Saturday, July 30, 2011

Anniversary Weekend

To celebrate 6 years of wedded bliss, Justin surprised me by planning a weekend trip. We dropped Lucy off at my parents' on Thursday night. It was admittedly difficult, but she had a blast and didn't miss us at all!

Our first stop was Cadillac. Justin and I spent a day there when we were dating (7 years ago!), so he thought it'd be fun to kind of re-create that date. We stayed at McGuire's hotel which was really nice. [We did not stay at a hotel on our original date. ;-)] We ordered room service from their in-house restaurant. It was quite disappointing. But it was fun having it delivered right to our room!

The next day, we slept in to our heart's content. (Not really - we had to check out by 11, and we both can sleep in way later than that!) Then we hit the town. Downtown Cadillac was having sidewalk sales. We decided to park the car and walk around, and my first thought was "do we have the stroller?" Haha. Funny how ingrained that kind of thing is. Anyway, we had fun just taking our time browsing through all the little shops - candy stores and bookstores and fun antique stores and vintage shops. We spent the most money in the candy shop! Haha. Justin got white chocolate covered oreos and I got a bear claw (chocolate covered cashew cluster) and a dark chocolate coconut macaroon thingy. Delicious!! And we got a fabulous book at the bookstore: Lucy's Christmas. It was on clearance for $2.98! My parents actually bought Lucy's Summer when they were up north recently. This is another one in the same series. So exciting! The bookstore also had a book with the name Sadie in the title, but it was about a dog, so I refused to buy it!

By the time we finished shopping we were hungry, so we looked up some restaurants in a little booklet we picked up at one of the stores. We got a little lost due to construction, but thanks to Justin's killer navigational skills, made it to the restaurant we wanted: Lakeside Charlie's. It was right on Lake Mitchell. I got the buffet, which had an amazing corn chowder, and Justin had a really good burger.

Justin posing with Lakeside Charlie.
After lunch, we decided to look for the bowling alley we bowled at 7 years ago. We drove around for a while and actually found it! It looks exactly the same. Unfortunately, our bowling skills have gone downhill since we were in high school. We were horrible. But we had fun anyway. :-)

We walked around the lake for a while. (Another thing we did on our original date.)

We went to a nice little beach and swam for a while. Then we headed to destination number 2: Traverse City! Thanks to the hospitality of our amazing friends, Paul and Missy, we were able to stay with them for free. We hung out with them on Friday night - Olive Garden and the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love.  The movie was really good. We all enjoyed it! It was hilarious and touching and there were a couple crazy twists none of us predicted! We finished off the night with some delicious ice cream and some good talks and laughs. I got attacked by their cat that night and have a ginormous bruise/scrape on the back of my leg. Haha. I think he just wanted me to have something to remember him by.

This morning, we slept in again, got donuts for breakfast (at like 11:30 am), then spent the day shopping. Justin wanted to get 2 pairs of shorts, 2 shirts, and a swimsuit. He got them all. I got 2 tank tops and a pair of jeans. That's just how it goes in our household. Haha. We ate at the food court, packed up, and hurried home to see our baby!

We had a great weekend. It was really nice to hang out together. And it was nice to eat at a restaurant without trying to entertain a toddler, to not have to worry about sippy cups and binkies and nap times. But we both really missed Lucy. We got back to my parents' at 7:30 tonight to pick her up, and she couldn't care less that we were there. Haha. She had a blast with them all weekend. We let her stay up an hour past her bedtime just because we wanted to be with her tonight. It's amazing how much we love that little girl. :-)

Well congrats to anyone who made it to the end!! If you haven't seen the Saturday 7 yet, it's below this entry. :-) 

Love to the masses,

The Saturday 7

1. Lucy and I went to the Sand Lake library last Saturday.  Justin and I drove past it a couple months ago and I was amazed at how big and beautiful it was. But I just finally got around to going.  I clocked it - it's literally 9 miles from our house. And it's a.m.a.z.i.n.g. It's just new and cozy and beautiful. It had a huge kids' area with tons of books and a puppet show booth and lots of toys and interactive activities. I'm in love. I got a little emotional sitting there thinking of the memories Lucy and I will make there. My dad took us to the library every Saturday. I still have vivid memories of climbing up the step stool to reach the counter, talking to the "library ladies" and reading every single book in the young adult historical fiction section. (And then later, every single book in the "inspirational fiction" section.) I can't wait to take Lucy there when she's old enough to appreciate it a little better . . . and check out some books!

