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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

For a Moment in Time ...

During community group on Wednesday nights the kids meet at our house for "kids' community group time" - or childcare time. It was Britt's and my turn to watch them this week and we accomplished something miraculous - all the kids were sitting and listening to the story at the same time! I tried to capture the moment on film, but of course one of the kids moved right when I took the picture. But you get the idea.

They are all getting to be so big!  When this community group formed 3 years ago, no one had any children.  Now we have 10 and Baby V will make 11.  That's quite a growth.  Makes you wonder what the next 3 years will hold. 

Family Funtivities!

Britt had the day off, and we were looking for something out-of-the-ordinary to do, so we went swimming. It's much more fun to go swimming at the end of November because you know you're not really supposed to be swimming - it's just unnatural to go swimming when you have to wear a coat and hat. The pool was really nice, but it was a little on the chilly side. I think if we had actually been swimming laps we would have been just fine, but a certain small Treece hasn't mastered the breaststroke yet.  But we stayed for a little over an hour and had a lot of fun splashing and swimming around.

Here are a few pictures:
I'm not sure why she has crazy eyes in this picture, but it's the only one with me in it. 

I would definitely recommend going to the indoor pool during the winter season.  Just one tip: check to see when the heated pool is open to the public and go during those hours.  It'll make it a little bit more comfortable.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday Tip - Plan for Fun

A couple weeks ago I became really convicted that I don't plan fun activities to do with Charissa.  I often plan "learning activities" and "teaching moments," but I don't plan to do things just because they're fun.  Don't worry - we have fun.  There is much giggling and laughter in the Treece household.  But I don't plan for it - it just happens throughout the course of our day.  And some of you may be wondering why I'm concerned about planning for fun if I know it's already happening.  Well, I think it's about being intentional to pursue a good, close, and fun relationship with my daughters.  I don't want to just be the mother who teaches them things and provides for their needs, but never seems to care if we enjoy each other.  Hopefully the girls will have fun with me doing all of our normal activities (cleaning the house, laundry, running errands, cooking, etc.), but I want to be careful that I plan activities just for the purpose of having fun.  We have family fun time, but I want the girls to know that their Mama seeks to have fun with them too - not just when we're with Daddy.  

So lately I have been trying to make sure I plan playtime with Charissa.  Time where I focus on her and we play a game or read a book or go for a walk ... something that says "I'm all here for you" and something we'll enjoy together.  Well, to be honest I'm more focused on whether or not she'll enjoy it because by that 5th time through "The Wheels on the Bus" I'm ready to hide the book and never find it again.  

I know that this is going to be hard to continue doing once Baby V is born, but even if it is less frequent and we only get one or two good playtimes in during the week, I want to be sure that it's the inclination of my heart to have those times.  

If anyone has any good suggestions on fun playtime activities, I'd love to hear them!  

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fun Pregnancy Games

When you hit the last few weeks of pregnancy your belly gets really big and the baby starts to get a little crowded in there.  Britt and I have invented a fun game just for the occasion - Guess The Body Part.  When Baby V is moving around or lodged somewhere we can feel her really well, we try to guess what body part it is that we're feeling.  Sometimes it's really obvious (like with feet), but most of the time it's just guessing.  I think we guess "hiney" a lot (that's the word we're teaching CJ for buttocks).  

Other fun end of pregnancy games include:
  • Guess How Many Times I'll Get Up Tonight
  • What's She Craving? (bonus points if the food is offered)
  • Toenail Painting: How Many Ways Can You Scrunch Yourself Up to Try to Paint Your Nails
  • Does This Shirt Still Fit?
Enjoy the end of pregnancy!  It'll soon be over and you'll forget all the fun of having a baby in you.  

Friday, November 21, 2008

Somebody LOVES Jell-O

I think the pictures pretty much explain it all.

I don't know why she looks angry/growling in these pictures, but she really does love Jell-O.  Her hands, arms, face, and neck was all stained a nice red color.  It took much scrubbing in the tub to get her back to a normal flesh color.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Old Becomes New

Britt and I have been cleaning out our closets, drawers, shelves, etc., over the last few weeks.  I think it's part of my "nesting" and getting ready for Baby V to come (and making room for all her stuff).  Well, when we went through Britt's drawers he found a couple tshirts that he can't/doesn't wear anymore but he couldn't bear to get rid of them for nostalgic reasons.  So we made a deal - I took the tshirts and cut them down to make CJ-sized shirts.  

