Thursday, September 27, 2012

I am so glad this world is not our home. I mean, it's our temporary one, but not permanent dwelling place.

This is a comfort,especially after seeing countless dear ones die, and others contract incurable disease and still, others endure suffering. This earth is such a trap for our hearts to chase after wrong goals too - to earn the mighty dollar, to be popular, to acquire more things, to be the perfect family.

My hear aches for so many around me. The longer life I lead, the more I see it, the more I pray and the more I long for heaven.

My daughter, Amelia, would have been four years old this last Monday. I almost can't believe she would be that old. Old enough to talk about Jesus, old enough to run and play with her sisters. Old enough to just love on and grab for a hug and kiss. Oh, to hold her.

But she is in Heaven, surrounded by so much love by the One Who is Love. His love is so incredibly perfect,  so redeeming and eternal, that is leaves me dripping with thankfulness. I think I love my children and my husband, but it in no way is even close to His Love.

Some day we will be with our Savior, Jesus Christ in heaven and we will have our questions answered, or our questions will seem futile in the splendor of His presence. His glorious, amazing presence.

What will it be like to be in heaven? Last night, I couldn't go to sleep, for thinking of what it look like, how I will worship the King of Kings. To think that Creator God loves us so much that He sent His Son to bleed and be darkened, abandoned with our sin upon Him is incredible. Every time I think of it, my mind is blown.

When all the duties of the day have been done, and I am worn out, I ponder this Grace. And somehow, it renews my Spirit, it lifts my weary soul and gives me rest.

I am loved, my daughter in Heaven is loved, I can show my daughters this kind of love because He first loved me!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Knees Hurt

I've been doing the Jillian Michael's Ripped in 30. Only difference with me is that it's too exhausting to do it 6x/week, so I do it 3x. It will take longer to get in shape but I can't run the risk of running low on breastmilk.

Also, my knees hurt. She does a lot of lunge exercises. I think it has been rough on my knees. I know you have to do lunges properly, but even with good technique they have been hurting. So, I am looking for a new DVD workout. Something with lots of cardio. Thinking of checking out YouTube before anything else! Just so you know, there is a great Malibooty workout on there which works wonders. I've been doing that for a couple weeks. My abs, booty, and thighs are the problem areas!

Since Brilla's birthday party, I've overdosed on baked goods. Time to snap my body to attention with healthier eating!

Speaking of Brilla's birthday, we had such a good time:

Friends, cousins, cupcakes, pinata, what could be more fun?!

The girls and I went to the fair on opening day. It was exhausting but worth it. We got to fish, eat strawberry cones, see the Lego displays, look at the grange agricultural displays, check out the bees, pet farm animals, and see the tractor pull contest.

We are hoping to go back when Daddy has a free day so the girls can do rides!

We are having fun in the sun while it's still here. In fact, that's why we started school late. Here in Western Washington, it doesn't make a lick of sense to start school early and ignore that precious sunshine that starts in mid-July and goes through September, even early October.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Oh my goodness. I've been feeling really overwhelmed lately. My middle girl has been hard to handle lately, or maybe she's just two. Either way, yesterday there were runny noses, lots of demands, lots of whining, and lots of timeouts (amongst other appropriately sanctioned correction).

Whining can be catching, so my oldest has been reverting and whining too. She's mostly grown out of it (or do we ever??) but lately because her younger sister is, she's joining in.

I had a bad allergy myself the other day, which I haven't had in a while, so that landed me pretty hard. Whenever my immune system is low, it starts up. I had run out of multi-vites, was exhausted from working out so hard (thanks a lot Jillian Michaels!), and got to bed late several nights in a row. Combine that with  Allergies always render me useless which itchy eyes, and constantly blowing the runny nose. Really, I just want to sink into a deep sleep and give everyone else 24-hour naps so I can recuperate.

Our Labor Day was super boring. We basically "labored" all day: my husband at the different job sites, and me, at home. Shared this with a friend this week, but when I was little, my dad used to always have chores lined up for us on holidays such as Labor Day. I would complain,"Dad, it's Labor Day!" "Yes,"he would say. "That's why we're doing work. We are laboring!" Ugh. He just didn't get it. And now I do the same thing. Ha!

I am selling my cloth diaper stash, so had to take pictures and post them online, which is pretty tedious work.Then I had to plan Brilla's birthday party and send out invites. Honestly, I would have preferred to be out and about in the sunshine, frolicking with the girlies but these things had to get done! The bathroom needed cleaning. Then the stacked laundry caught my eye. And while I was at it, cleaned up my disaster of a room, too. While doing that, I noticed all my maternity clothing was still in my closet. Cleared that out and into the garage. As I ventured out into the living room, I noticed there was every kind of crumb imaginable on its floor, so had to pick up all the toys/blankets, you name it, up first before I could vacuum.

Meanwhile, my middle daughter was at my heels, begging me for attention. And making the noises that go along with it.

Don't know about you, but when my toddler wants food, she wants it NOW. Does she always get it? No, because usually I'm in the middle of a project, or we just finished breakfast for heaven's sake, or I've bypassed the usual meal hour, or more likely the case, we have boundaries in our home and none of my children can demand food in a nasty way and expect to get it.

Whatever the case, it's stressful having a little human being demanding her way. Especially if other siblings join in because, you know, mom needs a little motivation to get on the ball :)

So I've made a decision. We are having fun today! We will run some errands in the process, but the kids will never know! We may only be out for a little while, since nap time is at 2pm, but a great time will be had.

And to boot, much of my cloth diaper stash is being sold this afternoon *smile*

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Please read THIS. It's a reminder of Truth (and Grace).

It seems as soon as I think of something good to write, it takes wings and disappears once I sit down to write.

Oh well.

Compromise - it's usually seen as a bad thing, like "compromising your standards". But the last 8 years of my life I have realized compromise can be a good thing, too. It's the thing that keeps a balanced life. It helps me roll with the punches when something is not, in the grand scheme of things, necessary (though it may be in my mind). The good kind of compromise keeps others' benefit in mind. It doesn't insist upon its own will all the time.

Really, what helps the believer live a well-balanced, compromised life, is the habit of surrender. Surrendering to the Holy Spirit's voice. I hear it, but so often, the noise my own heart or this world shuts it out. Or I've been in the practice so long of doing what I want, I just can't and don't want to. Sometimes when I think something has to be done a certain way, I learn to reevaluate. Listen to the Spirit. He's talking, I just need to listen and surrender.

Compromise or surrender might not seem like a big deal. But it's the little seeds that grow the tree. It's what led us to the church we are at right now. It's what led us to home school. It's vital to our marriage. It's survival in the journey of parenting. It's the unseen glue in friendship.

If only I could compromise, or surrender, best in family relationships. After all, those are the people God has specifically planted in my life. They know me best, they love me best. But they are so close that responding to each other becomes so ordinary, so grey. So hateful and unloving. I really think these are the ones that will shape me. Mold me into Christ-likeness. Surrendering to their needs and not mine will do a world of good. Do I hear the Spirit's voice when I am about to defend myself? Do I hear Him when there is laundry, food to cook, dishes to clean, and I have screaming children? How about when I am angry? Do I just let open the floodgates or do I surrender? Hmm. Loving those who could hurt us the most is hard, but it is also the road to joy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Whole New World

Growing up, I LOVED to read. I don't know how this hobby started. I'm convinced it's not completely conjured up by parents, but can just happen. Neither of my parents were avid readers and still are not to this day. My youngest brother started reading at age 2 and adores piles of books, but the middle brother, didn't pick up a single one - yet he's a mechanical engineer major, currently helping write calculus books. Go figure.

Do you remember some of these reads?

  • Mandie books
  • Encyclopedia Brown
  • Babysitters Club
  • Sweet Valley Twins
  • Trixie Beldin
  • Dana Sisters
I remember an instance where I was longing for several books in our school's book fair catalog. Someone had recently given me the Anne of Green Gables series. My mom told me I needed to finish the first book before buying anything new. It looked so thick and boring! Such disappointment! I have both a stubborn and determined nature. What did I do? Threw the Anne book away and close to promised I'd never open it again. But my determined nature got the best of me and I picked that book back out of the trash can and finished it by the end of the week. Two things happened: I got to order new reads, and found a new love for Miss Anne Shirley! Ended up not reading those other books for a couple months because of a fictional plot taking place on Prince Edward Island. To this day, I am smitten with the Anne books. I look forward to reading them with my daughters.