2. I have a slight obsession with McDonald's. I stop there almost every day for my dollar Dr. Pepper. But a lot of times - especially when I have Chase and Lyla with me - we get fries too. (They're beggars.) Lucy is still rear-facing in her carseat, but she knows when we're in the drive through. She starts "eh-ing" and extending her little hand as far as she can, waiting for me to stick a fry in it. Haha. One day this week I just got pop, so I said, "No fries today, babe" and she cried for the next 3 miles.  Way to give her a healthy start, eh?
3. I've been getting back into Gilmore Girls again. I own all 7 seasons, and I think I've watched them from start to finish 3 times already. Let's make it 4! It just never gets old.

4. Lucy finger painted for the first time this week. I'm a bad mom/nanny because I despise messes. I don't like painting. I don't like mud. I don't like spaghettios. But as part of the reading program I signed Lucy up for, we had to finger paint. Here is how we did it:

Naked. In the high chair. In the driveway. She actually wasn't that interested. She thought it was fun to smear the paint around for a minute or two, but then she wanted to get down and run around outside. Fine by me!!

5. There is a billboard on US-131 north just before the Cedar Springs exit that says the following: Had you'd flown TVC, you'd be home by now!  Does anyone else see the problem with that sentence?? Ugh! It drives me crazy!!

6. Yesterday was our 6th wedding anniversary. Sometimes I think it's crazy that we've been married that long. Other times I think it seems so much longer. Haha. We were 19 and 20 when we got married. At the time, that didn't seem like a big deal to us. Now, I realize we were really young! We've moved 3 times in the 6 years we've been married. Justin has had 4 different jobs - not including coaching. So have I. And then last year, our biggest and best life experience: having Lucy. It's been a fabulous 6 years. Here's to 60 more!

7. To celebrate our anniversary this year, Justin planned a surprise trip for me! It was nice because I always do all the planning. Thursday night we went up to Cadillac. We spent a day there when we were dating, so we re-created that date. Then last night we came up to Traverse City. We're staying with friends (for free! Thanks Paul and Missy!!) and spending the day here today. I'll write a whole entry on our weekend when I get home. 

Have a fabulous week, everyone!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


1. I just heard a little giggle from Lucy. I looked over and saw her standing on an overturned pizza pan jumping up and down. Haha.

2. I :heart: chocolate chip waffles.

3. So excited for our surprise anniversary trip in 2 days!

4. I've been trying not to listen to country with Lucy, but I'm annoyed by the cheesy Christian radio stations. Anyone have suggestions for not-too-annoying Christian kids' CDs?

5. I ordered 200 prints from Snapfish today. Yikes. I have to get scrapbooking.

6. One (and only one) of my legs is peeling from the sunburn I sustained 2 weeks ago! I take great delight in peeling my skin off in big pieces.

7. Lucy just learned to "woof" when asked what the puppy says.

8. I have to go get packing for this weekend. It is incredible how much a one year old needs for a two day trip. She does NOT travel lightly!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Saturday 7

Hello, everyone! It's that time again. Your favorite time of the week when you get to read all about my riveting life! Let's jump right in, shall we?

1. I got very little sleep from 5 a.m. on this morning. No, it was not because of Lucy - our actual baby. It was because of Lola - our stupid cat!!! I don't know what her problem was, but she crawled all over us crying alllll morning. And when that didn't get our attention, she started playing with the window blinds - which are so loud. I finally got up to make sure the house wasn't on fire or there wasn't an intruder in our house or anything. I even checked to make sure Lucy was still breathing. Everything was fine. Seriously, Cat. Not cool.

2. More bad news: the ants are back! Gahhhhh!!! As I was putting Lucy in her high chair this morning, I noticed them crawling all over the floor. Upon further inspection, I noticed them all over Lucy's high chair too. Gross!!!!! I promptly threw the chair outside on the deck and liberally sprayed ant spray all over the offending areas (of the house - not the high chair).  Grrrr. Die, ants!

3. On a happier note, Lucy's new obsession this week has been crayons. She got a little package at the parade last week and I found a coloring book I'd been saving for her. She knew just what to do. And no matter which hand she picks the crayons up with, she only colors with her right hand. Perhaps she'll be right handed after all. Then yesterday I was at Meijer and they had their school supplies on sale. So I bought her a full sized package of crayons for only 40 cents, and a pencil box to put them in for 60 cents. As I'm sure you've seen on facebook, her favorite part of coloring is taking the crayons in and out of the pencil box. Haha. Oh, and she has already colored on the wall! Fortunately, she doesn't press hard enough to make any real marks. Haha.

