For Lindsay.

Here is Charlotte, in all her glory. The picture is in black and white so the rash around her mouth is less noticeable. Too bad I can't do that in real life. Although coconut oil helps. It seems to be the only thing, though.

Stories. Of my children. That is what Lindsay wants. So I will oblige. Here is a recent happening:

Ella wanted to put on a play for our Family Night activity. It was basically a one man show, with Charlotte doing what she was told at random intervals. Ella is creative to her deepest nature and it is always interesting what she comes up with. This was a rather detailed story about a young mermaid who had various and "wondrous" (Ella's descriptor) adventures. I don't remember all the details, but at one point Ella was telling us about how the little mermaid (no relation to Disney, she has not yet had exposure to that film) always knew her family loved her. "That's nice," I thought. And then Ella goes on, "But not Jesus. Jesus didn't love this little mermaid."

And in my head I am thinking, "What?!? Do I stop her and correct this false doctrine? Where have I gone wrong?! What is she learning in Primary?" Well, I didn't say anything, and the story went on, and the little mermaid seemed not to be very influenced by this fact. So we clapped with gusto at the end of her performance and that has been the end of that. It is interesting to watch her explore her world and the ideas that surround her through play.

Charlotte had a severe meltdown at bedtime last week because Paul made her put on a diaper before bed. And she wanted to be a kitty. And kitties don't wear diapers. "So now I'm not a kitty! [wail]" That kid's logic is rock solid.

Today we went for a space walk. Which was really just like a regular walk, except we pretended we were in space. And everything we saw had the word 'space' in front of it. "Look! A spacebird!" Oh, and we were actually flying instead of walking, which was cool, because Ella used the buttons on her jacket to fly herself around, and Charlotte was a bit bummed her jacket had no buttons, but she just went and pressed the buttons on Ella's jacket, too. Crisis averted.



As some of you know, we are now officially going to be in Dallas long term. And we're happy with that.

Our biggest problem with choosing a permanent home is we have so many people we love scattered all over the country, that there's not one perfect place. But Texas has come as close as we could ever hope since my family has always been here, and Paul's family is here now. Mostly. We're still missing a few key players. :) Plus, our two-plus years here, and three congregations have given us many friends nearby.

So we have started looking for more permanent housing. It is interesting because it is our second time to buy a house, and we haven't actually lived in the house we own for almost four years (we have renters there now). Plus, there is really no rush to move, we are on a month to month contract in our current rental.

But we are so picky! I honestly don't remember having any criteria whatsoever (except price) the first time we bought a house.

Well, the more we look, the pickier we get.
We are blessed to have a Realtor who is just as picky as we are. And not crabby with our long search. Good man.

Our search spans two school districts. And three cities. Well, four cities of you count Addison, where we would love to live but can't actually afford. So three cities.

But I am secretly rooting for the city of Dallas, with its higher taxes and inferior schools. Do you want to know why? I really miss the Dallas Public Library. And backyard chickens are legal in Dallas.

A million factors and it all comes down to chickens and books.


Oh yeah... I have a blog.

We started a homeschool co-op this semester.  A bit premature, you say?  Yes.  Technically Ella will not start "kindergarten" until Fall.  But she is the oldest (by far) in our church playgroup and I was hoping to get her more exposure to older kids.  And me more exposure to homeschooling parents who know what they are doing.  Two weeks in and I am pleased with the results.

I told you that story so I could tell you this one.  One of the women I met at co-op (which met last on Valentine's day) mentioned my aversion to the aforementioned holiday.

"Where did you hear I don't like Valentine's day!?" I asked my friend.

"From your blog," she responded.

Oh.  Yeah.  I do have a blog.  And apparently, people actually read it.

But hopefully everyone just plugs the address into their google reader so they don't have to waste time checking to see if I posted every day, which clearly I do not.

And while I am here, would you like an update?

Ella learned how to read.  Slow and steady wins the race.  I forgot (since it has been 26 years since I learned how to read) how long it takes to get good at reading.  She tells people that she can only read 'special' books.  And she is right.  At this time we are pretty much limited to the Bob books and McGuffey's primer and a few other leveled readers.  All in good time, my friend.  Soon we will move on to Frog and Toad and I just cannot wait for that.  I have good memories of early readers.

Charlotte is almost three.  I cannot think of anything else earth-shattering about her development.  But she is still developing.  And she is turning out marvelously.  But I think that about all my kids. (Usually.)  She is at that stage where she has started coming up with unique ideas, instead of parroting the ideas she has heard from us.  "Tell me a story about Jesus when he was in a bad fight," she asked me today.  "Ummmm, Jesus was never in a bad fight, Charlotte."  She has also started calling herself Charlie and introduces herself as such, and will correct us if we introduce her as Charlotte to new people.  I still call her Char, Charlotte, and Charlie in equal amounts.  I think Paul mostly calls her Charlie.  She also knows that her hair is her identifying feature.  I tried to pull her hair into a barrette the other day and she said, "Now I'm not Charlie!"  I'm a little concerned about that, since she is so much more than a head of hair.  But it gets SO MUCH attention.  Working on it.

Max is darling.  Everyone comments on what a happy baby he is.  And he really is very engaging.  He loves 'flirting' with strangers and people around us.  But he is going through a phase where he never wants me to put him down.  Ever.  It's killing my back, since he is now a hefty 23 pounds.  He started trying to crawl several months ago, but he stopped trying and now does a roll-scoot to maneuver around.  Maybe I should get Ella and Charlotte to do some crawl coaching.  

I am tired.  That is my overriding general feeling.  But I am pretty sure that is normal.  Although my mother thinks I should get my thyroid levels checked. 

I am madly in love with my kids, and still routinely like to watch them sleep (when I manage to stay up that late).  But I'm not going to lie, this mother-of-three stuff is not easy.  I think that other people (from comments I sometimes get) think that I'm kind of rocking the whole motherhood thing, and it's probably my fault because I don't complain enough.  (It's funny to type that out.)  I probably only accomplish 20% of my goals.  But I kind of like having unrealistic endeavors, so that number isn't a great representation of what actually gets done from day to day.  Thinking on this more, I might only accomplish 5% of my goals, since I don't actually consider things like, "ensure everyone has a clean bottom after using the bathroom" and "clean up shards of glass" goals.  They are just things that must get done.  We still aren't fluent in mandarin.  And in fact, I still haven't even borrowed mandarin language learning CD's from the library, as I have intended to do for at least a year.  Truly, the house is always a mess. 98% of the time I wish it were cleaner.  I am not exaggerating.  There are so many other things that are more important to me (or that simply must be done) that it just doesn't get the attention it requires to keep up with the whirlwind of three little kids.  The list goes on and on and on.  There are so many things I am not that I wish I were.

That being said.  That is not how I define my life.  I am happy.  Madly in love with my husband.  And regularly enchanted by my children.  I spend my day chasing little girls and coercing them into giving me kisses.  We laugh and play monster games and dance in the living room.  I live a good life.  But it is so so far below perfect.  Seriously, I could write at least three thousand words on how not perfect I am.  

So, this was not even remotely what I intended to write this evening, but the loveliness of my life is really what I focus on in the blog (and really most of the time), and so I hope that you are not playing the comparison game with me.  Because seriously, you would totally win. (Smile.)

Except we would win in the tickles category.  We basically dominate in tickling.