Monday, July 13, 2009

It was the weekend before Houston Project and all through the house...

We tried really hard to have a calm, cool and collected weekend so that we'd be ready to do the *Houston Project this week.

On Friday afternoon I ventured to the pool with my two darling angels. It was my first time to take them totally alone without any friends meeting me there. I kept one hand on Annabeth in her float and the other outreached to my little guppy who swam back and forth from me to the steps the whole time. He tends to run away from me in the kiddie area, so I found that staying away from it works better when Annabeth is with us. We ended up leaving after an hour because Jackson didn't want to obey. It always stinks when you have to do something like that, especially when you yourself weren't done having fun. We aren't doing so well with following directions right now and are having to work hard on it.

Friday night we did nothing. Curtis and I hadn't had one night at home together all week, so it was nice.

On Saturday morning we went to Keegan's birthday party at an awesome McDonald's in Spring (Gleannloch Farms area). It was the neatest McDonald's I've ever been in. Last year at Keegan's birthday party I was so miserable with morning sickness and I remember Jackson having a meltdown about not getting to open presents with Keegan. We had to leave early over it. This year, as a three-year-old, he handled the presents just fine. He did talk about his birthday over and over though. Hey...whatever works.

I thought I was going to have something very crazy to blog about but it ended up being fine. Which is preferable! Jackson was at the very top of the three-level playland when he began yelling down at me, "Mommy! Come up here!" I love him so much, but I was not about to climb up there. I noticed that he was doing the I-have-to-potty-dance and hitting the front of his britches with his hands. I immediately started sweating and saying, "Come down right now! Go down the slide and come down!" Did he obey? Yeah right. I think he was freaked out that there wasn't a quick exit. Curtis was in the bathroom changing Annabeth (bonus points for Hubs), so I was left to deal on my own. Basically, I nearly had a panic attack while I envisioned my child soiling the entire play place at my friend's kid's birthday party and being humiliated in front of her friends and family. Luckily, Curtis came back in time and took one for Team Jones. He climbed up there to retrieve our son who, when faced with the potty, suddenly didn't need to go. Seriously? I don't know what all that was about.

Later that afternoon I left Annabeth with Curtis and took Jacks to the pool again. We really needed a little mommy/son date. Somehow our Galveston trip had disturbed our connection. The two of us had a great time swimming. An energetic little boy is not so fun at restaurants but lots of fun at the pool. By the way, I keep hearing mommies talk about how fun the library is, but that honestly sounds like torture to me. Maybe that works with a different kind of kid, but I cannot imagine my Tasmanian angel doing well in there. If you have a very busy and loud three-year-old boy and he can calmly enjoy the library and you think I should try it, let me know.

Curtis spoke to some youth who were in town for the Houston Project from late afternoon until that night, so I got the kids to bed and just vegged. Annabeth had a really hard time going down, which makes me think the whole teething process is starting for her.

On Sunday morning we worked in the preschool department at church. We were with two-year-olds this time. They were not as much work at the 18-month-olds we had last time. (I think that is a really hard age to parent, in case I haven't ever said that before.) We were cracking up because the kids were all over Curtis. We thought maybe they don't have male volunteers in there very often. Just like last time, I wasn't real sure how to play with the little girls at first. What cracks me up is that they all wanted to play with the baby dolls and they held them like they were real. I don't think I ever did that! I had an ET doll that I dragged around by the arm and my Nanny had to sew it back on for me multiple times.

We left when the kids' regular teachers arrived after the first service. They were two beautiful, senior saints. All the children ran up to them and gave them hugs. Curtis was like chopped liver at that point. It was precious to see how the children loved those sweet ladies. Pastor Gregg talked briefly about retirement in his sermon and he said that retirement is a break from daily responsibility and stress, but it is not a break from purpose. He mentioned that our church benefits from countless hours of service from retirees, and I hope that will be me when I'm in my senior years.

After church we drove out to Kelly Village, which is the housing development where we will be serving this week. We got to meet the other volunteers from our church and get the site ready for VBS, women's and youth ministry activities. We also hosted a block party with mimes, bounce houses, snow cones, pizza, games, face painting, and crafts. We were able to let the neighbors know that we would be there in the evenings this week.

