Friday, October 31, 2008

Weekly Challenges Recap

If you are just now joining my blog, I will explain the weekly challenges. Over the past eight weeks, I posted a weekly challenge for myself and my readers in order to help us grow as Christians, friends, and as individuals. Below are each of them:

WC #1 – Chasing Freedom
WC #2 –Not So Casual Words
WC #3 – To Procrastinate or Not to Procrastinate. I’ll decide tomorrow.
WC #4 – Stop Complaining and Shine Like the Stars
WC#5 – Leave Impressions Not Dents
WC #6 – Slow Down and See the Roses
WC #7 – Become a Dropout
WC #8 – The Great Depression or Great Dependency

I am still trying to accomplish these challenges daily. There is no finish line, but there are realistic goals with these challenges. I will never be perfect, but I will strive for perfection, without guilt for my imperfections. I hope that makes sense.

I don’t expect anyone else to be perfect either. Our flaws so often remind us we are only human and should not try to fool the world into thinking life is always perfect. I think we set such unrealistic expectations in our lives because we think others are living up to those expectations daily without any trouble. If we were all more honest with each other and a little more transparent, pressures would be lifted and burdens would be shared. So, I guess I do have one more challenge for you and myself: Stop the show and just be real, open, and human for the world to see. Don’t air out all your dirty laundry, but don’t hang only the best stuff for others to see. Many of us may be surprised to see how many others are facing the same trials, hurts, and concerns as we are right now in our lives.

I will not be posting any more weekly challenges for now. It’s your turn! Start your own Weekly Challenge series. Remember to make it personal to your life. Leave me a comment that will link me to your weekly challenge that you have posted on your blog. I love seeing the world through others’ eyes. Thanks for everyone leaving me comments on my previous challenges. I love reading them and rereading them. It is so encouraging to know that all my thinking and pondering has influenced a few of you out there.

Happy Halloween!

Here are a few fun pics for you to enjoy of Rowe's first Halloween. Lee is not fond of the holiday but we have come to a compromise that we are still tweaking.

We went to a costume party earlier this month with our Sunday School friends and their children. I had trouble deciding what we would wear. I couldn't be a witch because that would make Rowe a son of a witch. Then I thought I could be a buck and Lee could be a hunter but he didn't want me to wear the "mount me" sign nor would he wear the "I like big bucks" sign. He thought that it was inappropriate or something, but it would only be dirty in the minds of the dirty minded. Anyway, we did go as a buck and hunter, but no signs. Rowe was the Hulk, and no, there was no padding in the costume. That is all Rowe in there. I thought he would make a really cute and cuddly lion or monkey, but I couldn't pass up the Hulk costume for my little giant. What do you think; was it a good choice?

Today at school was "Say Boo to Drugs Day" in celebration of Red Ribbon Week. Students and teachers were encouraged to wear costumes. I didn't wear a costume, but I did wear a bright, purple wig. I wish pink or purple hair was in style. I loved it and so did the kids! Rowe was the only one a little unsure about it. Purple is totally my color.

Below are pictures of my brother dressed as Hannibal Lecter and his wife, Jenny as the Joker. Off all the things to dress up as, these two good looking people chose to be not so pretty characters. They do look pretty awesome though.

I hope everyone had a safe and happy week. Enjoy the pictures!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Overdue Pics from Lee's Surprise Party

Here are the few pictures I took at Lee's surprise party a month ago. It was a perfect night. As you can see, I did not get any good ones of the two of us together or of Lee by himself. If you have any, please email them to me. Thanks.

October Birthdays

October is filled with birthdays of those we care so much about. January must have been a good month, or no one wanted to get out into the cold.

Happy Birthday Shout Outs for this month:

2nd - Laurel Jones
3rd - David Dees
7th - Lee
13th - Dad and Christi Whitten
17th - Amy Cummins
24th - Lacey Lochala
26th - Angie Dees
29th - Mom
30th - Dalton Caston

I love October. I can't believe it is almost over! Lee and I went on our first date six years ago this past weekend. Time flies too fast!!! Have a happy rest of October.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

To My Dearest and Favorite Rowe,

Each morning when I look at you sleeping, I thank God for the innocence and peace I see in your face. I thank Him from the depths of my being for having another day with you.
Each day when I feed you, I thank God for the endless blessings He has given your dad and I through His gift of you.
When I kiss your sweet cheeks I praise God for the miracle of putting so much love and joy in such a small package. What a juicy little package you are.
When I feel your tight grip around my neck, I long for it to last just a little or a lot longer. There is no greater hug than those from tiny arms.
Each time I play silly games with you I am reminded of how childlike God calls us all to be when coming to Him. You are already an example to us.
Each time I get lost in your intoxicating blue eyes, I know that God is a creative God that shares beauty with us in so many ways.
Night after Night as we lay you down to sleep, we muster up all our might to pull ourselves away from your crib and let you sleep. And once again we pray for one more day with you.
Day after Day we will love you no matter what!

