Saturday, February 28, 2009

Family Fun Day

There was no way an entire day could be devoted to the whole family playing together this week. Sometime in the next few days, Brent will be launching his new app and so needed a good portion of the day to work.
But that didn't stop the girls and I from having some fun! We made the morning a mommy/daughter fun day. Now, I definitely don't think washing floor boards and windows is all that cool, but both girls thought I had hung the moon when I gave them WET washcloths and they got to "help" mommy clean the windows. The giggled and laughed and took turns telling me not to bend over and squish the baby while we were cleaning. Which everyone knows that the image of mommy squishing the baby is hilarious and so even more giggling and laughing occurred. Who knew cleaning could be this fun??!!!

After naps, we got surprised by some of our great friends! I love surprises!!! So we just combined our families for the rest of the afternoon and evening and played and talked and ate pizza and sang songs with the kiddos.
And everyone also knows that when you sing songs, you must run around in circles as fast as you can while attempting to do all the actions to the song until you get dizzy and fall over. Fun times were had by all =)

Friday, February 27, 2009

No Electricity

What goes better with candles than an ice cream party in the dark =)
(AKA try to find joy and not to get frustrated that once again an electric company has confused our address with a similar street and address and shut off our power when it was 85 degrees outside and then says they'll try to restore our power sometime within the next 24 hours while the temperature in our house continued to climb to 86 degrees by the time the evening hit. I was fighting for that joy of the Lord to reign in me Thursday!)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Can You Hear Me Wal Mart??

Do you know all the buckles on your carts are broken?
I have a very short 22 month old who falls out of the seat every time we go.
Please, oh please fix the buckles so I'm not tortured again with a screaming and bloody kid the entire grocery shopping experience..........oh, and so she doesn't get hurt again of course

My Spiritual Journey

... but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
Hebrews 12:26-29

This verse is what I've been meditating on this week. God has just been impressing on my mind the idea that He does "shake" the things of this earth and not only does He shake them, the things that are not of Him are easily shaken away.

What this means to me:

My prayer this week has been that God would begin to shake me and my life. That He would begin to shake away those idols that I don't even know are there. Verse 29 ends with, "God is a consuming fire". Consuming is such a strong verb which reminds you that nothing can survive being consumed. You can't go through a consuming fire and come out the same on the other side. This week I keep getting that picture in my mind of allowing that consuming fire to shake me from the very core so God can consume and remove forever the idols and sins that are keeping me from Him.

How its looked:

Its a little scary for me to pray this. As I first realized the need for God to shake my own life, I immediately became fearful. Fearful that something bad would happen so that I could learn if I really trusted Him, fearful that life would go chaotic, fearful that all sorts of things would go wrong. But that fear in and of itself was something that needed to be shaken.

My question became "What about the character of God do I not believe in where I would believe that He would harm me or cause me pain without an ultimate good and holy purpose in mind?" My view of God was being challenged. So in the midst of my journey towards being joyful and thankful in all things, God is now also teaching me how to truly trust Him and to be joyful, trusting, and thankful that He can and will "shake" me so that I may come out more like Him on the other side of the "consuming fire".

We'll see what all He reveals to me that needs to be "consumed" this week!

Goals from last week:
  • Still memorizing Matthew 5. Its going slow though! My brain isn't retaining as well for some reason. But I'm still plugging away.
  • Still reading "Created to Be His Help Meet". Interesting book. Definitely some good things in there that have challenged me, but also some things that I'm not sure are true. We'll see how the book continues to unfold =)
  • Continuing that 10-15 min. down time in the middle of the day to refocus me and focus on Christ. That middle of the day additional quiet time has made a world of difference in my attitude towards the kids and life in the afternoon.
Goals for this week:
  • Continue memorizing Matthew 5
  • Continue to meditate on Hebrews 12 and how it relates to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5)
  • Continue reading "Created to Be His Help Meet" and start implementing some of her suggestions into our household.
  • I would also like to start reading another book...maybe over prayer and mediation?? I'm still looking and thinking. I would like to have one picked over the next week

Monday, February 23, 2009

Quotable Quotes

Avery and I talking during snack one afternoon.

