Tuesday, February 26, 2008

This Phase of Ours.

Something I'm learning in my season of motherhood: Co-Play.

My SIL, Amber enlightened my vision for the lack of sibling rivalry I desire in our kids. Really desire. She was sharing how at a recent teachers convention someone was explaining CO-PLAY. This is where child A. (exhibit Andrew) is playing contently by himself and child B. (exhibit Jack) comes up (in his case, toddles up) to child A. and starts to interact. This usually takes the form of Jack assuming the role of Godzilla to only knock down Drew's meticulous Lego tower built with tender care. Thus, you can imagine, resulting in a very frustrated child A. and a fleeing child B. ie, Godzilla. So that is the typical scenario. To try to keep the peace and avoid frustration, I quickly realized I was just refereeing and sending the two "boxers" back to their own corners to quietly play by themselves. This is where the enlightenment came into play. I knew that this solved the issue quickly, but I also knew that this is not the way to teach them to interact. Can you imagine this happening in 10 years. They butt heads, mom interceeds and sends them to their room. Nothing accomplished, nothing gained and probably still 2 unhappy teens. No good. That says to me, "we're bandaging the bleeding wound but not dealing with the issue here!" (forgive me, it's the counseling major coming out). SO...my quest begins.

From the beginning I have told Drew that God sent him a best friend in Jack! I thought that if I said it enough and sincerely enough he would eventually believe me and it would happen. Well, it is really true and I (we) really desire our boys to be best friends. But saying it just isn't enough. So I'm on a quest of learning how to help them along this path. It has been a little interesting at times to keep Drew convinced of this. Drew is, well, very sanguine. He loves people and always wants someone to play with him. This was great for the first couple years of his life when he had mommy and daddy to his complete self. But he is also very particular. And that's where Jack comes in. Now, he did really well with the whole transition thing becoming a big brother. He never said, "When does he go back to the hospital" or "Let's flush him down the potty" (like his aunty amber said of his daddy when daddy was a baby). So I was feeling pretty good about this brotherhood we were trying to develop between the boys. But the first year was challenging. Of course, with a baby, there are needs. And lots of them. Obviously they are completely dependent. And the older 2 and a half year old could wait or play quietly until baby Jack was finished eating. And I often found myself putting Drew on hold. Thankfully, my friend, Leah, gave me a great piece of advice when we were both pregnant with our 2nd and discussing the upcoming change of world our older child was about to experience. An older and wiser woman/mother shared with her this: "Be aware of your older child's feelings. Don't always push him/her aside for the crying baby. The baby can wait a minute while you help your older child with what he/she is in need of. The older child is the one who is aware that Mommy's attention is always on that thing called the baby and will feel the fall out of being continually put on hold." (paraphrase completely mine. I was pregnant at the time and still have trouble remembering where I last set the digital camera down.) This helped keep my perspective. Drew did learn that life was not all about him. But that comes naturally and he didn't need a frustrated mommy to make him feel any worst about it.

I remember the torn feelings I had for Drew and Jack. When in the hospital after having Jack, Drew came in with his grandparents to visit. I just wanted to take him in my arms and protect him from his little world that was turning upside down. I was watching it happen and there was nothing I could do to stop it from happening. But it was one of those mommy moments where I had to let go and let it happen and just be there for him to help guide him through. (hmmm, it sounds like he's going off to college here!) And then I looked down at Jack and a different wave of emotions hit me. I felt so sorry for him that I couldn't give him that 100% time and focus that I could with Drew. It was really interesting, looking back. You know, now that I'm typing this, I see it was really ME who was going through the greatest difficulty in adjusting!!! The boys, well they did just fine! Drew was able to spend a whole week at his grandparents house (during the days) and I was able to get that alone time with Jack that first week. That was good for my heart.

So, here I am in a new phase of motherhood.

Now that Jack is walking & exploring, it is a whole new ballgame. I'm learning how to have Drew teach Jack an aspect of what he is playing with so he won't just barge in and ruin everything. And it's amazing at how much Jack is picking up and learning. And they are doing very well together. Mostly.

I'm in the midst of exploring and learning more how to continue this development. I'd also love ANY & ALL of your input whether it's something you experienced growing up or what things you're glad your parents did with you & your siblings or things you've heard and read more recenlty or are currently doing.

And so I'll leave you with a wonderful Co-Play moment. Yesterday during a hectic and busy laundry, cleaning and organizing day, we took a little break to focus on the kids. This was Drew's idea and it ended up being so fun to watch the boys interact.

