Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Reminder.....And Many Thanks

I have been a bit of a lump the past few days....in fact writing this post today is probably the only structured thing I have done besides getting the kids up and ready for the day! :)

I guess we need days like this every once and awhile. Ones that we just sit and read a book or watch a movie and let the housework and chores sit for one day.

Speaking of reading I just won an e-book copy of Jen Hatmaker's "7". It is about eliminating excess in 7 areas of your life. It is scary and I almost don't want to keep reading because I know it will challenge me to change and that is frightening....but not why I am writing this today.

I am not someone who likes to ask for or accept help.  When people ask if I need help with anything I will probably say no. I don't want to admit if we are struggling with something and can't handle it on our own.

I want to be self-sufficient.

But in my quest to handle it all I have lost a little bit of my reliance on God...because I know better than He right? He isn't here dealing with my job loss or fears....so I should suck it up and handle it on my own. I don't need help from anyone.

But in the past few weeks I have been humbled by the support we have received from family and friends. Financial help, prayers, words of encouragement and unexpected birthday gifts have graced our path and I feel so grateful.

Not expected, and at times difficult to accept...but none the less appreciated so much.

Today I received a birthday card and gift and a letter with a reminder about some of the biggest blessings in my life. I have 4 amazing kids. 4 kids who just light up my life with their words and their smiles and their hearts.

Such gifts.

And I have my sweet husband. A man that works so hard to provide for our family and supports me in so many ways. A man that makes me laugh and encourages me to "take a nap" because I can right now. A man that reminds me over and over that it will all be ok.

No matter what happens.... 

I am learning that it is ok to not be completely self-sufficient. That I need to rely on God in the good and bad times. That I can accept help and when I am in the position once again - we will pass along the blessing to someone else who needs it.

For today I am giving thanks for all of you...and you know who you are. Your prayers, your support, your ideas and gifts, your encouragement and your love.

It is felt, it is appreciated and it has healed a broken part of my spirit. Thank YOU for being the body of Christ to our family.

Monday, January 30, 2012

For the Mother of a "Spirited" Toddler

Whenever people ask how many kids we have and I list their names and ages people often say "Wow - you must be busy with a 2 1/2 yr old and a 1 yr old!"

And for the most part they are right. We are busy. But who isn't these days right?! 

Until we had Karlena I didn't know what it was like to have a calm, quiet child. Sorry boys...but that was just never the case with you! :) And until Karlena came we had a pretty hefty "space" between the ages of the kids too.

So having a potty training toddler and then an infant at the same time was new to me. And I will be honest I was in NO WAY prepared for it.

Elijah is, shall we say, sprirted in every sense of the word. But he is a joy to have around....most of the time! ;)  There are those occasional and oh so rare moments that he decides that he is not going to behave.

Some days those moments come in waves and I find myself scolding him or putting him in time out more often than I am encouraging him and rewarding him. And those days I feel like such a failure.  What parent enjoys being upset with their child?? Not me!!

And if I am honest I am probably more worried about what others will think about me and my failings as a mom than I am about his actual 2 yr old behavior.

I came across this post today from Lysa TerKeurst and I just had to share it. Because I know there are other mothers (and maybe even fathers) out there that have a hard time raising a sprirted son or daughter.

We just want them to behave and stay within our little "box" of rules. But sometimes that spirit grows in them to adulthood and some more than amazing things come out of it.  So today I am joining Lysa and praying not for a "good child"...but for a "God-following" adult. 

Please jump over and read Lysa's post here and be encouraged and then join with me in praying for our children that they desire to follow God with all their hearts...even if it means they break a rule every once and awhile!

Happy Monday to you all!!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

When Life Isn't Easy and "That Part"

I have to be honest with you...the past few days have not been good for me. I am feeling depressed and defeated and angry.  Most of my anger has been directed at God and what I perceive as the "it's not fair" situation we are in.

While I typically try and talk myself into believing that everything will be ok, I had stopped doing that and had fully embraced the negative.

It is ugly and it isn't a place I can stay.

I think that it is normal to be angry with God in difficult situations. If you believe in the God I do you may also believe that He has the power to change a circumstance. I believe that God can heal cancer or other terminal illnesses, I believe that He could provide the perfect job for me, I believe he could stop earthquakes and tornados from happening....insert any tradgedy here and I believe that God could stop it.

I believe God has all power....but just because He has the power to change things doesn't mean that he does.

