Friday, November 18, 2011

How we do Christmas.....

Over the years I have shared and heard others share how they do christmas. Some do Santa and some don't, some buy tons of gifts, others dont. I thought i'd share how we do christmas just in case some young parents out there are looking for ideas.

First off we don't do Santa Claus. I won't go into a deep discussion here about why, but we just didn't feel it was right for our family. Our kids know that we provide the gifts and they know that Santa is not real, but pretend and still fun to watch shows about and see just like Dora, Diego and other cartoon characters, but they also know about the real story of how there came to be a Santa Claus thanks to Veggie Tales! :-) We don't condemn anyone who chooses to do Santa and my children know that other kids believe and they know never to tell another child there is no Santa without first talking to the parents and asking if their child believes or not.

As for gifts when I was pregnant with Joseph, or it may have been right after I had him, I was talking with the wife of our youth pastor at the time, and she shared that they did a birthday cake for Jesus and only did 3 gifts per child representing the 3 gifts mentioned in the bible that Jesus received at his birth. Mike and I really loved that idea. We liked the idea of the focus being on Christ and that the children wouldn't be overloaded with gifts considering they not only do christmas with us but they experience 3 other christmas's because of extended family. So we began doing 3 gifts per child and occasionally we will do some "joint" or "family" gifts as well. It's been a great thing for our family and the kids don't feel slighted. We do the christmas story, sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and have a piece of cake, and then we go around and each open a gift until they are all opened. We take time to savor the time together and we love it!

This year we have also decided we will have the boys get each other one gift. I think it is something they will really enjoy and we are looking forward to doing that.

Well that is how we do Christmas! I hope everyone has a blessed Holiday Season and take time to remember why we celebrate anything at all... because of Jesus!

Monday, November 14, 2011

My first "Girl" room! :-)

With my first 2 pregnancies I didn't know what I was having and I got this adorable neutral teddy bear bedding set that I still LOVE and we left the room white and just decorated it with the new bedding.... With Jonathan we knew we were having a boy so we painted the room blue and used the same bedding.... With this one and finding out it was a girl, although I could use the same bedding and I would be fine, I just really really wanted to do something "girly" and so we decided to go ahead and do it with all the girly features :-)

My awesome Mother-in-law bought me a new bedding set and it arrived in the mail last week so that I could get started on Anna's room. Here is the bedding set we will be using.

We are so excited and I have some friends who have been giving me some paint color tips. Not sure what I will do yet. My changing table and crib are white so I may do either a light pink on the walls with a brown accent wall or a neutral color with a pink accent wall..... if you have any other ideas feel free to share them with me!

Looking forward to getting things started!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halfway through!!!! :-)

Well this week I am 20 weeks pregnant!!!! :-) I can't believe I'm halfway there. This pregnancy is going by soooo fast, which I don't mind really because I'm so anxious to hold my little girl. We have decided to name her Anna, but can't decide on a middle name. I need to get her room ready and start hanging up her little collection of pink clothes that have started to accumulate in our home. :-)

Here is a picture of me at 18 weeks :-)

I'm feeling pretty good. Doc had to put me on blood pressure medicine because it was getting pretty high, but it's doing alot better now, however the medicine makes me a little more tired. Fortunately my 2 year old still naps and I have a wonderful 5 year old little boy that lets me rest when my 2 year old is napping... so that helps out a lot.

My wonderful husband has been off work since June due to a neck issue. He had surgery a little over a month ago and just got the news he will be returning to work next week. :-( I know he needs to get back to work and our family needs to get back into a normal routine, but I have LOVED having him home. He helps me out soooo much and we have really gotten so much closer these past few months. I am really going to miss him when he goes back.

The boys grandpa and grandma donna came to visit a few weeks ago to watch Samuel play soccer and we went to a pumpkin patch while they were here. We had a lot of fun. :-)

Here is samuel and his friend Teegan at his soccer game

Grandpa before leaving even got to take Joseph to school :-)

So thankful for the blessing of family in our lives!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's a GIRL!!!!

