Rockin' Girl Bloggers

Friday, June 29, 2007 8 Comments A+ a-

A Rockin’ Girl Blogger? Me? Are you sure? Well, I gotta say that I’m just absolutely shocked, but honored, to be recognized as a Rockin’ Girl Blogger by Susie, The Artist, and Christine. I respect all three of these women so much and am so honored to call them friends. So, thank you ladies… you most definitely humble me.

And now, I get to return the favor to some women blogs that I read and enjoy immensely. Before I dive in and introduce these wonderful women to you, please check out the blogs of these women that I nominated in my Thinking Blog awards too.

First of all, I want to introduce you to Dana from In a World of My Own. She is a real-life friend that I have known as long as I’ve been together with Jon. We all grew “up” in the high school youth group together and we double-dated to Jon and Trevor’s senior prom in 1999. She is absolutely hilarious and I love her dearly. Have you ever seen Gilmore Girls? She is Lorelei Gilmore to a T. She currently blogs on Xanga but is in the process of switching over to Blogger soon. She is most definitely a Rockin’ Girl Blogger.

Then there is Sarah from As the Lord Works, another real-life friend. Sarah and I were tossed together in second grade by our mothers and were told that we’d better get along… or else. It has been wonderful to grow up with a friend, one whom you can be vulnerable, open, and accountable. We both married junior high (Sarah) and high school (me) sweethearts and embarked on the journey of motherhood together. She is teaching me so much about having a servant’s heart towards Jon and my children. She is a Rockin’ Girl Blogger.

I started reading Joy’s posts from Joy in the Journey over a year ago. I’m not even sure how I found her but I am so thankful that I did. She recently took a hiatus from blogging to travel to a language school in Jakarta and then to give birth to twin boys. I was ecstatic to see she had returned and once again, I am so blessed by her posts regarding her home life as a wife and mom, and as a missionary in another country. Check her out, she is a Rockin’ Girl Blogger.

Stacey, oh my, what can I say about my dear friend Stacey?! She blogs at A Measure of Grace and again, not sure how we found each other, but another one for which I am so thankful. Stacey recently went through a really hard, bad adoption story but I am amazed by her resilient spirit and I love that she continues to look for the good in her life. She is another that encourages me to be a better wife and mother. She is a Rockin’ Girl Blogger.

And last, but certainly not least, is Amanda from Mama Sings. If I were to pick what a Rockin’ Girl Blogger looks like, she is it, nose ring and all! I believe she found me first but I was quickly taken in by her openness, her realness, and her ability to lay everything out in the open. She is more than willing to share her good and bad stuff and I appreciate that about her. She and her family recently made an incredible decision to pick up their lives and move, all because God told them to. That is inspiring to me! She is the one that gave me the idea to start my early-morning quiet times and now my life will never be the same. She is a Rockin’ Girl Blogger.

Please know… there are so many GREAT, WONDERFUL, INSPIRING women on my blogroll. Do yourself a favor and definitely check them out! I read chapter three in Hebrews today and God’s instruction is very clear that we need to encourage one another on this journey, as mothers, as wives, as women, and as sisters in Christ. I am so thankful to have all of these women on this journey with me. So, to all of you, I say you are Rockin’ Girl Bloggers!

New Morning Routine

Thursday, June 28, 2007 13 Comments A+ a-

I walked towards the front sitting room, balancing my cup of coffee atop my Bible. With my other hand, I was trying desperately to find the worship folder on my iPod. I walked into the room, dropped the iPod, and nearly spilled the coffee on the floor.

“Oh my, I didn’t see you there.” I said in a quiet voice. “You startled me!”

“I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to startle you. I’ve just been waiting for you.”

“Waiting for me?” I looked behind me to see if there was anyone else he could have meant.

He smiled, “Of course, I’ve been waiting for you. I’m anxious to catch up with you.”

“Have I kept you waiting long?” I wondered, as I bent over to pick up my iPod.

“Oh my child,” he whispered, “If you only knew how long I’ve been waiting.”

I looked into his face, afraid to see what I might find there. To my surprise, there was no blame, sadness, or disapproval; instead happiness and eagerness filled his face. I smiled in return and sat on the couch. After situating the coffee on my lap and opening the Bible, I turned to face him. “Do you want to join me this morning?” I asked.

His smile was bright and light shone in his eyes, “Child, I thought you’d never ask.”


