Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gratitude is enough

January 22 - January 25

What a beautiful example of new life!  We were privileged
to visit this sweet baby boy within the day of his birth.  

My big girls playing (or watching) a computer game

Such sweet backpacks on our first day back to Prov. 22
Don't you just love Naomi's new one!  It's perfect!

Naomi, on our evening walk.  She's wearing her
fashionable new headband under her lifesaving helmet.  

As our church is currently reading through the book of Job, I have been reminded of the frailty of life and how ultimately, God is in control.  For some reason, this week has been a roller coaster of emotions for me. I cried when I read of a friend from my days in Japan, who lost their precious little girl just weeks before her due date.  I have never experienced such kind of pain.  I have three healthy little girls.  Yet, what do I do when one forgets to pick up her dirty pajamas (again!)?  Do I show grace?  Do I show gratitude for these precious lives that I do not deserve to be given the responsibility to care for?  No....  I truly pray that God will teach me and others as we read about the life of Job.  

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tea Party Time!

January 17th - My big girl, Chloe, making scrambled eggs all by herself.  She even cracked the eggs!

My sleepy Naomi waiting for breakfast to be served.


January 18th - Art Class?

Sophie, Naomi, and I stayed home from church Wednesday night because Naomi wasn't quite up to par, but a tea party on the kitchen floor helped make things a little better.  
(Notice the pinky... a girl after her mama's heart!)

January 19th - The only picture I took all day - my sweet husband working hard on his beloved Mac.

January 20th - My heart swells in moments like these.  Watching Marty with Sophie on the floor was priceless.  (She's getting pretty good at her puzzles.)

January 21st - Tea Party time again!  Can you tell Naomi likes tea parties?  This was her idea of Saturday morning pleasure.  Needless to say, more water ended up on the floor than in the tea cups (thanks to Sophie!) and Naomi kept running to the bathroom due to all the cups of water she had to drink since Cookie Monster and Suzie, the cabbage patch kid, refused to drink their tea.  What party poopers!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Daily Grind

Our date night to the Melting Pot (compliments of my parents & free babysitting from Mama)

How blessed I am! (January 12th)

January 13th - My amazing mother cooking the best vegan meal I've ever tasted (Baked Tofu & gravy).  It tasted like pork chops, but better!!  This was a typical picture of her since she has arrived for her visit.  Sophie cannot get enough of her Nana.

Naomi got glow in the dark glasses for her birthday and then Nana did an experiment with the girls involving the liquid from glow sticks.  Quite exciting!

My sweet nephew, Ezra turned one on December 23rd, but we had his party on Saturday so my mom & Ryan's parents could be there.  A perfect one year old party!

January 14th - Our sweet Mama with me and my sisters, Joy & 
Kristi (who's expecting a boy too!)

January 15th - Our church's first annual chili cook-off

We had 31 teams and about 200 people attending altogether.  It really was a great time!  I fixed my vegetarian chili (which I love, of course) and was pleasantly surprised to find another team with one as well.  It was delish!  Of course, mine did not win, but it was fun anyway.  I was very proud of my hubbie for organizing the majority of the event.  He worked so hard and it was well worth it in the end.

January 16th - Mondays!!!  Today was a typical one.  Lesson plans not yet written, dishes still out from the cook-off, stayed up too late the night before, and of course, over-slept that morning!  Even though school work was accomplished, lunch served, and naps (Praise the Lord!) were still on schedule, I could not escape my Monday blues.  A trip to Kroger after rest time didn't help at all!!  Moved to tears on my way home, I was ready to give up and turn in my time card for the day.  But frozen pizzas and a forgiving family helped me to step back and remember that things really aren't so bad.  Before turning in for the night, I checked on my little ones and couldn't help but be thankful for them. 

They stayed asleep even while I took these.