Curtis and I were assigned to work the bounce house for little kids. That worked out well since we had Jackson with us and he could just stay in that thing the whole time. Annabeth and I sat in a tiny bit of shade from the bounce house and I tried to keep her happy. She wasn't digging the heat. Another volunteer brought me a cup of snow cone ice without the syrup and I decided to try to spoon it in her mouth. Forget about having everything 100% perfect for her first experience with a spoon and solids. There wasn't a cute highchair, there was no regular camera, much less a video camera. There was just a mama with a red faced, crying, sweaty baby who was desperate to cool her off. Well, she didn't hate it; she actually did pretty well. She spit out about half of each spoonful, but I know she got the rest down. She was quick to let me know when she'd had enough of a big plastic spoon shoved in her mouth, but it definitely helped her cool off.

We left there between 4 and 5 and headed home. We were sweaty and smelly, but glad we went. We'll head back there late this afternoon. For the next few days, Jackson and I will be in the VBS room with 3-5 year-olds and Curtis will be with middle school kids. Tonight Annabeth will be with me - on my person, in fact, in the Baby Bjorn - but hopefully later in the week she'll hang out with my parents.

If we should cross your mind this week, please pray for us. We're so thrilled to get to serve in this way. At the same time, having a nursing baby makes things a little more complicated. I can't wrap my mind around how exactly it's going to work, but I'm trusting God. Please pray that we serve Jesus and serve this community with lots of love and joy. Thank you so, so much! When Curtis and I met as missions interns back in 2000, the Houston Project was what we did all summer. He has been involved through speaking almost every summer, but this is my first time to have a role since we were interns. It feels like coming home again. And with kids!


*The Houston Project is a huge missions event that our church does every July. More than 1,000 adult church members are participating this year. Teams are serving in the evenings at ministry sites all over the inner city. Our church also hosts youth groups throughout the summer (and other times) and they do similar work during the day. If you are interested in bringing your youth to our city, you can get more info at the web site: www.houstonproject.org

**The slideshow of Annabeth and Curtis is finally off the main page of my blog. So if you've been avoiding it because of the loud music, you can come back now. Sorry, y'all!

31 comments:

Lauren said...

1. We served at Kelly Village when we did the Houston Project years ago.
2. Nathan and I both work in the nursery once a month, and those toddlers LOVE Nathan. So funny.
3. Speaking of discipline issues, as I am reading your post, Noah and I are having a standoff. He doesn't get a cookie until he says "please." It's taking a while. . . .

CAROL LIVIN FOR GOD said...

What a blessing to serve I will be in prayer for you all. I think that is awesome that you all can do that. I just saw your mom here in Albuquerque this past weekend awesome awesome event I got a good seat and got to see pretty up close. Anyway may the Lord bless you and Curtis in a mighty way for serving the Lord. Will be praying for the kids as well. Love to you and your family. Love Carol
Albuquerque NM

The Barfuss Family said...

I love that Annabeth had her first snow cone! Make sure she knows it will be SO much better with syrup on it. :)

courtney said...

Moriah will try to logically argue with me when she doesn't want to obey. Try to reason with 3-yr-old logic...

I can remember that I would quite often assume Moriah was getting her teeth when she had difficulty sleeping,etc. She always did that right before she hit a new developmental milestone, and didn't end up cutting her first tooth until just after her first birthday. I was so concerned, b/c I kept seeing pics of Jackson with all his teeth and thinking, "My kid will never be able to chew!"

Wencked said...

Thank you! I now have a new nickname for my son...Tasmanian angel. That is a perfect description. I have what I like to call "high-energy" 3 & 1/2 year old and that is perfect. and I too can't imagine taking him to a library.

HappyascanB said...

My heavens, what a weekend you had! I love that Annabeth enjoyed a sugar-free snow cone! :) The Houston Project sounds AWESOME! Praying God's blessings all over that ministry!!!

HisTreasuredPossession said...

I must give a loud AMEN to the library thoughts regarding boys. My 5 and 3 yo boys like books. But it would be just excruciating (did I spell that right?) to take them for storyhour elsewhere!!

Betsy said...

Avoid the library. It is not fun. No matter what all my friends say. I think they are smoking crack. :)

--Betsy, who has her own almost 3 year old tasmanian devil. A delight. But, one that keeps you on your toes for sure.

