Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Fall 2012 Bucket List

It's Fall!!!!  I know it's only been Fall for a few days, but I have been thinking about it for months!  I love this time of year!  It's such a beautiful display of God's handiwork!

"Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!"
(Genesis 1:31)

I've never made one of these before, but I saw this really neat idea over at Love Bakes Good Cakes, and I love it!
A Fall Bucket List!  Cute, right? 
(For the free 8x10 printable of this, click here.)

I'm already planning on doing most, if not all, of the things on the list, but I'll definitely be adding more.  I can't wait to start checking things off with my kids.  I know they will absolutely love this too!

I also found this:

It's got some great ideas and almost every activity has a link with more information.
(To check it out, click here.)

The thing I'm most looking forward to checking off this list is visiting a pumpkin patch...Or drinking apple cider...Or maybe having a bonfire...and eating s'mores.  Well, I guess I don't have a favorite Fall activity - I love them all!  Everything is just so pleasant this time of year.  The weather, the sights, the smells, the flavors, the activities...
My birthday is next month, which also adds to my love of Fall - I LOVE my birthday.  I may have a hard time choosing my favorite Fall activity, but I am 100% sure that my favorite thing to do for my birthday is to go to a pumpkin patch.  My husband and I have gone to a pumpkin patch for each of my birthdays since we met, and I love that my kids will by my excuse for continuing the tradition for many years to come!

Here are some things I want to add to my Fall 2012 Bucket List:
  • Carve a pumpkin
  • Make tons of pumpkin recipes...especially desserts
  • Make homemade applesauce with fresh orchard apples
  • Go on a hayride
  • Get or make more Fall decor
  • Make fun Fall crafts and treats with my kids
  • Eat lots of candy corn
  • Buy a cute scarf...and actually wear it
  • Take the kids to a football game
  • Go camping
  • Drive to a nearby state park and walk the trails
  • Regularly sit outside with my Bible and coffee before my kids wake up

And the most important thing on my list:
  • Check off all the activities on my bucket list!

What are your favorite things to do in the Fall?  Do you already do the things on this bucket list?  What about the things I added?  Something else entirely?  Leave a comment below and share!

Happy Fall!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

5 Things I Hate About You

Do you remember the movie 10 Things I Hate About You?  The storyline is about 2 teenagers who can't stand each other.  They just clash on everything, but can't seem to stay away from each other.  Finally they realize all the things they hate about each other are in fact the very things they love so much about each other, but don't want to admit it.
My love story isn't quite the same, but there are some similarities.  While my husband and I definitely didn't clash when we first met, there are many times we clash now.  And while we're not afraid to admit that we love each other very much, sometimes we forget all the reasons why.  There are many things that irk us about each other, but when we step back and look at those things, it's those very things that we used to love so much about each other.  Now that's a little backwards, isn't it?
Has this ever happened to you?  Have you ever realized the things you used to admire about your husband are somehow driving you crazy now?  How in the world does that happen?!
This week's (week 4) Revive Your Marriage challenge is to list 5 things you admire about your husband.  When I started to think about that list, I realized what I just shared with you - the things I admire most are also the things that can annoy me the most.  Lord, change my heart!  I am so excited to share the list with you all and then to start changing my attitude about those 5 things..and any other qualities of my husband that deserve admiration and praise.  I am so thankful for this challenge, because it places my focus on my husband who needs and deserves more of my focus, and it helps me remember why I fell in love with him in the first place.
Here are 5 things I hate love about my husband:
  1. He works hard at everything he does.
  2. He's constantly challenging himself and setting goals for himself.
  3. He's easy-going and doesn't worry much.
  4. He's very friendly and hardly knows a stranger.
  5. He likes to be doing something...always.
So let's look deeper into these things. 
-If he didn't always work so hard, maybe he'd get to spend more time with me and our kids.  But then he probably wouldn't have the amazing job he has now.  And I wouldn't want him to be lazy.  Thank you God for my hard-working husband!  
-If he didn't focus so much on challenging and setting goals for himself, maybe he could focus on us a little more.  But I wouldn't want him to be apathetic about his life or his health.  I want him to continue to grow.  Thank you God for my husband who always wants to better himself! 
-Sometimes I get frustrated that he doesn't worry about the things I worry about, and sometimes it makes me think he doesn't care.  He cares.  I know he does.  And it would be pretty miserable around here if we were both worried all the time!  He definitely balances me out in this area.  Thank you God for my easy-going husband! 
-If he didn't have to talk to every person we come across, he could give us all of his attention and we could be on our way faster when we're out and about.  But then he probably wouldn't have as many friends as he has.  And then I wouldn't have as many friends as I do.  And he wouldn't be able to set a very good Christian example or reach others if he never talked to anyone else.  Thank you God for my friendly husband!
-If he didn't get so stir-crazy when he's home he could just sit and relax with me more.  But my kids don't really want to just sit.  And we'd probably get bored if all we did was relax at home, and we'd miss out on a lot of fun activities and experiences.  Thank you God for my fun, active husband!
I love my husband very much!  And I love him for many more reasons than I've shared with you today.  He is a wonderful man, and it's a shame I don't tell him that more often...or at all!  I'm going to write my list of 5 things I love about him and share it with him sometime this week.  (Maybe I'll share it on Friday - it's his birthday!)  And I want to start telling him at least one thing each day that I love, admire, or appreciate about him.  Not only will I be building him up, I am confident that the more I make it a point to appreciate little things about him and his character, the more I'll actually appreciate him overall.  Now that's a win for both of us!