In her post, Amanda talks about how it felt to wake up and start her morning with God. I was encouraged by her words and asked myself, why I didn’t do the same thing. My list was long; I enjoyed sleeping in, mornings were always crazy-busy, why didn’t I try it before bed (yeah right, those times never lasted long), a couple times of week is plenty of time with God, etc. As I thought about it, I realized none of those reasons were good enough anymore. I thought about Amanda’s post all weekend long; there was a peacefulness in the tone of her words, a peace that I wanted. And so, I decided to give it a two-week trial basis. After all, the worst that could happen is I’d be utterly exhausted and decide mornings just weren’t for me.

Monday dawned early… so very early. It was 5:30am and I struggled to get out of bed. I rose, grabbed my Bible, started the coffee maker, and blearily watched the clock while the coffee brewed. I wondered what I had gotten myself into but was determined to see the two-week trial through to the end. And so I sat, that fateful Monday morning, with the coffee on the side table beside me, and my Bible opened to the book of James. I could nearly envision a scene like the one above and discovered that I was SO hungry for this time with God. I devoured the first chapter, eating up His words, but it didn’t nearly satisfy my appetite. This was a hunger unlike anything I’ve ever felt.

I’m a week and a half into my two week trial and already I know that I will not be going back to the way things were before. My morning with God are so precious to me now; I enjoy sitting with Him, reading with Him, asking Him to open my eyes to what He wants me to learn today, and laying my hopes, fears, trials, and tribulations at His feet. I love that I get to cover Jon, Devyn, Hudson, and family and friends in prayer before the day has started. I find that I am a much better wife, mom, sister, daughter, and friend when I’ve started my day out this way.

And the energy I was so afraid to lose? I find it’s not even an issue… most of the time!

Random Moments

Tuesday, June 26, 2007 18 Comments A+ a-

Random Moment #1

Last weekend, I was in the midst of feeding Hudson. Devyn was playing with her baby stroller and dolls and my dad was in the process of emptying the dishwasher.

"Hey," he called from the kitchen, "what do I do with these?"

"What are these?" I asked, not looking up because I was in the process of re-situating Hudson.

"These... your breast-making things."

"My what?!" I wondered, completely flustered to be discussing breasts with my father.

He held up two flanges from my breast-pumping machine. Oh... those breast-making things. "Uh, Dad, those are for pumping breast milk. And they go in the lazy-susan."

I'm not sure who was more red, my dad or I.


Random Moment #2

I love Hudson, I really do. And he is a wonderful baby... as long as someone is holding him. But if anyone puts him down, especially on his back, watch out, he screams bloody-murder! However, he's getting heavier and its making it harder and harder to hold him for long periods of time.

I've been watching all these sling, baby-wearing moms with envy. Because, even though I have two slings, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to use them without feeling like Hudson was going to fall out. I'm sure it would've been smart to keep the instructions on each sling but I just figured, "How hard could it be?!" Um... don't answer that.

I finally downloaded instructions to one of my slings from the computer, and lo and behold, I finally figured it out. I carried Hudson all around the house yesterday afternoon. He felt secure, my back didn't hurt, and he obviously loved it! I am now a proud member of the sling, baby-wearing, mama club! Whoo hoo!


Random Moment #3

Devyn has the most patience of any two-year-old I've ever seen! Well, let me take that back. Patience as far as Hudson is concerned. I was in the kitchen fixing her afternoon snack; I had left Hudson on the chair and Devyn watching a movie when all of a sudden I heard, "Hair, mama, hair!"

I looked up and noticed that Devyn was sitting awfully close to Hudson. I walked over and sure enough Hudson had a fistful of her hair. Did Devyn panic and start crying? No. Did she hit the baby? Nope. Did she starting screaming like any other two-year-old would have done? Nada. Instead, she patiently waited for me to come into the room and untangle her curls from Hudson's fists. She even gave him a kiss on the cheek afterwards.

Didn't I tell you she's an incredible sister?!?

