Thursday, May 28, 2015

Our Road Trip Part Two -- Yuma Arizona

After California we headed to Arizona for the first time in our lives.  I was so excited to go to Arizona as it has been on my bucket list for some time.  I got to see real live cacti!  We drove through Yuma and made a point to spend the afternoon enjoying some attractions.

Driving east through California through Arizona.  Loved the terrain



I was waiting forever to get this shot as we were driving into the state!!!

Our first Cacti!

Loving it all


We got to check out the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historical Park


Walking into the entrance



Checking out the digs



 My view from the front seat for two weeks

The view of the backseat.  We duct taped a dvd player and speaker to the top of our seatback


One of our many hotel rooms


More of the prison




Scary




Our Road Trip Part 1 - San Diego

This is a belated post, but I wanted to get to it.  This last January/February our family took our first ever two week vacation.  Not only that we did our dream of a lifetime road trip in our 1985 Suburban down south with stops in San Diego, Arizona, and Nevada.  Here are some pics from the first part of our trip.

Our first stop after three days of driving was San Diego, CA to visit my little brother (not so little anymore) and his beautiful wife.  We spent two nights there and she showed us around the local beach spots.

Here is our little family in San Diego on Coronado Island.  


Here is the Hotel del Coronado.  It was absolutely gorgeous!  

One of the lights in the hotel.  Thomas Edison did the wiring.

The hotel is also been frequented by famous stars, and was the filming location for, "Some Like it Hot"


We had a tasty lunch at Delux Dogs

Relaxing on the beach

I live in Christ and He Lives in me and Jason Gray - More Like Falling in Love [LYRICS]





Over this last year my life has been changed.  It is simple, beautiful and content.  This is not due to myself or my circumstances, but is due to my new friend in Christ Jesus.  His sacrifice and God's grace for me has changed my life into one of optimism and being able to find the great value in the very little.  A life free of fear during times of uncertainty.  May I stay humble, aware, compassionate and open to reality around me.  Amen.

John 14:15-21
"If you love me, you will obey what I command.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever--the Spirit of truth.  The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me.  Because I live, you also will live.  On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.  He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and show myself to him."

Proverbs 15:33
"The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor."

The following song is "More Like Falling In Love" by Jason Gray.  I hope to make this my daily commitment.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Yesterday Was Busy

Yesterday was busy to say the least, and ironically on the same day that I was questioning my value as a stay at home mom.  I didn't hit the relax button until about 9:00 when the kids were bathed and in bed, the pets had been fed and the garden had been watered.

The morning was filled with Ian playing dress up and then building blanket forts with his sister.


When brother got home from school we went to the dentist where we found out that Logan's swift toothbrush skills have earned him his first cavities ever.  Luckily they are small, so we will not need to be numbed.  It is quadruple brushing over here.

We then rushed to a birthday party at a park that I swear had a secret parking lot.  I could see it from the main street, but could not for the life of me find how to get there.  I spent about 5 minutes driving around this stupid neighborhood while using GPS in which it took me to a side entrance with parking in a neighborhood.  I called it good enough.  As it turns out this is a common problem for people who have never been to this park before.  

I also got to chase Ian a couple of times as he practiced his new skill of not listening to his mother and running across a parking lot.  Banishing this activity is my new main focus.  It is difficult sometimes because he was the youngest for so long, so has been riding in the shopping carts.  Now that we have the little guy he is having to learn how to walk with us in the stores with his siblings, and it is taking some getting used to.  This is because when one kids veers off so do the other two kids.  It is a practice of getting all three kids to stay on task.

After the party I went to pick up my nephew because my sister was working a little late.  Love that little guy.  The kids had fun playing together until he left for home.


Today has started out more slowly.  I just spent the last hour following the baby around pushing attractions out of his way, swiping his mouth etc since he is really moving.  He is now passed out again by 9:00 am.  He seems to be taking these power naps in order to rest up for the next round of baby adventures.

Below is a view from my door this morning as I let in the fresh cool air.  I never used to be a green thumb, and actually killed a cactus, so am extremely happy to enjoy the flowers that I am miraculously keeping alive.


M new quote on the wall
"Wherever you go there you are."
-Jon Kabat-Zinn

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Value of Stay at Home Moms

This morning my stay at home mommy confidence hit a low after a night spent thinking about money.  We are not broke or uncomfortable, but we are also not rich in wealth by bank portfolio standards.  It all started after a couple of events.  My husband and I took the boys to check out a local martial arts gym that we have been planning on signing them up for.  It is a pretty nice program with a capped family rate, so all six of us could train as much as we wanted with no worry of cost.  After we came home I prepped dinner while pulling out the laptop to adjust the monthly family budget to accomodate the increase.  Luckily by God's good grace we have been able to pay off some bills over the last couple of months to keep it within our intentions.

Vince and I had also gone over what money we had for the Memorial Day Weekend holiday and what money we could use to buy our daughter new shoes.  This is after we just bought her a pair that had been worn maybe five times and then one magically disappeared.