I have caught the bug again. It doesn't usually hit until about mid-October, when Fall starts reappearing. I am into books like fleas on fruit (and that's a very real simile right now). Since finishing Lies Women Believe by DeMoss, I have started The Pursuit of God by Tozer. It's the Christian classic that all have read except for me. It has been on my shelf for ages and am just now diving in. So impacting. Kind of like C.S. Lewis, in that I have to pause in between paragraphs to fully grasp the message. I admire writing like that, but more importantly, I am impacted by the content. Just finished chapter two, The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing, and feel that it should have gone on and on. Succinct, yet it often takes years to apply. Doesn't have to take years, I remind myself.

Another current read of mine is a secular novel, How to Eat a Cupcake. It first appears as quick, shallow fiction, and there are a couple spots to skip over here and there. But for the most part, it is about two friends who have a bitter past, coming together again. Meg Donahue gives the characters depth and keeps the reader intrigued. Who doesn't like a book with 'cupcake' in the title?

Here are some books I'm looking forward to...

Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus
Boundaries with Kids Participant's Guide

The Apothecary's Daughter
Our library system is amazing. It has almost every book out there. You are able to put any book or video on hold and have it transferred to the nearest branch. And you can renew the item twice. Unless I need a home school guide, devotional or cook book, or something for months on end, why buy?

This year (like last year), we entered the reading club. Well, it's really hard to record the minutes we read because they are so haphazard. We don't have scheduled reading time in the summer. Maybe during the school season, but there's no reading club then. I have decided we aren't doing the reading club again until the girls are old enough to track their own minutes and read on their own. It's too much hassle and makes it a chore!

My middle girl is in love with the library! She now knows how to be quiet/ the consequence of not doing it. She lights up like a firefly when we arrive! She gets so excited and always gravitates to the Peter Rabbit books first. Then she meanders to the board books. She even likes the ones without pictures, which she "pretend-reads". Love this age.

I am convinced that introducing books to your children opens up a whole new world.

Friday, August 10, 2012

I've Been Wanting read my book on the back deck in the sun, but I still have laundry to fold. fold my laundry but keep getting distracted by the internet. clean my bathroom, wash laundry and wash my dishes! I did it by noon today! sleep in. I got to! 8:30 was the amazing wake time for today. go grocery shopping, but I can't because it's nap time. go on a relaxing vacation that included sunshine and sand. I just got back from a vacation such as this
   one on Wednesday!

To record that wonderful vacation:

Day One: We met our goal of leaving before 8 a.m. My niece rode with us and helped out with the girls. Mike's sister is so nice in letting us use her Honda Odyssey to travel, while she transports the boat with their truck. That Odyssey has a ton of room! We stopped in Issaquah to have our McDonald's breakfast. We got donuts at QFC to boot. Hey, we're on vacation. Stopped in Ritzville for some tacos, then espresso. Can you say caramel macchiato? Yum. We finally arrived in Spokane and spent about an hour there. Had to shop at Costco (food for a whole cabin full of family), Safeway (more groceries), Target (first aid stuff), TJ Maxx (for me) and Sports Authority (for me too). Finally found the water sandals I was looking for at Sports Authority! After about 1 1/2 hrs, we finally left again for Priest Lake. Almost to Priest Lake, we stopped at Korner Klub for dinner, where we had great pizza. 8:30 p.m. was our official arrival time!

Day Two: Girls got to bed late and we did too, so didn't get enough sleep. However, sleep we did get was sweet. Eggs, toast and fruit for breakfast! People don't understand why we don't serve the kids first? So parents can relax while we eat! I do think as soon as the kids can serve themselves, they eat after adults, but until then...that's the reasonable order. Ever have to explain this to anyone? Got to meet Mike's cousin Bjorn and his family - girl friend Mollie and baby Olive (10 months?) It's been 5 years! Cousin Loren was there too. He is all grown up (24), just like my brother Brian! Wow, time flies. We all swam in the beautiful, clean and warm lake water. Brilla is a fish, she dove in and didn't get out all day. She spent the other part of her time building sand castles. I cooked dinner for everyone (with some help): tilapia, corn, zucchini, and grean beans. I forgot the potatoes. Dessert was Pop Tarts :)

Day Three: Michelle made breakfast crepes for everyone! Swedish pancakes with berries, cream cheese filling, peanut butter and whipped cream to put inside. Bjorn and Mollie also brough back Tully's coffee for everyone. It hit the spot. Went swimming again! After lunch, Mike, me and girlies headed out on our boat, going the entirety of Priest Lake. Thoroughly enjoyed looking at the homes and beaches. After that, sat on the beach, tanned and read a book. Went and played volleyball on the beach. Like my favorite thing to do. Then, went swimming again with Mike and Brilla. For dinner, we all packed in the cars and went to Millie's for absolutely delicious gourmet pizza. I loved the artichoke (had bacon, feta and of course artichoes with a drizzle of honey), but each kind was fabulous. Lounged and watched the Olympics on huge TVs. Went home and slept like babies.

Day Four: I woke up early, fed the girls breakfast. Then Reese and I went on a walk along the lakefront for a couple miles. God's beautiful creation astounded me and I couldn't help stopping to thank him for His beauty and majesty. Came back in time to walk to Elkin's and get myself an iced Americano. Perfect for an already warm morning. Watched the kiddos play some more at the beach while I read my book and sunned myself. My dear friend Julie and her newly married brother Matt, with his bride, Anne, came to visit for the evening. There was more swimming and lots of talking. We had dinner at Elkin's that night. Expensive but high quality. I had the Alaskan Halibut (just like the kind my generous neighbor Jeff brought over a few weeks ago-caught it himself!). Mike had the New York steak. No dessert because we were stuffed. Not to worry, had cinnamon rolls from Costco when we got back. Said farewell to our dear friends then put the exhausted children to bed. Stayed up super late and got to hear an amazing sailing story from Bjorn and Mollie. Mollie is the director of a Sailing School/Club in Sausilito, CA. I was blown away by their experiences. Wow.

Day Five: I do not want to leave and neither do Mike and the kids, but we pack up and leave anyway :( Of course, I get my Americano first. Mike takes the girls to the beach for a last hurrah in the sand and on the swing. We say good-bye to everyone, knowing it will be a whole year until we see them again. This time, we take the truck home, with our three girls in the back. It's fun to be so high off the ground, but feels like our Camry in that there's no room to spare in the cab. We stop in Spokane for lunch. Then make it all the way to the Columbia gorge before a bathroom stop. We stop in Ritzville for another potty break and to switch drivers/feed Reese. We have a fun detour through the Cle Elum/Roslyn area to see the Suncadia area. Mike was asked to build homes there. He would have to commute only on the weekends, so that would be a big job - great for the company, just a little hard on the family. But if it guarantees work, we are up for it! The area is beautiful. But the resort is pricey. We actually go inside Taco Time to eat our dinner. Their fish tacos are great. The girls laugh and enjoy the break. We make it home by 8:30 bed time! It feels so good to be in our own beds/crib. Thank goodness we cleaned up before leaving...don't like coming home to disaster. We lug in the luggage and sack out on the couch. 

Currently, we are recovered from the trip (everything is put away!), catching up on sleep and doing laundry. But we are heartsick for the lake! We miss it!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Hi there. It's that time of morning when the two eldest girls are still sleeping and Reese and I are hanging out together. Well, more like she's in her Exersaucer and I'm getting things done (read: blogging) *wink*

This weekend, Michael went to a Mariner's game with this nieces and nephew. His sister and her kids had free tickets. His sister didn't want to go, so asked Michael to chap - he hasn't been this year, so he said sure! It was a little hard to explain to the girlies why Daddy was taking their cousins to the game and not them, but they did okay. As a treat, I took the girls to Issaquah, a quaint little town on the east side for some play time, yummies, and to return a rental violin.

We stopped at Confetti Cupcakes and used our Groupon there. It was expired, but in case you didn't know, all Groupon vouchers still keep the dollar amount you paid, which does not expire; like a gift card. The cupcakes there are bigger than ones at other shoppes and the frosting is amazing! We tasted Cookies n' Cream, Lemon Buttercream, Mint Chocolate Chip and Raspberry. Talk about a sugar coma. Afterward, we hung out at the library. Both my older girls LOVE books, but my Katie adores them right now and promptly sat in the middle of the library with a book about the Incas and was super interested in it. Ha!

After being hyped up with cupcake goodness, I realized the wonderful, quiet antique shop was probably not the place to take the girls, phooey. We tried to find a park to get out their excess energy, but this mom hadn't a clue where a park was in Issaquah. I kept failing every time I saw a "park" - just grass and no toys to climb on. Will have to Google that next time.

While waiting in a gigantic line at the Starbucks drive-thru, my middle girl went berserk, and I realized we had gone beyond nap time and into the dark zone. Upon arriving home, all were given naps.

