Friday, April 25, 2014

The "Saturday" 7 - Advance Edition!

Today you are getting the advance version of the Saturday 7 because I am off for girls' weekend as of 4:30 this afternoon!! Two nights away at a hotel with good friends! Of course I'm already feeling anxious about leaving my girls, but I'm also really excited to get away. Haha. Paradox. 

1. We had such a nice Easter with family. My girls looked adorable in their dresses, although they weren't thrilled with posing for a picture.

2. One of the best things I put in Lucy's Easter basket was a pack of raffle tickets I found for a dollar at Dollar Tree. She loves those things. We've been playing train and carnival a lot this week. :-) I also got her a book of mazes that she zipped through in 2 days!

3. Thanks to splurging on Easter goodies, I gained a pound this week. It made me really mad and I've been slacking as a result. How's that for counter-intuitive?

4. I'm sure you've seen on facebook that I reread Redeeming Love this week. If you haven't read this book, you need to. It is such a powerful expression of God's relentless love based on the story of Hosea in the Bible. I was surprised by how sexual it is, though. I haven't read it in years and was caught a little off guard! I read some of the reviews on Amazon when I looked up the link. It has mostly 5 star ratings, but I read a few of the one star reviews to see what people disliked about it - everyone said it was way too graphic. It's certainly no 50 Shades of Grey (although I haven't read that, so I don't really know . . .) but it's a little more explicit than my usual Christian fiction.

5. Lucy and I learned a little bit about Elijah this week. On Tuesday, we made a raven out of a black lunch bag. I hot glued clothespins to his feet, because I arranged for a raven of our own to drop some food off to us. (God sent a raven to feed Elijah in the Bible.) My awesome sister, Niki, picked up McDonald's for us, drove it out to our house, attached the raven to it, put it on our doorstep, and left. 

At first, Lucy was totally unimpressed. But later on when Luke asked her where the McDonald's came from, she responded, "A raven brought it to us! I don't know how that happened!" Haha. We had some good talks about how God provides for his children, and I was able to tell her about a couple times when we were low on funds and had people bring us food. Our verse for the week is "My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory." (Philippians 4:19) We're learning the King James version because I wanted to use this song from my childhood:

6. I read Psalm 89 in my devotions this week. Another one of those passages that I don't remember reading but already have underlined in my Bible! Haha. I loved verses 30-34. He's talking about David and the Israelites, but it applies today as well.

"If his [David's] sons forsake my law and do not follow my statutes, if they violate my decrees and fail to keep my commands, I will punish their sin with the rod, their iniquity with flogging; but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness. I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered." 

I'm still not sure where I stand on the issue of eternal security, but these verses sure make me lean toward it. So comforting.

7. We had small group on Saturday and got into a discussion about private vs. public schooling. It's so interesting to see how some of the public school kids were for private, some were against. Some of us Algoma kids were for private, some were against. For the record, I'm pretty pro-Christian school and have every intention of sending my kids to Algoma . . . if we can afford it. We're already broke. I don't know how we're going to add in the expense of Christian school! I might be opening a can of worms here, but Christian friends - what do you think? Public or private? And why?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Lena: 15 Months

My little Lena Bean is 15 months old and it's time for an update. 

Mostly I want to record all of the words she knows. I'm pretty sure Lucy was saying about 3 words when she was 15 months old. Here's Lena's list:

1. Hi
2. Bye
3. No (her favorite and most frequented)
4. Uh-oh
5. Wow
6. Whoa
7. Up please (uppee! - complete with little jumps until I comply)
8.Thank you/there you go - they sound the same and I'm never sure which one she's actually saying. Haha.
9. Mama
10. Lola (usually yelled in a scolding tone. Lola!)
11. All done/all gone - again, they sound the same
12. Fish (goldfish)
13. Dada
14. Amen
15. Eye
16. Ow/down
17. Hot
18. Brrr (cold)
19. Please
20. Baby

She does sheep, cat, and car noises. She loves to growl but doesn't associate it with a certain animal yet. Haha. 

She pats her belly to indicate "me too" or "take me with you." If I ever tell her we're going outside or going bye-bye, she starts nodding her head and patting her belly. I love it.

She loves tooting and thinks it's so hilarious. Sometimes she squeezes them out then looks back at me grinning to make sure I noticed. Lol.

She covers one ear when she hears a loud noise. She probably thinks that's what you're supposed to do when you hear a loud noise because she sees it modeled by her older sister. So far, though, she's not nearly as anxious as Lucy. Fingers crossed that one of my children didn't inherit that from me!

She loves the stairs and has figured out how to speed up them when I'm not looking. She's getting better at going down, but has had her share of falls. She's so a second child. I'll hear her on the stairs while I'm busy doing something and think, "I should probably go get her. Meh. She'll figure it out." 

She's been kind of sickly. She has colds all the time. But she does great with having her nose wiped. She has this funny quirk where she always sneezes twice. (Which she gets from Justin who does the same thing.) The second sneeze is always gross and she'll point to the kleenex box until I wipe her nose.

She adores being outside and gets so mad when anyone goes out without her. 

She will not read books with me. She just wiggles and throws the book aside and refuses to look at the pages. 

