Monday, March 29, 2010


Every Sunday, our family gathers at my in laws' house for dinner. There are usually 10 adults, 5 children and 4 babies.

My mother in law prepares everything and has it timed perfectly to all be hot and ready within a half an hour after the last "Amen" is said. Its a pretty amazing feat she under takes every week!

Yesterday, we had roast beef with about 8 side dishes. I got up to take these pictures during the frenzy of passing dishes and everyone getting their plate ready.

Typically, dessert is the responsibility of one of us "girls" (my two sisters in law and I) but since we had three weeks back to back of birthdays, and well... we just got lazy, we had no dessert yesterday. Somehow we survived.

Here are the three babies who sit at the table: (One baby is only 3 months old and he sleeps during dinner!)

My nephew Eli:

My nephew, Gunner (he looks like he could be Eden's twin, huh?)

And Eden, with her mouth full of food:

After we "girls" do the dishes and clean up (which let me tell you, takes a while!), Seth and I took our girls to a local flower shop which has an open house on Palm Sunday. They had an Easter Bunny to greet kids and give them a little craft project to take home, and these cute little ducklings. There was an elaborate pool and slide for the ducklings but apparently, they just wanted to cuddle and nap. I can relate.

In our evening service yesterday, a sweet lady got baptized and joined membership. She is such a warm person and I'm so happy to have her at our church!
We had a great Sunday! How about you?


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Unrealistic expectations

Do you ever have unrealistic expectations for yourself, or your husband or your children?

My hand is raised! Both hands are raised! I look like I'm in a Sure deodorant commercial. (Remember those?)

The husband issue I'm not really struggling with these days. Seth goes so far above and beyond in just about every area that I can just take the overflowing garbage out myself. Really, I'm just counting down the days until my children are old enough to do it for me.

But myself, and the girls are a different story. We have been struggling to have more peace than turbulence in our days. I thought that it was due to Seth being away from home for a solid week. But even with his return, they have not shed their horns or forsaken their plans for world dominance. Granted, his is very busy and they typically only see him at meal times. He is coming home past their bedtime and leaving well before they get up in the morning. But such is life. He is not spending 18 months in Afghanistan so there is really nothing to complain about.

I really have strived to not be a mommy who needed daddy around in order to have obedient children. I really really did not want that to be the case. But... I think it is. =(

In the past couple of weeks, I have become frustrated with myself and even with the girls. Pin pointing the exact reason for the abundance of whining and defiance is hard to do. Well, other than just blaming Eve and her dumb choice to eat the fruit. But that poor ol' gal gets blamed enough. If she hadn't, I probably would have anyway.

My only consolation is that it is Biblical that children inherit their sin nature through their father. At least, I heard a preacher say that once and I wrote in down in Bible and clung to it for dear life.

Not really.

Have I been consistent? Check.
Have I been crystal clear about the expectations? Check.
Have I rewarded good behavior with praise? Yes, but there is always room for more praise.

I've really been evaluating what I am missing. One thing is for sure: they are bored.

Baby in my belly=tired Kayte=no crafts and games and activities planned=bored kids=naughty kids

So basically, my plan is to blame every single bad thing in my life for the next 7 months on the fact that I am pregnant, tired and I want some cheese cake.

I have been asking for cheese cake for weeks now. And no one has produced one. This is a problem.

Seriously, there are two things that I have determined are not right these days:

1. A lack of cheerfulness.

Have I mentioned that I am pregnant? And tired? ;) Tired women are not generally known for their cheerfulness. At least not THIS pregnant, tired woman.

This article from No Greater Joy has been on my heart for a couple of months now... because I have known all along that I was not as cheerful as my family needed me to be. But knowing what you need to change and actually changing it are two very different things.

2. Unrealistic expectations.

I don't want to say that I am lowing my standards because obeying my voice is not negotiable. But acknowledging the fact that sometimes, 3 yr. olds want help doing things that we know that are very capable of doing on their own. Sometimes, a 22 months old is not going to pick up unless I hand her each toy and clap and cheer after every single deposit into the toy bin. Sometimes, kids just don't eat when and what you want them to. Sometimes, they don't sleep when you want them to. Sometimes, things that need to get done, need to be put on hold because the kids just can't handle one more stop at a store. Sometimes, little ones run around and get loud in places we would rather they stood quietly.

