Saturday, June 30, 2012

And then I was 30

This afternoon this picture came to me via text. :)
Hubs is on the main land and will spend the day tomorrow in NYC before a flight back here in the evening.

I miss him.

And, today I turned 30.

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Million little ways I know I'm loved

There were moments in these last many days that I have felt the arms of my Lord so close around me. It was in the dark moments when I heard the whispers of truth and it was on the mountain top days where I could sense His joy in me.  One of the ways the Lord works is though His body - the local Church. I can testify, and I will, how deeply loved and cared for I have been while my husband has been away. The body of Christ has comforted, protected, loved and treasured me. The character and person of Christ is shown through them - it. was. awesome.

Tomorrow I turn 30 years old and enter a whole new decade. It's crazy to think about. 30 years. But really I have been celebrating my birthday this entire week - thanks to my church family and friends. I got to open a few more gifts this week from the Haiti team families, and it has been so much fun. In total I've received:
- Oreos & tissues
-Starbucks card
- fluffy pink sugar cookies
- sparklers and an olive garden card
- 30 gold coins

And all this from people who I'm not even blood related to. On top of these things I've had a brunch in my honor, cards in the mail, a Vera Bradley bible cover, texts and emails from people praying for me, babysitting offers, new wall decor, kcups and creamer, dinners with friends in their homes, a breakfast play date, deep conversation, etc. It has been a once in a lifetime kind of week! I feel like a queen. :) But even above all those awesome things and the million little ways I've felt loved - I have sensed something even more, even greater. Like the body of Christ just helped paint a picture of the Love of my Savior for me. Only...without the screaming children, coffee stains, cake crumbs, and clothes saturating heat. I've never felt alone or abandoned, only Grace, mercy and refreshment. My soul was thirsty for it. Who would have even thought a week without ones spouse would bring that?

And now we begin the descent... Daddy flies to the States tomorrow and will be home with us {Lord Willing} Sunday night. I'm giddy. And, in true form, I have a LOT of housework to finish. :) I know two little girls who are more then ready for our leader to return.
Yep. We've had a few more tears as we get to the end of the week. It's time. :) Praise God for His Grace to this momma this week.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Let's be honest...this is hard.

All in the span of 15 hours things have gotten rough. The three year old is grumpy, disrespectful and just plain ol' acting awful. My wee babe is teething - which, I can handle. But still...more crying there. Nap time is not happening as the three year old is currently kicking her wall and protesting. I could just scream! And, it's hot. It reached over 100 yesterday and its lingering around that today again. So thankful for our central air!

It's no coincidence that the topic of God's Grace is presently on my mind. More specifically the character of God's grace from Psalm 145 -

The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
Slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works.

When tempers are hot and patience runs dry and Momma's are missing daddy's... 
When the temptations to not even try surface...
When it seems like everyone in the house just cries all the time...
 I'm thankful for David's words of reminder about the character of MY God. Because on days like this I NEED, we NEED truth. We need to be reminded of WHO our God is and why we need to be like him - imitators... Christians.  Not for the purpose of just looking like Him, but for the ultimate goal of BEING like Him. 

There is a light at the end of this tunnel - it's called Sunday. 
But even when daddy is home and life normalizes - won't the battle against ourselves still wage? I have so much to learn. So thankful for my gracious God.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It's Wednesday...which means it's almost Sunday.

After a pretty calm day yesterday, we enjoyed a play date this morning.  The girls were exhausted and were practically begging to go down early for a nap once we got home. So here I sit - thinking about time and how it either seems to fly by or drags its feet. I'm feeling somewhere in the middle. It's hard to believe we are on day 6 without daddy, but also... we still have 4 more full days {and nights} to go.  This week has been so great and even pretty easy. Anyway, it's, basically almost Sunday. :) 

Tonight we are having dinner at a friends house for which I am thankful. I just have not been feeling the whole cooking thing with hubby gone. The girls could care less what I serve them, really. I still try to keep it fun and healthy...but, so weird to only cook for little girls. We are excited to go eat with friends. And, as Ava reminds me, "play wif their toys". 

I got to open another birthday present today! A Starbucks gift card was tucked into a very sweet birthday card. Ah, so thankful. A gal could get used to this opening a present EVERY day for a week! I'm so humbled and thankful for this church family. So thankful for the Lords direction here and His constant provision and reminders of His love for us. 

Back to thinking about time...
I turn 30 in 3 days. 3 days. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It's day FIVE up in here!

