So glad you came to visit today! Here at my little corner of bloggy world I share a little bit about everything--family, parenting, goals, struggles, photography, recipes, n more! So curl up with a cup of hot tea {or not} and feel free to peruse around my site! Check out my sidebar for links. And come back again!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thankful Thursday

This week I am thankful for our soon-to-arrive Baby Girl! I am thankful that God has brought me through a healthy, full-term (as of this Sunday), decently comfortable pregnancy. (pic) I am thankful for the joy she already brings to our lives. I am thankful that God already knows all her days. He knows when she will arrive and how she will arrive. It seems every couple days I'm saying to myself, "Ooo, I'm glad I didn't go into labor that day! ...Eli was throwing up, or our family to watch Eli was stricken with the flu, or this event was going on." GOD KNOWS. He knows the number of her days, who she will become, who she will marry, if she marries. He already has that all planned out, and it's exciting to think about! I can't wait for the story to all unfold and to meet my beautiful baby girl...

In the meantime, here are my prayer requests for these last couple weeks and delivery:
* comfort and good rest through the rest of the pregnancy. I'm feeling great, BUT in the evenings around 8-10pm Baby Girl starts going crazy in there and her movements are very uncomfortable! she's running out of room in there!
* good timing of labor. Because we have to depend on other families to watch Eli while we're in the hospital, I pray that the timing all works itself out such that we're not inconveniencing these wonderful friends who have offered to take care of our sweet boy.
* natural labor BEFORE the due date! (please!) Or just patience, maybe. I went 7 days past the due date with Eli and though it doesn't seem like a big deal, it was. I was comfortable but the emotions you go through as each day passed was pretty awful!
* obviously, for an uncomplicated labor and healthy baby
* that Baby Girl can breastfeed just fine. I had a miserable time with Eli. He just could not get it, even though I was doing everything right. We tried for several weeks, but even after seeing two different lactation consultants, it wasn't any better and we gave up. It was very emotionally challenging as a mother who really wanted that relationship with her baby. So I pray that it goes better this time!
* the transition for Eli as we welcome a new baby into our home. In a couple weeks he'll be 19 months, so he doesn't really understand what's going on. He'll find out soon enough!
* safe travels for family and friends that will be visiting soon after!

Okay, I think that's about it. Thank you all for your wonderful prayers! I'll keep you updated!

For more thankful posts, visit Iris! Have a great week, dear friends!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Weekly Memory Verse

I'm starting several weeks of review now. Stick with me as we lock these verses away in our hearts!
Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.

Our other Proverbs verses:

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and
lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him
and He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 4:23
Above all guard your heart
for it is the wellspring of life.

Proverbs 9:10
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go
and when he is old he will not depart from it.

If you're with me in this memory verse challenge, sign your name below! May it be a blessing to your life!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Menu Plan Monday - Jan. 28

A few days ago I came across this awesome link for tons of make-ahead/freezer meals and frugal recipes. So this week I'm trying ALL NEW RECIPES, every single day!

Monday - incredible chicken, green beans, applesauce

Tuesday - meatballs, baked potato, orange

Wednesday - easy enchilada casserole, pineapple

Thursday - appetizer nite- easy cocktail weiners, apple slices

Friday - Spicy Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

Saturday - breakfast- Praline French Toast Casserole
dinner- kielbasa, cauliflower, peaches

Sunday - egg drop soup, fried rice

Dessert of the week: dirt cake

Visit Laura at Org Junkie for more great menu ideas!

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 25

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul;
in you I trust, O my God.
Do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one whose hope is in you
will ever be put to shame
but they will be put to shame
who are treacherous without excuse.

Show me your ways, O Lord,
teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, O Lord, your great mercy,
and love,
for they are from of old.
Remember not the sings of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you are good, O Lord.

Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.
All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful
for those who keep the demands of his covenant.
For the sake of your name, O Lord,
forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
Who, then, is the man that fears the Lord?
He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.
He will spend his days in prosperity,
and his descendants will inherit the land.
The Lord confides in those who fear him;
he makes his covenant known to them.
My eyes are ever on the Lord,
for only he will release my feet from the snare.

Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart have multiplied;
free me from my anguish.
Look upon my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins.
See how my enemies have increased
and how fiercely they hate me!
Guard my life and rescue me;
let me not be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my hope is in you.

Redeem Israel, O God,
from all their troubles!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Family Focus Friday: Vacation

At least for me, it's getting to be the time of year when I long to get outside but with it being so cold, there's just not much to do. So, I thought this week could take a mental vacation and talk about your favorite trips you've taken, things you've done, and things you want to do in the future with your family.

A couple weeks ago my husband and I celebrated our 3-year anniversary. And while it's my goal (#59) to make each anniversary unique for 3 years, we ended up not doing anything besides eating out at Cheesecake Factory. We're outdoors people and our favorite things to do together are summer activities, like hiking, camping, sitting by a fire pit, kayaking, etc, and being so close after Christmas, the first week in January is not the time of year when we can really afford much of any activity. So instead, we've decided to save the money we put in our fun pot to use during the summer for a little anniversary celebration then....