*Check out the Revive Your Marriage blog series by clicking the button on my left sidebar.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mommy Moment Monday: Say "Shrek Smoothie!"

This weekend we had our family pictures taken.  I really loved the setting!  We did the pictures on a country road lined with trees (which I didn't even know existed in this super-flat, lacking-in-trees, non-wooded, covered-in-fields part of the world), and in a cotton field.  I grew up in farming country, and I like really like fields - I love the color green, I love to watch them grow, and I love the nice, neat rows.  What I mainly saw was bean and corn fields, but my favorite was always wheat.  Wheat fields are just gorgeous - their golden color and they way they sway in the breeze - and then I saw a cotton field.  They are so pretty too!  You see the brown earth underneath, the dark stems and leaves, and then BAM!  Bright white balls of cotton!  The contrast is really neat!
Anyway, so now you know I like fields.  I like trees too.  And the country.  So it was very refreshing to spend a couple hours on that country road and in that field, since I haven't been too impressed with my new surroundings so far.  And yes, we spent a couple hours there for pictures...but mainly because my children were being impossible!  It was like pulling teeth trying to get them to look at the camera and smile.  I'm all for action shots, but one nice family portrait where everyone is looking and smiling would be nice.  Hopefully we got something close to that out of the shoot.  But regardless of how good the pictures turn out, it was really enjoyable to be outside and to see the trees and the cotton.  Still, I don't want to hear or utter the words, "Say Cheese!" again for a very, very long time!

This morning, although I wouldn't have been surprised if my kids had turned and run in the opposite direction at the sight of a camera, I pulled mine out during breakfast.  We had smoothies for breakfast and they were green.  Like bright, monster green - hence the "Shrek Smoothie."  The kids thought they looked pretty cool, liked the name, and loved the taste!  They hardly took their cups away from their mouths before they were empty.  When they did put their cups down, they had hilarious green smoothie mustaches (or in my daughter's case, a hilarious green smoothie covered face)!  They thoroughly enjoyed cheesing for pictures today, and I thought, "These are my kids!"  Crazy bedhead, green faces, non-matching outfits, and acting silly.  While I really do want some great pictures to hang on our walls, I can't wait to print out their Shrek-face pictures!
I love my silly kids, even if it means getting family pictures taken is more of a chore than it is fun.  Oh well.  We don't get family pictures done very often.  And I've accepted that my kids will probably never be the kids who just stand still and smile for the camera.  That's okay.  I have so many silly pictures of them that represent my true children so many fun Mommy Moments!  Here are my Shrek-faced babies:

I love them so much!
Have a great Monday everyone!

Friday, September 21, 2012

You Have to Try This S.O.A.P.!

S.O.A.P. - Scripture, Observations, Applications, Pray.
This is an awesome way to study your Bible! It is so simple, yet so effective!
I'm participating in the Good Morning Girls Bible study of Colossians, and this is the method they use.  It has taken me from reading and thinking about Scripture, to reading, writing, and understanding Scripture like never before.  The study has only been going for 1 week, but I have already learned so much - I can't wait to see where I am after the full 8 weeks!  But more than understanding Colossians better than ever before, I am so excited I know now a way to study the rest of the Bible that will work for me.  I think it will work for you too.
In this study, you only go over a few verses each day, which keeps it simple and allows a busy mom like me to keep up.  Following the S.O.A.P. method, you first write out each verse word for word (S - Scripture).  This doesn't take long since you only study a few verses at a time.  Then you write down what sticks out to you from the passage (O - Observations).  Next you think about what the passage means to you and for you (A - Applications), and finish by praying over what you've just read and learned (P - Pray).  That's it.  I have been amazed at what has been revealed to me by using the S.O.A.P. method, and even more amazed at how simple it is!
Good Morning Girls has provided a printable pdf document to go along with the Bible study.  All you have to do is print it out and you've basically got a study guide.  It lists the Scripture of the day at the top of the page, along with which week and day of the week you're supposed to read that particular Scripture on, so you can easily follow along with their schedule.  Then it provides space for each of the four tasks in the S.O.A.P. method.  So easy and so organized!  Have I told you I think it's great?!
So what happens after the 8 weeks is over?  I plan on continuing to study my Bible using the S.O.A.P. method.  I don't know what I'll study next, but I do know how.  I've even created a blank study guide in Word that I can print and use.  I just left the top part blank so I can write in the week day, and passage.  If I want, I can come up with a schedule to follow, or I can just write in which verses I read as I go along.  Either way, I am going to gain Biblical knowledge and grow in my faith.  If you're interested, it only takes a couple minutes to type up your own study guide, or there's even a website where you can register for an account and type your answers online:
And you really can do this too.  My quiet time has been quite different each day this week, but I've been able to do it!  So far my quiet time has been late at night when everyone else was sleeping, first thing in the morning before my kids woke up, mid-morning while the kids were at playgroup, and during their afternoon nap, and while the kids were in the other room watching a movie.  I would like to have a consistent quiet time each day, but I don't think I'm at a point in my life where that's very feasible.  But that's okay.  The Good Morning Girls study of Colossians has allowed and encouraged me to successfully study my Bible every day this week, even if it hasn't been under the same circumstances each time!
I hope you'll try this study, or just try the S.O.A.P. method with whatever you read on any given day.  I think you'll find it really helpful in understanding God's word!  2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."  Another version says "All the Holy writings are God-given and are made alive by Him.  Man is helped when he is taught God's Word.  It shows what is wrong.  It changes the way of a man's life.  It shows him how to be right with God.  It gives the man who belongs to God everything he needs to work well for Him."
I love what this says about the importance of reading and knowing Scripture, and all that Scriptural knowledge can do!  Scripture is powerful!  It is "alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12)."  Wow!  I encourage you to get into the Word, whether you S.O.A.P. it or not!  Let it become alive and active in you so you will be equipped for every good work!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Last week I took a trip down Memory Lane.  I didn’t enjoy it.  It’s not that there was anything bad down Memory Lane – In fact, I found it to be very beautiful!  It’s just that I don’t live there anymore.  I’ve moved.  I live on Here and Now Drive…and I like it here!  (I know, go ahead and roll your eyes.  What can I say?  I'm pretty cheesy sometimes.)

