Tuesday, March 31, 2009

M's book recommendations

These are M's favorite books from our latest library run. Both are fun and also contain recipes to test out with your little one!

For Shannon (this doesn't mean that if your name isn't Shannon, you can't read, too!):
Yes, I find myself making connections all the time (even though most the time it's not planned out) and going over the same idea quite a bit. I don't think it has to do with me being a good mama as much as it has to do with having a child who doesn't play by himself and who doesn't take long naps (the other day he woke after 23 minutes!) We simply have A LOT of time to fill!
As example, we recently read about the Good Shepherd from one of his bibles, and M made a little shepherd book from a template I got out of a guide. I also like to read little bits to him from my bible simply so he can see me using it! Then I drew a sheep outline on paper and let him glue cotton balls on it. Today we got out some marshmallows to use as sheep and a stick guy we made previously to serve as the shepherd....then we acted out the story with one of the marshmallows getting lost behind a candle on our table and the shepherd going to find it. Then M got to eat the sheep!

night games

At 1:45 AM on Sunday, I heard loud noises coming from M's room.

They were shouts....exuberant shouts.

"P! Q! R! S! T!..."

Saturday, March 28, 2009

the stuff we do

I love to see what other bloggy mamas are doing with their kids, so I thought I would also share the stuff we do 'round here. We have a big craft drawer, but I also keep a muffin tin of "supplies" handy. The tin usually has dry black beans, goofy eyes, pom poms, buttons, and dry pasta. When I am cooking I always set aside some pasta for crafts.

Sometimes I will draw a big letter for M to fill in with stickers/beans/pasta. I let him use the stick glue, but I use the Elmer's. Usually I put glue in a small area, and then he decorates but sometimes we collaborate!
Sometimes we make faces and other designs.
Or decorate the rocks we find. M has excellent fine motor skills and can handle little items very well. If something does end up being difficult, then I ask him to choose the supplies and location where he wants them placed.

This morning we read a book that we made yesterday about M being a special creation of God. Then I got out a photo album, and we talked about the great qualities that God gave him. Next we made a picture of him...I only drew the head and put the glue in the right spots, M then put everything in its place.
I drew another oval for Daddy's head, put some glue on top and at smile, and just let M go to town.
For this next picture (of me!) I walked him through the drawing...like asking him how many eyes I have and where they are on my face...and then asking where the eyes should go on the paper face. I also asked him what color hair/eyes/lips I have before choosing our markers.
Here we started putting some penguin stickers on a paper and talking about how, even though they were different colors, they are all still penguins. This reminded me that we had a new library book about penguins, so we looked at the different types of penguins and noted their differences. Then I grabbed a calendar of kids from different countries and pointed out the differences between the kids...but talked about how they are all still kids and all special creations of God.
Finally we made stick people for each person in our family and had them dance and jump together.
Then I needed a nap!

Friday, March 27, 2009

new post on private blog

Just published a new post on the private blog. If you would like access for viewing, please email me.


Thursday, March 26, 2009


when do you recommend switching a babe from whole milk to 2%?

and from white milk to chocolate? haha.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

you don't want to know...but you need to

As soon as I mention the topic of this post, some of you will immediately stop reading. Perhaps you will take the time to scroll down looking for photos...or you may just quickly hit that back button and get the heck out of dodge. Let me say...I totally understand.

But hear me out. I'm not saying you need to do anything drastic. I'm saying you need to know...to be aware. To have your eyes open to the realities of human trafficking.

It's difficult to face. Our minds don't want to "go there." But right this moment a little child, a young girl, or a woman IS THERE. Actually living in the place that we don't want to go.

You need to know that
- human trafficking, the buying and selling of people, is a business that is bigger and more prevalent that you can fathom...and it is rapidly growing in our country,
- forced labor associated with trafficking can be sexual in nature, but also includes working in sweatshops, agricultural settings, and domestic settings,
- the United States is one of the largest markets in the world for sexual slavery.

