Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Unfortunately I did not get any good pics on the actual day of Thanksgiving while we were down with my relatives. I don't know what I was thinking. We had a great time, and it was such a cool deal to be able to spend a holiday with them. I know it will happen more now, but it has been since my childhood that I actually was with those cousins for a holiday, other than Memorial Day. We had a good time!

I did, however get pictures of us with the Weichbrodts on the following day at the Getty Center Museum. Here are a couple. It was such a fun afternoon, and it has been a long time since we have seen that many of the Weichbrodts. With everyone growing up, it is hard. Noel and his wife, Elissa, were not there, but everyone else was.

While my dad was here, we found a beautiful park in Bakersfield that we had not run across yet. It is up where the river truly runs. For those of you who we haven't told, Bakersfield has a river bed that runs through it. Only if there is enough water, is the river running. They actually pump the water out of the river and to somewhere (I'm sure Brent knows where.). If there is enough rain, then the river is "turned on" at Memorial Day. Yes, they actually say "turned on", and when there is not enough rain, like this past summer, the news anchors say things like the river cannot be turned on yet. It is so strange. Anyway, the river is beautiful if you drive Northeast enough to see it! The kids loved throwing rocks in the water, even Sarah!

Here is a nice picture of my dad with the kids. I have been trying to get a good picture of all of them for a while. Finally! We had a nice visit with him. I'm glad he got to see our house and the location for the church and the city we live in. He was able to discover that there are some very nice parts of Bakersfield! It was fun for the kids to have their grandfather around. They spent quite a lot of time wrestling with him. While he was here, we got out most of the Christmas stuff. I love it when the house is decorated for Christmas. It seems so warm and inviting, so I took some pictures of that too!

Finally, a quick note to those of you who read my post last night - there was no crying while tinkling today!!! That's quite the note to end on!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Another Day in the Life of Potty Training

Quickly, I just wanted to say that today was a good day. Sarah wore panties all day with the exception of naptime and a quick run out to the store this evening. Things are improving! However, she hates to go. I have never experienced anything like it. She holds it as long as she possibly can, then when she finally can't anymore and she starts to tinkle, she cries and cries, like she is in pain. But when she goes in a diaper, she does not cry. It's like it scares her or something. I can't figure out what the deal is. By the time she went before bed tonight, she did not cry, but she did the rest of the day. I told Brent that if it doesn't stop, I will have to call the doctor. Has anyone ever been through something like this?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Potty Training - A Small Step Forward!!!

Before we made our move back in May (over six months ago), Sarah was working on potty training herself. We decided not to push it because of the long drives in the car and figured that when we got here, we would just get it done quickly. However, she often went on her own, removing her diaper, then running to tell us when the potty chair was full. So, when we got here, I was bummed to find out that she wanted nothing to do with her potty chair, or any toilet for that matter. I know that kids regress during big changes, and that is exactly what happened to Sarah. In our almost seven months of being here, she has only used the toilet on two occasions (plus tonight) that I can remember. She was doing that each day in Oklahoma. But, even more frustrating, she has been wearing underwear part of the time but absolutely would not go on the toilet or potty chair. When she had to go, she would cry and beg for a diaper. If I sat her on the potty, she cried even harder. So, I decided to just let it lie for a while. I would mention that big girls use the toilet and stuff like that, but did not put panties on her or put her on the potty.

Tonight, however, I picked her up to leave, and she did not have a diaper on. I was running late, so I just left her that way and told her not to go in her pants. We know she can hold it based on the begging for diapers situations. We took Jason to tutoring, then ran to the store, then picked Jason up from tutoring and stopped at Albertson's before coming home. We stopped once to try to go to the bathroom, but she did not go. While in Albertson's, I was paying, and she started yelling that she needed to go potty and holding herself - made a lot of people laugh. I ran her back to the bathroom, but she did not go. We came home and tried again. She still did not go. She asked for a diaper but I decided we were going to sit on the potty chair instead. I grabbed some books and into the bathroom we went. She sat there listening for a few minutes, then she stood up and started crying and begging for a diaper. I told her she could not have it and sat her back down. Obviously, she had reached her limit on ability to hold it because she went. She cried like she thought she shouldn't be going in her potty chair, but when it was over, she was happy as could be and got a little reward. It was bedtime by this time, but she did not want a diaper on and wanted to get another reward. I made her go to bed - we will see what tomorrow holds, but I feel at least a little encouraged and hopeful.