Mike didn't come home until 7 pm! We were all glad to see him. Since there wasn't any time to finish projects, we decided to relax instead and watch the Olympics. I'll just get said projects done this week.

On Sunday, we taught the 4s/5s during Sunday school hour. It was about Jesus ascending into heaven and spreading the gospel. Very fun. The kids were responsive too. It was great to have our pastor back; he'd been gone for a few weeks since he's continued studies to complete his doctorate! It might sound bias, but our pastor is one of my favorite preachers. To say I "enjoy" his sermons would be the wrong word, but I am always challenged by them. God has definitely gifted him in the way he delivers Truth. He has a heart for discipleship but also a burden for the lost, that they find Christ.

Right after church, Mike went to help an acquaintance move. It was just one of those weekends where Daddy is busy! Unfortunately, the move didn't go very smooth, so he was gone for several hrs. I had promised Brilla we would go to Redondo Beach again because we didn't get to go the beach part last time. It was gorgeous weather and the girls had a blast chucking rocks in the water, rolling driftwood and just being goofballs. I love watching them. We took a walk along the waterfront (trying to wear them out) until "I'm hungry" came up several times. Mike had beaten us home, which was a great surprise for them. Chili and chicken soup was our dinner, albeit a weird combination. We also had leftover cupcakes :)

We watched the Olympics again. Summer Olympics are my favorite; just can't get enough. Especially the running races and gymnastics. All that muscle and stamina! I am amazed at how these athletes train and push themselves to the limit. Wow. Of course, I launched into the topic of praising God for our abilities and strength with the girls. It's just sad how a human can accomplish Olympic feats but never thank the God who made them.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I have been learning great truths over the summer. That's one thing I love about Summer, getting away from the usual group study and doing my own - digging, pursuing Christ in every corner.

Here are some gold nuggets that I've been meditating on:

1) I have enough time to get everything done that God wants me to get done in my day.  

This is keeping in mind my schedule, my day might not look like the man or woman next to me, but it's what God wants for my individual life and family! It is relieving to know I don't have to meet others' expectations, only God's! That might mean comparatively more or less than others' plans, but it's what God has revealed to my husband and I as our game plan!

2) Submitting to my husband God's way will bring freedom and protection.

It is not hard for me to respect and listen to my husband; he makes it easy to love him. He earns it every day by the way he loves us. But there are those times where, he and I both being sinners, clash. We have our own opinions. And God calls me to submit to my husband, even when I thing he's wrong. And it's his job to lead our family, not mine. When he makes a call, even if it ends in failure, I am there to support and love him. I grew up in a home where Mom wore the pants. It has taken some years (and years to go!) to extract lies Satan had planted in my mind about this concept. It comes down to faith, am I willing to trust that God will work through my husband as He says He will do?

3) I am not the source, only the servant.

Christ came to earth, born as a human babe, lived a humble life as a carpenter, washed His disciples' feet, and died on a cross in public humiliation like a criminal. His entire life was on display for God's glory and took the form of servanthood. Am I any greater than Jesus? Setting the example for my children as a servant should be a joy, not a chore. Acting like I'm bothered and put out by my little ones, day after day, is such a poor example of how a parent should be! It is a delight (though exhausting) to demonstrate Christlikeness. To love them unconditionally. I am not the source of all wisdom and knowledge for my children, God is. They are not here to serve me, but to serve God. 

Do you have any truths God's impressed on you this summer? I would love to read them or be linked to them.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Last night, it was my decision whether or not the girls and I go to Mike's basketball game. I could tell he wanted us to go, so without much ado, we hopped in the car. We hadn't been in a while; the games tend to be late.

Poor guy, he'd pulled another muscle (framing will do that to you) and didn't play the best. But his team won anyway! Proud of him for keeping up his exercise; he plays because he loves it.

In short, I'm glad we went. Another wife-friend came with her kids and we chatted. Such a good chat too! Turned into a long, deep talk about submission to your husband, the solidly biblical kind, not the legalistic man-conjured-up kind.

Chatting with this woman also made me grateful for all we have. The fun, rich life is not always a fancy life. In fact, it is often deeper and fuller without all the extras. I have been tired lately and it's given me a chance to pull back a bit. Enjoy the simplicity of bath time, making my home clean and cooking meals for my family. Though they scarf it down the next minute :) I'm a go-getter and tend toward getting out to parks, the zoo, shopping, "get away" to somewhere different. Not spending a lot of money, just getting to adventure. Honestly? It has been abundant right here.

Today is packing day for the getaway. We also have to get my husband's wardrobe for the wedding. Isn't this a cool alternative to the classic tux?

It's also quite the task to pack for three little ones. Hoping I don't forget important things like wipes, sunscreen or flip-flops :) I am weird and like to make a packing checklist. Soothes the brain to know we have our needs. You do this too, you say? Oh good, I'm not solo on this one.

My girls have woken up and walk into the room, one claiming "sleep all done" and the other already getting blankets out for the ever-present fort. And one wanting her diaper changed. Time for this mama to get on a roll!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Progress and a Vacation

I am down 6 pounds! Very excited about that. Kind of a huge accomplishment when you're nursing. I hope to be down couple more, over the next week and a half. Need to take the whole "only 2/3 desserts a week" thing more seriously. July 4th got my taste buds craving it again. I have been working out regularly, which has greatly upped my metabolism!

Can you believe we ladies are STILL recovering from our colds? Katie seems completely healed (probably because she's so active and has amazing metabolism (getting that gunk out regularly), but my sore throats have been coming back every so often over the past month. I finally paused Brilla's swim lessons, because her cough was still in effect and she started to complain about her ear hurting. Also, Reesie has had some gunk in her eye. And I knew part of it not clearing up was a lack of sleep - missing her morning nap during swim lessons. Another reason why no sugar would be a grand idea; so we can get over these bugs.

Mike has amazingly missed these germs! I am so glad, the last thing he needs is a cold - work is crazy busy.

We are soon heading over to Spokane for yet another wedding. Mike's close friend, Matt, is the groom; my best friend, Julie's, older brother. This is the second wedding this year Mike has been in! Pretty funny considering he hasn't been in one for about 10 years.

The trip to Spokane will be mini-vacation for us. We'll get to swim, hang out with friends, visit the theme park, Silverwood (haven't been since Mike and I were dating), attend a pretty wedding and do no cooking. What could be better?

The weather here has been absolutely gorgeous. No complaints whatsoever. The sunshine has been growing my flowers and giving us some much needed Vitamin D! Good thing the air conditioning in the car decided to kick in again. It had paused for a day (?) I will be sad when Summer ends. Please sun, stay for a long time!

Today is a so-so kind of day. No amazing sun, but no dreary rain, either. It feels like a day to stay in, though. Little Reese woke from her morning much too early, thanks to Katie's buoyancy! Now she's back in the crib, which puts a kink in attempting to go anywhere. Plus, this woman needs to pay bills and do laundry. I am also attempting to eat out of our frig before we go on vacay so produce doesn't go bad, and going out would mean eating out! Hmm. The fine line between waste and freedom :)

Mike and I were hyped about camping with the girls. We haven't gone camping much since Katie and Reese  came along. We even looked at maps and thoughr Chelan and Cushman looked great. But then, we discussed logistics. How are we going to pack it all in our (comparatively) small Camry? Ha! We hadn't thought about that!! So, we decided, no camping for us unless it's with a borrowed trailer. Or pitching a tent in a hotel room.

Thankfully, we are going 'sort of'' camping in August. Mike's uncle annually rents a cabin at Priest Lake. We are hoping to hang out for a few days and see Mike's cousin's new baby. (Did you get that?) It will be a little crazy since there will be about 4 families in one cabin. I am not looking forward to sharing one bathroom, but we'll see how it goes!

We thought we would be hanging out a lot more with friends than we have been! But Summer has been full so far. Sickness, busyness and just plain life with an infant are in the mix. We've been able to go to an animal rescue farm, be with extended family more, see a brother get married, visit with Uncle Sean (home from college), go to the local water park and get free lunch, visit Florida, go to the beach with friends, attend Brilla's swim lessons, celebrate Independence Day, visit with out-of-town guests and serve more at church. Summer still has one and a half more months in it. I think we've got time to make the most of it!!

Hoping that next I post, I will be 2 or more pounds down. Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

These last couple weeks (besides the Fourth of July) have been pretty awful health-wise! Twenty-four hours after I landed home from Florida, I came down with a fever that lasted throughout the night and next morning. Then it reoccurred the next day...and the next day. Why? Because mom's don't get a break. Especially when your husband is crazy busy at work. But Mike was very, very sweet and took Friday to do bids at home and help out. I just needed some sleep and was able to get it!

