Sunday, August 30, 2009


All three of us were just sitting around the table eating cereal for breakfast. I was thinking about how big Evie is, able to use a spoon to feed herself. No spilling of milk, no crying because she can't get the cereal on the spoon.

And then Evie said "Let's go the the Bahamas. I'll take my bikini and my noodle for the water."

Where does she learn these things? She's two years old...

For the record, I voted to take the trip. Apparently, Chris is the realist in our house and won't take us to the tropics.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ooga! Ooga!

Evie has an imaginary friend.

Her name is Ooga. Ooga lives in a house in our backyard. Her daddy goes to work during the day, while her mommy stays home with her. Ooga eats bacon all day. She was in the hospital earlier this week, but now she is home and she feels better. Ooga sleeps in her own bed all night long. She drives a car to the store to buy green beans. Evie used her own imaginary money to pay for Ooga at the Chinese buffet last weekend. Sometimes, Ooga and her family show up at our house and Evie makes me hug them. At church, Ooga gets blessings from Jesus. She can fake burp, without having to take a drink of water first. And she never has to take a nap during the day.

Although it's sometimes a little freaky to hug the air, the imagination that's blossoming in my child is fascinating.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dead Worms

Evie talks A LOT in the morning. It's like a little gift each day, just waiting to hear what's going to come out of her mouth. When she woke up this morning, Evie grabbed her pink pillow and Shamu stuffed animal and crawled up into our bed. I kissed her and pulled her close to me.

And she said "You're so nice. You're so comfy-cozy. Sometimes you yell, but that's okay. You're so nice. Your mouth is so red and your eyes are so colorful. You're better than dead worms."

Uh, what? Dead worms?

Me: I'm better than worms?
Evie: DEAD worms.
Me: I'm better than dead worms?
Evie: Yes!

I laughed. I kissed her. Then we got up and started our day.

But if I could rewind time, I would have treasured the moment a little more. I would have said this to her:

Evie, you're better than dead worms, too. You're better than walking along the beach, looking for sea glass. You're better than chocolate and lemon bars and good wine and cotton candy and spicy tuna sushi rolls. You're better than finding a $20 bill you didn't know about in an old pair of jeans. You're better than a nice, unexpected letter in the mail. You're better than roses on Valentine's Day. You're better than the new-car smell in our minivan. You're better than the feeling I had when I saw the Eiffel Tower or the Grand Canal in Venice for the first time. You're better than a rainbow after a storm. You're better than my treasured KitchenAid mixer. You're better than cold lemonade on a hot day. You're better than feeling the sun on my skin and the sand on my toes. You're better than finding the perfect words for a blog post. You're better than the first crocus of the spring, better than the first snowflake, better than the bright red maple in my grandma's front yard. You're better than the kiss of a puppy. You're better than all the diamonds I own. You're better than I ever, ever expected.

I love you, my darling girl.

On a side note, congratulations to Jenn from The Britton Family! She won my Disney on Ice ticket giveaway. I'm sure the show will be better than dead worms!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Disney on Ice Contest & Coupon Code

Disney on Ice is presenting 100 Years of Magic here in St. Louis! And we will be attending the show on opening night! Evie loves all things Disney, especially the Disney Princesses and Disney Bingo, so I know this night will be special. We've watched a few trailers for the show online, and she is completely excited. Evie smiles and claps and yells for each character by name. I can't wait!

And even better, our tickets are free. That's right - gratis, no charge, keep your wallet in your pocket. But don't be jealous. I'm not leaving you out!

I have a 4-pack of tickets to give away to the opening night (Thursday, September 3) show at the Family Arena! Simply leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite Disney character. Be sure I have your email address! In honor of Cinderella, this contest ends at midnight on Monday, August 24th. I'll announce the random winner on Tuesday.