So if you see Charissa wearing a shirt that looks familiar, it's because it is.  Now the little girl has a few new sleep/play shirts and Britt's tshirt drawer is much roomier.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday Tip - Do not lay up treasures on earth ...

... where toddlers can pee and poop on them.  

Last week I bought a new down comforter for the duvet on Charissa's bed.  It was the last piece I needed to complete the girls' bedroom.  I debated putting it on her bed thinking "what if she gets it dirty?" and doubting if she'll even sleep under it.  I finally decided to put it on her bed and we've been working on sleeping under the comforter.  

This morning I go into her room to get her up and discover that she's peed and pooped through her clothes and thus onto all of her bedding.  And since she was on top of the comforter, she messed up every layer of her bedding set.  The first thought that went through my head was "You just soiled $400 worth of bedding!!"  Not exactly the loving-mama response to a dirty child.  

I realized shortly thereafter how much I was valuing her bedding and keeping it in pristine condition - which is just ridiculous.  So I apologized to Charissa for my attitude towards her and her accident this morning.  They are just things.  They can be washed.  They can be replaced.  They can even be stained.  

I'm glad I had this little reminder this morning to help me keep perspective on our possessions.  I'm sure with the addition of Baby V I'll get many more reminders like I did this morning.  

Monday, November 17, 2008

35 & 35

Today is an exciting day!  I am 35 weeks pregnant with only 35 days to go!  Hard to imagine that I only have 5 more weeks until my due date.  And, I'm now the next one in line to have a baby at my church.  Now that two women had their babies on Friday, everyone else's due date is after mine.  That might not sound significant to anyone outside our church, but there are so many preggos at TCC.  In a congregation of about 150 members we've had something like 14 babies born in 2008 - so far.  And 2009 is shaping up to look similar.  

There's still one baby left on the 2008 calendar though.  Pray Baby V comes in 2008 and doesn't hold out for 2009!

Face Lift

When Britt started this blog a few years ago he set up the layout, colors and all that jazz.  Well, soon after CJ was born I took the blog - it was a peaceful revolution.  Now after almost two years, I decided that I should change the look of our blog to something a little bit more "me-like."  

Ta-da!  What do you think?  Snazzy, no?  

Sunday, November 16, 2008

S'mores Fun

While we were at the grocery store this afternoon Britt decided that he wanted to make s'mores tonight.  One certain individual in our family thoroughly enjoyed them.

She definitely got a bath afterwards.  

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Keeping Busy ...

I'm exhausted. Charissa and I had a very busy day. We ran errands all morning and into the afternoon (bank, Dillard's, Belk, Archiver's, AC Moore, Jo-ann Fabrics, Wal-Mart, and Aldi's), then while she slept I worked on sanding and puttying the walls in CJ's bathroom because we're putting up a new shower rod. Then Britt's mom came over for dinner, and I left Charissa in the safe hands of her Rere while I went to a 31 Party that my friend Casey co-hosted. Then when I got home I finished the bathroom, made a mock-up of Verity's birth announcement and then made a new bow holder for all of Charissa's bows. I'm sure there are more things that I did today, but those are the ones that come to mind. We were so busy that we didn't have time to think about how much we missed Britt. Which was the whole goal.

Here's some pictures of the new bow holder:

I needed a new place because she's getting a lot more bows and I was tired of not being able to see them all.  I have a lot more - I just put a few on there for demonstration.  

Ok - I'm going to go crawl in bed and go to sleep.  By this time tomorrow my hubby will be home!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Leaving on a Jet Plane ...

Today Britt left to go to a training seminar in Michigan for the next few days.  He had a half day of school, so we were able to hang out in the afternoon and go to Observation Park at the airport before his plane took off.  We had a lot of fun and Charissa really enjoyed watching the planes take off.  I think it also helped her understand "Daddy is getting on a plane and flying away."  I don't think I'd go to the park just with Charissa, but I would definitely go with some other kiddos and have a picnic or something.  Planes don't take off every minute so you need something else there to be be entertained by while you wait.  

So the girls and I have a couple days to hang out while Daddy is gone.  I've planned girlie movies to watch, projects to work on, and errands to run while he's gone so that I'm busy and don't just count the hours until he gets back. I'm not sure that's going to help CJ though.  But her Rere (Britt's mom) is coming over tomorrow night so that might help.  