4. I'm doing the reading club at the library with Lucy this year. I loved doing them as a kid, so we're going to start her off young. :-) They have a special version for kids under 18 months. It's basically just a bingo sheet with activities to check off. One of them is "Check out a children's CD from the library."  So while we were there with the kids this week, I went to look at the selection. Of course at that moment, Chase and Lyla started arguing about something and Lucy was trying to pull all the CDs off the shelf, so I made a hasty decision and grabbed a Veggie Tales CD. Not my brightest moment. Those squeaky, high pitched voices are cute on a half hour video. Not so much in song after song on a CD! Haha. Although their rendition of Michael W. Smith's "Friends are Friends Forever" is admittedly really cute. :-)

5. I was watching a rerun of the Ellen Degeneres show this week. She had Lady Gaga on, and I was horrified by what she had to say. She said that pop culture is our religion, and the key to happiness is worshiping yourself. Then she said she spends five minutes every morning thinking compassionate thoughts about . . . herself! Are you serious?? It's just so scary that so many people are obsessed with her - this 25 year old wack-job - that they're going to buy into this stuff!! Ugh. Sometimes I think I'm crazy to bring children into this world.

6. In case you're not from around here, we had a crazy heat wave this week. Temps in the mid to high 90s all week - which is pretty unusual for us. I was feeling very grateful for my AC. But I don't think I'm going to be feeling real grateful for the bill at the end of the month! I cranked it up a couple degrees from our usual 75, but it still runs pretty much all day and night. Yikes.

7. Lucy just fell off the couch. Oops. The girl has no concept of perception. At my parents' pool the other day, she wanted to go in the water, so she just tried to walk right off the deck into the pool. It's the same with stairs - she just marches right over to them, and expects to step onto them like it's no big deal. And just now, she wanted to sit on the arm of the couch. I tried to reach over and grab her, but I was too slow and she tumbled right off. She was fine. Just scared. Crazy kid.

All right, well now she's crying pitifully because she wants to get back on the couch and I won't let her, so I'm off to entertain her. Have a great week, everyone!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Help

Thanks to my cousin Esther, I finally got my hands on a copy of the book, The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I'm not much of a book reviewer, but here are my thoughts.

It was a really good book, but based on all the recommendations and rave reviews, I expected it to be an amazing book - which, for me at least, it wasn't.

It was a great story. It was heartbreaking because it's based on real life - on a sad part of history that actually took place. 

I had a surprisingly difficult time keeping all the characters straight. There were a lot of white women and they each had a corresponding maid. I could not remember which white woman went with which maid. Even at the end, something happens with a guy named William Holbrook and I remember thinking, "Wait - who is this? Who is he connected to?" I'm not usually so dense.

The author did a great job of creating suspense. I was nervous the whole time. I read the book in one day - partly because I'm compulsive like that, but also because I just had to make sure everything turned out ok! 

I would definitely recommend the book. And I'm looking forward to seeing the movie. But it's not the most amazing book I've ever read. If you're looking for something so emotional that it sticks with you for weeks, check out one of these: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers or Eve's Daughters by Lynn Austin. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Saturday 7

1. This week, we went to my parents' pool and I laid out for 3 hours without an ounce of sunscreen. I got totally fried. It's amazing how different my skin is since getting pregnant. I never used to wear sunscreen and I never burned. But this is my second pretty bad burn this summer. I'm such a wimp and it really huuuurts!!! I am fortunate, however, that my sunburns usually turn into a nice deep tan. Sigh. I loooooove being tan. I know sun exposure is so bad for me and I'm probably going to die of skin cancer, but man I look so much better when I'm tan. (How's that for vanity?!)

2. Remember my list of things I want to do this summer? I would like to add one: Go to a flea market. Does anyone know of any good ones in the area?

3. Lucy's new favorite thing this week is: "No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed!" When I say, "One fell of and bumped his head" she smacks her head. Haha. And she loves to point and shake her finger when we get to the "no more monkeys jumping on the bed!" part. So cute. :-)

4. I've written before about how much I love the month July. This year's July is living up to its expectations! I love Independence Day and all the family and food surrounding it. Then this weekend is Sparta Town and Country Days - one of the highlights of my summer (yes, I'm pretty lame).  I love walking around town seeing people I know, eating fair food (elephant ear, anyone?), going to the kids' activities (where we spent 5 hours yesterday - whew!), and sitting on the curb catching candy at the parade. Although the parade is at 2:30 today, so we're probably going to die of heat exhaustion. Blech. Anyway - back to July. At the end of July is our anniversary, which leads me to my next point . . .

