Last day of summer


What a summer! It’s been awesome in every way! Teaching allows me to be a stay-at-home-mom a third of the year, and I absolutely love it (and, I love going back to school, too!).  This is the first summer in a long time that I’ve been able to fully enjoy.  I had my glorious summer days in college of teaching English in Thailand, traveling around the southeastern U.S. doing student ministry with an Asbury team at churches and camps, and facilitating mission trips on the Northern Cheyenne reservation in Montana and in a small poverty-stricken town in southwestern Colorado.  Post-college, I spent five summers leading a summer day camp at a Boys and Girls Club (very fun but very stressful and taxing!).  And then the past two summers, I’ve been job-hunting and transitioning to a new job (first at Millcreek and last summer to PCA).  It’s been SO nice not to have the stress of looking for a job! I’ve just been able to ENJOY the summer! So, here’s a little recap.


  • We went to Day Out with Thomas in June with my parents. While the day was out, Carter LOVED getting to “meet” and ride on Thomas!
  • We spent a quick weekend in Cincinnati.  The original plan was to go to the zoo sometime and the children’s museum sometime, so we decided to spend the night and make it into a weekend.  We ended up staying with Gerald and Ann, which was SO great, and it turns out, we didn’t go to the zoo or the children’s museum.  Every activity was tailored around Carter’s interests, so the theme became “Trains and Bridges.”  In the car, he announces every time we go over or under a bridge. “And another bridge. We go under. Here we go. Un-der!”  First, we went to Totter’s Otterville, a place to play in different themed rooms; Carter spent most of his time with the train tables, of course.  Then we walked across the Purple People Bridge, a pedestrian bridge connecting Cincinnati, OH and Newport, KY across the river.  At Gerald and Ann’s, we read train books, and Carter walked over the “bridge”, which was the upstairs hallway overlooking the living room.  In the morning, we went to the “Craigslist Thomas store,” where a man’s garage has become a place to sell used Thomas stuff.  We bought a Toby, Clarabel, Butch, shark car, and bridge.  Then we went to Ikea to spend a gift card I had.  Finally, we went to EnterTRAINment Junction.  I’m SO glad I found this place, because it’s all about trains! It has the world’s largest indoor train display (90 trains!) and a fantastic train area for kids, including a couple little rides.  Carter’s souvenir?  A book called Thomas and the Big, Big Bridge. 🙂
  • Lucas and I lived it up at EDGE Camp while Calvin was with MiPa and Carter was at Camp Mamawpapaw.  Lucas was a counselor for 4th grade boys in the Kilimanjaro village.  Since I was going to have to pump every couple hours, I couldn’t be a counselor, but as rec leader (aka fun-bringer), I got to do all the best parts of being a counselor while taking out my least favorite parts (24/7 with the same kids and the “herding cats” feeling).  I carried around Floyd the Flamingo, hid objects like a gnome and moose that kids could find for prizes, taught/led tons of songs, facilitated low ropes initiatives, led all-camp games (water stations and a scavenger hunt), led craft time, and learned all the kids’ names.  EDGE Camp really is a sweet spot for Lucas and me.
  • We joined Lucas’ parents and brother’s family for a vacation at Lake Cumberland.  We shared a cabin with Dan and Megan (and Abby and Claire) and spent a lot of time over at the “RV bus” with Mamaw and Papaw.  We collected souvenir prizes at bingo night, swam in the indoor pool, played games, took walks, ate yummy meals, visited the Wolf Creek Dam and fish hatchery, and took a boat ride. And, Carter played trains on the floor of the RV (surprise, surprise).
  • We spent a long weekend in Henderson, and I took the boys for a week in New Castle so Lucas could get caught up on magazine stuff.  In NC, I went to two painting classes, we had a picnic with Rachel and Sam Cory, and we  played on lots of playgrounds.


