Sunday, December 30, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

This has been a joyful Christmas for us, it has been relaxing, full of laughter, kids running around, presents opened, advent crafts, and so much more.  We have had time with family, our little family and our extended family.  We are blessed!!

Here are a few of my favorite things about this holiday season:

Advent for Kids- this year we did Truth in Tinsel- ebook
 The Adventure of Christmas: Helping Children Find Jesus in Our Holiday Traditions
It was a perfect age for our kiddos.  We did all of the reading, loved the discussion that flowed from the questions was great!  I felt like our kids grasped the Christmas story more than ever.  We did many of the crafts included in the book, we modified some of the crafts... well becuase I'm crafty like that : )  I did give myself permission to not do a craft everyday... well because December is busy like that.  I think that if you have kids 8 and under, maybe even up to 10, this is an awesome advent to do!

Advent for Mama-
She Reads Truth- Advent
I read it on my phone through my Bible App- You Version
I started it late, so I tried to read one section in the morning and another at night to try to catch up.  It was great for me to have some focused reading leading up to Christmas too!

Joy To the World-
Our neighborhood goes a tad crazy with Christmas decorations... some beautiful and some overboard {that is an understatement}.  We wanted our house to be festive, but I really desired for our house to show the real reason for Christmas, the birth of Christ.  So my sweet hubby agreed to help me with a craft project... ops, promised him i'd call it an art project: )  I wanted a sign to hang on our porch, but I can't paint-- not at alll!  So all Mr. steady asked is that I showed him the fonts I liked and some ideas of a nativity. 

They he whipped up this masterpiece! It makes my heart happy every time I see it!  I'm sure going to be sad to take it down!

Gingerbread house decorating
We kept our tradition of decorating gingerbread houses with our friends. This year we were smart enough to let H decorate one that stayed at our own house. We couldn't let last years mishap occur again!

There were many other great events, traditions and happenings this holiday season.... Christmas party with my besties from college, H's Christmas play, seeing my sweet MIL, getting to hold my new little nephew, visit from my mom and step-dad, cousin time, amazing Christmas lights, lost of Christmas music, B mastering "Away in the Manger", Christmas eve service with family, beach day, mini family vacation to Palm Desert, many hand-made gifts, peppermint Joe Joes- yummy, Christmas banquet for church, and so very much more!

We have been so very blessed!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

all a ruckus

... and I love it!

This evening as I was cleaning up from dinner, I couldn't help but smile at all of the chaos in our living room.  It was daddy wrestle time, sheer mayhem, and I wouldn't have it any other way!!  I was over come with thanksgiving for God's goodness to us!  I was grinning from the giggles, shrieks of delights, the requests to stop being tickled, even when they didn't really mean it!  I was thankful for a daddy that adores his kiddos and will get down on the floor just to be jumped on by 3 very excited kids.  {I personally don't like being pounced on} I was thankful for a hubby that is out of chronic pain- that can play with his kids again.  In that moment I was surprised at how thankful I was for the trials of this last year... I may not have appreciated these things as much as I do now - if we hadn't been through so much this last year!

Bring on the chaos, the laughter, and the wild kiddos, we are busy making memories here!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Turkey Soup

So many things to be thankful for... including leftovers : )

Tonight I made a really yummy and pretty healthy soup, that we all gobbled up, pun intended!  I was searching for recipes to make with our leftover turkey.   You see there was only 6 of us at our house this year, and I went to Costco to get the turkey... smallest bird I could find was 21 pounds. So we have quite a bit of leftovers.

I found this recipe online and adapted it to what I had and what I knew my family would eat.  Here is my version:

Hearty Turkey with Butternut Squash and Quinoa

1 medium sized butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil/ or butter
1/2 a large yellow onion or one whole medium onion, chopped up
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4 cups chicken broth or chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
1 can of black beans
1 Cup uncooked Trader Joes Harvest Grains (mix of couscous, orzo, quinoa)
2 cups cooked cut up or shredded turkey
Sprinkle bowl with parsley flakes

  1. Steam the butternut squash until barely tender, about 10 minutes. Remove half of the squash pieces and set aside. Once cool, cut into cubes
  2. Steam the remaining squash until very tender, an additional 4 to 6 minutes. Mash this squash with the back of a fork. Set aside. 
  3. Drain water from pan, re-heat pan and warm oil or butter.
  4. Saute onion and garlic until starting to brown, about 8 minutes
  5.  Add in salt, and oregano. pieces of squash, and mashed squash, saute for another minute.
  6. Add in Chicken Broth and can of black beans, bring to a boil
  7. Once soup is boiling, add in Harvest Grains (quinoa/ pasta mix), boil for 10 minutes, then turn to low
  8. Add turkey, and cook on low for 10 more minutes
  9. Serve up and sprinkle with parsley flakes

Cornbread was the perfect completion of this meal.  What did you do with your thanksgiving leftovers?

