You may have wondered where the heck I've been. I hadn't been on a computer in 3 days!! Can you believe it?! Yeah, me either=)
We just finished round one of Christmas at the Via's. Tomorrow morning we head back to Maryland for the second time in 1 week but this time we're going to be with family. My sister and her family live in New Market and my brother, sister-in-law and my parents are all going to meet us there for OUR Christmas. It is the only time of the year that I get to see my whole family and we're pretty excited!
It's also time for the annual String Party. I'll definitely be posting pictures.=) I hope everyone is having a GREAT vacation! I'll be back in commission soon I promise.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Josh and I just got back from an awesome night at Southbrook Monroe Campus leading worship for their Christmas Eve services. Check out Josh's blog for pictures and details! It was a really special time.
Now, we're sitting here blogging, finishing up the last minute touches for our newsletter, stuffing stockings and setting out the kid's presents.
We are waking up in our own beds for the first time ever on Christmas morning. We are going to have our own family Christmas morning before heading up north to see our families.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
We saw this house in Maryland. You should have seen it all lit up at night time!!!
You could hardly see the porch because of all the blow-up things. HA!
Monday, December 22, 2008
While Areyna was potty training we gave her little "incentives" for going potty. You know, like a sticker on her sticker chart (that really never worked for Areyna) or a gummy bear or something. It was the hardest habit to break though. It was a rough day when she figured out that she just had to potty to go potty. So, we vowed never to do it with Zeke.
Well, we gave in about 2 weeks ago. We knew Zeke could go and if we asked him he'd go pretty well but we could sense he needed a little more incentive for some consistency. So, a couple of weeks ago we started giving him a single Smartie every time he'd go potty. By that Friday Zeke had his FIRST full day in big boy undies without an accident. In fact, it's been almost 2 whole weeks and we've only had about 4 accidents.
He's not nearly to the point of being fully potty trained but if I can remember to ask him every hour or so we'll make it to the potty in time. He'll tell me on his own about half of the time. We're getting there and he is doing GREAT! He even has a dry diaper when he gets up from his naps which means we are averaging about 1 diaper a day! We can handle that=)
So, for the little amount of work to ask him every so often and go set him on the potty I'll take handing out 1 smartie over going through 4-5 diapers a day!
Do you reward for potty-training? What kinds of things do you do?
Friday, December 19, 2008
Yesterday was a good day.
First of all, I could feel my anti-biotics kicking in. I had a few 45 minute intervals of energy before I would have to collapse back onto the couch=)
Second, it was also our first ultrasound for baby #3. We saw the little "peanut", that's right, just one, and heard a good strong heartbeat. What a blessing.
Lastly, Areyna had her first Christmas program. Yes, I did have a little tear of joy well up in the corner of my eye watching her sing Jingle Bells and We Wish You A Merry Christmas with her class. I'm gonna get Josh to put a little video of Rainy's performance up soon;)
Today we are heading up to Maryland to play for a church. Do you have any plans or Christmas parties you're going to?
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Josh did such an amazing job keeping the kids occupied and happy this week while I've been sick. Yesterday was "special craft" day. He pulled out a book of ideas for him and the kids to do and they went to town. The kids kept asking for another and another. After crafts he played games and wrestled 'til all were satisfied! Thank you for holding down the fort this week and for taking care of me=) I don't know what I would have done without you...
Here are a couple pictures of their paper Christmas trees that they made.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Two weeks before Thanksgiving I got really sick. I mean, REALLY sick! By Thanksgiving I was starting to feel a little better. At least for a couple of days. Then, I got another "something" that really took it out of me. I didn't even completely get over that before I started getting really congested. That congestion turned into a full-blown sinus infection. You know, the kind that hurts your gums and teeth, gives you a pounding headache which leads to nausea, and makes everything hurt from your shoulders up! In the past when I would hear "sinus infection" I would think, "oh, poor thing, she has a really runny nose". But now I know better. I have been laid out in the bed and on the couch for 2 days and the pain just keeps getting worse. The bad thing is that I couldn't find anything that even touched the symptoms because I'm pregnant. Until this morning. Josh just took the kids to run and get my anti-biotic. I am praising God already for the relief that I know this medicine will bring.