Avery: "If I ask Jesus to live in my heart, will all the popcorn I'm eating get all over him when I swallow it?"
Me: try not to laugh, try not to laugh. "No, honey. Your popcorn won't get all over Jesus."
Avery: "That's good because then He would get all dirty!"

At lunch one day:

Me: "Do you want some chicken or beef?"
Avery: "Beef??? That's what birds have for a nose"

(her "f" sounds still aren't the greatest and so when she says 'beef' it sounds like 'beak' to her!)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

New Addition

Middle Seat
Back SeatI guess the baby has graduated from the baby car seat that used to occupy the back seat. And by the way, Avery buckles her in, not me.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Family Fun Day

Family Fun Day was more of a fun afternoon and evening instead of a whole day this week. Those darn OB appointments take up so much time! But we did get to see the little baby boy on a sonogram at the doctor this week, so it made the appointment a little bit more fun than normal =)We had fun after naps though. Avery has wanted to show daddy how she conquered the rock wall at the park all week, so we decided to head to the park and let her show off her climbing skills.Of course Elliana couldn't be left out and quickly found her own wall to climb and made sure that everyone watched her just as much as they watched Avery! I've decided Elliana will be a good middle child because she doesn't allow herself to get left out of anything =)Then after a little Joe's Pizza and Pasta, we finished the evening off with some ice cream from McDonalds and a little playland time. What little girls wouldn't like that?!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A First

We had a first this morning...Elliana made up her very first song. Here's the lyrics

"Daddy's sleeping, Daddy sleeping
Ding, Ding, Dong
Ding, Ding, Dong"

Then she continues with mommy and then Ana and then Avery and so on. It was to her own little tune as well. It made my heart smile to watch her come up with her first song. She loves music and sings continually, as does her sister, but this was the first time she actually "wrote" her own words to a song. I guess daddy has trained them well in the whole music department =) It will be fun to watch if this love for music continues or if she moves onto something else.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Spiritual Journey

My Spiritual Journey is getting posted a little bit late this Tuesday. The day has been eventful but one that has again pointed me towards the joy that is found in Christ.

Practicing Praying without a Solution in Mind
Currently, the Lord continues to open my eyes to things He is doing in and around me. Little prayers he's answered in ways I would have never imagined, little circumstances He's worked out, pain He's taken away, sleep He's given to me, good behavior out of my children, and the list could go on and on.

Then today I started having abdominal pain and then some bleeding. I watched it for a few hours and then my hubby very strongly encouraged me to call the doctor which turned into an afternoon at the hospital.

Thankfulness in the Midst of ALL Circumstances

The whole way to the hospital, all I could think about was how thankful I was that the Lord was in control. There was a joy that He had kept me from activities earlier this morning and yesterday. He had protected me from myself and the guilt that I would have felt during the drive if things had gone my way earlier in the day.

All that to say, living life practicing the presence of the Lord and truly learning to see the joy of the Lord in all circumstances makes life a whole lot more fulfilling. The baby is fine and the bleeding has stopped, but I treasure the opportunity that the Lord gave me today to practice my trust and faith in His unfailing love. Praise the Lord for the journey he has me on!

My Prayer of Thanksgiving Tonight:
I'm thankful the Lord reigns and I do not. I'm thankful He is the Lord of ALL the earth. I'm thankful His glory is seen by ALL the earth. I'm thankful He puts to shame any worthless idols that I attempt to worship. I'm thankful He sows joy in the heart of believers. I'm thankful I can always rejoice in His Holy name for he is unchanging and is faithful forever. I'm thankful I can praise His great and Holy name. I'm thankful He is exalted. I'm thankful that I am His and He is the one who made me. I'm thankful that He is good and His love endures forever.