Since we will have two kids and no one to watch them for an entire weekend, this so-called anniversary celebration will really just be a family event this year. And that's okay too. At least it's something special and not just another day. Another goal I have (#46) is to take the family to Vermont. We're moving from this beautiful New England area this fall, so we're running out of time! But we'll do it! The "pot money" is going to build up for a camping trip this summer. We're hoping that Eli will be old enough to sleep someplace besides his crib or pack n play (since he'll be transferred to his toddler bed by then) but Baby Girl will still be young enough to sleep right next to us at times. We'd love to camp in a tent, but if they're just not ready for that yet, then we'll rent the most basic cabin we can find. Any way that we can just go. It doesn't have to be an action-packed weekend. That's not really our style. But we do want to go hiking, see some waterfalls, visit some sites. So that's the vacation we are dreaming up right now. (and if you know of great things to see in Vermont, let me know, cuz we have nothing planned yet!)

Being in the military and living so far from family, we haven't gotten to take real family vacations. "Vacation" is just going back home to see family once or twice a year (not that that's not great in itself, but you don't know what I mean). So we're very much looking forward to getting out of the Navy this fall, moving back "home", and starting a whole new kind of life! And when we can go on real vacations, here are some of the places we'd love to go: Colorado, Washington state, Grand Canyon, Alaska, California, Maine, Jamaica.

What's the most memorable/fun vacation that you've taken with your family/spouse? What are some places you'd love to go? Let your mind wander, and dream big!

Previous Family Focus topics: (it's never too late to comment)
* Storytime
* Jesus vs. Santa
* 12 Days of Christmas
* Preparing for Christmas
* Thanksgiving
* Bible Reading
* Fun Fall Activities
* Nutrition
* Meal Times
* Halloween
* Your Neighbors
* Family Worship
* TV Time

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Colossians 3:15

I know it's late and the day has almost passed me by already, BUT I didn't want to close without taking just 5-10 minute to praise God for the blessings in our life this week!

* As of the last few minutes and a HUGE blessing is that our friends Ben and Angie and their 1-yr old son are COMING TO VISIT in March!! Yay! What a blessing for the funds to pull together such that they could get plane tickets!

* Just over 3 weeks until Baby Girl's arrival! Knowing she could come any time now really, we have everything ready and are just anxiously waiting!

* My grandpa was in the hospital this past week with a bad bladder infection and low blood pressure, but everything got taken care of and as far as I know he was able to go home today.

* Today Eli and I had a play date with our friend Amy and her daughter Emily. It was great to get together and catch up a bit!

* Comfy pants. Seriously. There were several weeks in pregnancy when I was super crabby a LOT just because my pants were very uncomfortable, but since then I found one pair of maternity jeans that fit really well and one pair of lounge pants. And that alone makes a big difference in life. =)

* Naps. I've been a little more tired the past two days and I'm thankful that I had time to take an afternoon nap. And today I actually DID fall asleep, which is hard for me, because I have trouble relaxing during the middle of the day.

Alright, speaking of sleep, I'm signing off to get ready for bed! Many blessings to you all! For more thankful Thursday posts, visit Iris!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Weekly Memory Verse

Colossians 3:15
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.
And be thankful.

Previous memory verses from Colossians

Colossians 2:6-7
So then just as just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom as you sing Pplams, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts toward God.

Colossians 3:23-24
Whatever you do work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Colossians 4:2
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

Colossians 4:6
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you will know how to answer everyone.

Join me this week in memorizing Colossians 3:15, and sign your name below! May it be a blessing to your life!

Note: We have done 31 memory verses now and my poor brain is starting to get overloaded! So starting next week I'm going to take several weeks to "recycle" previous verses along with review of specific verses.

Becoming a Patient Woman

In sharing my goals for 2008, I said I wanted to work on patience. Well, today's devotional at Proverbs 31 Ministries was all about just that, so I thought I'd share it here:

Becoming a Patient Woman

By Rachel Olsen

“We also pray that you will be strengthened with his glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need.” Colossians 1:11 (NLT)

In a heart that values instant gratification like mine does, patience seems hard to come by.

In the last several weeks I’ve raced through a yellow light because I didn’t want to wait at a red light. I’ve looked up my symptoms on the internet because I didn’t want to sit in a doctor’s waiting room. I’ve paid extra for an item off the internet because I didn’t want to stand in line at the store. I’ve also eaten dessert first, because I didn’t want to wait until it was “time” for dessert. (I think anytime is a good time for dessert!) Though I can’t recall a specific instance, odds are high that I lost my patience at some point and fussed at my kids.

We want stuff and we want it now. We want results and we want them now. Yet the Bible repeatedly says that patience should be a way of life for followers of Christ.

God is love and patience is part of His character. For you and I to love like God loves, patience will be required (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Loving as God loves is the ultimate goal as we walk through this life seeking to please God and become like Him.

Patience could be defined as the ability to endure graciously. We all have to deal at times with people or circumstances that try our composure – an ungrateful child, an inattentive waitress, a slow moving line at the cash register, a spouse taking our hard work around the house for granted. How graciously do we behave in these circumstances?

