Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mommy God

"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Even these may forget, but I will not forget you!" --Isaiah 49:15

I reflected on this verse last weekend, and was reminded yet again of all the ways motherhood has helped me understand God's parental love. As Isaiah says, God's love and faithfulness is even beyond what an earthy parent feels for his or her child. When Kate was just a few months old, I wrote about the things I'd learned about God from motherhood already, and now that she's in an entirely different stage of development (hello demanding and impatient toddlerdom!) I'm learning about this divine love in new ways.

The most profound of these is something that I absolutely love about this stage of her development: When she's upset--even when she's upset with me--she runs to me for comfort. She's yanking on the refrigerator door handle, begging for me to open it so she can pull the carton of strawberries down or eat grapes straight out of the bag before I can even wash them. I say "no, you've had enough of a snack already." Her face crumples and she lets out a pathetic wail. I crouch down, and she runs to me and throws her arms around my neck, burying her despair in my shoulder. She's mad at me--but she knows where the comfort is.

I love the thought that even when we are upset, angry at life--at God--we can take it straight to him. Being mad at God doesn't mean we have to run away. We can be angry and seek comfort at the same time.

The spiritual director leading our retreat urged me also to reflect on the notion of God "delighting" in me. I struggle with pride even as I strive for humility, and often settle for self-flagellation. It was a difficult excercise for me to think of God delighting in my face. I mugged at the sky, teasing the God who supposedly loves to gaze at my face. I thought, however, of the way I glance during the workday at one of the many framed pictures of Kate on my desk. I'll stop, pick up the frame, and just stare at her, delighting in her sweet face. Could God see me the same way?

I love this divine sort of SAT equation. God : Me :: Me : Kate
(If you're rusty on your standardized test jargon, that's "God is to me as I am to Kate.")

On a test question, one of those items would be blank. "A is to B as B is to ____." It's strange to say, but it seems that God is the blank here. God is beyond our comprehension, and while we read and hear about the magnitude of God's love for us, it is hard to grasp. But I know how much I love Kate, and I cherish the glimpse that relationship gives of how much God loves me. It's not a perfect equation, because even I will fail. Even the mother who bears a child can "forget" or abandon her offspring. But it offers some small glimpse, some way of comprehending what an infinite, ever-loving God might feel for me. And you.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday: Sick Day Dilemmas

Working Mom WednesdayWhen Kate got the swine flu right about a year ago, I flipped out and quarantined the whole family for three days. The first day was absolutely necessary as we were monitoring her fever closely and rushed her to the pediatrician right at closing time. The second and third day, as Kate perked up and I calmed down, were simply the product of a new mom's overreaction. (I'm still kind of embarrassed about it actually!) Fortunately, I had understanding, family-oriented bosses and plenty of vacation time to spare.

Some moms aren't so lucky. Their workplaces aren't so generous and/or their children don't recover so quickly. What if both mom and dad work in strict offices and can't take time off to tend to a sick child?

Parents magazine had an article in its September issue called "A Working Mom's Guide to Sick Kids." The stat that really stood out to me? In 57% of cases, day care directors send kids home unnecessarily for mild illnesses. We've dealt with that several times, and because Matt works primarily from home while I'm in an office an hour away, he's the one picking Kate up midday and taking her to the doctor, often for something very minor. (Once--in our old center--they sent her home and recommended we go to the doctor because of a sty! Oy!) When I dropped Kate off this morning, I overheard the assistant director on the phone advising someone to keep their child home, even though symptoms had passed and the child was acting fine. I understand a center's need to protect the other kids and make sure a truly sick child is comfortable at home, but I wonder if she thought about the mom on the phone and what hardships it may put on her to keep a mildly-under-the-weather child at home.

