We had our Bennett at 2 years/Christmas/pregnancy/family pictures taken today (whew!).
Bennett is rarely difficult, but today definitely took the cake. With a LOT of prodding and bribing and teasing, we squeezed out a few good ones. We're all exhausted, but here are some of our favorites from the finished product. Enjoy!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
We had our Bennett at 2 years/Christmas/pregnancy/family pictures taken today (whew!).
Posted by Jennifer at 6:38 PM
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
1. CLEANING -- I'm doing an overhaul and re-organizing the way I clean my house. Previously I've tried a) waiting until something is disgusting and then scrubbing and toiling away until it's clean again (aka. the toilets, aka. the bane of my existence)...b) Alternating floors one weekend and bathrooms the next, which pretty much leaves all the detail stuff like clutter, dust, etc. to pot or c) trying to clean the entire house once a week.
All of these cleaning methods have failed me in one way or another. Either something gets to the point where it's gross, which is...gross, or I feel like I'm a slave in my own house, or I clean but still walk away feeling like I've done a whole lot of nothing because the rest of my house is still in ridiculous need of attention.
BUT!! I think I've finally found the solution (for me, anyway) and I'm really excited about it! I have sectioned off my house into eight parts, including everything from the bathrooms to the laundry room, to the kids' rooms, to the front and back porches...we're talking everything. And each week, I hit one of those sections like a Mad-Mama Tornado. This means I detail finish and clean this ONE room/section that week, and don't worry about the rest of the house (other than your basic upkeep like dishes and laundry). For example, this week's section is the living room. So I cleaned our flat screen and entertainment center, dusted the blinds, de-cluttered, spot cleaned the carpet for stains, vacuumed and swept, cleaned under the couches for Bennett's toys, and washed/sanitized Bennett's toys. Also, if any re-decorating or reorganizing needs to be done in that section, that's when I do it. It takes me a little here and there for 2-3 days to really get the room spic and span, but then...THEN...it looks amazingly glorious. Michael has even noticed, and that's saying something :)
The only thing I'm wondering about with this new system working out is the long break (8 weeks) before I come around to do that section again, but I figure since that's frankly about how often I cleaned the bathrooms before anyway, and since I never did a bunch of other stuff, the trade off will probably work out.
What I really love about this is that the little things (like the baseboards and blinds) get done on a regular basis now, rather than becoming my hidden nemesis that I always prayed no one would notice :) YAY!! So now I pause to pat myself on the back......................and say that I hope this inspires someone else, because it's taken me a while to develop this system. I'll keep you posted about whether or not it truly works, but this is my third week doing it, and so far so good!
2. BABY -- We're stuck between two first names and two middle names for this little munchkin. I feel kinda silly because I already e-mailed a bunch of family and friends to tell them our new guy's name, but Michael and I are really struggling between two names now. I feel fortunate that there's only two to work with, because last time with Bennett it just took FOREVER to decide on a name. We like these names for this baby for different reasons, and all of the reasons are pretty great. So here they are:
First name options: Bowen or Gibson (we both like both of these - I lean toward Bowen,
Michael leans toward Gibson)
Middle name options: John or Michael (both of these are family names)
So our baby's name is:
Bowen John....OR....Bowen Michael....OR....Gibson John....OR....Gibson Michael
But it'll be one of these :).....unless we change our minds again - HA!
3. ZOO -- We went to the zoo with Mimi this week and it was SOOO much fun this time. We've been several times now, but Bennett is really at an enjoyable age to go - he doesn't drive Mommy crazy, and Mommy doesn't drive him crazy. He walked (strutted, really) most of the time and LOVED it. You could tell he felt like such a big boy exploring and choosing which way to go and what animals to see. And I love it that he actually stays with me and doesn't run around like a wild man anymore :) His favorite was the penguins. He kept saying "Again! Again!" At the end of the trail, we took the train back, and he loved that, too. Here are some pictures of our morning.
Posted by Jennifer at 12:27 PM
Friday, November 14, 2008
I want to say a very heartfelt thank you to all of you who have called, e-mailed or approached me to let me know you understand, that you've been there, or that you are there now. It has made me feel so loved and so encouraged. It's also made me think, "Then why doesn't everybody have best-friends running around all over the place if a ton of us feel this way at some point or another?!"
Maybe life after college, also referred to as "real life" or "the adult world," is just different, and none of us really know how to adjust and adapt to making life-long friendships after the change. I don't know, but in the past few days and with the feedback and prayers I've received, I really feel like it's not my job to be a people pleaser or a friend maker, as I said before, but it is still my job to love other people, whether they love me back the way I'd like or not. So I've decided I'll keep serving and loving on others and doing the best I can, but without playing games or expecting anything in return. Such a basic Christian principle, but seems to get lost in the scramble...for me anyway :) And I really want to be done with focusing so hard on "making friends." I'll just work to be the definition of a friend to others, and trust God with my relationships here on earth. I know I'll get discouraged again - that's the way of life and of the one who rules this earth until Jesus comes again - but I don't have to lose heart or forget my true purpose.
