Wednesday, April 30, 2014

an RBI and a WIN

I don't know much about baseball.

I used to be THAT person.  You know, the one that thought all you had to do was hit that tiny, hard, ball with a bat as hard as you can and then run really fast. And when you aren't hitting it you are supposed to catch it in a glove and pray it doesn't knock you out by hitting your head instead.

But Zeke...he has showed an interest in baseball for well over a year now.

He was checking out baseball books from the library.
He was asking his friends all about their games and how to play.
He asked for us to sign him up the next time baseball season came around.

Which, if you know Zeke at all, is absolutely mind-blowing.

Zeke is typically very fearful of new things, only wants to do things that other familiar people are doing, wanting to get involved in things that he knows.

But this boy of mine is NOT letting these things define him.

He has branched out into an area that his daddy and I have no experience in.  It's not basketball, which his daddy loves, it's not football that we play on TV in the fall, it's not soccer like his mommy plays, it's certainly not music, which flows through our family veins.  This is Zeke's thing for sure and he is owning it!

I wasn't there to see his first few practices but from what I've heard he was, well, a little behind the rest of his team, to say the least.  Josh was trying to freshen up his own childhood techniques to help guide Zeke as much as possible, but we weren't giving him much to work with.

His coaches have been SUPER sweet to him.  In fact, one day after practice his coach stayed after to work on his batting for an extra 20 minutes or so.

Yesterday was Zeke's first game.

If I am honest I used to think about this season of life that was coming, dreading the boring recitals or slow-paced ball games I would have to sit through, wondering how other parents (my own parents) could get so excited, but as I walked up to that field last night I could hardly contain my mama pride!

I saw my boy wearing his cute little uniform...the smallest boy on the team.
I saw him standing where he was supposed to, actually engaging in the game instead of drawing pictures in the dirt.
I saw him stand in the batters square, fear still in his eyes, but not allowing it to take over.
I saw my little boy growing out of his fear and into a confident young man.

When it was his turn to bat he hit 2 strikes.  His batting is slow and timid, but his form is perfect.  He has so much to think about, but he is determined to get it.

Then that last ball came in
he swung
and hit it straight up to first base
allowing his teammate to run in from 3rd base to home plate!

That's called an RBI...runner batted in, and that, my friends, is a big deal:-)
(I'm learning;)

His coaches and teammates and the other team parents cheered him and the team on!

They went on to win 7-0.

But I could care less about the fact that he won,
or that he actually hit the ball, much to my surprise
or that he is playing baseball, the all american sport.

What thrills me is that he is standing up to his fears and branching out into the unknown.

This is HUGE!

And yesterday is the beginning of that confidence building that he needs.

The coaches praised him in front of the entire team last night for helping get a player home safe during the team meeting after the game.  Then he let Zeke count off the team cheer.

I can't wait to watch his next game, or see which instrument he wants to master, or watch him get his diploma, or see any other way the Lord will guide his gentle spirit, because I'm his mom.

A proud mom at that.

I am so proud of you. I love being YOUR mommy. I don't care what you choose to do, just walk with the Lord, love Him with all your heart, and He will help you overcome your fears.  And I'll be on the sidelines cheering you on, you can count on it!
Love forever,

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Mmmm... ~ French Toast

I haven't done one of my "minimalist meals for many mouths" posts in a while.

Quick recap: these are shared to inspire families of all shapes and sizes, but mostly the small colonies like our own.  Frugal, healthy(ish), quick meals that can fill even the most stubborn of bellies, with the emphasis on quick, easy and FILLING!

French Toast and Bacon

our kids alone eat an entire pack of bacon
(but if I fixed 3 packs I have no doubt that it would be completely consumed as well)
This is a special treat, and any kind can be used.

the french toast idea was given to us by another large family
(thanks Mayhugh's)

we easily go through a loaf and a half of bread for our entire family.
It's whole grain and has no high fructose corn syrup, so there's that, ha!
We soak the bread slices in whisked eggs
(at LEAST a dozen is needed for our family)

spray a skillet or wok with cooking spray
(I make my own blend of olive oil and water, so we aren't cooking propane into our food)

sprinkle cinnamon/sugar on the toast while it cooks

slice into pieces with a pizza cutter

this has quickly become a new favorite among the Colony kids.