She loves to eat. She will eat pretty much anything pretty much anytime. Haha. Her favorites include bananas, strawberries, grapes, peaches, pears, mac n' cheese, cheese roll ups, chicken nuggets, pizza, peas, carrots, beans, peanut butter and jelly, lunchmeat, anything sweet, anything bread-like, and those squeezie fruit/veggie things. 

She's still very much a mama's girl and loves to be held. She's a major snuggler. If ever she's sad or gets hurt, she'll lay her head down on my shoulder until she feels better. And at bedtime, I sit in the rocker with her, hand her a lovey and she lays right down on me while we sing. Love it.

She's finally a good sleeper. She takes two 2 hour naps a day and goes right down to sleep at bedtime (7:30). She wakes up freakishly early no matter when she goes to bed at night. My rule is she's not allowed to get up until 6. If she's up before that, I put her in the pack n' play in my room so she doesn't wake up Lucy and make her go back to sleep. Sometimes she fusses for a few minutes and goes back to sleep, sometimes she stands in bed crying until I get her. More often than not, though, she wakes up right around 6:15 for the day. *yawn* 

She's still a tiny midget. She has a doctor appointment in the middle of May. I'll be really interested to see how much she's grown and where she falls on the growth chart. She wears mostly 12 month clothes. And she still wears size 2 diapers. Haha. 

She still only has 2 teeth - which came in just before her 1st birthday! I don't know what's taking the rest of them so long! She has 4 white bumps on the top that seem like they're going to poke through any day, but have been there for weeks!

Ok this is long and poorly written so I'll wrap it up! We love our Lena SO much. She's so silly and has the best cheesy grin. She brings so much joy and laughter to our lives and we can't imagine life without her!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Saturday 7

1. A huge storm blew through here last Saturday. I've already written about it in this post, but wanted to record it here as well. As a result, we lost power for 3 days. We packed up and moved in with Justin's parents in the interim. We're so grateful to have family willing and able to take us in at the drop of a hat.

2. One night while were at Justin's parents', I heard Lena crying in the middle of the night. I stumbled down the hall to get her and heard Lucy singing softly from her place on the floor next to Lena's crib, "Jesus loves me this I know . . ." So precious!

3. Lucy's actually been full of it this week. One day we were in the car and she randomly asked, "Mommy, how did Lena get out of your belly?" I told her that the doctor helped me get her out, but she said, "No, like how?" I tried again to tell her that the doctor just knows what to do, but Lucy wouldn't buy that. Haha. She asked "Did the doctor cut your belly open to get her out?" Oh, how I wished I'd had a c-section. Haha. I finally explained it to her, and she accepted it without a further question!

4. While we were at the VanderKoddes' I felt like all Lucy was doing was watching cable TV. So we went and bought a couple new workbooks for her to work on. One of them asked her to draw a picture of herself. This is what she drew:

I asked her what the two circles above her belly were and she lifted up her shirt to show me her nipples. Haha. Glad we're doing anatomically correct drawings!

5. I didn't read very many articles this week. But this one from my pastor about hypocrisy was so great. He shows why writing off Christianity because of hypocrites is a flimsy excuse.

6. Good news everyone. I'm finally joining the modern era and getting a smartphone!! My sister kicked me off her family plan so it was time to find a new one. Fortunately, my awesome friend Rachel hooked me up with an amazing phone plan. Republic Wireless works with your wireless Internet, which allows them to lower prices. For $10 a month I'll have unlimited talk and text, and unlimited data as long as I'm in a wireless area. I won't have data when I'm not in a wireless area, but I almost never use the data on my phone now, and I'm almost always home anyway! The only catch is you have to buy their smartphone. But they just came out with a brand new one that's only $150. It came out on Thursday, but it's going to be a few weeks before I have it in my possession. I'll let you all know how it works! I can't wait to be "smart" like the rest of you! P.S. If you're interested in the plan, use my referral link to get $20 off your first bill - and get me $20 off my bill too!

7. We did pretty well with our Easter activities this week. We didn't end up making the Easter Garden because I didn't realize how much grass seed cost. Haha. But we did "egg" our friends:
I put the eggs in a bucket instead of hiding them in the recipients' yards because both of our friends have dogs who would be thrilled to help themselves to the eggs. Haha.

We also made a sign to put in our window:
Lucy was not very interested in helping me color it. I pretty much did this project by myself. Haha.
We did an Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt.

We even got Egged by Aunt Niki!

Tonight we'll do the Easter Rocks project and tomorrow morning we'll make Resurrection Rolls. And then we'll really be ready to celebrate Easter! I hope you all have a great holiday. He is Risen!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt

We've been on a roll with our Easter activities. This morning, we did the Easter egg scavenger hunt. I thought I'd share the clues/questions I made up in case anyone was looking for inspiration. I put two M&Ms in each egg: one for Lucy, one for Lena (who thought this was the best game ever!).

