Monday, March 31, 2014

Words Worth Remembering

Jude:"Mo, mo, mo!"
Me:"No. Say 'more PLEASE'."
Jude:"Heh peese" (Jude-ese translation=help please)
Me:"No silly. MORE please."
Me:"More. PLEASE."
Jude:"Heh peese."
Me:"No...'More. Please'."
Jude:"Mo! Mo!"
Me:"here ya go"


Cai:"...we just have to find a pet without flurries so Rainy won't sneeze."


Nonnie:"and before I had a poodle I had a Chihuahua.  And before THAT I had a Cocker Spaniel."
Cai:"Did you ever have a teddy bear?"


Zeke:"Boys are gross."
Cai:"Yeah, cuz they pick their noses."
Alethia:"And bite their toenails!"
Me:"You know YOU are boys..."
Zeke:"It's all true."


Jude:"Mommmmy! Cai lakjsoijawelkmaldfkma sdkfj ummmm joiawenflkdofisf a car-car!"
(translation: Mommy, Cai took my car away from me.)


Me:"Aw man Cai, you just dropped all the bubbles..."
Cai:"I didn't do it, I just spiwed dem all."


Alethia:"Mom, I think I feel like my tummy wants to throw up..."
Me:"Sorry baby.  Just sit for a little bit and don't eat anything else.  Let's just see if that feeling goes away."
Zeke:"Well, sometimes when I feel like that I just have to go potty.  And I had to do that today and I felt SOOOOOO much better."
ALL of us: silence and kind of grossed out because we are all eating dinner..."
Zeke:"Oh my goodness gracious...I forgot to flush!!!"
all together now: "EWWWWWW!"

And this is my life...


Zeke:"How do my teeth look mom?" Ahhhh...
Me:"Well, they look pretty good except for the top of the back ones."
Zeke:"Will you help me get those, 'cause I don't want my breathe to stink when I'm playing by Rainy."
Me:"Zeke, that is so sweet."
Zeke:"Yeah...but Rainy's breathe might stink!"


Cai praying before bed:"Dear God, thank you for the food and for my mommy not going high on her "mom-o-meter" and help me to say I like the lunch she gives me."


Jude:"Mooooommm!!!  oihwnejaj a Cai lhsoelksldkjf owie a door lkjasoiweklmldf a Cai!!!"
(translation: Mom, Cai shut my hand in the door.)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Some Of My Favorite Things

a clean kitchen floor that doesn't leave sticky stuff or crumbs on the bottoms of my feet

listening to the rain after the kids are sound asleep and I have nothing else better to do

listening to Jude badger Cai and Zeke from his crib in the mornings before it's time to get up

watching the's one of the things that Josh and I have decided is worth stopping everything for:)

smelling deep as I snuggle my kids right after a bath

the anticipation of a good storm

checking the mail

a meal that is already mentally planned out

a fresh smelling kid's bathroom

exhaustion after a long workout

sprawling out across my entire bed while Josh is away (I really do miss you while you are gone;)

listening to the hums and singing of Cai as he quietly plays with his cars

looking for "treasures" on the side of the road on a drive to through the country

the first 10 minutes after I've completely cleaned my house before the natives awake and mess it all up again (which I wouldn't trade for anything, BTW)

listening to my kids play together

reading a sweet, handwritten, thoughtful note from a friend or family member

reading an inspirational book that helps me be a better me

having my husband on the mission field.  Sure I miss him, but what a blessing to have a husband that hears, listens and obeys the voice of the Lord...

my 5 kids.  Yes, F.I.V.E.  Sometimes I surprise MYSELF when I say that I have 5 kids out loud.  Yes, I may feel crazy some days, but how incredibly full I feel...God gives me exactly what I need...

feeling my precious heavenly Father close...

Sometimes its just good to remind myself of all the good

Friday, March 28, 2014

Transformations From The Treasures In The Barn

An old workbench from my parents barn is now...
the perfect island in my kitchen!

a little sanding,
a LOT of cleaning
and a fresh coat of paint
is all this beauty needed:)

I also brought home 2 other treasures:
an old frame and a L-O-N-G piece of wood

I saw this idea on Pinterest and knew I had to do it...

I just wiped it down
cut it to size
marked measurements with a sharpie and found a font to paint the numbers on.
Once it was all ready I transferred the kids measurements from our paper that was falling a part.
This bad boy isn't going anywhere!

