Friday, March 29, 2013

Us lately...

A craft that Parker made at school that I love on our balcony door. It's beautiful when the sun shines through!

Parker and some of his school friends at one of the boys' birthday parties - Eden Prairie Community Center. Super fun place! Must go there sometime for a playdate. (This pic was taken at the end of the 3 hr celebration...they were exhausted...full of energy still...but exhausted.)

Cooper had fun too.

Burn that energy. Run, run, Run!! ;)

The boys "helping" me clip coupons on our living room floor. (they also got to help me vacuum afterwards. :))

What our street consists of right now: mounds of snow heaped to every side of every driveway, slush, mud and salt.

I have put the boys to work helping me the last several days (when it has been warmer) to dump a little snow out on to the street. Melt snow Melt!!

Please disregard the cobwebs and dirt in the picture. Notice the "B" (aka paci) only please.

We do so love getting mail!! Thanks for our Easter package Rassie!

Watercolor painting and dominos while listening to one of my childhood "Silly Songs" tape. (The kids LOVE it so I like to pull it out from time to time just to see their giggles and cute dancing.)

Parker giving his Texas presentation to his friends at school. (It was precious; I videotaped.) My Texas blogpost will be up soon, but brace yourself, for it will be L.O.N.G. :)

A local dentist came to Parker's school to talk to the kids. For a few days after, this was Parker's ensemble:

I can't believe my baby is going to be in Kindergarten next Fall. Aaah! I just want him to stay little a little longer! P.S. He has two loose teeth that will be coming out soon! (his bottom two middle teeth)

Mrs. Holly (teacher at school) and Parker during "Circus Day." We love you Mrs. Holly!!

Parker and one of his good school friends, Grady, at the Circus Day finale.
It has been a busy and eventful last two weeks. Thankful for some warmer weather for the boys to be able to play outside this week. Enjoying a few days of just letting myself be "mom" and "homemaker"... nothing else. It has been a blast and very much needed! Missing dear hubby who is on a long trip over the Easter holiday. Looking forward to a special weekend with my two boys...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Four in the bed and an overflowing toilet...

2 a.m. rolls around and Cooper half-walks/half-runs into our bedroom with that same sleepy cry. I let him crawl up onto my side of the bed. 5:20 a.m. comes along and Parker taps his dad on the arm telling him that he's cold and asking if he will snuggle him. Cooper snores on. Clay lets Parker climb up on the bed and sleep on the only space left on our queen size bed...the left edge. I don't know about my husband but I didn't get much sleep the rest of the morning. (I would bank on the probability that he didn't either) ;)

Sometime between 6:30 and 7:30 later that morning, Parker got up to go downstairs and watch his typical early morning cartoons. A few minutes thereafter, we hear a hollering from below, "Dad! The toilet won't quit running! Dad! The toilet is overflowing!" That's all it took for dear hubby to leap out of bed, feet barely touching the floor before he hit the steps to head down two levels below. (Hmmm, I wish I had recorded the fast action that took place that early morning for the next time he tells me his body just doesn't function very well after waking...especially before 11am in the morning. ;))

The last time this happened (late last fall I believe) Cooper had decided to flush his diaper. You know, there should have been a lot of thoughts that immediately popped into my head after both of the two toilet incidences, but all I could think on those two unique mornings was, "Thank you, Lord, that my husband is home." :) When the lower level toilet overflows, it leaks into the utility room. The utility room where we store all of our luggage, the baby changing table, and a few boxes and other miscellaneous items. So, when there is water draining from the bathroom to the utility room, we have to take everything out of the utility room until the room completely dries. Fun stuff. (There are 2 things in that room that I can't lift and a few other things that I would rather not attempt lifting.) So the fact that hubby has been home during these two random occurrences makes me smile. The Lord is looking out for me. :)

(Some of you are probably wondering if I captured pictures of this whole episode. Well no, I didn't think Clay would think too fondly of that at the time. :) You can just picture standing water about an inch thick in our lower bathroom and, of course shortly thereafter, a living room filled with luggage, boxes and all sorts of exciting things. ;))

Since I don't have any pictures to share from yesterday morning, I will post a few other randoms:
1. Cooper in mix-matched pj's wearing his workman's bench goggles while deep in play one early morning (notice the boo boo band aid on his forehead :))
2 & 3. Documented: our first day to play outside with the scooters this year - March 22 (streets and driveways clear, yards...not so much.)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sometimes, a mama just needs a break...