But this cold is/was a doozy. My girls all had it, then gave it to me. In fact, I was holding out just great until I traveled. Travelling always does me in. Our sore throats are slowly drifting away, while our hacking coughs have overdone their stay.

Thankfully, the sun has come out to play! The Fourth of July celebration was at our house this year. It was our first year hosting because now we have room with the deck out the back! We had about 23 family members over. We had a great time eating (of course), playing badminton, volleyball and golf (the throwing kind) and setting off and watching fireworks. Super exhausting, but totally worth all the smiles and memories made.

I wish I had taken more photos! My brother was able to get some so I'll just have to snag his. Reese loved being held by her aunties and grandmas. What a life.

Too bad we can't have a second celebration, we have a ton of leftovers. Two racks of ribs and about twenty pieces of bbq chicken. I was a good girls and sent all those who brought dessert home with what was left. I have to share: We had layered lemon dessert, strawberry shortcake with fresh whipped cream/ vanilla ice cream, raspberry layered cake, and fruit bars. Yes, hard to resist any of those! So I didn't.

Before the Fourth, I had lost 6 pounds. Part of that was sickness, part of it was eating very healthy and minimal sugar, combined with exercise. It feels good to have a little room in my shorts :)

Now, I'll have to shed away a few again. But that's okay, because I know I can do it! I've been a lot more patient with myself, thinking on "whatsoever is true and noble and pure....".

I'm still reading Lies Women Believe and am soaking up Truth. God's Word is so opposite worldly wisdom.  His Word is also such a thorough two-edged sword. It's also a gentle teacher. Much of the information in the book I have heard before (or the Holy Spirit has convicted me about before) but it never hurts to confirm God's Truth in my mind!

Well, right now, Katie wants me to read her book. I'm serious, she loves the ones with no the Bobbsey Twins; it's hilarious! So off I go to read, then send them to bed. The sooner, the more relaxing for me. Good night!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Can't believe I'm posting twice in one day!

Just wanted to say, this summer, I am doing a study on Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Already it is so good. Already this year, the Holy Spirit has convicted me of bad habits (sin) in my life that I have found freedom from. This is continuing the journey (um, lifelong journey, right?) of that. Might seem depressing to be in that season, but actually it's refreshing. To be free from the bondage of the lie that I am the way I am and will never be able to be different. God is like that. He pursues us with relentless love that never allows us to stay the same, always changing to become like Him.
I am back from the Florida trip. Reese and I eeked it out...nearly 6 hours on a plane from Charlotte, NC. Thank the Lord she slept the first and last 2!

Besides that, Reesie was a peach. Sometimes, I even forgot she was along. Well, except when I had to push her stroller all over the place! I really had an awesome time, though it all seems surreal since it happened over the course of 2 days, 1 day being all travel.

I took a risk in flying out at 8:30 p.m., to arrive at 6:30 a.m. Never again. Let's just say I got 2 hrs of sleep that night. And Reese, who normally sleeps a solid 10/11 hours got only 5, poor girl.

By the time we landed, got the rental car and drove to our friends' house, it was 8:30. You can't just say,"Good to see you, can I take a nap?" Really, all I wanted to do was shut my eyes! Instead, I got ready for the wedding and chatted while Reese got her winks.

It was a small ceremony. The bride had only two bridesmaids, both relatives. And only a handful of people were there. But it was simplistically chic. All the memories went through my head of law school days and awful tests and how my dear friend was always, and I mean always, there for me. Not only for school issues, but matters of the heart. As it turns out, she graduated with her JD and I did not, but I was glad to be there for the day when she did. In fact, she convinced me to play the violin at her graduation (not my best talent). Then, a few years later, this dear woman was in my wedding. Because of her studying in Pennsylvania, then abroad in Oxford, you can see how it was hard to "hang out". But we kept in touch via phone. And after a long road of waiting and searching for the right one and praying her through it all, I found out Hastings had met this amazing guy, Werner, in England. He treated her as any man should treat a woman he loves. I could tell without a doubt I would be hearing wedding bells in the near future. Well, thankfully, that happened this last weekend! What a neat lady, who loves the Lord with all heart, mind, and soul and loves to counsel women. Now her ministry can continue in England where she is going to be the director of a Care Net Center! I didn't even know they had branches over there!

The remainder of the trip, I hung out with our friends, whom I called Aunt and Uncle when I was little. We went to a restaurant called Rusty Belles, right on the water. The next day, we spent the day out. First, at the Orlando outlets, then at Downtown Disney. Its the only area of the "parks" that is completely free to get in to. I must say, I was floored. It was HUGE and had so many cool places to eat and shop. We ate a late lunch at Planet Hollywood, and later had hot fudge sundaes at Ghirardelli. It would take forever to describe all the cool stuff. You just have to go some time! They also had an AMC movie theater/diner.

The next day, we planned to go to Clearwater for the beach, feel the sand between our toes. But it poured. There was a tropical storm in the area. One of the neighboring airlines had lightning strike plane, so we were on the ground waiting for an hour.  In fact, I barely made it out of Florida, before there was drastic hurricane weather! 

Needless to say, I'm still catching up on sleep. To boot, all the girls have colds something fierce. When I left my middle girl only had it. Probably due to the lack of rest they got with relatives babysitting and not realizing the importance of sleep, along with sugar at a weekend birthday party, combined with having to go to church in the morning because Daddy had to teach class. Moms really are the best nurses. My only complaint is that we were scheduled for swim team every morning this week at 9:30 a.m., but have had to miss a couple days.

Last but not least, I took the front bumper off our car last night. It hurts to even write that. A gal visiting the neighbors parked directly in front of our driveway. I successfully inched out, not hitting her, but instead, hooking the fence behind the bumper and peeling it off as I went in reverse. And I was trying so hard not to harm either car! So frustrating. The same neighbor noticed our plight and is going to help us reattach it. They work on their cars all the time. Hope he is successful and it's not an ongoing project. Else I'm taking it to the auto body shop.

Okay, for accountability: last night I had an intense soccer game. Felt like I was insanely running like a dying chicken! The second half was much better, I go into the rhythm and controlled the ball more.

Then this morning, I got a great workout from Denise Austin :) Wow, I have rediscovered muscles! Boy, am I going to hurt. My plan is to walk the circular mall tomorrow. I am trying to exercise every day, that way, if I miss a day or two, I'm still getting something in that week. It is raining which puts a damper on outside exercise.

My eating was horrible on vacation. Donuts, fudge sundaes and fries. Yum, yum ;) Since getting back, I've been eating fruit/yogurt/wheat germ smoothies, peanut butter toast, veggies and beans.

Ah, feels good to have my metabolism up and running.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Hard Path

I am going to a friend's wedding this weekend (in Florida) and have nothing to wear. There is nothing to discourage one from embarking on a weight loss journey like trying on summer clothes. All the places where skin shows is simply scary. I discovered that tonight at Target as I tried on a few pieces. About 75% of everything didn't fit. It's a good thing my children weren't there, because I used the 'f'' word quite a bit. That's right, "fat". I really don't want them to hear me say it. I usually say,"Mommy is trying to lose weight." or "I don't fit into my smaller clothes yet." If they gain weight some day as a teenager or older, I don't want them to think they are destined to remain there, or put themselves in a box.

But to be totally honest, I'm down about where I am with my body. In fact, so down that these past couple weeks, I've struggled and considered giving up. I've put myself in a box and can't get out.

It's not as easy to find time to exercise. I have to be extra purposeful. No hanging out at the gym for a couple hours like I used to do. No going without food since I'm nursing.

It's time to pull out those workout videos, maybe even keep running around my yard, and motivate myself to get to the pool.

I love my husband. He doesn't let me wallow in self-pity. When I whine to him about my weight, I really just want him to shed a tear for me or something. But he doesn't. In fact, he starts telling me that I'm not losing because I'm not taking steps toward my goal, and fills my head with suggestions. He's honest, not negative or overbearing, just honest. I need that.

So, as I record this weight loss journey, I'm going to be truthful. Even when I'm not losing weight and really sucking, I'll tell you because this is a hard path and I'm not going to act like it's easy.

Here's to maybe going on some runs as I stay in Florida for a few days? I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

On My Way

I've decided to make this the spot where I keep track of my weight loss! It will be hard when I fail, but great when I don't because hopefully, you will be here reading :)

Last night, I wasn't able to make it to the pool, but I was itching to exercise, so I did jumping jacks for warm-up. Then, I ran around our front and back yards about 10 times. I was thankful my daughter couldn't keep up with me because I am 6 times her age! And though my neighbors may have thought I was weird, it felt wonderful. I will be doing this again.

