Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Independence


Cavett has found his independence. Lately, it's been "I want to do it myself. I'll do it. Etc..." It's everything from opening the car door for himself (and yes, I mean the Expedition) to getting the peanut butter out of the pantry. He has even taken on responsibilites. He is now setting the table and feeding the dogs and putting them outside when appropriate.


It is with joy and bitterness that we have made it this far. Joy because I am not needed for every minute of every day and bitterness because I am not needed every minute of every day. I guess I would have to weigh the joy with a greater percentage though. He is a great kid and big brother. He really can be a helper when needed and asked. However, with discovery of independence comes new phrases. Such as....
"Mommy, you are not listening to me!" and "I shouldn't have to put up with this!"
I am not sure where he heard the second one, because I KNOW I haven't said that one. He does just say it under his breath and has not said it to either one of us as a back-talk. Just waiting for that day. As for the "listening" comment, yes, I probably don't listen as much as I should, but that mouth is almost running non-stop! I'm trying to do better and he will be trying to say it in a sweeter tone of voice.

8 Months


Kendrick is now 8 months old. He is really crawling around well now and today at the park he nearly had a stand without pulling up on anything, just like Cavett did at this age. He is eating fruits very well. He is opinionated. Not too fond of green vegetables, as he likes to spray them all over Mommy. However, I just introduced beans today--garbanzo and black, so we'll see how that goes over. He is also really sleeping through the night now. 7 pm-about 6 am. I can handle that. Naps are getting better and longer, especially when we are at home.


He'll have his first professional pictures taken this Thursday. Hopefully we can capture a few more great smiles from this sweet boy.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Centenary Crawfish Boil


Today after Stephen got off work we headed to Keith and Ami Considine's house for the annual Centenary College Houston Alumni Chapter Crawfish Boil. Every year it seems the weather is terrible the night before, but clears up miraculously by the afternoon. We had good fun seeing old friends and making new ones. Cavett loved hanging out with Quinn and Dominic Considine. He really didn't want to leave.


On the way home, we talked to Cavett about what the party was for and told him about how Mommy and Daddy both went to Centenary and KK, and Jonny, and Nana and Gran, etc. Afterwards, my heart leapt when he said that he wanted to go to Centenary too. I know it really means nothing and I will not pressure either one of my boys to follow in our footsteps, but wouldn't it sure be fun. Cavett would be there during the 200th year of Centenary. He would be in the class of '27 and Kendrick would be either '29 or '30, depending on when we start him in school. We will see where the road leads. Can I lock-in and start paying tuition now????

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Annual French Quarter Visit




Every year for the past 3 years, I have come to visit KK in April and every year we have ended up in the French Quarter for lunch with Cavett. Obviously this year is no different, except that there are 2 more kids now.


Today we headed to the Aquarium first. I had actually never been there. We saw many different fish, seahorses, jellyfish, sea turtles, and sharks. But, the best part was petting a Royal Python. Normally, I would have never pet the vile creature, but I remembered, "I am my Mommy." (It's one of Cavett's favorite books and was one of my favorite's growing up. It tells of a role reversal between father-son, mother-daughter and they pretend to be the other.) I told myself I had to be the grown-up and pet the snake, if Cavett was going to do the same.


Afterward, we headed to Remoulade's for a catfish basket lunch. Cavett walked almost the entire way there and back--maybe a mile and a half all total! I'm so proud of him being a big boy and such a helper! Good times were had and I have gotten my fill of the French Quarter for a year now.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Flying with kids in tow


Today we (both little ones and I) flew to New Orleans to stay with my sister, Karen and her family until Friday. Stephen has, of course gone to Las Vegas for the week. I was a bit nervous about the prospect, but more afraid of getting cabin fever by staying home. I must say though, it went well and it is good to see my sister and how much William has grown in just a month!


We arrived at the parking lot in plenty of time. The bus driver was helpful at attending to our luggage and car seats and stroller and backpacks. Upon arriving at the airport, Cavett was extremely helpful in wearing his backpack and pulling his own suitcase. However, it was quite a scary senario when his suitcase was placed on the conveyor belt and not seen again until we got to baggage claim. Throughout the entire trip it was, "where is my suitcase, mommy?"


