On the eve of Thanksgiving, I look around the house and reminisce of Thanksgivings past. Our first Thanksgiving with Big Brownie in 2007. It was COLD that day and we still had healthy Bubba and Sissy our boxers with us. It seemed so long ago, but also, it just seemed like yesterday. We hadn't yet had Little Brownie or Andy our newest 4 legged son. Big Brownies was dressed in a brown sweater suit with a matching hat. So adorable!
Then the following Thanksgiving...we had Little Brownie. Freshly born the month before, he was truly a blessing to our family. On the following Thanksgiving with 2 Brownies, I remember feeling thankful that we still had our Bubba and Sissy, although in a few short months, we would lose him to a brain tumor. And within a few months after, we lost our Sissy and added Andy to our family. We have so much to be thankful. We have health, we have a roof over our head and food in our bellies. We have hugs and smiles.
It is so fun to hear the Brownies talk about the things they love. Big Brownies favorite supper is a hamburger and queso cheese dip with chips. We call it Special Supper. The boys always ask, are we gonna put it in the green bowl and sit in the floor? We indeed use the same green bowl that was my Grandma for the "special supper", sit in the living room floor and gather around to eat. We usually watch something special or cool on t.v. and giggle most of the dinner away. Daddy Brown and I look at each other and smile knowing that this is our little family unit that we are so blessed to have. We giggle on a DAILY basis at the sayings and actions that seem so unbelievable and inconceivable that they have grown enough to comprehend such complex subjects. So thankful for the kindness the Brownies have in loving on each other and their friends. Big Brownie still asks on a weekly basis if there is a special seed in my belly...he really wants a sister!
So today as I look forward to yet another thankful Thanksgiving, I feel my life is a never ending flood of blessings. My heart is full today of joy and happiness. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
Well...As of 3:07a this morning, our Little Brownie is officially 3 years old. Daddy Brown and I are so incredibly blessed to have our babies in our lives and to have a story to tell...well, makes it that much more fun to watch him play and sing. I posted our story on his first birthday here on our family blog and on that very day, I decided to share our audio of the 911 call of his birth. I only share it annually on his birthday, and if you are interested in our story, I've linked the post below. I still cry to this day when I remember the details and continue to listen to his birth often, especially on particularly trying days. I hope it is as much of a blessing to you, as he is to us.
On his 3rd birthday, Little Brownie is 100% potty trained. He enjoys "Bible School" a.k.a. Mother's Day Out 2 days a week. He speaks to you as if he himself is an adult. His favorite catch phrase at the moment is "Do you understand me?" He LOVES dinosaurs, especially T-Rex. He loves Thomas the Train, tractors, trucks and LOVES to ride his gator in the yard. He likes to play Super Hero with Big Brownie. He is the one that our dog Andy enjoys playing with the most, because Little Brownie is not afraid to get in the floor and wrestle with him. He sleeps in his own full-size bed and typically likes for Big Brownie to bunk up with him. Big Brownie almost every night prefers to bunk with him as well. He loves for his Daddy to play with him in the afternoon for "6 more minutes". He gives REAL kisses and hugs to most everyone and pretty much does not know a stranger. He enjoys the ladies for sure. He will team up with a girlfriend at the park he has never met and say, "Come on, let's go find bugs". And strangely enough, they follow him...because who wouldn't? He has a way of melting my heart at night after books have been read, songs have concluded and lights go out, by the way he whispers, "I love you Mama." And to wake up to, "Come on Mom, it's a beautiful day outside" come rain or shine. And the way he pronounces Mom sounds more like "MAAAWWWM"! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO OUR LITTLE BROWNIE! We love you more than the air we breathe.
So, obviously I haven't been blogging much. Not because I haven't had a couple million favorite moments to share, but because our lives have been in fast forward for a while now. Some really fun and funny moments that I giggle about when no one is around or a kind word that is said between Brownies that make me tear up. So here are a few catching up moments from the last couple of months.
Big Brownie (BB), "Mom, did you know that God made aliens?" Me, "Really? Where are they and what do they do?" BB, "Well, they live in outerspace...AND, did you know that they eat in their left ear and poop out their right ear?"
Little Brownie (LB), "Can I please go ride outside on my gator? It's a beautiful sunny day, the grass is green and the sky is blue." As I looked down at him over my glasses contemplating whether or not we wanted to go outside in the windy gray of the day, LB looks up at me and says, "...and I prayed last night to God that you would say yes."
Big Brownie, "Wow mom, thank you for washing my Yoda underwear! Now I can be a true Jedi with Yoda fever!"
Little Brownie as he woke up one morning, "Mom, where is my dad?" I replied, "He is at work." LB says, "Oh, I need to go to work too so I can buy me a hundred dinosaurs to eat Andy up!"
I posted this one on facebook so I apologize for the duplication but this is one I want to remember FOREVER...