(PS-Mom, please note the placement of the blender. 
No more climbing into a cabinet to wrestle this bad boy out;)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Words Worth Remembering

Me:"Um, Cai, do I like it when you jump off of there?"
Me:"Do you know WHY I don't like it?"
Cai:"because my body might break"


Cai:"I think that when we cwy weewey loud that we lose lots of muscowes."


Cai:"One time I dweamed about Freakinstyle (aka Frankenstein). Was it scary?"


Cai:"It's okay if my foot gets eated off bide a shawrk because I'll just growed anothow one."


Jude:"Mama. No hello. Boot!"
(translation:"Mom, put your phone down and read this book to me!")


Rainy:"Daddy, EVERY-BODY thinks you are famous!"


Cai:"Come look! Come look!  Pretty flowers! Come on, come look!"
Me:"I know. Aren't they beautiful!  They are called Azaleas."
Cai: responding sadly "oh...I thought they were flowers:("


Cai:"Oh no! I can't weech my feet in my face!"
Cai:"I want to smell the oil on my feet but they can't weech in my face because my bones won't let them."


Cai:"I don't WANT to eat that!  It's gonna spice my tongue!"


Zeke:"It's fah-ote pudugh"
(only those of you who know the way Zeke talks with his nasally, stopped-up-nose, lisp will get this one, ha!)
Craig:"fart pudding?"
Craig:"Ooooohhhh, fart pudding. That's too bad, cuz I was looking forward to fart pudding!"


Cai:"Is Ms. Karen married?"
Me:"Yeah, she is."
Cai:"And he's Jordan's daddy?"
Cai:"Do you knowed him?"
Me:"I've met him a couple of times"
Cai:"What does he look like?"
Me:"Um, well, he's ginda tall and has short hair."
Cai:"What are his colors?"
Me:"Welll, um, his hair is dark brown"
Cai:"What other colors is he?"
Me:"His skin is white"
Cai:"Oh, ok.  Can we have a snack when we get home?"


Cai:"I think that pop rocks should come out of the sky."


Cai:"I want the song 'screamo' to come on."


Cai:"I CAN'T believe we have flowers in our yard from all the rain."
Me:"Pretty cool huh."
Cai:"Uh-huh. God is so good."

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Never Miss A Monday

One day while perusing Pinterest I came across a quote.  I couldn't even remember what they all were...except for one of them that kept circulating in my mind during those unmotivated days moments: "Never Miss a Monday!"
actually, these could ALL apply here!

And holy cow, if that hasn't rocked my very being.

And now you are like, "um, that's it?".

To which I would reply, "um, YES."

Because I'm an all or nothing girl, and if I miss a day of something, especially at the beginning, then I tend to rationalize or make excuses to not do it until another "beginning" comes around.

But, if I make myself do it on Monday I am way more likely to stay consistent at it the rest of the week!

If I make myself get that workout in on Monday
pack the healthy lunches for the kids
start a load of laundry
begin the project
start that organizing regiment
get up on time for adequate time with the Lord...

It changes EVERYTHING!

I tend to be more consistent in EVERY area of my life, if I just make it through that Monday.

Never miss a Monday ~ my new mantra, even on those Holy Hangover Mondays!

I will most definitely want to fall into bed with the kids at 8 but I'll be much more likely to get going quicker on that Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Another Transformation ~ a little space put to good use

I don't even have the BEFORE before pictures!

When we first moved in, this space was pretty nasty.
old musty blankets
fragments of grossness
cob webby (yes I'm making this a word today!)

We cleaned it out REALLY well and then the closet and storage space became
our instrument domain containing amps, guitars, Alesis keyboards, cords and merch.

After unpacking to load it all up in the car for a gig the kids found the door and began BEGGING to play in it.

This got josh's creative juices going and it was later made into what is now known as "the secret hideout".  (It doubles as the perfect tornado escape as well which we have used on MORE than one occasion.  

We found new homes for all our ministry "stuff"
(check out how little Rainy and Zeke were!)

found fragments of carpet that Josh stapled to insulate it a little bit

 it was nothing short of pure awesomeness in their minds

but with the growing amount of superhero paraphernalia and "car-cars" we needed a place for them to call home (especially with Jude taking naps in the boys room which used to have all their toys in it, which lead to a very frustrated other little boy who couldn't get any of his toys...and we'd hate for this to plant seeds of bitterness and resentment in the future, ha!)