And the journey continues....

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

We took advantage of the fact that the kids can't read dates on a calendar yet and celebrated Valentines Day a few days early this year. (weekends are always way too busy!!) So Thursday was the Minter Valentine's Day.

We made cookies and then had fun with the flour while waiting for them to bake
Decorated the cookies with some red and white frosting.
Cut out heart cards, decorated them, and put together some cookie gifts to deliver to some friends
We had a blast opening the boxes from Gramps and Grammy and playing with all the new things
And ended the night with a big heart shaped pizza
Holidays are so fun! What did you do to celebrate???

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Family Fun Day

Can you believe I didn't take a single picture on Family Fun Day this week??? I completely forgot the camera all day long. We were pretty low key though and just enjoyed each other. Here's a little recap of our day =)

We made breakfast together. Avery requested "grilled bread" for breakfast. I interpreted that as French toast.

Then we headed off to Cabelas. Brent was able to use a gift card he got for his birthday to get his bear rug and deer head for the new baby's room. I'll even admit that I think its kind of cute. =) I'll post pictures of it after we get it hung on the wall. The girls got to have fun feeding the fish and seeing the "big elephant". And you can't forget the excitement in the free samples of fudge from the general store! They both have quite the sweet tooth!

It was such a beautiful day outside that we spent most of our time together playing outside. Games of football, hide n seek, jumping from the top of the slide, chase, and lots of fun with the new bubbles from Gramps and Grammy occupied our day. Thanks so much for their Valentines packages Gramps and Grammy! They love them.

Then Nana and Pappa arrived so Brent and I could take off for a marriage retreat at church. I can't remember the last time I got to ride to church with Brent, sit in on rehearsals, and just be able to hang out with him at church. It was a perfect end to a perfect and relaxing day. Thanks Nana and Pappa for coming in and providing some free babysitting for the weekend!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

You know its time for a trip to the grocery store when...

Your 1 1/2 year old walks up to you with some plastic WalMart bags she got out of the pantry and says"grocery store peese mommy"

I guess she was tired of me telling her we were out of all her favorite foods!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Our First "Big Girl" Moment

Last Saturday was the Daddy/Daughter Dance at church. Avery was so excited to go "to the ball" with daddy.
This morning while we were in our car, the song "Cinderella" by Steven Curtis Chapman came on the radio and Avery started singing along! She told me it was the last song she got to dance to with daddy at the ball. For the rest of the day, she's been singing as much of the song as she can remember and just waiting for daddy to come home so he can sing the rest of it to her.
Brent found the song online, put it on the computer, and Avery sat in the computer chair for close to 10 minutes listening to the song over and over again. I felt like I had a 13 year old girl listening to her first song that created that deep down emotional bond we all develop to some sort of song over the years!
At least for now her emotional attachment to a song is because of her crush on her daddy! =)

My Spiritual Journey

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!
Psalm 107:21-22

I think the theme of My Spiritual Journey may remain the same for the next few weeks. 2 weeks ago I wrote about learning to survive with joy. It seems like this is a continual lesson the Lord wants to ingrain in my very existence. I have a feeling that the remaining pregnancy and the first few weeks after childbirth will be my refining fire to help me truly learn this lesson!

Psalm 107:22 states that the people should "offer SACRIFICES of thanksgiving". Anything with the word sacrifice in it never sounds pleasant. Its easy for me to be thankful and joyful when life is easy, when I'm well rested, when the kids are on a good cycle of behavior, and when Brent and I have all the time in the world to just hang out. Its definitely more of a SACRIFICE for me to CHOOSE thankfulness and joyfulness when I'm exhausted, life is busy, the kids both hit a downward cycle of behavior at the same time (more than likely due to my exhaustion!), and Brent and I are having to sacrifice some time together in order for both of us to walk in obedience to the Lord and finish the project Brent is working on.