Half way point! Wooooo hoooo! 5 more days till hubs is home. We are all so eager to see and hug our daddy. We've kept busy and I'm actually feeling a little tired this morning. But, I'll blame most of that on the new Janette Oke book I started last night. It's an oldie but a goodie.... "A Woman named Damaris". Anyone read that... in the 90's? :) {btw, don't really click to look...just snagged it for an example} I def burnt a few hours of the late night candles to get part of the way through it. A few weeks ago my friend Andrea handed over a stack of these Oke "classics" and I've already polished off one!
A Woman Named Damaris (Women of the West #4) 
We have kept busy around here. Yesterday we had a play date and lunch at a friends house. It was lovely. The kids feasted on Mac n' cheese and hotdogs while the mommas had those AH-MAZING Berry almond salads from Wendys :) Both our hubbys are away this week, so its wonderful to have each other to talk to, laugh with, and share heart issues with. I'm so thankful for those kinds of friendships the Lord is allowing me to build.

Last night Ava and I did some balloon painting - that was highly anticipated and asked about every half hour. ;) She did a great job and I was impressed with how she took her time and focused in on her task. Once it dries we'll frame it up and add it to her bedroom. 
And, not to be left out... little sis clawed at my legs for attention the whole time. :) 
After painting and all that fun - I found the girls doing this... 
Folks, I think we've entered the "tea party" stage. I'm so excited! I have Ava a few real glass tea cups and you would have thought I'd given her bars of gold. They play at this table all the time now - even now I'm watching them pretend to serve each other. Well, at least, Ava is. August is just smiling at the fact she's allowed to sit in the big girl chair.
I love these girls. I love this awesome responsibility. 

Continuing on with birthday gifts - today I got to open another one. 
So far I've opened: mint oreos & tissues - for times when I felt like crying I could grab a cookie instead, 30 gold coins for my 30th and golden birthday, and today... those amazing super soft sugar cookies with pink frosting. The card was so sweet and went with the cookie theme - about being a tough cookie while Brad was away, but to be a smart cookie if I needed anything. So creative! I love these people! And yes, all 3 of us have already had a cookie...before 9am. Hey, it's a special week after all! 

Today is kind of a down day, in the sense of not much going on. This morning is supposed to be play group at the beach day - but, wondering if the day off just might be more appropriate. I need to go to the store as we are completely out of fruit and I don't really have a plan for lunch or dinner. I'm thinking of turning half of our unfinished basement into a workout space, or, painting the upstairs hallway, or, doing nothing and just enjoying time with my ladies. 

5 more days... 
We can do this.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday

Happy Homemaker Monday 
It's day #4 of daddy being in Haiti. It's a no communication type missions trip, so, what I know is: He is in Haiti, he is serving the Lord with the rest of his 18 team mates, He is probably sweating. :) I have googled the area several times where he is working - it's not pleasant. I'm really hoping and praying this experience impacts our team and that the Lord is glorified through it. I know He will be!

Happy Monday, by the way. I'm excited for this week. I have several things planned for my little ladies - play dates, new crafts, etc. Let's hop to some HHM! 

The weather:::
80's, 90's and even up to 100 this week. I've got the kids pool set up and full - even if I'm the only one who goes in. :)  Due to the tropical storm that went past Haiti, looks like they are in the same temps there. This might be a blessing as it's normally WAY hotter!

On my reading pile:::  
::   Bible. Book of 1 Kings.
::   "Julia's Last Hope" by Janette Oke
::   Finishing "Made to Crave" this week - hopefully.
::  A few chapters in "Strong Women Soft Hearts" for bible study.

On my TV:::
- Our cable picked up the NEW Disney Jr channel. Loving it. It's all preschool aged shows, no commercials and the cute Disney movies... 24 hours a day. Last night we watched, "The rescuers down under" - one I loved as a kid! 
- I'll admit that I watched some of the "Sister Wives" marathon last night on TLC. Ugh. It hurts my heart - they struggle so much and I find myself yelling at the TV, "because this is NOT God's plan for you!". Bah.

On the menu for this week:::
Yikes! With hubby away this week, I have minimal food planned in general.

Monday -  Some salad for mommy using whatever I have left in the fridge. Noodles for the girls.
Tuesday - baked hamburgers
Wednesday - Dinner at a friends house
Thursday - Dinner at a friends house
Friday - Brunch with a friend and... maybe eggs and toast for dinner.
Saturday - MY BIRTHDAY! Not sure.
Sunday - Whatever I can find in the freezer or cupboards, honestly.

On my to do list:::
Clean first floor
Paint the upstairs hallway
Deep clean bathroom
Organize the hutch - I'm making a kids craft drawer, so all my things need to go!