Lastly, I placed the old frame, just like I found it, and framed in our world map.

TOTAL cost for these little eye candies = $0
Great conversations w/ my dad (as we did everything we could to get it all in the car without having to leave the kids behind, ha!) and spiderwebs were included for FREE!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"Thou Shalt Not Judge" ~ Forcing myself to answer life's tough questions about...myself

Sometimes I like to read.

I go through stages.  

Sometimes I REALLY like to read.  Bible, fiction, non-fiction, kids books, commentaries, ANY and everything.
Sometimes I NEED to read.
Sometimes I don't feel like reading but am prompted to keep going with a book because I know there is something in it for me.

I am toward the end of a really good read called, She's Gonna Blow! Real help for moms dealing with anger.  

What a book.  I have to admit...I had a problem with the title.  Besides the obvious first-response giggle fit after actually saying the name out loud, ha!;)  I honestly never felt as though I dealt with anger issues with my kids.

But after the 5-6 months of living in mental and emotional hell this book couldn't have come at a better time.

A lot of times I read books like this but when I get to the little application questions at the end of each chapter I skip over them and keep going.  But for some reason I told myself that I wasn't allowed to do that with this book.  I was going to allow this book to seep into every pore of my being.  I was going to allow God to use the words in this book and un-peal the layers and layers of baggage that have made up the mom that I am.  The good, the bad, the ugly.

Anyway, today the question I made myself respond to was this:

"Why do you think women (mothers) feel like they have to look like they have it all together?  
Who puts this pressure on us?  Other women and mothers?  Society?  Religion?  Ourselves?"

My answer was an overwhelming ME!

I judge ME.

I believe that I do feel pressure from other moms and society on occasion, but mostly, I feel like I have set up parameters in my own mind of how things ought to be done and if I fall short I am not being the mom I need to be.

Aren't I supposed to read to my kids EVERY DAY, multiple times a day?
Am I not a good mother unless I can juggle all these kids, and their schooling, and their extracurricular activities with ease.  All while providing the lowest priced, healthiest picked food to fill their bellies that NEVER seem to get filled.
I'm not supposed to cry happy tears, sad tears, tears at ALL.
I'm not supposed to feel overwhelmingly pained by the happenings all around me (sickness, homelessness, death, friends moving away, adoptions on the brink of falling a part, families on the edge of fall-out.
A good mother NEVER raises her voice, or argues with her 4-year-old.
She certainly never flips out over things like her 9-year-old's brilliant idea of cleaning out the guinea pig cage on the floor of her bedroom or the misuse of the power cord for the ipad as a sling shot rubber band.
She always has eternity and perspective evenly weighed out.

But when I set up parameters like these I don't allow myself to be who God has made me.

I'd rather create things with my kids than read with them.  And that's ok.  
Overactivity stresses me out.  God created me to need a lot of white space.  A LOT of white space.
I am a very PASSIONATE person.  I FEEL others peoples pain and hurt, more than the average person I believe.  And God made me that way! I just have to learn to balance that with the peace God has to offer.
I do raise my voice, partly because there are so many dang kids in my house that they can't hear me above their own voices, ha!  But I do get frustrated sometimes.  Doesn't everybody if they are honest?  But I am also very quick to apologize when I get out of line.
I am a woman of order.  Everything has a purpose and a place and when things get done differently I tend to get a little on edge.  God made me that way, so I am learning to be okay when someone else does something differently than I would do.  I'm learning.  I'm learning.  I think I'll ALWAYS be learning this one.
I constantly pray that the Lord would give me eternal perspective in my seemingly chaotic life.

Today the commandment, "thou shalt not judge" is being applied in my life, FOR my life.  I cannot judge the person God has made me.  Instead I will pray for balance in the areas that can so quickly move in an ungodly direction  and pray for the desire to be the mom He has created me to be, even if it looks differently that what I have pictured it to be.

Friday, March 21, 2014

You Can Count On It

Every day


there are specific things that I can totally count on.

Like Zeke coming out of his room in the morning wanting to know exactly when he can play his Batman LEGO game


Cai coming to me to help him take his jammie shirt off
and then turn his tshirt "inside for this out" so he can put it on
while telling me (as if I don't already have it toasting in the toaster) "mom, can I have two cinnamon toast-es?"

Alethia asking me, while closing her bedroom door at night, "tomorrow will you play with me?"