I'm not going to post stats because I think they can overwhelm and take the focus off the individual. But it's safe to say that by the time you finish reading this an American businessman will have had his way with an 11 year old Filipino child, a vanload of teen girls who thought they were coming to America for school will be herded into an underground brothel in your state, and a young woman will have sexually served, against her will, her 20th customer for the day.

God is not calling everyone to become ICE agents or open a transitional house for victims. But God does call us to free the oppressed. Is there really any who are more oppressed than those who are bought and sold to be used for brutal, humiliating sex or labor against their will?

You can
- do nothing
- pray (I even pray that God will bring the oppressed to my mind so that I remember to pray for them!)
- become more aware (look around when you are at gas stations or public restrooms...notice the people in your surroundings)
- become more active (research sites, donate $, host an event to inform your community)

Some resources:
Shared Hope Int
Life Impact Int
Kim Daniels w/AIM
Hagar Int
The Defenders USA (great site for men!)

I recently watched the movie Human Trafficking. I never watch these types of movies because I see no point in filling your mind with such things, but I feel that this movie accurately depicts various aspects of the scope and brutality of human trafficking. In the final scene, Mira Sorvino's character says that we must face the fact that "none of this horror would be possible if our culture didn't create a demand for it."

UGH! Doesn't it kill you that the men (and a growing number of women) in our cities...in our neighborhoods...are fueling this tragedy? PRAY for the victims, the oppressors, AND the buyers who are creating the demand for this product of human lives. As God answers prayers and brings His light to the darkness, healing and hope will come...but also future lives will be spared the horrors of human trafficking.

"modern day slavery is only occuring because we choose to ignore it..." - Human Trafficking, the movie

Monday, March 23, 2009

private blog

Our new private blog is up and running, and I have sent email invites to all who requested access. At least I hope I did! So if you didn't get an invitation or have decided you would like one (because all the cool kids are doing it), please email me!

This blog will stay a public blog if you care to join me in discussing topics ranging from trash-bagged windows to human trafficking to chocolate covered strawberries!


I recently read that parents are not supposed to tell kids things like "you are driving me crazy."


I would just like to know who the goody-two-shoes was that came up with that decision...and give 'em a good thump between the eyes. UNFAIR!

Finally...I was going to be on the giving end of that statement rather than the receiving end...and now it's ripped out of my hands...torn from my arsenal of mama comebacks...

and it's driving me crazy.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I LOVE this kid:
I LOVE Play-doh...but not as much as I love the kid.
Love the kid even though he has been miserably tired the past few days...or has it been weeks...and has decided that mama is not interesting AT ALL and says things like "Matthew and Kit play and Mama goes work." For newcomers, Kit is M's aunt...and I DON'T WORK!! At least not outside the home! He is totally trying to give me the boot! I'm so glad my Play-doh people enjoy my company.

Purchasing a camera: To answer some email questions...I have the Canon Rebel Xti, which was purchased as a kit (camera body + 2 lenses). If I had to do it over again, I would not buy the kit. The 18-55mm is just adequate and I rarely use the 55mm-250mm. That being said, I do believe there are some photographers who could take AMAZING pics with a coke bottle duct taped to the camera in place of a lens, so take this with a grain of salt. I purchased the 50mm 1.4, and it is the lens I use 99.999999999% of the time. Keep in mind this lens is prime and does not zoom.
If you are looking at the Rebel, do a comparison between the Xsi and the Xti. One feature that is a nuisance with the Xti is that the smallest metering setting is PARTIAL, and you really want SPOT (which the Xsi has).
You can rent camera equipment, so you may want to consider that option before making a purchase.

Hefty, Hefty, Hefty...Although M has both blinds and drapes on his bedroom window, I thought that it might still need to be darker in his room. My reasoning for this was that he slept so well in CA, and it was pitch black in that room. I decided that, while I wanted to give it a try, I didn't want spend a bunch of money and have a failed project. So I broke out the Hefty. Actually, the generic version of Hefty. And my best packing tape...again, generic. Six big trash bags and half a roll of tape later, my baby's room was ghetto chic. And much darker! No worries, the bags are between the blinds and the drapes, so our neighbors' property value isn't going down due to my frugality. Does it work? No, not really...but not surprised.

