Saturday, October 4, 2014

Weekend Update


Helloooo weekend! And hello October! Two of my favorite things all rolled into one :) Autumn is settling in nicely around these parts and while life has by no means slowed down... I am finding little times day by day to enjoy my favorite season.

Speaking of seasons - wow, this one of raising 3 little kids is a fun one. And crazy.
My littles are growing up way too quickly and we are really trying to treasure the days and memories.
Jane, 4 months old THIS week!

Ava, soon to be 6! (in Dec.)

August, bouncy 3 year old
Jane is growing leaps and bounds and getting all chunky and completely adorable. I love it! She has just started doing this very loud yell/laugh thing and scares herself every time. She adores her big sisters and is really getting into grabbing at toys and...my glasses and earrings. Ouch! Of all three girls she is my first spit up baby, which is taking some getting used to. Kinda hoping she grows out of that quickly. Otherwise, I would love to freeze time and keep her right as she is - curious, perky and loooooves her momma. On a few occasions now I have noticed that when I hold her, she lays her head on my shoulder and chest still - even though she is more then capable of holding her head up. She's my first baby to keep doing that into the 4th month! Loving it! Jane Evelynn, you are so precious to me.
August is really diggin' this whole big sister at school all day thing. {grin} We are finding our new groove and she's loving access to basically all the toys during the day. My Augs keeps herself busy which is so different (and refreshing) to me. That girls plays and pretends all day long! From tea parties to barbies to coloring and dress up - she's busy! I am so thankful for her happy disposition and easy going little temperment. The Lord knew I needed her. Her hair is finally long enough to put into a tiny braid or a mini-bun and it seriously doesn't get any cuter. :) Love love love my 3 year old! I'm eager to start preschool with her in a few weeks. We are just waiting for baby sis to catch onto her 4 hour routine first. ;)
Ava is my big girl now. In so many ways. Kindergarten is going wonderfully well and she enjoys it. We had our first parent-teacher meeting the other night where we found out she is above average in several categories, and right in the norm for others! So proud! Her teacher commented that she is a joyful child - always whistling, skipping, etc. Oh how that warms the heart! I don't always see that side at home. She is really into journaling and drawing - always has a pen in her hand... just like her momma. But don't tell her that! :) She turns 6 in December and I don't see how that's even possible.
Hubs and I are adjusting and enjoying a new phase in life with one in school. Brad is now a seminary student and just had his first "on campus" class in Kentucky this week. I think he really enjoyed his time and I know he loves the learning. Ministry continues to be busy and fruitful and we see many new salvations and baptisms at our church. It's awesome! We've had a whole slew of teens get baptized and it's been neat to see last years' class branch out to college and really already be impacting the world for Jesus! Out of the last class 4 of them chose Christian colleges or universities! We haven't seen that in all our 6 years here so far. :) Not that you can't make an impact at other schools - but what a cool experience to watch kids choose those schools for the purpose of becoming a pastor, womens ministry leader and teacher! We are excited to get to know the new classes now and build new relationships. I've been reminded recently how hard that can be - but how worth it the teens are. :)

Personally, I'm coming out of a bit of a slump. Housework and raising kids and full time ministry was feeling a bit overbearing for awhile... but, the Lord has faithfully pulled me through (sometimes kicking and screaming) and has restored the joy! Where would we be without our Father God? In my "down" time I've been doing a little crocheting, some decorating, a lot of kids clothes transitioning (3 girls?!!?!), started an instagram account, ordered my FIRST EVER IPHONE, welcomed a new niece into the world and started taking budgeting more seriously. :) Last night I was able to enjoy a girls night out with some of my best girls - which was so refreshing. It was the first time sans baby and we had a blast! Needed some mom time out and cheesecake factory was just the ticket!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

.::ch-ch-changes::.

As if life needed more change. We are at it again switching things up and making some much needed (albeit sometimes difficult) changes. Which explains why my blog has been little more then an online ghost town of a space. :)

First up, duh-duh-duhn...
Meet my friend, Dave. You've heard of him I'm sure. If not, here's a picture.
My husband and I are taking a "Financial Peace" course through our church. So far, SO good. We are only in week 3 and I feel like the take-aways have been helpful and eventually life changing. This week we'll be testing the waters of the envelope system and looking proactively into setting up a solid emergency fund. We have never done either of those - so this should be a good challenge. Our goal in taking this course is to really get a grip on our finances. We praise God that our only debt is student loans (Dave says a mortgage is not considered a debt), and I don't say that lightly... as we both have... enough. (boo!) But being in our early thirties with three children under our belt - we really feel NOW is the time to get serious and take control. We have always lived with the mindset that on payday you set out your tithe, pay your bills and then just don't spend. Imagine my slight surprise to find out there are better ways. :) I'm eager and excited to put what we've learned to practice! I'm also looking forward to being prepared for emergencies, broken whatevers, and extra expenses. {sigh}
So, big change. But it's time.

