Wednesday, August 31, 2011

ode to summer '11

farewell summer :2011 edition
more swimming
(more baseball)
car trips
sparkler fun
lake michigan sand
go carts
(oh, the go carts.)
pizza hut buffet kids eat free (not pictured)
Brewers games....oh, wait those aren't over.

good-bye lazy mornings
pjs til 10
(and poptarts for breakfast more times than I ever imagined I'd allow....)
good-bye Wii in the late afternoon
and lunches of "whatever we happen to grab" out on the picnic table

it's been fun.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

calling all moms of motherhood.

i was sitting around the table at my moms group planning meeting.
i was the 'new girl' so mostly i was just observing and listening to
what the 'other moms' had to say.
the ones who had been a part of the moms group ministry for years.

one mom shared how she really struggled when she couldn't breastfeed her baby.
she had tried so hard.  she was a 'naturalist' in all things.
so imagine what guilt and shame she put on herself as she was unable to feed her baby
the way she deeply desired
and imagine what guilt and shame was piled up
as (she sadly shared) other moms in the group cast judgment on her by their words.
"REALLY?  are you SURE you can't breastfeed?"

one mom shared how she was an artist and loved to travel.
she never imagined having kids....
only a life of charcoal paints, blank canvas, and a passport in hand.
then reality set in and this mom had one child.  and then two.
she desperately needed this moms group to remind her
of what she was doing in the first place:
it's just so much more than she even wanted in the first place
and it was certainly more selfless than she had ever imagined it would be
and seemingly gone are her dreams of creating
when all she can manage each day
is to get her two year old to cease the temper tantrums
and get her baby to stop crying


(sweet notes in the mail.....)

we all nodded silently as these women shared their hearts.
i wonder if you've been there, too?
it's funny how we can all have our own stories
but the themes are often the same.

second guessing your motherhood because of something someone said.
being overwhelmed.
dreams......put on hold.
for so long at times that maybe it seems they've vanished completely?

this is one of those posts that my fingers can't get the words out quickly enough
(and i'm a fast typer!)


let's encourage each other.
spread Jesus' love to the other moms around us
who may be struggling with insecurity we're completely unaware of.

let's bite our tongues
instead of sharing our unwanted opinions
on things such as feeding our children...

let's show the love of Jesus
and His love is free of guilt
(including 'mommy guilt'!)

His love takes our overwheming days of mommyhood
and gives us hope
hope that tomorrow will be better
and His strength is always sufficient
(yes, even in those sleepless nights.......)

isaiah 40 : 28-31
do you now know? have you now heard?
the Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
even youths grow tired and weary
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength
they will soar on wings like eagles
they will run and now grow weary
they will walk and not be faint.

don't you just love how God's Word can speak to your heart
in all seasons of life?
(i used to think these verses applied to my college all-nighter finals days......
now i know they clearly are all about the minute-by-minute mommyhood days i'm in now,
and i'm pretty sure these verses will take on a whole new meaning when i'm in my 70's!).....
(beautiful find at the farmers market)

have a super (encouraging!) tuesday, everyone!

linking up with jami!

Monday, August 29, 2011

"Motherhood:  the days are long, the years are short."

I remember rocking my collicky baby Jonathan
in our Chicago one-bedroom apartment in the middle of winter 2003
with nowhere to go
(the Russian ladies who hung out in the lobby of our apartment building
would give me stern looks whenever I took my baby out
in the snowy windyness that is Chicago winter) 

Cry, cry, cry, rock, rock, rock, cry, cry, cry (the second set of cries was from me

I remember thinking that I was going to be rocking my fussy little guy forever
Because for the first 12 weeks of his life that was what it seemed like. 
(and I have the tendency to be dramatic in case you were wondering......)

Now as we soak up these last few days of summer vacation
I teach Jonathan to play our family's fav card game
3 to 13

And he loves it.
And I love playing with him.
And he thinks its cool his mom knows how to shuffle cards.
And I think it's cool that he still wants to hang out with his mom.

in 3 days I send him to school

to third grade.

How can that be?!

