Saturday, July 9, 2011

Lake Baby

We have discovered a love for the lake! (Um, yeah... this is why I have been absent for a while! We have been spending ALL our free time out there!) I was worried about taking Smily Boy, though, but APPARENTLY, he loves it too!! Check him out:

He goes around and around in circles! What a cutie!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Flashback Friday - Scary Then, Funny Now

Today’s memory involves car explosions, a super-hero brother and a rescued damsel in distress!    Well, just a rescued me, but damsel-in-distress sounded more dramatic!
Yes, when I was around 8, our station wagon caught on fire! While. We. Were. Driving!  

Talk about S-C-A-R-Y!!!! 

It started smoking and my mom pulled over, made us rush out of the car and run as far away as possible. “It’s gonna blow up!” we screamed.  In the adrenaline rush, I lost my shoe, but I kept running. It was only when we finally stopped that I realized I was missing my shoe!

My baby brother was 5, ya’ll. YES, 5. However, being the man of the house, he bravely declared that HE would go back and get my shoe!
“NO!” Screamed my mom.
Then I started I crying.
 I was about to kill my baby brother because I couldn’t keep my shoe on.

However, my fearless five-year-old brother ran fast as his little legs could carry him back to the smoking station wagon and back to me, with shoe in hand. I was rescued by my baby brother. I smothered him with hugs and kisses. My mom did the same. It was a scene right out of the movies.
Well, in my mind at least ;)  LOL.

Then, the other day, my mom tells me we used to make fun of her driving that station wagon. THIS I did NOT remember. Apparently, when she bought it, she could only afford a manual, but she had never driven one. So as she pulled it off the lot it went “start-stop-start-stop” all jerky like, and my brother and I laughed and laughed, she says. Then she tells me that we said “Mom, I thought you knew how drive!”

HAHAHA! Obviously did not understand the difference between an automatic and a manual car. But this provided some laughs then and now. It was fun (NOW) talking about our burning station wagon. I wonder if my brother remembers this?

Be sure to link up your Flashback for today! Tell us about a memory that was scary then, but funny now! Can’t wait to read them!


Friday, June 3, 2011

Flashback Friday - Beginnings

Do you ever have flashbacks? Like when an old song comes on the radio and suddenly you remember where you were the first time you heard it?  Or maybe a smell drifts across your nose and magically you are transported back to your childhood? I have those all the time. When I hear almost any song my Bryan Adams I remember laying on the floor of my bedroom, pining away about all my tweenage worries. When I smell an old diesel car’s fumes, I feel like I am back in Colombia during one of the many summers I spent there as a child. These flashbacks are fun to recall.

Other memories are more powerful, though. Like lessons I learned as a kid or teenager that I wish I could pass on to my kids, as well as experiences I went through that I want to share with my sister, who is experiencing them now.  Recently, I have had a couple family members tell me that my sister believes we have little in common. I want so desperately to have this close, amazing “like sisters” friendship with her. But she is 10 years younger than me and so if she thinks we have little in common, I guess that creates a divide between us. But I feel like memories and flashbacks can connect us, not only to our past, but also to others in the present.

Therefore… I think it would be fun to start a weekly series where we share our flashback moments. No matter what age you are, you always have a past, a “when I was younger” memory. Ex:  My 3 year old told me today “remember when I was a baby and I used to say “wahh! I want my mook!” (aka milk)” See? (And I doubt anyone reading this is 3 years old, so you know you’ve got at least a few more years on her that you could draw memories from to share with us all, LOL) So let’s share our flashbacks to connect and encourage each other, young and old. Maybe some wisdom will be gleaned from them, or even just some laughs. Either way, it will be fun!

To start, I am beginning with my obsession over remembering memories. Since I was a kid I was obsessed with making sure I would remember something. Since I learned to write, I have kept a diary. I know most girls did, so this is nothing revolutionary. However, my reason for keeping it might have been different than most: I wanted to make sure I remembered my childhood and teenage years because I felt like grown-ups forgot all about theirs. I didn’t want to be that grown-up. As a teenager especially, I felt like adults always bunched us all into one group (“TEENAGERS!”)  left it at that. They assumed we were all disrespectful, lazy and careless. I wanted PROOF that I wasn’t, not just for me or my kids when I had them, but for “the rest of the world”, LOL, whatever that meant! No, seriously… I felt it was my duty to show the world all teens weren’t bad. In fact, I believed then (and I still do) that teens are actually pretty powerful young men and women. They have insatiable appetites for creativity and this easily leads to problem solving. What would happen if we challenged teens to do something good with this creative energy, instead of assuming that they want to do the worst with it? I think there would be no stopping them.

Guess what? I still have all those diaries! The other day I was reading the one I started when I was 6. It cracks me up! I will have to try and scan some of those pages and post them. But the funny thing is, I remember writing those entries! I remember how I felt & what I was thinking when I wrote those entries!  So I think we should all keep a diary! We should encourage our kids to do it, and if we don’t already, we should do it! I can’t wait for my kids to read my thoughts I wrote when I was their age. I can’t wait to talk to them about the similarities they see between our thoughts and feelings, and the connection we will form by discovering those bonds. I will be sure to share about this experience when it occurs.  ; )

SOOOO…. Share with me yours! Tell us what you remember thinking about "grown-ups" when you were a kid or teen. Comment below, or link up to your post about your flashback.

It will be fun to read all about our childhood memories and see what similar experiences (or drastically different ones?) we have!

Look forward to reading them!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sew Not So Much

Yeah... this is one of those "I am so embarrased to admit this" posts... BUT... here I go anyway. Why? I have no idea!

I got a sewing machine for Christmas. It was on my Amazon wish list, and I was VERY excited to get it. I must admit however, that I had forgotten I put it on my wish list. When I tried to rememeber when I added it, the thought comes to me that it must have been waaaay before I had 4 kids, 2 jobs, and a house to keep up with! You know, because how on earth would I think I have time to sew (or even learn how to sew?) now?!  However, I was still excited to get it and very determined to put it to use soon after the Christmas rush was over.