Sugar Mommy said...

I will definitely be praying for you this week. What a wonderful opportunity that your church is providing, both for you and those you are serving!

I will pray that all goes smoothly with the logistics of nursing and naps (that is so hard, and I've missed out on some mission stuff because of it, but I do what I can when I can). You'll figure it out.

And I will also pray that those whose lives you touch will be greatly blessed, and come to know and love Jesus through this great work you'll be doing.

I am SO not brave enough to take my kids to the pool with the baby in tow, so I am impressed that you did it. (and kudos for leaving when you had to...so hard when you're going through it, but it'll pay off in the end with great behavior!)

I've started taking mine to our local Y, so that I can put the two little ones in the childcare and spend some worry-free time with my two big kids in the pool. And I do have as much fun as they do. :)

Don't know about your area, but our local library (on Cy-Fair College campus), has a FANTASTIC toddler story time. Miss V is WONDERFUL! She keeps the kids engaged and active. She keeps a perfect balance of sitting and listening with standing and wiggling. Lots of songs, lots of stories, and a craft at the end (which we don't always do...depends on the crowd).

Hopefully, your local library offers something like that. Otherwise, I'm with you on not going to the library with kids.

Jenny said...

Amanda,
I didn't have any boys but I have a daughter that has drove me to tears more time than I can count. If you told her not to do something, such as touch the bowl, she would draw circles right around the bowl as close as possible. And energy like you wouldn't believe.
That said, try the library! They have great kids areas that are 100%cool with kids even when they run, run, knock over stuff and yell.

Katie is now 13, still drives me to tears, still has to much energy, not the best behaved BUT by far out of my 3, the one most active in reaching out through missions etc.

Still loves the library too.

Jenny

Susie from Bienvenue said...

Hang in there! It seems like just yesterday I was where you are now. My how time flys when your having fun. Hehe. My oldest just graduated and my youngest is going into 4th grade. Enjoy every second you can and rest in the middle. Your family seems so sweet. I mean how can it not with a Momma like yours..hehe, love her~

Melissa Stover said...

we are huge fans of the library but i started out with 2 girls so it was startling to me when i took my 3 year old boy and he acted like a tornado in there. loud, running and tossing books off the shelf. it made me so nervous and crazy. i stopped taking him for a while. he's better now that he's 4 1/2 but still, it's hard. boys are different. and i'm still adjusting.

davec777 said...

I had a very loud 3 year old that was shushed by a librarian for disturbing the other patrons; he was not being naughty or disobedient; it was just him being excited to be there. It put me off the library for a while. We have a terrific library now that has the children's section on its own floor. I think he would have been fine there. I would think it depends on the library =) My kids are all good readers now even without weekly library runs as preschoolers! Good luck!

Heather said...

Oh how I relate to you in this post! Connor started swim lessons today and he refused to even get in the water AT ALL. Nice. Also, I am nursing my sweet baby girl and it makes me sweat buckets even THINKING about you and Annabeth outside in that Houston heat. Nursing is challenging, even under normal circumstances!! I will be praying for you this week!

jenmom said...

Don't apologize about the slide show. I was grateful to see it and went to the site and made my own for my blog, which I am just really getting started.
I understand about the 3 year old discipline thing as well. My sweet Bentley and I have some rounds some days too. Hang in there and relish those times when you will call him and he'll answer, " Yes, mother?", like he's 20 something!

KK said...

Praying for your entire family this week. Hope all goes well and praying for all involved with this wonderful project.
Blessings,
Kaye
Matthew 21:22

number17cherrytreelane said...

That was quite a few days!
What a wonderful thing to serve.

Jamie said...

I have a very loud 3 yr old boy and I recommend the library ONLY if they have a really good play section. You can browse books while he plays but don't count on setting down and reading with him at the library. This only applies if he is anything like my 3 year old .

Also, the Houston project sounds awesome!

Tara G. said...

Our boys are close in age. Mine loves the library. I seldom take him, but I found that if I either have a book in mind to check out or the librarian can quickly find one, we can go in and out and it's like a treat. As for story and craft time- um, no, because he is a 3 year old boy and acts like one. We took my mom to the Monterey (CA) airport today and I discovered a beautiful outdoor observation deck with a restaurant (or a place you could totally eat your own lunch) and that is really more our speed for an outing.

