Saturday, September 28, 2013

Of haircuts and watching them grow up

On Thursday night I had about 8 inches of hair cut off. Chopped. It was well overdue and I love how easy the new 'do is. Please keep in mind I have a strict "no selfies" philosophy, and, I literally just took this from where I am sitting. But for the purpose of this post...

Isn't it amazing how much energy one can get from a simple hair cut? Now, to learn how to actually blow dry and style...

My 4 year old has been dubbed, "the queen of knots" by her mother. Her soft but thick hair seems to knot up after every time she lays down or even just plays. I'm not a fan of the screaming fits with each time I attempt to brush it out. Even with detangler and conditioner its horrible. After a while of trying to convince her she should have a good trim, after seeing my hair she was on board and ready for a cut.

We made a big event out of it. Starting with Caramel apple spice drinks @ Starbucks and dressed in a skirt (of course). Did you know that S-bux makes a "short" size drink? New to me!

We only had a few inches taken off but it looks so much better and healthier! Watching these girls grow up and change is such a blessing - but it pulls on my heart somethin' fierce, too. How I love these days of dresses, and pretend, and baby dolls and time spent with momma.

Is it possible that I'll have a 5 year old in two months? And just exactly how and when did my baby turn into this 2 1/2 year old rowdy?!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fall Ya'll.

Autumn Walk Heritage® Scented Candle 
It's official, because I just purchased this "Autumn Walk" candle. I absolutely cannot WAIT to start burning this baby in our new place.  (Sigh) Autumn... welcome back.

Speaking of the new place, we are down to 4 days until we move in! I had my heart set on moving in this weekend, but it looks like Monday afternoon is the big day. We got to stop over yesterday and meet the family that is moving out - a leetle awkward, but overall, they were very friendly and I think it helped them to see who was getting their place. Their little boy joked that he didn't want us to paint "His room" pink with ballerinas. I made no promises. ;)

Last week I checked out another great cookbook from the local library, "Amish Friends Cookbook, Vol. 2" by Wanda Brunstetter. 
 
Oh yum. I've been on this Amish mode and just really enjoy the simplicity and comforting taste of all their recipes. This week we tried the recipe for Goulash, which was fantastic and tonight I'm making this one below, so I thought I'd share a recipe. :) It's a very fallish type meal, even though it will be in the 80's today. 

Chickenetti
6oz spaghetti, cooked
2 c chicken, cooked and diced
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I'm using cream o' potato)
2 c corn
1/2 c chicken broth
1/8 t celery salt
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
3/4lb velveeta, shredded

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix all ingredients and put in a casserole dish. Bake covered 1 hour. 
*I really, REALLY, want to get away from the cream of whatever soups... it's my mission to whip up a batch of the healthy stuff once we move and settle. 

Seriously, does it get easier??! This will be perfect for our busy Thursday night. :) Apparently, this is a big favorite in the Duggar family, too. While I was searching for a good and delicious looking picture to share - all I could find was sweet little Josie sitting by the recipe. If it's good enough for the Duggars... it's good enough for me! 

Happy early weekend! Maybe the next time I blog will be from our new house?!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A most beautiful day and a cute, little, sinner.


Wow was it beautiful here in Iowa yesterday! We took full advantage of our two free zoo passes and the perfect weather and headed out for a family day adventure. Some of the trees have started to change and the sky was just amazing, as you can see above. I'm LOVING it!



Now that our girls are a little older we really are so enjoying our family day outings. They are funny and we just never know what will happen. :) They really liked seeing all of the zoo animals and we enjoyed being together on the pretty pre-autumn day.

And, in case you need any further proof of total depravity - I give you, Auggie's hand slap video. If you listen carefully you can hear me apologize to the poor mother of the child. I have NEVER seen her do anything like this - she totally blew her cover.
video

Monday, September 16, 2013

A crazy busy week, because it's important

Even my girls were allowed in the party girls pic!