  1. Why did Jesus die for us?
    1. To take away our sin and make our hearts clean.
Clue: Jesus made our hearts clean. Where do we go when we need to get our bodies clean? [shower]

  1. How did he die?
    1. On the cross
Clue: The cross was made from wood. Where do we keep our wood for the fire? [fireplace/wood pile]

  1. What did they put in his hands?
    1. Nails
Clue: The soldiers pounded the nails in with hammers. Where do we keep our hammer and nails? [toolbox]

  1. Where did they put Jesus after he died?
    1. In the tomb.
Clue: Where do we put wet clothes to make them dry? [dryer – discuss how it looks like a tomb]

  1. How long was Jesus in the tomb?
    1. 3 days
Clue: Find something with a big number 3 on it. [cut out a big 3 and tape to a cupboard]

  1. What happened on the third day?
    1. He came back to life!
Clue: Food helps us stay alive. Where do we keep our food? [fridge]

  1. What did the angel tell the women who came to see Jesus’s body?
    1. He is not here; he has risen!
Clue: That’s our Bible verse for the week. Where do we write our Bible verse? [chalkboard – there’s a tray for chalk where I put the egg]

  1. Where is Jesus now?
    1. In Heaven . . . and in my heart (salvation discussion)
Clue: We learn about Heaven in the Bible. Where do we keep our Bibles? [shelf]

Stay tuned to read about the other Easter activities we did this week (and hear about the one someone else surprised us with!) in the Saturday 7. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fear and Trembling and a Sovereign God

I've been reading through the Old Testament and have noticed that anytime something notable happens, the people build an altar and are instructed to tell their children what the altar stands for in the years to come. I've heard it said that we need to have "altars" as well - visible reminders of how God has worked in our lives so we don't forget. Well, I'm going to use this blog for that purpose today.

On Friday, I wrote a blog post about Lucy's fear of the wind. On Saturday, I had plans to go to a chocolate party in Grand Rapids. Earlier in the week, Justin and I had talked about all of us going down there and stopping at the mall before the party. Lena ended up taking a late nap, so we didn't have time to go to the mall, but it was raining and windy and Lucy had already watched 17 hours of TV. So we just kind of spontaneously decided to go together anyway. I'd take Lena with me to the party and Justin would take Lucy out for dinner.

15 minutes after I got to the party, Niki texted me, "Dude a tornado just went by our house! Are you guys ok?" I responded that I was in Grand Rapids where there was a light breeze and wasn't even raining. Long story a little shorter, Niki drove out to our house to check on it and called me to say, "Don't bring Lucy home. Your house is a disaster. Bring her to my house and then go clean up. She will freak out if she sees the damage." 

That's Lucy's window the piece of roof is dangling in front of.
I can't even explain how it felt to know that God had so perfectly protected Lucy - not necessarily from harm. Our house is still standing, no trees fell on it, we wouldn't have been hurt if we had been home. But He protected her from that horrendous feeling of terror she would've experienced. We didn't know a storm was coming. Yes, the clouds were huge and dark and the wind was howling shortly before we left, but I checked the local news stations and didn't see any thunderstorm watches or warnings, so I figured it would just be an average thunderstorm. We had no idea by driving 20 minutes south, we'd completely miss the catastrophic storm that swept the roof off our neighbor's barn and tore 100 year old oak trees right out of the ground. 

I love the concept of God's sovereignty. I love that he watched me type that last blog post and thought to himself, "I have it all under control." I love that he loves Lucy even more than I do.

We ended up dropping Lucy off at Niki's and going home to assess the damage. We don't have power and, living in the country, that means we don't have water. We can't flush the toilet or open the fridge or turn on a light (or the TV! haha). So we packed up and went to Justin's parents' house for the night. Yesterday, we had to go back to the house to pick up some more stuff, so I prepared Lucy on the way there. 

I explained that a big storm had gone by our house (I purposely avoided the word "wind") and did some damage. I told her that a tree fell down and the power was out and some of the roof was peeling off.  But I assured her that the house was ok, everything could be fixed, and the power will be back on in a few days. She was visibly nervous while I was talking to her, but just kept nodding and saying, "ok." Then I reminded her that we had prayed that Jesus would help her not to be afraid of the wind and he answered our prayers! I told her that God knew she would be afraid so he made sure that she wasn't home when the storm came by. I also explained that the tree that fell down was God's provision so we can heat our house (since we were out of wood for the furnace)! By the end of our conversation she was smiling. When we got home, she was unfazed by the damage. She took it all in stride. 

God probably won't always protect Lucy from fear. In fact, last night I laid by her air mattress on the floor at Justin's parents' until she fell asleep because it was storming again and she was scared. But we have such a visible reminder that he protected her from what would've been a very traumatic experience. And I will do my best to remind her of that so she never doubts God's goodness or his sovereignty. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Saturday 7

1. Tuesday marked one week of dieting/exercising, so I weighed myself: down 2 pounds! I weighed myself again yesterday and was down another 2! One of the benefits of eating pure junk all the time is that my body is so shocked by healthy changes and sheds pounds immediately! Haha. I haven't been doing anything too hardcore. Normal breakfast of coffee and an English muffin with peanut butter, healthy lunch, small portion of regular dinner. Less snacking and less Dr Pepper. I generally try to stay under 1500 calories, but don't stress too much about it. 

2. The exercise has been killing me. My knees seem to think I weigh 400 lbs and am 82 years old. I had to do 200 jumping jacks the other day (for the beach body challenge) and I thought I might die. I just kept thinking, "If the people on the Biggest Loser can do this, I can do this." My other problem is that I have zero core strength. My pregnancies totally destroyed my core. I'm supposed to be doing planks for the beach body challenge, but I physically can't hold myself up. I look like the top picture:

Justin helped me the other day by pushing my stomach back up to where it should be, but as soon as he moved his hand, my back arched again. So I started doing research on core strengthening workouts and came across this: How to Check for Diastasis Recti.