MITZI said...

Funny you mentioned the loud music on your blog. It would give me a scare when it would suddenly blast on. :)
Thank you for taking it off. I can turn my speakers back on.

It did speak well of your little one and her daddy.

hilarylarson said...

HI! I rarely comment but wanted to tell you how neat the Hstn Project sounded. My husband has an inner-city ministry in Beaumont (powercastle.org) and this is a great idea!

Btw, love reading your blog and your kiddos are darling! I have a 7, 5 & 2 year old so I can relate!

Hilary:)

shalana said...

About 3 yr. olds and the library...Yes, we go and yes it is (mostly) miserable. But the boys love it. (I have 3 boys & we've been going since the oldest was 2 (he's now 5). Our entire trip lasts about 15 minutes (including if we happen to make it to part of the storytime.) I try to keep my expectations low and leave when things go downhill. Also, our library is ok with a certain amount of kid noise if you go during the kid storytimes. We rarely sit in on storytime (& never last the whole time) but people aren't as bothered to see a bunch of toddlers running around during that time frame. So, depending on what you hope to get out of the library, it may be worth the trip. I'd recommend going during story hour with the goal of making it thruogh one story (5 min.) and then venturing out to pick out some books, DVDs, or books on CD. (I should mention that our library story time is complete with stories, arts & crafts AND singing & we still last about 5-10 minutes.) Another place you may want to try is Barnes & Noble storytime if the library near you is super quiet and not very kid friendly. I was not a fan of the one near Jersey Village back when we lived in Houston. So, picking the right library can also help make your experience a little better. Good luck!

ABL mom of 3 said...

We will pray.

Ann said...

STAY FAR AWAY from the library! I have a 5 1/2 year old who I can FINALLY take to the library for SHORT periods of time. We haven't tried story time, yet. I'm kind of afraid too!
Have fun serving the youth...I'm sure ya'll will do just fine, cuz God is in control!

Heather said...

I have to comment on the Library suggestion. I have a daughter who's almost 7 yrs older than her brothers. I took her to the Library ALL the time! Then, little brother #1 came along, with little brother #2 3 yrs later, and I've NEVER taken the boys to the Library! They're both Tazmanian angels. The oldest brother went to the Library for the first time with his Kindergarten class. So, no, I would NEVER suggest you torture yourself by taking your son! When he's in school, you would probably enjoy taking Annabeth! ;)

Mitzi said...

I have two boys, 17 months apart (6 and 4) and we almost never go to the library. In a real pinch, we will go in to the children's section, grab a handfull of books and come home and just try them out. If I don't like what they say, I just make it up as I go. That is starting not to work, since they are both starting to read, but it worked until now.

My best friend has a son the same age as my oldest and he would go to the library and be content for an hour playing with his trains on the floor while she looked for the perfect book.

EVERY child is different.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

This is so silly, but your comment about parenting 18-month-olds totally validated me today. Teyla passed the 18-month mark last week (working on that post right now), and I'm SO STINKIN' EXHAUSTED at the end of every day. Even my toes hurt.

So it was good to have an external person remind me that this age is just tough. Wonderful and sweet and exciting. But doggone tiring.

katiegfromtennessee said...

Little Momma, the Houston Project sounds like such a great outreach idea. Our youth does stuff like that, so they might be interested. I like that you called Jackson your little guppy:) I prayed for you for the Houston Project! Will be praying:) Your ET doll was hilarious! Your adventures in child-rearing are quite educational. Love it:)

katiegfromtennessee

Allison said...

I'm with you on the library. A friend actually suggested meeting at a bookstore for story time today and I laughed and said NO WAY! While the other kids are sweetly listening, mine are pulling the doorstop off of the wall and into other mischeif.

Cheri-Beri said...

I could have never taken my 3 year old son to the library for more than 10 minutes. Just thinking about what would have happened gives me the chills. And he's 13 now.

Lisa said...

I just love reading your posts about motherhood! I have a spirited four year old (after a non-spirited nine year old) and I have since realized that I cannot compare my family to other families and what works for them. It's just like apples and oranges. But the coolest thing is that our God entrusted these little people to us because He knew we would be on our knees about how He would have us parent them. Many blessings to you!