Okay, done with the self-given pep talk. Let me say one more time: THANK YOU to all of you who reached out to me this week. It truly did mean more than you know and helped me get some healthy perspective going again.
That being said, I also have to say that I am SO thankful for what a good friend Michael has been to me through my struggles with this. We weren't always like this - able to talk about things and to feel really secure with each other, and pretty much just hang out and be pals and confidants, but God has brought us so far, and this man I live with is so supportive and loving. His birthday was on Wednesday, and it just lit up my heart to see him enjoying his special day and to go out of my way to try to make that happen, because since we've been delivered and have been on the road to healing, this man has been changed from the inside out and is so good to me. We have major and minor bumps and bruises like everyone, but Michael is a man serving the Lord and looking to Him to know how to love me, and it shows. So I wanted to publicly honor and proclaim his hard work and leadership, and our friendship, which is vitally important and the place where it all begins. No matter what my other friendships are like, in our home, I have a dear friend who loves me and truly wants what is best for me. Praise God for His hope, for His goodness, and for His faithfulness, for blessing me beyond my imagination or belief, and for giving me the friend I've asked for and waited to have for years.
End of gush and mush. I declare the next few future posts "gush" free...unless something gush-worthy pops up, in which case I reneg on my declaration...since this is my blog and all :)
Posted by Jennifer at 12:07 PM
Monday, November 10, 2008
As I'm sure you've noticed, I've changed my blog around a bit. Not really sure how to say what I've been feeling lately and how to write it, but this is my blog, eh, so I'm going to give it a shot.
I've been feeling...disillusioned. I'm feeling the need for a change, and I don't even really know what that means.
Michael and I have been back in this area for about 3 1/2 years, and for the past 2 years or so (especially since I had Bennett), I've worked SO hard to make friends. We're not talking saying, oh hey there! How are you? Fine thanks, and you? at church. We're talking out of my way phone calls and play dates that are awkward and somewhat stilted, we're talking organizing and planning events and activities so Bennett and I could get out there and meet new people and hopefully deepen friendships. We're talking being truthful and open about where I come from and how I feel and where I stand, which is what I was brought up being told was the best way to be. We're talking about putting myself out there and making myself vulnerable. I've always been an open book and have always been glad for that, and here's some more honesty...
Right now I am so frustrated and discouraged that I've had trouble sleeping at night and I feel restless. I've prayed and wrestled with these feelings for months now, but they don't go away. I don't know how to say what I really want to say without offending a lot of people who read this blog, and that's certainly not my desire...I just do not understand the way our pyramid of friendships in this society and culture (or maybe just here in my area - how am I to know?) works.
I'd love to know why when a person is loyal and caring and concerned and involved and works hard at a friendship, they're blown off or discarded or never truly accepted into the "inner circle." Or why you can think one minute that a friendship is forming beautifully, and then the next minute, "Surprise! I'd really rather be with this other group or individual," (which becomes obvious when said person no longer calls or engages in any type of interaction with you other than the acquaintance speech at church I mentioned earlier).
Doesn't this sound unbelievably middle schoolish? It does to me, and my whole life I've been waiting to find friends that have grown up and realized they're adults and that we're all to love and accept one another, not in a popularity contest or an "I've got the best this or the best that" contest, or an "I'm the prettiest, funniest, sweetest, most creative, etc. etc. etc." contest. And yet, that's most of what I find around me.
I'm well aware that this blog smacks of a bit of bitterness, and I confess this is something I'm working through, because it does hurt to feel like I'm on the outside looking in and to feel like I have to play some game I don't know the rules to to make deep, meaningful friendships (because they're really not all that meaningful to begin with if I'm having to play games, are they?)
I'm close enough with people to get party invitations to showers and birthday parties and events that require gifts, but not enough to be thought of for a group outing, or a play date that I haven't initiated, etc. (I am not scolding or scoffing at said invitations...just commenting on the surface level of my relationships that never seem to solidify or move forward). Somehow I've fallen into this social black hole and I've been there essentially my whole life. Does anyone else know what I'm talking about, because I confess, I feel very much alone, and have for a while. Of course I've never hinted at it before, because this seems to be quite the social no-no as well. Sometimes I think and pray, "Lord! What am I doing wrong, because clearly there's something I'm missing!" But I just can't seem to figure it out. I've desired a support system - people whom I know I can count on and lean on and they absolutely know the same of me, who I can call and know they love me as I am. Lord knows I've tried to be this for others, but I seem to be failing or doing a poor job, because it just hasn't worked out with other women I know.
I've come to no real conclusions, but I will say that the blog-world tends to feed my dissatisfaction with it all and emphasizes the things I've talked about here...so I've changed some things around to hopefully help with that. This blog was originally intended to keep close friends and loved ones who love me and my family and follow what we're up to because of that love, not because of some social etiquette or requirement...so that's what I'm attempting to take it back to, because somewhere along the way, it's become a road to keeping up with the Joneses and to entertain and to be likable.
And I'm thinking God is using these frustrations and feelings I've dealt with most of my life to finally, finally release me from caring so darn much about what other people think, because that gets pretty old in and of itself and harms only me.
