Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Saturday 7

1. I spent all week spring cleaning . . . just a few months late. I decided to tackle a project a day that I've been putting off. I cleaned and organized the girls' desk, purged, re-organized, and vacuumed up 4 years worth of dust in my bedroom, and spent 6 hours deep cleaning and organizing our front porch (the catch-all room). Whew!

2. While I was cleaning my room, I came across a bin full of Perler beads and templates. I bought the set for Lucy for Christmas a few years ago. She showed minimal interest in it and it just sat on top of her dresser. Until the day we hosted a playdate and some of her little friends spilled the entire bin alllllll over her bedroom floor. From that day on, the beads found a new home on a high shelf in my closet . . . and were subsequently forgotten. A couple weeks ago, at the Michael's craft class, the girls did a Perler snowflake and loved it. So when I found them in my closet this week, I set it out for them and they became totally obsessed. I think Lucy did 10 of them, and Lena did probably 5 or 6.
These were just a few I found lying around the house. There are tons more upstairs in the girls' room.
It was a perfect way to keep them entertained while I was cleaning. Although I'm pretty sure I did more ironing this week than I have in my entire life. #idonotiron #thatiswhywehaveadryer

3. As part of this week's purging, I finally forced myself to accept that Levi is not a baby anymore. I boxed up all the baby toys, got rid of the Jumperoo, and moved him up into the big-boy carseat. I'm throwing away the infant carrier and crying a little on the inside. Haha. We still haven't decided if we'll ever have another baby, but that infant carrier is 7 years old and long past expired.

4. I read an awful book this week. It was one I got for free to review, but I didn't realize it was secular fiction until after I received it. I didn't like any of the characters, the writing style was confusing, the plot was non-existent, and there were a couple chapters that were really dirty. Blech. I finished Hawaii 5-0 yesterday, so I can devote more time to reading some better books.

5. My reward for all my hard work cleaning this week was a trip to the Pump House. We went like 10 times last summer, but haven't been yet this year. It was a beautiful, mild evening, so we made a night of it, and walked around downtown Rockford (with about 6,000 other people who had the same idea).
Pump House selfie. It was kind of bright. Lol.
She told me to take her picture, then posed like this. Haha. 
We walked down the boardwalk for a while, and I stopped to let Levi out of the stroller while Justin and the girls kept going.

After a while, he got concerned about his sisters and started scooting down the boardwalk to find them:

6. Today, Lena and I got to go on our date for filling her marble jar. Of course, she wanted to do the same thing as Lucy. Except all the stores Lena wanted to go to were on Alpine, so we didn't drive all the way out to the mall. She chose KFC for lunch, then we hit 5 Below, Justice, and Claire's.
And after she shopped her heart out, we went to Once Upon so I could shop my heart out. In case you're not on facebook, here's the picture of my haul from their bag sale. (I crammed all this stuff into a plastic bag and only paid $15 for all 52 pieces!)

7. Just a couple more pictures
Grocery shopping with 3 kids is the pits. Lena insists on helping push (and just gets in my way) and Lucy has to ride on the cart (reading her book). Heavy and awkward.

Levi's new obsession is hanging out like this. He does it alllll the time.

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Heirs by Susan Reiger

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Yuck. Just yuck.

I was under the false impression that the publishers I've been getting free books from only printed Christian books. The premise of this one sounded interesting, the couple of reviews I read said it was riveting and un-put-down-able. So I started it without a second thought.

At first, it was just boring. I realized soon enough, thanks to the language and content that it was not a Christian book, but it wasn't terrible. I just didn't enjoy the writing style (back and forth in time and characters). The characters were all un-likeable. I kept reading, hoping there was going to be some dramatic twist or major plot turn. There wasn't. It just plodded along, bouncing from one character to another. The dialogue was stilted. The action was boring. There was very little plot. And then came the chapter on Vera. When I realized where it was going, I skimmed much of it, but I wish I had skipped the whole chapter. It was disgusting, even for secular fiction.

And then, it just ended. Because there wasn't much of a plot, there weren't many loose ends to tie up. So I guess the author just stopped writing when she got sick of her un-likeable characters. Haha.