To top it all off I finally listened to a three day old voicemail to realize that it was a bill collector, and I have religiously been on top of our bills.  When I called them today they said it was an error, but that didn't prevent me from getting worked up about it and also curious.  I spent the better part of last night pulling up our annual credit reports from the three bureaus and meticulously reviewing them for accuracy.  This activity would get anyone in a funk let alone having to stare at my high amount of deferred student loans over and over as a reminder for my untapped potential.

Needless to say this morning as I was cleaning the house in a mental frantic fog I was going over and over in my head what businesses from home I could start while I clean up kid messes and chase a new baby around the house.  Maybe I could sell signs with cute sayings?  No, nobody would buy mine...maybe I could re-purpose clothes and learn to sew?  No, (insert reason here).

I ended up going up to my husband as he was getting ready to leave for work and spilled my questions of am I a good wife even though right now I am not using my thousands of student loan debt for amazing work, and I feel like all I do is spend because essentially I do.  He is a pretty logical guy and not big on emotion, so he said I was over thinking it and left for work.  That left me standing alone with a vacuum in hand and laundry about to be folded in the other room, and my thoughts.

Below is a you tube video I found by a husband from stacymakescents.com.  It is nice sometimes to hear what we think from a guy.





What does God think about the value of moms?

Proverbs 31:10-12 says:

10 [a]A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.

According to this we are worth far more than rubies.  I know that this pertains to also to the worth we could monetarily bring into our homes.  Since I stay at home my husband does not have to worry about what goes on at home.  He doesn't have to help re arrange his work schedule for commitments with the kids, which enables him to give 100%.  

Proverbs 31:25-31 ends with

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Even though these scriptures encompass women in entirety whether or not they are moms, work, don't work, etc I think like with all scriptures they meet everyone where they are at.  They provide value and encouragement no matter the circumstance, and right now I am looking to be uplifted in my work at home.  

I firmly believe there is a season and a reason for everything.  I have had seasons of being a working mother, of being a stay at home mom, of being a homeschool mom.  They have all transitioned organically as the potential presented themselves and the season was ripe.  For myself right now I know that I need to be at home.  In the future God will bless me with an opportunity to go back to work and use that degree that I have had to put on ice.  I am envisioning it sitting in a cryogenic slumber just as fresh when thawed as when it was frozen, but right now I have our kids 7 and under.  One of them only 8 months old and still breastfeeding.  One of them homeschooling because her experiences at school were bringing her down.  Days are full of homecare, kid care, baby care.  Afternoons are filled with dentists, school pick-ups, birthday parties with friends at the park, trips to the library.  Evenings are filled with bible studies, parent meetings, cheer and soon to be martial arts.

My monetary value in the home right now is budgeting, finding a good deal, being smart about spending, thinking twice about what we buy, making sure we have proper insurance protection, cooking affordable and hearty meals.

The emotional value is not easily seen, but more felt.  I can attest that if I am off the whole energy of the house is off.  Kids start to swirl around in a sea of raised voices, tempers and rushed activity.  When I bring order to the home physically with a clean environment and a present state of being the house operates at a buzz as opposed to a holler.

My value is not riches.  It is from God and His son Christ Jesus, and that will never fail.  Amen.

www.annualcreditreport.com

Friday, May 15, 2015

One Republic - Good Life

It is Friday and not raining.  My garden out back is starting to grow.  We have our health and many other blessings.  Is life perfect and easy?  No.  Homeschooling is difficult at times to keep the patience.  All day with little to no break can be trying for my nerves.  Yesterday I squeezed in two walks with the dog.  One of which resulted in a breakout jog barefoot, while wearing jeans because I felt the walk was not cutting it.  I will probably be incorporating exercise into my day as much as possible as I am trying not to yell.  Man it can be hard.

Aside from this I have a good life and think the song by One Republic captures this.  



This week we celebrated Mother's Day by spending time alone with our family for dinner as well as sharing meals with each of our own moms.  Here is a picture though blurry of me on mother's day my 3 year old took.  Notice the crown my daughter lent me for the day.


On one of my walks yesterday with my dog and 6 year old son I walked past a breathtaking row of pink bushes.  It made me stop in my tracks and just take it in.  I will probably be back a few times though its a bit out of my way to enjoy it before it becomes just a green bush.


Take time to admire the flowers, to drink that cup of tea in the morning, to spend a moment reading from your devotionals.

I want to end with a quote by Lucille Ball....someone I would like to meet after this life.

"I would rather regret the things I have done than regret the things I have not done."

Live it, love it, be it!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Jotting Down Memories

I realized that I needed to jot some memories down of the kids before I forgot so here goes:

-My daughter's love of cheer, how she is constantly practicing her jumps, cartwheels and routines wherever she goes.  If I randomly say the words 5, 6, 7, 8 she automatically starts performing.

-Her love for her brothers.  Always playing with Ian, holding her little brother,

-When a random song on the computer came on she started dancing and said I just couldn't help it!

