Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Saturday 7

1. Lucy went to the dentist for the first time this week. She's on medicaid and I'm having a terrible time finding a dentist that takes it, so I decided just to bring her to my dentist for her first trip. 20 minutes, one toothbrush, and $150 later, we left. Un-freaking-believable. They hardly even did anything. Brushed her teeth, flossed between the 6 teeth in her mouth that actually touch each other, declared her free of plaque and cavities, and brushed on some fluoride. Oy. I'm going to get more serious about finding somewhere that will take her insurance next time. She did great, though. Followed directions, sat still, opened her mouth wide, and looked adorable:

2. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at home with my family. Earlier in the week, I had everyone trace their hand and get it to me, so Lucy and I could make these cute place-cards:

We had way too much delicious food, including these hilarious Pinterest fails:

I even made a homemade Chocolate Chess Pie. Don't ask me why it's called that. I just followed the recipe. Delicioso!

3. After eating, cleaning up, and playing some cards, my mom, Niki, and I headed out for our yearly tradition of Black "Friday" shopping. We got to Wal-Mart at 5:30 and all found a spot to stand and wait 'til 6:00. I had my hand on the thing I wanted, but I still get nervous that someone's going to trample me and steal it out of my hand. You never know at Wal-Mart. Haha. We all got what we wanted, though! I got some killer deals and am pretty much done shopping for my girls now.

4. Friday morning, I had one more thing I wanted to get from Meijer, so I took Lena with me at 7:30 when she woke up. We got some more deals at Meijer and were almost home when I heard her making this weird gagging/coughing noise. I looked back at her just in time to see puke spewing out of her mouth. I pulled over and cleaned her up and she was fine by the time we got home. But when Lucy puked at 11:30, I knew we were in for a long day. Lena didn't puke again, but proceeded to have diarrhea all day long. And Lucy ended up puking somewhere around 6 times. She eventually just started walking around the house with the puke bucket under her chin. Poor kiddos.

5. Today is the one day a year that I work outside of the home. My sisters and I help out at our cousin's family owned business every Saturday after Thanksgiving so they can have their family day. So of course I came down with the flu last night. I slept on the couch all night so I'd be closer to the bathroom, but I never made use of it. So despite my horrendous stomach cramping/nausea, I went to the store as scheduled this morning. I made it 2.5 hours before giving up and coming back home. I was absolutely miserable and figured I probably shouldn't be infecting the customers anyway. I slept most of the afternoon and woke up feeling less nauseous but aching literally from head to toe. My ribs hurt. My fingers hurt. My toes hurt. My skin hurts. I've never had the body aches like this. I ate a plain bagel and the nausea immediately returned. At this point, I'd really welcome some puking just to get all the nastiness out of my stomach. Let me just take this time to applaud all of you brave women who deal with morning sickness. I was never sick with my girls and don't think I'd ever get pregnant again if I knew I'd feel like this for weeks on end!!

6. My brother is getting married one week from today! I'm missing his fiancee's bachelorette party tonight so I don't infect the wedding party. :-( But I'm trying to think positively: at least we all got sick a week before the wedding and not the day of. (Although please pray that Luke and Esther don't get it!) And hopefully I'll end up losing some weight and look skinny in the wedding pictures. ;-)

7. I've been asking Lucy every day in November what she's thankful for. She thought up some heartfelt and some hilarious answers. (And I got an awesome chalk pen that made my chalkboard writing look so cool!)
Can you tell which one got added on Thanksgiving day when a certain person noticed his name wasn't listed among the things/people Lucy is thankful for?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Saturday 7

1. We got the news this week that the original couple who wanted to buy our house is getting her mom to buy it instead. So we're back on track to sell it! We signed the paperwork yesterday, so hopefully we can close before Christmas!

2. It has been an awful, snow-filled week. We broke the record for the month of November, and it's not even over yet! Since my van doesn't have heat and doesn't handle very well in the snow, we stayed home most of the week. Two words: cabin fever. Although I actually did surprisingly well on the depression front - another sign the new meds are working. I kept busy cleaning the house and doing craft projects with the girls. We even broke out the play-doh, which is not one of my favorites. Haha.