After passing through security, we made three passes on the people mover. Quite a fun activity for a 3 year old. Once we arrived at the gate Kendrick fell asleep and Cavett watched a movie. The flight was on time, even early. Both kids were happy and enjoyed our time in the air. The best part was take off. Cavett wanted to pat and say "blast off" just like they do in Little Einsteins. The look on his face when we finally got in the air was priceless. Even though he has been on a plane at least 4 times, this was the first time he really knew what was going on.


Upon a safe landing, we found the suitcases that were "missing" and found KK too. The majority of the rest of the afternoon was spent on a trampoline and swingset in a neighbors backyard. And to listen to Cavett's prayers tonight, I think that spending time with KK in the back yard was the best part. And you know, I think he has it right. Relationships far out-weigh events and experiences. Thanks for the reminder, son.

video

Monday, April 21, 2008

Friday, April 18, 2008

Expelled - An inspirational disappointment


Today is my day off. It's great to think of it that way, but Jennifer never has a day off.... hmmmm. Well that is a blog for another day. Today after working out and helping with the morning routine of getting kids ready and Cavett to school, we went to the movies. We saw Ben Stein's flick, Expelled. It was a very good movie! From my title you might ask then why was it disappointing... Well, I wanted more "ammunition" to begin discussions.




I've been toying with this idea lately that the reason Christianity is not spreading is because we are timid in sharing with others.... duh, no surprise there. But we why are we timid. I think it is because we don't have enough knowledge to support our beliefs when we are truly challenged with some hard questions. Like, how can the Earth be millions of years old like I was taught in school, but it doesn't seem like it when reading the Bible? or What happened to the dinosaurs? Oh, I think we can discuss our faith, but it sure would be nice if there were more support. That's where the movie steps in. It was great in exposing the supression of scientists who believe in Intellegent Design, but it didn't pose any of the questions or problems with evolution or the proofs of creation. There was no support or facts.




This is about the society's suppression of scientists and science that supports Intellegent Design. There is truly a wall that blocks the spread of knowledge and won't even allow questions to be asked. Well through a little chain of people (Jennifer, Candace, Jack, John Harrigan) I've also found some great work by Walt Brown in the Science of Creation. As Scientists, they will never prove creation, as there is a need for faith. I mean really, how can we apply our earthly science to the One who created the world itself!!! Scientists will always struggle with this, because if something is true, then it needs to be provable. It's basically comes to a point if you believe in Creation that we say... "I don't know, but God does". Walt Brown does have some very valid theories about our earth's past that directly support what our Christian education taught us. There is volumes of information there. I encourage you to read and learn. Ask questions and seek the answers.




So, I'm inspired by the movie, inspired to seek more knowledge.




Stephen

Thursday, April 17, 2008

What's a Mom to do?

We went back to the strawberry farm today to pick strawberries for the baby shower on Saturday. This time our friends, Brenda and Isabela went with us. It was a good time with perfect weather conditions. We even had a picnic afterwards, that's when the trouble began.


Last night was choir practice, so we didn't get the kids to bed until just before 10:30 p.m. Then, Kendrick woke up at 6:30 a.m. and Cavett at 7. This is highly unusual, especially for the morning after choir practice. So, by noon, Cavett was being bossy with Isabela and grouchy as well as I had very little patience. (Not one of my proudest moments for Brenda to see. No good parenting here.) During our picnic, I was struggling to get Cavett to hold still and eat his sandwich. I had forgotten to cut it into 4 pieces, so he was having a difficult time and couldn't decide on how to hold it--in the bag, out of the bag. Eventually I had to tear it apart. As I was feeding Kendrick during the ordeal and trying to carry on an adult conversation, Cavett had slipped off and was trying to undo his pants. He needed to pee. Seeing no bathroom nearby and being in the middle of feeding Kendrick, I just let him drop his drawers and go. To top it off, not only did he drop them, he took them completely off. Afterwards, he said he wanted to poop too, but he really didn't need to. I had to nip that in the bud. I think it was just that he was outside and different. All you can do is just have to laugh in this situation. Guess he didn't need his privacy today!