The Bible says God will be faithful to complete the good works He began in us (Philippians 1:6). That implies there’s going to be some “in the meantime” when we’re all less than perfect and less than easy to love. This is where patience comes in. The apostle Paul instructs us to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph.4:1-3).

We also have to exercise patience towards God as we wait for His full plan to unfold. At times we must wait for answers to prayers, for deliverance, for provision, or for Him to dispense justice or reveal His will. We really have no choice but to wait in these circumstances, but a woman developing patience will endure the wait graciously. It helps to remember how very patient God has to be with us on a daily basis (1 Timothy 1:16, 2 Peter 3:8-9).

Exercising patience isn’t just an exercise of the human will. The kind of patience Paul is talking about is a fruit of the Spirit developed in a woman’s soul in tandem with God. It’s a virtue that grows from her confidence in the sovereignty of God and His ability to bring all things to completion, in His timing, in a way that benefits His children and glorifies Him.

This patience thing may take some time to develop, but I’ve decided to graciously endure the process. I started today by stopping and waiting at a yellow light I’m certain I could’ve made it through safely. As I sat at the intersection, I thought about God and about developing patience. The light turned green a mere minute later, and I went on my way with a smile on my face, happy to be a woman who is embracing patience … even if in a very small way.

Dear Lord, thank You for being so very patient with me. Help me to develop patience, and display that quality for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Application Steps:
Pray for patience daily.

Keep the word “patience” in the forefront of your mind today and look for opportunities to be more patient.

Who in my life can benefit from me extending them more patience?

How would becoming more patient change my day, my outlook, my health, or my relationships?

Is my patience stronger than my temper? Or stronger than my longings?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 25:15, “Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can crush strong opposition.” (NLT)

Ecclesiastes 7:8, “Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.” (NLT)

Romans 15:5, “May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other – each with the attitude of Christ Jesus toward the other.” (NLT)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 15

Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?

He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart
and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,
who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the Lord,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,
who lends his money without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

He who does these things will never be shaken.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

36 weeks

Haven't posted a pregnancy pic on this blog for quite some time, so here ya go. I took this today...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Busy at work!

Ever since I started getting up at 6:00 every morning my days have been incredibly productive and I've been knocking things off the baby to-do list like crazy! Just this week I completed:

#7 washed the baby's clothes and bassinet bedding
#11 got our overnight bags part-way packed
#12 wrote up Eli's schedule for our friends who will be watching him
#15 washed the sheets and tidied up the guest room for family and friends who will be visiting soon after baby's arrival
#4 moved the rocking chair out of Eli's room and downstairs to the living room
#3 finished Eli's quilt for his toddler bed:
(quilt front)

(quilt back)

and #28 on 101 Goals list: updated photo album (until 3 days ago we didn't have any pictures developed from since Eli was born! and now I've completed his first 10 months!)

Many of the remaining to-do's are in no rush. Now that I have the quilt done while I have time to sew, everything else related to the toddler bed can wait until sometime within two months AFTER the baby is here. And since the bassinet will definitely crowd our bedroom and takes no time to bring up from the basement and set up, we'll wait until closer to the due date. And it's not time yet to order the baby carrier. However, I AM hoping to tackle the basement starting this weekend or so. It's quite a disaster, especially since I've recently taken down more things to be stored away (Eli's clothes).

So that's how we're doing! Today's prenatal checkup confirmed that baby is in head-down position, so that's very good! We'll just keep waiting!

Family Focus Friday: Weekend

I couldn't really think of a topic for this week, so I thought today we'd just share weekend plans since it's Friday and for many a 3-day weekend because of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday. Honestly, at our house I don't really have anything planned. Rarely do we. BUT something that would be fun that I've been saying for awhile now is that we should go out for breakfast some morning. I love going out for breakfast every now and then. It's something you don't usually do, not as expensive as dinner, and just a fun way to start the day together as a family. So maybe we'll do that tomorrow morning.

Sunday is Sunday. Church day. Now that Eli doesn't nap in the morning anymore, maybe we'll start going to Sunday School hour too?

And Monday our stroller class is still meeting in the early A.M. so I'm actually excited to give Kevin a good couple hours of quiet house time on his day off while Eli and I are out. And then the rest of the day we'll be home to just relax and do whatever!

What are your weekend plans with your family or spouse??

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thankful Thursday

* I am thankful that Kevin is back to his normal work schedule (days) and is home with us in the afternoons and evenings. It makes our lives sooo much easier when he's not working nights!

* I am thankful for our trip to Cheesecake Factory over the weekend in celebration of our 3-year anniversary. It was oh soooo yummy!

* I am thankful for the baby news of two good friends! (both due late summer)

* I am again thankful for Eli's new nap schedule. The one nap a day is much easier on us, and his day his a lot more flexible because of it. He naps longer in the afternoon now so I feel more motivated to get things done and can also spend a good amount of time hanging out with Hubby.