Most of the people who read my blog are also on my facebook but for those that aren't I wanted to share some great news with all of you! We found out today that we are expecting our first baby girl!

As most if not all of you know I have 3 boys and a stepson, so pink and lace are not seen around my home..... until now! :-)

Today as Mike and I were in the ultrasound room, looking at our beautiful baby on the screen, we couldn't wait for the technician to tell us what our baby would be.... and she looked at me (knowing I had 3 boys) "Do you really want me to tell you" and I of course said "YES!" and she said "you are having a little girl!" My hands went immediately up to my face in disbelif as tears fell from my eyes.... My whole life would be different... not that boys don't change your life, but that adding this little girl would make our every day life..... different. Instead of just star wars and G.I. Joes... we will have barbies and dolls..... instead of just wrestling on the floor... we will now have tea parties.... and it just made me smile uncontrollably. My husband stood there awestruck... and so happy. Although I think he is thinking of when she is 15 and boys are calling... lol :-) We have plenty of time to prepare her that she wont' be dating until she is at least 30... :-)

I LOVE my boys and can't imagine my life without them and now I know I will feel the same way about my daughter.... wow... daughter... I thank God for blessing me with this little girl.... just as I thank God each day for the blessings of each of my boys....

My boys were so excited.... Here is a video I took of them when we told them it was a girl....

and a picture of them showing off their new sisters new clothes :-)

Now i have to distract them so the next 5 months go by quickly for them :-) :-)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

8 years..... sometimes it seems like yesterday....

8 years ago today..... I became a Mrs. :-)

Mike and I started dating April 28, 2001 and so we have actually been together for almost 10 and 1/2 years.... wow!

Mike and I have had our ups and downs, we have had to learn alot but I can honestly say I love him as much, if not more than when we got married. He strives hard to be the best Father, husband and man that he can be and he strives to walk with the Lord and lead our family in a way that would please God.

Our wedding day was a beautiful day, bright and sunny and the perfect temperature. I remember I wasn't nervous at all, just extremely excited. I had stayed with my mom the night before and a limo picked my mother, myself and my sister Kelly up and took us to the church about 45 minutes away. Then we proceeded to get our hair done, get dressed, pictures.... and then.... the best part of all... I got to walk down the aisle and marry my best friend!

I love you Mike!! Happy Anniversary!! I love where we are at 8 years later :-) and I can't wait to see what the next 8 hold for us :-)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Changes... Changes....

Well the first change is my hair... lol :-) I went back to my dark brunette.... and I love it but it has taken some getting used to because it's been a couple of years since I have had it this dark......

2nd change is my morning sickness is gone!!!! :-) Praise the Lord for this because my husband had neck surgery a month ago and I needed to feel better...

3rd change is my little Jonathan started pre-school. So with my 7 year old in 1st grade and my 5 year old 3 days a week in pre-school and now jonathan.. I have one day a week for about 2 hours where the house is quiet (for now).... He is in the 2 year old class and he goes one day a week for about an hour and 45 minutes... he is adorable with his little backpack on and some days doesn't want to take it off :-)
First night after his first day of school and he insisted on sleeping in his backpack :-)

Jonathan and samuel on their first day

Here is a recent picture of the boys that I took before they all went to school this week... I can't believe how they are growing!!

This last picture is a picture that our church took for their new directory a month or two ago and sadly my stepson couldn't be with us but we plan on doing another family picture next summer with him and the new baby......

Well that's about it......The boys are very excited about our new addition and in one week we find out if it is a boy or a girl! We can't wait.... :-)

I'll update you all as soon as we find out! :-)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The B-I-B-L-E..... yes that's the book for me :-)

I was having a little writers block but then I remembered a status on facebook that really caught my attention......