5. Justin planned a surprise anniversary trip for me this year! I always do all the preparations, so this is an exciting change! I know it's someplace in Michigan, I know we're staying in a hotel, and I know we're going to do some shopping. But I have no clue besides that! We're going to be gone for two nights, and while I'm super excited to get away with Justin, I'm dreading leaving Lucy for that long! Part of me is looking forward to sleeping in, eating without interruptions, and not having to chase her around all day. But the other part of me knows I'm going to miss her and worry about her the whole time - although she's in totally capable hands with Grandma and Grandpa.  She'll be majorly spoiled and probably won't miss me one bit. :-)

6. I'm hoping we'll have time to see a movie the weekend of our anniversary, too. There are a bunch coming out that I want to see: The Change-Up, Crazy Stupid Love, and Larry Crowne. (I don't have the patience to link to all of them - feel free to look them up yourselves. ;-) )

7. I spent a good portion of my night last night perusing The Best of Craigslist. I was laughing so hysterically, I had tears running down my face. Word of caution, though: some are sexual and gross. You can usually tell by the title, though, so just avoid those ones. It's worth it to read some of the others. Hilarious!!

Have a great week, everyone!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Stupid Magazines

Thanks to Hip2Save, I've gotten some great deals on magazines. I get Parents, Parenting, Martha Stewart, Woman's Day, and FamilyFun. FamilyFun is definitely my favorite of all those because it has the most practical, realistic ideas. Seriously. Am I the only one who reads parenting magazines and thinks, "You're kidding me, right?" Here a few examples from this month's Parents magazine.

1. First of all, the recipes are a joke. Here's one that promises to entice kids to eat their veggies: Edamame and Sweet Corn Succotash with Marjoram. Ok, I'll admit that I'm a midwestern girl and we're not known for our eclectic veggies, but honestly I don't even know what Marjoram is and I've never had (or seen) edamame. What kid is going to be excited to eat that? [pg.64]

2. Oh, here's a section on health I thought was hilarious. It's for moms who are battling bloat. These are the food groups they suggest avoiding: fatty foods, gas producing foods such as certain fruits and veggies, sodium filled foods, and dairy products. Hmmm . . . so that leaves me bread and certain fruits and veggies. Ha! [pg. 72]

3. The ridiculous safety precautions: There's one article about having a fun spa day with your daughter. Ok, I'm on board with that. But they tell you to use lip balm that comes in a pot because wand applicators are dangerous. (Is she going to poke her eye out or choke on it while I'm sitting there having spa day with her??) And of course when painting nails you have to use chemical free brands! [pp. 85-86]

Along these lines is the feature "It Happened to Me" in every issue. This month's was "My daughter's finger got severed in a bathroom door!" [pg. 36] In every issue, we are scared by freak accidents that happen so rarely they're hardly worth thinking about! Why???

4. This is the one that fired me up to write this entry. On page 100, we're given this gem: "Let's get to know the farmer when we're at the farm stand. If our kids know the name of the person who grew the fruit sitting on their plate, maybe they'll be less likely to reject it." Seriously? You really think my telling Chase, "Oh, remember? We bought this edamame from Farmer George?" is going to make him say, "Oh yeah! Awesome! I totally want to eat it now!" Lol

5. Just a couple more. I usually take issue with the question and answer portions. These people write in with real questions and get the lamest answers. Take for instance, the question on pg. 146: "My 22-month-old adores dogs and always rushes to touch them even when I tell him to stop. How can I teach him to proceed with caution?" The "expert" suggest doing role play with a stuffed animal and say, "May I pet your dog?" I think that is so ridiculous to expect a less than 2 year old to understand that, nonetheless remember it next time he sees a dog!

6. One more along that lines is trouble-shooting "summer scenarios." [pg. 157] The scenario is 2 friends having a playdate. Mom tells them to pick up the toys. Friend 1 starts picking up, Friend 2 refuses. The author advises, "Talk about the benefits of teamwork . . . Once kids understand their participation is vital, they're much more likely to pitch in." Gag me.

Ok, ok, I'm being a little snarky. (A little?) I voluntarily subscribe to these magazines and I do enjoy parts of them. Once in a while I find some good crafts, and I've gleaned lots of information from them over the years. In this issue, there was a fun story about road trips with kids, a surprisingly good article about discipline, and a practical article about getting your kids to nap.

But my favorite part is always the funny stuff. The last page is bloopers. [pg. 174] I'll end this riveting entry with two of my favorites:

- My 2 year old son, Abel, walked into the kitchen carrying two hangers and a toy butter knife. "What do you have?" I asked, to which he responded, "My hookers and my wife!" [LOL!]

- I was driving with my three girls when my daughter Melanie, 6, shouted "Where's the F'n pharmacy?!" I was about to scold her until I realized that my budding reader actually meant, "Where's the F in pharmacy?" [Hahahaha]

Monday, July 11, 2011

Facebook Speak

I think in Facebook phrases. And sometimes I want to post everything that comes to mind, but I'd clutter up people's newsfeeds and drive them crazy. So I decided to put it here instead.

1. I almost want to quit drinking Dr. Pepper because I hate the commercial with Fergie so much.

2. I have a box of Tastefully Simple warm spinach and artichoke dip in my cupboard. I want to eat it soooo badly, but I don't have any swiss cheese . . . or crackers for that matter.