"If you have a tummy pooch that won’t go away… If your belly button mysteriously became an outie when it was always an innie… If your lower back always bothers you, or you constantly “throw your back out”… If you pee your pants every time you sneeze, cough, laugh, stand up, sit down…… If you’ve ever been pregnant  If you always feel like a weak noodle while walking around…  then you might have an abdominal injury called diastasis recti abdominus."

I have every one of those symptoms. So I did the self check and definitely have separation between my abs. I don't think it's super severe, but the articles I read strongly discouraged planks and crunches for women with diastasis recti, saying those kind of exercises will only make it worse. I've still been doing them because I'm not totally sure I believe the hype. Haha. But I've also been doing their recommended core strengthening exercises.  

3. One more thing about exercise. I was browsing the "Health and Fitness" boards on Pinterest and came across this:

What do you think about that phrase? It really annoys me. Jesus did not die for our physical, temporal, earthly bodies. He died for our souls. Yes, I agree that we need to be good stewards of our bodies, but I worry that with the recent health and fitness craze, we're making our bodies idols. They are going to rot in the ground someday. They are not worth pouring so much time and energy into. As with everything, we need to have a healthy balance. We need to make healthy eating and exercise part of our lives, but it should not consume us.

4. The weather has finally warmed up around here (you know, to the 50s - heat wave!), so we've been taking a lot of family walks. We live on a rural, country road literally in the middle of a cornfield. I've been amazed every time we walk by the amount of liquor bottles in the ditch! I'm starting to think it's the same person buying a bottle of peppermint schnapps on his way home from work, drinking it in the car, then chucking it out the window as he goes down our street because every bottle is the same. I also saw a syringe one day! What the heck?! This isn't the ghetto!

5. I noticed a lot of my friends this week talking about their desire to get rid of facebook. I honestly don't feel that way. I don't know if I just have nice friends or have done a good job of hiding the negative people, but facebook does not have a strongly negative impact on me. The only reason I'd ever feel the need to get rid of it is to waste less time. I'm not judging those of you who have expressed a desire to get rid of it. I'm just surprised you feel so strongly. 

6. I've been reading Deuteronomy this week in my One Year Bible. Sometimes I'm a little jealous of the Israelites. It seems like they had it so easy. Follow the very concrete rules, be blessed beyond measure. Now, we have so many gray areas and seemingly impossible standards - no anger, lusting, malicious thoughts?! And the most obedient, godly people often face the hardest trials. No promise of blessings like they got in the Old Testament. But we're also not threatened with the horrendous curses for disobedience. Birds eating our carcasses, madness, blindness, terror, anxiety, cannibalism. The list is truly horrifying. (Deuteronomy 28) If the Israelites couldn't obey the concrete rules, what makes me think I could? They seem so stupid - forsaking God for idols. But their idols were the cultural norm. Monotheism was unheard of! What cultural norms do I idolize? For what do I forsake God? Facebook? TV? Sleep? Laziness? Blogging? Again, less concrete, but the heart issue is the same. I deserve the horrific consequences the Israelites were warned about (and ultimately received). And yet I've been shown mercy. What more blessing could I want?

 7. This is wicked long, so I'm just going to finish with some pictures from our week.

Lucy has been obsessed with blowing bubbles indoors. Lena adores it!
We had a playdate at Presley's and actually got to play outside in the sunshine for a while!
All bundled up for a family walk.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fear and Trembling and Honest Questions

Lucy has a bizarre phobia of the wind. Actually, it's not that bizarre considering that I'm her mother. 

When I was younger, I had a horrible phobia of tornadoes. Then cougars. Then bears. I'm still waiting to grow out of that last one. The first two phased out when I realized neither are that prevalent in Michigan. I know in the grand scheme of things bears aren't either, but I can't shake that one for some reason. 

The point is that considering my history of fear, I feel like I should be better equipped to help Lucy handle hers. But I'm totally at a loss. 

The weather has been beautiful here the past few days. Sunny and warm . . . and windy. Lucy will not go outside when the wind is whipping. We had to go to Niki's yesterday and she stood by the door trembling and making me promise that I wouldn't let anything blow away while we ran from the house to the van. I've tried reasoning with her and explaining to her that if something were to blow away, I'd either run after it or we'd buy a new one. Last year, she was terrified anytime the wind kicked up that the towels hanging by the pool would blow away. It didn't matter how much I reassured her that we could buy new beach towels, she was still terrified. 

I remember that feeling and hate that I've passed it on to her. Reason and logic don't dispel fear. Telling her there's nothing to be afraid of doesn't help. To her, there is. I always hated it when people told me not to be afraid. Do you think I could control it? Do you think I was choosing this torture? I know Lucy can't control it either. I want to empathize with her, and usually that's all I can think to do. I tell her I used to be afraid of the wind too. I tell her it will get better when she's older. I tell her that I will do everything in my power to protect her. And I tell her to ask God to take her fear away. But that's where things get tricky . . .