Next, managing this home and these children.
Yikes. This stay at home mom thing is not for the faint of heart. There are days when I go to bed feeling completely exhausted and yet I cannot actually remember why I'm so tired. Been there?
Part of my problem I'm realizing is that I haven't delegated much out - and I'm taking on everything. Which, I enjoy doing, but it's time for a change here also. So, today I jotted out a few jurisdiction charts for my children and started my "command center" that I hope to get done here within a few weeks. It will be a spot for kids to check off finished chores, see meal schedules, school info, etc. I grabbed a notebook and made a chore chart for myself as well. I constantly feel like I can't stay on top of the house work & organization - so I get overwhelmed and just sit down and do nothing. And then that goes on for several days until our home resembles a Hoarders episode. Or... until we are going to have company. Hey, just being honest.
The organized work schedule is something that I have thrived on in the past and I know it will help me stay on task, and then have designated intentional time for my babies throughout the day. I need this. My family needs this. We have been in survival mode since my 8th month of pregnancy until now. It.must.end.

And, bible study. Another new.
In my 19 years of walking with the Lord I don't think I've ever done a study on the Sermon on the Mount personally. This year our fall ladies bible study is based on just that and it's AWESOME. Seriously. Jen Wilken teaches on a video lesson and then we have great discussion time after. I'm already so challenged on topics like - what really does it mean to be salt? To be light? What exactly do the beattitudes mean? So good.

Lots of changes. Lots of busy but good things.
Ah, life is sweet.

Friday, September 12, 2014

There are no perfect days

For the last few days the sky has been gray.
The mornings start out cool and the sun is going down in a flame of oranges and reds at the end of the day.
It's my season.
A neighbors tree has the most amazing orange leaves that have started to change already. In the evenings you can stand on the porch and smell wood burning stoves and nearby bonfire pits, as people enjoy the last of the warm season. There's enough chill to notice. Fuzzy socks have been put back in our dresser drawers... for me, it's the best time of the year. I adore this season of all things Autumn.

And, while there is no such thing as a perfect day, we may have come close today. While my kindergartener was at school - the rest of the fam headed out for some library time. I love the library for many reasons - but especially when I'm going in search of cookbooks. I've been feeling so frazzled lately and slightly overwhelmed with all of life and responsibilities, etc. There is something so soothing to me to walk up and down rows of cookbooks just dreaming and thinking and planning. After finding a good one I rejoined the fam and we found some good fall themed books to read at home.
The book on the right is so fantastic! It was in the cookbook aisle but is such a good, fun, mommy read. It has recipes and little stories, crafty ideas and the authors family memories.


"Give me the splendid silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling, 
give me juicy autumnal fruit ripe and red from the orchard."
Walt Whitman

I'm eager to dig in and enjoy. And, because my husband knows of my joy in this season... he treated me to one of these gems. :) Oh pumpkin and apple everything. You are my favorites.
And now, as the youngest children nap and my hubby and big girl are out and about. The quiet. It's not perfect, but it sure is good.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Some thoughts before my next cup of coffee

Good morning and happy Monday! It's still early morning and the irony is not lost on this day...
I set my alarm for "early", as I'm still fighting to get up before everyone and get into the Word of God. I need it. I want it. I keep trying and trying to do things in my own strength and by the end of the day that worn, weary feeling is worse - because I keep forgetting my source of strength. So I fight the drooping eyes and roll out of the bed, tip toe downstairs, brew the coffee, sit down to read and... the red lights on the monitor go off. Jane is awake. Of course she is, because I just sat down to read. (sigh)

But the Lord in his kindness to me - gave me a sweet child. She nurses quietly and dozes off and on before finishing up. Then while I read (some out loud to her) she just lays in my arms. I love that baby. We have our own precious morning thing going - and she's back to bed an hour later.

I just started reading through the book, "Discipline" by Elisabeth Elliot. Wow. Good stuff.
 
I enjoy Ms. Elliot's writing style and I'm thinking I have MUCH to learn from this book. Eager to grow and hear her wisdom.  I'm trying (again) to wake up early and spend time in the word... the older I get the more I realize how much discipline I NEED in my life. I'm a work in progress for sure.

I also took 30 minutes last night to watch this interview with Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. If you (like me) struggle with "how on earth do I raise these children without losing my brain?!"... you will be blessed and encouraged by them. It's worth your time. They have a lot of experience and are so tender to the Lord's working. I have always been a Duggar fan, but over the last few weeks I have been so thankful for this living example of a Mom who strives to raise her children to honor and love the Lord - and, each other! Go ahead... watch. :) You won't be disappointed.


