Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Difference a Choice Makes

After the busyness of the last few weeks, it feels good to just sit down and have a breather.  It was a good Christmas, besides the fact that I probably put on 20 lbs. in 5 days.  I Could. Not. Stop. Eating.  Not a good thing to be pregnant over the holidays, but at least it gives you an excuse to go back for seconds and thirds.

This Christmas left me feeling very thankful for what the Lord's given me.  Eric and I both have such awesome families.  And it's just something I take for granted too often.

My grandma turned 80 over Christmas and we had a party for her.

She was so cute, she wrote a book about her life and gave it to all of us.  I can't think of a more perfect gift or one that I'll cherish more.

As we sat down to eat, my uncle prayed and thanked God for how her life has had an impact on our family eternally.  I've never really thought of that before but as he said it, it made me feel grateful for her in a different way.

I've always been grateful for her...


but I never really considered the impact that her choice to follow Christ had on the rest of us.  What would life be like if she had not made that choice? Would my dad be a believer? Would my parents have even married?  Would I even be here? 

It's kind of one of those things that makes you realize that you never know what kind of impact your decision to follow Christ has on others. Who knew I would find myself praising the Lord today for a choice that was made over 70 years ago?

This Week's Verse:

Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
Matthew 25:34-36

Friday, December 16, 2011

I Just Can't do it, Captain

I am by nature a pretty competitive person.  Right now that competitiveness has pretty much been reduced to a intense game of cards.  So since I don't have much of an outlet - like sports - for it anymore, I tend to get really ticked when I can't do something that someone else can.

Here's something I just CAN NOT do and everyone else seems to have no problem with it......

Make sugar cookies.

I try around Christmas time every year, and every year presents a new problem:

This year my first batch of cookies looked like this:

Last time I checked sugar cookies were not supposed to look 90 years old.

And boy was I ticked. 

Let's just say my kids lost interest after I rolled out the first batch. 

I either roll them out too thin or make them to thick.

Then they stick to the counter and I can't get them off.

Then I say some Christian curse words.

Then I tell the girls "I need some space."

Then I put the dough in a ball again, throw down some flour and try again.

Then I miraculously get some on the pan.

Then I burn them.

Then my husband walks in and I say something mean to him to get some frustration out.

I just can't do it, Captain! 
(this is a line off some movie that my family always quotes with a very convincing Brittish accent, currently it's driving me nuts that I can't remember which movie.)

But my competitive nature will not let this lick me.  Some year I will master it!  In the meantime, I did discover that frosting covers a MULTITUDE of sins.

Since the cookies tasted okay I even had the audacity to take them to neighbors.

The girls joined back in after I finally got the cookies "done."  Then we had fun after I cooled off a bit.

I know this begs the question, "Is it really worth all the stress?" 

All I can say to that is "yes, until I can make them as good as anyone else."

This Week's Verse:

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
Psalm 55:22

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Birthday Party for Jesus

This was my second annual attempt at hosting a birthday party for Jesus in my home.  I decided last year that we put so much emphasis on the girls' birthdays that this would be a good way to show them that Jesus is just as much a part of this family as they are. 

We had a blast doing it last year, only I decided it would be a lot less stressful for me if I asked a couple of my friends to help this year.  And my wonderful party plannin' friends said "yes!"

Malinda and Angela - thanks, you guys are the best!

For the two times I've done this, I've realized there are so few resources out there on ideas for a Jesus birthday party. So for those of you who want to do this in your homes sometime, I will go over some of our ideas. (And for those of you who couldn't possibly add one more thing to their plate at this time of year - believe me, I GET IT!!!  There are many ways to celebrate Jesus's birth as a family and this is just one!)

We decided to take the "Angel" route this year and talk about the angels role in announcing the birth of Jesus.  Angela put these cute invites together:

I included a little angel ornament with them because I don't know about your kids, but mine LOVE getting a little something in the mail.

I made some halo's for the kids to wear:

Angela did an angel window decoration craft for the kids by gluing tissue paper and to waxed paper. 

Malinda read the Bible story starting with the Angel's announcement and did a "find the hidden angels" game:

Last year we had the kids bring some of their toys to give away to a local charity.  This year we had the kids bring gifts to Blake to welcome him home.

