Thursday, March 31, 2011

Packing Books


If your suitcase could only hold 10 books (besides a story Bible) for your child's first 4 years of life, what would be at the top of your list?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

For Medicinal Purposes


Hubs is playing soccer this spring. You wouldn't believe how excited he was about his first game. Anything involving hitting, kicking, or throwing a ball is pretty much equivalent to a week of vacation to him. He doesn't just enjoy the play, he enjoys the male camaraderie involved.

Last week he came home and downed a glass of chocolate milk. Apparently, one of the guys on the team informed him that a recent study (probably by the milk council) showed that drinking chocolate milk after a work out helps your muscles recover more quickly. yeah, right. I guess it is better than that freezing pool they have at the gym that is supposed to serve a similar purpose. Luckily for him, he loves chocolate milk. Good excuse.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spinach & Beets


Jude's his own man when it comes to food. About 2 months ago, he began scoffing at anything he couldn't feed himself. If he can't pick it up and put it in his mouth, it's probably not going to make it into his little belly...at least not in large quantity. While that does make dinner time less hands on for me, there are some foods that his lack of coordination makes it difficult to get down without a spoon.

When we were in Louisville, I discovered these handy little packets of baby food at Target and decided to give them a try. Jude loves them. He can 'feed' them to himself straight from the packet. Mom loves them too. How else would I get him to eat beets and spinach and all sorts of crazy nutritious veggies? A bit pricey, but so worth it if he'll partake.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tomorrow's Troubles


When I was in college, my Greek professor had a favorite response to our anxious inquiries about when the next test would be, what the exam would hold, or how we would master the next step. "Sufficient for the day are the troubles therein," he would quote from the book of Matthew. We would sigh, hoping for something more definitive. But over the course of that year, the little phrase took root.

He was quite a good teacher. He was leading us methodically through the basics of Greek. He was a master of the language and had a systematic approach to developing in our little class what we would need should we decide to master Greek ourselves.(obviously, I never did. i gave up Greek my senior year in lieu of intra-mural soccer:) Nonetheless, he was a trustworthy guide because he had an end in sight. He knew things about the language that we didn't. What he was saying when he assuaged our fears with "sufficient for the day" was basically "Stick with me and I'll get you there. Do what I've asked you to do in this assignment and you'll be ready for tomorrow's test or translation or new concept."

I find myself thinking about the future a lot these days. If I'm honest, a lot of times I'm meditating on tomorrow's troubles, the what-ifs of life. What if something happens to my husband? What if something happens to Jude? What if my health fails? What if I fall apart when we move to Asia?

In trying to convince myself that worry is fruitless, I've been missing a key in overcoming those thoughts. I don't need to just stop worrying, I need to begin trusting. The pre-cursor to that little phrase in Matthew 6 is a beautiful passage in which Christ tells us not to worry. He talks about the futility of it. But he doesn't leave it there. "Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith." (kjv) He points to faith in the unseen. He doesn't just forbid worry, he tells us that God the Father is trustworthy. The future is his charge, not ours. He knows what we need, he's numbered our days, he's made all the provisions.

Before time began, my days were written in God's book. If he clothes the flowers of the field, will he not much more clothe me?

Face Lift

I used this handy tutorial and gave the blog a little update tonight:)

Friday, March 25, 2011

100,000 Tulips


The Dixon Gallery and Gardens planted 100,000 tulip bulbs this year. This is the week of fullest bloom. If you have time, brave the less-than-spring-like weather and stop by this weekend! (Admission is free to the public on Saturdays from 10-12.) We spent some time there this morning with Manda and Lucy and it was well worth bundling up for the visit.



Since NanNan just happens to run their fabulous gift shop, she popped outside for a bit to show us around and enjoy a few photos. (thanks, manda:)



The shot below probably ranks in my Top 5 Favorites for this year's photos! I love it!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wives & Daughters



To our delight, Stacey made a stop at our house when she was in the area for work earlier this week. She's always up on BBC and Masterpiece Theatre. She mentioned the mini-series Wives & Daughters to me and I promptly used my free Netflix trial to check them out. Hopefully the little man will kindly allow me to finish Episode IV sometime today because I'm in complete suspense!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Steps

I decided to make a little Target purchase to spice up my spring wardrobe.
I love these shoes! There's just something about having some color on your feet! Of course, Jude has a fascination with the flowers on the front:)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Time Allowance


A part of motherhood that, quite frankly, I dreaded, was a loss of control over my daily routine. Jude is a friendly baby, and in many ways he's a predictable little guy. But he's still a baby...a wee person who takes a big chunk out of my time, sometimes predictably, sometimes not-so-predictably. He doesn't consult me when he decides to cut 4 teeth all at once or develop a little cough that wakes him from his nap 30 minutes early.