Big Brownie came downstairs and asked for a bedtime snack a few days ago. Previously at supper time a few hours earlier, he only ate 2 or 3 bites of his meal. I had explained that there would be no other food options that night if he didn't eat a little more of his supper. He agreed and declared his meal complete. So when he came and asked me for a bedtime snack, I reminded him that he couldn't have any food, just some water if he like. I turned and went into the other room. A few minutes pass and I hear Daddy Brown declare official bedtime. As they are going upstairs, I hear BB start to cough. I then hear Daddy Brown ask BB if he is ok and why is he coughing? BB says, "The dog food is yucky." You heard me correct, the child took dog food from the dog food bowl that had been half eaten from Andy and tried a handful of dog food. Indeed, the dog food is yucky!
Little Brownie has the best smile in the world. God gave him a natural cowlick in the front of his forehead that makes the best hair style ever. Because of these god given attributes, it is not uncommon for complete strangers to begin talking to him when we are in public. Last week while at the grocery, a nice old lady tapped him on the shoulder and told him, "You are the cutest little thing I've ever seen!" Normally, he grins and looks to me to see if it's ok to say something back. However on this particular day, he had been in a grumpy mood and without hesitation he grabs his shirt, balls his fists to the air and exclaims, "I'm not little...I'M A BIG LITTLE BOY! AND DON'T TOUCH ME!!!" Catching us both off guard he then looked at me as he knew I was unhappy with his response and said, "Do you forgive me?"
There are so many little stolen moments I'd love to share but then this post would go on and on and on. Hope to get back to blogging on a regular basis going forward.
Every now and again, my sweet Big Brownie has a moment. A moment in which I find much clarity. Now that he is 4 years old, I have to remind myself that he is in fact...4 years old. He is taking on his "big brother" status with honor and valor. He proclaims to Little Brownie no less than 8 times a day that he is older and taller than Little Brownie. He takes joy in teaching him words, letters and numbers that "only big brother know". He takes great pride in caring for our Boxer Andy by feeding him in the morning and letting him outside. Big Brownie certainly understands the dynamics of his place in the family.
Sometimes, as parents our own words come back to bite us in the booty. Tonight for example, we arrived home well into the evening. I explained in the car that once we get home, we only have 15 minutes to play and then it would be bedtime. Both boys ran into the house wielding their Styrofoam swords, Spider-man wrists and wrestling holds. I reminded Big Brownie that in the car he wanted to play his new Wii...(thanks to our Tutu Nani). He said, "Oh mom, I am going to play Spider-Man with my brother instead. After the 15 minutes of play was complete, I told everyone to go upstairs and wash up for bedtime.
Begrudgingly the boys went upstairs. As the mumbled up the steps, Daddy Brown says to them, "You can play in the playroom until Mom comes upstairs." After about 2 minutes, Big Brownie yells down and said, "Hey Dad, I need your help with my Wii...I can't get it to turn on." I then explained, "You are supposed to be getting ready for bed, not playing your Wii". Which he then replied in quite an annoyed little tone, "Mom...MY DAD SAID, I could play until you came upstairs!" And there you have it folks. Like a paralegal checking the footnotes and correcting the judge...indeed, "My Dad said!"
Ever wonder..."How on earth could he remember that?" My Big Brownie is now 4 years old. Yesterday marked the 1 1/2 year anniversary that we put Bubba to rest to the DAY. I have been missing our Bubba and Sissy but haven't really said much except a few words to Daddy Brown.
Last night, we went to Publix and as we were leaving, the boys asked the counter clerk for a balloon. Big Brownie wanted purple, but settled for blue and Little Brownie, OF COURSE, wanted green. Because I knew our history of accidental release of the balloons in the past, I asked the clerk to tie the balloons to the boys arms so we could make it home. We successfully make it to the car with me, groceries, 2 Brownies and 2 balloons. As we are driving home, Big Brownie starts firing off questions left and right. "Why do balloons float?" "What happens if I let it go? "How high in the sky will it go?" "Could it make it to heaven?"
As we approach home, he says, "Mama, I would really like Bubba and Sissy to play with my balloon in heaven!" Tears filled my eyes and I said, "Oh Buddy, are you sure? You won't have a balloon to play with if you let it go." He said, "I know, I want my Bubba and Sissy to play with it and have lots of fun." I said, "Ok, do you want to say anything before you let it go?" He replied, "Yes, I wanna say (as he bowed his head) God, please let my balloon go into heaven so Bubba and Sissy can play with it. I miss them very much, but now I have Andy to play with." He kissed his balloon and we let it go. In amazement, he watched as it floated up and disappeared before our eyes in the pink, orange and blue sky of dusk.
How is it that he can remember them from a year and a half ago.? That would have made him just barely 2 1/2 years old. I am truly blessed to have 2 Brownies that care and love so generously and kindly. Afterward, as we walked up to the door Big Brownie said, "Mama, Bubba and Sissy were really cool dogs. We will get to see them again won't we?" I said, "Oh yes, because all dogs go to heaven!" He smiled big and gave me a huge hug and said, "I like you a lot Mama!" I said, "I like you a lot too!" He giggled and said, "I really do love you...and your pancakes!"
Well, in anticipation of Mother's Day Out (MDO) a.k.a. "Bible School" approaching in a little over a month, I'm trying to motivate Little Brownie to be potty trained. You see, the Mother's Day Out program we love only takes preschoolers who 1. are 3 years old by October 31st AND 2. completely potty trained.