Beauty products...My face has fallen, and it can't get up. I am aging faster than something that goes really, really fast. It doesn't help that we have NEGATIVE percent humidity right now. I wish my face could live in the bokeh of life! Any good recommendations on wrinkle cream?

A flip flop, a flippity flippity flip flip flop you don't stop a rockin'...HOORAY for flip flop season! Don't even think about baring your dogs until you grab some Curel's Foot Cream. It is a summer must-have and is less than $5, which makes me happy. It's so marvelous that your feet will send you a hand-written...err, foot-written...thank you card.

Blush, blush...I just got an email from the author of PRAY BIG FOR YOUR MARRIAGE! When I saw his name in my inbox, I recognized it, but figured it was a blogger asking for an invite to my private blog. But then I opened it and realized it was THE Will Davis, Jr! He kindly thanked me for the free airtime . I blushed...and then blushed some more.
OK, now as I look at the "blush, blush" above I am starting to sing it to the tune of "Hush, Hush" by Til Tuesday...which you will only know if you are ancient like me. So in my head I am singing, "blush, blush, keep it down now, blog posts carry..." because I am assuming the Pastor found my blog by googling "pray big for your marriage." BAM! And there I was...my little blog post carrying its words around the cyberworld...which confirms my decision to go private with M's blog. And reminds me not to write any posts about al-KY-duh!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

for your eyes only...

Hey, gang...I am taking this blog PRIVATE. Well, actually I am not sure yet if I will make this one password protected or just create a new private blog for personal posts about M.

If you would like an invitation for viewing, please send an email to 1sttimemama1@gmail.com and include your email address and blog/website address (if you have one).

Hope you are having a great Wednesday!!!!!!! (I had to look at my computer calendar to make sure it was Wednesday!)

edited2add: Hey, thanks for all the emails! When we were in CA we stayed in a new section of the resort, which was still under construction. The main resort buildings were nestled at the foot of the mountain, but our condo was higher up the hill. A few times I walked the road down the mountain, and along the entire road was a tall construction fence, obviously erected to keep guests from the danger of the steep hill. One day I noticed a breach in the fence...an opening not too big, but big enough...and on the other side just slightly down the hill was a beautiful tree with bright purple blooms. BEAUTIFUL! And it was calling my name! I wanted to smell that tree...to see the blooms up close. I walked closer to the fence and peered through the opening. I could have easily stepped through the fence...stepped away from its protection...but I turned on my heel and headed back to the road.

I have been praying lately for God's protection of our family...and yet no sooner do those words pass my lips that I also pray that WE will be diligent in building walls of protection around ourselves. Yes, God is our Protector, but we also have a responsibility.

I see that, for me, making my life (and especially the life of my child) so public is like that breach in the fence around the resort. Even with thousands of feet of protective wall along that road, just that one small opening would be enough for someone to fall to danger. My decision to go private is simply a matter of patching up that opening.

I do intend to keep a public blog for God-stuff. While I do not pretend to be a gifted writer, I know for certain that I am gifted struggler! And, if God can use my struggles (that are always outmatched by His grace) to help someone else, then thanks be to Him! Before I go private, I will post info about a public blog.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

some stuff

I am a little commitment-phobic when it comes to decorating. So rather than select, frame, and hang a few photos and then tire of them in a month, I purchased these white magnetic boards from eye-KEY-uh instead. They were about $9/each. I saw some super cool tiny, stainless steel magnets that I loved but, when adding shipping to the total, I just couldn't bring myself to pay nearly $30 for MAGNETS! So I found these little colored ball magnets for less than $3/pkg. I haven't decided which photos to put on the boards yet, but I threw some recent pics on the boards so you could get an idea of their size.

The other day we finally got some rain, so M and I played Noah's Ark! M pretended to be Noah; I played the narrator and God. Here "Noah" is building the ark:
The animals were gathered:
The ark doors were shut when it began to rain:After the rain stopped, there was a "rainbow" of rings in the sky:
The cool thing was that afternoon we really did see a rainbow in our sky! A rare occurence!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

back to grace

Before we left for CA, I published this post and this post about grace. Based on the comments and emails I received about them, I decided to share some more of my study on this topic.