He was so cute opening them!

Lastly, we had cake and ice cream!

I free-handed this Angel off the invitation....I totally don't have any drawing abilities. So, I was pretty proud of myself and as my sister would say, "the force was with me" when I decorated it.

After everyone left, I found my inner control freak stressing about whether or not we got any point across. Sometimes I wonder if all the kids care about is playing together!  I had done a lot of praying over our party and above all I just wanted it to be a God-honoring night. 

But at the end of the day, I remembered each little face that rushed to my door with excitement.  Each little smile in anticipation of the next thing. Each child eager to see their present opened by Blake.  And each scream, squeal and squeak of joy. 

The Lord was there and I'm pretty sure he was smiling too.

This Week's Verse:

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Are you Kidding Me?

Please tell me you have days like this:

My girls had a fight over this today...

Not just a little fight, a serious tears and screaming fight.  Over a broken piece of window cling that is 1 centimeter big at best.  They didn't even know what it was, just that one had it and the other one didn't.

So I said, "Are you kidding me?  You are actually fighting over this??" And I confiscated it, like I always do when they fight over something.  They fight over it...it becomes mine.

So now the window cling is in the trash where it probably came from in the first place.

And I'm realizing there are days when I feel like I have taught nothing useful, done nothing right, am fighting a losing battle, and feel like just throwing in the towel.

And today is one of them.

But at least some fights are worth a good laugh.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Meeting Blake

We got to have our friends Anna and Jarod over last night to officially meet Blake, their new son.  I felt like I already knew him from reading her blog and keeping updated on her adoption process, but it still seemed surreal to have him in our home.  He was totally squeezable, adorable and as active as any little boy around!

I am continually amazed at the heart of my friend.  See how busy she is?

But she's so happy to have all her kids under one roof. I'm sure there will be many tough times ahead, but she was willing.  Despite the unknowns of raising a down's syndrome baby and the unknowns of adoption in general she was willing to do what not many people do. 

I'm actually fortunate to have a lot of people around me who have adopted or are in the process and I think that's an awesome thing.  Not only for them, but for me. They kind of prompt me to ask myself, would I be this accepting?  Loving?

Because of Anna and Jarod and my sister/brother-in-law, adoption is a hot topic in our house right now. Rylie recently asked, "Mom, when are we going to adopt?"  Don't you just love a child-like faith?  I love that it seems like the norm to her that people take others into their lives and homes without hesitation.

Adoption is commonplace in my circle of friends and family.  And, what a gift! 

Obviously it's a gift to the child.  Not only are they brought into a loving home, but they are going to be surrounded by other kids in the community who have also been adopted.

It's a gift to the families who are adopting. At the very least, they are given a chance to grow in faith and love as they try to figure out how best to do this thing God has asked of them.

And it's a gift to those of on the outside looking in.  We get to participate in the process, watch the kids grow and flourish in their new homes, and above all, ask ourselves, could I possibly do something like this?  Does God want this for my life too?  What way can I show love to others as unselfishly as these people have?

So, thank you to those of you who follow the Lord's leading in your lives without hesitation.  Your love is abounding and it truly is a gift.  May the glory and praise be to God!

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:9-11
~ This week's verse

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanks Laughter

This past weekend was a good one.  It brought me a lot of laughter and happy moments. It was a good transition into Thanksgiving week.  Here were some things that made my weekend...


Thanks to everyone who posted their pregnancy stories in last week's blog.  I have been giggling off and on about many of them over the last few days. Mainly because I can relate to so much of it.  In fact, I have had my own "pizza incident" and my own good cry over thinking I'm going to be a horrible mom. Irrationality is just so darn funny sometimes!


Thanks to Panda Kitchen for opening in our town when I am 6 months pregnant and have the will power of a 2 year old.  My husband will blaze a trail to your doors over the next few months. Sesame chicken and fried rice, I love you.


Thanks Breaking Dawn (Part 1) for giving my best bud and me a chance to relive our youth.  Thank you for your cheesiness, your ability to suck us in year after year and the never-ending tension between Edward and Bella.  And thank you for stretching it out into 2 parts so we can do it all over again in a year.