So if you wake up one day and look in the mirror unsatisfied with what you see, know that God created you exactly the way He wanted, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

I love you son,
Mama (hopefully you will learn to call me that soon, instead of dada. haha)

Rowe Ramblings

All You Can Eat Buffet
Lee and I took Rowe with us out to lunch on Saturday between Lee's hunts. Rowe loves restaurants and any other public places. He loves to study new people and new places, especially when he has a mouth full of puffs to keep him occupied. His puffs are like my chocolate - It is a must everyday.
After lunch, I took Rowe window shopping with me at the mall. I wanted to stroll him and pick up a couple small things. As we walked into the large shoe store, I could see it in his eyes - a heavenly choir singing as he was awe struck by the endless buffet of shoes. It was one of those moments where I am strolling down the baby isle at the grocerty store and he gets really excited to see all the baby food, and it is as if he has lost his life long love as we stroll away.
He would rather chew a shoe than suck on a pacifier any day! I used to have a bad habit of leaving my shoes wherever I took them off, and it drove Lee crazy. Well, I have about been broken of that habit in order to keep teeth marks off of my shoes.
People at the restaurant and mall stopped to see the baby and I know the question is coming, "How old is he?" I tell them nine months, and I always get the same response as if they had all rehearsed it together, "Whoa! He's a big boy." Poor child is going to have a complex, but I sure do like him meaty. You can't see the fasteners on his diaper when he is sitting up, because his belly hangs over it. It is great!

Baby Love

He is quite the affectionate baby. He loves to hug so tightly, and give the occasional open mouth kiss on the face. The only problem now is that his kisses end with teeth marks on my face. He bit my face during prayer Friday night before dinner with my Sunday School class, and I nearly shouted a sinful word right then. A couple of weeks ago, Lee and I were lying in the bed with Rowe between us playing. Lee was hugging him and kissing him and Rowe was returning the love. Lee sweetly asked Rowe to give Mama lovin'. Rowe looked at me a second, and then slapped me across the face. He has got an arm! The sound could have been heard across our house, that is of course if Lee's laughter wasn't drowning it out. I felt so loved and appreciated.

Limited Vocabulary
Rowe uses two words quite regularly - dada and more. Of course it is his version of the word more. I look him so lovingly in the eyes and say "mama" and gleefully responds, "dada." Lee has also been trying to teach him to say mama with no success. Maybe I should wear a name tag or something in order for him to get the picture.

Handy Rowe
Rowe has always had the habit of twisting his hands and wrists as if cranking up a motorcycle since he was born. He does this when he is excited or hungry. I always said it was so cute, but if he is still doing this when he starts Kindergarten, I'm afraid he'll be labeled a spaz. It really is cute to see.

Army Crawl
Rowe was crawling across the floor at a friends house the other night and my friend looked at me perplexed and asked, "Is that how he crawls!" My response, "Yep, don't all babies crawl like that?" She laughed and said, "No, they crawl like this," and she got on the floor and modeled the way a baby crawls. It was quite entertaining. Rowe uses his elbows in an army position with his belly dragging the floor. He knows how to crawl like others, but unless the floor is really cold, he doesn't bother lifting his ton of tummy. He is extremely fast, so we ordered a "cage" for our living room that is large enough for us all to play in it without having to go chase him. I'll post pictures when it comes in. I need to post a video of him crawling too for your entertainment.

He is also pulling up on everything, and has become a pro at falling down. He still laughs at most everything we say or do, unless we are putting eardrops in his ears. He is very ticklish especially under his arms and above his knees. He grins so big after every sneeze and after every time we startle him by saying boo or jumping out in front of him unexpectedly. He also loves bath time, but hates getting dried off afterwards. He sings himself to sleep and wakes up every morning at the same time which has gotten earlier over the last month (5:30). Lee still gets him ready each morning, and loves every second of it. Somehow, I still find a way to make us all late.