HYH Challenge - Week 2

Monday, June 25, 2007 18 Comments A+ a-

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The end of week one and it's time to report in. How did I do? Hmmm... that is a loaded question if I've ever heard one. Well, I did have the guts to ask my husband how he felt; what I did right, what I can do better, etc. I was pleasantly surprised by his answer. Yes, he felt honored; yes, he felt respected; and yes, he felt cared for. He even pointed out that I nagged less, which wasn't one of my goals but was a pleasant side-effect. Ok, on to the specific goals from last week:

  1. I did manage to greet him every day this week. I met him at the door with a smile and a kiss. This is definitely something I'll be continuing for the rest of the challenge (and hopefully beyond that!)
  2. The first night I made his lunch, he came over to me to feel my forehead to make sure I was feeling ok. (Yes, I know, he can be a bit sarcastic at times!) But I laughed it off and could tell that he was sincerely pleased that I was making the effort. He even called me the next day to thank me for the little notes I wrote on his sandwich bags. It definitely feels good to be doing that again!
  3. The bedroom... well, um, this is going to have to back on my list this week. It’s so hard with two little ones, exhaustion for both of us, and trying to time bed times accordingly. I think I'm going to have to get a little creative this week.

My goals this week include:

  1. Even though Jon said that my nagging is already down, this is a goal that I want to actively work on. I hate when I'm asked to do something more than once and I know that I do this with Jon quite often. So, here's go nothing. Wish me luck!
  2. I'm borrowing a page out of Sarah's goals from last week. I want to set aside a day this coming weekend to allow Jon to pursue a hobby of his without any guilt from me. I've already told him that Saturday is HIS day to do what he wants, with whom he wants, and the kids are all mine. You should have seen his face light up. Guess what he's planning to do?!
  3. Again, I'm tackling the bedroom goal. Personal goals that, for the sake of family and friends that read this blog, I will not be sharing. (I'm sure that's the last thing his mother wants to read about!!)

I am absolutely amazed and excited to see how many women have joined with this challenge. I can picture God just beaming from ear-to-ear as we unite to become women after God's own heart. I will be thinking and praying for all of you who are striving to honor your husbands this week!

My Little Man

Saturday, June 23, 2007 17 Comments A+ a-

Here he is, the little man that has stolen my heart! I don't seem to write about him very much... I'm not sure if that's the result of being a baby who doesn't do much to report at that moment; or if that's the result of being the second born. Regardless, I hope to remedy that with today's post.

Jon and I took Hudson in for his four-month check-up yesterday. Yes, you read that right... four months old already!! Seems like just yesterday, his birth was being announced. =) He is doing SO well. He currently weighs 13 pounds, 1 ounce and is 23 inches long. I'll get to the percentiles in a moment but I just have to clarify something here. We have constantly heard about what a bruiser he is or how he's going to be playing football someday, etc. Yes, everyone has told me just how BIG he is. My sister, Christine, and I just never saw it and couldn't understand why they thought it. I've come to the conclusion that its because he has such a mature-looking face; he has always looked older than he is. And yesterday's measurements just prove that I have tiny kids. Hudson is in the 15% percentile for weight and 25% percentile for height. However, he is very strong for his age and seems advanced for his age. (At least, he advancing faster than Devyn did.) He's already rolling over and loves to pull himself to a standing position. He is smiling, laughing, and cooing.

Devyn absolutely adores her baby brother and the feeling is quite mutual. Both faces light up at the sight of each other and I just LOVE watch their relationship grow and evolve. Devyn is quite the little mommy and often tries to mimic my actions with him. Hudson's eyes follow her around the room and he smiles every time she comes near. The other day she even started picking him up and trying to carry him around the room. Since he is almost half her size, we've had many discussions that she needs to wait for an adult to be with her before picking him up. =)

He is the such a blessing and has fast become an integral part of our family.

My Full Heart

Thursday, June 21, 2007 17 Comments A+ a-

The back of my head was resting against the headrest, my fingers comfortably intertwined with Jon’s. A breeze was drifting from the open windows in the car and country music was playing on the radio. My eyes were closed, and a smile was playing at my lips. Jon looked over and squeezed my hand. “Whatcha thinking about?” he wondered.

I looked in the backseat. Devyn was sleeping soundly; her pacifier nearly falling out of her mouth, her cheeks were rosy from the heat, her curls damp against her forehead. I couldn’t see Hudson but I could hear him murmuring and talking to himself in his car seat. I could picture Hudson playing with the car seat straps, gnawing on them, as he entertained himself.

I turned back around, smiled at my husband, brought our joined hands to my mouth, kissed his knuckles, and settled deeper into my seat. “My heart is full,” I answered.

Honor Your Husband Challenge

Tuesday, June 19, 2007 15 Comments A+ a-

This challenge will be a little sticky and awkward for me to participate in because I have so many real-life people who read this blog, including the husband that I want to honor. So family and friends, if you find this challenge to be too personal or makes you uncomfortable, you may want to stop reading whenever you see the Honor Your Husband button. I’ll leave the decision up to you.