We barely made it home before Cavett crashed. We had to count all the flags and cranes that we could see as well as ask him for directions to keep him awake. All is quiet now with both kids asleep. I better get a shower while I can!


Credit goes to Brenda for having quick camera reflexes!

Chef Jennifer chez nous



Lately, I have been doing nothing, but cooking. Stephen is following the P90X diet which is low carb/low fat/high protien for the first month. We have found some fantastic recipes from the accompanying cookbook including a sauce for grilled chicken that we have had on 3 occasions now. We just can't get enough of it! (Recipe below.)
I cooked 3 of my famous pecan pies this week for a shower for Anna and Mark on Saturday.

Also, Kendrick is really into eating baby food now. He has tried various fruits and we are starting to venture into vegetables that aren't as sweet. I can't seem to get the spoon to his mouth fast enough somtimes. As you may know, I made Cavett's baby food, so of course I am doing the same for Kendrick. It is really pretty easy. In some cases, just mash and feed, in others, boil or steam and blend. It's so much cheaper and you really know what you are feeding them. It also freezes well in ice cube trays for longer storage. Pictured are his latest ventures (top then bottom from left to right): Pear, Carrot, Pea, Plum, Apple, Sweet Potato, Blueberry, Cantaloupe. He also likes mixing the fruit in various combinations.


Honey-Chili Sauce

1/4 c. shallots, chopped

2/3 c. honey

1/4 c. sherry vinegar

1 t. chili powder

1/4 t. cumin

1 and 1/2 c. chicken broth

1 T. arrowroot (for thickening)

salt and pepper to taste
1 T. cilantro
3 T. chopped toasted pecans

Saute shallots until tender with cooking spray in a pan on medium-high heat.

Add honey and vinegar. Stir in chili powder, cumin, and 1 and 1/4 c. of the broth. Reserve last 1/4 c. of broth. Bring to a boil and reduce by half.

With last 1/4 c. of broth and dissolve arrowroot powder. Add to sauce and stir on low heat until thicker.

Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in cilantro. Garnish with pecans.


Great over grilled chicken and probably some fish too!


Anybody else have a fantastic recipe that you'd like to share?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Privacy


This morning I decided to let Cavett choose between playing with his trains upstairs or reading books downstairs while I took a shower. Neither of these options worked. He wanted to either take a shower with me or at least be in the bathroom with me. For about 9 months now, he has known about his "privacy" when going to the bathroom. It's time he learned about others privacy.


When he was a baby, he played on the floor of our bathroom or got in the shower with me. The past 2 years, he either did the same or more often was given the opportunity to watch his favorite TV show, The Little Einsteins. Today, I decided that he did not need the TV to babysit. He needed to play on his own. Tears fell. Hugs were given. I reassured him that I still love him, but that I needed some private time. My heart was broken. He just wanted to be with me. This may be a tougher lesson than I thought without the help of Leo and June, but it is one he needs to learn.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Self-Portraits



Cavett decided to color today. Just within the past few days his coloring has changed. What was random scribbles went from straight lines and circles to self-portraits. He isn't into the faces so much as he is about the neck, arms, hands, legs, socks and shoes. As he draws each part, he names it out loud. He is also interested in naming the colors. Yes, he has known the obvious colors since he could speak, but I'm talking colors like magenta and teal.


I was beginning to wonder if he would ever be interested in drawing. Usually, he makes one mark and is done. Finally, we have reached another milestone.

Laundry



On Saturdays when Stephen works, it's our time to get household chores accomplished with no errands to run or places to go. Today the task was folding the mountainous basket of laundry. Cavett likes to help. And by help, I really mean it. He sorts the clothes into piles for each person. It's fun to ask him if what is obviously Dad's pants go into Kendrick's pile. Cavett is also good at matching socks and is trying to learn how to fold them together. As you can see one person in our house goes through many more clothes than the rest of us. Or maybe it's just that his clothes are bigger. Hmm...... Afterward, Cavett gave Kendrick a ride in the basket. Such fun.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Yo, ho, ho!!!!


