Friday, March 30, 2012

Capital P for Personality

      Bella is taking the world by storm at our house.  She has so much personality, and seeing it come to light is such fun.  She is talking more and more, which also includes really adorable, though mostly unintelligible, babbling from the back seat a lot.  And, she is getting the most darling curly hair.  It seemed to sprout from nowhere in the last several weeks.  I love the curled wisps in the back.  She and Lily make each other laugh so easily and squeal with delight at each other's antics.  (They also make each other cry a fair bit.  They are sisters, after all.)


This morning, Lily was wearing John's sunglasses, and Bella was asking for sunglasses of her own, in her own Bella way.  I got some kid sunglasses that we have with these results.


As John said, "You just can't beat a kid in oversized sunglasses."  It is cute every time.  Then John said, "If you are looking for Bella's paci, you might check your rain boots."  Thanks for the tip off, hubbers.  Bella would have had me stumped with that one.


Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

This Week

      This week, John let Lily play in the sprinklers as he made sure they worked.  Bella was crushed to the point of banging her head on the ground that she was not allowed.


This week I took the girls on an impromptu trip to the Zoo, because the weather is beautiful.  (And, I think I wanted to avoid housework.)  Here's Bella and the bear that she called "Kitty," because that is what she calls every animal right now.


Sweet sister hugs and mommy kisses.


Wiggly girls in front of blooming azaleas.


This week this girl thinks she is potty-trained, though she is actually no where near.  I have pulled way back to let her become a little more ready, and it has led to lots of accidents, everywhere, including at the Zoo.  I am becoming adept at cleaning up pee and reminding myself that it is sterile.  I heard Lily talking to Bella saying, "Me and Francie (our cat), we are big girls.  We go tee-tee in the potty and wear panties."  If only.


This week Lily had another performance at Bloom, and this was the face she wore whenever she was turned toward the crowd.  Which was only about half the time.


This week I am sorting the girls' clothes (one of my least favorite tasks) and thinking that we have too much stuff.  We just do.  I have to remind myself of that when I am at Target and see something cute for them.  I am trying to assess how much clothing they actually need for a season, and then I want to stop there and not keep buying just because I could.  Sometimes saying no is hard, and I pray that God will grow me in this area.


This week I have fallen off the housework, cooking and laundry bandwagons, which is unfortunate, since I am depended upon for all of those tasks.  The potty-training combined with other things that have come up have distracted me, and the laundry is piling up in clean piles.  And since my mom isn't here to fold it this week like she did last week, I am getting to a bad place with it all.  Ah, well.  Such is life this week.  I am sure next week will be different.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

In Honor of Davis

      Today I feel led to share a bit of someone else's story, which I don't often do here.  A dear friend from my Bloom group lost her baby, Davis, this weekend at 20 weeks, which is devastating.  This comes on the heels of her also losing baby Cameron at 37 weeks this past July.  As the emails came late Thursday night and Friday morning, it was clear that God was moving our group to pray.  When we all got the news that Davis had gone on to be in heaven, our hearts were broken.  The pain feels palpable, and I am a little lost in the incomprehensibility of it all.
      Bethany and Scott have a son, Ethan, who turned 3 this month.


They love the Lord, and it hurts just to see how much hurt they are going through right now.  Please stop and lift their family up in prayer.  I know that God heals the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3) and is our strength and portion forever (Psalm 73:26), and I am praying specifically that he surrounds them with immeasurable peace that can only come from him.
      At church this Sunday, the message was on part of Romans 8, which is my favorite chapter in the Bible.  Our pastor spoke of present sufferings and future glory.  He quoted John Stott who wrote, "So many Christians grin too much and groan too little."  That quote resonated with me, because I know in college, I had no grid for pain and did not want to experience it or touch it.  Now I know that it is an unavoidable part of life that can move our hearts to groan more for the coming of our Savior, the one who makes all things new.  I feel myself groaning.
      Ecclesiastes 3:1 - "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." Spring always reminds me that God makes things new.


