Thursday, September 30, 2010

Awesome Asparagus That Even The Kids Will Love

I have three kids that cheer for asparagus...literally!

Here's how I fix it:
One bunch of the skinny, fresh asparagus
Cut the last 1/2-1" off
Place in Microwave safe dish
Add just enough water to cover the bottom
I use sticks of butter - cut a Tbsp. or 2 in pieces and place it on the top
Cover and cook in microwave for 4-6 minutes

WARNING: Your pee will REEK, your kids pee will reek and your babies diaper will reek worse, ha!

There's A Storm In There

I love storms, but this particular storm I could do without right now.  It is located in my head and I can't seem to stop it's whirring and spinning.

In any one given moment I could have over a dozen things formulating within my mind, making it extremely difficult to focus on a single task...which means absolutely nothing gets done.

I've made lists...and lists for lists, which is never a good thing, by the way!

We leave for Africa on Monday.  MONDAY!  What if I forget something.  My mom is coming to take care of our kids.  What if they are having one of "those" days, for 2 weeks!  What if something happens to them.  What if something happens to US...I'm feeling totally unprepared, feeling like I can't find a single quiet moment to spiritually prepare.  Maybe I shouldn't have chosen to go...The rain keeps coming down.  I love it, I hate it...Today marks the second time I have put on a shirt, thinking it was a different shirt and color scheme, because it was too dark in my bedroom when I was getting dressed.  I haven't seemed to notice until I'm in public, nice...School is going really well.  Areyna is thriving and Zeke, well, he still can't remember the letter of the week letter we've been working on for almost 3 weeks.  We decided to go ahead and move on to "B"...I was caught up on couponing, and then the paper came with more coupons...I can't get blogger to upload any photos to my blog.  Anybody else having that problem...the kids seem to really be at each other today.  Zeke keeps chasing Areyna around the house as a superhero and all Rainy wants to do is play kitchen...I can't figure out how to "find" pictures on my mac to upload to Snapfish unless they are on my desktop, urgh...we leave for Africa on Monday.  MONDAY!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lessons From The Classroom - Health

For school last week we started a Bodies, Health and Nutrition Unit.  With the festivities of the wedding and vacation over the past two weeks we wanted to ease our way back into a routine.

I wanted to intentionally talk about how we need to take care of our bodies, using I Corinthians 6:19 as our  base.  We wrote down different ways that we could do that and one of the main ways is to exercise.

So, we mapped out the route from our house to a couple of parks.

Then, we put our pretty flower sandals jogging shoes on and headed out to the parks.
It wasn't long before my companions wore themselves out so I was the one left to do all the exercising.  Pushing three children in a double jogger up a hill is definitely a workout (and my buns and thighs were paying the price the next day!)
The paths to the park have some workout stations so the kids worked out their upper bodies.
After we got home from the parks we charted out the differences between the parks, like the number of swings and slides, and other observances with the surrounding area, such as mulch or rubber and the amount of people at each park.

I'm really excited for this week.  We'll be talking about our five senses and then diving into the food pyramid.

What Did You Say?

After slipping out of our worship meeting to go to the bathroom I quietly sat back down in my seat next to Kelly.

Kelly, leaning over and whispering in my ear: "Did you dye your hair?"

Me: "WHAT?"

Kelly: repeating herself, "Did you dye . your . hair!"

Me:  puzzled and staring at her blankly, "WHAT?!"

Kelly: staring back at me, wondering why I was so confused...

I'm Thinking:  "Geez, I know we're family and all, but can't a girl have some privacy!"

See, I thought she was saying "Did you diarrhea?" and that is why the conversation quickly became a little awkward, ha!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

There Are Just Some Things That You CAN'T Make Your Kids Do

I told you I'd be letting you know my recent reads and here is another one that I'm wading through.   Have a New Kid by Friday: How to Change Your Child's Attitude, Behavior & Character in 5 Days, written by Dr. Kevin Leman.  