The first one...in the bag, the second one...not so much. It's not because he doesn't know what to do or when to do it. He just chooses not too. Some days he will be 100% potty trained on number 1 and number 2 potty transactions. And then other days, he wants his diaper or pull-up. I try not to push to much, because I don't want him to have no interest at all. So, the question of the month...will he go to "bible school" or not? We will just have to wait and see.
We have had several big adventures in the past few months. It has definitely been exciting and tiring all in the same breath. Big Brownie turned 4 and we had an AWESOME Batman birthday bash. I'll post on it soon. We have been to several other birthday parties and we had a farewell to a dear friend. It's been an emotional roller coaster for sure. I have had so many posts come and go in my mind lately. Most of the time, I forget the funnies of the day by the time my head hits the pillow. But let me assure you, there are many. My boys are growing so fast and so big. My heart aches when I look at pictures of them from a baby to now. But my heart is also overflowing with hearty laughter and love in the same moment. I'm thankful for summer, where late nights and late morning are in abundance. When we can play in the rain and watch movies with popcorn and sprite. When we can just be together as a family. That is what I most love about these summer months. Forget the scorching hot days, I love the sweaty heads of my boys running until they can't run another step, to see them rest with peace and sing with joy. These are the blessed summer days of our lives.
I have to make a confession. Last night, I was watching the "Celebrity Apprentice" at my mom's house when all of a sudden in a crucial part of the show, breaking news interrupted our show. I was irritated. Not just because I was missing my show, but more importantly, because the newscast was so eager to say that the President was going to make an important announcement, they couldn't hold the news for the President to ACTUALLY give the announcement. My initial reaction to the news was callus. I was irritated that the news reporter made the announcement before the President. Isn't he at least due that? Can we as a news hungry society not give the President a chance to make such an important announcement that the number 1 terriorist in the world has been captured and defeated?
I am proud to be an American. But this victory is not just justice for all the people that suffered from his many terrorist attacks, but a victory for our military and human nature all together. How many soliders have died trying to accomplish this task? How many American lives have been affected by this one individual? The numbers are staggering I'm sure. After seeing the President's speech again this morning, emotions well up inside of me. So many emotions. I wonder if the Navy Seals that pulled the trigger was a Christian. I wonder how I would react in that situation? I wonder how you take another man's life in that sense? Orders to kill a killer. Would you have time to pray for your mission and for the soul of the life you are going to take? There is something to be said for the most elite of teams that can do this kind of duty. I am thankful that there are people that are willing to go to war and to accept such missions. I am thankful to be free. I am thankful that I can write such a post, whether anyone reads it or not.
I dropped my mom off at the airport today for a 2 week trip. I couldn't help but think, "I wish she wasn't flying in an airplane on this day." I had a high level of fear when I kissed her goodbye. On the drive home, my mind was consumed with these fearful thoughts. I don't know what I would do without my mom. Could this terrorist change my world today with orders given in the event of his death? The answer is yes. However, I have to have faith. I know that my mom is saved and I find comfort in that. I can only pray over the flight and over my mom. I can only continue to have faith that she will have an uneventful and safe trip. In this day, I am claiming victory.
Do you ever feel like life is wrapped around a song? There are times in my day that literally I sing songs fitting for my morning and I find myself singing them to get through the day. For example, I was having an especially special day with the Brownies and the song by DMX, "Y'all gon' make me lose my mind" continually played in my head. Then at night, as the last eyelash falls to rest and a quiet comes over the house, the theme song for the Rocky movies play in my head. You know the one when Rocky makes it up the steps and is victoriously pumping his fists in the air. Yep, that is the one. There are days that the song by the Shirelles, "Mama said there'd be days like this" feels like my Alma mater.
But then there are precious songs that fill my heart and mind. The song "Brotherly Love" by Earl Thomas Conley comes to mind when I see the boys being so kind to one another. When they are consoling each other or kissing a boo-boo when they think I'm not around. When I'm in a great mood, the boys are being good listeners, the dog is behaving and Daddy Brown is being the best husband/Dad in the whole wide world, the song is "I'm on the top of the world" by the Carpenters. When I see that Andy has broke free of the fence, which has happened once or twice, the song, "Who let the dogs out" begins to chime in my mind.
It really is funny when I think about it because I haven't really paid attention to it until now. I do it unconsciously as I make my way through the day. Here recently the song by Lindsey Ray, "Brand New Day" is my "get out of the bed" theme song. I'm a HUGE Watermark fan. So many of their songs are representative of my thoughts and feelings. My favorite at the moment is "My Heart, Your Home". It is awesome. If the boys and are in a dancing mood, we are going to be dancing to "I like to move it" by will.i.am. Sonic Floods, "I could sing of your love forever" is another random insertion of the day. And a moody day would not end appropriately if "Big girls don't cry" didn't come ringing through by Fergie. "Good Times, Bad Times" by Edie Brickel is another regular. While watching the Royal wedding this past week, the song by Eric Clapton, "Wonderful Tonight" and Colbie Caillat's song, "I Do", played in my mind.