  • The boys and I got into a great routine in June of M- toddler storytime at Eagle Creek library, T- baby storytime at Beaumont library, W- playgroup with Megan and Megan, and Th- Joseph-Beth storytimes.
  • I finished another grad class, copied more of my CDs to the computer (to transfer to my iPod that is currently missing), organized the laundry room, re-purposed our coat closet to be an activity closet, and potty-trained Carter! Those were some of my major goals.  I also started giving guitar lessons to one of my PCA students.
  • I dove headfirst into “activities” for Carter (hence, the activity closet).  After talking with sister Megan about busy bag ideas on Pinterest, I decided to host a busy bag swap!  I enlisted 11 friends to each make 12 busy bags, one for themselves and the rest to share, and then we all met at a park one evening to get 12 unique bags of activities!  For mine, I made my first-ever sewing project (beyond Home Ec) with my sewing machine that I had gotten at Christmas.  I made ABC I-Spy bags.  I did spend a lot of time on Pinterest, but I also spent a lot of time DOING things I saw on Pinterest.
  • We played lots of trains.  It doesn’t matter if Carter is alone or with others, in his room or on the back deck or in the play room making “snow plows”, the boy loves his trains.
  • Calvin has been so sweet — grabbing things, vocalizing, smiling (a lot), and happily joining us for whatever we’re doing.  He’ll be 6 months old tomorrow, so I’ll write more later about him.

That’s just a smattering of what we’ve been up to. Again, SO good. Tomorrow is my first teacher day back at work, and I’m excited to get back into that mode.  This year, Carter will be going with me 3 days a week AND I’ll get to be his teacher since I’m taking on preschool music.  Excited for him to be in “school” (he even had a little supply list) and to spend more time with him in the car (he already talks my ear off).



Potty TRAINed (?)


Well, we’ve finished the 3 day boot camp.  It was not fun in the middle of it, and I was about to quit after 2 days of cleaning up puddles of pee in the bathroom, kitchen, living room, deck (he “made his mark” for sure!).  Part of what was so hard was the intensity of it — watching him every second for signs that he was about to poop or pee, taking him to the bathroom every half hour or so (even when he cried about leaving his toys), sitting and waiting (and reading) every time he was on the potty, cleaning up accident after accident, being stuck in the house…

But the good news is… he’s officially potty-trained!  Here we are, one week later, and he’s only had one “puddle accident” after the first two days, and it was outside.  Occasionally, he gets his undies wet, but for the most part, he makes it to the potty in time.  We’ve even been doing undies when going out and at naptime, and he’s been dry every night the past 4 nights in his pull-ups, so we might be doing undies at night soon, too.  He’s been pooping about every other day, and we can always tell because he needs his privacy and asks us to leave.  While spying on him through the door crack, I saw him get up, go over to get a book, and sit back down to read.  That’s my boy!  A bathroom reader from the beginning!

The hardest part now is when we’re out and about.  I have to constantly be aware of the nearest bathroom and watch him for signs that he has to go.  And, we’re in a quandary because he doesn’t like me holding him up in public restrooms (or outside, for that matter), and I don’t necessarily want to start carting around our potty seat to put on the toilet.  That’s why places like church (with a little potty) and Dan and Megan’s house (with Abby’s potty seat) are the best outings these days.

Yippee!  Hooray for going cold turkey!

(P.S. Just so I remember, my favorite books to check out again from the library are Danny is Done with Diapers: A Potty ABC, The Potty Train, Potty (by the same author as Yummy, Yucky), Potty Superhero, and Big Boy Undies. I also LOVED the Daniel Tiger episode about it. That’s how I subconsciously remind Carter about the potty without nagging him about it; I just sing the little jingle “If you have to go potty, stop, and go right away. Flush and wash and be on your way!”  We don’t always flush when it’s just a couple dribbles, but he does love to sing the song…and get his M&M)

Potty training, here we come!


Today’s the big day (hopefully).

Today we start potty training boot camp!

Three days of Lucas-you-take-the-other-kid, chugging-the-fluids, sitting-on-the-potty-every-20-minutes, wearing-undies-and-no-pants, no-trips-outside-the-house. At least that’s the plan.

The dispenser is full of M&M’s.  Daniel and Prince Wednesday Go to the Potty is on the DVR.  Potty books have been gathered from library branches across Lexington.  Potty seats are ready in both bathrooms.  Thomas undies are washed.  I think I’m as ready as I can be.

I’ve been dreading/looking forward to this day for awhile.  Most of Carter’s two-year-old friends are already potty-trained.  As much as I didn’t want to have to deal with 2 kids in diapers, I realized that I’d rather do that than deal with an infant in diapers and a toddler who has accidents.  Changing diapers seemed easier to control.  And so I put off this day until the summer (as suggested by my OB-GYN, mom of 3 boys).  Once summer came, I put off this day until now, my last full week of vacation.  It’s now or never! (well, not really — as they say, there aren’t many college students walking around in diapers).