Cai asking for 3 things for his snack (it doesn't matter what 3 things, he just wants 3 things...and LOTS of those 3 things)

turning on our short video that goes with our family devotional and Cai asking if Josh can start it over so he doesn't miss one split second

Rainy wondering if we can go anywhere

Jude coming to tell on Cai about shutting a door in his face, or taking a car away from him, or pushing him over, or...

Cai making sure I know he does NOT want milk in his cereal but he DOES want bananas

Cai asking me to turn the light on in the secret hideout.

Sometimes predictability isn't so bad.
It's nice to be able to count on SOME predictability each day:)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Signs

I love the first signs of spring.

the first flower
the sunshine
the cool air mixed with the warm sun

the reminder that we WILL make it out of the cold
the warm sun is right around the corner
the fresh air is soon to overtake us
new life is bound to burst forth right before our eyes

the changing of seasons is one of the biggest reminders to me
that God cares...even in the smallest of details
even to the brilliantly clothed lilly in MY field

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The View From Here

And to think that the bathing suits from our outside fun just two days ago just now dried.
Our poor budding rose bushes...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Words Worth Remembering

Cai and Alethia discussing who exactly is a superhero over lunch
(typical conversations at our house, BTW)
Cai:"Mom, are police mens and firemens superheroes?"
Me:"I mean, I guess so."
Cai to Alethia:"Seeeee, I told ya!"


Me:"Cai, what in the world is the matter?  Why are you crying?!"
Cai: unconsolably crying "Rainy said I was fi-owed fwum being da bad guy!"


while eating strawberry yogurt
Zeke:"WOW! I didn't know cows make strawberries!"


Zeke:"Cai, we live on this island (the couch)."
Cai:"Yeah, and Alethia is the scary shark!."
Alethia:"No I'm NOT!"
Cai:"Well, what do you want to be?"
Alethia:"I don't want to be anything."
Cai:"Do you want to be a pwetty dolphin then?"


after listening to 'All That Glitters'
Zeke:"MOM, can I go to RickVia.O-R-G?"
Me and Josh:"Sure buddy."
Josh:"It's a pretty awesome site.  Uncle Baikes made it:)"
Zeke: jaw dropped in amazement "NO WAY!!!!"

Rainy:"Mooooommmmm, Jude just threw the stool in the bathtub with us!!!"


Cai:"I just asked Zeke if he did know whered my gween jacket was and he didn't answer me."
Me:"Well, he's probably just in his own little world in there."
Cai:"No mom, he's in the SHOWER!"


Cai:"Gummies are made out of GOOIES!"


Alethia - speaking about the "low" Mom-O-Meter : "YAY! We aren't at the coo-coo house today!"


Zeke:"...yeah, lots of those people have black skin..."
Cai:"Laithy, YOU used to be black!"

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Another Small Transformation (of the homeowner variety)

I'm all about shared spaces in our home.

Our front door/foyer area used to be our homeschool room.
But after Rainy and Zeke headed off to school we decided to transform it into a, well, foyer, ha!

I've learned that change doesn't always necessarily come because you don't LIKE something.
Sometimes you just need a change of scenery:)



We used leftover paint from our bedroom.
Old children's IKEA artwork frames from Cai's baby room 
now frame some of our favorite scripture verses.
An old window frame from where Josh and I went to college.
A ring of old keys.  They are keys, and they are old (looking anyway), so they are AWESOME!
The red rocking chair is over 100 years old.  I traded in an old IKEA chair that we didn't use anymore at the 'ole Rolesville flea market for this bad boy:)

Now, you'll have to forgive Zeke's creativity circus area.  It doesn't stay clean for more than 10 seconds...and I'm okay with that (until I'm not, and then he has to go clean it again).

This bookcase is the old tool box from my parents barn that I found.

There are some of you that just LOVE to read...
and then there are some of us who need a little motivation;)

I just used an old photo frame, turned the backing around and wrote on the glass with dry-erase crayons.

TOTAL cost for this small space renovation: $0

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Story In...Words (The Summer Bucket List Has Begun)

"There was an old woman who lived in a shoe"
Well, I wouldn't say I'm really OLD, but when I wake up on days after a night like last night I certainly FEEL old.  And it seems as though I'm always finding shoes to pick up because let's face it, every pair of feet need to change their apparel at least 7 times a day.