Am I the only one that has this weird musical connection? Well, it could be worse. I could be singing rap songs...well, sometimes I do so there you go. What is your theme song of the day?
Ok so, here it is...I'm VEGAN! Say what? You heard me, I'm stepping out on faith and am in the process of completing a fast called...The Daniel Fast. This means, I am not eating meat, dairy, yeast, white flour, sugar, or honey and I'm not drinking beverages with caffeine, alcohol, milk, etc. This is a 21 day commitment. I can say that there are days I would chew my right arm off for a piece of chicken and a bit of ranch dressing on my salad, some cheese on a cracker or a large glass of milk. A dear friend and her family are also doing the fast and was the one that introduced this plan to me. She has her reasons for completing the fast and I have mine.
Of course there is the obvious benefit of losing a few pounds. Who wouldn't lose a bit of weight eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains all day? Slurping down tons of water and you are bound to drop a few pounds. Although preparing meals using fresh fruits and vegetables does take more time and planning than opening a box of hamburger helper. It allows me time to really think about the foods we eat. I have become an advanced label reader. I would say that before the fast, I was a novice label reader. I just glanced at the label to see how much of the bad stuff we were going to eat. Not really saying, "I choose not to eat this because it has a ton of sugars, dyes and additives that are bad for me and my family." But now, I have to read the labels to make sure that any of the restricted items don't appear on the label. It has been a real eye opener! For example, manufacturers don't even put what they are advertising on the front of the box. Something that has blueberries and says it is so healthy for you, in truth, has the tiniest bits of blueberry extracts in it and mostly, blue dyes to fake you out. Topped with a ton of processed sugar to make it sweet and you are fooled into thinking you are eating healthy.
This is secondary to the real reason for committing to this fast. The primary reasons are for Jesus. When was the last time I was so obedient to say, "In your honor God, I will do this!" It has been a while I hate to admit. Sure, I recommit myself everyday to walk in his path and to praise and worship him with my words and actions. This particular fast is spiritually based. You have daily devotions that are written out to help you with your daily quiet time. I have tried not to harp on the things I can't eat, but better to be encouraged that what I'm putting my body is not man made, it's not processed to death. It is of God. It is the gift of the whole foods and plants that he intended for us to eat. When I am hungry and I know that I'm not REALLY hungry, I pray to God to give me strength. When I'm tempted to eat something that I'm currently restricting, I pray again for God to give me strength. I really am depended on him to get me through the day when I'm weak. And that is just food. What about all the other things in my life that I try to handle all by myself. God is right there to help me and I have forgotten that in the past. My tendency has been to come to him and praise of the answers to prayers and blessings. Come to him when I'm in need of a major decision or someone is sick. But have failed to come to him on everyday issues, like food or smaller problems I face everyday. That is where I need focus. I need remembrance. I need to remember that he is there for me to praise for the little victories as well as the big. To come to when I'm upset of a cross word or a hurt feeling. He is there and it delights him when we come to him for praise, worship, wisdom and discernment.
I have prayed for God to strike the devil out of my head with all the temptations and thought of, "Just eat it, no one will know". But you and I both know there is one I can hide nothing from...God. I can't say that I haven't failed him once or twice in the fast. In the beginning, it was especially hard because I was in the habit of eating a snack with the boys or eating a bite after them at dinner. Just last night, I ate a bite of cheddar cheese. I felt awful about it afterwards because I felt like a failure and I immediately prayed for forgiveness. It just has made me more aware of how I need to be living for the Glory of God. Not for the satisfaction of man. I feel his grace on me this morning and I continue to pray for his guidance and unconditional love to cover me as I make it through this day too.
So, I'm fasting for Jesus. I'm especially happy that I've learned a lot about the foods we eat and how the marketplace continually comes up with ways to trick us into thinking we are eating healthy. I've learned a few cooking techniques and have several recipes that we will continue to enjoy after the fast because...THEY ARE THAT GOOD. I've learned the difference between "organic" marketing and "all-natural" marketing. I'm still in the process of learning all the lingo for processed and partially processed chemicals that are added to our foods to enhance the flavors and colors to make them more attracted and appealing. TO MAKE ME ADDICTED to them. This fast has been freeing for me to come off of the sugars and fats of our world today. No, I'm not going to be a vegan after the fast. I do enjoy and feel God has given us meat, dairy and yeast as a blessing to be enjoyed in moderation. But for now, I'm on day 13 and so happy that I've been able to make it to day 13.
I remember as a child watching the movie Pollyanna. In the movie, there is a fire and brimstone preacher. One of his sermons in the movie was about how death comes unexpectedly. Thankfully, I never really felt the grasp of those words as I didn't experience much death as a child. But as I've gotten older, I've lost a few people in my life. I remember in my early teens, I lost a friend to suicide and that crushed my heart. Someone my own age was no longer with me and I couldn't understand it. In my early twenties, I lost a classmate that no one knew she was suffering with cancer all through high school. I've since lost my grandfather, Papaw, and that was very difficult to watch him deteriorate over a couple of years and Daddy Brown has lost his grandmother, Granny Brown recently as well.