What is a pirate's favorite letter?


This was the joke we taught Cavett this week as it was pirate week at his school. Today they dressed up complete with tatoos and rings, found a map, and followed the arrows to his "treasure box"--a shoe box with his name in gold glitter. Pretty cute, matey!


By the way, the pirate's favorite letter is Rrrrrr!


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thursdays


On Thursdays the maid comes to clean the house. I don't like being here, because Cavett tends to pull everything out and make a mess getting in the way. Then there is the whole issue of wet tile floors vs. carpeted areas. How do you traverse my house in this manner? Most of the time I teach SongPlay at church so that we are out of the way. But we are on break for a couple of weeks. So, after we helped her do the beds, we got out of the house. Normally, I find something fun for us to do that doesn't cost too much (zoo, picking strawberries, Bounce U). But today I decided to brave errand running.


Typically, I avoid running errands with 2 kids at all cost. I think I just wanted to see if I could do it. We had a well thought out list of exact things/places to do. First get gas (I nearly had a heart attack at the final price), then the Dry Cleaner--pick-up and drop-off went well. Always helps that they have a bowl of candy. Cavett got an uneventful haircut at a new kid's salon, SnipIts. Next we returned a pair of shoes that I decided against at Ann Taylor Loft and then to return an outfit for Kendrick at Marshall's (I got the wrong size.) All this time Cavett is being really good and is carrying the small bags.


Now, let me stop our procession for a moment and remind you that all these places are not together. Each time it is-- in the car-buckle up, stop car-unbuckle, traverse the parking lot--in the store-out of the store--cross parking lot and repeat. First off, what a sad world that we can't leave our children in the car while we run into the dry cleaners any more. That kind of trip takes seconds to accomplish and you can usually see them from inside the store. But, these days you can get arrested for doing such. Second, we did it "old school"--I never pulled out a stroller or sling.


As I was walking out of Marshall's holding Cavett's hand with Kendrick in the other arm, I thought of my mother. She must have looked like this. I don't remember her ever wearing a sling, a Baby Bjorn and only in malls, I think, did she ever take the umbrella stroller. No huge montrous pram for her. She carried us and held our hand. This led to the other thought--"I am really connected to these kids. They are depending on me and God is depending on me to take care of them and in raising them." Having more physical touch than pushing them around is such a better feeling. Yes, it is harder, and they like to go astray as Cavett did in Macy's as we looked for a "picture outfit" for Kendrick. But, I liken it to Jesus being the good Shepherd. If one gets lost, he goes looking for us. No, Cavett didn't get lost per se, but he does like to hide in the racks of clothes, just as we all did growing up.


It's comforting to be able to have a glimpse or a tiny feeling of what God must feel about us.


"The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them and they follow him because they know his voice." John 10:3-4
"If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won't he leave the 99 others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lonst until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders." Luke 15:3-5


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Core Retreat '08




We spent this past weekend with some really "quality" friends. (Long story--ask Brenda, maybe she'll blog about it.) We took Brenda, Sammy, their kids-Isabela and Crystal, and Anna and "Crazy" Mark to Stephen's parents house in Grand Saline. The original idea was for the girl's to do First Monday Trade Days in Canton.


We left Houston Thursday night and after meeting up at a Chick-Fil-A in Conroe, we headed on up. The drive was without a hitch. When we arrived it was quite humid and there was some lightning. We slept with the windows and doors open until 3 am when we had a full blown storm with tons of rain. This was good news for the boys, as the following morning the they went down to Neil Lake for some muddy Jeep riding while the girls plus Kendrick went to Canton for First Monday Trade Days. We ate lunch at the corner cafe at the downtown square and then proceeded to walk the grounds for quite some time. There were a few purchases made including 3 purses, home decor stuff and some jewelry, but nothing major. Just good girl time.