3. It's also been a rough sleep week around here. Lena has been randomly waking up and screaming for [what seems like] hours. One night, she got up around 12:30 am and I tried everything I could think of to get her back to sleep but nothing was working. I finally brought her downstairs to watch TV so Justin and Lucy could sleep and she still didn't fall asleep. When Justin got up for work at 4:45, I put her in bed and made her scream until she fell asleep. It hasn't been that bad since then, but she's still waking up screaming most nights. I don't think she's in pain or scared. Usually she's just crying to go downstairs or to get in bed with me. I really hope it's just a phase!!

4. My brother is getting married 2 weeks from today, but he's moving out in a week. I'm undoubtedly going to miss him, but when he leaves we're taking over his bedroom! Right now, Lena still sleeps in a pack n' play a foot away from our bed (which probably contributes to waking up and wanting to sleep with us). But once Luke is gone, we're taking his room downstairs and the girls will each have their own rooms upstairs! Plus, we're going to get our queen sized bed out of storage and upgrade from the full we've been sleeping on for the past two years! (Our queen wouldn't fit up the stairs.) I bought a new bedspread for the occasion. Isn't it pretty?

That's another reason Lena needs to start sleeping better. I'm not climbing up the stairs a thousand times in the middle of the night to tend to her.

5. This week in school, we talked about Native Americans. At the end of the week I made a "Venn Diagram" to illustrate the differences and similarities between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. I asked Lucy what some of the differences were and she said, "The Pilgrims wore dresses and pants and shirts. And the Native Americans just wore undies and those weird little skirt things." Haha. I shouldn't be surprised that their wardrobe choices made such an impression on her. We also read this book about Squanto. It was awesome. I had no idea he was sold into slavery. It's a testament to God's grace that he (Squanto) was willing to help the white people who came to his land after all the white people had done to him.

6. Lena has really started singing lately. I posted a video to facebook of her singing "Let it Go." She's such a ham. But at night, when I sing to her while we rock, she sings along with me and it totally melts my heart. I love hearing her sing, "I don't have to be afraid in the night or in the day; when I sleep my God's awake. He's watching ooooover me." (Bonus points if you're not my sibling and you know what that song is from!)

7. Yesterday was the first day it wasn't blizzarding outside, so we had our friends over after a long week cooped up at home. One of our friends is putting together a collection for the troops stationed overseas and we all agreed to chip in with some supplies. We wanted to involve our kids a little, so we all got together yesterday to have the kids make cards and put the supplies in boxes. I love our kids.
Making cards

The big girls posing after doing each other's make-up. Haha.

The littles cheesing it up. Harper is 21 months. Liam is 17 months. Lena is 22 months. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book #3 Out of a Far Country

A couple weeks ago, I happened to come across this book on Amazon: God and the Gay Christian. I spent half an hour reading recaps and reviews and came away from it feeling discouraged that people are so willing to twist God's word. I mentioned as much in a comment on my pastor's blog and he recommended that I read Out of a Far Country by Christopher and Angela Yuan. This is the Amazon synopsis:
 Christopher Yuan, the son of Chinese immigrants, discovered at an early age that he was different. He was attracted to other boys. As he grew into adulthood, his mother, Angela, hoped to control the situation. Instead, she found that her son and her life were spiraling out of control—and her own personal demons were determined to defeat her. Years of heartbreak, confusion, and prayer followed before the Yuans found a place of complete surrender, which is God’s desire for all families. Their amazing story, told from the perspectives of both mother and son, offers hope for anyone affected by homosexuality.
Now, before I start my review, let me preface it by saying this: I do not intend for this to become a debate. I have no intention of changing your mind if you believe Christians have every right to be gay. I have no delusions about my powers of persuasion. I'm simply sharing my thoughts on a compelling book.

I mentioned in my last review that I was going to read this book and expected it to be a difficult read. I had nothing to fear. The book immediately drew me in and read very much like fiction. It was captivating from the start. And it's a quick read. I read it from start to finish in 3 hours. 

It was very interesting to see inside the world of the gay community. Christopher is candid throughout the book about his relationships and hookups and the camaraderie of the gay community. He's also candid about his feelings toward "bigoted Christians." He echoes so much of what I hear shouted from the rooftops lately: "God made me this way. How can he expect me not to be gay?" "If God can't love me the way I am, then I don't want him." "No loving God would give me these desires and not let me fulfill them."