And then there's his mom. I like to think that I'm an organized person. I like to think that I run a tight ship around here. But the truth is, I'm not and I don't. I have my areas of organization, and there are some things about our house that people might think qualify as a tight ship, but overall, I like to go with the flow. I like to pull out my little craft box when the fancy strikes me. I like to pick up a book sometimes instead of unloading the dishwasher. When the sun starts shining, we drop what we're doing and head to Shelby Farms.

All of that to say, here in Dawkins world, we like a little bit of flexibility. If I wrote out what I did at a specific time each day, with only a few exceptions, it would look a little different each day of the week. And I'm ok with that.

What that does not mean, though, is that allowing for a more laid back approach to scheduling gives me license to shirk my responsibilities to my household or in my personal disciplines. A few weeks ago I read a blog that resonated with the way I seem to manage time these days. Click here for the article. I found her terminology helpful. She gives herself a time "allowance" for the tasks she needs to accomplish in a day. Then the decided tasks can be put into any order as the day unfolds. It's a schedule, without the rigidity of structure that inevitably leaves me feeling frustrated and like a failure. It's like a time-sensitive to-do list. I think we've talked about my affection for to-do lists previously:)

The article isn't anything new but I found it helpful encouragement in using each day, and all the tiny moments in it, as a purposeful gift to be stewarded wisely.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bed Head



Nap time around our house can leave Jude looking pretty rough and tumble.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Five Things on Friday



1. Memphis, Memphis, Memphis. You were my one hope of actually maintaining interest in the Final 4. It was soooo close.

2. On our way home yesterday, we stopped in downtown Nashville for a little touring:)




3. Jude is bound to be a nerd. We can't pass through a state capital without a little educational detour by his dad.


4. On our agenda for tonight: fajitas and apartment golf. Happy Friday.

5. I spent the afternoon at the library perusing the children's section. I'm not much of a poetry reader myself, but I'm committed to reading it to Jude. I must admit that I enjoyed myself more than I thought I would. The Oxford Children's compilation may make the final cut for books we schlep overseas.

Cow

The Cow comes home swinging
His udder and singing:

'The dirt O the dirt
It does me no hurt.

And a good splash of muck
Is a blessing of luck.

O I splosh through the mud
But the breath of my cud

Is sweeter than silk.
O I splash through manure

But my heart stays pure
As a pitcher of milk.'


Ted Hughes

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Man-Friends

Jude took a quick trip this week up to the northern country to visit his new man-friends.

Cincinnati, with hardly a bloom in sight, looked much more wintry than the city of Memphis. It was well worth the cooler temps though to get a glimpse of little Jeremiah Lyons.



We've been anxious to see the Boeving sweeties and meet Mr. Luke. He's quite a dashing baby.



And now, after quite a few hours in the car and some sweeter time with friends, we're heading back down South.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weekend Fun



Friday we spent part of our afternoon at My Big Backyard at the Memphis Botanical Gardens. It's beginning to be a favorite of ours in this springtime weather. The trees were in perfect bloom, the temperature just right, and Jude had just taken a long nap. All the components of a successful afternoon:)





If you haven't been for a visit, you should!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Progression

Jude is quite the ham these days when it comes to the camera. Please note the progression once I started taking pictures. Before I pulled it out, he was telling me loudly that he was finished.

Mom, you've got 5 second to get me out of this thing before I go absolutely crazy.


Oh, you didn't tell me you wanted to take a picture.




This is for the blog!?!? It's no problem then, I can sit here a little while.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tax Time

He may have stayed up 'til midnight to finish them...but hubs officially completed our taxes last night.





We're thinking of giving Jude a gift for being an additional dependent in our household:)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

3 Things Thursday

Three insignificant details of my life are all I can muster today:)

1. I tried to feed Jude an avocado this morning. I felt certain it would be love at first bite. He spit it out in disgust. How is that possible? I love avocados. Who doesn't? Apparently, Jude doesn't.