So, I did what I always do and I went "shopping" in my parents barn and around our own house for extra storage ideas and solutions and voala!

I used some extra paint from the other rooms in the house
took the door off
placed an extra panel curtain on the coat rod
the top basket houses all our winter gloves, hats and scarves

I hung nails on the right side to hang all the superhero houses and caves

The left side is our artillery bunker;)

and, BTW,
it ALWAYS looks this nice and clean.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Take 5 ~ "Holy Hangover" edition

Band: Sigur Ros
Song Title: Varoeldur

Robbie Robot set for 5 min.


I can't, for the life of me get myself together this morning.

The things that are coming out of my mouth are things like:
"Jude, just a minute, I HAVE to get the floor ready."
"I feel like I'm in an alternate university"


Josh and I woke up at 4am yesterday and the kids were up by 5:20...sheesh!

We walked in from a L-O-N-G day last night to a kitchen FULL of dirty dishes, as we had forgotten to start the dishwasher, ants all in the honey and spice cabinet, clean laundry piled high and an equally messy disaster in every other room of the house, so it's not that I lack things to get done today, I just can't figure out where to start.

I'm just sitting here laughing, and sitting in the mess:)

It's just something that's seems permissible after a wonderful Easter Sunday with the extreme "holy hangover" that has overshadowed me.

All this while Josh forces himself out of the same demise to get motivated and work out, pick up his clothes and straighten the kitchen for me.

I was THAT mom today.  I took my kids to school in my jammies...and my glasses that are currently being held together by tape and fishing wire, ha!  It's a good thing my kids aren't at the "easily embarrassed" stage.

Timer off.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Words Worth Remembering

Alethia:"Look at those pretty daffodils!"
Cai:"I don't see any?"
Alethia:"They are all over Cai."
Cai:"What are daffodils cuz I don't see any dogs."
Alethia:"Daffodils are flowers."
Cai:"But sometimes they're dogs too."
Alethia:"No. No they aren't.  They are always flowers."
Cai:"But sometimes they are white doggies."


Cai:"When I cough it makes noises."
(aka-I have a croupy cough)


Me:"Cai don't take that car from Jude, baby."
Cai:"But he took it from me and I'm driving it down the slide."
Me:"Ok, but could you go in and get him one to drive down the slide with you?"
Cai:"Ju-Ju, you wanna go in and get a car for you to drive?  You can do it!  You are a strong boy."


Cai:"Doos all bees have yellow jackets?"


Jude:"Nah-nah?" (where's Rainy?)
Me:"Rainy's at school buddy."
Jude:"Ah-mah." (Oh man!)


Me:"Cai, now don't freak out if I can't find your Batman socks.  We will find some socks, they just might not be the exact ones you are looking for.  You're not gonna freak out are you?"
Cai:"No I not gonna freak out."
Me:"You're done freaking out?"
Cai:"Yeah, I think so."


Cai:"I'm just getting a sip of water cuz I'm really tired...(sigh)"


Cai:"When is Zeke going to be done with his homework and come to bed?  I can't even remember what he looks like or what jammies he has on!"


Cai:"What is that thing?"
Alethia:"I don't know..."
Cai:"I wondoe if it's going to be loud."
Alethia:"mommy said it isn't"
Cai:"I think it's going to be super loud."
Alethia:"No, it's not."
Cai:"What's it going to do?"
Me:"Guys, it's just an iron.  It's like a curling iron for clothes.  It's not going to make any noises, I promise."

(yeah, we don't iron much around here, ha!)


Cai:"Oh come on Zeke, don't cry! It can be a 'the best day ever'!"


Cai:"Maybe daddy can be a fixer guy when he growsded up cuz he is good at fixin' stuff."


Alethia:"Aw, look how cute he is!  I like his cheeks."
Cai:"THOSE are NOT cheeks, THOSE are nibbles!"

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Take 5

Band:  Metaform

Song Title:  Letters To The Void

Robbie Robot set for 5 min...


Five minutes. It's all mine.  But then again, when you have kids, NOTHING is all yours.

Our shed practically got blown over a few weeks ago in one of those crazy wind storms.  I decided to call insurance about it and they are covering the removal AND replacement of it.  WHAT?!  How awesome is that!

