Thursday, February 28, 2013

Eight Things

Today is the day where my sweet "Peace and Joy" turns 8!

Yup, we're getting older she's getting older...

It's sad, sweet, exciting, scary, overwhelming...

But life doesn't slow down just because I want it to:)


We love you for SO many reasons, but here are the TOP 8 things that make my heart smile about you in this particular season of your life:

1-Your style.  That's right. The way you can pull off large pastel polkadot shirts with deep colored striped leggings is beyond me, but oh how it makes my heart smile.

2-Your motivation.  Ok, so it might frustrate me a little bit that I can't motivate you, but I love how, on your own initiative, you can set your mind to something, and NOTHING can get in the way of you completing your goal!

3-Your help.  You love to feel needed.  I love walking into church and having people come up to me and tell me you've been helping the band print their tags or helping Ms. Kim make the coffee.  It delights my heart to see you want to help others.

4-Your softening heart toward your Heavenly Father.  You are searching for answers.  You are memorizing scriptures.  You are learning how to navigate through the Bible on your own.  You are enjoying sharing it with your sister behind closed doors in the dark of your bedroom as she falls asleep.

5-Your sensitivity to correction.  Your heart is deeply saddened when you are told that you have hurt someone and that you need to change.  Conviction is growing in your heart.

6-Your imagination.  You love being a spy (you must get that from me;) or playing fairy or "decorating" the yard with Zombies and ghosts to scare people.  I hope you NEVER lose your creative bent.

7-Your relationship with your sister.  The different skin tones mean NOTHING to either of you.  It thrills my heart to see you love on Alethia as I watch ya'lls relationship grow!

8-YOU!  Just you! All the things that make you YOU.  Even the ones that I don't particularly like, I LOVE because they make you YOU. And YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

I love you, sweet Areyna.

Happy 8th Birthday.



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

So Much To Say - Part 2

A couple of months ago, am I really just now getting to these, a couple of you asked about some things you would like to hear about on the 'ol blog.

Anonymous asked:

"I'd love a sneak peek into what your quiet times look like from day to day. What's helped you guard being in the word while being busy with little people? :)"

First of all, I've found MY time.  That time in my day that is uninterrupted and easier to focus than any other time in the day.  And for me, that time is between 6am and 6:30am.  I have to wake up anywhere in between those times if I want to have enough time to quiet my heart and not feel rushed.

Some of you may be thinking, "but that's when my kids get up!", and to that I would say, "Well, that's another post for another day", ha!

So, if early in the morning doesn't work for you, then find a time that DOES work, and work on making it consistently work into your day.

A couple of years ago my spiritual focus was on prayer.  Man did I learn a lot that year about the attitude of the heart and the motivation of my prayers.  Anyway, I read this little prayer in one of the books I was going through and fell in love with the words.  I often pray this prayer as I get started.  It helps set the tone of my time with the Lord as I try to shut off the to-do lists already reeling in the back of my mind.

Now, the next thing I'm gonna mention is kind of silly, but two things that I LOVE to have during my quiet time is COFFEE and MUSIC.  Coffee wakes my mind up and some quiet instrumental or worship music in the background just adds to the heart preparation:)

I'm a huge fan of YouVersion.  I downloaded the FREE app on my phone.  It has daily devotionals, all sorts of different reading plans, the Bible in multiple translations and so much more!

One year I found a reading plan to read through the Bible in a year, so sometimes I have a long-term focus as opposed to a shorter study.

I like studies through specific sections of the Bible.  One that I just completed a couple of months ago was called "Radically Obedient".  This study spoke directly to my heart!  As a matter of fact, the author, whom I can now call "friend", gifted me a copy of her newest devotional called "You Belong To The Bridegroom" which I am thrilled to get started as soon as I finish my current study!  These studies are excellently written.  Aliene has a way of gently guiding you as you sift through the Scripture.  She sets up each week in a way that dives deep into the Word, but not in an overwhelming way.  I highly recommend devotions like this!

Currently I am going through a reading plan which allows me to complete Psalms and Proverbs in 30 days.  I am also finishing up the "Unglued" Bible devotional by Lysa TerKeurst.  I'm a HUGE fan of Lysa and all that I've read from her as well!

I'm a huge advocate for a prayer journal.  A lot of times I begin by just writing out the things that I'm afraid I'm going to forget to do, since that is a huge distraction for me.  Having it all written down in one place frees me up to temporarily set it aside.  Then I get into praying.  Sometimes I don't even write full sentences, I'll write a name or a short request since my mind travels faster than my pen a lot of times.  I love that God knows my heart and the things I want to tell Him before it even comes out!