"Wonder what would happen if we treated our BIBLE like our CELL PHONE? We CARRY it every where we go. We flipped through it throughout the day. We went home to get it if we FORGOT it. We RECEIVED messages from the text. We COULDN'T live WITHOUT it. We GAVE it to KIDS as gifts. We used it in case of emergency. One more thing, it would NEVER be disconnected. JESUS has already paid the bill."

I remember reading it a while back and I just kinda of glanced over it, but this past week I really took the time to read it and think about it... and I was convicted. So many times when I have some "down" time... I am grabbing my cell phone... the laptop or the remote control..... but I should be grabbing my bible.

One of my favorite old shows is Little House on the Prairie... and when I watch it I'm always amazed because a lot of times at night before Caroline would go to bed...... she would be up reading her bible.... and I watch that and think wow.... usually i'm on the internet on my cellphone before bed....

I am realizing how I take the bible for granted... there are so many other countries who don't even have access to the Word of ......and here in our house we probably have 10 bibles.... and yet I don't make as much time as I should to read it....

It just really made me think.... hope it makes you think too....

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

School days.....

For those parents out there.... I'm guessing there are some like me who have moments in the summer that you think "school time ... why aren't you here yet" and then other times you think "summer please last forever"..... I had those moments throughout this summer.

Today was Joseph's first day of 1st grade and oh how I miss him already and he has only been at school 1 hour!! It's just hard to let them go... hard to release them into someone else's care.... what if they don't understand my child... what if they don't realize he is sad.... or nervous.... what if???

I have prayed and asked God to watch over him and that is all I can do at this point... I know he is in good hands at his school and I know he will learn alot and have fun so I guess I'll survive. :-)

I just can't believe my little guy last year... starting off in Kindergarten...

Has now grown into this big boy 1st grader!!! Makes me happy, sad and proud all at the same time...

I love you Joseph.. hope you have a great year!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

what is "ok" could be..... grand! ....

I'm sure you all have seen this commerical. If not, please watch it and then read the rest of the blog.

As I was reading my devotional today in my womens devotional bible the author referenced this story, of the maestro coming up behind the little boy playing chopsticks and took something so small and made it grand. I don't know if it's a true story or not, but what the author wanted to express is that God can do the same for us. We go along in our lives doing things that are "ok".... "normal"...."good" but if we allow God to come up along side of us and we listen to his voice of encouragment and love then he can make our lives grand.... abundant... full of joy and happiness!

Tears immediately came to my eyes as I was reading and I pictured myself at that piano.... strumming along to what most would call a not very exciting tune and God steps in and makes it something so beautiful.... then I pictured me doing the house cleaning... changing diapers... driving the kids to school.... and I realized he can make everything in my life truly grand .... if I just let him......if I keep my heart focused on him.... and I listen to his words and feel his love for me....

I hope this encouraged you as it did me..... :-)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Joseph and Samuel....... birthday post.... a little late!

My firstborn Joseph recently turned 7 and my second son samuel turned 5 in June. I have been so sick with this new little one inside my belly that blogging has been an afterthough I'm sorry to say. I'm starting to feel a little better so I'm going to do a 2 in 1 :-)

Samuel turned 5 in June... and he brings a smile to my face every day.... he is a very sensitive child but also very compassionate and loving.... he is my cuddler... any time I am in the same room he is right next to me asking to hold my hand and I am constantly hearing "Mom I love you"..... He wanted to do his party at Chuck E Cheese and he invited a few of his friends.

He had a blast.... He even got to go in the ticket machine...

Joseph turned 7 in July. All my children are dramatic (some say after their mother! lol ) but Joseph is the most dramatic of them all. He also however is so sweet and loving. If he knows i'm upset or not feeling well he will chip in and do whatever he can to help me. He also loves being the big brother and enjoys helping (and sometimes annoying) his younger brothers. He is a homebody like me and enjoys just hanging out with his family. I'm so interested in seeing him as he grows .... what kind of teenager he will be.... and someday what kind of man. He decided he wanted to do a party with his friends from school, so we found a gymnastics place and had his party there. The kids had a blast.... so much to do....