Their parents are sinners. So why is it any surprise when the children are?

My priority these days is going to be finding the joy in every day again. Thriving in these long days with the girls all to myself instead of surviving. The theme of my friend, Amy's blog is "Daily Pleasures". Looking for the beauty and wonder and joy in every ordinary, work filled day. So maybe I will change the name of my blog to "Yada Daily Yada Pleasures Yada". Or maybe not. Amy might sue me for copy right infringement.

My practical to do list:

• Stop blogging as soon as this post is done and rest for a half an hour.

• Plan an Easter craft for the girls to do next week.

• Bundle up and take the girls to the park one afternoon next week.

• Make healthy snacks for myself and the girls ahead of time. I think we have all been suffering from low blood sugar.

• Plan a menu of strictly easy, but "real food" dinners next week.

• Pack one box a day every day.

•Don't sweat the small stuff.

•Stop before saying a rebuke and think about the fact that they are 22 months and 3 years old, and decide whether to continue or not.

• On purpose, look for something beautiful, funny or enjoyable in every day.

Hope you are finding joy in every day!


Friday, March 26, 2010

You know you are pregnant when...

... it takes you three times to get the spelling of "pregnant" correct.

... you cry while reading "Sleeping Beauty" to your little girl. I tell ya, that part when evil Maleficent puts a curse on Aurora just got to me! And then when the King and Queen had to let the three good fairies take their little baby to live far away from them, not to see her again for 16 years! OH!!!!!! I had to stop there.

... you just don't quite feel like yourself. That is me, big time. I think I'm typically a fairly energetic person. I'm not the pink bunny walking around beating a drum but I almost always feel like getting up and getting ready and am always itching to get out and do something; go somewhere. Accomplish something. Being behind in housework in an exception not the rule. But these days.... that is not the case, unfortunately. I look at items scattered about in my house and instead of getting up to put them away, I think I better make a mental note where that is... and where that is.

I took me about 3 days to muster up the endurance to change my sheets.

I just have absolutely no energy at all. To even return a simple phone call. To go the store and pick up a couple of things. To make pancakes for dinner.

Nope, its just not there.

But even while I am as lethargic as I think I have ever been in my life, I must admit that this pregnancy may actually be my easiest to date. Shhhh.... don't tell anyone... but....

do I dare say it? Could it even be true?

I'm not feeling too nauseated this week.

Hallelujah!!! And I don't say that jokingly; I really do feel so grateful to the Lord to not be crippled with nausea at every moment. It's a real blessing.

Who knows if this is for keeps... all I know is that with every other pregnancy, I was very very nauseated, throwing up all day, for a good 13 weeks. Even after the first trimester ended, the throwing up stopped but the nausea did not. I feel sick until the pregnancy ended.

So to not be sick and it's only 10 weeks!!! Wowsers.

I am tired, but grateful to not be ill. I have a yucky cold and coughing sometimes equals gaging, which does make me nauseated. But I think once this cold is gone, my tummy will be 100%.



Wednesday, March 24, 2010

We have only begun to fight!

So maybe that title is a bit melodramatic. But I didn't know what else to say.

Here is what is going on today at The Great Remodel:

The men folk spent time planning and thinking and re-working old plumbing to make things neat and tidy on the house's "intestines"... apparently all very important stuff. Then they went to work tearing the place apart. Seth is having way too much fun with this demolition!

That fancy little tool he is welding is pretty nifty.

Ahhhh... don't you just want to lay back and soak in that tub!?
Here is my mother in law painting the ceiling in what I am calling the "Baby Room"... whoever the baby at the moment is, this will be their room. So Eden at first, then our new little one.