I'll be a new woman in 24-48 hours=)
Thanks for letting me vent for a minute. That is about the only news going on around here. Poor Josh has been dealing with super cranky/whiney kids and taking care of me while he tries to get set lists together and deal with all the last minute stuff for this weekend in Maryland.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
SUPER MULLET MAN
The kids have had a lot of fun playing with the new superhero that has made an appearance at our house this week. His mullet is enough to scare any toddler away=) He comes armed with a hairbrush, a pretty sweet cape and that's pretty much it. He has sure kept our kids entertained. Feel free to contact me for booking information. I've got connections=)
Monday, December 15, 2008
My pregnancy signs had been pretty mild so far ... until yesterday! We woke up to get ready for Ridge Church. I found out the day before that coffee was a BAD IDEA. The smell of this favorite beverage of mine has begun to give me quite the urge to hurle! Anyway, in order to avoid the inevitable that coffee would cause, and still get a little caffeine to wake me up, I made some tea. This proved to be an even worse idea. I ended up having to take some anti-nausea medicine that completely knocks me out. This wouldn't have been that bad except that it was SUNDAY, our main day of ministry, and I had a lot of lead parts in the set. I felt like I was walking around in a different world than the rest of the people around me. I couldn't think straight. I normally don't have to think much about keeping a beat or which finger I lay down next, but yesterday it made my head hurt.
Needless to say, I got the prescription filled for the anti-nausea medicine that DOES NOT make me feel like a zombie=)
Friday, December 12, 2008
After being told that she could not get down until she had 1 bean, Areyna picked up her fork to eat her 1 bite. As she picked up the fork her 1 bean just happened to fall off her fork.
She then said, "Oh well, I guess I just have to eat my bite without the bean."
I just gave her "the look" and said, "Yeah, right. Pick the bean up and put it back on your fork. Good try though=)"
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I've been preparing all day for my parents arrival. They live in Colorado so it is a rarity that they can make it to our house. It just so happens that they have some meetings in SC so they are flying in this evening and will be with us on and off for a long, extended weekend!
Their visit has motivated us to fix some little things around the house, like the toilet seat covers that have been loose and wobbly since we moved in 2 1/2 years ago, and REALLY clean the house from top to bottom. It always feels good to get the whole house cleaned in one day=) The kids have been playing so well together in anticipation of their Nonnie and G-Daddy's arrival too. They can HARDLY WAIT!!!
I'm about to fold the laundry that's been sitting on top of the dryer all week and wrap some more presents.
Something else that motivates me... a flash flood watch and a tornado watch, both of which we have today. I love storms!!! Not if anyone gets hurt, of course, but the fact that something is going on out their is kind of exciting=)
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The "outfit" battle is not a battle we choose to fight in this house.
Areyna has been known to show up at church with a princess dress;) And I'm sure the teachers at Rainy's preschool must think I'm a terrible mom but I WILL NOT fight with Areyna about wearing a coat any longer. I'll stick it in her bag and if she gets cold enough she'll ask for it. As for her daily outfits, we have one rule for the winter, Areyna MUST wear a long sleeved shirt under her Oh-So-Loved tank tops.
Here is a typical outfit for Areyna:
White and Yellow long-sleeved t-shirt, a blue and purple tank top,
a green skirt, and pink leggings.
I just smile, tell her that she is beautiful and
tell everyone in the grocery store that her daddy dressed her=)
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I was pondering what to make for dinner one night, as I do most nights when I don't get around to making a menu for the week and I decided to pull a few things together. This recipe has become a favorite of ours.
*Don't worry, this isn't the dinner I accidentally added 6 scrambled eggs to=)*
1 can of corn
1 can of green beans
1 can of peas
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste or sauce
some chicken broth
The first time I made it I put some cooked/shredded chicken and a can of carrot juice in it.
The second time I just added more water and it was just as good.
Voila, yummy/easy dinner!
"The world asks, 'What does a man own?'
Christ asks, 'How does he use it?' "
Andrew Murray, 1828-1917
South African evangelist
God has been teaching me a lot about contentment and generosity lately. I do the finances for our family. I enjoy crunching numbers and paying bills (now, if we had less bills that would be awesome too!) and finding new ways to stretch our money. But sometimes I get so caught up in how to save for all the stuff in life that we are supposed to save for; like college, retirement, all types of insurances, 6 months emergency savings, a new roof, etc., that I lose sight of what God has called us to do. It isn't wrong to have these goals, but when we get so caught up in achieving these goals that we withhold opportunities to bless others, then we are in the wrong. We are to be a generous people, even when we don't feel like we have anything to give. God has blessed us all with different things and in different ways (hence one of the dangers of comparing what we have with others). We need to find what God has blessed us with and give it away!