And that is difficult for me to understand right now.

It is that question that I think believers ask time and time again...why do bad things happen to good people? And when they do what should our response be??

Well my response the past couple of days has been sinful. In my anger with God I have cursed His name, said that I was "done with all of it" and not been a good example of living out faith in front of my kids.

Because it is easy to have faith and talk the talk when life is good. But it is MUCH harder to really live it out when things are bad.

Dominic and I were talking last night and I said "For once, I just want it to be easy"..."just once I want our dream(whatever that is) to fall in our laps without having to try so hard to get there, I want to not worry about tomorrow...I just want it to be easy."

And Dominic said "Maybe it isn't about life being easy...but it is about being able to walk through the difficulities with grace." "That is how we need to live out our faith, to be an example to others of the grace that was already given freely to us."

How easily I forget that part of God's story....

You know that part when God sent His only Son to live on earth...to experience all the trials, temptations and difficulities that we experience, and then to suffer an unimaginable death on a cross so that we have a way to life everlasting with Him for eternity.

 That part that I blocked out when I was stomping my feet in anger about what God was allowing to happen to our family again.

That part that I wouldn't consider when I was telling God that I was giving up on Him. That I didn't believe He wanted good for me and my family.

That part....

Romans 5:1-8

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I don't know what is going to happen tomorrow or the next day. And truth be told I am convinced that things for us are going to get worse before they get better.  I don't mean to be a downer here but I just think that we live in a sinful world and bad things happen all around us and to us. And just because we believe in God and are working at being faithful doesn't mean we are exempt from these things.

 And so I don't hold hope in the things of this world but only in the hope of Heaven.  I will do my best to continue to trust in God during my time here and be an example of living faithfully during that time. And I will work at being an example of grace because so much more has already been given to me.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

An Adventure in Faith

I am not the kind of person that you might describe as adventurous.  I like the "normal", the routine and often times mundane.

I would rather stay in than go out, I get to know a certain group of friends, co-workers etc and I don't feel the need to really expand my horizons. Because putting myself out there for someone or something new is scary. And I don't do scary.

I like the comfortable.

Perhaps this is why God is stretching me a bit. Because even in my faith I have become comfortable.  I believe in God - I will pray for people and tell them that He is in control, I will share how He has worked in my life...but do I really believe it for my life?

When everything feels like it is out of control - do I believe He has a plan?

People who know us, our close family and friends who have walked through the past 15 years of our marriage, know that life has never been "easy" for Dominic and I.

We have walked through some very dark and difficult times, we have fought - with God's help - for restoration and renewal - and we have seen the fruits of that labor. But it has never been easy. It seems that we are often taking a step forward and then two steps back. Whether it is job related, or cars that break down, finances...you name it, it seems a struggle.

When our family starts saying "When will you ever catch a break"...we know it isn't just us and our perspective...but others can see it too.

And yet Lord I still believe in something better....

Dominic and I were talking the other night about all of this and he said that maybe, for us, it just won't ever be "easy street". Maybe we need the struggle so that we can step outside of ourselves, seek God's help and direction and then someday be there for someone else going through the very same thing.

And yet, if I am honest, my heart cries for our silver lining...our break...our dream.

But would that really make me happy?

Last week I blogged about Joy.  I had no idea when I wrote that post that a few hours later I would be getting my walking papers from my 13 yr job.  But as I read the post again I still feel what I wrote. I can still find the joy in the midst of the uncertainty that is my day today.

God has called me to an adventure in faith with Him.

A journey that is uncertain and sometimes scary. A journey that requires me to step out of my comfortable and trust in Him completly. And right now I have to do this....I can't imagine any other way to deal with everything....but to have faith that this too shall be ok.

I am memorizing Proverbs 3:5-6 right now and it is so appropriate for this time in my life.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; and in all things acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."

As I adventure out in faith I trust in my God with ALL my heart - not just the comfortable part...but the uncomfortable too. I stop trying to figure out the "whys" with my small amount of understanding and I will bring ALL things to God, acknowledging that He knows better than I and give Him the control back to place me on the best path for my life.

Lord I admit that I wasn't ready for this adventure with You...but now that I am "in" I am all Yours!

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Cowboy...and his brother

Tonight was "Cowboy" night at Awana.

Of course we didn't remember until this morning but thankfully I was able to find a few things that Isaac had worn as a costume in years past and put something together for him.