I’ve spent a lot of my life looking into the past or trying to plan my future while completely missing the present.  I’m tired.  I’m tired of living everywhere else but here, wherever here may be.  Right now, here is with my family and with God.
When my husband and I decided to move our family a few months ago, we planned on keeping our old house.  We thought it would be nice to have some place to go on the weekends, a place to enjoy nature, and a place for my husband to hunt later this year.  I was also thrilled at the thought of staying connected to the places and people I loved so much!
But then I started to feel torn.  I wanted to start settling into our new home and new town, but all I could think about was how much I wanted to go back to our old house.  I kept thinking of all the things that would be available to us if we still lived there, and resenting our new town for not offering the same things. 
And then I didn’t feel like I belonged to either place.  I definitely didn’t feel like I belonged here in our new town.  But when we took a weekend trip back to our old house, I didn’t feel like I belonged there anymore either.  It was surprisingly difficult to see how many things had happened and changed since we had moved, like I thought time would stand still while we were away or something.
Last week when I returned again for just a day, everything seemed so foreign that I may as well have never lived there.  I left feeling extremely depressed and couldn’t understand why what had been my home just months ago now felt like nothing but a distant memory.  On the car ride back to our new house, I found myself feeling very anxious to get home.  Home…Home?  Could this new house in this new town really be home?  Then I realized “home” wasn’t a house.  It wasn’t a town.  It wasn’t any place on this earth.
Home is where the heart is.  I know, I know.  How cliché.  But I believe it.  Over the past few months my heart has been at our old house and with our old friends and our old circumstances.  I also believe that home is where your hope is, and just like my heart, my hope has been misplaced over the last few months.  I started studying Colossians this week and have learned that our hope is stored up in Heaven, not on the things of this world, and that faith and love spring up from our hope (Colossians 1:5).  Spring up!  Isn’t that a great visual?!

I want faith and love to spring up in my life!  So I will put my hope in God.  I will keep my heart with God, and I will keep my heart with my family.  And you know what, I will always be at home - wherever I am. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hello?! Are You Listening?!

I say this to my son at least once every day.  He's 4.  You understand.
I just realized that God's been saying this to me at least once every day for the past few weeks, and probably a whole lot longer.  I'm not 4.  I don't understand.
How can I be so busy searching for answers that I miss God standing right in front of my face giving me all the information I need?
I continue to be amazed at how God uses children to reveal such simple yet powerful truths to us hard-headed adults!  I can't even begin to count the times God has used my son to open my eyes.  Well, whatever that number may be, let's add another one to the total!
There have been so many Bible verses, biblical concepts, and life applications repeatedly revealed to me lately.  God is communicating many things to me and has made them very obvious.  Yet it took so many times for it all to sink in, that I'm sure God has been thinking "Hello?!  Carrie?!  Are you listening?!"  I used "hard-headed" to describe us adults in the last paragraph, but I think "hard-hearted" applies very well to me also.  God is really working on my heart in so many ways.  He has opened my mind to gain new perspective, now I pray that my heart will soften so that I will act on it.
Psalm 10:4 says that the proud person "does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God."  I am proud.  I think I can figure things out on my own.  But I can't.  And I definitely don't want to push God out of my life.  That's a scary thought!
We are reminded in Philippians 4:6 "do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present [our] requests to God."
In Proverbs 2:1-5, God says, "...if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, tuning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding - indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God."
God reassures us in Jeremiah 29:11 that "...[He] knows the plans [He] has for [us]...Plans to prosper [us] and not to harm [us], plans to give [us] hope and a future."
So here it is in a nutshell:  Stop trying to figure things out on our own, and quit worrying about every little thing.  Rather, seek guidance from God, earnestly listen to and truly hear what God tells us, and know that God knows what to do.  He already has plans for each and every one of us.

