Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Whole Day Of New Stuff

  • A new windshield (because Marcus broke ours... okay, okay, not Marcus, but a rock that hit our windshield as Marcus was so graciously driving our car to Texas.  Yet another trip down experience).
  • New license plates (phew... $400 of new license plates.  Ouch!)
  • A new milestone with Ansley:  she ate a jar and a half of baby food (2's) tonight at supper... a half a jar more than usual.  Maybe this means the formula will be on the decline from here on out??
  • A trip to a new grocery store.  Our first grocery store trip since we've lived here.  It's a Kroger, so it's a grocery store I'm used to (though I plan on experimenting with a couple others, including Sprouts) as I was pressed for time today and knew it was going to be a long trip of restocking fridge items.  (Having my dry food stockpile though saved me, probably, 100's of dollars in food!)  
  • A new experience for us, our first cooked meal (that I cooked) since we've been here.  (Ok, so it was in a microwave, give me a break, the grocery store took me an hour and a half.  I wasn't standing and cooking dinner forever... especially when Aaron and I really weren't that hungry anyway... which leads me to the next new thing:
  • A new restaurant experience: Five Guys Burgers and Fries.  We saw these all the time in St. Louis and never made it in to try it.  One was by the county offices today where we did the licensing of our vehicles... so we gave it a shot, and it earned 5 stars from 3 of the 4 members of our family (and remember, Ansley can't eat yet ;).  Granted, not the healthiest food I've ever eaten in my life, but remember the point above?  We just had our first cooked meal in a couple weeks tonight.  We haven't exactly been doing much healthy with all of the chaos.  That changes, well, as of tonight. 
  • Oh - and the last new experience, as I write this, I hear thunder.  Yes.  Thunder.  And thought that may not be 'new' in and of itself, this is the first time I've heard thunder in Texas since we made our first trip down at the beginning of August... could it mean rain?  That'd be another new thing! 
Hopefully my blog friend Jen will be welcoming a new baby soon - today would be so appropriate for so many reasons!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I May Have Developed Adult ADD

Oh my poor brain.  I cannot focus for the life of me.  I get thinking of one thing, then immediately I'm thinking of something that needs to be done, something I'm thankful for, something I need to tell Aaron, etc, etc, etc.


It's tiring at the end of the day.  I need a brain cleanse... so here it is... random thoughts for the last Wednesday in September.  Here we go:

Side note - I just had to pause this blog long enough to tend to some business that invaded my brain... see what I mean, I can't concentrate on anything!

/First/ I can't wrap my head around the idea that we're 12 hours from where 'home' was.  Maybe it's because I flew down with the kids, but last night I spent about a half hour outside watching the planes fly in (and out - which we see a lot of those here) thinking how different the sky looks here, how different the grass feels on my feet, and how rare it was to see one of those planes flying overhead back 'home' (if I can even call it that anymore).  I think I was trying to make myself realize how far we really are.

And it still hasn't come. 

/Second/ We've still not found the charger for the camera, so I still have no pictures.  And to be quite honest, I'm not handling it well.  Ansley's up and rocking on her hands and knees, ready to take off crawling, and I am so unprepared for the day it happens.  Have to get on that charger (or my new 'good' camera) stat! 

/Third/ Had a great playdate with other moms this morning at one of the many great parks down here.  There are going to be so many opportunities with kids here that I'm excited to see them get involved in life.  The play date was great for Bryton to play with the kids, be outside and exert some energy - and it was great for me to get to hang out with some other moms from the church.  To have just moved, I'm really excited about the church right now... about the people, the teaching, the activity, etc.  It's a much different experience than we are used to, but I think it's going to be a good different. 

/Fourth/ Um, can you say, "totally stoked for halloween," because I can!!!  I know, I know, many of you are probably saying, "OK, this girl doesn't do Santa, but she'll do halloween?!"  And I reply with, "Yes, yes we do."  (And clarify that I'll totally tell my kids about St. Nick and the fictional character of Santa that came from him, so of course I'll let us dress up as fictional characters for Halloween!  Oh - and yes, I said, 'Us." ;) ) Our theme this year?  May as well go with what the kids (ahem - both of them) are loving best right now... Mickey!  SO - Bryton will be Mickey Mouse, Ansley is Minnie, and it's looking like I may end up as Daisy and Aaron as Goofy.  Not Donald - because, well, let's face it, I'm lucky he'll agree to dress up anyway - but as a duck in a sailor outfit, probably not going to happen... (and I can't say that I blame him).

/Fifth/ It's amazing how such small things can make a person feel so much at home... for example:  Pumpkin Marshmallow and Pumpkin Roll burning in my Scentsy warmers, sleeping in our own beds, and being able to tuck Bryton in, watching our favorite shows on television (though that happens about once a week), and being able to put things in their 'spots'.  Things have spots!  (That could be a Dr. Seuss book.) And God saw that it was good.

So - those are just a few of my favorite things right now...

Now... we need to get a windshield repaired, get the cars registered and titled in the state, work on reworking our auto insurance, grocery shop, pay bills, mail things for a Scentsy party, etc etc etc.

I'm not overwhelmed, really.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gettin' More Structure

One thing I've learned - when everything around you is changing, if routine can stay the same and be consistent, there is much comfort in it. 

Bryton napped yesterday without fussing or getting up or throwing a fit.   Proof in the puddin' right there.

And so - I'm not out to plan every second of every day... but Bryton and I are getting ready to get a lot more structured around here.  (Loosely structured.)