Thank you Lord for happiness, joy, and laughter. 

This Week's Verse:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
John 1:1-3

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pregnancy Rage and Shining Moments

When I was pregnant for the first time, it didn't take long before I came to terms with the fact that I had no control over my emotions.



Not only was I all of the sudden overcome with uncontrollable fits of crying and the crankies, but my anger took on a life of it's own.  My sisters and I coined the term "pregnancy rage" because really, it's a special anger and it deserves it's own classification. What makes it so "special" is that it builds and builds and intensifies to the point that you totally freak out on someone.  And after doing that, you don't even feel better you just feel angrier.  And it could last for days, months, or even 9 months...actually.

Unfortunately, with my first pregnancy, my younger sister, Becky, was the object of my rage.  It's something we laugh about now, but at the time, if she even looked at me the wrong way - her head was coming off.  This went on for 9 months.  And, of course, my husband and kids get to see my "pregnancy rage" most often, and if there's not a crown for them in heaven...there will be no greater injustice.

So, not only do I have to try to deal with this rage issue, I also have to endure what I call my "shining moments" of pregnancy.  These are otherwise known as my complete public meltdowns.  You know that One Shining Moment song they play after the college basketball championship game every year?  I've often thought they need to start playing that song while showing clips of pregnant women coming unglued in public.

When I was pregnant with Rylie, over Christmas break I had a complete freak out, crying episode over sleeping on an air mattress. This in front of the family, while glaring at Becky, with my husband saying in the background "let's just give Tami what she wants!"  My family loves this story and now whenever I have an idea or opinion they like to say, "let's just give Tami what she wants." And then everyone bursts out laughing.  It's wonderful...these moments.  They don't just last a moment do they??

My excuse: I was sicker than a dang dog.

And again, while pregnant with Austyn, my "shining moment" came at a wonderful time.  During Sunday School class.  Someone asked how I was doing and I started crying and I couldn't stop. In front of 20+ people.  I eventually just left.  Oh, for the love! 

My excuse:  I hadn't slept in days.

Please don't ask me how I'm doing.

I came pretty close to my "one shining moment" with this pregnancy the other day.  But I made it to the car and out of the public eye before I completely lost it, so it technically doesn't count.  I'll let you know when I've achieved it so we can all enjoy the moment together.

I always find calm, collected, warm and cozy pregnancy pictures to be funny, so I had Eric snap a quick one of me today. In my case it's funny anyway because nothing could be farther from the truth. :) 

I know there are more pregnancy rage stories and shining moments out there, so if you have one, you've gotta share. 

If you need some examples I'll tell on my sisters, I'm sure they'll appreciate it....

Ann cried at a restaurant when she realized the waitress forgot to put the croutons on her salad. 

My other sister Amber, had a Christmas tree die before Christmas so she tried to return it to Home Depot and get a replacement.  They kept going from manager to manager trying to decide if they should let her and she got so mad she started crying.  They quickly came to a decision and said, "ma'am pick a tree and pull your car around."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

At Last

My friend Anna left today for the Ukraine to go get this little guy.

Blake Andrew

The one they've been waiting for, praying for, hoping for, fighting for and loving!
I would love if you would join me in praying for Anna and her husband, Jerad, this week!

Pray for:

~Jerad as he's home with their 2 girls this week while Anna and her mom travel to get Blake

~ Safe Travel
~ Ease of getting Blake's birth certificate and passport

~That Blake gets medically cleared to enter the U.S.

~ A smooth plane ride back for Blake, Anna and her mom

~ That nothing would hold them back from bringing him home

~ For their girls and their family to adjust well to having a new sibling

Go get him Anna!

This Week's Verse:

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
James 1:12

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Missing Time

I remember writing this over a year ago,

"Someone once gave my friend great advice "just let life be what it is." Sounds simple, yet it's not easy at all. I just told some of my friends the other day that the main reason I don't want to have another baby is the interruption of my schedule. I can get up early have a little time before the girls wake up to workout and do devotions. If I had another baby this would be gone for at least a year."