I guess that is enough rambling about my little buddy, but I felt the need to catch you up on all that has been going on in his big world.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Weekly Challenge #8 - The Great Depression or Great Dependency

This morning as I was thinking about the current economic state of our nation and world, I thought about what all I learned about the Great Depression in school. It made me sad that job layoffs, budget cuts, and roller coaster of uncertainty had reared its ugly head again so close to home. We have family members that are unsure if they will still have a job at the end of year. We aren't even sure how to set our budget with so many prices on the rise. (I am encouraged but confused when reading all of the different Money Saving Moms blogs. I am an idiot when it comes to coupons and getting the best deals on things. Any and all help is appreciated. I just need to know how to get started.)

Then, while listening to the sprinkles of rain dropping on my window, it was as if God whispered, "This is no Great Depression, but a Great Dependency." Wow, what little faith I have. What foolish questions I have asked that He has already answered. "And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" Philippians 4:19.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[?

"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34

Who can argue with that?

What does the testing of my faith show? I am depending on God or myself?

James 1:2-4
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (NASB)

My challenge this week is to acknowledge my complete Dependency on God, and accept that His will is better than my own plans. Let me know if you can relate or if I am the only one feeling a little too independent at times.

Monday, October 13, 2008

9 Month Pictures Adventure

I just wanted to share with all of you who think our little Rowe Bug is the happiest, smiliest baby on the block, that this is not always the case. He has been battling his first ear infections over the last two weeks, which has altered our child's personality to the point of baby bipolaritus. He is smiling one minute, and fussing the next. It is quite entertaining other than the fact I know that he is hurting.

We took him to have his nine month pictures taken at Country Pumpkins last Monday, and it was quite the adventure. His stomach had been very upset since he was on his antibiotics for the infection, so I didn't plan to dress him until we arrived at the pumpkin patch. When we got there, he had made quite a nice present that was shared with his car seat, my hand, and his clothes. Lee and I worked together to get him cleaned, happy, and redressed in clean clothes. We also prayed he could make it through his pictures without ruining his cute outfit.

The camera always makes Rowe smile, until now! He did NOT want to smile, laugh, or even pretend to like us! Our sweet photographer, Jolynn Robertson, was so patient and sweet. We only got a handful of smiley pictures, but the ones of him crying were by far the best!!! If ever I am having a bad moment, I can look at these pictures and laugh at his dramatic cry face. It is hilarious! He was not crying because he felt bad, but because we took his little pumpkin squash thing away from him. He threw his first arms flailing, pouty lipped, screaming temper tantrum. Any suggestions on books about disciplining, understanding, or teaching a nine month old, will be appreciated. (Jen, you mentioned a great book on your blog months ago about this, but I can't remember the name of it.) It doesn't matter how many times I have talk with him about why biting is bad, he just doesn't seem to get it. It's like we speak two different languages. Where is the Baby Whisperer when I need him?

We had hoped to get a good family picture to use for our Christmas cards, but he didn't smile in any of the family pictures. So we are going to try again later with a more Christmas-like theme.

I have posted the slideshow at the top of this blog for your entertainment. Feel free to laugh when you feel led. Enjoy!

P.S. Check out Lee! He is such a hottie. He is so humble and embarrassed when I tell him how much I enjoy starring at him (especially when lots of people are around). Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for such a wonderful, loving husband that is so nice to look at!!! I tell him when he makes me mad, "You better be glad you are so good looking, or you wouldn't have much going for you right now!"

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Now that's more like it!

I definitely think he looks more like me! I know it really bothers Lee because he doesn't look more like him. What do you think?