Here are some of the things God has been telling me: 
  • I should quit trying to figure out what my new town has to offer me and start focusing on why God has put me here and what I have to offer others, or I am going to miss opportunities to serve. 
  • I need to be appreciative and grateful for my blessings and give God the glory for everything, because God gives and takes away, and because every good thing comes from God.
  • I need to spend more time with God through prayer and reading His Word.
  • I need to be patient and remain faithful to God even when He doesn't answer my prayers on my timing.  I need to live according to God's timing.

Apparently, I've got a lot of changing to do, so here I go!
Has God been trying to tell you something lately?  Are you listening?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mommy Moment Monday: I May Not Have It All Together, But I Sure Do Have It All!

There have just not been enough hours in my days lately!  I haven't published a blog post since my last Mommy Moment Monday post!  I've been determined to keep up with blogging since I started, so I'm a little disappointed.  Hopefully this week will go better!
Welcome to Mommy Moment Monday!  Today I want to talk about "it."
I just do not have "it" together - whatever "it" is!  You know those Moms who are always on time, always smiling, who have a week's supply of food, clothing, and diapers packed in their car...just in case, who can somehow find the time to exercise, shower, read their Bible, and make breakfast before 8AM, and who's kids are rarely seen misbehaving in public?  I know you're all picturing someone right now...and I know that it's not me!
Now picture this:  the Mom who walks into a bank with her 4-year-old and 1.5-year-old, realizes there's no ATM inside, drags her kids through 95 degree weather all the way around to the back of the building to withdraw some money, drags them back inside, only to find she's miscounted and has to do it all again. 
Or the Mom who's on a very tight schedule and makes it all the way through the checkout line at Walmart only to find she's left her wallet on her dresser in her bedroom, which means she has to leave her full cart, drive back to her house for her wallet, and return to Walmart and wait in line again. 
Or how about the Mom who, right after cleaning up the accident her 4-year-old had in the kitchen, goes into the bathroom and finds her 1.5-year-old (who's recently decided she doesn't like to wear pants or diapers anymore) has taken off her dirty diaper to sit on the potty, used half a container of wipes to try and clean herself, and then attempted to wash her hands in the sink, leaving poop smeared all over the place. 

That's me.  The Mom whose children are running wild in two opposite directions at the grocery store.  The Mom who has to brush her daughter's crazy hair (and I do mean CRAZY) at big brother's soccer game because she ran out of time at home.  The Mom who drives 3 hours to her old house to pick up some things and remembers she gave her key to the realtor, who happens to be out of town that day. 
I used to have "it" a little more together, but somewhere around baby #2, I lost "it."  And apparently I have lost even more of "it" recently,  because all of the scenarios I just shared with you have happened in the last two weeks.  And I didn't even tell you everything!
But despite all the craziness, I can see that really, I have it all...even if I don't have it all together.  First of all, I'm a Mommy!  I may not be the most organized Mommy, but I am a Mommy, which means I have been given the greatest gift on Earth!  Also, my kids are happy and healthy.  They may run wild sometimes, but that means they're full of life!  And they are good kids.  Sure, they fight and yell at each other sometimes, and they both have their not-so-good moments, but they're also each other's best friend and they're great at hugs and kisses and "I love you's."  And man, they make me proud!  They have great manners (most of the time), they are smart and curious about life, and they are already starting their relationship with God, which means I must be doing something right!  There is so much beautiful in our crazy!

I'm reminded of a couple devotions I've read written by Lysa TerKeurst from Proverbs 31 Ministries.  The main point of both devotions is to encourage parents to focus on raising God-following and God-honoring adults rather than focusing on other not-so-important aspects of parenting - like our kids' ability to follow the rules of this world, our kids' worldly "success", or in my case, my own ability as a mom to keep it all together. 

Ephesians 5:1 reminds us that we are not children of this world but children of God, so we should "Imitate God, therefore, in everything [we] do, because [we] are his dear children."  That's what's important.  We parents should be imitating God and teaching our children to do the same.  Always.  Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says that "...[we] must commit [ourselves] wholeheartedly" to God's commands, and "repeat them again and again to [our] children.  Talk about them when [we] are at home and when [we] are on the road, when [we] are going to bed and when [we] are getting up."   We are comforted in Proverbs 22:6 that if we "Direct [our] children onto the right path, ...when they are older, they will not leave it."

So focus on the beautiful.  Focus on God.  And just take the crazy as it comes!  I hope you're all having a wonderful Monday!