I am learning to be content and to say that "I have enough". I want to be that kind of person that will gladly and freely give of all that I have. I want to hold onto my possessions loosely to glorify God with any means possible. Even if it means to give out of our 6 month emergency savings (which only has about a half of a month in it anyway) to bless someone else. God is good. He sees our bank records and knows when we'll be in need ourselves.
"Contentment is that inner restfulness that says, 'I've got enough.' Generosity goes a step further and demonstrates outwardly what contentment believes inwardly." Taken from Character Makeover.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Josh started a cool tradition the first year we were married. He buys a special ornament for me (and now each of the kids) to represent the past year as individuals. We are getting quite a collection. It's fun to look at the dates on them and remember what the ornament signified from that year=)
This year Zeke got a Thomas The Train ornament because he LOVES Thomas and had a Thomas 2-year birthday party.
Areyna got a Cinderella because we rarely go a day without at least ONE princess dress on=)
Last year Josh got me a luggage bag because we had just completed our first year on the road with our ministry. This year I got a House picture frame to put our family in. Maybe because I rarely ever see our house=), or maybe just because we have really seen the value of loving each other and making every moment count, this year more than ever!
Do you have any special traditions that your family does? I'd love to hear...
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Just because my husband works from home doesn't mean I don't have A LIST.
You know what kind of list I'm talking about=)
1-Hang this picture frame
2-Fix the doorknob
3-Put lightbulbs in ALL the fans since they are way out my reach and they seem to all burn out at one time=)
I've been pretty sick, again, this week with some kind of sinus something. We've also been going non-stop since we got back from Thanksgiving, until yesterday. I decided to just take it easy, especially since I could hardly move. Josh, on the other hand, has been working like crazy to check everything off of my list for him that's been adding up for quite some time.
He hung picture frames, fixed light bulbs, started painting the trim on our house, and putting a new doorknob on our front door (one with a dead-bolt preferably, so the bad guys don't get in;). All while overseeing the kids since I've been so sick! He said he never has a day to just work on stuff around the house and I know he has felt a huge sense of accomplishment. I really appreciate his hard work. My man can do just about anything! I sure love this guy=)
Josh and his little helper
During my first 2 pregnancies I had what my brother has coined as SOP's: "Signs Of Pregnancy". It was basically a cop-out for anything silly that I would do that I could blame on pregnancy=)
I can already tell that this pregnancy is going to be NO DIFFERENT!
While I was making a family favorite for dinner last night I started scrambling eggs to put in the main dish. Not a problem in and of itself, but there were NO EGGS in the recipe. I didn't just put 1 or 2 scrambled eggs in the dish, no, that could have been covered up with the rest of the stuff that went in it...I put 6 scrambled eggs in it. What in the world was I thinking????
Oh, the things my family will have to put up with for the next 9 months=)
Friday, December 5, 2008
... they make strands of lights that completely cut off because of ONE light bulb!!
We had 2 LONG strands of lights where only half of the lights worked. Josh and I spent forever trying to figure out the culprit to no avail.*sigh*
Then, the next morning I went to plug in the lights that I had put around a window and they would no longer work either. They went directly in the trash! I hear Lowe's Christmas decorations are 50% this week;)
We went and got our tree this week! We've been counting the days for weeks=) We decided to try something different this year. Instead of waiting until AFTER dinner when the kids are starting to get cranky and the parents are beginning to get impatient and bed time is long gone...(you can just imagine what our past experiences have been like)...we decided to go AFTER breakfast when the kids are fresh and "happy hearts" are abounding!
So, we went and picked out the perfect tree
The kids had a GREAT time decorating it (well, at least the bottom 3 branches=)
And maybe the kids still didn't have the best of attitudes, but we DID have a fun day!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Zeke has been going through this stage that just seems like it WILL NOT end!
Here is what happens...
Josh and I are sound asleep when we are awakened from our slumber to yelling, screaming and banging on the door (how Areyna can sleep through it all is beyond me). It really begins when Zeke wakes up and realizes that he is twisted up in his covers. His first reaction is to jump out of bed and then he's mad at himself for getting up and not knowing how to get back under the covers, then it just escalates when Josh and I refuse to go in and help him because we have showed him, helped him and taught him to do it by himself.