"She had so many children she didn't know what to do"
Every once in a while I look at my Colony and wonder how in the world we are going to make it through the day, but with 5 creative minds between them they always seem to come up with a spending hours preparing their tent (the trampoline) for a night of fun under the stars.  And how can a mom and dad say "no" to a request like sleeping outside on the trampoline after such hard work:)  Besides we're tracked out AND it's been absolutely gorgeous outside!  To their amazement we said "YES" (you should have heard Rainy's sweet prayer of thanksgiving for "having the BEST PARENTS IN THE WORLD"), believing that it would only be a matter of time before they came sauntering into their nice warm beds like last time.

"She gave them some broth without any bread"
So we gave them so dinner (and of course we didn't have bread because we all know that sides just don't really play an important role.  Not by choice, might I add.)  But we did have some roast with oranges and quinoa, and then Josh made his famous homemade cookies, so that should count for something.

"and whipped them all soundly and put them to bed"
It was a night to remember!  No whipping was had.  In fact, Josh and I listened to their silly conversations and giggling, just a few feet away from the couch in the living room, until the sounds faded away into the night.  They actually ALL miraculously fell asleep outside...which left Josh and I in a predicament.  Neither one of us was mentally prepared for a night under the stars, because we thought for SURE they wouldn't make it all night.  Yup, we had some decisions to make.  We couldn't wake them.  They would be crushed!  And I certainly wasn't going to go sleep outside (I have a love affair with my squooshy, comfy, warm bed).  So we did what any mom and dad would do in this situation...we stared each other down, waiting for the other one to break, ha!  I've had way too many not-so-good-mama moments lately than I'd like to admit, and my heart was totally in this with the Colony kids so I proudly went to lather up my feet in lavender oil (I'd need all the help I could get), layer up the warm clothes, load up my covers and pillows and head to the great outdoors backyard.  I made myself a cocoon inside my blankets and set my mind for success!

Alethia made it until about 1:15.
Cai was in his bed by 1:45.
After what seemed like an hour of shivery tossing and turning by the little Rainy bundle next to me, I rolled over and told her she did a FANTASTIC job and that it was okay if we head in to finish out the evening inside.  She reluctantly decided that yes, it would be alright.  So by 2:45 the last two climbed into their beds and this mama's heart was full.

We all survived the treacherous night in the wilderness, and not ONE of us got eaten up by the wild animals (ie foxes and deer).

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Download, A Discount Code and Something Way More Fulfilling Than Chocolate

So I have this amazing friend,

who knows a whole lot of stuff that makes me go "hmmmm" (as in, I have NO CLUE!).

She is passionate about kids and growing them up in the word.  You need to go check out her great resources at Kids In The Word.

Anyway, she encouraged me to revise my family devotional and make it into an ebook for easy access to busy moms and families (or maybe those families who don't have a single space for one more book in their house).  I said, "I don't have a clue as to how I would even begin!"  And she said, "Um, hello, that's what I'm awesome at!"

Well, she didn't really say that, but she did tell me what I needed to get to her in order for her to work her awesomeness and make this thing happen:)

So, for those of you who have been asking for a quick way to get a copy of the devotional because THIS IS THE FIRST WEEK, here it is.

And it get's even better!

If you enter the code Bunny2Off you can get a $2 discount at checkout until March 16th!

So here is what you need to do...

  1. go check out KidsInTheWord
  2. then go download So Much Bigger Than The Bunny at the "KidsInTheWord" site OR
  3. at the amazon Kindle store HERE
  4. download the Resurrection Songs that go along with the book
  5. bring this Easter season to life with your family!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

There's ALWAYS Going To Be A Winner

Sometimes all the bloody battles and gore of the old testament really sink in deep.
Today was one of those days where I could't just skim over it.

It seems as though there was always somebody fighting somebody or killing somebody or spearing somebody or chopping somebody's head off...sheesh!

You know what I realized today, though?

There is ALWAYS going to be a winner.

In 2 Chronicles 12:1 Rehoboam had just secured his kingdom (read, God had ALLOWED his kingdom to be secure because of his wise choices and humility toward God).  At first his heart was soft toward the Lord's leading and instruction.

Of course it was, he was earnestly trying to make sure his kingdom was secure.  He wanted the Lord's favor.  He knew he needed God on his side if he was ever going to make it.

But in this first verse in chapter 12 it says, "When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he was strong, he abandoned the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him."

He got arrogant and self-confident and turned away from the Lord.
But since he had established his kingdom, the "kingdom" followed him and they followed his lead, becoming unfaithful to the Lord as well.

