hotsling..I do have to say that I like those too! I don't have one but almost got one before my GREAT friends got me the Ergo for my baby shower. I do think you'll get more use out of an Ergo... years and years of it. Any sling (in my opinion) will get hard to baby wear in after they get to a certain weight.. since they only go over one shoulder. Other recommendations I have... and remember, I do attatchment parenting so some of these things are specific to that. :)

Cosleeper! It's a bed that is for the baby that has one side off of it, it fits right against your bed so the baby can sleep right beside you, without you worrying about rolling over on top of him and without you losing any bed space. I have one that's a bassinet and a cosleeper.. you can put the side on it if you want. Love it! (mine is by Graco... got it at Baby Depot) I highly recommend cosleeping though.. not everyone is a fan!

"Swaddle Me" blanket. This by far is my favorite new find. I got mine at Baby Depot for $10 and have used it EVERY NIGHT since Samuel was born. (took it to the hospital.. it was all the rave lol.. every nurse came by to see it.. word of mouth spread!) It has velcro that keeps them swaddled up! Samuel is over a month old and he still fits in the 'small' size.. though I'm soon to buy a 'medium' b/c he sleeps sooo well in it.

Huggies Gentle Care diapers. I was a huge Pampers Swaddlers fan until I used these... I can't beleive I'm recommending Huggies over Pampers! lol

Plug in Baby swing.. mine is a cool Fisher Price Aquarium swing that my sister let me have.. but it takes batteries... LOTS of batteries. Now they have new swings that plug into the wall!!! Man oh man what I'd give to have one! lol

I'm a big breastfeeding nazi... so here is what I recommend for that!
- Lansinoh cream. (lanolin for your breasts... works wonders!!)
- Gerber Premium Contoured nursing pads... by far the best I've ever used.. and I've used them all!
- Boppy Pillow. I love mine and use it all of the time! Especially now that Sam's heavier... and especially at night when I'm too tired to really hold him well anyway.
- bottled water... sounds silly right? lol Let me tell ya... you'll want a bottle of water to sit down with everytime you nurse (because you'll be thirsty and b/c the more water you drink, the better your milk supply.. so drink up!) and having a cold one ready in fridge is always something I enjoy!
- the best breastfeeding book ever is put out by the Le Leche League... it's called "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" and will answer any question you could have and put to rest all of the awful myths out there that make many women quit. Please get this book!

How about a list of stuff i've found useless? lol (or a waste of cash)

#1 waste of money is any kind of diaper genie! If you have to buy bags to refill it.... forget it! Save your money and keep your walmart plastic bags and just twist diapers up in them and toss them that way... no stink! (and if you breastfeed the diapers won't stink anyway..another bonus!)

Snuggli baby carrier (or similar versions). DOn't get me wrong.. I loved them when mine were small infants.. but they outgrow them quickly! (and I spent a good chunk of money on mine with carter...) I'd definitely invest in a better baby carrier if you plan to use it long term.

Really expensive strollers! I just got the best stroller ever from walmart (a double stroller at that) for $89 and it rocks! (it's by Evenflo) Sometimes cheaper isn't bad!

I'm sure there's millions of other things that other mommies can comment on... I know I've left stuff out but there's what i thought of right off the top of my head. All you really need for the baby is a few outfits, you and your hubby, and some comfy blankies. :) (and a pacifier... in case your baby is like my second baby was and wants to eat CONSTANTLY)

by the way... would you please leave me your url to your blog again? I lost it :P

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

This is an Ergo

Posted by Mandy at 5:39 AM 6 comments Links to this post

I've had tons of people ask me what an Ergo is since I've been raving about it... here are pics! I love love love this carrier.. it by far is better than others that might resemble it. For a newborn or young infant it has an "infant insert" that goes inside of it (the green 'blanket' looking thing surrounding Samuel) and it holds them in place so they don't slip out of the leg openings and snuggles them up! If you look you can see that he's being held in a cradle hold, not in a typical 'baby carrier' hold where the legs are splayed out in a seat. In this one his legs are both coming out of the same opening and he's seated in the carrier. There is also nothing between you and the baby with an Ergo... it is great for bonding and calming a fussy boy! (Ergo should really start paying me for these ads... ) I really wish I'd have had one of these with Carter... man oh man would it have been a life saver! Normally I have Sam snuggled down inside of it more but you wouldn't have been able to see him at all lol so I propped him up instead.

Friday, July 13, 2007

One month old

Posted by Mandy at 8:11 AM 7 comments Links to this post

Somehow my little man turned one month old today. It's amazing how quickly time goes by. He's starting to stay awake more during the day, and also he's sometimes harder to get down for naps. (this morning is one of those times... he's asleep attatched to me in the Ergo as I type) He's smiled once or twice but still nothing regular.. he opens his mouth a lot when he's awake and grunts and sometimes lets out loud 'sighs' that show he's really trying to talk to us now. I can't wait for those sweet baby coos! He looks more and more like his siblings as he fills out.. and he's at the point now where I swear some mornings i look at him and ask, "Did you get bigger overnight?" He goes on really long "nursing sprees" as I call them about once a day. He'll just fuss and cry unless he's eating.. and this lasts anywhere from 1 to 3 HOURS. I've learned that after 30 minutes of nursing.. he's not hungry.. and I can stick him in the Ergo and clean the house or something and he'll pass out. (which is what we did this morning) He's doing pretty well most nights... sleeping 3 hours, up to eat, back to sleep for 3 more hours, up to eat, back to sleep for another hour or two... other nights he's up every hour. (last night was not so great...) I still enjoy getting that quiet time with him most of the time though. During the day when I sit to nurse him I've got my two 'helpers' on either side wanting to kiss him and rub on him.. which is sweet, but let's be honest, after this happens multiple times a day you just want them to go away so your newborn will stop chomping down on you everytime they scare him with a sudden kiss or squeel. lol Life seems to be pretty normal. It's as though he's always been here. He's outgrowing clothes already and it's killing me. I took millions of pictures the other day of him in the outfits I bought for him that he's already getting too big for. Realizing I'll never get to use them again almost makes me sick to my
stomach... I have such a hard time letting go of ANYTHING.. especially baby and kids' clothes. Oh well.. onto the next chapter of life! I know God will bless it just as he's blessed this one! It's going to be wonderful!

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