Sorry if this is more information than most of you wanted to know, but there are silly joys in motherhood, and this is one of them. It seems worthy of sharing!!

Saturday, November 24, 2007


We have so much to be thankful for!!! My dad is here, and we have enjoyed his visit. It's so nice to have him here to see where we live and to just catch up. It is so much niceer to talk in person than over the phone. We spent Thanksgiving Day at my aunt and uncles down in San Diego. It is so beautiful down there!!! It was nice to be with family. I have three cousins who were there, as well as their children. Two of my cousins wanted us to write down for them what we are thankful for. My list could have gone on and on, and it just made me stop and think about how incredibly blessed I am. I have a wonderful, healthy family. My husband is fabulous and he loves the Lord and wants to be obedient to the Lord, and he loves me! My children are fun! The oldest two are committed to Jesus and are doing their best to be the boys that God wants them to be. My youngest two are just sweet and loving and smart. My parents love me and my family and want the best for us. Brent's parents love me, too, and are so good to us! We have had a huge transition this year with very little difficulty. We have made friends and are enjoying all of the new relationships. We have amazing friends in Oklahoma and around the country who we miss so much! God supplies all of our needs and more, financially and otherwise! I could go on and on. I am most thankful for the sacrificial love of God. I look at my children and can only begin to imagine how hard it would be to give them up, yet He did so eagerly for me and you. It's uncomprehendable.

We had an incredibly special treat yesterday. On our way down to San Diego on Thursday, I remembered that the Weichbrodt's (great friends and mentors to us) were planning to be in LA with their son for the holiday. We called them, and sure enough they were there, so we were able to meet with them yesterday at the Getty Center (a beautiful, and FREE, museum in LA). We spent about four hours with them. Everyone in the family was there, except their oldest son, who is married and lives in St. Louis. We have not seen all of them in a long time. It was a great afternoon!

My dad leaves tomorrow, and we will miss him. I feel teary already. Luckily the week will be drowned in the busyness of preparing for our preview service on Sunday and preparing for our anticipated visit with the Berg's. We cannot wait for them to arrive! I definitely think Christmas will be hard. I already feel some pangs of loneliness. Christmas music and Christmas trees just make me think of Bartlesville and family and friends. I am missing traditions, like cookie baking at the Casselberry's, the cookie exchange we used to have with ladies in Bartlesville, sitting around in a circle on Christmas Eve while Stephen read the Christmas Story, and I know there will be other things that crop up. But, again, I am so thankful, and I don't want to get down. We will start our own traditions here, and I am excited to see what those will be.

I'm off for now! Have a good night!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

"I love myself!"

I have a few things to post about, but I just have not felt motivated to type. I thought I would start with this very cute story about David!!! For those of you who do not know him as well, he is my most trying pre-schooler, but he is also my most vocally loving and affectionate child. He is incredibly grateful and incredibly complimentary, which has really been a blessing to him when he has been completely destroying something or being totally mischievous!!! When he gets a gift, it can be underwear, and he still says the sweetest, most endearing and sincere thank you! It makes you want to buy and buy for him. The other night, he asked Brent for a movie, and when Brent came home with the movie, he ran to Brent, hugged him and said, "You are so awesome!" He does this regularly, and he particularly likes the word "awesome", which brings me to my current story.

Last night we had a family game night on the Wii. We played boxing and dodge ball and tetherball. Anyway, in the middle of the game, he looked at Brent and said, "Dad, you are awesome!" Then he told me I was awesome, then James, then Jason, then Sarah! When he was finished there was a pause, and he said, "I love myself!" It made us laugh. I don't know if he was waiting for a return complement, and when he didn't get it from us, decided to do it on his own or what, but it was so funny! I'm glad he has a healthy view of himself. Hee! Hee!