I spent most of my childhood (and young adult years) begging God to take away my fear. He never did. What am I supposed to tell Lucy when she prays for her fear to go away and it doesn't? How do I explain to a 4 year old that God uses things like fear to grow us and make us reliant on Him? The other day when I told her to pray that God would take away her fear she countered with, "Maybe I can pray for Him to stop the wind." I've spent so much time teaching her that God is powerful and can do anything. She knows the story of Jesus stopping the storm on the sea. She doesn't doubt that God can stop the wind. And I don't either. I just doubt that He will. How am I supposed to teach her to pray but understand that God isn't a genie and He won't always answer her prayers with a "yes"? What am I supposed to say when she prays for God to stop the wind and it continues to batter the house?

The turning point in my fear journey was getting on anti-anxiety meds. I truly believe it's a chemical imbalance that creates these irrational fears. And it's obviously genetic. I got it from my dad who got it from his mom. But Lucy's too young to start on drugs that she'll take the rest of her life. How can I help her cope in the mean time? And how can I teach her to find comfort in God's presence during the storm instead of expecting Him to give her a life of smooth sailing? Especially when I haven't even totally grasped that concept for myself!

I'll take any advice I can get!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My Easter Plan

A week ago I came across this post from the Happy Home Fairy about doing 20 activities in countdown to Easter. I had grand intentions of doing all of them, but got distracted and haven't done one yet. So today I sat down and created a plan for our Easter lessons. I figured I'd share them ahead of time instead of after the fact like I usually do in case anyone else is looking for inspiration.

These are almost all ideas from Pinterest, so I'll do my best to include links as possible. 

Over the next few days we're going to focus on reviewing the story. We'll read it in our Bible Storybooks, watch our Veggie Tales Easter video, and watch this clip I found online. We also have this book:

Also in the next day or two, we're going to work on making this:
I can't find the source for this. The image on Pinterest doesn't direct to anywhere. But there are instructions written below the pin: Use potting soil, a tiny buried flower pot for the tomb, shade grass seed, and crosses made from twigs. Sprinkle grass seed generously on top of dirt, keep moistened using a spray water bottle. Spritz it several times a day. Set it in a warm sunny location. Sprouts in 7-10 days.

Then next week we're going to make a sign to hang in the window that says "He is Risen!" (idea credit), we're going to "Egg" some of our friends' houses, and we're going to do a scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt was another idea from pinterest that had a broken link, but it inspired me enough to come up with my own. I'm going to hide eggs with candy throughout the house and give Lucy clues to find them. To get each clue, though, she'll have to answer a question. Here are the questions I have so far:

  1. Why did Jesus die for us?
    1. To take away our sin and make our hearts clean.
  2. Where did they put Jesus after he died?
    1. In the tomb.
  3. How long was Jesus in the tomb?
    1. 3 days
  4. What happened on the third day?
    1. He came back to life!
  5. Where is Jesus now?
    1. In Heaven . . . and in my heart (salvation discussion)
I might try and correspond the scavenger hunt clue with the answer. Like "Where did they put Jesus after he died?" will lead to the dryer (it's kind of tomb-ish, don't you think?). And the clue would say something like, "It's where wet clothes go to get hot. It looks like a tomb, but it is not." Haha - that was off the top of my head. You get the idea.

Then the night before Easter, we're going to do this awesome idea to illustrate how God takes our sin and replaces it with blessings. 

And Easter morning we will try, once again, to make resurrection rolls. I've done this the past two years and my marshmallows always ooze out of the crescent rolls, but they taste good regardless. :-) 

So there's the plan. I'll report back with how well I stick with it. :-) 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Saturday 7

1. I made another verse poster and had it printed at Wal-Greens for free thanks to a code my friend Cara shared with me! Now I just need to find a frame and place to hang it:
Love it!
2. Articles I read this week:
A hilarious take on bedtime. - I identified with so much of this. I was just thinking earlier this week that I need to manage my e
xpectations with bedtime. I expect to get Lucy upstairs by 8:15, in bed by 8:30, and have the rest of the evening to myself. When that invariably doesn't happen, I get so frustrated and annoyed. I need to learn not to expect time to myself until after 9.

If You're Feeling Overlooked and Underappreciated  - This is from the daily devotionals Proverbs 31 Ministries sends me. I don't struggle that much with feeling overlooked and underappreciated, but I do struggle with the menial, monotonous daily tasks of life. I tell myself all the time, what this article reiterates: this is my job right now. This is what God has called me to for this moment. Do it for his glory.

Have You Been Poisoned? - This is from my pastor's blog. You all know how much I struggle with envy and jealousy. He gave some good reminders about how cultivating a jealous attitude can grow into bitterness. And I loved what he said about accepting God's sovereignty. I'm jealous that my friends have money. At this point in my life, though, God has called me to be "poor." I should take comfort in the fact that it's out of my control. I'm not explaining it as eloquently as Pastor Chris did. Go read his article for yourself.

3. This week, I decided to make homemade chicken alfredo pizza. In an effort to be budget-conscious, I figured I'd just make my own pizza crust. I've seen 100 million pins on pinterest about "the easiest homemade pizza dough ever - you'll never go back to storebought!" Lies. All lies. Don't get me wrong. It was delicious. But not worth the trouble. I even used the bread maker to cut out some of the steps and it was still too much work for me. Kneading, resting, rolling, resting. Nope. Next time I'm going to spend the 3 bucks and buy it pre-made.