*If any of you want to read the devotions I mentioned by Lysa TerKeurst, leave a comment and I will give you the links.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Weekly Challenge Update

For those of you who didn't read my challenge post last week (read it here), I accepted and started 2 online challenges.  The first one is called Revive Your Marriage, and the second is called Living and Active.  You can learn more about both challenges by clicking on their respective buttons below:
Challenge #1.  So is my marriage revived yet?  NO!  But I was very intentional this past week about praying for my husband.  It was hard for me to remember the week's specific challenge to use my wedding ring as a reminder to pray for my husband.  I thought it was a great idea, but I don't think any of the times I prayed had anything to do with my ring.  Oh well, the important thing is that I prayed!  And each time I prayed I felt a little more comfortable and had a little more to say, but I still haven't told my husband I'm praying for him.
Over the last 7 days I have prayed for my husband's health, his job, his wife (that's me!), and I've thanked God for so many things about my husband - the things I love, as well as the things I don't.  Even though my husband doesn't even know I'm praying for him, I feel a little closer to him than I did just one week ago.  I believe it's because I've put more of my focus on him, when for the last 4 years it's been entirely on my children.
I don't know if any of my prayers for my husband have specifically been answered yet, but I have seen a marked difference in my husband already!  I can see that my praying for my husband has benefited him, but I was surprised to find it has benefited me as well.  Prayer is obviously making a difference in our marriage and it's only been one week - I can't wait to see where we go (and grow) from here!
This week's challenge is to take a trip down memory lane - to remember how we met, all the things that first attracted us to each other, and feeling head-over-heels in love!  Perfect timing, because this is exactly the time of year my husband and I met and started dating...although it seems like it's been ages since then!

Challenge #2.  So am I Living and Active yet?  No!  But I exercised today for the first time in probably a year, and I've practiced much healther eating habits since I accepted the challenge last week.  (Until I made some awesome homemade brownies earlier this week!)  I got up early this morning in order to exercise before my kids woke up.  For those of you who know me personally, I do NOT like to get up early!  I pushed the snooze button a few time, but finally rolled myself out of bed and started exercising. 

I followed Workout 2 from the guided routine offered by Clare, the woman who is leading this challenge.  (If you are interested in joining this challenge, know that you can choose your own exercise regimen if you'd like, but the guided routine worked well for someone like me who's not used to exercising at all!)  Workout 2 consists of 25-35 minutes of cardio, the The Muffin-Top Makeover routine, and the "J.Lo" #1 workout video.  I did all of it - and I didn't feel like I was going to die!  Actually, I really enjoyed it, and felt great afterwards!

The key verse that corrisponds with this week of the challange is Ecclesiastes 4:12 - "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mommy Moment Monday - Duct Tape

Duct tape fixes everything, doesn't it?!  We seem to use a lot of duct tape around here, and I'm sure many other households do too.  One of our daily uses of duct tape is for taping socks over my son's hands at bedtime.  Yup.  You read that right.  We tape socks on our son's hands.  Now before you go and nominate me for the Worst Mommy of the Year award, hear me out.

My son and I both get a lot of bug bites.  I mean a lot!  Like, when we lived at our old house we would spend 2 minutes outside and end up with chigger bites all over our bodies.  And now we've moved to the mosquito capitol of the world.  Everywhere we go, there's a mosquito (or 100) just waiting for us.  Right outside our door, in our car, and even inside our home.  Apparently, we are the tastiest people in town.  Lucky us.

While I can refrain from scratching (most of the time), my son cannot leave his alone.  And when I say he cannot leave his alone, I mean he scratches every single bite until it is scratched open and then he continues to scratch them for days, leaving scabs and sores all over his little body.  We have a cabinet full of every kind of itch relief medicine that has ever been made - but despite all that, he still scratches.  Especially when noone is at bedtime...

So we started putting socks over his hands at night.  He would take them off and scratch.  I finally got fed up one night, stormed into the kitchen, grabbed the duct tape (experiencing strong déjà vu, which I'll explain in a minute), and made sure he couldn't get those socks off!  It worked, so we've continued to do it.  I am so happy this year's mosquito season is almost over!

Now to explain the déjà vu: my other duct tape Mommy Moment.  A couple years ago my son asked for a banana, so I got him one, peeled it, and cut it in half thinking it would be easier for him to handle.  Well, this is not what he wanted.  He threw a huge fit and screamed for it to be put back together.  When I couldn't convince him that wasn't possible, and reason with him that it would taste just the same, I said, "Fine!"  Then just like the sock incident, I stormed into the kitchen, grabbed the duct tape, and proceeded to duct tape his banana back together. 

My husband died laughing, and after my son stared at the banana confused for a few seconds, he giggled too and all was well with the world again.  The banana slid out from the tape when he picked it up, but he just quietly ate the two pieces as if nothing had ever happened.  Duct tape fixes everything, doesn't it?!

Anyone else out there have a mommy moment that includes duct tape?  If so, leave a comment - I'd love to hear about it!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Our Labored Labor Day

Labored [ley-berd] (adjective) 1. done with difficulty  2. exhibiting a great deal of effort; lacking grace and fluency.

My abilities as a housewife.  Just kidding!  Well, not really - especially the part about lacking grace and fluency - but that's not what I'm talking about today.

This was our Labor Day.  Labored.  We went fishing, just the four of us.  This was our son's first time fishing, so we were feeling pretty excited and thinking this was going to be such a fun family day! But the day didn't exactly go as planned...

My husband and my son got up early and went to the store before my daughter and I were even out of bed.  They picked up fishing supplies and my son got to pick out his own fishing pole.  You'd think he would have been giddy with anticipation for his first fishing trip (he's been asking to go for months!), but he was so unbelievably cranky that morning!  Regardless, he was pretty cute carrying his new fishing pole around everywhere he went...until he decided to practice casting in our living room. 