There's going to be time during the day to work on letters and numbers, time for art time, expectations about the things that happen first thing in the morning (Bryton is almost to that place where he could basically dress himself and brush his teeth right after breakfast), and more structure around when snack times happen (which are already kind of implemented - but will include picking up all toys before them) and when Mickey happens. 

I'm not out to be a Nazi, or even to plan his life away, but for the sanity of both of us, it could make things run much smoother... especially with Ansley getting to the age of being more mobile very soon, needing more assistance (now that we're feeding her food as well as bottles), and this whole change may help B become more independent (although he already does very well in that department). 

So not to build myself a little robot - but some fun structure never hurt anyone. 

Now - structure starts next week, after we get settled in to be able to even HAVE structure...


Monday, September 26, 2011

Okay Foodies...

So this sweet woman in our church stopped me on Sunday to tell me about Sprouts, a farmers market with cheap fruit (for those of you who know me, feeding my family well and for cheap is all good in my book).  I totally appreciate and enjoy the little tidbits of information that's going to help me settle in to an area much larger than where I came from.

Then, tonight she brought me over a reusable grocery bag full of fresh fruits and veggies from Sprouts!  There was some broccoli, a red pepper, strawberries, raisins, among other things.  BUT - also in the bag was two avocados.

Now - I'm all about trying new things, and I've had avocado, but have never prepared it myself.

I'm avocado illiterate, and I really want to use them... so give me the info I need to succeed at this!  From preparation (I peel it? I've heard you can roll it around on the counter to make the insides easy to scoop out?  True?) to recipes... fill me in!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

We're Texans


You should see our house right now.  Train. Wreck.

(Have I mentioned I've been tired of living in a train wreck?  Well, now it's worse.)

I really have my hopes up that by this time next week we are underway on some, dare I say it, normal living.

Well, as normal as you get in an uncharted (to us anyway) land, miles and miles and hundreds of miles away from the people who love you most.  (I'm still trying to cope with this.  Coping is good...)

So, pardon me if my blog post ends up looking somewhat like my house, chaotic, scattered, filthy, and annoyingly unkempt.  I'm doing my best.  Really.

Which reminds me.  I could cry a little.  We're on the verge (by verge I mean, whenever I get a spare second after life slows down, so possibly never) of finding a new - good - camera (like I'm used to having), but for now I'm down to our little point and shoot which, may I mention, has a completely dead battery.  And when Ansley was sitting up all cute in a little shirt and an adorable summer hat today, and the light was hitting her just right, I ran for that said camera only to see "battery exhausted" on the screen.

And I really could have cried.  Again.

The battery isn't the only thing that's exhausted.  For real.

Somewhere in one of these 300 boxes littering my home and personal space is that blasted charger, and when I find it, I'm going to try to hook me up to it as well.

Speaking of exhaustion - I'm not sure how you go from no to do list to a to do list that takes up 2 pages in the matter of 24 hours, but I've figured out a way for it to happen.

Oh - and, may I mention - that on the way to the new abode, hubs was driving the moving truck pulling his car when the tire on the dolly (holding the car) exploded, bending the trailer 'all to heck' (to quote a great friend of ours who helped move us all weekend).  The result: Hubs and the great friends sitting for 5. Hours.  5 hours, folks.  On the side of the interstate, waiting for another dolly from the company (whom I would not recommend) while, all the while, another dolly sat 27 miles from them.  By golly, they could have walked there, drug it by hand to replace the other one, and still been faster than the 5 hours it took them to bring another one.

It put a damper on our weekend, that's for sure.  BUT - I'm trusting that God's providence kept them from some kind of awful wreck or something along those lines.  God is always good.  Even in being stranded for 5 hours on the interstate (and by the way, not one person stopped to see how they were doing... and as Aaron and the good friends accounted, in that 5 hour period they saw not one cop go by.  Crazy.)  Thankfully - the kids and I flew down to save them the long car ride (turned longer).

And on another random piece of information... God has a way of understanding our grief and circumstances and sending people to meet us right where we are.  Several times today there was confirmation that God had been hearing the burdens of my heart - even though - to be quite honest, I may have been pretty quiet, lately, about expressing them to Him.

Though I'm not angry with Him at all, and rather, have graciously and willingly followed where He has led, I've also found myself kind of numb to all of life at the moment, making it more difficult now to really petition the Lord with my needs.

But proof that He knows them anyway - and cares - I've been carrying a weight lately about not wanting to come and jump head first into a specific ministry at our new church.  I carried a great deal of heaviness in our last 3 years of ministry - and to be quite frank - all. I. know. is. youth ministry.  And I don't even know if I fit anywhere else.  But the one thing I know about youth ministry - it consumed me - and consumed me emotionally - for three years.  I love the girls in our old youth ministry with the very fibers of my being, and jumping back up into the same passion here would almost feel, well, like an affair of sorts.

So I've been struggling about having to fit the stereotypical "church - staff wife" role of serving in 1000 capacities, but wondering where in the world God wants me... all while knowing how incredibly exhausted I am emotionally, mentally, physically... and you know, even a little bit spiritually.

And today - Pastor said during his message, (which was about serving and finding your place, mind you) that there would be seasons like this.  Seasons. of. rest.  And I felt God lift that weight.  Whether it's 30 days or 45 or 15 or 60... I feel God using me in small slots of ministry here and there, all while allowing me the rest I need and an opportunity to seek His guidance on where He needs me now.  Because, frankly, without youth ministry alongside my husband, I'm not sure where I fit in the big scheme of things.  This is definitely going to be a re:forming time in my life... I can feel it.