So how to choose to sacrifice my right to be tired and cranky and choose to be joyful and thankful? I failed drastically this morning. I chose tears and frustration. Unfortunately, those didn't make life any better...imagine that =) So after a long talk with Jesus, some time of confession, and a little reflection, I think the Lord is opening my eyes to the little tiny choices I make every moment of every day.

How many times a day do I tell my children to make a good choice??? Here's to me following my own advice and choosing to offer my sacrifice of thanksgiving to my Father who is more than worthy of all I can give Him and is more than able to meet every need I have. Praise and glory be to Him!

Goals from last week:

  • Still memorizing Matthew 5
  • Started reading "Created to be His Help Meet". I hear I'll either love it or hate it. About 50% of the women I've talked to have absolutely hated it and told me to throw it away and 50% of the women have told me its a must read. Should be interesting =)
  • Adding the additional middle of the day quiet time has become a must have during these last weeks of pregnancy!
  • And complete side note, but last week I talked about learning to trust God with this birth...we have made the decision to go for the VBAC and God has given me absolute peace about it. Trusting Him is way better than worrying =)

Goals for this week:

  • Memorize Matthew 5:1-15
  • Continue to read "Created to Be His Help Meet"
  • Walk in the grace of God and choose to be joyful and thankful this week
  • Meditation and scripture memory are continuing to be keys to keeping my mind on my Savior so that I won't just be going through the motions of attempting to be joyful and thankful, but that the very essence of who I am can reflect the Psalmist when he states in Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!/ Serve the Lord with gladness!/Come into his presence with singing!/ Know that the Lord, he is God!/It is he who made us, and we are his;/we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture./ Enter his gates with thanksgiving,/and his courts with praise!/Give thanks to him; bless his name!/ For the Lord is good;/his steadfast love endures forever,/and his faithfulness to all generations.

Monday, February 09, 2009

What do you think???

The pink lampshade is going and will hopefully be replaced by a blue one. Picture a bear rug in the center of the floor and an animal head on the wall and you have the completed nursery.
What do you think???

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Family Time

Brent's ideal family time.A little park timeA little fishing time
And lunch at QuiktripI think we differ a bit on the joys of eating at Quiktrip, but we both love our family time!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Family Fun Day

No Family Fun Day this Friday. Brent is working on this really neat project (it will be a secret though until the end of the month! I can't wait to share with you what it is!!). So yesterday I told him to take the day and work on his project to get some of the loose ends wrapped up. He's been working so hard on it that I wanted to give him a day to go work and not have to think about being a dad or a husband. But what I discovered today was how much I really enjoy Family Fun Day! Its become our Sabbath day and I just couldn't pull it off without Brent. So here is a recap of my day:7:00am-8:30am: 2 tantrums (they didn't like the color of bowl I gave them...go figure), fixed the girls hair twice (after the first time I did their hair, I walked into my bedroom, came out 5 min. later and they were wrestling and giggling all over the floor. Their hair was out of the ponytail and sticking straight up), fed them breakfast, got them dressed, Elliana pottied on herself while trying to get onto the potty by herself about 5 min. after I got her dressed (have I mentioned she's independent!), changed Elliana again, searched for 1o min. for some shoes to put on them, finally found them under the couch cushion (why didn't I look there first?), got shoes on them, strapped them into the car seats, then came back into the house to find drinks and snacks for the girls. I had an OB appointment.

8:45am: Drop Avery off at a friend's to play. Elliana then sobbed (not a tantrum sob, but a sad, heart wrenching sob) because Avery wasn't sitting next to her in the car. For the next 30 min. I hear her sniffle and say "need avey. play with avey at Connors house" over and over and over and over and over again.
9:30am: Make it to the doctor to discover my doctor has been called out to surgery...again. I've seen her once the entire pregnancy. I keep wondering when I'll get a refund on the doctor's bills I've paid since I've never actually seen a doctor...does life work that way??? =)

10:45am Pick Avery up from her friend's house and drive to Home Depot to pick up paint samples so we can paint the new baby's room this weekend. Forget to say "no touch" to Elliana when I push the cart up to the paint brushes.
11:00am Spend 5 minutes picking up a display of paint brushes.