Just pray Charissa doesn't have a complete meltdown in the next few days.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday Tip - Gift Giving to Men

It's that time of the year again - the time when you realize you have 10 to 20 to 30 people to purchase meaningful, useful, and in budget presents.  Is there a harder task?  It seems that every year I'm scrambling to find something that will make the recipient happy and know that I love them, but also not break the bank.  This year I started early.  WAY early.  July to be exact.  And except for my husband, I'm done with every single person on my list.  And my husband is pretty easy because he's completely selfless and would be just as happy if I gave him a picture and said "I love you".  I wish everyone was so easy!

But it wasn't easy. Especially not for the men in our families.  I always struggle to find good gifts for men.  For some reason I feel like the options are more limited.  I mean, women love to get clothes, but do men really love to receive a new shirt?  And there's always jewelry for girls, but what's the male equivilant?  Tools? And who can afford to get new power tools for all the men in their life?  

So here are some tips I've found along the way that might help any of you that are still struggling with finding the elusive perfect gift for a man.  Remember - not everyone falls in these little categories, so you might not be able to use all this advice for everyone.  
  1. Think Function, Not Sentiment - Men tend to think of gift giving in terms of an exchange of goods.  For women, the meaning behind the present is usually just as important as the actual gift - this isn't the case for men.  A man is probably going to appreciate an item that he can hold on to and use.  
  2. Listen to What He Wants - If he's been saying for the past 3 months that he would like a certain book, or new tennis shoes, or a day of golfing - it's ok to get him that exact thing.  You don't have to go out of your way to surprise him with something "he's always wanted, but didn't know it."  He'll be just as happy to receive the thing that he knew he wanted.  The key is to pay attention and buy the item he wants, not the item that you think he should want.  
  3. Think of His Interests - If he's really into sports, get him tickets to an event you know he would like to attend.  If he's into history, get him a book on a topic you know he likes.  It he likes sailing, get him a boat.  Ha ha - just kidding.  Maybe you can get him something to do with sailing - like a book, or lessons, or a life jacket.  
  4. Avoid Generic Token Gifts - This actually applies to both men and women.  You never want to give a gift that says "I took little effort in getting you this gift."  If it's a gift you could give anybody, then it's not for a special someone.
  5. Make It Something Fun - While some men enjoy practical gifts (I'm related to a lot of them), most men want a gift that's fun.  The key is finding something that the man will use, but that will be fun to use.  
I hope this was helpful for someone.  I'm still learning a lot about gift giving, but this few guidelines really helped me this year.  

Enjoy the pleasure of blessing others this season!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Curiously Strong, Curiously Addictive

Guess who loves Altoids?  My little Charissa.  We were at the DMV today renewing my license, and Charissa was pretty hungry, but they have several huge signs that say "No food or drinks."  But mints don't count as "food", so I gave CJ an altoid to distract her while we waited.  And then she wanted another.  And another.  And another.  She kept saying "Pwesh mendt?"  

Silly little girl.  I guess I should get more and more used to her liking grown-up things.  

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Too Far

My toes that is.  Yesterday afternoon I realized that I needed to paint my toenails and I worked and worked and worked and huffed and puffed and finally got all the old nail polish off.  But then I was too tired to go through all that again to repaint them, and for anyone who read my post on October 29th where I gave you 7 little known facts about myself, you already know that leaving my toenails unpolished is simply not an option for me.  So I asked my wonderful, loving husband to help me.  What do you think?

I think he did a great job.  But I am looking forward to being able to reach my toes without feeling like I can't breathe.  Only six more weeks!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thursday Night Funtivities

Charissa and I decided that we needed to have a family fun night tonight.  We planned games and things to do while Britt was at work and we were ready once dinner was over.  We only got to do two of the things I had planned, so I'm saving the others for another night.  

We started off with a little family bowling in the kitchen.  We had six solo cups set up like pins and used two nerf-like balls as bowling balls.  Charissa thought the game should be played by going right up to the cups, throwing the ball at them, and then kicking whatever cups dared to still be standing.  It was pretty funny to watch.  And she was really good at setting up the cups after each round, so I never ended up having to do that.  Unfortunately I took no pictures of this event - hopefully we'll do it again and I'll remember the camera.