Here is a sample conversation with Zeke before we leave his room for the night.
Me - "Nite-nite Zeke. I Love you"
Zeke - "I love you too mommy"
Me - "Zeke, now you know you MAY NOT YELL, you MAY NOT SCREAM, and you MAY NOT BANG ON THE DOOR for mommy and daddy to come put covers on after right now because you need to do it by your..."
Zeke - "...self"
Me - "Yes ma'am?"
Zeke - "yes ma'am!"
I'm not quite sure what the problem is. We have even had to give him "consequences" in the middle of the night because he just will not settle down and he is so worked up about it.
So, we have tried EVERYTHING! I have tried slicker covers that are easier to slide up by himself, I've tried smaller covers, bigger covers, doubling up covers...
Josh had a brilliant idea last night though! He got a big blanket/quilt from our hall closet and he completely covered Zeke's bed and tucked it all under Zeke's mattress. After Zeke slid in his covers last night he couldn't budge he was tucked in so tight. In fact, the covers hadn't even moved by the time we went and got the kids up this morning. I think we've finally found the trick=)
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
After Josh and I told the good news to Rainy and Zeke we got several different reactions, including Zeke running around saying he has a baby in his tummy too=), but a couple of Rainy's were PRICELESS...
Areyna's big smile could have lit up a room=) She is SO excited!
She looked at me, and in a very troubled voice she said, "But mommy, you have to get MARRIED first!"
I couldn't help but laugh!
After several minutes she came back over to me, gave me a big hug and kiss, and then she asked, "Did God come down and give you a baby in your tummy?"
We've been praying for this baby for 9 months and Areyna KNOWS that this baby is a gift from God=)
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
We made it home yesterday. Shew, I'm exhausted. We made it right in time to put the kids down for a short nap and frantically unpack and try to get as much done in the office as we could before heading over to our friends house for a Christmas Eve Planning Meeting.
I love being home, although I never know what to expect from the kids the first night back. Besides the normal stuff, like Zeke screaming for covers in the middle of the night, it was pretty uneventful ... until 5am. We heard this awful screeching sound that woke both of us up. It was our ice maker and it sounded like something electrical with the water in the freezer. It made me a little nervous. We shook it and banged on it until it stopped. (Isn't that what you're supposed to do=)) We noticed that the ice in the bin was just big chunks of melted water that was refrozen. We thought it was fine so we just took the ice bin out to thaw it and start over.
Fast forward a couple of hours. I walk into the kitchen to a big puddle around the rug at the foot of the refrigerator. The temperature seems fine in the refrigerator but it is leaking now. What in the world?!
Does anybody know what we should do or what's going on? Any advice would be greatly appreciated=)
Monday, December 1, 2008
In November I started a new grocery experiment. I wanted to share my results with you. Maybe it will be of some help to some of you.
Here are my rules...
***NOTE: I don't have a separate budget for household items, diapers and medicine. These are all included***
1-Go to the ATM and withdraw $140 cash. (Not sure why I chose this amount, it's just a goal I'd like to keep) This has to last us for 2 weeks. Why cash? Because that is the only true way of keeping track of how much you've spent and what you've got left to spend. Plus, if you run out of cash IT'S GONE; THAT's IT, and you are more likely to spend less money so you can stretch that dollar=)
2-Go to Aldi and stock up on pantry essentials to last us for 2 weeks plus produce and perishables to last for one week.
3-Hit up the rock bottom deals from the Grocery Game at Harris Teeter on the way home.
4-The leftover cash I have after I've made these 2 stops will be to get produce and any rock bottom deals at Harris Teeter the following week.
First 2 week results - Went $3 over budget (this included my weekly CVS trips)
Second 2 week results - Went $10 over budget (this included the food I made for our Thanksgiving get-together at the Via's, the stuff I made for Areyna's Thanksgiving feast at her school and the $1.86 I spent for a TON of FREE stuff at CVS last week)
I love that I don't have to feel rushed to get to the grocery store every week and that it takes less time to prepare for this trip. I think I'll stick with it.
At this rate I'll be averaging right around $280 for groceries a month.
Do you grocery shop every week, 2 times a month or 1 big time a month? I'd love to hear your input...