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
Well... Ava and I are doing LOTS of craft type things this week. We'll be doing some balloon painting and more finger painting later this week. Personally, not really doing much creating.

Homemaking Tips:::
If toys are broken, missing parts, or just not played with... GET RID OF THEM! 
I'm finding half of my overflow problem in this area is from toys or half-toys with no purpose! I don't know why I have such a hard time getting rid of stuff like that, but, it does help so much.

Looking around the house:::
My girls have trashed the living room. Toys, craft paper, sippy cups and books litter the entire floor. August is trying to climb onto the couch with her chubby 1 year old legs. Ava is still in her jammy shirt from sleeping. Disney Jr is on for a few minutes while I drink my coffee and mentally prepare for the day.

From the camera:::
30 golden coins for my GOLDEN birthday this week! If you didn't read my post from the weekend - here's whats happening...
The families of those who are in Haiti all got together and got me a birthday present to open every day this week until my birthday!  Yesterday I opened Mint Oreos and mini packages of tissues - cute, so if I need to cry I can have some chocolate and tissues. :) Today was the gold coins! How thoughtful is this?! I love it! 
Something fun to share:::
The Gospel Coalition {for women} was this past week and apparently they are putting up all the sessions, plenary sessions and workshops online! Check it out here! 

I know I'm eager to listen to some of these when the girls are asleep in the evenings. We, women, NEED to hear truth!

On my prayer list:::
My husband in Haiti, and his team.
My children - especially my 3 year old who seems to be missing daddy so much already!
Diligence in getting things done around here

Bible verse, Devotional:::
Still loving 1 Kings - entering the part where Solomon's riches are described.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Day 3, and some tears.

Today is day 3. We spent a great morning at church followed by lunch and playtime at a friends house. It was lovely to spend the main meal with a family :) It's only three days in and I miss our chaotic, noisy, family dinners around our table. I'm so thankful for our church family who do an excellent job at being "family" to me during these times.

When I pulled up the driveway upon arriving home from the service - I found a gal from church and her soon standing on my back porch. I was surprised! They were holding what looked like presents and gift bags...curious. They brought the gifts inside and this is what I read:
You cannot know how blessed and special I felt in that moment. And still now. :) My 30th birthday week has begun and I'm so thankful for these people who love me and thought of me in such a special way! I get to open a gift a day and I'm giddy about it!

The girls and I are doing "ok" so far. Last night my biggest girl was struggling. She misses daddy so much, bedtime is usually his thing, complete with stories, rocking, etc. Big, fat, alligator tears just came and came - so we talked about daddy, we looked at pictures, and then changed the subject. I'm leaning so hard on the grace of God during those times, especially. I feel inadequate in those moments as a momma. How do I help my baby's breaking heart, when mine is aching too? Bah.

Tomorrow we start our full week. We'll have dinner and playtime at a friends house tomorrow night - and we have a craft and maybe a trip to the splash park for the morning/afternoon. Sounds like a good start to me! Thank you for praying for us and checking on us and loving us! Keep it up! 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Days 1 and 2.

Well, we survived our first full day and night without daddy... without any tears. Though, my 3 year old did get a little weepy at bedtime. I was so proud of her for being brave. Holding onto her "daddy snuggle shirt" helps, I think. :) I don't blame her for needing that... I have "daddy snuggle pillows" on our bed. Smells like old spice and his bath soap. {sigh}

Yesterday was spent:
-gathering craft supplies at Michaels
-pit stop at Kohls to look for sandals for the girls...and having no luck.
-lunch at Culvers after mommy's weigh in for WW. The irony there is...huge.
-filling up the pool in the backyard
-a mini water balloon fight
-swimming and outdoors time
-Pocahontas on Disney Jr. with popcorn!
-August falling down the stairs {more on that later...}
-Bedtime stories
-Mommy having rocky road ice cream after the babies were asleep :)

I was literally singing praises to God that they day felt so so easy. I received so many texts throughout the day from people telling me they were praying for us - and folks, we could tell! Thank you!

Today is the day where I have little to nothing planned. Which, could be fine or could be a disaster. I'm learning that busy little hands and minds leave little room for mischief and tears. We started the morning with breakfast and then the girls played with their toys for awhile. For Ava that meant Polly Pocket and for August it was repeatedly climbing up and down the kids play table. She is a climber, that one! Climbs on anything now. She even knows how to hike that little leg up on the couch and pull up onto it. yikes.