* I am thankful for my quiet mornings. For the first time in my life I've actually been getting up at 6:00am, an hour before Eli, to get dressed, do morning Bible reading, check email, and set the day's to-do list. This has been my goal for quite some time (a couple years probably), and it just never happened. But now that Eli doesn't nap until 12:45pm, I can't exactly wait to get dressed and be productive until then, so I get my butt up early, and it has been such a blessing! I feel a lot more awake and motivated for the day when I have time to collect my thoughts first! (for now, just wait 4 weeks and then new baby will be here and I most definitely won't be feeling so awake and motivated, haha)

*I am thankful for my husband Kevin and his willingness to help me do things whenever I need. This week he's helping sew buttons on a quilt I'm making for Eli. I can sew a lot of things but I can't do a silly button very well, so he's been so great to help out. And yesterday he took Eli on an errand so I could finish a photo project and get dinner started (in peace). And today he'll be helping move things around the house a bit as we get things tidied up for baby (he doesn't know it yet though, haha).

* I am thankful for good health. We're almost down to 4 weeks until the due date, and I'm still feeling great, sleeping great, and am up and about doing my normal daily to-do's!

* I am thankful for Thankful Thursday hosted by sweet Iris! It's such a wonderful practice to stop in the middle of a busy week to think about the many blessings in our lives!

For more Thankful Thursday participants, visit Iris at Sting My Heart. Have a great week!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Questions for the New Year...

Julie directed me to these questions at the Revive our Hearts website, and since they're so great, I thought I'd join in....

1. What's one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
truly get into the Word on a daily basis

2. What's the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
provide the funds for our new church building

3. What's the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
start getting up earlier in the morning--time to spend with God and pray, wake up mind and body, and set daily to-do list

4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
daily Bible reading--find a reading plan, decide on a start date, and record read passages in daily planner

5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
The computer. Figure out RSS feed for blog reading, shut computer OFF for certain periods of the day, and use timer to limit computer time.

6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
make an honest effort to talk with others at church

7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
my brother-in-law

8. What's the most important way you will, by God's grace, try to make this year different from last year?
create schedules (cleaning, Eli, Bible reading) and stick to them one week at a time

9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
keep up on prayer journal

10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?
decide every single day to receive God's grace and surrender to His will

There are twenty-one more challenging questions, but those were the primary ten. I'd LOVE to hear your answers too! So do, take a few minutes to think through what you really want this year to be about, and let me know if you have something posted!

Weekly Memory Verse

Psalm 90:14
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Last week's verse:
Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ,
and I no longer live but Christ lives in me.
The life I live in the body,
I live by faith in the Son of God
who loves me and gave himself for me.

If you want to join me this week in memorizing Psalm 90:14, sign your name below! May it be a blessing to your life!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Snow Day!

We don't get much snow here on the coast of Connecticut. And we were in Iowa when they did get a big storm. But yesterday we finally got a little snow. Not much, just enough to mostly cover the grass, but it was good enough to go play in for the first time! Here are the pictures...

Daddy helped Eli build a snowballEli had just taken a taste of the snowMy snow baby

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Structured playtime? What?

I always thought we were pretty good about keeping Eli's day structured. We have a good routine with milk, meals, snacks, nap time, and bedtime. And most of our errands we'd run around the same time of the day too. But upon getting the book Toddlerwise from the library last week, I realized the area that definitely needs some work.... PLAYTIME! For the most part all of our free time was just open play. I try to do story time for a few minutes in the morning (training him to sit on the couch for 20 minutes), but otherwise there really was no structure to it. And honestly, it was quite tiring on me. Eli wasn't learning how to play by himself, although I was really wanting him to. Every time I'd do something different he'd drop everything to come see what I was doing. But here's what I learned just from one chapter of Toddlerwise about structuring your child's day. There are different types of play!
  1. Roomtime--child learns to play quietly by himself for a period of time. Play on blanket (or in room) until timer goes off. (~30 minutes).
  2. Free playtime--still supervised play, don't allow child to move from toy to toy every 5 minutes but instead learn to sustain his interest. child can play with toys of his choice though.
  3. Structured playtime--mommy picks the activity (puzzles, coloring, painting, etc). This teaches the child that he doesn't always get to choose
  4. Structured playtime with siblings--same as above except all children are together doing same activity
  5. Playtime with mommy--each child receives individual playtime with mommy (even just 10-20 minutes is good)
  6. Playtime with friends--scheduled time during week to socialize--story hour, library, playgroup
  7. Video Time--not when children are becoming restless and whiny, but during an actual scheduled time (usually during a time of day that's most stressful for mom like while she's cooking dinner)
Last week we made the big switch to just one nap a day, and that's going awesome-ly(?). Relieves a lot of stress that I didn't even realize was there. a) Eli can sleep as late as he wants in the morning without me thinking he needs to get up just so he can nap later. b) He always falls asleep in the afternoon (around 12:45 or 1:00ish), so there's no wondering if he'll nap or if he won't. c) He's been consistently sleeping 2 hours (or one day was even 2 hrs 45 minutes!) so it gives me a larger chunk of time to actually get things done (but I have to use my time wisely and productively cuz it's the only I break I get until bedtime).