We're human and we're fallible, and I'm not pointing a finger at anyone by any means, just trying to be honest like I try to be, and using my blog for what I intended it for in the first place. I'm tired of working so hard, and I'm praying seriously about retiring from the business of being a people pleaser and a friend maker, because it's just not working.
Thank you for taking the time for this honesty. I've removed the ability to comment from my blog, but if you have read this and you do care, your prayers would be appreciated as God and me work it all out.
Posted by Jennifer at 2:22 PM
Friday, November 7, 2008
I'm 20 weeks along. Hard to believe. This pregnancy is really flying by, which is bittersweet.
I went to the doctor today and this little guy is measuring two weeks ahead, which is just as big if not bigger, than Bennett was...ouch. Although I will say that a huge plus to this was the fact that Bennett was a good sleeper and eater from the very beginning, and I think his size had a lot to do with it. Thanks to my husband's genes (who was over 10 lbs.), my 5'4" frame is destined to carry big fat baby boys whether it wants to or not :) But seriously, I praise God for this healthy growing boy that will soon join our family. Here's the promised picture at 20 weeks (still planning on posting one every 5 weeks) and my updated check list with things I still have left to do from a previous post. I'm actually pretty proud of how much I've already gotten done :) Finishing up Bennett's scrapbook is what I'm really working on these days, and I hope to have the baby's room FINISHED by Christmas, before I start getting really big and uncomfortable...
1. Finish Bennett's scrapbook and get Michael to fill out his parts in the baby book.
2. Paint Party - Bennett's dresser and shelves, picture frames and a curtain rod for baby's room.
3. Contact paper our kitchen cabinets (even as I type this, I think...am I really going to do this?
4. Order baby's new crib (Bennett's first crib was recalled and we were sent a voucher. Now I'm waiting for the crib I really want to get back in stock so I can order it and put it together. Grrr.)
5. Alter and sew seasonal baby clothes that need to be summery instead of wintery.
Not too daunting of a list, if I do say so myself, although each project in and of itself is fairly large...and so now I retire my writing for the day to go tackle #1 again while Benito naps.
Posted by Jennifer at 10:28 AM
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I've had a heavy heart for about a month now as election day has approached. I felt the same way when it looked like Kerry had a good chance against Bush in the last election.
I'm not an all out Republican for the sake of being so, but I just can't condone or support the things that Obama stands for and fights for. His policies on abortion are abominable, and nothing short of infanticide. I know that one issue does not a President make. But I can't get past the fear of what our laws and policies might become under such a man, not led by the Spirit, but by something else entirely...
That being said, I was SOOO thankful for something our preacher said this Sunday. He made some points I'd managed to forget in the thrall and mix of it all. He talked about how:
1) It is our duty as Christians to PRAY for our leaders, whether we like them or agree with them or not. This is biblical, and it's critical. So instead of panicking about Obama ruling the nation as my children grow and become more aware of our culture and society, I will pray that if he becomes our President, the Lord will soften his heart and show him the truth about God's will and love. And if McCain is elected, I will pray that the Lord will bless him with wisdom and a desire to lead our nation for the good of God and the good of the people.
2) When it's all said and done, it frankly doesn't matter who our President is. The truth is, GOD, the King of Kings is ultimately in control. Nothing happens without God knowing, caring, allowing, and taking care of His people. I know many people would argue on this point, talking about the financial straits of our economy, lack of prayer or God within institutions, godless laws that have no business being passed, etc. But you either believe God is in control, or you don't. I believe He is. That doesn't mean bad things can't and won't happen. It means than when they do, God is still God and He is still with us, and He will see us through whatever may come.
3) When our President is chosen in the next few hours, we as Christians need to remember that we are still the church and that OUR job has NOT changed. We have no reason and no business sticking our heads in the sand or dwelling on a dire situation if we feel faced with one. What we should be doing is hitting our knees and praying to our Almighty, putting on the full armor of God and doing battle against the principalities and rulers not of this world, lifting up our brothers and sisters, lifting up the church, and lifting up our leaders, covering them all in prayer and the protection of the Lord.
I hope these points encourage you as they have encouraged me. We are not powerless. We have the power of God, the power of His Son, Jesus Christ, and the power of His Holy Spirit living within us. We do not have to sit back, twiddle our thumbs or bury our heads in fear, trepidation, or anticipation of what's to come. We can be active participants, and should be, as saints belonging to a kingdom FAR greater than the United States of America. So go vote and do your part as a citizen here, but for goodness sake, don't forget to pray and keep on praying, and don't forget Who you truly belong to and Who is truly in control.
P.S. I am NOT posting this to debate or discuss politics with anyone. I have NO desire to do so. The point of this post is to get across a positive, encouraging message I received from another and wanted to pass along, in hopes of encouraging others. I've stated opinions in this post, and if you don't agree, that's fine. I'm not trying to influence anyone - just to share a message I believe to be from the Lord about His view of what we as Christians need to do with the outcome of the passing of power in our nation.
Posted by Jennifer at 11:04 AM