Additional books are an extra.  Since my time gets cut short by kids throwing up before school, or with lunch packing that I procrastinated on, I don't always have the time to just sit and read.  But when I do, I love to be in books that focus on the different areas of life that I am in the midst of.

When we were going through the adoption, I often found myself diving into books about interracial families and attachment issues.

When we were going through all of Zeke's testing I was reading a lot about Aspbergers, Autism and learning disabilities.

I am currently reading "Six Ways To Keep The 'Little' In Your Girl" and a marriage book, which is a secret, until I'm done, and then I will share:)

I always try to pray when I'm done, just committing my day to the Lord.  But, I never say Amen...and HERE'S WHY.

I'd love nothing more than to say that I'm a super Christian and I never miss a day, but that's just not true.  I'm a work in progress. I have times of inconsistency and dryness.  I have times when God is silent and times when He shouts.  I have times when my bed is WAY too comfortable in the morning...
...but these things are my goal.  These are the things that I've found that help me hear my Father's voice and draw me closer to Him.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Make It Something To Grab

Life gets busy, ya know?

Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, or work outside the home, or are newly married, or are about to take your mid-terms, life just gets busy.

And a lot of times the first thing to be neglected is food (and sleep).

At least for me anyway.

I get so tired of scurrying around the kitchen fixing 5 plates of happiness for the taste buds (you like that?) that by the time I sit down I don't want to fix myself anything to eat.

It's a terrible excuse, I know, but most of the time I just want to heat something up or go grab a handful of something out of the pantry, and we all know that those kinds of foods most likely are NOT in the 100-calarie department.

And then you'll find yourself in front of the mirror in the dressing room trying on new bathing suits and...
ahem, hypothetically speaking...anyway,

You get the picture.

But then I came across this blog!

It has been a great catalyst for being more proactive in conducing a healthy environment in my kitchen.

So, I thought I'd share my research with you.

Picture a nice springtime Saturday cold, rainy Saturday with the sounds of children playing happily in the background fighting over Mickey Mouse sunglasses and Elmo slippers, while I merrily therapudically chop produce...

I did a little research (because everything on google search is totally accurate) on the best ways to store prepared produce and decided to slice and dice what I had on hand.

1 part vinegar to 10 parts water

slice and store in airtight container

rinse and pat dry
i used the same container and placed a paper towel on the bottom to absorb excess water

I've mentioned this before, I hard boil a dozen at a time to have them on hand

trim the tops off
rinse and pat dry
just like the blueberries, place back in original container with paper towel on the bottom

slice and dice a bag of onions
I froze the diced ones for future cooking
I stored the sliced ones in an airtight container

scrub the outer layer (I don't peel them)
rinse and pat dry
cut to snack size
cover with water and store in an airtight container

rinse and pat dry
cut to snack size
wrap in a paper towel and place in saran wrap or produce bag

wrap in saran wrap and place in airtight container

take off the stem
store in an airtight container

I've been very impressed.
Everything still tastes and feels fresh!
(Actually, I can't speak for the blueberries. They were consumed in less than 24 hr.)
I have opted for healthy eating and snacking since it is just as easy as grabbing a handful of goldfish or chips.
Meal preparation time has been cut significantly.
And THAT, my friends, makes this whole experiment worth it.

Moral of the story:
By making "it" something to grab, you can make "it" something to grab.
Chew on that for a while;)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Force QUIT to Restart

This morning I woke up with level hormones and a plan for the day.

The kids were sleeping quietly as I spent the first hour or so with my Lord.

Happy.  Content.  In control.

Then it happened.

I was informed that Rainy and Zeke were on a 3-hour delay.

3 hours.


And for wasn't even raining outside!

And on top of that;

Josh was about to leave town for the weekend.
It was gloomy and cold.
The kids were already bickering with each other.
Alethia told Zeke that mommy was being mean.
And did I mention that the plans I had planned for the day were no longer applicable?!

All of a sudden I was the one with the "Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" and I had NO INTENTIONS on changing my attitude!

I was in control.
Then everything was out of control.

Mama the Grouch had taken over.

I felt justified in my grouchiness and was too prideful and selfish to change my heart.

But I knew that my attitude was going to make this weekend miserable for everybody.