The boys were lucky this year too because we got to celebrate with family back in Missouri as well for their birthdays.

All in all they had great birthdays and they make me feel very blessed to be their mother. :-) I'm looking forward to this next year... as Joseph enters the 1st grade... and samuel does his last year of pre-school.... I know every parent says this... but it's just sooo true.... they grow up SOOOOO fast!!!!

Great blog for you to check out in case you aren't already!!!

My best friend Chrissy has a blog called Traveling Light. She is a gifted writer and has great blogs. One in particular recently was very thought provoking and I wanted to pass it along to those of you who read my blog so you can all check it out. Here's the link

Hope you all enjoy her blogs as much as I do!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Morning Sickness Blues.....

Well after an ultrasound last week my due date is March 5th and I am currently 9 weeks pregnant! :-) I am very excited about this baby however right now it is difficult because I have been so sick. Since about 6 weeks I have had morning sickness pretty much all day.... and this is my first child to actually make me throw up. I have tried a bunch of "home remedies" as well as a script from the doc and nothing is really helping, so I guess I'm just going to tough it out and pray that it will leave when I go into my 2nd trimester.

We have decided to find out the sex. We did not find out with our first 2 but we did find out with our 3rd and we want to find out with this one as well. They do that ultrasound at 18 weeks and that will be the first week of October and I can hardly wait!!! Boy or girl I just wanna know so I can start getting their room ready :-)

My other boys are very excited and keep asking when the baby is going to get here..... I feel sorry for them knowing they have a looonnng time to wait, however school will be starting soon so that will be a nice distraction for them... and me to help the time go by a little faster.

I still can't believe I am going to have 4 children!!! I always used to say I wanted 6...... but I think I'm going to be good with 4 :-)

Well.... I'm going to go and try to eat something... wish me luck!!! lol...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Baby # 4 is on it's way!!!!!!! :-) :-)

Since my son Jonathan has been born my husband and I have been back and forth a million times on whether we would have another one. You see I have a stepson who lives with his mother in another state, and then we have our 3 boys so we have a full house when we are all together. We would talk about whether we wanted to try for a girl, and we both quickly decided we would not try and have another baby just to try for a girl, but that we both had to want another CHILD... whether it was a boy or a girl.

Well I have to say that I myself went back and forth more than my husband. There were definetly days that I said "i'm done!" and then others where a desire would creep into my heart for another child.

Well about 2 months ago I decided that since we hadn't decided I would have a garage sale and get rid of a lot of the baby stuff.... when I mentioned it to my husband he said "but what if we have another baby".... and I looked at him like "you want another baby!?!?!?" and then I decided maybe I wouldn't have that garage sale...... :-)

Then we were eating dinner out on a date one night and we talked about it.... and we felt like it was something that God was laying on our hearts... and that boy or girl.... we wanted to add a child to our family.

God blessed us quickly and last saturday night on our first month of trying I found out I was pregnant!! We believe children are a blessing, not a burden, and we are so thrilled that God is giving us another little blessing.

When we told the boys they were soooo excited. My son Joseph has been helping me out with everything saying "you have a baby in your belly... i'll do it for you"....

I know I'm going to hear a lot about everyone hoping it's a girl and I think it's just because they want me to have that experience and I would love it too, but I know God will give me what he knows is best for our family and if it's another boy then that will be awesome.... if it's a girl that will be awesome.... I am just so excited to go through this next 9 months.... I am going to savor every minute because (even though I've said it before) this will probably be our last.....

Please pray for an easy pregnancy!!! lol :-)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Graduation day........

Well.... my first child has just graduated............ kindergarten that is :-) It was such a cute ceremony..... they had it in their class, and they had shirts they had made, with paper hats and tassels.