MyHeritage: Family trees - Genealogy - Celebrities - Collage - Morph

Thursday, October 9, 2008

MyHeritage: Family trees - Genealogy - Celebrities - Collage - Morph

Weekly Challenge #7 - Become a Drop Out

The Mommy Race Myth

I have decided that I am dropping out of the Mommy Race. I have high expectations of myself, and have recently come to realize that many of them are unrealistic. I put all this pressure on myself everyday, and then when I have fallen short, I feel like a complete failure. My family, who at the end of the day are who really matters, does not put any pressure on me, but I still buckle under the weight of it all so often. I had an epiphany yesterday. If you have never had one, I suggest you experience at least one in your lifetime. Thanks to some wise people, I realized that I did not sign up for the Mommy Race, and I can drop out at anytime.
I am a mom. I am not perfect. Some days my house is not as clean as yours, but that is okay. Some days you will be earlier to church than me and fully clothed, but I will still worship. Most days, you will not be obsessing near as much as me over the unimportant things (like my weight), but I will continue to try to quit dwelling on these things. There are days that I will fall time and time again, and I won't care if you see me. Thankfully, there is always someone to help me up. I will not compete with you or my mom any longer. I will run without you, and only measure myself to God's word. I will answer only to God and my family. I will quit examining anyone and everyone else, and care more about what I think instead of what I think you think. I quit. I quit. I quit. If your blog is cuter than mine with more pictures, bells, and whistles, I will admire your work, but not put myself down for being a slacker any more. So when you no longer see me in the Mommy Race, just know I'll be playing hide and seek with my son in the laundry confetti around my house. When a wise friend tells me to "share my load with others," I will no longer think about the loads of laundry that need to be folded. I imagine we will be building many forts with those piles in the future anyway.

I truly believe that we moms are putting too much pressure on ourselves to be Super Moms. My mom was and is a Super Mom, and now she is paying for it with her declining health. She is the example of the woman I want to be, but not at the same expense. She is an extraordinary woman, and if you know her, I know you agree. So I have decided to focus on being Rowe's Mom and not worry so much about being Super Mom. All our children need different kinds of moms, so we should not all act, think, or look the same.

Any of you mom's out there that want to join me on this drop out, please let me know. Blog about it, in order to encourage all the other striving Super Moms to chill and enjoy the thrill of motherhood.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Would the Real Rowe Gillis Please Stand Up!

It is amazing how much changes in one week in a nine month old's life. During this past week, Rowe has grown two new teeth (the count is now up to 8), learned to pull up to a standing position, can walk a few steps holding onto furniture, crawls faster than I run, and has eaten nearly an entire ottomon. I am still working on a slideshow of his latest pictures, but the Internet keeps dying. SO FRUSTRATING!!!

Weekly Challenge #6 - Slow Down and See the Roses

I was sitting at my desk on Wednesday thinking about taking time to smell the roses, for that matter, even see the roses. Would a thorn have to jump out and bite before I ever even noticed them? I made a decision then to slow down! As I drove into my carport on Wednesday afternoon after school, there was a beautiful rose bush with about five fully bloomed roses. The roses had apparently bloomed earlier in the week, and this was the first time I noticed them.
I have been convicted lately about taking more time to slow down and enjoy each day with my family. I am not contradicting my previous challenge about not procrastinating and being more productive. Being productive one day may mean something completely different the next. It all goes back to priorities.
I had the best day Thursday with Rowe. I stayed home with him because he was sick, and we had a blast cuddling and playing when he was up to it. That was a very productive day. Yesterday, I went home from school with the stomach virus, so that was definitely not a productive day, but that is okay. I am feeling better now, thankfully. I can not remember ever having the stomach virus before, so I was miserable!!! I didn’t even have morning sickness when I was pregnant.
We fill our schedules with so many “good” things for ourselves and our families, but the best thing for us all is just being together. I want Rowe to be involved in activities as he grows up, but I don’t want him to think he has to stay busy all the time. I want him to value his time at home with the family. I want him to know it is okay to relax, and it is not the same as being lazy.
Believe it or not, Lee is actually trying to slow down some too (except hunting of course). He is trying to be home more and learn to relax! He is the hardest working man I have ever met. He gives 110% to everything he does – work and play. That is part of what makes him such a wonderful husband and dad. I don’t have to tell him what needs to be done in the house or yard, because he has it done before I even noticed it needed to be done. I will keep you updated on his attempt to slow down as well as mine. Any fun suggestions on fun, cheap, and relaxing stay at home dates, I am all ears!!!

So here it goes, I challenge myself and you to spend more evenings at home together as a family this week than evenings apart. Let me know your thoughts.

I love hearing all different views and opinions. These challenges are custom made for my life where I am right now. I don't believe everyone is the same and needs the same challenges and goals. I would love to know the rest of the world's goals. Leave me a comment telling me your goals.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

9 Month Pics of Rowe Bug

Tooth #7 is here and #8 is almost through. He is still sick today, so I am staying home with him. At the moment he doesn't look too sick as he is standing on his knees bouncing up and down singing and babbling. Enjoy the pictures! I will post a slide show of all of his pics over hte last month sometime this week.