-My oldest son...how he just had his sixth birthday at Chuckee Cheese with his family and best friend

-The fact that kindergarten has flown by and I cried the day before his birthday, how he has become a little man who still gives me hugs and says he loves me on occasion but is leaning towards his dad's influence more and more

-His black and white logical nature, doesn't mess around with a lot of talking or unnecessary details, it is what it is with him, he loves his baby brother and constantly wants to hold him and give him funny faces

-How on teacher appreciation week when he was supposed to bring a flower to his teacher he shoved the rose into his back pack.  When I told him to take it out and carry it on the bus he grumbled and started swinging it side to side upside down while walking all slow to eventually drop it intentionally on the lawn.

-My second son and how much he is talking, is cute sentences and words, his big stories about how he met danger with Transformers and other tall tales.

-How when he was two his dad took him to an Sportsmens type shop and he ran around the gun case to grab an unloaded rifle unbeknownst to the employee and quickly walk it to my husband saying, "Here you go daddy."  Both the clerk and my husband were appalled and he quickly exited the store

-How when something is bleeding or cut on his face or body he freaks out and cries because his skin is falling off

-My little baby boy and how fast he is growing.  Just watches and smiles at everyone, got his high chair and loves to eat in it.

-Is sitting all of the time and crawling and even standing against furniture at 8 months old.

Undeniable - Mat Kearney - God is Good!


God is good!  I am so grateful that in this human existence we can see God's love and work on this earth.  One of my former mom's group friends posted online yesterday morning that her husband who works on roadside construction was completely ran over by a grading truck.  He spent the day in the ICU and five hours in surgery.  The miracle was that he was even alive in the first place as it should have immediately crushed him.  Initially it was determined that no major organs or his brain was damaged.  After surgery they told her that all of his ribs were broken, but not crushed as well as his legs, pelvis and jaw, and was expected to make a full recovery.  There is no doubt that an angel was with him yesterday taking on most of the weight from that machine.  Hearing this made me think of the song, "Undeniable" by Mat Kearney.




John 6:63
"The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.  The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life."


Monday, May 4, 2015

Third Day "Soul on Fire" LIVE at K-LOVE and bedtime

I love my kids to pieces, but tonight want to give an amen to bedtime.  I tell you either its a full moon, or everyone was wiped out tired.  It is hard sometimes stretching patience, attention and reasoning especially when the kids are not interested in hearing it.  Sometimes we all just need a good night sleep.

Today was spent shopping for my son's 6th birthday, and making my first paper mache pinata.  I am hoping it works out though I might have to take a blow dryer to it.  It is the first year my son is holding us accountable to his birthday with specific and frequent reminders and requests for his gifts and parties.  I ordered his special cake today and bought his blue and green decorations.  I hope it will be the best ever.

Here is the recipe I used to make the pinata:;
-Blow up a balloon to create the shape
-Rip strips of newspaper
-Mix together 2 cups of water with 2 cups of flour and a teaspoon of salt 
-Cover the balloon with strips of paper soaked in the mixture
-When it dries cut the end of the balloon to put in the candy then reseal and decorate

My daughter has been bringing her purse everywhere and spending her coins at every turn.  Today alone she bought a package of bubble gum as well as some candy machine Skittles and a package of Reeses PB Cups.  So cute.  The other day she told me that she found out her cheer coach is a year older than me, but looks waaayyyy younger than me.  That was a moment.  Thank you very much haha.

My second son is getting more articulate and usually spot on with his speaking and intention.  We tried to go to the store really quick while holding my baby and letting my little guy walk around as opposed to riding in the cart.  He did okay, but I was constantly saving cakes from their demise as I was ordering one for the birthday boy.  Preschool step...

Below is a video of my daughter and I's favorite song right now, "Soul on Fire" by Third Day.  Enjoy!


Sunday, May 3, 2015

We bought our kids a drumset!

For the latest chapter in the lives of our crazy family we bought a nearly complete drum set at a garage sale for $50.  It was for sale by an older musician who must have an extra he didn't need, and we even talked him down by $10 from $60.  It took my husband and I a bit of deliberating.  We literally were standing in the driveway slowly walking away while saying to each other, "What do you think?"  "Well, what do you think?" This continued for about one long minute before we finally decided what the heck.  The only thing it didn't come with was the cymbals, which at this point is fine.  I think the neighbors would appreciate it too.  My husband has been in rotation with the kids to take a turn at beating out a rhythm.  I tried to sneak in for a turn in between cooking dinner, but go booted by one of the kids.  It will be interesting to see how this purchase will turn out.

We also went to a semi annual kids consignment sale.  It was the last day with 2 1/2 hours left, so a lot of the merchandise was 1/2 off.  I was taking a chance going four days in on the final hours, because my goal was to score an affordable high chair.  When I arrived I saw only two lonely high chairs in a massive room of items.  One of them that was only $15 appeared to be sold and waiting for it's owner to pick it up.  I was sad, because it was super cute and up my alley style wise.  The only other one was selling for $50, which is still a deal, but not my first choice.  I grabbed a lady to ask how I reserve it, and mentioned how I was sad the other one was sold, when she told me it wasn't.  It turns out they had sold over 30 high chairs the last three days, and this one had an issue with a missing screw of some sort.  This morning they had arrived with the screw, and were so done with it that they dropped it down to $15.  The way the tag was made it look like it was already sold even though it wasn't.  I can't tell you how happy I was, and how cute my baby looked in it tonight at dinner time.