If anything, the exercise will increase my metabolism. As I posted before, I'm usually an active woman, but have been sedentary. Tonight is our first softball game! I played last year with my husband when first pregnant with Reese. It was great because it helped lift those first-trimester blues. Now, it will help those post-partum pounds! Next week is also when outdoor soccer begins. There are 40 minute halves, as opposed to my indoor games, which were 20 minute halves. Strangely, I like the longer games, because I do better when active in a long streak, versus subbing every few minutes. Being outdoors allows me to breath in the fresh air too.

I know that I'm supposed take in about 2300 calories as a breastfeeding woman. Other information states you need 2700, but based on the book Eat Well, Lose Weight, While Breastfeeding, it can be less. Since I've counted calories before based on this diet, I know about how much my intake is. And it's way too much! Partly because I love food. After having Reese, I was ravenous all the time, having a hay-day since there was no baby to tie up room for my food anymore.

So, my goal is to stay away from dessert, except two/three times a week. I usually eat whole foods and whole grains, but have gotten away from this. Another thing is dairy. I love cheese and milk. But keeping these to a minimum has helped also. Another change is not eating past 9. I've gotten into the horrible habit of late-night eating and that doesn't help one iota.


This is our last day of school! We are so pumped. And so done with K-5. Tomorrow we buy all her new books for 1st grade. And then begins a summer free of book work! Onto library reading club, swimming, playing with friends, craft projects, park days and just being able to do fun stuff all day versus school :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I feel like I don't have time to write here.

Well, I do have time to write, I'm just a perfectionist and nothing seems perfect if I write it in 5 minutes.

Hang the perfection! I'll just update on the last few weeks.

Firstly, my brother got married on June 2! I can't believe it was 10 days ago. Feels like it was just yesterday. I am STILL recovering from our big two weeks while family was here. We had quite the crowd since my mom has 8 sisters and 2 brothers. And that doesn't even mention my dad's side!

It was grand and I didn't cry. Okay, I'll confess, I did cry beforehand. I just got to thinking about how he'll marry this woman and be a husband and how all the years have passed so quickly. Eight of those years, hardly seeing him, too. So all these thoughts passing through my mind...and it hit me: "I will miss him". He and his bride will be living in Florida (where they graduated from college) for a couple years. I won't be able to see them for the first two years (at least) of their married lives! Because of wedding prep etc, we weren't able to see much of him for the two weeks he was here, either. I'm SO happy he's found the girl of his dreams but at the same time I'm sad for me. Maybe I need to finally get Skype or something. Thank God there's facebook, e-mail and texting! Don't worry I won't be contacting him day in and day out, LOL. It might freak his bride out.

We are finishing up school here. I think I said that in my last post, but this is the final week. We are tying loose ends. Finishing these books is just a formality. Brilla has reading, math and writing, hands down~  So proud of her! Here we come first grade! This weekend we attend a home school convention to get all her new books.

Katie is currently down for an extremely early nap. Drastic times call for drastic measures. She woke me up in the middle of the night, once for a huge poopy diaper and the other for who knows what. All I know was that she was yelling at the top of her lungs in the hallway. This in turn woke her baby sister up. Hence, not much rest last night. And needless to say, I'm not at the top of my game either. Naps are in order.

At four months, Reese is cute as a chubby button. She is a super-sweetie. Such a good baby, really only cries for hunger and tiredness! In fact, sometimes I forget she's awake because she so happily entertains herself. She's currently 14 lbs, in the 75th percentile for length and weight. Her neck is very strong. In fact, the strongest of all my babes. Once in a while, she'll roll to the right. She absolutely loves her new Bumbo. Bought it for her with the gift card from my sweet aunt! She sits right up and looks all around, gracing us with a bright and gummy grin. We all dote on her any chance we get, especially her sisters. Yes, even Katie, with all her 2 year old unexpectedness.

I am focusing on losing weight. I have 20 pounds to go, really would like to lose 30. My reward upon reaching my goal is a Kindle Fire. I wanted a Kindle when it first came out, but had absolutely no reason to buy one. Now I have one. I eat pretty healthy, just need to steer clear of sugar. My problem is exercise. Pretty funny seeing I have been fit for most of my life, running and playing soccer for most of it. Just this last year and a half have taken me for a whirl. My body is just not the same after this fourth baby. No little walks will resurrect my abs. I need to run, something major cardio. Thankfully, softball (which is not major cardio but anyway) starts this Thursday and soccer, next Monday. As for the in-between, I need to either do workout videos or laps at the pool. Probably should do the laps. I don't do well with workouts in the home. That's why I always went to the gym before. But I'm trying to save money and swimming is the perfection solution.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to be content in my current situation. I feel like all my "fat clothes" are ugly and that my  body is unattractive. It's a humbling time for me. So, if you get the chance, keep me in your prayers. The important thing is, I'm not satisfied to be overweight and am taking steps to reverse it.

Also, I'm digging into God's Word, wanting to live it out. That means the most to me right now. I'm finding freedom from resentment and anger. Of course, through the power of the Holy Spirit, because all on my own, I'm gonna fail. In fact, I'm immersed into teaching my children about the Lord, and living that in front of them. So easy to be the teacher, harder to be the student. It's a temptation to give up as a parent because you see a long list of failings, but God has not called us to be perfect. Just repentant, willing to change, willing to be molded to His image. The Spirit is the One who gives us the strength and power to do this, to overcome. If we have believed on Christ, we are victors. Sometimes that takes us step by step, hour by hour, but we will get there. And this time in my life is overflowing with joy. As our family continues to treat one another better than ourselves, there is so much happiness.

Okay, time to take that shower before the girlies awake from their nap. That's how it works these days. Cram a little chore in here, take a little rest there. Busy life, but oh, so worth it!

Happy Tuesday,

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hi! It's Been A While.

It has. I've been busy. (Aren't we all?)

It's this time of year that I limit myself to internet access so we can make a big leaping finish for school's end. Having Reese set us behind, so we are really "booking" it. Truth is, we are not behind on our learning goals for the year, just on the books. We won't finish Cursive or Saxon Math 1 Math - if any of you have used Saxon 1 Math, you know what I am talking about, it is two whole booklets - and whoever finished Cursive in Kindergarten?

Fridays are our day to hang out with friends. This is what we did last week:

A couple girl friends and I have added some kids to the mix since the last time we three met up. And Baby Reesie decided to hang out inside on a warm lap. It had been so sunny all week and this day it was chilly! That's Pacific NW weather for you.

Daddy was out-of-town for a men's retreat. The girls and I had a fun weekend together doing all kinds of stuff. Since Daddy wasn't along, those plans entailed lots of shopping! On Saturday, we headed to an annual community garage sale, where all the homes in that development put out their stuff on the same weekend. I was able to drop the girls off at their cousin's house (the perks of having an older niece!) while Reese and I hit the sales. The weather was beautiful, so I parked the car at the front of the development and just walked the whole thing. Glad I did, especially when I saw what a traffic jam all the cars caused. I bought the cutest butcher block table with white wooden legs for only $20. We have been looking for such a table for the kitchen. I'm going to stain the butcher block a darker tint. Also, at the very first sale, I found clothes for my oldest! About 6 different outfits for only $18, name brand and excellent used condition. We picked up some Hello Kitty rain boots and pink shoes for Katie Lady and a silk shirt for me. Yeah, we'll see how long that lasts.  And then I found a hanging wrought iron basket for my produce, going to spray it black. So, all in all, we came out good!

Right afterward, we went an hour and a half south for a bridal shower. As we headed into the boonies, my daughter asks, "Where in the world are we going, Mom?" Heehee. My brother is getting married June 2! This was my future sister-in-law's shower! I'm so giddy for them, but know I will be crying buckets of tears the day of. *sigh* My little bro all grown up.

Speaking of "little brothers", now 20 and 24, they both graduated this Spring. The younger with his Bachelors in Pre-Law and the other with his Masters in Business. Sean will go on to law school at Oklahoma City University (where my Granddad attended) and Brian and his bride will live in Pensacola, Florida for a couple years, where they have secured jobs. I know, both my brothers so far away! Makes an excuse for visiting them. Boy will they be missed.

Katie has a birthday in April. She is now an explosive 2!! Gets into everything and still has her volume button turned up to LOUD. Below, you can see what she does with a smoothie.

 But she also has a sweet and affectionate personality, so cuddly and gentle with her baby sister, Reese, whom she coins 'Reeshie Peeshie'.