And on that same subject of God knowing... I'd made it through all of church today without a tear when out of the blue I was approached by the sweetest young woman - about my age - who introduced herself and offered to bring us dinner one night in the next few nights.  Knowing what a hassle dinner is (or any meal for that matter right now - when I'd rather be unpacking, regrouping, organizaing etc, and we don't even have an idea of where to grab something to eat - which is getting old, too, mind you) I graciously agreed and thanked her.

She then shared with me that she and her family (which includes a husband and one child Bryton's age and another just between he and Ans) just moved here in June... and the move was a HUGE move for them - the first time ever leaving their families and their home town.  As she told me about it big ole tears welled up in my eyes.  Man, does the Lord know our needs?  As much as I know we are supposed to be here - it hasn't exactly made the move easy, and here, standing in front of me was someone who knew exactly how I feel... and probably still feels the same way herself.  In fact - I could see it on her face.  It was like God saying, "here, she gets you... you aren't alone."

I really pray God allows me to get to know her better... Lord knows I may need her before too long.

And so there it is - my emotional saga like roller coaster of the joy of being in God's will and the proof that doing so isn't always easy.  Stay tuned... who knows what may happen next!


p.s. I promise to get you pictures again... if I ever find the dumb charger... grr.

Friday, September 23, 2011

You Comfort Me

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want...

He guides me and  He directs me, making my path straight.  Though I leave behind all in life I've ever known, the Shepherd knows the way for His sheep.  He knows the proper direction.  He knows, and loves, and protects.  Though the way of leaving has been stained with tears, I'll leave not wanting anything but the Shepherd's guiding.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside the still waters...

And He is my foundation.  Though the road seems sandy and rough and full of holes and debris, the Lord's will for me and desire for me is to see His calm that rests aside what I feel to be chaos.  His love transcends the depth of my stress and my fear. 

He restores my soul. 

Every tear wept, every grievance, every sob choked deep within me... being made new, whole, alive.  Every bit of sadness turned to dancing.  Healer and mender.  Lover, sustainer. 

He Leads me in the paths of righteousness, for His name's sake...

This path that you lead me on is your path, your will, your leading in righteousness for my life, not so I can make much of myself, but so you can be made much of.  This move, this change, this ginormous step is only for the glory of your name, for your renown.  

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil...   

And a grandfather's tears feel like death.  When I took Bryton from him last night I  may as well have taken his heart with him, yanked it violently from the place it meant to rest.  But the Lord has promised good for us, for all of us...

For you are with me.  Your rod and your staff comfort me.

In Texas, in Illinois, in Africa, everywhere.  For where I am, you are there with me.  And you are my comfort, my protection, peace, hope...

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You annoint my head with oil;
My cup overflows. 

And thought it feels as if I've left everything behind... I know that I take everything with me.  Every blessing, every friendship, my family, my faith, and every good and perfect gift that you have arranged and ordained for me to enjoy and steward. 

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all of the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Whether my Earthly dwelling be in Illinois or Texas or any land or country around the world, forever I will dwell in the house of the Lord... in the presence of the King, with a King who loves and cares for me, my family, my parents... even in their grief... and loves us and knows and meets each one of our needs in an orchestrated and elaborate way.  

Thank you, Jesus for the opportunity to commune with the God of the universe in such a way as to bring peace, comfort, calm, love, hope, and faith to we who are so very unworthy. 


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Mini Vent Day

I am totally type A.  Like, everything I own must have a spot and must return to it's spot once the day is over.  I relish in cleanliness and organization.  (I'm not OCD, I promise.)

And I've just about had it - I can feel my last straw tattering.  6 weeks I've been packing this house little by little... which means 6 weeks we've gone without certain things, we've had things 'out of place', and we've been adding to the mess that has become our house. 

I've not been able to clean properly.  Boxes have taken over.  I can't have the calm, that sigh, that comes with a put together place.  It's made me edgy - edgy with my husband, edgy with my kids, and I'm pretty sure part of our allergies - if the outside isn't enough - has come from the stirring of dust that hasn't been cleaned for the past several weeks because I can't get to it to clean it.

I really want to scream a little.  I'm going insane in this house.  I'm ready to be unpacked completely, for good, settling in our new home... but that could easily be months down the road.  And though I'm totally stoked that our house is selling to make that sooner than later, the thought of doing this all again in a few months drives me all the more crazy right now.  WHAAAAAAH!

Phew.  I don't vent often, and I needed that. 

I promise I'll be more positive next time...


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Last weekend / week in IL

Life is nuts right now.  On top of moving and surviving the packing part of life, 3 of the 4 of us are allergy suffering with the best of them.  Apparently St. Louis is ranked number 9 in the country for the cities with the most severe fall allergies.  It's annoying.  Very, very annoying.  We're praying that Texas will have some better allergy conditions for us, but if not, we're assuming it's time to visit an allergist.  Here to prove my allergy point is a picture intended just to show you what our youngest has learned to do - sit up on her own - but notice the watery puffy eyes.  Poor child.  At least the oldest can have some allergy medication daily - now, whether it helps or not is another story.

Speaking of the oldest - check out this fine specimen of a male! :)  This isn't an 'I have to pee' dance.  No, it's actually his "nooooo" (said with a whiny almost three year old voice) because I was trying to get him to put my kickboxing gloves back on to take a picture.  He did immediately after this picture was taken.  And notice the clothing.  I was having an early morning yard sale and so he threw on his snow boots and a long sleeved shirt over his pjs to come see me.  Classic.

