The Pumpkin Patch!
Olivia's K3 class visited a local pumpkin patch today. AJ and I chaperoned. I wasn't much of a chaperone, but I sure had a great time with my own kiddos!
My two little pumpkins!
Olivia got a pumpkin because it was included in the cost of the field trip. AJ "got" a pumpkin, but mommy put it back in the field when he forgot all about it. His pumpkin will reappear after mommy goes to Wal-Mart tomorrow.

The Giant Haystack
Had to be there moment: AJ trying to climb the giant hay mountain without touching the hay. He DID NOT like touching the hay.

Taking it all in!

Smile AJ!
Mommy muscling her way into the family photo album.

This picture just makes me smile.


A First. . .

Olivia locked me out of the house this morning. It was THE coldest morning so far this month, and I had to slip outside to check and see if Olivia's brown shoes were in the back of the car. When I scurried back to the door, the dead-bolt was locked! AJ was still asleep, Alex was upstairs shaving, Olivia was fiddling with the deadbolt trying to undo what she did, and I was outside in my big red bathrobe hoping that the morning neighborhood commuters wouldn't notice the barefoot pregnant lady in the big red bathrobe knocking on her own front door. My favorite part of the situation was hearing Olivia's little voice from behind the door asking "Mommy, are you o.k. out there?"


I wish I could have captured AJ's entire toothbrushing routine on video, but this was the last little bit of space left on the camera's memory card. He came up with some pretty interesting toothbrushing maneuvers. Brushing teeth is his only comfort and joy when he is snatched from his beloved bath time.

Yes, we post the good, the bad, and the ugly here at mammamillan! AJ's birthday fell smack dab in the middle of Mission's Conference this year. I planned on making a Lightning McQueen cake for him, had all the stuff that had gradually been purchased week by week using my 40% off coupons at Michaels, but with one look at the clock and one look at the task at hand I decided to switch to plan "common sense"... ye ol' fashioned 8" round with a road and a car! I quickly learned that black frosting is not something you serve or eat 15 minutes before going to church!

Last night, I took the kids to our neighbor's Halloween party. Here are the costumes of the evening. I was a kitty. You know you are 30 weeks and counting when you plan your costume around your favorite brown maternity dress! AJ kept the hat on just to get some candy corn.


Olivia 2008


30 Weeks and Counting!!

I still feel like I've been pregnant forever, but reaching 30 weeks has perked me up a bit. Not too close and not too far. I don't remember Olivia or AJ moving as much as little Clara is moving. Seriously, this child is practicing her back-stroke as I write this.

I've been out of comission for the past few days, so I rediscovered all the afternoon baby shows. Before having my own kids, I watched the show up until it was time to have the baby and then I'd change the channel. It just grossed me out. Now I not only watch the whole show, but I actually talk to the television and sometimes even cry when that baby is born! People do crazier things... I guess. Anyways, the phrase "birth plan" came up in one of the shows this week, and I had to chuckle. I've read about the importance of having a birth plan, I've known people who take the time to write up a birth plan, but a birth plan is sooooo not me. Maybe I should be a little more responsible when it comes to these matters... so for the record, here's the plan.

1. If I go into labor on Dec. 31st, I will be sure to remember my makeup just in case we happen to have the first baby of the year and end up on the Today Show. Though with my luck, the Duggar lady will probably have her 18th on the same day, in which case we'll probably just get an honorable mention.

2. Upon arriving at the hospital, I will request epidural.

3. Don't forget to mention naproxin allergy this time!!

4. Receive epidural and chill out... but accept the fact that we will probably be watching "the game" or "the news" even though I am the one having the baby.

5. Have baby!

There's the plan... of course all is subject to change (heaven forbid an anesthisiologist strike!)which is why I don't write birth plans.


Now that you have seen a glimpse of my life as manifested in the picture below, I might as well go ahead and share with you some recent thoughts that have gone through my head when faced with n*ked babies running around a messy house.