And now that I read about structuring play times too, we've been trying to incorporate a lot of that. With Baby Girl due in 5 weeks, it would be really, really, really be GREAT if Eli could be trained to play on his own on a blanket for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon. Right now we're only up to 15 minutes but it's only been 3 days. He automatically got the idea that he had to stay on the blanket, but sadly he thought it was punishment of some sort and just stood at the edge of the blanket crying. Since then we're getting it figured out that I too need to find something to busy myself with instead of just sitting on the couch ensuring that Eli plays with something. I make sure he stays on the blanket and that he's not doing anything wrong with the toys, but otherwise I ignore him let him be, and it's going much better. And as soon as the timer dings, Eli knows he's "free" again and we move on with our day.

I tried doing structured playtime with crayons and puzzles, but that's taking more training than I thought it would to hold his attention to it, so for now I'm just going to focus on the blanket time until we're ready to move on from there. Don't want to go throwing too much at him!

So that's what else is going on at our house! Do you have any tips for getting toys and activities to hold your child's attention longer?

Menu Plan Monday - Jan. 13

Well, after two weeks of menus I'm back to menu planning this week. Not sure we saved money by doing two weeks last time. I'm sure I'd get better at knowing how much we need of things, but for this time we'll just do one week again....

Monday - bierochs, carrots, apples

Tuesday - easy BBQ chicken, mashed potatoes, corn

Wednesday - lasagna, garlic bread, salad, oranges

Thursday - breakfast nite- sausage and egg breakfast pizza, bananas

Friday - Bible study night

Saturday - pork chops, oriental salad, mandarin oranges

Sunday - hot dogs, grapes, carrots

For more menu ideas hop on over to Laura's.


While you're here! go to this blog post to share with me your favorite children's books. I LOVE collecting new stories to read with my son, and I'd love your suggestions!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Family Focus Friday: Storytime

I LOVE getting new storybooks to read with Eli! Just a few days ago I wrote a blog post about a new book series I discovered by author Kathleen Long Bostrom. And since then I used an Amazon gift card to order four more from the series:

So for this week's topic I thought maybe we could share our favorite children's books. I'd love to know what else is good out there! So here are my top three:

The Jesus Storybook Bible
by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Who is Jesus?
by Kathleen Long Bostrom
Oh, the Places You'll Go!
by Dr. Seuss
I was going to give you my top five, but I couldn't really think of any others. So do please, share your favorites! And many blessings to your family this weekend!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Getting Organized

Amy had a list of her things she had to do before their baby Sarah arrived. So I'm going to follow in her steps and get my list going! I can't believe the time is almost here!

  1. Find and set up toddler bed.
  2. Purchase toddler sheets.
  3. Finish quilt for toddler bed. completed 1/18/08
  4. Move rocking chair downstairs. completed 1/17/08
  5. Tidy up basement. (it's out of control again!) completed 1/19/08
  6. Pack away the latest of Eli's clothes that he's outgrown. completed 1/17/08
  7. Wash baby clothes, including bassinet bedding. completed 1/14/08
  8. Clean the car seat. completed 1/19/08
  9. Install infant car seat. completed 1/20/08
  10. Finish Eli's first-year memory book. completed 1/22/08
  11. Pack bags (lists are already made).completed 1/14/08
  12. Write up Eli's daily schedule. completed 1/14/08
  13. Order new baby carrier. completed 2/2/08
  14. Bring bassinet up from basement and put in our bedroom. completed 2/3/08
  15. Wash sheets and tidy up guest bedroom. completed 1/17/08
The list may continue to grow as I think of things. But hopefully I'll be checking things off at the same time! Just 5 and a half weeks to go! (or something like that)

Thankful Thursday

It's taken me awhile to get back into the swing of things after the holiday n such, so I think this is my first Thankful Thursday post for the new year! I started the year off in a bit of a slump and being a grump, but we've turned a corner and this week is a new week, and it's been a good one!

* I am thankful for new beginnings and fresh starts.

* I am thankful for sunny, 50-degree weather in January!

* I am thankful for stroller class. After several weeks off, the winter session just started this week, and it makes such a huuuge positive difference in my life to have something on our schedule to get us out of the house on a regular basis. I love the walking and I love the ladies! It's a great time!

* I am thankful that Eli is finally getting into a new routine now. I'm a person who very much needs a schedule and structure to our day, so I'm glad that we'll be having that again now that he's officially switching to just one nap a day now.

* I am thankful for my bloggy friends who were soooo encouraging as I worked through my slump.

* I am thankful for 3 wonderful years of marriage to my hubby! We celebrated our anniversary on Tuesday. (Well, actually since he's working 4pm-4am this week, we won't actually be celebrating until he's off this shift and can actually do something together!)

* I am thankful for many phone calls from great friends this week! With all this quiet time in the evenings I've had a lot of time to catch up with those back home!

* I am thankful that pregnancy continues to go well. With only 5.5 weeks to go I'm still feeling really great, sleeping well, and getting prepared for Baby Girl's arrival!