This book also opened my eyes to another world that I'm totally oblivious to: the drug world. Christopher becomes an incredibly popular, successful drug dealer. He's not some shady, back-alley creep that the word "dealer" implies. He lives in a nice part of town, drives a nice car, goes to dental school, and runs his drug dealing like a business - complete with ledgers and filing systems. But on the weekends, he's embroiled in the gay bar drug scene. Ultimately (and this is a spoiler alert in case you really want to read the book and be surprised) he gets busted and ends up in jail. I feel terrible saying it, but I loved reading about his life in jail. Haha. I've always pictured life in jail to be 2 guys in a cell all day except for an hour of exercise in "the yard." Apparently it's not like that at all. It was very interesting to read about.

Interspersed throughout Christopher's story is his mother's story. Christopher's story is exciting and interesting and miraculous, but I think I appreciated Angela's story even more. The book opens with Christopher coming out to his parents and Angela's subsequent decision to kill herself. Before she does, though, she decides to see a priest (she's not a Christian, but she wants some kind of absolution from the priest anyway). She tells him the whole sordid story about her son, he gives her a pamphlet, and sends her on her way. She decides to go see Christopher one more time before killing herself and boards a train with nothing but her purse and the pamphlet. On the train ride, she reads the pamphlet and ends up giving her life to Christ! That alone was so shocking to me. I feel like tracts and the "literature" Christians hand out are so stupid and can't believe anyone ever responds positively to it. But the Holy Spirit works in ways that might seem unbelievable and used one of those dumb tracts to save this woman's life!

The thing that got me about Angela was the wisdom she had as a new Christian. She devotes her life to prayer for her son - not necessarily for him to change, but for him to come to know Christ. She immediately decides that she's going to love her son unconditionally and pray for him without ceasing. When she gets off the train in Louisville, she calls the number on the back of the pamphlet and gets connected with a mentor. She buys a Bible and dives into learning and growing. When she gets back home, she turns her shower into a prayer closet and spends hours on her knees on the tile floor. She fills notebooks with prayers, sets aside a day a week to fast, and gets involved in a local church. It was such a wake-up call for me. I've been a Christian all my life and never devote that much time or energy (or discomfort) to prayer.

For years, her son rejects her and continues his downward spiral. For years, she continues to reach out to him, sends him cards of encouragement, and pleads with God to soften his heart.

Spoiler alert again: God changes Christopher's heart. Christopher hits rock bottom in prison and God shows up in amazing ways to slowly work on his heart. The verse Jeremiah 29:11 is scrawled on the ceiling above his bunk, he finds a Bible in the trash and is so bored he picks it up and starts reading, and he stumbles upon a Bible study led by another inmate. I was surprised, and a little bit confused, when he didn't have a dramatic conversion. He just became more and more interested in the Bible until the inmate leading the studies asked Christopher to lead one day, and he did. He eventually started leading a lot of the studies and making the Bible his own.

So where does he land on the gay stuff? I thought the conclusion was incredible. He doesn't profess to be "cured" of homosexuality. He'll probably always have same-sex attraction. But he writes that he loves Jesus so much that a life of celibacy doesn't seem that impossible. While he was in prison, struggling to reconcile his homosexuality with what he was learning in the Bible, he went to the chaplain for advice. The chaplain did something that many people would applaud: he gave Christopher a book explaining that it was fine for Christians to be gay, and wasn't really a big deal. Instead of being relieved and going on to justify his choices, though, Christopher writes this:
. . . as I started reading the book and reading the Bible passages it referred to, God's Holy Spirit convicted me that the assertions from that book were a distortion of God's truth. Reading his Word, I couldn't deny his unmistakable condemnations of homosexual sex. I wasn't even able to get through the first chapter of that book, and I gave it back to the chaplain.
Again, I was amazed by the work of the Holy Spirit. It would've been so easy for him to read that book and say, "Whew. I have nothing to worry about. God does want me to be gay." There was nothing logical about him being able to discern untruths when he read them. That kind of discernment only comes from the Holy Spirit.

Christopher gets out of jail, gets accepted to Moody Bible Institute, and eventually becomes a professor there while traveling the world speaking about his experiences and what he calls "holy sexuality."