Besides thinking that I really don't know what I'm doing, I also see my great need for patience. Normally, patience makes me think of that deep breath you take to get through an irritating moment, like NOT blowing the horn while you are waiting for that great parking space you COULD turn into if only the clueless driver of the neighboring vehicle would SHUT her door. I'm 29 weeks pregnant with a 2 and 3 year old in tow... I NEED a great parking space =)

In a matter of about 30 seconds, the car door was shut, I got the space, and life moved on with my testimony in tact. Super!

I'm not so concerned about exercising patience for those 30 second irritations that will probably never come up again with people I will never see again. What I'm having a hard time with is patience towards the trials that "return with each returning day" (line from Stepping Heavenward). Toddler eating habits, baths that need to be given and stories that need to be read when I'm ready to collapse, laundry that refuses to put itself away, children who always find SOMETHING to get into or break or jump on when we are visiting in someone's home, feeling limited in my ministry toward others because of this little thing called a language barrier, a 3 year old who insists her PJ's match, sibling rivalry, sibling rivalry, sibling rivalry.

So why have these daily trials reminded me of my need for patience? All of the above simply reveal selfishness in my heart and my lack of faith in God to bring on a harvest of blessings from all the scattered sacrifices sown throughout the day. Life is a process of sowing and reaping. If you don't sow, then you won't reap. If you sow to the flesh, then you reap to the flesh corruption. In this particular season of life I feel like I do alot of sowing, but I'm still seeing dirt. The temptation to think that nothing is happening and nothing is going to happen is always there. That's why I need patience. I need to patiently wait for God's blessing on my work. I need to keep pulling weeds even if it looks like I'm just keeping the dirt looking pretty. I need to water, even though those little chutes rising from the ground don't have a trace of fruit on them. I need to keep working and not neglect my field.

I sure wish I could hand you a warm slice of banana bread along with this post. Sometimes I think that if these issues are close to my heart, they must also be touching the lives of my friends who are in a similar season of life, so I write this to be an encouragement to you as you have been to me through your posts and musings

Romans 5:3
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

Romans 5:4
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

Romans 8:25
But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

Romans 15:4
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Romans 15:5
Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:

2 Corinthians 6:4
But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,

Colossians 1:11
Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

1 Thessalonians 1:3
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

2 Thessalonians 1:4
So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure :

1 Timothy 6:11
But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

Titus 2:2
That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

Hebrews 6:12
That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Hebrews 10:36
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

Hebrews 12:1
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

James 1:3
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

James 1:4
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing .

James 5:7
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold , the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

James 5:10
Take , my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

James 5:11
Behold , we count them happy which endure . Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

2 Peter 1:6
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

Revelation 2:2

I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

Revelation 2:3
And hast borne , and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured , and hast not fainted .

Revelation 2:19
I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.


So, How was YOUR evening?

Looking at the photograph above, what might suggest that mom has completely lost control of the evening? Scattered toys? Cluttered table? N*de 2 year old pushing dump truck through living room? All of the above? Sure, I could have turned around 180 degrees and snapped a shot of the oatmeal cookies cooling on the counter, typed up the recipe and called it a post, but I think that this perspective is so much more interesting!


The Firemen Visit Olivia's Class!

The N. Chas. Fire Dept. visited Olivia's class today. Have you ever been in a room full of 3-4 year olds when the Firemen come to visit? So much fun!
You have your handful of children that are scared and clinging to their teachers. The fire dept. has learned over the years the value of Mr. Fireman NOT entering the room in full fire-fighting gear... unless of course you want a room full of screaming 3 year olds. Instead, they put on the jacket, oxygen tank ("fresh air" backpack), mask, etc. while the kids watched.
Then you always have the child who blurts out: "There was a fire in my house". Then another 10 children chime in "yeah, in my house too... uh huh!"
When Firefighter Bianca asked what they should do if they see matches on the floor, you hear a little voice from the audience pipe up: "DROP AND ROLL". This became the answer-all for every question, except for one...
When FB asked if anyone knew what a smoke detector was, one little boy raised his hand and said enthusiastically... "The firemen BRING their BIG hoses and SPRAY all the FIRE..." This reminded me of some of the political debates I've heard recently. "Senator, how are you going to help seniors in the midst of this economic meltdown". Answer: "We need energy independence..."
3 1/2 is that wonderful age where your kids could care less about you showing up to their special day and taking a gazillion pictures of them. Olivia was so happy to see daddy, mommy, and AJ there!
AJ sat with the big kids for a little bit, but had to leave with daddy when he got too squirmy.
Firefighter Bianca and her puppet (can't remember his name)