I was a little giddy as I set my timer for 3:30am to get up and watch the blood moon last night.  I knew it was going to be overcast but I was hoping to see something.  In fact, Zeke learned about it in school and wanted to get up and see it too.  So when the time came around we crawled out of bed and saw the most beautifully deep red tinted sky.  The moon was tucked far into the clouds so we couldn't see it but the sky proclaimed its brilliance anyway:-)

This is Holy Week.  This year has been a little different.  Usually we do little activities throughout the week to signify different events, but this year we are watching the book of John.  We are spreading it out to finish on Saturday.  The kids have been enthralled by the real-life picture of those actual events!  Their faces...

Timer off...


Monday, April 14, 2014

Remember When... (34 memories for 34 years)

Remember when...

you used to woo me with your foot massages?

we could literally ride in the car together for hours and not say a word?

we had our DTR and it lasted a full 2 min. and my reply to "so what do you think about our relationship" was, "well, I like what we've got", and then we went in our separate tents to go to sleep?

I gave you that hideous plaid hoodie for our first Christmas?

we ate in silence and just stared at each other during our first date at Monterey's?

I was so terrified of the terrorists right after 911 that you held me in your arms that night until my panic attack went away?

you made that huge sign that said "I like you Tasha Litke" and taped it on the wall right outside my class in college and I was mortified?!

I pretended to get crushed in the mosh pit at the MXPX show so you could "protect" me?

I had  my car accident and you badgered the town to cut down the "historic tree" outside my duplex?

we communicated through email while you lived in Uganda and I was missing you so terribly in Greenville?

we went out on the boat for a date and you jumped out to tie it to the dock and I fell in the water? And then you asked if I could just go ahead and swim out to grab the boat since I was already in the water?

we had to wipe down your dash with RainX WHILE trying to drive Iggie with no power steering?

you got me up at an obscene hour to watch the sunrise and we drove to the peaks.  I refused to hold your hand because I just wanted to be in bed asleep...but then you proposed?!

we used to get up religiously at 5am to get a workout in before we headed our separate ways for work?

we snuck into Furman to watch the fireworks for our 1st 4th of July?

we jogged to Blockbuster to rent movies?

we lived in our little apt. in Greenville and we could hear that obnoxious lady blowing her nose and closing her kitchen cabinets through the walls?

you dressed up like Buzz lightyear for little Ben's birthday?

you called the firetrucks on the fire behind our seminary town homes?

we had our late night dinners after working security for that odd shift?

playing racquet ball at seminary (and kicking my butt!)?

we first found out we were pregnant with Rainy and went to "play golf"?

remember when I killed the grass because of the kiddie pool like a week before moving out of our seminary apt. and we scrambled to find the quickest growing grass seed we could find so we could get our deposit back?

we used to sit outside on our back porch, drink coffee and play games in seminary?

you were the associate pastor/ missions pastor/ worship pastor and youth pastor all at the same time?

we used to take Rainy and Zeke to the school park on Sunday nights after church in Charlotte?

you agreed to let me paint our bedroom purple?

it took HOURS to put up those stupid IKEA mirrors?

we sat at our kitchen table in Charlotte after being there a few short months, and finally decided to launch our own ministry?

we lived in Charlotte and we kept running into that guy with the bright red hair? He would show up in the most random places EVERYWHERE?

you always used to find a household project to do while trying to get out the door for a gig?

we lived on support and saw the Lord provide for us EVERY MONTH, even when the numbers made no sense on paper?

we used to be able to spend our vacations reading and laying out for hours in the sunshine?

I moved your home office to the kitchen?

I'd fall in love with you all over again, but I'm quite enjoying growing old with you!
Happy Birthday!
Thanks for being MINE:)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Story Time With Jude

Before any proper reading can occur
"bubby. pee pet. cubo." (ie-bubby, pillow pet and covers) must all be located and placed just so

Me:"A furry guy wants to take a bath"

Me:"then he throws cloths and smells the yellow one"

Me:"then he takes a bath and...yes it's a froggy"

Me:"...and then he...yup bear and..."

Me:"...then they had family hugs and..."
Jude:"ah dun. bye-bye!"

Me:"Oh you want the snail book! I love this one"
"the snail had a friend..."
Jude:"look, look! bunny!"
Me:"yes, bunny and...oh ok..."

Me:"and the snail had googly eyes and a..."

Jude:"no, no!"
Me:"Yup, the puppy has a nose..."

Jude:"no mo. k. bye bye."