The Parents article mentioned one extreme case where neither parent's boss would let them leave work to pick up the sick child at day care, so the mom stuck her finger down her throat, puked on the office floor, and the boss sent her home sick. The writer discusses FMLA legislation and how America lags behind other nations in its family-friendly policies, but also discusses practical options for creating a sick-day backup plan:
  • Plan A (beyond being there yourself, of course) is to call a grandparent or close friend, but that's not always possible, as families live farther from their hometowns and friends quite possibly work outside the home as well.
  • make a reciprocal arrangement with another parent who works at home or with a flexible schedule, offering to keep her kids or drive them to soccer on the weekends.
  • split the day with your spouse, so both of you can be in the office part of the day.
  • work from home. If your office is cool with that, you probably wouldn't be running into this dilemma in the first place, but the point is to make your home "work-friendly" in advance, so it is not too difficult to shift gears and work from home for a day. For example, I arranged to get access to my work e-mail on my personal laptop (originally so I'd have it when traveling for work) but it makes my work life a little more flexible.
Fortunately, the ear-eye-sinus infection trifecta that Kate has had off and on seems to have subsided for the time being (knock on wood!) but sick days are unavoidable, and it's good to have some options.

What do you do when your kids get sick, but you have to work?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

One Photo

Well, no Project Life this week. You know why?

I only took one photo all week.
Can you believe it?
At least it's a good one, though! I love this little outfit Kate wore to school today. Now that fall has arrived and delightfully crisp air called for long sleeves, Kate wore her new ladybug dress for the first time. And who doesn't love red shoes? I found these months ago for four bucks at Once Upon a Child!  

Also, go vote for Kate at Parents.com's family vacation photo contest! I entered two photos from our trip to North Carolina this summer, and one is in the running for the weekly winner--so add your vote (please)! Thank you, and have a great day!

Monday, September 27, 2010

When Mommy's Away

... Daddy and Boo-Bear come out to play!
(and learn the joys of jumping on the bed!)



I had a wonderful weekend retreat, and Daddy and Kate had a nice Daddy-Daughter weekend. They went on a date to Applebee's, played outside, and even though Kate didn't nap at all on Saturday (why does she ignore my "let Daddy get work done" requests?) Daddy managed to do all he needed to do before Sunday. It was great to take that time away, but I was so happy to walk through the door to see my loveys here at home.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sweet Silence

I am heading out this weekend for a silent spiritual retreat. If you are the praying sort, please pray for me as I seek God’s renewal and transformative power.


I’m not sure what to expect when I get there, but I feel it’s almost more important what I’m leaving behind…
The computer
The camera
The phone
Makeup
Jewelry
High heels
… and words. My life is so full of words—as an editor, as a blogger, and even in my prayers. I feel the need to articulate everything, and I wonder if it gets in the way. I’m looking forward this weekend to just listening and being still.
I’ll also be leaving behind Matt and Kate, which makes me sad. I’m always reluctant to give up any moment of my mommy-daughter time, but this opportunity came up and I need to take it. I pray you have a restful and blessed weekend as well.

P.S. If you're wondering, that pic is of the cloister of Salisbury Cathedral, taken on our Wesleyan Pilgrimage in 2005. That's not where I'll be cloistering myself this weekend :0)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

REVIEW: Parenting, Inc.

What is typically your first thought upon walking into a Babies R Us superstore?
a) yippee! Hand me that registry gun!
b) OMG! Who needs all this stuff?
c) [backing up slowly... too overwhelming... maybe I'll try this later...]

Whatever your response, Parenting, Inc.will be of interest to you. This book is an exploration (and to some extent, expose') of the ways industries small and large find ways to exploit the anxiety of new parents. Sometimes, it's about fear ("if I don't buy this, my child won't live up to his full potential"). Other times, it's about status ("all the moms in our neighborhood have the FancyPants G3 stroller!"). Sometimes, it's perceived convenience or safety ("the bargain-brand car seat doesn't have super-new technology head-protection!").

I especially fall for that last one (though even I wouldn't shell out the extra bucks for a Britax). And it's hard not to. If your kids' safety (or academic opportunity or social integration) really were at stake with a potential purchase, of course you would be tempted to shell out the money. And that's what businesses are counting on. According to author Pamela Paul (whose other books include The Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony and Pornified: How Pornography Is Damaging Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families) parents seem to have less confidence in their own inate ability to raise a child. Part of it comes from changing cultural norms, where young families are more isolated, living far from their own parents, and fewer adults today were raised in big families where they helped raise their younger siblings, etc. We feel like we don't know how to parent, and we feel like we need products and experts to fill in the gap. (Of course, the makers of those products are more than happy to exacerbate those feelings.)