And so I leave you with this:

A foot picture.
And I hate feet.
But Jonathan's so proud of the fact that our feet are now basically the same size.
And yes, in case you're wondering.......those are Vera Bradley sandals (thanks, Lisa!)

have a super day, everyone.  I mean it.  super.
and now I've got to go and soak up these last 3 days.....and make them super.
(because these days don't last forever, you know)

Friday, August 26, 2011

our week in food. come on, this is exciting stuff

 you know a blog post is going to be exciting when it's all about food. 
and considering that's about all i took pictures of this week....
i have no idea why
(okay, i do.  i like food)
anyways, here you go:
a week in the life of the james fam:
'what we ate' edition.

is there ever a wrong time to make a pan of fudge?
3:53 seemed like a good time to me

it's gone already.
i love fudge

bowls of skittles and starburst jellybeans
a special treat
to welcome our friend dan for the weekend
who we have sleep in our (non-airconditioned) front room
on one of the boys' mattresses on the floor
but we make up for it with the candy, right?!
or was it the shakes from oscars....
a snack Justin and I enjoy after the kiddos are in bed
I'm pretty sure even cabbage would taste good
eating in the silence of the evening
and the relaxation of a full day being lived out

ahhh, the silence.
oh, bless-ed cherry season.
tasty tomatoes from my in-laws garden
and yummy farmers market finds
---the largest kohlrabi i've ever seen---
matthias is helping
put the rhubarb to good use
he mixes the cornstarch and sugar for me
so we can make strawberry rhubarb pie
---justin's ultimate fav pie--
i was so excited
i texted him a pic at 9:30 in the morning
to let him know what he'd be enjoying after dinner

what's for dinner?
i have no idea, babe

but we've got pie.

have a super friday.  really.  don't you just love fridays?!

Friday, August 19, 2011

morton. green soda. go-carts galore.

so for our anniversary
Justin and I took a little trip
it was an exciting road trip, really
except for when we passed these horrifically scary things

i'm not sure why but windmills freak me out.
(am i the only one?)

but ANYways
we had some really cute guys join us on our weekend

we love them.  they really wanted a vacay.

so we took them to the exciting city of morton, illinois.
why are you googling morton right now?
what do you mean you've never heard of it?!

okay, so we used to live there.
and Justin was officiating a wedding for an absolutely adorable couple.
it's a good thing benny doesn't read my blog or he'd be mortified
i called him and his new wifey adorable.
but they totally are.
imagine a pic of a toat adorbs couple here *****

here's another pic of justin and i
(this is a post about our romantic anniversary weekend...)

this time at the wedding
taken by jonathan
with a window behind us that kinda ruined the shot
i believe it was taken like 2.6 seconds before matthias spilled his green soda
all over his side of the table.
and before the 'friendly' butter knife duel broke out between the younger two
right after the prayer for the meal.  which justin gave.
and our boys didn't realizing we were praying
and i tried to make them quiet
but i kept getting louder and louder to make them quiet.
and right before caleb got smacked in the head with a dinner plate
and started crying from lack of sleep.....(or because maybe it hurt)
(us moms realize those crazy moments
are really crazier for us than those around us, right?

is anyone at this point wondering where charity is?
she stayed home with the grandparents
(and i got a weekend off changing diapers)

and while we missed her....
she was having fun, getting spoiled, and being held.
(almost every moment)  
ahhh, the life of a 16 month old

our busy weekend would've been a bit much for her.......

did i mention we ate at the pizza ranch?
and justin and i grabbed a smoothie from here?
and we got to meet up with  friends for lunch,
and more friends for swimming,
and even more friends for late night chats in our hotel room?
and we got to go to one of our fav churches? was a fun weekend.
and we ended it with an exciting trip here:

and the boys got to do this

and this

matthias would drive right to the outer rail
full speed ahead and then turn.  at the last second
(thank you for all those near heart attacks, son....)
jonathan's goal was to pass all cars in his way
and yell out directions to his (younger, not-as-wise-or-experienced) brothers
and caleb
well, caleb held that steering wheel at 10 and 2,  hugged the inner rail
and alternated the brake and gas pedal quite well
---love how personality shows up even on the go-cart track!---

we ended the trip with our last hour or so in the car
complete with the suckers-cookies-trail mix-capri suns-crackers mix 
we'd been noshing on all weekend.
holla vacation food

happy anniversary, babe.
can you even imagine what our life would be without our kiddos?
yeah.  i really can't either.  we're so blessed.