 Speaking of "almost 3" - we had a pre-birthday party for our sweet baby boy last weekend for the sake of him really knowing the people there and being able to have grandparents there to celebrate.  We were supposed to have it at the slides - errrr, park - but lousy weather moved it inside.  Good thing Aaron has connections at the Skating Rink he used to own!  It was a very fun, very memorable day!

As is only appropriate - Bryton's 3rd birthday party became a reflection of him and his number 1 tv fetish - Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Our local cake lady did an amazing job.  (And we are still eating on it... I'm going to weigh 200 pounds, seriously.  Good thing loser starts tonight to start convicting me again.)

And here is 'birthday boy' with his ears on - well, Mickey's ears on.  And a sucker.  This kid loves suckers.  His dental bills later on in life will reflect it, because, let's face it... his suckers shouldn't be called 'suckers' - they should be called 'crunchers' because that's exactly what he does.  Makes me cringe to even think about it. 

So there ya go - that's the update as of today. 

More than a little bit crazy to think that in three days, this house that I currently sit in will no longer be our 'home'. 

Still not able to wrap my head around this yet...


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Great Friends

Great friends are much needed in life.  They hold us accountable, they laugh with us, they cry with us, and at this stage in our lives, we watch our kids all become friends.

Friends are treasured in our book.

And this weekend we've been surrounded by great friends, and, let me go ahead and tell you, in a world that has been littered with snotty kids, packing boxes, trying to stay on top of normal everyday tasks, and moving type logistics, I needed the weekend to 'slack off' and enjoy a bit.  (And I've been working hard enough on all the other through the week, I could actually slack off and enjoy and not feel guilty about it!)

So Saturday night we went with two close couple friends and laughed harder than probably all of us had in a long time.  It was a 30th birthday celebration that consisted of great food, miniature golf and olde time photos (that you just have to see!)... and it was a night away from children.

And it was good.  Laughing until our sides and our cheeks hurt were good.  The waitress spilling sweet tea in the lap of one of our male friends, well, that was great.  More laughter.  More goodness.

A large Indian maniquin occupying a bathtub in a room marked 'restrooms' - priceless.

I'm not sure why people have to get drunk to enjoy themselves - we had more fun than ever last night, and I remember all of it today! 

(I'll save the best pic for last!)

And today - well today we got to have an early celebration for Bryton's birthday (which really isn't until November.)  We really wanted Bryton to have another opportunity for a party with the people who know and love him best at this point in life, especially grandparents who will still be hurting for their grandbabies at that point in time.

So - at the skating rink that Aaron once owned - we celebrated the third birthday party with all of the people who have loved and cherished our Bryton.  It was great fun - we are so very blessed.

Throughout this entire week I've been trying to mentally prepare for our transition ahead.  Everyone I've ever known lives here.  Every friend I've ever really had.  Every memory.  And it's a time in our lives when we get to start making new ones, as a family.

A side note to where I'm headed with this - Jill and Bryan (pictured in the middle above) have two kids, Kelby and Gannyn.  When they ask Kelby, who is about Bryton's age, if she wants another baby brother or sister, she says, "No, I want to keep Gannyn."  Like she can't have him and gain another.  And we've laughed about it for a long time.

And - admittedly - there's a piece of me that says, "But I don't want to make new friends, I want to keep the ones I have!  And when I look at my response to Kelby's response... they are both equally as ridiculous.  I can have one and have the other.  So for the past week I really believe God's been playing through my head the old girl scout song we learned, "Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other's gold."

And so - we will most certainly be back to visit and reminisce, and we expect our current friends to plan many vacations to our new home to make many new memories, make many skype calls, and expect that our kids, though many, many miles apart, will always have a great pen pal who they'll get to visit often, have great friendships they can rely upon, and you know, their parents can as well.

And also - we expect many more fun pictures... like this one:

(And may I mention, these pictures were almost impossible because we were all laughing so hard we were crying.  For real!)


Friday, September 16, 2011

If Bare Walls Had a Sound

If bare walls had a sound, if empty book shelves a voice, it'd be the sound of a deafening echo.  If they had a name they'd be called 'house', not home.  They would reek of cardboard and be smaller than they'd actually appear.

And that's where we are right now.  We have cardboard boxes stacked higher than we stand, and as each day goes by more and more gets packed into them.  And - to be honest - I just want to move forward a few months.

I want to move forward to a permanent living situation, being overly thankful for the temporary we have (I mean, it's all really temporary anyway), to a place where all boxes can be unpacked, where all walls can be painted the 'right' color, all toys put in a designated spot, and all children sleeping soundly in their room. 

Speaking of children - they are sleeping currently, and for the first time since we've lived here - it doesn't feel like their room anymore.  No - not even when we first moved in, then, it felt like Bryton's room.  It was a place for him to live, move, breathe and become.  This house has been a place for him to take his first step, speak his first word, shoot his first basket, first, first, first, first. 

And me - well, I can be a little bit of a sentimentalist.  I like the house - I don't love it - but I cherish the memories we have here. 

And I look forward to more of those memories with Ansley and would love if it was in God's will for those to happen in 'our' house (though, it's not really 'ours' anyway). 

And so - today shall be marked as the first echo in the house since the day we moved in... the day that our home became a house. 

Tomorrow - Lord willing - a day away with friends for a birthday party of sorts.  Much needed.

Oh - and pray for our snotty / coughy babies.  Between a change of weather and harvest starting, well, they need to be better for this move.  Especially since Bryton's 'unofficial' birthday party is Sunday.  I want it to be a great experience for the grandparents who may not get many more 'birthday parties' with him (unless they are willing to travel)... yep, there's a tear.  God sees it - and He knows. 

