Saturday, January 26, 2008

Staying Home

I have to admit, I am going a little stir crazy in this house. We have had high fevers and nasty colds/coughs since last Sunday. Ethan just spiked a 102.7 fever today, so it looks like we'll be staying in for awhile longer.

Before the fever hit, he did get a chance to head outside to build a snowman with his dad. Of course, with this warmer weather, it melted within a couple hours.

But he was so proud of that snowman!

So how do I keep my kids well? Or me and Dave, for that matter? It seems like we have caught EVERYTHING this winter, and it is getting a little discouraging. It's not like we go that many places either, and my kids aren't in daycare. I haven't been to MOPS in 2 months because of other circumstances that have come up. S0 why are they getting sick so much????

I moaned to my mom about it the other day on the phone, and at her suggestion I bought some Stonyfield Farm yogurt (with 6 live active cultures to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria) last night at the health food store. She thinks their immune systems are probably just really low with all this continued, back-to-back sickness. They also take an immune boosting children's vitamin each day.

So what else can I do?

Never leave my home? Don't tell me that, please, don't tell me that! :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Word challenged

My sister sent Ethan a pirate costume for his birthday. He immediately ripped open the package and started getting dressed up. I heard lots of "Arrrrrr, Matey!" and "Who will fight me????" for the next half hour or so.

Then he says, "Mom, will you fix my I-pod? It won't stay up."


Oh, right, your eye patch, you funny little boy. You are one cute pirate.

Thanks, Aunt Ruth. That was an awesome birthday present!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Passionate Housewives

I just finished reading this book Passionate Housewives, Desperate for God, by Jennie Chauncey and Stacey McDonald. Back in October, before the book was released, I posted a teaser here. I just have to say, this book did not disappoint.

But when did I start liking books like this???? When I first got married 5 1/2 years ago, I don't think I would have ever picked up a book with the word *housewives* on the cover. And she's wearing an apron too???? How stereotypical can you get? My mom will laugh, because she knows how I used to be.

Oh, how far the Lord has brought me. :)

It's true though - until the last few years, I didn't really understand the point of women's messages or books about women. I avoided the women's seminars at conferences, and steered clear of the women's Bible studies that I assumed based everything on "feelings." Have you ever felt this way? (of course, some of them do, but that is another topic entirely!)

I was willing to accept what I understood from Scripture about what God desired of me as a woman in the church, but I guess I just didn't really get the value that He places on being a woman. Why it is so important to understand who I am and why God made me that way. I mean, why read books and study topics about women? Couldn't we find something better to study? It used to sound so silly to me.

I am not sure when it happened exactly, but marriage and children have a way of growing you up fast. You know what I'm talking about. Especially children, I think. When you wake up one morning and you realize that your entire day revolves around feeding, clothing and serving someone else, you start to look for the meaning in all of it. Or am I the only one?

And if we run to the Lord for answers, He will never let us down. Seeking His will for us isn't just something we need to do when we are applying for colleges and choosing our majors. He longs to show His will for us daily. Psalm 37:23 says, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way."

That means He wants to be intricately involved in the details of your life, and it is a delight to Him!

I sought the Lord for answers when I first became a mom. Ethan was a little bit of a fussy baby, and sometimes I would have to walk with him for hours a day. Struggling to keep my eyes open, because of course he was up all night too, I would pour out my heart to the Lord, begging for help. How do I do this? I am going to go crazy! What do you want from me? Do I even have a spiritual life anymore??

And little by little the Lord has opened my eyes to the truth of His Word and to His plan to use me for His glory: as Dave's wife and my children's mommy. I started to see that it wasn't about me anyway. We are exhorted in Philippians 2 to look out for the things of others, to esteem others as better than ourselves. 2 Corinthians 5:15 says that the Lord Jesus died for us so that we wouldn't live for ourselves any longer, but live for Him! As a wife and a mother, I can lay down my life for them, and in doing so, I can serve the Lord too.

In this book, Stacy McDonald says:
"Surely laying down one's life for another, whether physically or conceptually, must cause some sort of pain or loss to the giver. Though some circumstances may seem more difficult than others, we can be assured that God does not take pleasure in our pain, but that He is granting it for our ultimate good and His glory."

That paragraph brings tears to my eyes! It is so true. I can look back over the last 4 years and see how much the Lord has taught me, how far He has brought me. He has taken my stubborn, selfish heart and gently introduced me to a life lived for others, the life He desires for me. And He is using my home as workbench, the very place He does His work in my life. Isn't that an encouraging thought?

I have to admit, parts of the book were very challenging, as there are areas of my life that I struggle to give over completely to the Lord. I really appreciate that though. I used to think all Christian women's books were fluff, way too simplistic, not biblically based. I have since come to find some very good ones though. This book in particular is an encouragement to any woman desiring to live for the Lord and honor Him with her life.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My family Christmas 2007

I have been meaning to post these pictures for a couple weeks now. Oops. We spent several days with my family over Christmas; Dave used the remainder of his vacation time, and we lounged around with my parents and brothers. It was so good to see them all again!