3. Lucy was scared of the storm today. And I'm not gonna lie, we sat in the basement for a little while. It looked like a hurricane out there!!!

4. I need to get pregnant again so I have an excuse to eat whatever I want. I have been binging a lot lately.

5. I'm disappointed by the lack of "Bachelorette" discussion on facebook. Is no one watching this season?

6. I spent all of Lucy's afternoon nap scrapbooking today, but only got 2 pages done. I was sooo stuck. But I'm happy with the final result. If not a little daunted by how far I have to go . . . I take too many pictures!

7. I'm sad I didn't get a free slurpee today. The nearest 7/11 is like 30 minutes away. Not worth it to me.

All right. That's enough about me. Thanks for letting me get all that off my chest. :-)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Saturday 7

1. So I got my mani/pedi last Saturday. I've gotten my nails done a handful of times, but I'm no pro. I always feel like such an idiot.  First of all, why are all nail salons run by Asians? Seriously. I would really appreciate someone who speaks fluent English.  I don't know what I'm doing and it'd be so helpful if I could understand what the nail technician was telling me! Case in point - while she was doing my fingernails she kept saying, "You want de-zah?" I just kept saying "I'm sorry. I don't know what you're saying." Awkward! She finally said, "Like . . . flower?" Design! Ahhhh! Regardless, I enjoyed the pampering and I tipped her well - scrubbing people's feet and clipping their toenails is disgusting. Haha.

2. Lucy has a couple new words I feel the need to report. My favorite is "amen!" When we pray at meals, as soon as I say "amen" she echoes it after me (enthusiastically). It sounds kind of like "ah-mah!" but I know what she means. :-) Also, in the past couple of days she's started saying "uh-oh." It's adorable. Oh, and a funny one. Yesterday I was trying to find her something for dinner.  So I was standing in front of the fridge saying, "ummmmmm."  I didn't even realize I was doing that until Lucy started echoing me. I did the exact same thing this morning while looking for breakfast and she started parroting me again. Haha.

3. We went to my parents' pool again yesterday. Lucy was visibly nervous, but she didn't freak out with every splash.  I brought some of her favorite bath toys, so she played in the baby pool for a while. Then I got in the big pool and she wanted me, so I brought her in with me. Again, she was nervous, but she tolerated it, and after a while she even cracked a smile or two! Making progress! I think we're going to go to the beach this afternoon. We'll see how she does with that!

4. So I win the bad mom award again this week! Last night, Lucy was being a major grump, so I decided to take her outside. She really can't want on our uneven grass, so I just grabbed a bin of toys and took her out on the deck.  She had a blast toddling all over the place and playing with her toys outside. I really watched her to make sure she didn't crawl on the rough wooden surface, but apparently I wasn't diligent enough. When we came in, I noticed she has slivers allllll over her left leg. :-( I've been slathering triple antibiotic ointment on them, and they don't seem to bother her. But seriously - way to go, Mom.

5. I've been having some major self-esteem issues lately. I love swimming and I really don't want to be one of those moms who just sits on the sidelines, but I'm really having a hard time wearing a swimsuit this summer. Last summer I had my nursing boobs and I had a little immunity because I had just had a baby. But now a year later, I feel like I shouldn't have so much leftover flab. I hate that I have to cover my nasty stomach, I hate the stretchmarks crawling alllll the way down my thighs to my calves. I hate that my boobs have totally deflated. It doesn't help being at the pool with my skinny, gorgeous, tan sister. If I have to be flabby, everyone else should too. ;-)

6. We finished season 2 of White Collar this week. I love that show. Next up in the Netflix queue: Friday Night Lights season 4.

7. I've been long-winded today. I'm afraid this is going to be another long one. On Tuesday afternoon, I stopped at Speedway to get gas. Prices appeared to be going up, so there were long lines and the gas station was a madhouse. While I was pumping my gas, I noticed a guy with a big trash bag rummaging through the trash. He pulled out a pop can and added it to his bag.  We don't really have many visibly homeless people out here in the country, but this guy was down on his luck. He was obviously unwashed, was missing a few teeth, and was walking to all the businesses in the area and going through their trash. I've really been convicted lately to put my faith into action, so I stood there thinking, "I have to do something."  I didn't have any cash on me, though, so I didn't know what to do. There was a car waiting behind me to get gas, so I didn't really feel like I could run in the gas station and buy him some food. I realized later that I'm an idiot and I had come from Meijer, so I had a car full of groceries.