Why I started studying about grace:
At the beginning of the new year I had a few conversations with a friend that left my heart feeling a little heavy. Replaying the discussions in my head, I realized that the problem was my speech. Oh, it wasn't that I had been gossiping or cussing or slandering or even throwing down a bunch of "yo mama" jokes (I save those for my convos with Scott...just kidding, Grandma!). Yet even though those things were absent, nothing about my words was edifying. My speech lacked purpose (other than just trying to use up some of my 30,000 words for the day) and reeked of the world.

We know that our speech is just an outpouring of what is in our hearts (Luke 6:46), but I'll focus on the speech in this post...because the heart surgery is taking longer than expected. Scalpel...scalpel.

God's words about a Christian's speech are pretty cut and dry:
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.- Eph 4:29

[Let] your speech always [be] with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.- Col 4:6

Do all things without complaining and disputing, - Phl 2:14

In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips [is] wise.- Prov 10:19

The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, But the mouth of the wicked [what is] perverse. - Prov 10:32

A fool has no delight in understanding, But in expressing his own heart. - Prov 18:2

As I studied, God revealed more ways that my speech was in need of an overhaul. I'm going to give you an example because, if you were writing this post, I would be like "What exactly is she talking about?" and then I would email you and ask, "What exactly are you talking about?" To which you would respond, "Away with you, blog stalker!" and set your blog to private. But, since I like examples, I will provide one.

So...for example, (I think I could use up my 30,000 words just with "example") every night as Scott would walk in the door, out of my mouth spewed an ugly laundry list of everything frustrating M had done that day. Why? Was I trying to get sympathy? Was I trying to relay how challenging it can be as a SAHM? That it's not all about eating chocolate covered strawberries while watching Spanish novellas? At least not ALL of it. NOTE: Scott NEVER questions my role, so it's not like I had to defend myself.

Nope, there was no purpose other than a selfish one. Scroll up and re-read Proverbs 18:2 while inserting "Tish" for "a fool." Sums.it.up. NOTE: I'm not saying that I should never discuss M's behavior issues with Scott or that it's not human to vent now and then. I'm only saying that God has called me on the carpet for a sinful habit I had developed.

This is what God says about Jesus' speech:
You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever.- Psalm 45:2

So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. - Luke 4:22

I want my speech to lift the spirits of others...to encourage, to comfort, to edify. I want God to be blessed by the words of my mouth even if His name doesn't pass my lips. I want to speak with purpose...this doesn't mean I never want to chit chat and small talk and gab. I mean, afterall, I have like 30,000 words a day that I just HAVE to get out!

But here's the thing...
My Savior spoke with grace.
His Spirit dwells within me.
By His power I, too, can speak with grace.

I'm confident of this.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14

BTW, if Scott has written this post, it would be 1/4 of it's current size...because guys only use like 25 words a day.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Easter is coming!

Just practicing...M was happy to oblige for photos when I whipped out a sucker the size of our nation's debt! I think it was even a little too much for him since he eventually said, "Matthew done soon" and didn't cry when I took it away. I left them unedited because M is back to "flash naps"...yesterday's was 35 mins...so I have little time for such extravagant luxuries!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

get your verse on

As if Stefanie wasn't already in the running for some Nobel-SuperHero-Lifetime Achievement Award, this soon-to-be NINTH TIME MAMA just started a new business venture! On the side. On the side of 1 husband, 9 kids, 2 dogs, and 1 SN adoption support blog.

When does she find time to do it all, you ask? Exactly. Cloning. I suspect cloning.

Anyway...this is good stuff. This is God stuff.

Wild Olive Tees

His Word on shirts, His money helping those in need, His love displayed in a group of friends who are having fun selling Tees!!!