12:00pm: Make it home, fix some peanut butter sandwiches and hotdogs, and hold my head up with my hands while I watch them eat...very, very, very slowly. I think they knew nap time was approaching.
12:30pm-2:30: Put both girls down. Make 4 trips into Avery because she fell out of bed, turned the radio on on accident, needed to go potty, and knocked over a lamp. Make 5 trips into Elliana because she dropped her blanket, bit her finger and it was bleeding, hit her head on the wall, and then started coughing hard enough I thought she was going to puke.

2:30-3:00pm: Silence...finally.

3:00pm "I'm awake! I'm awake!!!" (that's Avery)
3:05pm "I'm awake! I'm awake!!!" (that's Elliana) Try to gear myself up for a long afternoon with sleepy girls

3:05-5:00pm: Brent makes it home for a few hours. YEAH!! We get the baby's room cleaned out so we can paint in the morning and make a quick trip to Lowe's to buy paint. Brent is leading worship for Celebrate Recovery tonight so he left to go to church to start rehearsals, etc. I look at the girls, can't imagine going home and having the energy to chase them and cook dinner, and decide its going to be a McDonalds night.
5:00pm-5:45 Praise the Lord for McDonalds and their playlands!

5:45pm Leave McDonalds. Notice its still too early to try to put the girls in bed for the evening, so stop at Wal Mart to buy some groceries. Still couldn't face going home!
6:30pm Get home, put PJs on them, pick up toys, read a story

7:05pm: They are out. I think I'm on my way to bed too.

Its funny. I could do the exact same thing Monday through Thursday, but when Friday hits, the routine of chasing the kids by myself wears me out! I think today made me more intent on keeping Friday sacred as our family day than anything else could! Avery's last words before bed were "so when will daddy be home and not go to work again? I want him to be with us all day that day". I wasn't the only one who missed him today!

Happy Birthday Carson

Carson is the girls' cousin. They love all their cousins to death and continually ask when we'll get to play with them again. Over Thanksgiving, Carson won their hearts though through the hours of playing "swiper" and watching DVDs with the girls. They love you Carson and wanted to wish you a happy birthday!

Happy Birthday!! Hope you have a great day! Wish we were there to celebrate with you!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Can You Guess What's Going on at Our House?

Current books on my night stand:

  • The New Strong-willed Child by James Dobson
  • Love and Logic: magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years by Jim Fay and Charles Fay
  • Setting Limits with your Strong-willed Child by Robert J. MacKenzie
  • Dare to Discipline by James Dobson
Any guesses?????

My Spiritual Journey

Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us
Psalm 62

This is my prayer this week: For God ALONE, my soul waits in SILENCE. God ONLY is my rock and my salvation. My hope is from Him. My refuge is in Him. Trust in him at ALL times.

Trusting God: Seems easy enough, but oftentimes when I get nervous about something, the way I trust Him is by praying about the issue and then I avoid thinking about the subject all together. By avoiding any thoughts on the matter, I like to pretend that I'm trusting God for the solution, but in reality, even though I have prayed about the issue, I'm just plain avoiding the issue.

For example, the birth of this baby. I've been going back and forth about doing a VBAC or another C-section. Elliana was breach and so we ended up having a C-section with her, and generally my doctor makes you do another C-section with every birth after having a first C-section. I love my doctor, but she is very conservative. She has told us up front that if we choose to do a VBAC, she will be very cautious with it. She's also been very upfront about all of the negatives associated with a VBAC and really emphasized the risks involved.

Problem: I hated the C-section. My incision didn't heal well, I couldn't lift Avery for a month, home health had to come to the house for a month, it was generally just a lot harder of an experience than Avery's birth had been. So the natural choice would be to do a VBAC, right?