That leads me to my question, though. He wasn't begging or asking anyone for anything. So even if I had thought to give him some of my groceries, what should I have done? Just walked up to him and said, "Hey, do you need some food?" That seems so rude! But is that just an excuse on my part? Hmm. I'd love to hear your input!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Things I Want to Do This Summer

I can't believe it's July already. Summer is slipping away too quickly.   I had so many things I wanted to do this summer while I'm hardly working, and I haven't done any of them! So I'm going to write them down here. I won't be devastated if we don't do all of them, but I do want to cross a few off the list!

1. Take Lucy to the beach
2. Take Lucy to the zoo
3. Go tubing down a river
4. Go to Michigan's Adventure
5. Take Lucy to the children's play area at the gardens

Anyone know of any deals for the zoo or Michigan's Adventure?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Spiritual Parenting Part 2

This is part two of my review on Spiritual Parenting by Michelle Anthony.  If you want to read part one, scroll down to the entry before this one.

7. The Environment of Course Correction
Don't just punish. Discipline.  Get to the root of the issue. Use the circumstance as a teachable moment. Bring healing from sin.

3 Steps based on Hebrews 12:11-13
1. It must be painful
- Different pain for different children. No "one size fits all" discipline. This is the punishment part: spanking, time outs, natural consequences.
2. Build them up in love. 
- After the punishment, say "I love you." Make physical contact - touch, hug, etc. Explain the need for discipline.
- Offer words of encouragement: Give your kids hope that they can do better next time. Pray for God's strength to help them obey.
3. Make a straight and level path.
- Tell them what it means to change and that they'll need God's help
- Give them "an idea of how they can navigate differently should the experience arise again." (163)

8. The Environment of Love and Respect
Love and Discipline
- "We can communicate that we reject a behavior without communicating that we reject the person." (178)
- Don't withhold love to communicate that you find a behavior unacceptable.
-"While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8)

  • Anthony had a fight with her daughter. Daughter ran to her room crying. Anthony followed her just to be with her. "I'm here because I love you and I want to be with you, even though you have made a poor decision and you're angry with me." (179)
Love and Repentance
- "God's kindness leads you toward repentance." (Rom. 2:4)
  • "There are times when we must go to our children purely because they don't deserve it. We must show kindness when they are certain they will receive our wrath. We must give grace because this reflects the absolute paradox of loving the way God loves instead of loving the way the world loves." (180)
- Listen generously, ask clarifying questions, make eye contact, touch
- Show it before expecting it
  • With older kids, ask how they feel disrespected and remedy it. Explain, however, that you are still the parent.
Rely on God 
- Pray for the ability to love and respect your children as God would.

9. The Environment of Knowing
- Teach children not just to know about God, but to know him relationally.
- Faith teaching occurs best in the natural, daily flow of life. Example: point out God's work in creation.
- The goal of this book is that our children will learn to:
  • Hear and know God's voice 
  • Desire to obey it
  • Obey it in the power of the Spirit (not their own strength)
"As we learn to know His character and those things that bring Him sadness or pleasure, we learn how to live our lives accordingly. His Word and His Spirit act as guides for us to understand what it means to live in relationship with God our Father." (195)

10. The Environment of Modeling
Begin with the End in Mind
- "What kinds of things do I want my kids to imitate? And how will I model those things in an intentional environment?" (203)
Modeling our Mistakes
- Admit shortcomings and failures. Identify when your behavior is not congruent with that of Jesus. Take responsibility and model "making it right."
The Power of the Spirit
- Don't just "try harder" every time you fail. Be a model of abiding in Christ and letting the Holy Spirit transform you to be more like Jesus. [love this one!]
Putting Flesh on Faith
- "Modeling answers the questions, 'How do I practically put into practice what I have learned? How do I live in a relationship with God and others? How do I obey God's word? How do I abide in Christ? How do I let the Spirit guide me?" (201)

So I was wrong. There are only 10 principles. Not 12. Haha. So there you have my notes. I encourage you to check the book out yourself. It was a good one! Next up: Shepherding a Child's Heart by Ted Tripp. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Spiritual Parenting

I finally finished Spiritual Parenting.  It was a great book and it opened my mind to a lot of things.  I thought I'd share a few of my notes with you.  I'm going to do this in two parts because otherwise it'll be waaaay too long.

The author (Michelle Anthony) describes 12 "environments" she believes are vital for spiritual parenting.  Here are my notes on the first 6.

1. The Environment of Storytelling
Children are ego-centric. Teach them they're not the main character by telling The Big God Story.  [Anthony sells a children's book by that title.  I'll probably look into getting it.] The Big God Story is all the main stories of the Bible told as one big story in chronological order.  It makes Jesus the hero.