The top right corner was pepperoni with red sauce for Lucy because I knew she'd never eat chicken alfredo (especially not with spinach and peppers on it!). She licked one bite and said, "I just like the kind we buy. Not the kind you make." Ha! Don't worry. It didn't go to waste. Lena ate the entire pepperoni section!

4. In case you missed it, I did another installment of "A Day in the Life of a Stay at Home Mom" this week. It was actually kind of reassuring to see it all written down. I always wonder how I can get nothing done all day. Really, all I got done that day was some laundry (didn't even fold it all), dishes, a short craft with Lucy, and dinner. But I did a lot of kissing owies, playing house, confiscating things from sneaky Lena, and cleaning up mess after mess after mess. 

5. The craft I did with Lucy was in response to our Bible story about how David wrote the Psalms. She's been really into rhyming lately, so I decided we'd write our own poems (Psalms). I made up a few phrases and had her complete them. Then I had her write the first letter of each rhyming word, and finally we did a more spiritual one to be like David. :-)

 I went to switch over the laundry and came back to this:

I said, "Wow - look at all your letters." Lucy replied, "You have to answer the question." I said, "What question?" So she sounded out the words for me. "What [wt] makes [mx] a [o] peep [py]." Her first sounded out sentence!!! She gets confused about the letter y. Because it makes an "eee" sound in her name, she thinks you can use it to make that sound everywhere. Regardless, I was so proud!!

6. So I finally got on the diet and exercise bandwagon this week. I had a (really obvious) revelation that I'm not powerless to change. If I don't like my body, I can do something about it. Duh! The facebook group I'm a part of is doing a challenge for the month of April, and I really enjoy competition, so I decided to join. I'm not really sure I knew what I was getting myself into. Haha. We're doing daily challenges (like eat a meal with 3 colors in it, drink a specified amount of water, share a picture of your day's healthy snack) and weekly challenges (3 days with 30 minutes of exercise). And we're doing this daily thing that is probably going to kill me:

I've stuck with it so far, but we're only on day 5. It'll be exciting to see if I notice any change! I've also been logging my calories into They only give me 1200 calories a day because I'm basically sedentary, but I feel good if I stay under 1500 for the day.

7. One of my 30 minute exercises for this week was walking the middle school track with a few of my friends and their kids. The kids had a great time running around like hooligans, and us moms had fun pushing the strollers and chatting while we burned some calories. We really need to make it a weekly habit. So grateful for good friends with kids my kids' age. How cute are they?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Second Annual "A Day in the Life of a Stay at Home Mom" [AKA What I Do All Day]

I did this last year around this time and thought it'd be fun to do again and see how things change. The biggest change is that I'm not nursing a baby every two hours like I was last year! Haha.

My disclaimers: this is not intended to be an illustration about how busy and chaotic my life is. My days are actually very low-key compared to most people I know. I tried to be as honest as possible about how often I check facebook or nap on the couch. Haha. I'd say this is a pretty good representation of a typical day around here. Other than dinner. I never spend that much time on dinner. And with good reason. So not worth it. And my usual disclaimer: It's seriously wicked long. Feel free to skim. :-)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

6:44 Lena wakes up. I pull her into bed with me, hoping she’ll go back to sleep. No such luck.
6:49 Put on a sweatshirt and sweatpants. Go downstairs.
6:51 Change Lena’s diaper.
6:53 Make her a bottle of milk. Lay down on the couch with her while she drinks it.
7:04 Lay on the couch while Lena gets up and down, playing with the toys and climbing on me.
7:30 Get up to brush my teeth as Luke rushes past me into the bathroom. Make coffee instead.
7:36 Play with Lena while watching the news
7:44 Lucy comes downstairs shirtless
7:47 Pour coffee as Luke gets out of the bathroom. I go in to brush my teeth. Both girls follow me.
7:48 Comfort Lucy after she stubs her toe.
7:49 Put toothpaste on the girls’ toothbrushes. We all brush our teeth.
7:52 Put my contacts in while Lena pulls on my legs crying, “up!” and Lucy instructs me that she wants to wear a dress over a long-sleeved shirt.
7:54 Go upstairs to get Lucy some clothes.
7:55 Get Lucy dressed.
7:58 Go to the basement to get some waffles out of the freezer.
7:59 Put the waffles in the toaster.
8:00 Get Lucy some vitamins and Lena a banana.
8:02 Put Lena in high chair with food.
8:03 Get the girls drinks.
8:04 Get Lucy some ice for her poor aching toes.
8:05 Reheat my coffee.
8:07 Help Lucy with her breakfast.
8:09 Check facebook
8:16 Pick Lena’s banana up off the floor. Get her out of high chair.
8:17 Turn on Netflix for Lucy.
8:19 Back to facebook
8:22 Hear Lena whining in the other room. Go get her.
8:25 Hold Lena while reading a hilarious article. Consider sharing it to facebook, but decide there’s too much profanity. Will share it here instead. 
8:29 Notice Lena pooping.
8:30 Change Lena’s diaper
8:33 Check email, catch up on my blog reading
8:38 Notice Lena has something in her mouth. Try to get her to show me. She takes it out of her mouth and hides it in her armpit. Determine it’s just a smartie she found on the floor. Back to blog reading.
8:42 Lose Internet connection.
8:44 Help Lucy with Netflix
8:45 Realize Netflix isn't working because the Internet is out. Go upstairs to get “Frozen” out of the DVD player.
8:47 Get movie started for Lucy.
8:48 Pry Lucy’s waffle out of Lena’s hand. Get Lena’s uneaten waffle off her high chair.
8:50 Get Lucy some yogurt.
8:51 Get Lena some yogurt when she freaks out over Lucy’s yogurt. Feed her entire container.
8:56 Put Lena down for a nap. Bring down clothes for me to wear and the girls’ laundry.
9:00 Lucy begs for a snack. Cut up some peaches for her.
9:05 Internet’s working again. Check facebook one more time while listening to Lucy sing “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” word for word. J
9:07 Turn off TV. Jump in the shower. Lucy comes in while I’m shaving my legs and says, “Are you done yet? I want you to watch Frozen with me!”
9:25 Start a load of laundry
9:27 Make half an English muffin with peanut butter and a glass of milk for breakfast.
9:33 Sit down with Lucy to watch Frozen while eating my breakfast. (Fall asleep while Kristoff and Anna are running from the wolves.)
11:09 The movie and all its bonus features are done.
11:10 Read a Bible story about David and the Psalms to Lucy. Write our own poems.