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I am so excited for this challenge that Christine from Fruit In Season is hosting. Honor Your Husband – the instruction sounds so simple, doesn’t it?! Yet, I find that it’s hard to put Jon before our children because, after all, he is an adult and can care for himself, as opposed to my children who rely on me for their every need to be met. Do you see how I justify myself? All too often, I forget that Jon DOES have needs that only I, as his wife, can meet. I have been called to honor and love him; and I want Jon to know how important he is to me. I also feel it’s important to demonstrate it for my children. They will see how I treat my husband and will carry those actions and ideas into their own marriages some day; what will they remember? That I obeyed God and treated him with love, respect, and honor? Or will they remember the times I was short, inpatient, and angry?

This challenge is coming at just the right time in my life. God is working in my life right now; I can feel it. I am already embarking on a personal challenge right now and this challenge will play alongside it nicely. We are facing a number of changes in the upcoming months and now is a wonderful time to start new habits and rekindle some old habits. Besides that, we are finally in a nice groove after adding another baby to the family, so I can now devote myself and my time to the priorities that God has laid before me.

My goals for this week include:

  • The first is similar to Christine’s; making a conscious effort to greet Jon every afternoon. It has become too routine to sit on the couch and let Devyn greet her daddy first. Or finish whatever it is I’m doing before rising to greet Jon. Or allowing Jon to make the first step. He needs to know how much I missed his presence throughout the day and how glad I am that he’s home.
  • The second goal for this week is rekindling a habit that I started during our first year of marriage, but have not done since. Jon has even made numerous comments about this and has expressed his wish that I continue doing it. During our first year of marriage I made his lunch every night before I went to bed, and with it I included little notes (usually written with a sharpie pen on the Ziploc bag) telling him how much he means to me; thanking him for doing something special for me; or just saying I love you.
  • The third goal for this week is incredibly personal and I won’t be revealing very many details about it… for obvious reasons. Suffice it to say that there are needs in the bedroom too, and I will be working on those as well.

There you have it; my goals for this week. I wish everyone the best of luck! I would also like to caution others that Satan is NOT going to like that we are working on our marriages; he hates that we’re going to strengthen the very bonds that he tries to destroy. He will place obstacles in our path; be it in the form of needy children, a shorter temper, no energy, a busy schedule, or other little things. While praying that God will work in our marriages, I think we should also be praying for His protection too.

If you would like to join us on this 30-day challenge, pop on over to Christine’s site and sign-up. There is strength in numbers, my friends, and as Christine has pointed out, accountability is key!

Challenge Button

Tuesday, June 19, 2007 0 Comments A+ a-

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For those that are participating in Christine's Honor Your Husband - 30 Day Challenge and want to use the button during these 30 days, send me an email and I reply with the html code. (I keep trying to post the code here but it won't do it for me. Does anyone know how to post html code as text?!) When you get it, just copy and paste the code into the sidebar of your template. If you have any questions, feel free to email me and I'll try to help. Enjoy!

I'll be posting my hopes and goals for this challenge, along with the reasons I'm participating in it, later this afternoon.

Here Fishy, Fishy, Fishy

Sunday, June 17, 2007 16 Comments A+ a-

Here is the man, the father of my children, who says its never too hot, cold, or windy to go fishing. Guess what we did for Father's Day?!

Devyn and Hudson in the sun-tent we brought along with us to cool off in the 90-degree weather.
Devyn reeling in on her fishing pole. "Here fishy, fishy, fishy," were the words uttered from our precious two-year-old.
Hudson spent most of the time sleeping in the sun-tent.
One of my favorite pictures of the day; it says so much about Jon and Devyn's relationship. She adores her father and it shows in every interaction and touch!

Devyn's very-first fish. It was such a joy to watch her face as she reeled it in. You can see the pride and joy on Jon's face. He said that this was the best Father's Day present he could have gotten.
Happy Father's Day, my love! Our children are so lucky and blessed to have you as their daddy.

Do I Hear $25?

Saturday, June 16, 2007 6 Comments A+ a-

Oh… what a Saturday! Jon and I just got back from an auction. It was the first auction I’ve ever been to and I’m afraid I may have gotten a bit carried away. But I did get some incredible deals out of it.

My parents’ builder is getting ready to finish their neighborhood and held an auction to get rid of all of the model home furnishings. My mom and sister attended a similar auction a year ago and got an incredible deal on her bed, so I was really looking forward to today. There were three model homes and as I perused the items in each house, I found myself circling item after item and I just knew that I was going to break our budget for the day.