Well, with our decision to add to our family, my fears have been realized sooner than I anticipated. My schedule is already shot to heck and I haven't even had the baby yet. Morning sickness, followed by a cold that wouldn't end, insomnia and a 5 year old who's now scared of the dark have taken care of any time or energy I ever had for working out or devotions.

I know I just simply have to be okay with this and "just let life be what it is." There's not much I can do about it. But, I miss it. I miss the feeling of balancing my Bible on one knee and my journal on the other. I miss a hot coffee in one hand and a pen in the other. I miss the quiet. I miss resting in His presence. I miss Him.

Now my day often goes by with learning my weekly memory verse and prayers on the fly as my sole sources of time spent with God. Both are often while I'm listening to an argument about who had what Barbie first, fixing something to eat, or putting in a load of laundry.

Much of my spiritual energy and motivation comes from studying Scripture and when I am unable to do that for long periods of time, I feel a little lost.

It just seems like this is the time in my life when what I need the most is so far from me that I can't see an ending. And the fact that I can't handle anything right now is not lost on me.

I just really, really, really don't like the excuse that "this is just the season of life you're in right now." I think I'm just going to have to figure out a way to worship without resting in worship. And it may just have to be in little snippets of time.

In the beauty that is God.

If you have something that works for you please share!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Just Between Us

I guess you could say that I'm one of the lucky ones.  My husband's love language is gift giving.  Not only does he love giving me gifts, he's pretty stinkin' good at it.  And turns out, I love getting gifts - so everyone wins!

In our 14 years together he's only had a few missteps.  For example, one Sunday his grandma showed up to church with the same necklace on that he had just bought for me.  I wasn't sure he would notice but the minute she left the room he said, "okay, sorry I got you the same necklace as grandma, I blew it on that one." And we laughed, a lot.

But that's definitely the exception because he normally does an awesome job. He plots and plans for months on gifts.  And I usually get one or two before the actual event because he "just can't wait" to give them to me. 

He's pretty creative too...

He has said "pack your bags, we're going on a trip tomorrow."
He has gotten me a babysitter for the day because I needed some time for myself.
He has...

done scavenger hunts
brought flowers just because
given massages, pedi's, mani's
held surprise parties
made me cake balls (because he read they were what every mom was getting for Mother's Day)
surprised with happy hour Sonic drinks
gotten me a house cleaning
given me employee bonuses for watering and weeding the flowers at his workplace (which is more of a joke because the flowers are always half dead and weedy)
had my windows washed
etc, etc, etc

After I get a gift my friends usually roll their eyes and say, "what'd he do this time? Take you up in a hot air balloon?"

To which I reply, "tried, but it was too windy."

He just is always thinking about what he can do for me or get for me next.  And frankly I don't deserve that kind of treatment...but I love every minute of it.  It does occasionally make me feel guilty though, because I'm fresh out of ideas when it comes to gifts for him.  I'm always saying, "let's just not do presents this time."  But he does it anyway and then I look like the jerk.  He just can't help himself, so I guess I must allow it to go on.

So last week, he gave me one of my most favorite gifts of all time (no occasion, just because).  And he said, "don't tell anybody, I'll totally lose my street cred."  So, if you could, let's just keep this between us.

I present to you.....The Love Book

These are just a few of my favorite pages out of the 75(!) in the book.


I told him I needed to share it on my blog as a Christmas present idea for others.  The last thing I want to happen is for my husband to lose his street cred! So...here's the link everyone.

Look what you can do for Christmas for someone special!  :)

He's just so worth my bragging on him a little...


This Week's Verse:

"If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever - the Spirit of Truth.  The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
John 14:15-17

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Carvin' out Time

Ok, in light of my last depressing post, I thought I would show you I do get to enjoy life when I'm not too busy being a drama queen about things.

In the last few days we've had quite a bit of fun.

We carved some pretty cool pumpkins...

(By the way this is my favorite part of carving pumpkins....yummm)

I got to go on a much needed date with Mr. D.
We saw Courageous.
(I bawled from start to finish). 
A must see for daddy's out there.

And, I got to take a bride and a bumble bee trick or treating.

(There were definitely some Bridezilla moments....darn those people who dare to step on a bride's train!)

At one point my bride asked if she could be "sugar" for Halloween.
Why? "Because I like it so much."
But, in the end, the beauty of a bride won out.