Check out those big tires! We took AJ outside to look at the truck and get a few pictures while the big kids were inside meeting the Firemen.

Notice I have NO pictures of Olivia with the firetruck. Well, I ran back to the office to get my purse, and when I returned, the children were taking turns climbing in the fire truck. I looked around for Olivia so I could take her picture, and there she was in her teacher's arms crying her eyes out. What in the world happened? She was fine 10 minutes ago. She wasn't the least bit scared during the assembly. She wasn't asking for me or wondering where I went. I walked her to the car and she said "Hurry mommy, we have to get home before the fire comes! It's going to get in our house!" I don't remember what I told her to calm her down... it sure would be nice to wrap up this post with some really wise motherly counsel I gave at just the right teachable moment, but I probably said something like "don't be scared, a fire isn't going to get in our house... let's go home and eat some lunch". Yep, way to seize the moment mom!!


Today's Life Lesson:

Taking your teacher's Mt. Dew and drinking it behind the bushes is STEALING.


This post is dedicated to all my former teachers, reminding them that little Leah the Entertainer may have finally left the building. . . but the genes live on!
Olivia's K3 Program
(Olivia is front and center with the bobbed hair and jean skirt. You'll notice toward the end she's staring in our direction. That's when she saw daddy handing AJ a sucker).


So. . . who hasn't been 2 days away from pay-day, the debit card is on lock-down, the fridge and pantry are bare bones, COMPANY is coming over, and you would like to serve something a little classier than saltines and grape jelly? I HAVE! Granted, we had just what we needed to feed ourselves and the kiddos, but we were out of nearly everything else. When I found out company was coming over after dinner, I started to think about what little something we could put out for them. The only problem was that everything that came to mind was a no-go because we were out of one or more of the ingredients to make it. We were even out of every possible substitute for the stuff we were missing. Oh well... saltines and grape jelly it is... THEN I came across a hard glob wrapped in aluminum foil. What was this mystery ingredient??

CHOCOLATE COATING! Oh yeah... now to decide what's getting dipped in chocolate and we are in business!
Hmmm. . . where is that hurricane readiness kit? Peanut butter crackers!!
Still not ready...
Never too humble for a little garnish... smash the last package of crackers and sprinkle!


On the way home in the car. . .

. . . Olivia, out of the blue, started praying.

Olivia: Dear Lord, thank you ...

AJ: Dear JeSUS. . .

Olivia: No, AJ I'm praying. Dear Lord, thank you for this beautiful day

AJ: Dear JeSUS. . .

Olivia: NO AJ, I'm going to pray right now! Dear Lord, thank you for this beautiful day. . .

AJ: Dear JeSUS. . .

Olivia: . . .and bless it to our bodies, and thank you for the doctor and the temperature, and please let us have rainbow ice cream when we get home, and bless mommy and daddy, and help me sleep good tonight. . . in Jesus name AMEN! O.k. AJ it's your turn.

AJ: Dear JeSUS. Food. body. AAAAAMEN!

I went to Target today because the laundry detergent I use AND have a coupon for is on sale... adding up to a whopping $2.00 in savings. Yes I was so proud of myself, until I looked down at AJ slurping his $2.00 Icee/popcorn combo. So maybe I just broke even.