Saturday, March 31, 2012

Piper's First Egg Hunt

Today Piper attended her first Easter egg hunt. For the first part of it, I just toted her around while the boys hunted but then while they enjoyed their snack she got to crawl around the baby area. 

She was totally into the whole brightly colored egg thing even before she knew there was a treat inside.

What's even better is that I think we've found a fun knew activity for her...inspecting eggs in the Easter basket!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Photo Friday

The last week of March 2012! Wow, time is flying! This week...

Last Friday Jathan's buddy, Jacque, joined us for supper. These silly boys were happy to get to utilize the tv trays.

Saturday after I realized at 5 p.m. that I hadn't defrosted the chicken, I texted Jackie and said, "Why don't we just eat out tonight?" = ) We went to Carretta's, home of our favorite tacos.

Also on Saturday, I continued my new ritual of taking the time to paint my nails. This week I went for high shine sparkle!

Piper looked adorable in her Sunday best. Here she is posing a little for me before church. Would you believe she didn't so much as touch her hat?

Monday must have been a hard day for Ryland because he was so tuckered out that he couldn't even eat his supper. He took a little siesta on the couch. Doesn't he look so cute all kicked back and relaxed?

On Tuesday I got to watch LeeAnna while her big sister went to the dentist. We played out on the breezeway and Eden Mae joined us. At one point a (Korean) lady came up the stairs to visit my neighbor. Upon seeing all of the children playing she said, "Oh my!" I wonder if she thought they were all mine? Ha ha.

Wednesday, I let Piper have free reign of the house while we tried to do our school work. She went exploring and found the book shelf in the hall. When Jathan saw the mess that she'd made, he exclaimed, "PIPER JAMES!" See, James is Ryland's middle name and he gets called by it quite often. I had to teach Jathan Piper's middle name to use when she needs scolding.


Later Wednesday Keeleigh and I helped Fuel the Future. This is a ministry at our church which distributes food to children who don't have adequate food in their homes over their weekend away from school (and school lunches). Each week over 100 bags go out to children at risk for hunger. I love, love, love our church's heart for missions!

The boys made king's crowns (it's "k" week at Combs Christian Academy) with the shape of the week, diamonds. When we paused for a quick pic, Keeleigh grabbed her tiara and hopped in the shot.

On Thursday I managed to get a shot of Piper flashing her new pearly whites. She has begun to get four teeth all at once this month!

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This morning Jathan was supposed to be using his alphabet builders (download a free copy for yourself by clicking here) to build a letter "K" but he said, "Can I show you something first?" He'd made a happy person. Love it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Snakes and Snail and Puppy Dog Tails

Last week it rained for several days straight here. I, for one, loved it. In fact I was considering how lovely it would be to live in Seattle and always have the promise of drizzle on the windowpane. Others do not share my passion for wet weather, however, and when the sun finally came out on Friday everyone was ready to hit the playground. Unfortunately, in case you hadn't heard, we have a little flooding problem in NOLA and the playground is no exception. My friend, Melissa, had been letting Jathan play at her house with his best buddy, Jacque. She texted me and said they were headed to the playground and wanted to know if she should send Jathan up or let him play warning me that boys cannot NOT play in the mud. Of course it was okay with me if he got a little dirty, 'cause you know I'm cool like that. I grabbed my camera and headed downstairs with Ryland to let him join in the fun. When I got to the bottom floor, this is what I saw:

Jathan was having a blast as I expected he would and Ryland was quick to jump in.

Then they headed to the moat around the merry go round where several other kids were already sloshing around several of whom voluntarily swore to me that their parents told them it was okay, ha ha.


It's good to know I'm not the only cool mom around here. = P

Honestly, seeing that boyish mischief plastered all over Jathan's face made the whole muddy mess worth it.

Of course, clean fun must surely follow dirty fun so we headed upstairs to wash up. Ryland was very happy to get a warm shower!

All clean! (And BTW, here's where Sunday's mohawk look came from for those of you who saw him at church!)