So, am I in hot water if I say that I love Halloween?
It's just so much fun.

And look! Those fall cookies I never got around to making, someone made them for us.  Her name is Grandma and she's wonderful. :) 

How can life seem overwhelming when you have things like these to make you smile?

Especially things like a bride and bumble bee holding hands.

This Week's Verse:

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12

Monday, October 24, 2011

Something's Gotta Give

I'm in too deep.  Completely overwhelmed and don't have a minute to catch my breath....and it's catching up with me.  I'm sure many stay-at-home mom's can testify to this fact:  you can be at home and still have a full time job.  A career in the workforce is simply replaced with volunteering, church activities, Bible Studies, school committee's and functions, etc.

And, the thing is, I stay at home so naturally the assumption is that I should be able to bake those brownies for a church function. (I was given a recipe for brownies....are you kidding me? My family doesn't even gets homemade brownies!).  I should have plenty of time to make reminder calls to "remind" others to attend a training.  And, every good Christian woman should be involved in a Bible study.  Not to mention a prayer group for your kids while they're attending school.  Oh, and that trip to the pumpkin patch that the Kindergarten class is going on....I stay at home so I want to go need to go.

Well, guess what?

Decorating fall cookies with my kids is replaced by making homemade brownies for church.

While trying to make uninterrupted "reminder" calls, my kids sit in front of the TV.

I yell at my kids to "hurry up and eat your breakfast" so I can drag them to Bible study with me.

I listen as my 5 year old tells me she just wants to "stay home and play," but then tell her to "get dressed we need to get to prayer group."

The trip to the pumpkin patch seems like a chore because I have been going, going, going and all I really want to do is sit down and rest.

I have to pencil in time with friends...something's just wrong with that.

No one is to blame for all of these commitments but me. I got myself in too deep and believed the lie that "I should be able to do _________ since I stay at home."  Well, turns out, I do not fall into the "supermom" category. I am learning the hard way that my kids and husband are my full time job.  So after way too many months of this craziness, I found it. 

My breaking point.

It culminated itself in a fight. 

My husband asked me to help him with something over the lunch hour.  What?  Do you think I have time for that?  I have to feed the kids and get Rylie out the door for school, how could I possibly have time for one more thing?

Yelling.  Slamming doors.  Childish behavior.  A bewildered, "mommy, you and daddy are fighting just like me and Austyn do."  Followed by a lunchtime prayer for mom and dad to stop fighting.

Breaking point.

Somethings Gotta Give.

(To be Continued...)
(this is me making myself accountable to let go of some things, and I'll write about it when I do.)

This Week's Verse:

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

Fitting, don't ya think? :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Get Over Yourself

A few thoughts on my verse to memorize from last week:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
1 Chronicles 7:14 

After Solomon finished building the temple the Lord appeared to him and gave the people of Israel instructions on how to attain forgiveness.  He gave them four conditions they must follow in order to receive forgiveness for their sin.  Humble themselves, pray, seek the Lord's face, and turn from their wicked ways.

I don't think the Lord made any mistakes when he listed them in that order.  Why is "humble themselves" the Lord's first condition?  My guess is because it's the most difficult by a mile.  Once you can humble yourself, you're able to see sin for what it is and the rest of the conditions seem to be a natural progression after that.

When I think of what it means to humble one's self, all these beautiful words and phrases come to mind.  Meek.  A spirit of submission.  Not proud or arrogant.  Modest.  But really, the phrase that sticks out most often is "to just get over yourself!"

When I was in college I played basketball for four years. Going into my senior year, we were about to have a coaching change. I loved our old coach and wasn't sure what to expect from our new one. I do remember being optimistic about some getting some wins on the board. Well, much to my regret, the new coach and I took an immediate dislike to one another.  Turns out, I didn't like change so much.  My attitude toward her got me well acquainted with the bench.  And, as you can imagine, this only infuriated me more.

I'm not really a trouble-maker by nature, but I spent a lot of time in her office discussing my attitude that year. I wish I could tell you that I "just got over myself" but my attitude and bitterness consumed me for the entire season.  It literally did not cross my mind that I could be part of the problem.  Looking back I wish I would've had the spiritual maturity to see my sin for what it was.

