Thursday, December 29, 2011

Our {not so} perfect Christmas.

I had big plans for Christmas this year.  Big.  I put a lot of work into simplifying our holidays.  Why does it require work to make things more simple?  Not sure, but it took work.  I knew we were going to have a couple of our family Christmas parties done before Christmas so I envisioned the week after Christmas as this wonderful family time filled with puzzles, games and lots of snuggling. 

That bubble burst Christmas morning when we woke up with one droopy Isabella.  By the time we opened packages, she was throwing up.  Anna wasn't feeling much better and began throwing up the next morning.  Diarrhea (or as my children affectionately call it - "loose poop" hit our house on day 2 as well).  Three out of four kids were affected by something.  Good times.   Sick children do require a lot of snuggling.  It's just accompanied by moaning, sighing, and holding their hair back while they throw up.  Then disinfecting.  Lots of disinfecting.  Not how I envisioned my perfect Christmas.  This is day 5.  I'm hoping it is also day one of no more throwing up.  Hoping.  So far, so good, but it's only 9:30am.  At least they all look better - that's a start!

Planning for the perfect Christmas was a good idea.  It made me take time to focus on what really mattered and what didn't.  God matters.  Family matters.   The perfect gifts, homemade treats, beautiful decorations, and making everyone else happy -- well, that's all good, but it doesn't matter as much. 

And we definitely did simple this year.  We've napped.  A lot.  We're well rested so that's a bonus.  And maybe that's what God planned all along.  Maybe as simple as I had planned things, He knew I'd still mess them up, get busy, get distracted and forget about simple.  Maybe this was His way of slowing us all down.  Making us just stop what we were doing and rest.  I know I needed it.  And the kids did too.  Now I'm hoping we have a few days left of break that we can have fun together, see a few more smiles and maybe work on that puzzle Chris started.  Or, maybe we'll just take another nap! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Moons

My kids begged me to take this picture.  For two days.  So I did.  Merry Christmas!

(They're a Christmas tree).  Very classy. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

When a 3 year-old describes the birth of Jesus...

Last night we were doing our advent devotional and Sam said he wanted a turn to read from the Bible.  He opened it up and then started, "In those days Caesar..."  It was so cute.  Then I asked him to tell us the story.  He got to the part about the wise men coming to visit and then he said, "was the foolish man there too?" 

He was thinking of the song that goes, "the foolish man built his house upon the sand....but the wise man built his house upon the rock..."  Lyrics here.   So stinkin' cute!  I guess there were a few different wise men in the Bible!  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Little Man Has Got Style

I'm not too picky about how my kids dress.  I let them pick out their clothes and all of them have had some questionably style choices from time to time. 

Sam has recently found an interest in wearing ties.  But, he thinks they go with everything.  And somehow, I think Lightening McQueen and Mater would approve! 

He also prefers to spend his days at home in jammies.  I can totally relate! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Updating our little blog....and family pictures. {Grandparents do not spoil your Christmas by looking at this}

I'm finally breaking into the world of blog steps, I know!  While using the old template was easy, it just wasn't very personal and didn't really reflect our family's personality.  I think this new design does a much better job!  

The pictures are from a recent photo shoot with Chelsea Simmon.  She did an awesome job and I highly recommend her.  You can check out her website here.   

Let me describe our traditional photo shoot at JC Penney.  I have nothing against JCP- I even worked there as a teenager, but I'm guessing many in-store studios are similar.  All six of us cram into a busy, teeny-tiny, waiting room on a Saturday morning in November.  By the way, everyone else has the same idea.  We wait, because they're always behind.  Then we squeeze into the teeny-tiny studio.  They show us a bunch of cheesy backgrounds and I choose the white and gray ones.  The photographer is always disappointed I don't chose the fake tree/fireplace picture.  "This is for Christmas, right?"  I explain that I like the focus of the picture to be on the people, not the background.  She looks confused.  We get into posed, formal positions and she says, "say cheese!"  Some of us say cheese, others start fidgeting, some cry.  We are lucky if we are all looking towards the camera.  We beg her not to wait for all of us to smile, because if she waits that long....more of us will be crying!  We leave exhausted, and when we got home, we realize the pictures we purchased are identically posed from the previous year's photo shoot.  Different clothes, one year older, otherwise the same boring picture.  But this year was different.   