You can guess what happened next...the Israelites, God's chosen people, were overtaken by the Egyptians.

The bad guys won!

Sometimes (not all the time, but in this kind of situation) the bad guys win because we let them (because of our own disobedience).
We make a choice to establish our OWN kingdom rather than the kingdom God has blessed us with and that opens the door for the bad guy to win.

I don't want to rely on God only when I feel as though I NEED Him.  I want to rely on him on the mountain top too.

God has given me a kingdom to lead (this Colony).  Sometimes I don't feel like it is established (bless the 2014 snowpocolypse(s) that resulted in 5 energetic children to be trapped in a house for days on end...need I say more), but it doesn't really matter anyway.  It is the kingdom God has given me and it is my responsibility to lead them well.  I don't want the bad guys to win a single battle on my watch!

PS-A few verses later Rehoboam and his people humbled themselves and the Lord regained some of their dignity.  If the enemy has won some of the battles in your kingdom, don't believe the lie that it's too late to make a change...

PPS-SPOILER ALERT~I am NOT the perfect kingdom leader.  Yes, I have lost some battles in my kingdom, and I'm sure they aren't my last, but I know who wins the war and I am determined to put up a fight to the end, AMEN?!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

He's 2

Do you see it?
Look a little closer...
teeth marks.

In EVERYTHING from soap, to deodorant to highlighters and markers to packaged food (with packaging still ON it)

and as soon as he hears that I've found whatever it is that he's been taste-testing
ie- "Jude Warren!!!..."
he finds a "safe" place to hide:)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Communication Is For More Than Your Marriage


One of the most important aspects in my relationship with Josh.

We've come a long way in our communication since we first met (We could sit in the same room, alone, and not say a word for an hour ya'll.)

A L-O-N-G way!

First, I've had to realize how I communicate my fears, anxieties, frustrations, irritations...
Then I've had to learn how Josh communicates these same situations...

all for the sole purpose of learning to communicate TOGETHER in a way that creates a sort of harmony.

Now that I'm a mom I am realizing just how important communication is with my kids too.

Especially in the realm of my anxiety.

The word, "anxiety", is no stranger around the colony household.

I've learned that being open about my anxiety and its triggers not only helps me (isn't it just so freeing to be able to say out loud that you are on the verge of a freakout!), but it allows my kids to see exactly where I am at at any given time.

Key things I feel are important to communicate to them as I parent through my anxiety:
I want them to know that...

  • God has made us just the way we are
  • He doesn't make mistakes
  • sometimes God allows us to go through things that are difficult, but He will ALWAYS walk the difficult paths with us if we allow Him to
  • life isn't always easy
  • we can't always control things, even our emotions
  • emotions are a good thing, but they can be like a wild horse if we don't learn to control them
  • we are NEVER too old to say "I'm sorry"
  • just because mommy is having a bad day it doesn't mean that it is because of anything THEY have done

I don't feel like I can over-communicate to them how much I love them and how sorry I am when I lose my temper and let my anxiety or panic get the best of me.

I also think it is only fair to let them see where I am at any given point.  Today, in order to redeem yet another "snow day" at home with a Colony full energy, excitement and "creative" ideas, I made a Mom-o-Meter to indicate where my anxiety level is.  They can look up there at any given time to see where I am mentally, and what they can do to help this mama out.

Most of the time my kids are very sensitive (especially Zeke) when they see the level rising and are more than willing to comply to what I am needing from them.

If you struggle with anxiety and panic attacks, don't try to hide it.  It will only exacerbate the onset of symptoms and, in many cases, will leave the kids wondering what they have done wrong.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, YAY!

I'm sitting here in the midst of chaos.  Our deepest, dearest friends/family, who happen to currently reside in Haiti, are here, in OUR HOUSE, for the weekend!  Between their 4 and our 5 we have the 9 happiest campers on the planet!
Areyna and cousin Ella ~ 2 peas in a pod
I couldn't be more happy with the sleeping bags and pillows, blankets and forts, cars and superheroes and girly trinkets that have literally exploded over the colony household.

I've had a bit of a run this week, but this is just what my weary soul needed!

Yesterday was Rainy's birthday.
She is now 9.
Half-way to 18.
The years of our main influence are quickly dwindling, and I am realizing more and more just how important these little years are.

My house is full and my heart is happy this morning.

Happy Saturday ya'll!