Anyway, while I cleaned the kitchen I set Ava up for some finger painting with her new paint set. At Michaels yesterday I had her pick out two pieces of big scrapbook paper so she could finger paint one and we'll balloon paint the other. She choose...PINK {shocking right} and turquoise! She did a great job creating a masterpiece and it lasted at least 30 minutes :)
When August wakes up we'll take a trip to the mall nearest us. Hubby bought me a pair of TOMS for my birthday - and I need to exchange for a bigger size. And since Target is right there... we may as well go in. I need milk anyway.

So, that's that. Keep us in your prayers? So far I'm feeling confident and loved and easily able to lean on the Lord through this. And, really, the girls just want my TIME - something I can freely give to them while daddy is away. We'll be good.

And, August is ok from her fall. That lil' bugger. She knows how to do stairs {though shaky} and loves to do it herself. Normally I walk behind her to go up and behind her to go down - last night she literally sped past me and attempted head first to go down the stairs. She tumbled down the 6 top stairs and landed on her back. I was paralyzed and felt like it was all slow motion. 2 minutes later she was fine and grunting for me to hand her a toy...and her bottle. Not a scratch! Praise God! She def keeps me on my toes all the time now. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

There they go

Elevate Students {and a few parents} head to Haiti. 

3am came right on schedule this morning. 
The alarm went off and hubs got up to get ready. I had cried the whole day prior and was thankful that my sleepiness wasn't allowing any more tears today. Today was the day of rejoicing - it was finally here! Months of meetings, planning, fundraising, and praying had all led up to this time. 

I tiptoed downstairs to mumble my goodbyes. I noticed how even at 3:15am he was handsome. It's in these moments where I can actually feel the grace covering me. How I can just say goodbye like that - turn around - and go back to bed. No fear. No panic. Just grace.

They made it to NJ around 10am this morning. They'll spend the day in NYC sightseeing. Tomorrow they'll board a plane and make their way to Port Au Prince, Haiti. Lord willing, we'll see them again next Sunday night. 

I miss him. Already. I knew I would. But I am so excited to see how the Lord uses this time in his life. I can't wait to hear his heart when he comes home. And now I pray and ask God to keep us three safe, here.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Oh, Iowa.

On our way home from church last night my gas light came on. I also needed contact solution AND a pacifier as all of them seem to have vanished into thin air! This would mean that now instead of just stopping quickly at Walgreens - that a fill up would be necessary, too. Have I mentioned it was just the girls & I?

And then as I'm driving down the road - I glance to my right and see THIS lovely summer storm brewing. Sure enough while I'm thinking, "gee, that looks bad", a weather service announcement came on the radio. Yikes. I've never seen or experienced a tornado - but, for all I knew there could have been one tucked into this here wall of cloud. {there wasn't...I found out later}

So that was how our Summer Solstice ended last night. So much for the "longest day" all year, huh?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Putting it all together

This morning I can't shake the deep thoughts. Which is good. And, I don't really even try to shake these kinds of things really. While cleaning my girls rooms I thought about them and what they need, who they are, who they will be. I was reminded with each toy placed back in the bin, each dress hung back up, each tutu stored in the dress up closet... that this job is intense. Sometimes it paralyzes me. I'm their mom.

I read an article last night put out by the Gospel Coalition on teaching our children Civility. Ye-ouch! Ah how my heart was convicted. And you know, I thank God for that each time. What a mighty God to care about us so much that He sends His Holy Spirit to convict and work on us. Amen! Would you take some time to check out the blog post? Just click here. :)

In other thoughts -
I'm reading through 1 Kings right now. I love it. In college when I knew a speaker was going to go through that book {or any of those Kingly books} I tried to be front n' center. The storybook type reading just seems to click with me - I can picture myself in the story. Funny how maybe that's even the point. :)
Today, however, was about Solomon's building and building and building some more. I'm not a contractor or, reading about cubits and inches and what not maybe wasn't "awesome". All the same its just really encouraging, if nothing else, to read of Men of God who were following His plan! I see the parallel in my own life so often and I am continually reminded, still, of David's challenge to Solomon before he died:

"When David was about to die, he instructed his son Solomon,  “I’m about to leave this world. Be strong and mature.  Fulfill your duty to theLord your God. Obey his directions, laws, commands, rules, and written instructions as they are recorded in Moses’ Teachings. Then you’ll succeed in everything you do wherever you may go." 1 Kings 2

The civility article mentioned above drew me back to thinking about this passage last night. David challenged Solomon to be mature, fulfill what the Lord had called him to, obey really in all things. Though David was not a perfect father - he was the "man after God's own heart". He knew that above all things that leaving this legacy of faith and character in the Lord was what really mattered. And I want to be that kind of parent for my daughters. I want our faith in the Lord, how we treat the people in our lives, how we LOVE to be such a focus. I want to bless my children with an example of civility - not for the sake of civility - but to glorify the Lord and lead my children to Him! In this way we will see success!

