Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Saturday 7

1. We had a busy week, full of end of the school year activities. a luncheon in honor of Justin's mom's retirement, and a family night with our good friends. In all our coming and going, I was reminded anew how thankful I am that my kids are flexible and easy-going (for the most part). As long as I pack plenty of snacks, they're good. Haha.

2. One of the school-related activities was a party in the park for kids who got 100 points or more in AR (accelerated reading). Lucy was at 96 points on the day of the cut-off, so she stayed after school to finish. Unfortunately, she comes by her procrastinating tendencies honestly. Justin and I had to get 35 hours of family service at school by May 20. We finished on May 19. Lol. I like to say that I thrive under pressure, but I'm really just lazy.

3. We finally got an appointment set up with Early On for Levi's gross motor delays . . . and he's taking off on his own. Haha. Our appointment is June 8, but he's been making such progress in the past couple of weeks. This week, he figured out how to get down from standing . . . kind of. Sometimes he forgets how and gets stuck like this:
He's also getting better at crawling (with his head off the ground!), but he hates it and cries most of the time. He's even taken a couple of steps unassisted! He's getting super fast cruising around furniture and even walls. And he's a pro with his walker. He can steer and turn and get wherever he wants to go with it. I think walking is on the horizon! (He'll be 15 months on Monday, so it's about stinkin' time! Haha.)

4. I read 3 books and a novella this week. And I stayed up 'til midnight 3 times this week to do so . . . I have no self control. The first was Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay. I loved her Dear Mr. Knightley so when I saw another one by her at a thrift store for 49 cents, I snapped it up. This one was a little sadder because it dealt with cancer, but it was still a great story, and she's a fantastic writer. Then I read one of the books I won from a facebook contest: Keep Holding On by Melissa Tagg. And then Rescue Me by Susan May Warren. I'm up to 36 books so far for the year. My goal of 75 is looking pretty good!

5. The other day while we were putting the girls to bed, Lucy told me to go downstairs and get her a glass of water. I responded that she could do it herself because I wasn't her servant, and she totally sincerely replied, "But you're a mom. That's like a servant. You're supposed to do stuff for me." Oy. I've really been struggling with how to balance modeling service and showing my kids that serving others is important with preventing them from becoming entitled millenials. (Are they too young to be millenials?)

6. I can't think of a 6th, so let's just get to the pictures:
On his knees in his crib. He can't get down and just cries until I rescue him.
This huge moth camped out next to our front door for two days. Look how fat its body is! #gross
I told Lena to pose next to the moth and this is what I got. Lol.
Lucy does not appreciate 1800s couture as much as I do. 
Fun with friends last night. (Even the dog smiled for the picture! Lol.)

Fireside devotions. Between us 5 couples, we have 14 kids!

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Saturday 7

1. Lucy only has 9 more days of school, and I am so ready for her to be done! It's hilarious to see how my standards have fallen between the beginning of the school year and now. I've given up on her hair. She half-brushes it every morning, but it's mostly a tangle of curls and toothpaste and I don't even care. Lunch is a bust. I alternate Easy Mac with a pizza Lunchable every other day. I don't even care about being on time anymore. I used to majorly stress about her being tardy. At this point, I'm like, "Meh. So what if she's late?" I can't wait for the care-free days of summer! Sleeping in. No schedules. No homework. No strictly enforced bedtimes. No whining and crying and fighting to get out the door on time. And yes, I will be craving the routine again by about July, but let me enjoy my fantasy while it lasts!!

2. Lena's question of the week has been "What is the highest number?" She asks me at least once a day, and cannot fathom that no one knows and that numbers just keep going.

3. I read 4 books this week: Write Me Home by Crystal Walton, You'll Think of Me by Robin Lee Hatcher (my second booklookbloggers book), True to You by Becky Wade, and Beyond Bathtime by Erin Davis. The first two were fine, but nothing special. I loved the last two. Becky Wade is fast becoming one of my all-time favorite writers. She is so good at creating lovable characters with great chemistry, and I love her humor.

4. Beyond Bathtime is a Christian mothering book that someone recommended to me a long time ago. I bought it on clearance at Baker Book House 6 months ago, and finally made myself read it this week. I was surprised by how much I liked it! This is my goodreads review:
I've read a lot of parenting/mothering books and at first I was worried this one was going to be the same old same old. But the more I read, the more I loved. It's a short, easy read, but is filled with nuggets of truth, challenging insight, and practical applications. I especially appreciated the application questions at the end of each chapter.
My favorite chapter was probably chapter 7: Blessing or Burden? It was very convicting for me. "Our behavior toward our children and our conversations about our children send a message in one of two directions. Either we communicate that our children are a blessing, or that they are a burden" (92.) I love Davis's call to ministry in our homes and insistence that motherhood is a holy calling. The book left me thinking and re-evaluating the way I treat my kids and parent them. 
5. One interesting part of Beyond Bathtime was the chapter on "Choosing Childlessness" and how it's becoming such a trend in our culture. The author originally didn't intend to have children, but then she came to this conclusion: "When it came to the issue of family planning, I simply didn't trust God's sovereignty to provide for my good" (55). Essentially, she's saying that it's not up to us to plan our families; it's up to God. She didn't elaborate on whether that means we should never use birth control, but it got me thinking . . . If we didn't use birth control, I would be the next Michelle Duggar. Although with my history of losses, I probably wouldn't make it to 20. And with my history of huge, painful pregnancies, I'd probably die before 10. But is it "playing God" to decide how many kids we're going to have?