Carter hasn’t been super interested; in fact, most of the time he screams “No! I not use the potty!” when I say things like, “This summer, Carter, you’re going to start using the potty!”  We’ve been reading some potty books from the library, though, and he has started to be intrigued. At the end of “Potty Superhero,” it says something like “Soon you’ll use the potty, too, and wear big boy pants like me!”  To which Carter screams, “NO!!!! Yet’s (let’s) read it again!”

He’s also been intrigued by the M&M dispenser that Melissa Tibbs let us borrow.  I let him try one and then told him that he’d get more once he peed in the potty.  One day, Lucas showed Carter how he peed in the potty and then got himself an M&M.  This was very motivating to Carter.  He promptly sat himself on the toilet and pee actually came out! He’s been on the potty several times before and after without anything happening, so that was exciting! I thought that he had made the connection to being able to make himself pee in the potty, but it may have just been a fluke.  Since I don’t remember my own potty training experience and can’t remember what it was like not to be able to pee in the potty, I’m not sure how to help him understand! (hmm…kind of like how it’s hard to help students with something that came easily to me).

Anyway, I’ve been intimidated by the unknown of this whole potty training deal, but today’s the day! We’ll see how it goes! (and I’ll let you know!)

After a long hiatus…


So, the other day I thought that it might be good to do a blog on some of the fun that we’ve been up to this summer. I remember I had secured the handle “Share the Adventure” on WordPress, but I had totally forgotten that I had written 7 posts! Wow! It was a complete surprise (I thought I had written maybe one or two), and I LOVED reading about baby Carter (seems so long ago) especially since baby Calvin is about the age Carter was in my posts. I had been having a hard time remembering what Carter was like when he was this little, so it was fun to reminisce and to compare my two boys.  For instance, they both like shoving their whole fists in their mouths. 🙂

So many things are different from my posts two years ago!

  • (as I mentioned above), we added a new baby in February
  • Carter has learned to crawl, walk, and now talk
  • I’m two jobs removed from my Boys and Girls Club job (now teaching music and technology)
  • I (barely) survived my first year of teaching
  • We bought our first home and love it!
  • I have even less time to paint and create, but I’m still finding time to be crafty!
  • I’m in a different life group.
  • and on and on

Right now, I’m sitting on our couch on a quiet (for now) morning on a rare sleep-in day for the 3 fellas in the house (it’s 8:24 a.m.). I am SO not a morning person, but I’ve found that my days go so much better when I wake up and get myself centered before everyone else wakes up.  So, after I fed Calvin at 6:30, I stayed up (because that’s so much better than waking up to an alarm — I’m an expert at hitting the snooze button).  When I am still drowsy, I get on the computer so that I won’t fall back asleep.  This morning, I got an e-mail about the specials schedule for my school this year which was very different than I had expected, so I’ve been looking that over and e-mailing my principal, and here I am, still on the computer.  This is my one time on the computer today (otherwise I’ll get sucked into Facebook and Pinterest, especially on Lucas’ phone. No smart phone for me — I’d be too addicted!). I say this as if it’s some well-established routine; I’m maybe on Day 4 of this plan. Anyway, since this blog is mostly for me, I can write whatever! And as I was reading old posts, I enjoyed the little day-to-day details that at the time, didn’t seem very interesting.

On the docket today:

-hopefully making an early, quick run to Wal-Mart this morning

-Ethan and Melissa Tibbs are coming over for a play date!

-We’re heading to Evans Orchard for Evan (Bruckman)’s birthday (hence the quick trip to Wal-Mart for a gift!)

-maybe a shower if I’m lucky (good thing I’ve never been much into showering)

-working on my cleaning/organizing projects — our bedroom, the laundry room

-celebrating Lucas’ completion of another issue of his magazine (oh, that’s another new development since two years ago)


I’m surprised that the boys are still sleeping. Lucas was up really late working. Calvin cluster feeds at night and sleeps more during the day. Carter was up late at a swim party for our school (it’s fun to say “our” school — he’s in the 2-year-old program at my school this year).

I guess I’ll end this for now. I really do plan on posting on this more often, but I know many people have said that before (sigh – I’m one of them).

Inspiration Deck Swap!