Let me just take this moment to tell you that I have very awesome in laws. When other women are busy polishing the silver for the in laws coming over, I get the paint supplies and drop clothes out for my in laws. I am always overflowing with hair brained ideas about things to do at church or, as is the case lately, at the house, and my mother in law is always ready to back me up. "Oh yeah! Let's do that!" and unless it's totally ridiculous (which has happened) my father in law will usually go along with my mother in law's enthusiasm. It's a system that has been in effect for almost 6 yrs.

And of course, the girls are all too eager to help. Madison is completely devastated that she can not help paint the house, since she, as she keeps reminding me, is a very good painter. And give her a piece of construction paper and finger paints, and she surely is a very talented little artist. But latex paint on walls? Not quite ready for that!

And now dear friends, I shall nap.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A tough talk

This afternoon, the girls and I made a run through the McD's drive through... because if the McDs employees don't see me every day, they get concerned about my welfare and file a missing person's report.

Okay not really. Actually, I've been eating very healthy and light. Not because of super strong will power or anything like that... veggies and lean foods are really what has been sounding the most appetizing. Of all the foods on earth, SALAD is what I crave all the time. Today's swing through the drive through was for a much needed drink after working at the "new" house.

As the person working the window handed me my drink, Maddie, ever taking the world around her in, asked very innocently, "Is that a boy or a girl?"

Terrified that the person may hear Maddie, I very quickly rolled my window up and sped away! They were pretty busy so I am almost certain the person was too distracted to hear Maddie's question.

And while my mind raced for the best answer to give my 3 yr. old about what the world would call "gender confusion", she asked again.

"Mom, was that a boy or a girl?"

Oh dear, I thought. When the nurses at the hospital 3 and a half years ago handed me my beautiful baby girl, they told me how to clean her cord stump. They told me about baths, and nail trims, and nursing, and colic, and shaken baby syndrome, and swaddling. They never told me anything about how to answer this particular question.

But it had to be answered. And it had to be answered by me. And it had to be answered right there in the car.

"Sweet heart, I'm not really sure. But if we ever don't know if a person is a boy or a girl, we should never ask in front of them because it could hurt their feelings. Okay?"

"Okay. But was it a boy or a girl?"

"I think it was a girl who wanted to look like a boy. But I'm not sure."

"So it was a boy?" Maddie asked, clearly not understanding.

By now, I am wondering how in depth I need to explain this topic at this point. I certainly do not want to confuse her further. My main concern was really that she develop the right attitude.... yes, I absolutely want my children to understand that boys are supposed to be boys and girls are supposed to be girls. But what had me feeling at a loss for the right words was that I really truly do not want her to see people who choose to do things that we know are not what God wants as gross or less than us or not worthy of being treated politely. What I really want to avoid is creating a little snob who tells adults about all the things they are doing that are contrary to the Bible.

Sin is sin to God, right? And though it is true that certain sins are more likely to turn my stomach than others, I have to remind myslef how God feels about my stubbornness. He grouped it together with idol worship:

I Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.

And that is just naming one specific sin. I love that old quote, "People are not bad, they are broken". Is it theologically correct? Maybe not; we really are all bad. But in the way we look at one another, I want to choose to see people are broken and not bad.

"So it was a boy?" Maddie had last asked.

"No. I'm pretty sure it was a girl, but she wanted to look and act like a boy. That is sad. I feel sad for her."

"Why is that sad? Maybe she likes being a boy." Maddie said.

"It's sad because God made her a girl, but she is not happy to be a girl. I am so glad I am a girl. God wanted me to be a girl and I would never want to be a boy or look like a boy or act like a boy. God made Daddy a boy... now he is a man. He would never ever want to be a girl!!! God wanted you and Eden to be girls, and that's what you are! It's great to be a girl! I am happy with how God made me!"

As I said that last sentence, I thought of all the times I have been hung up over some physical feature about myself that I didn't like. *sigh* The girls need a better example than that!

Maybe I should have said more... or maybe less. I would love to hear input from more experienced Moms. How would you have handled this?