The only thing we didn't have was cowboy boots. And the vest was super huge but he looked great regardless!

Of course Elijah wanted to be in the picture with Gabriel. But he had just finished his dinner and had gotten a tootsie roll and when I took the picture it looked like he had a piece of chew in his cheek!

This was making all of us laugh....

I was trying and trying to get a good shot of the two of them but it wasn't working.

I LOVE the above shot because it is so who are kids are...no poised and proper kids in this household! :)

But after a few tries we were able to get a pretty good one....

I love that our boys love eachother and want to have pictures together. Happy Wednesday to all of you!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


How many of you have watched that show on TLC - Extreme Couponing? I admit I have, and while I think some of those people are a little...shall we say off their rocker, you can't deny the fact that they are getting thousands of dollars of products each year for almost free.

I honestly don't know how they do it - but I have started to coupon a bit myself. If you have been following my blog you have already heard that last week I lost my job.  So now, even more than before it is important that I find a way to cut some of our expenses until I am able to find a job again!

My favorite site for coupons so far is Coupons.com.  All you need to register is a valid e-mail address and then e-mails are sent to you when there are new deals etc available. You are allowed to print 2 each month and new coupons are added throughout the month too.

The coupons are mostly for brand name items so you do have to compare the value of the brand vs. store name in price with the coupon. Sometimes the store brand is still a better deal and I just go that route.

On these extreme shows the talk about "stacking" coupons...using a manufactures coupon with an Internet coupon for the same item.  I tried this at Walmart and they wouldn't let me do it. If you have had luck with this let me know how/where would you please?!

I also have become more of an "ad" shopper. I used to do all of my shopping at Walmart - one stop was easy. But I have found that I can get some great deals from our local Hy-Vee if I watch their ads. About a month ago we bought LOTS of cans of beans for chili because they were so cheap. We have them stored in our basement "pantry" and won't have to buy beans for a LONG time.

We do this with other items as well like cake mixes and spaghetti sauce and noodles.  Another thing I like to do is buy a bunch of hamburger when it is a great sale and brown it up and freeze meal-sized portions.  This helps make meal planning easier when I just have to thaw a container of meat instead of thawing AND cooking it.

Also some stores have special days where they will double your coupons value up to a certain amount. Kmart does this on Wednesdays here and they will double up to 5 coupons with a $25 purchase.  So you have to watch the ads and make sure you are getting your value out of the coupon. Last week I got a couple of items BOGO 1/2 off plus I had a $1 off coupon that was doubled. That made the prices much less than I would have paid for store brand at Walmart.

I haven't ventured out yet to coupon clipping sites, or dumpster diving for ads! :) But if you get a Sunday paper and don't use your coupons and would like to send them my way from time to time I would really appreciate it!

These days when I leave a store and don't have an amount off for coupons I feel like I have lost a little! Last week we saved $16 at Walmart and $8 at Hy -Vee just from taking the time to clip/print a few coupons.

I would LOVE to hear if you coupon, how it works for you and what other money saving tips you may have!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Who's the adult here?

I don't want to forget this little conversation I just had with Gabriel...

I picked Gabriel up from school and we were headed back home. I always ask him about his day, what he had for lunch, if he has homework etc.

When we pulled into the garage I asked him if he was going to have one of the brownies I made yesterday as a snack.

He said "yes" and then I said "or should I just eat them all"? (teasing)

Then he said "Mom if you eat them all you will get a stomach ache!" And I responded "Oh I will? hmmm"

As we walked into the house he said "Mom when you talk like that sometimes I feel like I am the adult and you are the child!"

So I asked what he meant by that and he said "You should know that eating all the brownies would give you a stomach ache - adults know that stuff....and when I have to remind you it feels like I am the adult and you are the child!"

Ahh yes....that's my Gabriel! He just cracks me up at times!!

What are some of the funny things your kids have said to you?

Friday, January 20, 2012

When a "boy" daddy finally has a girl

Having a girl after 3 boys was a shock to both of us. Dominic really was surprised...said he didn't think he had it in him.

All of our boys looked the same at birth - so he was just a tad worried about how she would look. He didn't want a "manly" looking daughter! :)

But she is every bit sweet and girly and petite and it is so much fun to dress her up in pretty dresses.

So this week Dominic was out on the road for work and he and his boss had some downtime between appointments and they ran into a TJ Maxx.