I often think about how things might have turned out if I would have humbled myself and given the coach a chance.  Prayed about my situation instead of complaining to friends.  If I would've tried to seek the Lord's face, not do things on my own.  And then finally, turn from my wicked ways.  Hmmmm.....what might have happened?  I think at the very least, I wouldn't look back with regrets and shame.

We so often look at the Israelites and think how obvious their sins were.  It should've been easy for them to see that it was their own sin that was bringing affliction upon themselves and their land.  By the time of Solomon's reign they'd had plenty of practice on how to attain forgiveness.  But, all we need to do is look at our own lives and we will be able to understand that what sounds good on paper is stinking hard in real life.  Until you've humbled yourself, you can't see sin when it's staring you in the face.

This Week's Verse:

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
John 8:12

Friday, October 14, 2011

Golden Boy gets Married

Meet my brother Daniel.  I thought you should have a visual to go with my posts about him.  I referenced him HERE if you remember.  (I am now back to wearing those capri's by the way, unfortunately they are the only pair that fits right now...)

Ann, Amber, Me, Becky and Dan

My sisters and I affectionately dubbed him the "golden boy," for obvious reasons of course.  Not only is he the baby of our large family, he is also the only boy.  So, in our eyes, what Dan wants......Dan gets. 

We weren't allowed to get a car until college, but Dan?  He got two....in high school.  A boy just has to have a truck and a car. 

Contacts were not allowed until freshman year of high school.  Dan?  6th grade.  After all, boys break their glasses all the time.  (Do you know how ugly my glasses were?  I'll post a pic sometime and you'll sympathize with me.) 

As dad's "hired hands," we girls had to milk cows on our dairy farm until we were out of the house.  Yes, think manure, 4:00 am shifts, and mean Holstein bulls.  No milking for Dan.  Boys get to do field work.

This would all be very darned annoying if Dan weren't such an idiot.  And I mean that in an affectionate way.  He's the life of the party - the room comes alive when Dan walks in.  You can't help but love him and want the best for him. 

He has that gift of making everyone feel like they're important and that they're worth talking to.  You kind of just gravitate toward him. There is nothing lacking in his confidence department, but somehow it only makes him more appealing. (I mean, how often can a person refer to themselves as "ridiculously good looking" and still not be annoying?)

Well, the Golden Boy got married last weekend.  It was an awesome wedding, and what made it even more awesome?  Her...

Preggo brain forgot to bring her camera to the wedding so this is a pic from my sisters phone.

Beautiful Chelsa.  I couldn't have picked a better girl for our little Danny.  She is the perfect match for him.  It was pretty cool to see how the Lord brought them together. 
We are all so blessed to have Chelsa officially in the family!

They let me snap some engagement pics for them - I just had to share this one!
Thanks to my friend Jen for editing it to perfection :).

Congrats Dan and Chelsa!
Love ya.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Girls are Hard to Beat

I didn't expect the tears to come so suddenly.  Or at all, really.  I guess I wanted it more than I thought.

"Are we sure we want to find out what we're having today?" asked the sono tech.

"Yep," Eric and I said in unison as we smiled in anticipation at one another.  Having two girls already, I was just sure this was a boy.  I had the name picked out and who I would call first and tell.  I envisioned Eric having a little buddy to follow him around.  He would eventually turn into a tall basketball player with lots of Division 1 prospects, a star baseball player, and a state high jumper like his daddy.  Being a 4.0 student, his high school years would be followed by a career in medicine, of course. 

Then I awoke from my dream to a reality I wasn't prepared for.

"Okay, well it looks like another little girl!" said the tech with a smile on her face.  Do you see here where the....

Nothing.  I heard nothing else.  Tears.  Lots of them.  Couldn't stop them.

"What's the matter?" said Dr. Bradley at my follow up appointment.

"I'm having a girl!" I wailed, "and I wanted a boy!!"

"Oh, good, because usually they tell me in advance if there's not a heartbeat or something," he laughed. "It could be worse, the lady who just left here was crying because she just found out she's having twins." More laughter.

Ha. Ha.