Despite feeling the affects of death, it still doesn't prepare you when someone else you know dies unexpectedly. Someone that is close to your parents age and a dear friend of the family. Someone who is considered one of my dad's best friends. Someone that has been dotted in my life's fingerprint and who is gentle and kind. Someone that will be missed not just today, but everyday of our lives. Death does indeed come unexpectedly. It makes me wonder as a soul here on earth on borrowed time, what does this day have in store for me and my loved ones? As I stress about this and that, have I truly made the right choices for me and my boys and my family. Have I told everyone I know that I love them and do they feel it if I haven't had a chance in recent days?
Am I completing my path and plan the Lord has set for me? Am I doing what I'm called to do? Am I truly living each and every day like there is no tomorrow, or even as there might not be this afternoon? I think everyone, including myself, expects to live until our late 80's, 90's and maybe 100. I expect that I will see my boys graduate high school and college. I expect to see my boys get married and have children. I expect to see my Golden Anniversary with Daddy Brown. I expect a lot of things, but in honesty, I can't "expect" anything. Of all the promises the Lord has made to me, he has not promised me tomorrow. And to be even more honest, that hurts my heart and soul that I may miss some of those important milestones in the future.
All this to say, make sure when you put your head on your pillow tonight that there isn't some unrest or unsettled issues with loved ones. Make sure you haven't hurt someone's feeling with intention to do so. Make sure you have righted all the wrongs you are aware of. You never know when the last time you will see your loved ones, so make sure you have told them how you feel and most importantly, I love you. So, I could ramble on, but I'll conclude with this...Death can be unexpected, and can give the people left to live, a heartache and a severe amount of pain. But you can be saved and move on to live with our creator by simply asking him into your heart. Don't let this day end if you are not certain of your salvation. That is the only wonderful thing about death, is that you have an eternal life with our Heavenly Father. If you have a moment, will you please say a prayer for our family and the family of our friend that passed away this weekend?
What a week it has been. We made it to both days of Mother's Day Out this week. No inclement weather or missed morning alarm. We had to take Little Brownie to the pediatrician this week as well for yet another Brownie ear infection. Booo! It helps that Little Brownie is communicating a lot more lately. He can now tell me, "It hurts...my ear, it hurts". Which helps tremendously as his words are becoming more clear and he is so excited that we can have a conversation. He is very concise with his decisions and makes quick decisions. "Yes", "No", "I don't want to", "I can do it", "Don't help me", "HELP ME", "Because..." are just a handful of the quick and direct answers you will get when asking Little Brownie anything throughout the day. He also makes quick food choices as well. "I want oatmeal", "I want sausage", "I want more gummies", "I want orange juice" are heard on a daily basis. And both Brownies are strong enough to open the refrigerator door now.
Yesterday before leaving to run errands and after we had breakfast, I took a really quick shower. Upon exiting the bathroom, Little Brownie was in my bed with ham and turkey eating. I asked him, "Where did you get that?" He responded, "I went downstairs, I opened the 'frig-derator' and got the meat". I said, "Aren't you supposed to ask permission before getting in the fridge?" He said, "Oh, I sorry Mommy. I didn't mean to. Please forgive me. And, may I have some meat?" Who can say no to that? He apologized, asked for forgiveness and then followed my direction. The original act was not in the right order, but he is only 2.
He is only 2. That amazes me, because honestly, the boys are so close in age I see them and expect more from them than just your average 2 and 3 year old. I find my self using big words for toddlers like, "initiative", "participation", "respectful" and "exemplary" just to name a few. I expect them to act like big boys and not babies. When I see an action in good favor, I try to describe it in adult terms and I'm not sure that is always a good thing. I do however, love to baby them as well, and I'm not sure that is a good thing either. Oh well, walking through the life as a parent, you are always second guessing yourself I guess.
So, this week has been a world wind of a week. Despite an ear infection and a couple of trips to replace a broken Jedi toy, I did some side work and one of my "clients" is my mom. She has a non-profit organization and I have worked for her for over 10 years. It doesn't require a ton of work, but a couple of days out of the month are dedicated to her. This was the week. The boys loved going to Tutu Nani's house and play, play, played as she and I worked. It's the ideal situation for me. To be able to work and provide some extra funds to the monthly household income AND have a place for my boys to play and nap and also provide little breaks of enjoying them as well.
Wednesday night, we were moving, work-wise, at a pretty strong clip. Before I knew it, the time was 11:30p and I was about 30 minutes from being done. Mom gave the boys a shower and we ended up spending the night. This was an adventure all by itself. The three of us, sleeping in one queen size bed. It was awesome. Despite Big Brownie sliding off the bed once in the middle of the night, Little Brownie did great...once he actually fell asleep. I loved laying between them, with my arms stretched out and both of them resting peacefully. It made me cry and it made me smile and it made me feel so grateful for the blessings. It was only the 2nd time that I've stayed at my parents house since I moved out to my own apartment when I was 20 years old. Laying there in my old house, in the middle of the night brought back a lot of wonderful memories for me.