I guess what I'm trying mostly to say here is - how thankful I am when the Lord pieces these things together in my heart and mind. Days of learning things seem to be woven together beautifully over time.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Getting ready for "THE" week

As much as I try NOT to have a countdown to hubby's departure, it is happening in my head anyway. :/ I even got teary eyed today thinking that next Sunday it would be me flying solo with the girls at church. BUT I am SO EXCITED for his trip - truly!

Anywhooo... This week I found some time to jump on Pinterest and gather some ideas for the time while daddy is gone. Who knew kids needed so much more attention and direction when just one parent goes away! I've learned my lesson and will not depend on Ava to entertain herself {entirely} next week. Here's a peek at what will be happening in our home during daddy's trip to Haiti:

Balloon Painting 
Balloon painting! 
And, after we are done painting - we'll hang the balloons on string to dry. Those will then become a "Welcome Home" banner for daddy! :)

Toddler Skeeball 
Toddler skeeball!
I held onto the last diaper box for this one! 

Paint in ziplock bags, taped to table. Great distraction, no mess! 
Mess-less finger painting. :) These are ziploc bags taped down - filled with paint. Think magna doodle type deal!

And, last, but not least -
I'm looking to do something like this:

Positive reinforcement jar.  For weeks where daddy is away.

 My hearts desire is to be gentle, kind, and patient with my girls. I have been struggling lately in each of those areas. Bah! Brad and I are going to concoct some sort of rewards system that I hope to carry on into Ava's preschool time this fall. I'd love to hear your ideas on this. Pinterest had a TON of similar ideas. 

So, yea, lots to prep for. Not to mention getting daddy ready to go and out the door. So thankful he doesn't leave until Friday! 

I'm doing really super great with my weight watchers this weekend - which is so encouraging. I had a few weeks slump, only losing ounces or even gaining a pound here and there. Annoying. I've been enjoying lots of fresh veggies with olive oil and sea salt {yum!} and keeping close track of my "Points". I lost a pound since Friday. A pound people. This is all fine and good and motivating - until - I got my Midwest Living magazine in the mail with THIS as the cover. Yep, how does one feel motivated to lose weight when drooling looking at this? I'll tell you - they have cucumbers in olive oil and garlic salt instead. I jealous.

Good thing I love my veggies... and can factor in something like this with WW. I love that program! Granted, it may mean eating raw veggies the rest of the day...but, I could do it. :) 

We are officially into having Sunday nights off for the summer around here. Normally we would get together with church friends or something - but, tonight its a laid back, messy living room kind of night. Hubs is excited to turn on 60 minutes - or favorite show. :) And, I'm excited to just be home and together. Praise the Lord for a summer rest tonight! 

And, if you are in the area - let me know if you'd like to get together next week. We would love to plug in some fun play dates! {is that lame to say??? oh well}

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Summer Days...BBQ's...Bounce Houses

Do you remember being a kid and how FUN these things were? I do. And I have to tell you how much I'm loving watching my own children love them now. Well, at least, the 3 year old. :) 

Today we had our church's annual Backyard BBQ and Classic Car show. The parking lot was full of antique and classic cars, people checking them out, tents set up to eat in, etc. And it was HOT HOT HOT! A perfect summer day for a BBQ. 

I'm trying to be very intentional this summer in making each day count. Summer seems to be over in a blink - and, after not really having one after our horrible experience last summer, we want to really make a mark with this year. So far we have done the local pool, our splash park down the street, the farmers market, church bbq and tonight we'll go swimming with the rest of the staff at one of the church members private pool! :)

Hubby heads out of the country on Friday and I'm trying to think of a few creative ideas to do with the girls. I LOVE being home - it's easier, safer {usually}, and free. But, I see how sometimes its almost necessary to get out and get moving. So, what kinds of summer fun things do you do with your families?

*photo taken from SBC fb page :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

.Hungry Jack Syrup lies.

It seems everyone in the family {almost} woke up 1) too early 2) grumpy beyond belief and... 3) Hungry!  We purchased a package of 7 grain pancake mix from our local farmers market last weekend and today was the day we planned on using it. Pancakes are a special tradition in our home. One problem - out of syrup. Little things like that just cast a shadow on my day for some reason. I feel like we plan things out and its now the special time - and there is always, always, ALWAYS some sort of interruption or detour.  >>Admitting now that I'm one of the grumps today.<< I'm usually pretty go-with-the-flow, but today this was especially annoying. Maybe because...