Me:"There once was a little girl who was sitting down to eat..."

"...and then she saw a cat..."

"and she got some clothes on."

Jude:"ah-done. bye bye"
Me:"uh ok. mommy's gonna take a break from books for a little bit."

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Time It

The timer on my phone is one of our favorite things around the Colony household.

We even have a name for him: "Robbie Robot"

Sometimes he makes the kids cry with his abruptness, but it's hard to argue with him, ya know?

I set Robbie on my phone for EVERYTHING!

He helps motivate us to clean up our room, or get our homework done, or countdown minutes until the next meal (that one's for Cai;).  We set him for disciplinary actions and for picking up sticks around the yard for some extra money.  He also counts down between bathtub rotations and toy exchanges, or helps us get faster at our multiplication facts.

You name it, we've timed it.

I have started doing something new though.

I've begun timing myself!

I don't have all day to work on projects, I have 5 little people making sure of that, ha!  I do, however, have 10 min. to clean out the refrigerator, or 30 minutes to do a quick clean-up of the misplaced things around the house.

Just today I decided that the weeds had gotten way too out of control.  Alethia and Cai were crafting gifts for siblings and Jude had just gone down for a nap.  My to-do list had surprisingly dwindled (I'd been setting the timer a lot today) so I grabbed my gardening gloves and set Robbie for 1 hour.  It helped to know that I had a specific time frame to work.  It motivated me to keep going.  I tried to make little goals along the way to see if I could get to "that point" before Robbie went off.  If I hadn't have set the timer I probably would've gotten too carried away and worked well into the afternoon, forfeiting homeschooling the littles, playing with them, getting dinner prepared before the 2 older littles got home from school or even getting some other office work done.

If you are having a hard time tackling stuff around your house I'd encourage you to set the timer!  Everybody has 10-15 minutes to chip away at a task that continues to hang over your head.  You might not get the entire mountain of laundry folded, but you can at least make a mole hill out of it:)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Take 5

Band: London Grammar
Song Title: Strong

Timer on 5 minutes... GO!

I decided that sometimes I'm just going to write. Unedited. I'm not going to go back over it and read and reread it to make sure it is grammatically correct.  Or even if it makes sense. and of course no pictures or links.

It's just me, my music and 5 minutes of time:)

I just reminded my kids, again, to take their food outside.  I could care less if they carry around bags of crumbs and pretend like they are on their trip across the world to Uganda, but let's keep the little crumbs outside.

I went to Once Upon A Child today to see if I could get some money for Jude's old stroller.  It's a super nice one and in excellent condition, except for a little dime sized dirt spot, that I accidentally forgot to wipe off.  So of course, by the time I trek 3 of the colony members with me inside the store, first thing in the morning they decide that they "stain" made it unsellable.  I guess it's to Craigslist it will go.

Rainy was so keyed up after gymnastics last night, and the excitement of her field trip today, that she didn't pass out until Josh and I were snuggly in our own bed for the night.  That girl would talk all night long if I allowed it.

I've decided...

*Timer OFF*



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Another Transformation ~ of the wood paneling(ed) living room variety


I could only find pictures from a couple of Christmas's ago:)

an entire month full of:

catching spare minutes in the afternoons or a free hour or two after the Colony is in bed
a lot of sanding
multiple canisters of caulk
priming a couple of times
filling in a butt-load of holes
prying out old staples from who knows what
cleaning up after every ounce of free time we actually get to work on the project
only to have to set it all back up when we grab another few minutes
a few mishaps between wet paint and curious colony kid palms
a couple of final coats
more trips to Lowe's than I'd like to admit

and we finally have...

I'd like you to take note of a few things in the photos
just to prove that I am not here for bragging rights

1 - the 2 dead plants on the fireplace
I can't even keep a couple of herb plants alive, ha!

2 - the basket of toys behind the couch
because I couldn't find a single minute with a mess-free living room
where there wasn't at least a basket-full of toys or kids:)

...or BOTH!
and this particular day they were actually playing sweetly TOGETHER:)
and I'll take that over a mess-free house ANY day!

We actually had to pay money to make this room transition,
but you better believe we made those Christmas gift cards go as long as they could:)
We had the painting supplies so we just needed the sand paper, paint, primer and caulk.

