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Interview with Big Brother

1 Jun

The big day is here!  It is Kasen’s birth day!  He should arrive by C-Section around 9-10am (CST).  We are all so excited to finally meet our new little man and start our journey as a family of four (with me totally outnumbered by males!)  Since I will be a bit preoccupied over the next few days weeks years, I figured I would schedule this fun little interview with the new Big Brother, Micah.  I was trying to keep him entertained the other evening as Aaron prepared dinner.  Why not interview him?! He put up with me long enough for the following:

1-     Are you excited about being a big brother?  YES Mommy! (Said in a very high-pitched squeal.)

2-      Do you know what a big brother is? No. (Blank stare)

3-      What’s a big brother? I don’t know.  Kasen? (He asked me!)

4-      Is Kasen going to be your little brother? Hmm MM (He began losing interest quickly)

Apparently, he was multi-tasking during his interview!

5-      Where is Kasen? (Points at my tummy in between bites of Cap’n Crunch cereal which he calls Mima trix* and ‘reading’ a DVD ad) In Mommy’s tummy!*My Mima gave him the cereal at her house one day and he has since asked for and referred to it as “Mima Trix.” Go figure!

6-      Are you going to help Kasen?  Yes, go to the park. (Um, ok?) Continue reading

Tent Grumbling

24 Apr

I have not been sleeping well.  Between the heartburn and not being able to get comfortable, despite being surrounded by tons of pillows, I am feeling the effects of lousy sleep.  I feel that dark cloud creeping overhead.  The anxiety of all that I still need to get done around the house and to prepare for Kasen’s arrival is crowding out happy thoughts.  I am becoming Mrs. Grumble. (Anyone else read these books as a kid?  I loved Miss Sunshine!)

As I was forcing myself (yes, I grumbled), into reading my devotion this morning, I felt like God was on vacation.  “Hello?  Are You taking an extended Spring Break?  Did you forget about little me?  Grumble. Grumble. Grumble.”

This was the scripture I read on Girlfriends in God:

13 But they soon forgot what he had done
and did not wait for his plan to unfold.
14 In the desert they gave in to their craving;
in the wilderness they put God to the test.

24 Then they despised the pleasant land;
they did not believe his promise.
25 They grumbled in their tents
and did not obey the LORD.”

Psalm 106: 13-14, 24-25

And there it was; God’s not so subtle response to my grumbling.  I was sitting there, grumbling in my tent, and God was more than happy to point that out.  I have been grumbling because I’m tired, stressed, and a bit overwhelmed.

Who isn’t? Continue reading

10 Tips for Spring Cleaning Family Style

14 Apr

Spring has sprung for a few weeks for sure.  The pollen count is up and the tissues are everywhere!  Must be time to clean.  Ugh.  Really, again?  It seems every magazine I have opened or passed by in the store recently is pointing out the annoying reminder to deep clean everything from our closets to our over-scheduled lives.  One thing I noticed is that most of the articles and tips are geared towards women or a woman, as in the singular, you clean by yourself lady.  Why not make it a family affair if you can?

1)      Assemble the Team– Whether husbands, wives, and/or kids, gather the team, give a pep talk, and assign tasks.  You DON’T have to do it all by yourself.  Remind your family that a clean and organized home is better for everyone.

2)      Keep Tasks Kid-Sized– It isn’t reasonable or realistic to expect a toddler to scrub all the windows, or even for your tween to terminate all the dust bunnies by their self.  Creating small zones and setting time limits is a great way to keep older kids on task without overwhelming them.  Include younger kids and help them feel useful by keeping their capabilities in mind and putting their likes and strengths to good use.  Have a speedy, non-stop preschooler?  Give them a rag spritzed with a safe cleaner, and then tell them you will time them to see how well and quickly they can clean the windowsills.  Have a kiddo that loves to organize?  Have them check the pantry and cabinets for past-date food items.

3)      Set Goals & Rewards– If stickers make your little one happy, keep some handy to pass out as each task is completed.  Entice your crew with the reward of a trip for ice-cream or some other sweet treat if they tackle their tasks.  Or, get a roll of tickets and assign a number to each task, say 2 tickets per clean window or 5 for a spotless bedroom.  Then decide if the tickets can be redeemed for cash, prizes, or rewards such as a later bedtime.  10 tickets?  Step right up and claim your $5 iTunes gift card!  8 tickets you say?  How about an extra 30 minutes before bed?!

