Thursday, July 30, 2009

Udate on Complaining

I have to share with those who read my previous post about Avery's struggle with complaining. On the way home from Grandma Ginny's house (the day in which on the way to Grandma's house she said, "this is breaking my life"), she started to complain and I reminded her, yet again, that complaining is not allowed. Instead, we started singing the song "Rejoice in the Lord Always", taken from Philippians 4:4. She sang it the whole way home.

Yesterday we went to the coast for a day trip with all of our family who are in town visiting (from San Diego and Chicago). It was just the four of us in the car on the way over and Avery said to her daddy, "Daddy, do you want to know the lesson I learned?" Of course he did! She explained, "Not to complain! Last night in the car, Mommy reminded me not to complain and I didn't the whole way home!" We were shocked at the statement. I explained to her that instead of complaining, she sang God's Word about rejoicing and He gave her a joyful heart. It's hard to complain while you're rejoicing in the Lord! The four of us had a wonderful day at the beach and I give the credit to the Lord - placing in us a heart of rejoicing. It's amazing what God is able to do in our lives when we let Him!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What else are kids for?

What else are kids for, other than showing us our own blaring imperfections? Ok, I can think of a few other uses for my children, but this seems to be a big one that I keep coming back to. If I had never had children, I have a feeling I'd still be thinking more highly of myself, however disillusioned those thoughts would be. I read somewhere once, for example, parenting had turned a woman into a controlling person. The author suggested that parenting hadn't "turned" her into a controlling person, but simply brought to light what already existed.

My oldest, precious daughter seems to have a problem with being content lately. We have had numerous conversations about what the Bible says about complaining and arguing. Philippians 2:14 says, "Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may be blameless and pure children of God." In the car on the way to Grandma's house, Avery was very tired yesterday. However, all she had to do is sit in her seat and play her Leapster. She whined and complained that it was taking so long to get there and seemed utterly miserable. The best quote to share with you was when she said, "This is breaking my life!" That's my expressive, passionate, verbal child for you...

As I read in Colossians this morning, I was reminded that I've been sounding a lot like my five year-old - only my whining as been directed to the Lord. As I heard myself pray, I realized that my prayer could have been reworded into Avery's phrase - "this is breaking my life"! How great is God's patience to hear my whining and complaining prayers and still listen! How wonderful are His mercies to continue to remind me, patiently teach me, and lovingly grow me. Colossians 1:11, after the verses before talk of increasing in knowledge of God and walking in manner worthy of Him, says "strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy;..." What a reminder that His "glorious power" is what strengthens me to be joyfully patient! Lord, forgive me for complaining. Renew a right spirit in me and let me allow your glorious power to strengthen me today.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Camping in the Backyard

Our good friends, Jennifer and Jonathan, asked us to go camping with them this summer. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a farewell event, since they are moving out of the state in just a few days! As it turned out, everyone else in Oregon had planned to camp, too, so there was no sites available. We made the most of the weekend and decided to camp in our backyard! Jen and Jon even pitched their tent and we all slept in the backyard. We had such a good time! In the morning, we got up and went hiking at Silver Creek Falls after breakfast.

This is one of my favorite camping traditions - Jiffy Pop over the fire.
Jonathan is so great with the girls. They immediately took to both Jennifer and Jonathan and talk about them all of the time. Allie's always looking for a welcome lap to sit in.

This is one of the falls to see at Silver Creek Falls. It's so beautiful!

I know this looks terrible! Allie just can't seem to stay out of trouble! I don't know how many times she biffed it near the water. This time Jennifer had to wring out Allie's skirt. Poor kid!
Jennifer and Raleigh are pals...We're so sad to be saying goodbye to our friends! They are so great with our kids and have been such a blessing to get to know. They have so much to offer and I know they'll make wonderful friends wherever they go, but I'm sad to lose them. Hopefully we'll get to stay in touch and visit someday!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Grocery Store Fiasco

Why do I care what strangers think? How is it that I can love my kids so passionately, yet get so ANGRY at them???? I took Avery to ballet today, while Allie played with her cousin, Roderick. Afterwards, we rested and played with our cousins for a little bit and then headed to the grocery store. Disaster!!!!! I can't remember a worse trip to the store with those two kids. Now that I look back at it, I can't put my finger on everything that got me riled at them - probably because the incidents were too numerous to count. It was one of those trips when you know all the grown-ups watching feel sorry for you - that does nothing for my pride. I'm trying all my tactics - "do you think God would be happy with your behavior right now?" and, "before you do something, think about if you're allowed to do it or not". The latter phrase was uttered just before Allie went RUNNING far away from the register where I had half of my items already on the conveyor belt and the lady behind me was so interested to see how I was going to handle it. So, I (after I had chased Allie down) gathered both the girls and hugged them, needing to remind myself how much I love them.

What is it about being a mother that makes me think I need to be in control of their behavior at every moment? Am I allowed to ignore any bad behavior, or do I need to be super-training-discipline mom 24/7? Obviously, I need to be able to take my children to the store and have them listen to my voice and obey my words. There have been so many times that I've felt defeated as a mom. I start to sense my disillusionment that some other mom seems to have figured out how to train all the "naughtiness" out of her children. When I come to the Lord, I'm reminded that He's given me everything I need for life and godliness; His strength is made perfect in my weakness (lots of opportunities for that!); and that there is no temptation such that is common to man that He has not provided a way out (including my struggles with impatience, selfishness, and dare I say, anger?). Oh - and that His mercies are new every morning - great is His faithfulness!

