Thursday, August 24, 2017

Life hack

so I am one of those people who is horrible about drinking water. I'm always trying different tips, water bottles, etc to see which helps me drink the most!

My hack for today involves filling up the water bottle... yes I am impatient and don't want to wait until it is full. Recently I have tried the leave the sink running while I do something else method but that just goes in the make-a-mess method 😳

My new tip I am trying is to say a Bible verse or a prayer while I wait for it to fill up! Here's to taking an extra moment to get the water in me and the Scripture in my heart!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

parenting hack for bedtime routine

I love books. Always been that way and always will be that way...

... but even if that weren't the case, I think I would still follow my next thought...

Read chapter books to your children as they fall asleep. For me, this is different from bedtime stories. We read bedtime stories together out in the hallway, then we pray and read Scripture or a Bible story. Then they go to bed and lay in their dark room and I read them part of a chapter book from the hallway.

My mom did this for me when I was younger and I want my kids to have the same type of memories. Plus, I think it really helps them settle down when they are listening to a book with the light off. It gives them a chance to focus their thoughts in one area and calm down from the day they've had. In fact, one night a few weeks ago, we didn't read books for some reason, and Brayden had the toughest time going to sleep... he's always taken a bit longer to go to sleep, but we haven't had those problems as much (at least that I can remember) since having books to listen to while lying in bed.

We just did this with Nate the Great books, just finished Charlotte's Web, and are currently going through Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books. Those, in particular, have provided a nice incentive for the boys to go to sleep.

Find a series or grab some classic books and read them to your kids!

Friday, August 18, 2017

parenting hack for kids' confidence

On June 5, 2017, our family expanded from four to five. That means it's me, my hubby, my two little boys (5/3) and a new baby girl. The boys love her.

I'm learning to let go of any perfection ideas I have and let the boys enjoy her too. For me, that means letting them dress her, and yes, even when it's mismatched, I let them have their way (unless we're going out and it's a really bad clash!).

Recently, I asked Brayden to get socks and he claims he couldn't find any, so he got these instead. "These" were tights. Yes, it is summer here, but we were inside and he had done a good job doing what I asked, so yep, she wore tights around the house that day! I did explain that in public she'd need a skirt or something over them since they go under that type of thing, but that doesn't matter when the boys help.

So the hack for today... whenever you can, let the kids decide things, even if it goes against "adult" protocol. :-)

Brie with her tights... and she was tired!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

dinner hack

A quick way to make dinner is enchiladas. Now, I don't think I've ever bought enchilada sauce, but this recipe has made them my favorite. Here's the hack: use salsa instead! It works great. This is where I got the hack from:

Recently, I had hamburger on hand, so I used that instead of chicken for this recipe. You also don't need the green chiles, but they are nice to have. I do add more salsa depending on what I'd like the end result to be.

Oh yeah... and this dinner with hamburger took me 30-35 minutes. I always consider that an accomplishment when it comes together quickly!

Monday, August 14, 2017

parenting hack for picking up the house

It's very difficult to get kids to simply "clean up this room!"

On the other hand, I've found that giving the kids specific instructions is extremely helpful! Instead of simply saying clean up, give them specific jobs. Pick up that airplane and put it in the toy box. Run these dishes up to the kitchen and put them on the counter next to the sink. Put these shoes away. Bring these toys to your bedroom.

That helps them so much. My kiddos are 3 and 5 and always look rather lost when I say "clean up!" Giving them a place to start helps!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

a parenting/laundry "hack"

Hi there!

So one of the podcasts I've enjoyed listening to lately is by Gretchen Rubin called Happier. It's practical tips to living a happier life.

They have a segment called "Happiness Hack" that talks about a "hack" for something that will make you happier. Since I've started to think in those terms, I decided to blog about it, in case my hack will help you!

Today, it is a double hack for parenting & laundry. I am not the greatest at getting laundry done and definitely not at matching socks... Erik's stash of white socks is really something I'm bad at matching. So today, I hacked it by making it into a fun project.

Brayden and I played a matching game with Erik's socks and for every match he got a penny. Jase could have played, but since he was playing with toys nicely behind us, I let him do so. We were done in probably five minutes. The matching was great practice for Brayden; he got a quarter out of the deal, and now Erik's folded socks are now upstairs on his bed waiting for him to use!

Maybe the next time you need socks folded, enlist your kids' help!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

33 weeks... and still cookin'!

33 weeks tomorrow and doctor appt yesterday. My doc said at the appt., "I would have never known you had an incompetent cervix."

Thinking about that statement just makes me want to praise God. After my water broke during my first pregnancy at 20 weeks, Erik and I had to face the idea that my body may not be able to carry a baby to completion--and it definitely wouldn't be able to without help. There was hope that a cerclage would make it be possible, but there was certainly a bleak feeling of "you just don't know what will happen in the future."

Looking back at Brayden's pregnancy (#2), I faced so much fear... held on to some, overcame it other times. I was so nervous until he was safe in my arms. In fact, every muscle twinge and every uncertain feeling was cause for concern that Brayden wasn't safe. Looking back, I know he was probably not at risk during much of it, thanks to the cerclage and limited lifting and limited activity.

Jase's pregnancy was a lot better than Brayden's. I was able to relax more and do more things because I knew I had made it successfully through it once before. I had more joy, less fear and less scares, but I still was cautious. The biggest thing I couldn't do then was lift Brayden, who was only 1 1/2 years old and still needed a lot of lifting!

(Shout out to all my family and friends who helped so extensively during all of my pregnancies!!!! I'm SO grateful that you helped make our family possible!)