Next it was Jathan's turn.

And then it was time to cuddle up on the couch!

I've ALWAYS been a girly girl. I'm told that I would cry when I was little if I got dirt under my nails. But boy oh boy do I enjoy having my two little mud pie makers! Thank Heaven for little boys.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Photo Friday

March Week 4

Pickle-sicles for St. Patrick's Day!

Jathan's drawing of Ryland and a watermelon.

Our pink and yellow flowers mixed and made a pink and yellow flower. Cool!

I love coming in to get Piper in the morning and seeing this smiling face!

Piper discovered Poptarts this week and I decided not to give her another one for another year or so.

The babies hanging out with Optimus Prime. Ryland is looking a lot less like a baby lately, huh?

Our celery plant is growing! We cut the bottom off of a bunch of celery and stuck it in one of our pots and voila!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Baring It All...

from the neck up.

Okay, so this post is kind of a remake of one that I did a couple of years ago on another blog. I wanted to revisit the issue though because it keeps coming up and I'm so not over it. What's the issue? Makeup.

Most of you are used to seeing me wear it. It doesn't matter where--at church, at the grocery store, on the playground, and even at the pool! This is the face I bear. Foundation, powder, blush, four colors of eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick. All the time.


I don't remember the occasion or even how old I was but I remember the first makeup kit I ever had. I remember holding it in my hands, feeling that excitement--I was going to be beautiful. It was cheap, kid stuff and after I put it on I'm certain, looking back, that I resembled a clown. But I was hooked; I added more and more makeup to my collection and got pretty good at applying it. I've never been afraid of color, to go a little wild. I've had blue and purple lips and sported colored eyeliner and smokey eyes. Makeup is fun. It's been my thing.

That said, I definitely feel tied down to it now. I can't go without wearing it without looking weird. It's a glaring difference. People notice. I remember once in high school I went bare-faced to the local grocery store where one of my (male) friends worked. "Wow, Traci, you," he said. I laughed it off but I never forgot it. Fast forward to 2008. We moved to New Orleans. No one here knew me. It was my chance to be a different person. A person who didn't wear make up all the time. So I'd lay off it during the week and mainly only wear it when we dressed up for church on Sundays. But, ah, the honesty of children got me. Some little Korean kids told me that I should wear make up all the time because I looked pretty with it on. So I did.

Sometimes I feign confidence and go without makeup. But it's not really confidence; it's me saying, "Who cares if I look ugly?" Sometimes over the years I've thought certain situations warranted a relaxation of the all makeup all the time rule. One of those situations was Ryland's birth and my subsequent hospital stay. Early the morning after Ryland was born my doctor knocked and stuck her head in my room. "Oh," she said, starting to leave. Then she took another look, "Traci?" SERIOUSLY? I thought. My own doctor didn't recognize me because I didn't have makeup on! Yeesh.

I don't really get why I look so different without it because I see other mothers on the playground and I honestly can't tell when they are or are not wearing makeup. They look natural but not the least bit schlumpy.   How can that be?! If I so much as lighten up on my eyeliner I get comments reflecting the fact that something is off. I hear "you look tired" a lot. And rather than say, "Nope, I'm fully rested but thanks for racking that shred of confidence that I was trying to build up!" I just say something like, "Oh, yeah, well you know the kids and blah, blah, blah."

I recently read an article in Home Life magazine. It was about a Christian lady, Constance Rhodes, who through her own efforts to change the skewed sense of beauty in our culture, discovered that she was just as vain as her non-believer counterparts. The revelation came after meeting with the director of America the Beautiful, a documentary which asks (and answers) the question, "Is America obsessed with beauty?" In her article Mrs. Rhodes mentions something that the director of the film said during their interview. "Just think about its name--make up. When you put it on, what are you trying to 'make up' for?" Now I know darn well what I'm trying to make up for. I feel inadequate. I don't truly feel ugly but I don't feel beautiful. I don't feel pretty enough. I want to be those women in the beauty ads. I want to be a knock out if only in my husband's eyes. Or maybe not even in his eyes or any other man's eyes but in every other woman's eyes--because c'mon we're the ones who really judge each other aren't we? I'm not sure what it is but I am unbelievably insecure in this area. I know I am not alone.

