Thursday, December 31, 2009

Words Of Wisdom - Josh

Josh: "I just LOVE this time of year between Christmas and New Year's. After Christmas is over it just feels like a new year...but we still have 7 days left in the year! It's like 7 extra days of life!"

Would You Rather...


Ride or Drive?

Josh and I made the treck from NC to my sister's in MD yesterday to have Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year's with my side of the family and it got me thinking...

I used to be a driver without a doubt. I LOVED to take road trips with my best friend in college, Suzy. We'd have a blast. The only time I'd relinquish the steering wheel was if I was too tired to drive.

Anyway, when Josh and I got married he kind of took over that role. I must admit my frustration at first, wondering why HE always got to drive, but I never really spoke up about it and have adapted quite easily to be quite a good sleeper...I mean, rider/navigation guide=)

It just seems natural to see the husband driving his family around town in their car now.

I do know of some couples whose main driver is the wife/girl and it seems weird to me, but that's just how they role.

So, would you rather ride or drive?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

His And Hers

Some couples have separate bank accounts...
Josh and I have separate Starbucks cards=)

Josh and I got to go out on a date last night. KID FREE!!! (Thanks Jonathan and Kelly!) We got to make good use of our Christmas gift cards. It was so nice to have a full night of uninterrupted conversation. We always like to have a date near the end of the year to reevaluate the past year and talk about our new or on-going goals for our family/lives/marriage/ministry for the next year.

Josh and I aren't exactly your typical movie date-goers. We'd rather go somewhere where we can catch up with each others lives and reconnect, uninterrupted. Our last stop on a date is usually a coffee shop somewhere and last night we went to Starbucks to cash in some of our Christmas presents.

When we went to check out it made me laugh. Some couples have different bank accounts to keep tabs on who is spending what. For us it's separate gift cards and you better believe that MY gift card is ALL MINE, HA! There are just some things that I WILL NOT SHARE! Just kidding, sometimes I'll give him a sip of mine=)

***That big VENTI drink...yeah that was mine and Josh was so jealous because I didn't even have to use my gift card for it and it was still FREE. Starbucks mailed me a birthday card which was good for ANY drink of ANY size. Make sure you register your starbucks gift cards and fill out your profile with your birthday!***

Monday, December 28, 2009

Let's Play!



I've been involved in play groups before. They are actually one of my most dreaded things. Let me just explain myself before you get all offended=)

I don't do so well with crowds. And I do even worse with chaos, so a house full of kids running around going crazy and a kitchen full of opinionated moms is a recipe for disaster in my mind.

But this play group is a little different!

My sisters-in-law and I all got together and decided to take advantage of our close living proximity. We have designated Tuesday mornings/afternoons as our play day. We rotate houses every week and the host home provides a simple lunch for everyone.

We had our first one here, with 9 kids 4 and under, running around in our house. It was a blast! At least I know I had fun. And surprisingly we had plenty of full adult conversations while the kids played.

Just another reason why it's so nice to live close to family.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

We had an amazing night at our Christmas Eve service(s) tonight. We took the kids to look at some Christmas lights around the town afterward and then had some late night wrestling before bed.

I just finished making our Breakfast casserole for the morning, Josh is finishing up some last minute wrapping and the kids are fast asleep.

This will be our first Christmas at home all day as a family=) It's been fun getting prepared to celebrate with our growing little family.

What did you have to scurry around and do to get ready for Christmas this year?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Round One


We've been here at the Via's in Virginia since Sunday night and we'll be back home tonight. Round One of Christmas is complete.

It's been a fun, action-packed couple of days. You can check out what we do to survive the madness on Josh's blog HERE, HERE and HERE.

Tomorrow night are our Christmas Eve services at Journey. There are 2 services, one at 4 and the other at 6. You better come early to grab your seat 'cause it's gonna be packed!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Breaking The Habit

Out with the old, in with the new
Transferring all his stuff from his favorite bag, his lunchbox,
into the gift bag that held his new ornament.

This is the worst - layers
Ex. A box inside a bag

I've admitted before that I have a problem. I LOVE bags. All sorts of bags: Pocket books, Diaper bags, Beach bags, Reusable grocery bags, etc. I get this giddy feeling inside when I get a new bag, organizing and reorganizing my stuff to find the perfect place for all my stuff.