We missed Nate and Ruth though. :( And little Austie too.

My mom totally spoils my boys; they got so many presents, I can't even tell you how many! She did a good job. Everything was a huge hit!

Especially the candy in their stockings. :) Excuse Simon's messy face and hands in some of the pictures; he couldn't resist the candy canes.

Enjoy the pics!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Help me too!

So I'm totally copying my sister Ruth, but I need a little help. We both are looking for new living room furniture, and she had the good sense to ask her friends for help. And woah, the response was amazing, so I'm thinking, what was I doing, trying to figure this out by myself??? Let's see what YOU ALL think!

First of all, we are wanting to buy new living room furniture in order to have more seating in our living room. We have a couch and a chair in there right now, plus a tv, and Dave would like it to be a more comfortable room for fellowshipping with our friends. A room that invites people to stay and talk. We have a Bible study here too, so comfortable seating for that would be nice too. So the tv is going, and we'll cram as much furniture as we can without it looking too crowded. I am thinking maybe a couch, loveseat, chair and ottoman. Maybe even 2 chairs. Thoughts?

My style is Pottery Barn look-alike, I think. I don't want to spend nearly that much money, but I like the relaxed, traditional style they use. I am not a huge fan of exposed legs on sofas, but I have seen a few cute ones...and I can always paint them black, right? :)

So here are some that have caught my eye.

#1 - The leather-look-alike, microfiber, I think. Ruth has this one on her list too.

#2 - I liked the fabric on this one, but isn't it strangely similar to what I currently have?

#3 - This is some kind of faux leather too - not my fav

#4 - I hadn't seen this option until tonight. On the sales floor it was only shown in a sectional, so I pictured a couple angles here. It is available as a sofa, loveseat, chair, etc... and has lots of microfiber color options. And I like the tiny, black legs on this.

#5 - I love this set. It's in a fabric that is similar to what we have now, woven chenile. Warmer tones though. It also has a chair and ottoman. You can see better pictures here and here.

#6 - The beautiful (expensive) leather set. This was my favorite of all the leather I've seen.

#7 - Design my own. Tonight I looked through a Flexsteel catalog at the furniture store and found a few options. Here and here and here
and here too. There are tons of fabric options for these, microfiber, velvet, cloth, etc... Shawna has agreed to help me, if I go this route, so never fear, if you send me in this direction, you wouldn't be setting me up for failure. :)

So there you have it. Any advice for me? What would you do?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

That you may obtain it

Dave and I were talking the other night about things we see in our lives that the Lord has for us to work on this year. In a way, it is intimidating to me to have conversations like these, because I don't want to start the year with lofty goals and then have to look back and be disappointed. Know what I mean? I think this is why the whole idea of making New Year's Resolutions has never really appealed to me. But then again, this is the way the Lord works, graciously revealing, little by little, areas of my life that He desires to be Lord over. And I don't want to resist His work. I want to change for His glory. But it's a little bit of a painful process, don't you think? :) Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Philippians 3:12

I was reminded today of some verses that Scott has been quoting frequently in his messages,

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.

But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection...

1 Corinthians 9:24,25

So this year, I am aiming towards more personal discipline, in my walk with the Lord and as that spills over into the tasks that He has for me. I guess I should say ESPECIALLY as it spills over, because this is where I tend to slack the most, I think. Forgetting that the Lord can be glorified in my work at home, if I choose to serve Him there, instead of myself.

And several friends have challenged me to consider the use of my TIME, what I am doing with it. There are so many things I could be doing, but what does the Lord have for me?

Well, I know what He has for me children are sick with an intestinal bug (again), for 3 days now, and I can love and care for them. Read to them. Cuddle them. And I hear one of them calling me right now....uh, oh, gotta go!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Just for fun

My sis tagged me for this game, and I'm going to tag Kelly and Kim Dillon. :) Have fun, girls.

I give you money and send you into the grocery store to pick up 5 items. You can only pick one thing from the following departments. What is it?
1. Produce: Spring mix
2. Bakery: Sourdough bread
3. Meat: Shrimp
4. Frozen: Broccoli
5. Dry goods: Pita chips

Let's say we're heading out for a weekend getaway. You're only allowed to bring 3 articles of CLOTHING with you. So, what's in your bag?
1. My $10 Jeans from Branded
2. White down vest
3. brown turtleneck (okay, this outfit is what I seem to be wearing almost every day. I am so boring. :)

1 task you wish you were better at doing?
1. Sewing (I agree with my sister - one of these days I want to focus on this more)