I opted for an outing, even though every ounce of my being just wanted to lock myself in my bedroom, crawl back into bed and pout the day away.

I informed my kids (as if they couldn't tell already) that I was having some issues and that I needed their help to calm my heart and attitude.

I let them grab their Valentine $1 from Nonnie and G-Daddy and we headed to Target.

Our first stop was in the party department to get the necessary essentials for Areyna's birthday party next week.  Then we headed over to the $1 spot (which is THE BEST idea Target has ever had) and let them pick out whatever their little hearts desired.

Typically things like this tend to give me a panic attack, but something was softening inside.

As I slowly walked up and down the aisles with them, listening to the excitement of all their choices, I kept receiving comments by passersby about my hands being full, and how brave I was for venturing out with my small Colony, and I was forced to make a decision.

Do I really want to be THAT mom who snaps at her kids all the time just because things aren't going as planned?
What does that prove to the world?  That kids are an inconvenience and that my "hands are too full" to offer any ounce of laughter and spontaneous fun?

So, I could either grouch my way through this weekend, easily annoyed and feeling sorry for myself, or consider this 3-hour delay the start to a fun-filled weekend with my kids (because let's face it, why even make your kids go to school after a 3-hour delay?).

So right there, in the middle of the cheap candy and toys I pushed the "FORCE QUIT" button on the grumps and opted to "RESTART" with a much better attitude.

It's never too late to restart your day.  Sometimes it takes a while to reboot, and most likely some apologies will need to be made, but life is just too short to grump your way through it!

***Self-Preaching Complete***

Thursday, February 21, 2013

"Just Wait Until They Are Teenagers!"

I have a pet peeve.

Surprising, I know!

But I do.

I hate it when people see a family with young kids (especially if there is a Colony of them;), look at them as if they are crazy, and say, "Oh just you WAIT until they become teenagers."

Or maybe they hear me talking about the rough day I've had with the constant whines and fussing and whisper a comment under their breathe, belittling the stresses of life with small children, about how they WISH that all they had to worry about were wiping butts and a little crying.

As if I don't know that the teenage years are difficult.
For the parents just as much as for the teenagers! (Can I get an AMEN!)

As if the rough day I've had doesn't compare to the rough day they have had with their teenager.
OK, so it DOESN'T compare, but that doesn't mean that it isn't difficult when you are in the middle of it.

But that is like telling an elementary school student that her 3-digit addition problem isn't hard, just wait until physics!  "Stop your whining and do the problem."

You don't start out in physics people!  You start out learning the numbers first.

I'm in "elementary parenting" right now, and my problems are all that I can handle right now.  I haven't learned the next step.  We all just have to learn the next season as our kids enter that season.

That doesn't mean that I am anticipating an easy road during the adolescent years, though.
(God knows the hell I put my own parents through.)

I know parenting isn't easy.

Just like our Adoption wasn't easy.

Just like marriage isn't easy!

But it is worth it!

If you are a more seasoned mother, try encouraging the younger moms around you.  Of course there is always room to speak truth and reality, but to discourage us before we are even at that stage, as if we think the next parenting season is going to be a walk in the park, is discourages and brings fear, more than confidence in Christ, who equips us with everything we need for every stage of life.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

He Can't Tell A Lie - #2

Cai:" Mooommmy! I just put my cars in the kitchen."

Me: "Buddy, do I like you to play with toys in the kitchen?"

Cai: "No"

Me: "Then why are you choosing to disobey mommy?"

Cai: "Because I am"

Me: "You WANT to disobey mommy right now?"

Cai: "Yes"


At least he's honest!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Just This Morning


She's just days away from turning 8.


Just this morning she woke up early, on her own, to take a shower.

She washed her own hair.

She picked out her own clothes.

She asked if I could curl her hair.

Then she went in the kitchen to make her own lunch.

And after she was done she climbed the counter to get a bowl out of the cabinet.

Not one of those kid bowls from IKEA, but one of my bowls.  MY big bowls.

Then she pulled out a real spoon right before pouring her own cereal and adding her own milk.

When did she get so big?

When did she stop needing me to DO things for her?

When did the "mommy-said-so-so-it-must-be-true" turn into "that's-not-what-________-said"?

Days away from becoming a TWEEN.

She may not need me to DO things for her anymore, but she needs me.

Now she needs me to answer tough questions.

Questions with answers more in the gray area, because life just isn't so black and white anymore.