Until next time -

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Video Monitors

Here's a non - moving related post.

We are a "put 'em down" kind of family when it comes to sleeping.  In other words - we don't rock our kids like crazy, read 10 books and sing 4 songs before bed.  Not knocking the people that do, we just don't have time.

AND - we have our opportunity to snuggle with our kids when their sleeping isn't a requirement.

So - though our kids have both 'fallen asleep on us' from time to time - something we don't get to see very often is our babies in their most peaceful place... sleep.

And then - we discovered the invention of the video monitor.  Actually - I discovered it when visiting a dear friend when she was pregnant with twins - trying to juggle that and her one year old.  The concept of being able to see what your almost toddler was doing when they were supposed to be napping intrigued me!  There have been many times Aaron and I have looked at each other and said, "What do you think he's doing in there?"

It was during that trip that video monitors seemed less like a luxury and more like something we could really utilize!  Especially with another baby on the way (I was pregnant at the time).  I mean - we had to make sure B wasn't throwing things at his baby sibling in the night.

So for the shower - we got a baby video monitor - thanks to dear friends, that is.  And we tried it out on B - and we loved it!  It was amazing getting to see what he was doing, and more amazing to see the sweet little guy sleep (seriously, when have you heard me say that about my toddler on a rampage? :)

And then Ans came along, and as I write this I watch her sweet breaths, can see her little movements, and every night before I go to bed I turn the video on and 'check' on her one last time before I go to bed myself. 

It is a needed thing - but it is luxurious, to be able to peak in on my baby at any point I want... to see her little chest rise and fall, like my own personal pampers commercial or something :)

Until next time -

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Scentsy Holiday Warmers

Tomorrow opens up the HOLIDAY catalog for Scentsy products.  I just love the holidays, don't you?  If you know me at all - oh - I have a deep love for all things related to fall / winter holidays. 

SO - I wanted to share with you all of the cute holiday warmers, for your viewing pleasure :)

If you'd like to order you can do so by visiting my website here or talk to your local Scentsy representative!

Add these to this year's holiday decor ;)


Mental Preparedness

My mind is on mental overload right now.  100 services to change, cancel, move, or transfer, magazine subscriptions to reroute, banking to figure out (even though almost ALL of our bills are directly taken from there), health insurance to figure out (quickly), boxes that need to be packed, a house that needs to be sold, utilities to be figured out here, actual moving logistics, and all of the regular stuff that has to be done on top of that (you know, the cooking, cleaning, child rearing stuff that already dominated every moment of my - ahem - free time... what is that again?)  Anyway - it's a little easy to say that I'm preoccupied... horribly preoccupied.

And I say horribly for this reason.

Let's get real honest, shall we? 

I have a great peace about moving, am excited even, as odd as that sounds. 

But it'd be foolish to think it would be a cake walk considering I'm leaving behind everything I've ever known.  (Aside from my hubs and kids.)

And I'm so thoroughly preoccupied that I'm not seeing that forest for the trees.  I'm not seeing or even 'feeling' very well because I have so stinkin' busy. 

Good - on one hand, because it isn't giving me much time to waller in the idea of leaving and make a bigger deal of it than what it has to be.

Bad - because it is something I need to be mentally and emotionally preparing myself for -and I'm just a little afraid that we'll get moved, and normal routine will someday return (at least I think it will - I'm starting to wonder at this point), and I'll feel a severe sense of loneliness, or will regret being so busy these last couple of weeks to the point that I didn't get to see the people I wanted to see or do the things I wanted to do before leaving.

Yet - I don't really have a choice in this busy-ness.  There's nothing to really be able to 'cross-off' - so my prayer, currently, is that God would be emotionally preparing me, making me much more open-minded than I normally tend to be - and create in me a little bit of extrovertism (I made up that word) to make some great friends quickly down there (not to replace the ones I have - I'd never wish for that - but to prevent the loneliness.) 

So that's my mental spill today - trying to not freak that my house is a mess and it very much resembles my brain at the moment...


Monday, September 12, 2011

I'm 5'6"

I'm 5'6", and Aaron is about 5'9".  And at this rate, Ansley should surpass us - oh - sometime around this point next year. 

She's grown three inches in three months!  AND - she's over 100% for height. 

Where do my children come from? 

I'm not, yet, sure.

Weight wise she's 90%. 

She's hit all of her important milestones.

She only cried for about one minute after 3 shots and an oral vaccine.  (I, seriously, loathe vaccine days.)

And - the nurse asked if they could have a baby so good every morning of the week to put a smile on their faces.

She's such a ham.

I'm in for it - aren't I?

However - 100% for height means all of her 6-9 month clothes she owns at the moment, are coming up a little, err, short.  So we may be getting our first mother / daughter shopping trip soon.  No belly shirts or high waters for my daughter - no way.

And so - that's my little tid bit of information about the only thing I can really wrap my head around at this moment. 

My to-do list has grown to - drum roll please - 22 things long.  And that doesn't include packing.  And the list needs to be completed by this week.  And we need to go buy boxes.  I've run out.  I guess I should add that to the list. 

This is why people hire movers, right?  Yeah - tell me about it.  Phew!


A REAL Motivate Me Monday

9,342.  That's the number of things going on in my head right now...

So.  Much.  Going.  On.

For real.