My son was standing on one side of the living room with his fishing pole in hand, and I was standing on the other side of the room not suspecting anything.  That's when I saw a sudden movement out of the corner of my eye, felt something brush across the back of my hair, and heard a "whack!" on the wall beside me.  I jumped about 3 feet!  When I realized what had happened, I was fuming.  We had specifically told him not to cast inside.  That incident, combined with his whining, my daughter's crying, and both of their coughing and runny noses all morning, my husband and I just stopped what we were doing and put the kids in bed. 

The kids slept for about an hour and half, and both woke up in a much better mood!  So we finally got on the road and were at a nearby lake in less than 10 minutes.  We got the boat in the water and were ready to start fishing...and then the boat wouldn't run.  So, my husband used the trolling motor (I think that's what it's called) and got us back to the dock.  You should've heard my kids scream when he left us on the dock and attempted to get the boat back on the trailer - thank goodness it didn't take him as long as we thought it might!  He finally joined us on the dock, and the dock is where we stayed most of the trip.

Nobody caught anything, but my son had so much fun casting and reeling in, over and over again.  He's really good at casting!  (I'll even admit that cast across the living room was one good cast!)  And the look on my husband's face as he watched his little boy casting into the water was priceless.  Pure pride.  He had no idea I was watching him watch our son, but that look made the entire day worth all the labor!  And my daughter was adorable running around in circles on the dock, giggling, and she had a blast chasing and screaming after the ducks! 

Here are a few pictures from our trip:

I am so grateful for our family time this Labor Day...even if it was a little labored!  I hope you all had a great day too!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Are You In?

Lately I've been seeing quite a few online challenges through Facebook and other blogs, and they've got me thinking.  I need a challenge.  I need to do something for myself and my faith.  I need to commit to something, stick to it, and come out the other side successfully.

So I've chosen 2 challenges.  Maybe a little ambitious, but I feel up to it!  The first challenge I've accepted is called "Revive Your Marriage."  What parent of little ones couldn't use a little help in this department?!  You all can be my accountability partners.  Even if you don't respond, I'll know someone out there will be reading it and see how I'm faring - or failing.

Revive Your Marriage is a 5 week blog series hosted by 4 well-known Christian bloggers.  Each Monday in September (it started this past Monday, the 3rd) the 4 bloggers will write a post about the same topic but from different perspectives.  This week's topic is prayer, and the challege is to let your wedding ring be a reminder to pray for your husband.  Each time you see it or feel it (or in my case bang it on something and jam it into my finger), pray for your husband.  Just one sentence, or for 5 minutes - whatever you feel like.  Just pray for him.

Last night I prayed for my husband for the first time in a long time.  I don't know how I got out of that habit, but man it felt great to talk to God about him!  I'm not sure when I'll tell my husband I'm praying for him, but I don't think I'm ready to just yet.  I want to gain some confidence in my prayer life first and then I'll share my prayers with him.

The second challenge I've accepted is called "Living & Active:  A 5 Week Challenge to Get You Living & Active!"  This one starts next Monday, Septemer 10th, and will continue each Monday for 5 weeks.  The idea for this challenge came from Hebrews 4:12 which says, "For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."  Intense, huh?

Throughout this series, the author will provide key principles to keep our physical and spritual lives "living & active,"  on the belief that our faith lays the groundwork for all that we do, including the upkeep of our health and bodies.  They physical aspect of this challenge is to exercise 4 days a week for at least 25 minutes.  The spiritual side is to learn self-discipline (which I'm definitely lacking in when it comes to my health and body!) as well as memorizing key scripture.  This series also encourages accountability, which again, I'll get from this blog. 

I'll be linking up to both of these challenges each week and updating my progress, so anybody who finds my blog posts through the challenges can hold me accountable too.  And by the way, you don't have to have a blog or read this blog to be a part of these challenges! 

You can visit any of these blogs to learn more about the Revive Your Marriage Series:

You can follow the link below to check out the Living & Active Challenge:

I hope you feel challenged to make a change!  You may not be interested in the challenges I'm taking on, but I hope you find another challenge that inspires you, or an online Bible study that interestes you, or even come up with a way to challenge yourself on your own!  You know where you need to be challenged in your life and in your faith.  So are you in?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Crafty Update

Last week I was Feelin' Crafty!  I had so much fun being creative and I've finished a few projects already!  Normally I get started on something that I'm sooooo excited about, and then...I just kind of...stop.  But not this time!  So now I want to show you what I've made so far, and share a few new crafting ideas. 

I finished my daughter's lamp makeover and let me tell you, I have never had so much fun with a glue gun!  I absolutely LOVE the finished product, and my daughter seems to as well.  At bedtime she usually points out each of her stuffed animals she sleeps with and calls them by name (in her own unique language), and this past week she added the lamp to her routine.  It made me just a little proud.  [Smile.]