Now, during this pregnancy, it almost feels like a redemption pregnancy. My kids are old enough to take care of themselves (generally, speaking)... they can do so much on their own and they can help around the house. I've been able to be the most active of all the pregnancies and have done my best to truly enjoy getting out and about and being pregnant, something that I missed when the fear was prevalent during earlier ones.

I can't say I haven't battled fear. After I passed the 24 week mark, I got over the fear that I was going to disappoint my little boys and not have the sister for them that we had promised. Every week that has gone by has strengthened my confidence... not that it hasn't been without its share of troubles. I still have to tell my boys I can't do certain things they want to do because I need to rest or can't lift/exercise/run, etc. I know that period will come to end, however, and those moments won't be prevalent in their minds. I've had some nerves, but I usually tried to go with my gut/mothering instinct or ask the doctor what I need to be aware of. Now, I hear my doctor say that everything is perfect and... wow. every day brings us closer. It's been a LONG wait. Well, probably the "shortest" wait of all three babies I've had, but it's still so long to wait for something when you have restrictions. Maybe one day I'll know how to put that into words, but I feel for people in those long waiting periods.

In addition to relying on God, one key that has got me through this is focusing on and picturing the days in the hospital showing off my daughter. Thinking through and imagining what it all will be like. Remembering the sleepless nights and how they seem to be all worth it when you hold your baby in your arms.

So yeah... because I've been able to be more active and more confident this pregnancy, I haven't blogged as much during it, but I wanted to get some of this out there on "paper." So there you go. That's my pregnancy update. All is well... God is amazing.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Life can change in a moment.

I vividly remember using those words as my blog title after my water bag broke at 20 weeks with my first pregnancy. The dreams of a perfect pregnancy and baby were dashed in an instant and my life was forever changed.

This morning, however, I thought of that phrase in a different setting. I was thinking about that morning, centuries ago, when some women woke up early. They saw the sun outside and started to revel in the beauty created as the sun rays landed upon the nature around them, just as I did this morning. Their morning, however, wasn't so happy. Within a few minutes, the reality of the situation they were currently facing haunted them. Jesus, their wonderful leader and connection point to God, was dead.


Talk about life change. They were ready to follow Him with their whole lives, and then He was killed in the most horrific, brutal way possible.

All they could think to do, to somehow move through another day, was to go anoint His body with burial spices. It was something they could to do somehow absolve the hopelessness they each felt.

On their way to the tomb, they were relatively silent, occasionally bringing up stories of Jesus' impact on them. They retold of His miracles, but then fell silent again as they wondered why such a wonderful life was cut short. As they neared where He lay, they started to consider the fact that the body was behind a huge stone that none of them would be able to move. Perhaps if they all worked together...

They all looked up as the tomb came into sight. The stone had already been moved. A gaping hole in the middle of the cave stared back at them, but a somewhat unnatural light could be seen from the inside.

Life can change in a moment.

They walked up to the men standing next to the tomb, trying to decide what emotions they should feel. "Where is Jesus' body?" one had the courage to ask.

"He is not here. He is risen, just like He said."

The women tried to comprehend the words he just spoke. They peeked inside and didn't see the lumps of a body under the burial clothes as they should have.

"What did you just say?" they asked again.

"He is risen. Go and look inside. You won't find His body, just as He said."

The ladies ran inside and saw neatly placed burial clothes covering the area Jesus' body should have been.

Life can change in a moment.

The men's voices boomed from the front of the cave. "Go and tell His disciples what has happened!"


Well, that's just my imagination at work this morning. I'd love to continue the story, but I know little ones sleeping upstairs will be up soon.... I just wanted to share my revelation that Jesus came so that our lives can change in a moment... for the better. He came to revolutionize and light up and bring beauty into our lives. We may be in the darkest of dark times, but Jesus' death and resurrection provides the hope we need to know that life can change in a moment... for the better and for His glory.

Happy Resurrection Sunday.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

an FYI for conservatives about Beauty and the Beast

I just emailed Disney regarding my disappointment about their upcoming movie Beauty and the Beast. I told them that I had been excited to see it since I first heard the announcement about the live action movie... that I am a huge fan of the theater play and have seen it probably 10-15 times... I had planned to see the movie 2-3 times in the theater (which I rarely do!)...

But all that changed because they decided to proudly advertise their decision to include their first openly gay character in the movie. They changed a classic tale to appease what they thought society wanted to "move" Disney forward to whatever place they thought they should be to promote "equality"...

Honestly, if they hadn't advertised it, I would have seen the movie and been potentially annoyed by an openly gay character, probably even disgusted and certainly disappointed that they would change the story to that degree - in a time period/setting that a gay character doesn't even make sense - but I probably would have made the most of enjoying the overall movie.

Because they've chosen to advertise their choice, that is what disgusts me. They're proud they are changing their stories and standards to match what media promotes as society's wishes. I would suggest that if they were going to create an openly gay character, use a new character from a new movie that had no previous attachments or character profiles in the audience's minds.

No, I'm not against homosexuals, and no, I'm not trying to start an argument, so please, no comments against my decision to avoid seeing the movie. The reason I'm posting is because I told Disney I would alert my friends who agree with me that they may not be interested in supporting the movie anymore.

Yes, in general, I shouldn't expect anything different from a secular company, but I can be disappointed and voice my disappointment for their decision. Being silent about these types of things allows them to keep happening.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

typical conversations with three-year-olds

Recently we recorded this video with Jase... and it reminded me of a video we took with Brayden when he was three. Apparently I was right. The "no" conversation is common among three-year-olds!

Jase at 3 years old

 Brayden at 3 years old