Time will tell how much of our conversation sunk in, but Maddie seemed satisfied with that answer. As we drove home, I thought about the fact that a generation ago, this conversation would probably never have needed to take place. And now, not only is the confusion seen in every place and on every TV channel, but my remarks here could even be seen as "wrong" by half of America. Even so, at one time in America, a large portion of the main stream population thought that owning a slave was perfectly acceptable. There were probably people during that dark time in American history who wondered if the American people would ever wake up to how evil that was, and change course. And thankfully, eventually, they did. So when I feel discouraged about how acceptable abortion and other moral atrocities are in our country, I have hope that we can indeed turn the tide because in at least that one area, we did it in the past. Whatever may be happening on Capitol Hill these days, I am not ready to give up on America.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Let the work begin!!!

In case some of my blogger friends did not know, my husband is an assistant pastor. And at our church, the pastor and assistant pastor live in parsonages. And today.....

Today, the church closed on a "new" parsonage for our family to reside in.


These pictures were taken a few weeks ago. I took some more detailed shots today but unfortunately left my camera at the house!!! But since I actually have the energy and time to blog at the moment, I'll go ahead and share what I have. As we remodel and changes are made, I'll show you before and after pictures. Right now, though... the "before"s.

It's a cute little house. I think it's about 1200 sq. feet. Our first home was literally about 400 sq. feet. You may think I'm exaggerating but I'm not. But as happy little newly weds with no possessions AT ALL... we were completely happy there.

But we are looking forward to having more space for our growing family.

So here we go... in random order, with random people in the pictures, the interior of the house:

Dinning room (plus in laws and children):

Largest bedroom:

Hallway, looking into the living room... note the linen closet. On my the things I shall store there!!

Second largest room, complete with hideous paint (anyone else suddenly thinking of Pepto Bismo?) There is third room which is a ghastly purple color right now. I must not have gotten a picture of that yet! And trust me, your life is not complete until you see this neon purple. It may induce a seizure so I may not post it out of concern for your safety.

The bathroom:
We plan to knock out a wall and expand the bathroom into what is currently a coat closet. If there are any singles girls reading this, one of the criteria you should look for in a man is basic plumbing and carpentry skills. I'm joking... but not really. I'm so blessed to have a husband who can literally do it all. His dad helps us a lot too.

The living room... plus a nice real estate agent.
And I took those drapes down today. Blah.

Kitchen again. We've got big plans for improvement in here too.

The basement: It was partially finished but the floor and ceiling have been removed. (??) But the nice looking panel wall remains. So some day.... maybe we'll do some remodeling down here too.

And an extra wonderful feature is a basement office for my hubby to get his studying done in peace and quiet! This is the only room that is all set and ready to go!

We did some cleaning and paint prep work today. The next few weeks we will be busy painting every nook and cranny and ripping out the bathroom, redoing floors, re-shingling the roof and somewhere in there I will pack and take care of my children and grow a human being in my tummy. At any other time, I would all over this big project... I probably would already be packed by now or at least be so hyper organized that packing would take very little time. But I have had zero energy in the past few weeks so I feel way behind. Even still, I have this assurance inside me that is saying "It'll all get done, Kayte. Somehow, eventually, it's all going to be finished."
Selecting paint colors does have me a bit concerned though. I need input from others!! Maybe I can figure out a way to show you my considerations and you can help me!!

Maddie and Eden love playing around the empty house. They "helped" wash walls today. Eden was completely soaked. The concept of wringing out her clothe just wasn't getting though! Oh well....


Saturday, March 20, 2010

He's Baaa-Ack!!!

My Beloved is home! He arrived home yesterday evening and I am SOOOOOO glad to have him home.

I missed him like a man lost at sea misses land.

I missed him like a college freshman misses Mama's home cooking.

I missed him like an unprepared camper misses toilet paper.

I'm such a sentimental fool, aren't I?

Seth is, as you would know if you saw the GORGEOUS bouquet of red roses he sent me while he was gone. They are the most fragrant flowers I have ever received! Their aroma welcomes me every time I walk in the door.

The girls were ecstatic to run and jump into Daddy's arms. He is such an involved and engaged Dad that his presence is so badly missed when he is gone. I'm so thankful for a husband who sees parenting as a two person job.

Seth is my daily reminder of how God is so so good to me!!!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Survival Mode

That's what I am in!