And when he came home he had this for our girl - his "miss" as he calls her...

A beautiful dress - maybe for Easter? And it was only $10! It has a matching headband and these beautiful rhinestones for buttons on the back....see?!

The most special part to me was when he said "This is the first thing that I have ever bought for her on my own". (Insert tear)

And I couldn't help but think that one day he will buy her another dress....and that one will be white and I will always remember the day that my man brought his "miss" home her first dress from daddy.

I am so blessed to have such a caring and tender hearted man! And my girl is going to be beautiful in her little pink dress this spring!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

For those "what now Lord" moments

If you are friends with me on Facebook you may have already heard the news that today I was told that the position I had with a company I had worked at for 13 years was being outsourced, and that as of today I no longer had a job.

And just like that everything that I knew about my world stopped for just a moment. I was in shock really - not much to say, words failed me and I tried to reassure the HR person that had to tell me the news that I was going to be ok.

God has a plan in everything right?

I say that all the time to other people...but could I really believe it for myself?

This has been quite the past 18 months or so. First Dominic taking a leap of faith and moving to another state to start a job we felt he had been led to, to losing a best friend, to having our daughter and then finally after 8 months taking another leap of faith and moving to Marshall.

We finally felt like we were where we were supposed to be and that things would start looking up for our family. But Dominic's job was difficult to say the least. A tough and negative environment and it was wearing on us all.

Right before Thanksgiving Dominic's employment with the firm we had moved here for ended....for the better really - but here we were right before the holidays and he was without a job.

 God has a plan in everything right? You do right? I mean what now Lord??

And He did have a plan - one that we didn't see unfolding and the very next day Dominic had a new job, a company car and a fantastic group of people to work with. I heard him laugh, genuinely laugh for the first time in months that first week. And although he has had to "start over" in a sense....he is happy and we feel very blessed by his new employer.

And we started feeling like finally now maybe things would start looking up...again.

And then, out of the blue, I get the news I got today.

God has a plan in everything right? You do right? I mean what now Lord??

And although I have NO IDEA what is in store around the corner for me. I don't know when or where I might find a new job. I don't know if I can/will stay in banking or if I should be doing something different.

There is so much unknown right now and it could feel really scary. But I feel strangely at peace.

I don't know how God is working but I KNOW THAT HE IS!!

So in these "what now Lord" moments where do we turn??

I have to turn to His word and the truths found there....

Isaiah 41:10 "Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand"

God knew about what would happen today before we moved to Marshall, God knows what my next job will be (I am hoping He clues me in sooner than later) and I trust fully in His timing.

I can't explain the peace I feel about all of this - but it is there. Do I wish this were different - absolutely!!  But because this is now my new path I move forward in faith.

So what now Lord I ask??

Fear not my daughter, fear not! - Those words whisper to me tonight, a soothing balm to my soul and I find rest in Him. Thank you Jesus for your provisions....I walk forward in faith - lead on!!


I am linking up today with Bonnie over at Faith Jam to talk about Joy.

When I looked up the definition of Joy I was surprised to see what the first description was.

"The emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires"

Interesting I think because I don't think that is how I would describe the things that bring me joy in this life.

If my joy was defined by my well-being, or success or good fortune - things defined of this world - I would probably find myself disappointed and unhappy.  Because we won't always have a perfect, successful, fortunate life.

There will be tough times and can I find joy in those times too?

I think that we have and we do.

Here are just a few of the things that bring me joy lately....

The toothy grin that Karlena gives me in the morning.

Hearing Elijah say his prayers.

Asking Gabriel to tell me about his day when I am picking him up from school.

Having conversations with Isaac and feeling blessed that he still talks to me! ;)

Phone calls with my husband when he is away for work and sharing our day with each other.

By the world's standards these may not be things that should bring me joy, but they do.

And I am grateful.

I have found that seeing joy is really about about my perspective. And when I choose to see the joy in the little things, I am blessed.

So how about you? Where do you find joy in your days? Please share - I would love to hear!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Prayers With Our Kids

We are definitely a praying family. Saying prayers together is something that we really started to do about 5 years ago.

In the mornings the kids and I say prayers as I am taking them to school/daycare. We pray for their day and for their dad's day at work and recently have been praying for sweet Isaac that I shared about last week. He can still use our prayers so please keep him at the top of your list!!

And we pray at night before bed as well -thanking God for the day and asking for protection as we sleep.

When we eat we say a few "common" prayers and one that I have only ever heard in our immediate family. It is called "Happy Hearts".

We thank you Lord for happy hearts
For rain and sunny weather
We thank you for the food we eat
And that we are together.

What makes this prayer fun is that we will replace "rain and sunny" with different words. So if it is a birthday and it is snowing out we would say snowy and birthday weather....you get the point right?

Recently this prayer has become Elijah's favorite and being  2 1/2 and not always able to share - he is often the picker of our words.

His favorites right now are Magic Wands and Praise Jesus weather. LOVE this!

And because this is now his favorite prayer he wants to say it for every prayer. So we say it at bedtime and in the morning and at meals! :)

But he is so adorable because he has learned it and even though he doesn't realize it now he is learning to bring his requests to God and hopefully he will carry that with him for life!

So how about you - do you have a favorite family prayer? Please share it here with me because it would be fun to learn something new!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Day at Home

Today was a change from my normal schedule a little because I had the day off with Elijah and Karlena. I wanted to think of something fun to do with them - but in all reality with a 1 yr old and a 2 1/2 yr old it can be tough to get anything accomplished.

My biggest problem is that things seem to happen in a matter of seconds and I can't do much but roll with it - and maybe even take a few pictures for some laughs.

So here is a look into my day with the 2 kids.

I found some blank paper for Elijah and some crayons. I thought he was sitting at the table coloring....instead he apparently thought it would be fun to color a large area of the wall in our kitchen.

So I got a Magic Eraser and put him to work cleaning it up...can you see the joy on his face?! (This was 1 of 4-5 areas that needed to be scrubbed!)

The reality was that you had to scrub pretty hard to get the crayon off so I knew I would be doing most of the work, but I let him spend a few minutes on it. And then I had him sit and watch me take care of the rest. 
Elijah is potty trained and recently has taught himself how to "go" standing up. We have this little stool and he has a few times, gone in and taken care of his business and come out. No problem.

No problem that is unless he comes out to have me help him get his pants on and leaves the bathroom door open and the toilet seat up.

Cue a wondering Karlena....  
By the time I got in there she was quite pleased with herself and it was honestly hilarious....so yes I did let her keep playing so that I could go and get my camera and capture the moment. (Shameless I know! But won't she love to see these pictures when she is a teenager?!)

But she was having so much fun....

I don't know that any of our other children have made a mess like she did this morning.

Of course she was soaked and needed a bath - so at 10am she and Elijah were in the bath once again!

She was loving the water. Normally everyone takes showers so this was extra fun today!

Elijah was pretty content to play too.

I had the opportunity to re-wash my floor after they were done - there was a lot of splashing going on!!

I knew that I needed a plan if I was going to keep them contained while I made lunch so I decided it was time for the "pen"....

We haven't really ever used this - they had one at the old daycare center we went to and they would put the babies inside to play so the older kids could play in the same space but not potentially hurt them. I bought one and then we moved and it never really came back out again.

Elijah wasn't happy though and asked to get out so I told him he had to sit on the rocker and watch his Little Einstein movie. And a few minutes later I found him like this. Sweet boy! 

While he was sleeping and Karlena was playing peacefully I went into the other room and found this....

Elijah had found my secret stash of Dove chocolates at some point in the morning, eaten them all and stashed the wrappers somewhat hidden behind a cushion on our couch. No wonder why he was so crazy hyper and then crashed before lunch....his chocolate buzz wore off!

Karlena on the other hand was really hungry at lunch time and ate more mashed potatoes than I can believe!

She likes to feed herself right now so I just put a big scoop on her tray and let her go at it.

It was a mess and there were potatoes everywhere - even in her 2nd-washed clean hair! :)

 Once she was done Elijah woke up so I put her back in the "pen" so that I could feed Elijah.

I went to check on her and found her like this....

She had climbed inside the basket of toys that was in there with her and was just playing away!

She is all about climbing right now so I wasn't that surprised to find her this way!

And before you know it we had to leave to get Gabriel from school.

Elijah cried the whole time we waited for Gabriel. It was glorious...his little chocolate-come-down nap was obviously not enough and he is resting now in his room.

The other fun thing I did today was to dye some white hankies for Gabriel to use in some of the magic tricks he does. We tried to find them online but they were pretty spendy so I found 10 white ones and thought we could dye them! He is pretty excited about it!