I went back through pictures from our summer and it seemed to me that the theme was {aside from moving} PEOPLE.  Even in the middle of our busiest and most chaotic weeks, we had other people in the picture. Teens during summer study, friends helping us with our transition, family birthday parties and labor day festivities. Just people everywhere. The above picture is of a middle school girls birthday party that we were included in - such a sweet family, and so thoughtful to invite her ol' youth pastor and wife. :) I actually treasure this picture because it reminds me every time I see it - PEOPLE MATTER. They matter in the good times and even in the chaotic when you can't imagine squeezing in one more person to love. 

Backyard BBQ & car show at church

Not that I am Jesus. Obviously. But He did come to mind a few times this summer in that, I was ready for a break from people. I even needed a rest, no more talking, no more caring... If I had to listen to one more heartbreak or really even one more rejoicing, I was going to lose it. But then I remembered thanks to the Holy Spirit's prodding...Christ's compassion and love for people. Even in moments of such trial for him, like this one after John the Baptist was beheaded.

13" Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children." Matthew 14

Now, I'm not Jesus, I have a sin nature and I'm not the perfect son of God. But what an awesome picture to me of the selflessness of our savior. When His heart was broken over the death of his friend and all he wanted was a quiet moment alone - His passion and compassion for the people outweighed his personal desires. I WANT TO BE LIKE THAT! I want to put my big girl pants on and just love people no matter what. 

But I know my temptation. I really, really, really, like my time alone. I really like evenings with JUST my family and I really like keeping on MY routine with my children. {Which, for the record I don't believe is wrong at all...and is super beneficial!}But over the summer and even now into the next season I'm learning and being taught how important it is to LOVE people, to include them in life, and to reach into theirs. 
Girls night for my birthday! Love these ministry minded ladies!
The fall adds several new things to our schedule and at first I balked and pouted: more time outside of our home, more nights of ministry, more messed up routines, less me time. But I can honestly tell you that over the last few weeks I have caught the vision and I'm actually PUMPED about it. Because what else is this life for if not for sharing Jesus, opening our hearts and homes to people who need Him, and teaching my children that the world doesn't revolve around them?! 
Summer Son party at a local park, our teens missions trip - my 4 year old was a helper!
In two weeks-ish (Woot woot!) we'll be in our new home and the very next weekend we'll have a whole gang of junior highers piled inside. And while the task ahead of me is BIG and will require a lot of patience, self control, and love - I'm up for the challenge and asking the Lord to refine and use me in this new life. And as always, I'd love and appreciate your prayers. This week is a doozy and will be a test to see if I really mean what I write here. Leaning on You, Lord. The truth is, I know I'll fail and dozen times or more - and maybe the lesson is even in that. Because it's not about me, it never is, and I'll be all the more dependent on the Lord's strength in my life. But, it's worth it!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Clouds

I kind of already hinted at this in my post about autumn weather, but, I'm a show and tell kind of gal so I thought I'd share what I got to see. What you need to understand is that it has been HOT here for months without any rain - and really, little to no cloudage. So the other night as these babies rolled in I was one excited nerd. :) The girls and I sat on the front porch and enjoyed the wind picking up, swirling all around us.

 They almost looked like a water color painting. So beautiful.





Amazing. So thankful for those moments. :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It. Is. Time.

oh how this could be used :)
source

All of the sudden the wind picked up, the clouds came overhead, and the seasons are a-changin'. Mr. Weather man is calling for 70's for the next few days and I'm tempted to do a happy dance.

It's time.

Last weekend my husband and I had a youth leaders retreat with some of the best people in the world. Seriously. Love Jesus, love each other... just a great crew. Early Saturday morning before most were awake I stole a few moments of the quiet to see the creator in His creation. He never fails to amaze me.

 



I just had to stop and be in awe. To a whole lot of people... it's just clouds and dirt and an occasional wild animal. To me, it's beauty, and revelation of a Savior. A creative, beautiful, Lord. 

 


I even caught a glimpse of some deer grazing in the woods. Awesome. Do you ever feel like those moments were created just specifically for YOU? 

Countdown to Autumn is on. Worship Him.

"O Lord, the heavens praise your miracles
    and your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones.
Who in the skies can compare with the Lord?
    Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord?
God is terrifying in the council of the holy ones.
    He is greater and more awe-inspiring than those who surround him.
O Lord God of Armies, who is like you?
    Mighty Lord, even your faithfulness surrounds you.
You rule the raging sea.
    When its waves rise, you quiet them.