Thursday afternoon we came home and enjoyed being back home with Daddy Brown. Yesterday, we picked up a few items at Target to donate to our local pregnancy center. I want to teach the boys to be good servants of our community. Doing some charitable things this Spring and Summer are on my agenda. As we were leaving and I was closing the hatch of my car, I realized my tag was OUT OF DATE! I never let that happen and I can only chalk it up to mommy-hood. I threw the boys in the car and drove 5 miles under the speed limit and bee-lined it to the county clerks office. I had no fewer than 3 police cars behind me on the journey across town, and Lord have mercy, I prayed they didn't look at my tag. I used my blinker, I stopped at all stop signs and I yielded to all yellow stop lights. I didn't want to give anyone a reason to stop me. We ran into the county clerks office and became legal again. Oh, thank you Jesus!
As we walked out, we noticed the hot dog vendor on the square. It was lunch time and we decided to eat on the square. 3 hot dogs, 3 bags of chips and 2 waters with 1 sprite. The gentleman running the hot dog stand was so kind to the boys. We sat on the green park bench just outside the county clerks office and enjoyed ourselves. Many people walking by spoke to the boys and they were excited to respond with, "Good Afternoon" or "Happy Friday". It was a blessing to see them all grown up with feet dangling off the side. We decided it was too late in the day to go home for naps, so what else could we do for the 1 hour we had before a play date/bible study at a friends house? PLAYGROUND! That's right, and there was no one there as school hadn't yet let out. We ran from this slide, to that swing and across those monkey bars. Big Brownie was up for most of the more challenging obstacles and I bravely spotted. They were giggling and laughing. "Watch me" and "Look at me Mommy" was yelled every 5-10 seconds. It was so much fun.
We ended our afternoon at our neighbors house for more fun with our friends, while us Mommy's enjoyed some adult conversation and bible study. It has been a great week. Even in the midst of Little Brownie's trip to the doctor, we still managed to have some fun. He is doing better and certainly getting out of the house for some good ole' fashion play, helped make him feel better as well.
This week has been mostly about me trying to get the house back in order, get caught up on the laundry and trying to get everyone back into some sort of schedule and groove. As you may or may not know, we are a very laid back, roll with the flow kind of family. One day we may wake up at 8 a.m. and the next, we may all wake up at 10 a.m. We just make the day work with what we are given. Now, the days we get up at 10 a.m., are usually a result of a day prior of no nap and late bedtime for one reason or another. Again..."roll with the flow kind of family"!
So, in trying my best to actually wake everyone up that hasn't rose on their own...(a.k.a. Little Brownie most of the time), I've tried to get everyone down for a decent nap and rouse again at a decent time in the afternoon. Then, I tried to play them to the max in the afternoon and put them to bed at a normal and reasonable time. Now, you have to know that I enjoy being up late at night. Case in point, this blog post is being created at 2:20 a.m. So, if my kids go to sleep late and we all sleep in a bit, that just means our day starts and ends at a different time than others. And frankly, I'm ok with it because it works in our family. I'm not stringent in that way. However, this week, I've tried to provide a little more structure since Big Brownie went back to school after another 2 weeks of being at home from the snow and then the MLK holiday.
Monday night, about 7:45 p.m., I told the boys that we needed to get into the bath and get ready for bed. Big Brownie said, "Mom, I'm really still clean from my bath last night." Little Brownie say, "Meeeee tooooo!" Big Brownie said, "And, I'd really like to have a special treat before we go to bed." Little Brownie said, "Meeeeee tooooo!" I said, "Well, we can have a special treat tomorrow, but right now, we need to get ready for bed." Big Brownie said, "Okay Mom, if you want, we will get in the bath." He and Little Brownie turned, with shoulders slumped, to go to the bathroom. All of sudden Little Brownie comes walking back with the cutest little smile. He looked up at me with bright eyes and whilst nodding his head up and down he said, "Mama, can we have a party with cupcakes?" Big Brownie turned and looked at me with a big O in his mouth and hands at the ready to clap. I looked down at them and said, "Yes, we can!" Those little stinkers convinced me as if there was a plot from the very beginning. They both jumped up and down. Clapping their hands with vigor and excitement.
You know what, I realize that I let them win. I realize that I should have stuck to my guns and continued with the bedtime routine I had been trying to maintain. But what is life without a few unexpected surprises. What is life without letting them feel a victory every once in a while. So, downstairs the whole gang marched to the kitchen. We retrieved all the ingredients and began to make our cupcakes. I did hold the frosting. A cupcake have enough sugar buzzing qualities of its own, to not add the additional hype of frosting. Within 20 minutes, cupcakes were baking and the boys could not hardly contain their excitement. They placed a step stool in front of the oven and watched as the cupcakes rose and became golden. They ran from one end of the living room back to the oven to check every 3o seconds or so. It was so much fun. An unexpected evening treat of not just yummy cupcakes, but warm Brownies too. The boys had their fill of golden cupcakes and a little bit more play, before they were fast asleep in their beds dreaming of adventures to come by 10 p.m. I'm happy for the 2 hours of additional Brownie fun that will hopefully be remembered for a lifetime.