4)      Treasure Hunt– Tell yourself and your kids (especially if they are young) that deep cleaning usually means uncovering lost treasures.  Make it fun and create a “Lost Treasure Chest” out of a box or even a laundry hamper and then place recovered loot in it as it is discovered.  At the end, gather together to count and divvy up the spoils, sharing a few laughs at just how many pairs of socks had been MIA.  You might just unearth a few gold doubloons as well! Continue reading

My So-Called Unorganized Life

10 Apr

Thursday I will be 8 months pregnant.  I’m not sure how, but nearing the end of my second pregnancy has snuck up on me.  I think I had my hospital bag packed, nursery done, and house clean by my 6th month last time.

I blame the toddler.

Having to capture all that cuteness just keeps me occupied!

So, here I am two months to go, and soooo much to do.  We are preparing for our church’s 10 yr anniversary on May 20th as well, which includes an open house here at the parsonage.

I have to keep reminding myself that I have time, but I can’t shake that anxious feeling that Kasen could decide to make his appearance in the world early.  Did you experience this anxiety of not being prepared?  I really didn’t quite so much with Micah, or maybe that is why I had everything done so early last time.

Here is my dirty little secret..at least the disorganized part: Continue reading

DIY Paint Chip Easter Egg Garlands

21 Mar

*There is a children’s Sunday School lesson tip using this craft at the end of the post!*

I’m a little late getting all my Easter decorations out this year, but I leave them up all Spring, so I’m okay with that.  Normally, I add one or two new store-bought decorations with each new holiday or season.  Not this time!  I came across this fabulous and brilliant DIY craft on Pinterest and knew I had to give it a shot.  After swinging by the original post and tutorial by Steph over at Modern Parents Messy Kids, I set out to gather my supplies.

I had to go to Lowe’s to get the paint for Kasen’s nursery, and while I perused the grays and silvers, I managed to grab a “few” extra Olympic paint chip samples, in a variety of Spring hues.  I did feel a bit of guilt over the number taken, but Micah picked up stray samples others had rudely discarded on the floor, and we turned them in to the cashier, so I think he worked off the “amount.”  I also bought paint and a staple gun, so not feeling too bad for them.

Here are all the supplies I used for the Easter Egg Garlands:

Cost:$3, only because I had to buy some yarn, although it will also be used in another Pinterest DIY project I’ll be working on.

I did use the provided egg template from Modern Parents Messy Kids, for the first few small eggs I cut out.  I ended up using an egg I cut from the paint chip for the rest of the small eggs since the paper was a bit thicker and easier to trace.  I suggest printing the egg template on cardstock if available, or free-hand.  I’m not that brave!  I used an egg Micah created at his sitter’s for the large egg template.

Trace on the back of the paint chips to eliminate marks on the eggs

I was able to get 3-4 eggs out of the sample using the small egg template.  This does include some of the paint name on 1 of the eggs you’ll cut, so if you don’t want the print, I would only trace 2 per sample.  Of course this is for the specific Olympic paint sample.  I was able to get 1 egg per sample with the large template.

Punch two holes in the top of the eggs.  A smaller hole punch can be used.  I had to borrow one from the church, standard single punch, and it was the perfect size to easily push the yarn through each egg when stringing.  I tied a small knot on the end I was feeding through the holes, which made it easy to handle and prevented fraying.  I really like how the colorful yarn looks!

This was a time consuming project for me, from hand-tracing the eggs, cutting them out 3-4 samples at a time, punching them 2-3 eggs at a time, and stringing them together.  It took me a few hours, but I created 5 garlands of about 20 eggs each. I also had to help take care of a attention-craving two-year old, which did not leave my hands free the whole time!

Check out the results! Continue reading

Pirate Elephants, Healing, and Hope: Day 25: Lent Journey

21 Mar

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (NIV)

It’s hard to believe we are on Day 25!  God is leading me on an incredible journey that has taken unexpected, but fruitful turns.  While He is still refining the message I will share with you tomorrow, I am honored to have a guest blogger joining us today.  Leanne Penny shares her heart over at leannepenny.com as she allows God to minister through her life and words, “journeying with those hurting, healing, and choosing joy.”

I have known Leanne since 2007 when we met in a counseling class at Asbury Seminary in tiny Wilmore, KY.  I was smitten with the fabulousness that is Leanne.  We found many common interests including food, helping others, college football, and being silly and spending time with good friends.