When we met Chelsea at the park it was much more natural.  The kids just goofed around and were themselves.  There were no, "say cheese" commands.  She'd position us at times, and at other times just catch the kids being kids.  And we LOVE how the pictures turned out!  Here are a few more of my favorites. 

Aren't they adorable?  I really love black and whites!

That's her in a nutshell.  Just a super happy little girl, with a lot of pep in her step!


Yep.  That's her too.  She'd rather be hanging upside down from a monkey bar or tree. 

LOVE it!  Because, I see these faces.  A lot.  Sometimes more than their smiles!

And just because.  We're a goofy family so we should have a goofy picture!

Monday, December 12, 2011

My First Christmas as a Pastor's Wife

This is officially my first Christmas as a pastor's wife.  Yikes, sounds scary doesn't it? 

The reality is, it's not that scary after all.  Over the years we've done our part to make sure our children focus on the Christ-side of Christmas. It's not easy.  We talk about Jesus' birth a lot. Daily really.  Sometimes several times a day.   We have an advent magnet nativity scene on our fridge and each day we put up another part of the scene.  We do a nightly devotional.  This year we're reading Nancy Guthrie's "Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room."  It's good, a little above some of our kiddos, but gets the discussion started.  We're at church.  A lot.  My kids think it's their second home.  No joke.  They more than make themselves comfortable!  Candy dish out of mints?  No problem, they all know where the refill stash is.  Hungry?  No problem, they can scrounge up something in the kitchen.   Want to play in the sanctuary?  Just get out the riding toys and drive around.  You get the picture.  They spend a lot of time at church. 

I found an awesome little book this year called "Christmas is Not Your Birthday."  I really recommend it.  It talks about how in America, at Christmas time, we spend most of our time making lists of want we want - like it's our birthday.  And if your house is anything like mine...there are too many presents under the tree and the kids make a mad dash to open them and see what all they got.  We have several family Christmas gatherings and end up celebrating with gifts for days.  (It's hard to minimize the gift receiving end of Christmas when it just keeps coming and coming!)  The book talks about how Christmas is not in fact our birthday, but Jesus'.  And we should think of ways focus on giving gifts to Him.  What would he like?  Obviously our hearts.  But he calls us to take care of those who need help - the poor, broken hearted, orphans and widows.  The book says that if we minimized our spending and gave a financial contribution to help others equal to what we spent on our own gifts, then that would be an amazing way to honor Jesus on His birthday!  What if we all did this?

After talking about that one night with the kids they suggested we buy presents for kids who don't have enough.  Great idea!  And in the awesome way that God works, my Mom stopped by the next day and said she wanted to adopt some angels from the angel tree and take my kids shopping with her.  Perfect timing! 

Now to the ever present Santa issue.  We don't deny he exists.  Yet.  We also don't promote him either.  It's just not the side of Christmas we focus on.   Rarely do you hear me talk about Santa.  His picture is not plastered all over my house at Christmas time.  But that means I don't get to use him as a crutch for good behavior either..."Santa's watching to see if you're naughty or nice..."  We don't make lists for Santa or spend a lot of time talking about him.  If the kids bring it up, we talk for as long as they want. That's it.  On Christmas Eve they talk a lot about him. And that's okay too for now.  We also make sure to read the story out of the Bible and bring them back to the true meaning of Christmas.  In our house, Santa brings simple stocking gifts, but anything nice comes from us.  I know we'll eventually talk to the kids about the history of how Santa Clause came to be known.  There's a lot of good in that story.  Before commercialism and greed took over. But with my youngest only 3, I have no problem waiting a little longer.  I'm leaning towards telling them all before next Christmas though.  I read a great blog about this.  You can read it here.  One thing that stood out for me is the idea that for children, how can we expect Jesus to compete with the idea of Santa who flies in the sky to bring them presents.  So true.  Another great thing the blog suggested was about gift giving.  They give their children something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.  That's it.  What a great idea!  That's going to be my goal next year. 