It's Sunday afternoon.
March 17, 2013.
I have been home alone since late Friday afternoon (well, until today...not actually home much, but without husband AND kids. I am home alone until approximately 9:30am tomorrow morning.)
...the longest bout of alone time in my home for about a year and a half....or more.
I was supposed to still be in Texas with family (coming in a post this week), but needed to come back to work on a few things Friday evening and for a meeting I did. With that, I was blessed with "mommy time" today. heehe! I am quite certain the boys are fine without me. Although the evidence below certainly would not suggest that...

Random: I am listening to Blake Shelton's "Sure be Cool if You Did" and "Here's to the Good Times" by Florida Georgia Line on You Tube and watching "Flirting with Forty" that I drove too far to rent from a local Blockbuster (because it's the only video store within like a 20 mile radius besides Redbox next door, which only has the newer stuff).

I woke up at 9am this morning and read my Bible (Hosea actually...we are studying that in Sunday School). I then drank a big glass of water, threw on my baggy black workout pants, an ancient Old Navy tank and worked out to Billy Blanks PT 24/7. (the workout video that I have had since sometime last year and have only used a handful of times.) Afterwards, I then drove to my church during the middle of the 11:00 hour in blue jeans and a long-sleeve grey tshirt, parked at the front door, dashed inside praying everyone would be either in class or in the church service and headed straight for the cafe where I purchased not one, but two chai tea lattes for $2 total. The best chai tea lattes around and only a buck...and only available on Sunday's!! I was having withdrawals from them after missing church last week while we were in Texas and decided I couldn't stand it any longer. Much to my dismay, the cafe area had not cleared out at all but I stayed focused and headed straight for the counter anyway. You see, I am at church every Sunday. The kids and I rarely miss. I volunteer for both my kid's Sunday School classes. I am on Leadership for our Young Couple's class and I, like my daddy was, can't take 4 steps before I have to stop and talk to someone I know each week that I am there. So, I was a little concerned that I wouldn't make it to the counter without someone coming up to me to ask why I looked like I had just rolled out of bed without showering to come in the middle of the hour to grace them with my presence. I might have looked around nervously, had my brother not just called me a few minutes before I pulled into the church to congratulate me on my "vacation day." He was at the office and about to take a lunch break and decided to call and catch up. If anyone saw me, I wouldn't know. I made a beeline for the front door, Chai Lattes in hand and cell phone stuck to my ear, climbed in our Ford Explorer and pressed the gas pedal for home, all the while thanking God for my $1 chai tea lattes that would soon be bringing a big smile to my face...and for this day of rest for one.tired.mama.

Some might think I am a horrible person for skipping church today only to drive up in the middle of one the sermons and run to the cafe to grab a chai tea latte-- actually two lattes to be clear. Others might think it is weird. And well, for those of you who know me personally, you are probably laughing and saying, "Good for you!" least that's what my friend Susie said when I called and asked her permission to skip this morning :)
(P.S. No worries if you are one of the parents whose child I have in my Sunday School class; we had a fabulous sub for you! I didn't leave your child hanging. And there are no plans in the near future of my missing anymore class time. ;))

I think as mom's we are so hard on ourselves day in and day out. I know I am. We think we have to be on top of everything all the time. I do anyway. And for the most part, thanks to a natural abundant amount of energy and an insufficient amount of sleep most nights, I feel like I can get most of my stuff done (never all...but a lot of it). Terra, I know your 30th birthday was back in January and I promise I have your card and happy right here on the 3rd shelf of my 5 tiered bookcase downstairs; it has actually been packaged up since before Christmas..since I was so on top of purchasing it ahead of time. Obviously, the distribution of the package to the post office has not gone as smoothly, but I promise it will get there one of these days. I will totally make it up to you when I am in G-town this summer. Mama Sam, your pictures that I told you would be at Walgreens last month will be there soon. I haven't forgotten. :) And for those of you who sent me an email or sent a message on facebook in the last several weeks and I haven't responded yet...well, that might take a little longer but I will get back to you one of these days. :) And for my clutter piles that I had hoped to go through this weekend that I haven't gotten around too, I am sure you will be there waiting patiently for me when time comes and I am in the mood to declutter. To the albums and years worth of pictures laid out on our guest room bed right now ready for creative time, you are in the back of my mind. I smile each time I think of you; however, apparantly today I needed to write and read instead. I look forward to our time together in the future.

Sometimes, a mama just needs a break.