11:29 Switch my laundry over.
11:30 Fill my water bottle.
11:32 Google “how many ounces is 750 ml?”

11:34 Play school with Lucy. This involves taking attendance (listing every kid Lucy knows and being chastised if I forget one), doing the pledge of allegiance, going over the last two week’s verses, singing the alphabet, counting to 20, reading a book and drawing a picture of our favorite part, and having recess. We’re just starting “craft time” as . . .
12:09 Lena wakes up
12:10 Change Lena’s diaper. Get her dressed.
12:12 Throw Lena’s diaper away.
12:13 Confiscate a marker out of Lena’s hand.
12:15 Put Lena in the high chair with some peas and a squeezy.
12:16 Make grilled cheese for Lena.
12:23 Warm up some leftover mac n’ cheese for Lucy. Stick Lena’s grilled cheese in the fridge to cool.
12:24 Turn on Eloise for Lucy.
12:25 Give Lena some mac n’ cheese while she waits for her sandwich to cool.
12:26 Clean up the mess I made in the kitchen.
12:27 Give Lena her grilled cheese.
12:28 Force myself to finish my bottle of water before I can have a glass of Dr Pepper.
12:29 Grab a bag of pretzels and pour my Dr Pepper.
12:30 Turn on some worship music and unload the dishwasher. Lena sings along with me.
12:36 Get Lucy some more macaroni.
12:38 Back to the dishwasher
12:40 Get Lucy a drink and a napkin
12:41 Back to the dishwasher
12:48 Refill Lena’s cup
12:49 Finish emptying dishwasher. Refill it.
12:52 Lena starts throwing her food on the floor. Get her down and wash her up.
12:54 Hand wash 2 frying pans.
12:57 Check on two very quiet girls – they’re watching Eloise nicely together.
12:58 Clean off Lena’s high chair
12:59 Confiscate a USB drive Lena found somewhere
1:00 Pick up Lena’s food off the floor
1:01 Take care of miscellaneous counter clutter, wash a cutting board and a cake pan, wipe down counters, pick up all the measuring cups Lena threw on the floor.
1:08 Lena comes into the kitchen crying “up.” Pick her up and notice macaroni on her nose and eyebrow.
1:09 Wash Lena’s face again.
1:10 Confiscate the keys Lena got out of my purse while I was typing the last 3 things.
1:11 Start making myself some lunch.
1:12 Confiscate my wallet from Lena.
1:12 Finish making myself a sandwich and take care of the ingredients.
1:16 Sit down with my lunch and a bread machine cook book.
1:18 Turn Lucy’s movie off. Take care of the ice pack I found on the floor.
1:19 Sit back down to eat. Check facebook and blog reader.
1:37 Play house with Lucy while playing with Lena.
1:41 Read Lena the same book 8 times.
1:50 Lena figures out how to do the ring stacker for the first time. Take a video. 

2:15 Change Lena’s diaper. Put her down for a nap.
2:20 Continue playing house with Lucy.
2:30 Put Lucy down for “rest time.”
2:33 Search the Internet for a pizza dough recipe.
2:35 Lucy comes down asking for a drink.
2:36 Get Lucy a drink.
2:37 Text Justin some things I need from Meijer.
2:39 Back to finding a pizza dough recipe/checking facebook.
2:40 Justin walks in the door. Forgot he was getting out early today.
2:48 Pick up the disastrous house.
3:10 Refill stupid water bottle
3:11 Make pizza dough in bread maker. Clean up mess.
3:20 Start another load of laundry
3:26 Do a super awful workout: 50 burpees, 50 kickdown crunches. Might die.
3:41 Check facebook
3:44 Lena wakes up
3:45 Go get her, change her diaper
3:46 Justin goes upstairs to take a nap.
3:50 Get Lucy started on a Super Why game on the computer.
3:51 Lay on the couch trying to recover from that stupid workout. Lena crawls all over me.
4:06 Lucy asks for a snack. Get her and Lena hulless popcorn.
4:07 Open some mail.
4:08 Go to the basement and get some chicken out of the freezer.
4:09 Throw the chicken in a pot of water on the stove to boil.
4:10 Switch the laundry over. Start a new load.
4:13 Come out of the bathroom to Lena standing by the counter with her empty bowl saying, “Here you go. Here you go.” Get her some more popcorn.
4:14 Get Lucy some more popcorn.
4:16 Text Mom my grocery list.
4:17 Chase Lena around the house trying to get a picture of her with her snack sticking out of her mouth like a walrus.