So, lately, I’ve been into art. I’ll reflect more sometime on my history with art, but for now, I’ll just say that I’m “into art” these days, meaning:

  • I’m creating almost every day (even if it’s as simple as writing the schedule on the board in a funky way for my after school program)
  • I’m learning about art by reading books and blogs.
  • I’m being inspired to create more and more art!

So, the other day when I was “surfing the web” (does anybody actually use that term anymore? Ha!), I came across a blog detailing a mail swap ( In short, participants re-purpose a deck of cards into their own mini artwork complete with some kind of inspirational quote on it. Then, the organizer will create an inspiration deck for each of the participants with 52 others’ artwork! SO cool! I finished my deck a couple weeks ago, and I was a little sad to have to let go of some of the cards, so I took pictures. I might have to do a deck for myself to keep, and I’d also like to find another mail swap that I can join. I’ve loved the process, and I haven’t even received my deck in the mail yet!

Here were some of the cards I made:

Hooray for inspiration!

4 months!


I feel like I have a million ideas of things to blog about, but I never end up sitting down to actually write the posts. I’ve given up trying to blog several times a week, and I figure if nothing else, I can keep a record of Carter’s growth.

Happy 4 month birthday, Carter!

When I talk to my friend Pam, she asks, “What cute thing is Carter doing now?”  I almost always have something new to report. So, here’s an update on Carter as a 4 month old:

  • His laughs, which used to always end in crying, now stand alone as pure laughter!
  • He has successfully found a way to pee through any type of diaper we put him in. This is frustrating because our cloth diapers were working so well, and now all of a sudden, he leaks through both types of cloth diapers we have AND through our stash of disposables. I’m not quite sure yet what the problem is, so I don’t know how to fix it.
  • He is less content in his bouncy seat and swing.
  • He loves to be held (nothing new there!). It’s hard to get anything done, but our baby carriers have come in handy!
  • He’s had his first trip to the library, seen his first train whiz by, touched snow for the first time, and completed his first community service project!
  • He’s constantly making bubbles, but he rarely spits up (thank you, Jesus!).
  • He’s more tolerable of tummy time. It helps when we get down on his level.
  • He smiles A LOT! Yay! We love this and will do anything for a smile!
  • His eating and sleeping habits have been inconsistent lately. We had been giving him 6 ounce bottles at every feeding, but now he doesn’t regularly finish those, so we start with 4 ounces.
  • He just discovered his feet! He can’t quite get them in his mouth yet, but he still grabs onto them. And he shoves his whole fist or several fingers into his mouth.
  • He’s been making this noise that we refer to as “the grandpa moan”. It’s hilarious! I hope we can catch it on video.
  • He got to move up to the “bigger babies” room in KidsQuest Junior (our church’s children’s ministry). It’s weird that he’s not the littlest one anymore. So long, 0-3 month room!


Carter’s 3 month pictures!


Lucas’ parents have a spot in their basement affectionately known as “The Wall”. It’s where there are rows of pictures of their 3 sons at certain increments (3, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24 months). The grandchildren have also been added (Carter is number 4). It was finally time for Carter to make his appearance on The Wall, so, partly because we are creative and partly because we are low on money, we decided to set up our own photo shoot for Carter’s 3 month pictures.

And…it turned out great! I am by no means a professional photographer and I don’t have a fancy camera, but I do have what a lot of professional photographers don’t have — lots and lots of time. For the past two weeks, I’ve had numerous opportunities to take Carter’s pictures in the comfort of our home. If he was fussy, I could wait for a better time. And…unlimited outfit changes! I’ll write more later about some creative ideas from our at-home, unprofessional photo shoot.

Without further ado, here’s…Carter!

What do you think? Do you have a favorite? I have more I’ll show later…

I would feel better if…


Lately, I’ve been experiencing a bit of the blahs. I don’t know what my deal is, but I keep thinking that I’ll feel better if…(fill in the blank), but even when I do those things, I still feel unsettled. Here’s my ever-growing list of things that I think will make me feel better.

  • if I could get more sleep (but then when I do get more sleep, I sleep in and then am rushed getting ready)
  • if I could be early to work (but when I am, I am no more productive than if I arrive right on time)
  • if I could be more productive at work (but even when I am productive, I feel like there are so many MORE fun things to do the next day!)
  • if I could slow down and take a breather during my lunch time (but my brain doesn’t stop, and I become more flustered)
  • if I could spend more time with friends (but when I do, I still feel unaccomplished at the end of the day)

And I realize, like a women’s retreat speaker said years ago, that this could be a sign that I’m “thirsty”. Jesus alone can satisfy this restlessness, this mind-racing, this always-needing-to-do-something-more. And even though it’s hard to find the time to sit down and quiet my mind to BE with Him, it’s what my soul is longing for.