So - on the week's agenda:

  1. Ansley has her six month well check.  Praying for healthy, on track and no vaccine reactions.  
  2. Boxes.  Packing lots and lots of boxes. 
  3. Cleaning, and reorganizing.  Trying to make our house not look like a bomb, or seven, exploded inside.  Somehow, boxing things and taking them to the basement has made our upstairs look like a hoarder moved in.  Shouldn't it be the other way around?  Ugh.
  4. Menu planning.
  5. Bill paying. 
  6. Setting cancellation dates for some of our 'utilities' (trash pick up, etc.)
  7. Finalizing moving logistics.  Who thought figuring out how to get the hubs, me, and our kids and stuff from point a to point b would be so complicated?  I didn't.
 Maybe I should stop at 7.  Phew.  That's overwhelming.

And that's just my stuff.  Aaron's got his own list of 479 things to do as well. 

Maybe I can recruit Bryton to pack boxes.  There'd be some 'monies' in it for him.  I think so.

I'll keep you posted!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Big News

Months, I tell you, months of built up information just welling up within me.

There's so much to say.  I'm not even sure where to start.

So - I'll just start with the information.  We're moving, and we're not just moving across town.  We are moving moving.  Hours and hours and hours away.  Away from all of our family (whom you can be praying for - taking grandkids hours and hours and hours away is obviously not the most popular thing to do), away from the only home I've ever really known, away from friends, and away from an abundance of memories.

It's a new journey.  It's a much needed journey, and as scary as the journey is, it's just as exhilarating.  And you know - for such a large change, for such a large move, and somehow, with the foreknowledge that I can expect Bryton to ask time and time again, until he understands, if he can go to Gaga and Papa's house, there's a peace down within me.

And that's a God thing, because, due to the things I listed above, there would, humanly, be no peace.  And there's peace.  A lot of it.

It doesn't make leaving family any easier.  It doesn't make leaving friends any easier.  And, I'll be honest, there will probably be some tears on my part when Bryton asks to go to Gaga's and I have to explain to him that he's too far away.  But there's still peace.

And I'm so thankful that God provides that. 

So, there's the news.  The background:  After many, many, many talks with our pastor, the conclusion was come to that the church was wanting to go one direction with Aaron's position at the church, and Aaron was being led another.  Aaron and I joined together in prayer that God would make clear whether He still desired us here, or elsewhere, and He confirmed time and time again that our time was drawing to a close.  At that point, I vowed to Aaron, "where you go I will go... your people will be my people, your God, my God," and I meant it.

What seemed like no time following that promise, Aaron sent some 'feelers' out to some pastor friends regarding our looking for our next place in ministry, and he received a message back the very next day.

That was in May.  (This is also the reason my blog has been so dry in substance lately.  I tend to blog about what is consuming me, and it's fair to say this has been consuming my thoughts and prayer life for some time.  Yet, ministry is a very difficult place to be able to be open about information like this.  *Sigh*)  Since then, we've been in contact through Skype interviews and phone calls with a church and a pastor whom we have visited and grown to love.  Aaron's vision for his ministry and his calling align perfectly with the direction the church is hiring, and we're excited about the opportunities available for us and our children in fellowship with this church.

So - my motivation Mondays - errr, Tuesdays - really have meant: packing boxes, trying to sell a house, figuring out moving expenses and renting trucks and booking airline tickets, keeping the house cleaned in case anyone comes to look at it, praying my little heart out for it to sell quickly so we can begin building memories in a permanent house there, etc etc etc.  It's been a busy time.  An exciting time.  And an exhausting time.

And I'm so excited to finally be able to share it with my blog family from here on out.

Things are getting ready to become very interesting, and you have my word that I'll fill you in on our journey, the kids' journey, our church's journey.  I'll share our struggles and successes, our joys and our fears.

There are many that I've joked that I'd love to pack up on a bus and take with us... but we know God calls us each, not just those 'in ministry' (though we, who love Him, are all 'in ministry') where we are specifically for a reason.

So - two weeks from today we will have spent our first night in our new state, in the new chapter of our lives, and I pray that God allows it to be a long, long stationary chapter of growth and love and most of all, glory being given to Him.

So - until I'm ready to mentally vomit some more, there's our news.  Lots and lots and lots of change.  I wasn't lying when I said the winds, they are a' changin'.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Friday, September 9, 2011

I Was a Junior

Seems like every generation will get their opportunity to have a ' where were you' day in history.

For me, well, I was a Junior in High School, I was 16 years old, and I had just finished my first hour P.E. class.  (Who has P.E. first hour?  Apparently I do, bleh.)

While waiting for the tone (we didn't have a 'bell' where we came from), one of our P.E. instructors pulled out a TV cart, plugged it in, and flipped through to a local news station.  To be honest, all we really knew, all we really saw at that moment, was a smoking building.  And the tone sounded.  Off to block 2, calculus.

The hallways were abuzz, rumors filling the air about what had actually happened.  Afterall, no one really knew anything at this point, and in our small, mid-American town we were a long way and much removed from New York City.  At first it felt, oddly, as if it wasn't happening to us.  

But as I lugged my calculus book and binder into the AG Classroom for Calc, the television, there, was on as well, a radiating reminder that we were all in this together... and it wasn't getting better.

For the next hour and half we watched panic, terror, heartbreak, fear.  What was next?

As the day progressed, we walked around in our own fog... taps being played in the hallway, a tv set up outside the school office so we could watch the events unfold as we meandered from one class to the next. 

And as the days went on we probably heard a few too many cheesy country patriotic songs, and we spent a lot of time in silent moments to remember the fallen and the brave.  We put red, white and blue ribbons all over our vehicles, and we, for the first time, questioned our safety going on about daily life.