Friday, August 29, 2014

First week down. And, thoughts about this crazy life.

So I found this picture tonight and I have no memory of getting it taken, but, I love it. My biggest babies were so, so... little! Ava was probably 3 and August couldn't have been more then 10ish months?! Jane wasn't even a thought at this point. Holy moly. While I look like an incredibly goofy momma, I still just love this picture. Life is just crazy fast and sometimes I feel like if I blink, another day is gone.

We made it through week one of Kindergarten and all 5 of us are enjoying it. Ava LOVES her class, teacher and all the new activities. August loves having all the toys to herself during the day, Jane loves sleeping, and I am loving a few hours to get things done and get back to creating. :) This week I said to a friend that I felt bad about enjoying the void of one child at school. She reminded that I don't need to feel that way, it's OK to enjoy the new routine. Especially when everyone is SO happy. So, I am now thoroughly enjoying it. We had a parents meeting last night and I'm eager to be a blessing to Ava's teacher and the staff at her school. What a HUGE opportunity! My imagination is already going a mile a minute with ideas.

The days are different and we are learning our new day-to-day. I so enjoy packing up my big girls "Sophia the First" lunch box and watching her (shall we say) creativity on the days that I let her choose her own outfit. THAT is proving to be the most challenging thing so far! Ha. I'm back to cooking almost every night and things are just feeling really normal. {sigh}

This morning my husband took our 3 year old out for the morning on a daddy/daughter date - leaving me time to pop Jane in the baby seat and check out some of my favorite stores basically alone. So refreshing to just have quiet. I walked up and down almost every aisle of our local antique mall - it was wonderful - and I found a few pieces of vintage silverware for my crafty dining room project. I don't know what it is about antique stores - but, I always get emotional when I look at stuff. Isn't that so strange? All this old classy stuff that used to be somebody's belongings, now lining the aisles getting picked through by thirty-somethings who think that once super practical day to day things are awesome decorations. Ha! Can I still blame postpartum for these random emotional dramas? Anyway, it was a wonderful time out and I even have a few minutes to check out a local thrift store for some cheapy frames. Score! My project is almost complete and I'll put up some pics once its finished. Here is the gist of what I'm going for, from Pinterest:

antique silverware burlap minus lace frame 
Now that I have a few extra hours in my day when my two littlest nap, I am so enjoying really getting back into creating things for the home. I've missed it. It doesn't come naturally to me... but it's fun to look around and get ideas. Operation "really move in" is now in full effect. We've been here a year in October and I still have boxes. Still. One day at a time I suppose. 


Side note: Anyone else avoiding the news lately?
Wow it seems the world is minutes away from imploding on itself. So much sickness, sadness and sin. It's enough to make my heart break. I have found myself pondering the power of God a lot lately - even in the midst of so much ugliness. He promised He will return and make all things new. What a hope for those of us who believe! 

Monday, August 25, 2014

And there she went

The first time I held that 8 pound bundle I knew I was in for a whole new adventure. For 5 ( and a half...she would say) years we've experienced the highest joys and most troublesome trials of this thing called parenting. I can count on nine million hands the times I have failed. But I can also tell you that each time we felt such grace from our God.

This morning I watched my girl turn a page in our story. She started kindergarten with such admirable courage...without even looking back.

And as I kissed her forehead and turned to leave her classroom the tears came. My tears. Did I do this right? How will she do? Please Lord send her a good friend. How can we moms have 100 thoughts all at once like that?

This afternoon as I nursed the baby, who reminds me so much of my Ava, I just all out cried. Are we really this far into the story with her? Kindergarten? Wasn't I just nursing her and babbling silly pet names to her in whispers while she cooed?

And while I'm tempted to imagine any and every bad thing that could be... I will think on truth and I will trust and rejoice in the Lords plan. And just as I felt my heart could bust - I get a text from a friend. She works at Ava's school. Seems my girl got to be line leader, and the tears again. Mine. I am so proud of that girl and I can't wait to hear every detail of her big day.

I embrace our new page in this story. And I'm thankful for that little school just down the road.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The end of the season.

Roses!

We are mid August and the yard is starting to wrap things up.
I haven't gotten a lot of time to actually be outside to enjoy all the pretties. Having a baby threw a wonderful wrench in my attempt to garden beautiful flowers. Can't complain about that. :) But the other day while the girls were out playing, I grabbed the camera and explored. 
The end of the season is looking pretty good. 

The last of the hosta blooms.

Trumpet vine, my favorite.

Not sure what... but I love the fun shape of this leaf.


Our gorgeous BIG back yard tree.
Here's to a fantastic remainder of the month and to big yellow leaves here soon. {grin}
What's growing in your yard?