Some suggest the media is to blame and perhaps they are. Have you all seen the Dove-Evolution Commercial? No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted indeed.

Mrs. Rhodes was led to go a month without makeup, chronicling the entire experiment with daily makeup-less photos on her Facebook page. (I think her photos look beautiful...she's fresh-faced with naturally rosy cheeks.) She wrote, "Frankly, the judgment of fellow Christians, particularly women, was the most challenging aspect of this experiment." Church was an uncomfortable place for her to go that month. I can't even imagine! 

She mentioned that she loved how The Message paraphrases Proverbs 29:25: "The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that."

I like 1 Samuel 16:7: "But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." And 1 Peter 3: 3-4: Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." And 1 Timothy 4:8: "Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next."

Do I think it's wrong to wear makeup or fix your hair or wear nice clothes or exercise? Certainly not. But obsession with outward beauty definitely distracts us from exercising spiritually to obtain that "unfading beauty." It breeds insecurity and harsh judgment of others and ourselves.  That's not who I want to be. I want the Lord to look upon me and see a beautiful, pure heart.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there by any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Sewing Projects

Earlier this week a neighbor came up to me on the playground and asked if I'd help fit his daughter for her dance costume; she needed measuring. "Someone told me you sew," he said. I tried not to laugh. I do sew. But I also use my seam ripper a lot and have never used a pattern correctly. I'd also never actually measured anyone for something that would have to be worn in public. = )

Mainly I craft. I cut. I embellish. Sew? Well, I do have a board on Pinterest!  (I also have an exercise board but that doesn't seem to be helping me get fit.) And I'm trying. I'm dilly dallying here and there with little projects trying to make cute things. Pinterest is helping me out in that department. It's a great motivation having a little girl to make things for. So a few weeks ago I made a couple of dresses. Sort of. I actually just added some stuff to onesies which turned them into dresses but I used a sewing machine so that counts, right?

So one of the things I did was follow the tutorial on this blog to make a cute little t-shirt dress--all from old t-shirts so the cost for this project was $0 since I already had everything! Since Piper is a baby and crawling all around I wanted to leave the bottom of a onesie intact to cover her bottom so I skipped the part where you cut off the top shirt.


Somehow I didn't get a great picture of her in it but here's one of us together when she had it on. It was super her. So summer. Probably going to experiment and make more of these.


Oh, and see that flower embellishment? I used another tutorial I found on Pinterest to make it out of some of the same t-shirt fabric as one of the stripes on the dress. So easy and so cute. And it looked even cuter after it got washed!


Project #2 also used a onesie as a starting point. I added a skirt and embellished it with a yo yo and a button. I think it came out okay but want to learn how to use elastic thread to gather it instead of trying to do pleats. 

BTW isn't it funny how red Piper's hair looks in that picture? Maybe it will really turn red. That would be beautiful with her hazel eyes!

So that's the extent of my sewing lately! What sewing (or other) projects have yall been working on?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Project 365

March Weeks 2 & 3

Sleep softly and carry a big stick.

A pterodactyl came to breakfast.

Ryland's discovery: shadow play.

Piper standing with ease, enjoying the busy box. Pulling all the things out of the busy box is an activity, right?

I love moments like this. The kids all gathered around the basket of books I'd left out and started reading together.

Obligatory shot of Daddy holding Baby precariously.

My favorite photo from Bellingrath Gardens.

Interesting hair styles by Keeleigh.

Picnicking on the balcony.

Tshirt dress project.

Little Bear: "I'm your Little Bear."
Ryland: *shakes bears hand* "Hi, Little Bear."

Me and Piper pretending its 1950 something driving to pick Daddy up from the library.

Rainy day fun.

One of Keeleigh's favorites:  orange chicken at Panda Express.