2. The Environment of Identity
We need to help our children find their identity in Christ. Anthony told a story in this chapter that blew my mind.  She and her husband went away for the weekend, leaving their 16 year old daughter home alone.  She threw a party that got out of control and resulted in cops being called.  Instead of flipping out on her and freaking out (like I would've done), Anthony had her daughter write an essay on what a 16 year old Christian girl should look like.  "I didn't want to simply punish her," Anthony writes. "I wanted to redeem this moment for her ultimate good." (70)  After her daughter wrote the essay, Anthony took her away to the mountains to reconnect and rediscover their identities in Christ.  She continues, "When she made a bad decision, I didn't send her away . . . I brought her close." (74)  Anthony points out that this is how God responds to us when we disobey - by drawing us close.

This chapter also emphasizes that our words define our children.  Anthony implores us to stop defining our children in negative terms (shy, unathletic) and to make it a point to bless them every day - especially through out loud prayer.

3. The Environment of the Faith Community
Kids need to see other people believing in God.  "How will I intentionally and strategically set up an environment where my children will be a vital part of a faith community?" (98)

Anthony also talks about the importance of "remembering and celebrating."  The Israelites had their feasts.  We need to make it a priority to remember what God has done for us - within community.

4. The Environment of Service
Teach kids to ask "What needs to be done?"  In Anthony's household, they referred to chores as "acts of service" to point to the interdependency of the family unit.  "We live here in this home. We're participants in this family. What needs to be done?" (102)

God commands us to serve - that starts in the home.  Show by example, and draw attention to your own acts of service.  I thought this was kind of weird at first - to point out when you do acts of service, but Anthony explains it like this: "So often we're great models of service, but our children don't know what we're doing or why we're doing it.  In order to bring clarity to this, we must call attention to it." (105)

5. An Environment of "Out of the Comfort Zone"
I didn't like this chapter. Haha. Anthony says we can't protect our kids from everything.  God uses trial and pain to allow growth. We need to leave room to let Him work.  "We need to start looking at these hard things that happen in our kids' lives as things that God wants to use to refine them - and then we need to walk with them, prayerfully, and model for them how they should respond in grace under trial." (120)

She also admonishes against letting kids get too comfortable.  "Signs of a home whose children are living in excessive comfort include laziness, ingratitude, lack of motivation, selfishness, entitlement, a critical spirit, and gluttony . . ." (122).  She encourages parents to take their kids on mission trips and expose them to areas where people daily live uncomfortable lives.

And one more part of this environment is one I'm sure I'll have to deal with: Help kids face their fears (spiders, the dark, swimming) instead of avoiding them.

6. The Environment of Responsibility
Give kids things to look for - ways to bless others. Anthony used to tell her kids different things before they left for school like "look for someone to encourage, look for a way to be generous today, or be honest when others are being dishonest." 

We are responsible in 3 areas:
1. Personally - life, gifts, resources
2. Family and Spiritual Family
3. Hurting, poor, spiritually lost

"We need to create opportunities where our children can take ownership of not only their family members, but also others, their community, their school, their money, their time, and their talents." (141)

Anthony told a story about her daughter seeing a man on a street corner begging for food.  Her daughter asked to go to McDonald's and get that man some food. So they did.  Anthony says we have to be on the lookout for opportunities like that to allow our children to be responsible with their resources - and to model being responsible ourselves.  Which leads to the next point . . . something that was new to me.

Model responsibility . . . accurately.  Don't try to be supermom. Acknowledge to your kids that you need God's strength - ask Him for it in front of them.  "To be a spiritual parent mens I will live an authentic life before my children and allow them to be eyewitnesses to my own faith journey." (149)

See Part Two Here

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July Festivities

All winter as I trudged through a foot of snow carrying Lucy in an infant carrier, as I bundled us each in thermal underwear and fur-lined coats, every time I scraped a thick layer of ice off my van, I dreamed of a weekend like this past weekend.  It was perfect.  The epitome of summer.  A little taste of heaven.  

On Saturday, we stayed home most of the day.  I did a huge portion of the housework that needed to be done and Justin did lots of yard work.  When Lucy went down for her afternoon nap, I finally cashed in the mani/pedi gift card Justin got me for Mother's Day.  And when I got home we went to Golden Corral to celebrate the healing of my mouth. :-) I paid for that later, but I'll spare you the details. ;-)

Then Sunday, the festivities began.  After church, we went to my parents' house for an all day party.  We always have a ramshackle group of friends, family, and a few stragglers. This year I think we counted 23.  There was a ton of great food (meatballs, ham, potato salad, pasta salad, chips, cookies, fruit, veggies, cake, rice krispie treats - you get the idea).  We chowed down then headed out to the pool. 