For more thankful Thursday posts, visit Lynn who is so kindly hosting this week!


We've been making a lot of changes in our home lately in attempts to diminish some stress and help things go smoother....

* I've decided to make the big switch from Eli having two naps a day to just one early afternoon nap. For a few weeks now he's been 50/50 with his naps. He'd usually nap in the morning...IF I played him out enough instead of just taking him on a bunch of errands, but I couldn't wait too long or he wouldn't be able to nap later in the day too, AND I had to wake him after an hour and half or again he wouldn't sleep later. It was a lot of hassle and even still he may or may not nap again in the afternoon. Just depended on the day. Well, this week I decided enough with that! Eli needs some consistency and so do I! Especially before baby 2 comes! So I declared that we were making the switch and so far it's been okay. As soon as I decided to make the change, however, Eli has been waking up earlier in the morning (tempting me to try two naps still. I think he's getting another tooth??) but we've stuck to the plan anyway and he's been fine. So now instead of napping for 1.5 hours each at 10:00 and 3:30, he naps for about 2 hours (maybe it'll get longer?) at 12:45ish. It makes for a LONG afternoon once he's up. I don't usually run errands or anything at 3:30 or 4:00 but it seems like such a long time until bedtime, especially this week since Daddy's at work and it's just me playing with him still all day AND evening long. So anyway, that's the biggest change.

* After verbalizing the things that are stressing me out the most with Eli, I realized that a lot of the problems come when I'm doing something and he wants to be a part of it too. Usually I try to find a toy or something he can play with nearby. But really he wants to do what we're doing. So I've been trying harder about letting him actually "help" with some of my chores. He helped me unload clean silverware out of the dishwasher the last two days. And yesterday I gave him a hand broom to "sweep" the floor. He helps throw away trash now. And while we don't have a cupboard that I can designate as an "Eli cupboard" full of Tupperware, I have gotten out a couple plastic bowls and wooden spoon for him to play with while I'm cooking. And if that's not good enough then I clean off the counter and set him up there where he can see. I've been avoiding all these things because I knew once I "opened the gates" I couldn't take it back and just decide to close them again. But I think it's going okay so far, and I'm excited to have a little helper around. Any other ideas for getting an 18-month-old involved??

* And a good change for me is that I got a daily planner that has a paragraph-sized space open for each day. Helping get me going with my daily devotions and Bible reading, I go to the Heartlight website and every day write in my planner the daily verse while also reading through the devotion and prayer. It's just a small start, but at least it gets my day started in the right direction! The next thing I want to do is decide on a Bible reading plan and get going on that, so I can start spending actual more in-depth time in the Word.

So that's what going on around our house these days! What's going on with you??

Homemade Burp Cloths

I just decided on a whim to make homemade burp cloths yesterday. The source of inspiration was a flowery, grandma style homemade burp cloth that came in a box of hand-me-downs we got for Eli 18 months ago. I re-found it a few weeks ago and was taking a look at it the other day to see how it was made. And it was so simple and I've been having trouble finding burp cloths I like , so I thought I'd give a try!

It's basically just two pieces of flannel fabric sewn together. I got 1/2 yd of 3 different fabrics, $1.29 each. The steps are as follows:

  1. Cut your fabric to the size of your choice. I left the fabric folded how I bought it and cut the two pieces at the same time.
  2. Put the right sides (the sides with the print) together.
  3. Sew around the edges, leaving an opening on one side so that you can flip the piece right side out again.
  4. Flip the right side out and iron so the edges are all flat.
  5. Sew your opening closed (either by hand or as close as you can to the edge with the machine)
  6. Do a zig zag stitch around the border just to hold the fabrics together a little better instead of it just seeming like an empty pillow case.
  7. That's it!

It took about 30 minutes total for each burp cloth and in two days I started and completed a project! Here's the final product...

(click on the picture to view larger)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Weekly Memory Verse

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Last week's verse:
James 4:10
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

If you want to join me in memorizing Galatians 2:20 this week, sign your name below! May it be blessing to your life!

A Love Story.

Today is Kevin's and my 3-year wedding anniversary, so I thought I'd take a trip down memory lane and share our story...

We were high school sweethearts and started dating when I was 15 and Kevin was 17, sophomore and senior. At the time, one of my friends (Catherine) was dating his best friend (Adam) and somehow through the two of them, Kevin and I were brought together. We lived in different towns, 30 minutes apart, but in a rural area such as ours, 30 minutes is nothing. Kevin went to my volleyball games, and I went to his cross country meets. We went to my homecoming dance and I went to his prom. I wore his class ring and he kept mine. We saw each other on weekends and we celebrated month-"anniversaries". It was high school.

Then that May (1999) Kevin graduated high school and that week he left for Navy boot camp. I was so sad. I was broken. I was a miserable mess. I missed every single phone call that he made, and there was only the occasional letter in the mail. But we got through it, and at the end of the summer I went with his family to Chicago to see him again at his boot camp graduation. It was a joyous reunion. But after boot camp came the real Navy Life. He moved to South Carolina for nuclear training school, and I was stuck back in Iowa to finish my last two years of high school.