 The heavens are yours.
    The earth is also yours.
    You made the world and everything in it.
You created north and south.
    Mount Tabor and Mount Hermon sing your name joyfully.
Your arm is mighty.
    Your hand is strong.
    Your right hand is lifted high.
Righteousness and justice are the foundations of your throne.    Mercy and truth stand in front of you."
Psalm 89:5-9, 11-14

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Mom who cries

I've had a lot of nicknames in my life.

Mang.
Mang Face.
Mangy.
Manga.
Baby Gorilla. (thanks, Mom!)
Baby Goo (thanks, dad)
Steve
Gricer (my maiden name was Grice)
Bacon (thank you high school softball team...and spanish class)
Mandolin
Mandisa (of course)
Mandiss


Up til now, in the 31 years I've been alive I have never been called "the mom who cries", but I'm convinced it's coming. We had a first in the Pausley family last night and I am admitting to you now that I could just barely keep it together. Ballet. Our oldest daughter has been practically begging to do ballet since she was 2 years old and we had agreed if she still held onto it until she was 4, we'd consider. She hasn't quit talking about it in two years. :)

So we drove over to the adorable little ballet studio and through the chaos of dozens of leotard-clad children... got her into her class. She was so excited, so brave. And I already felt that hot sting behind my eyes. Who is this tall, lanky, skinny little girl? Because sometimes all I see is my first born daughter laying in the Boppy pillow on that first day home.
 

I watched as her teacher took the reins and let them in "first position", some tap steps and other assorted movement. My big girl was trying and focusing - I couldn't have been more proud. 
.she's the one on the far right.
And, I just started crying when I watched her try to talk to the other girls...and she didn't get a response. Some of them just looked at her and some even ignored her. Broke my heart.  I was reminded how much I need to pray for her to find just one special friend. And I need to remind her that our world is lost and needs Jesus - not to be disappointed when we don't make friends quickly. Be friendly to makes friends.
 
Ah, the momma heart. Bittersweet moments when you are SO proud of your little one for accomplishing something and growing up another year... but hurting at the same time, when you realize 5 years has almost come and gone and the clock isn't slowing down. Her arms are thinning down and the chubby baby wrists are vanishing. Be still my heart. The chubby cheeks are firming up into a beautiful, delicate big girl face.
So we've entered this stage of leotards, pink ballet slippers, tap shoes, buns, twirling and Swan Lake. 
And all the parents crammed into that teeny, tiny, waiting room have now dubbed me, "the mom who cries" as I stood in the tiny corner watching in through the window with my camera, tears in my eyes and that quivering bottom lip. But you know what, she's worth it. I cannot believe she's mine and I couldn't be more proud of how brave and strong she is.   

Little sis was not fond of this big sis having fun without her stuff. :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday

 
Even though I'm not currently living in my "own" home, I thought I'd jump on board again today. :) 


The weather.....
Oh, our poor land :/ It hasn't rained in Months... everything is dead and dry. Parts of the ground look cracked and kind of like desert. 100 degrees today! But, JOY, by the end of the week we are in September temps - down to the mid 70's. This makes me VERY happy. :)

Right now I am....
Enjoying a pumpkin spice latte while my girls watch "Cinderella". On these massively hot days - Direct TV has been a blessing.

Thinking....
Tonight I'm giving a devotional at a baby shower for a friend and fellow youth leader. They have been trying for a baby for YEARS and the Lord has given them a baby girl :) She's due soon! Thinking through my points and trying to weed out the non-essentials....

On my reading pile....
Checked out a really cool old book from the library about the pioneers. I get so into that kind of stuff! Getting ready to dive into my new bible study book by Nancy Guthrie, "Hoping for something better".

On my TV.....
Cinderella.
We've been watching "King of Queens" at night after the girls are in bed. And of course loving Food Network shows and HGTV. Blah, glad we turned off cable... they suck me in!

On the menu for this week....
I'm working HARD at losing weight and preparing healthy meals for my fam. That said, today is a CRAZY busy day.

