Archives for December 2009

Wherein I leave you with more photographs

Today, as the temperatures are hovering in the teens, I am longing to be back in this lovely place.  Yes, loooooonging…

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This adorable little boy will be two in five days.  Excuse me while I go sob in the corner for a bit.

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Turns out Tia has a knack for gymnastics.  After only a few weeks of lessons, she was bumped up to a more advanced class where she is the only three year old in a group of four and five year olds. 

She’s perfected her cartwheel and now does it off our ottoman whilst pretending that it is a balance beam.  She is freakishly strong and has no fear.  But really, does this surprise anyone?  Remember this picture, which I took when she was not yet two years old?

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Then, of course, there was this post which described the catalyst for us actually signing her up for a gymnastics class. 

Mmm-hmm…We’re not shocked that she’s got some talent in the gymnastics arena.  Unfortunately, she’s going to be way too tall for the sport, but we’ll let her keep it up for as long as she enjoys it.

And speaking of Tia – wasn’t it just yesterday that she looked like this standing next to her not yet four year old brother?  She is now less than two months away from being four herself.

If anyone has discovered a way to make time stand still, please pass on the secret.  Pa-leeeeaaase.

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And this one just because.  Oh he’s yummy…

Happy weekend everyone!

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It’s Been One of Those Days…

It’s a busy week. It just is. And today kicks off an extremely busy weekend. I started the day off with an adjustment by a chiropractor because I’m going on almost two weeks with limited mobility in my neck and shoulders. I’m not sure what I did, but whatever it was, it’s left me a bit like Frankenstein as I have to move my whole body in order to look side to side or up and down.

So I did that.  Then I headed to drop Tia off at gymanstics, noticing on the way that I had no gas.  My Distance to Empty button was ticking down the miles as I raced to get her there in time.  I coasted up to the gas station on fumes, then headed to a party store to purchase cups for tonight’s Christmas musical.

I finally found the much needed cups and went to pay only to discover that I was missing my license.  Apparently some two year old took it out of my wallet yesterday when he was playing with it.  And because I had nothing else with a picture ID on it (and no cash – who carries cash?!) they wouldn’t let me purchase the cups.  Never mind that I completely emptied my wallet and showed them all manner of identification, they refused to let me pay by credit card or check.

I left very annoyed.  I mean, I get it – you have to be safe, but come on!  It’s 16 degrees out and I have a toddler with me!  Show a little bit of compassion.  I even offered to call my husband and have him verify my identification.  But they still refused.  I’m not going back to that store.

So in the car on the way home from gymnastics, I had to call the person who asked me to buy the cups and leave a message explaining that I was unable to get them.  And while I tried to talk, Tia and Landon were yelling in the background.

I was already frustrated and this frustrated me more.

So I overreacted, which necessitated an apology to my children when we returned home.

Then I went to make lunch and realized that while we have a lot of food in the house, very little of it is quick and easy to prepare (remember, we’re trying to overhaul the eating habits here) which means I had to come up with something fairly easy and healthy that my kids would still eat.

I failed.  They did not like the tuna fish, crackers and cheese I fed them – well, Sloan did, but the other two were not impressed.  They ate crackers and a piece of our ginger bread house for lunch.

Now it’s time for naps, then russian school, then opening night of the Christmas musical.  And I may still have to swing by another party store to buy cups.  At some point I need to fit in a shower as well.  *I may be starting to hyperventilate a little here*

It’s just going to be one of those days…

HP Touchsmart Giveaway

Okay – it is so rare that I actually take the time to enter a contest online.  In general I feel like it’s a waste of my time because the chances of me winning are so very slim and I’ve never been a very lucky person when it comes to contests anyway, so I just don’t enter them.

But I couldn’t pass this one up because the prize rocks.  Five blogger mama’s are giving away HP Touchsmart computers.  I’ve entered all five of their contests.  I don’t know why – but I just felt like it today.  You can go here to see which ladies are giving computers away and to enter their contest.  Good luck! 

Now scroll down and partake of the cuteness that is my daughter in leg warmers…

There are few things cuter…

There are few things cuter than a little girl in a leotard,


wearing leg warmers,


staring at you with big blue eyes,


waving around a baton,


laughing with her friends,


twirling around,




and all around having the time of her life.


Yes, there are few things cuter than that…

Except, perhaps, a little boy


standing like a little man with his hands in his pockets.

Because I only have time for bullet points

– I have just a short amount of time to spend on the computer today so this is going to be a random bullet list of all the things on my mind today.  Aren’t you excited?!

– I was at church until 11:00 last night rehearsing for the musical which opens this Thursday!  Please come watch it if you’re in town.  It’s going to be great.  Tonight is dress rehearsal, tomorrow we have the night off and Thursday we open.  There are six performances you can attend and you can purchase tickets here.  There are only a few tickets left for the Thursday evening show and the Sunday afternoon show, but Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday night all have plenty of seating still available!  Bring your kids – it will be fun for everyone!