Right now, we mourn and remember Davis and all the hopes and dreams that died with him.  We remember Cameron, who I am sure, celebrated Davis's heaven homecoming jubilantly, and we trust the God who will reunite them all someday.  I also look ahead and know that there will be a new season for the Allison family, and I anxiously await what good things God will bring through this.  God is so faithful to do just that.  Thanks be to God.

Much love to you, Bethany.  Davis will be forever in our hearts.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekend: Birthday Fun

      I turned 31 on Saturday, and I could not have asked for a more beautiful day.  I decided that taking the weekend off from cooking would be nice, so we headed to one of our favorite Irish Pubs in town for Fish and Chips on Friday night.  Yum.

      Last year for my birthday, we headed to Petit Jean Mountain to go hiking.  This year, we went to Mt. Magazine, since I had never been there.  If you have an Arkansas Bucket List, this should be on it.  (We are currently creating our own.)  It is about a two hour drive from Little Rock, so it is a bit far for a day trip, but we made it work.  It is gorgeous.


      We loaded up the girls in kid backpacks and ended up hiking close to five miles.  My calves are still killing me, but it was worth it.  Since they weigh about the same now, we let Lily decide who she wanted to ride with, and she wanted to trade off a couple of times.  The trails were well marked with these cute little hiker medallions.


      Since we were at a higher elevation, spring wasn't as springy and it wasn't quite as green, but it was great fun to see the views.


And the streams.  Glad I wore my Chacos.


We snacked on yummy trail mix.  (I did trip right after taking this picture and realized that I cannot walk, eat, carry a child and take a picture at the same time.)


The girls loved it.  Which makes sense, since they were being carried.


We ate lunch on some rocks.


We hiked to Signal Hill, the point of highest elevation in Arkansas at a whopping 2,753 feet.


We drove over to the Lodge, and I now know I would love to stay there any time.  It is gorgeous - with amazing views.  We heard it referred to as an "island in the sky," and it does feel a bit like that.  I imagine that it is spectacular in the fall.


It was such fun to just have time all together, not focused on any project, but just on enjoying God's creation and one another.  We also discovered that Bella loves the seagulls on Nemo that all say "mine."  She goes nuts for them.  On Sunday, we met up with some friends for ice cream treats, and they all sang Happy Birthday to me.

Notice, Bella just has a spoon.  Poor littlest kid.  Looking forward to what 31 holds for me!

Friday, March 23, 2012

No New Clothes This Year

      I wrote a while back about reading the book Seven and becoming a healthier version of myself.  I can gladly say that I am becoming healthier, and it is amazing to see that eating better really does have a lot of benefits.  Imagine that.  Another thing that John and I were convicted by as we read the book was just the sheer amount of stuff that we have.  One action item that we are taking on is to stop buying anymore clothes for ourselves this year.  I will still be buying clothes for the girls, though I am trying to be more disciplined about that as well.  For us, it is simply a choice to do with what we already have - which is a lot.


      My closet is chock full of perfectly good clothing, and though I will not be super trendy this year (I never really am anyway), it will be good to see which clothes I do and don't wear as the year wears on.  I am also already realizing how much I just pick up a cute shirt at Target or grab that skirt at Old Navy, because they don't cost that much and they are cute, after all.  I haven't spent much time thinking about what I actually "need" and the things that I already have.  Which are plenty.
      Now, I am not saying there is anything wrong with getting new clothes.  I am sure I will shop it up in 2013.  But, in 2012, we need to downsize and get a little more connected to using what we already have and thinking about our purchases with intentionality.  I am glad God is taking John and I on this journey, though I know I will miss picking out a few new summer things as the weather gets warmer.  We do have a few exceptions built in - we can buy new underwear and if we find we absolutely need something, we can buy it at Marshall's, which should be opening up soon.  We are trying to limit our options, because, honestly - there are so many.  We just have so stinking much in this country, which can be such a blessing.  But we don't want to drown in the excess, so this is our little experiment for the year.
      In a totally unrelated note, I spent about 45 minutes between last night and today scouring our house for my old iPhone that we use as Bella's noise machine.  I knew that I had seen it in Bella's little hands but could not locate it for the life of me.  Apparently, Bella was into baking all her favorite things yesterday as I found it in their little oven.