Cherish those little moments that pop up unexpectedly along the way!

video

Happy Kids = Happy Mom!!!

P.S. I WOULD LOVE YOUR INPUT!!! IF YOU WANT TO CONTRIBUTE YOUR EXPERIENCE OR ADVICE TO THIS POST (especially from you seasoned mom's out there!) AND WOULD LIKE TO BLOG ABOUT IT, PLEASE LET ME KNOW BECAUSE I'M GOING TO POST A LIST OF LINKS CONCERNING THIS SUBJECT!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Mahna Mahna

A Little Bit of Fun to Wash Away the Winter Blues...

1. Jack's new FAVORITE youtube video...

The classic Mahna Mahna by the Muppets. He literally wakes up saying, "Mah-Mah" wanting to see it. He doesn't quite understand though that it is only 2.5 minutes rather than the expected 25 min. his baby einstein videos are! So needless to say, he's happy, very happy for those 2.5 minutes, and it's a battle after that. There's only so much mahna mahna one can handle!! But nonetheless, it is cute. And my mom told me that mahna mahna was something my Grandpa Quinn loved. Funny. He was a supremely intelligent engineer who actually helped develop an aspect of the A-bomb back in the day. Interesting. (and not sure why I didn't get any of those scientific genes!)

video

Oh yeah, that's a sneak peek into our new office!!! And the complaining comes from a determined child who really wants the mouse. And here's the link for the real deal.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

SWEETEST LOVE

Y Since I didn't get around to taking any cute matchy V.day pics of the boys this year, I'll share some pictures from Valentine's past. All for fun, of course. My poor boys...what their mother puts them through! :) And later, I'll post the pics from our fun day & all the LOVE-ly details!



Y SWEET ANGEL Y

Drew. 2005. 11 months



Y EAT YOUR HEART OUT Y

Drew. 2006. 2 years


YCOOTIES!!!! Y


Drew. 2006. 2 years




YLIFE~SIZE HERSHEY KISSY

Jack. 4 mo. 2007


YSWEET BOYSY

Drew & Jack 2007

D-3, J-4 mo


YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

These are my little sweeties that give sooooo much love to their mommy!!

Happy Valentines, Day!!!!


YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY




...and a sweet day to my lovin' husband, JOHN. Love you, babe!!!

Still Goin' Strong!

AND A HUGE
HAPPY BIRTHDAY
TO MY GRANDPARENTS IN GA!!!!
HAPPY 82nd, Grandpa & HAPPY "45th," Grandma (hee-hee...can't reveal the truth...but she is younger!!!!) ;)
I am so thankful for the godly heritage I have in my Stercay grandparents. They are both still so strong in spirit & body. God has blessed us all in letting us have them around for awhile longer! Would you ever believe they have 8 children, 15 grandchildren (with one on the way) and 3 great-grandchildren!!??!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Catch Up

Lots going on here but I wanted to do a teeny tiny bit of catching up. So this post is going to be kind of a mish-mosh of stuff going on.

~This last weekend 8 of us ladies headed down to CT for our annual ladies seminar at Emmanuel Baptist Church. There were over 400 ladies there this year and the 3 speakers did a fantastic job. I want to gather the highlights to post over at a slice of life (oh yeah, remember that blog??) plus a recommended book list. It was a much needed refresher and refocuser for my life right now.

~WE GOT A MAC!!! Ok, I know I'm a nerd, because I'm still typing on my PC. Right now the PC and Mac are neighbors. They don't quite belong in the same neighborhood, well, at least room, but the Mac is being understanding. But we are loving the Mac. It is truly amazing in every detail! Although it's mainly for John's graphic work, he is so kind to share it with me! :)

~Speaking of John, when I came home EXAUSTED from the ladies weekend, our kitchen floor was perfectly clean. I had postponed the washing of the floor too long with all the basement work going on. Needless to say...it was the best gift he could have given me! After the welcome home kisses, of course! ;)

~Basement. The study is nearly finished. John has everything wired, the cable is in for the internet, he put in a drop ceiling, and in a day's effort placed a floating wood floor. It is looking awesome. This room is our #1 priority so to get the office out of the dining room and John a quiet place to be able to work.

~IRONY: look who's baby brother is on the maranatha page talking about maranatha/northland rivalry. Look
HERE to see a picture of my not-so-little brother, Ryan. (The one in the yellow shirt cheering his heart out).