The chapter that I dog-eared the most was "Trouble in Toyland," all about how toys are getting more fancy, and--so we would think--educational, but all these advancements are robbing our children of imagination and ingenuity. Paul talks about Tickle Me Elmo as a groundbreaking toy, not just for its recordbreaking Christmas sales ($22 million its first season) but for paving the way for the electronic toy revolution. In the late '90s and beyond, toy makers and consumers started thinking every toy needed to "do" something. It had to light up, make noise, move, whatever. The downside to a toy that "does" something is that the child does less. The toy seems to have one purpose, and that's how you play with it. And, because the lights and sounds are more stimulating and attention-grabbing, kids are losing their ability to play with an object in different ways and for long periods of time. Even among non-electronic toys, things tend to come in sets that leave little room for improvisation--for example, art projects that come pre-packaged with instructions for how to complete the project. (That example made me daydream about one day having Kate draw a necklace or decoration or something and then going to Hobby Lobby together to find the supplies to make what she envisions. Wouldn't that be fun?)

Paul supports these assertions with extensive interviews of educators, child development specialists, and various studies. I tend to agree with her conclusions,  and love the slogan on the Parents line of toys, "The less the toy does, the more the child does." Kate has several battery-powered toys that play music and light up, etc., and they are fun. (We especially love the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Learning Puppy. We call it "Affirmation Puppy" because in between its cute songs and rhymes, it says things like "You're fun!" and "You're my friend!") But honestly, the toys Kate seems to enjoy most these days are books, puzzles, play-doh, and crayons. Simple things, and I like to encourage that.

Paul points out, however, that simple things are often more expensive these days. She uses the example of nice wood and fabric puppets (probably only available at a swanky children's boutique) selling for $44, while a "battery-powered, blabbing SpongeBob sells for less than $5 at the local drugstore." True enough. We're planning to get Kate a play kitchen for Christmas, and I've been researching various options online. Consider the two that I've got it pretty much narrowed down to:
The red one on the left is made of wood, very simple and classic, with no automated sounds or included accessories. The brown one on the right is made of plastic, makes sizzling sounds when you put something on the burner, the microwave beeps, etc., and comes with an 18-piece set of plastic food and utensils. It also costs $80 less than the red one. Is that for the cost of materials not made from oil and chemicals, or for the swank factor of being hip and retro? I'm not sure.

Paul's other chapters address things like "edutainment" (videos like Baby Einstein), luxury products for babies (think $300 sweaters and $6000 memberships at Manhattan's "Citibabes" clubs), and--what seems to be Paul's most passionate topic--"outsourcing parenthood," in which she talks about all the experts and consultants parents employ to do things like potty-train their children, teach kids to sleep through the night, childproof your house, coach parents on their discipline, etc. She makes the great point in the "outsourcing" chapter that kids need to trust that their parents are in control, and if their parents can't seem to figure things out for themselves, kids will grow to think that they too can't do things without the help of an "expert."

On the one hand, the examples Paul gives can be rather extreme, perhaps too anecdotal to draw a book's worth of conclusions from. I don't know anyone (living here in the "flyover states" as we do) who would buy a $55 rhinestone-encrusted pacifier or pay $3000 for a series of visits and phone calls with a parenting coach.

On the other hand, the lesson for all of us is to RELAX. Trust your instincts (or at least your ability to figure it out in a reasonable amount of time) and remember that the simple things are often the best--and most educational! Not that battery-powered toys or Baby Einstein videos are bad, but we shouldn't assume that they will teach our kids for us. Kids learn more from discovering 100 ways to play with a cardboard box than they do from an electronic laptop, and more from reading a book with a parent than a book that reads itself to them. Human interaction and natural discovery are the best child development tools, and we shouldn't feel guilty if we don't pay a lot to supplement that with classes and videos and toys purporting to make babies into geniouses.