I really like the case that Dr. Leman makes for Natural Consequences.  Not totally agreeing with everything he says, every example he gives, or even every principle, I have begun to implement several of the methods from this book and it really seems to be making a difference in the dynamic of our home.

First of all, the book title makes it sound like your child will be the one making all the changes, and in less than a week for that matter!  The thing is, that we will be making these changes with our children...and it is a lifelong attitude adjustment.  "The key to changing your child is changing your attitude."

Knowing that each child is different and that a lot of circumstances aren't as cut-and-dry as he makes them sound I'm going to share 3 things that I've been working on that have made the most impact on the relationship between me and my kids.

1 - Learn to respond rather than react - "If your doctor says, 'You responded to your medication,' that's good.  If the doctor says, 'You reacted to your medication,' that's bad."  The same is true about parenting.  All too often I react emotionally toward frustrations or actions so I've been intentionally working on responding with consistency.  

2 - "When your child yells, 'You can't make me do it!' he's right.  You can't make him do something."  It's a choice they have to make.  Give them age-appropriate choices.

I can't force Areyna to eat eat her dinner, but I can give her a choice to eat with the rest of the family until her hungry belly is full or be done for the remainder of the night, left to go play, but reminding her that she may not eat anything else until breakfast the next morning.  I must stay firm in my authority while still showing consistent temperament with whatever choice she chooses, even if she chooses the choice I'd rather she didn't make.

Zeke is a good temper tantrum thrower!  I refuse to let him just yell, scream and run around like a chicken with his head cut off with absolutely no self-control.  I've learned that a lot of these tantrums are for show and when we take the audience away his temper cools down rather quickly, especially when he knows we are all together enjoying family togetherness without him.  So, what I've started saying is, "I can't make you stop screaming and carrying on, but I don't have to listen to the foolish choice you are making.  If you are going to act like that you may go outside on the back porch until you can calm yourself down and rejoin the family or change your heart immediately."
I guess I was consistent enough because he started going outside
on his own to "cool off", ha!

3 - Say it once - "If you want your child to take you seriously, say your words once.  Only once."  (My difference in this one is that I allow second chances.  I believe in a warning to remind the child what the consequences will be.)

Example #1:  I asked the kids if they would like to keep playing OR clean up right away and get ready for bed so we'd have time to read books together.  They both chose to clean up right away so we could read.  They began cleaning up fine, but they still had a lot to do.  After a few more "encouraging words" to get them to keep cleaning up I began to get frustrated.  Then, they began to play, chasing each other around the house.  So, I said, "alright, no stories tonight.  I am sorry you chose to disobey and that we don't get to spend time reading together tonight.  Maybe next time you will choose a different choice."  I said it with grace and compassion, truly showing them that I was sorry that we didn't get to read a story.  You would have thought I took bear and bubby away!  They both LOST IT, crying themselves to sleep.  It was SO hard to stick to my guns and not give in.  Even after they said, "Okay mommy, we cleaned it all up now.  Can we PLEASE read just one story?"  I'd already spoken my words and I had to follow through, knowing these were the consequences they chose for themselves.  Man, it was hard, but you better believe that this hasn't ever happened again!

Example #2:  Josh and I had both reminded Areyna several times to get her jammies on.  She finally made it to the closet where her dresser is but got distracted, thinking about which dress she was going to wear the next day.  So, I made her go to bed with just her undies on (which is what she had on at the time the consequence needed to happen).  She no longer had the privilege of getting jammies on at all.  She was furious, but she has gotten her jammies on right away ever since.

Example #3:  When Zeke begins freaking out about not being able to get a costume on correctly, instead of using self-control and asking for help, then he loses his privilege of wearing costumes at all.  I simply take them away, while showing genuine compassion for the choice he made and letting him know that the consequence is hard for him.