9/11 changed us all.  It won't be often that you'll hear me boast and toot about being an American.  Don't get me wrong.  I, by all means, realize how blessed I am that God has allowed me to live in this country of religious and personal freedoms, but I realize that it is God, not I, who has chosen this, and I may not be arrogant, as He loves and cares for me just as He does any Russian, African, Irish, Mexican, or Iranian.  I do believe, however, that what is intended for evil God can use for good for those who love Him, and I believe that part of how we've been changed is in our strength, in our wisdom, in our innate drive to pull together and protect one another, and to remember those who chose, above all else, to love others more than themselves on that day in our history.

A little bit of red, white and blue from me to you -

Thursday, September 8, 2011

An Af'fair' - The Kids are the Cake

There are just some things you don't really experience until you experience it through the eyes of your children.  Our state fair resides in our home town for all of ten days at the end of August and beginning of September.  Fair food makes it a magical time of the year where calories don't matter and the smell of corn dogs, kabobs, and gyros fill the air and layer themselves with fried twinkies, oreos and cheesecake.  Ahhh, extra pounds of bliss.  Pure bliss, I tell you. 

And this year Bryton could really enjoy the fair.  He could really experience it, and you know, for the first time we really experienced it to.  Little did I know this entire time we were just having the icing, the fair through the kids' eyes was the cake. 

Here's a little taste:

  Miss Ans Mak Hanging out with Mom before the parade.  Ya know?  The parade.  This is before heathens took over.  Just sayin'.
Ans and daddy - daddy guarding and protecting from the sun's dangerous rays.  I love the umbrella in his glasses!

Ok - you can't visit the state fair in this here farm state and not sit on a tractor or twelve. 

 B and his Gaga. 

 Look at that precious face... we ate fair food, she ate her monkeys, it's all good.

 B's first. ride. ever.  A bulldozer.  We thought it was appropriate after the tractor ridin' we did previously.
 And this would win all time favorite ride award... the helicopters.  We are still asked to go 'ride the heldicopters.'
 Every boy loves a big truck... even one that says 'Rubber Duck'
Awww, good to the last bite, which B typically was the one to enjoy.  Makes every penny worth it.  

Great.  Now I'm craving another elephant ear.  Man, those things are good. 


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pinterest and Creative Juices

Well - as if I didn't have enough ill-focused creative juices (you know - the going to blogs and saying, "Man, I wish I could do that," kind of thing), I've bit the bullet and joined Pinterest.  And for real - I have 100 things currently that I'm wanting to do.  I'll never satisfy it all.  I may be that mom that repaints her kids' rooms 12 times throughout the year.  Ok, I'm not big on painting, so maybe not, but still. 

But to say I'm loving it would be an understatement.  There's flowers I want to make, decor I want to create, recipes I want to try, oh buddy, my family is in for it. 

And so dear friends, if I can ever direct this energy, I'll have some funness for you coming soon... starting with some pictures and a header for this here blog.  Been pretty boring here lately, and I do apologize, but give me a couple of days and I'll be able to fill you in as to why, and it shall be boring no longer... at least for a little while. 

BTW - My wonderful in-laws (who have tons of stuff they always try to give to us, to which we normally decline) offered us their piano and a roll - top desk, to which I said, "Heck ya, we want those!"  And to say that I'm more than a little stoked would be an understatement.  I want piano lessons for the kiddos (if they are interested of course), shoot, I'd take piano lessons for myself if I thought I had it in me at my age to learn, and I'm more than a little excited to have a soon to be place for my creative churning at a desk and not just on the arm of my couch!  Hello reading, writing and... err.. crafting!

So - while they were giving stuff away I asked if my mil had a sewing machine or bread maker she wanted to get rid of.  Both! Score! ;)  Thanks momma! :)

So - I'm sure you'll learn more about those adventures soon!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Motivate Me Tuesday... again

Once again - craziness of life mixed well with the holiday and gave me a day off blogging, which now leaves me playing catch-up, not just with blogging, but with life.

So there's a lot to do... here we go...
  1. Bryton's birthday cake needs to be ordered.  I'm more than a little disappointed, because I always make his cake / cupcakes myself, but it just won't be possible this year.
  2. Next week will be a yard sale week for us... did I mention I hate yard sales?  Just throwing that out there.  But this one is necessary for sanity.  I'm seriously thinking about putting a sign out that says, "Everything you can fit in a sack, $2."  Really, I am. 
  3. Our house needs cleaned.  Period.  Like, for real.  
  4. Grocery shopping.
  5. Laundry.
  6. You know, all of the stuff you have to do when you get home from being anywhere.  
Well, I should go get on some of these things.  (All while trying to convince my two year old he needs to stay inside thanks to one awful cough he has going on... *sigh*)

Until sanity resumes...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

NO, David!

I'm having a great deal of fun with children's books here as of late.  My ultimate favorite at the moment is about a lion, a sheep, a moose and a zebra who are all playing in a cave while a bear is trying to sheep.  After much debate as to why the bear is so cranky (because the arrogant lion, zebra, and moose think the bear is cranky because he doesn't possess some of their traits), the sheep ultimately sheers itself to make a nice soft pillow for the bear to sleep on. 

It's a good story with great illustrations and great poetry.  I'm a sucker.

But that's not what this blog is about.

Nope, this blog is about a family favorite called, "No, David!" 

If you have kids and your house and don't mind nudity, you may own this book.  (I should state, I wasn't aware of the nudity when I purchased this book.  But lo and behold, imagine my astonishment and Bryton's enjoyment when we turn to the above page in the book to read it the first time.)