As the auction started, I was surprised to see what items were costing. For example, house plants were going for almost $75, but there were also some incredible deals too. For instance, a king-sized bedroom set went for only $400. So, when the auctioneer started the bidding on the only queen-sized bedroom set, I told myself I’d see how it went. When the auctioneer couldn’t get anyone to go higher than $200, I tentatively raised my card. To my surprise, I won! For $250 we got an almost brand-new queen-sized headboard, a dresser with a mirror, and two nightstands!! I was ecstatic; in fact, I was so excited I forgot to give the auctioneer my number.

All in all, we got some great deals on the bedroom set, a wrought-iron wall decoration, and some knick-knack items for the kitchen. It was such a rush! Now, all we have to do is wait for the house to be finished!

Football Games and Dances

Thursday, June 14, 2007 9 Comments A+ a-

High school, wow, just the thought brings a smile to my face. I have been thinking about high school so much this week; the good, happy memories and the embarrassing, want-to-die moments and the days of care-free existence, while trying to figure out life. *Sigh* Those were the days!

Last weekend my friend, Kim, flew in from Florida to visit her family and to attend the bridal shower I threw her on Saturday. It was a wonderful day! Usually, I hate throwing showers. I tend to be anal about every detail, wanting it just so, and then I work myself into an anxiety attack because I hate the idea of something I’m hosting will be less than perfect. (Insane, I know.) When she sent me the list of people she wanted to invite, I was excited to see names of the girls I hung out with in high school. I hadn’t seen Amy since her wedding almost two years ago; I hadn’t seen Jamie since… well, I don’t know when. And then there was Marianne, whom I see all the time, despite the fact that she lives in Utah, but Kim hadn’t seen her in years! I sent off the invitations and eagerly awaited their responses.

Marianne, Kim, Amy, and I before one of our high school dances (and yes, that is Jon standing behind me, skinny, skinny guy!). It was the Sadie Hawkins dance where the girls ask the guys.

Marianne started emailing me right away, “wouldn’t it be cool if…” and “I want to come so badly but…” and I cajoled her, reasoned with her, and finally convinced her that she didn’t need to take the test that day, she could put it off another month or so. And so we agreed, Marianne would surprise Kim at the shower and I knew Kim would be shocked. Amy left a voicemail message, saying she was so excited to come and would it be ok to bring her 9-month-old baby girl. Amy… a mommy?! It was surreal to me; I tried calling her back but had the wrong number. So I finally wrote a quick email assuring her it would be ok to bring the little one and I was looking forward to seeing her. Kim let me know that Jamie had responded to her and would not be able to make it. I had expected such a reaction but that’s another story for another day. I was so excited; four out of the five girls, who were best friends in high school, would be together for a mini-reunion.

Kim, Jamie, Marianne, Amy, and I approximately two days before graduation. We all met at Amy’s house before heading off the coliseum to practice for the big day.

Saturday arrived and it was a gorgeous day! I ran around all morning like a chicken with its head cut off; running last minute errands, picking up food, treating Devyn to a Happy Meal and playtime, basically making myself crazy. Marianne arrived first, anxious to help and ready to serve, I eagerly put her to work. Approximately a half hour later, Kim arrived with her mom and grandmother and for some reason she was detained at the front door. I glanced at Marianne who was literally bouncing with excitement around the corner. I will never forget the look on Kim’s face as Marianne came out of hiding. She was stunned… and so happy. Amy arrived a little late but such is the case with babies. I gave her a huge hug and grabbed her baby girl, who was the perfect combination of both parents, and refused to allow anyone else to hold her.

The shower went off without a hitch; games were played, teasing ensued, and gifts were opened. But the best part of the whole day came afterwards; when the four of us were able to sit down, catch up on each other’s lives, and reminisce about the good ‘ol days. It was wonderful; I was immediately taken back to the days of football games, dances, Friday night sleepovers, TPing, old boyfriends, first cars, first kisses, hopeful dreams, senior trips, road trips, secret crushes, old fights, etc. We literally could have talked for hours but Kim’s mom and grandma were ready to go. It was such a bittersweet feeling to stand there with three women with whom I share such a wonderful past and see how far we’ve all come.

Kim, Marianne, Amy, baby Emma Louise, and I at my parents house. *Sigh* Where has the time gone?!