Our 3 year old was up at random times last night. Just grumping. Crying in her sleep. Angry in her sleep. I've never seen such odd things while someone sleeps. I went in to comfort her at one point and she was having a sort of fit/tantrum...all with eyes closed. So weird! I'm sure its related to growing and being up too late and a rough week missing daddy. Anyway, we had a rough night with that one. 

One year old attempted to wake up at 6am. I heard her in there grumpin'. No pleasant coo's or babbles. It was grumps, grunts and fake crying. {yes, at 1 she has that down already} How my heart just hurts on mornings where kids wake up grumpy. I know I should get a grip and just work harder at being pleasant and setting the tone - fighting the temptation to get grumpy myself. But so often I fail and so often I feel defeated even before my feet hit the floor or my mind has had its first thought of the day. Even now I'm downcast - tears right on the verge of escaping. 

So anyway, the rest of the early morning was met with fits, tantrums, raised voices, impatience, time outs and a very flustered Mommy. I just don't get it. Here I am trying to give thanks and focus my mind and heart on the work the Lord laid before me, and, secretly I'm wishing I could just hide for the day. Even flipping pancakes caused my blood pressure to rise as kids whined, complained, and tried to rush me. The baby is crying all the time now. Always wants to be held. Always fussing. 

And, to top it off...
Hungry Jack syrup lies. It says the cap is "no drip".
When it finally got around to being my turn to eat - I found one bottle of Hungry Jack syrup, with streams of mess flowing down every side. I knew I couldn't trust that little smiley faced lid. 

It's calmer now. Baby is sleeping. Hubby reading. Big girl hiding in her afghan tent in the dining room. I have David Nevue playing on the laptop and it seems to be calming us all - softening edges and wrapping up those frazzled nerves. But really I know that's the Lords work - starting in my own heart.  Ann Voskamp has a post out today that spoke to right where I "feel" right now. Overwhelmed. I try not to use that word often, or like a crutch, because its easy to blame if it were a person.  But, great post and great truth for my Friday.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's almost the end. {our crazy week}

For those of you who serve in local church ministry... perhaps you will understand this best. Though, everyone knows what a busy week is like. We have been non-stop GO GO GO for about a month, and, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

At the end of May we traveled to Ohio for my cousin Bailie's graduation. I cannot believe my baby cousin is all growed up now {sniff sniff}. That was a drive there and back, 12 hours both ways. Phew! The week prior we had graduation open houses and actual graduations to attend. It was fun!

Then we went right into our week of VBS at church. This was Sunday through Thursday night from 6-8:30. Bradley also had work the whole day prior to those evenings, too. This week was the Middle School Plunge missions trip to downtown, etc. {more on that later}and the start up of our Summer Study on Wednesday nights. It's a scaled down summer time bible study - just to help keep us together and focused. We have much smaller numbers, but just as good content. Hubs is teaching from Revelation about the 7 churches - only, we have narrowed it down to 4 of them...because we only have 4 weeks to meet! This weekend we have our Backyard BBQ and car show. Then next week Brad has to buckle down and finalize for his trip to Haiti - which, begins on the 22nd. Breathe. I haven't digested this yet - our time apart, him going out of the country, etc.

Needless to say - we are loving what we do, but, sometimes it's a leetle exhausting.
Last night I put our 3 year old to bed {again} with tears in her eyes and a quivering lip. She misses daddy. Which also translates - "mommy has been grumpy" and "I want the fun parent". I know that in this new life of ours she will need to adapt and learn to let daddy go... just like I'm still learning to do. And I do keep it positive and remind her how awesome it is we get to serve Jesus!

A day at a time. Today is the last day of the Middle School Plunge and then we'll get a whole day tomorrow with nowhere to be. :) It's almost the end!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday

Good morning from Iowa! I used the "wrong" photo for this link up - sorry, Sandra! But, figured I'd leave it today...because it's so pretty and it's already there. :) My husband is doing a local domestic missions trip with some of our middle school students this week - I'm hoping to post some of what they are accomplishing later on this week. They are right down town working with low income children, providing food and fun to kids who don't have much of either. We are praying for IMPACT on the students serving! We really do have so much!

The weather:::
79 is supposed to the high today. Then back to high 80's and 90's for the rest of the week! Summer is fully here. We are loving our free splash park down the street :)  

On my reading pile:::  
"Strong Women Soft Hearts" by Paula Rinehardt
"Made to Crave" by Lysa Terkeurst
1 Kings 
On my TV:::
3 year old and I just finished "Mad Hungry" with Lucinda Scala Quinn! It's our favorite cooking show. I still don't get why she likes it. She's 3! But, it is entertaining and Lucinda an excellent host! 