Monday - fridge scavenger hunt :) 
Tuesday -  Grilled california style chopped salad w/shrimp
Wednesday - Pasta alla formiana
Thursday - Sweet and spicy greek meatballs over couscous
Friday -  Pioneer Woman's meatloaf & zuccini/Squash
Saturday - left overs
Sunday - Meatloaf sandwiches and Ice berg wedges with ranch
*these are all taken from Giada or Pioneer woman, and kinda played with ingredient wise. :)

On my to do list....
Laundry
General tidy
study for shower devo


In the craft basket....
non existent until we move into our new place

HOWEVER...  you guys. I was given several pieces of FREE furniture {coffee table, bed, dresser} that will be getting some make overs once we move, and I'm ITCHING to get started. Here's one idea, from..well, you all know by know, Pinterest :
Chalk Painted Coffee Table @Kimberly Martin  This is what I want for the coffee table! I want it to match the Kitchen table
  
 



Looking forward to this week....
Joining the local fitness center. They have a two week trial membership for FREE. Hoping to use the pool, get some exercise in and just enjoy family time there.

Looking around the house....
Living with family makes me feel like there is a mess everywhere. This house is so nice and neat... my kids toys seem overwhelming, and they only have like 8.


From the camera....
This guy, at the front. My hubs. I am so thankful for his leadership in our youth ministry. 
We are packing the room every week and teens are hearing the GOSPEL! 

On my prayer list.....
Apparently I have like 20 friends expecting :) Praying for each and every baby growing and for strong healthy mommas! 
Our move coming up {again}. Really eager to begin life in our new place.


Bible verse, Devotional....
Our pastor is beginning a new series in Romans and I'm so pumped about it. The entire book. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Thoughts about food, and...easy sin.

Since graduating college (and being done with organized sports, getting married, having children...) I have come to really enjoy food. That sounds like such a dumb thing to say, because who doesn't? But the thing is - my enjoyment of food used to be kinda cancelled by how active I was. Softball for 13 years, tried track, in every club possible in high school, treadmill in college, even a cardio class with my cheer squad. So I could enjoy food (and my metabolism) and not stress about it.

Times have changed.

I still enjoy food. I could be a foodie I think. I like to plan out meals and base hospitality around some cute thing to nibble now and again...or drink. Don't even get me started on the half a million cozy autumn drink recipes I've come across this last week. Yikes. So much of life is, like it or not, based on the stuff. Food, that is, not autumn drinks. Tho... in my mind... never mind :) .

Over the summer I slacked WAY off on my healthy eating and began living like I was 18 all over again. I was tired and under stress and transitioning. We weren't grocery shopping so my healthy options weren't around and basically I just found myself making one excuse after another. And annoying myself a little more every day. I stopped my food journal and sure enough the weight I had worked SO hard to lose, crept back on. Only I can't even say "crept" because it was more like my body yelling, "hey fat cells...bbq on these thighs tonight, come on over". Open invite. Gross word picture, I know.

Since the beginning of June (when things were starting to feel tight again, clothes wise) I started feeling "off". Honestly I thought I was pregnant, twice. Nausea, exhausted all the time, grumpy, feeling heavy - I had all the symptoms. I had even confided in friends that "just maybe" we were cooking a #3 babe. I was actually pretty upset last month when we weren't pregnant - because we have been trying and praying for an addition. It's normally very easy for us.  Finally, I made my way into my doctor to find out what was up. And this is where I hang my head and just do a deep sob because I'm completely in mourning over what my sin of gluttony and lack of self control has gotten me.
My Dr is awesome. She's a mom of two and is like 5'9 or taller and has a great sense of humor. She's also pretty good at just saying things like they are and not sugar coating it, but it still sounds caring. She's great. After taking my stats and all that jazz she asks if I'm exercising. "Um, well, we walk sometimes". Then she asks what symptoms I've had so I tell her. She plugs in some numbers on the screen and then just tells me as it is...

"I'm sending you home with a glucometer so you can keep track of your blood sugar. You need to get moving and drop weight, right now you are close to the prediabetes level." 