We have traditions.  We won't miss a Christmas Eve service.  That's ruffled some feathers over the years with planning big family gatherings.  But we won't miss it.  And when Christmas falls on a Sunday we won't miss church either.  This year, Chris is preaching our candlelight Christmas Eve service.  I'll be the one in the front with 4 kids, 5 burning candles, and a 3 year-old boy who doesn't like to be quiet or hold still.  Oh, and did I mention he's fully comfortable commenting on what's going on?  And I'm pretty sure he doesn't have a "quiet voice."  Wish me luck!   Maybe not the perfect picture of a pastor's wife?! 

It seems like we've had a gradual transition through the years of slowly having a more Christ-like Christmas.  We've got a long ways to go, but we're trying.  Our heart is in the right place and that's a start.  I'm excited about Christmas this year - more so than in years past - and I think it's because we're finally focusing more on Jesus and less on the stresses and drama that inherently come along with the holidays.   So, maybe becoming a pastor's wife isn't so scary after all.  Maybe God has been preparing me for this for a long time.  And maybe, just maybe, I'll have well behaved children at the front of church on Christmas Eve.  But don't count on it! 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Exhibit A: Why we need to finish the basement bathroom.

A picture's worth a thousand words, right?  Chris finished 95% of our basement.  Twice.  (Before and after a lovely flood).  But there's one room we've never tackled and that's our basement bathroom.  We've got a tub, electricity and lights.  We just need the rest.  And here's why we need it.  Look what 2 little girls can do to my bathroom in the process of showering....Did I mention this is my bathroom?  Not cool, right? 

I'm not going to lie.  I have no idea why blogger keeps flipping this photo.  But I'm pretty sure you get the picture!  What a mess!  Now, in exactly 6 months when the hubby is done with school and keeps telling me he'll have time to once again work on our house....I'll have to remind him of this!  Maybe the bathroom will magically move to the top of the list! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Spreading a little holiday cookie at a time.

It's a great day to be a Moon!  That's what I keep telling the kiddos in the morning, and sometimes the hubby too.  We all need reminded pretty regularly how fortunate we are to be healthy, have jobs, a home, a great church and plenty of friends.  It's a great day to be a Moon! 

And, since we in the Moon house like cookies (a lot) I've decided to spread a little holiday cheer.  One cookie at a time.  Who can resist?  My holiday baking list is long.  Really long.  It involves a lot of sugar, flour, and eggs.  I have so many favorite cookies I like to bake this time of year and so many I still need to try!  I don't even want to think about how it affects my grocery budget.  But, it's worth it.  It's so much fun to take a plate of cookies to friends and family.  And even more fun to share the baking with my kiddos.  Though, when they're involved it takes twice as long and is twice as messy.  

I made this cookie today.  Well, I made Rudolph and 104 of his closest friends.  {recipe}  I don't normally bake that many of the same cookie, but it's for a cookie exchange at we needed some extra here at home for snacking!  We changed him up a bit and added red noses (thanks to cherry flavored chips) and longer antlers.  I also cheated and used refrigerated dough so our reindeer are quite a bit chubbier!  But, that's okay with us!  The holidays can do that to anybody, right? 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What happens between preschool and 3rd grade?

Well, the answer, of course, is a lot.  But I'm thinking more about Thanksgiving and school-sponsored Thanksgiving "feasts."  My preschooler's feast included every child bringing a different vegetable to be added to a stew.  Isabella was thrilled to bring a potato to school.  They also ate the homemade applesauce they helped make.  Sounds pretty good.  And dare I say it?  Healthy.

My third grader's "feast" was a little different.  It was a chex mix feast where all the boys bring something salty and the girls bring something sweet.  "Mom, that means M & M's or chocolate chips!"   Lovely. 

Here's hoping your Thanksgiving includes something more than just chex mix!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

On Becoming a True Moon (and embarassing your mom in the process)

Today, some of the kids who come to church on Sunday nights sang a song in front of the congregation.  Sam can sing some of the words, do some of the actions, and stand still -- when he chooses.  Today, he did not make that choice. 

Instead, as the song began, he chose to turn around, pull his pants down a bit and scratch himself.  It was a fine moment for me as his mom.  I had forgotten my camera and was trying quickly to snap a picture with my phone.  Unfortunately, I took it too quickly and it was blurry.  Before trying a retake, I realized what my lovely son was up to and the camera was put away.  As you can see below (again, apologies for the quality of the picture) Sam chose that moment to partially moon everyone.  Uncle Mark, you'd be proud!  Believe me, the pants went further down.  The thing is, usually when kids sing, someone does something embarassing or funny or both.  I figure with four kids, it's going to be my children  alot of the time.  And he did bring a little laughter and joy to the sactuary, and isn't that a good thing too?

Happy Sunday, from the Moons.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

On Teaching Children About Jesus...

Last night I sat in our Wednesday night children's class in awe of God.  The fact that he trusts me to teach children about Him is pretty amazing!  Up until now, teaching the school-age children has been about filling a need.  Serving where nobody else would.  I've enjoyed it, but it was always a responsibility.  But last night was different.  It was an honor. 

In our Wednesday night class we have several children that come who normally don't attend church on Sunday.  A few of them have never been to church before. We were talking about Daniel and the lion's den.  It's a pretty standard story that most children who attend church have heard many times.  But last night, I saw that it was new to some of the kids.  Completely new. 

As we closed out our evening we talked about some of the kids' recent baptisms and why they were baptised.  They knew that they had asked Jesus into their hearts and have a love for Him, but I was trying to explain that being baptised is an outward expression of obedience - showing others about  their decision.  We talked about how Jesus himself was baptised and I just briefly said that Jesus had died on the cross so we could all be forgiven and if we accepted Him we would go to heaven someday. 

One of the children said, "Jesus died on a cross?  How?"  Wow!  That blew me away.  This child had never heard that before and I was given the honor to explain that for the first time.  The student wanted to know every detail.  I explained about the nails in His hands, how he hung there.  The child wondered if he had died instantly from the pain or agonized for a long time.  At that moment I was in a unique position to feel completely honored to be able to tell this child about Jesus, and at the same time, scared to death at the responsibility that it involved.  What if I said something wrong, or the way I explained it was confusing? 

In the end, it just felt really incredible!  So often in our small church we only teach the "church kids."  The ones who come every week and who know the stories.  It's more about getting them to go deeper, understand better, and apply it to their own lives.  But last night I was teaching to some kids who didn't know the stories, who hadn't heard.  And isn't that what the church is supposed to be about too?  Reaching the ones who don't know about Him. 

It's humbling and incredibly awesome at the same time.  And I have a new-found respect for all those Sunday School teachers I had in my life growing up. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011: The good, the bad, and the sugar high

Halloween. It's not my favorite holiday.  I don't hate it, and I'm not morally opposed to it.  It's just that with four kids it:
a) costs a lot  to purchase costumes and
b) brings entirely too much candy into our house. 

So, this year I told all the kids they could re-use a costume from previous years or we could make something. 

Isabella was perfectly fine being a cheerleader -- a costume we've used several times over the years.  Kudos to her. 

Sam was insistent that he wanted to be a "big, bad, blue, scary monster."  Lovely.  We did find a cute hat and mitten set at Children's Place that was perfect for our scary monster and practical because it could be worn after Halloween.  Next we located a blue sweatsuit (in Isabella's size with pretty flowers on it).  So, I attached black fur to adhesive-backed felt and stuck it on the sweatshirt covering the pretty flowers.  Then I just attached furry spots all over him and spikes on his back.  He was happy.  And, this morning I pulled everything off, washed it and Isabella now has another outfit.  And yes, I do realize how ridiculous he looks.  The thing is - he's 3, so he doesn't know any better! 

Anna wanted to be a cat.  Easy enough.  Black tights, leotard, a $5 cat ear/tail set, eyeliner for some whiskers and call it good. 

Sophia wanted to be a Dalmatian.  Easy enough.  White sweatsuit at Wal-mart, and black sticky felt.  The idea was going to be to add spots all over, throw some ears on the hoodie, add a tail and a collar and call it good.  Good it was not!  Apparently only the extra-stiff adhesive-backed felt really sticks.  That's what I bought for Sam's costume, but I got Sophia's at another store.  The other stuff comes right off.  At one point, I was either going to have to sew on all the spots, or scrap the whole idea and encourage her to be a cat.  She went as a cat.   

After the kids went to bed I sorted the candy.  Yes, I was a good parent and checked it all over to make sure it was safe.  But then I sorted out all the hard candy and suckers and threw them away.  They take too long to eat and my kids get to sticky in the process.  I sorted out the pretzels and gummy snacks and through them into my snack cupboard.  Thank you to these Moms!!  Then I still had 3 gallon bags of candy.  Yikes!  Every year we let the kids eat a piece at snack time and sometimes a piece for dessert after dinner.  Then some of the chocolate candybars are frozen and pulled out throughout the year.  The other candy goes to Daddy's less fortunate friends who don't get to trick-or-treat. 

Finally, a few pictures of visiting Grandad and Grandma.  Yes, once again, Sam was scared of Grandad - but wouldn't you be at 3?  Sophia was upset with me because she wanted to get to their house when it was dark so Grandad could scare her.  But, it was a school night so I got to make the schedule! 

Next year, I'm scrapping my plans of making costumes and just telling them to find something in the dress-up boxes. Easier. Cheaper. And less hassle!  Now, if someone will just convince them of that! 

Hope you all had a great Halloween! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

For the Love of Sharks!

Sophia has a deep love of all things that swim in the ocean.  I'm not sure where it comes from, as living in Kansas is just about as far from an ocean as you can get.  And, since all of our vacations to this point involve heading west to Colorado - she's yet to see one.   But, nevertheless, she loves it all!  I never knew there were so many books on oceans and sharks! But apparently we're on a quest to own every single one.  

Friday, the kids didn't have school and Chris was able to take the day off so we swung by the grandparents' house to pick up the kids (Thanks for the date night!!) and loaded them into the van.  We just told them we were going to go somewhere for a special surprise.  Usually that doesn't work.  Usually, they wear us down with questions until we finally give up and tell them where we are going.  No fun.  This time, I think they were just tired enough that they gave up their questioning pretty quickly. 

We headed south to the Oklahoma Aquarium.  Three hours later, as we got out of our car I asked Sophia to read the sign on the building.  As she read the word aquarium her eyes lit up!  She was so excited!  That look alone was worth the trip and the ticket price --- which by the way is pretty steep. 

While there we saw a ton of things that had previously only been seen in our books and on Finding Nemo.  We saw plenty of Nemos, Marlins, and Dorys.  We got to feel shrimp, starfish and other hard and squishy things.  We watched turtles swim, saw some gorgeous salt water fish and some ridiculously large catfish and bass. 

But all along, Sophia kept rushing us to get to the shark exhibit.  Once there she just stood in awe.  You can walk through a glass tunnel and have the sharks swim all around and over you.  I got a little dizzy.  But Sophia could have stayed there for hours I think.  Not an easy place to take pictures.

Smart museums all make you exit through the gift shop.  Somehow, we manged to get out the door without making any purchases.  We did have to turn around as Sam walked right out the doors with a sword.  Then we got in the car and headed home.  After a few minutes in the car I looked back and all four kids were asleep.  THAT IS SO STINKIN' RARE!  The other kids can fall asleep in the car, but Sophia hardly ever does. 

That lasted exactly 20 minutes until we proceeded to pass through Oklahoma's absurd toll booth system.  I don't know how many we went through, but every time we hit those bumps intended to get you to slow down, our kids were all awake.  Giant bummer.  Note to Oklahoma:  seriously, your roads are not that great!  One toll stop would be acceptable, then put the others as people EXIT off the highway, not in the middle of it. 

Six hours in the car and more money than I want to add up for about 2 hours at the Oklahoma Aquarium.  Totally worth it though!  The kids had a great time and saw things they won't likely see again for a long time.  It's really a great place to take a day trip!   All for the love of sharks. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Super Sunday: Part 2

Anna has talked to me for several months about getting baptised.  Since she's pretty much hardly ever missed a Sunday at church, she confidently believes in Jesus and knows He is in her heart.  She understands (as much as any 6 year-old can) that baptism is an act of obedience to God.  It's an outward expression of her faith.  While she's young, we know we'll continue to teach her more and more about God and what the Bible has to say about her life, so we're comfortable baptising her now and letting her follow her heart.  She has been ready to do this for a very long time. 

But, there's just this one little problem.  She's pretty shy.  Like, look down when an adult talks to you and cover your mouth if you actually have to respond. So the idea of going up to the front of the sanctuary for everyone to see is a little bit of a challenge.  She was nervous, but insistent that she wanted to do it.  But, she didn't want any of our family to come.  Sorry Grandparents!   We learned at her t-ball games this summer that the more relatives in attendance - the more nervous she was.  So, we didn't invite anyone to come.  And luckily, Chris was able to baptise her just like he did Sophia.  See hereDid I mention the water was pretty cold?  There was a little bit of shock on her face when she got in.  

It  was a pretty special Sunday, celebrated with lunch at Applebees and afternoon naps for everyone!  I'm just so proud of her because I know how hard that was for her to do.  Many adults don't have the courage she had!  I love you Anna Faith!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Great Abilene Campout

Last weekend we attended The Great Abilene Campout.  It was so much fun!  We had 170 people attend the school-wide campout on the playground and adjoining field.  While a few people didn't spend the night, we had 36 tents and a few RVs all lined up. 

These moms are amazing!  Carrying everything, setting it all up and camping with their kids!

Up goes tent city.
I love how my kids are all lined up below just watching the adults set up the tents -- like they're watching a movie!

Some of the dads grilled hot dogs for everyone and as it got darker everyone made their own s'mores.  In the morning donuts and juice were waiting for everyone - despite how early all the kids actually woke up! Seriously, don't they need more sleep than that?

The thing is, I normally supervise our kids like a protective mama bear.  And that night they had freedom they're not accustomed to.  The playground was fenced in and the kids generally just ran around for hours on end.  They all had flashlights and glow sticks and could play soccer, play on the playground equipment, run around in and out of the tents and just be free to be kids.  They had so much fun with their friends.  Many of the adults just sat around the campfire talking and we would catch little glimpses of our kids running by.  That was my favorite part - just talking to the other parents.  It seems rare these days that we take time to just sit and relax together. 
Our kids' side of the tent.  Plenty of room.

I thought we'd have to force our kids to go to bed.  But after the girls had run around for about 4 hours, they kicked all the other kids out of our tent and went to bed.  Awesome!  Sam was another story.  He finally went to bed around 12:30 when Chris and I left the warm campfire.  Then, he wouldn't fall asleep until he snuggled into Chris' mummy sleeping bag with him.  Cozy!  Camping out was COLD at night.  I know the temperature only said about 47, but somehow I was freezing all night long.  Not exagerating in the least.  I'm not sure how I could have been cold.  I had a great sleeping bag along with a blanket in a really nice tent.  But I just laid there and shivered.  I listened to the trains pass through town.  Who knew they came through so many times at night?  I noticed when the power went out for the whole town.  How does that happen without any storms?  And I actually considered heading in to the teacher's lounge where I knew there was a couch.  I didn't, but I really, really wanted to!  Luckily the kids slept better than me!  Though we all napped the next day.  I've really got to toughen up if I'm actually going to camp out at Yellowstone next summer. 

The camp out was SO MUCH FUN!  Little planning, lots of relaxing and watching our kids have a ball.  Can't wait for next year! 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Would you like cash back?

We were talking to the kids today at the lunch table about money.  The girls had mentioned wanting new winter coats because they simply liked another color better than last years' coats.  I explained that we bought new coats if they outgrew the old ones or if they were beginning to fall apart (which happens when you have three girls who pass clothes down to each other).  We don't buy new things just because we want them.  Big bummer!

I was telling them how we are trying really hard to spend less money and save more so we can do fun things like go on summer vacations and REALLY fun things like pay all of our bills.  Anna, my six year-old, just looked at me and asked me "when you're at the store why don't you just say yes when they ask if you want cash back?"  Problem solved in her sweet little mind.   They offer us money, we say yes. 

Wouldn't it be nice if it worked that way? 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's not my life to live and I have everything to give

For a couple years now I've had the "Year of the Doing" as my general theme.  Instead of sitting back and watching things happen, complaining about them and saying "I wish someone would..." I decided to be that someone.  Lately, I've dealt with a lot of negative aspects in the areas I've been involved with. I actually joked with Chris that from this point on, it might just have to be the "Year of the Done."  We all reach that point where we work really hard at things and are emotionally invested in them and then something happens and we wonder why we even bother. 

I was feeling this way the other day when I came across a quote that made a big impact on me. 

“When you realize it’s not your life to live, you realize you have everything to give.”

I read this quote the other day on a Christian band's facebook page.  It's ridiculously simple and yet incredibly profound.  One of the band’s fans responded and said, “It’s not my life to live! He paid an expensive and extravagant price for me and gave it all for me! The very least I can do in light of such a sacrifice is to offer my all in return. Every last little bit of me.”

