Monday favorites

Today was a good day. We've had some ups and downs around here lately, so to be able to sit down at the end of this day and deem it as "good" is a blessing. I wanted to record some of my favorite things about Monday, September 17, 2012.

1. Daniel took off work this morning. I love it when he does this - just on a whim decides to take some time off. Most weeks he works way more than a "normal" job would require, so it makes my heart happy when he recognizes his need to rest and slow down a bit. Also, last night after much prayer and discussion, we decided to implement a new discipline tactic with Mr. Riley - which would start today and I was a little unsure as to how he'd respond to it (really wanted some reinforcement here).

To say the first couple of months into the 3's has been challenging is a bit of an understatement. I have been on the verge of tears several days thinking, "I just want my sweet, non-argumentative, obedient 2-year-old back!" I know, I know - I'm sure this is all a phase and "this too shall pass," but sometimes in the midst of the craziness I wonder if we'll make it through. His tantrums have definitely become more frequent and a lot more intense. So, last night after the kids were in bed, Daniel and I (completely worn out and at a loss as to how to handle our son) plopped down on the couch and poured out our hearts (okay, so maybe I did the pouring...the pastor is a bit weary on Sunday nights) to the Lord. And then we talked about a new way to handle Riley's fit-throwing. Riley loves to watch t.v. Now, when I say t.v., I'm talking about dvd's like VeggieTales, Max Lucado's Hermie & Friends, old Looney Tunes cartoons, etc. His normal routine is to watch something for a little while in the mornings while I'm cleaning up around the house, and then he and Daniel usually watch part of an old Disney movie or other video when he comes home from work. So, we decided to take away t.v. completely for a day. And guess what? No fits today! There were a couple of times when a fit could have started, but we quickly reminded him what would happen if it did (no t.v. again tomorrow) and he quickly stopped. We'll see how tomorrow goes! Like I said, though, I'm thankful Daniel was home this morning to help diffuse any possible problems that could have arisen due to a new routine.

2. Riley's prayer for Daniel's Peru trip. Daniel leaves this Friday to lead a team of 5 back to Huayacundo Arma, Peru. He hasn't been there since April, so he's just a little excited! We're excited for him as well - and excited that we get to go to Little Rock and stay with Daniel's mom for the week, as opposed to staying home by ourselves! Anyway, this morning at breakfast Riley and I were talking about Daniel going to Peru. I mentioned that we needed to pray for Daddy as he gets ready for his trip. Riley immediately stuck out his hand (signaling he wanted to pray right then), so I took it and he began praying. "Father, thank you for my daddy. Thank you that you're going to keep him safe when he goes to Peru. God, please let him tell many people there about Jesus. We love you, Father. Amen." Um, I'd be lying if I told you my eyes were dry when I opened them after that prayer! I could just see God's face light up with a smile while listening to His precious child pray.

3. Ella's observations and waving. Little miss is quite the observant one! She loves to point to people in pictures around our house. Her favorite right now is a family picture of the 4 of us that's in our front entryway. Every time we come out of her room she sees it and begins to point and giggle. I love it! And then just today, she started waving! It's the cutest thing to watch. She especially likes to wave to her brother, trying to get his attention. She was doing it tonight and Riley was so sweet - he just kept saying, "Hey Ella!" and waving back. I LOVE to watch them interact! Brings tears to my eyes many times a day!

4. So this next one may not have been a favorite from the day, but it was absolutely a first for me! As Riley does many times throughout the day, he ran to me this afternoon and said, "Mama, I need to go tinkle!" So, I took him to the bathroom. The particular bathroom we went to in the house has a sink directly across from the toilet, so after I put him up on the toilet (it's way too tall for him to stand), I just leaned back against the sink like I always do. The next thing I knew, there was tinkle on my lower leg. That's right, apparently he wasn't quick enough in pointing it down, and the tinkle shot across the room and sprayed me. Oh, the joy of having a boy! :)

5. The FALL-LIKE weather! Love it! Today felt so wonderful! This morning the 4 of us walked to Dollar General to get deodorant. They were having an amazing clearance sale, and we ended up buying a TON of stuff for $33. It was incredible! Anyway, about the weather. We actually opened the windows in the house today for a while and enjoyed some fresh air because it was so cool outside. Now, remember, this IS Texas, so when I say 'cool,' I'm talking in the 70's. But, it felt so nice!

6. And probably my favorite part of today was spending this evening going for a walk and enjoying a picnic at a playground with my 2 favorite kiddos. Daniel went with a friend to Dallas to pick up a vehicle (not ours!!!), so we were on our own tonight. Riley's really been wanting to play at the school playground, so since school was out for the day, I thought it'd be fun to walk up to the school, eat and play. And fun it was! Both kids had a blast.

Enjoying his picnic

Fun times...but a picture's never quite complete until the 4th member is present!

Right after taking this picture, Riley looked at me and said, "Mama, I need to tinkle!" He and I both went to the bathroom before we left the house because I knew there wouldn't be anywhere around there to go. I said, "Riley you just went!" And his response, "But I need to go again!" So, I looked around to see if anyone was close by, and then my son may or may not have christened a small section of the kindergarten playground. :)

Riley spent 90% of his time on this "motorcycle" - and the neighborhood around probably heard his "vrooming" sounds :)

This is THE largest 'baby' swing I have ever seen! It was her first time to swing, and she loved it!

No, I didn't let my 9-month-old go down the slide, but I did let her sit at the bottom :) She wanted to be like her big brother so badly and go down that thing! One day, sweet girl!

A perfect picture doesn't come along very often, but I think this one comes pretty close to being perfect! Also, you'd never know they were brother and sister, would you?! HA!

Look at that tongue!

I don't think I will ever get tired of pushing these two around town! Ok, so maybe physically I do get a little tired sometimes, (or as Riley says to me while we're walking up a steep hill, "Mama, this is a good workout!") but I love walking with them and watching as they 'take it all in.'

7. And last, but certainly not least, I love the beauty God gave us on the way home. I couldn't help but praise Him for reminding me through creation that yes, there will be storms in life (ie. difficult moments of parenting, trials at church, etc), BUT He is always there and will always bring beauty from ashes, joy from pain. (Isaiah 61:2-4)

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