It's ridiculous, I know.  I have a healthy baby, what a waste of tears, right?  This is what I kept telling myself.  I guess it's the dying of a dream.  If this is how I reacted to having three girls, learning I have a fourth on the way would definitely be the end of me. This is most likely it for us, unless the Lord has different plans.  But, if I've found out anything in the last few days, it's that the Lord definitely has his own plans!

I always imagined myself having boys. Mainly because I don't like drama and where there are girls...drama is sure to follow.  I grew up with three sisters, I know this better than anyone else.

So, with visions of drama swirling in my head and tears streaming down my face, I texted my family (I wasn't in any shape to talk on the phone):

We're having another girl! Only positive comments are welcome...it's gonna take me a minute to digest this :).

My dad was the first to respond:

Take it from an expert. Girls are hard to beat.

More tears. Sobbing actually.

That was my turning point. My wake up call.  My two little girls at home sure as heck can't be beat, and I know this one still growing inside me would far surpass any boy I envisioned.  After all, girls can play Division 1 too. 

And, that father/daughter bond....take it from me - there's nothing like it.

It's gonna be okay.

Girls are hard to beat.

This Week's Verse:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rockin' the Gut

Have you heard that country song "Rockin' the Beer Gut?"  You're not missing out if you haven't.  It's one of those songs that you have no idea how it ever made it to radio.

I haven't disliked a song this much since "She Thinks my Tractor's Sexy." 

If you want to lose brain cells, have a listen...

The problem is, I find myself relating to this song and I can't get it out of my head.

It's kind of my anthem right now.

Not that I'm a beer drinker.

I am just in that weird stage of pregnancy that makes it look like I have a beer gut.

Or that I had too much bread at dinner.

Every time I get dressed it pops into my head. Every time someone notices my gut, yep. When my girls look at me wide-eyed and say "man, your tummy is big." There it is....she's rockin' the beer gut, la da da da da.

I suppose I should just own it and rock it, huh?  What else is a girl to do?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Supwise Me

Austyn turned 3 yesterday.  We partied all weekend.  She wanted to go camping for her birthday so we did.  Have I mentioned that we have a camper?  It's a piece of junk but it beats sleeping in a tent for sure.  I like to camp but I decided I would like it much better with these 2 things:

Air conditioning.
My own bathroom.

So we bought a Craig's List camper a couple years ago and it makes a world of difference.  And really, nothing beats camping for kids.

I grew up doing it and my most favorite memories involve the campground.

Here's a glimpse of our camper, she's a beauty. 
And so is my little princess in her new poofy skirt from her cousins.

Trying out her new trike with her cousin Josiah.

I asked Austyn what she wanted for a birthday cake.  We talk about birthday cakes year round so I was kind of shocked when she said "Supwise me, mommy."  She had been rolling around the idea of a tiger cake or barbie cake so I was kind of excited when she gave me free reign!

This is what I came up with.  A unicorn cake.  What little girl doesn't love a unicorn?

Her reaction wasn't quite as strong as I had anticipated.....

Because, let's face it, when you put in so much work you expect shrieks and squeals and tears of joy running down their faces.  Or at least you hope for a smile or two.

I asked her what kind of cake she thought I would make and she said, "a monster cake."  What?  Oh brother, that's one we never talked about.  And where in the world did she get that idea?

I think she liked the unicorn in the end, after the shock of not getting a monster cake wore off.  But I'm not sure I'm going to be doing any more "supwise cakes."

Click HERE if you want to make this fabulous Unicorn Cake. :)

Oh, and I had a genius idea that I thought I would share for all you moms who try to decorate your own birthday cakes.  I always try to frost the cake the night before and then can never find a cover big enough to put over it so the frosting doesn't dry out.  So, here was my light bulb moment.  Empty out a storage tub and use it!

Here's my storage tub with all that's left of the unicorn.

And, to my little mamma's girl...

Happy Birthday Austyn.
I love you!

You're so worth a Unicorn Cake, Monster Cake,
Tiger Cake and Barbie Cake
all rolled into one!

This Week's Verse:

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:21-24

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What is Most Important to You?