Again, there are some definite things I don't agree with that Dr. Leman teaches, but there is a lot of meat in this book and I do recommend it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Story In Pictures

Uncle Pal decided to share his banana pudding:)

Not Me Monday

I L.O.V.E. talking on the phone.

Actually, that is an understatement!
I clear my schedule just so that I can catch up on phone calls.

Therefore, I would NEVER honestly pray that the Lord would make the person whom I am calling, be in a dead zone or too busy to answer their phone just so I could leave a message and be done with it already!

Nope. Not me.

I would also NEVER be so silly as to put off returning a call just because I get too anxious.  Especially on a birthday well-wishing phone call!

A birthday well-wishing phone call???  I mean, really...who does that?!

Surely not me!

And since I L.O.V.E. talking on the phone I've had so much practice making important calls that I never talk on top of people in mid-conversation just because I get so nervous and can't stop my mouth.

No Way.  That's just elementary!

Now, as far as business phone conversations...

I would never have to write out exactly what I need to ask, what I'm talking about and any other questions that may arise just so I could check it off to make sure I got it all said or to keep from stumbling on simple words/phrases such as "insurance", "bundle services" or the birthday of my third child.  I'd just look ignorant if I did that!

Nope.  Not me.

"But what if someone else is the one making the call and you are the one answering it?  Do you still L.O.V.E. the phone just as much?", you ask?

You Betcha!  I'd NEVER dodge a phone call just because my hands start sweating and my heart rate begins picking up because I don't know what exactly that phone conversation could entail.  I wouldn't have been able to write out a script on an incoming call!

Good Grief!  Glad that's NOT ME!

I mean, really...who does that?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Who Says Blondes Get To Have More Fun?

I decided I needed a new look for fall.
Since my husband really likes LONG hair
(and since mine doesn't like to grow very quickly)
I opted for a color change.
Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE having a sister-in-law that does hair!
Yes, I've gone to the dark side!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fun Facts For Friday...on Saturday

1 - I have been released!  From scrapbooking that is.  I used to love it; when I had time to do it, and more money to do it, and a place to do it, and I didn't have little persons walking all over everything and sticking little pieces in their mouths and fighting over stickers and stamps and wanting to scrapbook with me...but let's face it.  That just doesn't happen anymore!

As much as my kids and husband enjoy looking through our books I have been released to stop.  Well, actually, I technically haven't scrapped in almost 2 years, so I really quit a long time ago.

I've done a scrapbook for each of our kid's first years so I will continue to do that, but I'm just going to keep going with the family journaling on my blog and do photo books.

*sigh* It really is a relief...

2 - Josh and I took a day trip on Wednesday afternoon/evening.  We dropped the kids off with some friends (Thanks Jenn and Katie!) and headed to Charlotte.  We had a double date with our good friend, Andy Cherry, and his awesome, soon-to-be wife, Michelle.  We had a great time!  We'll be in Uganda when they get married so we wanted to do something special with them.  We got to talk way more with them that night that we ever would have at their wedding.  Thanks for an awesome time ya'll!

3 - I exercised 5 times this week.  This is a big deal ya'll!  I did Winsor Pilates Bun and Thigh Sculpting - Sculpt Your Body Slim (DVD) one day, went jogging with the fam. the next day, Winsor Pilates Ab Sculpting the next, jogging/walking with the 3 kids to the park the next and Winsor Pilates: Advanced Body Slimming VHS the next.  I am feel mean and lean today!  It feels SO good to be getting in the intentionally active groove again.

4 - We are now the proud owners of...
Oh, you don't see them?

Let's take a closer look.