Wild Olive Tees

Get on over to Wild Olive...and get your verse on!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

takin' care of bizness

I met Jen and her megawatt smile behind the CO-OP last Sunday. Jen greeted me like a professional with her hand, but she hugged me like a friend with her smile. I met her through our mutual pal, Chelsea...the only sucker I could get to pose for a practice photoshoot a couple months ago. Well, Jen saw Chelsea's pics and asked if I would take some of her...for business cards!!! GULP! PRESSURE!!!!

Since the photos are (potentially!) for business cards, my goal was to get shots that would have enough space for printing her contact info. I actually remembered to meter correctly this time, so I was pretty happy with my exposure...but my focus is horrible. I was shooting between 2.2-3.5 and focusing on Jen's eye, but STILL ended up with soft shots. I think I need to hold my camera differently and really stay planted...I think I pull away before the shot is completed.

Anyway, here are about 20 photos...edited in picnik...I seriously have about 100 more!

serious.life magazine

You may have seen my sidebar button encouraging prayer for sweet ABBY. Well, in addition to caring for Abby and their 6 other children, Abby's parents own and publish Serious.Life Magazine.

Serious.Life Magazine includes articles about family, adoption, personal finance, spiritual life, humor, etc. If you'd like to check it out, they just released the March issue...and a subscription is FREE! As in FREEEEEEEEEE!

Serious.Life Magazine

Monday, March 9, 2009

beach videos

these are long...and probably only Smooch and my grandma need to watch anything more than the first 10 secs...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

global food crisis day

I'm not one of those organized mamas who goes to the grocery store with a complete list of ingredients needed to make a planned meal schedule for the week. I'm lucky to leave with a "meal" for that evening...and a bag of gummy bears.

Whether you are a check-it-off-your-list queen or a grab-whatever-looks-good-at-the-moment mom, I hope you will go shopping this week with this thought in mind:

Is there a way to whittle down your list (or your whims) so that you can send a little love to those in need...to those who don't have the luxury of meal planning or impulse buys? For those who don't even have the luxury (yes, luxury) of knowing they will eat that day?

Here's the scoop:
WHAT IS GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS DAY? Compassion International is partnering with radio stations, media, churches and bloggers to spread the word about the Global Food Crisis and raise funds that will make a real difference to those impacted by it.

WHY IS THE CRISIS? Overshadowed by recent political and financial economic news, the UN World Food Programme calls the current global food crisis “a phenomenon, a silent tsunami,” that is affecting millions of families in every nation on every continent. This global food crisis is more rapid, urgent and devastating than any other in the history of our planet.

WHY IS THE CRISIS HAPPENING? The cost of food staples have roughly doubled in many countries where Compassion serves. Some of the original factors that turned this trend into a world calamity recently include unstable oil prices, increased meat consumption in countries like India and China, droughts in major crop-producing countries, and increased production of biofuels.

HOW CAN YOU HELP? Visit http://www.compassion.com/please to learn more about the Global Food Crisis and donate to Compassion's Global Food Crisis Fund. Add a Global Food Crisis widget to your blog sidebar or posts: http://share-compassion.org/gfc/

WHAT DOES THE GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS FUND DO? Provides food vouchers to children and families needing immediate relief. Provides seeds and agricultural tools so that families can grow their own food as well as earn extra income. Provides supplemental nutrition services at Compassion-assisted centers around the world.

If you cannot send a financial contribution, will you please take a moment and pray for the child who is shown in the Compassion button at the top of my sidebar?

gracias tanto a mis amigos

Thursday, March 5, 2009

happy anniversary, baby, i've got you on my miiiiind!

hooray for six years!!!

i planned to scan more photos from our wedding, but my scanner was having personal issues...so i gave it the night off. without pay, of course.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

pray big for your marriage

I have recommended the book Pray Big for your Marriage before but thought I'd give it some more free ad space. I am moving ever so slowly through it and tailoring the prayer suggestions for my marriage. And...I am already seeing answers to my prayers. I am humbled by God's goodness and by the joy of committing to praying more than just "bless us, God."

Some examples of suggested intercessions in the book include praying that
- you and your spouse won't settle for mediocrity in your marriage,
- your marriage would mirror God's everlasting love and lovingkindness,
- God will expose and remove any barriers that keep you from knowing all the joy He intends for your marriage, and
- you will love Jesus MORE than you love your spouse, etc.