4:23 Clean up Lena and her snack mess.
4:25 Sit by Lucy and encourage her to finish her game on the computer.
4:30 Get the computer from Lucy to balance my checkbook. Mom texts me back to ask dad something.
4:31 Go ask dad if he needs anything from Meijer.
4:33 Sit back down to do checkbook while girls have a screaming contest.
4:35 Breadmaker timer beeps
4:39 Lucy hits Lena on the head with a plastic golf club. Yell at Lucy. Console Lena.
4:40 Lucy pours water on a piece of paper on the floor. Yell at Lucy. Tell her not to pour water on anything else. Finish balancing checkbook.
4:42 Walk into the living room to see Lucy running away and a wet spot on the rug. Give her a spanking for disobeying me about pouring water.
4:43 Flour the counter to knead the dough. Lena pulls on my legs crying “up.” Lucy climbs on the stool to “help” me.

4:52 Do Lucy’s hair.
4:54 Confiscate my wallet from Lena.
4:55 Do Lena’s hair.
4:56 Get chicken out of boiling water. Dump water down the drain.
5:00 Google “cornmeal substitutions” for my pizza crust.
5:03 Roll out my very pathetic looking pizza crust.

5:09 Lena finds a pile of flour on the floor. Spreads it everywhere.
5:10 Clean the flour off the counters and floors while Lena licks the oven.
5:15 Help Lucy get started washing her hands.
5:16 Confiscate my keys from Lena.
5:17 Finish cleaning kitchen
5:19 Shred chicken in kitchenaid mixer
5:20 Switch laundry over.
5:23 Cut up peppers
5:33 Get out the rest of the ingredients
5:35 Assemble pizza while Lena pulls more stuff out of my purse and my mom entertains Lucy.
5:43 Clean up
5:53 Sit down to check facebook and force myself to finish my bottle of water before I can have a glass of Dr Pepper with dinner.
6:02 Let Lola out of Luke’s room where she apparently got shut in hours ago. Check on the pizza. It’s smelling amazing.
6:04 Get the pizza out of the oven. Wake up Justin.
Chicken alfredo for us. Pepperoni for pickypants Lucy.
6:05 Change Lena’s diaper
6:08 Get the girls their drinks
6:09 Cut the pizza and serve the girls
6:15 Lucy declares she doesn't like it. Tell her she has to bite and swallow one piece.
6:18 Sit down to eat.
6:26 Lucy spits her milk out on the floor. I tell her to get a towel and clean it up.
6:30 I get Lucy a banana
6:39 Lena starts to rub her pizza in her hair.
6:40 I start the bath. Justin takes Lucy upstairs to watch more Eloise.
6:43 Put Lena in the bath
6:47 Fold a load of laundry while she plays
6:49 Lena dumps two cups of water on the floor. I take the cup from her and she cries until I’m done with the laundry.
6:52 Wash Lena and get her out. Slather her in lotion.
7:00 Take her upstairs and put her pajamas on.
7:05 Lena gets on the bed with Lucy. I clean the girls’ room.
7:08 Bounce Lena on the bed.
7:10 Come downstairs to clean up the bath mess and put dishes in the dishwasher.
7:18 Refill my stupid water bottle half-way. (Just have to drink 10 more ounces!)
7:20 Sit down to watch Wheel of Fortune with my parents.
7:29 Pay bills online while watching Ken Jennings’ return on Jeopardy
7:30 Justin puts Lucy in the bath.
7:34 Bring Lena upstairs. Sing 3 songs and rock her, smelling her sweet hair. Put her in bed.
7:42 Pay more bills
7:50 Tiptoe upstairs to get Lucy’s pajamas
7:52 Facebook, email
7:59 Read books to Lucy
8:18 Help Lucy brush her teeth
8:23 Head upstairs with Lucy and Justin. Tell her a story. Sing 3 songs. Pray for Tayton. Put her in bed. She says she’s scared of the wind. I sing her “The Afraid Song” and go downstairs.
8:35 Eat a handful of chocolate chips because I’m desperate for chocolate.
8:37 Clean up the toys.
8:43 Talk to Justin for a few minutes before he leaves for the gym.
8:45 Go upstairs with the computer
8:50 Enter the day’s calories in myfitnesspal. Shocked to see I stayed 100 cals under my goal!
8:54 Chill with facebook, pinterest, etc.
10:00 Watch Parenthood
10:04 Justin brings me a Reese’s Peanut Butter egg. I eat it despite my earlier thrill about staying under my calorie goal. (Only went 62 cals over. It was worth it.)
11:00 Do my devotions (some of Deuteronomy, some of Luke, a Psalm and a few verses of Proverbs).
11:19 Write in my 5 Year Journal.
11:22 Go downstairs, take my pills, take out my contacts, brush my teeth.
11:34 Go to sleep!
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