So it should come as no surprise to me that my son has a similar addiction. He loves bags to put all his "tuff" in too. But he has absolutely gone bag crazy lately! He is about to drive me crazy with all these bags. This little OCD world that I have created around me has bean turned upside down! The belongings around our house no longer have a home, only to be stuffed inside of a bag to be toted around to who knows where. I can't keep up with anything when bag boy is around.

I mean, good grief...this boy is more excited about the bag than the gift inside=)

It's so bad that when I get home from the grocery store I have to immediately throw away the grocery bags or put the reusable ones away before Zeke can snag them. I have learned that I have to completely take the temptation away before the option is even presented to him. I have become quite slick though, as I sneak around and confiscate the dormant bags before my little bag boy can catch me.

It's pretty funny to go through his bags and see what stuff he's decided to put where. We always end up getting home with more than we left with as he goes around other's peoples houses looking for "treasures" to put in his bags. Food is the worst. I just found a hard bagel this morning that he had gotten from church.

This has been a tough habit to break, and I'm not sure he'll ever refuse a good bag on his own, but at least I am learning how to cope with my son's addiction and am learning how to live to the fullest as a family through this time=)

Friday, December 18, 2009

All Tuckered Out




Bouncing is one of Cai's favorite things!

Two hours of bouncing + Peacful holiday music playing on Pandora =
A little boy ALL TUCKERED OUT=)

Journey Girl Band

What church can say they have an ALL GIRL BAND?! Well, Journey can. It is so awesome that we don't have to pull any males into the band to fill-in a single instrument! Have I mentioned how cool our church is?!

We got together for the Ladies Christmas Tea and we had a so much fun. I am LOVING getting to know all these ladies=)

Here's who was in the band - pictured from Left to Right
BACK ROW:
Karen-acoustic guitar and vocals, Stephanie-vocals, Whitney-vocals, Janice-keys and vocals, Brianne-drums, Kelly-bass
FRONT ROW:
Meghan-violin, Blaire-vocals, Tasha-violin

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Santa's" Little Helpers


This year the kids helped me pick out a lot of their cousin's Christmas presents. They were so excited when we'd get another package in the mail, knowing it was one of the presents they helped get.

I must stop and pause to say that on-line shopping is the way to go when you have to shop with kids!

Next, time to wrap the presents and put them under the tree.

I decided to "make" our own wrapping paper this year. We went and picked up a stack of paper bags at Harris teeter. Then, I cut them so they were flat. After I finished cutting we got the markers out and the kids "decorated" them.

After decorating the paper, Rainy and Zeke alternated turns putting bows and name tags on the gifts (thanks to this week's FREEBIES at CVS!) and then they took turns putting the presents under our tree.

We're about half-way done but their gifts look great.

It's all I can do to fight my urge to just "get it done" because I can see how much fun they are having.

AND, we didn't have to pay a penny for our wrapping endeavors!

I saw earlier that my friend, Jenn, cooked with her kids this week. Do you involve your kids in the festivities of Christmas or are you a get 'er done kind of gal?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It Feels Good


I've been so out of the loop with groceries and couponing since we moved away from Charlotte. I literally spent hours weeding out expired coupons, cutting inserts and filing them away on Saturday. It had been long enough! I told you I get a lot done when Josh is out of town=)

Our checkbook was seeing the results, reflecting our previous lifestyle of no coupons. I felt like such a traitor walking up to the cashier empty handed, paying full price for the items in my cart and I'd just hang my head in shame when the computerized cashier at the self-checkout would ask "Do you have any coupons"? No, alright, no I don't. STOP judging me!!

I digress...

I had a plan and I was motivated. Since I have all my normal grocery stores that I shopped at in Charlotte within minutes of our new house here (minus our Aldi which is kind of sad) I didn't have to change strategies, which I was SO thankful for.

So I mapped it out and put my scenarios together. Man did I have a list! We had pretty much whittled down our stockpile when we moved so it was almost like starting from ground zero again. (Except for the Peanut Butter Cup ice cream Brianne brought over when we moved in. Thanks BRI!=)

It was such a rush to see that $150 total go down to $81 at my first stop...ahhhh! We made out with only pennies left over from our 2-week grocery budget when all was said and done, but we did it!

I also had a new strategy for getting Christmas presents this year. Thanks to Ebates and free shipping deals, I actually made money back by shopping online for ALL my Christmas presents this year (except for my kids and Josh). You should really check them out. Make sure you say that Tasha Via at joshntash @ hotmail . com referred you and you can get an automatic $5!