So - apparently David is like, oh, I don't know, Bryton's age and is having some disobedience issues, one including a tendency to streak throughout the neighborhood.  I may add - this is B's favorite page of the book.  Like, for real.  Notice the picture above with the two year old commentary, "David's butt.  It funny!"  And notice those high Indian cheek bones I gave him, pure two year old enjoyment. 

So, alas, yet another book to amaze my blossoming two year old.  I guess we start those anatomy lessons soon.  You know what I've concluded, I should totally write children's books. 

Until next time, no streaking...


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Saturday Randomness

Things here in our household have been sheer craziness.  Really.  They have. 

There's more going on that I can even articulate right at this moment, but a good ole fashioned vomit my brain out blog seemed appropriate for partial cleansing at the moment, so here it goes :)

You know how I was talking about that Halloween party yesterday?  I'm totally gonna have one.  Yep, I'm all about family traditions in this family, and by golly, how fun would it be to have a 'bless your neighborhood' get together with some good ole fashioned fun?  I'm talkin' smores and apple bobbin' and the whole 9 yards. 

On a somewhat related note, I remember when we had a bonfire at my house when I was in girl scouts and my mom made us play this horrible game with licorice and marshmallows, and two girls stood on either end of the licorice, didn't use their hands, ate their way to the middle and the first to the marshmallow 'won'.  Man - times of changed.

Like I said, mental vomit.

On a lazy note - for those of you who know me, I watch very little tv.  In fact - there are few shows that I'd give up much computer time for (ya know, if you can only do one, well, I'd rather talk to you like this, usually).  However, besides the occasional Pawn Stars or American Pickers (the hubs and I are antiquies in some other life I think) I wait urgently for new seasons of The Biggest Loser and the 'after TBL show', Parenthood, to come back.  And we are only weeks away, folks, weeks away.

Seriously - having a once a week show is a good thing for me.  Dumb to some, but some days it's nice to be able to go, "the day has been long, but TBL is on tonight."

So I'm a little stoked about that.

And Ansley - 6 months... today.  A half of a stinkin' year.  Someone explain to me how that happens so fast?  So we're working on the sitting up thing - which she's still pretty wobbly at, and I'm, once again, doing the comparison thing, wondering why she's not scooting around on the floor yet (though she can get to what she wants within a 4 foot radius or so), and now I'm going through the exact same questions I did with B, "When do I start finger foods, should we be doing second foods, sippy cups, etc etc etc."  I think you'd have to have 100 kids before it became second nature.  And you and I (and my husband) know I won't be having 100 kids, and probably not even 3, so I just have to figure her out now...

So be expecting some 6 month pictures soon!  I'm determined to wait to have them taken with her until she's sitting up well on her own.  Which means she may actually be 7 months, we'll see.

On another kid note - remember Mercier Meyer (I'm not even sure I spelled that right)?  You know, the author guy, that, if you were like me, teachers read all of his books to you as a kid?  I bought some for B through a book order back in the day when I worked in the school system, and Aaron loathes them.  Nope, I don't know that loathe is a strong enough word.  Hates in a bold, cap-lock, large font kinda way may better describe it. 

I couldn't figure out why until I heard him 'reading' the book to B the other day (this book was I Was So Mad).  It went something to the effect of, "I wanted to build a rocket and ride it to the moon, but dad said (and here is my husband's paraphrase) No, son, there's no space program anymore, you can never do that.  Let me shatter and crush all of your dreams."  I was so mad."

So apparently he thinks it's a dream crushin' book for little children.  Guess I'm gonna take that out of the bedtime reading arsenal for the sake of peace and wonderment in the world ;)

And the last really random thought I'll leave you with:  first big trip with two kids is this weekend.  Say a prayer and I'll give you details later ;)


Friday, September 2, 2011

People to... Family Circle?

It's funny how life changes and priorities change, and even preferences. 

Just the other day I wrote about how enjoyable it is to pack the kids up and go some place like the State Fair, or an apple orchard, or a museum.  I can remember when I felt like those things would be so burdensome, and it's obvious I had no idea what joy kids would bring to my life. 

And today - as I was shuffling through a magazine (something I thoroughly enjoy doing) I had to laugh at myself.  Granted, I'm not a real subscriber yet, just getting a couple free issues to try out, but I found myself shuffling through Family Circle.  Bahaha!  When did I become that mom?  

But you know what?  I enjoy it!  I enjoy every last recipe, I enjoy every last tip to decorate for a great halloween party (yes, folks, this Christian family can enjoy some orange and black and spidery funness while clad in some superhero - or in our case this year - Mickey Mouse - costumes), and I enjoy every last bit of parenting lore.  I love it.  

And so - in my 26ishness (since I'm almost 27) - I'll say that I'm more than happy that I've graduated from People and Ok! and moved on to Parents, Parenting, Family Circle and All You.  It's amazing how changing my magazines have taken my focus off of me (the other magazines I was reading was making me way materialistic) and put my focus on others (who could I invite to that Halloween party?, I wonder if my family would enjoy this meal, maybe I can bake those cookies with Bryton and we can give them to a neighbor... you get the drift.) 

Another kid related change I'd never replace.  


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Free Mid Size Warmer

That's right folks, a free mid-size warmer is up for grabs, today, as the new fall catalog is available to purchase from today!

That means - for my customers, anyone who orders online from my website, here, and orders from my party labeled "September 1st Mid Size Giveaway" is entered into a drawing to win a FREE mid size warmer of their choice.  Only orders submitted TODAY will be entered into the drawing for the free warmer!  Don't miss out!

The winner will be announced tomorrow! 

Here are just a few of the new mid-size warmers offered:

Don't miss out!  Today only!