Aug 30, 2011

Her Boogie Woogie Shoes

Tessa has been trying to take her first tentative steps the last couple of days. She goes three of four, maybe five steps and then drops to the ground. We had some places to go today where she was going to be outside a bit, so she needed shoes. These are my personal favorites even though I know soft soles are best for learning walkers. However this is the only pair she has that she can't really yank off and I was in no mood to search for shoes today.Besides, how can one resist bright red tennis shoes which are teeny tiny? I can't. She has very small feet just like the rest of the family so they are especially small and cute for a one year old. I adore these on her. That and the fact she also has a bright red cheerleading looking type of dress that she wore with it today.

Go Te-ssa. Go Te-ssa.

She was quite wild today and attempting to walk more than ever before. I blame it on the red shoes.
I was trying to fold laundry and put it in the basket to put away. Tessa thought the basket looked like a great climbing toy.
In and out. In and out, she went. And yes, those would be fresh clean clothes folded in there.
They are not that neatly folded anymore. Thanks so much Tessa. Luckily it's the kid's clothes so guess what? They are not getting rewashed but are going in their drawers anyways. I'm beyond caring.
I really don't think she much cares anyways.
*Sigh*. Chores with children takes a 1,000 times longer, but they are such a fun distraction.

Aug 29, 2011

"A" week

Last week was the first week of school for Hunter and Ainsley. Hunter is in second grade this year and Ainsley is doing pre-K with me. I'm not a big fan of preschool though everyone I know seems to be. That's OK, but it's just not for me and I'd rather do it at home. It seems to take us about 2 and half hours each day to do all the subjects and that includes electives like Bible, History, Science, Art, Spanish and Music though we only do one of those each day (with the exception of Bible which we open with every day). It's amazing how much faster you fly through the subjects with only one student even though he's doing harder work than he would be doing at school.

Hunter has an extra grammar book and reader this year and his comment after the first day of school was, "Mommy, are we going to have to do that much work every day???" That would be a yes. And I'm not feeling sorry for him since he gets done by noon. Sheesh.

Ainsley is doing a letter a week with some simple activities and also shapes, colors, patterns, numbers, sorting, etc. This week she learned "A is for a, a, a, a, ALLIGATOR!" It's only effective if you scream the alligator really loud and make his big teeth chomp while you do it. Apparently at least so if you are four years old. She gets big yellow pocket charts on the wall for her letter of the week.

Friday is art day, so we did apple printing in honor of her "A" week and the first week back to school.
They really loved being messy in the red paint. Of course.
Hunter made sure that his were all evenly inked with no blank spots showing. That's my typical type "A" boy.
When the apples dried, they drew on them and made them into apple characters. Hunter's apples all ended up being monsters and pirates.
Ainsley said all of her's were princesses and fairies when she was done. And then she drew on the ones I did on my page and made them "better" as you can see up above. Thanks for that vote of confidence, Ainsley.
What? Oh yeah, I did a page too as the "example". Or maybe just because I like art too. And why not? My kids really look forward to Friday as "art" day and it's the highlight of their school week.

Lets be honest.

Mine too.

Friday is also "pizza and movie night". Tone is always working on Friday nights so as a treat, we get Little Caesar's Pizza for $5 and watch a new kids movie on Netflix. It's a fun end to the week and they look forward to it. It has become tradition and solves one dinner when he is gone.

Friday is shaping up to be a great day in the week.

Aug 27, 2011

Unlocking Forgiveness

Today I am writing a more heavy post which is a break from my usual lighthearted posts on my life of crazy with three kids or DIY crafty posts. However this has been a week where serious thoughts have weighed on the soul and I would like to share what I have learned.

But...

Not just this week.

This is a journey of learning that God has been taking through for several years now and is in many ways my "journey of the wilderness". It's a journey on forgiveness. I won't say what it was that I am forgiving, but just know that it was a wrong that left a very deep painful scar across my heart that could drown me in anger and bitterness but for God's grace.

But then this lesson carries over into all other areas. It carries over into my parenting. Forgiveness pays a big part in how I discipline my children and how they respond to me. It carries over into my marriage and plays a part in how I love my husband and how he loves me. It carries over into my friendships and any other significant relationship of my life.

Because if you've lived life for very long, you've had to forgive and in turn ask for forgiveness. Let me share with you what I have learned in my wilderness wanderings while God has gently led me into what it means to forgive. I will share what I have learned in two easy ways.
What forgiveness IS.
And what it ISN'T.