AND... here we are in June. Almost 6 months later. Where do you think that awesome sewing machine is now? Yep... still in the box. COMPLETELY UNOPENED!

My 6 year old thinks I'm nuts. I probably am. But he cannot comprehend why I have a sewing machine if I never use it, let alone never even learned how. You see, he is begging me to sew him a list of things. Here's his (current!) list:

  1. A lego man costume
  2. An Angry Birds costume
  3. Angry Birds plush toys
  4. A ninja costume
See a pattern here? He wants a costume for everything! In his mind, the solution is easy... Mom + sewing machine = presto! New Costumes!! It makes sense, really, IF I KNEW HOW TO SEW!!!

OK, so at the top of my "to-do-real-soon list" is LEARN TO USE MY NEW SEWING MACHINE!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer "Treasure Hunts"

Summer is here!  

I love everything about summer:
  • the heat (because heat = water play and I LOOOVE playing with water!)
  • lazy days (ie. no hectic schedules w/ school, activities, homework, projects, etc.)
  • endless time together (see above)
  • free summer deals (see my previous posts about free movies and free zoo visits!)
However, despite my best efforts, I still hear those dreaded words "I'm BORED!"  OK, maybe I don't so much love this part of Summer. But I found something I DO love to help bust that B word! This Massive list of Summer Boredom Busting Ideas!!!

She does a weekly series called Works For Me Wednesday where she shares a tip about something she's found that worked for her to make life easier/better/more fun, and invites her readers to link up their own as well. They have been fun and enlightening to read! I'm not sure I can keep up with posting my own each week, but I sure do enjoy reading hers, so I thought I'd share her link. And maybe I'll post a few of my own when time allows ; ) 

Since today's WFMW is about Summer ideas, I figured this list is a universal necessity for parents in the Summer time, so I wanted to do my part to spread the word about it and share an idea of my own:

I like free. I really like free and educational.And I especially like free, educational and creative! This idea I cam across in  a magazine years ago has become one of our favorite boredom busters for the Summer Time. We call it our Summer Treasure Hunt. And its so simple, fun and time consuming!

  1. Grab a bucket
  2. Go OUTSIDE!
  3. Fill said bucket with all sorts of natural treasures (cool leaves, funny shaped sticks, even BUGS of all shapes and sizes)
  4. sit on driveway sorting through all the "goodies" you found, picking out out favorites, then put them all back
  5. go inside (to cool off!) and write/draw/use play dough to recreate (and recall!) favorite finds
Somewhere (don't remember where) I recently read about a summer idea that expanded on this even further, but since my kids are young (oldest is 6) it doesn't work for us, yet. However, for those with older kids, they would love it: go online together researching those favorite finds to learn more about them. Write these facts on a paper under a photo or drawn picture of the find. Put all these sheets together to create a Summer Nature Journal. What a fun keepsake to have at the end of the summer! Silly as it sounds, I never thought to create a keepsake from this collection of Summer Treasure Hunt Finds. But starting now, I totally will!

Let me know if you have any fun Summer Boredom Busting Ideas! Let's keep this list going and growing!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

FREE Movies are back!!

Every Summer, Movies 278 in Hiram does a Free Family Film Festival!!  HOORAY!!! I love Free Family Fun!  They show the free movies on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. You can see the schedule of movies for this summer here:

(click image to follow link and see other locations as well)

Regal Cinemas used show free movies, too. But this summer they changed it to $1 showings. Bummer. But still, $1 admission is better than $8, so if you don't live near Hiram for the free movies at 278, check out the dollar movies Regal at Town Center in Kennesaw. Or you can check out their other locations as well.  Just go to Regal Cinema's main website.

If you live even further, check with your local theater and see if they have similar programs. I would be surprised if none do. It's a great marketing idea for them as well! Hey... if they don't maybe you could suggest it to them and be the one who brought free family films to your area! Wouldn't THAT ROCK?!

OH! Also, remember, you can review any movie before you go see it at Focus on the Family's PluggedIn Online website. It is incredibly helpful if you like to be picky about what you let your kids watch. We sure do! The great news is that they all usually show a great selection of family friendly movies during the Summer film festival series.

Do you know of other fun, free stuff to do in the Atlanta Area? if so, please share with us all in the comments below! We could all use more free fun!

Monday, May 30, 2011


I realized today I have become SUCH a MOM!  You know, saying those things that one day my kids will quote back either to me or to their own kids. Sayings you rolled  your eyes at as a kid but now see the wisdom in them? Like these, for example:

  • Because I said so!
  • Your rights end where the rights of others begin!
  • Respect the "no" or you won't get a "yes" next time either!
  • I love you to the Moon and Back!
  • Make sure to wash behind your ears!
  • No dinner, no desert
OK Mom, you were right. ;)  I have become you.


...What do you find yourself saying that you thought you never would?

    I Found it!!! A Working Mommy's Club!

    When posted about my stay-at-home-mom-envy and how I Googled searching for other blogs by working moms, I found little comfort. Apparently, I must not even know how to Google correctly, because I missed a TREASURE TROVE!

    This weekend, I was catching up on the blogs I follow, and one of them wrote a quick blurb on her own blog simply stating she was being featured on a blog about working moms. First of all, I didn't even realize SHE was a working mom! (Some follower I must be!) Then, when I followed the link, the blog it led to had a link to the mother load!...

     This is a blog by a working mom for working moms!  Yeah, I had to jump on that! I immediately joined and started reading some of the posts. AHHH! I felt like I had walked in to an oasis after a long hot walk in the desert! SO many of the posts I read felt like they had read my mind! It was so great to read about their ups and downs, their struggles with SAHM envy and sadness over comments their own kids have made regarding being away for work and realize I am not alone feeling any of those same things. Not that I like that we all have this sadness to share in common, but it is comforting to know I am not alone in it.