I am, for all practical purposes, a single parent this week and as is the case whenever Daddy isn't around, the girls' behavior goes hay wire. I'm not sure why this phenomenon happens, but it is so apparent and drastic that I barely recognized them, or myself! It's puzzling because I think I am actually the stricter of the two parents in the McCoy house. Not MUCH stricter but I'm just with them more and therefore do most of the enforcing of the law.

So my motto these past few days has been "I do not negotiate with terrorists". If there is whining, disobedience, or heaven help us, an all out tantrum, consequences are swift and severe and all privileges and rewards denied. They have the resilience of Al Quada so there has not been a complete surrender but I do believe that I have more ammo in my artillery than they do.

Victory is eminent.

Now that I have sounded like the world's meanest mommy, I'll share some glimmer of cuteness that my little rebels have exhibited in the past few days.

As Maddie zipped up her pink, and very girly sweater, she said, "When I put this one, I am a MAN!!!" ("Man" was said with much gusto.)

Today I took the girls to browse at a maternity shop. While driving away, Maddie said, "I can't wait to have a baby in my belly when I'm a Mama!"

Eden has learned a new phrase: "Don't want to, Mom". Wait... that isn't cute at all, really. It pertains more to the rebellion. Well, I guess I'll just share more of Maddie's sayings.

While being tucked in for bed, I hear Maddie ask Seth, "So Dad, how do you like being a great Daddy?" Seth chuckled and before he could answer Maddie said to him, "And how do you think Mom likes being a great Mommy?"

So even with their recent boycott of obeying Mom, I think I'll still keep them. And at the absolute next opportunity, I am leaving them with Seth for hours and hours while I sit at Barnes and Nobles and drink coffee and read uninterrupted. And then I will miss them and come home to very happy girls who needed some Daddy time.

I should probably fill Seth in on my brilliant plan.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Flowers from my Beloved

Seth surprised me last week with a bouquet of colorful flowers for no real reason at all, other than the fact that he is wonderful.

This big yellow Gerber daisy is my favorite:
They are not as fresh but still adorning my dinning room table. As reminder each time I walk by that I am extremely blessed to have such a great man to call my own.
It's also so nice to have their vibrant colors reminding me that spring really will come.
Purdy, ain't they? ;)


Friday, March 12, 2010

Busy Day

Am I really sitting down right now? Really?

*sigh* Oh yeah.

Today was a pretty busy day. Well... as "busy" as I do these days! So I guess if I ventured outside of my house for something other than church or the grocery store, I'm considering it busy. I'm existing lately as an infant. I like to eat every three hours and nap as much as possible in between. If only Maddie and Eden would get on board with this new routine that I'm trying to initiate!!

We are approaching the closing date of the "new" parsonage that our family will be living in soon. This entire process had taken a complete year; which is fine really but just in case you ever encounter a real estate term called a "short sale", do not think that the "short" is referring to time!

Things are moving along now and we've spent all day running errands pertaining to our impending relocation. I've arrived at the conclusion that by the time all is said and done, between the purchase price, lawyers fees, closing costs and remodeling, this parsonage will cost the church approximately 675 trillion dollars.

That might be a slight exaggeration. The final numbers are still to be determined.

To be perfectly honest, the entire parsonage concept is somewhat awkward for me. What I would prefer to do is to work for the church for free and live off of a trust fund established by wealthy deceased relatives.

But I don't have any rich relatives. And neither does Seth, as far as I know.

Doesn't it seem that just about everyone has at least one wealthy Uncle Larry somewhere in their family? Not us though! And it also seems that everyone has one unexplainable weird Uncle Fred somewhere in the family tree, too. I personally have like 7 weird Uncle Freds in my family but not one rich Uncle Larry.

You would think that by now President Obama would have created a solution to this obvious injustice. Maybe similar to the "Cash for Clunkers" plan, we could trade in relatives in a "Cash for Crazies" program.

In case you are concerned that I may be considering trading you in, Tara, rest at ease. You are too good of a cook to loose. Suzanne, however, has not brought Sunday dessert in some time now so she better watch her Ps and Qs.