Saturday, November 17, 2012


I can't stop listening to the song "Times" by Tenth Avenue heart has so needed this reminder of God's love.  Below is the lyrics from the second half of the song.  Even if you know this song, slow down and soak it in!

My love is over
It's underneath
It's inside
It's in between

The times that you doubt me
When you can't feel
The times that you question
Is this for real

The times you're broken
The times that you mend
The times you hate me
And the times that you bend

Well my love is over
It's underneath
It's inside
It's in between

The times that you're healing
And when your heart breaks
The times that you feel like you've fallen from grace

The times you're hurting
The times that you heal
The times you go hungry and are tempted to steal

In times of confusion
In chaos and pain
I'm there in your sorrow under the weight of your shame

I'm there through your heart-ache
I'm there in the storm
My love I will keep you by my power alone

I don't care where you've fallen or where you have been
I'll never forsake you
My love never ends
It never ends
 Such incredibly powerful words, such a critical truth that is so easy to loose sight of in this world of striving! I am sincerely praying that you and I grow daily in our desire to know God's love!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

trusting God's best...

Today I was blessed to talk to a dear friend from back home.  She is someone that "gets me" because by nature she is a lot like me.  We haven't talked in quite a while, so as we were catching up I asked for some mommy advice.  You see, she has been a mama 2x as long as I have, she has walked this road of having small kiddos at home and I knew she would have a godly perspective for me.

I shared with her how I was struggling with one of my kiddos, always feeling like this child was not listening, getting distracted, not following through (and more), and that it had evoked a lot of emotion for me.  I was nagging this kiddo, raising my voice, and felt like I was continually being negative in my speech toward this kid.

My friend shared with me that when we get frustrated, try to manipulate, raise our voice or get angry, it is actuality like we are telling God that we don't trust that His way is right.  The Bible tells us that we are to gently approach our children, to pursue their hearts, to appeal to their conscience, to be patient and kind when we lovingly discipline them... just to name a few.

Yet when I'm loosing my cool, I'm in fact telling God that His way won't work!  That my kid is too stubborn to learn that way and that I know how to "really get through to him." 

I had never even contemplated before that my negative response was showing God that I not only wasn't living out His Word (by not being self-controlled, patient and kind) but that I didn't trust that His way was best!  Ugh!

 I'm thankful for a friend who speaks the truth even when it is not easy to hear!  I'm thankful for my many friends in the trenches of mommy-hood with me, and I am thankful for friends that are walking a few feet ahead to help give me perspective and encouragement!

"Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction." 2 Timothy 4:2

"And the Lord's servant (parents) must not quarrel; instead he must be kind to everyone (especially his children) able to teach, not resentful.  Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil..." 2 Timothy 2:24-26

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

These three precious hearts have been entrusted to me.  I want to raise them God's way! 

Saturday, August 18, 2012


This morning as I was finishing up my time reading my Bible reading sweet H curled up next to me get an early morning snuggle. He asked what I was reading and I said Proverbs. I asked if he wanted to read it with me and he said yes. So I read verse one of chapter 18 and then he read verse two; back and forth until we completed the whole chapter. It was a sweet time of reading with my little man. But more so it amazed me that not only are these verses so applicable to me, many he was able to grasp the full concept of the verse and therefor the application! We would stop occasionally, and I asked him some questions, especially about verses that I knew would encourage him or that related to an area he needs to grow in.

This moment with H caused me to pause, and ask myself some questions... why haven't I done sat with H and read Proverbs with him daily? Why don't I go to God's Word first when there is a heart issue in his life that needs to be addressed? Why am I so blessed to be the Mama of this amazing little man that desires to know God's Word? How can I be the best mama for him and fully encourage him to seek God daily?

Proverbs 18:15
"The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out."

2 Timothy 3:16-17
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mr. Steady- Back Surgery #2

I wanted to update you a little on life with us and ask for your prayers.  Mr. Steady will be going in on Monday for a second spinal surgery.  This time much more invasive than the one he had at the end of April.  There will be drilling in the vertebra, rods, screws, bone grafts, and fusion… We are hopeful that this will take away the continued back/ sciatica pain that he has been in since February.
We would really appreciate if you could keep us in your prayers!
For Mr. Steady's surgery- that God will guide the doctors hand.  That the doctor can take out the effected disc, and not to damage any nerves in the process.  For all details of anesthesia and recovery to go smoothly.

- Healthy Recovery- That God will allow Mr. Steady’s body complete healing.  Self discipline for Mr. Steady with no bending, lifting or twisting for 6-8 weeks.  Wisdom for when he to should return to work. 