She needs me to listen to her talk...and talk and talk:)

She needs me to be there to cry to about friends who are being not-so friendly.

I am entering a new era of motherhood as my not-so-baby girl enters a new stage of life.

Baby, we better hold on tight, because life is about to get real interesting around here...

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Free-For-All

We've had a great week around the Colony homestead.

Well, all of us except for Jude:(
He was diagnosed with RSV on Tuesday.
But by Thursday he got his smile back!

When we got home from his follow-up at 10am on Thursday morning he was exhausted.  So exhausted, in fact, that he slept until 5:30pm!  I had tried to wake him up two different times with no success, ha!  He woke up a different kid.  My sweet kid!  My happy, content little Jude:)

Then there was Valentine's Day.  You would have thought that the kids were waking up to Christmas morning with all the energy and excitement!

Zeke kept calling it Thanksgiving, haha.  After dinner he said, "Now what can we do?  Can we play some fun Thanksgiving games or somethin'?"  Oh to swim around in his little brain for a day!

Speaking of Zeke...
His special resources teacher called me this week, almost in tears.  Happy tears!  She told me that he came to school in mid-October, hardly able to recognize a single letter and with maybe 3 sounds, which were inconsistent at best.  She did a test to see this week to see where he was with his IEP goals for the year and he is now up to 46 out of 52 letters for sound recognition (capitol and lower case), and has 24 out of 26 letters that he can consistently recognize!  We are thrilled beyond words.  The letters he cannot get are "a" and "g" and that is his dyslexia.  Also, the only letters that he would mess up with sound recognition are because of his dyslexia as well!  It's amazing how his brain works.  He still doesn't know his letters to write them without a reference, and they are backwards and upside down a lot of times, but as soon as his teacher convinced him to move past the "but I don't know my letters" to thinking only sounds to make words, he has taken off!  Now she will be focusing on his dyslexia to help him write from memory, not by references around the room.

What a confirmation for us!  When people ask if I homeschool, I say I "half-n-half", and we are seeing our kids thrive from both Public and homeschooling!  Alethia and Cai BEG for school and never want it to be done when it's over:)

Josh and I planned on keeping Valentine's simple, so we opted for an at-home-date-night, and boy did my baby rack up!  He did a little research and came home and cooked up a feast!  Let's just say that he had the grill going with juicy goodness on the racks AND a pot of boiling water with google open:)  We also had bread, salad, twice baked potatoes AND a SWEET dessert, all for under $50!  Talk about shouting his love. Home cooked goodness that I didn't have to prepare, and within our budget, now that is SEXY!

Well, that's about all I got today.
Hope ya'll have a GREAT weekend!
Happy FRIDAY Ya'll!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I Don't Want To Miss It

I was talking with my friend the other day...

...have I mentioned how much I learn from the ladies that God has chosen to surround me with?!  They are an invaluable resource and speak into my life in so many ways that other people simply cannot...


we were talking about how we get so caught up in "doing" the mommy things that we lose sight of just "being" the mommy.

The laundry that needs to be done, or the dishes that need to be cleaned, or the dinner that needs to be cooked, or the bills that need to be paid, or the project that needs to be finished...

If you are a woman, and you have any ounce of air in your lungs, you KNOW EXACTLY what I am talking about!

Yes, every single one of those things is important.

Yes, every single one of those things needs to get done.

Here is where I get stuck, though.  I see all these things that need to get done.  I make a list.  I set out to conquer, meanwhile I keep saying, "After I get dinner going I'll go read Alethia her book", or "I'll let you help me fix lunch tomorrow, let me just get it done really quick today", or "as soon as I get that back splash up I can relax and just hang out with the kids".

But in reality, as soon as I finish getting dinner going I move on to the washing machine and start switching a load of laundry.

The next day at lunch time I'll be in an even bigger hurry and leave a disappointed 3-year-old standing there as I pick out the plates for lunch, a task that he is very capable of doing on his own.

I finally get the back splash up, but while I was finishing that task I was already mentally onto the next house project that I was going to begin working on.

This race, called life, will not ever be complete until we are looking Jesus in the face, and then it will be too late!

Too late for the life lessons that can be learned by including them in my every day.

Too late for the story times and the make believe.

My kids are growing up right before my eyes and I'm running out of time.

I will only have these little years to invest into for so long.