And, with a day off work tomorrow, maybe I’ll be able to do just that!

Carter is 14 weeks old!


14 weeks! Wow!

I had originally wanted to keep track of Carter’s month-by-month process, but at 3 1/2 months, I guess I’m a little behind. Plus, I don’t really know what I should be writing about!

Here’s what Carter’s up to these days…

  • He smiles a lot! As long as he’s not screaming, he’ll usually smile back when we smile at him.
  • He’s getting big! I know I’ll be saying this the next 20+ years, but I’m amazed at how much he is growing, filling out, and becoming heavier!
  • He still loves looking at the walls, lights, and artwork.
  • He likes sitting on my lap while I play the piano. Sometimes, I’ll move his hands to play simple melodies like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. He seems to like this, too, but the best part is when he “sings” along. I know he’s not really singing, but it’s like he’s trying to learn how to sing along.
  • He doesn’t hate tummy time anymore. Let me rephrase that — he doesn’t hate tummy time when Lucas lies on the floor next to him and works with him. He still hates being plopped on the floor most of the time.
  • Lucas and I are super goofy around him. The poor kid has some crazy parents! We routinely make fools of ourselves by making funny faces, making up silly rhymes and songs, dancing around the kitchen…
  • He’s sleeping in the crib! We’ve been switching between the crib and the bassinet/rock and play the past several weeks, but now we’re to the crib every night. He also recently outgrew the miracle blanket that we’ve been swaddling him in since he was born (it’s “one size fits all” up until 14 weeks, and he just turned 14 weeks on Sunday!). Instead of swaddling him, we place him on a blanket and wrap the blanket around his arms and tuck it under him (does that make sense?). Otherwise, he wakes himself up with a swat to the face.

I thought he would look a lot bigger than his picture from last month, but I can’t tell much difference between the pictures.

He sure FEELS bigger than he did a month ago!

Love squeezin’ those cheeks!

Reflecting on Valentine’s Day…


Valentine’s Days of the Past…

One of my first Valentine memories was from second grade. I don’t have many early memories, but I distinctly remember two things from that year. Our class party involved a game where you had to pop a balloon. Inside the balloon was a slip of paper, and you had to do what it said. Someone’s slip of paper said “Kiss someone” (she didn’t do it), and I remember being shocked that that was even an option.  The other memorable part of that party was when a guy in my class named Mark gave me a special present — a plastic heart necklace. He had never expressed any interest in me, so I was surprised to receive the gift from him. Nothing materialized after that — no little childhood romance or anything — but it sure did make me feel special on that day.

Fast forward many moons. I was single for every single Valentine’s Day until I was 26. Was I bitter? Not at all! I’ve always LOVED Valentine’s Day — relationship or not. I would always dress up in a combination of red and pink (sometimes even for the whole WEEK!), and I enjoyed making, signing, giving, and receiving Valentines. In high school, my friend Penny and I decided to celebrate our singleness by eating together at Applebee’s and sharing a yummy blondie brownie. It was a great “tradition” until the next year when she was no longer single. Ah well…

Valentine’s Days of the Present…

Lucas is very thoughtful and romantic, but he prefers to show his love throughout the year and not on some overly-commercialized holiday. This year, things are a little tricky with a 3 month old. Our Valentine’s Day was low-key — our night consisted of our usual routine of dinner and Biggest Loser. Hopefully, we’ll get to have a Valentine’s date soon.  Lucas did give me a very creative and thoughtful gift, though. I had been wanting a simple painting of a shepherd to hang in Carter’s bedroom. Well, Lucas went over the top with this painting:

I love it! And yes, there are 99 sheep (one is lost, just like in the Luke 15 story from the Bible).

Valentine’s Days of the Future…

I look forward to creating fun Valentine traditions for our family. I can’t wait to make the day special for Carter (and our other kids who follow) — including heart-shaped food and fun crafts! I hope Carter enjoys artsy projects. I want our kids to see Valentine’s Day as a Day of Love and not a day to make you feel left out if you don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Hooray for holidays!