Just for fun...A photo of Leanne and I from a gathering in KY to watch an OU football game (2008)

While her stay in Wilmore ended before mine, a fellow Okie, her husband Kel, brought her back to my home state (OK), and Leanne now makes a lovely home in Ada, OK for her family, which includes two beautiful children.

Photo courtesy of Folsom Photography and leannepenny.com

Leanne is a constant source of inspiration for me and many others, and she is on my must-read blogs list.  When I think of people that embody the above verse from 2 Corinthians, Leanne comes to mind.  She has suffered great loss and tragedy in her young life, has walked in utter darkness, but she has clung to God’s saving grace, letting His light shine through her life.  Where she has found comfort in Christ, she is now able to offer that same comfort to others who are hurting, broken, and bruised.  God is truly creating her ashes into something beautiful.

I am blessed to call her my friend, and so grateful she is willing to share her words of hope with us today.  You can read more about Leanne HERE.  Check out her story HERE.  I encourage you to visit her blog, follow her on twitter, or like her Facebook page, so you can journey with Leanne as restoration and joy is found.

Here’s Leanne: Continue reading

Spring has Sprung

20 Mar

While the forecast for this week is full of rain, storms, and gloominess, this past Saturday was B-E-A-Utiful!  The weather has been so warm already, and while this doesn’t bode well for this very pregnant mom (almost 29 wks!) in the remaining months, it has been wonderful to have an early Spring to enjoy with our little man.

The hubs and I have really been treasuring these last few months we will have with Micah as our only little boy.  While we know our joy will only increase once Kasen arrives to bless our family, we are enjoying the heck out of these last precious months of just us three.  I still wonder how I will love another child as much as I do my little man. I know I will, but it is just hard to wrap my head around.

So, back to Saturday… Micah wanted to go out in the backyard to play.  Normally, we wouldn’t have hesitated, but with the Aaron’s crazy busy schedule at the church, he had not had a chance to mow yet.  The yard was a bit high, like up to Micah’s knees in some spots.  We have crazy, growing grass.  Don’t judge! But we were plied with a puppy eyes and this,  “Outside, pease?!  Pease Mommy, Daddy?” How could we say no?  We had plans to go in to town that evening for dinner and shopping, so while the hubs jumped in the shower, I agreed to take Micah out in the backyard.

(There’s more…..) Continue reading

St. Patty’s Day Poem, er Limerick

17 Mar

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!!

I heard some commotion coming from the back of the house.  I thought it might be leprechauns trying to scurry off with my wee lad.  I went to investigate:

This is what I discovered! His eyes are twinkling with mischief..

Micah and Aaron were playing fort, but obliged a few snapshots…

Getting a grin and displaying his art

This is the real Micah!

My friend, Leanne Penny, is inspiring clean limericks over on her blog today!

Check her rhymes and great writing here at leannepenny.com

Here was my contribution:

My Wee Hunk
There once was a lad with such spunk
Whose joy could dispel quite the funk
His smile was so bright
His kisses a delight,
All the lasses declared him a hunk!

Happy St. Patty’s Day!  Have some fun!

Gracefully~~Heather

Easy Easter Art for Kids

7 Mar

I’ve been eating up simple craft and art ideas lately, tucking them away in my Micah file.  I know they will come in handy when Kasen arrives and I need something easy and quick to divert Micah’s attention and energy.  With Easter just around the corner, there are tons of Easter and Spring crafts floating around.  I saw one on Pinterest recently of a hand-print turned Easter bunny, and I was inspired.

While we include the Easter Bunny, eggs, candy, and all that jazz in our celebration, we also make sure our emphasis is focused on the real reason for Easter; Christ’s resurrection.  So, I thought, how can I put a faith spin on some fun and easy Easter art?  I only had to look as far as my hand!  Micah loves to have his hand traced and has a blast creating art from his handiwork! (Get it?!) =)

Here is what I came up with:

Micah gladly lent me his precious hand to trace and he enjoyed helping “color” with mommy’s paint pens.  (Markers would have been easier, but I could only find the crayola wonder markers!)

I only traced his 3 middle fingers creating the 3 crosses, and the base of his hand for the hill.  We decided the grass covering the dirt was a fun way to show new life springing forth.

Simple, easy to do on a large scale (Sunday School), and a fun craft to remind our kids that Easter is about Christ first!

Given the place of honor on our kid-friendly fridge!

What fun Easter art have you seen floating around?

Gracefully~~Heather