I have been decorating my home. As you know, a person like me is never really satisfied when it comes to that. There's always something that could be arranged differently, or just a new improvement/addition here or there. My latest project was a an old cabinet door I turned into a chalk board (above)! The look of it still is not just what I want but there it is for the time being. As you can see, Katie walked up and smeared all the letters on the bottom. Had to leave her mark.

And to end this post, I leave you several pics of my youngest cutie, taken yesterday afternoon.

Happy Wednesday! Hang're almost to the weekend!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I want to share with you a refreshing and yummy shake I composed tonight:

Banana Peanut Butter Cookie Shake

5 ice cubes

2 Very Ripe Bananas

Handful Trader Joe's Cinnamon Schoolbook Cookies (alphabet-shaped) or just use graham crackers

1/3 cup Peanut Butter

1- 1 1/2 Tbsp (to taste) Honey

1 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (any non-dairy or regular milk will do)

The cookies in this shake add to the tell-tale creamy texture! Zip all the above ingredients in a blender and enjoy to your heart's content.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I'm sorry my latest posts have been all about Reese and how she eats well today and doesn't the next. But I guess that's just the stage of life I'm in right now and have really nothing else to write about.

Monday was utterly crazy. Well, let me start again. Sunday night after studying the Word, I was convicted I needed to show more patience with my eldest. They say not to pray for patience, right? Well, I did, and I'm glad I did. If I hadn't been stalwart in my commitment to show patience, not in my strength, in the Lord's strength, don't think I could have handled the Monday to come.

I awoke to the horrible smell of poop. My thought was my eldest must have laid a big egg. But as I lay there in bed, I realized the smell was so strong it lingered. For an hour. I finally ventured out, almost scared to ask. The answer was, my daughter had not made it to the bathroom in time, which hasn't happened since she was 3. There it was - all over the linoleum, all over her sleeping place. Amazingly, she and I worked together to clean it all up with only minor stressing (on my part) going on. We still loved each other afterward. It was definitely the Holy Spirit working on my heart and prodding me to hold my anger in check and be infinitely patient. Truth was, all the years I had peed in my bed (until age 9) and hid my sheets from the anger of my mother, came flooding back and I couldn't help but show love instead.

Next, the baby was having a rough day. Reese usually eats every 3 hrs but that day she wouldn't sleep a full nap and she was eating sporadically. My middle girl had a cold and she was super whiny and needy as well. I felt like crying. All these needs and only one of me! Only two hands and two feet!

While this was going on, I had my eldest still cleaning up her mess from earlier. She misunderstood one direction and accidentally stuffed an already full washer (which was currently on the rinse/spin cylce) even fuller with a quilt. That broke the washer's back, so to speak. It started make a ticking noise and would no longer spin correctly. We are currently looking for a new washer.

All this to say, it must have been the Spirit who helped me put on the "armor" to guard myself from the enemy's fiery darts. I think moms tend to put a lot of pressure on their oldest daughters. It shouldn't be that way. I need to put to practice the same attitudes I would like to have shown toward me...forgiveness, love, patience, humility.

Surprisingly, we had a great day of school. Got everything done, with good attitudes to boot. Since Baby's birth, we're a little behind, but we have a plan and we're executing it! Props to my daughter for being such a hard worker and doing school even before being asked!

Today was a pretty hard day too. All the girls are now sick. Baby came down with it on Monday, I think. Probably why she was so fussy. Today she was the same, but had some good moments of being alert and happy. She just went down about 10 minutes ago. Wasn't sure if she was going to sleep! She whined for about 10 minutes but stopped, so hopefully she'll be good for a while. She certainly needs the sleep. I need it too.

Made some delicious and moist peanut butter and banana muffins today. They are from Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious recipes. These are great. Katie doesn't like veggies as much as Brilla, so I sneak them in sometimes.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The baby is finally asleep. Those words are some of the most beautiful ones I have heard today.

That girl keep me on my toes and rings out my energy! She is the reason why I feel like zombie around 2 p.m.

My husband is in between projects, so he is currently building us a new deck on the back of the house! We had our hot tub cut out of the former one and gave it to friends. Since then, it had no railings in that corner, jut a big drop off to the yard below. Not great for toddlers who are adventuresome. Since Mike had some time, he demolished it and began this new one. It will be so pretty, with colors we like instead of painted ugly brown. When it's finished I'll disclose the colors and give the before and after.

While he has been doing that, I have been getting in shape. More crunches, push-ups, lunges, leg toners, boxing moves, and jumping jacks. More walks and runs with my eldest. Running in place. Anything to burn off this middle flab and gain muscle in its place.

Tonight was my first soccer game since having Reese. My last one was the week I found out I was pregnant with her. Obviously, I am pretty out-of-shape. We were down women players and had no subs. I got my workout for the whole next week, at least that's what it feels like! My feet are sore as can be. Let's just say I'm glad I've been exercising some. Today, while our flat tire was getting fixed, Katie and I walked to Fred Meyer. It was a gorgeous day.

We started seeing a Naturopathic doctor for Reese. He recommended going dairy-free for a couple weeks to help lessen her gas and dry skin. Not that dairy-free is healthier, but it's sure helped me to lose some pounds. I'm using almond, soy and coconut milk in its place. I tried some almond cheese today but it's a no-go. However, the soy latte I had the other day was delicious. Today I made some blueberry muffins that were amazing. They were baked with almond milk. Two weeks? It can't be all that bad.

While pregnant, I got in the bad habit of eating a ton chocolate, desserts and unhealthy food throughout the day. It's easier to continue when you have a newborn because you are exhausted and don't have time to cook. But I decided enough was enough! So. I've been eating a ton more veggies and fruits. Smoothies instead of ice cream (though I still do have the occasional scoop, just not while I'm on the dairy fast) and pb & honey instead of other desserts. I don't just want to fill my body, I want to fuel it. Especially with my little one's brain growing these first three months.

My middle girl has a runny nose again. I tell you what, whenever she gets around those toddlers at Bible study, she comes down with a new cold! We had just recovered from her other one last Saturday, so I was able to go to church. Crossings my fingers that she'll get better before Sunday again.

I'd better rest my weary legs in bed. Perhaps my man will rub my feet too? Fat chance, I think he's probably exhausted too. We're pretty sad around here. Happy weekend!

Monday, March 19, 2012

I just put my little Reesie down for the night. Well, until she feeds again. Probably around 2:30/3. Then she'll wake up about 7:3/8. Today wasn't her best day eating. I think she's a little under the weather. She mostly wanted to sleep. I've discovered that she has the teeniest nostril passages and in order to nurse well, I have to make sure they are cleared out daily. This is the most I've ever used a nose-sucker-outer thing. It really does come in handy.

My day started off great, because the girls slept in a little. I was able to get my stretches and toning exercises in. I really pushed myself. It was painful but felt great afterward. I'm finally using all those workouts in my magazines. I have a very sweet girl friend who has given me a magazine subscription the last couple of years. It has been the best gift ever because I always have a little something to reach for when I'm nursing.

It's hard to believe the Spring soccer season is starting up and the first game is Friday. Yes, I play this Friday. I'm trying to convince myself I won't die. I've been working out the last few weeks with crunches, jumping jacks, pushups, and the like. Last week was my first attempt at running. Yes, my first attempt and I have a game in a few days! Thankfully, indoor soccer has subs go in and out constantly.

I've also changed my diet. I'm back to eating a lot healthier. I've mostly cut out sweets, except for the occasional ice cream before bed. Now, mind you, I've always been an organic and whole wheat type of person, but I also love food and tend to eat much of it AND eat on the sweet side.

Ever since we started getting our produce from a local co-op source, we are getting an amazing variety of fruits and veggies every week. We are "forced" to eat healthier. Also, it's been good to replace my bad eating habits with good ones. Sometimes when the desire to eat bad food wants to hang around, you just have to kick it in the rear end with a good dose of whole foods and stick with it for at least three weeks. That's how it works with me anyway.

For lunch today, I made my husband a ham panini, servced with leftover corned beef, cabbage and potato stew to dip it in. For myself, I made a spinach salad. It was delicious. Had all that was in my husband's panini, just without the bread and a lot more veggies. My girls are benefiting from this change too. They get a lot healthier snacks. Today we snacked on some amazing guacamole, and strawberry/mango smoothies I made.

After lunch, Bri and I did some running. My daughter was a trooper to keep up. These runs and walks will be good for her though. The breeze felt great in my hair and on my cheeks. Funny weather, it was a crisp sunny day, then it hailed in the middle of our run.