I also found a blanket for her bed that looks so cute with the lamp!  I've been looking at fabric for a while now, thinking I might make her one.  I was pretty intimidated by that project, seeing as I've never sewn a blanket...and I don't have a working sewing machine.  But I was wandering around Walmart last week and happened to see a throw blanket on the end of an aisle, just tossed in with other random, last-of-its-kind home decor items.  It was perfect!  I loved the colors and the print and was so relieved that I didn't have to make a blanket anymore.  When my daughter saw it she jumped on her bed and just layed there grinning for a few minutes.  It was so sweet!

Here's a picture of the lamp and her bed (and her stuffed animals of course):

Don't you love it?!

During the same trip to Walmart, I found some yarn for the hats I wanted to make for my friend's twin girls.  They are due to arrive next month, and I must say, they now have some pretty cute hats to wear for their first pictures!  [Wink wink.]  Here they are:

I love the way they turned out and can't wait to give them to my friend!  And I really can't wait to see them on those baby girls!  Next on my "to-craft" list for the girls is a set of Thing 1 and Thing 2 hats for their Dr. Seuss themed welcome party.

The last craft I've been working on is a growth chart for my daughter's room.  We had an old piece of wood from a privacy fence beside our house that when I saw, I immediately thought growth chart!  My husband wasn't sold on the idea at first, but when he saw it last night he said he thought it looked really neat.  (Yes, he actually did!  And he meant it too!)  Here's what it looks like so far:

This was so easy!  I just cleaned up the wood, lightly spray painted the front (I used the same color as the lamp base), made number stencils on the computer, and painted flowers similar to the ones on my daughter's new blanket.  Now I just have to finish adding the inch and half-inch marks...and figure out how to hang it on the wall!  I'll probably leave that part up to my husband.   He's good for things like that :)

Some of the future projects I have in mind are a growth chart shaped like a baseball bat for my son's room (which I will also be soliciting my husband's help with), finishing the old toy box I mentioned last week, a family rules canvas for our hallway, and coat hooks with a shelf (or without a shelf...I can't decide) for beside our front door.  I also have a few favorite Bible verses I'd like to incorporate into some crafts to place around the house, but I don't have much inspiration for those projects yet. 

Thanks for checking out my handiwork today, and if you're working on something too, happy crafting!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It Matters

Ever feel like you don't know why you're doing the things you do each day?  Do you wonder if there's any meaning at all in the things you do?  What's the purpose?  What's my purpose?  Ugh.  Don't we all struggle with those thoughts?  I know I do.

Yesterday, my husband shared some lyrics of a song with me that he had heard on the radio recently.  I did some searching on the internet and found the song.  It's called "Do Everything" by Steven Curtis Chapman.   The song is written to apply to a variety of people, but here are the lyrics that apply to me and probably to you other moms as well:

You're picking up toys on the living room floor for the fifteenth time today
Matching up socks
Sweeping up lost cheerios that got away

You put a baby on your hip
Color on your lips and head out the door

While I may not know you,
I bet I know you
Wonder sometimes, does it matter at all?

Well let me remind you, it all matters just as long
As you do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you,
Cause he made you,
To do
Every little thing that you do
To bring a smile to His face
Tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
And every little thing you do
       Another part of the song says:
Little stuff
Big stuff
In between stuff
God sees it all the same
Don't you love that?!  I think Steven Curtis Chapman wrote that just for me!  I find it to be such a comforting reminder that what I do really does matter, even in a world where everything I do is usually undone or is never really finished.  What I do is important.  It's not done in vain.  And what I do is noticed.  Maybe not always by the people around me.  Maybe not always by the people I especially want to notice.  But that's not really the point, is it? 
This is where it gets challenging for me.  We're not supposed to do things for others to notice or for the sake of being appreciated.  We're supposed to do everything to glorify God, just like the song says.  That's our purpsose, plain and simple.  Glorify God.  1 Corinthians 10:31 says, "...whatever you do, do it all for the Glory of God." 
Now I don't know about you, but after dinner when my husband and the kids are playing in the living room and ask me when I'm going to come join them, I find myself saying something like, "Well I have to clean everything up - It won't get done unless I do it."  And when I'm dragging my feet, up doing housework after everyone else is sleeping comfortably in their beds, my attitude is not one that glorifies God.  In fact, glorifying God is probably the last thing on my mind.  I tend to feel bitter, especially towards my husband.  I complain to myself and can't wait until my kids are old enough to help out.  Those are my honest feelings, but they're not right. Not right at all.
So I pray that God will change my attitude.  That he will give me a heart to "serve [my family] humbly in love" (Galatians 5:13).  That I will understand my responsibility to keep this attitude around my husband and children, so they might see and know how much I love them and love God, and that I might set an example for them to glorify God in all that they do.  Because it really does matter!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mommy Moment Monday: The Park Incident

Each Monday I'd like to write a themed blog post titled "Mommy Moment Monday."  My description of a "Mommy Moment" is any moment in time related to your role as a mother that elicits strong emotions.  For any dads who might be reading this, you can insert 'father' into the previous sentence, because anyone who is a parent knows exactly what I'm talking about when I say 'strong emotions!'  But for the sake of this blog I'm going use 'mother' because, well, I'm a mother.