That God will help our kids to be adaptable.  The first few days they will be with a number of different friends.  Please pray specifically for Bug and B-man, as they often have a hard time being away from me.  And once we are home from the hospital, please pray that they can truly be a blessing.  Life will probably feel a little upside-down for a while, it is our hope that they can adapt and get along and have great attitudes (I guess this is a universal wish, but somehow it feels more intensified in the upcoming circumstances).  

That I can have a true servant’s heart.  I have seen the ebb and flow of my heart over the last few months… from gracious then to selfishness (and back and forth).  Please pray that God will not only give me the strength to continue to care for our family’s needs, but a joy in doing so. Please pray that I won't be anxious, stressed and that I can have an extra amount of patience, especially with the kids.
God has covered us this past year as we have been in the midst of this trial!  We are so very thankful for the amazing support of family and friends!  May God continue to open our eyes to all of the ways that He is carrying us through this!  Please pray that our hearts be full of thanksgiving and joy, and our words honor Him and bring Him glory!
Thank you so much for your prayers!
Details if you care to know more….
- Surgery is Monday at 12:30, Mr. Steady will probably be in the hospital for a few nights.  I will update on facebook, but feel free to text me if you would like an update.  My amazingly sweet MIL is flying in next Thursday and gets to stay for 11 days!!!!  We have had multiple deliveries from medical supply companies; today’s delivery included a walker; such a little thing, yet a humble reminder that the days ahead are not going to be easy. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

little hearts...

Bug is spicy and often can be tough a nails, however, I have noticed lately that her heart is so fragile.  I was talking with one of my dear friends about this and she said the same of her middle.  That her middle can seem the toughest, cause the biggest ruckus, but has the most sensitive heart.   That if he feels insecure, or if he is at odds with his parents that his behavior is out of control.

I am noticing this a little with Bugs as well.  When we have guest in town, my attention is often split between our guest and my kiddos (as it should be).  But for whatever reason this can send Bugs in a little bit of a tail-spin.  I don't know the ins and outs of what is bringing it on, but I started noticing a pattern.  Guests would arrive, she would be shy the first day and then by day 2 she was "acting up" (being more disobedient than normal).  Part of it I'm sure is that I was distracted and therefore I was more inconsistent with discipline.  However, I started noticing that a lot of it was a cry for my attention. 

This last Spring we had over 10 sets of company, so I had lots of opportunities to test out how to best help Bug in these situations.  I found that if she felt secure and connected to me it really helped her little heart.  Instead of rushing to get back to our guests, I would take the time to tuck her in, read her a story.  Instead of encouraging her to "go have so and so tie your shoe... get her snack... read to her..." I would help her and make sure I affirmed my love. 

By no means am I encouraging creating a princess, self-centered mentality... We don't even use that p-word at our house... i have been really challenged to think through coming along side my kids, in training their hearts, in helping them understand this big world.  I want their hearts to be secure... Not just because I want them to have a great childhood... but WAY more importantly, I think that a child's relationship with their parents has a direct reflection on their view of God.  I don't want my kids to remember me as always rushing them, or that I was always more concerned with other people, not them.  I want them  to see that they are so very valuable in my eyes and in the eyes of their Heavenly Father... He LOVES them and not just "everyone else."  I want them to be connected... to me, to others and most importantly to their Creator!

Isn't it ironic the kids that we label as tough, secure, strong-willed, are actually a little bit fragile needing more reassurance and love.

Mr. Steady just got done "proofing" this for me... well, because I'm not the best writer... and his first comment was, "Bug sounds a little bit like her Mama!"

Sunday, June 17, 2012

... not much to say...

I haven't had much to say here lately...
I have been waiting for something profound, something to encourage others, something funny, or something domestic.
Truth is life has continued to be a little challenging around here.  Mr. Steady's back has really flared up again, poor guy can't stand up straight {another MRI tomorrow to see what is going on}.  I'm feeling drained at the end of most days.  Parenting has been challenging lately {always is really, I keep trying to remind myself  that this isn't supposed to be easy to train up these little peeps}.  My house is messier than normal {quickly realizing how much my man usually helps keep things picked up}.  There is chaos in my head with possible changes {nothing major, so no one freak out on me}.  My selfish heart daily beckons me to be lazy to have a pitty-party, to live life my own way {conviction is good, turning from sin is hard, but so worth it}.  After having exercised 5 days a week for 5 months, this last month, I have only worked out like once a week... I had really hoped my new routine would stick.. not so much.  I haven't been as intentional with my kids as I would like/ hope for {and you can see it in how they are living/ loving/ and obeying, or the lack there of}.