    I know I am going to love catching up on all the wonderful blogs and getting to know their bloggers. I can't wait for connections to be made and all the wisdom I will gain from their experiences. This is sure to help get me over this rut I've been in since getting back to work after baby #4.

    Optimistically yours :)

    Thursday, May 26, 2011

    Brokenness Behind the Mask

    I have debated writing this post for a long time. However, now the heaviness in  my heart is so burdensome, I must unload it somewhere. For me, this is my safest place to do so.  I have talked about our need to be real with each other and stop playing pretend, like we have to keep our happy masks on all the time but instead share when we are struggling or sad as well. When you are real only then can you have a real relationship. Anything else is fake. I can be fake no longer. This is me behind my masks today:

    I feel like an utter failure. 

    1. My kids are out of control- whining, disobeying and generally lazy. And I know the only one to blame is me. But I do NOT know how to fix it.
    2. My house is a certified disaster. When I read other blogs/posts searching for help about this general topic there is inevitably some Clean Queen who comments something like "I never have trouble keeping my house clean.  I enjoy it actually... I don't understand what your problem is." Me neither. But obviously, there is one.
    3. My envy of stay-at-home-moms is reaching an all time peak. I am incredibly and unbearably overwhelmed juggling 4 kids now, plus the house and a full-time job. As a result, I am trying to figure out a way to "fix it" instead of relying on God that He can and will and wants to provide a way to give me the deepest desires of my heart. So I know I am missing His blessing in a way I cannot comprehend. But I can't stop myself.
    4. Most of all, I find myself crying every single night with a broken heart as another day ends without any contact from one of the most important people in my life. When you are growing up, there is so much you take for granted. Like unconditional love. Then when you grow up and realize it is conditional for some people, it is hard to reconcile this in your head and heart. I keep telling myself  "You're a grown up now!!! (get over it!)" But I still feel like an insecure 16 year old girl most of the time. Especially when feeling the sting of rejection from someone who is supposed to be a rock in your life. I guess the lesson here for me is there truly is only One Rock in this life for us all. And only He can be truly relied on. Everyone else is just human and prone to let you down. Now, how can I write that and know it in my head yet somehow forget it in my heart?

    And now, after thoroughly unloading my heart on you all, I feel the need to write a disclaimer. Yes, I know I am so very blessed. And I am incredibly grateful for the many blessings in  my life! I also know life is never perfect. (What is "perfect" any way?)  I just share what I feel to reach out and test the waters, to vent so it doesn't build up inside, and to, hopefully, help others know they are not alone if are dealing with similar situations. Life has seasons. I am fully aware of this. We are in a tough, hard season and we know a much better one is around the corner. I am very much looking forward to it! Until then, writing how I feel now is the only way I know to get through this one, though.  Oh, but three kisses from the three sweet angels sleeping behind me (yes.. I see the irony in this description in light of point #1 above. Keyword: "sleeping"!) totally helped tonight. =)


    Thursday, April 28, 2011

    Leftover Overload!

    This is quite possibly the silliest thing I could get excited about, yet, I must confess... I am sooo excited about this organizing solution I just discovered!!!

    I am obsessed with saving stuff. Especially food. Problem: leftover overload

    Getting it together post about my lack of organizational skills. It's been a year since I posted that, and I have been trying to solve each of my problems one at a time. This one was so simple, I'm kicking myself...

    Dry erase marker on Tupperware!!

    This ONE simple realization has been an amazing help! I just write the date & contents of the Tupperware on the outside of the container with a dry erase marker. Then when I look in the fridge, I know exactly how old each container is and what's in it! It has helped us make sure to eat the oldest leftovers first, and identify what's in them instead of just "a science experiment gone wrong"!


    ...What are some simple things that worked for you?

    Saturday, April 16, 2011

    Married with Kids

    I never really watched the show by that title, but I did see bits and pieces of a few of the episodes, though I don't remember much. However, I know the premise was that marriage gets crazy, harder and/or more challenging once kids enter the picture. Marriage is never easy and always takes work. But kids take all that to the next level.

    I realized that I write a lot about our kids and our adventures in parenthood, but never about our marriage. Yet, our marriage is supposed to be the foundation of our families. So, in effort to continue my challenge to myself to remove my mask and be more real with you and the world around me, I am also going to try and write more about marriage. My marriage as well as my observations about the state of marriage in our culture, with the hope that these more real posts will help and encourage you in your marriage or future marriage.  (In NO WAY is my intention to make anyone feel bad about their marriage. So please forgive me if anything I write offends!)

    Sooo, this May 19th, Chris and I will celebrate our 10th year of marriage. (10 years! That makes me feel OLD!!! )  I am trying for figure out how time has passed so quickly!!! Oh yeah, 4 kids might have something to do with it!! But, it has not all been "happily ever after."

    We did have a great example in Chris' parents, however. Their marriage was a model of real love. Real love is the kind that isn't fickle. The kind that survives the storms and thrives on the sunny days. The kind in 1 Corinthians chapter 13.  But learning how to navigate the waters of marriage on our own has taken time and patience!  And we have by no means perfected it. It is an on-going process.

    There is one thing we have learned and accomplish most of the time, and that is what I want to share with you today: We are committed to putting our marriage first. With kids, that gets tough for two reasons:

    1- When you have kids, you are always tired. This constant state of exhaustion I live in tends to make me selfish. I often find myself trying to figure out "when do I get to rest?" But, we committed each put each other first. So, despite my exhaustion, I have to try to think of Chris and his needs before my own. Some days, I left him sleep in or take a nap, so HE can rest and recover. Then some days he lets me sleep in or take a nap. We also share the housework, considering it helping the other so it doesn't all fall on just one of our shoulders. But putting the other first can be especially hard during an argument, but eventually one of us "gives in" and apologizes. When he does it first, it makes me feel loved and grateful and remorseful over the fight we were having. So when I remember this, I make sure to return the favor after the next fight. It is hard to swallow your pride and be the first one to apologize or initiate the make-up. But it never fails to make the other feel loved, and isn't that the goal?