Maybe it is not as cute on a blog, but it was precious at the moment! It's moments like those that just make being a mom the greatest joy in the world!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Swimming and Scenery

These are pictures of David and Sarah at swimming lessons. They aren't the greatest, but they give you some idea! They have been loving it. Although, Sarah was very attached to her instructor, who left for the coast guard. When she got her new instructor, she cried for three lessons, but I think she is better now. David is pretty much swimming on his own. He will be excited to show Gramma Casselberry when we are home in the summer!!!

My mom was here to visit, so we went back up to the Sequoias. My friend, Courtney, who is coming in a couple weeks, asked if we were so tired of going there that we would not want to go with them. I don't know that we can get tired of it. It is absolutely so beautiful!!! the trees are amazing, but so is all the scenery when you are driving up and down the mountains. God is such an amazing Creator.
I have some other stuff to post about, but we have to get ready for church in the morning. Christ's Church of the Valley is commissioning some of their people to go with us to help with the church plant! We need to finish the information sheets that we are taking. It has been so busy that we didn't get it done before now. We decided to take most of this day and rest and hang with the kids! Maybe I will post a little more later!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A quick update

My mom arrived yesterday! It's great to see her. We have not seen her in over a year - the longest I've ever gone without seeing her. We are glad to have her here. She is only able to stay until Monday morning, so we are just enjoying our time while we can. She makes great salsa, so I took her to a highly recommended Mexican grocery store today to buy veggies and such. I could not believe this store. They had produce and meats and all sorts of stuff that I have never dreamed of. Did you know that some people somewhere (apparently in Bakersfield) like to buy cows lips. Seriously, in the meat department there were cow's lips, and a lot of them. I have to think it is not because they are old and not selling but because there is a demand of some sort for them. I could not stay near the meat department for very long. Some of the things that I saw turned my stomach. The produce section, on the other hand, was amazing. There were so many different types of fruits and vegetables. My mom, who lives in Michigan, was so excited about all the different types of peppers one could buy there! They had several different types of bananas. Forgive me if I have been missing something all of my life, but I never knew there was more than one type of banana. I guess I was wrong. They had these tiny little bananas that were probably no longer than three inches. It was a fun little shopping excursion, and my mom enjoyed it. Saturday we will take her up into the mountains to see the giant trees! Tomorrow will just be a quiet day, I think.
The kids are all doing well. Mom was able to attend James gymnastics practice tonight, and she was able to go to David's swimming lesson. Both are doing well in their activities. James moved quickly through Level 1, but Level 2 is definitely a challenge. He is great in the area of strength, but his flexibility is lacking. Most kids start when they are so young and flexible, and that is more of a challenge when you are older. He is giving it his all, though. I imagine David will move up to the next level in swimming after this term. He has improved greatly. He is all about the competition (and this is not competitive swimming), so when I told him there was a higher level class, but he had to follow all his teacher's instructions and learn to freestyle swim (only I had to describe that to him - he doesn't know that word), he went to his class that day and swam freestyle, taking breaths like he was supposed to. He wouldn't even try before the little pep talk. I just assumed he couldn't figure out how to do it. It seems he just didn't understand the reason for doing it!!! That's David!
Sarah got a new swim instructor, and she is having adjustment difficulties. She loved her previous teacher, a young college-aged guy named Tim. He was so good with her and she just laughed and smiled the whole lesson. Last week, she started working with Misty, and she cried the whole time. I watched, and Misty was very good with her, so I decided something must have happened that I just didn't see, like she swallowed a lot of water or something. So, we went back yesterday. She was excited and wanted to go. When we checked in at the desk, the gal said, she'll be with Misty, and Sarah immediately started crying. I really like Misty, but that just made me wonder. Sarah is not usually like that, so I watched real closely yesterday, and Misty was great with her - encouraged her, hugged her when she was too upset, etc. - but Sarah just cried. We will see how things go next week. It's a little strange, and Misty knows that she never cried with Tim. She mentioned it yesterday. I am hoping it will get better! She still swims and does what Misty asks, so I guess that is good! Jason's on a break from activities right at the moment, but can I brag on him a little? He has had such a hard time learning to read. It has been a struggle as long as he has been in school. So when school started this year, I got him into tutoring. God is so good, He provided someone in our launch team who is a fourth grade teacher and does tutoring for extra income. Jason has moved up a whole grade level in his reading abilities in only eight weeks. He actually goes and gets books out of the library and finishes reading them now, and he is so proud of himself. He is still not quite at grade level, so he continues in tutoring, but we are proud and excited for him!!!
Brent and I are just busy, busy, busy. As I have said so many times - there is just so much to get done and so little time, but we're moving along! We are excited for our upcoming preview service on December 2nd. That is the biggest deal with the church plant right now. I am trying to develop more and more relationships, and have gotten involved with a mom's group, which has been fun, and I have met some really neat people. My quick update is not so quick - I should be done, so I will be. Good night everyone!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A New Book