Anyway, it sure feels good to be back in full swing in the coupon world. Hello again world. Hello again savings. Hello again happy checkbook=)

Crazy Christmas Gifts

So, this year it has been fun to get ideas from the kids themselves for Christmas. Their lists are pretty bizarre sometimes and they vary from day to day...except for one of Areyna's requests.

She wants a stoplight. Yeah, a real stop light. She also told me step-by-step how we are going to hang it in her room=) She's a girl that knows what she wants. But really, what 4-year-old asks for a stoplight for Christmas?!

What is the craziest thing you, or someone else you know, have ever asked for for Christmas?


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Free Download - O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Josh finished a little rendition of O Come, O Come Emmanuel yesterday and is offering it as a free download. Just click here and it should automatically begin downloading. Hope you enjoy it, and share it with a friend. Merry Christmas. Emmanuel has come!

If you like this sound you can find more music HERE...enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Gingerbread Man

When we lived in Charlotte there was a house that we frequently passed with a very creative owner. He would always make awesome creations out of his bales of hay. Here is his GIANT gingerbread man that he made every winter. For Thanksgiving he made a turkey. Pretty cool, huh!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Green Means "GO"


My husband is the KING of Great ideas. He sees our children's hearts and works hard to find the things that work for each of them.

Zeke has been having a really hard time with temper-tantrums lately. By lately I mean like a year! We have tried everything. He wakes up in the morning and we are dishing out consequences as soon as he wakes up for some reason or another. I hate starting the day out like that.

We started a few new strategies last week with him and they have been working GREAT so far. He hasn't had one melt-down yet...just kidding, but at least he thinks before throwing himself on the floor or screaming out and kicking, and sometimes even chooses to vocalize the problem with words INSTEAD of the afore mentioned tantrum.

We did have a realization though. We figured out how to avoid the morning tantrum. We think Zeke was afraid that we'd forget to get them up in the morning. Before, Josh and I would know when the kids were awake because they'd talk and play together in the morning while waiting for us to go get them out. Now, Areyna has been sleeping a lot longer than Zeke and he gets bored in there by himself and we don't even know he is in there sitting in his bed awake.

So, Josh had another brilliant idea! Since they can't tell time yet we needed to find another avenue to show our kids that they were allowed to get up. We made a sign with thick green card-stock paper. We wrote "Green Means Go" on it. Between 8:30 and 9am one of us will go slide the paper under their door.

If they wake up and don't see the green paper under the door then they know it isn't time to get up and they need to try to go back to sleep. If they wake up and see the green paper then they know that they may open the door and come out without consequences. This gives Zeke the freedom to come out on his own without waiting for Areyna to wake up. There is no question as to whether it is time to get up and it eliminates the melt-down by taking away the temptation to get out of bed "just to see if it's time to be awake".

One of our goals, as parents, is to give our kids an option. We don't want to just tell our kids "no" and miss the opportunity to teach them what their options are and what they CAN do.

But, as for the green sign, it's a go so far=)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I Saw A Multitude Of Heavenly Hosts


...well not exactly! But I did see a multitude on my front porch. I take that back...I didn't exactly see them.

Let me just back up a little bit and explain myself.

I don't get scared very easily. In fact, when Josh has a gig out of town I don't mind a night alone in the house by myself with the kids at all. (2 weeks alone is about my limit though=) I like to sprawl out in the bed by myself. I also tend to get a lot done when I'm on my own because I don't keep thinking of things to tell Josh while we're working.

Last night was a big night though. It was my first time in our new house by myself. That's always a bit different. With a new house comes new noises, new shadows, new neighbors!

I'd made it through the evening with no problems and made it to bed by about 11pm.

So, when 12:15am rolls around I am dead to the world. Except for the fact that I am hearing this ringing in my ears. "What is that?" I ask my subconscious, since I'm still pretty sure I'm sleeping. The ringing continues and as I return to reality I realize that it is, in fact, my front doorbell...ringing...over and over and over.

Did I mention that it is after midnight?! And that I'm in my house by myself?! With 3 sleeping kids?!

I run to the front door before realizing that I just have on a little nighty. I didn't think to grab my glasses either. I didn't want to just open the front door so I go over to the front window and see this blurry mass of people.

"What in the world is going on?!" Was the first thought that ran through my head. My second thought? Man, I'm glad I'm not wearing my super sexy jammies tonight;) My third thought? I'm glad that, after much contemplation over whether I should leave the front porch light on, I decided that I'd rather the bad guys run around in the dark than give them a light to see what they are doing in my front yard. I would have certainly given Journey's youth a show last night, ha!