Forgiveness IS:
1. Releasing the need to feel bitterness and resentment.
One wise college professor once told me, "Bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die." Yikes!

2. Releasing the right I feel I might have to exact justice and get revenge and leave that for the Lord. Vengeance on my behalf is His and His alone. Romans 12:19.

3. Extending love and grace from God in all my dealings with the other person. Grace is getting what we don't deserve. And but for the grace of God, we ALL deserve punishment, yet He extends love and forgiveness which we don't deserve. With Christ in me, I can do the same, since I too have been forgiven much. (Romans 12:20-21) It is refusing to return evil for evil or insult for insult.

4. Wishing the other person WELL. I pray that the other person is also fully redeemed and made new in God's love and grace. To wish them a life filled with the joy, love, and blessings of the Lord. This is God's desire for all people and should be our desire as well. It is treating them as a precious person that God created and loves.

5. Continuous. Not allowing anger to fester and a continual act of submitting the wrong done to me to the Lord and choosing to love instead. Sometimes we are wronged so deeply, that it's something we like to harbor inside and have a difficult time giving up. So it's a continuous process we take to the Lord.

6. Submitting my wounded pride and setting aside my self and letting God's picture of love, redemption and salvation for all mankind fill my heart instead. It means realizing I am a sinner too.

7. Limitless and should be extended each and every time a wrong is committed. Matt. 18:21-22


This is what Forgiveness is NOT:

1. Saying that the wrong done to me is Okay or excusing it away. It is not justifying why they did the wrong that they did. If you can justify it or excuse it, then there is nothing to forgive in the first place since no wrong has been done. People always have a "reason" for doing what they did, but that doesn't make it right or excuse the fact that it was done from a personal choice on their end to do the wrong thing (no matter what the outside reason). In forgiving we are acknowledging that a wrong has been done to me and choosing to forgive anyways. It is not letting someone off the "hook" for being responsible for their wrong doings.

2. Saying that you must trust the person or allow yourself to be put in a position where you can be hurt by them again. Trusting again may not be possible in some situations. Trust is gained through mutual love and respect and forgiveness does not guarantee that. Sometimes it has to be gained back again or it may be permanently broken.

3. Dependent on whether the other person asks for it or shows remorse or repentance. They may never, but forgiveness should be offered anyways. Romans 5:8 says, "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." He offered forgiveness before we asked and so should we towards others. However....

4. Forgiveness is not RECONCILIATION. There is a big difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. Reconciliation takes two parts. Forgiveness extended from the one who was wronged; and repentance, remorse and a heart change on from the one who wronged. We can only offer our part which is forgiveness. In a similar way, Christ offers forgiveness to all, but only those who repent are reconciled to Him in a relationship.

5. Forgiveness is not denying the other person the opportunity to make it right. If they are genuinely showing remorse and asking for forgiveness, then reconciliation should be offered and second chances. Though this can be so very difficult, you can not turn your back and walk away if there is true repentence. Which is not, "I'm sorry this happened to you", but rather, "I am so sorry I did this to you and would like to make it right."

6. Forgiveness is not excusing the person from the consequences of their sin. Consequences are a natural part of sin and part of God's design to reach our heart and soften it. If you don't believe me, try reading, oh I don't know, THE WHOLE OLD TESTAMENT. The whole book is about consequences for Israel's sins against God. However, I will say this: There is a big difference between allowing natural consequences to take place and taking revenge for ourselves. So tread this water carefully. Or think about this: If your child disobeys you and you forgive him, does he then get out of whatever discipline you've thought up for him because of his disobedience? Of course not, that would be dumb parenting. Most often a natural consequence is loss of trust and responsibilities or privileges. Forgiveness doesn't negate this.

7. Forgiveness is not a denial of emotions. There is still room for grief, sadness, feelings of loss and betrayal and anger. But it is taking these emotions to the Lord and telling Him all about them rather than letting them turn into bitterness and revenge. Just read the book of Psalms if you don't believe me. The whole book is a study on this example. David was more emotional than a Jr. High school girl, and yet God was pleased with him because he submitted to God in the midst of those emotions.


To be honest, learning what forgiveness is NOT was just as useful to me in my personal growth as it was to learn what forgiveness IS. And just because I know this doesn't mean that I can easily DO it. I have found that I walk in circles sometimes thinking I have finally forgiven only to be caught off guard in moments of bitterness. Some times I'll go whole months without a thought about it, and then I get caught up somehow and feel I have to start all over again. Yet, I have found that though I think I am wandering aimlessly through the bewildering wilderness sometimes, God is slowly unwrapping my heart and exposing more and more tender layers deep within and exposing them in His gentle way with me. He is so gentle and kind when He walks and talks with me and I cannot wait to meet Him. Yet there is nothing else that has ever had to power to probe so deep within and change me.