Now I think I am going to go to Walmart for a few things and let Isaac take the helm for a few minutes.  I don't know how SAH moms do this every day!! Just chasing after 2 little ones for a few hours and I am tired and got nothing else accomplished!

How about you - how is parenting different in reality than you imagined it might be? I'd love to hear your stories! :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What Every Mom Wants....

Well at least this mom was touched by it...
When Isaac called me from the Miami airport to say that they were safe back in the US from Haiti, he could hear in my voice - or lack there of - that I was sick.

When he and my dad showed up the next day Isaac handed me these. He said they were because he felt bad I was sick and because he was bringing me a ton of laundry to do from his trip!

Isn't that sweet?!

He is such a thoughtful kid and I am so blessed to be able to be his mom!

If you didn't see it earlier - please check out this link about another Isaac I know who is very sick and in need of prayer. There is a prayer meeting at our old church happening tonight at 6:30pm. Will you please join me at that time in lifting another mom's son up?

Thank you friends!

URGENT Prayer Needed!!!

Dear friends, family I coming to you this morning with an urgent prayer request. I believe in the power of prayer and am asking that you join with me in praying for a very sick little boy.

Isaac is 3 and is a little boy from our former home church in SD. Two days before Christmas Isaac was diagnosed with JMML, a very rare form of Leukemia.

The only form of treatment is a bone marrow transplant. Isaac's sister has been tested and was found to be a match! Praise the Lord.

But right now Isaac is fighting for his life. He developed pnuemonia in both of his lungs and right now is sedated and on a ventilator.  His mom Jennifer posted last night that the doctors are not optimistic that he will recover from this so that he can even try the bone marrow transplant as an option.

I am seriously just aching for his parents. And because there isn't much else I can do I am praying fervently for a miracle.

Will you join me?

At 6:30pm (CST) tonight our church is holding a prayer service to lift up Isaac. I won't be able to be there in person but I will be joining them in prayer.

Will you join me?

Praying that God would heal his little lungs and remove the pnuemonia from his body so that he can be healthy enough to receive the bone marrow transplant.

I know that God hears our prayers of healing for little Isaac - so please ask others to join us in praying for him.

The other request I am going to make is that if you are not already a donor on the Be The Match registry - would you please consider joining today?

The testing process is simple - fill out a form on their website and they will send you a kit in the mail. Swab your cheek with the 4 Qtips and send them back in a postage-paid envelope. They will test you and put you on their registry as a pontential donor.

I sent mine in last week  - Will you join me?

Thank you for your prayers for little Isaac.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I Don't Want to Forget

Our Elijah  - or "My Elijah" as he likes to call himself is just a little more than 4 months away from turning 3.

He is in that phase that is so challenging for many of us parents. I struggle daily with getting him to listen to me..the first or even second time I ask him something.

When I ask him if he is going to behave he often tells me "No!" - and he usually holds true to his word! ;)

He is spirited to say the least and often when I am telling Dominic about how he was I will say "He was being Elijah" and that explains it all!

I have tried the Love and Logic Parenting with him recently and it works....some of the time. It is all about empowering your kids to make choices and encouraging and praising the good ones.

This morning when I asked him to put his shoes on he said no. When I then asked if he wanted his right or his left on first he chose the left and they went on no problem. Once he had them on I told him what a GOOD choice he made and thanked him for being a good boy.

Every child loves to hear praise and Elijah is no exception. So when he does something good I try to really make a big deal out of it.

But it can still be a struggle and I lose my patience with him way too easily. I forget that he is still only 2 and he does have a lot of maturing left to do!

Last night I had all the kids in bed and sat down just to relax and watch a few episodes of House Hunter before I went to bed and I heard "My Elijah's" little foot steps across the kitchen floor.

He came to where I was and said "I wanted to see you mom". I told him that it was bedtime and he needed to go back up to bed but he asked if he could sit with me.

So I pulled him up on my lap and he snuggled in and as he was falling asleep he was rubbing his chin and his neck...just the way I used to when he was a small baby and we would relax on that same recliner together.

And in that moment I saw him as that little baby again. Beautiful and peaceful and every bit "My Elijah". 

And I knew that I didn't want to forget him like that.

In the craziness of our mornings and evenings together I am seeking order and quietness and you just don't get that with a 2 yr old and a 1 yr old in the house! 

But I am the one that need to change my focus....my expectations.