Since I made it through that last book, Raising Kids for True Greatness, and really liked it, I decided I would try to continue reading something besides child abuse cases! I did not know what to read next, though, and had picked up a book that hasn't really captured me. Today Brent came from with a bunch of books that his Church Planting Coach, and more importantly friend, gave to him from a conference he attended. One of them is called God Never Wastes a Hurt by Jim Reeve. I liked the title, so I decided to start reading it. Then after I had thrown a really lousy dinner together, Brent told me to take the book and go to Starbucks for a while and have some time alone, which was incredibly nice because I was really tired of being a mom today.

I ran to Costco and got a few necessary groceries, then went to Starbucks for an orange frappucino (I hate coffee!!) and read the first chapter of the book. So far, it's really good! You can kind of gather from the title what the book is about, and I have certainly, like most of you, experienced a lot of pain in my life. I know that God uses those painful times, but it is always good to read about that and be encouraged. Several things stood out in the book tonight. First of all, Romans 8:37 says, "No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." the author pointed out the "more than conqueror" part. In Greek, these three word are one and the prefix for it is the word from which we get the word "hyper." He says that we are "hyper-conquerors." He said, "God does not declare His children to be victors on occasion or by the slimmest of margins, but rather champions who relentlessly defeat their opponents." That is encouraging to me. It may take a while, but with Christ I can conquer the painful times in my life.

He talks about our mountaintop experiences in our faith, which are so encouraging, but can almost become discouraging because of the long valleys between them. He said the key is not to forget what God said and did during the mountaintop experiences. Sometimes when we are stuck in the valley, those memories are so faint. While those experiences are amazing and wonderful, it is usually in the valleys that our faith grows and is strengthened. It is also important to remember that God is with us, protecting us during those valley times, even if it does not necessarily feel like it.

He also spent a lot of time talking about the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I had never thought about the fact that David says "Shadow of Death" instead of just "Death." He pointed out the difference and how crucial it is that the word shadow is there. Mr. Reeve said, "Shadows are typically bigger than the reality they represent." We need to remember that beyond the dark valley is light and during our valley look eagerly for the light ahead. Satan would like nothing better than to keep us in the dark! That is all easier said than done. I have had several times in my life when I knew there would be something on the other side. I remember one time, in particular, saying to Brent, "I can't wait until we can look back on today and know why God put us through this." I knew there was light ahead, but it still hurt and drug me down while I was in the midst of the struggle. But, those feeling of pain and anger and frustration and what made me choose to depend on God. If I could just, on my own, say this is no big deal because there is an end in sight, I don't know how much it would have done for my walk with the Lord. I hate those times, but they are times or great dependence on my Creator, which is awesome!

I think I am going to enjoy this book and am excited to keep reading it. It's cool how God cares about little things, even what books we are reading. He knows that I don't love to read. He knows that I want to read because it is good for me and teaches me a lot. He knew I was not really enjoying the book I had picked up. So he sent this book, via David, to Brent, had him sit it on the kitchen counter so that I would see it and pick it up. I know it's silly, but I think that is cool!