i'm pretty stoked to hear my absolute fav preacher this weekend (wink, wink)
have a super weekend, all!

life rearranged

Thursday, August 18, 2011

beautiful things

'You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us'

Praise God He's not finished with me yet.
As a sweet bloggy friend reminded me,
We're all a work in progress.

have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

complete randomness

there is no wrong way to eat a donut.
according to Caleb
you start on the top and eat off all the frosting
then you make a hole on the top
and lick out all the filling

this picture greatly minimizes
how gross amusing it was to observe

(he threw the rest away....)

Charity is taking on the world in an upward fashion now
---it's marked in the baby book and it's official---
I have officially survived the crawling stage of mommyhood 4x
phew.  not a fan.

how cute is a toddler anyways?!

this is what the living room looks like after
a cousins sleepover
sleeping bags, pillows, popcorn, soda cans, candy, trading cards....
Gullivers Travels (Jack to the Blackhilarious)

Fun. Was. Had.

a reminder
why my beauty routine
has been drastically reduced since mommyhood.
(LOVE you, Char)

the sleeveless shirt look
the tanned skin of summer
the imitation of Bible study

you can't resist a photo opp
when your son asks for one with his Daddy

--spending time with friends--
a fierce game of Settlers of Catan
an impromptu hot dog lunch
and a crazy flying disc
(that I'm not so sure passed any safety inspections in manufacturing.... 

have a super tuesday
in all the randomness that makes up your days!

Friday, August 12, 2011

JJ + LJ 4ever

dear justin
i love you more than dolphins love the ocean (i'm guessing it's a lot)
and way more than sunflowers love the sun
i love you more than green bay loves its packers (which is kinda extreme at times)

i love you more than our daughter loves graham crackers
i love you more than tiger woods loves
golf (what did you think I was going to say?!)
i love you more than college kids love late nights (did I just refer to them as 'kids'?!)

i love you more than Jonathan loves the Wii (which he is playing as i write this...)
and, of course i love you more than i love chocolate (and that says a lot as you well know)
i love you more than some churches love their sacred hymns (l to the o to the l)

i love you more than you love a brewers victory (whoa, right?!)
i love you more than peanut butter loves jelly
i love you more than donald trump loves money
and more than Matthias loves wild adventureness and running head first into everything........really. i love you more than that.
i love you more than our thursday night ritual
of bdubs and the mentalist after the kiddos are in bed 

(but we're still going to do that, right?!)
i love you more than Caleb loves to take baths....but, oh wait, he hates those
so then i'll add to that loving you more than i love blogging
(which is why i'm writing this before my time alone with you tonight)

i love you more than you will ever be able to grasp
more each day
more than i ever thought i could
the only One who loves you more
is the One who gave you to me
and I thank Him everyday for the gift of you

i love you, justin!
happy anniversary
11 years together of wedded blissfulness

to everyone else reading this gushy post
have a super August 12th
the perfect day to celebrate love!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

embrace it.

i love being a mommy

9.5 minutes of every 10.

there are those times when my kiddos have their own little agenda
(such as Charity fussing during dinner prep time yesterday. 
and the day before that. and also on monday...)

and so we snuggle on the kitchen chair together.
and i watch the microwave clock go from 4:40 to 4:55 to 5:05......
until i must--absolutely must-- begin to boil the pasta and heat the sauce
and put the rolls in the oven

i know i will look back on these moments with fond memories.
even as i type these words
i'm remembering all the kisses i put on her cheeks

and suddenly
well, it just doesn't seem like the inconvenience
i was tempted to think
it was at the time
also capturing a beachy moment with Matthias this week
---all covered in sand and sweet memories---

have a super day
covered in something that doesn't require multiple washings to remove

--you know, like sunshine--