We took pictures, hugged each other a little longer and a little tighter, and then made a promise to attend our 10-year high school reunion together. I am looking forward to next summer…

"That" Mom

Tuesday, June 12, 2007 14 Comments A+ a-

I’ve been sitting on this topic for a couple of weeks now for a few reasons, mostly because I’ve just been processing the conversations and two, I hate to admit that I’m now “that” mom.

On our anniversary, Jon and I had a great conversation over dinner about our relationship; the history of it; and how far we’ve come. It was wonderful to talk with just the two of us, without having to jiggle a baby on our shoulder or reach over and wipe up spilt milk, you get the idea. The conversation was deep, romantic, and some special memories were shared.

And then it happened… I asked the question that NO wife should ever ask. “Do you miss anything from our earlier years?” Jon hemmed and hawed until I finally convinced him that it wouldn’t hurt my feelings. He grudgingly shared that he missed my fashion sense. Me?! What was he talking about?! And so, through the rest of our dinner we talked through what Jon now deemed my “mommy wardrobe”. Essentially, he misses my short shorts (those will never be back, my dear), the tank tops, the cute dresses and matching shoes, the extra care on my hair and make-up, etc. and how my usual wardrobe (outside of work) now consists of jeans and t-shirts.

A week later I was sitting on Courtney’s bed watching her get all dolled-up for a date with her boyfriend, Jeremy. Now for those of you that have seen pictures of my youngest sister, you know how incredibly beautiful she is (try being related to her, the three of us just hate her!) and how trendy she dresses. So, there we were, the mommy in jeans and a t-shirt, watching the younger sister put on cute shorts and a darling shirt. I watched as she put in the pretty earrings (another thing gone by the wayside, my holes have even closed up) and the matching bracelet on her wrist when I decided to bring up the conversation that Jon and I had the previous week. Courtney gave me a smile and I knew instantly what she was going to say. “I didn’t want to say anything but…” Ack! You mean it’s true?!?

And so, these are the conversations I’ve been processing. When did it happen? When did I go from cute, trendy Jenn to the practical, comfortable mom? And so now I’m evaluating; I find that I do miss the cute clothes and the matching accessories. I do miss feeling feminine and pretty when I’m out running errands, at church, or on a date with Jon. I don’t know when I came to the conclusion that being a mom meant covering up. (Don’t get me wrong here; I think there’s a dark, definitive line between showing some skin and dressing modestly.) Thus I’ve come to some conclusions. First of all, I want my husband to be attracted to me; I want to look nice for him; I want to feel his flirtatious glance in my direction. Secondly, I am only 27 years old and I need to start dressing much younger than I currently am. And lastly, I need to reclaim myself again. For almost three years now, I’ve been identified as the mommy, but I want to start dressing for myself, instead of for practicality’s sake.

So now, whether it seems shallow or not, I’ve made some personal goals. One of which it to become the cool, hip mom I always wanted to be. Yes, it’ll be a little harder to wipe spit-up off a rayon shirt, harder than the cotton t-shirt, but at least I’ll feel good about myself again. And two, I’m looking forward to rekindling some of the spark from the earlier days in our marriage.

[Edited to add: I hope this post does not reflect badly on Jon; I don't think he was out-of-line or wrong for mentioning this. I know how much he loves me and respects me, regardless of how I'm dressed or look on the outside. I just think it's important for a husband and wife to want to please each other and I'm thankful he felt comfortable enough to share this insight with me.]

Real Live Doll

Monday, June 11, 2007 8 Comments A+ a-

What do you get with a 2-year-old, a 4-month-old, and a baby doll stroller? Twenty minutes of non-stop laughter and fun!

I think I may be a horrible mother for not stepping in and “saving” Hudson but he didn’t seem to mind being used as a real live doll.

I Surrender All

Sunday, June 10, 2007 3 Comments A+ a-

There are Sundays when the Holy Spirit is so evident in the congregation. Its the days when worship really speak to me. It's the days you can feel the emotion being poured into the words and the heartfelt reaction from those around me. Today was such a day and what a blessing it was; I'm so thankful that I was able to hear His whispers today. I am SO blessed!

I’m giving you my heart, and all that is within
I lay it all down for the sake of you my King
I’m giving you my dreams; I’m laying down my rights
I’m giving up my pride for the promise of new life

“God, here is my son, your gift to me. How can I not lay him at your feet, for you gave your son’s life for me.”