"My heart has heard You say, 'Come and talk with me.' and my heart responds, 'LORD, I am coming.'" Psalm 27:8

Aug 26, 2011

Art and Books for Birthday Gifts

I think this is the season for more than back-to-school buying. We seem to be in the middle of an influx of birthday parties as well. As the invites keep coming in, I had a moment of panic. AAAK! I love each one of the kids to whose party we are attending. So how do I stay in budget and bring a gift that looks like some thought was put into it without breaking the bank? Also, most kids I know have such varied interests and too many toys anyways. What to DOOOO????

Enter idea number one for an elementary school aged child.

The art station with art supplies.
Since it's back to school time, the art and school supplies are pretty cheap and on sale. My kids LOVE to color and create and for the most part, so do most kids. So I bought crayons, markers, colored pencils, scissors, glue, watercolors, and fun lead pencils from the big school bins at Wally world. Then I found at Target the little buckets for a dollar and the plate for $.50. Yep. That was 50 cents. I hot glued the buckets down to the plate and then filled them with the goodies. Ta da! An art station. It's fun and thoughtful, but it doesn't break the bank. Wrap it up in some cellaphane and you are good to go. The big test was whether it passed muster with my kids. Since they both wanted it, I think it's a pretty good gift.

When it comes to buying gifts for anyone under 3, I usually panic even more and don't have a clue what to do. I mean what do little ones really like that they probably don't have already? So I thought about Tessa and her very very favorite thing. Books! So I bought Tessa's very favorite books for the little girl turning one tomorrow. We've read these two more than any others.

Over and over and over.

As you can see, Tessa thought these were hers when I brought them out to wrap them.
I wrapped them up in cute printed butterfly brown paper and tied it off with twine. I cut out a tag and attached an easy hair clip I made to it to give it some flourish. Rolled roses make darling hair clips so it's more than just a gift decoration.At any rate, I feel good that I am giving a gift that is more than just a junk toy that will end up in the corner in a couple days and bring more clutter into a home. I feel good that I am giving a gift that encourages the mind and creativity. I may just stick with this kind of gift in the future. I don't think art or books ever get old.

At least I hope not.



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Aug 25, 2011

Family Photo Wall Pennant

I have a family photo wall on the biggest wall of my living room. Tone made me that shelf when we lived in a little town house with no fireplace mantle and I needed a shelf to satiate my need to decorate a mantle. Now it's a shelf on which to put my favorite photos of my kids. This week I decided the shelf area was looking stale.
So I moved the canvas photo of my three kids in front of the widow frame mirror so it's smack dab in the middle and decided it needed a fun little pennant that said "family".

Sidenote: By the way, I get the BEST deals on photo canvases at www.canvaspeople.com. I buy from them all the time with the coupons they regularly send me. Just go to the website and sign up.

Ainsley and Tessa wanted in on the craft action of course.
Because with the weather outside still being solidly in the 100's, it's still feeling like summer to me and a pennant screams my summery mood.
Ainsley helped me arrange the colors.
Then I cut the word, "family" on my die cut machine in a typewriter font.
I sewed the triangles to a piece of ribbon on my sewing machine.
So I kinda artistically draped it over the window frame mirror like so.
And then taped it really professionally with scotch tape.
Because I do things the professional way when I comes to my home....whatever.
And I'm loving that that frame is crooked (so my kids may or may not sometimes jump on the couch and knock the frames...even though it's strictly forbidden)
We have airplane knickknacks everywhere tucked around in our home.
It kinda just happens when you marry a pilot.
So it's not something you would ever see in a model home, but in my home it totally fits. I'll probably get tired of it before fall is even out and I'll switch this shelf all around again with some other crafty whatnot.
And this, my friends, is why my home will never look like a model home....oh that, and I have three small children.
And using Random.org to come up with a winner for the giveaway, it told me comment #11 should be my winner. So.......

That would be Lisa Plumb! Hooray!

But I'm planning another giveaway for next month so if you missed out, there will be another one soon!