Enter hormones: Am I going to harm the baby? Am I being selfish? Should I just grin and bear the C-section? My parents live in Iowa now so at least with a C-section I could plan for them to be here to watch the girls and help out. If I do a VBAC, who will take the girls when I go into labor?

Enter Trusting God: God has been showing me that what I'm really good at is just praying and then trying to never think about the issue. That is what I've been calling trusting God. However, Psalm 62 says "Trust in Him at all times...POUR OUT YOUR HEART TO HIM" That pouring out my heart to Him is what I need to work on. Its a lot easier to just avoid the issue than to continually talk about it and pour out my heart about the issue.

Lesson: I take this "avoidance" stance with a lot of things in life. Its easy to avoid thinking about something which therefore keeps you from worrying about the issue and therefore FEELS as if you are trusting God. God is revealing to me the deeper level of trust that He desires from me. The trust that comes from pouring out my emotions, thoughts, worries, and desires but yet still trusting Him to come up with the correct solution.
Goals from 2 weeks ago:
  • I got stuck on the whole memorizing thing. We put the verses on cards outside the shower so I can learn them while I shower, and I kept forgetting to add the next card! But I have Matthew 5:1-6 down really well by now =) We just added the next card this morning so we can get back on the memorizing wagon.
  • Still getting up in the morning
  • Have not started a new book yet. I'm reading some of "Prayer" again and then trying to finish "A Tale of Two Cities" and "The Scarlet Pimpernel" so I can finish all my lesson plans for the semester before the baby comes.
Goals for this next week:
  • Memorize Matthew 5:1-10
  • Find time to begin a new book
  • Add a middle of the day "quiet time" with the Lord

Sunday, February 01, 2009

30 days for His 30th

One of my goals for this year: Work on being a better wife. Not that I think I'm a horrible wife or anything, but I definitely think there's always areas to grow. Plus, being pregnant and nursing for the last 4 years has probably given me some bad habits as far as "treating others better than myself" and "dying to myself" goes. Those pregnancy and nursing hormones bring out the selfishness in me!! =) All that to say, 2009 is the year I am focusing on how to better die to myself so I may better glorify God in my marriage.

As I started thinking about what it would look like to work on being a better wife, I almost decided to put off working on it until 2010. I'm having a baby in a few weeks, and I sort of live in this fog for about 4 months after a baby is born. I'm sleep deprived, I'm tired, I never have alone time, the house is a disaster, and all I want is for someone to take care of me instead of me taking care of everyone. But I knew God was showing me that now was the best time to work on this because it wasn't going to be easy. There were going to be huge obstacles in the road ahead that would definitely point out weaknesses in my character that I would need to submit to the Lord. So I began the journey.

The first step was to train my mind to think about ways to make Brent's life a little bit easier and to let him know how important he is to our family. So I started the 30 days until his 30th birthday countdown. For the 30 days leading up to his birthday, I tried to do something special every day for him. It got to be fun because the girls got all into it. There was even a day when Avery asked, "what do we get to do to make daddy feel special today?" Here's what the month looked like:

Flowers in his car

Breakfast in

Fishing lessons for his girls

Lots of hugs and fun notes from his family

A new game for the Wii, picnic lunches at work, coffee in the middle of a cold day, notes, cards, a professional massage, pictures of his family, tickets to the PBR,

And it all culminated with a surprise party with his friends!
The goal was to have a present for Brent every day for the 30 days until his birthday. I missed a couple days, but hopefully still succeeded in making him feel special for his 30th birthday.
Sometimes it would be fun to just sit back and think there's no more character issues to be mastered in my life, but that would just be lying to myself. I know I'll probably fail a lot throughout the year, but I'm okay with failing as long as I keep learning and growing. Throughout the last 30 days, the Lord has really made my heart excited for the refining that will happen in me as I work on this whole wife thing. I'll keep you posted =)