In case you missed it, apparently 49 of our blessed 50 United States of America saw snow this week. That blows my mind away. But, I'm a BIG KID at heart and love the snow. I love the winter. I think it is in most definitely my nature to cuddle up, snuggle up and love on those around me. Knowing that, I think colder weather gives me excuse to do those things more often. Snuggling up not just to the people around me, but in my favorite item as well. I have a favorite red sweater. It is a bit worn and tattered, but it is my favorite item to sleep in, go to the mailbox in, go to the store and yes, it has gone to church with me a couple of times over the years. That poor garment probably looks more of something you'd see denied at the Goodwill, but I love it. And when the weather is cold, I love nothing more than to put that sweater on and spread the love and cheer. Matter of fact, I went to bed 2 nights ago and got cold. My aforementioned favorite sweater was AWOL. I was up at 2:45a, scrounging around the house looking for it. Who would have thought I would have been a good girl and hung it up in the closet...WHAT? Why was it put away? Who knows, but crisis averted and I was able to rest well and warm in my comfy.
With the snow on the ground, Big Brownie's preschool closed all week and Daddy Brown staying home a couple of days to play in the snow with us, we have used our imagination to go on adventures you couldn't believe. Each morning, we have rose to a different place to explore. One morning we were on the moon. We were astronauts exploring the moon's surface for moon rocks (quilt batting). Another morning we woke to be at the zoo. Pancakes in the shapes of our favorite zoo animals and the chance to be and feed the giraffe, elephant and monkeys (a.k.a. our 1 year old boxer Andy, who by the way, is an awesome stand-in). We even had an adventure at the North pole. We enjoyed snow smoothies, snow eggs, snow cream and pet the reindeer.
What fun it has been to use our imagination to go places. Little Brownie is really expanding in this area. Last week, Big Brownie and I were having an imaginary picnic. He couldn't understand why we were eating sandwiches that didn't exist and drinking from cups that were shaped by our hands. He looked puzzled and finally said, "Where, where is the sandwich and what juice are you drinking?" Big Brownie said, "Here, take a sip of this?" Reaching out his hand, Little Brownie takes the imaginary cup and says, "Oh, Okay brother!" Since then, we have had imaginary birthday parties and BBQ's. Little Brownie is always responsible for going to the store to get the candles and the cake. I love to see such development before my eyes. To see the curiosity build, wheels in the mind work and finally, to see the light bulb come on and...they get it.
With all the big boy changes around here, there has been some changes in me. Today, I started a bible study with 2 very dear friends. I'll be honest, I don't usually do studies for a couple of reasons. One, I don't know the bible like I should and sometimes I feel incompetent or intimidated by those who do. Two, I have always had an issue with reading aloud. I remember when I was in elementary school and I stumbled on a word and the other kids giggled and smirked at me. And three, I cry when I openly pray. I feel so emotional, so exposed and raw before the most powerful being of all, our Father God. These were all reasons that have held me back for many years. However, when presented with this opportunity, I didn't have a second thought.
So, after our first study on Chapter 1 of "The Power of a Praying Parent", I have been processing the words all evening. Tonight as I put Big Brownie to bed, we normally recite our usual bedtime prayer..."Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take"...and then we usually proceed with thanking the Lord for our family and friends, etc. We pray same prayer every night. Tonight, I asked Big Brownie if he would pray WITH me. We sat in the bed holding each others hands and we just began to talk to God. In our prayer, I told God how much I love him and Big Brownie said, "Yes, I love you God this much!" and held his arms out wide. I told God how thankful I am for Big Brownie, and Big Brownie said, "I'm so thankful for my Mommy, my Daddy, my little brother and our reindeer dog Andy!" I told God how I hope he will help Big Brownie lead a life of love, faithfulness and Godly wisdom. And Big Brownie said, "Please help me to stay out of timeout tomorrow." I could go on, but the point is, while I'm learning to pray more effectively and directly for my boys, I haven't been giving them an opportunity to openly pray. I've been so focused on reciting words to give them a base, I haven't stepped back to see what planted seeds in them have began to grow. I was truly in awe of my Big Brownie. I know Little Brownie is not to that point yet, but I'm already thankful for my study in one day, that has opened my eyes to discover something new. I can only imagine what the next few weeks have in store for us, but as always, it will definitely be an adventure.
Yesterday was the first day of the new year for us to actually leave the house. It has been an awesome week from Christmas to New Years to just lay low and hang out with each other. Going to bed late, sleeping in, naps on the couch, picnics in the living room floor and even wearing our pajamas all day long. Since I have a 2 year old and a 3 year old and we have officially hit the winter chill, I have to be a little creative with physical activity for my boys. Jumping has become one of our favorite activities and has helped to reduce the amount of Cabin Fever we have felt.
So, each evening we have a jump-a-thon! That's right, I let my children bounce off the walls, couches and chairs (supervised of course) until they are sweaty and silly. The laughter alone will make you smile. Taking turns gives us an opportunity to learn sharing and kindness. Jumping a certain distance is teaching them a bit about restraint and calculation of consequence. Jump to close...fall on your knees, jump to far...fall on your face. BUT, jump the right distance and you land on your feet. I am sure I'm fooling myself into believing this is actually "good" for them. However, with most things in our life, we just roll with it. So here are a few pictures that will make you wanna JUMP too.
Jumping like ROCK STARS!
Rolling on the floor and silly faces!