And I surrender all to you, all to you
And I surrender all to you, all to you

“Here is my daughter, flesh of my flesh. I surrender her to you.”

I’m singing you this song, I’m waiting at the cross
And all the world holds dear, I count it all as loss
For the sake of knowing You, for the glory of Your name
To know the lasting joy, even sharing in your pain

“Here is my husband, the one who joined me to become one. He is not mine, but yours.”

And I surrender all to you, all to you
And I surrender all to you, all to you

“Oh Abba, here they are, the ones I hold dearest to my heart. They are not mine; for you’ve given them to me for a mere moment in time. I lay them at your feet, for even as much as I love them, You, Father, are first in my life. I am blessed to be called the daughter of a King; I praise your glorious name. I sit here, at Your feet, basking in the wonders of who you are and that I should be called yours. Help me to remember that my riches are not here on earth, but in Heaven with you. I surrender all to you. Amen.”

"I need a beer!"

Thursday, June 07, 2007 14 Comments A+ a-

My hat is off to those of you in the real estate and mortgage business. After wrangling with our mortgage broker for a couple of weeks now, I know that is one business I could not work in. The stress of it all is just too much for me! Before I get into the nitty-gritty stuff, I thought I’d share some recent pictures of the progress.

As you can see the walls are up! Devyn just loves running around the house like a crazy person.

The same angle of the house, just a week later. They’ve added the windows, doors, and a roof.

This is the angle from our front door, looking in. Straight ahead is the gas fireplace and next to that is the full wall separating the living room from the kitchen.

This is looking into the guest/kid bathroom from the hallway. Plumbing is almost done!

This is looking into the master bathroom from our bedroom.

As you can see, we are getting so excited and this dream is fast becoming a reality for us! We visit the house at least four to five times a week. We enjoy taking our family with us to see the progress and to show them that our living in their basement for a year was not for nothing. J Jon and I think Devyn actually understands what is going on; she constantly asks to see “Daddy’s house” or “Mommy’s house”. She even refers to it as “my house” and “baby’s house”. It is so exciting to watch her run from room to room and know that we’ll be creating so many wonderful family memories in this house.

We should be doing the electrical walk-through with the foreman next week and we were told that once that walk-through happens, we can expect to close sometime within the next 45 days. So, we’re definitely in count-down mode now. In that same regard, we’ve been stressing out because the interest rates keep rising. Our mortgage broker is scrambling to find us the best mortgage and we’re desperately seeking the right move on whether we should lock in now or wait to see if the interest rates drop again. In fact, our monthly payments have raised $150 in two weeks, just due to the interest rates. Good grief! The mere overload of information and stress led to Jon uttering the words, "I need a beer" and I nodded in agreement. We both enjoyed the cool, tasty drink; it seemed to hit the spot. (The yeast in beer is good for breast-feeding, right?)

Please reassure me that this will all be worth it!

Sleeping With Us

Wednesday, June 06, 2007 17 Comments A+ a-

**I realize there are so many theories and ideas when it comes to parenting; I’ve read Babywise and Dr. Sears, and everything in between. (Erin, does this sentence sound familiar?) I don’t find that I identify with one theory alone; I find that I take a bit of this and a bit of that and throw it into my mix of parenting. Obviously, I tend to identify more with attachment parenting than babywise but I am in no way, trying to put down one style over another. I merely want to share why I’ve chosen to parent in this way.

I never intended to co-sleep, its something that just happened. Our first night in the hospital, I didn’t want to let Devyn go. She’d been a part of my body for so long and it felt strange to have her sleeping apart from me. That first night, I slept with her cuddled in the crook of my arm. Nurses were in and out of the room all night, taking our vitals, taking blood, etc., they all tried to get me to put Devyn in the bassinet but I just couldn’t do it.

When we brought her home, I swore that she’d be spending nights in her bassinet. I had good intentions, I swear I did. However, the minute I laid her in the bassinet by our bed, she woke. We spent a few nights trying to get her to adjust to her bassinet but to no avail. We finally found some solace in her vibrating, bouncy seat and it became the only place she would fall asleep and stay asleep. (We wore the vibration piece out in no time!) So, there we were, both a bassinet and a bouncy seat by my side of the bed, but I still found myself waking every hour to lean over the bed and make sure she was still breathing. Finally, I pulled her back into bed with me, settled her into the crook of my arm, and drifted into a deep sleep. It was the best night of sleep I had gotten in a week. So, that’s where she remained, in bed with us.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I learned some valuable do’s and don’ts from letting Devyn co-sleep with us. For instance, it only works when BOTH parents are on board with the idea. Jon was done with co-sleeping way earlier than I was and I should have honored his wishes. And secondly, Hudson will not be sleeping with us for two years, like his sister did. Training her to fall asleep on her own and in her own bed was a nightmare. We’re thinking after our trip to Florida, we’re going to put him in the bassinet by our bed; a good year and a half earlier than we did with Devyn. So, with that promise and with the blessing of my husband, Hudson now has a place in our bed… for only a little while longer.