Let me introduce you to "Fishy" the fish

and "Lazy" the other fish

This may actually be as close to being a "pet family" as we get, so we've gotten pretty excited around here!  These little guys were left over from Aunt Joy's wedding a couple of weeks ago.  They survived a whole week in an open ziplock baggie full of water so they may actually survive in this house!  Praise The Lord for hearty animals:)

5 - Garden update.  We are still bringing in tomatoes ever so slowly...and I mean s.l.o.w.l.y! But would you look at those Caster Bean plants?!  Those are actually the plants we grew to keep the moles from eating the rest of our garden...and those are the only things left in our garden.  Hmmm...  Praise The Lord for hearty plants too.  Even if they aren't really part of the garden, ha!

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Hunger For...Sex

Now that I have your attention...ahem...let's focus, shall we!

I am reading through A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer by John Piper.  It is an excellent read!  Basically, it is a book on the relevance of prayer and fasting for the modern Christian in this generation.

This morning I read something that made me really stop and examine myself.  Let me share it with you.

"Do you love Jesus so much that his coming would be the greatest thing you can imagine?  Or is he ...someone who helps you with a bad conscience, but isn't someone you would want to interrupt your life?...How do you feel about being told that fasting for the King's coming may reflect how much you want the Bridegroom to come?  Do your plans for that long-awaited retirement fill you with stronger passion for the Messiah appeal to any of us at all?  Do we want the appearance of Jesus more than we want to finish our career and family plans?  Or our next meal?"

I am about to make myself very vulnerable here, but I think it will...well, first of all, it will give you a good laugh, but then I believe that it may help put this in perspective as you think about the things you long to do before Christ's return.

When I was in high school I remember praying this prayer multiple times maybe once or twice:)
"Lord, I love you so much! ... but PLEASE allow me to be able to have sex before you come back!"

That was the gist of it anyway...ahem...

After reading the paragraph from Piper above, this prayer that I prayed so many years ago came back to me.  I wanted sex more that God!  Praise the Lord he granted my request before His return, ha.  But, sadly, my mindset hasn't shifted much through the years.  I may not be begging for sex anymore (wives, can you relate here?) but now my prayers go something like this, "Lord, I love you so much!...but PLEASE allow us to have at least one more baby before you come back!"  or "...PLEASE allow our ministry to _______________ before your return!" or "...please allow our family to go (or have) _________________ before your return!"

My goodness!  What in the world could be greater than the Lord's glorious appearing?  Why on earth would we long for something so trivial as sex, a family trip, another child (although, this one is a wonderful blessing), a retirement fund, a growing savings account, a job change, a raise, a record deal... more than we would long to be in the presence of the King of Kings, our own Heavenly Father, the God of the Universe.

I don't know about you, but I need to refocus my priorities!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My New Favorite Space

I have a new favorite space at our house.
I turned our carport into an outside living area.
The kids and I could spend all day out there!
There is a place for me to sit and read in the cool, brisk morning air,
a place for the kids to ride their bikes and scooters
a place to write letters with chalk
and plenty of room for Micaiah to toddle around
while Areyna and Zeke fix food from their "kitchen".

I love being at home...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Longing To Be Back

with the sand

and the waves

and the one-on-one time

with the family
whether it was just chillin' in the sand
surfing the waves with my baby
flying kites
with the kids (even if one of them was screaming!)

or building sand castles with my princess.

Is it time for vacation again yet?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Free Cloth Diapers

I am all about getting things for free, especially if it means I am saving money in the process.  So, when I heard about Diaper Junction's Super Stash Diaper Giveaway you know I had to share it with my readers.

There are 12 different ways to enter and a couple of those ways you can do once a day until the end of the contest, which is October 12th.

So, what are you waiting for?  Go sign-up (and like and buy and write about) to get some free cloth diapers.

You can also enter to for a chance to win AppleCheeks products on THIS SITE and THIS SITE!

Go get your free diapers!

If Christ Is Our Example

Sometimes I feel like a complete failure as a parent.  I end the day literally wanting to pull my hair out.  I wonder why we ever chose to have children and why in the world we want more if I cannot seem to keep the three I have under control.