    2- TIME! there is never enough!! However, it is IMPERATIVE that parents make time for each other!   We make it a goal to have a date night at least once a month. Finding a sitter can get challenging! But the benefits of together time and real conversations without interruptions is very worth it!

    Try it sometime. Put your spouse before yourself and see what happens. And make time for a date night, and see what happens.

    PS: What have you found to be a secret to a successful marriage? Is there something you wish you could change/do better? I have a list I could share (and probably will one day)! Let's take off our masks and be real and help each other improve our marriages!

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    I Seriously Need a Castle...

    ... And not because I want to feel like a princess, though that would be nice, too. No, the reason I need a castle is because I desperately want to adopt like, all the homeless/orphaned/under-loved kids in the world.

    Photo for Puzzle Peace only. Do not copy or download.
    I can't help it....

    You see, Sweet Baby started smiling! And he smiles so much, like all the time, even during diaper changes! So I decided I'll start calling him Smily Boy, and I was just loving seeing his smile, after smile, after smile.

    But suddenly, when I looked into his big bright eyes as I kissed him and told him how wonderful he is and how much I love him, I was suddenly (and then consistently) rushed with a flood of knowledge that there are waaay too any kids out there who are never kissed or hugged or told they are loved or wonderful. Or worse, they are often told they are worthless and unlovable.  Then my heart breaks. Over and over and over again.  (Am I messed up that a kiss on my new baby's cheek leads me to tears on a regular basis?)

    My solution... Adopt them all!!! WaHoo! That would be AWESOME!!!

    However, in the real world, that is quite impossible. I realize that.

    BUT... If I had a castle, I totally could. And I would!

    Until then, I gotta figure out what I CAN do to help those kids. Or else my heart won't stop breaking.

    Any suggestions? 

    PS: Share with us something you felt/feel strongly called/ drawn to. What are you doing to achieve  it or get closer towards achieving it? 

    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    It must be a full moon...

    All I can say is W-O-W. Tonight was the toughest night we have had in a looong time!! My kids were like possessed! IS there a full moon tonight? Um, no. OK, so maybe aliens abducted them and replaced them with temporary look-alikes? Hopefully my real kids will be back tomorrow. Yikes.

    So, you wanna know what happened? Here we go...

    It started this morning, when JP decided he didn't like the class snack I packed. (It is his week to bring snack to preschool.) He decided instead of animal crackers, he wanted to bring fruit cups. However, I explained to him that there were not enough fruit cups to take for the whole class. "Yes there are!" he yelled at me!  (Insert speech about how we DO NOT yell at mommy!) Then I explained "No, we need 12 to have enough for the whole class, and we only have 4."   "We have 12!!" He yelled again, holding up a pack of.. yep, 4!! WhAt wAs hE ThInKinG? Ahhh!  Yeah, that conversation went nowhere!

    Then, after school, while I was feeding the baby, JP and PB proceeded to throw all the Legos and puzzle pieces out the back porch window!! WHY!?

    THEN! While he was supposed to be outside picking up all those pieces, he proceeds to TEAR OFF THE LATTICE SURROUNDING THE BACK PORCH!! All in a matter of minutes, while I changed the baby's diaper.

    The entire time he was screaming about me being "mean" for making him clean it up and how it was so "not fair!"

    Who is this child? He can't be my JP, because my JP knows better than that! We have talked endlessly about making good choices and how bad choices have bad consequences, yet he STILL chose to act this way? I don't get it.

    Needless to say, he got some consequences. I had planned for us to go out for mexican tonight, since we had a coupon for buy-one-get-one-free for tonight. I was all excited to take the kids out, since they love that cheese dip (and that I wouldn't have to cook!) However, after the day's antics, we had to cancel that. (Speaking of unfair, my kids make bad choices and I get punished?! Oh well. ) He also had to miss soccer practice to instead spend that time cleaning up his mess, and then he had to go to bed without his story time. I hated to take that away, and I still feel guilty about it. BUT, since losing soccer practice, dinner out and dessert didn't fix his attitude, what was left?

    Then, PB cried herself to sleep. I hate that, too. But she was mad that we made her clean up, and that she didn't get dessert. After explaining her choices caused the loss of her dessert privilege, she proceeded to call me "mean mommy." That's not fun to hear. Especially twice in one night. :(

    Meanwhile, HC is begging to play Donkey Kong, and I explain to him I cannot handle one more battle tonight. He says it won't be a battle and he will turn it off as soon as we tell him to. So, Daddy lets him play. When bed time rolls around and we ask him to turn it off and put his PJs on, he starts crying!!!

    Yeah, I had to go for a drive.. (had to pick up dinner anyway, since I hadn't planned to cook!) ... a drive with the windows down and my rockin' praise music by Thief on the Right blaring. The loud music and wind in my face helped calm me down significantly. Then the memories came rushing in about why I love these darn kids so much. Ahh, yes. That's right. I totally love them.

    Ugh. Here's to praying tomorrow is better.

    PS: Have you had a day/night like this lately? How did you handle it? Was the day after better? 

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Free Zoo Visits!!!

    I LOOOOOVE when I find awesome and FREE stuff to do with my family!!!  This was super-exciting for me and my animal loving brood!!

    Zoo Atlanta has partnered with the Georgia Public Library to offer free admission for a family of 4!  You can read all about the free Zoo Atlanta Family Pass here.

    Hooray!!! My kids get a thrill out of going to the zoo! Now Dad and I can too cuz it's F-R-E-E!!!!