I was so emotional before it even started that I knew I was going to lose it eventually. Sure enough when the teacher broke out her "memories" video, that is when it happened. There was a song by Lonestar i think called "Let them be little" or something like that (I don't listen to country) and that is when it happened.......... As I watched pictures of Joseph throughout the year and his sweet little face, the tears started flowing. It didn't help that he was sitting on my lap with his arms around me playing with my hair while it was playing. I just can't believe how my baby has grown! I mean isn't he still my little baby???

He can now ride his bike without training wheels and when I say "wanna go practice riding your bike" he replies "mom I know how to ride my bike remember?" He's right.... he can ride now with no assistance from Mike or me.... Then the other day I came downstairs and he had made himself a snack and cleaned up his mess..... I see him helping take care of his little brothers and caring for them..... I see in his face and body how he is growing.... changing..... and then I think........ he's only 6.... what am I going to do when he starts driving.... goes to prom.... graduates HIGH SCHOOL! Then I realize once again how quickly time flies and it makes me want to savor even more the time I have with each of my children.

I'm glad I have 2 more years before I will see Samuel graduate kindergarten! lol.... give me some time to recoup :-)

Here are some pictures of the day!

Joseph and his amazing teacher Mrs. Gasaway.... she was awesome!

Joseph after his name was called to get his diploma....

Getting his diploma.... :-)

Me and my little graduate.... :-)

A little paper hanging outside the room before all the parents went in.... he looked so grown up in that cap and gown!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Flexible living....

Many of us are crippled from birth. The backbone of our standard for living comes fused into unyielding rules and regulations. We are rigid in our determination to control life's course and outcome.

We're sure, for example, how people ought to look, behave, and respond. Things have to be done a certain way - our way. We know, too, exactly how a godly marriage should operate; and we're quite familiar with the model of the ideal Christian family scene - which, of course, we intend to duplicate perfectly.

Then, real life sneaks up and whacks us from behind, seeking to break our unbending back and our stiff neck, threatening to paralyze us.

There is a cure. We are offered opportunity to exercise the suppleness of godly grace and perspective. Each time life throws us a punch, we can do a deep-knee bend, forcing our muscles of faith, hope, and understanding to stretch.

Eventually that brittle backbone will grow strong and supple, bending with the rhythms of grace yet standing tall and firm in the face of compromise.

All of this requires considerable daily "give". Such give is not a one-time choice but a lifestyle of generosity, spontaneity, and openess to truth.

How often I have thought that if I could give just one gift to my children-besides a heart for God- it would be the golden gift of flexibility.

Taken from A woman's devotional bible. Author: Susan L. Lenzkes

I read this devotional the other day during my quiet time and it just really struck me. I remember when I first got married I thought I was the expert on marriage. After my first child, I thought I was an expert on nursing, being a mom, raising kids...... but then I had those days that "whacked me from behind" and humbled me. I learned to listen to others advice, and not just pretend to listen but really listen. I also learned to extend the same grace to others. I met moms who were so sure their way was the right way and instead of getting defensive and angered as I would have in the past, I try to just smile and say "that's great that it works for you, but that is just not how it works for me".... then I say a prayer that they too will be "whacked from behind" a little..... so that they can realize too what I have realized...... and am still realizing each day. I also say a prayer that if I ever need to be "whacked" again, that I will be.... because I am far from being flexible all the time.... it's definetly a work in progress.....

I've had other moms say " I would never allow my child to do that, or I can't believe your child did that" only to find years later they too have had to deal with such things in their own children..... time has a way of teaching us all lessons.... even I have had moments when given a suggestion by another mom thought to myself "how in the world can they think that is a good option"... only years later..... to see that it was a good option and one that I now find myself trying with one of my children...

I'm still learning...... and I still struggle with thinking I know it all sometimes, and I still struggle with getting upset with other mom's who think they know it all.... but I'm striving to be flexible, and full of grace. Won't get there 100% on earth, but my goal is to daily strive for it....