My first reaction was to yell out my window at the crazy group. "I'VE GOT 3 SLEEPING KIDS IN..." But before I could finish my sentence I hear a very familiar voice say, "There she is! There she is! Start singing!!!!"

Then, at the top of all 300 of their lungs I hear "Jingle Bells" come belting from their mouths into the cold, after midnight air! Right outside my sleeping baby's window, I might add...

It isn't until then that I remember Kelly saying, "Jonathan has an all-night youth thing tonight." and it is also then that I realized why Jonathan called that afternoon to write down our address.

So thank you Jonathan=) You better be glad I have GREAT sleepers that completely slept through that whole thing!

Welcome to Raleigh!=)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Time For Traditions


Our tree is up! We actually got our tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I love that the kids are old enough to really enjoy the Christmas season this year.

We are still in the process of making our own family traditions but our family is young and the ideas are endless!

Last night was our annual Gingerbread House decorating and Ornament Opening. Well, actually it was the first year we did a Gingerbread House, but we're going to make it a tradition=)

We found a great deal on the kit and we ventured out to get it together. Then, after dinner we put the house together. While we waited for the icing to dry around the house we went in the living room and Josh handed out our ornaments that he thoughtfully picked out for each of us this year. (By the way, there is a $5 Hallmark coupon in Real Simple's December issue.) Areyna got Tinkerbell and her friends. Zeke got a Spiderman catching a bad guy with a web. Micaiah got a "Baby's first Christmas" one. I got a cell phone that says "Text Addict" since I've finally entered the 21st century and learned to text=)
Then we went in the kitchen to decorate our awesome house. We all had so much fun, even though Zeke kept trying to sneak the decorations into his mouth, ha!



We have other decorations we implementing this season to teach our children the REAL meaning of Christmas too. There are just so many things to do...

What do you do to bring in the holiday season?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Virtual Tour Of The New House


I know, I know. This took forever to get up but we couldn't have picked a more crazy time of the year to move=) So without further ado...

***this post has been updated due to the crazies who may be out there, but let me know if you'd like to see it and we'll set up a time where you can come hang out=)***

Just let us know when you are up for a visit!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

You'll Eat So Much Of It It'll Make You Sick

I got this awesome recipe for some mouth-watering goodness this week and decided to try it at our Christmas party tonight.  It's AWESOME!  I mean, someone needed to "test" it to make sure it was alright;)

All That Glitters

Over a year ago Josh and his dad had this crazy idea.  Knowing that different people are reached in different ways, they wanted to share the gospel message through the combination of spoken word and music to reach the lost.  So, this past summer Rick came down and they headed to the studio (our awesome band was involved too) to lay down the tracks for this project.

This has been one of the longest projects we've worked on.  It seemed like there was one hold up after another.  This only means one thing in my mind, that God is going to use this GREATLY and Satan was just trying to butt in and delay the inevitable as long as he could.

But now it is here!  We got the first box on Saturday before heading out to lead in Matthews, NC on Sunday and we sold out!  Another shipment came in yesterday afternoon. 

These CD's are the perfect tool to hand out, kind of like those old-school tracts that you would hand to your cashier as you checked out or put on the table in a restaurant to your waitress (but you better make sure you tip good if you do this one=).

Here's how you can get your hands on this new project, All That Glitters, to pass out to your loved ones who don't know Christ.  You can go to the website HERE and follow the links to purchase them (they're only $3 each, this includes shipping, or $2 each if you buy more than 50) and then become a fan and take part in the conversation HERE on facebook.  You can even take a listen HERE.

So, jump in and let's get the Word out!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

4 Months Old

Micaiah turned 4 months on Sunday
Weight:  16.14lb

Things he likes:

Eating - can you tell=)  He's on a 3.5 - 4 hour schedule during the day

Chewing - he absolutely LOVES to chew on his fingers, fists, blankets, sleeves or anything else close to the vicinity of his oral cavity

Slobber - well he actually doesn't like it I suppose, he just has a never ending supply dripping from his mouth

Jumping and Playing - he is still very active and likes to be up and watching the goings on in our crazy house.

Sitting - he is beginning to sit for several seconds on his own.

Toys - he has begun reaching for his toys.  I love watching him concentrate so hard=)

People - he loves laughing and smiling at EVERYBODY.  The picture above was taken an hour after being diagnosed with Bronchiolitis.  The nurses kept commenting on how cute he was because he would still muster up huge smiles during his coughing fits.  The fact that he wasn't smiling at everyone at church on Sunday was a sure sign that he was sick.