But I am thankful {do you believe me after that paragraph above}

I'm thankful for: 
- My baby turned 2- thankful for this spirited, loud, crazy, silly  little man!
- My big boy graduated kindergarten!  He had an awesome year!
- My Bug is growing in joy, developing her own interests, and loving on her bros!
- God has continued to provide for us, and I have a hard working man!  Mr. Steady was the #1 sales rep in his office for multiple months... even during all of his medical issues!!!
- I have found a renewed joy of reading God's Word!!!!!
- We have 2 family weddings this Fall so a long trip to Utah is on the schedule! Woo Hoo!
- With our current situation, God is teaching me a lot (to slow down, that I can't make plans, to do a better job around the house, to be thankful, to be patient, to give myself and others more grace, to ask for help when needed...)
- Mr. Steady and I are reading a book/ study together that is AWESOME!  It is called "Changed into His Image" by Jim Berg.  It is really challenging and encouraging me!  If you are ready for your walk with Christ to go to a new level, I think you should read this!
- Medical insurance... and that we have met our out of pocket max for the year!  So thankful that medical bills are not hanging over our head, and that each procedure that Mr. Steady needs is not going to cost us anything more!
- Support of friends, family, and friends that should be called family : )
- Our summer fun list... to remind me to keep making fun memories with my kiddos.
- For the exciting changes in the lives of friends and family... new babies, new houses, new jobs, soon to be new spouses! 
- that as a family we were able to go to the beach tonight for a bonfire to celebrate B's birthday, and fathers day!
- that I actually am posting on here, hoping this gets the ball rolling again : )
- and I'm thankful for you... anyone that stuck with me and read this whole rambling post!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Love me some spray paint

... And free time to take on some little projects!

I painted a frame for Bug's room and some shelves for H's room. Loving this day at home!

Crafting/ re-creating is good for my heart!  I have a couple of other projects I have worked on this Spring, I will try to post more soon.  All I can say is that I have spray painted quite a few things and I'm way impressed with how much I like the change that can come of a $3.50 can of paint : )

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I survived

I officially survived my first tri-athlon!  Whoo hoo!  I'm so thankful that I was able to do it, especially with everything that has been going on the last 2 months with Mr. Steady's back.  Training was really tricky since he could be left home with all 3 kiddos unless everyone was sleeping (no lifting restriction...)  But he said a few weeks ago, that hands down I needed to try to keep up with my training and that he fully supported me doing the race, the logistics were just a little more complicated. 

The training process was actually really fun.  It provided great excuses to see friends at 6am (how often do you do that), to meet at the pool.  It provided great times of worship as I rode my bike at the crack of dawn listening to praise music.  It provided a goal to work towards and therefore self discipline.  The funny unexpected benefit, is that it helped me desire to be more active with my kids.  I was the mom running around at the park and the mom who actually got my hair wet at the pool when we went to play.  I like this new change, hope I can keep it up : )

For the Tri I had a slew of wonderful people to participate with...
My bro and his friend Katie- they came out from Denver and did the full Sprint
My college roommates- Kathy & Jenn
My dear friend Dena
My friend Amy from church
7 of us in all, which made it really fun to setup our transition areas together, then to cheer each other on along the way!

As for the actual Tri

 I loved getting to race with these awesome girls, even though most of them left me in the dust on the swim!

I do not recommend an ocean swim for your first Tri!  It was intense!  Waves were chest-high, and the waves just kept coming and coming!  I'm so thankful that I survived!

 I now wish I would have pushed myself more on the run and bike... especially since my swim was so slow!  But I was struggling to catch my breath the whole time!

Getting to do the tri with my big bro will be forever a special memory for me! 

My favorite memory of the day was when H, joined me for the last 50 yards of my run!  
Too bad this sweet buddy has some serious speed and was sprinting, I had to ask him to slow down so I could keep up : )

I felt so supported and loved by my man!  He got up at the crack of dawn and rallied the 2 big kids, made signs for me, took a whole slew of pictures, cheered me on along the course.  Oh, how I love this man!  I could have never taken this on without his support!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

All is well

Life has been a tad crazy over here so I haven't have a chance to hop on my blog and give an update!  To say that the last month has been crazy, feels like an understatement.  To say that we have been covered in prayer and love is an even bigger understatement!  We have received emails, texts, calls, meals, prayers, childcare, groceries and so much more.  Thank you to each and every one of you that have blessed us and carried us through this crazy time.