One of the educators Paul quotes seems to sum it up best when she says,
"If your baby is enthralled by laying on the floor, staring at the ceiling fan--walk away! That's important for them. You're not being neglectful."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Giveaway Winner!!!

Thank you, folks, for entering my 500th post giveaway last week! I used random.org to randomly pick a winner, and that winner is commenter #6, who happens to be...

Kristen P.!

Congrats, Kristen, and thanks for reading! Send me your address, and I'll send you a box of fun stuff!

Everybody else, if you're bummed you didn't win, these links might come in handy:

Thistle Farms lip balm and geranium spray (order online or see the list of retail stores in your area that carry TF products).
The Common English Bible
Sally Dyck's A Faithful Heart: Daily Guide for Joyful Living
Kristen Welch's Don't Make Me Come Up There!: Quiet Moments for Busy Moms

Have a great rest of the week!

Working Mom Wednesday: Time for Me (and Us)

Working Mom WednesdayOne of the suggestions I’ve heard for topics to cover on Working Mom Wednesday is “how do you find time to blog?” (BTW, I’m definitely open to other suggestions—it’s harder to maintain a series than I expected!)
 
For a while, I was doing well at writing three or so posts on the weekends, and scheduling them for the weekdays, plus writing a couple more during the week, as time and inspiration allowed. Then, somehow, I got off that routine, and it became a night-by-night thing: write at night, schedule it to post the next morning.

I’ve got to say that that schedule is not working for me (as I indicated rather indelicately in yesterday's Project Life post). I am NOT a night owl, so I really only have a 2-3 hour window of personal time between Kate’s bedtime and my own, and lately, blogging is taking up too much of that window. It leaves me feeling burned out (my soul, and my retinas from starting at a screen all day long), and I just want to scream, “the blog was made for woman, not woman for the blog!!”
 
So, I really do want to get back to that primarily-weekend writing schedule, and reclaim some of that 2-3 hour window for other activities I enjoy:
  • Scrapbooking
  • Reading (which I always do in bed before turning out the light, even if I’m up late)
  • Playing board games or snuggling up for a movie with Matt (if he gets off the computer too)
  • Talking with Matt (who knew that connecting with your best friend would require such intentionality?!)
  • Getting stuff done (maybe I don’t “enjoy” the washing and mending and cleaning up, per se, but I do enjoy the thrill of marking things off a to-do list!)

So, if my posts seem, well, lazier in the coming days or weeks, this “reclaiming” may be why! But I do enjoy blogging too, and I’ll soon find a new balance.
 
Do you have trouble claiming time for yourself and your spouse? What things tend to threaten that time?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Project Life (September Funk)

I admit it--I'm in a computer/blogger/project life funk.
I'm tired of looking at a screen for a vast majority of my waking hours.
I'm tired of getting online to blog right after Kate goes to bed,
and then going to bed myself as soon as I'm done.
I'm tired of agonizing over photos for Project Life.

There, I said it. If PL is a marathon, I'm hitting a wall at mile 19.
I'm not saying I'm quitting
(after all, the most fun times of the year are just around the corner!)
but tonight, I just. can't. do. it.

But if I could, I'd tell you...

how much I LOVE this pic of Kate sitting on the bathroom sink. She asks to get up there every morning while I'm getting ready, and it sure beats her digging around in my makeup drawer!

I'd tell you how Kate loves to help me vacuum. She moves rugs and gets out her popper to do a little sweeping of her own.

I'd tell you how she begs me to pull out the stepstool in the kitchen (why oh why did I do that once?) and loves to stand at the sink, "helping" me wash dishes or just splashing in the water.

I'd tell you how she refuses to sit in her eat seat for meals anymore. (Are you sensing a trend? I'm starting to refer to her as "The Little Tyrant.")