My daughter did great on her school work today. She needs a lot of, shall I say, motivation?, to get things done. I've done it all...timers, treats, getting upset (which doesn't work too well) and competition (can you do such and such before I finish the dishes?). Some times it works, some times it does not. She is a dreamer. If she had her way, she would sing, dance, build forts, draw and dress-up all day. And honestly, I would love to let her. In fact, some days I have. But it's good to instill the daily discipline of school work, get her in the swing of reality. But like I said before, she did GREAT today!! And I told her so. I felt like cheering. I think patience with her goes a long way.

I did not get any Bible study in today. I love reading God's word every day, but the actual study questions I have to get done are hard to get in. I don't always have the time to focus my brain for a long chunk of time.

I will leave you with this question that I thought was a good provoker: What is the difference between organic unity and organizational conformity? Organic unity refers to the one faith, one Lord, and one God, a few of the basic Christian tenets we hold to, whereas organizational conformity would refer to those standards and/or rules held by certain Christian orgs. I would love to hear your thoughts.

I must head to bed. My body is incredibly sore and my soft pillow is all I can think of. Nighty-night.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

So Reese seems to be our most interesting baby yet when it comes to sleeping. She seemed to sleep pretty good there for a while, then lately has had trouble - getting up in the middle of her naps during the day, crying forever at night. And I know she's doggone tired.

So I tried something new.

I had placed a fan (white noise) in her room thinking that would help her sleep. Well, it has a little rattle sound that I think might be annoying her. I have a theory that's why she's waking up. So I turned it off before bed.

It has worked wonders (so far). And she's still eating great.

Good thing each child is not the exact same! This is a great reminder that each child doesn't fit a mold!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Newborn Tips

It's interesting how some weeks fly by and others seem to drag. This one is racing.

Reese and I are getting her eating schedule down. It's nice to have predictability. Have any of you moms with babies used Babywise? About 5 1/2 years ago, I was pregnant with my first born and casually glanced at the books they were clearing out at my local library. Here this was for a quarter.

It has been a lifesaver for my three girls. Just by keeping a consistent but flexible eating pattern during the day, my first two have slept through the night by 6 weeks. My youngest is now only waking once a night. A little more sleep than usual!

I know there's been some controversy as to this scheduling method. However, it has worked wonders for us and we consider ourselves very doting and flexible parents.

I think there is no "perfect" mold when you start out with your newborns. The newborn season is sleepless and hard! No way around that. This book can give you some method amidst the madness, especially for first time parents.

Another topic.

I do wish moms would be more open and honest about their breastfeeding experiences. Maybe it's just something we don't talk about? Perhaps we fear that something so natural like breastfeeding shouldn't have complications and if it does, we're the weird ones? While Katie was a breeze, my oldest and youngest had problems. Brilla had to have formula (I felt like a failure at the time) because she wouldn't latch on for anything. It had been 48 hours and not a drop of anything. Partly it was due to first-time parenting. I wish someone had told me to see a lactation specialist! I wish someone had guided me to a nipple shield, available at the Walgreens down the road! I wish I'd known that a mother's milk can not come in for up to 5 days and that colostrum is plenty enough (5x the protein as mature breast milk) and a newborn's body has liquids stored up until the milk comes.

And then my dear Reese. She struggled as well, even though she was a bigger baby than Brilla. She nursed just fine for the first week, then decided for some reason she didn't want to latch on anymore. I had to start pumping and bottle-feeding her. Only this time I knew about a nipple shield and a lactation specialist. These are essentials when starting out with a newborn just in case nursing is a bumpy road for you at first.

One thing about breastfeeding is that if you push through and seek help, it can end up being bliss for both you and baby. Books are fine but actually seeing a live professional is the best. Don't give up!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Reese is snuggled up next to my chest in the Moby right now. So sweet to see hear her little breaths and grunts.

We have had a "vacation" from all things routine Today is the most we've been out; it was great. We will all sleep good, especially the older girls.

This morning was our first time back to Bible study in three weeks! Believe it or not, somewhere in between nursing and being awake at 3 am this last week, I was able to finish the questions. I feel like I'm in school again. They were SO hard! Not that we're graded or anything, but there are some things I have glazed over at times and not thought deeply about. Especially lately. The hardest thought I can get my brain to think about is, "When did Reese eat last?" But thank you, Holy Spirit, the One who gives us heart knowledge, not just brain knowledge.

After study, we went grocery shopping. Yes, I will admit it was a rather brave (dumb?) decision to do that after two hours gone from home already. But we really needed milk, eggs, know how dairy gets consumed overnight.

And I paid for it.

I was treading on nap time territory. Katie was yelling,"Owie" for about 15 min straight (I do not exaggerate) and didn't want to stay in the cool car-shaped cart she originally picked out. Which is incredibly awkward to push around in the first place.

We finally made it to the landing pad though! Can I tell you I really treasure my middle girl's nap time? She is such a handful these days. Ever since Reese was born, she struggles with attachment issues, needs way more attention - especially from Daddy. Thankfully, she absolutely adores her little sister and lauds her with love, but she needs a little extra love herself thes

Right now is bliss however. Both girls at are at AWANA. Found out my middle girl can go too now. Makes Wednesday nights so much easier. Plus, K gets to have her own class time like big sister.

Reese is nursing much better these days. We bought a nipple shield last Thursday and ever since, her feeding are much easier. Except that she continuously falls asleep at the breast and I have to wake her to finish, which ends up being an hour-long nursing period! Whew! I feel like as soon as I'm done nursing, time to do it again! It's part of newborn-hood. How do we forget these seasons of life? I think it's God's gift of temporary amnesia.

I will be very honest with you. These last few weeks have been tough. I get quite a bit of cabin fever and I feel like a hermit. At times I am on cloud nine with what God's surrounded me with, and others, I feel like a walking zombie running on fumes. Thank goodness my husband has armloads of forgiveness when I've had a couple meltdowns!

Friends have been super sweet in taking the older girls. But the fact remains, it will take time getting used to life with three. I love the days when we have no appointments or get-togethers. We can just hang out, catch up on school work and chores and just be with each other. After a couple days, however, I'm ready for a trip to the mall :)

I know you moms with three plus are sniggering. Such as life, you say; this too shall pass. But really I don't want it to go too quickly; life is made up of such as these.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Absolute Peace

Reese Emily is officially one-week old. The last couple nights have been almost too good to be true. She has given me at a couple 3+ hr chunks of sleep. And her eating is great, except for some reason she is not a fan of my left side. So I've been pumping that side to equal things out.

Today was Bible study day, but we didn't go. We're still getting our schedule down. Unfortunately, after loading my girls in the car and driving all the way to Lake Tapps for our newborn check-up appointment, there was no one there! I assume (hope) this means a sudden at-home birth was taking place and not that I got the date wrong. We made the best of it, and stopped at Top Foods for some fresh produce and not so healthy donuts. But I tell you what, they are some of the best around and not as expensive at Top Pot (our favorite).

I actually took a shower and did my hair today. Didn't get as far as makeup. There are a lot of things around here that I'll eventually get around to...bills, laundry, taxes, consistent homeschooling. You know, just the essentials! :)

I am loving being a mom of three. I am beyond blessed. I remember about 3 1/2 years ago, my heart ached for a babe I could not have. And here I hold the most precious newborn girl I could dream for.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tired is a small word for how drained I feel tonight. Part of it is due to having given birth but a week ago, part of it is the zero sleep I got last night, part of it is the walk we took down the block and all of it is living life with now three.

My oldest is no trouble at all. But caring for tiny Reese and rambunctious Katie? If you have a nearly 2 yo, you know what I mean. They are extremely needy, busy, and loud. The reason why they are kept around is because they are so golly darned cute!

Reese is doing well. She is running me for a loop though. I struggle keeping her awake to eat a good feeding at night. Then she wakes me up about a half-hour to an hour later with crying to get more! Some nights she has eaten well and gone the average two and a half hrs sleeping.

I should be napping instead of posting. Why do you want to hear that I'm exhausted?

I was blessed today...

A dear friend brought me a delicious (and can you believe healthy?) dinner and we chatted during Reese's nap. She also gave a couple sweet gifts. There is nothing like a friend to talk with when your brain is on hold. It's very therapeutic.

Then, we took a family walk around our neighborhood on this sunny day. I love days like that. Crisp and sunny, not a cloud in sight.

Lastly, our Slavic neighbors (whom I've never met) came over bearing gifts. European chocolates, gorgeous flowers and a bag full of candy for Brilla. They are Christians, too and are friendly as can be. They had their married daughter with them to interpret since they don't speak English fluently. How brave and generous is that?