Monday, May 16, 2011

an old picture........

While on facebook the other day my mom posted a picture of me and my little brother..... her reason was showing my little brother how one of his twin girls looked like him..... and as I was looking I saw my children in my face too....and it just made me smile. It also makes me smile when I see my siblings and parents in my children as well.... I love how God did that... so you see generations of people that you love in your children's faces and personalities.... :-)

I'm so blessed not only with my husband and children, but with my first family. My dad, mom and 7 siblings! :-) That's right I have 2 brothers and 5 sisters :-) The breakdown Jenny, John, Kim, Karen, Kelly, Krista, Kassie, and Josh :-) :-)

I don't know that I will have that many kids, but I'm so thankful for my family and feel so blessed for what God has given me.....

The picture of me and my little brother :-)

My Dad, Mom, Kim, Karen, Kelly, Krista, me and Josh

A pic of my sisters Kelly and Krista and me

My oldest siblings Jenny and John

Sometimes a simple picture makes me realize how blessed I have been in my life... i'm so thankful for all the blessings God has given me.

Monday, May 9, 2011

is it really that easy???.....

I saw a quote on facebook a while back and posted it as my status update as well, but when I really sit down and think about the words.... is it really that easy to just walk away??

Here's the quote:

"There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama & people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh and love, forget the bad, & focus on the good. So, love the people who treat you right. Forget about the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy."

Personally speaking I have always been the kind of person that can't stand it to have someone not "like" them..... I have always tried to get along with everyone and be everyone's friend. However we are humans and not everyone gets along or "likes" everyone else, But what about those people that are supposed to be your friends? What about family members who have hurt you? Is it really that easy to just write them out of your life?

I have tried in the past to do that with certain people in my life but it just doesn't work. Maybe it's because I want peace or maybe it's because I truly want those people in my life, or maybe it's because I just don't want to think that someone out there is upset with me, I don't know. Maybe sometimes I let things go that I shouldn't..... I just know I wish it was that easy to just wake up one day and not care what those people thought of me, or how they have hurt me and to let the "bad" go and just focus on the "good".

I guess maybe in the midst of that quote it needs to be added that we have to give it to the Lord and leave it in his hands. I think that is the only way we will really experience peace and happiness, and then after we have left it in his capable hands.... then we pray...... we pray for those lost friendships or family relationships and pray that if it is in his will for those to be there, that someday.... in his timing.....they will be. I think also though we have to pray that if that friendship or relationship is to no longer be there... to have the strength to forgive and let it go.... that might just be the hardest prayer of all......

Ok.... i'm done with my thoughts for the's just been one of those emotional days for me I guess..... :-)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day 2011 :-)

Wow.... I LOVE mother's day :-) But what I really love more than anything is BEING a mom!! My children are such precious gifts and I can't imagine anything better than a hug or kiss or an "I love you mommy" from one of my children.

Today was wonderful, although we actually celebrated the night before because my husband and kids can't wait to give me their cards and gifts... lol and I don't mind either! :-)

Here are some pics of my little guys and me when we celebrated Mothers day.

I hope all the other moms out there had a blessed Mother's day as well.

Thank you God for entrusting these little ones into my care, may I make you proud with how I raise them, and may they grow to love and honor you!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tis the season.......... for Little League!!!!! :-)

I think I said this last year, but I can't help it.... I LOVE LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL!!! As a girl I played softball and since God blessed me with BOYS.... I now am in love with baseball!!!

I look forward every spring to getting them out there and seeing them play and this year my little Sammy gets to play for the first time!

I don't know if they will always play and that's ok. I've always asked them what they want to do and I will enjoy whatever they decide to do, but right now... it's baseball!! :-)

Here's my little guys! GO TEAM CRAIG!!!!

Sammy right before his first game! :-)

Joseph on the bench waiting to hit his first game of the season. It was sooooo cold and windy (you can tell by his face) outside but he had a blast! :-)