And maybe I'd tell you about the little festival we went to at the Catholic school where Bethlehem UMC is currently worshiping. The bouncy was full of big kids, so Kate spent most of her time on the playground. She climbed the chain ladder all by herself. And I love the pic of Kate and Daddy going down the double slide, each clutching their cup. (Daddy's had beer in it--man we love those Catholics!)

You're probably rolling your eyes at me, but seriously--the days and dates are the most cumbersome part for me!
Maybe next week, I'll be less funkified.

P.S. Today is your last chance to enter my 500th Post Giveaway. I'll be drawing the winner tonight!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Summer's Last Swim

School is in session, the football season has begun, a few leaves are even falling, and I have an unnatural desire for chili and cable-knit sweaters. But alas, it is still 90 degrees outside (and still technically summer, anyway).
Reluctantly siding with reality over my own fantasies, I blew up the backyard pool and we had one last swim for summer 2010.
 
Kate and I splashed around for much of the afternoon, filling and dumping buckets full of water. We flung water into the air with an arsenal of different colored beach shovels, and got the terms "blue" and "yellow" down pretty well. We also started a new game, where Kate flops across my lap and I rock her while she says, "baby... baby..."
She'll always be my baby, even when she's all grown up. But I'll miss that little polka-dotted ruffle-butt.
Next weekend, I'll break out the fall decorations and begin another season that, while not Kate's "first," will still be extra-special. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ice Cream

... sure hits the spot after a long day at the zoo!





And speaking of sweet stuff...
don't forget to enter my 500th post giveaway (and tweet and FB it for extra chances) to win a copy of the new Common English Bible, Sally Dyck's A Faithful Heart, a sampler of Kristen Welch's Don't Make Me Come Up There!: Quiet Moments for Busy Moms, some awesome Thistle Farms products, and even some scrapbook supplies!

Leave a comment (or two or three) over on this post, and I'll randomly draw a winner next Wednesday!

Little Friends

We went to the zoo with some friends last Saturday, and saw a two-headed camel!
(it really does look like it, doesn't it?)

Its sideshow-freak implications aside, the above pic is notable in that it was practically the only animal photo I took on this zoo excursion. Kate had three little friends to play with, so for me that was the real amusement of the day.
I never get to see her play with other kids because if she's with a group of kids, it's typically because I am elsewhere and she is at day care or in a church nursery. So, it was interesting to see that as "social" as I think she is, she's more or less still into "parallel play"--doing her own thing while other kids do their own thing nearby.
Becca would try to hold her hand, and Kate would brush her off!
All the kids loved the goats in the petting zoo, and Kate and Landon were so cute running alongside each other, doing that toddler thing where they scream as they run. "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah!" 
 The kids took turns riding shotgun in Becca's wagon. When it was Kate's turn, she and Becca stomped their feet on the bottom of the wagon as rapidly as they could. So cute what entertains a toddler!
I love watching Kate interact (even in her rude "don't touch me!' way) with her little friends. My grandmother always used to refer to our "little friends"--whether they were my twenty-something college friends or my mom's middle-aged tennis friends. It's condescending and yet cute. But toddler friends really are little!
Little toddler friends like to jump and run on a giant foam mat...
... and walk on the backs of alligators...
"Watch out, Gator! Me and my little friends will be back, and we're getting bigger all the time!"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Pearl

Matt laughs at my love of made-for-TV movies. I often know well-known actors not from their famous feature films, but from TNT original miniseries and whatnot instead. Anyway, while I was getting dressed for church last Sunday--deciding whether to dress up or not--a line came to mind from "Young Catherine," a 1991 TV movie about Catherine the Great, starring Julia Ormond before her breakout role in "Legends of the Fall." In this scene, an Orthodox priest is trying to convice the young princess that it's okay to convert to the Russian Orthodox Church from her original Lutheran faith.

"Do you know how a pearl is made?" Father Todorsky asks her. "A grain of sand finds its way into an oyster. The oyster finds this uncomfortable, and so over time it coats the sand . . . We often find the words of our Lord uncomfortable. And so, in our various ways, we try to hide him. But break open the pearl, and there's still that grain of sand, the eternal truth. . ."