Also...Is it super nerdy to admit that I'm PUMPED about the Hallmark Fathers Day movie marathon coming up?! They all look uber cheesy, but, hoping to watch a few {maybe even with daddy}.

On the menu for this week:::
Monday -   Seasoned steaks on the grill, grilled and marinated zucchini :) 
Tuesday -   Artichoke Chicken Pizza w/ Greek Romaine Salad
Wednesday -  German Style Hamburgers & peachy glazed carrots
Thursday -  Orange Pork Stir Fry over rice 
Friday - Spinach Tortellini and sliced sweet peppers
Saturday -   7 grain pancakes!!! 
Sunday - Fathers Day. We'll probably take daddy out for his choice :) 

*all these recipes you can find at Taste of Home's website, as I'm cooking my way through their cookbook right now.     

On my to do list:::
Lots of laundry today. Baby woke a pukey bed. {gag}
General tidying.
Would love to work on our bedroom during nap time. 

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::
This weekend I finished up my big girls nite stand. :) I think it looks fab and it's already in her room. Just need to find some girly drawer knobs and we'll be set! I might distress the drawer as it already has some brush strokes.  Not bad considering I used leftover pink paint from big girls room and 1 1/2 cans of spray paint :) 

Summer Fun:::
We'll.... we ventured downtown to the Farmers Market this weekend. It was HOT and way overcrowded. But, we did score some yummy pancake mix that we fell in love with last year. The girls love seeing all the dogs people bring, too. My fave was trying one of the fruit tarts from a local vendor. It was...delish! 

Looking around the house:::
Pretty well cleaned up. We had a birthday party to go to on Saturday night, so the house was all clean for the babysitter. {blush} Just need to vacuum again.
Ava is playing Polly Pockets constantly these days. Out of nowhere its like she learned how to play independently.

From the camera:::
Sad day. My little ol' Kodak is officially DEAD. :( I'm secretly hoping I get a ton of money in the mail some year so I can buy a decent one. 

Something fun to share:::
Our church is hosting our annual Backyard BBQ and car show this weekend. It's always a great time of food, fellowship, and...acting like you know a ton about antique cars. {of which I do not} We have some men who own several and know lots and lots - they are good at explaining things. :) 

On my prayer list:::
Hoping Augs isn't really sick. Dr checked her out today and says her tonsils were a little big - could just be a virus. I feel like I hear that A LOT.  

Bible verse, Devotional::: 
1 Kings is awesome. I'm loving going back through the early days of Solomon...before all those wives and mischief! :) 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Not that it's easier...

This morning I was reading through 1 Kings. I've always enjoyed reading through the books of the bible which feature stories on David, etc. God worked so mightily in and through them - motivates me, another cracked vessel, that I can be used!

In the beginning of 1 Kings we read the story of how Adonijah (one of David's sons) tried to crown himself King. David was old and near death - so this son tried to move in quickly. The only problem was, it wasn't his place - Solomon (another son) was the promised King here. So Bathsheba and Nathan the prophet went to David to get to the bottom of this situation.  Short story even shorter... David announces and proclaims that Solomon, indeed, will be crowned King... and, NOW. :) 

What caught my attention this morning in the middle of this all too familiar story was David's challenge to Solomon. I must have read it 20 times in my life and it never struck me as it has today.

"...Keep the charge of the Lord your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgements, and His testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn." 1 Kings 2:3

Hmmmm. I love this. I love this for so many reasons. What a great reminder for even the readers today {you and me}that following and walking with the Lord does bring such prosperity in our lives! It's not that life gets easier...
but, we are STRONGER in the Lord.

I'm thankful this morning for the promises we can claim as believers. I'm thankful that we have a guideline for how we live in this broken world where everyone seems to be making up their own "rules". I'm thankful for an unchanging God who loves me and wants the best for me. He never promised an easy life for any of us - but, He promises to be there and walk right along with us every step of the way.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

VBS... and, some random.

Bug Zone has been happening here all this week. We are all just about wiped out exhausted. But VBS is so worth it! I'm in the baby nursery and probably have the easiest job on staff... but it's still a blast to watch children laugh, run, and enjoy time at church. :) My 3 year old is having the time of her life! I love watching her dance and sing during the closing song time - she just loves it. Warms a momma's heart.
My husband has been quite the character this week - seriously. Cory the Cockroach, to be specific. Try not to be jealous. :) He's the one on the left...dressed as a ... cockroach.
When he's not "Cory", he's a pest eliminator. {ironic?}
But, seriously, it's a fabulous time and we love our church so much and praise GOD for all He's doing this week in childrens lives. 