I loved this book because it was written from the perspective of a man who lived a homosexual lifestyle, found Jesus, and didn't get cured, but chose Jesus. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Saturday 7

1. I made a yummy new recipe this week: chicken enchilada soup. The weather has turned nasty - cold and snowy, so soup seemed appropriate. It's an easy crockpot meal - one that Lucy was able to help with. It mostly required opening cans of beans and corn and cream of chicken soup and dumping them in. My kind of cooking! My dad and Luke thought the soup needed more heat, so they added hot sauce. I thought it was perfect as is. Justin put sour cream in his. Deliciousness all around!

2. Good news everyone: I think the new depression meds are really working! I've been feeling so much more even-keel lately. I've been much less irritable, too, which everyone is benefiting from. Haha.

3. Are you all getting excited for Christmas?!?! I've been scouring the Black Friday ads and making lists all week. But as I've been marking things down, I've noticed a huge disparity between my girls. Lucy is easy to shop for. She has many obsessions and interests. Lena, however, is more difficult. She's happy with all Lucy's old toys, and doesn't have any major interests. I know by this age, Lucy was obsessed with Elmo and Dora. Lena doesn't watch much TV (not because I'm such a good parent, just because she's not interested - haha). Do you any of you have kids Lena's age? (Almost 2) Any suggestions?

4. Speaking of Christmas . . . next week is National Collection Week for Samaritan's Purse "Operation Christmas Child." I've been filling a shoebox for as long as I can remember, but I love that Lucy's getting old enough now to really understand it. I told her that we're buying toys for a little girl who doesn't have very many toys and we headed off to Dollar Tree. I have a guilt complex about how much my kids have and how little these kids in 3rd world countries have, so I let Lucy go a little crazy picking out toys. We couldn't even fit them all in the shoebox when we got home. Haha. Anyway, it's an awesome ministry. Check it out!

5. Lucy drew this picture for me this week. I did not use the reverse camera. This is literally what it looks like. Normal right?
Mom Dad i Love You - all backwards
6. So here's the bad news of the week: It doesn't look like our house sale is going to go through. :-( Our realtor called yesterday and said that the buyers' financing fell through. They're scrambling to come up with a down payment so they can do an FHA loan instead of Rural Development, but the realtor didn't sound super hopeful about that and recommended that we re-list it. Sigh. We really had big plans for that money. I desperately need a new vehicle. My van doesn't have heat, so now that it's wicked cold we're pretty much stranded at home. It doesn't matter how much medication I take. If I'm stuck at home all winter I am going to go cray-cray! Plus, we really can't afford to keep making the house payment. I have no idea where that money's going to come from. But we can't just let it go into foreclosure. We have to profit from the sale! Oy. Please just pray that we can get another buyer with lots of money who wants a quick sale! (And who won't be scared away by the ridiculously steep driveway in the dead of winter . . .)

7. I can't think of a seventh. Go read my book review from this week or the recap of our 9th week of preschool. Or just enjoy this cute picture of Lena:

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Book #2 and My Fear of Being Forgotten

I started and finished Book 2 of my 30 Before 30 yesterday: The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. I don't think anyone recommended it to me. I can't really remember, but I think it was just a highly rated book on goodreads that I thought I'd like. I was right. I loved it. It reminded me a lot of one of my all time favorite books: Eve's Daughters by Lynn Austin. They're both those books that jump back and forth from the past to the present and span generations of mothers and daughters. I love them, but they always make me a little sad. In The Secret Keeper, we're introduced to Dorothy as a dying 90 year old woman, but throughout the book, you find out about her childhood and young adult years and get to know her as a young woman. It makes me sad to see her wasting away to nothing like the vibrant, colorful character she was. And it makes me think about my own life and how death is inevitable. Haha. So uplifting. I got to thinking why it bothers me so much and ultimately I think I fear being forgotten.

I hate driving by cemeteries and seeing the names emblazoned in stone from ages ago. I always think about how they used to be lives filled with love and fear and passion, and now they're reduced to a name on a stone that someone might occasionally place flowers on. The newer graves probably have visitors and people who mourn their loss, but the older ones are just forgotten. They're someone's great-great grandparents who are nothing but a dusty photograph or a series of remembered anecdotes. And ultimately I fear that for myself.