Since I'll only have one winner, I also want to pass along a special offer for those of you who don't win. You can purchase a 4-pack of tickets for only $44 for weekday shows or receive $4 off weekend tickets by logging onto and entering the coupon code MOM.

St. Louis Show Dates:
Thursday, September 3 @ 7:00 PM
Friday, September 4 @ 7:00 PM
Saturday, September 5 @ 11:30 AM, 3:30 PM, & 7:00 PM
Sunday, September 6 @ 1:00 PM & 5:00 PM

I hope to see you at the show!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Psst... Over Here

One of my previous blog posts is featured on Mamapedia Voices today. If you have a second, pop over and leave a comment to help get the discussion going.

And if you've visiting from Mamapedia, welcome to Oakbriar Farm! My mom has finished her scheduled treatments, and will hopefully hear in a few weeks that she's cancer free. You can read how we felt on her last day of treatment here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Remember the Time

Evie and Chris were just playing - roughhousing around. Chris threw her in the air, swung her around, tickled her, played Hide and Seek. They laughed hysterically as her hair flew all around her face. She kept yelling "More! Again!" I took a picture in my heart, to try to remember this intense happiness.

And then they collapsed in a heap on the floor. Evie looked over at Chris and said "I just don't know what to do with you, Father."

Just a regular day, but full of regular joy and fun. I don't want to forget a minute...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Special Treat

The other day, I asked Evie to help me fold the laundry. We usually watch TV while we fold, but she had already seen a couple of shows that morning. This is how our conversation went:

Evie: We can watch Yo Gabba Gabba?
Me: No, you've watched enough television today.
Evie: Please?
Me: No, too much TV isn't good for you. Let's listen to music instead.
Evie: I don't want music. Let's watch Yo Gabba Gabba!
Me: No.
Evie: Please?
Me: No. I'm not discussing it anymore.
Evie: If you let me, I'll give you a special treat! I have one in my purse...

I guess that answers the question about whether or not I bribe her too much.

Oh, and for the record, we did not watch more television! But I did giggle. A lot.

Monday, August 10, 2009

God as a Hall Monitor

Evie is becoming the hall monitor in our house. She's learning the rules, and she expects us all to follow them. If you don't, she'll tell you. You are not immune to her scrutiny, even if you are a neighbor, a random lady at the movies, or our Pastor at church.

This is what a typical day sounds like:

Put both hands on the steering wheel! You could get hurt.

Don't say "Hate," say "I don't like it," or "I don't care for it."

Be careful with scissors. Yo Gabba Gabba! says "Don't run with scissors!"

Don't say "Shoot."

Be careful in the street. There's danger!

Make sure you recycle those cans.

Save some of those tomatoes for Daddy. You have to share.

Be careful going down the stairs! You could fall!

Don't get that hot. You could get burned like Pinocchio got burned.

For Evie, everything is black or white. There are rules to follow, and you better not mess up. She's right, too - you should always keep both hands on the steering wheel, you should never say hate, you should share, you should recycle to take care of our planet. She gets so upset when I break one of these rules.

And then when I was falling asleep the other night, I remembered the Old Testament Challenge I participated in a few years ago. In one discussion, I said "I just don't get it! God tells them the rules and they break the rules. Then He tells them again, and they break them again. What's wrong with these people?" A smile played at the corner of my friend Ryan's mouth as he said "Kind of like now? Things haven't changed."


This is what I used to think being a Christian was all about - following a million rules. God tells you what to do, and you should do it. And those rule-breakers had better watch out! But I could never follow them all myself. While I judged others for what they did wrong, I had an even harder time letting go of my own baggage.

Being a parent has taught me that being a Christian is all about love. I don't love Evie any less when she misbehaves. When she's scared or troubled, even about something trivial, I don't shrug her off; in these moments I hold her closer and comfort her. The rules we have in our home are to keep her safe, not some kind of checklist to earn our love.