You see, there has been a lot going on around here lately (by lately, I mean the last 12 months.) No more than many others out there have going on at any given time but still, a lot for us. Everyone goes through times in life where things are more routine and steady and then one will experience a steady stream of trials and tribulations, which in ways I am truly thankful for, because I know that during those times is when I grow the most. Growth in my faith, growth in my own maturity, growth in peace and in patience for the unknown. Our time of steadiness was back in 2009 and 2010. :) Since then, life has been a whirlwind and promises to be for a bit longer I suspect. One day, I will probably share more, but today I am not quite ready. I go back and forth on how much to share on this blog, knowing that anyone and everyone could open it up and see straight into my heart...straight into our lives. The good, the yucky, the fun and the not-so-fun. Ha! I should put a sign up at the top that says, "Enter at your own risk!"

I may have mentioned this before but this blog was started for 3 main reasons: 1. I like to write and take pictures (and document our day to day) 2. To share with our family and back-home friends who we usually only see a few times a year and 3. to serve as a partial scrapbook for this overbooked mama who will probably always be "behind" in the albums for her kids. With that being said, I am aware that several others (who I don't know personally) read my random ramblings, and I am often wary that my words will be taken the wrong way or at least the way they were not intended. It has been hard for me to update this past year, so when I am popping in, I try hard to post things that will reflect a more positive light; however, life is not all butterflys and warm, sunny moments. Matthew 5:14-16 tells us that “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

My prayer is that in spite of my shortcomings and whatever crazy things I post on here, that you will sense my true heart and where I stand in my faith. I am a sinner who has the most forgiving and loving Father and thankfully loves me in spite of my shortcomings every single day. I will go into more about my beliefs, but that is for another post on another day. ;)

For now, a few more random pictures that make me smile as I am thinking about my boys. I don't believe I ever posted these from last Fall, but I love them so much and thought they would be fun to share. These were taken by Debbie Britt, a sister of a friend of mine, who likes to play with photography on the side. I think she does a pretty amazing job...especially when you are trying to capture 2 very active little boys. Thank you Debbie!!

...and to stay true to the actual moment...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Library play and Good Readings for 2013

A picture of some of the books I want to read in 2013 and a few that were read back in 2012...

Did you ever play library when you were growing up? Do you remember sitting in the middle of your bedroom floor with your books piled up next to you and carefully stamping the inside cover with your personal name stamp? My stamp was inked in red and had two hearts bordering my first name. After my beloved paperback was stamped I would use a pretend pen type reader (like our hometown library used) to scan the barcode on the back. Some days, when I wasn't playing school, or Agent 99 (from "Get Smart") with childhood friend Ashley (between the two of us, we would take turns playing Max, aka 86, and 99. I had this fabulous compact that served as a secret phone device and of course the perfect lip stick tube that acted as a secret microphone) I would sit for what seemed like hours and pour over my many-times-read-through books. It was the best. I remember going on family vacations and packing multiple books to read while on the car ride alone (thankfully, I didn't have to worry about a queasy tummy back then; I do believe if you dug through some of my mom's old albums you would find pictures of me laid out on the backseat of our van quite happily popping gum with a book in hand.)

Those days of endless hours of reading time have long passed. :) Since having kiddos, I have gone through spells of reading some and reading very little (other than some favorite magazines that come in the mail monthly). Sometime last year I picked up the lifelong love and haven't been able to keep my hands off of books...literally. There have been days that I have carried a book around with me to multiple rooms in an attempt to read just a few pages and then life happened and at the end of the day I might have 3-4 pages read. Hence, part of the reason that if you were to walk into any room of my house right now, you would find at least 1 or 2 of my books sitting out. Though just as intriguing, the books I find myself leaning towards are not quite like the fiction books I used to dive into, but instead, books that I feel will uplift me as a woman, wife, mother, daughter of Christ, etc. and will help me grow. I have decided that this most recent fixation must be due to the fact that I have been depriving myself of one of my happy past times for far too long. Now, if I can just work out a happy balance... ;)

Here are a few of the books I have finished thus far this year:
(and p.s. I really like each of them and would recommend them to be added to your collection. Each one has been lovingly marked and underlined in--after much debate of whether or not I wanted to start marking up all my books I finally dove right in and went to town with the highlighting! :))

One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp
Favorite! Favorite! Love Love!! Just go ahead and purchase it...