Eric and I were visiting a church of our friends' (miss you Stephen and Mary K!) a while back and the pastor issued a challenge that has stuck with me.  He said something along these lines,

"I want you to think about what the most important thing in your life is. Something that you spend a lot of time doing or thinking about doing.  Look at your pocketbook and your calendar and that will probably give you a good answer.  I challenge you to ask a person close to you what they think is most important to you right now."

So naturally, I wondered what Eric would say was the most important thing in my life right now.  So I asked him. (This is always a little scary to do for obvious reasons.....I tend to get a little defensive.)  But, I already knew what I would say about myself, I just wanted to know if it was that obvious to others.  It was. 

My time.

My life absolutely revolves around my quiet times.  I live for them.  Ain't nobody gonna mess with my nap time or my time after the kids go to bed.  I loathe phone calls, interruptions, chores, tasks, basically anything that takes away from time to do what I want to do. 

So, notice I keep saying "MY  time."  That's exactly how I view it.  But, what if I started to view it as God's time?  What might I accomplish in the amount of time I have?  Because it really does amount to quite a bit if I add it up.

I would love someday for someone to say that the most important thing to me is "others."  But, I know I'm not there or even close to being there.

In a recent sermon in our church, Mother Teresa was quoted as saying,

"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love."

This may be one of my favorite quotes.  There's just such a rich truth in it.  I am at the place right now where it hurts to love.  It hurts because I have to give up some of my time to love.  My weekends, my nap times, my evenings. 

You'd probably have to put me in the crazy house if I didn't get some time to myself, but this challenge made me realize how much value I place on that time.  Too much.

Yesterday in my devotions I read this verse and it spoke to me like never before,

"A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34-35

So how will people know I'm a disciple of Christ?  The verse doesn't say:

By how much money I give....
By selling all my possessions and giving them to the poor...
By how many people I share the gospel with...
By all the church activities I get involved in...

As the familiar song goes, "they'll know we are Christians by our love."  All these things listed above can manifest themselves in love, but we really need to begin with loving.  And for me that begins with giving up some "me time" and turning it into "others time."  And it's gonna hurt.  But, what a wasted life, to be defined as someone who values time to herself. 

I want to be defined by loving others.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Idea of Romance

After 10 years of marriage this is what melts my heart.

Not flowers
Not beach vacations
Not expensive gifts

But folded underwear in the right piles.
Austyn wears Elmo's and Dora's.
Rylie wears princess and fairies.

Not only does my husband help me fold laundry,
He knows who wears what - down to the last detail.

Ahhhh...romance in it's finest form.

What's your idea of romance?

This Week's Verse:

Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The LORD is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Isaiah 40:28-29

What an awesome God we have!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Trip of Firsts

Being a small town Kansas girl, my Caribbean trip allowed me to see and do a few things for the very first time.  That's the beauty of vacationing right?  For instance...

Have you ever been to a nude beach?
I can now say that I have.
Welcome to St. Maarten.

I can assure you there were no butts this high or firm on the beach.

So, no camera's were allowed but I couldn't help myself.  The immaturity still runs deep, however, props for me because I didn't start to giggle until I returned to my beach chair.

A couple questions still linger in my mind after this experience.

Do you really need a tan there? Really?

Should nude beaches have a
 "One Must Actually Look Good Nude"

Half of the island of St. Maarten was French, hence the no-shame attitude.  Not only were there public nude beaches but also public restrooms shared by both men and women.  It is a little unsettling to see a guy standing at a urinal when you walk in the bathroom...

Welcome to the beautiful Antigua rain forest. 
We ziplined here.
Easily one of the coolest experiences of my life.
Besides the fact that I almost passed out. I think I was pushing my little baby to the limit!

Have you ever kayaked in the Ocean?
Thank the Lord we didn't tip over.
They don't call them "divorce boats" for nothing.

In St. Croix

Here we are snorkeling with the sea turtles in Barbados.
We didn't see any turtles though. 
We apparently weren't fast enough or ever in the right place at the right time, figures.

And finally, our last "first" of the trip.
We said we were going to get tattoos for our 10th anniversary.
And we did.

Okay, so we chickened out. They're fake.  I would like to think we would be a tad more creative if we ever get the guts to take the plunge.  Maybe we're still afraid of what are parents would say....:)

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