Off I go to nap before the wee one wakes up for a snack. Good night and if you think of it, say a prayer for strength on my end, please? Also that Reese would eat well and sleep more at night.

Thank you!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Big Chubby News

She is here! Reese Emily has arrived. She was born 8lbs 2oz, 21 1/2 inches long. What a big girl, what an intense but quick labor! We are blessed!

Soon I will give the birth story because I want to record details before I forget them. I do this mostly for myself since this blog is like my journal.

Meanwhile, family has the girls while I am caring for Reese and catching a few winks. Oh, and also straightening up this house...something I won't be able to stay on top of once the girls come back.

Meanwhile, my heart is bursting with happiness and thanks at our third-born daughter. Her cheeks are chubby; she even has a double chin! But the rest of her body is skinny, just like a newborn. Her hair is dark brown and her eyes are dark blue. Right now she is wearing one of the many crocheted hats I have made for her, swaddled in a blanket and lying on the couch - sleeping.

Ah. This newborn stage is delightful.

Did I mention how much I love baby Reese Emily? I just do!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Wow. Every time I feel like I can't last another day with Baby Girl in my belly, I somehow do. I wake up, spend time with God, feed the girls breakfast, clean up, feed snacks, do school, feed lunch, youngest has a nap while I catch up on school and chores, prep dinner, maybe do a little crochet, eat dinner, kids to bed, relax with hubby, then go to bed. Next morning, time to do it all over again!

I am AMAZED. That though I think I can't do it, God helps me get through. I am amazed at His grace not just in this area (I mean what Mom doesn't go through the same), but grace in changing my attitude. Though my body feels sore and weak, my heart and spirit don't. He rejuvenates me with His mercies. It is exhausting to do housework. But it is never tiresome to open His Word and drink. I feel like the more my spirit hungers and is satisfied in Him, the less all the other stuff seems important.

I love the quote I heard today (paraphrased) "We often focus on what God wants us to do for Him, not who He wants us to be." Do I emit the fruit of the Spirit? Do I have less joy and peace than my unbelieving neighbors? Not just to the depth of the smile, but do they see Christ in my life? Is there a difference?

I used to dislike when speakers would ask the probing questions after their dialogue. Now I look forward to the challenging queries. They help me do what God says, not just hear. Yes, I love hearing the sermons and lectures, but I love actually getting into action, though it often catches me off guard because I immediately experience a challenge in the form of my own sinful nature. It's hard to change who we used to be.

But honestly? I look back at who I was 10 years ago, and I see change. I see less insecurity, less legalism and more of desiring God Himself. I'm sure having kids and going through trials has honed home some of that. But the work is all from His Spirit. None from me. I could never naturally just change when I want to.

The exciting thing is, He's not finished. There is more of me to change. It doesn't end until I join Jesus in heaven. "And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Phil. 1:6

And what's even more awesome, is that when Christ returns and takes us home, we will be like Him. I don't know what that all entails. But it will be beyond awesome. "But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself." Phil 3:21

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tonight is girls night IN. My two girls and I hang out, doing whatever fancies our whimsy. For Katie, it is taking every doggone item out of the sticker folder, piano prize box, and relocating said items to different areas of our home. For Brilla, it is practicing her piano. I saw her working on her homework earlier. Now I glance over to see her counting with head bobs and having perfect posture as she sits. (Do you sense a bit of mommy/teacher pride here?) I am pleased, because I did not ask her to do this, yet there she is, actually enjoying her piano time!

As for me, I choose to post quickly before bath time.

Our weekend seemed to last forever. As seen in earlier posts, it snowed up here. With Western Washington snow, however, comes the melting of snow, then refreezing, then more snow. It really is glorious until the grand finale: toppling trees and branches, no electricity in our homes, and the need to escape to a warm place. I

My in-laws were the welcoming escape. They are a bit south and experienced only a slight loss of power, which was quickly mended by the warm wood-burning stove. Which was even better mended by the power coming on 4 hours later. My sweet mother-in-law quickly greeted us with fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate oatmeal butterscotch cookies and a hug. The perfect medicine for chilled bones! They let us share two and a half days with them. Did I mention the cousins and auntie showed up as well since their power went out? It was like a family reunion :)

Meanwhile, it was film time. We watched Ratatouille, Toy Story 3, Monsters Inc, Cars 2, Beauty & the Beast, to name a few. Grandpa Dick made a huge pot of stew for the second night of dinner. As I took in the full table and busyness, I was given a glimpse of what it would be like to live with 12 people altogether in one house.

It was a very fun mini-vacation, but might I confess, it was good to be back in our small home, with heat on, Sunday evening. Never thought I'd enjoy washing dishes and laundry as I did then.

There is still a frozen layer around us, but it is thin. And, I wouldn't mind another snow, except I would love for our electricity to stay on. And to be able to drive out of our cul-de-sac. I will just be content with a beautiful snow having passed and getting back into the rainy winter as usual.

And work on this Baby coming out! Here is hoping we see her precious face soon.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Can't Believe I Actually Want Rain

It is STILL snowy and icy out there!

I thought all this white stuff would be gone by Wednesday evening, but here we are, Friday morning. It has not snowed more, but it hasn't rained, either. I am wondering if I have the gumption to shovel out snow from our car, driveway, and cul-de-sac just to get to my chiropractic appointment. Those appointment are pretty important to me in the late stages of pregnancy. In fact, I don't remember a more back pain-free pregnancy than this one. It works!

As I sit here typing, I hear trees and branches crackling all around me. I take a quick peek out the window and realize two trees have already come down. We live in a heavily wooded area. All that heavy ice is bringing down those weak giants. Our front yard is also a menagerie of fallen limbs. I'm just hoping nothing falls on my car; what terrible timing that would be :(

Thankfully, I don't need to be anywhere, except at my midwife's if Baby comes. But my body tells me that is not happening soon.

Yesterday, my girls and Daddy got more snow time in. That Katie loves sledding. I still am amazed at hearty my 21-month old. She's the one who will fling herself at Daddy's lap for a "tackle". He taught her that, of course. A good 'ol football move. Lovely. She'll also run down the hallway and hurl herself into a pile of pillows. But even when she misses the pillows, she shakes it off and says "Owa?" for a small kiss, going right back to her attempts at crashing the cushions.

I got out for a good walk, too. It felt good to get fresh air, to get my muscles working together, even if it was to produce an unlovely waddle up the road and back. I then was content to get home, heat up some chai, read and get dinner started.

This morning, I awoke at 5:45 and could not fall back asleep. My nap earlier in the day probably caught up with me. Here it is, nearly 8:30 and I can hear the girls rising like little chipmunks.

Good morning!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Her Name

It is important for Michael and I to pick just the right name for each of our children. I'm sure you feel the same way. It takes us about 8 months to come up with "the one". They'll carry it for the rest of their lives. (Unless, in this day and age, they want to change it!)

We've finally decided on Reese Emily. Reese means "Radiant" and Emily after Mike's grandmother, who passed away several years ago.

And to commence the choice of her beautiful name, the wall letters I created for her room are finally done!

They match perfectly with her bedding. As you can see, we have a black/red/white theme going on. I'm a red-lover. Really could just do her whole room in that shade, but alas, our other two's room has red, and our bathroom is black/white/red. All in moderation, right?

I must tell you, I had a blast creating these letters from stuff around the house (as stated in my earlier post). The chalkboards were done with a little white acrylic satin paint (Martha Stewart), the chalkboards obviously were painted on, the letters were done with *surprise* chalk, the ribbon was on clearance at Michael's, and the rings are old shower curtain rings. Too cheap to hang a curtain on, but perfect for holding wall letters :)

Finishing this project was hugely important to me. Felt like the room wasn't complete without them! Now I'm just adding final touches on the walls, creating storage, and waiting for Reese to make her appearance.

Today, along with playing in the snow, I packed all our bags. Mine was the last to get done. Lavender lotion and neck pillow, check. Nursing tank, check. Warm and fuzzy socks, check. Baby can officially come now.

I am nesting like a crazy woman. Washed the windows, mopped the floor, dusted, re-decorated after putting away Christmas stuff, and re-organized the girls' room, trying to be creative with storage, grocery shopped and meal-planned. Crochet has also been calling my name. Have about 3 cute new hats done and 3 diaper covers. This poor girl's is gonna be smothered.

I've also been reading the Word so much lately. Digging deep, more than normal; just can't get enough. I'm also still finishing the audio book, Forgotten God by Francis Chan. I am seeing so many areas I fall short in, so much I need to work on, of course through the Spirit's power. But I also look back and see how far I've come. By God's grace. Jesus is incredibly patient and faithful to complete His work in me.