Mommy moments happen all the time, don't they? In our homes, at the park, at the grocery store...anywhere really!  And sometimes it seems like each new mommy moment brings with it a whole new emotion.  These emotions can be good, bad, happy, sad, proud, angry, confused, and anything in between.  And let's not even talk about mommy guilt!  But I didn't feel any of these during the mommy moment I'm sharing with you today.

Embarrassment.  This is the emotion I felt during a particular mommy moment that happened earlier this year.  Oh, was I embarrassed!  I was at the park with my kids, along with some of my son's preschool friends and their moms.  I was chatting with one of the other moms when my son ran over to tell me he needed to use the bathroom.  I gathered our bags and my daughter which were both conveniently close, and I was feeling pretty happy at how quickly we were ready to make the trek across the park to the bathrooms.  This was one of the few times I felt like I had it all together!  But unfortunately, the story doesn't end here with the ever-elusive emotion of all-togetherness.  No, it sure doesn't.

I started to say "come on!" to my son, but I didn't see him anywhere.  That's when I heard someone say, "Uhhhh, he's peeing."  I froze.  Oh no.  Please no!  I turned around, and there he was just on the other side of the playground equipment with his pants around his ankles.  I put our bags down and began to walk towards my son, my view of him still slightly obstructed.  Then I heard something I never expected to hear in public.  As if the situation wasn't bad enough already, the same voice called out, "Uhhhh, he's pooping, too!"  What!?!?  Yes folks, he was pooping.  I could've died!  But suddenly this sense of calm (no doubt sent from God!) came over me and I just did what I had to do.  I cleaned the mess.  I cleaned my son.  I ignored all the stares.  And we left.  Thank goodness I was at some place where all the other people were parents too!  Can you imagine if this had happened at the grocery store?

On our way to the car, one of the other moms gave me a sympathetic look and gently said, "Bless your heart."  I don't know why, but instead of feeling comforted by her sincere gesture, this made me feel the most embarassed of all.  I swallowed hard.  I kindly smiled and kept on walking.  Finally, we made it to our car.  The emotion I felt at this point was an overwhelming sense of relief.  I was never so happy to be in the safety and privacy of my car!  I then calmly explained to my son why what had happened at the park was not okay, and we drove the rest of the way home in silence. 

I hope I never experience another mommy moment like what I call "the park incident", although I'm sure there'll be more moments just as emotion evoking!  Until then, I thank God for the excitement my children bring to my life (and pray for some boring moments every now and then)!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

And So It Begins!

Remember a few posts ago when I said I was ready to have a busy schedule?  Well here we go!  My 4-year-old had his first soccer practice tonight.  He's already got another one scheduled for tomorrow and then games start a week from tomorrow.  On a side note, when he wasn't rolling around in the grass or hanging from the goal, he actually did pretty good tonight!  He'll have a game every Saturday for the next couple of months.  Three days after my son's first game, my 1 1/2-year-old starts her gymnastics class which will be every Monday evening, for the entire school year if we choose to keep her enrolled.  And of course if she likes it!

I've been taking the kids to a Playgroup on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Story Time on Wednesdays, and we've had a lunch date each of the last three weeks (which I hope to continue).  The Parents As Teachers lady started home visits with us on Monday, my husband and I started the 9-week Financial Peace program on Wednesday, and we had our weekly dinner with my in-laws last night plus a bonus DQ run with them a few nights ago.  I've been invited to two different events next week, the kids both have Well-Checks scheduled for the next, and my weekends for the next few months are already starting to fill up with activities!  Isn't it funny how once the school year starts, your calendar goes from empty (or vacation) to "let's see how many things we can cram into each week and then pray for the weekend to get here," even if your kids aren't in school yet!?!  I can only imagine what our schedule will look like with homework and school events/activities added into the mix. 

I guess that's where family priorities come into play.  My husband and I have discussed many times how many activities we'll allow or encourage our kids to be in at one time.  I love what Dr. Dobson from Family Talk has to say on that subject, but that's a discussion for another time.  Another issue I've been thinking of lately is personal priorities as a Chrisitian and my role as a spiritual leader for my children.  It seems like we went from "I am soooo bored!" to "I can't wait for a do-nothing day!" over night.  We've added a lot to our schedule, but I still get the laundry done.  I still get the dishes done.  My house is clean right now.  I still watch an episode of M*A*S*H with my husband before bed.  (I know, we're dorks.)  I still waste time on the computer.  We've obviously adjusted.  We've made time for all the new stuff.

We've made time for all the new stuff.  So why haven't I made time to read my Bible consistently?  Why do I keep saving my prayers until bedtime only to fall asleep before I finish?  Why can't I read a Bible story to my kids every day?  Well, because I just haven't made the time.  There's no excuse.  If I can fit a thousand things into one day, keep a neat home, and still find time for M*A*S*H and this blog, I can surely spend a few minutes with God.  The Bible says I need to study God's word in order to be competent and equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  I am to never stop praying (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  And no matter what we're doing or how busy we are, I am to teach my children God's word through it all (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). 

So right here, right now, I resolve to make time for God.  Every day.  No excuses!  I hope you'll do the same.  No, I pray you'll do the same!