I need to see their sweet precious faces and be grateful for the chaos, because there is always a time of peace and quiet that follows.  Last night I got some one on one time to just love on my boy. To help him go from awake to dreamland and I am so glad that I didn't just force him back to his room - so that I could have the wind-down time I thought I needed.

God continues to bless me with these moments with my kids and I am so very grateful for each of them.

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Little Helper

Karlena decided that she wanted to be my helper tonight!

I brought the laundry basket out into the front room and walked away for a minute and when I came back she had climbed inside.

I just adore this girls personality - she is such a sweet pea.

Even when she is sick and not feeling 100%, she still has smiles for her mommy!

This chair is her favorite thing to climb on right now. She climbs up, rocks herself and climbs back down. Over and over again!

I love this picture of her holding one of her computers. She actually got 2 for Christmas but it was a good thing because Elijah really likes it too and so they can both have one to play with and they don't have to share! :)

This picture is blurry because she was running at me but I had to post it because I just love her toothy grin.

Hope you are having a good start to your week! It is my mom's birthday today and she is in Greece - awesome way to spend your birthday huh? So wish my mom a Happy Birthday along with me!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Without A Voice

It has been a couple of tough days here in the Smith household.

It started with Elijah feeling under the weather all weekend. We spent the New Years inside because he was not in any condition to go anywhere.  By Tuesday he seemed to be doing better and they went to school/daycare while I went to work.

By Tuesday afternoon he was really coughing badly and so I brought him into the doctor. He had an ear infection so once we got him on meds he seemed to quickly improve.

Wednesday afternoon Karlena started to get sick and I have been home with her the past two days.  I took her in this morning after a very rough night with little sleep and the poor girl has croup and an ear infection.

To top it all off I have had a cold and now have lost my voice. Any talking of any length causes me to cough - so I am trying to avoid it as much as possible.

It is a strange place to be without a voice. Especially when you have a very "spirited" 2 1/2 year old at home! ;)  Who really has a hard time listening to mom when she can't raise her voice!

And with that I have no energy. I have had 2 days to take down the Christmas tree (I know yikes that it is still up!) and instead I have just been relaxing. Probably what I need now - but I annoy myself just a little. I like to be more productive than that!

Hopefully we are turning the corner with all of this though and no one else gets sick! I would appreciate any prayers for health and energy to return to our family!

Monday, January 2, 2012


having a purpose, meaningful, intentional, full of determination

I don't usually make New Year's resolutions.

When I was in Jr High I would make these silly resolutions like "I will have a boyfriend this year", or "I will be more popular"....

I will be honest - they never turned out as I hoped and I usually felt like I let myself down.

I don't like setting goals for myself that I know I won't really care about in a week or two. I don't buy into the "lose weight now with the newest exercise fad" and although I know it is good for me....setting a resolution to floss more will be left by the wayside in very quick order.

By February I have forgotten what it was that was so important to me on January 1st and I usually won't think about it until the end of the year and I realize that I once again I haven't met my resolution.

But this year I heard about "One Word 365".

The premise is simple. Decide on a word that you want to define your year.

This I think I can handle....and so for the past few days I have been thinking about what word best describes what I would like to see for myself in 2012.

And this is what I have come up with....


I want to be more purposeful in my marriage. To really spend time strengthening the relationship I have with Dominic. He is my best friend and I often take him for granted. I want to be more purposeful about showing him respect and supporting him in all that he does.

I want to be more purposeful with my kids. So often in the business of the week I get caught up with what needs to be done and get frustrated when I don't feel the kids are cooperating. I want to make sure that they know how important they are, to encourage conversations and to just plain have fun with them.

I need to be more purposeful about my relationship with God. I don't want God to be a "phone a friend" when I need something kind of relationship. I need to be more purposeful about getting into His Word and asking for His guidance and direction in ALL things.

I also want to be more purposeful in my prayer life. I pray all the time, but I want to start praying specifically each day for people in my life. I believe that God answers prayers and so I am going to start keeping track of the prayer requests I receive and watching as God answers those prayers throughout the year.

And finally I want to be more purposeful about my time. Admitedlly I spend more time than I probably should on the computer. And while I love blogging, I have to make sure that it isn't cutting into time that should be spent on one of the things listed above.

So as I go through 2012 I hope to share with you where I am being more purposeful and hopefully how it is changing who I am.

How about you? What word would you chose to define your 2012??

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