I think that's why I so obsessively chronicle my life - through this public blog, my private journal, the letters I write to my girls on their birthdays, the baby books I fill with milestones and memories. I want to leave my mark on the world. I want to be remembered.

In The Secret Keeper, Dorothy's daughter remembers her mother as so warm and loving and fun. I want my girls to have those same rosy memories of me. I want them to remember me dancing with them in the kitchen, snuggling in bed with them reading, laughing and tickling and loving on each other. Mostly I want them to look back on their childhood and remember it as warm and loving and joyful.

Originally, I berated myself for being so self-centered (I've even gone so far as to tell Justin never to remarry if I die. I want him to mourn me forever. Lol.), but then I realized that my fears make sense. We weren't created to die and be forgotten. We were created for eternity. We have eternal souls.

Maybe a hundred years from now, some historian will come across my decades of journaling and do some great case study on life in the new millennium. Or maybe my journals will die with my daughters. I'll probably be forgotten someday with nothing more to remember me by than a dusty gravestone and a web address. (Haha - maybe I'll have my blog address engraved on my tombstone so people passing by can look me up.) But I know that my death isn't the end. And there is one who remembers me. One who delights in me now and will for all eternity.
The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
I loved The Secret Keeper. It was clean (mild swearing, mild sexual references), well-written, and surprising. There was a twist at the end that makes me want to go back and read it again with renewed perspective. So far, I'm on track with my one book a week. My third choice might prove a little more challenging, though. Stay tuned for my thoughts on Out of a Far Country

Friday, November 7, 2014

The "Saturday" 7

You're getting this special advance edition of The Saturday 7 today because I'm leaving for Ladies' Retreat tonight and will be gone all weekend! I'm excited now, but the anxiety about leaving my girls will hit me at about 5:00 tonight when it's time for me to go. Haha.

1. I made it to Ezekiel in my One Year Bible this week. Wow. That is some weird stuff. I've always avoided reading it because I knew it was strange, but seriously, in chapter one alone:
15 As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each creature with its four faces. 16 This was the appearance and structure of the wheels: They sparkled like topaz, and all four looked alike. Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel. 17 As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the creatures faced; the wheels did not change direction as the creatures went. 18 Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were full of eyes all around.
4-faced creatures and wheels covered in eyes? Is that what Heaven's going to be like?

2. I feel the need to record that my girls are suddenly playing with each other so much more than they ever used to. They dress up together and play school together and put their babies in strollers and go for walks together. It is adorable. And freeing. One day this week I actually made dinner alone in the kitchen while Lucy read books to Lena, and then they played doctor with their babies. Amazing!
A quick sidenote: Lucy is wearing Lena's button-up cardigan in the above picture. She put it on to be silly last night and ended up wearing it to bed. When Lena saw it this morning, she freaked out, shouting "Lena's! Lena's sweatshirt!" Oh boy. So it begins. Lol. (And I wish Lucy didn't have the apron on so you can see how 3 inches of her belly sticks out the bottom of the sweater. It's hilarious.)

3. We took a break from homeschool this week. I think that's part of what has inspired the girls to play together. I've been doing less structured work with Lucy, leaving her free for unstructured play with Lena. It has also resulted in a lot of boredom - both on her part and mine. I like homeschooling because I have pre-planned activities for us to do. When I don't have that, we spend more time watching TV/puttering around on facebook and whining about how we're bored. Haha. It was really nice to have a break, but it will also be really nice to get back to it.

4. Yet another reason the girls have been playing together more is because they have more time together now that I've cut out Lena's morning nap. I think it's finally starting to have its desired effect. She has been taking incrementally longer naps (yesterday was 2 hours and 15 minutes - going in the right direction!), and she's sleeping longer at night . . . kind of. She consistently wakes up between 5:20 and 5:40 am, but I've discovered that if I pull her into bed with me, she snuggles up as closely to me as possible and immediately falls back to sleep until 7 or later! Justin gets up at 4:30, so it's not a hardship for me to have another warm body to snuggle with. And I'll do pretty much anything for a couple extra hours of sleep! 

5. My article to share this week is this one. I've seen it circulating on facebook a little bit, but wow is it powerful and convicting. It's inspired by C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters - wherein the Devil is writing letters to a demon giving him tips on how to distract his subjects from Jesus. The twist is that this article is written specifically about moms with young kids. The Devil tells the demon to make sure the young mother neglects her marriage, prizes productivity over all else, and focuses on all her problems and her pains. That last part was especially convicting for me. Go read the article for yourself. 