Can I blame pregnancy hormones for everything I just typed?


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A walk in the light

We've been blessed with a few days of wonderful sunshine and mild temperatures here in Upstate NY, which by the way, despite what your map and atlas may tell you, is located directly between Iceland and Antarctica.

We still needed coats but the fresh air and sunshine were so refreshing. A verse I came across in my devotions this morning say it so well:

"Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun:"
Eccl. 11:7

Maddie is a speed demon on her tricycle. Eden had to endure being on a "leash".

Eden's expression here cracks me up. She didn't really want to pose for pictures.

She would rather have been making discoveries!

Look Mom! A Rock!!!

Let's just all say a big "AHHHHHHHHH!" right here!

Then we headed home for lunch: leftover veggie soup I made for dinner last night.

I love soup. I love making it and I love eating it. For some reason Seth does not appreciate when I make a huge crock of soup and serve it for lunch and dinner for 4 days straight. He also didn't get it when I once served chocolate chip cookies for dinner. He's weird, right?
But Seth did really like this soup because I have not made soup in months. The great thing about soup is you just throw in whatever you've got and like. I did something slightly different this time. I used sirloin steak, cut up into chunks. I think ground beef is great too but sirloin was actually cheaper this week. After browning the chunks of steak, I used some beef broth (actually I just had bouillon and water) to scrape all the brown gunk (a.k.a. flavor) from the pan and threw that into my crock pot with potatoes, carrots, onions, a can of diced tomatoes, corn, and the steak. I flavored with minced garlic, a few bay leaves, salt and pepper, and parsley. I would have also included celery but I guess my celery had been in the fridge a while because it was as limp as cooked spaghetti! Eww! The house wife around here can be a real slacker sometimes!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I am a boring person

That's how I feel. At least lately!

Since starting my blog several months ago, I have never felt at a loss for what to write about. Whether it was always interesting for others, I can not say (and highly doubt) but nonetheless, I always have had lots to say and was merely lacking the time to get it all out.

But now... with "Pregnancy Brain" already taking its toll, I feel like I have absolutely nothing at all which to share with you. Unless you would like to hear the details of changing pee pee laden crib sheets or the oh so exciting trip to WalMart I took today...

Any takers?

I didn't think so!

Not to say things have been BAD around here. Other than feeling nauseated and just being tired, everything is fine. Mundane, yes but that is okay. But it doesn't make for an exhilarating blog post. Maybe I'll start writing fictional posts.

Yes, that's it. I'll tell you about my year of touring the country with the circus as a bearded woman.

Or maybe I'll just wait for something interesting to actually happen in real life to tell you about. In the meantime, I will continue using the girls' nap time to sleep on the couch and then going to bed at 9pm each night.

So until you hear from me again, just know that I am happily changing lots of bedding, curling up the couch with the girls for lots of kiddie movies and Dr. Seuss books and allowing Seth to make as many trips to fast food drive-thrus as he offers. ☺


Friday, March 5, 2010

Dear WInter,

Dear Winter,

You and I both know that we've had a long turbulent relationship. Let's just be honest: I don't really like you and you don't really like me. It's not me; it's you.

But putting aside our personal differences, for the sake of my children I must ask you to pack your bags and leave us. We've tried our best to be good hosts. But we've tolerated all we can take. You have worn your welcome out to the point that you are not invited back next year. But knowing you as I do, you will come even without our extended invitation.

When I went to change Eden for bed tonight, before my hands had even reached her, she started exclaiming "Cold hands!! Cold hands!! Mama (has) cold hands!!"

And that's when I knew, dear Winter: It's time for us to part ways.

I look at my bright lavender spring jacket with longing. And I gaze upon my worn out winter boots with disdain. I want to wear different clothes. I want to wear flip flops!!! I want to put sun screen on my face because I actually need it, not merely out of wishful thinking.

We drive by the park with wistful sad faces. Is there any sight more depressing than a playground covered in snow?

So please, my petulant enemy of Winter! Resign your position and retire to the Arctic Circle.

Sincerely and imploringly,

The Mother with Cold Hands