I don't want to miss it!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Words Of Wisdom / He's 3 #1

When Zeke was two I decided to keep track of all the things that could potentially drive a mama crazy in order to keep perspective.  It was a way to look back at those sometimes cute and always crazy little things he did when he was in that roly-poly-gotta-squeeze-em stage.

Cai is at that stage now where he says (and does) the darndest things.

So again, in order to be able to look back and smile at all his disobedience cuteness I will be documenting those little things:)


Randomly at dinner:

Cai:"I like sticks and berries.  I like to eat them.  Sometimes Chase is mean to me in my class. When Chase is mean to me I like to poot on his head!" - said with a mischievous look in his eye and a cute little giggle:)


We have trained him well, um, I mean, sorry Chase!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Happy Birthday Jude Warren

Our sweet Jude turns 1 year old today!

God graciously gave me a successful pregnancy overseas.
We weren't even sure if he was going to be a boy or a girl.
My delivery was awful.  I thought that I would be stuck with a baby in my belly for the rest of my life!
(Yes, I am well aware that this really can't happen...)
But he finally decided to arrive.
All 7lb. and 4oz of him.

He has been a happy, content baby ever since!

I love how he smiles with his entire body!
I love how he makes everyone else melt.
I love how his siblings love on him.
I love how he wants to be right up in the wrestling matches,
but can also sit, perfectly content, while occupying himself.
I love how he lets me sleep.

He is finally weened, as of 3 days ago:(
(not by his choice, I might add.)

His 9th tooth just broke through, and I'm pretty sure the other 3 molars are right behind.

He is a cruising champ and loves to walk with assistance.

He is getting to be a picky eater.
Not that he doesn't really like things, but if he has a hankering for something else,
you better watch out, 'cause he'll make a fuss 'til he gets it.

Happy Birthday Jude.

I am so glad God decided to let me be your mommy!

Friday, February 8, 2013

"I Say This Out Of Love"

Josh and I have come a long way in our relationship since our dating non-communication learning communication days.

I feel like we do fairly well at navigating through the choppy waters of misunderstandings and arguments...most of the time.

We learned early on about the rules of "fighting fair" and have learned even more lessons, through trial and error (and a handful of ugly crying episodes), about how each other deals with conflict between us.

While we are far from perfect in regard to the ins and outs of marriage conflict, I do think that we have unwrapped a treasure that is going to help us grow old together and remain in love as we continue to seek to delight in one another.

Oh, you want to know our secret?

We have discovered one of the best ways to offer "constructive criticism" without the other getting offended.

1 - Timing - Timing is key.  You don't want to bring up something that has been bugging or irritating you when you ARE irritated, frustrated or upset.  Wait until you are neutral and have cooled down.

2 - Make eye contact and remove distraction - For Josh, that means I look him in the eyes and say his name, not "Babe" "Pooks", "Shtookey" or any of the other name I tend to call him on a daily basis.  This helps him know that what I want to tell him is worth listening to.

3 - Prepare the other person -  Josh and I begin these kinds of conversations with something like, "I say this in love" or "Can I tell you something out of love"?  It gives them a chance to prepare themselves.  I mean really, who likes to be told that they did or said something that hurt you or have a habit that really isn't your favorite:)

4 - Tone of voice - Use a tone of voice that is not accusing.  Simply bring a gentle awareness of what is bothering you or what could probably be done differently in the future.

5 - Make light of it -   Nobody is perfect and allowing your defensive wall to come down and find something to laugh about will help everyone be motivated to make the change.  Chances are they don't even know there is something eating away at you:)

Again, we aren't perfect, but this little strategy sure helps us get through some issues and I thought it would be worth sharing.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Takin' Up My Time

Don't worry, we are all happy (most of the time) and healthy (besides those stubborn coughs that seem to linger FOREVER) around the Colony homestead.  I know you were all worried about us;)

We have been a little preoccupied by current happenings though.

For one, we are in a process.  I'm not quite sure I'm ready to share it with you but I will say that I have been scanning a butt bootie-load of documents and sending them off.  And by doing this I have found THE COOLEST app!  I can sit on my butt bootie and scan a document with my phone and email it or fax it without having to go anywhere!  It is, by far, one of the most practical and mom-friendly apps ever created!  I no longer have to load up a colony of children, buckle them into a colony of car seats, drive around the corner, unbuckle a colony of children and herd them into an office, just to scan or fax a single document.  My sanity has been restored by this wonderful app.