But I can still count the minutes until two little munchkins will be sleeping peacefully in their beds and I will be able to catch my breath. Oh - and I ate a Twix bar on my way home from the grocery store! :)

County Fair

My good friend, Emily, and I took our kids to the Marion County Fair recently. Our main goal was to see the wiener dog races, since we both own Dachshunds. We had so much fun! This is Brynn, Blake, Avery, and Allie on a fire truck.Watching a magic show. It reminded me of one of Avery's regular prayers, "Thank you, Lord, that magic isn't real." She liked it, though! My angels in a police car - bit of a scary thought!Emily and I, both being very cheap people, refused to buy tickets for a ride. However, a very nice woman walked up to us and gave us just enough tickets for all the kids to have one ride! They picked the blue airplanes.Blake and Avery are such good friends! Emily and I are thinking we're going to have plenty of material if we ever have the need to put together a wedding slide show for the two of them! Boy, would I have some cute grandkids!Avery loves the smell of the petting zoo...Waiting for the wiener dog races to start.Get along, little doggies! This was really fun. Next year we'll bring Scooby and Raleigh.What a blessing to have such good friends!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sleep Study Update

A few friends have asked for an update, so I thought I'd better make a note here on my blog about the results of my study. I went up to see the neurologist as a follow-up appointment two weeks after my study. As he came in, he proclaimed, "Well, I guess we can determine that you're the worst sleeper in the world!" He went on to say that he just chuckled to himself as he read all the paperwork on my study. I, being good natured, also saw the humor in it and laughed along with him. It truly was a terrible study! Then he said what I thought he'd say: we were able to rule out sleep apnea and therefore I probably don't need another overnight study done. However, he wants me to try the daytime sleep study (multiple sleep latency test) again. I shared my apprehension that it would do much good, but was willing to try again. He assured me that he's not going to leave me out to dry if they aren't able to determine anything. I feel pretty well taken care of and comfortable that something will eventually get resolved!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Fourth of July

I love July 4th! It really is my favorite holiday. I think that's because I love summer and having a fun holiday right in the middle of it all. I love long, relaxing summer days full of good food and friends and family. This year I started a new tradition: running in the Stayton Fourth of July races. Anna and I decided we weren't quite ready for the 10k, but the only other option was a 3k, which is a shorter run than either of us do anymore. But we decided to just see how fast we could run 1.8 miles. We shocked ourselves! Rich had decided that I should try to run it in under 17 1/2 minutes. The day of the race, being the ornery husband that he is, he said he expected me to get first place in my age group and run it in under 16 minutes! Well, I'll be darned if I didn't do it!!! My official time was 15:50, but I figure I can shave off at least 5 seconds for the time it took me to actually get to the start line once they started the timer. I really made myself proud, but the best part is how much I impressed my husband! He had just told the girls that it would be a couple more minutes before I got to the finish line, when there I came running around the corner! Pretty cool... This is the Steiner and Rowzee kids celebrating the Fourth by cheering for their moms.
Anna and me waiting for the race to start.We let Avery, Josiah, and Micah have their own little race. No, Anna and I didn't start our race like that! Maybe I'll try it next time... So, I don't know how many years we've celebrated the Fourth with our very good friends, the Libbys, but we're going on at least 5, I'd say. We barbecue pizzas, hang out, make homemade ice cream, and all watch the fireworks together. This year we got out the slip and slide. Afterwards we read the warnings: no kids under 5 and there was a weight limit of something like 60 lbs. We were in major violation, since Allie's only 3 and Rich and Russ couldn't just sit and watch! This is Avery telling Aunt Connie about having gone down the big water slide at swimming lessons all by herself.
Hailey and Avery sunbathing.I know, Ethan is so old!!! Can't believe he's almost 8! What a sweet, loving, amazing kid! I couldn't be prouder if I had raised him myself!Allie loves Uncle Russell. This is one of the several cuddle sessions she had with him. I know what you're thinking, and my answer is: I have no idea how I'm going to break her of sucking her fingers!
Lord, let there be many July Fourths ahead just like this one!

Anniversary Celebration

So Rich had a wonderful getaway planned for our 9th anniversary. We started by having lunch at a very fancy golf course called The Reserve. He's golfed with a friend there before and had been wanting to take me there for lunch sometime. It took a while to get there, but it was worth it! It was a beautiful day and so peaceful - not typical for my lunchtime with the girls! I could have spent the whole afternoon there.
We checked into our hotel and then walked around town for a while. We had eaten a really late lunch, so we just decided to skip dinner and go straight to desert! We walked all the way to the Pearl District of Portland from our hotel. Rich knew it would be quite a walk, but it ended up being over 20 blocks, mainly uphill! I definitely felt that I had the freedom to order anything off that menu! We went to a popular desert spot, Papa Haydn.

We had breakfast and coffee at the nearby Starbucks at Pioneer Courthouse Square. I love it there!!The hotel we stayed at is called The Nines. It's in a historic building that's recently been remodeled into a swanky, artistic hotel. The bottom floors are Macy's and the top ones belong to the hotel. Kind of cool! This is a view of our hotel from the Starbucks we were at. I had a wonderful time with Rich! As I said in my last post, time together is so important. Since we went over a week ago, I have hardly seen him! It is so hard to get time alone, but when we make the time, it's so great! We have so much fun together. As we sat at Starbucks, we decided we'd try to do a similar trip next year, too. Can't wait!