I'll give a little re-cap for those that want to hear it...
The day following the last post was a Wednesday.  Mr. Steady had an appointment with the surgeon, who reviewed his MRI and confirmed that yes indeed it was time for surgery.  Soonest available time-slot was to be the following Monday as long as insurance approved it.  Pain on that Wednesday was pretty high, but somewhat manageable.
Thursday of that week, we were back in the ER for pain management.  After being there for 5 hours he was released with a new cocktail of meds to help him make it to Mondays tentative surgery.
Friday afternoon he had an epidural to help with localized pain... and the best part of Friday was my mom flew into town!!!!!!!  I was trying really hard to juggle everything here {with the help of friends} but I couldn't do it.  I needed help here, in my house, for my kids, for my man, and for me.  One call to my mom on Thursday morning and her tickets were booked within 10 minutes to arrive the next day!  {I sure do hope you all have a mama like mine}
Friday we found out insurance would cover Mr. Steady's surgery!  And Friday's epidural really did help with pain over the weekend.  No more visits to ER!!
Sat and Sunday, we laid low at home
Monday- Surgery!  Going into it I was doing pretty good.  Mr. Steady was so relieved to go and get surgery to have the possibility of decreased pain.  Once he was all gowned up and we talked with the Dr. and the anesthesiologist I had to go out to the waiting room, I started to get a little more anxious.  You would think I would be used to this... this was his 5th orthopedic surgery in 6.5 years!  But regardless of the frequency, the waiting to hear all is well, can still be hard!
{waiting... wearing Mr. Steady's wedding ring}

I sat in the waiting room and did my Bible study homework and listened to Matt Redman's CD.  The song Never Once really stood out to me... I played it over and over again.  The whole song is amazing, but even the first verse just reminded me of God's hand on us in the whole ordeal:
"Standing on this mountaintop 
Looking just how far we've come 
Knowing that for every step 
You were with us"
 God was with us each and every step of the way.  He provided through so many of you to reach out and help carry us through this!  In light of heartache that others we know are going through, Mr. Steady's pain and surgery can feel small, yet that is how amazing God is.  He uses the big and the small, he takes care of our needs whether temporary or a forever loss.  I hope this song will encourage you:

After almost 3 hours the surgeon came out to tell me that my man did awesome in surgery!  The herniation of his disc was much worse than they expected, but that they were hopeful for good results.  After 2 hours in recovery we were sent home!  Oh, and it gets better... the nerve pain that had been radiating down his leg since February was completely GONE!!!  Thank you Lord!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My poor man!

The last 24 hours have been beyond rough for my man!  His pain has been increasing the last few days, and he hardly slept a wink last night.  He got up at 8am, and I could see the pain and exhaustion from the moment I saw him, in his eyes, the way he was hunched over, his attempt to sit down...  you could just tell he was miserable!  As the day went on, things got worse... I encouraged Mr. Steady to call his DR and see what the next step should be.  The doctor was able to pull some serious strings and get Mr. Steady an appointment tomorrow morning with a spine surgeon for a consultation {getting the ball rolling}

By 2pm he was on a conference-call curled up in the fetal position, trying so hard to find a comfortable position, to no avail!  Beads of sweat on his face, and totally nauseous.  I left him to do his work and came down to email some friends from church to ask for prayer, and to call my friend who is an ER nurse to ask her at what point should I take him to the ER! 

At 2:45 H came running down stairs and stuttered over his words, and finally spit out, "Mama, Daddy really needs you upstairs."  I ran up stairs to find Mr. Steady curled up in a ball, body shaking, sweat dripping, and crying! {I have only ever seen my husband even tear up 2 other times in the last 10 years}  He asked me to find a thermometer because he thought he had a fever.  I searched for a moment then thought, what in the world good will a thermometer do?  I knew the sweating was from pain, not a fever... then I kicked into high gear, and tears...  I called our babysitter, and asked (dare I say I begged and sputtered) how far away she was and if she could come get our kids.  She said yes, but it would be about 45 minutes until she could come.  Then I ran next door and asked our neighbor if she could watch the kids until our babysitter could be here {by God's grace our neighbor was home, she is a teacher and this week is her spring break}.  We live less than 5 minutes from the hospital, but the whole ride, he was cringing, attempting to curl up in a ball on the front seat... struggling like I have never seen before.

We were able to get right in at the ER, normally a 4 hour wait!  It did take the doctor a while to get pain meds started, but by 4pm they started the first round of meds, including anti-nausea meds. 3 rounds of meds and 6 hours later he was discharged.  The ride home was almost as rough as the ride in, he kept thinking he was going to throw up.  But we made it home, to a clean house and kids all tucked in.  I was able to run back out to the pharmacy to get his meds while our awesome sitter was still here.  He got 4 meds, and the grand total was $0.  I couldn't believe it.  Though this struggle is hard, we are seeing God's blessings and provisions along the way.  Please keep my sweet man in your prayers!

Monday, April 16, 2012

I hate bedtime

I have gone through seasons before of loathing bedtime, and other times it isn't so bad.  Other than with my kids when they were newborns, I have never LOVED bedtime...  And I get all kinds of frustrated at myself that I don't LOVE it.  I wish bedtime was a sweet, calm, full of great memories kind of time around here... but right now, we are so far from that!  You see for 7 weeks Mr. Steady has been unable to help with bedtime {since he herniated his a disc in his back}.  I had been used to the amazing tag-team we had going on for bedtime, each of us pitching in, each of us getting a little 1 on 1 time with one or two of the kids.  But doing it all by myself for weeks on end, has been hard, tiring, and testing of my patience.