We chose the paint color "wet cement" from the Valspar collection at Lowe's

Monday, April 7, 2014

Not Me Monday ~ toilet paper ration edition

I did NOT get a shower first thing yesterday morning

Wait, I actually did!
Sundays are the one and only consistent day that I do actually get up and showered before the rooster crows

But seriously, my kids did NOT wake up extra early this particular Sunday morning

Nope, they are great sleepers.
And never need me to tell them to get back in bed because "oh no, no, no. it's too too early. get back in bed and go nite-nite"

but if they did happen to get up at least it would just be to go to the bathroom

nothing like an early morning "I just have to poop, mom" to get the day going

and so I would continue on with my getting dressed for church routine while that particular child carries on his, um, business

so I suppose this scenario wouldn't be particularly that bad

unless, of course, he decided to use half a roll of toilet paper to wipe himself
causing a flood of sorts, in the bathroom

We have excellent plumbing in this house
it could TOTALLY take that kind of abuse, no problem

but if this DID happen
we would all stay calm and collected and would NOT

result in 4 Colony kids running up and down the hallway screaming that the toilet is "overfloating REALLY big" while the other child is left jumping up and down in his crib squealing because he feels left out of all the excitement

If this WERE to occur on a Sunday morning (when I'm not leading but Josh is so he's gone) I clearly would disrobe my long, flowing maxi dress that I had just finished putting on to take care of the pee/poop water flood and VERY QUICKLY place some yoga pants and t-shirt on, right?!

Because it would be really, REALLY annoying to have JUST gotten out of the shower, clean and refreshed, and presentable for the first time since last Sunday, only to step ankle deep into that kind of mess with a pretty dress on

But if I did step in both feet, pretty dress and all, I would do it all with grace and compassion, NEVER slamming the door behind me and yelling out to the Colony, "somebody go get the baby out of his bed and tell him to be quiet PLEASE.  Leave me alone in the pee water, cuz this is awesome!  Thank you for this!"

because this good mama NEVER uses sarcasm
because that's just not nice

but maybe if those words did come flooding out of my mouth I would have a quick heart check
(every once in a while my hearts reels my mouth back in, thank God!)
then just resign to the fact that it's not worth fixing right now
slush on over to the commode, water spraying and all
turn the water off
pick up the remaining dry things off the floor
lay every beach towel and rag out on the floor that we own
take a deep breathe
open the door and quickly shut it behind me
change dresses
and leave the mess for later

and then begin hanging this particular colony member's toilet paper ration near the toilet for him (with twine of course, because that makes everything look nicer) to use from now on

Man I'm glad that never happened yesterday!

PS-Don't worry, YOU will not be held to the same toilet paper ration if you come over for a visit:)

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Josh just took Zeke to baseball practice.  Yup, you read that right.  Zeke plays baseball.  Something he totally wanted to venture out and do all on his own accord.  Josh and I don't know a thing about the sport.  My sport is soccer and Josh was always into basketball, but baseball?  We don't even watch the sport, so you can imagine our surprise (in a good way) to hear Zeke begging to play baseball.  I love that he has stepped out to do something different!

Josh and I finally got to catch up last night for the first time since he left for Uganda.  I loved hearing the stories he shared, and seeing the sweet smile on his face as he spoke of Jonathan and Kelly and how they were MADE for what they are doing in this season they are in in Uganda.  He said that they are totally in their element as they have completely adapted to the culture, picking up the language and have found the perfect places to fit into Arise Africa's mission.  I LOVE seeing people being used, outside of their comfort zone, in a way that only God can do.

Cai has barricaded himself into a corner so he can play without Jude, the new "destroyer" of the house, coming to tear his train track and superhero city apart.

Jude is at the peak of the "destruction" stage.  You know, the season where toddlers get into anything and EVERYthing.  It's a bit exhausting!

Rainy begins gymnastics on Tuesday!  I think I am as excited as she is:)  

Alethia and Cai are in the final weeks of preschool and are set to begin Kindergarten the beginning of July!  Can you believe that?!  They are SO excited!

I jogged a 10k yesterday and felt like I was going to die.  I've been doing INSANITY, but it had been a while since I had a nice jog.  Today's 5k went MUCH better...

Our elderly neighbor was outside mowing her grass a couple days ago, which only means know where we'll be the rest of the day.  Time to tag-team the yard again:)

Happy beautiful, spring time ya'll!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

24 Hours Worth Celebrating

My world has been changed forever!