A couple weeks ago, we brought Lucy to Justin's grandparents' pool.  She loved playing on the steps and didn't care at all that it was cold.  But when Justin jumped off the diving board, she freaked out.  Apparently she's afraid of splashing?  Well believe it or not, 7 boys and 2 girls under the age of 17 create a bit of splashing.  So Lucy was terrified.  I hate that she has my nervous tendencies.  I don't want her to deal with that all her life. :-(  She was so scared she was visibly shaking.  Poor baby.  She did play in the baby pool for a little while, but it took some coaxing.

She took a very short nap, we played some cards, stuffed our faces some more, the kids and men played some Ultimate Frisbee, we had s'mores, and then got out the fireworks.  I put my foot down and refused to let Lucy play with a sparkler.  (Remember my aforementioned nervous tendencies?)  She wasn't interested anyway, since it was already 2 hours past her bedtime and she was exhausted.  

After sparklers, it was time for the driveway show.  I think I blog about this every year, but I am not a fan of fireworks.  And this year confirmed why.  Not once, but two times a firework got out of control and shot into the crowd.  Mike had to save us all and jump in front of one of them.  His leg seriously looks like it took a bullet.  Fortunately no one else was seriously hurt, but I rest my case that they are too dangerous to be fun. 

The good news is, Lucy snuggled up against me at the beginning of the show and completely slept through all the screaming, shrieking, and blasting.  I could not believe it!

Lucy slept 'til 8:45 this morning.  Libby says that's not sleeping in, but when you have a toddler, anything past 7:30 is sleeping in!! Haha.  After a quick morning nap and lunch at Taco Bell, we headed out to Justin's grandparents' house.  They have a nice in-ground pool, and we were the only ones there, so we thought Lucy would enjoy it.  Wrong.  Apparently she's traumatized.  Again, she played for a little while in the baby pool as long as my legs were in it with her and no one made any sudden movements. 

We had another great day with family, eating, playing cards and bananagrams, and swimming in the pool (at least some of us enjoyed it).  

It was a great weekend and its memory promises to get me through another long hard winter in just a few months.    

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Saturday 7

1. I read a book this week.  Learning by Karen Kingsbury.  It's the sequel to Leaving and part of the Bailey Flanigan series.  It was pretty cheesy.  I doubt most of my readers would like it. But I like that stuff now and then. :-) 2 books down, 8 to go. I seriously only have like one more chapter of Spiritual Parenting.  I really like it, I just feel like I have to have the time to devote to sitting down, really reading it, taking notes, etc.

2. Speaking of parenting . . . I'm pretty sure I win the "Worthless Mother Award" this week.  I felt awful all week and spent most of my time languishing on the couch.  They say moms don't get sick days.  I've always taken that to mean the moms are the ones suffering - they still have to take care of their kids while they're feeling awful.  But the kids suffer too. :-(

3. My mouth is finally doing better.  Day 6 after surgery was the turning point.  We went to Big Boy and I ordered a big plate of pancakes.  I was so hungry, that I just chowed them down without really thinking and realized that it didn't hurt! The next day I ate pretty much whatever I wanted . . . but I've been paying for it since then. My jaw is severely locked up.  I had TMJ pretty badly in high school.  The recent "trauma" to my jaw is making it flare back up. So annoying!

4. Yesterday, I was suddenly stricken with a horrendous stomach bug.  This is probably TMI, but I had horrible diarrhea.  My abs are still sore from the convulsions.  It was awful.  Between my puking last Saturday, hardly eating all week, and diarrhea yesterday, you'd think I'd have lost more than 3 or 4 pounds! Oh well.  I'll take it.  Although I fully intend to gain it all back this weekend with the good holiday eating!  I'm still feeling pretty queasy today. The partying starts tomorrow and I better be back to normal!

5. I realized this week how smart Lucy is. Haha. She is really starting to understand things.  Yesterday, I was laying on the floor in agony and said to her "Where's my phone? Go get my phone."  I didn't think she'd really do it, but she ran into the living room, searched for a while, and came back with my cell phone! Granted, it was my old cell phone that I let her play with, but I was still impressed that she knows what a phone is!

6. Kelly and Presley came over for a play date on Thursday. The girls don't really play together, yet.  Mostly they fight over toys and play independently. But everyone knows a play date just an excuse for moms to get together and have some adult conversation!! We put the girls down for a nap and pulled out the scrapbooking stuff.  I got 4 pages done.  But we still haven't even left the hospital yet. Haha. I really need to get crackin' if I'm going to meet my summer goal of finishing Lucy's 1st year!

7. My house is so trashed. I've been doing the bare minimum throughout the week - dishes when we run out of spoons, laundry when we run out of underwear.  But the bathroom really needs to be scrubbed, the fridge needs to be cleaned out, etc, etc. It's amazing to me how 3 people can make such a huge mess.  Haha.

Well that's all for today. Hopefully next week, I'll have less sickness to report!!
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