And so again, I'm thankful for the amazing love of my perfect Heavenly Father. Because He sent Jesus to take the punishment I rightly deserve, God doesn't keep track of my missteps. He's already let go of the baggage I hang on to. He's not paying attention to the rules, He just loves me.

As much as I love her, I'm glad Evie's not in charge of Eternity!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Days of the Week Song

Evie is so interested in the days of the week. She always asks "What's today's name?" I tell her, and she responds "What's the next day?"

She also likes to know our schedule. "Thursday we are going to gymnastics, Friday we're going to the pool, Saturday is Baby Nora's baptism..."

I found this little song, which has helped her learn the days of the week and the order in which they fall. She's been having fun singing it lately!

To the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, too.
Wednesday, Thursday, just for you.
Friday, Saturday, that's the end.
Now let's sing those days again:
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Betty Crocker Cookies & Bars

Oh, did I get something fun in the mail!

Although it's still the thick of summer, and I am on a break from the oven, I was very excited to receive the Betty Crocker Most Requested Recipes Cookies & Bars collection. Each of the 116 recipes includes a photo, so Evie and I immediately poured through the pages.

Here's what we have on our list:
Lemon Squares
Caribbean Lime Coolers
Buckeye Delights (for Chris)
Sour Cream Cranberry Bars
Funny Face Cookies
Bear Cookie Pops

There's also a Cookie of the Month section with cute seasonal ideas for every month.

I haven't gained much weight this pregnancy, but I can tell that's about to change. Bring on the baking!

Lisa hosts Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays over at Blessed with Grace. Visit her for more yummy recipes!

Monday, August 3, 2009

I Have Problems

The other day, my mom and Evie and I were driving to the pool. From the back seat, Evie piped up and said "I have problems!" My mom's eyes widened and she whispered "She did not just say that!" Laughing, I asked Evie "What kind of problems do you have?" And she replied "I have sleeping problems."

So. Very. True.

If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you know sleep is a constant struggle in our house. We have good times and bad times - the last several months have been bad. If Evie even makes it into her own bed, she is often in ours by eleven o'clock.

That's not the worst part, though. Falling asleep is hard for me right now. This baby boy likes to do gymnastics in my tummy right when it's time for bed. Sometimes he kicks so hard that I gasp out loud! Plus, I can't sleep on my back or my stomach. Sleeping on my right side makes my hip fall asleep.

So I finally fall asleep, and Evie kicks me in the face. Or she wiggles around and moves so much that it feels like there's a wild animal in our bed. Kick, kick, kick... I decided last week that she has to get out of our bed. I can't do it anymore. All my theories about co-sleeping went out the window. Simply put, I need sleep.

My friend Karen suggested I put a sleeping bag next to our bed for Evie. I dug out this little napping mat from in the basement, and set it up in my room. Evie was thrilled! She insisted on taking her nap there, and slept there happily for three nights.

Here's my secret, though: I have problems, too. I wake up a million times each night to look at her. It's all I can do to leave her there on the floor; I can hardly stand having her so close, yet so far. I want to pick her up and snuggle her next to me. I could do it - just lift her in my arms and put her next to me, where she belongs. But I don't. Remember, I need sleep. So instead of bringing her into our bed, I toss and turn all night, missing her.

Last night Evie slept in her own bed all night. The little sleeping bag was empty until dawn. I snuck into her room twice to check on her - she was sleeping peacefully. My beautiful princess Sleeping Beauty. Oh, we praised her this morning! And she says she's ready to do it again tonight.

I know from experience that this might not last. She'll be in her bed for awhile, then want to be with us again. For some reason, this time is harder, though. What if she really stays in her room now? What if I really get my wish, and she grows up, moves a little closer towards independence?

And here is the paradox of motherhood, yet again. I'm raising my child to be independent, self-sufficient - celebrating each tiny step towards autonomy. But somewhere in my heart, I grieve every time she slips a little further from me. It's thrilling and heartbreaking, all at once.

But maybe I just need some sleep.