Within the past 24 hours...

Cai has decided that he is (FINALLY) old enough to wipe himself - ya'll I'm down to a 1-butt-wiping mama now (well 2 if you count my own, but we won't go there...) and I can't tell you how thrilled that makes me!

Josh got home safely from Uganda - I pulled up the driveway to him sitting in a chair in the front yard with a hand full of sunflowers and a beaming face as the kids squealed with glee to get out of the car as quickly as they could to tackle him with love.  I finally got to catch up with him after 9pm when we finally got the kids in bed:)

Jude went to bed last night asking for "cawboes".  Oh you don't know what that means?  It means he wanted covers.  If you don't know him, since he was able to "speak his mind" (and throw things out of his bed) he has refused ANYTHING to be in his bed except his pillow pet and bubby.  It doesn't matter that the winter months are now behind us, ha!  It used to make me so uncomfortable seeing him sleeping without anything wrapped around him, as I like to have pillows and blankets nearly suffocating me while I sleep.  He now wants covers to cuddle up with in his bed:)  Now I am at peace seeing him all curled up in bed.

Alethia didn't freak out when Areyna didn't come home with us.  Rainy is her "person" and instead of getting all out of sorts to leave Rainy behind with some friends like she typically does, she embraced the reality that Rainy would be back in an hour or so and that she was going to have fun alone time with her brothers.  This was definitely a first!

We have a lot to celebrate around here!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

YOUR Best Stuff

I'm reading a new book called "Say Goodbye to Survival Mode" by Crystal Paine.  You have probably heard of her.  She created the blog Money Saving Mom and I referred to her a TON when I first began the road to affordable grocery shopping when I lived in Charlotte.  It's kind of cool because she is writing about the time in life when I was actually reading her life fleshed out on her blog.  I remember the exact transitions she was going through that she refers to in this book.

OK, enough about that:)

The entire first part of the book is about prioritizing our lives.  We are getting specific here people.  4-5 top priorities that should be taking up our time and then subcategorizing what that entails.  Then weeding out the rest of the things that suck the time and energy right out of us (because let's face it, many times we feel drained and unmotivated because we are trying to do things that don't fit in these categories).

Today she challenged us to dig deep and think about the things that we are good at.
the things that energize us
the things that make us feel alive
the things that motivate us to get up in the morning

Not the things we WISH we could do.
or the things we see other moms/wives/women doing that we feel like we should be good at
or the things we used to be able to do before we had kids
or the things we could do if only we could have kids
or the things we want to do but just don't have the time for

I think so often we see everyone around us when we begin exercises like this.
I see my friend who takes beautiful photos of everything all around her.
I see another who knows everything medical under the sun.
Or the one who can work outside the home while gracefully juggling the rest of her life.
How about the ones who can sew or make food from scratch
Or have the patience and gift to homeschool their kids.
And then there is my designer friend who can design anything from NOTHING.  She makes bathrooms look like ballrooms, ya'll.  AMAZING talent!

Oh my goodness...if I stayed here long enough I would be a very depressed women, full of feelings of inadequacy and failure.

But when we do this we are making what I like to call Gift/Talent Stew.  We are grabbing everybody's best and putting it together thinking that somehow we are supposed to be able to do it ALL.

But here's the cool thing.  God made us all different.  (I know my husband is grateful for this.  The world can only handle one of me, ha!)  I can do things that YOU have a difficult time doing, or cannot do at all, or don't even care to do for that matter.  And so can YOU!

Not in the least!

It reminds me of the passage in the Bible where it describes His Church as a body.  Everyone has their own purpose in the body and we work together to make it work.  I think this could apply here as well (although completely taken out of context:)

I am finally realizing the things that I am good at because of the way God made me.
I am an empathizer so encouraging other people brings life to me and speaks truth to them.
I love to write.  It helps me organize my thoughts.  It is a mental and emotional outlet for me.  I love to go back through and look at my kid's past through the words I've documented during certain times.
I love music.  Making music. Listening to music. Creating music. Worshiping through music.
I love my new jewelry shop. I love hammering out meaningful memories both for people I love and people I've never even met.
I love creating environments in my home and organizing and finding good deals, so finding ways to decorate my home on a dime is super fun for me.

I would encourage you to take time to do this for yourself.
Make it a practice to look at the things in your life through this lens.

Find YOUR best stuff and rock it!