    If you don't live near the Atlanta area, check with your local zoo. A staff member told me she thought several other zoos were doing similar programs, so maybe your is too? If not... suggest they do! You could be the one to pioneer their Family Pass Program!

    Do you know of other cool, free stuff to do in and around Atlanta? If so, please share in the comments below! We'd all love to hear about it!

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    When I'm Four...

    There are so many things I would expect to follow that sentence. This was not one of them!

    At dinner tonight, C picked all the ham off her Hawaiian pizza and declared that she did not like ham. BUT... she followed that declaration with this statement:

    "When I'm four I'll like ham. But I'm not four yet, so I don't like ham."

    WHAT?! Where did this come from? Where did she come up with this?? So silly, I thought...

    Then, I realized the wisdom in her statement. Our taste buds do change! I like things now I despised when I was younger. So, yeah, maybe when she is four she will like ham!

    Too bad she just turned three. Oh well, she can keep picking the ham off until her next birthday.

    Thanks for reading! Perhaps this reminded you of something profound one of your kids said at dinner recently? Do Share!!


    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Making Time for Cinderella

    Sunday night I did a really dumb thing. I almost missed it.

    Luckily, before the moment was gone, a song came to mind reminding me not to miss it. It is another beautiful momentous song by Steven Curtis Chapman  called simply "Cinderella":

           "She spins and she sways
            To whatever song plays
            Without a care in the world
            And I'm sitting here wearing
            The weight of the world on my shoulders

            It's been a long day
            And there's still work to do
            She's pulling at me
            Saying "Dad, I need you

            There's a ball at the castle
            And I've been invited
            And I need to practice my dancing
            Oh, please, Daddy, please?"

    "Ooooh I'll Dance with Cinderella..."
            So I will dance with Cinderella
            While she is here in my arms
            'Cause I know something the prince never knew
            Oooooh, I will dance with Cinderella
            I don't wanna miss even one song
            'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
            And she'll be gone..."

    When this song first came out, I cried and cried each time I heard it playing, because this one sentence is ME: "It's been a long day / And there's still work to do / She's pulling at me / Saying "(Mom), I need you".   I hear myself replying "when I finish my work" to waaay too many requests from my kids. After this song came out, I made a vow to never do it again.

    But Sunday night I almost did.  You see, I was busy working on end-of-month. At the end of each month, I have this huge Excel spreadsheet of stuff I have to bill for work so they can close the books out for the new month. Sunday night, I was frantically trying to get it finished before Monday morning (I was already behind! It should have been done by the 1st!) Usually at end-of-month, Chris will take care of putting the kids in bed and cleaning up after dinner so I can start working earlier than usual. But this particular night, Princess Ballerina decided she had to have me sing her bedtime songs. Chris and I take turns putting the boys and Princess to bed anyway so we can each share that special time with them throughout the week. So, typically at end-of-month, the kids are OK with Daddy putting them to bed and singing them their bedtime songs. For whatever reason, this night was different for her.

    First, she asked nicely. I replied with my usual "tomorrow night I can baby girl, when I am finished with my work." So she begged "Pweeeeeeeease!" And I said "No sweetie, Mommy has work to finish." But then she got pitiful. "Mommy, I need you to sing me my songs!" And I realized I was forsaking a special moment with my girl for a measly extra few minutes of work. 5 minutes would really be all I had to sacrifice, two songs' worth.  Thankfully, God hit my upside the head and reminded me of Cinderella, and of the fact that two songs would barely be 5 minutes worth of missed work time. I realized I could totally give that up for my princess because she wanted MOMMY to sing her a song!

    So I did. PB has two songs she always requests at bedtime lately: "On My Knees" by Jaci Velasquez and "Find your Wings" by Mark Harris. She calls them collectively "My knees and my wings Mommy!" I hope I never forget these moments. I hope I never miss one again.

    Though I know I will.

    It's comforting that even Steven Curtis Chapman almost missed a moment too!! He explains it here in the story behind the song. He wrote this song as a reminder of that almost-missed moment. I am glad he did. It continues to help me remember to focus on those moments and not let them go by. Our kids grow up too quickly as it is. It's my prayer that I can remember not to miss anymore of those precious moments.

    Thanks for reading. Remember not to miss those moments with your loved ones.


    PS: Have you realized when you almost missed a moment but something (or Someone) slowed you down and helped you to see it before it was too late? Tell me about it! Let's help each other focus on moments & not let them slip by!!

    What can we do to help us remember to slow down?? I really need help with this!!

    Funding Adoption

    When I think about all the orphaned children, desperate for a forever family, I wish I could just have a mansion and unlimited money so I could adopt them all.

    But I know that's not realistic. I wouldn't have enough hours in the day to give them all the love & time they deserve. So I pray for more families to rise up and desire to adopt them. I heard Steven Curtis Chapman once say that if all the churches banded together, we could resolve the orphan crisis! Not that every family has to adopt... not at all. But we could all help the families who are called to adopt. He said there are more churches than there are orphans! (I forgot the exact #s he gave). But it hit me, wow! The churches could come together and help support the families who are willing to adopt it it weren't for the money issues.

    Then I heard about this amazing family... they created a home business to fund adoptions! Check out EZ PZ Pies! They started selling (delicious!) home made pie fillings to help fund their adoption story. And now, they use those funds for grants and further orphan care beyond their precious family! HOW AWESOME IS THAT??!

    I LOVE how creative & resourceful people are in order to find a way to help these children. Father, I pray that when it is our turn, we will be able to find such a way to fund our own adoption story.

    Go check out their website and BUY SOME PIE!!