– It’s amazing how productive I become when my schedule is jam packed.  Already this morning I’ve bathed, fed and dressed three kids; I’ve vacuumed the floors in the entire house; I’ve folded a load of laundry and I’ve cleaned a bathroom.  I will be gone most of the morning helping set up for the musical, then I plan to stay busy this afternoon getting my house in order before going back to church.  Whew – it’s like running a marathon.

– When I gave the kids their gluten free cereal with Almond Milk the other day, Sloan asked me if I was feeding them poison.  Nice.

– On the plus side, I did manage to get Landon to eat an entire plate of Salmon yesterday!  And Sloan and Tia both polished off a large helping of broccoli last night.  Landon took one bite and gagged, but at least he tried it.  We’re making progress.

– While I’m done with a majority of my Christmas preparations, I still have a lot to do.  Next week will be as crazy as this week trying to prepare.

– I went to a Bible study yesterday morning that really convicted me on my need to be more intentional about educating my kids on the true meaning of Christmas.  I came home with a ton of ideas.  Now if I could only find the time to implement them…

– I really want to send out Christmas cards, but I’m not sure it’s going to happen this year.  We’ll see how next week pans out.

– Every morning after Sloan gets on the school bus, I let Tia watch Handy Manny and the Imagination Movers.  I feel a little guilty about allowing her to sit and watch TV for that long every single morning.  But it allows me to get things done like blogging, showering and cleaning up so I push the guilt aside.  Is that terrible?!

– I feel sad about the Tiger Woods situation.  My heart hurts for them.

– I just sneezed all over the keyboard.  I need to go get some cleaner and wipe this up.  Have a happy Tuesday and get your tickets for the Christmas dessert musical theater at First E-Free this weekend!


The Three Wise Men, the Construction Worker and the Lady Down the Street

How’s that for a title?

I don’t have a nice, fancy nativity set.  Actually, a few years ago, I got the Willow Tree Nativity set for Christmas from my mom.  But I think, in an attempt to organize my exploding basement, I may have accidentally thrown it away the very same year I received it.

See – that’s what happens when you try and become organized.  That’s why I choose to remain blissfully un-organized…

We do have, however, the Little People Nativity set and I love it!  I love that the kids can play with it and I can teach them about the birth of Christ without being worried that they’re going to brake or harm a precious heriloom.

I also love that every day as I walk past the shelf where the nativity is housed, there is a new addition to the scene.  It makes me laugh:

There are, of course, the three wise men (one black, one white and one Asian), the Angel, Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, a camel, a donkey and a sheep.  Traditional, sweet, politically correct…


But if you look closely, there’s also an alligator from the Bayou:


A Panda from the Orient who stands alongside some random conductor guy who, I assume, works for Union Pacific:


Then there’s the construction worker and grandma from down the street:


And Lightening McQueen – because nothing says the birth of Jesus like a talking race car:


And, of course, not to be left out – Luke Skywalker and C-3PO have made it into the scene. Because Jesus loves the Jedi just as much as he loves you and me, I am most certain.


At one point there was also an older fella who I believe was Moses from the Little People Noah’s Ark set that graced the stable, but he seems to have wandered off for the time being. And I mean really, can you blame the guy?  If I’d spent 40 days and nights aboard a ship full of animals, I might not want to hang around a stable either…

What I love most about the little scene my kids have created, though, is the fact that no matter how they lay it out – they always have all the characters pointed toward the center – Christ.  And it’s a good reminder of what the season is all about, isn’t it?  It’s about the birth of a Savior who came to save us all.


Merry Christmas everyone!

Attempt Number One – Meh…

I am attempting to overhaul our eating habits.  In general we don’t eat terribly unhealthy, but I have gotten very lazy in my food preperation in the last several months, to where I’ve found myself feeding my kids endless amounts of already prepared, processed food that tends to be cheaper and easier to fix.

But I, myself, have felt very sluggish lately.  And I’ve already told you about my severe hormonal imbalances, which are also causing stomach issues.  I need to detox my diet a bit and I need to help my children understand that healthy food can be good.

It can, I swear!  Ah – if I can’t convince you guys, I’ll never convince them!

I haven’t gone to the grocery store for awhile because I’ve been trying to get all the food I’ve previously bought out of the house first.  Yesterday, however, when I opened up the refridgerator and a couple of moths hit me in the face, I decided it was time to hit the market.

I stocked up on a lot of fruits and vegetables.  I tried to buy foods that were either gluten and wheat free or low on the glycemic index.  I bought Almond Butter and Almond milk (I also bought cow’s milk, but I will use it sparsely).  I stocked up on almonds and walnuts and dried fruit, which I plan to mix together to make a trail mix that my children will most likely NOT love.