6. At the end of the "Choosing Childlessness" chapter, Davis poses this question, "Do you know anyone who thinks that parenting is nothing but a big roadblock to 'real life'? If you could say anything to such a person, what would you say?" I wrote down, "It's hard, but sanctifying and the joy outweighs the bad!" A huge part of it for me is considering the future. Don't get me wrong. I didn't have kids to take care of me when I'm old. I just can't imagine choosing to not have a family. To forgo family Christmases with your kids and grandkids, to miss out on birthdays and holidays and family gatherings. And for all my whining about discipline and potty training and sleeplessness, the smiles and milestones and chubby legs and toothless grins and "I love yous" make it so so worth it.

7. Sorry to use up so many of my points on that book, but I don't have anything else. Except pictures! Enjoy.

Silly kids enjoying the warm weather. Levi was eating the dirt.
Trying out the new birthday bike.

Just a couple days after we had highs in the mid 80s, temps plummeted and it got cold in our house!
Everyone piled in bed with Mommy.
I was trying to get a picture of Levi's curls, and I got this instead. Lol.

Reading with Grandma (I love how he crosses his feet like that!)

That dimple!
I <3 Snapchat filters . . .
Lucy got a bunch of new clothes for her birthday and she insisted on doing a fashion show . . .
I think she's got the knee pop mastered . . .
So then, of course, Lena wanted to do a fashion show too. Her modeling poses are significantly more unique . . .
Lol - Oh that girl . . .



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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Book Review: I'll Think of You by Robin Lee Hatcher

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This is my second book review for Book Look Bloggers. I received a copy of this e-book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.

Brooklyn Myers escaped a terrible childhood by eloping at the age of 17. When her new husband finds out she's pregnant, though, he leaves without a backward glance. Fast forward 11 years and Brooklyn gets a letter in the mail from her husband's attorney. It turns out the deadbeat husband died of a heart condition and left his house back home to her.

I've read Robin Lee Hatcher before and never been terribly impressed. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that I feel the same way about this book. I read it all in one day, so it obviously wasn't awful. But it suffered from the dreaded "Singular Plot Syndrome" - the singular plot being Will they fall in love? Of course we know they will, so it's just a matter of finding out how. There was very little conflict throughout the story, the characters were a little too perfect, and the drama a little too boring. I also take serious issue with the fact that the husband's heart condition was never addressed. If I found out that my 32 year old ex-husband died of a strange heart condition, the first thing I'd do is have our child tested to make sure she doesn't have it too!

3 stars for being an entertaining, sweet read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Saturday 7

1. A few years ago, I signed up as a book reviewer for a Christian book website (booklookbloggers.com). But I never actually reviewed any books for them until this week. I requested a book, it was sent to my kindle for free, then I read it and posted a review on my blog - which I linked back to them. The book itself was nothing special, but how cool that I got it for free?! I think I'm going to start doing it more often.

2. I started another of my parenting books this week: Beyond Bathtime. I'm only a couple chapters in, but one of the study questions at the beginning was, "How are you a good mom?" I felt like that was kind of a stupidly profound question. I never pause to think of how I've been a good mom. I usually focus on my faults. It was kind of nice to give myself a little pat on the back this week and list some of the things I do right. One of them is that I love birthdays and celebrations and making my kids feel special. This might also qualify as a fault, because I can tend to go overboard, but I'm choosing to label it as a positive thing! Haha.

3. Lucy turned 7 on Thursday. I say this every year, but it boggles my mind that I'm old enough to have a 7 year old. And as I alluded to above, her birthday celebrations got a little bit out of control. Haha. She got the idea in her head that she wanted to go to a hotel for her birthday. We told her we could either go to a hotel or have a birthday party with her friends. She chose the hotel, I cashed in my credit card rewards, and we only ended up paying $35. But that was this weekend. We had to celebrate on her actual birthday, too!

4. On Thursday, I brought Subway to her at school for lunch. We went to the park after school, then opened presents when Justin got home.

More books! Yay!
Then we went to "the play McDonald's" for dinner.

We wrapped up the birthday extravaganza by renting "Sing" and watching it at home with popcorn.

5. On Friday, Justin took Lucy out for their annual "Daddy-Daughter-Birthday-Date." She chose shopping at Justice. And because Justin is awesome, he took her, let her put on their complimentary make-up, let her try on clothes, and bought her an outfit. She loved it.

6. Yesterday, we packed up half of our belongings for a one night stay in a hotel. I had to seriously pare down Lena's collection of doll clothes, books, and jewelry boxes, while reminding her to pack pajamas and underwear. Haha. Priorities. We got to the hotel at 2:30 and immediately jumped in the pool. Well . . . some of us did. Levi was terrified of the water and didn't stop crying until I got out and held him.



We went to Applebee's for dinner, where Levi very much enjoyed a juice box.

Then we found a really nice park to play at.








Finally, it was back to the hotel for more swimming:
Very nervous . . . please don't make me go back in there!


The girls love the hotel room and being allowed to eat snacks and play on their tablets in bed.

Levi went to sleep amazingly well in the pack n' play, and Lena fell asleep like this around 10:30:
Nose smushed  against her tablet.
7. Today we celebrated Mother's Day with swimming at the hotel, a stop to see Justin's mom, then home to celebrate with my family. We had pizza because the moms weren't cooking, played cards, celebrated Lucy's birthday, and enjoyed each other's company. My kind of day! Justin took the girls to Meijer to get me some presents, and they came home with cookies, Dr Pepper, Riesens, and a sweet card. They sure know the way to my heart! I'm so grateful to be their mom!

8. Bonus point for more pictures!
Sisters who cook together stay together . . .
He was fascinated by that toe peeking out of his jammies.
My new favorite past-time. Levi plays so nicely with his cars while I sit in the rocker and read.
Lena sleeping with the puke bucket on her head.


Sweet sleepy boy.

Walking outside



Working hard with Grandpa

Wishing he could help.
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