Those aren't the exact lines from the film (though probably embarassingly close) but that scene nonetheless came to mind  as I stared into my closet, debating whether to wear a dress or pants, heels or flats. See, one worship service I would be attending is very casual, while the other is a little dressier, so I was torn. (I admit it, I sometimes go to another church before the church my husband pastors. Here's part of why. So sue me.) I thought of the classic argument about dressier attire being more reverent, but also wondered to what extent dressing up for church is a shell, a way of feeling reverent so we don't notice as much if our hearts are not as focused on God as they could be.

Interestingly, the other church I attended was celebrating its fifth anniversary, and so the message was kind of a "here's what we're about" sort of thing. In it, the pastor mentioned the idea of avoiding "distractions" in worship, such as low-quality music (if all you can think is "wow, that musician is awful," you're not going to be able to focus on singing praises to God). He included style of dress, not saying that you should dress one way or another, but that if you are not being yourself, your discomfort will be a distraction to you.

I was amused thinking about how different churches, with their wildly different styles, have different perceptions of what "distraction" in worship is. The pastor speaking, and other churches that value highly polished worship experiences, see amateurish music, missed cues, faulty sound equipment, etc. as distractions. Meanwhile, other churches see polish as inauthentic, and find guitars, amplification, and screens distracting. Between those two extremes, I have my preference, and I'm sure you do too.

Whenever I'm driving in a new place, I notice all the different churches lining the road. (There are just as many churches along my usual routes, but they often go without notice, you know?) There's an Assemblies of God church across the street from a Baptist church, which is just down the road from a United Methodist church, which is a block away from a Church of Christ. Why do we need so many churches? Especially the tiny ones, which could combine with another tiny church and still not fill a sanctuary. It seems so unnecessary, so wasteful of land and buildings and utilities.

Obviously, I know they all want to go it alone because they have their own preferences, their own styles, their own histories, their own theological peccadillos. (Perhaps I know it better than most, since my focus area in school was American church history/culture, and I actually find all this stuff fascinating, even as I find it frustrating.) Religion flourished in America because we have such freedom to express ourselves and establish new groups. (If you're really interested in this topic, Alexis deTocqueville's Democracy in America and Sidney Mead's The Lively Experiment would be good reading.)

But does all this diversity, even just within Protestant Christianity, have a purpose? Does it help us grow closer to God? Or is it just a pearly shell created to comfort and protect us from the often uncomfortable truth of Jesus' gospel?

Truthfully, I don't know. I personally have strong preferences between the various shades and textures of pearl (to extend the metaphor), because for me, some are more condusive than others for seeing and worshiping the sand at the center. And I guess that's the real question for any church--does its worship style and other characteristics help people grow as disciples of Christ--or is the pearl just a distraction?

----------

P.S. Don't forget--my 500th post giveaway is still going on until next Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

500th Post (and 1st Giveaway!)

I started blogging about four years ago, and in many ways I'm surprised I stuck with it enough to get to this "milestone"--500 posts! I jumped on the bloggy bandwagon because several people I went to college with were doing it and it seemed to be a cool new way to keep up with people you never see in real life.

Who knew it would be all that and more?! I have kept in touch with college classmates--and I know more about their lives now than I did when we lived on the same campus! I have made new friends--people I may never meet in real life, but because we read one another's blogs, it feels like we are in a MOPS group together, sharing parenting stories and tips. I have enhanced real-life friendships--people I consider good friends even though, when we actually stop to think about it, we've only hung out in person a handful of times!

Blogging brings people together, and I'm really honored that you are here--whether you read The Parsonage Family every day in a reader or whether this is your first visit ever. I want to say "thanks!" and celebrate this bloggoversary with my FIRST-EVER GIVEAWAY!
 

Leave a comment for a chance to win a box of goodies reflecting some of my favorite things to blog about:

1. Books. I'm an editor by trade, and my wonderful employer provided copies of the Common English Bible New Testament (a BRAND NEW, fresh and readable translation of the Bible--you MUST check it out!) and a beautiful women's devotional, A Faithful Heart: Daily Guide for Joyful Living.