Aug 21, 2011

A lamp shade redo

I just redid my living room lamp...again. I believe I posted about it in August of 2009. Welp, I am fickle and have changed the colors of my living room up in the last couple of years and the red no longer matches but just bugs me as the glaring red thing in the corner.I stared at it one too many times and so yesterday, I made a snap decision, walked across the room and just started ripping the old stuff off. Hunter was pretty disturbed that I was just ripping something up on a whim. He should know by now what an impulsive mom he has when I get in a certain mood. I didn't have an exact plan, I just knew that I couldn't stand it a second longer. I then was forced to make a creative decision and pulled out some khaki fabric and went to work. I just laid the lamp down and traced around the side and cut out four.
I am on this bird decorating kick lately, so the thing had to have birds on it. So I free hand drew a little bird template.


I am using Heat and Bond fusing and then cutting out bird shapes with leaves and twigs. The nice thing about this is...no sewing. It only takes scissors and a hot iron. And if I get tired of it later (because I will), it just peels off and I can put on something different.
Then I have a confession to make. I didn't have fabric glue. So I'm doing what I have done many times before when gluing thick darker fabric...resort to wood glue. It actually holds and works great. And because I am an overachiever, I slabbed it on with some sort of putty knife.Yeah, you were afraid it wasn't going to lay flat, right? Actually, wood glue works great for smoothing out bubbles. I used hot glue for the twine and lace which hide the seams.So now I don't have the big red THING in the corner. This is much softer and more "me" (at least for now).



So here it is all done. It's a much better match and it makes me happy so that's all that truly matters in a home, right?
Now tomorrow I might just have the itch to rip something else up. We'll see. One never knows around here....





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Aug 20, 2011

Hero Worship

I have two sisters and so when I ended up with two girls, I had grand visions of the girls sharing a room and playing girly dress-up together and sharing girly secrets and shopping and gossiping and crafting and...and...and.
Nope.

And while I'm sure that this day will come, the reality is that right now, they are way too young. Tessa would much rather pal around with her brother, while Ainsley could care less if Tessa is around. Ainsley flits around in her own world and when she tries to engage Tessa, it ends up more in a fiasco of tears because Ainsley has no idea how to entertain a baby. Ainsley has great intentions...they just don't usually pan out well.

Hunter, on the other hand, is the best babysitter ever! He is the reason I get showers and I don't stink most of the time (all of my friends should be thanking him now too). True statement. He is marvelous with her and he dutifully entertains her all day long for me. In the morning, he waits for her to get up and begs to take her into the living room so he can play with her. He is just absolutely delighted by the fact that she is in his day.
He's always hoisting her around under her arms and taking her around the house or moving her to safer locations. He's my extra set of eyes and lets me know what she is up to (or into usually). We all find Tessa delightfully funny with her antics, but Hunter especially giggles at all the right times. He knows just how to pull those deep belly laughs out of her too. He seems to know the right amount of roughness that she can take and how much is too much. Yesterday saw Hunter pushing her up and down the sidewalk in her little car as fast as she could take it.In return, Tessa follows him around the house, destroys his elaborate toy designs and projects and creates quite a nuisance for herself. Hunter doesn't complain too much unless he is the middle of a big floor project with blocks, tracks or legos. However, Tessa has given him her first smiles, laughs and steps. It's true hero worship on her end.
The only time Hunter zones out is when he is playing a computer game (which we limit because he is super duper addicted). Even then, Tessa just couldn't leave Hunter alone and HAD to know what he was doing up there. She must be in the "know" when it comes to Hunter at all times. At one point she had both feet up on the chair bottom craning as high as she could to see. This is how she acts around her brother. It's quite possibly the cutest thing ever.

I am quite proud of how much Hunter adores both sisters (and visa versa) and is entertained by them for hours. Yesterday and today we purposefully didn't go anywhere and the kids played and played and played together all day long. It's important to me to cultivate that family closeness and to enforce the fact that siblings are forever friends and we work hard on that around here.

I'm just super glad it's actually working.

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Writing Notes - August's Giveaway

I have a box of love notes on my coffee table. I opened it so you could see inside. It has all the letters from when Tone and I were dating in it. There are a ton and they are fat, fat, fat! I worked at camp that summer in the mountains with not a lot of phone or computer access and Tone was often off flying. So, we did that old fashioned thing called "writing".
I am so glad that we did since now I have a little history of those dating days.
See? I kept every one.
I remember dashing to mail call everyday to see if there was a new letter from Tone and sitting on my bunk writing page after page to him after "lights out".I still like to give and receive snail mail. Christmas is one of my favorite seasons because there are actually fun cards in the mail almost every day!