    EZ PZ Pies

    Friday, April 1, 2011

    Our Little Puzzle Peace

    So far, I have attempted 3 separate blogs, none of which I kept up with very well! Some were for business, some for pleasure just to write my random thoughts on life, etc. But none had a real purpose of passion for me. This one does. I hope this one will be different. Life is still crazy and I may or may not keep up with it very well. BUT, my passion for it is to help others through this crazy life see that God has a bigger picture He is painting and YOU and I are a part of it, whether we believe it or not. We each fill one piece of that picture, like a giant puzzle. And sometimes, it doesn't make sense because we can't see all the pieces. Often things happen that we don't like. That's when we need His "peace that surpasses understanding" (Philippians 4:7) to cover us and help us through it.

    So this is my new commitment to this blog, where I will therapy write my thoughts about life and motherhood, parenting and marriage down and hope and pray someone reads it and will be blessed by it. 

    We are all a piece of God's Puzzle. My prayer is that you find His unexplainable Peace as you walk through it. 

    Thursday, March 31, 2011

    Yes, I am a Wannabe

    Life would be SO much easier
    if God had given me 6 hands!
    I'm a wannabe Supermom, a wannabe Stay-at-home-mom, and a wannabe Homeschooling mom. However, none of those are in my immediate future, so I have had to learn to come to peace with being a working mom. This has been a struggle for me though, because I often feel guilt over it. (That sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?!) But, unfortunately it is very true.

    And when do I feel the most guilt? When my maternity leave ends, and my numbered days of doing nothing but cuddling, nursing, and changing my baby are over and "real life" begins again. (Reality check: I know SAHMs have to do waaay more than that every day, but while we are recovering from the delivery, we are all told to do nothing more than that. Oh, and "sleep when baby sleeps", LOL. Yeah, like that can happen after baby #1!)

    ANYWAY, yesterday was my first day back at work since January 7th. It was crazy. It was also kinda cool; I spoke with customers who apparently (and surprisingly!) missed me! It felt good to be missed. That helped ease the guilt some. I am also very spoiled and blessed with the job I have because Baby S was able to come to work with me. This is a HUGE blessing, since I don't have to leave him nor pump while at work. And I am eternally grateful to God for providing me with this opportunity and to my boss for being so flexible with me. He told me once the reason he wants to be flexible with me, though, is because he understands the conflict a working mom struggles with, and he wants to help me have "the best of both worlds" as much as possible.  A HUMUNGOUS BLESSING!   I know. So what's the problem?

    It's that small voice inside that starts berating me for all I don't do. I read blogs or facebook updates from SAHMs about all the cool crafty activities they did with their kids that day and I whine, "why didn't I think of that?!"  Then my son comes home from a field trip crying "I wish you had come!" and my heart breaks. His field trip fell on the day I had committed to be back at work, but how do you explain that to a 6 year old?  Finally, I look around my house at the tornado of a mess it has become and I feel like the worst mom ever. My kids are gonna grow up thinking their mom flunked Mom 101 class.

    But the Truth I know is this: God only expects me to do my best, and that is all He asks of me! So why do I demand more from  myself?

    Silly girl.

    So, tonight I Googled "Working Mom" and "Christian Working Mom" hoping to find some women who I'd have the most in common. So far all the blogs I have stumbled upon seem to be by SAHMs who are oh-so crafty and/or organized that I feel smaller and smaller each time I read their posts, making the guilt worse word by word! NOT their intended purpose, I'm sure, but it's what happens nonetheless. So, I had to find some blogs by moms like me.  To my surprise, there weren't many! Most of them had not been updated in a year or two. Bummer. Then...

    Lightbulb!!...  (Shout out to the hilarious & delightful "Despicable Me")

    ...If I write it, maybe they will come! I sure hope so! Because we could use all the support we can get! LOL! No seriously, it can be tough sifting through the guilt, the jealousy and the lack of self confidence we women have in general, let alone the added (albeit self-perceived) defect of having to be a working mom. However, as a wise woman once told me:

    "If you are alone with your thoughts, you believe everything you think"

    We CANNOT try to do this on our own! Therefore, I commit to post more often to share with you how  I am doing with my struggle, and what I am doing to handle it. I hope you will comment and share your struggles and insights as well, that way we can help lift each other up and help each other on our way.

    Well, it's getting late, so I guess I better finish nursing the baby and try to get some sleep before the next feeding. Gotta get to work in the morning, you know. LOL.


    PS:... Working moms, do you struggle with guilt over having to work? How do handle it? What do you do that helps?

    ...And to our Stay at Home counterparts, from what I hear from my friends, you have struggles of your own, as well. What do you struggle with? How do you handle it?

    I'd love to hear from all of you!

    Sunday, March 6, 2011

    Introducing... Baby S!

    FINALLY!!! He's here!! All 5 pounds 4 ounces of him!!!  It has been a long, hard wait, but he is Oh So Worth it!  Have a look:

    Isn't he the cutest?!  (I know, I'm biased.)

    His due date wasn't until March 28th, but I guess he just couldn't wait any longer! Now that he is here and healthy as can be, I am quite thrilled he made his healthy debut 4 weeks early! That bed rest was about to drive me crazy!!  But when labor started on the late evening of February 28th, this time, they couldn't stop it and Sweet Baby was born Tuesday morning March 1st. He required no breathing machines, or feeding tubes, thank you Father!  We are just struggling with his bilirubin levels, but Dr. Sisk has a plan for that.

    So, I will revel in this new little miracle gift, and enjoy the cuddly days ahead. I may be absent for a little while ;)

    Friday, February 25, 2011

    Choking on the Internet

    Chewing Gum and the Internet.

    What do these have in common? Nothing really, except I just had a revelation at how one can be used to teach responsibility on the other. Sounds crazy, I know, but stick with me for a few minutes!...

    My little girl INSISTS she is old enough to chew gum.  She just turned 3. Now sometimes, she does ok with it, she'll chew just one piece, then spit it out in the trash. However, this is usually only when/if I am hovering over her reminding her to only put in ONE PIECE and to spit it out when she is through. Yesterday, though, I forgot to hover, and sure enough, she swallowed it! Come to find out, she had THREE pieces in her mouth!!! (Thanks to her generous big brother K, who was only trying to share, LOL.)   AAHHHH! She could have choked! I panicked!