     The last of the sunflowers stands tall in the kitchen garden right off of the porch. It's early, too early, really. The picket fence gate at the side of the garden lies open. I have scissors in hand and hopes for just a ring or two of fresh petals. In the house, empty vases line the counter. Emptiness opened wide for beauty filling. So I have gone looking, always looking.
     The finches, yellow on wing, flit among the high leaves. The ground is damp from the night dreams. I stretch high on the toes to reach a crowning sunflower, perfect. A few lower ones, bowed, still new. I walk the rows of giants and I gather. My arms are wet with dew, full of summer.
     In the house, I trim stems, shear off lower leaves, fill the open vase mouths, and I arrange. I set the vases of the golden heads out. One on the side table by the window, another at the end of the hand hewn-mantel, beam from a barn that the school bus drove past all my childhood. I bring beauty in. I take the last to the table, set its bouquet in the middle of the quilted runner of pinwheel stars that Mama stitched for my birthday, thrifted cotton ginghams, old men's shirts, faded summer work. For a moment, I bend, fingering petals.
     I peer into a wide circle of sunflower, a mother seraching a child's face.

     I've heard it said that life would not be so hard if it weren't so daily. Yet the Bible says that each day is a gift from God that we should rejoice in (Psalm 118:24). Daily adventures with God will add an excitement to your life that will change your whole perspective. No longer is your day just one humdrum task after another, but rather a string of divine appointments and hidden treasures waiting to be discovered.
     Seeing life like this opens up God's storehouses of joy. The mark of a truly godly woman is one who reveals the power of God not so much in her doing as in her being. she has opened God's treasure chest of joy and so filled her heart with gratitude and love that just being around her inspires you. She goes about the simplest of tasks, her everyday duties, and even the rough patches of life with such grace that you find yourself wanting to imitate her. She is full of adventure yet not worn out from the journey.

     We view our trials from the "underside," the human side, the earthly side. All we see is a mass of unfortunate trials and tragedies that are many times ugly, confusing and disturbing. But what God wants us to understand is that He is producing works of art.
     Exactly what is a stable woman, a woman with staying power? And how would you recognize her? She's one who endures whatever life brings her way. She doesn't crumble under pressure. She persists. For her there's no stopping allowed, no bailing out. There's no giving up and no giving in. And there are no excuses. She keeps on keeping on, staying to the end.
     And that's not all. A stable woman is one who's steady. She's not soon shaken or easily rocked. Like my first mentor, she is a rock. She's constant, even-tempered, never fickle, and not wavering or fitful. She's steadfast and fixed. She's not a flake. She is faithful and solid.

It is now past my bedtime and as I sit here listening to Florida Georgia Line's latest song, "Get Your Shine On" I smile. For what I am about to do is crawl into my cool bed sheets, pick up a near bedside table book, and read a few pages...

May your evening be filled with only good things.

Friday, March 15, 2013

our word for 2013: PEACE

Towards the end of last year, I decided I wanted our family to have a focused word that would be reflected upon throughout our daily lives in the upcoming year. The word was easily chosen as it was the one pressed upon my heart the most: PEACE. Before we had even started a mountain of trials in the new year, the word had made a lasting impression on my soul and I found myself thanking God over and over for placing this particular word in our lives at just the right time. I am still working on ways to introduce our family "theme" in creative forms monthly throughout the year to our boys. My hope is for their hearts to receive a special little tug whenever they think and hear of the word "peace."

Three out of the five Merriam-Webster dictionary definitions of peace are as follows:

1 : a state of tranquility or quiet
a: freedom from civil disturbance
b: a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom peace

2 : freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions
3 : harmony in personal relations
When I see and think of the word "peace," I think of a quietness that does not leave me even in the midst of trials. A comforting and peaceful feeling in the midst of the chaos and confusion. I recently went through the concordance in the back of my Bible and looked up all the Scripture verses listed under "Peace."
Here are my favorites:
  • Psalm 29:11
  • Psalm 46:10
  • Psalm 119:65
  • Proverbs 14:30
  • Isaiah 26:3
  • Isaiah 32:17
  • Isaiah 48:18
  • Isaiah 57:2
  • John 14:27
  • John 16:33
  • Romans 5:1
  • Romans 8:6
  • Galations 5:22
  • Philippians 4:7
  • Colossians 3:15
  • 1 Peter 3:11
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:16

(I found the frame above on clearance at Target after the holidays and thought it could serve as a decorative reminder for our family throughout our days of 2013.)