Friday night we went to the local Mexican restaurant, Papadale's to celebrate Anna's birthday. After waiting outside in the cold for 45 minutes we were finally able to get a table, somewhat together. You'd think for a town of 3,000, it wouldn't be so busy. Food was ok, but the memorable moment was Sammy calling the waitress "sweetie". It was just odd--had to be there. At home we had birthday cake with sliding icing (from the drive up) and sang to the birthday girl.


Saturday had to have been the best of all. Fishing in the morning, a BBQ picnic lunch, picking flowers in the meadow, shooting guns at the range by the lake while the girls sipped ice tea under the trees and 2 kids napped, mudding in the Pug and the Jeep with the kids at Neil lake and to top it off--crawfish for dinner! As you can see by the pictures, the weather on Saturday was GORGEOUS and everything was so green and beautiful.


I don't think I could pick a better way to spend a spring weekend-visiting with family and friends in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Thanks Grandmama and Grandaddy for letting us share your house and land with our friends. And, thanks to the Alexanders and Falcones for being BFF!!!!! Love you all.


P.S.- All the pictures we took are now posted at our photo gallery on our website. I didn't do so good at taking many this weekend, but the others have some good ones I hope to get copies of. Hint, hint. ;)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Fangs



This week Kendrick has gotten more teeth in. As you may know, he got the bottom two all at once. Now the top two are in and they aren't the middle two! He has fangs. It's pretty funny looking, but it is normal. I remember my sister Karen's teeth coming in that way.


He has started making some really funny faces too as he feels these new teeth with his lips. The two centrals are in the process of errupting and should be here by next week. So, this stage won't last for long.


He has definitely got the crawling action down, but can't decide on the army, bear or regular crawl. Two nights ago he even pulled up on the bathtub faucet. He's growing up as they do, all too fast.


We are now off to Grand Saline for the weekend, with the "Core"--Brenda, Isabela, Crystal, Sammy, Anna, and Crazy Mark!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Scary Stuff


I have a million things I need ot be doing right now while Cavett is at school on his long day and Kendrick is napping, but this is weighing heavily on me.


Every now and then on days when Stephen is late getting home or the afternoon is just dragging on, I will turn on Oprah and see if it interests me. The past couple of times, I have caught the tail end of the show and have seen a promo for her "book of the month"--A New Earth. It didn't really say much and I hadn't had the time to check in to it. But, with that name and having been studying John Harrigan's teachings on the true Renewed Earth, I was curious.


My curiosity was stopped dead in its tracks this morning when I received and email with a website link attached. This is a YouTube clip of Oprah discussing her book club book with the author and with viewers. She totally denies that Jesus Christ is the one and only way to recieve Eternal Salvation. It literally gave me the scary kind of goosebumps and shakes! She has lost it!

Add that to the fact that she is "in bed" with Obama and we could have a potentially dangerous leader in the highest ranking position in our country.


People need to wake up and read the real book of Eternity--the Bible!


"For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths." 2 Timothy 4:3-4


"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father, but by me." John 14:6
And by the way, no more Oprah watching in this house!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Strawberries




Today we made the trek to Alvin (just south of Houston) to pick strawberries. Last year Cavett and I picked blueberries and had a marvelous time, although he ate more than he picked. In fact he didn't put any in his bucket. This year was different. Although he had enough to have stained hands and clothes, he picked his fair share. In an hour we had about 16 pounds of strawberries!


These aren't your average grocery store berries either. As a kid I loved strawberries--strawberry ice cream, strawberries and sugar, on cereal, etc. Somewhere along the way, I became disenchanted due to the lack of juicy, red sweetness lacking in the supermarket. You know the ones, where you bite into it and the middle is completely white and fairly bitter. Very dissappointing, but not these.


After we returned home, both kids enjoyed the "fruits" of our labor. Cavett had 2 huge bowls full and Kendrick sucked on one till it was mush and he was a mess. It was a good time and we may even go back. Can't wait to pick some blueberries soon too!


You may ask how are we going to eat 16 pounds of berries so quickly. We are feezing several pounds as Cavett loves to drink smoothies and then we will take the remainder to Grand Saline this weekend to share with Grandmama, Grandaddy and our friends.
P.S.--All March pictures are updated on our website.