    Out comes the Mommy Lecture. I sat all three of them down and told them I had to explain this very important rule to them and that they needed to pay close attention:

    • There is a RIGHT time and a WRONG time for EVERYTHING!!  And I quoted:
      • Ecclesiastes 3

        A Time for Everything
         1 There is a time for everything,
           and a season for every activity under the heavens
     I told them how many, many times, we think we know what's best for us, but really only God knows what's best for us and He laid it out in His Word. And His Word says that parents should seek out wisdom from God, and kids should seek out wisdom from their parents. Wisdom... because only wisdom can really tell you how to make right choices in life. And when we think we know what's best, we think we can make the right choices for us, however, we make choices based on what we want, not what is best for us at the appropriate time. It all comes down to timing! You see, there is a right time to chew gum, but NOT at 3 years old when we can't remember the rules! Just like there is a right time to drive, at 16.... can you imagine a baby driving a car?, I asked them. (They chuckled.)  Right, I said, so three years old is NOT the right time to chew gum! So no matter how much you want to share (brothers) or how bad you want to chew gum (Princess), NOW IS NOT THE TIME.  Do you understand? I asked.

    Um, yea. They nodded but looked a bit overwhelmed. Maybe I went overboard, a little. OK, maybe a lot. But all that came out of nowhere!! It just came pouring out of me like a milk jug in a, well, three year old's hand.

    When, suddenly I realized, NO. This did NOT come out of nowhere. God gave me those words and we are laying a foundation for future discussions. Those inevitable discussions about dating, sex, and parties. Oh, my teenage kids are going to hate me. But I am already preparing myself to prepare them for a life of purity. Whoa! How did I get from gum to internet to purity?!  WOW, my brain jumps all over the place. BUT.... THE THING IS, PURITY BEGINS WITH THE HEART, AND THE EYES ARE THE WINDOWS TO THE HEART.   And now, with technology as it is, the internet is unbelievably easy to access by kids of all ages!!!   This has become one of my greatest fears, and challenges. To figure out how to protect my kids from the internet when it is spreading like the swine flu and being practically forced down our throats from every angle.

    Oh, I KNOW, thee are tons of resources for protecting our kids, and I am  eternally grateful for those! (Here is a quick list in case you need some  ideas, each of these can lead you to more:
    1. Safe Eyes (a computer/internet monitoring service)
    2. XXX Church (another computer/internet monitoring service)
    3. Focus on the Family (what don't they have? If you need it, they got it on here.)
    4. PluggedIn Online (reviews media in detail so you can decide if it is safe for your family or not)
    5. Pure Intimacy (articles, resources etc. for how to overcome sexual addictions & protec your family from them)
    6. True Love Waits (an entire program dedicated to teaching youth about purity, lots of helpful stuff for parents)
    7. Pam Stenzel (Dynamic author/speaker on the importance of abstinence and teaching it to our youth.)

    However, I am the FIRST PERSON in charge of my kids' purity. (Well, hubby and me, of course.) And it is NEVER too early to start laying the foundations for purity. Especially when their choices regarding purity will effect them for their ENTIRE LIVES!!!

    You see, R, my 6 year old, is already feeling  the alure of the magical, wonderful internet. We have our computers all set up with filters, timers, password protected access and monitoring. This has begun to frustrate R, because when he learns about a new website at school, he can't just come home and type it in. Nope. He has to tell me about it, let me check it out privately and then add it to his list of approved websites before he can access it. MANY, MANY times he has asked if he can't just have my password for adding sites. Nope. And then he defers to the ever popular response... "that's not fair! Don't you trust me?"   Yes, R, I do trust YOU, I tell him, and I remind him what a GREAT JOB he  does at protecting his heart by closing his eyes whenever we run into anything inappropriate, either in public or on TV.  BUT, I tell him, it's the internet I do not trust. All it would take would be one wrong keystroke and he would be whisked away to a website that would bombard him with inappropriate images and words before he even knew what happened, choking him then and there before he even had a chance at protecting himself.  He immediately stops arguing, and though I know he does not completely understand, I pray these little lessons are being stored away in his precious little heart for that time when he'll need to remember them. The inevitable time when temptation will come roaring in his face trying to force him to make a decision that could cost him even the tiniest bit of his purity.

    And so, you see my friend. We CAN choke on the internet. It happens all the time to men, women and children before they are even aware of what's happening to them.  However, there is hope for recovery. (Please email me if you need to know more about this hope. I have GOBS of details to give you, just not here, right now.) But wouldn't it be better to not ever have to suffer with it to begin with? THAT is my goal in teaching my kids (all kids, really) the importance of making the right choices, at the right time. Starting with chewing gum.  Call me crazy.

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    A Birthday Reminder

    Here I am feeling all sorry for myself and bored out of my mind, when it hits me how incredibly blessed  I am.

    Thank you, Lord, for the smack upside the head.

    I have been on complete bed rest, albeit at home, for the past 6 weeks. At first it sounded good, like the idea of resting up all I could before bringing baby home would be phenomenal. However, it has been less than phenomenal. It has been downright hard, miserable even. I usually hate complaining, but I am all out of patience. I have been vomiting, contracting, cramping and sore for 6 weeks and I feel like I can't take anymore. I have lost so much weight that I now only weigh 2 pounds more than my pre-pregnancy weight, and though that sounds great, it terrifies me. How can a growing baby survive when his mother is losing weight?!  I so desperately want him to be healthy, but I am now desperate to have him out of me! Doesn't that sound awful?! I feel like a terrible mother for even thinking it. I usually relish each pregnancy, loving the miracle going on inside me and the feeling of baby kicking healthy and strong. So why is it so different this time? Will I bond with this baby? Will I feel differently towards him, love him any less?