2. Yesterday I went to Target to purchase some new running shorts. Mine were stretched beyond repair by my preggo belly last year. For some reason, bright pink seemed like a good idea in the store. Now that the tags have been removed, I'm not sure what I was thinking. At least the cars will see me coming.




3. Currently, I am reading Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis. I'm wondering how it is that I've never made it through the whole book before. After this, I'm hoping to delve into the writings of Edith Schaeffer. Any top recommendations within her writing?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Learning at Home

Confession: I went to a homeschooling conference this past weekend.

Yes, I realize my oldest child is 9 months old.

There were a number of factors that impacted my decision to register. At the top of the list was the fact that we were, at the time of registration, supposed to be moving into the African bush until Jude's 4th or 5th birthday. Homeschooling seemed like a likely possibility.

Since we're heading to Asia instead, it may or may not be our best option. I decided to dip my toes into the water anyways.

I'm glad I did.

It was one of the most helpful conferences I've been to in a long time. I found the speakers engaging and the interaction with other parents very helpful. Regardless of the educational decision we make for Jude, it's a conference I'd like to attend as often as I am able throughout the years. It gave me a fresh perspective and some helpful resources in making our home a place where learning is valued and cultivated.

I'm going to make an odd suggestion to all of you Louisvillians. The Cincinatti conferences is coming up at the end of this month. If you are able, take time to go. In addition to the fact that the Duggar family (remember my small obsession?) will be there, David and I both found many of the sessions thought provoking and helpful, even in this season.

Here's the link:
Great American Homeschool Convention

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chompers


Hardly a man of moderation, Jude is currently cutting four teeth.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Haphazard Interruptions


One day last week, David called as I was standing in the parking lot with Jude. Jude was strapped into the running stroller and I was all laced up and ready to go. David needed me to read him some notes to him from his planner.

I asked if it could wait 30 minutes until I returned from my run. He really needed to have it just then if possible. He was, as always, kind and grateful as I went back in the house to get the notes.

Jude sat in the doorway in the stroller as I searched for the notes. I began to read the points hurriedly. Jude started to fuss. I was watching my window of opportunity for a run slowly narrow. I asked if he needed the whole page of notes. He needed a bit more than I'd read.

I read the notes but I was short. My spirit was impatient. I was inconvenienced and I made sure sweet hubs knew my martyrdom.

As I hung up the phone, I tried to justify my attitude. Getting a run in when the weather is just so, the little man is fed, changed and content, I have enough time afterward to shower and change, etc, etc, some days feels parallel to winning Publisher's Clearing House. But by the end of my run, I knew I needed to call hubs back. One of my primary objectives each day is to serve him joyfully. I call him. I asked him to forgive me for being impatient and of course, he did.

One of the areas that I have long struggled in is patience when those inevitable interruptions come my way. I usually have a plan in mind that outlines what my day (or at least the upcoming hour) will look like for us. Elisabeth Elliot has some helpful words:

"Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy. Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands."

She is fond of talking about the sovereignty of God in life's trifles. Nothing comes my way that is not a part of His plan, regardless of the outline of my day timer. It is, in fact, in these haphazard interruptions that true character is formed. A servant gladly does her masters bidding. Christ is my master. I've made myself a bond slave...a servant based on love.

"Lord, when there are interruptions, it seems that the disposal of time I had planned so well has slipped out of my hands. Help me then to remember that it has not slipped out of Yours. In Your hands, these unexpected things will be fashioned into an unexpectedly beautiful design." (EE, Discipline)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What's New?


1. Jude discovered the park swing this weekend. His life will never be the same again.




2. The $2 no bake cheesecake mix from Aldi is worth $2, especially with raspberries and white chocolate!!!



3. The Martha Stewart Craft Encyclopedia my mom gave me a few years ago is inspirational. This project was a little more time consuming than my average craft these days and the outcome wasn't exactly like Martha's...but a little paint and paper sure made a whale of a difference on that wooden stool:)


4. To David's utter and complete delight, Jude can now roll the ball back to us! I really think it's the moment for which David's been waiting 9 months.


5. After putting it off way too long, I went to the Salvation Army yesterday in search of a new pair of jeans...that would actually fit me. If you've ever bought jeans from a thrift store, you'll realize the true miracle of this next statement. The first pair I tried on were like a dream come true. $5 later, I'm a happy woman!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

An Update on Jessica

Thank you for your faithful prayers for my friend Jessica. She got the news earlier this week that her cancer has returned. It was hard and unexpected. She was so hopeful that the results would come back just the opposite. Just a few hours after getting the news, she wrote in one of her notes, "I am reminded that God doesn't promise us that life is going to be easy. He does promise us that he will never leave us."