But we did it! We stuck it out! I flew to visit him at my breaks, and he flew home during holidays, so we saw each other every 3-4 months or so, talked on the phone, and emailed. He was home for both of my proms, and I was there for his deployment homecoming. But still he was away for all the day-to-day stuff. It wasn't easy. I missed him. We were indeed in love. And already by the end of my senior year we were engaged. Not with intentions of marrying soon, but with the promise for the day to come.

And then came college. I went to college and life there was soooo different from my small-town world. I was challenged. I met amazing people and amazing friends. I grew in faith in incredible ways. And I learned more about myself then than I ever had in the 18 years prior. During my first year of college I was led to break off our engagement to do some re-evaluating. And then 3 months later (or so) Kevin and I did get back together due to some life changes that were made. After that it was a new "us".

About a year (or two?) later we got re-engaged. I finished college (a semester early) with a B.A. in music ministry and a couple weeks later, January 8, 2005 we were married at last! After nearly 7 years of a long-distance relationship built on young love, we were finally married. We had a simple wedding in my dad's small church. It was a winter wedding in Iowa and that week it had snowed about 12 inches. But on our wedding day it was beautiful and all our family and friends were there.

We honeymooned at a quiet bed-and-breakfast in Florida where we enjoyed a rental convertible, walks on the beach, evenings under the stars, and a day of kayaking. After the honeymoon we got my things moved to where Kevin was stationed in Virginia, and our new life together began....

In the three years since, we have moved to CT, had Eli, and are now pregnant with Baby #2. We have grown together as husband and wife through a journey that is all our own. Kevin is an amazing man who has been there to support me through it all. He is loving and faithful and kind. He's strong when I am weak. I am so thankful for our years together. I am so thankful that Kevin chose me, that God chose Kevin FOR me. And I so look forward to the days, years to come...

Happy anniversary, my love!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 116

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.

The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came upon me;
I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
"O Lord, save me!"

The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the simplehearted;
when I was in great need, he saved me.

Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.

For you, O Lord have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.
I believed; therefore I said,
"I am greatly afflicted."
And in my dismay I said,
"All men are liars."

How can I repay the Lord
for all his goodness to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord.
I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.

Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his saints.
O Lord, truly I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your maid servant;
you have freed me from my chains.

I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
and call on the name of the Lord.
I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord--
in your midst, O Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

I love these books!

A few weeks ago I was at Goodwill browsing books, and I am convinced they're one of the best places to get great steals (if you have time to dig through the shelves)! I walked out with several quality books for only $0.39, $0.49, or $0.99! The best find, however, was a book of this series: Little Blessings series by author Kathleen Long Bostrom. The book I got that day was Are Angels Real? It's a rhyming book starting with questions from a child's perspective and following with sound Biblical answers. And in the back of the book the author includes excerpts with the exact Bible references she uses for her story. Here are a couple excerpts just so you can see what I'm talking about...

I've heard there are angels.
Oh, can it be true?
Are angels for real?
And just what do they do?

Do I have an angel
that looks after me?
Can I talk to angels?
Can they hear and see?
Are angels for real?
There is no need to guess.

The Bible assures us
the answer is yes!
So, who made the angels?

Well, God did, that's who!

And God gives the angels
their own jobs to do....

And the illustrations (by Elena Kucharik) are very cute! After falling in love with this book, I went on Amazon and got two others from the series: Who Is Jesus? and What is God Like? And I love those just as much and am eager to find more!

So I hope you check 'em out! I highly recommend them!

Go read this...

It's a quiet Saturday morning. Kevin's on night shift through the weekend, so he is now sleeping the morning away. Eli's napping. And here I sit with a cup of hot tea, browsing the weekly devotions I missed earlier in the week. And somehow I stumbled across this blog "Holy Experience". I recognize it as a place I've been before, but today it was especially refreshing and a place I needed to be. One of her posts was especially uplifting. Though I've heard this type of devotion done before, today I needed to hear it again. And I'm telling you, go read it too! Be blessed!

New Years Meme

I've been CARDED by Amy! What's that, you say?

Here are the rules:
1. Each player starts with 5 gifts that they would want for the New Year.
2. People who are “CARDED” need to write their own Blog about their 5 things & post these rules.
3. At the end of your Blog, you need to choose 5 people to get “CARDED” and list their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a COMMENT telling them they’re “CARDED”, and to read your Blog.

It's going to be a whirlwind of a year, FILLED with lots of big changes! With that in mind, here are 5 gifts I would want for the new year...
1. A healthy baby girl.
2. For Kevin to get a job in a good location close to family and friends.
3. A house.
4. Find a good home church after we move.
5. Spiritual rejuvenation from daily Bible times.

And the 5 people I'm "carding".... Angie at The Knightly News, God's Child at Seeker of God, Living Beyond, Bella Mama, and Servant Becca.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Not just a pot.

First it was a stock pot to make corn on the cob when all the family was visiting this summer. Since it's big and I didn't have a good place to store it, we put Eli's letter blocks in it....