    Argh, those are dumb, dumb questions, I know. But I just had to vent. My Bible Study leader says (of the importance of having safe, Godly relationships to share life with vs trying to "be strong" and do it alone) that "when we are alone with our thoughts, we believe everything we think." So, since all I've had is time alone, by myself, and these thoughts, crazy as they may be, are the ones swirling around in my head, strange as it sounds - I am starting to believe them! Therefore, I thought it was time I shared them, vented them out loud in effort to hopefully stop them from seeming so real.

    LOL, it worked, because now that I see them typed out in front of me they seem pretty ridiculous!

    To occupy my time, I have also been reading blogs. Tons of blogs. There is this one I just finished reading, though, that broke my heart. It is the blog of a young mom who delivered her baby girl after going into preterm labor at 25 weeks! Her baby girl is still in the NICU, and her due date was February 20. So this week, her baby girl is supposed to be a newborn but she is 3 months old and struggling to survive. I cried as I caught up on her blog. (Don't always get to read; hard to lay flat and read from a laptop on your tummy). I have never met her, but she is the sister-in-law of one of my very best friends, so I have known about her situation since her pre-term labor began, and have been praying for her, her husband and daughter every day since. She writes with such raw emotion, though that you can't help but feel her pain. Then, realizing that my daughter's birthday was yesterday, February 22, while reading about this baby's plight brought me back to my own daughter's situation three years ago exactly. I remembered how terrified I felt when I went in for a regular appointment at 34 weeks and was told "we have to take her out, NOW!" then they whisked me to the hospital for an emergency C-Section. Her amniotic fluid had dried up, and she might not make it they told me. My baby girl. My precious princess. Might. Die. I couldn't bear the thought, all I could do was pray and beg God to have mercy on my daughter and please, just LET HER LIVE. Now, this precious mom is in the same situation. Everyday brings a twist and turn, it's a roller coaster ride of uncertainty. Please pray for her and her baby girl, Scarlette. I pray that three years from now, she looks back at how far they've come and sees the 3 year old beautiful dancing girl before her and treasures the miracle played out in front of her. It can happen. It will happen. We only had a week of terror with our Princess, but it was the longest week of my life. Today, when I look at her I can hardly believe I almost forgot how we fought for her, and prayed for her. She is so healthy and whole. A Bright, beautiful, dancing, chatty healthy little girl. Thank you Father, for saving her. I beg you, Father, please do the same for baby Scarlette. 

    Suddenly, I realized how very blessed I am that my preterm labor WAS stopped and we are now at a blessed 35 weeks. This baby will be fine. I will be fine. God is in control and I CAN Trust Him.

    Happy 3rd Birthday, Princess! 

    Thank you, Father for this Birthday Reminder.

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    A Picture of Real Love

    This has been a really tough week. We found out on Monday that my sweet mother-in-law would not live past the end of the week. Yesterday at 11:20 am, she indeed went home to be with the Lord.

    As painful as this process has been, Chris and I feel tremendously blessed by the picture of Real Love we have seen between Larry and Sherry. In almost 42 years of marriage, Chris saw them love each other through good times and bad. He saw them fight and make up, so much so that he grew up assuming all marriages last forever, and fights are just bumps in the road, not a fork in the road to cause separation. They modeled a selfless love to each of their boys, and to everyone else who knew them. Even to the very end, they were each thinking only about the other before themselves: Larry would not leave her side, and Sherry, on her deathbed would "nag" at him: "Larry, did you eat? Larry, go home and get some rest! Larry, make sure you eat something!" All the while, he is holding her hand, rubbing it to keep it warm as she passed from this life to the next.

    I cannot fathom how painful that must have been for both of them. But to the end, he was holding her hand, loving her.

    She asked him earlier this week what he thought it was like to die. His answer I think is the most beautiful one I have ever heard. He said, "Well, I think it's like when you are a kid and you fall asleep in the living room and your parents carry you to bed. You wake up in the morning in your own bed and you don't know how you got there. I think you just fall asleep here on earth and wake up in Heaven."  That answer gave her such peace.

    All of us were staying together at their house to be near her these last few days. She was in pain, yet fighting to not leave us.  Yesterday morning, as she kept fighting, Larry finally told her, "it's OK for you to go."  Chris tells me it was soon after she went. Like she needed to know Larry was OK with it; that we would all be OK with it. And though it is so very painful for us, we KNOW she is with the Lord today, has been for almost a whole day now! And she is whole, and happy and no longer in pain. She is wither her parents she lost years ago, holding our baby Camryn we lost in November 2009, as well as the one my sister-in-law lost in January of that year. 

    Though painful, I had to share this with you because it is yet another example of the Peace that comes from our Gracious Father to help us through things we can't understand. Thank you, Father. You are so Good to us.



    THANK YOU BOTH for the example of Love 
    you modeled for us all !!!!

    Sunday, January 16, 2011

    29 weeks and counting

    Whew! This pregnancy has definitely been the toughest by far. To me, it confirms that I am finished having babies biologically, and anymore children we have will be through the miracle of adoption. We have always had a passion for adoption, and hope to one day be blessed with the opportunity to adopt.  For now, however, we need to make it through this pregnancy safe and sound.

    I am at 29 weeks, and have gone into pre-term labor. My doctor has put me on medications to stop (really, slow) the contractions and modified bed rest to prevent full-blown labor. Yikes! With three kids, ages 2,4, and 6 and a full time job, this isn't going to be easy!!! BUT, luckily (or blessedly I should say!) I have the privilege to be able to work from home. This relieves the stress of losing half our income so soon. Now I just have to figure out how to "rest" with three monkeys on the loose! My doc hopes we can make it to week 38!   Soooo.... we'll see how these next hopefully 9 weeks will go. I am trying to TRUST, but can't help be a little nervous and afraid.

    Thanks for letting me share. If you have any advice, please share :)