Tonight I was struck by how many times I told my kids, "hurry up!"  What, is my deal?  It is not like we have anything pressing that we are going to be late for!  Other than, the more dilly-dallying and disobedience for sure dwindles my patience!

I wish I could say my sweet man was doing better and that starting tomorrow, he would be tag-teaming bedtime with me.  But that is not our reality right now.  Poor guy is struggling walking, sitting, even sleeping... and by doctor's orders he is not allowed to pick up any of our kids.  So that leaves me, which is fine, I know there are lots of families where dad doesn't help with bedtime at all {heaven help you sweet ladies enduring this}, and there there are single-moms who have no choice but to care for every need of their little ones-- and somehow their kiddos make it to bed each and every night.   Or a military wife, doing this for months on end... how did my sweet mother-in-law do it???

Here is my new game plan of surviving this time of day
1.  Get over myself and my selfishness and get over the expectations that this will take only 15 minutes.
2.  Start earlier
3.  have chart/ cards for big kids to follow for the parts of getting ready for bed that they can do on their own {I will post more on this later}
4.  Ban myself from saying "hurry up!!!"  I can give other reminders, but overall they don't have to hurry and rush, they just need to stay on task!
5.  And once a week, I'm hoping for a bedtime break... that we can get a babysitter for a few hours.  (sounds bad to say out-loud... but just keepin' it real)

Do you have any bedtime tips??  Am I the only mom that longs for bedtime to be sweet and memorable, but is often frustrated and rushing??  What works for you??

Okay, and when you are tucking your little peeps in at night, will you say a little prayer for me to be patient and to find enjoyment in this time with my littles?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter

I pray that you had a wonderful Easter!  Ours was not our typical Easter, but we made the most of our time together as a family!  B-man was sick (sad) and Mr. Steady has a herniated disc and was having trouble standing/ walking (double sad).  So we stayed home... which was strange, don't know if I have ever missed going to church on Easter ever before in my entire life.  Thanks to modern technology we were able to watch our church service live!  So cool!  The kids watched the worship, then they each went to their rooms and listened to some tunes and played so Mr. Steady and I could hear the sermon.  Then we had a lovely lunch on the patio and an Easter Egg hunt outside.  Followed by naps for the little two and relaxation for H and the grownups. Easy crockpot dinner, then we did our final Resurrection Egg.  As we put the treasures back into the eggs for next year, H went through each item and recounted how it was a part of the story of Christ.  If you don't have the Resurrection Eggs, and you have kids above the age of 4, I want to encourage you to consider getting a set for next year.  Be sure to get the book Benjamin's Box to go along with it.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Crazy pajama night

This is such a simple idea, that for whatever reason is REALLY fun for the kids... Crazy pajama night. And to be honest it is a great stretch for this type-A, matchy kind of mama... to intentionally miss-match!  I let the kids try to pick out the craziest combo of PJs they can come up with, I helped B-man of course.  And here is what last night looked like...

Poor B-man doesn't get the concept at all.  Even this morning he was asking for his "Melmo" (Elmo) pants.  I think I might have found my most type-A one of the bunch!

Friday, March 16, 2012

I am a sap!

I have become so quick to tear up each time a baby is born, or I hear about an adoption.  My heart is seriously moved when I see a precious newborn or hear the sacrifice and love that is behind each and every adoption.   Am I just that sappy, or is our home not full??  Or is it that I understand the joys and struggles of being a parent.  I see how quickly the years go by... I am desperate for a way for this season of littleness to slow down.

This last week, Bug was asking a lot about when she was born.  So I pulled up some pictures from the day she entered the world.  Then I pulled up our old blog and read her the story about when she was born and how we chose her name.  I was in tears, reading it to her.  How was that already over 3 years ago?!?!?!?  How quickly I had forgotten some of the details, the little things that made my heart flutter a little as I re-read it.

A few days before that I was reading H the journal I had started for him.  The first entry was from when he was 2 years 9 months, and we were anticipating the birth of his little sister.  I read him the words that I had written about the kind of big brother, I hoped and prayed he would be.  And the tears flowed again, but not sad tears, tears of thanksgiving.  You see I had forgotten all that I hoped he would be, because I just got used to it... I grew to expect it instead of cherishing the brother he was.  He has been and still is every bit the big brother I prayed he would be.  God so graciously, blessed our family with one incredible big brother!

Yes, I am sappy about babies... but I am also sappy about looking back at all God has done!  All His goodness, all his blessings that come often times not in the packages we expected, but yet in the way He has perfectly planned.    I never expected that H and Bug would be 3 years apart... yet even in that I now see God's blessings.  I never planned that B would be only 19 months younger than Bug, yet again, God's perfect plan for our family.  I will never be able to slow down time, yet I can cherish it in the moment and I can take the time to look back and continue to rejoice in God's goodness!