And when the blocks weren't in it, Eli wanted to go for a ride...
And somehow I think Daddy initiated this...
And Mommy thought up this for at snack times...
And to enable Eli since he so desperately wanted to get on the couch all the time...
And how fun to stand on top of...
So as you can see...
It's not just a pot.

6 weeks and counting...

...Or something like that. Until Baby Girl's arrival!! Now that Christmas is over I've finally gotten busy getting things organized. Once Baby Girl outgrows the bassinet in our room and is mostly sleeping through the night, the two kids will be sharing a room until we move in the fall. So I've been busy organizing Eli's room--the dresser, closet, and toys (since we got more at Christmas). I wish I had some "before" pictures to show you of Eli's room and closet. But I'm pretty excited at how it's looking now! I was planning on buying a second dresser and just putting it in the closet, but at this time of year I was really looking to avoid making that purchase, and I came up with an even better solution! Eli will share the dresser and closet, so each child gets two drawers and half the closet. And for additional storage for burp cloths, bibs, towels, washcloths, and sheets I got a medium-sized plastic drawer system from Target. It's just the right amount of space and doesn't take up nearly as much of the closet. The bottom shelf of the changing table used to hold stacks of blankets, but I've moved those to a laundry basket in the closet and put toys (puzzles n such) on that shelf instead. And since I don't have a big dresser in the closet I was able to squeeze in a hamper for Baby Girl. (I'd like each person to have their own hamper and laundry day. Just makes things easier.) So now all that's really left is to move the rocking chair downstairs and find a toddler bed for in its place. But that can wait just a bit longer. Once we move the rocking chair out, we won't have nighttime snuggles with Eli, and I will really miss that. So for now we'll just enjoy it. I'm also working on sewing a quilt for Eli's new bed. He won't transition to that until a month or two after the baby, but I imagine I won't so much have time to sew then, so that's why I'm getting it done now. It gives me a project to work on during this long month of January anyway, as I'm sure I'll be getting quite antsy and restless as the due date approaches!

Newly organized closet with basket of blankets, storage drawers, and hamper.
Left side is for Eli, right side is for Baby Girl.
Toys on bottom shelf now.
The toddler bed will go where the chair and space heater are.
Just another room shot.
Notice the ABC wall hangings I made.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

MY Goals for 2008

I already have my list of 101 Goals for 1001 Days, so I really didn't stop to think about what my goals were for 2008. But after stopping by a few blogs I realized that I DO have a few main things I want to work on about myself or do for myself.

During the year of 2008...

I want to really work on my patience. I've been having such a time with Eli, and it's really come to my attention how impatient I really am. And it wears me out so quickly and everything blows out of proportion and into something bigger, and it's such an awful example to Eli. So somehow I want to really work on being more patient. Being firm with him, yet not raising my voice or saying things out of anger. Every morning at breakfast I pray with Eli for joy, peace, patience, and self-control for the day so that I may glorify God in everything I do and say. But that's not enough, because it's not working.

I need to do more.

I need to get up in the morning before Eli for once so that I can spend time with the Lord--in the Word and in prayer. Prepare myself for the day. Prepare my heart. Instead of just diving in head first with no preparation, still feeling groggy and having had no time for "myself" yet. So getting up and having "quiet time" first thing in the morning is something I really want and need to do.

I've been saying this for more than a year now and it's never really happened. I am not a morning person. I am tired. I remember the time when Eli was still not yet sleeping through the night and I was getting up every hour to put his darn pacifier back in his mouth. And I remember thinking "Right now my body just needs the rest. But once Eli is sleeping through the night, I'll start getting up earlier in the morning." Ha! That was a YEAR AGO, and look at me! Now we have ANOTHER baby coming and that's going to start all over again! So I need to give up on all the excuses and just do what I need to do! Such a practice of spiritual discipline, wow. It's hard. BUT this year I am going to do it!

So that's two things... 1) Work on patience--no raising voice, no bad words, no actions out of anger. And 2) Start my mornings with "quiet time".

And a third thing is a hobby thing that really needs to get tackled. It's been at a standstill since Eli was born, and now he's almost 18 months old! I need to figure out what I am going to do with my scrapbooking. Am I going to convert to digital scrapbooking? Or am I going to finish out with paper scrapbooking? And how am I going to get caught up on our family photo album, as there are still NO pictures in there from since Eli was born! Ack! I really need to get to work on that!

Those are the three biggest things I'm challenging myself to for 2008, though I still have a whole list of things I'll be working on too.... setting date nights with Kevin (even if they're at home), doing daily devotions as a couple (I found THIS BOOK, ordered it today, and can't wait to see what it's like!!), establishing daily Bible time with children, and finding a workout routine that I enjoy (this would be a miracle, haha).

So those are my biggest goals for the year. If you have any advice or tips that might help things along, do share! Blessings on your year!

Weekly Memory Verse

James 4:10
Humble yourselves before the Lord,
and he will lift you up.

Last week's verse:
Hebrews 4:16
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and grace
to help us in our time of need.

If you want to join me this week in memorizing James 4:10, sign your name below! May it be a blessing to your life!