Honestly, I love co-sleeping, every aspect of it. I love the weight of my babies against my chest, or on my side. I love feeling the rise and fall of their chests. I love listening to the murmurs they make in their sleep and the deep, content sighs. I love feeling their hands stroke my face or my hair. I love the way their bodies curl into mine and find the comfort they seek. I love that I can lay on my side and breastfeed while sleeping. I love breathing in the scent of their hair and their breath. Even now that Devyn is putting herself to sleep and is sleeping all night in her own bed, she still prefers cuddling with me. We’ll lie in bed together and she’ll scoot over and get as close to me as she can while reading her bedtime story. *Sigh* There is nothing more precious than the sight, sounds, smells, and textures of my sleeping babes. They’re only this little once and I’m trying to soak up every moment that I can.

The End of An Era

Monday, June 04, 2007 13 Comments A+ a-

Mom and I were riding together in the car last week when I turned to her and thanked her. “Why?” she asked. “Because you instilled such a great sense of family in us,” I answered. She smiled and repeated the adage I’ve heard my whole life, “Friends will come and go, but family is forever.”

For as long as I can remember, it was the six of us; my three sisters, my aunt’s two sons, and I. We were the six that made up the total number of grandchildren on that side for a long time and were raised more like brothers and sisters than cousins. I don’t have any memories of family get-togethers that don’t include Daniel and Ryan, and the mishaps we got into.

There are memories of having secret “Cousins Only” club meetings in the crawl space of my parents house; jumping off our play gyms onto the trampolines; taking blankets and chairs and creating elaborate forts; spending summer days on slip ‘n slides or sprinklers. I remember Christmas days spent at our great-grandmother’s house, each taking turns trying to sneak down the stairs to see the mountain of gifts lying under the tree. Or those same Christmas days playing with our new toys and just being together. There are memories resulting in trips to the doctor’s office or having to get stitches; one such event even led to Courtney needing surgery to realign her finger after she tried catching a ball from Ryan. Chicken pox was shared among the six of us, not to mention the common colds and flues. As you can see, my childhood is infinitely intertwined with Daniel and Ryan.

A week ago, we celebrated Ryan’s graduation from high school. As I realized that an era had come to an end, I got teary. It was hard when Courtney and Daniel graduated from high school (the same year and the same school), but this was harder. Because it means that we’ve really grown up, all six of us. Our childhood, the silliness and fun of it, has officially come to an end. Ryan has his choice from a few schools that are offering him scholarships for his record-breaking pole vault jumps, but I’m secretly hoping he’ll end up at the local college here, just like Courtney and Daniel did. I’m not completely ready to let him go yet; his tender heart and fun-loving ways would be greatly missed.

I don’t know if Ryan and Daniel will ever know how much they mean to me. They are the brothers I never had; the guys that I look for at every family gathering. But I know that no matter where we all end up in this world; whenever we’re brought back together, smiles and laughter will unfold as we reminisce about the good ‘ol days.

And the winner is...

Friday, June 01, 2007 3 Comments A+ a-

Well, I had so much fun with this contest that I’ve vowed to do it again. In fact, it’ll probably become a quarterly thing. It won’t be the same thing every time, so you’ll definitely have to check back and see what the next give-away will be. (I already know what the next one is going to be. Here’s a hint…The nickname could be Tori and pink is the predominant color.)

Now, on to the winner. Unfortunately, by the time Jon and I returned from our date last night, Devyn was already in bed, so she didn’t get to help me choose the winner. Instead, I drew the name this morning and it is… Sonya from Mo Mhíle Grá. Sonya, please send me your email address so I can give your contact information to Susie. I can’t wait to see the new design!!

Thanks to everyone who commented. I really wish I had unlimited funds to give everyone a new design! Wouldn’t that be fun?! *Sigh* Oh well, maybe next time. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. Jon, the kids, and I are headed up the mountain to visit with his mom and brothers. Until next week…