I have been reminded many times over this week that each healthy baby is a precious gift.  May we never take the miracle of life for granted!  And, I will just put this out there, if you need anyone to hold or love on your newborn... please pick me!  My hubby might even pay you to help me get my baby-fix : )

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Chore Charts

I am a firm believer that kids need to contribute at home.  I want my kids to be willing workers, to be helpers around the house and to contribute in helping carry the load of taking care of a family.  Over a year ago, I came across this great chore chart and fell in love.  I whipped up a version for H and one for Bug with each of their designated chores.  Printed them out, laminated them and have them hanging on my refrigerator.  The kids love checking off what they have accomplished... umm, I think they get that from me :)

Anyway, then I lost the file on my computer and couldn't find it again.  I tried to go to the blog where I had downloaded it from, and that blog no longer exists.  So thanks to Pinterest, I found it again!!  I saw a pic of it then clicked through to the blog, and at last here it is!

The chart is completely customizable.  Which is nice, because each kid needs a little bit of a different list of ways to help out; and for each year or season of life these chores will change.  The last chore listed on each kids chart I have "Blessing Bonus".  I use this in 2 different ways.  First, if I have the kids do an extra big job that isn't on their chart, they get to mark of "Blessing Bonus."  But the second reason I have this (and the greater reason) is that I want them to be on the lookout for ways they can bless others.  For instance, if H were to put away laundry for his sister or brother without being asked, he will get a blessing bonus. 

We have a long way to go... but I really want my kids to learn to be on the lookout for how they can bless other.  How they can use the hands God has given them to serve, care for and even clean up after other.  I feel like this is an area where I have so much room to grow in too.  Maybe I need to make myself a chart (to make sure I am getting all my chores done) and to remind myself daily to be on the lookout for ways to bless others!

"the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Matthew 20:28

Friday, March 9, 2012

Stations- table time

So B-man has mostly dropped his morning nap. And this mama still has to do school with big bro. I'm always needing small ways to keep B entertained, and this one worked like a charm... 10 minutes of quiet and it was so good for his motor skills. All you need is a colander and a couple of pipe cleaners.

Maybe it can keep your toddler busy too : )

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mama's busy training

So part of the reason that I have not been the best at blogging lately is that my time is being gobbled up in other arenas of life.  One of which is that I am training for a triathlon.   And before you go thinking that I am some fitness fanatic, let me assure you, that this is the shortest triathlon I was able to find!  Haha!  It is called a "super sprint" which might lead you to believe that it is longer than a sprint, not a chance... a "mini sprint" would be way more accurate. 

None the less this (Super/ Mini triathlon),  has gotten this mama into a regular workout routine, which I haven't had in 6.5 years.  Hmm, sounding remarkably similar to the age of my eldest!  Yep, since I had H, I have not consistently worked out for more than 2 weeks at a time.  But I have been going strong for 2 months now, working out 4-6 days a week!  And finally this week, I feel like it has actually made a difference, I can run further before getting winded, I can bike easier, swimming... well lets all pray I don't drown, because I struggle in the water... and if I struggle in the water, well there goes the rest of my race!

So what do I have to show for it...
Well I have GAINED 3 pounds... I know, I know, muscle weighs more than fat... still, NOT cool, what girl wants to gain weight?!?!
All my pants are too tight in the thighs... I might have thunder-thighs when this is done
Finally, I can say (for the first time since high school) that working out is a part of my regular routine!  Wooo Hooo

Just so you can get a realistic picture... and so I can remember where I was at at this stage of the game, this is what I am capable of right now...
1.  I can swim 2-3 laps, before I have to stop (big improvement, when I started training I had to stop each lap) and can go about 20 laps total (with many brakes)
2.  I can run 1.25 miles without wanting to walk.  Before I started training I could only do about .5 miles.
3.  My longest bike ride to date is about 8 miles, though, with lots of hills, so that has to count for something : )

I have a long way to go in my training.  But I am thankful to say that my body is healthy and I am getting stronger by the day!  Thank you Lord for that!!

1 Corinthians 9:24 "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it."
-my prize will be simply being able to finish the race!!  That is enough for me!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines day 2012

I had high hopes for today, and for the 2 weeks leading up to Valentines day. I wanted to spend a day going through each characteristic of love found in 1 Corinthians 13. However, It didn't happen, in any capacity. Life has been crazy busy the last few weeks. I'm always struggling with how to stay on top of life, or even ahead... Is that possible?? Maybe next year... Hopefully next year! For now I will let go of my "mommy-guilt."

Despite all that we didn't do, we did have a little valentines day fun. Bug and I made some cookies for H's class.  And the kids and I did a few crafts too. Why don't I do that more often? Oh wait, because it is messy, takes time and a little unpredictable. Hmmm, sounds like life! I'm ready to embrace the mess, the time commitment and chaos for my 3 little peeps.