6. I'm getting so excited for Christmas! We've been listening to Christmas music non-stop, I've started stalking for Black Friday ad leaks, and I've even bought a couple presents online. I can't wait! Every year, I try to do something with Lucy to focus her on the true meaning of Christmas. We'll probably do our Advent activities like we have in years past (here and here), but I'm also going to do this one from focus on the family this year. It's free and draws in so much of the Biblical background that I think she's finally starting to be old enough to understand.

And don't worry, we haven't completely skipped over Thanksgiving. We're doing a thankful tree again this year. I'm loving the things Lucy is thankful for: the sky, her pretty dresses, Christmas trees, etc. Haha. I'll share them all at the end of November, so stay tuned. :-)

7. I read the first book in my "30 Before 30" venture: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. My cousin Alisa recommended it to me, I was intrigued by the premise, and it got incredible reviews on Amazon, so I ordered it through the library. The day I went to pick it up, one of the librarians posted on facebook that she had just finished reading it and it left her completely spell-bound. When I got it from the library, it had a sticky note from said librarian on it telling me she loved it and I had to talk to her about it after I finished it.

So my expectations were high going in. It took me a couple chapters to get used to the first person narration and British slang, but then I was hooked. I can't really tell you how I felt about the book without giving away the ending. There was a twist in the middle that kept me reading 'til midnight to find out how it ended. (I read the whole book in one day - 9 interrupted hours.) I literally did not know how it would end until the last chapter - which is more than I can say for 99% of the Christian fiction I read. Haha. It was beautifully written and incredibly thought provoking. It was also pretty clean. Some swearing, too much usage of the name "Christ" in a way that makes me uncomfortable, and references to sex - but nothing explicit. All that's to say, I'd recommend it, and want you all to read it so we can talk about it. :-)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Saturday 7

1. It dawned on me this week that when we set our clocks back tonight, Lena is going to start waking up at 5:00 am instead of 6. Oh boy. So I decided I need to get really serious about dropping her morning nap. It is not going well. She actually does pretty well with skipping the nap. She's usually pretty grumpy by 11:00 am, but nothing too ridiculous. The worst part is that she is not making up for it elsewhere. She used to take a 2 hour morning nap, a 2 hour afternoon nap, and sleep about 9.5-10 hours at night. So 14 hours total. Inexplicably, since dropping the morning nap, her afternoon nap has gotten shorter! Only by about 15 minutes, but I thought it would get longer! And she is not making up for it at night. Last week, when she randomly started getting up at 5:30 am, I started putting her to bed at 8:30 at night. One day this week, Lena was up from 4-6am for no apparent reason. She wasn't in pain, she didn't need anything, she just wanted to be awake. I ended up pulling her into bed with me and she slept until 8. Other than that day, she's still be consistently sleeping from 8:30-6ish. Sometimes a little bit earlier. So frustrating!! She has gotten 2 new molars in the past two weeks, so I really hope that has something to do with it.

2. After my complaining about not losing weight last week, I lost 4 pounds this week. Woohoo! I've still been laying off the Dr Pepper and eating Lean Cuisines for lunch, but I've also been eating a lot of candy and homemade bread. Haha. I'm gonna keep at it. Maybe there's some validity to the whole "Dr Pepper makes you fat" conspiracy, after all. ;-)

3. Thanks for all the book recommendations for my 30 Before 30 list. I pinned a whole bunch and have started ordering some through the library's interloan system. I'm really interested to see how I like non-Christian fiction. Maybe I'll branch out, do this little experiment, and realize I was reading Christian fiction for a reason. Haha.

4. Just a little note on the weather for me to read back on someday: On Monday, we had highs in the 70s and spent the day at the park with friends. By yesterday, we had highs in the 30s and big, fat snowflakes! Yesterday's facebook statuses looked something like this:

Friend 1: Oh my word! Snow! Not yet!
Friend 2: Yay, snow!
Friend 3: This is Michigan, people. Get used to the snow.
Friend 4: Snow?! On Halloween! We're going to freeze tonight!
Friend 5: Our state is shaped like a mitten. It snows every year. What do you people expect?!