After bowling we finger-painted!  We had so much fun.  And it became clear that none of us are painters.  But that doesn't matter - we enjoyed ourselves.  I did get pictures of the finger-painting.  

If you ever paint with a small child, I recommend them being naked.  It's just easier. 
Doesn't she look like she's really considering her next move?

Charissa's beautiful artwork ...
Britt's beautiful artwork.  When I asked him to "tell me about his painting" he explained that it's the African Sahara with two trees and an alligator between them and then a lake at the bottom.  I think he could make it as a finger-painter.  

We had a lot of fun just hanging out together as a family and playing.  I'm so thankful for my wonderful husband and precious little girl.  They bring so much joy to my life.  And, now my refrigerator proudly displays our artwork.  It's a happy home.  

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I Don't Even Know This Kid ...

This is a picture my mom took this weekend while we were at her house.  Does that even look like Charissa to you?  I mean, of course it does, because it is her.  But yet, she doesn't look like herself. I think she looks too grown up.  But still cute.  

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Tuesday Tip - Trusting God Through the Election

I vividly remember the 1992 election between Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush.  So many Christians were talking about what would happen if Clinton was elected and all the doom that would surely happen.  I had just seen the movie Serafina, which is about Apartheid in South Africa, and I was certain that if Clinton was elected we were soon going to be in a situation like that with gang violence in the streets and fear everywhere.  Well, Clinton was elected, but no one bombed my school or threw bricks through the windows of my house, or arrested anyone in my family.  I was rather shocked.  All my fears had been for nothing.

Some of those same fears have been reappearing in the last few days.  I was up in the middle of the night last night (as usual being 33 weeks pregnant) and I could not stop thinking about the election.  I laid there in bed and prayed for a long time.  Praying for voters to vote wisely, praying for whichever person was elected would do good and not harm, and praying for my own heart that I would trust God through it all.  

I know a lot of people have a link to this brief message by John Piper on their blogs, but for those of you who haven't heard it I'm posting it for you.  It's only 5 minutes so it won't take up a lot of your time.  It helped me have some clarity in how to handle my emotions today.  

And here's a short article by Albert Mohler on Prayer for America on Election Day.  He goes through things that we can be praying for throughout the day.  

I hope that you vote today, but more importantly I hope you trust God today.  

Monday, November 03, 2008

Taking the Time to Enjoy Her While I Can

This past weekend we went to my parents house to hang out with them and my aunt and uncle and their two girls.  It was a busy weekend of family projecting, but we had a good time with everyone and I was really glad for the chance to hang out with them before I'm homebound with an infant.  

My mom has a new love for the Mamma Mia! Soundtrack, so we listened to that a couple times over the weekend.  And yes, there was much singing and crazy dancing.  Some by Charissa, some by the adults.  There is a song on the soundtrack called "Slipping Through My Fingers" that the mother sings about her daughter growing up and becoming an adult.  Every time I hear it, I cry (of course I do have a lot of pregnancy hormones rushing through my veins so some of the emotionalism can be attributed to that).   It's such a beautiful song and it does capture a lot of what mothers feel about their children growing up.  

I know that I am a long ways off from having Charissa or Verity leave home, but I know it will pass by so quickly.  Charissa is already almost two, and I have a hard time believing it.  I'm so thankful for the opportunity to be at home with her everyday and have the time to enjoy her.  And these last few days I've been doing a lot of that.  We've had some extra-special mama-daughter time where I've really tried to be focused on her and love on her.  This is probably compounded by the fact that in 7 short weeks I'll no longer have just one to focus on, and while I'm so excited about Verity, I know I'll miss that one-on-one time.  

Here are the lyrics to the song, but you really need to listen to it to get the full effect.  So watch it on youtube. 

Schoolbag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile
I watch her go with a surge of that well-known sadness
And I have to sit down for a while
The feeling that I'm losing her forever
And without really entering her world
I'm glad whenever I can share her laughter
That funny little girl

Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see whats in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time

Sleep in our eyes, her and me at the breakfast table
Barely awake, I let precious time go by
Then when shes gone there's that odd melancholy feeling
And a sense of guilt I can't deny
What happened to the wonderful adventures
The places I had planned for us to go
(slipping through my fingers all the time)
Well, some of that we did but most we didn't
And why I just don't know

Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what's in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time

Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture
And save it from the funny tricks of time
Slipping through my fingers...

Slipping through my fingers all the time

Schoolbag in hand she leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile...