Sunday, December 20, 2009

Merry Christmas To Me...

Brent made a new blog for me!!!

Starting today, if you want to keep up with our fam, please check us out on


If you subscribe to the feed for this site, you will no longer receive anything. Please subscribe to the new blog. On the new blog, you can also subscribe to receive an email every time I post...

Well, what are you waiting for? Hurry and check it out. =) Brent did an incredible job with the site!! Feel free to leave comments telling him how fantastically gifted he is =)

I love Christmas presents!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Family Fun Day

We took the trip to see Santa today. It went much better than last year. Here are the kids all excited with the anticipation of sitting on Santa's lap.


Elliana wasn't so sure about this whole thing once she saw Santa up close...notice her eyes!
She put on her fake smile though when she saw the bucket of suckers next to his chair!We rewarded the smiles with some dollar hamburgers at the food court...
Then after naps, we took some dinner to friends and then drove around and looked at Christmas lights. We came home and surprised the girls by pulling out lights to put on our house. I love Avery's reaction in this picture! Christmas is such a fun time of year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

To Twitter or Not Twitter

My husband, the technology guru in this household, has tried to convince me to use twitter for a few months now. He even created an account for me...something about branding and getting my user name or something or other.

I wasn't too sold on the idea. I mean, who wants to know what I'm doing all the time. For example, if I had tweeted this morning, it would have said something along the lines of

"just pulled into the parking garage at the urologists and heard my 2 year old throw up all over the back of the car"

Followed a few minutes later by...

"as soon as the elevators closed, my 2 year old said she needed to potty really bad. No potty in site...slow elevator!"

I might have even ended with

"2 yr. old running around doctor's office in younger brother's diaper and nothing else. Extra clothes were used after the throw up incident."

Really, who wants to follow me and know all that? I'm not even sure I want to know all that.

Regardless, Brent seems to think its a fun thing so I thought I would give it a shot. Feel free to follow me or not. We'll see how well I do at this whole twitter thing.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Good Friends Are Hard To Find


My best friend from college came down a couple weeks ago. I just love her to death. We were childhood friends but then I moved away in Jr. High. We lost contact sometime in High School and then reconnected Sophomore year of college when we happened to live on the same floor in the dorm. The University of Northern Iowa is a pretty big college so I like to think God had something to do with bringing up together again =)

Hanging out with her last weekend was a breathe to my soul. Its not often you get to hang out with someone who you knew way back in grade school but still loves you anyway! Thanks Jaimee for making the trip...I'm thinking Feb. in Minneapolis??? Maybe we can convince a few other girls to ditch some kids for the weekend =)

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Spiritual Journey

Finding Joy in the Simple Things.
My theme for the holidays =)

In the midst of a weekend of pain, a trip to the ER, canceled plans, and fun but busy holiday events, I'm determined to not miss the joy the little things bring to my life. The joy of listening to my 4 yr old sing the completely wrong words to every Christmas Carol, the joy of my 2 yr. old chasing my 4 yr old saying "wait, come back, I don't even know your name" as she plays Cinderella, the joy of my 8 month old giggling everytime I crawl towards him, the joy of having a husband who drops everything to sit with me in the ER on one of his busiest days of the week, the joy of having friends who change all their plans so that they can come take care of my kids, the joy of a beautiful day where we could get sunburned, the joy of having people to love.....the list could go on, but we'll just leave it at this. The Lord has been so faithful to give me joy in the simple things of life. I'm so thankful for joy.

Goals:
  • Pretty much the same. I'm still reading and re-reading the book of Daniel.
  • Still meditating on Ezekiel 35. The image of God giving me a new heart and his Spirit has become so real and powerful. I just love that image of a new heart. Such a great visual picture for me!
  • Still sitting down and going through the prayer of Examen twice a day. I've had people ask why, so here's my thinking. If you've never done the prayer of examen, you should try it. You sit down and evaluate yourself in front of God. Its a great way to keep yourself focused on how you are keeping God the center of life. I do it twice a day because I usually lose it at least once in the morning and need to be refocused and confess and then usually lose it at least once before I go to bed and so need to sit and confess again =) What can I say...kids are my refining fire!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Question of the Day

(Brent is getting ready to go hunting)

A: "Do deers hurt you?"

B" No."

A: "Then why would you hunt them?"

We're struggling a bit to come coming up with a good answer to satisfy a 4 yr. old.
=)

More Dance

As promised, here's Aves recital.



Can you believe we have 8 Christmas obligations/events this week?!! 5 down and 3 to go. Maybe that's why my kids went stupid with the babysitter =)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Never Thought It Would Be Our Kids

Tonight we had the kids that all babysitters dread....you know the ones who take advantage of the "nice" babysitter.

I never thought our kids would do it


Tonight they did


Wow, they are not going to like what tomorrow brings =)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Dance Recital Time

I've been internet free for awhile. It just started working again so I thought I would post E's dance recital for all the grandparents. Today she was definitely more concerned about staying on her dot than she was with dancing which made it even cuter to watch. You gotta love 2 year olds in tutus!





Aves has her recital on Thursday so I'll post hers then. Have a great day!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

New Rules

Rule #1: You may not stick things up your brother's nose

Response to rule #1 by A: "really?!!!! I never knew that. I'll stop doing it then."


I guess this occurrence was more common than the one time I caught them.


Rule # 2: You may not call other people poo poo

Response to rule #2 by E: "OK!!!! Can I call Avery __________"

she picked random sounds and came up with the Spanish equivalent to the word poo poo. Of all the syllables she chose to put together! And no, neither Brent nor I speak Spanish or have used that word before!
=)

Friday, December 04, 2009

Family Fun Day

This pretty much sums up the activities for the day

video

Other than a quick trip to the gym and some house cleaning, our day pretty much consisted of dancing and playing dress up. You gotta love having little girls =)

And now Brent is taking the girls up to the Journey to the Manger at the church while I put Justus to bed. My best friend from college is flying in tonight so I'm off to finish cleaning up the house before going to the airport to pick her up. Its been 3 years since we've been able to hang out in person and I can't wait to spend the weekend with her! Enjoy your weekend =)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Cinderella

Elliana kept getting in trouble this morning for using mean words. She kept saying things like:

"Avery that's an ugly dress."

"I'm going to rip that dress."

"Avery you're going to cry."
Finally after the 4th time of her getting in trouble, I finally realized what was going on. She's trying to play Cinderella with Avery! She wants Avery to be Cinderella and she wanted to be her fairy godmother.

You know the scene from the garden where Cinderella runs out crying because the mean step sisters have just ripped her dress to pieces and the fairy godmother tells Cinderella that her dress just won't do and gives her a new dress. Elliana was trying to act out that scene; the rest of us just didn't know what she was doing and so interpreted her actions as using unkind words to her sister.

I think I need to start asking questions before I give out discipline!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow




You can't beat waking up to a snow covered yard!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

My Spiritual Journey

Do Holidays bring out the best in you or the worst in you?

I would have to answer that question with the worst.

The stress of traveling with 3 littles and the pressure of trying to keep the family sane all while operating on very little sleep overtakes me.

I don't want circumstances to overtake me.

I want the Spirit to overtake me.

Romans 7:15-8:4 "For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.


There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."


I guess the holidays are the "law" in my life that points out my sins. So for the month of December, I am waging war against the "law of sin that dwells in my members."


No books, no new disciplines, no new anything. Just God's Word and me. Nothing fancy and no grand plans. Just need to get out of the way and live according to the Spirit more. Back to the basics.


How, you ask? Great question with maybe not a great answer yet. I'm sure God will open my eyes as I walk forward. Its a journey that I've been on for awhile; one of dying to myself and allowing Christ to live in me, and I have no great answers or magic formulas for how to do it great and quickly. But I will keep pushing forward knowing that the battle has already been won and Christ already has the victory, and He will give me the grace I need to submit to His Spirit today.


So here's my plan to keep me submitted in the midst of crazy holiday stuff:
  • Continue my time in the morning in the Lord. Right now I'm reading through the book of Daniel
  • Read through the Psalms before bed so my thoughts while sleeping are of God's word and not of anything else
  • During afternoon naps and during the evening after the kids are down, stop and do a prayer examen. This helps me refocus and immediately confess and repent of any "sin that dwells within me" so that it does not linger or take root in my heart.
  • Continue to "pray without ceasing" by assigning my daily tasks a prayer request so that my heart and mind are continually focused on Christ.
Its funny. It takes the holidays to get me serious about denying everything I want to do with my time and replacing that with pursuing Christ.

What are you pursuing this holiday season?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Over the last few weeks, the girls have been adding what they are thankful for to their Thankful Tree. (Click here if you have no idea what I'm talking about) I thought I would share their list of things they are thankful for as we all celebrate Thanksgiving today. So in their own words, here are the things we have been thankful for over the past 2 weeks.
  • Avery's new book
  • Elliana
  • Having Friends over for dinner
  • Daddy is home from his trip
  • Justus, Daddy, Mommy, and Avery
  • Trees and Flowers
  • Daddy's home
  • Balloon
  • Peanut Butter Sandwich
  • Butterflies and Balloons
  • Gloves
  • Pink Plates
  • Daddy, Mommy, Justus, Elliana, and windows
  • Freedom
  • Cold Weather
  • Stickers
  • Being Home
  • Susan and Andrew
  • Thankful tree
  • Daddy coming home
  • Friends
  • Thankful tree
  • Grandma and Grandpa's house
  • New Spoons
  • Coke (which neither one of them has ever tasted!)
  • Thankful Tree
  • Carson, Tyson, and Jansen
  • Trees
  • My Family
  • Friends
  • Flowers
  • Family and Bread
  • Thankful Tree
  • Justus
  • Date Night with Daddy
  • Dance School
  • Cookies and Mr. Andrew
  • Connor and Bryce
  • Going on a date with daddy
  • Thankful Tree
  • Family

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Such a Girly Girl

"I'll help you with the pumpkin pie but can I have a napkin? I don't want my hands to get messy."She was not convinced when I told her the best part about cleaning pumpkins was the messy hands and she cleaned that entire half with a napkin in her hand.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Spiritual Journey

Instead of my personal journey, let's do something a bit different and try to create some dialogue =)

My favorite way to review the scripture I'm memorizing is by taping the verses to the outside of the shower (ignore the soap scum. Who invented glass showers anyway? Certainly not the person who had to clean them!)

Even if little faces are pressed up against the outside of the shower(which they often are), I can't hear what they're saying over the water, so I can still concentrate on the verses I'm memorizing.
So now its your turn. How do you memorize scripture?

Monday, November 23, 2009

He's Sick....Again

We have been stuck in the house a lot over the last few months because Justus has had so many sinus infections and colds.

Today I decided to teach him a new trick to help pass the time. You might not be able to tell from the video, but I taught him to blow his nose. He only does it into a Kleenex every once in a while, but he loves blowing his nose on my shirt.

Kind of gross, but at least it gives him something to do besides cry!
video

And that, my friends, is the glamorous life of a mommy =)

Observations of the Day

Elliana: "if you throw up on yourself, just tell mommy and she'll give you the medicine and a trashcan." (this was said very seriously to Justus as if teaching him a very important lesson)
Avery: "How deep is your tummy? I think it starts here (pointing to her throat) and goes all the way to your belly b. Which means I need more to eat because my tummy is pretty deep"

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Family Fun Day

No pics of our day this week, at least not yet =)

We spent the afternoon taking family pictures so I'll post those as soon as I get them back. Other than that, we had a relaxing day as a family eating breakfast at McDonalds (nothing but the best food for my kids =) ), playing board games, and running errands.

So sorry about the boring post, but to quote a line from the movie "UP", "I know it may sound boring, but its the boring stuff I remember the most". (You know the scene...where the little boy is telling the old man about all things he remembers doing with his dad, and all his fond memories are the ones where him and his dad are doing nothing together)

Hope you all enjoyed your weekend!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Messy Again

This floor had been scrubbed and mopped less than 24 hours earlier...Anyone else out there feel my pain =) I think my kids must have holes in the bottom of their lips!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Spiritual Journey

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you
Ezekiel 36:25
Meditating on God's word is powerful and life changing. This week I spent the week meditating on vs. 25

"from all your idols I will cleanse you."


Idols. Those things that you worship in addition to or more than God. These words were clearly impressed on my heart, so I knew God was calling me to take time to sit with him so he could reveal some idols I had formed in my heart. I was expecting Him to tell me I had started making my kids or my house or my ministries an idol. I wasn't expecting Him to tell me this, but plain as day, He said

You are your own idol.


Me? How could I be my own idol? I am sacrificing everything I used to want or desire in order to stay home and raise and disciple my children. I'm giving my life to what God called me to. How can I be an idol?

As the week has progressed, the answer became pretty clear. Why do I get frustrated when nap time isn't what I want it to be? Because I feel I have the right to some down time during the day. Why do I get angry when fits are thrown or toys aren't picked up or when sleepless nights begin to become the norm instead of the exception? Because I feel I have the right to expect perfection from others and sleep and alone time for myself.

My dissatisfaction with things comes because I believe deep down in my heart that I have the right to have an easy life full of fulfilling opportunities for myself.

My desires, or what I feel are my rights, have become my idols. They have become the thing I chase after more than I chase after God.

My rights have been submitted to the proper authority and my focus is on chasing after God even in the midst of a life full of dirty diapers, tantrums, messiness, no alone time, little money, an adoring husband, kids who love me, a house with very little things that need fixed, friends who call to check on me, a mom who drops everything to support me, and sisters who bring great joy to my heart every time we talk.

Idols make it really easy to focus on what's missing in life. God makes it really easy to focus on how much He has blessed my life.

Meditation on God's word is powerful.

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8


Goals for this week:
  • Finish Life with God by Richard Foster
  • Continue memorizing and meditating on Ezekiel 36:25-27
  • Focus on daily submitting my rights and chasing after God.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

We Finally Made It

I saw this idea on another blog I read a few weeks ago and thought to myself "what a great idea. I should do that with the kids."

But the thought of making and cutting out leaves was enough to keep pushing the project to the back burner...it became a "maybe tomorrow" type of project.
Until tonight! We finally made our thankfulness tree! I think the motivation was some leftover cutout flowers I had from a breakout session I taught yesterday at church which meant I did not have to trace or cut out leaves with the girls. For some reason, the thought of making leaves exhausted me =)So here's our tree. So far we just have a few flowers and hearts added with things we're thankful for. Hopefully we'll get a little deeper as we continue over the next 2 weeks. Right now we're still just thankful for balloons and trees =) But even if it never goes any deeper than that, at least they're learning what it means to be thankful. And hopefully having a bit of fun in the process =)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Family Fun Day

A trip to the zoo with Grandma
The weather was perfect and the animals were active. The girls showed no fear getting up close and personal with this tiger!
The elephants and giraffes were a big hit as well. I've never seen them run in the zoo before. Usually they just stand there and eat. I think Grandma and I had just as much fun as the girls!What makes a trip to the zoo even better? Riding the train!
The girls even put on a little show for Grandma and practiced their dance routines. Well, Avery danced; Elliana giggled and "skipped" through the living room.
It was a great day!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Getting Big

This week...Justus has tasted his first lemon
It took 3 sleepless nights, but his first tooth has finally broken through!
And he learned to say the letter d. Daddy is going to feel special to hear "da da da da" greet him when he gets home next week!

I Miss Him

7 1/2 years ago I moved into an apartment 2 buildings away from him. There was never a day where we weren't together.
6 1/2 years ago I walked into his apartment to find this and a ring for my finger. 6 years ago we said "I do" and began our married life together. Right after we got married, we used to joke that it was like a slumber party every night. We would just lay in bed and talk for hours about absolutely nothing. We have always just loved to talk to each other. And now he's gone for a week...

After 7 1/2 years of sharing every moment with someone, not being able to talk to him is hard.

I really miss him this week. Every time the phone rings, my heart starts beating fast thinking it might be him only to remember he can't use a phone this week. Every time something happens, I go to reach for the phone only to remember I can't contact him this week. This week, 1 week seems like an eternity!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

My Spiritual Journey

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.
Ezekiel 36:25-27

The past few weeks have been long weeks. The kind that twist and turn your emotions and just wear you out. God has used these long weeks to teach me so much.

The one thing that has been evident in everything that I've been learning is the fact the God is living and active and working in me and all around me. Not that I would have ever denied that fact, but God has been opening my eyes and my mind to be constantly aware of God's hand and the fact that He is working. Its a lot more fun to walk through difficult situations when your eyes are keenly watching for God's hand among all circumstances. I truly believe that has been God's gift to me the past few weeks...the ability to constantly be aware of His presence and his purpose in all things so that life does not have the ability to get me down, but rather encourages me and spurs me on.

Why the verse at the top?
The past few weeks, I've just been keenly aware of God's working in my heart. He has been cleansing me and removing some stuff but at the same time satisfying me and speaking to me. The more I am aware of Him on a continual minute by minute basis, the more dependent I become on the Holy Spirit working in my life. This verse speaks to me about how active God is and reminds me to be thankful that we don't serve a passive God, but an active God who is continually speaking to us and drawing us unto Himself.

Hope the ramblings make sense =) Brent is gone for the week, so this week my goals are a bit smaller. I'm not a good single mom!

Goals from last week:
  • I'm still reading Life With God. Great food for thought!
  • I'm finish with Isaiah and am now reading Ezekiel. What a great book to teach me how all things, even destruction, has a purpose in God's kingdom.
Goals for this week:
  • Continue reading and meditating on Ezekiel.
  • Memorize Ezekiel 36:25-26
  • Have morning devotions with the kids over breakfast. With Brent not here in the evenings, I know the devotions won't happen at night unless I start doing them in the morning.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Saturday Fun

So no posts for a week; needless to say, its been a busy roller coaster of a week!But today was the highlight of the week, Avery's b-day party. Her actual b-day was last week, so she got a full week of birthday celebration! Fun times. For her birthday, she decided she wanted to bring cupcakes to school, a castle cake and to play Simon Says and Red Light, Green Light with her friends. So we...

took cupcakes to school on Monday
And then today at her b-day party, we played Red Light, Green Light

Simon Says
Rock, Rock, Be A Rock
Ate some castle cake
Opened some cool presentshit open a pinata full of candy
Ate some hotdogs and fruit
played a little Wii with our best friends who now live in Austin.
fell into bed exhausted
and then we ended the evening with a great dinner and a little ice cream for the two birthday girls! (Brent's mom's b-day is today as well!)Who could ask for a better 4th birthday =)