Man love these kiddos! I am one blessed mama!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lamp on a timer

Forgive me if I have posted on this before, but honestly I can't remember if I have and it is a worthy topic to post or repost : )

At our house wake-up time is 7am.  It is fine if you sleep past then, but kiddos out of bed before that is not the best start to my day.  Call me selfish if you must, but I need that time to myself, to read my Bible or take a shower or if need be, sleep!

I fully recognize that it is hard for kids to want to jump out of bed as soon as they are awake, especially for little ones that can't tell time yet.  Here is an idea that was passed down to me from a fellow mama when H was little.

Put a light on a timmer in their room.  No need to set an alarm that could wake them if they might just happen to sleep in.  But a small lamp shouldn't wake someone up.

We bought these timers from Amazon.
I set it up in Bug's room to a lamp on her dresser.  Her lamp turns on at 7am, when it is okay for her to get out of bed.  She happily comes and finds us and our day starts out smoothly!

H-man can tell time so in his room we have a clock setup.  And B is too young to understand, but lucky for me he tends to sleep in!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

teaching responsibility

I realized recently that I haven't done a great job of teaching H to be responsible for this things, messes, or his time. He was my only kiddo for 3 years so I had the time and ability to clean up after him, constantly remind him to stay on task, bus his plate, and to put things back where they belong. I don't have that ability or time anymore and I really do not have the desire to carry on like that. You see he is 6, and I find myself constantly saying "H, don't forget to do...." or "H, please pick up your room..." or "H, I asked you to get ready for bed, why are you sitting on your floor half dressed?"

Part of it is personality, and unfortunately part of it is training or lack there of. I thought I was on track during his little years, however I have started to see some area where I could have done so much better. For example, until H was 4 I never had him clear his plate from the dinner table because I was afraid of him spilling leftover food and crumbs along the way to the sink. With one kiddo it was easy to pick up that one extra plate. However now with 3 extra plates, 3 more sets of silverware, 3 half-full cups, I can't get it all in one load... and besides that the far grander motivation is that as a mom one of my main jobs is to train my kids to be responsible adults some day.

So how am I doing it differently with the little two.
1. B and Bug both bus their own plates... under these simple rules, hop down first from your chair, 1 thing at a time, 2 hands, careful walking, dump food in trash, then plate in sink or on counter.
2. Bug is making her own bed (most everyday)
3. All kids help dust-bust the floor under the table after meals
4. Even B-man at 18 months has chores he helps with... putting away shoes, wipping the floor, putting toys away.

We are working hard with H on being responsible, orderly, proactive, and tidy But it is not catching on as much as we have hoped. We are still far from having this perfected with any of our kids, there is so much room for growth... but I hope that you mama's of just one or two little kiddo(s)... spend your time teaching them to be responsible! Trust me re-training is SO much more work than training the first time!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The sayings of Bug

from the mouth of my 3 year old-

Mr. Steady came home with super glue, and Bug started asking about it, "daddy, what is this?"
"It is really sticky glue."
"What is it for daddy?"
"Well all kinds of stuff Bug."
"Like for your armpits?"


For some reason when my kids are tired they get hick-ups.  Yesterday Bug asked me, "Mama, why do I keep getting these hicky-ups?"  Umm, Bug, they are called hick-ups!"


Bug's platinum blond hair is starting to grow in darker.  Yesterday she asked me, "Mama, do you want to take a picture of my roots?"  I think she has heard me talk to Courtney too many times about needing to get my hair done : )


At thanksgiving we were driving home from Utah and drove past a farm.  Bug said "it is so stinky!"
"Babe, it is just a farm."
"Why do they have skunks on the farm?"

Okay, so maybe these are only funny to us...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Prison Break

Last night when I was cooking dinner Bug asked if she could go wake up B-man from his nap. I told her "Sure Babe, I will be right up to get him."
H excitedly followed Bug up to B's room. I heard them giggling on the monitor as I quickly threw together dinner.
It got quiet for a minute, so I looked over on the video monitor... and what did I see... a jail break!
H had climbed into B's crib, picked up B under his arms and was lowering him down to Bug.  I was too late to do anything about it.  Within a minute all 3 happily came down the stairs, as if everything was totally normal.

I acted totally surprised when the 3 of them rounded the corner into the kitchen.  I asked, "How did B get out of his crib?" And they told me move by move how they did it.  Not realizing at all that they had done anything wrong, and actually quite proud of themselves for the successful jail break!

I thanked them for being careful with their baby bro, but told them to never do this again.  Getting kiddos out of cribs is Mama's job : )

I must say, I was encouraged by their teamwork and thankful for careful execution!  Oh, and I'm glad I have a video monitor... I wouldn't have wanted to miss out on seeing them in action... though I will make sure it never happens again!


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