I will say that the whole book was too intellectual for me. There were tons of literary and film references that went over my head. There were countless references to New York high society (if it was still called such a thing in the 80s) and people I was apparently supposed to know. I just didn't enjoy any of it, but maybe someone more well-versed in such themes would appreciate it.

I received this book from Net Galley for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Saturday 7

1. I didn't read a single book this week. (Unless you count "Curious George Visits a Toy Store") We were too busy celebrating Independence Day and hanging out with friends. It was a great week!

On Monday, we went to my Uncle Joel's house with the extended family for swimming, food, and fireworks.
In the pool with Tater

Doing his magic disappearing leg trick.

Splashing in the water with Grandma


The girls actually liked the big fireworks this year! Although Lucy did have her ears covered for most of them. (Levi went home early with my parents.)
2. On the 4th, my family came over for more food and fun. We played Bocce (old against young . . . I was on the old team . . . is this real life?), The Name Game, and cards. And just had a blast hanging out together.
Lucy and Niki


See my great-niece in this picture? Haha.
3. On Thursday, we went to a friend's house for Redneck Slip N' Slide. A huge tarp+a hose+dish soap = hours of entertainment!

And for Levi, a Rubbermaid tub full of water + a few cars and cups = entertainment.

He was also a big fan of the Barbie Jeep.

4. On Thursday night Lucy got the idea in her head that she wanted to plan a "fancy dinner." She asked me to make some Velveeta Shells N' Cheese, then proceeded to decorate the table with flowers and fancy glasses, make place settings, and take our drink orders. She even cleaned everything up after dinner!

Of course tonight Lena wanted to do her own fancy dinner. She even went so far as to make our meals for us.
Peanut butter and jelly roll-ups. They were a bit dry. I kind of had to choke it down. Lol.

Creepy face!

5. For the past few years, I've led the preschool part of our church's VBS program. Some years I'm given a curriculum and some years I write my own. This year, though, I decided I want to try something new. So I'm abandoning the preschoolers and working with Lucy's age group instead. But I felt really bad about leaving them high and dry. So I told the VBS directors that I'd still help with anything they needed. A couple months ago, they asked if I'd be willing to write up a curriculum even if I don't actually teach it. I told them that's actually ideal. Haha. I enjoy writing it, but the preschool age is not my favorite age to teach. So I spent this week feverishly brainstorming and whittling down Pinterest boards full of inspiration into orderly, detailed plans. I love seeing all my ideas come together into cohesive organization. Hopefully they make sense to other people since I passed it off to someone else to carry out! Haha.

6. About a month ago, we started using "The Marble Jar." The girls get a marble when they obey immediately, are kind, or help above and beyond their regular chores. They can get 2 marbles if they stay in their room after we put them to bed and don't come downstairs or call for us. Lucy does great with staying in bed. Lena struggles a bit more. So it comes as no surprise that Lucy filled her jar first. The reward for filling their jar is a one on one date with either mom or dad. Lucy chose a date with me to McDonald's and the mall. I told her we could spend $20 total on the whole date - and that had to include my food as well as hers. (Had to sneak in a little budgeting lesson!) I was nice and only spent $3.50 at McDonald's. She chose to get a happy meal, so she had $12 left to spend at the mall. We went to Justice and Claire's and she hit up the clearance section to get more bang for her buck. Then we met Justin and the little kids at the ice cream shop because I was feeling guilty that Lucy had such a fun day while Lena was stuck at home. #pushover

7. Pictures
My Amish brother

This is our new favorite outing. Michael's has drop-in crafts for $2 a kid on MWF, and $5 a kid on Saturdays. Here's Lucy with Olaf.

Lena's Olaf. Lol.

We had small group last night and devoured this whole platter of Paul's amazing grilled chicken.
Levi learned a new trick:

Saturday, July 1, 2017

The Saturday 7

1. I haven't been able to sit through the service at church much recently thanks to sick kids and nursery duty. But I was finally able to hear the whole message on Sunday. God knew I would need it for the rest of my week. We're learning about Israel's first kings, and this week was about Saul's jealousy of David. Pastor Chris emphasized that jealousy and envy can fester and become bitterness. As was Saul's case, it can literally lead to madness and open the door for demonic oppression. But it also just makes you an unhappy, un-likeable person. I've always struggled with jealousy, and this week was hard. I heard of a few friends getting amazing jobs, making lots of money. And then I saw some people from my past that are very successful and beautiful. It'd be one thing if I could tell myself these people are all greedy and mean-spirited and selfish, but they're not. They're all sweet and kind and deserving. I've been constantly reminding myself to be content and praying incessantly that God would give me contentment and patience for his timing.