Time for a little wrestling...
Ending with some love and hugs... I love these two Brownies!
Happy New Year from The Brownies. We are excited to see what the new year holds for us and for you. We rang in the New Year in a quiet fashion. For the first time, Big Brownie had a sleepover here at our home. Cousin Peanut Butter Fudge came to spend New Year's Eve night with us. The boys played and played. We watched movies and ate popcorn. We had a real blast. Long about 9:00p, the boys started winding down and with much anticipated quiet abound, everyone was asleep and in their beds at 9:45p. It was great. I could not have asked for a better night from them all.
As much as there will be many resolutions to be made in the new year, we have had some pretty big milestones here at the end of the year. Little Brownie made a few decisions of his own. First, he decided he no longer wants his "baba" in the morning and evenings. This is a big one because even though he is over 2, he has enjoyed having a bottle when he wakes and when he goes to bed. My thought was that one day he would decide he didn't need it anymore and he did. Secondly, he no longer uses his "binkie". He went to sleep on day for nap-time and didn't ask for it. I waited by his door with binkie's in hand for when he would wake and request it. But he never did. So now, for the last week, he has been without a binkie. I ransacked the house in search of every hidden binkie I could find to put them away. Just today, he found one in the toy box in the playroom. He came downstairs smiling with binkie in his mouth. With a little push, he told the binkie goodbye and placed it on the counter.
And finally, the same day Little Brownie decided he didn't want his "Baba", he also took his diaper off. He brought it to me and said, "Mama, I don't want to any more!" He handed me the diaper and ran off. All the while saying, "Pee Pee in the Potty!" So, my Little Brownie isn't so little any more. He has been an eating machine. This morning for example, I made homemade biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs and sausage links. He ate almost everything on his plate. Within 15 minutes from leaving the table, he came to me and said, "Mama, can I have my oatmeal now?" So, he ate half a bowl of oats. Although he has many words in his vocabulary now, he still struggles sometimes communicating and it is very frustrating for him. Several of his words are similar and it can take me a few minutes for him to finally get his point across, but believe me, he gets his point across. He loves to give night-night kisses and hugs. He is gonna kiss you on the forehead and the cheek, and of course, on the lips. I praise God everyday for these little milestones and blessings as Little Brownie grows so abundantly. He will always be my miracle baby and he continues to bless me with little miracles everyday.
Big Brownie has been such a blessing. One day, he is going to make a special woman, a wonderful husband. He loves to help me clean up. He loves to help me do the laundry. He loves to help make supper. He is so thankful and grateful. He thanks me for cleaning his toilet and he thanks me for his meals. He is so precious. He has also decided he needs a sister. For the last two weeks, he has told me, "Mama, we need a baby." He proceeds to tell me, "Mama, do you know where you can get me a sister?" I asked, "Where?" He explains, "Can you please go get me a sister at the 'Sister' store?" This has brought many questions about where babies come from. I have explained that only God decides when we will have a baby and when he plants a special seed in my belly, he will decide if it will be a boy or a girl. He told me last night, "Can we trade little brothers in for little sisters?" We are still explaining the whole baby thing on a daily basis, however, I think it is so sweet that he loves all the babies around us. He loves to sing to them and rub them. He is a good Big Brother to Little Brownie...most of the time.
So, since it's the New Year, I feel I need to make a few resolutions. So here we go...
First, I'm gonna start back running. I haven't ran much through the holidays and I miss it. I've thankfully only gained 3 pounds since before Thanksgiving. Last year my goal was to lose 50 pounds. I lost 15 pounds total and gained 3 back.
So my second resolution is to lose 18 pounds this year. 50 seems like so much and if I hit it, that means I'm doing something extraordinary. I'll be ecstatic to lose my the 3 I gained over the holidays and 15 more.
For my third resolution, and I do understand that this might be a little tmi...too much information, however, I'm going to shave my legs at least twice a week through the winter months. Some things I just let go during the winter months and that is one of them. So, when I get in the shower and I'm going to spend a few extra minutes taking care of me.
My fourth resolution is to be a better wife, mom, daughter, sister and friend. To be a better wife is to take more time for just us, and be more understanding as a partner in life. To be a better mom is to have more patience and spend more time with them as individuals and to be a better example. To be a better daughter to my parents and to my in-laws, I want to invest myself in whole in their lives on a more regular basis and to be available to help and to listen. To be a better sister and sister-in-law by being a better listener and participate more in their lives. To be a better friend by continuing to live through the good, the bad and the ugly.
My final resolution is to be the best follower of Christ. I want to dedicate myself more to the study of the Bible. I am going to set aside more time everyday to be quiet and listen. Time needed to really listen to the word of God. I will fill my tank with the holy spirit everyday so that I can follow through with the above resolutions. I can't do any of these, to the best of my ability, if I don't give myself to him first. I realize this most important resolution should be the first resolution I have listed. But God is my real want and need no matter what order they are listed. I want to be closer to him. I need to be closer to him. Happy New Year to you all and I hope and pray many blessings to each of you. It is a new day to get up and do something special with your time. To do something extraordinary with you family and friends. AND to be the best you that you can be.