She blinks and smiles and tells me that once I  get rid of  X amount of weight I'll be fine. Easy peasy.  I'm just sitting there and I have a million excuses and I just want to scream, "You don't understand!!!! I genuinely neeeeed that hershey bar at 10pm because my  kids are finally asleep and it's quiet and...." But I know my excuses are just that. And that verse about things done in secret comes to my mind. Even food, Lord? Yes. And maybe even "especially" food.

I was embarrassed to share this with my husband. I cried on the way home and wanted to stop and buy a snickers bar. (I didn't, for the record.)  But, praise be to God that in the last few days He has been working on me. Soothing the fears and reminding me of truth. I lost weight once, I can do it again... for His glory. So, I woke up this morning and felt more determination then I've had in awhile. We went walking this morning, the girls and I, then we had a healthy lunch and I'm downing the water like a mad woman and praying my whole way through it. My sugars are being tested and I'm logging them for a few weeks. My Dr called yesterday to let me know ALL my lab work came back normal - Liver is great, thyroid is great, cholesterol and all of life is great. The only concern was my Vitamin D levels that seem to always stay SO low. But, I think that's just life. I'm supplementing and catching a few rays when I can.

The moral of my story is that I'm constantly reminded that I'm not home yet. This life and this ol' tired, chubby body is temporary, but it matters what I do with it. I don't think I forgot that, but I got lazy and let the snacks and lack of self control rule rather then self discipline and a focus on the Lord. Always a recipe for disaster...and, trust me, I know about recipes. :)

So I took some time yesterday to get back to menu planning. We are still living with family so I have been just kind of winging it and I'm learning that THAT DOESN'T WORK FOR ME. I'm a planner and I need a plan. I checked out some of my favorite cooks cookbooks at the library and we are ready for healthy meals again. My husband has also informed me we will commence family walks after dinner. I love him. Man, he loves me...
 
Tonight, on the menu is Giada's Beef & Cannellini Bean Minestrone. It's hearty, chocked full of veggies, and the super lean ground beef & beans will have plenty of protein so I won't crave that 10pm chocolate. And isn't in intriguing that our bible study last night with the teens revolved around this...

 17" Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself." Phil. 3

Amen. Ah, Lord... work in me today.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Reading List : September Edition

Before I get into listing endless book titles, let me brag a little about these two peaches. {squeee!} I love them. My girls are seriously so much fun lately. They are two and four and have personalities skyscraper high. My biggest is into making this weird growling voice all.the.time. It drives me completely bananas and I'm starting to think that's why she does it. Hmmmm.... but, I still get the sweetest cuddles post nap and I love it!
The shrimpy one is just all of the sudden hilarious {seriously, look at that hair!}. She does wild facial expressions and has started walking up to me any time in the day and saying, "Mom, what you doing?" with this eyes wide with excitement look. For some reason it makes me laugh every time! Ah, my babes, I love them. Through this whole transition they are adjusting so well & helping me keep my sanity. Some days are better then others, but, they are still so little.:) The clock is ticking - T minus 4 weeks to go!

So anyway - we spent the morning at the local library here, which my children love, and came home with bags full of books. Tho, I think I came home with  more this time ;) Here's what's on our reading piles for the next few weeks.

For the girls -Some Fall theme books :)




source for pics: Amazon.com
 ---> Please note: I do not use Kindle or Nook for my children's reading books. I just can't seem to find an image to share that doesn't have those notes attached to them. :)

And for Momma - a few of my best girl friends. ;)




I'm eager to pour through these and get some ideas for the last few weeks before we move. Now that it's slightly less hot in the evening, it's actually appealing to eat dinner again.

And, in prep for our Fall ladies bible study - I'm diving into this gem.


What are you reading these days? 

Monday, September 2, 2013

In the Beginning...of September.

If you were awake around 6:30am {central time} yesterday morning, you would have seen the most amazing sunrise. The first cool night and rain in awhile had come and the early morning clouds were just starting to part and mist away.

I had so many psalms running through my head as I snapped shot after shot. I'm still not good with this wonderful camera...but, I still enjoy trying.

 These pink and purple clouds, what an amazing creator! 



September came in like a sigh, just as it should. The weather has cooled off, the sky is piercing blue, and the porch swing is all the more inviting. :)

Happy September!