2. Justin's been playing soccer in a summer league with some of his college friends. The games are far away, usually late at night, and usually smokin' hot, so we never go. But this Tuesday, the game was at 6:15 and the weather was gorgeous, so the whole family made the trek to go watch Daddy. Not surprisingly, all the other wives and kids had the same idea. So I got to see a lot of the soccer families. I was never very close with them while we were in college, but they're great people and it's fun to see where they are and how many kids they all have now. It was actually really sweet to see how we went from young, in-love college kids to families. There were numerous shouts of "Daddy!" while we sat on the sidelines watching our husbands play together like they did 10 years ago. Lucy's the oldest of the group because Justin and I were the first to get married, and subsequently the first to have kids (although we also had kids earlier in our marriage than most of them because we're rednecks and they're city people). Of course all of the wives are skinny and beautiful and dressed so cute for a soccer game. But again, I'm working on not being jealous . . .

3. Our fun activities for the week were library/McDonald's playdate with friends, park playdate, and "fashion day." When Levi went down for his nap, us girls all took turns giving each other makeovers. We did make-up and hair and chose each other's outfits. It was quite the endeavor.

This is a terrible picture of me, but the look has to be recorded for all to see. Haha.
4. One day this week, I decided to be a good mom and bake with the girls. They usually love helping me in the kitchen, and we were making homemade cinnamon rolls. They're big fans of canned cinnamon rolls, so I thought they'd be thrilled. But they started fighting over who would put in which ingredient before we even got started, and they each helped for about 3 minutes before giving up and going to play with Legos. (#cookingwithkids) I ended up making them almost all by myself. Which wasn't all that bad. Haha. And they were amaaaaaazing. If it wasn't so time consuming, I'd make them all the time and weigh 500 lbs. 
I did a bad job of stirring the powdered sugar into the frosting, hence the white lumps. They still tasted divine. 
5. I scaled back the reading this week and only read two books: The Mistress of Tall Acre and Honor's Reward (the conclusion of the series that I read last week). I have a stack of books still to read, including a couple I'm supposed to review, but I just got an email this morning alerting me that season 7 of Hawaii 5-0 is on Netflix, so I'm not going to be getting much reading (or anything) done for a while.

6. I'm finally with the times and listened to a few podcasts this week. After seeing it mentioned from a couple different friends in the space of a few days, I decided to try out At Home with Sally with Sally Clarkson. It was ok. Her co-host, Kristen Kill, has the most annoying stereotypical "retreat speaker" voice. She's overly enthusiastic about everything. But I actually liked what she had to say most of the time. Then I discovered the Risen Motherhood podcast, and I like that one even better. I've been listening in the afternoon while the girls do screen time and I clean the kitchen/start dinner. But during the first Risen Motherhood podcast that I listened to, I had to pause it and go find a notebook to start jotting notes down in. It was about how to incorporate the gospel in discipline - a subject that I value but can't fully comprehend. They had such great practical ideas - like identifying your children's disobedience as sin, reminding them that God put rules and standards in place for a purpose and breaking those rules distances them from God. They stressed empathizing with kids that we as parents sin too and struggle to obey. But then ultimately showing them the gospel of redemption and restoration that is available because of Christ's death on the cross. It sounds like a lot of theological jargon written out like this, but they made it so easy and relatable. I need to listen to the whole episode again so I can start trying to use it with my kids. 

7. Pictures!
We were eating lunch one day and Lena randomly declared, "Family selfie time!" Haha. 

Reading her book at the soccer game. Girl after my own heart.

We finally got some dirt to fill in the pit left by our pool. The kids love climbing it.

Blurry snuggle pic.

Bonfire! One with Levi smiling.

One with Lena smiling. None with Lucy smiling.
She loves being his little mommy. She's actually really helpful most of the time.
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