~Everything else is going toward celebrating VALENTINES DAY around here. Baking & decorating heart cookies, filling cupcake liners with candy, making candy cane hearts, painting hearts, finger print hearts, etc. We love to celebrate around here.

~Check out my brother/sister-in-law Doug & Crystal's web page and you'll get a glimpse of my adorable nephew, CODY as well!!! They are
HERE at pixelsandrubies. Doug designed their beautiful webpage.

~I think I may be skipping last weeks art page. The word was BALANCE. Lots I could do for it...just haven't even sat down to think about it. Maybe I'll play catch up later.

SORRY no pictures. If you made it this far...you get a **happy blogger reader award** from yours truly. {I admit, I often skip over the wordy posts to look for the eye candy first} :O) Hope you all are well. HAPPY HEART WEEK! Give some extra love this week to those around you. May we not forget how blessed we are to be surrounded by those we love & the ultimate gift of God's love.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

{art journal #4}

The new word is (was...since it's been well over a week now...) YOW. What??? I thought maybe it was some kind of Aussie slang since Emily is from Australia. But she kindly explained it to mean Your Own Word...We got to pick this week's word!!!
Well, a thousand words jumped around for possibilities but a picture of a little girl looking out a window I found in a magazine I was tearing through caught my attention and so I went from there. Then I got a catalog from anthropologie and they kindly left a model out on one of the pages so I could use it as my background page (the tree paper). I also used up one of the left-over paint chips cut it into a heart and painted my favorite bird on top. Ribbon is tied to painted & now chipped washers (anyone have any suggestions to the best way to glue metal down on paper??? still need to do that...) and everything is aged with brown shoe polish.
I picked the word WONDER for this page layout and added some pixie dust for all the dreams that a girl holds.



The final product. Wonder. page 4.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Girls Day Out

Our "home-grown" missionary, ANNA, is home for winter break from teaching in China. So we had a girls afternoon out before she has to head back. We started out with lunch at our very new Panera Bread...so delicious!!! But no pictures. We were too busy devouring our food...once we decided what we wanted (right, Mere!).

Then we headed off to North Street in our fancy-smanshy downtown.
There are a couple of cool new stores that we were able to hit. The first one was TWIN HEARTS HAND WORKS which is, I quote, "a magic little store in an unexpected place! [Full of ]unique artisan made gifts and gorgeous over dyed wool and fibers." Then off to USBLUES WARE which is this great clothing store. The owner started out as an eBay seller and now has overflowed into a retail store. You can still find her on eBay here which is bursting at the seams with top of the line brands she picks up in NYC on the weekends. We had a blast trying on some of the unusual and way too cool stuff in there. The prices are still a bit steep for my pocketbook...but greatly discounted compared to the original.


And what better way to end a day of shopping with something hot to drink. On our way to the coffee lounge at the end of North St. we happened upon this strange wooden... "ART SHANTY???" This very one was actually in NYC and people would "stop in" and write a poem to hang on the wall.


So we had a try for ourselves. These poems were suppose to be about love...

We were already freezing and as you can see this shanty didn't provide much shelter and the metal table did not help...but it was fun. Meredith used a quote she came up with the other day, "Spring rain is a symphony in the garden." (sorry, Mere, if that's not exactly right...) and Anna pulled out a verse in Chinese dialect. I sketched out a love bird, of course.


And FINALLY a much needed HOT cup of....latte, cappachino, and caramel hot chocolate! We had TOO much fun getting these pictures!!!










Here's to a fun-filled afternoon with the girls!!! Thanks to my hubby who willingly watched the boys all afternoon!!! A cup of warmth to you today...

Teen Winter Camp

This past weekend John was able to preach for Brian & Amber's teens at their annual teen winter camp. It was at Camp Keswick only about an hour south of us which was nice. John preached 4 times and joined the kids on snow football, skiing and tubing. I was able to join him Friday for dinner and stay through Sat. John's parents took the boys so it was a nice little get away...with 40+ teens!! :) I was moments in front of an ice storm and made it to camp safely only to get stuck on the last steep hill. Thankfully John was just inside and came to my rescue. We did end up losing power Friday night during the all nighter...but we just hung out by the fireplace in the lodge. It was so much fun and reminded me so much of all the camps and outings we did in youth group back in the day. I even jumped in on a game of upset the fruitbasket...with 40 kids! The tubing was fantastic since it was sheer ice and although we didn't get a picture, Amber & I got to go down tube-less a few times!! It was great, as always, to spend time with Brian and Amber and they are doing such a fabulous job with their teens. They are a great group of kids and John and I made some new friends.