I don't know if I was just more irritable than usual or what, but it irritates me to no end that people have to be all high and mighty. I wanted to make a status that said this: "This is Michigan. It snows every year. And every year, people will get excited about it and facebook statuses will reflect that. Get off your high horse and just let people update their statuses as they wish!" Lol. And in case you saw my status about being annoyed with the facebook snarkiness, it was based off of way more than just the weather posts. So don't get your grundies in a bunch.

5. Despite Friday's irritability, I actually had my best Thursday in months. Thursdays are historically my worst depression days. I haven't totally figured out why. I think Monday through Wednesday I'm motivated to clean and do homeschool and play with my kids, and by Thursday I'm just done. I'm bored with my life and sick of cleaning and sick of my kids' endless demands. Attractive, right? I don't know if this Thursday was better because my new drugs are finally kicking in, or because we were busy a lot of the day or what, but it was glorious!

6. We had such a fun Halloween. Growing up, I wasn't allowed to celebrate Halloween, and before having kids, I really deliberated over whether or not I'd let them participate. I know that Halloween started as a religious holiday (All Hallow's Eve), but it seems to have been taken over by guts and gore and evil-glorification. And I know of a few Satan-worshippers who claim it as their holiday, so that makes me a little uneasy, too. I want no part of that. But then I decided that Halloween is what we make it. Just like atheists celebrate their version of Christmas, we can celebrate our version of Halloween. To us, it's just an excuse to dress up in an innocent costume and get some free candy. I've seen a lot of Christians call it an opportunity to witness to their neighbors and be a light in their community by handing out tracts along with candy. I'm not sure tracts are ever beneficial, but turning off the porch light and hiding inside seems like a better way to alienate the community than engage with it. We live in the country and don't pass out candy, so it's a non-issue for us. But as long as my girls can manage to wear appropriate costumes and see the holiday as just a silly, fun time to dress up and eat junk food, Halloween is OK in my book. (And to each his own! If you have strong convictions against it, then by all means, don't let me try to convince you otherwise!)

7. In the past few years, we've trick-or-treated around my sister's subdivision. But this year, all our friends' kids were finally old enough and none of us had family obligations, so we all went together. It was so much fun! I know I write this all the time, but I'm so glad my girls have this group of same-aged kids to grow up with. They don't have cousins their age and none of my sibling seem in any hurry to have kids, so the small group kids will have to be my kids' "cousins." I'll wrap this up with a few pictures you've already seen on facebook, but must also be immortalized forever on the blog. ;-)
This was Lucy's original costume choice: Elsa. (Worn Wednesday to storytime at the library.)
At some point, she changed her mind and decided to she wanted to be Anna instead.  I was glad, because the Anna costume is bigger and much easier to stuff many layers underneath.
Lena was an adorable little jaguar/leopard/wild spotted cat. 
On Wednesday, she hated her costume and kept crying "too big!" On Friday when I told her she had to put her costume on before we could go get candy, she suddenly loved it and wanted to wear it all day! Haha. She wore a long-sleeved onesie and fleece footed pajamas under that thing and stayed toasty warm. She loved the "face paint" (eyeliner) too. When I started drawing it on her, she exclaimed, "Colors! Nose!" She couldn't believe I was coloring on her face. Friday night, whenever anyone said, "Aww, are you a kitty?" she enthusiastically patted her face and said, "Colors! Nose!" Haha. Also, quick word of recommendation: I dipped a kleenex in coconut oil and swiped it across her face and the eyeliner melted away like magic!

The whole gang. I love Harper and Lena's identical looks of confusion. The ninja turtle on the end (Presley) is the oldest, but Lucy seems to be towering over most of the group. 
I think one of the reasons Lucy decided she wanted to be Anna was because my mom brought this cape home from Once Upon a Child. Apparently Anna's cape is pinkish, whereas Elsa's is blue, and Lucy really wanted to wear the cape, so she decided to be Anna. Nevermind that Cinderella is emblazoned on the front. Haha.
We attached a few foam snowflakes to make it more "Frozen-esque."
Presley, Lucy, and Bob ready for candy!
These three (RJ, Lucy, and Presley) held hands most of the night. So adorable.

*Edited to Add* I just hit "publish" on this entry and noticed it's my 400th post! Wowza!
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