On an entirely different note - Summer is in full swing. It's been in the upper 80's and will get back into the 90's this weekend. I've accepted it. Remember...I love my fall. But, I can't say I'm hating these lazy days by the splash pool and losing weight just be sweating. 

This morning my friend Andrea and I went to the splash park near our homes. It's a free place and the water just gets to be about a foot deep - perfect for all our littles. :) There are a few fountains, 2 playground areas and FREE lunch at 11:40. Can't beat it. During lunch time today some Iowa institution on vegetables {err...something} was there passing out plates of baked asparagus. Yep, asparagus - every kids fave, right? They wanted the children to try the veggie and cast a bean vote {throw beans into the jar}on whether they, A) LOVED it, B) Liked it or C) Tried it. Ava voted A because she LOVES asparagus. :) That's my girl! 
Apparently they plan to do votes like this throughout the summer on other foods - I heard next week is strawberries. Fun! 

And one more very random and different note. 
I officially hate dieting and losing weight. I love the smaller size and results, obviously. But... I just feel starving all the time this week and every single food looks like I have to have it RIGHT NOW. Ever have those weeks? I'm super curious to see what the WW scale has to say tomorrow. Bah. My mother sent us home with boxes of girl scout cookies 2 weeks ago... and, that's all I'll say about that. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Happy Homemaker Monday!

Good morning, ya'll! We are full throttle into our week of VBS here with our church. It's a crazy, busy, fun week of ministry! I'm working with the babies in the nursery...slaving away in the A.C. :) Have a wonderful Monday!

The weather:::
Oh I dunno. Thinking HOT as it's already warm in here. Might need to turn the air back on - my allergies are going crazy.
On my reading pile:::  
Finished chapter 1 of "Strong Women Soft Hearts" by Paula Rinehardt. Good stuff! Excited to start the bible study with it {and a friend} here next week! 

Also finishing "Made to Crave" by Lysa Teurkeurst 

On my TV:::
Three year old and I watched, "Mad Hungry" one of our favorite cooking shows this morning while the baby slept. She's a girl after my own heart...already loving cooking shows! 

On the menu for this week:::
Simple menu plan as the nights are CRAZY with VBS. :)
Monday - PBJ's, baby carrots & ranch dip
Tuesday -   Spaghetti
Wednesday -  Ham and Cheese roll ups 
Thursday -   Scrambled eggs & toast/jam
Friday - Rosemary Lime Chicken and Romaine Salad
Saturday -   PF Changs :) 
Sunday -   Strip steaks and marinated veggies on the grill! 

On my to do list:::
Girls and I are hitting the grocery store as soon as the baby wakes up.
Then there's...
-general tidying
-putting ALL the clean clothes away
-vacuum the living room
-sweet front porch and kitchen floors
-clean out the van, it's still a mess after out trip to Ohio

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::

I've been driving myself batty with pinterest lately. I came across 3 mini pallets and I don't know what to do with them. They are too cute and there has to be SOMETHING I can turn them into. 

Also, painting a night stand for my Ava girl. White spray paint is already done - now we are searching for cute drawer knobs and I need to put a coat of PINK on the drawer. :) 

Summer Fun:::
I'm SHARING Sandra's...because this is TOO COOL!
"Did you know that Venus is going to be passing in front of the Sun this week, more specifically on Tuesday?  
Well if you get a chance, you might want to see if you can observe it for yourself, it's the last chance that many of us will ever have to see it again. 
If you can't see it safely, remember that you can't stare straight into the sun, no telescopes or binoculars without the appropriate gear.....there will be a live camera on the Transit of Venus website that will be covering this event.  What a great way to see with the kids AND learn something too :)
We have a telescope that actually has a Sun filter, so hubby left it all set up for me, all I have to do is pull it out Tuesday evening and enjoy it with the kids, will try to snap some pics too :)"

Looking around the house:::
My bedroom is always somehow the last room to get attention. {sigh}
Seems to always resemble a large closet or...laundromat. :/

From the camera:::
I love our VBS theme this year - BUG ZONE! Here is the stage at church. Aren't the "legos" super cute!?
Photo: Vbs stage

Something fun to share:::

Splash parks are opening up around here. Many {in my area} offer a FREE lunch as part of the school districts whatever-whatever. It's a fun morning to take the kids to the splash park, grab a FREE lunch and then head home for naps! :) 

On my prayer list:::

VBS - that each worker would come with ENERGY and passion for whatever they are doing.