Another thing that has been taking up time is checking out Areyna's butt bootie.  I've been reading a wonderful book called, Six Ways To Keep The "Little" in Your Girl.  It is an EXCELLENT book with super fun and helpful resources to help build the relationship between a mom and her tween.  Yes, my daughter will be turning TWEEN in just a few short weeks!  Anyway, we've been spending a lot of time on this site called Secret Keeper Girl.  It's something fun we like to do together.  One of the sections on there is a "Truth or Bare" fashion test.  Rainy has been bending over and giving her clothes the true modesty test all week long:)  I LOVE IT!

I have entered a new world, my friends.  Before, the only home updating projects I'd ever known came with a spray paint can or a flat head screwdriver.  But now (thanks to Christmas gift cards, birthday money, EBATES and the selfless help from my friends!) I have a new tiled backsplash.  All for under $100!  I ordered from Lowes through EBATES to get a percentage back, they shipped it FOR FREE to my local LOWES and then I used my cash and gift cards to pay for it. It is quite lovely, if I do say so myself:) We still have a few tiles to cut in and some cabinets to paint one day, but it's a start.

A last, but most certainly not least, I have been tagging items to sell at the Raleigh Kid's Exchange.  I'm not shopping this year *gasp*, but I sure had a lot to sell since Jude turns 1 year old in a few short days, and we are DONE adding to this sweet colony of mine;)

There is just one more five more things that have been keeping me busy ~

Hope ya'll have a great day today!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Before You Go Judging

My SIL has had a lot on her plate, and with her husband out of the country I knew she could be running on empty.  There really isn't much I can help with, since I tend to be shadowed with 5 extra sets of little hands and feet, but I could take her little shadows with little hands and feet and let them come play with mine for a while:)

So I asked if I could steel her kids for a day.

Alethia loved having some other girls to play with, Rainy and Zeke LOVED being picked up by the multitude of children at the cross walk after school, Cai "wuvs Kaywis", and Jude had endless people wanting to push him up and down the hallways on his little car.  Which means that all the kids stayed occupied and content the majority of the time.

It was a win-win for everybody!

There was one was the end of the month and I was in desperate need of a grocery store run.

Here is where you are going to have the tendency to think: "Uh-uh, no she didn't!"

But my refrigerator and pantry weren't leaving me with much of an option.

With two of the kids in school I was down to 6.
Totally doable.

I got my coupons together and piled them all in the car to head to Harris Teeter.
After we got all situated in the car I decided that we had better lay down some ground rules that were going to have to occur in order for this trip to be successful:
1 - Cooperation
2 - Obedience
(and reiterating that Aunt Tasha ONLY gets what is on "the list")
BONUS rule: you have to eat one of those yummy sugar cookies after we have success!

If these rules were not obtained I told them it was going to be very hard to keep Matilda in check. (she likes to flick little naughty noses;)

We made our way into the store and handed out assignments.
Kayil wanted to push the big cart, and every couple of aisles we rotated Alethia, Cai and Karis. Cana pushed Jude and the food and helped me pick out the best produce:)

We had plenty of time, so we took our time.
It really was kinda fun.
AND I saved $81!!!!!!!!

So now you are are REALLY thinking "NO SHE DIDN'T", and maybe a few other things like, "how does she do it?" or "I can't even handle my own kids, and I only have two!" or a multitude of other self-esteem deflating things.

And I'm always about trying to keep perspective, so here is my mini sermon to us all:

I wanted to help my SIL and this was the ONE thing I could do.  It's only 8 kids.  People have way more and function just fine, right? I can totally do 8 for a day.  Besides, outings like this go way different when they aren't all your own kids (and if a couple of them are older than 3) and if you make a game out of it, and if it is just one time (it's not like I take kids with me to the grocery store every week).  It was only for a short period of time.  It's not like I do this every day.  And as for the grocery shopping outing, my friend Kelly put it quite perfectly when she said that maybe I just needed a challenge for the day.  It was a challenge, something different, something to accomplish and it got us all out of the house for a little fun.

Besides any of ya'll out there could totally do it too.  The key is to have plenty of time, realistic expectations, and try to make it fun!

PS - I took the picture to document for the memories.  Not to prove something.  I mean, if I ran a marathon or made it through a week with my husband out of town (I think of my sister whose husband lives in Afghanistan 6 months out of the year...she's my hero in this department!) you better believe I'd be documenting that too, ha!

So don't go judging me, or yourself for that matter.  It's all about perspective.  Besides, everybody is a winner on my blog!