1 Celebrity you wish you looked like (silly, I know:))
1. I think I'm going to skip this one???

If I was to listen in on one of your conversations throughout the day, what 5 phrases or words would I be most likely to hear?
1. You need to listen and obey!
2. Put a good attitude on your face, please.
3. I love you so much!
4. My head feels like it's going to explode! (Dave says I say this one a lot)
5. We do lots of silly nicknames in our house, so things like Ethan-bo-Beethan and Simey-Si-Si, etc... :)

So, what 3 things do you find yourself doing every single day, and if you didn't get to do, you probably wouldn't be in the best mood?
1. Spend time reading the Word (even if it's not really "quiet", I still need quiet time with the Lord)
2. Take a shower
3. Drink a Dr. Pepper

What 5 places do you visit roughly every week?
1. Church
2. Target
3. CVS
4. Dillons
5. Aldi (what a boring life I lead :)

If you were to shop at three stores for a whole year to supply your wardrobe and money was not an issue, which 3 would it be?
1. Gap
2. JCrew
3. Northface

You just scored tickets to the taping of any show that comes on t.v. of your choice. You can pick between 4, so what are you deciding between?
1. Lost
2. Sell this House
3. Flip this House
4. Martha Stewart Show

You're hungry for ice cream. I'll give you a tripple dipper ice cream cone. What 3 flavors can I pile on for ya?
1. Strawberry Shortcake
2. Coffee
3. Turtle

Somebody stole your purse… in order to get it back, you have to name 5 things you know are inside to claim it. So, what's in there?
1. Red wallet
2. Keys
3. 2 lipglosses
4. Cell phone
5. Planner

If you could go back and talk to the old you, when you were in high school, and inform yourself of 4 things, what would you say?
1. Don't stress so much about what you're going to major is going to be in college.
2. You are going to marry one hot guy!
3. Study the Word! (there won't be nearly as much time for that once you have kids :)
4. Don't resist your parents' authority - they love you and want the best for you.

We have a 4 year old????

Ethan turned 4 on Sunday (is this really possible??), and he chose to have a Diego birthday party. For those of you without 4 year old boys, Diego is a cartoon on Nick Jr. with a Spanish-speaking boy (Diego) who is an animal rescuer in the jungle. My kids can't get enough of this show. They have learned what a tapir is, a scarlet macaw, and jaguar, and even a marmoset. It makes me laugh when Simon tries to say jaguar - he says, "Aaaa-arrrrr" and then he grins. He is trying lots of new words these days.

Coming up with ideas for this party, I was a little lost at first. The party store in town didn't have much, just plates and cups, stuff like that. So I got on and found all kinds of printable crafts for the show FOR FREE and an idea for making a Diego costume. Since I did all that sewing for the Christmas program a few weeks ago, I have been in the mood to sew, so this was perfect!

Diego Vests
Walmart had tan cotton fabric in their clearance bin for $1/yrd, and I made 14 vests out of 5 yards. For a pattern, I just used a vest that my boys already had, folded it in half in the middle longways, and laid it on the fold of my fabric. On the website were printable Animal Rescuer Center badges to iron on the front.

No Animal Rescuer would be complete without his Rescue Pack! I used pieces of felt to make a bag for each of the kids to carry their rescue supplies in. This was so easy! It took about 20 minutes to sew up all the sides, and then Ethan glued on the eyes and mouth. He had so much fun!

To start the party, our Animal Rescuers geared up to save animals. First, they made a spotting scope out of toilet paper rolls, construction paper, and Diego stickers. This is how Diego sees an animal in distress.

Then my *staff members* (AKA Merikate and Brooklyn) handed out a
Diego video watch that I had printed on my computer and laminated for each kid. Everyone picked an animal to place on their video screen, and this would be the animal that they would rescue later!

Next, Dave designed a 4 part obstacle course for the kids to go through to rescue their animals. Keep in mind that these are little kids. It was nothing fancy, but they loved it. First they had to go under the bridge (a bar taped across the doorway), over the slide, through the jungle (vines taped over a doorway), and over the mountain (the ottoman covered with a blanket).

And they did it over, and over, and over again. :)

Then each Animal Rescuer grabbed their flashlight and headed to the dark basement to hunt for snakes. Rubber toy snakes, that is. Here they all are, after a good hunt.

I can't believe that Ethan is 4 - it seems like we just brought him home from the hospital! He has grown up so much this year, learning to talk, potty training, sleeping on the top bunk, learning to ride a bike. And he is developing a compassionate heart too. I've treasured the moments I've seen him show concern for his brother and others who are hurt.

This little boy never stops for a minute, but we love him so very much. Thank you, Lord, for sharing him with us! Like his dad prayed at his party, help us to raise him to seek after You and become a man who loves and lives for You.

Happy 4th birthday, Ethan!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Another cousin is born!


Nyah Madison!

She was born January 2nd, and weighed in at 9 lbs 12 oz!

I love the feel of a girl in my arms!

The boys with their mouths full of candy :)

Sweet brother

Congratulations, Doug and Sonja and big brother Jacob!

"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward." Psalm 127:3