I bought grass fed beef and hormone free chicken.  I bought Salmon, which I plan on taking one bite of and then promptly giving the rest to my husband because…ew.

I also bought a box of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate dipped peppermint cookies because it jumped in my cart and I could not for the life of me put it back on the shelf.


So – I came home, put away the bags of beautiful, colorful groceries, placed my paper bags in the recycle bin (organic whole foods and recycling?  GO ME!) and prepared lunch for the kids.

What did I make, you ask?

I made Gluten Free Brown Rice pasta and I added some sauteed bell peppers (my kids love green peppers) a little bit of Olive Oil and a little bit of cheese.  It was scrumptous.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the kids agree…



Those were their plates after they left the table. 

I was all, “Mmmm…Isn’t this delicious guys?”  And they were all, “No.”

Okay, so I didn’t have very high expectations.  My kids, in general, aren’t a huge fan of pasta.  But I hoped the colors and the cheese and the all over beauty of my healthy creation would lure them in.  Not so much.  They did eat the Organic, whole yogurt I gave them, though.


I wonder how they’re going to feel about the Almond Butter and Honey sandwiches that I will prepare on Gluten Free bread for dinner?

Any guesses on how long this dietary change of ours will last?

It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas


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We have Decked the Halls here in the Stuart home.  The house smells of pine and there is a lovely glow as the lights from the tree, the mantle and the outside warm up the living area.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care…although they have been carelessly pulled down more than once by a certain soon to be two year old.

We’ve laid beneath the tree and ooh’ed and aah’ed as we looked up between the branches at all the twinkling lights. 

Everyone had a turn placing the angel at the top of the tree.  And Lee came out with scratches on his nose from his face being shoved into the branches of the tree.

When I took the picture of the three of them in front of the completed tree, Tia insisted upon having her picture taken with her best friend, her doll Jadem.  Yes, Jadem.

Incidentally, I received that very doll for Christmas 22 years ago.  I called her Jessie.  I told Tia that and she looked at me as though I’d sprouted a second head.

“No, mom.  ‘Dis baby ith a boy baby and boy babies ith not named Jessie.  Hith name ith Jadem.”

And that was that.

Hope you’re all having a Merry Christmas season.  Fa la la la laaaaaa, la la la laaaaa!

The Miracle of Adoption

I love the process of adoption.  I have several friends who have either already adopted children or who are in the process of adopting and I am always amazed and awed at how beautiful it is to watch a child go from a future of uncertainty into a future of love and protection.  The process of adoption is truly a miracle.

Last night, I got a call that one of my dearest friends was headed to the hospital to pick up an 11 day old baby boy who needed a home.  She and her husband had been patiently waiting for several months for a call that there was a child that needed them and last night, God brought that yearning to fruition in a miraculous way.

They were not expecting an infant.  They were planning on an older child.  But God had a different plan.  At 4:30, they got a call from their adotion case worker and by 9:00 they were home with a precious 6 pound baby boy.

Isn’t God miraculous?

This morning, as I was reflecting on last night’s events I read this in Galations – “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  Because you are sons, God has sent foth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father'” Galations 4:4-6

Whenever I look at a child who has been adopted into a loving family, I am reminded once again of our adoption as heirs to the throne – we are the adopted children of God.

What would this tiny baby’s life have been like if Amy and Andrew had decided not to give him a home?  If no one had given him a home?  How desolate would life have been for this child to have no one to love him?  No one to open their arms and give him the full rights of a son? 

But, indeed, there was a home for him.  A home ordained from the beginning of time by the Creator Himself.  And with that home come all the rights of a full fledged son.  This child will always know love.  He will always know acceptance and grace, mercy and community.  And he will be raised to know who his true Father is by two parents are fully committed to teaching their children of God’s grace.

Isn’t that beautiful?  Do you understand the picture that paints for us – followers of the God above all creation?  We too have been adopted unto Him.  We are His children and with that come all the privileges that are bestowed upon a child from his Father.  We don’t deserve it.  We could have been left alone, desolate, without the knowledge of unconditional love and acceptance.

But we were not left alone.  Just like this child was not left parentless in a hospital.  Just like the Chinese boy that our friends adopted was not left in an orphanage.  Just like Andrew and Amy’s first son was not left in a foster home.  No, we were not left alone.  We were brought into the fold; called out for a purpose and given the title Child of God.

Yes, adoption is a beautiful thing.  I find myself moved every time I look at these adopted children and I see their faces light up as they look at their parents.  They’re young now, so they don’t understand the miracle that’s taken place in their lives.  But someday…someday they’ll know.

I sometimes forget the miracle that’s taken place in my own life.  It is a miracle to be a child of God.  It is a miracle to be grafted from darkness into the light of a family.  It is a miracle.

Rejoice with me today in the miracle of adoption, will you?