Pray for Christ's comfort to be rich in her life during this season. Pray for wisdom as she and her doctors make a plan of attack. Pray for her sweet husband, James, as he wages this battle with her.

Manners Matter: Part II

I mentioned yesterday that the post on manners stemmed from a few points of advice from David’s mother on raising mannerly children. Here's a condensed version of the thoughts she shared:

1. The parents must desire to cultivate mannerliness in their children.
If it doesn’t matter to you, it definitely won’t matter to your children.
2. The parents must take time to work on manners.
No chit chatting with other mothers while your child runs wild at someone else’s house. There is a sacrifice involved in being attentive to your children’s manners, particularly when you are out with friends.

3. Please, thank you and excuse me don’t come naturally. Be consistent.
When David was younger, if someone gave him a piece of candy or served his plate and he forgot to say “thank you,” his mother was listening. She would come and put a friendly arm around him and to help remind him until the words had been spoken. She told the story of another one of her children whose Sunday School teacher called every Saturday night for a year. Week after week, she stood by the phone and whispered at the end of the conversation “Remember to say thank you for calling me.” It only took a year until the lesson stuck:)

4. Teach children to look adults in the eye when meeting strangers.

It was suggested that games be played at home to help teach the child beforehand how to interact with new acquaintances in order to take some of their nervousness away in the situation.


5. What you take time to do in the younger years, you will reap the rewards of for years to come. It is worth the effort!




Nothing is less important than which fork you use. Etiquette is the science of living. It embraces everything. It is ethics. It is honor. - Emily Post

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Manners Matter: Part I


When I was growing up, we set the table for dinner every night. I’m sure my mom was serving Mac and Cheese sometimes, but we ate it on dinner plates with a fork on the left and the spoon and knife on the right. Emily Post still adorns her bookshelf and is consulted when appropriate behavior is in question. Even in high school, one of the first things I noticed about David were his manners. He is invariably polite. He looks you in the eye when he speaks to you, he opens doors, shows appropriate respect for his elders, and gives up his seat for ladies.

Last week I was in a class in which David’s mom gave several of us young mothers tips for raising mannerly children. I’ll share those in tomorrow’s post. The whole conversation brought me some good fodder for thought. I’ve been in a few conversations over the past couple of years where I’ve heard people talk about how out of fashion all that old protocol is in these modern times. Our generation isn’t one to be bound by tradition. We were, after all, raised by the hippies of the 70’s. We’re free thinkers. We’re not much on tradition. And etiquette is just a set of rules that someone made up that no one really cares about anymore. By the time Jude is a grown man, it is likely that the name Emily Post won’t mean a thing.

I disagree. I think manners do matter. Do I mean snobbery? No. Culturally appropriate behavior that is in keeping with good social decorum? Yes.

Why, in a society where manners seem to be going out of fashion, am I going to make significant efforts to instill good manners in my son? Why does his dad, even now, take the time to whisper in his ear as he holds the door open for me, “Son, we love your momma. We always want to take time to open the door for your mom.” I will make the effort because I believe that manners do matter. Most of the rules that are in place in our society arose to oil the social wheels, to make things run smoothly without the awkwardness of unintended offense. They emanate respect, care, and generosity towards others. They help us to communicate the very essential truth that the other person matters. They are worth our thought, time and effort.

Besides this basic point, for me, there is another reason that stems from my own experience. David’s mother was committed to teaching her son manners. Is David perfect? No, of course not. It is, however, apparent that the value of polite behavior was instilled in him from a very young age. It is natural for him to open my door, rise when I enter a room, make appropriate introductions when I walk into a circle of people. It has, on more levels than I could ever explain, made my married life better. I am indebted to my mother-in-law for the efforts she made to train him in mannerly behavior. When the doors are closed and no one is around, though decorum is unnecessary, that early instillation of thoughtfulness about the needs and feelings of others is still present. As a wife, it helps me to feel cared for and appreciated in our daily life together.

It is one of the best wedding gifts anyone could give.

I am reaping the benefits of her labor and I hope that one day another young lady will reap the benefits of mine.