Wow! What an attitude! What if we all lived each day according to this?

After being impacted by this short quote I’m going to upgrade my attitude. I’m looking at this quote and trying to remember that it’s not about me. I have God in my heart and have a place reserved in Heaven. It’s time for me to give EVERYTHING for Him, not just a part of me.  Even on the bad days when I want to give up.  When people are mean and thoughtless and seem to enjoy making things more difficult than necessary.  It's not about me.  And I have everything to give.  Pretty cool thought isn't it?  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Adventures at the Doctor's Office...Part 2

Doctors visits are not my favorite part of being a parent.  I've made that pretty clear.  Let me just describe today's wonderful visit. 

Today we showed up for Isabella's 5-year well child appointment scheduled for 10am.  The doctor was on time and we got in right away.  We left at 11:20.  It started with the great news that a med student was visiting today. Perfect.  I know they've got to learn somewhere, but it's not always easy being a part of the learning process. 

First, he did an exam for Isabella.  It started with a couple minutes of silence where he looked at her charts and eventually hummed while thinking of his first line.  After a while he asked a few questions using words she didn't understand.  I interpreted and slowly we proceeded.  Quite a while later when he was done, our regular doctor came in and did a repeat and identical (minus the awkwardness) exam.  Just a thought, but the kid future doctor could have done his exam with our regular doctor in the room.  We could have saved time and maybe she could have taught him a thing or two about being a doctor.  Just an idea.  What do I know?

Then the good news came that there would be shots.  Awesome.  After announcing that, the doctors left and we literally waited 10 more minutes for the nurse to come back in.  "Quick and painless" is not the office philosophy.  Isabella had a long time to think about those 3 shots and spent the entire time crying.  By the time the nurse came in she felt the need to scream a bit.  Sam started crying and saying he needed to help his Izzy.  The little girl I was babysitting at the time was plugging her ears and yelling that she didn't want to hear Sam cry anymore.   So.  Much.  Fun. 

Then we got the even better news that we needed to go do lab work.  Of course, that means a finger prick and taking "a sample."  I'm not really sure what tests they use the sample for, but I hope they were important because when a 5 year-old is asked to potty into a cup, the mom gets the wonderful pleasure of helping with that process.  Awesome.  Oh, and try to manage two more kids in the process.  Easy enough. 

As the kids were buckled into their car seats Isabella announced that the shots didn't hurt at all.  So, apparently, the screaming was just for my benefit!  Good to know.  We raced through a drive thru window, ate in the car, and made it home with exactly 60 seconds to spare before the little girl was picked up by the kindergarten bus.  Good times for sure. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Happy Birthday to my busy Izzy!

Five years old!  Really?  It's crazy!  Maybe it's because she's so stinkin' little, but it's ridiculously hard to believe that Isabella turned five today.  If her birthday were one week earlier, she could be in kindergarten right now riding to school on the bus with her sisters.  Luckily, she's just as content with moving up to the "big kid" class at preschool.  She's pretty easy to please! 

She has been calling herself the "birthday girl" for a week now and says things like...
"Shouldn't the birthday girl get to pick what we eat today?"  And "Since I'm the birthday girl, I should get to skip my nap today."  There's only so long she can milk it, but she's been able to squeeze every ounce out of this birthday! 

Sunday we celebrated her birthday with all our family.  She was extra excited because this was the first time her Uncle Chris and Aunt Catherine could make it to a birthday party - thanks for making her feel so special!  After we found these cute plates, we knew she needed to have an owl-themed party.

Here's the cake.

And the cake pops we made. 

Just a note, when the directions say "quarter-size balls,"  you should follow those directions.  Mine were bigger and some were a bit too heavy to be true cake pops.  I got a little lazy and let the rest of them be upside down.  Cute anyways and still yummy.

The birthday girl got to go out to Red Robin last night, which just happened to be kids' night with the balloon man there.  Lucky us.  Where the other girls are actually mortified at the idea of the waiters and waitresses singing to them, Isabella loved every minute of it! 

And tonight we're all going swimming as a family and eating a few more cake pops to finish off a week long celebration. 

Here are a few pictures from the past of my cutie pie

We love you so much Isabella!  This is going to be a great year!