I'd like to be transparent here...not because I think my words are going to be super exciting or profound, but because I know how incredibly helpful the honest sharing of others is to me.

I've mentioned before that I am not the prayer warrior I long to be. I know that God is our Abba (Romans 8:15) and some people converse with Him easily throughout the day just as they would their earthly Dad. However, for some reason I always think of Isaiah's encounter with the Lord (Isaiah 6) and feel like I need to be locked in my closet, face on the ground, and going through the ACTS steps in order to pray. Not for ritual but for reverence! Think Wayne and Garth, "I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy."

BUT...I know that God meets me where I am, and He's been using this book to encourage me in prayer.

I have been praying the intercession listed above asking God to "expose barriers." Let me just say that the first day I prayed this, I did so with the acknowledgement that I am so often a barrier...THE barrier. God must have agreed and started revealing very specific ways that a change in me would lead to more joyful intimacy in my marriage.

Keep this in mind: If you read the account of Adam and Eve in the garden, God gives the instruction about the "forbidden fruit" BEFORE He makes Eve. There is no mention of God reiterating His words to Eve. Perhaps He did, or perhaps Adam shared the news and she was expected to trust him...we don't know. But we do know that Eve was deceived by satan and then gave the fruit to Adam, who ate of it in direct transgression (1 Tim 2:14). However, after they BOTH ate of the fruit, God addressed Adam. Nevermind that Eve ate first. Nevermind that she gave the fruit to her man. God addressed Adam.

I am a girl led by emotions and sometimes volatile ones at that! If up to me we would probably have started an orphanage in our guest room, given our entire savings to combat human trafficking, and be trekking to Mexico every weekend to build homes for those need. All good stuff, right? But is it God's will for our family?

Now because I believe that God designed the husband to lead the family (1 Cor 11:3), I pray often for Scott to have wisdom in guiding our family and our business. Yet, even when not meaning to, I often try to impress my ideas and my timing on him rather than trusting that He is surrendered to and being led by God. I mean, why haven't we sold all of our belongings yet? There is a baby in africa who needs milk!

I think most husbands, like mine, really want to make their wives happy...and perhaps sometimes men can succumb to the desires (or nagging, whatever the situation may be) of their wives in order to achieve this. Is this what Adam did? Did he disobey God in an attempt to make Eve happy? I don't know but I do know that, by Divine design, Scott is responsible to God for our family. Remember how God addressed Adam?

My guess is that we can expect to see more joy in our marriages when we fully commit to praying for our husbands to be surrendered to and led by God and then trusting that it is actually happening. May we be more conscious of what we ask of our husbands...praying that their desire to obey God will supercede their desire to make us happy. When God calls the name of your husband, may it be to say, "Well done, good and faithful servant..."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

We Picture {This}

I have been invited to participate in a "mamarazzi" photo blog!!! If you enjoy looking at amazing photos of super cute kids, click your way on over to We Picture {This}!
we picture {this}

Sunday, March 1, 2009

vacation wrap up

Wonderful trip! Matthew slept like a champ (at least we think he did...we put the microwave vent on high speed so he could have danced the cha cha all night and we wouldn't have known). Not kidding, but he was pretty much getting about 12 hours per night + a nap, which is totally unheard of! I was stoked thinking that we were getting into a new&improved sleep schedule...until he's been awake EARLY both mornings since returning home. Just one more reason to move to CA, right?

We lounged at the pool:

I totally blew out this photo but thought it looked cool anyway..

We flew a kite at the beach and had more fun in the sand:

We visited a park:

and we pretty much just relaxed our tails off. It was great...and did I mention that Matthew slept well? Yeah, it was GREAT! Plus, Scott and I had our evenings free from normal "tasks" so I was blessed to enjoy his company. Plus, I read the book From Congress to Brothel which I received from Shared Hope Int. and it led to a lot of prayer...which I loved. Plus, we saw pelicans...I was SO hoping to because they are such magnificent birds...huge!!!
Oh, yeah, and plus Matthew slept well!