Monday, December 7, 2009

We Got Him


We couldn't have asked for a better house.  We absolutely LOVE our new place.  We love the area.  We love being in a little town but SUPER CLOSE to everything else, like the mall and church!

Little did we know, though, that when we moved in we were going to add another addition to this family.  Not so much the cute cuddly kind of the human nature, but the furry, squeaky kind.

Yes, we had a mouse in the kitchen before we even moved in.  I have never personally had a mouse in my house so it kind of came as a shock to me.  It totally grossed me out and cramped my style.  Especially after organizing my kitchen and finding the perfect home for my stuff.

The last couple weeks have been like a game of wits trying to catch our little furry friend.  We did a little research on the internet (thanks Kelly) and went to the store to get a few things.  We purchased the new glue traps, that continued to sit empty under our countertops, and the standard poison blocks, which were quickly consumed leaving traces of lime green droppings around the bottom shelves.  We then considered him a mutant mouse and realized our need to step it up a notch.

With no success my ever-so-clever husband concocted a trap of his own.  He got one of my tupperwear containers, yes, I will definitely be throwing this one away, spread peanut butter on the bottom of it with a piece of cheese sitting in the middle tied to a string which was attached to a Q-tip which held the contraption open.  I mean, just look at it...pure genius.
This trap, however, never actually caught our little furry friend.  In fact, if you look closely you can see little mouse footprints in the peanut butter, which leads us to believe that maybe he thought that we were just being nice to lay out some more food for him=)

Then last night, almost 2 weeks later while we were settling in for the night after being in Charlotte for the weekend, we noticed something on the floor.  Something little, furry and DEAD!!!!  

Yes!  We got him.  We imagine that the poison just took a while to set in and he just ran out of steam!

So, RIP little friend!  We WILL NOT miss you!

Friday, December 4, 2009

'Tis The Season

Tissues, Hot Tea/Coffee, Hand Sanitizer, Electric Blanket
curled up watching a Tinkerbell movie.
What more do you need on a sick day with the family

Fun Facts For Friday

1 - Now that I'm all unpacked and living life in our new house I'm going to have to find a new project to work on.  Oh yeah, it's Christmas time...maybe I should get started on that=)

2 - We've been passing around this weird bug at our house this week.  Josh is laid out on the couch where he slept last night.  We do that, there is just something therapeutic about sprawling out on the couch all night that makes us feel better. 

3 - I have high hopes of starting to exercise again...next week, HA!

4 - I can't for the life of me EVER spell the word "exercise" right the first time without the little red dotted line staring me in the face saying, "Didn't you learn to spell this word in like first grade?"

5 - The other night we were making breakfast for dinner and one of Josh's brothers called.  We told him to pack up his girls and come on over...pancakes were on.  Another brother and his family were over last night to help Josh on a project.  I LOVE being close to family!

6 -" All That Glitters" will be here SATURDAY!!!!!  We are SO excited about this project.

To you from all of us...have a GREAT weekend!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A New Game

Josh and I had a huge task of filling in a plethora of nail holes in our walls in our Charlotte house.  After the last hole was patched and painted Josh and I vowed to "Keep It Simple" in our next house when it comes to wall hangings because we NEVER want to have to fill in that many holes in the walls again.

Well, the people who lived in our new house before us must have known that so they left ALL their nails and screws in the walls (and ceiling).  Their doesn't appear to be any rhyme or reason to many of them but instead of complaining about it Josh and I have been able to kind of make a game out of it.

It's called, "Find a nail, Find a frame".  The object of the game is to see how many things we can get on the walls without actually having to make our own holes.  It's really worked quite well.

We officially finished our house today and are all moved in, wall hangings and all.  I personally only made 5 new holes=)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's That Bad


So, I'm just a little OCD when it comes to organization.  I even organize our laundry into certain categories before I fold it and put it away!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

There Is Always Something...

Curtains blowing in the breeze

You know those days when you are in a funk and no matter how hard you try you just can't put a finger on why you feel this way?  You are edgy and snappy for no reason and just can't get a handle on your day.  Sometimes you just feel downright defeated.  The worst part is knowing you are acting this way but just can't snap out of it.

For me, there are always a few things that can almost guarantee a snap though.

Here a few of my "somethings"...
*Open Windows
*All the kids napping at one time
*Christmas decorations
*The Album Leaf playing in the background

What are a few of your "somethings"?