I'm also including an autographed sneak-peak sampler of three of my favorite devotions from Kristen Welch's upcoming mother's devotional Don't Make Me Come Up There!: Quiet Moments for Busy Moms. I am so excited about this book and wish I could give you the whole thing, but alas it's not coming out until next spring--just in time for Mother's Day. You can preorder it now, though, and I highly recommend you do so!

2. Good causes. I am fortunate to be involved with a wonderful ministry called Thistle Farms, a non-profit, all-natural body care company run by and benefitting the Magdalene community of women overcoming lives of prostitution and addiction. Thistle Farms products are the best (available in Whole Foods stores and other retailers around the country), and I have a lavender lip balm and geranium spray (a natural bug repellant) just for you!

3. Scrapbooking. Matt always laughs at me when I blog about scrapbooking, since it's like a vortex of memory-documentation that threatens to break down the space-time continuum. Nonetheless, it's one of my favorite things to blog about, and I'm including some lovely silk flower and thread embellishments for you to use in your own crafting!

Leave a comment--any comment--and I'll randomly draw a winner next Wednesday!

Spread the word about this giveaway, and get extra chances to win! Share the link to this post on Facebook and/or Twitter and leave another comment for each of those that you do, just saying that you did so.

Best of luck, and thanks again for reading!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Project Life (Sept. 6-12)

Welcome to this week's edition of Project Life--a daily snapshot into the life of the Parsonage Family. For a bunch of other people's Project Life posts, click over to The Mom Creative!

Before we start this week, I want to mention that tomorrow will be my 500th post here at The Parsonage Family, and to celebrate, I'll be giving YOU a gift (or the chance to win one at least). So come back tomorrow and enter to win a prize package including a smattering of things that (if you like my blog) you may like--Christian books, Thistle Farms body care products, and scrapbook supplies. There's a sneak peak into the package at the bottom of this post, so let's get rolling...

Monday 9/6: Labor Day! We went to a big family carnival at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, where we were visiting my parents. Kate had her first bouncy castle experience, and we all enjoyed watching her!
Tuesday 9/7: I took some extra time off around Labor Day, so we wouldn't have to rush home too quickly, but my parents were still sad to see us go. Dad snapped this pic of Kate with his phone before we got in the car.
Wednesday 9/8: Another loss in the War on Crap. As Mom is still cleaning out Nana and Grandpa's house, I was sent home with a few bags of stuff. (Useful stuff, but stuff nonetheless.) Unfortunately, I didn't get to keep the coolest artifacts we've found in my late grandparents' home.
Thursday 9/9: Kate played alone in her room while I showered, and when I returned, I found a big "puzzle soup" of ALL the pieces to ALL her puzzles jumbled up on the floor.
Friday 9/10: I keep a box in the top of my closet to collect gifts as I buy them throughout the year. They're not actually all for Kate, but she is definitely the most fun person on my gift list.
Saturday 9/11: We went to the zoo with two other families--people Matt went to high school with, actually. Matt said how they never would have imagined fifteen years ago that one day they would take their toddlers to the zoo together, but here are those toddlers, peering in at the meerkats!
Sunday 9/12: Kate's newest thing (other than climbing out of the crib, of course) is carrying around her "puppy." Someone gave us this little stuffed bulldog before Kate was even born, and it has just sat on a shelf for a year and a half. Then, last week, Kate started calling a lamb in a book "puppy," so we got out this dog to show her, "No, this is a puppy," and now they're inseparable! Puppy is now the token non-giraffe in the crib at night, and even he sits at the kitchen table, watching Kate eat.


Finally, as promised, here's a sneak peak at tomorrow's giveaway!
You may know Kristen Welch, writer of the popular We Are THAT Family blog (and contributor to (in)courage and 5 Minutes for Mom). Kristen has a fantastic mother's devotional book coming out next spring, and as her editor, I'm proud to include in my giveaway a special sneak-peak sampler from her book--autographed by the soon-to-be bestselling author!


Have a great week, and I hope to see you back here tomorrow!

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