School is starting up this week and the holidays are just around the corner. Hunter will be learning cursive penmanship this year and I am sure he will be writing a lot of letters as penmanship practice.

So this writing talk brings me to the best part of this post....



A giveaway for helping you with your "snail mail" and making sending a note to someone a lot more fun!

UPrinting very kindly contacted me and is letting me giveaway a 500 page letterhead set to one of you! They are half sheet sized and perfect for tucking in your notes, and best of all, you get to personalize them any way you wish! I checked them out and they are very easy to personalize.
Here are the details:
One 500 pcs. letterhead set from Uprinting will be given to one winner.

5.5" by 8.5"
70 lb. offset
Front only printing
4 business day turnaround time
and FREE shipping!

Restriction: limited to US residents 18 years old and above only

CONTEST ENDS THURSDAY, AUGUST 25th

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Here are the ways to enter to win the 500 pc. letterhead set:

1. Leave me a comment telling me to whom you are most likely to write "snail mail".

2. Follow my blog and let me know you did (or if you already are).

3. Tweet about my giveaway, blog about it, or post to your facebook page to spread the love.

Now just leave a comment for each thing you did!

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This giveaway is sponsored by UPrinting, no monetary compensation was given and I will receive letterhead printing service by hosting. Letterhead printing, envelope printing, and printing services are also available. Please visit these links or UPrinting.com for more details.

Aug 18, 2011

The Summer Recap

School for us starts on Monday.
*sigh*!
My favorite season is now drawing to a close.
I thought I would give a little recap for you.

The season started off with a bang with the girls birthday and a two week trip in Washington DC to visit my family over Memorial Day weekend at my brother's house, and then to visit the sites with Tone's family in their motorhome. Uh huh, back up the truck. I really just said that. I was with my in-laws in a motorhome with all my kids, Tone, and my nieces and nephew. And I had to fly there and back standby by myself and the kids with an 8 hour layover each way. Call me crazy! Guess I just really love family.
The next fun adventure was two weeks later at Dinkey Creek campground with our church's Lifegroup. Five couples, 11 small kids. It was a dirty but fun time!Throughout the whole summer we went to the big water park (we have passes) or the free splash parks around town. Without a pool in our postage stamp of a backyard, it's how we survive the heat. We went at least once a week, often more. The kids also had a month of swim lessons, but I failed and didn't get one picture since I was in the water with Tessa in the "mommy and me" class.There were some cooler days believe it or not, so we utilized our zoo passes. Tessa was old enough to finally get excited about the animals. Don't freak out, that's not a real lizard they're sitting on...though it looks so lifelike that the kids ALWAYS have to sit on it when we visit the zoo. Every. Single. Time. You should congratulate me though. That lizard provided the very first picture I ever took of all three kids smiling together. EVER. Next time we'll work on everyone looking at the camera at the same time. Baby steps, here guys.Every week, we went out at least one day on the boat as well. Hunter has become quite the daredevil.We ended July joining my family up at Bass Lake for the week. So much fun spending time with my siblings and parents boating, and swimming.We went straight from Bass so I could be in my friend's wedding. There was lots of wedding shower love this summer and it was a gorgeous wedding on Carmel beach.So you see why I hate to see summer leave, right? Although it's still hotter than blue blazes outside so I'm determined school will not keep us from our water fun for at least another month or two. That's the beauty of homeschooling.

There's only one reason to wish summer along a little faster this year. I usually don't look forward to the fall and cooler weather, but this year I am. My little sister, Krista, who lives with her husband in Texas, just announced they are moving to MY city in October! Hurrah! I just can't wait!

So in honor of our few and last summer days, we went and played out on the front lawn today in that golden time of evening when the sun is setting and the light is all perfect. I just found these striped canvas shoes for $5 and they are the most comfortable things. Almost as good as my flipflops which is saying a lot. I gotta have some shoes that are as comfortable for those colder months ahead you know.The kids were having the best time rolling around on the freshly mowed lawn, courtesy of Tone. Yes, I am THAT mom who dressed them all in nautical blue today. They were cute, alright!?
I got them some new books in the dollar bin at Target today and they've been reading them since we got home. They even brought them out on the grass and read them. I guess we really are ready for Monday aren't we?
Bring on SCHOOL!

And by the way, if you've made it this far through the post, you should know I've saved the best for last. Tomorrow I am hosting August's giveaway and it's pretty cool! Oh you didn't know I am doing monthly giveaways? That's because I just announced it. Obvs. I have another pretty cool one planned for September.