January 17th - Just an every day lunch of pb & j sandwiches, carrot sticks & chips while listening to Adventures in Odyssey @ (truly a mommy blessing!)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Reminders of Grace

January 7th - My grace reminder by my sink

January 8th - More grace reminders... my sweet girls playing Pretty, Pretty, Princess

So the night before last, as I was once again going to bed later than I had hoped, I'm telling Marty how adorable the girls were that afternoon in their backpacks and bedrolls.  "We're going exploring, Mom."  in the backyard...  As I'm telling him this at almost midnight, I think to myself, "I don't remember seeing those backpacks & bedrolls come back in the house."  Hoping that they were just downstairs, I head to bed.  But as I hear the rain pitter-pattering outside, I have this feeling that they are not downstairs, but sitting outside in their favorite corner of the yard, in the mud...  I cannot go to sleep now.  So as soon as I hear Marty start snoring, I creep downstairs in the dark with flashlight in hand and my rainboots completing my lovely sleep attire.  No backpacks downstairs, no backpacks in the mud corner (phewf!), no backpacks in the fort....  At this point, it's after midnight and I'm searching our backyard in the dark, in the rain, with my little flashlight wondering where they could have put them.  Then, there in the middle of the yard stands their little tent... perfectly arranged, their blankets, pillows, and their backpacks in one of the corners.  I really wish that I had brought my camera out with me.  At that point, any frustration I may have felt disappeared and I couldn't help, but smile.

Finally took a picture of the tent - January 11th

January 9th - Cinnamon Dolce

Since that night, there have been ups and downs.  The wonderful Monday morning treat of a Starbucks coffee being hand-delivered by a friend, just because..., lunch with old and new friends, emotions that rage here and there, and the excitement of Nana coming soon.  As I'm reading the book, Grace-Based Parenting by Dr. Tim Kimmel, I've been reminded over and over again of God's amazing grace for me.  Every day I fail as a mother, a wife, and most of all, a daughter of my heavenly Father.  But He keeps on loving me and by His grace, I can start each day new with no mistakes.

Sophie was so excited when she saw Nana!

January 10th - Nana comes for a visit!!

Daddy's little helper (in her pj's)

Friday, January 6, 2012

A day in the life of the Middleton girls...

January 5th - My girls getting a little Daddy time while I fixed supper.

I have been looking forward to Friday all week!!  We actually accomplished everything in the lesson plan book!!  I think it was a first (and hopefully not a last....)  But to celebrate today, my girls and I went to one of my favorite places in North Carolina - Stick Boy Bakery.  This is my haven for my weekly retreats.   I have met several friends of all ages there, planned my menus and prayed for sweet family, and drank coffee & savored zucchini bread with my sweet Mama just days before they left for Japan.


Anyway, we enjoyed a lovely lunch of yeast rolls, cookies, and a smoothie for mommy (compliments of Christmas gift cards).  I have to mention for all my healthy friends that I brought along carrot sticks and 
go-gurts since there are no veggies offered there.  But sometimes, they enjoy just bread and honey (and a cookie, of course!)


See the wonderful cookies!  Naomi enjoyed the Sugar Cookie w/sprinkles & Chloe got her usual - Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie (because she says they're bigger.)

Sweet sisters... how I love them!

After Stick Boy, a trip to the library was in order.  Sophie loves the board book section.  Chloe & Naomi are determined to have a bunny one day (notice the words, ONE DAY, in the far, far future, if ever).  So they gathered eight books pertaining to the daily life of rabbits, how to care for a rabbit, etc.  I am looking forward to browsing through the vegan/vegetarian cookbooks that were waiting for me on reserve. 

Anyway, this was just another day in the life of the Middleton girls.  Not as exciting as Wednesday, but I'll take it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Oh, where is my bead?

Oh, where is my bead?  Oh, where is my bead? (The song of Larry the Cucumber losing his hairbrush kept running through my head the whole afternoon.)  Well, after being shown this lovely bead during rest time, I thought nothing more...until.... Chloe mentioned that Naomi had been complaining of her nose hurting and one nostril was running profusely.  By God's intervention, the remembrance of that lone green bead came to my mind.  I asked Naomi where it was and she said, "I don't know.  I lost it."  The look on her face told me otherwise and she finally confessed to putting in her nose.  After some blowing of the nose, phone calls to the doctor, and Chloe confessing that she put her finger up Naomi's nose to try to "help" get it out, we headed out to the ENT for some additional help.  Naomi was so brave through it all and with a few tears, the bead was removed safely.  We now all know that anything smaller than an elbow should not be put inside of our nose.