Just in time for nap time today, so that was a good thing.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Trying to Tame the Bladder of Steel

      I should start this post with several disclaimers.  First, I feel more than a little defensive and overwhelmed about potty-training.  Oh, and also dramatic.  Second, don't read this if you haven't potty trained a child yet, because you will never, ever want to try.  Third, who knew that God was trying to get to us through every single little thing in our lives and will resort to using our children?  It seems he is really trying to teach me something, and I am too dense to figure out what it is, which means that I am having to try to rely on him more, which I'm sure is what he wants after all.  That said, I will now start really writing this blog post about our week, which I described to my community group friends today as "hell."
      My dear mother came back with us from Siloam Springs and was here through this morning.  We figured this would be an excellent time to tackle potty training Lily, who turned 3 in January and has been not super excited about the idea.  What I know about Lily is that she often needs to be pushed off proverbial cliffs of change, because she is often not super willing to adapt on her own.  She has every sign of readiness imaginable for potty training, except that she doesn't seem really motivated to try.
      After hearing lots of friends talk about this phase, after reading some Pinterest posts (of course discarding the ones that start with stuff like, "use cloth diapers" and "start early") and talking to John and my mom, we had a plan.  Load Lily up on snacks and drinks, which she was very willing to share with Bella.


Have a lot of one on one time with her and do things that are fun to her.  Turns out, she could do glue and glitter all the live long day, if we let her.


Read books and/or watch movies while sitting on the potty to make it more fun.


Not make a big deal about accidents, but get them cleaned up quickly.  Here she is watching her things go round and round.


      I thought that surely, after three days of this type of treatment, we would have arrived some place different.  Turns out, Lily likes to buck the norms, and I am having to learn to be patient and change strategies as we go.  Both things that I am not great at.  We are fighting a bladder of steel - she can go very long periods of time (like 6 hours) without using the bathroom at all.  She does want to learn and wear panties like a big girl, but there are some other control issues at play that have made this week feel a bit like psychological warfare.
      So, here we are on Thursday, and all I can say is that we are going to continue going forward, though we may relax our pace a bit.  I want to give her time to adjust, since she clearly needs that.  I realized that I was reluctant to write anything about this, because I didn't want to present something so "in process."  It is way more fun to be able to say, "I did these things for the last three days, and boom, my child is potty trained!"  But, that is not what it is going to be like here.  I envy those parents, and I am learning a lot of humility and a lot of letting go, because I cannot control when and how Lily learns to do this.  Clearly.
      Having my mom here was a life-saver.  It is so wonderful to be able to look over at someone else in the good, the bad and the funny moments that have made up this week.  She graciously watched the girls while we were at Community Group, which involved all kinds of heroics on her part.  What a wonderful gift this time has been, even though it didn't bring the results we had hoped for in the end.


So that is my "in process" potty training post.  I hope it is an encouragement to someone.  For me, I am realizing all over again, that so many things in life do not have short cuts.  There is no way around, behind, over or under, there is only through.  Thankfully, I serve a God who promises to walk through things with me, and though there are things much worse in life, this is my current trial, and I am grateful to not be in it alone.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sister's House: Baby Nursery

      I mentioned that I might post pictures of Luke and Ellen's nursery, and after asking Ellen's permission, here they are!  Ellen has a fun style that I have showed off before on the blog.  I love many things about the nursery in particular: it's unique, it includes old barn wood, Ellen painted the curtains, and it is for my nephew.  Here's a sneak peek.


      They built a wall across the corner using old barn wood, which makes a fantastic feature wall for the crib.  Ellen did actually paint the curtains, because she says she couldn't find the exact fabric that she wanted.  She also made all the bedding - here's a close-up.  Yes, she's got talent.


They also built the window cornices and covered them with fabric that matches the bedding.


This wall is waiting for big gorgeous pictures by Main Street Studios.  Can't wait to see them!


She got lots of cute things from the shower that I'm sure will find a home in the nursery, so it will be fun to see how it all comes together in the end.  Looking forward to meeting Baby Davis!