This is not the norm and it honestly goes with different seasons we are in as a family.  So yes, there are definitely more of the days where I love and enjoy being a mom but for the post's sake, lets just linger at the latter "feelings" for now.

I've been reading a lot of books.  Yes, little ol' me, enjoying not one book but actually I am currently reading through five different books (I'll let you know what I've been reading later on this week).  Josh is really rubbing off on me:)  I don't totally agree with everything I read, but I am always up for new ideas and stuffing my brain with as much knowledge as possible to be the best wife, mother, Christ-follower, sister, daughter, friend and worship leader that I can be.

Anyway, with all this reading I've realized that the most consistent and trust-worthy example I have for being the mom I need to be is from Christ himself.  He should be my ultimate example!

My father-in-law, Rick, was speaking at one of the camps we lead this summer and one of his talks really resonated in my heart as I continue on my parenting journey.

Here are a few take-aways from his message that I wrote down and that I have been trying to work out in my parenting my three very different temperamented children.

God always gives us a choice

He won't chase after us

He allows us to turn away from Him

He allows natural consequences to occur

Rick then told of a time in his younger years when he was out with some friends.  He wasn't a very strong swimmer.  In fact, he really couldn't swim at all.  His friends were going out to a lake and asked if he wanted to join them.  The only thing they asked was for him to swear that he could swim.  Knowing that he couldn't swim but not wanting to be left out, he lied.

They got to the lake, jumped in a boat and headed to the middle of the lake.  Rick thought he was safe.  He believed that the choice he made would turn out fine and that his friends would never know that he lied.  

This was true for a few minutes...until they started playing "king of the boat" and throwing each other into the water to see who could stay in the boat the longest.  Rick just laid low until one of the other boys grabbed him and threw him into the water.

Now, remember there were several boys and they were all clambering to get in the boat so of course it's no surprise that nobody noticed when Rick went missing as he started sinking to the bottom of the lake.  Especially since he told them he could in fact swim.

Finally, one of his buddies saw him struggling in the water and raced over to help him get back in the boat.

Rick then pointed out that this would not have been the time for his buddy to lean over the side of the boat and start lecturing him about his foolish choices.  It certainly wouldn't have been the time to offer swimming lessons.  No!  At that moment, Rick needed help.  He was at the bottom and he was in need.  He had nothing else to offer.  He clearly needed to be brought back to safety.

Wow, I've got a long way to go.  So often I want to lecture and point out every little foolish choice along the way, but Christ waits for us to call out to him.  He patiently endures our foolish choices until we have nothing else to give.  He doesn't chase after us, but waits for us to realize that it is only Him who can bring us to safety.

If we believe that Christ is our example, let's parent like we believe it!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Not Me Monday

I am the "go-to girl" when it comes to couponing.

I have converted most of my family and dozens of my friends
into the crazy world of saving money with this method.

That being said...

I would NEVER allow for my own personal stash to get so far behind, this summer,
that I would actually have to weed out so many expired coupons

that I'd be left with only 1 single coupon in several coupon sections

and several empty slots where not a single good coupon remained.

That would never happen to me!

Nope not me!

So, after our return from family vacation,
which marks the end of the summer and crazy schedules,

I was more than ecstatic to read that Harris Teeter 
was in the middle of their SuperDoubles week.

I'd never base my list on only the coupons which I could print on-line
simply to avoid the inevitable coupon clipping, sorting and finding.

Nope, not me!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sometimes I Peek

OK, I lied...I peek a lot!

I can't help it!  Especially if I'm on stage leading worship.

How can you not?

Don't you just want to see those hands raised in surrender,

Those hearts being changed,

Those people giving their lives to Christ at that very moment?

This morning I witnessed many people surrendering their lives to Christ

while dozens of others took that next step in obedience while getting baptized.

I absolutely love the church that God has lead us to!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Field Trip

We went on a field trip to the NC Aquarium.  The kids loved it!  OK, I loved it too:)